Friday, February 3, 2012

Another letter from Matamoros

Here’s the latest letter from Justin, in Matamoros. He sounds great and is working hard.
If any of you have seen the news from Matamoros or from Brownsville Texas, it isn’t good.  There is a battle for territory going on between two rival drug cartels—the Zetas and the Gulf cartels. Last week there was a gun battle and the news article that I read said that the residents of Matamoros “went to bed Tuesday night to the sound of automatic weapons fire and grenades.” Suffice it to say that I’ve been concerned, to to say the least. Tonight I got a call from a strange number, a woman speaking in Spanish, saying that she was from Matamoros and a parent. She said she knows that all the news from her town is bad and scary—killings, shoot-outs, drugs, gangs, corruption—and she wanted me to know that though it is a scary time there, her family and others have come to love Justin and are looking out for him and she wanted me to be at peace. I still worry about my boy, but this stranger brought much needed peace to my heart and I’m grateful for small acts of kindness.
Once again, please add your thoughts and prayers to mine. I’m going to be positive, especially thanks to having received this special phone call from a concerned parent.
Peace and love to you all.

Hello Family and Friends,
How are you all doing? Well I am doing alright, just still trying to get accustomed to this very new culture that I am now completely surrounded in. The work is going well, a lot of investigators that we have and many that are interested in baptism. We work countless hours each day and it is crazy how fast time flies each day! The thing is that I feel like I have been here for years though! Haha The weather here is sooo up and down! It is one day blazing hot, and then it's chilly and rainy. I have heard that the weather here is just always extremes and that's it. The food has been great here as well; I haven't gotten sick yet. And also the people here are so nice. It's a good place to serve.
On Thursday, I had to travel to Monterrey on a charter bus to sign papers for my Visa because apparently our Visas expire every 6 months. I returned on Saturday to start the work up again. We met with this one sister who has a tough life because her son and husband don't want anything to do with her for some reason. We talked to her and she really does want to become closer to God. She said, before we extended the invitation for baptism, that she wants to serve a mission as well and we were very surprised by her words. We had to explain to her that there are steps that you take before you can serve a mission, but it is very possible that you can. Pretty cool experience. And at church we had 4 investigators come and attend! It was great because in my area, there is a lot of poverty and with that, no cars for the majority of the people here. The church is very far away, so it has been challenging for investigators and many members to make it church, but 4 went to church and it was great. The only bad thing is that during a class in Sunday school, the brother that was talking was pretty much very direct to everyone about the ward not paying tithing and that they're not going to be with God... We were sitting there like “Nooooooo!”, because our investigators don't understand tithing yet and I hope that this lesson didn't scare our investigators off! My companion and are a bit all right. He and I have our difficult times because he and I are leaders or a bit controlling—type A personalities, as my dad would say. Like I want to do some things and he wants to do some things. Well since he is senior comp, I have to follow pretty much… But oh well. He is a good teacher. Well I hope everyone is doing well and I love you all! Write me and keep in touch. Take care!

Elder Justin Powell


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