Friday, June 15, 2012

Wonderful life lessons being learned

I love this letter.  I love it because it makes me so happy to read that Justin is learning a lesson that will benefit him throughout his life.  He is learning that our happiness and our optimism need not depend, nor should they depend, on any external force or circumstance.  Our lives are often pummeled with difficult situations but how we face them and the attitude that we adopt in the face of them makes us who we truly are. True happiness and well being are generated inside of us and then radiate outwards and I'm so proud of Justin for learning this über-valuable lesson. These life lessons are the ones that money can’t pay for and that life will teach us, if we are paying attention, as Justin obviously is.
Please continue writing him.  I’m so grateful for all of you that take time out of your schedules to support this son of mine. That, also, is something that money cannot buy and I’m deeply in your debt. Peace and love.

Well another week already flown by, how is everyone doing?? I am doing pretty well! The heat is on the rise here and we still are pushing hard to help all that need help. This week was pretty interesting and alright, I was in a lot of interchanges this week. I went to an area called Pedregal on Thursday and Friday I was with Elder Fowler (Zone Leader) in Victoria. I missed my area like crazy! But the thing is that I learn a lot from going to other areas and learning from other missionaries, etc. The thing I learned this week that an ex-missionary and I talked about was to make the mission the best experience of your life. It’s hard, it’s hot, it’s hard to see people not progress, but we can make the mission much more positive. Like being happy, having fun with the mission as well. This called my attention because of another missionary in the district that is sooo serious about the mission. The thing is that when you are preaching to somebody about the gospel that it’s to make people better and happier, shouldn`t we be happy and of good joy? That`s what we talked about and it all kind of clicked in my mind. We have soo much more success when we talk with the people and not recite the first lesson to someone. When we preach of the gospel of happiness, we have so much more success getting down to earth with the investigators rather than trying to be somebody that we are not. Now, what I hope that everyone could learn is that, everyone in this gospel should be happy, should be funny and the gospel isn`t sooo serious. It hurts to try to be so serious to investigators while in a lesson and it’s about happiness when we are not happy. It doesn`t work. Sorry this was on my mind this week because it called my attention and it all clicked this week. Be happy with the gospel, have fun with life because the gospel is about true happiness! Talk to your friends about the gospel, but be real about it and happy. When you are sad or sooo serious, it doesn`t work out with getting the message to their heart. So I have made adjustments to my mission, to take every day of my mission and make it positive. Be funny, happier and look at the brighter ends of everything. It’s 120 degrees outside, but it’s not humid! Haha. I`m losing weight in the mission, but at least I will have space when I return home and eat all the food that I miss! hahaha Sorry I just felt like sharing that with you all because being positive and happy about everything really matters, especially in preaching this gospel. I love you all and I hope everyone is ok! Write me often and I miss you all! Already 17 months left in the mission! Take care!


Elder Justin Powell

Leia Mais…

Monday, June 4, 2012

A great letter from JD

Hi guys and gals.  Can you believe that I'm actually posting this on the day that it arrives.  I promised that I would do better and be more prompt.  This is a great letter from JD--I love it because I can tell that he is learning great lessons about patience and about being able recognize his feelings and promptings and then putting it all in perspective--even when it is hard. As always, thank you for supporting this son of mine. I miss him and can't wait until he is back but as he is far away, I'm grateful to you all for the love, friendship and support that you give to him that sustains him. I am a firm believer that this wonderful energy will come back to you all, magnified.  Thank you, from a grateful father.  Peace.

Hello Family and Friends,
How is it going? Well we are still pushing through the mission, one week at a time. Well the area ``Lomas Del Pedregal`` is still good, we worked a ton this week, a lot of work with the members. And we had a ton of success with finding great people, and as well as a lot of the members progressing. Maria Guadalupe got confirmed yesterday and she is doing a lot better now. A lot of my converts though are not coming to church!!!! For some emergencies or because they don`t feel welcomed now, it’s frustrating when they don`t come because it feels like to us missionaries that we baptized them in vain, and not when they were entirely ready. Well we still try to work things out with them, and slowly but surely they will come back if we stay persistent with them and their needs. Other than that, we found a great couple named Ivan and Norma. We contacted a young lady in the street and she showed some interest and accepted that we would come another day. Well we went and she didn`t seem interested until the 3rd visit, and she accepted a Book of Mormon. Well then the next visit we wanted to talk with the husband as well, but she was scared that he wouldn`t accept. But we went—he was pretty nervous and it started out a bit on the line, but then we shared something with him, and he said that he read the same thing in the bible that same day, because he was trying to prepare for our visit. It was like, wow! Another spiritual moment; he changed after that and they were accepting everything that we said. They were reading the Book of Mormon when we went for another visit. What I have learned is that as missionaries, we are like those of the phone company, we hook up the line for the investigators to God, because we don`t hardly do anything. We are just tools in his hands, and I have seen so much of that on the mission! Those are testimony builders of mine. The mission, I am not going to lie, is pretty dang hard for the fact that our testimony goes up and down like the world`s biggest roller coaster! It`s like God gives us 99 reasons to believe that the church is true, but there is always 1 that just sneaks in that makes your testimony kind of tear down. But we have to keep going to just keep that faith up, and that is the hardest thing to do!!!!!! But that is what I have learned and that I hope you all can see that and remember that when you had that experience that built your testimony because that was true, that you can focus on those 99 things and not on that 1 doubt, because it is a faith tester— that is all it is. Well times up and now I have got to go, but I love you all and you are all in prayers! Dad I haven`t read your email yet, but by the looks of it, something happened and I will read later. You are all in my prayers and dad I am worried, I hope nothing super bad has happened. Stay happy everyone, I love you all and now it’s SUMMMER TIME! Time for the 120 degrees! Hahaha! Love you all!

Elder Justin Powell

I am sorry My English is HORRIBLE, I am serious, and English is becoming distant for me! I am turning Mexican already, skin color and everything! Hahaha! 

Justin played a silly string prank on his friend, Elder Montejano, as he came out of the bathroom.

JD said that this is the most intense rain/thunder storm he has ever been in in his life!

Picture following a ward mission activity that JD and his companion planned for the youth in his ward.

Leia Mais…

Friday, June 1, 2012

Pics from Monterrey (and a couple from Provo)

I got a bunch of pics from a lady in Justin's mission and I'm not going to post all of them.  I've picked out a few that I liked but she sent me 200+ so I don't want to overwhelm the blogosphere.  There are a couple that JD has attached to his latest e-mail also.  Of course, I don't know all of the characters so we'll all have to wait until JD gets home (if you're that curious) to identify them.  Anyway, hope you enjoy seeing him as much as I did.  Peace.

Easily my favorite pic of the bunch--JD and college football's very best coach, Coach Witt. I think only Jesus, Peyton Manning or Derek Jeter could have topped Coach Witt.  By the way, the Jesus thing was just a joke, for all of the sensitive folks out there. LOL!

JD and another missionary at transfers.

Seriously, I don't even know where to begin with this cute pose...

JD and a group of youth from his ward in Monterrey.

JD has never, ever, EVER eaten seafood of any kind and now he's mangian on shrimp and who knows what else.  What's next, Justin--sushi?

Fancy a tango?

JD's first baptism.

Same girl, different ordinance.

Justin moves through his first transfers.

A tour of the typical missionary apartment--spartan, even by Justin's standards.  First is his perfectly made bed.

Here is his study area/kitchen table/living room.

Oh and what a lovely and fresh bathroom. Very nice.

First look at the fridge.  A mini, right?  About 3' tall, tops?  How tall does that make the sink then?  Wow--a kitchen for little people.

And finally, where all the culinary magic happens on the uni-burner, the waffle iron and the blender.

JD and his (and mine, as of late) very good friend, Alexis.

Justin and his....uhhh...mission president? And the...Mrs?  Are they even older than JD? Good lord, they're making them younger and younger all the time.

JD is happy to finally arrive at the mission home.

And now it's on.  All business.

JD at the Monterrey Temple.

This is Juan and Paloma--the young couple that Justin helped so much in their happy wedding plans, etc. Well, one of them looks happy, anyway. 

The wedding of Juan and Paloma.

Justin's latest baptism.

Holy sunburn Batman.  I've been this kid's dad for 20 years and I had no idea he could turn this color. Yikes!This is the 6 month "Burning of the tie" ceremony.  Missionaries are always coming up with stuff to burn to mark the time.

JD and a group of assistant tracters.

JD and Alexis, horsing around.

Getting ready for chow.

Justin and an investigator--Paloma, I think.

Justin's boss/YM Pres/good friend Aaron Peterson at the airport before flying to Mexico, eating one last American meal.

JD and his first companion and Paloma.

JD doing what he does best--goofing off with the youth and having fun.

More of the same.

Don't have any idea what or where this is, but JD is in it.

Another pic of JD's first baptism.  I think her name was Josefina.

Keeping it safe at the MTC.

Members of JD's ward in Monterrey.

Monterrey Temple

View of Monterrey from the window of the train.

Monterrey, not taken by JD.  In fact, I don't know why it is in here, but enjoy.

More Monterrey from the train.

Acting  studly at the MTC.

Dude, there is no time when the rivalry is not on. Go Utes!

Juan and Paloma with their wedding date, March 8.

Honestly, the stache plays.  Makes him look even more Puerto Rican.

Monterrey from JD's apartment. 

First transfers.

Leia Mais…

A much better couple of weeks for JD

Here is JD's latest letter and he sounds so much better.  I'm sure that it's a combination of a lot of things--not the least of which were the letters that you all sent.  That being the case, I owe you all a heartfelt thank you for helping me to take care of my boy.  Your friendship is priceless and I hope that you will continue to support this youngster for the next 17 months.  Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!  You all deserve the good kharma that is surely coming your way.

Hello Powell Family and Amigos,
How are you all doing? Well I am doing pretty well, now I am already almost to the 7 month mark of the mission already! The mission continues, it is now looking a ton better as far as feeling to love the work and all. We finally had a baptism yesterday with a lady named Maria Guadalupe. She lives here with her 2 daughters and her husband works in Texas. It was a lot of work to see her baptized and a lot of dedication on her part, and boy, did the trials come for her. But also the miracles came for her as well. Well 6 weeks ago, the husband, Edgar, and Maria had their baptism date and were really ready to take this step. But then he received a call from a friend that work opened up in Texas and he left... That was sooo heart breaking because Maria was so discouraged. Well she has been distressed because a lot has been going on with her and the daughters, just very busy. Well we had the baptismal date finally put two weeks ago for yesterday. And she told us that she had a dream of the book of Mormon, that she received protection and all. It was very spiritual to hear her stories and all about miracles happening. Well then we received one more miracle, she didn’t want to be baptized without her husband present, she told us this on Thursday. Well we were discouraged because it wouldn`t happen. But the next day we went, and we received a phone call saying that her husband was coming to visit and will be here for the baptism to see her be baptized! We were completely shell shocked! It was so awesome to see her baptized and all! A great experience and photos are coming! Haha Well this week was good. On Thursday, it was 115 degrees! Almost died! hahaha no the thing is that its dry and its super hot but the funny thing is that we don`t sweat a whole ton, it`s just uncomfortable. It`s when it`s humid, it’s horrible! Well I love you all, still haven`t received the package yet, but don`t worry it`s coming. Probably a month longer and I shall have it! Haha I love you all and take care! Be safe and I pray for you all always! Good luck in everything and HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRIANNA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sweet 16 and HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOSH ON FRIDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Already 18! WOW! Don`t get married until I get home! Or better, go on a mission! Hahaha I love you all!

Elder Powell

Leia Mais…