Friday, April 19, 2013

New address for packages and letters

Justin has a new address that you can send packages to.  It's an address in the states so it's safe.  The owner of the address will pick up the packages/letters and transport them into Mexico to the missionaries.  I know he'd love to receive goodies from home.  He only has about 6 or 7 (depending on his latest date) months left in the mission, if you can believe that. If you haven't, he'd love to hear from you. Thanks to all of you for the love and support for my son. I'm more grateful than I can tell you.

EG Forewarding/ Leonel Andrade, 
Elder Justin Powell
2000 Jackson
Laredo, TX 78041

Leia Mais…

15 April 2013

OK, I know that I completely suck at keeping this blog up to date.  I tell myself that I’m going to do it and then I get busy with work and now baseball and before I know it, another week has gone by. I’m sorry.  I’m sorry because I want to make sure that you are all kept up to date on Justin and his mission and his growth and his activities.
I’ve updated the blog with all of the letters that Justin has sent so I hope that you’ll go back and read.  It’s worth it—he has grown so much and turned into such a kind and patient man. I’m so proud of him as I’m sure you are as well.
Justin is in Nuevo Laredo now.  It’s an incredibly dangerous place…if you believe the news and the information that I found on Google. I’m not happy about it but I can tell that he loves it and that is what counts.
Thank you for your continued support for Justin. I am so grateful.

Hola Familia y Amigos,
How are you all doing? I am doing fantastic. Transfers came in and I AM STAYING!!!! JSo I am happy for that. How have you all been? What is new? How is the spring weather? It is hot and humid here! But I am already Mexican, so I am quite used to it. I am pretty burnt though, so we will see what’s up when I get home about maybe my dark skin falling off or what... haha.
Well this week was Alejandro´s baptism and it was a success! We had a great service for him! He is this 12 year old that has been going to church with his uncle for a long while. And so he is the very first in all his nuclear family to be converted to the church. Pretty cool stuff, because he is very brave and intelligent. I really did think that I was teaching Jack for awhile because he is just like Jack! Pretty shy intelligent Young guy. But it was very cool because at the baptismal service, his whole family came to his service and supported him, even though they don’t agree yet, but they loved the baptismal service. Little by little we will be working with the family.
Alejandro's Baptism

This week we went to a little town called Anahuac, where there are two missionaries working there in a branch. In the branch there is only like an attendance of 10 members and it’s very hard because the missionaries are starting with very little. Building a branch into a Ward is pretty hard. But Elder Berríos and I went to do work in their área, and we had some mad success over there with them. Seriously cool day because we talked with EVERYBODY about the gospel. It was pretty entertaining and they had more success after that day and now they are really kicking some butt over there. I love being a Zone Leader because I like to motivate and animate, and it makes me feel a lot happier when I see the missionaries get pumped and work hard. I love this work!
Nuevo Laredo Zone

Hmmm… Pretty calm week, not a whole lot going on. Last night I was cooking hot dogs on the stove, and the stove is right next to the porch door. I opened the door and I see this cutest little kitten outside, and then I saw two more. Haha and then I gave them a little bit of food, but that was the worst idea because then they were meowing and scratching the door for a long time afterward. Haha funny moment.
Oh and President Walker is now an Area Seventy!!!! That is awesome and I am sooo pumped for him!!!!
Well I love you all and take care, have a great week!
Elder Justin Powell

Leia Mais…

1 April 2013 Happy Easter

Hello Family and Friends,
Happy EASTER!!! This Easter was a good day. We had a pretty crazy week this past week with all the appointments. It was pretty good though. On Tuesday was a super cool day of work! We had sooo much success that day and we found so many people that were soo prepared and it was fantastic! It was very surprising because everyone was actually here and not on vacation. This past week was semana santa (holy week), and it usually (like last year) is the time when everyone goes on vacation. But nope a lot of people were in their homes. So we took advantage that it was Easter and so we taught them a lot.
We also had our interviews with the President. We hopped on a bus to Monterrey on friday morning. We went and had a very productive interview with the president. In my interview, he asked me to share my testimony about Jesus Christ and so I did and wow I felt very special in those moments. The spirit was very strong and I definitely felt a love very strong for my savior Jesus Christ.
I am very glad that I decided to go on a mission because I do get the opportunity to represent Jesus Christ. I do have this opportunity as well to change myself and have a better, more fortified life. Before the mission, I am not going to lie, I didnt feel tooo sure on going on a mission still. I didnt really believe too deeply in the religion because I never really read the book of mormon or knew much. But now actually living the gospel and actually changing, I feel happier and I feel a lot more confident as a make my move towards the future with a career and a family. So I am super thankful to have had this opportunity to be here on the mission and to represent Jesus Christ.
Remember in this season the real reason of Easter. Remember what Jesus Christ has done for you! Remember that everyone has the opportunity to have life after this one through Jesus. And believe in him because he will make your life a lot better.
And for those that do not believe him, be like him then. And then you will believe. If you dont believe, its because you havent been like him to see the blessings God gives to those that follow Jesus. So remember in this time period to serve, love and follow Christ so that God may bless.
Super good spiritual week this week and I am hoping for more. I hope you all are being blessed, and I hope you all had an amazing Easter. I love you all and thank you for all your support. Take care,
Elder Justin Powell

Leia Mais…

25 March 2013

Hello how are you all doing? I am doing just fine. Just here in the beautiful city of Nuevo Laredo. It is now a good place to live.
Well I have been doing stellar in this week, the area as well. Everything is going smooth. This past week we had a lot of work to do, some interchanges and stuff. Right now there are 4 of us living in the house and we did an interchange for a day with them. Pretty cool day, I worked with Elder Parra (Great Friend), It was a good day. We walked quite a bit, and we taught this family where the husband is a member but the wife is not. She is a hard core Christian.  We talked about the restoration and it was a great lesson. She was kind of rejecting the lesson, but then she accepted it at the end and accepted a baptismal date. Good lesson.
OHH last week was Silvia´s baptism and it was magical. It was a great service and a spiritual moment. She was soo prepared and ready to take that step in her life. She is an awesome convert.
We are teaching this family, it is a part member family as well. The man that is preparing to be baptized for this week is named Macario. He is an awesome guy!! He is really wanting to be baptized. He really wants to take this step in his life. They just need to be married and then he can take that step to being baptized. 
Umm, ohh on Wednesday I saw the United States land for the first time in 15 months!!!!! Hahaha When I was on interchanges, Elder Parra and I realized that the Rio Grande River was 3 blocks away from us and we went and overlooked the city of Laredo Texas! Beautiful McDonalds and Walmart! Hahaha it was a funny moment.
Well this next week is booked. Interviews with President and all. Should be fun. 
Thanks for everything family and Friends! I love you all very much and have a great day! Enjoy your spring weather and we will see you soon
Elder Justin Powell 

Leia Mais…

4/11 March 2013 Double Letter and transfer to Nuevo Laredo

In this letter, Justin starts out pretty disappointed about getting transferred again.  He is happy in Monterrey but  is being sent back to the border again.  In the second part, the next week, you can tell that he is much happier and is very happy about his new companion.  He is adapting and showing maturity.  I’m freaked out because he is back at the border in a dangerous part of Mexico but I’m trying to trust…again. Seems to be the theme of Dad’s experience with this mission.
Hello Everyone,
Well I am getting transferred once again... It is because of the mission splitting and now there were transfers in almost every part of the mission. Very weird, but that is how it is to prepare for the mission dividing. Well everything is good, just kind of frustrated about the sudden surprising transfer but its whatever.
I am now going to Nuevo Laredo to open the zone. It was a district that has now been changed to be a zone. And they want me to go train the DL over there to be a ZL. Should be interesting, but I am sort of excited. Just kind of sick of already having 6 areas in the mission and the most time spent in one is 4 months. Haha. I am guessing its training for something in the future. Who knows?
This past Saturday was wonderful! It was Alonso and Adriana´s baptism. It was a part member family that we were teaching. It was very spiritual and it was sooo neat to see how they came to the point of being baptized. Alonso asked that I did the ordinance, and without a problem I did it and it was super awesome. He is the father of this family Cabello Rojas. I also gave the confirmation and it was a very spiritual moment. I am very excited to be in contact with them after the mission. 
March 11, 2013- I am doing pretty good, just here in Nuevo Laredo. It´s right next to the Texas border, pretty much connected to Laredo, Texas. Pretty good place, it’s like Rio Bravo. A lot of good about it. One thing that is very good about this area is that the members are very good people. Very humble and willing to help out with the work. As well as very kind people. I was a little scared at the very beginning, but now I am getting used to everything. A lot of good things happening. I am in the ward Mirador. It’s pretty much in the downtown area, something super cool that we have here is a Papa Johns!!! Oh we had some this past week and it was sooo good! I miss pizza from the states! Haha.
Well this past week we had a lot of work, we are teaching this sister named Silvia, who is going to be baptized this coming Friday. She is this very nice lady who wants to be very close to Christ. She wants more peace in her life. She is progressing very well. 
This week we are going to Monterrey on Tuesday. Should be fun returning to my beloved city. Haha But we are going there for leadership counsel. It will be very interesting what will take place. 
OHH my new comp is Elder Berrios from Corpus Christi, TX. Super smart, good guy. Very good worker, and we get along just fine. 
Well off to a busy day once again, I love you all and I miss you all a lot. See you soon.

Elder Justin Powell

Leia Mais…

Thursday, April 18, 2013

25 February 2013

Justin finds out that his mission is splitting, gets a temporary puppy and continues to grow and develop into such a wonderful man.  I can’t tell you how proud I am of this son of mine.
Hello Family and Friends,
How are all of you doing? I am doing pretty well. Just another week, super fast but good week. 
Well I will get to the news! We have a new mission president this July, and the mission is going to be divided into 2 missions! The missions Monterrey East and Mission Reynosa! So pretty much split in half! So I can say that I have been in the 2 missions! Haha and also, the president in Monterrey East is an NBA Legend, LARRY BIRD!!!! Hahaha (I don’t think it’s the real Larry Bird, but that´s the new mission president´s name. So I am pretty excited for that, should be very cool! And there are going to be a load of missionaries now! Now in every ward it is expected to have at least 4 missionaries in every ward. That is sooo crazy!!! Who knows which mission I will go, but when the missions split, I will only have 3 transfers left... So I will only have a little bit of time with the new mission. 
Well we are teaching this family, Cabello Rojas, and they are super cool! It is this family that my companion was teaching before I arrived. We started teaching them more and more, they actually came to church, and now they are coming to church every Sunday! They are going to be baptized this coming Saturday. Alonso (head of the family), said the prayer in class on Sunday, and he was super active in the class, talking and sharing his points of view. It is very neat to see the changes in people when they come to the church and to see them a month later, totally transformed. That’s why I love this work, is because of how many people change to become better. 
Familia Cabello Rojas with Justin and Elder Larsen

Well funny thing that happened this week. We were contacting a reference that we had. Just sitting there waiting at the door, and this dog comes over. Just this little puppy that came over and it was super cute, we petted her and then we left. And then a block later, the puppy was following us. And it followed us the whole day! All the way to our home, it waited for us outside of houses and everything! So it wouldn´t leave, so we made a bed and gave her some food and water, and she stayed the night. The next day, the same thing! But this time it was right by our side the whole time, not behind us. So then we had to walk through this large market to get to an appointment, and she totally got lost. Poor girl, but oh well. Hopefully she has a good home. 
Justin's temporary canine companion

Well on to another week, we are eating Pizza Hut today!! Gotta love Mexican pizza, I love you all soooo much and thanks for all your support. See you all later!

Elder Justin Powell

Leia Mais…

18 February 2013 Zone Conference

During Zone Conference, Justin had the opportunity to come up with and present a training session.  He has become such a more confident and generous man and I’m so proud of him.

Hello Family and Friends,
How are you all doing? I am doing pretty good! What a super fast week that went by! Seriously, it feels like just a little bit ago that I was in front of the computer screen. But a very good, productive week. So this week we had a zone training on Monday. My very first time taking part in training a zone, it was pretty fun. We have a pretty big zone; there are 12 Elders and 5 Sisters. There is Elder Larsen and I, Elder Maxwell, Elder Guillermo, Elder Roberts, Elder Chavez, Elder Tenorio, Elder Ramirez, Elder Fawcett, Elder Sandoval, Elder Sorenson, Elder Antonio, Hermana Molina, Hermana Flores, Hermana Hinojasa, Hermana Sandoval and Hermana Arnaud. Pretty big zone right and pretty diverse! It’s a great zone, really fun and we all have a great desire to be here in the mission serving hard. So we had to give a training about how to make better goals, and to make them very specific. So it was something that I had fun teaching. 
Then, we had a zone conference with our zone and the Moderna zone. My comp and I were chosen to give the training for the conference, and President was going to be present. Oh I was super nervous! Haha. But I think I did well, according to President´s comments. We had to give a training on how to help people overcome their doubts, something that I love about this work! I am not a big fan of just teaching lessons, just to get a lesson. But I love teaching for the need of the investigator. I want to make sure that they understand and that they are ready to progress more. It was a great topic, and once again, I was thankful to be giving that training topic. My companion and I came up with an idea for a demonstration, to get box and stringed up candies to a line. We put the candies in the box and filled the box with dirt. One candy was poking out looking like there was a candy just lying on dirt. So we had a volunteer come up, give it a shot, and he was surprised because there was more than met the eye. Lastly, he pulled until he uncovered the biggest prize at the end of the string at the bottom of the dirt. It took a lot of effort but he was able to get the prize. So investigators/people are like that most times right? They look alright, or look interested. But the most important and the objective is how are they really feeling inside. So to uncover what´s inside will take effort, but it would be asking good questions and really listening. And asking questions in a loving/interested way. After that, than teach what applies to that person to kind of melt away that doubt or problem that the person has. Well super interesting was the zone conference. President also gave a training on diligence. It was great! He was urging to work our hardest in everything that we do in this life. It’s a great attribute to have. 
Well it was a good fast busy week. I think this week will be the same; it’s a bit tricky being a zone leader because you are always busy. I don’t want to even imagine how the life of an assistant is like. So stressful it seems like. 
Well I love you and I miss you all! See you all very soon! 
Elder Justin Powell

Leia Mais…

11 February 2013

Hello Everyone,
How are you doing? I am doing pretty well. Just a little tired. I have to really get accustomed to this whole walking thing now... haha. But everything is doing great. Now it’s getting super hot and here comes hot weather. I think it’s the opposite of Utah because right now it’s like 90 and I bet over there it’s like 10 degrees.
Well things have been going swell with the work. We have some great investigators and we have a ton of work to do now. This past week we had a leadership counsel with the President. All the ZLs and the Assistants have to meet with the President every transfer cycle to discuss issues and hot topics. This last week we discussed a lot about how to put better goals. I learned a ton! Goals are huge acts of faith not knowing what’s going to happen and if we will be able to accomplish them. But they are so necessary in everything we do in this life. It is such a necessity to put goals and to put smaller goals, and to put even smaller goals to accomplish anything in this life. And so we have been trying to apply that very same principle here in the mission and I have seen a huge increase in our work. It was a total success and it definitely helps to be able to set goals in everything in life. And the other part that we learned is that we need to actually COMPLETE the goals. At lunch, I had the privilege to talk with President because he sat by us. He is a super cool guy, he told us many stories, many mission stories from Tennessee, and there was a lot of laughter in the conversation. Something that shocked me is that he saw my picture with me and my afro on my Facebook... Oh how embarrassing. But he laughed and it was super cool talking to him. I will definitely miss him when he goes this July. I will definitely have to keep in touch with him.
Hmm... Today as a zone we are going to play some volleyball. I am not a big fan, but I have to remember that now there are sisters in the zone and we have to do things like that sometimes and not play pure basketball.
Oh some news... this transfer is only 5 weeks long and by July there should be 350 missionaries here, right now we have 160 missionaries. A little over double the mission is going to arrive here. Crazy huh? But that means some bittersweet news for me; I now go home the 13th of November and not the 20th of November. I go home a week early. Well I am excited, but also sad because I have become Mexican and I love it here. It’s a great place and I LOVE the people here. Great culture, great food, you’ll have to definitely come in order to see for yourself. I have soooo many friends here and it will be hard to leave them behind. But I will for sure visit again! 
Well I think that it for this week, should be a good week this coming week. I love you all and I wish you all the best. Take care and God Bless. 
Elder Justin Powell

Leia Mais…

4 February 2013

Justin is back in Monterrey and is Zone Leader. He sounds very, very happy!

Hello Family and Friends,
How are you all doing? I am doing great, just here in Apodaca with a ton of work! I am with Elder Larsen, he is super cool and he is from Alpine, Utah. He is my first companion that is taller than me. It feels so weird now being the short guy. But when we are walking around, we are pretty much two towers now... haha. Elder Larsen is super funny and a good worker. We are getting along super great together.
Apodaca is a cool zone, it’s a lot of work being a zone leader, but it’s a little less than being a district leader. We just have to deal with a huge zone of a lot of missionaries and sisters with their problems and all. Like this last week, a pair of sisters opened an area (brand new to an area), and they haven’t had water or power for the whole week! What a mess that was but this Tuesday, all should be fixed. We`ve got a big zone to cover, but a lot of animated missionaries. Super excited to work here!
We have a super nice church building here; I believe it’s as nice as the church building next to the temple. It’s a big stake center! And get this, to my surprise, there is a wood basketball court inside!!! I am soooo excited to play again! There are no wood courts in Mexico! The only one in Monterrey! Haha
We`ve got a lot of investigators here in the area, a lot of people wanting to listen and learn about the gospel. It’s such a small area, but there are a lot of people here. So I am super happy to be here. Still lost in my area because it’s a maze, but I will get to know it well pretty soon. Super excited to be here and to keep working hard. 9 Months to go, but with a lot of work to do. 
Well I love you all and take care! Write me lots, and keep sending to the Harlingen, Texas Address! 
Elder Justin Powell 

Leia Mais…