Monday, July 22, 2013

July 22, 2013--Lessons learned from birthday cake

Hello Family and Friends,
Well sadly I am getting transferred again, and I think for the final time. I feel sad every time I get transferred because I love everyone that I work with; it’s sad to say goodbye. Ugh... But I have a special assignment, according to the president, so I will go and do. I am pretty excited too, so it will be fun. According to the assistants, we were having too mad of success and so they want us to split and spread our work habits to other places. It was kind of strange because when a companionship is working super well together, they usually stay together, but now surprise. Haha! But it will be good. Now it’s my 7th area (nobody has 7 areas in their mission) Haha! The longest time I have stayed in an area is 4 months... haha. But I love every one of my areas and I miss them. So now I have gotten to know all the zones in the mission Haha! But here´s to my next and hopefully last area.
This week was my birthday and yes I did get my face shoved in cake... it was unexpected. My companion snuck up on me and...Yep--in my mouth, nose, eyes.
Haha! It was pretty funny and we got 4 cakes. Dang Facebook, everyone sees when it is somebody´s birthday and a lot of the members knew about my b-day and surprised me with cake. So we arrived to the appointments and cake... But it’s all good, nothing like a good headache but I am soo grateful to be surrounded by very kind genuine members of this church here in Mexico that really know how to follow Christ. They are all exemplar to me. I will miss the members and people of Nuevo Laredo; I will for sure come to visit one day.
Speaking about the cake, we had a cool moment. Well it kind of hit me on my birthday. As members we receive, so many blessings. But we also we receive more so that we can give to those that don’t have anything. Well after I had my face shoved in the cake with this family, we left and I had half of this huge cake and I kept thinking ``how am I going to eat all this along with the other cakes?´´ Well at the instance that I thought that, I heard this little frail voice ``would you give me a small piece please?´´  This lady that was in front of this abandoned house, with ragged clothes, and who probably had a hard life, asked for a piece of cake. Well I said yeah and she went inside, brought a plate and this old fork, and while she was getting the stuff, I sat there thinking ``wow well here is what I can do with the blessing that I received in abundance, and give to another that has barely anything; it would make her week probably.´´ Well she brought the stuff and cut half of that cake and served up, I felt awesome and it was a lesson for me. I really did comprehend the scripture in Alma 37:6: Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise. So really it was something super small for me to give that piece of cake to that lady, but for that lady it made her week probably, because she smiled and was happy and I was super thrilled for her. But my point is that it was something very tiny for me to do, and for her it was gigantic. At home I had more cake and it was all fine we were both happy and it was a spiritual moment for us two. So what do we lose to give a little? Nothing. That was a crucial moment for me and these 2 years I give to the mission is really nothing for me in losses, but I come out better and people as well. Because God has given me so much, enough that I have much to give to the people. Every faithful member is in the same situation and I invite all to give a little and make somebody’s day, week, year, or even life. It will make you happy and make the other person happy. Because God has blessed us enough to be blessed and to bless others. Crazy learning lesson for me, I love the mission because every day there is a lesson of life. It’s awesome; everyone able should go on the mish. 
Well I´ve got packing to do, here´s to my (hopefully last) new area. 
I love you all,
Elder Justin Powell

My address is:
PO BOX #71
Los Indios, TX 78567-0071 

Leia Mais…

July 15, 2013

Hello Family and Friends,
Well this week was super crazy and with a lot of stress. There was sooo much to do and I am glad that we have the chance to have a P-day where it’s like a weekly mini vacation for everything that goes on in the mission. But it was a good week!
On Tuesday I went to work in this other area with another missionary, Elder Camas. He and I went and walked a ton!!!! It was kind of funny how that day went because literally nobody was home... But in the evening we went to this Part Member Family that is less actives. They all speak English, but like with a Texas accent and everything! Haha. Well one of the daughters is not a member. And she doesn’t understand Spanish, so it was my official first time teaching in English. Oh my English was horrendous but I felt super good about speaking in English. It was pretty entertaining and fun.
Last Monday night we received a phone call about a zone conference on Friday; that the President is going to come and meet us and have a meeting with us. Well we had to prepare pretty much all of it, so all week we were running around doing things, and the zone conference turned out pretty good. They are very nice people, President Morales and Sister Morales. Very powerful people that are very intelligent. They gave us a message about how we are the pioneers of this mission and to us that we are the first missionaries in Nuevo Laredo in the new mission and it’s up to us to set the tone of this zone. Well I love that pressure and we are working a ton to keep up the work. 
He also talked about how we should always be willing to change up the things. That we should be progressive and not always doing the same things over and over again.
Well we put that into practice and we got some really cool results. Right after the zone conference we were thrown a curveball because we had an appointment with this investigator, that is female, with her sister, in the church. They arrived without a male... We cannot be alone with just a lady; it's a pretty serious rule in the mission. So we didn’t know what to do... But then I saw some kids playing soccer close by and we went to talk them. We invited one of them to come over and he hesitated a bit but he said that he would be at the church in the minute. Well we went back and he didn’t come, but then we went to get the kid that was sitting out resting from the game, and then he said ok, called one of his friends and then all of the kids playing were like ``lets take a break´´ and they all came to listen. We had this huge lesson in the chapel section of the church and it was pretty cool how all these teens just came over, and we were able to have this lesson with the investigator. It was pretty cool and I saw the blessing in always thinking extra ordinary. It’s the best and it brings results. I was blown away on how that worked. And this investigator, Laura, accepted to be baptized on the 18th, hahaha. She didn’t want to be baptized on the weekend and chose Thursday, and I said it’s my birthday and she was like well that would be cool. Hahaha So second year birthday should be a grand day again, I hope. Ugh 21 years.... I’m an adult pretty much... haha Well its fine.
Tomorrow I will have 20 months on the mission... I am amazed on how fast the time flies by. But here’s to 4 more months!!! :)
I love you all and have a great summer!
Elder Justin Powell

Leia Mais…

Friday, July 12, 2013

July 8, 2013 Justin sounds amazingly happy!

Hello Everybody!!! Well this past week was pretty good and very crazy with a lot to do!!!! We were running all around Nuevo Laredo all week for teaching, meetings, interviews and just a bunch of stuff. These are very good times. Well first news is that we managed to teach Itzel everything in a week and she is now indeed the fastest baptizing convert I have ever taught. She is a great person and her family is now super pumped to get taught as well! But ahhh this week was sooo fast and with a lot to do to prepare Itzel´s baptism!

Justin baptizes Itzel
Elder Marecos, Itzel and Justin at her baptism
Seriously there was no time to even think of what day it was... haha. But yesterday was an awesome experience and it was a great success. She has a bunch of friends already in the ward and it makes me feel very happy when there is someone new, that everyone is so friendly and wants to get to know the new person. Mosiah got baptized as well and he is super happy because his dad didn’t allow him to until Elder Marecos and I went to that house 2 weeks ago with guns a blazing ready to spiritually make the dad let his son Mosiah get baptized because one, he has been going to church forever, and two there is never a non member named Mosiah. Every Mosiah is a member!! Haha
On Saturday it was my companion’s b-day and Itzel gave him a cake to take to the house and at night Elder Marecos and I sang happy b-day. It was pretty funny because we had no candles or anything, just matches. So I put a bunch on the cake and they were like all connected, and Elder Marecos was lighting them and it was such a big flame on top of this cake. And then after he had to bite a piece of the edge of the cake. Here in Mexico it’s a tradition to bite the cake and usually, if you´re smooth, you can push the guys face in the cake. Well I was taking video with my camera and Elder Mareco´s camera, then I set my camera down when Elder Marecos went in for the bite, and he didn’t notice, and with all pleasure I pushed his face in the cake. YES! That’s 2 comps that I have shoved cake in their faces. :)
Elder Marecos and his birthday cake--pre-face plant
Hmmm... What else? We are trying to get this 18 year old Raul baptized as well because he knows it’s true and at Itzel´s baptism yesterday, he was super happy. But he is just scared... We are going to be patient and loving so that he feels that it is a pact between him and God and not in-between us and him. He is such a cool kid, he is a drummer and he loves music. He says that he likes Metallica... haha. A lot of people here really like the music from the states, but like oldies like ACDC, Guns n Roses, Metallica, and U2, oh and they LOVE the Beatles here. So many shirts and stickers with these bands. Sometimes it’s a struggle to forget the music when you are completely surrounded by it!! But I am managing it. But yeah Raul is awesome!
News from the mission, my mission will not finish until November 27th. The Reynosa mission has been extended 2 weeks. I am happy, I know you all aren’t (well at least I hope you all miss me ;) hahaha), but I’m in God´s business and not in mine. But I am pumped, 2 more weeks of service. 
Love the mission, love you all and I miss you all! Serve your fellow man, make new friends and invite them to Christ! It’s fun to do that because the gospel really converts everyone to better than what they are. Happy July as well, it’s the best month ever!!! haha :)
Elder Justin Powell

Leia Mais…

July 1, 2013

Hello Family and Friends,
How have you all been doing? I have been doing pretty well. This past week was the hottest week ever! Haha it was like 110+ degrees. It was super hot, but it was a great week. We had a ton of success and we found a lot of really good people that want to be a part of the church and receive the blessings. It’s a joy to see that people want to listen and it has been very cool to see that happening. Something super cool happened this past week with one of our investigators.
A couple of weeks ago the missionaries gave us this referral from a contact on the bus. This 19 year old young adult named Itzel talked to Elder Gunnel while the missionaries were on the bus to an appointment. While on the bus, she asked about what the missionaries do and what’s our church. She was interested and all. So the Elders gave us the referral and we went to visit Itzel this past Saturday. When we got there she invited us in, the parents were in the back room because they didn’t want to listen and they are also Pentecostal Christians so even less. Well we chatted to Itzel in her living room and talked about what we teach but we didn’t teach anything really, just kind of talked about how she can receive blessings from listening to our messages. She then started asking many questions about the mission and stuff, and she asked ``could I do what you guys do?" I couldn´t believe what I was hearing!! Well we invited her to church and all, she said yeah and we said that we would pass with a brother to give a ride. So we then asked everyone and no one could of given us a ride!!! So in the morning we hopped on the bus and went to the neighborhood where Itzel lives. While waiting for the bus we call this young guy, Aaron, who is preparing to go on the mission, to accompany us with Itzel since we can’t just be alone with her. So he said he would be waiting at the gas station close to Itzel´s house. On arrival to the gas station, Aaron wasn’t there yet. So we waited and no show still. We were kind of panicking because Itzel was waiting and there was 20 minutes left to get to church. So we said a prayer, my companion and I, and I asked that everything will go well and that we can get Itzel to church. As I lifted my head to finish the prayer, a guy in a shirt and tie hops off a passing bus. It was Aaron!!!! I was seriously shocked because the prayer was like instantly answered. But we still didn’t have a ride... So we are walking towards Itzel´s house and 30 seconds after finishing the prayer walking, sister Vargas passes in her car saying that she apparently ``forgot something in her house´´ and she needed to go home. So she says that she could give a ride. Well we were completely shocked! God just answered our prayer in less than 1 minute. Well we went to Itzel´s house and she was ready and happy. We went to church, Itzel absolutely loved it!!!! She said that she wanted to go to the temple trip on July 20th!!! :O. And a bunch of young sisters in the same age group as her were talking to her and she felt very good in the church. She told a sister that she wanted to get baptized and that she felt the spirit very strongly. Well we hadn’t taught her anything yet and she was like already super pumped to go to the temple!
Well we went to her house later in the evening and getting there, she was crying and said that her mom was arguing with her and stuff about doctrine and we were like NOOOO!!! But she let us in and there were the parents sitting down and we kind of calmed the situation down and started the lesson. The mom shared with us something very spiritual. A couple weeks ago the mom said a prayer asking that her daughter could find the path of God in her life. In those times it was like the daughter was kind of being rebellious. The next day the daughter had come home telling her mom that she met the missionaries on the bus and that we were to come soon to teach her. Well all of the stuff that I said passed by and the mom said in those moments that her daughter didn’t want to be a part of religion or baptize herself in the Pentecostal church, but 2 days just getting to know us and that we never taught anything, Itzel wanted to get baptized!! After that lesson my comp and I were just like flipping out about all that happened yesterday and how God really does work super hard in the mission work. The spirit really does touch people and it amazes me how real this all is. Like I´ve said in the past, I came on the mission without a pure testimony that I would say that I believed in everything of the church. But everything that has happened in these past couple weeks has been amazing me and I know that God lives and he is very active in this work. It’s a complete miracle and we had no part in anything of Itzel and her desire to follow Christ. Now she is preparing to be baptized this Sunday. I have never known somebody that got baptized in 8 days just freshly getting to know the church. Craziness!
Well that was a long story I know but it was very impressive to me and I hope that it helps you all out in your testimonies. I know that prayers are answered and when we are obedient, then miracles happen. If everything was easy, like for us getting a ride from member easily yesterday, then we wouldn’t be learning because in order to rise there needs to be a fall. When we were sooo out of ideas and with a bunch of worry yesterday, we turned to God and stayed obedient, and God gave us a miracle with Itzel. Say your prayers, be obedient in God´s work (Jacob 5:72), and God will bless with miracles. That is my advice to you in these times of trouble, Dad. I know that God will help you, but turn to God first and put him in first place, and you will see the miracles. Pray with faith, Read your scrips, go to church and get active, and you will see the miracles. I can promise you that.
Love this work, here’s to July! I can’t believe that I am old (21 on July 18th). Wow well time flies. I love you all! I will send the address next week for those who want to send cards or anything.
Love,

Elder Justin Powell

Leia Mais…

June 27, 2013 Justin gets called on to speak to his zone

Hello Family and Friends,
Elder Powell reporting live from hot Mexico. It is a blaze but we are working at full speed. And we are seeing all the blessings of God through all the work and struggles.
This past week was a good week; it was pretty interesting with everything that’s happened. On Wednesday we had a conference with President Walker and his wife. It was all the missionaries in the city and our zone in Nuevo Laredo. It was pretty cool because we got to say goodbye to all the missionaries in the city because the mission is dividing into 2 missions. There were like 110 missionaries present. I got to see all the friends that I have created here in the mission. I saw former companions and a lot of my brothers that I will miss completely. It’s sad that we are dividing, but ``that’s just the way it is". Haha Before the conference started, we had to prepare talks and the President was going to select 3 of us to give a talk. Well Elder Vasquez was directing the conference and called who was going to give talks after we started, he said ``Hermana Lopez, and then Elder Powell, and then Elder McStraw. My stomach jumped to my throat pretty much... haha! And I looked at the President and he looked at me with these eyes of terror haha he was just joking around but it was a nervous moment for me. But everyone was saying that I did a good job in my talk, so I guess it was alright. And then after we said goodbye to the mission president and sister walker. I included a photo of Pres, sis Walker and I. I am going to miss them like crazy!!! :( But they are going to serve in another part of the world in this amazing work.
On Saturday, it was Moroni and Angel's baptism and it was great. All the youth were there to support. It was awesomeness, and Moroni and Angel were baptized by their dad. Oh it was a great transformation in that family and I am sooo glad that the family is now complete and they are pumped to progress in the gospel.
Justin in Nuevo Laredo

Ramos family baptism

We are teaching various families right now, later I will tell you more about a family that we are teaching that are called the Ruiz family.
And in these past couple of days we have been to the hospital and I have never been to the hospital in my whole mission to give blessings. So this guy Victor is a referral from other Elders here in Nuevo Laredo, but what happened is that his 18 year old daughter got into this accident and almost died on Friday. But we didn’t know anything of that until Friday night when we called him on the phone to put an appointment. When he answered, he sounded distraught and not very good. He was in a big struggle because he barely separated from his wife and his daughter was on her death bed. Well we had a good conversation of prayer on the phone and we said that we will pray for his daughter. When we hung up, I called the other Elders to do a special prayer and we all grouped together in a prayer. The next day in the morning, we called Victor to see when we could pass by the hospital to give a blessing and Victor answered the phone, but relieved and he was actually changed. He said that she recuperated and that she is awake and all. WOW!!! Very powerful moment. We went to the hospital and gave the blessing, the daughter looked normal and Victor was happy. Testimony grower for me. :)
And today we went to the hospital to give blessings to a new baby and the mom. The baby was born with water in his lungs and so we went to the hospital. When we get there we were there and went to the floor where the baby was. Apparently no one has seen the baby because once out of the womb, it went straight to the ICU. The hospital didn’t permit anyone to walk in, but the sister that was with us (grandma to the baby) said that there was a miracle in the hospital because they allowed only us to enter and not even the mom yet. But my companion went in because I have a sore throat and didn’t want to get the baby sick. Yes we broke a rule because I wasn't with my companion, but I really couldn't. I know God will forgive us because it wasn’t our intention. Haha. But then we gave a blessing to the mom and left the hospital. The hospital is right next to the border and right next to the bridge to the states. I got a picture of the USA :) haha but very cool moment this morning with that adventure.
Yesterday was a super cool training meeting with the apostles and prophet about member-missionary work. I know that if the whole church works together in this great work, we will have a ton of success and happiness in our lives. It is a joy to help many come unto Christ and it’s the purpose of this life, to serve one another and love God first. This life isn’t just about us, but it’s about God's children. If we would all serve each other, this world would be so much better than how it is right now. So much better! So do something for someone today, serve your fellow man because you will be serving God. I invite you all to serve at least one person a day everyday this week and to tell me how that experience went. I would love to hear about those experiences. It may seem scary at first, but it is so much better after the service and you do feel so satisfied.
Justin says farewell to President and Sister Walker
I love this work and I love you all!

Elder Justin Powell

Leia Mais…

June 17, 2013 One of my very favorite letters from Justin

Hello Family and Friends,
¡Saludos de Mexico! How are you all doing? I am doing really well. This past week was a great past week! It was very good and I loved it very much. We had a lot of success with a lot of lessons given, a lot of investigators in church and it’s such a blessing that many want to change their lives and come to Christ. Thank you so much for your prayers because they are for sure being answered.
The weather here is sooooo bipolar!!! It was super hot earlier this past week, then on Thursday it got super humid and cloudy, and then Friday super rainy and cool. And now we are at 40 Celsius (like 100+). I can never get a grip on this weather but gotta keep working through the thick and thin (I believe that’s the phrase).
Baptism of Carolina
We had the baptism of Carolina.
She is Yolanda´s daughter and she was sooo excited to get baptized. She is the pioneer in her family because the rest of the family has other repentance processes and Carolina wanted to get baptized as soon as possible. So then we helped her prepare and on Friday was baptized. It was very neat to see all of her family there supporting her. She is seriously the pioneer in her family (other than her aunt and uncle who are in the ward); she is 9 years old and is such a joy. She is also very, very brave and it made me feel pathetic compared to how brave she is because all of her family were criticizing her for her decision and the only ones that were helping her were her mom, aunt and uncle, and us. Her grandma was seriously with the attitude of disowning her, but she made her decision and I know that she will be blessed. Reminds me of the example of Nephi in the book of Mormon and 1 Nephi 3:7, I learned something from Carolina to be brave and strong with decisions, especially the ones with God because God prepares the path to fulfill what God wants with us.
Carolina's Baptism


This past week was interesting because we got to know a new family that has a couple of issues that I can completely relate with. The family is called the Ramos family. 2 weeks ago, we were in church and a dad with his 2 sons arrived to church. We asked who they were and turned out that the dad is a member but taking his kids to church. His kids aren’t members but are preparing to be baptized this coming Saturday by their dad. His kids are named Moroni and Angel and they are 14 and 9 years old. Well come to find out that the kids only visit their dad on the weekends and stay with their mom during the week, as  well as that the mom actually lives in the same neighborhood as us. We went to go visit Moroni and Angel in their mom´s house and come to find out that the mom is a member and the mom and dad divorced. They were very active and everything but the kids was very young when the parents got the divorce. And from time to time went to visit their dad. They never went to church but now the dad decided to take his kids to church. Does this sound anything familiar dad? Well I seriously feel for this family and I definitely can relate to this family because I was in the same exact situation as Moroni. So these last lessons have been helping them to become stronger family/families. What really got my heart was yesterday. We went over to the dad´s house for Angel´s b-day party to teach them and they invited us. The Mom was at the party as well; it was like if the family was back together again. There at the party was only dad, mom and kids. It really touched me because they were all happy and the kids were sooo happy, Angel even said that ``this day is the best day ever because my family is here and the Elders are here on my birthday´´. 
Ramos Family for Angels birthday
When we had to go, the brother offered to give us a ride to our next appointment (he only had 2 hours left with his kids for that weekend visit, but opted to still sacrifice his time to give us a ride), and we began to talk a bit. I never really got to know the brother that well so I took advantage of the opportunity to get to know him. So I asked him about how is his Father´s day and he said that it’s all right but he hates this day (wow I thought I was talking to my dad that’s Mexican haha). And began breaking down and I really felt for the guy. He is a great father and trying to do everything possible for his kids, he said that he doesn’t really understand God for punishing him with not being able to be with his kids all the time. I really was heart wrenched because this very same situation happened to me but just in a different viewpoint. But what I told him is that he is a great father and that his kids love him to death. I also said that this life is full of trial, but there are blessings after every trial and life, if we do what’s right, always ends up in happiness. I started sharing about my own personal experience with divorce and broken families, and I am truly grateful for my life because I can help people like Brother Victor and his family. I am truly blessed because my dad remarried and has a beautiful family. I have a great step mom that cares for me and loves me; she always asks about if I am safe because she really cares. I have a very intelligent brother, Jack, that is very humble and kind, and is a great athlete as well, a great example for me. I also have a great brother, Noah, that is funny and always caring, he is a delight and really a light in my life. I also have my sister, Kate who is an absolute sweetheart and she has been big joy and is always positive and happy, if it weren’t for her, life would be depressing for me for a lot that has happened because she has really picked me up with her happiness in depressing times. If it weren’t for the divorce, they wouldn’t be in my life. And in my own family that has been here since I was little, in my dad, mom, Josh and Bri; they are all a great blessing because of making a broken family become 2 functioning families. My dad is a great example to me and I really look up to him and my Mom has taught me many useful things and is very caring as well. Without them I wouldn’t be me now and without Josh and Brianna, well less because they are great blessings to me as well. And we all have our problems in our families, but we have really made a separation in our family become a blessing. We all communicate with our parents and everything is at peace. I then shared with him, that if it weren´t for the divorce, I wouldn´t have such great blessings like the ones I have in my family today. I have 5 brothers and sisters and they are all a great blessing to me. I love them very much, I miss them and I am grateful for the hardships I have had in my earlier life to have the blessings that I have today. I challenged him to look for the blessings in your family now and pray to God always because he will guide you. It was a seriously spiritual moment and I am grateful to be here in the mission to help families grow stronger and be more blessed. I love this family to death because we relate.
Remember to love your family members and when times are tough in your family, look for the blessings. Don’t focus on the glass half empty but in the glass half full. God always blesses and we are surrounded by many. Life shouldn’t be always depressing or sad, it’s meant to be happy. Cherish every moment with your family members as well and love them all for who they are.
I love the mission, it’s a great experience and I love you all.
Elder Justin Powell

Leia Mais…

6.10.13 Surprise Visit To The Monterrey Temple

Hellos to everyone,
Well this week was awesome! We went to Monterrey on Tuesday for leadership council with the President on Wednesday. So we left on a bus to take a trip for three hours to Monterrey and got there at night. We spent the night in the mission home and all the other Zone Leaders from the border zones spent the night too. It is soooo weird to see new faces and I never would have thought that I am like one of the oldest in the mission. Ugh where is the time going!!! But the next morning we woke up and got ready for the council, we went to the chapel where we usually have council and to my surprise, the assistants walk in and out like President is not here, he is at the temple waiting for all of us. I was like ``oh my goodness we are going to the temple!!!!
So we took a bus to the temple and it was a blast, I was with all of my buddies, some of my companions from the MTC and others that I have been friends with here in the mission. We took a lot of pictures and I was in heaven because I got to see the beautiful parts of Monterrey.
We got to the temple and we took a bunch of pictures of the temple and of the garden, and it is a beautiful place.
I included a photo so that you can see the temple. We then got greeted by the President and his wife. We then got instruction that we were going to do a session all together. Oh I was soo happy for that too!!! It’s been a long while since last February that I did a session. So we walked in all happy and we did the session. It was seriously such a spiritual moment and it was definitely a huge moment of unity there. It was President Walkers last moment with us in the temple and it was a very uplifting spiritual moment that I cannot really describe. It was a very good moment of the week.
We returned to Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico (my area) on Thursday morning. And as we went back to work, everything changed for my comp and I. We had some very good moments this week, It was a very spiritually uplifting week.
One lesson that I learned this week is the essence of making time for God. While in the temple I thought about after the mission and if I will have time to go to the temple regularly or to even read the scriptures like how I have been the mission. It will be a struggle like how it was before the mission. But one thing that came to my mind is that if we make time for God, God will make time for us and what we need to do. Before the mission I didn't really focus on putting God first like I should have. I worried more of what I wanted. But in the mission, it’s pure dedication to God and what I have been getting from the mission is what I wanted all along because of what I have invested in God and what he has given back to me as a reward. After the mission I want to make time for God in my daily life because I know that he will make time for me in whatever else I need to do or whatever else is best for me. I know this principal applies to everyone else of you because you are all my brothers and sisters of the same God. I invite you all to make a time for God every day, even if it is 5 to 10 minutes, and you will see the blessings. And you will want to make more time for God until you get to the point where God is guiding you down a path of complete happiness and protection. Make time for God, and God will make time count for you.
Well that was a lot in my mind, that's what I received as an answer in the temple. Haha. Wow well go to the temple as well, everyone, when you can to get some crazy good answers!
I love you all and I miss you like crazy! Keep serving everyone and making time count in doing the uplifting things. Read your scriptures and act according to what you learn, thats the most important is the acting.
Love,
Elder Justin Powell

Leia Mais…

Thursday, July 11, 2013

June 3, 2013

Hello family and friends,
How are you all doing? I am doing great! It is officially now getting hot here! And now the work is getting very good. It is sooo bizarre how that works. I’m guessing that God blesses more for our actions and our effort. Yesterday we finally got things rolling super well, we got 8 investigators in the sacrament and it was pretty powerful. Especially for 2 people that were there.
La Zona de Nuevo Laredo
2 months ago we received a referral to visit this lady, we went and she wasn’t there. But her boyfriend was. We talked to him and he was member and he got baptized in another part. He has been inactive for a long time and so it was actually pretty cool to get to know him. He is a great guy named Hilario. So we invited him to church and he went. As well, he then introduced us to his girlfriend and stepson. The girlfriend is named Eugenia (Eugene in English :) and she is the one that gave the referral to other missionaries) and Ramiro is the stepson. So we started teaching them, and they were pretty quiet and kind of closed people. It was a little difficult. And we invited them to church, but they never went. Every weekend from then on, we invited them to church, and they would say yes and then not go. So this past Saturday, we invited them to come and we said that we would go for them Sunday morning. Well they live pretty far and the brother that was going to take us couldn’t, so we couldn’t go for them. So we were there at church just hoping that they would come and not just stay again, it really did feel like the last strike for them if they wouldn’t come. Well the sacrament meeting started and the first hymn started, then the prayer, and I got pretty frustrated. I went to usher the door for the prayer, and as I stood there, I said a quick prayer just for comfort and that for one miracle that the family could have come to church. Well the prayer ended, I open the door to see if anyone entered and right there was Hilario, Eugenia and Ramiro standing there smiling and I smiled so much. Seriously I think I can have a contest with the Joker in Batman for the biggest smile (according to Hilario, Eugenia and Ramiro) haha. Well that was a super cool moment, and I then regained my testimony that the trials in life are to get God´s help. I prayed in my time of trial, and it changed to be 2 changers in my life. One that this family came to church and loved it and they are now becoming happier, and two that God will always be there to help us and guide us only when we look for his help, and when we look for his help is when trials come. God would never just punish us, he just wants to help. But if we are always happy and if everything is perfect, then there is really no purpose or no glory or no hope, there is probably nothing to live for. So it was a cool experience.
As well I had the opportunity to confirm Macario yesterday in the sacrament meeting. He is a great guy and he bore his testimony. Very humble and is a gentleman. He came to church with a white shirt and a tie, and asked if I would teach him to do his tie, well I taught him, but he had the same look on his face watching as I did when you taught me for the first time dad- lost and confused. Haha But he said with time he will learn.
OH YEAH... My new companion is Elder Marecos and he is super cool. He is a funny guy and he is always pumped to work. He´s got a super cool past story and is a great convert to the church. He and I really get an understanding. He is from Paraguay and says that he wants me to take him to the states after the mission because he wants to visit Utah sooo bad! Well I told him that fine, but you gotta give me a tour of Paraguay as well. It was a deal. Haha Paraguay looks like a beautiful place, so I´ve got a numerous list of places to visit after the mish. He also talks a bit of English, he knows some funny sayings. When a person rejects us harshly or something like that, he says with his accent ``the person is going to the hell´´. Hahaha funny stuff and he says ``oh boy´´ all the time. And his accent is something very similar to an Irish accent. Pretty cool and funny. He loves heavy metal music. I like it too. 
Justin and Elder Marecos
We get along great and its fun times over here in Nuevo Laredo, and we have got so much work to do so I am pumped to get the summer rolling and the people converted to the gospel of Christ. 
Well I believe that all for now, but I will send pictures as well, I love you all! Write me k?
Love,

Elder Justin Powell 

Leia Mais…

5.27.13

Hello Everybody,
Well today is going to be a quickie because we have to prepare a mission program thing and we also have transfers with a district meeting at 6. Just a lot of things today so…
This week was good, a lot of good things. We presented this program to all the members in the ward to train the members to work in this missionary work. When we presented it, we got so much approval from the members and it was very pleasing to see that the members were actually so pumped to work. Every Sunday we will be training 5 families in a 5 week span to train them to be missionaries. So we will see what happens and I know that it will have success according to the excitement of the members.
My Comp is now getting transferred to Reynosa... :( It was a great time with him and I learned a ton! Great Elder and we will definitely be hanging out after.
Justin says farewell to Elder Berrios

Now my new comp is called Elder Marecos and we will see what’s up.
I love you all and take care! Be safe and read the BOM! :)
Elder Justin Powell

Leia Mais…

5.25.13 Elder Holland's Visit

Hello Everybody,
How are you all doing? I am doing awesome!
So yesterday was not P-day because we had a conference with Elder Jeffrey R Holland. It was amazingly spiritual and he is awesome. He is one of my favorite speakers and I really felt great listening to his words. He is a delight and he taught us soooo much. Seriously when he left the building, we all were just like in shock and awe. We were given time after he left to actually reflect on what he said and write them down. I want to first share what he talked about and then write what I feel.
He first talked about that we can’t just teach somebody the salvation, but we have to take them there. There are things that we teach, but we need to bring them to the gospel. We need to bring them to the deepest parts of salvation. The layers are:
1. The world- Everyone is of the world, many don’t even have salvation yet because they haven’t been taught anything yet, or are too interested in the world.
2. Ancient Church- People have their churches and don’t want anything with the truth. They have some knowledge and desire, but not a complete desire.
3. The Restoration- People actually know that Joseph Smith was a prophet, enter the church with that knowledge, but are not fully changed to follow Christ. 
4. The Doctrine of Christ- People actually following Christ; they have a desire to follow Christ and to be like him. 
Elder Holland said that what matters the most is to follow Christ! The 4th layer is where we need to be in order to have salvation. He said that in his day as a missionary, the only thing that mattered is to get people to the 3rd layer: the restoration. But now missionary work has now changed and progressed to getting people to the 4th layer which is to follow Christ and be like Christ. That is what matters and that how people will change. 
Now Elder Holland told us that we cannot do one thing to bring people to the 4th layer, if we are not there. We need to be followers of Christ in order to get people to follow Christ. We need to be obedient and be real representatives of Christ. We have to really love Christ and put ourselves in the 4th layer. So he exhorted us be more obedient and really love Christ. It changed me a lot.
I feel like the conference changed my life because if we love Christ, he will give us everything in this life and in the next. And we also need to be disciples and help others become followers of Jesus Christ. I have decided to be as obedient as possible and focused as possible. Here is to my last 6 months of the hardest work I have ever done because I feel like I have now drawn closer to Christ and yesterday I felt the same as I did April 9, 2011. I felt like it was a sacred moment for me and I want to now please the lord more with harder work. Here´s to 6 more months of diligence and harder work till the end.
Well everything is going great, I love this work and now it’s getting super hot, but oh well, there are lives to save and people to teach.
I love you all. Go to Church because it’s to help you all! Keep reading your scriptures and keep up the good work.
Love,
Elder Justin Powell

Leia Mais…

May 6, 2013 Goal Setting

Hola everybody!!!
How is everyone doing? I am doing spectacular... Just enjoying some hot and then all of a sudden cool weather. Seriously the weather here is soo bipolar! But everything has been good.
We went to Monterrey for a meeting with the mission president to talk about all that has been going in the mission. We learned sooo much!!!!! I learned to make better goals and to be a better missionary J. Haha! We first learned of the importance of working with members; it was very helpful for us because we are kind of struggling with having the members help us now. We learned that we need to have the members look for the investigators. Our focus right now is to reactivate members and help them come to church. So we are working with the bishop and getting members to church, and while we do that, it’s ideal that the members are bringing investigators to church. That is the plan, because the members will find better prepared investigators for us if we work in that way. So it’s a really cool idea, in the perfect world… Of course the people aren’t perfect and so we are struggling a Little. But we are going to keep working at it. So it’s in the process.
We also learned of the importance of fulfilling goals and not just having dreams, but making dreams happen. There is a 4 step process. It goes like this:
1)      Vision                   2)   Goals                     3)     Plans                   4)     Accountability
So Vision is like saying that I am going to lose 50 pounds, or just having the dream. It really can be anything that we want. Goals are what we are willing to sacrifice and now putting a pathway down to achieve the dream or vision. Goals can be big goals, like every week I will lose 5 pounds so that in 10 weeks I lose all 50. Now the third step is what EVERYBODY struggles with, is fulfilling the goals and going with the plans. But the truth is if we plan specifically for every day or even every hour, we can actually fulfill our dream. But the last step is super important as well, we all need to be accountable to somebody like in the example to the 50 pounds, to your trainer, family member etc. And for accountability you should plan how so often are you going to report and to whom.
President Walker said that if we actually go through this process with everything, we will make our dreams come true. One person that we should be accountable to is God as well with everything so that he blesses our plans with success. Wow I learned sooooo much that day and to tell you the truth, that night I just collapsed on the bed spiritually and mentally drained... Haha! Very good day, that day.
On Wednesday night, while we were at the mission offices, the Libertad stake center is right there and there was a stake activity. I saw a lot of familiar faces that day from Lomas del Pedregal (my second área). Oh it was sooo cool; I was sooo happy to see them! It was awesome.
Everything is good, Phone calls on Sunday at 6 pm our time here, I will call Mom first and then Dad and Mom second at 630 ok? We will talk for a Little short time, but you guys can last 6 more months to wait for ALLL the mission stories that I have. We will have to connect my camera to the TV when I get home and just go through all the photos. It would take like 2 hours because I have a ton! But it’s all good.
I love you all and be safe! Work hard and fulfill your dreams!!! I hope my letter helped some of you to achieve your goals and make your dreams really come true! Love the work, invite everybody to go to church as well! J
Love,

Elder Justin Powell

Leia Mais…

April 29, 2013

Hola Family and Friends,
How are you all doing? I am doing pretty good, just preparing for the trip to Monterrey that we are going to take Tuesday. We have a Mission Leadership Counsel that we have to go and to learn. Should be an interesting day. I am pumped! Haha
This week was a little interesting; it rained like crazy Saturday night. It was like the first time in like 6 months that it rained, so everyone was really excited. It was a very cool storm! There was a lot of lightning and thunder. I was on the rooftop taking pictures (of course after the storm passed) haha. I took some alright pictures, but there are some cool videos. But the bad thing was that nobody really went to church on Sunday... Because of the rain... So that was the downer. 
We are working a lot with this couple named Yolanda and Luis. We are trying to get them married. Luis has a huge problem with the Word of Wisdom, but we are putting goals so that he can leave behind his addictions. But little by little, right? But he arrived to the church on Saturday night just wanting to change and actually leave behind his addictions. So we put goals and he was very ready to leave behind his addictions. Yolanda is really wanting to get baptized right away, but she can’t until she gets married to Luis. 
We are also working with another person named Kenia and she has a lot of problems, but she wants to believe in all of this. It’s just that she is having problems because of all her friends and family and the pressure that they are putting on her. But I shared with her my past story and she actually finally understood the purpose in personal prayer and to look for God. She felt like she didn’t need that much of his help (something similar to what I thought), but we invited her to really pray and look for God´s help. We are excited to teach her this week! 
Well I love the work! It’s a blast! Meet a lot of people and this work makes you very, very friendly with the people and works on your social skills. Good stuff for normal life.
I love you all very much! Have a good one and read your BOMS. Loves and Hugs 
Elder Justin Powell
Nuevo Laredo Zone

Apodaca Zone

Leia Mais…

Alberto's baptism

Hello Family Friends,
How are you all doing?? I am doing pretty well! This past week was a lot of work and we had a baptism this past weekend. Alberto finally got baptized!! He is this guy who lives alone that has had teaching in the past from other missionaries. He accepted the missionary visits and all, he came to church, he had a baptismal interview, and then he never showed up to his baptism. That was like 4 months ago with two other elders. Now 2 weeks ago, he had his baptismal date and he didn’t even come to his interview. So we left him... And then last week, he came to church all alone and he said that he wants to change and everything. So we put another date and he actually came to his interview, he got baptized on Saturday and he got confirmed yesterday. He came in a shirt and tie, he changed a lot!! It was super cool how that happened. So it was a cool experience for him and it was super cool to see the change in him.

At the baptism, my comp wanted to sing and so I sang a trio with him, the bishop and I. I had to sing soprano... haha singing in front of people is a little bit nerve racking. But we sang well, according to the comments from the members.
We got some cool news, Elder Jeffrey R Holland is coming to speak to our mission!! :) On May 20th!!! So should be very cool! I am super pumped! We will see what he will say to us.
This past week was just a regular week... Not too interesting but neither was it bad. It was an ordinary week.
Thanks for the Packages!!! I love them! Elder Berríos and I are getting fat with chocolate. Haha.
Well to make this email better, I will send a bunch of pictures ok?
I love you all very much and take care!
Elder Justin Powell

Leia Mais…