Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Justin's flight itinerary for his trip home!! I CAN'T WAIT!!!

Leia Mais…

7 October 2013 -- More Conferences and Justin's bulletin talk/letter in Spanish

Hello Everybody,
How are you all doing? I am doing pretty well. Today is crazy because we have to plan transfers and a missionary is going home today so we have a planning day today and not a preparation day. So yeah it’s a bummer and I don’t know if my letter will be very long, but I will try to write a good letter to tell you everything that went on this week. 
Well on Tuesday we were in the offices all day doing a training meeting for the monthly leadership council meeting. It was focused on how we can study better and be more diligent in the morning with the studies. I learned quite a bit from it and it was pretty cool to look up how to study better. Something interesting that I have learned from studying is the very importance to having a study journal when you read your scriptures, because pretty much you are writing your personal scriptures. It’s one thing to just read scriptures, but it’s another thing to scrutinize the scriptures and to study it out. So, it's best to write down personal revelations and feelings close to the scriptures. And of course to be focused :). But on Wednesday we gave the training and it was pretty good. President Morales gave a good training about a real growth in the church and how we should convert the new members and not just baptize the investigators. Something that is much needed in these days. Something shocking about the church growth in Mexico is that there were 40,000 baptisms last year, and only 100 are completely active!!! :/ But we learned about how to have a complete retention of those new members, and we have definitely slowed up on the whole conversion process, but the people that are getting baptized, are people looking to serve and stay in the church. It will be a real growth in the church. But on Saturday in conference I heard that the church is the fastest growing in the world now with 15,000,000!! Let’s keep it going right so that all can be blessed in the world. 
The Sister Morales shared this very neat experience with us. It’s a long story, but she has a firm testimony that the Holy Ghost is what guides us and brings us the closest with God. She talked a lot of having the spiritual guide always by your side that you can always be happy and pumped to do the work. The spirit really does help us to be in the right path and it’s definitely a helper so that we can feel comfort at all times. I really loved her talk. 
Everything else was good at the training meeting. It was a blast. We ate tamales for lunch, good food.
Leadership Council Conference
Well conference was awesome!!!!! It was the best I have ever seen in my life because the messages were so inspiring and I really did receive a lot of answers!!! :) I hope you all feel the same with the conference! I really loved Pres. Uchtdorf's talks!! They were amazing and the two of them were both huge answers to me. I invite you all to read the talk his talks from the regular session and priesthood session to learn more and receive great answers because they are both very, very inspired. I love conference and you should love it too when you watch it, hugely inspiring.  

General Conference in Reynosa

Well I will send my talk that I had to write to the entire mission in the monthly mission bulletin. It’s in Spanish, sorry but there ya go. I love you all; I will try to write more next week. God bless
Elder Justin Powell

Sea usted mismo
 Queridos Elderes y Hermanas,
 Es un gusto poder compartir algo con ustedes y estar sirviendo a su lado. Espero que mis palabras puedan ser de ayuda en su servicio misional.
 La obra misional es algo magnifico y nosotros como misioneros hemos sido llamados a servir a nuestro Padre Celestial, “Creemos que el hombre debe ser llamado por Dios...” (A.F. 5). En esta época, el evangelio realmente está siendo predicado “…a toda nación, tribu, lengua y pueblo” (DyC 133:37), con la visión de cómo predicar el evangelio elevándonos más cada día. Hemos sido muy bendecidos al estar sirviendo en este tiempo de cumplimiento.
 Estamos aquí con el mismo propósito y llamados a la misma obra, pero Dios nos llamó específicamente a estar en donde estamos en este momento para poner en práctica los dones y talentos que tenemos.
 Somos diferentes en persona, cultura y habilidad. Somos de diferentes partes de este continente (o del mundo), y hemos venido de familias distintas. Tenemos el mismo propósito, y la razón porque estamos aquí es para servir Dios con los dones y talentos que él nos dio.  Porque Él tiene un propósito para cada uno de nosotros en esta misión. Él tiene un camino preparado para nosotros en esta misión para conocer personas que necesitemos conocer.
 A veces sentimos presión a ser como otro misionero, como un misionero robótico, o como otra persona admirable a nosotros. Pero realmente debemos ser nosotros mismos para poder cumplir con nuestro propósito que Dios nos ha puesto. Realmente es posible ser obedientes con exactitud, mientras que magnifiquemos nuestros dones y talentos.
 A mí me gusta la parábola que Jesucristo contó de los talentos, que se encuentra Mateo 25:14-30. Cuando el señor dio a sus siervos talentos, Él estaba esperando que no solo se quedaran con la cantidad de talentos que recibieron al principio, pero que los talentos de los siervos podrían ser multiplicados. El señor quería que los siervos hicieran algo más con sus talentos.
Nosotros somos los siervos de Dios. Hemos sido dado talentos y Dios espera que magnifiquemos nuestros talentos en una manera extraordinaria. Cuando realmente estamos magnificando nuestros talentos en la obra misional, estamos cumpliendo con el plan de Dios y utilizando los dones y talentos que Él nos dio. Al cumplir con el plan que Dios nos dio, realmente podremos recibir muchas bendiciones, lograr mucho éxito y ser un instrumento más eficaz en esta gran obra del Señor.

 Yo sé que tenemos un amoroso Padre Celestial, que está dispuesto a ayudarnos desarrollar nuestros dones y talentos para que seamos grandes misioneros y misioneras en esta obra. Yo sé que no requiere muchas cosas diferentes e incomodas para lograr éxito en la misión. Solo sea usted mismo en la obra misional, guardando los mandamientos, para que cumpla con su propósito en la viña del Señor. Y ustedes tendrán mucho éxito y un desarrollo de ser un gran instrumento en las manos de Dios. Que Dios les bendiga, les amo mucho. En el nombre de Jesucristo, Amen.  

Leia Mais…

30 September 2013 -- More travel and funny Sister Conference

Hello Hello Everybody,
HAPPY BIRTHDAY KATY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH AND HAVE A GREAT DAY!!!! How are you all doing? How was your week? What is new? I would love to hear from you all; you can all send me emails when you get the chance.
Well everything is going good, working with our ward and all. Really cool things happened this week. Everyday something very interesting happens and I love that about the mission, there is always something to learn from everything, even the bad. 
Well on Monday, I played basketball for the first time in a long while and I am bad now... It’s sad but I will get the skills back hopefully. Haha. But it was fun just shooting hoops. Today we are going to play soccer and some catch with the mitts that I have still from you, Dad. I love the mitts still and it’s fun to play catch still. :) 
On Wednesday we went to Valle Hermoso to have interchanges with the ZLs and it was a good interchange. I saw a lot of familiar faces over there and people that I dearly admire. I love Valle Hermoso and the people there are very nice and Friendly. This time it wasn’t the best because there were a bunch of mosquitoes!! We were in a lesson outside with this investigator and his wife who is a member. I was with my dear friend Elder Muñoz and the lesson was during the sunset and at night is when there are billions of mosquitoes in Valle Hermoso. Well every hand movement I made, I hit like 100 mosquitoes... Oh it was crazy. The thing is that we were teaching the investigator how to fast to receive an answer, and this guy was wearing shorts during this lesson with a gazillion mosquitoes! I told him that that for God being outside with shorts on was enough of a sacrifice to receive an answer. I felt for the guy, but somehow he managed. He said that he will still fast, so he should be receiving a super answer from God for his determination and sacrifice. Haha Also we had to clean the baptismal font there and in there were a ton of mosquitoes as well... Well I jumped to hold the tube that pumps the water out and yeah what a blast! Haha Getting in the water and doing that job was for sure my ``dirty jobs'' application. Hopefully they call me so that I can be on TV. I`ll include that photo too.
Dirty Jobs...cleaning the font!
I saw the Sister Maria Ezequiel and she is a member! I don’t know if you remember her but I was teaching her almost a year ago and after separating herself from her boyfriend and baptizing herself, she got baptized a little bit ago and when I saw her we were both sooo happy to see each other. I will include the picture, but she is very active and I am glad that everything worked out for her and that she got everything arranged to be able to take that step in her life and be very active in the church. She went to the temple last weekend and said that she loved it soo much and wow, she has changed a lot. She is this new woman ready for anything to happen, and she is a strong missionary as well, she is inviting every moving object to church. Haha. I felt a lot of competition with her to preach the gospel haha.
Justin and Sister Maria Ezequiel
But I saw other familiar faces as well. I didn’t get to see Max but I heard that they are going to get sealed on December 14th! I might have to return to Mexico, or extend. Who knows, but I would love to go to see the sealing in Monterrey. I am going to pray a ton to see if I can go. Also some dear friends of mine in Valle Hermoso are getting married in December. Ugh they are the same age as me and already in that process, haha. I am not a kid anymore it seems. Haha. 
On Thursday we went back to Reynosa and had a good day. Nothing much happened that day—just work and good work. It was hot that day but it was good. 
On Friday we had this conference to train. We trained all the sisters in the mission with their English. Super interesting--nothing like training 12 sisters that don’t know how to speak English. Haha No but it was very fun. Sister Morales was directing the conference and she wanted to do this special day with the sisters to try and pump them up. And so we trained them for about an hour and ate pizza.
Elders Barlow, Powell and Vargas with the pizzas
It was kind of awkward because Elder Ropp and I were the only men there, and it was like this girly conference. At the beginning we started with the hymn and prayer and wanna guess what hymn we sang? Yep As Sisters in Zion... haha and yeah Elder Ropp and I felt kind of weird and nothing like sisters giggle at us singing this very sisterly hymn. Anyway we were teaching basic English communication to the sisters because most of them are going to train American sisters in the very near future, like the first American sister in like 5 years is coming in November. And she has red hair! Haha just like my family. Haha But we were focused on how the Latina sisters can survive with their companion for the first week with the American sisters.
Then on Saturday was a pretty good day, well remember Gerardo? He got baptized finally and I got to go to Rio Bravo to see his baptism. It was really good and he was ready. He is a good friend of mine and now he is pumped to be in the church and to serve diligently. He is definitely responding to God`s call to serve him in his church. I'll include the pic as well. 

Baptism of Gerardo

Well everything is going well, wanna know something funny? I weighed myself the other day, and I weigh 153 pounds when I started the mission 177. Haha but I feel great, but nothing like having huge shirts and parachute pants right? (Haha the clothes aren’t that big... haha) Don’t worry though I am eating, Mom! Haha. But just working and walking all around kind of makes it hard to gain weight. But I promise that I will try to eat more! Haha 
I love you all and take care! Be cool and serve your fellow man. 
Elder Justin Powell 

Leia Mais…

23 September 2013 -- Justin travels the mission and enjoys Mexican culture

Hello Everybody! How is everyone doing? I am doing great! Just working a ton now with everything and it’s been a blast with the work. My ward is super cool and fun and always willing to work with us and I feel very grateful to be with them to work. I am in an area that is fairly small and there is quite a bit of work to do still. We had to leave behind a bunch of investigators this past week because we didn’t see a bunch of progress with them, but we were able to find more people that really do want to progress and teach. But hopefully we can dedicate a good amount of time to them, it’s just we have so many things to do here in the offices and less time to the area, but it’s all good. I found out that 2 people that I was teaching in Rio Bravo were baptized this past weekend and I was super happy to hear that! It was soo sweet and they were both happy so I am happy for that. 
My companion and I went all the way to Nuevo Laredo to have an interchange and it went well. We woke up at 5 in the morning to go on the bus. We went to the bus station to leave at 6pm to Monterrey and the buses were filled until the bus at 7:45... Well that was a good start. But Elder Ropp and I slept a bit at the station and hopped on the bus. Oh I was sooo happy to see mountains again in Monterrey. Here in Reynosa its desert and flat. The only closest mountains are in Monterrey (3 hours away) and oh it was cool being in Monterrey again. I really miss that city and the vibe. I would love to tour the city on day. It’s a fun city. And we left on a bus to Nuevo Laredo and we traveled a total of 7 hours to Nuevo Laredo from Reynosa. Pretty fun trip. I tried to sleep but I don’t do very well in moving vehicles so it was a little difficult, but Elder Ropp was out like a baby pretty much the whole trip. Well we were late to start the interchange but we got there and had a good day. I got to work in a half of my old area and it was great to see a lot of the people that I knew and the progress that there has been. My friends that got baptized while I was there went to the temple this past weekend and it is super cool to see that effort they are giving to live the gospel and they both have planned to go on the mission and bless other people. I was very happy to go and see a couple of my dear friends again and maybe in the future I will see them again. 
This week we are going to Valle Hermoso to do interchanges with the missionaries there and President wants us to do interchanges with my old area as well :) haha. Interchanges are fun! I can visit more dear friends and help the missionaries to learn something new. Interchanges are cool to get to know many missionaries and people. I have gotten to know so many people and their backgrounds. I always learn a lot from the interchanges and I hope that the missionaries learn from me in the interchanges and they are always a blessing for me. 
This past Friday was the Noche Mexicana (Mexican Night) and like last year, just filled with rich Mexican culture and it was a blast.
 There were so many investigators there as well and that had fun, and they want to know more about the church. But it was very neat to see the ward having fun and I have already made dear friends here in this ward and it was just a fun night. I will include pictures. It was funny because everybody wanted me to participate in a game and I was scared and my companion pushed me to play and I went up with some other brothers and it was pretty funny what happened. So its hot potato with a sombrero (Mexican hat) and you have to put the hat on your head while the music is going on and twirl in a circle and pass the hat off to the guy next to you. I was the first to lose because the people in the circle were dancing to the music and twirling fine and I had to do it slow because we can’t dance... But it was a temptation to dance the Macarena haha.
Playing Mexican Sombrero and dancing
Then we went to the house with tacos and had a good dinner at home because the party went on and we had to be home on time. But it was really neat and culture filled. It made me think about how much I am going to miss Mexico and the culture here. 

Well I think that is all the abnormal for this week because the normal is preach and teach the gospel and everyday is filled with those things. I love the work, it’s awesome and it’s for everyone. Help and serve everyone and be kind to all. We all need to be a light to this dark and ever darkening world. And so shine that light bright! I love you all and God bless
Elder Justino Powell

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