Monday, December 13, 2010


Well I have had like 100 emails today telling me that I gave the wrong let me try this again.

194 Shelton Road Apartment #149 Madison, AL 35758 :)

Hopefully that helps!

Anyways, this week has been great!

Thadias is getting baptized this week! I can't even believe it. All things that could have gone wrong this week to keep him from getting there went wrong. Lost his job, family issues, sleeping in to where he almost didn't go to church (Luckily I have become quite good at the loud and obnoxious knocks that I woke him right on up). He really is so awesome. He will be such a great example to all those around him. He already has started to introduce us to others and I'm pretty sure the whole apartment complex will be at his baptism.

Lets see, I don't have a lot of time to write today so I'll just make a list of the events that were most memorable:

1. We had a Christmas Festival. Which was first the best festival I have ever been. The live nativity, the choir, the cookies, everything was amazing. But what made it the most enjoyable was Sister Stahly (she is always a good one for entertainment). I don't believe I told ya'll that Sister Stahly's loverboy (haha no way to describe it but that) lives in birhmingham. haha I know my reaction when I found out that we were going here. He goes to UAB for Grad School...for some degree I can't even begin to pronounce let alone spell-ends with -ology though if that helps...Anyway he shoowed up at the festival. hahahahah. I couldn't stop laughing. They were so awkward that the Brazilian sister I was talking to for the last forever (she wouldn't stop talking to me once she found out that i could somewhat speak her language, even though by the look on my face she could tell that I was only understanding about zero of it...but I'm getting off subject...this story is about sister Stahly) became silent. When I walked up to them, the only thing I could say was "whelp this is awkward" which didn't make things any better, but sure did make thier faces go red. haha.

2. We found out that there are about 80 Brazilians in the area...SO our goal this week is to find them. I already found out where three of them live (how I found out is confidential..pha) and hopefully will see them tongiht. So excited.

3. THe sariavas finally decided to come back to Alabama and they are are going to have us over for Christmas. They are a family from Brazil that are so excited to have us in the ward.

4. It snowed...It is so cold.

5. I found out I'm only like 10 hours from home because a family in my ward drove through Lake Charles last weekend! AH.

6. Sister Stahly and I h ave decided that we have moved from the honeymoon stage of our relationship to the old married couple. That should be self explanatory. I sure love her so much.

WELL I HAVE TO GO! For some reason Sister Stahly thinks it is hillarious to volunteer us for musical numbers...

LOVE Ya'll.

thank you so much for making this possible.

I love being here so much.

I might just never come back!

phah. jk

ooh...and I get to call ya'll sooooN!


Monday, December 6, 2010

I'm 22!

Thank you so much for the package. The foot lotion was very much needed (thank you alex) haha. We do so much shoes are already looking rough. Haha speaking of walking this week I had a huge dog attempt to attack me. The owner just watched the entire time. Didn't even try to come and get him. I will say that I was proud that I kept my composure by only screaming once and choosing not to run. It was pretty scary. It was not only barking but growling and snarling. It was kind of strange, it would come close to us but would never get close to bite us so we were able to slowly edge our way along the road. I will admit I thought some very unkind things about the owner. We avoid walking home that way now.

Anyway...better news. This week I thought for sure I was going to get transferred to the University. I admit that made me feel a few emotions. I think it would be awesome to work with people my age all the time, but I was also sad because we are making so much progress here. But when we were talking to President he decided that he would keep sister Stahly and I here for another transfer (or until we get our visas). So here it is I stay.

I found out this week that Sister Stahly and my situation is quite unique. Not only did we not have trainers, but we were also opening a new area. That means that we had to start completely from scratch. But I am so grateful that we were able to do that. We have learned so much and are continuing to do so. It was a blessing in a very very convincing disguise.

I can't even begin to tell you how much I have grown to love it here. That alone has made such a difference in the success we are having. Sister Stahly and I are constantly smiling and finding ways to talk to people. We are teaching so many lessons and talking to so many people. I can't think of the last door that was slammed in my face. There are people that are not interested, but I have learned that if you show interest in them they usually show more interest in you and what you have to say. Each time we call and report our district leader is so surprised at our numbers. The Lord is blessing us so much.

I don't think I have told ya'll about Thadias for a while. He was taught by the missionaries in Washington, but moved to Alabama and hasn't had anything to do with the Church since. Well we have been teaching him since last week. For the first few days, he had me convinced that he was somewhere short of crazy. Turns out that he was messing with us. Which 1. made me want to slap him 2. made me want to cry. I think I did cry. Ok I did. Which helped a lot actually. Anyways we made him promise to stop messing with us and we have been meeting with every day. He came to church and everyone loved him. Anyway he is going to be baptized the 18th. I can't even begin to say how happy that makes me.

Lynette is doing well. She so wants to do the right thing and she loves coming to church. She smoked a cigarette yesterday so we are going to have to move her baptismal date back a bit, but she knows what she wants and she will get there. She has been bringing her husband to the lessons as well this week and he has also been striving to work to understanding the gospel. He has also been striving to live the Gospel of Christ- which is a crucial key to coming to an understanding of it.

I wish I had time to tell ya'll about the other amazing people we are teaching, but I will just leave it at that for now.

I've never been a mom, but I think teaching these people has made me more aware of what it must feel like to be one. You worry about them constantly. Pray about them constantly. Are devastated when they make choices that you know will hurt them. And are ecstatic when they make ones that will bless their lives. Your entire day is centered around them to the point where you have hardly anytime to think about anything else. I love it.

And thinking of that makes me think more about the love our Heavenly Father has for us. He loves us so much that he has given us every possible tool that there can be for us to be able to return home to him. I can't imagine how happy he must become when we choose to follow and keep his commandments. How happy he must become when we choose to use the Atonement of His son constantly. But how completely sad he must become when choose not to.

But the fact that he allows us to make those choices is just further evidence of his love for us.

We are so blessed to be here. To be part of this plan. To be here. To have the choices we do. To have the future that we do have.

I love it so much.

I love being here so much. It is still the hardest, most frustrating thing I have ever done. But it is the best, most rewarding thing I have yet to do.

Thank you so much for making this possible.


Sister Powell

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I stink at coming up with subjects....

Well I have so much to write but so little time to do it. This week has flown by...but so much happened! Tuesday we went to a leadership training in Birmingham. Can I say how much I love President Holzapfel?? He is one of the smartest men I have ever met. Yet he is so humble. You can just tell how much he loves each and everyone of his missionaries. I learned so much that day. Later that night we had a sisters training. He told us how much he loved the sisters and that is why Sister Stahly and I were in his mission, because he specifically requested more sisters. When we are assigned to our missions, we are assigned to our mission presidents. I can see how I needed to be in Alabama, not only because there was a work here for me to do but because I needed to here the things that President said in those meetings. Anyways...I left with a resolve to work harder and to do better. And it changed everything. We have a lot of new guidelines to follow. The first presidency has changed a lot of the way missions are run in the south. But it is because an "unprecedented harvest" will come from it. We track from sun up to sun down and then we are required to teach. If we don't have people to teach then we find members and less actives to teach. It is hard and tiring, but I really can see that it is going to work. I know that I won't be here for long, but it is an honor to be here at the start of this change....a change that will affect home. Tracting has gotten so much better. I know it is my attitude. Attitude is really everything. We have had a few people that just invited us into their home. Both people commented that they never invite strangers into their home, but that they just recognized something different in us. It was amazing to see the light that came into their eyes as we talked to them. Ruth even started crying. It was such a testimony builder to me of what it is I am doing. It really is amazing. There are people that are prepared to hear what we have to say. It doesn't really matter what or how we say it, because they are just ready to hear, love, and accept it. That is a comfort and a definte drive to keep on knocking. Madison is a beautiful town. My only complaint is their lack of side walks. Riding bikes in a skirt, is scary buisness. Oh this week I stepped on a dead rabbit. enough said about that. Thanksgiving was great. Sister Stahly, Muncy, Black, and I made about 100 pumpkin cookies and delivered them to all the people we know in town. It was fun to see all the neighbors and people that we have met from walking around. That is one thing I love about being a missionary. You are required to talk to everyone. They expect it of you. And you meet so many people. People are fascinating. I ate too much on Thanksgiving. Luckily Sister Muncy decided that we would only do one Thanksgiving instead of going to the thousand other invites we got. All the women in the madison ward are so excited to have four sisters. They are always inviting us to eat and always feeding us way more than we need. (luckily are walking and biking makes up for it). But it is nice to have their support. Anyway...I ate way to much for thanksgiving. It was the fanciest Thanksgiving meal I had ever seen. I had no idea what all the different utensils were for. The food was good (not as good as grandma and daddy's). The pie was the best I have ever had....and that was my downfall. Seriously. I have never nor will I ever have pie like the pie Brother Riley made. I thought I was going to puke that night. Luckily I didn't. I just laid on our nasty bathroom (cigarette smelling because of our lovely neighbors) floor. It was good though because I realized that it very much needed to be cleaned. Soo lets see. We are teaching quite a few people right now, but I will just write about a few. First there is Chris. Haha Chris is a character. He is sooo smart. He knows the Bible backwards and forwards. He has so many questions. Which is good. Very good. Anyway in our last lesson he was saying that there was no way he would read the Book of Mormon, because it went against everything he believed. It didn't matter what we verses we read in the Bible to back it up. It didn't matter what we said. He wanted nothing to do with it because God gave us a bible and that is all that he would give us...So I decided that we would read 2 Nephi 29. haha after I finished reading, He was quiet for quite some time and then said ok...I will read one chapter. He then went on to say that he recognized that we had truth with us, but that he couldn't renounce the truth that he had already found. SO while he would read one chapter it wouldn't change his mind. My response to him: Life consists of a series of steps we take in search for truth. It doesn't mean the step you have taken are insignificant, but maybe just that you have a few more to take. He looked at me for quite some time..."Dang girl...where did you come from?" haha and then decided he would read the entire book. We are also teaching a girl named Lynette. The senior missionaries found her, but decided sister Sthaly and I would be able to connect better with her so we have been teaching her almost everyday this week. She has had such a rough life. A lot of it coming from decisions she has made, but she has a desire to change. It has been amazing watching her open up to us. It has been amazing seeing the light that she has started to bring with her everytime she meets with us. She doesn't understand everything yet, but she recognizes that this is where the Lord wants her to be and has committed to be baptized on December 18th. I can't tell you how happy that makes me. I seriously couldn't stop smiling all night. I can't stop smiling writing this. I told her then that if she lives what the Gospel of Christ preaches that she will see a change in her and her family. That she will feel the burdens be lifted and the strength to do whatever it is that is brought her way. I can't wait to see that come true, because if she keeps the way she is going- it will. Being a missionary is nothing like I imagined. Sometimes I literally have to pinch myself to check that it is real. It is so hard. There are days when I seriously just want to drive on home (haha for some reasons they assigned me as the driver of the mission car...that we can hardly use but when we do I drive...scary I know). But for the most part I love it so much that the fact that I am almost at my three month mark makes me sad. You don't have to worry about anything out here other than your relationship with God and your investigator's relationship with him. You just wake up everyday and work your hardest, pray for miracles, and thank God for each small one you see. Because if you are aware of them, you see so many of them. It is the most amazing and most wonderful privilege to be here in Alabama serving the Lord. Thank you so much for making this possible. I love ya'll so much. Love, Sister McKenzie Powell

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Me again.

Ok so thankfully...this week flew by. I love being a missionary, but every week was as long as that first week...I think I would go crazy.

I don't even know what to write...So much happens everyday.

This week hasn't been any easier, but my attitude sure has made it all that much better.

For one thing- I have had fun.

Each time somebody is somewhat less than nice...instead of dwelling on it- I just carry on the conversation I was having with Sister Stahly until we get to the next door. I'm so grateful to have Sister Stahly with me. Being with her out in the field (in a much more stressful environment) is a little bit different, but it is so nice to have a friend. We know when we are bugging each other. We know when to be quiet. And we know how to tell the other person to be a nice way of course. Yea she talks a lot. Yea she is literally glued to my hip. But I love it. She is amazing. And I am so blessed to have her.

For one thing she has such a better head on her shoulders. FUnny story: So there were these two boys that "holl'd" at us from behind. They pulled onto the side of the street. Me being me, thought of course they saw we were missionaries and wanted to talk to us. Them- "Ya'll just getting off." Me: "No we are missionaries...we are always working." "OOOh brother used to talk to ya'll." We then found out that his brother is a member. Tevin told me that he would be at church. I told him that he should come. Gave him my number. Got his. And told him I would see him there.

We then start walking down the road. I'm going on and on about how cool it is that he would stop and talk to us. Sister stahly just kept quiet. And then it clicked..."He didn't know we were missionaries...did he?" Sister Stahly "Nope..."

The other two sisters we live with are great as well. Their names are sister Black and Muncy. Sister Muncy leaves in two transfers- so she is able to give us pointers on what we should be doing. Haha but that is about the only instruction Sister Stahly and I get. The way missions are run is really amazing. They send 19-21 years out. We have people to report to. We have rules to follow. But we do in the day is completely up to us. It is an honor to work with so many hard working and amazing people. It is an honor to be with these people that take what they do so seriously...yet have fun doing it.

The other thing I have learned to do- Be bold.

I was so nervous to say what I wanted to say to these people. I thought for sure that they would think me arrogant...but you know what...before they slam the door in my face, they already made up their mind that they were going to. So I say what I came to say...and when it is accepted then it makes my day. When it isn't, at least I said what I gave up 18 months of my life to say. I have found that the tone you say it in, makes all the difference. The smile that you keep on your face, makes all the difference.

The last thing Ihave learned (and I've said it before)- the people make it all the worth it.

I have met so many people. SO many amazing people. I always make sure I know their names- even the ones that don't show that much interest. A lot of times it surprises them when I call them by name. And a lot of time, that is what gets some interest.

I'll tell you about a few people I met this week.

I already told you about Bruce. We have actually taught him twice now and he has loved everything we have had to say- when he gives us time to say it. haha. He is a really neat man. He is super wealthy, but none of that matters to him. What matters is his family and his God. He actually has a son that is getting drafted for the NFL this year. He went on and on about him. But like I said, he loves everything we have had to say. It is actually kind of amazing how quick he was to have faith in our message and who we were. He says he will come to church with us this week.

There is Chris. We met him because someone had canceled on us (he was actually in his apartment but just didn't answer the door...haha that happens a lot...) But if he hadn't of canceled we never would have met Chris. He is a theology major. Surprisingly I was able to keep up with him...things that I had long since forgotten that I had learned in my religion classes at BYU were brought back to my memory (definitely a miracle). I think he was a little surprised (as was I to be honest). He loved everything we had to say about the Book of Mormon and we are meeting with him tomorrow.

Then there is Thadias. He actually lives in our complex. (there are six missionaries in our complex now...we have a senior couple that just moved in...I think people are starting to get a little nervous). He actually spoke a lot with the missionaries when he lived in Washington. He is a super fun guy and I love talking to him (as long as he has a shirt on...because that is a little bit distracting, as I think he is aware). Anyways we were talking to him in the parking lot one day and he was telling us about the time he spent investigating the church. We just sat there and listened to him. haha next thing I know I'm saying, "You know it's true." Haha my comment took him a little bit a back..but then he said.., "Yea...I guess ya'll should come over and teach me."

There are more. But I don't have time.

I'm loving it here. Everyday I learn more and more. Thanks for making this possible.

Love ya'll




Oh and Britt, you bday card is going to be delivered by my sisters since I can't find your adress.

And megan...I just found the tapes that were suppossed to be in your package...not much has changed.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Not so sweet Alabama

So I'm sitting at yet again another counting down computer. This time in a library in Madison, Alabama (the most classy and uptown place I have ever seen in the south). Anyway I only have about thirty two minutes left and then I have to go...soo let's see if I can do this.

I read all your emails and I will for sure write ya'll back responses...just the old fashioned way. I'm glad your pup survived daddy. And Sydney you look beautiful without your braces (even though you did when you had them on as well). I cracked up at ya'lls pictures. It looks like ya'll are having an awesome senior year.

O goodness I don't even know where to begin. It has been such a long week. I'm so glad our mission president called you. Like he said I'm in Madison Alabama. It is a beautiful town filled with tons of intelligent people (most who work for nasa). There really isn't much of a bad side of town, but if there is, it is the side of town I live in.

Sister Stahly and I are companions. Yes, your read that right. We are companions. We do not have trainers. We are learning by trial and error--lots of errors, lot's of slamming doors, lot's of "you are going to hell"s, and lots of tears. Haha. not that many you are going to hell's but a lot more looks.

Haha I have no idea what I am doing. We have two other sisters that stay in our apartment but they just give us some tips and then send us on our way. President said that my trainer is in Brazil. In the meantime, I am here 'to do good things." Which I am totally all for-I just would like to know how to do those things. But I will learn eventually. Hopefully I just don't do too much damage in the learning.

Oh, Blake, you will be happy to know that I am in fact riding a bike.

It's hard being in the South. I've been a mormon my entire life in the south, but I never walked around with it written on my chest. I've never had a problem getting people to like me. It has always been sort of easy for me. Not here.

I was informed that one church actually paid 30 million dollars nation wide to fight what I'm doing-a church that is predominately southern. My first reaction was to say, "what a waste of money." But I chose to keep my mouth shut.

It's sad because all I'm doing is trying to bring others to Christ. But to many what I am doing is bringing damnation rather than salvation. It has been a test of my faith-that's for sure.

I'm not going to lie, I've wanted to go home a few times this week. I actually started crying at a member's house at dinner yesterday. That was a bit embarrassing, but I played it off pretty well. But each time I feel like that I always just remind myself what it is I am actually doing. Why I am here- even in Alabama. It won't be easy. I didn't expect it to. And I shouldn't be surprised at just how difficult it is. Each time I get down, I think of Christ. His life. And each time I think of him, I know that my negativity is only me being selfish. Who am I to say that it is hard? Christ suffered beyond we can even begin to imagine and all he asked in return is that we share what we know, the way to receiving His gift, with others. He never promised it would be easy, but he did promise it would be fulfilling.

But anyway...that is enough of being negative. I'm sure you all are shaking your heads. I have met some great people.

Bruce on his porch yelling at me from across the way, "You must be God's people." He was fun to talk to and was an answer to a prayer. "You just remember when everyone is a yellin and a starin that they wish they were out here doing what ya'll be doin." We will see him again this week.

Then there was Abby who was crying at a picnic table because her boyfriend had just done and said terrible things to her. We sat and listened to her while she told us all about everything. While we were talking to her, her boyfriend showed up. I told her I would get rid of him...don't think to much on it dad. He was already laughing at me as I walked up to him. "You one of those Jesus freaks." I don't remember what my reply was. But then he started walking past me, and little five foot three me got up in front of him and said, "You aren't going to talk to her, Dustin." haha His face was so funny when he asked how I knew his name....My reply (I know this was bad of me, but it just flew out..."God told me." haha his face was priceless. Needless to say, he walked the other direction.

I then told Abby that God loved her and wanted much more for her than she was giving herself. I told her that she wasn't to talk to Dustin again and that I would be calling to make sure she didn't. I called later that night, and she hadn't. We will see her this week.

And then there was Brenda who was ordering a headstone for her daughters grave when we met her. She didn't want to listen to a thing we said. She told us that she believed in God, but not in everything that he said. God has said that he won't give us anthing we aren't able to handle, and she didn't believe that dealing with her daughter's death was something she could handle. I told her that we were here to help figure out a way that she could. And she told us that she believed that maybe we were. We will see her tonight.

Haha writing those out makes me want to cry. Because I am selfish. I wouldn't give up a single one of those door slams, if it meant that I wouldn't have met these three people. I am not sure what will happen. I might never see them again, but I do know I was suppossed to be there at those times.

It's a learning experience. And it's hard. It is so hard.

But I'm glad I'm here.

Thank ya'll for making it possible to be here.

I love ya'll.

President said that I'll be in Madison until I get my visa so ya'll can just write to 194 Shelton Road #149 Madison, Al 3578 or through dear elder.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 is the blog for the mission where McKenzie will be until her Visa arrives. Take a look!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sweet Home Alabama

I'm in alabama. I made it! I love it.

I will write soon.

But uncle mark you will be happy to know that a senior couple are from carston (the sumerfeldts). I told them I was related to you and Elder Sumerfeldt said, "Mark!That's why you are so good lookin." I told him you would enjoy that. haha.

Write again soon.

Friday, November 5, 2010


O my goodness.

So talking to ya'll was much harder than I was expecting, expecially considering I felt like I was going to puke the whole time (FYI do not eat the salmon at the mTC).


Take a moment and laugh.

Ok. I'm actually really excited. I was able to fill out my online version and so that means my visa will be here in less than thirty days so that is awesome but in the mean time I will be able to go back close to home and teach people I'm very familiar with. I was so excited when I heard we were going to south. Even more excited that my entire district was going with me. They never reassign entire I'm thinking there is something exciting waiting for us in Alabama. haha. Alabama. So anyway for language hour I gave the entire class a whole lesson on how to speak southern. It was a lot of fun. All the elders are super excited to get going and start being missionaries. Which makes me happy because a month ago they would have been heart broken that they weren't going straight to Brazil. But we will get there when the Lord wants us too.

So my last week at the MTC (last week how crazy is that?) has been super amazing. I saw a real improvement in my language, which was nice. I felt like I've been hitting a wall the last few weeks. I'm sure I will hit that wall many more a time, but it is nice to see some improvement. It's funny but i'm pretty certain I already speak Portuguese much better than i ever did in all my years of taking french (although that is not saying much since I pretty much stunk at french) (O BTW monica when we saw ya'll my companion said that she was in your french class). Anyway it's nice to see that I've improved tremendously.

We had another apostle come...3 in a row...that pretty much never happens. It was M. Russel Ballard this week and it was amazing. I had a seat like right under his nose so you can imagine how happy I was. He talked about the importance of communication and what communication entails. The BIG SECRET: Smile...haha.

One of my favorite part of the weeks was when I talked to the Ambassador from Peru. (I didn't realize it until about the middle part of our conversation). He was just a man in the way of my couch. It wasn't until I noticed the people taking pictures of me and my companion, the body guards, and all the missionaries standing around watching that I realized that he was a big deal. Haha looking back it is so funny. I seriously just pranced up to the ambassador of Peru. Saw that he was from another country, asked him where he was from. "Peru." How long he was here for? What he was doing at the MTC? "Figuring out what this whole mission thing was about." He then looked at me and asked, "You don't have to be here. Yes? Why are you here." I then preceeded to tell him that Heavenly Father had blessed me with the knowledge of his gospel and that the least I could do as an attempt to pay him back was to share that knowledge with others. We then talked about where I was from and the language. He was amazed at how quickly we learned and asked how that was. my reply- a lot of study, prayer, and answers to those prayers. His wife, who I hadn't noticed til then, said that she thought that was exactly what it was.

He was a very nice man and I was so glad that I had the opportunity to talk to him.

I can't believe I'm leaving this place. I know it is time...any longer here and my pants will not fit me anymore...haha just kidding. But seriously.

THis place has been absolutely amazing. I can't believe I was ever bummed about coming here. I have met so many amazing people and made many great friends from around the world (fiji, the marshall islands, new zealand, england, japan, Pakistan, the first ever sister from Jordan, Kansas, Utah, France...everywhere).

I know that Provo was exactly where I needed to be. The lessons taught and learned, the people met and loved, the experiences...were all things that I needed. And because of that I will go wherever the Lord needs me to go without complaint and I will stay there for however long. I'm just happy to be here. To be learning things I've learned. To be teaching the things I've taught.

I'm a little nervous to go, but I have confidence that I'm doing the right thing. I have confidence that if I work my hardest, the Lord will take up the rest. Because I know I can't do it on my own...the times I have tried, I've failed. But in those times that I am humble and aknowledge that this is not in any way about me, are the times I do things that always catch me by surprise.

I know that I'm on the Lord's errend and because of that I will find people wherever I go. I will do the the things I need to do. The Lord will make me into who I need to be.

Thank you so much for making this possible. These 18 months will always be something I will look back on and love. I promise to work my very hardest, even when times get hard. I promise to love every minute of it, even when it is difficult to. Thank you so much for supporting me- be it the money that pays for me being here, the letters that are sent, or the prayers that are said.

Love Ya'll :)

Friday, October 29, 2010

I love ya'll!

O my goodness it is that time again.
What a week!
So first off, I got the package. I think it was the heaviest package ever sent to the MTC...but luckily I just had to pretend to look really weak and about a hundred elders flooded in to offer their services (one of the great things of being at the MTC). I loved it all. Thank you so much :)!
Second off, I didn't have a lot of time to mail a letter today (not sure where the day went) but good news...I get to call ya'll Wednesday. We are going to be reassigned (temporarily). There are about thirty of us so we could pretty much go anywhere. I'm crossing my fingers Sister Stahly and I go the same place, because that would just be amazing. Not going to lie I don't really like thinking about it, because it makes me super nervous to leave here. Even more nervous to think that I will be speaking to Americans...I was really banking on playing the whole cute/clueless/american sister card. Not going to happen for a little while. They are even putting some in spanish speaking missions....hahaha
But I will go where need to go, and do what I need to do.
Soooo lets see....
I haven't slept in about three days. I'm not sure why. Maybe it is the fact that my pillows are the same pillows that they used in the 70s. Maybe it is the fact that my new roommate (bless her heart) snores louder than Pawpaw Powell (I'm dead serious). Maybe it is me somewhat stressing out. I would vote on the first two...but you never know.
Anyway...I'm very very tired.
But happy :)
So the sisters and I made a basketball league--my idea...surprising, I know.

(take a minute to picture me playing basketball and laugh).

We have matching outfits and idea again....surprising, I know

(take a minute to picture me wearing shorts way past my bellybutton and laugh again).

Needless to say, we are a hit.
I will be sending pictures shortly.
(sorry about all the parenthesis (is that how it is spelled))
(I kind of like them).
(I'm really really tired)
OK! So highlight of the week (even more so than my basketball league...i know crazy) was Elder Richard G. Scott.
So for all of you who do not know who Richard G. Scott is--let me tell you...He is an apostle. And when he left, there was not a question in my mind that he was exactly that--an apostle of the Lord. (Ephesians 2:20)
I have never heard anything like it. He spent the entire time sharing with us lessons he had learned about how the Holy Ghost leads and guides us through life. He compiled a list of thoughts that he had taken from his journals and put them on a paper and passed them all out to us so that we could keep it forever. I wanted to copy it, but it is copyrighted. It really is that amazing. I keep it in my scriptures...I could spend a lifetime studying it (which makes sense since it took a lifetime for him to compile).
He taught powerfully and lovingly. I don't think I have ever been more proud to be a sister missionary than I was at that time. He spent a vast majority of the time talking about us and how much he admired us. (you will like this next part daddy) he then blessed all of the sister missionaries with a shield of safety (His exact words, "I invoke upon you a shield of safety"). He told us that as long as we lived righteously and paid attention to the spiritual promptings that would be given to us that we would all be protected from all the evil that we might encounter. He promised us that. I can't tell you what a comfort that was in that moment.
He went on to "invoke upon us" two other gifts. The gift of tongues and the gift confidence. Basically he promised us all that if we lived the way we should, if we acted with faith, and if we are the missionaries we needed to be, we would be able to do all we needed to do.
How amazing is that?
He then ended with his testimony which might have been the most powerful testimony I ever heard. He told us that he testified, not as Richard G. Scott, but as an apostle of the Lord that he knew Jesus Christ. He knew the love he has for His children. He knew Him.

I know that he truely is an apostle. 
I know it because I have felt it witnessed to me that he is.
I encourage everyone of you to study the words of the apostles and prophets. I promise you the things they say are things that you will find will very much touch you. That will very much change your lives. These are men of God, you will recognize that through the words.
I love ya'll so much.
Thank you for supporting me while I've been here.
Talk to you soon family :)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

It's that time again

O my! I can't believe it is already Friday. The weeks are flying by. Not so much the days, but the weeks are. Funny how that works.
Ok so before I begin...It doesn't look like I willl be in Brazil for at least a couple more months so that means I need some warm clothes...Some of my sweaters, some tights (brown, black, etc). And while you are sending me things I could use some of my shorter skirts since the sister missionary dressing standards are pretty much amazing now. And I need jeans. And my shoes I left.

That is all. :)
No more sweets though...I sit on my butt all day long...So you can imagine what that is doing.
The beginning of this week was kind of sketchy. I watched a video (pretty much was reality TV for missionaries) that showed me exactly what I was getting myself into in a few weeks. Let's just say it is nothing like the MTC. I've been here for so long that you start to think this is the mission. It isn't.
But I snapped out of it pretty quick. Never mind that I have no idea where I will be ina few weeks. It will all be okay.
My testimony of prayer has grown so much since being here but especially this week. We pray soooo much here.
When we wake up- individually.
When we wake up- as a companionship.
When we start personal study.
When we end personal study.
When we start companion study.
When we end companion study.
Start of Language Study.
End of Language study.
When one teacher comes.
When one teacher leaves.
When another comes.
And when another leaves.
Before all our meals.
When my district starts throwing things at me.
When a certain teacher starts to drive me crazy.
When we start planning.
When we end planning.
When we do something well.
When we do something horribly.
When we end the night-as roommates.
When I end the night.
You get the picture?
So basically, ya'll are getting a lot of prayers.
The awesome thing is that I always want to pray more. Before coming on my mission, I rarely prayed as I should. I did it more out of routine. Here, even though I do it far more often than I ever did before, I pray because I want to and because I need to. I pray for more specific things. I pray in a way that I am seeking communication. It is awesome.

God hears our prayers. Every day I see evidences of his answering of them. For instance, I've been praying that Elder Thompson could receive an answer to one of his prayers. He has really been struggling with being here. He was here because his mom wanted him to be and that was not enough for him. I've watched him struggle with this our entire time here and I watched him slowly become more and more frustrated. But the other day Elder Russel M Nelson came to our Devotional (I know awesome right??) and gave a great lesson. It was things I had heard before and to be honest it didn't stick out to me in anyway. But afterwards Elder Thompson shared with us how everything Elder Nelson said answered his prayers. It made me so happy to hear him testify that he knew God loved him. That he knew him. That he wanted to be here. Afterwards all the Elders got up and gave him a hug. I wanted to as well...but I guess that will have to wait for later.
It is so amazing watching my district grow. It is so amazing that 19 year old boys are here at all doing what we are doing, but even more amzaing seeing them actually wanting to be here. I'm so blessed to know so many great people. To spend so much time with them. To learn so much from them.
I finished the New Testament this week. What an amazing book. It truely is the word of God. Everytime I read it I feel the love God has for his children. Everytime I read it my faith in this Church is strengthened.
Sister Stahly and I have so much fun with each other. She seriously has become one of my dearest friends. I can't believe I have only known her for 42 days. She pushes me to be so much better. And I know I am able to do the same. There is something in knowing that, that strengthens a relationship all the more.
How lucky I am to be here.
One of the Christlike attributes that I am trying to work on obtaining is patience. It is something I very much struggle with. James said, "the trying of your faith worketh patience." When I read that, I was struck with what a strong tie those to words have to one another. We are patient because we have faith that everything will work out the way it is suppossed to be. That has made me reflect a lot about these past couple of years. There were a lot of things that happened that were not exactly as I had planned my leg, Chad, school, my visa, and such. And in the midst of it all I have stressed and worried a lot. But looking back at it all, I see that was because my faith has not been as strong as it should have.

Everything has worked out exactly as it should have. Looking back (even on these last two months) I see that I have been exactly where I needed to be and gone through exactly the things I needed to go through to learn the lessons that God needed me to learn. God has a plan for each and every one of us. Why do we try so hard to fight it? Why do we make choices that lead us away from what He wants us to do? Why do we worry? It is because we lack faith.
That is something I'm working on this week.
I love each of you. Thank you so much in supporting me in this.This is the best decision I have yet made. And I couldn't be here without ya'll,

Friday, October 15, 2010


Soo can I say how much I love it here?
I have learned so much the last few weeks. I have grown so much. It just doesn't stop. IT IS BLOWING MY MIND.
I finshed the Book of Mormon for the second time since I have been a missionary. What a great book. It truely is another testimony of Christ. If you havent' read it I encourage you too. What is keeping you from doing so? Everytime I read it I want to be better. Everytime I read it I come to know my Savior better.
I am half way through the New Testament. I love the Bible. I love hearing the stories of Jesus. Right now Sister Stahly and I are working on studying the teaching methods of Christ. What better teacher to aspire to be like than the Lord himself, right? I've learned so much. Christ was patient. He was kind. He was bold, He was repetitive, He lived His teachings. I love it all. Hopefully I will be done by the end of next week. I think I can do it.
So this was our first week in total Portuguese. There were many a times I seriously thought that I would bang my head against a wall. It is so hard, but somehow I was able to understand the things I know I needed to understand. And somehow when I was called on, I was able to say what I needed to say. Sure it was like pushing through a pile of snow to just get one word out, but I did it.
Wednesday Sister Stahly and I had to teach an entire lesson to someone in the TRC. It was all about the Restoration of the Gospel and God's love. I have born my testimony on in Portuguese a thousand times while being here, but I have never had to explain them in this funny language (it seriously is funny sounding). But I did it! haha. I have so much more to learn but I am learning. I've only been here a month and I am communicating in this language. We have gone over almost every grammar principle there is to go over...including the subjunctive so now it is pretty much practice, practice , practice.
I am so thankful that I know I have help in learning this, because I am pretty positive on my own there would be NO WAY.
Ok so funny story:

The elders have this thing where you stick a knife in another elder's pocket. And if you do it without noticing you are pretty much shunned. Well of course I never participate in such things but one of the elders begged me to help him so I reluctantly agreed ;) haha I was the "distraction." I sat over by the elders in another district and started to talk to them. It was so funny watching their stunned faces because I pretty much keep to myself and my district so this was very out of the ordinary. Elder Ertle snuck by and placed it in Elder King's front pocket (the ultimate place). haha not one person at that table noticed. not one. He could have knifed the entire table and they would have all been oblivous. When Elder King finally noticed after I left the whole table couldn't believe that I was sly enough to knife him...I let them believe it for a while. I know. I know. the fun we have at the MTC.
Ya'll, I wish I had more time to tell you everything that happens...

My testimony of the Savior's atonement has grown so much since being here. As my understanding of it increases, my want to be better grows. From it we can be free from all our sins. All he requires of us is that we love Him and keep His commandments. That we be the very best we can be. I have come to see (as I lay in bed forcing myself to go to sleep) that I have always been capable of living better, I just haven't. And that makes me sad, because it means that I was taking advantage of this beautiful gift that has been giving to me.

This place has made me want to be the best missionary I possibly can but also the best person I possibly can. And what is amazing is that throught the Atonement of Christ, I can be.

We all can be.
I love each and every one of you. Thank you for supporting me in this decision. It has been by far the best decision I ever made. I know I say that all the time but it so true.
until next week!
I'm praying for ya'll.
Pray for me...I need it.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Minha Familia!

O my goodness, it is that time again.
Writing these emails always kind of stresses me out..too much to say and so little time to do it.
This week has been the most difficult since I have been here. I'm not sure why...just has been. I can't seem to get my mind to silence at night. I lay there for hours repeating things I've memorized or learned over and over in my head. And then the longer I lay there the more I start thinking...and not always about things I should be thinking about.
A few sisters left this week. I loved sisters Cidry, Johnson, and Egbert and was really sad to see them go. They have such a great energy about them and I know they will make great missionaries. The sisters that replaced them are very negative and very stressed out. Happy and positive responses only seem to make it worse...
But now I sound like the sour one so let me move on.
Despite it being one of the more difficult weeks, I'm loving it. It is absolutely amazing how no matter hard the work gets, you can still be so happy.
We are learning so much. They have thrown at us almost every possible verb tense and expect us to be ready to teach and prepare a lesson entirely in Portuguese. haha yeah. It will be interesting.
To further prove my point of how interesting that lesson will be let me tell you a story:
I'm sitting in the cafeteria when one of my elders informs me that there is Brazilian that just arrived. I looked over and found her sitting next to sister Michelson and decided what better way to spend my lunch time but to sit by the both of them. I proceed to pick up my tray, strut my way to her table, introduce myself in Portuguese, and ask a few of the questions that I have mastered. If I could send a picture of my face when she responded, I would...She spoke at a hundred miles a minute using words that were definitely not part of the minuscule vocabulary I have learned in my three weeks here. When she saw my flabbergasted face she laughed...yes laughed. I thought maybe she would repeat what she had said in English but instead she chose to speak even faster..I didn't have to speak the language to know that she was blatantly making fun of me. I chose to laugh rather than be offended. I hadn't expected to hold a conversation with her anyway, but I will say that that was a reality check of what I was getting myself into. In about a month (if all goes well) everyone will be speaking that language at me...I just hope I can be a little more composed when they do it. She is going to temple square and I very much enjoy speaking to english.
This place is absolutely amazing. The love that people have for this gospel is so evident. Sister Stahly and I came across three Japanese sisters who had just arrived two days before. I had been watching them from where I was studying for a while. They had just gotten done sharing a message with some other sisters. I could tell that they were having a hard time (it was written all over their faces) so I decided to go and talk to them. I asked them if I could share a message about prayer with them. They willingly agreed. I gave it to them in my broken portuguese. I struggled with my words but I got them out. They then asked if they could share something with me. I have had a lot of missionaries share with me their testimonies while being here, but I have never heard anything as powerful as theirs. They told me very slowly and in horrible English that they knew that God loved them. They knew because Jesus Christ had come to save them from all their sins. They knew Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. And that Thomas S Monson is one today. It was so simple and so humble that I couldn't help but cry. I gave each of them a hug and told them that they were going to make excellent missionaries. They left me touched with smiles on their faces. They really will make amazing missionaries.
I have learned a lot these last few weeks (can you beleive it will be four weeks this Wednesday??). But the most important thing is that the Lord works through the humble and the simple. I don't have to be perfect for the Lord will make up the rest.
I am so blessed to be in a place in which there is a lesson to learn in everything.
I hope that I can take that attitude with me when I leave here.
Like I've said, it is hard. But I wouldn't have it any other way.
I love each of you so much. Thank you for being in my life. Thank you for being my friends. Thank you for loving me.
Sister Powell

Friday, September 24, 2010

Week 2 Down

Oh my goodness, I can't believe it is already time to write again.

I spent a good portion of my day writing all ya'll letters so they should be coming shortly. So be very excited.

This week has flown by. The days are long, but the week sure was short.

I'm happy to report that it was another week full of great events.

 I wish I had time to share all of them, but the clock counting down on the side of my screen always makes me a tad bit nervous and always makes me forget all that I wanted to say.
I made a new friend this week. Her name is Sister Manawah (no idea how to spell it). Sister Stahly and I found her wandering down the hallway of the main building on Wednesday without a companion. She looked clueless but sweet so i decided to approach her. Turns out she didn't speak almost any english but spoke french. And surprise of all surprises, I was able to communicate with her. Haha. I know, surprising right? Especially for all of you that have seen my french grades. But anyway turns out she is from a small island in the pacific.(i want to say tucanos...but I'm most likely just hungry) I had her point it out to us on the map. She says there are about 200 hundred people that live on the island...I could have heard her wrong but I checked twice. And guess where they are sending her? Yep...New York City. hahah she was blown away by the amount of people that were in the MTC here. I can't imagine what she will think when she gets to NYC. I was blown away.
But she is the sweetest thing and is so excited to share the Gospel. I was thinking about what a blessing serving a mission will be for her, her family, and her island. She will come back with such strength and knowledge. She will come back a leader. I see her every so often and always make sure to speak to her. She seems to be doing great and her smile always reminds me that despite difficulties there is always reason to be happy.

We were so busy this week. Sister Stahly was called as coordinating sister so we have been running around to meet after meeting. She even has left me alone a few times with the elders. I have a great district, but I am so grateful I am not a solo sister. Sister Stahly keeps me sane. I never had to deal with boys for long periods of times before. Their focus is that to equal a three year olds. It really is a miracle that they are able to get anything accomplished. I feel like their mom a lot of the times, which at first I felt bad about, but now it's almost second nature to tell them to shut up...(in a very more loving manner, of course)

Haha,vbut for real. They are amazing. I really have grown to love them. It's fun to joke around with them. Fun to get to know them. Fun to watch them grow and learn. Missions really do a lot for a person that's for sure.

This week in the TRC, Sister Stahly and I learned a lot. We went about it in a completely different way. We were told that we need to learn to focus on the individual more.  I learned that although I'm not the most eloquent speaker, I am a very good question maker and that actually goes a long way when teaching. I have a lot more to learn of course, but I'm starting to get the hang of it.
Two of my roommates are leaving next week. I'm really sad to see them go, because in just two weeks we have all become great friends. One is going to Chicago and another Minneapolis until their visas come in. They are so excited to begin. And I am so excited for them. (For the Clarks in Minneapolis, keep an eye out for Sister Johnson. She is about the size of a peanut and is the cutest thing ever).

Every day I find myself wishing I had more time to study, even though that's all I do every day.

I'm learning so much.

Every day I find myself wishing i had more time to study, even though that's all i do every day. I am crusing through Jesus the Christ...seriously.

I love it so much here. People I know who run into me always comment on how happy I look, and it is simply because I am so happy--happier than i have ever been.

I have always been blessed with a sure faith in my Savior. And that faith is what has gotten me through many things. But I'm learning here how I can come to know my Savior. He lives. He really does.

My faith is turning into something much more than I ever thought possible.
I can't even begin to fathom what it will be at the end of this eighteen months.
I'm so excited to be here. I don't care where they send me. Send me to Bogolosa for all I care. I can't wait to share what I have come to find for myself with everyone and anyone who is willing to listen..
I love ya'll so much. Than your for supporting me in this.
Sister Powell.