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 so...in 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 missionaires...my 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


http://alabamamissionupdate.blogspot.com 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 districts...so 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 :)