Monday, December 12, 2011

I made it 23 years

Well what a week. Let me start out with a story. So a year ago, Thanksgiving day to be exact, we brought Thadius to a ward activity. I told myself before hand that I would only watch the soccer game, even though I very much wanted to show off what little soccer talent I have left, so when I got there I went directly to the bench. While sitting thinking back to the good old days of sitting on the bench with dear kallie jade and megan stone, I noticed some kids joking around on another field. I decided that there would be nothing wrong with kicking the ball a bit with them so I went on over. They were very quickly amazed by the little talent I had, and were then asking me to start kicking the ball in the goal. I thought about it, saw no harm in it, and shot the ball in the goal. And although I made the goal, here is where I went wrong...I pivoted. I heard the familiar pop and felt a very similar pain. Unfortunately, it was the kind of pain that you can´t ignore, and my companion had to carry me to the car and give me a piggy back up the stairs of our house. She wanted to call President, but I knew something was wrong so I just told her that we would wait it out and then call him. haha. (I havent changed all that much it seems). I said a prayer that I would be able to finish what i needed to finish and the next day I started working. My knee hurt, but I just ignored it, and in a few weeks it seemed to be normal. I think I wore my brace up to Christmas just to be sure. I told myself that there was nothing wrong, but whenever I ran I could feel something was very much loose. But as you all can tell from my pictures, I just avoided that by not running. haha. The good part of the story is that Thadius was intergrated into the ward. Nothing like a good game of football to create lasting friendships. But here I am a year later, and for some reason my knee just wants to decide to start complaining. It was a hard week. I didn´t want to tell anyone, but one day while walking past President´s appartment I felt like I should talk to him. So I talk to Sister and we went to the doctors. It doesn´t take a brain surgeon to see that it is very much loose, but I will be getting an MRI this week. That should be fun. I sure do love MRIs. Anyway needless to say this week was tough. Not just because everyone and their mom didn´t want to talk to us, but because it has been a constant fight with me and myself. I am so annoyed with myself. I have become so tired talking to myself in my mind that i look for whatever opportunity I can to talk to anyone else. haha. Needless to say, our number of contacts are going up very fast. I also have been doing a great amount of talking to my heavenly Father, and as a result have learned quite a few lessons. First and most importantly, this is not my mission. It is the Lord´s. Whatever happens, it will be his will. So for all of you that are asking about my knee. That is the story. Dont worry. I am fine. It only hurts when I stop. I got a blessing from the goofiest elder in the world, and learned another lesson- a worthy priesthood leader giving a blessing, speaks the words of God. I heard exactly what I needed to hear. The ligament most likely is broken again. And that means I will need surgery, but God will help me do what I need to do before that happens. So I will just keep working until I can´t. And don´t worry I will really stop when I can´t. I am hoping that will be March 8th. But my mission has been one of so many unexpected events that who knows....Only God. But I will be sure to let ya´ll know when I do. OH and keep senhor Pedro in your prayers. This week is his baptism! Ah. I can´t believe it. No I take it back...I can. The best part of the week was finding him reading the Book of Mormon. What a great thing it is to be a missionary. Thanks for everything that yall do. I will be seeing you..sooner or later :) lets hope on later. phah LOVE YOU, Sister Powell

A week to be thankful for

From: McKenzie Powell [mailto:mckenzie.powell@myldsmail.net] Sent: Monday, November 28, 2011 7:23 AM To: Kevin Powell; Mom; Sydney; Alex Subject: A week to be thankful for. Last week was amazing. Senhor Pedro came to church, and while there he told me that he knew this is what he needed to become better. That made me so happy. Oh it is raining cats and dogs. Seriously. I changed three times yesterday. Each and every single time, I got soaked to the bone. It is still raining. We will be wading home after I finish this email. haha. Thanksgiving was weird seeing that nobody celebrates it here, but I made sure that we did something. I called my leaders to tell them that that night we would not be talking on the phone (they call EVERY NIGHT) because we were going to be having a circle of gratefulness. We then sat in a circle and spent about an hour about everything we were thankful for. It made me happy. I just have so much to be thankful for. Even Sister Neyla seemed to like it by the end. We started working in a new area- It is forever away but it is worth it. We found so many great people. One woman stood out more than them all. We we knocked on her door she answered crying. She told us that she had to leave for work, but that she really wanted to talk to us and asked us to come back a few days later. We did. That morning I felt like we should practice the plan of salvation, even though the logical thing would have been to practice the restoration, but it just felt right, and I am learning to go with my feelings. Turns out it was a smart move. Adriana lost her brother two months ago. Someone shot him for no apparent reason. Adriana was raised catholic, but has always felt like something was missing. She has been going from to church to church since she was 16 and stopped when she found the 7th days. Since her brother has died she has really been struggling, and she said that when we called that she was praying that GOd would send her something to help her get over this pain. I asked her a lot about her background, and found out that she believed that when we die we sleep until the resurrection. I then asked her a bit about her brother and the faith that he had. She told me that he never was one to believe in things that he couldnt see, and that was one of her biggest fears that he didnt accept christ in this life. That was the perfect set up for the plan of salvation. I LOVE THE PLAN OF SALVATION. Most missionaries, I have found, do not like teaching it. But I think it is the best to teach. It answers those questions we all have. ANd sure it is hard to teach, because it just prompts a hundred more questions, but I have found that as we teach it by sharing what each principle means to us, we are able to invite the spirit in a way that anyone can feel of it truthfulness. We will recognize it as Gods plan. And Adriana felt it. I think it is amazing how prepared some people are for the gospel. We just have to go out there and look for them. Another thing that we are doing, that I am just loving, is inviting the members to give Book of Mormons to their friends and neighbors. The cool thing is, that everyone is doing it! It will do miracles. I just know it. Maybe I wont see it on my mission, but I know that it is going to help the next missionaries out a lot. The help of the members is so important. I sure do love you all. Give a Book of Mormon to someone that you feel would need it. I dont know why we are so hesitant to share something so important. I dont understand why I didnt. I can walk up to anyone now and talk about anything, but when it comes to walking up to my friends and giving them something that means the world to me, I just never did. I am going to change that. Lets all change that. Lets be a little better. That is what life is all about anyways. I love you. Sister POwell

Monday, November 21, 2011

almost hit a 94 year old man with his bible

From: McKenzie Powell [mailto:mckenzie.powell@myldsmail.net] Sent: Monday, November 21, 2011 7:41 AM To: Kevin Powell; Mom; Sydney; Alex Subject: almost hit a 94 year old man with his bible This week was frustrating. But yet so great. So the first part of the week everything went wrong. My knee started to bug. But I started to do my knee strengthening excerices and it helped. Oh and then I think I got a stomach bug. But hey at least Sister Michelotto had cleaned the bathroom the night before. Sister Peterson had a break down about the language. But luckily I keep a very detailed journal that was able to show that she is no where near alone, and that it really does get better. Oh and then I almost hit Senhor Pedro in the head with his bible. Seriously, I actually thought about it. We have been teaching this man since last transfer. I love him. I really do. And for that reason I cant bring myself to stop going to see him. I know he has his answer, but he just keeps coming up with excuses. One day he says that he will be baptized but is just waiting for his family. Other days he starts going through the bible to prove the Book of Mormon wrong. That was what was happening Thursday. He was going the through the bible as if he was trying to find the perfect verse to prove this all wrong. I knew that he would never find the verse so I got up and took the bible and sat down. We had been studying inspired questions so I tried to go heavenward for a question (as they so call it) and came up with this..."Senhor Pedro, what did you feel the first day that we met you" The response proved to me that it was a question that was in no way inspired..."I felt excited to be talking to such two beautiful ladies." Although I knew that he was completely joking, it was that response that made me tempted to actually hit him on the side of the head. But instead I just chose sadness as a response rather than anger and looked at Sister Peterson. She said that we should go. I remained quiet and then looked down and said a prayer. It was a little strange how much the feeling in the room changed. I prayed that I would have the words to say to get this stubborn old man that I love so much to actually realize what needed to happen. When I looked up at him, I had no idea what needed to be said but I just felt impressed to go ahead and start to talk. The tone of my voice and the words that came out, I can honestly say were not mine. I didnt stop once to think about the sentences I was forming. I never had to search for a word. I just talked firmly and confidently. I told him that we were there as representatives of Christ, to tell him that God was calling him and he was ignoring that call. He had been putting it off for nearly three months, and if he kept putting it off he would miss his opportunity. I told him a lot of things. I made a plan that would have him be baptized with confidence. I invited him to be baptized for the very last time, and he finally accepted. He accepted so fast that I almost fell out of my seat. It wasnt a yes, if things go right. It was a yes I will be. We sat there in silence and then I asked him to pray before we left. He prayed thanking Heavenly Father for the two angels that had been sent to him with power and authority to teach even the stubbornest of old men to draw closer to christ. He thanked God for everything in his life that had led him to this point. And then he prayed for the power to do what needed to be done. I learned an important lesson that day. I had been relying so much on my own abilities that I had forgotten that I had the help of the Lord. He knows his children. He knows what they need to hear. We have the authority to receive that help so they we can have the power to bring people to Christ. I love being a missionary. I love yall Sister Powell. HAPPY THANKSGIVING

Monday, November 14, 2011

November 14, 2011 7:45 AM

From: McKenzie Powell [mailto:mckenzie.powell@myldsmail.net] Sent: Monday, November 14, 2011 7:45 AM To: Mom; Kevin Powell; Alex; Sydney Subject: This week was tough. It felt like everything that could possibly go wrong went that way. And when everything is going wrong, it is really hard not to get discouraged. And it is when we are discouraged that Satan sure can start getting into your mind. As a missionary you always wonder if you really are doing your best, and you always feel like you need to be better. It gives you a lot of reason to grow, and usually I love it. But goodness this week, I just wanted to throw in the towel and run to the nearest movie theatre, buy some raisnettes, and stay there forever. But luckily I have Sister Peterson who is so awesome. She always has a smile despite not understanding anything that is going on in the world around her at the moment. haha. She really helps me a lot. She doesnt say much more in the lessons than the part that she has practiced, so it has left a pretty heavy load on me the past two weeks. I have had to stretch myself a lot in the language and in just being an effective missionary, but it has helped so much to know that I have her with me. I am supposed to be her trainer, but here she is teaching me. She always is up for any challenge. I am one that believes that the real learning comes from doing rather than watching, so I push her to do a lot of things that I dont think I would even have the guts to do at her stage in the mission, but she always goes in head first and is learning so fast as a result. Anyway we have this thing every week called companion inventory (which is something I think every married couple should apply to their lives). In comp inventory you talk about the unity you have in your companionship, the strengths of the other, and you end with something you can do to improve (Sister Bee was always the best at finding ways that I could be better...cut right to the heart at times. But the truth does that). Anyway here I was thinking the whole week that I was just not making a bit of a difference in anyones life (though of course I stick to the usual McKenzie route and dont say anything to anyone) and Sister Peterson just says exactly what I needed to here. Answer to prayers. And then we go to our meeting with the ward leadership and our leader who works with the seminary program started talking about two boys that were going to seminary every week and helping reactivate a whole bunch of young men in the area. I asked who they were and it turns out they are Paulo and Junior who Sister Nicascio and I found and taught in Terra Vermelha. It couldnt have made me happier. I am so grateful that God pushes us to be our best by giving us trials, but that he always sends us tender mercies to give us the hope and assurance we need to push on forward. I am so grateful that I am a missionary. Every week is flying by so fast and I wish it would stop. This has been the best 14+ months of my life and I have loved watching the small and great miracles that happen everyday while trying to do the work of the lord. It is a rollercoaster ride that I would gladly jump on again. I have asked Sister Peterson several times if she would switch places with me. Haha. I sure do love each and everyone of you. I am so grateful that Heavenly Father has blessed me with such a wonderful family. Life sure is wonderful. I hope yall are enjoying every minute of it. Love, Sister POwell

November 7, 2011 7:11 AM

From: McKenzie Powell [mailto:mckenzie.powell@myldsmail.net] Sent: Monday, November 07, 2011 7:11 AM To: Kevin Powell; Mom; Sydney; Alex Subject: This week I learned so much. Sister Peterson got here and about had a heart attack when she saw me. She thought for sure that I was Brazilian. But she was happy to see that that was not the case. It has been strange being without a Brazilian. I have learned this week that I relied on them very much to do a lot of things. But I didnt have them this week to take the lead in most of the conversations, to ask for directions (the words right and straight are very much similar it turns out), and to just make me feel comfortable here in Brazil. But this week gave me the chance to see that I am really able to do all those things much better than I thought. Sure I turned right when he said straight, but I figured it out. We taught some wonderful peolple this week and even were able to get some our recent converts to bring friends to church. I really am learning as a missionary that I need to be such a better member when I get home. I think I want to stay in our home ward for a few months just so that I can try to catch up on all the work I lacked on when I was home. Sister Michelotto threw up the entire night...We all know how I get when other people are throwing up. It was a long night. haha. But I prayed and we were able to get through the night. I have never met someone who gets as sick as much as sister Michelotto. But goodness I love that girl. I am so glad that she still is in the house as me. I have made so many great friends here in Brazil. I love you all. And cant wait to see yall in four months :) Love, Sister Powell

Monday, October 31, 2011

more pictures

Training once again

From: McKenzie Powell [mailto:mckenzie.powell@myldsmail.net] Sent: Monday, October 31, 2011 7:37 AM To: Kevin Powell; Mom; Sydney; Alex Subject: Training once again Goodness another transfer is over. And let me say, it was the transfer that I most needed. Sister Michelotto became one of my bestest friends, and we learned so much while having a blast. I am sad that it is over. Oh and I am going to train. Training lasts two transfers, so I will train and then only have one transfer left. Crazy huh? She is american too. I am more then a litte nervous. I have been blessed to learn the language quickly, but I still have a whole lot of improving to do. My accent is a mixture of southern USA and a little of Bahia...haha. But it will be great and I willl learn a whole bunch...com certeza. I always learn so much while training. I love it. It is always such a big responsibility to train. You feel that responsibility as well. But it helps to know that Heavenly Father trusts you enough to teach someone else how to serve as His servant. Sad news...Senhor Pedro was soooo sick this week that we had to push back his baptism. I was so worried about him. He always has such a big smile, but this week he was out of it and it showed. The elders came and gave him the most powerful blessing. He was blessed with health and with the strength to live many more years so that he could bring many onto Christ if he lived the commandments. 94 years old and still going. haha. I just love that man and know that he will do so many good things. I want so much to see him baptized this next transfer. Oh and I heard this week that the dad of a family that I taught in Vila Velha was baptized. I cant tell you how happy that made me. I cant wait til they go through the temple. That just makes everything all the worth it. IT IS SOOOOO HOT. I completely understand why people walk around this place half naked. I am tempted to do it myself, but luckily my name tag is always a constant reminder to behave myself...but the the awful tan line I have helps a bit too. I just love the tan lines on my feet. It is the best part. The other sisters change sandals daily so to avoid the tan lines, but I am trying to live up to the legend of Sister Morales. I most likely wont be able to beat her, seeing that she had a few more months than me and a bit more melatonin in her skin, but we will see how it goes. Well I should go. I love you all. I miss you tons. I am so grateful for each and every one of you. LOVE, Sister Powell

Monday, October 24, 2011

10/24/2011

From: McKenzie Powell [mailto:mckenzie.powell@myldsmail.net] Sent: Monday, October 24, 2011 8:49 AM To: Kevin Powell; Mom; Sydney; Alex Subject: Soooo much happens everyweek. It is hard to decide what I want to say. First of all! Edilene was married and baptized. I have so many pictures. The judge did NOT LIKE ME. haha. I took a picture of his face as proof. I asked Edilene to kiss her husband again so to get a picture, and when he heard me he about ripped my head off. So funny. I just feigned that I didnt speak portuguese. All went well. Sister Michelotto threw up 20 times on the Road Monday (after watching a movie in the casa de Presidente)! Yes I counted. It was pretty impressive. She is having major headaches and really needs to go to the doctor if they keep up. Keep her in your prayers. Our other roommate is having major health problems as well. Her face is having an allergic reaction to the sun. It looks awful. I dont know what they will do with her. I am just so thankful that my mission has been such smooth sailing when it has come to health...knock on wood. Senhor Pedro will be baptized this week! I just love him so much. He is 94 years old and was the founder of the Presbyterian Church here in Vitoria Brazil. We found him a few weeks back and he listened to our message out of curiosity. Turns out that his great-grandson is a missionary for our Church as well. He said that he felt something different in that first message and told us that he would honestly pray about our message. He has been studying the Book of Mormon and was taking the steps in Moronis promise very seriously for the past few weeks. He received his answer about a week ago but didnt want to say anything. We knew. Thursday I looked at him and asked him, why was a man with such faith in his religion still listening to our messages. He was silent. Then Sister Michelotto looked at him and told him that she knew that he had his answer, and God knew too. Haha. We went back the next day with the assistents to teach a lesson about the priesthood. It was a lesson of many results. First and most of all, Senhor Pedro decided to be baptized. I felt the spirit stronger than I have ever have as a missionary. I realized that those 20 year old boys were such better missionaries that I was. And I fell in love with both of them....haha just kidding. But not really. Seriously, it was the best lesson I have ever seen. They didnt say anything profound, but they brought a spirit that was so strong that you couldnt help but know that everything they said was true. I so need to be a better missionary. Good thing I still have some time to step up my game. Love yall soooooo much! Sister POwell

Happy birthday to me two months early

From: McKenzie Powell [mailto:mckenzie.powell@myldsmail.net] Sent: Monday, October 17, 2011 8:46 AM To: Kevin Powell; Mom; Sydney; Alex Subject: Happy birthday to me two months early Thanks for the birthday package. I was really surprised when President handed me a package at conference, and was even more surprised to see that it was a birthday package. haha. I thought about setting it aside and opening it up on December third, but when I saw all the things that I have been needing in it that thought quickly left my mind. But thank you so much for the birthday gifts! My roommates were so fascinated with all the things that I ended up giving about half of the hair supplies away. Yall made four Sisteres very happy. I had my interview with President this week. I love him. He is so funny and so relaxed. So different than any other president I have had. I tried to avoid all topics that would lead to talking about after the mission, but he was quicker than I was. He asked me to write all my goals down, and told me that in ten years he would be calling me to make sure that I reached all of them. THe sweet thing was, I know he is serious. It was a good interview. I was really able to see how much what I am learning here is going to help me in life after the mission. We talked about all sorts of things, and I think I have figured a lot of things out. God really has helped me sort out alot of things without really even noticing it. I know longer want the same things for myself. While on a mission, and focusing on things other than my self, God has helped me see what I should do with my life. He has placed people in my life that will forever be in it. And he has helped me forget about things I never thought I would. A mission was the best thing I could do with my life. I told President that I would stay here forever if they would let me, but I really am excited for the things that will come after. But the best thing he told me was that my Heavenly Father was extremely happy and content with the work that I had been doing here. That was answer to my prayer. BUT I also realized that there is still soooo much to learn here. AND I am so thankful that I have Four months and a couple weeks to do it. I love being a missionary. Oh, and get this. Want to know one of the reasons my visa took so long to get to me? Take a guess? MY NAME. Brazil was so worried about my middle name that the church had to pay the government extra money to let me in. Seems that "K" cannot be real name and has to stand for something. A man from the church headquaters was in the office when I went to be interviewed. Funny thing was that I didnt even notice that he was speaking to me in English until sister Michelotto told me later. She asked me why I responded to him in portuguese, and I told her because he was Brazilian and was speaking to me in portuguese. Rian was baptized this week, and Edilene will be baptized after her wedding thursday. I love weddings and I love baptisms. It will be a great week. LOVE YOU! THANKS FOR EVERYTHING YALL DO! lOVE SISTer powell

pictures from 10/10/11

Monday, October 10, 2011

This week just flew by. I am still loving this transfer. Sister Michelotto is the funniest person I have ever met. She makes everyday the funnest. Sure she takes about two hours to get ready everyday and is the least punctual person I have ever met, but she works hard and she makes working fun. I just love her. I love being a missionary. It is just the greatest. There is just always so much to learn. THis week we were working with an investigator and preparing him for his baptism. I was reading the questions that the elder would ask in his interview when we discovered that he struggled with homosexuality. It was a first for me while on the mission. We had to leave soon after but we told him that we would talk to him the next day. The lesson with him was one of the best of my mission. I was so nervous, but I realized that my nervousness was selfish. I prayed and taught the Law of Chasity as I would any other investigator and then invited him to live it. He looked at me and told me that he didnt think that would be possible. I thought for a moment, secretly hoping that Sister Michelotto would say something but it seemed that she was thinking the same, but then I thought about the plan of Salvation. The Plan of our Heavenly Father is perfect, because in it we learn who we are and the potential we have to become, so I talked about that. I talked about what it meant to me to be a daughter of God. The responsibilities and blessings that came with that knowledge. Each and every one of us has the potential to become something incredible, to become like our Heavenly Father. That was the message of His son...he invited us all to become perfect even as our Father which in Heaven is perfect. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the road we all must take to reach our potential, and God has promised that all of us CAN walk that path. Christ showed the way, and through His grace we are given the strength to do those things that seem very much impossible. I told him that I knew that if he wanted, he could live this commandment. Sister Michelotto went on to tell an experience that invited the spirit with a force I dont know if I have ever felt before. The SPIRIT was so strong, and when we left he was determined that he would be able to overcome his feelings and be baptized. How wonderful it is to see people make those changes they must, when they learn who they really are. I love being a missionary. I love sharing those things that mean the most to me. I love all of yaĺl Love, Sister Powell

goodness I have zero time (10/3/11)

What a week. I finally picked my football team. I am offically a corintiano (no idea if that is spelled right...shows you how fiel of a fan I am). But president was so excited that he gave me his Jersey...offical jersey too. It is huge but pretty darn cool. I also asked him if I could stay an extra transfer...his response...You should go home and get married. haha. I did another training, this time about how to study, and this time at President house. It was pretty good if I say so my self...thanks to a lot of help. Conference was amazing. I cried throughout the entire talk of Sister Dalton. I was able to watch it in English with a whole bunch of elders. I love conference. I love life. I dont like where we do emails. haha. But I will be better and write next week! Love yall. THanks for everything Love SISTER POWELL

Monday, September 26, 2011

eu amo vitoria

From: McKenzie Powell [mailto:mckenzie.powell@myldsmail.net] Sent: Monday, September 26, 2011 10:04 AM To: Kevin Powell; Mom; Sydney; Alex Subject: eu amo vitoria Life is so good. Have I ever told you how much I love being a missionary...because I do. And I am here in Vitoria, living right next to President. Well not right next to him...his apartment is worlds better than our tiny house (which the elders were ever so kind to leave somewhat clean). But we are in the same ward, and in a neighborhood pretty darn close to his. well darn, we are getting kicked off of our computers. That bugs. I have so many stories to tell.. How a met a 94 year old man that invited us to his Birthday party. He is awesome. The cake was pretty good too. How my companion is by far the funnest person ever. How we cunningly get ourselves into apartment complexes to teach. How awesome it is how the Lord prepares people. How much I love my new area. LOVE YOU! SISTER POWELL

another transfer

From: McKenzie Powell [mailto:mckenzie.powell@myldsmail.net] Sent: Monday, September 19, 2011 9:23 AM To: Kevin Powell; Mom; Sydney; Alex Subject: another transfer This was a week full of events. First, and most importantly, Julia was baptized! It was the best baptism I have been to so far. Carol (was baptized last week) bore her testimony and said the exact thing that Julia had said when she left the water..."I just felt light and at peace." It was so cool to see how confident Carol was in the gospel and how much her testimony helped all of our investigators that came. And then Julia`s mom, Isabella, spoke (she was baptized about a month ago and is one of the coolest people I have ever met) about how much the gospel had blessed her life and her family. I love that family so much. Jeter, the dad, will be baptized in the next coming week. Isabella is so excited to frequent the temple, and I am so excited to go with her and see her family be sealed for all eternity (don`t worry daddy, I will find some way to pay...we shall see). goodness, I love being a missionary....there is nothing better. But then there are the bad things that happen too. There is nothing better than seeing one of your converts stay firm, but there is nothing worse than hearing that they are not doing those things that are right. But moments like this Saturday make you want to stay forever. I think one of the things I love the most about the mission is learning how the Spirit works with me. I have made a lot of mistakes, but I really am coming to see how the Spirit will lead you to do and say those things that will help others and yourself. Using the spirit, is a skill that will take a lifetime to perfect, but I really am begining to recognize how the Spirit works with me. It is nice to know that I don`t have to do this work alone, to know that there is always someone that knows better, and all that I have to do is do my best and listen. It brings scriptures to your mind. It helps the words and principles of grammar to finally make sense. It leads you to the road you need to knock. It tells you the concerns of an investigator. It tells you where you should go and when you should be there. Everyweek can be full of spiritual experiences as a missionary-it completely weighs on you. This week I had a funny experience. I was sitting on the bus next to a girl that was having a serious problem with her boyfriend on our way home from an appointment. While I was enjoying listening to the drama of the teenager girl beside me, a thought came to my head to put my ring on my left hand ring finger. It was really really strange, but I decided to go ahead and do it. And goodness was I thankful that I did. It was then that I noticed that a man was slowly moving more and more close to me. Everytime someone got up to leave, he got closer. Usually this doesn`t bother me too much. I have cumulated more encounters with the men here in Brazil than I ever did with the girl-deprived 19 year olds in the MTC or with the very high men in Alabama combined (all which I have caused quite a few laughs and Sister Johnson to say various times that she no longer wants to be my companion). The men in Brazil are just funny (they say when they like what they see and they throw out marriage proposals like candy at a parade), but this one was beyond level of creeper. I started to get really uneasy and started to pray that the girl, who was now telling her boyfriend how much she loved him, would not get up and leave, but unfortunately she did. Creeper with the hairy chest and while pants then went in to make his move but luckily Sister Nicascio saw that it was going no where good and jumped in the seat before him. We both did not look at him and I told her that if he didn`t get off the bus that we would just stay on the bus until he left...she agreed. But here is the miracle of the whole thing-he decided to finally look away from my face and down at my hand, and goodness was he bummed when he saw the ring on my hand. He asked if I was married. Sister Nicascio quickly told him yes...haha. And that is all it took for him to leave. The ring is there to stay. Lastly, I am being transferred! I am really excited. Sister Johnson and Sister Nicascio will stay here, which will make the transition a little easier for Sister Nicascio. She is really sad, and I know I will miss her, but I am just really excited to be able to have a new learning experience. I am excited to see where I will be emailing ya`ll from next. LOVE YALL. THANKS FOR ALL THAT YALL DO! LOVE, Sister Powell

September 12, 2011

From: McKenzie Powell [mailto:mckenzie.powell@myldsmail.net] Sent: Monday, September 12, 2011 10:48 AM To: Kevin Powell; Mom; Sydney; Alex Subject: Carol was baptized. I was so happy. She was such an example to me. She has lived away from home since she turned 12 years old, and has had such a rough life. But despite the world trying its best to get her, she has remained one of the purest people I have ever met. She recognized the truthfulness of this gospel the moment we taught her the first lesson. She is a blessing to everyone in the ward, and has already helped them so much. The best thing about it was that as all the young women were greeting her, Julia (Daughter of one of our recent converts who had been doing everything to avoid being baptized) looked at me and said that it was just her that needed to be baptized now. So I invited her right then and there and she will be baptized now this next week! So exciting! I love baptisms. My body is starting to wear out... My companions tell me it is because I have turned into a robot (a robot with feelings and the spirit, but a robot nevertheless). Haha. But it is true. I just go, go, and go. For the past year I have woken up at 6:30 every day and I don`t stop until 10:30 at night. Even when I am sitting, I have to be doing something. I always have a portuguese grammar book handy and I am always learning. If we aren`t teaching, we do contacts. I have to be doing something, or I just go stir crazy. Can you believe it is already time for transfers? The time is going by way to fast. I let you know next week if I will be getting transfered or not. I don`t want to leave this area. I love it so much! Apart from our appartment being the most ghetto of places I have lived, I have zero complaints. The ward is amazing. There are always people to contact and teach. And I just love all these investigators! It is always so sad to leave them behind and not really know what happens. I found out that four of my investigators in Terra Vermelha were baptized three weeks ago! THat was exciting. God has his hand in everything, so I don`t think to much about transfers...but I really would like to stay here! I am pretty sure Sister Nicascio and I will be finally seperated. I think I really will be sad when that day comes. I love her so much. I think I really have learned what it is to love with her as my companion. There are days when I think about leaving her on the bus and making a run for it. She is difficult when she gets down, but the more I have learned about her, the more I understand why she is the way she is. I have learned to be happy even when those around me aren`t. I have learned to love when it isn´t easy to love. I have also learned to teach with her. She came on a mission not knowing hardly anything about the gospel. She came geared with her testimony, a never opened preach my gospel, and scriptures that she had read once in her life. It has been sort of like living with an investigator. It has been really tiring, but I have loved it. There has been nothing greater than seeing her grow. She teaches the gospel now better than I ever will. It has been such a blessing that I will forever be greatful for. Another bonus- in having to teach her and taking the lead in all the lessons, I have learned portuguese faster than most. Heavenly Father knows what he is doing. I am learning a lot from Sister Johnson. From the first day with her, I told her that she knew more than she thought, and that the only way she would know her strengths and what she needed to better was from going out and doing those things you think you can`t do. I think I scared her a little at first. I treated her as I have all my companions. We teach an equal amount. Contact an equal amount. And apart from the times that we are teaching Sister Nicascio english, and other very rare ocassions, I only speak portuguese with her. The cool thing is that she has never once complained. I can see at times that she is a tad scared when she goes to talk to the people, but she always goes out and does it. She has grown so fast. She is so quick with her scriptures, and truely loves the people we teach. Everytime she teaches I feel the spirit so strong. I will forever be grateful for everything that she has taught me. I love being a missionary. I love ya`ll. Thanks for everything ya`ll do! Love, Sister Powell

Monday, September 5, 2011

Eu quero ser um elder

Just kidding. Sister Nicascio decided to stay. I found my first grey hair. Ironically, Sister Nicascio found it. This week was a rollar coaster...as normal. Goodness, I love being a missionary, but sometimes I wish I was an elder. We worked really hard this week, but it seemed like nobody wanted to listen or keep commitments. I had my first day on the mission where not even my cuteness could get us into a house...it was more than a little humbling. haha. It was the day after Sister Nicascio decided to stay, it was very hot, and none of us had really slept for three days, and NOBODY wanted to talk to us. All our appointments canceled. Everyone said they were either evangelical, that they read the Bible (which is never the response to the question I start with), or that they were too busy. Needless to say that after 4 hours of batendo portas we were very much tired. I tried to keep my mood up because I could see that it was not going anywhere good. I tried to tell stories of people telling me that I was going to Hell in Alabama. I tried to tell stories of people that go their whole mission with days like this. I even tried to play games with our contacts. Nothing worked. haha. I think the more I talked, the more annoyed everyone elso got. It was a really fun day! But I learned an important lesson...to really appreciate all the success that we have the majority of the days. So that made me happy. Besides, everyone needs at least one day when nobody (and I mean NOBODY) wants to talk to them. So much happens in one week...it is really hard to pick out things to share. Oh! Carol will be baptized this week! I am so excited for her. She is such a sweet heart and when she prays I always get the boost I need. She is so humble, and loves this gospel so much. I love when we find people that just recognize that things are true and then act. I just love this gospel. I just love you all. And I just really want to go to bed. So I think I will end this. But don`t worry...I love ya`ll. And I am soooo happy :) Love, Sister Powell

another week

So I have a year in the mission now. Well, almost, but since I will be losing two weeks because of the whole visa fiasco, I have been out a year. Kind of a weird feeling. Somedays I feel like it passed by really fast. Other days I pray that it passes a bit faster. haha. This week was cool. Elder Costa came and visited! He talked with such power. I love it when we get to listen to general authorities. You always leave the conference with a spiritual high. You also leave feeling like you are scum, because you always realize that you have so much to be better. He told the story of the Sister missionary that taught him. I was determined that I would find a general authority this week, and ended up finding three spiritual (and very good looking) brothers who all came to church and committed to be baptized. I am convinced one of them will be at least in the quorum of the seventy. :) But if not, their presence made the single sisters in the ward very animated. haha. We are teaching some wonderful people. We are working our tails off too, and as a result are really turning this area around. It is affecting everyone! It was so cool to see how even the frequency in the ward went up! Cool stuff. I love the lord blesses us when we work. This week Satan has been trying to get me. I have said it before, but I will say it again- I have learned two things on my mission- God is real, and so is Satan. haha. He has tried every tactic to get me down. Even through a semi at me. Seriously! Luckily, an Elder was walking next to me and pushed me out of the way just as it rushed the corner! I think the Elder was more shooken up than me...it has been a long time since he has had to have so much bodily contact with a female. haha. What else happened this week...Oh I was walking the other day and I heard some man ask me, "Are you Joseph Smith`s church or Christ`s church?" The question surprised me, but I quickly responded by looking at my tag that we where everywhere and said, "If it was Joseph`s Church it would have his name on my tag. But it doesn´t...It is Christ´s church. It is our Savior`s Church." He looked a little taken back at my response, but it turned out well. We talked to him, and I think we were able to clear up some of things that he learned. it is sad to me that so many people think so little of Joseph Smith. But I know it is just because they know so little of him. A person that studies him and his life, comes to realize that so little of what he did was about him. He gave his whole life to the Lord. Little do they know that by talking so horribly about him, they are only proving that he truely was a prophet, an instrument of his Lord. He once said that his name would be used for good and evil, in every tongue and continent. And here I am in Brazil, talking to people about a man, with little education, little social status, who, under the direction of God, restored the Church of our Redeemer. Cool stuff. I am really sad today because Sister Nicascio is going home. I feel really guilty. For the past four months, one of my main goals has been to help her. Last night, I felt like I completely failed. As I always do, I started thinking about all things I could have done better, and then just started dwelling on them. I wanted so much last night to call ya`ll and just talk. Stunk. But I know that God will take care of her. Keep her in her prayers. I love you all. Thank you for everything. Love, Sister Powell

Saturday, August 20, 2011

I´m not in Terra Vermelha anymore

So I am now in a city. And Oh goodness is it different. I had gotten so used to Terra Vermelha- horses and all. But now I am in the city, and let me tell ya, it was a shock. The cars zoom by. The stores actually have options (I saw cereal for the first time in four months this week). And there are soooo many people to talk to. And I talk to them all, bums and all. Haha I think it was a bit of a shocker for Sister Johnson, but it is just so much fun. I love doing contacts. Speaking of contacts, a bird pooped on my head while I was in the middle of telling a man that we had a prophet today. Haha. That was fun. But it turns out God has a purpose in everything, because I decided I did not want to go the rest of the day walking around with bird gunk in my hair so I knocked on a door and asked her if she wanted to hear our message. Of course the answer was the usual, I am Evangelical (which is never the response to the question I ask to get the conversation going, but is always the response). But luckily, I was able to save the conversation by telling her my situation and she let me in to her house and even let me use some of her very good smelling shampoo. She thought it was so funny that she wants us to come back. We are working with some very different people. The people in Terra Vermelha were very humble, and these people are not so much. But it is fun teaching them, because they ask great questions and really seem to think about what we are teaching. Even better, they remember what we taught. It has made this week very enjoyable. We taught less lessons, but I am convinced that if we pick up the speed in our walking and plan a little better that we will be teaching lessons just like we were before! My favorite investigator (of the week) is Valmar. He is sooooo old and soooo cute. I just love going to his house and talking to him. One day we were talking about who knows what and I told him about my love for chocolate. The next day he had boughten one box for each of us. Made my week. My heart really does hurt for him though. He is very rich, but has no one. He told us that he lost everything because of his obsession for money, and now it was all he has left. He truely is alone, but his experiences have humbled him, and he truely is developing a testimony in this gospel. He is doing all the necessary step for baptism and has a date for next week. I am enjoying training Sister Johnson. It has been fun to see how much I have improved in Portuguese since the first weeks here. I am learning a lot from training her. It was the same with Sister Nicascio. I think when I get put in a responsibility where I have to teach, I always learn more than the people I teach. Speaking of teaching, I have to do a training at our zone conference tommorow. When the Elder called and asked me to do it, I tried to pretend that I didnt understand what he was saying...he didn`t buy it. haha That will be fun. Well I love you all. I love being a missionary. I love how much I am learning. I love the people I am serving. I MISS YA´LL! Sister Powell

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

o goodness I love yall.

From: McKenzie Powell [mailto:mckenzie.powell@myldsmail.net] Sent: Monday, August 08, 2011 10:03 AM To: Mom; Kevin Powell; Sydney; Alex Subject: o goodness I love yall.

Kallie Jade. I loved the pictures my dad sent of your wedding. I am sad that I missed it, but I am so happy that you are happy! Ì love you and Ryan. Ya´ll will make beautiful babies ;)

So another transfer comes to an end. I am getting transferred. And I am going to train an American- Sister Johnson. This whole mission thing can be quite stressful. It is a good thing that I love it! I am really excited. I love transfers. I love change. Who would have thought? I think Sister Nicascio might be coming with us so that will be good. I can understand a great deal of what is being said at this point, so we would get by without her. But, goodness, there are days when I run into a person and I could swear that they are speaking Chinese. I don`t think Sister Nicascio is too thrilled with the prospect of living with someone that is learning Portuguese even more so than I am, but it will be good for her. Maybe not for Sister Johnson...haha. Just Kidding.

I don´t really know what to write. I am going to go to the beach today and I am going to sleep. All day. Well until 6:00. Then I will run to all my investigators´houses and say goodbye. I hate goodbyes. I hate that it is very possible that I will never see these people again. You really learn to love the people you serve in a way that is very special. You worry so much about them when you leave too. I hate not knowing if they are going to church and staying active. I want to stay here forever and be my annoying (but still irresistibly charming) self. Yesterday, I watched Rafael ride his bike all the way to church and then watched as he decided to turn around and head back to his house. I literally threw off my bag, yelled at sister Nicascio to follow suit, and ran after him. Lets just say that I ran so much faster than I ever did in a cross country race. My coach should have used Rafeal to give me a little more motivation. I am sad to leave them, and I am more than a little worried. But God has a purpose in everything, and it is always for our growth. Everything will work out great.

I am so happy. I love being a missionary.

I love ya`ll.

Thank you for everything.

Love,

Sister POwell



Saturday, August 6, 2011

the week sister cunha cut my hair

HELLO! So today was crazy. We went all the way to Vitoria to get Book of Mormons and then back. The Brazilians have yet to eat lunch and they are all very cranky... haha. Sister Cunha cut my hair last night. Lets just say that it isn`t the worst hair cut I have had on the mission. I haveN´t seen the back yet, but the Irmas in igreja will for sure let me know if it is bad. Brazilians are brutally honest. I could have gone somewhere to get it it cut, but that would have just taken time. Funny where your priorities go on a mission. I figure...it is just hair and I sure have enough of it. , Rafeal finally was baptized. OH GLORIA (said in brazilian accent while raising my hands in the air...) He was a handful til the moment he walked in the font. First he was super late for his interview. We thought he wouldn`t show, but then we found him and I about hugged him I was so happy. The day of his baptism, I had to literally go into his house, find his pants, hand them to him, and walk him to the baptism. He asked me how much I got paid to do this... haha. Baptism sure can change people though, because the next day he went to church alone. He showed up early (with pants) received the gift of the Holy Ghost and had the biggest grin on his face throughout church. That man has driven me slightly crazy, but luckily we didn`t drop him. I said we would about 10000 times, but every time I went to his house with the intents of calling it quits he would say something that would change my mind. For example in a prayer he would say, "Thank you for sending the Sisters so I can be baptized and have a better life." Or I would find him teaching the plan of Salvation to a neighbor (sure he was telling him that we would like on the sun, but at least he was attempting to share the gospel). Or he would say something like, "You didn`t major in Portuguese before coming? How do you speak like that?" haha. The last was possibly my favorite. Anyway miracles happen, and this week they came in the disguise of Rafeal. But honestly, I love the mission. At times I didn`t like him, but I learned so much with him. He has changed so much. He prays, reads the scriptures, and brings his kids to church. He has a true desire to be better, and he has done what it takes. It is a miracle what happens to people. Sometimes it is hard to notice, but those gradual little changes become a huge change. What else happened this week...Oh I finally found out why I like my ward mission leader so much. He is Uncle Garin but Brazilian. Anyway I love you all. I am so happy. I have never been so tired and so happy. The church is so true. I hope you know how much I love ya`ll. Sister Powell



Monday, August 1, 2011

:)

From: McKenzie Powell [mailto:mckenzie.powell@myldsmail.net] Sent: Monday, July 25, 2011 10:19 AM To: Kevin Powell; Mom; Sydney; Alex Subject: :)

DEAREST FAMILy (and all else who read this), I got mail for the first time in forever (not because ya`ll don`t write, but just because we never get mail). That was fun. It was like reading Star magazine with everyone`s getting married, having babies, breaking up, and then getting back together. Even got a picture of a slightly creepy celebrity. I´m glad ya`ll are all doing well. I promise to be better with writing...haha. So this week was a roller coaster of emotions. Happens. I woke up one morning and Sister Nicascio had literally packed her bags and was ready to leave. First, I was surprised that I had slept through the noise. Second, that she really was seriously wanting to leave for home. I called President and attempted to explain what was happening and he spoke to her and told her to wait for the Sister´s Conference to talk to him. It was a hard week because her mood was one to rival with mom`s mood the day I took her Chanel Sunglasses out for a spin on the boat without permission, but I learned some valuable lessons. I prayed all week to know what to do, and for the first few days decided that we would just work til we passed out to keep her busy and from thinking about leaving. I don`t think I have ever walked so much, and my butt and knee are still more than sore as a result...haha. I don`t think I have ever talked so much either. I`m not a talker. I talk when I have something to say, but goodness did I talk this week...my vocabulary grew an incredible amount as a result. Sadly, working and talking didn`t seem to change her mind. So the last day I went into the bathroom and had myself a good cry, prayed for a bit, and then went back into our room and then it just came to me. I didn`t really know why but I went through all the Christlike attributes in Preach My Gospel and wrote something she had taught me about each. During companion study, I talked about how each of our companions teach us a little bit about Christ. None of us have every attribute, but one thing I have noticed is that each of my companions have helped me develop those attributes that I was lacking. I talked about Sister Stahly and how she taught me patience by example. Sister Bee and her consistent dilligence. Sister Morales and her pure love for all that we taught. Sister Cunha with her never failing smile and knowledge of the Gospel. And then last I talked about Sister Nicascio. I talked about each of the attributes she had helped me with. With two years in the Gospel, she has come on a mission and has touched so many lives with her simple, but yet profound faith, in our Savior. I have never seen someone so dedicated to this gospel, in her drive to understand and share it with others. It was neat talking, because I could truely tell that I was saying those things that she needed to hear. I talked about how we come on missions to help those that we serve, but also so that we can come to be more like our Savior. I talked about how grateful I was for each of my companions, because each left me better than I was when they found me. And it is true, I will forever be grateful for every single one of the companions the Lord has placed in my life. Later she told me that she had been thinking about leaving because she didn`t think she had any Christ-like attributes, but after talking to me she decided to stay. That felt good. I talked to President at the conference (which was about as awesome as Christmas), and he told me that helping her stay would make my whole mission worth it. That was nice to hear, but at the same time a bit heavy. Well, I should go. Plenty of eventhappened this week. - Rafeal talking about the Plan of Salvation with his friend. - Man that I found a month ago but never went to his house to teach because he told me that he wanted to marry me showing up at church with the other sisters. He proceeded to greet me as his blonde (yes I am nearly blonde now) green eye beauty and give me the biggest hug in front of all present at church. Sister Cunha`s face made it all worth it. -Walking in the rain but finding the most wonderful of people. -Graca wanting to be baptized. -A man pulling me over to tell me that one of the other Sister`s had been bit by dog...But what I understood was that one of them had been killed by a dog.

Oh how I love being a missionary. Thank ya`ll for making it possible.

I SURE DO LOVE YA`ll.

Sister Powell

Monday, July 11, 2011

Pictures tooo!

Hey everyone!

So according to the new President we CAN accept emails from other people other than our family, but we CAN`T send them. So that is cool :)

I can also listen to the music you sent me now Sydney. :)

So today I am going to the chocolate factory. I am more than a little bit excited! Hopefully this letter isn`t toooo scattered.

This week was wonderfuL! I don´t even know where I could begin.

Paulo passed the Sacrament. He looked so cute in his white shirt and tie. I don`t think I have ever been prouder. No, I take that back. Yesterday, when he went out with us and took us to one of his friends house. That was was my proudest moment. He taught all about the Book of Mormon, and testified in Christ and how his testimony has grown. Then at the end he looked at him and said that he would be coming to get him for church that next week. He is so awesome and is already talking about a mission!

I decided this week that I wanted an army of missionaries, thus my contacts have been aimed at any young man under the age of 26. It has created quite a few laughs in the process (I even got a somewhat tempting marriage proposal from a very attractive rapaz), but it has also helped find some wonderful investigators. One in particular is my favorite...if I was allowed to have them...Eptilo (who knows how his name is spelled). I saw him sitting in the park, and walked up to him and asked this question, "Why do you think there are so many churches today?" He looked at me like I was crazy, but really thought about a response. We talked for awhile, and he told us we could come and teach him later that week. When we taught him at his house, he was full of questions, but the cool thing was, they were all questions that had answers. I love that about the gospel. We have questions, but we can find the answers. Maybe not in that moment, but with time, we can find them. He wasn`t at his house when we came to teach him for the return appointment. That was frustrating. But as we were walking, I decided to say a prayer that we would see him... And just as I finished, there he was! We talked to him for a while, and I felt like we should give him a Book of Mormon even though we hadn`t taught about it yet. His eyes lit up so much while we talked. I am convinced he will be an Elder. Just ya`ll wait and see :)

I learned quite a few lessons about prayer this week, now that I think about it. Rafeal is having some major difficulties with giving up cigarettes. I have been praying that he would be able to overcome it, but the other night I thought about praying that he would get sick the next time he smoked. The next day, we showed up at his house and he was sick as a dog. Sister Nicascio asked him what was wrong, and he responded that he was fine until he smoked a cigarrette. He swears he will never touch another cigarrette. haha.

Well, I love you all. Thank you for being so wonderful. I am so happy :)

LOVE,

SISTER POWELL!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

July 4, 2011

I just wrote my new president in Portuguese...about gave me a heart attack. So this might be short due to my time limit.

I am tired.

So tired.

Paulo was baptized this week. If he was the last person that I help be baptized on my mission, I would still go home happy. He is already talking about his mission and I know he will work miracles. I felt it the first day that I met him...he has a future so important, and I feel so blessed to have had a part in helping it happen. I sang at his baptism and felt like aunt Carie at my farewell...I didn`t get pass the first line without starting to cry. What an amazing thing this whole mission thing is. What an amazing thing it is to help people come unto Christ, and then to watch them reach a potential that they didn`t even know they had.

We are teaching so many amazing people. They are exahausting at times, but they are amazing. I love them so much, but goodness can they be frustrating. Must be what it feels to be a parent at times, huh? They are teaching me patience.

Another thing I am learning (I should find another starter phrase, huh?) is to speak simply and to the point. I have no choice but to speak simply when speaking this ridiculously difficult language, but I am learning that when we speak simply it actually goes a lot better. Funny story--(I found it comical at least). We were teaching an investigator the law of Chasity. I let Sister Nicascio take the lead and invite him to live the law. His face was so funny as he struggled to wrap his head around what we were asking him to do (he is like this with every law we teach...he tries to make it so much more difficult than it is). So I asked him this, "Are you having sex with your girlfriend Rafeal?" His face gave the answer..."In order to live this law, you will have to stop having sex ." His response, "I don`t know if I can do that. I love her" "Then you can marry her. The law is simple...you can`t have sex. If you want to be baptized and live with our Heavenly Father again you will love this woman and marry her or love her and stop having sex with her."

He will be baptized this week...

Sister Nicascio´s face made the whole thing that much better.

I love ya`ll.

if that was entirely inappropriate, you don`t have to put it in my blog.

Love,

Sister POwell

Monday, June 27, 2011

Well I can't work a computer

I am trying to send photos, but the computer is speaking to me in portuguese and so is this 16 year old boy sitting next to me so it is creating quite the distraction. This week was so much better than last week! It was challenging but so fulfilling. Wonderfully so :) So I was made senior. I was in Alabama, but it is a whole different ball game in Portuguese. The first day, I serisouly thought I would puke seven times throughout the day (in everyone of our lessons). I have had to take the lead in almost everything. I have had to answer difficult questions. I have had to teach Brazilians. The amazing thing is, everytime I thought I wouldn`t be able to answer or teach, I would just force myself to open my mouth and by some miracle, I spoke portuguese (I am fully aware how awful my grammar is btw. I am sorry). It really is amazing this whole learning a new language as a missionary. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure I am not dreaming. We are also opening a new area. I am still in Terra Vermelha but we are working in an area that has never had missionaries before. I was so at a lost at where to begin the first day. I looked at Sister Nicascio and asked, " So which way do you want to go?" Her reply was a shrug of the shoulders. So I decided to ask the guy that was riding by on the bike. I am pretty sure he thought I was crazy when I said, "Hi young man (yes that is how they greet each other), we are missionaries of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and we need to know which way to go to find people that are ready to teach our very important message...So what do you think. That way? Or that way?" He was very much inspired. We found three people who will be baptized. And we will teach him this week. :) President and Sister Pickett leave this week. I was so sad to see them go. I will have three sets of mission presidents. It is a blessing that is for sure. I learn so much from everyone of them. President Pickett pushed me to be my best. From the moment I arrived he has asked me to do things that I didn`t really think I was capable of doing. I was wrong; he was right :) Have I told ya`ll how much I love you? Because I do. I feel so blessed to have so many wonderful friends and such a great family. Everyday I miss ya`ll. But I wouldn`t want to be anywhere else. I love Brazil. I love the people. I love being a missionary, and I love the message we have to share. God is in this work. It is His work. I love ya`ll Sister Powell

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hello!!

So I keep forgetting to send my address so I guess I will do that first off... Missao Brasil Vitoria Avenida Joao Batista Parra, 633 Sala 1501 Praia do Sua Vitoria, ES 29052-123 Brazil AH! Sydney and Alex your at college. Your pictures were so cute. Have people stopped you yet asking why you left your mission? I am so proud of you for going to orientation...that was Rachel and I`s first bonding experience. pha. So this week was possibly the hardest of my mission. We had a bus full of investigators, but we also had a bus full of problems. Let me do a quick summary of this week: - One of our best investigators decided to get drunk and hit his mom twenty minutes before our baptismal interview. The atmosphere was so awful. You could just feel the darkness in the house. He wouldn`t stop crying, making excuses, and yelling "oh gloria." The only thing that calmed him was me singing, "Abide with me it`s Evenin Tide." There is power in music. - Another one of our best investigators (to be honest they are all great) decided to drop us. - And another did the same. - Found a chicken leg in my food... - Another investigator decided that sleeping with her friend`s husband wasn`t that big of a deal. - Oh, and then there was this girl named Hillary Clinton (yes, her name was Hillary Clinton)...Every time I opened my mouth to speak she would say that she didn`t understand a word I was saying. There is nothing more annoying than someone being so preoccupied with your accent that they say that you aren`t speaking Portuguese (happened five times this week...yes I counted), but all the more annoying when the girl is 8, picking her nose, and named Hillary Clinton. - A toothless man nearly kisses me and frightened my companions so much that we got on the wrong bus. (I did get some free gum out of the ordeal). That was more funny than hard though. Men are ridiculous. Anyway, it was a fun week. I can`t remember what else went wrong but that is most likely a good thing. A lot of things went the way they shouldn`t. If there is one thing I am learning, Satan is real. He tries his hardest to stop this work. Be it creating a distraction while we are talking about the first vision or making a person`s life fairly close to hell the week before baptism. He doesn`t want people to find this Gospel, because he knows what it will do for people. He works in our minds as missionaries as well. Doubt is a missionaries worst enemy. He can`t reach us any other way if we are being obedient to the rules, but goodness, he sure can get you with doubt. I was ready to throw in the towel this week. It was the first week I actually wanted to go home (I know awful of me, but it is the truth). I wanted to call you so bad daddy. I was sitting on the bus trying my hardest not to cry in front of my companions and was thinking how much I just wanted to call you so you could fix everything. But then I remembered that I can always talk with my Heavenly Father, so I did. I love prayer. We truly can speak with our Heavenly Father in any moment, and he will always give us the comfort we need. That was a turning point for my week. I will give another quick overview: -Lillian was baptized. I have never felt the Spirit so strong. -We found a family, Aparecida, Paulo, Pedro, and Junior, that I know have been waiting for this message their whole lives, and they were are prepared and willing to accept it. There is nothing so amazing than hearing someone say that they knew we were sent to them from God the moment we stepped into their house. There is nothing so amazing than hearing someone share the experience of praying and finding for themselves that it is true. There is nothing so amazing and so gratifying than realizing that you found someone that you promised you would find. -Maria da dores (spelling???) walking into church with a wonderfully scandalously blue dress and enjoying every minute of it. -Sitting in the bus and realizing that the people were no longer speaking gibber-jabber. I could follow mulitple conversations on the bus. A mission is a roller coaster. That is for sure...this week will be even more so. I just found out that I will be made senior and continue the training of Sister Nicascio and getting our own area. We will stay here but our area will be split. It will be a challenge for sure, but there will be lots to learn. :) O goodness...I AMO YA`LL!! OBRIGADA for EVERYTHING! LOVE SISTER POWELL!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Another Week (from 6/13/11)

DEAR FAMILY! This week has been wonderful. I have learned so many lessons and have seen so many miracles. We are working hard everyday and are learning the importance of planning. We have so much work to do, and it is important that we plan well so that we can make the most of our time with our investigators. I have learned many a lesson while being a missionary, but one thing that I am still learning is that with faith we really can do anything. When I was in Alabama I was in a ward that hadn`t had a baptism in nearly a year. I came into the area oblivious to that fact, and my companion and I made goals that seemed a little far fetched at first. But everyday we went out, did our best, and depended on the Lord to make up the rest. I learned an important lesson then- our goals affect the results we have at the end of the week. If we prayerfully make a goal and have the faith that the Lord will help us meet that goal if we do all in our power to make it happen, it will happen. By the time I left, the I had met my goal that at the time seemed crazy, and Sister Bee was well on her way to meeting hers. I am learning that lesson all over again in my area by putting it to test here. I have loved working with both Sister Cunha and Sister Nicascio. They are both willing to make goals that push us and then to do all they can to reach those goals. I am learning so much from them, and we are having fun doing it. They push me to do things that make me uncomfortable- divisions, taking the lead in lessons, talking and sharing my ideas. Since being with them I have not only improved drastically in the language, but as a missionary as well. They are great missionaries with great faith and work ethic, and the Lord is working miracles through them and as result through me as well. But that isn`t all! We are working with so many people that next week we will have bus pick up all our investigators...a bus (one of the perks f having a bus driver as a branch president). And it is all because we made a goal, work harder than I have ever worked in my life, try our best to be as obedient as possible, and then have the faith that lord will help us meet our goal. There are so many people with dates that we are often doing divisions so that we can teach all our investigators. Whenever I leave the side of my companions I have a slight heartattack, but it has been good to see that I am capable of teaching (english and portuguese) and speaking in portugugese. I have a lot of room for imporvement....a lot of room, but each day is a little better. It has been a struggle at times...a lot of times. It has been a humbling couple of months, but I have loved every minute of it. If there is one thing I have learned about myself while being a missionary, that it is my mind that limits what I do, but with faith in the Lord I really can do anything if I push myself to go out and do it. I have so much to learn, and I know that it is my lack of faith that keeps me from accomplishing more. I look forward to another week here to try to be a little better. I LOVE YA`LL! Sister Powell SPIRITUAL moment for President, but I will send it to ya`ll as well. Love you. It is hard to pick one miracle or spiritual experience that I have witnessed on my mission here in Brazil. One thing I love about being a missionary, is that everyday we see miracles if we are looking for them. Sometimes, they are so small that they are hard to take notice, but if we continue to be aware of the little daily miracles, we can one day come to see something truly remarkable. Usually, those little miracles are seen with the people we teach. The person that stands out to me the most this week is Marcelino. The first time we met him, I didn`t want to go back. He was strange and his mother, Maria, was even stranger. The house wreaked of smoke and beer to the point that it was hard to breathe. We quickly gave a rushed version of the first lesson so that we could leave before Sister Nicascio passed out from the smell. We committed to them to pray, and were about to leave without making a return appointment when Marcelino asked if we could come back the next day. When we came back the next day, we already had in mind that we would most likely be dropping them. I never will think that again about an investigator. Marcelino and Maria had both prayed, they both had received an answer, they both wanted to be baptized, and they wanted us to come back the next day. We continued to visit them daily and they continually agreed to make the necessary changes to be baptized. Each day the house smelled a little bit better, and each day they looked a little bit happier. The gospel was working miracles with them before our eyes little by little. One day while we were teaching, Marcelino left the room for a moment and came back with a very large container of water. He told us that before he met us this would have been the normal amount of alcohol he would drink in a day, but since meeting us his desire to drink had disapeared. I will never forget that moment. He was a new person, and it was not because of anything we did. I know it was nothing I did. It was the Spirit that we brought into his home, and who he invited in everynight when he read the passages in the Book of Mormon we left him. It was the miracle of the Atonement. It was the love of a Heavenly Father who never lost sight of who Marcelino really was and the potential he had to become. It was a miracle that I almost missed the chance to wittness. There are miracles everyday in this work. The Lord is changing lives, and he is using us, his far from perfect servants, to help in that work.

Halfway (from 6/6/11)

So this week was hard. Not sure why...Actually I know why. It was my lack of focus (a member watching the new Harry Potter movie did not help!! haha). It made the days just drag by, brought on a dose of homesickness, and all the rest. But I gave myself a good kick in the butt and went to work, and it was amazing how much better the week went. One thing I have learned, you can`t be a missionary while thinking about yourself. Just doesn`t work out well... So I am officially halfway into my mission! How crazy is that? I feel like I have been a missionary forever, but then at the same time, it feels like yesterday that Rachel dropped me off at the MTC. I love being a missionary. Everyday is a roller coaster of emotions, but I love it. I am so grateful for these last nine months for all the people I have met, for the experiences I have had, the opportunities to grow. But I am even more grateful that I have another nine months to the same and even more. I love how everyday we can learn something new. I love to study and I love to learn, and a mission is a great place to do it. I am constantly walking around with note cards, a book, or something to memorize. And it is not just learning the language that I love...I love studying this Gospel. The Plan of Salvation absolutely fasinates me. It blows my mind how perfectly simple it is, but yet, how intricately complex it can be. It is a great thing to ponder about when my mind starts to wander... I love how in the Church of Jesus Christ we have the resources to learn something new everyday. We have the scriptures (Book of Mormon, Bible, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price..), the prophet, and the Holy Ghost, and as a result, the amount of things we can learn in this life is endless--always something new to learn, and always something new to apply to your life. The cool thing is, that it is in the application that you truly do the learning. This week Daniela and Andriea were baptized! They are such cute girls and are such an asset to our Branch. Andriea will start seminary and is always so excited at all the activities. After the baptism she came out with us to teach, and it was the greatest experience. Both those girls will not only bring the gospel to the rest of their family but will lift all those around them. We are working with some amazing people. It is crazy how busy we are! We have started to do divisions more so that we will have time to see all our investigators. It about gives me a heart attack every time I have to leave Sister Cunha and Sister Nicascio`s sides, but it is a great learning experience. I still have to listen so hard that I have a constant headache so that I can understand things that are going on and be able to communicate, but I am starting to gain more and more confidence. I found out this week that I will be teaching an English class in our branch. It should be fun. I will keep ya`ll updated. Speaking of reaching points, I have started to have to stuff food in my purse. These people do not take no for an answer...I love to eat, but if I ever want to get a reasonably attractive husband when I return (which is something I will inevitably have to do...I am starting to come to grips with that) something will have to change...so for now the food goes into the purse. I am actually surprisingly sly...very surprising, I know. Well we are going on a little trip today to the convent. I will take pictures for sure! There will be monkies!! Speaking of monkies, we were teaching a lesson, and a monkey climbed up and stole a banana...seriously. I love Brazil. I love ya`ll. Thank you for everything you do! OH! And have fun on the family vaction! And Sydney and Alex, have fun at BYU!!!! Be good :) Love, Sister Powell