Thursday, March 31, 2011

Hey Family

First, I just wanted to apologize to all ya'll for my horrible grammar. I printed out a few of my blog posts and read over them, and realized that I sound like I was raised in the swamps of Louisiana. I promise I did earn my grades in my editing classes. I know that might be hard to believe. I can't make any promises this one will be better, but here it goes... So this week we were able to go to the Birmingham Temple to do a session and then have zone conference. I love the temple. This time was particularly special. I wish we could go more. I learned a lot at conference. The thing that stuck out to me most, when President asks you to do something, you do it. He asked me and and my three roommates to sing spur of the moment. Bout gave me a heart attack, but we did it. I love our mission president. He truely loves us, and it is shown through how he serves and teaches us. I feel very lucky to have been part of his mission. Scott was baptized this week! He is something special. I have loved teaching him. Each time I left a lesson with him I learned something new. He has an amazing spirit, and he will touch many lives. He is already talking about going on a mission in a year. Nothing would make me happier. Crazy thing is, I never would have met him if I had left two weeks ago with the rest of my MTC district. I feel very lucky to have been here. I love how each day, I can see reasons for why I am here. Lee made some true progress this week. I love Lee so much. He has made so many changes to his life already, and this gospel will only make him stronger. It has been hard teaching him, because he has had a hard time accepting that more could benefit him, but this week he told us that this was exactly where he belonged and that he would start praying about a date to be baptized. He is painting me a picture right now, and I'm really excited about that. He is an amazing artist. I learned an interesting lesson this week. Things that I already believed, but I was really able to see this week. This gospel makes good men better. Scott and Lee already knew Christ. They have seen the miracles that He works in their life and have tried their best to follow Him, but since they have started reading the Book of mormon, listening to the words of latter-day prophets, their faith in Christ has increased. Their lives have changed for the better, even though they were already good people. And it is for that reason that we go knocking on doors of the people of the South. The message that God has to share is for everyone. Its power will transform any person's life. Living this gospel gives us reason and the way to wake up each day and become better. I love that. It has helped a lot in motivating me in talking to these people. That is what I love so much about being a missionary. We see the gospel work on people's lives in a very accelerated way. I have loved watching the changes it has brought to the people that have become as dear to me as my family. I have loved seeing the changes it has brought to me. I am the hardest I have ever been on myself and am constantly finding ways to improve, but I have never been happier. Have I told ya'll how much I love being a missionary? Because I do. Thank you so much for making this possible. Love, Sister Powell

Monday, March 21, 2011

FW: run over by a pit bull

[NOTE from Sister Powell's dad: I keep this blog for McKenzie and missed posting her email last week. The post before this one (also posted today) is last week's email. Just got really busy. Sorry, but the great thing is we get two posts this week. Think of it as a bonus! :)]

Ok, so the bikes are awesome. I love the bikes. Not only is it the perfect excuse to have about ten people a day ask what we are doing, but I love the exercise. I even get double, because Sister Bee is so slow that I often have to back track. She is hillarious- one speed only. I tried teaching her how to use gears and such, but she doesn't seem to want anything to do with it. Have I told ya'll how much I love Sister Bee? Because I do. If she was a male, I most likely would marry her.

But back to the bikes, because they always make the best stories.

I was not pulled over by any cops this week, but I was run over by a pit bull. Jasmine is the biggest pit bull I have ever seen. At first glance I thought I was looking at a black bear, but I was then assured by the owner that his dog was completely friendly but did like tires so I should keep my distance. Well, as typical, we started talking about the gospel to the owner, and while I was looking for a Word of Wisdom phamplet, I was tackled by the dog. Jasmine ways far more than me (even with the ten pounds I've gained as a missionary...I know mother, I know) so needless to say me and my bike went a crashing. As a result, I now have a very attractive bike mark on the side of my left leg. But it all worked out for the best, because yesterday I was able to win "my scab story is better than yours" in my car ride with Tyler (a nine year old) and was invited back to the guy's place.

Let me see...So Scott is being baptized this week. Scott is amazing. I don't think I have ever said anything about him before. In our first lesson with him, he was not all there...He could barely open his eyes and he said the most outrageous of things. For example, "Bob Marley is a prophet." Needless to say, I judged him and didn't think it would go anywhere. Next time we met with him, not only were his eyes able to open, but he had read almost half of the Book of Mormon. He was making all these connections to the Bible that I have never even made. I learned a really big lesson from that-never judge anyone. We don't know there story. We don't know what has made them who they are at that first moment we meet them, but we do know what the Gospel of Jesus does for everyone. Since then, he has invited two of his friends to come and meet with us, and they are both planning to be baptized as well.

I live for moments like those. Missions are so hard. This week we have been working some really different areas. I have felt like we should go to this area for a while, but I put it off because it is one of the wealthiest areas in Huntsville. You know what Christ said about a camel passing through an eye of a needle being easier than a rich man entering the kingdom of God? (don't quote me on that one) Well, it is true. The richer you are, the less hospitable you are. (once again, don't quote me on that). I have had more doors slammed in my face this week, than I have ever had in my life. To be fair, I know they have no idea what we are doing, but it still doesn't make it easy. I cry almost everytime- like I said, they don't know what it is they are rejecting. I start to get really frustrated. I start to wonder why God would send young missionaries to tell the world His message, when we will only ever touch a few. But then I think back to the plan our Heavenly Father has for us, how everyone will have an opportunity, and my doubt is replaced by calm. Then someone will not just slam the door, but tell me something that is truely disturbing. Then again I start to get worked up and think about their beliefs and hate in my mind. But then I go back and think about the plan our Heavenly Father has for us, how I have come to know it is true, and my feelings of frustration and doubt are replaced by the sweetest calm. This happens over and over throughout the day, and it is interesting thinking back at it. The feelings, the doubts, the conclusions all helped me in teaching someone later that week. The feelings, the doubts, the conclusions, all helped me strengthen my testimony.

The gospel is so true. It brings us happiness and makes us better, because it brings us to Christ. And that is what this life is all about. We left our Heavenly Father, only because we knew that we could come back to him better than we were when we left him. I love being a missionary. I love how hard each day is, but how absolutely wonderfully worth it always ends up being. Thank you for helping me in this. I love ya'll so much.


Sister Powell


Well, thank you all for making up for the lack of love last week. (Just kidding mom, I know you emailed me.)

So, I'm officially the last left in Alabama. haha. (Other than Elder Rapelye, but he doesn't count because he didn't put in his visa stuff until he was in the MTC). My entire MTC district's visas came in...I was a tad bit frustrated. I'm not going to lie. I have been trying really hard to keep my mind of it and focused on a result I now have the "Living Christ" memorized in Portuguese. Seems that I actually am a whole lot better at memorizing things when I'm under stress. Haha. Reciting it out loud or in my head has a calming affect on me. First off, it is a beautiful testimony of the life our Savior. Second, reciting it means that I can't think about anything else. So now whenever I lose focus, I say that. Works out well.

But don't get me wrong, I love being in Alabama. The people are awesome. Speaking of awesome people, I have a funny story for all ya'll. So we have a family we are teaching in Shondanay's neighborhood. So every time we go to their house, we of course stop and see Shondanay and her family. Well this time when we left, I noticed two police cars barricading the road. The presence of police cars, is not an uncommon thing in North Huntsville, so I give it little thought. I just hike up my skirt and get on my bike and hope they won't mind us riding pass...Little did I know, that their barricading of the street was to keep Sister Bee and I from doing just that. The police get out their cars, hike up their pants, give each other exasperated looks, and say, "Ma'am what is it that ya'll are doing." This hasn't been the first time I have been asked this by a cop, so I tell them we are missionaries and are just going around talking to people. His response, "We were called in saying that ya'll were selling drugs." I laughed, but stopped quickly when I saw that his face was the picture perfect replica of mom's when she finds out that I "borrowed" her favorite Rock&Republic Jeans. I look at Sister Bee for some help, but she is silent (which is a rare thing for sister Bee to be). I then somehow rambled off an explanation, thinking the whole time how much I was going to enjoy sharing this experience to ya'll in my blog and half hoping that they would take us in so to make the story even better, but they were satisfied with a piece of literature to show the lady that the two girls with matching bikes and helmets and wearing ridicoulsly long skirts were in fact who they said they were. It was one of the best moments of my life. How many of you have been pulled over and asked if you were selling drugs?

So on that spiritual and uplifting note, this week really has been awesome. I had a really good time at the sisters meeting. Realized that there was a lot about myself that I should improve if I was really going to give my investigators my best. President and his wife really are the coolest people I think I have ever met. Both them have written enough books to fill my bedroom bookcase, but despite being smarter than everyone in the room combined, they are humble. I could sit and listen to them talk for hours (and we do...I could not feel my butt when we left).

We are tracting a new area. I love it. It is the historical district of Huntsville. It is beautiful! We are tracting a very different kind of people than we are used to, but I love it. It is amazing to see how the Lord has prepared people wherever we go. I love going out every day and finding.

We are also teaching some people that are really pushing me to become a better teacher. They ask such amazing questions and not all of them are those that I can answer. I made a promise to myself at the beginning of my mission that I would never force an answer. That if I didn't know it, I would tell them so and go and find the answer. Cool thing is, that in every question that is asked, there is always an answer. It makes studying all the more fun, because there are a lot of things I don't know! The investigators seem to like that though. We are teaching couple right now who is proving to be the most challenging (in a good way). James always says that he keeps trying to prove us wrong, and it is driving him nuts that he can't. I pray a lot when we go into those lessons.

His wife has had a lot of contact with Anti-Mormon literature, so she has also been fun to teach. It is so sad how much money people pay to fight what we are doing, but little do they know that it actually can be used to our advantage. The other day she was reading some of it out loud and it was so interesting to see how it completely chased away the spirit. I noticed that and read her a scripture from Galations that explains the fruit of the Spirit, and immediately I felt better. I asked her to explain how she feels when she reads that literature compared to when we read from the Book of Mormon and the Bible and she said the exact same thing I was thinking. Pretty cool, huh? The Spirit really is the number one teacher.

Well I love ya'll. I sure do appreciate every one of you. I couldn't be doing this without ya'll. I hope you have an amazing week!


Sister Powell

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I'm just so happy :)

From: McKenzie Powell [] Sent: Mon 3/7/2011 11:35 AM To: Kevin Powell; Mom; Sydney; Alex Subject: I'm just so happy :)
Prepare for a guilt trip family... I get online and only have an email from Alex, grandma, and Megan. What is with that? I expect handwritten apologies from every single one of you!
So this week was a little rough. I was sick for a while and so was sister bee. Sister Bee had some kind of cold that kept us from going on our bikes in the rain. I was throwing up in the bathroom all one night. I will say this, I don't care how old I get, when I have a stomach bug all I want is my mommy. Anyways, that was no fun.
But a miracle happened this week! After eighty eight years of life, Sister Hazel prayed in front of a man. It was the most amazing thing ever. Sister Hazel grew up Church of Christ, and in that church, women are not allowed to pray or teach in the presence of a man. We were just closing our lesson with a prayer and as soon as Sister Bee stopped, Sister Hazel started up. She just thanked our Heavenly Father for sending Sister Bee and I to her and Brother Thomas, and asked him to watch over us as we left. It was one of the simplest prayers I have ever heard, but it was by far the most beautiful. I wish ya'll could have seen Brother Thomas's face afterwards. Sister Bee said that his hands were shaking throughout the whole thing. We didn't say anything about it until after we left. I knew it would embarrass her, more so than our faces were already doing. But it simply was a miracle. That moment was the beginning of an answer to many prayers.
What an amazing thing a mission is. Tomorrow I will have been out for six months. How strange is that? I don't think I can think of a time I have ever been happier. I realized the other day that that happiness comes from having the spirit with me always. I want to feel like this all the time. Even when things go downhill (which they do often), I still just feel happy. I don't know how to really explain it. I am coming to better understand how to utilize this wonderful gift that I was given at eight years old. I have realized that when I pray for guidance, do all that is in my power to receive it and prepare for it, I can know those things that will help me in my work. I have also learned, that as I stop relying on myself, the spirit provides a way for me to teach each of my very different investigators. I have learned so much, I feel myself changing more so than I ever have before, and I very much like the changes that are coming.
In the words of Uncle Randy, "I'm just so happy!"
haha. Another thing that I'm learning, is that as I study for those I teach, I learn so much more than I ever could by studying for myself. I hate thinking about myself these days. I don't ever want to go back to a world where I become the main focus. I think I'll just stay doing this forever.
Well, my friends. I love you. I miss you. I hope ya'll are having a wonderful day. Thank you for making this possible. Oh, and daddy, I'm going to buy new shoes. Just thought you should know.
Sister Powell

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

What an amazing week!

So first off, let me send you some pictures from our last three baptisms. Three baptisms in three weeks! What a blessing! The first one (below) is of Terry. Terry is awesome. He gets on my last nerve, but I love him stilL! haha. Never mind the awkward pose I'm on. I was trying to bridge the awkward gap between my body and his by using my head...not a good idea. Lesson learned. Anyways that was an amazing day. He showed up thirty minutes late, of course, but he showed!

The next one is of Lynnette. Goodness, I love that girl. Isn't she just the cutest? The senior missionaries that are with us are the Sessions. They are so much fun to work with, and it is so nice to have them around. Elder Sessions saved me and my bike this decided to deflate completely on one of the busiest streets in Huntsville. So he came to the rescue and had it fixed in five.five minutes. I was very impressed. (Oh, by the way, I'm converted to the bike. Not only does it cut travel time in half, but It is so nice to get exercise in...I feel happier each day. My butt hurts like no other, but I'm happier. The neighborhood of Huntsville loves it too.)

The next is of Shondanay. That was the baptism we had this week! It was so special. Her mom came and everything, and now we are teaching her sister and her mom (and the dad is listening from the kitchen each is the funniest thing ever. LOVE IT!) There is something so special about that family. They just recognize truth and they live what they know. I love it. Goodness, I I just love being a missionary and working with people.
The next picture is of Raphael from BRAZIL. He was baptized this week as well. That was a very humbling/amazing experience. I had so much fun driving to Taldega (still no idea how that is spelled) with Sister Bruno. She is so amazing. She has been through so much, but is still one of the happiest people I have ever met. It was fun talking to her the entire way up. She started freaking out towards the end though, because she was nervous about teaching Raphael. We didnt' know how much he would knew, because he doesn't speak very much english and the elder teaching him didn't speak very much Portuguese so it was our job to make sure he understood everything. Haha...let's just say her freaking out didn't make me any more calm about my first real teaching experience in Portuguese (Ernesto doesn't really count, because he just thought that he was giving us a language lesson). But it went so well. I just listened for the most part, and was amazed at the things that I could understand. But there were times that I asked questions, shared my testimony, and even taught. The last thing I said was so cool. I didn't think about what I was saying, I just knew that he needed to hear it, and it came out so clearly that surprised not only me but everyone in the room I think. It was a neat experience that I'm very thankful that I was able to take part in.
The next picture is of our apartment. Goodness, I love those girls...excuse me, sisters. They are so amazing. It is so fun to come home each night, and to exchange our stories. Sister Jones, is very popular with the men these parts, so that always makes for a laugh or two.

The last picture, I just thought you would enjoy. One of my favorite things to do these days is to sing to Sister Bee. She loves it. phaha. Not.

So lets see, what happened this week. Better question, what didn't happen? It was an amazing week, but I think yesterday takes the prize of being best day of the mission. Want to know why? Ok, I'll tell ya.

We are teaching this man, Brother Coleman. Scares the snot out of me (sorry for the gross imagery). Only reason we went back this time was because his wife wants it so badly. THey have been married for thirty years, and he has been taught by about a hundred set of missionaries. They all are scared of him. Why you ask? Because he is a huge man who knows the bible front and forwards and tells you how little you know. That's why. Anyway, we go back despite my wishes. We go in and start talking about who knows what and he precedes to tear us apart. I stay quiet for sometime and then open my mouth despite wanting to, and he then picks apart everything I have to say...that brought on the tears. And that is where it all changed. Not really the tears, but what I said. I'm not even sure what I said, but I told him pretty much that he scared me, that I didn't want to talk to him because of that, and that only reason I was here was for some strange reason I loved him, and know that no matter what he says that this gospel will help him. I then bore my testimony about the gospel of Jesus Christ, and how everyone will have the opportunity to accept it, and that he shouldn't let his pass him by. Like I said, I don't remember what exactly I said, but I do know I said those things the Lord wanted him to hear. I guess, it just took a crying girl to get him to actually listen. His wife was so shocked when he agreed to read the Book of Mormon and to pray. Now I can't wait to go see Brother Coleman. He's really not that scary afterall :)

I wanted to tell ya'll more, but my time is out. I wish I had more time to write. I sure do love ya'll. Thanks for everything. What an amazing experience this has been so far. Thank you for making it possible!


Sister Powell