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


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 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

untitled 5/30/11

(I've been out of town for a while, so have a few of Sister Powell's emails to post) This one is from May 30, 2011:

There is so much happening here. I feel so blessed to be serving in such a wonderful area with such wonderful companions. Everyday I learn something new from either the people we are teaching, my companions, and the Spirit. I am so thankful to be here.

We found so many wonderful people this week. We are teaching so much, walking so much, and working so hard that it is a fight to stay awake in my prayers at night (more so than before that is haha).

I learned an important lesson about judging people this week. The first time I met Maria and Marcelini, I thought for sure they were crazy. Maria wouldn`t stop repeating the things we were saying, and she made nearly impossible for me to get a word out. I had no desire to go back, but we did. I am so glad we did! They are two of the funniest people I have ever met. Marcelini`s story is awesome. He has come in contact with missionaries 4 times before. Three times he told them he wanted nothing to do with what they had to say, and the fourth time they never showed up for the follow-up appointment (That made me want to kick myself in the butt). He told us he knew what we had to say was true because the peace we brought in his home was unlike anything he had ever felt before, and that ever since we left the day before he had been praying that we would come back. It was cool to see the difference in his face. There was a new kind of light to it, and in his mom`s as well. His mom is bit crazy, but I think we all become acrazed with age....

But the story of them gets even better! I did a division Sunday morning. Sister Nicascio and I went on our own to teach two lessons while Sister Cunha went with an Irma in our ward. I about had a heart attack, because Sister Nicascio is a very new missionary, a very new member, and hardly says a word in our lessons so I knew that it would be me that was leading the lessons. The first lesson we taught was an absolute disaster. I wanted to curl up in a ball and cry, but luckily my pride kept me from doing it. The second lesson was with Maria and Marcelini, and it will forever be a lesson I remember. Maria`s nephew was there, and he was absolutely obnoxious. As soon as we started reading a passage from the Book of Mormon he went on a rampage about how the book was of the devil and that what we were doing was of the devil as well. I about had a panic attack when Sister Nicascio didn´t say a word, but then Marcelini got up and sat beside me and told his couisn that each time he read the book he felt it was true so that was that. The next thing I knew Maria was saying the same. The spirit that their testimonies brought to the lesson was exactly what I needed. I was able to teach calmly about how the Book of Mormon testified of Christ, to teach the purpose of the Book, and then to invite him to meet with us this week to learn more. The change that came about him was remarkable- he went from looking like he had aunts in his pants to...I don`t know what...a calm person that wants to hear more (I know, I`m so creative). Point of the story, I love Maria and Marcelini. I will never forget that moment with them. Each time we go to their home, they are progressing. Each time my testimony is strengthened in what this gospel can do for people. Marcelini and Maria are Heavenly Father`s children and they have been looking for this gospel for quite sometime. I think often times we want to find people that are ready to be baptized that week, but I am grateful that is not always the case. We find people, and then help them understand the Atonement so that they can become better. It is beautiful process to observe.

I love being a missionary. This week was a little harder then others. I want so badly to teach like I was in Alabama. To be the missionary I was there, but it is a struggle everyday to get the message across that I want. I am learning patience- something that the Lord has been trying to teach me since the start of my mission. Everyday I improve in my ability to teach, but it takes patience and diligence. I end everyday with a headache, but I am happy. I am happier than I have ever been.

Thank you so much for all that ya`ll do.

I LOVE YA´LL (haha my companions are saying ya`ll in our English lessons :))

Sister Powell