Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Pictures!!!

THE Christmas Package!!!


We love them swedish fish!!


Christmas decor put up the day before christmas.
 naturally.

Happy Christmas Harry!!

Santa was very good to us:)


Ties!!:{ )

Happy Holidays everyone!!
-Elder Powell

MALIGAYANG PASKO!!!!!

WOW it was GREAT talking to y'all!!!  I miss ya tons and it was good to hear all your voices and talk with ya for a bit.  I'm sorry it was so short and we didn't get a chance to say goodbye, I think the minutes ran out on my calling card.  Looking forward to talking to ya on Mother's Day haha :)
Thanks a bunch for all those pictures!!  It's fun to see y'all and all the fam and home.  I really miss it but love it here too.  The phone call wasn't hard on me at all, it was a BLAST talking to ya.  We only had one hour  church on Christmas too and I'm pretty sure we only have one hour on New Years as well.
Wow!  The missionary work in our home ward's starting to EXPLODE huh?  There's only gonna be more from here, there are a TON of young men there, pretty exciting stuff :)
I'll try and send ya some good pictures because I have taken them, it's just tough to send them.
I LOVED the Christmas packages and so did Elder Sidillo!  Thanks SO much! :)  I think my favorite part was the music and George Durrant CD.  It just wasn't Christmas without Christmas music ya know? :)  Plus it made me feel way closer to home :)  and the George Durrant CD was great and really brought the Spirit.  Especially the story of his first Christmas on the mission.  He's a pretty great speaker eh?  I listened to his Number One Christian talk on my iPod last week and loved it too.  Who woulda thought anything good other than dad coulda come out of AF?? ;o)
Tell everyone that gave me Christmas money thanks a BUNCH!  We went to the mall today and got a few things with it.  I'll try and send a picture :)  They had some EPIC ties for only $5 but they were EPICALLY skinny as in half the size of the EPIC pink skinny you guys sent me.  We loved the ties you sent and wore them for Christmas haha Thanks! :)  Also LOVED the Snoopy wrapping paper hahaha, the whole package was great :)
We ran out of money once or twice and I'm planning on getting my Quad re-bound in Leather Art.  Don't know how to describe it but I'll send a picture when I get it back in February some time.  Part of Gma and Gpas Christmas money will go to that too :)
Wow!  Kim gets to tract in the jungle???  Lucky!  I guess I'm in the "Concrete Jungle" if you can call it that here haha :P  I'm glad she's feeling better about things.  Has Bud written her yet?  and KUMUSTA ang PAGHAHANAP niya para ang ASAWA??  BAKIT HINDA PA TANGGAPIN KO ANG INVITATION SA PAKASAL NIYA?? hahaha :o)
Not too much art with painting or music here (They are OBSESSED with "Teach Me How to Duggie":/ ) But they are SO good at making things.  When I get my scriptures bound and send you a picture you'll see what I mean!
LOVE YOU TONS!!!!!!!  Don't even worry about "hogging the phone" you're the Mom!  You gave birth to me so you should get more time right? :o)
Love you TONS!!  Did I say that yet? haha :)
MAHAL KITA! 
BJ Powell

Maligayang Pasko!!!

Elder Calinog, Elder Tauleilei, Elder Powell.
Christmas lights at the Manila Temple.
Merry Christmas y'all! :) I kinda sorta FREAKING miss you guys! haha, but no worries, I'm loving it here and there's no snow to shovel so we're good here :)No worries with Elder Sidillo's fam, we've been hearing about the big baguio (storm) down there but he said he knows his family's safe. He said thanks for thinking about him.I might still get the package before Christmas, we have a "Christmas Conference" with half of the mission and President and Sister Sperry on Wednesday so we might get mail then. Not sure what we're doing there but there will be a tie exchange so that's a good sign :) If I don't get it then we have a mail run on December 27th (26th for you) so it'll still be Christmas no worries haha :)I'm SUPER excited to talk to y'all! :D I bought a calling card for 40 minutes to the US today so I can give you guys a call anytime you'd like between 9pm December 23 to December 25 9pm. The best for me would probably be the 25th between 5 and 9pm cuz that's 8am-noon for me on P-day. PLEASE EMAIL ME back DURING the week to let me know when you wanna do it. No skype, just an AWESOME call :) Not sure what we'll be doing on Christmas Day but I don't know if we'll be able to get much work done cuz everyone else will be partying(getting drunk and gambling:/)Wow you're amazing! You guys made those missionaries Christmas! :) I still need to write all my missionary friends, it's really hard to find time on Pday... or any day haha :PHere's a couple journal entries LOVE YOU TO DEATH! :)Dec. 14Wow, what an AWESOME day! :D We had a Pday/Temple day today. I woke up at 3:30 AM and was ok with it?!!? I guess that's 12:30pm at home so technically I slept in haha :o) I got a picture of the temple right as the sun was rising behind it and lighting of the clouds. It was perfect! I'm actually starting to enjoy taking pictures.... but don't tell Mom.... haha ;)So another thing not to tell Mom... :o) I got into a cleaning frenzy today?? Haha, I think I'm learning to work hard and always be doing something here or something. Maybe that or it's just something in the water :P I started cleaning the kitchen and then I wanted everything to look perfect. Then I wanted to clean my desk off. Then I even wanted to organize the inside?? Weird huh? :)
Dec. 15Heavenly Father answers prayers!!! :D Wow! :) I already knew that, but I am really starting to see it in our investigators as we invite them to ask God if the things we teach are true.Yesterday we asked one investigator, Donna, if she has received an answer. She said she believes it all and that she feels "safe" when we come and teach. We told her that was the Holy Ghost and asked if she felt she had received an answer. She said yep :) We invited her to church Sunday and hope she will continue to progress.Tonight we taught another Sister, Kenneth. She's been to church 3 times because she's living with the Bishop's family but we had only taught her 2 times before tonight. We taught her about faith and works and it went well. Then we asked her if she had asked Heavenly Father if Joseph Smith was a true prophet. She said she had twice. We asked if she felt like she had received an answer and.... she started crying. That's usually a good sign for a missionary :) She said that she has received an answer and feels that it's true. We pointed out that the good feelings she was having was the Holy Ghost.WOOT! :D The work is really starting to explode here in Panghulo :) We have the potential to have 5 or 6 people baptized sometime in January if they'll keep commitments and go to church.
So things are good here :) I love you all TONS :) Send my love to the fam at Mutual Dell :) Send me any more questions you have before Thursday and I'll get back to you during the week.MAHAL KITA!!! :D

Elder Powell  12-18-11

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Heeeeeyyyyyy! :D



So you know all those letters you all sent around Thanksgiving time?  They got to me in the Philippines yesterday haha :)  So Happy Thanksgiving to all of you too! :o)  Sorry I haven't been able to get any letters to y'all yet.  Lots to do and no time to do it haha.  I hope you all know that I love you SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much and appreciate the love you all show me in your letters SOOOOOO much :)  I'll try and find time to write y'all back but don't know  when I'll find that free time haha, just know I'm thinking of y'all and missing and loving you all too :)

So the phone call is between Dec. 24 at noon to Dec. 26 at noon... Filipino time :o)  So that's Dec. 23 at 9 pm to Dec. 25 at 9 pm for you.  We'll have about a half hour or a tiny bit longer to talk and I can't wait to hear from my fam, I love you guys :)

Don't you dare worry about my sleeping cuz I whine! haha, I guess it's your job but I'm really fine. :)  I found that the hammock isn't so great for sleeping cuz I'm not used to hanging in the air to sleep, but it's great for relaxing for 5 minutes or reading.  My mattress is fine now, I've adapted to it just like everything else here and even though I'm tired often that's kind of part of the definition of missionary haha :o)  So no worries! :)

So mail takes forever to get here like I said haha, so I haven't gotten the Christmas package yet but I might on the next Mail Run in 2 weeks, just after Christmas no worries :)  So now that you've already sent it I thought of a couple things I'm craving haha sorry po! :o)  While at the MTC I really started liking Ranch flavored Corn Nuts and that's one random craving haha.  Another is (Grandma probably guessed this:) Swedish Fish :)  I randomly thought of them and asked another missionary if they have them here and it turns out he has the same craving hahaha.  His name's Elder Peterson from Ogden and he's looked everywhere for them here but they don't exist haha.  He said to ask for a bunch of the small packs like at cash registers instead of a big pack because once you open the pack they start melting in the humidity haha.  Words of wisdom from an experienced missionary :)

So here's a couple Journal entries (I'm on page 282 now, you keeping up Mom?;o)
Dec. 9
Man!  It rained and it Rained and it RAINED today! :)  I can see how the Lord flooded the entire Earth in just 40 days haha :P  The flooding was almost halfway up my calf in some areas.  But apparently the REALLY big storms flood up to your chest so today was nothing haha.
Man, I am tired and hungry almost all day every day haha (IGNORE THAT PART MOM;)  But it's definitely worth it for those times during lessons when I get to bear my testimony.  I really feel the Spirit at those times and whether it helps convince others of the truth or not it definitely helps me.  Taking my "shower" (bucket and ladle{IGNORE THAT TOO:)} this morning I was led to remember that this work and church and everything we do is about Jesus Christ.  I focused a lot more on Him in my testimonies and it made a big difference in my happiness and attitude :)

Dec. 11
Aww crud...... haha :)  We're doing exchanges with Elder Tidwell and Calinog again but this time... I'm staying in Panghulo with DL Elder Tidwell!  That means I'm in charge of basically everything and have to make sure everything runs smoothly but.... somtimes I still feel like I have NO idea what's going on! :/  No worries though, elder Tidwell's great and things will work out tomorrow.  Pretty scary stuff though.....

Dec. 12
Wow!  Today worked out great! :D  I was worried about all sorts of things but with the Lord's help things went well.  I learned a TON from Elder Tidwell, he's really a great missionary.  His trainer at the beginning of his mission was.... Brother Doolin from the MTC! :)  Just like last time we had exchanges I found that I am capable of doing MUCH more than I think I am.  I planned where we would go, coordinated with our members, took the lead in lessons, and took us where we needed to go.  It was a great experience to see how much I really can do and that I can take charge for a day with the help of the Lord.  GREAT DAY :)  From now on I'm going to be more involved in everything we do and not just sit back and be content with letting Elder Sidillo be in charge of everything because I feel inadequate as a missionary at times.  PaRtY-pArTy! :P

WOOT! :)  Things are going really great for me so DON'T WORRY and know that I LOVE YOU!!! :)

MaHaL kItA!! :)
Elder Powell

P.S.
Sorry for not responding to your email or you questions too much, my email just kinda flowed out of my head this time haha :P  And sorry for no warning on the Wed. Pday again.  We had a temple day today, it was great and I got an AWESOME pic of the sunrise behind the temple :D  Love ya!


P.P.S.
Happy Birthday Pops!!  Maligayang kaarawan matandang lalaki! :o)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Pics!!:)

Here's some pics! :)  Enjoy!  LOVE YOU ALL! :)
-Elder Powell
 





 
MAHAL KITA!!!!:)

Baby It's COLD Outside!!! :) Haha!! NOT!!!

Hiya! :) Wow! Thanks for the AWESOME email mom :) I'll try and answer your questions and give you a little more everyday info, but I don't know if I'll be able to get 97 pictures in haha :) Wow the baptism feels like forever ago! haha, It's only been 1 week??! Yikes! Haha. Sorry for not explaining the pics. Raymond has the smaller baptism outfit and Johnjohn has the beard. The guy in the polo is one of Raymond's friends and our Ward Mission Leader, Rhamel Camain.
I forgot to tell you about Mission Tour?? Haha, it was amazing!! Elder Nielson from the Quorum of the 70 came and we had a Conference with our Zone (Caloocan) and the one next to us (Valenzuela). He was amazing! He and his wife both gave talks, President and Sister Sperry gave talks, Elder Nielson had a Q & A session and then..... we ate some GOOOOOD food :) He told us that the church wants a new focus on the Missionary Work in the Philippines. He said that in the last 5 years there have been 77,000 baptisms in the Philippines, (WOW! :) ), out of those only 12,000 are still active today. There are 645,000 Members in the Philippines but a whole 531,000 of those are inactive!! YIKES! He said that the church wants us as missionaries to focus more on establishing the church rather than just baptizing as many people as we can. Pretty cool stuff :)
I heard we might make some jerseys in our zone too this transfer! (Woot! :) Elder Sidillo has one and it's SAWEET :) If we don't make one I might have to have one made for me anyways haha. Usually you make a zone tshirt or something every transfer but our zone got lazy on that last transfer for some reason. Oh yeah! Yesterday was the last day of my first transfer!!! :D
So you know that street with all the kids I told you about last week? Remember how a little girl took us to meet her family? A couple of her sisters and cousins have TOTALLY been prepared to hear the gospel! :D Before we even started our 2nd lesson with them they were asking us how to get to church! When we told them we could come pick them up and take them there Sunday morning they were SUPER excited :) After the lesson they were asking about baptism and whether girls can sere missions and stuff. Woot! :) Hope they stay this excited about the gospel, cuz things are looking good so far :)
Questions time :) Or... I guess answer time cuz they're your questions haha :PThings are SUPER cheap out here in US dollars! I'm getting used to it though haha. I finally bought my hammock the other day, and it was a whole 400 pisos. I thought "Wow, that's too expensive" Then I remembered that that's only $10 haha. Most things are SUPER cheap though. Candy bars are 15 pisos or 30 cents, but they charge extra for all the American stuff haha.We don't cook ever haha. We eat at that Tapsilogan Restaurant for every meal basically. We've only eaten with members 2 or 3 times so far, but I think that missionaries in other areas do more often.I still have that hollow leg problem so I'm never full haha :P I don't think I've lost any weight, might have actually gained some haha, but no scale so I dunno. I was sick with a head cold for about 3 days once but I survived hehehe :)Still sending laundry to the laundromat, no time or energy for it. I wash my garments by hand though cuz only endowed members can wash them.No worries with money, I usually have plenty with the allotment from the mission, but if I'm running low I just use my card. No worries there :)We've had some pretty sweet thunderstorms so far :) It's SOOO loud! Yesterday was probably the most it's flooded so far, on our street it was a bit above my ankles, but the BIG storm happened a couple weeks before I got here. All the missionaries say the floods were up to their chest! Pretty crazy :)The bugs and mosquitoes are SOOOO annoying!! They bite me everywhere! I've even got one on my big toe!! haha, but no worries, buhay pa :)Shoes and clothes are holding up great :) I'm finding that those Merrel shoes are the most comfortable and easiest to slip on and off when we walk into people's houses.The language is really starting to come along! :) I'm still having a hard time understanding what others say to me but I'm able to say a LOT and I've been able to give a talk and bear testimony in church and in lessons off the top of my head. The Gift of Tongues is definitely real and I definitely need it. It's still frustrating at times but being more patient with myself is helping a TON. :)Yup we've got a CD player. We've got the soundtracks from EFYs and The RM and The Best Two Years. The one from the Best 2 Years is my favorite, it has really good encouraging songs and I need as much of that as I can get haha :o)Not sure yet about the Christmas phone call but I'll find out when we visit the Mission Home this week for training :)
Got my hammock! :D Sleeping hanging like that'll take some getting used to but it definitely beats the whimpy mattress! :o)
Yikes! No more sitting next to falling Christmas trees Savvy?? Good :) That's a bummer!!! I'm sure it'll end up looking great like always though :)
So..... If you're wondering about some of the pics........ Missionaries get bored..... with cameras sometimes hahahaha :P
LOVE YOU!!!
Elder da beej Powell
P.S.It's cold out here too! Only 76 degrees, brrrrr! :o)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

FIRST Baptism!! WOOOT! :)

Hahaha, sorry for no info at all on the baptism last week :o)  We had it last Saturday, November 26th, and it was kinda sorta fantastimagical! :)


The one getting baptized was 22 yr-old Raymond Punzalan.  He's just kind of sort of a STUD!! haha.  Teaching him over the last month has been great!  He has truly been converted and knows that this church is true.  He was taught by the missionaries before us starting in August and had a problem with smoking up until about a week before Elder Sidillo and I got here.  He's really close with all of the Single Adults here in Panghulo Ward and will definitely stay active and be a strength to the church here for the rest of his life :)
We got to the chapel at 5:00 and took pictures and then started the baptism at 6.  He was baptized by hisneighbor who introduced him to the gospel: Elders Quorum President Bro. Johnjohn Estuaria.  Pretty astig stuff :)  The Spirit was great at the baptism and was strongest when Raymond bore his testimony.  I didn't understand what he said but he was bawling the whole time and you could really tell that he knows and feels the truth of the gospel.
Did I mention that Raymond's a stud?  haha.  We went to teach him a Recent Convert lesson on Tuesday and he had a question for us.  He wanted to know where he could get a copy of Preach My Gospel! :)  He's thinking about becoming a missionary after he's been a member for a year.  WOOT!  Like I said STUD! :)

So the kids?  Still astig! :)  There's one street here that we go to a lot because 1 of our 2 progressing investigators lives there.  Tons of kids live on that street and I love em! :) haha.  When we first started going there some of them would come for high fives because I'm Amerikano.  We started playing games with them and having fun with them.  Ever since then more and more kids have been coming out to see us, play with us, and talk to us.  Now we can barely walk down that street cuz there's such a big mob of kids crowding around us hahaha :)
It's SOOO cool because it's actually opening people up to us and the gospel on that street.  People are more willing to talk to us.  Last night we taught 2 families for the first time on that street because one of the kids on the street took us to meet her family.  WOOOT! :D

So I think we FINALLY found the right place for me to buy a hammock! :)  Good thing too, the bars in my bed are out to get me :P  When I took my "shower" (bucket and a ladle baby! :))  the other day I felt all these bruises all over my ribs, stomach and back.  I thought, "Yikes!  Where did all these come from??"  Then I remembered that I sleep on a bed of nails every night heheheh.  So yeah, can't wait to sleep in a nice, comfy hammock :)

Hope you're all enjoying the FREEZING cold weather over there, things feel great..... well.... HOT and sticky over here haha :)  Christmas will definitely not be the same without snow.  I might even miss snow shoveling... well.... maybe not :P  haha
Thanksgiving was pretty boring, I almost forgot what day it was haha.  The day after we walked past someone's random turkey just walking down the street.  I told Elder Sidillo that it wouldn't be alive if it were in America haha :)  Hope you all enjoyed your Turkey Day! :)

Mahal Kita!!!

Elder BJ Powell
Raymond (right) being baptized by Johnjohn.(left)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Aaron: Kinda sorta freaking AMAZING missionary:)

Hey! Hey! Hey! :)  Kumusta kayo lahat?  Things, are still pretty good here in the Philippines.  The last few days have been pretty tough because we haven't been able to teach as many lessons as we'd like.
On Thursday we had a GREAT day :)  It was the day after going to the temple, having a P-day with other elders in our zone and playing bball with some members.  On Thursday we taught some great lessons to our investigators.  I was able to open my mouth and express my testimony in Tagalog much better and we had asked one investigator if he would pray about getting baptized.  So things were going really well and we were in a good mood and really excited to get back to work on Friday.
Thursday night we had a great planning session and were hoping to teach 8 lessons on Friday, keeping really busy and getting a lot of work done.... But Friday was SOOOO pangit!!! (Ugly:P)  We ended up walking around to appointments and everything for 8 hours without teaching a single lesson!!  Every lesson fell through because people either weren't home, were busy, or even hid from us so that we would go away haha.  SOOO lame!  It was a rough day and I hope I don't have too many like it.

So last week I told you about Alma and how amazing he was as a missionary right?  So now I should be telling you about how awesome Ammon is right?  Wrong! :)  Even though Ammon is an EPIC missionary and I love his story, this week I learned a lot more from the story of his brother Aaron.
Ammon was super successful as a missionary am I right?  Chopping off bad guys arms, converting kings and queens, bringing an entire nation to a knowledge of their God.... WOOT! :)  But Aaron wasn't all that bad either was he?  While Ammon was the one who converted King Lamoni, king of the Land of Ishmael, Aaron converted the king of the entire Lamanite people!  How's that for a successful missionary? :)
Although Aaron's mission ended up being amazing, it sure didn't look like it would turn out that way in the beginning.  He and his companions suffered some BIG time trials before they found success.  While Ammon was in the Land of Ishmael working miracles and converting kings and queens what was Aaron doing?  Did he have the same success?  Nope!  In Alma 20:30 it says that he had "fallen into the hands of a more hardened people and they would not hearken unto their words."  They were "driven from place to place until they came to the Land of Middoni... where they were taken cast into prison."  Yikes!  Not quite as happy as Ammon's story, eh?  How do you think Aaron felt when he heard about Ammon's success?  Haha, I can imagine him saying, "You had HOW many baptisms while I was stuck in prison??" :)
Even though Aaron's mission started out tough, like I said, it ended up great.  From this I learned that even when you work your hardest you may not find success.  Don't get discouraged, better days are sure to come.  Don't EVER compare yourself to other people, in Aaron's case Ammon, this will only bring discouragement.
Another thing I respect Aaron for is what he gave up to become a missionary.  He was a prince!  If he had stayed in Zarahemla a couple more years he would have been made king!  He made a huge sacrifice and left a great life behind in order to become a missionary.  I wonder if he and his brothers ever became homesick like missionaries do in our day?  I'm guessing.... Yes! :)
In Alma 20:29 it talks about Aaron's trials in prison.  He went from living the high life as the son of a king to "all kinds of afflictions."  At home he had all the finest food and drink he wanted; on the mission he suffered hunger and thirst.  At home Aaron lived in a palace; on the mission he was bound in strong cords in a prison.  Do you think Aaron ever had the thought, "Why did I ever leave home for a mission?" cross his mind?  Again I'm thinking.... Yes! :o)
Even though he suffered through all these HUGE afflictions, Aaron was "patient in all his sufferings."  What a great example, eh?  In Alma 17:11 the Lord promises that if we will be "patient in long-suffering and afflictions...I will make an instrument of thee in my hands."  Aaron was patient in his trials and the Lord helped him find success and bring about the salvation of many souls.
(Yikes, sorry this is SOO long, hope you haven't stopped reading yet :P)

Many of you are starting new journeys like Aaron.  You're either in your first years of college, high school, or having new challenging experiences in Parenthood.  Like Aaron it may seem tough at the beginning.  Like Aaron you may wonder why you're even trying, and why you don't just go back to an easier life.  But I KNOW that, like Aaron, even though things may seem tough now, if you are "patient in long-suffering and afflictions" the Lord will help you and guide you to success as you rely on Him.
So when times get tough, think of Aaron, and know that although things may seem tough right now if you're patient things will be AMAZING in the end :)

I love and miss you all!  Happy Thanksgiving haha!
MAHAL KITA!!

THE Elder Powell :)

P.S.
Oh yeah..... this might be cool to know.....  We're having our first baptism this week! :D  haha Ingat!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Philippines Photos, Yea!


Companion Elder Sidillo


Lunch meeting


Temple Trip


Getting around


Upside down house

Alma, Zone Conference, Mystery Meat

So this week was..... kinda sorta freaking amazing!  I'm catching the vision of what I have the potential to become as a missionary here in the Philippines.  Short on time though so scatter-brained, a few stories, and I'm out :)

Right now I'm reading in Alma about the Missionary Work of Alma, Amulek, and the Sons of Mosiah.  You know?  The best missionaries EVER? :)
Wow, Alma is an AMAZING missionary!  There are so many things that impress me about him but one of the greatest is his trust in God.  He and Amulek went through HUGE trials together.  When the wicked Ammonihahites are burning the believers and their writings Amulek expressed his fear that perhaps they would be burned too.  Alma shows amazing trust and says, "be it according to the will of God, but our work here is not yet finished, therefore they burn us not.  Wow!  Alma trusted that no matter what happened, even if it meant death, it would be the will of God and be for their benefit.  I really love his example and its strengthening my trust in my Heavenly Father.  No matter what trials or problems we face, we can take comfort in the fact that it will be for our benefit because God is looking out for us.
At our Zone Meeting last week Sister Sperry, our Mission President's wife talked to us about goals and asked a couple questions that really got me thinking.  She said, "When you are finished with your mission, what do you want to be able to say you've accomplished?"  I wasn't sure at first and was surprised I hadn't thought about it.  But I found the answer to this also in the words of Alma.  He said to his son Helaman in Alma 36:25-26 "Yea, and now behold, O my son, the Lord doth give me exceedingly great joy in the fruit of my labors; For because of the word which he has imparted unto me, behold, many have been born of God, and have tasted as I have tasted, and have seen eye to eye as I have seen; therefore they do know of these things of which I have spoken, as I do know; and the knowledge which I have is of God."  I want to be able to say, like Alma, that I have found success with the Lord's help.
Like I said... Alma?  AMAZING! :)

Oh yeah.  On 11-11-11?  I saw a cat catch a rat for the first time.  Pretty intense, just thought you'd like to know hahaha :P

Last week a member in our ward returned from his mission in Cagayan de Oro.  He came and worked with us on monday and was amazing!  He opened his mouth to everyone about the Gospel.  When he taught it was very clear and to the point.  I don't know how to explain it, but everything he did seemed to work out perfectly.  I got to catch a glimpse of what I will become in the next few months and it was really exciting :)

So another BIG thing happened on Monday.  It really rocked my world and I'm sure it will do the same to you.
My favorite food here in the Philippines so far is Tapsilog.  Tapsilog is a fried egg, the ever-present cup of rice, and a few strips of REALLY tasty meat :)  (Can you see where this is going?)  I eat it for basically every meal because we have a Tapsilogan (Restaurant) down the street.
So guess what kind of meat Tapsilog is made from (Let me give you a hint it isn't beef:)..... ASO????  Nope, it's not aso (dog) meat haha.  KABAYO!!  I have been eating HORSE (kabayo) meat and LOVING it for the last 4 weeks hahaha! :)  So cool! :P  They told me the other day what the meet was and I just about died laughing :)

So I found out a little more about my area of the mission haha.  Apparently it's the "armpit" of the mission, or the part noone really wants to go to :)  Not only that but we're in probably the smallest apartment in the Zone.  My mattress is SUPER thin so the bedbars stick in my back each night.  I've been paired with a native companion who's in his 4th transfer.  This is his first time training and we are in an area neither of us has been before.
Whew!  Sounds pretty tought eh? :)  The Lord must really be conditioning me for something great if he's starting me off in this tough of a situation.  Either that or I've got a lot to learn :)  Probably both haha.  I'm glad that I'm experiencing all of the tough parts of the mission now at the beginning so that I can LOVE the rest of my mission, knowing it's all uphill from here :)

Well that all folks! :)  Love and miss you all!  Hope things are good in the states!  Shoot me a Dear elder if you get the chance, I love hearing from y'all :)

BUGS! and more

So bug-wise this place is pretty boring (Thank Heaven!) :)  There aren't any big spiders or anything really freaky like that.  I've seen 1 or 2 BIG cockroaches in the street though haha.  And most houses have little lizards (Mga butiktik) crawling on the walls.  There are tiny ants EVERYWHERE too!  They drive me crazy! haha.  I haven't been using my mosquito net, repellent, sunscreen, or lip balm haha.  Sorry I'm a bad kid :o)  I have been using LOTS of Afterbite though haha :)  Maybe I should use the repellent instead eh?  The mosquitos weren't bad at first but now they're eating me alive!  No worries though, buhay pa.

Soo... we have running water (kind of) but not flushing toilets or a shower (We use a bucket and ladle for both.  I explained TP in Kylee's email) :)
Food I miss:  Mashed potatoes and Roast Beef
Thing:  Family, and America is SOOOO beautiful!!!!  We don't realize how good we've got it!  I'm deep in the city and it's SOOO polluted and there's a bunch of trash everywhere and I miss our mountains and everything haha.
Yep, there's plenty of water here, I should probably drink more but buhay pa :)
The hot dogs here are pretty strange haha.  Does that count? :)  Elder Sidillo wants me to eat balut and I almost did last night but I chickened out :P  Elder Cloward ate baked pig's blood though hahaha :)  He's serving in Fairview, it's a wealthier part of the city.  Elder Calinog's actually in my district! :D  I see him a couple times each week, he's great!
Our apartment is tiny!!!  Probably the size of the girl's room plus the downstairs toilet.  CRAZY!  I think we have one of the smaller ones in the mission too, Elder Cloward and Elder Calinog both have 4 elders in a 2 story apartment with 4 rooms.
I washed my clothes by hand the first week but I'm too impatient to wait for it to dry haha.  We found a laundromat and they do my clothes for 25 pisos(50 cents) per kilogram and I wash my garments by hand.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Week 1 ay Tapos na. SA WAKAS! :) (done)

Hiya!

So P-day’s basically over so I’ve gotta keep this supa short.  Sorry!

So in case you couldn’t tell from my last email the Philippines..... is CRAZY!!!!  And just a bit different than Pleasant Grove, Utah haha.  Also just in case you didn’t know Utah is SOOOOOOO beautiful!  Scratch that, ALL of America is soooo beautiful!  I miss my mountains and our temples and the snow (yes even the snow haha) and my amazing family and friends!  Things here have been a little tough for me so far but through help from Heavenly Father I’m beginning to become more comfortable.  Right now it’s 6:00 PM and it’s 31 degrees Celsius or about 88 degrees normal style haha, just in case you were wondering :P

I’m beginning to LOVE the Book of Mormon!  If we apply it to our own lives or the lives of people we care about it’s words are sooooo meaningful and beautiful!  I’d love to go more into detail but I don’t have time :(  Just read Mosiah chapters 23 and 24 and try to apply them to your lives and you’ll see what I mean.  Also, don’t just read your scriptures before you go to bed!!!  I did that before the mission and it was meaningless compared to what I’m getting from the scriptures because of the way I read them now!  Each time you read pray to Heavenly Father for the Spirit and to answer your prayers in the scriptures.  It’s amazing :)

So basically the kids here are what keep me going every day hahaha :)  May maraming kaibigan ako dito kasi Amerikano ako :P (I have many friends here because I’m American haha :o)  So I have to things kids said to me this week that I need you to help me with.  I can’t decide which is my favorite haha :)  
So one day we were talking with a group of 10 year old girls and one of them was rambling in Tagalog at me and I didn’t understand a word she said.  All of a sudden she said, “Bakla ka ba?” (Are you gay?)  hahahaha!  I understood that!  haha, it gave me a good laugh and I yelled “ANO BA IYAN??  Bakit sinabi mo iyan?” (What in the world??  Why’d you say that? :)
Later in the week I was sitting next to a 4 year old girl while we were teaching her mom when she looked up at me and said, “Umutot ka ba?  Amoy ka katulad tae!” (Did you fart?  You smell like poop!) hahahaha! :D  I think that one wins :P
I think the 2nds my favorite but lemme know what you think :)

A:  So it’s only really rained once this week and that was for about 15-20 minutes.  Can’t wait for a real storm! haha

A: I LOVE lumpia, chicken adobo is great and I’m starting to like rice :)  Magiging Pilipino ako!  Haven’t been sick at all, just REALLY tired haha

A:  I’m in the Panghulo Ward of the Caloocan Stake.  Elder Corpuz from the blog served in this Zone earlier this year so you should check his blog out again for Panghulo! :)  We washed our clothes by hand last week and hung them on the balcony to dry.  Wasn’t terribly hard and it worked well but I didn’t have time today so I sent them to a laundromat.  No giant spiders in the city! :D  Mosquitos bug a little bit but not bad.

A:  The language is SUPER tough and I have a tough time understanding people in Tagalog OR English because it’s a different accent and I am kinda deaf haha.  I’m finding that the more I try to speak the more I’m able to say.  “Don’t let what you don’t know get in the way of what you do know!”

A:  Study and lunch from 8am-1pm, proselyte from 1-9, eat, return to apartment, sleep, do it all over again.  CRAZY!  Love Pday haha.  Walk alot and ride Jeepneys alot.  Maybe between 2 and 3 miles a day :)
I wish I had more time but I gotta go now.  I love and miss you all SOOOO much!  God be with you till we meet again!

Mahal Kita!
Elder Powell

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Philippines! I made it.

Holy oh my freaking goodness I'm in the Philippines!!  This place is crazy!  SOOOOO different from home.

So the flight to Hong Kong?  A BEAST!!!  I Slept for the first 5 hours (the flight attendant was trying to take my order for dinner but I couldn't hear her or keep my eyes open I was so tired haha) but after I woke up I couldn't fall back to sleep for the whole rest of the flight! :/  That flight was on a bigger plane but the seats were all super close to each other so I had no room for my legs and it was kinda sorta miserable pero buhay pa (but I'm still alive :)

We got to the Manila Airport and were picked up by 2 Brothers.  One took our luggage and the other took all of us in a van.... And I got shotgun!! :)  It was SOO cool!  Just driving here is an ADVENTURE!  The roads are every man for himself and basically lawless haha.  The cars, buses, jeepneys, motorcyclesc and bicycles all compete for the empty spaces in the road and everyone drives as fast as they can without crashing haha.  It took us about an hour and a half to get to the mission home even though it's only about 30 kilometers from the airport (not sure how many miles that is sOry:)

We got to the Mission Home and met President and Sister Sperry.  They're both SUPER kind and super fun.  Serving under them is gonna be fun.  Oh yeah... There house is air conditioned!  It's SOOO nice! :)

Umm... yeah, in case you hadn't guessed yet... it's SUPER hot and SUPER HUMID here in the Philippines!!!  It's crazy!  And they're telling me it's still winter hahaha.  No worries, buhay pa.  But I might die in April :P  That's when they say you sweat non-stop no matter what you're doing.  Oh yeah..... I'm kind of IN LOVE.... with my electric fan!  haha :P  Every time we get home at night I give it a big sweaty hug and say, "Namiss mo ako?" (Did you miss me? :o)

The heat isn't the only thing that's different here.. in case you didn't guess :)  I swear I'm the only puti(white) person in our area! (I know there are whites in other areas cuz they're missionaries haha :P)  But yeah, everywhere I go EVERYONE stares at me and most of the kids and teenagers will say "What's up man??" or "Hey Joe!" or "What's your name?". hahahaha :)  It's hilarious! :)  The kids are SO small and have squeaky voices haha.  I love saying "Up here!" and giving them high five's :)

So the city is HUGE!!!  Every time we leave our street I would be completely lost without my companion.  There are SO many people!  We're just in one area but I swear we've passed 100s of 1000s of people by now in jeepneys!  I LOVE riding in the jeepneys :)  Driving in America's gonna be pretty boring when I get back haha.

So I'm not sure what area Elder Cloward ended up in but he has a Filipino companion.  Elder Calinog is in my District though (WOOT!:) and Elder Staples is in our Zone.  They both have companions from America.

My trainer/first companion/Tatay(Father:) here in the Philippines is......  Elder Sidillo!  haha.  He's Filipino, from Cagayan de Oro in Mindinao.  He's been in the field for 5 months.  I am his 3rd companion and his first trainee/son :)  He's really kind and really outgoing with other people.

So far I've had a bit of a hard time adjusting.  This place is SOOO different and SOOO hot and the language is SOOOOOOOOO difficult!!  It sounds nothing like what I learned in the MTC!  They all speak so fast and have strange accents so I can't really understand much yet.  There's SOO much to adjust to and I was really down on myself for the first couple days.  Today was Pday so I had time to relax, read my journal, my Patriarchal Blessing and remember who I am and why I'm here on a mission.  Don't worry Mom, I'm doin fine now ;)  I am going to have hard times but as I turn to the Lord and stay positive I will become comfortable with the culture and the language :)

Hope that answered most of your questions :)  Keep the questions coming!  I know you have a BUNCH more :)

I love you all TONS and miss you all TONS!!!! :)  Thanks SO much for the letters!  They were really fun to read and they're really giving me strength here in the Philippines.  MAHAL KITA! :)  Kita kits :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

the new beginning.

This is Chelsey Powell, BJ's sister. BJ flies out to the Phillippines today. He is so excited. I was reading another blog the other day and came across this story on Missionaries and felt like I needed to publish it. I hope you enjoy it!!

Marks of a Man
As I jumped on board my flight from Miami to Salt Lake City, I paused a moment to catch my breath. Seated near the front of the plane was an excited young man, probably 19, sitting with his parents. His hair was short and his clothes new and sharp. His suit was fitted perfectly, and his black shoes still retained that store-bought shine. His body was in good shape, his face clear, and his hands clean. In his eyes I could see a nervous look , and his movements were that of an actor on opening night.
He was obviously flying to Utah to become a missionary for the Mormon Church. I smiled as I walked by and took pride in belonging to this same Church where these young men and women voluntarily serve the Savior for two years. With this special feeling, I continued to the back where my seat was located.
As I sat in my seat, I looked to the right, and to my surprise saw another missionary sleeping in the window seat. His hair was also short, but that was the only similarity between the two. This one was obviously returning home, and i could tell at a glance what type of missionary he had been.
The fact that he was already asleep told me a lot. His entire body seemed to let out a big sigh. It looked as if this was the first time in two years he had even slept, and I wouldn't be surprised if it was.
As I looked at his face, I could see the heavy bags under his eyes, the chapped lips, and the scarred and sunburned face caused by the fierce Florida sun.
His suit was tattered and worn. A few of the seams were coming apart, and I noticed that there were a couple of tears that had been hand sewn with a very sloppy stitch.
I saw the name tag, crooked, scratched and bearing the name of the Church he represented, the engraving of which was almost all worn away. I saw the knee of his pants, worn and white, the result of many hours of humble prayer. A tear came to my eye as I saw the things that really told me what kind of missionary he had been. I saw the marks that made this boy a man.
His feet- the two that had carried him, from house to house-now lay swollen and tired. They were covered by a pair of worn-out shoes. Many of the large scrapes and gouges had been filled in by the countless number of polishings.
His books-laying across his lap- were his scriptures, the word of God. Once new, these books which testify of Jesus Christ and His mission, were now torn, bent, and ragged from us.
His hands- those big, strong hands which had been used to bless and teach- were now scarred and cut from knocking at doors.
Those were indeed the marks of that man. And as I looked at him, I saw the marks of another man, the Savior, as he was hanging on the cross for the sins of the world.
His feet- those that had once carried Him throughout the land during His ministry-were now nailed to the cross.
His side now pierced with a spear, sealing His gospel, His testimony, with His life.
His hands-the hands that had been used to ordain His servants and bless the sick-were also scarred with the nails that were pounded to hang Him on the cross.
Those were the marks of that great man.
As my mind returned to the missionary, my whole body seemed to swell with pride and joy, because I knew, by looking at him, that he had served his Master well.
My joy was so great. I felt like running to the front of the plane, grabbing that new, young missionary, and bringing him back to see what he could become, what he could do.
But would he see the things that I saw, could anyone see the things I saw? Or would he just see the outward appearance of that mighty elder, tired and worn out, almost dead.
As we landed, I reached over and tapped him to wake him up. As he awoke, it seemed like new life was entering his body. His whole frame just seemed to fill as he stood up, tall and proud. As he turned his face towards mine, I saw a light about his face that I had never seen before. I looked into his eyes. Those eyes. I will never forget those eyes. They were the eyes of a prophet, a leader, a follower, and a servant. They were the eyes of the Savior. Nor words were spoken. No words were needed.
As we unloaded, I stepped aside to let him go first. I watched as he walked, slow but steady, tired but strong. I followed him and found myself walking the way that he did.
When I came through the doors, I saw this young man in the arms of his parents, and I couldn't hold it in any longer. With tears streaming down my face, I watched these loving parents greet their son who had been away for a short time. And I wondered if our parents in heaven would greet us the same way. Will they wrap their arms around us and welcome us home from our journey on earth? I believe they will. I just hope that I can be worthy enough to receive such praise, as I'm sure this missionary will. I said a silent prayer thanking the Lord for missionaries like this young man. I don't think I will ever forget the joy and happiness he brought me that day.
-Anonymous

BJ will be an amazing missionary. Please pray for his comfort and safety as he flies out tonight. We all wish him the best and can't wait to hear all the amazing, spiritual experiences we will hear shortly:)
Love you beej.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Adventures in the MTC.

This dot signifies that I AM the new kid on the block.

Yes mom, I am brushing my teeth. Yes mom, I am studying my Tagolog.
Yes mom, I AM A MISSIONARY!!!!!:)

Elder Powell, Elder Cloward, and Elder Calinog.
With Elder Samuel Smith, the first Missionary.

My killin district.

District Sleepover!!

The Mish buds.

Ugly Tie Thursday. In my epic Noah tie. Boom roasted.

Called to Serve.

WE BE MISSIONARIES!!

Ummmmm..... Kung di mo alam.... PUPUNTA AKO SA PILIPINAS SA MARTES!!!!

Ahhhhh!!!!  I'm actually leaving and I'm scared to death! haha, I've been looking forward to this for a LONG time but now that it's here I'm gettin all anxious.  Tuesday needs to come faster haha :)  It's crazy to think that I'll be leaving the States for 2 whole years!
 
So the last week of a Philippines bound missionary at the MTC?  Kinda sorta EPIC! :)  Kinda sorta epically LOOONG! :P  Lots happened this thing but the biggest thing was just dying waiting for next Tuesday.  Last Sunday I got to give a talk in Sacrament Meeting about Pananampalataya Kay JesuCristo (Faith in Jesus Christ).  WOOT! :)  That's one of my favorite subjects and I love bearing my testimony about it.  I gave about a 5 minute talk with about 3 minutes of it in Tagalog.  Everyone was impressed with how well I spoke Tagalog and all the newbies looked scared to death haha, I know I'm gonna feel like that when I hit the Philippines next week :)
 
Wednesday I had a SUPER cool experience with the Spirit in a lesson :)  We were working with Abraham, an "inactive member" who hadn't gone to church for 3 years, and trying to show him that God loves him individually.  It was our third time meeting him and he was still depressed and we couldn't figre out what to do.  He was too ashamed to pray, too ashamed to go to church, too ashamed to really progress at all.  I realized that Satan was destroying Abraham's connections with God by making him feel depressed and ashamed.
There was an awkward silence in the room when I was able to realize this.  I said "Puwede gamitin ko ang pisara mo?" (Can I use your chalk board?:)  I got up and drew an awesome diagram as I was led by the Spirit.  I wish I could draw it for ya but I'll just describe instead :)
I drew God at the top and Abraham at the bottom.  Then I drew lines symbolizing connections between the 2 and labeled them "Keeping Commandments", "Going to Church", and "Prayer", and then drew a bunch of unlabeled connections.
Then I drew Satan on the side with a pair of scissors labeled "Temptation".  I scribbled out the "Keeping commandments" connection because Satan had tempted Abraham and he had chosen to break commandments and that connection with God.
Then I relabeled the scissors "Guilt/Ashamed(Nakakahiya:)".  These scissors scribbled out every connection that Abraham had with God except for one.  I told Abraham that by making him feel ashamed, Satan was getting rid of all of his connections with God.
I told him "There is one connection between us and God that Satan can never break.  We are always connected to Him."  Then Abraham asked, "What is that connection?"  And in my brain I was like, "Woah!  What is that connection??" haha :)  Then the answer came to me from the Spirit;  I wrote MAHAL on the board.  I told him "God loves YOU Abraham, and that will NEVER change no matter choices you make, or how far you feel from Him."
It was SOO cool and the Spirit was SOOO strong :)  He finally realized that God loves him even though he had made mistakes.  I asked him if he would start restoring his connections with God through the Atonement of Jesus Christ by praying, repenting and going to church and he said he would! :D  He didn't seem as depressed or ashamed anymore it was amazing :)
 
I know that God will ALWAYS love us no matter how many bad decisions we've made or how far we've strayed from Him and the church.  If we will give Him the chance to show us His love by praying and asking for it I KNOW that He will show it to us.  I testify of this truth in the name of Jesus Christ.
(Can't wait to get out to the field and do stuff like this for real with real people:)
 
So last night was kinda sorta epic.  We piled 11 mattresses into 1 room and had a district sleepover since we're all leaving soon.  It was a BLAST :)  Best part was when Elder Day layed down with his mouth open and Elder Machen was shooting EZ Cheeze into his mouth from the top bunk hahahaha :)  Just thought you'd  all like to know that :P
 
So I told you I'd email you about one more Spiritual experience from conference this week but my times up.  PASENSIYA!  I'll try and get it to ya later this week or on P-day..... IN THE PHILIPPINES!!! :D
 
Love and miss ALL of you!  Think of and pray for ya always!  Keep the States cool while I'm on the other side of the world Savvy? :)
 
MAHAL KITA!!!!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Ay Garrabe!! Isa Linggo Lang????/ Sobrang Magandang General Conference :)

Umm.... Kuwan.....  Uhhh......  I HAVE MY TRAVEL PLANS!!!!! :D  We got them last night after dinner and I'm kinda sorta REALLY excited... Just in case you can't tell :P  I got butterflies in my stomach just looking at them and thinking about taking off in an airplane for the first time haha.  It's kinda scary thinking that I will be leaving home (Fam/friends/Utah/America/MY MOUNTAINS:(  for 2 whole years!  I don't know secifically what specifically I'm scared of but that's how I feel and I'm gonna miss this place (Not just those things but even the MTC:)  I can't believe it's already been 2 whole months but I can't believe that it's only been 2 months haha, Does that make any sense? :o)  I've really grown a TON here.  I've become really close to my companions, district members, and to our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ.  I am SUPER excited to get to the Philippines and share what I feel and know to be true and to bring sweet, exquisite joy to others :) (Alma 36:21,24)
 
So our flight leaves Salt Lake at 8:15 PM on October 18th.  We'll arrive at the San Francisco Airport at 9:27 PM(Pacific Time).  We have a 4-hour layover there and then leave for.......... Hong Kong China (WOAH! :) at 1:20 AM on October 19th.  We arrive in Hong Kong at 6:25 AM.............. on October 20th?!  Haha, no worries.  We're not in the air for an entire day haha.  There's some weird day skip thing with crossing the International Date Line and I don't think we exist on October 19th :o)  So I hope y'all have an EPIC October 19th without me :)  We spend 3 hours in China and then leave at 9:10 AM.  We'll arrive at 11:15 AM on October 20th in........... THE PHILIPPINES!!!!! :D  Like I said, way excited.  I can't believe that the days finally here!  I've been waiting since April for this haha :)  This is gonna be an adventure of EPIC proportions :P
 
Ok so..... If anyone was wondering what it's like to watch General Conference in the MTC?....... It's kinda sorta freaking amazing :)  No we don't get to watch in our pajamas or play Conference Bingo (I was kinda bummed bout that but thanks for the Skitlles Mom!:) but the Spirit is beautiful and I learned a TON.  All the missionaries watched every session in the auditorium.... in our suits.... 10 hours total.  Normally that would have felt like forever but the time FLEW because the spirit was SO strong and I learned SO much :)  I'm sure you gained a lot from Conference too.  So the Tabernacle Choir sang 3 songs that we've sung in the MTC choir and they were the exact same arrangements.  My favorite that we've sung here was Consider the Lilies, beautiful song with a beautiful message :) (Matthew 10:29-31)  It shows our Heavenly Father's tender love for us.
 
Umm......  They're turning the Provo Tabernacle into a Temple?!?!?? :D  That's so awesome! :)  I can't wait to get back and go through that one, it's going to be beautiful.  I remember going to a Stake or Regional Conference there with Grandma and Grandpa Slater once.  It was beautiful before it was a temple and now it will be even better! :)
 
My favorite talks were Brother Cook's about Looking Up, Elder Scott's about Making the Scriptures Our Friend, Elder Perry's about Sharing the Gospel With Others, and Brother Richardson's about Teaching By the Spirit.  I loved a bunch of others but the list would get too long if I kept going and I might just type down every talk given haha :)
Here's some of my favorite quotes from Conference:
 
"Great power can come from memorizing scriptures.  They can be like a friend who always helps in time of need." - Elder Richard G. Scott
"You suffer many temptations from your body but through it you have power over the adversary." - Elder Boyd K. Packer
"We may think and comprehend that we are nothing, yet to God we are everything.  We truly are His sons and daughters." - Pres. Deiter F. Uchtdorf
"Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling.  It is not something you do with free time, it's something God gives you time to do." - Elder Neil L. Anderson
"Being busy should also mean being productive.  Identify the time-wasting distractions in your life and grind them into dust." - Brother Ian S. Ardern
"We must act upon the direction we receive.  We must look up and step up, in so doing we will cheer up, and receve much happiness." - Brother Carl B. Cook   (#89 The Lord is My Light is my new favorite Hymn :)
"1. Be BOLD in your declaration of Jesus Christ.  2. Be a righteous Example of our Church  3. Speak up about the Church!  There is no fear in love, love casteth out all fears." - Elder L. Tom Perry
"Dare to be a Mormon, Dare to stand alone, Dare to have a purpose firm, Dare to make it known." - President Thomas S. Monson
"Too often we pray for patience, but we want it right now." - Elder Robert D. Hales
"What think ye of Christ?" - Elder Dallin H. Oaks
"Are those REAL missionaries? :) ; Even though I left my mission, my mission never left me.  My mission wasn't the best 2 years of my life, it was the best 2 years FOR my life." - Brother Matthew O. Richardson
"Saying one is too sinful to pray is like saying one is too sick to see the doctor." - Brother J. Devn Cornish  (Loved his Chicken wing story:)
"We are unaware of a host of blessings that come into our lives every day.  The righteous are not lost, they are received into the rest of the Lord." - Elder Quentin L. Cook
 
Last one I promise :)  "We are all in this together and every man, woman, and child has their part to play." - President Thomas S. Monson
 
I encourage all of you to find out what part you are going to play in helping others and introducing others to the Gospel.  Cherish the words of the Prophets, they're amazing! :)  Sorry for such a long dragging e-mail haha, lots happened this week and I have even more to share but I'll save it for next week haha :)
 
I love you all! :)  Mahal ko lahat kayo!  Thanks for all your love and support! :)  Have a great week!
 
TAGALOG PHRASE OF THE WEEK :)
"Dahil umaalis ako sa Jet Plane, 'Di ko alam kapag babalik ako, Magmimiss kita!"  ("Cuz I'm leaving on a Jet Plane, don't know when I'll be back again, oh dear I'll miss you sooooooo!"  Well... not exact but sa Tagalog it makes sense :)
 
This is da beej signing off! :)  Mahal kita

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Ang Kaloob ng mga Wika (Gift of Tongues:)

Hiya everybuddy! :D
 
I hope you're all doing well with school, work, and life!  Things are still kinda sorta freaking amazing here at the MTC!
 
No, we didn't get an Apostle for once this week, but I think General Conference should cover that for a few weeks :)
 
So I'm kinda brain dead right now and really need to take a nap today so I'll keep this short and sweet today segi?  Sorry haha.  I wanna tell you all about how the Lord's blessed me and answered my prayers here and how I know that he will do the same for you to!
 
So over the last couple of weeks I've found that my Tagalog is beginning to absolutely FLOW when we teach our lessons.  The other Elders in my District are even starting to come to me for advice with the language.  They all wonder, and sometimes so do I, why the language has come to me so quickly and seemingly easily.  I know that it has come as a blessing from our Father in Heaven.  The language has always been hard and scary but I've known ever since I got my mission call that I would be able to speak the language.  1Nephi 3:7 says God doesn't give us a commandment without giving us a way to fulfill it.  I've taken great comfort from this and have found that the more faith and trust I put in God, the more help and blessings I receive. :)  Another cool scripture is Ether 12:27.  It says that God gives us weaknesses so that we will stay humble, and that if we turn to Him and submit our will and fears to Him, He will make our weaknesses strengths.  I've found the truth of these scriptures at the MTC and I know that they don't just apply to Elder Powell at the MTC, but these promises are given to all us.  Yes even you! :)  If you will turn to your Father in prayer and place all your burdens on Him and submit to His will, he will answer your prayers and he will make your weaknesses strengths.  This isn't just for spiritual stuff but it works for ALL problems with school, with family, and with work.  I know that this is true :)
 
Thank you all for being such great examples, friends, and family to me.  I miss you but I know I'm doing the right thing :)
 
Thanks to everyone that's written me a letter!  I'm sorry if I haven't written back to you yet, I'll try to before I leave America (in 2 and a half weeks! :D)
 
Well... I'm gonna go take a nap so I don't fall asleep during General Conference tomorrow heheheh :P
MAHAL KITA!  Have a great week!
 
Love,
Elder Powell
 
P.S.
Check out President Uchtdorf's "Forget-Me-Not" talk from RS Conference.  It's kinda sorta amazing :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

the opening.

video
this is a little late. but here is BJ opening his mission call. the best reaction of them all is from his Uncle Bud check it out:)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

3 APOSTLES IN 4 WEEKS?! :D

3 Apostles in 4 weeks?!?  Yeah, we're kinda sorta the most blessed, luckiest missionaries that ever hit the MTC :)  This Tuesday we were blessed to hear from Elder Russell M. Nelson and his wife.  He was SO cool and down to earth and acted like a normal person with us.  At one point during the devotional he asked for the lights to be dimmed so we could see a slide on the projector screen but after about a minute nothing had happened.  So he said, "What?  Is it against the Word of Wisdom to dim the lights?!" hahaha!  I thought it was quite hilarious :P
 
He gave a talk about the Book of Mormon.  The Sunday before the Devotional we were each given a copy of the October Special Edition of the Ensign (It's kinda sorta epic, you all need to read it.)  He talked about it's translation, the 4 different editions of the Book, the Book's purpose, and the purpose of our Church.  EVERYTHING is about our beloved Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ! :)  I really liked everything he said about the Book of Mormon, there's just too much to talk about haha.
 
One of the things I found really interesting was when he talked about the translation of the Book of Mormon.  He said that scholars today, with all of the technology and advanced methods that are available to them, translate scripture into other languages at a rate of 1 page per day.  Joseph Smith, a 23 year old living in the 1800s with no technology and with very little education translated the Book of Mormon at a rate of 8 to 10 pages each day!  He translated the 531 pages of the Book of Mormon in somewhere around 53 days.  What took Joseph Smith around 2 months to translate would take scholars today around 2 whole years!  Isn't that amazing??  How can anyone say that the Book of Mormon was not brought into the world by the power of God?
 
I know that the Book of Mormon is true.  I know that if you read it every day, with real intent to learn from it, your life will be filled with the Spirit and you'll be happy and blessed.  When I was at home I ususally read the scriptures every night but it was usually just skimming over the verses before I went to sleep.  I've learned here that in order to get a lot out of the scriptures we have to put a lot into our STUDY of the scriptures.  Don't read them study them.  I know that if you pray for the spirit each time before you read, the Lord will give it to you (3Nephi 18:20)
 
Well, not too much exciting non-spiritual stuff happened this week.  Funny story though :)  Yesterday we were sitting at dinner and Elder Cloward was staring off into space past the Elder sitting across from him.  A Sister walked past and looked right at Elder Cloward, smiled at him, and kept walking past.  His face turned as bright red as a tomato! hahaha :)  I laughed the hardest I have for a while, it kinda sorta made my life haha!
 
TAGALOG PHRASE OF THE WEEK:  Naramdaman kita pare!  It means "I feel you bro!" haha.  The language is still coming for me.  It's hard work but I definitely have the Lord on my side :)
 
Well that's it for this week!  Sorry so short!
 
Don't forget to STUFF my mailbox! :)
I love you all!  Mahal ko sa lahat kayo! :D

Houston, We Have T-minus 1 Month Until Lift-off! :)

Kumusta po kayong pamilya ko at mga kaibigan ko?! :D
 
I had another epic week here and this Sunday will be my halfway point!!!  Houston we have T-minus 1 month till liftoff! :)  Nagiging mas madale ang mga salitang Tagalog kasama ang pagtulong ng Espiritu Santo at ng kaloob ng mga wika. (The talgalog language is becoming easier with the help of the Spirit and the Gift of Tongues.)  While we were teaching last night the words just flowed out of my mouth.  When I stopped talking I was like, "Wow!  Lots of noise just came out of my mouth and it all made sense in Tagalog!" haha, I'm starting to understand how the Spirit helps us and realizing that by opening our mouths they will be filled and the Tagalog will come :)  The Spirit was really strong while we taught the RM's from BYU in tagalog.  After we finish teaching they write how our lesson affected them and anything else they thought about the lesson.  One of the sisters we taught wrote that after our lesson  she knew what she wanted to do with her life.  Wow!  That was SO cool! :)  Our teaching actually affected somebody in real life!  It was a great feeling :)
 
So I realized another reason why I like Psychology this week (yes I'm still obsessed:)  It's something that will ALWAYS be useful!  It's the study of how we think and why we make the choices we make.  By learning more about why people make decisions I'll be able to know how to help people make righteous decisions.  Pretty cool eh?  Elder Calinog wants to become a doctor and I was talking to him about it.  He said, "Man!  You're gonna be useful in the Millenium, I'll be useless!  I mean, what's a Doctor Gonna do?  Walk up to people and say, 'Excuse me, would you like me to operate on your perfect body?'"  Hahaha, it was hilarious :)
 
Last Sunday for our Fireside we did a commemoration for 9-11-2001.  We watched the MoTab program with Tom Brokaw narrarating.  (Man that guy is loud!  Oh well, hindi mahalaga:)  The music was beautiful and so was the Spirit it brought.  Afterwards MTC President Brown spoke and explained that the world has kinda gone through the pride cycle like the Nephites did.  We were attacked, the world remembered God, was blessed, and now we[re all back to being prideful and forgetting God.  He said that the world has kinda gone through the pride cycle like the Nephites did.  He said that we missionaries, and members too, must go out and preach the word of God boldly and bring others to Christ.  Like I said, the Spirit was SUPER strong.  After he bore testimony we sang "Called to Serve".  At the beginning about 3 sisters in the whole Auditorium were standing.  By the start of the 2nd verse people were starting to stand here and there.  I stood up at this point and an overwhelming Spirit hit me like a wave.  It was so strong I almost wanted to sit back down.  Pretty soon everyone was standing and boldly proclaiming our divine calling to spread the Gospel in song.  The Spirit testified to me the I have been called, just like all missionaries, by our Father in Heaven to proclaim His Gospel to the World.  If we turn to Him then he will provide a way for us to accomplish all the things that He asks us (1Nephi 3:7).
 
So last weekend I read "Our Search For Happiness" by Elder M. Russell Ballard, it's a pretty good book, you should all read it!  I finished the book on Monday night.  Guess who came to speak at our Devotional this Tuesday!  Hmm.....  Jimmer Fredette?  HINDI!  haha, although that would've been cool :)  Elder M. Russell Ballard came and spoke to us!  That's 2 Apostles in 3 weeks! :D  Pretty ironically Astig, eh?  He gave us tons of good advice on how to become great missionaries.  He was a great example to us cuz he was SO kind to his wife.  He helped her walk to the podium and they held hands the whole time they were sitting together.  It was almost like he was taunting us! :P haha jk.  It was great to receive direct counsel in person from another prophet of God.
 
Just in case any of you were wondering... YES I do have an awesome family, YES they sent me the coolest pillowcase on Earth this week (no seriously, it's cooler than yours.  I promise, you'll see why in a sec:), OF COURSE my sister drew a picture of a unicorn fighting a dragon/dinosaur/the epitome of monstrosity underneath a rainbow.  Just in case you didn't understand all that... it's kinda sorta freaking EPIC! :)  However, I was somewhat disappointed to find that there was no pot o' gold or that leprechaun guy with the Lucky Charms (AY!  Nagnakaw sila ng Lucky Charms ko!!... Google it :P) at the end of the rainbow.  Still kinda sorta made my life 10 times better though haha.
 
Well, that's enough astig-ness for today.  I hope you're all doing well.  I wanna hear how y'all are doing!  Send me a letter about school or any exciting goings on in your life!
 
Oh yeah... GO MIGHTY COUGARS!!!!!! :D  (Pumunta Pinakanangyarihan Cougars!!!  I think.... :)
 
MAHAL KITA! :)  Sa susunod!