Monday, October 31, 2011

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


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.

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.


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? :)

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!
"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!
Elder Powell
Check out President Uchtdorf's "Forget-Me-Not" talk from RS Conference.  It's kinda sorta amazing :)