Monday, December 31, 2012

Maligayang Pasko at Masaganang Bagong Taon 12-31-2012

Mommaaaaaa!  Oooooooooo! :)

Hope me beginning letters like that doesn't get too old haha :)  Happy New Year to you too!  Here they say Maligayang Pasko at Masaganang Bagong Taon (Merry Christmas and a Bounteous New Year).  Psssh!!  I'm thinking you've got it backwards, you never do New Year's Resolutions cuz you're so amazing that you can't think of anything to improve on :)  Dad asked me about resolutions too.  I've never been very good at em either but with the end of my mission coming this year I'm thinking I'll wanna make a few.  I'm gonna finish the Book of Mormon in tagalog and then finish the standard works before the end of my mission.  I've found that throughout my life I've known a bunch about the Book of Mormon but not so much about the Bible.  Turns out the Bible is kinda sorta freaking amazing too.  And just in case you didn't already know... Jesus Christ is the greatest teacher/example/person EVER.  Cool stuff :)

Fur Coat/Gangham Style! 
I thought talking to you all was a pretty great Christmas gift too.  Sorry if I seemed a bit down, don't know if it comes with the season in the Mission Field or if I was just stressed haha :)  The phone call gave me a HUGE boost though.  Made me super happy to hear all your happy voices and hear how you're doing.

The week actually went quite fantastimagically superb after that.  The next day I found a GREAT scripture in my personal study that I wish I could have found earlier in my mission.  It's Jacob 3:1-2 and tells us that through having a firm mind we can feast on the love of God and be consoled in our afflictions.  I thought that was pretty awesome because I've struggled with stress at times on my mission and I liked the phrase "firmness of mind".  The firmness of mind had a footnote that led to Alma 57:27 that talked about the Stripling Warriors and how they were firm in mind because of their trust and faith in God.  It was SUPER cool and it's become my new motto :)

Epic fur coat/White Elephant for the Zone Christmas party!
Soooo cold in the 'Pines! 

Haha, I'm glad the Becca's were able to come over and have fun :)  Thanks for getting them a Christmas gift for me too.  Jesus the Christ really is the bomb, you should read it too! :)  It's kinda deep and takes some focus to understand it but when you do it's amazing.  Glad to hear Becca B's gonna have more time with the fam, hope she has fun at school.  Can't wait to see Becca O. here! :)  Still can't believe we're gonna be in the same mish haha

BJ's favorite tree at home

Wow!  Those pictures of the house are super pretty!  I'm dreaming of a white christmas but sounds like you finally got a good one :)  I remembering one year shoveling the Hatch's driveway with Dad when it snowed 2-3 feet one time!  Pretty awesome stuff.  I LOVE our little Christmas tree in the front yard!  I hope it ends up getting super tall like the ones in front of your old yellow house by the steel plant or whatever kinda plant that is haha.

Epic Snow Storm week of Christmas
Haha, glad you're being protective with Chelsey while I'm not there to be protective :)  Hope Jordface is for real.  That's pretty great advice his brother gave him.  I've found that especially reading a lot from the Book of Mormon every day helps a ton and brings it into our lives.  Make it one of our family's resolutions to finish it this year! :)

Yup, we get the international version called the Liahona.  (We asked him if he gets the Ensign.) It's exactly the same but cooler... if that makes sense :)  President Monson's talk was the bomb! :)

Loved the pics you sent haha :)  Thanks for all your love and support and for being the Pinaka-astig na nanay sa buong mundo! :D  Mahal na mahal kita!

Da Beej

MALIGAYANG PASKO!!! :) 12-24-2012

Hiya Guys! :D

SOoooooooooooo........  MERRY CHRISTMAS!  I'm kinda sorta freaking stoked to talk to you guys tomorrow.  So this email might be a tid bit short cuz I'm kind of out of it and can't think of too much to say and I'm way too excited to talk to y'all tomorrow to think straight haha :)

Had a bit of a stressful week.  I've been out of it a little bit and kinda unfocused with Christmas comin up but things will work out for sure.  The baptism we were hoping to have fell through because no members (including the branch presidency) were able to come.  No worries though, the S. family is super cool and they weren't worried about it at all.  We'll just do it this Saturday.

Trina has a mission call?!?!? :D  Cool beans!  Tell her congrats for me.  Haha, that's awesome that both Becca's are gonna come over.  That's pretty crazy that they're both going to the MTC pretty soon.  Make sure and tell them both hi for me and that I miss their faces off haha :)  With advice.... I guess just tell them to LOVE the MTC, that Jesus the Christ is the greatest book ever, and that we should write haha :)

Hope Chelsey had fun with Jordface and his fam :)

I'll give you a call on that cell phone at the time you said.  Can't wait to talk to you all it's gonna be amazing.  Love ya tons!  Sorry it's short and scatterbrained! :)

P.S.-Make sure gram and gramps come over too for the phone call eh? :)  Love ya!

Welcome Elder J. to SJDM!!! Received- 12-17-2012


(FYI- BJ wasn't transferred, but he did get a new companion.  He's still in the San Jose Del Monte Zone-Minuyan Branch)
Ok, so I am a TERRIBLE person for running out of time to email my beloved mother last week but I hope ya still love me haha :)  We kinda had a couple of hectic P-days and ran out of time to get to ya.

So like you said I haven't had a Filipino comp since waaaaay back in June with Elder C, and I was thinking it was about time too(partly because they're way out-going and I'd be able to stay in my quiet comfort-zone:).  But!  It looks like the Lord's got other plans for us and I'm way excited for it.  My new comp is...... Elder J from Chino Hills, CA.  He's been in the field for 3 months and is super cool.  He is my first comp that's been taller than me haha, he's 6'3.  He's super nice and reminds me a lot of myself back when I was new in the mission except he's a little bit more laid back.  He went to BYU-I for a semester before the mish so we've been sharing college stories and crazy things we've done a lot over the last few days.  I'm way excited, we're getting along well and the work is already going great.

This last weekend was AWESOME.  I was a little nervous because Elder H. was way talkative and I wasn't super quiet but he was definitely the center of attention so with him gone I'm taking back over with that.  I thought it might take a couple days to get back in the groove but through Heavenly Father's help and especially the Spirit things have gone amazingly well.  I've felt SUPER comfortable as we've shared the gospel with our investigators and new people we met this weekend.  We were able to give out a new Baptismal Date, have 3 people VERY close to baptismal dates, and have 2 getting baptized this weekend.  Woot! :)

The 2 getting baptized are R. and M. S.  They're both 10 years old but M. is R.'s uncle cuz he's the youngest in his family.  The family used to be Less-Active but they're going to church now and we'll be able to baptize them this weekend.  Pretty excited.  We're gonna take them to see the Christmas Lights at the temple tonight which should be really fun.  I'll get ya some pictures from that and the baptism eh? :)

The new Baptismal Date is for J. O., a 24 year-old sister who has an RM boyfriend.  You might think that she's just doing it for her boyfriend but he lives far away and she still goes to church every week, even when we weren't able to teach her 2 weeks in a row.  SUPER cool.  She's almost like an active member already haha.  She was VERY excited when we invited her to be baptized.  That will be on January 12.

The 3 VERY close to baptism is the teacher with her member sister that Elder H. and I ran into on the way to 7-ELEVEN and her family.  She agrees with everything we're teaching but realizes the true importance of the things we're teaching and doesn't want to jump into baptism too fast. This past Sunday we were teaching her the Gospel of Jesus Christ and one of her concerns was about Enduring to the End.  She seems a little apprehensive about baptism because she doesn't want to make a promise with God that she knows she will eventually break.  I felt the Spirit SUPER strongly as I explained to her that us messing up is our Father's plan for us.  He sent us here to Earth to learn and grow and to become perfect through our experiences.  One thing that has happened a lot on my mission is companions relating the story of their baptism to our investigator because they were baptized as a teenager.  I always feel left out cuz I was a little kid when I was baptized and can't remember much.  I took this opportunity to explain to Sister G. that Repentance and Enduring to the End by renewing covenants is just as important, if not more important, than baptism itself.  I even got a little teary eyed as I explained that I don't remember much about my baptism because I was young.  But that I remember and will never forget the healing joy that comes from true repentance that comes as we strive to endure to the end.  I felt the Spirit SUPER strong and feel blessed to have had the opportunity to teach that to her and to feel God working through me.  Really neat feeling.  That was one of my favorite experiences so far on the mission.

Sad to hear about Hunter getting sick.  Hope your doin better tough guy :)  Was he able to make it to his ball game? I remember that was always SUPER frustrating to get stuck home sick or with other problems when I wanted to play in a ball game so bad haha.  Hope he's ok now.

12 Ways of Christmas

I got the Christmas packages!!!!! :D  4 of them AND a letter from Gma and Gpa Powell?!  Wow, you guys are amazing!  I'm definitely a spoiled-out-of-my-mind-Elder :)  I'm loving all the goodies and fun things in the packages.  Also love all the music.  I know I probably shouldn't have opened anything till Christmas but I HAD to dig out the CD-shaped gifts haha.  Thanks a TON you guys are the greatest :)  Elder J.'s pretty surprised about how awesome you guys are too haha.  He keeps telling me your parents are the coolest! :)

Also really enjoying the 12 Ways of Christmas packet.  Thanks a ton for giving me another way to focus on the Savior and becoming like him.  You guys are the greatest :)
A Couple of Santa's Cool Helpers!!

I am WAAAAAAAAAAY excited to talk at y'all on Christmas!  It sounds like Elder J.'s fam wants to Skype him 6pm your time on your Christmas Eve.  Maybe we could try Skype for a little bit and then I could call you too but I'm not sure yet what we'll do.  So plan on a phone call for sure but maybe we'll get a little Skype in too.  Just send me the Skype address you want me to use(ask Dad or Chelsey ;) and let me know exactly what day and time you want me to call.  Also need to know which phone to call.  We're 15 hours ahead.  If it's 12 midnight there it's 3 in the afternoon here.  With Skype we would do it your Christmas Eve but with the phone call we can do it Christmas.  I thought it was fun that way last year.  I think it'd be fine if we talked between 1 and 2 hours.  It's up to you :)  Can't wait to talk at ya! :D

I'll try and do it (we asked him to send us 'A day in the life of Elder Powell) sometime but my life is too routine to send ya anything too exciting but since you want it I'll give it to ya sometime.

LOVE YOU TONS!!!  Merry Christmas one and all and talk at ya next week!  I'll try and email ya Christmas Eve here to finalize call plans so make sure and let me know what ya think before then.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Another Cool Experience In The 'Pines!! Received-12-05-2012


Haha, don't feel too bad for the turkey, he's in a happier place now :)  Haha, I was kinda bummed out that I missed out on the gutting but you're right it wasn't too terrible, got to keep my hands clean haha.  No Elder Hensley didn't do it alone, we had the other 2 elders from our branch, Elder Asetre and Elder Hendricksen, come over too.  I'll send you the video, I'm sure all you turkey lovers will enjoy it haha :o)  Yup, I'm feeling better, the runny nose and clogged throat are still here after 2 weeks but that's ok I'm hoping I'll survive :)  I think it actually might be because I'm in the city again with all the lovely pollution.

Alright, if you're skipping to the ?'s I'll skip to the answers.  With me maybe getting transferred next week, it's not for sure at all, that's the way things look and Elder Hensley and I feel at this point.  He's been in the mission for a long time and he's still a Junior comp so we think he'll stay here and President will make him a Senior while I get sent somewhere else.  Really a BIG bummer because the work here is going great and we've connected with the people really well.  We're hoping to have between 3 and 7 baptisms in the next month, but whether I'm here or not it'll be great if we're able to help them make that step.  I've REALLY enjoyed my time in this area and my time here with Elder Hensley.  He's really funny and a lot of fun and doesn't hesitate to act on fun crazy ideas.  EXAMPLE:  We bought airsoft guns the other day and had an airsoft war last night hahaha :) It was a BLAST.  The goal was to get into the house and keep the other guy out.  He hit me a bunch of times and the guns were pretty powerful so it kinda stung but I'm pretty sure I won... I gave him a HUGE welt to the forehead hahaha :)  Too bad I didn't take a picture I was pretty proud of myself.  We did end up knocking over a glass soda bottle in the kitchen but it was totally worth it :)

We were actually supposed to go to the temple today but Elder Hensley has an eye infection and hasn't felt well for the last bit so he slept in till 11 this morning and we weren't able to make it.  No worries though, I'll get another chance soon.

Sister L. is doing great haha, she's a LOT of fun.  She's got a funny story.  Before we got here she never let the missionaries into her house.  On her Teaching record it says that she's really shy and that she always hides from the missionaries and hadn't been to church for 4 years.  From the very 1st visit we made to her she has been SUPER nice and joking around and introduced her friends to the gospel and brought them to church every week.  She's da bomb! :)  We actually had a good time with them again at her neighbor's house the other day.  Her neighbor taught us how to cook(she was a chef in Israel for a couple years) and then we sang videoke haha.  Lots of fun, they really liked making me and Elder Hensley sing Beatles songs and we enjoyed singing them haha :)

I've actually got another really cool experience that I don't think I've told you yet.  We have 2 areas we work in: Road 12 and Towerville.  One night we were working in Road 12 and weren't planning on going to Towerville but when we finished working we had to drop someone who had worked with us off at their house in Towerville.  So we're leaving Towerville at about 9:20 at night to go home and eat and sleep when this lady says "Hi Elders".  Now here in the Pines because we're Americans EVERYONE says "hey you" or "hey Joe" or "Call me maybe" or "Teach me how to duggie" or a number of other annoying things so it was kinda normal and we were just gonna keep walking.  But the way she said it felt different so we stopped to to talk to her and her friend, found out she's a member and lives in Towerville.  So we find out where her house is and set an appointment for the next week.  Turns out that the night we ran into her was her first night there.  Her non-member sister was bringing her home from the airport at the time.  Right before she saw us she asked her sister if she knew where the church was or had seen any missionaries around and her sister hadn't.  So we ran into them at the PERFECT time where we might not have found them otherwise.  Also turns out that her sister (G. E) is a Golden Investigator and so is her whole family.  She's a guidance counselor at a High School and is very smart and religious and very open to our message.  She's accepted our whole message over the last couple weeks and hopefully she, her son, and cousin will be baptized on the 23rd of December.  Her husband is only available Saturday nights so we're going to meet him this week and it sounds like he's very interested too.  WOOT! :)  Heavenly Father definitely prepares people for our message and DIRECTS us to them so that we can find them.  There were too many coincidences that night for them to be just coincidences.  Super cool :)

Haha, you guys are the coolest, you probably made those missionaries' day :)  Keep taking good care of them and feeding them my roast, mashed potatoes and gravy eh?

Now Mom, when it comes to Christmas lights you know I'm never gonna stop loving those multicolored lights we had at the old house.  The red, green... blue, orange, and white ones?  Da bomb.  I miss em :)  You DEFINITELY hafta send me pictures of the house all lighted up next week so I can show em off here ok? :)

Man!  I know I've said this in probably every single email I send but I can't wait to get home and coach that Hunter kid into a Basketball star! :)  Tell him not to worry about it and practice hard and do better next week :)

Woot!  Congrats Karissa!  Ukraine sure will be a tiny bit colder than here.  How's James Smith doing with Cebu now? I bought a Cebuano book today so that I can learn how to speak it too hopefully haha.  So far I know Unsa imong ngalan? (What's your name)  Asa ka dapit? (Where are you)  and Maot ang imong Panagway(Your face is ugly) :o)  That'd be pretty cool if we got missionaries to China soon, hope it happens.

Sooo... Christmas is close!!  Which means.... We get to talk in a couple weeks!! :D  So we can do it on Dec. 23rd, 24th, or 25th.  Your choice, just let me know.  I'll make sure we get a couple hours.  The calling cards only cost $2 so don't worry about it.  I think I'll just call again, but would you like to Skype a little bit?  Not sure if I'll find somewhere to do it but if you want I can see what I can do.  Just lemme know what you want.

Have a Fantastimagical week!  Love y'all tons!