Mission Address

You can write to Luke at the following address:
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Luke A. Powell
Hawaii Honolulu Mission
1500 South Beretania St. Suite #416
Honolulu, Hawaii 96826

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

My newest companion, Not here to just talk story, Keep moving forward

Aloha family and friends!!

Mahalo nui loa for your many kind e-mails on our behalf. I apologize to everyone who sent e-mails last week that I didn't respond to. With transfers going on and the Kalaheo missionaries car still in the shop we found ourselves rather short on time and I was rather short on patience as well so I found myself with not a lot of time or will power to write many people! But all is well! :) Elder Chen got safely to the airport and I assume to Honolulu without any problem, while I stayed here on Kaua'i and have been enjoying my time with my newest companion Elder Luke. (I know... coolest name ever!!! :) haha!) I actually just did a little mental math (and a bit of counting on my fingers) and realized I am now already on my 9th companion out here in Hawaii!! (not including the MTC or my mini-mission) It's crazy how fast time passes and things change.

Speaking of changes and companions... I literally got four different e-mails from different friends last week all telling me about their new (or at least new to me) boyfriends/girlfriends and then with Ben that adds another right there not to mention the three or so others that already informed me of relationships they were in a month or so ago..... man.... I feel old...... I made it over a year without anyone getting married and felt like I was on track to make it back before everyone's weddings but from the sounds of it half of my friends will have kids before I'm even back in the Phoenix airport!!!! haha!! Anyway, sorry, I don't mean to be melodramatic about things. It really is exciting to hear that everyone is involved in worthy and wonderful activities back home and that all of you are still strong and healthy and most of all to at least know that you haven't completely forgotten about this palangi boy and still care about me enough to at least invite me to the weddings I won't be able to attend! :) haha! Anyway, enough dry sarcasm... onto what I'm sure you all really want to hear from me about this last week.

HAWAII IS AMAZING!! :) I really do love it out here!!! This area especially, it is just uncanny how friendly people are! We went tracting just the other day in what is probably the nicest neighborhood in all of the west side of the island (which would normally be a really ineffective place to tract) and even the people there were just SUPER cordial and talked story and made sure to tell us all about how they were related to or friends with the Nakaahiki family or the Cardijons... (seriously.... EVERYONE is related out here! haha!) Unfortunately though we are not just out here to talk story and cruze with the locals (although if feels like that is all we do sometimes...) We are here to proclaim the Gospel and help people to change, which.... well... isn't received quite as well... They are still super polite and nice and will even listen to whatever it is we have to say but be it members, investigators, or even sometimes missionaries, people just don't like change... So yeah, this week was a rather tough one.

I'm not sure if it has to do with how frequently missionaries have been coming and going from the ward or if it is just the time of year or what is happening but it feels like everything just hit a brick wall and everyone that was progressing has stopped, everyone that we were teaching, we aren't, everyone that was coming to church or Thursday night Book of Mormon class, isn't... Now of course that is a bit of an exaggeration. We still have plenty of members who are doing very well and trying to help out however they can, but the vast majority of people out here (really the whole community, not just members) have just kind of set cruise control on an upward slope, slowly drifting with wherever the wind blows them.... BUT you didn't wait a whole week just to hear me vent about things! SO point of that whole first part... sometimes things aren't easy on the mission! BUT there are ALWAYS good things to find even among the rough times! So onto part two!! :)

Miracles from this last week! We were able to teach W a couple of times and while his hearing is still not too sharp and I find myself yelling probably louder than I need to sometimes (which you know loudness has never been sometime I struggled with! :P haha!) he is doing very well!! He still wants to be baptized and has come to church enough times and is far enough along in his lessons that really it could happen any week now!! The only problem is he won't set a date! We've been trying really hard to get him to read and pray about the Book of Mormon, because that is kind of a super important part to ANYONE'S testimony of the restored gospel... but as of now we haven't got a clear answer yet as to whether or not he got an answer.. but stay tuned because I'm sure things are going to pick up pretty fast here with him!! :) In fact already more has happened in regards to him as he just walked into the library a minute ago! :) haha!

Also this week we had a VERY fun (although rather sparsely attended) ice-cream social put on by the High Priest in the ward! I very much enjoyed it as did a few of the youth in the ward and W, well he looked like a child in a candy shop!! He was just ecstatic to be there!! So I guess even with minimal attendance it still fulfilled its purpose as a chance to fellowship and strengthen each other! Well, I have gone on for far too long I believe. I am sorry again to all those who I probably will not have time to respond to again this week but know that I still love and miss all of you dearly and that you are always in my prayers! I am trying my best to be who I am supposed to be and while I still fall short in many ways I know that the Savior truly can pick any of us up from whatever rut we may find ourselves in and that he will help us along the way as we continue to try and dust ourselves off and keep moving forward! I hope and pray that all of you feel that same love and that you are finding ways to keep moving forward wherever you are at in life! Mahalo again for your love and your support and your prayers on our behalf, know that they are reciprocated! Congrats Kyle and everyone else who has recently or will be soon leaving for or coming home from missions! Thank you for adding to our strength! Have a great week and don't forget to be awesome!!!! :D

Ofa lahi atu!
-Elder Powell
p.s. Saying goodbye to the Asians in our district at the Lihue airport on Wednesday. (Elder Kang from Korea on the left and Elder Chen from China on the right) I'm gonna miss those guys!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Hold On, Storms, Stay Strong


Thank you so much for your letters and your e-mails and most of all for your thoughts and prayers on our behalf! Elder Chen and I have definitely felt them and they were very much needed this past week. I'm so glad to hear about all of the incredible things going on back home and all the amazing people who, from the sounds of it, are still just as amazing as ever!!! I can't wait to join you all again but until that day, well I've got work to do out here! :) haha!

Anyway, jumping right into things, I guess if I could put a theme of some sort to this past week it would probably be "hold on" as in the song from The Secret Garden because almost every day this week I have been having to remind myself that "it's the storm not you, that's bound to blow away". Of course there was the oh so exciting news that we all had to evacuate for the terrifying tsunami that just devastated our islands this last week..... And in case you haven't figured out by now, I am being rather sarcastic. Just like so far every other big "hurricane" or "tsunami" that has threatened to turn our way, this one petered out and died long before it ever even touched our shores and in fact I don't even know if this island got so much as a swell (which I'm sure made the many avid surfers over here a little disappointed.) But it did manage to take out almost an entire days worth of proselyting as we all hunkered down in Kalaheo - much to the amusement of many of the members and other locals who all already knew there was nothing coming. It was a fun day none the less! :)

Speaking of Kalaheo, that was one of our second big "storms" that seemed to hit hard the last week. So Tuesday we went with the Kalaheo missionaries (the other set of Elders in our district) to take their car in for what should have been just a short same day inspection and repairs.... only to get news a couple hours later that it would not be done until the end of the week! And then as the end of the week rolled around they got the call that it was going to take another couple days and they could pick it up today (Monday) although we are still waiting to hear from the car shop. Anyway, because of that they were without a car for practically the entire week and they also have one of the largest areas on the island covering more than quadruple our two little towns in Kekaha ward. So being as we were the closes missionaries (or more likely the most available and willing ones) we got to spend most of the week trying to balance and bounce around the two areas with only one car and I had to do almost all of the driving! So yeah, that was pretty crazy and made for a lot of days with 100+ miles and 4+ hours of just straight travelling. I don't know how truck drivers do it! it is exhausting!

So finally one of the last big "storms" from this week actually came from a little insight I had after a really tough lesson last night. I could go into a lot of detail and actually started writing a little memo to myself about it that will probably someday turn into a talk about standing strong against the winds of the world, but for now I will give you the very quick summery.  So this certain less-active member we were talking with for the first time, after much conversation in all sorts of directions, basically told me (and I paraphrase really only slightly) "I am worried about you because you seem to be so cemented into this idea of Prophets and Apostles being 'directed by God' that you won't be able to see things change and progress with the times". To which I attempted to continue responding with my testimony and personal experiences but there was not much place by that point, if any, for a seed to take root so we left soon thereafter. But anyway, it was kind of bothering me because he seemed "legitimately concerned for me" because of the fact that I would not change my beliefs to fit into many of the social issues that the world has been altering recently (including everything from Church attendance, to prophets, to homosexuality, to gender equality.)

It was rather sobering to watch as the many stories I had heard and read about in the Book of Mormon and the Bible concerning people who were misled by the cunning words and crafty lies of the adversary came to fruition in front of me. We both tried to express our souls to him and explain that God does not change with every fancy and whim of mankind but he would not take it and we left disheartened and a little upset that truly this idea of "building upon a rock" as the Savior implored us to do is seen by the world as out dated and that the beach resort of secularism is drawing so many into its stream of ever changing doctrine and ideas.

Anyway, I guess again to summarize everything from this week. Stay strong, don't let your foundation slip and don't allow be scared to face the storms that come in life because they come to all of us. The only thing that we can change is where we build our house and our testimony. I love you all and will keep on praying for you!! Thank you again for your support and your love and prayers in our behalf! Congrats to JD and Kyle and everyone else who is still working so hard! Be sure to send my love and aloha to both of them as well as to Sis. Fairbanks and her companion and a very special aloha to Sis. Christensen who I will hopefully be able to see out here in paradise soon enough!! Mahalo nui loa and aloha au ia oe!!! :)

-Elder Powell

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

That Crafty Little Continuum, Woo...I did it! Hikes and Lobsters


It always makes me so happy to hear from you!! Although If I am being honest I am starting to question if e-mails come around once a week or twice a week now because the days in between sure don't feel like it was a full week. Although I guess it was. Time just slips right past you when you're not looking, that crafty little continuum. But anyway, speaking of time slipping away I better get into this letter before it slips away from me again and I can't tell you about all the awesome things that happened with in those ever hastening days!!

So the week started out on a spiritual high when I got the opportunity and great blessing to be able to perform my first baptismal interview for an investigator in the Kalaheo ward (the only other companionship in our district :P haha!) who got baptized this last week. It was funny because he was a little nervous but I don't think he realized I was just as if not more nervous than he was!! It reminded me all too much of my mission down in Yuma when my companion (who was also a first time district leader) had to do an interview for someone in the district and afterwards the investigator came out of the room with a sigh of relief and proclaimed "woo.. I did it!!" after which she left the church and my companion let out a great sigh of relief as well and said "wooo.... I did it!" haha! :) But anyway, that really was a great experience to be able to see and feel firsthand what it means to discern people’s needs and ask inspired questions and so forth which we do anyway in lessons but this one was just very strong and clear promptings and it was just great! :)

As for the rest of the week in our area I had a chance to work with Elder Kang on exchanges for a day. He's one of the Elders from aforementioned Kalaheo ward and Jim might be interested to know that he is from Korea, although he speaks very fluent and actually rather eloquent English because he went to an "American school" for most of his life before and is actually an English major at BYU too...) but anyway. He's a really cool guy and it was fun to work with him even just for a day. But the rest of the week Elder Chen and I still had fun as we worked extra hard and got to see little bits of success every single day pretty much!! We have made a lot of progress with our hearing impaired investigator who came to church again this week for two hours instead of one and hopefully will stay for all three next week! We also came really close to setting him with a baptismal date although he's still hesitant to make that specific commitment but I sure it will come soon enough!

We also have spent a lot of time this week with the many pure Hawaiians that live here in Kekaha. I think I mentioned before that because we are the closes part of the islands to Ni'ihau that we have quite a few full-blooded Hawaiians from there who speak better Hawaiian than English (which you won't find pretty much anywhere in the islands any more. But anyway, one of those families that all came from that island a long time ago and is still pretty much pure Hawaiian is the K family. I believe I mentioned before about K K, he's our Hawaiian investigator, but this last week we also started teaching J K, a small kine pastor for the Hawaiian church in Waimea, who happens to live next to his cousin D K, an active and very strong member of our church. And those are all just a fraction of the many many K's that all come from Ni'ihau and are now scattered around Kekaha! :)

In other news we also hosted our first ever ward FHE!!! The Book of Mormon class I think we mentioned before is still going on (and having great success I might add) every Thursday night, but just to change it up a little bit and to include some of the younger generation, the ward has decided to have a FHE every other week in class and this last one was the start of that!! It was GREAT!!! We actually had such a huge turnout we almost had to switch to the primary room from the relief society room because it is a little bigger but at the rate things are going we will be the cultural hall in no time! haha! Anyway, it really was a great experience and a lot of fun for all of us! :) Anyway, I think that pretty much wraps up the week for us over here on Kaua'i. We're just learning to get by with what we have a be happy with the rest just like the rest of the community here who can't afford milk and cereal... :P haha! Well I hope you all have a FANTASTIC week and a great time with whatever adventures may come to you through the course of that week!

Mahalo nui loa and aloha au ia oe!!

-Elder Powell :)

p.s. we had a pretty cool hike this morning with an awesome look out over the Na Pali coast line.... that was again cover in fog like the last one... haha! But it was still fun!! :) We also had a cool lobster dinner last night courtesy of one of our investigators brothers who went night diving this last week and picked us up some lobsters from the coral reef! :)

Growing family, A lot of little miracles, Greater impact than we now realize

Blessing day for Luke's newest niece - Mabel Helen Powell

Oh how I love being able to start out every letter home with both a greeting of welcome and love. It is just so fitting as each week I sign on to find the e-mails of my family and friends whom I both miss and love and get to take the time to respond to them at least briefly! :)

With that being said, I would like to extend a VERY special ALOHA to the newest member of our family, little Benjamin Ross Powell. Aloha au ia oe little Benji e komo mai to the Powell Ohana!! :) What an absolute blessing and miracle it is to see the breath of life enter into all the different creations of God but especially in welcoming in a new family member!! :) It makes me feel especially blessed to be in an area here in Hawaii where everyone is related and knows each other and talks and helps each other out and all of those great things and to know also that my own family is growing not just out here but back home as well! :)

Luke's newest Nephew - Benjamin Ross Powell
 Anyway, that being said I guess I will just jump right into a quick recap of our week this week! As far as I can remember at least off the top of my head there is really not too much to update on from this last week. We didn't really have any special events or anything too crazy happen, however there were definitely a lot of little miracles we saw throughout the week so I guess I'll just focus on a few of those!

So we started this week with exchanges with the other Elders in our district and because they a little less than half an hour away and we had all kinds of other traveling around the island that day we didn't really get back until late at night and then by the time we had finished planning it was much later than we normally would stay up (don't worry it was all for approved reasons :P haha!) but anyway, I started out the next day, very sun burnt, and very exhausted from a combination of a rather arduous hike the previous morning, the hours of traveling around the island, and the lack of sleep that night. Basically I was not looking forward to getting up that day. Anyway, I know with that back drop you're all expecting some awesome story of a miracle baptism or something that came through our efforts in spite of our weakness, but in the end it was just another normal day of missionary work filled with cancelled appointments, eternal investigators/less-active members and a lot of knocking empty doors. But just the fact that we were able to get through the day and to see the few people we did and build that relationship with each other and that character of work and such well, I suppose in a way that is a miracle in and of itself! :)

Other little miracles included being able to talk with even more people than average and have what the mission calls QGC's (quality gospel conversations) which for this area was a huge success and miracle seeing and the towns are so small and the community so close knit. And also just finding answers to countless prayers that in the end if nothing else have helped me grow and learn and progress so that hopefully I can help others in their progression in the gospel in future times. Anyway, we also had one of our now progressing investigators come to church this last Sunday!! And he really enjoyed it!! AND while he didn't stay for more than just the first block of church that was almost a miracle in and of itself because he told us he needed to go so he could visit his auntie over in Waimea that we met tracting and that he was going to try and get her to come out to church with him and the Book of Mormon study class we have each week!!! It really is awesome to see Lehi's truly prophetic dream in action as people begin to grab a hold of the rod of iron and taste the fruit of the tree and immediately and instinctively desire to bless others with the same blessing, especially their family! :) That is kind of how most of this area has gone and it is awesome!! :) haha!

Anyway, well it's not much but I hope you enjoyed my little thoughts on this little week here in our little town of Kekaha which I'm sure has had a much greater and eternal impact than I now realize. So it is with many things in life. And on that thought, I am again eternally grateful for all of your seemingly little prayers and messages and such on my behalf and I can promise you that they do have a great and even eternal impact on me and my companion here! I love you all and will talk to you again soon!! Mahalo nui loa and ALOOOOHHHAAA!!!! :)

-Elder Powell

p.s. sorry I don't have any really exciting pictures to send you but I guess I can send the one new picture I took this whole last week. I will try and take more in the coming weeks, sorry! :P haha!

.....I guess you could say we hit a pretty big "mile-marker" this last week! ;) haha

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

With a loud voice, lots of DRIVING, the Sabbath day


Well in an effort to avoid wasting time with pedantic jabbering (and at my fathers request) I suppose I will just get right into the meat of things this week for us here in the Kekaha ward (and surrounding areas). 

These last two weeks have been pretty crazy! Not a ton going on as far as your traditional missionary work is concerned. We do have a couple investigators... One is an older fellow who is very nice and very sincere in his desire to learn and so far he seems to have really felt the spirit as well in lessons and at other times. The only major hold up I can think of is that he is rather hearing impaired. He definitely can hear! You just have to speak very VERY loud! But on the bright side with how much shouting we seem to do at lessons with him I'm starting to debate whether or not to count it as a lesson with his and the neighbors on either side and in back as well! I guess there really are advantages to proclaiming the Gospel with a loud voice! :) haha!

You are never to far from home to plank a little bit!!
We have also been teaching a GREAT family who most of them got baptized already a couple months ago but now we're working on getting the husband baptized, the only problem right now is... well... he's not her husband... they still haven't gotten married... which seems to be an issue with actually quite a few families out here. BUT we did talk with them and they talked with bishop and so on and so forth and they agreed to start working on getting married and subsequently getting baptized! Woohoo!!! :) The only other hold up with that is while they agreed to get married and such... they, and everyone else here "stay on Hawaiian time" basically meaning they aren't necessarily worried about when anything happens or when they get things done. They just kind of relax and "go with the flow" so... will he get baptized? Yes! Will either of us be here to see it? ...well we're not too sure... but they did promise us both me and Elder Chen invites to their wedding... even if we're back home... :P but anyway, I digress! Back into the important things!!

So those are a few of our investigators but other than those couple of lessons most of this week was actually filled with one of my favorite things to do as a missionary...... DRIVING!!! Man, I definitely really enjoy being in the more remote parts of the islands but it is also hard when you do have to do things in the not remote parts of the islands and it takes a long time to get there! (also as a side note and clarification in case you couldn't tell driving is NOT my favorite thing to do as a missionary and is actually rather unproductive...) Anyway this area is definitely not as bad as Ka'u on the big island where we had to drive for 2 hours to get to the stake center and an 1 1/2 for district meeting but it is still long. It’s about 1/2 an hour here to get to Kalaheo where the next closest missionaries are (the other set of Elders in our district) and about 45min to an hour to get to Lihue where all the shopping is and the stake center and such. Well thankfully we don't have to go into Lihue very often if at all on a normal week, but... well this week made up for all those other weeks where we didn't with travelling there 4 days in a row!! (soon to be 5!) It was a LOT of travel time... But it was all for good reasons!

Thursday we had a zone meeting where the zone leaders train us on what President Warner trained them on at MLC. Friday we had one of the Assistants to the President come and do a district leader training meeting with me and the other district leader on the island. Saturday we had the adult session of stake conference and Sunday we the general session. All of which took place is Lihue and all of which were INCREDIBLE and VERY uplifting and edifying!! So anyway, long story short. We had a lot of traveling back and forth but in the end it was all worth it because every trip helped us to be better missionaries, better leaders and better Latter-day Saints! :)

Alright last thing from this week! My sort of lesson learned and advice for each of you from what I got out of Stake Conference is, as I'm sure you are aware of, the importance ESPECIALLY in these days of Keeping the Sabbath-day holy! I won't go on too deep into all of it because I'm out of time but it suffices me to say as the spirit confirmed to me this last weekend that it is INCREDIBLY important and that ALL of us in and out of the church could really use a much deeper study into and observation of the Sabbath-day and learning to keep it holy! Anyway, as Callie would say "and that's it!" :) I hope you all had a fantastic week! I love you and will continue to pray for each and every one of you in the coming week! Know that your prayers are felt here as well on our behalf! Mahalo nui loa and aloha au ia oe!

-Elder Powell

p.s. we took a hike this morning in Kokee state park and the view at the end of the hike was just INCREDIBLE.... at least that is for the couple of minutes we could see it before the fog rolled in and we could hardly see 5 feet in front of us.. but we still got some cool pictures even with the fog so here are some of those! :)

We also ran into some mountain goats at the end of the trail! :) They seemed to be just as interested in us as we were in them!