Mission Address

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Luke A. Powell
Hawaii Honolulu Mission
1500 South Beretania St. Suite #416
Honolulu, Hawaii 96826

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

INCREDIBLE Week, INCREDIBLE Christmas Lu'au, Getting Transferred!

Iokwe iokwe!!!

I am SO glad to hear that everything is going well for all of you and that you had a magnificent week from the sounds of things! That being said I am also SO sorry that I will have to be keeping this letter EXTRA short and simple and to the point. So sorry but I will probably not be using a lot of my usual humor or rhetoric in this e-mail... likewise there will be no foolish wand waving or silly incantations in this e-mail either... ok sorry I'm done making jokes, now on to the serious stuff... maybe. :) haha!

our district here (these guys are seriously the best! 
So first, the reason I am so incredible short on time this week is because have been running all over the island today trying to pull things together and start cleaning up and packing... that's right... PACKING!! I AM GETTING TRANSFERRED!!!! (And no those are not "all-caps-of-excitement") I am actually VERY sad to be leaving this area at this time, but let me explain why I am sad. Of all the days and weeks and months of my mission, in all of the areas in which I have served and with all of the companions I have been with, NONE of them up to this point have been quite as incredible or successful as these past few weeks in Kekaha ward have been. Truly this area is a special area and the people here are just incredible!! Let me give you just a quick rundown of what all happened this week and I think you'll understand what I'm talking about.

So this week we started out strong with an INCREDIBLE lesson with one of our less-active families in the ward and long story short their 10 year old daughter now has a baptism date set for this next transfer and her father is meeting with the bishop and taking steps to try and get his Priesthood back so that he can baptize her!! Thursday was also a VERY full day as we got to have an INCREDIBLE training by President and Sister Warner as well as Elder and Sister Hamula from the first quorum of the 70!!!! He talked about a LOT of things and if I have the time I could write a whole e-mail just about his training!!! He is an incredible man and really had the spirit with him, the things we helped us learn were just amazing! I really can't say that enough! haha! (oh also on a side note he walked up to me and before I even said anything he said "you're from Mesa right? no wait.. Tempe?" Me: "yes" Elder Hamula: "I know your parents! They're great people. I also got to know your Grandfather very well in our service in the church together." so there you have it... once again our reputation precedes us... haha! Sorry if I ruined that reputation in anyway by the end of the day... I am VERY far from being as 'reputable' as you two or Grandpa Groberg! hahaha!) Anyway, yeah it was AWESOME!
a quick pic from part of the training by Elder Hamula as he broke down the "stats" of the war against evil that we are currently fighting as missionaries! (he based his numbers off a training he got by Elder Maxwell a while back so that was cool! I love Elder Maxwell! :))
So then after that we RUSHED back to our side of the island so we could help set up for our ward Christmas Lu'au.... I am sorry, I do not mean to be degrading at all about the Lakeshore ward... I love you all very much... but, I am almost positive that our ward Lu'au here was probably twice the size as any "ward Christmas party" back on the mainland! haha! I mean HOLY COW!!!! It was INCREDIBLE!!!!! They had been planning it for over a month and man did it pull together. I only ever got a few pictures of the tents (which I will attach) but unfortunately I never got a picture when the tables were full (a lot of people had already left by the time I had taken it) and I never got a picture of the food tables.... WOW! They were PACKED!!! I seriously think I gained about 10 pound just that night alone!!! They had the full Hawaiian spread!! I mean pounds and pounds and pounds of lomi salmon, chicken long rice, kalua pig, poi, poke, and then not to mention a table and half worth of desserts ranging everywhere from Samoan pancakes to jello cheesecake to rice pudding to sugar cookies! It was DELICIOUS!!!!
This picture doesn't even do the ward Lu'au justice, but it might give you an idea about how big of a deal it was. Just imagine ALL of those tables but literally FULL of people and a line for food going the span of the whole place! It was a BIG deal!

 Anyway, after that we went on exchanges with the ZL's in Lihue on Saturday and while I wasn't there for the actual lesson, Elder Luke and Elder Birch (on of our ZL's) finally set W with a baptismal date!!!! I am SOO excited for him!!!!!!! I am also excited for our other investigator family (T, T and their son) who will be getting baptized this next Saturday!! While I am very sad that I will not be here for any of those baptisms I know that they will all make great converts and be an incredible strength to an already incredibly strong and solid ward here in Kekaha.

the family getting baptized this week and the family who fellowshipped them and invited them out in the first place
Sunday was the heart breaker.... it started off well enough... but it wasn't very far into the meeting before the spirit just overwhelmed my soul as I thought back to the many incredible experiences I have had here in Kekaha and then the tears started to pour out as I took the stand after the closing prayer and looked over the people that I truly have come to love here, people who I now look upon as extensions of my own family, and tried by best to compose myself as they sang Aloha 'oe to me. I don't think I've cried that much on my whole mission!!!! This ward really and truly does understand not only what it means to have aloha, but what it means to share and live that aloha every single day. I love them and will miss them deeply... but my time has come, as it all too often does, and I am now off to another area... and you'll never guess where..... O'ahu!!!! And when I say that I am not kidding... my area is OAHU!!! I mean practically the whole island!!! Well kind of.

So I am going to be heading to the Waipahu Marshallese branch! Only is this mission can you serve in a mixed ward, a Tongan ward, a Samoan ward, a Haole (military) ward, a Hawaiian ward (I mean like half of the members are pure blooded Hawaiians from Ni'ihau) and then go to a Marshallese branch!! What a blessing it is to be here!!! Anyway, so yeah... this will be interesting because first off... as you might recall..... I DON'T SPEAK MARSHALLESE!!!! AT ALL!!!!!! I can say hello! That’s it! Thankfully my companion I'm pretty sure is fluent, but as for me... well it's looking like I'm gonna have to go sit out by the beach somewhere for three days and just read the Marshallese and English scriptures back and forth for a while... try and put Grandpa's method of language learning to the test! haha! But also besides just not speaking the language, I don't know the culture, the food, or anything about the people really! I mean don't get me wrong, I am VERY excited to get to meet them and learn to love all of that stuff... but nevertheless I am still a little apprehensive going into it as to how quickly I can adjust... but either way, I'm sure it will be GREAT! I do know that they are VERY humble people and I am sure that everything will work out GREAT in the end!! :) We'll make it a ward soon enough! ;) haha! Anyway, it will also be cool because unlike other areas on the mission, we really don't have any ward boundaries... we are one of the two Marshallese branches on the island so while we technically "split the island in half" our branch has been around for a long time and the other has only existed to literally a few months now so we already have a bunch of members all over the island!! I'm excited for that! :)

An over-view of Kekaha from up on the hill a bit
Anyway, I've gone over my time... again :P I've gotta run. Sorry again that this one is so late coming to you. Hopefully things won't be quite as hectic and I can tell you a little more about things in next week’s e-mail.... but if not... well then I will tell you ALL about things when we get to SKYPE NEXT WEEK ON CHRISTMAS DAY!!!!!!!!! Wow... that comes up on you fast.... anyway, thank you again for everything! I hope you have a GREAT week!! I love you all more than I can express!!! Mahalo nui loa for your love and care and your faith and prayers on our behalf!! They are returned on our end!! Aloha au ia oe!!!
-Elder Powell
attempt at capturing the beauty of the sunset last night by the pier 

the 1-year old birthday party we went to last week... I'm telling you they seriously go ALL OUT on those things here!! haha! by the way this was AFTER everyone left.. it most definitely was NOT that empty the rest of the time...

a few pics from the HUGE clean-up project we did in our totally overgrown church garden right behind our house. One of our members is a contractor so he brought over his John Deer tractor with a HUGE mower attachment and just PLOWED the whole place down... but everything on the fence line and close to the poles had to be done by hand, with some cane knifes and a couple machetes! :) (to give you an idea of how bad it was before you can look at it on google maps street view but then even from that you gotta add about three years worth of extra "growth" and weeds.. I mean that place was just COMPLETELY overrun!!!

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