Mission Address

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

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Time marches, "Accidentally" knocked on the "wrong" door

Aloha ohana!!

Thank you so much for that awesome update on everything going on back home! As more and more people ask me about my life plans after the mission (I don't know why everyone seems to be so interested in that side of my life all of a sudden, I still have plenty of time left on my mission) I have thought about and entertained in my mind all sorts of different career options. And while there are many different options that may be more profitable and realistic in the future, I must say that Bob Ross alone has kept the door open in my mind of pursuing an art degree and being an early morning painter on PBS! :) haha! So anyway, on a more serious note, I really am glad to hear that things are going so well for all of you back home in Arizona and surrounding areas (I suppose Ireland and the east coast will just have to count as "surrounding area's" to Arizona this week. haha!).

That is also SUPER exciting to hear about Ben and Adam and Drew!! Way to go guys on keeping the train on missionaries in the Powell/Groberg family alive a going!! With so many grand kid's missions overlapping plus all of the extended family it makes me honestly wonder if there has ever been, even for just a few weeks, a gap or break where we did NOT have any full-time missionaries out serving the Lord from our extended family! Truly it is such a blessing to be a part of such an incredible group of people and it brings me extra joy to think that if I am faithful I can be with this same group of people for eternity!!! :)

Anyway, so real quick update of things over here in Hawaii for this past week!
Man, the weeks are going by fast! It's funny because every week at the start I feel like "man, there's still so much time in the week and so much we are going to be able to get accomplished!" and then before I know it, and with still countless things on our "to-do list" as well as scores of people we didn't get a chance to see, we are at the start of yet another week! Truly, like you said yourself dad, "time marches". But that didn't stop us from at least trying to keep pace with it this past week!

We did have a lot of exciting things happen with our work this past week! So Wednesday we went on exchanges with the Kahalu'u missionaries and I worked in our area with Elder Rantayo (this awesome elder in our district from the Philippines!) :) We had some pretty interesting encounters while tracting (as always) but most exciting was we accidentally met this SUPER awesome family later in the day! So after dinner, we were on our way to go try a potential investigator when I had another name sort of just pop into my head of a less-active/part-member family in the area and so we turned our bikes around and went to go knock on their door... but it was late, and we were in a sort of town house complex so literally EVERYTHING looks exactly the same because... well they are all built the same.

So I go to knock on what I THINK was the door of this family we were looking for, only to find out we were at the wrong complex! But instead of just doing what most people do when we have the wrong house, and saying "oh, no sorry, wrong house. goodbye!" this family was SUPER nice and asked what the name was again and then, asked if we wanted to eat something or needed something to drink or anything, and of course we said yes... because we're missionaries :P haha! AND THEY INVITED US INSIDE!!! Nobody just invites us inside unless they're already members or they want to try and "Bible-bash" with us!!! We were so excited! They then proceeded to give us some food, water, popsicles, and even some snacks for the road! But what was more incredible, is he called their resident manager and asked him for us about where the other family we were trying to contact lived so we could go see them! I was floored by their kindness and their sincerity and generosity, and then after a little more casual conversation I found out why!

So one of the families in our ward that we have dinner with a lot, kept on telling us about these awesome neighbors that live next door to them and how they are so kind, but even more than that, how they are actually kind of looking for a church right now to raise their family up in and to settle this sort of nagging feeling they have in them as they search for more in their lives. They kept telling us however, not to go knock yet because they wanted to set something up with them first but didn't want to jump the gun... so we waited and waited and waited but we never got to meet these "amazing neighbors that our members had talked so much about! (at this point in the story I should probably mention that while we have eaten dinner with this member family multiple times, we have always eaten with them at their grandma's house so we never knew where they actually lived) And that brings me back to Wednesday night, while talking to this new family who had invited us in and fed us and talked with us, they finally brought up, "actually our next door neighbors are Latter-day Saints!" and I said "oh really, who's that?" (Because I didn't know anyone who lived in the area) and they said and then it all pieced together!!! THIS was the amazing neighbors that our members had talked about so many times at dinner and told us not to go see yet!! We honored their request.... but then accidentally knocked on their door anyway! haha!

 So yeah, long story short, we sparked enough interest and things are now lined up well enough to where, hopefully VERY soon, we will be able to start teaching them the discussions and hopefully be able to finally help them fill that desire they have deep down to follow the Savior and his teachings!! Truly nothing is an accident to the Lord and He definitely has his ways of sort of micro-managing our lives! :) haha!

So other exciting news from this week. We spent literally ALL DAY Friday tracting!! That was kind of exciting! So as a mission we just had our second ever "fasting finding Friday" where, mission wide, we all fast together to find new-investigators, and then go out tracting from 10am-6pm!! It was pretty cool! Honestly, nothing too crazy or exciting or overwhelming, but it was fun and we did find a few people through it who might be at least slightly interested! So that's good! :) Sunday was also great as always and we had a great evening joining in with the youth in our ward for an SED (Sunday evening discussion) which is basically the parallel of BYD (Bishop Youth Discussion) when I was going through the youth program. We had a recently returned missionary in our ward sort of report on his mission to the youth and answer any questions they may have and so Bishop wanted us there too since the whole evening was sort of missionary themed.

Anyway, yeah, so, that was my week in a nutshell... or more like a seashell I guess since we're in Hawaii. But I've gotta get going now, so I'll wrap up. I just want to let you all know how much I love you all and that I am and always will be praying for you! Thank you for all your love and support as well as your encouragement and help with the transitions I know are fast approaching in my own life! You have all played an absolutely indispensable part in the success of my mission and really in my whole life! Thank you for that! :) Sorry, I know I've said "thank you" like four times already in this one paragraph (five now I suppose) but I really do mean it and I really do love you all!!! I wish you the best of luck with everything you have waiting for you in the coming week, whether it be work, scorpion hunting, painting, or international-political-lobbying! Have a great week! Mahalo nui loa and ALOHA AU IA OE!!! :)

A hui hou aku!
-Elder Powell
p.s. It's Lychee Season again!! Yeah!!! :D :D

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Simply a truism, Some exciting progress, We were an answer to prayers

Aloha ohana!!

Wow! It sounds like you have all had a wonderful week full of spiritually uplifting messages and some good fun in there as well! :) We're trying our best to match your awesomeness out here in the mission field but that's becoming harder to do as you guys always seem to have something new to report on that just brightens my day and leaves me smiling because of your innate goodness! Thank you for your wonderful examples of faith and righteousness!! :)

Anyway, so jumping right into my update for the week out here in Hawaii!!
This week was full of some of the most exciting and the most stressful days of my whole mission! Things have, for whatever reason been extra tense out here. Although I suppose it is simply a truism that anytime you move forward with renewed faith and zeal that the adversary increases his efforts as well to try and stop the good you want to accomplish. So it has been, that ever since that especially spiritual zone conference and meeting with Elder Renlund that the trials and challenges facing us out here have only seemed to get that much more difficult. But who cares! Trials will ALWAYS come when you're trying to do good but that's NO reason to stop doing good! In fact that's exactly when you need to try a little harder and push yourself a little farther! So it has been with this week! But anyway, enough of my general statements, so a few specific events from this last week.

We had some exciting progress with the area! First, the less-active member I kind of mentioned to you last week that said "yeah, I'll come back to church next week!" Well guess what? He actually did!!! And he stayed for all three hours!! It's so incredible how some people, really all they need is just a simple little invitation! :) We also got to know this new family a little better. They are very young, (in fact the husband is a year younger than me!! ...man, I feel old!) but they have been married for almost six months now and he is in the Marines and they're just kind of struggling with adjusting to real life and everything here in Hawaii and so we went over and talked with him and MAN, they are great! They are such a great example of facing trials and pushing through and even though they're young they have a lot of faith you can just tell! :)

Speaking of military, we also had this really cool experience with a group of other young adults (all of which were also brought over here to Hawaii by different branches of the military and all of which were also within a year or two of myself). They were out on the steps in front of their building, just kind of relaxing and we started talking and ended up finding out that one of them in particular was very religious and had a lot of really good questions. Anyway, long story short (because I am quickly running out of time here) she opened up to up and said literally the night before we showed up she was very troubled by some of the questions she had and some of the problems she was facing in life and cried out to the Lord for help for the first time in quite a while, and then not even 24 hours later, there we were! She felt that we were an answer to her prayers which was AWESOME!! She also felt a great need to go to church that Sunday, which was extra exciting until she informed us she would be going to her regular Baptist church, but hey, it's a start! She said she definitely wouldn't mind checking out our church sometime and agreed to let us come back and talk more with her sometime about some of her questions and concerns! So yeah! Pretty exciting stuff!! :)

We also are really excited because we just met this new part-member family this past week and come to find out, they are VERY closely related to this other family of recent converts in our ward! So we already have an awesome in with them!! Also our main progressing investigator (T) we just found out gave birth about a week ago... so the lessons are kinda being put on hold for now I suppose, but it's ok! I'm confident that she'll continue to make progress whether I am here to witness it or not! :)

Well, I've gotta run, but thank you again for all your hard work and your love and dedication to each other and to the gospel! I love you all and look forward to talking more in the future!! Mahalo nui loa and aloha au ia oe!!

-Elder Powell

Luke - golfing on P-day

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

My "dying" testimony, Stand with legions, The perfect opportunity


WOW! This week was just FANTASTIC!! It's funny because it started out super rough but then ended with probably some of the highest and strongest spiritual experiences I have ever had in my life! In fact it was so great that I see absolutely no point for any extra aimless rhetoric, I figure I'm gonna just jump right into this week’s report!!

So, like I mentioned above, the week started out pretty rough…Unfortunately I did not get 100% better overnight like I was hoping to from the stomach flu thingy I had. The major symptoms of not being able to hold anything down passed pretty quickly, but the lingering effects of just nausea and heartburn and lack of energy and all that other fun stuff dragged on for quite a few days and pretty majorly affected our ability to really get out and proselyte. We did our best however and got a few lessons in but the REALLY awesome stuff didn't happen until Friday!

So Friday was our zone conference (this huge meeting with trainings from the Mission President, his wife, the assistants to the President, and the zone leaders for two zones worth of missionaries) and what makes it even crazier is that THIS WAS MY LAST ONE!!!!! We have them about every three months and I've only ever missed one (because my companion was sick and we were therefore quarantined to our house for a week) and this one was finally the LAST ONE OF MY MISSION! Which means a few things.

First it means that you are frantically scribbling down any and all last words of wisdom and council and just pure-awesomeness that you can from your mission president and his wife!! Over the course of these two years I have come to truly love and cherish any opportunity I have to learn from and receive council from President and Sister Warner! They are both FANTASTIC and truly have given their lives to this work and this mission and most of all to loving and supporting all of us!

Second, being my last zone conference that means that I, along with all the other finishing missionaries, got to give my "dying testimony". Basically just my last few words of wisdom and experience to all of my fellow missionaries before leaving the mission. It was super weird! haha! As you might imagine my few "words of wisdom" were exactly that... few! I probably have less wisdom in me than the average African wildebeest (all though if I'm being completely fair, there are some very intelligent African wildebeests out there!) But still I did the best I could to convey to everyone else there my love and appreciation for them and reminded them over and over that when they stand for what's right they are never truly standing alone, because there are legions before and there will be legions after who would stand up with them and whether they are seen or unseen, they are there standing up with you and willing to fight the fight as well, not the least of which of course, is the Savior himself!

Anyway, it was also kind of odd because I gave this sort of autobiographical eulogy of my mission and it all seems to wrap up nicely at the end of the day.... but then I still have like five weeks left!! I mean June just barely started! We're not even close to July yet and I don't finish until the end of July anyway! So I don't know what everyone else is talking about but I still have forever and a day out here!! haha! Finally to finish off the meetings all of the "dying missionaries" came up to the front and they sang Aloha 'Oe to us all and it was extra touching because I got to stand shoulder to shoulder with President and Sister Warner who will also be concluding their mission after three years of service out here in Hawaii at the end of this month.

So anyway, that was Friday, but then SATURDAY was even MORE SPIRITUALLY AWESOME because we got to go and receive a personal training for all of the full-time missionaries from Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles! And WOW!!! It was SO powerful!! He truly is called of God and the spirit and power of testimony that he brought with him was just astounding! I won't bore you with all of the dozens and dozens of spiritual promptings I received during his trainings about how I personally can improve and change and be a better missionary and a better person all around, but I will just say that by the end of the meeting, as he started to wrap up his personally testimony I cannot imagine that there was a dry eye in the entire room, at least I know I speak for myself when I say that his sincerity and the spirit he carried with him and the power of his apostolic keys to bear witness to the whole world of the reality of the Savior were made manifest in that small room that day and I will NEVER forget it!!

I know I will not be perfect, but I sure am determined to keep trying! As I was writing in my journal last night and sort of reflecting on the spiritual experiences of the previous days I remember the spirit putting words in my mind that simply enough said "an optimist is someone who dreams of the impossible and then works until he reaches it!" And that is exactly what we are doing down here in this life. Truly perfection is IMPOSSIBLE!! We could NEVER reach it, it simply cannot be done! However, we keep on working at it and working at it until eventually, someday in the next life, we are finally perfected through the Savior and his atoning sacrifice for all of us!

Anyway, so needless to say, Saturday was fantastic! Likewise Sunday was an awesome day full of incredible opportunities to pretty much put into action all of the new found wisdom and insights gained over the previous two days and MAN it works!!! How often do we go to meetings or watch general conference or something of the sort and go "man... that is SO true and so awesome! I sure am glad I heard all of that stuff!" and then we leave and go back to doing exactly the same thing we were doing before! The day after may be scary because you may feel like you don't want to have to face all of your daily challenges again and you want to remain in this state of sort of spiritual bliss, but it shouldn't be like that! Instead look at tomorrow as the PERFECT opportunity to take everything you learned today and put it to the test! And that's exactly what we did with some new things learned on Friday and Saturday. We simply put it to the test, just in small and simple ways first, and sure enough, Sunday just about QUADRUPLED the productivity of the entire rest of our week!!!! (Although to be completely fair the rest of the week was hard to be productive because of the whole sickness thing :P haha!) So yeah, definitely, if your priesthood leaders or an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, tells you to do something and that it will help you... DO IT! haha! You can trust them! :P

Anyway, so one of the super productive and cool things that happened on Sunday was we finally met these two different less-active families we've been trying to contact forever to no avail! So we hadn't actually planned for either of them, but right when we got to the fork in the road where we had planned to turn right, I got the feeling we should see this other fellow and following the prompting we turned left instead and guess what? HE WAS HOME!!! Turns out his work schedule is crazy (surprise surprise) and so he's not normally home and he wasn't really that interested in talking to us anyway, but he was still very nice and it was VERY nice to be able to finally meet him and find out his story from his own mouth.

So then we started walking back towards the originally planned houses, and again the feeling comes like "hey since you're already heading this direction why don't you take this slight detour and try that other less active member you always try to go see.... so we do! and... you guessed it... he was home!! He actually had moved out and was living with his friend for a couple of weeks which is why we never caught him home before, but he just moved back home and after an actually pretty short conversation about life and how he had gotten invited to go with a lot of his different friends to their churches my companion basically said something along the lines of "well hey are you ready for another invite back to your own church?" and while my companion was being slightly facetious, he looked at us totally seriously for a second with a sort of smile on his face and said, "yeah, I don't see why not!" And after a tiny bit more conversation we arranged for a member to pick him up Sunday morning to come to church! :) So yeah! Miracles galore!!! And that's not even all of them from the day!! But that is about all the time I have to share with you guys... sorry.

This is probably going to end pretty abruptly, but I LOVE YOU ALL SO SO much and will be praying for you as always! I cannot begin to express the excitement I feel when I think about being able to talk with you all again face to face soon enough, but that day will come in its own due time and for now I still have a TON of work to do out here in Kane'ohe and so I must press on!! Mahalo nui loa for your love, your prayers, your faith, and your faithful examples of Christ like love towards me and so many others around you! Aloha au ia oe!!

-Elder Powell

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Cool Miracle lessons! Running into an old friend.

Aloha ohana!!

So... in case it isn't obvious... I'm getting this week’s e-mail out a little late. But hey, better late then never I always say! ...Just kidding... I don't always say that... in fact I pretty much only say that when I am late and don't have a good reason to justify my being late.

But anyway, I actually DO have at least a fairly good reason for not e-mailing you guys back yesterday, because yesterday I literally didn't even leave our house! In fact I spent almost the entire day yesterday sleeping because Sunday night I literally didn't even leave the bathroom floor as I came down with a REALLY bad stomach flu. So yeah! That was fun! I'm still really only at about 79% functionality but it was enough to get out and see a few people today and then we came to our ward activity night so we could send just some really quick updates and e-mails out. So yeah! Thankfully it was a super quick sort of bug and worked its way out of my system already, but it sure didn't go down without a fight! Now it's just a lot of slow re-hydrating and re-filling my stomach. Hey! On the bright side all of my pants now fit again really well! I lost at least 10 pounds over two days. :P But don't worry, knowing the member out here they will make sure I put that ALL back on in one night! haha!

So anyway, enough of my sob stories! I'm sure you're all much more interested in what has been going on with the missionary side of things! So I'll jump into that real quick!

So.... right after I said that I realized that I don't remember pretty much anything that happened this past week... haha! Sorry I'm seriously SO burnt out right now. :P Oh! One thing that happened! So this past week was actually transfer week so we had a lot of missionaries moving in and out and changes happening, but Elder Kirkham and I are staying together so that means he will be the missionary that "kills me" in the missionary lingo. :) haha! Other than that, we had a few pretty cool miracle lessons! We had one where we went to go teach this one less-active member and then all of a sudden the member’s nephew pulls up with his girlfriend and they start to walk towards the house and this less-active member is like "hey, you guys like listen to one lesson real quick?" (Sorry that's my poor attempt at re-creating this member's pidgin accent) and they were obviously hesitant, but ended up saying yes and so we just all talked for a while out on their door step. It was really cool!

So basically the nephew had a sort of superficial belief in God but didn't really have any inclination towards religion or even prayer or anything. So we started sharing the story of Alma in Alma 32 about planting the seed of faith and slowly nourishing it just a tiny bit at a time and so forth and it actually went SUPER well! It was cool to kind of see his guards fall down as we talked. I mean at first you could tell he was like "who are these guys and what are they talking about?!" and probably a little resentful of his uncle for making him stop and listen to us... but by the end he was answering questions and you could just tell by the way he answered them that he was seriously thinking about it and thinking about if there really was a God and if God really does hear and answer prayers, (and I promise all of you back home that HE DOES!!) Anyway, so yeah! Super cool lesson!

Anyway, there was definitely more stuff that happened but I can hardly remember anything right now, plus we've gotta get going pretty soon, so I think I will kind of close with this. Sorry, hopefully next week I will be able to send even just a little more in depth and detailed letter. But for now, just know that I love you all SOO much!!! Thank you SO much for all of the good that you continue to do and for being such great examples to your son/brother as well as being such great examples to everyone else around you all the time!! I especially appreciate the encouragement to finish strong as well as all of the help and support you have given me with the transition back into normal life that soon awaits me. BUT that is still far enough away and I will continue to let you know if there is anything else I need help with, but I think for now I will be able to take care of most of the pressing issues myself and of course, leave the rest up to the Lord. Thank you again! Mahalo nui loa! Kommol tata! Faafetai lava! Malo au pito! Gracias! Hankterb Uoyerb! and any other languages you want to throw in there. :) haha! (hopefully at least Joe gets the reference on that last one.) haha! :) 

Aloha nui loa!
-Elder Powell

p.s. Guess who I ran into the other day! Sis. Tani! Your cousin Lori's really good friend from Hawaii who took such good care of me when I was here before! She is still just about the same as she was before which is great! :) haha!