Mission Address

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

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Out of time, Thank you, A Special Devotion

Aloha ohana!!

It is strange to think that before this week is over I will be able to say what I have been saying over e-mail for the last two years, but this time actually in person, face to face. Funny how time seems to slip away on us like that. It truly is one of the strangest aspects of life. It is steady and sure, never changing... and yet it can pass by in a moment or drag out for an eternity. It is very real and yet very insignificant at the same time. It is always in your face, and yet invisible at the same time. It is consistent in its incessant ticking away at our hours and minutes here on earth and yet it seems to have no power over us. Still despite all the contradictions surrounding time, it keeps on moving forward and soon enough, it is gone.

With that backdrop to my e-mail, one that is hard to write, I find myself (ironically enough) out of time, in every way. I feel a bit like the prophets in the Book of Omni who have much they would like to say but simply did not have the room (or in this case the time) to say it. There are countless testimonies I would like to bear, stories I would like to share and I'm sure a lot of aimless ramblings about this or that, but seeing that this situation will not allow for any such banter, I simply want to conclude my e-mail and my record here as a full-time missionary in Hawaii by saying, Thank you!

Thank you to all of you who for two years now have prayed for me, have supported me, have sent me letters and e-mails of encouragement, testimony, trials and trust. Thank you for the sum total of hours upon hours which you spent doing all of these things and more for not just me and my companion, but for the people who we worked with and for all the missionary work in the world by and large! Thank you for your love and devotion to the gospel and your righteous example of Shiblon like steadiness in living it. Thank you for simply living up to the high calling and high potential for which you were born and for being an instruments in the Lord's hand unto the salvation of MANY souls, I am one of those who has been touched by that very work and vicariously there have been many many more. So again, thank you!

Above all else however I would like to pay a special devotion to my Father in Heaven for His justice, love and mercy, as well as to my Savior Jesus Christ, who I now have come to know and love perhaps more than any other person on this earth, and who I now know, knows me better than does anyone else on this earth as well. I love them and praise and worship them for their greatness and their goodness and the support which they have given me over these past two years. Truly, this task, even the work of Salvation, but more specifically my own personal mission here in Hawaii, would have been absolutely IMPOSSIBLE were it not for the grace and love and tender mercies, which have flown freely from the windows of Heaven. I have changed perhaps more than I feel any missionary ever could change and while there can and are and will be missionaries who are much MUCH better than I was, there will perhaps never be one, who loves their mission and especially these beautiful islands, as much as I do. I am going to miss it here more than words can describe, however I feel confident and ready to face this next phase of my life and know that I will be all the stronger for it.

Thank you again for all that you have done and all that you continue to do! You are astounding! I love you all and look forward to see and talking with you in much more depth and personally very soon. Mahalo nui loa and aloha au ia oe!!! A hui hou aku.

Aloha 'oe,

-Elder Powell

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Theory of Relativity, Serving an Auntie, Still Something Else Good to Come

Aloha ohana!!

In Eisenstein's well quoted (but generally misunderstood) theory of relativity, he postulated among many other things that the faster an object travels, the slower its surroundings appear to move. So it has been over the course of this past week. As I seem to fall head first into the final days of my mission, accelerating faster and faster towards the 22nd, everything surrounding me has appeared to slow down drastically and even stopped all together at times.

Of course that is both a good thing and a bad thing. As days and lessons and even just conversations drag out, it gives you the opportunity to savor them and enjoy them for what they are and forget for a moment that they need to eventually come to an end. Things slowing down also gives you more time to reflect and make adjustments in your life as needed before having to face other challenges that may arise. However, as things around you slow down it also brings negative side effects with it. One of those being, that it drags out the pain/stress/sorrow brought in difficult situations. Saying goodbye to people over this past week has been harder than anticipated and has left me wishing time would speed back up so I could get through all the hard 'goodbyes' and eventually get to the much anticipated 'welcomes' which I know lie ahead. It also makes the realization of future goals and events feel almost infinitely farther away. But anyway, all of this poetic phish-posh out of the way, this really has been a rather interesting week, so I guess I'll jump into my regular report before I waist all of my time editing my ridiculous rhetoric!

Monday was full of excitement as we spent the majority of the day first playing basketball with other missionaries and then with our YM! It's always fun to pretend like I know what I'm doing and then watch people's faces change as they slowly figure out I really have no clue how to play good basketball! :P haha!

Tuesday was spent mostly in doing service for this Auntie who has been investigating the church for quite a while. She's the one who I mentioned before that is obsessed with musical theater and is CONSTANTLY trying to get me to sing different numbers from all sorts of Broadway shows since I mentioned I was a musical geek as well! :) haha! Anyway, we actually ended up doing service for her twice this week and it took up a lot of our time, but it was worth it because we invited her to come to church after our last service project with her and she actually came!!! This was the first church service she had EVER attended at our church, despite having TONS of member friends/neighbors her entire life, so yeah that was super cool! :) If I'm being completely honest though, she kind of came for more than just church itself. So our bishop asked me last minute to do the same musical number I did for the youth a few weeks ago for the whole ward this past Sunday in sacrament meeting. So since the auntie is CONSTANTLY asking me to sing for her anyway I thought I would invite her to church to hear me sing there and SHE CAME! :) haha! Hey, whatever it takes! Hopefully she will come again this next week because I think I might be talking in church since it's my last week here. haha.

Anyway, Wednesday was fun, we went on exchanges with our zone leaders. It was extra cool because they live in the place where I use to live when I was serving in the 4th ward so it was kind of like being home! :) Anyway, they actually cover the 2nd ward though so I didn't really recognize any of the people we went and saw. But I did meet plenty of people who knew Elder Stanger (who I believe is still serving in the Lakeshore ward back home right?) anyway, that was cool! :)

Sunday however, was definitely the most eventful day as we had a few of our investigators show up to sacrament!! We also had one of our returning less-actives come to church again for the third week in a row which is extra exciting! He seems to be doing great and we're hoping to start helping him work towards getting his Melchizedek Priesthood as soon as possible! :)

Well, anyway, I gotta get going pretty soon. But I love you all again SO much and I'm grateful for all that you do! I'm excited to hear all of your adventures you had in Ireland Joe! I also look forward to seeing and playing with all of the nieces and nephews and of course just being able to see all of your bright eyed faces again soon enough. But until that time comes, remember to just make the most out of whatever life brings you this coming week! If whatever you can make out of it appears to be less than what it was before, be grateful for that, and be happy that there is always still something else good to come! :) I love you guys and will keep on praying for you every day and night! Mahalo nui loa and ALOOHHAAAA!!! :)

A hui hou aku!
-Elder Powell

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

On their A-game, RED white and blue, My final exam


Thank you SO much for your e-mail this week! Even if it may have seemed uneventful and slow! But if there is one lesson I have learned out here, it is that often God will allow us to pass through suffering and trials or even just "slow weeks" right before he pours out upon us blessings without measure! And then when those blessings and high times in our lives finally do come (as they always will!) They will be that much greater because of the contrast with the suffering we had to pass through to get there! SO yeah, if these next few weeks seem long and hard, just remember that God must have something REALLY incredible and exciting in store to follow!! :) Anyway, I can definitely sympathize with you about having slow weeks. This past week has kind of been that way for some reason or another... which looking back at it now is kind of  funny because this week has also been FULL of exciting events that kept us on our toes, but still it was a really long week! I guess I will explain what I mean.

So the week started out well enough. P-day, district meeting, and so forth. Nothing to really report on. We had a lot of empty spaces in our day that we tried to fill but found in those hours only empty doors or empty faces as we talked to people on the streets. But still we kept working and Wednesday we actually found some exciting success! So a couple of weeks ago we had our "finding fasting Friday" where we tracted all day long in different areas, and there was one lady that the Sister's had tracted into named C, who, coincidentally lives two doors down from our active member who is also named C! haha! (The conversation we've had with the two proved to be very confusing!) Anyway, so we followed up with her this past week on Wednesday and as we were talking with C (the investigator), C (the member) pulled up in her car and got out, saw us talking and walked over to join us! It was exciting! :) haha! Anyway, so long story short, while we didn't really have anything come from it right away, we did have a nice conversation about the gospel, got a return appointment, AND invited her to the Ward Independence Day Picnic on Saturday and SHE CAME!! :) Anyway, so yeah that was just extra exciting because we've been trying REALLY hard recently to find new people to teach and so far this is the first real success or lead we've had in well over a month on anyone new to teach!

She is definitely not however, the only new person we met over this past week! So the ward has REALLY stepped up their game this past week, which is saying something because this ward has ALWAYS been on their A-game when it comes to missionary work! But this last week we had two back to back activities which brought out two different crowds but both proved to be VERY successful and led us to talk to lots of new people! Which of course is always exciting as a missionary to do! :)

So first, we had on Friday our first "ward movie night!" (Of which we are planning to do MANY more in the future). Basically we just all got together and had popcorn and hot dogs and watched a movie. We couldn't actually stay for the whole movie (upon request from our new mission president) which was a little disappointing seeing as it was our idea in the first place to do a movie night and the ward council were the ones who later decided on the movie, but we did catch the first part as well as the tail end of it and more importantly, we were able to talk to and fellowship with TONS of our members (both active and less-active) as well as meet a few neighbors and cousins that different members brought with them for the movie! :) It was awesome!

So then the next day we had our annual Ward Independence Day Picnic out at Kualoa beach park which was a BLAST!!! We got there early to help with set up and ended up helping set up not only ours but another group's picnic they were having at the same park. So you know how Mormons are pretty use to setting up and taking down stuff and it all goes pretty fast and systematically (like when the men take down chairs after a session of Stake Conference and within ten minutes we have over a thousand chairs put away on racks, the floor swept and garbage bags emptied... yeah.) well this other group didn't seem to have that same experience or the same number of people to help set up that we would normally have and what made it MORE exciting was the ez-corner tent they were setting up was TWICE as big as a regular one AND that whole day proved to be one of the windiest days we've had in a long time and therefore the 20x60 foot tent they were trying to set up turning more into a 20x60 foot kite, literally lifting a few of the younger/smaller participants off the ground a few inches as they tried to hold it down! haha! It was kind of fun actually! :) Anyway, so yeah, long story short, we were able to all run over to the rescue and help them set up, and secure down their tent and in the process of course my companion and I were able to talk to quite a few of them about who we were and what we were doing and everything which is always a plus! ;) haha!

Anyway, so from set-up to break-down we were at the ward picnic from pretty much 6:30 in the morning to 4:30 in the afternoon, the majority of which was spent out in the sun, playing volleyball or climbing trees and having light saber battles with some of the primary kids or, of course, eating a VERY large amount of food! haha! Now before you all start accusing me of being "on vacation" out here I want to remind you all that we still cannot and were not able to set a single foot in the water or even on the sand for that matter! AND our primary purpose for being there (which really took the majority of our time) was to talk to and meet new people and hopefully set up lessons or find service opportunities, which we did!! As mentioned before our new investigator C, came with her neighbor C, and they seemed to enjoy it a lot and she was able to meet and talk with MANY other members of the ward!

We also had one of our more recent converts here in the ward that we visit with regularly, F, bring one of his good fishing friends who happily volunteered to do almost all of the grilling for the whole barbecue!! Our bishop personally thanked him and asked to visit with him after church the following Sunday, so we are excited about that and sure more opportunities will arise with him in the future! :) We also had another member bring one of their co-workers and while we were talking and answering some of his questions our member offered to set up a time when we could all meet together in a more formal setting at his house and answer more questions and share a bit more about what we believe, so that was exciting too and we're looking forward to hear more from the member on that soon! :) Anyway, so needless to say a lot of fun was had, but more importantly a LOT of missionary work was done between those two days and two different activities.

I might also add as a passing note that the Barbecue on Friday helped me tremendously with showing my patriotism this weekend! I was looking this morning for anything Red, White, and Blue to wear as well as on Sunday, but could only find Blue and White shorts/shirts. Thankfully however, having spent just shy of 10 consecutive hours out in the sun on Saturday, my face, neck, arms, and even legs are SO red that it more than compensates for the lack of that color in the rest of my wardrobe! :) haha!

Well anywhere, there was definitely more of note that happened this week but I've probably gone on long enough and I don't want to use up what little energy to you may have left with trying to decipher my discordant stream of consciousness so I'll wrap this letter up. Thank you SO much for your continued letters and support through these final weeks of my mission! I think I mentioned this before, but I feel like the Lord is putting me through my "final exam" before returning home and testing me in every way shape and form to see if I will be true and faithful to the lessons I have learned over the last two years and so all of the prayers and good thoughts and love that you send my way is very needed and very appreciated and I am trying my best to put that combined faith and love which you have given me to good use and I serve the Lord out here in Hawaii. I hope that you all know, as always, that those prayers and that faith and love is returned from me right back to you and that I will continue to pray for all of you that heaven will shower out blessings upon you even after I return home! I love you and look forward to hearing from all of you again next week! Thank you for everything! Mahalo nui loa and ALOOHHHAAAA!!!

A hui hou aku,
-Elder Powell

p.s. I almost forgot to mention!!! So another HUGE highlight from this past week was getting to meet and visit briefly with our NEW Mission President! His name is President Bekker and he is from Salt Lake City, Utah! (Surprise surprise... haha!) Really though, he is SUPER cool and super excited to be here and I am sure that he and his wife will do AMAZING things for these wonderful islands that I love! The spirit has absolutely confirmed to me that he is the rightful successor to the Hawaii Honolulu Mission President calling and I am excited to get to know him and work with him more, even if it's just for a few weeks! :) haha! Still, nothing feels like it's really changed yet, because... well it hasn't really haha! So since he just barely got here he said that until he has more time to look over some of the rules and structures and everything (such as the list of approved music, and proselyting schedules/emphasis and so forth) that everything from President Warner still applies. I can't really imagine things changing much anyway seeing as President Bekker and Warner practically the same person, or at least have lived very similar lives. They both were born and raised and lived in SLC their whole lives, they both served missions in Japan, both married music majors, both worked in the medical industry, both served at stake presidents in SLC (at the same time in fact) and they even have the same number of kids I believe! haha! So anyway, things are really looking up for us here in the Hawaii Honolulu Mission and I hope to see the work continue to grow in miraculous ways! :)

p.p.s. Mom, when you mentioned how frustrating it is and can be to not be able to do all the things you want to be able to do, a quote popped into my head from Elder Robert D. Hales that I thought I would share with you. He counselled Elder David A. Bednar on one occasion saying, "When you cannot do what you have always done, then you only do what matters most." I thought it was a very cool statement and one I think we could all apply, even though we might not all be limited by our age or ability, we are definitely all limited in what we can do by our time and heaven knows that time only seems to speed up on us so there's no sense in wasting any of it! :)

 p.p.p.s. I totally forgot to take a picture of the ward picnic which I sad about... but I DID get something kind of exciting in the mail... well... sort of exciting. :P haha! It's called a "trunky packet" and basically it's just a bunch of stuff all about going home! So yeah... that was weird. It has all my flight info and itinerary and stuff. Also we got to do some "wood turning" with one of our members this past week which as super cool!! :) It honestly looks like a hobby I would LOVE to get into someday.... but like most hobbies I do not have the money to do right now. haha! That's ok though! It was fun to try even just a little bit and reminded me a lot of Grandpa Powell and all the awesome stuff he made out of wood with his talented hands! :)