Wednesday, April 30, 2014


I don't have a ton of time to write, because I spent a lot of time sending un buen de fotos. You should have received something like 18 this week.

I am in Mexicali now and will probably be here for a good part of the summer if not all of it. My companion is named Elder Ocadiz from near the capital again. I will miss the ward I started in and my other companion (one sister said she wanted to see me cry because she thought I was hard (but mostly in a kidding way), but I only started to a little bit in the chapel and then felt a lot better and really 7 happy with all the pictures and then I cried a little bit in the last prayer I said with my companion (I'll see them all when I am dead though) , but I think this companion is good. I'll tell you in a week.

To reply to you guys:

Josh, I think my knee will be better now that I am in the flattest place in the mission. But I might try those stretches if I can remember them once I leave the cafe from my really crappy drawings. I think I also probably talk slow in English, oh well. Don't worry, work-a-holics aren't fun anyways. Plus, we are descended from Gandolf. You deserve better. Good to know spider fight club is alive and well. 

Mom, I think you're probably right that I don't care about being popular. Please send me the cooler suit. I think my waist is fine because I don't eat that much. Maybe it is a lot of muscle weight from climbing so many hills. Carreta vieja is overrated, go to federal and discover which Mexican restaurant is authentic (and never order with ground beef, because that is always greasy).

Dad, I am trying to trick myself into being positive. My other companion helped me a lot and told me that I need to laugh at everything and that is the only way to get through having weird companions. I don't care about the letters from the high council, unless they're letters-letters, because I don't have time to email them or read their emails. i think that you are right about us having a really weird culture from even the US sometimes, but oh well. I am going to steal the things I like from other cultures, but I think it will probably continue to be hard for me in that sense. I realized partly the inflection is because I have to think so much about what to say, like I said a joke at the bishops house but I made an error and then I just told everyone about that problem with joking that I have and then we all laughed and it was fine. It will come better with fluidity. I am going to try to use the kadenpowell18 account, but I am not sure that I remember the password. 

Last week in Hidalgo/First Day in Villas del Rey, Mexicali:

I tried a good salsa which is from toasted chile de arbol (in a saucepan), boiled or grilled tomatillos and one raw garlic clove all blended together.

I got bit by a pit bull this week, but it was fine because it was just a puppy and it just nipped me, but it did draw blood, so now it has a taste for it. 

I heard gun shots in the night this week.

My old companion gave me a lot of good advice, like that he used to be afraid to talk to girls until he realized that they are weird too (because everyone is) and we can't expect anyone to be perfect (and it is true with missionary work too. I don't know how many times people have started preaching to us their even weirder religion). That I need to laugh at all the annoying stuff that my companions do and all my difficulties and that I need to talk more. I am really going to miss that companion. He helped me un buen. 

A just returned missionary in my old ward showed me an anti-mormon book with 100 questions to ask a mormon and my favorite was "Did you know that according to Joseph Smith, without the book of Mormon, their religion has nothing?" Because yes, that is what we teach as missionaires. 

The people here are so racist that if someone has down syndrome, they call them chinese. Also, allegedly the chinese food here in mexicali is really good and there are chinese people that have lived here forever and still speak spanish like it is chinese, my old companion did an impression. 

One sister was telling us about this other elder and she said " its like he feels American" and neither I or my companion knew what she was implying, but she didn't even seem to realize it. 

For Kid's day in my old ward, they are going to have a chocolate fountain and also a chamoy fountain, which is like chili sauce that they put on tons of desserts and potato chips and junk food. We are in Mexico!

I was on exchanges with a zone leader and we were talking to someone and he told us he normally sees one Mexican and one american and the other missionary said we were about to go collect our native companions, which made me laugh a ton, since my companion is from San Diego (and the zone leader was companions with him). Also, my companion laughed a lot.

My companion also said he plays gringo (I was born there) or Mexican (I have Mexican blood) with whichever his companion isn't just to keep the balance. It is actually pretty funny, because we are insistent that he is the same as whatever we are because he'll jokingly badmouth gringos and me "you're also a gringo; you were born in San Diego" or say something about Mexicans with his others "you are also Mexican; look at your skin:"

My  companion taught me to copy fotos from one camera to another that has sd cards, without a computer using its internal memory, but it didn't work for him only me, so I had to send him the rest. It is a miracle!

I love you guys a lot and I think that I am going to call on the Saturday. I don't know at what time, but it makes more sense with church meetings and the time change. I don't have any idea specifically. And I think that I will use the kadenpowell18 account, but I have to see if I remember the password. 

I was running out of time, but my companion added half an hour to both. Which is against the rules, but I am going to use it I suppose. My companion said I was the only missionary he has ever seen that tried to follow that rule, same with the entering woman's homes rule. I am going to keep trying at least with the internet. Maybe I will use it, but probably on so that I don't feel bad, or to actually read the missionary emails. 

Mexicali isn't that hot yet, but supposedly is really bad in July and August. It reminds me a lot of St. George There are mountains, but the entire city is in the flat part and they are kind of far away. The drive was really pretty in a desert mountain way. I tried really hard not to watch the movie, but between looking out the window and rehearsing the lessons, I watched the entire thing. 

I missed my bus because of a misunderstanding, but I was able to use my same ticket on the bus to san luis which passed through mexicali. 

The people here are too direct. Like the bishop asked me if I had as many zits when I first came and I said I wasn't sure but I think I now had more, maybe because of the sun screen .

I love you guys and will see you Saturday on Skype. By Monday, I will tell you my plans for Saturday. Love you guys a lot and eternal family and don't give me diarrhea and I'm going to laugh at everything and be happy and probably get sunburned, but don't worry.


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Written April 21, 2014


I like that I send your responses to your letters every week to the entire family, so that there is a system of guilt and accountability for writing to me....but really just write me when you have time, because I don't really have time to read the letters from everyone anyways every week, so it is better the way it has been. Except you, Mom and Dad. you guys have to write me every week.

Grandma, I don't know what girl you mean in which photo, but don't worry I''m not interested in anyone here, haha. Good to know that you are getting my letters and thanks for writing me. 

Dad, I hope they have a pomegranate tree too, and I am worried that because my knees hurt, I will never be able to jump rope again and right now I just have to do lame exercises.

I don't know how my phone call will be because it is going to happen after the transfers and I don't know where I am going or anything. Mother's Day here is Saturday if you would prefer that I call that day, I probably can. Tell me what times you absolutely can't do and i will tell you when I am going to call it and it might be during those times (but you'll just have to cancel everything to accommodate me).

They don't usually leave us in areas for so long and I am still in my first, but we will see. I think that I am going to change area, but some elders think that me saying that too much is going to ensure that I am here forever (jinxed).

Ben, thanks for writing me. And sounds like that underwear story means that this theater is going in the same direction like the other (what was that stripping play called?) I hope you feel better and feel free to cry sometimes, but not alone, because I am realizing that is unhealthy and not about stupid stuff either, like that the seniors are leaving.

Mom, to use a 3d printer, don't you need to know how to use cad or programs like that? I think that Josh would probably be more able to help you than anyone else (and then Lindsay next)? I got the puffed rice balls, and now there is only one left. I gave one to my companion and one to another missionary because I am trying to be more charitable and those are each like a kidney. I probably can't use an Easter's color tie anyways....speaking of Easter, I was the only one that even mentioned it Sunday and just in passing in my talk (which was bad....again....I can tell because I asked someone and they said that I was nervous and I learned from playing piano that that is code for you could have done better but screwed up and did bad because you were nervous).

Josh, good luck on your math finals and if you don't know something on a free-response question, just copy the blackboard that they always put in cartoons when someone is really smart with all that math from your memory, even if it doesn't mean anything.

This week:
immediately after writing you guys, we went to play soccer and I decided to play so that I would force myself to be more social and I got upset because my team just drank all of my water and didn't even say hi to me and then when they finally put me in, my knees were hurt  and I couldn't run so I felt bad and quit and had someone sub in for me. Then I was kicking my knee and someone made a comment about how I was a ballerina (which at least my companion pointed out I was injured) and so I went like 100 feet away in the one shady spot and just cried for a little until some missioneras tried to make me feel better, but they just thought it was because we don't have any success in our area...

But other things that happened this week:

I wrote a talk on repentance and I was thinking about how God loves us and how according to preach my gospel, repentance is changing every aspect of our lives so that they are in harmony with the will of God and that that will is us being happy. So, even though everyone always talks about repentance being so negative, really it is just changing to be happier.

To tell you guys a funny excuse that someone used a couple weeks ago to not talk to us:

-Oh I have a lot to do like sweep and clean all this and I don't really have time, so we offered to help him and he said "Oh, no, I'm just doing this to keep busy, I would get bored if I didn't" So we didn't end up teaching him...

Mom, when you aren't busy, could you slowly start making the changes to one of my other suits (you still have the measurements marked, right?). I don't think I need it in a hurry or anything, but I anticipate needing it sometime in my mission.

A sister said her daughter is good because despite all of her difficulties, she always says that she gets strength from the church and always turns to God.

I was kind of depressed on Sunday because we had to give talks and mine stunk really bad, and I can't play the piano anymore and could never ever play it like some people in the mission do and I'm not very much of a people person, even though I would like to be a little bit more. And my Spanish is still incredibly choppy. And I can't sing and people don't like me that much and a whole bunch of other things like that. And I was thinking that the solution I have heard is not to isolate yourself, I feel better when I talk with people and don't feel useless like when I am not asking questions to them. 

Also, do you guys think I have emotion or inflection in my voice? My companion (when I was talking about how people don't like me) said they don't get my jokes because sometimes it is difficult to tell if I am kidding and that I don't fluctuate the tone of my voice very much. Now I am paranoid that I talk like I work in the DMV. 

Anyways, I feel kind of better today. I don't believe in being positive (about myself) because that has almost never made me feel better, but maybe about my situation a little bit. What I really want, is to be able to help other people to feel better when they feel depressed and I think maybe that is part of the way I will feel better about myself by turning outward like Elder Bednar says. I will keep working though and hopefully things will work out. 

I think this is my last week with this companion, which is too bad, because I like him a lot. I don't really know if he likes me, or if it irritates him that I am sometimes negative. But, by all means, I am going to miss him and I appreciate him.

There is a quote that I like in the chapel that someone hung up that says something to the effect of "I have often seen the face (or love or something or goodness) of the Savior reflected in the actions (or love or compassion or something) of a dear friend." 

I also finally found the rationalization that I needed to be disobedient to rules (maybe it is wrong, but it is the most satisfying rationalization that I have found so far that satisfies a lot my natural man and the spirit is willing part). That maybe I am not completely obedient to the rules, but there are lots of Christ-like attributes in which I can work on, like obedience and love and charity and patience and hope. And right now, my obedience is alright, not perfect, but decent. So, I can dedicate my energy to working on love or charity or hope and maybe I will choose to work on perfect obedience later. But I think obedience makes me really ineffective because I just feel self-degrading and obsess on obeying the rules and I think love and faith and patience are much more important. 

I will be fine though, so don't worry. I will tell you guys if I get transferred or what I find out about Mother's Day or anything like that. I am thinking Saturday, just because it might be hard to schedule around churches. Also, consider making me a skype or hotmail account and sending me the login information, so that I don't have problems again, but not one that I will use ever after the mission. I don't know, just that I had problems with my password and stuff before.

Also, my companion and I had the idea of just doing a crappy Argentinian accent or Brazilian one so that it throws people off into thinking we are from there and just giving up on a Mexican accent....because some people don't even think about it. Also, talking faster (that is something I really want to work on).

I love you guys a lot and am doing okay. I am going to learn to turn outward more and serve others so I am not as depressed and eternal family and I will see you soon.

Written April 14, 2014


I was going to write you a letter about how I am depressed, but I feel a little bit better after reading all of your letters.

Lindsay, Thanks for all of the encouragement and answering all my insecurities. It doesn't make them go away, but it does help a lot for awhile. I need to figure out a way to not let them bother me so much. I like reading my patriarchal blessing, but it isn't very specific and talks a lot about the blessings I will have if I am good and not very much about who I am or my individual worth (although it does say a little bit).

Josh, I agree with every paragraph that you said. I can speak without using my throat as much, because I have been practicing a lot, but I don't think I sound like a mexican or anything either. But I am to the point where people are starting to ask me if I am american or english or american or german, so that is a start. I also need to learn that skill of socializing, but it is like my spanish, that it is good (decent?) when all of my concentration is on it and nothing else. Also, yeah that of the photos is weird. That I am finally tall kind of and I feel weird about it and want to be the same height as everyone else. 

Dad, thanks for your comments. I am using my companion's resistence elastic and next p day I am going to buy my own at walmart, but my body is already returning to the dust...

Ben, every paragraph of your letter made me laugh and miss you a lot. Like that I don't remember your face and that if you concentrate in the mirror, your face turns into my face. I would set things up so that you can take ap spanish your senior year. If you exceed that, then you won't have spanish for one year and your remembering the grammar and the will start to forget. Unless you want to take a spanish class online or something or graduate early, I don't know.

Mom, (and Josh) I don't even believe in genealogy like that, because it can't be that all of the desendants of slaves and stuff just disappeared and royalty was a very small part of the population, but I do think it is interesting. I haven't gotten that box, but I will probably get it this Friday. I will try to be better to myself, but sometimes I forget for days or weeks at a time. 

Aunt Trudy, sigh also. But love you and see you soon!

This week (and last):

An 11 year-old told us a bunch of funny stuff when we were talking to him like "I'm going to tell you guys the truth....I'm catholic' or "Do you guys judge?...(and we were thinking for a second) because the testigos (of jehovah), yes, they judge.'

Also, an exported ex drug dealer who is really cool, with him we were talking about a tree in English and "Is that a banana tree?"...."I don't think so, cuz if it was, they probably woulda stole it by can't leave anything around here, that's why the houses look like prisons with bars on the window and locks on the door"

Just to be a jerk to my old old companion, once he told me when he was little he used to lick stone gates and stuff and that it tasted good and he told me it tasted sweet when I asked, and i never told him he ate lead paint.

We were talking to a guy in English and my companion in Spanish told him the name of the church and then told him what it was in English and the guy smiled really big and told my companion to keep up the good work and keep learning and turned to me and said "He's learning!" (everyone here is racist, but not in the way that they are actually racist, just that they aren't politically correct, which i actually like, because I can say more stuff)

If I feel like I have nerve damage in my heel from turning suddenly while plaiying soccer (needles tingling and burning) should I avoid any movement that causes that feeling or stretch my leg out (that's what causes it) to stretch the nerve?

I tried ceviche and it was really good, but I don't think it was typical, so I will have to tell you when I try it with clamato (which this didn't have).

Some members have a pomegranate tree but I think I am going to change here in two weeks, so there is no way I will get to eat any, because it just started having flowers. And my companion said he used to have one, which is cool.

I felt really depressed these last few days and didn't do good prayers (nothing more than just to say I felt sick and didn't feel like praying; more just to check in I guess). And then I was thinking of the reasons I feel depressed: 

-inadecuacy/jealousy of other people to some degree -> feeling crappy about myself

-our chontes of zone leaders who, since they made the announcement that we can only have an activity monthly, have had activities every 2 weeks. ( which means I can't really do the things I need to do on p-days like clean or go to walmart to buy stuff)

-my body hurts, as in my feet, knees, ankles and so I didn't do my jump rope today and I haven't been doing the knee exercise in one leg because my heel has the screwed up nerve thing

I am really happy with my companion (everyone does little things that bug me, but him barely any) so it is a shame that we have changes in two weeks. Some things he says to address my concerns remind me a lot of Josh 

I really miss all of you. Will e-mail you next week and really appreciate your letters and love you eternal family.
Love you,


Written April 7, 2014


Grandma, I am glad that you are getting these messages, but also maybe you should just abandon this email address, because I have a lot of annoying failed email messages. I'm glad that you got to spend time with all the family.

Auntie Trudy, there are pianos here, but I can only remember how to play one song and the hymns, so I will have to re-learn when I get back.

It being warmer is alright, I am just afraid it is going to get hot. Thanks for the prayers, mom, but it is still going slow. It is fine though; I realize sometimes I am going to have a hard time finding people and re-activating and retaining people and sometimes it will be all three, like here.

This week:

There's a verse in 2 nephi:28 that says 'wo unto those who say all is well' and also a hymn about the pioneers that says all is well (bringing the question to mind, did they really die with their faces towards Zion?).

I have a funny story that is we went to a woman's house that we contacted (the house that is; why does my english suck?) and she told us she was a little busy but told us to come in and we sat down with the member we brought and then she told us she had something she really wanted us to listen to, and I started to smile a ton, because my favorite thing is when people try to convert the missionaires in a really friendly funny way like that. Anyways, she belongs to some (not) religion because religions are made by man and it's just an organization and all of us are going to spiritualize. But we ended up not listening to her cassette. I also realized why memorized prayers are bad because she did one (and in addition to not having the feeling or being sincere sometimes) they are kind of exclusive, like only people that know this complicated chant can communicate with God, and that is not right.

There is this cheese here which i really like called oaxaca cheese and I finally bought some and was making quesadillas with it and I realized that it is just string cheese.

I learned why Americans going to Mexico go to Utah for the mtc now and it is because if we were in Mexico a little bit longer, we would have to renew our visas 3 times instead of 2. 

I tried nopal, which is cactus thing, and it is just a slimy sour vegetable (like green beans with lemon juice) that is neither good nor bad.

We also bought tacos today and I had one with carne asada and one that was adobada (I don't know the difference between that and al pastor). They were both pretty good, but it might be because we went to one of the more expensive taco stands.

I think I have a lot of self-worth problems and so I just try to remind myself how much I am worth in the black market slave trade or just how much profit I would gain for my company in a factory for my entire life.

We had a lot of technical problems with the conference in our capilla, and lots of people finally ended up leaving on Saturday, so my companion and I watched it in English in the church alone on Saturday and during the second session a member brought us chinese food for our lunch and a liter of soda and flan and desserts (all store bought of course) and we ate them while we finished it with little tables they have. Then we taught like 6 teenagers who have been playing soccer in the church and then watched the priesthood session. So that day was actually really suave. 

On Sunday, we watched the first session in english with the spanish in the other room (because there was no space) and finally for the last session they got it to work in the chapel and we watched it in there is spanish, but I didn't get very much out of it because even though I could understand most of the stuff besides weird vocabulary, it took too much concentration to focus on it and I just spent most of the time whispering to myself trying to imitate their accents. I was surprised that Boyd K. Packer isn't easier to understand with his spanish translator, but they are about as hard to understand. I probably missed 3 or 4 talks in total.

Most of the quotes I wrote down are just stupid out of context or something I am going to use if the mission president or zone leaders or his wife criticize that our apartment is dirty sometime: "It doesn't matter if the house is a mess." from the one talk about what is really important. Or "You are infinitely more important than a tree." (or a rock or some dirt, I would add).

I feel kind of bad when we ask the members to do stuff for us, like our laundry, but maybe it is alright to take advantage of what they are willing to do. Just make sure and be cool with the missionaries at your house.

I was talking to a sister missionary (who is from Mexico but spent 10 years in Georgia) trying to pin point how I could improve my accent, and she told me a lot of English grammar rules, which is funny that we know grammar rules better in our opposite languages. But she said we use the throat a lot more in English than in Spanish, so I am going to work on not doing that as much, but I don't have very much talent for removing my accent because ti is supposed to be easier when you have a talent for singing and my companion was laughing really hard at my singing until later I told him that I wasn't just a chamaco fooling around. (chamaco is our favorite word right now along with some funny things people say like "don't stain'  for no way).

I like my companion a lot though, and think about how I am in the mission, and how it will affect my marriage someday, a lot and maybe worry about the same things. Like if they like me and how I can serve them more and how to help them and learn more about them and appreciate them. I try to serve my companion a lot though so hopefully that will help me.

My knee hurts sometimes, but I heard that leg lift exercise helps knee pain. Is that true? What can I use to provide some resistance or should I just do it without weights?

I was happy this week (until we entered a social situation this morning) but I am overall happy and don't want to be elsewhere right now and like my companion (even though everyone is racist and speaks English to me and spanish to him). I said he should tell his family a bunch of racist out of context comments I made but then gradually them more of the truth so that it sounds like I have improved a lot...haha

l love you eternal family, thanks for trying not to give me diarrhea.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Written: Monday March 31, 2014

Hi Family,

Aunt Celia,
My mom said she wanted kids for every corner of the house, funny that they both are suckers for kids (us hha). I also want to have impressions, but maybe we have enough common sense that we don't need them as much or rather that they more often come as common sense. 

Dad, my companion only watched the church videos during his free time and sometimes during study time, so I think they don't care. The two missionaires didn't go home, but to Texas and Washington on missions.

Mom, I already asked and April's Fools day doesn't exist here, what a shame. The language is going okay. I asked a native spanish speakder how he removed his accent and he just told me hard work and didn't tell me how he learned english so well. I am trying to learn 10 new words a day (but I only get in about 3 days a week) but things are okay. I am proficient (semi-fluent I guess). Some pictures you sent worked better. The videos don't work, don't send anymore please. Pictures are great though. I don't remember how many detective agency books we read when I was younger, but that I felt embarrassed (embarazada????) when I was reading morality for beautiful girls and everyone was asking me about it. I am super excited about the lupine seed thing. It makes me want to come home and plant it everywhere.

Ben, your letter made me laugh a lot, like how you are at risk of every personality disorder and blow alien abortions out your nose. That does seem like a lot more blood than I had though. Your drawings look really good as always.

Josh, I hope that happens with the people in my area. But really we have terrible numbers, which I am learning from my companions to not care about. It is hard because a lot of our investigators are going nowhere and we have to leave them again, so basically we'll have no one, but that just makes it more important that we hassle everyone for references.

A less active told me she hadn't done anything bad (when I asked her what she was doing to deserve the celestial kingdom) and I said that maybe she was preparing for the terrestrial kingdom based on what she said, but it came out a lot harsher than I meant...haha. My new companion is teaching 'em that better is if you ask a question like "'Oh and that is all it takes? Great!"' 

My old new companion got changed to Mexicali because he had hurt knees and even for me all the hills and stairs here are really hard on the knees. I like him more though after he bought me pizza and after he said that a puppy that was following us suddenly disappeared was Jesus (which is bad kind of, but that is how people are here).

The bishop, his family and my old new companion

The bishop, Old New Companion, Myself
My new new companion is Elder Solorzano, he is from San Diego and his parents are from Mexicali, but he doesn't speak Spanish except like me as a second language. I make the comparison that I think my grammar is better, but it doesn't matter because when I go back, my spanish is going to deteriorate and because of his family, his is going to improve and improve.

Did you know Spanish Isaiah has footnotes that help explain a lot of the symbolism and historical context?

This is called stone bread, I liked it a lot, but it is really dense
My companion told me about an investigator that was about to get baptized (which he visited during exchanges once) they asked why we have the book of mormon? and he said, "God gave it to us so that when we get bored of reading the Bible, we can read another book" which we both agreed was true. 

I think that my barbecue sauce has been missing valentina chile sauce, so i am going to buy some and try again with my barbecue sauce when I get home. 

My New Companion and I.  We split a piece of bread that had white and brown frosting and he took the brown half because he is brown, but we took the picture to demonstrate that it is the same bread....

Also, everyone here is more racist than I knew. Like half the people ask my companion if he is from south america (because of his accent, which might be a little different from mine, but I think they just look at his nametag and our faces). Also, people ask him if he lives so close to the border, why doesn't he know spanish better? (He always asks them if they know english then, living so close to the border themselves, and then they are sufficiently grilled). 

I like my new companion a lot, because he is normal and has a decent sense of humor (that makes the members laugh at their own expense, haha). Also, he uses a normal amount of toilet paper and is fine in othe ways. Something about him being american though gives me social anxiety, like that I got paired with someone who was more popular than me for a school project (it is the exact inadequacy that I felt back then). 

I think for the rest of my mission I am going to fluctuate in between not obeying the rules that are inconvenient and not serious, and being hyper vigilant about the rules; I don't really know which is right (or maybe I am just rationalizing.)

I have been thinking about my testimony, because I don't know how to tesify about the promise of Moroni, if I have never felt the answer right when I prayed or after that much, but I always feel guilty when I pray to receive those feelings, like I already know the answer and so why am I asking when I pray about the Book of Mormon. Also, my companion asked if I felt like my faith has increased since I came here or my testimony, and I don't feel like it has really. But I think maybe I have a lot of faith if I have a conviction to follow the gospel if I am unsure if I have received a witness of the gospel (or noticed it maybe). Because faith is works really, and I have a decent amount of works or desires that are good. Also, I think it is important to not discount the intellectual type of witness that I have received that it makes sense, because maybe there are people that are searching that type of witness or have felt and not recognized that type of witness, but it is really hard.

Anyways, I am happy and I love you guys and eternal family,