Monday, April 27, 2015

You are a Child of God!

We definitely are seeing the hand of the Lord in our work here.
Sometimes it does get discouraging when people are so rude and don't
want to hear this amazing message. But no effort is ever wasted and
the Lord is preparing his people we just have to find them :-) the
stake is redrawing their boundaries so that means the work is growing.
We will find out on Sunday what our new ward boundaries are. It's
really sad because we will probably have a lot of members that we love
out of our ward. But the work of salvation is important :-) so we will
keep on working hard.

Who is the new bishop for your ward? That's awesome that President
call and present LaDow spoke! I love ward conference! We got to help
in the primary in our ward conference so that was super cool. I'm
sorry that you're so sick :-( I hope you start feeling better soon! I
haven't gotten sick lately so that's nice. It's really difficult doing
missionary work and being so sick. So I'm glad that time has come and
gone! It's been so nice here!! We are going to go hang out with some
members for the rest of our pday and have dinner with them. It's like
80 degrees outside and is suppose to rain again on Wednesday so we are
soaking up this sun!! Our zone went for a uphill today but we couldn't
go with because we wouldn't have time to get to the members house. I
wish we could go though. We saw them all gathered in the Safeway
parking lot and it was an amusing sight. I really have a great zone so
it's fun spending time together.

This week is been pretty cool. We haven't been teaching as much as we
were last week but we have been doing a lot more finding. We had zone
conference this week which was super awesome. We talked a lot about
working better with the members and being able to listen to the
spirit. Having the spirit is so important because without it we can't
be effective or help anybody receive the gospel. But we did have some
good solid lessons. We met this lady named Caroline and she asked
where in the book of Mormon she could read to help with her family
issues so we gave her a couple chapters in Mosiah. We were going to
see her again on Friday but she canceled and said that she really
wanted to reschedule. So that's hopeful. We have a super busy week
planned this week though. We really want to get people on date for
baptism and help them make covenants with heavenly father and Jesus
Christ. We do have a baptism Saturday it is for Kimmy Carter. She
lives in our ward boundary but is being taught in a different stake.
It's made everything a little confusing but she was being taught at
her future in-laws house. The important part is that she's getting
baptized and wants to make sacred covenants. So we actually haven't
met her yet but we will be meeting her tomorrow. And we will teach her
the new member lessons. So we have a baptism but it wasn't by any of
our work. Which is okay the work is still progressing. Hopefully we
have a lot of progression in our investigators this week so keep us in
your prayers :-) sibyl is still on date for baptism for May 9 and we
are so excited about that. The Penders are taking the temple prep
class and are so excited to get to the temple. They are such a
wonderful family.

Nothing else super exciting happened this week. But I'm learning a lot
more about coming unto Christ. And it is all been from daily scripture
study. I can't believe how much of a difference that has made my life.
It helps you remember the Savior and remember to keep the
Commandments. It really makes a huge difference. I feel so much more
happiness and joy in my everyday life. I know that scripture study is
a commandment for a reason. Just from reading the book of Mormon I've
Felt the spirit so much stronger in my life. When we have faith we
have to act on that and part of that action is scripture study. Take
some time every day even if it's only 10 minutes to be in the
Scriptures. I know life is so crazy and everyone has so much stuff
going on but we need that extra strength. It is given me so much more
strength that I can't even explain it. That's why we tell people to
read the book of Mormon because just by reading it and not even
applying it yet you feel the spirit. And then when you apply what you
read your life begins to change.

I love you all so much and you're in my prayers. Have a wonderful week
and remember that you are a child of God and you are so loved.

Sister Stephens

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Come Unto Christ

This week has been super super awesome. We found five new investigators to teach and we have four really solid potential investigators. We met with a woman named Donna and her mother Ola and taught them the restoration. Donna said that she never really has been religious but will read from the Book of Mormon. They also made another appointment to see us this week so that's really cool. I think the biggest miracle from this week is Amy. We felt prompted to go see people in these townhouses are by another member. We knocked on amys door and talk to her about what we as missionaries do and invited her to church. We also asked her if we could come back and see her again and teach her more. We went back later in the week to set up an appointment and she said we could come back the next day but then we went and saw a person we knew Who was walking with her kids right next to Amy's house. Then a few minutes later he came back out of her house and told us to just come right in. We talked about a lot of her questions why we were missionaries and where we were from as well as our favorite scriptures and how we keep our faith in Jesus Christ. She told us that she had lost her faith and was praying for an answer and then we knocked on her door. I've always heard stories like this but never really thought it would happen to us. But heavenly father is really that at the head of this work it is crazy how much he has blessed us this week. Amy wants us to keep in contact with her  so we can teach her more and she wants to come to sacrament meeting this week. She has some struggles but we know through Jesus Christ she can have faith again and she will except this gospel message. It seems like all this week we have been. Focusing on following the spirit and trying to get 100 investigators for our zone and we have truly seen the fruit of our labor's. Do you remember Cari and Mark? We went to their house after they moved and met Megan she said that we can connect this week and teach her more about her how her family can be together forever. It seems like the house is just a golden house haha. 

Nicole and her family are doing really great they are coming to church and are still striving towards the temple. A few ladies in the society are taking her and her family to the temple this next week. I know that as they just see the temple they will feel the spirit and have more desire to be active in getting to the temple. We also met a man named Jerry this week he is known also by the beaver man. That is because he is heavily involved in the Native American religion. When we first saw his name in the area book we were confused as to what we would finally went out there. We met the super awesome White couple  it made me laugh but they were so involved with the native Americans. They are actually building a traditional Cherokee tribal Council house that they took us to see which is in their backyard. So I don't know if you'll be converted but it's still super awesome to talk to him about the gospel. His wife a gentle elk or Sue is more hesitant about the book of Mormon but Jerry says we can come back and talk to him anytime. Apparently the chief is also a member of the church but we don't really know how that all works. There definitely are so many different kinds of people here in la center.

I think one of my favorite lessons we've had this week is with the family of the Oberts.  They're going through a lot of challenges right now and their daughter-in-law is in a member of the church. She took the lessons in California and it is rumored that she was going to get baptized when she moved to Washington but that was in November. So we were able to watch meet the Mormons with them and have a lesson about the atonement. We asked Morgan if she wanted to us to teach the lessons again and she agreed so that was pretty exciting. We are going to hang out with them next Pday it was going to be today but they are going to see Garth Brooks in concert in Portland. Which made me super jealous and if I wasn't on a mission I would definitely be at that concert. But I love this work it seems like it's just getting better and better every day.  We were Tracting yesterday and we had a lot of rude people slam the door on our faces. But then we met Caroline we talk to her a little bit about her message but she said that she was really busy at the moment so we asked if we could come back. She said her family is really busy with baseball so she would know when she would be home so we said maybe we'll just catch you another time. And then she said why don't you come back tomorrow night at six which caught us off guard but we are so excited to meet with her today heavenly father has been leading us and it is made this works so much more fun because we are actually teaching in seeing peoples lives change.

Sybil is still the only one on date for baptism but we are meeting with Deeann and her daughter on Tuesday to do a tour of the church.  We are going to invite them to be baptized on that day. A lot of these people are super cool and that we have found this week and hopefully will have more baptism dates as we meet with them.  We haven't gone back to see the Russian lady because I only know how to say I don't know in Russian haha I love this area so much and I'm really glad that sister McMullen was put as my trainer. It seems like the work is just exploding and that people here are ready for the gospel. Which is a huge difference than when I first got here and a lot of that has to do with faith and setting goals. I've been studying a lot about coming into Christ and how we need to do that every day every day every day. I love General conference and I'm so glad that we have a living prophet on the earth to guide us to come back home to our heavenly father. I would invite you all to start rereading General conference and taking it one talk at a time that way you can really digest what the Lord wants us to have for the next six months. And then when your neighbor moves in you can get her reactivated :-) by just showing an example and talking about your church life can really make a difference in the lives of people who are not active or who are not members. Always have faith and never give up because no effort is wasted.

Keep praying and fasting I know those seem redundant but they are the things that will really make a difference and I know that to be true. It seems like everyone at home is just sick! I finally got over my month of being sick when I first came to the field which all stunk. I know that the gospel will bless every single one of us as we coming to Christ repent and have faith in him. This is his plan for us and even though life is difficult challenges the gospel of Jesus Christ will help us through those. They won't be always taken away but we are made stronger as we look to Christ for peace and comfort. I can't believe that Britney is graduating next month it seems like she just started law school but I'm sure she's thinks that she's been there forever ha ha. Church is so important!!!! We really are a churchgoing people because it strengthens us and helps us face the week and most important it renews our covenants and makes us clean again. I really grown to love every minute of church because it is exactly were heavenly father wants us to be. I miss going to the temple but I'm glad to be doing work for the living :-) but go to the temple!! That is all Pres. Monson talked about in general conference so it must be really important :-)

Nothing else interesting has happened this week and by that I mean I didn't get hit by a car or sprayed in the face at the car wash ha ha but it has been a really great and fun week. I seriously want to stay here for the rest of my mission because there so much work to do.

I will be able to Skype for Mother's Day next month so I'm really excited for that :-) I hope you all have a really great week and know that I love you and pray for you every day. Remember Jesus Christ this week and remember to come unto him every day every day every day!! Have a super awesome and fun week :-)


Sister Stephens 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Because He Lives

This week has been super super awesome. We have taught so many lessons
and have met new people and have new investigators and have really
felt the spirit guiding our work here. To answer your questions we
didn't get the goal for people on date but that's okay we have changed
our goal and our tactics to 100 new investigators this month and we
already have 26. Goal setting has been huge and I never really liked
it haha but I realize just how important it is to keep goals and stick
to them. We have been working towards getting 20 lessons a week which
is the standard of excellence for the mission and we got it this week
so that was so happy!!

We are teaching a lady named Deeann who is so sweet and open to
hearing about the gospel. Except she really doesn't like people coming
to her house because it gives her anxiety so we are kind of teaching
her on the phone until we figure out a solution. We were able to drop
off a copy of the Book of Mormon and marked the promised in Moroni and
in the introduction. She called us later and thanked us for the book
and that she had been reading it. She even said that she thinks it is
all true. But she wants to keep reading for now so it's a little
backwards but awesome. Pray for her though because we really want to
be able to teach her and help her progress towards baptism. We also
followed a prompting to go to this blue house at the end of a street
and I was a little nervous but we did it anyway. We met Oscar who was
super nice and we shared the because he lives video and a little bit
about the restoration. He said that we could come back and teach him
more!! We are going back this week sometime so I am so excited for
that. It's awesome how much the work progresses when you set goals and
really give everything to the lord.

We also met this couple named gaston and Emily who are super catholic
and they let us right in and we visited withi them and showed the.
Because he lives and talked about the Book of Mormon. They said that
they would look it over so we are going to let them simmer a .little
bit before we go back. Sibyl is doing good we just have a difficult
time getting in contact with her to actually have lessons Which is the
same with Katie. She said that this week we could meet up so we will
be able to see her level of interest when we meet with her.

We taught a lot of lessons to less actives this week and invited them
to watch general conference. One family had twin boys and they were
telling us all about the motorcycles that they were building and then
they invited us to try rabbit that they had killed in their back yard.
It was disgusting. And tasted like fish. Although sis McMullin liked
it. That was also the same night that we were turning around on this
slope and she accidentally hit me with the worries it
wasn't bad just really funny. We met this lady named Alla and she is
from Russia. She doesn't know very much English and didn't want to
talk to us. I asked where she was from and then started talking to her
a little bit in Russian and she was really happy and we talked about
Saint Petersburg and she was so sweet. Her husband was a member but he
had passed away. She doesn't want church but said that we could visit.
I don't know how well that will work out because I don't know that
much all haha.

Easter and conference were so awesome!!! We spent time with Sandi Mann
on Easter who is a recent convert and I just love her so much!! She
always makes us take food home. This week it was spaghetti. She is so
sweet though and wants so badly to go to church. She had back surgery
and is restricted to her house and probably has to have another
surgery next month.

I love the Easter basket hiding spots this year. I bet that was a fun
one to watch. I'm glad that everything at home is going good. But not
about work, that stinks. I keep praying for you.

So sorry time. We had such a funny week. We visited a less active
family and the old guy comes out and is like pardon my appearance I
just took a shower and he didn't have a shirt on. and then proceeded
to sit down and talk to us for an hour. So awkward. And then today sis
McMullin and I were taking the cat through the car wash and the guy
starts to rinse the car down. He lapauses and I roll my window down to
pay at the exact time that he starts to spray my window....which was
actually my face. We are still laughing about that one.

I love the work and how amazing it is. Have a wonderful week. I love you all!!

Sister Stephens

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Gospel Brings Happiness!

I am so happy that it is finally spring time! However the rain hasnt been present like all week I am sure that it is coming like tomorrow. Good thing I bought that rain jacket because I use it almost every day out here. This week was pretty interesting, there were a lot of miracles that happened as well as a lot of growing periods. Nicole was baptized on saturday and she was so scared of the water but she told us that as soon as she walked into the font she felt calm and that she knew that Heavenly Father was with her. Her faith in that is really awesome and she is helping her family so much. Her parents are working towards getting the temple and they are so excited. I hope I am here in La Center to see them go through the temple and be sealed as an eternal family. Transfers are this week and both Sister McMullin and I are staying in good ol La center! I knew that I would probably stay since I still have another transfer of training left. Our zone is getting mixed up a little but for the most part we are staying the same. I am really glad that sister mcmullin and I are staying together, we are different in some ways but we get a long great and we are really working hard to change the hearts of the people here. Which has been a difficult time, especially when people tell us a lot of anti doctrine and we just have to be kind and testify and then leave. I didnt realize how prevalent anti doctrine is in the world but I know that what I am doing is right and the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored again to the earth. It just makes sense in my heart and in my mind that God would still speak to His children today as he did in times of old through the prophet. It is just a wonderful thing to know and I love sharing that with people, it has gotten a lot better and I am not afraid to open my mouth and just invite, that is what is important to do, invite and testify. 

The womens conference was really really great! I loved how they talked and focused on the family and on the proclamation to the world. It was awesome, its on, you should really watch it. And there is a new video that has come out called because he lives and it is amazing. It is nondenominational and talks about the miracle of Christ's resurrection and what that means for us. We were tracting the other day and we ran into Jehovahs Witnesses and they invited us to their event as we invited them to our Life of Christ event at the stake center in Vancouver. They told us that they dont believe in easter because it wasnt in the bible and they only celebrate the death of Christ. That made me so sad because knowing that Christ lives today gives us all so much hope! The death was so important but the atonement is important as a whole, including the Resurrection. We were able to meet this awesome couple this week, Mark and Cari, they needed help moving so we went like three days in a row this week helping them pack and get them ready to move. They are headed to Klama so it is out of our area which is so sad!! We talked a lot about the gospel and gave them copies of The Book of Mormon with our testimonies in them as well as our favorite scriptures marked. Cari said that she would read from it and she didnt say much more about it. However they said that missionaries could come and help them unpack so that will be such a great referral for them. We also have a great week lined up with people who we have been trying to get in with that have been potentials for a really long time. AND sibyl came to church!!! We were so excited. We also spoke in church this sunday and it was so cool. We talked about the importance of member missionary work. It is so important. The work is so much more effective when members reach out to those that they love and invite them to meet with us. They really are more likely to say yes to hearing the gospel then from us just knocking on their doors. After Sis. Lents came up to us and said that she had texted her friend that she had told us the night before that she was unsure about sharing the gospel with. And she did it when we were talking so that was so awesome! 

This pday we are in the family history center which is pretty cool, they have helped me a lot and now i get to email on a computer which is surprisingly faster and easier than the ipad haha. That is so fun that you all went to Seattle! Now you can experience the real fun part of the state ;) Obviously western washington is the true promised land haha. Oh man i love my mission, i love the people here and the ward and even when I feel like I honestly cant do this anymore I think about leaving these people and it breaks my heart! And then Heavenly Father reminds me why I am here and calls me to repentance for doubting my ability to be a missionary. The work is so great!! Its crazy how much the ward has changed back will be all different when I get back! Which im not even ready for that yet haha its only been 2 months....crazy right?!? I am so happy to hear that everyone is doing well at home. Even when life gets hard the gospel is the way to bring happiness back. It sounds crazy but its so true. It is so important to remember the role that the gospel plays in our lives and how we need to act on what we know to be true. Even when its hard. It will be so so so worth it. I cant believe that Tyler is going into high school next week and Jordan is getting ready for her senior pictures! I got the cute card that you guys sent and I loved the picture of Jordan at Sadies. It was so cute! 

Everything here is going good and my shoes are doing just fine :) I love you all so much and know that I am praying for you! I hope everything at work gets better for you momma! Keep praying and I know Heavenly Father will take care of you. Those CD's are in my car. I forgot to tell you that. Check in the glove box and in the back window. Also dont forget that its almost april and that means i get my new glasses :) 

Love you! 

Sister Stephens