Thank you all so much for the birthday wishes and for the many birthday memes that I received. It was a really great day and I'm really feeling 22. Also thanks mom so much for the birthday package I really loved it all. The iPad case it's just great and I love the book and I bought two new pairs of shoes today so that was awesome. Sorry this is taking me a little bit to get to you, but we went hiking today, so I finally have some time. This week has been really great we found six new investigators. They are all pretty awesome so we will see how they progress. Jeffrey hasn't committed to anything. So we are still working on that. We also haven't been able to contact Shay so that's been discouraging. We finally met her at her apartment and she seemed to have a lot of reservations and didn't want to talk to us. We aren't sure what happened but we will keep working hard. The field is white already to harvest. We were tracking the other day and this guy came up to us and said are you taking me to church tomorrow? We were super confused and finally he said that the city Bible has a bus and they just pick people up for church. We talked to him some more and he said that we could come back the next day to teach him. It was super awesome, his name is Chris, and he has a little girl named Riley. The lesson went really well and the spirit was super strong. He wasn't quite sure about Joseph Smith but he had a sincere desire to know. So that's what really counts. Super awesome guy loves the Bible and is looking for God more in his life. We are excited to see what comes of this. The other Chris is MIA we have no idea where he's at. So we just keep trying to call him and pray for him. His fellow-shippers know where he's at and said he will contact us in a few weeks. And he still wants to be baptized but we have to meet with him for that to happen. Also we got a referral today and the description said I want to take the lessons so I can be baptized. So we are super pumped about that! We are just seeing so many miracles here and it's been really great. They are from meeting super cool people to making appointments to finding the elect. Missionary work is seriously amazing. It's hard. But the hardest best thing I've ever been a part of. We are now in the Gresham zone. Which means we have a new district leader and a new district and Amazon. They are super cool though and we all went hiking today. We went to horse tail falls the one that we went to a long time ago on that Old Highway by Multnomah Falls. It was way fun and I'll send you some pictures. We were hiking back to the car and I was talking to my companion and apparently I just lost sight of my feet. And then I went down the cliff and this couple behind me ran and grabbed me arms to keep me from falling more. So that was fun. Then we caught up with the elders and I was crying and shaking and my leg is all bruised and beat up. But no worries I am alive 😀 I have been studying a lot in Alma and in the war chapters. I have been so impressed on how Moroni supported his people in God. He fortified them and always told them to look to Christ for their support and deliverance. This world is hard, and we have to fortify ourselves against Satan. He will have as much power over him that we let him have. So we have to build our foundation on Christ. And we do that by doing the dailies. Daily prayer and scripture study. As well as following the commandments and keeping the Sabbath day holy. There is no time to waste. He gospel is hopeful and brings the most joy in our lives. I just love it. I love you all so much and feel your prayers give me strength. Have a wonderful week! Sister Stephens.
Friday, July 24, 2015
This week has been pretty great! We were not able to see Jeran or Chris this week so that was sad, we may have to push the baptism date back because we haven't been able to meet with them. Which means they need more time to make this a priority in their lives. We did however see some really amazing miracles. We met with Shay and taught her the restoration and she said it all made sense and she accepted a baptism date of August 15th! And we did a church tour with her and she loved the chapel and felt the spirit so strong. She has been searching for something in her life and she said she is feeling like she is finding it. I love being a missionary! Jeffery is doing good, he came to church this week! And all of the talks were about obedience. So that was just perfect. We met with him after church and read Alma 32 together. He doesn't have a lot of faith so we are breaking on baptism for right now to help him build his faith in God and Jesus Christ. He really liked the seed analogy and how when we are diligent we will reap the rewards. That's whats amazing about this gospel. If we sincerely want to know it is true and do the work to find out then we will always get an answer that it is true.
On Saturday I was able to go with sister Gomez back to la center! Hannah and Aaron Glenn, the penders cousins, were getting baptized! It was so amazing to see everyone from that ward there. It was like a great little reunion. We left our companions in Portland to work so that was fun for them! They did a great job without us, it seems like we are being trained instead of us training them. I'm getting more settled in my role as senior companion. And not being prideful in anyway haha just meaning that I'm less stressed about my duties and so that has been a really great burden lifted. We also went on exchanges this week and sister Olsen and I basically just did service all day and that was really fun. We have an investigator named Jerry who has some health problems so we go and help him in is yard. The elders came with us to help and we ended up picking black berries for like two hours. And sister Michaud and I love black berries. Seriously they are everywhere here. And we just eat them whenever we are tracting. So we are going to make a cobbler for district meeting/my birthday. It's gonna be great. And I promise I won't open anything until Wednesday. But I'm putting sister Michaud in charge of that because you all know me haha.
So we had to go to this stake meeting last night and we were all very confused and elder call from the 70 was there as well as three stake presidents and president Taylor. Which I never complain when the Taylor's are at meetings. But the purpose was they are dissolving the Portland east stake. We are now in the Gresham stake. Which we haven't found out what that means for us, probably next transfer we will be in the Gresham zone but still be in our areas. We were hoping to get more people in our ward but that didn't happen, our Ward really needs some more strong families to help with callings. It's so tiny! But I love it. This area is just coming alive. There is never a dead area only dead missionaries. And we have seen it blossom as we have worked hard and been strictly obedient. And we have also seen a lot more joy in it as well. I love you all so much and I pray for you daily! Sister Stephens
Sunday, July 12, 2015
I am not getting used to being senior companion haha it's tough. But it's been super great being here with Sister Michaud. She is such a great worker and we are constantly trying to improve our teaching skills and our companionship unity. This week has been more tough than previous weeks but that's life so we keep on working and pressing forward. We had a lot of people cancel their appointments so we did a lot of door knocking and street contacting. Which produced some results! We met a woman named Shay and she was interested in having us come and teach her so we are going back on Tuesday! And she has read the things we gave her and that itself is a miracle. We have also had a lot of people laugh at is this week and slam doors but the good always out ways the bad. We had a few wonderful miracles. We put Jeran on date for baptism for the 8th of August and Chris called us and said he wanted to be baptized. But then he missed his appointment and won't call us back. So lots of prayers. We taught Marlena and Phil about the plan of salvation and it went good, they have lots of questions so we are preparing a lot for their lessons, which we do for all lessons but even more. Jeffery said he hasn't got his answer yet, which I think he has he just isn't recognizing it so we are going to work on that with him. We met a lot of interesting people this week. One of them was drunk and she was asking us to pray for her son who had his face ran over...and we were in the more sketchier part of our area and we heard these loud noises which sounded like a gun but were fireworks. Both Sister Michaud and I flinched and she said, "notice I didn't flinch, but if I duck you get on the ground!" That was rather comforting to hear haha. So no worries we are being taken care of here in Portland. We meet a lot of drunk people....on the Fourth of July this guy wanted help up a hill and he was very drunk so the elders went and helped him away from us. Portland is truly the greatest. On the fourth we went to help some people move in and that took most of the day and then we went to have dinner with Lourdes, a recent convert, and she took us down to the Columbia river to watch all the fire work shows in Portland and Vancouver. It was kind of like the time we all went out to Pasco, but I was glad to be there. The elders in our district came with us so we all had a great time but we didn't get to bed until 11:30 and that was just brutal the next morning haha. We had a lot of meetings this week too, one of them being the trainer/trainee meeting and president talked to us for a while. Which is always just amazing. He talked about who we are as Washington Vancouver missionaries and what that means. It was really hard to loose 14 elders to the Yakima mission, I served with most of them. This mission is just a huge family and they will all be so missed. But the Kennewick mission lost about 100 missionaries so they took even more of a hit. It's all in the Lord's plan, and as president Taylor always says, "God doesn't do random" we are getting 30 new missionaries next transfer and over half of the mission will be under a year! It's crazy what's happening here, the work is certainly being hastened. I'm so glad to hear that everyone is doing good! I hope you all remember the importance of enduring to the end and how much we are strengthened by the lord everyday. Love, Sister Stephens
Friday, July 3, 2015
I know I always say how many miracles we have during a week. But wow what a week. It has been amazing. Like probably the best since I have been on my mission. My new companion is Sister Michaud and she is from Mesa Arizona. And she is awesome! We get along so great and are helping each other become more and more consecrated and dedicated to our purpose as missionaries. I still have no idea how I am going to train her but hopefully the meeting that we are going to on Tuesday will help out! But she came trained! Seriously its so great being here. It is interesting because a lot of our set appointments canceled this week so we didn't get to meet with Chris, Mia, or Arem. So that was sad but we did get to meet with Jeffery. He is coming a long slowly and steady. He recognizes that he feels good while he is with us and while he is reading from the Book of Mormon but doesn't feel like he has gotten an answer yet. He told us that he thinks something is missing from his life and that other places and churches haven't been able to fill that. And he said that he feels complete when he meets with us but he doesn't want to get baptized!! It was so heart breaking! But we aren't through yet. We asked him if he would when he knew it was true and he said yes but he wouldn't commit to a date. He said that he just doesn't want to have his life defined by religion and that he is conflicted because he doesn't know if he will be happier if he stays the same or is baptized. So he is going to pray with real intent this week and we are praying like crazy for him!
So another amazing miracle this week was we went at like 8:50 to go follow up with a potential investigator and we knock on his door and he was so happy to see us. Him and his wife invited us in right away. They said that they had a surprise for us so naturally we were a little sketched out haha. But out walks this young man named Micah and he is a returned missionary and just moved in with them. Apparently they met at orientation for funeral director school and Phillip asked if he had a place to live and he said no so he invited him to stay with them. So we talked to them about the restoration and they have heard a lot of rumors about the gospel and about Joseph Smith. We taught them part of the restoration and they were open to learning more about it all and we are meeting with them tomorrow! But when we walked out Micah told us that he had been praying and reading his scriptures that night asking for a way to share the gospel with them soon. And then like 10 minutes later we knocked on their door. The Lord works in mysterious ways but it was the coolest thing ever.
Then on Friday night this week we went to the church to finish our weekly planning and we saw these people who were just sitting by the church. We went and talked to them and they said they just come to sit at the church everyday because they like the way they feel while they are there. They are from the pacific islands and their names are Jeran and Fancy. They asked how they could get to heaven so we started to talk to them about the plan of salvation and the restoration and the priesthood. They absolutely loved it. They set up a time to meet with us the next day and sadly they never showed up. But yesterday we went to the church and we saw them in the parking lot again! They said that they had a family thing going on and they felt so bad that they couldn't call us or tell us they weren't going to be there. But we were able to give them a tour of the church and they felt the spirit so strongly. It was amazing. We talked about Joseph Smith and all of the pictures in the church. Then we showed them the chapel and talked about the sacrament. They took their copies of the Book of Mormon and were just so happy. They said that they feel something. And that it is good. Its hard to put into words the feelings there because the spirit was just so strong and I am so excited for them. They told us they would get baptized once they knew it was true. We will see them again on Wednesday.
We have just been working hard and trying to do our best out here in Columbia River. We had to say goodbye to 11 of our Elders because they are leaving to go to the Yakima Mission. And that was really sad. We all sang to them at transfer meetings and President cut the song short because he was about to cry. Our mission is so close, it really is a family and I feel SO blessed to be here in the best mission in the entire world with the best mission president ever. The gospel is true, the work is good, and the miracles are many. Obedience brings blessings but strict obedience brings miracles. In the mission field and in our life. I hope you all have a wonderful week and remember that I am always praying for you!
Wow what a week. We definitely have had a roller coaster of events going on here in Portland. We had a zone conference on Wednesday where they put tiwi in our car. It is this device that monitors your speed, seatbelt use, and aggressive driving and then sends it back in a report to the mission president. Then if you get too many strikes you loose your driving privileges. It's not as bad as we were all thinking it would be. Apparently they are putting them in all the domestic missionaries cars. So it was really nice to be able to hear from president speak afterwards. He talked about the importance of the names we have. And since my parents didn't give me any meaning behind my name I am glad I have another name to go by. A missionary for the lord Jesus Christ. When we are baptized we take his name upon us. We covenant or promise every Sunday that we will stand as a witness of Christ in everything that we do. I have been really thinking about this lately. Just how much is Christ in our countenance? Is that something we are striving for? Or are we just letting life take control? It's important to slow down a bit and find time to develop ourselves to be more like Christ through daily scripture study and prayer. It truly makes a huge difference. It helps us to truly develop faith in Him. President Benson said,
"Faith in Jesus Christ consists of complete reliance on Him. As God, He has infinite power, intelligence, and love. There is no human problem beyond His capacity to solve. Because He descended below all things (see D&C 122:8), He knows how to help us rise above our daily difficulties. Faith in Him means believing that even though we do not understand all things, He does. We, therefore, must look to Him “in every thought; doubt not, fear not.” (D&C 6:36.)" so there is my missionary soapbox for the week :)
We also took Mia to the temple visitors center on Wednesday. It was so cool. We watched videos about the temple and eternal families. And the sisters were able to walk us around the temple grounds and talk about the symbols on the temple and answer a lot of her questions. It was amazing. I just love the temple! And so did she! It was just a wonderful experience. I love seeing her progression. Man the gospel is so true!
Arem is doing good, we had a great lesson with him about the plan of salvation and he really likes it. He still is hesitant towards baptism but we are just going to continue teaching him and helping him gain his own testimony. Chris is in the same boat. They just need to truly relent and make that change. Which is why we are here to help them :)
Jeffery is doing awesome! We talked to him about the plan of salvation and he said it made sense and he really wants to know if it is true. He has been taught for a long time but I just think he hasn't really connected to the missionaries or it hasn't been the right time for him. So that is pretty exciting.
We have been just trying to teach and find people. Transfers are already here. It's crazy. And it is 6 weeks not four weeks haha. But some cool news, I guess you could say it's cool, I rather think it's terrifying. I am going to train next transfer. So I will find out who my new comp is on Wednesday morning. And then I become senior companion. Ain't no body got time fo dat!!! I just got here!!!! So that's really fun.....
It's crazy how much the brethren are pushing the basics. I mean that's really what we teach everyone. Just get back to the basics. That is how we build our rock upon Christ. Bishop deathman told us four things to always do after our mission so we stay active. Pray everyday vocally, feast on the scriptures everyday, attend your church meetings, and attend the temple regularly. There are so many people falling away from the church because they forget about the importance of the basics. That's why we are given them!! Because that's what Heavenly Father wants us to do!!! Everyday!! The gospel is too important, and eternal life is too important to take those things casually.
I love Portland and I love the work. I wouldn't want to be doing anything different with my life right now. It's just the best. Thank you so much for the package!! It was a very nice surprise :) I'm glad everyone is doing good!! And tell Tyler to stop falling into showers and breaking them! Hahahahaah I died when I saw that. I love you all and pray for you everyday!!