Tuesday, September 8, 2015

"C-P-R" Church, Pray, Read

Another week has gone by. Dang the mission time is just so fast. I hit
my seventh month mark on Friday. And we celebrated by Gladys taking us
out to dinner. She's just the best. I'm sad that we won't be able to
be at her baptism in Utah. We asked if she had any fun plans for the
weekend and she said well I'm going to fast. Oh man. We laughed so
hard. I mean it was great, but that's just how she is, she loves
learning about the gospel. And she will read anything we give her.
It's the best.

We haven't been able to meet with Debbie this week but we stopped by
her house on Saturday evening. They were just finishing with a
birthday party so we were able to talk to a lot of her family. Her
grandson, Jeremiah comes to church every Sunday so we asked his dad if
we could teach him. He has to talk to his mom and get permission but
hopefully we can start soon. He just loves primary and is absorbing
everything right up. And the youth are going to the temple this week
and Debbie is going to go with them. She's so excited. I wish we could
tag along but in a year we will be back to go with her then. It's just
been so amazing seeing the change in her. She just looks different,
her countenance has literally changed. And that's what the cleansing
power of the atonement does, we change.

We didn't find a whole lot of new people to teach this week. We did
however get a family referral, so I guess we did find some people. It
is a part member family from Montana. We don't know how long they will
be living in our ward but the elders handed them over to us so we are
now teaching them. The mom is a member but the rest of the five kids
and husband aren't. But they are open to learning and were actually
meeting with missionaries before they moved out to Oregon. It was a
little crazy when we went but they are a really awesome family. We
also tracted into an inactive member who was a high priest but then
left the church and started to go to the Catholic Church. He said that
it was because he didn't really know if Joseph smith was a prophet. We
just couldn't wrap our heads around that one but then it clicked. CPR.
You have to go to church, pray, and read the scriptures. It is our
spiritual lifeline and what keeps us alive.

We are also teaching a less active girl and boyfriend. She has a five
year old son and just struggles a lot financially. It is so sad. We
are just trying to help them the best that we can. But she did give me
a pair of Hawaii sandals so that made my day a little better. Every
time we are there I think about just how important the commandments
are. They aren't just rules to govern us. They make us happy and help
us become more like Christ. And that's why we are on this earth! They
are just so important. A really good talk you should check out is
called living the gospel joyfully by president uchtdorf. So good.

It seemed like this week a lot of doors were closed on us. And they
were, but then Heavenly Father shows us just how much he loves us. We
had a few unexpected opportunities to serve people and that was nice.
Not a Lot of people will let us help them but we saw this man carrying
stuff to and from his apartment so we stopped to help. He wasn't
interested in the gospel but was in service. Which basically is the
gospel....but it was cool to help and get to know him better. And we
practiced our gardening skills this week as well...while it was
raining. Got to love Portland.

Transfers are next week so this weekend we are finding out what is
happening. I'm pretty sure I will leave but who knows. It is crazy how
fast everything goes here. We are looking forward to Fred's baptism at
the end of this month, and Gladys in October. It is pretty awesome
being a missionary. Well, I love you all and remember who you are. It
helps, trust me :)

Sister Stephens

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Having Faith is the Foundation

This week has been really awesome. We have been finding a lot of new
investigators and we had an awesome baptism on Saturday. We also had a
lot of meetings this week. Zone conference was amazing. We studied the
doctrine of Christ and how repentance is such a gift from our heavenly
father. President talked to us about our true identity and how gods
plan will never fail. It was amazing, and we all got a nice little
gift for our birthdays. The spirit was so strong and it was just so
awesome to spend the day learning from the scriptures. We also had a
sister comp study with the traveling aps. We talked again about the
doctrine of Christ so we were learning about faith, repentance,
baptism, receiving the gift of the holy ghost, and enduring to the
end. So cool. Having faith is just so important. Its the foundation of
everything. For real. Check out the talk the miracle of faith by
president Hinckley.

So Debbie's baptism was awesome. President and sister Taylor were there
and so was like a ton of her family. We had to recite the restoration
in front of president and it made me so nervous. But it turned out
pretty good. The spirit was just so strong at the baptism and it was
just so great being able to see her actually get baptized. And then
the confirmation on Sunday was great as well. A lot of her family was
there as well so hopefully that opens the door for us to teach her
family.  We also took her to the temple last Monday and it was so
awesome. Man the church is so true. She is just on her way to so many
great things.

We only had one weird experience this week where an investigator fell
in love with sister michaud so we handed him over to the ysa elders
and then he turned out to be like a devil worshiper and then they
dropped them. It was weird, and uncomfortable. But for the most part
we had a really good week.

Transfers are on the 16th of September so we are going to get letters
next Sunday. So that will be interesting. I have no idea what is going
to happen....I kind of am ready to go to another area but i will do
whatever president wants me to do. The time just keeps flying by and I
just love it here.

We have had a good week but not a lot to report other than the baptism
which was awesome. It rained a lot....so that was good. And we got a
new investigator at salvation army while we were shopping for grandma
skirts. It was pretty awesome. We are going to meet with him tomorrow.

Well i love you all and hope you have a wonderful week.

sister Stephens

Always Be Kind!!

We have had such an interesting week here in Portland. The saying is so true, Keep Portland Weird. And that is what this week has been, weird. But always good as well. Debbie had her baptismal interview on Saturday and she is already to go for her baptism this Saturday at 6! We are so excited for her and so is she. We are going to go to the temples visitor center today after pday with her and the Muellers. Its gonna be pretty amazing. So she is doing swell. Gladys and Fred are also doing awesome. They are learning more and more each week and are so prepared for baptism. We just have to wait a while so their families can be with them. But we still teach and help them along their journey. The ward here is so great at helping fellowship these new almost members. It is so important just to be kind to people at church because that really sets the tone for their experience in the church and them learning with the missionaries. We have one young girl whose grandparents were baptized last year but she is hesitant at taking the discussions because she went to church and the young women weren't very nice to her. Man its just the worst. So always be kind! 
We did a lot of service this week, including helping someone in their halfway burned down house, yard work, and helping a hoarder move stuff from one side of the room to the other so the inspection people can get to the attic. So that was fun. We ended up just having to throw stuff on top of other stuff. Cleanliness truly is next to Godliness. And now for the yard work story. We have two investigators who were a referral and we are helping them move from a house to a duplex this last week. The last thing to do was yard work so we go and start raking things up and Sis Michaud accidentally raked into a wasp nest. Which was on the ground. Something stung her and she flicked it off and we kept working....until we saw the swarm...and then we ran. And screamed. And flailed our arms everywhere. We run into the house and there are still wasps stinging us. I got hit twice but she got hit five times. So painful. And we smacked two off each other before they could sting. and one was in my hair. Worst experience ever. Okay maybe not ever but still. After a while we laughed about it. 
Second keep Portland weird story happened in sacrament meeting. One of our members has a lot of mental and health issues but she got clearance from her foster home to come to sacrament meeting so she has been coming. And we were asked to sit with her today so we did. Also did i mention that she has seizures? Well she does. And she did. She fell over on sister michaud and started seizing. So we let it go for a minute then i was in charge of calling the ambulance. And sacrament is just going on like normal, everyone just learning about prophets. So the paramedics come into the back of the chapel and do their thing and take her out on a gurney....and the bishop is still talking about prophets....then the rest of the meeting just continues. So that was one for the journal. 
And the third was yesterday we had such a busy day and were in meetings and training and dinner and so many things. So we finally get out to go talk to people and we go to maybe not the best area of town. But lets be real, that explains like our entire area. And we start to talk to these two guys and this huge man was very drunk and just comes at me. We think he was just trying to give me a hug because we were church people. He apologized profusely after he realized how scared i was. Then we left. It was weird. We got into the car and went to a different area. Man i love my mission, and my area. Its the best. Also Heavenly Father really does look after his missionaries. 
So now on the spiritual side of our week. We got to talk to this man (who also lives in the hood) And he was talking about aliens and God and it was just weird. So we were trying to leave and we just testified about how there is a living prophet on the earth today. And he was like hold up. You mean to tell me there is a prophet right now. And we are like uhhh yea. Do you want to see a picture? And we were able to talk about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. And he opened up a lot to us and talked about how he is searching for the truth and knows there is a lot more out there but isn't sure what it is. So we have a return appointment with him this week. Super awesome.  
Mia and Chance came to church! Man we are so excited. Chance is a less active member and mia is our investigator. The miracle is chance hasn't been coming to church for 7 years and now wants to change his life and come back. It was so awesome. They have a few things to work through but the atonement is real and works for everyone no matter what! I just love that. We just have to listen to the spirit and be courageous enough to follow the promptings we get. And when we do that we live such a happier life than we have been. Because it is an eternal happiness, not anything fleeting. And that's what i love about the gospel that it isn't fleeting but makes us have an eternal perspective and become who God already knows we can be. 
President has been teaching us a lot lately about identity. And how we ALL knew Christ and accepted this plan that our Heavenly Father has for us. We were all valiant in the life before this where we lived as spirits with our Heavenly Father and Savior. We all are sons and daughters of God and have such a huge potential to obtain. We truly can inherit everything the father has for us if we use our agency to keep the commandments and endure to the end. What a wonderful time we have to prepare to meet our God. Let us not waste any time but re-turn to God and find joy in the journey! 
I love you all and pray for you everyday! 
Sister Stephens 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Heavenly Father Loves Us and Wants to Hear From Us!

Another week gone by here in Portland and it is just so crazy how fast the mission time flies. Granted at times its super slow but when you look back you have been gone for 6 months and only have a year left to help people everyday all day. I love being a missionary. Seriously the best calling ever, and it is pretty cool to be able to literally wear the name of Christ everyday. This week has been pretty awesome, we had exchanges so that was great. I went to another area to be with Sister Koener and then Sister Michaud stayed here and the other STL came to be with her. It was a lot of fun. We met some pretty great people and this lady gave us like a ton of cards...so now i can write with these fantastic native american wolf cards. So legit. It was really nice to have a change of scenery but I am glad to be back in Columbia River talking to the people that I know and love. 
We have had some really great miracles this week. Debbie decided to be baptized on the 29th, it would have been this weekend but we didn't have enough time to get her all of the lessons taught before her interview. But she is awesome. She brings her grandson with her to church and he just LOVES primary. At the end of sacrament meeting he was so scared that he was late for class that he almost ran out of the chapel. They even gave him an assignment for next week. She is doing great as well and told us in her lesson that she knows it is all true and has since the beginning. It is amazing how this gospel truly blesses people. She is going to have her kids come to her baptism so we are praying that that opens up another missionary opportunity so they can all be sealed together. 
Gladys is also doing great and is hungering after the gospel. She wants more and more to read so we are trying to find her cool talks and we are giving her an ensign this week. She just is so committed to everything and feels at peace when she reads from the scriptures and prays about it. She was reading from the gospel principles manual and it talked about praying in the morning and at night. She said that she never did that so as soon as she read it she started doing it. Just little things make such a huge difference, and sometimes I feel like I take for granted the wonderful knowledge that we have. 
Everyone else is doing good, we are worried about a few because they have been slacking on their commitments and church attendance. Which is so huge! We HAVE to go to church. It is so so so important. Jeffery has canceled his lessons like all transfer and we have only met with him twice as a companionship. So we haven't dropped him yet but we haven't quite figured out what we are going to do yet. We keep praying for him though. It is all about desire, if the desire isn't there, we literally talk until we are blue in the face but it won't change them. Real intent man, its real. Also the pacific islanders are MIA, we dropped them because they never kept their appointments and then never answered our phone calls or texts. 
We had zone meeting this week which was awesome and we learned about the doctrine of Christ which is faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the holy ghost, and enduring to the end. It was pretty awesome. We talked a lot about how we need to be converted in order to help others be converted. Sister Michaud and I have been teaching a lot about CPR lately. Church - Pray - Read. Those three things allow us to build our foundation on Christ and help us hold to the rod when the mist of darkness come - and they will come. So many people loose their way when they forget the small things. The thing that has really changed me since I have been here is that - CPR - and doing it daily. The scriptures are amazing and I just LOVE them. But for real. And heavenly father loves us and wants to hear from us. The God of the universe wants us to pray to him. Wow. Blows my mind man. But its real. And he is real and he loves us so very very much. 
We also had a lot of laughs this week - like usual, our district leader bought us a 10 lb Hermiston watermelon...he told us to go to the relief society room one day and there it was just sitting there in all of its glory. It was amazing. We are so blessed to have awesome mission leadership. And to answer your question mother, President Taylor has been out 2 years so he will go home around when i do. So hopefully I only have him for my mission president. Cause lets be real, he is the best one ever. We also met with another crazy man this week. He had some interesting ideas about the world and about Christ. He thought he was part of the galaxy police and they are going to show themselves within the next few years. So that was fun. We aren't going back over there again. We also had an awesome lesson with a Jewish man on his doorstep about prophets. We are hopefully going to be seeing him this week. And I got to have jimmy johns for lunch while on exchanges, so that was basically the best thing ever. 
Well I hope you all have a wonderful week and remember in whom you have trusted! 
Sister Stephens