Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Refiner's Fire

Heavenly Father is definitely putting us through the refiners fire
this week. But during relief society we talked about how in Jerusalem
the shepards will break their baby lambs leg so they could carry them
and in turn they would be able to recognize their shepards voice,
smell, and whistle and not get lost. And we talked about how Heavenly
Father does that with us sometimes. Even if we break our own leg or he
gives us a trial. If we stay nearby then we come to know our savior
and our father in heaven and never stray away from them. It was a
really awesome lesson.

We found some new investigators in the past few weeks but they all
have dropped us but one, Nikita. She is wanting to get baptized in
December! She has some things to work through (don't we all) but we
keep seeing her and help her to read and get her own testimony. That's
the most important part. Read and ask. We can get all sorts of
answers, Heavenly Father is just waiting for us to ask.

We are looking for tender mercies everyday as we do our work and
sometimes it's the person who said no, did it nicely. Unlike Friday
evening. It was 745 and we were going to knock just like two more
doors before our lesson. So we walk up to a persons house and this guy
from down the street comes out and says we aren't interested and so we
say okay and walk away, then he said something about it being dark
outside but we get that a lot so we just move on. And then without any
luck we start to go back to the car and the same man is waiting for us
at our car! He is yelling and saying are you about ready to move on
and how he is going to call the police on us. And we just tell him who
we are and how we have the right and documentation to be out here. He
just yells more so we get in the car and leave. And this was at the
end of a super long and stressful day. We kind of dropped Shannon
because she wants the church to help her put up a new fence but
requires complete reconstruction of her backyard. Which is just a
little too much for missionaries. So we told her that in the morning,
and the whole day we were just miserable. So then we took a few
minutes, maybe shed a few tears, said a prayer and went into a lesson
with a less active. But fortunately we have elders in our district and
we were able to receive a priesthood blessing for comfort. And that
helped a lot.

On Saturday we had some service moving a member and then we just did
the same ol, knocking doors and trying to find people to teach. It's
been a little rough but it's a new week and we just have to keep
looking forward. Plus we had dinner with elder and sister Burgoyne who
work in the mission office. And sister Burgoyne took us thrift
shopping this morning and we had lunch with them. They have been a big
light in our week. And we have a pretty awesome week ahead of us.
Mostly just meetings with the mission but hey it's better than
nothing. We find out what happens with transfers on Thursday and our
Ward doesn't want us to be split up but it's almost a guarantee that
we won't be together at transfers. Just too many leadership and
trainer spots to be filled. So I guess we will see.

We had the primary program this week at church and it was so great. I
just love those kids. They sang all about Christ and how they know he
loves them. Loved it. Also a less active family that we are teaching
are starting to come back to church. It was awesome. anyway I'm glad to
hear that things at home are going well. I love you all and hope you
have a great week.

Sister Stephens

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Trust in the Lord

This week has been a lot better than last week that's for sure. I love
being companions with Sister Black, she is super awesome. And we
already knew each other from the mtc so that makes it a lot more fun.
We did a lot of tracting again this week. But we were able to visit a
few members and invite them to pray about someone that they can give a
copy of the Book of Mormon to. They all accepted! It was cool because
one man actually is a convert and he joined after an old friend from
school just gave him a Book of Mormon. And that's how he was
introduced to the church. Super awesome story. The Ward here is great
and takes care of us so well. They are willing and ready to go out
with us and help us with whatever we need. We have been spoiled.
Especially with the car haha.

Teaching wise this week was a lot better than last week. We found
three new investigators. They are all still pretty new to the teaching
process so this week we will see how interested they are and if they
keep their appointments. Which sometimes doesn't happen, but we feel
really good about it all. Yesterday we had a cool experience when we
were knocking doors. We talked to this guy about the prophet, and Gods
love for us and he was really interested. He said to come back by, we
didn't get a specific appointment but it was still cool to see the
spirit work with people when they hear the truth about the gospel.

So the best thing about this week was on Saturday! The Pender's were
sealed!!! It as amazing. We went to the temple with with. And were
there all day. It was the best. We thought the kids would be there but
apparently they are waiting for the oldest son to turn legal age
because he wasn't legally adopted by Bro. Pender. But that should
happen in December so we will just have to go back when the kids are
sealed to them. I saw a lot of people that I love from the La Center
Ward. So it was just a really great day. We were able to take a lady
in our ward's family names and do those. That's the best kind, to do
temple work for our own ancestors.

This morning was super awesome. We went and made breakfast for the
whole mission staff and our zone. Well the missionaries made it, not
just us. But it was so much fun. The Vancouver west zone is so
awesome. We have some really great missionaries here. And every
Wednesday we get to go and do service, where we make wapis. Which are
these cool wax flotation things that you put in boiling water and when
it rises to the top it means that the water is pure for drinking. So
it's pretty cool. And we got to do service and hang out with our
missionary friends at the same time. And on Saturday we are helping an
investigator put up a vinyl fence! So that should be fun. Even though
I have never done one before haha.

Things in general are looking up! I have just been trying to have more
faith and trust in Heavenly Father. When we are being obedient the
lord really does bless us and we can hope for his blessings. Because
they always come. Always. In his own way, which is better than our
way. Because he is perfect. I think the lesson that I have been learning
is I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. And my
ponderizing scripture is Proverbs 3:5-6. Trust in the lord! That's the
way to go in this life. We have to trust him. I can't imagine not
having his guidance. So it's important to recognize him and to be
thankful for all of our blessings. And then to go and do.

I love being a missionary and I love this gospel. It is true. Families
are eternal, there is a prophet on the earth again, the gospel has
been restored and Christ is our living savior. And those things get me
through the bad days and support me during the good. How great this
knowledge is.

I love you all and hope you have an amazing week.

Sister Stephens

"There Must Needs be an Opposition in All Things"

Well I had to say goodbye to beautiful Seaside but I was grateful to
serve there just for a little while. On Monday President and Sister
Taylor took me to the airport to pick up Sister Black! We were in the
same district in the mtc and now we are companions. So this week a
scripture has been rolling through my mind this week that has given me
a lot of strength. 2 Nephi 2:11 talks about how there must needs be an
opposition in all things. But without this opposition we wouldn't know
the good from the bad or the righteousness from the evil. It has been
a week of opposition but we have come out stronger and more humble,
individually and as a companionship. As I was thinking about this
scripture every day, as door after door slammed and people mocked and
turned the backs on us, it gave me a lot of comfort. I appreciate those
moments when we can teach and realize now, even more, how important it is
to have the spirit when we teach. If we don't have it, then we have
wasted such a privilege to teach one of Heavenly Father's children. I
have learned to rely on prayer and to control what we have control
over. Even if it is just making sure we get 10 oyms a day. And that
helps a lot, knowing that we did what we could and kept pressing

But like always,we did see miracles this week. And it was in a lady
named Mary and a man named John. Mary was found by the elders and we
had tried to see her before I left for Seaside, but could never catch her
home. But we went and met her. She remembers going to church as a
child but never was baptized and she asked if we supplied the Book of
Mormon or if she should go to the book store to buy one. We are going
to see her next week. And the one person this week that we tracted
into as interested is John! We don't really know a whole lot, but he
has a daughter and he said we should come back in the afternoon. So
that was a huge miracle.

I just loved general conference. It is so great to hear from the
apostle and prophets! And to have three new apostles, it's so great to
witness the rolling forth of the work of the Lord. Listening to
President Monson's testimony really strengthened me this week. He is
pushing forth and declaring what he knows and it helps me focus. I
enjoyed the most, the talk about eternal progression and asking
Heavenly Father what is keeping us from progressing. I just loved that
because we should always be working on becoming more like our Heavenly
Father and it really just happens one step at a time. However we just
have to take that step. But our forever is made up of now's so we best
get going. :)

We are just about to head out to hike Multnomah Falls with President
and Sister Taylor! Super stoked. But I love you all and I hope you
have a wonderful week.

Sister Stephens

Seaside, OR

So crazy turn of events this week. Last pday night we were teaching a lesson and then were going to go out and try and find people to teach. And then my companion said she was really sick so a member drove us home....she had such bad anxiety about being a missionary that she was making herself sick. We talked for a long time and she said she didn't want to preach to people or "force" anyone into the church... So we called president Taylor and he told her he could have her on a flight the next day. She freaked out even more and I kind of lost some of my patience. I just told her to make up her mind and either stay or go. It had been like this all week so I was more than frustrated. She didn't want to work. We literally don't have to be here so if you don't want to, then just go home. So she did. Tuesday afternoon. So then I got emergency transferred to Seaside. I literally live on the beach. It's amazing. So I settled in and president texted me on Saturday night and asked if I could be ready to move back to Vancouver. There is a sister who had to go home for surgery and she is coming back today so I am leaving to go back to my old area to serve with her. It's been one of longest weeks of my mission! But I have loved being in Seaside and I had two companions and they are just so awesome. We found a lot of new people to teach. So that is awesome. I'm just a little nervous to go back to Vancouver. The sea heals my soul! 

So seaside was great. We were going to teach an investigator and my companions waved hello to a man on the street and then for some reason I was like we have to go talk to I chased after him but he didn't see me running so no worries there. But we talked to him a little bit about the Book of Mormon and he said come back over later that night. So we did. His name is Ken and he has been searching for something more and to have God in his life more. We were able to teach him the restoration and he wants to get baptized. It's amazing. And we ran into another family who is super interested in learning more. It's great. I love being a missionary. Sister Nielsen and Sister Hibbard were awesome companions and I learned a lot of things from them about working hard and staying positive and dedicated to the mission. I'm really sad to leave them. But God doesn't do random so I am so excited to be back in Vancouver 3rd Ward to start doing what Heavenly Father needs me to do here. 

My new companion will be Sister Black. We actually were in the mtc together! She had to go home for a surgery and now she is coming back today so I am so excited! It is going to be so great. I am so ready to just work in my own area. So this morning a senior couple came to pick me up in Seaside and now I'm back in Vancouver waiting for president and sister Taylor to come pick me up to go and pick Sister Black up at the airport. So I'm just chilling in the mission office....without a this is fun.

I hope you were able to watch the women's conference. It was so great, I loved hearing all of the talks. Especially Sister Wixoms talk about our divine nature. I loved the quote, "I am a child of God....therefore what?" I think that is such a great thing to guide our decisions and our life. We are all children of God and we have a divine role and divine heritage to live up to. And it makes us just remember. Remember to pray and to read our scriptures and to follow the commandments that Heavenly Father has given us. He loves us! So much! That knowledge alone just blows my mind. So remember who you are and live up to the potential and privilege that you have as a son or daughter of God.

The church is true. I love being a missionary. 

Sister Stephens 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Find the Why of The Gospel!

Wow what a crazy week. Transfer week always seems kind of exhausting
and long. But we are here in Vancouver. The 3rd Ward is so amazing,
and they are so willing to help us in our work, especially with
rides...because we are in a walking area. It's growing on me nana I
just have a difficult time passing by so many houses and not talking
to them when we are on a way to an appointment and it takes us thirty
minutes to get there. Our area book didn't fully transfer over so that
has been kind of difficult. The previous elders were covering two
wards and now they are covering just 7th ward and we are in 3rd Ward.
So it kind of feels like we are starting from scratch.

But for the last part of Portland experiences. We were able to say
goodbye to a lot of people and it was really tough. We got to have a
lesson with Jeremiah (debbies grandson) he is so excited for baptism.
He doesn't want to wait very long but we have to make sure he
understands everything. Gladys is in Utah now and will be getting
baptized soon! She is the greatest. President had the entire mission
come together for transfer meeting which is very unusual. He just
wanted to encourage us all to find the why of the gospel and
internalize the doctrine of Christ to help us in our work here. It was
amazing. Definitely needed. He taught us a lot about how baptism is
the key to the gate back to Heavenly Father and without it we literally
are shut out of the celestial kingdom. It's so important!!!

And then the fun began of opening the area. I was way pumped to be
here and I'm ready to work. Which I still am, no worries. But my
companion is struggling. She came out for reasons that aren't strong
enough to keep a person on a mission. This is the hardest work I have
ever done. But my testimony of the gospel gets me up everyday and
pushes me out the door. And doors slam, we are laughed at, and mocked
but then that one person who is ready lets you in. And it makes it all
worth it. This week has been kind of tough teaching wise. We had
lessons fall through but that's alright. Saturday was rough. My comp
just had an emotional breakdown and almost went home. She doesn't have
a desire to be here, so she says she will stay for a transfer and I
pray that she does. But that area is great, and we found a young man
we are going to be teaching this week. He has friends who are on
missions and he is curious. And we found a lady who was a referral and
is really excited for us to come back. It's definitely different than
Portland but we are here for a reason. And God doesn't do random.

We did meet a man who knows the Book of Mormon is true and read it
when he was in prison....but he flaked on our appointment....I wasn't
really surprised there haha but it was a miracle after getting shut
down all day. I wish I had more to report. But this week has been
crazy and we haven't been able to do much work, just be working on
helping my companion stay here. Oh and we are in the same ward as
elder and sister Burgoyne, they are office missionaries and I love them
so much. So that's a bonus :) I love you all so much. Remember to turn
to Christ. There's no reason to stay all alone in the dark. He truly
is the light of the world. And when we turn unto him and are converted
he heals us. I know he does because he has done it in my life. Have a
wonderful week.

Sister Stephens


This week has been pretty awesome. So first things first, sister
Michaud and I are both getting transferred. I am heading back to
Vancouver to serve in the the Vancouver 3rd ward in the Vancouver west
stake. And sister Michaud is going to Saint Helen's 2nd ward in the
Rainier stake. So she will be staying in the land of no sales tax
Oregon and I'll be going back to good ol Washington. Annnnd I will be
training again. And doubling in.....ahhh man. Stressful. But it will
be alright. It's all the lords plan.

We had a really great week and found some super awesome people to
teach. We went tracting and decided that we needed to go to a certain
street. I had been wanting to tract there and we found a lady to
teach. A lot of people have questions about the church and mostly its
rumors that aren't true. So when we are able to teach about what the
gospel is all about hearts are changed. She was awesome and really
wants to learn about the Book of Mormon. So the new sisters will go and
see her. We also found some sisters who have a lot of lds family and
they really want to find out about the church and the Book of Mormon.
We have found some cool people that the new missionaries will teach.
We did a lot of service this week and had some really awesome
meetings. We had interviews with president and zone meeting. It was
much needed. We talked a lot about being committed to our callings.
And that is true for every calling in the church. We are all building
the kingdom of God.

We had a pretty great miracle this week. We asked Jeremiah who is
Debbie's grandson if he wanted to take the lessons to get baptized. And
he said yes!!! We are going to teach him tonight. We had some great
lessons with Gladys and she is so ready to be baptized. I love her.
And thankfully we recovered from some false doctrine taught by the
member who was there in the lesson. We had dinner with her and she is
just so great. I am really going to miss her.

This week honestly has been super fast and I literally cannot remember
half of the things that we did. Except a less active told us that he
wants to become an apostle. So that was weird. And sister Lott said
she just loved everyone she met while at the house. She gave me a
haircut today so that was pretty great.

I love you all!

Sister Stephens