Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas in the Mission field

I loved this Christmas week in the mission field. We were able to do a lot of service so that was really awesome. Mostly we just caroled to people. We went to the hospital and then with some members and as a zone on Christmas night. And as usual we were at friends of the carpenter doing service on Wednesday. With all the holiday celebration it felt a little weird because we did less proselyting than we usually do. However on Tuesday we were able to go to the temple and that was the highlight of the week. However we did get stuck in traffic coming from Portland to Vancouver that took us about two hours to get through. But all is well. 

So the cool miracles this week were many. Last night we went by to try and see a potential investigator and her friend. Sister Black and I found them two transfers ago and we haven't been able to get back in touch with them since then. But we decided to stop by last night and they were home! And then they let us in. We talked to them about the family proclamation to the world and how the family is ordained of God. Then Amy, the friend, was so not interested last time we talked was more open this time. We were able to give her a Book of Mormon and testify of it. We explained how it is a tool from God to bring more happiness in this life and in the next life. So that was pretty cool. 

We were able to meet with Shannon this week and she really wants to get baptized. But she has been so flaky with the church that the bishop wants her to take it slow. And she needs to actually stay for all of we are going to work with her on that. But she is doing a lot better than what she was before so that is good.

We also found a new less active to teach. She was baptized three years ago but had a bad experience with a bishop in Tacoma. But she wants to come back into the church so we are going to start working with her. But she didn't come to church this week so we will see how that works. 

Anyway life is good. We still have a car. But only for a few days probably. Well sorry this is short but I just talked to you guys. Love you! 

Sister Stephens 

The castle that took us two and a half hours to build

Us and Hawaii at church

The first snow

The zone at the temple 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Have a Wonderful Christmas!

It has been a wet and rainy week that is for sure. But you kind of get
use to it and when members see us they always pick us up. So that
helps us stay nice and dry. We had a pretty good week here in the
Vancouver 3rd Ward. Especially since we had zone conference this week.
So I will start with that. It was really awesome and I saw so many
former companions and awesome people that I have served with. We
focused a lot on how we can work better with members in our area. Most
of the baptism come from the members and only 4% come from Tracting.
But we are spending most of our time Tracting. So we talked about how
we need to be spending 60% of our time with members. So that is what
we are going to be doing. It will be a good change and hopefully help
the mission have more baptisms. We also had our Christmas "party" at
the conference with an awesome lunch and we all got a present. All the
walking missionaries got an extra present. Awesome. I love the mission
staff. They are so awesome. So that was a super good conference and we
found out that our new mission president is coming in July and he is
from Canada but I don't remember his name.

Our teaching this week went pretty good. Shannon wants to meet with us
again so we will continue to help her as best as we can. We also found
a super awesome guy while we were walking. His name is Jim and we were
walking down the street towards him and his daughter. He called out to
us and we stopped to talk to him, he told his daughter that we were
people doing God's work! And he talked about how he is trying to figure
his life out and doesn't want to go to his church anymore. He said he
really likes the LDS church and he wants us to come back this week! We
are super excited to see how it works out.

We met with Nikita but she is not progressing a lot. She is reading
from the Book of Mormon but hasn't been coming to church yet and has a
lot of things to work through. So we just keep praying for her and
hope that the spirit will continue to touch her life. We also met with
a lot of less active members this week. So that was pretty great. A
lot of them also came to church for the Christmas program! It was a pretty
great week. And tomorrow we are going to the temple. So stoked.

I am really pumped for Christmas. We have five families that we are
spending time with. We didn't have anyone this last week yet and so
they asked in elders quorum who wanted the missionaries and a ton of
hands went up so we are covered!! And on Christmas Eve we are going
caroling with the Reynolds family. I am really excited for this
Christmas season. It definitely has a lot of people remembering Christ
which then helps us when we want to teach them about Him. So it works
out pretty great.

Anyway life is good. I love the mission. Have a wonderful Christmas!!

Sister Stephens

Sis Nielsen and I on exchanges

Zone conference!! Sis McMullin and her posterity

Titi! Hawaii and tongas oldest daughter

Monday, December 14, 2015

Rain and Miracles!

Crazy week here in Vancouver. Lots of rain and lots of miracles. It has been raining like super crazy all day every day. And up north in battle ground there was a tornado. And land slides as well. I'm just glad I'm not serving further north. We just have ran into flooded sidewalks so I am grateful for rides and rain boots. As well as days where we have appointments so we don't have to be out in the rain. I am also grateful for dryers so we can come home and dry our clothes and out dry ones on. 

So I think the highlight of our week was definitely Thursday. I found out the day before that the Penders from La Center were going together as a family to be sealed together. It was so awesome. The Groves from La Center, our Ward mission leader and wife, came to Vancouver to pick us up and then took us to the temple. It was so great. The spirit was so strong in that sealing. Families are eternal, that is how God intended them to be. It was such a privilege to be there with them. And then when we were driving back to Vancouver we saw the Christmas boat parade so we circled around to the pier to look at them. As we were getting out I grabbed my iPad out of my bag to take a picture and then we were on our way home after that. And that is when I noticed my purse was gone. So we called and checked the temple but it wasn't there. And then we went back to the pier and it wasn't there either. So that was that. I was super bummed. Our phone, keys, and wallet were in my bag. Then later that night we got a call from the sister training leaders at our home phone. They told us the elders called us and a man answered so they went to pick our stuff up and brought it back to us. That was a huge blessing. 

Wednesday we had transfer meeting and I saw sister McMullin and sister Michaud. Sister Michaud broke her hand!! Her and her companion tried to fit into a really big baptismal suit. They fit but ended up falling over and she broke her hand in the process. It was great to see them though. President talked a lot about faith and confidence. And how we increase one the other one goes up as well. It was a really great meeting and strengthened us all a lot. Plus it's really awesome seeing all the people that I have served with before. 

Teaching his week has been good. We found a new investigator named Kim. She is younger and just moved into the area and wants to find a church. So we are going back over on Saturday to teach her :) super pumped. We also met with Hawaii and Tonga and they are doing super awesome as well. We talked about tithing and the blessings that come from being obedient to the lords commandments. She also bought me a blow dryer for Christmas. It was awesome. Nikita is doing good. She is struggling with keeping some of her commitments so we will continue to work with her and address her needs. We are praying and praying for people to teach and Heavenly Father has blessed us with Kim this week and another less active to teach. So we keep on moving forward with faith. 

I'm excited for Christmas time and to Skype with everyone! We had the Ward Christmas party on Saturday. It was really fun. We had a ton of food and the youth acted out the nativity scene. So that was pretty fun. Also my new zone leader knows the butlers in hurricane. Like our cousins. So that is pretty cool. 

It's been a pretty fun week. Remember Christ and who you are. 
Love you, 
Sister Stephens 

Just another day Tracting.....

The Ward Christmas party

At the Portland temple atrium

The Penders were sealed as a family on Thursday! 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Rain, Rain, and more Rain!

A word to describe our week: wet. It is so wet here and doesn't look
like it's going to let up at all. We have been extra vigilant in
taking vitamins, drinking water, and eating oranges to avoid getting
sick. But the weather has taken control and I have been sick all week.
So today I'm not planning on doing much. Thank goodness for pday and
being able to sleep. I also have a ton of soup that people have made
me. Including broccoli cheddar soup so I can't complain there. Thank
goodness for sudafed and NyQuil. It's been saving my life all week.
Also transfer news: we are both staying in the Vancouver 3rd Ward!

So we had a pretty interesting week with people. Shannon texted us and
said she prayed about everything and wanted to get baptized. So we
were super stoked. We met with her a few times this week and she came
to a baptism with us this weekend. And then on Sunday she wasn't at
church and during third hour we got a text from her saying she didn't
want to be baptized. That was pretty shocking. We asked what was going
on and she asked us to just leave her alone. Weird situation. So I
guess she just wasn't ready to make those promises yet and commit
herself to baptism. Maybe in the future she will come around. But when
one door closes another opens. We found Nikita again. And we have an
appointment with her tonight. She has been in the hospital and lost
her cell phone so that's why she went MIA. But she wants to meet with
us again. So that is promising.

We have just had so many potentials and the key is meeting with them
again. Heavenly Father truly has the elect here. Finding them is the
key. We were supposed to have lessons with some people this week but
they canceled their appointments. So just keep them in your prayers.
The bishop pulled us in his office on Sunday and gave us a nice pep
talk. He just said he is praying with us that we will find people to
teach. As well as getting members on board for referrals. Tracting is
not the most effective way to work so we are trying different ideas.
Our scripture study class has only a few people attending but we will
keep inviting!

Our less actives that we have been working with are doing good. Hawaii
and Tonga have two of the kids with them now, the other ones are still
in Hawaii. It was great to meet with them again. And they came to
church this week. The others didn't but we are going to see them this
week. Th bishop really wants us to strengthen the Ward members and
reactivate those who have lost their way. So we are focusing on that.
We just keep pressing forward. And pray. A lot.

We had the relief society Christmas dinner this week and that was
pretty yummy. We also went to Alex's baptism this weekend. I had to
give an impromptu talk on baptism so thankfully I study preach my
gospel. It was an awesome baptism. Even though it was a child of
record baptism we still put it all together because we had been
teaching them. And they may have a new person for us to teach as well.
That would be awesome. We also have a flooding basement. So that's
cool. We found it when we came back from shopping today. So that
should be fun. And I need to nap so I can get better. The rain isn't
stopping anytime soon. Thankfully we have appointments tonight! And
rides to get there. Rides are the key.

Love you all!
Sister Stephens


                                            Alex's baptism


                                                   Sis Nielsen and I at 10 months


                                                 All the sisters in the zone at sister study


                                      What we saw when we went outside today


                                                               The district!


                                                             10 month celebration


                                                                Christmas in our basement