Monday, July 11, 2016

Final Blog Post! Thank You for All Your Support and Prayers

Wow. What a crazy week it has been. We had a really good Fourth of July, we spent time with Ashleyanne and Alexis and their family up in Longview. There is a lake there with a whole bunch of activities and then they set off the fireworks. It reminded me of being at the Columbia River for the festivities. However we did have to leave a little early so we could beat traffic and be home by 11. But it was a good day for sure. A lot of people talked to us as we were walking around. Perks of being a missionary :) 

Then we were able to have exit interviews with President McAteer. That was really good to spend some time with him and hear his advice for me for after the mission. Which is tomorrow. It's been such a fast week, I feel like I was just having pday and thinking about how my last week as a missionary would be. We were able to meet with some awesome people.  We met a lady and her daughter and taught them about the plan of salvation and it was such a great meeting. I loved it. The plan is so important. And families really are eternal. And it's so great telling someone about that and seeing the spirit touch their heart and they feel that it is true. Unfortunately, we weren't able to meet with Jordan but he still wants to meet with us so that is a plus :) 

On Friday we were able to go to the temple!! It was so great to be there, and I saw people from my past areas there. That was a really nice surprise. We have a lot of missionaries going home this transfer so we were large in numbers there. And then we found out that they are combining the Woodland wards for missionary work again. So we were able to prep Sister Mandin a little about taking over the area. So that was good. It really is in good hands, and that is nice to know. 

We spent some time yesterday saying goodbye to people in the Ward and people that we were teaching. It was a little emotional to say the least haha but I feel so blessed to have served with them. I love this Ward and the people here. And all my past areas as well. It's a little overwhelming thinking of leaving but we are just passing the torch and the new missionaries will continue to run. 

I am excited to see everyone at home tomorrow!! But also sad to leave the mission. I have loved serving and bearing the name of Christ everyday. I have learned to love others no matter their weaknesses, to be obedient, and to just be happy. The gospel is happy and joyful and when we live it we are strengthened in the difficult times and live a happy life. I have loved this calling and am so grateful that I was sent just across the state. I wouldn't have changed my experience for the world. 

Thank you for all the support you have given me on my mission. For the letters, emails, and most importantly the prayers. I have felt them lift and help me many times. I love you all so much and will see you soon :) 

Love, 
Sister Stephens 














The district! Minus 2....


Departing temple trip



All the sisters and sis mcateer



Goodbyes.....the arroyos



The Wilson's



The snows


The Lindsey's


New Mission President and Canada Day!

We had another good week here in woodland. To start off we weren't
able to find any new investigators this week but have no fear the work
is still going. We met with Jordan this week, a new investigator, and
he is pretty cool. He read from the Book of Mormon and is really
curious about it all. So we are going to continue to teach him.
However we want to try and get him to go to the ysa....that would be
pretty fun for him. We taught about the plan of salvation and it was
awesome. I love that lesson so much. We were talking about our purpose
here in life. And he didn't really have an answer for his purpose. So
it was really nice to talk to him about why we are on this
earth.....and the things Heavenly Father has in store for us here and
in the next life. It's just so great.

We also had a cool miracle when we were in Woodland. We go to the care
center and visit people there every week. And as we were leaving one
of the nurses there stopped us in the hall. So we are talking with her
and she said that she was a member and went to the Woodland Ward, but
we had no idea who she was. Come to find out she is a member that I
have been trying to meet for six months. And there she was!! So we
went to see her later in the week. And she still has a testimony and
wants to do what is right for her family. So we are going to start
seeing her weekly to help her. The gospel is just so great. But it
breaks my heart how people fall away. Just this morning we were
talking to a man who was the Ward mission leader and the elders quorum
president and has been inactive for eight years. We have to keep
growing our testimony or it dwindles. And it dwindles before we are
realizing that it is.

Another highlight of the week was Canada day!!! We were able to meet
President and Sister McAteer on Friday :) they just got in from Canada
on Wednesday and it was so great to meet them. They just showed us
pictures of their family and introduced themselves. They both are a
lot of fun and very different from the Taylor's. Not in a good or bad
way, just different. Unfortunately we won't have a lot of interaction
with them. Just the temple trip this week and exit interviews. And you
will get to meet them on Tuesday! And some of my favorite office
missionaries as well.

We went to help a member move into their new house this week and they
had a raccoon in their backyard. Apparently the family that lived
there before them fed it. So it was like their pet raccoon. So we
threw bread out for it and watched it eat it. Somewhat comical. And
Sister Slattery asked me if Walla Walla was a drug....I laughed....oh
boy. So this week was a little slow but still had its ups :)

I hope you all have a great week!!

Sister Stephens





Goofy. 





My favorite people. Hermana Eldredge and hermana smith


Goodbye to sis Nilson!


The, "sister Stephens is going home" picture.




The McAteers!!


Filled out our last progress record....

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Eternal Principles Are Not Just Idle Words

Well this week has been very interesting, we had a lot of good things
happen this week. The biggest good highlight was Alexis' baptism. It
all went so well. Except that her Juno suit was huge on her and the
man conducting could not pronounce our names to save his life. And the
bishop is just laughing behind him. Way awkward. But she is baptized
and happy :) and her family all came so that was amazing as well. I'm
going to miss that family so much. Thankfully we get to see them for
two more weeks and have dinner with them next week. So it will be
solid.

We had an awesome experience this week as well. We went to go contact
a less active and they had unfortunately moved but we met a man named
Jordan! He was interested in us coming back and so we gave him a
restoration pamphlet. We came back on Saturday and two miracles
happened. One, he was home. And two, HE READ THE PAMPHLET!! It was so
awesome. We asked if he had any questions and he said he just wanted
to know more about Joseph smith. So we teach the first lesson and he
asked if we were Christians. We explained that we worship the savior
and Heavenly Father and he was really relieved. He said all growing up
he thought we weren't Christians. And so he said he wanted to learn
more because it seemed like we believed in everything he did just a
little more knowledge. And we are like YES!!! It was so great.

We also met with Tina this week. She first started to say that she
didn't think there was just one true church but she would talk to
anyone about Jesus. So we still taught the restoration and by the end
she really felt the spirit. We read the introduction to the Book of
Mormon with her and asked if she wanted to know if it was true. She
said she did and we are going back in a few days to teach her again.
So we will see what happens.

We also met with a less active family for dinner and as we were
leaving they called us back in and her son had a question. So we sat
and talked to him about the plan of salvation and it was really good.
We invited him to read from the scriptures and he said he would. It
was all just a great week for teaching. Oh and we also met with
Michelle and Rosa. We were supposed to see them again this week but
Rosa was sick. Hopefully next week!

Then the weekend came and it was pretty rough. When we found out about
the passing of Elder Lambert we were on our way to a lesson. To teach
the plan of salvation. So we just cried the entire car ride. It was
really, and still is a really hard thing to deal with. But we are
still going strong. Elder Lambert was one of the best people I knew
and I will always remember him as the pocket sized grandfather that he
was to all of us. As Sister Lambert said, "eternal principles are not
just idle words." And then on Sunday both of us were super sick so we
went to sacrament to see Alexis get confirmed and then went home.
President Taylor emailed us a tribute to Elder Lambert and a farewell
email as he is leaving on Wednesday. So it's been kind of an emotional
few days. But I know the work goes on and now the lord has a valiant
missionary working on the other side of the veil.

Friday is the day that we get to meet President and Sister Mcateer.
They are from Canada and we are meeting them on Canada day so we are
all dressing in red and white. Should be so good :) we are excited to
meet them but very sad to see President go. These next two weeks will
go so fast but I am excited to still serve and then to see everyone. I
hope you have a great week.

Love,
Sister Stephens


Alexis' baptism!!





Weekly planning with sister Slattery :)


Going to dq to say goodbye to elder lambert


Hard to Say Goodbye....

This week has been so good!! It started out a little emotional but it
is all good now :) Monday we had departing dinner with the Taylor's
and some of my favorite people were there that I haven't seen in a
long time so it was really good to meet up with them again. We ate and
then sat around to listen to president give us life advice. He talked
a lot about paying tithes and fasting and accepting callings. It was
really awesome. I can't quite describe the night haha but it was
awesome. At the end before everyone went home we let off lanterns in
his backyard. Two flew into the tree....thankfully nothing was let on
fire, but Sis Black ripped ours so it didn't really go anywhere. That
night we stayed the night at presidents and then went up to Longview
for zone conference the next day. We also had exit interviews with
president and departing testimonies. It was all just so much in two
days. At the end of zone conference we all went up and said goodbye to
President and Sister Taylor. It was rough. They leave next Wednesday
and then President and Sister Mccateer come in from Canada. We are
excited to welcome them in but so hard to say goodbye.

The rest of the week went good as well. We kept meeting with Alexis
and she is doing so great. She had her interview this weekend and is
all set for baptism on Wednesday! So pumped. It has been so amazing
being part of her teaching and teaching Ashleyanne. They are wonderful
young women and I have been able to see them change through learning the
gospel. That is why it is all worth it. The long and hard weeks that
turn into months so one person can enter onto the path back to our
father in heaven.  It's amazing.

We were able to find a few new people to teach this week. We talked to
them just briefly in the porch but they were interested in us coming
back to see them! So hopefully that all goes well this week. We talked
to them about the Book of  Mormon and the restoration and so now we
get to go back and testify more. We really feel the pressure setting
in to find and bear testimony in these last three weeks. It seems so
unreal and far away. But also coming so fast. But thankfully I have an
awesome companion and we keep each other motivated! Going hard until
the end.

We had an awesome ward party this week, it was a luau, and it was
massive. A lot of people brought non member friends and we may have a
new investigator from one of them. She was given a Book of Mormon and
invited to read it so we will see how that goes. But it was way good
food. We stood in the serving line and so we were super tired but the
Eddingtons took us out to DQ after. I'll miss them so much! And
everyone here, this has been an amazing area to serve in.

Some interesting facts from this week was we saw a vulture land in the
road....it was gross....and I accidentally ran over a bird....it was
just a poof of feathers. It was so sad. But then we got the left over
cinnamon rolls from Father's Day so it all kind of worked out :)

Life is good. The mission is good. I love you all so much! Have a
fantastic week!

Sister Stephens





Us with elder lambert!!!


Elder funk!


We met Ronald!











Lighting off lanterns


Sis black ripped our lantern so it didn't work....



 I spilled chocolate all over me.....


Lunch with woodland 1st


Ashleyanne and Alexis at the luau!



Doing So Much Good

This week has to be reported backwards from Sunday sacrament meeting.
We had an amazing talk given by a sister in the Ward, who is now our
Sunday school teacher, all about obedience. She gave an analogy about
how mice press a button that then gives them a treat. And how when
they press it and nothing comes they lie down in defeat. So she
applied that to our life and how we expect so much when we are
obedient. But just because obedience brings blessings doesn't mean it
takes away the trials. That just hit me so hard. We have been pushing
the button over and over and expecting the treat to come. And she
talked about Elijah and how he felt so inadequate and he laid down and
asked God to take him. But he did so much for this world and because
of him we have the sealing power on the earth again. So he didn't know
how much good he did. That is where we are at. Sometimes we work and work and
feel like we are so inadequate and not able to do the work but we are
doing so much good.

So I have been reflecting on the week and how the lord has used us as
His hands this week. We had a great lesson with Alexis this week and
she continues to progress in the gospel. She is set for her baptism on
the 22nd of June. And we prayed and prayed and received permission
for her mother for her to get baptized!!! It's so great!! We had
dinner with her and Ashleyanne at the Eddingtons house this weekend
and it was a huge tender mercy. We talked about the principles of
tithing and fasting and Bro. Eddington just threw it down about praying
to know. And how the missionaries can't tell her or anyone in the
church but she has to know for herself and feel that. And she does.
There was such a strong spirit in that lesson.

We went to tell her the news at the church, and use the wifi, and it
was pretty awesome. That night we went to go and see a former
investigator, Tina. We introduced ourselves and she was way down to
have us back over. It was pretty amazing. She is going to be out of
town for a few weeks so we will see her when she gets back. Should be
good.

We did had a few fun heartaches this week. We were going to teach
Debbie and she brought a church friend....as soon as we started
teaching about the restoration the bible bash started....so we just
bore our testimony and got out of there as soon as possible. We also
had a less active member we met with at the beginning of the week and we
go back to teach her and she left us the restoration pamphlet with a
note telling us she doesn't want us to come back....that was fun.
Definitely character building.

Oh and another fun story was we found fleas in our room!! So gross!!!
So we spent pday night de fleeing our room. Thankfully it was natural
chemicals so we didn't die!!! Man oh man just a fun week.  Another fun
thing was we had zone meeting and I had to give my first of many
departing testimonies.... Tomorrow is zone conference where President
and Sister Taylor give their departing testimonies as well... The time
goes too fast. Tonight we are going to Vancouver for departing dinner
with President Taylor. He is doing one last one with my group and then
he leaves on the 29th! So crazy.

I love this work, the area is struggling but I am growing and for that
I will ever be thankful. The time is far spent so we are going to
continue to work hard.

Have a great week,

Sister Stephens


A note from a less active.....awkward.....



Cleaning the room.....


Yes that is flea supplies....our Monday evening was rough.....


Zone meeting!


We found a frog in the kitchen when we were on exchanges!