Monday, February 29, 2016

Heavenly Father is Aware of Us All!

This week has been pretty awesome. I love the Woodland wards! It has been so great knowing that President Taylor is back as our mission president! And he is doing transfers and they are supposed to be calling but as of right now we have no idea what is happening. We know they are wanting to put missionaries in woodland 1st Ward so we are just waiting to see who it will be.....and it will be us!!! Just found out :):) Sister Girot and I will be covering both of the Woodland wards :) so that is super happy. 

So Ashleyanne is getting baptized this Saturday!! We are so excited. And a member of the Ward let us come over today and we made a towel that had her name embroidered. It's awesome. She's so great. She will tell us her favorite scriptures all the time and  has just flourished in the gospel. The Renslows have been amazing fellow-shippers for her and it has been a truly wonderful experience. It was all a miracle finding her and teaching her. We just had a prompting to knock on a referrals neighbors house and that is how we found Ashley. She is so prepared. And so excited for her baptism! 

This week has just been a week of miracles that's for sure. On Thursday the bishop sent us a few names of less active members to go and visit. The first house we went to we were looking for a lady and this active family answered the door and we were kind of confused...but the spirit told both Sister Girot and I to just wait it out. So we sat down and talked to them and we figured out that the less active lady is her mom and lives in the basement. And we also figured out that their daughters who have been active all transfer are not members!!! They are in the process of adopting them!!! And they said that they are teaching them little by little and we were like hey do you want them to take the lessons and they said sure and then the girls were so excited. It was so awesome and then at church they saw us across the chapel and waved and it was just awesome. 

That same night, right before we were supposed to go inside we decided to stop by a referral (Ashleyannes neighbor) that we have tried seeing all transfer and she was home!! We have an appointment with her tonight :) so it was definitely a miracle night. I just loved it. All day we were praying for new people to teach and we found them right at the end of the night. God doesn't do random :) And the other miracle was at church this family walked in and asked if they had missed the  service. But they were just early :) so they stayed for all three hours. We haven't been able to set up a new appointment with them but we are working on it. 

Oh and another miracle is that we went and visited Tammie and her daughter Heather was there! We taught them the plan of salvation. And we are seeing them again tomorrow :) so we have been having our prayers answered in so many different ways. It's amazing and I love being a missionary. 

Heavenly Father is so aware of us all. And that is something that has stood out to me all week. He really does know exactly what we need and is blessing us all the time. So watch out for it. He loves you :) 

Have a great week 
Sister Stephens 

Longview zone!

Goodbye Hermana Hughes!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Don't Forget to Pray!

This week has been a little weird. The work is still progressing. And
we were able to meet with people that we haven't been able to meet
with before. We were able to meet with Ashleyanne two times this week.
And it was so awesome both times. She hadn't prayed about the
restoration yet but the second time we went she had had an awesome
experience. She said she prayed about Joseph smith and the Book of
Mormon! And she felt at peace and was so happy. She just wants to
continue to learn and has a strong desire and commitment. And excited
for her baptism. And she has good fellow-shippers. Everything is going
great. But keep her in your prayers so she can continue to progress! 
It has been a week where lessons continued to cancel so we were able
to do a lot of finding and look up a lot of less active members. We
talked to a lot of people about their goals and getting to the temple.
And taking small steps like starting with prayer. It's so important.
It changes who we are because we understand who God is. So don't
forget to pray. We had a lesson with an inactive member and he just
doesn't understand the concept of being a child of God. And doesn't
see a need for was so so sad! Just broke my heart, no matter
what we said or analogy we used or how we testified he just wouldn't
budge. That taught me about enduring to the end and how we have to
wait on Gods time for some of our answers. And let him shape you.
Because he will and you will be so much better. I just pray everyone
will find that divinity in them and pray and connect with heaven. 
We had an awesome God doesn't do random event this week. On Monday i
was pretty sick but I felt like still going out so we did. We went to
a part member family's house and the wife who isn't a member let us
right on in. She went to get her husband and we just talked for
a long time. She confided in us that she has lost a daughter and a
granddaughter. We talked to her about the temple and eternal marriage.
And a lot about eternal families. The spirit was so strong and she
wanted us to come back and teach her. We are so excited to go back and
teach her. She has taken the lessons before but that was a few years
ago. Her name is Tammie so keep her in your prayers :)
We were able to do some service this week and it was pretty cool. Just
helped a member garden :) I love to garden, fun fact. But I learned
that on my mission. We also had to stay inside on Tuesday because I
was waaay sick. So I slept all day and then went out that evening.
Thankfully we have awesome members that we live with and gave me lots
of medicine :) 

 And today we went with Elder and Sister Gardner to Mt. St. Helens!! It
was so much fun! So sorry my letter is short....but we went and hiked
and explored around and took a ton of pictures! So weird that I've
lived in Washington for so long and never gone there! But it was
great. And another highlight is President Taylor comes back soon :) ah
so excited. 

 Love you all and have a great week!!! 
 Sister Stephens

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Another Awesome Week!

Happy Valentine's Day!!! We definitely had a great week out here in Woodland and Kalama. We had dinner last night with some really awesome members who are coming back to activity. I just love them! They came out to a lesson with us to another less active member and were awesome missionaries and testified like crazy. It was way cool. And the regional stake conference was super great as well. I loved how elder Renlund directed all questions that he has been asked about the church back to the restoration. Because that is the keystone of our religion. Because of the first vision we know that God still speaks and he is continually giving us revelation. For our own lives and for the world. It's great. Yesterday we had to go out and meet with the bishop who lives like forty minutes away from woodland so it was quite a drive but the weird part was to get there you have to drive through part of the La Center Ward boundaries. And it was way weird driving past houses of people I use to teach. But it was a good meeting. On our way back into town we felt prompted to stop at a certain house and it turns out it is an inactive member who joined the church about ten years ago. She wasn't thrilled to see us but once she realized that we didn't know who she was, she opened up to us a little more. It was so hard to see because you can tell that she misses the church but feels guilty because she isn't living a life style that is in harmony with the standards. It's hard to go back after being gone for so long, but we had a good visit with her and hopefully will be able to see her in the future, but she didn't seem too optimistic about that. Just little steps and little seeds being planted to soften people's hearts. 

We didn't get to meet with Ashleyanne this week :( we were scheduled today to see her but we also had interviews with President Ferrin. He took a lot longer than President Taylor does so our time kept getting pushed back. We drove out at our time which was 2, but didn't get done until 445 because there were four elders ahead of us. A bummer but we will be seeing her tomorrow. She did go to mutual on Wednesday and told the people there that she is getting baptized in March! So that was cool to hear about. 

We also met with a long term investigator named Gary. Our Ward mission leader drove us out to that appointment. He has taken the lessons for two years and had some hurdles to get over. But we are working on the last one so he can get baptized. We asked him to pray specifically if the Book of Mormon is true. I have noticed that being that specific really helps  because then it allows for Heavenly Father to give us a specific answer. And with a testimony of the Book of Mormon, it's easier to overcome things and to be baptized. And we are praying that is sooner than later. 

We had a lesson with a new investigator named Quincy. He has met with missionaries a lot over the past years but it seems like they mostly just had conversations, rather than teaching the doctrine. So we are going to be doing that. We taught him about the plan of salvation and when we got to the kingdoms of glory he said something pretty cool. He is super into sports and so he connected the celestial kingdom with playing college ball. That in order to play, you have to meet the requirements like doing good in school. It's neat to be able to see people's aha moments when we are teaching. Plus the plan of salvation is my most favorite lesson to teach. All the lessons just intermingle with each other. It's the best. We have the restoration to know about the plan of salvation, and the gospel of Jesus Christ to fulfill the plan. Just shows me how important the basics of the gospel are and  the testimony that they give you. 

We had another cool experience this week. We found a young man who wanted us to come back over and teach him so we set a time and asked Bro Shaw and Cooper to come with us. When we got there he didn't answer the door but we heard basketballs so we followed the sound. He was back there playing with a neighbor boy. When we first talked to him he was excited to see us, but on that night he was so not happy we were there...even though we confirmed like two hours before. He said his parents weren't home and he just didn't want to talk to us. So Sister Girot was like, well can we play some basketball with you? And that was weird at first but it was definitely inspiration. Because his friend, Aaron, started asking so many questions about the church. And he knows Bro Shaw's son from school. We weren't able to set up another appointment but we will soon. It was just cool to see how Heavenly Father needs us to be in one spot to talk to someone that we didn't even know was there. 

We have also been working a lot with the less active members of the wards. We weren't able to have the family home evening last week but it is on so far for today. We are continuing to find people and it's been really great serving here. So update on Pres Taylor: he isn't allowed to do transfers so President Ferrin will be doing them. And to answer your question he was chosen to be an interim president from the brethren. Apparently he has done it before, and was a supervising mission president for 31 missions in Asia to assist the mission presidents. So he's pretty knowledgeable. Interviews were interesting this week with him. He is so awesome and just talked with us for like thirty minutes about a lot of different things. It was just strange not seeing President Taylor on the other side. But it was nice to be able to meet them and see who is running the mission currently. 

We have just had an awesome week. But I have been sick so that hasn't been too awesome. I'm super tired all the time and have a cold and stomach thing going on. But we keep pressing forward and pray for strength. There's too much to do as a missionary to be sick! Oh and they are trying to find housing for another set of sisters to cover first Ward. So we might not have to cover two areas next transfer but then they might split up sister Girot and I 🙁 but we will see what happens next week. I love you all and hope you have a great week! 

Sister Stephens 

Monday, February 8, 2016

God Loves Us!

There's been a lot of great things happening this week in Woodland
wards. My year mark has come and gone and it definitely is a
bittersweet feeling. I realize more and more just how fast my mission
is going and I'm trying to hold onto every day of it. But thankfully I
get to serve in a beautiful area, have a great companion and see a lot of success.
Quick update on President Taylor he is doing well and definitely has
felt the strength of the fast that we have all done for him. All of us
out here in the Washington Vancouver mission really appreciate all
your prayers and support in behalf of our mission president. This week
we have interviews with President Farren so that will be a little
weird, but I'm excited to meet him and his wife. There's a rumor going
on in the ward that we are getting another set of missionaries next
transfer but we'll see what happens. 

So this week we were able to meet with Ashleyin and she is just so
great. We taught her the plan of salvation and she compared it to a
long journey that we are on, and our God is with us and wants to help us
return. It's exactly what the plan of salvation is. It is my most
favorite listen to teach. It really just brings all of the other
lessons in to perspective. Just knowing the simple questions of where
we came from, why we are here, and where we are going is so much to
change a person. This is why we have prophets to teach us of this
plan and of the Gospel of Jesus Christ which helps fulfill the plan. At
the end of the lesson we committed her to be baptized and she said
yes. Her baptismal date is March 5 and we are pretty stoked about it.
And we got her an awesome fellowship-er from school that picked her up
and took her to church. She definitely is a little bit of a quiet
person but she said that she really enjoyed church and wants to go to
mutual. I'm so excited for her. I was thinking the other day about how
much the gospel really changes our life. We look forward with an eternal
perspective, and it's so different than our own mortality. Being baptized
changes everything about a person's life and in the best way possible.
Now she has the temple to look forward to, a mission, and an eternal
family. This really is the best work to be engaged in. 

We still haven't been able to meet with Lawna for the past few weeks
so that has been hard. However she did come to church this week and
stayed for sacrament. And she kept making comments about how much she
loved it. It was so great that all of the testimonies were centered on
Christ. Sometimes they can become a little off-balance. But I always
appreciate those sincere
testimonies about how the Savior and the gospel has blessed their lives.

Honestly a lot of our appointments canceled this week. So that was
kind of a bummer. However we did meet with a new family that is
less active. We had dinner with them on Friday and they live out in
the middle of nowhere. We were able to share a message with them and
invite them to have family home evening with us each Monday evening.
They said yes and so we are going back tonight. I'm really excited to
teach them again. A lot of the people that we talk to here, they
just have forgotten what they once knew. And that's the hardest part
because you have to try and teach with the spirit so they can remember
what they once felt. Once they do remember it's pretty awesome to see
the change. 

 We had kind of an unusual meeting this week. This lady asked us to
come and teach her daughters in their home school class. She wants them
to be versed on other religions and to not be ignorant in the ways
that other people believe. So we went over and taught them the plan of
salvation. It was cool to see the spirit work even with people who are
just learning for academics. It was an unusual request but we figured
that maybe those girls will grow up and remember the missionaries
taught them when they were younger. And we were able to give them all
their own copy of the book of Mormon. We still testified of its
truthfulness and invited them to read and to find out for themselves.
I don't know if anything will come of it right now but later on down the
road I know that they will be blessed and be able to receive the
restored gospel. 

 I have been reminiscing on my past year in the mission field. And it's
been so weird looking back to see who I was before I left and the
changes that have happened since then. And I know I've said it before
but honestly it all has come down to reading from the book of Mormon
every day, having heartfelt prayers every day, and being an active
participant in the Sunday services. I think the biggest thing that I
have learned since I've been here is how much God loves us. It's hard
to explain why that is the biggest thing but I've seen so many things
in a different light. The trials he gives us and the growing
opportunities that we have are not because God is wanting to punish or
curse us, it's because he knows we have so much more potential. We just
need a little more help getting there. The plan of salvation is
real and it is only because our savior came to this world and died for
us that it is possible. And I encourage you if you don't have a
testimony of how this plan will affect your life then get one. There
are so many resources that we have to gain knowledge but the most
important one is asking God in prayer what is true. We might have to
give up things that we don't want to give up but it's so worth it to
have eternal life. I see so many people who just don't understand the
consequences of their actions. There's so much more than the here and
now. We have to be looking forward with faith to the time where we can
be with God and our families again. And this knowledge all comes from
the Scriptures and from the words of the prophets that our heavenly
father loves us so much to give to us. I have loved my mission so much
and I'm so ready to serve God for the last few months that I have. I
love you all and I want you to know that I have a testimony of the
restored gospel of Jesus Christ. He lives and his direction guides this
church and all of us. 

Have a great week! 
 Sister Stephens

One year!


The Allen's came for my year and we went out to dinner! 

Monday, February 1, 2016

One Year!!

Wow. One year in the mission. It hardly feels like I have been here
for so long. The best year of my life so far that's for sure. We will
be celebrating with Chinese food and martenelis and of course the best
part: teaching the gospel. So quick update on president Taylor: he is
doing great and is recovering really awesome. We are all praying for
him to be back to full duties by March. The doctors think it will take
longer but president is determined and so are we! Lots of prayer
that's for sure. And we are all doing a mission wide fast this Sunday
for his recovery. So I know that the immediate family did it rhis past
week but if anyone else feels so inclined we would appreciate the help
to call down the powers of heaven for our president. 

 This week has been amazing as well! Woodland is seriously a great
area. We are slowly but surely figuring out the whole two wards thing.
We have a system now and are going to be able to devote more time to
both wards. Some cool miracle stories this week though. We were able
to teach Ashleyanne about the restoration on Wednesday and she wants
to be baptized. She is going to go to mutual this week as well as come
to church. It's so great, she has been so prepared. We don't have a
date set for her yet but we will be inviting her to be baptized this

 Lawna and Brianna came to church this week! We didn't think they were
coming but they said they were on their way a little after church
started! So they made most of sacrament but had to leave after Sunday
school. We had an awesome meeting that was all about the savior and
how to gain a stronger testimony and relationship with him. And it all
basically came down to faith. Faith is such an action word because it
really motivates us to do something about what we believe. And then it
goes back to the Church Pray Read. The gospel, man it's so simple and
awesome. And they also talked a lot about how the atonement is for
everyone, including us. A lot of times people will say and remember
how great the atonement is for every single person...except ourselves.
We have to trust Christ and believe him when he says we can be
forgiven. Just read Enos. He believed Christ when he said his sins
were forgiven because God cannot lie. Anyway they came to that
sacrament meeting and loved it. We didn't get to meet with them this
week though, so that was sad but pray they will keep progressing. 

 We had a great lesson with the Martinez family. They are investigators
that we tried to meet with last week but everyone was sick. We talked
about baptism and what the promises are that we make with God. And
also what he promises us, so basically our covenants. They all said
they wanted to be baptized after they learned more about it all. Well
good thing we know some missionaries who can teach them :) we are
going to be giving them a church tour on Friday so they can be more
comfortable when they come to church on Sunday. 

So many people to
teach and it's awesome. We are also teaching a lady named Stephanie
who the sisters before us found. Not much to update there...because we
haven't taught a lesson yet. So good things happening here in

We are also working with a handful of less active members but none of
them are progressing very much. We did have to confiscate some word of
wisdom things the other day so that was interesting. We do what we
gotta do. Yup the work is going, it's rainy all the time, and I love
Have a great week, 
Sister Stephens

Exchanges with sister McMullin

Got a gift card for dinner :)

I love woodland!!