Thursday, March 31, 2016

Discipleship is a Journey

This week has been one of miracles and some trials as well. But there is opposition in all things. Especially in the work of salvation. We were able to go to Oregon this week for a zone conference and it was amazing. We talked a lot about how to help people repent and be converted as well as more logistics in missionary work. The best part as usual is hearing our mission president speak to us. During his first training he did a question and answer and we were able to ask some doctrine questions so that was cool. During his talk to all of us he talked a lot about the adversary trying to pull us down. And how discipleship is a journey. I didn't take a lot of notes because I was really captivated by what he was saying so I don't remember all of it....but it was really good. It was more of a pep talk, you are all doing great and have so much potential. He is a really great mission president. We are so so sad to see him leave in July....well I'll be home right after him so it won't be too sad getting a new president.

The other highlight of the week is we moved again!! The family we were living with had a granddaughter move in so we had to leave. But we had no where to go so we moved to Longview which is about a 35-40 minute drive from parts of our area. That has been a really big adjustment. Fortunately we live with the Hermanas (Spanish sisters) and they are so awesome! And it's weird living in an apartment, but it's been good. Hopefully we will find housing in Woodland or Kalama soon. But the work is still going forward and we are so thankful for that. Also women's conference this weekend was amazing! I just loved it. And I loved the story about trying to talk to someone while looking in a mirror. And how hard it is to focus on someone when you are focusing on yourself. And how we need to put a window up and really focus and help others. A great analogy to know how to forget yourself and go to work. 

So we had a great week with our investigators. Unfortunately some of them missed their appointments and that has been rough so we are continuing trying to help them progress. We are seeing Katie this week so we are really excited for that. This week we found some really great investigators. The first one was Patrick. We were out in the boonies and decided to stay out there and were trying to follow the spirit to know what long muddy driveway to go down. We pulled into one and that is where we met Patrick. He is Christian and has had a pretty tough past but is now married with kids and another on the way. We explained what we do as missionaries and he was excited to have us back and share. So we are doing that this week. 

The other awesome story of the week happened this weekend. On Saturday we got a text message from Ashleyanne's sister and she said she wanted to see if she could get a ride to church. She had been coming to mutual for a long time now and hadn't expressed any interest in coming to church or learning from us. So we asked if we could come share an Easter message with them later that night and they said yes. So we go and share a video and then talk about how the gospel blesses our lives. When we asked if she would want to hear the missionary lessons she said yes!!! It was so amazing. We have been praying to be able to teach her for so long and now we are on Wednesday! So great. And they had a bunny at their house so we got to play with it...on Easter! So awesome! 

That same weekend we received a referral for a woman requesting a bible. We set up an appointment with her Sunday night to deliver it. She is a mom of five and we were able to talk to her about why we love the bible. And how learning and reading about Christ helps our lives and our families lives. We told her what we do as missionaries and asked if she would be interested in hearing our message and they all said they would!!! So many miracles on Easter! 

Speaking of Easter, it was such a great day!! I got an awesome package from home :) thanks mom! And we had such a great testimony meeting. It was all just wonderful. And we had like three dinners with amazing Ward members. I feel so blessed to be serving in the Woodland Ward. Heavenly Father really knows who we are and what we need to grow and progress. I have really learned that this week. As we review our past and look for the Lord he is always guiding our path. And that helps us to trust him even more in our decisions and daily life. And I am so grateful for that. 

Trust in God and believe in good things to come! 

Sister Stephens 

Easter with the snow family

2nd Easter with the Dobosz family

Zone conference this week with the Lamberts!

Zone conference this week with the Lamberts!

Our new roomies were laughing at me.....

Since we live in Longview now we take our lunch in our car.....

We helped this lady unpack her mice. So many mice......over a thousand.....

Members brought us back souvenirs from Disney land!

Johnnas bunny!!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Sunshine This Week!

So this week was definitely an interesting one but still super
awesome. Woodland is just the best area ever. We spent Monday night at
home evening with Ashleyanne! The bishop hosted it and we talked about
the priesthood and how it blesses our life. It sure was a lot of fun.
And she brought her journal that a member gave her at her baptism and
we signed it :) she's just the best ever. 

Then Monday night the real
fun began....I got so so sick Monday was the worst. And
then on Tuesday I got a blessing from the Elders and was told to rest
and take council from my leaders. So we called the mission nurse and
she said that we had to stay in for two days!!! It was so hard! I just
slept and watched a ton of Mormon messages....and sat in my bed. But
that was after all of our lessons canceled on their own, so it was a
blessing. So that was fun...kind of. 

But we still saw a lot of
miracles this week.

We taught Quincy about the restoration again, but this time we watched
the video. He loved it and we gave it to him so he could show his
daughter. He hasn't come to church yet but basketball tournaments are
ending so hopefully that will mean he will be able to come. And after
the lesson he said that he really looks forward to us coming again.
He's awesome. And super open. That was on Wednesday so then we went
back home and I went to bed...again. 

 We met with Alanna and Kaitlin this week as well. They were supposed
to get baptized this weekend but we have to postpone it. Because their
dad is going on a business trip and they want him to be in on the
lessons to help out. So it will probably be in a few weeks. We found
them because they come to church with their adoptive parents. They are
just so great. But we won't be able to see them this week, but we will
see them on Sunday. 
We also saw Katie this week! She is a new
investigator and is so great. We tracted into her last week and came
back on Sunday to see if she was home. We walked up right when they
were pulling into the driveway. We showed her the Easter video and she
loved it and we are going back to see her in two weeks because of her
crazy work schedule. So we will see how that goes. 

And probably the coolest story from this week. So last year when I
served in La Center we had dinner with the Eldredge family and he
served his mission in Ukraine. He asked for a Russian Book of Mormon
that he could give to a client, so we gave him one from our car. Then
they moved and I got transferred. So first week in Woodland I see them
at church! And I asked about the Book of Mormon and he said that he
tried to give it to him but he gave it back to him...which was sad.
Then this last week we were out Tracting in the boonies and ran into
this man named Alex. He barely spoke broken English but we said we
could bring someone back that spoke Ukrainian! So we went back on
Saturday with Bro Eldredge and we taught in English and he translated
to Ukrainian. It was so sweet. We are hopefully going to go back this
week. And he said he would read the Russian Book of Mormon!! That I
gave to bro Eldredge last year! It was such an awesome God doesn't do
random moment. 

We met a lot of really cool people this week. And did a lot of
Tracting. But thankfully the sun was shining :) I love the people here
and serving. It has all been just the greatest experience. And a lot
of fun. Today we went to Beaver Falls in Oregon and it was pretty
cool. But now I am soaked haha. We also went down to the Columbia
River and it was kind of weird being there.....but still pretty

I hope you all have a wonderful week and remember who you are :)

Sister Stephens

An Awesome Week!

This week has been awesome and full of miracles. We had a lot of
highlights of the week that have been so great. So here we go :)
Ashleyanne is still doing awesome! She is being the greatest
missionary ever. She is inviting people to mutual activities and some
have asked to come to church with her as well. She just loves the
gospel and isn't afraid to share it. We are having a family home
evening with her at the bishops house tonight and hopefully she will
bring her sisters so we can have an opportunity to invite them. So
that should be pretty fun. 

 We weren't able to meet with some of our investigators this week but
we always had something to do so that is always great. However, we had
an awesome experience with Alanna and Kaitlin. We taught them the plan
of salvation and they basically taught it to us. We asked Alanna if
she prayed about the Book of Mormon and she said that Heavenly Father
told her it was true. And after the lesson we talked to their parents
about inviting them to be baptized. They were totally down with it so
we asked the girls and they said they really wanted to get baptized. So
they are going to be baptized next Saturday :) it's going to be so
great. I have just loved teaching them.

We also had zone meeting his week and it was amazing. We read the talk
a consecrated missionary by Elder Callister. It was so so good. We
focused on how we can change and what we need to change in order to
put everything on the altar of sacrifice to the Lord. So we really
focused on that. The spirit was really strong and it got us pumped to
go out and work. During zone lunch sister Girot and I asked for
blessings for the start of the new transfer. It was amazing. Heavenly
Father told me that there were people waiting for us in our area and
that they would recognize us when we see them. And then after the
blessing the elder who gave it said that he was impressed to tell me
that there are two very specific people in the area that we need to
find!!! So it's been a little crazy trying to find them. 

After the meeting we went straight to work and found some great
people. The first was Kayla. She was babysitting at a different house
but still lives in our area so we were able to set up an appointment
with her the next day. We went in the morning to see her and she is
super active in her church. But she said she let us come back over
because we didn't push any bible verses on her. We taught her the
restoration and she said she would start reading the Book of Mormon.
And we have a return appointment this week. The second person we
talked to is Michelle. She said that she is wanting to get back into
religion and has a ton of questions to ask. We told her our job as
missionaries is to answer questions and invite people to learn of
Christ. We gave her a Book of Mormon and she gave us her phone number.
She has a crazy schedule but we will get in. We also met a lady named
Katie. She was really interested but also has a crazy schedule so we
will keep praying for opportunities to teach. 

I went on exchanges this week to Rainier with Sister Black! We had a
lot of fun and did service and taught a few lessons. I haven't left my
area for a while so it was fun to go meet other people :) and on
Sunday we went to have lunch with the Arroyos. They are technically in
the first Ward but live in our Ward. But we got permission to have
lunch with them. We had these awesome tacos and they gave me takis to
take home! Score! I just love them so much. 

So it has been a great week! Oh and we moved like twice this week. Our
first place their family was coming in for the summer and the second
place had cats and Sister Girot is allergic and now the place we live
is out in the sticks but super nice. Our room used to be the play room
and is painted with clouds and ocean scenes from the little mermaid
and finding nemo. It's great. Well I hope you have a great week! 

you all! 
Sister Stephens


Our new room!

Exchanges with sister black

The best sign ever :)

It was sunny after dinner!! We love daylight savings!

The Burgoynes took us out to lunch

The Renslow's and Ashleyanne's sister

The Eddingtons gave us goodbye gifts before we moved

Monday, March 7, 2016

Heavenly Father Knows You Personally!

This week has been so great. We have been able to see Ashleyanne a lot this week to finish up her lessons before her baptism on Saturday. The Renslows had us all over for dinner and a lesson and that was pretty awesome. I love them all so much. We talked about missionary work :) and Ashleyanne is already such an awesome missionary! On Wednesday she invited two non members and her less active sister to mutual. So we went to talk to them and fellowship them some. Plus it was cupcake wars and it was awesome! 

We won :) and they were so good. We also found out on Wednesday that there were new sisters for the woodland 1st Ward! It was such a surprise for everyone. So we are now exclusively for 2nd Ward. We are okay with it because most of our teaching pool is in second but we weren't able to say goodbye to anyone in the first Ward. Good thing we go to the same church building :) 

We had a really awesome lesson this week with Quincy. He has been taught off and on by missionaries for a long time. Like the past ten years. But it seems like it has been more of a discussion setting and not teaching doctrine. So we had to change those expectations. But ever since we have, it has been amazing. We taught him the restoration and it was really powerful. He wants to get baptized :) but we got to get him to church first.  We do have another appointment with him this week so we are pretty pumped for that. Pray that it will go well :) We have a zone goal to baptize 13 people this  month so we are praying for that goal every night at 9:55 as a zone. It's been amazing feeling the power of prayer when we all come together in one cause. It's pretty powerful. So we are working on finding those elect to baptize this month! 

So baptism. It was amazing. Ashleyanne invited her whole family and the spirit was so strong. It all went so well and the Ward has been just amazing in fellow-shipping her and making her feel loved. While we were waiting for Ashleyanne to come her sister brought her non member boyfriend and the elders that were in his area happened to be at the church as well. So we introduced them and they were able to teach him a lesson right there in front of the font before the baptism started. Super cool. So now they have a new investigator. 

And then we went to lunch with Elder and Sister Burgoyne after :) image3.JPG

Just such a great week here in Woodland. We have also been able to meet with a lot of less active members this week and it has been fantastic. We are still finding those less actives though, and president wants it to be our main focus so that is what we are doing. We met with one man and his girlfriend and he wants to make his life straight before God and wants to take the missionary lessons to help him become active again so it's a pretty cool deal :) 

Oh and we met with Alanna and Kaitlin this week. They are just so awesome and know so much already about the gospel. We made cups to explain the restoration and they were a little distracted by them but they do want to get baptized :) so we will be working on that as well. And their grandmother who we went to find at that house in the first place, was there and sat in on the lessons. So we are going to be seeing her separately as well. God doesn't do random. So many miracle stories. And I'm sure many more to come. 

We also had our scripture study class this week and it was again so great. The first Ward sisters came to teach as well, and Ashleyanne and her sister came. That was right after the smoked turkey dinner we all had together at the Wilson's after the baptism. Super great. I love studying the scriptures and helping others understand how they can bless their lives. It's amazing. 

I just love this area and the people so so much. I feel so blessed to be serving here. Even though I'm close to home I know God sent me to this mission for a reason and it's been a journey of joy finding out why. Heavenly Father knows you personally. And he Will guide your life. It's amazing to see his plan unfold. Just trust him. And have faith. I love you all so much and hope all is going well. 

Sister Stephens