Monday, May 30, 2016

Last Transfer Day, Staying in Woodland!

Another week here in Woodland has come and gone! The lord has been
blessing us and definitely helping us everyday. I know this is his
work and for him it really is personal. I read a quote the other day
by Lorenzo Snow and it said that no one is more involved in success of
missionaries than the Lord. Which is obviously true but it really
helped me this week to remember who I need to trust and his plan for his
children is so much greater than what we can come up with. Another
quote that has been extremely helpful is, "pray like it all depends on
him and work as if it all depends on you." I'm pretty sure I have
shared that with you all before but it is so true! We didn't have any
appointments on Saturday so we hit the road and went Tracting. We
found this lady named Kim who was at her friends house. She is
Christian and talked to us a little about the restoration. And she
lives in Kalama so we can still teach her! She is super cool and we
are so excited to meet with her.

Another day of Tracting produced another miracle. We were walking down
a street and we were trying to decide where to go and I saw this
little blue house and decided to go and knock on the door. It's crazy
how the spirit works. You have a street full of houses and then you
look at one and then you know that is the one. We knocked and we talked
to a man named Tanner. He loves going to different churches and seeing
what they are all about. We talked to him about the restoration and
our purpose as missionaries. He was excited for us to come back and
share more with him. We are going to go see him this week.

We also went and saw Carolina this week again. She was another that we
found while Tracting about a month ago. She is of another faith but we
were able to share with her the message of the restoration and she
loved it. We really felt the spirit when we were talking to her,
especially when we talked about the first vision. So we stopped by
again this week and followed up on things and she has been reading the
Book of Mormon and we are going to go see her after her daughter
graduates. She is amazing. It will be so awesome when we get to teach
her regularly.

We were also able to meet with Alexis. She is doing really good and so
is Ashleyanne. I just love them all so much! We just continue to teach
the gospel and hopefully she will make her baptism day of June 22nd.
We are going to have home evening with her and a family in our Ward
tonight. It is going to be so much fun :) I love this Ward so much! Oh
and I'm sure you're probably wondering about transfers. So Sister
Slattery and I are staying together in Woodland 2nd! I was so so so
happy to hear that I get to finish my mission here in Woodland :) it
will be my longest area!

We had a lot of fun experiences this week as well. We were signed up
for the housing inspectors to come from the mission on Friday morning.
So there we are.....doing companionship study and there is a ring
at the door....and we look confused as to who it could be and then
panic set in when we realized they were here. We totally forgot. So we
run back into our room and Sis. Slattery takes all the clothes and
throws them into the closet. And I tell her to go answer the door. So
she stalls at the door and I race to finish making my bed and putting
random things away.....but I didn't make it to the bathroom. Now to be
honest it wasn't really messy at all but we didn't deep clean
it....and she was like sisters I like to see it a little more tidy at
inspections. And I was just like I'm so sorry but we totally she let it slide haha.

Oh and gross story of the week: we go to dinner with an older couple
in the Ward and she said she made us a German the noodles
went first and then you put the meat and gravy on...seems somewhat
normal.....but then we looked at the meat! It was a baked dill pickle
wrapped in thin steak meat with mustard and bacon in the inside. We
just looked at each other and had a panic moment and just dived gross. Then we went to McDonald's :) we told the bishop in
our meeting that night and he laughed so hard..... He hasn't given it
up since. So gross. I still have nightmares...

It's been a good growing week and I really just am so excited to stay
here another transfer. Life is good and I love you all!!

Sister Stephens

The best district!

Matching St. Helens shirts....

Just some walrus missionaries....

Heart attacking a members home! 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Savior is our Anchor

Well I don't even know where to begin. It has surely been a week. I
guess I will tell you what happened and then what I have learned from
these experiences. The week started a little hectic when I lost my
wallet but thankfully I am a WA resident so it was easy to get a
replacement. And we also had to go to Vancouver on Thursday to get a
new car!! We had a brand new Toyota Corolla but it was just not
getting us where we needed to be. You definitely  should have all
wheel drive while up here in Kalama and Woodland. There are a lot of
back roads. So we went and they gave us a jeep that is so awesome! And
it has four wheel drive so we are able to go more places and not get
stuck. It's such a blessing. But that was a little side track from the
real story.....

On Wednesday we had dinner with less active members of our Ward and
they couldn't have us until 730 which means we didn't eat until eight
and we were starving....and then the dreaded text message came. Dhana
texted us and said that she and Michael were currently under
spiritual attack from the adversary and thought it was best to not get
baptized and to not meet with us or attend church anymore. It was so
devastating. We decided to not respond to the message so after we got
back from Vancouver we went to their house to go and see what was
going on. They told us that they were being attacked spiritually and
felt like they needed to back out of the baptism. We were astounded
and told them about the power of the priesthood and how it helps in
every aspect of our life..and that is when she told us that she didn't
believe in it. Which was opposite of everything we were told by them.
We spent twenty minutes with them and bore our testimony and promised
blessings but to no avail. So we canceled the baptism and prayed for
help. It was probably the hardest rejection so far on my mission.
Preach my gospel teaches us that people can have a spiritual witness
of truth and still reject it and that is a part of agency. I haven't
really experienced that until now. It was hard. Still is. But the work
will go forward.

And then on Friday during weekly planning we ended up dropping or
being dropped by five more investigators. We felt rejected and down
trodden to say the least. But then a thought came that all these
people did not reject me. They rejected someone far greater than me.
Our savior loves them and provided this gospel and plan so we could
return to our father. We have to be wise with the use our our agency.
I know this work is gods work and it is true. He leads the missionary
effort and has blessed us this week as well. We have found four new
investigators to teach. And after we talked to one, Faith, she said
she would absolutely love to hear the gospel message. So that was cool
:) I know the elect are out there and being prepared. Now we have a
lot more time to go and find them.

As I was bearing testimony of the priesthood, and receiving a blessing
this week myself, I just had a strong realization of the value of
what we have. The church of Jesus Christ has been restored. The
priesthood is on the earth. And the Book of Mormon is true. If you
doubt those statements or are wavering please pray. Please ask. I know
Heavenly Father is waiting on our petition to give us truth and
knowledge. You will never regret it. And then when we are here we have
to hold to the rod. The world is getting so wicked and the only anchor
we have is our savior. So anchor in folks. Come close to the spirit
and you will feel the atonement working in your life.

Even though this week has been difficult, Heavenly Father still
blesses us. We met with Alexis and she wants to be baptized! She came
to a baptism this weekend with us and she enjoyed it and she came to
church this week with Ashleyanne. We are waiting to see what her mom
says about her being baptized. So we hope and pray that she can get
baptized soon. We are still meeting with all of our recent converts
and a family who has been less active is starting to come back to
church. Three weeks in a row :) the gospel is so true people!

Transfers are coming to a close and I hope and pray i can finish in
the Woodland Ward. I think it will happen. But we will see. I love you
all so much and hope you have a great week.

Sister Stephens

Life is Good!

This week has been one where Heavenly Father has taught me about
dependence on him and the importance of obedience. My favorite
scripture currently is, "God giveth the increase" which is in the
bible. And how much we need to work hard and blessings will come. We
did a lot of Tracting and knocking with no one showing any interest.
And that is always a hard time to recognize that you need to be doing
better. But thankfully Heavenly Father is really good with forgiving
those who are willing to repent. And for that I am so grateful.
But we did see some cool miracles with those that we are already

Michael and Dhana are still on date for baptism on Saturday. They were
interviewed this week and now all we have to do is wait for Saturday
at 11 am to witness their baptism. They are showing so much commitment
and dedication to the gospel. They are truly converted to the lord and
to the gospel. It has been unreal because everything we have taught
them they just know it is true and already see the blessings of the
gospel. And are looking toward toward the temple :) we had a lesson
with them at a members home in the first Ward this week and it was
just so good. I love this area so much. And we had interviews with
president Taylor this week. He said that I would probably be staying
in Woodland until the end of my mission! Which I am so pumped about
and he said that he would do an exit interview with me before he left!
So I will get two exit interviews. It's going to be so great.

We met with Hallei and Kylee this week but they are having a difficult
time progressing....which has been hard to teach them but we are
trying to help them. We ordered them an illustrated Book of Mormon for
them so hopefully that will help them as well. We met with Alexis this
week and she is teetering between wanting to be baptized to not
wanting to be. It's helping me to be patient and not push but to bear
sincere testimony to help her. She is so sweet though and we have just
come to love that entire family. I am glad to stay so I can help them
hopefully get baptized before I leave.

We have a lot of potential in a lot of people but it's getting them to be
committed to meeting with us. We met this really awesome lady and she
is going through recovery and was just not down to talk to us. But
then we started talking to her about the purpose of the Book of Mormon
and she was really interested. So we gave her one and we are hoping to
see her again soon. She is pretty awesome.

Our less actives are doing good as well. And sis Pacheco came to
church this week! That is twice in a row. She is a recent convert and
has been through so much lately but is trying so hard to get back into
church and she is doing pretty awesome. So that was a good miracle.
Jared is doing well but we are still taking some baby steps with him.
The young men have been fellowshipping him really well so that is

I love the work and I love being here in Woodland. This Ward has
become one of my favorites so far....well they all are...... But I
just really love serving here. And we may be getting a different car
because ours gets stuck all the time....and ain't no body got time for
that. Life is good. The mission is good and I love you all! Remember
who you are!


Sister Stephens

Repentance is Real!

It was so great skyping everyone yesterday! But now I have like zero new things to talk to you guys about.....things out here in Washington are going great. We had a wonderful week and are excited for the next week ahead of us. 
Today we went to Mt. St. Helens and it was a lot of fun! We hiked and saw the crater (from a distance) and I got a pretty cool tshirt. So that has been a fun experience. 

Since I already told you the is a spiritual thought for you. Something I have been pondering and studying lately and throughout my mission is obedience and the commandments. I love the thought by President Uchtdorf about the umbrellas. We think that Heavenly Father is waiting with a safe in heaven until we do something right then he throws down a blessing. But in reality he is showering blessings down but when we are disobedient we put an umbrella up. Which then causes us to not receive or recognize the blessings that he does give us. We are constantly being showered with blessings but are we allowing them into our life? The commandments are more than just rules, it is more than the primary answers of go to church, pray, etc. but they are the path back to our father in heaven. They help us to become so much more than we already are. To change our character and nature to be that of our savior. And they free us. We all can say that when we sin we feel guilt and that is the captivity of Satan. But when we are following the commandments we feel the spirit and that is freedom. Our spirits can reach their full potential and feel the love of God and the spirit abundantly. I'll be the first to say perfection is not in my character, however the savior provided a way. Repentance is real and I know it is. We have to use and apply the atonement. Don't just let it sit there without grasping it. We all have so much potential. You are a child of God. And his hands are always stretched out. I promise that it is better to take it than to take our own way. 

We meet a lot of people who are discouraged, angry, depressed, and lost. That is captivity and Christ is eternal life and joy. So what is the difference? I believe it is the spirit and we draw closer to the spirit by following the commandments. It's a simple recipe but sometimes difficult to follow. But that is why we have a whole life to be on the journey of discipleship. 

And that is why the gospel is so important. We met a man named Dan this week and he was not interested at first but he started talking about how he had lost his wife and we had an opportunity to talk to him about the plan of salvation. And we hopefully will see him on Tuesday. He was a pretty cool guy. We also taught a little bit about the plan of salvation to George. He has died like two times and wants to find purpose. He was pretty cool as well. Just gotta keep teaching and going. 

We are already ending the third week of the transfer and we are excited for Dhana and Michaels baptism in a few weeks! I love the Woodland area so much and am excited for a new week! I hope you all have a wonderful week and remember who you are :) 

Sister Stephens 

Friday, May 6, 2016

The Gospel is Meant to Strengthen Us

This week has seen a lot of pretty cool miracles. So rewind of the week starting with Sunday :) we had a lesson with Michael and Dhana after church where we taught some of the commandments....the word of wisdom and the law of chastity. They both accepted them and committed to live them. It was a really great meeting. They both commented on how the people in the congregation just look different and have a glow....and they attributed that to following the commandments. The spirit was so strong and they are on track for baptism on the 21st. We also met with them earlier this week at the Wilsons home. They came for dinner with us and we had pizza they make in their huge pizza oven. It was so good. But we taught them the gospel of Jesus Christ and how discipleship and learning are life long processes. They comment all the time on how they want to be happy and have peace and the gospel is it. They also understand how baptism isn't just a check list but a life long and eternal commitment. I just love teaching them and seeing how the lord really has prepared them both to receive the gospel. And they are both going to the temple visitor center on Thursday with the Ward! I just love them! 

We also saw Hallie this week and she is doing good as well. We taught her the plan of salvation! I love that lesson so much. She is doing well but we are trying to get her to come to sacrament meeting....she comes to primary but not the most important part. But small steps. She wants to get baptized but hasn't committed to a date yet. And she may be a child of record baptism. But she is still awesome and so cute! I love the people here so much. 

We had another great lesson with Alexis. It was pretty cool because her mom sat in on the lesson and we taught the restoration. She had a lot of questions and they were all really good. She won't read the Book of Mormon yet but has been praying about it and has been sitting in on the I guess we will see what happens. And Alexis came to church this week. It was also a really great sacrament meeting. The spirit was so strong and we heard a lot about the savior and the power of the atonement. It was just really great. The sacrament is so important to our life. We need daily sustenance and a renewal each Sunday. It has to be a priority in our life because without faith the power to endure crumbles. The gospel is meant to strengthen us not just take things away. And I know the power behind the sacrament is real. We all should be coming into it with a broken heart and a contrite spirit and I promise you will feel the cleansing power of the atonement. 

This week a few of our appointments canceled, like Ginger, but we were able to finally meet with Katie! We taught her the restoration and she was really into it all. The spirit was really strong and she has been prepared to receive the gospel. We are going to be giving her a church tour this week. It should be great. So I'm excited for that lesson. 

I also went on exchanges this week with Sister McMullin. It was a lot of fun. We found some pretty cool people and talked to so many people! I loved it. I love doing missionary work. It was so good to just go out and find. And to be with Sister McMullin was great as well. We had a Ward potluck and that was pretty fun as was just a good week. We taught lessons. Did some service. And talked to people. Just another week in the field :) I love it. 

I hope you have a great week
Sister Stephens