Friday, June 27, 2014

June 23, 2014

It's been a while! Transfers was this week, I am not getting transferred. The last week and a half has been good! A lot has happened. A quick update on some of our investigators- Ann- Last Friday we watched on the lord’s errand with her, the biography of pres. Monson's life. Then afterward she had her baptismal interview. She answered all of the questions right and she is OK on that perspective to be baptized, but she wants to wait a couple more weeks so she can come to church and get the hang of things a little bit more. We keep wanting to take her to a baptism for other investigators in the stake. But she is always working or at school during that time! She is doing great though; we are just going to keep working with her and helping her until she is ready. She's pretty much been taught all of the necessary stuff before baptism so we will probably just go into more detail and read the book of Mormon with her. Julie- Big news! She's getting married!! This Friday, after church Sunday she talked to bishop with her boyfriend and they talked and will be getting married this Friday, then the next Saturday, July 5th she can be baptized because she is keeping the one thing holding her back. We taught the word of wisdom last week and it was really good, she accepted with no problems. We have been finding new people as well. Here a just a few of our experiences. A part member family moved in the ward, recovering alcoholics of 20-30 days sober, trying to reactivate, we went and met, he said he wanted to be baptized, so we set a goal and taught the restoration then the next day when we went over to see them he was drunk.. Shows how hard Satan will work on someone when they try to do what’s right and how addictions screw you over! Then yesterday I guess the rent was too high so they are moving back to Mesa. Another cool thing, there is a girl who was investigating the church in New York and has a super solid testimony, she has been taught everything and then some, we met her and she is half way thru the book of Mormon. She is just waiting until November when her mom can come see her to be baptized so her mom can be a part of it and possibly also be introduced the gospel. A few nights ago a minivan pulled up next to us and started talking to us (things like this happen all the time but usually they are drunk/mean/need money/etc..) well this time was a mother with her kids and she said hey my sister just joined your church and I want to know more about it, what time is church on Sunday? She is moving in this week right into our area so we are going to teach her when she's settled in! The members here are getting better little by little. We have been getting better member involvement when we teach people and getting them to reach out to people at church a little more so that is good. We go on splits every Thursday, last Thursday we saw a guy we talked to on the street for a few seconds as we were stopped at the light, got his address and sped off cause we were late, then when we went over it was really good cause the member brother really related to him and was able to talk about how the gospel has helped him change his life around. We did service one day, demolished an apartment that had been empty for a couple years. It was disgusting. There was a dead cat rotted inside, the carpets were just stained black and it was really gross! I will send you a picture of the toilet... It was awesome to be able to see the Barton's on Monday! I love them so much. We went to dinner at the cheesecake factory, it was delicious, but seeing them was still better than the food! Love, Elder Stevenson

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

June 16, 2014

I guess my letters are not quite long enough? Haha well I will answer these and any other questions any of you may have! So how do you like your companion??? How is that going with him??? Does he follow the rules well? My companion, Elder Hinds is awesome; I think he is my favorite companion. He is very hard working and is a great missionary. He has been out about 4 months now but seems like he has a lot more experience than that. We work really well together. Probably the nicest person you ever have met, he is willing to do anything for anyone, almost too nice sometimes... ha-ha and as a side note, next Tuesday is transfers but we will both be staying here for at least 6 more weeks. How do you like your area?? The area, central phoenix, is indescribable. There is definitely never a dull day! I love it. How are you?? I am good, being a missionary is great, we work hard and sleep well at night from being exhausted. Even sleep thru blood sucking bugs ;) oh yeah mom- don't worry about them in Rexburg 20 degrees will kill them.. or 120+. Is your acne getting any better??? I think my acne is getting better, it comes and goes but I am being more diligent at taking the medicine dad sent me as well as washing my face more. Part of it comes from stress I think and that won't ever go away as a missionary. Are you getting skinny riding that bike??? My weight goes up and down but I went from 222 to 210 in the last 2 weeks so I think that’s pretty good, been working on eating healthier with fruits and stuff. Are you dying of heat??? The heat really isn't too bad as long as you have water. At 110 and up it all feels the same anyways ;) Do you have AC in your apartment??? We sure do, we have to keep it on 78 always. Do the members feed you well? We have a lot of spaghetti and here a lot of member will sign up to have us over then at the last minute they give us some money or take us out which is fine too. Are you having lots of appointments? Keeping busy? We have lots of appointments, we could talk to 100+ people on the streets every day that are humble from being poor but if we go over they end up flaking and falling thru, so we really have to use our judgment on which people are ready for the gospel.. It’s sad to have to pass some people by but there’s not really a way to talk with every person. What was the best part of your week? This week we got to go to the Mesa Temple visitor’s center with Ann & Keegan! It was great, they really enjoyed it. We looked at the Christus statue and then watched JSPR video. It was one I haven’t seen before, might be new.. it answered a lot of Ann's concerns about prophets and she was thinking we put him on a higher platform then the rest of us so it was good for her to see he was a man too as well as a prophet, and for her to see the persecution was good too. And I actually saw a girl from Idaho Falls that I went to kindergarten with who is serving a mission in the Tempe mission so that was cool. What was the worst? The worst day ever was Friday. We had to prep for the exterminator to come and spray and the list was huge! There was a lot to do so we spend most of the day on it, and I think it was so bad was cause we were stuck inside doing housework instead of being able to go and share the gospel. What was your best faith filled moment? One cool experience yesterday was we got a referral we have been trying to contact for a lady named Sarah, who is from Russia with her family and speaks broken English. She just found out she has cancer so and wanted a blessing so we went to her house and it was hard to understand, but we were able to give her a blessing and share with her 10ish year old about the restoration and gave her a pamphlet cause she wanted to teach it to her mom. We are going to get some Russian book of Mormons. The missionaries in got pulled out and we got 3 of them now in our mission and one of them might be able to come and help us teach them since they learned some Russian while they were there, so that would be really cool! What about biggest surprise? One surprise was what dinner did to my stomach the other night 20 minutes after we left ;) Ha-ha just kidding.. The Spanish missionaries have been teaching a lady that speaks both English and Spanish and I guess the Spanish branch and her are having some problems so we found out it would be better if she was to learn and attend the English ward! We are still trying to meet her but hopefully all goes well! A few other things during the week- Julie is still doing good, chugging along and we found out her mom and some other people in her family are actually planning to be baptized in July! She found the missionaries first but I think somehow the missionaries started teaching her mom so the whole family is hearing about the gospel. Ann is going to be baptized on the 28th of this month, I am really excited! We went over the baptismal interview questions with her after church yesterday and she nailed every single one perfectly. During the week we went on a hike of squaw peak, it was fun, we went with Kegan and the young men group. He had lots of fun but sadly the family "friend" that’s the anti-one invited him to go to Tucson for a concert Sunday so he wasn't at church.. But he promised to be next week. I love you, have a good week! Love, Elder Stevenson

Monday, June 9, 2014

June 9, 2014

This week was full of stuff! A lot happened and so we were busy but this last week it was stuff that had to be done but not missionary work related.. We have bed bugs, they are like mosquitoes, they live off of warm blood and they crawl out of the inside of your mattress and eat you at night, and then you itch like never before! We have tried a lot of ideas to get rid of them but nothing seems to work so today an inspector is coming. The bad thing is if we get rid of them riding public transit or going into a lot homes we might just get them back! I slept on the floor a few nights and have tried things but it has been a constant battle. We had Zone Conference this week, it was really good, there's a talk in the ensign this month we read; that we all may rejoice. Really good it should help us with the members here.. They think they are great (and there are a few) but really not that missionary minded so we have been trying to get them motivated and help them understand there duty's as members and our as missionaries. They have changed though and hopefully the leadership in the ward will make a difference. Ward council was great so I think it just needs some time. Also we talked about becoming more Christ like missionaries and how to become that missionary so it was really good. On Sunday Ann was going to come to church but her foot has been having problems and she had to go to the hospital instead, but what was cool is her son Keegan still came, even without his mom! She is giving up her tea right now and it is great! It’s a struggle but she hasn't had tea since Saturday and I that's when we taught the word of wisdom. Her baptism will be pushed back a week or 2 though since she couldn't come to church yesterday for her foot and we want her to be there more at least twice. Julie is also doing great; she had been reading the BOM and keeping commitments! She is really committing and we can see the changes in her, she came to church again Sunday and we found an awesome sister in the ward who has gone thru all the same stuff as her so it was great to have her come to the lesson with us on when we taught the gospel of Jesus Christ. I was able to see someone in the ward who had had their name removed rejoin the church on Friday. That was a neat experience, something interesting is that after someone has there named removed then comes back and is re baptized a short while later that re baptism is forgotten and the original baptism date is the only thing on the records people see since when we repent the lord forgives and forgets. Anyways, have a good week, I hope each of you that went to California had a Book of Mormon ready to give out while you were there.. But since you didn't tell me about it I assume you didn't do that.. So REPENT and remember what you promise every Sunday when you take the sacrament! The time is now! I love you, Elder Stevenson

June 2, 2014

Great letters from you all this week! Happy birthday Lexi! I also had an awesome week, yesterday Ann and her son Keegan (14) and Julie came to church! It was great! A lot happened during the week, Ann's son Keegan is autistic and has had a little bad taste in his mouth from an anti-person feeding him bad info, but then on Friday we have an open gym night where we get people to come to the church and play basketball with us and Keegan came and it was a big change in perspective for him! While he was playing ball we gave Ann a church tour and also her friend Jody. They really enjoyed it and had fun. Then Keegan was happy to come to church since he had already been there and had fun. They enjoyed church, Ann's baptism might be pushed back one more week to the 21 but hopefully still the 14th. Julie she was able to come to the BOM class during the week and feel the spirit, then we taught part of the Plan of Salvation to her but ran out of time so we after church on Sunday we finished it, and after we were done we set a baptism date with her! On August 30th. It’s a long ways out, but that's her birthday and she agreed to pray about it and ask if that is the right time or if she should do it sooner. We have been doing a lot checking on people who used to be investigators, one guy named Michael we went to his house and this guy was a genius and had a really good chat with him about the gospel (he was taught from 09-14) and he said he wanted to fast and ask for an answer, so on Thursday we went to his house again to start his fast and again had a good lesson/visit. /he wanted to fast from Thursday night to Sunday morning so we tried going by Friday, Sunday and he wasn't home! We were sad cause we wanted him to come to church with us and be able to teach him while he was fasting but oh well.. Finding lots of people to teach, its hard though because everyone will talk to us and say sure you can come back, but then they aren't really committed and don't keep appointments or invitations. D&C 58: 64 For, verily, the sound must go forth from this place into all the world, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth—the gospel must be preached unto every creature, with signs following them that believe. I love you! Elder Stevenson

May 26, 2014

Hi guys, Every day is an adventure here. We are still teaching Ann. Satan is working on her so hard it stinks. She came down with strep throat Saturday and the weekend has been bad, then her anti Mormon anti religion friend has been nagging on her and telling her son lies all week and it is making it hard so please pray. We had a great lesson with Julie, we took the bishop with us and taught her the restoration, she was crying and could really feel the spirit, it was great, that bad thing was Sunday morning at 8:57 she text us and says I can’t come to church, I don't have a ride and so that stunk cause we would have gotten her a ride earlier if we had known.. Before I got here the missionaries went to church with a pastor who is our next door neighbor and then yesterday she came to our church with a bunch of her friends and fellow pastors. there was around 8-10 and it was cool. On Saturday we got to go to the temple with a sister in the ward who the missionaries were working with before i got here, it was awesome! There was actually 4 people going thru for the first time 2 missionaries and an engaged girl so it was cool to see them all. Lots of stories I could tell, I will tell you a few things about yesterday for example. One door we knocked on, well i was the one knocking, he open it all really fast and was all freaking out thinking we were the police/FBI, a guy was yelling at us to quit lying about Jesus being white, we met an alien from Saturn that one was pretty cool, the light rail (public train transit) got mad at us for giving out a BOM on their property. One last thing, did you know bed bugs are real? And they can infest your house and bite you lots? I always thought they were just microscopic things till I got here, but I think it’s too cold for them in Idaho. Lots more but I am out of time. Have a great week! Have fun camping. Love Elder Stevenson