Monday, September 26, 2011

my teeth fell out

This Thursday we had exchanges and I was left with the area and an English sister, Sister Cottle. Ahhhhh! I did okay. The Spirit definitely helped me. I taught the entire first lesson to a lady and I was able to understand her. That and tracting went well. I’m more confident in my Spanish and I realize that I do know some Spanish. I was really nervous, but just went out and worked. :)

We've begun teaching a less active member that is amazing. He wants to return and never leave again. He has so many questions and desires to attend the temple. We teach him on his back patio. He lives in a vineyard. It’s so beautiful! This last Friday we sat and watched the sunset with a cool, gentle breeze; the sprinkler going, birds singing, wearing sweaters, and discussing the gospel. It was amazing! So peaceful.

So we call our investigators and less actives to remind them about church and we hear all kinds of excuses and reasons for not coming. Yesterday we had one that still has us baffled. He said to us, "se callo mis dientes." (my teeth fell out) What? We’re pretty sure he said something else but we can't think of what it could be. So his reason for not attending church is that (as far as we know) his teeth fell out. He has great teeth so I’m not sure what to think. We’re asking him the next time we see him. Hopefully tonight!

I loved the Relief Society broadcast. We watched it in Spanish to be with our sisters. So I’m sure there are things I missed. But I understood about half. At least I think I did!

Bonni and Ken look very happy. Everyone does. I was thinking about you all throughout the day. I’m so happy that they could be sealed!!!

I’m so proud of Nancy for writing in her journal! I got her postcard saying you were drinking hot cocoa on a day when it was 100 degrees. I was drinking horchata! So yummy! I hope you're having a great day and enjoying the weather. It rained yesterday in the morning. More like sprinkled actually. And it's cooler today. Which is nice after the 100 degree weather last week.

I love you all. I pray for you daily. I’m so grateful you are my family. Whether immediate, extended or "adopted." I'm grateful for the things you've taught me. I couldn’t have asked for better family and friends.

As you wish,
Hermana Whitney Stephenson

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

They are on fire!

Hi! I am so excited for the RS broadcast!!! It'll be fun knowing you're doing the same thing at the same time as me. :) And general conference will be amazing! I can hardly wait!!

No baptisms of ours, but the Redwood Single Sisters had three. Well one was Friday, one Saturday and one tonight. They are on fire! We found some great guys while tracting this week that we'll have to give over to them because they are YSA age. It’s hard giving them up but it'll be good for them to attend an YSA ward.

I had exchanges with Sister Skroski and we stayed in Windsor and Healdsburg. It was a great day! We had so much fun! She reminds me of Marisa. She’s from North Carolina. Seeing her work has helped me to be more confident in being myself while I serve. It’s what the lord wants and expects me to be myself. He called me not someone else. So I'm trying to be myself more.

I can't remember if I told you or not, but we tract from 3-4:30 every day, well almost every day, not Monday, or if we have appointments, but anyway. We’ve had some great success with it. And I enjoy it much more than I thought I would. My Spanish is still rocky and needs much improvement but I can understand most everyone. Except when they speak fast, or on the phone.

We named our white Corolla, Jace after Elder Felix our District Leader, but we had to give him away on Thursday. New cars are coming in so right now we have an old red one. It smells bad. I get sick just smelling the inside. :( Once we're done driving I’m grateful to get out and smell the fresh air again and not feel carsick. I’m okay with all the walking we do because it means we aren't in the smelly car. We haven't named it yet.

I got two packages this week!!! One from Linda and the other from Olivia!

Hermana Christensen is reading a book (authorized by president) called "The Continuous Atonement." She tells me all about it every day she reads it. It sounds amazing! A few other missionaries have said it's great. I know it's early but can you send that to me for Christmas?! :)

I hope you all have tons of fun for A's birthday. It came up so quickly!

I’m hopefully doing a blog entry tomorrow. And the daisy picture was completely accidental. It was my favorite, but I think I’ll keep it. At least until I find some daisies to take pictures of. I haven't seen any though. I wonder if they even grow around here. I hope so!

It’s still eighties and beautiful here. We haven’t had any rain, but once the rainy season comes I guess I won't be complaining. Not that I am now, I just miss the water. The only water I see is in a glass. :)

Hermana Whitney Stephenson

Thursday, September 15, 2011

“A Joy Full Heart” -

I'm doing great this week.

I watched this video. It's amazing! We were all sent the video from President Bunker and asked to watch it. I've met Elder Harrison. He's great. Our missionaries are great. We've had a few missionaries lose family members while on their missions. They are strong examples of pressing forward.

I have some good stories to tell if the computer will continue to work. The keys of the keyboard are acting strange so sorry if something doesn't make sense!

I had another exchange to Rohenrt Park with Sister Simnit. (They have a nice library!) We saw many miracles as we tracked and contacted. We were led by the spirit to doors and had one amazing mini lesson with people. I loved watching their hearts soften and begin to accept our message. I'll tell you all about them in a letter because the computer is being annoying. grr.

I started a blog! “A Joy Full Heart” -

Bonni has already found it and commented on it. She's getting sealed this month?!!!! I am very excited for them! I would have shouted for joy if it weren't for the fact that I was in the library. :)

We had zone conference and it was amazing!!! President wants us to love our missions, every minute of every day. So that's what I’m doing, finding joy in every day and laughing.

It’s been a good week. Still not to bed on time, but finding the energy I need. We’re working on it. It’s a work in progress.

The church is true and the sky is blue! (something hna. c says sometimes)

Hermana Whitney Bunny Stephenson
over and out

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Lord has something grand in mind.

Working in Windsor and Healdsburg is fun. They remind me of Wolfeboro and old towns like that. They are beautiful towns. I love working there.

At transfers everyone meets at the Peterson Lane chapel. Even though we weren't being transferred we went to see everyone there. And I saw Elder Kent!!! It was like seeing family! He’s doing well and having fun. He said he got an email from Hermano Penailillo with an announcement of the baby being born.

Han Christensen reminded me I have to memorize all 42 principles (the things we teach in the 5 lessons). I'm so nervous because apparently at zone conference, Wednesday, I will be called upon to recite them all in front of everyone. And because I’m a Spanish missionary I’ll have to do them in Spanish! My stomach is turning at the thought. I hope I survive. :)

We had our last week with Nathalie. She left this morning for college. This week was especially fun because we went to find someone and we found that the driveway was one way, up hill, and dirt. As we drove up Nathalie commented dryly, "This is going to be epic backing." it was hilarious! Knowing we had to back down it was enough to make us want to park at the bottom and walk up the hill, but we continued on and made it to the top. It was good we had the car because after knocking the door we were turning the car around (both myself and Nathalie were out of the car helping Hna C, funny to see!) anyway, just after we got in the car two big, scary and unfriendly dogs came running around the corner. It was a moment to remember. The view from the top was beautiful! They live right in a vineyard and there are vineyards all around. Very pretty.

Last night a member prepared dinner for the missionaries. It was take out. :) So we met up with the elders at their apartment so we could take some home, but it was a little trickier than we thought. Thankfully, Elder Van Gilder and Elder Hansen (the new missionary from Arizona) live right next door to the Neuenschwanders. So we knocked on their door to see if we could eat at their table. Sister N said it was the easiest meal she's ever had to prepare! We brought the food, plates, utensils and the elders even brought over a couple chairs. It was great to eat together and at the Neuenschwanders. They are amazing. They work in the office with another couple, Elder and Sister Adamson. They take care of us. I feel better having them around.

Yesterday at church I turned around and saw President Bunker walking down the hall. It was SO good to see him. He’s very loving and cares about us. He remembers things about you. Like he asked about me getting more sleep. I told him it was a little better, but we were still working on it.

Oh... I can't add Andrea to Facebook. Rules. No friends or family from home. There are some special situations, but you have to ask president if it's okay. You can check my blog... when I start it :) I’m trying to figure out what to call it. When it's up you can put a link on my NH blog to mine in CA. We’re still working on fitting online time in every day. It’s hard when there are only a few select places and times to work.

We had a great lesson with a man, Gustavo, in a park in Healdsburg right by the river. He’s been in the USA for 10 years. But in Mexico he was studying with missionaries for 4 years. He remembers most of the teachings. We met him at our service project helping a member move. He called us and we set up an appointment. As we taught him his friend, Beto, came over and asked if he could join us. It was great. We had a great discussion about how we can have a personal relationship with Heavenly Father. Beto was really surprised that was possible. I guess I’ve just taken for granted that we have the opportunity to know God personally. We’re excited to teach both of them more. It’ll be great to see their testimonies grow.

In my studies this week I was studying 1 Nephi 16-17 about how Laman and Lemuel are tired of traveling and want to return to Jerusalem. It reminded me of having a vision of our future. They couldn't see where they were going. They new where they had been was comfortable and they wanted to go back. But they already had come so far. My thought was that I have come so far already. Do I want to return home just because it's hard now and home is comfortable? Or do I have a vision of the future and faith enough that I can take one more step forward and continue progressing and growing? The Lord has something grand in mind. I just need to trust Him enough to continue pressing forward and holding fast to the rod and the truth.

Hope you have a great Labor Day weekend!
Hermana Whitney Stephenson
over and out :)