Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Happy Birthday Hermana Stephenson!

Whitney's birthday is this Friday.

As of March 1st be sure to use the new mailing address posted last week and/or you can find it over on the right hand side.

Come back soon for some new photos Whitney is sending home.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

How cool is that?!!!

It’s been a crazy morning!

I’m doing great! Our crazy morning started with doing laundry at a member's house. It was kind of a last minute thing. We helped her four kids make eggs and pancakes for breakfast. It was a fun morning. Then we ran to do grocery shopping. And then at one o’clock we had to trade our car back. But it ended up being earlier than that. (That’s another story I’ll tell in a second.) Then unload everything from the car into the apartment and off to San Rafael to do email at the family history center. It’s been kind of crazy!

Yes I’m further south and closer to the [Golden Gate] bridge but the weather isn't much different. Actually it may be slightly colder because we're closer to the ocean. In two weeks our branch president and his wife are most likely taking us to the beach for our birthdays. Hermana Osorio's birthday is March 1st.

My first week has been great! We’ve had some fun and many laughs. The branch is so fun! The members are a little crazy. Our correlation meeting with the ward council was entertaining and fun. And yet we stayed on task and accomplished a lot.

As we were tracting one day one lady told us we should check to make sure we weren’t being lead astray and that we needed to find the truth. She told us to read the Bible. She also said some other things like that but I can't remember what. Anyway, it was interesting to me because for someone else it may have shaken their faith or sown a seed of doubt but I found that it didn't for me. In fact it just strengthened my testimony. I know that I received an answer to my prayer that this gospel is true and that this is the church of Jesus Christ once again on the earth. I know we have a prophet of God that leads and guides us. I know we can and do receive revelation. And I’m so grateful for it.

We started teaching a family. We’ve actually taught them three times already. And they're reading in the Book of Mormon! They read what we gave them and then started from the beginning. The mother is two week s away from giving birth. She mentioned that she likes the name Nefi. So we're hoping they have a boy and name it Nefi. :)

Another experience while tracting happened on exchanges in Rohnert Park with Hermana Garo. We were knocking a door and no one answered so we knocked again. Then we heard the roof-roof of a big dog, but there was something wrong with the bark. It was actually a man pretending to be a dog! He thought that by barking he would scare us off. Instead we just laughed.

While on exchanges with Hermana Garo she told me about the Santa Rosa branch. It’s grown since I’ve been there. They have almost 100 people coming weekly. Where as when I was there it was around 50. She also told me about a brother that Hermana Christensen and I found. He was less active. If you remember he's the one that lives in the vineyard. And we would teach him and watch the sun set. Anyway, Hermana Garo told me that he's the branch mission leader and that they've started to teach his children! And that his son and daughter-in-law came to church. How cool is that?!!! A brother Hermana Christensen and I found and started teaching now has a calling and his children are being taught! I'm still marveling at it! I’m so excited to return one day to the branch and see the growth.

So I realized the other day that this is my fourth area. And there's only one more Spanish sister area left for me to go; Napa. So either I’ll spend a lot of time in both of these last two areas or, I’ll go back to an area I’ve already been to, or a new area will open up and I’ll go there. We’ll see but it is kind of interesting and exciting to think about.

So the story of the car; last transfer on their way to zone conference Hermana Osorio an her companion, Hermana McKay, got rear ended. So the bumper needed some repair. So this week they finally were able to get it into the shop. So during district meeting on Wednesday they took it. Which left us without a car and we needed one because we have church and dinner appointments in San Rafael and our area is pretty big to be walking for a few days. (We don’t have bikes) so what ended up happening is we used our district leader's car, Elder Hunt and Elder Camper. So they were on bikes. Originally we were supposed to have our car Friday afternoon. That didn’t happen. But we got a call this morning from Elder Neuenschwander saying our car would be dropped off at one o’clock at our apartment. So we hurried and finished laundry and shopping. We were hoping to get Elder Hunt's car cleaned before one so we didn't have to drive it any more and rack up more miles. But the man who dropped off our car was earlier than we thought. So we went there to get the keys and then back out to wash and vacuum the Elders' car. It was an adventure this morning! We finally have our car back after 5 days or so. And now we have to clean it. The elders are happy to have their car back. :)

So we have a few goals we're working on and one of them is speaking more Spanish. It’s going okay so far. My hope is to have a day without English. My Spanish is going to improve so much. I’m so excited to have a native speaking companion! Already my Spanish has improved, a little. She’s pretty good at helping me. I’m grateful.

Time’s up. Hope I remembered everything I wanted to tell you!
Hope you have another great week!
Love you forever!
Hermana Stephenson

P.S. Thanks Andrea for the package! And no, I haven’t opened it. I’m just excited to have it sitting by my desk [waiting for Friday]. :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I love the temple!

Email from mission office staff:
March 1 will be the address change date.
**Alert your parents, friends, Facebook, etc. that when they send you mail AFTER February 27th it needs to be sent to the new office. Also, any mail coming now should start using the Mission name on the 1st line and then your name on the 2nd.

Mail should look like this:

California Santa Rosa Mission
Hermana Whitney Stephenson
5301 Badger Road
Santa Rosa, CA 95409


I’m being transferred to Novato with Hermana Osorio. When we got transfer information we were in shock. I still can't believe it. Even though all my things are in the car I still can't believe it. We’re kind of sad, but it will be good though. I’m excited to be with Hermana Osorio. She’s a great missionary.

Our week was crazy. Wednesday we knocked doors from 12:00 to 8:30. We finally found a less active at home and taught her. It was a rough day.

Thursday we went to the temple as a district. Other missionaries were there. Which was pretty cool. I love the temple! I felt its peace as soon as we got out of the car.

Saturday we had apartment inspections. We failed. We had to take a couple hours and scrub the inside of the toilet, behind the sink and a few other things. We used so much cleaner that my hands still smelled yesterday. We had fun scrubbing the shower top to bottom and basically the entire bathroom. It was crazy and fun.

It’s going to be an interesting week.
Love you!
Hermana Stephenson

I was filled with love for each and every one of them

What??!! I didn't even know the Patriots were in the Super Bowl! I even forgot it was Super Bowl Sunday yesterday until we knocked a door and the guy said he didn't have time because of the Super Bowl. WHAT? Funny how you lose track of time and events as a missionary.

A TREK? How cool! I’m glad they're doing one finally. It should be amazing. All the missionaries here say they're amazing. And hiking Mount Washington?! That’s going to be so totally wicked!!! I’m proud of you Lydia! Keep it up.

The Lord is good! So good! We began teaching a man Hermana Clayton met last transfer. Our first lesson with him was actually last week. Well, we invited him to come to a member's house for a lesson Saturday. We also invited him to bring his family but didn't think he actually would. If at all he might bring his wife. We were waiting at our member's house, hoping and praying he would come. When we saw him drive up we were very presently surprised to see that he brought his wife and four children with him. As they walked towards the house we could hardly contain our excitement! Our lesson began kind of rocky but our members helped us a lot. They're amazing! We were so grateful for their testimonies and enthusiasm for the gospel, for their own conversion stories. I don't think they realized how much it meant to us and how much they helped. We were in shock as we came away from the lesson. We'd just picked up a family! We are so excited to help this family come unto to Christ and progress towards baptism. They were unable to come to church because the mother works, but they will hopefully be going to family home evening tonight at a member's house. I love how quickly the Lord blesses us with love for his children. Even as they walked up the path to the house I was filled with love for each and every one of them and had a great desire for them to be baptized. To help them each gain their own testimonies of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and have a personal relationship with their Heavenly Father. I love being the Lord's missionary!

So we got kicked out of another apartment complex yesterday, although it wasn't quite as dramatic. The manager asked if we were soliciting. We introduced ourselves and he said he'd received some phone calls and asked us to leave. It was fine because we had just finished knocking all the doors. So now in just two weeks we've been kicked out of two apartments. :) Ah the life of a missionary.

So Bodega Bay was pretty cool. It was windy and cold but it was so much fun! We climbed some rocks and Elder Ram rescued an injured bird. We also saw a starfish. It was purple! I made some Cairns. Did you see my blogpost about it?

It’s been such a good week. I can’t believe how quickly time goes. Transfers are next week. Ahh! We really hope and think we'll stay together. Just one transfer with Hermana Clayton is not enough! Each day is great and we work so hard and see miracles every day! I can't believe half way is next week! I still feel like a new missionary. Well not quite. Like I’m just barely figuring it out. It’s such an adventure! And all the missionaries say time just gets faster and faster. No bueno. Oh well, I’ll just live for today and give my all today and not worry about tomorrow or what will happen in the coming months.

I love you forever and always!
Thank you for your continued love and support.
Hermana Stephenson