Wednesday, March 7, 2012

My first earthquake.

There was an earthquake this morning. Kind of exciting! It woke us up. I was half asleep and unsure if I had actually felt it. It was kind of cool. My first earthquake. Elder Hansen said it was a 4.0 (at least that's what his dad said)

Another great week has flown by. We’ve found some new investigators and some are progressing really well. Our two baptismal dates as of yesterday are worrying us, but we're praying hard and constantly for them.

I realized something this morning. Those we teach are kind of like our children. I have no doubt you're always praying for us children. You’re constantly thinking of how to help us grow and become good people and examples of Christ. It’s what we do as missionaries. We are always thinking about those we teach, or come in contact with. We’re thinking about how we can better help them progress and feel the love of their Heavenly Father. So I guess this is just training for being a parent. Who knew that a mission is the best training to become a spouse and parent?! Obviously Heavenly Father or else I wouldn't be here. :)

So not this past week but the week before, we were invited to leadership training. We were surprised but found out that all the sisters were invited. Since December, maybe November about half of our sisters have gone home and we've received new ones, so Sister Bunker wanted to have a mini sister's conference. It was so good! We also got the opportunity to listen to the Bunker's son, Todd. He told us about his mission and what he classified as success. It was very uplifting and inspiring. It also helped me refocus and remember the important things.

Our new Mission President is President and Sister Alba from Georgia. He was actually born in Mexico. They seem pretty cool.

Yesterday we had a neat experience. As we talked with a young woman outside her house and gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon three guys about our age walked past. We didn't really think anything of it until about five minutes later they returned and commented that they heard our conversation and asked if we wouldn't mind if they joined in. We explained we were about to finish but they said they'd wait for their turn. We finished and turned to them. We explained who we are and a little about the unique message we share. They were actually from another church out "preaching the word." As we continued and explained about the restoration of the gospel their different responses were interesting. One was very outspoken and had read some anti-Mormon material so he brought that up and we told him that all we could do is invite him to study the Book of Mormon and pray to know if these things are true. Another politely listened and asked a question or two. But the third young man is what caught my attention. As we taught them about the Great Apostasy and then the Restoration and Joseph Smith's experience he listened intently. As we testified of the truthfulness of the gospel and bore our testimonies of answered prayer I saw within his eyes a yearning to know for himself, to receive a sure answer to his questions. When Hermana Osorio invited them to ponder and pray about the things we taught he immediately nodded his head and answered fervently, "yes."

I love how Heavenly Father places us in the path of his children who he has prepared to receive the gospel. It shows me that Heavenly Father loves each and every one of us. He is very much aware of us and our situations. He knows what we need and when we need it. I love how perfect His plan is!

We’re off to the beach today with our branch president and his wife. We’re so excited! It’s beautiful!

My health is good. Friday I was achy and had a sore throat. But I talked with the mission nurse and she took care of me. I’m doing better now. My head still hurts every once in a while. I’ll call her later to tell her.

Yes President Alba comes in July. It’ll be interesting having a new president. I’m kind of excited. Even though I’ll miss the Bunkers terribly. They are family. I just love them!

My scripture study is going great! I’ll have to write you about what I’ve been doing.
I hope Rachel and Rorey both get better soon. I love you all!
Hermana Stephenson

It really is as simple as praying.

So last night as we were knocking some doors we ran into a man walking his dogs. We stopped to talk with him and introduced ourselves. It was quickly apparent that he was very much settled in his religion and way of thinking. He kindly warned us to check our resources and see if we were being led astray. It was very interesting for me because as he brought up things that were obviously anti-Mormon things with the truth twisted. As he spoke, scriptures kept running through my mind about how men will trust in the arm of flesh and the doctrine of Christ will be twisted and precious things will be taken away, that things will be changed and made to appeal to the natural man. It was sad because I could only imagine what Heavenly Father thought, to know that his children are using their own judgment to discern the things of God. The man we talked with had truth. But it was distorted and changed. And all we could do was testify to him. I tried once or twice to teach him some principle but he always found a way to twist it and try to sow a seed of doubt. He claimed he was only trying to lovingly warn us. We just testified of what we knew to be true.

How is it that man can be blind to truth? How is it that they won't let themselves see? Many times he asked us, questioned us, if we knew we were just making ourselves believe it or did we actually study it out and find an answer. Men try to find physical proof of things that are spiritual. It really is as simple as praying. If we just pray we will know the truth of all things. I'm so grateful for prayer. I love praying! I love talking with my Heavenly Father every moment of every day. I love feeling His love and His peace. I love that I know who I am and that I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is true. It is the kingdom of God on the earth in preparation for the second coming of Jesus Christ. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I love this gospel! I love being a missionary and testifying of my Savior every day!

I've had a couple other experiences where someone has tried to tell me what I believe is not true. If they only knew that every time they try and tell me I'm wrong it only strengthens my testimony. I love just testifying to them. They try and start up an argument or discussion but we just testify and they can't really go anywhere with that.

My birthday was amazing! One of our investigators accepted a baptismal date for March 25th. So excited! Andrea and her roommates sent me things for dump cake. I’m making it tomorrow for district meeting. We have three birthdays this transfer.
I LOVE THE WATCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’ve worn it every day since and I think I will from now on. It’s perfect! Thanks for the pictures too. The mailman saw us walking back to the apartment and gave us our mail. Funny how he recognizes us and knows we're missionaries. Just an interesting side note.

Thanks for everything in the box! I love the pajamas!! I’m excited to wear them.
My mind is kind of frenzied. We have to run out the door. I’ll write a letter tonight about all the exciting things that happened this week. It’s been an amazing week, something every day! Hope I remember to write it all down!

Love you forever!
Hermana Stephenson

P.S. Hermana Osorio laughs every day and I love her. She’s amazing! Transfers are so inspired! Love it! And I especially love her.