Friday, July 13, 2012

My own experiences are benefitting others!

We went to the temple this week. Amazing! We saw some other missionaries from around the mission, a great surprise mission reunion!

I’m doing well. My lower back hurts due to the car. :(   But otherwise I’m good.

YW camp! How fun! I’m excited for you. The girls here are at camp right now. They start on Friday and go until wed or thurs. Not sure. So they get a Sunday camping. Interesting.

Yesterday was good. We had another good lesson with Vicky. She had a hard week but is doing better now that we talked with her. As we taught her I realized something I learned from having Lyme. I can relate to her a little! My own experiences are benefitting others! It’s such a great feeling! I shared my experience about changing my prayers from praying to be healed to gaining strength. Tears fell down her cheeks. She realized that she needs to ask for strength to endure her trials.

We also explained to her that if we didn’t have opposition we wouldn’t be grateful for the happy times. If we never knew sorrow we couldn’t know joy. There must be opposition. That way we're also grateful. If we didn’t know any better then we wouldn’t be grateful for what we do have. Through trials and afflictions we understand how wonderful life is and the many blessings we do have.

Here are some recent photos. The first is the best district ever at the temple. We love being our own district!

The temple was amazing! Just being there is enough to make one happy. And then being with those you love is even better. I love the temple!

The second is me with Pres and Sister Bunker at the mission conference.

I’m so grateful for Andrea’s roommates! Thank you so much! She will be in my prayers. Please keep me updated. We’re emailing at the library today so I actually don’t have much time left. Today is half p-day because we went to the temple. So after lunch we're off to knock doors instead of playing. Although tracting is kind of fun and interesting. :) You meet all kinds of people.

This transfer is going by quickly. I can't believe we're already in week four. And that I have only two transfers left. But I won’t dwell on that so you don't get trunky. ;)
What did you do for the fourth? We were on exchanges. I was in Petaluma. It was just another day of work for us; except no one was home and if they were they were busy. We didn’t see any fireworks. We heard one or two. I had some glow sticks from something so we broke those and had a little fun with those. Basically just took a couple pictures and then went to bed.

We had a lesson with Vicky. Then right after that lesson we called a recent convert we had not seen at church. When he picked up we could tell something was wrong. As he explained the situation I felt the Spirit guiding us in our words. We helped him remember he had a testimony and that if he just trusted in the Lord and continued to keep the commandments he'd be blessed, that all would be well, that he would be strengthened by this trial. He explained that he was struggling with feelings of wanting to drink again. Before his baptism he explained to us that he had drunk in the past but had no desire to do so anymore. So now having this old temptation come up again kind of scared him. He cried as he told us he didn't want to fall into temptation. His tears broke our hearts. But we both know the Lord is watching over him. Later that night we sent him a link to a talk and then a scripture reference just before going to bed. We wanted to do everything we could to help him be strong and resist temptation. It was an experience that helped me trust even more in the Lord. Throughout it all we've had peace. I'm so grateful for the comfort of the Holy Ghost!

If trials don’t come before baptism they come after. But they all help us grow. So keep an eternal perspective and remember our goal; eternal life, an eternal family!

Hermana Stephenson

it was so fun to write the president in Spanish!!!!

As far as I know July 4th will just be a regular day. There have been signs all over the place reminding people that fireworks are against the law in Marin County.

Andrea will of course be in my prayers. How long until she comes home? I’m glad Sydnye is there with her. I’m sure she's helping her a lot.

Hermana Garo and I were talking yesterday about what's really important. The lesson in Relief Society highlighted that. We’ve decided that God is first and then your family. If we have love for them and we do what we can for them, then everything else falls into place. I know it becomes hard when it has to do with your calling, but I do know that if we LET the Lord guide us, He will. As long as we are reading our scriptures, praying, going to church and being regularly changed by the Sacrament, we can't help but have the promise of the Lord that says we'll have the Spirit to guide us. Sometimes it's hard to know if we're led by the Spirit or not. Mostly because we have become so accustomed to having His guidance with us that our thoughts have become in part His, and our desires His desires. It’s something that is different for every person, and that's where I get hung up. Sometimes I worry about what others may think, or the thought that this is what this person would do so it must be right for me too. Not so. We need to search out our own answer and our own priorities. It will be different for every person, every family and in different situations it will be different. But I do know that as we do so with the intent and desire to do God's will, it will be right, and everything will be okay.

We met President and Sister Alba Saturday. They are amazing! As soon as they entered I could feel their love. The Spirit touched my heart and I know without a doubt they have been called by God to be our Mission President at this time.

Hermana Garo and I were talking about how blessed we are to have not just one but two mission presidents. Your mission president and his wife influence you for life. They change you and love you as their own. How blessed are we to have two! I’m looking forward to the next four months with them.

Just a quick side note; it was so fun to write the president in Spanish!!!! My brain sometimes has a hard time with English because I talk with Hermana Garo mostly in Spanish and of course we teach in Spanish. So now it's sometimes hard for me to switch back and forth. Which is fine because when I’m talking with the elders they know both. Our conversations are completely Spanglish. It’s really fun!

Saying goodbye to the Bunkers was hard. We were given the opportunity to have a picture with them and to hug them both. When President wrapped his arms around me it felt like Heavenly Father's arms. As he whispered in my ear how proud they were of me and that they love me I could only express my love and say, “Thank you.“ When he let go I only wanted to be back in his arms. It felt like home. I imagine that's what it will be like when I return home. And even what it will be like when we are judged at the last day and Heavenly Father opens his arms and says, "Welcome home." Can you even imagine what that will be like to be wrapped in the arms of our Heavenly Father?! How amazing will that be?!

We haven’t been able to get in contact with Katiuska. We’ve called, texted, sent messages on Facebook, and knocked her door. Nothing.

No one new to teach this week, but lots of potentials. We have one new person that is progressing really well. When we first taught her she was filled with sadness and deals with depression. She was worried because she just lost her job and doesn’t know how they'll pay the rent. We invited her to read in the Book of Mormon and pray. This past week when we saw her she had changed. Her eyes were filled with joy. A smile came quickly to her mouth. She had been praying and reading and wasn't worried about the rent. And she knew that God is there and knows her. Miracle! It was amazing to see!

Our investigator pool has shrunk a lot but our less-actives are progressing well, as well as our recent converts. I love seeing their progression!

Thank you for your love and support. I couldn't serve without you!

Today is busy. Where we usually do our laundry couldn’t do it today so last minute we were calling members and asking people where the nearest Laundromat is. It ended up that the Relief Society president; Hermana Consuelo let us use hers. So grateful! And then today we're off to play tennis with the elders. Yay!

Love you! Have a good week! Hope the fridge keeps running!'

Oh! One last thing, yesterday we went through a drunk driver license check thing. It was pretty funny! The police officer looked at my license and just questioned, "New Hampshire? You’re a long way from home. Have you had anything to drink today?" I was trying not to laugh. If he only knew how unlikely that would be. :) Life is great!

Each day is an adventure!

Forever Love,
Hermana Stephenson