England London Mission

England London Mission

Monday, June 1, 2015

Last Email Home

Well it’s been a pretty good week!

We spent all of Tuesday in the city for meetings, not getting home until 11 pm that night because of the traffic.  Crazy- but the meeting was super good.  While there I realized how much President Jordan counsels with Zone Leaders to know how to help the mission. It was good.

A busy day of teaching on Wednesday and preparing for Zone Meeting on Thursday.  We have 18 missionaries in our Zone.  It went pretty good.  We trained about setting goals, and about having effective studies.   Following training we did an exchange.   I got to spend the day with a young convert to the church.  He was converted through a good friend.  He has a neat conversion story.

Friday we were attempting to do some service for this great member in the area.  It was raining like crazy.  He said here get in my car, I know what we can do.  Then half way there he was like we going to pizza hut!  We had an appointment in an hour, so we made it fast.   That afternoon we went to the campus and taught some students there.  We had a recent convert with us for one of the lessons and three for another lesson.   One of the investigators is on date for the end of June. A super good day. 

We had our baptism on Saturday and it was a pretty good day.  Stressful as always because there is so much to do and so little time. But it went well.   A very spiritual baptism.  A little four year old was sitting next to the font, as we were in the water I mentioned it to him.  He just looked like a guy that won the lottery.  Then he was baptized.  It was great!   Sunday he was confirmed a member of the church and given the gift of the Holy Ghost. It was an awesome experience. 

Tonight we are teaching two recent convert families how to hold Family Home Evening. So it’s going to be a blast!

This is my last email.   Next Monday night or Tuesday morning we drive to the city, drop off my suitcases.   Have a little time in the city while waiting for my final interview with President Jordan.  Then a departing dinner that evening with the Jordans.  On Wednesday morning we get up and get ready. Then the shuttle comes and gets us and we go to the airport. That is that.  Next Tuesday is the Mission’s P-day so I will not be emailing that day. I will just see you the next day! Very late though….

Favorite quote for the week.  “Have I prepared to act, or am I waiting to be acted upon?”

Well thanks everyone for all that they have done, see you all in a week…well  10 days.  

 Love, Elder Stevenson

England London Mission Video of "Glorious"

P.S. I don't know if anyone saw this, but this is my mission doing a song, I didn't make the cut however... but I am not surprised by it....haha -   Elder Stevenson

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Good Week!

{sorry for the late update- internet issues and a really busy week at home for mom as well- Tammy}

This is going to be short- not a lot of time to email.   Attended a Stake Activity this morning and headed to another city tonight for a training tomorrow.  We have been so busy lately time has been flying by.   My companion and I are getting along great and loving it. 

Last week was pretty good.   It was rained quite a bit lately- grateful to have a car at times like that. 

One of our investigators is going so great!  We taught the commandments and there was a bit of hesitation with them and I was heartbroken.  But two days later we went by and there wasn’t any problem anymore.  The whole family came to church last week and stayed for all three hours. He is planning to be baptized this weekend!  Super Great!!!!!  I will definitely miss this family!

For training this week we talked about the importance of the scriptures in our lives. Then connecting it to our investigators and how we are able to help our investigators getting connected to the scriptures.  Because the scriptures will always be there for them.  So as we help them see how it can answer their questions it will help them.  Loved it!

Thanks for everything!  Love, Elder Stevenson 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Faith to Find!

It has been an awesome week!  We went to the city and spent the night there before the leadership meeting and then drove back the next day.  It takes four hours on a good day to get there and more with traffic.  It was a really good meeting!

I was just pondering the other day on why things are so good.  And it came to me Ether 12:6- you receive no witness until after the trial of your faith. My faith has been tried for 2 years and we have had so many blessings the last week! 

We had about 15 minutes that afternoon waiting for everyone so my companion and I decided to go down the busiest street in that city and do some finding.  We found this guy who didn’t speak English, with the help of our iPads we were able to translate and explain we could get him a copy of the Book of Mormon in his language if he was interested.  He said ya, and so we headed to the visitor’s center.  Once there, the missionaries were able to take over and visit with him.  So it was really cool. It doesn’t take time to find people it takes faith!

We had exchanges this week with an AP, one of the guys I came out with, it was super fun.  We took him by a family we have been working with and he said they were the best family he had ever meet on his mission.

This family is amazing.  The wife contacted us the first week I was here. We went by and gave one lesson that week.  She was a member and they were thinking their lives were missing something.  This last week we taught them three times.   He accepted a baptismal date of June 14th.  So exciting.  This Sunday was Stake Conference and so President Jordan and his wife were here.  We talked to him and asked if he would go and teach this super cool family with us.  He agreed.  We were teaching them about the Plan of Salvation. The spirit was really strong in their home.   I began to bear my testimony and shared my personal experience with the Plan of Salvation in relation to Kenny’s death.  This family has lost a close friend recently.  President Jordan added a few words and everyone in the room was crying. It was a very emotional and spiritual experience.  It was go great.  President asked when the baptism day was and he said June 14th- President asked if he wanted to move that up to the end of May and he agreed.  Then we started talking about eternal families and the husband was asked who he wanted to be with in the Celestial Kingdom, and he answered with his wife and children. The wife was asked and she said with her husband and children.  The children had been playing there and the oldest spoke up and said she wanted to be with mommy and daddy too.  We then committed them to set a goal to be married in the temple one year from now. It was so amazing! I would serve my mission another 2 years to have the opportunity to teach another awesome family like this.  They are so awesome!!!   

Another find this week- a referral on our phone from the Internet.   After the great meeting with the family we were just loving life and decided to stop by this one.  We get there and a teenager opens the door.  Asks if we are the Mormons and invites us in.  Come to find out he had been researching the church online and referred himself!   He loved what he had reading and 5 minutes into the conversation said I want to become a Mormon, how do I become a Mormon?   What a mature and sincere kid- such a great kid!

We have to prepare for a training for tomorrow in Zone Conference and we have to finish that up and so not a lot of time. And sorry no pictures- honestly we haven’t had any time to even take them.

At the Stake Conference Saturday evening meeting, the Presiding Authority had all  the missionaries stand and then had us sit down in order according to how long we have been out. So since I have been out the longest, he had me come and bear my testimony to the congregation. It was a very cool meeting. Loved it!  Love my mission and the time is just flying by!

Thanks for everything, things are going great!  Love, Elder Stevenson

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Another Quick and Busy Week

After transfers on Wednesday and spending some time in rush hour travel,  the rest of the week was really quick.  I love the new area.  We have a car so that is a different thing.  Not necessarily good or bad, just different.  I hope I don’t get too fat this transfer with the car. Because we have a car, we can live on the edge of town and it’s cheaper out there.  So we have an actual 2 bedroom house- two stories, it is super nice.  We have a back lawn with trees and bushes and everything. It is the most “feels like home” flat that I have been in because we really do live in a home.

There have been a lot of baptisms in the ward in the last few months.  A lot of them are university students and have shared the gospel with their friends, so some more investigators from the university as well.  But it’s finals time here for the next couple of weeks and then summer break, so might not be a lot going on with some of them.   Some of the students are headed home for the summer and some are taking some vacations during the break.  This is the biggest ward I have been to as well, about 150-160 members. 

A couple of the missionaries in the zone I served with in previous areas. But for the most part a lot of new faces for me.  There are 18 missionaries in the Zone and because there are two Zone Leaders, I will be doing less exchanges in the Zone than I did in the last District.  I get along great with my companion.  We are very similar and have a lot of fun together. 

We have a leadership conference in a neighboring city tomorrow and are planning to drive part way there tonight and stay with some other Elders before driving into the city. Because we will not be back for a Stake meeting we were asked to typed up a report on how iPads are going in the Zone.    So we are really busy and have little time today.

Thanks for everything!   Love, Elder Stevenson

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Transfers and iPads

This has been an interesting week.  We had the meeting with Elder Kearon (area president of the Europe Area) and Elder Nielsen (Seventy serving on executive board of directors for the missionary department.)  It was a good meeting.  They talked a lot about agency, repentance and faith.  They were there to train us on the use of iPads, but it was not any technical stuff- it was all spiritual stuff.   It makes me think of the scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 29:34- “Wherefore, verily I say unto you that all unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal; neither any man, nor the children of men; neither Adam, your father, whom I created.”   

Basically we were smart enough to learn to use iPads, but they were training us on the spiritual understanding and doctrines around protection.  The iPads are made in partnership with Apple and the church, so they are extremely restrictive, any time that we get an app, President Jordan will get an email saying it.  There is an app catalog similar to the App Store, which has all the apps that are approved. We are able to access any church websites, but nothing else.  But as they said, the first filter is not the built in restriction, the first filter is your using your agency for personal righteousness.  It was a super good meeting.  

The meeting was from 9 to 4.  We were told we were given the iPads for two reasons.
1-      To preach the gospel to all nations, connecting with people previously missed by more traditional missionary work.
2-      To learn good habits on the Internet and on this technology that will benefit us throughout our lives.  In that way a mission really is to prepare you for life.

With one full day in a neighboring town for that meeting, we had a couple of full days of appointments back in our area.  We were able to catch up with one whom we have not been able to see for a long time.  Then we had a long day with the Zone Meeting- the longest in the mission. That’s when we actually got the iPads and it took a long time to get all 18 of them set up.  Met another guy with a lot of questions all based on anti Mormon things.  Following a discussion with him, we testified to him and told him to go read the Book of Mormon and then to come up a list of questions from there. It was a pretty good lesson.  We have a couple of other investigators who are progressing along nicely as well.  And a couple who cancelled their appointments this week.   

Sunday was good in the ward. Monday was a banking holiday and so the kids were out of school.  We were able to do some service for a family in the area.  And because of no school the ward had a little 5k run/walk. It was super fun.  Just a fun fact, I won- with a time of 23:35. No one expected it, not even me.  The ward is full of people that run marathons and compete.  It was super fun.   I love this ward- it is awesome!

We got phone calls from President earlier than normal on Monday.  And I am moving.  I have been called to be a Zone Leader in another area.  I am very sad to leave this ward, there are a lot of mixed emotions towards it.  It will be fun and a great opportunity for me, but I would have loved to stay here for my last 5 weeks.   I found out on Sunday that I have a far distant relative that is buried in the cathedral in the area where I have called.  How crazy is that!

Things have been going great, I am in love with my mission. I never thought it would come to this point, but I was just talking with some members yesterday and he asked what my thoughts were with my mission. I was like, it’s all I know really. I don’t remember very much of my home social life. The three things I remember are working on the farm, my family and missionary work.  It’s just been part of my life for the last two years so it’s going to be a big change when I leave it all behind. 

I am so proud of the District and who we are becoming, I have gotten very attached to this District and the ward.  Putting all my mind and heart into them, and I am very sad to leave them. I actually cried as I think of leaving them. I love them and will miss them.  But the new area is where I need to be, so here I go!

Thanks for all you do! And I will see you in five weeks.

Love, Elder Stevenson

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Exchanges, Finding and Great Stake Conference

I had a lot of exchanges this week.  And a lot of finding.  And Stake Conference.  Also a little service in there.  One of the exchanges was right by the ocean. 

For service we helped a family clean up their backyard.  There was a pond there and they want to remove it, but the landlord doesn’t want to.  So for safety reasons, having two kids, they filled it with wood.  But since it rains so much, it got filled in with water anyway.   A lot of wood bogged with water and then mud and gunk and stuff.  We started to clean it out.  It was pretty gross.  We did find a lizard living in the pond. The family had never seen a lizard before- so we caught it for their kid to see when  getting home from school.

We did find one new guy this week.  Also were able to teach a few from previous weeks.  One is very sincere and has a lot of questions.  Another doesn’t really have a belief in God, but really wants to find out if there is one, because he knows it would benefit his life.  One we found last week is doing really good, studying everything in depth.  And our baptism is still on for May 9th.  That is an awesome one!  So grateful to be able to lead by the spirit in missionary work to find that one.  

Found out that a member's father spent some time Burley, Idaho on his mission. It’s been some time ago, but he remembers little old Idaho!  What a small world.

Then we had Stake Conference and it was a wonderful weekend.

One of them spoke about asking questions.   How questions come about from misunderstanding, or finding out history of the church that they were unaware of which leads them to asking questions.  He talked about how sincere is the question you are asking. Is it s a very important question to ask, or is it one that is on your mind but doesn’t really affect anything.  He then explained about how we should not let what we know be trumped by the questions upon which we do not yet understand.  One of his examples.   In the 1880’s a man claimed the Book of Mormon could not be true because it talked about having metal for swords, and he didn’t think that would be possible then.  In the 1950’s another said it could not be true for the same reason.  The whole time the church doesn’t say anything about it.  Then in the 1960’s an archaeologist finds an iron sword that was hardened into metal that dates back to 700 BC. Before Lehi was told to leave Jerusalem.  A question that could have caused a lot of people to question was answered years later.  But it was years later.  Someone could have had that question stop their progression in the gospel.   Now it was corrected.  He also talked about how in today’s time there are a lot of questions that individuals have. Which sometimes there are no logical answers to please them, but that the time will come in which they will be answered, either in this life, or in the life to come.

Another spoke about is our current sacrifice sufficient enough.  Basically are we giving our best or are we withholding from the altar of sacrifice.  Three examples that he used- Tithes and Offerings, Worshiping through singing (not just sitting there during the hymns,) and having a broken heart and contrite spirit.   It was a really good stake conference. There is another special broadcast Stake Conference scheduled hopefully before I come home with a visiting authority.  That would be an awesome thing!

Other than that not a lot going on. 

Thanks for everything.  Love, Elder Stevenson