England London Mission

England London Mission

Monday, December 16, 2013

Short update

Short email this week- we had a missionary meeting this morning where we got our Christmas gifts and had some missionary training, so not a lot of time to email.  Sorry about that. I will not be able to email until Thursday next week because of Christmas and transfers.

Had a great birthday this week. A family in the ward invited us over for dinner complete with a birthday cake!

Pretty normal week of missionary work- a lot of time spent finding and a few lessons for the week.   Nothing too exciting.  We did have a member of the 70 visit and offer a little training this week as well.  

Thanks for all of the birthday wishes!


Looking forward to Christmas, love to all.   Elder Stevenson

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I never said it was Easy- Only said it was Worth It!

I think I have a sinus infection, it’s killing me.  If it doesn’t get better by tomorrow I am going to get an appointment to get it looked at.  Got to love sickness!

Been an okay week here in England.  Spent part of two days with other Elders at doctors appointments (not me.)  Had a long Zone Meeting one day.  Had a good bye lunch/party for one Elder who is going home because of medical problems.  Met the new Elder serving in the adjacent area to replace the one who went home.  And attempted to get some tracting, finding and correlating done for the rest of the week.   Went to church on Sunday.  Not a lot to report, a lot of finding and a lot of traveling.

We had set up a potential appointment to meet a new investigator at town centre.  We set the appointment time at 5:30.  Not knowing when we set the appointment- that was the time to turn on the Christmas Lights in town centre.  We never did find the investigator in all of the people there.  Lots of Christmas decorations everywhere.  The ward Christmas Party here is on Christmas Eve.  

There is sometimes ice on the sidewalks in the mornings because of the rain and cold temperatures.  But we are in the flat until about 10:00 studying, so by the time we go out, most of the stuff is all cleaned up.   We don’t have any snow at this point, and one of the members here said they used to get a lot of snow, but haven’t for the last few years.  Have to wait and see what comes this year. 

Still working with our one investigator to get another baptismal date.  There have been some complications along the way, but we have been able to work through them- one at a time.  We think there’s just one more hurdle to jump.   She is so wanting to get baptized- she believes it all!   The saying goes "I never said it was easy- only that it was worth it!"  She is learning to listen to the promptings of the Spirit and to act upon them.  We are still working a couple of others we have previous found as well. 

Tip for missionaries getting ready to go- learn to budget!  It’s a very valuable skill to know in making sure your money lasts for the whole month.  Thanks mom and dad for teaching me that one.


Love, Elder Stevenson


Monday, December 2, 2013

Christmas Stockings


It's worth it!

Pretty good week here in England.  A couple of days of finding and street contacting in town centre and some lessons with investigators and members.  We had interviews with the President this week also.   He gave a very short training on having the Lord involved in His Work. How we need to ask for Him to help us do this work, and that He will help us if we do.

Another opportunity for service .  This time for a member in the area.  He was needing some help in getting ready for a new fence in his yard.  At first we were a little hesitant because we were in our nice clothes and had an appointment in a couple of hours and didn’t have time to change and such.  We decided we could help though and just be careful- how dirty could be get in just cutting down some stuff.  We helped for about 30 minutes and made it back in time for our appointment.  It was fun to be able to help him. 

I haven’t driven since taking the driving lessons. I haven’t heard about my driving license.  I applied for my provisional license following the driving lessons.  That is just so that I can take the test.   I am going to take the test on the computer, so that it’s over with.  That portion is good for two full years.  Then if I get into a car area, I will do the actual driving portion of the test at that time.

Learned a little of what it’s like to be a parent this week. We were working with an investigator when that thought came to me.   Watching them grow, seeing them progress in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and hearing them pray.  It’s so worth it!   It’s times when you hear them pray, when you think I taught them this, I taught them about God, I taught them to pray.  It’s times like this when I can see from a parent’s point of view how they see their kids grow up and do good things.  It’s worth it to realize all of the joy and happiness that sharing the gospel truly brings into your life.


Love, Elder Stevenson


Monday, November 25, 2013

Are you canvassing the area?

On Tuesday we had a companion exchange with the zone leaders. We were tracting in a neighborhood.  We went up to a door and knocked.   Just then a car pulled up, it was a normal plain car and so we thought it was the owner just coming home.   We went out to speak with him and a cop get outs of this unmarked vehicle.  Before we know it we were being interrogated to see if we were doing anything illegal.  It was two cops, a man and a woman, and they were like well, we are in this area tonight, a lot of us, because there have been a lot of burglaries happening here.  We are trying to catch the guys.  So what are you guys doing- canvassing the area again?  We showed our badges and they were like oh- ya…. Alright, well just take it easy tonight.  You might get stopped again though because there are a lot of us out tonight.  

It’s getting dark about 4:30 p.m. and it’s dark.  A little depressing.  With so many cloudy days in England, you don’t even see the stars at night.  Tracting until 8:00 in the dark.  It’s getting colder and raining more also.  I got some new gloves and a big fur hat a few weeks ago, so I should be set for the winter here. 

We found another investigator this week.  A man who’s recently been without a job.  A super nice guy, really devoted to Jesus Christ.  We were able to teach him about the restoration.  Taught one of our other investigators the lesson about Gospel of Jesus Christ with an Elder from a neighboring area.  That was an amazing experience-  the Spirit was really strong during that lesson.     Still working with some others as well.

Able to do a little more service this week also. Loved it.  One of the families in the area needed to move.  So we were helping them to move into a new house. It took about 4 hours.  Their little boys made it fun and kind of entertaining.  The one them is about 4 or 5 and he really wanted to help us.  So he would take things and help in every little way he could.  

I had to speak in church this week. It went really good.  I had everything all planned out as to how I was going to present things.  But nothing went according to my plan.  However, it ended up being really good. 

I ran into a farmer the other day and had a good conversation with him.   He retired about 10 years ago and sold out.  All of his farm ground has now gone into a housing development.  He says that’s happening to a lot of their farm and tree land around here.  He was a little upset about it and wondering what will happen when all of the farm land in England is gone.    We did walk by some farm ground the other day.   It was wheat, they had strip tilled it and then they are already planting beets in there.  I thought it was a little strange, but these beets are up to the 10 leave stage.  Quite big, so I was wondering if maybe they were going to be seed beets.  It was interesting to see how they did it. 

Love to all, and hope that you all have a great week!  


Love, Elder Stevenson

Monday, November 18, 2013

Service= Super Fun!

We finally got a chance to do some service.  There is a shop in town like a DI to help in raising some funds for a homeless shelter.  They were moving from one location to another place. So we were able to move some things into the new bigger store and painted for about 3 hours. It was super fun!

Sometimes there are points of your mission that are stressful.  When you just don’t understand why your investigators don’t get it.  When you can’t figure out how to explain it any clearer for them.  If they will just read the Book of Mormon, they will get it all.  The Book of Mormon proves everything.  That Joseph Smith was a prophet. This is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ that has been fully restored in these latter days. This is what you need to read in order to have the same testimony about these things.  You just need to read the book to know it is true.  You can’t expect God to let you know it is true if you don’t give it a chance.

We had Stake Conference this weekend and it was really good.  The main theme was Member Missionary Work.  A couple of the missionaries told of their conversion stories.  And the Stake President told of some of the happiness his son is experiencing on his mission.   He urged the members to share the gospel in small and simple things. One of our investigators was there and was really impressed with it also.

It’s crazy to think that next week, I will have been out for 5 months.  I have grown a lot on my mission, not physically, but mentally and spiritually. I have matured a lot. I never would have imagined that I would have changed this much in such a short amount of time. It’s crazy to think it, but it’s true. The happiness I have when I am sharing the gospel is a happiness that I have never felt before. It’s a different happiness that no one can describe until they feel it. I am so grateful for this chance I have to serve a mission.  I am so grateful for all those that support me and send me emails and letters.  Thanks so much!


Love, Elder Stevenson

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Staying Here!

Staying here!  With my current companion, zone leaders and district leader!  We will be here through Christmas, and have already gotten an invitation for Christmas dinner from a nice family in the ward!  This ward has been really good to us.  We have 3 dinner appointments this coming week.  For many reasons, glad to be staying here!  We are both excited to be staying, should be a good time.  This transfer has been the best and we are looking forward to another great transfer and hoping to get a lot done.  Things have been going great here for us together.  The lady we started teaching last week has selected December 8th as her baptism date, so we will both be here for that!  We had the Plan of Salvation lesson with her this week and it went really well. 


Picture of my planner- burned the edge because I burned through another transfer.

Because there is no Thanksgiving Holiday here between Halloween and Christmas, all of the stores here put up the Christmas decorations the day after Halloween. 


We took some time and made our own Christmas tree from pass along cards- it was a good time!

I finished reading the Book of Mormon again. I started it about 4 months ago.  That has been good.  The weather has also been good, the warmest in the last two weeks here and it’s sunny!   Crazy!   My allergies are getting better with the change of seasons as well, haven’t had to take any medication for about a month now.   Other changes- with all of the walking, I am getting some good sized calves!

Super excited to hear about the snowmobile.  I was thinking about that the other day.  Wow!  I am gonna miss my old life for the next 19 months or so, but it’s worth it and I know this is what I am supposed to be doing.  The farm and snowmobiling will be there when I get back.  So it’s going to be good.


Love, Elder Stevenson

Monday, November 4, 2013

Great Week!

The storm here wasn’t that bad last week.  The train station here was working fine, but somewhere there were trees on the tracks and so we weren’t able travel as planned on last P-day.  But here the storm wasn’t too bad.  There were some winds, about 30 mph.  Not a big deal.  It rained really hard.   Like an inch and a half of rain in 3 hours.  But in England the rain dries up fast, not like back home.  If you get an inch in 3 hours at home, you are shut down.  But here if they get 5 inches of rain, within like 5 hours it is dry again. The ground just soaks it all up.

November 5th is fireworks day here. It’s a day of celebration for Englanders.  The fireworks start early, they have been shooting them off the last two nights already.  Having a flat on the fourth floor gives us a great view of them.

We had a great Zone Meeting this week. Our Zone Leader said “A mission is the school for life.”  You will experience disappointment and discouragement your whole mission. But it doesn’t matter, you must push on, never losing faith. You can’t give up ever.  When you go home, you will continue to have discouragement at times.  So will you give up your job then?  Will you tell your kids, sorry I gave up? Sorry that you can’t have this, I gave up, I can’t handle hard times.  WOW!  What he said was so good, such a great man and super dedicated to the work.   Our other Zone Leader has also been a great help to me in giving me tips of how to better do things as a missionary.  Ideas of how to find success and better control my inputs.

On work over on Tuesday, we had pretty good success on town centre, better than before.  Then on Friday we went back to town centre and had a good day of finding.  We had a potential appointment set up and I hadn’t thought a lot about it.  But Saturday morning as I was in the shower, I was prompted to set a date for her baptism.   This seemed strange because we really hadn’t said much to this lady, just a few words.  Still I was prompted to pray to set a date.  I knew that December 7th would work.  We headed to the lesson and met her in town.  We went into the library to teach her there. The spirit was so strong, right there in the library.  She really expressed interest in joining the church.   When we finished the lesson, she was like I need baptism.  I was shocked and was like no way.  So we extended the date of December 7th. She wanted to meet the next day, which was Sunday.   She came to church with us and we were able to watch “Restoration” at the Sunday School class.  The one that portrays the early life of Joseph Smith.  The spirit was again so strong.  There were 4 missionaries there and another lady from the ward.  We all bore testimony of the truthfulness of everything we saw and of the Book of Mormon and the church.  She said she wanted to be baptized sooner than December 7th.  WOW!  We explained  it is possible, but she has to come to church at least 3 times.  So we could possibly have a baptism this month.  She is so ready for the gospel.  She is a great lady!


Good week here in England!  Love, Elder Stevenson

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Survived the Storm

Pretty much a normal week as missions go.   We did have one investigator come to church and see the Primary program, that was good.   And we survived the storm.  It came with 80-100 mph winds- it was crazy!  They say it’s the worst storm since 1976 or so.  We were planning to go elsewhere for  P-day, but a tree was on the tracks from the storm, so hoping we can go later in the day. 

Got an early Christmas present.  One of the guys here bought a new suit and it didn’t fit.  Since the receipt was lost and it couldn’t be returned, he sold it to me for half price.  So now I have an English suit also.

We had an interesting encounter this week. A couple of guys were more interested in debating the gospel with us than learning. But we were able to hold our own and counter all of the things they were able to bring up.  We were able to show the other sides of things.  It was not the best lesson we have had, let’s just say we left it at that.

We had made an appointment quite some time ago, it was weeks ago, and went to follow up on it this week.  We remembered the house when we got there.  We showed up and gave him the lesson on the restoration and it went well.  We set a tentative baptism date for Nov 30th.  Hoping all goes well with this one.

Thought from Elder Jeffrey R Holland given in a talk to the Mission Presidents:

I know you will have missionaries come to you and say why is this so hard? Why can’t it be easier?  Elder Holland said in his loving loud voice, because salvation isn’t easy.  Because each soul means that much to God.  Because salvation must be paid for.   He said when you think it’s a hard day, when you think you can go no more, I encourage you to just think of our Savior.  When he felt he could go through no more, he pushed on, knowing it needed to be done, just think of the Savior when you think you have it hard. You’re just a small tiny portion of what Christ went through.


Love Elder  Casey Stevenson

Monday, October 21, 2013

Definitely Autumn in England

It’s definitely turning into autumn here in the wonderful land of England. It’s getting colder and getting more rainy.  Last night, it just poured.  We had a chance to get wet in a rain a few times this week!

A lot of our investigators were busy with other things this week and so we haven’t been able to keep in touch with them as much as would have liked.  This week looks better for them.  We are hoping for more contacts with them. 

Last week we didn’t have church in our building because it was a Youth Conference in our area.  But we were back in our building this week and it was very good.  I am excited to see the Primary Program, it’s coming up soon here.

We have not had a lot of success with service tracting.  Most people say they don’t need anything because-   their husband will do it; they are retired and will do it themselves; they hire someone to do it; or some will say that would be nice- but I don’t have anything for you right now.  Did get to do some service on a workover last week.   The lady was redoing her landscaping and so we were able to pick rock for three hours.  It was great to do some physical labor.  My back was sore the next day, but it was a good kind of sore.  The kind of sore that you know you did a good work. 

I hope I get to stay in this area through another transfer.  Hard to believe I will have been here for 3 months at the end of this transfer and will have been out for 4 months next Sunday.  Time is going by really fast here now. 

Interesting thought-  In the Book of  Mormon, the Nephites always attacked at night, when it was dark.  So I likened this unto myself, Satan attacks us when our soul is dark, when the spirit is darkened.  So we always need to keep the spirit with us and keep the spirit strong within us.  So that it’s harder for Satan to attack.  When we are in that darkness, and we are tempted by Satan, we need a light switch, to turn the light on.  Immediately and drive Satan out, this light switch is prayer.  No matter how dark or dreary the spirit may be within us, we can always pray to get the light on, to drive that spirit away.  But that light is expensive.  We should just keep our spirit lightened so we don’t need to fall back on prayer.

Love you all,

Elder Stevenson

Monday, October 14, 2013

Beautiful Fall in England

The leaves are turning and starting to fall.  We are attempting to do service tracting, where we just go knock on doors and offer service to people.  But so far not anyone has had us help them.  Hopefully it does turn into something.   



Here’s a picture of a huge leaf we found.


This is on our walk on the way to church.  

Our church is on the hill right next to this huge golf course, so it’s a great location. We didn’t have church in our building this week because there was a youth convention at our church. So we went to the other ward.  They were doing the Primary Program and it went super good.  If we were just able to have an investigator there, it would have been amazing.  They really talked a lot about the restoration.

Most of the investigators we got last transfer aren’t very interested now.  So this transfer we basically started fresh.  We set a lot of appointments with new people.  22 people to be exact, but only 3 out of the 16 appointments this week actually happened.  All 3 of those turned into good investigators.  In one week, we have gotten more solid investigators than we did all last transfer- which is crazy! 


One day we were out OYMing (open your mouth).  My companion stopped this guy to talk with him.   He was like I’m a Christian, can I be a missionary like you?  We explained he could, but we should teach him the gospel first.  We were able to have one lesson with him.  We offered him baptism and he said ya when he comes to know these things are true. But when pushed for a baptism date, he became a little confused because he said he had already been baptized.  We tried to explain it to him again without a lot of success that day.   Now we have a Book of Mormon is his native language and so plan to go back and have him read 3 Nephi 11, which talks about how we need to be baptized by immersion. 



Trying to get a nice photo of both of us…..

Another time we were out tracting and knocked on this guy’s door.  He said hi and asked how we were.  We started in with our message and he said no thanks guys, I’m a Christian.  We asked how his faith has helped him in his life.  Then he admitted that he was actually trying to find a church to belong to.   Loved hearing that!  We invited him to learn more but he was like no thanks, I’m busy.  (Then you come back with when can we could back- don’t give them the option of if, ask when.) To this he responded, he was free all the next day, which was Sunday.  So we invited him to come to church in Dunstable with us.  He didn’t make it to church, so we will try to see him again this week.


Snails are everywhere, it just so happens that they stick to our badges.


Most interesting place to teach---a gambling establishment.  We were out on the street talking with people.  I asked this young man what did he think the purpose of this life was.   He didn’t know, but asked who we were. We talked with him and invited him to know more.  He was like okay, where at?   We suggested we could do it right here on the street in town center.  He asked what about other there? I thought he was talking about the park bench.   But no- he meant in this gambling place, where you can watch horse races and stuff.   No matter to us, we had a lesson in there with him.  He is a really cool guy and really interested in finding out if there is a God.



Being a follow up trainer, means my companion has been out for one transfer.  This is his second and so I am to finish up with the 12 weeks of extra study/training and try to help him become a better missionary.  It’s more responsibility and I feel it.   Surprisingly, I didn’t know I knew so much about the lessons and doctrine, until I was the one in charge.  I know a lot more than I thought.  The ready reference guide was helped me a lot also. 



Sometimes missionary work makes us tired!

  
I was thinking the other day, nothing on the farm will probably be the same when I get home.  The new track, could be another new one before I get home.  And all of the work on the rock piles, how much cleaner the farms will be.  Our new shop should be about the same, but other than that, everything could change!


They do have John Deere’s in England.  Just a few minutes walk from our flat are some fields.  Of course, no irrigation though, a cheaper way of farming.

I got the letter you sent just last week already.  Seems that with the government shut down, mail is getting through quicker!    It’s getting a lot colder here.  We have to pay for our own electricity; it’s a pay as you go.  We have started using the heaters, and so the electricity is going sky high.  I am just like—wow—to be accountable for all this.  When I was home, I never had to worry about all of this stuff! But it’s been a good week!  Nice to find some new investigators and to be teaching.

Love you all and hope that you have a great week!


Love, Elder Stevenson






Monday, October 7, 2013

Three months, Loving it, and a Trainer

I hate stupid technology!   We were just at the library and my computer froze.  So I was like whatever, and logged back on.  The whole email was gone-so whatever!  Here goes again…..

Conference was great.  A lot about missionary work.  I loved the quote by Elder Nelson.  The work will not move forward without members getting involved.  And Elder Bednar- if you are not paying tithing- repent.  They talked a lot about how there is this work to be done with missionaries and how we need to be converted ourselves unto this work.  If anyone is wondering what the church is concerned about, from the talks it is- missionary work, becoming converted, staying converted and marriages. We were able to see all of conference except the Sunday afternoon session, so I am hoping to listen to those talks some time.

I miss the farm.  I can just close my eyes and see the layout of the fields, see the equipment and have memories of all the last two weeks before my mission when nothing was going right.  But I would go through it all again, cause I love it.  Love it and miss it.

This week we got to the train station to switch companions.  It was weird I thought I was getting an “old” Elder that had been out for awhile.  But this Elder has only been out for 6 weeks.  I’m his follow up trainer.  I’ve only been out for 3 months, and I am doing follow up training.  Normally the President calls you when you are becoming a trainer or District leader or any leadership position. But he forgot to call us.  Elder Bell is a follow up trainer and becoming district leader. Since the President forgot to call us, we were both in big shock when we got there.  But it’s been good.  This week went by so fast, it seems like just yesterday that  I emailed you last week.  I hope it continues to go that fast, cause I miss home. But the mission is going great I love it.

The mission is hard, times are hard, but it’s so worth it.  I have learned so much about myself and become so much more spiritually strong.   More fully converted unto the Lord and I love it.  Two years is a long time, but 3 months have gone by and now I am starting to truly love this work.   Conference was a humbling experience for me.  All of the prayers that were said for missionaries.  And the talk of time hasting the work of the Lord, and I am in the middle of it.  The second coming is so near, I know its coming sooner than we all expect it to happen.  Joseph Smith said that this time would happen.  Hasting the work of the Lord would happen before the coming of the Messiah.  The work is being hastened now- 80,333 missionaries are in the world.  And many more who have their calls right now. The time to work is now, the hour of this mission has come.   Missionary work is far from easy, there is rejection, hatred, and judgments.  But all of this-  the missionaries are going through.  Why?  Because they love the Lord and love serving Him.  They know it is the right thing to do.  Jesus Christ was rejected, hated and judged before any of us were born.  The things that are going on the world today as missionaries, are not new.  It’s the same things that people have faced for centuries.

You can only convert someone as far as your own conversion!  For all the people considering if they should go on a mission or not- do it!  It has been so amazing to serve the Lord. It has been so amazing to see the gospel help others around us.  It is not easy, but it is worth it.  I would recommend that those going on a mission read the book “Our Search for Happiness” by M Russell Ballard.   Actually a good book for everyone to read.

This week I was asked to give a training on faith in District Meeting.  I didn’t think I had great enough faith to be teaching about it.  But when I started looking back, I realized my faith has grown a lot already.

We set a goal to have one baptism this transfer.  I know that as we do all that we can, as we work as hard as we can, be obedient and diligent then we put it up to the Lord.  We set a goal and work as hard as we can to achieve it and if we are doing all that we can, the Lord will bless us with the things that he sees fit for us in His own time and in His own way.

Three months have gone by, and I love the mission. It has been tough at times, but I love it now.  I cannot believe how far I have come in the last 3 months spiritually.  I love it.  The mission is going great.  The area is starting to see things happen, and I am having a great time serving the Lord.

Thank you everyone for the prayers and thoughts going out to me- they are felt!

Love, Elder Stevenson




Thursday, October 3, 2013

I'm Staying- Part Two

It’s been a pretty good week.  A lot of finding!  We had a potential investigator that we found the first week here.  She just got back from holiday and we went to see her again this week.   We had a really good lesson about the restoration.  She accepted baptism conditionally- meaning when she comes to know these things are true, she will follow the example set by Jesus Christ and be baptized.  That was good.   There was a young man who had been taught as a teenager some years ago, his parents are members.  We went to what we thought was his address.   It was not.  So we asked the lady there if she knew of anyone who could use some service.   She pointed across the street to another apartment.  We went there, and a young man opened the door and said, hey missionaries.  Come to find out, he was the one we were looking for in the first place. He had moved across the street a couple years ago.   We visited with him some.  He said he’d promised his dad he would come to church and so said he would see us on Sunday.   When we said it was conference, he wasn’t so sure, maybe he’d come the next week.  But we don’t have church the next week because our building is closed.  So he agreed to come to at least part of conference.    There are a couple other investigators who were taught about 5 years ago we are going to work with.  And we tracted into a couple who recently lost their son-in-law and have a lot of questions about the hereafter.  So a good group of people to be working with!  Work is really picking up.  Yeah!  Glad I am staying!

Last P-day we were able to go to London for a little sightseeing.  We went to Buckingham Palace and Camden.  It was fun. I also got a chance to take a picture of the huge ferris wheel we saw in the panoramic view of London.

I finished my driver’s training and will be able to drive for another 9 months on my US drivers license.  But they said there is no reason to wait and get it then.  So I will continue and work on getting it by my six month mark.  I was really nervous to drive, it’s a little strange.  The speed limit is mostly 30 miles per hour, but it seemed really fast sometimes.   I missed driving, it felt good to drive again!

Up until about a week ago, the main reason I was staying on the mission was because I knew dad would kill me if I came home.  (haha) But as more and more time goes on, I am starting to like it more and more.  Getting less and less homesick, still miss home, but getting settled into the field. I have already gotten to the 3 month mark. It has been said the 3 month mark is a remarkable change for a lot of missionaries.  And it was a good turning point for me.    I know that I will continue to have some hard times to come on my mission.  I don’t think that will ever end.  But I have really learned a lot more about the gospel, relying on the Spirit and just everything.  I never imagined I would grow up this much, this fast. 
  
For the first twelve weeks of your mission, you have an extra hour of study every day.  There is a set curriculum to study based on Preach My Gospel and other key study topics.   Here the training is sometimes split between two trainers.  The first trainer for the first six weeks and the follow up trainer for the last.   The trainer does the teaching of the twelve week course for the most part.   Once the twelve weeks are up, that’s the end of the extra time studying, until one becomes the trainer and then they do the teaching portion for the training and so an extra hour of study again for that six or twelve weeks.

Zone meetings are just for our one zone.  The Zone leaders do the training there.  Zone conferences are held every other transfer.  Three zones come together and meet at the Hyde Park, Central Office.  President Jordan and the AP’s do the training at Zone Conferences.

A lot of walking.  Really good for me.  I like being more active again. I haven’t weighed myself since I got here, but my pants seem to be a little looser around the waist.  The other day we walked out to what we thought was a university to find some college students.  It ended up being a research center.  But the walk was amazing.  It was a paved pathway through fields and forest.  It was great, I got some pictures.  I miss the farm land.

Conference will be a little different because of the time change.  It is broadcast here in the church.    The Saturday morning session is at 5 Saturday night, priesthood session at 10 Sunday Morning, 1 pm is the Saturday afternoon session;  at 5 pm is the Sunday morning session.   World Report is at 3pm and we will watch Sunday afternoon session later, hopefully they record it.    

Funny experiences-  One day I was talking with an Irish gentleman.  I don’t know what happened, but it took me for a turn.  I noticed my voice accent change, to something, I don’t know what it was.    Another time a couple of kids came up and said their mom wanted to talk with us. We followed them to the house and they were just kidding with us. When we got there, their mother was not interested at all and slammed the door in our faces.  

Fish and chips are said to be a favorite in England.  Chips are actually what we would call French fries at home, didn’t know that until I got here.  The fish is breaded fish.  I haven’t had the amazing stuff yet.  But they say towards the coast, in Dover, the fish and chips are amazing.  Dover is on the ocean, the lowest south you can go in our mission.  It’s kind of like a dream spot for missionaries in this mission.  

Recommended Reading- His Grace is Sufficient- Brad Wilcox, September Ensign, page 35.  It’s way good! 

There are about 25 new missionaries coming this transfer.   My advice to those headed out on missions soon, or those getting ready for a mission would be ---to get off the electronics.  They are useless.   I had started cutting back my own texting before I came out, and it helped a lot when I got out. 

I am still missing about everything about the farm, except now that it’s getting cold, I won’t be missing pumping out the mainlines.  I think that’s when Kenny truly started to realized he wanted to stay on the farm, when he got out into the mission field and missed it that much-  like I am.

Love, Elder Stevenson

P.S. from Tammy--   He loves getting regular mail- a nice surprise to get a card or letter during the week, and not just on p-day!   He said it gives him more strength throughout the middle of the week.   He is trying to respond to everyone’s letters and e-mail, but sometimes doesn’t have a lot of time to email, so is trying to write more letters.  He says he’s written more on his mission than ever in his life!  Even if he doesn’t respond to every letter, know that he loves receiving them!  Thanks to everyone for their continued support!



Tuesday, October 1, 2013

I'm Staying!


I'm staying in Luton!  Yes!   I am tired of moving, wanted to settle down in one area.  My current companion is moving.  There is more than one Elder with the same last name, in the mission, so I don't know which one. I will meet him tomorrow.  Good week, have new people to teach.


{I'll post more of the e-mail and letters we have gotten tomorrow night.  But here's pictures for now!- Tammy}


They went to London on P-day-   Buckingham Palace


Not sure- could be from the apartment.....


Commented that he got a picture of the Ferris Wheel that was shown in the panoramic view of London


Said they found a little trail one time coming back from an appointment and found this amazing farm ground and huge trees.





Monday, September 23, 2013

91 Weeks to Go

91 Weeks to go- it seem shorter when I put it that way.   Not too bad this week, pretty normal missionary week.  We tracted all week and not a ton of success.   The adversary has its way in missionary work too. We had interviews this week, and President gives a training there.   The training was on inputs and outputs- wow-  business in missionary work- no way. . .   But it was good.  He was talking about how it’s the Lord’s business, and we are just His workers.  When we are obedient, when we give our full effort, when we do all that we can, we may feel like it has never been enough.  That’s because we can’t control the outputs.  That’s the Lord’s timeline.  It was good for me.   I can relate it to farming.  We can grow the best sugar beets in the world, but if prices are crappy, then we can’t control that.   It helped me to realize that I can do all I can, but I can’t control the outputs here.  Some people have great experiences with missionaries, even if they are not baptized while the missionaries are around.  Like dad’s -the one lady who he only taught the first discussion to and didn’t know until years she later joined the church because of that one discussion.  It really helped me understand that every little thing I do will affect the people in this wonderful area forever.  Whether they know my name or not, they know that the missionaries have taught them before and that it might spark an interest in them later on in life.  It was good for me to realize and it really helped me. 

It was a fantastic interview with the Mission President.  I love him, he is a great man.   He asked if I had turned the corner.  I said yea, but I have turned 3 more since then, so I think I’m back in the same place.   He laughed and said well Elder Stevenson, you look good.  You are around the corner, but just because you feel good now, doesn’t mean you will always.  There will be challenges ahead.   Realize there is a reason for all of this, sometimes we have to just figure out what the reason is at this point in time.

 He didn’t give any clues as to if I was staying or not.  This will be the last full week before transfers.  The week of transfers P-day is moved to Tuesday, so it will be Tuesday when I email next week and  I will know at that point if I am moving or staying.  The last Monday of the transfer is a work day. Then Tuesday is for when after calls are made, we have time to pack up and get everything ready if we are moving on Wednesday. 

I had more one driving lesson this last week and have one more scheduled on Thursday, then I am done with the lessons. 

Scripture for the week:  John 15:16-23

Ye have not chosen me, but I have  chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
These things I command you, that ye love one another.
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.
If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin.
He that hateth me hateth my Father also.

It talks about how God has chosen us, and how Jesus Christ was rejected before we were rejected, so basically I got from that- get used to it. 

I had to talk in church this week.  It was about service and missionary work. I shared one of Kenny’s experiences from his mission and one I had in Luton.  An elderly lady didn’t want to hear our message.  But after 5 times trying and giving service, she wanted our message now.  We are teaching her this week, see how it goes.  But then I encouraged every member to be a missionary and to give service, and I promised them that as they do this they will see the missionary work in this ward increase. 

I am really missing the farm still.  Wow! Never figured I would miss it, but I do a lot. 


Love, Elder Stevenson


Monday, September 16, 2013

Faith and Doubt- Fire and Water

We were able to e-mail from the library closer to our flat today, but we could only have one hour there.  So I didn’t get a chance to e-mail much.   Mostly read what I had received.  And need to e-mail some reports to the Mission President each week.   The e-mail time seems to tick down way too fast, not a chance to do as much e-mailing as I would like.  Sorry!   Then we walked into city center today and so we were able to e-mail just a little more.  Still only have 1 ½ hours per week for e-mails.  Not enough to send to everyone.  Hope the updates on the blog make up for not being able to email everyone.

My mission is going okay- still not finding a lot of people to teach, so we aren’t able to do much each day besides tracting.   Most days are about the same as the day before and the day after that, not a lot changes from day to day.   We get up at 6:29 a.m.  The mission rules say 6:30, but in the London England Mission, we get up at 6:29 a.m.  The whole mission does this, and we plan, as a mission, to get blessings as a mission for doing so.   We start the day with making preparations for the day and have breakfast before 8:00.   We study for two hours every day from 8 to 10.  Mornings are typically the least productive time for tracting, we do go out for a couple of hours and then come back to the apartment from lunch.  We eat a lot of pasta and curry.   We try to find something to do for the afternoon and by 5:00 are out hitting the streets tracting again until about 8.  The evening times are the best for tracting, because most are at work during the day.  We head back to the flat around 8 for more studying, dinner and going to bed at 10 after a long day.   We don’t eat out too much, mostly we cook.   But we have been lucky enough to have one or two dinner appointments a week with members in the ward.  And we did have a couple of scheduled appointments that actually happened this week, and a lot that didn’t.  There hasn’t been a baptism in this area for about 6 months as far as I can tell. 

My allergies are getting better.  But I have been super sick this week with a cold as well.  The days are getting shorter here, about the same as home.  We are the same Latitude as home, sunset is about 7 at night.   Fall time is coming on and the weather is getting cooler.  

I did start taking my driving lessons this week with a member’s daughter.  We spent about an hour, and I only drove on the wrong side of the road once.  That was when I was coming out of a turn.   There are a lot of round-abouts in Luton, so it took me a lot to just get used to them since we don’t have them at home and I have never driven in round-abouts.   I’m still a Stevenson, I caught myself speeding, not excessive, but 10 over a few times.  Just something that is genetics.    Stevensons must all drive that way.  We had a member meeting with the Stevenson’s here and he drives just like us.  It’s weird, riding in a car makes me so car sick. Everything is backwards.  I just get so sick in riding in cars here.

Our next transfers will be on October 2nd- so don’t send letters after Sept 21st because they might not get to me if I am transferred.  They might come half way around the world only to go back halfway around the world…. [side note- that’s what happened to the ties I sent to the MTC.  There was an issue with his ties when he first got to the MTC, so I bought a few more to send to him.   I mailed them on June 28th and they should have gotten there just before he left the MTC.  They didn’t make it at the MTC, so we figured he would get them within a couple of weeks as he was serving in the Greater London area.  But no- they didn’t make it.  Then thought perhaps it would be transfer day before he got them.  Still no!   Then this week we got a notice there was a package at the post office needing a signature.  Interestingly the sender of the package was “you.”   Sure enough, it was the ties.  They had gone halfway around the world, only to be “unclaimed” and shipped back.  Not sure why they were unclaimed, no explanation of that.  So that’s what he’s referring to about letters going halfway around the world and coming back.  I don’t know that it would happen with letters because there isn’t a customs fee to be paid, as was the case with the ties.  But either way, he doesn’t want to miss anything that anyone sends.  He loves mail!  He can read and re-read letters.  Only having access to the Internet and emails once a week on P-days.  And for now, he is not able to print off the e-mails for future readings.]

We had a lesson on Faith this week and I made this analogy.  Faith is fire.  Doubt is water.  When we have doubt it puts the fire out! When we have the hard trials come, we doubt if God is there, if God loves us, if we can handle this!  We doubt it all, when we doubt anything, it’s putting the flame out.  This is the reason things are so hard!  We can’t doubt anything, when we doubt it weakens our faith.   It weakens us and decreases the chance for the spirit to reside in us.  To keep that flame burning we need to live the commandments, pray, do all we can to strengthen our faith in God.  When we keep the commandments and do all we can to strengthen our faith we are putting more wood on the fire.  But no matter how big the fire is, you can always put it out with water (doubt.)  So no matter how strong the fire is, doubt or water can weaken all of us. No one has fire strong enough to not be put out by water.  We need to prepare the wood to keep our fires burning brightly.   

By the way I will be coming home early…. My release date is June 24th 2015 and that’s three days before two full years.  [Technically he flew out on the 26th, and got there on the 27th and being released on the 24th, he will fly home and not get here until the 25th- so it’s only one day early!  But who’s counting!?!?]

 I have already seen myself grow up a lot on my mission.  Not so much physically, I still don’t need to shave more than once a week…. But spiritually I have grown sooo much!


Love, Elder Stevenson



If you are looking for a good laugh about difference in the US and the UK, here's a fun blog suggested by other Missionary Moms in the UK.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Normal Life as a Missionary

I love reading about what’s going on at home.  But I sometimes don’t know what to write about things here.   It’s normal missionary things from day to day.

This week we had 11 appointments in a row that we showed up to their home and they were not home.  We call that getting hosed.  A rough couple of days.  We do have about 18 investigators that we are attempting to work with.  We are constantly trying to find people.  A lot of walking and searching for people to teach.  There was a good response from the ward after we offered the challenge to pray for missionary opportunities last week.  The Mission President is really pushing to get more member lessons.  To get the members more involved so that our investigators have more fellowship in the ward.  The challenge is to get 10 members present at lessons each week. The Bishop gave a talk about missionary work this week as well. He explained it should be the members’ responsibility to find the investigators and the missionaries’ responsibility to teach the investigators.  It was a wow moment- it was good.    This bishop is really cool.  His wife makes the most amazing desserts also.   A few members of the ward went to Burley 4 years ago to the Rodeo!   Amazing how small the world becomes at times.

Some great talks from this week.  “For Time and Trouble”  and “Wedding Feast “ by Jeffrey Holland.  There are both good and I like them.  Another good one by Dallin H Oaks in the August Ensign.  It talks about revelation, but it has a lot to do with patience too.  Doctrine and Covenants 88:68.  The Lord’s time, not ours.  It’s just what we have to go through while we are waiting that is hard and test our faith and struggles at times. 

Exciting to hear about Grant and Taylor’s engagement.

I know you need more rain at home, so I was praying for rain for home.  Then next 2 days it just poured in England, so I’m like okay I’m done.   This just shows the Lord has some humor.   It is getting a little colder here.  I am wearing my sweaters now, and this morning I could see my breath on the way to get groceries.    The grocery store is about ½ mile from the flat.  It’s an ASDA, just a branch of Walmart.  So we can get anything we want really, except for American meat.  British dairy products are amazing though. I actually drink milk everyday now.  Hope it’s not too late to build strong bones.

For P-days we walk into town about an hour so we can e-mail.   We have to go that far to e-mail, because we can’t prove we live in town to be able to use the library closer, until we get a letter from President Jordan.  So we shop here and then go into town about 11, email for an hour and a half.  Then we hang out with the other companionships in the area. About 5 we head back out to our area and tract from 6-9 in the evening.

Our apartment is pretty much set up and furnished now.  We do have a washer.   A sink, a smallllll fridge/freezer, stove, table with 2 chairs.  A shower and toilet and a closet.  A couch and two rock hard beds!  Furnished with 4 plates, 4 bowls, 4 knives, forks, spoons, 2 pots and pans, 1 cooking sheet, and 1 cutting board.  That’s about all.   Sometimes I cook and sometimes my companion does. 

I miss the farm more and more every day.  Even moving hand lines and digging out pivots, it’s the physical work.  I don’t like anything else, so as of right now, that is still what I am wanting to do when I get back.  I wish I were there to dig beets at night, that’s all I have wanted to ever do.  Maybe I can do it when I get out of college.  There is still a lot of time to see what happens. 

Other than that, just normal life as a missionary!


Love, Elder Stevenson

Monday, September 2, 2013

Missions are Important

Tracting story for the week… we ran into this guy that believes in the afterlife, but doesn’t believe in God.  I asked how that worked.  He said it was easy- you die, you turn to dust, maggots eat the dust, the birds eat the maggots, the mammals eat the birds and then your son eats the mammals and it starts all over again.  I laughed at that, it was soooo funny.  We also tracted into a neighborhood of Jehovah Witnesses and had some fun sharing information with them.  We are working with about 14 different people, one is a family who wants to come to church before taking the lessons. 

I got sunburned on Saturday, it was super hot and I have a nice neck tan line now.  I have a nice business tan now- wrist down and neck up.  Looks so fantastic when you are wearing a casual shirt?!?!?  Looking forward to getting the farmer’s tan when I get home.  I do miss the farm. 

The ward is really nice.  We ask all of them this week to pray for missionary experiences for us and for them.  Also talked about them having faith to talk to their friends about the gospel.

Things are going pretty normal here.  It seems like the more days I am on my mission though the more and more I miss Kenny.  Some days it’s been tough and I just break down and cry, but it’s going be alright! I will figure something out and work through it.   Missions are important, even if it is hard, it’s good, and you grow a lot while doing it.

Well Until Next Week,

 Elder Stevenson

Seems like I'm always packing or unpacking.....

Moving from the MTC to First Area

Moving from First Area to Current Area

Monday, August 26, 2013

Two Months Today!

For transfers last week, we meet in Central London on Wednesday to change companions.  I met Elder Bell there.   We took a true train to Luton.  There are 4 Elders serving in Luton, we opened a new area.  Two are in town centre and we are on the outskirts of town.   We walk everywhere.  It took us an hour and fifteen minutes to walk to church yesterday, we think it’s about 3 and ½ miles to the church.   About 50 members attend the ward here.  A really small Primary and Youth Group, but a good ward, super fun and very nice and helpful.   Our district is 8 missionaries.  We will meet in Luton on Tuesdays for District Meetings.  About one hour walk to get there. 

It’s a pretty nice area, and the apartment is ok.  When we first got there, I had to tighten the sink drain ‘cause it leaked. The shower head doesn’t fit on tight, so it leaks water all over the floor.  Of course there is not a hardware store close, so I can’t get a 3/8 inch o-ring to try and tighten it.  I did Gerry-rig it so it won’t drip on the floor.  Also worked on the bathroom door a little.

We walk everything.  It’s about an hour into town, but there’s an ASDA (like a Walmart) just ¾ mile from the flat and we are able to get our groceries there.  We are walking about 8-10 miles a day.  Tracting during the day is tough because most people are working.  We try to contact members and such during the day and start tracting about 5:00.  We tract until 9:00 and then head back to the flat. 

This week, well today, is 2 months.  It seems so fast, but yet so slow. I just can’t wrap my head around it. In my setting apart blessing I was blessed I would have a desire to stay for 2 years.  Ya, I will stay two years.

One interesting gentleman we met this week. He had studied to be a minister for his church and was almost there, but got sick, so then he just dropped out of his church.  He was a super cool guy.

Today as I was reading my Book of Mormon, I was in Alma reading about Korihor.  He was looking for a sign from God and was struck dumb.  Funny how everyone wants to see God’s power- but boom Korihor you’re dumb and then he dies.  It serves him right. 

Didn’t have a lot of e-mail time today to write and respond to very many.  Sorry, I will try to catch up some more next week.

Love, Elder Stevenson

A note from a letter he sent home earlier this week:

In Elder Evans talk he said, this mission age change was meant for specifically this generation. That the rise to this call was greater than they expected, but the Lord knew it would be this big and knew it needed to happen now.  We are at 210 missionaries (couples, sisters and elders.)  Next transfer 30 more coming in and 8 leave.  In October - 25 come in and 4 leave- almost 250 missionaries!  So many people, but it’s good!    President  is awesome. We have a mission hymn #41 “Let Zion in Her Beauty Rise” with 210 missionaries singing that- wow Totally Amazing! I love that song now. 


Here's a link as performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir- great song!  

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Moving

This week will be 2 months.  It seems like it went way slow, but it’s been two months already, so I don’t know how I feel about it.

Last night the Mission President called us with transfer information.  The Mission President calls to tell those who are training or who have been given a leadership position.  My companion was told he would be staying and getting a new companion to train… so I knew that I was leaving.  I didn’t know where, the Zone Leaders would call with that information.  I started packing, and packed until 11:00, took a couple of hours.  The Zone Leaders called- it was a whole Zone call, so they just read through the areas and the changes.   Elder Stevenson, you are moving to Luton 2 and you will be whitewashing with  Elder Bell.   Whitewashing means we are opening a new area, new flat, new address, new everything.  It will be a little tough for me because I am not the best finder, but it will be good and help me out a lot to be a better missionary.   I’m pretty excited and a little worried and nervous about moving- only ate a little cereal for breakfast.  Elder Bell is a big football player, so you don’t need to worry about me on the streets, he will protect me.   It’s just outside of London, so that means we don’t use the London public transportation. I don’t know how we will be traveling.   We are starting from scratch- they have an apartment for us, and furniture, but we need everything else.  All the little things, like buying a broom, so we will see how this next week goes.


The information about the fires in Idaho is crazy.  But it’s old news!  Ha!Ha!  It was reported in the London Newspapers already and in the World News yesterday.  Don’t know how they will ever get them out until winter comes. 

Interesting things while tracting and street contacting this week.

We were teaching one gentleman and he offered us a job to teach English at the college here.  We declined the offer- that would be an awful job for me- I don’t have enough patience! 

 We meet another guy and visited with him for about an hour and a half.  At the end of the discussion, he said I should give up on my missionary stuff and just go home.  He thought I was wasting my time trying to teach others, that I should be concentrating on getting a good high end job in business. 

We also met a lady on the street who had been taught everything about 5 years ago by some sister missionaries.  However, when the sisters were transferred out of the area she fell through the cracks.   We scheduled an appointment with her this week, she is really excited to learn more about the gospel and refresh her memory about all of the things she was already taught.

 Another lady had been visiting in Jamaica and met the missionaries there.  They referred her to us because she lives in London.  She had a really cool dream about heaven and stuff.  Her dream was exactly like what “The Message” talks about, to the dot.  It was super amazing and super vivid dream.  She saw her mom in heaven who assured her she was watching over her granddaughter.  This lady’s girl who has died of cancer 8 years earlier.  We shared a quick scripture Alma 40:11-12.  The spirit was so strong.  We set up an appointment to meet with her next week.  She is really excited to learn more about this religion and the afterlife. Elder Koponen and his new companion will be doing the follow ups for all of these now. 

There are wild blackberries everywhere!  Everywhere!!!  I love it!  And I ate a fried plantain this week, definitely didn’t like that. 


 I JUST FOUND OUT THERE IS FARM LAND IN THE NEXT AREA I AM SERVING.  It’s the top of Luton, but on lds.org when checking out the ward boundaries there is farm land.   I hope I get to see it!

Love, Elder Stevenson



Monday, August 12, 2013

This week is a 40 week! Life is good!

Life is good this week.  We had a 40 hour work week, which is like perfection for a missionary week.  We pushed hard to get it.   It is made up of time worked during the week.   Each hour finding/ tracting - counts as 1.  And for teaching- each lesson counts as 1.  Then you add it up for the whole week.   We ended up with 40.   We were tracting one day and a man in his mid 20's answered the door and said he was interested in learning about religions to come and teach him.  We went back later to teach him, and some of his friends were there also.  They were a little under the influence and were “happy” to hear what we had to say, if you get what I mean.  We just ended up saying thanks and have a great day and left.  Another time we were knocking on doors and the lady said she was happy with her church, but her Auntie was a Mormon and wondered where the church was here, so she would pass the information along to her.  Unfortunately, Satan tempts us harder when we are closer to big steps in our lives; that happened to one of our investigators.  There were some issues and the potential baptism for this week had to be postponed. Satan is very good at what he does.

Another thing from the Mission Conference.  Elder Evans talked about how when you feel that you need to go home; when you feel you can’t baptize; when you feel no one is listening; that is Lucifer just throwing things down.  We need to push those things aside and spend the next 2 years teaching and finding; teaching and finding; and those things will happen that the Lord wants to happen. 


Next week is transfers, and so P-day will be on Tuesday.   Letters are taking about 11 days to get here, so don’t send any this week in case I get transferred.  I won’t know until next week.  I figure:  “Thy will be done, if I’m meant to stay here, keep me here . . . if I am meant to leave, then Thy will be done and I will be somewhere else." Whatever the President asks me to do.  Other than that, nothing new going one, no new talks to suggest,  just studying in Alma and Preach My Gospel at this point.  And not wearing my suit jacket much, it’s too hot here for that.   Only one more grain harvest to miss and two more beet harvests, seems like a shorter time when I think of it in those terms.  Until Next Time.   Love,  Elder Stevenson


Note: Thanks from Tammy, see comment.


Great Mission Conference Today

We had a mission wide conference today with Elder David Evans of the Seventies.  Wow!  It was good.   He told about how when the missionary age was changed and only a few people knew of the changes before it was announced.   They projected the numbers and determined that they needed 58 new missions. The comment was made- “are you crazy?”  They normally call mission presidents about a year in advance, and they were wanting 58 new missions up and going in only 9 months.   The answer was “Yes with the projection of numbers and such, we need 58 more missions to function properly.”  The next question was “how?”  The classic answer-  “With faith, we have faith and do all we can do with things on our end and the Lord will make it happen.” 


 Elder Evans related how we needed to have faith on our missions.  Faith to baptize.  Almost all of the missionaries in our mission have been told by someone at sometime that they will not see a lot of baptisms.  He said he served in Japan and encouraged us to have faith and it will happen.  It was a great talk!  He also cautioned us not to do stupid things while on our missions, because the hardest part of his calling is calling mothers to tell them their son has been killed on his mission.  Hit pretty close to home with me.  Also how missionary work is somewhat like the Garden of Gethsemane.  But Christ suffered all things for everyone.   Sometimes missions can give us just a little portion of how hard it was for Him in comparison.  An eye-opening thought.  It was really good.  He also talked about seeking referrals from everyone, not just the members, but the investigators as well.  He asked why don’t you seek referrals from investigators, but you seek referrals from all new converts.  I stood up and said because we are scared of losing the trust we gained.  He asked how long I had been out, I said about 5 weeks. He said that was the most honest answer he had ever gotten out of a missionary.   He went on to explain that when we seek referrals from the investigators they get a stronger testimony of you wanting to share this with everyone and everything goes much better.  A great mission conference! 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Another Tough Week

We were able to tract this week.  We tracted for 5 hours and no one would listen. We talked to people on the street for 7 hours and no one would listen.  I called everyone I had a phone number to and only got 3 potential appointments.  Our investigators are dwindling.  We have one potential that says he has stopped drinking and is being baptized on Sunday.  Other than that we have another guy and we meet with him once a week.  Another one did show up to church yesterday with his twin boys.  They are true twins.  Matching little black boys with matching clothing and matching Mohawks.  Wow! He says they are a handful.  He is the driving instructor and we are planning to meet with him on Thursday.  If I am here another transfer, I am doing my driving through him, so I can drive. A member did bring a friend to church with him. He is cool, 24, and way smart.  To teach him, I had to do a lot of analogies between a teacher and learning and Heavenly Father and our purpose here on earth.  He has two sisters that he has no idea where they are.  I shared about the Plan of Salvation and he really liked it. 

The allerga is helping with the allergies, but I still really tired.  I sleep from 10:30 to 6:30 every day but wake up and felt like that I didn’t sleep at all.

There was a new missionary meeting with the President in London this week.  We all got a chance to talk with him.  President and an AP were talking to me and said they really liked my work ethic and how hard I work. But they said as long as I stay obedient and work hard, I have great potential. I don’t know where they are seeing this potential coming from, but I guess only time will tell.

Some good talks I have read:
“Candle of the Lord” by Boyd K Packet from June 25, 1982.  It’s a good talk that was given to new Mission Presidents.  Link: http://www.lds.org/ensign/1983/01/the-candle-of-the-lord?lang=eng

“Rise to your Call” by President Henry B Erving.  I think everybody needs to read that before they go on a mission.  November 2002 Ensign.   Link:  http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2002/10/rise-to-your-call?lang=eng

We are going to central London today for P-day.

Nothing too new, other than I’m pretty sure I am transferring out of here next transfer so my companion can train again.  One other thing, there is another Elder Stevenson coming in with the next group- so I will not be the only Elder Stevenson anymore in the mission. 

Trying to push forward,

Love Elder Stevenson

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Thanks!

I would like to personally thank all of my friends and family that have helped me and my family out in the past year.  Thank you for all the words of support and friendships as this year has gone by.

Remember “When life gets too hard to stand, Kneel”

Our Father in Heaven is truly right beside us all the time and through prayers it’s like talking with Him side by side.

Kenny’s death was very hard to accept for me and why it happened then in my life and in his life.  But I know that he is doing more for us now that he is on the other side, then he could have even done for us if he was on this side. He is doing the Lord’s work and I know that he is one of the Lord’s missionaries in Heaven, serving just like me every day!  The Lord’s work truly needs to be done in these last days. I love you all and thank you again for everything.

May God be with You (tag Kenny) until we meet again.  - Elder Stevenson





Monday, July 29, 2013

Really Tough Week

My companion was sick Tuesday until yesterday, so I spent a lot of time listening to talks.  Great talks like “When Prayers Seem Unanswered” listened to that one about 10 times.  The one about tragedy and God, I don’t remember what it’s called, the one dad told me to listen to it before I left on my mission. [God and Human Tragedy by Robert Millett.]   I read “The Message” in two days.   I read 1 Nephi to Jacob in 2 days.  I plan on reading the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants at least two times on my mission.

I finally got the package this week.   Don’t send chocolate anymore.   It melts in shipping and then is bad!

The work over [last week, I asked what it was] is when the Assistant to the President comes and is your companion for a day.  It gives me a chance to see how others work with stuff.

I did get some Allegra D from the doctor.  He said this is a really heavy time for allergies.  No rain and a lot of pollen and hot!  
  
The new washing machine is here and we are washing everything!

The Ward Mission Leader is way cool.  He works for the American Embassy and is very supportive of missionary work.  One investigator stopped drinking this week. We do have 1 new investigator with a baptism date of next transfer now.  

Our scale was broken and not accurate all the time.  So I weigh 68-69 kilos, which is about 150 pounds. So I did drop some, but put some back on.  Still a little loss of weight.

Tomorrow is one year since Kenny died.  It’s gonna be really hard for me here. I think harder than if I was at home because if at home I would have love and support from family. Here I am not going to have that.  We will see how it goes- you could see me on a flight home by the end of the week-  that’s a joke, dad! Chill!

This week was really hard I didn’t do much work because my companion was sick. So it was hard week.  I didn’t have anything to get my mind off home, so I missed home a lot. I called the President yesterday saying I wanted to go home, I was sick of this already.  He assured me that once I got out of the flat I would be okay.

 And yesterday, we were tracting and we had got done and started to walk back. I got this feeling we should knock this door number 10.  An all white door and I knocked it.  A big black guy answered and I was holding the Book of Mormon.  He said Yea- I have that book. I have read it.  I said like you wanna hear more about it.   He said I’m busy right now, but can I call you and set up a time to meet you.  We were like yeah and gave him the address of the church. 

We were walking down the street and I stopped this guy and started talking to him. He has been to our church before and said that he has a son that has gone off the deep end. He thinks we can help him, so we are meeting with his family this week.

This e-mail isn’t too long. I didn’t have much happen this week, but I know that this coming week is going to be hard and I am going to be so home sick. I feel Kenny’s presence everyday in my life. I know that he wishes he was here with us still. I know that he will be there to greet us when we get to the other side and for some of us it may be sooner than we want to leave. But we never know when that day will come.

Love Elmer Stevenson

 [“Elmer” a personal joke with his dad. On Scott’s mission one guy asked why all of the missionaries had “Elmer” as their first name.]


[Casey also sent a note he wants posted to facebook tomorrow. I will update the blog to include it tomorrow as well. And include a couple of photos he sent today.  Please say an extra prayer for him tomorrow and throughout this week-Thanks!  Mom]

Monday, July 22, 2013

It Finally Rained!

It finally rained here!!!! First time in three weeks!!!

This week was interesting, it started out with 3 baptism dates.  But when it came down to it, one was not accountable to be baptized, another one won’t let us come see him and the third one still has the drinking problem.   We might have to push back his baptism date.  We were at his house and there was a full can of beer on the couch.  My companion was like can we have this, jokingly.  He said ya, so we took it back to the flat and got rid of it.

Nothing too disgusting when we cleaned the apartment, just needed a good cleaning.   Since the washing machine is broken, a sister in the ward did our laundry for us and we hoping to get a new washing machine this week from the landlord.   There was mold inside the walls at the apartment,  thinking that’s why my allergies are so bad inside the flat.  And there’s no AC.  So it’s like a sauna every night, super hot!  We have the windows open 24/7.

The church only a 5 minute bus ride, or 15 minute walk from the flat, not too bad. The ward actually has 243 members on the rolls, but only about 100 come to church. 

Hot weather and Englanders equal no modesty. It’s crazy what people do here when it’s hot.  Won’t go into much detail.  

Food is not too bad.  I usually cook three meals a day.  We have had 2 dinner appointments so far and we have 2 more planned this week. I have cereal and fruit in the morning, lunch is pasta with red sauce and tuna, and dinner is frozen pizza or something. 

We had a mission wide conference call.  New dress and grooming standards on lds.org for the missionaries.   Says clearly be identifiable as a missionary. No more backpacks, only side bags.  Let’s join the London England Mission, by not allowing backpacks at all anymore. [Only side bags have been the missionary standard in their mission, even before this change.]  Just a lot of stuff, you can go check it out later.

Haven’t received any packages yet, just one letter at the Mission Home when we first got here to meet the Mission President.  Haven’t gotten any mail other than that.   I can get most things here if I need them.

This week on Friday, it will be one month.  Only 23 more to go. Just going to live my mission pill by pill, it looks like with all these allergies.  About the Mission President’s wife, your [mom’s] concern turned into a doctor appointment today.  The doctor’s office called to set up an appointment, and I was like I don’t need one. Well then, I get a call from Sister Jordan saying you get into the doctor and get it looked at, you need to do that. So I had to call them back and schedule one. It’s today at 11:30 hoping it goes well. And I will try to get a nasal spray and such. We will see what happens.

I do really miss digging out pivots, believe it or not. I liked that and I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed it until I am out here. It’s just sometimes good to do manual labor. Don’t have to think much about it, just work.  So yes! I do miss that and moving hand lines and wheel lines, just it all. I miss farming a lot.  I am hoping that I will be able to get out on the country side and work with some farmers and do some service and such.  I saw a John Deere tractor, a 6320, when we were on the way to London on the bus.  It was pulling a flat bed semi trailer with round bales stacked on it.  They have round hay bales that are saran wrapped.  I think to keep them better in all of the rain.   Miss home a lot especially the farm and parents, but when I am working I am working and put all my personal problems aside and focus on the people and ward. 

A couple of good talks that I listened to.  James E Faust on patriarchal blessings.  It talks about for a father to be a patriarch to his children; he needs to have the Melchizedek Priesthood and have his own patriarchal blessing; to have the kids sealed to him in the temple; things that should happen.  A really good talk and gave me a better understanding of it.  Also one from by Jeffrey R Holland, “For Times of Trouble.”  Just  a great talk.

This week we had a work over with an assistant to the President. He is from Utah and knows quite a bit about the mission.  Learned a lot from him. Other than that- mission is just mission.

Oh and since I have already dramatically changed…. Can I come home now?  

Love, Elder Stevenson