England London Mission

England London Mission

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


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

Monday, July 15, 2013

First Letter from the Field

 The apartment is a 4 missionary apartment- so it’s 4 of us.   It’s a lot of fun.  Our flat (apartment) is on the second story and its 2 bedrooms and a kitchen with a washer (but it doesn’t work.)  Then one extra room and the other two companions use it for a study.  Two bathrooms. It was really cheaply made so the walls are thin.  And there’s mold in the walls, you can smell it.  My companion said that when they broke a wall last transfer that the inside of the wall was just covered with mold and crap.  We are living on top of a bank.  So I hope there isn’t a robbery and a bomb goes off, because there goes all my stuff with it.

The ward is diverse ethnic converts.  About 100 members so really small.  The area is not what I expected at all.  I expected it to be like all white Englanders and the area has a lot of diversity.  Muslims, Hindu, Indians, Blacks, Mexicans- all different diversities.

Our area is mostly public transportation but we are still walking about 4-5 miles each day.  Pretty big area and we takes buses and subways to the places we can and then walk to where we need.  I have lost 10 pounds since I felt home.  I weigh 145 now, and I weighed 157 when I left home, and 160 when I left the MTC.  Crazy…. My favorite part of the MTC was food.  Out in the field I have been eating canned fruit, cereal and tuna fish sandwiches so far.  And drinking a lot of water.    I have grown some, must be all the walking.  But my pants are not as long as they used to be.  May need to length them by the end of this transfer, we will see.

On Thursday we had a dinner appointment with a sister in the ward. She lived in a foreign and she and her husband moved here with her 2 kids.  When they got here there were some issues and she raising the kids on your own now.  So she lives in a tiny upstairs of a restaurant.  One room about the size of my bedroom, with two kids with her.  She is an amazing lady.  She is doing all she can to support her kids and she sells cleaning supplies.  Still after all of that, she feeds the missionaries for the blessings she will get.

We have 12 investigators and 3 of them have baptism dates.

What surprised me most is just everything- it’s a mission not a vacation.

A few firsts
  •        I finally shaved for the first time on my mission- now 3 weeks in.  And I really don’t need to, it was just peach fuzz that was annoying. 
  •        I have ironed 3 shirts!!!!!
  •        The first day here, they took all of the greenies and had them go find people on the street. The first person and the last person I stopped went inside the visitor’s center and went to church yesterday!
  •        Hottest day in 7 years here- 39 Celsius.  [about 102 Fahrenheit] It’s super hot, we aren’t wearing our suit jackets because it’s so hot here.  I would rather by moving handlines than be out in this hot weather tracting.  

Good thing I don’t need to shave that much, I’m saving that money and using it on kleenexs.  I am going through about a box a week.  My allergies are horrible.  My eyes were so bloodshot yesterday that the bishop ask me if I got high….  I am using the Zyrtec every day, but they are still bad.

My 2nd day on a mission, we ran into this guy on the street and he was like “Oh, still believe in that old book. The Book of Mormon.”  And we were like “yes.”  Well 25 minutes later he threatened me multiple times saying we were hypocrites and liars that brainwash people. He believes in evolution.  I said that the Book of Mormon brings me happiness. He said, “Ok, so when we are in Somalia and I have a gun and you have that book. Boom I kill you, there goes your happiness.”  Wow- what a total jerk.  Funny though he couldn’t stick to his story, he kept changing it around a lot.

Tracting is pretty hard to get people to listen. They just aren’t open to much stuff.  You have the ones who won’t open the door. Then you have the ones that open it and say “no”.  Then you have the ones that say “sure” and they never call us back.  Then my favorites- the ones that preach to us and try to tear us down.  We just leave them because they are not willing to accept change.

Something that brought me peace was Doctrine and Covenants 100.  In the first verse, instead of my friends Sidney and Joseph I put my name. Then in verse 14, instead of Orson Hyde and John Gould, I put some of my friends’ names in.  It was amazing just the realization was.  You should look it up definitely. 

[verse 1-  Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you, my friends Sidney and Joseph, your families are well; they are in mine hands, and I will do with them as seemeth me good; for in me there is all power. ]

verse 14-15   Thy brethren, my servants Orson Hyde and John Gould, are in my hands; and inasmuch as they keep my commandments they shall be saved.  Therefore, let your hearts be comforted; for all things shall work together for good to them that walk uprightly, and to the sanctification of the church.]

I am still a little homesick, missing the farm, friends, family and dogs.  But I am getting better, I have decided I am going to stay until I am not homesick anymore.  By that time I will want to stay, just kinda a thing that tricks my brain.  Ya know- but it’s going better I am just staying focused in my missionary work and trying to do all that I can to not think about home, cause I miss it.

President and Sister Jordan are very nice and really going to be good parents for the two years that I will be here. They called a few times already just to check in with me to see how I am doing.  

Also the chapel we have, we use it a lot- for teaching people- chapel tours- use the computer for missionary stuff- and extra study area because that way we are not comfortable (like in our own home) so we aren’t sleepy.  We use it a lot.

I am also very very tired all the time.  It’s pretty rough not to fall asleep while studying and such.  Just can’t catch up on my sleep and probably won’t for the next two years.

We can listen to a lot of music.  New guidelines are anything that is inviting to the spirit. So we listen to movie soundtracks without lyrics and Disney soundtracks, Piano Guys, a lot of stuff.

My p-days will be on Mondays, except for transfer weeks, and then it will be Tuesdays.  I wear my white shirt and tie while on p-days because that’s what the handbook says.  Everyone can have my e-mail address to send things to me.  But I only have 1 ½ hours to e-mail and so I won’t be able to respond to many of them.  Letters can be sent to my apartment, but all packages have to go through the mission home address.

Thanks for everything, Love Elder Stevenson

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Notes from MTC Pep Talk Devotional

There was a 19 year old from Rexburg who fasted and prayed for weeks before his mission. He fasted that he would have a family to teach. That 19 year old Elder Erickson from small Idaho went to London to teach for the Lord.  Elder Charles of the 70 was in a bind and didn’t know what church to join. His mother and father, father-in-law, mother-in-law, and brother all were practicing different religions.  He didn’t know which one to join.  His wife was the same way and just looked up and said, “What’s right?”  Then two weeks later the missionaries knocked on their door.  And she accepted baptism after the first lesson.  Every time the missionaries were there the spirit was so strong.  Then they left and it would leave with them. After being baptized they have done numerous callings and missions and Mission President in Greece. 

Here are some key points of his talk, they taught together.  No other way to speak than with the power of the spirit, it allows the gospel to sink into their souls and get a warm feeling.  If you teach with fire it will enter the souls of men, that no one can put that fire out easily.  If our mouths will open at the right time, the spirit will speak!  Doctrine and Covenants 31:3 “the hour of your mission has come!”  If you’re having a bad day, pick yourself up off the ground and start over, every day your mission begins again!  Key to success is obedience and faith. 

Preach My Gospel is the only book on earth written by 15- 21st century apostles.  Greatest book on earth, closest book to the scriptures.  President Uchtdorf said there is enough stuff in chapter 3 of Preach My Gospel to learn for an entire lifetime.  Just Chapter 3 along has that much stuff in it.  If you are obedient on your mission, you will be successful.  Obedience is the key to everything.  Obedience and the faith of a grain of a mustard seed equal success.  You are not responsible for converts any way, the spirit is responsible for it all.  You have these missionaries that say they baptized 20+ investigators- NO!  The missionaries plus the spirit taught that many investigators.

 *Best advice for mission- obey the gospel with such exactness that the Holy Ghost will not be constrained to be your constant companion.  

Almost obedience = Almost blessed.   

President Monson “can’t be right by doing wrong, can’t be wrong by doing right!”  

We need to not only teach investigators to pray, but we need to teach them to listen.  Don’t just pray to Heavenly Father.  Invite Him into the room. If you are not getting answers to prayer you’re not doing it right.  When you get done saying the prayer, stay on your knees.  It’s like if you are in the same room as someone and you just then ask a question, but then you leave before they answer your question.  Stay on your knees and Listen, Listen, Listen to the answer.  Ask you will receive. 

A baptism in any church is a step closer to a baptism in our church.  Isaiah 46:3 and Doctrine and Covenants 100:5.  Tiredness is a good while doing the Lord’s work.  If you’re not tired, you’re not trying.  Talk to everyone, doesn’t hurt to try.  When you go to the temple you get a name to go through the session for.  Are you going to say, “well he is damned, give me the next one.”  NO!  you take it because it doesn’t hurt to try.  So just like talking to someone, it doesn’t hurt to try.  Open your mouth and the Lord will fill your mouth. Take action Elders and Sisters.  Last one… our Father in Heaven is like the sun.  It never changes, it will always be there, even if it’s cloudy, it’s there.  The clouds are sins in our life, if we repent and pull back the clouds, we have this bright shiny magnificent being. 

When it all done I went up and talked to him a little bit.  He personally told me, “If I would obey the mission president, I  CAN NOT FAIL.”  He said President Jordan is a first class mission president.  I shared dad’s thing about missionary work from a friend with him, “If a man can talk a man into the gospel, then a man can talk a man out of the gospel. But if the spirit talks a man into the gospel, no man can talk him out of the gospel.”    The spirit was so strong in the meeting. 

Every hour is an hour that I need to get up and smile.  Just so it makes me feel better.  And if I smile and seem happy then people will want to know why I am so happy. And that’s a great opportunity to teach.  

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Out of the MTC

Note from mom:  We received a couple of really short e-mails from Casey last week.  But when we got home from Philmont, there was a 6 page letter from him as well.  Because he wasn't going to be able to e-mail on Wednesday.  I will give a quick update this morning and share more from his letter next week, once I get caught up with everything else!

  The missionaries here are awesome.  We have an Elder from the Phillipines, one from Germany, two from India (Both new converts that gave up a lot to be here) a couple Elders from Northern England and one from Norway.  And sisters from Australia, Brazil and South Africa.    

We are to leave at 7:00 a.m. on Wednesday, they are shipping us out on buses.  It's a 5 hour bus ride to the Mission Home. [mom- I didn't realize that Preston was that fair away from London.]  Because of transfers on Wednesday, I probably won't be able to e-mail until next Monday, so I wrote a letter and it should be there when you get home.   My allergies are acting up and the medicine doesn't seem to be working, I'm hoping they will get better.

We had a pretty need experience at the local Walmart type store.  We were there doing a little shopping and ran into a lady.  She stopped us and said, "now you can't be missionaries."  I said, "I may have the face of a baby, but I have the spiritual strength of a bear."  She got quite a laugh out of it.  Turned out to be a lady in charge of our temple session actually.  The people here are so nice.  

We were able to go to the temple on Wednesday.  It was a great experience.  The inside of the temple is not as pretty at the Twin Falls one, but the grounds are gorgeous. They have lily pads growing in the tile ponds outside.  They have sections of dirt, so they will grow.  Also neatly trimmed bushes just everywhere, it's so awesome.  Inside the temple is just not bland, just white walls in the telestial and terrestrial rooms.  The person over the temple session today was the first counselor in the MTC Presidency, so it was way awesome.  But when I got the celestial room it didn't matter what it looked like, its just the feeling inside. The most peaceful feeling you can imagine.   

The temple there is the closest temple for Scotland and Ireland, so this week we had numerous charter buses coming up dropping them off at the temple.  I didn't realize it really was that hard to get to the temple- silly me.

We celebrated the 4th of July with shredded paper for fireworks. Yay- I missed it a lot.

We had a devotional with Elder Charles from the 3rd quorum of the Seventy. It was mostly a prep talk for our mission and I took 3 pages of notes.  I love love loved it!  [he told a lot about it, but that will be in the next post]

Look up page 121 in Preach My Gospel- the quote by Ezra Taft Benson in the red box.  It says, "I have often said one of the greatest secrets of missionary work is work!  If a missionary works, he will get the Spirit; if he gets the Spirit, he will teach by the Spirit; and if he teaches by the Spirit, he will touch hearts of the people and he will be happy. There will be no homesickness, no worrying about families, for all time and talents and interests are centered on the work of the ministry.  Work, work, work- there is no satisfactory substitute, especially in missionary work."  - Love, Elder Stevenson

His Mission President's wife dropped us a quick note indicating he had made it safely to London and was in the care of his companion.

Look for another post coming on the devotional (possibly tomorrow), and he should be able to e-mail on Mondays now.  So I will try to get them posted to the blog on Monday evenings or Tuesday mornings!
Thanks to everyone for supporting Casey in this endeavor!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

First Real E-mail from "Jail"

 There are 58 missionaries at the England MTC.  16 of them are sisters.  Most are from the United States, I think all but about ten of them.  26 are from Utah and 12 from Idaho.  So awesome we are all pretty close. 

 During P-days the kids have got to know me pretty well as the little one that is rough and up there with the big dogs.  We played soccer for one of them and I played forward it was wayyyyyy fun.  Then the next one we played American football and I played wide receiver and caught 2 touchdown passes.

I adjusted the time zone quite quickly after not sleeping for 36 hours on the way here.   The favorite thing to do is sleep….. sadly enough I am so tired all the time and I can’t catch up on my sleep at all. 

Our classes are set up as districts with 10 people in a district.  Our district’s teacher is a Brother who looks just like Alex Johnston- it’s so awesome. He is a great guy and he’s helped me a lot.  I am know as Elder Mouth- I wonder why?  There was a cat that sat on our classroom window seal and everyone flipped- it’s the first animal we have seen since we got here, other than magpies!  (I am missing the dogs.)

The food is pretty good, a little bland but nothing a little salt and pepper can’t fix.  And they have NUTELLA!!!!!!  I am trying not to eat any sweets trying not to gain weight.

We haven’t been outside much.   We did go to the temple grounds on Sunday and walk around in the sun, but other than that it has rained most of the time. It rained for two days when we first got here and it was awful. 

On Sunday the MTC President had told us that we need to all prepare a 5 minutes talk on the atonement and he would announce the speakers after the sacrament meeting.  So everyone got a talk ready and only 5 gave their talk in church.

I have learned a lot this last week.  It is very tiring and also quite fun.  It’s so awesome to see what the spirit can teach you.  We have fake investigators here that we teach, and it’s quite fun.  It gets you ready to know what you need to work on to be better and get better. 

It’s like we were in jail and were not allowed to see the light. The first time we walked outside, one Elder said we looked like a bunch of retards, just by the way we were running around happy and what not.  It was quite awesome, I do have to say so though!
Next week we leave early in the morning on Wednesday, so I don’t know I will be able to e-mail until 2 weeks on Monday.  Just because of the way the transfers work out and what not. 

This is a lot harder than it seemed it was going to be.  With the Lord nothing is impossible, but also that the Lord will never put anything in your path that you can’t handle, so we are getting through it.

We are going to the temple today.