England London Mission

England London Mission

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