England London Mission

England London Mission

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.