England London Mission

England London Mission

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Good byes and Back again!?!

The final district meeting for this transfer was pretty good.  We did service that evening.  Some friends of a member were looking for some help around their house in getting things ready for Christmas. We were able to do service for a couple of days.  Chopping and stacking wood.  And more hardwood floor laying.  We didn’t get it all done, he was hoping to finish on his own prior to Christmas.  A super cool guy!

For Christmas we opened packages in the morning and went to a member’s home for lunch.  That evening  all the missionaries in our district gathered at the church and skyped our families.  While there we were able to watch a few Disney movies as per President’s approval.  I mostly just took the time to write some letters trying to catch up on the ones that I am behind.

 We did have a little snow one evening, it didn’t stick, but we had snow!  It’s been really cold also- negative C’s.

Friday was Boxing Day, another big holiday here.  It was our p-day that day.  In the morning we had breakfast with the Bishop.  Boxing day has a lot of sales like Black Friday for America, huge sales.  I got a pair of brown dress shoes and new watch because mine had broken. 

With service and the holidays we didn’t have a lot of time that we did finding this week.  We did have  follow ups with some of our recent converts.  One was so excited to see us and immediately asked who is praying to start. He was really excited to start the lesson.   Doing great, I am going to miss this one.   The guy baptized last week was able to be confirmed at church this week.  He is great and sad to see me leave, I will miss him as well and his daughter, that we recently baptized. 

I have been here for 7 ½ months and I am going to miss it.  I hope the work keeps up after I leave.   

Yes, I am moving this transfer.  President called Sunday night and said that I would be going to another area and he would like me to continue at District Leader in the new bigger area.  This District had 6 missionaries and the new area will have 10 missionaries.  So it’s going to be a huge change, but it should be good!  I am excited for another adventure ahead.  It’s weird though because I am going back to the same Stake I just came from, a new area and ward, but the same Stake.  My new companion has been out for about 6 months, and pretty sure he’s a fairly recent convert himself.  I am super excited to serve with him.

Studying this week.  People on the street are always like “I am a good person, why do bad things happen to me? Why is life so hard?”  And Jeffrey R Holland said, “Expecting to have an easy life because you are a good person, is like expecting a bull not to charge because you are a vegetarian.” Which I thought was pretty clever analogy, because it’s true. We are going to have hard times in our lives.

Sunday was my last church in this area, which by now feels like a family to me. I will miss this ward and the people here, I was able to say good bye to several of them. But I am excited to be heading to a new area.

Thanks for all the letters and emails. Love, Elder Stevenson

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A White Christmas- Two Baptisms

We had a pretty good week actually.  Several of our appointments hosed us this week, but we followed through with some back up plans and other things.  I have been in town centre way too much in the past months, so this last week we did a lot of by-the-way finding and stopped by former investigators and potential investigators.  

With Christmas time it’s a little slower.  Several of the people said to stop back by after the first of the year- which is two weeks away.  One of those we stopped by to see wasn’t interested in listening to us… her friend said “Oh, you, Normans, always trying to convert people… you can’t convert me.”  (Yes- she did say Normans)  But by the end of the conversation the friend said she needed something in her life and gave us her phone number and address so we could come by and teach her.  Ended up that she was busy on that day, but we plan to stop by in the near future. It was a good testimony builder for us of having backup plans.  Our planned appointment had cancelled on us and so we went forward with the backup plan.  Because Heavenly Father knew we would be there, He put someone in the path that was interested in the gospel.

First ice of the year…..

We had Zone Conference this week and it was our Mission Christmas Party as well.   We had little gifts and had a really good training on the Atonement.  Talking about how Christ was the only means by which we are saved.  How His Atonement is eternal and infinite. It was good.  Then a talk on Christmas traditions and such.  Overall a pretty good day!

We finished teaching our one investigator and he is awesome! 
The ward had a Christmas party this week. The Primary did a little nativity at the end.  Sunday meetings were great.   I don’t know if I didn’t pay attention at home for the Christmas program for Sacrament meeting, but in England they read from the scriptures of the birth of Christ, and then they had all of the Christmas hymns sung.  So it really Christmassssy…..but its good.  The ward gave us so many gifts, it was so nice of them!  We have several appointments with members for Christmas as well.  That evening was our baptism. Two were baptized.  The father and friend of one of our recent converts and she was able to speak at the baptism.  It was really good.

Here’s my posting from facebook recently: “Last Christmas and this Christmas I have been away from home. Which had been hard because of missing the family side of the holiday. But since being on my mission it has helped me to see more fully the true meaning of Christmas, which is all about Jesus Christ, and his birth into this world.  Which now I more fully realize and appreciate.”

I know the Christ was born, that He was preordained to be our Savior. I know that the reason for Christ’s birth was Christ’s Atonement.  That the meaning of Christmas really is Easter.  Which I am glad that a loving Father in Heaven would send His son here to die for us, so that we may be able to return to live with him again.  Which I am so grateful for.

Thanks everyone for everything you do.  Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas.  
Love, Elder Stevenson

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Two Birthdays and Two Upcoming Baptisms

It’s wonderful for recent converts to help the investigators.  We had one who shared how a blessing had helped them in preparing for baptism.  The investigator asked for a blessing and felt good following it and had the courage to move forward.  I am grateful that we have the priesthood on the earth today in order to bless people’s lives. There is such power in priesthood blessings.   This investigator passed the baptismal interview and is planning a baptism for this weekend.  Doing great! It is amazing what the gospel can do to people. 

In order to set up a booth in town centre, we have to get permission from the council.  They allowed us to which was a big surprise.   It was cool.   We used the four sided mission banner thing like what I have used before and set up in the town centre.  And we sang Christmas Carols. It was somewhat productive, there were a lot of appointments the sisters got out of it. 

I gave the training in the District Meeting this week on being obedient and diligent and being sanctified in order to have the power of God more abundantly. As we sanctify ourselves then we are given power.  Which is also true in life.  We are given power over satan and temptations.

The Zone leaders were here for an interview and so gave us a ride back to the flat.  When they pulled in we noticed they had a flat tire.  So after 18 months of not changing any kind of tire, I had the chance to do it again!   The others were a little hesitant not wanting to get their suits dirty- but I was like YES! And just started going right to it.  It was surprisely so nice to get dirty and greasy again.  It was awesome! So glad that I learned this kind of hard work back home. 

Got do some great service as well.   We laid some floor in a guy’s attic (or loft as they call it here in England) so they could store some stuff in there. It is so much fun to be able to work again.   Then we got to move a lot of dirt that we had previously dug up for a member to put their trampoline in the ground.  A great time working!  

I got to conduct my first baptismal interview it was cool.   It was an investigator of the Sisters in the District.  So our District will be having two baptisms this weekend.  It’s going to be awesome!

There was another missionary here with the same birthday as mine.  We had our party on Sunday evening as we were going to be busy all day.  We went to London for p-day in celebration.  It was  good sharing my birthday with the other Elder.  A great birthday after all!

Embarrassing moment this week- we were out tracting and someone opened the door.  I couldn’t see that clearly and asked if their parents were home.  The lady opened the door a little bigger and I saw the light more and saw her.  I had just asked a 30 something old year if her parents were home!  It was a funny moment.

We as a mission are reading the Book of Mormon together and this week we read through most of 1st Nephi, and we know that people murmur a lot. So murmuring:

1. People began to have questions in own mind and also began to plant questions in others minds. Whether these questions are about the church, people, doctrine, whatever it may be. They began to question things. And also began to have other people question these things as well.

2. Rationalizing actions, the people began to rationalize their actions and thoughts. They began to make excuses of the things that are going
on. Justifying their mistakes and what is going on.

3. They become slothful in keeping the commandments. They just get lazy and the small things in life don’t matter anymore. They stop reading scriptures, they stop praying, they stop going to church.  All of those questions that they had, have now changed their whole life. 

These are the three things that are made up in murmuring, and after seeing these things, it is something that is very true in the world today and you see a lot of people doing it. Laman and Lemuel saw an angel and still murmured for everything pretty much. But then also in the world today, we have those that have strong spiritual experiences and then still murmur and question the church and put aside all of the testimony that they have of anything. It’s important that we do not murmur, no matter how big or small it may be. Murmuring will lead to less-activity. That is my personal opinion.  

Thanks for all of the birthday wishes. Love you all, Elder Casey Stevenson

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

It's Beginning to Look Like Christmas

This week went quick.  We had Zone Meeting in a neighboring area and so had an hour and a half bus ride. Also a District Leader Meeting.   It was a really good meeting, the spirit was strong and really helped to unite the zone together.  Went on exchanges a couple of times this week as well, in doing so found an awesome family to teach! 
One of our investigators finished with all of the lessons and was baptized this week. It was really good.  I have a new favorite quote that was shared at the baptism.  “Salvation cannot come without revelation.”  The investigator really felt the spirit and was so happy about it!  Also had a birthday dinner with one of those we are teaching- always nice to get more on a personal level with investigators.  He is awesome!   We were able to teach in the members’ home this week, which is also great!  One lesson was a little short, as they were expecting a plumber at any time to help with a leak. 

Sunday was a really good day.  Church was awesome. So first off church itself was good, and it being Fast Sunday made it a great day!  They showed the “He is the Gift” video and had a lesson about sharing it for missionary work.   We had a record high of investigators at church –Seven!  Three of whom we just recently found.  Following church was the baptism.  A really good day.  This ward is the best! 

The mission will be having like a Zone Conference type thing for a Christmas Party this year. 

This week I heard of a great parable that I want to share with you.

The Parable of the Unwise Bee

Sometimes I find myself under obligations of work requiring quiet and seclusion such as neither my comfortable office nor the cozy study at home insures. My favorite retreat is an upper room in the tower of a large building, well removed from the noise and confusion of the city streets. The room is somewhat difficult of access and relatively secure against human intrusion. Therein I have spent many peaceful and busy hours with books and pen.

I am not always without visitors, however, especially in summertime; for when I sit with windows open, flying insects occasionally find entrance and share the place with me. These self-invited guests are not unwelcome. Many a time I have laid down the pen and, forgetful of my theme, have watched with interest the activities of these winged visitants, with an afterthought that the time so spent had not been wasted, for is it not true that even a butterfly, a beetle, or a bee may be a bearer of lessons to the receptive student?

A wild bee from the neighboring hills once flew into the room, and at intervals during an hour or more I caught the pleasing hum of its flight. The little creature realized that it was a prisoner, yet all its efforts to find the exit through the partly opened casement failed. When ready to close up the room and leave, I threw the window wide and tried at first to guide and then to drive the bee to liberty and safety, knowing well that if left in the room it would die as other insects there entrapped had perished in the dry atmosphere of the enclosure. The more I tried to drive it out, the more determinedly did it oppose and resist my efforts. Its erst while peaceful hum developed into an angry roar; its darting flight became hostile and threatening.

Then it caught me off my guard and stung my hand—the hand that would have guided it to freedom. At last it alighted on a pendant attached to the ceiling, beyond my reach of help or injury. The sharp pain of its unkind sting aroused in me rather pity than anger. I knew the inevitable penalty of its mistaken opposition and defiance, and I had to leave the creature to its fate. Three days later I returned to the room and found the dried, lifeless body of the bee on the writing table. It had paid for its stubbornness with its life.

To the bee’s shortsightedness and selfish misunderstanding I was a foe, a persistent persecutor, a mortal enemy bent on its destruction; while in truth I was its friend, offering it ransom of the life it had put in forfeit through its own error, striving to redeem it, in spite of itself, from the prison house of death and restore it to the outer air of liberty.

Are we so much wiser than the bee that no analogy lies between its unwise course and our lives? We are prone to contend, sometimes with vehemence and anger, against the adversity which after all may be the manifestation of superior wisdom and loving care, directed against our temporary comfort for our permanent blessing. In the tribulations and sufferings of mortality there is a divine ministry which only the godless soul can wholly fail to discern. To many the loss of wealth has been a boon, a providential means of leading or driving them from the confines of selfish indulgence to the sunshine and the open, where boundless opportunity waits on effort. Disappointment, sorrow, and affliction may be the expression of an all-wise Father’s kindness.

Consider the lesson of the unwise bee!

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Prov. 3:5–6).

Everyone go and see this video if you haven’t already.   http://www.mormon.org/christmas

Thanks for everything everyone, and for all the emails I have gotten.  Love you all, Elder Stevenson

Monday, December 1, 2014

December- Where has the time gone?

We had a pretty good week this week.  The highlight was our meeting with Elder Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve. I forgot my notes, so I’ll share what I remember.  He talked about how missionaries are to build wards- whether that be through new convert baptisms, re-activating less actives, or even just strengthening the current active members.  That’s what we are here to do.  We are representatives of Christ, as does an apostle have a special witness of Christ and is called to share that with others. We are called to do the same- to bear testimony to them of the power and divinity of the Savior Jesus Christ.  We do not have a special witness as do the Twelve Apostles, but we do have a witness from the Holy Ghost of these things.  And when we are yelled at told to “Sod Off” (English term, you can look up) or told to shut up.  We are being put through the test of “Is this actually true? Is it worth it?” At the beginning of my mission it was really hard having people confront me like this. But the other day I was like “hey, excuse me, why do you celebrate Christmas?”  The answer was  “****” and I was like “yep, have a good day.”  It doesn’t bother me anymore for people to do that to me. I remember one day a few weeks ago, the first 10-15 people that I stopped didn’t respond very pleasantly, or told me to shut up and leave.  And I was like “ya this is going to be a great day…”  But when it does happen we are doing what the apostles of old did- being a hiss and a byword, being abused, told things that people should never ever say. We are standing shoulder to shoulder with the best man that ever lived. Our Brother Jesus Christ.  One day I like why is all of this crap going on.  Why are these people being so rude to me.  Immediately the words of Elder Holland came into my mind. “When you are made a hiss and a byword you are standing shoulder to shoulder with the best life that world has ever seen.”  I knew it was the spirit bringing to remembrance those things that I had heard before.  And a similar experience happened this week. I was talking to a guy and he said some mean things. I just looked up and thought- “how can you love someone like that?” Immediately I heard in my head, “Because He is my son.”

Elder Cook served here in this mission, he was serving with Elder Holland together in central London.  And he said that he didn’t always hear the spirit say "tract here or do this or do that." But it was a very few times that this happened.  He talked about how if family is in trouble at home, know that you are not needed there. The best place for you to be is here. If you are here, the family will receive heavenly help through the hard times.   The time will come that you will realize that serving a mission is not only blessing you, but everyone that you love is being blessed because of it as well.  Your mission will bless your life beyond any other spiritual thing in your life.  And lastly- when the day of performance comes, the day for preparation has passed.  It was a really good address and I learned a lot from it.

The London South Mission was here for it as well.  I saw some familiar faces from the MTC.  A couple of them from Idaho!  Then we had a special meeting with our mission about a new initiative.  It is called “He is the gift!”  It ‘s a wonderful video about Jesus Christ and Christmas.  It is a really cool thing that we are able to be using!  There are special edition pass along cards, and we have a limited amount of them.  This new video will be one featured on YouTube next week on the front page. It is awesome- we have seen a lot of success from it already.  Focusing primarily on the Christmas time.  

We had some lessons and did so more finding.  Following a lesson with a recent convert, we had planned to go tracting, but didn’t plan the place. As we were walking from the member’s home I was told “tract right here.”  It was one of the most powerful experiences of my mission. We said a quick prayer, walked across the street and knocked on the door I was directed to knock on.  A man opened the door and we started to talk. After about 5 minutes, he invited us in.  Something that doesn’t normally happen here in England, especially at night time. We went in and shared a message about Christmas.  He said that he had heard of the church and he had a Book of Mormon somewhere.  We are planning to see him again next week.

We also had Stake Conference this weekend.  And more good talks.  Some of my notes from there.
We will not be good church leaders unless we seek heaven’s help.
A parents’ special words of “I am proud of you” will always be remembered. 
What we choose to do comes from desire. Our righteous desires will lead to righteous actions.
And a story about how they were driving through the desert, and next to the river there was life. But when you got further away from the river, there was totally death. Just like in life- If we stay close to God and close to His teaching, then we will always be spiritually alive.

We get go to a special restaurant and enjoy ourselves on Thanksgiving!  A good week in England!

Thanks for all that you do. Love you all- Elder Stevenson

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Pretty good week, but nothing much super went on.  I did finally learn how to spell Wednesday- after 20 years of trying- I hate having a phone that doesn’t have auto-correct and won’t take misspelled words. I have had to learn how to actually spell.

We did a lot of finding this week.  And a few lessons and some follow ups. We shared the Plan of Salvation with one this week.  A new concept and a little confused about it until we went into 1 Corinthians where Paul says they were caught up to the third heaven.   We explained this is the three degrees of glory.  That made sense.  Another is reading the Book of Mormon, has prayed about it and feels good about it! So we are pretty excited about that!

Had a discussion with another about trying to get answers to questions that we already know.  God is not necessarily going to give us “another” answer to the question, when His teachings clearly have answered the question in the first place. 

We must to willing to obey the commandments God has in place for us. If we do not, we might loss the happiness in this life- because that happiness comes from doing what God wants you to do.  If we put God first, things will work out.  We are here on earth to prepare to meet God. Anything else that we do besides that is extra. But we still need to put God first, or else we are not fulfilling our purpose on earth. 

There is a drunk we see occasionally.   He plays a song on his guitar, most always the same song.  It goes “I smoke too much, I drink too much, and I don’t sleep at night. I eat too much, I talk too much, and I don’t sleep at night.” 

It has been raining a lot here. Always! I think it rains about 5-6 times a week this time of year.   I hear that New York is covered in snow- it’s big news here.  Everyone talks to us about it!

Also got to teach the Gospel Principles class again this week at church.

Been studying a lot about agency this week and different types of agency.  Moral agency is the ability to choose between good and evil, when you know what good and evil are.   Agency is just choosing something without having the ability to know good and evil.
Thanks everyone for everything! Hope you have a Great Thanksgiving!

Love, Elder Stevenson

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Surprise! I'm Staying!

Got calls yesterday and surprise! Surprise! I am staying here.  Crazy, very very rarely do missionaries stay in an area for more than 6 months, but I am.  We have been doing really really well. This last week we have put 3 more people on date for baptism so the area is doing really really well and President just wanted me to stay another transfer here.  But he gave me another switch.  He called me to be the District Leader here.  So for those that don’t know what that is.  In our church we have Bishops, Elders Quorum Presidents and Stake Callings in the local areas, a mission has in the same sense, callings. Leadership positions to help the other missionaries and to report on their efforts back to the leadership. So you have the Assistants to the President, which is pretty self explanatory. Then you have Zone Leaders who are responsible for 12-20 missionaries that normally organize the missionaries that are in the Stake.  Then you have District leaders which are responsible for 4-10 missionaries, depending on the district.  So the district here we have 6 missionaries, all serving in one ward.  It will be a great opportunity to serve them and help them, which I am excited for.

The week we have had some amazing lessons.  One we have been working with wasn’t sure he was ready for baptism and so set the date back a little.  But we worked with him more this week and challenged him to pray about it. His questions have been answered and he’s on track for baptism now.  He’s glad that I am staying in the same area. 

Picture on November (11) 11 at 11:11:11

This week we also have three who accepted the baptism date of December 21st, so hopefully it’ll be a white Christmas here.  [white because of the white baptismal clothing]  Just amazing lessons.   We have met with one of them some months ago and this time before we even had the prayer or really started the lesson said they felt the Spirit and wanted to be baptized.  The father of a recent convert has continued to ask more questions and is hoping to find an end to his journey in looking for faith.   So fun to see the changes they are making in their lives to life the commandments we have been teaching.  One changing work schedule to have Sundays as a day of rest and giving up coffee.   Also visiting with some of the less active and encouraging them to come back to full activity in the church.  One of them came this week.

This week we played soccer like normal on p-day and let’s just say I had a really lucky day. I had 4 goals. I mean I am getting so good I am thinking about trying out for the MLS when I get back. I think I could go big!  ~sarcasm in that comment- it’s really hard to put sarcasm in typing~

My companion is also staying here.  One of the others in the foursome flat has transferred and we are getting another one with whom I was associated with in a previous area. It will be really good.  I am excited I am staying for Christmas in this area and ward that I love.  I am excited to have a Christmas in the four man flat as well.  It should be really fun! 

I have started studying the Doctrine and Covenants now.  One scripture I really love- Doctrine and Covenants 25:10 “And verily I say unto thee that thou shalt lay aside the things of this world, and seek for the things of a better.”

Thanks everyone for all that you do, for the love and support, emails and letters.

Love, Elder Casey Stevenson

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Happy November 5th and Remembrance Sunday

November 5th was awesome!  I got a lot of good pictures.  We went with the whole District and had three investigators with us. 

This week was also Zone Meeting.  It was a really good meeting!   The following notes are from a senior missionary who spoke. 

This is not just some work. This is a faith work, this is a miracle work, this is God’s work!  

F-A-I-T-H is
  • Faith
  • Always
  • Includes
  • The
  • Heart

This is the fact that if we have our heart into it, then it is true faith. True faith in Christ should come from the heart.

F-E-A-R is
  • Faulty
  • Evidence
  • Assumed
  • Real

Fear comes from when we think things will happen but they really won’t.  85% of everything you worry about doesn’t come true.

If you serve a faithful 2 year mission, you will be 10 years ahead in life when you get home.

If you want the faith that will lead to miracles, you must be willing to sacrifice to be able to have that faith.

Life is a 4 letter work but the middle 2 are “i-f” ~  “if” we do things then our life will change.

Don’t ever let a missionary decide your mission for you, if you have a disobedient companion, fix it.

Averages are for average missionaries, you’re not average, if you have God on your side!

It was such a good zone meeting, really inspiring.

We taught a few lessons this week, including the father of a recent convert.  But this week we ended up doing a lot of finding.  The area teaching pool is pretty low though, that is what happens when baptisms happen.  So we are doing a lot of finding.  One of our recent converts went out with the other missionaries to teach. One of our investigators wanted to go out with us finding in town centre. At first a little nervous and just watched, but really got into the whole discussion with us.  Explaining how happiness has come because of learning about the gospel. It was sooo awesome!  It’s amazing what the gospel can do to people!

Sunday here was Remembrance Sunday.  It’s the Sunday closest to the 11th of November. So for 2 minutes they have silence.  In the middle of Sacrament they just stop and have 2 minutes of silence. It was really an awesome experience. I had a lot of feelings running through my mind, all of the soldiers, and then Jesus Christ himself.  That they were all sacrifices for us to be free.  Which was an amazing thing to think about that struck me. 

It’s been a pretty good week. Things are going good!

Thanks for everything! Love, Elder Stevenson

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Celebrations and "How have you changed on your mission?"

First all the holidays-  Halloween- 4th of July (5th on November here) - Christmas

What happens when you wait until Halloween to buy pumpkins....

We had a few appointments that day and we wanted to carve pumpkins, so we went after the last appointment to buy a little pumpkin… little did we know they were sold out… everywhere!!! So we didn’t carve pumpkins, but we got something better.   I got a pineapple and the other got a watermelon. It was sooo cool.  Probably the most memorable Halloween. Just cut the top off and ate away with a spoon.  Until it was empty at which point I cut into it. It was kind of a dull and boring face, but it was in a pineapple, so that makes it ever cooler!   We were able to go to the ward Trunk or Treat party, it was super fun. We used fake mustaches as our costumes.  Pretty cool though. 

Let’s just say, eating a whole pineapple was too much acid, it burned my tongue!

So looking forward to the 5th of November.   It like the 4th of July here in England.  It’s a huge celebration here.  Our flat is on the lake, and they launch fireworks off of the boat on the lake. So this week we are going to have an awesome time with that. Apparently like thousands of people come to watch it here every year!

Also got my birthday package (a little early) I put the packages in the my suitcase to open on my birthday, but I did put in the Christmas tree already! 

We had some great happenings this week.  Several appointments again this week.  One of our appointments was particularly great.  We had a lesson and watched some Mormon Messages about the spirit and then watch “Finding Faith in Christ.”  Afterwards we talked with the investigator- he talked about having a shiver down his spine, feeling like goosebumps, and having a good warm feeling as if someone threw a blanket on him.  He wondered if that was the spirit- we responded “yes.”  We had a few other lessons during the week and had more time finding this week as well.   Also have companion exchanges on one day.  We were able to do service for one member, another had to cancel as she was sick.  But service is good! Also able to attend the Birthday party of one of our investigators. 

And highlight of the week- two baptisms. It started a few minutes late, and everyone knows how I feel about that.  But it was still great, a very spiritual baptism.  A great experience.  Family members of both being baptized were there to show support.  Both of them have worked with multiple missionaries in the past, I am so grateful that I was able to be here when they finally decided it was time to be baptized. The one said she knew that Heavenly Father had it in his plan for me to come here and help her.  It was a wonderful experience being able to help them get ready for baptism! And to see how the gospel changes lives!

There is a red pin on my jacket that represents the poppy flower. Which is a special flower in England, it’s for remembrance Sunday. Kind of like our Veterans day, but it’s in remembrance of World War I and this is the 100th year Anniversary of it.

This week we had a great training and interviews with the President and Sister Jordan. We learned to not just focus on the numbers as numbers, or to use “I don’t focus on numbers” as an excuse to do nothing.  We should focus on Key Indicators in the sense that these “numbers” represent people and these indicators are what they need to go through in order to be baptized.  Not to say “ha, I got more than you”- but they are to track how our area is doing in what areas.  We need to think that we are baptizing missionaries.  If we think we are only here to plant seeds, then you will plant seeds, with no hope of harvesting them.  Which will be done in vain.  There will be times when we are having a hard time on our mission and we are planting those seeds, but if we don’t have hope to be able to harvest some seeds then we will never harvest any our whole mission! It was a really good one. Also about how one disobedient missionary can bring down the whole mission, and how one obedient mission can bring up the whole mission.  Sister Jordan talked about fearing no man.  She talked about how Peter had been converted more fully following Christ’s resurrection.  How he no longer feared man and became an effective tool in the Lord’s hands.  She talked about a missionary companionship that was struggling.  One obedient companion and one less obedient companion. The obedient companion said Elder I am going to baptize with or without you, so you can choose to do it with me, or have me drag you along.  It was a really good talk! Then during the talk, the spirit was really strong and Sister Jordan just started going around the room asking- What has changed you in your mission? How have you changed?  And she called on me. I just started tearing up before I even started to say anything.   I talked about how before my mission, I used things to bring me temporary happiness.  That I would use the things of the world to cover the problems I had in my life. But that when I came on my mission, I was being cleansed. In the sense that I was getting stripped of all worldly things and I had nowhere else to turn for peace except to turn to God.  At that point I began to feel the power that the gospel has for people.  And the power began to change my life, bringing me true happiness, and bringing me peace and comfort with things that have happened in my life.  That the things I was using for temporary fix were taken away and I began to find the permanent fix. The gospel of Jesus Christ and began to actually use it in my life. It was a really good meeting.

Studying this week a few things stuck out.

One was the two great commandments.  To Love God and the second to Love our Neighbors as ourselves.  That we need to keep this in priority.  Could you imagine if Nephi would have loved his neighbor more than he loved God. He would have not have killed Laban.  We must love God more than man!

And second- Why Can’t the Dead by Made Perfect without us?  Hebrews 11: 40
“The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us is to seek after our dead. The Apostle says, ‘They without us cannot be made perfect’; (Hebrews 11:40) for it is necessary that the sealing power should be in our hands to seal our children and our dead for the fullness of the dispensation of times—a dispensation to meet the promises made by Jesus Christ before the foundation of the world for the salvation of man.

“Now, I will speak of them. I will meet Paul half way. I say unto you, Paul, you cannot be perfect without us. It is necessary that those who are going before and those who come after us should have salvation in common with us; and thus hath God made it obligatory upon man.” (Smith, Teachings,p. 356.)

And the final thing, we must act. If we receive what we feel is a prompting, whether it be from ourselves or from the spirit, we will not know until we act. You have to act to find what the revelation is from.

That’s about all.  Thanks for the letters, emails and everything!

Love, Elder Stevenson

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Faith isn't faith until it is tested!

A good week.  We have been so busy with lessons and things this week we didn’t have a lot of time for finding.  Which I am not complaining, it’s been nice.  Probably one of the first times in  my mission.  We are pretty busy with things. The area is really doing good right now. I am so grateful for the success we are having.

Our investigators are doing really good.  One is now to the point of thinking there is a God, wasn't sure at all when we first met them. This one has been praying and following a prayer really felt the spirit this week.   Another one had a friend there who challenged the existence of God at the beginning of the lesson, but then started asking questions as we taught.  Finished teaching another one the last of the lessons in preparation for their upcoming baptism.  Also did a few visits with some less actives in the area.  Another one is waiting for a divorce to come through before being able to move forward. One was telling us about standing up and defending the church when confronted with it at school.  Some of them came to church this week.  We also went home teaching with a member in the ward. It was pretty cool! We showed up and he was just like the Elders have a great message about 2 Nephi 9 for us today.  It went good.   One of the members we went to visit this week has his mother visiting. She baked a cottage pie, it was super good! 

Living close to a lake gives us a chance to see so much wildlife!  One day we took some cheese to feed the birds. They just came all around us. It was kinda crazy, geese eating out of your hand.  But it was cool, you would throw it up and the seagulls would fly and pick it out of the air. 

One day while on splits with the District Leader we stopped by the Sisters flat as they weren’t feeling that good. They were complaining about only have lights in half of their flat for a week.  We thought it was probably just a breaker and so checked it.  We were right, now they have light. 

Also went to the London area for p-day after shopping and studies.  It like an outdoor street market place.  There was a place where they have catfish, that are a part of the piranha family. So you put your feet in the pool and they eat all the dead hard skin away. It was the weirdest feeling ever. But your feet are sooo smooth when you get done. 

Then we went and saw the Eye, Big Ben and some other places in London.   It was a good day, pretty long, but good.

This week I found a new favorite scripture, well one of them.  1 Nephi 7:12  “Yea, and how is it that ye have forgotten that the Lord is able to do all things according to his will, for the children of men, if it so be that they exercise faith in him?  Wherefore, let us be faithful to Him”

Also this week studying about the “Whole Armor of God” as found in Ephesians 6.  Here’s what was in the study guide says about it.

“Now notice the nature of the armour that [Paul] puts on the man whom he is now preparing to withstand the powers of darkness. He said, ‘Therefore stand, having your loins girt about with truth.’ Now the loins is that part of the body between the lower rib and the hip in which you will recognize are the vital organs which have to do with reproduction … he was saying that that part of the body was one of the most vulnerable. We should have our loins girt about with armour. And then the next we would have a breastplate over the heart. Now in the scriptures you will remember that the heart has always been used to typify our conduct. … And so we would have a breastplate over the heart.
“And then he said we would have the feet shod with the kind of armour that would protect our feet, suggesting the feet as the objectives, the goals of life which we should have [guarded] by some kind of armour and protected from getting off on the wrong foot. And finally we should have a helmet on our heads. Now there we have the four parts of the body that the apostle Paul saw to be the most vulnerable to the powers of darkness. The loins, typifying virtue, chastity. The heart typifying our conduct. Our feet, our goals or objectives in life, and finally our head, our thoughts.
“Now the kind of armour that was to protect us is even more interesting. … We should have our loins girt about with truth. What is truth? Truth, the Lord said, was knowledge of things as they are, things as they were and things as they are to come. … What is going to guide us along the path of proper morals or proper choices? It will be the knowledge of truth. There must be a standard by which we measure our conduct, else how shall we know which is right? And how shall we know which is wrong? … ‘Our loins shall be girt about with truth,’ the prophet said.
“And the heart, what kind of a breastplate shall protect our conduct in life? We shall have over our hearts a breastplate of righteousness. Well, having learned truth we have a measure by which we can judge between right and wrong and so our conduct will always be gauged by that thing which we know to be true. Our breastplate to cover our conduct shall be the breastplate of righteousness.
“With what shall we protect our feet, or by what shall we gauge our objectives or our goals in life? All through the scriptures there runs a phrase suggested by the kind of armour the Apostle Paul would put upon the feet. Listen to what he says: ‘Your feet should be shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.’ (Ephesians 6:15.) Interesting? What is the gospel of peace? The whole core and center of the gospel of peace was built around the person of Him who was cradled in the manger. … How fortunate are you if in your childhood in the home of your father and mother you were taught the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ, the Son of the living God; the meaning of baptism and what you gain by the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. Fortunate is the child who has been taught to pray and who has been given those steps to take on through life. Feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace! …
“And then finally the helmet of salvation. Did you ever hear of that kind of helmet? The helmet of salvation. What is salvation? Salvation is to be saved. Saved from what? Saved from death and saved from sin. …
“… When those two things are missing from this earth and when it has been sanctified and cleansed of its impurity, this shall be the place of salvation. On this earth will be the celestial kingdom, for there will be no more sin, no more death, no more crying, for all the former things are done away. By whom? By the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul said, in effect, ‘A helmet of salvation shall guide our thinking all through our days.’ …
“Well, now, the apostle Paul went one step further. He didn’t leave the man just with the armour on and expect him to cope against an army, seen or unseen. He had his armoured man holding in his hand a shield and in his other hand a sword, which were the weapons of those days. That shield was the shield of faith, and the sword was the sword of the spirit which is the Word of God. I can’t think of any more powerful weapons than faith and a knowledge of the scriptures in the which are contained the Word of God. One so armoured and one so prepared with those weapons is prepared to go out against the enemy [and] is more to be feared than the enemies of the light.” (Harold B. Lee, “Feet Shod with the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace,” Speeches of the Year, 1954, pp. 2–4, 6–7.)

Thanks everyone for everything!

I suspect this week will go fast.  We already have some service projects set up, a birthday party to attend, Halloween parties to go to, and we are carving pumpkins with a recent convert.  Also have interviews with the President this week.  I suspect that I will be moving next transfer, so don’t send letters after Nov. 5th so I get them in case I move.

Love, Elder Stevenson

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Super Quick Week

Well this week was a super fast week, that got over with before you knew what happened.

“The greatest test in life is not to endure the storms but to choose the right while they rage.- Henry B Erying”

Been here for 6 months and have not gone through the phone log and called all of the numbers.  My companion suggested that we should do that one morning.  So we make a lot of calls to potential or former investigators.  We didn’t finish it in one morning, so whenever we got spare time we would try to call them throughout the week.

Like all weeks, we had some lessons cancel on us, were able to teach a few lessons,  and had a lot of good ol’ finding. 

One night heading home from visiting a less active I wasn’t sure how to get back to the flat. I had only come from the flat to this area- never from this area back to the flat.  So on the way back, I knew how to get so far… so what we did is we went to where we knew, then it was enlightened in my mind where to go next. Then we went there, and then it was enlightened once again about where to go again. So it was a good learning thing to me that is relatable to the gospel. We may not know why we are doing a certain thing in our life, or why this is happening.  Or what we are going to do in life. But if we go to where we know and just keep going. Like how we are to learn line upon line. If I were to just sit down and say I have no idea where to go, then we would get nowhere. But I went where I knew, and I trusted in it, then when that was done, we went a little more knowing where to do. So once we do what we are commanded then God can give us more.

It’s related to another story. One evening we were walking towards an area, and we felt that we should go to another place. So we did.  We went there tracted and nothing happened. Not one even "maybe."  It was not successful. And for a long time I was like why was there a feeling prompting us to go there. And this week I realized it. I felt that the reason we were to do it, is a test in a sense. To see if we would follow promptings. So God would know if we were trusted to get more promptings in our lives. Really learned a lot from that “unsuccessful tracting experience.”

Another day we had a meeting in London. We thought it was to get our iPads, but not.  It was a member of the area presidency who spoke to us. He was really good. One thing he said is “Everyone has a hard time on their mission.”  And another thing he said, “You live a minute for a minute, but you reflect on it for a life time.” He talked about how we are here on earth to prepare our heavenly homes.  He shared a story about how a son was asked to build a house for his dad. The son was like my dad doesn’t need a house he has plenty of houses. But he went ahead and did a little shortcut here and a little shortcut there.  To make it faster and cheaper.  Long story short, he got the house done. It was an ok house, not the best- it had cheaper carpets, cheaper walls, cheaper everything.  The son said to his dad, it’s done. And the father said here are your keys. Congratulations, I had you build a house for yourself...   And how we are here to build our own houses that we shouldn’t make shortcuts in it. When we make shortcuts here all, we are doing is shorting ourselves of some amazing things we will learn or prepare…

The evening of the meeting, I met an elder who was like – hey Elder Stevenson, I followed your blog. I am from another country and followed your blog for a few months before my mission. It was good, got me knowing what to expect.  Then his companion was like- wait, what? That’s you. My mom follows that every week and tells me what goes on with things.  I was like wow! That’s crazy!

This is my last fall in England- crazy to think that. On an exchange this week we were talking about how fast time has gone. And the memories that we have had since the beginning of our missions.  So I got some fun fall photos. 

Another evening we had an appointment with a less active. I was committed I was not  going to accept a “no” to coming to church this week.  We had a lesson about “come join with us” by President Uchtdorf and it was really good.   At the end of the lesson, she was like – alright we will think about it. But they didn’t come. We will be seeing them again though. Not giving up.

Sunday was the Primary Sacrament Meeting program.  It was super good! The kids are amazing at their testimonies of things. My new favorite song is “The Family is of God.”  God gave us families to help us become what he wants us to be.  Amazing song! ! They really did good.

Here's a link to a video of the song.  

The other day President came to town to interview our two potential baptisms.  They both passed. One of them also asked me to do the confirmation.  We ended up making another quick trip to London as well.  What a good day!

This week while studying I learned about the gospel of Jesus Christ.  After we are baptized we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. The question was asked in a book I was reading-why it is given after we are baptized.  So Hummm… The reason is this. No unclean thing can be in the presence of God. And the Holy Ghost is a member of the Godhead.  No unclean thing can dwell in His presence. So we must be baptized, to have our sins washed away so we are clean to have the Spirit of God with us. That is also why when we sin the spirit leaves, because no unclean things can dwell in God’s presence. So once we repent it may come back. But only after we become clean again. Something that was very interesting to learn about, and ponder about and receive insight about such things from the Spirit.

I am studying the New Testament and will probably get done with that about December time. Right when we start reading the Book of Mormon as a mission. Then after we get done with that I will have about 2 months left in this mission, so I plan to read the Doctrine and Covenants again.  Just a fresh read through it from the beginning of my mission till the end.  My scriptures have been getting really marked up. It’s actually quite fun to go back and see the things that have been marked in them. 

Thanks for all of the emails, letters and love.

  Love, Elder Stevenson

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Love From England

Tuesday last week was our p-day, and then Wednesday we switched companions. That first day with a new companion is always a little weird.  When you have been with a companion for 3 months you just know what each other did or would do.  With a new companion, there’s a “get to know you “ period with some awkward small talk and such on the first day.  We had a good first week though.

We were teaching this one guy and he was listening to what we were saying and had a lot of good questions.  About half way through another person who lives in the apartment came to listen, and then another came to join in.  When we went to leave they said perhaps there would be others who would like to join for the next lesson.  It was a pretty good time.

We have done a lot of street contacting and tracting this week trying to find more people to teach.  We also found out that one of my companion's converts from a previous area has just moved into our area, so we will be contacting that one sometime soon.   We had a few lessons work out for the week, and some that didn’t show. Nothing new there- that happens a lot.  We do have two who are looking to be baptized in a few weeks- knock on wood…  one of them actually gave up tea- something they said they would never do!

Showed up at church again this week to find out there was no one to teach Elder’s Quorum again.  It was my 3rd lesson teaching in a row.  It was on how we are to be in the world, but not of the world.  So it was pretty simple. 

Today was p-day again and we were to play football.  It had rained most of the night and so it was super wet. But super fun at the same time. I got super muddy. There was a ball that was about to go out and I was like I don’t think I can get it, but I was like ahh forget it and just slide and it was the best feeling just sliding on muddy grass. It was awesome!

Also got my hair cut today- it was getting long on top, I had let it grow out a little. So this time I had it cut back on top as well.

Made a few changes in my diet as well. I was tired of salads for lunch and dinner. So I have a deli wrap for lunch and a salad for dinner.   Still having oatmeal for breakfast.  Found a sale last week.  Oatmeal was like 60 percent off, so I got enough oatmeal for all transfer for 4 pounds!  So I was so excited about that one!

For service this week, we were able to help a lady set up things for the Primary Activity Day. 

This week in studying I came across something I liked in 1 Corinthians 1:17- the study manual says, “The test of one effectiveness as a representative of Jesus Christ is not how many he or she baptized, but how well he spreads the word of God so that all will hear and obey may do so.”    And also that only spiritually prepared shall endure without fear in the Days (Second coming) ahead. We not only need to see the signs and recognize them, but we need to be spiritually prepared for it as well.

That’s about all.  Thanks for all you do. Love, Elder Stevenson

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Staying here!

Como Esta,

While writing that I just had a memory of a few weeks ago. We were walking to the flat and met a guy.  After talking to him, we realized he knew almost no English, but spoke Spanish.  Lucky for me I knew very little of the Spanish I learned in high school.  I have learned some on my mission of gospel terms and such.  It didn’t go very far, but he knows I am a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and that Heavenly Father loves him. Then I gave him a card with a website on it.  Oh how I wish I would have known more.

Did a lot of finding again this week.  It’s always a pretty long day when all you have is finding for the day. But if we want to teach, we need to find.   2 Corinthians 9:6 “But this I say, he which soweth sparingly shall reap sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.”  So pretty much, we just need to do it if we want to reap. Maybe that reap won’t be in my time, but if I don’t sow, then that reap time won’t come until even later. I see it as if I were not to do it now, then someone else would have to later and they would already be further along in life.  Possibly five months from now. So that is five months of wasted time.  So we love to SOW!

Zone meetings this week meant another an hour and a half bus ride, I thought this week was going to be my last.  But it won’t.  I am staying here!  That’s good.  My companion is moving to another area and had to pack up today.  One of the others in the apartment is also being called to a new area.  My new companion has been out a few months longer than me, and the other new companion coming in has only been out a few weeks.   I kinda know my companion, we were in the same area once before.  It should be good.

Before I knew I was staying, one of our investigators had asked me to do their baptism.   I said I would if I was here.  So now I should be here for that. 

Conference was amazing!  Talked a lot about how we need to follow our church leaders- they are there for a reason- to lead us.  And the importance of standing up for what we have done, not blaming others. The German guy that spoke did a really good talk. About how we need to stand and be responsible for our physical and spiritual well being. If we don’t like what we are and have the ability to change it, then do it- don’t blame others. It was super good.  A lot was taken from conference this week.   It was amazing to see the technology of non-English speakers addressing us at conference, I never thought that day would come.  I had a great time watching conference.  It was super amazing as well.

Finished up the service project of digging the hole for the trampoline this week. A 10 foot diameter 3 foot deep is a lot of dirt.  It was pretty fun.  We also went and helped the member in his garden.  The Christmas cactus pictures are from his house.

Sorry this is a pretty short email, but not a lot been happening.  Fall is coming and it’s getting colder.

With my companion leaving, also a legacy is leaving.  There is a shirt that has been in the mission since 2000.  A missionary passed it to the person he trained and so on and so on to me.  My trainer gave it to me, and since I trained this companion, the shirt goes with him.  It’s a pretty cool thing- the oldest shirt in the mission! 

Thanks for everything- Love, Elder Stevenson

Monday, September 29, 2014

A baptism!

We went by the church during the week to make sure things were okay for the baptism.  The hot water and such.  We had another lesson with our investigator and watched the Restoration DVD.  It’s a really good one. If you haven’t watched it, I would recommend it. It’s on Mormon Channel or YouTube- Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration.  

[Here’s the link]   http://www.mormonchannel.org/joseph  

 A few things struck out to me this time watching it.  One was when Joseph told Emma that they needed to build a temple. She asked why.  Joseph said we are not just building a temple.  The Lord is building us.  And he will shift us and mold us as He sees fit.  Sometimes in life we don’t know why those things happen. But we are in the hand of the master potter.  There is not a need to be worried or afraid of anything. Things will work out. Believe in God. Trust in God.   Another line that stuck out to me was when he was suffering a lot of persecutions. Emma asked how much more of this are we going to have to take. Joseph’s answer-  Maybe I am meant to tread in deep water. And it was just so powerful to me.  It has never hit me as hard as it hit me at this time, that the reason I am struggling and going through a hard time, is because I am meant to be. If I am following the commandments of God and striving to do what is right, then all the rest is up to him. Plain and simple. The gospel is simply beautiful and beautifully simple.

When the night of the baptism came, we gathered at the church.  Our investigator was really nervous.  We had about 10 members from the ward there and it was a good service.  He enjoyed it and it was the first time since we meet him that I have seen him smile.  So things are looking up for him.  The hot water had worked earlier when we checked, but not this night.  It was cold water… super cold.  But still it was very good.  He was confirmed the next day at church.  At the same meeting, there was a little kid who bore probably the best testimony I have ever heard.  He was talking about how there is no end to learning, there is no end in the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are always things that we can continue to do. It was a pretty heartfelt testimony from a Primary age child.  Good things happening. 

We knew we needed a new investigator.  One day we prayed, simply prayed to find that one person that God was preparing for us to meet. On the way home we meet a young man that was wanting to learn more about our church. God truly does answer our prayers- most definitely!

Got to do more service this week. A member was wanting their trampoline buried in the ground.  So a 10 foot hole that is 3 feet deep. It was so much fun.  We only got about ½ done.  There was a good topsoil followed by really rooty, rocky underlayer, followed by clay before we got 3 feet down.  So it a pretty tough task with just shovels. I was thinking how easy it would be to just bring in a backhoe. But it was very relaxing to do hard manual labor again. I love doing it!

This week I have been studying the following section from the New Testament Institute Manual.  Also we had a Zone Conference where we had a discussion about the Book of Mormon and were able to ask any questions we wanted. It was a very good meeting, got a lot out of it.  It was interesting to me.

[Here’s a link to the section he is studying- he commented specifically about the last part of this section 24 where is talks about When the World will be Converted.]  

Joke for the week.  It was from a member of the ward.   This guy went into the eye doctor and they said you need reading glasses.  He paused for moment and said I can’t read- how will reading glass help me read it!  It was super funny the way he said it. 

Another thought for the week.  In Alma 48:23- “Now, they were sorry to take up arms against the Lamanites, because they did not delight in the shedding of blood; yea, and this was not all—they were sorry to be the means of sending so many of their brethren out of this world into an eternal world, unprepared to meet their God. “  This Sunday I had prayed and asked what more can I do here. I opened to this scripture and realized that I just need to keep doing what I am doing. Which is preparing people to meet God. I don’t want to be the one who is sorry for not doing his part of sharing the gospel, because like the scripture said, they were sorry for sending so many of their brethren home without being prepared.

So that is basically life, thank you so much for all that you do. I am grateful for it. Thanks for the prayers, emails, letters and love and anything else.   Love, Elder Stevenson

Monday, September 22, 2014

You never appreciate the simple things in life till you go without

Last week, we lost all hot water. There was an issue with it. So we had cold showers for 1 week until they could fix the water heater.  So I have truly come to realize how nice a hot shower is.  For that week I was dreading showering, because it was always sooooo cold. I could have probably broken my hair off in an ice chunk!  But then hot water again, it was the best experience of my life to be able to take a warm shower. I truly appreciate that little thing in life.

One of my favorite lessons to share with the members is Lehi’s Vision in relation to member  missionary work. How there was the fruit and Lehi liked the fruit and was desirous that his family went and got the fruit as well.   So Lehi was calling for them.   We talk about the different things that happened when people began to come to the tree of life.  Some would hold on to the rod clear to the end.  Others would start to go and then be pulled away by the great and spacious building. Some wouldn’t even begin to come to it.  But Lehi did what he could to bring them unto it.  Just how it is with missionary work, we do our part.  We invite people, we cannot control the outcome.  There are a lot of things that can happen as we invite them, because many are kept from the truth because they know not where to find it.  So to invite is our part, then we will be blessed for doing are part. 

For service, we were able to work in the guy’s garden again. Fresh raspberries again.   Eating ones from the store are not even the same.  Able to help another member with some weeding in his garden as well.   It is always nice to get in normal clothes and just get dirty!  Just like old times on the farm. Service is always good!

A couple of our investigators are making great strides in their testimonies and working towards baptism.  One is so excited to be able to do baptisms for their ancestors once they are baptized. This week we talked about eternal marriage and how temple marriages are forever.   Another of those things that just taken for granted some times. I grew up thinking eternal marriage was just the normal thing to do. But for someone who has never heard of it before- it’s a huge deal!   That was a really good lesson.

The sister missionaries in the area are teaching a family for whom they need a translator.  My companion happens to speak the needed language and since the member who usually goes with them was at the temple that day, we went to the appointment with them.   I had learned to say Hello, How are you? In their language.  So when we walked in I said, Hello, How are you?  They were so impressed that I knew the language, they said to tell them more.   I said, Hello, How are you?  And they all started laughing.  It was pretty cool to just sit and hear them speak in their native language.

We were headed to an appointment on Friday. It had been super sunny that morning .  As we were walking, it started to rain a little so we stopped under a shelter and talked to this guy.  While talking it started to down pour.  Then my companion said, frozen ice is falling from the sky.  He had never seen hail before.  It rained so much. In 30 minutes it put down likes 4 inches of rain and hail. It was crazy how hard it was coming down.  It started running down the streets in a matter of 10 minutes you had a river flowing down the street. It happened we were at the bottom of a somewhat hill area, and the water was ponding up.  

There was 2 foot of water everywhere. I started taking pictures and it just kept piling up more and more rain.  Finally we decided we should start heading for our appointment.  As we went to leave, we noticed there was a car stalled out in the middle of the road that was blocking traffic causing more cars to stall out.  So we walked towards it. The guy said oh____ what do I do now?   I was like hey mate put it in neutral and take your hand brake off.  So we pushed him through it, and then we started to get more people to come and help us. We had about 5 people pushing these cars through this flood area. It was pretty crazy.  The water was up to my lower thigh and super cold, and super dirty water.  My water proof shoes are no longer water proof if they are fully submerged.  It was like I was walking in crocs full of water. Just squish, squish!  We were drenching wet. We were running late for our appointment and super wet. But we did our service the day. So it was pretty fun, it is an experience I will remember the rest of my life. 

This week in studying I finished the gospels in the New Testament. In the study guide is talked about our duty to feed the lambs, to share the gospel. It’s been great to serve a mission and see the difference the gospel can bring in someone’s life. 

Thanks for all the prayers, emails, letters and love.  Love, Elder Stevenson