England London Mission

England London Mission

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

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Pretty normal week this week

We did a lot of street finding and had some lessons.  One of our appointments with a guy ended up being a fake address. But I felt that we should stay in the area and knock a few doors around. So we did and there was a man that was like ya come on back.  Kinda crazy, one of the first ones that was so like ya sure.  

One lady misunderstood tithing- she thought it was a requirement to pay to be a member of the church.  We were just doing a door stop and explained that it was a commandment, but no one was required to pay to be a member of the church.  She agreed to let us come back and visit more about it.  So we stopped back by and she was like don’t come knock again or else I will call the police. We have no idea what is going on with her- so we will see what happens.   

We asked one guy why he hadn’t read the Book of Mormon and he was like I am busy.  So we asked what can we do to help you read and he was like- well there is one thing you can do, make the day 26 hours long!  Good sense of humor- love it!  

Able to share the Plan of Salvation with a person who was having a tough time dealing with some loved ones passing away.  We have a couple who are progressing in their testimonies and making steps towards baptism. 

We also had a workshop for the youth in the area.  They were having a youth camp and asked the missionaries to do a few workshops that morning. The sisters taught about repentance and we taught about hard work.  It was a pretty good day.  We talked about how with hard work we will be able to accomplish things, that if we work hard, things will be better for us.  Then shared a video about a man that talks about how in order to be successful, we need to fight through the hard times, the pain and sacrifice things.  Then we linked it into the gospel of Jesus Christ, and how it is a progression gospel. There is no such thing as standing still in the gospel. It’s an escalator, if you don’t walk forward, you will go down. That we need to work hard in order to progress in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Then we shared some personal experiences. 

For service this week, we were able to help paint a house.  Love service!

Quote for the week-  Orson Pratt, “The children of Zion love in proportion to the heavenly knowledge which they have received; for love keeps pace with knowledge, and as the one increases so does the other; and when knowledge is perfected, love will be perfected also.”  That in order to have more love, we should study the scriptures more.  I thought that was a pretty good quote.

Thanks for everything- Love, Elder Stevenson

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Another week down

Another week is down. Sometimes it seems the week goes super slow, and other weeks they go even slower, but most weeks they go pretty quick.   We did a lot of finding again this week.   And some more cancelled lessons.   We did have a few lessons this week.  Also a Zone Meeting in a neighboring town which took most of one day.  This week for p-day President Jordan met us at a member’s home and provided a big bbq complete with American hamburgers from Costco.  It was pretty cool!

We usually do lessons in homes or at the church. But this one evening, we decided to do the lesson at a park.  We met the investigator there and had a good lesson.  While we were teaching him, the sun was setting and geese from everywhere started to come in from all directions to land in the lake for the night. It was a pretty cool thing to witness.

We were able to have another day of service at member’s home also. Loved that!  We cut down some more trees, and cleaned up the branches.  Nice to just have physical labor.  I felt much better after getting a chance to work hard, good stress reliever. 

We had planned to go to town centre one evening, but we didn’t even make it there.  We almost got to the entrance and my companion stopped a guy. He talked for a long time with him, so I just stopped everyone that was walking out of town centre.  It was a good evening. 

One appointment cancelled in an area of town that we don’t normally go into.  We were walking and three teenagers stopped us.  They had seen the documentary about what Mormons believe and had a lot of questions. We visited with them for about 30 minutes about everything from the law of chastity, word of wisdom, the purpose of life, a lot of things.  They are pretty interested in learning more- and it all started with a documentary trying to make fun of us. 

One of our investigators is trying to live the gospel to the fullest, even wanting to fast with us this week.   And saying prayers on a daily basis. It was hard to remember to pray awhile back, but now it’s just automatic, like not even a thought anymore.

Thanks so much for all the support and prayers- it really means a lot!

Love, Elder Stevenson

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Long week of Missionary Work

Because of transfers last week and possibly needing to go to London for them, we didn’t have any lessons planned on Wednesday.   We both stayed, but didn’t have anything planned, so a long day of finding.  Most of the appointments we had planned for the week fell through as well, so a lot more time trying to find people to teach.  One of the guys we contacted gave us his address to come contact him and it ended up being a school…. So that was a real funny joke?!?!? 

We did enjoy dinner with one of the recent converts in the area.  It was pretty cool.  One of our investigators had to call and say not to come. He was locked in his house!  That’s right locked in his house. Houses here in England have a key to unlock from the outside like we do in America, but they also have a key to unlock from the inside, there is not a knob thing on the inside to lock or unlock.  Have to check back with him another time.

As we were walking home one night, we walked past this guy. About ten seconds later my companion said I think we should have talked to him.  I was like ya, we should have, let’s go back.  We went and stopped him.  He was a man that sits there every evening kinda just relaxing.   We found out he’s been through some hard times.  He said some previous missionaries had stopped and visited with him before.  He didn’t think anyone understood how he felt and no one knew what he was going through.  I talked to the guy about Christ suffering for us and how we can see our families again, about the afterlife and all that.  He asked how did I know it was real.  And questioned if I could really know. I said that yes I can actually.  I explained that I know there is life after death, and talked about my experiences with death and how that is why I know it to be true.  I just know it.  He was kinda astonished. But it was a good thing and he agreed to let us come to his home sometime.

For p-day this week we played football. There was a kid from Idaho in the group and so we were able to talk some country talk for a little.  We end up spending a lot of time with the other Elders also. We all stay at the flat during study times in the mornings. Although we cook separately, we usually eat lunch and dinner at the same time. We also have the same planning time and we often see them throughout the day, especially when doing service or at meetings. It’s been good.

  I have been eating a lot of chicken salads and lost about 10 pounds since I got to this new area.
Sunday the lesson was on Sacrifice- latin- Sacer-Facere which means sacred to make, so making things sacred to God. And it was about how true sacrifices are hard to give. It is something that is hard to give up. If it is easy, it’s not a true sacrifice.  But sacrificing is giving something up for something of greater worth. So for instance, giving up 10 percent of your income to receive as the scriptures say- Open up the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing that they will not be room enough to receive it. Something of great worth.

Our mission had 56 baptisms last month, the highest it has been in decades. The goal was 50, so it’s really good.  Truly hastening the work of the Lord.  Next month will hopefully be higher. 

Thanks everyone for all that you do, and for all the prayers and emails/letters I get. Have a great week!

Love, Elder Stevenson