England London Mission

England London Mission

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