England London Mission

England London Mission

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