Monday, September 22, 2014

9.22.2014

Hello everyone!!
     
Yet another week of miracles. :) Remember Axel who I talked about with you before, who just recently got baptized? Well, we started teaching his mom on September 7th, the Sunday before his baptism. At first when we met her, we were giving a lesson for Axel, and then afterwards we asked permission from his mom if he could be baptized for the following Saturday. Without any problems she said, "Yes." After getting to know her for a bit we then encouraged her to come to church with us that day, and she said "yes" again. 
     
She had this curiosity about the church since our first visit, and the following afternoon wanted to come to church so she could have a better idea of what Axel is experiencing. For all three hours I was with her, helping her, doing my best to explain all that was going on, so she would feel comfortable and Not confused. After the 2nd hour, I asked her how she felt about it so far. She said that if it hadn't been so calm, reverent, and peaceful she would have left running. Haha. She said she visited other churches and didn't like the environment as much, felt like people sometimes were screaming and demanding. Very simply she said, "But I like this church."
     
The second visit we had with her we put in a date for baptism for the 18th of October. I was so happy she not only said "yes" but that she is so willing to know more. Before we had even discussed or had given her a Book of Mormon, she borrowed Axel`s and started to read. She is now beginning 1 Nephi 5. WOW!!!! Since the day we've met her, she hasn't missed a single church meeting. She reads and does (and more) of what we assign her. . . .Our zone and district leaders encouraged us to find among our investigators, those who are willing, to be baptized before the end of September. We thought about Angelica since she has progressed so fast.
     
I honestly felt a bit nervous to ask her if she would want to be asked to be baptized this month, since, well, I've never asked someone so quickly before. Hermana Suret and I by the power of the Spirit, asked her if she would like to be baptized the same month as her son. We also told her if not, that we can continue to plan for the 18th of the following month. I didn't want her to feel pressured in any way, I knew she has been progressing so well, and I knew if she didn't receive baptism this month, I felt the comfort she would in the following.
     
After a moment of tense silence, with a smile on her face she replied, "Yes." Oh my goodness!!!!!!!!!!!! I did not know how to react, I couldn't believe it!!!!! She then began to share that several years back she had a dream. A dream in which she saw the resurrected Christ coming out of the sepulcher, reaching forth His hand to her in all glory. She felt that when the truth of His gospel would come to her she would know. She felt this great sense of peace and love. Angelica said she knew that this is His gospel, because we as missionaries came to her. 
     
She is getting baptized this Saturday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What power The Holy Ghost has to touch people`s hearts. Angelica inspires me to act more in my faith and live more righteously. This Saturday we will have known her for 20 days, less than a month. What blessings the gospel brings!!!!
     
This is THE gospel of Jesus Christ. I know it, I live it, I love it. :)

Hermana Stephenson!!!!

Monday, September 1, 2014

9.1.2014

Hello again!!!!
  
Hermana Suret and I are just finishing up our first change together (6 weeks), that´s SO crazy!!! I feel like I just got to this area, the time is really going by so quick, it´s crazy! Well I am happy to say that I got a really awesome package this week!! One of the elders from the office called me and told me he had it...so for three days until I got it I was wondering what it was...it was like Christmas, torturous, exciting, and so fun all at the same time. Haha, then when I got the package, I just had to let it sit on my bed, until we came back later that night from working. It may sound really cheesy and maybe a little dumb, but those rocks (as Daniel says) I call food (Grape Nuts cereal)--they were the first thing I saw as I opened the box and I almost cried, I was so happy! Thank you Daniel and your whole family for taking the time to prepare and send me such a wonderful package!!
     
Okay, for events that happened this week--so we got to baptize our investigator Jorge Rocha this week, but he didn't come for his confirmation. We have a visit planned to talk to him about what happened and why he didn´t show up, later this week, since he has to work. If it weren´t for his member friend, Erick, who is in our ward, I don´t know if Jorge would take much interest in the church. Every investigator who becomes a member needs at least one friend by their side, that can help them in anything they need, or questions they might have. Something I want all of you to know, that the only difference between you and me, is I am wearing a plaque just below my right shoulder. We are ALL called to preach the gospel, and we all hold responsibility of sharing it with others around us (Alma 5:49-50). An advantage as missionaries is we get to preach the gospel all day long, but every chance a member can share their testimony with someone, share it!! :)
     
I know that at times it feels nerve-wracking to tell people what you believe, how you live, and what your standards are. Even being here in the mission I still feel like that sometimes, especially when the people continually reject or change what you say. I know that there is only one way back to Christ and our Heavenly Father--and it´s through the Gospel of Jesus Christ--which can be found in the Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints. Only in this church do we have the power of God to receive our salvation, and that is through the holy priesthood. We are the only church on the earth that has the priesthood, because Christ is running our church, and I truly believe He reveals sacred truths to His prophets.
     
I feel disappointed at times when people do not understand this, when they say that all the churches are the same, but I know that it isn't true. The Holy Ghost has testified over and over again to me that we are in the true church! "That by no other name mankind may be saved." I am also SO grateful we have powers to use in our sacred ordinances to bind our families together forever. I am very happy with the family that I have, it´s like I have four all combined into one! I originally didn´t picture my family to be like it is now, but I really don´t want it any other way. I love you Mom, Dad, Jeff, and DeNai! I love all of my siblings and step-siblings too! I have less than a year, and how great the reunion of seeing you all again will be. :) I truly want to thank each of you for loving me; supporting me physically, spiritually, emotionally; and most of all for making me feel like I am a part of you. :)

I love you all so much, and have such a wonderful week in the first week of September!!!!!!! Woooohooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D