Monday, August 14, 2017

Dying in Darlo :(

Monday, August 7, 2017

Proud to be apart of this great work!

hiya fam!!

Hope you have all had a great week! We have been so blessed this week, Heavenly Father is amazing and truly guiding the work here. 

There are so many highlights...
The first one is that Elder Ballard came to the ELM! It was a very spiritually uplifting meeting. President Turvey had all the missionaries fast together for 24 hours before the meeting and when Sister Chantry and I said the prayer to open our fast I could feel the power of all the missionaries in our mission. Being able to fast together as a mission brought such an amazing spirit and feeling I will never forget. It was my last mission meeting and what a way to end! We had some other incredible general authorities speak to us and I could feel so much love from each of them. It made me so so grateful that I am apart of such a great work, the best work in the world! It is such a privilege to serve the Lord, I am so thankful for the incredible experiences I have had and will continue to have. 

I love what Elder Ballard said, it was all centered on, or led back to our Saviour Jesus Christ. I realised that is how everything I say and do should be. It was funny because he spoke last and the speakers before him spoke so highly of us and then Elder Ballard gets up and is like, "you are all great but you're not translated yet." haha. Because of our fast and preparing well I was able to receive so many answers to questions and so much revelation.  Something President Turvey said in the meeting really stuck out to me. We need to align ourselves to God and His teachings. If we don't agree we need to change our opinion. I love that!

Another highlight was that Sister Chantry and I have been praying to be led to someone who's ancestors will be able to help influence them to accept the gospel and who want their temple work done. And Saturday night we went by this random less active because we were in her area, she wasn't in so we went to her neighbours house who was a muslim and she let us in and told us that the lady's sister lives across the street! So we went by and met her sister, she broke down and told us that her sister had died a year and a half ago. We told her a little about the Plan of Salvation and Jesus Christ and she said we could come back the next day. That night as Sister Chantry and I were reflecting on our day it hit us that our prayer had been answered and her sister will be able to help our new friend progress in the gospel and come to know the truth for herself. It was a very powerful experience as the Spirit confirmed to us that it was true. 
 When we got to her house she apoligised and said she didn't want us to come back. We were devastated but were pretty bold and she let us in! It was one of the most spiritual lessons I've had on my mission, I could feel the Spirit speaking through me as I testified of Jesus Christ and His power that she could have in her life. She wants to believe so bad but said she will put up a fight. I could feel that her sister was there and was going to be able to help us. I am so thankful for Heavenly Father leading us to her and letting us recognise an answer to our prayers. 

We got to go to Sister Cook's area and spend the night because we had a little meeting the next morning with them in Leeds. It was so good to be back together and reminisce and talk. We stayed up pretty late that night talking and woke up really early.. bless!! You really do meet your best friends on your mission. 

I also had my last appointment with my doctor and it was pretty much just all about the gospel and Christianity. He asked more about the Book of Mormon because he looked through it and said he is interested and going to read it!! I was able to testify of the power it has. I know that everything happens for a reason. He also said he is so thankful for missionaries because christian missionaries found his grandparents and planted the seeds and then his whole family was converted. He said you never know the great work you do. 

I am doing my best to enjoy this beautiful country and incredible work. Its so apparent that Heavenly Father is with us every step of the way!

Love you all!

Sister Stevens 

On the coach with Elder Norton

When you get to have a sleepover with your BFF, Sister Cook!

Last fish and chips!!!

Sister Melgarejo!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Missionary work continues in the hospital!

Hello everyone! 
This week has been hilarious to say the least!!!! I am grateful for all I have learned but I am also grateful it is over. I ended up back in the hospital again this week after a week full of horrible, horrible pain following my first surgery, but now it's all getting better. Slowly but surely. 

We mostly took it easy this week and stayed in Billingham with the other sisters so they could switch off staying with me. It was fun to talk to each of them and get to know them better. They all helped me so much and made me feel like a princess haha I am getting spoiled over here :)

Some favourite moments of this week:
The first was a couple hours after I came out of the operating room and I was starting to feel more with it. The nurse came in (she was so nice and friendly and helpful!) and we just started talking and then she asked us if we were Mormons! She said she knows some Mormons who go to the Billingham ward! And she was asking us questions and really open. It's funny because if I was in normal missionary clothes with my badge she probs wouldn't have wanted to talk but being in the hospital gave us a great opportunity to be less threatening and easier to talk to! 
Haha also minutes before I was being put under the anesthesiologist asked me all about the word of wisdom, it was great. 
Then when we finally came back to Darlington we were able to see our investigator from the Philippines. We had a great lesson and she came to church on Sunday! She has been investigating for quite a while and she finally came to church!! It was a miracle! She really enjoyed it and hopefully it will become a regular thing. 

I read a talk recently that President Turvey suggested we all read. It is by Elder Hamula from 2008 called, Winning the War Against Evil. I feel it can relate to all of us because none of us are exempt from Satan's temptations. He suggested some things that we can do to overcome Satan:
·       Pray as Joseph Smith did, earnestly and regularly. The more earnest and regular, the more frequent the revelation and answers. 
·       Learn the voice of the Lord. It's a still, small whisper and its felt more than it's heard. A lot of times He speaks to us through our thoughts, feelings, and impressions. 
·       Obey the word of the Lord, do what He asks no matter how hard it seems. When we do the will of the Father our knowledge and love increases and we will be more willing to follow Him. 
I have definitely seen Satan trying his hardest to get me to quit and give up. But I know that Heavenly Father is right there helping me stay strong and accomplish the things He has given me to do. I have seen that as I have applied these things to my own life (and as I am still applying them) I have become stronger. It's still a challenge each day but Heavenly Father will not give us anything we cannot overcome with His help. I am so so grateful for His love, grace, and help each day. 

We are having an all mission conference on Wednesday and Elder Ballard is coming! I am excited to hear his counsel and to see all my missionary friends before I go! Heavenly Father has blessed me and surrounded me with such great people. Glad we get to have one more reunion before I head home! 

I am looking forward to giving all I can these last 3 weeks. I know there are loads of miracles waiting! Hope you have a great week!
Sister Stevens 

 last week we went to the church one day between surgeries to watch church movies...trying to stay sane w the pain :0

Monday, July 24, 2017

Lots of pain pills and prayers

Hi everyone! 

Bless this week! Sorry, this email may be a little lame. I don't have much energy to write. But here is a bit of an update... So I was able to have the operation Thursday night. And it was a really neat experience. I was feeling very anxious and nervous but President Turvey gave me a blessing before and it brought a lot of peace. I was able to talk to a lot of nurses and doctors and they all asked me so many questions about why I am here and about our church! It was really cool to be able to share our beliefs and what I do as a missionary right before I went under haha. 

The past couple days have been quite difficult, not gonna lie. There have been times where I have literally just been so done because of the pain. What I thought would be a 2 day recovery is ending up to be a little longer than that. But I have faith and hope that I will be back to my old self again! 

I have felt a lot of love from all those around me! President and Sister Turvey came and visited me in our flat and talked to me for a bit. It was so thoughtful. One night someone knocked on our door and it was the elders in our area with dinner for us! So cute! Haha and then today the sisters brought their air mattress from their flat and I've just been sleeping and laying on it in the church. Lol good mems. 

One thing that I realised this week was how important taking the sacrament is for me. It's something that has helped me keep going. If you can make to Sunday you can make it through anything! Even though I was in so much pain & suffering Sunday morning I got up, got showered, and we went to church. We ended up leaving right after we took the sacrament because it was too much but I am so grateful I was able to take it and to remember what really matters. 

I know that Heavenly Father loves us & is always there cheering us on no matter what we are going through. Thank you for all the support, emails, and prayers! I wish I had the energy to email all of you back but know I appreciate them so much! 

Love, Sister Stevens 
the surg 

FHE with Josh and some less actives last Monday

came and brought brownies and sang the day after my surgery

My Pday

Monday, July 17, 2017

It's been a rocky week ;)

Hello everyone! 
This week has been tough, Satan is trying his hardest on me, but I am fighting back! Good news is the doctors finally found out what is wrong with me! I have kidney stones :):) so this week I will be getting them removed and I will be able to finish strong! 

We went by one of our investigators house one night this week & she wasn't in, but her daughter & husband were and we were able to teach her daughter! She said ever since we started teaching her mom she had started to believe in God again. We are excited to keep going over & help her get involved with the other youth in the ward. 

We also taught our Filipino investigator who's son is a member in the Philippines. We had a great lesson with her about the plan of salvation! She said she has a hard time believing in an after life but her understanding of it grew so much. She said she knows the Book of mormon is true and wants to get baptised eventually but she is a full time carer for her husband who is really ill and can't leave him. We are praying for an opportunity to get her to church! I realised how much I love teaching the lessons in preach my gospel. They are so simple and they invite the spirit so much. 

Josh is doing super well! He has been inviting his friends to the ward activities and doing some missionary work. Emily (the mom) & Josh friends with a less active family in the ward and they have been getting them to come to church more! They have been experiencing the joy of missionary work too :) 

I think what has brought me the most peace this week and helped me to keep going no matter my situation and no matter what I can and can't do is knowing Heavenly Father still loves me. Even if I can't get out of bed, or be a normal missionary right now. I get so caught up sometimes about my leaders thinking I'm not doing enough or if my indicators are really low but I remembered what it says in the white handbook last night, my loyalty is first to the Lord. I am thankful for that! 

We had a great lesson in relief society about service. It definitely helped me realise how much happier I will be when I choose to focus on others & how I can help them. President Hinckley said something that really stuck out to me, 
"Do you want to be happy? Forget yourself and get lost in this great cause. Lend your efforts to helping people. Cultivate a spirit of forgiveness in your heart against any who might have offended you. Look to the Lord and live and work to lift and serve His sons and daughters. You will come to know a happiness that you have never known before if you will do that. I do not care how old you are, how young you are, whatever. You can lift people and help them. Heaven knows there are so very, very, very many people in this world who need help. Oh, so very, very many. Let’s get the cankering, selfish attitude out of our lives, my brothers and sisters, and stand a little taller and reach a little higher in the service of others… Stand taller, stand higher, lift those with feeble knees, hold up the arms of those that hang down. Live the gospel of Jesus Christ. Forget yourself." I love it! 

I am spending the day exploring England with my trainer Sister Pro, who has finished her mission and lives here now...defs a highlight. Love her so much!

Have a great week!
Love, Sister Stevens 
our mission leader got another bunny

district meeting

good ole' England

Sister Pro

Sister Chantry