Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Last Email COMING HOME 9/04/2013

Hello Everyone,    
     Oh my goodness.  I really can't believe that this will be my last email in the Spokane Mission.  In my mind, this is just another week, and I will wake up next Monday getting ready for another p-day.  I don't know that I will truly comprehend it until I am coming off the plane in SLC.  Either way, there is a lot to do this week.  We have so many appointments and team teaching lessons set up this week, and Elder Cahoon and I need to prepare a training for the zone on Friday.  I am actually really grateful to have such a busy schedule my last week.
     This last week has been a great one.  In many of our trainings lately, we've been focusing on the Atonement, and how to apply it into every aspect of our teaching.  We have seen many blessings come from that.  Christina was one of those that has really progressed since her understanding of the Atonement has grown, and since we have been focusing on it.  
     Just yesterday, we had a lesson with Ryan and Tabitha as well and we were able to focus the entire lesson on how they can apply the Atonement to their individual circumstances, and the spirit was definitely felt.  After our lesson with them yesterday, Tabitha was a lot more cheery, and on board with coming to church.
     We took a member last week, Bro Freir, on a church tour.  He hasn't come to church for a few years now because of his schedule, but when we took him on the tour, he was really touched by the Spirit and said he feels he really needs to make it back to church.  After that, he went as far as to check his Sunday schedule to see if there was a way around working on Sundays or at least some Sundays.  He is still in the process of figuring that out.  I seriously love taking people, member or not, through the church.  You can't help but feel peace, and God's love in there as everything is focused on the savior.  They are so awesome.
     Thats it from me this week.  I love you all and am excited as well to get to see you next week.  Missions are the best, and I am so thankful to have been able to serve one.  Once again love you=)

Elder Stacey

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Temple Trip 8.29.2013

     Good afternoon.  Sorry this is going to be a super short email home, but we don't have much time left for emailing after our trip home from the temple.  I love traveling up here though.  The scenery is so beautiful and green.  I never get tired of it.  I really enjoyed this session, especially being able to see the new video.  Everyone was talking about it, so finally we were able to see it.  I really love going to the temple.  There is such a special peace that can be felt there.  I feel it every time.
     All of our investigators are currently doing great.  Christina has come to church the last two weeks in a row with her children, and things are just getting better and better for her.  She has made the decision she wants to make an attempt again at quitting smoking, and we were able to give her a blessing to help with that.  I know she'll be able to conquer it eventually because she is a pretty strong-willed person, and when you have God on your side, of course, nothing is impossible.
     We have had some hit and miss meetings with Chris.  He told us a couple weeks ago he was going to attend another church, but when we stopped by and talked about the Book of Mormon, he was still wanting to learn more about it,  so we are still working with him and helping him come to church.
     Tom and Heidi are still awesome.  Still coming to church, actively participating in church activities and service projects, and studying the scriptures.  I really pray things will be able to work out soon with them so they can be baptized.
     Sorry this is so short, but things are really going great and I am excited for a great week next week.  By the way, our p-day next week will be Wed instead of Mon because of Labor day.  It's super weird that it will be my last one as a missionary.  Love you all and have a great week.

Another Mini-missionary 8.19.2013

     Good day everybody.  I hope your all doing great!  This week was so much fun to have another mini-missionary with us.  This ones name was Tyler, and he was great.  I swear the youth just get stronger and stronger as the years go by.  He has a great testimony and contributed so much to the teaching of our investigators while he was here.
     We have seen a lot of miracles this last week.  One of the biggest for me, however,  is that Christina came to church yesterday, and loved it.  She has really bounced back and is beginning to progress again as we've begun to take a step back and focus again on the atonement.  President Packers quote always rings so true with me when teaching investigators that "The study of doctrine will change attitudes and behaviors quicker than the study of behavior."  I have really seen it time and time again, that when somebody understands the Doctrine of Christ, they change.  They feel impressed to repent and keep the commandments and they actually do it.
     Tom and Heidi are always great examples for me to look up to in patience.  Things just keep coming up for them that are completely out of their control at this point and it is enough to be able to frustrate anybody.  They are so patient with their trials though, reading the scriptures, praying, and ultimately trusting in the Lord.  They are still optimistic, and excited for when they will be baptized.
     We had a sweet finding miracle this week.  Our bishop contacted us and told us there was a less active in the ward (Ryan) that wanted to come back to church.  We set up a time to go meet him and when we go there, we were able to teach not only him, but his girlfriend as well.  He is super pumped about the gospel right now.  So much so that he is working on getting a Book of Mormon put into every room at the hotel that he works at.  His girlfriend (Tabitha) is not quite so excited as he is about learning, but we have been teaching her anyway.  She committed to read the Book of Mormon, and if God told her it was scripture, then she said she would be baptized.  We pray that she will actually read it.
      Thats about all the news from this week.  Next week I will not be emailing until at least Thursday.  I will be going to the temple=)  I'm super excited, this is the first time in almost a year that I have had the opportunity to go.  I love you all and hope that you have a wonderful week.
p.s.  I did get the box of cookies. Thank you so much mom.  They are super delicious.  Love you

Monday, August 12, 2013

Part Member Families 8/12/2013

     This has been another great week in Sandpoint.  Our mini-missionary, Bro. Wood, left yesterday, but the news came Saturday night that we are getting another mini-missionary from the Spokane West stake.  He will be with us for this whole week.  I think that is a great program to help the priests know what missionary work is like and get them excited for when they have the opportunity to go themselves.
     Once again, this was a good week.  Tom and Heidi are progressing still and will get baptized when they are able to.  Christina has been doing so much better this week.  She went to a ward activity this last week and socialized with the ward members.  That really helped and she is more optimistic about the gospel again.  She was talking to Heidi and Heidi was bearing her testimony on how excited she was to be getting baptized and how great of a thing it will be when Christina gets baptized too.
  We found a part member family that has some interest in meeting with us in the future.  The Jones family is a family we have tried contacting on and off when we are in the area since I got here.  We finally made contact with the husband, who is a member this last week.  We had a great doorstep lesson with him and his wife.  As we testified of the Book of Mormon, he told us he felt a desire to pick it up and read it again, so we pray he will do that.  They are out of town this week, but they told us we could come back next week.  
    We took another part member family on a church tour this week which was awesome.  Stan was baptized in November and his daughter is visiting from Ireland for 2 months.  She was pretty interested in checking out the church.  I was on exchanges during the tour, but heard that the spirit was super strong there.  She came to church with him this week which she really enjoyed.
     We were able to have President Boren, who is a counselor in the mission presidency to come to our zone meeting that we had this last week.  He had a quote that really stuck out to me from President Benson I believe.  It went something like,  "When you put God first in your life, all other things in your life will either drop out, or be put into its proper place."  I think about how true that is.  It might not make sense on paper, but when God is #1 in our lives, everything works out.  The happiest and most progressing investigators I have ever taught, have understood and lived that principle, and I have had to exercise that faith as a missionary as well.  I may have said this before, but there are many things I have been asked to do in these last two years that have been very difficult, but when I put my trust in God and just do it, things just work out.
     I love you all and hope you have a great week.  Talk to you next week=)

Elder Stacey

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Mini Mission 8/05/2013

    Hey, sorry I don't have a lot of time today.  We have been real busy today getting things ready for a mini missionary that will be with us this week.  I don't know if you remember last year, but we had the opportunity to to the same thing last August when I was in Moses Lake.  It's a pretty neat experience to have I'm sure for a priest who is preparing to serve a mission.  But like I said, we do have to get a few things ready.  
     This week has been great.  The big news for the week is that Elisha came to church finally!!!  Missionaries have been teaching her for over three months now and have never been able to help her come to church.  We were considering dropping her, and kind of did, but then we stopped by to give her something and she told us she was going to make an effort to come to church.  She did and it was great.  We pray that she will continue coming to church because she really wants to be baptized.
     Chris has been out of town and we haven't been able to contact him this week=(
     Christina has cancelled our last few appointments and we are worried about her.  She still reads the Book of Mormon, which is good, but has not been wanting to meet for lessons for a while now.
     Elder Cahoon and I have spent a lot of time finding and inviting.  It has been great, and I love working with Elder Cahoon.  He is the most energetic missionary/person I may have ever met in my entire life, and it carries over to his missionary efforts.  He loves people, he loves to work, and is constantly smiling.  It will be a great transfer.
     Thats about it for the week.  I can't really think of anything that I need mom.  I will likely be sending some stuff home fairly soonish.  One of those is my bike.  I am really hoping that there is a family that is going to Utah and wouldn't mind taking it, because UPS charges something like $150.  Other than that things are moving right along.  Things are great.  Love you and hope you have a great week=)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Last Transfer 7/29/2013

      Good morning!  We had a great week last week.  The weather has been beautiful, but the word on the street is that it is going to change, and soon.  People say that they feel an early Fall and Winter coming on and it could happen as soon as before I leave.  I hope it doesn't.  At the same time, however, people aren't that great at predicting weather up here.  Pretty much everything that has been predicted has been false or late or early.
    It is always a bittersweet time to see a missionary you love go home, especially when he's your companion.  I really loved serving with Elder Williams.  He was a great, bold, and powerful teacher.  I will be staying in Sandpoint for my last transfer, and my new companions name is Elder Cahoon, and I am way excited for that.  I've served around him before and he is such and optimistic and enthusiastic missionary.  By the way mom, I totally forgot to tell you last week, yes I did get the card, thank you very much=)
     We had an awesome miracle happen to us last week.  We were tracting in a trailer court and ran into this guy named Chris outside with his three kids.  We started talking to him about the church and he told us he was already invited to go to a church that week.  We asked him where and he described exactly where our church is in Sandpoint, so we told him.  As it turns out, he worked with a member from our ward named Katie and she invited him to come to church with her.  His wife recently left him and he is in a real humble spot right now, and he really wants to  learn about the church.  So he went to church last Sunday and we met up with him for a lesson on Tuesday.  When we went over, someone else that we had tracted into that previous day, who was not interested was over at his house.  His name is Donnie.  We started teaching both of them and they are both committed to reading the Book of Mormon and praying. 
     I just love member missionary work.  There is no way that Chris would be as interested as he is if his member friend hadn't talked to him.  I love the push that is going on with members and missionaries working closer together.  The Sunnyside ward is on fire right now, especially our bishop.  He is working so hard to change the culture of the ward toward missionary work, and he is leading by example.
     There is good news about Heidi as well.  All of the legal things that needed to get done before she could be baptized are coming together and it's looking like she can get baptized either by the end of August, or sometime in September.  I may have said this before, but Heidi is without a doubt the most prepared and converted person I have ever taught on the mission.  She makes an effort to read the Book of Mormon every day, and come to church every week, no matter what else is going on in the week, and it shows.  She is so spiritual and strengthening her testimony every day.
     Lastly, we might be able to start teaching this family who has been coming to church for about 8 months now and haven't ever met with missionaries.  They are not members, but come to all three hours of church every week, pay tithing, and their daughter wants to be baptized.  It's kind of a long story of why the missionaries haven't taught them, but suffice it to say that we will hopefully start teaching their daughter either the end of this week or sometime next week.
     Thats about it from me this week.  Great things are happening here.  Great miracles.  I love you all, and have a great week too=)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Ripe and Ripening 7/22/2013

     Good morning everyone, how are things for all of you???  Things are going great here in Sandpoint.  We are emailing a little earlier today by the way mom because Elder Williams is going home this week, so he needed to get some things done and we needed to email earlier.  Because he is going home this week, that means that transfers are next week, so I will let you know Monday what happens.  More likely than not, I will stay in Sandpoint, which I am okay with, it has been a great place to serve.
     This last week was kind of an interesting one.  Between helping the sister missionaries find a new apartment, and dealing with 2 accidents we were involved in (nobody was hurt, and I was not the driver) we spent a lot of time doing paper work, and not missionary stuff=(  It was kind of annoying to be honest (the accident stuff), but it needed to be done.
     We have great news with Heidi.  She finally has her divorce nearly finalized and things are rolling with that.  She has just had so many things that are out of her control that have kept her from being baptized months ago, but they are all coming together and she is so excited to be baptized in the next month or two.
     We have been teaching Christina, and she is struggling right now.  She isn't on date anymore and she is finding it real difficult to trust that the Atonement has the power to actually heal her.  Just pray for her to be able to withstand the temptations that Satan brings to her.  She needs that extra help right now.
     We have had a lot of great success in the past few weeks, but right now, not many of our investigators are progressing or keeping commitments, so we have gone through and are going to continue to go through a huge dropping spree.  We really have felt that we need to stop teaching these people and let the Lord prepare them a little more, and let other missionaries teach them later. Dan, the guy we taught a couple weeks ago is one of these people.  He was on date for August 10th, but hasn't kept any commitments, from reading to going to church, since we taught him the first time.  He is super nice though and hopefully with the last lesson we will have with him this week, we can help his faith in Christ grow to the point he wants to change.
     I don't know if I've ever talked about Elisha, but missionaries were teaching her for about 2 months before we got here.  She went to church last week for the first time, which was the most progress we'd seen in her.  Her husband is a less active, and his family are all active in another ward in the stake.  She is super interested in the church, and wants to learn more about it.  She would be baptized before we got here if she would go to church, but it is something that really intimidates her for some reason.  Like the majority of our teaching pool, she is not really  progressing at this point, and we feel that it would be best if we let her sit for a while as well.
     I feel that perhaps one of the greatest lessons I've learned in these last 5 weeks in Sandpoint is the value of not lingering with people who aren't showing progression.  We are looking for people who are prepared, or "ripe", and if they are not ripe yet, then we let them sit and ripen some more, and look for those who are ripe.  It has taken a lot of faith on our part that the Lord will bless our efforts to find the elect and re-fill our teaching pool, but we have been blessed with finding so many people.
     Thats about it from this week.  I love you all and pray for you all.  Hope you have a great week.  

Love this license plate!