Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Thankful To Be Serving 12/17/2012

  Good morning=)  I don't have a whole lot of time today because I am at a library that limits our time.  Things are great here however and I am very excited for this upcoming week.  

Marcus and Melissa are both still doing awesome.  They came to church again yesterday and really enjoyed it.  Like I said they are doing wonderful and are keeping all their commitments, and are excited to be baptized on January 5th.  

Forests grandson, Jacob, was sick this week, so we weren't able to have a lesson with him, but we did give him a blessing and he is doing much better.  He made it to church as well yesterday and seems to be making some good friends in the ward, which is good, because the youth here are awesome and friendly.  

We got a super depressing text yesterday from a part member family that missionaries have been working with for almost three years now.  Their text essentially said that they appreciated all we were doing but they attended a different church yesterday and they enjoyed it, so they plan on going there instead.  What makes things worse is that this is a church that actively teaches anti Mormon classes=(.  Their building is right across the street from one of ours in Moses Lake and since I've been here, they have left anti pamphlets on the windshields of peoples cars in the parking lot at least twice.  

We have good stuff planned for this week though.  We have a church tour tomorrow with a teenager we met in a sober house, while visiting a less active member.  She was visiting her boyfriend and we caught her right before she was leaving and she was interested in what we had to say, so she decided to come on a church tour.  She doesn't actually live in our ward boundaries though, so if she continues her interest, we'll have to pass her off to another set.  

Like I said before, Christmas is a great time to be a missionary.  People are friendly and the spirit of Christ is present so much more in peoples lives.  I am thankful to be serving right now and I'm thankful for the knowledge I have of our Savior and of the Restored Gospel.  I love you all and hope you have a great Christmas.

Elder Stacey

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Grateful For the Knowledge of Jesus Christ 12/10/2012

  Hello everybody hows it going?  This week has been another great week for us.  It sounds like Utah's weather is changing and it's the same in Moses Lake.  For about 2 weeks, we were sitting at about 50 degrees in the daytime, but it has gotten a lot colder these last few nights.  We'll see if it stays cold this time.  

First of all, an awkward experience we had this week.  We were tracting this week and knocked on a door, a lady answered and after we asked how she was doing, mentioned to us that she was not doing well because she just decided she was getting a divorce.  She was not interested in talking at the time, and it was a little awkward for us.  The very next door we knock on, a lady answers and we ask how she is doing, to which she replied that she was not doing well because she just got off the phone and found out her sister had cancer.  She had to make some calls and wasn't really interested in talking to us either, and once again, a little awkward for us.  

This last week we were able to take Forests grandson, Jacob on a church tour and it was an incredible tour.  He is 17 and like I said, hasn't grown up too much with religion in general.  As we went through the tour, you could feel the spirit very strongly, and as we sat down to talk to him a little more, you could tell he was feeling it too.  He told us that everything we were telling him made sense and began trying to explain his emotions, but couldn't quite find words for it.  He wants to be baptized and when we teach him this week, we are going to work on setting a date with him.  

Marcus and Melissa are doing awesome.  Last week we taught them the Word of Wisdom and they are both committed to quit smoking.  We were able to talk to them about their experience at church last Sunday, and they both said that they were very comfortable and felt very welcomed.  Marcus came to church again yesterday and loved it. Melissa was sick, so we gave her a blessing after church.  

It's kind of interesting that when I get into a new situation with an investigator or someone else, it seems to be a repeated situation for the day or week, if that makes sense.  Here's an example.  I haven't had to deal with this situation my whole mission, but three days in a row last week, we were teaching people who have a problem accepting Jesus Christ as a savior.  He can be a prophet and an inspired man, but definitely not a messiah.  It has been a little difficult for me to teach those people with a mentality like that.  I just don't get it.  I don't know how someone could read any writing on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ and come to that conclusion.  I completely agree with C.S. Lewis when he said that it is a foolish notion to think of Jesus as a great moral teacher and not to be what he said he was, namely, the son of God.  Anyway, I don't know if that made sense, but it has really made me grateful to have the knowledge I do about Jesus Christ, and especially for this Christmas season and what it means.  I love the Christmas season.  I really think it brings out the best in many people and it is just a great time to be a missionary.  I hope you all are having a great Christmas season and a great Christmas.  Love you all.  

Monday, December 3, 2012

Grateful to be a Missionary 12/03/2012

Hello how are all you guys doing?  I have loved reading about Thanksgiving and it sounded like a great time.

     We started teaching some awesome people last week.  All missionary work done from recent converts as well.  The first three came from Josh.  Brittney is a niece of the Dales and has been living with them for about 8 months.  She was a member of the church, but her records were removed a few years ago.  When she first moved in with the Dales, she was not super interested in the church, but would attend to be polite.  Josh himself was not a member of the church when she moved in, so I personally think a big part of her interest came in seeing the change that came into Josh's life and the lives of the whole family after he was baptized.  One night, while we were doing the new member lessons with Josh, we invited Brittney to officially take the lessons with us and she accept.  Her concern mostly stems in the Book of Mormon, and her desire to read it.  As we taught we were able to testify about the Book of Mormon and the great impact it has had in our lives, and she has committed to read a chapter from it.  

     Marc and Melissa are a family we began teaching last week as well.  Marc works for Josh and after Josh was baptized he started asking questions about the church.  Like I said we started teaching them and took them on a church tour last week and the spirit was so strong there.  I have such a strong testimony of church tours.  Every church tour I have ever been on, the nonmember has said that they felt "something", especially in the chapel.  So anyway we took them on a church tour and invited them to be baptized on January the 5th and they accepted!  They have told us multiple times that they just want to feel God in their lives and be able to do good for other people.  They have such pure desires and I respect them so much.  

     Forest invited his grandson on a church tour and we will be going on a church tour tomorrow with Forest and his grandson.  I feel that this is another instance of someones interest being peaked because someone they were close to has changed in so many positive ways after living the Restored Gospel.  So we will have more to share on that next week, but now I have to talk about Forest and Josh for a moment.  These are two men who are truly converted to the Lord.  After they both made the commitment to follow Jesus Christ and live the Gospel, they haven't settled for anything less.  They know the commandments, and they keep them, and they don't justify doing anything else.  I respect them so much and I know they are going to do great things.  The different people of all different walks of life who are able to change as they embrace the gospel is a testimony enough to me of the truthfulness of the Gospel.  I have said this before, but I have seen the Gospel change people in so many great ways.  

I am so grateful to be a missionary right now and have cherished the experiences that I've had.  I am once again excited to be here for another transfer and work here in Moses Lake.   Love you.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Third Transfer Time - Still in Moses Lake YAY 11/26/2012

    Hello how are things with everyone?  We had a great week again in Moses Lake.  First of all, transfers were yesterday and Elder Isaacson and I are actually staying together a 3rd transfer.  I am super excited for that.  Missionaries typically don't spend more than two transfers together, so this is good news for us.  I will also get to spend Christmas in Moses Lake which is also awesome.  

     Two weeks ago, we had kind of a bummer week, but that was all made up for this week.  A lesson that I re-learned this last couple weeks, is that good things are always around the corner as long as your diligent and don't give up.  We had a week full of miracles, which were answers to many prayers.  It started with a part-member-family.  Kerrigan and Angela lived in the 3rd ward when I first came here, but recently bought a home in 1st ward.  That was a blessing for them in so many ways.  With their new home and a new job that Kerrigan has, we are able to teach them consistently.  Angela has taken lessons from missionaries for about two years on and off, and really wants to be baptized.  After a couple visits with them the last couple weeks, we invited Angela to be baptized and she accepted.  They are planning on getting married on the 14th and then if all goes well there, she will be baptized on the 15th.  Pray for them that everything will work out for their wedding next month.

     We picked up some new investigators as well this last week.  Two families that seem right now to have some great potential.  Abel and Yesenia are a couple we tracted into and they invited us to come back.  When we did we talked about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.  Neither of them are active in any church and are pretty leery about churches, but we committed them to read the Book of Mormon and they accepted.

     Pete and Patricia are a couple that have been formers/potentials for a while now.  We gave Patricia a church tour about a month and a half ago and after that, we went into teaching limbo with them as they said they were interested, but that it wasn't a good time.  We street contacted Pete on exchanges and he invited us back as well.  They have been going through some hard times so we were able to really explain the savior and the atonement. They have had some great questions about the church as well.  They have said that they would read and pray about the Book of Mormon as well.

     The week ended on a super high for us as we were able to go to the temple with sister Hopkins as she went through for the first time.  As I've said before, I love the temple and the complete peace that I feel there.  It was especially spiritual for me to be able to be at the temple and support her and her commitment to the gospel.  We have had a lot of progress from 1st ward recently, which is great because it has been historically more difficult to find things to do over in 1st ward, but the members there have given us a ton of support this last month and work is picking up there.  I am super happy to stay here at least one more transfer.   Thats about it from me, I hope you all have a wonderful week and love you all.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Super Short 11/19/2012

This email has to be super short this week.  My pday is actually on Saturday because I am going to the temple on Saturday.  Sister Hopkins is going through the temple for the first time and she asked if we could go, and we are super excited to go and support her.  I will be able to write more next Monday, which will be our transfer day as well, so I will know if I will stay in Moses Lake or if I am going somewhere else.  Elder Isaacson and I are doing well and so are all of our investigators. Sorry this email is so short=(  Love you all and have a great week.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Eventful Week 11/05/2012

Dear Everyone,

We had a great week this week.  It was pretty eventful.  Elder Isaacson crashed his bike and banged himself up pretty good.  Nothing serious, but he's been in pain ever since.  We moved out of the Hunsakers house and into Bishop Tucker's.  We had a good day on Halloween.  We invited all our investigators to the wards trunk or treat and most of them came.  We were getting sick of peoples comments about our  "great costumes" (we are missionaries) so we decided for Halloween I would dress up as Elder Isaacson, and he dressed up as Elder Stacey, and surprisingly, we got a lot of comments on it.  

Amy, one of our investigators from a couple months back, who is the mother of the girl who got baptized a month ago, came to church yesterday.  I'm sure it was a great experience for her because pretty much all of the testimonies talked about things that she needed to hear and understand.  We are hoping that we may start to be able to teach her again.  We have been thinking of sisters in the ward who might be able to fellowship her and be a friend to her as well.  

Hernan and Amada didn't come to church again this week.  They keep promising us that they will come to church and every week they end up not coming.  We have talked with them about pretty much every reason to come to church and in many different ways ranging from teaching them why we go to church to showing them all of the great things that come from coming to church and keeping the Sabbath day holy.  I really think they want to come but right now, when Sunday comes, they find other things that they feel are more pressing to their needs.  We have not really known what to do for them, so this fast Sunday we decided to fast for them and to find a way to help them progress.  I feel our prayers were answered as we went to church and talked with some of their friends in the ward about what to do.  

This week I've been thinking a lot about how the Holy Ghost works in little ways, such as the testimony of another to help answer questions people have and help them to understand the gospel.  I've seen it happen so many times, especially when it comes to church, when a talk or a Sunday school class has talked directly towards a concern one of our investigators had.  For example, about 4 months ago, while Forest was still apprehensive about tithing, our Sunday school class talked about the commandments and the importance of keeping the commandments.  One member of the class was sharing an experience of how keeping a commandment (tithing in this case as well) blessed her and her family even though it was difficult at the time.  It was a simple, yet powerful testimony that addressed Forests concern in every way.  It is a testimony builder to me to know that where we don't, and can't know everything that our investigators are feeling and going through, the Holy Ghost does, and will touch their hearts in different ways to testify to them that the gospel is true.  

That's about it from us this week.  I love things here and we are working hard.  Thats it from me this week.  Love you all.

Elder Stacey

By the way, I don't know if I've talked about Forest since he went into surgery.  He is doing good.  They think that they were able to get the tumor out before it spread, and his spirits are high.  He is going to invite his son and family to take the discussions pretty soon as well.  He is awesome.  Thank you for putting his name in the temple.  I know those prayers were answered.  Love you

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Biking In The Rain 10/29/2012

Hi Family,

We had a great week here in Moses Lake.  It has been really rainy and cold and apparently, in parts of the mission, even snowing a few inches.  It has just been raining here and we have been doing a ton of biking in the rain.  Interestingly enough, I would rather be biking in the rain and get wet than bike in the heat and have 100 bugs stuck on your suit coat every time you stop, which has recently been the alternative.  

We have been pretty steady these last couple weeks of picking up new investigators, but we have had somewhat of an issue of retaining them as investigators.  We have these really great and spiritual lessons with them and set up a time to come back and teach them again, and then the appointment falls through and it's difficult to meet up with them.  We were able to finally meet with one such family this week, which was great.  Their names are Janette and Jose, and we were fearing that they were just avoiding us, but we stopped by last week and had a lesson with them and they are still really interested, but super busy right now so it has just been a hit and miss with them.  It was a blessing that we went over there when we did however because when we went there, they weren't home.  Janettes mother was outside waiting for them to get home so we started talking to her.  

She lives in Soap Lake and a couple years ago had been taught by sister missionaries.  When they got transferred, the new ones didn't keep in contact with her so she fell off the radar.  Her family has been going through some difficult times right now and we were able to testify of the gospel and its ability to strengthen families.  It was so awesome and she told us that she wanted to have missionaries come by and teach her.  I really hope things go well with her.  

Another instance of this trend is a lady named Patricia.  She is renting from a member and has asked questions about the church, and the member invited her on a church tour, so we took her on one.  It was a great church tour and she loved it, and we set up a return appointment for last week, but she ended up canceling on us as well.  She told us she really liked what we taught and wants to keep learning, but now is not a great time for her.  

We don't really know what to do to help Hernan and Amada progress right now.  They have had some problems keeping the commitment of going to church and reading the scriptures, and we have had numerous lessons with them about those very things.  They keep promising us that they are going to come to church and read, but something always inevitably seems to come up and they decide not to go.  We did have a lesson with them last week regarding baptism and the Holy Ghost, talking about the two parts;  Baptism and the Gift of the Holy Ghost.  We then talked about how we take the sacrament to renew those promises and that is why we go to church.  I think that lesson hit her hard because after that she asked "so what does that mean for someone in my situation who hasn't been baptized."  We explained to her that that is the reason why we are baptized and why we are here.  To teach her and invite her so she can have those blessings.  She really felt the spirit that lesson, but still didn't show up for church, so we are running out of ideas for them.  

Other than that we had a great week of walking and finding people.  There is a lot of work to be done and the members have started giving us more referrals and people to see, which has been a blessing to us.  Love you all and hope you have an awesome week.

Elder Stacey

Monday, October 22, 2012

I Love My Missionary Experiences 10/22/2012

Dear Family,
We have had such a good week last week.  Fall is definitely in the air and our nights have started getting colder and darker=(  The cold and the dark are not things I particularly enjoy as a missionary.  Last year, there were so many people who would get upset at us knocking on their door at 4:30 because they were getting ready for bed.  Or the ones who tell us they’re not interested, and then in an almost sarcastic way tell us they hope we stay warm.  At the same time, I am excited for the winter as well.  I had a great time last winter in spite of the cold.  

Sometimes, I really feel spoiled as a missionary at the experiences I have had and the people I get to meet.  This week we had the privilege to take a lady named Patricia on a church tour.  She is renting from some members and has had some contact with members of the church in the past.  She has had only positive experiences with the church so far, and wanted to learn more about the church.  The spirit was so strong in that church tour, especially when we were at the picture of Christ being baptized.  After we taught her about the Restoration of the Gospel, we asked her that, if she were to find out the church was true, if she would be baptized, and without hesitation, she said yes.  I really believe that she has been touched by the Spirit and can feel that this message will change her life.  

Forest has been doing good as well.  Like I said, he was really excited to be able to take the sacrament for the first time last week, and was super disappointed that he would be in the hospital the next week.  He really does understand the meaning of the sacrament and the Gospel as a whole.  His surgery went well, but they found cancer in the growth they removed.  They now have to do some tests to see if the cancer has spread at all and if he would need to go through chemotherapy.  If you could keep him in your prayers that would be great.  

We had a lesson with Hernan and Amada on Saturday, and they told us they would be coming to church, which they did not do.  It has been really hard for us to help them come to church these last couple of months.  It's been really hit and miss with them.  This week we really feel as if we need to talk to them about the importance of the Sabbath day and coming to church.  I am very confident that they are going to be baptized, and I really wish I could be here for that, but I don't know that I will.  I just really hope that I can do something more to help them out with their testimonies and helping them feel ready for baptism.  

Those are some of the great things that happened this week.  These last couple weeks have been kind of a blur, not in a bad way, I just can't seem to think about everything I want to say when I sit down to the computer to talk about it, so sorry this email is a bit short.  But I love you all and hope you all have a great week.

p.s.  We are moving to another house next week.  Any mail sent should be sent to the mission office because I don't yet have the new address.  I will have it next week though.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Two Baptisms 10/15/2012

     Hey hows everybody doing?  We just got our transfer calls and Elder Isaacson and I are both staying another 6 weeks.  It is really exciting for me to be staying in Moses Lake for 1 more transfer.  The members here are wonderful and we have been working with them a lot my stay here.  One goal we have made for this upcoming transfer is to help both of the wards put more of an emphasis on the focus five list.  I don't know if the focus five is a church-wide program or just a program in this mission, but it is totally inspired to help the members and the missionaries coordinate work together and help us work together.  I have seen some success stories just in Moses Lake alone.  

     Anyway, we did have a great week that ended with a way awesome weekend as we were able to see two baptisms.  It was a really busy weekend, and stressful.  For me baptisms are really great and spiritual, but stressful as I feel like I need to make sure everything goes perfectly.  In my estimation, they both did.  Forests baptism has been one of my highlights in Moses Lake.  The spirit was so strong the whole time.  Forests nonmember sister and son and their families came to the baptism and they loved it.  Forest has been the most converted and prepared person I have ever met at by the time he was baptized.  One thing that I have learned from Forest is how, at times, the sacrament can be taken for granted by us.  The thing Forest was most distraught about after his baptism was that he would be going into surgery this week and would miss taking the sacrament for his first time for two weeks because of that.  When we let him know that he would be confirmed before the sacrament was administered, he lit up and was so excited he would be able to take the sacrament this week.  That is the joy of a person who completely understands the atonement of Jesus Christ and his role in our lives, and I am thankful to be able to know Forest and learn from his example.  

     The other baptism this week was not actually a convert baptism, but a baptism of a girl whose family I have gotten really close to in Moses Lake, the Hopkins.  Her name is Alexis, and it was a great opportunity for her and her family.  Elder Bernards came up actually this weekend so he could baptize her, so I was able to see him as well this week.  Like I said, the Hopkins family is a family I have come really close too and they have been going through a rough patch, and I really think this baptism was a needed spiritual boost for them.  

     Other than the weekend, we did have a good week.  We spent some time doing service for people, and we did a lot of tracting and street contacting, but we did not find any new investigators this week.  We were really busy however this week and are excited to work hard this transfer.  There is a lot I want to talk about but I can't think of anymore right now=( so I  hope you have a wonderful week.  Love you all.

Elder Stacey

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Moses Lake Is A Great Place To Be A Missionary 10/08/2012

Hi Everyone,   

 I love general conference!!!  I love listening to the prophet and others of the Lords servants.  I would have to say that the talk that I feel spoke to me the most was the talk given by President Monson in priesthood session about seeing people not as they are, but how they can become.  That talk I feel applies particularly to missionary work.  As you go out to meet people, it really is crucial that you see them through Gods eyes and in the potential they have than in seeing every little thing that needs to be fixed in their life.  Since I've been a missionary, I think one of the greatest lessons that I have learned so far is just that, to not judge people based on what they look like, or what they do, or how they talk, etc.  I am not perfect at it, but I know I have come to love the people I meet regardless of how they treat us or whether or not they accept our message and change because of it.  

Anyway though, we  had a wonderful week last week.  The highlight of the week was in finding a family who had been taught somewhat by the missionaries in the past.  They are the neighbors of some members and they told us to go knock on their house, so we did.  This family is such an awesome family.  They love the Bible and have great testimonies of our savior, but don't like organized religion.  They told us that when they had met with the missionaries in the past, that they were given a Book of Mormon to read and didn't really feel anything when they read it, so they just put it away.  We talked with them a lot about the Book of Mormon, its origins, and its role in the church.  We talked about how it wasn't meant to replace the Bible, but to go with the Bible, to be read together, and together the two books become a powerful witness of the Savior.  We helped them overcome many misconceptions they had about the Book of Mormon and when we were done, the father (James) told us he felt the spirit and was now intrigued to read the book.  They are a way nice family and have a lot of potential in the future.  

We met with Hernan and Amada this week and they are still progressing.  We talked about baptism with them again and asked them what they feel would be the greatest holdup for their family.  They responded by saying that they know they need to be baptized, (and to me, they sound like they want to as well) but they want to be able to make it more of a priority in their lives first and be able to feel like they can put their whole hearts into it.  We explained that there is not likely to ever be a "convenient" time in their lives in which everything is calm, but they can be and feel ready by reading the Book of Mormon, Praying as a family, and coming to church.  They committed to do all three, and they did come to conference and loved it.  

Forest is getting baptized on on Saturday!!!  He has invited all his nonmember family to the baptism and they are coming.  As well as a nonmember neighbor who he invited.  he's not a member yet, and he's doing great missionary work already.  he is so prepared and excited for his baptism.  More details to come next week.  Those were the highlights of the week.  

Elder Isaacson and I are loving working together and being in Moses Lake.  It is a great place to be a missionary.  I love you all and hope you have a great week.

Elder Stacey

p.s.  By the way mom, I did get the package with the ties and the Halloween package as well.  Thank  you so much, I love the ties.  Thanks for all you do.  For all your support and prayers.  I am thankful to have a family at home who supports me out here.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Service 10/01/2012

Hello Everyone,

We had quite a busy week last week.  It started off a little slow as far as meeting with our investigators, but we made up for it by doing a bunch of service and street contacting.  We spent a lot of time moving people in to houses and doing some service projects in peoples yards, which was pretty nice.  I have come to really enjoy doing outdoor work when people ask us for their help.  We met a few really great potentials, but they all lived outside of our area, so other missionaries get to meet with them instead.  

We did find a new guy this last week while we were looking through the ward roster for a less active lady.  The woman just married her husband about a month ago I think it was and he is a wicken minister (I don't know if thats how you spell it).  When we got over there, he was telling us how he had missionaries come over in the past, but they never came back after a couple of visits.  He expressed interest in having all of the discussions and learning about the church, so we set up a time to see him and his wife this week.  He made it pretty clear he didn't want to join the church, just wants to learn about the church.  He was really nice though and he's got some potential.  

As far as our investigators are concerned, Forest is awesome and is so excited for his baptism on the 13th.  He got up in priesthood and was talking about how much  he has loved his experience in the church and how friendly and welcoming the ward has been to him.  Every time he reads from the Book of Mormon, and every time he prays he feels the spirit and he knows that this is right for him.  His decision is softening the hearts of his family as well and he will be a great influence to his whole family.  

Hernan and Amada both work now and it has been difficult to catch both of them home at the same time, but they love coming to church and when they can't come themselves, they arrange with the members to have their children go.  You can tell that they know going to church is important to them, and they love the spirit there.  I am sure that they will eventually be baptized as a family, so we continue to work with them and answer the questions that they have. 

Hailey is such a great person to teach.  She is the teenager who wants to get baptized, so her dad made a deal that if she will read the Book of Mormon and Bible and convince him it's a good idea to get baptized, he will let her do it.  We had a lesson with her yesterday at the Cranstons (her member friends) and it was a really great lesson.  She has such a strong and pure desire to follow Christ and be baptized.  We talked about family and how the gospel is meant to bless our families as a whole and invited her to talk to her parents about taking the missionary discussions, which she seemed pretty excited about.  I have never found a greater example of someone who was "kept from the truth only because they knew not where to find it."  Now that she has found the truth, she will grab hold of it, and she, just like Forest, could be crucial in helping her family come to the gospel.  

We are seeing great miracles in Moses Lake and are loving every moment we have to find and to teach people the gospel of Jesus Christ.  My testimony grows stronger and stronger every day as we study the scriptures and go out with diligence to find and teach these people.  I am looking forward to a great week and hope you have a great week as well.  Love you all. =)

Elder Stacey

Monday, September 24, 2012

FALL IS IN THE AIR - or maybe it's just smoke 9/24/2012

Hello from Moses Lake.  Fall is in the air and things are beginning to cool down quite a bit here.  Part of it may be the fires in Wenatchee that have caused a ton of smoke in the air.  It has been smoggy all week from those fires and it's starting to get a little irritating.  But anyway, we had a great week.  

We found a really cool couple this week while we were tracting.  The wife was out by her car so we started talking to her about the church and she invited us to come back the next day.  We did and her husband was there as well.  They both grew up Catholic, but told us they were open about learning and exploring other religions.  The wife (Janette) in particular has had some great experiences with members of the church in the past, and I guess that sparked her curiosity.  We taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the spirit was way strong.  With a little commitment and member fellowship I really believe that they could both gain a testimony of the church and want to be baptized.

We have been teaching Forest more often now that he is on date for the 13th of October.  I am so proud of him and the decision he's made to make this a priority in his life.  It could be really easy for somebody in his position to make excuses about why they shouldn't, or can't make such a commitment, but he knows it's right and he knows that is what he needs to do and he doesn't let things get in the way of putting the Lord first.  I know that is going to be a wonderful baptism.  

Speaking of baptism, Kylie's baptism was yesterday and it-like all baptisms-was a very spiritual event.  Her nonmember mother and soon-to-be step-dad were both there and you could tell they felt the spirit.  Kylie will be such a good influence in that family and to those she meets.  I really hope that the spiritual feelings at the baptism, as well as the example that Kylie will be, will eventually soften her parents hearts to the Gospel.  They are good people who just need the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost in their lives.  

I don't remember if I talked about it last week or not, but we've started teaching a teenage girl who really wants to be baptized.  It started by her being invited to girls camp and her experience there was so great, she bore her testimony and expressed genuine interest to learn more and become baptized.  That was about 2 months before we began teaching her, but when we did, she really had pure desire to learn and to have answers to questions that only the Gospel can satisfy.  Her mom is apparently okay with her being baptized, but her dad doesn't want her to.  He made her a deal that if she could read the Book of Mormon and the Bible completely through, and then convince him that the church is true and it would be a good idea to get baptized, then he would let her do it.  A statement like that tells me there could be potential for him as well though, because if he could be convinced the church is true by his daughter, then I'm sure he would want to be baptized as well. From what I know of her, if anyone could do it she could.  

There is much work to be done here and I am grateful to be a part of that work.  I feel so thankful that the Lord would trust me with this part of his "vineyard".  I know I'm not a perfect person,  I guess thankfully he doesn't expect us to be perfect, but I try my hardest everyday, and try to improve my abilities everyday, and know that as long as I'm working my hardest that the Lord will make up the rest.  I am able to see improvements in myself everyday, and I'm so thankful for a Savior to help us when we do fall short.  I love the Gospel, and I love being a missionary and teaching people about the Gospel.  I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week.

Elder Stacey


First of all (I keep forgetting so I have to write this first)  Yes, the suit fits great.  I love it, as well as the pears=) and other stuff you sent.  They have been much appreciated.  

We had a week of miracles this last week.   It started with our member fellowshipper for Kylie calling us and informing us that Kylie wanted to be baptized and that her family was in complete support of it.  This was great news for us because when I first got here, Kylie wanted to wait for her uncle to get home from his mission so he could baptize her.  He left after I did so that would have still taken another year plus.  The baptism is scheduled for this upcoming Sunday and it is going to be great.  

Forest committed to a date as well!!!  He has told us that he has made up his decision and is ready to put his whole heart into the gospel now.  He is so excited for his baptism on Oct. 13th.  He is so prepared and has a great understanding of the church and the gospel.  He has talked with his whole family about it and they are supportive of him as well.  The mission has been such a great time to meet people that you would have never had a chance to know in your life, and I am grateful for that opportunity.  I learn so much with every person that I meet and get to know, and most importantly I have found that I love these people and wish to do anything I can to help them receive the restored gospel.  Forest is no exception.  I feel so privileged and blessed to know him, and he has been a great example for me in Moses Lake.  

We met with Hernan and Amada this week with the Spanish sisters in Moses Lake.  We wanted the Spanish sisters to come because we wanted to talk specifically about baptism with the family and last time we did that, there was a bit of a language barrier.  We didn't want to take chances this time and we were glad to have the sisters because it was a way spiritual lesson.  We were able to find more of their concerns than we previously had and we had the opportunity to talk about the Spanish branch with them, which we feel would really be a better fit for them at the present time at least.  They did both say however that while they did not feel ready for baptism, that they have loved the feelings they get when they come to church and fellowship with the members, and ultimately I think baptism is their goal.  So we continue to work with them.  

We met with Johnny aka Spoon for the first time in about two weeks which was wonderful.  Spoon is one of the most prepared people I have met, and I love to go and visit with him.  He LOVES to talk, and because of that it can be somewhat difficult to teach him at times, but he is learning quickly and now he has expressed interest in taking his whole family to church next week to see how they feel about the church.  We have had many other great things happen and I wish I had the time to talk about all of them.  Needless to say I am happy to be here and I am thankful for the work we have right now.  I am so thankful to have Elder Isaacson as a companion as well.  He is awesome and I love working with him.  Thats about it for me.  Love you all and have a great week.

Elder Stacey

Monday, September 10, 2012

Short Email 9/10/2012

    Hello everybody, how are things going for you all?  Things are going great here.  I got my new companion on Tuesday and his name is Elder Isaacson.  He's fresh out of the mtc and he is really excited to be out here to work.  We had kind of a slow week this week as far as lessons are concerned, but we did have good lessons with most of our investigators.  We had a lesson with Forest this week and when he came to church, he mentioned to us that he was ready to make the commitment to be a part of the church and he wanted us to let him know everything he had to do to be worthy to get baptized.  So when we go over there this week we will be talking about that.  The family that we're teaching from the Dominican Republic-Hernan and Amada- are progressing well.  They have had a lot of fellowship from the ward and are loving their experience with the church.  We are hoping to have a lesson with them this week when the spanish sisters can come as well where we can talk about baptism and make sure that there is not a language barrier like there was last time.  We have had kind of a slump as far as finding new people to teach this last couple weeks.  We received some promising referrals though that we need to contact and hopefully get some investigators out of it.  I can't really think of a whole lot more to update on.  I am way excited to be spending another transfer in Moses Lake.  Its a great place and I have been so thankful for my time here.  I love you all and have a great week.  Sorry this email is a bit shorter.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

"Killed" a Companion 9/03/2012

     There is a lot going on in my head right now.  First of all, Elder Bernards has left and I am spending the next two days with some other elders in my district.  Like I said before, killing a companion is not a particularly enjoyable thing.  I really enjoyed my time serving with him, as I have with all my companions so far.  I don't yet know exactly who my new companion will be until tomorrow morning.  

I'm staying in Moses Lake for another transfer and I am really excited about that.  There are great things happening here and I love that I get to be a part of it.  Johnny, aka Spoon was at church again on Sunday and he is progressing really well.  He has completely believed everything we taught him so far and has told us he wants to be baptized.  He has really unique concerns that I have not seen before.  His concern is that it is so good to be true that he almost expects to get some fine print details in the questions he asks, but when he gets the answer that he wanted to hear, and that makes sense to him, it throws him off.  It's opposite of what I'm used too.  Instead of trying to prove it wrong, he's trying to prove it right, and he wants to make sure that we will teach him everything he needs to know to be a member before he becomes a member, which is exactly what we do as missionaries.  I've decided it might be a unique concept to other people that we will break down the door to teach everyone about the gospel, but the moment they begin to be interested in what we teach and in baptism, we begin to throw up these barriers of sorts to make sure they are prepared and ready to make that decision for themselves.  So anyway, he is doing great and soaking in everything we are teaching him.  

Forest has been making good progress with regards to coming to church as well.  He has attended the last two Sundays in a row and every time he goes to church he has had great answers to questions he's had.  He is a prime example of someone gaining revelation from church attendance.  His major concern still is that if he pays tithing, then he will have to cut off supporting his grandsons, and we have been trying to explain to him using various scriptures and analogies,  that Heavenly Father and Christ would not let his grandsons suffer because he made a choice to follow them, but it is something he will have to figure out for himself.  We have decided last week that we are going to focus less on tithing now, though, and more on the Gospel of Jesus Christ and how exactly the Gospel fits into his life.  I continue to pray that he will gain the faith necessary to put his trust in the Lord and make that final step. 

 The Dominican family we are teaching are doing great.  We left them 2 neph 31 to read as a family and when we went back to follow up, the 11 year old (Alex) had a question about baptism.  His question was asking about the need to be baptized because Christ was also baptized.  The parents were baptized before in the Catholic church, but their children never were, so Alex was pretty excited about the prospect of baptism, so we will be talking about that this week when we meet with them.  Other than that, we have been working with members these past few weeks and teaching them about missionary work and how to be effective member missionaries.  If ever you are in doubt about what to say to nonmember friends, just read D&C(and other scriptures) and find all the promises associated with doing missionary work.  For example D&C 33:7-10, D&C 84:80,85,88, and D&C 100:5-8 are all great scriptures that give us great promises and blessings if we go out and share the gospel with our friends.  We are never alone when sharing the gospel.  Thats about it from me this week.  I hope everybody has a great week.  Love you.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Crazy Awesome Week 8/27/2012

     We had a crazy awesome week this last week.  That man, Spoon, who came to church last week, we have been able to have two lessons with.  He is doing great and has told us he wants to be baptized.  He is praying about September 29th as a date.  He has made comments on how his Indian tribe always taught these great principles that they should follow, and about how in their beliefs, they teach that Jesus Christ came to visit their people.  He talked about how they were only things that were passed down from generation to generation and never written down or recorded.  So the fact that he sees all these things recorded in the Book of Mormon is a big deal for him.  We have another appointment with him today.  

Forest came to church as well this week and bore his testimony in Gospel principles class.  We have decided to back off on the tithing issue so much and focus more on the basics, to help him gain more of a testimony of the gospel and its principles.  We continue to pray for him, that he will be able to overcome his fears and get baptized soon so he can enjoy the blessings now.  We also met with a very less-active woman who was evicted from her house last week.  The bishop sent us to talk to her to see what exactly it was she wanted/needed help with from the church.  We went by and talked to her and her two nonmember children for a bit and invited them to come to church, which they did.  She told us that church was something that she wanted to make a part of her life again, so we hope to be able to work with her and her kids more in the coming weeks.  

Things are going great here and I have faith that we will continue to see miracles in Moses Lake.  This next week is the last week of the transfer and my companion, Elder Bernards is going home.  We have had a lot of great times and it has been great to serve with him.  It feels real weird to be killing off a companion and I don't want to do it again.  Anyway, I hope you all have a great week and love you.

    A couple things real quick,  President and Sister Mullen have put together a mission website called washingtonspokanemission.wordpress.com which is a blog on the mission and how things are going on in it.  If any of you are interested, that is the site.  Also, that is so cool that you all are going to Leavenworth.  That is just a little more than an hour away from me.  It is part of our mission and there are sister missionaries serving there right now.  I don't know if you've ever been there, but I hear it rocks so have fun.

     Mom, you have been on my mind a lot this last week.  I have so much respect for relief society presidents and the work they do.  Especially as a missionary, I have learned to work with them so much and they are a great asset to the work because of the devotion they put into their calling and thinking of others.   I know you are perfect for the job because you care about people and I know you have a great testimony of this gospel.  Just know that my prayers are going out to you.  Have a great week, love you.

Elder Stacey

Monday, August 20, 2012

Finally - Some Photos

Josh Dale's Baptism
Moses Lake, Washington

Our last district meeting of last transfer

Us with our mini missionary, Bro. Simpson
Moses Lake, Washington

Helping Sis. Braun make dinner.
Libby, Montana

The swinging bridge.
Kootenai Falls, Montana

Kootenai  Falls,  Montana

Me eating a disgusting dried squid.
Sis. Braun brought it back from her trip to Japan.
Libby, Montana

Elder Stacey and Elder Hatch

Libby, Montana

Carl and Linda Dabel
Libby, Montana

Moses Lake
Moses Lake, Washington

Moses Lake is Awesome 8/20/2012

    I only have a few days to report on since I last wrote.  First of all I guess I should start with my back.  It doesn't hurt, but my companion has been going to this guy for about 2 months now.  I decided one day to ask about my posture, if my spine had anything to do with it, and if that was the case, would it be wise to do any chiropractic work on it.  He told me to set up an appointment and he would check it out.  So thats kind of what happened there.  

The last part of the week has been great.  Moses Lake is awesome.  We have had a few solid weeks where all the lessons in Sunday school and priesthood/relief society were focused on missionary work.  Because of that, we got some great referrals from members on Sunday.  Even though Amy has expressed that she is not interested at this time in learning anymore from us, she is still okay with us teaching her daughter Kylie, and something great happened there.  Originally, she wanted to wait to get baptized until her uncle got home from his mission so he could baptize her, but that is still more than a year away.  On Friday, she told us she doesn't want to wait for that and she just wants to get baptized as soon as she can.  We talked about the Holy Ghost with her and told her how much of a blessing the gift of the Holy Ghost would be in her life, and she is really enthusiastic to be getting baptized.  That baptism will be a great blessing for that whole family and I'm sure Kylie will be such a positive influence for her family.  

We had a members non-member friend show up to church yesterday.  He is actually the friend of this members daughter who is a less-active right now.  He went to church once before and afterwards he told her he couldn't believe she had left.  He felt something different in this church that he didn't feel in any other church he'd ever been to.  It intrigued him enough to come a second time and he seemed to really enjoy it.  He wants to start having the missionaries come over, so we have an appointment with him today and are praying that will go well.  Things are looking to be great this week, but even if things don't turn out the way they are planned I am working on having a good attitude anyway.  That has been a challenge for me that I know I need to work on.  Missionary work can be a roller-coaster of emotions in a week and I have learned that I need to have a good attitude and be optimistic in the ups and the downs.  Once again, I am glad to hear everybody is doing well.  Love you all and have a good week.

p.s.  random fact about Moses Lake I learned this week.  Moses Lake and other cities in Central Washington are part of an extensive irrigation system, that began during the great depression, starting at the Grand Coulee Damn, and ending somewhere by the Tri-Cities.  Water is pumped directly from the Columbia river and travels down a series of reservoirs, and all the unused water ends back up in the Columbia.  Because of this, there is basically infinite water supply for the farmers around here, and the water, I guess, is uber cheap.  This is why there is such a heavy LDS population in Moses Lake, because when this irrigation system began, land was really cheap and a ton of LDS farmers from Utah moved up here so they didn't have to compete.

Thursday P-Day 8/16/2012

   So, first of all, today is obviously not monday, and I totally forgot to tell you that our p-day this week was on Thursday=O.  Sorry.  My companion has a convert going through the temple today, so we got permission to go to that this week.  This will be my first time going to the temple in almost a year, which I am really excited about, and it could not have come at a better time I'm sure.  We have had a really hectic week and a half and it will be nice to get some extra spiritual energy that the temple can offer.  In the Moses Lake Stake, the stake presidency has made a HUGE push on families and couples going to the temple as often as occasion would allow.  He even exercised his priesthood keys as a stake president during stake conference in which he issued, in my mind, a pretty incredible promise.  He promised that if every worthy family in the stake would attend the temple at least monthly that he believed that divorce could be completely eliminated in the stake.  That is a pretty grand promise in my mind.  Anyway, I digress from my point.  My point was that having this huge push on going to the temple it has made me miss not being able to go to the temple as often myself.  It's something you wouldn't really think about sacrificing as a missionary, but it is a sacrifice only to be able to go to the temple once every three months at the most, and generally not even that.  We had, like I said a hectic week.  To start with the good, we met Forest last week, and he told us that he is ready to make the commitment of coming to church every week.  He is SOOO CLOSE to baptism.   We had a few good contacts on the street and from some referrals as well that looked really promising when we first met them, and after that, they dropped us.  Also, our investigator Amy dropped us on Monday as well because she said that she wasn't ready to make the commitments necessary.  We did have zone conference last week which was a great and needed spiritual boost.  Quite a bit of what President Mullen and his wife talked about was essentially not getting yourself down.  Too often we are our own worst critics and we beat ourselves up for every little mistake that we do or make.  He mentioned to us how much Christ loves us and recounted something that Elder Holland talked about in conference (now I'm about to butcher this statement but it's a good one anyway).  He said essentially that surely one of the greatest Joys of God is when he gets to be merciful.  Christ is a merciful being, not a judgmental being.  Ultimately he will inflict the least amount of punishment on us as he can( something he quoted from I think president Faust).  Our human nature causes us to fall short every day, but thats why we have repentance and the Sacrament.  So long as you are always trying to be better, you will be enough to the Lord.  They talked a lot about never giving up as well.  You can fail 1000 times, but the moment you give up is when Satan wins.  So ultimately his advice to missionaries,(and I think you can include anybody) who continually judge themselves for not being better was "You are a child of God and you are enough to Him."  This may be a sappy email this week, but I felt like maybe somebody could use it. that's about it for me this week though.  Love you all and have a good week.=)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Things Going Well 8/06/2012

     We had a busy week this week.  We have spent the majority of the week trying to find new investigators because we have a little trouble retaining our current ones.  It's been ongoing every week since I got to Moses Lake, where one week we have a ton of lessons with investigators, and then the next week, we don't have those investigators anymore, with the exception of a couple who have been progressing.  Forest is SOOO close to baptism, but can't make that leap of faith right now that if he pays tithing, the Lord will take care of him.  He knows he needs to pay tithing and get baptized, and he says he's even willing to do it when he figures out how to budget it, but in his mind right now, it is either; pay tithing and cut off helping his son and grandsons, or help his son, and not pay tithing right now.  We keep trying to show him how the Lord will take care of not only him, but his grandsons as well if he keeps the commandments, but he needs to figure that out for himself before he can make that commitment.  Satan is working on him real hard right now.  He decided not to go to church this week for not any real reason, and in Sunday school, we had a lesson that, if he were there, I'm sure would have helped immensely to overcome his concerns.  Amy seems to have been really hard to get a hold of since her boyfriend came back.  Hopefully we'll be able to make contact with her this week.  We taught a guy named Daniel who we did some service for last week.  We finally go into his home and taught him and his 14 year old sister-in-law the restoration.  He told us he was willing to explore and study about the church.  He said he is open to learn more and if he received a confirmation that the things we taught are true, he would get baptized.  His sister-in-law seemed to be listening pretty intently as well and we are hoping that we will be able to meet with them again.  This week we have a mini missionary coming from Spokane for the whole week and that is really exciting.  Other than that, not much to report.  Things are going well and hope you all have a great week.  Love you.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Another Good Week in Moses Lake 7/30/2012

Hi Everyone,     
We had another good week here in Moses Lake.   The temperatures have been fairly mild last week, with one exception of one day in the high 90's.  But I guess I shouldn't complain about that because I hear that Utah and other various places are getting scorched.  The big news for this week is that we had 6 investigators come to church last week.  This is a big deal because we have struggled getting investigators to commit to coming to church, and then following through with their commitment.  Amy and her kids came to church again, which was good.  She has been making a lot of good progress in the last week.  We can tell that she has been more optimistic and happy.  The bad news about that, however, is that her boyfriend came back and wants to get back together with her.  He is not really nice to that family at all, so I really hope it doesn't turn out, and you can keep them in your prayers So we are really hoping that she will not take him back.  
Our golden first contact, Bruce, didn't turn out.  He had to cancel our appointment last week because he was going to Idaho.  I would not be surprised if he had some anti preached to him during that trip.  He said he was interested in researching the Book of Mormon, but didn't want to come to church and he doesn't want us coming over right now.  Maybe some good will come of that in the future.  
Forest came to church again and he is so close to baptism.  He read the whole first book of Nephi in a day, and was talking about principles that he learned from it during Sunday school.  The other people who came to church was a family we began teaching last week.  Hernan and Amada are the parents names and they have two children.  They are from the Dominican Republic  They are friends of some members of the ward and came to our wards Pioneer Day celebration.  We took them on a church tour and they really enjoyed it, as well as church.  They were pretty adamant about not joining any church, but we will continue to teach them because they have a lot of questions about the church.  
We also have had more service opportunities this last week, which was good for us.  We did some weeding for a family we street contacted and they were very grateful, and hopefully we will be able to take them on a church tour.  That's about it for me this week.  Have a great week everyone.  Love you all.
Elder Stacey

Great Things 7/23/2012

     This last week was a much better week than the week before was.  First of all, I did get that package of cookies last week and they are quite good.  Thanks mom.  But we had some great things happen last week.  When I first came here, we were teaching an 8 year old girl whos parents are divorced.  The dad is a less than stellar example of a member of the church apparently, and she lives with her nonmember mom and her boyfriend.  Like I said, we were teaching the girl to begin with, and she wants to be baptized, but we started shifting focus over to the mom (Amy) the last couple of weeks.  Because of her upbringing, and her relationships, she is without self confidence or self-worth, which is really sad.  Some great things happened last week in that her boyfriend is now out of the picture, and she is in a real humble spot in her life.  We had a lesson last week in which we focused on the fact that she is a child of god and that she has eternal potential and worth.  It went positively because she wanted to go to church, which she did yesterday.  Her member fellowshipper/friend was talking to her at the end of church and told her that if she was happy the way things were going right now in her life, that she can continue the way she is.  But if she wasn't happy, then to seriously consider baptism for herself.  After that was said she started tearing up and she said she was not happy right now.  She is in a real teachable spot right now in her life and I hope we can continue to help her.  We are having another lesson with her tonight in which we are going to watch, "You Matter To Him" by President Uchtdorf, which I would recommend everybody to read.  We also picked up a new investigator last week.  his name is Bruce and he was the most golden first contact I have ever had in my life.  He was a referral from a member of the ward and she had just met him outside his house while she was on her way to visit a friend.  She started talking to him and found out his wife passed away 6 months earlier.  He mentioned how he was sad that he would never see her again, to which she responded, well maybe you will.  That had sparked some interest in him and he was interested in meeting us.  When we met with him, he started talking about how he doesn't smoke or drink, and he gave up coffee and all these other things and how he is serious about getting into the church.  He asked us if it was okay to have a Book of Mormon and study it for himself.  He also told us that he was planning on coming to church whether or not we had met with him this week.  We have really high hopes for him.  It has been nice to be able to start building up a teaching pool again.  Things are starting to pick up for us, which is good.  Hope everybody has a great week and a good pioneer day.  Love you all.