Monday, April 22, 2013

Zone Leader Duties 4/22/2013

Good morning everybody,

     Last week was a great week.  It was a busy week as well.  The weather has been a bit colder this last week and it's been raining off and on this whole week as well, but the trees are in bloom at it is beautiful in Spokane.  First off, to answer a couple of your questions, yes Sis. Lambert was one of my primary teachers, one of the only ones that I remember real well too, so tell her “Hi” for me.  Also you asked what some of my duties are as a zone leader.  In short; meetings.  Every month, we have a zone leader council (now called missionary leader conference, because the church has created an official leadership title for sister missionaries called "sister trainer leaders" that are to go to those meetings as well.) We talk about the progress of the mission and what we can do to continue to improve. We also regularly meet with the stake president in our zone and with our mission president to coordinate missionary efforts at a stake level.  Other leadership meetings are included as well throughout the transfer.  We also have the responsibility to council other missionaries in our zone who might be struggling with the work or other matters.  We get to spend a lot of time doing things and preparing things for other missionaries, and I really enjoy having the opportunity to serve them in that capacity, and to be involved more in their efforts.

     As far as things went this week, we had a lesson with Heather on Tuesday.  Like I said, we are focusing on the commandments with her, and we have continued that.  We taught the topics of ‘chastity’ and ‘tithing’ to her.  Tithing was a real important one to cover for her, because she has been aware of it for a while, but didn't really know what it was and it kind of intimidated her.  We had a member there who bore a powerful testimony of tithing and Heather’s fears of that have really decreased.  She is still hesitant on baptism however, and we really don't know what's still holding her back.

     On Wednesday, we taught a part member family in the ward - the Coffmans.  Sister Coffman is a member, but none of her younger children are.  We stopped by and she welcomed us to come and teach the family.  Her son has had a lot of questions regarding the Plan of Salvation, and she couldn't answer them all herself, so it seems like she was really happy to have us come over.  We taught the Plan of Salvation on Wed, and it was well received.  We have a standing appointment with them on Wednesdays to teach them.

     Thursday was a pretty busy day.  We had a leadership meeting that lasted into the afternoon.  We had a lesson with a recent convert, Jordan, teaching the new member lessons, had a meeting with President Larsen (the stake president) and then after that,  we went on exchanges with some other elders in the zone.

     Friday we met with a lady who was getting baptized (from a YSA ward) the next day.  Long story short, we got a call on Tuesday from the missionaries who had been teaching her in another stake, and found out that she actually lived in our area, and that her bishop wanted her to get baptized into this ward.  It was a pretty stressful few days that followed - trying to get things worked out between the two wards -  how it would all work with her records and all.  It was eventually all sorted out and she was able to be baptized last Saturday.  Even though I hardly knew her, I could feel of her desire and enthusiasm to make that commitment with our savior.  As always, the baptism was wonderful.

     We have not been able to make contact with Skyler, so he is no longer on date=(  He has been busy with work and he lives pretty far away from us, so we can't just stop by any time.  We hopefully can meet with him sometime this week. 

     Other than that, we have spent a lot of time finding.  We had a mission-wide goal of inviting as many people as we could on Church Tours Saturday, which was awesome.  This week, there is a goal of every companionship in the mission to extend at least 1 baptismal invitation everyday for the whole week, which is awesome as well.  I'm super excited for this week and the miracles that are in store.  Thanks for all you do and for your prayers.  They help so much.  I am WAY excited to call home for mothers day as well, I can't wait=) Love you all and have a great week this week.

Love,   Elder Stacey

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Working Hard 4/15/2013

      Hey everybody good morning.  It has been a great and beautiful week in Spokane.  The trees are blooming, the sun is shining, and its a wonderful time to be out sharing the gospel.    Things are going great over here in the Spokane North stake. It was a slower week for us because people keep canceling. In fact. It has been kind of taxing on me personally this last week. We have not been able to hardly teach any of our investigators because, like I said, they keep canceling, and all our efforts and hopes to pick up a new investigator seem to go in vain.  
     One example is an experience we had of knocking on a door and a YSA aged person answered the door.  He let us right in, and let us know he was looking for a church and wanted to have a stronger emphasis of God in his life.  We were able to begin teaching immediately when we entered and we taught the Restoration.  It was a great lesson and at the end, he committed to read the Book of Mormon, and come on the Church Tour the following day.  He was excited about it as well.  In the 24 hours that followed, he told his dad about our meeting, and his dad anti'd him, so we were unable to teach him from that point.  

     We have worked so hard, and at times, seem to have nothing to show for it. It does make me thankful for the promise we have to know that we are doing what the Lord would have us do. Despite the seeming lack of success, we have had the companionship of the Holy Ghost, and I know we have done all we can this week, and at the end, that's all the Lord asks of us. It has helped me to remain optimistic and enthusiastic about the work in the area and that eventually, we will find some people who have been prepared and interested in what we have to say.  

     As far as our investigators go, we did have a lesson with Heather.  She is still hesitant about baptism, but we feel we have found at least one reason for that that we can help her to overcome.  In the last year that missionaries have visited her, she has not ever been taught any of the commandments.  She doesn't feel she knows enough about what she'll have to do once she's a member to really commit herself.  This week we focused exclusively on the commandments, and it seems to have calmed her and answered some of her questions.  

     We were not able to have a lesson with Skyler this week, and we hope things are going well with him.  Other than that, things are about the same for us.  Like I said before, the weather is getting beautiful, and we might be heading out on bikes pretty soon to take advantage of people being outside.  Love you all and hope you have a great week.

Elder Stacey

Monday, April 8, 2013

General Conference 4/08/2013

  Dear Everyone,   

    Good morning wonderful family how are you doing???  I hope you all had a great week.  I sure did.  This weekend has been highly anticipated for me for like a month now.  I love conference so much.  What a great time to hear the words of the Lord given through prophets and apostles.  I received answers to many of my personal questions and it was an incredibly uplifting weekend for me personally.  Apart from that, we had a good, but slow week.  2 weeks ago, was the Spring Break for the universities around here, and last week, the school districts were on Spring Break, so everybody was out of town, or busy. 
     First of all, I love being in Spokane.  The Five Mile Prairie ward and the YSA ward are so great.  The members here are way supportive and really want to help.  I don't think I talked about my new companion last week, his name is Elder Cisternas, from Orem Utah.  He lives right by the Linden border, so kind of opposite of where we live.  It's kind of weird having a companion from the same city as you because everyone, and I mean everyone, asks if we knew each other back home.  I love him and his dedication to obedience. 
     Like I said, many people were out of town this week or busy, so we did not have very many lessons.  We spend the great majority of our time looking through lists for part member families, and prospective elders, and didn't really find much success in that as of yet.  We were able to visit with a lady named Heather, one of our investigators who is coming so close to baptism.  She has been meeting with missionaries on and off for a couple years it sounds now, but has only recently taken a real interest in actually joining the church.  She is pretty apprehensive about baptism still, however, because she feels she needs to know more about the church, scriptures and the doctrine.  She watched both Sunday sessions of conference and they really helped her out a lot.  We are teaching her on Tuesday and are likely going to talk about some principles on Elder Hollands talk.
     We met with a guy named Kevin, who is the husband of a less active member of the church.  He himself doesn't really have a faith in God, says he feels there is a greater power, but doesn't know what it is.  He didn't really have positive experiences with the missionaries in the past, because they would just hang out at their place, so I guess it's been hard for the missionaries to be able to gain his trust again.  We did get a lesson in with him though and taught him prayer and patience.  He is committed to praying for a testimony that God exists, and cares about him. 
     Yesterday night we had a great experience with a church tour.  Like I said before, it was a slower week, as well as the week before, and we hadn't had any luck with finding new people to teach.  It has been a trial for me personally because finding people had been pretty easy for us in Moses Lake and West Terrace.  It's been like a finding drought for us.  We have been praying and searching to find somebody who is prepared to hear the gospel, and our prayers were answered yesterday.  We have been trying to contact a referral, Skyler, for a couple weeks now and never caught him home.  Finally, in between sessions of conference, we were able to contact him.  He was contacted by sister missionaries on a bus stop, has Baptist background and told them we could come by.  We talked to him a bit about the church and invited him on a church tour that night, which he accepted.  We brought our WML with us and had an incredible tour.  As we talked about the tour, he said that he really did feel something different as we went into the chapel, and he liked the way he felt.  He mentioned that all he had learned were things that made sense to him, so we invited him to be baptized on May 11, which he accepted.  Keep him in your prayers, because he has such great potential and is a great guy. 
     That's about all of the investigators we taught last week.  I am so thankful to be in this mission and for the council of our mission president.  We have been emphasizing so much these last few months on keeping things simple and powerful, and relating everything we do to baptism and our purpose.  It has been some very successful months as we have applied these teachings and been obedient to his council.  I would just like to end with some insight that I learned from conference.  With the announcement of the missionary change, the work has truly hastened.  The work is not hastening in the church alone, but outside the church as well.  God is preparing the hearts and minds of many people to receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ and as we do our part to prepare ourselves, we can all be a part of the hastening. 1 peter 3:15 stuck out to me because it was mentioned at least 3 times in conference.  I know this gospel is real, the work is really hastening.  As we live the gospel, people will ask about the hope which is in us, and we can prepare ourselves to give that answer to them and do our part.  I love you all and hope you have a great week=)

Elder Stacey

Spokane Rocks! 4/01/2013

     Good afternoon everybody how are you all doing???  Hope you had a great Easter.  We for sure did=) First of all, yes I did get the package of cookies last Monday and they are delicious.  Thanks!  This week has been a full week and a busy week. Being right in Spokane is a different experience for me being so close to so many people, and it rocks. Elder Cisternas is my new companion and he has been great so far. He is so obedient and has our purpose firmly planted into his actions. He is a great example to look up to. 
      We have had a bit of a slower week as far as teaching investigators. Being Spring break and a sick week for many people, quite a few of our appointments cancelled, but it was all good because we have had the opportunity to do a lot of finding, and have found some good prospects. The members here are wonderful and I love working with them already. Being in a YSA ward is pretty neat as well. You interact with a lot of people who either just returned from a mission or are about to leave, so the missionary spirit great there. 
      Every week I seem to learn more about how to become a better missionary and disciple, and find things that I can do to improve my testimony and my efforts as a missionary, and I am grateful for the challenge. I love continuing to learn and grow in the gospel myself as I strive to help others do the same thing. I love this gospel and I love being a missionary. Once again, I am so thankful to be in this area and am determined to to all that I can to uplift the people and invite them to follow the gospel of Jesus Christ for themselves.  
      This is going to have to be a super short email because we got to the library a little later today and I only have precisely 18 minutes to do everything on the computer.  So I promise next weeks email will be more detailed,  but know that I love you all and hope you have a great week=)

Elder Stacey