Monday, June 24, 2013

Sandpoint is Beautiful 6/24/2013

    Good morning all.  First off, I must say that it is so beautiful here in Sandpoint.  Sandpoint is actually in the same zone as Libby, so there is pretty similar landscape there.  I was able to even go to Libby near the end of the week for a district meeting.  It was way neat to be back in an old area.  Thats the first time I've been able to do that.  To answer a couple questions mom and dad, yes I was able to go to the broadcast live, and it was so amazing.  It's great to be out and see the changes that are happening within the mission field.  Also mom, I have one more transfer after this one.  Of course your never certain with transfer calls, it is pretty likely I will go home from here because Elder Williams and I swept into the area, and he goes home this transfer.  The likely-hood of an area being swept twice is not super great.  
     Our first week here has been full of miracles.  We have spent quite a bit of time getting to know members on the ward roster, and the current teaching pool.  The members here are awesome and have a great spirit of missionary work.  The first Sunday of our being here, members brought at least 2 non-member families with them that missionaries aren't teaching. Yet.  These members have such strong testimonies and it is going to be great working with them.
     One person we were able to meet with this week was Heidi.  She is one of the most prepared people I have ever taught as a missionary.  She loves learning about the gospel, and she is not one to just sit around waiting for an answer to her prayers about things.  She is active in her life, doing the things she needs to to build her testimony.  We have daily contact with her to see how she's doing and she is always able to talk about something she learned that day about the gospel.  She is preparing to be baptized on August 3, and can't wait.
     We were given a referral from the sisters in the Sandpoint ward of a woman named Christina.  We don't know how they came into contact with her, but she has a real sincere desire to learn about the church as well.  She grew up Catholic, and stopped attending there a while back, and now attends a non-denominational christian church in town.  She has had a real hard past and wants a better life for her and her children, which is what drew her to investigating the church.  We have had, between the sisters and us, some real spiritual lessons with her.  She was originally not going to go to church this Sunday, and instead attend her usual church, but Sunday morning, as she was driving to church, she felt that she needed to act on what she's been learning and came to the Sunnyside ward instead.  That decision alone showed us how sincere she actually is about learning.
     Thats about it from me this week.  This week really was an awesome week and I am thrilled to be spending time up here to invite people to come to Christ.  Love you all.
   p.s.  Mom, I haven't had a card reader and I never remember to get one.  I will get a card reader so I can send some pictures next week.  I really do feel bad that I never send you pictures.

Elder Stacey

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Transfer to Sandpoint, Idaho 6/17/2013

     Hey family, hope all is well with you all.  This has been an eventful weekend for us.  We got transfer calls this weekend.  I swear, the longer your out the more these things just sneak up on you.  It did not feel like 6 weeks passed by.  I am transferring out of Spokane, and heading up to Sandpoint Idaho.  I love serving in the city so much, so at first I was a little bummed to be leaving to a more boonie area, but there are not many places more beautiful than the Sandpoint Zone.  For those who don't know, Sandpoint is a tourist town on the panhandle of Idaho, about 40 minutes north of Coeur d'Alene.  It is also located right next to lake Pend Oreille, which is such a deep lake that they have done submarine testing there.  I'm also way excited with who I'm serving with, Elder Williams.  I served around him for 5 transfers in Moses Lake and he is a great missionary.
     Anyway, with the week, we had a good one.  We met with Heather and her family this week.  We taught the Restoration because it was something they hadn't been taught in a while.  They received it well and had great questions to ask about it.  They are going out of town for the rest of the month, however, and we can't meet with them until after they come back.  Walker is still excited to be baptized in July
     Kristin isn't on date anymore because she hasn't been coming to church.  Her mom really doesn't seem to be open with letting members give her a ride, and something almost always comes up on Sunday which prevents her from driving herself.  We really want them to see the blessings that come from attending church. 
     This week, we were told to go visit a member named Amy Whiting.  We only knew that she lived on a certain area of a street, so we started tracting it out.  The first house we knocked on, a lady answered whose name was Amy White, and she fit the same age range, so we thought she was the one we were looking for, and that we were just given the wrong last name.  Well as the conversation progressed, we learned that she was not the Amy we were looking for.  To be honest, it was one of the more awkward conversations that I have had as a missionary as we were talking to the wrong person.  But we still talked to her about the church and found out that she had met with missionaries years ago and that she even attended church.  She invited us back and missionaries are going to be visiting with her later this week.  We came back another day to that street trying to find the other Amy again, and it turns out they are next door neighbors.
     I am super excited for this upcoming week, going to Sandpoint, and teaching the people there.  There has been a special spot in my heart for every area I have served in and I know this place will be no different.  I just go where I'm called and I love it.  I love you all and hope you have a great week=)

I Love Studying the Gospel 6/10/2013

Good morning everybody.  Hope you had a good week.  We had a good week.  It was a very spiritually uplifting week with ZLC, and zone training meeting.  This last week, Elder Cisternas and I were asked to pray together and find out what the needs were of missionaries in the zone, and create a training outline to help meet those needs.  It was great to be able to think of specific needs of those in the zone, and what we can do to help and serve them.  I feel the training went great.  
     Things in Five Mile Prairie have been slower this week.  Almost all of our appointments cancelled, and those that we have planned as backups have not been home.  Heather is really not progressing anymore.  Walker is on-date for July 13th still, but we are trying to move it up if at all possible, because he really wants to be baptized.  Kristin is progressing as well.  We have a lesson scheduled with her at the bishops house this week, which will be great.  As always, we are still working hard trying to find new people to teach.  We are doing everything we can to get the busy ward involved in our efforts, and are seeing success from that.  
    Today, I just wanted to share a great spiritual experience that I had.  I have really been focusing study on the gospel principles, which has been a huge blessing to me.  I love studying the gospel.  The more I know about the gospel, the more I love to share it with others.  In my studies, I have really gravitated to the principle of sacrifice, and the sacrifice that Christ made for us.  I was reading Mosiah 15:5-6, and I thought about all that he went through in his life, and about how hard it must have been for him.  The Atonement was definitely not an easy thing.  So much so that he asked the father to take the cup away if there was any possible other way, which made Mosiah 15:7 a lot more meaningful and personal to me.  Christ loved the Father enough to sacrifice his own will and submit to the will of the Father, and that act alone means everything to us (Mosiah 15:19).  It really made me think back to when I would complain whenever I had to do a difficult thing, thinking that somehow, it wasn't fair.  How different could those situations be had I put Gods will before mine and accepted it cheerfully.  I understand now that we need to have the attitude of "thy will, not mine be done" in everything we do.  I have been asked to do a lot of things as a missionary that have put me outside of my comfort zone, but as I just do them and put the Fathers will first, I have been blessed so much with the assurance that I am doing the right thing.  I just love the scriptures, and the insights they bring to us.  I love our Savior and his example.  I love serving a mission and helping others receive the good news of the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
     I love you all, and pray for you often.  I hope you have a great day and a great week=)

Sweet Finding Miracle 6/03/2013

     Okay so I actually do have some time to email today.  It's been kind of a crazy day.  It's been a great week in Spokane.  Okay, so first of all, I thought Utah Spring weather was unpredictable.  It doesn't hold a candle to Spokane.  One minute it might be pouring rain on you, and 5 minutes later it could be a perfectly sunny day.  It makes it kind of hard to know what kind of weather to prepare for.  It kind of seems like you just choose to sweat in a coat or endure the rain without one.
     Kristen Coffman, who is one of the on-dates in our area came to church with her mom this week.  That was so awesome and you could tell that they were so happy to be there.  Sister Coffman bore her testimony and it was so heartfelt.  We weren't able to meet with them, this week, however, so we don't know if there is still some confrontation regarding Kristin being baptized.  Either way, she is way excited for June 29th.  
     Heather was out of town this weekend, and we weren't able to teach her.  We were able to teach Walker, however and it was a good lesson.  Walker is so cool.  He isn't even a member yet and the young mens leaders say that he knows as much or more about the gospel than other priests in the quorum.  He is pretty enthusiastic as well about his baptism and we are doing all we can to prepare him for that.
     We had a sweet finding miracle this week.  A couple weeks ago some sister missionaries street contacted this guy named Justin and invited him to church.  The next day, we street contacted him as well and did the same thing, and he was interested in coming.  He didn't come to church that week, but this last week we went over to his apartment to see if we might be able to teach him.  He was home and we taught him the Restoration.  He has almost no religious background, but he really wants to learn more about God and about Jesus Christ.  We invited him to pray at the end of the lesson, which he did.  When we were done, he said, "Well that was the first prayer I have ever given."  We asked how it felt and he felt great, he then asked, "do you always feel this way when you pray?"  you could tell that he was touched by the spirit and it was a real cool experience to see that change of heart so instantaneously.  He was out of town this weekend, but we will be meeting up with him later this week.
     Things in the area are going well.  The members are awesome, the people are awesome, and I love serving here.  I hope you all are doing well and have a great week.  Love you=)

Beautiful Week 5/28/2013

Good day, how are things for everyone???  We had another great week here in Spokane.  So because of Memorial day, our p-day is today instead.  Yesterday we spent out biking in the rain and talking to as many people who were out braving the rain storms (there weren't many).  To answer your question mom about zone conference, President Mullen doesn't have us give trainings in zone conference, but once a month we have a zone training meeting, where the whole zone meets and we give a training.
     Last week we had a breakthrough with Heathers son, Walker.  The kids have been so busy we haven't really talked to them or taught them in a while, so this last Tuesday was really important.  We put Walker on date though and he is preparing to be baptized in July.  This is huge because Heather has said she wants her son to baptize her, so that is just one more concern out of the way for her, but we know there is still something holding her back.  She also just cancelled our appointment today so I will have to update that in a couple weeks.
     We have been teaching a part member family for a while now.  Theresa was baptized years ago and really likes the church, but just doesn't come.  Her children love the church and are some of the most spiritually minded children I have ever seen.  They just want to know about God, about Christ and our purpose on Earth.  They have great questions and are very sincere about them.  Two weeks ago we put the daughter, Kristin, on date for June 29th.  Since then, however, her dad, who is not a member, has been putting up some objections.  Kristin really wants to get baptized, and  Theresa really wants her to as well.
     We contacted a lady who was living in the home of a former investigator.  She was not interested at first, because she is a Lutheran, but as we talked about the church and testified of a modern prophet, her interest was peaked.  We came back for a return appointment, and taught the full Restoration.  She is so interested in the church, and in the Book of Mormon.  During the visit she asked if she could be both Lutheran and Mormon, and if she could use the Book of Mormon in her Bible study class.  I really pray that she will be able to follow the spirit as we continue to teach her, but it could be too much of a cultural change for her right now.
     As far as people progressing this week, thats about it.  We have been able to have some first lessons with people and hopefully we'll meet with them again, but flaky people are all over the place here, so we have yet to see.  It is a beautiful week though, and school is almost out, so people will be home more.  Love you all and hope you have a great week, and be safe in your travels as well=)

Elder Stacey

Busy Families 5/20/2013

This week has been a beautiful week.  Wonderful sunny weather, with a little rain, has been frequent throughout the week.  Also the beautiful green that is finalizing too.  I love nature.  It is also a great time to be a missionary.  One great problem we have had these past two weeks are busy families.  Extra-curricular activities, end-of-school stuff, that will all end in just a couple weeks=)  I have to admit, being so long as a missionary, it can sometimes be hard to remember that people have lives outside of us teaching them.
     Anyway, like I said, it was a good week.  We had zone conference this last week which was good.  One thing that was emphasized quite heavily this conference was obedience.  It was an answer to my prayers actually because that is something that has been on my mind a lot recently.  Many people we talk to, especially recently, have had real issues with being obedient; either just not wanting to be obedient to commandments, or for some people, the principle of the need to be obedient to commandments to receive blessings(I hope that made sense).  But either way, the training was great and it really helped.
     We had a baptism this weekend, and it was a great one.  I don't know if I ever actually told you about Ty.  The Escalanti's are active members of the church, and Ty is their youngest son.  They wanted to wait for him to be a bit older to be baptized, and they wanted him to have the missionary discussions, so he turned 9 a few weeks ago, as we were teaching him, and he was baptized this weekend.
     Heather and her family came to church this week, but we are kind of worried about them.  We really think she is just putting baptism off now.  We will be teaching her tomorrow, and we pray that we can help resolve some more of her concerns.
     Many of our investigators are not really progressing, so after talking it over and praying about it, Elder Cisternas and I felt that the best course to help these people in the future would be to drop them and focus on finding people who are prepared right now.  Dropping an investigator is probably one of the hardest things to do as a missionary, but I've realized that sometimes that's the only thing you can do at that point.
     We have found at least one guy to is really promising, who I may have talked about a couple weeks ago.  His name is Phil and we tracted into him.  We were able to teach him the Restoration on his doorstep and commit him to read the Book of Mormon.  He was going into surgery later that week, so we were not able to meet with him after that for a week.  We contacted him yesterday though and he still wants to meet with us, so we are going to teach him this week.
     That's about it from me this week.  Love you all and hope you have a great week. 
p.s.  Congratulations to Richard for his graduation=), and to Michelle and Mike for a new kiddo=).