Monday, December 26, 2011

Megan's Creation

For those of you who happen to read what is going on with Megan, I thought you'd enjoy seeing a nativity she sent home to us for a Christmas gift.  She used preparation days (many) and lunch hours (many).  We love it!

Day After Christmas Email 12/26/11

Hope everyone had an awesome Christmas!  Mine was great!  We filled our day visiting some of our favorite families in the ward.  We had SOOOOO much food but it was good.  We were stuffed at the end of the day, which is how it should be.  It's been so fun being a missionary during Christmas, and I'm looking forward to doing it again next year.  And skyping with the family was the best ever!  I hope I'm able to do that again for mother's day. 
Lots and lots of people were very busy last week, so we had a bit of a slow week in terms of missionary work.  We tried to fill our time with lessons, but we weren't able to do that.  We did get to have an awesome lesson with Adriana and it was great to see her finally open up to us.  We hope that she finds the answers that she's searching for soon, so she can be baptized.  We also were able to have a lesson with Rebeca.  We planned a very specific lesson for her to encourage her to move her baptism date up, but she still feels like it should be in May.  We don't understand why she wants to wait or why the Lord would tell her to wait, but we'll support her no matter what because she is making the right choice to be baptized.  I suppose that it will force whoever is teaching her at the time to get creative with their lessons, because we're almost done with the missionary lessons.  That will be fun.  Speaking of fun, transfers are coming up on January 3.  Sister Rimington and I think she'll be leaving.  We'll see what happens.  Change is good with missionary work because new ideas will help the different areas progress.  It's good to keep having different perspectives.  I hope that a change will help this area to progress more. 
Anyway, that's all I really have time for today.  Love you all!  Have a grand New Year!  And HAPPY BIRTHDAY THIS WEEK TO EMILY AND JANELLE!!  LOVE YOU BOTH!
The Christmas tree in our apartment.

It snowed!
Then melted two hours later.

We're 'biking' sisters!!
(Dream on.)

One of many wonderful Christmas day meals.
The members are so good to missionaries:)
-Sister Stacey

Hello Everyone 12/19/11

     I can't believe it's almost Christmas!  Time is going by so fast!  And there's so much to do.  I didn't think I would have that much to do, seeing as how I'm a missionary and all.  But I do.  So unfortunately I don't have that much time today. 
     Last week was sisters exchanges again.  Those seem to come by so fast.  I was with Sister Bowen in the Parkview ward (still up in the desert. I still have yet to do any sort of missionary work down the hill) On Monday we saw someone she thought was less active, but it turns out that she's not.  She has been faithfully attending church ever since she got baptized about 30 years ago I think.  I've come to really appreciate that.  It's rare that we meet with someone who has never been less active.  There have only been a few.  But it was really neat to listen to her share her testimony.  The next day I helped her move to a new house.  The member they moved in with wouldn't let us do anything until we'd unpacked.  So that was pretty much our whole Tuesday.  By the end of the day we were like, we need to go do at least a little bit of missionary work, so we visited an inactive woman named Latoya.  Her situation was so sad.  She can't afford any sort of decoration or anything for Christmas and she has a two year old son.  We have a few extra Christmas trees at our house so we're going to give her one.  We were very happy we were able to see her that night.  On Wednesday we switched back to our companions and went back to life as usual.   
     The rest of the week, Sister Rimington and I were able to see quite a few less active members, which was great since we've had a bit of a hard time seeing them lately.  I love meeting with them and working with them, especially right now because they're a little more willing to come to church and stuff.  We've been sharing a fun little Christmas message with them.  I will share that before the end of the letter.  So lots of less active members.  Cool.
     We also saw Adriana again.  We didn't end up sharing the lesson we'd planned on, but what we did share was what she needed.  I don't think I've ever felt the Spirit so strong in a lesson.  I hope she continued to ponder the things we shared with her and will have the courage to act.  I really like our lessons with her because she always asks us a good question that makes me learn something new.
      So that was basically our week.  One of our investigators came to church for the first time yesterday which ruled.  I couldn't tell how she felt or anything, she wouldn't really talk to us after and she went home after sacrament meeting.  So we're excited to meet with her this week and see how she liked it and how she felt.  We were very surprised to see her at church because we hadn't seen her in a couple weeks. 
    Rebeca is still awesome.  She is already so active in the ward.  It's cool to see.  She already has such a strong testimony and she retains everything we've taught her and the things she's read.  It's a good example for me.
     Anyway, that's basically it.  The Christmas message we've been sharing comes from a children’s book called 'I Believe in Santa Claus".   I have the text for it somewhere, but not with me, so I'll do my best to remember it.
Think of Santa Claus-what is he like?  He wears red.  His hair is white.  He comes in the night.  He loves little children.  He wants us to be good.  He brings gifts. 
Now think of the Savior-what is he like?  He wears red. His hair is white.  He comes in the night.  He loves little children.  He knows we are good.  He brings gifts.  (oh dear these all have scripture references and I can't remember them.  I'll find them and share them next week or something.)  So I think it's pretty cool that we can look at all these things during Christmas time and be reminded of the Savior and of the true meaning of Christmas-even Santa Claus.  I completely butchered that, by the way.  The book had pictures and other things that I just can't put in an email unfortunately.  I wish I could remember more.  It had a bunch of other things that we see during Christmas time that are symbols for something more.  The book is now out of print, but if you know anyone that has this book, I definitely think you should take a look at it.  I think I'll be saying I Believe in Santa Claus for the rest of my life. 
     Love you all!  Merry Christmas!
-Sister Stacey

Email from MEGAN 12/12/11

How's things?  That's not a rhetorical question. 
     Things here are pretty awesome!  Last week when we were teaching Rebeca she really opened up to us and told us that she thinks this is where the Lord is leading her and where she's supposed to be.  So we invited her to be baptized and she said YES!!  She couldn't pick a date though, and when we saw her again later in the week, she still had not picked a date.  So last night she texted us and said she finally picked a date-May 26, 2012.  That's so far away!!  We are so so excited about the fact that she was able to pick a date, but we're afraid of all the things that could happen in the next six months.  Either way, she is so awesome.  She studies the Book of Mormon every single day for at least an hour.  Not just read, she studies.  It's so cool!  I hope that she has the desire to be baptized sooner, but if not, I am still way excited for her!
     We also had a lesson with Adriana.  She is so interesting.  She is very knowledgeable, and it's very obvious she grew up around the church.  You can tell she has a testimony and that she knows the message we share is true.  But for some reason she is still looking for excuses and reasons to not believe.  I think she's waiting for 'perfect knowledge' of the gospel.  This will never happen.  At least not in this life.  I told her to study Alma 32: 26-end.  She prays for an answer to her questions, and every time the answer is still the same-don't doubt what you know.  She's progressing though.  I think she'll recognize that she's getting the answer she needs.  She is a really good person and even thought she may not recognize it in herself, she has a great testimony and great faith.  I just can't wait for her to know this.
     We've had some really great lessons this week, but also during our lunch hours, we've had some fun.  We built a fort on Thursday.  That was so fun.  When we all got home at the end of the night, we planned for the next day then played games in the fort.  We left it up until Friday, when we do our weekly planning, so that we could say we did our weekly planning in a fort.  I love doing things like that.  It relieves some of the tension of missionary work.  I think that's important in order to stay focused on the work.  
     Anyway, that's really all I have time for today.  Being a missionary is the best thing ever!  I love you all!  Merry Christmas!
-Sister Stacey

Happy Birthday Sister Stacey 12/05/11

     And thanks for all the birthday wishes!  It has been a grand day so far.  This last week was also pretty awesome.  Despite this insane cough I have had for the last week and a half.  It feels like it's here to stay. 
     There is a less active woman we've been helping a lot because there is a lot of stuff that she can't do on her own, so we've been helping her decorate her house for Christmas, which has been so much fun!  She called us up last night and said that she was able to get a real Christmas tree for us, which we love.  Our house is starting to look a little Christmasy, and less depressing.  We made some ornaments for it out of paint chips.  Because paint chips are free.  :)
     We also taught Adriana last week.  She used to be a member, but left the church.  I think she's gotten to a place in life now where she sees that she needs to come back.  She asked us to give her the lessons because she wants to know that it's true.  She said she knew it was true once, but then stopped believing.  She's been praying a lot about it recently, and keeps getting the same answer:  don't doubt what you know.  I think that's really hard for some people.  She has really great faith, but somehow can't see it as being enough.  We were not meant to have a perfect knowledge in this life.  We have been studying a lot to find things to help her, and it's been cool even during my personal studies to have things stand out to me that I feel impressed to share with her.  The Lord loves her a lot.  He loves all of His children and I love being able to be a part of their journey to come closer to Him. 
     We also got a new investigator last week.  Her name is Rebeca Gray.  She moved in with her grandparents who are in our ward.  She grew up lutheran, but said that she loves the different feeling in their house and wants to know if the church is true.  We had a lesson with her on Friday and left her with the assignment to read 2 Nephi 31-33, which she not only read them, but studied them with her grandma verse by verse and wrote down her thoughts and impressions.  AND she also started her own personal reading and got through 1 Nephi 1-10.  And all this by the time we saw her on Sunday morning.  She is so eager to learn.  She's 21 so we can relate to her a little more than everyone else we've been teaching.  I'm excited to see what happens with her.
     I have loved hearing about how everyone is doing.  Sounds like being home is pretty fun right now.  But I'd rather be here.  I'm never going to have this opportunity again, to serve the Lord and represent our Savior during a holiday that is all about Him.  It's really neat.  We had a lesson on the Atonement in relief society yesterday which was really good.  I love our Savior.  The more I study about Him and the Atonement the more I understand and realize how important His life and everything that He did was.  There would be no point in anything we do if He had not come.  I love Him and I know He lives.  I want to share this with everyone and help them understand what He's done for them. 
     Anyway, that's all I have time for this week.  I love you all!  Have a fun December and Christmas!  Talk to you next week!

-Sister Stacey

Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday, November 28, 2011

Hello Everyone!
     Not much time today.  Which is okay, because there is not too much to update. 
     Let's start with Thanksgiving.  We had it in the middle of nowhere.  Lucerne Valley.  So empty.  So deserty.  TONS of joshua trees.  It was so fun though.  We ate with the family of a less active woman in our ward.  Her daughter lives out there.  Last March, they bought a turkey and raised it until last wednesday, when they killed it to eat on thursday.  Fresh turkey is really good.  Just saying. While we were there we got to feed their cow and pigs.  And they had to sweet dobermans.  Their names were Gunner and Rosalie (but they called her Rose).  Gunner could do some cool tricks.  They taught him to smile.  Apparently he makes a really alarming face, but he wouldn't do it for me.  They were so cute.  And big.  The family was awesome too.  They also invited over a couple elders.  I really appreciate the people who take care of missionaries during the holidays.  We had a lot of fun with them. 
     Aside from that, I spent a little bit of time being sick this week.  Not a lot happened.  We were able to set up a lot of appointments for this week.  We'll be meeting with a few potential investigators which is really exciting.  Ken and Kim, of course.  I am so excited to actually be able to sit down and talk with them.  And then also there is a family in the ward who's granddaughter will be living with them for a little while, and she seems like she wants to be baptized, so that is way exciting!  We had a woman approach us at church and set up an appointment with her.  She lives with a less active woman that we have been trying to see pretty much ever since I got here!  That was so exciting.  We're just going to be meeting with a lot of new faces, which will be good to have the change.
     I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  I'll email you upon next Monday, which is my birthday, the day I was born, 23 years ago.  Twenty-three.  Weird.  Bye!
This is the void that is Lucerne Valley.

-Sister Stacey

Monday, November 21, 2011

Email 11/21/11

Hello Everyone!
     The word has spread around the ward of my love of breakfast for dinner, so we have had it quite a bit and I LOVE IT.  The woman who's feeding me dinner on my birthday is excited and she makes the most amazing food so I am really exted to eat there. 
     Last week we had some really good lessons with a couple of the less active members we've been working with-Sister Burroughs and the Trenthams.  They all have the desire to go to the temple.  Sister Rimington and I came up with a great lesson on the temple and shared it with them and I really think we'll start seeing them progress soon.  Sister Burroughs has never been through before.  We found out what's keeping her from church so we know what to start helping her with now, which is great.  She really likes us.  About a month and a half ago, she invited us to her Thanksgiving dinner, so that's where we'll be this Thursday.  We're not sure how missionary work is going to go that day, so that will be interesting.  I don't see tracting going over too well, so we're not going to do that.  But another family in the ward invitd us over for dessert as well, so we're going to go there afterward.  I love this ward.  They take such good care of us.  I am pretty sure every single one of them has asked us what we were doing on Thanksgiving and if we had a place to go.  I feel so much love from the members here.  We already have a place to go on Christmas, and a couple other members asking if we had somewhere to go.
     Speaking of this ward, we had transfers this last week, which I survived.  I am SO HAPPY I get to stay here for another transfer!  Sister Rimington is still my companion, which is awesome.  We are so happy we get to stay. 
     OH YEAH AND THE BEST THING IS THAT DANIEL GOT BAPTIZED YESTERDAY!  We were so happy.  He was so happy.  It was awesome.  I am so happy we were able to be a part of it.  It was a very nice baptism.
     Other than that, this last week was pretty slow.  We're very hopeful for this upcoming week.  We have a lesson tonight with a woman who was about to drop us but we were like, NO YOU HAVE TO GIVE US A CHANCE FIRST and so she was like, yeah I really should, so now we have an appointment. It's frustrating because she has said a few times that she feels like she's being led to our church, but then she just denies it when we're not there.  I wish it wasn't that way.  Anothe woman dropped us last week because she's scared of the leadership in the church or something.  Oh well.  There are some people we'll be able to start teaching soon and it will be awesome.  Like Ken and Kim.  They're out of town this week, but he's so determined to be able to have time for a lesson next week. 
     Well that's about it from me.  Hope you all have a lovely week! :)
-Sister Stacey
PS MOM Sorry I didn't say something in the email last week about Matt.  I totally meant to.  It was so exciting.  I walked out of the place we email and was like OH NO.  I get so stressed about writing.  More than anything else.  There is never enough time for it, I never have pictures and even if I did there's not enough time to send them, I might leave something out, people feel ignored.  It's stressful.  And then I never never never ever have time to handwrite anything because my companion spends all day shopping.  I need to write letters.  Oh well.  One day maybe I'll find the balance.  In the meantime please just be patient.  You are, but please continue to do so, because I don't always remember everything I was going to say.
Anyway, we are definitely taken care of up here, so don't worry about that.  :)  The weather here is a little chilly.  It's been a little rainy and windy lately, but when it's doing neither of those, then it's a little warm.  I love California.  It's so nice here.  I love the desert.  I wouldn't want to live here, but I am happy this is where I am serving my mission.  About the packages, I think that if it gets there after December 1, I can call them and they will let me have it if I say it's for my birthday.  And just send it to the mission office, because they don't want us to use our residential address.  I am not sure why.  I actually don't even know what it is, because I've never had to write it.  I am SO EXCITED for my birthday.  This ward is awesome, and they'll make me feel like I have a home and a family on a day that I want it most.  I love you, mom.  Thank you for writing me so diligently.  Have a great Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011

    We had a pretty good week last week.  We had our sisters exchange and like I said I was in charge of the area for a couple days.  It was interesting being the senior companion.  We got a lot of work done, though!  I was very happy with how well I knew the area.  I only needed to look at the map once!  We visited a lot of the referrals from the ward tract finally.  Some of them are not interested at this time.  A couple of them are not interested at all.  One of them was awesome.  Story on how they got found:  our former bishop (the bishopric changed three weeks ago) anyway, I told him what street we wanted him to tract and he said he wanted to go to a different one so I said if that was what the spirit was telling him to do he better go.  So while he and his wife were tracting that street, a man drove past them.  They heard the car stop and then start backing up.  The man rolled down his window and asked if the were mormons. Of course they said yes, then he said he has been thinking a lot about investigating our church and joining. He said he has a lot of lds friends and he's been very impressed with them.  Bishop told him what time church started and he said he would try and be there.  He wasn't.  He was out of town.  But then he said his friends told him that he would have to give up chewing tobacco to join the church and he was like, yeah, I know.  So that was exciting.  So I met them during sisters exchanges and they seem really excited.  I invited them to a church tour we were doing on Saturday and Ken said they would be down the hill for business.  He paused a minute then said, but don't think that means we're not interested, because we are.  (him and his wife Kim.)  I cannot wait to teach them.  Transfers are next week and I hope I get to stay in the area so I can teach them.  Can't wait to tell you how that goes.
    Nothing else really eventful happened this week.  Still just loving missionary work.  Well...most of it.  Yesterday, Sunday, as is the day that comes before Monday, was a new experience for me.  The bishop thought we had high counsel speakers, but it turns out we didn't.  So we're all content and happily existing at church.  Until after the sacrament.  Do we see where this is going.  Bishop stands up and explains the situation.  I knew exactly what was coming next.  He invited me and my companion up to the stand to fill in the time until the rest hymn.  Cute.  My companion didn't hear at first, but one look at my face and she knew exactly what they had just asked us to do.  Spontaneously called on to speak during sacrament meeting.  That was a first.  I am SOOOOO thankful that I am a missionary.  I realize that probably was read sarcastically.  But I am actually being serious.  Since I am a missionary, I actually had words to say.  How can you not when you study the word of God every single day, and have experiences every day that strengthens your testimony.  It wasn't so bad.  That being said, I hope to not experience that again.  But if I do have to I know I'll live to tell the tale. 
    That's pretty much it for today.  Just want everyone to know that my birthday is in 20 days.  That is all.
    Love you all!  Have great week!
     Sister Stacey

Monday, November 7, 2011

More Photos

I love the sisters that I live with.  They're really funny.

The crazy outfit happened while I was cleaning.
I kept picking up things that I didn't want to go put away yet,
but wanted to make sure I eventually would, so I put them on.
Makes sense, right?

November 7, 2011

     This last week was a bit of an odd one.  We were expecting it to be crazy busy, but really it wasn't.  We tried to contact all those people just about every single day, but most of them have not been home.  We went to go see Gloria on Tuesday, but she wasn't home, which was unfortunate.  But we ended up trying to see her on Friday, and she was home!  We talked to her for a long time and found out about her and her religious background.  She was raised Catholic, although she has not been to church in years.  As we were talking with her we just really felt like she had been prepared for us.  It was kind of cool.  She said that she is not the type of person to open her door when people come knocking.  But when she saw us walking up to her door, she instantly trusted us and just felt very strongly like she needed to open the door and talk to us.  She also told us that she didn't want us to ever leave.  We're so glad she listened to that prompting.  While we were talking to her we introduced her to the Book of Mormon, and read the introduction with her and a little bit of 2 Nephi 31.  She seems really excited to read it.  She said that she already believes it's true, but asked if it was okay for her to really know that for herself.  We were like, YES please find out if it's true for yourself!  We set up a return appointment for this Wednesday.  We'll see what happens.  She is going through a really tough time right now.  We just love her so much and I hope she feels that and knows that our message will bless her so much.
     So that was the highlight of the week.  One of the referrals we got from the ward tract was actually a lost inactive member.  It's so cool that they tracted into her!  They asked her if she wanted us to come by and she said yes please send me the sisters.  We went to her house and we caught her and her husband and children just as they were getting ready to leave somewhere.  She was really nice, and so was her husband.  We're excited to be able to sit down with them and talk with them sometime.  We're not sure if her husband is also a member or not.  I don't think so, but if he's not, then he seems really open to it.  We don't have an appointment set up with them, but they made sure we had all their numbers.  So that's cool. 
     We're getting excited for Daniel's baptism.  He seems like he's getting more and more excited to be baptized, and more and more nervous about what his mom and grandma are going to say.  I hope that he's able to stand up for his decision.  He's a good kid, though, and his dad and step-mom are really good examples for him.  We were at their house last night getting some stuff done for the baptism and he seems ready for it.  Guess we'll see what happens when Nov. 19 comes around.  That's so soon!  I can't believe I've already been gone from home for almost 3 months.  Time flies. 
     I don't think nything else really happened this week.  Sisters exchange is this week, so we're having our sisters activity today.  We're going to watch Tangled.  I'm very excited about that.  I get to stay in my area and be the senior companion this time.  I'm a little nervous, but also excited to see what that's like. 
     Last week, even though not much happened, was still great.  I learn new things all the time and my testimony of the gospel grows every day.  Testimonies are cool.  It's the one thing that the more of it you share and give away, the more you have. 
     Well that's it for today.  Love you all!  Have a great week!
     -Sister Stacey

Mom-Thanks for the updates on everyone!  I promise I meant to send a letter to Matt on his birthday, but time got away from me.  I'm still going to try and send him a letter with a belated happy birthday wish.  How's Bitner?  I just love that little guy.  I hope you're able to miss Tuacahn.  That would be so cool.  I also hope Matt uses both tickets. :)  I want to see pictures.  SPEAKING of pictures, here are some.  During lunches this week, we got bored.  So that's the weird face pictures. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

    This last week was so interesting.  It started off a little lame.  Samantha, the woman from Jordan, called us on Tuesday and said that the Book of Mormon is not from God.  She believes in Jesus Christ, and it is obvious that we don't.  Do not contact her.  Do not contact her neighbor.  Never call them.  Never go to their neighborhood...  Oh well.  Some people just aren't very respectful. 
    Other than her, though, this week was great!  We visited a few less active members, got in contact with a couple people we've been trying to see for months, and had a really awesome experience on Saturday.  Our ward put together a ward tract thing.  We had some people from our ward and also some missionaries from our zone come to our area and tract.  There were 14 companionships out there knocking on doors in Spring Valley Lake.  It was so cool!  We got 25 referrals, 14 of which have great potential, and 5 of those 14 completely solid.  On the street my companion and I tracted we met a woman named Gloria.  She was sort of on the phone when she answered the door and said it wasn't a good time, but that she needed us to come back the next day.  We were like okay what time, then she hung up the phone and started crying.  We didn't figure out why she was crying but just said that Heavenly Father loves her so much and we would love to come talk to her again and she said ok.  So we went and saw her yesterday and found out that we had knocked on her door just minutes after something really sad happened to her.  She is in a really hard place right now, and just needs to talk and to find peace and comfort.  We just had this conversation on her porch because it was her birthday and she had friends over.  She started crying again as she was talking a little about what was going on, and said she wants us to come back later this week.  She said she really doesn't want to lose touch with us.  So we're excited to meet with her again this wednesday and to help her in any way that we can.  We're so excited to share the gospel with her. 
    I can't wait to meet with the other people that were contacted.  Some of them sound really really ready. 
    Also, the ward had a Halloween party which was tons of fun.  We got to be the costume judges for the primary children.  Never again.  I wanted to give them all prizes because they were so cute.  If it was for the whole ward though, the prize would have gone to Brother and Sister Mazzola, because they came as He-Man and Skeletor.  It was so fun.  My companion and I put on a white shirt and tie with our skirts.  Just wanted to see what it was like to wear a tie for an evening.
     I am loving today because first of all it's pday and they rule, and we went on an awesome hike today, and we played games with our favorite less active member who will be coming back to church soon, and then at six we get to stay inside the rest of the night!  All day pday!  The woman who always feeds us on Mondays is still giving us dinner tonight, but she's getting a surgery tomorrow so she won't be able to eat with us. 
     Anyway, that's all from me this week.  Next week I'll have lots and lots of stories to tell, so be excited. 
    Love you all!

     -Sister Stacey

Monday, October 17, 2011

October 17, 2011 HOLA!

So this week was lame and then awesome!
We didn't end up teaching the homeless man last week, which we were relieved about.  He was only 'interested' so that the kind man in our ward (Brother Hunt) that took him in would keep feeding him and letting him use his tv. Bro. Hunt's daughter was visiting him this weekend and told the guy that he needed to leave because he was taking advantage of Brother Hunt.  Not nice!  So yeah they told us not to come teach him.
On Tuesday we had our first real lesson with Ilene and she really believes the story of Joseph Smith.  And we asked her to read the Book of Mormon and she wants to.  We told her to pray about it to know if it's true and she said she will.  Then I asked her if she got the confirmation that it is true and that the Lord was leading her to our church if she would join and she said she'd probably have to work on that one. SO STRANGE.  If it's true, and this is the Lord's church, why wouldn't you follow the prompting of His spirit and join?  I guess some people are just a little more stubborn.  But she didn't say no, which was great!  I think she's very open and we'll see what happens after we teach her the plan of salvation this week.
On Thursday we met with Janice, one of the families I think I've mentioned before.  We were hoping to get the lessons going, but as soon as we brought up the Book of Mormon she said the Bible is perfect, she's never felt like it was missing anything, to beware of false churches, no thank you.  We even explained that the Bible supports the Book of Mormon and the Book of Mormon supports the Bible, but she wouldn't hear it.  But she was still nice about it.  Maybe some day she'll be more open.  She wants to come and use the family history center here, so we'll meet with her and kind of show her how to do that.  
Saturday was AWESOME.  There is a less active man that has given us a couple referrals and we met one of them Saturday night.  Her name is Jackie.  She's a very delightful woman who has a thirst for knowledge.  She brought up religion and started asking about our church within two minutes and said she's always wanted to find out what latter day saints believe but never had the chance to sit down and talk with one.  Then she went on to say that she loves the bible, but feels like it's missing stuff.  So she is always looking for the 'missing pieces'.  When we gave her a Book of Mormon she opened it up right there and started reading.  She invited us to come back on Wednesday.  She said she loved having us there because we were able to answer a lot of the questions that she had.  YEY
And then yesterday we had dinner at our ward mission leader's house and he and his wife made pumpkin shaped sugar cookies for us to frost.  It made me feel a little more at home, to do something I would do at home.  If that makes sense.  But it was fun.  They let us borrow a couple Halloween decorations and so now our house is a little less boring. 
This was a great week.  This has been so much fun being able to serve the Lord and meet new people.  I have gained a testimony of the Savior's love for everyone.  I can feel it every single time I talk with someone.  And I love them too, because the Savior loves them. 
Well that's it for today!  Have a lovely week!
-Sister Stacey
Thank you for the letters!  I love love love getting mail.  I FINALLY heard from Mandy and Lindsey, so now I don't feel like people are missing.  I have not gotten your package yet. :(  I sent you a couple letters last week too, but I suppose you have not gotten them yet.
My heard broke as I read about Rocky.  I'm thankful that you didn't wait to have him put to sleep.  And I'm glad that he had a good life with us.  I'm just sad that I don't even have pictures of him.  I'll have to get some from Kevin.  That's all I can say or else I'll start weeping.
We left a message for a semi less-active family we havent seen in a while.

They are obsessed with Disneyland, so the message has been written on Mickey mouse shaped
paint chips we got from home depot. 

Decorating sugar cookies at the ward mission leader's home.

I love you!  Have a fantastic week!  Brother Sinclair, my ward mission leader, might email you some pictures.  :)

October 10, 2011

Hey everyone!
     This week was pretty great!  On Wednesday it was cold and rainy all day.  So basically I loved it.  We also got a temple trip!  It was raining even more down the hill than it was in the desert.  I didn't bring a jacket, which was dumb.  We got lost on the way there.  I, in my head, knew we were supposed to keep going east at a junction we got to, and my companion went west.  Maybe I should have said something.  Oh well.  We got there eventually.  We missed the session we were supposed to be at, so they let us to initiatories until the next one.  So it was okay because we got to do more work.  The Redlands temple is so pretty inside.  They have an awesome stained glass window behind the entrance desk.  When we got outside it was still raining and everything was just wet.  But we got some really cool pictures out of it.  The fountain outside of it is really cool.  The top only had one drain, representing Jesus Christ, the second had three, representing the first presidency, and the third had 12, for the quorum of the twelve apostles.  I thought it was cool. And then we had Cafe Rio on the way home. :)
     On Thursday Elder Packer, President Packer's son, came for a mission tour.  We had an all day zone conference which was so awesome.  We were warned beforehand that he would call on 'several' of us to give talks sponateously.  As you can imagine I was not calm inside.  Several ended up being three, and I wasn't one of them, although I was sure I would have been.  It was Elder Packer the older who visited your mission, right dad?  When he asked you to give a seven minute talk?  Well in my head it seemed like it was.  So I figured fate brought these two men's children together, and also knowing that history has a tendency to repeat itself, I was sure that I would be called upon.  It was destiny.  Glad to be wrong.  But he gave us some really awesome advice.  After they gave us flu shots, which is funny because I was just saying earlier that day that I wish they would give us flu shots. Then that evening we had another appointment cancel.  That seems to be happening to us a lot.  Oh well.  I don't let it bother me.
     On Saturday night we visited Sister Flores, one of the less-active members we visit, and she said she would be at church the next day, and she was!  It was so amazing to walk into sacrament meeting and see her sitting there.  I'm pretty sure I couldn't stop smiling like the whole time.  She even stayed for all three hours!  She said she shared her testimony in relief society.  I wish I could have been in there to see it, but I wasn't because Sister Rimington and I had to teach the high priests.  That was actually kind of fun.  We gave a lesson on missionary work, of course, and gave them suggestions on what they could do to help us.  I think they really liked it.
     And then tonight we're teaching a homeless man.  That is literally all we know about him.  Hopefully I'll have more to say next week.
     I had a couple experiences this week of following promptings.  On Wednesday night we were not sure of where to go or what to do because all of our plans were not working out.  When we were planning the night before I felt like we needed to go see an investigator named Ilene, who I had only briefly met once before, but my companion said she doesn't want us coming by at night.  So I let it drop.  So when all of our plans fell through I had the thought again to go see her.  So we drove over there and her lights were on, but my companion still wasn't sure.  We sat there for a little bit thinking about it and decided to pray about where to go and what to do.  We decided to stay there and knock on her door, even though it was 8 pm and definitely dark.  She was so excited to see us and we talked to her for over an hour and we'll be seeing her again tomorrow night.  She even said she might prefer if we came later anyway because it's usually a better time for her.  Funny how that worked out.  And then a couple nights ago I felt like we should go see Sister Mroz, a less active member that is really hard to get ahold of, so we did, and she was home!  She said she tried watching conference but the internet was bad so she was only able to watch one talk. I remember when I was listening to conference that there was one talk that she really needed to hear, and it was the one she happened to watch.  I thought that was pretty cool.  She's really busy all the time, so we're trying to help her see that it's really important to make time for church.  I'll let you know how that goes.
     Well that's about it for last week.  It was busy in some ways, and slow in others.  But it still went by really fast.  I can't believe I'm done with my first transfer.  And today marks two months since I left home.  WHAT.  Where does time go.
     Well I love you all and I'll talk to you again next week.
     Love, Sister Stacey
O.K. the fingers.  I accidentally super glued my fingers together and I COULD NOT pull them apart.
It felt better to have them taped together instead of them feeling stuck together, if that makes sense.
I got them apart before the end of the day.  Thank goodness!

The Redlands Temple was so beautiful in the rain!

The fountain I described in my letter.

 I am fully aware that the camera did not focus on the rose very well.
Plus also I know there was a spot of water on the camera. 

These are all pictues of my temple trip.  It was a grand day.

October 3, 2011

This week was so grand!  We've been trying really hard to find people to teach, investigators, less-active members, and active members.  It's been so fun getting to know different people. 
We visited Sister Mroz, a less-active member of our ward.  We asked her what is keeping her from church and she really opened up to us and told us why she won't go.  We're so excited because now we know how to help her come back because we know what things to teach her.  She enjoys church though, so I think she'll go back one day.
We also visited Sister Burroughs, who I just love.  I guess she's been less active for a while, but she seems like she's finally ready to come back.  She has had pneumonia for a month though, so once she's all better we'll see what happens.  We shared the talk from President Uchtdorf from the Relief Society broadcast.  She loved it.  She really felt the spirit and I think she really knows that she needs to go to church and she wants to go back.  She brought it up this time, not us!  YEY
We had some appointments to teach those families I talked about last time.  At least I think I mentioned both of them.  Maybe I didn't.  In case I didn't, there was Kenya and her family and Janice and her family.  Anyway, those appointments fell through.  It's okay though, because they still want to meet with us.  They told us to call them a little later in the week to reschedule.  I really like these families.  We also met up with a potential investigator named Judy who says she 'wants to go back to God, but wants to do it the right way.'  She just got a new job and already asked for Sundays off, and she hasn't even had any lessons yet!
This week was really awesome, and was made even better with general conference.  I have always liked conference, but being a missionary I loved it.  I could not get enough and I'm sad that I have to wait another six months to hear more.
My testimony has grown so much in the last eight weeks.  Especially my testimony of the Book of Mormon.  I love that book.  I love studying from it.  I love teaching from it.  There is a power that comes from the Book of Mormon.  It is the most unique book, because it comes with a promise.  ALL who read it and ponder it and sincerely pray to know if it is true will receive the witness that it is.  I have done this, and I know that it is true.
I love all of you!  Thanks for your letters!
Love, Sister Stacey
PS MOM I heard from you, dad, Michelle, and Matt.  I got your package.  I love that you're keeping me supplied with fruit snack types!  This way I just spend money on healthy food and I've really been able to conserve money.  WOOHOO!  Another skill that I'm glad I have learned now-budgeting!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

September 26, 2011

This last week was probably my favorite of the mission so far.  We had sister's exchanges and I was paired with Sister Kaufusi from Tonga.  She was SO FUN to work with.  It's going to be interesting having different companions and learning things a different way and hearing their different perspectives.  She told me a lot of stories about her life and things she did before her mission to prepare, and her plans for after her mission.  She is a very selfless and caring person.  She always thinks of others before herself.  I learned a lot from my two days with her, and I think it will completely change my mission and how I look at the work. 
On Thursday we visited a potential investigator named Janice and we had a really good visit with her!  Before I came they'd been trying to get ahold of her frequently but often had no luck, so they stopped for a little while.  So on Thursday we'd planned on trying to get ahold of one the less active members in the ward who we haven't met yet and she wasn't home.  Janice just lives two doors down so we decided to knock on her door and she was home!  After the visit we asked if we could start teaching her the lessons and she said sure and that she loves us coming over.  We didn't have a lesson during that visit so we can't technically call her a new investigator, so this week when we DO teach her a lesson, we'll have a new investigator!  And then on Saturday we visited a woman named Kenya, another they'd been trying to see, and we've had appointments scheduled with her in the past and she's always had to cancel.  We were able to see her this time and had a really good lesson with her and asked if we could come back and continue teaching her and she also said yes, so we picked up another investigator!  I'm so happy we were able to get ahold of them.  Janice has three kids, and Kenya also has three kids plus her husband, so we might have nine investigators pretty soon here, if their families are also interested in learning.  I'm so thankful that the Lord has given us two families to teach.  The gospel truly blesses families and I want them to experience that!  We invited Kenya to church but she wasn't able to make it, but we think she'll watch General Conference with us. 
Last week was really good, and this week will be grand also.  I love serving a mission.  I love how much my testimony has grown.  I am happy that the day I've been dreading of being called as a sunday school teacher will be less scary because I have a better understanding of how to study and teach. 
I love you all!  Talk to you next week!  Write me letters!
-Sister Stacey

Monday, September 19, 2011

Green Dinner - Sept. 12, 2011

     GREEN DINNER!  It was interesting to eat.  And obviously the girl in the picture with me is my companion.  I really like her.  She's from Perry, UT, a place no one has ever heard of.  She always gets a blank stare after she tells that to people.  She is a hard worker and inspires me to work hard.  She has been out for 8 almost 9 months.  I'm the second missionary she's trained.  She was going to school to be a photographer and will finish that when she gets back. 
     Nothing much to report from our area this week.  Work is still slow.  We've had quite a few appointments cancel.  EVERYONE apparently has been getting sick.  Bobby was sick.  Ilene's daughter was sick so she couldn't meet with us.  We keep having appointments with all these potenitial investigators, but the appointments always fall through.  I think it's safe to say I like teaching less actives the best, since those are the only teaching experiences I have had so far.  I get so confused visiting some of them.  They have a testimony.  They know the church is true.  They get emotional talking about how the gospel has blessed them.  But they won't go to church.  I just don't get it.  We've been trying to figure out the real reason they don't go so that we can help them come back. 
     Last week was HOT!  It is NOT fun to go tracting when it is that hot.  We usually use that time to try and contact potential investigators and less actives.  We were able to get ahold of lots of the less active members last week and have small visits with them.  We've been working with one family a lot, where the mom is the only member and she's less active.  She went to church before she moved, but once she moved to this area she stopped going, possibly because she didn't have as good of friends in this ward as she did in the last one.  So we're trying to find some people to fellowship the family.  Her daughter Cassidy has in the past expressed interest in getting baptized, but doesn't at the last minute.  I think she wants to, but she's scared of the change and she doesn't want to feel pushed into it.  So we'll be patient. 
     Hopefully I'll have more to update next week.  At least you got some pictures!  We'll keep working hard and I'll tell you more about some of the awesome people I've met in the ward.  They love to take care of us.  Our dinner calendar is usually filled up a month before, apparently.  
Love you all! 

-Sister Stacey

News From Sister Stacey - Sept. 19, 2011

Hey everyone!
     Don't have much time today.  We're about to go down the hill to Rancho Cucamonga for sisters exchanges.  I am a little nervous because I have to get used to another companion and a different area already!  The work in the area I'm going to be in for the next couple days, Mesalinda, is REALLY different from what I've been experiencing in Spring Valley Lake.  I talked to the companion that I'll have and she says that they are completely booked with appointments tonight and tomorrow.  NO TRACTING!  YAY!!  We have had literally one appointment during the entire three weeks we've been here.  I'm not complaining, because we're still busy doing other things, but I'm excited for the opportunities to teach investigators.  It will be interesting to see how exchanges go.
     We had an interesting experience last night.  We were invited to sing at an interfaith music festival.  There are some...interesting religions out there.  It was held at a Nithyananda Vedic Temple.  I think it's one of those yoga religions.  Everyone was very nice.  It was interesting to listen to some of the religions out there express their beliefs through music.  There was a jewish guy, not a rabbi, but something else, some unitarians, and lots of other groups I had never heard of.  There was one guy who told us that if he didn't sing every morning the sun wouldn't rise.  I don't remember what he was.  It was fun though.  The whole experience made me so thankful for the things I know to be true.  We sang 'Where Can I Turn For Peace' and 'A Child's Prayer'.  The people who worship at this Vedic temple insisted on giving us lots of curry after.  It was very spicy.
     Since we would just have to come back down to Rancho Cucamonga today, they made all of us high desert sisters stay down here with some of the other sisters.  There was a dog.  A little dog, I could tell by the bark.  I wanted to kill it.  It decided that it would rather bark than sleep at about 10:30, conveniently.  It would bark for about 10 minutes.  Then stop.  Then start back up again 2-5 mintues later.  I was getting so annoyed.  I think it finally stopped around 1ish because that's when I fell asleep.  I am so happy that no one around my house in Spring Valley Lake lets their dog bark all night long.  I think a lot of people would wake up and find their dogs missing if they did. 
     Well that's all I've got time for because we've got to run to the mission home.  Love you all!
-Sister Stacey

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sister Stacey Updates

The sisters from my district.  I love these sisters.
I'm sad that two of them are not in my mission, but we'll be friends after.

This is my MTC  District.  I miss them.  They were so fun.
Most of them went to the California, Arcadia Mission.

All the new missionaries at President Godwin's home.
We were tired, obviously.
I came out after having my interview with the president and took this photo.

Apple Valley
This is the view that greets us most mornings from our backyard.
The desert sunrises are so much prettier in person.  They're so colorful.

Monday, September 5, 2011

First Day in the Field

Twelve new Elders and four new Sisters
being picked up at the airport by
President and Sister Godwin
Tuesday,  August 30

President and Sister Godwin with beautiful Sister Stacey.

First view of the mission home in Rancho Cucamonga.
All photos courtesy of Sister Godwin.
Thank you!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

First Companion

Sis. Stacey and Sis. Dykman (from Sandy, Utah)
MTC Companions

MTC McDrop Off

Don't let a brother hold the camera if you don't want your picture taken.
Dropping a missionary off at the MTC is back to 'fast food' mode.
We drove up and joined a line of cars that were saying farewell to their sons or daughters.
The sidewalks were lined with  missionaries just waiting for someone to help.
Two very cute and smiley Elders came to help Megan.

Luggage being unloaded

Matt and Megan

Drop off photos.

Final hugs from Mom.

Last hugs from Dad.

Last hugs from Matt.