Monday, June 25, 2012

Fontana 6/25/2012

Dear Family,

   I feel like I am emailing from Disneyland in the Innoventions building.  Which of course makes me feel very happy because I love Disneyland.  So I got transferred to Fontana in the Oleander ward.  My companion is Sister Dyckman!!  I was so happy when they said that at the transfer meeting.  It is so fun to be with my MTC companion again.  The Oleander area is very diverse.  There are many trailer home parks (way different than the areas I've been serving in) and also at the other end of the area there are very nice homes.  Once again I am at the end of the mission.  There is a 'mountain' (hill) that one of the major roads goes through that will take you into Riverside. 
   There are A LOOOOOOT of people we're working with.  Which I love!  The Oleander ward is pretty big area wise.  The activity rate is pretty low.  As as result there is a lot of work that needs to be done to build up the ward.  So much, that it is usually a split ward.  There are not enough missionaries in the mission right now for that to happen, so we're covering both sides of the ward.  We have about 29 people we're currently working with that are actually showing progression.  Of those 29, about 11 or 12 of them are investigators.  Definitely a new experience for me!  I love it!  We're so busy teaching people every day. 

   I could write on and on about everyone, but I'll just pick out a few highlights.  We got two new investigators this week.  One is named Danny.  He is the non-member son of a less-active woman in the ward.  He is very open to learn and he knows he is looking for a way to be closer to God.  HOWEVER he also feels like he has to study every religion before he can pick one.  He has been invited to read the Book of Mormon in the past, but says he won't because he needs to read religious works in order...starting with some religion that starts with a 'z'.  He said it's the oldest religion known to man.  I don't think so.  He seems excited for us to teach him though and hopefully we'll be able to teach him in a way that he will find the answer he has been searching for.  He's really nice and he just really wants to understand and have a relationship with Jesus Christ.  His mom is also very nice.  She's been less active for a long time because of work, but we invited her to the relief society activity the ward was having that night and she came!  It's so awesome to see less actives come to things you invite them to. :) Our other new investigator is a woman named Darlene.  She is also very open.  We shared the doctrine of Christ with her and she said that she is already familiar with all of that, which is good.  We like it when people realize we believe in Christ the same way they do.  She said that she doesn't feel like she needs to get baptized again, so hopefully when we teach her the restoration she'll understand.  She said when we knocked on her door she felt such a feeling of peace from us and she was really intrigued by that. 

   In addition to them, we set appointments with a couple potential investigators, so we'll be getting two more new ones this week.  I already just love this area and I love everyone that I've met so far.  There is one girl who was just baptized two weeks ago who is so enthusiastic about the gospel.  You can tell that she loves it and it has done so much for her.  She's a really sweet girl. 

   Yesterday was my first Sunday in the ward, obviously, and by the time I left, I already had a speaking assignment.  First one I've ever had - assignment wise.  I was called up to speak spontaneously that one time, and a couple Sundays ago in Upland they did sort of the same thing, so I appreciate having a warning and time to prepare. 

   We're definitely keeping busy!  I enjoy not having to spend so much time 'finding'.  While it is a good thing to do, it does make the  days awfully long. 

   I need to take a picture of this library so everyone can understand what I'm emailing in.  It was...unexpected.

   There's not too much more to update everyone on.  So I suppose I'll just say good bye.  And also to have a nice week.  :D

   Love, Sister Stacey

Monday, June 18, 2012

Transfer Time June 18, 2012

Dear Family,

 First of all, HAPPY FATHER’S day to all the fathers!  Especially my father!
Well we got transfer calls on Saturday and even though I've been here for only 12 weeks, and been here less time than my companion, I am getting transferred.  I was shocked!  I didn't see that coming at all.  I was very sad to say goodbye to this ward and to everyone that I have come to know and love in this area.  It's my favorite!  I can't believe I only got 12 weeks here!  But at the same time, I am so happy that I had at least 12 weeks here.  I really love Upland and I loved the ward.  It reminded me of the ward I grew up in.  I hope that I can't come at least exchange here again before the end of my mission.  It would be even greater to be transferred back!  Doesn't happen too often, but it does happen.  We'll see. :)
Last week was pretty awesome.  I got to go back to Spring Valley Lake to see the baptism of Manuel, his wife, and one of his daughters.  His son and his other daughter aren't ready yet, but I'm sure they'll follow soon!  It was so cool to see.  It made me feel so blessed to have had a hand in bringing this family closer to Christ.  Just think, it all started because Manuel just happened to walk into church and we said hello.  So cool!  It was a very spiritual baptism.
That was our Friday night, then on Saturday, Alfonso got baptized!  So it was a pretty awesome weekend!  He was so nervous before (as I think everyone is) but when he was baptized he said he felt great!  I look forward to hopefully being able to see him and his family get sealed in the temple.  They're such a great family.  I love them a lot! 
I am so sad to leave this area!  I made a lot of special friendships during the two transfers that I spent here.  I spent yesterday packing and I still have a little today.  A lot of our last week, actually was spent in the apartment packing and organizing things, because Sister Magvandorj is flying home tomorrow.  So crazy!  I can't believe how fast time goes. 
In addition to packing, we did have a lesson with Kim, which was good.  Things are getting a little busy in her life, which I think just comes with summer.  She also took us out to eat at Benihana, which was really fun! 
I didn't get to say bye to Brother Burke, so I just told Sister Frandsen to tell him that I say he needs to get baptized!  Everyone is still out of town.  This is a short email, so I'm just trying to find things to say.   Hmmmm.   What else happened.
One of the less active members in the ward that we've been trying to see for a long time went to the hospital last week.  She's pregnant and VERY stressed so she can't keep anything down.  We visited her there and shared a message with her.  I think she was touched that we went to do that.  She has so much going on in her life right now.  Not only is she pregnant and due in two months, but she has a nine month old baby at the same time.  And a little girl who is three, I think?  And she has to work.  We just told her that during times of stress it's important to turn to the Savior.  He understands what we're going through and he will help us if we let him.  Praying is so important!  It's praying and then listening to the Holy Ghost that builds our relationship with God and what gives us so much strength when the trials come. 
 Anyway, I have no idea what will be happening at the transfer meeting tomorrow.  So many sisters are moving, anything could happen.  I just don't want to go back up to the desert yet.  I only got to be down the hill for three months!  And the desert feels exactly like Las Vegas, and I just think that place is too hot and dry and windy in the summer.  (knock on wood)  I'll be happy wherever.  It would be really cool to whitewash into the mountains!  It's about that time of year!  I will definitely let all of you know what happens next week. 
But I must be going!  Have a great week! 

-Sister Stacey

Monday, June 11, 2012

Grumpy (not me) June 11, 2012

Hello everyone!

   How are all of you doing?  I'm great!  Still loving the perfect weather here in Upland.  Well this last week was pretty uneventful, since most of our investigators are out of town or busy graduating from various schools.  As I mentioned last week, we had sisters exchanges and Sister Winert came here with me.  We had a grand time!  I really enjoyed working with her and I hope I will be able to some day in the future.  She's only been out four months.  Sometimes I feel like I've only been out four months.  But it was ten as of yesterday.  CRAZY!  We spent our day trying to get into the homes of some of the less actives.  They were all gone, moved, or didn't answer their doors.  Except for one man.  Who was angry and mean. >:(  He told us he didn't want ANYTHING to do with the church and that he's told that to the bishop so many times but people kept trying to visit him etc.  He told us he was being 'nice' to us and if anyone else tried to visit him 'it's gonna get nasty'.  Whatever.  It's really sad when you come across people who feel that way.  He was getting very contentious with us so I didn't want to ask why he'd made that decision, but I really want to know why.  I just pray that all those who feel that way out there may have their hearts softened so that one day when the Savior tries to talk to them again, they'll be able to listen.
   So there was that man which was really sad and unfortunate, but the rest of the week went really well!  Since everyone is out of town, we had time to do some tracting and trying other less actives.  We finally met some less active members who want us to come back and visit with them.  YEY!  AND NOW we've gotten lots of referrals from people in the ward who have talked to some of their friends and their friends said they would take the missionary lessons.  I love it when that happens.  When members assist in the work, it is so much more successful.  It was funny because one of the referrals was from a man (Bro. Ogden) in the ward who said this couple was really open to listening to us and had gotten all his information from him and gave us the go ahead.  We knocked on the couples door and the husband answered.  Before we'd even finished introducing ourselves he said no thank you and shut the door.  So we talked to Bro. Ogden again yesterday and he said he'd talk to him again.  So that will be something to laugh at if we ever do start teaching him. 

   Other various updates:  Amanda graduated from high school.  Hopefully she'll have some time to meet with us soon.  Kim graduated from University of Phoenix Saturday with her masters in business.  We had dinner with her after and her husband, Scot, and both of their moms were there.  It was very nice to visit with them and let them see that missionaries are normal. 

   Transfers are this week, so who knows what will end up happening next week.  Obviously I will let you know. :)  But do enjoy your week and also summer.  BYE!

-Sister Stacey

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Cool Things Happening 6/04/2012

Hello Family!
   How things?  Apparently (for those of you in Utah) it's hot and dry.  Can't say I'm too envious of that weather.  It's great here in Upland, and if it starts getting too warm, we can just go tracting up in Mt. Baldy.  I love it here.  The weather really is usually perfect. 
   Well last week we had some really cool things happen.  We'll start with Bro. Burke:  We had a lesson on prayer with him and he finally prayed at the end of the lesson!  I don't know that he's ever done that for missionaries.  He tell us all the time how much he likes it when we come over.  He said he's had a lot of missionaries come and teach him in his lifetime, but we've taught him differently than anyone else and he likes it.  And people in the ward say that they've seen more progress in him now than they've seen in a long time.  His son (one of the counselors in the stake presidency) is happy, but I think he's trying not to get his hopes up, because I think he's done that before.  I know Brother Burke will be baptized one day, and he's slowly getting there.  May not be by the end of my mission, but definitely some time.  He is a really good man and I hope that he's able to overcome his obstacles soon.  
  Kim:  We had a really good lesson with her, also about prayer.  She said that lately she's been praying about a specific baptism date, which was news to us!  We though she still wanted to wait for Scot.  I think that he's gotten to the point where she knows that he's interested, but he's still just a little shy and nervous about taking the lessons.  But he still wants her to ask him about it, so ONE DAY, he's going to say yes.  Which she knows.  So she's at peace with moving forward.  That was very exciting.  Hopefully she'll get an answer soon.  She said she thinks about it often. 
   Alfonso:  We had planned on his baptism being this Saturday, but that's just a little too soon, so we're moving it to next Saturday. (*sidenote:  Manuel, from my last area, is also getting baptized next saturday, along with his wife and two daughters.  Sister Hicken called and told me about that last week.  I am so excited for them!  What an amazing miracle!)  Alfonso is excited, he already knows who he wants to baptize him, and he's ready for it.  It goes without saying, but I'm going to say it anyway.  I am way man excited for June 16
   We also did a little bit of tracting and met a woman named Susan who seems to be at a midlife crisis and is looking for 'something'.  We asked if we could come back with her and share more about Jesus Christ with her, and she said she would love that, so that was exciting. 
   NOW everyone is out of town for the next couple weeks and it's going to be somewhat slow. 
   We have sisters exchanges this week, and I'm staying here again.  It's kind of unusual that for the last three exchanges I've been here.  I exchanged here my last transfer in Spring Valley Lake, and now I've stayed here twice in a row.  There must be something I keep needing to do that I haven't done yet.  Hopefully I will find out what that is!  Sister Winert is coming here.  I don't really know her very well, so it's going to be fun getting to know her better!  We will have an interesting couple days together at my apartment.  They're remodeling it, so it's going to be a little noisy.  We'll probably end up studying in the park across the street.  I am really excited for the remodel.  The old cabinets were OLD and maybe a little moldy so I'm excited for something fresh.
   Yesterday in Sacrament meeting one of the sisters in the ward who shared her testimony said something I hadn't really thought about.  She talked about someone in the 70s who said that, even with the calling he has now, he felt the spirit strongest in his life while he was a missionary.  She used an analogy of weapons in the army, about how you give the best weapons to the soldiers in the front line.  So that's also how it is with the Lord's army.  If you think of the armor of God, the only weapon is the sword which represents the spirit.  So those who are at the front lines sharing the gospel (missionary or not) will feel the spirit even greater in their life because it's what the Lord uses to touch people's hearts.  I thought that was a cool.
   Anyway, I hope that everyone has a great week!  Be safe!  Have fun!
Love, Sister Stacey

Hello! I'm An Aunt! 5/28/2012

Dear Family,
I don't have very much time again this week, unfortunately.  Which is okay.  It's great that I even get to email at all.  Since it's Memorial Day, all the libraries are closed down.  They opened the family history center for us, but we have a limited time that we're able to use it.  So I'll have to make this brief.   Again.  BUT you get to hear from me, so YEY!
We had some really good lessons this week!  First we saw Bro. Burke and taught him the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  You're like, don't you just teach that every day and YES I do teach the gospel of Jesus Christ every day, but I mean we taught his doctrine in greater detail so that one can't misunderstand.  We started by talking about the Savior and the Atonement and how even though we have that gift extended to us, we have responsibilities in order for it to take effect in our lives.  He really seemed to have a light turn on when we told him that.  He kept saying things about the stuff that he knows he needs to change and that he is going to work on it.  That's great because usually when he starts talking about those things he'll say there's really no hope for him.  The Spirit was definitely present at this lesson, and when people feel the Spirit, they want to change.  He is still progressing slowly, but it's still progress.  We're excited to meet with him again this week because he said he would pray this time!  It will be the first time he's ever prayed around us. 
We also had a really good lesson with Kim.  We read 3 Nephi 11 with her and talked a lot about Jesus Christ and the Atonement and then watched a Mormon Message with her.  At the end of the lesson she started saying all the things she wants to be doing better at like reading the scripture and things like that.  Again, the spirit was very strong at that lesson.  So she wanted to change.  Since then she has read the Book of Mormon every day and her husband Scot is becoming more interested!  We're excited about that because she said once he starts doing that, she'll get baptized.  So hopefully things will keep picking up and we'll be able to set a date with her soon.  The day after our lesson with her she said she was feeling very rested and grateful.  She was like, 'is that the Holy Ghost??'.  YEP!
We decided to focus our teaching on Jesus Christ this week because of the zone conference we just had.   We talked a lot about Him there and we felt the spirit so strong.  That is how people gain a testimony.  Our testimonies must be centered around Jesus Christ and when we understand the things he did for us better, then we'll act.  That's another great thing that I've learned from serving a mission.
Anyway, it was a great week!  Can't believe it's already half-way through the transfer!  I hope everyone's week is great!  Say hello to Sophia for me, those of you who can.  :)
-Sister Stacey
PS MOM- I got your letter last week.  Guess the mail just decided to send it slowly.  Also thank you thank you for the package!  Much needed things. Those half tees are great!  BUT I think I like the cap sleeve better, just because everything I have already has sleeves.  And I love the footies.  It's okay that you missed last week.  Ella is just too cute!  Drive safe to Michelle's and have fun etc.  What was wrong with your car?  Anyway, love you!