Wednesday, March 25, 2009

25 March 2009

Hi family! Things are great. We too had stake conference and Elder Robbins of the seventy came to speak to us. We had a great New member/LA/Investigator meeting before it. Missionary work is great here. Yesterday we had the opportunity of helping Javier install floorboards in the house and then we found out he got a job offer in Montana, and he's driving up there today to check it out. We may not get to finish teaching him, but he will get baptized, he's so ready for it and we're excited. As for the bikes, my new bike is a conversion bike, a mix between a mountain and road bike, and it has 28" wheels, so it moves pretty fast... I really liked the old one, but this one probably moves more quickly, because the tires are suited for pavement. We on a lazy day will bike about ten miles, so we really do a lot of it. So when does dad start at the Dental School?? If you move, you should get a house with a pool! :) So the weather here is sooo weird! One day its 25 and the next day its 70. We're expecting snow tomorrow night and Friday. :( Oh well. I got to go on exchanges with the Zone Leaders and District Leaders the past week, and it was awesome to see the difference in drive and energy and passion for the work. It made me work harder since. I am exhausted!

Weird Story:
So last week we were shopping at Wal-Mart. This old lady pulls up next to us in a electric scooter. We hear this screechy voice from below "Are you LDS missionaries?" We say, "Yes ma'am we are." She tells us that she'd like us to give her a blessing, and of course we tell her we'd love to! She then proceeds to say, "Follow me..." We're confused, as I'm holding my planner to get her address. She gets to the dressing rooms, and we're thinking uh-oh this isn't looking good. She then proceeds to say, "I need a private room so me and these boys can do something private." We have the piercing stares of 10 Wal-Mart workers staring right through us and we both instinctually shrug our shoulders. We then tell her, Ma'am, I don't think this is the best place to give you a blessing. She says, maybe you're right and zooms out into the main aisle, she says, "I know, how about the family restroom." Oh my. I say, "I'm sorry ma'am, we can't give you a blessing inside Wal-Mart. Where do you live? Can we come and give you a blessing at your house." She says, "All I want is a blessing, I'm sorry you can't help, I'll just call my home teacher or something, Thanks for nothing." That has to be the single most awkward situation I have ever been in in my life!

I love the people out here though. They are so willing to help out with missionary work. We went out to dinner with a Recent Convert on Monday, and he took us to Chili's and before we could say anything, he had three appetizers on the way. We had a wonderful dinner, and afterwards, he took us to Dairy Queen and I got a Mint Oreo Blizzard. He is a pretty well off single guy and he would do anything for the missionaries. After we got new bikes, he had heard about the situation, didnt know we got new bikes yet, and offered to pay out of his pocket for them. It's way humbling to see these people, and their love for the gospel and their gratitude, and love for the missionaries. He says next time we're going to Olive Garden.

Well I love you guys! I miss talking to you every night, but I know I'm doing a great thing, and I am really growing to love this city. (They call it a larger city out here, but its really not big at all... lol) Well I have to go and write my letter to the president.

Love ya,

Monday, March 23, 2009

21 March 2009

This is the kind of letter every parent loves!

Hi Mayes and Stevenson Families,
Your awesome missionary son's live around the block. We just had them for dinner. We let them pick the meal. They picked Steak, Baked Potatoes, Corn on the Cob, Salad, Rolls and Brownie Sundaes. Elder Mayes gave the blessing on the food and Elder Stevenson gave the thought after dinner.
Enjoy the pictures of your cute Elders. They are a great companionship with unity and kindness. You would be really proud of them.
We offered them to use our phone for Mother's Day to call you!!!

Dave and Ellen Sinquefield

Here is Tom with his companion, Elder Mayes.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

18 March 2009

I wrote a letter to mom already, and the bike situation was resolved. A member out here is the CEO for Sports Authority, but anyways youll read that on that one. I have lost a lot of weight too. I left the MTC at 216lbs and now I'm 198lbs... I don't know if thats healthy, but I feel like I have more energy. I met Elder Twitchell's sister in the MTC by the way. I didn't know about the wildfires here, but it doesnt surprise me. Well I have to write to the Mission President, so I'm going to let you go, but mom should forward the other one to you.

Love ya,

18 March 2009


The bike situation is resolved! The Sherriff is still investigating some suspects, but we got new bikes. There is a member out here who is like the CEO of Sports Authority and he got us a discount at cost to the company+10% and gave us $500 worth of gift cards. So we got $1000+ worth of bike equipment for $128 total between the two of us. We got diamondback bikes that are hybrids between road bikes and mountain bikes, and they tuned them up all nice for us this morning. We are going to get him a thank you card after we finish emails, and we wear suits all the time (until it gets to be 75 degrees outside), and my Dr Scholls shoes are trashed, so we're either going to Ross or Kohls to get me some shoes too. I love the members out here, they take such good care of us! And surprise surprise, theyre like always willing to go with to lessons. I got altitude sickness all day yesterday! :( Let me tell you, thats no fun. We had to cancel an appointment with Javier, but he was cool with it and just said, then come on thursday at the same time... So we'll visit him tomorrow. I love you guys! On monday we had for dinner a roast with fried potatoes and it made me think of home and you guys. I was supposed to have corned beef and cabbage with the ward mission leader and I was sick, so it didnt seem like a good idea. So do you remember when I went to the Mormon Prom and the guy from Hesperia came as the date of Rebecca and Samantha's friend, and she left in the middle of the dance. Well the guy that was left alone is my Zone Leader. So weird! Elder Chaffee came home the transfer I got here for medical reasons, in case you hadnt heard. I hope all is well at home, and yikes someone broke into the office?? There have been crime surges up here. The new thing is there's these people who drive around, knock and ring and pound on doors, and if someone answers they act like theyre selling something, and if not they brake in through the back and raid the house. People are getting desperate for money since theyre losing jobs! its sad. Well I have to write a letter to the president, but I'll be on for a while if you write back.

Love ya,

Saturday, March 14, 2009

13 March 2009, Part 2

I love you. I did get your letter, thanks. The bird is a Less-Active members, and I dont know if it's a boy or girl. I'm so excited for dad. That will be awesome. Well I've been having fun aside from not getting a Pday due to circumstances beyond my control. Its humbling to realize that we are nothing without the Lord and our nice things don't mean anything. They can be taken away in an instant. I just hope that we can be as effective as possible given the circumstances. I have to ride a bike with a 23" frame until we get this mess sorted out, it slows me down a bit, but I'm trying. I had a 19.5" and it was perfect. I was so enraged, so angry, so down that day. I wanted to call you and just cry, but I said a prayer and I just felt calm... everything is going to be ok. We are blessed to have so many investigators, and this is supposed to be a hard area. I really have been enjoying teaching, but tracting is kind of hard, because half of the church out here preach anti-mormon. I guess there will be struggles anywhere you go. I know the church to be true and the gospel has bless our lives, but it's amazing to see that light come into others lives. Javier, one of our investigators, is an amazing guy. We went there yesterday to teach a first lesson and ended up teaching a second (the plan of salvation) we both felt like thats what he needed. He asked some questions and when we got to the end, he said, I know this is right, I feel it in my heart. We asked him to be baptized and he accepted, and when his wife got home we found out that it was his birthday, and he told us we gave him the best present he could ever have, and that we were always welcome at his home. Hopefully his wife will listen too. I miss you guys. i pray for you every night. Please pray for me, this week has been tough. I know I can make it, but It is just hard to go through that.

I love you guys,

13 March 2009

I'm sorry I didnt get to write you on Pday. We were filling out police reports, because my companions and my bike were stolen. We had had interviews with the mission president and we decided to go to Wendy's with some other elders for lunch. We locked our bikes at a tree at wendys, because the rack was too full, and we had someone run in and say they just saw someone shove our bikes in their van and drive off. It was so depressing! We filed a police report and had our serial numbers put on the national register. I'm also filing a claim with Wendy's since they didnt have sufficient room to lock our bike on the rack closer to the store. And with the lock company and there supposedly extra-extra tuff lock thats supposed to be safe everywhere. We are borrowing some other elders' bikes for now until a solution is reached. I'm going to have to get a new bike, or else there is a company that just opened to our mission, where they rent bikes to missionaries and do all of the maintenance on the bikes for only $25/month. The cover the cost the first time one of their bikes is stolen, but after that no. I don't know! They will be at transfer meetings, tru the wheels and fix anything else and will even drive out to fix flats free of charge. I don't know what I'm supposed to do though. The President offered to help out if needs be too. I'm just so disheartened. Well we still have been getting some good work done and we challenged one for baptism yesterday and one today, and they both accepted. There are people to teach coming out of nowhere in this area and we are truely blessed. I think the devil is just trying to thwart the work... Well we decided its time to start using two U-locks and a cable for the wheels on the bikes, so we don't run the risk of a repeat from Wednesday, well I'm going to read your letter and write more, but just wanted to give you a heads up!

Love ya,

4 March 2009

Dear Family,
I love ya! I miss ya . . . So it's 4pm, P-Day is almost over, but dinner fell through, so I got a while. I had to end my e-mail kind of abruptly. I don't remember even what I wrote. I sent you a picture of my new bike, a bird on my shoulder. So right now we're teaching the 9 year old son of a recent convert, and hoping we can teach his dad soon.
We have a lady who her husband left and she's just crushed, but she calls us "the Mormon angels." We also have a single mom and her kids investigating. We're having a member drive and teach with us. We got a lot of miracles coming out of nowhere, so hopefully we don't need to tract a million hours a week anymore.
This is a fairly rich area . . . very nice homes. So I really miss sleeping! haha My bed is a lot nicer than in the MTC at least! I was sleeping on a brick there. Almost all of our P-Day was spent on shopping, just because so many people talked to us.
Colorado has the most beautiful clear skies, and cleanest air I've ever been in. I love it for that. But there will be days when it snows in the morning, gets sunny and melts the snow then it's back to 29 at sundown. So how are things at home? I'm hearing you've been dumped on by rain.
We're living with a couple in their 50's (well I lied, she's in her 40's) in their basement. They're awesome. He drove us to the bike shops last week to look with me, and after I got one, he took us out to lunch.
I don't know where all the money goes though. He said we're not supposed to know, but anyways, he only gets $75/ month to house us, and we only get $139 on our cards. Oh well though. Last night we had roast, cooked carrots & mashed potatoes. It made me think of home so much.
I learned that you change grocery habits when you have to haul it all in your backpack, and we have up & down hills everywhere we go.
So Brother Drake's ordering fajitas for us because we don't have a dinner appointment. I ended up spending about a little bit over $500 on that bike with ultra-bright lights they installed and a nice helmet. I gotta figure out how to get it home afterwards though. I'm taking it for another service (tune-up) just because they give lifetime service on their bikes so I'm going on Wednesday.
I miss my bed! Oh well, I've been so tired here anyways. I'm out like two seconds after I lay down. I finally cut my hair on Monday night. I look and feel so much better. Thanks for the trimmer Mom, I did 6, 4, 3 layers.
So how has life been without me? Is the house like quiet or something.
So my bike light is like 10x brighter than my companion's. It floods out his light, and light in front of both of us sometimes. I let him lead on. He worked for a newspaper, so he can read maps better than I. I have to slow back sometimes, but it's cool. I think the air out here has been good for me! It's way fresh. I've been clearing up, and my asthma ain't as bad as it's been. Provo was the worst! I could taste the smog in Provo.
Momma I want a big hug. :( In two years you're getting a super big hug! You guys take care of yourselves. I love you all so much, you're the best! Tell Cathy I'm sorry I was planning on e-mail, and didn't have time to. :( But I love you all, and you can read her the letter if you want.
Love ya,
Elder Tom

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

4 March 2009

Hi family,
I dont know how much longer I have to write. We have to do our presidents letter online on Pdays, so Idk if the computer at the library will allow me extra time. I sent the address, Highlands Ranch, CO... and we're covering two wards on bike, so I bought a bike from a bike shop out here, but they have liftime service if you live in the area, so as long as I'm here I'm going to the bike shop every other Pday to get a tune up. They let me test ride it and tuned it for me before i bought it. Its a Trek 4300 with a 24 speed. We tract most of the day, but we're starting to find some solid investigators to teach. I miss you all. Well I bore my testimony on Sunday. And let me tell you, the members take care of you here! So much food! I've lost about 3 pounds since I left the MTC though. So hows everything coming along... is dad getting a job at the school? Keep me posted. Anything new in the ward? Well I got to go to a baptism the first day here, and then I stayed in the "apostle room" at the mission home. Elder Mayes is my companion. He's from Aimes, Iowa. He is on his 4th or 5th transfer and already training, but hes a good guy. We're staying in a members home and have the basement as our house. I got the privledge to go to the temple this morning, even if it was the 5:30am session. The mornings are killer, let me tell you, until I've ate breakfast and studied I cannot function because I'm so tired, but once I study and pray, I have the energy to work. We have had everything... from the crazy people yelling at us from cars, to a brainwashed guy who tried to give us anti-mormon literature, to interested individuals, to a couple of them who are progressing. I love it out here. I have to go, I love you, but I'm going to write you a paper letter after I go shopping.

Love your son,
Elder Thomas Stevenson
C/O Drake Family
9345 Princeton Circle
Highlands Ranch, CO 80130

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

25 February 2009

President and Sister Christison and the new missionaries in the Colorado Denver South Mission. They stopped at the Denver Temple Visitors' Center for pictures before going to the Mission Home.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

22 February 2009

I love you mom and dad & Christy,
By the way, thank Eliza for the package. I can't find her address anywhere. Here's some pictures, we get a 40% discount on developing, so I just picked some to send you. I'm so tired, but I'm kind of excited to leave. I'm gonna miss these people! I love my district. . . Maybe I can sneak a call to you from the Salt Lake Airport on Wednesday, but it'll be early. Probably like 7am your time. [He did call.]
I'm at the Sunday Fireside right now. It's really hot & I'm tired, so I figured I'd write to stay awake. So I'm excited to leave and actually talk to people about the gospel. I want to know if Dad got the job. . . Do ya know? We have Brother Stephen Allen, head of missionary dept. speaking ot us. He is so funny! I love it. He's over advertising for the Church too, so we watched a lot of MormonAds.
Elder Ballard challenged us to be enthusiastic & driven & thank our families for him, and I want to challenge you to be a bit more enthusiastic about the gospel too. I'm watching the Joseph Smith Story from the visitors centers, so I'm gonna let you go. Adieu (Jacob, hehe).

Love ya,
Elder Stevenson