Wednesday, October 21, 2009

21 October 2009

Hey y'all,
Hows life? Things are going great here, yes all the leaves are falling and we are getting snow as we speak. Its beautiful, but its been cold. My companion has been sick with a nasty cold, and I pray I don't get it, because I would be very sick having asthma on top of that. I can tell its getting cold again... my lungs tell me that... but I think I'm good on inhalors for now. I talked to the dentist out here and the he wants to get in touch with you guys and his lab tech and get something worked out for retainer. I don't know if he's called you, but I did give him dad's Cell number.
So Melissa and Brett are doing amazing. They came to church for all three hours on Sunday and loved it. They are going back next week and going to a potluck at the Bishops house, and to the ward halloween party, and shes going to the Relief Society Super Saturday. We have some awesome fellowshippers for them too, and we're going to try and get them to go to a baptism this weekend too. We taught them a third lesson on Monday night and it was great! He has all kinds of great questions, and surprisingly enough, we had good answers for them. He has also asked fellowshippers some questions, and he says he likes how the members here understand the Bible. he says he hated growing up and going to his church with all the sunday christians and where everyone referred him to the minister on questions he had, or changed the subject.
The Melissa that's a chiropractor is super busy, because her boss is out of town. So she set up an appointment for about a week from now and is really excited to meet with us.
We also ran into a less-active sister that should attend the other ward, who had just moved in, and she came to church. We asked people to introduce themselves and sit with her, and she ended up sitting on the back row alone. I was pissed! She left promptly after sacrament, and no one really talked to her or welcomed her. Thats why we only have people who keep being taught and progressing in the second ward and not in the first. Oh well though.
I bought me some vaccuum seal bags to pack with because I figure I'll be leaving in two weeks, and it will just make things easier.Dont want to have to shove things in my bike box like during the last move. haha
Well life is good, I hope these wards will implement the 20 lessons program though. We worked our butts off last week and got a whopping 10 lessons. Oh well. Life is good, and we're trying our hardest. Even if I have to push my companion to work. President better give me a newer missionary, because I'm getting sick of being with one whos about to go home. At least my last companions didn't have a countdown to the days, and say how many days they had left all the time to all kinds of people.
Hey I love you guys! And mom, have a great birthday! I was supposed to be eating antelope meat on your birthday, but the guy who invited us over is an attorney and had to go to Salt Lake on business. I love all the game meats we get out here. :) Its supposedly so much more if you serve in the mountains. But I think I gotta go. Have a great week, know that I love you guys, and talk to you later!


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

14 October 2009

Speaking of smiling... both my retainers are broken. I am going to talk to a dentist in the ward hopefully who can get me some impressions and either send them to you guys or have them made or something. I was hoping you'd be online so I could instant message you about it, but I'll just have him call you guys...
So what's the news? Hows dad's work? You guys enjoying yourselves? I don't mean to sound harsh, but about the comment of people being rude to Eliza, it happens everyday. It is ridiculous how many churches preach against ours and how many people still act like they are in Junior High. It is just something we have to cope with as missionaries. I've just had to learn not to respond to just smile and ask if we can give them a hand with anything, and leave it at that. Which is a good attitude to have in a state where everyone is allowed to carry an unconcealed weapon. I had to learn that in my first area... just to react as Christ would and let it roll off your shoulders, otherwise I'd be miserable everyday.
So as far as investigators, the only real people we are working with are Brett and Melissa. They have had two lessons and absorbed those like a sponge and we've read a couple chapters with them from the Book of Mormon. Its great. They are going to get baptized I'm pretty sure. They have expressed interest, and they have awesome fellowship. But we're introducing them to some other members of the congregation, because the ones they've met are on a 2 1/2 week vacation. So we'll be doing that tonight. Our mission Presidency is doing a presentation on the 20 lessons program from Elder Perry, which was introduced in San Bernardino before I left, because I'm serving in one of two stakes in our mission that has not yet implemented the program. I have learned that you need support. One missionary can make efforts to make things happen, but in that case they'll fall apart! So this will be wonderful.
We also tracted into another Melissa who recently moved here. Shes a chiropractor and she understands the Plan of Salvation. When we asked her why she thinks God sent us here her response was: Well my belief is a lot different from most Christian religions... I believe we used to live with God as angels. We came to this earth so we can feel and learn and have a flesh body and prove ourselves. So we explained our belief and how they paralleled and we are going to meet with her again next week.
I love serving with my companion. It feels like we're brothers. We're asked all the time if we're twins too... hahaha
Life has been ok! I love being a missionary. Monday I had a 24 hour flu which was complete hell. I didn't have strength to stand up or to do much of anything. I laid down all day and the next day my back was in so much pain! So I took 1000mg of Advil after going to print some pictures and buy groceries so I wasn't lying down anymore, and after an hour or so it felt good. Which is good, because we had bunk beds delivered from the mission yesterday and had to set those up, because our room is tiny! And we helped some members move a big screen into their house too. That was easy though it was on wheels. \
Have you ever seen Denver style curbs? They're not square like the ones back home, I don't know if I ever told you this, but they're like a ramp from the sidewalk to the street in all the residential areas, and in some commercial areas, its way nice when you're biking, but Its lame for people who learned how to drive here, because they always park on the sidewalk.
So we are finally getting mid week coordinations going!!!! YAY. Elder Perry of the 12 and Elder Funk of the 70 told our mission pres that mid week coordination is essential to have success. So we'll build off their promises and keep working hard.
You are still saving letters for me right?? I hope so! We had our first snow on Saturday! yay It was freezing, but we still tracted for 4 hours, and taught 4 lessons. We made 12 full lessons for the week, but most of them are members, probably only 4 were nonmembers.

I love you guys! Have a great week!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

7 October 2009

So two questions, how close to you were the fires in Southern California, and how close were the mudslides in Italy to Eliza?
Conference was AMAZING. The whole Saturday seemed to be all talks that you could copy and ask investigators to read. The priesthood session talk by Elder Ballard was hard for me though. It made me think of Dad and all of the time we spent talking as I grew up, and even though I was a jerk half the time, I thought about how much I learned from you guys and how much I love and miss you. It really made me think a ton about home and was hard to get past especially since we had zone conference on monday, and didn't get to work hard to clear my mind, but its all good.
Zone Conference was great, lots of testimonies were borne, we had a lot of weird training videos on driving safety and dinner ettiquite, which I didn't think would be a problem until I came out. Most the missionaries completely suck at driving, I now know why they have the backing rule. haha We also got the golden hubcap award, which is an award for the people with the cleanest car and we get 100 extra miles for the rest of the the transfer, which is awesome. You know how I am about cars being clean though! haha
I loved Elder Holland's talk. Just like last conference he blew me away. It was such a strong testimony and definately a highlight of my weekend.
I am glad to hear that the practice sold, but that's gonna be weird, I've know that as "Dad's Office" practically my whole life. I'm proud of him though for doing what he wanted to do and excited for the opportunities, so I may have to transfer to Cal Poly Pomona if you guys move... haha
We got to go and listen to the temple president speak and we did initiatories at the temple today. It was wonderful to hear the promises, covenants and blessings which I had forgotten since back home.
A funny story. We have really bald tires on the front tires of our car right now. Our "Car Czar" suggested that we have them rotated on the mission account at Discount Tire to the rear of the car. We went to have them rotated kind of laughing because snowy season will start any week now! The tire expert told us he will not touch those tires other than to replace them. We had him talk to the mission guy and he told him to leave them how they are after the Discount Tire rep told us and him that it was a safety hazard due to fishtailing. I figured that from day one, but some people aren't so intelligent. We talked to the old Car Czar, who happens to live in our ward, and he told us to wear them for a couple weeks then go to discount tire, and have them tell the Car guy that they're below 2/32 on the inside treads, whether they are or aren't, because thats what the manual provided by the church says, he said we need new tires ASAP and said he'd talk to the new car guy and see if he could get him to change his mind.
We are teaching an awesome family right now. We paired them up with wonderful fellowshipping and they are just absorbing what we teach. The mom works for a member and was raised non-denominational, and the dad was raised Lutheran, and they are looking for a church that gives answers, not just tears you down when you have inquiries. And they like how the mormon church has set doctrine and knows what they believe. We just taught them the PoS (no, no, no... it means Plan of Salvation) hahah. And they have been very open, we're gonna have him tour the church, and they're planning on going to church on Sunday.
Hey, I love you guys. I'm excited for President's interviews on Friday, and I'll remember to pray for you guys, please do so for me too. I need it! ;)

Love ya all,
Elder Tom Stevenson

PS that was really cool for you to give them that cross stitch. I knew how much that meant to you. I know Robby is smiling to see that, because he's got a better perspective, I'd assume. And he is looking at our family right now I think and proud to be your son, and proud of what we're doing. You're a great mother to have, I couldn't ask for a better one! I have seen a lot of what you've sacrificed to get us all where we are today, and I thank you for it. Can't wait until a year from the end of December, when I'll get to come home and give you a big hug, and probably turn around and go to school a week or so after. Always remember to smile! It changes everyones day and attitude, most especially yours.

Friday, October 2, 2009

30 September 2009

Whats up all? I'm down by my old turf in Littleton (just above Highlands Ranch) because we drove our district leader down here to pick up his car, because it has been trashed by previous missionaries and got all new brakes and suspension.
So how is everyone. I'm sorry to hear about the difficulties in selling the practice... We'll just pray everything goes smooth from here on out.
So you know that whole 20 lessons a week program that was announced at home before I left? It is "in effect" here since the day I came here, but the wards haven't done anything. We are jumping on our WMLs backs to get lessons, because we have no one to teach and we need member families to teach so we can get referrals. We only taught 4 lessons last week and so far we only have two this week. Tracting is a horribly ineffective finding method! No worries though. We tract and OYM every chance we get... we're doing our parts, we just need help finding people to teach who won't bail on us or give false phone numbers. It's frustrating, but I guess life as a whole is frustrating, so just get over it and do your best right?
Well one of our lessons on Monday actually was a was a very spiritual lesson. I haven't had a lesson like that honestly in like four months. We tracted into this couple a few weeks back, she has had an interest in the church from workign around members. We taught the lesson and the spirit was strong and they absorbed like a sponge. He said it cleared up some concerns and preconceived notions from his Luthern background. It was awesome. And we had lots of participation and to top it of we got to eat rib eye steaks with them.We found them an awesome fellowshipping family and are trying to get them to watch some of Conference.
Today we met some members at one of two Jack in the Boxes in Colorado, so I was way excited to get a shake. I have definately missed those.
Other than that we tract a bunch, door to door sales would be a very boring job. We got to help this guy move the other day and it was awesome. He was gonna load his truck on his own and we helped him get all the big stuff and he told us he will forever remember our kindness. The funniest thing is that he was gonna carry his queen sized bed up the stairs and to the van by himself (not a good idea). But its wonderful to be able to serve. We don't do much service anymore, because nonmembers dont trust us and we are told not to help members with service, because they have hometeachers for that.
We had the best sacrament meeting of my mission on Sunday. A primary program. Simple truths of the gospel with simple testimony. All adults should stick to that guideline also. We need simplicity in sacrament meeting, no deep or false doctrines PLEASE! For the sake of our investigators, meetings like that are honestly a nightmare, but it happens too often. We have been working with the ward on that, and we talked to the leadership, which it helped that we had a bishopbric member in the meeting at Gospel Principles, because we've got an old guy teacher and have had to correct false or otherwise unapproved doctrines, and he gave counsel to a recently active member who has issues with tithing. We tried to channel it in and explain that between her, the Lord and the Bishop. It turned into a discussion, once again a nightmare, and the bishopric member walked in corrected the problem bore testimony and ended the class. I talked to him after and he said they'll get us a new teacher by Sunday hopefully, if not by the next week. He turned to me and said, "you know what I like about you elder stevenson? You actually talk and get things done, and you follow-thru always! Its good to have missionaries who actually work, and do what they say they'll do."
So anyways, its been an eventful week. We got chewed out by president who told us to talk to our WMLs and if it doesn't get resolved and we don't get more lessons then he'll call. I'm excited to see if things will actually happen. Well General Conference Saturday and Sunday, and Zone Conference from 8-230 on Monday. Too much sitting if you ask me! But it'll be awesome.
Take care you guys... I love you and I will keep you in my prayers.

Elder Stevenson