Thursday, April 29, 2010

28 April 2010

So I'm still in the mountains... I'm in the Evergreen/Conifer Area and it is so beautiful here. We live with a family who the husband lost his job, but used to be a radio personality in Denver, he is such a funny guy. I got the same car as my last area, hahaha. My companion works hard and we're having fun. We have 2 on a baptismal date right now, one that told the Bishop that he wants to be baptized, and we just have to get over and teach and set a date (we were supposed to tonight, but it fell through), and we have a UBC/PM (unbaptized child in a part member family age 10) Who wants to be baptized, so in the next couple weeks we should have 4 on date.

You went to Ricky's wedding reception. I've heard about that from you guys and Adrianne. Suzie's younger sister is the girl I took to that last formal before I left and Suzie and Adrianne are actually the ones who picked me up for that New Year party when I was 18. Adrianne is getting married in December too. Its so awesome, they are both great girls, and it was fun to get to know them a bit. I do still keep in touch with Ricky's now sister-in-law.

So I thought the whole snow thing was over... We have awakened to a couple inches of snow most of the mornings here. I just want sunshine. It looks like we're getting a taste of that today. So we don't have a bike rack yet, so we're having to find rides, because 250 miles a week is just not enough for this area. We should be at Zone Conference the next week or so and already have the request in, so we should be getting a receiver hitch installed to put one of the fancy new bike racks on.

So a week from sunday is mothers day... What time is your church, when works best to call you guys? I still have to find a place to call from but I'm sure up here we can.

So tracting more often and being in an area with a larger concentration of people (which yes means multiple restaurants and Kroger Foods, Safeway, and a WalMart Supercenter). It's been great to be able to talk to people and help them out. Our teaching pool is quite large here, and covering two wards allows for a great opportunity to teach members, and dinner appointments every night (too bad I came here with no money still and had to buy food off of personal funds, but we should get more tomorrow or friday).

I am still in the same Zone, Surprize Surprize, my trainer is still my Zone Leader, and I still cant stand him at all. We are the only people in this district not at the Rockies game today, but that's ok. Miles are still a bit rough, and public transit would make us miss our appointments tonight, so we decided to go to the church and get some exercise instead of paying to watch other people do just that.

I don't know what else to tell you, its been a good week we're working hard and having fun!
I love you guys. Stay strong and be happy.

My New address is

Elder Thomas Stevenson
c/o Marshall Family
29812 Troutdale Scenic Drive
Evergreen, CO 80439

You all have a great week, talk to you soon, I've been working on a snail mail letter to go home but its a slow process. I got like 20 stamps left now though, so in the next few months I'll probably burn right through those. haha. I should have some extra money for that stuff since I have dinners now though, so no worries, so I'm gonna head out, but we'll talk soon.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

21 April 2010

Hey y'all,
Yes I am being transferred and I'm going back to the Denver Metro area because I meet in Silverthorne at 330pm and will be catching the "transfer train" on the way back in. YAY I'm not too worried about packing today either since I have most my stuff packed and the rest of it I can do tomorrow.

Today is going to be a fun PDay. This morning we woke up and had a country style going-away breakfast with the lady we live with. Eggs, Potatoes, Bacon, Blueberry pancakes. Not exactly healthy, but it was nice. This evening we have a Steak and Potatoes dinner with a family (one of two dinners this week haha) and then we're going to watch a soccer game for a while that one of their kids is in. We do have to make the car totally spotless because it is being switched out so the Elders out here can put more miles on other cars. Its a 2010 and it already has 10500 miles on it. So they'll get a corolla, a Ford Fusion, or a Malibu out here. I'm glad I didn't have to drive a Corolla out here, that would have been a huge pain on some of these hills, they're not too good at that.

I hope that wherever I go I have more people to work with, that would be awesome. I have been so bored here. Oh, I wanted to get some fishing pictures, because we've done that a few times (don't worry I haven't bought a rod or reel, I just borrowed them) but the Pictures I have the only fish I caught was pretty small. I got some bigger ones before though. I like fishing, its fun, I want to do some of it when I come home.

So other than me being moved I can't think of anything to tell you. Space bags are amazing though, they make everything fit. hahaha Oh next week PDay is Wednesday again. Kinda weird, but this week both Tuesday and Wednesday are kind of PDays since I wont make it to my new area until after five too. I talked to some missionaries in the city and they're gonna call in the morning and let me know where I'm going and who I'm with after transfer meeting.

Well thanks for all you do. I couldn't do any of this without your support. I look forward to calling you in about a month. I hope then I'll have more to talk about. can you believe its almost been 15 months? A couple of blinks and we'll have a new mission president, this is his last full transfer, and I'll have been out for a year and a half.

I am so glad for the scriptures, they are such a strength in my life, I've read the whole Book of Mormon this transfer and it has really helped me out. Its amazing how some old dead guys stories are so relevant to today. It struck me how the Lamanites were raised by unbelieving fathers and mothers and that was their downfall. Look at today all the professing atheists and agnostics breeding ignorance and causing the degenerate generation we are a part of. Why is the world so bad. Why do we have a moron for President who in his first year put us over 12 trillion dollars further in debt, why are there so many thefts, rapes, murders, and sorrows? Well it's like in the Book of Mormon with those Lamanites, you reject God and the spirit is withdrawn. These evils and many others are caused manly by the withdrawing of the spirit and over time a loss of moral conscience. It is such a great thing to be able to have this history and to be able to learn from the mistakes of others. If only the whole world would know. But there I go with the whole "Oh if I were an angel..." speech.

God is real, I see enough miracles in my own life alone to know that only a fool wouldn't believe. Come on even the devils believe right? Jesus Christ sacrifice can help anyone it is limitless and real. No matter what someone has done they can be forgiven. It is not easy, it is not painless, but it is worth it. I love knowing that the organization of the church that Paul so clearly defines is actually on the earth and that we do have a prophet and he speaks. I am seriously thinking about getting the audio CDS from last conference, it was so good.

I don't know what else to tell you about, but you guys have a great day, and we'll talk soon, I'll try and get you my new address asap.

love ya,

Friday, April 16, 2010

14 April 2010

First item of business. Next week is TRANSFER week, and its going to be a bit different than usual. Next week our PDay will be Tuesday, and transfers will take place on Wednesday. Salt Lake decided to send the new guys up a day early so just for next week there will be a change. The following week Pday will be on Wednesday again.

As far as food, I attached a picture of me with our extremely full dinner calendar. haha I am running a bit short on money due to that. We did have a spontaneous dinner appointment last night which was good and we were fed lunch today too. As far as the grocery store I shop at its the only one here. It is City Market which is owned by Kroger Foods, and the Ralphs club card works in the Kroger stores here, so I am helping you guys with your rewards if you ever do shop there. In the city we only really had Kroger (King Soopers) and Safeway. Its alright, but food is just expensive here. I'm in a tourist town, this area isn't good for much else other than tourism. Hiking, Rafting, skiing... Those are really the only things to do out here and they have people in and out for that all the time.

These last couple weeks have been a trial of patience. I swear I am ready to leave! I get to go start over in a new place with next to no money too. :P Oh well though, I'll survive. I just want to go back to the city though. I miss having things to do places to go and actually having new people to talk to. Today we went to a lake and my companion fished while I hung out with some members that went up there with us, and played with their dogs. I have a picture of a stick (log) that their Black Lab decided to pull out of the river coming off of the lake. Its a bit funny. I decided to put that up too. So we went up there and spent a few hours and then they took us out to lunch. They are actually the members that Thomas lives with and works with.

I am ready for transfer calls on Monday night. I can't wait. I want to go to a functional ward. One where the missionaries are not required to speak every couple Sundays, and one where we get member support.

I also am excited to leave since the mission president basically laid the blame on us for not having dinner appointments. He told us to talk to leadership and work something out, and now we have none since we did! He also told us 139 is enough to live off of without dinners too. Yeah, I don't tend to buy spam when I go grocery shopping, that is not something that sounds appetizing, and top ramen is also cheap, but has no nutritional value, just empty calories and more sodium than an individual should have in a day. I choose to try and eat things that are good food.

I'm glad you guys had a good trip to SLC. I wish I could see everyone up there. This last transfer has been one of those ones that seems as long as the rest of my whole mission. It has seemed like I am not doing anything, but I know that's how the devil wants me to feel. So I've been reading the Book of Mormon a lot and just praying that it will be soon that I get to move. I know it will get better. I think of a song by Montgomery Gentry which echos the words of wisdom from the Book of Mormon in Nephi's writings, "...Things aren't good unless they're bad, and I ain't happy til I'm sad..." and then I realize that sometimes it just has to get worse before it gets better, and sometimes just so we can appreciate it.

I don't know what else you want to hear about, we're not really teaching anyone right now, we have a few potentials, but don't have too many stories from them. In the words of another country artist, " God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy." Yup that pretty much sums up life, except for that middle part if you're a mormon. But hey other religions don't care. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." Well anyways, my dumb quotes are digressing. haha

But "when I get where I'm going [something something something] I'm gonna spread my wings and fly." :P I think that was Brad Paisley, but don't quote me on that. Life is crazy, but I am ready to move on and try out a new place and really have some fun with it. I hope I get a decent companion and I hope I can help more people out wherever that is. I love you guys, and I'm keeping my head up, no matter what gets thrown at me, hey that was what life is about, that and relying on the atonement. That is the greatest thing, know that we, and everyone else for that matter, can grow and change and all this because our older brother has been looking out for us, he's got our backs, and that is the best protection we can ever have.

You guys take care, "just keep swimming," and we'll talk soon. In about a month to be exact! I love you all! Have a great week and we'll talk soon.

Love ya,

Thursday, April 8, 2010

7 April 2010

So this week has been interesting. We got to see all of conference, they
finally set up a broadcast system so the members down here can watch.
Unfortunately the members cannot figure out how to work AV equipment even
with how simply the church wires it up. They simplicity is good, but the
sound quality isn't. I have never really liked the sound systems they have in
chapels, but that's OK. Anyways, I had to set everything up for conference
(oh goodness, including setting up the screen that we had to carry in it
took me less than 10 minutes to run a check and everything the day before
and set the sound levels). We were also asked to be there to greet people
every session. I know why missionary work has taken a nosedive here, its
because the members don't even want to go to church, I swear half of them say
they don't have TV and then they don't show up to conference. The saturday
morning session (great by the way all about building a family) it was us and
2 others, the father and son of the family we live with. Afternoon session,
just us. Priesthood 6 brothers including us and Thomas. Sunday morning same
as saturday morning plus one couple. Sunday Afternoon... JUST US.

You asked if I am comfortable living where we are. I am the most comfortable
there out of any house I've lived in on my mission. My companion doesn't want
to work very much at all anymore though and that's always frustrating. 2
weeks and I should be in a new place though. I can survive, but I'm not
gonna try and force anything, because that hasn't worked very well on my

As far as easter, the one couple that showed up to conference that morning
invited us over for lunch and we had chicken quesadillas. That was the last
meal appointment I've had and before that the last one was on last
wednesday. Good news though, I'm just over 185 lbs. haha It gets rough
though when you have to pay for 95 percent of your food, and food is
expensive up here, and we only are given 139 a month for everything.

Other than that I'm doing well and feeling healthy. I got some oranges the
last couple weeks, and I love that, they aren't too expensive here, but I did
have to give in and get some nectarines, you gotta treat yourself sometimes
right, but those are two dollars a pound. Other than that its funny how the
mission president told me to start working in the outlying areas, but we
only have 250 miles a week. With our area there is a lot more needed. That
is enough to go into town work around there and go back and maybe take a 15
mile trip to another town. But we cover about 60 miles from top to bottom
and in the widest part 35 miles east to west. Then we are asked to go to
district and zone meetings with only half reimbursments, so those weeks we
cant do much. This is one of those weeks. I cant wait to get back into the
city where members can give you rides when you go over on miles, where you
get meal appointments, where you don't talk to the same people 4 times.

We have been getting a lot of cold and wind, and most nights about 2 inches
of snow, but the sun usually shines through even if its ten degrees and it
melts off pretty quickly. And most of the day we get flurries on and off
that don't stick to anything but you. I am so sick of the cold, I hate it and
I plan on living in a place like I grew up in.

Well since conference I've done a lot of reading and reflecting and praying.
That always helps out a lot, and I know I'll get through. I so happy to know
that Jesus Christ was resurrected and that he loves us and he is there for
us. It is a beautiful thing.

There's not much to report on since all we do is tract and that is
ineffective, and the members do not work with us at all anymore. I miss
Lakewood so so much!!!

So how are things back home? Pretty sunny and green? I saw some pictures the
other day and oh my goodness it is beautiful out there! Is Johns car getting
fixed? Tell me how the trip to Utah is... Is Chris baptizing Brenden? Tell
everyone I say hi. I love you all.

Well, I may write you a letter this week on paper. Hopefully it can sound
more positive, but we'll talk to you soon. Hope you all have a great week.

Love ya,

Thursday, April 1, 2010

31 March 2010

So the lady we live with wants the missionaries there still and that's good,
because apparently missionaries will be here until winter again. Tracting is a bore right now, because we seem to have already talked to everyone, and they don't want to talk... also it is spring break this week, so people are all out of town. All the other areas had spring break last week, so we had some people in then. I am loving the sun, but we're supposed to get dumped on with snow on friday. YUCK!

Well first week in July we get a new mission president. It will be
interesting to see the changes made. I'm kind of worried he'll be more
strict than the one we have now, but I don't know if that's really possible.
The church told our mission president that he might have another church
assignment up for him when he goes home if he's up to it. His wife kind of
blurted it out, and I don't know if he was too happy she told us, but that
will be interesting to see too.

As far as food we have a lunch appointment today and a dinner appointment on
friday. It is a bit ridiculous I know, but the person over our dinner
calendar didn't even pass one around on Sunday. Oh well though, you just
gotta keep a smile on your face and keep working. We got asked why we were
at the supermarket by a member of the branch a few days back and not
working, I felt like saying something like because you guys don't feed us so
we ran out of food. I just said calmly that we needed some food for dinner,
and he kind of grunted and walked away. I swear people here are so weird. We
went to eat lunch on Monday at the church, and I was so mad! They left the
sacrament sitting there covered and trash all over the chapel. I cleaned up
the sacrament and then picked up the trash. From an attendance of 36 on
sunday I almost filled one of those small trash cans, its ridiculous. I am
going insane. And I'm wondering how they got the building they did, which
could easily seat over 100, but only seats an average of 30 a week. Oh well,
I'll be out of here soon enough, and then its another missionaries problem,
just hopefully its not like in Highlands Ranch where less than a week after
I left the missionaries got kicked out of the house they were living in and
the trust that had been built in that ward was destroyed. It was a shame to
talk to some of the members I worked with after I left.

So I'm just trying to keep my sanity. The potentials in the area book are a
joke, a couple of them I think were just put in there because some
missionary thought they were cute or felt sorry for them, but most of them
just want to argue. A couple of them don't even believe the writings of Paul
and denounce his apostleship, putting aside the biased opinions they have on
the Book of Mormon. It is interesting some of the indoctrination that goes
on in different churches, Highlands Ranch and here have some interesting
beliefs that the preacher said, so it must be true. I think of Paul telling
us to beware of ministers that teach any other gospel, and how they shall be
cursed, and that definitely is referring to these individuals.

Well I hope that all is well, and that you guys have a great week. Hopefully
John's car can get fixed quickly. At least there aren't a ton of accidents
due to snow and wildlife, I have seen some nasty looking cars at the body
shop the member that's taking us to lunch owns, so hopefully it will only
take a couple days. It still runs the same though right? Well I'm gonna go.
Talk to you soon.

Love ya,