Monday, September 29, 2014

Looking Forward to General Conference

La Cathedral
Hey family
We had a really good week this week!

Okay first on Wednesday, we had a Zone Training Meeting and they talked a lot about the importance of baptismal dates. So we thought about it and thought: "Why don't all the people we are teaching have dates? What are they even progressing towards?" So we prayed and planned dates to set with every single person, and that's where the miracles started.

First off Andrea. She is still progressing really well! We met on Tuesday without the plan of setting a date and we talked more about prophets and General Conference. She listens to General Conference talks every day. She was super excited to learn that we have 10 hours of new talks for her this weekend. 12 with the Women's Broadcast. She has already listened to about 50 talks. Anyway, we ended the lesson and were just talking because a member was going to give us food. She mentions a dream she had when she was younger. She saw a desert and storm clouds but above it was white clouds and Jesus Christ was decending surounded by angels sounding trumpets. Elder Hathaway and I turn to each other with the same picture in our minds that you all have right now. Luckily, Elder Hathaway had his Preach My Gospel and I knew that picture is in there and so I pull it out and show it to her and everything goes very quiet. And the spirit testifies to her the truth of these things. She just started crying and says it's exactly what I saw in my dream. For 24 years she had remembered that dream and it was shown to her in that picture. Then on Sunday we had a really great Sacrament Meeting. She comes to me after and asks what was the date of the two men getting baptized? I told her October 18th and she said I want to be baptized that day too. We are very excited for her. She is very prepared.
This picture is what she saw in her dream.

Then, we were able to set another baptismal date with a person named Fredy, a Dominican that owns a little store. We always teach him there. He understands a lot of what we teach. He reads and he really wants to change. We invited him to be baptized on October 25th and so we are going to work really hard with him to help achieve that goal that he has.

Then Oscar, Margarita's son. We were able to meet with him on Friday because he came to our English Class. Afterward, we were able to teach him and talk. He opened up to us a lot and how he has the desires to be in the church one day with all his friends and family. We went over the next day and invited him to be baptized on the 29th of November and he accepted! We are very excited for him and his progression.

Unfortunately, there were people that didn't want to accept their date but it happens. We invited them to keep reading and praying.

So funny story and super weird. We are teaching a man named Elilio and he told us he was coming to church. He even said we could come pick him up in the morning. So we go by and he is at the downstairs door waiting with the Book of Mormon in his hand. We say alright lets go to church and he said no, other people are coming to get me and take me to there church by the train station. We just stand there confused and ask him, "Then why do you have your Book of Mormon with you?" and he answers, "Because it's the word of God." We say, "Well yes that is true but we are the only ones that believe that. If you take that to the other church, they will reject it as the word of God." So anyway we try and help him come to church but he insists he's going with the other people so we let him cuz we had to get to church. I'm really interested to find out what happened.

This was our week. A super good one. Keep the people with dates in your prayers! Love you all thanks for the support!

-Elder Stevenson

El Camino de Santiago

a marker for the Camino


Monday, September 22, 2014

New Companion!

Hello Family!

We had a really good week this week.

First, I spent my Tuesday in A Coruña with Elder Hendricks. It was a really good day, tons of success. It's a really good area up there. It also started raining super hard. We had to take shelter for a minute because we didn't have umbrellas and we were soaking wet.  That was fun but overall a good day.

Then on Wednesday, we got to pick up our companions! I'm training Elder Hathaway and guess where he is from... Indianapolis, Indiana just like Elder Gorge! It was pretty funny when he told me that. He is super cool, plays soccer, and baseball. He's 18 and he was only in the MTC for 2 weeks because he already speaks Spanish. He studied in Mexico for a little while. 

Later that day, we went and visited Junior, Elder Hathaway's first lesson in the field was in English. Then we met with Wellington. He is doing pretty well. Still working towards his date but he still hasn't come to church. But he will be able to go to General Conference in 2 weeks so that will be nice. I'm really excited for conference. Then he got to meet Margarita. We were able to teach her son more and he was actually able to go to church again this week but in Ourense. He is doing really well.

Thursday was a good day. Something interesting happened... We found Luis! He said he would be out of town but he was at home. We were able to teach him. He's doing alright. He's just so old that nothing really stays in his head. He still hasn't come to church. He even said we could come by and pick him up on Sunday but he didn't answer the door! We went by later and he said he had slept until 1 so we will work on him coming to church. We also found Elilio, a man Elder Gorge and I gave service to last week. We were able to teach him again. He also promised to come to church but didn't. We saw him later Sunday and he said he was at a family reunion. We did meet with someone that did come to church, Andrea! She is still doing super well even though we tried to set a baptismal date for October because she said she wanted to get baptized soon but she denied it she was thinking more in December so we are going to work with her because she is prepared and wants to do it. She even is being trained to be the new primary president because she has two daughters that go, so its super cool!
This is Luis-he's so tiny = )
We had a really cool experience Friday. We had very little to do so we decided to go pass by Graciela, Margarita's friend. She was home and let us in! It was her daughter's birthday so she let us come up and gave us food... and let us teach her friends and older two children! It was a really cool experience and they have interest so I hope things go well.
So on Sunday when we went to go get Luis on the way to the church, we hear a man say ``Hey Elders!´´ in the most American voice I have heard in a long time. His name is Joe. He is from Provo. He was doing the Camino to Santiago so he decided to come to church in Lugo. Now here's the it's a small world in the church experience. He served in the Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo East mission just like Matt. He even knows Matt! So it was pretty cool. Also yesterday we had the biggest rain and thunder storm I have seen in my life! We were walking to a lesson and it started. It got to the point where it felt like we were under a water fall and the cracks of lightning were inseperable from the flashes! It was right on top of us this storm. So we took shelter for a bit because it was so bad. The streets turned to rivers in minutes because we were going down hill. I started recording it on my camara and right then about a football field in front of us lightning hits the ground. If you take the video frame by frame you can see the bolt it's pretty cool! But we're all safe.
Well, this has been our week. Hope everyone had a good one too.
Love You!!!
-Elder Stevenson

The District

Elder Christensen



Monday, September 15, 2014

Staying in Lugo and I'M TRAINING ANOTHER!!

Waterfall = )   It's man made but the pictures look cool! And the misty breeze felt great on a warm day.

Hey Family

Just wanted to send off a quick note. Elder Gorge is getting transferred and so we have to go do transfer stuff this morning but I will email later. He is going to Madrid in B9 and I'm going to stay here in Lugo with.... I DON'T KNOW! I'M TRAINING ANOTHER!! So I will let you know next week. Well we have to go catch trains. I have to wait in A Coruña until Wednesday for my companion so I'm staying with the missionaries up there. Talk to you later!

-Elder Stevenson

Hey Family!
I made it to A Coruña safe. Now I just have to wait until Wednesday for my new Companion. I got on the train and was asking the people which car and seat I was in and they tell me to walk down the hall. I get to the first class room and the guy looks at my ticket and says just sit down wherever you want in here. There are open seats. For a 2 hour train ride, I got to sit in first class. This is a train hotel because they are over night trips. (The train started in Barcelona.) The seat had sooo much space and reclined into a bed. : ) I enjoyed the last 2 hours.

Anyway, we had a great week this week! 
Me and  Elder Gorge

We were able to teach Margarita's other son this week. He lives in Valencia over by Barcelona. He was here visiting and so we were invited over. We were able to teach the Restoration to him and his girlfriend and they really liked it. We were able to get their reference and pass it to the missionaries over there. Also the son that lives in Lugo, right now his wife is living in Ourense, another city in Galicia. She was at one lesson one time. Yesterday, we found out she and her friend went to the church in Ourense! It was super cool to hear and even better they went on their own!

Andrea is also doing super well! We had a lesson with her on Thursday and she shared the story about how she met Guiermo, the member that invited her to come to church. She said she had just left her church and she had been praying to know what path she should take in her life because she was having problems. Right after is when she met him! Elder Gorge was talking to her yesterday after church and she said ``You can't go now. You will miss my baptism in a couple weeks!´´ Elder Gorge and I just look at each other in awe. We will for sure have her on a date after Thursday. My trainee will like that!

Wellington is also doing super well. He is still excited for his date and we were able to finish The Plan of Salvation and he really liked that. All is going well but he still hasn't come to church! He really needs to! We will keep working with him and praying.

Luis is doing well. We met with him every day this week but then Saturday he went on vacation and will be gone for 2 weeks. That will be tough. but all is well with him.

For the past 12 weeks we have been trying to get a hold of a less active named Charles. He is from Nigeria. Once we baptize Junior, we really wanted him to come back to church so he could have a friend but he never answered the phone. Well this week we had a great miracle... he answered! And invited us over right then! We went over and had a great talk and encouraged him to come back to church... and he came!! He really liked it too! We were super happy!

Other than that, a good old normal week. Hope everyone is well and has a good week.
Love you all!!

-Elder Stevenson

Monday, September 8, 2014

Super Busy Week and More Pics of A Coruña

Hello Family!

We had a really good week up here in Lugo. Super busy the entire week!
A Coruña

We were able to put two people on a date this week. Two Dominicans for the same date.

The first one is Wellington, the man we have been visiting and last week told us he wants to be baptized. We talked more with him about it and then set him on a date for October 18th. He has the desires to be baptized. We just have to help him make some changes in his life. He is doing great and reading and praying but he still hasn't picked up the phone in the morning to come to church because he gets home at 6 from being a DJ. The other one is Luis, the super old one. We have been continuing with the lessons and he is going to be moving back to the DR in November so we put him on another date to be baptized. This time he marked it on his calendar so hopefully it goes through.

the Palacio de la Ópera theatre in A Coruña

Andrea is still super amazing. We were able to meet again this week and we followed up to see if she had read and prayed and she had. She had actually prayed about converting to the church and being baptized and then right after she opened to Alma 7 where it talks about exactly that: 
   "14 Now I say unto you that ye must repent, and be born again; for the Spirit saith if ye are not born again ye cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye may be washed from your sins, that ye may have faith on the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, who is mighty to save and to cleanse from all unrighteousness.
    15 Yea, I say unto you come and fear not, and lay aside every sin, which easily doth beset you, which doth bind you down to destruction, yea, come and go forth, and show unto your God that ye are willing to repent of your sins and enter into a covenant with him to keep his commandments, and witness it unto him this day by going into the waters of baptism.
    16 And whosoever doeth this, and keepeth the commandments of God from thenceforth, the same will remember that I say unto him, yea, he will remember that I have said unto him, he shall have eternal life, according to the testimony of the Holy Spirit, which testifieth in me."
She liked it a lot and so we are planning a baptismal date for her. We then explained The Plan of Salvation and it was a very powerful lesson. Especially since the member's non-member husband was there, who's mother passed away days before. I was able to share my experience with Grandma Stevenson and how that really helped me understand the Plan of Salvation and feel it's power and truthfulness. 

It's really great to be out here. There are really people that are prepared and receive these answers, if they really ask. It's the best being part of this work and seeing it happen. 

Hope everyone had a great week. I love you all!

-Elder Stevenson

I found Sonic!   The grey prickly thing is a hedgehog.

A Don Quixote windmill  = ) 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Great Experiences

Hey Family!

We had a really good week this week got a lot done and had some great experiences.

First off, on Tuesday, we were finally able to meet with Andrea the lady, that came to church 4 weeks ago with her friend and has come ever since. Another member finally said you're meeting with the missionaries and invited her and us over to their house. We had a great first lesson with her and she is super prepared. She came to church yesterday and told us she's reading in the Book of Mormon and has already seen talks from Gordon B. Hinckley. So it's pretty cool. We are going to meet again tomorrow so I'm excited. We are going to put her on a date.
We were also able to teach Margarita's son Oscar. The one that was super drunk that one day. Well this time he wasn't drunk and we were able to teach him the Restoration. It was a super good lesson. He has also read and he came to church on Sunday and really liked it. I don't know if he feels bad for the day he was drunk or is starting to like us or if he´s just doing it because his mom is happy but he is super nice to us. He goes to the gym in the morning and can bring friends so this week he is going to take us. He is also going to get us Colombia stuff to remember him and his mom. He has really warmed up to us.

We met with Wellington again this week and he is doing even better. Still reading and we focused a lot on baptism with him and he said he wants to do it, wants to start again. He told us some stories of some of the things he has done and how it would be nice to have that taken away. It was a really good lesson.

We also were able to meet with a man named Diego. He was in Wellington's house one day we were there and stayed for the lesson. We were able to get his reference and we met with him and taught him the Restoration also. It was a very good lesson. We are going to meet with him again today. He should progress well.

The guy we are visiting in the hospital gets released today. Hopefully, he can come to church soon. He really wants to we just may need a member to take him in a car.

Hope everyone had a good week. Take care. I love you all!

-Elder Stevenson

                                  A few pictures of the beach in A Coruña