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Monday, March 31, 2014

I HAVE TO CONTAIN MY ENTHUSIASM SO I DON'T OVERWHELM THEM

Malolelei!!! <3

I love being here so much. I really do.  People ask me daily, "How are you finding being a missionary?" (I can't remember if that's Aussie grammar or if people in the states say that too...) and I have to contain my enthusiasm so that I don't overwhelm them!
We are teaching a man who is so philosophical and thinks so deeply, that Sister P. doesn't understand a word he's saying. Everything that I say he analyses and strains thoroughly. He was taught years ago by missionaries but fell in love with one of them, told her, and never saw missionaries again. R. came to church on Sunday and really enjoyed himself. I like it because I can give him big reading assignments, tell him to read, ponder, liken and pray about the verses, and he will do it. There is power in following these steps.
We received a referral this week for a woman named Har. She  is 26 and most from New Zealand recently (just like the majority of Cranbourne) She is originally from the Cook Islands and is SO friendly and kind. For the past 3 years Hara has talked to her aunty almost everyday about the church. Never has she felt ready to go to church or meet with the missionaries until this month. We are so blessed to be able to be the Lord's instruments at this time and in this place. We met Har. and taught her about how faith in Jesus Christ leads us to want to be like Him. We read some beautiful verses in 2 Nephi 31  and chapter 32 and by the end of the lesson she was already planning her baptism. She came with us to a baptism the next day, came to church on sunday AND choir practice! She met so many people (including some other cook islanders that she found out she's related too--this is so common with the islanders!) This girl is something else.
We started teaching a boy named Ja. this week. He's 20 and Samoan and just moved from New Zealand. He met so many missionaries in NZ but was never interested in church. He approached US and said he feels like he's now ready to learn about God. He's reading the Book of Mormon and loves it! He's planning on being baptised next month :)
My companion gave me this dress and bag! 


This week Sister P. and I saw more than ever the importance of us being in unity. When there is tension in a companionship, the spirit will not guide us! And we rely fully on that guidance and direction! But as we love each other despite our differences , and work together he blesses us so much.

This  week I have been thinking about FEASTING upon the word of God. We should never be on a scripture diet!! I read recently, " as we feast upon the scriptures, the menu seems to change each time we open them." This is so true. The scriptures do not change, but we do.
 Sometimes I will think about a single verse all day. As I do, Heavenly Father ENLIGHTENS my mind.

Keep choosing the right!
I love you so much!!!!

Sister Stevenson

My Lovely Companion!

Monday, March 24, 2014

I'm So Happy, I Might Think I Dance!


Hello!!! Talofa! Bonjour! Hola! Malolelei! 
A passion fruit flower in a members back yard.  God is the most amazing Artist!


My poor companion has been sick for 3 months. Almost every night she's up for hours because the stabbing pains in her stomach are so bad. But being the soldier that she is, she just endures it. Tuesday it was so bad that she couldn't walk and after the mission president's wife talked to her, she FINALLY went to the doctor. (She's refused to for months because she's terrified she'll be sent home) The doctor gave her tablets, but they didn't do much. This weekend though, the elders gave her a blessing and the next day she finally started feeling better!!!
Because she was so sick, we were not able to do much. But yesterday we had a lesson with this girl named Jordan. Her boyfriend is on a mission in Japan and she's been taking the discussions for a while. As of the past 2 weeks, she's been reading the Book of Mormon everyday. She's hooked on  it. What a glorious thing :) I was smiling so big and Sis P. says "I'm so happy, I might think I dance!" hahahahaha
Cranbourne Tug-of-war

Saturday we had a stake Athletics day at a dirt track area....oh my goodness. The funnest activity I've ever been to. The tug-o-war was hilarious. There is a mostly aussie ward and they would always get creamed immediately vs the islander wards. 

Cranbourne is very different than Narre Warren. To start off with, there are a million missionaries in the area, and  every house has been tracted multiple times. It's also a lot more dangerous here. The best part though is how DIVERSE it is. 

We went to the Temple this week! For days before, I prayed that my questions would be answered. Never have I prepared so much to go. Wow. It was worth it. I have no doubt that the Temple is literally the sacred and Holy House of the Lord. I cannot wait to go with all of you when I come home :)
Cranbourne District at the Melbourne Temple

Sister P. favorite Hymn is # The Star Spangled Banner...hahaha.  I have no complaints.
On Sunday, a man in church spoke about repentance. Repentance is a beautiful GIFT from our Heavenly Father. Imagine how He must feel when we ignore this gift!! Sin truly lowers my spirit. But Jesus Christ can lighten ANY burden and ease those regrets and spiritual wounds. Satan doesn't want us to repent! Misery sure does love company...
But I know that Heavenly Father gives us weaknesses so that we can turn them into STRENGTHS! I love the Atonement so much! A clean mind brings happiness to ourselves and others. Questions I will be pondering this week are? Do I always reflect a clean mind, clean words and actions?
I know that Jesus Christ LIVES! He loves us all so much. 
I have absolutely no doubt that Joseph Smith saw Him and our Heavenly Father, and brought back Jesus Christ's church to the Earth today. Such a beautiful blessing!!!
xoxox
Sister Stevenson
p-day at Australia Gardens

Monday, March 17, 2014

Malolelei famili.


Malolelei famili.  (Tongans don't use exclamation points !!! apparently)
I'm training Sister P. from Tonga! She was being trained by another sister, but I'm finishing it up. I'm glad I got to finish training Sister St.... She's an amazing missionary, and we will be friends for a long time. 
This is the most adjusting I've ever had to do. But it is so good for me and I'm grateful.   Sister P. was really mad when they called my name to be her companion (hahaha). She said she thought President Maxwell would never put her with a palangi, (white person) only poly's.
In the first day I learned ( or "learnt" as they say here) the following things about Sister P. :
She doesn't like Australia (haha) but loves being a missionary. Her favorite food is dog, she used to "prepare" it herself and eat it everyday. She started driving at age 12. She has 8 siblings. Her house burned down right before her mission. As a youngster, she used to find mice in her house and would keep them in her room so her dad wouldn't kill them.  When children at school would try to steal her coins from her pockets they would find her hidden mouse instead and scream.
The first 24 hours were a little rough. But something happened and now I am having soooooo much fun with her!!! We are sooooo different. But at the same time, the same. We get along so well.
Her English is good, but we still do an hour of language study a day. We laugh so hard as I try to explain things to her...like what a marshmallow is. Or what is the tiny circle I put on my eyeballs everyday (contacts). Our cultures are   very, VERY different. But our differences often work to our advantage. It's cool how we both love and cherish the exact SAME Gospel of Jesus Christ! 
I love Sister P. and know that I have so much to learn from her. I admire her devotion and how un-worldly she is. We are so fortunate and have SO MUCH in America. She understands that "things" do  not make happiness. She is so generous and keeps trying to give me her clothes.

I LOVE the Cranbourne ward! There are 2 other sets of Elders here too. (the zone leader's and the  district leaders) It is a SAMOAN WARD (congregation)! I love the fact that even though I look so different than all of them (I stick out like a very sore thumb), we are ALL Heavenly Father's children. Cranbourne has never had a palangi(white)  sister missionary before!

The first day we set a baptismal date! That is a huge miracle because we had never taught  before and I was a little nervous! Her name is R. and she loves the fact that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, she can change. Isn't that the most beautiful concept? Who doesn't want to change in some way? The Atonement of Jesus Christ is for ANY and EVERYONE.

Saturday we did a massive service project for a woman.  The  front/back/side yard was worse than any Hoarders episode I've ever seen. About 30 members of the ward showed up to this woman's house whom they didn't even know and worked for 5+ hours and are all going back tomorrow. That is charity. She came to church yesterday :)
This poor lady just finds the good in EVERYTHING and doesn't throw anything away. I was putting a broken brick in the pile of rubbish and she freaked out and threatened to cut my hair with the scissors she was holding (hahahahaha)
 I love being a missionary. I know that my Redeemer lives!

'Ofa atu
Sister Stevenson

Monday, March 10, 2014

SAYING GOODBYE IS NOT EASY


Hi hi!!

"Now netball is my favorite sport, I like the way they throw it up and down the court..." Like Mike anybody? haha
I LOVE NETBALL!!!!!!!!!!! Everyone look it up on YouTube!! It's a mix between ultimate frisbee and basketball and I'm bringing it back to the States. We played it with a bunch of sisters on Monday and it was so glorious. 

The baptism was Heavenly!
D.'s baptism was Heaven. Really though.
So I've never seen anyone more petrified of a Relief Society Room (that's where the baptismal font is located.) He wanted so badly to be baptised but has been terrified. It was very much like a massive roller coaster for him, before, he thought he was going to throw up and was about to get out of line, but then afterwards he was on top of the world and would've gone for round two ;)

 He told us that he stepped into the font and felt completely calm, and knew he was doing the right thing. He bore his testimony after, it was simple, pure, and powerful. He knows he is a child of of a Heavenly Father, and he wants to keep every commandment. He knows it is not by coincidence that the sisters knocked on his door.

I have never seen him so happy. I could feel angels in the room rejoicing!! I know Heavenly Father was as well. 

Tuesday we were driving to Zone conference and a semi-truck right next to us came in our lane  and smashed into us. Heavenly Father protected us big time. It was as if someone moved our car over.We both felt it. The hit was HARD. There was only slight damage and we were untouched. It was unreal. Heavenly Father is so good to us.
 Zone conference was FANTASTIC :)

As you know, I'm heading out of Churchill Park after the most life-changing/spectacular 6ish months of my 19 years. These people have become my family, and saying goodbye to family is not easy :(  This is my first mission transfer.
But I'm excited to serve wherever I'm going next :) I love life!!!!
1000 Steps  with dear friends

Thought of the week:
You can't expect to receive a $10 answer by only giving a 5 cent prayer.   As we take time to talk to our Heavenly Father, and LISTEN, we receive answers to our prayers, and can feel of His love and peace. It is so worth it.


I know that Jesus Christ lives. I know that every word of the Book of Mormon is true. If you haven't yet, READ IT! 

xoxoxoxo
Sister Stevenson
Netball with the Sister Missionaries.  Loved it!!!

Sister missionaries from China and Taiwan....and Texas
P-day hike at 1000 steps

Sunday, March 2, 2014

OH MY HEART!!! It was thumping so hard .....

Hello!!

This one of those weeks where we knocked hundreds of doors, talked to so many people, and BAM.....nothing. But that's okay. We must have weeks like these to develop patience, and gratitude for the little things. Opposition in all things :) But it was a happy week just the same!!

The miracles witnessed as a servant for the most high God are remarkable and humbling. S. is a 17 year old girl got baptised a few days ago in the Narre Warren ward. S. is kind and beautiful, though you can't help but ache for her as her teeth are all decayed and rotted. A few days before the baptism, the sisters went to go see S.. They were confused when she opened the door with a scarf around her face. G, a humble South American woman in their ward had paid for S.'s teeth to be fixed. G is not by any means "well-off" and when the sisters called her to thank her, all she would say is "it was not me, it was Heavenly Father."

S.' had on the scarf because half of her face had an allergic reaction to the penicillin

J. told her family about being baptised and they were so supportive and excited for her!!! She even brought her niece to church this week! But I guess they're super busy and won't be free till May...so that's when she's changed her date to. So I probably won't be there... (transfers are this weekend and since I've been here approaching six months I'm probably heading out soon)  but I'm just so happy for her! 

D. had a bit of a fall last weekend .He had so much Godly sorrow when we saw him. He has no doubt of the difference in how he feels when he's keeping the commandments, and when he's not. It was devastating, but sort of wonderful at the same time for him to learn this. The next time we saw him he told us how he had repented that week and got chills and felt really at peace and ready to get on the right path. The Atonement is real. We're still planning for Saturday :)

Fast and testimony meeting was very special this Sunday. Ana was confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They didn't have a microphone and sitting on the second row I was only able to hear a little, but the beautiful counsel and blessings that I did hear were all regarding finding strength and joy through the scriptures, and the influence her righteous example would have on her family.

Ana later bore her testimony and gratitude for the gospel, she GLOWED. Sister M. then got up. Oh, my heart!!! It was thumping so hard and I was trying not to beam too much! haha! I was so happy! SIster M. talked about how she's been a member for 50 years, and how thankful she is to the sister missionaries who found her by a bus stop and brought her back to the truth (we found her a couple of months ago and it was truly a miracle from our Heavenly Father). She said she loves reading her Book of Mormon because it reminds her that everything is okay. She said she always wants to read more and more to show the sister missionaries how much she's read that week...hahaha. 

I felt similar to a mother being so overwhelmingly proud and joyful for her children...(even though both these women are older than my own mother :) These two beautiful women have once again come to know their Savio(u)r and they literally radiated. I feel so much love for these sisters of mine. I can only imagine how much our father in Heaven loves us.

I love you all!!!!
Sister Stevenson
PS.    Today for our Pday we are playing netball! I've never played before! It's very Aussie and English and South African!