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Sunday, August 31, 2014

DREAMS COME TRUE


Hello!!!
Dreams come true. Tuesday I was transferred to the International Branch in the City. 
The Melbourne 2nd branch consists of us, a set of English speaking Elders and 4 sets of Vietnamese speaking Elders. The Melbourne 1st branch is Chinese! Oh how I love every second. At church, those passing the sacrament were from Mexico, Iran, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Vietnam. It is TRULY International.
I am with my dear Sister L.! She is darling, has so much faith and intelligence, and is such a blessing to me. Life is beautiful!!! 

The majority of the people we teach are students from overseas and speak broken English. I am learning to teach more simply, purely and more powerfully than ever before...we generally teach people who God is, and how they can have a relationship with Him.
"Talk to everyone" has never had such a profound and literal meaning. As soon as we step out the door, we open our mouths to any and everyone. We have a car for exchange purposes, but our transportation in the city includes foot and tram (occasionally train or bus). There are HEAPS of people, predominately Asian. We talk as we walk, we talk to those on benches, we talk to people on the tram, we talk to everyone. I love it.
We start exchanges up this week...most missionaries never get a chance to visit the city. I feel that it will be so beneficial for our sisters to get to experience the pace of missionary work here and feel the spirit in the branch. 
This week Sister L. and I have raised our vision regarding key indicators, we are building our faith and are fully relying on our Heavenly Father. Miracles are happening. 

As I mentioned before, the branch is mostly students. It is hard because most are not here for long. The sweetest girl  did not pass an exam and is having to leave Australia and go back to Vietnam next week. It is devastating :(
The students are so loving. No matter who you are, they accept, love and fellowship you. Most of the branch is here by themselves and they make the branch in the city (!23 Lonsdale Street) their home. It is a FAMILY and is so special.
Sunday was perhaps one of the most powerful Sacrament Meetings I've ever been apart of. A boy from Vietnam who is not a member played the piano so beautifully...he will go to Berkley soon to be a composer! The spirit is so strong in the Branch.
Remember me telling you about M?!!! Well he is so wonderful! I'm not sure how to send pictures from this computer , but imagine a Japanese anime teen boy with shaggy black hair ;)  We have been teaching him every other day and he cannot wait to be baptised on the 20th. He is a branch ENTHUSIAST and  is there more than we are! Although so quiet, he has fellow shipped every investigator in the branch, haha.  He went to a baptism Friday and asked the Elders 3 times if he can have some white clothes to get baptised. Last night we taught a boy called Tom. from Japan as well, M. came too and in his very broken English taught Tom. how to pray...it was so incredible.
Our apartment is itty bitty! In the bathroom you can easily touch the shower, toilet, sink and washing machine without stretching your arms too much :)
I have had so many interesting foods while being here!! Dried jack fruit, proper Japanese ramen, bamboo shoots, Japanese black fungus, taro roll, seaweed and tofu soup, herbal jelly soy drink etc.
It has been quite the week. I love how I fall asleep within 30 seconds every night,. I love working. I love testifying to everyone I meet that God loves them, and that Jesus Christ's church is on the earth today.
This week so many great missionaries left, it was heavy on my heart saying goodbye to 5 in particular that changed my life. I am so blessed to be here. I am getting back so much more than I give. I love my mission. I love serving Jesus Christ. I deeply believe that it is only though Him that we can feel true peace, and true joy. It is only through Him that we can live with our families for ETERNITY. I know it.
I love you!!!! :)
xoxoxoxo Sister Hailey Stevenson

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

When I Asked Him if He Ever Prays, he said, "Oh yes, I pray tennis, I pray flute, I pray..."

Hi!

What an incredible week.
I exchanged into the city with Sister L.. We had a day of MIRACLES...my favorite days are when you are going, going, going and so busy that you don't even have time for lunch. 
We taught a Japanese student named M...his English isn't too great and he doesn't have much of a religious background. We began by praying and talking about the nature of God. We focused a lot on how we can communicate with our father and feel peace though prayer. When I asked him if he ever prays, he responded "Oh...yes. Everyday. I pray tennis....I pray flute...I pray..." Oh my goodness, I almost got the giggles.
Later I met a recent convert named Ang. He is a student here from Vietnam, he looks 15 but is in his mid 20s. He is such a delight he is to the branch. He LOVES American pop music and performed many a song for me, with 90% of the lyrics altered hahaha.
 Ang. loves the hymn  "There is Sunshine in My Soul Today" because according to him, he can add in anything. He then sang for  me "there is bacon in my mouth today!"

The majority of time spent in the city (when you are not teaching) is GQ'ing (golden questioning, where you talk to any and everyone)  I LOVE it. My favourite spot is in Bourke Street. At one point in the day I was talking to a man on a bench in front of the state library. He is a student here from India.  At first he had no interest in what I was saying, but as I proceeded to testify to him about Christ's church established on the earth again, and how we have a prophet HERE to guide and lead us, his heart started softening. Not because of anything that I said, but because of the spirit he felt. There was SO much going on around us, people bustling everywhere, and trams and buses and bikers, but as I told him about Joseph Smith and his account seeing Heavenly Father and His son, it was as if everything was on silence. It was such a profound moment on my mission.  After I finished, his whole countenance changed....he said, "Amazing....is it true?" I asked him what he thought and he nodded his head in response. "It is true." The most powerful thing I can do as a missionary is to testify. I could have all the skill in the world, but if whom I speak to cannot feel the spirit, their heart will never change.

Saturday we were able to go to the Temple... Sis V and Sis W both taught a darling lady named K. A few years ago K. got sick and lost 30 years of her memory (her whole life). Sis W retaught the lessons to her and this was her first time back at the temple. It was so special.

Both Sister V. and I are getting transferred Tuesday. I'm so sad to leave Narre Warren, but I will go wherever the Lord wants me to serve. Sis V and I were called up to bear our testimonies during Sacrament  meeting...after, a young w who wants to serve a mission spoke, as well as a boy who will be leaving for his mission this week in the Philippines, and an elder who just returned home from his mission in the West Indies. The work is HASTENING! I love being a missionary for Jesus Christ. I love you all so much! 

xoxoxoxo Sister Hailey Stevenson



Monday, August 18, 2014

Hello!!

Oh I love life! Life is beautiful! The gospel of Jesus Christ brings light and love to my soul.

Exchanges in Elthem

Sister Ver. has joined our companionship and is such a blessing to me. It has been further verification that Heavenly Father is aware of me, and knows exactly what I need. This week we had an Family Home Evening with the Per/ family and Ana was there!!! She shared her conversation story and talked about gaining a testimony of the book of Mormon, they key was prayer. she would pray before she opened the book, during and after. Through prayer she received revelation that the words that made her heart feel peace were TRUE. She was able to attend the temple and said she never wanted to leave. It was such a happy night :)
later in the week we were on exchanges and i was in Churchill Park with sister going....we had a dinner with the C's and Dan. was there! He is about to build a house and things are well in his life...his family now knows that he's a member! He said that he has had the brief thought of going on a mission....I could cry just thinking about it. 

I had the privilege later of going on exchanges with Sister K. in Elthem. What a unique, lovely place! Sister K. and I clicked instantly and  we saw miracle after miracle. We were able to teach that lady A. that I sent you the pic of. She arrives at that cafe early every morning and stays there till night. Everyday! We now know where to find her! 
 We taught a Saudi Arabian man named Moham. about Jesus Christ and His life. He asked such sincere questions and the spirit was so strong. He mostly reads Arabic and soaks in all the pamphlets that the missionaries have given him and keeps a study journal of questions to ask. He was enthralled as we told him that like Jesus Christ, we too will be resurrected someday and have perfected, gloried bodies. Such a beautiful truth!

We were able to have a dinner with the St. family and S. D.  and her brothers who aren't members came..after dinner, Brother St. played hymns on his guitar and we all sat around with hymn books and sang, it was such a great experience for everyone and the D. kids all came to the stake dance performance the next night....members make all the difference! Have you had the missionaries investigators over recently? :)


Yesterday we visited a lady in the hospital...she was very ill and drained emotionally. We sang primary songs to her and spirit was so strong and she had tears in her eyes. Heavenly Father loves His children so much....He often uses us as instruments to help them feel love. YOU, my lovely family, are instruments for Him. Keep showing love and kindness to all you meet. 

We organised a P-Day for today with all the sisters in the mission. We're tie dying shirts and are all bringing foods from our country/culture. I have American hot dogs and ketchup...haha 
I get to do an exchange in the city this week! Aiden is getting baptised on Saturday and we are also going to the Temple! One of Sis W. and Sis v's friends that they helped bring back to church is going through the Temple! Transfer news is that day too.

I am so grateful for what my mission is teaching me about love. Charity NEVER faileth
D&C 88:125
And above all things, clothe yourselves with the bond of charity, as with a mantle, which is the bond of perfectness and peace.

I love you so much and am so thankful for your prayers. Families are FOREVER! 

Love you so much!
XOX
Sister Stevenson 

Monday, August 11, 2014

She Calls Me "LaTeisha" hahaha. I think she's saying "The Teacher"

Hello!

Happy Monday! It was a lovely, frigid (winter) week of miracles and learning.
This week I went on two exchanges with different sisters that go home in the next 2 weeks...it was incredible to hear and see how they have changed on their missions.

Yesterday we prayed that we would be able to meet and teach 5 new people. Realistically, this was a bit of a leap, but FAITH in Christ produces miracles and we really felt we could achieve this goal.  But, due to circumstances we only had an hour... We felt prompted to show up at a woman's house who had been found by missionaries about 6 months, but had never taught her. Bel. moved here from Malaysia  years ago. She immediately invited us inside to her bedroom where 3 of her girls (Pret,-12yo, Pri.-10 and So.-7) sat colouring on the bed. They eagerly and intently listened as we told them of our unique message centred on Jesus Christ and families. Their faces lit up when we explained what an "eternal family" was. Ah! Incredible. Bel.'s husband is a practising Budhist and did not join us, but we will pray that his heart will be softened. It was such a special experience. We are going back this week!
On my mission I feel love like I never have before...all I want is for my brother and sisters to be able to live with their families and Heavenly Father again.
We then met a beautiful Filipino family next door. Heavenly Father pours out His blessings upon us as we believe in, and trust Him!

There is a woman in our ward named M. She stopped going to church a number of years ago, and we have been visiting her frequently. We sometimes show up on Sunday mornings before church hoping to get her out the door with us, and for the past two weeks she has come! Such a happy thing! It is not just effecting her, but her children as well. Our choices determine so much.

S. is doing well! We have FHE with his family weekly and little Lor. talks about being baptised by her dad :) She calls me "laTeisha" hahaha. I think she's saying "the teacher".

I have the greatest opportunity of my life to teach people the ultimate reality---how they can be clasped in the arms of Jesus. Mormon 5:11 https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/morm/5?lang=eng    I love what I am learning about charity, patience and truth. The more I learn about Christ, the more I come to know Him. The beginning of faith comes by understanding the character of Christ.

I am so grateful for your support. I serve with many sisters who have no support from their families...it is humbling and hard on my heart. Thank you so much for your prayers and love. 

xox Sister Hailey Stevenson

p.s. We just found out we are going to be a trio! Sister V. (WOOHOOO!) will be joining us Wednesday
--Sister B. is going home to Wales.

love you!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

I want to wear my life out in the service of the Lord


Sister W. is a blessing to me as well as our mission. I have never learned the importance and beauty of communication at such a height till this transfer. Our vision of the work sometimes differs. But I am learning to be humble, and open my heart to other ideas and methods. We want to align our vision with the Lord's. We want to refine ourselves, and emulate discipleship of Jesus Christ. Align and refine is our motto!
We set 3 baptismal dates with a mum and her 2 kids on Monday. Miracles are taking place in Narre Warren!
South Africa, Wales, USA and New Zealand     

I am beginning to understand my Authority as a missionary, and the power that comes from it. I am privileged to represent my Saviour Jesus Christ.

This week I was thinking about a Triathlon I competed in in Arizona...I had never raced such a long distance before, and I was not anywhere near as trained for it as I should have been. The end of the 26 mile bike ride, the brakes on my bike kept breaking and I was so drained. I felt so dizzy and my legs were like spaghetti. I saw a few people on the side that had quit and I contemplated giving up as well. I am so thankful that Christ did NOT give up. His suffering was unfathomable...beyond comprehension. But He endured it. For me. And for you.
If it had not been for the extra boost that I received from Heavenly Father, I really don't think I could have finished that race. Our life on Earth is about enduring to the end. Our brakes are sometimes going to break. At times the sun will be so blistering hot that we are not sure that our bodies can take it any more. But we don't have to fret, the Atonement covers those things. Through the power that comes thorough  Jesus Christ's Atonement, we are enabled to finish any race.

I want to wear my life out in the service of the Lord.

Thank you so much for loving and supporting me so much. I love you!
xoxox
Sister Stevenson