Friday, May 24, 2013


Hey, I made it to Mississippi yesterday safely with about 25 other missionaries! We got picked up by the mission president and went to a chapel where we ate and had a testimony meeting and intro from our Mission President. Our Mission President and his wife are really nice, like wayyy nice, they want us to all take things a day at a time. Then we went to his house and hung out for a few hours and getting to know each other and stuff like that. niceThe four of us "visa waiters" had our last prayer all together in Portuguese. It's kinda weird being temporary, everyone is really nice and welcoming but we're just different still, and they all have been in the MTC together and stuff. This morning we went outside and I didn't really notice yesterday but we walked outside to explore the presidents yard and it smells so good here! And there are so many trees! Also this morning our assignments were up. Sister Brimley and I will be staying together and being trained by Sister Johnson, yay trios. Thank goodness we are staying together, we'll have language study together every day, and we teach really well together already. We are serving in the Bastrup branch in Eastern Louisiana, we will be the first Sister missionaries to ever serve in that area. I am really excited, I love this place already. It's not the place I've been dreaming of for the past 6 months but I know it's where I'm supposed to be, there are places to go, people to meet, and lots to learn. We're gonna be driving about 3 hours to our area in an hour so I'll be telling you more next week.
Sister Stevens
My mailing address is:
175 Burnham Road
Brandon, MS 39042

Week 5

Olaaaaa, there is a lot to say about this week and not much time!
This past Sunday was a little miserable because I was real sick but half way through the day I got a blessing from all the Elders in my district, it was really nice. Relief Society was awesome because Sister Perry who wrote all my favorite Primary songs came and spoke and had us sing. We sang some songs she wrote "Armies of Helaman", "I Belong to the Church of Jesus Christ", "Love is Spoken Here", and "A Childs Prayer" all one after the other and it was soooo cool. Then it got even better, she also wrote "As Sisters in Zion" and she wrote a new song as sort of an extension, "The Sisters of Zion" and we got to be the first people EVER to see the words and sing it. It was one of the best moments I've had here, I couldnt even sing the whole song, I had to just stop and listen because no sound was coming out of me the Spirit was so strong. One line I remember was, "We now march with the Armies of Helaman, numbers much larger than ever before". Also on Sunday my companion and I were taking a picture by the map and an Elder walked by and got SO excited because we're going to his home, Brazil. He talked to us and gave us advice and went on for a long time about the people there, and how great they are, and how ready they are, he was in tears telling us that part! He told us when you get down there, "work, work, work". I was so glad we ran into him, I am so excited to get down there eventually, there will be so much work to do in so little time!
Monday was a good day also because we got our investigator to commit to a baptismal DATE for the first time! So far we have committed all our investigators but none are ready for a date until now, it was my first taste of missionary work happiness. We are always happy when they commit to read the Book of Mormon and stuff like that but everything is working towards baptism so it is the best to have someone feel that they will be ready by a set date!
Tuesdays devotional was Russell M Nelson, it was great, being in the same room as an apostle is cool, you can just feel it. Him and his wife talked all about Family History and the mission. One of the coolest things they said was that you can pray for the help of a specific person or specific attributes on the other side of the veil to help you with your work. They explained how angels really help missionaries in their work, and so does the spirit of Elijah and family history... So yeah, if you could email me some ancestor stories that would be great ha.
Wendesday we got to host new people which was great, it's where we go meet them at their car, help them with their bags and find their room and classroom. I love showing people around and getting to tell them about the MTC, we tell them how much they will love it. Wednesday was also a rough day because we were supposed to get our reassignments but we didn't. It was impossible to focus, we just kept checking and checking and hoping. But then a whole day later half way through In-Field Orientation our District Leader came in with them and we were sooooo excited, the whole district counted to three and flipped them over. MISSISSIPPI JACKSON woooooo! I was shocked! I swear I forgot Mississippi was even a state. I am so so so excited to go experience the South. I'm nervous about how much Bible knowledge their gonna have and losing the language, but it is sooo great to finally have a destination. This whole time I've been in the MTC there has never been a place to think of after, a place to hope for yes but now I know where I'm going and I can't wait. I can't believe the mission is more than the MTC, it feels like I've been here for a year and now I'm leaving in 3 days! It's going to be humid and greasy and I'm going to love it. Sorry that I was a little flustered on the phone I should have thought about what I was going to say more but it was good talking to some of you!
Desculpa, eu tenho somente tempo for isso! Proxima vez! Tchau tchau!
Sister Stevens

Week 4

Oi minha familiaaa,
I don't really know what to say this week, since the second week everything has been the same! The devotional this week was pretty cool, the wife of whoever is speaking always gets up for about ten minutes or so to talk and Brother Gavarett's wife got up and she bore her testimony in Portuguese for everyone, it was the best! I understood like everything she said and it was just so amazing to hear someone give a real testimony in the language, the testimonies we share are all real, but they are also very structured from what we learned, so that was a highlight for the whole district.
You guys asked some questions about the "investigators" they aren't real investigators, they are just our teachers, but we are on our third teacher for one block of our language study. The first one we taught in English and he left a few lessons in, and then we had one in Portuguese that we got to teach 4 lessons and had committed to baptism after coming to church and stuff, one more lesson and we would have set a date. So this week we started on our new one. But we have had one the whole time, our teacher picked someone from his mission and showed us pictures and told us about him so that is who we are teaching, not our teacher. We have him committed to baptism but he hasn't let us set a date yet, this week we will set one for sure. It's hard though, he is 65 and just lost his job, and the next commandment we have to teach him is tithing. He has been smoking for a long time, this week we taught him the Word of Wisdom, sooo many new things to learn in that lesson in Portuguese and so many commitments. He is ok with not drinking coffee anymore but the smoking will be hard, we just have to help him set goals and remind him of the blessings he will recieve.  We have been doing a bunch of work with teaching by the spirit, everyday it becomes more important because you plan something and then go in and sometimes you know what direction it neeeeds to go in but don't know any words to take it there, luckily though we are getting to the point where we know enough that we can take the lesson more and more directions which allows us to listen to the spirit and be confident to follow it. I never understood how important it is though, its everything, a lesson is nothing if the spirit isn't there, and it can be 10x better when it suits their needs. We also teach in TRC which is where people from the outside world come in and volunteer to be taught, thank goodness for so many Portuguese speakers in the area, most are RM's coming to keep up with the language, its really fun, we mostly end up asking them to share with us an experience from their mission and it is always so cool. We cant understand every word of their story but you can just feel the power of their testimony and the spirit fills in all the gaps and even if you dont understand every word you understand the entire experience. (I met a guy who knows TJ and has met Michelle who goes to UVU, but caaaant remember his name:/)
I'm out of stuff to say so... Wednesdays here are great. We stand outside and just watch new people walk up and you can yell "BEM VINDO" at them all day and they think you are so smart because you know how to say "welcome" in your language and they don't. Having that orange dot on your tag is so weird, the whole day people yell at you and smile at you and stare at you. So it's nice watching everyone else have them and we're like the old ones here now. Speaking of that, I get my reassignment NEXT WEEK! like 6 days, AND when I do I get a 5 min phone call home so be by the phone next Thursday slash possibly Wednesday. I feel good about it, I have had several times here where the spirit confirms to me that it's going to be ok if I get reassigned, Im really excited actually! I will be meant to go wherever I go and serving here in the States for however long will be a blessing. I already know the people and I know the language and I'm raedy to do work wherever I get called.
I am in Alma 55 right now, trying to finish before I leave the MTC! We were promised a loot of blessings if we finish it here, but then they take 15 minutes out of our personal study and I'm the slowest reader ever but I'm reading every spare moment and have been doing about 20 pages a day this week, its awesome! The whole story has never made so much sense!
Welllll I've been doing well and I can't believe I have been a missionary for an entire month as of today! I don't feel extremely different but then again when I look at where I was a month ago I have come a long way. It's just hard to see day to day improvement but my testimony really is growing and my Portuguese gets better and better as I use it, I know I'm growing a lot I just only have like 12 days to get as much in as I can before I get to the field it's crazy!
Happy mothers day to Mom! (and Jenny! and Tiff! and Grandma Stevens and Demery!) Keep the dearelders coming while you can everyone!!
Sister Stevens

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Week 3

I can't believe it's been over 3 weeks! It's going by too fast, all the days just blend together and it seems like I've only been here  a week, but then at the same time it feels like I've lived here for months. The MTC is a weird place, I feel stressed and inadequate just like everyone else, but also really happy. I am so grateful everyday for the confirmation I got to come on a mission, I have never second guessed whether I'm supposed to be here. We did lots of teaching this week, we lost another investigator right before baptism so that was too bad, but we probably should get used to that. We lost him because of the schedule change, we got a new teacher(who just so happens to have been my hometeacher at BYU, its kinda funny). The Portuguese is coming along nicely, lately it seems like we are going so fast, we learn so much in a day, I find myself studying things we learned days ago just because there is so much and its ALL important. Sister Brimley and I don't use any notes or anything in our lessons anymore. It is cool to see how that has changed the quality. We might not always teach 100% of the stuff we want to but we are able to listen to the spirit and let the lesson take the course the Spirit wants it to take, rather than the course our lesson plan would take it. It seems like we spend all day planning lessons, so much of our class time and language study time is devoted to it. There is just so much substance to every lesson, learning how to define and explain something like "The Fall" in a foreign language takes work.
I've been doing tons of Book of Mormon reading. I spend about an hour a day on it. They want us to read the whole thing before we leave the MTC, but I got so behind in the first week it's going to be close, I'm only on about Alma 7 and I should be to like 40 by now. I'm just enjoying it so much! The story has never made so much sense. We have done a lot of practice with the Book of Mormon this week, doing street contacts, and sharing short messages on it. It is so... so important to the work, all anyone needs to do is read it and it is impossible to deny it's authenticity. It is the best proof we have the church is true! I'm doing a terrible job at explaining its importance but I am just so thankful for it in my life. It is going to be challenging convincing other people they need to read it but that is exactly what we have been practicing, I just want to be able to convey it's importance to other people.
Our schedule changed and I don't love it but we don't have to wake up at 5:30 Saturday mornings for service anymore, now we don't have it till 7:15 on Tuesdays. Going 10 days without a p-day was sorta rough but we survived. We went to the temple this morning and I was able to do sealings for the fist time. I really wanted to know what they were like so I was glad I finally got to do them. I think it was good because it made me really excited to teach families, with the goal of getting them sealed together. The devotional this week was extremely boring but still good, it was all about family and the temple. Family is one of the strongest testimonies I have because I've been seeing the difference the gospel makes in a home my whole life. I also did "spotlight" for my district this week so after hearing about my family two nights in a row they know how great you all are. One of the greatest things here is hearing all the miracles going on a mission does for peoples families.
I always run out of things to say even though so much happens. I want to tell a quick story that isn't mine because I have time. So a girl in a neighboring district I met at BYU and we didn't hang out a ton but we definitely knew each other and were acquaintances. I had talked to her quite a bit since coming here and one day I ran up to her because she was getting her reassignment but no... her entire district was reassigned but her, so she had who knows how many more weeks in the MTC, so sad. She ran cross country for BYU and knew that my companion and I run everyday so she asked if she could run with us till she leaves. She got me to wake up at 5 45 so that we could get a 45 minute run in, how she convinced me I don't know, I'm as shocked as the rest of you, but it was great. Two days ago she told us the story of how she had felt for over a year before the announcement came that she was going to get a very big calling soon and that she needed to start preparing, so she did, and she also ran a marathon... and qualified for Boston, and got drawn for Boston.. (which happens to about 20 nineteen year old girls worldwide.. yeah big deal she averaged sub eights). So then the announcement came and she knew that it was what the Lord had been preparing her for, her call was for 3 weeks before the Boston, how hard is that? But after what happened there, I don't even have to say more, what a blessing. The Lord is so mindful of each of us, he has a plan for us, hears our prayers, and wants for EACH of us to return to his presence.
I love you all a lot, thanks for all the letters can't get enough. CONGRATS TO JENNY!!!!! No one has written me about Demery yet so get on it! It has been minimally distracting for the last few days haha.
Seester Stevens