Tuesday, March 25, 2014

New mission president and new address!

Dear Brother and Sister Stevens,

We received on March 25, 2014 a wonderful missionary to our beloved Brazil Salvador South Mission. Sister Andrezzo and I had the opportunity to meet your daughter, Sister Stevens. She will be a fine missionary. Thank you for doing your part to prepare her.
Millions of people await the message of the restored gospel in this area. What a blessing for your daughter to be called to serve here. She was assigned to serve with Sister Gama from Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, and Sister Gomes from Pernambuco, Brasil.
For security reasons, please send packages to the mission office.

Sister Katie Stevens
Rua Lucaia 295 Sala 202/203
Horto Florestal
CEP 040295-130

We are thankful for the opportunity to work with your missionary and already feel great love and concern for her. Enclosed is a picture we took with your daughter at the mission home.


Marcelo Andrezzo
Mission President
Brazil Salvador South Mission

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Brasil CTM

March 19, 2014

I love the ctm but I don't love having no time to write, and these weird keyboards! Ignore my typos...
Ummmmm where to start....
So we are one of the first (like the first just left yesterday) groups to EVER come back to the mtc before going into the feild, is hasnt happened in any other country until now so we are kind of like guinea pigs... BUT I LOVE IT! It is so good, I love the ctm for so many reasons. The language program is pretty intense, we try to not speak English at all throughout the whole day, some days are better than others. But every meal we have to sit with Brasilheiros and talk to them. They are the best, I just love them so much. Its kinda weird though, they alllll know who we are and that we have already been serving for a while and everything. Its really cool when they ask us for advice for when they get out to the feild, a lot of the sisters that are nervous ask us questions about it.
Portuguese is great! I mean... I have a long way to go but its good so far. It's frustrating because I understand so much but can say so little back. Also because when our teachers speak they pronunciate and talk slower but when we speak to normal people its like impossible to catch what theyre saying the first time. BUT its getting a lot better I feel a lot better about it than a week ago! We also teach a lot! Like 2-3 lessons every day to our "investigators".
It was cool because an Elder in my class was teaching me and he is really really struggling with the language, but still he was somehow able to do a whole practice like 12 minutes of being the missionary while I was the member and said everything he needed to. It was an awesome testimony of how the Lord may not give you everything you think you need, and give you more and more, but he will make what you have enough. He will stretch it so thin you dont know how you did it, but in the end, it's enough.
Our teachers are the best thing ever, they love the program and they love us. Also they purposefully gave us teachers that really don't speak any English because a lot do. But they all know to chastis e us if they hear us speaking English and arent supposed to say one word in it. 
The MTC president of the world is going to come and sit in on our class this Friday to see what he thinks about getting us here first then the feild. It aint cheap for the church.
We have one roommate from Brazil and one from Portugal, it is so FUN. We teach each other useless phrases, and dance moves, and help each other with pronunciation. 
During gym time we play volleyball and then run around the tiny track until we feel like we're gonna die of heat stroke.
My companion is Sister West, she's awesome, she was in the MJM also. AND her last companion was Sister Stevenson! (who I trained)
Ok when people hear that I'm going to Salvador South the ONLY thing they can say is- muito quench! - very hot! Literally.. they dont have anything else to say about it.
Ready for the best news of my life!!???!?! I GOT TO GO TO THE TEMPLE TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!! FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 10 MONTHS!
Its kinda selfish but it was like one of the best things of my whole mission. Sao Paulo temple is closed but they made an acception and let us go to the Campinas templs. It is so beautiful. The session was in English because there was majority americans. It was so cool though I got to see the new video! It was soooo gooood! I loved it, it was kinda like going to the temple for the first time because I just couldnt remember much from it being so long and there was a new video. Also we got there early so we got to go to the laundry room and fold stuff. I have just never felt so honored, and the spirit, while folding clothes before.
Seester Schevens

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


March 10, 2014

I get a little time to email today since I don't know if I'll be able to once I get there....
Man we had a crazy week here. So many people to see and say goodbye too, and just so much work to do and preparation and everythingggg. It was a loooong week, the days were so slow! Not in a bad way, I just don't like drawn out anticipation. There's a reason most of the time T-calls come 3 days before you leave instead of 11.
I am over goodbyes, but tonight we will be making our rounds to some people we are close to who requested it.
We are on bikes so that was unfortunate but everytime we were biking in the cold I would just think- just a few more days and I'll be walking in the Brazil summer heat!  
I spoke in sacrament meeting yesterday about hastening the work with love. It went pretty well, I had it all written out but didn't look at it much. I based a lot of it on President Huston's talk he gave in the ward about a month ago. I explained how Christ's purpose and his suffering for us was so that he could judge us, and love us, perfectly. We are expected to be not like Christ in judging the world, but to be like him in loving the world. I didn't tell people to start praying for missionary experiences. I told them to first repent and ask for a change of heart(sounds harsh but that's all repentance is), to have a sincere desire to share the gospel with others. Then once they have that, the faith that the Lord has prepared people around them to accept the gospel. My favorite quote I used was from Elder Dyches in GC where he says we have to remember that it is not on our goodness and efforts and love that the world hinges, but on His. LOVE THAT. So blessed to feel just a fraction of that love for the people in West Monroe. Everyone was crying which was a good sign. One lady came and told me she cried during my Portuguese testimony because it's the first time she heard someone speak it since her Grandmother who spoke it died. Another guy who served in Argentine told me he understood 90% even though it sounded like drunken spanish with a gringo accent. haha
Also it was a good day because we got 4 investigators in church! Used my convincing techniques to make them come hear me speak.
Mark is doing pretty good but he won't be getting baptized this weekend sadly. He gave us the rest of his chew, or so he thought.. He found another can in his cupboard and the temptation was too much. But it's gonna happen. He is just taking it as serious as it is. We had a really good lesson with him last night and a convert that overcame a lot (the one who was talking funny on skype at christmas) just kept telling him how his doubts will be nothing as soon as he makes the decision, and how much his life is going to change for the better. He told us he is taking it more seriously than he took getting married, AND joining the military, and he's not lying! He is going to do some really great things though, the ward is so excited for another strong committed Priesthood holder.
On Saturday night we had dinner with a producer for Duck Dynasty! So I never got to meet them personally but I did get the lowdown from him and he had a bunch of props and the scoop for upcoming episodes and stuff like that. Oh, he also produced for Undercover Boss, and was like, "let me show you guys something" and brought out an Emmy... No big deal!
They are really nice though.
Well... Better go say more goodbyes:( ..... and PACK! My flight leaves at 5 30 tomorrow and I have to get on the T Van at 8 am! Gross! Oh and 1 other girl from the mission got her visa too so I won't be alone.
Miss you all a lot! Wish me luck! LOVE YOU!
Sister Stevens


March 3, 2014
Interviews on New Years Eve

December Zone Conference, I got to sit by President! haha
Weeeeeeeell I don't remember much of my week besides Friday! Here's the story of getting my BIG NEWS! We got to Zone Conference and checked our car and all that fun stuff and the Mission President walked in and not 5 minutes later asked if he could talk to me outside. I was a little confused because I had a feeling he might wait to tell me but had completely forgotten for the past few days. He asked, "can you guess what this is about?"
"My Visa?" 
"It's here?"
"It's here!!" 
"Really really!"
"Is this real life!?"
"This is real life! It came a couple weeks ago. You'll be leaving on the 11 of March!" 
That was about the whole conversation. 
Me and one other girl from my MTC district actually finally are in the same zone, we are also the last 2 from our MTC district still in the states so it was sad that she didn't get hers too yet. It was a little hard to focus during the rest of the conference but at the same time it didn't feel real. It STILL doesn't feel real. Like I used to think about it almost every morning as I ran but for the past few I just haven't, every time I try to my brain just blocks it immediately. I think my brain has a defense mechanism so it doesn't get too overwhelmed. I guess that's a blessing but I am scared for when it hits me. 
About 5 minutes after we found out there was a musical number, "If Ye Could Hie to Kolob" amidst the "there is no end"'s I thought to myself, how great is it that all good things there is no end, but to other things there is. Yes, there IS an end to patiently waiting!! 
At the end of the conference all the people going home bear their testimonies but President asked me to go up too. It was weird. I was like NO it's too soon to join that group. It made leaving real but still not Brazil. Anyways the bulk of the testimony I bore was that although I do not and might not ever fully understand my purpose, it is comforting to know that Christ does. He knows each of our purposes so perfectly. He knows exactly where we need to be, and who we need to meet, and the words we need to say. Thank goodness that he doesn't change plans according to what we think we want. If there's one thing I have learned it is that he is truly mindful of all his children, and loves them so much that he even gives them things they don't deserve! (like the opportunity to serve in 2 missions, I am sooo blessed to have been able to serve here) I also bore testimony that I know that the principles we teach are true. All of them. What a blessing to know that there is one God, and one path, and no end to the happiness and blessings that are ours if we are just obedient and follow him. 
We had Stake Conference this weekend and it was SO GOOD. Courtney was asked to bear her testimony and it was so good everyone was either crying or sweating by the end of it. On Sunday the Stake President told us she needs to hold a fireside/open house for her family and friends and he will provide a meal and everything. How great is that, she had a feeling this was going to open up doors for her. Hopefully we can do it this Saturday before I leave! 
We have been working hard despite the news. Sister White cried a lot at the Zone Conference, she was real mad at me for not crying at all. Pray for her, she is really nervous to take over the area and get a new companion and everything. Then we told Johnny and Toni last night and they were not happy! It is so hard because I'm sad to leave so I want to be sad with people, but at the same time, how can I be sad? I've waited 15 months for this. 
We told Mark too. It was funny this Elder turned around at Zone Conference and told me to think about what I accomplished in the last month that allowed me to get my Visa. Sister White and I looked at each other and said, "Mark." He was supposed to get baptized this weekend but we went over on Saturday and saw a bottle full of brown nastiness and found out he stopped smoking but not dipping! WHO DOES THAT? I told him I was leaving next week so he needed to stop so the baptism could happen next week when I'm still here. (He told us the story of how his son came up with like 10 pacifiers after they started throwing them away so I told him to throw away the last pacifier already!) Well it's not going to be that easy sadly. He finally got some custody of his son and really wants him there and doesn't get him till next weekend. I'm really sad about it. He is sad about it too, he's called me Sister Brazil ever since, and said that he selfishly hopes something comes up and I get a delay. Not happenin, but he did text us last night and said by the time I leave he will have completely stopped dipping for a few days so that I can at least see that he is all the way on the path. 
Hmmm the only other news is that we are teaching one of the producers of Duck Dynasty, been trying to get a hold of him for a long time. We are going for dinner Saturday and hopefully he will have my autographed poster.
We tracted into a kid with a bunch of questions about the Bible and millennium and when we went back to actually teach him one of the first questions he asked was, "You know how in the Bible it says young men will have visions, and dream dreams and stuff? Why don't that happen today? I dun see it no where."
I was just like, "is your name golden?" But I actually said, "That is exactly the message we wanted to share with you today! Let me tell you a story about a boy named Joseph Smith...."
Also we tracted for over 3 hours yesterday, it was actually really productive and fun. We taught 3 lessons.
Ok well that was the longest email ever but this is also probably the last time I ever get any more than an hour to write so enjoy!
Love y'all soooo much! Thank you for your prayers, I recognize how much they help me more every week.
Sister Stevens

Week 4

February 24, 2014

Well I just lost my last email so here I go again... the joys of public libraries...
Mark is doing so well! We did the Stop Smoking Program with him on Thursday but he had already quit on his own Wednesday so he only has 2 days till he's been a non smoker for a week! He told us the reason he chickened out last Saturday, actually a lot of reasons. For one he knew that if he did he would be baptized the next week which scared him a little, it all came really fast. Then the next time we saw him he told us a different "real reason" that was actually pretty funny. He told us his life story of how every one of his girlfriends and his wife have nagged him to stop smoking. He didn't have a problem with it but it became his "pacifier", and only way to be stubborn. It was always the thing that his, that he would do whether anyone liked it or not. Which is really funny, cause he's not stubborn or rebelious at all. But he called himself childish and feels like stopping will make him have to grow up as I was listening to this I was just restraining from being like, "MAN UP!" He admitted to being childish. Anyways, don't remember what we actually ended up saying but he quit that day.
Another cool thing that happened with him was we went over and he was talking about the reading assignment he left him and said that reading the scriptures and learning the gospel made him sad. When we asked why he said it was because not everyone knows about it, and he feels almost guilty/unworthy for getting all this information that no one else has! (maybe he doesn't know about the 15 million other members?) But wow, he has the purest heart, he already wants everyone to feel the joy he has felt. We are so excited, wish he could get baptized this weekend but we have Stake Conference. It is super cool, of all the people, he is the one that only Sister White and I could have found and taught, it's hard to explain why, but it is definitely an impression I get every time we teach him.
It has been a really interesting week. Sister Birmingham and I used to tract 7 hours every week like it was nothing. But Sister White and I have been slacking on it for a while because we've had a lot of work to do. We taught over the amount of lessons our Mission President set for each week, but the tracting went downhill to like 5 hours because it's been so cold. But the weather was nice this week so we finally got it again! I feel bad because it sounds like we were using the cold as an excuse but we have also had a lot of time open up. Mostly I'm just happy about it because we have seen so many miracles in one week!
Oh, big news. That lady Janet I had talked about before is doing SO GOOD! We had dropped her for a long time but we are helping her quit smoking tonight! Sister Gatlin has been such a huge help to her, it has been awesome to see. Janet will start listing all of her problems that match Sister Gatlins perfectly, but Sister Gatlin was out of the church much longer so it is hilarious.
Janet- Ive been out of church for 20 years-
Sister Gatlin- 35 years!
Janet- But I've been smoking for-
Sister Gatlin- 35 years!
Janet- I have had problems with--- for the longest time!
Sister Gatlin- I had those problems for 35 years Janet!!! You can do it!
Other than that I am doing well. The fast has been so good but so hard! Every night I write down the things that work and the things I fail on. Then the next day the adversary tries super hard on all the things I succeeded on the previous day. I am learning to turn to prayer more and more, which I didn't really think was possible. I am learning so much about how the Lord would have me serve. I have prayed a lot for him to show me my weaknesses, I sort of stopped asking once I started this because I had so many weaknesses I was working on already, but wow.... he has definitely been showing me my weaknesses every single day. It is super humbling! Things I didn't even have on my list he has shown me are my greatest weaknesses. I hope I can be humble enough to change and make them strengths.  
Love you all a lot! Hope you're having a good February!
Sister Stevens