Monday, November 28, 2016

Thanksgiving on the Mission

​Bought myself fruit like a responsible adult haha.
Hey everyone! This week has been kinda slow too. There were a few exciting things though that I'll talk about. 

Elder Lund and I went to the first practice of the Haitian choir and boy was that interesting. I could hardly understand what everyone was saying. I was just like "I'm just gonna play the piano" haha. They threw Elder Lund under the bus a bit though. He practiced one of the songs so much and then at practice they were like "We sang that one last year, play this other one" and he was just like "uhhhhhhh I've never seen this song before and haven't played in 10 years" so we'll see how this works out, it'll be very interesting to say the least. Also Haitian parents are intense. One of the dads there started yelling at his kids because they didn't want to sing in the choir, then he started yelling at someone else's kids for not wanting to sing in the choir. Then he just turns to the rest of us and is like "If you don't do that they'll just do whatever they want." 

​Pretty sunset sky.
Let's see... our car was rear ended twice this week. Both times while we were just stopped at a red light. The first time it was just some kids that gave our car a little tap, but the second time it was some lady in a Dodge Caravan and it was a pretty substantial hit. No airbags or anything like that, and we have a bike rack on the back of our car (chevy cruise) that absorbed the hit anyways so no damage done. She just sped away though and we were like "what the heck?" Elder Lund was driving so I snatched the license plate number. Crazy stuff.

So Thanksgiving on the Mission. We had our Thanksgiving with the Johnsons from the ward, a nice young couple with cute little kids. There's a lot of students in my ward. There's a nice pediatric school nearby so most people are studying to be nurses or something. The ward is pretty good about feeding us too, we usually only have about 2 days a week with nothing planned. Anyways we had a pretty traditional thanksgiving with them and were all really full and it was great. But then... we get a phone call from another lady in the ward like "You guys are coming over tonight, right?" And we couldn't say no, so we were all really scared that we weren't going to be able to eat any more food. We go over and it's like 2 hours until the food is ready. So we're just hanging out, playing with their kids for a longgg time. Then we eat and there wasn't as much food as we thought so we were fine. Both families gave us leftovers to take home so that's nice.

Haitian food. Don't know what it's called,
but you basically just scoop it onto a bed of rice.
One of the solid Haitian families in the ward, the Victors, sent their daughter Kamela on a mission this week. She's going to the Mexico MTC (Missionary Training Center) and is speaking Spanish somewhere, which is crazy cuz she's Haitian. It was a weird thought that she left on her mission while I was on my mission, and that when she gets back I"ll still be on my mission, like with 6 months left. Super weird,

Yesterday we found a cool potential Haitian family while knocking, which is our first solid potential in a while. The mom knows a lot about the church already since she went every week for 6 months in the Dominican Republic with a Haitian friend. She said she met with missionaries but was never baptized. Hopefully we can get them going. We also found a cool less active to work with, he's 33 and went on a mission in Madrid Spain but hasn't been to church in a while. He has little kids that are fun, hopefully we can help resolve some concerns there.

I think I'm going to discontinue the song lyrics, it was fun but takes too much time to try to think of something. Sorry, I'm just too popular, have so many emails to write! :P

 It's got veggies and beans and meat, plus some crabs, just for fun.
Also the bones of the meat are in there too, avoid those.
​Elder Lund made this light fixture out of a bowl, parachord and some hangers. Why didn't I think of that?

​Our getto Christmas tree. A member who was going out of town gave us some Christmas lights to borrow,
 so Elder Lund made this. He goes hard, man.


Eldè Stevenson

Monday, November 21, 2016

Thanksgiving is a Holiday

Bonjou Fanmi ak Zanmi mwen yo! Kijan semen ou pase? Tout bagay enfòm, wi. (Have fun with that Google Translate. If there's one thing about Creole that I've learned it's that spelling literally has no meaning, as long as it makes the right sound it's all good.)

Google Translate: Hello Family and Friends my! How you spend weeks? Everything informal, yes.
Mom translation of translation: Hello my family and friends! How was your week? Everything cool, right?

​Me in my Pday tie.​
This past week was a little slow, not gonna lie. We don't have anyone we're teaching right now, all the cool referrals we had were dropped because we couldn't contact them anymore. So now we're doing lots of knocking. We found a big apartment complex where like literally everyone is Haitian. I've been practicing some Creole door approaches, which is good. 

I feel like my language skills are slowly improving in general, both English and Creole. It's hard to talk to strangers about the gospel in general, and to not sound boring and lame (a particular struggle for me :) ). Another thing I've learned too is that the Gift of Tongues is not only for learning a new language, but also being able to communicate in your native language. I had one experience where we were teaching a lesson to Nasya, a young single mother (our only lesson with her), and she was asking us why the Bible was harsh and condemning sometimes. If God loves us shouldn’t the Bible give me peace? And without thinking really I told her "The Bible is harsh sometimes because God loves us, it's like as if he's our own father and we're a little kid running around about to touch a hot stove and he says DON'T TOUCH THAT! He's not mad at us, but it's because he loves us so much and knows that what we're doing will hurt us." That seemed like exactly what she needed to hear, and the Spirit was there.

Last Sunday Frè Tony (an active Haitian member of the ward) recruited Elder Lund (and therefore me as well) to help him play the piano for a little Haitian Christmas choir, even though he hasn't played in literally 10 years! Frè Tony didn't care though, he was just like "But you played 10 years ago, so you'll do it?" Haha. What's probably gonna end up happening is Elder Lund and I will each learn to play one of the songs on the piano. That'll be interesting. We haven't had a practice yet but we spent a chunk of last Pday practicing the songs at the church, and will probably do more after we email today.

So apparently Walmart doesn't believe in Thanksgiving or something? Walmart here is like the main thing- tons of people all day long and practically its own police force. They've had Christmas decorations up for the past few weeks now. No mention given of Thanksgiving or anything. They even have a big sign that says "34 days till Christmas!" But I guess it's all good because I bought myself Egg Nog today. That's some good stuff man.

Yesterday the other Elders had a baptism! Stephora is a girl they've been working with for a while, she's cousins with an active Haitian family in the ward and wanted to get baptized. There was a bit of a struggle with Frè Chauvet, who was performing the baptism, forgetting the words to the prayer and just making up his own words. Elder Child had to stop him a few times and restart. He was going off about it later at home, "He made up his own words!!" So that was kinda funny. I stood in the confirming circle and gave the closing prayer, so that was fun. Afterwards there was a big linger longer with awesome turkey and mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie for the whole ward, and they gave us containers to bring some of it home with us. That's gonna be great. I want to lose weight though, so if anyone knows of some good low carb-low sugar-low fat-low calorie-cheap-easy to make meals that'd be great. Also send me song titles, it's so hard to think of normal songs these days. I might end up stopping the song translations. But until then...

Here's some lyrics for ya:
"M ap chante nan lapli, jus chante nan lapli!"

The other Elders' phone broke, so we invented the "GettoPhone."
We rubber banded a Bluetooth speaker to notify of calls and a portable headphone jack speaker to hear the other person talking.
It was super funny, that's Elder Child modeling it off.​

The mission got a prototype of the iPhone 8! We, however, have the GettoPhone.

Some random crazy looking birds I saw while cleaning the car.


Eldè Stevenson

Monday, November 14, 2016


All 4 of us looking like a happy family.​
Elder Stevenson, Elder Lund,  Elder Ajayi, Elder Child
Hey everyone! So I expect my letters will be getting shorter now that I have less time and the monotony of missionary work begins. Still some cool stuff going on though, so stay tuned.

We've been doing a lot of knocking and Bible referrals. (We deliver free Bibles to people that order them online and then try to set return appointments) We've found some cool new investigators! One of them we found knocking- her name is Nasya and she is a young single mom that's looking for a new church. She's really cool. We went back and taught her the Restoration! She had lots of good questions and told us that at one time she thought she was a prophet so we helped clear those up. We invited her to church and she didn't come, but that's ok. We're going back tonight to teach about the Book of Mormon and invite to baptism. Hopefully that goes well.

While we were teaching her my ankles got totally eaten alive by mosquitoes. I think the official count was 45 bites across both ankles. It stings like crazy. I'm gonna get some calamine lotion later today or something. Mosquitoes are a thing and Zika is a thing. In fact, our sister missionaries were just told they have to wear pants because of Zika. A lot of them apparently didn't like it, but we're a really obedient mission. So then whenever they saw a miracle it was a #PantsMiracle.

We also found a lady named Darleisha from a Bible referral and she was really interested and wanted to learn more. We set up a return appointment, but we haven't been able to contact her since. It's kinda annoying but we're still trying. She seems like she would accept the gospel.

I'm working on my Creole still. I can talk a little bit better than I used to. We went to a less active family and I taught the whole Restoration lesson by myself in Creole and answered some of their questions. It was really good- helped my confidence if nothing else. They agreed to let us keep coming over so I can practice teaching the lessons in Creole, and they're a really nice family so it should be good.

The weather has been really nice but it warmed up for some random reason. Not too humid though so that's nice. No rain either. Just sunny and cloudy.

That's pretty much it for this week. I feel like I'm starting to get into the groove of things now. Going into week 3- that's kinda weird.

Thanks for all your notes! I love all the pictures too.

Here's some lyrics for ya:
"M renmen ou, ou renmen m, nou se yon fanmi kontan!"
(Haha- it's all I could think of. My music resources are running low.)

​My room.​

​My living room.

​My kitchen.​

So many clouds.

​Downtown Miami.​

​Our church building.


Eldè Stevenson

***Note from Missionary's Mom: If you want to send a Christmas package to Elder Stevenson, it must be received by December 10th. All Christmas gifts are to be sent to the Mission office for distribution at their monthly mission meeting. The following is the instruction we received from the mission: 

Transfers are scheduled just ten days before Christmas and your missionary will not know of possible changes until the night before the transfer. Sending Christmas gifts to the mission office address rather than to your missionary's apartment is the best way to ensure the presents will be received in time for Christmas. Address the packages in this way:

Elder Hunter R J Stevenson
Florida Fort Lauderdale Mission
7951 SW 6th Street Suite #110
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33324-3211

Note that the full name is important, as there can be more than one missionary with the same last name.

Please send the packages in adequate time to be delivered before our Christmas Conferences. Receiving Christmas gifts from family during the conferences is a joyous tradition that the Elders and Sisters all enjoy. As you select gifts, remember that missionaries move frequently and are limited to the space in their luggage. Sending large or high value items is not recommended. 

Donations for missionaries who are not receiving packages can be sent to:

Florida Fort Lauderdale Mission
Secret Santa Donations
7951 SW 6th Street Suite #110
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33324-3211

Items to donate: This is not a comprehensive list, but rather a suggested List. This is what we included with some input from some of the missionaries themselves.
Gift Cards ($10 value works well)
Chick Fil A
Taco Bell
Visa Gift cards
Skinny ties
Dark Socks
Personal Hygiene items
Nice Pens
Scripture markers
Flash Drive
Watch (elder or sister)
Clear or light colored nail polish
Post it note pads
Note cards
Christmas Candy
Again, these are just suggestions.... Any items you would like to donate are so appreciated and can be used. Money is better sent as Gift Cards.

Monday, November 7, 2016

I'm Finally Here!

Hey everyone! I'm back (after surgery), and safe and sound in Florida. 

Here's my address to send stuff to:
671 NE 195th St. Apt. #219 
Miami, Florida 33179

This has been a busy week. Started when the shuttle to pick me up didn't tell me it was there, or knock on my door, so I took an Uber to the airport last minute. I got through the airport just fine, I was super tired but didn't get much rest on the flights. The APs, Elder Johns and Elder Vancott, were there to pick me up and we waited for some sisters to get in on the next flight from the Mexico MTC. 

I was the last one to get to the mission home and we had sloppy joes for dinner. I met with President Richardson and had a quick training with the APs about mission rules and stuff. Then everyone else went to a hotel to stay the night. I had to stay with the APs while they finished up business since there was an odd number of us. I slept in their house for the night, but I was so tired that I didn't really care, I just went straight to bed.

The next day I met my trainer. His name is Elder Lund and, get this, he's from Camarillo! He's a cool guy and should be a good "dad". We had a short meeting and lunch with the mission president, and then we were off.

Elder Lund and I are opening up a new area, they split an old one in half. My area is the Miami Shores West area in the Hialeah zone. We live with another set of Creole elders, Elder Ajayi and Elder Child. I met Elder Ajayi in the MTC, he's a pretty cool guy, baptized 2 years ago. Elder Child is the District Leader, my district is us 4 and 2 other Spanish Elders.

Things have been going pretty well so far, been doing lots of knocking and contacting referrals since we don't really have investigators yet. We've been meeting with recent converts- met some of the ward families and had dinner with them.

I got rusty in the language while I was home, but Elder Lund's doing a good job of helping me and taking it slow. He's been out for a bit over a year now.

The weather is great, not really hot or muggy at all. It rained a lot on Saturday.

Sunday was exhausting. My ward is the Miami Shores Ward. It's kinda small but it's good- has lots of Haitian families and students. We had dinner with a student couple and they made a dinner that was all green since I'm a greenie. That was funny, it was like a wrap with chicken that was dyed green and everything.

​Here they all are.
In the back is Elder Lund, Elder Child in the middle, then Elder Ajayi.
I don't have pictures yet, I can only take pictures on P-day, but here's one of all of us right now. I'm probably not going to be coming back to email later either, so I'll send pictures and respond to emails next time. Keep sending those letters and emails, I love getting them. And keep me updated with what's going on with you guys at home. 

Here's some lyrics for you all:

"Paske ou te gen yon mal jou, w ap pran yon anba, ou chant yon chanson tris jus vire toutotou!"


Eldè Stevenson