Monday, April 24, 2017

Another Week

​Here's the river that formed behind our house.
Hello friends and family! This week was, astonishingly, another week. Not too much has been going on recently, which is all right except that it makes writing my letter super hard haha. 

Of course Bertina and kids are all doing super well, and we're getting everything set for their baptisms on the 30th. We taught them about the Word of Wisdom and Law of Chastity, and it was like water off a duck's back. Bertina said she stopped drinking coffee 2 years ago and committed herself to throw out her tea. Nice! We also gave them one of the children's Book of Mormon story books, so that should be good to. We still have a couple things to go over before the baptism, but she lets us come by pretty much every day so it shouldn't be a problem. I'm super grateful for the privilege to have found them, taught them, and soon see them baptized. It's so satisfying, it's literally the ideal, a family! There will even be 2 priesthood holders that might even go on missions themselves! I feel like once they get baptized I could end my mission totally satisfied. I shouldn't count my chickens before they hatch, but either way I'll definitely stay in contact with them because they're just that cool.

Another thing we focused on this week was visiting some recent converts and checking in to see if they have home teachers, visiting teachers, callings, and have been to the temple and all that. The bishop is super on top of things, so he's working really hard to make sure everyone has those things. He's very missionary minded, which is super awesome. He even will make time to come out teaching with us! He's really young too, like 28, and has an 18 month old. I admire him a lot for all he does even though he might be able to make excuses. Sometimes I feel like he's going to burn out at some point, but as long as he's going I'll take it!

​When the Polynesian guys in your ward buy each of you
a large pizza with toppings, a 2 liter of soda, breadsticks, and brownies,
and then when you see them at church and tell them that it was a lot of food
 they say "Yeah, I guess there's usually leftovers."​
Other than that, we just spend our time knocking in Dania Beach (aka The Skrait-Up Hood). It's like the only place people will really talk to us, the rest of Hollywood is pretty much just upper to middle class white people, so we're just making our way through it all. You never know what to expect, I thought about making a series of all the weird people we find, but there's just too many. Keeps the day kinda interesting at least.

We also randomly got a lot of rain yesterday, fortunately we didn't have to knock in too much of it. It did form a river behind our apartments though, so that's kinda fun.

That's pretty much everything, all we really do for the time being is knock doors, try to find some of the 700 less actives on the ward list, teach Bertina, and talk to everyone we see and hope something sticks. It's not as bad as it sounds, something must be working because we are still happy and see random little miracles every day. Let me know what cool stuff you guys are doing, and keep up the good work!


Eldè Stevenson

Monday, April 17, 2017

Well... It Was A Week

​My new planner cover!​
Hey everyone! So, this week was a week. I don't know what else to really say about it haha. All we really did was knock doors all day every day. A couple things of note however:

One day while we were knocking we found Evans! He is a less active member from Haiti that no one knew about. He moved here about a year ago and hadn't been able to find the church! He still remembers a lot from when he was baptized 7 years ago, and the second time we saw him he had a friend there visiting that we taught the Restoration to! He'd met with missionaries in the past in Haiti and has even visited the church before. He leaves in a few days, but hopefully it'll spark something when he's back in Haiti. Evans just started a new job too and works Sundays, so we'll just drop by once a week until he can get Sundays off and come to church.

A day in the life
Bertina is still doing awesome! All 3 of her kids are set to be baptized with her too. Her date is for the 29th, and we still have a lot to teach her because she has so many questions. But that's a problem we want to have! She loves the church and her kids are already making friends too. One of them even asked if we could move the baptism up a week so he could go on a temple trip with the youth! We're going to be doing our best to see them every day so they can be ready for baptism. Probably the coolest family I've ever met, hopefully things keep up!

Yesterday was Easter, and I'm going to take the opportunity to share my testimony. I know that God and Jesus Christ live. I know that Jesus Christ was the Son of God and the Savior of the world. I know that His church was restored in our days through the prophet Joseph Smith. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and contains the fullness of the Everlasting gospel. I know that we are led by living prophets and apostles today as in days of old. I know that through faith in Christ, repentance, baptism and other covenants, and continuing to the end of my life that I will return to live with God one day. I am grateful for my friends and family who support me and for this opportunity to preach this gospel to the world.


Eldè Stevenson

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Epic of Bertina

​People wonder what it is that missionaries do at home. 
Let's just say you come up with the weirdest ways to entertain yourself.

So transfer time has come again. The only one leaving from our house will be Elder Alexis, who is going to be training and DL for his last 2 transfers. That came by surprise, but should be good. Also both the sister areas in our district will be training so that should be fun haha. Elder Hansen will be replacing Elder Alexis as ZL, he's a creole missionary so that should be fun too.

This week was a lot of knocking. Like a lot. Pretty much just straight knocking all week long. I mean knocking is fun for the first like hour and a half, but after that it gets pretty tedious. Especially once you've been with your companion for a while because you've run out of stories haha. We must've done something right though because we were able to get 5 investigators to sacrament, which is the most I've ever had in one week

The first 4 were Bertina and her kids. Bertina is literally the coolest investigator you could ever have. We met her knocking between conference on Saturday, she came to conference on Sunday and again to our Book of Mormon study class on Tuesday where we taught her the restoration and she loved everything. She has a rock solid testimony of the church and she doesn't even know that much about it yet! Absolutely loves the Book of Mormon, she was super excited when we taught her about it. "You mean you're telling me that there's more? That Jesus ACTUALLY CAME to America?" She said that when she was little she remembered missionaries coming to the door and her mom shooing them away and thinking "Why is she shooing them away?" She also remembers seeing some commercials that were apparently on PBS years ago. She also told us this story of one time she was feeling a little sick, and a little voice in her head told her not to go to work even though she wanted to. She decided to listen at the last minute even though it made her ride upset. Then on the way to work her ride got into a car accident where the entire passenger side of the car got crushed in, and ever since then she's always listened to the little voice. Then she was having a bad day the day that we came over, and ever since she saw us and we prayed for her the little voice told her that what we were saying was true, and since then her life has gotten so much better. She said someone had tried to dissuade her from the church by talking about baptisms for the dead, but she waited to pass judgment until we could clarify, and when we explained what it actually meant and how it is even in the Bible she totally understood and loved it. She even told her friend about us and brought her to her house so we could pray for her and talk to her too! She's super down to be baptized, we gave her a date for the 22nd. The kids all liked church too, and we're going to talk to them about all being baptized together. Honestly she's the biggest reason I didn't want to transfer haha.

The other investigator was Gilbert! I don't remember if I told you about him yet, but he's an old Haitian guy that we were teaching at the beginning of the transfer. He was pretty cool until his mom died and he asked us not to come back for at least 2 weeks. We stopped by again this week and he still seems interested in the church, and we were able to get him a ride to come! He could only stay for sacrament meeting, but it seemed like he enjoyed it. We'll be keeping up with him. Hopefully this keeps up!

One other random cool thing we did this week was we had talked to a really nice homeless family living in the park a couple weeks ago and gave them our number and told them to call us if they needed anything. They actually did call us a few days ago asking for a little food and water, and the Bishop was able to buy them some and we brought it to them. They were very grateful, we said a prayer, and they said they might be interested in the church because we seemed the most Christian out of any of the other Christian churches they've visited.

So today marks 7 months as a missionary and the beginning of my 5th transfer. Time really does fly sometimes.

Hope you all are having a good time! Keep me updated and keep up the good work!

Eldè Stevenson

Questions From Mom 2

As a way to get a little more information about things he may not think to include in letters, I have started sending Elder Stevenson a page of questions along with a stamped addressed envelope. All he has to do is fill in the answers and drop it in the mail box. It's fun to get some hand written messages and I save them in a missionary binder I keep at home. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

The Minister Gone Bad

Half of the Zone. Photo by Elder Alexis
Hey everybody! This week was an interesting week, especially with Conference! I'll share some of the quotes and insights that I liked down below for easy reference.

So we're working with a couple interesting people now. First we had Stanley. He's the nonmember husband of one of our Haitian members. He still lives in Haiti but came up to visit for 10 days, and wanted to start taking the discussions. Elder Hatch and I were able to teach him about the Restoration and The Book of Mormon before he went back to Haiti. He's super solid and accepts everything, pretty much a free baptism for the Haiti mission. We gave his information to the mission office and they passed it over. Cool!

We also have the two B... kids, Sara and Denard, who were baptized a couple years ago but have been inactive. We randomly stopped by to visit one day a few weeks ago, and Sara said "because you stopped by I'll go to church again this week." She came by herself last Sunday and again with her brother to conference yesterday, is reading in The Book of Mormon, and seems committed to coming back to church. Once we can get them to meet with the bishop they'll be rescued!

Finally we have the N...-O... family. They're a less active family that the bishop is working to get back to church. The mom grew up in D.C. and her best friend was Mormon, and they even went to BYU together. She was going to get baptized there but her friend started to rebel against the church, and she didn't want to stay in school anyways so she moved out here (I think there's more to the story but I forgot it.) She didn't see missionaries again for years until some knocked on her door a few years ago. She had a girl in foster care that wanted to be baptized, so she and her family decided to be baptized with her. After that though the girl had to leave because of legal complications and it broke the mom's heart, so she suffered from depression and anxiety for a while and is just now getting out of it and wanting to get back into church. Very interesting story, and it seems like the whole family is ready to come back too (the dad and oldest son came with the bishop to priesthood session.) Nice!

But the highlight of the week was definitely General Conference. We were even able to get investigators to come! Yay! Between the two sessions on Saturday we went out knocking, and we met Bertina and her 2 kids. We shared a prayer and a little bit about the restoration (as usual), and she said she'd come to church (as usual). Except this time she actually came! She watched the Sunday morning session and seemed to really love it. We told her about how church usually is, and we're seeing her tonight to start teaching them. Very promising! 

Now for a couple funny things. We talked to this one random old black guy in his front yard a couple days ago, and everything was pretty normal until he randomly stops and dramatically says:

"Lemee tell you a secret. I'm a minister.......gone bad."

It was super funny. It was literally like a movie. He even like looked away and walked a couple steps while he was talking, and then turned to look at us for the punch line. Probably one of the funniest things I've come across. Our whole house quotes it at least twice a day, and it's earned a spot on our quote board.

Another funny thing was that yesterday between sessions of conference we randomly had a TON of member food. A family fed us lasagna and salad and breadsticks at the church right after, and then we left to go to our actual meal appointment with a younger couple in the ward. (They had Disney music playing on Pandora for us, and I was in heaven. Definitely sang under my breath every song that came on. It was awesome, I decided that I'm gonna be the super chill member that feeds the missionaries when I get home haha.) We had sausage and pasta and mashed potatoes, and cookies. And then we went back to church for the next session and someone had ice cream sandwiches for us. We were all pretty full.

So as promised, here's some of my notes from Conference. There's lots more, but here's some of the first:

The use of the marvelous technologies that will come will require the Spirit of the Lord within us.
-President Eyring

The phrase "The Atonement" is doctrinally incomplete. The Atonement is non an amorphous entity that we can call on for help. We must connect it to the life and mission of Jesus Christ.
-Russell M Nelson
(Haha this funny, something I've thought about before.)  

Stand close to the Savior as you would stand next to someone with more perfect pitch
-Jeffery R Holland
(I loved his talk for all the singing analogies.)

When we are not all in or only partially in, there is a disturbance in the force.
-Gary B Sabin
(His talk was good too because of all the pop culture references.)

I'm so grateful for living prophets and for general conference, it was such a spiritually uplifting experience and very different as a missionary. Sorry for the long email, but there was lot's I wanted to talk about, so I did haha. Hope you're all doing great! Keep up the good work!


Eldè Stevenson