Monday, June 26, 2017

Not Too Much To Talk About

Hello everybody! So, this week was pretty standard missionary work wise. We found some cool people but they all dropped off by the end of the week. All I need to do is look under the face of the earth and they'll all get baptized! A couple random things that happened this week:

We had zone conference! Our last with President Richardson! President Garns comes in this Saturday. The APs said that there have been missionaries slacking on the rules because they think that President Garns is going to come in and make sweeping changes, especially with the only-Motab [Mormon Tabernacle Choir music] rule. They said that rule in particular has been in the mission for 9 years and President told us that when they set apart a new mission president they tell them to not change anything for several months. So the transition should be pretty smooth at least on our end of things. Still exciting though! President Garns will do a tour of the mission as one of the first things he does so it'll be interesting to meet him.

We also went to the North Zone Conference instead of the South conference like we normally do. Our zone is like right on the dividing line so President switched us up. That means I got to see some of my previous companions, including Elder Lund! I got to see him give his "dying" testimony, meaning that since he goes home at the end of this transfer he gives a short testimony at the conference. It was pretty funny, he got the biggest laugh out of all of them. He said " I'll always be a missionary, except I'll be undercover since there's no more name badge and dress code. They won't see me coming until it's too late!" Haha, it's crazy that he's going home. Elder Alexis was also there and is also going home. It was a really fun time talking to them again.  

This week we also did a zone-wide exchange. The ZLs switched up all the missionaries in the zone for a day, and I went to the YSA [Young Single Adult] area. Definitely a different experience. We ate lunch at the food court in the mall, went OYMing on a college campus, and taught some investigators that are my same age. I felt the closest to a normal teenager since I've been out haha. The YSA area is also huge. They cover 2 stakes. We spent most of the day way up in Tamarac.

[Added from another email to me: So family search did a thing where they give you profiles about early church missionaries in your line, pretty neat! Here's the link Turns out I have several ancestors that served out here in the "southern states" mission, including John Carter, the one I took to trek with me! Also the 2 hours a week for family history are gone, it's now 1 hour a month! Bummer, but we're called to save the living not the dead and now that we have a handle on how to do it we can teach our investigators and others.]

That's pretty much it for the week. We're keeping the finding work up as usual. Our teaching pool basically resets every week with how fast people drop off but it's all good. Bertina and fam wasn't at church this week either. We need to see what's up. She got a new job which is good/bad. It's better pay but weird hours that make it hard for us to get in contact. Hopefully all is well. I'm not too worried about her though. She has one of the strongest testimonies I've ever seen. Even still, the first year is a critical time so we're gonna stay on it! Anyways, hope all is well with you! Thanks for your support!

Eldè Stevenson

Monday, June 19, 2017

Christmas in June

Hello Everyone! This week was pretty good, seems like it went by pretty fast. Not a whole lot has changed, but here's an update on a couple things.

The rain has subsided to pretty much normal summer levels, i.e. some scattered rain throughout the day with some thunderstorms that pass through. There was a day this week though where a big thunderstorm passed through in the morning and filled up the moat behind our house again just as it was getting dried up. Oh well, there was some pretty awesome lightning so it was worth it. I even got a recording of the loudest thunderclap ever! Lightning struck pretty close to our house, it was cool! Lightning is my favorite, we never got it back home.

This week we've been working with Darline, a friend of one of our Haitian recent converts! We taught her the first lesson, but since then have kinda lost contact and she didn't come to church either. Hopefully we can get back in contact.

Other than that, it's pretty much been just going out and knocking doors. It's been good though, Elder Celestin made a competition for our district where we earn points for certain things throughout the day, and the area with the most points this week gets to blast the ZLs in the face with a coke/mentos explosion, or the ZLs blast the last place area if they win. Yesterday we all went super hard, we even did a fire exchange [not sure what this means?] while knocking to double our points. It worked really well. We each were able to find and teach some new investigators! Sister Sweetnam and Sister Osbourn won though, because they went out last night to Walmart and talked to everyone in the parking lot. They even got the cops called on them. Cheaters.

Other than that, there was one day this week where Elder Celestin got super sick out of nowhere in the afternoon, so we went back home around 6:00. He's feeling better now though so it's all good.
So, you'll notice some pictures of a Christmas tree, allow me to explain. One of the members in our ward bought us Christmas trees because he found them for super cheap online, because who buys Christmas trees in June? Anyways the next morning while the ZLs were off doing something, we set it up in their room blocking the bathroom right before we left. They got us back later by putting it in our shower, and after that we put it back away. Fun stuff.

That's pretty much it for this past week! This week we'll be having our last zone conference with President Richardson, that'll be interesting. We'll see how much will change from now on, if anything. My guess is that the new mission president will come in and things will be the same for a while until he settles in. Should be good! Thanks for all your support!

Monday, June 12, 2017

It's Raining Crabs and Frogs

Hey everyone! This week was interesting, it rained A TON. It rained pretty much all week straight, which is very unusual for Florida. As a result, a ton of crazy critters popped up. Go ahead and look at the pictures and I'll tell each of their stories.

We met with Sharon, the lady that came to church last week, and she's pretty cool! She was referred by her son in law that's a Bishop in another state, her daughter is a member as well so she's pretty familiar with the church but doesn't really know what we believe. She said she's seen the good that it's done for her daughter's family and she wants to be a part of it! She was out of town for work for a while this week though so she didn't come to church, but we'll get back in touch soon!

So here's the stories behind each of these animals. You'll notice the picture of the swamp that formed right behind our house, aka fly and mosquito breeding ground. Where there's flies and mosquitoes, there's frogs. Lots of them. They make a ton of noise at night. Fortunately I'm a pretty deep sleeper but there was one night where it was pretty hard to sleep. One of them jumped onto our window during studies so I snapped some pics of it.

A couple pics of one of the CRABS that appeared in one of our less active friend's yard. She said that there had been crabs running down her street all morning, presumably from a nearby lake that was swelling from all the rain.

​My crazy companion ready to eat some live crab​ ;)
The last one was just a couple minutes ago when we were on our way out to go email. There was a TURTLE just chillin in the parking lot. We took some pics, Elder Celestin tried to feed it a leaf, and then we let it do it's thing and came here to email. Welcome to HollyWeird!

​My crazy companion trying to feed a leaf to a turtle​

Tuesday was my birthday! Again, a thank you to all the people that sent cards and gifts! It's so weird being 19, and it's weirder that means that I'll be as old as some of the Sister missionaries coming in! That's craziness right there. This week also marks 9 MONTHS as a missionary! Woah! Time is going by so fast! Maybe because I've only served in 2 areas so far but I still feel like a greenie sometimes haha.

​My birthday breakfast, definitely the best breakfast I've made for myself haha.​
That's pretty much all the news. The missionary work continues pretty much at it's regular pace. One exciting thing is that Bertina brought her boyfriend to church! We're gonna talk more with him later this week, but we gave him the vision to be baptized on July 1st! That'd be a really good thing for Bertina and her family so hopefully it all works out. Talk to y'all again soon, keep me updated on how everything's going!


Eldè Stevenson

Monday, June 5, 2017

Happy Birthday To Me!

​When the bowling alley ACTUALLY works
(feat. Elder Foster)​
Hello everyone! Another early email! The work continues pretty much the same as always, here's a couple of the highlights from the week.

Around the middle of the week we got a call from the mission office. A member in some other state had referred her dad that is not a member and had entered into one of the hospitals in our area. She asked us to give him a priesthood blessing. Apparently he was getting treated for cancer and then fell and hit his head in the hospital and suffered some brain injuries. We got there at the same time as some family members and gave him the blessing. After that we talked to the family a little bit and then left and went on with our day. The next day the mission office called us back with an update. Apparently 15 minutes after we left the doctors were asking him questions. He was able to remember questions that he hadn't been able to answer before. The family was very grateful, but still not quite open to receiving the missionaries yet. There's a few things we can learn from this story; 1) that priesthood power is real 2) seeing miracles is not enough to make someone believe.

​My "chicken pot pie" birthday dinner! ;)
So none of our people came to church, so that was a little disappointing, but there was one person that showed up! She was referred by our Bishop because she has a son or someone that's a bishop in another state. Our Bishop was out of town this week but she still came for sacrament meeting! We're going to talk to her more later today. She said she would be interested in learning more and being baptized! She accepted a date for the 17th, so hopefully all goes well with her! Other than that we weren't able to get in contact with Tanya or any of our other investigators so we'll see how that goes too.

I feel like before my mission I was WAY less interested in family history, haha, now it's like one of my favorite things. I've been using almost exclusively for a bit, I like the hints on it better. You can link Ancestry and Family Search and move stuff between the two so that's pretty handy too. Really the goal should be to have everything in family search since that has the ordinance information, but ancestry is an awesome tool and since we already have so much work done on it, it makes it really easy to transfer over. Super cool stuff!

That's pretty much everything, other than the fact the my birthday is tomorrow! Probably not going to do much different, but I bought myself some "chicken pot pie" today for a birthday dinner. You'll see what I mean in the picture. It's crazy that I'm 19 now, I still feel like a little high school kid haha. It also means I'm a week away from 9 months as a missionary! It's weird to think that I've been in Florida for 7 months now too, it doesn't feel like that long. Time's going to fly by! Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers!


Eldè Stevenson