Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Day...OH HOW AMAZING!!!

Hello, hello family and friends. What a fun week that we had. Christmas as a missionary truly was an amazing experience.  As a district we were able to travel to stay together all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and it was a blast. Christmas eve we started out the morning by hitting up the metro, busting out our himnos and belting out Christmas hymns for all those around us. We may not have sounded the best, but we definitely brought the spirit... and the Christmas spirit. We sang everywhere we went, on the metro, in the streets, on the buses, and even at a hospital. That was probably one of my favorite things that we did because it reminded me of the times that all the cousins would go with Grandma and Grandpa and sing at the resting home in Ferron and decorate Christmas trees with the residents. It was a fun way to bring happiness to others, and good memories to myself. Then  in between being fed by a million members, we went around to recent converts, members, less actives, and investigators pisos and shared a small Christmas program with them. It was full of the birth of Christ, scriptures, and hymns to go along with the program. it was so beautiful, and I was so glad that we were able to share the wonderful message of Christ with so many people. 
And then we had Christmas day... OH HOW AMAZING!!!! It was full of more festivities and singing with the district, sharing our Christmas program, eating more and more, and then finally being able to talk with my beautiful family. Oh man, it was so incredible to see and hear the voices of my family, and be able to Skype my brother as well. I don't have words to describe just how special that Skype session was for me. My brother is the reason I was able to make it out on my mission and to able to talk to him while we are both serving was so incredible. He is an amazing disciple of Christ, and he radiates his light. He is such a strong example to me and the rest of my family. I couldn't be more thankful for having such a strong older brother to look up to. He is a pure servant of the lord with a strong testimony. He builds me up and gives me the strength to rely on the Lord. Oh my goodness, Christmas was just perfect in every way.
The day after Christmas was interesting to say the least... Our district was hit with a batch of food poisoning, so guess who's district was out sick again... yea, that was unfortunate. I mean, I would have been happy with a good night's rest after the holiday festivities, but me and my companions stomach thought otherwise. I spent the better part of the night camped out on the bathroom floor with the toilet in reach to catch all the cookies I was tossing up. Yay, sick district. Tis the season. But no worries, we puked it out, then hit the streets to continue the work that we are here to do. 
Well the last thing that happened this week is I had to say goodbye to my companion. Ugh, not going to lie, that was the hardest thing that I have had to do out here. She is my other half. Basically my best friend. But she served a full mission, and is returning with honor. I am so proud of her, and I was so blessed to have the opportunity to know her and serve with her. The Lord knew I needed a strong trainer, and he gave me just that. She is incredible!! But now I am in a trio for the next three weeks with the other two Hermanas that I live in piso with Hermana Manwill, and Harmana Een. They are both great, and I know that I am going to learn so much for them. yes it will be rough trying to manage two areas and two wards between the 3 of us, but we will see so many miracles while working together!!! Then in three weeks we will have to see what else the Lord has in store for me. Well I love you all, thank you again and always for your love support and prayers. You are great. Keep the faith. Talk to you all next week! 
 Hermana Stilson

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry "ChristMAS"

Yay, I finally got my Package!!!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!! Well alls I can say is that it has been an amazing week. Everyone around us is preparing for Christmas. I am in Spain, and I am serving the Lord and I couldn't be happier right now. We are being fed left and right by all the sweet members out here, so no worries mom, I have plenty of Spanish moms out here taking care of me while you can't. I don't have a lot to say, mainly due to the fact that I will just say it all when I get to talk to my family in a few days, so I am sorry this is lame and short. But remember to think of Christ this week. I don't know how many of you know this, but más in Spanish means more.... so when I write ¨ChristMAS¨ just sit and think about that, and try to think of a way that you can add more Christ into your holiday season this week. I love and miss you all, and I can't wait to talk to my family this week!!! Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, Bon Natal!!!! You are all in my thoughts and prayers!!!!! 
Love Hermana Shea Stilson



So happy she finally sent us a few more pictures!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Spreading Navidad Cheer!

Buenas!! Well I can truthfully say that this week went be a lot more smoothly than last. No sickness keeping me from doing the work that I am out here to do!!! It has been so amazing to see just how much the Lord blesses his missionaries. We are so blessed and so protected. But hey, Christmas is in the air out here.... no snow, but it is definitely cold enough for it. We do see a lot of rain though. It's been really fun to truck through the flooded streets and walk and talk to people in the down pour spreading Navidad cheer, and the amazing gift and message of Christ during this season. Christmas as a missionary is such a spiritual experience, and it is one that I will never forget. You forget about yourself and all the rush that the holidays normally brings and you really get to focus on our Redeemer, serving others, and love. We are so blessed to have a heavenly father who cared enough about his children to send his beloved son to all of us. He is the ultimate gift that we should focus on especially during the time of his birth. Christ has given us everything, so this season I hope you will all to stop and think what gift you can give to him in return. 

Well I found out this week that Valencia is known as the number one area in the Barcelona mission where you will put on the most weight... ha ha oh man, it is so true. The wards and members out here love the missionaries, and all they want to do is take care of us and feed us. So when I come home fat, it is not my fault. I blame Valencia. ha ha but this week we ate with Vicente. He is precious. He loves me and my comp. He made it so special. He decorated the snot out of his house and made us some nice Spanish food. Vicente is this jolly old man, who only has one leg, and he has a booming voice, and a heart as big as Texas. He also can't see very well, so there is a member who helps him, and he went and printed and made him GIGANTIC Book of Mormon, Bible, and D&C for him so that Vicente can continue reading. We took pictures with them... and we may or may not have taken a picture of Vicente's fake leg as well..... ha ha we are sneaky. 

We also have a fecha with one of our investigators for his baptism. oh man, he is the most tender hearted and humble man I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. He basically has no friends or family because he was in an accident 10 years ago and lost his sight. When he needed help the most, everyone left him on his own. He still has his family, but they basically only supply him money, that's it. No help. No love. Nothing. But that didn't tear him down one bit, it made him stronger. He met another lady who was kind of in his same situation, she is blind as well, and she literally has no one to help her. So our sweet investigator, his name is Carlos, takes care of her because he says he wants her to make sure that she knows that she is loved... so yea basically he loves our message of the Gospel because it is further proof that he is loved. He is cared about and there is someone looking out for and taking care of him and Maria, the lady he takes care of. If any of you have a min, please keep Carlos in your prayers!! 

Well the rest of the week was great. Hermana Gillette is just amazing. we keep each other going. I can't even begin to explain all of the laughs and funny little situations we get ourselves into... my journal has all of those moments in it. But she is such a hard worker, and just the most amazing example to me. She heads home in 2 weeks, and all I can say is that I will be heartbroken to see her leave, but so proud of her because she is returning with honor. She is teaching me so much, and showing me how to be the kind of missionary that the lord needs me to be. I ADORE MY COMPANION. That's really all there is to it. The Lord definitely knew what he was doing when he made her my trainer. She pushed me into the work head first and I can already see how it is changing me and my life, and the lives of those we teach. But that's all I have for this week. Keep the faith, keep the spirit, and give something to Christ this year for Christmas. Love you all!!

Love Hermana Stilson

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Blessed are the sick for they shall get rest!

Hola, que tal. Well I am honestly stuck. I cannot remember anything for the life of me. I have no idea what happened this past week. The only thing that I remember is that transfers happened, and then basically all of the missionaries in Valencia were wiped out for a few days due to being sick... it was rough. not going to lie. Transfers were a little nerve wracking. Normally, with me being a greenie, I wouldn't have had to worry about transfers at all for my first one because when you first come out you usually stay with your trainer for two transfers because of the 12 week training program. but I am in a little bit of a different situation. My wonderful companion only gets to train me for a transfer and a half due to the fact that she is going home right after Christmas. so we weren't quite sure what was going to happen to us with her leaving at a mini transfer. We thought for sure that they would have her leave and go be with a different hermana that is leaving at the half transfer with her and I would get someone knew for my last half of training. I can happily say that I am staying in Valencia with Hermana Gillette for Christmas and for her last 3 weeks in the mission field. But that just means that I am in for another surprise in 3 weeks. I could stay, and someone can be brought in to be with me, I could leave and go to a whole new area, or I could be put into a tri for the last three weeks of this transfer then leave... oh man, I just don't know... but for now I am just going to enjoy the time left I have with my perfect companion. We are so happy to be staying together for Christmas!! We are so close. It will be hard to say goodbye to her in a fe3w short weeks... but I just won't think about that yet.

Then there was the plague that wiped out over half of the Valencia missionaries. And sadly yes, i was a part of the half who got hit. The four of us hermanas in the piso were hit by it. Everyone was sick. There were probably only three elders out of our whole zone of 32 missionaries that didn't get sick. We were out dead.... Let's just say we got a nice 20 hour nap to recuperate.... being sick on the mission is rough. All you want to do is be out in the streets or in citas, but you are literally trapped inside your piso. We go crazy when we have to stay in, it makes us anxious and crazy. We are just so used to going nonstop. But we all are on the mend and finally back to the work that the lord needs us doing!!!

Oh man I feel bad that I don't have a lot to say this week but I can promise you all that I will have many more stories to come your way next week!!! Thanks for all the love and support. I miss you all dearly. Take care, be safe, be healthy and have a week full of holiday cheer!!


Hermana Stilson

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Thanksgiving In Spain!

Hello again my beloved friends and family. what a fun week we had celebrating an American holiday in a Spanish culture. Since the wonderful Spaniards don't have a clue about what Thanksgiving is, we decided to try to enlighten and introduce it to as many people as we could... sadly we weren't very successful, but that didn't keep us from gathering together as a family... well as a district... which is basically my family out here.... and feasted upon turkey and potatoes... wait a second, that's how y'all in Merica ate your way through turkey day. we definitely celebrated it by going straight up Chinese food!! As different as it was, we all felt right at home. Eating together, laughing, feasting, arguing, and a sweet investigator went all out and made us a pumpkin pie. What a holiday to remember. It was a day of giving thanks, and full of love and spirit. Hope your guys thanksgiving was just as good as mine. 

Now i know what everyone else is wanting to ask me. And to answer the question, no we did not have another baptism this week. But hey 2 in a row is great and they are still faithful converts who still just love the gospel. Hermana Gillette and i are still pluggin along, teaching families and preparing them to be live worthy enough to dwell in the presence of our loving heavenly father again. the work is still moving forward, and i am growing stronger in my faith every day. It makes a huge difference having an amazing companion at my side to lead and guide me with her strong example. Oh how i love my companion. We get along great, and we build off each other and we know how to teach learn and grow through the spirit. We love the people, the work, our savior, and each other. Couldn't have asked for a better place to serve, or for a better companion. 

this sums up our relationship up in a single pic..... 

Well happy December, hope you all stay warm with that winter air and snow. I don't have to worry about that in the slightest. I just have to truck around in my rain boots and umbrella. but I love and miss you all!!! Until next week!!

Hermana Stilson


Monday, November 24, 2014

Meeting an Apostle of Jesus Christ

Hi everyone! Wow, what an amazing week, I don't even know where to begin. I'll start by letting y'all know that baptism number 2 was a success!!! 2 for 2!!!  Roque was an amazing investigator who, like Richard, was prepared to hear our unique message. Such a strong convert. He loves everything about the Gospel and shows his devotion to the Lord by walking an hour and a half every week to make sure that he is in the house of worship to partake of the sacrament. He and Richard both are going to move the work forward out here in Valencia! They love taking in the Gospel and also sharing it with everyone they meet. They are a pair of great missionary converts.

Next, me and my fabulous companion found an incredible family while contacting the streets last week, and we were finally able to meet with them yesterday. It's a  family of three. Mom and dad, and their son. Dad and son share the name of Sergio, and we may or may not have forgotten the mom´s name... oops... anyway, the dad knows the Gospel is true. He knows it. He knew it immediately. The son was taking in everything we taught him as well. Mom was having a rough time being on board with it though. You know the dad wants his wife to believe it when he is desperately trying to teach her at the same time we are teaching them and he doesn't even know a whole lot about it. The son was also trying to convince the mom. It wasn't until we read a chapter in el libro de mormon with them that there was a change in the mom. The whole cita we were there teaching the spirit was so strong! I was praying my heart out the whole time we were there that the mom would soften her heart a little and just be able to feel the spirit that everyone else was feeling. So we read 2 Nephi 31 with them and that is the chapter all about the Gospel of Christ and following his example. A powerful chapter that I have come to love. So half way through reading the chapter I saw the mom reach up and put her hand on her chest. That's when I knew she felt it. After we finished the chapter, the son was wiping tears from his eyes, and the mom patted her chest and said "Ï FEEL IT". The feelings in that room were beyond description in that moment. After that, the family started asking about coming to church and baptism. Yes I said baptism. So uh guess who might be baptizing a family in a few weeks?? WOO HOO please keep the Sergio family in your prayers. They need this Gospel . They need to be a part of the only true church on the earth. 

Last but not least, I was fortunate enough to be able to get on a train at 6 in the morning Saturday, travel 3 hours to Barcelona and be able to meet and shake the hand of Quentin L Cook. Yes, you heard me right, I met an apostle of Jesus Christ!!! It was an incredible, once in a life time opportunity. He is so inspired, and listening to him talk to the missionaries in the Barcelona mission was so incredible. It is a blessing I will treasure forever. Oh man, what an amazing experience. So I might just brag about it for a second.... I met an apostle!! Feel free to be jealous!! ok, I'm done. But while I was there I ran into the one and only Hermana Gittens! Oh how I adore and love her!! Don't worry missionary mommas, we made sure we took pictures for you guys.  Look at me go, I have run into 2 of the 3 other missionaries serving in Spain from the group. I am hoping to run into all three of them... soooo now I just need to find out how to run into Elder Letts and I will be set!! 

Well it was a great week, and I am looking forward to another great one ahead of me. Thank you for the love, support, the prayers and the emails and letters so send. I love you all! Talk to you next week!


Hermana Stilson

Monday, November 17, 2014

Two Sister Missionaries Walking The Streets Of Valencia, Late At Night Carrying A Huge Picture Of Christ

Hello friends and family!! Another week has come and gone out here in Valencia, and not going to lie, it was a pretty good week. So last week I definitely forgot to mention that I had a baptism set up, and guess what??? I HAD MY FIRST BAPTISM!!! It was so great!!! His name is Richard, and he is from Ghana. OH my goodness, he has been a golden investigator! We found him and he was just so ready to hear and learn about the Gospel. He was a firm believer of the bible, and the fact that we had another book comparable to the bible was like gold to him. He is precious. You should see the Book of Mormon we gave him, it is all marked up, highlighted and full of notes. He has been coming to church with us and asking questions and doing everything that he could to prepare himself for his baptism. It couldn't have come soon enough for the guy. He was baptized Saturday and then Sunday he was confirmed, and received the priesthood, AND he was given a calling. He is now helping teach the Gospel Doctrine class!! Ahh he is just so amazing. He has such a strong testimony, he is going to move the work forward out here in Valencia. Needless to say, my first baptism couldn't have been more perfect. 

Last night I had a pretty cool experience as well. We had a few citas fire on us so basically from the time church got out until it was time to go home for the night, we were contacting in the streets and finding apartments to go door knocking on. It was a jolly good time!! Anyway, my wonderful companion and I decided to do a quick pass by with  recent convert and take her this huge picture of Christ that she has been wanting. So yes, two sister missionaries are walking the streets of Valencia, late at night carrying a huge picture of Christ... picture perfect. Anyway, we saw a family walking towards us on the street, it was a mom, dad, and a 6 year old girl. I nudged my companion and told her that we had to talk to them. So we approached them and in my broken Spanish I told them that we are missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ and asked if we could share a message with them. The parents were quick to turn us down but the little girl ran up to me and told me she wanted to hear my message. Oh my goodness, she was ADORABLE! I squatted down, showed her my jumbo picture of Christ and asked her if she knew who it was a picture of. She excitedly replied that it was her brother. I about died, she was so cute. So I gave her the quick speal about how God is our loving Heavenly Father and we are his children, and that God loves her so much and that he knows who she is. The little girl started cheering and she threw her arms around me saying dios me ama!!!  It was so cute!!!! Her parents were a little startled but asked if we had a card or anything with more information on it, so we pulled out a pass along for them to have, and then they went on their way. I was just so happy that I had the opportunity to share a simple message with a little girl, and by the girls response we were able to catch the attention of her parents. I just love being a missionary. 

Last but not least I can finish with a funny story. Lucky for me, I haven´t had to eat anything too out of the ordinary. Which I am counting my blessing for seeing as members feed us all the time. But this last week we ate at a cute members house and she made delicious meal for us, and to finish she brought us out our own salads. Now the salad looked delicious, except for the fact that it looked as if she had cut up 5 tomatoes alone and put them in my salad. Big ol chunks of tomatoes covering my salad... well I put on my big girl pants and choked quite a bit of them down. It was rough, there were just SO many!!! I finally looked at Sister Gillette and desperately whispered that I couldn't eat any more tomatoes. She told me to toss some on her plate the next time she left the room. Well then the sisters two sons and husband came home and joined us, so I was getting desperate. She got up and left and her husband went to sit behind us on the couch with his sick daughter, so I took my chance to rid my plate of tomatoes. I tried to softly flick some tomatoes onto my comps plate but apparently I don't know my own strength. I launched a tomato a good 4 feet into the air and it soared right onto my companions lap. And to make the situation worse, her boys saw it all happen AND Toni, the lady feeding us, walked back into the room right as the tomato was making its decent into my companions lap. Good thing no one took offence to it and we all had a nice laugh about it. Hahah it was so funny and I didn't end up having to eat the tomatoes at all!!  It was a funny miracle...

Well that's all I have for this past week but I am working hard, teaching as many people as I can find. We have another baptism set up for this Saturday... pray that it goes according to plan, because this guy is another miracle investigator who the Lord prepared for us to teach!!!

Love you all,

Hermana Stilson

Monday, November 10, 2014

Learning Spanish in the middle of the night

Hola mi amigos y familia, que tal? Well another week down in the field, and it is still going so great. I love being out in the field!!! Well, this week has been really good. So much happens in a single day that it is hard to remember all of the good things that happen. But I will try to fill you all in on what has been happening to me this week. To start I will tell you all a little fun fact about my amazing companion. Turns out, she talks in her sleep even worse than I do. For the past 6 nights in a row, I wake up to sweet Hermana Gillette in full conversation sitting up in her bed. Now the first time this happened, I was scared out of my mind but it's almost normal now haha. The best part is, is that the conversations aren't just conversations. They are full blown lessons, in Spanish. hahaha I think I will learn Spanish faster from her sleep talking. The other night I was able to listen to her teach me all of lesson two in Spanish before she collapsed face first back onto her pillow fast asleep. It is great!

So before coming out to the field I understood that some people would not be willing to listen to the wonderful message that we have to share, but I experienced a certain situation that took things to a whole new level. After one of our citas cancelled on us, Hermana Gillette and I decided to do some street contacting before catching the next metro out to our cita. Well, we came across a man who seemed interested in what we had to say, but when we asked if we could set up a time to meet with him to share more of our message with him he said, wait what?? What do you want to do?? So we replied we want to share more of our message with you.... well a look of pure horror crossed his face, and he turned and sprinted away from us down the street. Oh man, Hermana Gillette and I lost it. we were laughing so hard. Never have we ever had someone run away in fear from us. I decided he just felt the spirit so strongly that it scared him. Oh well, esta bien. 

If any of you have been to Spain, you will know all about the oranges and clementines that they have here. They are literally everywhere, and members and investigators will give us bags full of them every time we see them... so that means that right now, as I speak, there are 6 shopping sacks full of clementines in our kitchen... so many. Well Hermana Gillette and I passed one of these orange trees, and we couldn't figure out why no one was stopping to pick and eat any of them. So us being the blondes that we are, went up and picked one and decided to eat it... bad idea! They were not even close to being ripe, and they were thee most sour and bitter things we have ever had the misfortune of having in our mouths. We got some nice pictures of it that I will send you. Never eat the oranges off the trees unless you are absolutely certain that they are ripe. ew, it was gross! The sight of us as we spit them out into the dirt had to have been amusing to by passers. 

Well, there was one thing that I am really trying to focus on now that I am a real missionary, and a fresh new greenie. I decided to always work on becoming perfect. Now becoming perfected in Christ is not just something that will happen overnight, and there isn't a time frame in which we have to reach perfection. The Lord and His love for us, understands that the goal for perfection is achieved one step at a time through obedience. My work towards perfection is completely dependent on my gradual but steady efforts on trying to better myself. To becoming perfect like our savior is having the constant desire to help and lift up others around me, just as the Savior lifts and helps each and every one of us!!!

I love you all, and hope you all have an amazing week!!!


Hermana Stilson