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

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Real Work Has Begun

Greetings from Valencia!!! Holy smokes, I am officially out of the MTC and am wandering the streets of this beautiful City!! I couldn't have asked for a better area to serve the Lord. The people here are so humble and caring, and the work is absolutely flourishing. Oh and I have thee best companion and trainer in the whole entire world!!!! Long story short, we actually went to school together, and have quite a few friends in common... we just never had the opportunity to meet. But she is WONDERFUL. She is such a strong Disciple of Christ, and she is showing me what it means to be a great missionary. I am learning  how to work and serve the Lord with all that I have. She is an amazing example to me, and all those around her. The Lord knew what he was doing when he put her in my life.

Well, I experienced my first holiday out in the field, and it was kind of weird. Spain doesn't celebrate Halloween, but it is slowly becoming a thing out here. There were a fair few people with the orange and black decorations, and festivities. It was so exciting to me when I would see a few kids running around the streets all dressed up!! It was sad not seeing the holiday in full swing, but there was just enough to make me feel at home here. Me and Hermana Gillette, tried to make the most out of the day and had some fun with costumes that consisted of some super sweet cape socks!!! Our costume was only possible because of my wonderful missionary moms, Thank you guys so much!! You helped us have an amazing day!!!

Even with the holiday, this week has been super crazy busy!!! I mean traveling to Barcelona from the MTC, than from Barcelona to Valencia, and then desperately trying to unpack.... which still hasn't really happened. And then being thrown straight into the work from the minute I got here. it's been a lot but I love it!! My fantastic companion is a sister training leader so she had to go back to Barcelona two days ago and spend the night there for meetings, so I was left with Hermana Greggory for 2 days. Well that was interesting, she is only one transfer ahead of me so in other words neither of us speak Spanish and neither of us know how to navigate the city yet.... soooo basically we had a huge adventure with trying to go teach lessons with investigators haha it was so great though. we made the most of it and simply relied on the Lord to help us as we tried to do his work.  

We did have a relaxing day on Saturday, our district goes and plays basketball every Saturday. It's a way to try to involve and meet with our investigators better. It was so much fun! It was relaxing and yet hard work because we had to try to show off our American sports skills to our investigators hahaha we are all fairly terrible, but it was still a blast. Going to church was different... Bishop had me get up and bear my testimony hahah you better believe my comp was a champ and she went and stood at the pulpit with me to help translate the things I couldn't say.... I am not sure if that is
typically allowed, but we made it work. I guess I did a fairly good job, because my new ward fell in love with me after!!! Uhh I have had a few dinner appointments already and luckily they have all been yummy... I get super nervous every time though. but mission life is great! P-day has been a huge blessing to me. as much as I love the work, it is exhausting, so a day to recover was well needed. We had to clean our piso this morning before we did anything, and that is what we do every p-day, and mom, I just need to thank you for teaching me how to clean properly!!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!! As nice as our piso is, it is old. and the Hermanas living with us are clean people, but they aren't really sure how to do a nice deep clean... I scoured the snot out of our bathroom and it was disgusting!!! I can proudly say that it is sparkly, shiny, and more than anything, it is truly clean now. I have you to thank for that mom. It makes a difference!! Now I just need to teach these other sisters that I live with how to clean hahaha wish me luck with that. I love Spain, I love Valencia, and I love this gospel.... and I am slowly, oh ever so slowly learning to love the language. But thank you all for your prayers and love, it helps so much!! I am so sorry this email is crazy and sporadic, I promise that next week I will have more to fill you in with!!! 
Hermana Stilson



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