Monday, February 23, 2015

Stacie's email February 23, 2015

My dear family and friends, 

Hace mucho frio aqui! Just kidding! It's actually pretty warm here, I'm planning on packing up most of my sweaters and sending them back to Utah because it's February and I'm wearing short sleeves and sandals, and it still gets so hot! It's been pretty entertaining to hear about all of the snow storms and freezing weather from all of you up feels like we are on completely different planets sometimes! 

Well this week has had it's fair shares of ups and downs for me. We've been working really hard with a few investigators, Mary and Ashley, and were actually seeing some incredible progress with them. We found out, however, that on Monday they decided to up and move to Benson without any notice. We were so sad :( but we've been wondering about calling the missionaries over there and seeing if they can continue the work on them, even though it's pretty unlikely that they will want them over since they moved in with Mary's boyfriend who fired a gun at some previous missionaries a few years back. So we are being prayerful about sending missionaries over there. 

We've also been sorely dropped by our investigator, Fai, who had stumbled across some anti-Mormon websites on the internet. We are also continuing to try to teach Yvonne, who seemed really touched by our message at first, but has since relapsed with drugs and won't give us the time of day. 

On the plus side though, we were looking through some former investigators' progress records, and came across Myra and her daughter, Isabella. When we went to see them, they were so happy that we found them again. Apparently, they had previously taken missionary lessons but had to stop because Myra's husband is a stalwart Catholic and wouldn't allow it. I guess his heart has been softening this year and she has been praying to know which church is true (she's never trusted her priests in the Catholic church) and that's when we showed up! I'm always amazed at the timing of the Lord. So we have been teaching them and it's been a wonderful blessing to me. 

We also had a baptismal service for Adrian on Friday. It was wonderful to see that light come in his eyes. He was so excited and so happy. We also spent the day in Mesa on Saturday to see the Thorton family be sealed. We even got to do an endowment session with them! I've been missing the temple, Heavenly Father always answers my prayers! What a blessing it was to witness the sealing! I felt the Spirit so incredibly strong, and I learned so much. The temple really is the closest thing we have to heaven on this earth. 

On Sunday, I had the wonderful privilege of speaking in Sacrament Meeting...twice haha! In the English ward, I spoke on faith in Jesus Christ, and in the Spanish ward I spoke about holding up the Light of Christ. As I prepared for my talks, I noticed that they go hand in hand. Having faith in Jesus Christ will lead to action, and acting in faith in Jesus Christ will automatically catch the attention of others and it allows others to see the Light of Christ through our actions and by our example. 

I've learned so much in my personal studies, and I'm so blessed with all the opportunities I have to learn and grow here. I'm so grateful that Heavenly Father prompted me to serve a mission, I have felt so much love towards and from the people here in Nogales! I'm really starting to feel at home here, and I can't wait to see what other things Heavenly Father has in store for these people. 

This work is real, everyone! Living the gospel of Jesus Christ is the ONLY way we can truly be happy in this life. Jesus Christ lives, and he works WITH us to help everyone return to Heavenly Father. It is so important that we prioritize Him. Remember, we are spiritual beings, and our spirits need food and nourishment just as much, if not more, than our mortal bodies. 

Please, feed your spirits. Every day. Be a little bit better every day. We are commanded to be perfected in Him. Don't pass up that opportunity! 

I love you all so much. Thank you for your prayers. 

Love, Hermana Townley 

Sister Stacie Morgan Townley 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Stacie's email February 17, 2015

Buenos Dias!!!

So yesterday was President's Day, which meant we didn't have access to computers, so I'm sorry for the delay in my letter. We also have to cut into some of our proselyting time to email, so I have to be brief.

It's been another amazing week. We are seeing lots of progress with one of our investigators, Adrian, and are really looking forward to his baptism this Friday! He's come a long way, he is only sixteen years old and is having a baby with one of the young women in our ward who is due sometime in April... I think the realization of young parenthood has really been pushing him to establish a firm relationship with God.  It's amazing to me how God makes trials so unique and personal, it reminds me of my own experiences and how he reclaimed me as well. 

​We are also very excited to have 3 new investigators this week! Heavenly Father has definitely blessed my companionship so much by letting us find quickly. We are so blessed to be led by His Spirit to people who are spiritually hungry. We barely have had any finding time because we always have people to teach. It's been a wonderful experience! 

We've also been working closely with a convert family who are preparing to enter the temple to be sealed for eternity in the Mesa Temple on Saturday, and they've invited us to go with them! 

Thank you all so much for your inspiring letters. I thank God everyday for the wonderful friends and family that I have. And thank you for your prayers, they are really working!
I love you all so much! 

Love, Hermana Townley

Sister Stacie Morgan Townley 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Stacie's email and pictures February 9, 2015

Wow, time is just flying!

This week has been really incredible, and I feel closer to my Heavenly Father now more than I ever have before. He has blessed, and continues to bless me every single minute of every day! It's amazing to me the love He has for all of His children, and I am amazed whenever I feel of His love working through me for the benefit of other people.

I've learned so much in just this week out in the field for the first time. Already, there have been extreme moments of joy and extreme sorrow as well. I just want everyone to know that I have a testimony of this work, of the wonderful plan of Heavenly Father for all of His children, and He truly wants to reach out and bless every single one of us! I have felt that so strongly this week. I hope you are all looking for and recognizing those tender mercies from our Lord in your own lives, they are always there.

So my companion is awesome. She is so patient with me as I learn the language and she also encourages me to participate as much as possible. In the MTC, I learned a ton of Gospel lingo in Spanish, not realizing that hardly anyone here continuously talks about the Gospel in their everyday conversations. I really struggle and fall behind in the common conversations because I haven't studied anything but the Gospel in Spanish, so I'm still learning. 

We have our own apartment in Rio Rico, and are serving with two different wards; a Spanish ward and an English ward. I've heard that this is a pretty difficult area to learn Spanish in because almost everyone here is bilingual, and about half of our lessons are taught in English. It's so much easier to talk to all who can in English, and I sometimes forget that I need to be speaking Spanish as much as I can. But I study and work so hard, and pray for Heavenly Father to help me because of my efforts. 

This week I had so many meaningful and touching experiences, but there is just one in particular that I would like to share. On Thursday afternoon, my companion and I had two of our appointments cancel. On the night before, we had planned to do some color-shirt contacting as plan B if anything fell through, which means that we pick a color and we have to talk to everyone who is wearing that color of shirt that we see. We picked red. So when we went out on Thursday to search for people, it seemed as if everyone decided to wear red that day! We talked to, it seemed, a dozen people with not much success. It was a little discouraging. As we were driving to our next appointment, we saw a lady walking in the street, wearing red, with her son. My companion asked me whether or not we should stop, since we didn't want to be late for our next appointment. I felt good about this particular lady though, so I encouraged her to pull over. 

As we talked with her-her name is Yvonne-, she was surprisingly interested in our message. When we told her that we would like to stop by her house to teach her more, she told us that she wanted us over ASAP. We were so excited, so we went over the next day. 

Turns out, she has had a pretty rough past. The father of her son, who was her high school sweetheart, passed away  suddenly while he was in prison-for possession of drugs, I think. After his death, she went into a severe depression, got into drugs, and left her son for like 6 months. When she realized the dark pit that she was in, she started to want to change her life for the better and make the best out of her circumstances. She began to pray, and trust in God. She prayed for help and strength to care for her son, Jacob. And she gained a testimony of God's timing, and she truly believes that everything happens for a reason. That morning, she had gotten up, prayed for a sign from God what direction she should take in her life, and for some reason, she didn't know why, felt like she and her son should go on a walk. That's when we showed up.

I am continually amazed at the mercy of God! How merciful He is to her, after all of her mistakes, to guide her and set her on the path to bring her back to Him! How merciful He is to me to allow me to witness such a miracle and take my role in answering her prayer. She has definitely been prepared, and I have no doubt in my mind that she had to experience all of that sorrow so that the Lord can bless her with even greater joy when she overcomes! And to think, we almost didn't stop because we were a little discouraged. 

In addition to that, I get to look forward to a baptism in a couple weeks, and a sealing session in a couple months. :) What a privilege! 

I love you all and hope you are doing well. I pray every day that all my friends and family back home will use every day the most wonderful and precious gift that the Lord has given us, the Atonement. It is real, and it brings so much joy! Please remember the One who has given us everything. 

With all my love, Hermana Townley

Sister Stacie Morgan Townley

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Stacie's email February 3, 2015

Hello everyone! 

I am so grateful I get to email this week, so much has happened and I thought for sure I would be too busy and wouldn't be able to. Again, I apologize for the inability to write everyone back individually because I have such little time, but I am so grateful for all of your thoughts and prayers! They really work and I feel them everyday! 

So here's a little update. I finally made it to Tucson! This last week was crazy in the CCM, I was so sad to leave my district, I've grown so close to them, but I was also so incredibly excited to finally start my mission. The goodbyes were hard though. 

I traveled by myself to the US, as I had anticipated. I was having a little bit of anxiety about it earlier in the week because I was worried about the language (I also made a goal to hand out at least one Book of Mormon at the airport), but that just made me pray harder. I got to the airport at 4 in the morning, running on about 2 and a half hours of sleep. I had about two hours to wait for my plane to board, and I said a very specific prayer, telling Heavenly Father about my feelings of inadequacies in speaking the language. I just really didn't feel like I was courageous enough to approach a fluent Spanish speaker and start talking about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I was so intimidated. So I prayed for God to be merciful to me. I prayed that someone would approach ME and ask me about the Gospel willingly. After the prayer I closed my eyes, I was so tired, and dozed. 

I was asleep for approximately 3 minutes when I was awoken by a man who came and sat down with me. His name is Raul. As we started talking, he asked me where I was going, why I was in Mexico, and how I learned Spanish. In answering his questions, we were actually able to easily delve into a very uplifting conversation about how Jesus Christ has helped us in our lives. He is a christian, but doesn't belong to a specific church. He has heard of the LDS church before and said it was good. He had heard of Joseph Smith before but didn't know much about him. At that point, he asked me if he could read the Book of Mormon that I had in my hand, so I let him read the introduction of the book right there in the Mexico City Airport. I was thanking the Lord throughout the entire conversation. He seemed genuinely interested, so I told him he could keep it. He was so grateful. 

The Lord is so merciful. I am amazed every single day by the miracles I see in my life and the prayers that are always, without fail, answered.

Last night I spent the night in the mission home. Hermana Passey, bless her heart, made us all dinner and then we had a testimony meeting. Then they let me go to bed early, and I slept like a rock for a solid nine hours! Today we had my first transfer meeting. I have been assigned to serve in  Nogales for the next 12 weeks, and my companion is a native Spanish speaker. :) I've heard that it's extremely difficult to learn Spanish here because almost everyone is bilingual, so I was really grateful to get a companion that will help me speak. I have no doubt in my mind that Heavenly Father has had a hand in the choosing of the companionships. 

During testimony meeting last night, I was able to hear a testimony given in the beautiful language of Portuguese. Wow! What an experience, I understood every word! I am so blessed to have been called to learn Spanish, I thank Heavenly Father everyday for that opportunity. 

I hope you all have a wonderful week. :) 
Les ama mucho!  

​Love, Hermana Townley​

 Stacie Morgan Townley