Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Stacie's email and pictures March 31, 2015

Hi everyone!

So I want to start off by wishing my wonderful sister, Angela, a very happy birthday this week! I'll probably bum some tres leche off a member tomorrow in celebration (there's always someone making cake over here :)) Anyway, so this week was pretty eventful, so I'll try to fill everyone in with the short time that I have.

So my investigators, Ruth and Manuel Romero, have been actively participating in our lessons and seem to really love the Spirit that they've been feeling. However, we found out last week that Ruth has pretty severe depression and has a hard time being around people, which is why they've been skipping out on church lately. She also doesn't understand why there are so many churches and doesn't like the idea of getting into a new church because of all of the differences in religion among her own family members. She just isn't convinced unless her whole family can be together, which is kinda hard with so many different faiths to choose from. Here's the miracle: this week she had been trying hard to get a hold of one of her sons who lives in Mexico. On Thursday, she called him, and he told her he would have to call her back because some Mormon Missionaries just knocked on his door and he was in the middle of a lesson with them. Can you believe it?! There is absolutely no such thing as a coincidence, and I was so grateful to those other missionaries for being prompted by the Spirit to knock on his door at that moment. Ruth took that as a sign from God as to what direction to take, and she has been actively praying about our message since. What a blessing!

Michelle, our new investigator, really seems excited about our lessons and actually brought up baptism herself. We invited her to get involved with the Young Women's activities and she's also reading the Book of Mormon. I see a lot of potential in her, and in her Grandma who sits in on the lessons.

We've also been working with the Alvarez family a lot this week. Michelle and Roberto got married last Friday, and Roberto is desirous to obtain the Priesthood. We are still working on Michelle, her goat died last week and she needed some consolation from us. Weird, but God works in mysterious ways! We were then able to convince her to come to church with us again!

I was able to attend the Women's Session of Conference this weekend with a young woman from our ward named Ashley. She's only 12 but she has had a really rough past and home life and has acquired a severe type of anxiety and depression. What a blessing it was to sit with her during that conference. We encouraged her to write down her feelings and quotes that she liked while we listened, and while I was sitting with her, I saw that she had written "I am loved. I feel happy. I can be happy because of Jesus." My heart was so touched by her. 

I encourage everyone back home to not only take the time this weekend to listen to the words of our modern day leaders, but be proactive about it, and write down questions and thoughts that you would like addressed in this Conference Session. What a blessing it is to have it so easily accessible!

Also, with Easter coming up, I hope that you are all able to feel of the infinite love that Christ has for us. I hope that you all remember the life, sacrifice, miracles, death, and resurrection of the Lord as we celebrate everything that he does for us! I know that he lives.

Oh and don't forget to watch the new Easter video #becausehelives

Hermana Townley

Monday, March 23, 2015

Stacie's email and pictures March 23, 2015

 We did family night at the Hernandez home and taught about the Armor of God

 This is the little Austin that I watched get sealed to his parents a few weeks ago, and his
Grandpa, Brother Alvarez trying on his new birthday hairdo!

This is Kris, Rebecca, and Vanessa :)

Dear friends and family,

The work is moving forward, and the power thereof is getting stronger and stronger. It's really been quite the miracle seeing the Lord's work in every aspect of my life, and in the lives of those that I'm serving. What wonderful promises we have from Him as long as we are willing to change and work with Him. When was the last time you've counted your blessings that He has ALREADY given so freely? I've been pondering and studying much about the Atonement these past few weeks, and feel like I'm only beginning to understand the blessings that come from using this precious Gift of the Savior. All of the many Gifts of the Spirit, forgiveness, renewal, Priesthood, power to teach the Gospel, and incomprehensible joy that comes from obeying the commandments, are just some of the few that stem from the wonderful, infinite, and selfless sacrifice of the Lord. Do we ever really STOP what we are doing and just appreciate this free gift? Do we even realize what we have? 

In this short time that I've been here in Arizona, I have already been able to see the Atonement work in such a powerful way with people who don't necessarily deserve such mercy (as none of us could ever be deserving of such a wonderful Gift), but I have, as a result of witnessing such miracles, been able to see the INCREDIBLE love that Heavenly Father has for every single one of His children. It amazes me every day. 

A couple weeks ago, I mentioned our investigator Ashley, and her mother Mary had moved to Benson and we would try to get other missionaries to visit them. To our surprise, we learned that this week Ashley set a date to be baptized and Mary has been actively reading from the Book of Mormon, voluntarily! I don't feel my words would do me justice if I tried to describe the joy that I felt upon hearing this news. Mary had been...difficult, to say the least. Only the power of God could have softened her heart. And He did!
We were also, in the same day, led by the Spirit to a girl named Michelle who is 15 years old and had been praying for direction from the Lord all week. Then we showed up at just the right time, when her sister, who was baptized into the Church about a year ago and lives clear in Tucson, had showed up just 10 minutes prior because she was worried about Michelle. She helped a lot by bearing her testimony. 

Anyway, we are really excited to start working with her, I see a lot of potential in her Grandma as well. They both seem to be really humbled and willing to learn. 

I hope you are all able to find a new way to use the Atonement this week! I love you! 

Hermana Townley

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Stacie's email March 17, 2015

Happy Birthday to my beautiful Lyvia Joy! I'm so sad I can't be there to celebrate her turning TWO years old, but I will be wishing her a wonderful birthday from Rio Rico :) 

This week has been rocky. There has been some contention among some of the missionaries in my district. But I have a very strong testimony in the timing and placement of the Lord's servants, and I truly feel like I can learn and grow from every person that I serve with. It's been quite an experience! This week is also transfer week, so there's been quite a few changes. However, my companion and I are stationed together again in Rio Rico, and I'm so grateful for that! 

We've been doing a lot of service activities this week as well. We spent almost 3 hours on Saturday morning preparing 400lbs. of carne asada and salsa for our big Stake Fiesta! It was a blast! It's so fun for me to be a part of the Mexican culture. I've started to really feel comfortable here, and I love the people with all my heart. 

The Romero family are progressing pretty well. We met with them twice this week, and we have invited them to be baptized. They really love the story about Joseph Smith's first vision, and have expressed that they feel the Spirit when we talk about him, but they want to make sure that it's true. They just need some time I think. 

I've been reading a lot in Jesus the Christ and have been fascinated by the things that I'm learning. I feel like I'm just starting to know exactly who Christ is and I've been so grateful to develop a stronger relationship with Him in the past few weeks.  I've also been pondering a lot on the concept of forgiveness. It's been a struggle for some of the people in my ward to overcome resentment, hatred, and anger that they feel for their close family members. 

I know that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is REAL. I've experienced it, and I use it everyday. The Infinite sacrifice that our Savior made for us is all encompassing, and so powerful. I know that only through the Atonement we can find real forgiveness. He makes everything right. Please use it. We cannot obtain the mercy of being forgiven without bestowing that same mercy on the other children of Heavenly Father. We need to forgive others if we want to be forgiven.

I love you guys so much! Thank you for all you do for me :) I'm so grateful for all of you, and I love being a missionary!

With all my love,

Hermana Townley

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Stacie's email March 9, 2015

Hello everyone!

It's been a great week here in Rio Rico! I hope you have all been able to feel of God's love for you throughout this week and thank Him for all of the blessings and miracles we receive from Him everyday!

I think I mentioned in the last letter that the work here has been pretty slow. Well, me and my companion decided to go at it super hard this week, so we invited our whole district to join in, first with a fast and prayer to help us find those people that have been prepared to hear and accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We recommitted ourselves to be as diligent, hard-working, and obedient as possible so we could be worthy of those blessings we've been promised. And the blessings started pouring in. 

On Tuesday, we decided to do a strong, district-wide power hour, in which we knocked on every door and talked to every person that we were physically able to, always remembering our purpose, and being as faithful to the Lord in our efforts as well as our attitudes. We really tried. It was quite an amazing experience for me. During the first few minutes of knocking on doors, we found 3 people who readily invited us back. Then, on the last house before we finished up, we came across the Romero family. We talked to Manuel, the dad, first outside on his front porch. As we told him more and more about Jesus Christ's restored Gospel, he got excited enough to invite us into his house and meet his whole family. They are Catholic, but they don't feel spiritually uplifted at all when they go to their church. And they have never heard of our church before. But the things that we said made sense to them, and they wanted to learn more. We invited them to church and got a return appointment. We also received 5 referrals the same day. 

On Sunday, Hermana Aleman and I fasted again for this family specifically. We prayed all night and all morning, it seemed, that they would have their hearts open and feel the Spirit during the meetings. It really worked. They found the meetings to be very uplifting and beautiful. They were asking questions, and even commenting on some of the topics about repentance. They are excited to come back and we are excited to teach them more this week. 

Adrian is also doing really well. The baby shower was on Friday, and they are so busy preparing for their little girl to enter the world. He also got a job, which was a really incredible blessing, it's really hard to find work in this area. He is really excited about the Gospel, this week he recieved the Aaronic Priesthood. And he's even been asking about serving a mission....maybe he can go on a mini-mission? We'll see. Either way, it's wonderful to see his enthusiasm about some of the spiritual experiences he's been having! 

There have been so many more miracles that have come as a result of fasting, praying, obedience, and faith in this week alone, in my companionship and in my district. The Lord is really working with us in our area! I know that He lives, and he loves ALL of his children!  Without a doubt in my mind, I know that this is His Gospel and His work.

Hermana Townley

I forgot to mention in my last email, we had a wonderful lesson with Myra, Isabella, and also Jr. joined in this time too! We had a fun lesson about the Plan of Salvation using a baseball game as an object lesson. We had them run to each base as they passed through the different phases of our spiritual lives. When they made it back to home base, we talked to them about the Celestial Kingdom, and they all desired to be a part of it. We hadn't planned on it, but I felt prompted to invite them to be baptized. To my surprise, they all said yes! Although they have the desire, we are praying that the heart of Myra's husband will be softened toward her being baptized. She doesn't want to do anything that will build a barrier between her and her husband, understandably, and her husband is a devout Catholic. We will keep praying though! 

Sister Stacie Morgan Townley 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Stacie's email March 2, 2015

 These pictures were taken in my area. That's the international border into Mexico, and the entryway. 

Dear Family and Friends, 

Listening to the Spirit is like learning a new language. Since I have been out in the field, I have felt a constant urgency to learn and really understand how the Spirit speaks to me, and honestly, it's been just as much of a struggle as it has been to learn Spanish. Just as you have to do when learning a new language, you have to study -ALOT-, and learn the basics phrases of how the Spirit speaks. You then have to practice. Over and over and over again. Practice listening, then responding, and then listening again. You have to actively and consciously discern each and every prompting and act accordingly. You have to work for it, and it's not always easy! 

This week has been pretty good. Myra and Isabella have been out of town, so we haven't been able to see any progression with them yet. I went on exchanges in South Tucson earlier this week, and I loved it there! I think I would enjoy the work in the city, we did a lot of walking and knocking, but we had a lot of people to teach as well. It's kind of a scary area though, lots of drugs and crime in that area. 

We also had another baptism this weekend! It was wonderful to see little Natalia so excited to make her first covenant with the Lord! We love her so much, and we love teaching her family. 

So, I'm probably jumping the gun a bit, but General Conference is next month!! I've been doing a lot of thinking and praying in preparation for Conference, and I've decided to do a Book of Mormon challenge for all my friends and family back home :) 

My challenge for YOU is to read the entire Book of Mormon, starting this spring's General Conference, and finish with the fall General Conference. Here's the catch: read with a specific topic or question in mind. For example, I am wishing to learn more about personal revelation. You don't have to start all over either, but start from wherever you are currently at and finish in the same place. I will be starting with Alma chapter 2, and I will end with Alma chapter 1. Make sense? 

Those who accept my challenge, please email me personally with the topic/question you wish to study, where you will be starting, and a goal for how many pages you will read every day to finish by fall :) 

(I recommend starting with one of those cheap, new Books of Mormon, so you can focus on your topic)

I can't wait to hear back from you! I promise that if you accept my challenge, you will find the answer to your question many different ways and the Holy Ghost will testify over and over again to you the truthfulness of that book! I'm so grateful for the scriptures and for the guidance and comfort that they always bring me! I hope for you all to feel the same. 

I love you all so much! 

Love, Hermana Townley

Sister Stacie Morgan Townley