Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Stacie's email April 28, 2015

My dear family and loved ones, 

What a wonderful opportunity it is to serve the Lord at this time. It's been getting harder and harder for me to put into words how grateful I am to be serving here in Rio Rico, and to grow closer to Heavenly Father as I serve Him. I've had many very special experiences this week that have strengthened my testimony of my Savior and my relationship with Him. 

Unfortunately, several of our investigators have just dropped like flies. And, as a result, I learned that discouragement really is one of Satan's most powerful tools...and boy, is he working hard on me! My companion and I were both somewhat discouraged, when we both said a prayer together and then opened the Book of Mormon to a passage that gave us hope and encouraged us to go forward in faith. So we did. We began knocking doors at around 6:00 and didn't finish until it was time to go home. We found an older couple who's granddaughter is very sick. They invited us in and we prayed for her with them. It was a very special experience to me, because neither of them believe in God, but they felt His Spirit and were comforted by our prayer. They invited us back to see them tomorrow! 

Also during this time, my companion and I had forgotten to bring water with us to knock. In a normal area, you'd probably get a little thirsty out in the sun, but in Arizona, being thirsty feels like you might not survive haha. Anyway, we kept going, and I said a little prayer in my heart that we would find someone who would offer water to us.  Not even 5 minutes later, a member drove by and gave us 3 water bottles each. Heavenly Father really answers prayers and takes care of those who serve Him! 

Although we have lost some investigators, I am very hopeful that this transfer will be very successful. I have a new companion, as of today, whose name is Hermana Ferwerda. She is really wonderful, and we became friends as soon as we met. 

I hope you are all having a wonderful week and can feel of the love that God has for you. I know that the Lord is with us! He is involved in every single aspect of our lives, and we can depend on Him to take care of us. Miracles have not ceased! 

Love, Hermana Townley

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Stacie's email and pics April 21, 2015

 Hermana Starnes from the CCM!

 Mexico City Temple trip!

We hiked to a statue of Jesus this morning

My dear loved ones, 

This week has been a whirlwind of challenges; emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. Life is so exhilarating, there are always new things to learn and new ways to learn them! Tonight I will be going on a "language" exchange in Tucson with Hermana Garcia, who doesn't know hardly any English. I've been a little nervous about it, but I'm excited to be stretched and challenged! 

I have found that Heavenly Father works in several interesting ways to accomplish His purposes. Last week I told you about our ward missionary who passed away unexpectedly on Easter. As devastating as that was, I was able to find a tender mercy from the Lord during his funeral. Carlos Lohr was a convert and he was the only one in his family that was a member. He had a lot of nonmember family members attend his funeral in the church house, where we were able to invite the Spirit and provide comfort to his mourning family. One of the members of the Bishopric, Hermano Torres, was asked to speak and he took advantage of that opportunity to share the Plan of Salvation with those family members who thought that Carlos was gone forever. It was a wonderful talk, and there were 3 different people who asked to take discussions from missionaries afterward. We were just amazed. 

Later on in the week, we met with Michelle and were teaching her about the Book of Mormon, when she stopped us midsentence and asked when she could get baptized! We have a date for her in May but we need permission from her Catholic mother. Will you all pray for her mom's heart to soften towards Michelle getting baptized? We could use all the prayers we can get! 

We also miraculously found May this week, who moved here from the Philippines 5 years ago, and has been looking for the right church. She's excited to take our lessons and get her kids involved in our church activities. 

Heavenly Father loves all of his children. I'm so blessed to be serving Him and participating in His glorious work! There is nothing more rewarding. 

I invite all of you to pray for a missionary experience this week and share in this joy that I feel whenever I help someone who needs the Gospel just as much as I do! The Gospel truly brings indescribable joy to me. 

With all my love,
Hermana Townley :)  

P.S. This is the last week of the transfer (time is just flying by!), and I'm pretty sure I'm losing my companion :( but that also means I'm officially out of training! P-Day will be on Tuesday next week also. So until then :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Stacie's pictures sent April 14, 2015

 Me and Andrea

 You probably can't see, but I'm in between the C and the S

This was my district and teacher at the CCM!

  Easter :)

 Phoenix! El Chango de la Muerte!

como estan???

deseo saber de ustedes y poder saber de sus experiencias espirituales esta semana 
nosotros nos encontramos muy bien trabajando hombro a hombro con los nuevos misioneros 
es una bendicion poder saber que se encuentran sirviendo al señor con todo su corazón 

por favor deseo saber de ustedes 

con amor 

Hna Ramirez 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Stacie's email April 13, 2015

Hi everyone!

Happy Birthday this week to my lovely sisters, Sarah and Mariah! This week there were 3 new babies born in my ward to families that I've grown really close to. Spring is such a fun and exciting time of the year! Lot's of birthdays, lots of reasons to celebrate! What a blessing it is to be alive in this time and have the Earth continually reminding us of the hope that the Gospel brings to our lives. No matter how cold and heavy the winter is, we can always be sure that spring and warmth is coming, because of the Savior.

​Despite all of the celebration of new births in our ward​, there has been a lot of sorrow in Rio Rico this week. On Monday night, a ward missionary that we worked very close with passed away unexpectedly, and also a daughter of a different ward missionary passed away a few days after. We spent a lot of time this week visiting family members of these members, and making sure they were comforted and taken care of.

During one of these visits, I found a new appreciation for the Gospel and the hope and comfort it provides for people who are desperate. Last night, we visited Hermana Millet, who is the mother of the girl who passed away. We showed up at her door, expecting to deliver words of encouragement and consolation, but instead she only wanted about the importance of missionary work...even though her daughter had just passed away! This lady is amazing, and her faith is so strong in the Lord. She told us of an experience that she had when she was in the temple after she found out that her daughter had passed away. Feeling desperate for answers from Heavenly Father, she went to the temple and the Lord showed her the bigger picture. He was able to comfort her by helping her have an eternal perspective of the plan that He has for her and her family members. After her experience, she felt HAPPINESS instead of sorrow, and by the time we came over, she had already been plotting and planning different ways she could share that happiness with others. Isn't that amazing? So we set up a few goals with her, and we plan on doing a lot of different things to find people to share the Gospel with this week :)

Heavenly Father really takes care of his missionaries! Sometimes I feel like a child when I realize how the Lord tries to teach me certain things over and over again. I have to relearn and relearn, and make mistake after mistake, and I still don't get it right. But He still helps me, always! This week, I was feeling really sorrowful for some of the mistakes that I keep making everyday, and for the people I'm teaching who aren't making the best decisions. In the midst of my feeling sorry for myself, Heavenly Father blessed me with an unexpected, and somewhat undeserved, trip to the Phoenix Temple, where He again blessed me with comfort, love, and answers to my prayers.

I know that He is aware of our individual and specific needs. He loves all of His children, and He wants to help us! We are promised over and over again in the scriptures that His arm is always extended, all we need to do is reach out.

I love you all so much! Hasta luego!

Hermana Townley

Monday, April 6, 2015

Stacie's email April 6, 2015

Happy birthday, Michael Fausett!! I hope everyone had a Happy Easter Sunday as well! This week has just been full of wonderful reminders of the unwavering love of our Savior towards us. It has truly been a week of spiritual upliftment and rejuvenation of all of God's creation. Even the barren desert of Arizona has begun to become green and colorful! It is absolutely beautiful here in Rio Rico, and I'm reminded of our Father's love every time I see how beautiful his creations are. 

My companion and I had an interesting week. We weren't able to do much proselyting because we had car problems and had to make two long trips to Tucson, and then Zone Conference (which lasted all day), and then General Conference. It was wonderful to also be able to have some much needed spiritual rejuvenation! Despite our busy schedule, however, Heavenly Father still blessed us with finding opportunities. This past week, our ward mission leader's daughter returned home from her mission in Russia. Apparently there is a lot of weird political reformation going on there, so they invited a few neighbors to come and hear some updates on Russia politics. And we were invited. So we went, not expecting a whole lot of teaching opportunities, but the Lord provided a way for our political discussion to turn into a Gospel discussion. Conversation was easy, and we have a return appointment with Javier and his wife this Tuesday! What a miracle! 

Because of our car problems, I was able to do a TON of studying this week, that's all we could do while waiting for our car haha. It was such a blessing though, because I was able to really learn about the life of my Savior and really study His teachings in preparation for General Conference and Easter. We usually get a lot of study time, but it was really nice to just focus in on my study of Christ, and I learned so much about Him this week.
With everything that I learned in General Conference this week and also in my personal studies, I've seen a pattern, or a theme, that really stands out to is the invitation to "Come unto Christ". 

I've been pondering that invitation all week. What does it really mean to "Come unto Christ"? What can I do better to show Heavenly Father my acceptance of that invitation? And what can I do to help others understand the importance of making Christ the center of their lives? I've changed my Book of Mormon study topic to this, to understand better the implication of these words that are so repetitively emphasized in these three powerful words. 

My invitation to all of you, is to come unto Christ! Find a new way to grow closer to Him this week. Make that invitation personal to you, because He is always inviting individually. Remember Him in all of your thoughts and actions. He is our Savior, and He is always eager to save! 

With all my love,

Hermana Townley