Sunday, May 31, 2015

Email and pictures from Stacie May 26, 2015

Baseball game with the ward yesterday! 

Thinking of everyone back at home :)

Buenos Dias!

It makes me so happy to hear of all of the new beautiful additions to our family! Congratulations to Allison and Darin, Carissa and Shea, and Alisha and Brian! And thank you to those who have sent me pictures of those little ones, I can't wait to meet Christina, Jayde, and Jax!  We are a blessed family. We have so many blessings, it would be impossible to count.

This week I had the privilege of visiting a less active in my ward who has been given only a few days to live. She has kidney and liver failure, and had just gotten on a donor list before her health worsened significantly. We've been visiting her and teaching her lessons almost every week because she isn't well enough to come to church. She is the only member in her family, being a convert, so it was a really special experience to be invited into their home and share scriptures with them about the Plan of Salvation and the opportunity we have to see our loved ones again after they die. While she wasn't physically coherent at the time, I received assurance that her spirit was alert and aware of the things we were sharing and that there will be welcoming arms to receive her on the other side.

We met someone very interesting the other day when we were knocking in Nogales. His name was Chucky, and when we met him, he was in a wheelchair hiding behind a bush in his front yard. When we started talking to him, we found out that he was heavily involved in the Mexican drug cartel (not super uncommon here), and that he was in a wheelchair because they tried to kill him by running him over. Miraculously, only his legs were damaged, but he felt like his life was spared by God because there was something else he needed to do in his life. He felt like he needed to get closer to God, and was really grateful when we showed up to help him. Well, that was 3 weeks ago, and we haven't seen him since. Every time we try to see him, someone else is there and won't give us any information about him. Anyway, we've been really worried about him, maybe you can help by praying for him with us?

We have had quite a bit of progress with a couple of our investigators, and we just pray so much for them every day. Many of the people we are teaching right now are going through really hard things; addictions, death of a loved one, depression, financial insecurity...the list goes on. One thing I've noticed though, is that these trials that people go through are actually wonderful tender mercies from our Heavenly Father. In the midst of their agony, they are caused to search for something more meaningful in the world.  They are desperate to find even a little bit of hope in their seemingly hopeless circumstances.  They've hit rock bottom and are finally able to recognize that they need help from the Healer. When else would they search for truth? Why else would Heavenly Father allow his children to go through such hard things? It's His way of drawing them close to Him! He is constantly reminding us of His mercy and His love by sending us reminders that we can't do anything without His divine help. I'm reminded often about the time that I felt like I hit "rock" bottom, and it was those trials that helped me know that even when I felt like that, there was our "Rock", our Savior who was with me all along.

Those of you who try to send me mail, start sending it to the mission office from now until I get my new assignment. I'll send you my new address when I get it :) I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day, I'll talk to you soon! I love you :)

Love, Hermana Townley

P.S. Random note for Dad about Nogales, I didn't know until this week that John Wayne lived here where I'm serving...pretty cool huh?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Stacie's email May 19, 2015

My dear family, 

Espero que tengan una semana maravillosa! I miss you all so much, but I know that I'm exactly where I need to be. This week was very challenging, very stressful, and very spiritual and inspiring. One of the things that is most apparent to me about missionary work, is that nothing is really in my hands. I am not really in control of anything, and as crazy and stressed out as that makes me, it also brings me great comfort in knowing that I'm in the hands of someone who is all knowing and perfect in every way. What a wonderful blessing to know that! This is His work, and it is moving forward quickly. "No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing." We need to get on board or get left behind! 

I have felt so much love from my Heavenly Father this week. It would take all day to write about my experiences. But I want you all to know that He's teaching me, and He's helping me become the person that I need to become to continue serving him even after my mission. The work will not end until His coming! 

I've been caused to ponder a lot this week about my interview with the Lord when I will finally see him face to face. What would he ask me? What would I ask him? What would I tell him? Would I be confident to stand in His presence if I were to meet Him today? These kinds of questions have been brought up numerous times recently, and I feel as if He's trying to tell me and teach me how to prepare to meet Him. He's helping me get ready. I've read many scriptures and talks about this subject, but the one that I have found to be the most helpful is Alma 5. I invite all of you to read this chapter in the Book of Mormon within the week and ponder sincerely about what He's asking of us. Then, listen for the promptings and guidance of the Spirit to help you improve in whatever way Heavenly Father needs you to. 

We had a member of the Quorum of the Seventy come and talk to us yesterday, which is why they moved our P-Day to today. Our mission is moving forward, we are going digital! We will receive Ipads this week, and will gradually begin to use the internet to proselyte. Can you imagine all of the youth that we will be able to touch through technology? I am so excited! 

 Well, until next week! Love you all!

Love, Hermana Townley

P.S. Mom, will you send me a CD case please?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Stacie's email May 12, 2015

 Free range

No pues

Sister Ferwerda and I

 Gila Valley Temple

Gila Valley Temple trip with the Zone!

Buenos Dias!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's Day!

So I'm going to be very brief in this email, but I just wanted to bear my testimony on bearing testimonies.

Since I've been a missionary, one of the most important things, if not THE most important thing, is to bear testimony. Always.  When I first started out, I would forget, almost every time, that I needed to end the lesson with my testimony. Sometimes it would seem redundant, especially if it was with active members, but I've been making it a goal this past month to bear testimony right from the heart during every lesson. And I've noticed a huge difference! Not only have my investigators been more likely to listen and follow commitments, but after almost every single lesson, they mention how loved they feel and how strong the Spirit is!

Bearing testimony immediately invites the Spirit, and is more powerful than any other concept or principle that we teach. Not only does it strengthen the testimonies of others listening, but as you listen to the Spirit and speak those things that you already know, your own testimony is strengthened as well.

This week I was able to go to the temple in the Gila Valley and I had several different prayers answered by Heavenly Father and I felt His love for me. I was also able to witness little Jesus get baptized into the church on Friday. I know that this church is the true church of Christ because I have felt His power and influence in the missionary work that I do. I feel His protection and love around me, and I know that He is there.  I know that He is aware of every trial, every sorrow, every challenge, and every happy moment that I experience. I love Him with all my heart, and I'm happy to be serving Him! I say that in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ, Amen. 
Sister Stacie Morgan Townley 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Stacie's email May 4, 2015

 I cut Elder Howard's hair! 

 Pete and Jayne :)
 I found a dead lizard

 Sister Walter, me, Hermana Ferwerda, and Hermana Aleman

 Jocelyn :)
 The Castletons!
 Me and Leslie Arias
 Adrian's new little one, Alyssa :)
Me and Hermana Ferwerda!

Buenos Dias a todos! 

What a crazy week it has been! I could talk forever about all of the miracles and tender mercies that the Lord blesses me with every day. With all of my heart, I know that Heavenly Father is powerful, merciful, loving, and ALIVE in every aspect. I am eternally grateful for my relationship with Him and for His love for me. My testimony has grown immensely just in this past week. Last week was discouraging and hard for me, but this week my area in Rio Rico has done a pretty incredible turn-around. I feel so elevated and inspired this week, and it's all because of the Spirit of the Lord that I feel so strongly every day. 

First of all, my new companion is AMAZING. She has taught me so many new things, and different aspects of missionary work that I didn't know existed. I am so blessed to be with her. I don't think I've worked so hard in my entire life. I come home everyday just exhausted, sometimes I struggle staying awake to plan for the next day, sometimes I wake up and wonder if I have the energy to get out of bed. And somehow the Lord always gives me strength, It's hard work, but so rewarding. I've been able to see that the harder I work, the more blessings I receive. I am reminded of the scripture in Mosiah 2:23-24 where it talks about how we are forever indebted to Him, our Creator. There is no way I will ever be able to pay Him back for the blessings He gives me, but I'm grateful to try! 

Last week I prayed specifically to find someone who WANTED to find God and devote their life to Him. The next morning we received a phone call from Maria Guatelupe, who just got out of prison. She told us that while she was in prison, she felt as low as a person could ever feel, and so alone. Her cellmate Margarita, however, is a member of our church who had fallen away and got caught up in the Mexican drug cartel a while back. Margarita and Maria became friends, and Margarita taught her how to pray. She also taught her about the Book of Mormon and told her how important it is that she learns more about it when she gets out of prison. So, when the time came, she called us. We had a wonderful first lesson with her, felt the Spirit, and invited her to be baptized into the church. She said "YES!". 

We were also able to find 4 other new people to teach, which is pretty hard to do in our area. We have started working a lot with the members here as well, and it's getting easier for me to discern people who need our help. Blessings are pouring in! 

The Lord is with me, and with all of us. He is real, and he is near! Please, find a new way to draw closer to Him this week. 

May God bless you all!

Hermana Townley