Monday, June 22, 2015

Pictures from Sister Townley - June 22, 2015

 Nogales Rocks

Stacie's email June 22, 2015

Buenos Dias a todos!

I feel the love of Heavenly Father in so many ways, it is so powerful and undeniable. I am so grateful to Him and I know that He is involved in every single aspect of our lives. This Father's Day was a special one to me. As I reflected about my own earthly father, and the unconditional love that he's always shown to me, I was able to also reflect about love that I feel showered upon me from my Heavenly Father every day. We are His children, and He loves us more that we can even comprehend. I hope everyone had a wonderful Father's Day! And happy birthday to my dear Weston, and my lovely sister Allison! 

I've been pondering a lot this week about the difference between our physical needs and spiritual needs. This week I was confronted with a unique challenge, one that kinda tested my faith a bit. Last Tuesday, we hit a high of 109 degrees (I think), and my companion and I were out doing service all morning, then went straight to walking around and contacting people. I experienced for the first time in my life an unquenchable thirst. I must have drank 5 bottles of water in just a few hours, which meant a lot of bathroom breaks and a lot of opportunities to refill on the water (I had made a promise to Heavenly Father to take care of my body and keep it hydrated the best I could so I could perform my best during proselyting hours). The more I drank, it seemed, the more thirsty I would get. We decided at about 4:30 before dinner to stop by the Patriarch's home to visit his wife who just had a stroke. During the visit, I began to get really shaking and nauseated. I had to sit down when I started getting light headed. I drank some more water, and then threw up. My companion thinks I had a little bit of heat exhaustion. 

I decided to take it easy for the rest of that night. As I rested, I felt a prompting from the Spirit to open my scriptures. I turned to John 4 and read "Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again; but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." 

This has caused me much pondering and questioning this week. I think about the way I feel when I am physically thirsty: desperate, dry, unwell, exhaustion.  Then I picture my spirit experiencing an even greater thirst when I don't constantly seek after the very source of everlasting life, the fountain of living waters, or Jesus Christ. We've all experienced how it feels to finally drink a nice, cold glass of water after a long day's work in the hot sun. Refreshing, rejuvenating, RELIEF!  Our spirits experience a similar thing, on a much, much greater scale; the relief and refreshment that comes through repentance through Jesus Christ, which allows us eternal life. 

I've talked a lot about the Romeros from Rio Rico... I heard some wonderful news this week that they have experienced a change of heart and have decided to follow Jesus Christ and be baptized on July 11th! I cannot explain with words the JOY that I feel knowing that they are being led by an infinitely loving Heavenly Father, and they are listening to Him! 

It's a wonderful invitation to ALL from a loving Brother, to come to Him, and enjoy the blessings of Eternal Life.  I pray everyday for all of my family and loved ones to accept this invitation and to feel that thirst-quenching relief that can only come through Jesus Christ. 

With love, Hermana Townley

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Stacie's email and pics June 16th, 2015

La familia Astrain

Hermana Hopkins

The Alvarez family

La familia Arias

Me and Andrea Arias

Me and Lesli Arias

Grandma Duke :)

Hermana Hopkin's house! :)

Dear family, 

I have to be brief today. We are just busy, busy, busy, and there is always more to do! I hope you are all doing well and using every moment of your weeks to strengthen your relationship with our wonderful Father in Heaven. 

I love my new area! I'm serving now in a very small Spanish branch right in downtown Tucson. We have the University of Arizona in our area, too, and we live about 5 minutes away from campus. It's getting really warm here too! I checked the temperature last night after the sun went down about 8:00, and it was still 102 degrees! I always forget to check during the day, but it feels about 110 sometimes. The heat is pretty debilitating to our work, it just exhausts us! We did service this week at about 3 in the afternoon for a whole hour (without shade or water to drink) cleaning out an investigator's pool, and we felt like we were just going to pass out. I feel like the Lord really helps us and keeps us strong in times like that. Somehow I'm able to just keep going. 

I think I'm getting better with my Spanish speaking. Sometimes we just get too busy to do keep our assigned time for language study, so I have really started trying to study at every other opportunity to compensate (during meals, in the car, when I say personal prayers, etc). Although I don't feel like my language studies are as effective as they should be, I've noticed that Heavenly Father blesses me constantly throughout the day so that I'm able to communicate with both members and investigators. 

In general, my testimony in obedience has increased significantly this week. My companion and I have made it a goal to do our best to be exactly obedient with the mission rules, even the ones I don't understand or don't feel are as important, and the Lord is pouring out His blessings on this area. He really is! It's amazing how He works with such unqualified people and still makes wonderful things happen. 

I will try to be more detailed in my next letter. I love you all :) 

Love, Hermana Townley

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Stacie's email June 9, 2015 and pictures!

 Ruth and Manuel Romero
 La Familia Hernandez
 Adrian and the Barnetts

 Hermana Millet

Hi everyone! 

First of all, Happy birthday to my darling Brenna Mae, and Tyler! 

This week was a pretty hectic one! I spent a lot of the week saying goodbyes to members that I've gotten really close to. It was really hard, harder than I expected. After serving with them for so long, they start to really feel like family! Saying goodbye also meant bearing a very heart felt last testimony to all of my investigators. I had a really wonderful experience with Ruth Romero when I did this. As soon as I started opening up about my own testimony, the Spirit was really able to touch her, and she began to confide in us in a way she never had before. She told us all of the reasons she was holding back on progressing in the Gospel, and I felt as if her heart was beginning to soften. It's amazing how the Spirit works, it's a truly amazing feeling to see the change in people because they feel the Spirit. Testimony is so powerful. It is an immediate tool that the Lord has given us to invite the Spirit in and create miracles. All we have to do is open our mouths, and let the Spirit do the rest. 

I've learned a lot these past few weeks what it means to really love people. By no means, I am not the best at it. But there is a certain type of love that inevitably comes when you see people in their most vulnerable states, and use the Gospel to serve them and give them hope. It's a type of love that is not obtainable from men, only through God. It's a gift from God that I am able to love these people in the way that I do. It is a type of love that just elevates, and then hurts when you are separated from them. 

I have been reassigned to serve in the South Tucson Sonora Branch with Hermana Lund. This area is very different than my last one. I'm in the heart of the city, and it is so crowded! The area is pretty poor too, so it will be a whole different type of missionary work that I'll be doing. Also, my new companion is younger than me in the mission. Lots of new challenges, lots of growth! It will be a great transfer! 

I hope you are all having a wonderful summer so far! I miss you! 

Love, Hermana Townley

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Stacie's email June 1, 2015

Dear family,

Happy Birthday to my superhero nephew. Ammon! and to my lovely sister Carissa! I can't even believe it's June already, time is always flying.

This week was busy and unpredictable! Nothing ever goes according to plan, but that's just a reminder that Heavenly Father is the one in charge, and I just need to be flexible with whatever He has planned for me and the people that I'm teaching right now. We are blessed tremendously! On top of finding 2 more families to teach, we've had a few old investigators call us and ask to take the missionary lessons again, and we've had referrals pouring in! We also have 4 people in our ward preparing for baptism by the end of this month, and we are really close to reactivating 2 other families in our ward (which is just as exciting and amazing as baptizing them). It's gotten to the point that our schedule struggles to fit everybody in! The Lord loves these people, I feel that so much as I teach them! He is so merciful to them, and missionary work is the most exciting thing to ever be involved in. I feel incredibly blessed to witness the changes that the Gospel brings in other peoples' lives. Prayers are being answered and miracles are happening!

I have had the opportunity also to get involved in many different service projects as of late. It is always a privilege to help people and to see their gratitude and appreciation whenever there is a load lifted off their shoulders.

With the passing of L. Tom Perry and Francis, the lady in our ward, I have just been so grateful this week for the knowledge of God's merciful Plan of Salvation! One of my favorite quotes from L. Tom Perry is this, "We can't predict all the struggles and storms in life, not even the ones just around the next corner, but as persons of faith and hope, we know beyond a shadow of any doubt that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true and the best is yet to come." He was truly a disciple of Christ and lived what he taught! We will miss him dearly!

I love you all and pray for you daily! 

Love, Hermana Townley

p.s. Next week is transfer week, wish me luck! I'll talk to you all next Tuesday :)