Sunday, July 26, 2015

Stacie's email and pics July 20, 2015

 This is Hector and Patty, with their granddaughters at the baptism...Don't they look great in white?

My Dear Family,

I can't believe we are already hitting the last part of July. Time flies soooo fast! We have been grateful here in Tucson for the "cooler" weather....its been in the low 100s this week, which has been such a blessing! It makes a huge difference. We are also approaching a new transfer this week, which means lots of changes. I am staying in Central Tucson, but I'll be getting a brand new missionary and training her for the next 12 weeks. It's going to be challenging because I still feel relatively new (especially with learning Spanish), but I have found much peace and assurance that this will be a great transfer. Among the challenges of life is learning to trust in the Lord's will and timing. Elder Neal A. Maxwell said,  "Since the Lord wants a people “tried in all things” (D&C 136:31), how specifically will we be tried? He tells us, I will try the faith and the patience of my people (see Mosiah 23:21). Since faith in the timing of the Lord may be tried, let us learn to say not only, “Thy will be done,” but patiently also, “Thy timing be done.”

Hector and Patty were baptized this week. As we were finishing up the lessons before Saturday, we were drilling them with questions to make sure they were ready to embark on this eternal journey towards Christ. Their testimonies just amaze me. They've been confronted with a lot of testimony-shaking issues from their family members this week, but they stand up for what they believe, and told us right beforehand that they "have absolutely no doubts" about their decision to get baptized into La Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Dias. The baptism was so beautiful, so reverent, and there was a very special spirit there. We were also able to witness Bryant Reyes (a member of a less-active family that we've been teaching) get baptized at the same time. It was a such special day. There are no words to describe the happiness that I feel to see those people humble themselves before the Lord and follow Him by being baptized. 

I've had the opportunity this transfer to really study the life of our Savior. I feel myself grow closer to Him as I study, apply, and teach the things that I learn. We carry a wonderful message: a message of hope and salvation to all who are struggling, lost, or hurt in any way. He is coming! He will HEAL and SAVE all who come unto Him! I love Him with all of my heart, and I am so grateful to have a part in His great Plan of Redemption. 

I cannot stress enough the urgency we need to have in discovering these truths for ourselves. He is coming, and we cannot procrastinate the day of our repentance! To all of the people in my life who I love with all my heart, please know that I know Him. He is real. And He wants every single one of you to pick up your own cross and follow Him. I wish this more than anything for all of you, because I love you. Follow Him, and let Him heal you. 

Until next week,
Hermana Townley 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Stacie's email July 13, 2015

My dear loved ones, 

First off, happy happy birthday to my sweet little Grace Athena!! And happy birthday to Mom and Heather in this coming week! I hope everyone was able to have a great time at the Townley Family Reunion this weekend, I expect lots of pictures, especially of the cute new babies! (Please!!!) 

​Heavenly Father humbles me and reminds me of His role in my life every so often. It amazes me how patient he is with me, despite all of my weaknesses. The other day, for example, I was feeling ​really good about the progress that my investigators are making, and feeling pretty successful about the week in general. On this particular afternoon, I found myself lacking motivation to go find and talk to people because I felt like the work we were doing was already pretty successful, and we had enough people to teach right now anyway. Pretty dense, right? Well, Heavenly Father decided that I needed a little correction and found a very gentle and loving way to remind me that this is His work, not mine (I need several reminders, it seems!). 

We lost our phone. As we were driving, we realized that we needed to check to see if our investigator had called us back, and it was just gone. We tore apart the car. We looked in every possible crack and corner, in every bag, under every rug of that car and it was no where to be found! Then we looked again, and again, and again. We must have looked for 20 minutes for our phone that we were sure was in there with us just a few minutes earlier. 

While we were looking, a lady walked by the car. She was talking on the phone, looking troubled and stressed and angry. I would have kept looking for that phone-we needed to talk to our investigator- but my companion suggested us take a break and talk to the woman, and continue to look for the phone when we finished. As we talked to the woman, Yessenia, we found out that she was in desperate need of some emotional help, and was trying to contact someone, anyone, to listen to her as she cried. She was so grateful that we talked to her about Christ and the healing powers of the Atonement, and gave her some sort of hope in her seemingly hopeless life. She invited us to come to her home to teach her more. 

When we got back to the car after talking to her, we found our phone sitting there in the passenger seat. "We have every reason to rejoice and little reason to fear. If we follow the promptings of the Spirit, we will be safe, whatever the future holds. We will be shown what to do."This quote by Elder Packer is so true. The Lord sees all things, He knows what needs to be done and He knows how to do it. How short-sighted it is when we think we know better than He! There is a lot of room for growth, and I'm grateful for this time I have to serve the Lord and to learn how to listen to the Spirit and act on promptings! 

This week is full. We have been busy, busy, busy planning Hector and Patty's baptism! We are determined to make it so special for them, they are so special to us :) 

My spirit just comes alive when I see the Lord hard at work in the lives of people that I love. What a privilege it is to participate in the work of Salvation! 

Just a side note, Hector was so touched by the song "Grande Eres Tu", or "How Great Thou Art" in English, that he memorized the song on the organ and played it for us the other night. It was so beautiful, and so touching. I'll send pictures next week of the baptism! 

Con todo mi coraz√≥n, 

Hermana Townley 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Stacie's email and pictures July 6, 2015

 Hector y Patty :) we have fun weekly planning

Dear family,

I am just filled with gratitude and JOY because of the experiences that I have on a daily basis, but especially lately. I know that Heavenly Father hears and answers my prayers. He is merciful, he is good, and he loves us more than we can even imagine. I hope you were all able to feel of that love this week and thank him for everything that he has given you!  I'm sorry I wasn't able to write last week! I will do my best to catch you up on what's going on. 

So we have been working really closely with a family, Hector and Patty and their children and grandchildren, who are going through some extreme financial problems and can't pay tithing, otherwise they are progressing flawlessly and desire more than anything to be baptized into our church. The way we met them was pretty miraculous, and it seems like Heavenly Father is really reaching out to them in obvious ways. With this in mind, my companion and I have spent at least 6 hours this month planning for them together and trying to plan lessons perfectly to help them have more faith. On top of that, we have made it a priority to really pray with faith on their behalf, and fast for them too. I feel as if I have put most, if not all, my spiritual energy toward them and to be able to understand Heavenly Father's will for them as far as their lessons and commitments go. 

Last week, we felt inspired to teach them about the eternal blessings of the temple and obedience to the commandments that is required to obtain those blessings. It was a beautiful lesson, and they said that they wanted to make the temple their goal as a family. So we promised we would get them a picture of a temple to remind them every day what to work toward. 

Well, we didn't see them at all the rest of the week. When we came by for our next lesson, they told us that they were busy with family in town. When we called them a couple days later to see how they were doing, they told us that the hail (yes, we had ping-pong ball-sized hail this week in 102 degree weather) had completely destroyed the roof of their house, and they wouldn't be able to take the lessons until they figured all of their finances out. They were also staying at the hotel because of the situation with the house.  At this point, my companion and I were crushed and really discouraged. 

A couple days later on Saturday, we were desperate to have some sort of contact with them, but we didn't want to bother them or stress them out more than they already were, so we decided (or were prompted) to drop off a picture of the Gila Valley Temple on their door with a note and a scripture. We also decided this Sunday to do a special 36 hour fast for them in hopes that something miraculous happens to strengthen their faith despite their new financial problems. Well, the next day in Sacrament meeting, we pulled them aside and explained that this Sunday was special and will be a time of fasting and sharing testimonies. We told them that they were both welcome to participate and share their testimonies too if they felt inspired. Halfway through the meeting, I noticed Hector getting restless in his seat, then he got up and started sharing his experience with the missionaries knocking on his door and just feeling drawn to them for some reason. After a while (he talks ALOT), he started sharing an experience that he had had the night before after he received the picture of the temple. He said that he had a dream, that the Angel Moroni on the top of the temple was talking with him and asking him to come inside and that he had something very special to tell him. He was there with all of his family, and was happy to go into the temple and see what was inside. After he told about his dream, he told the whole congregation that he knows that this is the true Church of Christ, and that he can't wait for the day when he and his wife will be able to enter into the temple and receive those special blessings. My companion and I just cried the whole time. 

We had a lesson with them after church, and they will be getting baptized on the 18th of July! What a miracle. 

Fasting works, prayer works! It is all real and so powerful! Please take some time this week to thank Heavenly Father for his tender mercies. Please pray to see miracles! They will come in abundance! 

Love, Hermana Townley