Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Stacie's email October 26, 2015

My dear wonderful family,

This week has been better! The work in the area is about the same, but I feel like my attitude and hope for the area has improved drastically....and that makes all the difference in the world! I feel a little bit like I would imagine the Children of Israel felt (on a much smaller scale, of course) being led into the wilderness for 40 years with nothing but the Lord to depend on for sustenance. Missionary work in my area has not been easy for me, but what I've noticed about missionary work, as well as all other aspects of our lives, is we need to put ALL of our trust and confidence in our Savior, Jesus Christ to lead us to the things we need....in my case, to lead me to people who have been prepared to receive the wonderful news of God's restored church. 

Today I want to share my testimony with all of you. I have a testimony of acting on the promptings of the Spirit, no matter what you are doing or how unusual the prompting might seem. During one of our finding activities, my companion and I were going through old records of former investigators when I came across on that didn't even have any contact information. The person on the record had only been taught one time, and there weren't even many details about the person or the lesson at all. But that was the one that I felt impressed to go see. It seemed silly, the only thing we had were some cross-streets for where they lived, we didn't even have their address! When we reached the street that they supposedly lived on, we found nothing but a gas station and a food market. It was obviously a dead end so we went back to trying to find something to do. We drove around for a bit and found a pretty nice apartment complex down the street and decided to get out and knock some doors. After knocking for about half an hour with no success, we offered up a little prayer asking Heavenly Father what he wanted us to do next. I have never in my life received a prompting so specific, the Spirit helped us know exactly which door to knock, and that's how we met Dissenia. 

We had a really great first lesson with her! She doesn't have much religious background but she told us that she had recently (within the past few weeks) started thinking that she needs to start reading the Bible and praying to help her family. She said that right before we knocked on her door, she had started praying while she was blow drying her hair. She said she felt like her prayer had been answered, and she's excited to learn about God. 

 When I heard that, I remembered the wonderful promise in Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." It's true! He keeps all of his promises, and his promises are REAL! I know that this is the work of the Lord. I know that it is He that is directing all of the affairs of the church and the Gospel. We are all working side by side with him, and it is just the greatest privilege in the world to be wherever He wants me to be. He is in our midst, even if we cannot see him. He is always watching over us and guiding us! I found a scripture today in my personal study that I just loved, in D&C he asks us to "Lift up your hearts and be glad, for I am in your midst and am your advocate with the Father; and it is his good will to give you the kingdom." If we could all just pause and really ponder the depth and the meaning of this promise, we would all be comforted in our trials and be able to have "the peace of God, which passeth all understanding"(Philippians 4:7). 

I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. He is the only person we can fully put our trust in, He is constant, He is all knowing and all seeing, He is our teacher, He is our strength and our rock. We cannot make it without Him. As we submit our will and our lives to Him, He will be the one to bring us happiness in this life and eternal salvation in the life to come. I testify that He lives. In the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen. 

Sister Stacie Morgan Townley 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Stacie's email October 19, 2015

Dear family, 

My first week in Sahuaro has taught me a lot about the will of God and my purpose here in Arizona. I've had some struggles this week because there is little to no work here in my new area and we frequently find ourselves looking for things to do and ways to be productive. We had no investigators and no one else really progressing. Before I got here, my Mission President was seriously considering shutting down this area for Spanish because most people here only speak English.  I've been really trying to have faith and believe that miracles can happen here.

I remember a few weeks ago when I prayed to Heavenly Father, against the counsel of my Mission President I may add, for "mountains to climb". I wanted so badly in the moment to be tested and tried as much as I could handle so that I could be strengthened and stretched. I wanted so badly to just be the missionary and the person that the Lord wants me to be.  I asked him to give me the experiences necessary for me to become so. Of course, I forgot all about that prayer until the mountain came, and my faith was tested and tried in several ways simultaneously. It wasn't a test of testimony or knowledge of the truthfulness of the Gospel, but a test of endurance and patience in the timing of the Lord. 

During my personal studies yesterday morning, I was going through the most recent talks from conference, and I found comfort and peace as I read the talk called "What Lack I yet" by Elder Lawrence. He says "The journey to discipleship is not an easy one. It has been called a 'course of steady improvement'. As we travel along that strait and narrow path, the Spirit continually challenges us to be better and to climb higher. The Holy Ghost makes an ideal traveling companion. If we are humble and teachable, He will take us by the hand and lead us home....If spiritual growth is not a priority in our lives, if we are not on a course of steady improvement, we will miss out on the important experiences that God wants to give us." 

God answers prayers. He grants us specific blessings according to our faith. I love the scripture in D&C 6:20 that says "I have spoken unto thee because of thy desires; therefore treasure up these words in thy heart. Be faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God, and I will encircle thee in the arms of my love."  From personal experience, he very rarely answers them in the way we expect. My new area was an answer to my prayer, and I know that I will have to grow and stretch in ways that I've never had to before. The purpose of my being in this area is still unknown to me, but the Lord has comforted me by letting me know that there is a specific purpose for my being here and I have a specific assignment to fulfill. 

The people here in Tucson are being blessed with a new temple! We witnessed the groundbreaking on Saturday, and were pleasantly surprised to hear Elder Uchtdorf dedicate the plot for the purposes of the Lord. The Lords work is moving forward! 

I love you guys! And miss you all! I hope you all have a wonderful week! 
Love, Hermana Townley

Friday, October 23, 2015

Stacie's email October 13, 2015

Hi everybody!

So I found out on Saturday that my new assignment will be in the Sahuaro Branch with Hermana Adams! It's been a crazy weekend of goodbyes and celebrating as we all start a new journey with new people. As sad as I am to leave Sonora, I have felt very at peace with this new phase in my missionary service and I'm excited to have a fresh start :) I feel like I've completed everything that God wanted me to do while in Sonora, now it's time to hit the ground running in my new area. It is an indescribable blessing to be a missionary of the Lord and to be sharing with others everything that brings me so much happiness. I love the counsel in the scriptures that encourages us to "consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God." and then the beautiful promise "they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness." (Mosiah 2:41) 
I will send the address as soon as I get it! Have a great week!

Sister Stacie Morgan Townley

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Pictures from Tucson October 5, 2015

 Our little nature hike this morning :) The famous saguaro cactus!
 Good ol' Tucson!

Look what the Elders found in their apartment! Good morning Tucson!

t's called a horny-toed lizard....I've actually seen a lot of these running around. 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Stacie's email October 5, 2015

Dear family,

I'm grateful for the guidance the Lord always gives us, whether it's in the form of scriptures, prayer, dreams, thoughts, feelings, church leaders, family members, or random strangers... God does communicate with us. I'm also grateful for opportunities I have on my mission to be an answered prayer for someone else. 

This week we were introduced to the Acosta family. They just arrived from Mexico with literally nothing but the clothes on their backs. They have small children and came to America desperate for a place to stay and food to eat. It was amazing for me to see the action from the members in providing shelter, food, clothes, hygiene supplies, and even toys for the baby. Hermana Child and I had the privilege this week of stopping by their house often to provide some spiritual encouragement and hope. It would be hard for me to describe the look in her eyes as I saw the Book of Mormon coming alive to her. We shared with her a verse, and she asked, "Can we read more?" So we read....a lot! She just kept going, kept turning the pages one after the other, and she just couldn't get enough! We had to stop her when it was time for us to go, but it was just so amazing to see someone hunger and thirst for the Gospel the way that she did. What a blessing it was to witness her being changed by the word of God right in front of my eyes! Oh and they stayed for all 4 sessions of conference with a 2 year old....that kind of dedication was really impressive too! 

On Thursday, my Mission President's wife came with us to a few appointments. She's learning Spanish too, so it was fun to take her to see some of our investigators and hear her bear her powerful testimony in broken Spanish. Her enthusiasm for missionary work was really impressive and encouraging to both me and my companion. She also came and helped us do some weekly planning. We are so grateful for the constructive counsel that we received from her. We feel a better sense of how to make goals and be more goal-oriented in the work. 

On top of that, we were able to do a bit of family history work! What a wonderful week! 

I hope you were all able to listen to and enjoy the new counsel we received from our church leaders this weekend! Let's put some of the things we learned into practice this week! 

Love, Hermana Townley

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Stacie's email September 28, 2015

Dear family, 

I'm sorry to be so brief! Thank you for all of the birthday wishes! I had a wonderful work day, we found a family at 10 in the morning and were our doing service for the rest of the day. We were then able to kick back and enjoy some wonderful talks from some of the leaders of the church for the General Women's Conference. 

With General Conference fast approaching, and with the passing of one of my favorite Apostles (I know, I have lots of favorites haha), I would like to share a quote from Richard G. Scott about an important principle I learned this week: “Just when all seems to be going right, challenges often come in multiple doses applied simultaneously. When those trials are not consequences of your disobedience, they are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more. He therefore gives you experiences that stimulate growth, understanding, and compassion which polish you for your everlasting benefit.”

​This life isn't supposed to be comfortable or easy. I've learned to have a better attitude about different trials and challenges that I experience from day to day. God does not expect us to be perfect, but he expects us to continually improve. ​I feel stronger this week than I did last week, and I am thanking God with all of my heart today for all of the things that were really hard to go through last week. It was time for me to grow, and today I feel empowered and ready to take on whatever is thrown at me because I know I have the Lord on my side helping me every step of the way! 

I hope you all enjoy Conference, I know I will :) 

Love, Hermana Townley