Friday, November 13, 2015

Stacie's email November 9, 2015

Angelica's Baptism

Dear family, 

This week was one of the best weeks that I've had on my mission thus far. Sometimes I find it hard to put into words through an email all of the things that I experience on a day to day basis that make me love what I do so much. Most of my experiences, I've come to realize, will always be held close to my heart but cannot be shared with people through my words. I'm learning that true miracle of serving the Lord in this short time is seeing myself really changing and becoming more like Him.

I had an epiphany this week about my missionary work. I feel like I've gotten it on a big secret, like all of a sudden a light bulb turned on in my head to help me understand and make connections with my purpose here in Tucson. I don't know why it took me so long to figure this out, and I feel a little silly typing this out because of how simple and obvious it is, but for some reason, it just hasn't "clicked" for me until now. The key to being successful in the work of salvation is LOVE!  Not just any kind of love either. It's the kind of love that you have to diligently pray for, the kind that is selfless, kind, patient, and long suffering; the kind that requires a lot of work and a lot of sacrifice. This is the only kind of love that changes hearts and changes lives. The scriptures refer to this kind of love as Charity. I have been told over and over and over again that that would be the key to my success as a missionary, but until I really tried to apply it, they were all just words to me. 

I'm learning how to love the way Christ loves. It was an amazing revelation that I received, and I have put all of my energy and effort into being more Christ-like and charitable this week. It is a gift from God and we cannot obtain it without His help. 

I went on an exchange earlier this week in Nogales, my first area. Oh how I loved to see all of my old friends and loved ones! It was a time of rejoicing when I heard of the progress of some, and a time of great sorrow when I heard of the regression of others. Either way, I was able to see that I've been able to form eternal relationships on my mission. I was also able to go to the baptism of Angelica in my other previous area, Sonora! It was a beautiful day :) 

The work of the Lord is going forward. I have no doubt in my mind that I am participating in the work of the Lord, and that He is always guiding, directing, and taking care of His missionaries. 

May you all have a blessed week! 

Love, Hermana Townley

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Pictures from Stacie November 2, 2015

We love to do heart attacks! This particular one was for Hermana Bueno and her niece who just had a baby.

So my companion is the tallest sister in the mission, and I'm pretty sure I'm the shortest...
naturally we should be put together!

La familia Luna

 La familia Sanchez

La Hermana Bonnie del Salvador

La familia Montoya

La Hermana Bravo de Peru

Fun at the zoo!

Stacie's email November 2, 2015

Hello everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween! Will you all send pictures of your kids all dressed up? 

We have just had a little dump of so many blessings this week! My companion and I have been brainstorming and trying to meet with different leaders from the Stake to get the work moving in the branch. We've been able to see the hand of the Lord in all of our planning sessions and our meetings. Our area is huge geographically, so we've had to really use the Lord to plan our time and our traveling in a productive way. Somehow, with divine intervention for sure, everything works out and we are able to plan our days with as minimal travel time as possible. Like Nephi, I've been able to see that "the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith." 

At the beginning of the week, we found a new investigator who is now planning on being baptized at the end of the month! Her name is Mireya, and she is the niece of one of our less actives who the missionaries have been teaching for months now with no progress. We also received a referral from one of the members for the Ruiz family who were meeting with missionaries in Mexico years ago. They lovingly welcomed us into their home and told us that they've been wanting to meet with the missionaries again. They are so excited to start the lessons! 

We also found a different family, the Romeros, while we were knocking! Because our area is heavily populated with people who only speak English, my companion and I have gotten really good at looking for different signs of a Spanish speaking home before even knocking on the door. From our experience, the people living in the house probably speak Spanish if 1) they have a sign beside the door that says "Bienvenidos" rather than "Welcome" 2) they have some sort of display of la virgen maria 3) they have aloe vera growing right beside the door and 4) they have a used, gray mop that's drying on the front porch. I absolutely LOVE the Mexican culture! I am so grateful to be serving with them :) 

I got news early on this week that the Acosta family from the area that I just left are getting baptized this week! In contrast to the many recent converts that I'm working with now in my new area who are now less active, I've been caused to reflect on and focus my studies on the topic of conversion this week. I loved the story of the sons of Mosiah, who dedicated a big majority of their lives in full-time missionary service to the Lord. After they had spent some time with the Lamanites and set an example for them, they were able to bear powerful testimony to the king, converting the whole household. The kind then sent out a proclamation to his whole kingdom, giving Ammon and his brothers permission to preach the gospel everywhere. As a result, thousands of people were converted to the Lord, and "as many of them believed on their words, they "never did fall away".  What did these missionaries do that was so impressive and powerful that not a single one of their converts fell away? We are told that they taught "according to the spirit of revelation and of prophecy, and the power of God working miracles in them". That is the key to, not only missionary success, but the success of the whole work of salvation. In order to do this, however, we must be converted ourselves. We cannot be participants in this work without living the teachings of Christ ourselves. 

I want you all to know that my conviction to be a part of this gospel, to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and to follow my Savior stands completely independent of any other person, besides Jesus Christ himself.  If our conversion is reliant upon anything else, we will not last. "Remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are build, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."

I love you all so much! You are in my prayers always :) 

So much love, Hermana Townley