Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Stacie's email January 18, 2015

Hi everyone!

I'm doing well and am loving all of the things I am experiencing as I
serve the Lord right now. I've got a great companion, I've made some
wonderful relationships, and I feel like I get closer and closer to my
Father in Heaven every day. I couldn't be more blessed!

I came across a scripture recently that I have been pondering deeply
about this week. I found it in Doctrine and Covenants section 123:17,
it says "Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all
things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the
utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be
revealed." I absolutely love this wise counsel given to us from Joseph
Smith, and I was able to really apply it throughout this week as we
worked trying to find more people to teach. It's become apparent to me
that most of the miracles happen at 8:00 at night after we've put in a
long day of hard work and kept going despite all of our plans falling
through. This has happened almost every single day this week, isn't
that incredible?

We had a really obvious miracle on Tuesday especially as we left our
apartment at approximately 12:00 to start teaching lessons.
Originally, we had the whole day pretty planned out with previously
set lessons and we were prepared to have a fairly successful day. With
all of the referrals that we have been receiving lately, we were
feeling a little bit of pressure too with trying to contact all of
them. So, we were booked...or so we thought. One by one, every single
lesson fell through. As the day continued, we found ourselves running
out of ideas, getting really tired, and about ready to give up. But we
kept going, trying not to get discouraged after working hard all day
without teaching anyone. At the end of the day, at about 7:45pm we met
a beautiful family with 3 kids who were so grateful that we showed up
"randomly" at their doorstep to teach them about God. Surely the Lord
is involved in all of the little details of our lives. I am so sure
that it was in his plans all along for us to do all we can, even if it
means struggling for a little while, and then to see his miraculous
arm reaching out to make up the difference for our imperfect efforts.

Tomorrow we are taking a temple trip to the Gila Valley! This week I
have been working on preparing myself spiritually to receive specific
counsel and guidance from the Lord when I go. In the process I have
learned a couple valuable principles about the temple that apply
specifically to some of my investigators. We have been working for
several weeks now with an investigator who has had severe problems
with the word of wisdom and taking care of her body. In relation to my
studies this week on temples, I came across a scripture that compared
our bodies to a holy temple of God. First Corinthians  6:19–20
states: “Know  ye  not  that  your  body  is  the  temple  of  the
Holy  Ghost  which  is  in  you,  which ye  have  of  God,  and  ye
are  not  your  own? “For  ye  are  bought  with  a  price:  therefore
 glorify  God  in  your  body,  and  in  your spirit,  which  are
God’s.” Now, I realize that most of you are pretty familiar with this
comparison, but the concept that caught my eye and had a deep impact
on me was that we are bought with a price. Our bodies, our spirits,
everything we have both temporally and spiritually were not, are not,
and can never be truly ours because of the infinite debt that we owe
to our Savior Jesus Christ, who sacrificed so greatly for us. He paid
it all, and words cannot express the gratitude I feel for him.

These are some of the thoughts and feelings that I will take with me
to the temple tomorrow, as well as my prayers and my desires to be a
spiritual strength to my family. I will be thinking of you!

With all my love, Hermana Townley

Monday, January 11, 2016

Stacie's email and pics January 11, 2015

Hermana Ferwerda's last day in the mission! 

My new companion, Hermana Burgoyne :)

Dear family,

What a wonderful past few weeks I have had! I hope you as well were able to enjoy and celebrate the life of our Savior on Christmas and spend some special extra time with family and loved ones. I am so grateful for new beginnings. With each passing year I feel new energy, desire, and motivation to be a better person and do better things that the previous year. For the year of 2015, the Arizona Tucson Mission has helped over 600 people come closer to our Savior Jesus Christ by being baptized into His church: a testimony to me that the work of the Lord is moving forward rapidly and we are truly preparing the world for His coming. This is good, but we can and will do better this year! I would like to challenge each of you to ponder on some of the things that I have been prayerful about sharing with you. 

I truly believe that when we have hope in Christ, we can influence the results of our labors, and the Lord blesses us when we strive to do His work in His ways. We recite regularly as missionaries "no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing". This week I was asked to give a training to other missionaries about accountability which has naturally caused me to really learn the concept of accountability for myself. While thinking back on the past year, I have seen much happiness and sadness, failures, and successes, having to teach and having to be taught, times of ease and times of (painful) growth, experiences, lessons learned, and unfortunate regrets. What I have learned is that we cannot do anything about our circumstances. God places us where ever He needs us and there is just not much we can do about it. BUT, we do have 100% control of how we REACT to those circumstances and what we make out of them. Missionary life is one big roller coaster, many ups and downs that are both fun and scary at the same time. I feel sometimes as if I experience every single emotion going through me multiple times a day and all at the same time. With all of the unpleasant things that we experience in life, we have the choice to make the best of it and learn. 

As we welcomed in the new year, I was prompted to prayerfully make goals and resolutions to help me make the most of the rest of my time here in Tucson. My hope and prayer is that each of you will do the same specific to your own lives. Pulling from a talk given by President Uchtdorf, I want to share with you some examples of some things we can do together to make this year much better than the last:

"Let us resolve to cherish those we love by spending meaningful time with them, doing things together, and cultivating treasured memories.
"Let us resolve to follow the Savior and work with diligence to become the person we were designed to become. Let us listen to and obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit. 
"Let us resolve to be happy, regardless of our circumstances.
"We must begin to walk that eternal path today; we cannot take for granted one single day. I pray that we will not wait until we are ready to die before we truly learn to live."

As a result of prayerful goal setting, we were able to accomplish and achieve all of our desired results last week. It really works, and the work continually moves forward! 

Love, Hermana Townley