Sunday, February 12, 2017

Transfer 17 Week 7 (final)

Welp, my mission has come and gone. It's pretty crazy to be sitting here writing this last weekly email.. 

This week we were able to visit Jill and Joseph. Jill finished the Book of Mormon entirely this past week. We had planned to teach the Law of Chastity this week however the whole visit we couldn't stop talking about how much she loved the Book of Mormon. We also talked about Joseph Smith and what it means that Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon are true. She expressed sincere desires to be Baptized. I've personally seen so much progression in them both, just in this little time I've had the pleasure of meeting with them. Elder Jensen and his new companion are going to do great things to help them progress and come closer to Jesus Christ. Much of the rest of the week was spent meeting with Sherry and various other investigators. It was a great last week. 

I've been asked, and it seems as tradition to bear some testimony in this last email so here it goes. 

I know that Jesus Christ lives and is at the head of his Restored Church. I've been blessed to be able to come to know of that truth for myself since I've been on my mission. I've been blessed to be able to have such great companions, that I was able to look up to, to learn from and to be able to strive to be more like. 

I was honestly scared to come on a mission. I had heard numerous times that the mission changes you and that you'll come back a different person. At first, I didn't like this notion. I liked who I was and wanted to continue being me. So during the beginning of my mission, I fought any change because I didn't want to be 'like the rest of them'. It took longer than I would have liked to realize that the Mission (the Gospel) wasn't trying to change me, who I was, it was simply designed to improve me and add to who I was as a person. It may change your desires and your perspective on life, which happens as you strive to become more Christ like but I'm Happy to say that I'm going home a Much better person than I was coming out. I'm still McKay Stevens, your typical Punk rock kid. However, because of the Grace of Jesus Christ, I have been able to improve personally.  I'm much happier, I'm friendlier, I'm more charitable, I actually enjoy service, I actually have a strong testimony in the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the Prophet Joseph Smith. I've learned how to be Truly happy in life, not just hang on to things that make you happy in the moment but leave you empty. I'm still growing and striving to become better, as I will be for eternity. I'm so grateful for these 2 years I've had away from the World, so that I could focus on Christ and help others come to know him. I wish I could have accomplished more on my mission, but I'll forever be grateful for My experience here in the Milwaukee Wisconsin Mission. I'll be able to look back with peace in my heart, knowing that I strived to change lives as my own was being shaped. After all, the biggest convert on your mission is yourself. 

Thanks to all who emailed me, wrote me, or showed any type of support at all. It honestly meant the world to me. You'll be able to contact me at from now on. 

Until we meet again. 

Elder Stevens. 

Transfer 17 week 6

This week flew by!

On Monday we emailed like normal in the Family History Center at the church. In the evening we stopped by Jill and Joseph, talked with them for a couple mins, making sure we were still good for our appointment on Wednesday and then knocked some doors after that. We found this nice older lady named Lowry that invited us to come back another time. 

Tuesday we started off the day having District Meeting which is always good. After DTM we had lunch with the District and then after everyone took off, Elder Jensen and I knocked more doors and stopped by some people, since our appointment with Bunny and Terry fell through.. With the extra time to knock doors we were able to find this lady named Nikki however. Nikki seemed pretty interested and also wanted us to come back another time. 

Wednesday we helped out at the Soup Kitchen for a couple hours in the morning. After that, knocked and visited more people up until our appointment with Joseph and Jill. We talked about The Spirit, and how our choices and things we do in our daily lives can effect to what extent we can feel the spirit. We yet again had a deep heart to heart with them and the spirit was super strong the whole evening. The Ivies are always the highlight of our week. 

Thursday was set up to be a really busy day as we had 4 appointments and weekly planning. However only one of those appointments actually followed through, which was our appointment with Sherry. We saw Sherry with Brother DePaul and we basically went into the lesson, not knowing what to teach, just trusting that the spirit would guide us. We have been meeting with Sherry for a long time now and her progression is pretty slow, however there is progression.. We went into the lesson and basically was super straight forward with her. We said, 'Sherry, there is honestly nothing else to teach you, we've taught you everything we have to offer!' She knows that the Book of Mormon is True, that Joseph Smith truly was a prophet and she'll say that she's had so many questions she's had answered. However she has never been willing to take that next step of baptism. So we went in and told her straight up that that was all, and that the next step was to be baptized. We simply but powerfully asked her to be baptized, as we have done countless times, and she Accepted! She said she would finally be baptized.. This week she is praying about a date that she could be dunked and we'll follow up this next week to make sure it happens pretty soon. There are some final road blocks that need to be taken care of before her baptism and were praying that those things can dissolve and she'll be ready in the next couple weeks. Pretty exciting! 

Friday we were able to have lunch in the morning with Sister Lorance, finish up some weekly planning and then spent the rest of the day knocking doors and visiting people. The weather here has been actually pretty nice during the day! Other than the rain, we've been able to stay mostly warm! It's been nice :) 

Saturday we had the opportunity to go Ice Fishing with Sister Bizeau's Non member husband Joe. This was quite an experience.. We were able to be on the ice for a few hours with him, as he taught us how to Ice fish and we had lots of good conversation with him. This was honestly soooo fun.. I caught about 8 Fish (not big ones..) Elder Jensen caught about 9 and we were able to get to know and grow our relationship with Joe. He's always been sort of stand offish with the missionaries since 'were only there to convert him' so being able to relax with him for a few hours was very beneficial. Ill link some pics at the bottom. After ice fishing we had to take off and go to Dinner with the Sagataws. Its always great being in their home as the food is very good! After the Sagataws we finished off the evening with Capt Jim! 

Sunday we had Branch Council and then Church. After church, we came home, finished up some studies, had lunch and then took off for our appointment with the Lamarches. They did'nt answer the door for our appointment so we spent the remainder of the time doing some door knocking (during the Packer game..) and some street contacting. Since the weather has been a little warmer, there are a lot of puddles on the sidewalks so my feet were totally drenched. We walked around for about an hour as i felt like my feet had frostbite and then we finished off the day seeing Josh and giving him the sacrament. 

All in all it was an enjoyable week. This next week is my last full week as a missionary! Pretty crazy to think about. Hope its a good one. :)

Elder Stevens.

Transfer 17 Week 5

These weeks are flying by! 

Monday was the normal Pday. Nothing extravagant occurred.

Tuesday we had planned to go and visit a bunch of people out in these distant towns. However the weather greeted us in the morning with a bunch of snow and no signs of stopping. We decided to go ahead and visit the people anyways, just take it slow on the roads. Well we were able to visit and handful of people and get into one of their homes. It took us about an hour to drive out to this town and the people were not the happiest that we were out in that weather, as by that point there was at least 6 inches of snow on the roads. It was well worth it though as we got in and taught one person as I said until we had to hurry back to Escanaba make it to Dusty's Ukulele class. All was well though as we were safe and sound. We got about 8 inches in total that day. We stopped by some more families in the evening and were able to help shovel some people out. 

Wednesday we helped out in the morning at the soup kitchen. It was a bit slow as it was bone chillingly cold outside and was snowing a bit more. It picked up around the end of our 2 hours of help and we were able to go out and knock some peoples doors. After some knocking and visiting people, we were able to help shovel out some more peoples driveways and help out where we could. I was able to use this SWEET Lawn mower converted into a snow blower to help this less active out. Ill link a pic at the bottom of me just covered in snow by it.. hahah After those shenanigans, we drove down to Marrinette to stay the night as we had Zone Conference the next morning. 

Thursday we woke up bright and early so that everyone was able to shower, get ready and get out the door as we had to drive the rest of the way down to Green Bay for our 6 hour Zone Conference. The Zone Conference went super well and we were all uplifted and inspired. I was able to give my 'Final Testimony' as it is a tradition that the Missionaries who are going home give one last testimony in their last Zone Conference. I think it went rather well as I had a lot of compliments on it. After Zone Conference we had to stay after as we had our transferly interviews with President Williams. Our interview went really well as it was focused on how to make the best out of these last 3 (now 2) weeks, and how much I've grown in these past 2 years. After Interviews I went on Exchanges with Elder Foster and we made the 3 hour drive back up to Escanaba making it back at about 10:20.

On Friday, Elder Foster and I were able to spend the day knocking doors and visiting a bunch of people on the list that haven't been visited in a while. Both of our appointments we had that day fell through and so we were able to do plenty of that. In the evening we had dinner with the Cunninghams. They live pretty far out, but its always worth it making the trek out there to have dinner with them. We always come home with some sort of goodie as Sister Cunningham makes her own soaps, lotion and various other things. She hooked me up with some amazing natural lotion.. Its great. We were able to share a very powerful message with them, pointing them towards the temple and testifying of the blessings you can receive as you go to the temple. It was very natural and the spirit was super strong. 

Saturday morning we drove halfway down to Marrinette again to re exchange with Elder Jensen. We had our weekly correlation meeting in the morning and Brother Ollero took us out to Wendys for lunch. Which is always nice.. We spent the day Weekly Planning as we had yet to do so. We also helped Kathy move into her 15th floor apartment again. (Part 3 of 4 I think..) We had an appointment fall through and then we were able to have a great dinner with Sister Bizeau and her husband. After the dinner we spent the final hours of the day with Captain Jim.

Sunday we had church in the morning, afterwards we did some studies, had lunch, finished up some weekly planning and then visited various people trying to set up some appointments for this next week. At 7, we saw Josh as always and gave him the sacrament which finished off a really great week! 

Things are going well! 

Elder Stevens.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Transfer 17 Week 4

This week was really good.

On Monday we were able to help move that lady into her new apartment again. We're doing it in portions, we're going to be finishing off the move tomorrow. It's so cool being able to look out the window that high and see a different perspective and view of the town. We did that for a good portion of the day and finished up our Pday doing the normal things. 

Tuesday we had District Meeting in the morning and then afterwards Elder Schoenfeld and I went on exchanges and stayed in Escanaba. We were able to knock a lot of doors and visit some various people. The Wilbers called us up out of the blue and invited us over to dinner so we were able to have dinner over there in the evening and have some great food. 

Wednesday morning we had the soup kitchen for a couple of hours and then knocked more doors. We were able to meet this really nice guy named John that let us into him home, out of the cold. We taught him and he accepted a return appointment which ended up falling through but he said he still wants us to follow up. After that, we had to head down to Cedar River to exchange back. Elder Jensen and I had to hurry back up to Escanaba as we had a dinner appointment with the Less active family that went super well. We noticed half way through the dinner that Elder Schoenfeld had taken the phone, so we were left phone less. Luckily for us, they noticed rather quick and decided to turn around and drive all the way back up to Escanaba, drop the phone in our mailbox and then head on back down to Marrinette, about an hour mistake. We returned to our apartment before heading to go see Joseph and Jill, so we were very relieved to find our phone in the mailbox. After grabbing the phone, we headed off to Joseph and Jill. President Schmidt was able to make it to the lesson and it went soo well. We taught about Following the Prophet and the Importance of keeping the sabbath day holy. The spirit was super strong and President Schmidt was a great person to bring. They were able to make it to church this Sunday which is awesome! They even stayed for all 3 hours and the potluck we had afterwards! Great Progression!

Thursday morning we went to the church so that Brother Ollero and Elder Jensen could practice for the Musical Number they gave at church on Sunday. Which went really really well. Elder Jensen played the Piano and accompanied Brother Ollero singing Savior Redeemer of my soul. Later in the day we visited Sherry. We shared a General Conference talk that we thought would apply to her. The lesson went pretty well. We also saw this less active family named the Lamarches that we have been trying to get into their home for like 4 months.. hahah so we were finally able to get in and teach them which is great! To finish off the day we had a great dinner at the Pughs home. 

Friday we did our monthly service at St. Vinnys which involves us picking up hangers off clothing racks for 2 hours. That was fun, after that we did our weekly planning and then visited and talked with various other people. We were able to talk with Bunny for the first time since the Holidays. She kicked her daughter out for various reasons but we were able to set up a time to go teach her. She also gave us a referral of someone she thought would like our message. She gave us the phone number to this big black guy named Terry. I was able to call him up later that day and he's so cool! I talked with him on the phone for like 30 mins about various things, I taught him the restoration and about the Book of Mormon and he's really interested in sitting down with us. We're going to meet with him with Bunny at the upcoming appointment. Pretty excited for that! Later in the day, Brother Sagataw took us out to Dinner at KFC and we knocked more doors in the freezing wasteland.. 

Saturday morning Elder Jensen and Brother Ollero did some more practicing at the church. We had our lesson with John fall through but we were able to go out and talk with various other people. Captain Jim called us up and ended up taking us out to Rapid River to a restaurant named Jacks. Its always a great time when you're with Captain Jim.. We ate at Jacks and he drove us around showing us various things. Good day.

Sunday morning we had Branch Council and then had Branch Conference. Lots of people drove up from various parts of the stake to talk with us and set us on the stakes vision for the new year. Joseph and Jill were able to come, it was a little odd for them, as the meetings were more towards yearly goals for missionary work and what not, but I think they understood. There was an awesome potluck after church that they stayed for and everyone was able to socialize which was great. The rest of the day we visited people and knocked more doors trying to stay as warm as possible! We visited and gave the sacrament to Josh in the evening and finished off our night with that. 

This week was especially cold but we were still able to push through it and get some good work done. Time is sure flying!

Elder Stevens.

Sorry for the lame pictures, I didn't have any with me in them this week. One is the road right outside of our apartment, show casing how Escanaba doesn't salt their roads, so they're quite slick. The other is a little bridge as were standing on the ice, looking under it.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Transfer 17 Week 3

view from the 15th floor 

This week was good.

Monday was a normal Pday as always. We visited some people and knocked some doors in the evening but not much to report on.

Tuesday we had District Meeting and then had lunch with the district afterwards. After that we did some calling around for Elder Jensen because he needs to get an appointment with a local doctor, nothing serious. It was pretty funny as neither one of us has ever had to deal with setting up appointments our dealing with that kind of stuff so it took a little while to get him in the right place.. it got done though. Tuesday evening we were finally able to sit down with Josh and Michelle and their kids. It went really really good! We taught them the Restoration and they're super excited to start reading the Book of Mormon and to have us start coming over and teaching them. They said that in due time, they would be baptized if they came to know our message was true. 

Wednesday we got called to help a member move to another location in town. It was fun as She was moving into the tallest building in Escanaba, onto the 15th floor.  Luckily for us there was an elevator, but unlucky for all the other people traveling through, as one of the two elevators was down for maintenance. At times there was a line 10 people long waiting for the elevator as were trying to stuff the elevator full of mattresses and dressers. We got it done though.. At least some of it. We had to come back and help out more today (Monday) as she's doing the moves in parts. We'll probably be called back to help again sometime this week! It's a good work out though. I enjoy it. After the move, we had dinner with the Wilbers and then went from there, straight to our appointment with Joseph and Jill. Joseph wasn't able to sit in this time but we were able to read some of the Book of Mormon with Jill, answer some questions and work out how were going to help them quit smoking. They're going to make it a new years resolution to quit, so hopefully it goes well! After Joseph and Jill, the Zone Leaders showed up from Green Bay to do some work with us, so we knocked some doors until 9 and then called it a night. 

Thursday, still working with the Zone Leaders, Elder Palacios and I knocked a lot of doors, meeting some interesting and some nice people.. haha It was cool spending time with Elder Palacios as he is my mission brother (meaning we got trained by the same elder) After Lunch, we had a nice lesson with Sherry. We talked about Obedience and established some expectations on why we come over and what we would like to see as missionaries. It went well. After Sherrys we knocked more doors and were able to find some new investigators before the Zone Leaders had to head back down to Green Bay. After they left we finished off the night by having a really awesome dinner with Sister Bizeau. We were finally able to meet her husband as his job keeps him away for months at a time. They're awesome, going over there is the best. 

Friday we had our lesson with John Madacey in the morning. We sat down, talked for a while about various things and then were able to read some of the book of Mormon with him. He understood it rather well and were hopefully going to be able to get back in with him this next week and share the Plan of Salvation with him. The rest of the day was spent Weekly Planning, and knocking more doors. 

Saturday we spent a lot of the day shoveling as we got like 5 inches or so the night before. Elder Jensen also had to write his entire talk that he gave on Sunday. We were able to visit various people though and set up some appointments. President Schmidt had us and other guests over for dinner. It was fun as we played some board games, sang karaoke and talked for a while. We had to bum out early though as our curfew still applies even on new years. 

Sunday morning was church. Sherry was able to come which is always exciting. We were asked to teach the YM/YW class during 2nd hour and so I taught the whole hour about the God Head. I had no preparation but I felt as if the lesson went really well! Lots of participation and no dull moments not knowing where to go with it.. haha After Church we did our studies, finished up some weekly planning and then went over to see Capt Jim as we weren't able to see him Saturday night. After Capt Jim we went over and gave Josh the sacrament and then finished off the night having dinner at our place. 

It was honestly a really good week and we were able to get a lot done, finding new people and continuing to work with the ones we have! Happy New Year!

Elder Stevens.

Transfer 17 Week 2

This week was great!

Monday was a normal Pday in the U.P.. which doesn't consist of much. We had dinner with Sister Bizeau, which is always fun. She made us breakfast food and it was amazing, as we rarely (if ever) have bacon and sausage for breakfast. 

Tuesday we had District Meeting which went well. It's always good being able to see and spend time with some other missionaries. After that we basically knocked doors and visited people the rest of the day. We were able to meet this really cool 83 year old man named John Madaczi. He let us right into his home, (which he made himself) and showed us all around it. He's very good with woodwork so his home was just beautiful. He even had his own Sauna in the space under the staircase.. After the little tour we sat down and talked with him about his life and what not. However, unlike most experienced people in life, who just babble on and on (not that they aren't interesting, because they are) but he let us have our turn to share our message. It went great. We taught him all about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon and he ate it up. We set up another appointment to come see him this upcoming week. It was great, he is a very nice man and he seemed actually very interested in our message, not just our company. 

Wednesday we helped out at the soup kitchen in the morning, which you always leave feeling satisfied, as it is not light work. After that we knocked more doors and visited more people, trying to get E. Jensen familiar with more and more people. In the evening we had dinner at the Pugh's home. They're such a nice couple that are always looking for ways to serve, we left there and immediately went to our lesson with Joseph and Jill. Our lesson with them went great. We taught them the Word of Wisdom, a lesson which I, personally have been really nervous to teach them, as we have such a good relationship with them and I didn't want to ruin it.. But it honestly couldn't had gone better.. The spirit was super strong as we testified of the importance of the law and they totally opened up and we were able to answer concerns and we left with them committed to strive to live it. It was honestly, a very very good lesson, and were going to continue to work with them and help them stop smoking. 

Thursday was weekly planning which always takes up a good chunk of the day. However we were able to see Sherry and have a really good lesson with her about the 10 commandments. It was a pretty straight forward lesson and we had some good conversation but were running out of things to teach her as shes not progressing as she should be.. While out tracting it was pretty funny because I was telling Elder Jensen about this time a couple months ago that an Elder I was on exchanges with forgot his name tag, so he had to use this other random name tag in our apartment which said Elder Fry on it, so during the whole exchange we had to call Elder Smith Elder Fry, because that was the name tag he had on. Anyways, i was telling him about that and then the next door we knocked on, they guy opened the door and I introduced myself and then accidentally introduced Elder Jensen as Elder Fry (because that name was on my mind) but we ended up talking with this guy at the door for quite some time and he accepted a book of Mormon and said we could come back and as we were leaving he asked for our names again and Elder Jensen just said Elder Fry, because that's what I introduced him as and it was just a wreck... hahahah super funny though, it'll be quite awkward as we try to follow up with the guy and he knows us as Elder Stevens and Elder Fry... hahah 

Friday our return appointment with John Madaczi fell through as he called us canceling the appointment 5 minutes before because he had some emergency come up, we set up another appointment for next week however, so hopefully we'll be able to get in. The rest of the day was just tracting and visiting Bunny and the Gentz family and various other investigators wishing them a Merry Christmas and trying to set things up. 

Saturday was a great day as we spent most of the day in members homes. It snowed the night before, so in the morning we went over and shoveled Sister Johnson's drive way, after that we went to Brother Jacobsons and spent some time there. After seeing him we went over to the Wilbers house for "lunch" We didn't start eating until about 3:30 though, but the food was amazing. We had Lobster tails and steak. I haven't had seafood in SOOO long.. and it was amazing. Right after the Wilbers we went over to President Schmidt's home for dinner, luckily they just had horderves so we didn't have to stuff ourselves too much. They had a lot of family over so it was fun being able to play various games and talk with people. 

Sunday morning we woke up and immediately went out and opened our boxes our families had sent us. Thanks so much for all the gifts!! :) After that we got ready for Church and had a really nice Christmas presentation for us. Lots of songs and various narrations. After church we went home and did our studies, cleaned the apartment some and then came to the Church to Skye in the family history center. It was great being able to see my family! Definitely the highlight of the week! (other than the lesson with Joseph and Jill) After Skyping we had to drive a ways out to the Pugh's home again as they had us over for Christmas Dinner. It was a quiet night, but we were very grateful to spend it with them. 

Well that was the week! The work has been a bit slower due to the Christmas season but were hoping it catches back up as everyone gets back to work and school! 

Elder Stevens. 

Transfer 17 Week 1

Welp, Transfer 17.. this is my last transfer. Wow.

Sorry about not having an email last week, our day was crazy! The church's Internet was out and so we had to run around like wild chickens trying to find a way to email.. (the libraries were closed due to snow..) 

This past Wednesday was Transfers, I'm staying in Escanaba for my last transfer and an Elder named Elder Jensen came up to replace Elder Hill. Elder Jensen and I get along great. 

Since Elder Hill was leaving, most of Monday and Tuesday was spent packing and visiting various people so that he could say goodbye. We stopped by the Gentz family and we settled that it would be best to continue the lessons after the holidays, in turn we had to drop their baptismal dates because there would be no way for them to make it on January 8th if we didn't meet with them until then.. At least were still in contact with them and they're willing to still meet! 

On Wednesday we drove down to Green Bay, to transfer point. We were waiting until almost 4 for our new companions to make it to Green Bay, since they were pretty late, we had to immediately leave back for Escanaba to make it to our appointment with Joseph and Jill. We made it though, only 30 mins late and had a pretty good lesson with them. Jill is still flying through the Book of Mormon! Its super exciting to hear her bare her testimony on it.. 

Thursday was weekly planning, and we had a pretty good lesson with Sherry as well. We showed up and she was wrapping all her presents for her grandchildren, so we helped her wrap a bunch of presents and then read some of the Book of Mormon with her. Marrinette had a baptism last week so we were able to have Sherry come to the baptism. We talked with her about the service and how she liked it. She still had a hold up with Authority.. we've explained it numerous times but it doesn't seem to click. Hmm. 

Friday and Saturday were days full of visiting a bunch of people and introducing Elder Jensen to them, some door knocking, and trying to stay warm in the 0 degree weather!

Sunday was church, I was asked to give a talk on Christmas so I gave a 20 or so minute talk on trying to keep the true meaning of Christmas on our minds. I think it went rather well. The rest of the day was the same as usual! Finished it off with seeing Josh in the evening. 

Things are going great though! Trying to make this last transfer a memorable one!

Have a good week!

Elder Stevens