Monday, September 28, 2015

 President Porter

Hey Everyone!

I am just sitting here in awe.. 

I can't believe I am going home Wednesday.. This is my last day, because tomorrow I go into the mission home.. It is going to be really hard for me to say goodbye. I have loved my mission! I LOVE MY MISSION!!! President Porter has changed my life! I am in so much debt to my perfect Father. 

Don't get me wrong, a mission is not an easy thing. I have had so many days where I wondered if I was going to finish my mission, but I pushed those thoughts out quickly and just focused on that day I was living. It went by so fast! It has been the hardest thing I have ever done, but the BEST thing I have ever done! Going home is my next step of faith in the Doctrine of Christ. Its okay if I have fears, as long as they aren't holding me back. As long as I keep overcoming them. I will continue to break patterns at home. I will continue to be a missionary at home. It is not over. I will fight the fight.

2 Timothy 4:6-8

 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
I just want you to know that I know that this is the true and living church of Jesus Christ. I know that the power of the Atonement is real. That is how I have gotten to where I am today. The only way is through our Brother. I know that there is power behind the Book of Mormon, it changes liveS! I am so grateful for such a loving Heavenly Father who saved my life by sending me on a mission. My life will be completely different because of this experience. I am so excited to come home and share with all of you the treasures I have learned on my mission. Everyone NEEDS a mission. Especially now-a-days. There is a reason they lowered the age.(:

Oh We had sisters Conference this week. There was general womens conference, and our missions sisters conference the same week!  So I am just so pumped right now to be a women! Woooooo! Its great! Sisters conference was on Thursday from9am-6pm.  I gave a training to all of the sisters about stress management. We had all sorts of trainings given from the leaders. President Porter taught us the doctrine behind being a women. He is just so inspired, and so full of knowledge, and the spirit! At the end of the conference President Porter had all of the sister line up and he had a huge bouquet of roses. All different colors. As the sisters past him, he would look for a specific rose for each sister and say something nice and sweet to them. When it came to me He began looking for a rose. There was only one hot pink rose, so he grabbed that to me. Instead of just telling me something nice out loud like he did for every single other sister. He shook my hand, bent down, then whispered in my ear the nicest compliment! He said, "You're the best we have." After he said that I was in tears. I was in shock! I look up to everyone in this mission so much! I feel like we are just one big huge family! I have made so many eternal friends out here. President Porter is the best! I get on my knees all the time to thank my Father in heaven for making him my Mission President. I am going to cry just thinking about not being able to be here around all of these influences anymore.. I am excited to come home and to share this life changing doctrine he has taught me.. but it is going to be so much harder than it was just coming out on a mission.

This work is real! I have seen miracle after miracle on my mission. Every single day the Lord has talked through me to reach the hearts of Gods individual children. I have no idea what they need, but the Lord does. I leave lessons having no idea what was said, because the spirit literally took over. I love my calling, I love the spirit, I love what the Lord has allowed me to become. I am changed. I still have many many weaknesses, but I know who to trust. I know who is going to help me overcome those weaknesses and turn them into strengths. 

I am so excited to come and see all of you! Its going to be in a blink of an eye. But until then, I will be serving the Lord fully! I love you!

Love always,

Sister Steffani Stokes  <3

Monday, September 21, 2015

 After the baptism

 Sister Allred
 some of my favorite people: Sister Allred, me, 
and President Radcliffe

 With Jane before her baptism

Hanna just got set apart to be a sister Missionary!! Ahh
Hey Everyone!

This week has been amazingly crazy! Something cool that we were able to do was meet with a Baptist Preacher!! And he totally became one of our new investigators!! Ahhhhh!! So it sounds super cool.. but the reason for why it happened is not quite as cool.. So do you remember me talking about Jeremy West a couple of weeks ago? Well he just got baptized at the end of August. However he started his religious journey with the baptist church 2 years ago. So he has some deep connections with some people there. Especially with Pastor Chris Osterbrock.. So he continued to go to the baptist church in the morning and then he would come to ours in the afternoon. He continued to meet with his old pastor while still meeting with us. We were teaching him the new member lessons, while Pastor Chris was teaching him why we were wrong..  It really began to shake Jeremys testimony! It was really sad to see! So he told us that he wanted us to meet up at the same time at the same place, so that he could see both sides at the same time. We brought President Bradford with us.. yup we brought the BIG guns. He is a former mission President, and is about to go to another mission on October 12 to Palmyra, New York. He is in the Eastgate ward though.. so we ward hopped. Haha. He was President Porters councilor for a few weeks until he got called to Palmyra.  Anyways we had an awesome discussion. Pastor Chris came with all sorts of anti material. Most of it was on the book of Abraham. He had these dead sea scroll books that he kept trying to bring up. We had control of the conversation though and didn't ever let it get into bashing! I learned so much that day! Pastor Chris was shaking and looked like he was on edge the whole time. We gave them material to read to better understand the truth. As we were leaving our discussion pastor Chris turned to us and asked us if we could meet with him again. We still to this day aren't quite sure what his intents are.. but we will let you know next week. So we set up a return appointment. Yup we are going to start the lessons. He is getting baptized. The the whole Mt. Washington Baptist church will follow(: I am so excited! 

So we are also working with John Casey. He is just the greatest guy. We have taught the Book of Mormon lesson this week, Plan of Salvation, Gospel of Jesus Christ, 10 commandments, and the Sabbath day. He is on date for October 9th as of right now. However our leaders just let us know that they want us to push up the date to the end of this month.. they talked about doing thatnext Tuesday night.. however that is right after the transfers. So we are going to try to push it up to Sunday night so I can be there. I am so excited! Johns baptism was one of the main reasons I didn't want to go home this transfer because I have such a love for him and want to see him make that step in his life! So I am PUMPED!!! Hopefully the ward will be okay with that too. That would mean Jane wouldn't be my last baptism.. but John would.

Jane Tumey got baptized on Saturday!!!! Man oh man! She is amazing! She seemed like a member of the church before she was even baptized! She always said "I will" to any commitment we left with her, and she did it! She was definitely elect, and just waiting for somebody to share this message with her. Everyone in the ward has just been on fire with all of the missionary work that has been going on! Miracles are not in short supply!

I have loved being an instrument in the Lords hands so much! I know He lives. I know it! I have felt His help here in the OCM so much! I am just taken back on how much God loves me to give me the opportunity to serve a mission. I have never felt closer to Him. I am anything but perfect. Definitely FAR from it, but I know as I am trying my best the rest is taken care of. I have been so blessed to have president Porter in my life. He has changed my life. I have never met anyone quite like him before. Every single person that meets him comes up to us and tell us that they have never seen a mission President like President Porter ever! They have seen many mission Presidents in their lives, but not like him. I swear he is going to be a general Authority someday. I can't believe how much I have been blessed for my service. You try to do something back for the Lord, and what does He do? Gives you a million more blessing! Ha! He is just the best!

Well thanks so much for keeping up to date on my missionary journey. I hope everyone who has been reading my emails the past bit has felt the reality of what I am saying. I hope you have gained a desire to serve the Lord more fully in your life, because that's were pure joy comes from. That is how I have been so happy. I could do this forever if it wasn't for my weak flesh. It is going to be so hard to say goodbye to the land of miracles. To say goodbye to the power behind my calling. But I will be a missionary for life. My mission has taught me how to do that. Well I will see you all sometime soon.(:

Love always,

Sister Steffani Stokes

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

 Making Breakfast at a members

Hey Everyone!

So I realized that I forgot to write about this last week.. So on September 1st we had a leadership council meeting where we as the leaders were deciding a goal to set for baptism for the end of the year. Collectively we came up with the goal of 225 from now until the end of the year. We were still a little hesitant on making that goal, so we decide to pray about it. With the numbers we have been getting the past couple of months, that goal would be impossible! We had to start doubling what we have been doing! So yes.. it was a HUGE goal! So President leads us all to our knees to say a prayer. I thought he was going to say it.. but nope. He called me up from the back of the room to come up and kneel next to him. He then said Sister Stokes would you like to offer the prayer for us. Of course I say yes! I was a little nervous though.. I was in a room full of the some of the most spiritual people I have ever met in my entire life! But it was an honor to say the prayer to receive revelation on this goal. So I say the prayer that we are willing to work hard. I then ask if reaching out and saving 225 of thy children is a goal we could meet with His help. I just stopped and let the revelation soak in for a minute, then I ended my prayer. I cannot tell you the feelings we all had in that room while we were all on our knees! We all just knelt there for about 5 minutes thinking and pondering to ourselves. Then President Porter asked how all of us were feeling. Everyone was expressing how strong the spirit was, and how loved and comforted we all felt! It was amazing! I couldn't hear everyone's responses because I was mostly deaf then.. and I could hardly breathe.. haha. At least I am feeling better now!(: But with everyones faith in that room we got a clear and DEFINITE answer that that saving 225 of Gods children was indeed Gods will for our mission!

Boy oh boy!  I know we can reach, and save that many people! So I have seen so many miracles since then we made that goal! The Lord wants His field harvested. We started teaching John Casey this week. He is so sincere and genuine about learning more. We had a chapel tour with him after church on Sunday, and at the beginning President Radcliffe told John, "You must be some lucky guy to have THESE sister missionaries teaching you." He then began to say, "I know, I was looking for something more in my life, and then these sister missionaries showed up on my porch." Wow! That was a powerful moment. Jeremy West, baptized a couple of weeks ago, was there too. Right after he said that, Jeremy said, "I agree too." He began saying, "When they found me I was leaving my Sunday baptist service and was walking home. I had just previously prayed and asked God for more direction in my life and what I could do to draw even closer to you, then along came these sister missionaries!" Man! We all just soaked in the spirit for a minute before we began our tour. He is on date for October 9th. Then Jane Tumey walked by and invited him to her baptism on September 19th! It was so cool! I know God is completely in control of the goal He set of 225.

 I  LOVE being a missionary. I LOVE my mission! I LOVE my mission President! I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!!!

 Holy cow! Miracles are happening every single day out here! The are real! The Doctrine of Christ is real! I have changed so much! I can't thank my Father enough for the experiences He has given me out here! I know my Savior lives. I know that the Book of Mormon is the Word of God! It changes lives! I know Joseph Smith was His prophet to Restore Christs church back on the earth again today! What a marvelous thing to be able to say! 

I hope you all can have and see the miracles in your lives every single day! As you live the Doctrine of Christ more fully, you will.

Love always,

Sister Steffani Stokes
Hey Everyone!!

So as you all know.. I have been pretty sick. So I went to the urgent care again this week, and they put me on the highest antibiotic they have. They told me that if this doesn't work that I need to go and see an ENT. So lets hope this will work. I have been sick with this for 3 weeks now. I have never felt so close to God though. He is really stretching me and pulling me to grow into the person He wants me to become. Man! Heavenly Father is a perfect Father. He loves me enough to let me grow. I am so grateful for all the trials in my life. They have turned me into the person that I am today. 

So I have gotten this a lot on my mission. But it has just happened even more recently. So has I was thinking about this and I received revelation. So we have talked to a ton of people this week and the majority of them tell us that they are comfortable where they are. They aren't interested in learning more/converting over. So I imagined myself having missionaries coming up to me from a different church and inviting me to try theirs out. I realized that I could not tell them that I am comfortable where I am. I couldn't state what all of these people where telling us. Because I am so not comfortable. I am out of my comfort zone every single day. There is no growth in the comfort zone, and no comfort in the growth zone. Heavenly Father wants us to grow. He is anxious to bring us to higher ground. All of these people are deceived by satan. The mark of Christs church wouldn't be us in our comfort zones. As we move forward with faith outside of our comfort, He sends us the comforter to do the rest. That just really hit me this week. I am grateful to say that I am not comfortable. I am progressing towards my Heavenly Father. The definition of being damned is to stop progression. That is definitely not what I want.

This week we started teaching a lady named Jane. She is a referral from one of the members in the ward. On the very first lesson last week we extended for her to be baptized on September 19th and she accepted! Throughout our lessons she has told us that her only regret is that she didn't raise up her kids in the true church. She is the definition of elect. We invited her to also pray about Joseph Smith being a prophet in the first lesson, and she told us that she already knew that he was a prophet of God!

The field is white already for harvest. When a field is ready for harvest it is tan. But the Lord is telling us that the field is white. That's means that it is over-ripe. The Lord is hastening his work, but He needs willing hands to go, work, and harvest what is already ready. Missionary work is work, but it is the best work. And if you work, you WILL see miracles.

 I love my mission so much! I can't believe my time is coming to leave. I will not go without a fight. Even though I am not feeling 100% I will give 100%. We get into the apartment exhausted every single night, but we recognize that as the best feeling to have. I am so far from perfect.. and I make mistakes every single day. It is discouraging at times. But I know in whom I have trusted. My Savior redeems me every single day from my weaknesses. I am so grateful that His grace provides for what I cannot do myself. I will come home to that finish-line completely exhausted. And I am so excited to do that. I wouldn't have it any other way. 

I can't put into words what a mission can do for you. It changes you. I will forever be in my heavenly Fathers debt for this great opportunity. Everybody needs a mission. Well I hope you all have a great week full of growth. Be missionaries. Go out and harvest in the Lords vineyard. Its full and ready.

Love always,

Sister Steffani Stokes<3