Monday, February 24, 2014

1st Email in the Field

Family and Friends!!!
This first week out here has seriously been soooo great! I love missionary work! My first real companions name is Sister Kylee Chapa. You actually pronounce it as Chopa though.. Haha. Well she is the best companion I could have ever asked for, I feel like we are best friends already! Funny story tho, on the plane ride here I was preparing myself for the worst companion ever. I told Heavenly Father that I was ready to grow, so I assumed I was going to get on of those people that just hate you for no reason. However, I got the complete opposite of that. Oh, and what is really cool about her is that she stayed at Ventana over the summer and she knows the same people I know from when I was there! So we were living in the same building all summer, my friends were her friends, and we never even met! I just thought that that was crazy! Oh and she worked with Kamra at the telephone place.. But ya we are basically BFF comps now. Lol. Well the people here are really nice, the are almost all Africans. Most of them have recently moved here from Ghana and Togo. Anytime we tract into an African they ALWAYS let us in. However when we tract into a African American, or a white person, they hardly ever let us in or even listen to us... I hope that doesn't sound racist, cause its not. I love everyone!! (: I just thought it was interesting how different everyone reacts to the missionaries. So when I first got here we found 3 creepy spiders within the first 2 days! I HATE spiders... So I pulled out my hairspray, of course, and I sprayed them until they stuck to the wall and couldn't move.. Hahaha. Then I made Sister Chapa get them with a tissue(: We haven't had any spiders since then, so sis Chapa thinks I brought them over with me from my MTC suitcases. I seriously hope not tho, because that means they were crawling all over my clothes! EHH! gross. Oh so I read this really cool scripture in the MTC, later to find out that it is our mission scripture. You guys should all read it! Its D&C 38:32 and it says Ohio in it! I just thought that was way cool, because that's where I am right now. Oh so my area I got sent to is Fairfield Ohio. Its basically a Henderson to Las Vegas. They still call it Cincinnati here just like I always tell people I am from Vegas(: Lol. I told one person I was from Vegas, and they were like, "Isn't that kind of an oxymoron?" Haha. Oh and I tell people I left sin city to come to Cincinnati, sound that out slowly. If you didn't get it, it kinda sounds like sin city as well! Haha. Oh and apparently the mission home doesn't want my mail sent to the mission home, so my new address is
11780 Passage Way #162
Cincinnati, OH 45240
Oh so I had this really cool experience happen to me the other day. So I had to fill out this paperwork for my drivers license here and send it to the mission home. However, I couldn't find my license anywhere and I remembered setting it down in the mission pres. house when I first got there. I wasn't 100% sure tho.. Well anyways I prayed to know where it was and for help in finding it, and this image flashed through my head. It was sooo cool! I saw my license in the front page of my scriptures. Then I thought to myself, "No way is it there. I would never put my license in the front page of my scriptures." Surely enough I looked, and it was there exactly how I just saw it in my head!! I just love how Lord helps us with the simplest of things. If what your concerns seem simple, don't ever think they don't matter. If its important to you, its important to God. I am so glad I decided to come on a mission, I have noticed so many differences in my life since I have left. Honestly I think that everyone needs to go on a mission now. The mission just helps you grow so much! Its crazy how different I feel about things compared to before I had left. It definitely changes your perspective. Oh and I just wanted to say this, because I didn't have time to in the MTC. Well while I was there I saw 3 friends from EFY, and I saw Isabel Thayer, Marc Harris, and Taralyns cousin! She thought I was Amanda.. it was really funny! Well I still don't miss anyone from home, sorry bout dat. I am so glad I don't tho, because that would make this so much harder. I love all of you guys still, just don't quite miss you yet. I hope everyones week goes great, and stay strong! Help the missionaries back home. We seriously live off of referrals. We haven't gotten one random investigator since I have been here. The only investigators that we get are from referrals, so missionary work heavily weighs on the members as well. Oh and if I ever say gators I mean investigators.. everyone out here calls them that, so I feel like that is going to stick.. Haha. Well love you all, and don't forget who you are!
<3, Sister Stokes

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Email from a Member in Steffani's 1st area :)

Email from a Member in Steffani's 1st area
Sister Susan Unklesbay

I just wanted to tell you how impressed I was with your daughter today.  Before our scheduled speakers gave their talks, she and our other new elder were asked to bear their testimonies.  Her countenance and enthusiasm were so striking.  It wasn't so much about what she said but that the Spirit was overwhelming.  She's so positive and deeply rooted in the gospel and it shows.  It's unmistakable!  She told of her experience with shin splints during a big race, how she prayed for the pain to go away but it didn't.  She questioned why but didn't get bitter.  Then the next race (I think she said at state) she prayed for the pain to go away and it did while she was running.  I found a tear running down my face; again, not so much because of her words but because of her faith and love and determination.  Oh!  I'm thrilled that she's here with us!  She brings excitement for the gospel.  There's no doubt she came from a wonderful family!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Steffani with her Mission President

Email from Mission President

Dear Missionary Parents,
Your missionary has arrived in the great Ohio Cincinnati Mission!  We very much look forward to the strength she will be to this great work.  Many thanks for all you are doing to assist.  Your ongoing letters of encouragement and prayers of faith are so important.  We constantly ask the Lord to pour out His spirit upon our missionaries, members, and the people of Ohio and invite you to join us in daily prayers on their behalf.  We are promised that we can know we are being successful every day when we feel the Spirit testify to people through us, when we love people and desire their salvation, and obey with exactness and honor.  [See Preach My Gospel, page 10].
Your missionary’s preparation day will be on Mondays and will be emailing you then.    She will tell you the apartment address where you can send letters and packages.  Please know that these addresses may change with every transfer (which is six weeks). You are always welcome to call us at the office to confirm their current address (513-389-1534).  You may send mail to the office, but be aware that we can't forward packages and are sometimes slow to deliver the mail as we only do so at zone meetings, etc.
We are excited to share photos with you of some of our events on Facebook!  Search for our page, Ohio Cincinnati Mission.
Attached is an awesome photo of your missionary with us at the Mission Home! 
Also attached is an article with suggestions for you and your family to help support your missionary.  Please print it out and share it with your family:
We appreciate your love, support and obedience to these mission rules which will help your missionary serve with all his heart, might, mind and strength.
With thanks and warm regards,

John P. Porter and Sister Porter
President, Ohio Cincinnati Mission

Email from Member, Steffani's 1st area

I'm Susan Unklesbay from the Fairfield Ward in Ohio.  We met your daughter last night!  We're so happy to have her here!

She and Sister Chapa are thrilled to be together.  They are already acting like they've been best friends for life.  They said when they went to bed Tuesday night (their first day together), they stayed up talking a little longer than they should have!  Sister Chapa is from Payson, Utah, and she's been on her mission six months now.  Your daughter is her second missionary to train and she's wonderful!

We also have a set of elders in our ward, and my family loves our missionaries!  We typically feed one set every week.  If there's ever anything you want me to do for Sister Stokes, big or small, I will.  Anything.

One of our sons is currently serving in the Utah Salt Lake City Mission.  The members are so kind to him and we want to do the same for the missionaries here.

I take a picture or two every time I see the missionaries.  I know how important that is to their families!  Enjoy a moment of your daughter's second day in the mission field!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

1st Email

Family and Friends!!!
Ahhh! This week in the MTC has seriously been soooo crazy! I honestly cannot believe I have been in the MTC for over a week already! I love love love my zone! Everyone in it has been just so great! The elders are hilarious, and no worries my heart is on lockdown. I honestly just think of them as my brothers, that I can only give handshakes to.. haha. Also my teachers are AMAZING! They have taught me so much! I honestly didn't think it was possible to learn so much in such a short amount of time. When I first came into the MTC I was role playing with my teacher, who pretended to be an investigator named Gregory, and It was just a horrible experience.. I'm not going to lie. I went into the MTC thinking I already knew how to teach, and that this was going to be pretty easy. Oh man, I was SO wrong! lol. However I am sooo much better at teaching now, and I am so excited to go out and teach real investigators! I seriously love this gospel so much! I honestly thought I had a really good testimony of this gospel, but It has grown so much to the point were I look back at where it used to be and it really is just unbelievable. Well I also need to figure out how to distribute my time with writing everyone better.. cause I am already out of time for writing you guys. Well I just want to let you guys know that I know that this is the one and only true church on the earth. All of us who have this gospel in our lives have been so blessed! Seriously, don't take it for advantage. Share it with people you love, or someone who is going through a hard time, or just anyone. I promise that there is always something in our gospel that will help someone at least feel comforted(: Oh and I don't want this to sound bad.. but I honestly don't miss anyone from home yet. Like I know that those feelings are there somewhere in the back of my head, but its as if there is a veil over those feelings. I know that the savior is helping me through this! Well I love all of you guys so much, and don't worry about me too much because I honestly love it here so much! Well I hope everyone is doing well, and thanks to everyone who wrote me!
Goodluck and stay strong,
Sister Stokes <333
P.S. I can call home on monday morning in the airport from the time 7-8 so have your cell phone on you mom!!(:

First Letter from Steffani

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Last Message before entering MTC

Well I guess I will just see everyone in a year and a half.. I am going into the MTC at 1:30 today! I seriously cannot believe how fast time has gone since I opened my mission call! I just want all of you guys to know that I know this church is true. I am so excited to share this gospel with the people in Cincinnati Ohio. This gospel has gotten me through some of the hardest things in my life, and it seriously has made me so happy. And I want other people to know the happiness you can get from this gospel. 

Entered the MTC February 5th at 1:30pm