Monday, August 31, 2015

 Bug bites out here suck!

 We love food!
 Cool building in Cincy
 Our zone!
 Ticas baptism
 don't ask.. haha
 What a cutie!
 Just before Jeremys Baptism! Left to right: Sister Hansen, Sister Stokes, Jeremy, Brother Maxwell
 Baptism attire

 Pretty flowers

Hey Everyone!!

This week has been so great!! To be honest It has been really hard as well. I have been really sick for the past 2 weeks. Along with the elders in our ward! It makes it so much better when you have people that are sick with you, so that when something funny is said you're not the only one coughing uncontrollably.. Its been a blast! haha. We just have been laughing it off. Finally it got so bad for each of us that we finally had to go into urgent care. The elders were told that they both had sinus infections. I was told that I had a sinus infection, 2 ear infections, one of which ruptured. The other one she said was about to rupture.. and it did. Missionary work consists of teaching with your voice, and listening with your ears to find the need of those you are teaching. Hmmm.. and I could hardly do either of those. But no worries, I got a blessing. I have been really positive about it too. I may of prayed for something like this to happen too. I have been getting worried since I am coming home really soon. So I prayed to learn as much as I can these next couple of weeks. What better way to learn faster than to be a missionary doing everything wile being super sick!

JEREMY GOT BAPTIZED!!! I wish all of you could have been at his baptism! It was so spiritual! His testimony he bore after his baptism was so powerful too! He talked about how his faith has increased so much the past month since meeting with us. He said that he has changed so much! His last statement in his testimony was, "I will be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints until I am no more." The spirit flooded the room with that! He is so amazing, and the Lord really did prepare him before we even said one work to him! He invited one of his friends, Robert, to come to his baptism. He was there when we taught Jeremy the Restoration the first time. However he showed no interest then. However at his baptism on Saturday I had asked him what he thought and felt at the baptism. He said,"The only time I have ever felt the way I felt today was at my dads funeral." He talked about how he could feel the presence of his dad at the funeral. We are going to start teaching him the lessons this week! This Sunday Jeremy was also confirmed. He told us that the past couple of days have been the best couple days of his life! His parents and friends are not supportive. Neither is his pastor that he is so close to at the baptist church. But he moved forward with faith and did it anyways! We actually went to the baptist church with him and he introduced us to his pastors! He told each of them that we were the sister missionaries that he had been talking to, and also said that we have played an enormous role in his faith increasing dramatically the past couple of weeks! Obviously we could sense that we were not loved by them as much as Jeremy loved us.. He invited one of his pastors to come to church with him that day to witness him receiving the gift of the holy ghost. Straight-a-way his pastor said no. Jeremy told him it wasn't for a couple of hours. The pastor quickly said, "I will see what I can do.." Then walked away without hesitation. Sometimes I just wonder why we can't all get along. I guess we kind of took one of their members away from them though.. but if they would all open their hearts then we could finally be one big huge happy family again at Christs church! That is Gods plan. That is why we are gathering his sheep. 

Oh in a previous lesson this week with Jeremy. We talked to him about missionary work and service in the church. We committed him to be a missionary.. in the sense of stand up for what you believe in, and be willing to open your mouth and share with those around you. You know what his reply was? "Well... Its going to be really hard for me. Especially to leave my family for 2 whole years.. but I will try my best!" What?!? He committed to be a full-time missionary before he was even baptized!!! So cool! Man the Lord really answers prayers. #elect

This weeks really has been so great! I am so thankful to be a missionary at the most wicked point the world has been at. I am so grateful that God loves me so much to call me to do this for Him for 18 months. It has changed my life. I am forever in His debt for what he has done for me. All I was trying to do was give a little tiny bit back to him for all the blessing I already had in my life. However he just poured down even more blessings as soon as I accepted the call! He is a perfect loving heavenly Father! I am so blessed.

Love always,

Sister Steffani Stokes<3

Monday, August 24, 2015

 We found a huge coat.. and we could both fit in it.. lol
 in our studies
 At zone meeting
 We love Hanna!! She is leaving for her mission on Sept 9th
 yes we did!
 We have a krispy kreme right by our apartment.. #tendermercy
 Beautiful Cincinnati Sunsets
 Sister Hansens first skyline experience

 Tica and me at her baptism!!
 Us and Tica and the Vandomears
Sister Lagitao and I at zone meeting
Hey Everybody!!!

This week has been so full of miracles! Everyday we can expect miracles according to our faith. We also have to be looking for them to recognize them. On my mission I have seen so many miracles! 

One miracle that we have seen a ton of has been working with our investigator Jeremy. He is so amazing! I don't think I ever told you how I had met him.. It was Sunday night at 8:30. We were desperate to find more people to teach. So we stopped in our tracks and said a prayer. No one was outside, so we go and knock some doors. However no one is answering their doors either.. so we walk. As we are walking we see one person walking down Beechmont, and we anxiously pace ourselves towards him. We share with him a brief message of the restoration and he was interested in learning more. He said that we were an answer to his prayers, and he obviously has been an answer to ours! He is working towards being baptized this week! He has changed so much within the past couple of weeks we have been meeting with him. He is 22 years old, and lives with his parents. He was addicted to a video game for 3 years, and since meeting with us has given it up and never felt better! I am so proud of him! His only hold up is that he isn't sure about Joseph Smith, and isn't quite sure about the Book of Mormon. We fasted for him this past Sunday, and commited him to fast too for an answer. We had stake conference this weekend, and he really enjoyed it! He has been feasting upon the Book of Mormon trying to get an answer the past couple of weeks. He told us that he has a desire to believe in all of it, but doen't feel he has recieved an answer yet. There has been so much opposition trying to help him find answers and work towards his baptism. He has been going to this baptist church for a long time. His pastor there found out that he was meeting with us and was praying about baptism. He send him a couple huge articles of Anti material. He read all of them and was pretty shook up from it all. That was last week. He determined not to let it affect his decision though, and is still praying, still reading, and still coming to church every week. He recognizes that since meeting with us he has been so much happier! He was able to quite his addiction to his video game, he says his life will never be the sdame since meeting with us. However he doesn't recognize that that could be his answer from God. After stake conference we talked to him for a little while. He told us that he felt so peaceful. We pointed that out to be the spirit. He recognized that. He also told us that he thinks he is getting closer to getting his answer. And he can see that our baptism did something different for all of the people in the church. He said he just felt so connected to all of the people there. The members in our ward have been the best!

Well I hope you all have a great week! Thanks for all that you are doing back at home, and know that you are making a difference!

Love always,

Sister Steffani Stokes<3

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Hey Everybody!

This week has been SUPER BUSY! It is the best to be busy though. I just found out that I am going to be staying in this area, still training Sister Hansen, and still the Sister Training Leader for the Zone. Its crazy! There is so much to always be doing. But it is the best! I have noticed that I am the most happy when I am accomplishing the most stuff! 

TICA GOT BAPTIZED!!!! She has been working with sister missionaries since December last year. She was finally able to make this step and enter into a new chapter of her life. She is amazing! She has such a deep desire to serve God and follow His will for her. She has worked so hard for so long to reach this day! Seeing her change the past couple months has been really cool! The atonement is real! After she was baptized I asked her how she was feeling when she waked into the bathroom to dry off. She said that she felt really good, and she recognized the opposition now with reaching her baptism. She is such an example! 

Funny Story: We were coming home one night, and as we were writing down our miles for the day there was light flashing all around, and there was a bunch of loud popping noises. We figured it was tons of ground fireworks. Suddenly they all stopped. Then there was a huge puff of smoke that came up around where our apartment was. We freaked out a little bit, but we then realized it was in the trees more of behind our apartment. Then as we were walking towards our apartment going in for the night, this creepy old man came walking by. He was carrying a long lighter in his hand and he didn't have shoes on... he walked right into the forest behind our apartment, like it was his home, and he started picking up sticks.. We were so confused.. but we just quickly walked into our apartment, and locked the door! lol.

Hope you all have a great week full of grace as you each take steps towards a more full commitment to God.

Love always,

Sister Steffani Stokes

Monday, August 3, 2015

Hey Everyone!

Man! I just love this ward! We have been implementing something new into our area. Our ward was picked as a testing ward for the ward council to be the ones who fill up our schedule from 10am to 9pm. However since I am training it is from 11am-9pm. That includes all of the meetings we have as leaders too, so the ward has it a little bit easier.. haha. But is is so awesome! They gave us soo much to do this week! We are going to be even busier! I didn't even think that that was possible! I already feel like I am full on sprinting all of the time! Its the best!!! I have learned that I really like being busy! I get a lot more done. I also have learned that I am a good leader. So with that, it is something I have become because of Gods grace and abundant help! I see my footsteps before me being guided in action and in word. I know that this is Jesus Christs Church here again because I have felt it. But on top of that I see evidences of it every single day! We don't look for signs, but signs follow the believers. If you act in faith first you will see those evidences!! Ma! I just love my mission! I AM NEVER COMING HOME! I refuse. Someone is going to have to pry my fingers off of every single thing I get my hands on on the way home. My body is breaking down, and I am utterly and completely exhausted.. but I have never been happier! The commandments are an armor we have the choice and privilege to put on each and every single day! And because I am called and asked to live a higher law as a missionary, I have really seen that principal come to life through obedience to the smallest of things! I just can't say it enough! Love ya!!!!

Love always,

Sister Steffani Stokes