Monday, May 23, 2016

Beach Time...

Hello Everyone!! 

  We just got back from a fun trip to an island called Xiao Liu Qiu just off the coast of Dong Gang. It was a fun trip and I took some good pictures, but the downside is that I don't have much time to email now. So hopefully the pictures will make up for my lack of an email.

  This last week was a little slow on the teaching front. We're hoping that this coming week will be good though. S... was in the hospital again so we weren't able to visit with him. Please pray for him! 

  This week I did my first baptismal interview! Can you believe it, I've been out for this long and still hadn't done an interview before haha. The Elders in Dalio (Elder Clayson and Giles) have been teaching a young couple, L... and D..., who are going to be baptized in two weeks. I was a little nervous before and was praying really hard that I would be able to distinguish clearly whether or not they were ready to be baptized. I had an interview with the wife, D.... She was super nervous to have to do an interview with me haha. But I showed her my family picture book to start out and as soon as she saw the picture of Chloe our dog she was so happy! She loves dogs and she said that Chloe is one of the cutest and well behaved dogs that she's seen. It made her a lot more relaxed and the rest of the interview went really well! 

  On Sunday we had a fun situation. On Saturday night, the Sister missionaries ran into a homeless man (who also has some mental problems unfortunately) on the street and invited him to come to the church sometime to meet with Elder Steele and me. He went that night and before Elder Steele and I had locked up the church to go home, he hid in one of the classrooms and spent the night there. When everyone came the next morning for church, he was still sleeping there, but he had decided to put on some baptismal clothes to wear! Then during sacrament meeting he kept walking up and down the aisles and wouldn't sit down haha. It was a very interesting meeting.

  Well I have to go now! Love you all!

Monday, May 16, 2016


Dear Everyone,

 Well it's transfers again and I was really wondering what would happen to me this time. And the verdict is..that I will be staying in Ping Dong! I really wanted to train for my last two transfers like I had always wanted, but it's okay. I enjoy serving as a Zone Leader down in Ping Dong. I really love being able to call all the missionaries in my zone and talk to them about how they are. We started a thing in our zone where whenever anyone sets a baptismal goal with an investigator that they should call us and talk to us about it and then we have a giant white board where we right all of their names so we can pray for them. All the missionaries are super excited when they can call in and talk about their awesome investigators. I really love all the missionaries in the zone. Unfortunately, many of them are moving out today. Elder Ludwig from Fengshan and Elder Flemming from KenDing are both leaving to serve as Zone Leaders somewhere else. So at least I will be able to see them when we go up to Taichung for Mission Leadership Council in 2 weeks. 

  This week I went on exchanges with Elder Giles, another new missionary that just came to Taiwan. One of Elder Giles teachers in the MTC was actually my trainer Brendan Smith! I was super excited when I found that out. He said that whenever Brendan would pretend to be an investigator that they had to teach he would always go by the name Andrew. Very interesting haha. Elder Giles is a great missionary and we had a fun time together. I was really hoping that we would be able to see some great experiences during our time together so it could strengthen Elder Giles drive to serve and we definitely had a great time. Right when they met us at the church, a less active member named L... pulled in (I'd never met him before) and we sat down and talked with him. He said he has been very bad for the past few years but wants to come back now. He said he wants us to meet with him and to especially teach him the commandments so he can know how to obey God! I have never ever had a person come up and tell me they wanted to learn the commandments that badly! 

   This week we also met with S... our good friend who owns a fishing company. The last time we met with him we gave him a Book of Mormon and encouraged him to read it. We didn't explain anything about it because we didn't have time. But when we met up this week he sat us down quickly and in a super excited voice started telling us everything he had learned from reading! He had read every single page started from the introduction all the way until 1 Nephi chapter 11. He really liked Joseph Smith's testimony and said he also thinks that Lehi and Nephi's stories were awesome. He is excited to keep reading more and he says every time he reads the scriptures, he feels super good. He said it was strange that every time he reads the Book of Mormon he would feel super energetic and he didn't know why. We told him that it was the Holy Ghost! S... wants to be baptized on July 9th. In order to do that though he needs to work hard. He has been a heavy drinker for the past 30 to 40 years and it's going to be hard to overcome it. He really needs to though because his body is starting to fail. 

 Well I have to go now. I'm excited to keep working here a little longer with Elder Steele. We are having a good time and finding many people to teach. I hope we can continue to find success. I love you all lots!!
Elder Stevens

Monday, May 9, 2016

Happy Mother's Day!

Hey Everyone!! 

  Happy Mother's Day!! Well, I just got done Skyping with my family. Thanks for everyone who came, it was a lot of fun to see all the family. Especially Uncle Bob who came all the way from Wyoming just to Skype with me. (Well, I guess he came to visit Grandma for Mother's Day too haha) It's too bad that the time always seems to go too fast. But when we talk the next time, we won't have a time limit! 

  Since I just Skyped and said a bunch of stuff, I don't really know what I should email. I'm enjoying my time in Ping Dong. It's starting to get super hot, but we're doing alright.

  This week was super fun though! I went on exchanges with my son Elder Grisenti!! He is in my zone, but he's all the way in Hengchun and Kending so we never see them. But on Tuesday they came up for our Zone Meeting and afterwards we did exchanges with them and then they went back on Wednesday. We had a great time and saw some miracles. All three of our lessons cancelled on us so we just went tracking and contacting all day long. At night we only had time to tract for a little bit (like 15 minutes) but since we had planned it in, we decided to go. The street we chose wasn't that promising, and only one or two of the houses had any lights on. So we went to the closest one with lights on and the guy opened up and let us right in before I had said two words haha. His sister is Christian and he said he would love to learn more about it so we could come back this next week. We also saw a miracle from talking to everyone, even old amas. We originally weren't going to talk with her because sometimes they don't even speak Chinese, but we decided we should and she immediately pulled over and said she has always wanted to be able to meet and learn with the missionaries. So we met the next day and she's super cool and wants to come to church.

  When Elder Grisenti and I were companions, we would always play "pig" with his mini basketball hoop. To remember old times we played two games that night for "all the marbles!" And I won both times! I can't let the young missionaries show up us experienced ones haha.

  We also had a little BBQ on Saturday with a bunch of members and investigators. It was a lot of fun. 
  It was a great week and I'm having lots of fun. Thanks for all the love and support!! Love you all!
  Elder Stevens

Early Mornings, Late Nights, The Work Of Zone Leaders

P-Day Fun

Typical Street In Ping Dong

Monday, May 2, 2016

Site Seeing, Meetings, And Changing Lives...

Hello Everyone!! 

  We had another great week! I'm sorry that I'm so bad with writing emails. But after writing so many, I just run out of fun ways to start them or fun things to say haha. So I'll just tell you how the week went.

  On Monday I went to the Lotus Ponds with my companion Elder Steele. I've gone twice before when I was in Gaoxiong, but Elder Steele had never been before so I took him there. It was cool going again though. There were a lot more lilies in the pond this time than there were when we went during the summer. So that was cool.

  On Tuesday we went to a District meeting and then went on exchanges with the Elders Porter and Pothier from Chaozhou (a city south of Ping Dong city). Elder Pothier is brand new on the island, he got here 3 weeks ago so it was a lot of fun serving with him for a little bit. He is super tall, about a head taller than me, and really big.  Therefore, sometimes people are a little afraid to talk with him, but he's such a nice guy so they can feel that.

  On Thursday we went up to Taizhong again!! This time was for our Mission Leaders Conference. It was a really good one about Finding. We talked about how we need to prepare ourselves to be ready to find the people who want to hear the gospel. We have to let God know that he can trust us to find and teach His children. If we aren't doing all we can to prepare ourselves, then He won't trust us with this great responsibility. We got back to the Ping Dong train station at about 8:30 at night and while riding our bikes from the station, we ran into a member from our ward. She called us into her bread shop and gave us some super good cream puffs and some pudding! Those cream puffs were super good! Talk about miracles!!

  On Thursday we met with an investigator named L... We've been meeting with him for a while, but it's been hard for him to really live a gospel centered life because he is in the Army here and the people all around him are pretty mean to him. He doesn't want to do anything to stand out from the rest of the people so he falls into peer pressure a lot. We're still working with him though.

   We finally were able to meet with a guy named S... that I had met in a convenient store when on exchanges with Elder Gilbert about 1 1/2 months ago. He just never had time until Saturday night. He came in and he said he had been drinking a little bit at a family get together an hour or two ago. We talked about how the gospel could help him improve his life and his family's and that it could help him stop drinking too. He then told us that he had been trying to do that for many years and especially wanted to do it now because his liver is failing and needs to stop. We taught him about prayer and asked him to say one. He said a simple prayer in which he asked for help to overcome his drinking problem. After the prayer he just broke down and started to cry and thanked us over and over again for coming to help him. He is a really great guy, and wants to do all he can to be a better person so that he can help his family. 

  We've had a great week, and I'm excited to Skype with you all next Monday!! (Monday morning here) I hope we can find a way to Skype you all, because as of now, we don't have anything to use haha. Wish us luck!! I'm happy everything is going well back in the states! I love you all lots. I hope you appreciated all the pics that I sent. They are all courtesy of my companion haha. love you all!


Elder Stevens

Lotus Pond, Goaxiong, Taiwan, April 2016

Mission Leaders Training Meeting, Taichung, Taiwan

Taichung Mission, Mission Leaders, April 2016