Monday, November 25, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

What?! It´s already time for Thanksgiving??? Where has the time gone? I reached my Three month anniversary this past week, and let me just say, It´s been a week of miracles!

Since this is the Week of Thanksgiving, I think that I will send you a list of things that I am grateful here on the mission.

1. I am grateful for rain! This might seem strange, but let me just say, before it rains, Santa Cruz is like a bubble of humidity. It´s AWFUL! But you always know it´s gonna storm. I love when it storms. It makes missionary work more of an adventure! Usually I throw my unbrella to the side and take a shower in the rain. It feels so good when you´ve been sweating all day.

2. I am grateful for almoço. LUNCH! There´s nothing better than sitting down at a table of three other missionaries and a family to eat. I love lunch because you don´t have to worry about what you´re going to eat. The members take care of you!

3. I am grateful for my apartment full of Sister Missionaries! Me, my campanion and two others. Half of the time we´re lying on the floor laughing!

4. I am grateful for p-day! We work Tuesday through Saturday where everything is amiss. We hope for a miracle on Sunday, but if everything goes wrong, Monday is P-day! This is a poor translation of what my companion quotes every week, but seriously, even if we have a week full of craziness, we can always look forward to p-day. Usually this is the day to prepare for the week. We grocery shop, write letters home, etc... but with the missionaries in my district, we never get anything done! We´re too busy playing at the church and cooking food!

5. I am grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, because this is my pathway to Salvation and an eternity of joy. Through the Gospel of Jesus Christ I know my purpose in life and always have comfort through times of difficulty and trial. I have hope for the future. Through the Gospel of Jesus Christ I can live with God, Jesus Christ and my family forever. Que Bencão!

6. I am grateful for my opportunity to be a missionary because I can have experiences like this:

Don´t pay attention to how horrible my hair is in the picture, but focus on that cute little lady dressed in white. Yesterday, I was blessed with my first baptism of the mission. Nerci! We found her teaching record in our area book. She had received all of the lessons and had attended church many times back in July and August, and was almost baptized. So, we set out to visit her this week. She was ready for baptism. She wasn´t sure why the sisters had stopped visiting her months before. But here we were again. A new set of Sisters for this cute child of God. She was baptized last night at 6pm. Que Milagre!

Anyway, family and friends! There are so many things to be grateful for! I´m grateful for each one of you and I´m grateful for this chance I have to be here!

Have a perfect week and a perfect Thanksgiving!


Sister Stevens

Primeira Transferencia

Oí Gente! How are things holding up in the U.S.? I hope all is well and that you are happy.

This week has been full of fun, laughter and lots of sweat. Oh, and how could I forget, TRANSFERS! My oh my, what a week...

Transfer day was Tuesday, and I am now blessed with the opportunity to have the first and only step mother. Sister Lourenço from Fortaleza Brazil. She´s got this cool little Fortaleza accent where she pronounces her R´s more like H´s. She´s 21 and likes Avatar the Last Air Bender. She´s cool. End of story.
Transfer day is really interesting. We live about 2 and a half hours from the main bus area in Porto Alegre (Rodoviarea), which is where all the missionaries that are being transferred meet up with their luggage. So, On Tuesday morning, there I was waking up at 4:30 so that we could make the bus in time. When you get to the Rodoviarea there are probably around 100 missionaries, with at least 2 suitcases each standing around waiting until 11:00 when you find out who your new companion is. It´s awesome! It´s pretty much like a giant reunion. I met up with a few people from the CTM, and a girl that I knew out in Utah! It´s such a small world. I´ll send some pictures of all the fun.

Ok , so getting a new companion while you´re still in the middle of your first 12 weeks of training is really interesting. Let´s just say, I am sooooooo not prepared! My area is huge, and I don´t remember how to get to people´s houses! It was a difficult week for lessons, but the fact that we were walking around holding a map everywhere we went had its benefits. I was able to talk to several people I probably wouldn't have had a chance to know with out the map. It really strikes up some cool conversations! Even though it´s been difficult being the one that ´know´s the area´ it´s given me more of an opportunity to really rely on the Lord. I don´t know anything, but the Lord does. I know that he´s put me in this difficult situation to help me grow.

On the bright side, We´re teaching a man named Alvarino right now. He´s awesome! He contacted the other sisters 2 weekends ago, and the sisters introduced him to me and Sister Barros. Sister Lourenço had an awesome surprise lesson with him last night. At 5:30 we got a call from the Branch president saying that Alvarino was at the church... He wasn´t at church during the normal meetings earlier that day, so it was so strange and random that he would stop by the church at such a strange hour. But QUE MILAGRE! Sister Lourenço and I ran to the church as fast as we could. We had a great lesson, and Alvarino told us that he had prayed about our message, and he received an answer that it was true! He´s Elect! If everything works out well, Alvarino will be baptized on Sunday night. Let´s just say, I was walking on air after our lesson with him.

Anyway, Things are well. It´s such a great experience and opportunity to be here sharing the gospel with the world! I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ! It´s perfect, and it is only through this perfect plan that we can return to live with our God, our Savior and our families for Eternity. 

I love you all!

Sister Stevens

Me and Sister Gamaz from the CTM

Me and Elder de Assis

Me, Sister Barros, Sister Mactiaco and Sister Stratton

Me and Sister Lima. I met her several times out at BYU because she was friends with my Brazilian roommate Rafaela. 

Me, Sister Lourenço and Sister Barros(my two moms)

Me and Elder Soares

Igreja in Santa Cruz

Jabuticaba tree. They grow on the branches. 


Monday, November 11, 2013



We had a whole day long P-day last Monday! We went to this cool place called the Gruta. It was pretty much this really pretty preserve that had some animals and tiny little cave to explore. But it was a blast!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Miracles Happen When You Believe!

What a week! First I have to wish every one a belated HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Halloween here was definitely something interesting. The other sisters and I decided we needed to celebrate, so we made last minute costumes for our district meeting at the church and had a grand ol' time!

But, even better than celebrating one of my favorite holidays, sister Barros and I had an AMAZING miracle! And guess what? It totally happened on Halloween! I knew there was a reason why I liked this day so much...

So, Sister Barros and I were walking and sweating as per usual, not having much luck with lessons when Heavenly Father decided to bless us with something miraculous.

We were clapping at doors up and down Rua Antonio Assman. We had just finished an awful lesson with hard-hearted adults, and we were trying to find another person to teach. There was this tiny little house on the right that Sister Barros stopped at, and we clapped but nobody came to the door. All of a sudden these young teenagers hanging out in this little shack on the left side of the street yelled to us that we could just go inside the little house because the man that lived there was really hard of hearing. Of course we didn't though, because that´s just weird to walk on into someone´s house! So, one of the youth ran over and did it for us. Unfortunately the man didn't let us teach him. So, Sister Barros and I walked over to the shack to thank the youth for their help. This is when the miracle occurred. These 4 youth were awesome! They were so thrilled that an African and an American were in their little club house talking to them. They thought we were so cool! So Sister Barros and I started laughing and joking with them, which then lead into us teaching them about the Restoration of the Gospel... These youth are some of the most intelligent and open minded youth I have ever met in my life. They were interpreting scriptures about apostasy that adults more than twice their age can´t even understand. Let me just say, that shack became an extremely sacred place in that moment. When we finished our lesson, the youth didn't want us to leave! They begged us to come back the next day and talk to their parents so that we could have permission to teach them! WHAAAAA????? We left them with a pamphlet about the Restoration, and promised to come back the next day.

The next day we returned and met with the mother of Anderson(14). Anderson read the pamphlet and asked us if we had The Book of Mormon for him! WHAAAAA??? His mother graciously gave us her permisison to teach Anderson. And he said he wanted to come to church on Sunday.

Then we met with the mother of Jefferson and Jelson(14 year old twins). Their mother gave us permission to teach them if it was what they actaually wanted. One twin responded that yes, he wanted to learn more. Then the other said no... I was shocked! He was so golden the day before. Unfortanately they both ended up deciding that they didn´t want to learn more....

The next day we returned to speak with the parents of the last youth, Emerson(13). He was so excited to learn more! Just like Anderson, he had read the pamplet and had stared reading The Book of Mormon. Talk about elect! Unfortunately his older sister is really hostile and tried Bible bashing with us... I have a feeling that she´s going to have a lot of influence on what the parents ultimately decided. Right now he has permission to learn, but I hope that that doesn´t change because of her.

I can´t even express in words how much I LOVE these youth. We´ve returned to this area about 4 times this week and we always meet a new friend. I have a feeling that if one of them joins the church they all will come in time.

On Sunday we had Anderson and Emerson at church. They´re both amazing and excited to learn more. If all works out, we´ll be having 2 baptisms on Sunday!

Anyway, I´ll be praying and fasting my heart out this week, because I really love these youth! I want them to continue! I want them to be baptized, and I want them to be the world´s coolest missionaries!

Alas, my time is up, but I wish you all the best! I love you all! Miracles happen!

Sister Stevens

I love crianças! Our miraculous youth! Emerson, Me, Anderson, Jefferson, Sister Barros, and Jelson.


Santa Cruz

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sister Stevens with the Youth

Rain, Rain Go Away

I hope that all is happy and well in the good ol' U.S. of A. While you are all enjoying the lovely Fall weather, think of me. I´m sweating like crazy over here! Summer has begun, and let me tell you, it´s not gonna be very pleasant. Also, I hope that you´re all enjoying bucket loads of Halloween candy, because here they don´t celebrate Halloween! How sad!

This week was full of fun, laughter and LOTS of rain. It rained EVERY DAY! And not just a little bit of rain. I´m talking lightning, wind and probably tornadoes (but I´m not super sure about that one). I had many a Marilyn Monroe moment this week... It was hilarious!

So, Sister Barros and I tredged and tredged in puddles, clapped at every door, and somehow miraculously managed to teach 25 lessons this week despite the pooring rain. A miracle, a miracle!

Our little branch is growing slowly but surely, and I feel like one of my purposes here is to help strengthen the branch. We have a hard time getting help from the members, but I've been making a lot of friends with the youth and the primary children (even though the primary kids can´t understand a thing I say!). So, we´re trying to get the youth more involved with the work. We need the help of members, because if the members don´t get involved then all of our investigators and new members will fall through the cracks as soon as us missionaries are transferred.

Yesterday I gave a talk in the Branch about missionary work, and this week we have a branch council meeting. Sister Barros and I are going to stress the importance of members and missionary work.

I love this area and I want to see it grow and grow!

Anyway, time is short and I have a lot to do, but I hope that everyone is happy and healthy!

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers! They mean a lot to a missionary far away from home.

I know the gospel of Jesus Christ is true and on the Earth today.

Sister Stevens