Monday, February 23, 2015

its all down hill from here.. hump day... half way.. what else?

Dear people,

hi!  hey so I actually am thinking and I really don't know what I'm going to say about this week.  but I have  A MILLION PHOTOS. should I just send all those?

haha nah just kidding.  This week was great!  went on 3 exchanges. yeah, I'm exhausted!  first was with sister manua from Australia.. shes samoan, in the samoan program.  She is so awesome! then I went to san fran YSA ward with sister stapley and sister Leuluaiailii.  Sister stapley is from Arizona, and sister L from Samoa.  They are such great sisters! It was fun to be in a trio again.  Then I went to san Bruno with sister vejnar from Colorado!  so yeah. lots of fun things this week.

miracles happened on sunday!!!!! Raul, a less active that no one has heard from in forever just showed up to church.  Armando, who told us he wasn't going to come to church, just showed up.  Jennifer, who hasn't come in foreve came.  And then the biggest miracle of all..... joann, a girl who has been coming to church for like 2 years but never wanted to get baptized, announced that she is finally ready!!! so the elders are having a random miracle baptism this week! sooo cool. haha. really though.  its crazy.  I love all the miracles I see on my mission.

Then honestly, the highlight of my week... ha.  today, we had a zone activity. definitely the best.  Our zone leaders got it worked out that they rented a big tour bus and we all went to the city.  What?  haha no really, it was so cool.  We went to treasure island and took pictures of the city, then we went to a cool museum thingy... I really don't know what to call it. but I will send pictures.  it was soo fun! and we got our zone t shirts too, which are so awesome.  so yeah! it was a fun day! I love going to the city! and our zone is the best I love it!!

So im sorry my email is so lame today. we are really short on time, we still have tons to do today.  but I will make it up to you by sending pictures from today(: I love my mission!!!!

Love you all, remember to read your scriptures and say your prayers and go to church. 

the church is true!!
picture 1:  bus ride (: so fun~

2: walking in this cool place.

A bunch more photos for our Zone Excursion

I love this place, it is so pretty!!

El Camino Distric (: - The best!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Sadie sent us a bunch of pictures so I (Paul) will try to describe them here:

Hermana Orantes and I at the Temple.  We love the the temple!!

Our Misionary tags

This is the view at the Oakland Temple

This was right after our session this morning.

Hermana Orantes, Eaden, and me

Us and sandy. I love her.

we went to dinner and they had the cutest dog. his name is fluffy. ha we love little dogs(: so cute.

the city. this is outside Hermana mccarthys window. they live in san fran. so crazy! I felt like I was in the movies. ha so many people. I like serving in the city. its so fun.

the view of the sunset at the temple. that is looking over Oakland and then in the far distance you can see san fran and the bridge. sooo pretty.

me and Hermana orantes were happy to get some valentines. thanks padres.(: 

me and Hermana McCarthy on exchanges(: love her.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Green Salsa...Really??

Dear Friends and Fam and everyone.

I love and miss you all. Hope you are doing well.(:  

This was a great week! Actually, tomorrow we are going to the TEMPLE!!!!!!!. So today isn't my p day. but i have some time to write and let yall know that im alive still.(:

So this week was great!! Really though. We taught so many lessons.  Which was so nice.  We were able to see all 5 of our investigators this week! That hasn't happened in a long time! so I was really excited about that.  Armando is doing well, but we weren't able to set a baptismal date.  He has some concerns with the Law of Chastity. So that is our new thing to work on.(:  Esly is AWESOME and progressing! She is keeping our committments of reading the book of mormon and praying. This past Tuesday we had an amazing lesson with her.  Oh my gosh it was kind of crazy. We taught the Plan of Salvation, which brought up a ton of concerns.  She doesn't believe that we can accept the gospel after this life.. so she doesnt believe we can do baptisms for the dead.  We didn't want to get into it right then so we just moved past it and then we had to go home.  But Sergio and Angel were in the lesson, and Sergio texted us after and told us that they stayed after with Esly and explained baptisms for the dead to her, and that she understands now and there is no more confusion.  Haahaha seriously... we have the best members in the world.  I am so grateful for them! and they are recent converts!! like what!?!?  love them so much.  yeah.  And Jennifer! We saw her! she is doing so great. i think she is one of the smartest 13 year olds ive met.  She hasn't come to church in a while, but she loves the book of mormon.  And then Eliazar, we are still working on trying to get him to church.  but he's awesome.  And last but not least... guess who we went to oakland with yesterday!? ROBERT AND SANDY!!! and their whole family!! we went to the visitors center and watched meet the mormons!! oh my heck it was the greatest thing ever!!! I am so happy.  I love meet the mormons.  And I think they reallly liked it too.  I know Sandy did, ha she kept crying the whole time.  She's so cute, probably my favorite.  Eadan loved it too.  i love that family so much.  

So yeah that's an update on our investigators! I love them all! then thing we have been working on lately though is members.  We really want to strengthen that relationship with them so that we can help our ward do missionary work.  We haven't had much success yet.. but i know it's coming.  We especially want to find all the less actives and part member families in our ward and start teaching them.  So we are working on being able to see them this week.  I am so excited, I feel the success coming.  We have a lot of great plans.  

I think this week has been the busiest of my mission.  Stressful, but good stress.  I love working hard.  We Had a lot of lessons, plus exchanges, plus other sister training leader duties.  it's crazy.  Doing 9 exchanges a transfer is just crazy.  We went on two this past week!  And actually we are on one right now!  So last week I was in the area with sister blood from Arizona.  This is her first transfer, and shes in the tongan program! then I was with sister mccarthy in her area.  I love exchanges. So much.  But man, doing so many is SO TIRING.  I am so tired.  But I love it.  Plus I always miss Hermana Orantes.  But that's okay, I guess we will make it. haha. Right now I am on an exchange with Sister Manu'a.  She's in the Samoan program, is samoan from Austrailia.  So cool! I love her.  I will tell more about that next week I guess.(:

This week we also went to the san fran west zone training, and gave a training! We gave it on lesson plans.  It was awesome! And President Meredith came!!! yeah that was crazy.. didn't know he did it.  So I had to give my first zone training in front of him.  But I think it went well. thank goodness for the spirit.  He also came to our district meeting on tuesday.. so yeah it has been cool.  I love president meredith, hes the best.

So yeah, That is my  week!  I love the mission so much. Man, it's the best.

I will send pictures tomorrow, sister orantes has like all of them.(:

Also, yeah.. while I was on exchanges with Hermana McCarthy in the city.. (so fun, I love the city.. so many interesting people)  We went to a taqueria... and I spilt green salsa ALL OVER my skirt.  so yeah. that was fun.   luckily she let me borrow one of hers.(: haha adventures.

Love you all! have a great week! I will reply to emails tomorrow mostly(:

Hermana Stokes

Monday, February 9, 2015

Smile. (:

Hello everyone!! 

Wow, what an amazing week once again.. really though.. mission life is amazing.(:  Umm.. I'm tryin to remember what happened.  Oh!  We had MLC.  Another great one.  man, it was so good!!  I just love MLC so much.  I learn so much on how to improve as a missionary and as a leader.  I love the mission.  So yeah, that was good.

Then I went on an exchange with sister Magnussen! She is from Bluffdale, Utah.  She is so awesome!! I love her.  It was a good day, and I learned a lot. (:

Then, the highlight of my week, was stake conference.  Elder Nash came!! For those of you who don't know, Elder Marcus B. Nash is a member of the 1st quorum of the seventy.. and was also my stake president back in seattle!  It was so great to see him.  He came up to me Saturday before the adult session and was like Hermana Stokes! It's so great to see you! and he talked to me and my companion for a while about our lives and such.  It was awesome!  Then, we had the most amazing adult session I've ever been to..  Elder Nash is an amazing teacher, I learned so much.  Ha and it was really funny.  Our bishop spoke, and he shared a story about a less active member, that i was involved in.  But he just said sister missionaries.  Then when elder nash went up there to talk and discuss what we learned from the story, elder nash was like who was the sister missionary?  and bishop points to me and says sister stokes.  At this point, EVERYONE is looking at me, and elder nash says excitingly "I know sister stokes! I was her stake president!"  haha it was pretty awesome and funny, but yes, my face was bright red.  Hahah good times.  But yeah, I learned a ton.  Then sunday morning I saw him again, and mom and dad, he told me to tell you two things, that 1. he saw me. and that 2. that i look great. haha im quoting him there. (:  Then, Elder Nash had told us to bring an investigator to stake conference so he could meet him.  Oh my goodness, I can't even tell you how hard I worked to get someone there.  We decided on Armando,  and basically.. when he called sunday morning telling us he was washing his laundry and wouldnt be able to come, I wouldn't take that as an answer. So, I was really persistent.. and told him he had to come.  I left the call with him telling me that he was gonna call Juan, the member who was bringing him, to see if he could pick him up at the laundry place.. but when I never saw them walk in, I lost hope and was pretty sad that he didn't make it. So then, we had a great stake conference, really good, president meredith spoke too.  Then after,  I got to have the opportunity to watch Angel and Mike ruiz be ordained elders!!! it was amazing. anyway, during that, we get a text from armando.. which says in that he loved the meeting, it was pretty, and thank you for calling him and making him go.  I was so confused.  i texted back really quick and asked if he was still there and he said no.  he asked if he could call us, so he did, and he told us that he came!!!! and he loved the meeting!!! his words were "estuvo bien bonito, bien fuerte."  or it was really beautiful, and really strong.  ah I was so happy! but I was also soo sad because he was there! he could've met elder nash!! so yeah i was really sad that i didnt know he was there.  I wish he couldve met him.. but its okay, im just glad that he made it and got to listen!! he is so amazing.  we are planning on setting a baptismal date with him tonight, pray for us! he really is ready, he just doesn't realize it.  haha he was so funny though, he was like i didn't see you guys at church, were you hiding? we were like um no!! but i am so grateful, beacause heavenly father knew he was there, and helped him, and someone was able to find him and give him the translation headphones.  ah i am just so grateful.  

Anyway, yeah.  Oh another great thing about stake conference! haha elder nash, and our whole stake presidency speak spanish, plus our bishop, who spoke about our ward.. plus they had a spanish chior for the music! so much spanish in an english meeting. it was awesome. hahaha. i was proud of my people.(:  hermana orantes was funny, she was like "ive never seen so many white people speaking spanish" hahah which is so true. but i love it.

So yeah.. that was my week.   hope you enjoyed this.  I love the gospel so much!! We are so blessed to have a loving heavenly father who knows us.  

Have an amazing week!  I love you all!
Hermana Stokes

picture 1:  after angel and mike got ordained. (:

picture 2:  armando's text.. please note that it's all in spanish.. but the "tenquio" is him trying to say "thank you"  in english. hahaha so funny! I dies. plus this text just made my life. I'm so glad he came.

Picture 3:  We have play station head quarters in our area. fun stuff.  

Monday, February 2, 2015

So blessed

Hey ya'll. (:

I say that because I have a companion from Texas who says that all the time and I think I've started to say that(: hahaha so yes.  My companion!

She is from Houston, Texas, born and raised.  but her mom is from Reynosa, Mexico! (where hunter is serving--what so random!)  and her dad is from El Salvador!  So she basically lived the life of all the kids we teach here.  spanish at home, english every where else.  Her parents don't really speak english, especially not to them.  So yeah, even though she has been in the english program her whole mission, she is fluent in spanish.(: it's fun.  But yeah, I LOVE HER. so much.  oh man.  Hermana Orantes.  We have a lot of fun together, she's actually hilarious.  She just has two transfers left, so she goes home in april.  I hope I get to stay with her till then!  And it's actually funny.. she was actually called spanish speaking.. but this is her first time being in the program.  haha she has been waiting for it her whole mission, wanting to be spanish, so shes really happy now.

Um andddd not much happened this week honestly.  I sent hermana corbitt off, that was sad. she is home now i guess! weird.  And yeah then I picked up hermana Orantes.  oh and news with that!  haha while we were at transfers, the san francisco west zone leader came up to me and was like sister stokes! our new sister training leader!  and i was like what? and he was like oh you didn't know?  you cover our zone now too.  haha so yeah fun.  we now cover two zones, so we are STLs for both.  which means we now cover 9 companionships, 19 sisters.  Which means we do 9 exchanges a transfer.  woo. and i thought 6 was a lot.

And then Saturday!!! guess what we did.  Man, we are so blessed.  So, Elder Neil L Andersen came and spoke to us!!! just our mission.  So we fit all 250 of us in a little chapel and we got to hear from a member of the 12, for the second time in 2 months.  So amazing.  We all got to shake his hand too! It was great!  He actually told us that it is very rare to have multiple of them come so close together.  I'm so grateful.  And it was probably one of the most amazing meetings I've ever been in.  Elder Meynes was there too, a member of the 70.  Both of their talks were so great.  I learned so much.  And Elder Andersen is so awesome.  He was so funny, and his grandchildren were there! It was so cute, when he wasn' talking, his two little grandsons went up and sat on his lap.  It was adorable, i was dying.  Then he had his 6 year old grandson Austin go up to the pulpit and recite the 13th article of faith! and he did it perfect!! it was the cutest ever!! and then he told us what he thought it meant to be honest.. ha it was so cute. 

He also talked a lot about the Atonement.  I loved it.  I love the Atonement so much.  We are so grateful.  He talked about using the book of mormon to testify of the atonement.  There are soo many places in the book of mormon that talk about it.  he talked a lot about 2 nephi 2 and the mercy, merits, and grace of the atonement.  it was amazing.  I really liked how when he was talking about repentance, and how important it is to teach repentance.  If people don't understand repentance, they won't have the desire to change.  An investigator has to have the desire to change. I loved when he said "We are not perfect, but we can be worthy. Worthy to take the sacrament, worthy to serve a mission, worthy to go to the temple."  It is so true.  We, as humans, make mistakes every day!! but guess what!? No one is perfect.  But we can be worthy,  Through repentance and the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can always be worthy to follow him.  But that is the key, we have to go through him, because we cannot be worthy on our own.  We need His help.  But we can do it.  We can be perfected IN Christ.  

Ahh so good.  I seriously learned so much that day.  And I am excited to keep studying the Atonement and repentance so I can better help my investigators.(:

Ahh people. The mission is the best. Okay,  for all of you who are deciding whether or not to go on a mission, I am going to answer your question right now.  Go.  Just do it.  Missions are the most amazing things ever.  I have learned things that I honestly don't know if I would've learned without it.  I have started to understand more of the Atonement, and I am so grateful for that.  And on top of that, I have felt a happiness that I have never felt before.  Serving the Lord is the most amazing thing.  I love it so much, and never want to stop.  I think I'll just stay on my mission forever. (:

So yeah, that was my week.  I hope you all are able to remember how important the Atonement is, and how important repentance is.  I love you all so much, have an amazing week! 

Con Amor, Hermana Stokes

Picture:  sorry... hahah me and hermana Orantes realized how lame we were when we realized we didn't take any pictures this week! not even when we looked nice on saturday! ha so we took a quick selfie today.(: