Monday, June 29, 2015

Reunions (:

So this week was great!!!! Nothing really special happened until Sunday.
except we did go on exchanges.  I had exchanges with sister heufner from logan Utah first! That was fun. I like her.(: then I went with sister Wang to Chinese land!! so fun. I love the Chinese people.  we taught English class!! that was cool.  they have English class in china town. so I went to china town for my first time! It was fun! hahaha. people in san fran are crazy. which reminds me.. I forgot to tell you all!  you should've been here when the warriors won last week. ahaha everyone was going crazy! there were fireworks. it was fun.(:
But Sunday was so great!!! because..

1. we had 3 investigators at church!!!!!!! Jose, Julio, and ROBERT!!! yeah it was a good day.(:
2. HERMANA ORANTES AND HER FAMILY ARE HERE VISITING. so I sat by her all of church and it was so great because it was like we were compis again.(:  I love her and I love her family!!! It has been fun to talk to them a little.  I actually have seen her a lot since she's been here. And I'll see her again at FHE tonight. I love it.(:
3. we have porque yo creo!!!!! which you all know.. is my favorite.  Antonia, our returning less active spoke! So that was great!! Also, I got to see a lot of people from concord!! President Cortez and his family, the sanchez family, carlos and carlitos... it was so great! They all told me how much they love me and that they want me to come back. I promised them I will visit after my mission(: ah I love reunions!!!

So yeah.. wow it's short this week sorry. Also.. President Meredith is now gone. that's weird. we get to meet our new president on Wednesday!!!

love you all!!! the mission is the best. you should try it. have a great week(:

pictures: 1. Okay this is for my grandma and grandpa stokes, and also my old roommate Abby Brinton.  SMALL WORLD.  So this is elder and sister jones.  They are a senior couple serving in my zones right now!! And turns out that Elder Jones served with Grandpa Stokes in New York.  And then... a few years after grandma and grandpa stokes were mission presidents in Wisconsin.. Elder and Sister Jones got sent there! Where.. they were mission presidents to my old roommate Abby!!! SO CRAZY. so yeah this picture is for all of you to see that I know them.(:
2. I ATE PAELLA. for the first time in forever!!! Dad remember? you always used to make this for us? idk if that's how you spell it. but yeah! Angel and Sergio took us to a Peruvian restaurant. and they had paella there! Good job dad because this paella tasted exactly like yours. that means you make it as good as the restaurants. (: it was the best, I loved it.

3. selfie after dinner with our favorite people.(: angel and Sergio.

1. me and my compi Giselle! haha weird calling her that...
2. Me and Carlos and Carlos!! I love them.
3. Me and Joselyn and Carmen Cortez! They are from concord and I missed them(:

more pictures will come next week.. I have to get pictures from orantes.. (: 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Jose and Julio and farewell to President

Okay so yeah I just have to update you a lot on Jose and Julio today. But I will do the other things first. 

We had zone conference this past week!! President's last:(((  Oh my goodness I love President and Sister Meredith so much.  At the end of the conference, we took pictures with him and all got to personally say goodbye.  It was depressing. I cried.  But it's okay, because I know everything is inspired and I know that I will love our new mission president, President Frandsen.

Last week on P day we played sand volleyball.. it was the first time I had played since I broke my thumb.. which was a year ago. No worries, I didn't break anything. Ha it was so fun.(:

We had two exchanges this week! The first I was with Sister Rounds from Logan, Utah.  She is in the Samoan program and this is her second transfer.  It was fun to see her progression. (:  I love samoan's.  Then sister Blood came to be with me in my area. We had fun together too. (: 

Okay.. now Jose.  So, we dropped his baptism date.  But no worries!  I have so much faith, I know he will get baptized. He just isn't ready yet.. he is really frusterated because he is praying tons but hasn't received an answer.  We all fasted together Saturday, ever since then he's doing a lot better.  So we still have a lot to work on, but I know he will get his answer soon.  He is still so awesome!!!! He is going to be the strongest member ever.  But really.

Julio.. we also had to drop his date.  He is still so awesome and loves the church.. but his parents said no:(  I have another Carlitos situation.  we haven't seen Julio since this happened, but hes pretty down about this all.  We plan on giving him a boost.  (:  I know everything will be okay. He's 17, so if all else fails it's not that long to have to wait till 18.  But it's so sad.  He texted us and was like "hermanas, I really do believe in the Mormon church." :((( ahh I'm so sad! I wish his parents would just give it a chance.  We plan on praying lots though.  I think they will change their mind. (:

Yep so that's it! We found a new investigator this week! Excited about that.  A lot is happening.. it's already the end of June and July is going to FLY. ah life is crazy.  I hope you all have a great week!! Love you all!!

Hermana Stokes

Pics: me and President and Sister Meredith. I already miss them!
2. selfie with Sergio. haha hes our best friend. we love him.

3. we also love angel. these two really are the best. (:

Monday, June 15, 2015

Sun Burn. (:

Thank you so much for all your responses!! I haven't read them all yet but I will update you on Jose.  He is doing so great.  Actually, he really is progressing.  We taught him a lesson this week and during it I realized that there isn't much we can do to tell him to choose one church.  What I realized is that we just need to work on helping him convert to this church, and once he does that, the Lord will take care of the rest.  Actually, he will take care of the conversion too so as you can see it's really all in the Lord's hands.  So we have plans to keep doing all that we can do, and to trust Heavenly Father's plan for him.  If he is supposed to get baptized June 27th, he will.  If not, I know he will get baptized one day.  Not one doubt in my mind. But right now I still have faith for the 27th. (:  He really does love this gospel.  He LOVES reading the scriptures.  he reads all his assignments 2+times.  it's amazing. Then he calls us and asks for another chapter.  This week we taught him about fasting and he is going to fast this week to see if this is the true church.  We are praying a lot and we really have faith in this fast, we know it will help him if he goes in with true desires.

also... JULIO HAS A BAPTISM DATE!!!! Oh my gosh we had the most amazing lesson with him.  It was actually during an exchange, I was with Hermana Abernethy, (hna vargas trainee) and we taught lesson 2.  We were talking about life on earth when Julio asks "what do I have to do to get baptized, just repent? how do I do that?"  we answered his question and then we asked if he wants to be baptized.  He smiled and said yes and we asked why and he answered. "When I go to my other church I don't feel the spirit. And I don't even know why I am there.  But in this church I feel the spirit. And I know why I go.  I feel like I have a purpose there. "  !!!! sooo amazing.  oh my goodness.  He really is excited and even though he has a lot more to learn, he asked to get baptized on june 28th!!!! so we have plans to teach him a lot these next two weeks.  He is very excited for his best friend to baptize him.  MIRACLES.  Julio is so prepared.

Yeah so we had 2 exchanges with week! the first with hna abernethy.. she is so awesome. Actually, we have so much in common.  It was really funny.  It starts out that she is from Alpine.. and it keeps going as far as our favorite foods. I love her and really enjoyed Thursday with her. (: The other exchange I went to tongan area with sister Lile from tonga.  It was really fun!! It was also really hot.. and they don't have a car.  Yeah actually San Mateo turned out to be a lot hotter in the summer than I expected... 90's every day.  so still not as bad as the other side.. but hot. sooo in result.. after walking all day with sister lile in the sun.. my neck is sooo sun burnt.  (: haha its funny, I never thought I would get sunburnt on my mission since there is no swimming. (: But it did. it's all good though. I was really excited.  Although, we don't have A/C.  IT IS SO HOT ALL THE TIME.  which isn't too bad because at least it cools down at night so we can open the window.. and we aren't home much during the day.  But for weekly planning, when we are home all day planning.. it turned out to be the worst ever. so hot. thank goodness for our fan. yep. I already am excited for winter. (:

Love you all!! have a great week!! the church is true.

Hermana Stokes

pics:1. Hna Hilton is now STL in brentwood!!! so I saw her at MLC.  I love her so much!!
2. Me and my comp at MLC. (:

3. I got a Lei while I was in the tongan program on Saturday. I was excited. (:  

Selfie time (:

Exchanges with Hermana Abernathy

Monday, June 8, 2015

Hot Cheetos

Ok first, there really is no reason I named the email that. it's just because I didn't know what to put, and I'm craving hot Cheetos.

This week was good!!! Our area is doing really well right now. 

Yesterday Dora Asmat came to church!!!! she is a less active we have been visiting here and there for a while.  And she attends a different church... but she came yesterday!!!! the biggest miracle ever.  I was so excited. 

Next... two people in our ward are dating right now.  Actually, two of my favorite people in the ward.  Sergio and Aracely. I am soo excited for them. hahah when he told me and my companion we were freaking out.  So yeah, just wanted to share that exciting news with you. (:

JULIO IS AWESOME. DANIEL TOO. we had another lesson with them!!! they are sooo awesome. seriously... We were teaching Julio and he was like oh yeah I remember learning about this in Sunday School once!  And then we were talking about the book of Mormon and he was like oh yeah Daniel gave me one and we read some together already. RIGHTEOUS. Seriously, he is so prepared because of all the member missionary work his best friend has done with him.  We don't have a baptism date for him yet because we need to make sure this is okay with his parents.  But during the lesson he asked "when I get baptized, can Daniel baptize me?"  We were like yes he can and will. AH so awesome.

next.. we went to Oakland this week to drop off sister lin... because TEMPLE SQUARE TOOK 4 OF OUR MISSIONARIES. rude huh!? it's okay. they gave us 4 too. but they needed more Chinese sisters so since we have so many they called us.  they will only be gone for 3 transfers.  but its so sad!!! so weird too.. I can't even imagine getting a transfer call telling me im moving missions?!!? crazyyyyy. yeah. anyway, theres some mission news for you.  Sister Lin was excited though! she will do great.

Okay I have one more thing to discuss.  Now this is important.  Jose.  He is soo awesome.  We met with him 3 times this past week!!! And he reads, and he comes to church, and he even still has a baptism date.   But one problem.. He doesn't understand that there is only ONE true church.  Like, he is going to 2 churches right now, and doesn't see a problem with it.  He is willing to commit to both.  We had a lesson fully dedicated to this, we taught about Joseph Smtih, and how even when his family was going to two churches, he chose to find only ONE true church.  We talked about how the problem with going to two churches is because there are contradicting doctrines... And so if you want to make it back to God, and there are two ways to do it, you can only choose one way.  But after this whole lesson he just says "I guess what you are trying to say, but for me, I really think it's find for me to go to two churches.  I want more God in my life and I like both churches. "

So What I need help with is this.  One, I need help understanding him.  Because I really don't even understand how someone could think this, and I think it might help me first if I understand him.  Second, any ideas on how to help him understand that you have to choose one?  He has no doubts about our church.. but no doubts about his church too.  I don't want to try to prove to him that our church is true, or that his church is wrong.  What I want is help getting him to understand the concept of choosing one church.  Then once he understands that, we can get him to pray to find out which one is true.  It's getting over the first hump that worries me.

Any ideas are appreciated!! I've been praying tons and fasted for it yesterday.  So I know we will figure it out.  But we are at a loss right now.

Thank you so much!! I love you all.  Have a great day.  I love missionary work. you should try it.

Hermana Stokes

ps.  I cut my hair. just 4 inches. but it feels sooo short. its still super long though. pictures next week of that. (:

pics: 1. we went and got fish n chips for district activity last Monday.. all for elder Wallace.  #sobritish.

2&3. we drove through the CITY to take sister lin to Oakland!! I had never been in the business part of the city before, so it was really cool to see. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

For the field is white already to harvest

Okay so I have tons to tell you.

First off I forgot to tell you about the food I ate on my tongan exchange last week!!!  I ATE HORSE. AND LAMB. AND RAW FISH. AND I DONT EVEN REMEMBER WHAT ELSE. The only thing I liked out of all of that was horse.  Yes, I know, it sounds weird.. but it tastes like beef and its soooo good. hahaha.

Also, this week for district meeting Sister Thao made us a Hmong dessert!! It was actually really good.  It had the little ball things in it like you can get at slurp or swig in Utah.(:

I love how many cultures I have come to know on my mission(:

This week was sooo much better than last!! It was soo good! 

TRANSFERS: I AM STAYING IN EL CAMINO WITH HERMANA HOUSLEY!!!!! woooo 6 transfers in El Camino!!! In other words, by the end of this transfer I will have been here for almost 9 months. (: hahaha crazy!! I am so excited though!! I can feel it, it's going to be my best transfer here. 

We had a rough start, the first three days.. all but one of our set lessons cancelled again.  We were really sad about it, but we prayed lot and realized the only thing we could do is keep working.  So we even made a "recipe for success" list with goals, and just kept working hard.  Then Thursday, Friday, Saturday, we had 2 lessons each day.  And Sunday we had another lesson!! We were so happy and so grateful.  This really is the Lord's work everyone.  

Some miracles with that, We added a new investigator!!! His name is Julio and he is 17.  We went over to teach our focus 15 family, the Romeros, and they have 3 sons.  Well the oldest son's best friend is Julio.  Julio has come to church with them a few times.  He told us he wants to learn more and that he has never felt this close to God before.  He has never even been to church till now with the Romeros.  So we taught him and added him as an investigator!!! Daniel, his best friend is so awesome with him.  He bore testimony on him how being baptized is the best because you have the Holy Ghost with you to help you at all times.  um amazing!! He is such a good member missionary, bringing his friend to church! Hopefully we set a baptismal date soon.

Next big miracle... JOSE HAS A BAPTISM DATE!!!!!!!!! June 27th.  He is so solid.  He has not missed a Sunday since he started coming.  And he is best friends with Angel and Sergio.  They are the best fellowshippers.  They are so good with him! But yeah, we had an amazing lesson on Friday with him with our member Hermana Molina.  She was so awesome, and ended up sharing a scripture that his Jose with the spirit really hard. Jose laughed and looked up and said thank you God.  The spirit was so strong, and shortly after that he accepted a baptismal date.  He really is converting to this gospel.  We still have a lot to teach him but I know it will all work out.  I am so excited.  

Wow, this week was so good.  I was sitting there during church, thinking about Jose, Julio, and others that we have been helping.  I was feeling sooo much joy just thinking about them.  It's like in Alma, when he talks about the joy they feel after bringing people to Christ.  It's a joy you cannot feel anywhere else.  I am so grateful to be here and to experience these people's conversion.  I LOVE THIS GOSPEL.

I found out about Elder Perry yesterday and was so sad.  But isn't it so great to know that he is in a good place? I love the plan of salvation.

Bishop taught the lesson yesterday and he used a really cool analogy I want to share with you guys.  He told a story.  He was playing soccer and his teammate was running on the left side of the field with the ball, and bishop could see that he was going to win the person chasing him.  Bishop knew in that moment that he needed to be at the goal to get the ball in, so that his teammate could cross him the ball and they could score.  So bishop just took off running towards the goal.  He knew that his teammate was good enough of a player that he could cross the ball perfectly to him.  And sure enough, the teammate crossed the ball to him, and bishop said that in the middle of his stride, the ball hit his foot, and went in the goal.  Bishop didn't have to do anything.  He literally just ran to where his teammate needed him to be, and was there for the ball to bounce off of him.  He didn't have to swing his leg or anything.  He didn't need skill, he just needed to be there.  Well that is how we are with Christ.  Christ is going to do all the work, he is the one with the skill and power.  But we need to do our part.  We need to run as fast as we can, being diligent, so that we can be at the goal when he needs us to.  Then he will pass us the ball, and we can make it in.  He has already done all the work.  But he asks us to go where he needs us, and be a instrument in his hands.  

I really love this analogy, I hope it makes sense to all of you.  Christ has done everything.  We just need to follow him.  I love you all so much! I know this church is true.  

Love, Hermana Stokes

pics: 1. Last district picture!!!!! we are changing a lot.  Elder Wallace is going to Hayward, Sister Fernandez going home, and sister thao to Martinez!! We are getting Elders in the sisters area.. so we will now be a district of 4 elders 2 sisters. fun.!
2. we just thought this sign was funny.
3. random picture of me. I'm planning on cutting my hair next week.. was going to do it today, that's why we took this picture. no worries, im just trimming it.. haha I love my long hair.(: