we take a trip to…SANTO DOMINGO

klokkkk everyone… so this week was madness. Thursday during planning, the assistants to the president of the mission called and were like, “HEY you guys are going to Santo Domingo for visa stuff, be in Santiago in 3 hours”. WELL, we had a very interesting trip to Santo Domingo………

It began to downpour as soon as we started walking to the bus station and in Bonao the streets flood in like under 5 minutes. We had to walk in water up to our knees to get to the bus station!!! Then, when we finally got to Santiago, we find out that we are literally the only people who are going to Santo Domingo, which is super weird because normally like a bunch of missionaries go together like a school field trip or something.  But we got on a bus by ourselves and WE GOT TO SEE THE TEMPLE.  Sadly, we weren’t allowed to go in, but it was really beautiful.  It was also weird to see the MTC again after like 9 months. I saw some of my old teachers and it was so cool to be able to speak in spanish quickly with them.  It made me realize really how much I’ve changed and grown in these past months. I am definitely not the same person I was.  But instead of getting sad like I might have used to have done, I felt grateful for the experiences I’ve had and decided to keep moving forward.
But we are really excited because FABY is getting baptized this Saturday!!!!! Faby is 14 and has such a strong testimony, and is one of the strongest people I have met.  Her conversion story really is miraculous. We had a really powerful lesson with her about how she can find out for herself if the church really is the church of Christ. She prayed that night to know for herself.  The next day she woke up with an excitement and drive to go to church so she went.  She later told us that she took that as the answer to her prayer.  But what truly is miraculous is what happened next.  Instead of losing speed after that moment, she picked up speed, keeping all of her committment, reading and praying and even doing personal progress.  She even went to an internet center to look up general conference talks without us asking her to.  She has SO MUCH LOVE for the gospel and is so excited to get baptized.  She inspires me everyday.
 I LOVE THE MISSION. I feel so lucky to serve here in Bonao with such wonderful people. God really does play a hand in our everyday lives!!!
Pics
our district….BONAO 1
the temple!!!!!!!
sleepover in Santiago
mango smoothies…we´ve eaten them like everyday all week
family reunion!! Hna Merrill came to say goodbye
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klok

So transfers happened, and surprise, I’m still here in Bonao and, another surprise, I’m training!! That means my companion is brand new to the mission. WOW!  I feel so grateful to be with her.  She’s cute, smart, likes Harry Potter and Hamilton and already knows Spanish.  She is doing so great adjusting to the crazy dominican life down here and is already teaching and contacting like a pro.  Also, we made mango smoothies two nights in a row and life is good.

I feel super grateful to be here again in Bonao.  Everyone is so open and loving and it’s super beautiful here.  Also, it seems that everyday we find a miracle.  Whether it’s someone new to teach or a special moment in a lesson, or just a gift from a neighbor, we really are blessed everyday.

I’m excited to see the miracles God will bring about in this area.

So basically I just love the people here and I love the work!
Hna Stephens
Pics
Elianas bday
Hna Schroeder, hija mia

American Pride

klok

this week included:
·PILAS (lots) of cake. but i love cake so there wasnt a problem
·crazy loud and long thunderstorms in the middle of the night
·being called DOMINICANA (sorry america)
·watching the jose smith movie 2 times in a row…and crying both times
·finding so many people ready to hear the message of the gospel…after a zone conference we had about finding!
I have been thinking a lot this week about change. Why we change. What motivates us to change. How we change. Should we change. All of these good things. And I have come to the conclusion that as disciples of Christ, we believe in change…it is the very fundamental of our gospel. The Gospel of Jesus Christ EMPOWERS us to change. To shed the natural man and become a saint through the Atonement of Christ. And we should want to change! But the only way to change is be humble enough to see our own weaknesses and then to have the faith the change them. To take ACTION. And to trust that we if do our best, God will make up the rest. He will comfort us and then transform us into his servants, his tools.
I have been reading a lot about the history of the church, and Joseph had to humble himself, he had to change, in order to translate the book of mormon. He had to be totally in line with the Lord´s will. We too have the power to reach out and help those around us, but we have to be humble enough to accept the Lord´s will. And then, he will work miracles through us.
I love this gospel, I am so grateful to live in the fullness of times, with the restored priesthood of God and with a prophet.
thank you all for the birthday wishes!!!
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klok

life is getting hotter and hotter down here in the DR!!!

I have pretty much forgot what it’s like to be cold, but that’s okay because I’m getting a sweet tan 🙂
Highlights of this week:
Hector, the investigator who just got baptized, just got called as the ward mission leader!!! He is so amazing and on fire with a love for the gospel.  I know he is going to help a ton with the work here in Bonao, and he will see so much blessing in his own life. I feel so lucky to work with him!
We had an awesome lesson with a young mom who is very involved in her Christian church. The whole lesson went really well until we started to explain about Joseph Smith…and then she closed her heart.  She said it’s impossible for anyone to see God and live, that there is no way there can be any other scripture but the Bible…and so on.  I tried to show her scriptures, evidence of our message, but in the end, we could only testify.  And so that’s what we did. We testified of Joseph Smith that he was a prophet, that God loves us and that he has a prophet on the earth today.  We testified that Christ is our Savior and the head of the church.  The contention then left the room, and instead it was filled with the Spirit.  She agreed to meet with us again.
I love this work.  Truth be told, it’s hard. It’s hard to keep going day after day, to give part of heart to people who might not even remember, never mind accept the message you share. But really the only way to soften the stress of it is to keep working.  To keep giving your all.  Because only when we keep working can we find the JOY!!  I have learned so much in these months and I am so excited to keep learning.  I know the Lord knows us and knows what we can handle.  He will bless us if we let him.
Love you all,
Hna Stephens
Pics
zone homies
a happy sandwich
beautiful Bonao sunset
my comp