Monday, December 19, 2016

3 day old baby





Hello,

    Merry Christmas everyone!  I hope this holiday is a good one I love elder Sheranian’s challenge to do a simple act of service to someone and I’d like to extend that to anyone who didn't get his email. Something cool that happened was we were able to split a branch and that makes 8 branches here in Yaoundé. I was able to give a 3 day old a name and blessing yesterday. He was given the middle name of the Elder that converted his father. It was really special. This week was good we continued to teach the family that we hope to baptized next year ha-ha. I went on companion exchanges with elder Kincaid on Saturday. It was really good. Today when we were playing soccer someone came up and asked if he could play with us it was sweet so after we talked a little bit about the church and the other elders are going to go by and get his number and leave him some brochures. The best contacts come to you sometimes. I know that my redeemer lives and he loves each one of us and knows us personally. I know that there is a plan for our lives. It is up to you to live the plan that god has created for you to work in your life. I love you all I hope you have a wonderful Christmas.


Monday, December 12, 2016

Filling the baptismal for with buckets


Hello

  This week was good I had exchanges with elder Gilbert on Tuesday he’s from southern California…. Yeah it was awesome. Saturday we assisted a baptism for Elevevor. Funny story Elder Tshibanda and I started to finish the font at 4pm so that it would be ready the next day….. Someone turned it off!!! So we get there 15 minutes before it’s supposed to start and there’s no water so we started to fill it again with buckets of water and thankfully we were able to get enough water to do the baptism an hour later. Sunday was good we had classes and I had an impromptu talk and then I had the lesson in elder’s quorum Elder Tshibanda had the next hour haha church can be stressful some days. Love you guys hope you have a wonderful week.

Love,

Elder Stephens

Republic of Congo, Brazzaville Mission / Cameroun District





*Not quite sure what this is they are eating. I will ask next week.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Trials


Hello, 

This week was good. Cameroon soccer made it to the finals but they lost 1-0 to Nigeria = (

We found a new investigator it was really awesome. This week I was thinking a lot about why we have trials why some peoples trials are greater than others and to me seem impossible to bear but what I do know is that we have a Savior and Redeemer who knows how those people feel he knows how to take their pain away and to help them to have joy and peace in their lives. I am so very grateful for my knowledge of this gospel and the joy and peace it can give to each of us in our lives. I love you all I hope you have a wonderful week. Choose the right & STUDY your scriptures. Je vous aime

Love,

Elder Stephens

Republic of Congo, Brazzaville Mission / Cameroun District


http://elderstephenscongo.blogspot.com/

Monday, November 28, 2016

Be Prepared


Bonjour,

Comment allez vous? How are you all? This week was good we taught a less active family who we didn't know but they were just right behind our house. We also found out about a family who are refugees that haven't been to church for a couple years so this week we are going to go and visit them. Sunday Elder Tshibanda played the piano and I blessed the sacrament and the branch president walks up to go dismiss us and dismisses us and I walk past him he said Elder Stephens you can give a talk today, yes branch president. You know you should always come to church prepared with a talk it's just a good idea. Well I wrote one last month and I got to use it then haha so it was good. I know that our heavenly loves us and wants us to be the best we can. He has given us a telephone that has unlimited credit, USE IT, he wants us to talk to him and not forget him. I'm so very grateful to be in Cameroon serving here and I know that the Lord has a purpose for me being exactly where I am. Hope you all have a great week Love ya, Elder Preston Stephens

Monday, November 21, 2016

AFCON


Bonjour tout le monde,

This week well you already know but we had the apostle on Monday and then on Tuesday I wrote you guys. But after that was pretty normal the Women's AFCON  <Africa Cup Of Nations> (soccer cup) started that was pretty cool and Saturday the Cameroon played and won 2 - 0 every time they scored all of Yaoundé cheered it was really awesome to see the unity in the nation… but that means that everyone was too busy to talk to the missionaries because they wanted to watch the game. We did go visit one family and all of the boys but the dad left when we started the lessons because the second half was started haha. On Sunday was the Primary Program and that was fun to watch like it always is haha. But nothing really crazy happened there. There were 10 or 11 kids there. We had a super spiritual lesson with one of our amis whose from Nigeria and you could totally tell he was feeling the spirit his whole demeanor was totally different than any other visit we had with him and it was cool. I love you all hope you have a safe and wonderful week. Happy Thanksgiving love Elder Stephens

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Meeting an Apostle


Group Letter

This week was awesome we meet a less active member who works for a newspaper. He's a journalist, they have crazy schedules. We also were able to meet a guy that we contacted during one of our lessons he's so cool his dad is a judge and I feel he is ready to have the gospel in his life. Then for the Grand finally yesterday we had Elder D Todd Christofferson come and visit Cameroon. He talked with the members and we had some investigators come and listen. So awesome and then he came and talked with us the missionaries personally it was so awesome he talked about how so important to teach repentance and how it is so key everything. He talked about how we need to repent of even the little things and things that had happened long ago because otherwise we can't be found spotless. He told us how he had to ask forgiveness for his brother for something that had happened a long long time ago and it was easy but he still had to do it. I'm so grateful to be here on my mission and to be able to bring peace and joy to others. I know that Jesus Christ is my redeemer I know that he lives and loves us and wants us to follow the example he has set for us. I love you all hope you have a wonderful week. Love Elder Stephens






Monday, November 7, 2016

Visits & Videos


Hello,

   This week was another super fast week. Next Monday we will have Elder D. Todd Christofferson come and visit the district of Cameroon and then after he is going to talk to us. It is pretty funny how people prepare for an apostle to come the church gets remodeled and the missionaries buy new clothes it’s quite a sight.  Something funny.... the elders in my apartment tried to make a funny video right before they went to bed about someone who couldn't speak French meet and American it was hilarious language barriers are real. I know that in our lessons the lord sends us his spirit to help us teach those who are ready to hear the Gospel. I love you all. I hope you have a wonderful week this week.

Love,

Elder Stephens

Republic of Congo, Brazzaville Mission / Cameroun District



Monday, October 31, 2016

Fast Week


Hello,

This week has flown by. Wow I can’t believe it’s already Monday again. This week we taught a lot of our members and that was awesome one of our members said that it had been three years since the missionaries visited him. He lives on the other side of Yaoundé it took almost an hour to get to his house. So in branches sometimes the missionaries are home teachers, so we home teach the branch President (Bishop) the second counselor in the branch presidency (bishop rick) and the elders quorum President. So we were able to visit all of them but the branch president wasn't there so we taught his niece who lives with his family as she goes to school here in Yaoundé. We got to go to the Elliot’s and eat some large fresh shrimp. It is the size of a Lobster! That was my week. Hope you all had a safe week, I love you all. Remember to choose the right and don't forget to pray our Father in Heaven is just waiting for us to pray to him all we have to do is open our mouths and speak or pray in our hearts. Have a great week.

Love Elder Stephens

Monday, October 24, 2016

Chauffeur and Zoo


Hello Everybody

This week was great it was filled with reading the scriptures, teaching some people, getting contacts from sisters in Washington DC North mission and then finding the person they sent to us. He's a Civil Engineer. It was pretty cool he gave us a ride in his car which he has a chauffeur for to the church sweet. Then we had a guy who took the lessons a long time ago call us and asked us if he could come to church and what time it was at and then he was there it was awesome, Then to top it off our zone went to the Zoo What yes the Zoo and we saw crocodiles, monkeys, baboons i think, a crazy African water bird with a massive beak vipers and pythons and then we had lunch which was chicken and French fries at this bar by our house all in all it was pretty sweet week this week. Hope you all have a wonderful week I love you all and remember to read your scriptures and say your prayers Heavenly Father is literally our father and so it’s kind of good when we talk with our earthly fathers and get advice from them hope you all stay safe love you.



Love,

Elder Preston Stephens

Republic of Congo Brazzaville Mission, Cameroon District
Preston.stephens@myldsmail.net


Monday, October 17, 2016

Recovery


Hello everyone

This week was recovery from our ingrown toenails being cut so Elder Gilbert and I stayed at the apartment while our comps went out to teach so our investigators wouldn't think that we left them. We got to listen to conference and study. On Friday president Monga came to visit us and to talk with the ward leaders  he talked to us first to know what wasn't working here haha, then we got pizza and then we had some lessons and On Saturday we had a Yaoundé priesthood session and it was very good I loved what the leaders said. I hope that you all have a wonderful week. I know that we are where we are for a reason and that the lord has put us in a place that we can benefit the others most. I love you all!


Love,
Elder Preston Stephens

Monday, October 10, 2016

Chicken Feet & Cat Poop


Bonjour,

So, this week I’ll get right to the point. So for those of you who only read this for the funny stories or just want the “Highlights or the Whiteouts” here is the story for this week. My companion and I arrive at the house of some recent converts not everyone is there so we sit down to wait for the rest to arrive. The cat very nice cat comes and sits on my lap normal, the cat likes when I pet her. Well it gets off and goes to elder Tshibanda then comes back to me. Well he leaves again and….. To my surprise I look down to find cat diahreah on my white shirt…. And well white and poop do not go together. I turn to elder Tshibanda and I said ok I think it’s time to go and he said yea we will come back on Saturday. So we had a long humiliating walk home so I could change my shirt… I promise I will not be having any more animals on me. So that would be the whiteout for the week. Highlight I had Chicken Feet! So good! (Picture attached)  Also I had my toenail arranged (cut/surgery) so my foot will hopefully be better. (My mom has a gnarly pic if you want to see it)  Well that was my week. We watched conference and loved it. Read the book of Mormon. Love you guys have a great week.

Love,

Elder Stephens

Republic of Congo, Brazzaville Mission / Cameroun District





Monday, October 3, 2016

Small Things


Hello Everyone

This week I studied in the book of Mormon and well Alma and Amuleck are some of my favorite missionaries in the book of Mormon. They had to do hard things, suffer, were beaten, and starved but they did not lose faith in Christ. They stayed strong and in doing that they escaped the prison in which they were bound. I know that we all go through hard times whether it is now or later. I know that if we stay strong and believe in Christ and don’t stop doing the little things we will be blessed. I love the quote “the way you do small things is the way you do all things.” If we don’t take the little things seriously we won’t be able to take the big things seriously. So that was my studies then on Thursday we were invited to go have enchiladas with a couple in our district. They were so good. And then on Saturday we had our baptisms and that was totally awesome. Hope you all have a great week this week love you.

Love,

Elder Stephens

Republic of Congo, Brazzaville Mission / Cameroun District

Preston.stephens@myldsmail.net

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Point of Cameroon where it was consecrated for missionary work


Bonjour tout le monde,              

                C’est Elder Stephens Ecore! Just another week out in beautiful Cameroon. This week was good we had baptism interviews on Saturday so this Saturday we should have some baptsims =) so excited! Saturday I got to work with our district leader Elder Scofield he’s from Arizona he’s really cool. Fun fact he got to work on the mesa Arizona temple AC system! So because of the exchange Elder Tshibanda went to work in he’s sector in Eleveur. On Sunday the district president came and spoke. It was funny, so he’s shorter and only speaks French so he in our sacrament meeting had to be translated by our second councilor and he’s super tall. So it was funny to see the two of them up there just like complete opposites. Monday we went to the point in Cameroon where it was consecrated for missionary work it was so beautiful. My mom will post pictures when I can send them. Look for an opportunity to serve someone say hello to someone who looks sad or a neighbor you don’t normally talk to but if the least you should do is smile. It is impossible to be in a bad mood when if your fake smiling, I promise. I know Jesus Christ is out redeemer and through him we can accomplish anything, love you guys hope you have a wonderful week!

Love,

Elder Stephens

Republic of Congo, Brazzaville Mission / Cameroun District

Preston.stephens@myldsmail.net


Monday, September 19, 2016

Smile at someone today


Hello Everyone,

                This week was awesome so my companion and I were coming home from our last appointment and met a couple who are in the French branch who are both returned missionaries, and they were on a date to get pizza and they saw us and invited us to have pizza with them it was so cool and then they bought us ice cream it was so nice of them. So yea that was just awesome haha. We are preparing some people to be baptized on the 1st of October it will be interesting because we are doing a district baptism but the other branches speak French so we might do the talking in separate rooms and then have the baptisms together but we are still planning that one. We just got a new investigator who’s a mom with I think two kids and I believe her husband’s possibly interested too. We haven’t met them yet but they live next to a member who is good friends with them and so I hope all goes well with that. On Sunday Elder Tshibanda and I had to speak in church we finished blessing the sacrament and “our first speaker will be Elder Stephens” I turn to my companion “What am I going to speak on?” “I don’t know” “Ok thanks” well I gave my talk and then we sang and then he had to speak too. Then a member of the district presidency got up to speak after him. Gotta love Sundays, I hope that you all had a wonderful Sunday and a wonderful week. Be kind to others and smile, a little smile can change your whole day even if you are fake smiling so just try it!

Love,

Elder Stephens

Republic of Congo, Brazzaville Mission / Cameroun District



Preston.stephens@myldsmail.net


Monday, September 12, 2016

Gaze into the Heavens


Hello Everyone,

                This week has been another beautiful week here in Yaoundé, on Tuesday President and Sister Monga came to visit us for a zone conference. Also Elder and Sister Call came up from Doula as well. It was cool to actually meet them because last time I saw them it was for about three minutes when they picked us up from the airport and dropped us off at the airport. So this week was good. We had a guy call us and asked us to meet him, we were like yes when are you available we were stoked  he lives far away but we still went out to meet him it was so cool he’s super interested in the gospel so that was the highlight of our week. In my studies of the gospel this week I read something I really liked in true to the faith it says “From time to time, ponder the beauties of creation: trees, flowers, animals, mountains, the waves of the ocean, a new born child. Take time to gaze into the heavens, where the courses of the stars and planets are evidence of ‘God moving in his majesty and power’ (D&C 88: 41-47)” This week I encourage you to do that. I know that this gospel is true and I know that Jesus is my savior and redeemer I hope you all have a wonderful week love Elder Stephens




Love,

Elder Stephens

Republic of Congo, Brazzaville Mission / Cameroun District


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Burdens and Trials


Bonjour Tout le monde!

This week in Cameroon it has been very cool. It has rained a lot and we had an ami who we have been working with who accepted to come to church. It was awesome and then well he came it was so awesome. Some scriptures that I read with my companion during our studies that really touched me this week were:  

Mosiah 23:21 Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith.  

Sometimes the lord gives us trials to keep us humble and to show us that we do need to do the things he asks but that he knows our strengths and weaknesses individually.

Mosiah 24:15 And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the lord.

The lord didn’t take away their burdens or trials but he helped them to get through them. I know that the lord loves us and wants us to grow and sometimes that means doing hard things. I know my savior lives and is our redeemer and our older brother. I love you all I hope that you have a great week. 

Love,

Elder Stephens

Republic of Congo, Brazzaville Mission/ Cameroon District



Preston.stephens@myldsmail.net


Monday, August 29, 2016

New Companion & New Country


Hello everyone!

How are you doing? Well I made it to Yaoundé, Cameroon. I’m in a jungle it is so beautiful here luscious green everywhere you turn so amazing you can’t even imagine. I want to thank everyone for all their support and prayers. I Hope you are all doing well. My companion is elder Tshibanda. He is from Lumbashi DRC. (Democratic Republic of Congo) The other elders in my apartment are Elder Dorson from AZ and Elder Tokiniaina from Madagascar. My comp has only been here for 6 weeks more than me so it’s hard right now because we are trying to get everything to work and know where to go and how much it is. haha the life of new.  

I am in Bastos B which is in English!? What? Yes, it’s the only branch in my entire mission (5 countries) where we speak English haha. When we are teaching in other meetings like district meetings its back to French haha it’s a good work out keeps you on your toes because I have to keep my French studies because I’m in a French city still. The weather is just to die for, it rains for like 5 minutes or 20 and then sunshine it’s kind of like Florida but not as humid.  The food is so different here and much cheaper so tonight I am cooking and I’m making hamburgers!!!! I’m so excited to do that and then Friday I’m making spaghetti. So awesome! We eat a lot more beef here because it’s easier to prepare and you can just put it with anything haha.

This week in sacrament my companion talked about the saviors sacrifice and how important it is in our lives but we all have to make sacrifices which change our life. I’m so grateful for those who have made sacrifices to help me be the person I am today. I love you all have a wonderful week.

Love,

Elder Stephens

Republic of Congo, Brazzaville Mission










Monday, August 22, 2016

Leaving Brazzaville


Bonjour Well!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm going to Cameroon tomorrow! I have a flight that’s like 6 hours because we have a stop and then a 4 hour bus ride to my new villa. I’m so excited to see more of my mission. (my mom’s attaching a picture of the flight to show the 5 countries in my mission)(plus the lizard from last week, the Elders from my old apartment, and a sister we’ve been teaching)

This week was crazy with my companion having to do tons of baptismal interviews and then we had a reunion with all the missionaries who had finished training. I had to go because we never had time to do the reunion before with the craziness of Brazza and then Elder Ellis coming here so yea.

Well this week it’s never give up. The Lord is with us and it’s his time not ours. I hope that everyone is getting ready for conference; yes I know it’s in over a month but I’m so excited to here from President Monson.

I am so grateful for the knowledge that my family will be forever because of the blessings of the temple I love you all 

I hope you all have a great week!

Love,

Elder Stephens

Republic of Congo, Brazzaville Mission








Monday, August 15, 2016

Lizard Eggs


Bonjour tout le monde! (Hello Everyone!)

Comment allez-vous? (How are you?)



Bon (Good) this week was good we were assigned to work in two sectors because we closed one so we were super busy.

On Sunday our ward choir sung in Lary. It was really cool it sounded like something from Lilo and Stitch. Then we sang the third and fourth verse in French it was really awesome.

I saw a lizard lay eggs.... that was pretty cool. I wasn’t moving and I was like oh is it dead. Then it popped out an egg, oh so sorry mama didn’t mean to startle you and then we all just looked at it and she stared at me.....

Other than that our week was normal. I’m so grateful for all your support. Elder Holland 2010 October conference gave a wonderful talk about gratitude mom can you attach a link to it please? I listened to that talk this morning and it was just amazing. I think that sometimes we forget the wonderful people in our lives so thank you and I love you all.


(Great FHE video idea for tonight!)



Love,

Elder Stephens

Republic of Congo, Brazzaville Mission













Monday, August 8, 2016

Called to SERVE


Hello everyone

Well we had baby transfers this week and so our apartment will be losing Elder Larson and Elder Manasse. This week went by really fast. We had interviews with the president Friday morning. I want to say thank you again for all of the birthday wishes it was weird this week I only got to tell 2 people in our lessons that I was 19. Normally it’s like 6-7 times every week because we find lots of new people but the problem is getting them to stick. I am so very grateful for my call and all the support that each of you has given me and my family. I want to say thank you to all who have helped my family while I am away. 

Oh hey I think I forgot to share that  2 weeks ago we got to do Mormon helping hands and we cleaned the windows at one of the hospitals it was really cool! We don’t get to do a ton of service here. We try to help people wash dishes or clothes but they never accept our help, or only for like 1 minute. Come on people we are called to serve not to teach.

The best thing that a member can do is to be living in a way to be a great example. When you are a good example the people will come to you and ask “What makes you so you so happy or do the things you do?”

I love you guys and I know that through the atonement of Jesus Christ we can live with our families again. What peace and joy that gives me, if you doubt that or want to have that assurance, pray and ask god if it’s true. I know his response because I have done it but the only way you can know the truth of all things is to ask for yourself. Love you all!



--

Love,

Elder Stephens

Republic of Congo, Brazzaville Mission

Preston.stephens@myldsmail.net


Monday, August 1, 2016

6 month mark and Birthday


Hello everyone,

Well the best thing on your birthday is being on a large bus filled with Africans and its all hot and sweaty happy birthday haha. jk but that’s what we do here on Mondays if we need to go shopping. Thank you all so much for you birthday wishes. The lord blessed my computer and I was able to read all of them. It was truly a miracle! I couldn’t believe my inbox thank you all so much. This week was good we’ve been walking a lot and searching for new amis. We found and old ami and we went to visit her, and were like so what’s your favorite scripture and she’s like the sacrament prayers? Ok why. Well ok do you want to be baptized?..... Yes... I was in shock after the lesson I asked elder Kamba what didn’t I understand what’s the problem that I didn’t get. The lord prepares people to hear his word and sometimes we plant the seeds and other times we reap I’m so grateful for my mission and the chance to serve the lord here in the Congo. ; love you all



--

Love,

Elder Stephens

Republic of Congo, Brazzaville Mission


Monday, July 25, 2016

Listen to the Spirit


Bonjour cet semaine 

Oops 

This week was good we had Elder Ellis come and visit us he taught us and it was awesome! He taught us using just the scriptures which my companion said they normally use preach my gospel but it was way better that he only used scriptures. His wife taught us about having the faith to continue even when it is really difficult. She also spoke to us in French haha. The spirit is so important if we don’t listen to the spirit it’s going to leave cuz we never listen to him, but if we change and decide to listen he will start to guide us again. I'm so very grateful for all of you who support me and I want you to know that I love you.

Love,

Elder Stephens

Republic of Congo, Brazzaville Mission
preston.stephens@myldsmail.net

Monday, July 18, 2016

It's the little things....


Hello Everyone,

This week has been good we finally had a baptism it was awesome and then... they came late to church so we couldn’t finish the confirmation, so next week. I went on splits in the jungle with Elder Bemba. (see pic) This week I have learned the advantage of daily relations or cleaning or visits prevent large problems, big messes, less actives or falling away. I love the quote "The way you do small things is the way you do all things" it’s the little things that really matter in all aspects of life in your family or in a job interview or in your job. When we take the time to do the little things people (the lord) notices and even though we don’t know they are watching they are. I'm so very grateful for my family and the wonderful support to me that they are. I am so very grateful for my mission call to the Congo. I know and will continue to learn to appreciate all the little things that I took for granted at home ha-ha. I love you guys and I am so grateful for all your support.



--

Love,

Elder Stephens

Republic of Congo, Brazzaville Mission






Monday, July 11, 2016

Transfers


This week in the Congo its transfers and I’m staying in Guynemer haha but we have a new Elder coming and Elder Dou is leaving Elder Larson is going to come to Guynemer. The 6 in my apartment stayed the same. This week our ami canceled the baptism because she wants her mom to come and well we need her mom's signature anyway so yea but other than that the Congo has been cooler. (I even bought a sweat suit, but the connection isn’t letting me download anything so I can’t send pictures) The temperature has dropped but one day this week it was super hot but just on Thursday. My companion and I are going to come up with a new plan to shake up our baptism numbers and get some more so we don't become stagnant in our area.

I got to meet Elder Cicon today in the mission office he came down from Pointe Noire to get his companion he's going to be training a new missionary.

Have a great week,

Elder Preston Stephens

Republic of Congo, Brazzaville Mission






Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Happy Fourth of July


Happy Fourth of July! I love our flag! I get to see it every time I walk past the U.S. Embassy here. Be proud to be an American and take time to think about the freedoms you have and everything you do. And how you live in a country where you don't have to have the military drive around the streets all the time.

This week was filled with adventures and such nice things…. Now when would that ever happen haha just kidding this is the magic week we receive our transfer letters at the end of the week and we also have a baptism and oh wait we found a sweet investigator we just need to convert someone who's been analyzing scriptures longer than I’ve been alive easy enough right, well there's one thing that I do know that one I know that the book of Mormon is true yesss!!! And I know that people have been trying to prove it wrong for years without success so yea that’s easy but now we get to the hard part of getting someone to read it and ask god. We can all read stats and reports and those things are good and we can know it’s true but having a testimony that's what makes the difference.  Are we converted or are we convinced that is the question? I’m so grateful to be here in the Congo doing the lord's work I know he has sent me here to the Congo for a reason and well we'll never know all of the reasons and the benefits til after this life I love you all have a great week

Love Elder Stephens


preston.stephens@myldsmail.net

Monday, June 27, 2016

Opposition


Hello Family and Friends,



We had dinner with Sr Ruth again. (See picture) She’s an Ami. She works and she is a teacher and she sells stuff too. She’s awesome she wants to pay tithing but apparently here you can't pay tithing before your baptism. She is a strong woman of faith.

Our Stake President told us 6 months after he was baptized he was called to be the Branch President and then he was facing opposition in all things because the members took it upon themselves to show him where it says in the scriptures we will face opposition. They were giving him opposition.

I got sick this week so every day when I got home I went straight to bed. I cut my ingrown toe nail as Julie L instructed so I hope that feels better soon. It has been very painful and we walk a lot.

Remember Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest.

This was the scripture I chose for my mission plaque. It was important to me then and means even more to me now.

I hope everyone has a great week,



Love,

Elder Stephens

Republic of Congo, Brazzaville Mission


Monday, June 20, 2016

Two weeks in one


6/13/16

Ok this week in the Congo,

We played soccer and we found in the park they put a workout section where you have machines but they just use your own body weight as the resistance that was awesome so were going to run there in the mornings and work out. Hopefully the other elders can keep to their word for that. We had an ami feed us and oh my goodness that was so so good. We were stuffed and could barely walk after we ate. I want you guys to know I’m praying for you. You learn to pray about every second of  your mission your praying for the lessons and your praying more than your teaching and your praying to know what to say what the people are even saying it’s fun haha. I know that the church is true and that through Joseph Smith the Lord has restored his gospel.


6/20/16

We had more baptisms this week. I’ll attach photos. We are working with one guy who likes beer. So we told him he would have to drink the kind without alcohol. And he said “NO, that’s for women.” I died laughing and my comp did too. The Bishop called the out the people of the ward out for not being on time and respecting the sacrament. He said if the President came and was giving out $ you wouldn’t be late you would be on time. It was funny. (But true) The mission President doesn’t want us going to that park to work out. He says it’s not safe. We think it is but President does not… Life in Africa….. The Sister missionaries have been asking me to translate for Sr. Bills (she works in the mission office and only speaks English) I would love letters for my Birthday coming up. I’ll have my mom put the address on again. But you can email too. Please visit the temple. Have a great week.



Elder Preston Stephens

27 Avenue De Le Base La Frontiere

Moungali

Brazzaville

Republic of Congo



Love,

Elder Stephens

Republic of Congo, Brazzaville Mission


preston.stephens@myldsmail.net



Monday, June 6, 2016

Acclimated


There was a baptism this week not for us but for other missionaries which my companion and I witnessed. This week was more less the normal we walked a lot. We started teaching a new investigator who’s been coming to church but we haven’t gotten to meet with him yet but he’s been coming to church so were basically just flying through the lessons because he’s already been taught them at church in gospel principles... (Taught by the missionaries) so were just did you understand that do you have any questions just like one on one stuff so it’s easy haha. I’m going crazy! It was 85 the other day I had to put my jacket on. One of the elders from RDC was soaked and I was wearing a jacket haha my companion and I like to wear our jackets. I’m so very grateful for my mission call and I know that the Lord has sent me here for a reason. I love all your letters and emails they make me smile and laugh. Love you guys. Read your scriptures they are the way that the Lord has given us written instructions and answers to our prayers.



--

Love,

Elder Stephens

Republic of Congo, Brazzaville Mission










Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Staying in Brazzaville


Hello from Brazzaville,

This week was good I shocked Presidents hand today. It's been a couple of weeks since I got to do that haha. Brazzaville problems haha. We got our transfer letters and I will be in Guynemer Ward for another 6 weeks. All the Elders in our apartment are still here. I got my shirts that I had tailored back and wow they are awesome! I’m going to have her clean up 2 more shirts. It feels good to have clothes that fit. Yesterday we watched the Face2face with Elder Bednar after that we watched a seminary devotional from Elder Maynes who is in the Presidency of the Seventy. He talked about the restoration. It was good and spiritual. We had an elder leave to go on a mission from our ward.  He's going to Ivory Coast on his mission. It was so cool to see him leave. They played a video of all the elders from the stake who are returned missionaries talk about their experience it was really cool but we had to go early cuz it was dark outside haha. I Love being here in the Congo. Oh yea elder Bacera and Elder Sperry go home tonight. Crazy but what's also crazy is I’m 4 months into this mission its crazy time has flown by. I hope you enjoy your Memorial Day. The flag at our US Embassy was flown at half mast today.

Love,

Elder Stephens

Republic of Congo, Brazzaville Mission



Monday, May 23, 2016

First Baptism


Hello Everyone,

This week was awesome we had a Baptism and I baptized my first convert Fr. Vince. It was so awesome and the spirit was strong.  (This is the attached picture)

I want to share a quick story this week about the power of the gift of tongues. On Sunday we were teaching the boyfriend of one of our amis and after I presented myself the first thing he said was I can’t speak French... I don’t know if he couldn’t or choose not to so my companion taught the lesson in Lingala. I can’t speak Lingala if you didn’t know but….. at a point in the lesson the spirit said to me hey talk about this.... why I don’t know. I don’t even know what subject they were actually talking about but I followed the prompting.... wow it was perfect as my companion said.  I know that the spirit will tell us what we need to say or do in all situations we just need to choose to listen and do as he directs.  I love all your letters love you guys have a wonderful week.

Love,

Elder Stephens

Republic of Congo, Brazzaville Mission
preston.stephens@myldsmail.net



Monday, May 16, 2016

Two in One


Last Monday Preston was having computer issues. He asked me to put together his letter from the Mother’s Day Skype. Then he wrote this and I didn’t see it until Sunday!! (Yesterday) So I’m sending it out today also.

First letter

Hello everyone The connection today is terrible and it won’t load the church’s website to write president but so is life I got to Elder Legerskis apartment tonight so like in a couple of hours so we will have fun I can't wait my comp is killing me I don't know how I am going to do another 6 weeks if we don't transfer but watch just my luck we'll be together.

We have our interview for our baptism on Thursday and then if he passes on Saturday we will have the baptism I hope that it all works and that he can we've been fasting and praying for a baptism for a long time but that's what happens when you get a new area book. So you have to start from square one with all of your amis I love being here in the Congo it's nice weather once you get a good burn layer on. I obviously have one so all is good my head is another story so it might not ever be able to short like at home cuz the sun is just really strong here. I looking at buy a new pair of pants because the ones i have now are just huge haha and they look bad because they are so big I can't believe I used to fit in them haha my shirts are just going to have to do because I don’t have the money to buy new shirts cuz it's expensive and hard to find good white shirts. And mine fit they just need to be slim fit now not hulk status. That is what happens to Elders that come to Brazzaville heavy or anywhere in my mission you work and walk all day eat less food and when you do eat it's more vegetarian based cuz that’s cheaper. But such is life here in the Brazzaville mission. We got water but then they turned it off again. I really wonder who is in charge here. I've heard the other apartments sometimes have power but it's on a schedule of 2 days on one day off. At least that's regular haha. Well I love you all I hope you have a great day and week I can't wait to hear from you guys stay safe and choose the right.

Oh thank you so much for being ready to Skype I’m so grateful we were able to and that we were blessed with no technical difficulties.

Second Letter

Hello, I bought new pants ($10) that hopefully will fit me and not look terribly baggy on me cuz I’ve lost so much weight. I also found my short sleeve suit coat <3. I am waiting to purchase it at the end of my mission when I can barter better. I am so sorry to hear about Boaz. I had a feeling he wouldn’t be there when I got back. The dogs here are abused and miserable. It’s hard for me to see them the way they are.

This week we have a baptism yay!!!! I’m so excited for that. And we have water now that’s been on for two days and the washing machine is working better so this week was pretty awesome. We are also teaching family home evening for the YSA (Young Single Adult) in our ward tonight so we’ll see how that goes my companion wants to teach marriage eternal......

I love my Mission I know that the Lord called me to the Congo. I know that the book of Mormon is the word of god. I know that Joseph Smith was called of God to return the gospel to the earth.

I love all of your emails I appreciate your support.

Pictures are:  Presidents Birthday dinner at the Chinese Restaurant.
The snails here are HUGE!
I am wearing my Raincoat with some other Elders.
Group Shot

Love,

Elder Stephens

Republic of Congo, Brazzaville Mission

Monday, May 9, 2016

Mother's Day


Hello everyone, 

This week was a normal one. Jk Oh wait I got to call home! That was awesome!!! It was great to talk to my family yesterday. My mom will put pictures on my blog from the Skype. Dexter’s hair is crazy and I’m jealous Bry got to go to the temple! Not sure about my feelings on the house. Wish I could help with it.

 We have a baptism for this week I am so excited for that. We taught a lot and then it rained a ton. We got water back but then we lost it again. It’s rough but then Sister Monga (the mission president’s wife) came over and told us she wasn’t sorry for us because we could be catching it every day!!! It rains so hard that we could fill up a 60 gallon trash can in 3 min! When they turn the water off we are supposed to catch it. We take bucket showers. It changes our morning routine with 6 Elders getting ready.

 Today was president’s birthday so we came and sang and then he took us out to Chinese food haha it was fun cuz all the missionaries in Brazzaville came. Sister Bills also made a cake. I love you guys and all of your support.

I was going to send some pics but the connection is to slow this week. I’ll try next week.

Love,

Elder Stephens

Republic of Congo, Brazzaville Mission




Monday, May 2, 2016

No Water and address to write letters


Hey guys!

We haven’t had water this week so that’s been a challenge.

We also have had mission office meetings all week. My companion is now DL (District Leader) He’s not thrilled about that. It’s more work. We have been taking the bus more. Which is nice. I’m down 20 lbs.

We teach English on Saturdays at the church and that is starting to grow. I talk to people about the Temple every day and we show them pictures.

We just got a new store here. It has peanut butter like from the USA. I’ve been trying to buy one spice a month. I just got herbes of Provence. The Senior Sister bills said to use it on chicken. When we make Fish we cut it into three pieces. (that’s why someone always gets the tail or the head) We made papaya jam yesterday.

I would really love letters in the mail. My mom is attaching the mission home address to send them to. We go there weekly.

I hope all the Moms have a wonderful Mother’s Day. I am excited to Skype my family! If you have any questions I told my mom to have them ready. So email her. Have a great week.



Elder Stephens

27 Avenue De Le

Base La Frontiere

Moungali

Brazzaville

Republic of Congo



Love,

Elder Stephens

Republic of Congo, Brazzaville Mission







Monday, April 25, 2016

Whole Cloves


Hello

This week has been pretty awesome most of our amis are reading and the others are progressing. Our one who’s read the gospel principles book was talking about wine and so we brought up the word of wisdom and he started to go back and forth then we were like do you believe Joseph Smith was a prophet? .. Yea ... ok then.

We’ve had some crazy lighting here in the Congo it was so loud the house shook and all the concrete.

I cut my finger so we didn’t have a ton of bread haha which is good and then elder Temahuki (from Tahiti) made doughnuts which I dipped in cinnamon sugar. They were awesome. I bought cloves today but they aren’t ground. I didn’t know that. I’m going to find out a way to grind cloves haha gotta love Africa.

I’m so grateful to be here in Africa. It is the best place to serve I think. I think it’s amazing I’m still alive by how these taxi drivers drive though. It’s like Nascar, let’s see how close we can get to a head on collision or something. I’ll be different when I get back haha hopefully not haha.

I love you guys so much hope your having a good time in the sun or snow cuz here it’s raining or sweating haha so always wet love you.


--

Love,

Elder Stephens

Republic of Congo, Brazzaville Mission


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Conference


This week has been crazy! I got the French kissy thing (where they kiss each cheek) and a hug from one of our amis I just stood there like a statue cuz I had no idea what to do haha.

We watched conference Sunday. I love what elder Uchdorff said about choosing to be rescued, we need to decide now if we want to be rescued and choose to be rescued by our Savior and take the steps to walk back to him.

We have two amis who are really progressing.

One of our amis has read the entire gospel principles book.... I haven’t even read the whole thing. I’m really hoping he gets baptized on the 7th. We might not get to on that date cuz he hasn’t been to church four times but I’m hoping we will. Our other ami looks like she’ll be baptized in a couple of months. She has some like personal things and idk it sounds like she might move out from the people she’s living with. They aren’t cool with the church so it’s awesome that she is willing to do that. She also came to all four hours of church conference on Sunday and she got there an hour early.... we forgot to tell her about the time change.... but she stayed thank goodness. Well it’s hot and our power is funky. Sometimes we have it, sometimes we don’t the washing machine is not usable still and my knuckles are not pleased. We have to have white shirts.



I made bread this morning and I’ve got to make it again tonight. I’m going to be good at making bread when I come home.

The cookie I made was snicker doodle but I just made it into a big pan cuz I didn’t want to roll out cookies and the pan in the pic is the only oven pan we have I think they are going to buy me another cuz I can’t cook African food but I can bake and they seem to like it when I bake so I’m cooking more.



I love your emails and I appreciate all your support love you 



Love,

Elder Stephens

Republic of Congo, Brazzaville Mission