Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hey All!

How is everyone doing? Alright my week…

7/21/09- P-DAY! And we had a major "Faith" day. Elder Norton and I really got taken care of! We had someone offer to buy our groceries, then buy us lunch, and drive us wherever we needed to go. It was awesome! And the guy that drove us around was from Canada, and he was driving a 2002 Mustang GT Convertible. It was so sweet, and fast!!!

Oh, and I got six letters that day, too. All from my friends! BooYa!

7/22/09-I went on a 24-HOUR EXCHANGE with Elder Fairbanks, one of our Zone Leaders. It was so awesome! Elder Fairbanks is a stud, and he loves what he is doing. He's been out for 16 months, and doesn't want to go back home to Canada. He was telling me that he would trade places with me so fast. Shoot, I wish I was in his spot. Haha. Maybe in 15 months I'll be the same. :D But, I do love it out here! It's amazing.

So guess who Elder Fairbanks and I met??

....Harrison Ford

Ok, I lied. We taught a guy who looked just like, and I mean just like, Harrison Ford! When he came to the door I about freaked out. :D

I had a lot of fun on my exchange. I learned a lot from Elder Fairbanks. I really look up to him, as does everyone in our zone.

7/23/09-MY FIRST ZONE CONFERENCE was today. I got to see Elders Smith and Whitby, two buddies of mine from the MTC. It was good to see them again. We also taught Barbara and her future husband Mike about the Restoration, and we committed Mike for baptism on August 23rd, and he said "yes". Ca-ching!

I also gave my first comfort-blessing today, and it was awesome! I don't remember what I said, but afterwards she was crying like a baby. The spirit was so strong. She was concerned as to what to do next in her life, she was at a fork in the road, and didn't know what path to take. So she called us Missionaries. It was awesome!

7/24/09-PIONEER DAY! I have never seen anything in my life like I saw today!

It was pretty sweet. Fireworks, big old parades, BBQ’s everywhere; Elder Norton and I got fed so much!!!

We also taught Maria, and she wants to be baptized, as well as her two kids. She's a single-mother with six kids. It's really sad, but she knows that the church is true, and that, in turn, will bless her life so much.

Ok, cool story here... I told you about Karen, right? The 37 year-old single, hippy-ish lady? Anyways, we taught her and we talked about the Word or Wisdom and after we taught her that, she stood up, walked to the kitchen, and came back with her unused tobacco and her lighter that she gave to us to get rid of.
It was so cool to see her change that fast. Oh man, it was awesome!

7/25/09-SUCKED!!! We ran into four “Anti's”. Like hardcore. One was a Wicken. He had on his chest the most Satan-ized pentagram tattoo, and the wing of Satan on his leg (in the Wicken church they refer to Satan as the One-winged Angel). We just felt so evil and empty when we were around him. He cussed us out, and the Book of Mormon, and left. Yeah. So, for the rest of the day we were depressed.

But, then we went over to check up on Karen to see how she was doing. We went inside and talked to her for a little bit, and she brought up the question of coffee. Well, we told her about how coffee is....etc.
She got up, walked to the kitchen, pulled out her coffee, and dumped it down the sink! Elder Norton and I were like "Ooh!" It was so cool, and she....SHE asked for a blessing. So we gave her one. Yeah, it started out as a crappy day, but ended up a good day. :D

7/26/09-ROCKED! We spoke in two wards. One being a 35+ singles ward....which was depressing as all get out, but it's all good. We also had a Youth Fireside and that rocked! The subject was missionary work, and how to be a better missionary. It was so much fun. We did role-plays with them and little activities and just really got to know them. Afterwards we had root beer floats (note-Elder Evans LOVES rootbeer floats!)...

...and all the youth came up to us, and told us they had someone they were going to share the gospel with that week. I love working with the youth! It's so much fun, and so spiritual.

7/27/09-WE TAUGHT another family named the Murphy’s, and it rocked! We committed the 13 year-old for baptism....she said "yes". Ca-Ching!

Tomorrow, I have another exchange with Elder Schanner, the Swede. He'll be in my area, so that means.....I'll be the senior comp! Haha. It's going to be sweet! Elder Schanner is so funny, and probably has ADHD (note-Gee, I wonder how he was able to make that possible "diagnosis" so quickly? ;-D), but he's so awesome!

Oh yeah, is my plaque up at the Church? I wish I could have put a scripture on it. Since I have come on the Mission, my favorite scripture is 3 Nephi 5:13...

"Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of
him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life."

I taped this verse to my study desk, so every morning I read it out-loud, and it helps me know why I'm here and what I'm called to do. It's such an awesome scripture! I hope that I'm everything you guys want me to be, and that my example is helping those back home who are getting ready to go on a mission.

The world doesn't matter anymore when you are carrying the name of Jesus Christ on your chest. Every morning I read 3 Nephi 5:13, and after I read it, I put on my name tag and that gets me through the day. I look forward to the day that you and Dad get to go on a mission and are able to wear the name of Jesus Christ on your chest, as representatives of Him. There is nothing better.

I want you guys to know I love you, and think about you all the time. May God bless you, and keep you safe.

Elder Evans, the 4th (note-following in the foot-steps of his father and 2 older brothers)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Week 3...101 More To Go! :-D

(July 21, 2009)

Hey everyone,

How is life treating you guys? Logan, is amazing! I love it!

Before I talk about my week, I have a question for Dad. Dad, is there anyway you can send me a copy of the book about Great-Grandpa trading with the Indians that I can have and give to an investigator? [note-Stephen's great-grandfather owned a trading post in Shiprock, New Mexico, where he traded goods with the Navajo Indians who lived in the area]. I told you about the Navajo man that we have been teaching and I really feel that if I give him that book he will open up more, and one day, become a member of this Church

Anyways, my week…
So, we got all the lessons set up that Elder Perry ask us to, all 18 with 6 pending.....they all fell through. :(

…Well, not all, like 15 of them, but check this out…

The 17th I was so tired! We must've walked like 20 miles, no joke. It was about 7 pm and we went and visited a PI (Potential Investigator). She is 37, single, and is really kinda hippy-ish, but, she's major nice. So we talked to her and set up a lesson with her on Monday. As we were walking away, Elder Norton suggested that we knock these apartments. So we did. At the first two there was no answer, the third door was the manger, the 4th door....

We knocked on it, and a man comes to it. The door is half-way open, and he has a look on his face like, "Great, this is all I need!" We introduced ourselves and he was kinda rude to us. He wasn't interested in what we had to say, but as we were about to leave I saw that he had the TOPPS basball card logo tattooed on his forearm...

(Role-Play time)
Elder Evans: So, I take it you like baseball cards?
Man: Yeah, I collect them. I had about 2,000 of them, but I had to sell them for rent, and whatnot.
Elder Evans: Really? That's awesome! I used to collect them too....

And Boom! We just started talking. It was awesome. He came outside with us and talked. He was smoking, but that didn't stop us. :D

He's 35, single, divorced, loves BMXing. It was so cool. I have Nate [Elder Evans' brother] to thank for knowing what to say in our conversation as he was talking about how he BMX's and all that. I asked him if he had ever seen the 80's movie "Rad". Yes, he loves that movie, and was so surprised that I knew about it. Then somehow we got on the subject of “Garbage Pail Kids”. I have Nate again to thank for that [as he used to collect the cards as a kid…yuck!]. :D

It was so cool to see him open up. So we asked again if we could share a message with him, and he agreed!! BooYa! We had a lesson set-up with him on Monday (yesterday), but when we called him to see if that was still on he had just found out that an issue with one of his ex's had come up that he needed to take care of. So he had to cancel..... interesting…so we had to reschedule.

On Sunday, we sang hymn #30 [“Come, Come Ye Saints”].....three times [apparently they must have attended three different Sacrament Meetings]!

We also met with an investigator again, he was drunk, but we still taught him. :D

Yesterday we had five lessons set up; four fell through, but the one that didn't was with the hippy-ish lady, and it was AWESOME! We talked about the Plan of Salvation, and she loved it! We committed her to be baptized on Aug 15th, she said yes. We committed her to live the Word of Wisdom (she smokes and drinks); she said yes, she'll stop cold-turkey. Then she told us that she has a boyfriend....oh dear.... We committed her to live the Law of Chastity....and she said YES! It was Awesome! Ahh, I love being a missionary in Zion. Just being here on my mission for three weeks, I have seen miracles, I have performed miracles, I have a testimony of miracles.

Anyway, that was my week.

Thank you guys for your letters. Oh, yes I did get the package. ....I got it Saturday [note-I sent it over TWO weeks earlier but it must have been delivered to the MTC after he left and then eventually forwarded to him!]. Thank you for the banana bread, even though it was mundo moldy, the thought was still there. :D

Anyway, let me know how things are going in Sierra Vista. Well, know that I love you, and I wish you guys could be here with me.

Love, Elder Evans

P.S. Oh yeah, one more thing. It's actually a funny story....my watch broke. The glass broke, then the watch itself broke. Me and watches just don't get along....at all [how true!…he and I actually have a running joke to see how long it takes a watch to break after he gets it! :-D]

So, if you could send me one, with 3 links taken out, that would be awesome. I don't care if it’s a cheap Walmart one, or a high-roller one. I just need a watch! :D

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I'm Alive and I'm Loving It!!!

(July 14, 2009)

Hey Fam! Sorry I haven’t written in a while. We only get to write on Tuesdays. I would hand-write it, but this is a lot faster. But when you write me, send it via mail. :D

Alright well, let’s start with the 7th of July. We all arrived in Ogden Utah, and we met the AP's and President Olson and his wonderful wife. Within the hour we were already street-contacting. Elder Swisher and I went out into the “Hood” of Ogden, Utah and taught people....it was sweet. :D We then had all these meetings, interviews, and had dinner with the President, and his wife. It was a long day.

The 8th I got my Trainer. His name is Andrew Norton! Yep, the Andrew Norton who I went to college with…the same Andrew Norton I made fun of for getting called to Utah! He's my trainer!! Isn't that Crazy?!!

Well, we packed up the car (Elder Norton had had a member drive him down because our mission is a “walking mission”). I'm in Logan, Utah, and I love it!

My first day in the Mission I taught someone who seemed really interested and told us to come back, but he lied, he didn't really want us comin’ back. :( (Then the rest of the day was me just unpacking and whatnot.)

The 9th I went on exchanges with Elder Schnanner. He's from Sweden and that was fun. His area is the College area. Yeah....! :D

Later that day (I was with Elder Norton) this older lady pulled up next to us, and asked us if she could call our homes and tell them how great we are. So we told her she could. It was awesome! Emily answered the phone. Then the lady gave us $20.00 bucks to go buy lunch for ourselves. Sweet! People here love us. We’re treated like movie stars out here. Everywhere we go we hear honking and people yelling "Missionaries!" "Elders you Rock!" "Hey Elders, want a ride?" (we always say yes). I love it! I love Utah!

Alright....the 12th. ( I'm going to skip the 10th, and the 11th because that was a day that everything fell through).

Alright the 12th! Elder Norton and I gave talks in the 43rd ward. My talk was on Missionary work and Elder Perry's talk, "Bring Souls unto me." I did a really good job on it, considering I only had a day to work on it.

Okay, I met someone....someone awesome. No, it’s not a girl. :D Actually I met two awesome people. Okay, I met.....Elder L. Tom Perry, and Elder Craig Zwick of the Seventy! It was so awesome!

Elder Perry shook my hand at 11:04am! :D He then asked how many lesson we have set up for the week. We told him four. Which isn't bad, it's just not good, either. He then looked at both of us and said, "Elders, that's not enough! You need to be having 20 lessons a week. That's 3 a day. I want you to go out and find 16 more lessons by the end of today and email me tonight." AGHHH! So he gave us his email address. I have Elder Perry's email address....nanner, nanner, nanner. :D

So we did what he asked us to do. I have never worked so hard in my life! We got 18, with six pending. So we had someone email him for us, since we can't email until Tuesday, and yesterday we got an email saying. "Thank you, a great response." YEAH!

By the way, I saw myself in the Church News. That was cool!

Yesterday! Yesterday was awesome! We had two amazing experiences. I wish I could share them with you, but I feel the need to keep them personal right know. Sorry. But I will tell you a little about them. We've been teaching a Navajo man. The spirit was so strong! We taught him the 1st lesson. I was crying, Elder Norton was crying, the Brother who was with us was crying, but this man wasn't. He then told us about how our lesson made him feel like a kid again, and how he almost died a few weeks ago; he fell 40 feet, and didn't have a cut, bruise, broken bones...nothing. Anyway, we talked about baptism to him, and he said that the only person that he wanted to have baptize him was a man in his tribe who had died. And that's when the Spirit came to me so strong. It said "Stephen, tell him, that when he is baptized he will see his friend again, and his friend will be there at the baptism in spirit, and he will be smiling."

The other experience was a woman, about mid 20's. She is less-active, and is living with her future hubby. She told us that she has been waiting for the missionaries to come to her house, and help her again. It was so awesome!

Yeah, so that was my first week.

Thank you for all your letters. From now on I will be writing to you by email. For one thing it's faster, and two.....it's faster. :D But, when you write to me, send it via regular mail. Thank you. Oh when you send me packages....um, they told us a special way to send them, I forget how to do it. So call the Mission home and ask them.

I love you with all my heart. You are my family, and I love you. Every time I talk about you guys in a lesson, I start to cry. What I have seen and done this last week has made a dent in my life for the good. I know now that God has put me here for a reason, and made me Elder Norton’s comp.

I wish I could have been there for the 4th. Sounds like an awesome time. Well, I need to go. Love you guys tons. And I hope to hear from you soon.

Your son Elder Evans

PS. One more thing… Tell all my buddies and friends my email. I can't email them back, but I can answer by letter. My address is: theamazingbeautifulman@myldsmail.org . The story behind my email address is a long one....maybe some other time. :D

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Elder Evans in the MTC

Hi everyone!

This is Stephen's mom. He asked that I update his blog so that those of you who are interested might be able to see how things are going for him on his mission. So here it goes...

June 17th, Elder Evans enters the Missionary Training Center (MTC)...

...and off he goes!

(June 17th)
Dear Mom and Dad,

Already being here for these few short hours has already made me homesick. I feel like a fish out of water. Everyone here seems to know what's going on, but that's ok. I had to get my T-dap shot, which is the tetnus shot, so I'll be sending you the paper with the amount on it, along with my address here. My first companion is Elder Swisher. I haven't met him yet, but that's what they told me. Well, I need to go to lunch, so have fun, and I'll write you guys later.

Elder Evans

P.S. Sorry it's not detailed, I just got here...

Then on the outside of the envelope (which he mailed the following day) he wrote...

P.S. Can you send me a copy of my mission letter? Thanks. Oh yeah, my comp is awesome we get along so well, and I'm the senior comp. Lucky me. And we have the room all to ourselves...BooYa!

His bedroom...

...and the first letter he received

His district studying hard!

(June 25th)
Dear Fam,

The MTC is a good and fun place and I'm learning a lot. I've been with the other Elders for about a week now, and I have just grown to love 'em. As I'm with these missionaries I feel like I have known them my whole life. I have seen these brethren in the life before, and I know it! And I know without a doubt that we were all called to be missionaries for the Utah Ogden mission, we were all called before we came to this earth, as was Abraham, and that testifies to me that this is the true church. I know that with all my heart. I now know what my purpose is for being a missionary, it's to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. That's why I'm here!

The 19th I don't think I have ever cried harder in my life. It was a hint of homesickness and the Spirit. I was praying for my friends, especially those who are not active or are non-members, and all of them, and the Spirit came to me so strongly and it told me that everything would be alright.

The food here is pretty good. I like it, but it is giving me mundo gas! Holy moly! Oh yeah, I weighed myself and I'm up to 120 lbs!! BooYa!

We had our first "RPI" (Role Playing Investigator) and it went Great! I felt the Spirit and everything.

I haven't heard or seen any General Authorities yet, but tonight I will :-). We have been having the Mission Presidents' training here and one of the Elders here saw Elder Uchtdorf! Sweetness!!

I'm glad to hear that the weather is nice back home, I've only seen the sun like four times since I've been here. It just keeps raining and raining!!! I want it to stop. Oh well, I don't care anymore.

That's all I can really think of right now. If need anything else I'll write ya again.

Have fun at home, I'm already missing it. Tell Nate and Jun to write me.

Love ya,
Elder Evans

His District in p-day attire (Elder Evans is at the top)

4-square for gym class
(a safer option, in my motherly-opinion, than basketball
as it seems so many missionaries injure themselves playing
before they even get out into the mission field!)

Elder Evans and his companion, Elder Swisher, at the Provo Temple

(July 2)
Hey all, so, so, so sorry I didn't write back. :( I've been really busy. And I mean really Busy! I've been studying hard, and I'm learning a lot. I love what I'm doing here. I'm so glad that I'm here. I can't wait to get out and teach people about this gospel. The gospel that has blessed my life in so many ways, and I want the world to have that.

Oh yeah, we are actually leaving on the 7th!! BooYa! And not the 15th. So we get to leave on our correct date. :D
If you are sending me anything, like a care-package or what not, please send it to the Mission Office. Thank you.

How is life in Zion? Good I hope.

These 3 weeks have just flow'n by! I can't believe it. I've made some great friends. It's going to be hard to say good bye to them.

Oh yeah, we had our Mission President devotional thing, and Elder Holland spoke. It was awesome! I felt the spirit so strongly. Most of the General Authorties were there. It was awesome! And on Sunday they were all here! BooYa!

The 2nd counselor in our disctrict is Brother Stoddard and he served a Mission with Elder Holland. And his mission President was Marion G. Romney. He told us stories about Elder Holland and him, and it was so amazing! Brother Stoddard is such a cool guy. He reminds me a lot of Grandpa, that's probably why I feel such a strong link between us.

Yesterday, the 1st, I was sick. I ate something that didn't agree with my tummy, but I'm fine now, so no worries. :D

I love this church, and I just want to leave you guys with my testimony of Joseph Smith. Since I've been here I have learned to love him more and more. I know that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God and that he did find a record of old and translate it into the Book of Mormon. I know that he saw God the Father, and his Son. and that the same God he saw is the same Today, Yesterday, and will be forever! If this church or Book of Mormon wasn't true, it would have died with Joseph Smith. I love Joseph Smith. He is an awesome guy!

Well my times is coming to a close so....I Love you guys, and I pray for you everyday and night.
Love your son,
Elder Evans

Yes, Elder Evans is still "Stephen"! :-D

Incase you didn't see it, Stephen and part of his district were pictured in the July 4th Church News in an article concerning the Mission Presidents' training that was going on at the MTC while he was there!

This past Thursday (July 9th) he arrived in Logan, UT, his first area and today we received an email from a sister who grew up in Sierra Vista informing us that he is serving in her ward and that Stephen and his companion had had a short visit with Elder L. Tom Perry who just happened to be visiting their ward today! So he is already having some great experiences!

If you would like to write to him his address is:
Elder Stephen B. Evans
Utah Odgen Mission
2133 Washington Blvd.
Ogden, UT 84401-1434