Monday, June 19, 2017

Missionaries Are Investigators, Too!

Dear Family,

This will be my last email to all of you unless I choose to write one from home next week. I am very grateful for the opportunity I've had to serve this mission. I know that the Washington Federal Way Mission was exactly the place I was meant to go and I feel like I have done good work here. I have also grown personally to become a better person. One of my favorite things that I've heard from a member recently was something like this: People are missionaries' investigators. Missionaries are God's investigators. He is helping us to do His work at the same time that He is helping us to draw closer to Him.

I know that Heavenly Father has helped me change on my mission. I feel like a new person. I have learned some truths that I cannot deny. As a missionary, you learn some very important things that will help you for the rest of your life. One thing that I've learned is how the Spirit speaks to me. I have a confidence that I didn't have before in receiving personal revelation. I know that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me and all of His children and He is eager to bless all of us and provide guidance.

Another thing that I have learned is that love goes a long way. The pure love of Christ is Charity. Love is the greatest factor in leadership. If those you serve feel your love, they will be more willing to progress because they will know you have a pure motive; to help them progress. I have noticed also that when I learned to love the people I serve, it suddenly wasn't a burden anymore. It became so much easier and my work was filled with so much more joy and satisfaction.

I wouldn't trade this experience for anything in the world. If you are thinking about serving a mission, I would strongly recommend you do it. I am not saying it will be easy. You will still face trials and hard times like everyone does. But you will also have many great times and Spiritual experiences. What I am saying is that you will emerge from those trials and experiences a new and stronger person if you will let Him. So let Him in.

I know that my Savior, Jesus Christ lives! I knows that He performed the Atonement because He loves all of us. His Atonement is infinite meaning that no one is exempt from the blessing of forgiveness that comes from Him. Never give up on yourself. Never give up on God. If you turn to Him and rely on Him, you will be able to accomplish things you never though were possible in your life!

I hope that these emails that I have been writing have been a blessing to someone's life. Even though my mission is coming to a close, I will still strive to continue on as a disciple of Jesus Christ. I love you all. See you soon!

Love,
Elder Bretton Steiner.

P.S. The whole Graham Zone went on a hike to the Eatonville Falls earlier today! It was awesome!






Elder Steiner Signing Off:






Friday, June 16, 2017

The Power of Service!


Dear Family,

Happy Birthday Bryson!


This week has been awesome! Elder Fullmer and I got to do some service on Saturday. This was a little different than I am used to. Usually, when we would be asked to do service, it would just be us and the people who asked us. This time, it included a lot more people.

Brother Daines lives on a short dirt road off of a highway. There are about 5 or 6 houses on this road and they all have large properties. He asked us to come and do service for his neighbor. Brother Daines's neighbor has been going through some tough health challenges and so he has not been in any shape to take care of his large yard.

When we got there, to our surprise, almost everyone living on this street came together to help out. We had people bring weed wackers, their riding lawn mowers, rakes, and other things. As a group, we worked together for just over 2 hours to move away the things on top or over grown from the grass and we mowed it all. Elder Fullmer and I aren't allowed to use a riding lawn mower, so we usually had rakes to gather up all of the grass shavings and put them in the yard waste can. It was really fun service!

I don't even know the name of this person that we served, but when it was all done, his yard looked amazing. He said thank you to everyone. As we were walking away, we saw tears in his eyes. I am so grateful that we were able to make a difference in this man's life. Service is a powerful thing. It brought everyone on this little road together in an unified effort to help one another. I believe that everyone on this block has grown closer together. It has also opened up windows for missionary work.

Jesus Christ, the perfect example, always went about doing service for others. He always turned outward and gave of Himself. He expects every one of us to do the same. As we go out every single day, I hope that we would all have a prayer in our heart that we can have opportunities to serve that day. If you always seek to serve, you will be happy. All of your problems will no longer seem important.

That is one of the truths of missionary work that I have learned on my mission. If I turn outward, thinking only of others and their welfare, I will be happy. It's that simple. And I will be a great instrument in God's hands.

I love you all! I hope you have a great week!

Love,
Elder Bretton Steiner.

My last moments with my bike. I have just sent it off to be boxed and sent home.

The sunset yesterday night while we were returning from the Enumclaw Mission Devotional.




Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Conducting A Baptism Interview!

Dear Family,

First off, Happy Birthday Mom! I love you so much!

It seems like this week has been full of things to do! We had our district meetings, interviews with our Mission President, weekly planning, and also My Plan (for those missionaries on their last transfer). Because I am the district leader, I also got the opportunity to conduct an interview for an investigator that the Sister missionaries have been teaching.

Her name is Sammi. She is amazing! The Sisters have been working really hard with her to teach her everything that she needs to know. She gets nervous easily and thus prepares a lot for things like this. She passed her interview with flying colors. She was bearing her testimony to me multiple times through out the interview. I really feel like she is ready.

An unexpected thing happened after her interview. We walked out and told the other missionaries that she passed her interview and they got very excited. Sammi started to cry. She walked down the hall with the Sisters who were trying to comfort her.

The Sister missionaries later told me that Sammi has been feeling stressed about all of the commitments that come from being a member of the church. They pulled out a scripture that we talked about in district meeting to share with her. It was in the Doctrine and Covenants and talked about Joseph Smith as he was going through trials and his testimony. Sammi liked the scripture and was comforted.

We are looking forward to her baptism this week! I hope that all goes well and that she will be able to overcome the temptations that Satan always tries to throw at investigators the week before their baptism.

I know that this is the Lord's work. Anyone who asks God, with a real desire to change, will come to know that this is the true church and that it has been restored to the Earth. This knowledge can only come from God. No one else can make you believe. If you haven't obtained a testimony of this church, I invite you, ask of God in prayer. And be willing to act on His response. I am very grateful to be here as a missionary, serving the Lord.

I hope you all have a great week! I love you all!

Love,
Elder Bretton Steiner.

​Hitting at the driving range. A nice member let us borrow their golf clubs. From Left to Right: Elder Tripp, Elder Oliva, Elder Northrup, Elder Koffard, Elder Steiner, Elder Fullmer.

The south half of the mission​ with Elder Dube! (I won't be listing off all of their names...)


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Sun and Service!

Dear Family,

This week has been great because the sun has come out! We've had warm weather for most of this week! It was perfect for biking and doing a lot of service! The service we did the most this week was weeding! We went and weeded Brother Anlis' front yard gardens and watered his trees. We also went to Sister Joseph's house to pull out some Blackberry Bush roots. I had no idea that they could get so big! Now that was a challenge!

The Elk Plain Ward is great! We are working a lot with the members here and trying the new thing that Elder Dube of the Seventy talked about. When we go to member's homes, we ask them to write down the names of every non-member they know and then rate them from 1-10 (1 being best) on how prepared they are for baptism. We then will ask them to do an act of kindness for the best one and build up from there. We have just started and it may take a while for results to come, but it is going to be great!

I hope you all had a great memorial day! I love you all! Have a great week!

Love,
Elder Bretton Steiner.

This is the view we get from Elk Plain Ward. Mount Rainier is awesome!

This is my companion, Elder Fullmer, with his typical large smile!

This is on the street?!

A small community airport!

There have been a lot of fluffy things flying through the air. It looks like it is snowing on a sunny day!


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Week 1 in Elk Plain Ward!

Dear Family,

This week has been a crazy one! We had a lot of meetings: district meeting, new district leader training, stake conference, and a zone conference! Elder Dube of the seventy visited our mission and spoke to us at zone conference! He is really cool! One thing that he talked about was the difference between a Disciple of Christ and a "Me" Missionary. A "Me" Missionary is one who focuses on himself. He complains and goes through the motions as a missionary. A Disciple of Christ is one who focuses completely on others. He gives of himself all of the time. He doesn't complain about discomforts or disappointments. Another term for A Disciple of Christ is the 4th missionary (given in a different talk). Elder Dube's training was great!

This was my first week in Elk Plain so I will just have to tell about what I have learned about this place. Elk Plain is a more rural area. It is pretty spread out and has few houses. Elder Fullmer and I live a few miles out of our area. We are trying to save up the miles on our car, so we would use it to drive into our area and we would park it at the Church building. The Church building is right in the center of our area. We would then take our bikes and work around our area.

We always brought sack lunches to the church and we would eat in the serving area. The Church has become our "home base"! One thing that I really love about it is that it is always air conditioned! On a hot day, that feels great!

We have one investigator who is very promising. Her name is Jen. She is going through a lot of court cases trying to keep the custody of her daughter, Kali. After her court cases, she plans on moving out of her boyfriend's house and getting baptized! She has great fellowship from some members who were baptized just one year ago! She decided that she would probably get baptized in August! We are excited and are working with her all the time!

Elk Plain is a great area. It is different than I am used to because I have only been serving in the city until now. I know that I am meant to be here. I plan on working hard to help this ward become an even better place than when I found it. The work continues. I love you all! I hope you have a great week!

Love,
Elder Bretton Steiner.

P.S. Sorry there were no pictures this week! I need to take some pictures more often!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Double Shaft!

Dear Family,

I want to first talk about a surprise that is happening right now! I am being transferred! I want to let you know a little about the word "Shaft". In missionary terms, "Shaft" means that you served in an area for only 6 weeks, then you get transferred. A dreaded shaft is that of a missionary's last transfer, the "6-week Shaft". I just got both of them. I have only been serving in Fairwood ward for 6 weeks, and now I am being transferred to the Elk Plain ward in the Renton Stake, for my last 6 weeks in the mission field as a district leader. (Note: Shaft is not necessarily a derogatory term in this context) I have got such a great bragging right!

This week, Elder Smith and I got to work a lot with Jenny. She is on date for baptism, if she is living the Word of Wisdom. We stopped by her house on Saturday morning to give her some more pamphlets in Chinese because she requested them. She showed us the pamphlets we had given her before. She has gone through each one and marked them. She highlighted things she liked, she wrote in the Chinese translation next to some of the words. She says she loves them! You know you have a promising investigator when they take the time to study what we are teaching! I will probably go back up to Renton to attend her baptism, but for now, I will be focusing my work on the Elk Plain ward!

I know that this church is true. Those who earnestly are seeking for the truth will find it. Heavenly Father is always there to help us. His arms are stretched forth to meet us when we come to Him. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. He provides the only way back to our Heavenly Father. I am honored to be serving a mission. I am on the Lord's errand. And I will continue to press forward until the end!

I hope you all had a great Mother's Day! I sure did! Calling home is never boring! I love you all!

Love,
Elder Bretton Steiner.

I am going way down south!

My district! From left to right: (Top) Elder Thurgood, Elder Dallimore, Elder Fuller, Elder Cook, Elder Smith, Elder Reynolds, Elder Steiner. (Bottom) Sister Williams, Sister Erickson, Sister Reynolds.

Remember to look up and drink the rain!

Lake Desire and a typical cloudy day.

This is the best spot we could find for a picture at Lake Desire.

Mother's Day calls were great!

I am all packed up! Leaving Fairwood, going to Elk Plain!



Monday, May 8, 2017

Come To Church!

Dear Family,

This week has been awesome! We had a great Zone Conference put together by President Rasmussen and it looks like winter weather is starting to let go! Jenny came to church this week! This was her first time! I was a little worried because she is still learning English and she can't understand anyone if they talk to fast!

We explained to her what Fast Sundays were and helped her understand that this wasn't the normal Sunday, but only happens on the first Sunday of the month. The people what went up to bear their testimonies mostly talked about prayer. Perfect! They shared examples of how prayer has helped their faith grow! Jenny has already had some great experiences with prayer!

We had Sister Hansen meet her and sit by her through every hour of church. Sister Hansen speaks Mandarin Chinese, too and they quickly became great friends! I could tell that Jenny's favorite hour was Relief Society! She was getting people's phone numbers and excitedly talking with them in the hallway.

After church, we asked her what she thought about it. She said that she loved it! She said that she doesn't want to go back to China because she has found her new family!

We are very excited for Jenny! We think she might already have plans to go to China again. She normally goes back and forth every 2 months. We don't know if she will be here all the way until her baptism or if it will be delayed. We hope and pray for the best!

Going to church helps all of us feel the Spirit more. I hope that when we each partake of the Sacrament that we are thinking of Jesus Christ. One thing that President Rasmussen suggested at Zone Conference is to go to Sacrament meeting asking Heavenly Father what you have done this week that He is proud of. And then listen. I hope you've all had a great week! I love you all!

Love,
Elder Bretton Steiner.

This is a picture of Lake Desire. It also has a lot of houses surrounding it, so it was hard to find a good view.

​We found an abandoned swing set!




Monday, May 1, 2017

"What Is The Purpose of Life?"

Dear Family,

This week has been an awesome week full of service and miracles! This week, we went to Salvation Army instead of Northwest Harvest to do service. Northwest Harvest specializes in packing foods to send to food banks and Salvation Army specializes in receiving that food and giving it out to people in need. It was pretty cool to work with people and see how happy they are to get some food!

Our investigators are doing great! We met with most of them this week. Nancy and John (The ones from Kenya) are struggling to read the Book of Mormon on their own. Sister Rhode was out of town this week. And Jenny had a concern resolved.

We met with Jenny on Wednesday this week at our ward mission leader's house. We couldn't round up a translator for this lesson, so we focused very hard on teaching simply and asking her if she understands. We went over the Book of Mormon with her and gave her one in Chinese. Then we started to teach her about the Plan of Salvation. We gave her a Chinese pamphlet and an English one so that she can figure out what the gospel words mean.

She would occasionally read the Chinese one out loud. None of us understood what she was saying, but when she was done, she would say, "I understand!" The Plan of Salvation answers 3 questions of the soul: Where did I come from? Why am I here? and What happens when I die? When she read that, she asked us, "What is the purpose of life?"

We answered as simply as we could, multiple times, but she didn't seem to understand. We then asked her why she wonders that. Over time, she told us that she doesn't see the purpose in her life. She has a successful job, and a happy marriage, but she can't have children. What's the purpose of life, if you can't continue it? It is obvious that it bothered her and we all said words of comfort to her. We told her that Heavenly Father loves her even though she can't have kids. At the end of it, she seemed to understand.

We didn't get all the way through the lesson. We ended it at Earth Life and we will continue it in our next lesson. She is going to love the resurrection!

I know that Heavenly Father loves all of us. We all have a purpose in life, even if we can't see it. There are people who we interact with everyday. I hope that as we do, we will share a part of our light with them. We can make a huge difference in their lives and not even know it! Heavenly Father does, though! And that is probably why He has you here, right now, at this very moment. He knows what He is doing and it is for the benefit of all of His children.

I hope you all have a great week! I love you all!

Love,
Elder Bretton Steiner.






Monday, April 24, 2017

Faithful Prayers Are Answered!

Dear Family,

This week has been full of miracles and rain. It rained almost everyday. We got soaked a few times! I want to tell you about an amazing experience that Elder Smith and I had this week!

Elder Smith and I got to do some awesome service on Friday. It was a strange day because it was different. It was the first day I've seen this year where there has not been a single cloud in the sky. It was all blue sky and warm! A nice change. We did yard work for a family in our ward. They had us trim bushes, pull weeds, mow their lawn, and rake leaves. I loved it because we don't get very many opportunities to do service here. Most people say they don't want service (even when they obviously wanted the help). So we worked hard a had a great time.

The next day, Saturday, we had a lesson set up with a Chinese woman named Jenny (That is her American name). We brought our ward mission leader with us and she had a friend who also was there. Her friend was Buddhist, but he offered to translate what we taught when needed. Jenny's english is decent. She knows enough to effectively communicate, but when gospel words come up, that is when we needed the translator. She also looked up a lot of words on her phone.

As we went through the Restoration lesson, she started to get very excited. She agreed that God is there and loves her. She shared an experience of when she was in China. She used to also be a Buddhist, but one night she had a dream. She saw Jesus Christ and He gave her a hug. At that point, she knew that God was there and she wanted to go to church. She has been attending a local church for a few years.

When we taught about Joseph Smith's first vision, she was very excited. She told us how she knows that God answers her prayers. She then told us about yesterday. She had a painting job to do outside and that is very difficult with the amount of rainfall we have been getting this Spring. So she prayed to God and asked that the rain stop until she finishes the job. It did not rain one drop on Friday. She finished the job that evening, and the rain resumed the next day (the day we had this lesson).

Jenny has a lot of faith. She knows that God is there and that He loves her. She has faith that when she asks for something from Him, He will give it to her. That is a promise not given to just her. It is given to all of us, too! Heavenly Father loves every single one of us, no matter what life we are living or how rebellious we are. If we turn to Him in prayer, He will answer. No one is ever too far gone to ask for His help.

I know that Jesus Christ lives! He died for us so that we might live. His arms are out stretched to everyone. No one is exempt from his love and care. If you follow Him and keep the commandments, you will feel His love and embrace.

I hope you all have a great week! I love you all!

Love,
Elder Bretton Steiner.



The sunset after the storm! This was the Saturday night storm that actually rained pretty hard.

 
​This is my companion's planner after that Saturday storm. :)


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Happy Easter!

Dear Family,

This week has been pretty good. It was Spring Break over here, so some people have been out of town. We have had a few funny experiences this week.

On Saturday, we were scheduled to have dinner with the Hamblin family. We are still getting used to the new ward and so we looked at one of our ward directories to find out where they lived. Their address was pretty far away, near Shady Lake. So, we mounted our bikes and headed out!

We got to Shady Lake a little early, so we biked around the lake a little and discovered a new housing development that is not on our map. That is cool! We arrived at their house about 5 minutes to 5pm. We knocked on their door and there was no response. There wasn't a car in front of the house. In fact, it actually looked like no one lived there. We called up the family and they said that they actually lived at this other address which was another great distance away. Woops!

So we biked as fast as we could and made it there in 15 minutes! We had some nice pizza with their family. They told us that they had lived there for the last 6 months. I thought it was weird because our ward directories needed to be re-printed at least every 3 months to keep it accurate. When we got back to our apartment that night, I looked at the ward directory I got it from and sure enough, exactly 6 months old. I should have looked at the newer one that was only 3 months old. Oh, well. It all worked out.

This week, we also got to meet a part-member family named the Rhode's. The husband was baptized last September and his wife was really impressed with the church. She claims that she is an atheist, but after talking with her and getting to know her a little, we are pretty sure that she is not. She totally believes in God. We think she is using that as a cover-up for a hidden concern. She is practically a dry Mormon (means unbaptized)! Wish us luck with her!

I hope you all had a great Easter! I love you all!

Love,
Elder Bretton Steiner.

This is the Renton Zone! We had our Zone Training this week, too.

This is what happens when the weather report says no rain and then it rains a lot.

This is Shady Lake! It was hard to find a good picture of it because of all the houses surrounding it.