Monday, March 12, 2012

Lo que tengo, yo te doy (That which I have, I give)

¡Hola mis amados padres! ¡Salutaciones de la tierra del sol y piedra rojo!
(Hello my dear parents! Greetings from the land of sun and red rock!)

I really love you all and I am grateful for your support. Also, Rhia is just so darn cute! They make pretty cute babies, and I bet before two years are out you'll will have another grandbaby.

This week I want to start with one of my scriptural epiphanies that the Lord gave me. It has to do with knowing my purpose, serving others, and also forgiving myself. This week's scripture comes from Acts 3:6-8. (And I just have to say, when Daddy read us the New Testament to us every night before we could read it for ourselves; Acts was definitely my favorite book to hear. It has so many great missionary scriptures too.) So in the beginning of Acts 3 Peter and John are walking into the temple and they are approached by a man who was crippled from the time of his birth. This man came to the temple frequently to beg for alms, and this is what he was doing to Peter and John. The response of these apostles to the man is incredible. Peter responds this way in verses 5-6 "Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength." Then you just have to love the reaction of the crippled man in verse 8 "And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God."

One of the teachers in our Branch Elder's Quorum used this story in teaching about the power of the priesthood that we have. The very same priesthood power that Peter used to heal this man, we have in our lives and we also must use it to help other people. I was just struck though by Peter’s words. "Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee". Peter didn't have money to offer this man, but he did have something that could bless and help him. In fact, Peter's act through the priesthood did more for this man than the silver and gold could have! The actions of Peter put me to reflect about the ways we try and help investigators. A lot of the people we teach have real problems; life is tough and it can be full of real challenges that we see in the lives of people all around us. I know that I am so incapable in so many ways and I can't help them in many ways. But such as I have I freely give my investigators. And what we have that really blesses, changes, even heals people is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

So really I don't have to be upset that I can't teach perfectly clearly all the time. And it shouldn't bother me that I can't speak perfectly with these people. And I probably can't find someone a job, restore a loved one, or fix all of their lifestyle habits. But I just know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ blesses and heals families, and that I do have the power and authority to give. Even as a newbie they give me the privilege to do that! And really that is so hopeful to me.

This scripture just put a really good capstone on a kind of tough week. It reminded me that I am here to bring the Spirit of the Lord into people's lives and to invite them to be baptized. There really is no other purpose or way to invite someone to come unto Christ. A lot of our investigators are facing new challenges, but we just have to get on our knees with them and work with them and the Lord. Many great things happened toward the end of the week though.

On Thursday we got a text from Selene that she really wanted to meet with us that evening as soon as possible. Luckily we had planned to do some door contacts during that time, so it was easy to fit her and Alexia in. We have been praying a lot for these two that they might develop their own relationship with Heavenly Father and gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon. And I confess, in our last appointment I kind of chastised Selene for wanting to "counsel God" and not accepting the Book of Mormon. I felt bad about it, but everything turned out alright. Selene told us that she had an experience this week where she couldn't get to sleep and couldn't get some scary thoughts out of her head. She tried praying in her bed but it didn't work. Then she decided to just open up the Book of Mormon to see if it could help her. And she said as soon as she started reading a peace filled her that totally calmed her mind and convinced her of the truthfulness of the book, and she was able to get to sleep. Honestly, I have kind of had this same experience with the Book of Mormon in my life, and it is so exciting to see the peace and change it can work in the lives of others. At the end of this appointment Alexia told us that she really feels like the LDS church helped her develop an actual RELATIONSHIP with God more that the other church she was going to before. These two are amazing, and I am so glad to be here to help them at this time as they progress to baptism. Trae tu toalla y ropa blanca (Bring your towel and white clothes) :)

On Saturday we went on exchanges with the Zone Leaders and I got to do all English work! It was amazing and definitely confidence boosting. Elder Pollombo and I tore up his area, taught a bunch of people, and I had the opportunity to invite a new investigator to be baptized and he accepted! His name is Ron  and he fits the mold of a lot of "young fathers" that we teach. They have LDS wives but never got baptized themselves, and once kids start coming they realize how much they need the Lord in the lives to raise a family. It’s really interesting to see the different ways that the Lord prepares people.

So every week, day, and hour things just get better and better. It really is a privilege to serve the Lord here in "Southern Zion", where the work is plentiful and the blessings and support are great. If I had a dime for every time someone off the street has offered to feed us....yeah it’s pretty amazing and humbling to think about that. I love these Hispanics and I love the Lord. He comforts and helps me through my weakness and mistakes, and helps me see how and where I can improve.

I love you all a lot. Thank you for your prayers and support.


Elder Stewart

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