Monday, April 30, 2012

When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God

Wowie!! ¡Hola y salutaciones de San Jorge! (Hello and greetings from St. George!)

Is it really Preparation Day already? This is way too fast. I can already tell that this mission will pass me by like a dream. So I just have to work harder and harder every single day!

First some business---transfer calls will be coming next Sunday (the 6th) and many have prophesied many things for me concerning the coming transfer. I personally find this to be foolery and just want to keep working hard where we are. It is amazing the progress the area is making! My personal prophesy is that I will go to a bilingual area (I am feeling Delta Utah) with Elder Gomez from our District and we will baptize all nonmembers regardless of their language. But this is foolishness :)

This week was so amazing! It seems I always have to start at the end when telling you about it. Sunday was excellent. We had twelve investigators at church! And a brand new family of six at church! And Elder Paiz and I got to teach the gospel principles class which was so fun. We taught our investigators and a bunch of recent converts about the nature of the primitive church and how in our days we have EXACTLY the same authority, organization, ordinances, and spiritual gifts. I apologize for my horrendous spelling though, I type really fast and I get really excited about these stories.

Also on Sunday we went to the Visitor's Center with O R (our investigator), his wife P (a recent convert from N.M.), and their sons F and E. I only regret that I didn't take pictures to remember this lesson better! You could just feel the love emanating from this small family, and their smiles made the Cheshire cat’s grin look tiny. I love these people. At the V.C. there were no Spanish sisters on shift, so we got to translate and give the tour. Translating is really fun...I will have to find more opportunities to do that in the future. We toured paintings of the atonement, saw a video on eternal families, and took a photo tour of the St. George temple. The Spirit is always strongest for me at the V.C. in front of the Christos Statue and in the eternal family video. I can just palpably feel the truth of the gospel when I reflect in those places. At the end of our tour we asked O what he could do to follow the example of Jesus Christ more in his life. He smiled and said I don't know. This moment was really funny. P punched him lightly on the arm and said "Si sabes" with a huge smile. Then he totally opened up. "I have no doubts. I know I will be baptized, I just want to learn more, feel more of this happiness, and be even more sure." YES!! I tell you, the visitor's center really helps people gain testimonies of eternal families. The first time we met with O he told us "I don't really understand all of this about baptism and being together as a family forever without end." But can see the changes the Spirit has worked in him :) So O won't be baptized on the fifth (he has a little more to learn) but hopefully I will be here to see him make this covenant with our Heavenly Father next transfer.

Rewind one day to Saturday. Another amazing day! We had another "Spanish District Training Meeting" with all of the Spanish Elders, our Daily Dose couples (more on this later), and President and Sister Leonard. I don't really know why, but I really strongly felt the Spirit testifying to me in that meeting. I know that I am in the right place, at the right time, and speaking the right language. The Lord had this all planned out for me from the beginning. It’s funny to think that the little piece of his kingdom he was preparing for me to tend is basically in my own backyard...but I love this place, this language, and especially this people. In the meeting we discussed how to coordinate Daily Dose missionaries better with proselyting missionaries. Just a little primer; Daily Dose is an inspired program that Spanish speaking general authorities have devised to help Spanish speakers learn English as a second language. Church called couple missionaries administer this program to families in short 20 minute huddles in their homes that begin and end with a prayer. (Can you say, I WANT TO DO THIS SOMEDAY!) Really, it is an amazing tool. Because these Hispanic families here in the US (as President Leornard and the Daily Dose coordinator have said) take a lot more time and love and patience to bring along in the gospel than American families do. Daily Dose slowly makes these families comfortable with missionaries, with topics like "prayer" and "sharing your beliefs" and takes time that the full time missionaries really can't afford. I was really excited to be in that meeting and learn more about this program and how I could work better with the Daily Dose couple working in our branch.

Also on Saturday evening we made the baptismal program for A F for el Cinco de Mayo. And he asked me to baptize him :) So you'll be getting some fun pictures of this family next week on Monday. But it was way humbling and an honor for A to ask me to baptize him. He has been at church the last three weeks in a row, and loves all of the classes! Now we just need to work to get his wife and kids to church too. BUT! His wife is so supportive, has given up coffee completely (which was a childhood addiction) and will be giving a prayer at his baptism! And we are going to start teaching their 9 year old son M this week. It has been a really long haul with this family, but we can really see the changes and new life that have come from prayer, reading the Book of Mormon, and (for A) coming to church. In a different order, church+prayer+reading= spiritual C.P.R :) yeah missionaries are pretty clever ;)

We continue to work with the V sisters and Ar as well. Neither will be baptized this week, BUT we have dates scheduled for later this month. I really feel like they are all closer than ever to coming unto Christ through baptism. Every prayer, minute spent in the scriptures, and kind act they do is another step closer to Christ, and it is so neat to be able to see these things and help others take these steps.

So basically I discovered this week that...I have lost myself. It came to me as a surprise! As I was just praying and praying and pouring out my heart to Heavenly Father for these people I realized what charity is and that somehow the Lord has helped me get this gift. It is the best :) Not having to worry about yourself, but just thinking about the Gospel and how it can help other people. Don't get me wrong, the Lord and I still have serious talks about my weaknesses, when I mess up, and how I can be more obedient. But the balance of my prayers have somehow changed to pleading for these other people, and that they might be touched by the spirit, change their hearts, and experience conversion. I can only imagine how your prayers are for all of your children; and how much Heavenly Father is constantly preoccupied with our lives and needs.

Ultimately, my latest scriptural obsession has been Alma 37:33-34 "Preach unto them repentance, and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ; teach them to humble themselves and to be meek and lowly in heart; teach them to withstand every temptation of the devil, with their faith on the Lord Jesus Christ. Teach them to never be weary of good works, but to be meek and lowly in heart; for such shall find rest to their souls" This definitely has application to our role as missionaries. But even more sweet has been how the Lord has fulfilled this process unto me. As I have just cried unto God morning night and all day, and planned, and worked hard to help these people increase their faith in Christ, at times I have been really tired. At these moments I just tell Heavenly Father, "Well, looks like Elder Stewart cannot take other step. Just let me have thy grace today. Let’s put aside Elder Stewart and let Jesus Christ shine through my actions today." And really...I have found a little of what that "rest to their souls" is. There is nothing more satisfying that after a long day of finding and teaching, and after praying in thanks and for blessing to our investigators, nothing satisfies more that when your head hits that pillow and you feel Heavenly Father smiling at you.

Yo se que el evangelio de Jesuscristo es la unica via nos dada que nos permite a regresar con nuestro Padre Celestial un dia. Se que el evangelio ha sido restaurado por conducto del profeta Jose Smith y todavia tenemos guianza de un profeta de Dios hoy en dia. Yo se que vive mi Senor. Lo amo, y el se complace conmigo cuando haga su voluntad. De veras...esta lo hace a uno feliz :) 
(I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only path that will allow us to return back to our Heavenly Father one day. The gospel has been restored through Joseph Smith and we still have the guidance of a prophet today. I know that my Redeemer lives, I love him and know that he is pleased when I do his will. This really makes me happy.

Los amo muchisimo. ¡Hasta pronto! (I love you very much, see you soon!)

Vaya con Dios,

Elder Michael George Stewart

1 comment:

  1. Elder Stewart..Aidan loves reading about your mission and we just talked about how you described spiritual CPR...that is awesome. I also love how strong your testimony is and how much you are doing to spread the gospel and helps others find the blessings that come from our heavenly father.

    Keep up the great work!!!