Tuesday, June 12, 2012

"Nuestro Dios a quien servimos puede librarnos" (The God we serve is able to deliver us)

Hola mis queridos padres!

Whewie. The Lord is amazing. I have to say that hands down...of all the weeks of my life, this week has been the most challenging, rewarding, difficult, and downright amazing. If I could just express my testimony right up front, (review Daniel chapter 3 where we learn about how Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego getting throw into the fiery furnace) the Lord will not abandon us in our own "fiery furnaces" of life. This week was pretty much one of those furnaces for us. But I know without a doubt that we received so much help from the Savior this week. We came to know him a lot better as well. Thank you for all of your prayers!

First the positive :) Let the pictures speak for themselves! These are just two of the families that we love and that are pretty much going to be our neighbors in the Celestial Kingdom. The baptisms of M F and O R went without hitch. M told me after "Thank you for baptizing me". I really love this boy. He is so pure. He has just been open to the gospel like his parents were, and it is incredible seeing how the Spirit can help kids learn about the truths of the Gospel. Basically, M could give you a full discourse on tithing and why it’s important :) He is amazing! And after his baptism I crouched down to give him a hug, but Evelyn ran into my arms instead! Technically this is against the rules...but it was a really sweet experience for me. Kids are so receptive to the Spirit. And if you notice the photos...its A's turn (the mom) next! We love this family a lot.

Our other family we are actually seeing again tonight to do a family home evening with them. O....has changed so much in the last months. He is going to be a super active member of the church. We gave him a baptismal reminders list on Saturday that included "Traiga su sonrisa!" y nos dijo "Voy a venir bien serio". ("Bring you smile!" "I am going to come looking really serious"). He is the best. But as you can see, he did bring his smile. At the double baptismal service the Stake Presidency was there and the whole primary sang. It was just perfect.

Also on Saturday, I was asked to speak at the baptismal service of the same man that I interviewed the week before. His second interview was incredible. He has really taken more seriously joining the church, AND, he has been coffee free for a whole week :) After a lot of work with him and our sisters in that area, Brother C feels like our own convert too. During his daughter's confirmation (the whole family was baptized last week except for him---they all got confirmed together at the service) the man doing the confirmation forgot to "confirm [her] a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" and no one caught it except for the Elders! We just went up to the bishop after the ordinance and had the first part done over. I guess even in Utah the church members need reminders of how things are done :)
 So, the week ended super well. But it definitely came "after the trial of our faith".

So we got Elder Lewis on Wednesday! He is going to finish out the transfer with us and then maybe get a new companion next week, three missionaries :) Even though we got extra firepower to help us out in lessons, it seemed that this week our investigators faced a lot of opposition. We had to place a lot of investigators in "the Lord's teaching pool" (former investigators category) this week which is always hard for me. But the Lord has his time for all things. One example...we got a call from the dad of two of our investigators (the whole family is active, just the oldest children haven't been baptized yet, and the dad is FLDS) and he told us not to come by again. That was really hard. I really love the A family, and I hope that the Lord (and Brother M) soften Hermano A's heart enough to let us back in to see his family!

The fiery furnace of this week arrived really arrived on Thursday. We had three baptismal interviews that day. We give all of our investigators the questions before hand so that they are not surprised, and because if they answer yes to "question 4" (a pretty serious worthiness question), they will need an interview with the mission president. Going into the interviews, we knew of no problems. But in some of the interviews, these concerns surfaced and the baptisms for Saturday had to be postponed. We all left the interviews knowing that work had to be done.

Then later that night we got a really scary call. Two of our investigators didn't want to go through with baptism at all, didn't want to talk to the mission president, didn't want to go to church at all, and were really disappointed. We did manage to salvage a follow up appointment, but that was still devastating. We have poured our souls into this family, and to hear this really rocked us. Like I said, there were a lot of tough things about this week, and hearing that was like getting thrown in the middle of the fiery furnace. But all of us and our Zone Leaders started praying and fasting for that family. There was a lot of wrestling with the Lord done on Thursday night last week. And it did produce great fruits for that family.

The next day we called them. And it was like night and day.  We made an extremely detailed "lesson plan" for how we were going to talk with them (down to how to say "hello" and having a prayer over the phone). The Lord had been working all night to soften their hearts. They agreed to keep meeting with us, keep going to church, and we have plans to help them talk to the mission president. The whole family was at church on Sunday :)

Entonces, gracias por vuestras oraciones. En serio...podia sentirlas esta semana mientras pasabamos por tantas cosas. El Señor me enseño esta semana que necesito confiar mejor en él. Siempre intento esforsarme al maximo para ayudar a sus hijos, pero me enseño claramente que despues de haber hecho todo lo posible, necesito "Quedarme tranquiló, y saber que el es Dios". Senti tanto alivio despues de hablar con aquella familia, y supe que el Señor nos contestó nuestras oraciones.
(Again, thank you for your prayers. Seriously, I could feel them this week as we passed through so much. The Lord taught me this week that I need to trust more in him. I always try … everything to help his children, but he showed me that after having done all I can, I need to “Remain calm, and know that he is God.”  I felt so relieved after talking to that family that I know the Lord answered our prayers.)

I love you all so much. This Church is true. The Priesthood is real. We can do miracles if we believe :)

Que siempre vaya con dios!

Elder Michael George Stewart

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