Hola mis queridos padres! Les amo con mucho fervor! En serio, gracias por las emails que mandaron...senti bastante el espiritu testimonio sobre estos principios bastante importantes, diezmo y los templos. Yo se que sus experiencias me van a ayudar a mi a ensenar a mas personas. Seriously, thank you so much!!
(Hello my dear parents! I love you very much! Seriously, thanks for the emails you sent ... I strongly felt the spirit testifying of these important principles, tithing and temples. I know that your experiences will help me to teach many people.)
First is the news....I will be staying in Snow Canyon! For three more months! And training...again!! I was super surprised to hear this news...I guess it’s really possible that I could spend half my mission in this area. I am amazed, because I feel like I know EVERYONE in these three stakes, but after 9 months I guess we shall see :) I do know that President Leonard has priesthood keys and that he is inspired of God. Like Nephi, it is just our pleasure as missionaries to say "Ire y Hare!" (I will go and do!), or in my case "Quedare y Hare!" (I will stay and do!). We told our stake and branch leadership about the transfer calls, and they just laughed and smiled :) They kept one Elder in Snow Canyon for 7.5 months before, but it looks like I will take the crown for most time in this area now!
On another note it is funny to think about... Heavenly Father prepared me for 19 years to go on a mission...and I really feel strongly that this is the area I was prepared to be in. The language, the members, the investigators...I feel like this is my little piece of God's Kingdom that I get to tend. It’s the best! :)
So I am finally sending pictures :) The first one is of the tie from Zone Conference The last one I like to call "Oh, St. George!" Just a little snap shot of how I love "crying repentance unto this generation".
The mother's name is A and she got baptized with her youngest daughter, J, who is 8. Their baptism was going great. We had practiced with J beforehand (thank goodness!), but the poor girl, when she saw the font, got really scared. She even started to cry. (The S family told me that is somewhat common for little girls). I wish this moment was recorded, but I will describe it to you. As I stood in the water and beckoned to her, I just prayed so hard for the Lord to comfort her. A, the smart mother that she is, suggested that she get baptized first to show J the way. That calmed J down at first, but when A was submerged, the fear was back in her eyes. A, so smart again, offered to stay in the water while J gets baptized (which is totally kosher by the way), and that really helped. So nervously, J came down the steps I took her tiny arms and the impression just came to me to rub and pat her back and just help her feel more comfortable. Well...the Spirit really came in and she calmed right down. That was a really special ordinance for me, for a lot of reasons.
After the baptism, Bro M, one of our Branch Missionaries came up to me and said. "I don't really have any better words for this but I just need to say this. You are a stud, a gospel stud. When I saw you down there patting her back and talking to her, I looked and that picture [the Savior with a little child], and I knew that is exactly what he would have done." He gave me a big hug and it was hard to not cry.
I realize though, that during the whole time...I was super, super calm. Elder Barrales was getting worried that J wouldn't be baptized, but I wasn't worried. That is one of the huge things I have learned on my mission. To be constant and calm in the face of a storm-because that is what these people, and the world, and my family some day, all really need. I rarely get really stressed out or not able to think now- I definitely feel the pressure and importance of what we are doing, but I have learned to "Be Still" more than ever, and just go to work following the Spirit. I realize now that as I have been working harder at loving and serving with all of my heart and might, the Savior has become more fully a part of who I am. I want to speak the words that He would speak. Do the things that He would do. And save His children as He would.
Sorry this email is kind of enveloped in one story...it kind of has dominated my mind these two days. So...I love you so much!! I am so excited for a new transfer and 3 more months in the area I love. I know you all say that the real measure of my success is in the hearts of the people. That is so important. The Lord has also taught me though that if I will trust in Him, be obedient, and work hard to follow the Spirit, we can find, teach, and baptize those who are ready. That’s what we do in this mission, and that’s what I am going to "go and do."
Que vayan con Dios!
Elder Michael George Stewart