Monday, July 23, 2012

Peace that Passeth all understanding

Dearest Mother and Father and all that are reading,

Los amo muchisimo! Gracias por su amor sus oraciones y su confianza en mi. Siento el poder de tu amor y fe y al pensar en sus ejemplos me quiero esforsar aun mejor. La mision es lo mejor!
(I love you very much. Thank you for all your love, prayers and confidence in me. I feel the power of your love and faith and … My mission is the best!

First I have to give a big cyber hug to my best bud Mitchell Hadfield! Serving the Lord in Kyiev Ukraine! When I read that, I felt the Spirit really strong, and I know that you will do so much good for so many people in Ukraine. We will be on the same team in two different parts of the world for almost 2 years! You are the best!

This last week was week 11 with Elder Barrales, and so he took the lead in everything. It was fun playing the part of "junior companion" and it also made me remember how much I have learned in such a relatively short period of time. Even just small things take practice! An invitation to pray, taking the lead in planning situations, working with our ward council...there are a lot of small things that we learn to do. Now at six months it is a good time out to reflect, to make goals and set plans to get even better as a missionary. I am so excited for the coming transfer (we get calls on Sunday), the coming month, and the coming year and a half!
This week Heavenly Father has been kicking me in the pants [I have a feeling that I will be leaving Snow Canyon after this next week...but I don’t really know] :) It was hard to get in doors for the first little bit of this week (it’s a learning process that Elder Barrales had to go through) but I had an amazing spiritual experience one night praying where I asked "do you accept the sacrifices and work I have done for your children?" I thought of the 9 people I have been blessed enough to help come in to the church (we have 2 more this week end!!), the hours spent declaring the gospel on street corners, on doorsteps and even in Walmart, and....I was filled again with a peace that just passes all understanding. It made me want to work even harder to bring even more of God's children into his fold.  I have a strong testimony that this is God's work. I know there are many good paths to take in the world, but the restored gospel of Jesus Christ offers blessings far beyond any other path. I know this is true!

I also was really touched by the Spirit this week in our church meetings looking around at the faces of everyone there. The topic of one of the classes was President Eyring's talk "Families Under the Covenant" and I just looked around at all the families that I know have been to the temple, those that I know are preparing for the temple, and the investigators we had at church for the first time. You can see in their faces the power the atonement of Christ has had making and shaping those who have made covenants by his priesthood power. The power of Godliness is really made manifest in the ordinances. I studied the article later and was struck again by how true and how essential the temple is. Thank you both of you for being worthy and emphasizing the temple in your lives. I know it has blessed us so much. And even really made me want to keep finding families to teach!

Speaking of families, a lot of really amazing things happened this week to the families in our teaching pool. We had a lot of opposition, but we have learned that even in the times of opposition, God can do miracles with us. One really big surprise came for us when our recent convert A talked to us and said he was thinking about "stopping everything, and not coming to church anymore". He said he talked with his wife and she just didn't want to come to church anymore or be baptized. I was really devastated to hear this! The very next day (after lots of prayer and planning) we went over to talk with the F family and we just sat and listened for a while. It was amazing to watch the Spirit teach A the importance of repenting and keeping his covenants. Then Elder Barrales and I opened up to Helaman 3 (which we had studied together that morning) and A just sat and nodded his head for a while. He then spoke and said "I was thinking about stopping, but I am going to keep going. If she doesn't want to right now, M and I will keep going". Later we found out that Bro. M had been praying in the temple for them earlier that day. It was important to the Lord that A feel the Spirit that strongly in that moment. All we did was show up!

One of the goals we put as a companionship is also to strengthen our recent converts. We were really happy then when at church G and R asked us "where are the tithing envelopes? We need to pay" What faith!! I know that they will continue in activity and rearing their family how the Lord wants. 

We kept having great lessons with A S and her kids, and they are preparing for baptism next week. A asked us a fun question about polygamy in one lesson. "When I get baptized, will I have to marry 7 men?" We had a great conversation after that about revelation through prophets and that no, no you will not have to marry 7 people. The amazing thing is though...that she was willing to go through with it no matter what was required :)

De veras, estoy muy agradecido de que tengo esta oportunidad de compartir el evangelio que amo tanto. Yo sé que Cristo vive y que nós ayuda todos los Dias. Y atraves de él sufrimiento, nos podemos cambiar la naturaleza para el mejor. Tengo gran testimonio de que Su expiacion. Es real y es la cosa mas importante que podemos compartir con los demas.
(Really, I am very grateful that I have an opportunity to share the Gospel that I love so much. I know that Christ lives and that we can help every day. And through his suffering we can change our nature for the better. I have a strong testimony of His atonement. It is real and it is the most important thing we can share with others.)

Los amo muchisimo!
Que vayan con Dios,
Elder Michael George Stewart

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