Monday, July 2, 2012

There is no substitute for WORK!

Buenas! Lo que pasa es que... los amo muchisimo a ustedes :) Esta semana se me fue volando, y tuvimos much exito en todas fases de la obra! Me encanta ser misionero en esta mision, en este tiempo, y en este area. Somos muy bendecidos.
(Hi! I love you a lot. This week I was flying and had a lot of success in all phases of the work! I love being a missionary in this mission, this time and in this area. We are very blessed.)
I have decided that I don't really feel the heat anymore. Elder Barrales and I look at the thermometer every morning and say, "Oh, 103, no big deal". I must say that I am partial to the dry heat. Humidity is the true culprit of summer suffering. I am still as always just struck by the beauty of the place where I am privileged to serve. We get pretty hikes, great views from our apartment, and great work, and great member support. What more could a missionary want?
Early this week we had a leadership training meeting with President Leonard. This my favorite. He trained us on the importance of getting investigators to church and of how to involve members in our teaching more. I have to say, this applied perfectly to the work in our area. It seems like the Holy Spirit is always anxious to teach us something if we just listen. Also at the meeting we took a "posterity picture" with Elder Hultgren (the tall one next to me), one of our old Assistants. In that meeting alone he had 9 missionary "descendants" (trained by him, or trained by those trained by him). In the mission he has even more posterity, making him pretty much the Abraham of the Utah St. George Mission. I can really say that I am seed of Abraham. (The other picture is a picture of the district from last transfer-I love this place!)
The Lord has a way of giving us reminders of who is really in charge of this work, and we got one of those reminders when I did an exchange this week with Elder Gomez in his area waaaaaay up north (not really way up north, but the temperature difference is noticeable). We went out to teach with one of his Elder's Quorum presidents (a recent convert cowboy, who is a really inspirational model), and the EQ President took us to visit and teach one of his friends who turned out to be a new investigator. So we are in this little trailer 20 miles out of our area teaching a lady I've never met before, and there is a knock at the door. We answer it and it’s the cable guy...BUT! This cable guy is a recent convert from a stake in my area that I just happened to know. So the cable guy goes out to work on the TV and we keep teaching. We come to the part where we are committing the investigator to read the Book of Mormon and teach her about baptism and we all take turns testifying. After we have all ended, I turned to the cable guy (who was by this point quietly observing us, not asking to be paid or anything) and said "I know you're here on a job, but how has being baptized, reading the Book of Mormon, and keeping the commandments blessed you." Then this cable man began to just bear his soul to this investigator and tell us his entire life story, and how getting baptized has blessed his life. The spirit was really there, the investigator was touched, and I'd say she has a lot of real intent to find out if the Book of Mormon is true. It’s funny...If I hadn't have met that recent convert before, or hadn't been on that exchange, the cable guy would have come and gone without bearing his testimony. It is a good thing that when we make goals and plans as missionaries, but there is a Master Planner pulling the strings above. I know this is his WORK. It really is work that we have to put in to plan, teach, go the extra mile every day, but our efforts give the Lord instruments, "boots on the ground", to work with. And I know that He does work with us.
We had an incredible lesson this week with A F. In the end I am not sure if she totally accepted the Spirit that she felt, but I know that she felt it. She told us how she really doesn't want to leave behind the Catholic traditions that her parents have given her. Let me tell you...we hear that a lot. So we began to open up the scriptures and testify to her. Mathew 3:13-17, how Christ was baptized and how we should follow his example; Acts 8:15-16, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the Laying on of hand; Exodus 20:3-6 don't worship images. The scriptures are so clear, and they do help people to see how they need to change. Add to that lesson A's love of the Book of Mormon, and Testimony of the church, and she ended saying "What you just told me has completely changed my perspective. I won't be losing what they taught me, just gaining even more. I'll tell you soon your answer [when I will be baptized]". I just have to testify right here that I saw the Spirit work on this woman. We felt a lot like Ammon and Aaron, who had to pray, have tons of faith, and WORK HARD to show people how the traditions of their fathers are not the Doctrine of Christ. The best part is though...we never have to fight to do it. We share the scriptures, explain them, and invite people to pray and read the Book of Mormon and come to church; the Spirit does all the rest.
And to finish it all … three beautiful baptisms. The T-T-C family has to be my favorite. They are sooooo active. They love classes, and when the grandma got confirmed, she was crying. We just have to baptized the dad!
Tengo gran testimony de la doctrina de Cristo. Hay que seguirlo a el en todas las cosas. Os amo mucho. La iglesia es verdadera, y es mi privilegio ahora efectuar el gran cosecho de almas. Lo amo!
(I have a great testimony of the doctrine of Christ. We must follow him in all things. I love you very much.  The church is true, and it is my privilege to be in the great harvest of souls. I love it!)
Que vayais con dios,
Elder Michael Stewart

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