What a great week! Thanks for your letters and support this week; I feel so blessed to be serving in this town at this time...it’s a great place to be. One of the things I like best about serving here is that everyone who I meet wants to get to know me and my companion as people (they ask about our families, what we like to do, who we are) even before they care about us as missionaries. That warmth is something that has really impacted me...I feel like in the first months of my mission I loved doing missionary things, maybe at the cost of loving and appreciating the people with all of my heart. I feel like Richfield is changing that around for me.
We had to drive all the way down from Richfield to St. George this week for a meeting and we had a good chat with President afterwards. He told Elder Fragoso and myself "don't expect to be leaving Richfield anytime soon" :) If all goes well I should be up here for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and my birthday! And who knows, maybe leaving Elder Stewart in areas for 9 months will become a theme...
All the same, we have a LOT of missionary work to be doing! This week we baptized two brothers who have been coming to church for a little while. Missionaries had been teaching J and B for a long time, it was just hard to get them to church. Now they have been riding their bikes to church for the past weeks, B bore his testimony in church last week, and they were doing cartwheels during our lessons out of their excitement to get baptized. Their service was really spiritual, lots of nonmembers showed up, and their whole family got up to bear their testimonies. It was great!
I'd say one of our highlights this week came during a lesson with M W on Thursday. He has been coming to the Second ward for weeks and really does want to join the church, but just wanted to choose a date on his own. After talking it over a lot with Elder Fragoso we decided to just be patient with him and keep teaching him. Well, on Thursday he told us "Elders, I have been thinking and praying about a date, and in sacrament meeting it came to me. I will be baptized on December 22nd" Yes!! It took a lot of faith on our part to follow that prompting, and trust M and the Lord enough to have him make that decision unassisted, but it came through! M is really such a great guy too. He has given us homemade (and self procured) Elk jerky, jalapeno chips, and offered to take us out to shoot "exploding star targets". Unfortunately due to mission rules, we could only accept the first two offers, but who knows what trips to Richfield there are in the future :)
We also kept teaching two YSA investigators this week. A H (the adopted daughter of an active family) has already picked out a baptismal dress, started making her program, and is really excited to be baptized herself. She has had a really rough past life, but as we taught her about the plan of salvation and the atonement, you could see the spirit wash over her and comfort her. The other YSA is N S, who might as well have gone to Lake Braddock with me. He told us "I am really looking forward to getting my patriarchal blessings, getting the priesthood, going to the temple, doing a mission, and maybe getting married along the line." We just smiled and thought, "Would you like to get baptized first?" Working with YSA age kids is so very different...I feel like they are extremely receptive because they are at a time where they are making a lot of important life choices, deciding their values, and working out who they really are. It’s very rewarding work.
They are so many other people to write about...our Jamaican investigators, a 50 year old man who wants to get baptized with his son, a family of five that we found this week, and so much more!! Just know that the work is real. Heavenly Father is hastening his work- he has called thousands more missionaries into the field recently, and we are pretty much swamped out here with so much to do. This is His church! It is true! And he is at the Helm of this work!
I love you so much! Take care! This week, maybe share a message from http://www.mormonchannel.org/ in an email you send, or include it as an email tagline.
You're the best!
Elder Michael George Stewart