Well it was another week full of lots of hard work :) We got transfer calls on Saturday, and President will be splitting up Elder Fragoso and me. We still have a chance that we will serve together again some day...but I am just grateful I had the chance to serve in Richfield with my one of my best friends.
As for transfer calls....Elder Fragoso will be going to Cedar City Spanish and he will be companions with Elder Lopez-Myta (he was in my MTC district) and I will stay in Richfield and my new companion will be Elder Rawlins, who is also from Virginia although I don't remember exactly where. He has been out for 9 months and I've heard really good things about him. I am just so excited that I get to stay in Richfield for a little while longer.
This week went by super fast...we saw two people baptized this week! Elder Fragoso baptized T S, who we found 3 weeks ago, and A M was baptized by his uncle. The services were full of a lot of less active members, and some people who haven't born their testimony in years/decades got up during the services to express their feelings. We always love seeing the gospel bless people’s lives...there are always more people to help out there!
Both of these kids had been going to church and basically knew the whole gospel. We have started calling little kids that we teach "pinguinos" or penguins. There are a lot of pinguinos to teach all over this mission.
A few things we did this week really stand out to me...we drove to the little town of Koosharem and back in a snow storm and in the dark. There is a little dugway that goes past the town of Glenwood and up a mountain that we had to go over and that was one of the most unique driving moments in my life. Everyone going down that road was driving really slowly, and while it was really stressful, we made it to Koosharem and back with not even the slightest incident.
I don’t think I have ever driven up and down hill in driving snow and wind, and so when we got back home and done with planning I jumped on my bed and just let out a huge sigh of relief. I think when we get done with this life we will all have a huge "sigh of relief moment" together. See the conference talk Beware Concerning Yourselves that takes the "driving up a mountain" and keeping the commandments analogy a little further.
We also had to drive down to the little town of Circleville twice this week to do baptismal interviews. When President Bush set me apart as a missionary he promised me that I would be able to see lives changed and improved and in the baptismal interview I did for a man in Circleville he told me of his life and past problems, but he recognized the Holy Ghost prompting him and he quit everything and has been clean for one year. Just talking to this man and hearing his testimony made it worth the trip :)
Also speaking of changed lives! Our Eternal Investigator M C accepted a baptismal date for February! We had a lesson with him and his wife and discussed the Holy Ghost and the Restoration and both of them expressed their testimonies of the church and the Book of Mormon. It’s funny....M has been more actively attending church than most baptized members, he has just been waiting for the Holy Ghost to tell him when was the right time to get baptized himself.
I just want you to know that I do have a testimony of this work and this church. I reflect again and again on the (almost!!) first year of my mission and all the people I have been blessed to help...and it just makes me want to work even harder in the time that I have left. I feel like some missionaries make a lot of sacrifices before the mission to be able to serve, a lot make sacrifices while they are in the field, but every small sacrifice the Lord has asked me to make has been more than worth it...my time, my energy, my thoughts, my desires, everything I can give will ultimately never be enough to repay the sacrifice of God's Son. But at least he lets me join my own sacrifice to that one to bless lives.
I love you so much!! Pray for our continued safety and success!! We have a lot of work left here to do :)
Lots of Love,
Elder Michael George Stewart