Well hello there from Utah's Dixie! We had another super packed week with lots of duties and jobs to do. I am very tired!! I am really grateful for my mission right now...I can't imagine my life without this specific mission.
I don't know if I told you this story---here is a little background for you. The office has a clear glass door with the church name and the mission name on it and through that glass door there is a reflection of the front desk computer monitor against the wall. The computer desktop is the group picture we took of all of our new missionaries this transfer. One night we were leaving the office and I was super wiped. I may have let a few unhappy and uncontented thoughts creep into my heart at that point, but as I turned to lock the door I looked up and I saw the door and the computer reflection through the door. I saw the words "Jesus Christ" and the picture of all of our new missionaries, and I was reminded of why I was doing what I was doing. I love the Savior and I really love all of the missionaries across our mission. Someone has to do the jobs that we do, and while I can think of a whole lot of people who could do this job a lot better, I guess Heavenly Father is helping me to develop more charity now. It sure isn't easy all of the time!
We went on two exchanges this week with the Zone Leaders in Mt. Pleasant and in Cedar City. We saw almost the whole breadth of the mission in one week! The whole time I was in Mt. Pleasant, I was kind of missing being "up north" or "out bound" as the missionaries say when they are outside of the city of St. George. Right now there are 70 missionaries that serve in St. George and Washington City and 82 that are serving outside of St. George...the small towns and the city are two different missions it seems! The towns have a slower pace, more open spaces, no traffic, and humbler people. I think we counted only 5 stop lights in my last zone, and that is the biggest geographic area in the mission. Anyway, it’s fun to be back in the city.
On one of the exchanges I got to go with Elder Lazarus again. I have been serving around that man since he was "born" in the mission and I really have a lot of love for him. It has been fun to see him grow, take suggestions, practice, and become a better teacher and leader. It’s always really rewarding when someone says to you "Elder Stewart, you just make me want to work harder." That was a payday moment.
Teaching has been crazy this week. There are several people that have accepted baptism, but many of them are going to be leaving on May 2nd when the semester ends. Pray for us to keep finding!
One girl we got referred to (by a girl who is originally from Richfield interestingly enough) is named A, and she has taken some lessons before. The only reason she didn't get baptized before is that she ran into an acquaintance who was anti-Mormon and she got cold feet. A has come to church with us, she is reading the Book of Mormon, and she even attended a Spanish baptismal service with us tonight. She said that it was "beautiful". She accepted the challenge to be baptized and hopefully she can experience her own before she goes home!
We kept teaching E more this week. He is a character. He brought Taco Bell to one lesson and started eating his bean burrito while we were talking about the plan of salvation. Sometimes teaching college kids is like teaching---kids. He is all set to be baptized next week! Yay!
This week, we've had to have some pretty direct and heart to heart conversations with a lot of missionaries. In a lot of the cases, it’s not that anyone wants to be disobedient or make a problem; it’s just that all of us are created differently and sometimes that creates conflicts. Back home, they did not have to be around those they didn't get along with if they didn't want to. On a mission, being with a different companion can sometimes be taxing. But, we are all different for a reason! Heavenly Father wants Elder Stewart to serve so that he can use his specific gifts and talents to move along his work, and the same is true of every other unique child of God.
I have a testimony of this work and of this church. Right now we are gathering Israel in from all the corners of the earth. Even in little old Dixie, in little old St. George the work of fulfilling God's covenants is happening. I know that the gospel has been restored in our days through Joseph Smith, and that the principles of the Gospel can guide and bless our lives. The only way back to heaven is through the ordinances. That’s what we offer everyone!
I love you!!! Be a good friend and an "everyday missionary" this week. They are sometimes the most powerful ones.
Lots of love!!
Elder Michael George Stewart