Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Mission is more that just two years.

This week was great. We worked on the transfers every day and we had a really good miracle too. Here is some background, we do transfers on a combination of a white board with magnetic face cards for each missionary and we also use a projector with a website the church uses for each mission. A lot of "click and drag" and seeing where people will go and what feels right.

So, we worked on the Elder's transfer calls all day Thursday with President and at the end of the day we were stuck. We needed one more Spanish-speaking missionary to go to a Spanish-area. We also had Elder Fiefia (our Tongan missionary) in an area in Cedar City and with a new companion. The transfer wasn't all figured out, and we left for the day. Friday we came back  to finish the elders calls and when we logged in the computer showed Elder Fiefia was moved to a different area in Cedar City and he was a district leader as well. No one had logged on to the computer to make that change in the night, but somehow it was changed by morning. President called it some "help from beyond the veil". We were all praying for guidance in the transfer and help to finish it on time, and we had a breakthrough that solved the whole Elders' transfer scenario. That might not have made sense, but it was a big miracle to us.

This week K got baptized as well. Talk about a true conversion. She bore her testimony at the baptism about the answers to prayer she had received. One night she prayed to God to receive direction in her life and the next morning the YSA ward mission leader and a friend showed up to invite her to the YSA award. I remember when we told B and the ward mission leader to invite her to church. Look at the difference they made in her life.

Her answers didn't stop there though. She had questions about tithing and living prophets, and that first Sunday when she went the talks were about those two things. The secret I learned was lasting conversion is all about personal commitments and WARD FELLOWSHIP! If we just invite our friends out of love to learn from missionaries and come to church, you never know who would end up being baptized. 

After being in this area and watching "The Work of Salvation" broadcast, my testimony of member missionary work is just too solid. I have been praying for help to make my mission last forever...not just two years. If this church really is true, if baptism really helps save souls, then helping people through that gate is something I MUST do forever and always. Reading my patriarchal blessing has just confirmed that to me. The Lord doesn't want me as his full time servant just for two years, but he seeks me to be his servant forever. There are too many people that need saving for it to be otherwise. 

I do love you so much Mom and Dad. This week, expect pictures of us with President and Sister Center. We have lots of work to do! 

Elder Michael George Stewart

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Busy Bees (and Happy Fathers day)

Price Utah! We drove a lot this week :-) We drove 8 hours round trip to Price on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then we drove 3 hours round trip to Beaver on Saturday. There was lots of driving, but lots of miracles too.

On our way home from Price (home of Sister Julie Stong, by the way) we stopped in at Gunnision to give a blessing to a missionary and to eat at a drive in. At the drive in we started talking with a man who served in the DC south mission about 10 years ago---who served in the Rolling Valley ward. That makes a total of 3 people I have met who have served in our home area.  He said that he thinks he knocked just about every door in our ward, and we knew a lot of the same people. He was actually the missionary that baptized a brother in Rolling Valley ward!  His name is Brother Wilkins. It was a pretty good tender mercy.

Today this will pretty much be an "I'm still alive!" email. I do love you all!

K will be baptized next week. She is looking super solid. She wants a temple marriage. She always has questions, but she is relying on her testimony of the Book of Mormon to help her through. Her brother in law will do both ordinances for her.

We also kept teaching J this week. He is the best :-) We watched a part of the message of the restoration this week and he said "I don't understand how people don't believe this. All I know is that I want to get baptized as soon as possible." He is a good man.

Thanks for your prayers to help us find! People are still falling out of the sky for us to teach. This really is the Lord's work, and nothing is more important to me right now than that.

I want to bear my testimony of the power of the true doctrine this week. The first principles and ordinances of the gospel are simple and powerful, but they are true and necessary. I know that God lives and loves us and he has shown us the only way back to him is through His son Jesus Christ.

I love you all!!

Elder Michael George Stewart

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

There and Back Again

Hello mom and dad.  Thanks for your emails this week. It sounds like the youth are doing really well. I see lots of future missionaries waiting to go out and serve. That’s great. We need more worthy and capable missionaries helping more people through the gates back to Father in Heaven. We sure had a great week ourselves. 

Talk about miracles. B and M got baptized this week, and we had very good attendance at each service (50+).

B was baptized on Friday and he and his roommates bore their testimonies. It was powerful. His roommate J talked about how it wasn't a coincidence that he moved in to be with B last year. B also talked about the moments where he discovered his testimony. He talked about how he was really troubled spiritually, and his other roommate gave him a Book of Mormon and said "Here's the Book if you ever need it". B disregarded it at first, but that night he picked it up, he started it and he felt something. He went to church, we met him, and everything fell into place.

 I remember when I was first introduced to B over a month ago they said "This is my friend B--he is Catholic". His friends made him a cake at the baptism that said "You're Mormon Now!!"  It was a good moment. There were lots of tears at that service. He already has a calling. I love him.

M’s baptism was just as special. He got baptized on Saturday. He didn't tell his girlfriend that he was getting baptized until Friday night. She cried for 15 minutes he said. S, the girlfriend, had gone to her bishop a year and a half ago to ask him what she could do to help her nonmember boyfriend accept the gospel, look at what her faith did.

M's future father in law bore his testimony at the baptism, something we have heard time and time again. He said that M was brought to St. George and to Dixie to accept the Gospel. M got up to bear his testimony too and talked about all of the influences that brought him to that point. The friend that baptized him was the point guard at Dixie 3 years ago. He was baptized three years ago too, and is now sealed in the temple and has a beautiful baby girl. He mentored M along, set a great example. Just like you said mom, M might go to Germany to play pro ball, but he is going to be a leader on and off the court wherever he goes.

This Church is true!! I just know it is. The Lord says over and over again "Ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find, knock and the door will be opened unto you." Any honest seeker of the truth who asks in faith can know if this Church is true or not. The steps of reading the Book of Mormon and praying are keys to finding the truth. Everyone can know that these things are true. I know they are.

I really love these men. It has been a joy working with them, and we're not done yet. Next stop, the temple.
The Lord just poured out new people this week and new referrals, ask and ye shall receive, right? One of them is a girl named K.  She used to live here in St. George and was being taught by sisters, but that didn't really go anywhere, so she jetted back to Las Vegas. Well, while in Vegas, her life was a mess, but then she picked up the Book of Mormon again.  She felt the spirit, and hightailed it back to St. George, hunted down her old sister missionaries in the Visitor's Center. She said "I know the Book of Mormon is true, what do I have to do to get baptized?" One of the best phone calls we have gotten in a while. K came to M's baptism on Saturday, felt the spirit, and is excited for her own service. She will be in Vegas for a little while, but she went to church down there on her own.

This week we held Missionary Leadership Council and then we went on an exchange with the Zone Leaders in Mt. Pleasant. Sanpete County is just gorgeous this time of year: green fields, water towers on the move, livestock to feed, and people to be taught. I would LOVE to finish my mission in Sanpete County. We will see though. It sure is different teaching singles in St. George than teaching families in rural communities.  We drove a total of 14 hours for that exchange, good bonding time I would say.

I love what I am doing! Elder Campbell is the man. Ever since he has been here the key indicators across the mission and in our area have sky rocketed. The faith of one good man can make a huge difference in this world.

I want to leave you my testimony of the Book of Mormon this week. Throughout my mission I have learned to more effectively use this "missionary tool" to help others come unto Christ. I have seen people feel the spirit as they ponder and pray about the Book of Mormon, and I have seen people find testimonies of this most special book. I know that it proves the truthfulness of the restoration of the Gospel. It is a book that has changed my life, and I have seen it change other people's lives too.

Love you! Share the gospel this week! 
 Elder Michael George Stewart

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Working Miracles....and Exchanges

Hello Mom and Dad!! We had a great week. the mission improved, the area improved, and we will have two baptisms this week! It’s getting a lot easier to stay on top of everything we have to do. I know that Heavenly Father is helping us out a lot.

We exchanged with two zone leader companionships in St. George as well as the elders serving in the Snow Canyon Spanish area. On one of the Zone Leader Exchanges I taught in St. George in Spanish with Elder Noriega. Mom might remember Elder Noriega. We were buying garments at the Distribution Services in Salt Lake when we met him. He is an outstanding missionary. We taught well together and found some great new people for the Zone Leaders to teach.

On the other exchange I went with Elder Gomez again (we came out together) and we went and visited people that we had taught together earlier on our missions that still aren't baptized. As luck would have it Elder Gomez is now covering his greeny area again and we did a lot of good work there again. It was kind of a tender mercy, now that we feel we are much better teachers to be able to go and start teaching old friends again.

It was really rewarding to spend time in Snow Canyon Spanish again too. We found new investigators for the Elders and visited some of my recent converts. It was good to see that they are going to church still and reading the Book of Mormon. Little M is doing especially well. He has read the Book of Mormon 3 times now, goes to Scouts, and church every single week. Those exchanges were really good opportunities to lift and help the missionaries and to find new people in their areas. We definitely love what we are doing.
In our area we found so many new people this week and we found two people that want to be baptized is good when you can find. Thanks for your prayers!!

One of the people we found who is getting baptized on Saturday is named M C.  Let’s just say Elder Campbell and I have been praying to find an athlete to teach. Well, M has been attending church for a while, has talked with the bishop really extensively, and is getting engaged to an LDS girl soon. He has a strong testimony, and it is such a blessing to be able to review the missionary lessons with him.  He is definitely a miracle.

The work just kept rolling and rolling this week. We are still teaching a lot and finding a lot. B will be baptized this week as well, and K is next week. Then we get to take them to the temple to do baptisms for the dead. It’s so good. Right now I am grateful to be a missionary in this mission. We are really happy with what we are doing and Heavenly Father is really blessing us.

I know this church is true. I love being a missionary. It’s hard work, but it is gratifying to know that Heavenly Father can use Elder Campbell and me to do a lot of good here in Southern Utah.  I love the people we are teaching, and I love my Savior.

Love ya!
Elder Michael Stewart