This week...was a fourth watch kind of week. We toiled, struggled, worked, stayed up, trained, planned....and we got blessings just poured down upon us.
Wow....our God is a "Fourth Watch God".
"45 And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people.
46 And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray.
48 And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.
50 For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.
51 And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered."
So, so, so many lessons from this story. The disciples were obeying a commandment of the Savior by sailing to the other side of the sea. A storm came, and they struggled from evening through till the "Fourth Watch" (almost before dawn). He was watching them the whole time, but he didn't come to them until the last moment. Then when they cried out to them "immediately" he calms the wind.
When we pass through trials and cry out for help, and it seems like help doesn't come, never, never never give up. Jesus saves us at the fourth watch, so if we are having trials and pleading for help, hold out and hope for the fourth watch. If we aren't saved yet, it’s not the fourth watch yet and we are going to be okay. I know that that is true. We saw that this week.
It was Zone Conference week: Manti on Tuesday from 9-3, Richfield on Wednesday from 9-3, and then twice in St. George on Thursday and Saturday. We had less time in our area, but taught more lessons, had more people at church, and found more investigators than we have in a while. All of that happened on Saturday and Sunday. Talk about the Fourth Watch of the week.
Don't get me wrong, I love Zone Conference. We saw every single missionary in the mission and trained them on using the Book of Mormon. I love all of these Elders and Sisters. It does get exhausting at times though. We exchanged with the Zone Leaders in Mt. Pleasant on Tuesday after their Zone Conference and so we were out of the area for two days. It was so worth it though.
On Wednesday first thing after we got back from being in Richfield in the evening we taught M and R. We were super tired, but M committed to coming to church, and she came!! R also solidified all of the details for his baptism on this coming Saturday; somehow we had energy and enthusiasm left to teach those lessons. What a blessing.
But all the real miracles came Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday we got a call from R saying that he appreciated our help and work but that he was going to get baptized with other missionaries. Now, that’s not such a big blow, but it would have delayed R getting baptized and it would have been kind of hard for us to get him to this point and then not have him go through with it. We went and prayed at the Institute (I mean really PRAYED for help) and pretty soon after that we were able to contact them, smooth over a slight conflict, and he is back on track. He went to church yesterday with M and they announced his baptism to the ward :-)
We kept seeing S this week too as well as J and M2. S slept through his assigned sacrament meeting and so we had to o shake him out of bed, not really, but we did get him to a later sacrament meeting and he made a lot of new friends. He loves the Book of Mormon and is preparing to be baptized!
Also, we got a call from a ward mission leader after church on Sunday "Elders, a kid has been coming to church for the past few weeks, and he wants to be baptized!" We got to meet with him yesterday his name is S, and he has had a rough past. But he wants to meet with us ever day and work towards getting baptized! Whew, that one was such a tender mercy.
BUT!!! The biggest miracle came on Sunday night. J was our last lesson of the night and we were teaching her outside of the visitor's center on the temple grounds. She has been fighting a commitment to keep a baptismal date. We have been teaching her for 3 months. She has attended church, been reading the Book of Mormon (and the Doctrine and Covenants), and she has committed to keep all of the commandments. She has considered herself an "honorary Mormon" for years. But she is also the type of girl that when she says she will do something she takes it seriously and follows all the way through. So we have known that we have to bring the Spirit consistently, invite patiently, and let the Lord work on her. And we saw that last night.
Right before the end of our lesson, Elder Campbell asked her if she has been praying about her baptism. That unfolded a whole line of thought and she told us that "there probably never will be a perfect time. I will always be busy with school, trips, student government. “So we invited her again, and waited, and waited, answered her questions, walked her through what a baptismal service looks like, and she finally committed to the Spirit. She will be baptized on July 29th at 6pm. That one was a fight for her and for us, but what a decision that will bless her life forever.
So in short, the Lord saved our tails this week. We tried super hard to make good zone conferences and to stay diligent and obedient in our own area, and I know that we have been working with the Lord at our sides. It has also made a difference to work more closely with the members of our stake. In J's lesson yesterday her friends did just as much of the teaching as we did, we truly are one in this work! It’s not mine, it’s not the members, but this work is the Lord's.
I love all of you!! Especially Jeanie! I was sitting and thinking of her the other day, and JeanMarie has always been one of the "pioneers" in my life. She pioneered high school, seminary, college, and even the MTC and the mission for me. She went first in just about everything and I just followed. I love you so much Jeanie!! You have really blessed my life and I love you.
Well, I know without a doubt that this church is true. I have seen and experienced way too much for me to even think otherwise. God has answered all of my pleading prayers, and I know that he hears and answers every prayer from all of his children. I want so bad to just be the best missionary that I can be so that others can receive the Gospel: my missionaries, my companions, and especially my investigators. This mission matters so much for me and I want it to be forever.
I love you!
Elder Michael George Stewart