Completely Changed--August 12
Dear Mom and Dad,
What a week! 11 new missionaries came and 10 missionaries left. This week was real roller coaster for me. The sister missionaries who left the MTC out with me and right after me (many that were in my first district) got on the plane Tuesday morning just as all of the new missionaries were getting off. It was bitter sweet. We stayed Monday evening and Tuesday morning with Elder Matthews who was one of my Zone Leaders earlier in my mission. This was definitely a group I feel really close to.
As Elder Matthews was bearing his testimony Wednesday night his parents came to the mission home and it was a crazy experience. I really love that missionary and his parents were just a natural extension of him. I felt like I knew them through him. They offered a place to stay in Boise if I'm ever up that way.
We had some great miracles this week and we had to do a lot of work!
Let’s start with some miracles.
Last Sunday we got a text from T (a former investigator that we taught 2 transfers ago) and she said "I want to get baptized". That was pretty great. She was in California, but she got back in town two days ago, and so we started teaching her again and she has a date to be baptized at the end of this month! She has had some pretty amazing experiences and you know that Heavenly Father has been working on her in the months that we haven't seen her. It was a miracle.
We also have just started teaching a girl. I will have to tell you all about it later. We had a lesson with her and her parents. There was some border line yelling between her and her parents, but she still wants to learn and be baptized! I was just grateful for seminary, for institute books, and Bruce R. McKonkie in that lesson. Every ounce of our knowledge was required to answer her parent’s questions!
Don’t worry too much about me. I'm working on loving my companion, my investigators, and life itself. I feel completely changed by my mission up to this point.
Elder Michael Stewart
The Best Week Ever!!!--August 19
Wow, I am so happy right now! You have no idea how happy, THE STUDENTS ARE BACK! Elder Campbell and I had been doing really well for the summer (we have had baptisms every month this summer which is really good for a college area.) but our area just got hit by 10,000 kids who need the Gospel. Already everyone we have found is a good prospect for baptism. This entire week it’s like heavenly father pinpointed where we needed to go, gave us referrals we needed to receive, and led us to people we needed to meet who are ready to be baptized. I am just grateful for the time that I have to serve in this area now. It’s like we endured the summer months and now we are hit with a monsoon! Anyway, it’s a lot of fun.
Where to start, well, first we are back to over 30 lessons a week. PDay started off in the Temple. Elder Campbell and I spent the majority of our Monday and Tuesday discussing the things that we observed and learned from the session. It probably started the tone off right.
Monday night we had a lesson with T and she "got the chills" as we went over the 1st vision with her. Later that evening we contacted a referral for an "eternigator" who just needs some TLC before he is baptized. He spoke at stake conference a while ago, go figure. Then in the evening we taught S who is getting ready for baptism too. He ate up all the commandments and is excited to pay tithing.
Tuesday! We taught T and S again. We are trying to see them every day before they are baptized. We also taught S2 again. It was kind of sad though. She has to go out of town before she can get baptized. Her parents are great people but they are totally opposed her getting any closer to baptism. She will probably be baptized in Cedar City.
Wednesday! We taught a lesson at 9:30 am (we needed to get President's permission to do that). We taught M. She has a boyfriend on a mission, has really active friends, but like S2, her parents are strong in their church. Her parents have been really nice to us though, and she committed to read the Book of Mormon. It is kind of hard for her to have a totally open heart though because she is afraid of what "getting an answer" about the Book of Mormon entails. She is such a good girl though.
Also on Wednesday we taught S3, who is less active but returning to activity now! He is really eating the gospel up. The whole reason he decided to come back to church was because of violinist Lindsey Stirling. She inspired him to go back to church!! I guess everyone makes a difference in their own way!
Thursday! We taught 7 lessons, including one to a kid on the Cross Country. He knows a lot of the really active boys on the team.
Friday we got a phone call from another Bishop, "Elders, I have someone who is ready to be baptized." Gotta love those phone calls. We called the number he gave us and set up an appointment with F for Sunday at church. More to come on that later.
Saturday! We got a lot of referrals and taught lots of lessons.
Sunday! Ten investigators came to church! We started teaching a wide receiver! And we had a big miracle--- F came into church and asked to be baptized. He is reading in Alma 48, has been living the commandments for 8 months now, and knows the church is true. So we will see the blessing of another baptism on Saturday.
I love you all! I love this work. This is not just my mission work; this is my life's work. Focusing on helping others and focusing on ordinances throughout my life will ensure that I am worthy, attending the temple, and always focused outside of myself. I have a strong testimony that this church is true. I know the Savior lives and he is with us every day.
Elder Michael Stewart