Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Learning to....endure to the end

Well it was another week in Zion, the best mission in the world. Elder Campbell and I will have one more transfer together which will be a total of 7.5 months serving together! Many people have had shorter courtship + engagement time than we have had companionship time. All I know is the setting apart blessing President Bush gave me is coming true.  After these last six weeks in the office President Center expects to send me out to an area to finish the last three months (+one bonus month!) of my mission. I hope I can train. I also hope I can go to Moab! Actually, I just want to go where the Lord wants me to go. I know that doing his will is how we meet with real success, and I know that he has opportunities planned that I don't even know about. 

This week we had several brush fires erupt and one forest fire. President Center had mostly finished all of his transfer decisions early by Tuesday of this week. So we were finalizing all of the logistics and decisions for the transfer throughout the week, and then we lost two missionaries in the mission. But challenges notwithstanding we finished the transfer (losing two missionaries affects a great deal of other moves) and we look forward to a great week and a great transfer. The mission is baptizing more than ever. It is so rewarding to finally see the fruits of faith, labor, patience, and diligence in the mission. I honestly want to see these other missionaries baptizing more people than see a lot of success in my own area, but and we are getting there now! It is exciting. 

Last week I got to baptize C and Elder Campbell confirmed her. She is awesome. She will definitely be a life-long friend. Many of her friends from Sandy (who introduced her to missionaries up there) were present at her baptism, and some even stayed the next day for the confirmation. She is the perfect example of following the Spirit despite opposition. Her parents still don't support her being a member of the church. All of the most solid members and converts go through opposition. But I have come to realize that while we need to expect opposition, we need to push and strive for breakthroughs. Everyone we teach needs a breakthrough to receive conversion, and it’s our job to be there to help them. 

This week C helped us find and fellowship other investigators in her ward (she lives in the Dorms on campus).  We found three new investigators in her ward!  L, and two roommates  named M and S. Elder Campbell and I joke that because they are roommates, it’s like we are teaching a family.  So you can still find families even in an YSA area. 

S and M are amazing. They both have received strong testimonies of the Book of Mormon and the Church. M told us "I found out that the Book of Mormon was true on page 20" (See 1Ne11:17 for the exact verse that impacted her). However, they are both experiencing some opposition, S from friends here, and M from family back home. S will be baptized this month, but M will wait for next month. 

Also, they are splitting our area.  We are going to be joined in our stake by Sister Missionaries who will start covering 5 of our wards. They will also cover the Canyonlands Apartments, aka the biggest gold mine for investigators in the mission. 

This week Elder Woolley and Sister Woolley ended their missions too. Talk about determined people. They have probably been some of the most influential persons to me on my mission, and I sure will them. We had a DELICIOUS dinner with them on Sunday night, and Elder Woolley got one last chance at harassing us before he took off the name tag. He already has a 4-wheel drive trip planned. 

One thing that the Lord has been impressing upon me is lessons in leadership. I see clearly now that leadership is service to our fellowman. They need leaders to set the example and to lead and guide them; everyone needs a touchable hero, or an everyday Moroni to look to. The lesson I learned this week is Alma 50:1 "And it came to pass that Moroni did not stop making preparations for war, or to defend his people against the Lamanites...." This is so true for us and relates to a conversation I had this week. I was talking with President Center the other day about training, retraining, and helping missionaries, it’s a lot of work! He said "the truth is that you can never just stop working." Well, that’s what I learned: to endure to the end. And I think that mission presidents are one of the greatest examples of consecration and work. We can never stop.  People need our help every day, and we can chose to serve and to love every day. 

Maybe, the hard part is just that, the giving of self. I wish that love and service came more natural to me, that I could help and lift more missionaries. But I know that I am where I am to give of myself freely and to learn. I haven't done this job perfectly...but I am doing my best. I look forward to another great 6 weeks with Elder RJ Campbell, and I think now I am looking forward to a lifetime of service. 

I love you all! Thanks for everything! 
Elder Michael George Stewart

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