Dear Mom and Dad,
Well, this letter is dedicated to Elder Campbell. I have been serving with this man for 7.5 months. This was probably our best week yet. We were firing on all cylinders. We didn't have to say much to each other in the office this week; we just passed paper and flash drives off to each other and got everything done super fast. We had a lesson Sunday night with two less active members who are coming back to church. Elder Campbell used a great analogy about the gospel being like a bag of M&M's (can't wait to share that one with you when I'm off the mission), and I followed him up with a simple testimony and commitment to read the Book of Mormon. The girls and the fellowshipper left with questions answered and feeling the Spirit. It just felt so natural.
The mission is doing better than ever now too. There are 252 people with baptismal dates in the mission! I have never seen that before! I credit the success to the unity of the members/missionaries and to all of the new District Leaders we have, and especially to President Center. Many hands make light work! We truly have great DLs out there. I am just so happy that I see all these changes take place. I love President Center. I would follow him and Elder Campbell to the ends of the earth.
I am just so grateful for the Lord and for my companion. The other night we just laid awake after the lights were off and laughed about some of the fun/stupid moments we have shared together. Elder Campbell is learning Spanish, so that creates some fun moments as we try our best to speak to each other in that language. We have seen lots of opposition together too. I still remember our first week together in Richfield, we were in the little town of Glenwood together and nothing seemed to work that week. We had worked so hard, but we had no investigators to show for it. So we said a prayer together in the car and I remember feeling peace come over me. The very next day, we received 2 referrals for people who were baptized that same month. We worked hard, relied on the Lord, and he provided the miracle of conversion in other people's lives.
That experience has replicated itself month after month as we have served together. In total, we have 18 converts together. There has never been a month when we haven't met our baptismal goal, and we aren't done yet. I am filled with gratitude for the blessing of being able to serve with as good a man as Ryan Campbell.
So, this week may be our last full week together. I can't really describe how I feel about that. After this week, the week of the 21st we will train up a new AP together and then I am off to a new area for 4 months, and home in February. President Center will make all the decisions this week and so by this time next week I will know my fate (but I won't be able to share it with you). All I know is that I am going to miss Elder Campbell so much. He has seen the good, the bad, and the ugly in me. But he has been so patient and loving with me and he has helped me become so much better. I can't tell you how big of an impact he has had on my life. He is truly a forever friend and a true brother. I hope I can always be worthy of his friendship and trust.
Well, that’s most of my thoughts this week. We had a great baptism last week, and will hopefully have some more great baptisms this week as well. C was baptized yesterday. He was introduced to the Gospel in Price when he was a kid, but his parents were less active. Then here in St. George his buddy at work challenged him to read the Book of Mormon and then to meet with the missionaries. It was a picture perfect "working with members" baptism. I hope that I can be that good of a missionary when I go home.
I really love this church and this Gospel. I know that nobody can follow the True and Living God in our days without following his true and living servants. I know that President Monson is God's mouthpiece on earth today. He has counseled all of us to do missionary work! To go to the rescue! And to boldly open our mouths and share the gospel. I urge you to really consider and follow his counsel; we are all called to the work. I know that this church is guided by Christ and that He will support us in all our righteous endeavors. I know he suffered for my sins. Repentance is truly a beautiful word to me and I know that through Christ I can be washed clean and return to live with him someday. That is what I truly want.
I love you all so much! Thanks for your love and support of me. I am really grateful that you are providing me with the opportunity to serve this mission--it has changed my life.
Elder Michael Stewart