Monday, November 25, 2013

Loving it!

Hello family! It’s been a great, if a little cold, week here in Gunnison. We had snow and some wintery mix a few times this week. But thankfully Gunnison doesn't get hammered with snow like other towns in the area. Yes I am staying warm.  But I am also going to buy another sweater today!

This week Elder Becerra baptized M. We almost thought that M's baptism wasn't going to happen this week. His work took him all the way to Oregon to pick seed in the mountains. But he drove all the way back to Gunnison on Friday for his baptism on Saturday. He is such a humble man, and he felt that the Lord had great blessings in store for him if he decided to go through with his baptism. There was definitely a way provided for him to come back down to be baptized!

We also taught a young lady named H who was baptized this week.  Her dad was worthy to baptize her and they her family has have been really good about coming to church together, except for her mom who works on Sundays in the jail. They are probably in my favorite ward in this area, the bishop, ward mission leader, and a lot of the members work so hard to find and fellowship investigators.

We worked really hard this week. I am surprised at how much effort is still required for each baptism to take place. The formula doesn't change no matter how long you have been on your mission! Faith and Works are always the qualifications for miracles. I am just so happy that I still have the energy to go after it every day in this area.

Some highlights from the week: we went on a lot of splits to cover all of our lessons. Elder Becerra told me that he has grown a lot in this last month, and that was a little payday moment for me. I really love him and I want him to leave this area ready to tackle any challenge in the mission. Every day we study and practice so that we can each get better, and it is definitely paying off!

This week we also went all the way down to Central Valley (see that on a map of Sevier County) to teach a Peruvian man who is working as a sheepherder. That was a great experience. We are the only Spanish speaking missionaries right now that can cover this big area and so we got a ride all the way down to Richfield and then from Richfield to Central. We stopped in a field in front of a tiny, tiny trailer. Seriously, our dinner table would not fit inside of that trailer. My companion sat in front of J as we taught him the first lesson in that tiny space. He has been to church before, loved it, and his English teachers have given him a Book of Mormon in Spanish. I wouldn't be surprised if he got baptized soon. We are going back there this coming week to teach him again.

Also, we kept teaching the Bs. And the whole family came to church this Sunday! The Bishop and ward mission leader were kind of surprised to see them all there, and we were too honestly! The mom and dad are members, and their 19 and 24 year old daughters live with them and were never baptized. They don't read very much so we spend time reading from the Book of Mormon with them in the lessons.

We continued teaching the Ms too! That was such a great experience. All of their kids come and listen to the lessons as well, and they have read the Book of Mormon together and prayed together as a family. This week they came to church too! The mother said that she is surprised to see changes in herself to where now she WANTS to have us come over and she WANTS to go to church. The father is also coming along well (he is a nonmember); he said that he understands more about the Gospel than ever before.

Teaching families all together has been such a great blessing. We are teaching 5 families right now and a smattering of other individuals. Before I got transferred from St. George I had the impression that I would be focused on teaching families in this last part of my mission, and it’s so good to see that come true!
Thanks for your emails too! It’s so funny, here raking leaves is definitely not the process that it is back home. The trees are smaller and have smaller leaves too. Thanks for the details too about the return trip home. I won't be out of Utah very long!

I love you all so much! I definitely know that this gospel is true. I continue to learn more and more about faith, repentance, and baptism on my mission. As you preach the first principles of the gospel again and again, your understanding and conversion really grows. I am realizing that they are all inseparable. The gate to enter is repentance and baptism, not just baptism. We need to help our investigators endure to the end too. At the same time, we're not afraid or ashamed to teach the necessity of baptism either, after all the Savior commands us "Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost". That scripture is still carrying me this day!

I love you so much!! Take care!

Elder Michael Stewart

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