Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Making the Mission more Personal

Hello family,

 It’s a great winter day in Sanpete county Utah. There is about 6 inches of snow on the ground, ice on the roads, and lots of people to share the gospel with. It has snowed several times this week, but I only got stuck in the snow once trying to drive out of our driveway up a hill. We turned around and got out in no time though. We learned quickly. All is well!

This week was really good, it was great in fact. N, B, A and a few others committed to baptism. That’s one of the most spiritual times of the teaching process to me, when someone agrees to follow the promptings they are feeling and be baptized. It’s amazing and life changing every single time.

Dad, this week, I don't know why, but I've reflected a lot on your missionary experience. How you went through 12 sets of missionaries, how you didn't feel anything special the first time you read the Book of Mormon, and then your decision to live like Joseph Smith and his successors were prophets. And especially how you have gained your own testimony of the Gospel through the years. When we teach the Joseph Smith story to a family, and when we invite someone to be baptized, it makes me think of you and your choice to accept the Gospel. Remembering how your life, and therefore my life, have been changed and affected by the Restoration and the Gospel fills me with gratitude. I think I am just realizing how my life has been affected by missionaries (full time and member missionaries----THANKS MOM!) and I am so happy that I can offer that to other families. So, share the Gospel with your friends and family! Who knows who you will have affected 1 or 2 generations later? What could possibly be more important than that? See this website for simple ideas on sharing the gospel with others.

There were so many miracles this week! I think Elder Becerra and I saw so many miracles because we were on the same page more than ever before. We were praying for the same things, working for the same goals, and we taught in better unity. There is still a lot room for improvement though.

Let me tell you about 3 lessons.

We have been teaching a less active couple (though they are now coming to church) for a few weeks. They aren't married yet (they have plans to get married in April) and the future husband had a drinking problem. This week we taught him the Word of Wisdom and he told us "Yeah, I'll quit drinking. I've been waiting for you guys to tell me to quit drinking for a few weeks now." So that day we carried his last six pack of Bud Light out of his house, and dumped it in a dumpster. He sent us a text later thanking us for all we have done with him. Just goes to show that the real joy in missionary work comes when people repent (See Luke 15).
We also taught J and J the Word of Wisdom this week. They committed to quit smoking and drinking coffee. In just a couple days they have made so much progress! One went from a pack and a half to just 5 cigarettes, and the other is only smoking one a day. We fasted with them on Sunday, and we are going to give them priesthood blessings tonight. I really think that they can quit soon, and be baptized at the end of December. One amazing thing that happened with them this week, we asked the ward mission leader if members of the ward could stop by their home every day this week to offer support and fellowship. He talked to the relief society president, and she had assignments made before the end of church. So encourage the ward council to go out and visit investigators and less actives.  Your missionaries will love you.
We committed N (the kid who was just adopted from Ethiopia into an active family) to be baptized this week. We have been praying so hard for him to understand both English and the restored gospel in English. His language skills and understanding of the Gospel have really taken off in these weeks! I think mostly thanks to his mother’s help. After we watched the Joseph Smith story with him, we asked him how we felt about it and he said that he had already prayed about the church and gotten an answer from God. Well, the process is the same no matter how old you are. Read, pray, and trust God to answer you. That was an exciting lesson.

So again, thanks for everything! We are just having a great time. Oh, I almost forgot, yes we did get transfer calls, and Elder Becerra and I are staying together. It has been rare for me to be with a companion less than 12 weeks after all. So we have 6 more weeks together to see all of the reactivations and baptisms we have been working on. 

I know that this work is true, and that it’s the most important thing any of us can do. I love reading scriptures about missionary work. You probably already know this, but here is my inspiration as a missionary.

18. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
 19. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
 20. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:18-20)

There is so much in this scripture.  Jesus has the power to do His work, so what in the world do I need to fear? He has told me to teach, baptize, and teach some more, and that’s what I have loved to do as a missionary. President Monson has some great comments on this scripture if you look at last conference.  What I know though is that this commission from Jesus Christ is how we can change the world, in His own way, and one life at a time.

I love you! I love what I am doing!

Con Amorcito,
Elder Michael George Stewart

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