It was a week with a lot of growing and learning. I am so happy to still be on my mission. The biggest motivator right now is that we have several baptisms scheduled for every weekend between now and when I go home. It’s a blessing that is sure to keep me motivated.
This week was busy with a new companion, a wedding, and a baptism!
MONDAY: Right after I emailed you all, Elder Becerra and I went and taught a lesson to S, a new investigator we found a few weeks ago. He had wanted to be baptized, but he and his fiancé weren't married. They were talking about getting married "sometime this decade". We taught them the Law of Chastity and read to them from the "Family Proclamation" Those are some powerful words. And honestly, I still reverently remember the powerful spirit that filled that small room as we testified of the importance of them getting married. In that same lesson, they committed to be married on Friday so that S could be baptized on Saturday. One of the most spiritual lessons I've ever been in. When we asked them "Will you all be married before Scott's baptism?" S immediately responded "Yes, definitely, we will do that." It just strengthened my testimony that when someone is ready and willing, the Lord can do miracles with them.
We called the bishop and ward mission leader right after that lesson, and asked them to take care of all the arrangements for the license and wedding. They did a great job, and I am so grateful for their help.
After that lesson, we packed some overnight bags and hurried to Salina so we could get on the van to St. George. The mission picked up all the missionaries who were in the MTC with me, they all left on Wednesday. I sat next to Elder Gomez and Elder Barboza on the way down. What a privilege to come full circle with those elders. In the MTC I sat by Elder Barboza every day, and we have served around each other several times. And Elder Gomez has been around me in one form or another my whole mission. I have a lot of strong feelings about these brothers and the experiences we have shared.
Monday night we proselyted in a walking area with the Sunset English Elders. I slept on a couch that night.
TUESDAY: Elder Lopez picked me up and we went to see all the missionaries boarding the transfer van.
Then all of the departing missionaries went to a temple session with President and Sister Center. There is a new movie again! That was a really spiritual experience for me. Brother Bott told us in mission prep, to "return and report" to the Lord at the end of our missions in the temple. And I took an opportunity to do that in the celestial room as I mentally reviewed all the areas, companions, and converts I have had. I felt clear and at peace about everything I've been able to do for 2 years. What a blessing. It’s not a sacrifice at all to serve the Lord; it’s my privilege and lifelong desire. It’s all about the people you’re with and the lives you’re able to touch.
After the session President and Sister Center answered some questions for us in the celestial room then we had a meeting with the temple president. He talked about making the temple a priority in post mission life. And MAKING TIME to be there. Definitely something I want to do in Provo, probably once a week.
My new companionship is Elder Becerra, Elder Joens, and yours truly. Elder Joens is a great missionary. Very diligent and he really wants to do a good job. He is the only active member in his family. I am always shocked at the missionaries who made big sacrifices to be on their missions. Also our combined weight in this companionship is almost 700lbs. We are all over 6ft tall.
WEDNESDAY: So after being trained, we loaded up on the transfer van and went all the way back up to Salina. I got to sit by Elder Campbell on the van and we talked the whole way up. Alma 17:2 "...and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord..." That’s the way I feel about that man. Eight months is a long time to serve together. I am just so grateful that we will see each other every Pday and every district meeting each week till I leave. His example and service are big boosters to me, and I am grateful that I can be there for him too.
Wednesday night, we taught two great lessons, introduced Elder Joens to a bishop, and went to bed.
THURSDAY: This day was our District Meeting. We learned about "How to Begin Teaching" principles from preach my gospel, got Elder Joens some groceries, went to lunch with Elder Campbell and his greenie, Elder Sanders. We taught the D family. The lesson was hectic; the kids were kind of unruly. They still want to be baptized though!
That night we had lessons with the S family (getting baptized on February 1st), K (Feb 15), the H’s (Feb. 8), and S (Jan 25). We had an awesome lesson with S about the Atonement and repentance. One of the biggest lessons I've learned on my mission is the importance of repenting and that we only can repent thanks to Jesus Christ. While it’s true we need to recognize our sins, confess them, stop sinning, make restitution and commit to keeping the commandments in order to repent---the most important step is the acknowledge the Savior's power to redeem and let that take effect in your life.
FRIDAY: Taught S about the restoration (or maybe we did that on Thursday, in any case he had all the lessons), introduced Elder Joens to President Rosenvall, taught the D family again about baptism, found a new investigator, and then we had S’s wedding The ward did a great job.
SATURDAY: Reviewed S for his interview, interviewed him and baptized him. It was another spiritual day.
SUNDAY: Have I mentioned that our correlation meetings are Sundays at 6:30 a.m.? So we wake up at 5:30 a.m. to be ready on time. It’s fun. At 7:30 we got a call from a new Bishop, his whole sacrament meeting program had fallen through. So we offered to speak in his ward at 1 p.m. on top of our confirmation at 11 a.m. and our speaking assignment at 9 a.m. It was a great day. At the end of the day we had a lesson with K. She has asked me to baptize her which will be my first time baptizing someone personally in months! What a big motivator to keep me going for a few weeks.
I am so grateful for this week. It’s been an emotional roller coaster but at the end of it all, I know my head, heart, and feet are where they are supposed to be. I am so grateful we stayed so busy this week. Along with all that is listed here, we gave several priesthood blessings, had some run ins with drunken people, and managed to keep going to the gym every morning. It has taken prayer, pondering, and good old fashioned hard work, but I know these last weeks will be my best ones yet.
I love you so much! Keep praying for us to find new investigators!
Elder Michael George Stewart.