Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Cheerfully do all things!

January 6, 2014
Thanks so much for the birthday package.  That sweater is VERY NICE! WOW! I don't think I've ever owned something like that before, thanks.  I was very well taken care of for my birth-day. Sister Judy made a chocolate sheet cake and the football coach invited us over for a New Year dinner featuring deep fried everything. It’s a good thing we've been going to the gym so much.  At the rate they are feeding us I hope you recognize me when I come home.

At N's baptism and then at his confirmation on Sunday Sister W shared her adopted son's conversion story and how it affected her and her family. She shared how the first couple of missionary lessons were pretty rough (he is from Ethiopia and had only been in the states for a week before met him, not much English there). Later as we kept coming back, she said her prayers were answered and she knew that the Spirit was able to convey the message of the Gospel to him according to his own understanding. It really is a miracle that as my companion and I prepare ourselves spiritually, and do our best, the Holy Ghost does all the work! Sister W shared how one night she asked N if he had been praying about our message. He said yes, and that he knew that it was good. The Gospel is for all men, young and old, bond and free! You don't need an education or a lot of experience for God to speak to you.

A few exciting highlights from the week.
J came to church again!  She is becoming a lot more active. Also, you might remember C who Elder Campbell and I taught in Richfield, he was baptized the week I transferred to Dixie. We met his younger brother in Richfield at that time, but he wasn't too interested back then. Well, it turns out that J is his biological mom, and he splits his weekends between Richfield and Mayfield, and we started teaching him up here. He is a much more interested now. It’s interesting how you can come full circle in teaching a family on your mission.

K is getting baptized on Tuesday! We had to do that day because it’s the only time they don't have a wrestling meet this week. His coaches are ending practice early and telling all the boys to go to his baptism. He has been fellowshipped very well! His cousin V will be able to baptize him too.

We got an amazing new investigator, and it’s the PERFECT story of member missionary work. The new investigator is named K S; she is 19, has 2 kids and is married to Z who is a less active member. She and her husband live with Z's parents who are active. C (the mother in law) has been slowly taking her to church, talking to her about the Gospel, and helping her over the years. This week C invited K to meet with us and K agreed! She is very ready and she wants the church to help her become a better mother. Love and serve your family and friends. Don't be afraid to invite them to church and to meet with the missionaries too. If those invitations are made out of love, they will never come off as being pushy.

There are so many great things going on. The Lord is really blessing us. And I feel like I am becoming the missionary that I had always dreamed and wanted to be. It took two years and I know that Heavenly Fathers expects me to stay converted and to keep serving Him and His children my whole life. As Elder Bednar taught us, we all need to become missionaries, not just go on missions.

I know that the Gospel is true and that the Lord restored it in our days through the Prophet Joseph Smith. I am always amazed at how the simple principles of the Gospel are so powerful. I have really only learned 5 principles on my mission: faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. But those principles and the Doctrine of Christ that they make up are in and through every part of the church and the Gospel. We pay tithing to show faith in Christ and to help us remain faithful to the church all through our lives. We read our scriptures to help us to repent of our sins and to receive the Spirit in our lives. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is in everything we do. Preach My Gospel teaches us to "Preach the first principles of the Gospel. Preach them again and again…" It’s kind of like chemistry, in that if you know the first principles and foundational laws, you can describe and solve almost any situation you encounter.

I am so happy with what I am doing right now. It’s going to be bittersweet saying goodbye to the mission. I have 6 weeks left. But right now my goal is just to "cheerfully do all things that lie in [my] power; and then stand still with the utmost assurance and see the salvation of God and for his arm to be revealed...." (D&C 123:17) I love you so much! And I love this Church. It definitely is the Kingdom of God on the earth.

Elder Michael George Stewart

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