Sunday, January 26, 2014


Please just look at this car I found the other day.  Jeff, what are you doing here?
Some of the cutest little kids in my area.
Our genealogy!  From right to left, Grandpa, Dad, Son.
Please just guess how many people there are in this car.  This was a ride from church, and we were hanging off the back.
     Do you have your guess?
     Are you sure?

     19.  Welcome to Guatemala.

An Apostle in Xela!

    Hello Family!  This week has been a really good week for us all around.   We´ve had really good lessons, found some really good people to teach, and to top it all off, we had Elder Cook of the Quorum of the 12 come and talk to our mission!  I´ve definitely learned a lot this week, and I hope to be able to communicate what I am thinking today...  So here goes!
     So, as I said before, this Saturday Elder Cook came to talk to us.  And I learned a bunch from the conference overall.  I´d like to start with something that Elder Duncan, a seventy, taught us.  He told a story of an Elder that was serving a mission in England.  Things were going hard, and he and his comp decided to start talking more about the Savior, and try and avoid the Restoration.  But he started feeling depressed, and thinking about going home.  So one day, he decided to pray, and he heard a voice that said, "Testify about the Restoration."  So he did, and he felt so much better about his mission.
     What we are to learn from this is that we have a very special/unique message for the world, and that is the Restoration.  We shouldn´t be afraid to talk about it, because that is the basis of our message.  There have been times in my mission when I´ve found someone really pilas, and I want them to progress, but I think to myself, "What if they get offended by Joseph Smith and the Restoration?"  But it is so necessary for the people to realize that a restoration has happened.  Everyone should know about it, and if they want to accept it is up to them.  But it´s our job to teach them about it.  A really good reminder of how important the restoration really is!
     And then Elder Cook got up.  Man, I could tell that he really is an Apostle of the Lord.  He brought a spirit like none other when he walked in.  And he is so smart about the scriptures!  Blew my mind.  But he talked a lot about how we as missionaries are sent to a ward/branch to strengthen it.  And we need to be part of it to do that.  And then he shared D&C 112:33, and talked about how important yet solemn our job as missionaries is.  There have been times when I have forgot how important it is not only to be a missionary, but to be a good one.  There is no substitute.
     But the best part of it all was the apostolic witness that he shared with us.  As he was bearing his testimony, he said this:  "I testify to you all that Jesus Christ lives.  I know the Lord.  I know his voice.  And there is nothing that can make me deny this."  Wow...  The Spirit was so thick (for lack of a better word) that I knew it was there.  And I also knew that what I am doing is the Lord´s work.  So yeah, this week was one filled with the Spirit.  
     Things are going good investigator wise also.  With Cindy and her children, they are still set for this Saturday, so we are just going to visit them a lot this week to make sure that they are still on board.  And a good thing with them is that they are putting the example for Antonio, the husband.  He came to church this week because of them!  If they can just keep being the example, I have a feeling that the whole family will one day be members.
     Wosvelí is still as prepared as ever, and this week we started his divorce process, but I´ll be long gone before it´s done.  But the important thing is that he gets baptized eventually.
     We´ve also got some really cool people that we are working with right now, they just need to take the next step towards baptism.  But things are really looking good here in Chiquilajá!
     I love you all, and love how close we all are.  I was thinking about it the other day, one of a missionaries biggest drives is how close his family/friend relations are at home.  And I´m so grateful to have a VERY strong one.  I love you all so much.  Until next time!
     - Elder Stuart
     P.S. James 3:4  (Also 3-5)

Sunday, January 19, 2014


Just look how beautiful Guatemala is.
This is me trying to sneak a photo of a classic Guatemalan bus.  We went to Huehue this week for a baptism of a guy Elder Josec was teaching.  And this is how we got there.  This is the main form of travel here.  And I love it.
A really cool picture of Parque Central in Xela.  I thought Dad would really like it.

"Just Keep Going"

    Hello Family!  Here I am, yet again, but now I´m finally writing to you guys a real Elder in the mission!  I just completed 18 months in the mission this week, so now I´m done with my Sister Mission!  Just 6 months are left.  That is so weird to think about sometimes.  There are times that I feel really excited about coming home, but then there I times I feel really sad about leaving here.  But it´s bound to come soon, so I´ve just got to make the most of it!

     This week we had a really special moment with a really special family.  This is a family that we have known for a while now.  (Almost 3 months!)  The mom´s name is Cindy, and her husband is Antonio.  I´ve talked about them in a couple of emails now, but now they deserve special mention.  Well, Antonio has become a drunk again and has made life really hard for Cindy and her kids.  But amist all that, she has recieved her answer.  She and two of her kids have accepted to be baptized on the 25th of January!  I´m so happy.  

     The most interesting thing about them is that there have been a lot of times where I have thought, "Well, they aren´t going to progress anymore, it´s probably just better if we drop them."  But I never did, and I am so grateful for it.  It´s like Heavenly Father was saying to me, "Just keep going."  He really does know best.

     Other than that though, the week wasn´t that good.  Both Cruz and Wosvelí were out of town all week, so we haven´t seen them at all.  The divorce for Wosvelí is going to take longer than we thought, so that´s not good.  And Cruz isn´t really feeling it anymore.  We have a FHE with him tonight, so we are going to really try and bring the spirit so that he can feel it.  

     Another really cool thing.  Elder Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve is coming here on Saturday!  He is going to talk to all the missionaries in the mission, and 
I´m so stoked for it!  I never thought that anything like this would happen while I was in the mission, but I have the chance to be instructed by a living apostle!  Amazing.

     I want to share with you guys something that I studied this week.  Let´s go to Alma 20.  In verse 2, the Lord tells Ammon not to the land of Nephi, because the King will try to kill him.  And later on, we read in verse 8 that, as Ammon obeyed the Lord and went a different way, who else comes along but the very King that Ammon was meant to avoid.  When I first read this, I was like, "What?"  Really confused.  So I started to think about it.  

      I think that no matter what, the Lord was going to put the King in Ammon´s path.  But what happened with that depended on Ammon´s obedience.  Ammon listened to the Lord and went the other way.  I imagine that if Ammon didn´t listen to the Lord and saw the King, he would have been killed without quesitons.  But when Ammon obeyed the Lord, his meeting with the King was really positive, and ended up saving his brothers and converting the King.  

     This really just screams "Be obedient!"  Sometimes things are going to happen regardless of what we do.  But the consequences depends on how willing we are willing to submit ourselves to the Lord´s will.  

      I really am enjoying myself a lot in the mission field.  I am learning a lot about myself, and I think that is one of the main reasons I am here.  I know what I am doing is the Lord´s work.  I love you all, and love all of your support.  Until next time!

     - Elder Stuart

     P.S.  Well, if you guys want another scripture other than the one in the letter, take 1 Nefi 17:35, just the first line.  (Up to where it says God for the first time.)  Think about it along with obedience.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


Get this.  This is a typical Christmas dessert made up of:  Jello, apples, grapes, colored marshmellows, sour cream, and peanuts.  And it was actually really good.

Making some Xela famous "chuchitos."  Basically corn with a sauce and some meat inside.  The secret is the sauce...

Learning how to make Chuchitos.

Just some of the meats that they put in the Chuchitos.  And yes, that is a turkey head.

New Years in Xela

Burning up the corn stalks after the harvest.

Hoeing for service!  ;)

Christmas Eve with the Velasco family!  

Christmas at Midnight!

Christmas Package!!!  (Also, look at that thumb...)

My area

A big Christmas tree in the middle of Xela

Playing a game like Taboo, and some member drew this, trying to draw a gorilla.

Feliz Año Nuevo!

  Hello Family!  And Happy New Year!  We have officially entered 2014, the year that a Prophet of God called Elder Stuart to come back home...  How weird is that?  Can you believe how fast the time has gone?  Incredible.  Now it`s just time for us to make the best of a whole new year!

     New Year´s was just like how it was for my family:  Quiet.  New Year´s Eve was just a normal day for us, and then we had to be in our apartments at 9:00.  So Elder Josec and I played some games for a little bit, until midnight, and then went up to our roof to watch the fireworks. And then I went to sleep.  Fun right?  Honestly, for me it was.  I was dead tired, so I just wanted to rest.  So yeah...

     Actually, thinking about it, that´s how our week went for us.  This week was really slow.  We had a really low number of lessons taught, and some things just didn`t go our way.  It definitely was a week of really thinking about the mission, and how it has blessed my life.  I know I`ve said it before, but I know I was sent here in Quetzaltenango not just for the people here, but for myself.  And it`s been great.

      Anyways, we have had some problems with Cruz and Sharon.  Sharon ran away from home to go live with her boyfriend...  So we haven`t seen here for about a week.  And Cruz isn`t feeling that good about his fecha.  So we pushed it back to the 18th.  But we really need to work with him to have him gain a testimony about the Gospel.  Without a testimony, we aren`t getting anywhere.  So we are really working on that.

       Wosvelí has been in Momos all week, so we haven`t seen him yet.  But we`ve started the process to divorce him.  We haven`t been informed on how long it is going to take, but we are shooting for about 3 weeks.  But we`ll see how that goes.

     Because a bunch of people didn`t want to follow through with their citas, we had the opportunity to find 15 new investigators this week, one of the highest I`ve ever had.  Now we just need to make sure that we follow through with them so that they can all progress.

      I just want to tell you guys a really cool experience that happened yesterday.  We were having one of those days, where no one comes to church, and every single thing that we had planned fell through.  It was 7:30, and we were so tired.  We had just walked through a bunch of guys making fun of us, and went so far as to kick a soccer ball that hit me in the back.  Needless to say I was really frustruated.  I was thinking, "Let`s just go home, nothing good is coming out of today."  But we decided to go visit one more person.  We decided to keep on going.  
     When we got to the house that we had planned to go, some little kid answered and informed us that the person we were looking for wasn`t there.  But then some older lady came to the door, and started talking to us.  We presented ourselves, and she almost sent us away.  But then something changed.  It was like the whole atmosphere got calmer.  She suddenly just said to come in, and she gave us some leftover tostadas from their dinner.  We chatted, and figured out that she is really in need of the Gospel.  We left her house with plans to stop by this Wednesday.  I left that house thanking God for giving me the strength to keep going.  If I would`ve just given up and gone home, we never would have found that lady.  But we did.  God works in mysterious ways, and I am just now starting to see that.

     (That ended up being longer than I thought...)

     So yeah, Happy New Year´s to all.  Here`s to 2014!  Until next time!

     - Elder Stuart

     P.S. John 15:2 and 4

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Photos (Or Lack Thereof!)

There might not be pictures this week, because my memory erased all my pictures, and we are in the process of recovering it all.  So if it`s done in time, I`ll send some to you.  But if not, next week!

¡Feliz Navidad!

    Hello Family!  I hope that you all had a very Merry Christmas!  Filled with fireworks and everything!... Oh wait, that`s just us in Guatemala...  So yeah, that`s just for Jeffrey and I.  (Unless my limited knowledge of other countries comes into play here...)  But anyways, I hope that all of you had an amazing Christmas, filled with a bunch of Christmas Spirit!  I hope that we all did what President Monson said, and make sure to take off that last syllable of Christmas to remember what it is really about.

      I really like what my brother Jeffrey said this week, that all of us missionaries that are serving are giving the best birthday present we could to the Person whose birthday we are celebrating.  (That sentence is probably really weirdly structured.  Just bear with it.)  

     But now we have moved on, and it`s time for us to think about the next year, 2014!  (Wow time is going by way too fast...)  People always talk about resolutions this time of year, and honestly, I`ve never really done them.  But I think that it is important that we think of ways that we can be better people, and really stick to what we committed to.  Especially with a spirit of Christ in mind.  We all can be better, now it`s just up to us to do what we can!

     The mission`s got a really good idea with resolutions and all that.  We are trying out a 40 day and 40 night fast of things that we know we have to change.  Every one of us has something to change, so now we are promising to fast about it, and make sure that we are better missionaries.  We need to make sure we have the spirit with us at all times, so this should help us out!

     Now I just feel like this letter is just a bunch of thoughts about this time of year.  Let`s get on to what`s going down in Guatemala.

     Just to start off, we had 6 people in Sacrament Meeting this week.  That`s tied with my all time high.  I guess people are just in the Christmas Spirit!

     Our most positive people are Cruz and his daughter Sharon right now.  They are coming to church, and are still set for their baptismal date on the 11th of January.  They`ve got no real problems right now, so we are just still preparing them for their date!  I`m really excited for them.

      And now I`ve got to tell you guys about a man named Miguel.  He is a really good friend of Cruz`s family.  He`s about 70, and he`s really got no family around.  And on top of all of that, he`s almost deaf.  Well, he`s been around whenever we teach Cruz and Sharon, but we haven`t really been paying attention to him.  But on Sunday, we had started church and everything, with everyone inside already.  But after the Sacrament, who else walks in but Miguel.  He came on his own!  He just walked in like he knew exactly what he knew he was doing!  So we are definitely going to see what`s up with him this week!  Man I love miracles.  Sometimes I feel like I should deserve them, but when we are on the Lord`s errand, everything is possible.

     We also had a mom and her three kids come to church this week.  Her name is Cindy, and she is the wife of an Antonio that we had been visiting a couple months back.  Antonio now doesn`t want anything to do with us, but Cindy does.  She really wants to know about the truth, and where to find it.  So we are really going to help her out.  And after about 2 and a half months of knowing her, she finally came to church!  I`m really hoping and praying that she will keep acting on the faith that she has!

     I don`t know, it`s been just a really good week this week.  I was just talking to Elder Keele about it, and Sunday`s are what makes or breaks your success in the week.  You can have the best week in the world lesson-wise, but if no one comes to church, it feels really hollow.  But when people take that step of faith and come to chruch, it`s like walking on air.  There is no other feeling quite like it.

     Sometimes I feel like I am being blessed way to much than I deserve.  I`ve realized this week that I have a lot of faults.  I am a very imperfect person.  But God takes those imperfect people, and has them do what they do best.  There is a spot for all of us in this world!  We all have our part to play, no matter how small.  I think it was President Uchtdorf who said one time, that the world is like a Symphony, and we are the players.  If we don`t do our part, the show will go on.  But with our help, everything is just better.  We need to remember that always.

      Wow, this letter`s a honker, that`s for sure.  I just feel like putting all of my thoughts down, so you guys know what I`m thinking.  Above all though, I don`t know what I would`ve done without the mission.  I would`ve been a completely different person, and not for the better.  I am infinitely grateful to my Heavenly Father for this chance that I have.  He really is our Father, and Jesus Christ is our Brother.  We are SO blessed to be a part of this Gospel.  I know it.  And I love it.

     Until Next Time!

     - Elder Stuart

     P.S.  Malachi 3:3  This one takes a bit of explination.  A refiner and purifier of silver purifies his silver in a very special way.  He has to take the silver with tongs, sit right next to the fire, and hold it in there while it is being purified.  He knows it`s done when the silver shines and he can see his reflection in it.  Now we just need to compare ourselves to the silver and God to the refiner.  And look up Alma 5:14 while we are at it.

     P.P.S.  I really hope that last paragraph makes sense.

      P.P.P.S.  If any of you make it to this point in the email, you deserve a hug.  Just wait seven months and it`ll come!


So this is the size of the average Guatemalteca.  And I thought I was the short one.  (She´s really pilas by the way.  Always helps us out, and going to go on the mission in March.)

Rainbow picture.  Cool

Elder Josec and I with some member kids.

Some members playing my guitar for Family Home Evening.  They wrote their own song, and it´s really good!

Please enjoy your view of a classic tortilla shop in Guatemala, with the classic corte lady.  This is as Guatemalan as it gets folks.

Elder Josec, Elder Pagán, and I as the three Wise Men in our ward´s Christmas Activity!

If this didn´t remind me of home, I don´t know what does!

Feliz Navidad!

    Hello Family!  Feliz Navidad!  Espero que se encuentren bien.  Ha.  Don´t you all love it when I write in Spanish?  It´s just to change up me emails here and there.  I need some different ways to start these off.  So there you go.

     Well, it´s Christmas!  I´m so stoked!  My second Christmas away from home.  That´s really weird to think that a year ago I was all the way back in Momos.  But time flies by so fast, you have to take advantage of it.  Especially in this Christmas season.  This is a really good time to sit down and just think about life.  It´s been a great life for me so far, that´s all I can say!  And I love being able to help these people out have Christ more in their life!

     As far as investigators go, we are still focusing on Wosvelí.  The thing is that he isn´t divorced from his "ex-wife," and isn´t married with his current "wife."  Go figure, right?  Welcome to Guatemala.  (Guys, don´t ever break the law of Chastity.  Along with screwing up your salvation, it messes with missionaries.  Do it for the good of them.)  So he´s set on his desire and the doctrine, we just need to get him divorced and married.  So much fun.  But we are hoping the process goes by quick.

      We also have Cruz and his daughter Sharon for the 11th of January.  (The end of my girl mission!  Woo hoo!)  They got hit hard this week with the death of their mom/grandma, so we haven´t seen them for a couple of days.  But they are still really positive, and want to join the church.

     That last part, when we figured out the lady had died, really made me appreciate the knowledge I have of the Plan of Salvation.  There are people all throughout the world that believe there is no hope after death that we can be with our family again.  But we can!  I was thinking about it, and I am so grateful to be a missionary to be able to help people understand the meaning of this life and the life to come.

     This Christmas is going to be so sick!  Since tomorrow, the 24th, is when everyone celebrates Christmas here, no one is going to want to receive us.  So we are going to go stuff our faces with a bunch of members, and just enjoy ourselves.  (We might also go Paintballing, but that´s not for sure yet...)  Also, I found the game Tetris Link in the MegaPaca, so we are going to play that in our down time!  And on Christmas day, we are going to go caroling for our ward and our investigators!  So stoked, I can´t even explain it.  Not to mention I´m going to open my package on Christmas morning!  I can´t wait to talk to you guys!  I´m so happy!

     But all in all, I´m just grateful to be part of Christ´s Kingdom here on the earth.  We really do know what the real meaning of Christmas is, celebrating our Savior´s birth.  Let us all be able to do that this Christmas.  Love you all!  Until Next Time!

     - Elder Stuart

     P.S. Luke 2