Monday, June 30, 2014


Celebrating my birthday with the Paz family!

Just a normal road here in Huehue.  After the rain, the streets were just horrible...

The Zaculeu Zone!  (Without the Hermanas...)

This family is so great.  Luis and Esvin are on my right and left respectively.  We worked so hard with this family, and they were pretty active when I left.  I´m so happy to see them in the church!

The Paz family, probably the family that helped us out the most in Colonia.

 Part of my area in San Francisco.  We are crossing a bridge over a river, and I just had to take a picture.

San Francisco is called "El Alto" (tall in spanish, but I think of it as "on high") for a reason.  The lights you see is Xela clear back there.  San Fran is the area with the highest altitude in the mission!

The ward going to plant trees as a service project.  And how did we get there?  Riding on the back of a pickup truck.  That´s my white hand holing on to the bar, and I´m standing on the bumper.  One of the many reasons I love this country, because this was completely legal.

While doing service, we just found this little river next to the road.  That´s the beauty of Guatemala for you guys.

Planting Trees!

A view of San Francisco, and the amazing view that we have.  But I´ll look for a better picture of San Fran to send to you all next week!

San Francisco!!!

Hello Family!  Here we are again.  I´ve been running out of ways to start my emails, because if my count is correct, this is P-Day number 101 for me.  That just blows my mind on how much time that really is, and realizing that all that time I have been a missionary of the Lord.  And I love it!  Being a missionary has been such a blessing to me and to so many other people, I just love it so much.  I can´t get enough of it!

     (By the way, after writing all of this, I realize that this is a long email.  So if you don´t have time to read it all, don´t worry, I completely understand!)

     So, seeing as I had changes in my very last change, I´m not in Huehue anymore.  I am currently writing you all from San Francisco!!!... El Alto.  Jaja just so you all know, my new area that I am in is called San Francisco El Alto.  I love it because I am close by my very first area, Momostenango!  It´s a pretty famous place, because of the market that happens every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.  It´s kind of rediculous, but it´s fun to just be in that environment where there is commotion everywhere, and people bartering left and right.

      For the area itself, we are in a very small ward here.  For example, we had an attendence of about 40 people this week, which was pretty good for us.  So now I´m going to need to get used to a smaller ward, with less people.  But I love it.  We are part of the Momostenango Stake, which I absolutely love.  (I just have such a connection with Momos, I don´t know why...)  The ward has been pretty down recently, because there hasn´t been much success here for a long time, but that´s why I´m here!  To get things going!

     My companion´s name is Elder Jerez, who is from Guatemala City, which means that I will finish my mission having a Latino comp my whole time, which has been awesome!  Elder Jerez is great, he has about 18 months in the mission, and we are getting along really well.  He also loves to cook, which is great for me! (But not for my return missionary form...)  We are getting some new ideas to get San Francisco going, and we are both really excited to be working here.

     We had a really good week this week, just getting to know the members a little bit.  And for the little members that are here, they are all really nice and special.  This is a really tight ward, which makes the work better.  (That´s probably because more than half of the ward is made up of one family, the Álvarez family.  You´d be surprised how often that happens here...)  And although I´ve only known them for just less than a week, I already feel a connection with them.  And I know that they are going to be happy to help us out.

     We´ve got a 17 year-old investigator named Paloma who is really pilas!  They had been teaching her for some time, she had come to church a few times, and they had talked about baptism a little bit, but nothing was set in stone.  So this week we focused with her, and had a really spiritual lesson on Wednesday about the Plan of Salvation.  She really understood everything, and at the end we really focused on what she needs to do now to be able to reach all of her potential.  She said that she was willing to do anything, so we extended an invitation to be baptized on the 21st of June, and she accepted!  She´s really happy and excited about everything, and we are planning that Saturday will be a really specialy day for her.

     We had such an amazing spiritual experience yesterday.  We are teaching a family of 4 where the mom and the two daughters are all active, but the mom is living with another man.  When I got here, I thought that he was the dad of the family, because they all get along so well.  But, long story short, Mirza (the mom) is still married to another man that left her to go to the States (Scumbag).  About 9 months ago, she went to go live with this man, Baltazar, to have a man in the house.  But they can´t get married because Mirza is still married to this man in the States who doesn´t want to give her the divorce.  Mirza and the kids go to church all the time, and Baltazar sometimes...  So that´s the story.

     On Sunday, we went to go talk with them, and we sang "O My Father," which I believe is now my favorite hymn.  We talked to them about eternal families, and while talking, I felt the impression to tell them to just think in silence for about two minutes and just think about what living with our families for eternity means.  Man, that has probably been one of the most powerful manifestations of the Spirit I have ever felt.  Firstly, because I was thinking about my family, and how special they are to me.  But then I noted that Mirza was really feeling the spirit, so I invited her to share what she was feeling.  To make it short, she shared her desire to be an eternal family with Baltazar and the kids, and gave us some really good news.  Her current husband had just advised her that he was willing to give her the divorce.  Just out of the blue!  She has been working and talking with him for YEARS to be able to get to this point, and now she will be able to progress.  She was so happy, because that means that she and Baltazar will be able to be married!  She then turned to Baltazar and asked him, "Do you want to be an eternal family?"  He said yes, and he was willing to do anything to make that happen.  Miracles happen guys.  So we are going to see if the divorce can happen before I leave here.

     Last thing.  Being here in San Francisco means that I am currently a Zone Leader, which means some resposibility.   This has been a Zone that is struggling a lot, in success and morale.  So, seeing as President put me here as a Zone Leader with just 6 weeks left tells me that I have something to do here.  Something in the area, or helping the Zone out, I don´t know, but I know that I have to be my best to be able to fulfull the Lord´s will.  

     Whew, that was a long email.  But I just wanted you all to know how I´m doing, and what I´m thinking.  I love the mission so much, and I am learning so much from being here.  I´m honestly so scared that I´m so close to being done.  I don´t want this to end.  But, the end in inevitable, so I just have to do my best to finish off strong.  I love you all so much, and I wouldn´t be the person that I am today without all of you.  Until next time!

     - Elder Stuart

     P.S. DyC 121:34-46

     P.P.S.  Happy Father´s Day!
[16 Jun 2014]

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Crazy Week!

 Hello Family!  Well this week has definitely been on of the most eventful weeks that I´ve had for a while.  We had a lot go on, and I´m really happy about all the work that is going to go on here in Colonia!  We´ve got a lot set up here, and I know that June and July are going to be really special months here!

     Unfortunately, I have changes...  Yep, this week there are changes, and they are taking both Elder Pagán and I out of the area, something that we are really bummed about.  So apparently they are going to put Hermana missionaries in Colonia, so they are going to take us both out.  Needless to say that we were both really bummed when that happened.  We had worked so hard to get a lot of work here, and now they are going to take us out.  But I feel really good about my work in Colonia, and I know that I left my mark there.  I know that I will leave this area better off than it was before.

     Our biggest investigators are family members of a member in our ward.  Her sister, Roxana, and Roxana´s four children have been coming to church recently.  One of the kids is a member already, but three of them aren´t.  Yesterday, we had a very powerful and spiritual lesson with them.  We taught them the doctrine of Christ, and watched a Mormon Message called "A change of heart."  (Go look it up!)  Man, the Spirit afterwards was so strong, and Becker and Alvin, two of the kids, expressed their desires to be baptized!  We didn´t even have to invite them to do it!  They want to do it!  So this 21st of June they will be baptized.  Their older sister, Ceci, still isn´t sure about all of it, but I have a really good feeling that she will follow her brother´s examples.  Roxana has some problems with her husband, so she will have to wait for a little bit, but she´s really pilas too.

     We are also working with Merlin still.  Something that I have really realized while teaching her is the importance of teaching the doctrine clearly and simply so that others can understand.  There have been various times where she has said during a lesson something like this, "The missionaries taught me this before, but I didn´t realize how important it was until now."  She is progressing really well, and I have a good feeling that she too will be baptized in June.

     Argelio, a recent convert of about 4 months, is another person that we are working with.  He´s Luis and Esvin´s step-dad.  The thing is that the family has been coming to church little by little.  First Argelio was baptized and his wife.  Later his son.  And then we baptized Luis and Esvin.  Now we are focusing on the last two people in the house: Nancy and Saida, Argelio´s daughters.  Something I´ve learned from teaching them?  Focus on the head of the household.  Every time that Argelio has been strong in the Gospel, we have success there.  Every time that he slacks off a little bit, they don´t come to church.  So we are focusing a lot on making sure that the head of EVERY household is strong in the church, and they are being able to help out in the spiritual progression.

     Like Jeffrey said in his email, members are the most important part of this work.  Without their help, we are done for.  We have been seeing a lot of good things happen in this area because of the help of the members, and I know that the Lord is really hastening his work here in Guatemala.

     Our Zone this month have been calling this month a "Month of Miracles."  We are really focusing on the point of, "If God has performed miracles in the past, why not now?"  We are focusing a lot of being the tools in the Lord´s hands so that he will be able to work miracles through us.  And we have been seeing those Miracles.  I have recorded a good lot in my Journal, so I´ll share those when I get home.

     Basically, this week has been really great.  And to top it all off, I´m officially older!  21 years old...  When I first started the mission, I never thought this day would come, and now here I am.  I had a good birthday, with some members making me a cake and others giving me dinner.  All in all, I enjoyed myself!

      And now, I am officially going to start my last change in the mission.  I´ve been thinking a lot about how I want to end my mission, and I am going to give it my all to the Lord to make sure that He is proud of what I am doing here.  I know he is, but I just want to give that last push.  So here goes nothing!  Until next time!

     - Elder Stuart

     P.S. 1 Nephi 13:37

Sunday, June 22, 2014


 Something that an Elder had that I liked.

[Photo didn't come through]
 I went with Elder Smith on divisions, and we saw a nice view of Guatemala.  So I took a picture of the beauty of Guatemala with Elder Smith´s thinking face!

I´ve been taking pictures of the good food I´ve been eating recently, and this was a good one.  It´s called Caldo de Res, or like a meat soup.  But they made it really good here, so I took a picture.

 Eating Pupusas!  It´s tortilla with pork meat, beans, and cheese inside.  SO GOOD!

Sunday, June 8, 2014


A good ole Mexican Torta.  Aka lunch every monday.

This is the normal rainstorm in Guatemala.  I hope that you can see it, but it was absolutely pouring!!!

 We cut this tree down just for some random lady.  And no, we did not use a chain saw.  Not even an axe.  We used a machete.

Huehuetenango at night.

We just saw this on the side of the road one day.  Do you know the weird thing about it?  It´s still there after about a week...  Just like nothing had happened.

This was at the cultural night I was telling you guys about last week.  We had a really good turnout too!

 Chili Relleno, one of the best meals here.  Basically it´s Jalapeño peppers stuffed with meat and veggies.  So good!!!

Aura at her baptism!

 Elder Pagán and I playing the "Make a bunch of silly faces and see which one comes out!" game.

I love Guatemalan kids so freaking much!
     Hello Family!  Man, if I have ever wanted a missionary week filled with all the biggest ups and biggest downs ever, that´s definitely what happened this week.  Some of the coolest things, some of the best miracles, some of the saddest moments, and all that jazz.  It was overall a great week, so I´m stoked to be able to tell you guys about it.

     (Just so you all know, I was REALLY sick all this week, which made it just that much better.  A lot of the stories deal with that.  And Mom, don´t worry, I´m completely fine now, so don´t worry!!)

     Okay, this week started off with a really hard blow.  Remember Elena´s family?  Yeah, they totally dropped us on Tuesday.  We got outside their house, and I was feeling horrible, so I went to a nearby tree and just puked my guts out while Elder Pagán talked with Elena.  When I got done, I basically figured out that Elena said she didn´t want to visit with us anymore.  Her words were, "Listen, I´m going to take the easy road and go to the church that´s across the street.  Things aren´t going that great with the family, so I think that will be better."  That was rough for us, especially because I made my way out there feeling sick, just for her to tell us that she doesn´t want to make an effort.  So that was hard for us.  

     On Thursday, I still wasn´t feeling that good, but we had a cita to go with Aura, who was set to be baptized this Saturday.  I wasn´t really that excited to go, because I wasn´t feeling that good, but I knew that it was really important for us to go.  So we made the 45 minute walk to her house to make sure that she was going to be baptized on Saturday.

     When we got there, we started off the lesson, and when we asked her how she was feeling about the baptism, she said, "I don´t know, how bout we put it off for another month?"  I was devistated at that point.  But if there is something that I´ve learned in the mission, it´s how to be persistent.  So we started asking her why, and she was saying stuff like she wants more time to read the BoM, more times at church, etc.  But then we felt inspired to ask her what her family has said about her decision.  That´s when she got quiet.  She then told us that she was afraid about what they would say, because they are all of a different faith.  We then allowed her to think about what SHE wanted to do, without any outside pressure.  She thought for a bit, and then said that she didn´t need to think any more about it.  She knew that she wanted to be baptized, and she decided to not tell any of her family members about it, and do what she wanted to do.  Man, the Spirit was so strong in that moment, and we knew that because we had gone there, and we had been inspired, we had saved that baptism.

     So on Saturday was the baptism!  And like always, we had some problems setting everything up.  We couldn´t find anyone to give us keys to the chapel to fill the pila bautismal up, the member that was going to bring the refreshment afterwards bailed on us, we couldn´t find clothes for the baptism, yaddah yaddah.  But, after everything that happened, Aura was baptized.  It was a very spiritual meeting, and it was amazing.

     And Sunday just finished off the week perfectly.  Aura was confirmed, and right afterwards, she asked the Bishop if she could give her testomony (Something that we were hoping she would do).  She gave one of the best testimonies I´ve heard from a recent convert, and she basically thanked Elder Pagán and I for loving her enough to push her to make the desicion.  Not gonna lie, I got a little emotional.  It was just perfect.  

      And not only that!  A family came to church this week that we didn´t know, so of course right after Sacrament Meeting we went to go see who they were.  So here´s their story:  His name is José, and her´s is Merlin.  José is a member, but he´s been less active for years now, and Merlin isn´t a member.  They recently moved into the area in January, and had siempre seen us walk by, although never got the courage to talk to us.  Things hadn´t been going good in their house, with illness, fights, and whatnot.  And that´s when Merlin told us that she knew that they needed to go to church.  So they figured out the hour, and got to church all by themselves!  They felt so goot afterwards, and José recognized the Spirit right away.  They are a family (with their two little boys) just ready for the Gospel.  What a Miracle.

     Sorry that this email was so long, but I felt like I needed to tell you gys how this week went in detail.  It was probably one of my favorite weeks in the mission, just because everything that could have happened, happened.  It was great.  I love being a missionary so much, and I love being here in Guatemala.  I love this Gospel so much, and most of all, I´m so grateful to Jesus Christ for every single opportunity that I ever have.  I love you all so much.  Until next time!

     - Elder Stuart

     P.S. Moroni 9: 11, 15-16