Monday, June 30, 2014

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]

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