Sunday, July 13, 2014

Happy Independence Day!!!

     Hello Family!  And Happy Birthday America!  What a beautiful place we have to live!  After being in Guatemala for just about 2 years (I love the place, don´t get me wrong...), I´ve really come to appreciate how much I love the good old United States of America.  There really is no other place like it.  We have so much to be grateful for, all the rights that we have, and we really need to realize how much that really affects us.  ´Murica.

     Alright, things are going smoothly in San Francisco el Alto.  First things first, with Paloma.  Man she is just so great.  We were thinking of the best way to put a fecha with her.  Now, it´s some scary business to just let an investigator choose their baptismal date, but when we thought about doing it, we felt the confirmation that it was the right thing to do.  So we went with her, and she had told us a little bit about being baptized on the 12th.  When we asked her to choose a date, she said, "I know that the 12th is the date for me!"  Wow, we were so relieved that she didn´t put a fecha for like months in the future!  She is so ready, so we are going to make the 12th a really special day for her.

     I want to tell you guys a little bit about an investigator named Luis.  He is the husband of a less active member in the ward.  He has visited with the missionaries for so long now, no one even knows when they started to go with him.  But, we´ve lograred some really good progress with him!  We´ve got a different kind of confidence with him.  With all the other missionaries, they told us they were really good friends, but just that.  But I feel like we´ve established a relationship with them that shows that although we are really good friends with the family, we are there because we want to help them progress spiritually.  And it´s working!  They came to church this week in who knows how long!  It really was a miracle.  All the members were excited to see Marleni (The less active wife), and even more stunned to see Luis come to church!

     And that´s not all!  Wow, I still really can´t believe it!  In Gospel Principles class, we were learning about the scriptures.  (We were teaching the class)  So we divided the class into groups, and had them explain about the scriptures.  Luis, Marleni, and another member we assigned to teach about the BoM.  When it was their turn to talk, Marleni gave a powerful testimony about the BoM, regardless of not having gone to church in years.  And then Luis stood up, and invited the whole class to read the BoM, because it is really important for all of us.  Elder Jerez and I were just sitting there with our jaws on the floor listening to him.  We are progressing with them really well. :)

     This week we had a Multi-Zone conference in Momos; basically the get-to-know-you for President Smith and the missionaries.  But it was a great conference.  In the mission, Momos and San Francisco are generally accepted as the hardest zones in the mission.  But when President Smith talked to us, he said something really awesome.  Something along the lines of: "When we are in the most dificult moments of our lives, that is the time where we really learn to grow and depend on the Lord.  Don´t ever lose hope, even when everything looks to be going wrong.  That will happen, especially here in these Zones.  But if you always look to the Lord, and search for ways to grow, you will leave these areas as better, more mature, and more confident missionaries.  I guarentee it."  And I know that it is true, because I´ve seen it in my mission.

     I´ve decided to really deep study PMG before I get back, and I´m learning so much, even with almost 2 years in the mission.  Which just reminds me always that there is never a point where we are going to know everything, where we are going to be perfect in something.  There will ALWAYS be something to better.  There will always be room for some improvement.  But if we just think, "I doing it good enough, I´m good,"  we´re done.  But if we always think that there is something better we can do, we will do it.  There is always room for improvement.

     Something that I´ve realized as of late.  Dad has been talking about this recently, but I like it a lot.  We never have to feel like we don´t belong, or that people around us are better than us. Each one of us has something special, and we can always do something the Lord has called us to do.  Dad shared with me this quote from Tiger Woods: "There may be a lot of players out there that are more talented than I, but none will out work me."  And it´s true.  In a missionary´s eyes, maybe there are other missionaries that are better than teaching, or better at making people love them, or better at organizing things, etc.  But if we work our hardest, and give it our all, we are the best in the Lord´s eyes.  We have to give it our all.  Omni 1:26 (our whole souls).

     If you have made it this far, I commend you.  I just have a lot to write recently... ;)

     Guys, I´m learning so much.  This last change has taught me so much, I can´t even believe it.  The decision to bring me here to San Francisco was really an inspired one.  I could have ended my mission in Huehue fine, probably with more baptisms, but the Lord wanted me to come here to San Fran to learn so much about how to be a man, and advance in life.

     On Friday, I walked around with an american flag tie.  Without shame or anything.  I love my country.  All the people were looking at my tie, and some even commented on it!  Wearing those stripes and bars with pride!

     We came down to Xela today, so I aprovechared my tiempo buying some souveniers for home!  The best part of buying stuff here for me is definitely bartering to lower the price.  I just find it as a game, to see who can best sweet talk the other.  It´s so much fun, and I´m super bummed that I won´t be able to do that in the States... Could you imagine?  Going to Costco or something, and when I go to the cashier, I start saying, "Can I get this for 3 dollars instead of 5?"  I just thought about it, and it made me laugh!  

     Wow, I think I´m done.  I hit two years this week on Friday.  July 11th, 2014.  That date seemed so far away when I started, and now we are here.  It´s crazy how fast the time crept up on us.  But that life I guess.  We´ve got a limited amount of time to do what we need to do, and when the time is up, we´ve got to be happy with what we did.  If we gave it our all, there will be no regrets...

     I love you all so much.  Thank you for always writing me, supporting me, loving me, and all that jazz.  I know I couldn´t have gotten here without all of you.  I love each and every one of you so much.  But, even more than that, I love this Gospel.  It has brought a wonderful change in my life, and I hope that it will never go away.  Jesus Christ is my Savior, and He loves me so much.  He is always there for me, and for everyone who looks for him.  Until next time!

     - Elder Stuart

     P.S. DyC 20:31

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