Monday, August 29, 2011

Letter 11

August 29, 2011

Hola mi Familia y mis Amigos!

Everything is going well here in Laredo with me and Elder Wood.  We struggled a little bit finding new investigators this week, but the investigators we do have are progressing a lot.  One of our investigators, Sammy, is really cool.  She is 17 and when we first talked to her she seemed to be one of those people that doesn’t really care about religion or anything like that.  She is very open minded and has looked at a lot of different religions, but nothing really stuck for her I guess. She needed something that applied to her specifically. She has had the sisters over before and they gave her a Book of Mormon. Elder Wood and I decided to started with the Book of Mormon and told her that our whole church hangs on the truthfulness of it.  If it is true then our church is the true church. We told her that she could know for herself through prayer, something that she didn’t feel very comfortable with at first because she felt like she was talking to herself, but after we explained that she was talking to her Father and could say whatever she wanted she loosened up.  When she prayed she said she felt Spirit and felt like she was actually talking with someone.  Everything around her she said just faded out and she felt like it was just her there.  It was a really powerful experience.  The next visit we were on exchanges and I was with Elder Hunt. Elder Wood and Elder Peterson committed Sammy to be baptized on Sept. 25. However her mom said it’s not a good idea. We’ll be working on that tonight.
Moms Questions: 1. I don’t really care what you put in the suit case... haha I would appreciate anything. 2 . My bike is fine it just has weird sized tires. I haven’t had a flat in a few days. OH but I have a story to tell... later though. My bike will be ok. Yes I am spending money I should be spending on food and things but it’s ok. 3. Our apartment is good. haha I’m sure YOU would think its disgusting haha but it’s ok for us. There are "cucarachas" that come out every once in a while but we kill 'em... so it’s ok. I do most of the cleaning in our apartment though haha I know right? Everyone there says that it’s fine and that they've lived in worse... haha but I don’t really care how they lived before. PICK UP YOUR DANG STUFF! Living with Austin really prepared me for mission life! Thanks bud I love you. Hate how you don’t pick up after yourself! 4. My apartment is in an ok area. There aren’t like gunshots and stuff like there are in other ones so that’s good. I like it. 5. We haven’t seen Alex since that first time, but we actually got a hold of Fernando last night! We had been trying to meet with him and his wife FOREVER, but they were never around cause they have crazy schedules. I was about to lose hope with him but then we talked with Fernando last night. After catching up we asked him what he remembered from what we talked about the last time and he said "Baptism. I still want to be baptized." hahaha what a great memory that guy has! haha we made plans to see him again this Thursday so... yeah Fernando... 6. Yep we go out every single day, even Sunday. Weekends are usually the best time to find people home.
So here is the long awaited story. This Wednesday I went on exchanges with Elder Hunt. I was with him in his area riding around on a tube with 3 patches on it hoping to get through the day. Unfortunately that didn’t happen and we had to call a member to give us a ride to Walmart to get a new tube. So I put the new tube in and we were all set to go. We set out again and literally 10 minutes after we left the apartment I tried to jump a curb (because Elder Hunt taught me how to bunny hop) and my back tire, the very same one that I just changed, hit the edge and blew up... pppthhhhh.... (deflating noise). So... that day was pretty much wasted getting 2 new tubes. Good story though right?
Anyway... so today I was planning on buying some Cowboy stuff so if you see a little decrease in my account... that is why. Tanner your going to SWOON when you seen pics of the stuff I’m gonna buy. Let me know if you want me to get you anything ok? I’m convinced I’m going to come back a Cowboy.
I'm glad everything is still normal at home. Dad taking longer than he needs to on a project, Austin trying to shmoosh his way through a class, and apparently Grandma working again? Tell Madi to send me a pic of her in her dress... and pics of the waterscape. Tell Gpa Garner to hang in there and I love him and to avoid temptation! That devil can get ya at any age!
 I’m super excited for everything that’s going on here in Laredo and cant wait to find more people next week. I love you guys and I can’t wait to hear back from you! Take care and don’t forget to say your prayers! 
Elder Stewart

Monday, August 22, 2011

Letter 10

August 22, 2011

Hola mi amoroso familia y amigos
Wow who knew that my family was so lame without me? You need me on those vacations haha. Just kidding it sounds like you all had a really good time there.. just weird without fun kid... which is me... Jordan.  Oh and Chase your mustache is phenomenal... just so dirty... I love it. Madi your smile is pretty too. Thanks so much for the pictures.
Anyway... this week has been pretty good. My bike keeps getting freaking flat tires and I’ve spent like $25 on bike tubes. My tires are like European skinny tires by the way haha and everybody here throws beer bottles on the ground like it’s their birthday so they're not really the best thing. I need some tubes that are solid rubber so I think I’ll get some of those today. Other than that my bike is great. I still haven’t named it.. I was thinking about lil' shiz be cause it gives me so much grief... but its a work in progress.

Mom's Questions:1. Yes I did get the box, but I already have sheets and stuff... did we buy two pairs or something? 2. Yeah you can send me an extra suitcase but fill it with goodies please 3. President Trayner is super cool I love him. He’s really funny; all of his kids are older and one of his sons lives with them (he just got back from his mission), but none of that stuff is important so I don’t know why you wanted to know haha 4.Elder Wood hasn’t been to 9 different places he’s just been through 9 transfers... which is a 6 week period. 5. Yep the members feed us occasionally here. In fact yesterday I had sushi at a member's house. They are part Japanese. 6. Yes it is really hot but I’m getting used to it. 7. Send my friends letters in the mail because I don’t have enough time to read them. I can’t print here so... yeah please send them.

Elder Wood and I found some really good people to teach; but it wasn’t easy. My bike has got a flat tire almost every day, which really hinders the work. One day we didn’t have bikes so a member drove us up to the most northern part of our area and we started there and walked all the way back down to our apartment in the southern part. Needless to say I am very thankful for bikes. The northern part of our area is a richer part of town, and it was really hard to find people that would listen. Apparently they have "everything" they need. So I was depressed. I said a silent prayer to myself... Please Father, lead us to somebody who will listen. 30 minutes later we knocked on a door of a former investigator, Eric, in the area. The guy who answered the door was Eric's cousin, and said he was sleeping, so we told him that we would try back later. He looked like he wanted to say something else, but we were tired and we didn’t ask. We left and started down the street. Then Eric's mom yelled to us to come back "we'll wake him up." she said. So we went inside. Eric didn’t want to get up, but his cousin, Alex, the guy who opened the door, turned out to be a former investigator too. He was SO prepared to hear the message. Everything made sense to him he said, and so we committed him to baptism. It was definitely a tender mercy from the Lord. It turned the whole day around. I didn’t care that I didn’t have my bike, or even that I was rejected all morning. The scary thing is that we almost missed that opportunity because we were lazy and didn’t talk to him at the door. I learned that day that even if you’re tired, even if your bike is broken, even if everyone rejects you, you can’t let up, because you'll miss opportunities. I’m so grateful for the Lord and his tender mercies and for the knowledge I have that He loves me and is looking out for me.

I love you guys so much and I appreciate everything that you do for me. Try to have some fun without me though alright? Tell my friends to write me ok? Just the ones that haven’t... like Sheree, Elisa, etc. List of friends that OWE ME LETTERS: FREAKING TANNER BROWN, CARMEN, SHAYLA, CHRISTIAN... I love you! see ya!

-Elder Stewart

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Letter 9

August 15, 2011

Hola mi familia y mis amigos! Estoy viviendo! I am alive haha.
SO sorry it’s taken me so long to write you guys this week.  I have been working hard here in Laredo, Texas.  My very first area.  So it used to be a sister area and we're going to be the very first Elders that have been here in like 2 years.  Its called "white washing" I found out from my new companion Elder Wood.  He’s really nice and he is from Virginia. He's been out about a year or so and I think this is his 9th transfer... not too sure.  But he’s cool. I've heard good things. We get a long great and I can tell we are going to do some work here in Laredo. 
My first day was nuts! We touched down in McAllen and I stepped off the plane and was immediately blasted by a wall of heat and humidity hahaha... I was like... you gotta be kiddin’ me! AND the airport smelled like bananas, which I liked.  We met the mission president and his wife and headed to the chapel to get some things and brief about the mission and then we headed to the mission home.  When we got there we just relaxed and got to know each other a little bit better. There were 19 of us fresh out the MTC, so it was pretty packed.  We had dinner and by the way Texas BBQ is the best thing ever... Sister Trayner is a saint.    Then we had interviews I believe... then we went to bed. There weren’t enough beds at the mission home for 19 of us so like 1 or two stayed there, like 5 others went to the Assistant’s place, and me and 5 others went to another apartment.  My numbers might be off... but you get the idea.  The next day we went to the Chapel, met our new companions, and then we were shipped out to our areas. It was pretty crazy! haha but I love it.  Oh yeah and all of this was on 8 hours of sleep! haha but its ok I slept on the way to Laredo. It’s like 3ish hours from McAllen.
Oh our area is all bikes! haha so... I get to ride all day long and get super sweaty! I love it haha my thighs are going to be soooo ripped! The good thing is Laredo is dry kinda like Utah.
My first day was a little different than everyone elses. I thought I was going to be tracting or contacting right when I got out, but we didn’t.  We had have a planning meeting with the Sisters leaving our area and they gave us a bunch of stuff on the area like potential investigators, cool people to talk to, bad people to talk to haha it was really helpful (Sisters take good notes).  So we did that and then the Zone Leaders needed us to help them move their stuff out of their apartment and into their new apartment because us and another companionship were moving into theirs.  and that was pretty much my whole day.  I live with another companionship Elder Hunt from PG Utah, and Elder Peterson from AF Utah. Both of them are really cool and funny. I love Elder Hunt haha he reminds me of Matt Decker.  So that’s good.  Our apartment is pretty good. There is absolutely no food in it haha but that’s ok I'm buying some stuff today. It makes me feel like an adult.... ew....
Elder Wood and I have a lot of pretty cool investigators already so that’s cool.  Fernado is a guy we met who has a small family with kids and had never been baptized. We told him that he needed to be baptized because that was part of the Doctrine of Christ and he said he would... in like 8 minutes of talking... who knew it was that easy some times. We still need to teach him more and his family and there is still a lot of work but... still... we'll see how that goes.  Then the other day we were walking because my bike got a flat... haha don’t worry I’ll fix it.  We were walking to an appointment and it turned out she wasn’t there, so we just walked around the area and Elder Wood and I both just started heading for this house. The lady that opened the door was totally prepared and had a friend that needed to hear our message too. The Spirit.... yeah... its awesome.

ANY WAY... I need to go and I’m really sorry I can’t reply to all of your letters this week, but have fun at the beach and maybe I’ll catch you next week! I love you!!

Your little boy,
Elder Stewart

A letter from the Mission President

10 August 2011

Brother and Sister Stewart,

   We had the privilege of meeting your son, Elder Stewart, when he arrived at the McAllen International Airport. He looked great and appears very anxious to go to work.
   We are grateful to have Elder Stewart in the Texas McAllen Mission. Already he has impressed us as a well-prepared young man with a great spirit and a desire to serve the Lord. He has had excellent training and orientation at the Missionary Training Center in Provo in preparing for missionary labors here in South Texas. Your support from home will be of great value to him as he serves his mission.
   Elder Stewart‘s first assignment area is in the Laredo Zone. His first companion is Elder Wood who is from Arlington, Virginia.  Elder Wood is an outstanding missionary, and your son will receive excellent training under his direction. Their mail address is as follows:
 4420 Loring Ave, #9
Laredo, TX  78040
   We thank you for sharing your son with us. We are confident that he will bless the lives of many people here in South Texas while serving as a missionary. May the Lord bless you abundantly while he is in the mission field and always.
With warm regards, 
Stephen J. Trayner, President
Sister Sandy Trayner
Texas McAllen Mission

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Letter 8

August 2, 2011

Hola mi familia mis amigos amorosos

This week has been sooo long! Let’s start off on Wednesday. I got to be an escort for 2 sister missionaries and 1 elder.  It was pretty sad seeing them all say good byes to their families and it brought back memories of when I got here, but I know that this is what we are suppose to be doing at this time in our lives and we are going to bless so many lives.  All the tears of joy will be well worth the tears of sadness.  Also when I was hosting I got a blast from the past.  Mr. Holyoak from Bonneville Elementary is apparently a volunteer here on Wednesdays and I talked to him for a while.  It’s crazy... he looks exactly the same haha.  Can you believe that it was almost 10 years ago that I was in 5 grade... I'm getting old. I just had my Half Birthday here in the MTC and no one remembered.  I'm sure if I was home Austin would have thrown me a big party! haha maybe when I get back.  Also while I was hosting; 2 of my friends from school came to drop off their friend in the MTC: Kenton McCray and Justin Nickel! Justin had to go home from his mish again because of medical stuff but he's trying to just go straight to his mission when he gets better, so that’s really good. I’m so proud of him and I’ll be praying for him.  Kenton was in Hawaii for the last year going to school so I never got to see him before I left. He actually got home the day I left for the MTC, so it was really good to see him.  He comes in here in a few more weeks. Maybe the same time as Tanner.

Thursday we got our TRAVEL PLANS!! I was so freakin’ STOKED!  Ugh I cant wait to get out of here and serve... every     time I have a lesson that I feel the spirit in and I feel the Lord's love for me I just want to share it. That’s something I’ve learned this week: Love is NOTHING unless you share it with others.  Think about it.  You have all this love inside you, an infinite amount, you will never run out; so why don’t you share it?  It doesn’t do you any good to keep it bottled up inside you... so share it. I promise when you do just that your ability to feel and appreciate love will increase, and your life and the lives of those around you will notice the difference.  So share your love.
Sorry, back to the Travel Plans haha... So I have to wake up at like 4:00 in the morning to get everything ready and get to the airport and my flight leaves on the 8th at 8:20. We land around 11:55 in Dallas and we have an HOUR AND A HALF layover. That’s probably when I'll call you.  Our flight leaves at 1:30 and I need to be at the terminal 30 minutes before it takes off so I'll call you around 12:20ish..? is that ok? It’s going to be so weird to talk to you guys haha. I want to talk to Dad in Spanish too! Show my stuff haha. So we leave at 1:30 then we land at 2:50 in McAllen.  Then that night I’ll probably be struggling to understand what the heck is going on and what is being said to me.  It’s so weird to think that I will be teaching real people with real problems in less than a week... pray for me haha.

The weekend was pretty much the same as it always is... nothing too exciting... and I forget things...

Monday I finally saw the Pentelutes in the cafeteria! Haha I knew they were here but I haven’t ever seen them.  It turns out that they have been looking for me every Monday in the lunchroom and finally yesterday I bumped into Brother Pentelute on accident haha. And its a good thing I did because I wouldn’t have been able to see them after yesterday. Sister Pentelute gave me 2 nice loving handshakes from Mom and Grandma.  I really appreciated that.  What a blessing.

Anyway... everything at home seems to be going well I don’t know what else to say about that.  I really appreciate you keeping me posted!

Mom's Questions: 1. No I haven’t heard anything else from Christian Peterson, but I would like to. 2. I can’t remember who else has sent me letters 3. I don’t think Pres. Skousen has ever met Lexin...4. Asics are pretty nerdy dad sorry - get some vans or cons! That’s where its at. 5. I really liked those Oatmeal Cookies you sent and so did Elder Ayers.  Could we have sum more please? (Oliver Twist voice) aaaaannnndd maybe send a few more V-necks... I like those... and maybe another pair of BBall shorts cause my other ones get stinky.... OH and more pictures. Of the GARDEN (Jordan and Chase RULE!! GO TEAM VOLDEMORT)

I love you sooooo much. If you are my friends reading this freaking write me you jerks. Thank you Braden your letter will be on its way.  Carmen you owe me one too.