Monday, July 30, 2012

Letter 56

July 30, 2012

Hola Todos!

Hahaha you don’t need to make your vacation sound lame just to make me happy! I'm glad you had a great time! I was totally kidding in my last email... gee wiz....

Yes mom I know the Olympics are going on. I'm not dead... haha we actually went to go give a less active member a blessing the other day and sand volleyball was on. E. Montiel was swooning because volleyball is his favorite sport. Needless to say we got out of there pretty quick! haha but yeah Shayla's uncle IS Jake Gibb and that’s probably why she's there... LUCKY! haha

I didn’t recieve any letters this week from you.... but they'll probably get here soon. Those darn roaches are going to die!! haha President Trayner said that we should keep our eyes out for a new apartment, but the problem is... we're in the middle of nowhere and there are no apartments! So I guess we'll just have to deal with the roaches and one shower for us four men! I hope that BORAX concoction works! As for a package... just some pictures of the family trip, maybe like a letter from Chase and Austin... (yeah right hahaha), umm... oatmeal cookies, and a new card for my camera (my other one is almost filled) OH and I need some new shirts... like 2 short sleeve. Other than that I can’t think of anything. I don’t need a puppy because there is absolutely ZERO animal control down here so the dogs just run wild making puppies where ever they please! I have plenty.
I'm sorry if in my other letters I sound like I've been getting down on myself. Haha don’t be worried! I just know that I need to be doing more. I need to focus more on the people and less on myself. I think that I look around and ask myself why I'm not having more "success" and I forget that the reason I'm here is to do what Heavenly Father wants me to do. If I can say that I'm doing that then I am successful. I don’t care about baptisms anymore, I just want to do what He wants me to do. And I know that I'll be happy. I gotta work though haha. When missionaries work they’re happy. So I'm going to work my butt off this week!

This week we had Interviews with President Tryaner. What a guy! I love him so darn much. I received a lot of personal revelation during the trainings and the interview. President really helped me to see that I had a lot of potential and told me some aread that I could improve on. He told me we wants to be a consistent missionary so he can trust me to be a leader in the coming months. I realized that I really need to be more consistent. I'm going to make this transfer the best I can. I know it will require a lot of effort, but I'm willing to do whatever it takes. I have been kind of ungrateful for things that I've learned in the past. But I will try to utilize all of the things that I've learned. During my planner check Sister Trayner gave me some tips on how I can track my weekly progress I can know what it is I can do to improve. So I will be doing that for the rest of my mission and hopefully consistently get better.

This week was pretty good. Looking back on the things Elder Montiel and I accomplished I am pleased with our efforts in some areas, but I also found some others that we can work on. I was looking at the numbers and we did really well with our referrals and New Investigators, but then only 1 of those 7 new investigators accepted a baptismal date. So Elder Montiel and I discussed what we need to be doing to have people commit to be baptized. We found that both of us had been struggling to find the investigators' need in the first moments, so we would just teach a lesson that didn’t really apply to them. We had a comp study with Elder Schull and he told us that the Atonement applies to every need. He said, "when in doubt Atonement it out" haha. Also we need to be sure that every investigator that we are finding really is worth our time and not just "decoys" that the adversary sends our way to waste our time. This week Elder Montiel and I are going to be separating the wheat from the tares. haha.

We received one pretty solid referral this week from Presidente Villegas our Branch President. His cousin, Maribel, is a really amazing woman that has gone through some rough times. She's willing to act and change to receive the blessings of Heavenly Father. She had a family emergency this weekend and had to go to McAllen so she couldn’t come to church, but this week we'll help her get back on track.

We also tracted into a pretty cool part-member family that met with the missionaries about a year ago. The wife was planning on being baptized but her parents discouraged her and she dropped. We're having a lesson with her today so we'll see how that goes.

Well I better close for this week. Les amo muchisimo y espero que tegan una hermosa semana! Que Dios les bendiga!

-Elder Jordan Stewart

Monday, July 23, 2012

Letter 55

July 23, 2012

Hello Family and Amigos!

Wow I’m pretty dang jealous that you all lit lanterns the place in Oregon where the Goonies was filmed.... Like... REALLY jealous. I'm angry. Did you not know that that is my favorite part in Tangled!? and that I have wanted to do that since I saw that movie! AND I LOVE THE GOONIES! I hate you guys.... I'm never coming home. haha jk. but I'm really disappointed in you all. Thanks for nothin. haha.

I'm glad to hear Grandma Stewart is still alive and kickin! What a woman! I'm gonna give her a big ‘ol hug and kiss when I get home! And Sister Johnson too! What a sweet lady she is. Tell her hi for me. Oh and also Brother Bushnell and tell him he was the best YM leader in the world!

That’s crazy that ELISA IS ENGAGGED! The first of them.... I can’t even believe it. She told me she would wait for me!! haha jk Congratulations Elisa!
Also mom you should definitely read that Stephen Covey book. It’s great. I can’t believed he died at 79 in a bike accident. What’s a guy that old doing riding a bike? What a champ. I shook his hand when he came to our class!

Rio Grande is basically Mexico. At least that’s why Elder Montiel told me, and he's actually been to Mexico so... yeah. We are just a few miles from the border and we speak lots of Spanish. I'm just realizing that my Spanish is lacking as well so I appreciate the practice.

I know that when I first learned that I was coming to Las Lomas I sounded really upbeat and positive, but I didn’t fully understand the challenge that was before me. It really is a mountain I need to climb, but I need to get that gosh dang rock out of my gosh dang shoe! I have been thinking a lot about that this last week. Lately I have been doubting my abilities as a missionary. The Adversary kept pokin’ me and pokin’ me. Telling me that I wasn’t good enough... I don’t know why we listen to him sometimes. It really isn’t the best thing to do because you start into a vicious cycle of getting down on yourself and losing the Spirit and then not doing well and then doubting yourself even more! haha its pretty counter productive... and as I look back on the last week that Elder Montiel and I had it looks pretty counter productive as well. But help is always there. President Trayner sent a letter to us this week with a quote from the Divine Companionship, a talk by Jeffrey R Holland. It talks about how God can bear His witness of us as missionaries. I never really thought about the concept that we don’t just bear witness of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, but They can bear witness of us. We just need to live worthy of that witness. I'm going to be honest, I wasn’t living up to those expectations. I wasn’t studying with all my heart and I wasn’t working with all my heart. I wasn’t focused on my purpose of bearing witness of the Father and Son so HOW IN THE WORLD could I expect Them to bear witness of me? I couldn’t. I can’t! I need to be doing EVERYTHING I can to be worthy of that witness. I need to help Elder Montiel do everything to be worthy of that witness. That’s what a good Senior Companion does. That’s what the Holy Ghost tries to do with us. I need to have that witness so others will know that I am a representative of Christ. That’s what a real representative is. Someone that has the witness of the person they are representing. I'm committed this week to have the Spirit be the Senior Companion. I know that I'm not good enough, but with His help I can be. He will show me what to do with this area. I hate the Pride Cycle hahaha I've lost count how many times I've had this experience... the good thing is that I'm starting to learn.

Anyway... I've been going on for a while now. I love you all and I hope you have a great week! Pray for the people here in Las Lomas to open their hearts to the Gospel!

Con Mucho Amor,
Elder Jordan Stewart

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Letter 54

July 16, 2012

Hola mi Hermosa Famila y Queridos Amigos

I asked President Trayner for permission to go to Hno. Rodriguez's Baptism but he said its a little too far to drive to Donna from Rio Grande. I thought it was worth a shot though haha. I'll just write Hno. Rodriguez a letter congratulating him and asking how it all went. I would rather have Elder Curletti baptize him anyway. He deserves it. I know that he and Elder Fenn are going to work miracles this transfer in the beautiful city of Donna.

Definitely did get the letters in the mail. I just love reading about my friends missions. I laughed so hard when Elder Howard said that little African kid peed on him haha; but honestly reading their experiences and their testimonies inspires me to be my best. I'm so lucky that I have such amazing examples as friends. We are like Elder Brown said a little army of missionaries haha and I hope we all meet again like Alma and the Sons of Mosiah. I'm pretty sure its safe to have packages delivered here too. I'm just about an hour away from McAllen.

Well I have a great testimony that President Trayner is definitely called of God because everytime I pray to be more humble he either sends my companion away or sends me somewhere like the little branch of Rio Grande. haha. I appreciate the challenge and I'm going to work my hardest to find the prepared sons and daughters of God here in our area of Las Lomas.

My new companion's name is Elder Montiel who has been out for about 6 months and is moving to his 2nd area. He's from Santana, California. He is Mexican and pretty cool. He likes Volleyball. Haha I'm still getting to know him but we get along great. We are whitewashing so neither one of us knows the area. But its ok... you know why? ... because we have a MAP! haha We have just been trying to meet as many members as possible and we actually found a few new investigators. One actually said she wanted to come to church but didn’t. I'm sure it’s because her husband told her she couldn’t... hopefully we can teach him the next time and soften his heart.

We are in a 4 man apartment. It reminds me alot of my apartment in Laredo. The other elders in the apartment are Elder Schull and Elder Su'a-Filo. Elder Schule is on his last transfer and will die here... hopefully not too hard. Elder Su'a-Filo has only been here for about 1 week. He's a Visa waiter going to Argentina. He was born in Hawaii and raise in North Carolina. He doesn’t look very polynesian though.

Our apartment is probably the most humbling part of the area haha either that or the little old red Carolla we drive. We only have 100 miles to go before we hit 50,000 on the odometer. Also, our apartment is infested with cucarachas. I'm almost afraid to buy food because all the cabinets that I would put it in are crawling with the little fellers. But honestly I love it here! I really do. I know that each challenge brings an opportunity to grow and learn I am learning so much about humility in my calling. Like my good friend Elder Brown, I've been reading Our Heritage and while reading of the humble beginnings of the Church and the faithfulness of the early Saints I have been inspired to work so much harder without complaining. Those faithful Saints suffered SO much and still they kept their eyes towards Zion and praised God. Those early missionaries didn’t have cars or bikes or apartments or even Preach My Gospel. They sacrificed time, talents, possessions, family, friends, even their lives and were willing to do it because of the testimony they have of Jesus Christ and His Gospel. I need to be more like them. In fact the whole Church needs to be more like them and remember our humble beginnings and "turn our hearts to our fathers". There isn’t the same kind of faith as there used to be. Reading Moroni 7 makes that clear. Its because of our unbelief that miracles don’t happen.

Anyway I better get going! I love you all and hope you have a great week! You're always in my prayers!
I’m excited to go out this week and find those prepared people!

-Elder Jordan Stewart

PS-Elder Peterson you are a dirty rotten liar! I made you those FunFeti cookies while we were up in Corpus! Don’t you say that you have never had them before! hahaha LOVE YOU!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Letter 53

Hey Everyone!

Looks like I’m getting’ the boot... I’m being transferred to..............the Rio Grande District in LAS LOMAS! AKA-The middle of no where! haha. I’m SUPER stoked to go to work out and build up the kingdom there. Rio Grande is a super small branch with only about 80 people in it and I'll be speaking lots of Spanish and I'll be in a car. But my goal is to go in there and burn it down with the Spirit and catch all those members on fire. In Elders Quorum yesterday Brother Grindstaff gave an awesome lesson about what our responsibility is as members to build up the church. He told us about how on his mission he went through a similar experience as I am going through, he was transferred to a branch that only have about 15 active members. It was basically the Branch President's family and the missionaries. They met in a small house. Brother Grindstaff and his companion went to work and started to bring people to church. About 30 people now came. These new members had such a desire to help the work they asked the Branch President what they could do to help! So they did their Home Teaching! With that small effort of visiting the less actives in the area... They exponentially grew the ward. The spirit was being brought back into the fallen away members homes and they were coming back to church. The whole place was on fire. They grew from 30... to 40... to 60... to 90... to 100... until that little house didn’t have any sitting room left! People were packed in there! Brother Grindstaff's mission president saw their numbers they were reporting and didn’t believe what was going on and decided pay them a visit one Sunday. He tried to open the door and couldn’t because it was so darn full! He just looked at Bro. Grindstaff and waved. I know that this work can spread like a wildfire, but it has to be burning in the hearts on the members, NOT JUST THE MISSIONARIES! I’m really sad to leave Donna and all my friends here, but I know Las Lomas is where the Lord wants me. My goal for Las Lomas is to bring the spirit into their homes and light them on fire. I know many baptisms will follow. To all you missionary friends in the field: Keep working with those members. Don’t go into a house without leaving the Spirit there!

Anyway... sorry about that little rant; but I hope you can feel the urgency. It sounds like you all had a pretty awesome week. Sounds like the progress on the house is going well. It’s great to have such handymen in the Ward. It really goes to show you that it’s not what you know its who you know haha.

I didn’t do anything fun for the 4th of July. President told us to just go home at 7 and work on lesson plans. So we just did that. We're not allowed to play with fireworks anyway.

I can’t believe Austin won that Dodgeball championship... haha that’s so funny. I can just see him in a headband and little short shorts dodgin’ those balls like a champ. I'm proud of you! Keep winning that cash money!

Bro Rodriguez is AMAZING! Honestly he is the most prepared man in the world. He's all done with his lessons pretty much and we're already planning on he and his wife being sealed in the Temple next year. I hope I can come back for his Baptism in the 22nd. We set it about 4-5 weeks out so they can prepare. Usually they take the whole time... but really Bro Rodriguez could have been baptized after like the 2nd lesson... I love that man to death! I'm gonna try to come back and see them get sealed.

That girl we found is still cool and we found lots of others this week. Miracles are happening in Donna! BUT... they will happen without me! haha oops!

I love you all! Have a great week!

-Elder Jordan Stewart

Letter 52

July 2, 2012

Hola Todos!

Wow it sounds like you all had a pretty great week! That is SO amazing that Grandpa Garner is 93 years old! Tell him Happy Birthday for me! I borrowed the Gordon B. Hinckley movie from a Senior Missionary down here and watched it. It was good to see my ‘lil old Grandpa walk through that graveyard. He's such a talented actor! hahaha.

The house looks pretty darn good! I would have put the porch on the other side personally... but that’s just me! I hope everything goes well and you'll get a cabinet guy soon so you wont fall behind schedule. haha I'm surprised you even have walls up to be honest. This might be the fastest "Gary Stewart Project" yet. haha.

Its too bad your going to be home all by your lonesome this week mom. I would be there with you if I could... playing candyland BUT…you know... I'm in Texas. It warms my soul though to hear you and Auntie Tye are still hanging out. I love that woman to death. Actually... her whole family is pretty great. Except Tanner... hahaha Nah I'm just kidding. I mean Caiden. hahaha.

This week was great! Elder Curletti and I went on exchanges with our Zone Leaders, Elder Chick and Elder Vance (my old comp), on Wednesday and we both learned a lot! They had decided to blitz our area and so I went with Elder Chick and Elder Curletti went with Elder Vance. First we had a comp study and they trained us on how we should do our Weekly Planning. Elder Chick took us to Preach My Gospel ch.8 and took us through the Weekly Planning Section. The challenged us to stop each time that it told us to do something and then do it, even if it was like grabbing a pencil and having the area book next to you. They had done this with the other Elders in who were struggling with their area and their goals, and now they are consistently hitting the Standard of Excellence! Elder Chick promised us that if we will do this every week the Standard of Excellence would be a limitation. It brought me back to something President Trayner told me back in my interview up in Corpus Christi about Preparation. He read Ephesians 6 and told me about putting on the whole Armor of God…especially "having your feet shod with preparation". I imagined in my mind a strong valiant warrior preparing for battle, but instead of looking for his boots he decided he would just wear his flip-flops. It doesn’t matter how pure your testimony is or how good you are at talking to people, if you don’t have every needful thing prepared beforehand you'll fall down. Even if you are doing the right thing and being exactly obedient (wearing your boots) you need to constantly be striving to get all the "kinks" out of your efforts. Its not the mountain that is before you that will wear you down, it is the people in your shoes. I'm grateful for our Zone Leaders taking the time to teach us this important lesson of preparation and I am definitely willing to let it change my whole mission.

Elder Curletti and I are finding a lot of really great people and we are inviting them all to be baptized, but we need to help them accept. This week we're going to be trouble shooting with some of the people that we found this week and see what they need to commit to be baptized on a specific date.

Our investigator, Hno. Rodriguez is doing amazing! He said that church last week was a little long, but this week it went by a lot shorter. He's making leaps and bounds! LEAPS AND BOUNDS! I love that man so much. Honestly he is the most prepared person that I have met on my mission. Like Elder Duke says, "A dog with a Book of Mormon in his mouth could baptize him!" haha I really have no idea how the Elders before us didn’t have success with him. I guess there is a time and a season for everything. He is looking great for his BD on the 22nd of July.

We also found a really cool girl yesterday who is really humble and has lots of potential.

Jesse and Krystal are doing well, except Jesse got a job that makes him work on Sundays... Boooooo.... but Krystal has been reading the Children's Book of Mormon with her girls Jolynn and Jayda. Still no word from Maxine. I don’t think she really wants to talk to us... oh well.

I can’t believe Elder Curletti only has one more week of training left. It felt like yesterday I was picking him up at the chapel... but now he has become such a great missionary and I love him so much. I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have had to be his trainer. We've grown a ton together.

About transfers... I don’t know anything. If I am supposed to be transferred I would rather be mid-transferred so I could be here for Hno. Rodriguez's baptism. But I will go when and where the Lord wants me to go.
I love you all so much and I'm thankful for all of your prayers. Have a great week!

Con amor, Elder Jordan Stewart
PS- You can send me whatever you want haha that sketchbook sounds great.

Letter 51

June 25, 2012


Well it sounds like the project at home is going well! Tell Gar-Bear to take it easy though! A man his age should not be so darn busy! hahaha jk Dad you are a handsome young man. Also how in the world did you get Austin to help with a house project? I think the last one he helped on was that darn fence and he was only there for like 1 day. Keep up the good work though fellas! I love you and wish I could be working at your side... unfortunately I have a more important work to do.

I appreciate that talk mom. I have read it before but I think that was exactly what I needed these last few weeks. It really didn’t mean that much to me the first time I read it but this last time around it really got to me. So thanks! If you ever want to send me any other talks just go for it! You know me... I like surprises!

Speaking of surprises... Will Collins got married huh? Tell him congrats for me. And Elisa and Shae both have boyfriends? haha that’s so weird... I remember talking about which one of those girls were going to get married first, now we will see who it is! By the way... I should be getting some mail out soon... I haven’t been very diligent at writing letters. Sorry!

I haven’t really used that sketch book you sent me since I left the MTC... I don’t like the kind of paper that’s in it. hahaha Sorry... I just draw all over my planners! Yes I rotate my shoes, and I don’t know if Austin told you but some wealthy members here bought me some new brown shoes... I tried to refuse but they wouldn’t let me. My shoes aren’t even bad!... I'll probably be sending them home. I never wear the "Boot Shoes"... at least not yet. Apparently "THE RAINS" are coming. Hurricane in the Gulf!!

This week was pretty good. It started off with an amazing Zone Conference! I learned so much. President Trayner gave a presentation about the Apostasy, the Reformation, and the Restoration chalk full of awesome scriptures and quotes. Apparently the man that started the Baptist Church said that no one on the Earth had the Authority to act in God's name and that they were just doing the best that they could until another Apostle came! I wished that we could have invited investigators to see that! It all makes so much sense I don’t see how anyone with half a brain doesn’t know the church is true! The Assistants gave an awesome training about having the faith and courage to act on spiritual promptings. I learned that it really doesn’t matter how much preparation you have until you USE it and follow the spirit.

So, together Elder Curletti and I have been working on being more valiant in inviting people to listen to us and to change their lives. We've tried to follow the spirit and see and hear people with spiritual eyes and ears and then act accordingly and we've definitely seen the blessings. We went to go visit a really strong member of the Spanish Ward, Hna. Rodriguez, whose husband isn’t a member and we invited him to read the BoM with us. We explained what it was with the Introduction and why it was important. At the end we invited him to say the prayer and he did. In the middle of his prayer he started to cry. He asked me,"Hermano, por que es tan dificil a orar?" (Brother, why is it so hard to pray?) I told him because when we pray we realize that there are things in our lives we need to change. The Spirit filled the room. We bore powerful testimony that we knew the Church was true and would bless his life and his family. We set a return appointment and taught him the Restoration and committed him to be baptized on the 22 of July. He accepted. He came to church and was welcomed in with open arms! It looked like he had been a member his entire life. His wife was so happy. She was holding on to his arm and introducing him to her friends. It was beautiful. It looked like he was home. He even attended a baptismal service after church! Hno. Rodriguez is one of the prepared ones, and I know there are a lot more like him out there.

Well I don’t think there is very much else to say... I love you all and I pray for you always! READ YOUR SCRIPTURES! I know the church is true! It’s more true to me now than it’s ever been in my life! Have a great week!

-Elder Jordan Stewart

Letter 50

June 17, 2012

Hola Mis Amados

I'm glad to hear that everything with the house is going well. haha the Stewart family finally has a "Firm Foundation"...... hahaha.... looks like we've built our "House upon a Rock"..... haaaaha.... booooooo haha just thought you would like some corny jokes with the email. You’re Welcome! Enjoy knocking down the kitchen wall and having to eat at McDonald's every meal for a while haha. That reminds me of that time our old house was getting fumigated and we couldn’t go in there for a while... I think that’s what happened... I was like 10 or 11. Am I making that up? I specifically remember a weird smell and not being able to go inside....(we had our floors refinished – not fumigated)

Happy Anniversary to the two best parents in the world; it’s awesome to know that I have parents that love each other so much that they want to be together forever. 28 years in a pretty great accomplishment! Especially when you’re married to Gary Stewart! hahaha jk I love you Dad! Happy Fathers Day! XOXOXO

Turns out Maxine didn’t go to Utah OR Washington and she totally lied! We talked to Krystal and she said that Maxine came and visited earlier and I was like,"Isn’t she in Washington?" and Krystal said, "No. She told me not to tell you guys...."Bla bla bla yada yada yada. So I don’t know what that’s all about. Oh well... Oh and Krystal and her daughters loved those HLJ (CTR) Rings you sent! They say thanks. Jolynne, her daughter, always wears it. I would give you a high five mom if I could.

The PM family didn’t come to church... Their car keeps breaking down. Elder Curletti are going to go by today to drop them; at least until they can get a new car. We'll still visit them every once in a while but we can’t keep focusing on them if they aren’t progressing.

Elder Curletti and I found some people this week that we will be trying to work with but no one super solid. Lots of crazy people too. I'm going to buy a notebook today where I will write all my crazy people stories. We also were blessed to find like 3 PM families. So we'll see how that goes. We have a meeting with one tonight.

I killed a giant spider that landed on my leg in our bathroom with RAID... and a scorpion at church with my foot!

This last week was a little poor on numbers but very rich in lessons learned. I have been hearing all about my potential to be a leader in the mission since I've come out here and I think that I let it get to my head and it made me lose sight of what I really need to be doing. This last week I have been trying to take a personal inventory of the kind of missionary that I need to be to have success.
I realized that I have been striving to be somebody that I'm not. I know now that The Lord called ME to be here. Not someone else. So I shouldn’t be trying so hard to be someone that isn’t me. The Lord called me because I have special attributes and talents that I need to share with others and I need to work to develop a way that works for me. Obviously that doesn’t mean I'm not going to strive to be better or to develop other attributes, but that I should do it in a way that I can work with. I shouldn’t compare myself. I didn’t even know that that is what I was doing! But I was! It specifically says in Preach My Gospel NOT to do that haha and I even told Elder Curletti not to do it and here am I doing it myself! Haha golly... It was a slap in the face to say the least. So... this week Elder Duke gave Elder Curletti and I the commitment to write down a list of 10 attributes of the missionaries we need to be and to make specific goals to achieve them, even if they're just things that I've forgotten about myself. So that’s what I'm going to do. Gee wiz being a missionary is tough haha. But it sure is worth it. Donna is proving to be my refiner's fire. I know that I'm here for a reason.

Tomorrow we have our Zone Conference and I'm super stoked! I don’t know what's going to happen with transfers... its up in the air. I have a feeling that I'll get the boot though.

I hope everything goes well for all of you this week! I love you all and pray for you always. Keep up the great work my missionary friends!

-Elder Jordan Stewart

Letter 49

June 11, 2012

Hey Ya'll!

First off Austin quit bragging about your darn emails! Madi I'm sorry... I will write you a letter this week and try to throw in some pictures. I can’t do pictures right now because I don’t have a card reader. Chase... don’t tell Madi about the email I wrote to you... haha

Anyway.... This week was rough! Elder Curletti and I have been struggling... mostly me. I've been struggling. I have been trying so hard to make things work in Donna and I have been trying so hard to focus on being a good Trainer and Senior Comp and I lost sight of what should be driving me. I was just going through the motions and the Spirit was absent from our companionship. Elder Curletti and I had another long talk. He told me that he was tired of not having success and not having the Spirit. I agreed. But, thinking that I knew everything, I told him that we just needed to endure and success would come. While we talked I realized how wrong I was. Missionary work isn’t supposed to be endured. It’s supposed to be enjoyed, it’s supposed to be relished. The Spirit needs to be with us at ALL times and I started to realize that I wasn’t focused on that at all. I have been focusing on "Training" so much that I had become an unfeeling robot missionary and failure didn’t even phase me. That’s not what I want. I want the Spirit to be the Senior Companion. I have learned so much about what I need to do and I am so grateful. The Atonement needs to take a leading role in our lives. We need to be constantly striving to have it and we can only have it when we are applying the Atonement. The Atonement of our Savior is real and I feel it. I know that I have the potential to be a great leader in the mission and for the longest time I was scared of that, but I'm not afraid of it anymore. I need to get better and I know the Lord will help me. Elder Curletti is doing great. He's just got a hard headed trainer. He will be a great leader in the mission. He's learning a lot of lessons that I wish I had learned earlier in my mission. I would be a better missionary if I did. But I'm tired of not having success. Elder Curletti and I will be working hard with the Spirit this week applying the Atonement.

Maxine left for Washington. We talked to her on Tuesday and she told us that she was going to get dropped for the Teach for America program if she didn’t leave right way but she couldn’t because her mom was out of town and she was stuck taking care of her sick grandma. We told her that there was a reason for everything and that the Lord wanted her to learn something. It was really tough though. She had been working for it for like 6 years. She texted us and said that she wasn’t going to miss her chance and she left on Friday. She promised to contact the Church over there though... so we'll see.

The Part Member family we are working with are still there. They aren’t progressing anymore because they didn’t come to church. They were going to come to the Spanish Ward but then their tire was flat. So they fixed it and were going to come to the English Ward but then it wouldn’t start. So... they couldn’t come. boooo... We set up a time to meet with them today though. I pray that everything will go allright and they can start to progress again.

Madi.. I'm so sorry... I'm like the worst brother in the world. I started writing a letter to you last Monday and I was going to send it... but I didn’t have enough time to finish it. You are the best sister in the whole wide world and I can’t believe your freaking going to College. You are an old fart... emphasis on the FART! I love you and I'll try to get that letter to you this week. Please understand.

I love you as well mom. I enjoyed your package and I appreciate the fact that you and dad looked through a bunch of bags of animal crackers for Elephants and Camels... just to be "cute". Hahaha I feel bad for saying "Why does my mom always have to make things cute" when I opened it. I appreciate the effort and I will eat them.

I hope you all have a great week this week and I challenge you all to take a personal inventory of your lives and change anything that doesn’t invite the Spirit. SEARCH FOR THE SPIRIT!

-Elder Jordan Stewart

Letter 48

June 4, 2012

Hey Everyone!

First off... You guys totally destroyed our backyard! HOLY HANNAH that’s a big ol' hole you dug back there! Its going to be weird comin’ home to a new backyard/kitchen/I'll be home so I won’t be a missionary. That’s almost too much stuff. But I don’t have to worry about that for a whole year!! Can you believe it?! I've been out here for a year! Its crazy... the time just seems to be ticking faster and faster. Before you know it my friends will be getting home and then my triumphant return will soon follow. I am focusing a lot on making the most of my time while I'm here. I only have one year left and I'm going to work my hardest to help my Father's children.

This week was pretty good. Elder Curletti and I are growing and learning every day as missionaries and as a companionship. This week we had a little talk. Elder Curletti was feeling a little discouraged about our area and about what we have been doing. He had been focusing a little too much on negative things that have been happening to us instead of the good things that have happened and the good things that we have done. I told him that we can’t compare ourselves to other missionaries. Obviously no one is perfect and we all have things to improve on. It doesn’t make any sense looking at what others do or what others think because they are not you! It was a really intense experience and probably one that I wont forget for a long time. Everything turned out fine and we said a prayer together. I told him to read the talk "What Thinks Christ of Me" by Elder Neil L. Anderson and it helped the both of us a lot. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for the priceless lessons I've learned since I have been made Senior Companion and especially a Trainer. I know my Heavenly Father is molding me into the missionary and Priesthood Holder and person that I need to be in my life. I have learned that we are the only ones that can influence how we feel. We need to become creators of circumstances not creatures of them. Choose to act not react.

These lessons on my mission are definitely preparing me to be a father haha. All the stuff with Training E. Curletti and then an experience at church... That Part Member family came to church yesterday with their 4 kids... and lo and behold... ALL of the kids love ELDER STEWART and won’t leave him alone during the Sacrament!! hahaha it was great! They are 9,5,3, and 2 and they are my biggest fans I guess. I whipped out my planner and let them draw all over it, they stuck stickers on me, and they were talking too loud! I definitely felt like a dad. BUT it was so their parents could listen so it was worth it. I'm just happy they came to church at all! They were supposed to come to the Spanish Ward at 9 but they didn’t and then I texted them to come to the English one at 1. They didn’t text back so I didn’t know if they would or not and they did! It turns out that their kids had pinkeye in the morning and they couldn’t open their eyes! So they wiped ‘em down with warm water and came to the English Ward. It was a little difficult for the mom because she's the only one that doesn’t speak English (everyone else speaks both). But I'm glad they came... even if their kids put their pinkeye hands all over me.

We're trying to get Maxine baptized this weekend before she moves to Utah. She's moving to Salt Lake while she does this Teach for America program and she'll be there for like 6 months. Maybe you all can take her out to dinner or something while she's there?! Oooo! Or to General Conference! That would be cool! I'll let you know how it all goes. It’s been amazing to see Maxine learn and grow in the Gospel! She's already in Mosiah in the BoM!

Madi I'm sorry that I didn’t write you on your birthday... I knew it was that day. I even told E. Curletti, "Hey... its my sister's birthday"... But I'll write you a little note today hopefully. You’re my hero! Way to get a real job before me! Hope your wildest dreams come true.

WELP.... I'm running out of time and I don’t really know what to talk about. I love you all so much and I'll see you all in a year!

-Elder Jordan Stewart

PS- Congrats to my bud Elder Trent Howard for being made AP! I love you and your letters!

Letter 47

May 29, 2012


Tell Great Grandpa Garner to keep hangin’ in there! Let him go to the Temple and to the Movies! He's older then all of you! haha He should have the most freedom! I love Grandpa Garner and one of my fondest memories of him is seeing him in the Temple when I went through for the first time. He is a great example to our whole family.

This week was pretty good for finding new investies. We found a total of 8 new investies but I think that only 6 of them will really stick. Two of them is a man, Ramiro, and his wife, Odett, yes... like the Swan Princess... To say the least I was busting a gut. Ramiro is probably one of the coolest guys I've met on my mission. He's like a mix between the actor Bradley Cooper and Puss n Boots. He's a good father, husband, and he actually likes to talk to us! haha He calls us his "Hijos" Im his "hijo mayor" apparently. Anyway.. I really would love to baptize his family. He has a cousin who is Mormon and so he knows a little bit about the church but he wants to see what its all about. His wife is super amazing as well. She made us sandwiches. She speaks English and Spanish and my boy Ramiro only speaks Spanish.

The part member family that we found last week needs to get married still. We're having a lesson with them tonight.

Maggie unfortunately dropped. Her mom and aunts all really hate every church except the Catholic church and so when they found out that she wanted to come to church with us they got all defensive and made her sign up for CCD classes (Catholic seminary basically). But Maxine told us that she is still reading the Book of Mormon so that’s good. I think she'll get baptized some day.

The Uke... I think I'm gonna send it home. I never really have time to play it. I like it, but I need to send it home. So the next package I send will have that in it. So yeah.... speaking of which was I suppose to get a package this week. I haven’t yet. I got Madi's Graduation Invitation... but darn... I can’t make it Mad sorry. I think you forgot I'm on a mission. haha jk you look good.

Welp... I can’t think of anything else to write... so... See ya!

-Elder Stewart