Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Letter 80

January 21, 2012

Hey Family and Amigos!

It sounds like everyone is still getting married. Tell Riley Hunsaker congratulations for me and lets just keep praying that Chase and Austin will find their eternal companions soon or I might just come home and beat ‘em both to it! haha just kidding I probably wont even be able to look at a girl for at least a month. Luckily I'll have a bunch of RM friends at my disposal to keep me company! And Chris Thurman of course! Have fun with Richie next month bud!

I don’t have any requests for the package haha what else is new... Mom you've known me my whole life. When have I ever known what I wanted for my birthday?! But I'm really sorry I didn’t send my package home... THIS WEEK I PROMISE. TODAY I PLAN TO SEND IT! First Class... it will cost about $100 ok? hahaha jk I'll get the cheapest one. :)

Well now to the work....This week the Elders had the baptism for their investigator Ed and that makes a total of 2 for our goal of 5 this month. Next week they also have a baptism for their Part Member family that they're working with and so that will bring it to 3 and if everything goes well for Elder Williams and I we will be able to baptize Gustavo and Gus as well next week and hit our goal of 5 as a District. I'm really proud of all the efforts that the District has made in the last few weeks and I see real improvement. I know there is still a lot to work on, but we're definitely heading in the right direction!

Elder Williams and I really focused on finding this week and were able to find 6 new investigators. 2 of those new investigators were a referral from Elder Stevens and Elder Wilcox over in Pharr. They have been teaching a couple named Abraham and Ary and it just so happens that they just moved into our area. The Elders gave us a call and we went on over to help them move in. They're really great people and I can see them progressing quickly towards baptism!

Gus and Gustavo are doing well and they actually went to see the baptism yesterday. They both really enjoyed it and I think it helped them not be as nervous. They still have a lot to learn and we couldn’t get them interviewed this weekend, so I'm not sure if they'll be able to hit their date for the 27th. Gustavo works a lot so it’s hard to meet with them to be able to get them ready. But I know they'll be baptized if not this month then next month.

I also went on exchanges with Elder Harris and learned a lot about how diligent we need to be to hit our goals. We worked really hard to hit every single one of our daily goals and at the end of the day we had hit and even surpassed some of the goals we set. We didn't hit all of our goals, but both of us agreed that we had done our very best to reach them and we knew that God was proud.

I've learned a lot this week about making sure that I don’t leave room for confusion when I teach people or as I like to call it "shaking my garments". One day this week Elder Williams and I were walking and talked to this woman that we saw and she told us that she had been a member of the church once but left and went back to the Catholic Church. After talking to her for a while and bearing testimony that she should come to church with us she said," estoy bein donde estoy" (I'm good where I am) I followed that solid excuse by testifying of the restoration and letting her know that she knew what we said was true and that she knew what God expected her to do. I think my friend Jacob in the Book of Mormon says it best "O, my beloved brethren, remember my words. Behold, I take off my garments, and I shake them before you; I pray the God of my salvation that he view me with his all-searching eye; wherefore, ye shall know at the last day, when all men shall be judged of their works, that the God of Israel did witness that I shook your iniquities from my soul, and that I stand with brightness before him, and am rid of your blood"(2 Nephi 9:44)

ummm... I can’t remember the other questions... Oh yeah transfers are on the 5th! I promise. They have not always been on Mondays they have ALWAYS been on Tuesdays. But it’s really up in the air and either I or Elder Williams could be leaving. But I've gotta go I love you and hope you have a great week!
-Elder Jordan Stewart

Letter 79

         January 14, 2013
Hey Howdy Hey!

It sounds like ya'll are freezin your buns off up there! haha thats too bad... hey at least your not riding a bike in it! Thats cool about the experiences you had at the Big Apple too mom... your so freakin spoiled its not even funny haha. And I'm spoiled to have a mommy like you :D haha. LOVE YOU!!!!

I'm not sure what you can get me for my B-day... I'm shootin blanks! I've really been thinking for like 2 days and I got nothing. Ties are always nice. I need some purple ties. Maybe pink or blue haha. I told Sis. Harkrider that I was turning 21 and she said "Ay, entonces ya tu puedes tomar (drink)"  and she said we should go out to dinner and get some TAQUILA! She was just kidding though. haha maybe you could send me some taquila... but you probably cant send that in the mail :( haha just kidding thats against the word of wisdom! Anything is great mom I dont need very much.

Hopefully I'll be sending my package today! I need to do it... I'm just lazy.

This week the District was working on hitting our Zone Goal of being able to consistently hit an average of 5 New Investigators, 4 Member Presents, and 1 BD@Church per companionship by the month of February. As a District we have broken the Goal up so that we can take the steps to get there and this week on average per companionship we have hit our goals... except for New Investigators. This week as a district we have a goal to hit 4 NI per companionship. I know that every companionship needs to work on there own individual needs but as the District Leader I need to be more responsible for finding ways of helping them. I'm drawing blanks though. My own personal area is struggling in finding. I think I just need to take a few steps back and analyze the situation and ask the Lord to help me think of something. We have high goals to hit in February and we need to get going on finding in order to reach them.

The Sisters had a baptism this week and I had the opportunity to do the ordinance and it was a really beautiful experience. The person was a 15 year old girl that the sisters found knocking doors. A few weeks before they found her she was going through a very rough time with depression and she actually tried to take her own life. When I interviewed her a week a go you could see the power of the Atonement in her eyes. It was the most spiritual experience I've had interviewing someone. I know that the Atonement can heal any infirmity, any addiction, any scar. We can change though the gift and power of Christ. To think we cant change is to deny the sacrifice of Christ. We were not born to be average or to suffer... we were born to overcome those things. I saw that and felt that with that young woman and I know its true.

Our investigators Gustavo and Gus are doing really well and we've had Members at all of our lessons. The Zone Leaders committed us to try and have a different member help us each time and thats been fun to work with new members. Its really helped me to see that every member is important and is willing to serve, we just have to ask and set it up! The only thing that worries me about Gustavo and Gus is that they are really "busy" and we can only meet with them 1 or 2 times a week and their interview is next Sunday. I worry that they might not be ready by then. We still have a lot to teach them. Hopefully we can meet with them at least 3 times this week and get them ready. But if not... we might not hit our goal for January as a District, so we'll definitely need the Lord's help! Pray that everything goes OK!

I'm sorry I ran out of time but I love you and hope you all have a great week freezing your bums off!

Elder Jordan Stewart

Letter 78

January 7, 2012

Elder Hasler just informed me that transfers will be on the 5th of February. I don’t know what to tell you about my package... I would love to get pictures of the family! like... an album of some pics. OH and maybe you could send me some of my baby pictures! I miss having those in my wallet haha.
That’s crazy that everyone is getting married! They really are droppin’ like flies... welp my fellow missionary friends, it looks like we'll have ZERO options when we get home :( thank goodness we have each other! :)
This week went well. Everyone in our District brought someone to church and it looks like we will all baptize this month at least one. Our finding has been looking good as well for the next month of February. BUT it could definitely be better. The district needs to improve in Finding and Member Presents if we are going to have any chance of reaching 2 baptisms each next month. The progress is definitely there though and as we keep planning and focusing on those areas that need the most help we'll reach it! Its exciting setting goals! Our goal for this new year is 1200 baptisms as a Mission the same as it was when I first came in and I'm super excited to work towards that! It’s going to take the efforts of each and every missionary.
It was brought to my attention again this week just how important to know that faith is more of a mental exertion than a physical one. At the end of the week I was following up with the Zone Leaders and they asked what ideas that I had to help inspire the district to do better and I couldn’t give them an answer. I have been physically trying my best to improve my area and help when I see the need, but as for mentally thinking and planning things that I can do to improve the district I've been lacking. I talked with Elder Harris and he helped me think of some things that I can do as a district leader to not only focus on my efforts when they're needed, but to take the time to think of the district and make plans before more problems arise. I need to have the VISION to help the district. A leader needs to be actively engaged in trying to see ahead of what everyone can see and then help them to see it and prepare for it.
 This week Elder Williams and I had 2 lessons with a part member family that we're working with Gustavo and Gus his son. They are excited to learn and are preparing to be baptized on the 27th of January. The dad seems a little hesitant to accept the date but said that he will prepare himself. We taught them about prayer and the spirit yesterday and it went really well. Gus is a really cool kid and loves church. He said that he learned that "we need to exercise our priesthood!" haha but he's only ten and doesn’t have the priesthood yet! But he's definitely excited to exercises it when he does!
 We also found a really cool lady named Rosie yesterday. We were going to visit a potential investigator but it fell through. We were about to leave when I felt we needed to knock a few doors first, specifically one on the second floor that I felt impressed to go to. We went up and knocked and out came Rosie! She was really nice and once we explained what we do as missionaries she said, "What can you tell me about baptism?" haha  so obviously we taught her about... THE WORD OF WISDOM!! hahaha jk that would be ridiculous. We taught we about Baptism and set a date. She's really cool and excited to learn. We have another lesson with her this week.
 We also finally got to talk to the referral from that sister in the Spanish Ward. We originally weren’t going to be able to because the member told us that they were really busy with the holidays. We were pretty bummed, but then we got a text message with a referral for someone that went to So we booked it over there and whoda thought... it was that member’s sister that she was going to refer us to! They already know a lot about the church and they wanted to read the Book of Mormon, the only problem is they’re still in the middle of moving her from Monterrey and they'll be gone for like 2-3 weeks!! Oh well…now they have a Book of Mormon to read and gain a testimony of :)
 Well I hope you all have a great week and try not to freeze your bums off!
 -Elder Jordan Stewart

Letter 77

January 2, 2013


Well now that the craziness of Christmas and New Years is over things can get back to NORMAL! It’s super hard to do missionary work when people are out of town for the holidays. I'm glad. The only thing that I'm not happy about is the darn weather! It’s cold and wet... yes that means that the RAINS have returned. I just barely got over my cold that I had right after Christmas and I hope I don’t get another one!  Oh well… that’s the life of a missionary. In rain, sleet, or snow we'll ride our bikes and share the gospel with everyone.

For New Years Eve we had a CELESTIAL P Day which is basically a Pday that falls on a holiday and we aren’t suppose to go out. SO we had all the missionaries in the valley get together at the Chapel in LaVista and we played sports! Elder Williams and I played basketball and let me tell ya... I am out of shape! haha I was huffin’ and heavin’ after the first game! That’s what happens when you don’t play basketball with your friends for 3 hours every week. But that was really fun. Then at the end of the night President Trayner cooked up some hamburgers and hotdogs and I learned a new game called the sandwich game which has me super paranoid to eat sandwiches now. Basically if you know the rules your in the game and the game is if you don’t do certain things people can PUNCH your sandwich. After the food we watched FOREVER STRONG!! I forgot how great that movie was! It’s almost as good as Mountain of the Lord! hahaha.... ah man... it was so good to see and movie not made by the church. I love inspirational movies. I left wanting to be better than I am. Good thing for new years resolutions!

Everything is going well with the District this week. We brought more people to church as a district this week than we have since August! SO that’s pretty exciting!  We're still focusing on finding for February and I know that we'll be able to reach our goals if we exercise our faith and work our hardest.

Speaking of which President Trayner responded to one of my emails quoting Jose Smith saying that faith requires more of a MENTAL exertion. Sometimes I feel like I can be doing more as a missionary and as a district leader, but its not necessarily a physical exertion that I'm lacking, but a mental one. I know that I need to be acting in faith and thinking of ways to improve the district, but I also need to have the mental toughness to follow through with those plans and work hard to help my area and the district. I'll be sure to make that a focus for me this year and through out my life.

Mario our old investigator is out of the hospital and we visited him last night. He said that he wants to keep working towards his baptism. We're going to set him another date once he improves a little more in his health. He can’t walk at the moment.

Other than that Elder Williams and I are working with a part member family that came to church this Sunday and a referral from a sister for her sister that has lots of questions about the church!

I love you all so much and I hope that you are making goals to become the people that you want to be but more important the people that our Heavenly Father wants you to be. Remember to make your goals specific and measurable!

Sorry this is so short but I'm out of time! I love you all! Happy New Year!

-Elder Jordan Stewart

Letter 76

December 26, 2012


I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas this year! Its kind of weird writing you when I already talked to you like... yesterday. Pero ni modo.... did I sound different on the phone? Any more mature? Probably not... I really enjoyed hearing all of your voices though and I think this call was indeed better than last year. I'm looking forward to being able to talk to you all... on another time. You all sound pretty much like your same old selves. Chase working, Austin with a rat tail celebrating his half birthday, Madi saying literally too much, and mom and dad just asking a million questions. I love you all so much and couldnt ask for a better family!   Austin how is it that you gave away some of your Christmas? You mentioned something about it but I didnt get the full story. Oh and Chase thanks for those pictures! hahaha I did indeed enjoy them. "Please sir, no touching of the dog." I like to imagine the monkey with a British accent. ANYWAY just know I love you all!! 

This week was a rough one. The District and pretty much our whole zone has been struggling with Finding for the past few weeks. Elder Hasler and Elder Harris our Zone Leaders decided to have a meeting with Elder Lowrey (the other DL in the Zone) and I to discuss what we can do to help the Zone to find for this last week of January. We brainstormed some ideas and I think that we have come up with a plan that is really going to help us to reach our goals. I've come to learn in these last few weeks that when we start to feel overwhelmed and like everything isnt going right the best thing to do is to take a few steps back and make some goals. Hopefully these new plans will help the Zone pick up the animo!

With the holidays it has been really hard to get solid appointments with people, so our new investigators this week suffered a lot. We have a lot of great potential investigators, but this week we need to convert them to investigators and get them progressing towards that specific date. Not to mention all of the referrals that we received this week. So this week I hope will be a "harvesting" week for our area.

I'm not getting down on myself or anything like that! I'm just still getting use to being a District Leader and having all of these new responsibilities.  It definitely takes a lot of work and concentration, but I know that the Lord will qualify me if I do all that I can. Sometimes I just think that I need to be doing a little more. Now that the craziness of the holidays is over though I'm sure we'll get back into the regular flow of things and progress! Back to my schedule... haha sometimes I feel like I'm autistic... cause I go crazy when I'm off my schedule. haha.

I hope you all have a great week and I'll talk to you on monday!

Santa Pictures

Letter 75

December 17, 2012

Hola Ya'll and a Feliz Christmas 
It sounds like the Garner Christmas party was pretty "sick" HAHAHAHA... yeah... I’m kinda glad I missed that haha. Sounds like everyone is doing well though. I'm really sorry to hear about Bro. Liddiard. I had just gotten a card from them this week. Sister Liddiard is such a sweet lady and I'm so grateful for her example and strength. Give her a big ol’ hug from me ok?
Yep I got Sadie’s presents and I look forward to opening them everyday! Thank you Sadie! I love you! I'm on the 4th day of Christmas today... I wonder what it is.... :). I haven’t gotten your present yet mom. I bet I will this week after transfers. They're on Tuesday and everyone in my apartment is staying the SAME!! Looks like I'll be in Edinburg for 6 more weeks! WOOT! Oh... and I wasn’t able to get a picture with the mall Santa last Monday... IT COST 20 DOLLAR BILLS... I don’t want to spend that much for one little picture. I even asked if I could use mi propia camara and they said I could but I would still have to pay 20 bucks! So I got a different one... I hope it still counts :D. 
This week our district has been struggling with finding. I talked with Elder Hasler my Zone Leader/former companion last night and we thought of some ideas that I could use to help the District do better to plan and stay connected with our goals, especially with finding and member work. All of our areas have amazing members and we need to be using them better to do the work. Being a District Leader is fun because it helps me develop problem solving skills. I'll be having a comp study with each companionship this week to try to figure out what we can do to improve our ability to hit our goals.
 Our week was really tough. Elder Williams and I had a hard time focusing on our finding goal and we weren’t able to find ONE single person. We found a lot of potential investigators, but none who we could meet with. BUT this is the Lord’s work and we know that He is working in His vineyard with us and is preparing people for us to find, we just have to be doing all that we can do to receive that help. We have specific plans made for this week to try to hit our goals and we are going to hold ourselves accountable.
 Mario is really sick and wasn’t able to be baptized this week. He still wants to be baptized but we might have to wait a little while. Hopefully this week he'll be well enough.
 Gina got a job and now works on the weekends and so SHE couldn’t get baptized this week either! UGHHHHGGHGH! We committed her to get work off this week and she said she would do all she can. It’s really frustrating when you do so much to help people to get baptized and then something stupid like that happens. I really hope and pray that they'll let her have work off on Sundays.
 Saul Alvarado was confirmed yesterday and is doing well.
 I'm hoping to buy some frames and get some copies of the picture that I’m drawing so I can give them to my recent converts. SO if you see that on my card... that’s what it is.
 Welp, I love you all so much and I hope you have a great week! GET YOURSELF IN THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT! DO SOMETHING NICE FOR SOMEONE ELSE!
 -Elder Jordan Stewart