Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Letter 85

February 25, 2013

Hey Howdy Hey!

Yeah I heard through the grapevine that they were opening up a lot more missions! The Lord is definitely hastening his work. I'm so blessed to be a part of it. I absolutely love it more than anything that I've done in my life and I will be forever grateful to my Heavenly Father for the lessons I've learned here in South Texas. And gosh dangit mom quit reminding me of how little time I have left! hahaha You're right though, I need to cherish each moment and work hard.

At the end of this week Elder Hobbs and I are a little frustrated that our investigators didn’t come to church. Michael, the 10 year old part member less active we are teaching, couldn’t come for some reason or another. His dad was sick this week so maybe that’s why. But yes mom everyone in his family are members except him. We also found 4 other investigators this week that were committed to come didn’t come either. Its a small family that are going through a rough time. Elder Hobbs and I are going to go by this week to really make sure they have desires to progress... other than that family we didn’t find anyone this week. We have some really awesome things set up for this week with some Part Member Families and Fomer Invesites, but we'll have to wait and see what happens.

Sometimes its frustrating being a missionary and having to deal with others agency but like it says in PMG pg 10 that as long as we are doing the very best we can and helping our investigators realize what they are doing by not keeping commitments we can trust God is pleased with our efforts. Elder Hobbs and I talked a lot this morning about what we can do to help our investigators. I appreciated the email our APs sent today about URGENCY. I think that’s exactly the attitude our district needs right now.

The Brownsville Zone consists of 3 districts mom - with 3 to 4 companionships in each. There are 3 buildings that the Church has here in the Brownsville area and my district just goes to one. The other 2 districts occupy the other 2 chapels. Esta bien? Weno.

I have lots of plans for the district this week. I’m going to have a comp study with each companionship of Sisters and I'll be going on an exchange with the Elders in Cameron Park. Really, everyone in the district just needs a little faith boosting and training on how we can do better, because right now we aren’t living up to our potential. I know the Lord will bless us as we try our best, but I don’t believe that the district is doing all that it can and using ALL of the tools we've been given. So that’s what I'll be focusing a lot on this week.

Funny story for ya'll. We were talking with our new Ward Mission Leader in Spanish Ward and he has some really great desires to help the missionary work here in Brownsville. I'm so excited to work with him. He and his wife offered to do anything in their power to help and it just made my day to see members so committed to the gospel. He shared with us his conversion and reactivation story and I can tell the fire that he has in him will help us missionaries a lot down here. The funny part of the story is when his daughter from Laredo stopped by with her husband. Elder Hobbs and I stood up when they walked in (just like Sister Trayner taught us) and we went to shake the daughter's hand. She took Elder Hobbs by the hand and then proceeded to grab him by the shoulder and lay a little kiss on his cheek, as Mexicans do hahaha! His face was SO red the whole time and our mission leader's wife was laughing and apologizing quietly haha while I was trying not to bust out laughing. Elder Hobbs was pretty embarrassed. Unfortunately the table was in my way and I didn’t get a kiss :( hahaha.

I just want to close and tell you all how much I love you all. I know this church is true. It absolutely has to be true. Yesterday Elder Hobbs and I talked with an old man that had "researched" things about the church for years. He didn’t want to fight with us but he did bring up some issues he had with past leaders of the church and a few points of doctrine. He had obviously gotten into a little "anti" material and assumed the things he read were correct. I asked him if he had ever prayed and asked God if any of the things he was denying were true. He said that he had not. He let the "wisdom of the world" blind him from the simple and beautiful wisdom of our Father in Heaven, the source of all truth. I am grateful for the testimony given me by the power of the Holy Ghost to know these things I have been taught are true. I know it without a doubt. It is the foundation of my life and because I know it comes from God Himself, no one else’s opinion matters. May we all seek that knowledge from our Father so we may stand strong against those that would destroy our peace.

I love you all. Have a great week!

-Elder Jordan Stewart

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Letter 84

February 19, 2013


I sounds like everyone is still leaving on missions! That’s so crazy that SO many people are leaving on their missions. Utah is going to be empty! haha I guess it will be pretty easy to get into BYU huh mom? I think I'll go to the Fall semester at UVU and finish my associates there and transfer in the Winter semester like you said. I think that will work out pretty good. Just don’t make me think about it too much
alright! I'm a missionary!

Alright, so we don’t have any room at our house for Elder Hardin to live. Do you think there would be a space at Chase and Austin's place? haha I don’t hear anything about those two ever. I think I still need to write Chase back... But if there is room at their place maybe Elder Hardin could live there and help pay rent and what not... I don’t know the details. Just trying to help out a friend. Let me know if there would be any other options.

Yesterday was one of the laziest P-days of my mission! Elder Hobbs and I cleaned the apartment really good while the other Elders that live with us (Elder Ayers from my MTC district and his comp/greenie Elder Garcia) came back from getting a hitch put on their car. When they got back we went to an all you can eat taco place and I ate 18 tacos!! They were pretty darn good too. Estaba satisfecho. After that we went shopping and were so full we didn’t buy hardly anything! After that we came home and I took a nap because all the blood was in my tummy and I was tired. SO I'm really sorry those of you that wanted a letter this week... I'll be sure to get you one next week. (Shayla thanks for your letter I'll write you next week... and probably Chase... I'm not sure I'll see what I can do I have lots of people to write because they build up)

This last week we had Leadership Training; which was amazing. I'm really grateful for the great trainings that I've received this past week and I'm excited to see the blessings that come from fulfilling ALL of the commitments we received! Elder Ayers wrote them all up on the whiteboard in his study room and there were a least 15! I'm looking forward to striving to keep them. I really believe that as the mission focuses on the basics we'll see a lot more success. Conversion in a proccess and if we focus on the basics of mastering it we'll be able to help our investigators to obtain it.

This week the District was able to find quite a few new investigators but we are still struggling to get them to church. On the the companionship of sister's investigator Rosio has been trying to quit smoking and after the sisters set up a plan to help her she slipped and smoked. She felt too avergonzada to come to church and even to talk to the sisters, but luckily they got a hold of her and set new plans for her to progress. I'm confident that she will :)

Elder Hobbs and I were to bring our investigator, Michael, to church this week! He is a 10 year old from a PM family that isn’t baptized and we are doing well to help he and his family come back to church and prepare for a baptism on March 17th. WE were also able to find a few people this week, but time didn’t permit us to set baptismal dates with 3 of them, Arnold, Yolanda, and Ashley, who are a young family. We set up a return appointment with them, but they called and had to reschedule. They said they still have desires to learn so hopefully we will be able to teach them again and help them receive a spiritual confirmation of everything. Something I've learned recently is the importance of our investigators receiving spiritual confirmations because those feelings that come from an answer from God will help them overcome the hard times and doubts that come in their way.

I'm so grateful for this beautiful gospel in my life. I know that if each one of us take time to look at the blessings we have received we will be able to feel the deep love that our Heavenly Father has for us. I love you all and hope you have a great week!

-Elder Jordan Stewart

Sunday, February 17, 2013

More Pictures

Letter 83

February 11, 2013

I'm writing you from the library in beautiful Brownsville! Before I start I just want to say how crazy it is that all of my friends are coming home! Thanks for sending those pictures mom. It's so good to see my friends. They have been and continue to be such amazing examples. I love them all so much! Keep up the great work Elders (for those of you that are still in the field)! For those of you that are home... don’t get married too quickly now :) wait for your pal j-stew! That’s great to hear that JaNae and Kenzie are both serving missions as well. Tell them that I'm proud! Oh and I'm really excited to hear that Shayla sent her letter haha I've been pretty bad at writing her back and I'm glad to hear that she's still willing to write her ol’ pal Elder Stewart back.
I guess now I better answer some of my mommy's questions:
Elder Hobbs is a great Elder and I'm grateful to have him for a companion. He came out with Elder Williams and was in his district in the MTC. He's from Weber, UT. He played football and baseball in high school and he's a mormon haha. He has a sincere desire to improve and has grown a lot this last transfer. His last companion was finishing his mission and kinda "died hard". I think Elder Hobbs grateful that I'm here now so he doesn’t have to carry as much of the load. I know together we'll see success. Our apartment is pretty nice. I'm definitely going to do some work on it to get it up to my standard of living haha. It’s like the apartment I had in Corpus, except instead of ants it has.... cockroaches! Not too many, but still. Overall it’s a pretty good place. Brownsville is a lot more tropical than I thought it would be. Its pretty humid compared to Edinburg, because of the Rio and the Gulf of Mexico, but it’s really green and has a bunch of resacas (manmade ponds) everywhere. My area is called Country Club, and its one of the richer areas... so there are some pretty gigante houses. We don’t have any progressing investigators yet, but that will change soon. My district consists of 4 companionships: mine, a set of elders, and 2 sets of sisters. I'm looking forward to working with all of them. ACTUALLY something crazy happened this Transfer and ALL of the senior comps in my district were switched out! So the junior companions have a lot of work to do to show us newbies around! But we have some great missionaries here and they have a great fire to work. That’s exactly what all of our areas need.
This week I'll be going back up to McAllen for a leadership conference so that’s awesome too!
Well that’s all I have time for. I'll be sure to write you all some more of my experiences here in Brownsville next week! LOVE YOUUUUU!
-Elder Jordan Stewart

Letter 82

February 4, 2013

Hey Todos!

Mom I know that your really anxious to hear about transfers so I guess I'll start off with that.... actually wait. I guess I'll answer some questions first. Yep I had a pretty good Birthday. Thank you so much for the birthday box! I loved that bearded beanie! You know me so well mom :D. Not much use for it right now but next year I'll sport it proudly! Thanks for the ties as well and yes the balloons were still partially inflated :). But on my Birthday all of our appointments canceled haha and I to top it off I got a flat tire! hahaha no worries though that happens lots of times. We spent the last part of the night with the Harkriders who made a delicious dinner of enchilladas suisas! Yum... I love that family so much. I would answer your other questions mom about the Harkriders, but I'm pretty sure you should already know all of those answers if you reviewed my past letters.......... thanks for remembering. Yes sister Harkrider was a member already and they have 2 sons: Derek (10) and Sebastian (5) and a little dog named Sonic as well.

It sounds like everyone is either leaving or coming home from their missions now! Give Caleb and Richie big ‘ol hugs for me and tell them that I love them and thank them for their examples! I think that means that I'm the next one...... Holy Smokes I AM THE NEXT ONE!! SHOOOT..... (Actually it’s Andrew Terry to come home next)

Elder Hardin came out with me. He wasn’t in my District in the MTC but we met out here and have become good friends. He's from Ohio and is going to BYU in the Fall. He wanted to know if he could live at our house while he goes to school to save a little money. He's a really good kid and is planning on getting a job as soon as he gets to Utah. Just let me know how it looks so I can tell him soon. He says he would be eternally grateful and he would be happy to oblige with all of your rules mom. He'll even clean the bathrooms ;) just let me know.

The investigators that Elder Williams and I have are progressing really well. Abraham and Ary came to church this week but weren't able to go to the classes because their little girl was being too distracting. She's a little monkey! She is always SO distracting in all of our lessons! We have a lesson today about tithing and I have faith it will be a good lesson.

Gustavo and Gus are still doing well. The biggest thing for them is to get a spiritual confirmation to motivate them to their specific date. We've talked to Gustavo (the dad) about it so many times and he says he knows its the right thing to do but he also adds, "but we'll see.." And little Gus is doing good. We're planning on getting those Book of Mormon cartoons from a member for him and his dad to watch to help them read.

Elder Williams and I also received a referral for a member's husband who is really cool and accepted a BD and another referral for a college student who also accepted a BD. In our second lesson she even invited a friend and we found a new investigator! We set up another lesson with them both on Saturday and we brought Pablo, a recent convert in the YSA that helps us out a lot. We get there and all the lights are on so we knocked on the door but no one came to the door. We knocked again and rang the bell. Still nothing. Then we said, "hmmm I wonder if anyone is home?" Then Pablo said, "Get up on my back and look in the window." Haha I was pretending to get on his back just playing along when all of a sudden he lifts me up and my face is in the window. I looked and saw our investigators roommate just standing at the kitchen sink and SHE LOOKED RIGHT AT ME! I yelled and he put me down and then we all walked briskly back to the car and left. hahahaha. We texted her yesterday about church and she said that we scared her roommate! Oops... we apologized to her and she said it was ok haha.

I guess now I can tell you what the Transfer Fairy has brought this time.... Turns out I'll be leaving Edinburg :( and I'll serving as a District Leader in Brownsville! I've heard lots of great things about that Zone and I think that after that I'll have pretty much been to the four corners of the mission!

The district is looking good to hit our goal so far in February and our eyes are set on a successful March. Lets hope Brownsville is looking the same! I love you all and pray for you every day! Thanks for your prayers I LOVE YOU!!!

-Elder Jordan Stewart 

PS- This is such a good Mormon Message check it out!

Letter 81

January 28, 2013

Hola Todos!

Wow it sounds like ya'll had a pretty terrible winter! haha ours is basically over and we're enjoying 80 degree weather now! JEALOUS?! haha AND we get to have spiritual experiences almost daily! Nothing beats being a missionary that’s for sure! I cant believe I only have like...4 months...... boooooo... :( That’s really scary that Madi and her friends got in an accident too! Don't do that Madi! I'm glad everyone is safe and that you all could understand the beautiful lyrics from Carrie Underwood more personally. Good song.

ANYWAY... it’s my birthday this week and I'll be turning 21! I can’t believe another year has FLOWN by and I'll officially be an adult. I'll most likely spend my birthday working and then have a dinner with the Harkriders! I love that family. Sis Harkrider told Elder Williams that she had a surprise or something... so... that’s awesome. OH! and Saul gave me a slingshot for my birthday!! I told him how Jordie had one in Brazil and he was like, “I have one! You can have it!" haha so now I have a slingshot to shoot those pesky dogs that chase me!

My bike is perfectly fine mom. Don’t worry your pretty little worrisome head. I'm still riding it every day.

Oh yeah and I definitely sent that darn package!! You should be getting it in the next few days. I'll let you wait to see what’s in it. It’s a surprise :)

This week has been pretty good. Elder Williams and I are really trying hard to set a good example for the other missionaries in the district. We found some new investigators this week and had some good lessons with the investigators that we do have. I think that the district is definitely improving in a lot of areas, and as we strive to fix the things that we aren’t doing well I know that we will see more success with our goals. The North Elders hit their baptismal goal of 2. So that's a plus :).  The Zone Leaders and I talked a lot on Saturday about how I can better help the District keep the commitments they've been given and while we talked I received a lot of great insights and raised my vision. I know that things will be looking up for February and March.

I went on exchanges this Saturday with Elder Hardin in my area. We had a good talk about where he is at right now and I can see that he's grown so much as a missionary, even in just these 2 transfers with him. I think he's a great Elder and has good desires, and he's become a really good friend of mine. He actually wants to live with us when we get back home haha. Can he mom?! Since he and I are both leaving the same time we talked a little bit about how we are going to finish strong. I think it helped both of us out a lot. I thought a lot about the 4th missionary goals that we have and I committed us both to follow through with those goals the best we can until that fateful day in June :(.

Our investigators are doing well.

Gustavo and Gus are still progressing and coming to church. We just need to get them reading! We had to change their date to the 17th of February because we have had such a hard time meeting with them. Gustavo is really busy with work and we can only meet 1 or 2 times a week. We have plans to help them to read and be prepared by their new date though.

Abraham and Ary are some new investigators that we are working with who were a referral from the McAllen ZLs. They are really prepared and have sincere desires to learn and grow. Except they gave us a little scare this Sunday haha. Sunday morning we called them to remind them about church and Ary answered the phone and told us that she and Abraham had been talking and they had some "concerns" and they would like to talk with us. Haha I was like,"No...... not again!" But anyway, we set up a time to come over that day, they didn’t end up coming to church and we went the appointment. They had some little questions about tithing, the temple, and tattoos and little things like that. Elder Williams and I both felt prompted to talk about the Spirit and how he confirms things to us. We explained that God doesn’t just give us all the answers at once, but that he gives them "line upon line". After they understood that the Spirit was felt and they realized that they still wanted to continue to learn. I'm so grateful for the Spirit and I know that when we follow it we are blessed.

We picked Mario back up as a new investigator. His health is still pretty sucky... but he still wants to be baptized. We'll see what happens.  We dropped Rosie.

So the work is progressing well here in Edinburg! Still now news of transfers so I don’t know if I'll be leaving this beautiful place or not but I guess we'll see. Thanks for your prayers and I hope you all have a great week! LOVE YOU!!!

-Elder Jordan Stewart

PS I got a letter from my Recent Convert in Donna Hno Rodriguez and he's doing amazing! He's been to the temple to do baptisms and he's preparing to get the Melchezekek Priesthood! I love that man. It warmed my heart to read that letter.


Jordan finally sent home 600 pictures from his  mission. So I will choose a few good ones for all of you to enjoy. You will see he is the same old Jordan.