Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Letter 88

March 25, 2013


Gee golly wiz. It sounds like Dad has been grillin’ his little heart away this week! I'm glad to hear that the family is doing well and that Grandpa and Grandma Stewart are still doing well. I'm looking forward to seeing them when I get home. Giving Grandpa Stewart a hug is like hugging a tree he's so darn strong! And I'm really happy to hear that they are healthy. Well as healthy as old people can be :) haha just kidding. Also I've been wondering for basically my whole mission... What the heck is a CAZOOKIE?! Everyone is eating them (especially Madi and her friends) and telling me about them and I don’t know what they are. I think its just a ginormous cookie... but I would love some clarification. Thank you.

This week was really good for Elder Hobbs and I. Last week I had a District Leader Training with the Zone Leaders and we talked a lot about picking up the ANIMO in our districts and being more positive! We brainstormed some ideas and made some plans to relay them to our districts and we all felt really confident about it. We also talked about how we all need to start focusing on finding FAMILIES. We received a commitment to plan a family that we were going to take to the Lord and ask him to help us find. Elder Hobbs and I were able to do that this week and the whole week we were talking about "the family". The whole week we were struggling with our finding, then on Friday we found the coveted FAMILY! We had talked to the dad a few days before and set up a return appointment to offer a blessing on his home. When we came back he had forgotten about the appointment but told us to come back in an hour when his whole family was there. About an hour later he pulled us over on our bikes and said that he was really sorry and that he was going to be going to Harlingen right then and then invited us to come to dinner with he and his family that night at 7. So we did and had dinner with this amazing family that almost exactly matched the family that we planned! After dinner we had a great lesson and set some expectations and set another visit for this Weds. We'll be on exchanges that day so hopefully Elder Hobbs and Elder Stevens can set BDs with them all and get them committed to church! They are such a beautiful family and I want to baptize them so bad! We found some other investigators this week as well but nothing else that’s new really.

Michael Lastra was confirmed this week. After his confirmation he just got our of the chair and walked back to sit with his family with a big smile on his face lookin’ like a million bucks, without shaking any of the brothers' hands who confirmed him (one of whom was the bishop)! Haha I was laughing to myself in the foyer. They are such a great family.

There are some big changes happening in my district. One of the companionships of sisters is getting mid-transfered to open up an area that has been closed for some time and then Elders are coming to take their place. It should be pretty exciting! It’s sad that the sisters wont be in my district anymore, but I’m excited to work with some more elders and go on exchanges in a new area.

Other than that there isn’t really anything new going on! Have a great week! The Lord lives and loves us. ALWAYS REMEMBER HIM!

-Elder Jordan Stewart

Monday, March 18, 2013

Letter 87

March 18, 2013

Hello Family!

This just in... Effective immediately Missionaries have 75 mins... I repeat.... 75 mins to write emails and they can write friends and converts! So hopefully my emails will be better (I'm not making any promises). It’s good to hear that everything is going well for everyone back home. Do you guys ever see Chase and Austin anymore? Are they okay? How is Chases job/love life? What kind of craziness has Austin got himself into? I need to be in the loop with these types of things! I'm still a part of this family!

It’s very bittersweet to hear that basically all of the girls in our little group are now engaged/married. I send my best wishes to all of them and hope they have great futures. All you return missionary friends of mine... don’t you even think about getting married until I get home!

Funny Story: So during church the Ward Mission Leader, Hno Rubio, started to fill the font for the baptism after church. It takes about 45 mins to fill. After Sacrament Meeting we went to go check on the font and the water was freezing cold. Also the plug of the font doesn’t work and in order to drain it you need to put a doorstop under it, but the doorstop was floating in the middle of the font! So we grabbed a long broomstick and shimmied the doorstop over to us, but now we had to get it under the plug to drain the font and fill it with warm water! By this time the Zone Leaders (E.Rupp and E.Stevens) had joined us. The Zls manned the doors and Elder Hobbs stripped off his suit pants down to his garments and and hiked up his bottoms so they wouldn't get wet. All the while I went through the Baptismal Room/Gospel Principles Class, which had a class in session, and snuck on the other side of the curtain to the baptismal font to help Elder Hobbs as he tried to work the doorstop into the plug with his bare feet! Haha man it was quite the sight to see! Long story short we got the font drained and filled in time for the baptism! No mess! Good times on the mission.

Michael Lastra's baptism was such a beautiful experience and it was amazing to work with little Michael and his family and watch how the Gospel softened their hearts. When we first met them the parents hadn’t been to church in a while. The husband had done some things that put in jeopardy his membership in the church and he was feeling a little discouraged about starting the repentance process. Elder Hobbs and I were aware of the situation and instead of teaching him and his problems we focused on the family as a whole and showing as much love as we could. As the lessons progressed so did the love that we felt for this family. The Ward has been there every step of the way supporting them, especially their family friends the Zaletas. Hno. Zaleta was able to baptized Michael and now he and his family is one step closer to being eternal. I had the opportunity to bear my testimony during the service and I testified of the beauty of our Heavenly Father's plan for us and how the Lastra family is a living testimony of that. After the baptism, Michael's mom came up to Elder Hobbs and I with tears in her eyes and thanked us for helping them. Elder Hobbs and I both felt the Spirit very strong. We love the Lastra family and I'm thankful the Lord let us be apart of that experience.

The Cameron Park Elders were able to find a new investigator and bring him to church for the first time this week. He's a really awesome referral from a member and I feel great about him. After church he even offered to take a less active family of 5 home! Haha what a sport! I'm really excited to see what happens with him! I'll be going on an exchange with Elder Sturgell this Thursday to see how everything else is going in their area this Thursday.

Now that Michael is baptized Elder Hobbs and I are going to have to work super hard to find new investigators to bring to church and baptized... cause right now we don’t have very many. But our hopes are high and our faith is strong! We're going to focus this week on finding a full family and helping them come into the waters of baptism.

Well that’s basically all I got for this week. I'll be sure to tell you anything else when I think of it next week! I hope you all have a very good week!

-Elder Jordan Stewart

PS-I'm not sure what I want in a package... maybe just some inspirational talks? A new watch? You said you would send me a new watch but you never did! You don’t really have to. I bet I can find one here in Downtown for really cheap.

PPS- Tell Auntie Tye that I love her very much and I'm looking forward to seeing her in a few months. If you could send me Tanner's email that would be nice. I would like to email him too. Thanks!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Letter 86

March 4, 2013

Hey Everyone!

First off I just want to say how grateful I am for all of you and your prayers for me and the other missionaries in the world. I know without a doubt that this is the work of the Lord and I am so blessed to be a missionary at this time in my life. It truly is the best experience of my life and I will be forever changed by it. I know that the Lord is hastening His work and I'm so excited to see the miracles happen all over the world as we prepare for the Second Coming. I'm so happy to hear that the Youth Conference this year focused on missionary work! That sounds like such an awesome activity! I can't wait ‘til I get to be a Young Men's leader and do fun things like that with the youth. I wish I could have had an opportunity like that when I was younger.

This week was a little tough for Elder Hobbs and I. The family that we found last week dropped us and we found one other person this week who we thought was going to progress, but he dropped in the next appointment. We're just having a little struggle finding people that will be there for the next appointments and keep their commitments. On a brighter note though we taught little Miguelito this week about the Sabbath day and he and his family came to church! It was nice because his mom and dad already have friends at church so we didn’t have to do very much to help them. We have another lesson with him tonight and his interview for his baptism is this next Sunday! Hopefully we can teach him everything before then!

I went on exchanges with the Cameron Park elders this week to try to help them to get things going in their area. They have been struggling a little bit, as well as they rest of the district, on finding. So I thought that I would go into their area and help them find some new investigators and help them build their faith. Unfortunately, it was one of those days were no one really wanted to talk to you haha. I still had a good time working with Elder Sturgell and I have faith that he can do some good things for his area.

My bike chain broke this week after about a year of use. But don’t worry I got it fixed right away. The rest of my bike is in working order and you don’t have to worry about it haha. Claire (his bike)is still going strong! Also I did receive your Valentines Package. The peanutbutter cookies probably shipped worse than the sugar cookies! haha. That’s ok Elder Ayers ate them all :) I'm ready for another package when you are! I second Elder Doxey's request for "lovins in the form of oreos"!

Funny Story. I've been making guacamole for the last few weeks in my apartment (Elder Hardin taught me) and today Elder Ayers decided to help me out. We bought some peppers to add with it, 3 jalepenos and 1 habenero. We were pretty satisfied with the guac and everyone else in the apartment liked it as well. At the end we were joking around about eating the left over Habenero that we had and we all pressured Elder Hobbs into eating it! Hahaha 3 seconds after he bit into it he started coughing and crying! All the while we were laughing our heads off! haha pobrecito Elder Hobbs... it was pretty funny. I feel bad for him though, especially when it comes back for its revenge tomorrow....

Well I really don’t have very much left to say other than I love you all more than words can describe. That’s one thing that I think that I've learned very well is how to appreciate and love the people around me (even if you’re not actually "around me") I know that the Savior lives. I know that He loves us and wants us to love each other and see each other the way that He does. I invite all of you to make a special effort this week to see the people around you not as they are in that moment, but how our Father in Heaven sees them. He sees us all on a scale of eternity. I love you all and hope you have a great week.

-Elder Jordan Stewart
-Happy Birthday to Elder Ryan Skousen! You're an inspiration and are next in line to be AP of the Fort Lauderdale mission!

-Happy Birthday to Elder Rick J Doxey as well. A letter is comin your way mi amigo fiel! LOOOVEE YOOUUU!