Monday, June 29, 2015

Less than full of energy...with a smile:)

 The one in the pink in Zorida and the one in the blue with the baby is our investigator Hilda!!
Hi Family!

Wow so much to tell you about this week.  For the most part it has been really great.  I will start with my companions.  Ya that's right, plural.  I'm in another trio haha.  It is great though being in a trio.  They are both my trainers.  They both have been out only 3 months.  They have been companions the whole entire time even in the MTC.  How lucky am I to have two trainers?!  There name's are Hermana Cortez from Peru/Utah and Hermana Gollardo from California.  Ya do you hear those last names, both native speaks.  They are bomb at spanish!  They are really alot of fun.  Super down to earth.  We are about an half hour or so from downtown Atlanta.  

Our area is Chamblee.  It is the biggest area in the mission and we cover it.  We are over a spanish branch with a set of spanish elders.  Just a few fun facts for you all.  There are 220 ish missionaries in the Atlanta Mission.  There are 8 spanish elders and 6 spanish sisters.  The other 3 spanish sisters are one that trained my trainers (my grandma) and she has been out for 15 months and she was an english but she got changed to spanish when she trained my trainers (my moms).  The other one came out the same day as me but i didnt know her because she is native speaker and then the other one has been out for 3 months two.  Entonces, me and my companions and the other two hermanas are the first to be called as "spanish speaking sister" in the Georgia Atlanta mission.  Pretty cool huh!  So after my new companions came and got me we had to drive 2 hours to our new appartment in Doraville.  It rains sooo much and soo hard here!  Its insane!  The first day with my companions was spent driving and thats about it haha.  Not really anything exciting.  Then the next day, so thursdaywas pretty cool.  We had a really long weekly planning session and then we had an appointment with the familia Ayala.  They are members a cute older peruvian couple. 

My companions thought this would be funny haha.

Oh ya, so much for my fried southern barbaque food expectation because i aint gonna get any of that here haha!  They cooked some yummy peruvian food, well yummy for the most part.  We had this weird salid thing for the appatizer.  Then for the main dish it was rice and then this potatoe thing with chicken and raisins inside(really weird), i actually thought that they were sweat beans until i looked at them closer haha.  And then a big ol pile of raw onions with this weird vineger stuff on it.  Everything was good except for the onions part.  I knew i had to eat them so i wouldnt make them feel bad, so i took a big scoop and put it in my mouth.  I wanted to gag so baddly.  It ws so gross.  I finally choked it down but i still had a bunch of the pile to go.  I prayed so hard that i wouldnt gag in the next bites and i finally choked them down.  Then we had this cake weird stuff.  It was pretty good.  Oh wow, i am talking way too much about food now im hungry.  

Ok anyways, Then we got 3 refferals from them!!  When we left i saw this lady putting card board boxes in the dumpster.  We ran over to help her and we stroke up a conversation.  We got her information and she wants us to come teach her.  Her name in Hilda.  Im sure you will here more about her because she is just so prepared to recieve this gospel.  Then on friday we went over to Maria's house.  She is way less active.  We taught her an she made us lunch.  Weirdest lunch i have ever had.  It was two hamburger patties with the hottest guacamolie sauce you have ever tasted, and then noodles with the hottest spagettie sauce you have ever tasted and then tortillas.  So you put some burger and noodles in the the tortilla and eat it.  I am not going to lie, it was way weird but strangley pretty good.  Oh and i put down probably 8 of those little tortillas and then we had apple soda.  Mexicans love their fruit soda and fruit water with a boat load of suger, but no complaints from me!  Then we did some finding.  And then we had a dinner appointment with Zorida (shes a member) and her boyfriend Hector (hes investigating the church.)  Zorida is the bomb!  She owns her own restruant and she has cooked for us like 3 times this week.  Oh another thing, you dont have to worry about me going hungry because we have like 2 dinner appointments a day haha.  She made some tacos with a boat load of onions!  What is with these people and their onions?  Talk about eternal onion breath!!  

Ok another thing is that their food is not hot, not spicy...its FREAKING SPICY!  Like seriously, I like to call it "the babtize by fire method" Wowzers!!  She is really cool though.  She always calls us "freaking Hermanas!"  She went to get me more tacos and when she brought them back i said to her, "Freaking Hermana! usted es el mejor!"  which means you are the best!  Totally won her heart!!  So everyone calls me "huera" which means whitey!  haha! 
Atlanta, Georgia!!
On Saturday us and the elders planned an activity for all the members and our investigators "lehi's dream".  So we set up everthing we had some members helping with being the distractions with music and food and movies and games in the gymn and then we had an irorn rod leading into the chapel.  We invited Hilrid to come and she called and said she was coming!!!  It was supposed to start at 6 and it was 630 and no one was showing up.  It would have been really bad if only our investigator showed and not the members.  So me and my companions went and prayed for a miracle.  We had done our part by calling everyone in the ward and getting everything organized. We needed Heavenly Fathers help.  Well we got our Miracle.  It went super great!!  Hilrid loved it!!  Church was awesome.  I love all the people!  There is about 60 or so people in our branch.  Hispanics just have such big hearts.  Ok another funny thing is that the sisters their way of greeting like kind of a kiss on the cheek.  Weirdest thing cus they are all strangers but i guess have to get used to that.  I can comunicate kind of with them.  During all of our lessons its really frustrating because i just sit there because i dont know what is going on most of the time.  Learning a language is really hard.  Sometimes i wonder why Heavenly Father wants me to learn this language.  I dont know why, but all i can do when i am discouraged is say,

I will go.  I will do.  The Things the Lord Commands.  I know the Lord provides a way.  He wants me to obey.  I know that with the Lord I will be able to learn this languege, but for right now the Lord does not want me to be fluent.  I need to learn hard work patience through much struggle and suffering.  But I Know that he will provide away.  All that i can do is keep working my tail off.  After FHE last night with the Mendoza family, I said to my companions "you dont even need me.  All i do is sit there, and dont say anything."  Hermana Cortez looked at me and said "if we didn't need you, you wouldnt be here right now."  That really got to me.  I really do love being a missionary and doing the Lords work.  I love this mission he has given to me.  Because he has commanded and given me this mission, I will go and do!

I love you all so much.  I hope you have a fantastic week.  Remember to always read your scriptures and be more like Nephi in any struggle or situation you might encounter.  The Lord will provide away!  I got to go back to do the Lord's work now.    I'm always praying for you and sending you my love.  Talk to you next week.  God speed.

Hermana Stewart

This is at the church Lehi's dream activity.
This is where most of our people are.  
We like to call it mini Mexico.  We are so blessed to live where we live!

Friday, June 26, 2015

She made it to Georgia!!!

Dear Brother and Sister Stewart,

         We were so delighted to meet your daughter as she arrived in our mission on Tuesday and to be able to spend time orienting her to this new phase of her service.  On Wednesday morning we had our transfer meeting which included instruction to the missionaries, inspirational talks, some heartfelt testimonies including testimonies of departing missionaries, training, and assignments to their first companion and area of service.  She and her companions, Sister Gallardo and Sister Cortez, will be serving in the Chamblee Branch. 

        I know she will prosper here in the days ahead and assure you that we will do everything in our power to help her find joy in her service and success in her labors. Your weekly emails will do much to support her as she labors in this wonderful work.  Thank you so much for your support.

      I hope you enjoy the attached photo of your wonderful missionary.  Look out Georgia! Hurrah for Israel!

Warmest wishes,
John R. Harding
President, Georgia Atlanta Mission 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Vale la Pena!

 Hola family!!!  
So the title of my email this week is rather fitting for how my week has been.  It means "it is worth the pain or "sacrifice"
 So this is probably going to be a rather short email so i appoligize!!  This week has been pretty good!  Working harder than ever!  I cant wait to get out to georgia!!!!!!!!!  I leave at 3:35 am from the MTC on tuesday morning and then i fly out of slc at 8:30 in the morning!!  Im so nervous but im anxious too!!  So on sunday me and Elder Pace sang a special musical number in sacrament!  Fist solo ever!!  We rocked it haha.  We sang hark all ye nations in spanish.  We each sang a verse solo and then the 3rd verse we harmonized.  I have learning alot this week.  Its been probably the hardest week ever, but there is always something to learn from it ha!
Ok question from all you RM's!!  I have had this question for the past couple of weeks and if i could get your advice that would be super great!!  My question is, "How can i be a really great consecrated missionary that is super obedient an hard working, but still have fun?"  I have had a really hard time finding the balance between these two.  I definitely want to work really hard, but i like to have fun too!  Im not sure if that really makes sense haha.  I cant believe i leave in 5 days!!  So crazy!!  We have been sand volleyballing it up a lot lately and spike ball too!!  Have you ever heard of spike ball??  Funnest game ever!! You have to get it and play it!!  I need you all to get really good so when i come home in 17 months i will have some competition to go up against (im pretty beast at it and always beat the elders!)  I miss you all so much but i love you all so much too!! I am trying to work harder than ever!!  I want so badly to be the best missionary i can be and to help others.  If i can leave you with one piece of advise for this week it would have to be, "Let your mouth be the same as your hands".  My goal i am working on this week is striving to work so hard.  I may not be good at spanish or teaching or lots of other stuff, but by golly i can work!  Im striving to "stroke when i dont want to stroke, kick when i dont want to kick"  Work work work work!!!  HAha not as easy as it sounds but all i can do is try!!  I love you all so much!!!  I cannot wait to talk to you all very soon!!  I pray for you always!  Dont worry about me i am doing fantastic!!  Always strive for your best and the Lord will provide the rest!
  With much love,
Hermana Stewart

Thursday, June 11, 2015

If it is to be, it is up to me!

Sister Weaver.. Sister Stewart.. Sister Saili
Hola mi familia!!!

Como estan? This week has been so great.  First of all, can you believe it that it has been a whole month since Ive been here???  That means i am 1/18 way done.  Not too shabby!  Guess what i finished the book of mormon today. I started it when i first got here.  I actually got to finish it in the celestial room at the temple today.  It was pretty cool.  So I have had two way cool experiences happen to me this week, so in this email i will probably just talk about them if thats alright.  

So to start off with i will talk about what happened on thursday.  Thursday we went on companionship splits with the other hermanas in our disctrict.  So now i have officially had 4 companions in a four week duration... i think that is a record for missionaries!  any way i was with Hermana Wade she is 25 and she has her nursing degree and she is going to guatamala to be a missionary and a nurse for missionaries.  So for gymn we went out to the field and played sand volleyball me and her and Hermana Weaver(one of my companions) and Hermana Orr(Hermana wades companion) and we joined in with a group of 8 elders that are going to some weird country.  ANy way so we were playing and i realized that i had lost my earing.  I was really sad because it was my favorite pair of earings that i where all the time.  Hermana Weaver suggested that we pray to find it.  I kind of thought it was silly because after all it was just an earing, but all the other hermanas and elders thought it be a good idea too.  I told hermana weaver to pray because she probably had more faith than i did.  She said the simplest little prayer as we were all gathered around one another.  She prayed that we would find my earing.  We all looked around for about 10 minutes or so but we had no luck.  There was so much sand and the chances of us finding it was really slim.  I told everyone to stop looking for it and to just keep playing volleyball because we only had a few minutes left of gym and i really wanted to just keep playing.  It was time to go back to the Mtc so we were all putting our shoes on.  Part of me was still kind of sad becasue of the little faith i had i was really hoping we would have found it.  I was bending down tieing my shoe, and one of the elders came up to me.  He opened his hand and there was my earing.  It was one of those moments where there should be the "halaluja" music playing haha.  It was simply a miracle.  The Lord answered the little prayer of 12 of his little missionaries that day.  I learned alot that day about faith.  I was reading in Ether and it talks alot about miracles come after the trial of your faith.  I wish i had more time to write down all the little scriptures i found, but instead i just challenge you all to read Ether chapter 12 sometime this week.  Have faith in things you hope for and then excersise that faith.  I know that if you do this, the Lord will bless you.  

The second cool thing that i wanted to share with you is one of the coolest spriritual moments i have ever had.  I feel like i say that alot in the mtc, but that is because i am contantly surrounded by spiritual moments, but this one was particularly special because of the lesson that came out of it.  In class saturday night our teacher hermono mella was teaching us about teaching with the spirit and how can we be deserving of the spirit and then how to listen to it.  He told us to write down one thing we were going to do to be deserving and then to listen to it.  I had no idea what to write down.  I prayed to Heavenly Father to help me know what to do to be deserving.  I ended my prayer and wrote down one word on  And on listening i wrote "always be in an envirornment that welcomes the spirit."  anyways i didnt really think much of it until about 20 minutes later.  In 20 minutes my whole outlook and perspective on missionary work changed.  My teacher told us we were going to practice mock roll playing with our companions.  Yesterday we had to think of someone we knew that was either inactive or not mormon to play as an investigator for future little mock roll plays.  I chose to be Vera McCarthy haha.  So my companion Hermana Weaver was the Investigator and i was the missionary in this little roll play.  Hermana Sa'ili was with the teacher being an investigator.  So Hermana Weaver was giving me backround info on her investigator she was playing so i knew where to start with my lesson.  I then asked her who she was playing.  She told me "im not going to tell you."  So we just started rollplaying and i was asking her questions trying to see where she was at and trying to see what i needed to talk about to help her come unto christ.  Then i stopped.  I looked at Hermana Weaver.  I said to her "i know who you are playing, you are playing your sister huh."  I looked at her and both of us had tears rolling down from our eyes.  I then saw her not as Hermana Weaver or a fake investigator, but as a child of god.  I then came to realize why i am here.  I instantly loved this investigator.  The teacher got our attention and i looked around the room and every single person in my district including all four elders had tears coming from their eyes.  We sat in silence for probably a good 3 minutes or so.  Then teacher asked us what we learned.  Elder Friener couldnt even talk he was crying so hard.  He finally got the words "I saw how much elder wittier cared in his face and i realized how much i now care."  Its kind of hard to explain what happen and how we all felt in our classroom for that 20 minutes or so, but i can tell you this.  The spirit was so strong.  We all learned the exact same lesson and the exact same time in each of our individual mock lesson.  It was so amazing that we were all in tears.  Our teacher told us in all the time he has taught in the MTC that, that moment was the most spiritual moment he has ever had while being here.  It was simply amazing.  

This week has been filled with many spiritual experiences, but we have definitley had a lot of fun too.
One quick funny story about my companion Hermana Sa'ili from Tonga.  She is chill.  So while we were waiting for one of the devotionals to start i wanted to play tick tack toe with her.  She had never heard of it, so i explained all the rules to her.  We played one game of it, and that is probably going to be the last game she will ever play because after we played it once she said in her cute little tongan accent "that is the dumbest game ive ever played."  hahaha it was so funny.  A couple of days ago i was stading in front of the door way, and i guess i was in her way because she said "MOVE!"  and then i kind of laughed and was like, dont you mean "could you please move Hermana Stewart?"  Then she said, "NO, thats just too many words, now MOVE!" haha oh i sure love her!!! My companions are awesome.  My whole district is awesome.  It amazes me how close you can become with people in a 4 week period but that is because we are litterally with them 16 hours a day haha.  For gym we either go out to the field and i play spike ball with the elder while my companions walk around or we go to the main gym and i play basketball with the elders while my companions walk up on the track up stairs haha.  The elders are so much fun.  So i taught in relief society sunday and i totally sand a song in the middle of my lesson.  It was on faith in the atonement and i sang i know that my reedemer lives.  also on sunday me and elder pace are going to do a special singing musical number.  I Have found a real love for singing here.  Life is really great here.  I get my flight info in the next day or so and i cant wait to get out to georgia.  We had to say goodby to our other disctrict in our zone on monday.  That was really hard, so i cant even imagine how hard it will be to say by to my own district.  They are my family here.  Im going to try and be super diligent the next 12 days and take advantage of it all cus i know i wont have as much study time out in the field.  Keep the dear elders coming i love them!!  I love you all so so much!!  You are always in my prayers!!  Keep up the good work.  I love you and remeber "if it is to be, it is up to you!"  I cant wait to talk to you all next wednesday!!!!
Hermana Stewart

Being Abby as usual

Monday, June 8, 2015

Week 3

Hola mi familia,
Greeting from the CCM!  Not sure what that stands for but its the MTC in spanish.  Wow i cant believe i have been out for 3 weeks now.  In some ways its gone by really fast, but in others its felt like its been eternity.  I can not wait to get out of this place.  Im going crazy with no sunlight and being in a room all day haha.  But we do have so much fun while we work.  This week has flown by and it has been filled with much happiness.  i will just start from last thrusday.  Last thursday in the morning we taught Jose again for the second time.  He is not actually our investigator we just found him out on a bench but he wanted us to teach him again so of course we are gonna teach him.  The lesson was so powerful.  When i was bearing my testimony and telling him that i know he will see his mom again just like i will see my grandpas again and i dont really remember what else i said, but he had tears coming down his eyes.  Then hermana weaver looked at him and said, "will you follow the example of jesus christ by being batized by proper preistood authority from god?" and he said YES!!!!!!  so pretty much all the investigators are members but still it felt so real.  It was amazing and i cant wait for that to happen for reals in Georgia.  We totally forgot to set a date with him...woops, but thats why we are here is to learn.  We are teaching him again tomorrow to get him prepared and ready for baptism so we wont forget this time!
Then on friday we taught our Investigator Mercedes for the third time.  She is really difficult she doent think the Book of mormon is necessary and its really frustrating because she wont even read like 1 verse or even look or touch a book of mormon.  So we went into the lesson determined and excited.  That lesson went absolutely horrible.  Worst lesson ever.  I asked her if she would read one of the paragraphs in the introduction after teaching a little more about how the book of mormon is necessary, and once again she completely shut me down.  I was so frustrated with her and after that i lost the spirit and then the whole rest of the lesson went terribly.  Our minds were not clear and spanish was not working for us.  I felt really bad because it was probably all my fault and i apologized to my companions, but we all just were not on our game for that lesson.  I definitely learned my lesson after that to just keep loving my investigators rather than get frustrated.  
On saturday we just had a bunch of class, not really anything exciting happened.   But we did teach mario and raffiel both of them are our teachers acting as investigators and they went pretty good.  Sunday was a really good day.  I really love sundays.  I love that we have so much free study time because then i can just read my scriptures.  I love just reading them!!  Church was good.  I got called on to give a talk.  We dont know we are talking until after sacrament so we just always have to have a talk ready.  I was the first one to give a talk in my district because the other district in our zone has been giving talks, so at least now i dont have to give a talk for a while hehe.  I can now say i have given my first 5 minute sacrament talk in pure espanol, and freaking rocked it that is.  About 90% of it was sentences directely copied from preach my gospel haha and the other 10 was my testimony.  It was on repentence and when ever i said the word sins "pecados" i acidentally put the accent in the wrong spot and everytime is said it (i said it probably 10 times) the other district in our zone that have been here alot longer would giggle.  That made me really nervous cus i knew i was probably saying something wrong but i just went with it and took it like a champ.  After words everyone told me i sounded like a hillbilly trying to speak a different language haha one day i will show them.  The devotional  was great.  It was an older lady that wrote like half the primary childerens hymn book and we sang lots of her melodies so i really liked that.  
Monday we did service in the morning and then spent like 2 hours at the doctor because i gave my companion my sickness, but at least we got to walk to the pharmacy and actually go off campus and into the real world!!  Then yesterday was so amazing!!!  We taught mercedes again.  In my personal studies i wrote down a question of what can we teach her to help her come unto christ.  then in my scripture study everything i read was talking about repentence.  So we got our lesson all ready and went in after praying with much faith for the spirit.  She opened up so much to us.  She finally trusts us.  The spirit was definitely in our minds because all of us had such clear minds and understood her and recalled much spanish when talking back to her.  I asked her if i could share an example from the book of mormon about repentence, and she said yes.  I didnt ask her to read it, but instead i picked up my chair and brought it right next to hers.  I held my scriptures right under her face and read Alma 36:18-21 and pointed word for word as i read it to her.  She looked at it!!  It was amazing!!  Then we finished our lesson, and i put a book of mornmon right into her hand and said here is a gift for you.  She excepted it!!! ahhhhh!! Then we said a prayer and i was litterally grinning from ear to ear. when we went out of the lesson we all like screamed for joy!!  It was so amazing.  We helped her come unto christ by teaching with the spirit.  Last nights devotional we got the amazing oppurtunitly to hear from another apposle two weeks in a row, Elder D. Todd Christofferson!  It was really great!!
Overall my week was really great!!  I love my companions and my district!  I wish i had more time and that i was a faster typer but i am running out of time.  I love you all so much.  Always remember to pray always, read your scriptures always, be happy always, smile always and strive for the best!!  May the Lord always bless you.  I hope you all have an amazing week and i cant wait to here from you soon.  With much love,
Hermana Stewart