Monday, March 28, 2016

Be of Good Cheer Ad-mist Opposition

Dear Family,
I hope yall had a wonderful week!!  It was a good week here!!  Happy Easter!  I hope yall had a fantastic Easter and have the time to reflect on what our Savior has done for each of us.
Flor and Rogelio: So we have not had contact with them for a while, but we just showed up at their door on Monday and they let us in wahoo!!!  so the last time we visited with them we talked about how the Lord always provides a way for us to do his commandments and we invited them to pray about and find away to go to church.  Then we promised that they would be able to find away.  It is always a little bit scary promising such huge blessings, but it was all directed by the spirit and we really beilived it would come true if they put their faith to the test.  So we asked how it went and they responed that they finally bought a car and her boss is letting her leave work to be able to go to the first hour of church!!!!!!  it was so cool.  A huge testimony builder to us to see the promised blessing of our father in Heaven come true!! :)  
Walking: we are very low on miles, so one day we just walked.  I think it is good for us to get out and walk every once in a while because it helps us realize and appritiate the blessing of having a car and lots of miles.  But becuase of that we met this awesome guy names Zepha and he is so prepared and we passed him to the English Elders and sometimes the littlest of things make everything so much more worth it.  
Yay for Easter!!  I read a really great verse this morning that really made me appritiate my Savior so much.  2 Nephi 9:21 "and he cometh into the world that he may sae all men if they will hearken unto his voice; for behold, he suffereth the pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children, who belong to the family of Adam."  
I love my Savior so much!  I am greatful for the sacrifice he made for each of us.  i know that he knows what we are going through and all he asks is for us to come unto him.  i know this church is true! i love being a missionary!  I love you my wonderful family!!!!!!!! :)
i hope you have a great week!
Hermana Stewart :)

​last p day we died Easter eggs! 

​Mexican hot dogs with Alejandro and Patti

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

"The Reward of Eternal Life Requires Effort"

Dear Family,

How are y'all doing?  i sure hope y'all are doing fantastic!  Wow what a week.  This week was great.  We had Zone Conference and it was all on Faith and Repentance.  It was so wonderful.  I love both of those subjects.  I have definitely noticed that as my faith grows in my Savior Jesus Christ, my desire to repent and to do better increases.  Repentance.  What a beautiful and wonderful blessing that the Lord has given to us.  A change of heart, to do good and endure to the end.  To be better today than we were yesterday, to be better tomorrow than we were today.  I am so grateful for our Savior Jesus Chirst for making it possible for us to act on our faith, repent of our daily mistakes, follow his example to be baptized, recieve the holy spirit and reecieve that remission of our sins, and endure to the end.  That is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  That is how we make it back and return to live with our Heavenly Father and become like Christ.  Eternal life is awaiting us all, and how beautiful of a reward it is for us.  But as our dear Prophet, President Thomas S. Monson said, "the reward of eternal life requires effort."  I love the Gospel of Jesus Chirst.  I love teaching it others that have never heard it.  I absolutely loved the conference this week and i wanted to share my thoughts with y'all.  i know that through our Savior Jesus Christ we can become like him.  How blessed we are!!
Ok funny story really quick.  This was Tuesday night we were making a bunch of phone calls trying to find a member to come with us on a team up with us for the next day.  I had made like 30 calls and left messages and my mind was just fried of speaking both Spanish and English.  So the last call i made i left a voice mail asking this member if she could call us back then i was like... wait just sec back story so it will  make sense.  So when ever we pray we always end my saying "te amamos mucho, en el nombre de Jesucristo amen." in English obviously "we love you in the name of Jesus Christ amen."  So i was going to end the call by saying "le queremos chou." in English "we love you bye."  so i was in the voice mail and i started saying "te amamos"...and then i was like "digo le queremos...en el nombre de Jesucristo amen." and then i felt so awkward and hurried and hung up!  We couldn't even stop laughing.  We laughed so hard and i felt so awkward that i ended it in the name of Jesus Christ amen.  ahhh awkward moments of being a missionary!!!!  You start ending your voicemail's in Jesus's name.  It was pretty funny though so just wanted to share a funny with y'all!

Less actives! less actives! less actives!!  So really huge miracles have happened lately with our less actives we have been working with!!!  So the first less active family i have already talked about them a little bit.  They have 4 kids, the dad and oldest boy don't really want anything to do with the church but the mom wants to come with the three little kids.  We have been working with them for almost 9 months now, my whole time here in Chamblee.  a couple of weeks ago we got them a ride to church but that was a miracle in it of itself.  We have been really praying for someway to have them have a stable consistent ride to church each week.  So we went over there this week and asked if she was going to church so we could find her a ride and she said that her husband was going to start taking her to church and just dropping her off!!!!  that is a huge miracle!!!!!!!!  Line upon line people!!!  So we got to church and she was there with her kiddos on time!!!  Wow pray works my family!  The Lord is amazing it helping this family become reactivated again!!  Ok another really cool miracle is that there is this less active couple that have been inactive for years and they just started coming again.  We are working with them in preparing to go to the temple to get sealed.  It has been amazing working with them for just a short period now but seeing the growth in them and their desired to come back is amazing.  Once again the Lord is wonderful is bringing about his own work, in his own time, in his own way.  We are starting to teach their niece who is not a member.  She came to church on Sunday and she loved it!!!  Miracles! miracles! miracles!!!!

​baloon party with the cutest little family :)

​me eating a really hot pepper haha

Well i just want to end this email by leaving my testimony with y'all.  I know that this church is the Lord's church.  It is true.  I know that trials are given to us for our learning and for our personal growth.  i know that the Lord is with us always.  He loves us so much.  I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that when we read it daily and truly feast upon it, it brings a special peace into our lives that only the spirit can bring.  I know that the stories in it apply to our lives today.  I know that because just today as i was reading in Alma the story of the sons of Mosiah applied to me, and brought peace into my soul as i read the words of Christ.  "for they had many afflictions; they did suffer much, both in body and in mind, such as hunger, thirst and fatigue, and also much labor in the spirit....they prayed much that the Lord would grant unto them a portion of his Spirit to go with them, and abide with them, that they might be an instrument in the hands of God to bring, if it were possible, their brethren to the knowledge of the truth....and it came to pass that the Lord did visit them with the spirit, and said unto them; be comforted, and they were comforted...go forth among the lamanites, thy brethren, and establish my word; yet ye shall be patient in long-suffering and afflictions, that ye may show forth good examples unto them in me, and i will make an instrument of thee in my hands unto the salvation of many souls." Alma 17:5,9-11.  I know i say this so much, but i have to say it again because i just cant say it enough.  I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!!!!!  The Joy, happiness, and peace i have felt being a missionary is so incredibly indescribably wonderful!!!!!!!  This is the Lords work.  The Lord is my light.  He is my Savior and Redeemer.  He died because he loves us.  He was resurrected and broke the bonds of death making it possible for each and everyone of us to live with him again.  He has risen.  He lives.  I love my Savior Jesus Christ with all my heart.  I know where i came from.  I know my purpose here in life.  I know where i am going after this life.  The blessing are awaiting us.  The reward is nothing we can even imagine because it is just so wonderful, but "the reward of eternal life requires effort."  From the words of my loving mother " If we can live our life as Christlike as possible we will have joy into the eternities forever and ever.   We will have greater joy than we can ever imagine.  Families can be together forever and ever.  This time on earth is such a small time compared to our life in the eternities.  We can't just hold on and endure, we need to keep pushing upward and forward all the time."  i know these things to be true in the name of my Savior, even Jesus Christ amen.
Thank you my wonderful family, my wonderful parents and siblings who have all been Christ like examples to me.  I am who i am today because of your examples.  I love you all so much.  Enjoy this holy Sabbath day coming up as we together reflect on our Savior Jesus Christ and the beautiful gift he has given us all.

Love always,
Hermana Stewart

Monday, March 21, 2016

Don't dig pits, climb mountains

Dear Family,
What a week.  Time is so fast i cant even function or comprend the time of a missioinary.  Happy almost Saint Patricks day!!!  I hope you all had a great week!  I sure did.  so our new companion is named Hermana Cuevas.  that means cave in spanish, pretty cool huh!  she is from Chile.  She actually came out with me, but she was a english misisonary but just got switched to spanish with us.  she is very sweet and we are happy to have her here in Chamblee with us.  

This week we worked alot with less actives, well we always do but most of our work right now is ractivation.  these lost souls are just as important.  We love them all and we are seeing small and simple steps lead into great and marvoulous changes in each of them.  We have been teaching them all the 5 lessons over again and we have seen huge miracles come from that.  they are all regaining testimonies and desires to come back.  
So funny stories from this week is that we accidentally made the mistake of visiting 2 families in a row that feed us the most food on friday.....haha so at the second appointment we were just dieing but we had to get seconds because she was just eyeing us in the middle of us eating hermana cuevas's button popped off and we all just died lauging.  haha it was just so funny.  i serisouly think we each ate 10 pounds of food on Friday.  Then on saturday we were eating lunch at a less actives house and it was no kidding a 6 inch mountain of rice and some meat thing with veggies.  we were still full from friday haha, but in the middle of while we were eating she looked and Hermana Bringhurst and said that if she didnt eat everything she would be cast from the table.  Her plate was nearly licked clean before all of us.  then i ate 2 jalapeno peppers and mmm they werre good...but then i rubbed my eyes.  lesson learned.  

Awesome news!!!
So we have a date to go to the temple with Fermin and Hector and the Elders recent converts on March 26 to do baptisms for the dead.  Ahh they are so excited and we are so excited too!  Hector said he got called into work on sunday but he told them no that he was going to church.  Yes he is soo awesome.  Fermin is so cool he brings the bread for sacrament meeting now and he loves that!  I love them so much.  For some reason when Fermin walked into Sacrament meeting yesterday holding up the bread in the air like he was the man made me so rediculously happy.  I am so so so glad that i made the choice to come on a mission.  The people i have met and am going to meet and the experiences i have had and am going to have are so so dear to me and i will forever be greatful for each and everyone of them.  The Lord is amazing you know.  I count my blessings everyday and realize more and more of what a priveledge it is watching the Lord bring to pass his work. in language study the other day we were reading in Jacob 5 and i couldnt help but think how blessed we are to be working here in the Lords vineyard and how fast time goes by and we need to not waste any minute but continue working dilligently no matter how tired we may be.  

I wanted to share some great scriputures i read this morning in my personal study with yall that just impacted me alot and i just love learning and reading from the book of Mormon everyday.  I feel so empty when i dont read. yesterday i read in 1 nephi 13:29 that talks about apostasy and says in the last part of the verse "because of these things which are taken away out of the gospel of the Lamb, and exceedingly great many do stumble, yeah, insomuch that Satan hath great power over them."  And we clearly see there that this is the consiquenses of apostosy.  Then this morning i read in 1 nephi 14:1 it says "if the Gentile shall hearken unto the Lamb of God in that day that he shall manifest himself unto them in word, and also in power, in very deed, unot the taking away of their stumbling blocks. and harden not their hearts against the Lamb of God..they shall be a bleed people upon the promised land forever, they shall be no more brought down into the captivity."  I just really loved this because what a beautiful promise it is!  If we hearken unto the Lord and humble ourselves he will take away those stumbling blocks we all have, the temptations of the world that can bring us into a state of personal apostosy.  I love how the Lord is always the answer.  i also thought it was funny that it says in verse three it says "that great pit which hath been digged for the destruction of men shall be filled by those who digged it."  We dig our own pits.  We are the cause of our own destruction when we dont do what is right.  I know that if we live Christ centered lives we can overcome any temptation or "stumbling block".  I know that to be true because the spirit touched my heart this morning and bore testimony that it is true.  The Lord is truely amazing.  I always want him center in my life because that is the only way i can ever experience true feelings of joy.  

I hope that you all have a wonderful week!  Always know how much i love you, but more importantly always know how much your Savior loves you.  I cant help but sing in my heart the lyrics from I stand all amazed "I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me, Confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me. I tremble to know that for me he was crucified, That for me, a sinner, he suffered, he bled and died.  Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me Enough to die for me! Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!"  I know that Jesus is the Christ and that he loves us.  I know that he lives.  in the name of Jesus Christ amen.  The veiw is so much better at the top of a mountain than down in a pit.  Salvation is hard, but it is posible through our Savior Jesus Christ.  Dont dig pits, climb mountains.  I love you all so much.
Hermana Stewart

​this is when we finally got to pull Hectors baptism record off the wall....only 8 months its been waiting to come down.  Very big moment for us!

cute lil branch lady that always comes on team ups with us!

haha blue sucker

​                                           Hector is pretty cool haha

District Pic!

we got some sweet sandles from guatamala the other day. i call them my Jesus Sandles of many colors ;)

​haha we finally got an area map...we only cover two zones, no biggy haha ;)

Never Falling Away

Dear Family,
I just want to start off by telling you each of you how much i love you!
Dad I love you.
Mom I love you.
Melissa I love you.
Tracen I love you.
Grover I love you.
Eloise I love you.
Tyler I love you.
Stephanie I love you.
Benjamin I love you.
Gabriella I love you.
Chase I love you.
Mitzi I love you.

Thank you for being the BESTEST family to me ever!!  This was a wonderful week!  I have learned so much this week!  So we got a call from the Zone leaders on Saturday and our hearts just dropped because that meant one of us were getting we answer.  they ask how our day was and we respond "wonderful, perfect, we love it here and we never want to leave!" haha then they started laughing and said "well then boy do we have good news for you.  Hermana Bringhurst and Hermana Stewart you are both staying in Chamblee! " we literally started crying we were so happy!!  then they said "but wait there is are getting another hermana." haha trio again!!  well the companionship thing was sure fun while it lasted, but boy are we excited to welcome this hermana.  we have no idea who it is but probably someone we know....I mean the possibilities are endless with 6 Spanish missionaries haha! 
So for this email i am going to do things a little more differently.  Instead of just telling you what happened during the week, im going to do what i learned and how i felt because sometimes those are the best moments on a mission.  So the other day Hermana Bringhurst asked me a question and it really made me think.  She said "is your mission harder than what you expected it to be?"  i quickly responded "duh."  Missions are so hard haha.  Leaving your family is so hard.  Learning another language is so hard.  Dealing with daily ridicualing is so hard.  Having a strict exhausted work schedule and work load is so hard.  the list could go on and on.  This caused me to think about now my Savior Jesus Christ and his fathers mission for him.  The mission he did was so hard, so much more harder and doesn't even compare to anything we will ever do.  Im sure leaving his father and when communication got lost from him was probably so hard for him.  Teaching people that were so hard hearted and didn't understand him was probably so hard for him.  Getting daily ridicule and much much more was probably so hard.  The little sleep and heavy work load was probably so hard for him.  Did he give up?  No.  As i read in my personal study this morning "he suffered temptations but gave no heed unto them. he was crucified, died, and rose again the third day. and ascended into heaven, to sit down on the right hand of the Father, to reign with almight power according to the will of the Father; that as many as would believe and be baptized in his holy name, and endure in faith to the end, should be saved." d&c 20:22-25  Wow because of a loving man who raised his hand in the begging and said "here i am send me" we can make it through ANY hard thing we are facing or will ever face.  How blessed are we?  So many times in the past 9 months i have thought, "this is too hard, i cant do this."  But what i have truly learned is that "[we] can do all things through Christ which strengthen us." Philippians 4:13.  As Elder Holland said "salvation isn't cheap, it isn't easy. the mission of Jesus Christ was not easy."  Oh how i have come to know and love my Savior so much more.  Yes life is hard, things get thrown at us left and right and sometimes we don't think we can go on.  The solution i have found to getting through hard things is NEVER FALLING AWAY.  getting on my knees and pouring my heart out my Heavenly Father, using the Atonement to ease my burdens, opening up my scriptures, going to church and taking the sacrament, keeping Jesus Christ center in my life, and keeping the commandments.  When life gets hard that is when we most need to show our faith by turning to the Lord, turning to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and holding fast to the iron rod.  We are a blessed people.  This week as our recent convert Fermin bore strong testimony and repeating over and over again to us with such conviction that he will never leave this church was a huge testimony builder to me.  Seeing one of my most favorites family here in the Chamblee branch talk to their dad for one of the last times in a while as he goes back to his country, seeing the love and the sadness in their eyes but then seeing the mom wipe her tears away and comfort her kids and be strong and tell them that everything will be ok because they have this gospel and the Lord in their life and that he will help them get through this hard hard thing was a huge testimony builder to me.  I cant tell you in words the love i have for my Savior, for This Gospel, and for the people here in Chamblee.  I never thought i was capable of so much love.  I testify with all my heart, might, mind and strength that Jesus Christ lives and that this is the true Church.  We can get through any hard thing with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  in the name of Jesus Christ amen.

I love you all so much.  I love my mission.  I love the Lord and the people here in Chamblee.  I don't ever want to leave.  I will cry to much.  I hope you have a wonderful week.  My prayer is that we will never fall away, but turn to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Love so much,
Hermana Stewart

"Remember the Worth of Souls is Great in the Sight of God"

​Sister Bringhurst, Zoraida, Hector, and Me! and the other one is Alondra Hector and Zoraida! happy family! happy day!
Dear Family,
How are you all?  Wow i hope you all had a swell week cus i sure did!  It is getting real nice here in Georgia!  AHh i love being a missionary!!
Ok so highlights of this week are as follows

1. Hector was baptized!!  wow what an incredible experience that was!!  We started teaching him back in June!  Crazy how time flies!  It was a perfect day, and Hector looked amazing!  He truly has the light to him, and when he got up and bore his testimony he didnt have words to express what he was feeling.  He just kept saying over and over again how happy he was and how good he felt!  I am so priveledged to have been able to see this mighty change take place in Hector because of The Gospel of Jesus Christ!  The Lord is pretty amazing in bringing about his work here on the earth.  We are taught in the scriptures in 2 nephi 27:21 "i will show unto the children of men that i am able to do mine own work."  Truly i feel so blessed to have just watched as the Lord uses his spirit to bring his lost children back home.  I am so happy for Hector and for his family.  I love them so much, and i can truly feel the love the Lord has for them.  As Hector put it last night, it is full speed ahead, to continue being faithful and worthy and always active in the true church.

2.Well Zoraidas sister and her husband and 6 kids just moved in with them from Mexico, haha and only the mom and oldest girl are members but way less active.  So Zoraida has a new work for us to do and that is that she has entrusted us yet again with her family!  We are so thankful for this wonderful opportunity to work with this family!  Once again members are amazing, and i have learned that really the best way to do missionary work is with and through the members!!  They are a wonderful family, and after the baptism we invited them to hear the 5 lessons as a family and they agreed!  Wonderful!

3. Super cool!  a couple of months ago Zoraida asked us if we had the number to houstan Texas mission.  We happened to have it because we had to send misisonaries to finish the new convert lessons for Ana and her kids when they moved there.  So we gave it to her, and she sent missionaries to Hectors sisters house and nephew!  Well guess what!!!!  Hector's sister and nephew got baptized yesterday!!!  Hector was so excited to tell us.  He was like we are now three in this gospel!!  Super cool miracle!

4. We went on exchanges to twin oaks sisters area this week!  It was quite a hoot!  Dang i felt like i was truly in georgia there!  I finally got myself some southern food!!  We met some really great people!  and seriously props to the english misisonaries because the southern accents are sooo hard to understand!  It was so much fun! this lady sister mason fed us and we had, chicken, mac n cheese, rolls, brockley, coslaw!  It was super good!!

5. This less active family that we have been working with for my whole mission came to church on sunday for the first time in years!!!!!  
Being a missionary truly is so amazing and i love it so much!!  I am so thankful for the Lord for blessing me with this experience to help bring his lost souls unto him.  This morning i was reading my call letter, and i read it exactly how i read it when i first opened it with the paper covering and sentence by sentence.  Wow the memories sure did flood back.  Something really stood out to me it said that more joy is awaiting you then you have ever experienced before.  Oh how true that statement is.  I have never felt more joy that bringing souls back to our Savior.  Before my mission i thought that joy came from watching movies, playing games, or riding my dirt bike.  But i have experienced true joy on my mission that outdoes any of those things.  Today i was reading in Doctrine and Covenants 18 and i read some amazing verses that truely i know to be true.

"Wherefore, you are called to cry repentance unto this people.  and if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father! and now if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!"  I love these scriptures because they are so true!  From the wise words that my oldest brother Tyler once told me "the fun you can have is by working your butt off and helping others come into Christ, because that is when fun becomes pure joy."  

I testify that this is the Lord's work.  He does what he wants, and when he wants in his own wisdom.  I love being able to asist and take part in feeling pure joy here on my mission.  Joy comes only through working your bum off, being obedient in every way possible, and being deserving of the spirit.  I know that God loves each and everyone of his children, and he wants them to come back to him and experience this joy for themselves.  How blessed i am!  
Oh i love you my wonderful family!  I love my this experience i am having.  I love watching people come unto Christ and experience this joy for themselves(as Ana said it best) "for the first time i forever."  What a wonderful reminder to us all to never forget our purpose here in life, Heavenly Father's plan for us, and that "the worth of souls is great in the Sight of God!"  Have a blessed week.
Hermana Stewart