Monday, July 25, 2016

"Be Not Afraid, Only Believe"

Hello Everyone.

I want you each to know that I love you so much.  I love this gospel that we have in our life.  I love my Savior Jesus Christ.  I love the Plan of Salvation.  I love that we can be together forever.  I love sharing the knowledge I have with families here in Georgia so that they can have the opportunity to be with their families forever too. 
This week was super great.  I have been so excited to share with you the many mighty miracles we have seen.

Brother O'Dell:  Well he got baptized this Saturday and confirmed Sunday!  Wow it was a super cool day for him and all of us.  When he came up out of the font he raised his hands in the air and said "thank you Jesus!"  Not sure about that haha, but he was one happy person!  I was looking back in my journal and this is what i wrote: "April 28, 2016 We left and went tracking down College Street.  We were not having much success after hours of knocking.  Then while we were walking, i picked up a to a dandelion and blew a wish to find someone so ready to receive the gospel.  Then i blew on it.  We were praying in our hearts as well for this to happen.  We decided to cross the street and try this one house.  No luck.  We saw an older gentleman riding his bike towards the way we were going.  We started walking towards him, and we knew the spirit wanted us to talk to him.  We said "hi."  I was so scared.  He had already passed us.  Then i was like "hey you got a minute?"  He put his feet down to stop himself and said "yeah i got a minute."  We shared a scripture from the Book of Mormon with him.  It was great.  His name in Odell.  Wow it was a miracle.  We are meeting with him tomorrow.  Good thing we crossed the street and went back to that one house or we never would have crossed paths with Odell.  I told sister Sundwall Odell is going to be baptized."  Heavenly Father is so great!  He placed Odell right in our paths.  haha i still have that dandelion.  We shouldn't ever be afraid to talk with those that the spirit tells you to and that the Lord places in your path.  We will never know what the Lord can do for them.  The gospel has blessed Odell so much in his life, and what a privileged it is to have seen that beautiful change take place in his life by the Lord.  

Lisa: We had invited Lisa, one of our investigators to the baptism, and we invited her to come with the question in mind if this was the right thing for her.  We previously the week before invited her to baptism again, but she didn't want to set a date yet.  After O'Dell was baptized, she turns to me and was like "what was that date ya'll wanted me to be baptized again."  and we said "august 13th" then she just smiled at us and said "hmm...maybe..."  It was a cool moment.
40 Day Fast: We ended our 40 day fast as a branch this week.  We ended it with a prayer.  Something really cool that was said really hit me hard.  One of the members from the branch stood up and told about in 1986 when they first broke the ground to build the cedartown branch building.  People never even thought that they would have a building.  In the prayer that was said by some President, he blessed the ground "for the building of the Cedartown Stake."  Oh wow.  Cedartown will one day be a ward, and one day be a stake!  I know this is true.  The spirit confirmed to me in that very meeting.  So many amazing miracles came from that 40 day fast.  One of which, an individual prayed and fasted for "3 families" (members) to move into the branch.  No one has moved into Cedartown in years!  In the past week we have 3 families (13 members) move into Cedartown Branch.  We have 7 children!  Miracles do happen.  That is not by coincidence.  I wish i had time to tell you each of their individual stories of how they ended up here.  They were all moved upon by the spirit to move here.  The Lord can do mighty things.  These members have so much faith, I'm telling you.  We have had less actives come back to reactivity the past 40 days.  Yesterday at church, 59 people.  That is about 30 more than before we started that fast.  Today i read this from 2 N

ephi 27:23 "for behold, i am God; and i am a God of miracles; and i will show unto the world that i am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and i work not among the children of men save it be according to their faith."  The Cedartown Branch is full of faith, it is growing fast, and it will soon be a ward because God is a God of miracles.

Yesterday we found a butterfly on the side of the road.  Then it was flying all over us.  It was just so cute!  

Today I was reading from Mark 5 about the many miracles Jesus did preform.  Jesus was on his way to heal a sick girl.  Then the ruler comes out of the Synagogue saying that he didn't have to worry because she had already died.  Jesus said to him "be not afraid, but believe."  Jesus ended up raising her from the dead.  My testimony strengthened so much from this simple little story I studied this morning.  We don't have to be afraid.  We just have to believe.  It brings me so much comfort that because Jesus died for us, we can all live again.  He rose from the dead, and so will we.  Families are forever.  The power to seal families for all eternity is once again found on this earth.  Jesus Christ is our literal Savior.  

I love you all so much.  You are so in my prayers.  Thank you for your prayers.  I feel strengthened everyday from them.  "I have a family here on earth. they are so good to me.  i want to share my life with them through all eternity. families can be together forever. through Heavenly Father's plan. i always want to be with my own family, and the Lord has shown me how i can.  The Lord has shown me how i can."  We are blessed.  I love you all. Until next week.
Hermana Stewart :)

Keep Going

Hi Everyone!
Transfer News: We are both staying here in Cedartown for another 6 weeks.  I'm happy about that.  I honestly was fine with going or staying where ever the Lord needed me! :)

This was a really great week.  Not a lot of huge things happened, but many tender mercies are all around and cool things still happened.  

Monday: We had an awesome sisters P-day with all the sisters in our zone up in Dallas, GA.  It was pretty fun.  I like being with all the sisters.  They are all wonderful examples to me.  We had a birthday party for all of us, and we brought white elephant gifts.
Then after P-day ended we had an awesome FHE lessons with two of the families in the Branch at the church.  We did a "who do you know" referral game.  It was really spiritual and enlightening to us all.  The object was helping the awesome members overcome their fears to reach out to their friends and families and share the gospel with them!  They were able to pray and set plans to reach out to them in the coming days and weeks! :)

Tueday: We had a great district meeting.  Then the 18 year old girl that came on a mini mission with us took us to lunch and came on team-ups with us!  She is so amazing!  She is going to make a wonderful sister missionary.  She even approached a lady and her daughter in Subway and gave her a pass along card!  Then we did a lot of finding.  We met some pretty cool potentials.  Then we had a branch activity for pioneer day.  That was fun.  Then we drove to Dallas for exchanges.

Wednesday: I went on exchanges with a sister I actually came out with.  She is from California and a year older than me.  I learned so much from her.  We worked super hard knocking doors all day!  I really learned that it is super important to just state our purpose right up front.  That is the way we will find those prepared by the Lord.

Thurdsday: We weakly planned.  Then we had a super awesome lesson with one of our awesome investigators Lisa.  We found her in Krogers parking lot my first transfer here in Cedartown.  She always asks us questions like "now if i get baptized....?"  But now her questions are "now when i get baptized...?"  She told us that she is not going back to her church and now she needs to pay tithing somewhere haha.  She is so on the right path.  We got her a big print "Book of Norman" (as she would call it) and she is heaven reading it!  We invited her to be baptized and she doesnt want to set a date quite yet because she wants to come to church more!  And that is awesome!  We want converts!  We also taught a hispanic family from Guatemala the Plan of Salvation.  Then after the lesson the mom asked how they become members of the church.  She just needs to get Sunday's off and then they can all come!  I love teaching families!  It was so great gathered all around mom, dad, and children talking about God's Plan of Happiness for His children!  Such a special spirit!

Friday: We did some family History!  I found 34 family ordinances that need to be done!  It made me so happy!  We went and mopped a older sister's floors from the branch!  That was fun!  We did some more finding.  Then we visited some of our awesome members and less actives.  We taught about temples using sidewalk chalk out on the concrete.   That was fun.

Saturday: We went to Rome for a service project in the community to clean up an abandoned all blacks cemetery.  It is 18 acres and it barely looked like we scratched it!  Sister Sundwall and I had the funnest job!  We went around with big metal poles and poked around all the graves cuz they were sunken in to find the head stones.  Then we dug them out!  We found like 16 head stones from the 1800s!  This is going to help family history so much!  It was super fun, but we were pooped afterwards.  Oh yeah we got to talk to this awesome guy in Spanish that wasn't a member!  Then we had dinner with the senior missionary couple serving in our Branch.  Then we visited some other cool investigators!  We visited Odell and finished teaching him the commandments!  He has been sick alot the past couple of weeks so it was really hard to meet with him.  He is doing really well now, and he is so excited to be baptized on Saturday the 23rd!
Sunday: Church was fantastic!  I love church!!  Sunday's are definitely my most favorite days!  We had a spanish less active at church, so i translated as usual.  Odell and Lisa came!   Then we ate lunch with a member sister in the park after church.  We visited one of the recent converts of the elders.  She has so much fire to live the gospel!  Then we went to a Fireside in Rome, GA (about 30 minutes away) for investigators and recent converts.  Odell came and loved it.  We watched the first vision, and during the movie Odell leaned over and said in his thick accent and deep voice"this bout Joseph Smith right?"  All us missionaries were asked to bear our testimony on the Book of Mormon and the Restoration of the Gospel.  That was a cool opportunity!

I love being here in Georgia as a missionary!  I am so grateful for this opportunity that the Lord has blessed me with.  Honestly is it quite a privileged.  I used to think before my mission that i was sacrificing these 18 months, but no.  I am blessed and privileged with these 18 months to be serving the Lord.  

The other day we were discussing about how "the field is white already to harvest."  Sister Sundwall and I like analogies as you know by now.  Sister Sundwall was going to pluck her eyebrows.  The field was her eyebrows...already to harvest. (oh by the way she gave me permission to talk about her eyebrows ha)  The tweezers are us, the instruments.  The hand plucking is the Lord.  Some tweezers just don't work at all, but some are sharply fined that work better.   Each side of tweezers is a missionary.  It takes two to pinch one working together

with the Lord.  Now without the had....nothing would ever happen.  Also the the Lord could just swoop in and pluck them hairs even without the tweezers.  This is the Lord's work.  We have to do it his way, in his timing, working in unity.  In Georgia, in Japan, in Utah, in Brazil, and a whole lot more places "the field is white already to harvest."  There are people searching and wandering looking for truth knowingly and unknowingly.  I know this is true.  I know the gospel is true.  I know we have to do all we can do live up to our baptismal conventants we have made to take upon ourselves His name and spread the gospel to ALL!  "The field is white already to harvest."  

I want ya'll to know that I love you.  The Lord loves you.  Your Heavenly Father loves you.  A scripture came to my mind just barely in Moroni 8:3 "i am mindful of you always in my prayers, continually praying unto God the Father in the name of his Holy Child, Jesus, that he, through his infinite goodness and grace, will keep you through the endurance of faith on his name to the end."  We have the Gospel in our lives.  We have each other.  We have the Savior.  We have it all.  From the words of a loving apostle, "Keep trying.  Keep trusting.  Keep believing.  Keep growing.  Heaven with be cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever." 

Hermana Stewart :) xoxo

I Stand All Amazed

Hello Everyone!!
What a great week we had!  It just keeps getting hotter and hotter here.  Oh boy I just love Georgia so much!  It is so beautiful and green!  Alrighty lets get down to business now.  
Zone Conference: We had zone conference this week, and it was FANTASTIC!  Wow it is just one of my most favorite things being around all my wonderful fellow servants of the Lord.  The spirit that was there was incredible!  We learned all about being committed and being obedient and what truly can motivate us to be obedient, LOVE.  "if ye love me keep my commandments."  I know that I want to and i will live in the Celestial Kingdom after this life with Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and my family.  We have to be obedient and work really hard for that. 

Family History: I'm going to be completely honest with y'all, family history has never super appealed to my liking.   BUT luckily my companion has called me to repentance since being with her these past two transfers.  We are allowed to do family history and indexing every week, and faithfully she has made us go nearly every week.  And since family history is a commandment I finally decided that I just need to do it if i want to go to the celestial kingdom especially with ALL my family...and do it not grudgingly i might add for we will be judged according to our works and our desires haha.  I am actually quite enjoying it, and this week I found 9 temple ordinances that need to be done from our family!  Wahoo!!  It almost makes me as happy to find an ordinance done as when i get to eat pickles :) Okay just kidding.  It's even better than pickles! :) The Lord truly can change and soften our heart if we let him, so i invite yall to do your family history work.  If you don't like doing it, than do it anyways.  And if you think its all done, well think again because that is what i thought too! :)

New Stake: On Sunday we had a HUGE sacrament meeting with two stakes.  They made a band new ward in our stake!  Then the Cedartown Branch got put into a different stake.  Pretty exciting things happening.  I know that we just all need to move with the Lord.  He has big plans in store for these two stakes and little ol Cedartown to eventually become a ward.  The work moves forward.  

Chiggers: My companion and I got a case of the chiggers this week haha.  If you don't know what those are, just count yourself lucky!  They are lil bugs that hide in grass waiting to attack and lack onto your and run all over you and burrow themselves in your skin and stay there and suck your blood and make you itch.  Georgia has soo many bugs!  There is always good things that come from trial though, so the good thing is that it makes me like a million times more appreciative for Idaho where there are no or not as many chiggers, cockroaches, masquiters, and lice!  :)

Member Misisonaries: This morning in personal study i was studying in Preach My Gospel under the seccion of working with members and specifically recent converts.  I read and highlighted a part that said "missionaries should ask for refferals from recent converts and less active members."  I was thinking about one of the recent converts Betty in the Branch, and i made a goal in my head that i wanted to ask her for a refferal this week.  Then not even kidding, about 2 minutes later we get a call from who? Betty.  She said "hey sisters i got a surprise for you.  I invited one of my friends to church and she is coming with me, and then yall can teach her."  Oh my goodness that just made my whole morning.  She is the coolest missionary!  She is like 8 steps ahead of us!  Go member missionaries! :)

Wrapping it Up: I want y'all to know that i have such a deep love for my Savior.  Each and everyday I am more and more amazed at the love he has for us, the power of His Atonement, and for what He truly is.  Jesus is the Christ.  He is the Savior of the world.  He is the Son of God.  He is our Redeemer, our Perfect Example, our older brother.  He has a perfect love for us.  Last night before going to bed, after rejection and heartache of people not wanting to listen to us that day, I opened my scriptures and read "and the world, because of their iniquity, shall judge him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he suffereth it.  Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men." 1 nephi 19:9  How could i read that and not feel loved?  How could i read that and not feel like my Savior knows what i'm going through?  I know my Savior loves me.  I know He love you too.  I know that my Savior know how I feel.  I know that he knows how you feel.  I know that because of His Atoning Sacrifice, He can help heal us.  Yesterday we shared this scripture with a member family in the Branch "and he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. and he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities." Alma 7:11-12 I know that Christ suffered for every single on of us, every single of of our pains, afflictions, sicknesses, temptations, everything.  Today in personal study i read "behold, i have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me." 1 nephi 21:16 
"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 love you all so very much.  I love being a missionary.  I love my Heavenly Father, and I love my Savior Jesus Christ.  I truly stand all amazed.

Hermana Stewart

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

How Exciting it is!

Hello Family!

Happy 4th of July to yall!  And Happy Birthday America!  This week was super hot and super great!  I love being a missionary!
Okay here are some pretty cool happening from this week.

Less Active Miracle:
We have been working with this less active family for a while now, and they always say they are going to make it to church or try to come.  The missionary definition of try: they want to but they probably are not going to.  We had a super spiritual lesson with them this week talking about preparing to go to the temple and keeping the commandments.  We invited them to church and they said they would try.  We said to them, how about you commit and then watch the Lord provide the way.  They committed.  Sunday came along, and we get a call from this lovely sister.  "im hobbling along getting dressed.  I will see you in a few minutes."  OH MY GOODNESS!!!!!!  We were just jumping for joy!  They came and loved it!!  They said to us, "we'll see you next week cus we made a promise and a commitment!"  This was one of the coolest miracles ever!  The Lord will bless them.  

Motorcycle Guy:
Yesterday we went store contacting.  We were walking in the store and we both saw this big scary motorcycle guy putting his groceries on his bike.  I felt like we needed to talk to him, but oo he was scary.  Then luckily Sister Sundwall started talking to him and i joined in.  We invited him to hear the 5 missionary lessons and he accepted!  Then i shared a scripture from the Book of Mormon, and he said "ive read the whole entire Book of Mormon."  Then Sister Sundwall said "and did you pray to God to know if it was true?"  and he said "yes i did."  and then she said "well what did he tell you?"  and he said "what do you think he told me?"  Then i said "he told you it was true huh!"  and he nodded his head and said yes.  WOW!  God knows who and who isn't ready to hear this gospel.  What are the odds that we would talk to someone who has read the whole Book of Mormon?  Trust in the spirit to be guided to the right place at the right time to the right person.

Branch BBQ:
We had a branch bbq at the Branch President's house!  Wow it was a great turn out with all the branch.  We went there early to help get everything all set up, and boy was we drenched in sweat haha.  It was just a hoot.  We had two investigators show up!  We played a nice round of corn hole and ultimate frisbee.  We didnt get to see the fireworks because we had to be home, but we could sure hear them all night the past few night haha!

The other day we were driving, and we were stopped at a red light.  I look out of the window and there's a $20 bill just chilling in the gutter.  That was kind of cool.  So money may not grow on trees but it must grow in the streets of Cedartown.

Celestial Kingdom:
We ate with the elders recent convert this week, and let me tell you there is alot to learn from this wise sister.   We were talking about tornadoes and she said (in a southern accent) "oh i don't want to die in a tornado, but if i get caught in one, let it just swirl me right up to the celestial kingdom."  oh it was just too funny!  She is all about the celestial kingdom!  She prayed in sacrament meeting this sunday and said "bless all those that couldnt make it to church that they can know that if they dont come they can NOT make it to the celestial kingdom."  then in Relief society she bore her testimony and said "i know that if keep them commandments and read my Book of Mormon ever day, i WILL make it to the celestial kingdom, and thats all i want to say."   How awesome is that.  I too know that if we do the things we are suposed to do, we will all make it to the Celestial Kingdom.  There was a quote i once read "as someone once noted, there is within each of us a giant struggling with celestial homesickness..."
What a great week.  Oh what do you know, its raining outside!!  Yay for rain!  It keeps things cooled down out here!  

A wise lesson learned this week from a 5 year old:
At church Sunday one of the bretheren gave the opening prayer.  They had their 5 year old grandboy with them, and during the prayer he said, quite loudly i might add "this is soo exciting!"  and kept saying "good job papa!"  Wow as i sat through the prayer i thought, "yes this is exciting!  We are literally speaking to Heavenly Father.  How cool is that!"  I know that Heavenly Father answers our prayers.  He loves us.  How exciting it is that we get to pray to Heavenly Father in any moment.  How exciting is it that we are part of His Gospel.  How exciting is it that we have a Savior who loves us and died for us.  How exciting is it that we have the Celestial Kingdom to look forward, and how exciting is it that we get to be together forever as families!  How exciting it is my wonderful family!  

I love you all so very much!  So glad to hear that yall had good 4th of Julys!  I hope you all have a most fantastic week!!  May we always remember how exciting it is to be children of God, be able to communicate to our Heavenly Father through sincer prayer, and be a part of this incredible Gospel!
Hermana Stewart

Branch BBQ