Monday, September 26, 2016

All That He Has Given Us

Dear Y'all,

Well this week was Amazing!!!!  We put some serious miles on Jimmy (our car).  
Tuesday: We went to Dallas Georgia on companion exchanges.  I went with Sister Nau, one of the sisters that came out with me.  It was great, and I learned a lot.  My most favorite part was when we cleaned out a fridge of this old lady.  It made me really appreciative of the weekly cleaning schedule we follow as missionaries!  Doing service for other people, when we just forget ourselves even though it may smell gross and make our hands sticky, brought a big smile to the lady's face after we were finished.  It made us feel good, and we had a hoot cleaning it!  We went to the church to ask the bishop a question and it was during mutual time.  I couldn't even believe how many youth were there....serving in a branch for 16 months I forgot what it is like to be in a ward.  It was pretty shocking to me!  

Thursday: After weekly planning we did family history with Brother O'Dell.  We were able to find and print off many of his family names to be able to take to the temple Saturday!  He was so excited.  We went and had an awesome lesson with Sharon our golden media referral.  My companion invited her to be baptized when she comes to know these things are true.  She responded, "well I already know they are true!"  We were so happy!  She is on date for October 22nd!  

Friday: We went to Peach Tree City (about 3 hours away) for new missionary meeting and trainers meeting.  It was fantastic!!  I learned so much from that meeting.  One thing I really took away was looking for the good in those around us.  How important that is to do.  When we focus on the bad, all we will see is the bad.  When we focus on the good, our hearts will be more full of love.  

Saturday: We went to Atlanta to the temple with O'dell!!!  It was incredible!  It is such a special experience to be in the temple with a recent convert.  He was baptized for his father and grandfather.  He was crying as he stood in the font.  It was special.  I was baptized for his mother and sister.  Sister Sundwall was baptized for his grandmother.  Really cool experience we all had that day.  

Women's Conference was amazing!!  We had 13 sisters come to the church for it, and I just loved it!!  I am so looking forward to General Conference.

Sunday: We had a really cool miracle yesterday.  We went out to Alabama to visit a less active family.  They have been less active for about 6 years now.  We have had not much success working with them.  They are super hard to meet with, but yesterday we were able to catch them at home and have an incredible lesson with them.  They committed to coming to church which was awesome!!!!  The whole branch has been praying and fasting for this family.  It was a miracle.  

Lately I have been noticing a lot of times in the scriptures where it talks about the people giving thanks to God.  I have started realizing in my own life the things i have to be thankful for.  I'm thankful for my family, the gospel, my mission, the people here in Georgia, all the amazing experiences I am having.  I love it here.  I love the people.  I love my family.  I love the gospel.  I love the Lord.  When we take a moment to reflect on all that He has given us, our hearts cant help but to swell.  "Behold, now it came to pass that the people of Nephi were exceedingly rejoiced, because the Lord had again delivered them out of the hands of their enemies; therefore they gave thanks unto the Lord their God; yea and they did fast much and pray much, and they did worship God with exceedingly great joy." Alma 45:1

Life is wonderful!  How blessed we are to have the opportunity to be united as one as Saints to gather and watch conference this weekend.  I hope you all have a great experience.  Always remember the the Lord loves us and all that He gives us.  I love you all.  Have a blessed week.
Hermana Stewart

P.S. There be a lot of cotton fields here.

Trusting In The Lord (09/19/2016)

Hey Y'all!!  

This week was fantastic!!!!  Life here is wonderful!  I love Cedartown.  I love my companion.  I love being a missionary!!  

Zone Conference: We had zone conference this week and that was super great!  I love love being with my other fellow missionaries and hearing their testimonies and comments.  I always leave those meetings uplifted and strengthened.  My most favorite moment was when we all sang as missionaries "im trying to be like Jesus." and "when i am baptized."  I sure have turned into a cry baby on my mission.  Such great power in singing those songs and leaning together how we can be better.  I am soo blessed to be in the Georgia Atlanta Mission.  This is truly where I need to be :)

Lost Dog: We were helping a member try and find their lost dog, and I started going door to door knocking on the doors. My companion just looked at me like I was crazy.  All my companions know I wouldn't pass up a finding opportunity!  We asked if they had seen a dog.  Then they would say no, and then we would say "We are missionaries......"  haha we found two families from that!!!!  We are currently teaching them right now and one of them came to church on sunday!!  So cool!  Best door approach ever!!  "hey have you seen a lost dog?...."  

Headquarter Referrals:  We have received 9 head quarter referrals in the past week!!!  I repeat 9 head quarter referrals!!!  One head quarter referral is a miracle in itself!!  One of these referrals is our miracle lady!!  We met her on Wednesday.  She requested a Book of Mormon and Bible.  She didn't know anything about the Book of Mormon.  We have been back 3 times now.  The last visit was one of the best Restoration Lessons Ive ever had.  I learned, my companion learned, the member that was with us learned, and Miss Sharon learned from the spirit that day.  Something incredible touched each of our hearts.  She kept repeating over and over again that ever since we first stepped into her house she feels something so good.  That would be the spirit my friends.  How blessed we are as members to be giving the gift of the spirit.  

The Sticks: One of the head quarter referrals we received was in Alabama back in the back woods, out in the sticks!  There was no reception for miles until we finally arrived at her house.  We found a gem!!!  A whole hillbilly community!!!  Oh my goodness they are the nicest people I have seriously ever met in my entire life!!!  They are all so interested!!  It is like 10 families! It was such a cool miracle!!!!!!!!!!  

Fried pickles: Y'all know my deep love for pickles.  Well this week I had fried pickles!!!  I have never heard of fried pickles!!!!!  mmm they were soo good!

Fun Picture: Here is a fun picture for y'all.  A member took us out to eat at a Mexican restaurant this week.  We have such great members!  Oh it was sooo good.  I miss Hispanic food so much, but southern food is definitely growing on me!

Church yesterday was fantastic.  The speakers and the songs were exactly what I needed to hear.  One of the talks that really stood out to me was Trusting in the Lord.  The spirit was so powerful during that talk knowing that no matter what if we just trust in the Lord, everything is all going to work out.  We all face trials and headships in our lives, daily I might add.  But we have the promise of one day resting from all these things if we but endure to the end. "but that ye have patience, and bear with those afflictions, with a firm hope that ye shall one day rest from all your afflictions." Alma 34:41

Life is good when we make it good.  We are happy when we choose to be happy.  We are blessed when we desire to and do what is right.  Have a great week, be happy and do what is right trusting always in the Lord.  I love y'all.
Hermana Stewart

Monday, September 12, 2016

Life As A Missionary

Hello everyone!!!  Life as a missionary is as fantastic as ever!!  We are living, loving, and becoming here in Cedartown! :)

Some Amazing Highlights from this week:

Temple: We were able to go to the temple with one of the members Sister Sundwall and I have been working with for her first time!  Wow it was an incredible experience.  There were two reasons that made this temple trip so special.  1. We were able to be in the temple with Miss Betty Austin and see her do perform baptisms and confirmations for her loved ones, two of which included on of the male members doing the work for her Husband and Son.  So very special.  She has come along ways, and what a blessing it was to be in the temple with her.  2. I was able to be baptized and my companion and other former companions for my own family names.  That was the first time I had done my own families names.  I have been looking at those names for several months waiting anxiously for the opportunity to go to the House of The Lord and preform them.  It became so real and special to me.  Heaven is not heaven without my family.  The special spirit I felt in that temple that day was one of the coolest experiences I've ever had in the temple.  I love this gospel, and through it we can be united as families forever.  Here is a picture of Sister Sundwall, Betty, and I after going into the temple!

Lessons Learned:  I wanted to share with y'all three really great things I learned this week.  

1.  Daily Scripture: Every morning during companion study we send a daily scripture to all the members, less actives, and our investigators.  It is something I really love doing.  The other day, we randomly received two texts back from two different people asking to not send the daily scripture anymore.  It really set me back and kind of bothered me for a bit. Who wouldn't want to receive daily scriptures?  My first thought (of the natural man) was that I just didn't want to send the daily scripture anymore.  I pondered about the whole situation throughout the day.  Then randomly we got a text that said "thank you so much for always sending these!  They make my whole day."  Then one of the members said to us at the temple "I love those daily scriptures you send everyday!"  I began to soften my heart and recognize and remember all the positive comments that we have received in the past about the daily scripture.  The next day I sent out a text to everyone saying "who ever would like to receive the daily scripture please respond yes."  Within 5 minutes we had received nearly 30 text messages saying "yes", "yes!:)", "yeeeeesssssss!!!! ", and the like.  I was literally jumping up and down for joy because I was so happy.  We can never let something so little make us quite.  We will never fully recognize the impact we may have on people.  I learned a valuable lesson that day that we can't give up if we receive a little bit of persecution for doing a good deed.  We must press forward, shake it all off, and continue to do what is right.  "now when our hearts were depressed, and were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success." Alma 26:27

2. What I know: The other day we received a Bible Referral, so we went to deliver it.  The man answered the door, and looked right at us with the widest eyes and said "I am a Servant of the Lord."  I shook his hand and said "that is great! so are we."  It was one of the more interesting experiences I have had on my mission.  As he began talking to us, I just smiled and my companion and thought in my head "oh you are so in for a treat."  I won't get into all the details because that would be long and probably boring, but he said two things to us 1. i don't care to know or read that Book of Mormon of yours and 2. you don't know your King.  We kindly testified of what we knew to be true and left.  It was such a great experience because it was a testimony builder to me and I'm sure to my companion as well.  I learned two things from that experience 1: I am soo grateful for modern day revelation and Prophets so that we don't have to be in the dark anymore.  I know Joseph Smith restored Christ's church and authority, and I know Thomas S. Monson is the Lord's chosen prophet on the earth today.  If we follow him, we will not be in the dark. and 2: I have truly come to know and continue to come to know through the Book of Mormon my Lord and King.  I know Jesus is the Christ.  He is my Savior and Redeemer.  I know what he did for me.  I know what I must do to return to live with Him.  What a blessing my testimony is to me and I truly cherish it.  

3. Accepting The Lord's Will and Timing:  Yesterday before church I was studying a talk by Elder Bednar in last months Ensign titled this.  It is about a young man who is newly married and discovered he has cancer.  Elder Bednar went to give him a priesthood blessing and instead of asking him "do you have the faith to be healed?" he asked "do you have the faith to not be healed?"  As i read this, something just hit me so hard.  We had 2 investigators and a less active family of 12 committed to coming to church on Sunday.  I had been praying so hard all week and all morning that they would come.  Then I realized that I was praying for the wrong thing.  I decided to pray to Heavenly Father and instead of saying "please bless that they can come to church"  I changed it to  "please bless that they can come to church, but thy will be done.  And if they don't come please bless me with the faith to not be discouraged and to keep believing!"  I knew it was scary thing to pray for.  It's kind of like praying for patience, because we all know what happens when we pray for patience.  We receive plenty of opportunities to practice our patience.  Well none of them showed up to church, but I was not discouraged and I still have faith and I still believe!  We ended up having a fantastic Sunday as usual!!  It is never about what we want or what we think is the best, it is all about Accepting the The Lord's Will and timing.  In the end, it is ALWAYS the best!  I know this to be true!

Toaster: This is a very exciting highlight from this week.  My companion has officially used a toaster for the first time in her life!  Last night after planning she asked me how to make the bread toasty.  I told her to just slap two pieces of bread in that black box and push the button down.  She was so amazed.  It was a good moment.

Beautiful Sunset:  We were driving home yesterday and just had to take a picture with the beautiful sunset!  I love it here in Georgia!

Well life is wonderful my family.  Life here as a missionary is great, fantastic, marvelous, and just soo good.  I am happy.  I mean, why wouldn't I be happy?  I get to share the good news of the Gospel everyday all day!  I hope you all have a fantastic week!!  May we soak up our daily lives, because we are blessed.  I love y'all! :)
Hermana Stewart :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

New Adventures, New Challenges :)

Hello Every One!!

We had a fantastic week!!  It is always hard to say goodbye to companions, but new adventures and challenges lie ahead! :)  My new companion is from Dominican Republic!  Wahoo!!  Her name is Hermana De La Rosa Frias.  She is super sweet!  She went to the MTC for 9 weeks to learn English, and then President Foote changed her call to spanish when she got here.  We speak alot of spanish together haha so that is fun!  New cultures and new adventures!  

Temple: We just got back from going to the temple this morning.  Since P-day was switched to Tuesday, the temple was open, and we got permission to go there!!  We went with one of our awesome members and the other hermanas in our zone Hermana Sundwall and Hermana Gallardo (my trainer and other companion).  Oh it was super fantastic to see them again!  Once a companion, always a friend.  We took a "3 generation picture" (Hermana De La Rosa Frias(my daughter), Hermana Sundwall (my step daughter), Me, and Hermana Gallardo (my mommy).  Haha that sounds so weird.  I don't know bout that haha.  It was so fun to be at the temple!  What a place to be :)

Miracles: Oh my goodness we had so many fantastic miracles this week!! One of which being Lisa.  Lisa we found her my first transfer when i got here in Ctown at the store.  She kind of dropped off the face of the earth there for a while, but just recently she just started progressing.  We went over yesterday to help her plant some flowers and then read from the Book of Mormon.  We had a great lesson, and afterwards we invited her to pray about what we read and to know if the Book of Mormon is true like we always do.  This time she said "well i already know it be true! " Ah it was so exciting!  I have such a testimony of the Book of Mormon and the power of bringing true and lasting conversion into these peoples lives.  We want to baptize converts, not less actives and the Book of Mormon will bring true conversion.  

Knocking: We got to do quite a bit of knocking this week which is always fun don't you know! :)  We met this epic family!  Mom, dad, two kids.  The mom is a teacher!  They were so receptive, and they are so prepared!!  It is the best after a long day of knocking door after door when people aren't interested, but you don't give up.  And then you knock that one door, and BAM family and their interested and invite you back!! :) I love missionary work! :)

Church: Church was absolutely fantastic on Sunday!  I love Fast and Testimony meeting!  Brother O'dell passed the sacrament.  He was dancing he was so happy!  Then he bore his testimony and he sang his song he made up "you betta be ready, Jesus comin back. you betta be ready Jesus comin back.  you betta be ready, Jesus comin back. yeah he comin back one day.  Ai'nt nobody know the hour.  Ain't nobody know the day.  Jesus said he comin back, yeah he comin back one day.  He said O'Dell be ready, Jesus comin back, yeah he comin back one day."  Oh my goodness, you gotta love church in the South.  Then he bore his testimony on how we all need to be prepared for when Jesus comes again.  It made me cry and so happy.  Moments like those make me soo grateful I came on a mission.  

Funny: So I forgot to tell my new companion that I like to get up a little earlier than 6:30 so we can have full 30 minutes for exercise.  It is just normal to me, and it didn't cross my mind to tell her.  We were sitting at the table and talking and I mentioned something about how we get up before 6:30 before we even half to.  Then she just gives me this look and says to me in spanish "entonces me esta diciendo que nos leventamos temprano que 6:30.?" in English "so you are telling me we wake up before 6:30?" haha and i was like "jaja oh si me olvide a decirla." in English "oh yes, i forgot to tell you."  Then in her cute accent she said in English "i going to kill you!" hahahah oh it was too funny!  We both just laughed!!  

Life is good my dearest family!  I hope that you all have a most fantastic week this week!  I read this scripture yesterday and it was an answer to my prayers.  I hope it can find you smiling a little brighter today.  "nevertheless, they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in their faith of Christ, unto the filling their hearts with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts unto God." Helaman 3:35  I know that the message I share each and everyday is True.  I love the Gospel.  May we all continue to live the gospel of Jesus Christ and follow our Savior's teachings, rely on Him in every moment, strive to be like Him, open our hearts and love those around us.  We are blessed.  Talk to you soon!  I love you all so very much!!
Hermana Stewart :) xoxo