Thursday, June 30, 2011

Llegar a Ser un Misionero "Predicad Mi Evangelio"

Hola Hola!!
How is everyone? Hope everyone is enjoying their summer and vacations! It has been fun this past week to see Elder Holmes multiple times throughout the day because we are on the same daily schedule. We have enjoyed our time on the bball court, it has brought back some great memories of good old church ball! Things are well as always here at the MTC and things have definitely slowed down since the Mission President Seminar we had last week. Last Thursday, we were priveleged to hear from Elder Bednar, a modern-day apostle of Jesus Christ. With him were 6 other apostles, namely Elder Anderson, Nelson, Scott, Holland, Oaks, and Ballard. The Spirit was so strong just simply being in the presence of these servants of the Lord and the reverence was amazing among the missionaries. Elder Bednar spoke to us about "Becoming Preach My Gospel Missionaries" (Llegar a ser un misionero predicad mi evangelio). He addressed 5 points that missionaries should: 1. Understand that they serve and represent Jesus Christ 2. Are worthy 3. Treasure up words of eternal life 4. Understand that the Holy Ghost is the Ultimate Teacher 5. Teaching is more important than just talking or telling. These points are simple, but extremely important. In his conclusion, Elder Bednar got emotional and then declared in a soft but powerful voice, "You can do this." We were all edified and strengthened by this experience to learn with apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ. This week we recieved a new teacher who replaced our teacher that we grew really fond of. We were disappointed at first but when we began learning from this teacher (who is actually 2 weeks off the mission), we realized that we were supposed to learn from him these last two weeks of our MTC experience. He immediately started helping us improve our teaching skills and our abilities to love those people we teach. I also learned a lot about obedience while thinking of our Savior this week. Jesus Christ never had a personal agenda, He solely did the will of the Father, with 100% obedience. We can learn a great lesson from this example that as we are 100% obedient as missionaries to the mission rules and as God's children being 100% obedient to His commandments, we will have the Spirit to be with us in order to help others come unto Christ and look toward His perfect example as well. I also realized that "a missionary is one who leaves his family for a short time so that many other families can be together for eternity." This quote really hit home for me as I once again realized the importance of this calling to be a missionary and representative of Jesus Christ. We recieved our travel plans today and I will officially be leaving the MTC heading for Mexico on July 11th! This day is coming up very quickly and I am very excited to begin finding those who are searching for truth. It will be difficult, especially at first in my broken Spanish, but I know there are so many of you supporting me and praying for me. The Lord will strengthen me in any trial or challenge that I will have, what a comforting thought! I miss you all, summer is flying by so have some fun while it lasts!!! Les Quiero Mucho!
-Elder Stutz

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Andad Conmigo

Hola a Todos!!
How is everyone doing? How is everyones summer? I bet the summer has been flying by just like my time in the MTC is flying by. We are in the middle of an exciting week here at the MTC. 128 new mission presidents are being trained these next few days and there are general authorities everywhere, in fact, I just walked by Elder Oaks. We also got 600 new missionaries on wednesday so it is a packed campus these days. I just saw Elder Scott Holmes and Elder Issac Stevens, they are doing just fantastic and they both have great companions. Tomorrow we are having a special devotional with the general authorities so we will likely hear from the first presidency and probably some of the apostles. Excitement is definitely in the air. I just love hearing our Church leaders bear witness of Jesus Christ and His Church here on the earth. This past week has been another great week full of learning. We continue to progress with the language and we enjoy speaking it over English most of the time. We are getting exteremly anxious to get out into the mission field and declare our testimonies in the spanish language. We only have 2 and a half weeks to go! The challenge is to stay focused these last couple weeks and continue to work harder everyday, but we are a determined district so I think we can do it. The gym is closed the next few weeks which means no basketball, que triste! In choir this week, we sang "Come Thou Font". What a great song! The Spirit was so strong as we testified of the Savior. We learned a lot about promptings of the Spirit this week as a district. How can you tell if the Holy Ghost is prompting you or if it is one of your own thoughts? If you are being obedient, and the thought or idea is good, you can be 100% confident that it is of God. Most times, you won't even recognize you are being prompted but as we do good things throughout the day, we can know we are following the Spirit. We should not just sit and wait for a miraculous manifestation from heaven, rather, we should GO and DO and the Lord will guide our footsteps. I am grateful for the Gift of the Holy Ghost, especially in His role to sanctify us so that we might act on impressions or ideas and do many good and righteous things by our own free will. As a missionary, I know that if I am constantly working hard, I will be guided to those souls searching for peace and happiness. Our devotional this week, given by a member of the Seventy, was about the Savior's invitation to "Walk with Me" ("Andad Conmigo"). We were reminded of the promise we have been given that if we work hard as missionaries and strive to do our best, we will have another Companion right there by our side to pick us up when we are weak and assist us to bold testify of the truthfulness of this work. I am a witness that Jesus is the Christ. I wear His sacred name on my chest and try to represent Him as best I can. He has felt the weight of our pains, weaknesses, and sins. He loves us and promises to walk with us as we do our part by working as hard as we can. We always come up short, but He makes up all the rest. This Gospel is true. Christ's Church functions on the earth today by a divinely-inspired prophet, Thomas S. Monson. I have a testimony that this man is a prophet of God and if we heed his teachings, we can be happy in this life and the life to come. What a blessing it is to declare this glad message all day, everyday. I am so lucky to be here. I would love to hear from all of you, don't hesitate to write. Love and miss you all! Have a great week!
-Elder Stutz

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Somos Hijos de Nuestro Padre Celestial

Hola Todos!

Hope everyone had a great week! I enjoyed another nice week here at the MTC with a lot of studying and learning. It was fun to see Elder Scott Sonne arrive yesterday and I look forward to seeing many other friends come in next week. I have to admit, it is tough to be here and see a lot of the advanced speakers come and then leave to their missions. With every learning or spiritual experience I have here, I want to share this wonderful message that much more. I am getting very excited for Mexico! This week we had another Elder join our district because he is staying here an extra 2 weeks while he is doin therapy for a knee injury, Elder Maddox. He has moved in with my companions and I but they didn't break up our trio. The president thought it would be a mistake to break us up so I took that as a compliment. We continue to become better friends everyday. All 3 of us are very different but we are starting to understand each other better and learn what we can do to give service to one another. I continue to work hard on the spanish and it makes more sense everyday. I continue to love reading El Libro de Mormon and singing the Himnos en español. Elder Sawyer and I joined the MTC choir this past week and on Tuesday we sang "Jesus Once of Humble Birth". Neither of us are great singers but we are participating because we felt the spirit so strong and it was a huge testimony builder for me of my Savior, Jesus Christ. I have thought about my Savior often this past week and how I can have a better relationship with Him. Our devotional this week was given by President Wixom, the Primary President of the Church. She talked about the name that we wear on our chests everyday, not Elder so-and-so, but Jesus Christ. What an honor we have to bear that holy name. We represent Jesus Christ and we are expected to act as such. I am so grateful for this unique opportunity in my life to wear that name everyday, to strive to be more like Jesus Christ and help others come unto Him by helping them to recieve His restored Gospel. I testify that He is our Savior and that He indeed has felt all the pains, sufferings, depression, everything that we have ever gone through. What a wonderful knowledge we have of an Older Brother that can relate to us and comfort us in all things. He is my best friend, mi mejor amigo. He has comforted and helped me numerous times in my life and especially now when I occassionally need a lift of spirits. I cannot wait to witness how this knowledge will change the lives of many in Mexico; I look forward to seeing that miracle occur. This week I am especialy grateful for fathers. My own father has been my "go-to" example for my whole life and I love him so much. I am grateful to all those men out there that have been father figures at different points in my life- bishops, teachers, friends, etc. I am especially grateful for a Father in Heaven, for the knowledge I have that we are all sons and daughters of a loving Father who knows and loves us each personally. Somos hijos de nuestro Padre Celestial (we are children of our Heavenly Father), what a great knowledge of comfort. If we never forget who we are, we will never fall. We will always have the courage and faith to press on in righteousness. I love my Father in Heaven and I know He has prepared a plan for us to come to this earth to gain experience and knowledge, so we could become more like Him and experience the same eternal joy that He feels. I hope everyone has a great Father's Day! Much love and I miss you all!

-Elder Stutz

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Vi una Columna de Luz

Hola mi familia y amigos!

We had a great week at the MTC! The work certainly gets better every semana. All is well with me and my district. I love seeing the new elders that come in, especially those who I knew before. Many friends from college are starting to come in so that is very exciting. Tuesday was easily our best day of this past week. We are doing this activity in our class where our two teachers pretend to be their "pre-converted" selfs and we teach them as investigators. We do this every other day. It has been the best practice for us in teaching with unity and meeting investigators needs. One of our teachers is an atheist, so she does not have much faith in anything at this point. We brought in Elder Church, an elder in our zone, on tuesday to talk to her because he was an atheist just a year and a half ago before coming on the mission. His testimony was unshakeable and he has recieved a witness, like I also have, that we are God's spirit children and the He loves all of us, personally. He also bore testimony of the power of prayer and the Holy Ghost. The spirit was so strong and it felt as if we were teaching a real discussion. This incredible experience made me even more excited to head to Mexico in a month. That night, we went to a devotional given by Elder Kikuchi. The talk he gave that night I will never forget. He talked about interesting subjects. For example, he talked about how we all need to arise a little earlier in the mornings, get all ready for the day, and then offer up thoughts, questions, thanks, and desires to God (our own personal Sacred Grove). He instructed us to continue to kneel after closing our prayers, in order to recieve the revelation we need. I have experienced the blessings from this instruction and it will be so helpful and crucial to me once I get into the mission field. He also talked about the sacred nature of the First Vision. He said it is the single most important item we teach as missionaries. When Joseph Smith saw a pillar of light, (vi una columna de luz) God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Him and they restored Christ's Gospel here on the earth. I know that to be true with every fiber of my being and I, like Joseph himself, cannot deny that I know it. The Holy Ghost has borne witness to my heart of this truth and it blesses my life everyday, to know that there is a living prophet on the earth and that I can overcome my sins and weaknesses through the Infinite Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ. In his talk, Elder Kukuchi made hundreds of grammatical errors because he does not speak english all that well. But when I heard this man bear testimony, my heart caught fire and I felt the Spirit so strong. From this, I learned that my terrible, broken Spanish does not matter. What does matter is that I bear testimony with the Spirit because the language of the Holy Ghost can reach all people, nations, kindreds, and tongues. As you can see, we have so much to be grateful for here at the MTC. Our district rejoices together often over all the wonderful things we learn on an everyday basis. Hope all is well in the lives of my loved ones. I would love to hear from all of you. Take care this next week! Love you all!

-Elder Stutz

You guys should watch the Thomas S Monson biography video on this week for FHE. It was one of the most inspirational movies I have ever seen. His life is full of service and he is a great example to me of a life that I want to live, one of complete selflessness and service. Te amo mucho!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Seguimos Jesucristo

We had quite an eventful week here at the MTC. Elder Messner broke his nose the other day in gym (we probably get a little to competitive in bball) so he got surgery locally yesterday. He is on the mend and should be back to work in a couple days. He is sportin' a real nice nose splint. Also last week, I went to the Mexican Consulate in Salt Lake. We just got our picture taken and signed some documents. So my visa is now ready to go. I also met about 12 elders that will be going to my same mission the same day as me. I haven't seen them before because they are in the beginning language class. They are a great group of elders and I got to know a couple of them pretty well. I am excited to get to know them even better when we head to Cuernavaca together in about a month. Yesterday, I ran into Elder Gavin Salisbury on our classroom floor. It is his first week here and his class is just a few doors down from ours. The work is still going well, we continue to learn more everyday. This past week, my companions and I taught el plan de salvación in our mock teaching. We are improving with our spanish and teaching with unity. The classes here are very unique. Our teachers help guide us, but as a district we plan what we will do for every minute of class time. As a district, we are focusing most our our time on teaching and we are improving everyday. As missionaries, we follow Jesus Christ (Seguimos Jesucristo). We help others come unto Christ by helping them recieve His restored Gospel here on earth. We experience joy when we can bear a personal testimony of the truthfulness of this beautiful message. When asked about our beliefs from family, friends, and even complete strangers, we can simply share with them 4 words: We follow Jesus Christ. Then share with them how the restored Gospel has blessed our lives personally. What a great gift we have, and what a blessing to be able to share it with others. Love you all and thank you for your support and sweet letters.
-Elder Stutz