Monday, August 29, 2011

Vale La Pena

Hey Everyone!
Another great week here in Tepoztlán! Last monday we had a pretty crazy rain storm heading back to Tepoztlan from Cuernavaca. It took us a few hours to get back and the taxi driver was ticked that he had to drive all the way here in the storm. The whole city was pretty flooded and the streets are already super narrow so it took forever to get home. Once we got there we realized we had lost the house key so that was another adventure haha but everythings good now! We had a great stake conference yesterday in Civac. The branch took a bus there and back and my companion and I entertained them by singing hymns and primary songs in english. The bad news of the week is that we werent able to go to the wedding of Ivan and Mariana but she did get baptized after stake conference!! We had numerous challenges leading up to it with clothes, interviews, etc. but it turned out to be a very spiritual meeting! She asked me to baptize her and it was a very humbling experience. She began to cry afterwards and I know that her baptism will bless her life, marriage, and family. We have a couple more baptisms planned for this week so we are very excited right now and we are feeling the Spirit so strong so often. The title of my email this week is a saying in Spanish that directly translates to "It's worth the pain". People use it here a lot, especially when we explain to them about reading the book of mormon and the commandments and then explaining the specific blessings or answers they can recieve from doing those things. I've thought about that phrase a lot this week as we have worked so hard and have started to see the blessings from it, including the baptism of Mariana. This principle of its worth the pain, or sacrifice, can be applied in our lives with daily scripture study and prayer, spending more time with family, etc. It also applies in the life of a missionary because I find myself focusing my thoughts and actions on others the majority of the time. And why do we do this? Because the Savior has set the example. He always thought of others, not Himself. Everything He did was for the benefit of others. And this phrase of vale la pena applies mostly to the Atonement. What Jesus Christ did for us is amazing and cant be explained in words. But I know we are different people because of the act He did that was well worth the pain. We can use this sacrifice in our lives every day as we repent, are baptized, and endure to the end with a steadfastness in Christ. It doesn't matter that we are imperfect today, it matters that we are better tomorrow. How filled with gratitude I am for my Saviors sacrifice because I have countless weaknesses, especially as a missionary. But with His help everyday I am able to do all things according to His will. This is His work and I am priviledged to be apart of it. Love you all and think of you often. Take care and have a great week!
Elder Stutz

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

El Libro de Mormon: La Manera Que Podemos Saber La Verdad

Hey everyone, hope everyone is excited for school!!!! My companion and I had quite a great week this week, I want to fill you in on some of our investigators so here goes. We are going to have the baptism of Mariana this next Sunday!! Ivan and Mariana are going to get married on Saturday in Guerrero. Elder Oswald and I get to go with them and be witnesses!! Im pretty stoked! And then her baptism the following day. We are very excited for this great weekend that will change their lives for the better! Also we met with a 20 year old guy who we met last week. He went to church and loved it the past two weeks. Before we started the lesson with him he said, ´Whats that book that you guys study, we read some of it in church, for some reason I know its true´´ It was incredible!! We were taken back but asked him to pray about it to know if it is true with us and when he did the Spirit testified to us that The Book of Mormon is true. It was quite the experience I will never forget. He is going to be baptized on September 3rd and we are going to meet the rest of his family this week because they want to know that it is true as well. We have great news about *. After over a year going to church every week and listening to the missionaries regularly, he is going to be baptized! He has worked so hard to get to this point and he is ready and very excited! I cant explain the kind of love and respect I have for him, I feel like I have felt somewhat of what God feels for him, pure love. This past week Elder Oswald and I looked for different ways we could share the Gospel with people in the street. We always contact on the buses and combis but this week we also did something different. Every day we spent an hour in the Zócalo, town square, contacting the people sitting down there. We would split up and let the Spirit guide us to those who are ready to hear the Gospel. It was a little scary at first without my companion because my Spanish still is not so hot but I had a pretty incredible experience with one of the contacts. I met a 16 year old named Christopher who was really nice and seemed pretty interested in the message. We talked about the Book of Mormon a little bit and I asked him to pray right there in the Zócalo. He did so willing and despite all the noise around us, the Spirit was so strong. When he asked Heavenly Father if the Book of Mormon is true and if the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the only true church of Jesus Christ on the Earth, I recieved another witness that it is true and so did he. After sitting there silently for a few minutes with his eyes closed he said to me, ´´I know that this is true´´ A very simple phrase but one that will change his life and has impacted mine. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. If anyone has doubts or questions about it or about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can go right to the source, The Book of Mormon. Anyone, in any country, rich or poor, man or woman, any race, whatever background of life can ask our Heavenly Father sincerely if the Book of Mormon is true. Every person that asks sincerely WILL recieve an answer through their feelings, or in other words, through the Holy Ghost. This is Gods work on the Earth and I am humbled to be apart of it. Share it with your friends, you nor they will ever regret it. Love you all, stay strong. Remember we can find comfort, direction, and revelation for the scriptures. Search them and you will find specific answers to problems in your life that you have right at this moment.
-Elder Stutz

Monday, August 15, 2011

Como Podemos Aumentar Nuestra Espiritualidad y Fe

Hey Guys!
Elder Oswald and I had a very uplifting week this week. It started off pretty rough with Eric telling us that he no longer wants to be baptized. This shocked us and we have had a difficult time finding him since. We know that Satan is working hard on him, especially now because he had made the committment to be baptized. And then Tuesday and Wednesday all of our appointments feel through. We were pretty down but the Lord gave us hope and inspiration in our zone conference on Thursday. President Spannaus spoke to us for a few hours about how to increase our spirituality and faith I would like to share with all of you briefly the seven things that are key in this regard: 1. Obedience 2. Prayer 3. Reading the Scriptures 4. Fasting 5. Pondering 6. Service 7. Charity (Pure love of Christ)
With these seven things we can progress everyday and become more like Christ. After this conference, Elder Oswald and I were filled with new faith and worked even harder to finish the week. I would like to tell you about one investigator today who we began teaching last week. Her name is Mariana and she is 15 years old. She is dating a young man in the branch who is just starting to become active again. Mariana has wanted to be baptized for a few years but her parents will not allow it. I do not want to go into detail but I will say that these two are going through a really hard time right now together, they have a lot of trials to overcome. But they have the maturity of experienced adults and they are enduring through their trials with great faith. On Saturday, Mariana asked me to give her a blessing, it would be my first one in Spanish. The Lord blessed me with the gift of tongues to give Mariana a blessing from her Heavenly Father. It was a humbling experience which stregthened my testimony of the love Heavenly Father has for all of His children, individually. Last night, we had a Fireside for our stake with President Spannaus. So we were exteremely lucky to hear from him again and Lalo actually came with us! It was amazing to hear Presidents talk and how it related exactly to Lalos situation. After that expreience we have faith that Lalo will finally be baptized. He has a lot to overcome still but the Lord will help him through our support and his faith. We are also working with a few investigators that could be baptized by the end of the month. I wish I had more time to talk about them but we have to get going to Cuernavaca!! I will certainly have updates next week. Have a great week everyone! Love you all! Dont get too excited for school to start up again!

Con Mucho Amor,
Elder Stutz

Monday, August 8, 2011

Un Milagro Cada Día (A miracle every day)

Hey Guys!
We had another great week in Tepoztlan! I can't believe it has already been a month since I arrived. The spanish is coming along slowly but surely. I can speak it pretty well but my challenge is understanding the natives sometimes. But it improves everyday. One funny thing that happened yesterday was that the Secretary of our branch came up to me and asked if I was related to John Tanner. I was confused how he could know this and asked how he knew. He said he had just watched the movie of him and saw that my first name is Tanner on the Record of Sayuris baptism. It was quite the coincidence but way awesome.
We climbed Tepozteco this morning! It is the pyramid in our area and our whole zone came and hiked it with us. Wow it was so beautiful and amazing to look out over our area and think of all the people out there that need the Gospel. Our zone and district leaders are so great and we have set some very high goals for this month. They are really inspiring us to do the great things that the Lord expects us to do. In the past, this zone has really struggled. But things are picking up and baptisms are ocurring in every area. We are working hard right now and we do so because we want to baptize because we love the Lord!
I had the opportunity to go with Elder Cevallos on exchanges in San Andres this week. He is from Ecuador and knows zero English because he also just got here. It was tough to communicate with him but we made it work and are good friends now. We spent most of our day however running around his area figuring out how we were going to fill the font for Sayuris baptism. We started by transfering water with buckets from underground near the church. We did this most the day and then finally someone came to fix the pump so everything ended up working out. We had a great baptismal service for Sayuri Sandoval. She was baptized on Friday in San Andres (because they have a baptismal font). She asked me to baptize her which shocked me a little because I hadn't talked too much in our lessons. I was excited though and it was a very spiritual experience to baptize her a see the joy and blessings that she has recieved from her baptism and from the Holy Ghost that she recieved yesterday in Church. The best part about this baptism is that her non member father now wants to baptized. The reason he wants to is because of a very spiritual experience we had with him after the baptism. On Saturday we were talking with him about baptism and he was joking that after meeting with the missionaries for 20 years he thinks he can wait longer to get baptized. We were laughing with him but also trying to help him see the need to be baptized now. We finally decided that the only thing we could do was pray about a specific day. So we prayed about the 13th of August and as he prayed the Spirit struck me very strong. After the prayer we sat there for a few minutes in silence. Finally Erik said I feel something very powerful in my heart, what is that? We gladly answered him that it was the Holy Ghost bearing a witness to him that he needs to be baptized on that day. So we have another baptism this week! We are so excited for him and for all the other people that we are currently helping come unto Christ. It is a joy to do this work and to see so many blessings and miracles each day. Look for the miracles! Much love,
Elder Stutz

Monday, August 1, 2011

Elder Stutz in Tepoztlan, Mexico

If I didn't know better, I would think Tanner is enjoying a relaxing vacation in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Instead, he is working hard and doing his favorite thing, sharing the gospel in one of the most beautiful places in the world!!!!

It is nice to see him doing his own cooking!

Compartiendo el Evangelio por los Tacos

Hey Guys!!
Hope everyone had a great week like I did! It went by very fast though. We will start with the story of my getting bit by a dog. I got bit by a dog!!! I know this sounds like it will be a great story but the truth is we were walking up a hill and I felt a pinch on my ankle. This little puppy had a hold of my foot and I kicked him off. My companion was jealous that I can now say that a dog bit me but that there was no pain involved. There are a ton of stray dogs here so we always have to be a little careful when walking the streets. But I guess we need to keep a close eye on those puppies. Elder Oswald and I had a tough week this week with so many appointments falling through. We walked lot, especially because we went to some of the little towns outside of Tepoztlan that are in our area. We worked hard with little success. But our blessings came on Sunday when we had several investigators show up at church. Almost half the congregation were not members! haha And we also committed a 15 year old girl named Sayuri to be baptized this week! Her mom and brother are inactive members of the branch. She had definitely been prepared by the Lord because we only taught her a few times and she was ready. She is getting baptized this Friday and will be confirmed in church on Sunday. Elder Oswald and I are ecstatic! We have a great week lined up not only with her, but we are teaching several individuals and families that are ready to hear the Good News! We have a great week and month ahead of us, if we continue to work hard. I have been studying a lot about charity recently. Charity is definitely one of the most important qualities that a missionary needs to always be developing. Charity is a higher, deeper, and stronger love than any other. Charity is thinking about others and putting yourself and your needs aside. I am trying to develop this Christ-like attribute everyday as I try to talk to everyone about the Gospel. I think a good measure of charity is if we are anxiously engaged in missionary or temple work because it shows that we desire the salvation of others, just like the sons of Mosiah in the Book of Mormon. Alright I will end with a story now which was one of our many miracles of the week. At district meeting last week, the zone leaders went around and prayed with each companionship of the zone and for their specific investigators. Elder Zozoya prayed with us and said in his prayer that we would find someone to share the Gospel with through someone buying us a taco. When we returned to Tepoztlan late that night, my companion and I decided to exercise our faith in our zone leader and his prayer and go to the Taqueria. We did so and ordered a few tacos (spent all of our money). We then waited there for our miracle. After refusing to buy more tacos or leave the Taqueria because they wanted to close (for about an hour), the owner brought out a few tacos and said that they were on the house. We found out this man is the brother of the 2nd counselor in the branch presidency. He doesnt like the Church at all but agreed to set a time to meet with us. We are meeting with him this week so we will see how it goes. Elder Oswald and I have set a goal to write down a milagro (miracle) every night when we write in our journals that happened that day. I encourage everyone to do this because it has surprised me how much I can learn and still be happy after a day of exhaustion and little success. There are miracles everywhere if we look for them. I know this Gospel is true and I am witnessing It change lives everyday, what a blessing! Love and miss you all so much! Recognize, record, and remember the miracles!!!
Con Amor,
-Elder Stutz
The following are answers to questions Mark asked in his last email....


- What is your most favorite main dish? I love the meat called Cecina in my tacos, we have had it a few times at members houses

- What is your most favorite snack? Emperadores, a big pack of chocolate cookies that we sometimes eat for breakfast haha

- What is your most favorite candy? Havent really had any candy yet, I had delicious caramel tasting thing the other day that apparently comes from a goat, no sé

- Do you find many of the same foods there as you would at home? I think the only things I have eaten or drinken that I had had before was Coke haha

- What do you usually eat for breakfast? Pan dulce (sweet bread) or Emperadores haha

- What do you usually eat for lunch? We only eat one meal a day and its usually with a member so ive learned to really skarf it down at that meal so im not hungry later

- What do you usually eat for dinner? no dinner, see above. We usually eat that meal around 3

- Have you eaten any bizarre foods yet? Not really, Tepoztlan is pretty clean so we havent had anything too crazy. We have had chicharon a few times which is basically just pig skin

- What about drinking??? Do you drink bottled water? Sodas? Special fruit drinks? Usually different juice drinks cause they are way good here, occassionally soda at members houses


- Do you have a cell phone? Yes but we cant use it for the members, only to our zone and district leaders

- Do you have a home phone? No

- How do you communicate to your district or zone leaders? Cell phone

- How do you communicate with the ward members and investigators? At first, we tried the public phones but they are horrible and just take our money so we usually have to walk to their house if we want to talk.