Monday, December 26, 2011

Venid y Ved

Hope everyone had a great Christmas! We sure had a fun one! We didnt have power friday through sunday so that was an interesting adventure but its all good because missionaries are almost never in their house anyways! We had a stake missionary activity in a public park in Cuernavaca at the beginning of the week to spread the good news of our Saviors birth. The program was called Venid y Ved and the Cuernavaca zone of our mission sang hymns and it was a great showing. We had our branch christmas party later that night in Tepoztlán and we also had a great showing of about 80 people there in our tiny house of prayer. My companion and I enjoyed serving the food and mingling with the members and their non member friends throughout the evening. On Christmas Eve night, we went to the Relief Society Presidents house and had dinner and enjoyed watching the kids open their presents that were under the Christmas tree. The Sister even gave us wrapped presents that all ended up being chocolates. On Christmas morning we had to wake up early, get ready in the dark, and head to San Andres to teach a lesson. We taught a 21 year old that has already been to church 3 times and loves it a ton. He is a super cool and nice guy and our lesson went great. He is going to get baptized in a couple weeks!! We then welcomed all the members of San Andres to church and quickly took the combi to get back to Tepoztlán in time for our services. Not many people showed up to church. In fact, only the Branch president and the Relief Society President were there with us when we were supposed to start but after waiting a little a few more filed in. We enjoyed our Skype calls to the family, it was great to hear from them and see their faces. We found out this past weekend that they are not going to send missionaries to San Andres for at least 6 weeks more so we will continue working in the two areas this change. I would like to share today something I shared with my family yesterday that was one of the highlights of this Christmas. Our mission president here challenged us at the beginning of the week to write down in our daily agendas something specific about Jesus Christ for every hour of the day. Throughout each hour, we think of that thing to keep out bad thoughts and distractions and to also keep ourselves focused on our purpose as missionaries. This week has been such an amazing week just as I have strived to follow that counsel of our mission president. I feel like my relationship with my Savior is growing and that He is helping me in every phase of this ever-important work. I love Him and enjoy serving in this part of His vineyard. Hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas and Happy New Year!!!! Love,
Elder Stutz

Monday, December 19, 2011

Pongo mi Confianza en mi Salvador (I put my trust in my Savior)

Happy Holidays everyone!
I hope everyone is enjoying there few weeks off of school! We had a decent week this week here in Tepoztlàn and San Andres. We worked hard amidst the crazy celebrations going on in Tepoz. Right now the catholic church is doing what are called posadas. Every night they have a program in all the churches where everyone goes to get candy, light fireworks and in some cases to get super drunk. So it was tough to find success as most people are not in their houses. So we have tried to work with the members more and with the less actives a ton. But of the few lessons we were able to teach, the Spirit was so strong as we bore testimony of the Savior and His restored Gospel. We did a fun stake youth activity on Saturday morning in Cuernavaca where each missionary took 4 youth from the ward and contacted the local park. We did so for 2 hours and I let the youth take over in my group to bear testimony of the Gospel and then write down the information of the people so the missionaries could stop by another day. It was a huge success even though of the hundred references we got, none are in our 2 areas. But we were happy because we saw the light in the youths eyes light up as they were able to share their beliefs with complete strangers. They are going to become great missionaries! On Thursday we had a special Christmas mission conference with 3 zones and President Spaanaus. It was super fun!!! We started by playing white elephant with the 50 elders and sisters that were there and I got a sick hammock!!!! Tooo bad there isnt room in our little house but hopefully ill be able to use it in others areas. Then we had a talent show where we saw a ton of AWESOME talents!!! Our district did a skit of the Scrooge story Missionary style. I was Scrooge and my companion was Elder Cratchett. I was a missionary that had a terrrible first Christmas in the mission and I didn't like the mission anymore. Elder Cratchett was an enthusiatic new missionary. I brought down his spirits by telling him how bad Christmas is in the mission and how he wasn't going to talk to his family or get presents from family or friends. Elder Cratchett gets discouraged and in the night the 3 ghosts visit me and you get the picture. I turn everything around and we have a great Christmas as we work hard bringing souls unto Christ. It turned out really well and we had a lot of fun. President Spannaus then gave a talk that changed my life. He talked of all the things that people put their trust in or the things that bring people happiness. A great loving family, a successful career, lots of money, lots of assets, skills in sports, social skills. He then snapped his fingers and said all these things can end and be taken from us in an instant. The only thing that cannot be taken from us is our relationship with our Savior Jesus Christ. I want everyone to know that I am here on the mission, inviting people to come unto Him for only one reason. I am not here to impress my friends. I am not here to bring honor to my family. I am not here to learn another language. I am not here to travel the world and get to know different types of people. I am here because I love Him and I put my trust in Him. His Atonement has changed me completely and I am the person I am today because of Him. I love Him and celebrate His birth this year by inviting people to follow His perfect example.
Have a Great Christmas!!!
Elder Stutz

Monday, December 12, 2011

Doble la Cantidad de los Escogidos

Hey everyone!
Well we enjoyed another great and crazy week in Tepoztlan! There are always fiestas here but this week has been even crazier than usual due to the día de la virgen Guadalupe where all the catholics celebrate like crazy. Last night there was a party outside our house and there was a band playing and fireworks shooting all night long haha, pretty crazy stuff!!! We also felt the earthquake on Saturday night. We were in our house and we live on the second floor so we felt a pretty good shake but it only lasted a few seconds. It was my first earthquake so I was pretty pumped but a lot of the neighbors freaked out. We enjoyed a week filled with visits to members houses to strengthen their faith in Christ and increase thier desire to share the Gospel. We did several Family Nights where we played Spoons and sang Christmas songs. There arent a ton of families in this little branch so I have had the opportunity to become very close with almost all of them the last five months and I love them very much. I have a feeling it might be harder to leave Tepoz when the time comes than it was to leave home for the mission. Yesterday in church we taught the Gospel Principles class on the Holy Ghost. There were a couple of investigators in the class and a few members. It was a super powerful lesson as each member shared experiences they have had with the Holy Ghost. At the end of the lesson, a couple sisters started talking about us, the missionaries, and began to cry. She said that out of all the missionaries this branch has had that we have been the ones that have strengthened their home and brought more peace into their lives and into thier families lives. They then went on to say many kind words of how I have helped them turn bad days into great days with a smile and a few kind words. I was so touched by their comments and know that we carry the Holy Ghost with us as missionaries. Yesterday we also found out that we are now in charge of the San Andres ward!!!!! The San Andres ward is made up of 3 pueblos so its a pretty big area. So our area just doubled in size and we have another ward. Un fortunately, both areas meet at the same time for church so we wont be able to be consistent with one or the other. But we are super stoked because the bishop and mission leader there are brand new and ready to work. So we are totally pumped but we have a TON of work to do. This next week is going to be crazy busy but rewarding as well. We had a great pday today as we hiked Tepozteco with the district leaders. It was just as fun the second time and I can never get sick of the view from up there. Well now ill end with a few miracles that have happened with an investigator this past week. So her name is Brenda, about 26 years old and was super interested. We had had a lot of great lessons with her and she was just beginning to read the Book of Mormon. She is someone who has a lot of health problems and is trying to figure out how to get better. Miracle no. 1: She was super sick this past week and whenever she felt bad she would open up the Book of Mormon to a random page and begin reading. She told us that every time she opened it it talked of baptism, so she took that as her answer that she needs to get baptized. Miracle no. 2: We taught her the word of wisdom on wednesday and she has a pretty strong addiction to coffee and she knew it would be hard to overcome. But she committed to live it and we promised her blessings and that Heavenly Father would provide the way so that she could overcome this addiction and be baptized. She went to a doctor the next morning to do more tests and figure out how to get better and to her amazement, the doctor told her to stop drinking coffee and she would get better. She then went to another doctor to get a second opinion and he told her THE SAME THING. She felt truly blessed and now has a testimony of the word of wisdom as she now tries to overcome that addiction. She came to church on Sunday for the second time and is preparing to be baptized within the month. I know this work is true, it is the work of the Lord. I also know that miracles DO exist today. We just have to pray and look for them. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve my Savior full-time, on the front lines of His army for two years! The time definitely goes too fast so im trying to make the most of it!!! Tengan una buenísima semana todos!!!!
Elder Stutz

Monday, December 5, 2011

Por Sus Frutos Los Conoceréis

Happy Lunes Everyone
We enjoyed a great week this past week. It might have been one of my happiest of the mission. We started off working super hard with a ton of great appointments. At the beginning of the week, most of them fell through and we were a little bummed but didnt let it get us down. We continued to work hard and saw the blessings later. We had a few family home evenings with members this past week and they went really well. We are still trying to figure out ways to encourage the members to share the Gospel with their friends. At least they are starting to trust us more and increasing their faith in Christ. It was great to see on Sunday every adult that we had a family home evening with the past week came up to the stand and bore their testimony about missionary work and how we as the missionaries are working like crazy to bring the Gospel to the people of Tepoztlán. We finally met the husband and father of Esther and Anay (who were baptized about a month ago) and we have started teaching him. He seems pretty interested and he would be a great strength to the priesthood body here of the Tepoztlán branch so we are excited to continue to work with him. We also found a family this past week that is pretty interested. We taught the parents and the oldest daughter about the Book of Mormon. The daughter and mother seem really interested and eager to find an answer about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. I remember testifying of the Book of Mormon in that lesson boldly and with the Spirit. Never have I taught with the power and authority that was given to me in that short testimony. The Spanish came out perfectly and they understood me perfectly and realized the power and importance of this great book, which is the fruit of the prophet Joseph Smith and is evidence of the truthfulness of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints. I know I was given that power to testify because we had been praying, fasting, and studying up the words of the scriptures diligently, just as the sons of Mosiah did in the Book of Mormon. We have been searching desperately for families and we are going to continue doing that this week. We enjoyed a service project in Cuernavaca with the whole zone on saturday as we raked leaves and sweeped at the library. Afterwards, Elizabeth entered the waters of baptism. Elder Bangerter baptized her and it was a great experience. Although not very many members came and the service wasnt planned very well by us, I felt the Spirit and know she did too. Well we are pumped for another great week here in Tepoztlán! We just found out that they are closing the area next to us, San Andres, so we will likely work in both areas so lots of work to do!!! I love this work and know that we are influencing many lives and families for generations and generations. I love being a small part in the work and glory of God to save His people so that they can return to live with Him. Love you all
Elder Stutz