Monday, April 16, 2012

Ve, Tu Fe Te Ha Salvado

Hey everyone!!
Hope everyone enjoyed their week! We are hanging in here with the summer heat of Iguala. I'll start with some great news we recieved this past week. Brother David Ruiz, he is the young man that would go with us to appointments and that would chill with us on pdays, finally got his mission call and he is headed to Cali, Columbia mission. He is super stoked an we are super proud of him. He reminds me a lot of myself before the mission when I always wanted to go with the elders to their lessons. If you guys remember a couple weeks back Kareli got baptized and it reactivated her family in the church. Her brother just turned 12 and despite some mental illnesses he has, he was able to recieve the Aaronic priesthood on Sunday and passed the sacrament! He did a great job and he looked so happy while doing it. We actually went to Karelis house during the week to give her pictures from her baptism. She made a comment that really moved me. She looked at the photo and said, 'wow, you guys are glowing with light in this picture. I am going to draw some wings on you guys because you are our family´s angels.' We laughed about it but it really made me feel good inside to know that we are helping families come closer to Christ, be more united, and be happier for all eternity. We continue to work a ton with the members here in the ward. We are trying to do multiple family home evenings every day so we can meet the members friends and help them help their friends come unto Christ. We know that by doing this, more people will be able to be baptized and those people will have a better chance to stay active because they will already have great friends in the church. We worked a lot with a couple this past week that is going to get married this week and the wife will get baptized. We have helped them developed faith in Jesus Christ to make the decision. They had a ton of doubts at first but then after finally praying together, they were able to get an answer that it is the right decision. I know that the majority of people will always have doubts when it comes to big and righteous choices. Many people listen to those voices of the world and then think its impossible to do what is right in this moment. But those who have faith in Christ, do things immediately. They act on their faith and trust in the Lord. That is the difference between the righteous and the wicked in these days, faith. We can either wait to do what is right (procrastination) or we can make a decision and act, knowing that the Lord will provide the way. Those that act with faith, will be much happier than those that do not. I have seen it countless times here in Mexico and know it is true. Hope everyone has a great week! Destroy all your doubts with faith!!!!!!
Elder Stutz

Monday, April 9, 2012

No Está Aquí, Sino Que Ha Resucitado

Hey Guys
Happy Easter yesterday! Hope everyone is doing good and enjoyed spring break! We had quite a busy week last week. We continue to work a lot with the less actives. We had a great experience with a return missionary that went through a lot of trials after the mission. We had a great lesson with him on repentance and forgiveness and he cried uncontrolably as we testified of the healing power of the Atonement. He is one of my best friends in Mexico already and he will be back to church in no time. Most of our efforts were focused on our baptisms and confirmations. On Saturday, we had the baptism of Sara and also another baptism of a 12 year old girl named Itzani. Her family is an inactive family that stopped going to church when her single mother got really sick. They never came back in those 6 years but when we found them this week, they felt the need to return. We worked with them all week to prepare Itzani for baptism on Saturday and she chose to do so with so much faith. Sara also showed great faith throughout the week. She is very smart so she always had a lot of really good doubts when we were teaching her. She would always express the doubts to us and act really unsure about everything but then, suddenly, she would remember her faith in Jesus Christ and follow what her heart was feeling. This actually happened minutes before her baptism. Her best member friend, who lives in another ward, actually told her the night before not to get baptized if she had doubts. So she wasnt planning on doing it and her freind figured she wouldnt do it. But a really awesome miracle happened when the time of her baptism arrived. She showed up at the church in her white clothes. She didnt feel good at all and started to express her doubts to us again. After she did so, we asked her 'So if you dont think you are ready to be baptized, why did you show up in all white clothes?' With that question she began to cry a little and we asked her what her heart felt about her decision to be baptized. With tears in her eyes she told us that her heart felt like she needed to be baptized and that she was going to it. We were so excited! We slapped some high fives then said a prayer and started the service. In that service, we also had 3 kids from the other ward get baptized. So it was a service of 5 people getting baptized and a lot of people went. It was a very happy occasion, especially with the kids that had beaming smiles, so excited to get baptized. I was so happy during the service and afterward when ate some cake to celebrate. Even after we had left to continue working I continued to feel a strong burning in my heart after seeing all those people get baptized. I know it was the Spirit testifying to me that those people made the right decision and that I too made the right decision to serve a mission and help others come unto Christ. Sunday was a great day as well as we witnessed the confirmations of Sara, Itzani, and Kareli (that got baptized last week).
The title of my email this week focuses in on the resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ. That so simple phrase has changed many lives that have followed the example of Jesus Christ. That phrase tells us that Christ has power over death, both spiritual and physical. That phrase reminds us that He has made a promise with us that if we follow His teachings, we too will be able to live forever in His presence with our families. That phrase teaches us that all things are possible when we have faith in Him and act on that faith. As one of His representatives, I testify that He lives. I testify that His church along with its saving ordinances are on the earth today. I testify that each person that reads this email can feel of the love the Savior has for each one of you personally and that He can heal you and fix the negative things in your life through living His Gospel. I know these things for myself because I have lived it. I have prayed to know that they are true. I have recieved answers from those prayers. I have also felt the relieving feeling that comes from being baptized and living a life of obedience, which makes us happier. I love each one of you and appreciate you for your thoughts, letters, and prayers.
Con Mucho Amor
Elder Stutz

Monday, April 2, 2012

¿Qué Piensa Cristo de mi?

Hey Guys!!!
WOW!! Crazy, crazy week! If you thought getting special changes twice was impossible, you were wrong. I just found out that President has a special assignment for me. Apparently there is an island off the coast of Acapulco that has very few people on it. The church isnt there yet but me and another elder (not sure who yet) are going to start preaching there and start up a branch!! I leave tomorrow and have no idea what to think. I am going to miss this area so much and I am super nervous for this assignment!!
Alright, the april fools joke is over. We had a pretty great week this week! We are still teaching this lady named Sara and she is progressing well. She told us during the week that when she went to church she was feeling super stressed because of her financial situaion and other things. she said she was not enjoying church at all and had a huge headache due to these stresses. But she said that when they started passing around the sacrament that she felt a small feeling of peace and that when she took the bread, her headache left and she felt the Spirit. She also went to conference this weekend and is getting ready to be baptized this saturday. She is such a nice lady and will be a great member of the church! We also had a batism this week!! Very unexpected but miracles happen. We visited a less-active family on Thursday. We got to know them and realized that their 9 year old daughter hadnt gotten baptized. So we taught her and she accepted to be baptized. We set up the baptism for Saturday and planned everything real fast. The real miracle was that her baptism has brought her family back together. The parents had been separated for awhile and had a rough relationship between them two. The dad is in the other ward and is an active member. We set it up so that he did the baptism and at the beginning of the service, tension seemed pretty high between the two. They hadnt talked in months but there we were, having the baptismal service. By the end, the family was leaving the chapel while the parents shared a few words. The next day, we saw the family sitting all together, watching general conference and learning from so many talks about the family. We are going to continue to work with the family so they can get back together and enjoy the blessings of an eternal family. I LOVED general conference. More than anything, it strengthened my faith and reminded me of my duties and responsibilities as a missionary. I felt like most of the talks were about repentance and the family. I loved the question that Elder Andersen brought up in his talk: What does Christ think of me? We can all ask ourselves that question so that we can find the straight and narrow path again that leads to Him. I really enjoy helping people find that path. To be honest, most people are not willing to make the sacrifice to find that path. But as we read in the hymn, Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven. I am grateful for the opportunity to sacrifice 2 years of my life so that others can make sacrifices as well to the Lord and recieve the promised blessings. Love you all and HAPPY APRIL FOOLS!!!!!
Elder Stutz

La Vida Eterna: Un Esfuerzo Diario

Hey Guys!
Well I will start off with the news everyone supposedly is waiting for. We did have a pretty cool earthquake on Tuesday morning. We were actually in a district meeting in the church with six other elders and Elder Russell was teaching us. He is a very funny and intense teacher so we didnt get too surprised when the ground started shaking haha. We booked it out of the church and felt like we were surfing on the tectonic plates because instead of oving up and down it seemed to move side to side. So it wasnt too bad, actually kind of fun! I didnt see any damage anywhere, expect for our house!!! In our house we already had a cracked window and about two days after the earthquake, the window fell down and shattered! Luckiloy nobody was downstairs because we live on the second floor. We think it came loose during the earthquake and then fell later. But ya, everyone is fine! Supposedly we havehad a ton of small earthquakes since but we havent felt any of them. We had a pretty crazy week as far as the work goes. We were preparing a family to get baptized all week. We also used about two full days planning a wedding for the parents because they werent married. (I am never going to work for a wedding business or anything related after that experience) Unfortunately, something came up with the law and long story short, they were not able to get married nor baptized. The two teenagers were ready as well to get baptized but chose to wait until their parents get baptized for them to get baptized as well. The bad news is that the proccess will take 6 months at least and it costs a lot of money (and this family has nothing). But I know that someday they will get the opportunity to be baptized because they are ready to do it and Heavenly Father gives everyone a chance to accept the Gospel, whether in this life or the next. We are preparing a few people right now to get baptized in April so we are excited about that. I am also excited to recieve some modern day scripture this weekend from our beloved prophet and apostles in General Conference. I would like to share something that I have learned throughout the mission through the scriptures, prayers, leaders, and other experiences. As missionaries, we use goals a lot. We have monthly, weekly, and daily goals. When we make these goals, we promise to Heavenly Father that we will do all we can and focus completely on our goals in order to achieve them. Sometimes, the monthly goals look hard to complete. Sometimes we lack faith or action. I have learned that when we do our very best and focus on the DAILY goals, the goals are met. Heavenly Father sees our DAILY efforts and rewards us within weekly and monthly results. In this life we have a purpose (or a goal). That purpose is to return back to our Heavenly Father to live in perfect glory and majesty forever with Him and with our families, or in other words, eternal life. How is eternal life achieved? What can we do to secure that amazing gift for us and our families? I have come to realize that eternal life is something we gain on a daily basis, decision by decision. As our investigaters are preparing to be baptized (the first step to achieve eternal life), they need to read the scriptures and pray daily. They also need to go to church every Sunday. By doing those things, a change of heart occurs within them and that desire to follow Jesus Christ grows and grows. That journey to eternal life continues after baptism and we must continue on that path to make it to the presence of our Father. As I have seen missionaries come and go, I realize that many of them quit doing the daily things before or after they leave the mission. I know that if we are to achieve eternal life, we must continue reading the scriptures and praying with faith everyday so that we can grow and progress; so that that change of heart can continue to occur in our hearts. When suddenly, one day, we look back at all we have done and more importantly, what we have BECOME. I feel my heart changing on a daily basis and I continue to feel a strong desire to obey the commandments and keep the covenants I have made with Heavenly Father so that I can arrive at that day sometime in the future. Remember, the choice of eternal life is a daily one, and if we make that choice everyday, we will be just fine! Love you all lots!!!!
Elder Stutz