Thursday, May 23, 2013

Los Mejores Dos Años


Hey guys sorry for the delay on the email this week, we have been extremely busy this past week.  We finished up our zone conferences last week.  The last one in Cuautla definitely turned out to be the best.  Brother Duque works in Cuautla every Saturday and we realized that the zone conference was going to fall on a Saturday.  So we asked him if he would be willing to go to the church after work to share his testimony at the end of the conference.  He did so and it was such a powerful testimony.  He exhorted all the missionaries to go out and find the families that have been prepared by the Lord to receive the Gospel.  He talked about all the blessings that he and his family have received.  We believe that the Spirit really touched the hearts of the elders and we know that they will improve in their area with a focus on families.  Last Thursday, Elder Azueta and I had the opportunity to go the temple with the Duque family to do baptisms for the dead.  What a special day!  It is hard for me to describe the happiness and the Spirit we felt.  We enjoyed the travels there and back as we laughed, talked, told stories, and even cried.  When we got to the temple, the workers told us that the workers in the baptistery did not show up and that we would not be able to do baptisms that day.  We explained that we had come from Cuernavaca and that these recent converts were really excited to do baptisms.  The lady then told us that if we could find two Melquisedec priesthood holders that would be willing to help us out, we could do the baptisms.  Our prayer was answered as we exited the temple and saw two brothers leaving the temple after doing a session.  They were hesitant about helping us but finally said yes.  We entered into the baptistery with José Felipe and Guillermina.  Their faces lit up as they entered and felt the sweet spirit there.  After not having been in about two years, I had forgotten the Spirit felt in the house of the Lord.  I enjoyed the experience so much and I know that the Duque family did as well.  As we left, Karla was saying that she did not expect it to be so marvelous.  Estefania told us that after visiting the temple, she has even more desires to be a missionary once she is 19 years old.  The whole family was talking about their plans to return frequently in the next year before they return to be sealed as a family for time and all eternity.  This past Monday, we went to Acapulco to prepare everything for our mission conference with Elder Hallstrom.  Everything turned out great!  The conference was so spiritual uplifting.  Elder Hallstrom spoke and taught simply and directly.  He talked about the real meaning of reverence in his talk.  He taught that reverence is not being quiet or silent during a church meeting.  Reverence is to have a love and a respect towards Deity.  A reverent life consists of a vision of a hopeful future, covenants that we make with God, and self discipline to be consistent with our obedience and love towards God.  It was great insight and he also answered many great questions that the missionaries had.  This week has been incredibly busy and tough.  Despite sicknesses and fatigue, I am enduring to the very last second of the mission.  President told us that he wanted to squeeze out every last drop of blood that I have as a missionary by doing a mission wide leadership training tomorrow.  Every leader in the mission is coming to Cuernavaca tonight and tomorrow we will have a training to help these elders learn their duties and complete with those duties.  We are so excited for this training and our expectation is that this training can kick start the transformation that we want for our mission, going from an okay and mediocre mission to an excellent mission.  So, even if I am puking my guts out tomorrow, we are going to give this training and we are going to give it with all our heart, mind, might, and strength.  I prefer not to write about the end of my mission because I know that the mission to become a true, worthy disciple of Christ continues after these two years.  But I am highly grateful for these two years that I have been given to serve the Lord and the Mexican people on a daily basis.  I sure will miss it.  Love all you guys and we will be seeing you soon!
Elder Stutz      

Una Autoentrevista


Hey Guys!
This week was mostly spent in the car but there are still a few stories to tell.  After an extremely busy week in the offices, president decided to thanks us by taking us out to eat on Saturday to an Argentine restaurant.  The food was delicious and we left feeling the love of our mission president.  We continue to help Javier and his wife Edith prepare for their baptism which will be this Saturday.  They are more then ready!  Javier actually told us about a dream or vision that he had.  He said that he was sitting on his bed thinking and suddenly "day-dreamed" he was in white clothing, entering the baptismal font.  As he was being submerged in the water, he woke up.  He simply remembered feeling very happy in that dream and took it as another answer from God that it is the right decision for him and his family.  His step-dad, José Felipe Duque, will baptize him on Saturday along with his wife.  I felt the Spirit so strong yesterday in sacrament meeting as José Felipe exercised his priesthood for the first time, blessing the sacrament.  He did it so well because he had been practicing the prayer frequently during the week.  He had the brightest smile on his face as we congratulated him afterwards.  He has also developed some new plans in the sunday school presidency to help the ward apply more what they learn on Sunday throughout the week.  He is so excited to continue serving in the priesthood.  My experience with the sacrament yesterday was a little more special than normal.  The day before I had read the message of Elder Eyring in the April Liahona that talks a little about how we can enjoy the sacrament every week and benefit from it 100%.  He gives us three questions to ponder on in order to conduct a "self interview" during the sacrament (paraphrasing):
1. What have I done well this week?
2.  What do I need to repent of and change for next week?
3. Whom would God like me to serve?
I loved doing this spiritual exercise during the sacrament and I recommend it to everyone.  The purpose in life is to improve a little bit every day, week, month, and year.  Doing this exercise helps us recognize how we can improve and how we can help others improve and be happier.  I know that our salvation is only possible through our Savior.  He has given us the gift of the sacrament in order to cleanse our souls frequently throughout our lives.  I know that this world can not provide nor offer the peace that comes from a clean soul.  That is achieved by making sacrifices every week in order to attend sacrament meeting of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints.  That weekly sacrifice is worth giving up any sport, job, activity, etc. that we would normally participate in on Sundays.  I hope everyone enjoys their week and has the opportunity to try this exercise this Sunday to feel the peace and inspiration that I have felt and received.  Love you guys!!!           

Uno Por Uno

Hey everyone,
Busy busy week with several trips to and from Mexico City.  But the good news is that we are receiving a few new missionaries this coming week who had been waiting for their visas, With the time we did have in our area, Elder Azueta and I focused on helping our recent converts a little bit.  We taught Martha about missionary work and she got right to talking to her neighbors and friends.  We actually went with her during the week to meet a few of her friends.  When we would knock on the door, we wouldn´t do any of the talking.  She boldly and honestly shared that what we had shared with her is true and something that changed her life.  She shared with her friends that she had found a new happiness and that she wanted the same happiness for them.  Her friends accepted and we should be teaching some of them this coming week.  I was impressed by the courage and testimony that this sister, with just a few days as a member, was able to demonstrate to the people she loves.  Our lessons with Javier and Edith continue to go great.  This past week, when we were teaching them, I suddenly had a little vision of their small 6 month old baby as a missionary someday.  When we asked them last lesson if they have believed everything we had taught them they both responded, "It may be hard to believe, but we FEEL that its right."  What a great way to explain how the Holy Ghost helps us to know if something is true or not.  They have felt it and know it is the path for them in their lives.  I know I always talk about the Duque family but they truly are incredible.  Brother José Felipe has investigated a lot of lds.org and has prepared himself well to help the Sunday School Presidency improve in the ward so that the classes can be more effective.  Sister Guillermina has read a lot of the Book of Mormon, all of the Pearl of Great Price, and some of Doctrine and Covenants.  She also is great to shake everyone´s hand at church and make them feel like her best friend.  Estefania is getting started on her genealogy so that she can do baptisms for the dead with the youth the first week of May.  And Karla has already memorized all the Articles of Faith and is one her way to achieve her Faith in God.  My thought today is a principle of teaching, ministering, and serving.  It is a principle taught multiple times in the scriptures and it is a principle that must be applied now in our days more than ever.  This principle is teaching, ministering, and serving ONE BY ONE.  I noticed a couple examples of this principle in the scriptures this past week.  Both of my examples today come from the Book of Mormon.  Alma, a prophet from the Book of Mormon, was sad due to the wickedness and unbelief of the people that lived in his time.  In response to this sadness, he decides to take each of his children, ONE BY ONE; and have a direct and personal father-son interview with each of them (Alma 35:15-16).  The other example comes from our Savior.  After having established His church and called His apostles here in the Americas, Christ decides to hold interviews, ONE BY ONE; with His apostles.  He does so in order to know what each of them desired and needed from Him.  From these interviews, He was able to choose the 3 nephites to remain on the earth and to continue to preach the Gospel.  Although we often teach, help, and serve big groups of people, friends, or even our own family; we must never forget that we will have the MOST success in one on one situations.  If we focus on the personal needs of each person in our family and the personal needs of each member of our circle of friends, we will be able to help them in a way that Alma helped his sons and in the same way that Christ served and loved His apostles.  I am grateful for the opportunity to go and teach one person at a time and one family at a time the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I hope everyone has a great week!  Love you all!
Elder Stutz    

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Lecciones Aprendidas de la Expiación


Hey Guys
Its been a busy week and Ill try to include as many details as possible.  This past week we were able to have a family home evening with the Duque family.  We invited the son and daughter in law and also Guillermina´s sister and her husband.  We are preparing the four of them to be baptized on May 4th.  We watched a movie about eternal families with them.  They really enjoyed it and the Duque family shared their feelings about their loved ones taking the same step to be baptized.  The four of them seem excited so these next few weeks will be focused on helping them so that they can experience a conversion in their hearts so that they will be ready on May 4th to be baptized.  We also had a lesson with the Duque family earlier in the week to teach them about missionary work.  We invited President Kusch to come along so that he could meet the family.  The lesson went great as we taught about and challenge them to participate in sharing the Gospel with others.  President told us at the end of the lesson that if they prepare names in their family history class to take to the temple to do baptisms for the dead, we could go with them!!!  We are really excited for that and I think we would go sometime in May.  This Sunday, Jose Felipe received the Aaronic priesthood and a calling.  He has been called to serve as the 2nd counselor in the Sunday School presidency.  He is going to be great with that calling because he is a great teacher. We also had Martha´s baptism this past Saturday.  That also went great.  Lots of members supported her by attending.  I think she will continue to be faithful in the church because she loves reading her scriptures and praying.  She loves being able to feel the Holy Ghost and now she has received the blessing of having the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost.    Last night, Elder Azueta and I were with a missionary that had gotten pretty sick during the day.  He has already finished his mission but his parents are coming to get him to tour the mission with him.  Last night, while walking back to our house, he collapsed on the ground and started having problems with his nerves.  His fists clenched up and he did not have control of his body movements.  Elder Azueta threw him on his back to carry him up to our apartment on the fifth floor as I made some emergency phone calls.  When we got into our apartment, he continued to feel worse and could not move his body.  We quickly decided to give him a priesthood blessing before making other calls.  Elder Azueta anointed him and I gave him the blessing.  The blessing was focused on peace, forgiveness of sins, and the Spirit.  I dont remember everything I said in the blessing but I knew I had said what the Lord needed to say to this missionary.  After the blessing, my companion and I kneeled down next to the bed to pray individually until he felt better.  In a few short minutes, he was able to lift up his hand and tell us that we had acted as angels to save him from a terrible situation.  We have taken him to the hospital and he has gotten tests done and is doing a lot better.  I felt the power of the priesthood so strong.  I know it is something we must exercise in righteousness because if we are not worthy, we will not be blessed with power.  I am grateful for that priesthood power in my life to bless others and allow them to feel the love of their Savior and Father in Heaven.  I am grateful for experiences like this one that strengthen my testimony of Gospel principles and truths.  I want to finish with a couple lessons I have learned from studying the Atonement.  I have decided to study it so that I can endure to the end with righteous desires in my mission.  The first lesson learned is that trials and suffering help us become better and one day perfect.  The Savior suffered so much so that we could have the opportunity to be saved.  The suffering He went through helped Him become perfect and obtain a perfect love for us (Hebrews 2:10).  The other lesson learned from the Atonement is that having a vision of desired outcomes give us the will-power to work and achieve those results.  The only way Christ was able to suffer so much for our well-being was because He had a vision of the blessings we would enjoy because of His sacrifice: immortality and eternal life with our families.  That vision helped Him support the weight of the Atonement (Hebrews 12:1-2).  If we can obtain a vision of a future that we and God desire, we will work tirelessly everyday to achieve those goals.  Having a vision of my eternal family motivates me to help other families become eternal.  Envisioning my eternal reward helps me wake up very morning and working hard until my head hits the pillow.  I know these things to be true and I invite everyone to think about their lives, obtain a vision of your desired future, and make the necessary arrangements in your lives to be able to make that vision a reality.  Love you all so much and wish you a great and successful week!
Elder Stutz  

Sanadores de Almas

Hey Guys!
What a great week finished off with a great edifying experience listening to General Conference.  We had yet another mission council with the zone leaders this past week.  I think it was my favorite council of all time.  We talked about a lot of things in order to find more investigators to teach and to help more people set the goal of a baptismal date.  We have set a goal in the mission to baptize at least 200 people in the month of May.  We have been slowly progressing every month since the recent changes last year and we feel that we are close to reaching that goal.  Elder Azueta and I, with our recent experiences in our own area, are challenging the zone leaders to focus on finding, teaching, and baptizing families.  Only families sealed by the holy priesthood in the house of God can dwell in the Celestial Kingdom.  So if we desire to help these people reach eternal life, we are going to focus always on families.  That focus in the mission will help us not only baptize more, but bring about a real growth in the church in the stakes of our mission.  We will be praying and fasting often to receive the divine help we will need to reach this goal.  We are preparing a baptism in our area for this Saturday.  Martha and her daughter, Claudia, are preparing to baptized that day.  They have enjoyed the lessons, the Book of Mormon, and attending church.  This week we want to help them really feel in their hearts that this is the true church of Jesus Christ on the Earth.  We want them to experience a deeper conversion and be 100% ready for their baptism.  This past week, we had the privilege to go teach the Duque family.  We decided to teach a lesson on modern prophets and apostles to pump them up for General Conference.  We wanted to show them a video on lds.org on prophets.  While Karla, the little 8 year old, was looking for the video, I was showing her the temples found on the site.  She was telling me which ones were her favorites and which ones looked more like castles.  I clicked on the Mexico City temple and when it came up she asked me, "that is the temple that my family and I will go to really soon right?"  My heart filled with joy and I nodded yes to respond to that inspired, eight-year-old question.  We were privileged to watch the priesthood session with Brother José Felipe Duque.  He came in his new white shirt and tie that we had given him.  He actually arrived about an hour and a half early, so we knew he was excited for the conference.  The talks in that session were excellent.  José Felipe actually cried a little during President Monson´s talk, being touched by the Spirit.  The next day, the Duque family showed up nice and early in their Sunday best to watch both sessions.  They were are beaming as they enjoyed the talks that were given.  I decided to watch the sessions in Spanish this time to enjoy my last General Conference in Mexico and to watch it with the Duque family.  After the sessions, both Guillermina and José Felipe told us that they both felt something really special and began to cry as President Monson spoke.  We testified to them that those feelings came from the Spirit, testifying that he is a real prophet of God in these days.  One thing that really touched me from the priesthood session was a thought that President Uchtdorf shared.  He said that as priesthood holders we must be "healers of souls".  We must help those that are weighed down by their sins, stresses, problems, addictions, etc.  I will strive these next few months to be a healer of souls for those that the Lord places in my path.  I also enjoyed from the Saturday afternoon session the talk by Elder Cook.  Although we will not experience complete world peace in these days, we can enjoy family and individual peace as we live the Gospel 100%.  The reason we have the Gospel is to enjoy peace and happiness in this life and receive eternal life after death.  A few themes that came up several times were obedience, missionary work, and living the Gospel in our homes and families.  I would like to also testify of the importance that we share the Gospel with those around us.  I have experienced great joy in sharing the Gospel.  I promise you the same joy in your life as you pray and look for opportunities to share Gospel truths with your family and friends.  They NEED this Gospel.  Without it, they will never feel completely clean from the mistakes they have made.  Without it, they will never have the surety that they will be able to live with their family after death.  These truths are worth sharing because they have brought us so much peace and happiness in our own lives.  Be "healers of souls" to those that you truly love.  Cast out all fear and show your true love for them by sharing the Gospel.  I know that Thomas S. Monson and his counselors, along with the apostles, receive modern day revelation to guide us in such a dark and confused world.  As we heed their counsel, we will be safe and protected from the fiery darts of the adversary.  I wish you all a great and happy week!!
Love,
Elder Stutz            

¿Porqué Buscáis a los Vivos Entre los Muertos?

Hey Guys!
We have enjoyed our preparation/april fools day today.  We decided to do quite a few pranks on some elders and also on President Kusch.  When he and his wife went to go shopping this morning, we snuck into their house and messed with his change board a little bit.  We printed out pictures of famous athletes, movie stars, music stars, cartoons characters, etc. and put those pictures over the pictures of all the leaders in the mission.  When he got back home it took him a while to notice but finally did and got quite a kick out of it.  So its been a fun day!  Last week we had our specialized leadership mission-wide training.  The training was intended to help the district leaders be better trained concerning their duties and to get all of the leaders more excited and dedicated in the mission.  So we had the zone leaders teach the district leaders in several workshops on how to have successful baptismal interviews, district meetings, companionship exchanges, etc.  Elder Azueta and I did some case studies afterwards with all the leaders of the mission to help them share their experiences and ideas when they are faced with tough situations.  It was a very successful training because we did a lot more hands-on learning which helps the leaders learn and grow quicker.  Several leaders mentioned that they really enjoyed the training so we are happy about how it turned out.  Last week, most of the time we had in our area was spent helping the Duque family.  We had a lesson with them at the beginning of the week to help them make the sure decision to be baptized on Saturday.  The only member of the family that was doubting a little bit was the mom.  She has been the most faithful with reading, praying, and understanding the importance of the Gospel, but the adversary was working hard on her, trying to get her to think that she still wasnt ready.  Elder Azueta shared an inspired scripture with her in D&C 6:21-24.  As Guillermina read those verses she began to cry and admitted that she owed it to Christ.  She confessed that the last couple months she had been praying for help in her marriage.  She and her husband had been having some difficulties and she wanted him to change and be the kind, loving father and husband that she knew that he could be.  She admitted that listening to us, praying, reading as a family, and attending church had changed him completely and that her prayer had been answered.  With tears rolling down their cheeks, the four of them committed to be baptized on Saturday.  On Friday, we had another really spiritual lesson with them.  We invited the second counselor of the stake presidency so he came with us and brought his wife.  We almost didnt talk at all in the lesson.  President Nava and his wife shared their conversion stories and testified of the power of the priesthood.  We talked with the dad about receiving the priesthood very soon after his baptism so that he can start serving his family and others.  He is very excited to receive it.  Saturday turned out to be a very spiritual day.  Despite it being spring break and the members being in the temple on a ward trip, we were still able to organize a great baptismal service.  We figured out which members didnt attend the temple and we invited them ahead of time.  We also prepared a special musical number and I taught myself how to play two hymns on the piano.  We wanted everything to turn out perfect.  We even got gifts for each of them so that the members that welcomed them from each organization could give them that gift as they welcomed them into the ward and into the organizations.  Karla, the little daughter, and Jose Felipe asked me to baptize them and Guillermina and Estefania asked Elder Azueta to baptize them.  Jose Felipe went first and I felt the Spirit so strong as I helped him into the water.  Karla was next and as she entered the water before I could go help her, she slipped on the stairs and went sliding in.  Luckily she didnt get hurt and had a beaming smile as she left the water.  Elder Azueta baptized Estefania and then it was Guillerminas turn.  The whole week she had been feeling really strange.  She said she felt pain in her neck and just didnt feel happy at all.  Those feelings continued even during the baptismal service.  But when she entered the baptismal font, everything changed.  All of those strange, painful feelings disappeared and she felt joy.  This joy was so intense that she began to cry in the font.  She wasnt able to speak but indicated that she was ready to be baptized.  After the ordinance, Jose Felipe wanted to share a few words.  He expressed his gratitude to us, the missionaries, to the ward, and to the Lord.  He said that the Spirit and the teachings of the Savior had changed his heart.  It was an unforgettable night as I felt the Spirit testify once again to my heart that this is all true.  The next morning, we woke up extremely tired and annoyed.  The neighbors had had a party the night before.  They were playing electronic music that shook the house from 6:00PM Saturday to 11:00AM Sunday.  We didnt sleep at all so we were really anxious to get to church to experience a little bit of relief.  President and Sister Kusch were able to make it to the confirmation of the Duque family during sacrament meeting.  They were so happy as each of them had hands placed upon their heads to be confirmed members of the true church of Christ and to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  After sacrament meeting, so many members came up to meet them and congratulate them.  It is really interesting how well they get along with the members and how much they are being fellowshipped.  I know that it is due to the love and the spirit that the Duque family has.  It just makes others love them and it is great to see them with so many friends from the ward already.  The bishop actually told us that he will be giving the priesthood to Jose Felipe in two weeks along with a calling that he already had picked out for him.  I love the Duque family so much and I feel like I will be possibly coming back in a year to be able to attend their temple sealing.   As I pondered yesterday about this Easter season, I realized something about happiness.  The title of my email comes from a scripture in the Bible.  It is when the angel is declaring that Christ has been resurrected.  He asks, "Why do ye seek the living among the dead?"  My mind manipulated this question a little bit to apply it to my life.  "Why do ye seek happiness among the things of this world?"  I could certainly picture Christ asking us a question like that.  We can get very distracted with all the current technology, work, schooling, and other activities.  We must not forget that true happiness will not be found in these things.  True happiness will only be achieved by living the Gospel and living it with our family.  The Duque family considered themselves to be a happy family before meeting the missionaries.  But after everything they have recently experienced, they have come to the realization that there was more happiness to be won, greater happiness that lasts longer to be enjoyed.  Let us not seek happiness in material things, let us seek happiness in our families and in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Love you all!
Elder Stutz      

La Tierna Misericordia

Hey Everyone, Happy Monday!
We started our week last week with a trip to Acapulco.  We drove down there in the morning to arrive in the afternoon.  Two new missionaries from Guatemala arrived at the airport there so we picked them up with President and Sister Kusch.  One is an elder and the other is a sister.  The next morning we had the training meeting with them and their trainers in the Costa Azul stake center.  Both the elder and sister are super excited to be here after having to wait for their visas several months.  We were excited to receive them because we are in desperate need of more missionaries in the mission.  We found out this week that Elder Azueta and I will stay together for my last change so we are stoked to work hard, baptize, and continue to help the mission together.  This next month, we have a lot of plans with President to improve the desire to baptize and the quality of leadership in the mission.  We will be traveling a ton but I know it will be worthwhile.  Throughout last week and during this next week, we are sharing the Easter story of the 3 trees to the members to get them more excited to share the Gospel with others.  We have taught them that their friends and neighbors have great dreams and desires in their lives.  What they dont know is that their greatest and deepest dreams and desires can come true through living the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We must help those around us realize that what they are missing in their lives is the Gospel.  It is precisely what will make each and every one of them happy today and forever.  We have seen the evidence of that the last few weeks as we have enjoyed and loved teaching the Duque family.  It is the family of four that is progressing towards their baptism on March 30th (this Saturday).  This is one of those families that was already obeying the commandments before we found them, but they have found greater joy as we have challenged and invited them to pray daily individually and as a family, read the Book of Mormon, and attend church with us.  While teaching the family last week, the dad said that his family has always been a happy one because they have avoided drinking, smoking, crazy parties, etc.  But he told us that ever since they started praying as a family, they have felt something different in their home.  We asked him if it was a "good" different feeling.  He told us that it is definitely a great different feeling.  In our second lesson with them, I asked the 8 year old daughter what she remembered from the experience of Joseph Smith.  She basically told us by memory the whole Joseph Smith story in her own words.  We were amazed by her memory but later learned that she had read the pamphlet a few times just as we had invited the whole family to do.  The mom is flying with her reading in the Book of Mormon.  She loves it and has found a ton of answers to so many questions she said that she has had for years.  The oldest daughter signed up for EFY: Mexico City for this summer and the dad is getting involved with the Elder Quorum by helping them prepare an activity.  In one of the lessons, we decided to invite the first counselor of the stake presidency and his family.  He came and brought his wife, and his 4 daughters that range from ages 1 to 5.  You can imagine how the lesson went.  There was a lot of screaming, crying, playing, dirty diapers, etc.  Despite all of that, the Spirit was there and the two parents shared powerful testimonies of having an eternal family and the blessings of following the word of wisdom.  The parents were embarrased after the lesson but as they left, our investigator said that she was so impressed by their happiness and patience.  The family of investigators didnt need to meet a perfect member family that day, they needed to see the Gospel principles in action, trying to deal with a tough situation.  Last night, we watched the movie "On our way home" to get them excited to be baptized this Saturday.  They were overwhelmed by the Spirit as we finished the movie.  Both parents cried and we decided to give them the movie to keep.  I love that family so much and I have enjoyed focusing completely on the ultimate goal of achieving an eternal family.  Every time we talk about baptism with them, we remind them that it is just the beginning, the door through which we walk in to start a new life.  After making other promises with God in the temple, we are able to achieve an eternal family.  We felt the Spirit so strong in their home as we taught them of temples and the wonderful, sacred covenants we make inside with our family.  Elder Azueta and I fasted for them yesterday and we feel that they are ready to be baptized this Saturday.  That means that they could be ready to be sealed in the temple as an eternal family on March 30th 2014!!!!  That family has been our tender mercy in this area.  A midst so much work and sacrifice, we were finally able to find a family that the Lord had prepared in EVERY way possible.  I feel that this is the family I have been looking and praying for my whole mission.  Tears have filled my eyes as we have seen the Gospel change their lives in such a small, simple way.  This family proves to me that EVERYONE needs this Gospel.  It also proves to me that there is always someone in our lives that the Lord has prepared so that we can share the Gospel with them and they can accept it.  We just simply have to look and share our beliefs openly and boldly with everyone and at least ONE person or ONE family will be changed forever.  I love this work with all my heart and our new goal as a companionship is to find another family in the coming weeks.  After having felt so much joy and happiness with this family, all we want to do is help bless the lives of several families at a time.  I am forever grateful to have a family who has been sealed in a holy temple of the Lord by the authority of the holy priesthood of God so that death can have no power to separate us.  I know we will have the opportunity to live forever.  I felt impressed to share a photo of my family with the Duque family in one of the lessons and I told them that being so far away from them for so long has been tough, but it has been completely worth it to be able to help other families receive the blessing of being together forever.  That thought brought tears to the mother´s eyes and I know that all we do as missionaries is completely worth it.  Love you all!
Elder Stutz    

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Venga lo que Venga y Disfrútelo

Hey Everyone!
I enjoyed receiving so many encouraging emails from several of you this week.  I really appreciate the support and love I have received throughout my whole mission.  I am grateful that the Lord not only can work miracles and change the hearts of the people here, but also can guide us as missionaries in letters and emails to touch the lives of others.  With every email I write, I always hope to help or encourage someone in need.  Here in the Cuernavaca mission, we are currently reading the Book of Mormon.  President Kusch challenged the whole mission to read the Book of Mormon in 65 days.  The significance of that amount is that Joseph Smith translated the book by the power of God in only 65 days.  We planned the reading so that we will finish on May 15th, which is also significant because the Aaronic Priesthood was restored that day many years ago.  I am really enjoying this challenge because as we read it, we are highlighting everything about the doctrine of Christ that we find.  It is helping me remember how important it is that we have faith in Christ, repent daily, be baptized by someone who has the priesthood of God, receive the Holy Ghost, and continue faithful to the end.  It is helping Elder Azueta and I always focus on baptism with our investigators.  We had a tough week with most of our plans falling through, but we did teach a couple powerful first lessons to some references of the members.  We taught Umberto who is married to a less active sister in the ward.  They just got married a month ago and are expecting a child soon.  With all these events occurring in his life, Umberto wants to make changes and prepare himself better to raise a family.  We talked to him about prophets and how they help families know what to do to achieve happiness and peace together.  We explained the importance of the priesthood and how, with the priesthood, we can be a blessing to our family.  The Spirit was present as we testified to him of Joseph Smith and the power of prayer in our lives.  We promised him that by being baptized, he would be preparing himself to go to the temple one day to make promises with God in order to achieve an eternal family, or in other words, live with his wife and future children forever, even after death.  He found great comfort and peace from that truth and we challenged him to be baptized at the end of the month.  He accepted and now needs to pray to receive an answer to know that these things are true.  We also taught the girlfriend of a returned missionary.  We taught her the same principles and she understood everything perfectly.  She is extremely smart and I think she is going to progress really well.  To invite the Spirit even more in that lesson, Elder Azueta and I decided to sing to her and to the members that were present the "Restoration mix song" that testifies of Joseph Smith and the importance to share that message with everyone around us.  The amazing thing that happened at the end of the lesson was that we asked her if she knows anyone that needs this message in their life and she mentioned her mom and another friend of hers.  A great determining factor to know if someone accepts or believes is when they want other people to listen and believe.  So despite the disappointing moments of appointments falling and no investigators that went to church, we decided to apply the famous phrase of Elder Wirthlin: "Come what may and love it".  We said that phrase to each other several times this past week and we were able to "Find joy in the journey".  I would like to briefly finish by explaining the importance of knowing that this church is the one true church on this earth.  There are a lot of great churches/religions that exist.  They teach great principles and help people develop more faith in Christ.  Christ is a perfect person.  He loves us and wants us to know the truth in our hearts.  He has established just one church which has His authority to act in His name (bless the sick, work miracles, baptize, etc.).  I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is that church.  I know it because I know Joseph Smith was a prophet.  I know that because I have read the Book of Mormon and I have prayed to know that it is 100% true.  These things are so important to me because without them I cannot and no other person can return to the presence of God.  I realize that many people that read this are not yet members of this church.  To those people, I strongly invite and encourage them to open their minds and hearts.  Anyone who wants to can find out that these things are true.  We arrive at that truth by praying and listening to the answer that God gives us in our hearts.  I cannot force anyone to do this experiment because it is something personal.  But to all those who feel like something might be missing in their life or that they could find more happiness, I invite to read the Book of Mormon and pray to know that it is true.  When you know it is true, be baptized by someone having the authority of God and continue faithful to the end.  I promise you, from personal experience, that this is the path to never-ending happiness.  I am grateful to be able to share it.  I love you all and wish you a happy and joyful week.
Elder Stutz 

Una Familia Eterna

Hey Everyone!
Unfortunately, today´s letter will be brief due to the busy schedule we have.  We are grateful to finally have the opportunity to write after several busy days.  Our prayers have been answered in the mission as 4 foreign missionaries arrived this past week of the 17 that were and are waiting for theirs visas to come through.  On Sunday, we went to the airport to pick up two elders from Honduras.  They had to serve a few months in their own country as they waited for their visas.  So they are very excited to finally be here in the Cuernavaca mission.  The day after on Monday, Elder Azueta and I returned to the airport to pick up two elders that came from the USA.  They both also served a few months in their country before receiving permission to enter the country.  Although we were not able to attend church on Sunday, we were blessed for our sacrifice for the mission.  During the week, while I was in divisions with a zone leader here in our area, we taught the family of four that we had started to teach a week ago.  They are the uncle, aunt, and cousins of an elder that left the ward about a month ago.  In that lesson, I felt prompted to focus a lot on the family while teaching the plan of salvation.  It was the first time that the dad had decided to listen to us so I was praying so hard for the Spirit in that lesson.  Thanks to our prayers and love for this family, the Spirit was so strong through the whole lesson as we talked of God´s purpose for us and the family, how we can be with our families forever, etc.  The mom cried a few times in the lesson as we explained how we can gain an eternal family.  We could feel so strong that that family truly desires to be together forever and that they would do anything to make each other happy.  We challenged them to be baptized on March 30th in order to take that first step towards achieving an eternal family.  They accepted and are currently preparing to be baptized.  When we found out we wouldnt be at church on Sunday, we were sad that we wouldnt be there to welcome this family to church since it was going to be their first time attending.  But we prayed all week that they would go and feel the Spirit strong enough to want to go back again next week.  We received the report from the other elders that they did go and that they stayed all three hours.  We called the family Sunday night to see how it went at church.  From what the mom said, it sounds like they loved it.  My biggest desire right now in my life is that this family can be baptized and one day be sealed as an eternal family in the temple.  I know that families can only continue being families after death if we are baptized and sealed by the proper priesthood authority of God.  This authority is only found in the church that Jesus Christ leads, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I would love to tell you about other adventures in Acapulco, in divisions, etc. but they will have to wait till next week!  Love you guys a bunch!
Elder Stutz   

Las Impresiones del Espíritu

Hey Guys
The week went by so fast, im not sure where the time went.  But we had a cool experience on Wednesday as we were fulfilling a responsibility from President Kusch.  He sent us all the way to Acapulco to pick up an elder there in order to do a special change.  We were a little confused why this missionary didnt travel in the usual bus or why we went to get him, but we did it anyway.  Acapulco is about 4 hours away so we spent 8 hours in the car going there and bringing him back to Cuernavaca.  Elder Azueta and I were both totally wiped out.  On the way back, we were acting a little goofy in the car because of our tiredness but it was fun as we laughed it up with this elder.  We found out later in the week that this elder had been changed because of some depression.  We found out that we had helped him out a little just by having a fun time on the ride home.  That elder hadnt laughed or smiled much the last few months and he was able to enjoy himself for the first time in a while.  I was then grateful that President had sent us to make that sacrifice to help an elder out.  Last week, we didnt really work in our area once again but we were able to have a family home evening with several recent converts from the ward.  We played the good ol game of Spoons with them and talked about the importance of prioritizing in our lives to do the things that are most important, that have eternal value.  They seemed impacted by the lesson and we hope to see them continue to progress in the Gospel.  I really enjoyed this past Sunday in the Palmas ward.  Fast and testimony meeting is always really powerful and this past week was no exception.  About half way through the meeting, I literally felt like the Spirit carried me up to the stand after hearing such powerful testimonies from the members and from my companion.  I testified to the members of the reality of Jesus Christ and His Gospel, the ONLY way to return home to our Heavenly Father and to live with our families again.  I was touched by something I saw as well in that meeting.  Almost every Sunday, a homeless lady comes to our ward.  She is not a member and has some psychological problems I think, but she always comes to church.  We often see her in the street running around without much of a purpose, but when she comes to church, she always has a huge smile on her face.  This past Sunday, she showed up to sacrament meeting.  After changing seats a few times, she went to the very front row to watch and hear the testimonies.  She had that big smile on her face.  Although she may not understand everything, her spirit desires to be there where the Holy Ghost dwells.  Later on Sunday, Elder Azueta and I were busy taking the statistics of the mission.  About two weeks earlier when I was in Chilpancingo, I found out that Barbie (the 4 year old daughter of Alma) was going to have her bday this past Sunday.  About a week ago, I felt impressed to send with the zone leaders of Chilpo the Book of Mormon for kids book I had so that they could give it to Barbie for her bday.  On Sunday, I called the zone leaders to get their statistics.  Elder Mendez told me he was with Barbie and that they had just delivered the book to her.  I had left a little note inside for her.  He decided to pass the phone to her so that I could wish her a happy birthday.  She is extremely shy but she did tell me thanks for wishing her a happy bday.  When I told her bye on the phone she quickly said with her high, quiet voice, "I love you lots Elder Stutz".  My eyes watered up and I felt like my heart had melted.  I felt so happy that this young girl now has the opportunity to grow up in the Gospel and feel the Spirit in her home.  I am so grateful that the Spirit can guide us in our actions.  I am grateful He helped me feel in my mind and heart that I needed to send that book to Barbie.  I am grateful that He made me feel that we needed to knock on Alma´s door back in June 2012.  If we will just have faith, be obedient, and work, the Spirit will be permitted to touch our hearts and illuminate our minds so that we will know what to do.  May we not hesitate when acting upon these impressions.  May we not second guess the feelings or impressions we receive.  If it is something good that we feel we must do, we better do it as soon as possible.  I know the Lord wishes to guide us in our daily lives because of His interest in our well-being.  That interest comes from His love for us.  I love all of you and wish you a great week! 
Elder Stutz         

Un Sentimiento Celestial

Hey Everyone!
We recieved exciting news this past week that 58 new missions will be opened in all the world and that 8 of those will be here in Mexico.  The Lord is accelerating His work and we have the privledge to be apart of it.  Today, President Kusch, Elder Azueta, and I enjoyed a nice little trip to visit a huge cave in our mission with enormous staglamites?  President needed a little break and we did too so he took us there to enjoy the beauty of the caverns.  Also, this past week we decided to do divisions with the zone leaders in Chilpancingo, Elder Mendez and Elder Pearson.  I felt great being back in the Heroico ward working in the hot sun.  We were able to visit several families that Elder Quinnelly and I had taught but that didnt progress too well.  We will see if one of them can progress toward baptism this comign month.  We were also able to visit Alma and her family to teach her dad, Ramon.  He is getting really close to baptism which is a pretty big miracle because when we were there he would listen but never wanted to pray, read, or go to church.  It felt great to be back and the whole day as we saw members and invesitgators, I just had the overwhelming feeling that what we had done, all the sacrifices and hard work, was all worth it.  The Lord had a plan for that area when we were there, and it continues to progress now.  This past week, we didnt work hardly at all in our area with the zone conferences and other responsibilities.  We were able to meet a beautiful family that is looking for the truth and I feel like they have been prepared.  We taught them the Restoration this past week and the Spirit was present.  The mom and her two daughters accepted baptismal date for the month of March.  We are trying to teach the dad as well because he is really nice but it is hard because he is a professor at a local college and is rarely home.  We were also able to help Omar get ready for his baptism which turned out great.  He was so happy after being baptized and confirmed on Sunday.  Our hope is that he continues in the Gospel, recieving the priesthood, a calling, and becomes a dedicated man to the Lord.  He has so much potential still to become a great influence for others!  Elder Azueta and I had the opportunity to attend the new missionary training meeting for the americans last week and we felt the Spirit so strong at one point.  When President asked us at the end if we wanted to add anything, Elder Azueta wanted to say some things that came to his mind.  The whole meeting was in english so he struggled expressing himself.  I put my hand on his shoulder and offered to help him by translating it.  We did so and the Spirit was felt as he instructed the new missionaries.  After his thought, Sister Kusch raised her hand and began to cry as she talked about how every companionship should be like ours, always wanting to help eachother and support eachother.  She praised the love felt in our companionship, fighting away tears, and it was a very beautiful experience.  I would like to end with a couple of thoughts I have been having the past few days.  I want to promise everyone that we can have a direct and real comunication with our Father in Heaven through prayer.  We can talk with Him, recieve direction from Him, and feel of His love.  This privledge of prayer is NOT limited to church membership, age, knowledge, or experience.  All of His children, or in other words, each and everyone of us has the right to talk with Him.  Also, there is one Christ-like attribute that has become highly important for me in these months of my mission: diligence.  I can honestly say that I love arriving home completely and absolutely exhausted every night.  I have decided that those feelings of complete exhaustion are heavenly feelings because they are evidence of willingness to serve and sacrifice.  I love being able to serve and sacrifice for others, especially for the Lord and His cause.  I hope everyone can be diligent in their efforts to serve and sacrifice this week so that those heavenly feelings of exhaustion can testify to us that we our striving to do our best and that we are willing to be better everyday.  Love you all!
Elder Stutz    

Si Guardáis los Mandamientos, Prosperaréis

Hey Everyone,
Sorry about sending this a day late, we were in Mexico City yesterday recieving two new americans for the mission.  We had fun this past week celebrating Sister Kusch´s birthday.  We went to the mission home to eat chocolate cake and ice cream to celebrate.  We gave her a picture frame of several pictures of the office elders and put at the top of the picture frame "Mis Hijos Mexicanos" (My Mexican Kids) because she always says that we are her kids here in Mexico.  We also played the game Chubby Bunny with giant marshmallows.  It was the first time that President and Sister Kusch had played so we all laughed quite a bit.  We had two zone conferences last week as well in Cuaulta and in Acapulco.  We actually spent valentines day traveling to Acapulco and saw a bunch of crazy stuff on the coast at night when we were arriving.  I felt like we were driving through the Las Vegas strip with all the clubs and parties.  As I reflected that night on my decision to serve a mission and set aside all personal things for two years, I realized that I have been able to focus on my relationship and friendship with my Savior.  I am so grateful for that because I have been able to come to know Him better.  We had a very funny experience in Acapulco after the zone conference.  A police officer walked into the church grounds and began to talk with me outside of the church as we were cleaning up.  He told me that we had broken a law by putting the trash out on the street during the daytime instead of "correctly" putting the trash out at night.  Elder Azueta came outside and the officer told us that we would need to pay a fine of $2750 pesos ($250 dollars) because of what we had done.  Elder Azueta and I knew it was fake because when he showed us the paper of possible fines, the one he chose was the most expensive by far on the list.  So we went along with it and told him we would pay the fine.  We asked him to give us the fine so that we could go to the city office and pay it.  It was then that he said, but the fine is really expensive right?  How about you guys just buy my boss and I a few sodas and snacks in the cornerstore and we will call it good and pretend like nothing happened here!  We explained that in our church we believe in honoring and obeying the law so we would be paying every peso of the fine.  I think he might of felt something and then said, Dont worry guys, we will be on our way.  So we almost got robbed by a police officer making up fake fines!!!  But my testimony of obeying the commandments of God was stregthened by this experience.  I thought of all the poor people that get tricked by those police officers that are just out to get money.  But, by wanting to obey a commnandment (honor and obey the law), we were able to be protected from being tricked or taken advantage of.  When we obey the commandments, we are protected physically and spiritually.  This past Sunday, Omar surprised us when he came to church and after feeling impressions from the Spirit, my companion and I asked the bishop to talk to him in his office to get him excited for his baptism and to help him feel more like a member of the ward.  When Omar left the bishop´s office, he had a new light in his face and told us he is getting baptized this saturday.  We are going to have the bishop baptize him.  We have seen Omar change so much and we know he has the faith neccessary to make this change in his life.  We are so excited for Saturday!  I just want to end by saying that this past week I have felt the Spirit on several occasions testify and tell me that I am meant to be here in Mexico during these specific years and months.  I know that I am doing the Lord´s work and I always want to strive to do it His way because it is the only way that works and it is the only way that people can be baptized with a real conversion in their heart.  The great thing about being a missionary for the true church of Jesus Christ is that we dont have to convince anyone, the Holy Ghost does it for us.  As we share the Gospel, we must always remember that truth.  No one of us is incapable of sharing the Gospel in a convincing way because we each are entitled to the companionship of the Holy Ghost.  When we open our mouths to share it, we can be confident that the Spirit will touch the hearts of those we talk to.  I am striving to make that same Spirit my best friend as I rely on His help and promptings every day and every hour.  Thanks to that focus, Elder Azueta and I have had very spiritual experiences that have stregthened us and those around us.  We ahve felt the Spirit work through us to bring about the will of the Lord here in this mission.  I love this work and wouldnt rather be doing anything else.  Love you all!
Elder Stutz         

Monday, February 11, 2013









Los Deseos Divinos e Inspirados



Hey Guys,
I feel like time is really flying right now in the mission because we just had another mission council with the zone leaders.  It has been a great experience seeing some many of these leaders grow and really learn to achieve their goals through righteous leadership.  Elder Azueta and I were able to speak directly to these leaders, challenging them to continue to set the example for their missionaries.  We also reminded them about when we experienced changes in the mission about six months ago.  When we had the changes, we were confident that they were inspired and that we would see a lot more success and baptisms in the mission once we got everything organized and ready.  Well, after a few months of hard work, we have gotten used to the changes and NOW is the time to baptize more and to be better missionaries.  We challenged them to "accomplish their desires" (Alma 57:8) as soon as possible in their zones.  The Spirit was strong and we are excited for the coming results in the mission.  We also had our first of five zone conferences for the month this past week.  We enjoyed training the missionaries about asking inspired questions in the lessons to help the investigators realize the testimonies they have developed as they have read the Book of Mormon, prayed, and attended church.  We are excited for two other zone conferences for this week in Cuautla and Acapulco.  We finally taught that young woman from the Caribbean.  It was the one of the hardest lessons of my mission.  The lesson was in three different languages (French, English, and Spanish) so it was a little harder to understand, especially for my companion.  The hardest part of the lesson was teachign to and trying to help someone who has a completely different culture and background than anyone else we have ever taught.  Her doubts were all different, her reactions were all different.  We didnt feel too good leaving the lesson but the good part was that several young sisters went to the lesson with us so she now has friends in the ward.  I think she will be able to progress but we will have to plan out the lessons well and rely wholly on the Spirit.  A miracle occurred in the ward right next to us this past week.  There is a family of three where the mom and son are members of about 5 years.  The son is currently on a mission and the dad has been investigating the church for 5 years.  This past week he finally made the decision to be baptized.  He asked President Kusch to baptize him.  The service was incredibly spiritual and this humble man was able to make the best decision of his life.  He is looking forward to being sealed with his family in a year once his son gets back.  We are hoping and praying for a similar miracle in our ward.  An elder just left from our ward this past week.  His parents are not members but his two sisters are.  His parents have always been pretty closed minded about it and havent wanted to learn from the missionaries in the past.  Well, wwith his departure and testimony, the hearts of his parents have been softened and we are now teaching them.  A miracle occurred in the second lesson when we asked the mom if she prayed about the Book of Mormon to know if this is the true church.  She began to cry and told us that she prayed while worrying a lot about her son after he left.  When she paryed and asked about the church, she felt an overwhelming peace come over her and knew she had recieved an answer.  We challenged her to be baptized and she accepted.  Our current obstacle is that she wants to wait till her son returns to do so.  So we are working with her so that she will develop those desires to be baptized so that when her son gets back, they can be sealed as a family.  As far as the other investigators go, everything has basically fell.  It is a mix of peoples agency and our lack of time due to our travels but we accept the trial and are ready to do our best this week and leave the rest at the feet of our Savior.  We received a great reboost of strength this Sunday when the bishop called us into his office, telling us he needed to give us something.  When we went in, we knew what it was.  When we had the conference with Elder Zivic, he challenged us to ask priesthood blessings from our bishops to receive extra strength and help the bishop feel more committed to helping us.  Well, with our busy schedule we totoally forgot about the challenge and our bishop beat us to it!  He gave us beautiful blessings that will help us continue forward.  My small thought today is about divine and inspired desires.  I simply know that our desires, if righteous, will always be fulfilled if we work to acheive them.  For example, the three nephites worked, worked, and worked, and when they were done, they asked the Savior for more work and that is why their desires were fulfilled to bring many souls to Christ (3 Nephi 28:29).  I am so grateful for the time that has been given to me to preach the Gospel 24/7.  Due to that charge the Savior has given to me, I invite all to experience the sweet redeeming love that Christ offers through His Gospel.  I promise you happiness and peace as you do so.  Love you all!!!
Elder Stutz

Tuesday, February 5, 2013







El Milagro del Ayuno

Hey Cuates!!
Lots of stuff to report on this week!  Ill start with last sunday because I think I forgot to mention it in my last email.  To get the ward more excited and to thank the Relief Society for always cooking delicious food for us, we decided to perform a special musical number in the Relief Society.  We sang Josephs Smiths Prayer with a mix of another hymn that has to do with missionary work to the tune of Come thou Font.  It turned out great and we saw a lot of sisters accept our invitation to write down the names of friends that came to their mind as we sung.  We are visiting those sisters in our area to find out who the Holy Ghost brought to their mind so that we can meet them and start to teach them.  Last week we also went to Iguala to do divisions with the zone leaders.  I went with an elder from Peru named Elder Romero.  He is a younger leader in the mission and has a lot of potential.  The Tamarindos area (my old area) is closed right now so the zone leaders occasionally work there.  Elder Romero and I had the opportunity to work there and I saw a lot of members and investigators again.  The best experience was meeting the new mission leader of the ward.  It is an ex missionary that elder Pearson and I helped get active again.  We visited him often and developed a great friendship.  I hadnt heard anything about him until Elder Romero told me that the ward mission leader was going to help us out and I saw him pull up on his motorcycle.  He had a lot more shine and happiness in his face and I know it is because he repented and has done all possible to live the Gospel again 100%.  He is planning to be married in the temple at the end of the calender year.  elder Romero and I were able to talk about a lot of stuff leadership-related and he told me that I helped him a lot to realize his potential and want to work harder to become the leader the Lord wants him to be.  I also experienced quite the surprise on my bday.  My companion and I had an appointment planned with an investigator in the home of a member.  When we arrived, they asked me to go in first and as I walked into the dark room, the lights turned on and about 20 people sang las mañanitas (happ birthday song in mexico) to me.  They had ballons, a sweet sign, cake, and a special gift from Elder Azueta.  He had ordered an Elder Stutz piñata to be made.  I was the first to take a smack at it and I knocked its head off pretty hard.  It was super funny and we all had a great time.  Elder Azueta also got me with the mexican tradition of pushing my face into the cake.  Several ward members were there and the office elders.  It was a cool surprise but the best part of the night was when our investigator introduced us to her friend who also is looking to change her life and wants to listen to our message.  Our investigator said, "Yep now there are two of us who want what you guys have in your church".  As we went home that night, I realized how much I have changed in the mission.  Instead of thinking about the piñata, the cake, or the celebration, I could not stop thinking of the miracle to be able to teach more people the Gospel and see their lives change for the better.  We continue to work with Omar so that he will be ready for his baptism this coming saturday.  His faith has grown a ton and we have had a couple really spiritual lessons with him lately.  We also had an amazing lesson with Myrna, the lady that has lost her husband and son in the last year.  We had planned to watch the movie "On our way home" which talks about the plan of salvation.  But at the last minute we felt we needed to talk about the restoration.  After teaching about the priesthood and Joseph Smith, we felt that we needed to focus on eternal families through the priesthood.  I felt impressed to take out my Gospel art book to show a picture of the temple.  When I showed the Salt Lake temple, Myrna interumpted us and said, "I have seen that temple before".  She explained a dream that she had when she saw and talked with her son outside of the Salt Lake temple.  She began to cry and we testified of the truthfulness of the Restoration and the blessing of become sealed as families to be able to live together again forever.  At the end of the lesson, when we asked her how she felt, she told us that when we teach her, she feels like the Savior himself is talking with her.  The Spirit could not have been felt stronger and we left that night feeling 100% inspired by the Lord.  I am so grateful that He always guides us as we try to do our best (which usually isnt even too much).  On Sunday, I decided to fast for the progressing investigators we have so that they would go to church and be able to be baptized this month.  I felt a little down as we waited in sacrament meeting and none of the investigators were showing up.  After many fervent prayers, Omar showed up.  After a few more minutes a woman walked into the chapel.  We recognized that she was a reference that we couldnt find all month.  She is a very dark-skinned young woman from a french speaking island in the Caribean.  She speaks french, a little bit of english, and she is just barely starting to study spanish.  So when I invited her to sit with us, it was a little hard to communicate well throughout the meeting haha.  She is really interested though because she has friends back in her country that are members and she wants to learn more.  We are excited to start to teach her this week.  Although we were disappointed that several investigators didnt show up, we were grateful for the miracles we did see.  The Lord usually doesnt answer our prayers and fasts how we expect that He will.  But He always answers.  Thanks to everyone for the bday wishes and the best gift you could give me is by sharing the Gospel or getting to know the Mormon church a little more by reading the Book of Mormon, visit the church, and pray everyday (or in other words, have a sincere conversation with God).  I promise you that if you do so, you will find happiness and peace that I have found and that others here in Mexico have found.  Love you all!
Elder Stutz           


Thursday, January 31, 2013

Entrelazados Sus Corazones

Hey Guys,
We will start todays letter with what we did last pday.  We had the opportunity to go to Tepoztlan to climb the pyramid.  We went with a couple companionships from our zone.  We climbed to the pyramid and hiked down pretty quick to be able to visit a few people while there.  I was able to say hi to a few members that I hadnt seen for over a year.  We went and ate with one of my favorite sisters there, Sister Cande.  She made us lunch and we talked a little about the branch.  It was tough for me to hear of the struggles going on, especially for the recent converts.  Instead of growing, the branch has struggled as of late.  But Sister Cande mentioned something that kept my spirits up.  She told me that she was grateful to feel of the spirit that I carry with me again.  She admited that while I was there, she noticed I was blessed with the gift of tongues and the gift of helping others become converted.  I was touched by her words.  I hope and pray that that branch there can stay strong and can become a ward one day.  The rest of the week was spent in the Palmas ward!  Elder Azueta and I loved being back in the action, teaching the members, less actives, and members.  We had quite an emotional and spiritual roller coaster with some of our investigators.  On Monday, we went to see Norma, Karen, and Abram.  They said they didnt show up for their baptismal interview last week because Karen had to go to the hospital for her asthma.  We took four of the strongest members of the ward to their house to have a super powerful lesson so that they would feel the Spirit and committ again to be baptized.  The lesson was very powerful as the members shared their testimonies and we were able to resolve some of the doubts they had.  They accepted the invitation to be baptized on the 26th!  We decided to do a special fast for them before our next appointment so that they could stick to that committment to be baptized.  When we returned to teach them, Norma was in a panic and explained to us that her mom in Acapulco was put in the hospital and was in really bad shape.  We tried to calm her down by explaining about the plan of salvation and the Atonement but she was not accepting any of it.  I felt an impression to take out my hymn book so I told Elder Azueta that we would sing them some hymns to bring the spirit into their home.  We did so and it seemed to help.  Norma decided to go to Acapulco instead of being baptized and for the moment, we are going to stop teaching them because they need time.  But we did find success this past week with other investigators.  We went to see Luigi in the rehab center again and he is doing awesome!  He has quit smoking and has been able to do so by reading the Book of Mormon daily.  He was actually able to get permission to leave the rehab center for a couple hours to attend our baptism this past saturday.  He loved it and is so excited to be baptized in March.  We are also working with two other investigators who will be baptized on Feburary 9th!  We are working with a man named Omar who loves coming to church.  He is especially loving the book of Lorenzo Snow that we have studied in priesthood.  We are also working with a friend of a sister in the ward.  She is going through some depression so we are trying to help her by teaching her the restored gospel.  They have both accepted to be baptized.  We also meet a lady this week who is a friend of a member.  This lady has gone through many many trials and is looking for answers.  Her 10 year old son died a year ago and her husband was killed a month ago.  We were able to teach her the plan of salvation this past week and we are excited to help her with the trials she is going through.  Alejandra got baptized on saturday and the service was so spiritual.  We combined the service with the other ward, Vista Hermosa, who had two baptisms.  Several members and investigators came and the service turned out great.  Alejandra was beaming on her baptism day.  She has become converted to the Gospel so quickly.  We only taught her 4 lessons before her baptism but she was able to become converted because of her effort and dedication.  She read the Book of Mormon every night, prayed daily, went to church both weeks, and attends institute 3 times a week.  She is now getting involved with the Relief Society during the week.  She is 21 years old so I hope she chooses to serve a mission in the coming years.  Just a quick thought to finish of something I have learned in the scriptures and in the Palmas ward.  In Mosiah 18:21-22 we learn that a pre-rec to being missionaries and having success in a ward or branch is unity.  We must love each other first before we can show love for others by sharing the Gospel.  If we are united, those looking for the truth will be lead to us and they will feel the love of their Father in Heaven when they are around us.  We have felt that love and unity in this ward.  Love you all!  Have a fantastic week!
Elder Stutz

Ver a los Demás Como Pueden Llegar a Ser

Hey Guys
Another great week it has been in the service of the Lord.  We traveled quite a bit this past week, attending the 3 conferences that we planned in the mission with Elder Zivic, a member of the first quorom of the seventy.  All the preparations and planning really paid off as we were able to be instruct from on high by a servant of the Lord.  It certainly was a great priveledge being present in all three conferences to listen to every detail and teaching from Elder Zivic and his wife.  In the conferences, Elder Azueta and I gave a 10 minute presentation on the vision, goals, and plans of the mission in 2013.  It was great to be able to present it to the whole mission so that every companionship and missionary has the same mindset and expectation of what they can achieve.  My favorite part of the mission tour with Elder Zivic was the interview Elder Azueta and I had with him, his wife, President Kusch, and Sister Kusch.  He asked us several questions about the mission, how we can improve, how are we setting the example, etc.  At the end, Elder Zivic asked President Kusch and Sister Kusch to share their feelings about us.  They both began to cry a little as they expressed to him that we are diligent and faithful in everything that we do.  President Kusch said that he hasnt met many young men like us.  The Spirit was very strong in that moment and I loved what Elder Zivic said after they had basically praised us and our work.  He said, Well I hope that is all true.  I hope you two also realize that after hearing that directly from them, that you are now under even more responsibility to be as perfect as you can be as representatives of Christ and as missionaries in this mission.  I felt the Spirit so strong when he said that and I felt the great expectations that the Lord has for me, the same expectation expressed in the scriptures "Be ye therefore PERFECT".  Elder Zivic corrected us in many ways while here.  He emphasized the importance of baptisms that we as a mission perhaps had lost for a while.  He also corrected how we as assistants work.  For example, this week we were going to travel to Acapulco, Cuatla, Chilpancingo, and Zihuatenejo to give our training to the other zones during interviews.  Elder Zivic said that is is not ok that we are outside of our area for so long and that it would be impossible for us to set the example for the mission with so little time working in our own area.  So all of our trainings have been cancelled and for the first time in this area, we will be working everyday in our area.  We feel a little sad because we really loved being able to help the missionaries to get better, but we are so excited to be able to work to have several baptisms and set the example for the mission.  As a mission, we are struggling right now as far as baptisms go and Elder Azueta and I are resolved to help fix that by putting the example.  Last week, we were going to baptize a family of 3 on Saturday.  We taught them on Friday night and they were totally ready for their interview Saturday morning.  When we arrived to have the interview,they were not there and they didnt answer their phone all day.  We still dont know why they disappeared so we are praying with a lot of faith to be able to find them this week and have their baptism this saturday.  A positive thing that happened in our area was a great lesson with a young woman named Alejandra.  We had taught her before Christmas because she studies here in Cuernavaca.  She went home to her village for the holidays and just got back.  While she was gone she read the Book of Mormon a little and prayed.  She told us she feels she has felt an answer that it is true and wants to get baptized this coming saturday!  She came to church and is so excited to get baptized.  The women in the relief society have done a great job fellowshipping her and getting her excited for her baptism.  So we are praying and working to have four baptisms this saturday and the rest of the work we will do will be to havve many people to baptize for next month.  While reading the talk by President Monson from General Conference this morning, I felt the Spirit testify to me that as we see others, not as they are, but how they can become with a testimony and conversion of the Gospel, we can change the attitudes and mindsets around us.  We may think that someone will never repent or never change and if we think that way, we will never be able to help them.  But if we see them how they can become, we will receive the direction and revelation from heaven to know how to help them change.  I know that is true because I have seen many people change that at first, didnt seem like they ever had a chance.  Love you all!  Make sure you see people how they can become with the potential they have so that you can help them progress and be happier.  Also, dont forget to see yourselves with the divine potential that you have because by setting goals and striving to achieve them, we can become better everyday.  Lots of Love!
Elder Stutz 

Cuando No Hay Salida

Hey Everyone!
We had another busy week, traveling all over the place.  We took the missionaries that finished their mission to the bus station on Wednesday.  One of my best friends from the mission, Elder Smith, was one of the ones that finished.  When he left he reminded me when we did divisions together and had several spiritual experiences while teaching investigators.  We told me that since that day he could always trust me because I simply listened to and sincerely tried to help the people improve their lives by coming unto Christ.  After thinking about his comments, I realized that the key to successful teaching is love for the learner.  Right now, Elder Azueta and I are excited because a member of the Seventy is coming to the mission this week.  We are going to be doing a mission tour with him the whole week in several parts of the mission.  He has also asked Elder Azueta and I to prepare ourselves for an hour long interview with him where we will present to he several bits of information about the mission and how it will get better.  We have created a powerpoint presentation to help him see our vision, plans, and goals for 2013 in the Mexico Cuernavaca Mission.  This past week we had interviews with President and I had a very uplifting one with him.  We talked about gifts, talents, leadership, and post-mission plans.  During the interviews, Elder Azueta and I gave a training presentation to the missionaries.  Using a lot of parables of sports and a couple inspired videos, we taught the missionaries of the importance of having spiritual district meetings every week, of motivating your companion to reach his or her greatest potential, and of using the Atonement daily so that we can be worthy servants of our Savior Jesus Christ.  I felt the Spirit every time we would make a promise to those missionaries about their happiness, conversion, etc. if they follow the council we have given them.  We will continue to give that presentation throughout the zones in the last few weeks of the month.  I went back to Iguala for the first time since about a year ago this past week for interviews and it felt great to be back.  I actually saw a young man in the church named Pepeo from the Tamarindos ward.  A year ago, he was inactive (being the only member in his family) and we were working with him so that he would return to church.  When began talking there in the church and he told me that tomorrow he is leaving to go to Chile to serve a full-time mission!!!!  It was quite the shock but I was so happy to hear that he has changed and that he is acting upon the desires he has to help others be happy.  Yesterday in church, we started our new ward mission plan here in the Palmas ward.  The bishop came up with a great idea to take pictures of every family in the ward and glue the picture in a book of mormon to give to each family of members.  We gave the members their books with their picture in it and with the instruction to write their testimonies inside and give it to a friend.  The members seemed excited as we passed out the books and I know that this idea will bring forth fruits because it was direct revelation from the Lord to the bishop and his conselors.  We also taught Norma, Abram, and Karen this week when they got back from Christmas vacation in Acapulco.  They told us that while they were there, they shared the gospel with all their family members and that they are now receiving the lessons from the elders there.  After having sharing the Gospel, they are a lot more excited for their baptism and to actually become members.  They have baptismal date for this week so we are looking forward to finally being able to baptize in this ward!  Yesterday before church, we had a pretty funny experience in the house.  Elder Azueta went into the bathroom to shower and get ready for church.  When he finished, he tried to open the door but it wouldnt open when he turned the doorknob.  After messing with the doorknob for about fifteen minutes, we decided that we needed to remove the doorknob because it had apparently broke.  I slide a knife under the door so that Elder Azueta could remove the screws to be able to take off the doorknob.  We successfully got the doorknob off but the lock didnt come out of the door, so it still didnt open.  With plyers, we tried to pull the lock out but it wasnt working.  After about an hour and half, Elder Azueta was getting a little claustrophobic and he was getting pretty desperate to get out.  He wanted to jump out the window but we life on the fourth floor so that definitely wasnt an option.  I found a hammer in the house and started ripping apart the door so I could get to the lock.  After two hours of sitting in a tiny bathroom, we successfully opened the door!!  Elder Azueta was telling me that it was so frustrating to want to leave a small space and then not being able to leave by turning the doorknob.  I thought about our experience during the day and related it to our lives.  Sometimes, due to sin, mistakes, addictions, pleasures, tragedies, etc. we find ourselves locked in a small room of pain, regret, despair, or embaressment.  Many of us look for solutions wherever we can find them in this life, through money, fame, drinking, drugs, etc.  These are not real solutions.  The only person or thing that can open that door is Jesus Christ.  He can helps us change.  He can help us find happiness and erase feelings of guilt or regret.  I have experienced His healing in my life and I know that when we come unto Him, we will feel relief just like Elder Azueta felt when he finally got out of that bathroom.  I hope everyone has a great week!  Love you all!!!!
Elder Stutz    

Mi Gozo Es Más Completo Por El Éxito De Mis Hermanos

Hey Everyone
Hopefully everyone is enjoying the new year because we sure are.  Elder Azueta and I had a very busy week last week with trips to and from the airport, mission counsel, transfers, and other things to help president out.  We were actually so busy that we didnt teach any lessons in our own area.  We had the mission counsel with the zone leaders last wednesday.  It was a great meeting, especially because we just had transfers and we invited the new zone leaders to come.  All the new zone leaders are missionaries with experience that I have a great friendship with so it was great to see all of them there, ready to begin their service.  Elder Azueta and I felt the Spirit so strong as we trained the zone leaders and also when President taught us about personal conversion and the importance of being excellent teachers and excellent missionaries.  One thing I love about being assistant is being able to be instructed by president at random times during the day.  For example, in our attempt to have a more obedient mission, president has had to send several elders home recently.  It is a sad event but as we felt that sadness for our fellow brethren, president taught us of the importance of obedience.  He has told us that in all of his experiences as a priesthood leader, he has never faced serious problems of people that have been obedient to the Gospel.  Those who are disobedient later have problems that can become very serious.  I am grateful for the opportunity to be obedient and earn the blessings that the Lord is willing to give me.  I have also had the opportunity to apply the atonement and sacrifice my own will to accept the will of the Lord the last couple of weeks.  The ward we are currently in is an amazing ward.  The bishop is amazing and the members are usually willing to work.  Our ward mission leader is the best!!!  He got reactivated recently and is giving it his all in his calling.  The unfortunate thing is that we never have time to see the members, get to know them, work with their references, etc.  Every time we set up appointments with the bishop or ward mission leader, we have to cancel for things that come up in the mission.  It is the ward that I have always wanted in the mission.  I always feel terrible for our lack of time and for not being able to participate in the missionary work in the ward.  I have had to apply the atonement to overcome those feelings of disappointment or sadness.  The positive thing is that I have been blessed with a lot of joy as I have witnessed the success of my brethren in the mission.  Like Alma (Alma 29:14), my joy is more complete when I see the success of the other missionaries and when I am able to serve them so that they have more success.  I am also so grateful for the opportunity to constantly help the elders in the mission become more converted to the Savior.  I received an answer to my prayers this past week as I was trying to overcome feelings of disappointment.  As I read the Liahona, I found a quote from one of my ancestors named John Tanner.  He said, ¨Conversion is the greatest miracle.  It is even more wonderful than healing the sick or raising the dead.  For while a person who is healed will eventually fall sick again and ultimately die, the miracle of conversion can last forever and affect the eternities for the convert as well as for his or her posterity.  Whole generations are healed and redeemed from death through the miracle of conversion.¨  I know that as we invite others to come unto Christ, we are offering eternal happiness and it is even greater than healing a blind man or raising the dead.  I also know that as we work with the missionaries in the mission, focusing on their personal conversion, we will see an infinite amount of eternal fruit for our efforts.  I am always willing to give up my own will so that the will of the Lord can rescue my fellow brethren and give them success.  I love being able to be a part of such a humbling work.  I love you all!!!!
Elder Stutz