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