Thursday, April 18, 2013

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    

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