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 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