Friday, October 10, 2014

August 20, 2014

Hola mi familia y amigos!
First things first, um can you believe that I am over half way done at the MTC?! I'm freaking out! we are leaving in 19 days! I feel extremely unprepared for Argentina! Although I have grown SO MUCH, I still feel like I have a million things I need to work on and I wont even start with the spanish haha I'm basically planning on getting to Argentina and just having a constant blank stare on my face! I love the MTC so much and I know its going to be so sad to leave this place. Its honestly the most spiritual place I've EVER been and I have met some amazing friends here! Its kind of fun being the only hermanas in our zone because we have gotten really close with all the elders. I have been completely shocked at how mature and grown up most (emphasis on the most) of them are! For just being little 18 year olds straight out of high school, I cannot believe the spiritual maturity of them. I am constantly striving to be more like them. I never thought I'd say this, but I forget that I'm 3 years older then them and most the time I think I act younger then them haha. 

My district is honestly the best! We have alot of fun together. We started playing this game called "what are the odds" so you say "what are the odds you'll (insert something crazy) and then the other person will say 1-18 or 1-58 or 1-100 and then you count down from 3 and if you both say the same number the person has to do that thing. For example, I got the WORST one ever! Hermana Allen at lunch the other day said "what are the odds you'll let me touch your neck for 30 seconds" (she knows my phobia of my neck being touched) I said 1 in 100 so they counted down and we both said 30!!! I DIED! like literally wanted to cry! I caused a huge scene in the lunch room and everyone was laughing. Now all the elders know that I have the weirdest fear ever. Anyways we have done some really really funny ones! I would also like you all to know that I have become the 4 square champion at gym time. We play as a district since its like the only "sport" you can do with elders and sisters together and its gets crazy! We also had a really cool opportunity this week to fast as a district for our language and for my companion Hermana Golder, and I totally have a testimony on the power of fasting and prayer...especially in numbers. I wouldn't say that things got any easier for us this week...I'll get to more of that later, but I will tell you that prayers have been answered and hearts have been changed for the better and I know that even though Heavenly Father doesn't take away our pains and trials, we can ALWAYS learn from what we are given. 

My companion is slowly recovering and things are slowly getting better, but Sunday night I really started to feel this huge weight on my back and I got so overwhelmed I didn't know what to do. I haven't slept in 4 nights. I would lay in bed and just toss and turn and if I would fall asleep it would only be for a half hour or so and it finally caught up to me..Monday morning I would say was my breaking point.I have felt like a failure so far on my mission because I have felt like I'm not working hard enough, I'm not getting the language fast enough, I'm missing class, I'm struggling to focus, I even felt like I was failing with loving my companion because sometimes it was just plain hard!  I finally went in to the psychologist because I felt like I really needed to get some help. He made me take a stress/anxiety test and luckily my results were above the point of needing serious help but I told him I just wanted to talk things out! He was so helpful and I realized alot of things about myself as I talked to him. I realized that I put alot of pressure on myself and I base my success off results. Well I quickly realized after talking to him that it is not going to work for me on my mission to think like that because if I am basing my success as a missionary off of results, I'm going to always feel like a failure because people have their agency. He asked me how he things Heavenly Father feels of me as a missionary and what he bases my success off of....I immediately began crying because I knew that my Heavenly Father is proud of me and as long as I'm doing my best, thats all that matters. I can't do more than that. The thing that has been hard for me is always having to be responsible for someone else too. When I was at school, I was all on my own to get good grades and feel successful, but here, I am really struggling to try to bring both of us to the level where I want us to be. But after I talked to the psychologist, I told my companion we needed to go for a walk and we just talked things out. I told her why I do things the way I do it and why I push myself to be a better missionary and she wasn't really getting it because for her she just wants to take it one thing at a time and doesn't like to challenge herself which is the hardest thing for me to deal with. Anyways later that day, we skipped gym to just talk and we were laying on our beds and I asked her if she would read the 4th missionary talk to me out loud. So we began reading it together (I've already read it but I wanted her to get something out of it too) so anyways she was reading it and I fell asleep. When I woke up she said with tears in her eyes "Hermana, I know why you challenge yourself and why you want to work hard" I said why and she said "I finished reading that talk and it all makes sense, I want to be the 4th missionary too" It was an answer to my prayers because she finally understood me and not only that but she found a desire to work a little harder! 

We got a "progressing investigator" this week, which means they aren't just our teacher pretending to be our investigator. Anyways our investigator is REAL! Most are just members pretending, but ours is 100% real and we had the best lesson EVER with him last night! the gift of tongues is real and I love leaving a lesson where you know that the spirit was teaching and not just you. After our lesson, we went to dinner and our investigator was eating at a table by himself so I told Hermana Golder we should go sit by him. We got to know him a ton better (plus he was able to speak to us in english a little bit because he is trying to learn english) but he started asking us some extremely deep questions and it was so cool to be able to testify to him and he said "you know I've read the book of mormon twice and I know alot about your church. I know I'll get baptized eventually, Im just not ready yet" so now our challenge is to figure out what is stopping him!  I can't wait to have experiences like that on the mission! Last night at our devotional, I had a very sacred experience that I wont go into detail about, but I KNOW that there is a family waiting for me in Argentina...maybe not to be baptized, but definitely in need of something I can give them. As scared as I am to go out there and be in a totally new environment and not knowing how to communicate, I know that I will love those people! I am holding nothing back, and I'm learning to work hard. I have never been so tired in my life, but its a different kind of tired. I've never been so stressed in my life, but its a different type of stress. I couldn't even put it into words if I tried. But I love it! I am astounded by the amount of revelation I receive each day! Its amazing what putting away worldly things does for the spirit! I dont even miss facebook, music, my cell phone because I have something so much better! I have learned to truly LISTEN and its cool how often I recognize the spirit speaking to me now! 

I want to end by telling you the advice that my branch presidents wife tells us EVERY single time she sees us. these are her exact words
1) Work harder than EVERYBODY else. No one else knows how to work as hard as you do.
2) Love like you've never loved before- learn to love. Everybody just wants to feel loved...isn't that crazy?!
3) Best part- SMILE!
I wish you could all hear her when she says it because she says it so powerfully and with tears in her eyes every single time. I Am working really hard on those 3 things right now! 

Anyways I'm out of time, but I just want to thank everyone for the love and support and letters! I wish I had the time to personally write everyone! But know that I love and pray for you always! 

-Hermana Stewart

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