Monday, November 24, 2014

November 24, 2014

Don't eat the Chicken

Well here I am once again writing you in the smoke filled, sketchy computer room with all the lazy men who are addicted to computer games! This is my last week of my 12 week training and Im so excited! Where did these 3 months go?!
This week was an interesting one and sadly I have NO stories about teaching, because we literally only taught about 6 lessons all week! Tuesday we had our weekly district meeting and Hermana Bustamante and I had to teach the elders about the worth of souls. We werent super prepared to teach, but it ended up being really good and we were able to teach by the spirit and it was one of the first times that I felt like we taught really well together! After the meeting we tried to do some tracting, but as always we never have success with that. We ate lunch at our "moms house" and she made us probably the most unhealthy meal ive ever eaten but it was so good. Homemade french fries with meat, fried onions and a fried egg on top. EVERYTHING FRIED! yeah if i come home 20 lbs heavier Im sorry, its not my fault. haha It was bad because Ive been trying to eat good because Ive been sick and then she feeds us that. Wednesday we had to go to pocitos to the doctor because Ive had a non stop headache for 2 weeks now, and the missions president sent us to a doctor there because he is a member. well guess what kind of doctor she sent us to?! a gynocologist! bahaha It was a little weird to be waiting in a waiting room with a bunch of pregnant women and heres the missionaries too. haha Our "mom" came with us and it was actually a good time. We had to wait 3 hours for the doctor so we ended up walking around and we went into bolivia for a little bit! She bought us empanadas and coca cola (my favorite!) And we just laughed the whole time because in the waiting room in the clinic, everyone had the saddest of they were on point to die. The doctor told me I have alot of "stress" haha well thats not anything new, I am just like my mom ;) 
So that took up most of our day Wednesday and then thursday I had my first interview with the president! It was sooo good to have a one on one talk with him and he literally can read me I think. He gave me some really good advice and really helped me refocus a little on why Im here. The first thing he told me is that my spanish is incredible but I think he tells every missionary that to boost their confidence haha. But he really is an inspiring man with alot of love. Im grateful for him because apparently the last mission president was a little rough and would chew the missionaries out if they werent baptizing. Wanna know what my mission president told me? "Hermana its not about the baptisms, when youre in front of the savior hes not going to ask you how many baptisms you had, hes going to ask you if you bore your testimony, if you loved the people, if you learned and grew" 
Anyways the interview was really good! Afterwards we had to head to Salta to work on my visa papers. So it was an 8 hour bus ride to salta and we didnt get there until almost midnight. We stayed the night with the hermanas in Salta. And then friday we went to the mission office and I just followed the elders around to all these different places to do my papers. It was really boring actually. And we have to go back to Salta tomorrow! so another 16 hours in bus!  But the best part was we had to wait for our bus back to salta and had about 4 hours to just walk around salta! It was a DREAM! I am in love with salta. I wasnt able to see it when I got here because I went straight to my area, but it is beautiful! I felt like I was in Europe or Spain! I didnt realize that Salta is super touristic! there is so much to do! I am definately coming back here after the mission to do all the things I cant do as a missionary! Who wants to come with me?! 
We didnt get back to Aguaray until late friday night and then saturday morning we had to do our weekly planning because we werent able to do it thursday like normal. So that took up time and then we went to eat lunch at Hermano Sixtos house and we ate this chicken that I dont think was quite ready because later that day after our studying, we were in La loma about to go teach all our investigators and it hit me. And it hit me hard. I thought I was going to die. I told my companion we had to find a bathroom asap! But as to our luck, we were super far away from our apartment and no one in Loma has bathroom because its super poor there. So we decided to go to the church which was like a 10 minute walk, I was huntched over trying not to loose everything inside of me and my companion was laughing so hard. It was really funny, but not at the same time. We barely made it in time to the church and I was able to make it to the bathroom. haha So we ended up not teaching that night. We really have bad luck and I really think everything bad that could happen has happened to me here in Aguaray but it really makes for some funny memories. 
Oh the funniest thing happened the other day in language study with my companion. I was just sitting there studying by myself and all the sudden my companion goes "que significa" (what does this mean) and flat out says the F word! I DIED! I have no idea where she heard it but it was so funny because she was being so innocent! The language barrier is so funny to me sometimes! 
So yeah this week we really didnt have any miracles, but as always I have learned something. This week I have been really thinking about the restoration of the gospel and what it has done for me. Everyday I wrote in my journal something that happened that day that happened because of the restoration. For example, thanks to the restoration, thursday I was able to recieve a priesthood blessing from the elders. If the restoration hadnt have happened, we wouldnt have the priesthood. Thanks to the restoration, I was able to pray to my heavenly father every single day because I have the knowledge that he is my heavenly father and he loves me. Thanks to the restoration, My mission president was able to share some inspired scriptures in the book of mormon with me. Thanks the the restoration, I was able to renew my covents yesterday as I portook of the sacrament. I started to realize how many blessings I have because of one moment in time! I am so grateful for the restored gospel!! 
Well thats my adventure filled week! Next pday I will probably have a new companion! I cant believe its already time for changes! Time is flying and Im just trying to enjoy every minute because I know I wont ever get this time back in my life! 

Hoping you all had a great week!  I love you all!!! 

-hermana stewart 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

November 17, 2014

Thank Goodness for Skirts with Pockets
well this week went by way too fast that I honestly dont remember anything that happened! Was it not just monday? 
After pday ended last week we went to La loma to do an activity with all the kids there. we made name badges and we were planning on going around to teach other people there. we handed out pass along cards and pamplets for them to give out to there parents and friends. it didnt go quite as we had planned, and I realized one of my weaknesses is I dont have patience especially when there is a million kids haha it was tough and I had to repent afterwards. Its hard to maintain a bunch of kids especially with the language barrior! haha but it was a good learning experience for sure. 
Tuesday we had zone conference and the zone leader called on me to give a talk in front of everyone without any notice! um talk about scary! but I was able to do it and I was suprised at how much I was able to teach...well obviously it wasnt me it was the spirit! 
Wednesday we had a hilarious experience! So we always eat lunch at a members house every wednesday and usually she makes really good food! we were so hungry and so excited to eat. We get to her house and she made something called Culpi, which I dont know how to explain it other than its kind of like meatloaf with cheese. We both looked at each other and wanted to die. And the worst part was she put 2 HUGE pieces on both of our plates! I didnt know what to do! haha luckily she had salad so my companion and i were eating as much salad as possible and everytime we looked at each other we started to laugh because neither of us were eating the culpi. This member never stops talking! she doesnt eat with us she just sits there and talks and talks and talks. so we were both trying to figure out what we could do. I noticed my companion was spooning hers into a bowl under the table and then put half a lemon on top to cover it. I didnt know what to do. I was literally to the point where I was thinking I would just put it in my backpack and deal with the mess later. Then the member was like "eat!" haha so I remembered I was wearing a skirt with pockets! saved my life! I grabbed a paper towel and wrapped it up and put it in my skirt! When we left I pulled it out of my pocket and asked my companion if she wanted some and we couldnt stop laughing! Now I am grateful for skirts with pockets! 
So our mission president told us that from now on we have to focus on priesthood, finding and reactivating. So this week everytime we see a man or a group of guys we say "sacerdocio!" (priesthood) haha I think its kind of funny that now we are told to look for and teach only men. Is it bad that I only look at men for their potential to hold the priesthood? absolutely not! haha so we are going to find priesthood because without it this area will never grow! So saturday we went to a members house to eat and this member has 9 kids...and 8 of them were there with their families! it was packed! we ate empenadas and it was a good time. The funniest part was my companion and I were both counting how many priesthood holder we could have..we counted 8 that are either not members or not active! 8 sacerdocio in one room!!!
I asked them if they were going to go to church the next day and they all said yes (everyone always says yes! and never comes!) So I took the initiative to ask if we could teach something and I found a scripture in the bible where Jesus is using a parabol. There are 2 sons and the father asks them to do something and the first son says he doesnt want to but then repents and does it. The second one says he will do it and doesnt. Then jesus asks which one is better? and he says the first one. So I used this scripture to be direct with them. One of them told me he promised he would he was drinking and smoking. I told him he owed me 10 pesos if he didnt come. Well the next day I honestly didnt think he would come...but we got out of relief society and he was there! I was in shock and he said "Im the first son" haha it was funny. So anyways we are working on priesthood which is a huge challenge because the men here are really hard headed but we are going to do it!
I also had my first experience with a drunk. it was both sad and hilarious. It was the middle of the day and we were walking to an appointment and a man on a motorcycle was pulled of the the side of the road and he called out to us and we went over to him (because its priesthood of course!) and he asked us to preach to him because he wanted to change his life. He started crying and saying how he didnt want to go home to his wife and son because he was drunk. It was really sad. We tried to teach him but it was kind of hard because he obviously wasnt in the right mindset. I told him we had to leave and he started crying and saying he wanted us to teach him. we asked him if he would even remember what we taught him and he said no.  haha We finally got away and we were walking and all the sudden he pulls up on his motorcycle! we told him he needed to rest and not drive while he was drunk. but obviously he didnt listen to us and off he went. The sad part is there isnt police here so there was nothing we could do except pray. So that was an adventure.
Oh also we had quite the experience saturday night. We always teach a book of mormon class for the members and no one showed up except the branch president and his wife. so we were teaching them and we were teaching about pride and all the sudden they started FIGHTING! like yelling at each other in the church! it was crazy. my companion and I literally had no words. the spirit was gone and we just sat there. It was a disaster. there are alot of problems in their marriage and its carried into the church and its really sad. So right now my companion and I really dont know what to do. We literally have to run the church here its quite stressful! we have so many responsibilities but its really opened my eyes and helped me rise up to become better...or at least work on becoming better. 
Well that was some of my adventures for the week. My favorite thing to do is read from the scriptures and learn! I have learned so much from the bible and the book of mormon in the 3 months Ive been here and I love it! I love finding answers to questions that our investigators have or to realize that prophets in the scriptures experienced similar things that we experience as missionaries! I know that this gospel is true and no one can convince me otherwise!!!
I hope all is well back at home and you are enjoying this wonderful time of year! Know that I think about and pray for you daily!

con mucho amor,
hermana stewart 

November 10, 2014

This week was quite an interesting one full of ups and downs last monday when pday ended we had family home evening at a members house and it was a blast. They asked me a while back what I missed back at home and i said brownies and ice cream. so guess what they made me?! yup! brownies and ice cream! It was especially nice because they dont know what brownies are here so for them to figure out how to make them was so nice! And they made us a pizza! the best part was their daughter is a returned missionary and she invited a non member and did the entire family night! we played games and talked and had a great lesson. We need more members like them here!
This week we walked so much I think my legs are going to fall off! for some reason all our investigators live really far from each other. Wednesday I literally think we walked all of Aguaray! And the worst part was we had a hard time finding anyone at home! so the work was a little slow this week. Also I have been sick with la gripe (sounds worse in spanish than in english...its just the flu) but I will be honest it was pretty tough to push myself to work hard and to leave the apartment while being so sick. But I felt that if I did my part and worked hard, the lord would bless me. Along with la gripe, something bit me on wednesday and my leg swole up like a baseball and was hard as a rock. It hurt to walk haha and yesterday it turned purple so my companion freaked out and said we had to go to the doctor because i would probably lose my leg if we didnt. So we went to the sketchy hospital here only to find out that I am allergic to bites. Great so everytime I get bit now im going to have a fat leg. But he gave me a bunch of drugs so Im happy. haha honestly its hilarious the things that i have had to pass through here but I kind of love the adventure of it all.
I realized this week that Heavenly father has been preparing me all week to hear the news of Grandpas passing. This is how. This week we found a new investigator and I think shes golden! We knocked her door one afternoon and she came out and asked us what we sell. haha We told her we had a message of Jesus Christ and she goes "listen..." right then my companion and I looked at each other because we knew she was going to say she was catholic like everyone else does. But she surprised us and said she didnt have time right then but we are welcome in her house at anytime! what!? we were in shock that someone was so nice to us! we werent able to go back for a couple of days but she lives right by us and one night we had a little bit of time before we had to be home so we stopped by. We were talking to her for a little bit outside. Before we had found her, one day we had walked past her house and saw there was a funeral going on. So this was kind of a perfect opportunity to bring it up. We started asking about her mom who had passed away. and her daughter came outside. she is 23 years old and sooo nice! we were just chatting and we were about to leave and her daughter goes " I have a question...where do we go after this life?" Um what?! no one ever just asks this question! so we gave them the plan of salvation pamphlet and answered her questions because she had alot! We still havent been able to teach a full lesson but i have faith that something is going to happen with them. But it was an opportunity to teach and testify of the plan of salvation.
Also we had lunch witha memeber and her daughter is dying of cancer but her kids and husband didnt want to tell her how serious it was. Well right when we showed up for lunch they had just got done telling her and it was horrible timing! she came out and just hugged me and cried on my shoulder for 5 minutes. But earlier that day i had studied adversity and I was able to share what I had learned with her. I found a scripture about how we cant see with our nautural eyes the plann of God and after tribulation comes the blessings. As I look back on this week I realized how heavenly father prepared me through the members and through investigators. I had shared alot of scriptures about peace and comfort with them and now they are able to help me in this extremely difficult time. I am grateful for the knowlege I have that my family can be together forever.And I know that grandma and grandpa stewart are here with me and with their other grandkids who are serving. I definately need their help here in Argentina.
With all the walking we did ad for not having taught many lessons this week we had a miracle of 7 investigators in church yesterday!! granted 5 of them are kids but still. We are working in an area that is really poor and they speak another language there. and there are so many kids! we always go there to teach a less active family but now the mom is active and brings all the kids that live around there to church. They get so excited when we come. we like to work there in Loma because we feel famous. the kids come RUNNING when they see us. and there is this little boy about 4 years old that always runs to his house to get the pamphlet that we left with his brother. haha its so cute. Tonight we have an activity planned there that Im really excited for. we made missionary plaques for all of them just like ours and we are all going to go around Loma and preach the gospel. I love their excitement and hopefully we can work with their parents so the kids can get baptized.
But that was basically my week! there is always a million things I could say and not time to say it! but know that I am doing fine here because I have the help of my savior. I know I am not alone here.
I wish I could be there with the family for the funeral, but I send my love to you all. I loved grandpa so much. But I have felt his hugs from the other side!
hope all is well back home! stay strong!
con mucho amor, hermana stewart

This is for grandpa. I wish I could be there for the funeral. I send my love!

This is my sombreo...if its a rule that I have to wear a sombreo it has to be a cute one right?

November 3, 2014

Another week gone by?! Time is flying! I cant believe that I completed 3 months this past week. I only have 4 more weeks left of my training and I cant say that I´m sad at all haha I am excited to get a new companion and be done with my first 3 months in the field because everyone says the first 3 months are the hardest. so Ive almost conquered the hardest part of my mission...well I dont know if I believe that but I am excited to continue to learn more. I have seriously learned so much out here! 
This week we had divisions again but this time I stayed in my area with the sister training leader and we were together for 2 days. I liked it alot and she helped me with some of the problems that we have here in our area. One thing that I loved about working with her was we taught a ton of lessons. Something that my companion and I need to work on is cutting our time that we spend in investigators and members houses. I´m trying to help my companion with this right now because she likes to talk and is perfectly fine with wasting time in members I´m trying to be a leader and an example and after learning from the sister training leader I have alot more confidence that we can do better. 
we had a miracle with one of our investigators during divisions. Our investigator that is really shy and speaks another language usually doesnt talk much and is really hard to understand. And I was really nervous that it would be worse with a different missionary but she opened up to us a ton and we taught her about baptism and she understood! Also when I asked who she wanted to say the prayer she said she wanted to! Which NEVER happens!  Our 7 lessons about prayer have finally paid off! she wants to get baptized. But then she asked us why she cant get baptized is she isn´t married. So we taught the law of chastity and we told her that she needs to get married to her "pareja" or she needs to get separated. She told us she is going to wait for the right moment to leave him. Its going to be a challenge because she realies on him for money and shes the one that literally has nothing. But I am going to pray really hard that she can find the strength to do it. When we were getting ready to leave she told me that she always waits for us to come and she misses us when we arent there. She said that before she met us she didn´t feel anything but now she does and she knows that what we teach is true. Even though she learns really slow and doesnt understand everything we teach, she has a testimony and it makes me so happy! 
Right now we have a major challenge because we have 7 people that are ready for baptism but every single one of them is missing something. We have 4 kids that really want to get baptized but their parents wont give them permission. They are AWESOME! they understand everything we teach and they come to church every sunday by themselves. We always teach them in the home of a less active family. They all live in the really poor part of our area and when we come they all come running the house! Theres always a ton of kids there while we teach and this time during the lesson I realized there was a new little girl.She was listening and being so good and after when we were walking away she ran to us and said that she wanted to learn more and wanted us to teach her family! So we contacted her mom and she let us teach her too! And this week the little girl came to church all by herself without us inviting her! It was awesome! But anyways we have alot of kids that want to get baptized just need to work with their parents which sometimes is really hard.
Also we have hermano maximo that said he didn´t know if the book of mormon was true or not. Well now he says he knows it is true but he says he wont get baptized until the end of the year. We dont know why. We tried to set a date with him and have him pray to know if he should be baptized the next week and he is a little stubborn about it. And then we have hermana Sixto that is waiting for his divorce papers. Right now its just a big waiting game. I am going to pray really hard that miracles can happen this week because we need baptisms here!
So I want to tell you about my halloween experience! My companion and I were a little sad that no one really celebrates halloween here and its kind of boring here in our little town. So we decided that when we got home from teaching that night we were going to make brownies and do something fun for halloween. Well we were teaching in an area really far away from our apartment and it started to sprinkle. This area that we were in is really poor and so we always teach outside. We were teaching the ramirez family (the ones that are inactive with all the kids) And there is this little boy that is so funny. I had my waterbottle and I poured a little on his head and said it was raining. Well halfway through the lesson I hear this little voice say " its raining" and he had a bucket of water and poured it on me! haha Well 5 minutes later it started to POUR! I have NEVER seen rain like that before! we were not prepared at all! So here we are teaching the plan of salvation in the pouring rain under a tin roof with tons of little kids. so funny!  When it came time to leave we were so scared haha. But it was hilarious. We literally just laughed the whole way home. It took us about 30 minutes to walk home because we couldn´t see and it was literally a RIVER in the streets! I wish I could have taken a picture. I was pretty sure it was a hurricane. We ended up going home early because we were soaked to the bone. So we were all excited to go home to shower and make brownies. we get home and the power was out! (its ALWAYS out here. almost every night the power goes out) So we made brownies by candlelight. I think heavenly father has a sense of humor because we wanted to have a fun halloween. But it was so nice to have a break from the heat. its been raining ever since and I perfer this over the heat! I am not looking forward to having the sun come again. 
yesterday we had "ward conference" and the district president came and he wanted to have an interview with us. We were pretty scared but it ended up being him giving us some counsel on what we can do here because our branch is really struggling and there is problems with our branch president and anyways it was really nice to get some counsel and also he chewed all the members out for not feeding us and giving us the love that we need. haha we will see if anything changes. 
Well not much else happened this week! I just want you all to know that I know this church is true with everything I have. Really studying from the scriptures has helped my testimony so so much. If anyone doesnt have a testimony, they need to read the scriptures. I am to the point where I can read and understand my scriptures in spanish and its great! Its been hard to not let myself read my english scriptures but its paying off because its helped me learn the language. I love the scriptures! 

Well I send lots of love all the way from Aguaray argentina! I love you all! 

hermana stewart 

October 27, 2014

Sorry this email might be all over the place. usually I write out the things I kind of want to say before I email but I didn´t have time this week! things here are getting better and I am slowly starting to adjust to things! 
Tuesday after our district meeting, the zone leader pulled me and my companion aside and asked if we wanted a blessing because he kept getting a strong feeling like we needed one! Oh my heck I was so happy! I have been wanting a priesthood blessing since I got here but havent wanted to ask for one. So I got my first priesthood blessing in spanish and it was so awesome. the spirit was strong! the power of the priesthood is real! And the best part was after, we had a miracle that day!! Our investigator Maximo, has been listening to the missionaries for 14 years, and he comes to church every single week. His grandson was the one that we baptized a couple of weeks ago. Anyways that day, we went to his house planning to visit his grandkids (we had kind of dropped him because he said he needed time) Well his grandkids weren´t there so we ended up teaching him. He started asking us about tithing because he wants to pay it! WHAT?! Not even the members here pay tithing and our investigator wants to pay tithing?! We started asking him why he wants to pay tithing and why he goes to church every week but doesn´t want to be baptized. And I felt like I needed to ask him if he had a testimony of the book of mormon. He thought for a second and said "no I dont have a testimony of the book of mormon, I dont know if it is true" I know it sounds weird but this is a good thing because we FINALLY figured out what it is that is hindering him from getting baptized. I told him that everything that we have taught him and the other missionaries have taught him all lies on if the book of mormon is true and without a testimony he wont ever progress with the gospel. So we committed him to read and pray to know if the book of mormon is true. The sad part is he texted us the next day and told us he was admitted to the hospital because he was having problems breathing. But yesterday he text us and asked if we would visit him in the hospital so after church we went to the hospital which real quick, is the most SKETCHY hospital I have ever seen! I hope I never have to go there! haha it was so scary. Anyways the fact that he texts us and wants us to visit him is a miracle as well. He is finally progressing and once he gets out of the hospital we are going to help him prepare for baptism! 
Also we had another miracle this week because our investigator Hermana Beruti, the lady that speaks another language, is progressing slowly. Before, she would HARDLY talk during the lessons and she is really hard to teach because she learns so slow. Well we visited her and she opened up a little and began to cry and tell us the things that she is going through right now. We were able to pray with her and invited her to pray that night for those things. The next day we went to visit her and she was smiling (which she never does) and said that god answered her prayer. She also went to church with us yesterday and brought her little granddaughter and I think she liked it. The only problem is she doesn´t understand much. We literally have taught her how to pray 7 times, but i think she is starting to understand so its worth it! And to see her be relieved from a little bit of pain was so worth it as well.
So this week I found out something crazy! my companion is really 31! what?! haha she literally could be my mom! its a little awkward knowing she is 10 years older than me, but at the same time its cool because she made alot of sacrifices to be here. I think it helped me appreciate her a little more.
Saturday we went and made pizza with Hermana Sixto (my grandpa here) and it was kind of sad because before we were talking if we should drop him because he literally know EVERYTHING and we spend alot of time at his house and yet hes not progressing because he needs to get a divorce and here its really hard to get a divorce hes been working on it for years. Anyways we asked him if we could help him and really there isn´t anything we can do. So, we have to drop him. It breaks my heart because I LOVE him, and now we can only pass by his house and check up on him. But I am praying really hard that one day he sends me a picture of him in white. He really wants to get baptized, but his divorce is taking forever. But it was fun to make pizza with him! 
Yesterday was the primary program and I was thinking that no one would show up because we hardly have anyone at church, but there was a TON of kids and it was so cute! Usually the kids come in their dirty clothes and are all dirty, but during primary, the primary president did their hair and dressed them in dresses and white shirts and ties. It was so great! and our cute little convert, got up and bore his testimony. He is really strong in the church he loves it! And his cousin, natali, also loves the church! she wants to be baptized too but her mom wont give her permission. But both of them gave talks and bore their testimonies. And what killed me was the songs! Ah the spirit was strong I wanted to cry. Actually I did cry, because there is a family that was baptized a couple of months ago, and the mom came to church and I was sitting by her and asking her how she was doing, and she started to cry really hard. I asked her what happened and she told me that her husband was drunk the night before and hit her. I was FURIOUS! The poor thing. There seriously is so much pain here its pretty hard to handle. Theres really nothing we can do but teach the gospel and pray for them. It breaks my heart. 
My adventure of the week: the cut the water again! But we haven´t had water for 4 days now and dont know when we will have water! I haven´t showered for 4 days! And it gets hotter and hotter every single you can imagine that I look real good right about now. All I want is a shower! But what really is hard is seeing people who live here not have water! We had a little bit stored up, but there is people who have nothing. In fact yesterday I had a little bit of water at church in a waterbottle, and one of the members asked me if her daughter could have a tiny bit of my water because she was so thirsty! I gave her all of it because I felt so bad! Its terrible!!! When or if we get water I´m going to save as much as I can because apparently this happens alot! 
well this was my week. Tomorrow we have divisions again with the sister training leaders but this time I am going to stay here in our area. I´m really nervous because I still dont feel 100% comfortable with teaching and I dont know our area very well. But we will see how it goes! I am pretty nervous because my companion knows the new sister training leader and she said that she doesn´t have alot of patience and she probably wont talk much during the lessons. I´m pretty nervous I dont know why. 
well I love you all! thanks for the love and support as always! 

con amor,
hermana stewart 
We had family home evening with this family and two of their neighbors who we are planning on baptizing soon! we taught about Lehi's dream and they drew all the parts of the dream. it was really fun!
October 20, 2014
In the Sun She Melted
Wow first of all I wish I could even begin to tell you how hot it is here! I never imagined heat like this! And its only october! I´m getting really scared for the summer they say it gets up to 55 degrees celcius! Luckily I have extra protection as a missionary so I should make it out alive! But its terrible. I cant sleep....I literally just sweat all day long!  This week they cut the water for 2 days and so we didnt have ANY water to shower. And they cut the power here night the power was out all night and it was bad because our only fan that we have obviously didn´t work. That was probably the worst night of my life haha.
So tuesday we had a conference with some of the hermanas in our mission and the President and his wife. It was  3 hours away and no bus left Aguaray early enough so we got to spend monday night with the sisters in our zone. It was way fun! While we were waiting for a taxi to go to their house, I felt fear for the first time since I got here! This guy walked up to us and stood real close to us and was talking non sense and even my companion couldn´t understand him and he was holding a bible so we asked him if he believed in God and then he goes off saying he is SATANIC! and sooo scary! we didn´t know what to do but finally the taxi came. Stuff like that is proof that God watches out for his missionaries! The next morning we had to get up at 4:30 to head to oran for the conference. Oh guess what? I can now officially say that I got bit by a dog haha while we were waiting for the bus at the terminal there was a dog under our bench and I didn´t know it and I accidently kicked him and he bit my leg! Scariest moment of my life (besides being approached by a satanic person) But I´m fine it didn´t hurt as much as it scared me! 
The conference was really good! Alot of things that had been on my mind were answered and its always good to hear from other sisters who have been or are going through trials as well. 
After the conference we had divisions with the sister training leaders. I went to Colonial with Hermana Astle and my companion went back to Aguaray. I LOVED it! I learned SO much from her. She is a really hard worker and really motivated me to do more. We worked really hard in the 1 1/2 days I was there and ended up setting 3 baptismal dates! It really gave me hope for the future! 
But the funniest thing happened! We were teaching a lady who is sick and at the end of the lesson when we were ending the lesson, I asked if there was something we could do for her and I didn´t fully understand what she was saying but I knew she was talking about her health so I told her I could pray for her. Anyways we were getting up to leave and she says so do you want me to sit here and you can pray? and she puts her hands on her head motioning that she thought I was going to give her a blessing! Oh I felt so bad when I had to explain to her that only the elders can give priesthood blessings. haha but it was so funny. 
So I came back to Aguaray and not much has happened since. Its really hard to teach people when its this hot because all they do is SLEEP! I cant even believe how much the people here sleep! Everything is closed from 1-6 pm! Summer is going to be a little tough, but I am learning the importance of diligence. Its tough having a companion who doesn´t like to work but I am trying really hard to find out what motivates her so we can become better missionaries. 
Yesterday I got called to be the 1st counselor in the relief society! Its a huge stress on my shoulders because we already have so much work to do! Not only do we have to find new people to teach, but we have to run the church too. Right now I´m not really sure how to help the relief society but Im hoping with lots of prayer and fasting I can know what it is that I need to do and why I have been called to this position. 
Also another stress I have is my district and zone leaders told me that I need to learn everything really quick because there is 32 new hermanas coming in December and I could be training! I´m hoping not because I do not feel prepared in the least bit to train a new missionary! But we will see what will happen. Today marks the end of 1 full transfer here! how crazy is that? 
This upcoming week we have planned to focus on the few investigators we have and the new ones we found the last couple of weeks. Weve been trying to work and focus on strengthening the members but its not really working. So half the week we are going to focus on investigators and the other half with the members and our other calling. 
Something I have learned from the scriptures this week is from the example of Nephi. As I was preparing our lesson for our book of mormon class I learned alot about the character of Nephi, and how even though he had hundreds of trials, never once did he complain (or at least he never wrote it out haha) I am learning the power of attitude. I realized while I was doing divisions with the sister training leader that the reason we had success wasn´t because the people were any different or Heavenly Father loves them more and has prepared them more than the people here in Aguaray, but it was all about the attitude. Hermana Astle didnt have one bad thing to say about her area and that was a lesson for me. If I look at Aguaray as an impossible area, its going to be impossible. So from now on, I am going to look at this area as an area waiting for miracles to happen! 
Also I was reading in the scriptures about the anti-nephi-lehis and how they burried their weapons of war and I decided to write all the things that are keeping me from being the best missionary I can be (and there are alot!) Afterwards, I put them in an envelope and sealed it up. Those things are my weapons of war right now and its my goal to bury those things and become better. 
I´m so grateful for this opportunity in my life to be a missionary. People always told me that the mission is hard, but I never could have expected it to be this hard. But Im grateful because this is an opportunity I have to learn, grow, and change. I heard a quote this week that I want you all to think about "Its the same boiling water that hardens the egg, and softens the carrot." Just think about that for a minute. 
I am learning to rely on my Heavenly father more than ever before. I know he is with me. I know that with his help I can do anything. how blessed I am to be a representative of his son Jesus Christ. In the MTC someone told me that I will be the closest thing to the Savior that some people will ever experience. That thought has come to my mind daily as I have to constantly remind myself who I represent and try to become more like him for people who need to come to know him. 
Anyways I´m off to go to work and save souls :) Pray for me in this heat! I love you all and am thankful as always for your love and support! 
con amor,
hermana stewart  
My mission presidents wife told us that if we need to go buy ice cream, go buy ice cream so we took her advice! Ice cream will always be my comfort food ;) Im so glad they have it here! 

October 13, 2014
Wow this mission thing is crazy! I have learned so much about myself in the short 6 weeks I have been here! the good and the bad. My weaknesses are definately magnified as a missionary but I think my strengths are too. I know my heavenly father is changing me for the better through all of this. I´m not the same as I was when I left the MTC, and I know I wont be the same when I return home. I still have so much changing to do! I think one of the reasons a mission is hard is because missionaries are given situations daily to change them and humble them. And we constantly have to choose how to react to the situations we are given. For example, my situation is not ideal. In fact, today the elders in our zone told me we are in one of the hardest areas in the mission. But I know that I am given this trial because if I can do this, I can do anything in the mission. This is preparing me for what is to come! I dont know why I have been given this situation Im in but I have faith that its because my heavenly father knows me better and has something if not alot of things to learn here including humility because without his help I could never do this!
But the elders told me that there are alot of hermanas that they call "princess" missionaries and they told me I am not a princess missionary! Wahoo! But I dont know how anyone could be a princess here because there is nothing pretty about this haha. For example, how can you be a princess when youre walking in the dusty dirty roads and sweating your guts out? Or have a million bites on your legs (this week I got bit by a spider in the night and my leg swole up so big I couldnt walk haha and my legs are COVERED in mosquito bites!) A princess obviously couldn´t deal with that. So you should all be proud of me haha just kidding. "as for my strength I am weak." 
This week I had an experience with prayer and scripture study. I have a strong testimony that if we pray with a specific problem or question in mind and after open the scriptures we can find answers! This week I found a scripture after I poured my heart out in prayer in Alma 26:27. "now when our hearts were depressed and we were about to turn back, behold the lord comforted us and said go amongst thy bretheren the lamanites (the people of aguaray) and bear with patience thine afflictions and I will give unto you success" After this ammon goes and teaches in the streets and in their houses, and still suffers afflictions all this that perhaps they might "save some soul". And the promise of the lord is kept as always and they have alot of success! 
So my answer is patience- I cant count how many times that I have heard that word! But something I also learned this week is that the Book of mormon was written for our day and we are commanded to apply them to our lives. These arent just stories of ancient prophets- these are meant for us! And I know there is always something we can relate to in the scriptures. Before the mission I never realized how many scriptures there are about missionary work! And I´ve come to love alma because he and ammon suffered similar things on their mission! So my challenge is to read and apply! I know there is power in this.
This week was good but not very successful. We tried to have activities for the members but no one showed up. We were going to have a movie night and watch 17 miracles and we made invatations and everything but no one showed up except the president and his wife. But then one of our investigators showed up with his grandkids! so we ended up teaching a lesson instead so I guess it was a blessing in disguise. Its sad that the members here arent very strong. It makes our job a million times harder. 
We did service this week and cleaned the church (house) since none of the members will. And after we went to our investigators Sixtos house and he taught me how to make empanadas! MUY RICO!!!! he is my favorite person here I decided! I took a ton of photos but my companion deleted ALL my pictures! She tried to act like nothing happened and put my camera back in my backpack and then later I found out that all my pictures had been deleted. I was SO sad at first...the natural woman in me wanted to be mad at her. But I realized people are more important than pictures. Just another lesson I needed to learn this week. 
We also did divisions this week with 2 members. At first I was really nervous because I wouldnt have my companion to help teach and the member  I went with is hard to understand and is kind of awkward. But I ended up loving it. and we are going to do it every week now! I finally felt like I could take initiative and teach by myself! We visited some inactive members and hardly any of them were home but I had a miracle- I found 3 new investigators with the help of the spirit of course! We were walking back to the church and there was this old grandma and lady sitting outside and we walked past them and I said hi...but after we were walking I felt like I needed to go back so I quickly walked back and started talking to them and they were so nice! the cute little grandma was so sweet. I asked if there was a time we could come back and teach them and they accepted. also the member and I accidently went to the wrong house and it turned out to be a man that she knew and I started talking to him and invited him to our activities and church and promised him he would find happiness if he did and he told me he doesnt know what happiness is. anyways he promised to come to the activity and our book of mormon class but like all latinos he didnt keep his commitment. This is the most frustrating part of missionary work! 
We also started teaching a book of mormon class for the members to learn more...and it really helps me as well. but there was only 5 members that came...but it was good. they all really liked it and the next day in church they told the other members to come because they learned alot. 
Adventure of the week: we had to go to another zone conference and so we took a bus. Well the bus stopped and everyone gets off, but we were supposed to continue on. Well the bus driver gets off and tells us he will be back...and gets on a motorcycle and doesnt come back! hahaha we were all alone on this bus in the middle of no where and had no idea what to do! and the zone leaders were calling us and telling us they were waiting for us! it was crazy haha we waited for a half hour and finally he returned haha. 
also today we went back to bolivia and hiked the same hike we did last week but with everyone in our zone! it was a blast! I caught a snake! we were basically free climbing the rocks up to this waterfall! I wish I could have taken pictures! And tonight we get to have a sleepover with the hermanas in our zone! Hermana erickson! because tomorrow we have an activity with all the sisters in the mission and have to travel there! I will get to see my hermanas in the MTC! I cant wait! I miss all my friends in the MTC...we have a group email every week with the elders and us hermanas its awesome to hear all their experiences. 
bueno, that was my week in a nut shell. Its so hard to remember everything that happened when the days seem like weeks and the weeks seem like days! 
Tenga una buena semana!!!!
con mucho amor,
hermana stewart