Friday, November 15, 2013

Home At Last!!!

 At the Lafayette Airport
 The Paris Family came
 Grandma Stewart was here

  Hunter's first meal back:  Raisin' Canes!!
 Modeling his African threads
 Grandma Semmerling came
 Hunter's best childhood friends were here- Clayton & Mikey
 Everyone at church to hear Hunter speak
The Nielsen's came :)

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Most Profound Experience of my Entire Life

Hello for the final time,
Wow, that is a very, very good question you asked me. My list could
probably go on forever and that's why it's hard for me to just pick
few. But some of those things that I would love to eat are Taco Bell,
cheeseburgers, that creamy chicken casserole, Dorito casserole, pizza,
those sausages from that little cajun store off of verot, any other
meals with cheese in it... I don't even know! Anything but rice. No
rice, lots of meat. That sounds good to me. I think I'm okay on rice
for the next 80 years. Holy cow. And no fried leaves. Man I'm excited
to eat. Haha. I'm good with that plan to go to Baton Rouge the next
morning though. Just try to get all the talking in before I get
released because on the way back I'm going to be BLASTING music.
Ohhhhh man I miss music a lot. Haha. So I guess that's everything.
Today was a pretty sweet day. Our district got permission to go to
this beach that is on the Atlantic coast about a 25 minute taxi ride
from Waterloo called Kent beach. Since I've been here I've always
heard how great and how nice the beach was and when we got there, HOLY
COW. So nice. It's maybe the nicest beach I've ever been to. There was
nobody around too. You just go out to this little village, walk down a
road and there's this massive beach with a little stream flowing into
it. We took some pictures, played some American football, and some
ultimate frisbee. It was pretty stinking sweet. Tons of fun. Then we
rushed to get here and email and from here we're going to my good
friend Richard Carlos's house (and the 1st counselor in our branch)
and the branch is having like a small party for me. This last week has
been pretty interesting and it's been weird saying goodbye to all
these people. The thing that makes me sad is that the possibility of
seeing this people again is soooooo small. Probably I'll never see
them again. But at the very least some of the people have Facebook
here so I can still keep in contact with them. My mission as a whole
has been the most profound experience of my entire life and it's sad
that it's coming to an end. I can honestly say though that I have no
regrets and I felt that I worked as hard as I could for the 2 years.
I'm going home satisfied and looking forward to what happens next. I
love the people here and it's not possible at all that I could ever
forget these people. Maybe when I get back we'll call some people
small and you can even talk to them! Haha. I'm grateful to Heavenly
Father that I got to serve in the greatest mission in the world.
Seriously. This mission is way better than any other mission. I don't
know how I could have served anywhere else! The call was inspired. I
can't wait to see you all this week and finally be able to talk about
everything very very well. I love you so much for all the support
you've given me during and before my mission. I've also been born into
the best family in the world! I love all you and will SEE and talk to
Elder Stewart (for the last time)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Everything is still going on as normal

Hey Mom,
Yeah, it's all pretty weird that everything is coming to a close. It
doesn't feel like it though. Everything is still going on as normal
and nothing has changed so it doesn't seem like I'm going anywhere
anytime soon. I'm also still wondering about what's going to happen 
about me getting released. I just want to know so I can have everything
planned out in my mind.
So this week was a pretty normal week. I've just been working hard to
try and show these two Elders the area and help them to meet the
investigators. They have just been following  me around and things are
just going along little by little. The best thing this week was that
we had a baptism for this one guy we found about a month ago. He was
sharing his testimony at his baptism and said that when we would come
to teach his brother he would always try to listen from inside until
one day he just decided to come out and join in on the lesson. We
talked to him and now he's been baptized! His brother has not. Haha.
His brother always runs away when we come. So we don't go to see him
anymore. Anyway, it was a nice baptism and it turns out that it was my
last baptism on mission. We have been teaching this other guy who came
to church for the last two weeks who we thought would be getting
baptized this next Saturday but he's just not ready yet so we are
pushing his baptism back. Another nice thing that happened this week
is that some of that sweet family came to church. Not all of them came
but the ones that we have been teaching all came. The other members of
the family are usually busy and we never get a chance to really see
them. But this week we'll focus on them and help them to see the
importance of the message. No problem. There are so many wonderful
people and I'm sad that I won't be there for their baptism but I'm
glad I was able to help them to find out about this message. Anyway,
everything is going just fine and its just so weird that in less than
two weeks I won't be here anymore! I really can't even believe that. I
love all of you and will talk to you next week!
Elder Stewart

Monday, July 22, 2013

No Transfer, New Companions & Sweet Family

Well, this last week was sweet. One of the sweetest things was I got the package you guys sent for my birthday! Pretty nice. I think the Oreos are gone. Definitely a nice thing to get right up to the end here. Man it's too bad that Joel is leaving that day. We'll see what happens though. No problem. Something else I was wondering about is if there was going to a topic given to me for my homecoming? Just let me know. Anyway, things are going pretty good on this side as well. We got transfer news this past weekend and I am getting to stay in Waterloo for my last two weeks! Oh, and that reminds me that I forgot to tell dad that our address is 8 Liddle Street, Waterloo. So that he could try and find it on Google Earth. Anyway, yes! I am staying. But my companion is changing. Elder Burton got room transferred to another area in Waterloo and I'm receiving two elders as companions. I'll just be showing them the area and our investigators for two weeks and then I'll leave them in the area when I go home. Elder Burton was pretty upset because we have just finally found tons of sweet people who are all progressing. But the good news is he's still in the same branch and he's still a zone leader so he'll see the people on Sundays, on exchanges, and at their baptisms. It's just too bad he won't be able to teach them. His new area is super sweet though. Something that's cool though is the two elders I'll be with are from sweet places. One is from Samoa and the other one is from the Ivory Coast. Pretty cool.
Some of these people we have found are so cool. One guy we met has already read all the way through 1 Nephi and was at church even before we were. For someone to read that far in the Book of Mormon is pretty crazy because a lot of people can't read, and if they can they can't read very well. A lot of people also just don't understand it even if they can read well. It's interesting still though because people like that have still received answers that it's true although they can't fully comprehend it's words. Anyway, he told us he has been searching for so long and felt that he has finally found the truth. His baptism is supposed to be on the 10th so I'll miss it just barely. I can remember I told you about a guy from another area who was taking serious persecution for his decision to join the church, like his old church telling him he's possessed of Satan and stuff and telling him to burn the Book of Mormon, right? Anyway, that guy has baptized since then and it turns out that he has a very well educated college graduate fiancee who lives in our area! She too said she has just been so confused about all the different churches and sometimes would get frustrated and just stay at home because she just couldn't find a church that has the right doctrine (sounds like Joseph Smith doesn't it?). Anyway, she came to church last Sunday and is already halfway through 1 Nephi. The sweetest person we're teaching right now is this one guy who just moved to Sierra Leone from Liberia. Him and his wife and their 12 kids. I guess when he was living in Liberia he stayed somewhere near the church and had talked to the missionaries very small, but he never visited or met with them too much because he was in the military and never had a chance. Now he is out of it and just spending all his time at home with his family. It's pretty weird because he and his family are like a real, everyone loves each other, family. It's pretty sweet. When we taught him the first time he had read the pamphlet and taught us about the Restoration. It was nice. He came to church Sunday and afterwards when I was talking to him, he said, "Okay, next week is my turn. I'll come with my family." SO SWEET. I'm sad because I've been wanting to see the conversion of a whole family in my mission but I'm happy that at least I was able to find and begin teaching them. We saw the wife later on Sunday and she said that she was coming next week. I really hope that it all works out. Anyway, I'm pounding the dirt (correct, not pavement. Haha.) for these two weeks very hard. I've been blessed like crazy and can't wait to see what happens this week. I'll talk to you all next week!

Elder Stewart
A bunch of us waiting on the shore before a baptism. President and Sister Ostler came!
 Walking down to the river for baptism.
  The rice fields in the valley where the river is
  The waterfall we climbed up to the other week
 Nice companionship picture.

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Work is True

Hey momma,

I'll be sure that I pass that info on to Clayton. I guess he needed my measurements for something. Anyway, another thing I was wondering about was what was going to happen with me getting released. Are we going to have to make a trip to Baton Rouge? Can a counselor release me? I don't really know how it works. Anyway, this week was stinking sweet! The highlight of the week was that we finally had some sweet people come to church! We weren't having too much success just by ourselves and we were beating ourselves in the head wondering what we could do to get people to progress and act more on the message. Finally we started thinking of how we could link members with the people we were teaching. We started to focus on the strongest most active members in the area and started going to them and giving them assignments of how to fellowship and work with the people we were teaching. Luckily, the culture here is very social face to face, so people usually know people just because they can see them around in the area. That makes it pretty easy for people to get along. We started working more closely with members and this week we saw a big improvement! It was pretty stinking sweet. Another nice story of the week was about that one guy we were teaching who is the brother of the pastor. The last time we had seen him we talked about The Book of Mormon and gave him an assignment to read chapter 1. He said he would do it. The next time we came to see him he wasn't there and so we started teaching his pastor brother about the Book of Mormon. Near the end of the lesson his brother showed up and joined in on the lesson. We followed up with him on his Book of Mormon reading and he said that he had read it. He explained what he had read and said that he had actually read a little bit past chapter 1. We said no problem and asked him where he stopped. It turned out that he had read all the way to chapter 9. What? He just started smiling and was like, "The reading was just so sweet, I couldn't stop!" He then started explaining to us about how much he learned and especially how he learned that God can answer prayers, just like he had answered Nephi's. We told him to continue to pray and seek for an answer from God and he would surely get one. He committed to do so and I'm super excited to go and see him this week. We're supposed to be finding out transfer news this Sunday (it got pushed a week) and I seriously am hoping so much that I can somehow stay. It's hard to really tell. Anyway, things are going really sweet and I can't wait to see what happens this week! I know the work is true and that the Book of Mormon is sweet! Haha. I'll talk to you all next week.

Elder Stewart

Monday, July 8, 2013

Happy Birthday, Preachin' to the Pastor & Sweet Waterfall

Hey family,
I have small time because of all the Happy Birthday emails (not
complaining- thank you!) so I’ll be quick! We have been doing great
this week and have been contacting and talking to seriously every
single human being we run into. One thing I’ve been dying to do my
whole mission is find a family and have them all get baptized on the
same day. It’s close to impossible to find a couple living together
that’s married but finally at long last, this week I think we found
them! It’s a man and a woman who have a 9 year old son and a 3 year
old daughter. The woman is pretty uneducated but the man seems pretty
sweet. We’re going to really focus on them and hope that we can help
them to seek after the message we’re sharing with them and have them
come to know that it is true! It would really be a miracle to me
because if they get baptized it will happen on the last Saturday on
mission! I am also just praying that I don’t get transferred for my
last three weeks because I will seriously be depressed. Another pretty
sweet thing is we taught a pastor and his brother, and committed them
both to be baptized. They were so excited by the end of the lesson and
the pastor just kept telling us how our “preaching just moved him.” It
was a pretty sweet lesson though and we really felt the Spirit and I
know that they will know our message is true if they just take the
time to seek and to ask God!
We also hiked up to this waterfall in the middle of the bush and it
was raining but it was super SWEET! Anyway, I’ll also put some details
Clayton sent me about his wedding and about him coming to visit me
after I get back so I want to know what you guys think of it. I love
you all and will talk to you next week!
Elder Stewart

Monday, July 1, 2013

Stand Up for What You Believe in!

First off, I haven't gotten the package yet. Hopefully it will be here
by next Friday or so. Things are going pretty good here though.
Everything is always good. We didn't have a thousand people at church
but we're working towards it. We're finally getting a nice little
group established and so now we're just trying to teach them and
really focus on them and helping them to understand everything we're
teaching them. It's weird for me too that the time is so close but at
the same time it's not weird because I don't really feel like I'm
going anywhere. I don't even want to leave my area. I love all of
these people so much and I'm thinking maybe I'll just move back here!
Just kidding. The people are pretty stinking sweet though.
My cool story for the week comes from the life of one of my recent
converts! Yesterday at church she told us that after church she wanted
to bring us to some guys house so that we could teach him. So after
church we went with her and started walking to the man's house. We
started asking her about who we were going to see and she shared with
us a little story on how she met the guy. She said she was walking
down the road and this guy was sitting on his porch. He called to her
to come talk to him and she walked over to him. To cut it short he
asked her to break some commandments with him. The sweet part of the
story is that she told him that in her church they don't believe in
doing those kinds of things and that she was not going to do that.
Then she continued to say that she thinks that he needs to know about
these things and told him she would come back with the missionaries
from her church to come and to teach him. I guess the guy must have
really liked her because for some reason he agreed. Haha. So we
reached the guy's house and taught him and 2 of his roommates about
the Restoration. It was pretty sweet lesson and we'll see what
happens. We didn't want to slap their face with the "hard
commandments" at first; give them a reason to live them first. It was
nice anyway and it was a pretty funny when we heard the story and were
like "what??? That's the person we're going to teach right now?" It
was all good though. But what I really admired was the faith and
courage she had to stand up for what she believed in. I guess that's
really what they mean when they talk about "at all times, in all things,
in all places." She was just baptized this last month and last Sunday
she was asking the branch president what she needs to do to serve a
mission. I go glady tay we she de go fo mission! i go fen bin!
Seriously it'll be sweet. Anyway, I love all of you and encourage
everyone to stand up for what they believe in and keep the
commandments! I'll talk to you next week!
Elder Stewart