Monday, April 30, 2012

Shouting in Krio & The Power of Repentance


First of all, man is it really that noticeable that my English is
going? That's kind of embarrassing in the long run. But man! I'm so
jealous you guys got to see the Nielsen's and the Bridges. Oh I miss
those people. Big Black your arm is going to explode like that guy in
that one TV special that happened a long time ago. Looks like the trip
was a successful one though. I love getting pictures as well so always
feel free to send them. I don't have any to send home this week
(sorry) but there seems to be some kind of virus that got onto my SD
Card. All my pictures are still there and it still saves them it's
just annoying when I plug it into the computer. I didn't take any in
the last week, we've been pretty busy. But I did send home that flash
drive with one Elder named Elder Wood who I guess gave it to the
Patterson's to give to Grandma to give you all of you. So look out for
that. I think it has new pictures on it, I wasn't planning on giving
it to him but the morning he was leaving to go to the airport he
walked into my room and said Sister Patterson said I could give it to
him. I think I had put new pictures on it though. So maybe you'll get
that this week? We'll see.

Story for the week? Well, we were walking from one appointment to the
other one yesterday, and one of our investigators we have been
teaching called us over and said he wanted us to sit down with some of
his friends. The place they were all sitting was kind of like a small
covered area that had benches and different random seating. Some
people were playing checkers and he was sitting around with like 5 of
his friends just hanging out. We went over and sat down with all of
them and started to talk about how the gospel had been restored. After
we had been talking with them for about 5 minutes about 4 more people
had come. One of those people was an assistant pastor for one of the
local churches. Someone asked us if we payed tithing in our church. We
said yes, but explained that absolutely no one in the church receives
any kind of payment whatsoever. Where in the Bible does Jesus or the
apostles accept money? It was kind of funny because the assistant
pastor guy kept trying to tell us we were wrong and then all the
people around were getting mad at him and telling him he was wrong and
that they don't think it's right for pastors to take all the people's
money. And then they all started yelling at each other and it got
pretty intense. I think my companion might have been a bit overwhelmed
by all the big African guys shouting in Krio. It was pretty great
though. So the quick spiritual story for the week- we were meeting
with one investigator who had been taught by the missionaries just
before I came. She hadn't been coming to church so we met with her and
were trying to figure out what her concern was. We sat down with her
and started going over some of the commandments. When we got to the
Law of Chastity she said she had never been taught it before. After
reviewing it with her she was a little hesitant when we invited her to
live it. We asked her if she was struggling with any of it and she
told us yes. She has previously been really excited to be baptized and
everything but suddenly stopped coming. She seemed really discouraged
about everything and said that sometimes it's just easier to run away
from problems at home. We talked about the power of repentance and how
she doesn't have to always run away, but that because of Christ she
can change her ways and find that peace and happiness. It's pretty
crazy really. I mean I've been able to see people's entire lives
completely change as they begin to live by and follow the teachings of
Christ. Living by them brings peace to people and to their homes. I
dunno, I guess it's crazy how simple it is, but how hard it can be to
live. It's not always easy but it's possible! I just wish more people
could see that. The whole world would be a much better place, that's
for sure. Anyway, it was a really good lesson and I hope that she will
be able to progress towards her baptism! I love all of you very much
and I am continuing to pray for all of you and about everything that's
going on. I will talk to you all again next week!

Elder Stewart

Monday, April 23, 2012

Losing English, Being Bold & Four Languages

Hello once again,

Sounds like the trip to Utah was a successful one. Glad to hear that Breeann didn't trip and fall down. That would have been pretty great though. It's pretty crazy that you walked across that stage pregnant with Breeann and then getting to see her walk across by herself. Must have just made all your parental genes cry tears of soberness and joy. You know one thing I realized about myself during this past week was that my English is totally wearing out. Yeah. My new companion is fresh American and uses all sorts of big English words. Like I'm so used to talking such simple English. He used the word "automatically" the other day and it blew my mind. Like, if I wanted to tell someone they should do it automatically I would instead tell them that they should do it quick. Or well, I would say "yu fo du um quik quik wan!" Pretty great isn't it? I've finally hit that point where just about everyone can understand me now. Every now and then people can ask me to repeat stuff, but in the end the message always gets across. Anyway, I actually heard about that new shopping place in Salt Lake City yesterday! It's called like clear creek or something isn't it? Some of the other Elders said they met a guy from Salt Lake and he said they just knocked down a big part of Salt Lake down town and built a massive strip mall with a river running through it. Sounds pretty nuts to me.

This past week was a good one. Training is going along just great, it's kind of fun getting to see him go through like the exact same transition I went through. He'll be a great missionary though, that's for sure. One thing that I've been learning about myself here is how to be bold and say exactly what needs to be said to get the point across. The other day we were teaching one person and my companion invited them to be baptized. The person seemed confused a little bit by his English and I just said really loud, "You go baptize?" Then they understood and said yes. Okay, I guess that's not really a good example of being bold, it's just more me being blunt. But a lot of people seem to miss what EXACTLY we are trying to say and so we have to just be straight up with them and tell them what's going on. It's pretty exciting. Oh, guess what? I hope you didn't forget what's coming up.... Mother's Day! Which means I call home! So I figure we'll do the same thing we did last time. I'll flash the house and then you guys can just call me back. If for some reason that won't work let me know. I'm thinking I'll be calling around 1 or so... what's the time difference now? Five hours? I have no idea. Any help would be appreciated. Haha. Anyway, we had a super good Sunday this last Sunday- 10 investigators came to church. A few of them were people that we've been inviting to church every single week that just haven't been coming, so it was really fulfilling to finally see them there. I'm looking forward to going and seeing them this week and seeing what they thought about church. I'm also pretty excited for next week because next week (I think) we get to watch General Conference! Woo. Well, one and a half sessions of it anyway. I'll read the rest in the Liahona. Anyway, all is going well here! I feel like my emails have gotten pretty boring. Umm exciting thing that happened that's weird for people back home.... umm... well this isn't weird but just kind of funny, there's this little kid who lives right outside our compound who watched us play football one day. Every time I pass he shouts "short Messi!" (Messi is one of the world's best soccer players, for those of you that don't know like me, Hunter's mom!) and waves. So that's kind of funny. Also, my shirts compared to my companion's are like a very greyed white. His clothes are so bright and new. Anyway, everything that happens here seems so normal to me now so strange things don't really stick out as much. Me na Salone bobo bing! Ma la sina! na maya cotacoe? Cotahoy? Me feel se na fine, eh? Okay there, now this email has four languages in it. I go tok wit una nex week ya eri? I lek una bing!

Elder Stewart
P.S. All you people who go to college and write me letters and stuff- I don't know if your address has changed or not. So feel free to send me more letters including your new address. Thanks.

 The French version of cocoa rice krispies. Delicieux! (Five languages... even though that's spelled wrong... and I'm not sure if it's actually French.)
 Waiting for one of our investigators to show up. This is sitting at his house. As you can see we're on a mountain side. We're very healthy here.
These kids were out trying to fly some kites. I tried to get the kite in the picture but it just didn't happen. Ah well. Enjoy it anyway.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Tripled Prices, Unshakeable & the African Easter Bunny


Life in the wilds of Africa is just oh so sweet. Funny that they had to stand in line with villagers to fill water on the Amazing Race, because I've totally had to wait for local people to finish using the pump to fill my own container. Too bad I wasn't in a competition to get a million dollars and had to do it every other day to live. It's all good though. I'd rather serve a mission than do that show. But that's not saying I wouldn't do it after (shout out to Cody). Anyway, I'm glad to hear that you don't have to wear a little boot anymore. That's definitely a relief. I'm sad that I can't come to Breeann's graduation; I hope she can forgive me. I'll be looking forward to the pictures!

Yeah, so... my companion is not from Africa. His name is Elder Symons and he's from Kansas. It's interesting serving with a white guy. The price of items in the market has suddenly tripled. So that's interesting. Sidenote- not that I'm listening to it, but "Ridin' Dirty" just came on in this internet cafe and it made me think of Big Black. I think that used to be his ringtone on my first phone. Wow... Anyway, So yeah it's weird serving with an American. He's really excited to be here and has a desire to do missionary work. So he'll do well. He also spent this past fall doing a semester at BYU living in Heritage Halls. I'll tell you, hearing that definitely made me feel a little old. Also you'll notice that I'm wearing a sweet hand stitched tie made by an African man. Oh yeah. A marching band is marching by the building right now. No idea why. I was thinking about how weird it is the other day that I'm only 19. Like seriously sometimes I feel like I'm like 24 or something. Some people here think I'm 35-40, but I think they just don't see white people very often. The funny thing is that we're two 19 year old guys but we go around telling people how their family life can improve, how they can make their marriages work, and just how they can live a better life. It's interesting that we'll be talking to people who are 20, 30 years older than us. The even funnier thing is that they listen to us and then tell us we're right. I just feel like 19 year old kids don't run around Africa speaking crazy languages and doing all those other things. I dunno, is that weird? Haha. Anyway, Dad was asking what my favorite scripture is since I"ve been on mission and it's the same thing as from before I left-- Jacob 7:5. I just like how it says "I could not be shaken." Something I've been wanting is to have a strong testimony that when people try and change me I too can be unshakeable. I definitely can tell you I'm heading in the right direction! Ha, mission is so sweet... Another story I really like in the Bible is in John 8 right at the beginning where it talks about the woman taken in adultery. I just like how Jesus tells the people that the person who is without sin should cast the first stone, the people all leave, and the woman is left alone. Then he tells her to go and sin no more. I dunno why I like it so much. I guess I just like how Jesus shows us that we ourselves are guilty, and that we need to just forgive others for their wrongs. One thing that I've been really learning here is patience. And I thought I was already a pretty patient person. Oh, and speaking of patience, the internet cafe shut down in the middle of me typing so I don't really remember what I was going to say next. But I need to go buy some food so I won't die. Anyway, keep me updated on how everything is going. I'll talk to you all next week!

Elder Stewart

PS- The questions:
1. Yes I've seen monkeys! Remember the picture I sent to you with me and a monkey a few months back? I have seen some more since I've been in this new apartment though. I definitely would rather have a monkey than a dog or any other little creature.
2. The weirdest food? I guess I would still have to say chicken foot... or maybe cow skin.
3. Most of the children go to school. They all have to wear little uniforms. Trust me, the uniforms we had to wear to school were not bad at all.
4. Yes, people have asked me what my first name is.
5. Yes, I always tell them it is Elder. And then after we all laugh and they ask me what it really is, I tell them I was serious.
6. Does the Easter Bunny come to Africa? No, but the Heineken truck does! It usually meets people at the beach.
 These are a few missionaries that I got to know while I was here that just went home this past week. The one on the left might look familiar. He was in my first apartment when I first got to the mission field. Oh, and the one to the right is Elder Donaldson. He's not going home. He and I came at the same time. We go way back to the good ole MTC. Where you have 3 giant meals a day and a snack before bed... and air conditioning... man that place was sweet.
Elder Symons and me.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Getting a little Fat, A New Companion & An Easter Cantata

Hello Family!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How's the week? Everything is just going well here. As you can see I am definitely eating plenty of food here. I've even begun to get a little fat. It's pretty embarrassing. I didn't think I could get fat. I guess it's that time of life. Oh man. Yeah President and Sister Roggia are really great people so we enjoy them very much. 

So yeah, transfer news came last weekend and the news is............................. Elder Asiedu has been transferred to Waterloo! So yeah that means I'm getting a new companion. And his name is.................Elder Symmons! Does that name sound familiar at all? Well, it shouldn't because he's coming to me straight from the MTC. Yup, I'm training again. I was pretty surprised when I got the news, but excited nonetheless. It'll be a good opportunity to learn and do all that fun cliche missionary stuff. He comes Tuesday night and we'll begin proselyting on Wednesday. So next week we'll get a picture for you all.

Good to hear everything went well for Easter! I always enjoy getting pictures from you guys as well, so feel free to send those! Also, yes, I got my package in time. Everyone was like "WHAT THE HECK?!?! YOU GET PACKAGES EVERY WEEK!!!" So yeah, you're doing a great job and I appreciate every single one! So thank you!

This week was a really good one and the highlight of the week was this past Saturday. First off we had a baptism for one brother (I forgot my camera so there's no picture... I'll get a picture with the guy at some time.. Haha. After that we had an Easter Cantata program for the members here. What a Cantata is is a mixture of acting, videos, pictures, and singing. Well the acting is more like reading scriptures arranged to move along a story in a theatrical voice. Yes, I was one of the "actors." So all those years of acting in high school finally paid off. Haha. It was a very great program and I think it helped a lot of people come closer to the Savior. Everything was very spiritual and we learned a lot about the Savior. We played video clips from those new ones the Church put out a while ago. Man they are sooooooooooo good. You should post a link on the blog if you can find it. They're crazy good cinematography too. I tell you. Anyway, we also played football (soccer) against some of the men from one of the branches. It was a nice rocky, uneven dirt field and we had a pretty intense match. We ended up losing 5-4, but I scored 3 so I felt pretty good about it. The problem with missionaries is we always get tired at the end and get scored on a bunch. We were winning for most of the game. Ah well. Anyway, everything is going well. Not too much to  report. I love you all and hope everything continues to go well!

Elder Stewart

 A nice fish Elder Asiedu bought from the market.
 The stuff on the left is called eba. You make a ball with your hands, dip it in the stew, and swallow it without chewing. It's not too bad.
 After district meeting we went to this sweet restaurant that was an all you can eat buffet for different types of rice.
 I tell you, when you serve in Freetown West Zone, you enjoy like naaaaahhhhhhting.
 Some members invited us for Easter Dinner. As you can see, we ate A LOT. People 'here like to EAT when it comes to holidays. I like it when they share their food with us. It's pretty great. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Look who's getting plenty to eat!

We didn't get this from Elder Stewart, but lifted it straight from his Mission President's Blog (posted by his wife- what great people they seem to be!).  We thought it was too funny for everyone to miss!  I love how he's getting teased for his appetite :) If you want to see even more cool pics from this trip- check it out! (see website on side bar)

We had a Super Preparation day.  We gathered the Freetown Zone together and hiked up to Leister Peak.
We stopped along the way while President Roggia talked to us about Easter and the Savior's timeline.  His message was very inspiring to us all.

Having lunch
Elder Stewart enjoying it! Rice and chicken and veggies
Finishing lunch...notice Elder Stewart still munching...
Elder Harris and Elder Jenkins looking over Freetown
Still grazing...everyone is getting up to leave...
Jumping high ...and Elder Stewart(in red) with extra energy to do so!
It was a very wonderful day together
Going back down

Monday, April 2, 2012

So Blessed, Lies about my Mother & Super P-day


Well, everything is going well as it is every single week and every single day. I don’t know why I’m so blessed but I’m definitely not complaining! Ha, so I’ve gotten one of Stephanie’s letters so she must be doing it right! Also, I forgot to put this in the email I sent to you Dad—but no, I don’t need you guys to send me the conference dvds.  We’ll get them in about a month or so. Also, I don’t have a way to watch them on my own time. Haha. Thanks though. I’m always super excited to hear conference. When we get the Liahona for it I’ll probably read the whole thing. I did for the last one anyway. Haha. So good.

Well this upcoming week is a pretty special one because momma turns 68!! (This is completely NOT true- Since I'm doing the posting for Hunter, I get to interject whatever I want!  He's done a lot of growing on his mission, but I guess he'll never outgrow the need to tease me :))Woo!! Congrats Momma. I am so proud of you and your ability to grow. Just don’t blow out your knees doing Zumba or watching sweet movies. I hope you know that I love you very much and I’m sorry I can’t give you a good birthday present. But I can say that I agree with the 2,000 stripling warriors in the fact that we have an awesome mom who taught us the right way. Luckily I do not have to go into battle and kill people. So that’s a relief. I’ll try and send that flashdrive home with someone soon. There’s one missionary named Elder Jenkins who will go home in May… He’s from Wyoming but he said he was going to go down to Vegas to visit the Patterson’s sometime if he can.  So we’ll see about that one.  Anyway, Happy birthday momma! I love you and I’m very lucky to have a mom who likes to send me packages and give me stuff… and is spiritual and caring and all that other mushy stuff too. So have a great birthday!

Well, the week went by very fast. Something really cool is the Super P-day we had today! We hiked up a mountain and on the way up we stopped a couple of times and President Roggia taught us about the life and times of Jesus Christ. It was crazy interesting. As I’ve been reading the New Testament lately, I can tell you Jesus Christ was pretty incredible. I’ve gotten to know him a lot better and I’ve been able know so many things for myself. I’m trying to load pictures right now but they seem to be taking a long time to load… but either way you will see (or not) that I still made sure I got some sweet jumping pictures at the top. Yeah Breeann, be proud. Sister Roggia took abunch as well and I’m guessing you’ll see them on the blog. Let me know if she puts them there. The whole experience was pretty spiritual and uplifting so I really enjoyed it. There’s just something about being at the top of a mountain overlooking the city. I definitely want to come back to this place. Clayton and Mikey you are both welcome to come. Oh- and Clayton I got you letter. Unfortunately I couldn’t bypass you both in the competition. The opportunity just wasn’t there. You know what I mean. Anyway, I’m glad to hear everyone is doing well. I love you all and I will talk to you next week!  Transfer news is this Sunday!

Elder Stewart

P.S. Ryan Nielsen- Happy early birthday my friend!

I actually took a ton of pictures in this last week, so maybe I'll
send some of those if I go without one week. Enjoy

 Take flight
 Our newest friend. Yes he's really as big as he looks.
 My wonderful desk of knowledge and learning. The reason I learn is
because of the beautiful artwork hanging on the wall.
 Elder Asiedu, me, and Elder Animba. Pretty sweet stances.
 I'm not in this but the picture is super cool. Those missionaries
are Elder Harris and Elder Jenkins
 I started walking through the bottom of my shoes so one of our
investigators fixed them for me. He put a piece of tire track on the
bottom and sewed in the insole of what looks like a soccer cleat for
padding. I feel so sporty when we go proselyte.
My beautiful room.