Monday, November 26, 2012

New District, Zone Conference & God Answers Prayers

Hello family!

Man this week was crazy! Sounds like you guys had a pretty crazy awesome week though! I hope you warned Destin for me, next year is going to be nuts. Also, I got the package from you guys filled with presents as well as the one with the massive Christmas tree and ornaments! I took down a list of things to say to some people who wrote on the back of them but I'll have to answer them next week because I forgot to bring it. But WOW. I don't know if I've ever felt loved by so many people at once. I didn't realize how many people actually read the blog too. So to anyone who wrote to me on those things THANK YOU. I love all of you.

Anyway, so some pretty exciting stuff happened this week. Sunday we had District Conference and President Roggia announced the creation of the Kenema District (Districts are like the same thing as Stakes but not as big of a deal, in case you didn't know.) So it's exciting to see places I've served in growing so much and seeing the joy it brings to people there. We also had Zone Conference which was super sweet and all about the gifts of the spirit. My companion and I gave an instruction as part of it about why do we need the Holy Ghost. I felt it went pretty well. One thing I've definitely learned and understood a lot more since I've been here is what the purpose of the Holy Ghost is and what it really means to receive it as a gift. One thing we talked about during the conference was helping people to recognize answers to their prayers. We always invite people to pray and ask God about the message we share with them, but if people don't know how the answer will come, it really won't do too much for them. We learned a lot of different things and practiced them. The day after we had a pretty sweet experience with one of our investigators. This one guy we're teaching (the guy with the Conroe shirt on actually) has been struggling to progress and just doesn't seem like he fully understands the message we're sharing with him. One thing we've been encouraging him to do is to read from the Book of Mormon and to pray and ponder about it. As we went to see him we asked him how the reading was going. He said he had read a little bit but didn't see anything really to it. We asked him if he prayed about it and he said yes. We then asked him if he had seen any changes in his life since he had begun doing so. He kind of sat back for a moment and thought about it and then he looked at us and said yes. We asked what he felt was different. He said that since reading his desire to gain knowledge and to read God's word has increased and every day he feels like doing that, whereas before he never really had that desire. We then asked him where he thought that feeling came from. He sat there for a while and he said to us quietly, "From God." We read Moroni 10:3-5 with him and he seemed to really understand it. We had also brought a member with us who had been a member for about 3 months and he started to testify about how he used to be like our investigator but he read and prayed about knew the church was true. We didn't even ask him to say anything but he just started talking to him and their interaction was just so sweet! The investigator started asking him about his past life and the spirit was just super strong in the lesson. It was definitely a super great experience. It's cool though because its that simple. You can get an answer from God who you know will never lie to you. It's just left with him now to act and continue to search. We'll see how things go with him. Anyway, we have to go to Kenema this evening so I've got to go! I love all of you and will talk to you next week!

Elder Stewart

P.S. Jordyn Ingram- Happy (late) Birthday!
 Our cultural picture. All the missionaries are representing different nations. From left to right to down left to right we have: Kenya, Liberia, Qatar, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia, England, America, Samoa (American), and Nigeria. Pretty crazy that so many people all over the world can come together as one!
 Coke loves everyone.
 You see the writing on his shirt? "Conroe Medical Center." On the back there is a map showing a place known as Conroe just north of Houston. Ever heard of it? Haha, it was pretty crazy because the day before I got a letter from Clayton! Don't get your noonas all stressed buddy, I already wrote you back and its on its way.

Monday, November 19, 2012


Helloooo people,

Well, I think that this Thanksgiving will be a chicken and rice and fried leaf day! Pretty wonderful. So I guess transfers are just to stay the same, we never heard an official word but they're acting like everything is the same, and we're giving instructions in Zone Conference this Friday so I don't they will have any changes. We're also starting the third week of the transfer already so yeah, I think it's the same. Haha. No packages yet, but no one has come from Freetown since forever ago. So hopefully they'll come with the Roggias on Friday. Savannah told me about her tournament, I miss playing soccer competitively so much! It's all good though. Can't wait to see the newsletter, it's always way sweeter than any other ones I see. You'll have to tell me all about the trip to Destin- I'm SO JEALOUS. Going to the beach and hanging out and eating tons of amazing food just sounds so ridiculously too good to be true.

I don't know if this is good or bad, but I laughed when I read the line about Charlie still being alive.

Anyway, this week was pretty chill and nonchalant. Nothing too crazy comes to mind. We did meet a pretty interesting guy and his mom this week though. We were sitting down teaching one of our investigators the Word of Wisdom when a semi drunk guy walked up (funny how that works) and started asking us crazy questions and quoting random places in the bible. Like trying to tell us that drinking is fine because Christ taught somewhere in the bible that it's what comes out of us that defiles us, not what goes in us.Anyway, we kind of calmed him down, took his number, and told him we'd come see him. The next day we went to his house and met him. About 2 minutes later his mom rolled up half drunk and told us she had just come from church. As we were sitting there talking to them she suddenly looks at me and shouts, "I LOVE YOU!" I was like, "oh wow, that nice, thank you." And then she was asking if we'd be coming back. We said we would be coming back other times and she seemed satisfied with the response. Anyway, we proceeded to teaching the Restoration and they were actually both really quiet the whole time and didn't really ask any questions. When we were reaching the end of the lesson the lady kept shouting, "Oh, you guys just want me to start coming to your church, don't you???" We were just like, "uhhhh well, we can't force you to do it but if you choose to go there we definitely won't be upset." Then she was just muttering something to her self and saying things like "hmm I knew it, I knew it." Anyway, they both accepted a date to be baptized but that Sunday they didn't come to church. We received a text from the guy that evening saying "Sorry I didn't come today. But you guys should study the Bible more." We tried to call him but he kept rejecting our calls. Then we ran into him a few days later and he was laughing awkwardly and we set an appointment for Wednesday. We'll see how that goes. Haha, I know this story isn't very spiritual or anything but it's kind of funny/weird. Anyway, We're still teaching sweet people and our next baptism is scheduled for the first of December (It's already December??) I'll talk to all of you next week!

Elder Stewart

P.S. We ran into a snake waiting by our front door this morning, it was nuts.

 These are some adorable children.
Our branch President's wife in her "rally gear." People here have these rallys where everyone goes and screams in the street and dances for the presidential candidate of their favorite party. Her party is the green one.  (Sorry, for some reason we couldn't get this pic to post the right way!)

Monday, November 12, 2012

One of My Favorite People I've Met Here


So the big news for transfers is...... nothing! Not that nothing happened but that they haven't told us yet. Things have been a bit crazy for President so I guess we're still waiting on that one. Maybe tonight. I'm pretty sure that hardly anything will happen in the whole country, but it would just be nice to hear an official word so we can get that nagging thought out of our minds. Yeah, I heard about the election, we were actually in the middle of teaching a lesson when someone's radio nearby announced it. I got really distracted (which is bad) and then I couldn't remember what I was talking about so I just suddenly stopped and asked if the person had any questions. Haha. My companion laughed at me later. But yeah, I'm pretty bummed about that. Right after they announced it they started talking about legalizing marijuana or something and so then I just tuned it out. Anyway, I'm glad that so many missionaries are being sent out now from our stake! It would be cooler if one of them came to this mission though! Oh, some big news in the mission is that Elder Holland is coming again! But he'll be in Freetown to organize the country's first stake so we won't see him. They said he's not doing anything with the missionaries. But it's still exciting because I served there (Hill Station) so it'll be interesting to see the changes that come along with that. Freetown is split into two Districts and only the West one is becoming a stake.

Well, this week was pretty great because we had a NICE baptism! this is the only weekend in this month that we can have baptisms and confirmations because last week was General Conference, next week is Sierra Leone's own presidential election, and the other one is District Conference here in Bo. The building we baptize at is also shared with other branches so generally there's always a big service with lots of people there. But this one was especially huge. There was like 20 people baptized that day! So nuts. One of the women we baptized though has been probably one of my favorite people I've met here. She's the lady with the pink thing on her head in the picture. The little boy in front of her is her son. Anyway, the reason she's so great is because she's so different from all the other moms I've ever met here because of the way she treats her children. Most people here will shout and yell at their kids if they do the smallest thing wrong and don't really show them a lot of love. Whenever we would teach her and her son, her son would always say these crazy things like young kids say and she would always just laugh and treated him so great. She has two other children who have baptized and she is a single mom. She works really hard and tries to make things good for her family. One time when we went to see her she was talking about her past husband. She said that after she had been married to him for some time he started trying to force her to be a muslim. She said she didn't want to be one and he continued to force the subject until finally he left her over it and left her to take care of their young children. She expressed to us though that she really has the faith and belief that the right guy will be able to care for her and her children and that the choice she made to be a Christian was the right one. It was pretty sweet. But the thing that really made this whole story sweet was on Sunday when she was confirmed. The guy that confirmed her blessed her that she would one day enter into the temple and be married and sealed to her family. After the confirmation was over she was crying and it was pretty much the most spiritual punch in the face ever. Man! It was so awesome. The day that I hear about that one being fulfilled I'll probably just fall down and cry like a little baby for joy. Anyway, it was really great and that Sunday as a whole was filled with lots of people coming to church and just enjoying the Spirit. Anyway, this last week was good and hopefully this next one can be better! I miss and love all of you!

Elder Stewart
 The baptism we had last weekend. So sweet!
 Our little two man apartment. That little separate grey building is the kitchen. It's so great when it's pouring rain outside.
 The baptism we had a couple weeks ago. I don't think I sent a picture.
One of our investigators walked out of his house with three sticks and said "Gotta make a place to sit down." We kind of laughed at him because he came with three sticks and nothing else but then he made this little deal and laughed at us. He said "I'm a true Scout!" They don't even have Scouting here!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Voting for Jesus, Delayed Transfer News & Raising Children with Love

Hello family!
Soooooo congrats to Heidi! I liked that you said she had a cub now.
Haha. I also liked the writing on Ben's cake. Pretty inspirational if
you ask me. I've been trying to send pictures these last two times but
the internet has been lame so we'll see if they get sent for this
week. I might run out of time but we''ll see. I also want to hear
about the election. The news coverage for it is always playing here
but surprise surprise I don't really get to sit down and watch it.
People here always ask me if I'm going to vote. I tell them yes, I'm
going to vote for Jesus. The people here are also preparing for their
own election which is supposed to take place on the 17th. Pretty
excited for that.
So yesterday we were supposed to receive transfer news but since
President Roggia had to go to Ghana on the same day it hasn't been
released to us yet and so we're hoping that tonight we'll get it. The
big news for this week was that last Sunday we watched General
Conference! Yeah! Haha. This time was nice because here in Bo they
have a nice District Center that was built by the church so we went to
a nice big building that looks somewhat similar to the buildings in
America and watched it on a nice big screen. We watched the Saturday
Afternoon and the Sunday morning session. I keep hearing rumors that
at some point they're supposed to show the other sessions, but I'm not
really banking on it. Anyway, those two sessions were great and I took
lots of notes. I decided that when I get home I'm going to get a
notebook and just fill it with notes from General Conferences. Elder
Hollands talk was pretty much the sweetest thing ever and always makes
us laugh. One talk that I really loved though was the talk that Elder
Oaks gave about children. I felt like he was talking directly to this
country. I just wish that more people would realize that raising
children with love is so much more effective that raising them to fear
you. That one seventy, Elder Gay, used to be the mission president
over this mission when Sierra Leone, Ghana and Liberia (and maybe
another country...), were all put under one mission. The story he
shared about a kid crying on the street because he lost the money he
earned for selling for the day was sooooo familiar. Man! Children
really need good direction and it was so obvious that everything they
were all talking about was so true. I'm definitely happy that we have
apostles and prophets today to help us. It's funny because I remember
General Conference always seeming like it was the longest thing ever
but now it goes by so crazy fast. Anyway, the work here is still going
well and I'll let all of you know what happens with transfer news next
Elder Stewart