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
you THURSDAY!
 
Love,
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!
 
 
Love,
Elder Stewart

Monday, July 22, 2013

No Transfer, New Companions & Sweet Family

Hellooooo
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!

Love,
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.
 Waterfall

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.

Love,
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!
 
Love,
Elder Stewart
 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Stand Up for What You Believe in!

Hello!
 
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!
 
Love,
Elder Stewart

Monday, June 24, 2013

Oreos, Nice Baptism Spot & Cool Homeboy Poses

Helloooo,
 
Yeah, the picture of the snake was stinking HUGE. I was blown away.
That's pretty sweet that Savannah is at EFY again. EFY is super fun.
Weird that she's up there alone now though. It's weird because I've
heard about all the changes, like Breeann being in Louisiana and Aunt
Jen being in California but they're not really real because I haven't
experienced them yet. That car looks super nice. Super blessed. I
can't believe Dad is going to be 50 on Tuesday! You guys aren't old,
don't worry. Oh, something exciting that happened this week was I got
Grandma Sem's package! THANK YOU. I've almost finished a whole pack of
Oreos and it's only been two days. My companion and I will also be
living off that spaghetti for the next two days so that's nice. As far
as money goes, if you wanted to send me more you can send it through
something called western union. I don't know exactly how the whole
process works but that's what all the missionaries can do to get money
from home so I can ask someone and do it no problem. Let me check how
much I have and come up with the list of souvenirs and everything I
need to buy and tell you how much I might need. I've been locating all
the sweet souvenir places.
 
Anyway, this last week was a pretty interesting one. We spent the
whole week seeing all these people we found and getting them really
excited about church and when Sunday came not a single person showed
up... what? This is the first time on my whole mission that I've had
no investigators at church. It was pretty frustrating because we were
expecting like 8 people or so and they ALL didn't come. We went to see
everyone and some of them actually had some pretty crazy things happen
to them. Some of them were just lazy so we'll probably drop them. But
I guess it just showed me that I still have lots of work to do and if
I get lazy in anyway I'll have to suffer for it! Not that I really
feel that I've been lazy but it was a good little learning experience
anyway. One sweet thing that happened this week was that we had a
baptism! We found this new spot in the river and the place has nice
clear water and it's seriously just like a gorgeous place to baptize
someone. We baptized this older like 55 year old lady that I think I
talked about before. She had been praying to know which of all the
many churches to join and one day she felt that she should come to The
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and she has come over
since! Pretty sweet. Another sweet thing is that the district leader
in our zone is in Kossoh Town (My first area) so when we do interviews
for them I get to go there and sometimes I run into people that I
taught or baptized. It's pretty cool. This last Sunday though I ran
into the first person I ever baptized on my mission. It was pretty
cool because she was excited to see me and I was excited because I
could finally understand what she was saying and I was confused that I
was ever not able to understand her Krio because it was super clear.
But seriously, I couldn't understand a single word she said. At all.
Guess it shows that I've finally learned the language. Haha. The week
was nice and this next week will be sweet because we'll have 1000
people at church and 2456 people converted. No problem. I love you all
and will talk to you next week!
 
Love,
Elder Stewart
 
P.S. Send me any more ideas for souvenirs that you might want!
 
Pictures
-I learned some cool poses here. Also, I'm wearing my super sweet
homeboys. Yeaaaaaaahhh.
 

 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Pretty Sweet Miracle

Hey Momma,
 
Yeah those problems with the pool sound really serious... When you're
trying to know if it's okay to swim you should just throw Charlie in.
No problem. Oh, and talking about speaking in church the first Sunday
I get back- YES. Man I definitely want to speak. Of course! I have to
bear my testimony in Krio. Haha.
 
Well, I have a pretty interesting story but it's not about anyone I'm
teaching. It's a pretty good story though. There's this one guy these
Elders are teaching who used to be a pastor in a church. The guy is
super smart has traveled all over the place, is fluent in French and
Arabic. and knows the Bible super well. One day he was sitting in a
chop shop (these little huts that you can buy rice at) and he said he
heard a voice call out to him. When he turned his head to look at the
voice that called him he saw the Book of Mormon sitting on the shelf.
The guy who owned the chop shop was being taught by the missionaries
and the man asked him where he got the book. He told him where and the
next time the missionaries came to see the chop shop guy, he called
the man and he came. He was taught by them once, prayed, and knew that
the message was true. He made up his mind to join the church. The
thing that happened now is that the church he was attending before
didn't like that. The head pastor and a bunch of their church members
came to his house and told him that the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter Day Saints didn't believe in Christ and that we were worshiping
the devil. The head pastor told him that he needed to leave and that
everything he was saying was wrong. THe man told him that he knew the
church was true and could not deny it. The head pastor told him he was
possessed with the devil and needed to burn everything that the
missionaries had given him, especially the Book of Mormon. He still
held firm and fought for what he knew was right. The thing that really
impressed me was that he had only known about the church for a couple
weeks and he already had such a strong testimony of it. He lives super
far away but he sacrifices and was able to come to church last Sunday.
He's one of those people that the Lord has prepared for this time to
help build this new branch. Pretty sweet miracle.
 
Anyway, we're still working hard and we're seeing some cool things in
our area. Just thought that guy was a pretty sweet story. I love all
of you and we'll talk next week!
 
Love,
Elder Stewart

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Return Date! Broken Cameras & Farewell Pres. Roggia

Hello,

Yes, like you’ve already heard I finally have my return date. (August 8th). And I’ll
get to go to Europe! So that’s kind of cool I guess. As far as having
a girls camp here goes... yeah, there's nothing like that. The church
is too new. They're just barely wanting to start up young single
adults. They'll have a mutual activity like once every few months.
It's like there are attempts to do things but it's not becoming a
consistent thing. Small, small anyway. This last week was not very
exciting at all because I was barely in my area. I was walking around
with other Elders since my companion had gone to Bo, and Elder Burton
didn't come until last Sunday evening. One sweet thing though was that
we had a baptism. The picture is so crazy because out of the four
elders that were around we only had one camera that could take
pictures and it's lens was broken. So that's too bad. Another exciting
thing that happened this week was that President Roggia gave his final
farewell conference. It's weird knowing that I won't be seeing him and
Sister Roggia again before they leave. Because of where Waterloo is, I
won't see them again. He told us that we need to be strong, and
obedient. We need to focus on keeping all the rules of the mission and
don't do things that will drive the Spirit away or lead us to fail. If
we are obedient we will never fail. Also, Elder Dickson from the First
Quorum of the Seventy was there and he talked a lot about how we can
strengthen the branches we serve and how to work better with our
branch leaders. It was pretty sweet and it made me set a lot of goals
on ways I can improve working with them. We have a nice week this week
and I'm looking forward to finally focusing on my area and getting
work done. I'm so thankful for everything and I'll talk to you all
next week!

Love,
Elder Stewart

Monday, June 3, 2013

Back from the Dark Abyss, New/Old Companion & Falling Out of the Sky

Hello family!
 
Well, I have to say that there was a mighty a marvelous miracle that
occured this week. I got the Easter Package!!!!! Yeah. Can you believe
that? I couldn't. I thought the thing was lost into the dark abyss. So
needless to say, the nutella and pack of oreos were definitely
appreciated. And of course that 8gb memory card. I'll definitely be
doing my best to fill that thing up. Some other crazy news for the
week is that last Sunday we got transfer news. Sadly, my dear
companion Elder Wootton will be leaving me and is actually going to
Lewabu in Bo (my last area before this one). And the name of my new
companion is.... Elder Burton! Wait what? Did that name sound
familiar? Oh. I guess it's because I served with him for 3 months in
Lewabu. The good news though is that he was definitely one of if not
my favorite companion so I'm all giddy at the idea of us working
together again. It's definitely going to be lots of fun. Still no
return date. This last week was pretty nuts and we were busy going to
town running different errands and such so there wasn't too much
excitement that happened. One sweet thing though is just that we have
this super awesome guy getting ready to baptize this Saturday. He's a
social studies teacher and he's just one of those people that is just
so excited about everything we teach him. He never misses church and
he's been telling all his friends about it and we're hoping that he
can find some more people like himself for us to teach. One thing that
has been so amazing to me is the kind of people the Lord has been
preparing to help build up the branch here. Our branch president will
tell us about a calling that they need to fill and suddenly someone
will fall out of the sky and just be so prepared and ready to build
the church. We're thinking this teacher guy we're teaching will be a
branch mission leader, but we'll see what happens after the branch
president prays about it and seeks revelation. It's definitely been
fun to watch the growth of this branch and being able to be so
directly involved in their growth. We're playing them in soccer this
evening so we'll see how that goes. Hopefully everyone will come with
boku referrals for us. I definitely love the heck out of that sport. I
tell you. Anyway, I'm still keeping my journal up almost every day so
there are lots of stories to share there! I don't have too much time
this week but I love all of you and can't wait to hear from you next
week! Have fun at girls camp!
 
Love,
Elder Stewart
 
P.S. Happy Anniversary!!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Pictures!, Super Sweet Baptism & You People are Awesome

Hello family,
 
Well some good news for the week is that I have some pictures! I
borrowed my companion's camera and tried to switch some pictures onto
my SD card but my camera is crazy so I couldn't get them to go on it.
But I'll try and buy something else and I should at least be able to
come home with the pictures. So just wait small yeah? Anyway, this
past week was pretty sweet because we had a super sweet baptism! When
I first came to this area we met this girl and at first she seemed
like she was totally not serious about God at all. But we went and sat
down with her the first time and just asked her tons of questions and
listened to what she had to say. We could see that she wasn't happy
with the way that she had been living her life and so we started
teaching her. We had first given her a baptismal date for May 4th but
when that day came near we just felt like she wasn't ready yet. We
wanted to be sure that she had fully repented of all her sins and so
we told her that she was going to have to wait a little bit before she
was baptized. She had been coming to church and everything but we just
didn't feel like she was quite ready. We pushed it back for two weeks.
We noticed the change in those weeks but there was still some time
needed before she was really ready. During this time she kept telling
us she wanted to be baptized and was ready but we knew that she needed
more time. While she waited for the time to be baptized I could tell
that it gave her that more motivation to change and work harder. When
her date came near again we told her she needed to wait another week.
When we told her she looked really upset and was like "What happened?
Why?" I don't know what made us keep pushing it back but it was
definitely the right thing. When the day finally came for her baptism
she showed up super early and was all ready. Although it was raining,
we still went out in the rain and did the baptism. While I was waiting
for my companion to change I noticed her standing off to the side
being really quiet. Then I noticed that she was crying to herself. I
asked her how she was feeling and she just smiled and said "I feel
SWEET!" It was pretty sweet indeed. After that we all treked back up
the little hill and made our way back to the church to close the
baptism. Even though the day was super gloomy it was definitely a
great day full of happiness. The next day she got to church and I was
able to confirm her. The whole day she was just smiling and so happy.
I can tell you, the first time she ever came to church she was bored
and wanted to leave. But there was a big change and now she looks like
a super different person. The gospel has been restored indeed! It's
pretty cool to see all these changes in people. Anyway, the week was
good and I'm still happy as ever to be here! I'll talk to you all next
week though! Love you!
 
Love,
Elder Stewart
 
P.S. For the package you can just put the things I said to Dad... I
can't really think of anything else. THANK YOU. YOU PEOPLE ARE
AWESOME.
 



Baptism in the river! My face looks sweet. 
 

 Walking around. That's a mosque in the distance.
 

 Walking back from a baptism. That's Sis. Kanzler.
 

 This is our chapel! The compound is pretty nice.
 

This is the chapel where we hold sacrament meeting. Things start
off pretty small.
 
          The baptism for last Saturday. It was pouring rain so we had ran
        under this unfinished house. All the members ditched us and ran away.





Monday, May 20, 2013

Speaking in Church, Good Feeling & Beautiful Baptism

Hello people,
 
That's funny that you didn't know the Bridges moved to Oklahoma city
because I did! Haha. I thought I would never be able to hear something
first but hey what do you know. It's funny that you mentioned Savannah
maybe not wanting to speak in New Iberia because I remember me never
wanting to go and do that. It's funny because now I would jump at the
opportunity, haha. I've done a lot of on the fly speaking here. I
spoke at a funeral once, I don't know if I ever told you that. They
told me about 2 minutes before they started and about 5 minutes after
they started I was speaking. So that was interesting. Haha. I've also
given talks at about half of the baptismal services I've been to. I
don't know how I'm going to stay under the time for my homecoming
talk! Funny how that works.
 
Speaking of baptismal services we had a baptism this past Saturday for
this sweet girl. I think I might have spoken small about her before
and basically she lives on her own because her parents are dead and
she's just trying to support herself and her little sister. This past
week her sister had an operation and she was wanting to go travel to
her (her sister lives in Guinea currently). But when she saw that it
would mean she would miss her baptism she moved her plans around so
that she could still go and be baptized. We moved her baptism up a
week earlier too. That Saturday we were planning for the service to
start at 11 but I guess she was so excited that when she woke up she
got changed and all ready so fast that she didn't even check the time.
We got a call from her at 8:30 asking us why no one was at the church.
Haha. Later, at 11, after we had walked down to the river and done the
baptism, we were walking back and she was just like "Elder Stewart, I
feel so good right now. Like I just feel so happy. There's just like
this good feeling." We explained to her that that was the Holy Ghost
and that the next day she would be able to receive the gift of the
Holy Ghost and that he would be her constant companion. The next day
she was at church an hour early and already got a calling in the Young
Women's. So that was pretty sweet. Another thing that was sweet is
that at her baptism she bore her testimony and you could just feel the
Spirit and see the joy in her face. It was pretty stinking sweet.
There's a senior couple that just got here about a month ago who came
to our baptism and the man was just like "Oh, that was beautiful."
Haha. It was pretty cool though. Anyway, everything is just going
sweet and I wouldn't change a thing! I love all of you and will talk
to you next week!
 
Love,
Elder Stewart

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Nice and Short

Helloooo!
 
So since we just talked the other day this one will be nice and short.
In case you were wondering if I died and that's why I didn't email you
on Monday, don't worry I didn't die. My companion did. Okay no, he
just was super sick and we couldn't go anywhere. He's fine now
though.I've got nothing to hook up to this computer so no pictures
again... I'll do my best to work something out though. I don't know
where the actual Napoleon Dynamite CD is but I know that all the
music should be on the computer in the kitchen. Unless that thing has
been sold and replaced as well. And I'm almost positive that the Vote
for Pedro shirt went into the quilt... I miss that thing! Anyway, I
love all of you and I'll talk to you next week!
 
Love,
Elder Stewart
 
 
Here's a picture of Hunter's zone that I got from his mission president's
 blog.  We had a great phone call from Hunter for Mother's Day!  Definitely 
the highlight of the day :) 

Monday, May 6, 2013

American's Junk, Last Call Home & Door Mouths

Hello!
 
Wow, sounds like a pretty crazy week. Saw the picture of the car from
Savannah. Looked pretty great. Probably it would still drive better
than the little vans we take to get into the town. Just let me know
what the verdict on that is. Moving right along, Charlie looked like a
fool with his conehead. I hope he was just running around smacking his
head on stuff. Glad to hear about the dejunking of the house going on
before, we Americans like junk too much. 
 
I can't believe it's already Mother's Day and I'm calling home again!
Feels like I just talked to you guys at Christmas. I'll probably call
you guys and you can answer just so I can say "Hello, call me back"
and then you can feel free to do that. Also be thinking of souvenirs or
anything you guys might want!
 
Well this week was interesting, we had met this crazy guy on the road
a few weeks ago and gave him a pamphlet about the Plan of Salvation.
It turns out he had read the whole thing and had underlined and marked
a bunch of stuff so we were thinking maybe he had some questions and
actually wasn't completely insane. We swung by his house the other day
and went up to his door mouth. Oh, something you might think sounds
funny about the mission here is that everyone here leaves their doors
open when they're home because it allows the breeze to blow through
the house. So when we walk up to someone's door we don't knock on it
but instead we shout into the house "knock, knock!" Hahaha. Anyway,
after we said that we heard a voice come from the inside saying,
"Ohhhhhhh! Is it the whiiiiiittteee peoplllleee?? Then the guy came
out wearing nothing but these tiny little shorts and some basketball
shoes. He pulled some chairs up and we sat down. We started to discuss
with him and he told us that he wanted happiness because he used to
not drink but now he drinks and likes drinking but didn't want to but
to stop from drinking he would smoke cigarettes but only on Wednesdays
because the wind blew harder on those days so it wasn't as stressful.
Something like that. So we tried to talk about happiness and the plan
God made for us. When we brought up baptism he asked us how we
baptized. When we said by immersion he started flipping out and
telling us he was too scared of water and figured God would understand
if he just said a prayer and poured a cup of water on his head. Then
he started telling us how he used to wear boxers but just didn't feel
like it anymore and that he likes women too much.So we figured it was
probably okay at this point so we closed and took off. Not sure what
will happen with him but I don't think he'll be someone we focus on.
The thing is that last Sunday he came to church. Anyway, it was kind
of weird. Okay well, I can't wait to talk to you all on Sunday! Love
you!
 
Love,
Elder Stewart

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Homeboys, Ibo Town & Krio Proverbs

Hello family!
 
Hey there, I don't know how I felt about that little line about my
crazy African accent! Haha, sometimes when I'm sitting there I find
myself thinking about things in Krio. It's kind of weird. Glad the
Relief Society enjoyed the little bit about me teaching it. Lets just
say I never want to teach Relief Society again! Haha. There are no
pictures attached of Savannah from prom and I'm a little upset about
that. Not gonna lie. But it's her birthday today and HOLY COW I CAN'T
BELIEVE SHE'S 17. WHAT THE HECK IS THAT. Doesn't she still have her
braces? Sometimes when I show people a picture of all you guys they
ask what's on her teeth in the picture. I tell them it's her grill. No
not really. I just say she fell down and they had to use iron bars to
get her teeth to stay in her mouth. Okay so usually no one ever asks.
Anyway, happy birthday Savannah! Sorry I can't send you a present but,
I'll do my best to find something cool for you. Speaking of those
kinds of souvenir things- what are you guys wanting me to find for
you? Any ideas? There's this big trend that has caught on with the
missionaries and that's to "make homeboys." A homeboy is what they
call hoodies here. But what we do is we buy some sweet looking african
material and bring it to a tailor and have him make a hoodie out of
it. There's this expensive hand woven cloth called country cloth that
my companion and I are going to make some out of. Everything together
costs about 100,000 leones to make one. So around $23 or so. They have
other cheaper African looking material to make it out of though. We'll
see. So I can make those, or any other kind of clothes out of african
looking material. Kind of cool. Then they have like other handwoven
bags like purses and lots of football jerseys for cheap and I guess
right before they take missionaries home from their missions they take
them to a wood market where there's lots of hand carved statues and
stuff. So yeah. Just keep some things in mind and if you think of
anything I can try and find it for you. They have all that cliche
African stuff here too. So just let me know! Maybe you can tell me
when I call home.
 
Anyway, so this week was flipping sweet because we had our first ever
meeting inside our new building inside Waterloo! It was great. There
were 3 pairs of senior couples there so it was kind of exciting. We
had a successful meeting and there was no problem there. We also had
this one investigator come who is the mother and the boss of this one
household. 3 of the people in her household are interested in the
church and want to be baptized, but she keeps telling them they need
to wait first. She came to church for the first time and she had a
really good experience. She's a super smart lady and went to
university in England. Which is close to impossible for someone from
here to do. When she had first met the missionaries teaching her
family I guess she was kind of rude and totally uninterested in them
but something has changed and she's agreed to start taking the
lessons. We've been having some sweet lessons with her and we're
really looking forward to seeing what happens with her. All I know is
she would make a great Relief Society President (so that way Elder
Stewart wouldn't have to teach!). Anyway, the church is sweet. My area
is sweet. My companion is sweet. The district is sweet. No problem. I
just want to work hard and finish everything strong! Oh and I don't
think I told you but the name of my area is officially called "Ibo
Town." Anyway, I love all of you and will talk to you all next week!
 
Love,
Elder Stewart
 
P.S. I haven't seen anything too wild other than the mammoth moth that
attacked out apartment (about the size of my open palm), and the crazy
people who dress up as "debuls." Nothing too crazy!
 
 Here are some Krio proverbs
GכD Nכ DE GI YU LOD WE YU Nכ GO EBUL TOT.
God won't give you a load you can't carry.
 
WE DεN TOT YU NA BAK, YU Nכ NO SE ROD LANGGA.
If they carry you on their back, you won't know that the road is long.

Monday, April 22, 2013

First Meeting, New Teaching & Back in the River

Hellooooo
 
Well, first off the whole Boston Marathon thing is terrifying. I'm
just glad all of our family members are okay. Definitely could have
been a lot worse. If they ever find out why the people did that I
would be interested to know. Anyway, the world can definitely be
pretty sick and twisted at some points, trust me.
 
Anyway, on a happier note, something you could put inside a package
would be some Slap Ya Mama and Tony's. Ohhhh yeaaaahh. The thing here
is that there's just no flavor. Also some propel drink mixes and
toothpaste would be nice.
 
Well, on my side of the pond things have been a little crazy.
Yesterday was the first meeting of the new branch and because of that,
there are no people called into any leadership positions. Haha. Which
might not be a big problem if 90% of the branch wasn't baptized in the
last year. So it meant that the missionaries were doing a lot of
teaching for the day. And you'll never guess which class I taught....
Relief Society! Haha. And guess what I taught them about? Marriage!
Hahaha. It was pretty lame not gonna lie. It's just hard because we
only have about 3 manuals for the class and most of the women don't
know how to read anyway. So I just tried to bring up a lot of
discussion questions. Definitely an interesting experience. We're
supposed to be getting a building this week inside the town of
Waterloo itself (right now we're a 20 minute drive down the highway to
the next town), so hopefully this guy we've been trying to meet with
will answer his phone so we can seal the deal! It's definitely an
adventure working with a new branch but I really like it and just want
to do all I can to get everyone off to a good start. We have transfer
news next Sunday as well... I'm thinking I won't be going anywhere or
getting a new companion, but it's almost impossible to tell for sure.
We had a baptism last Saturday and it was back in the river! It was a
nice service even though the only people that were able to go were the
6 missionaries and the lady. Since the branch was new everyone was
involved with this other activity and weren't able to go to the
baptism. It'll be better in the future though. Anyway, everything is
great here! Just waiting for General Conference to arrive! First
weekend in May. I love all of you though and can't wait to talk to you
on Mother's day!
 
Love,
Elder Stewart

Monday, April 15, 2013

No Packages, New Branch & God loves you no matter what

Hello family!
 
Well, I guess I'll start with the bad news first. I haven't gotten any
packages... I talked to a couple of other guys and they both said
they've been waiting on packages since like January... looks like
there was a big thiefing festival at the post office in January or so.
I was pretty depressed to see people walking in with lots of packages
and letters on Sunday and not having a single one be for me! It's
alright though I guess. I could definitely go for some Oreos right
now, but I guess I'll just have to bear it.
 
Good to hear about the housing situation though! It's pretty weird to
have almost everything set in place now. Just have to find out when
I'll be getting home. I guess that one is pretty important. I thought
it was pretty funny that Charlie came back on his own. That old fart.
 
Wow, so this last week was pretty crazy. The biggest thing that
happened was this last Sunday. Like I said before, I'm serving in
Kossoh Town branch again. When I was in Kossoh Town the last time,
about 3 months after I had been on mission the branch split because of
the growth in the area. This last Sunday I was priviledged to see the
branch split again and see the creation of the Waterloo branch. So I'm
no longer serving in the Kossoh Town branch but the Waterloo branch.
It's pretty sweet because we got a new branch president, new
everything. It's all people from Waterloo running the show now. The
proselyting area of Waterloo was opened up a while ago but
missionaries didn't really start focusing on it until around August
2011, right when I came. It just goes to show the rapid growth of the
Church here. It also means that all of our converts are going to be
the big leaders in the branch! Pretty sweet. It also means that we're
going to have to be doing lots of helping to make sure there's correct
doctrine being taught! Haha. It'll be nice though. One neat experience
happened this week. There's this one man we're teaching who is around
30, lives alone, works construction every day, and has a pretty bad
smoking problem. We're were talking to him about his smoking problem
and discussing what he can do to help him quit. He's kind of one of
those guys that has like a really rugged appearance, gravely voice,
and is always wearing dirty clothes. We told him what he has to do to
quit smoking and he agreed to do it. As we were winding up the lesson
we asked him if he had any questions. He kind of thought about it for
a minute and said, "If I quit drinking and smoking....." We were
expecting him to ask about some material benefit or something, and
then he said "...will God love me?" Man! See our hearts melt like a
girl watching The Notebook. We were so shocked that my companion even
muttered a quiet "Wow..." after he said it. I told him he said that
later and he said he didn't even remember saying that. So that was
kind of funny, haha. Anyway, We told him that God loves him even
though he does those things, but because of that love He has for him,
He wants him to quit those things so he can bless him more. It was
pretty sweet. The guy came to church Sunday too. Things are going
pretty good, we just need more investigators. Small small. Anyway,
Thank you for everything and I'll talk to you all next week!
 
Love,
Elder Stewart

Monday, April 8, 2013

Conference, Perfect Investigator & Harry Potter

Hello Momma!
 
Sounds like everything was a success! I'm glad to hear about all the
adventures though. Haha. I've been doing pretty good though. I haven't
seen conference yet. We always get it and watch it the first weekend
in May. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to teach over the radio
but man! Those guys are doing super good. Well, one of them. The other
one is still excited but he's been traveling tons so we haven't been
able to see him at all. The other guy is literally the most perfect
investigator I've ever met. We met him on a Saturday, he came to this
family home evening group we do that evening. Then he came to church
Sunday. A member invited him to begin attending institute, he went on
Wednesday and Friday. We invited him to the read the Introduction to
the Book of Mormon, he read it. We invited him to watch a baptism, he
came. He also came to church yesterday. Man. It's crazy. He's
definitely like the most prepared person I've ever met. Haha. Oh, and
yeah, we had a baptism this past Saturday. One of the guys we baptized
is super super smart and he's actually read all 7 of the Harry Potter
books! I know that might not sound very weird to you but here, half
the people can't read at all, half of those people who can read,
don't. And the ones left read simple books that they're forced to
read. And then there's this kid who loves reading novels. It's crazy
because he said he heard about Harry Potter because he got a hold of
the 7th book. He read the whole thing and decided that he had to track
down the other 6. He started getting them slowly and would track when
shipments of books would come in so he could be the first one to
search through it and try to claim the books for himself. After a year
or so he finally got all seven and said he's read them over and over
since. He's also read all the Narnia books. Pretty sweet kid. It's
crazy how hard he had to fight to get books though. We just drive down
the road and can get the book the day it comes out. He said something
about a book that just came out, and then said "so probably I'll be
able to read it in about 10 years." It was funny but I guess really
it's not that funny. Haha. Anyway, about that camera business, I'll
try and find a cheap one to buy here. Also, the package hasn't come
yet, but we haven't gotten mail delivered in about a month. So.... who
knows. Haha. Okay, well I'm so happy to be here and I can't wait to
talk to you next week! Love you!
 
Love,
Elder Stewart
 
P.S. Momma HAPPY BIRTHDAY! again. The big 2-9! Man you're getting old!
Haha. Love you!
P.S.S. Ryan Nielsen- happy late birthday to you too!
P.S.S.S Can you send me Clayton and Big Black's email addresses? Thanks.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Waterloo, Tons of Missionaries & And the Gospel on the Radio?




Where we baptize
 

         From the top of this big hotel overlooking a place just outside my area
                                    called Rokel.

Hellooooooooo!
 
Sounds like a pretty great trip! The only problem is that (and you
guys do this a lot) sometimes you'll mention something and say Dad
will send me pictures or talk more about that, and then I'll read his
and he'll say the same thing about you. Haha. So next week send me
some pictures of the trip! Anyway, I really liked that bit about the
missionaries there in Hawaii and the old church building. I've been
trying to teach a chief my whole mission but I haven't been so lucky
to do that yet. Haha. I met one and took his contact in my last area
but he was always busy so we never saw him. I haven't gotten your
package yet... but mail hasn't really come in a long time now. I'm
hoping and praying though. Haha I want those packages bad!
 
Well this week was super sweet. The best part was definitely on this
last Saturday. This one guy that I saw get baptized when I was in
Kossoh Town has become just this solid rock to the church here and is
really a big example to me of how much the gospel can bless people's
lives. Side note about the area- Waterloo is still super new, so new
that there's not even a branch in the town. We have to take a 15/20
minute ride to reach the chapel on Sundays. They're hoping we'll have
the first branch out here opened before the end of April, but we'll
see. With the change in mission age, tons and tons of people have been
getting poured into the mission so we've been able to put heavy focus
on areas such as this. There's 6 elders in Waterloo and 10 total in
our branch. That's quite a bit! Haha. So in short, we're literally
building the church from ground up, because when the branch finally
opens, who will be all the leaders inside of it? All of our brand new
converts. Anyway, we were talking to him and told him we were looking
for people to teach and on Saturday he told us he had set an
appointment for us. We went and met two men at the radio station where
they worked. We sat down and taught them the Restoration. We helped
them to see and understand why there are so many churches today and
about the priesthood and how everything as it was before is the way it
is today! The member we had brought with us just started bearing his
testimony about how much his life has changed. When I met him a year
ago he literally had nothing. He was having problems with his
marriage, he was going to get evicted from his house, and just a lot
of other problems. It was pretty sweet. The two guys we were teaching
were just really touched and said that they had actually had it on
their minds for a long time that they needed to join the Church. And
guess what, they came on Sunday! It was pretty cool. But are you ready
for the coolest part? They were so excited they asked us that, if they
chose to do so, would it be possible for us to come once a week for an
hour and have discussions with them over the radio so that thousands
of people can hear? We don't know if we're allowed to do that so we
said we'd have to ask first, but wouldn't that be crazy? It was pretty
sweet. Anyway, the week was great! I'm really loving this area and
really hope that this is where it will end. There's so many great
people and I don't want to leave this place. Anyway, I love all of you
so much and will talk to you next week!
 
Love,
Elder Stewart
 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Camera Trouble, Super Busy & The Greatest Thing about a Mission

Hello family!

Well, sounds like you guys are pretty much enjoying. But yeah, to answer your
questions, yeah I'm having camera trouble. I think it might be messed
up. I kind of talked about it to dad in his email though. I have no
idea where to buy a camera here and a lot of the times the electronics
here are cheap and are made to look like original ones that are
actually just cheap chinese knock offs. I'll look around all the same
though. I'm in a new area now and I'm with a new companion. His name
is Elder Wootton and he's from Utah. I tried to attach some pictures
but the internet wasn't working too well. We had a baptism this past
weekend and I'm back in the river! Yes! It's sweet. I didn't baptize
the people this time though. I don't know them super well. Haha. As
far as the whole family we're trying to teach goes, the guy is only
available on weekends and on this last weekend he had to travel
somewhere far for a funeral. It's not sweet though because people will
feel the Spirit and then after they haven't seen us for a long time
they forget about it or they hear things and then they never let us
come see them again. It's crappy. So he's a work in project. One
pretty crazy thing happened this week that you guys probably won't
believe. I think I said in the last email how I'm in my first branch
again and so I'll get to see a bunch of people that I knew from the
beginning of my mission including converts. One thing that they always
do in the branches here is that any time a new missionary gets
transferred into their branch they always have him bear his testimony.
So although I had been there before, they had me bear my testimony
again. The thing that was crazy was that as I had started to talk I
said something like "it seems like just yesterday I stood at this same
pulpit and bore my first testimony on mission..." I felt like I wanted
to cry! What??? It kind of just hit me how fast the time goes I guess.
I have kind of been in denial (and really I think I still am) that
mission will eventually end but it kind of all hit me right there. It
just really made me want to be sure that I put everything I can into
these last few transfers because I don't want to look back and think
about what I could have done better. We're super busy and I'm just
trying to work hard to handle all the responsibilities. I love these
people like crazy though! I realized that the most frustrating thing
and the greatest thing about serving a mission is the people. They're
the ones that make you feel happy and the ones that make you vexed!
Haha. Speaking of sweet people though, there's this one lady we're
teaching who is just super sweet and loves the gospel but she really
wants to be baptized with her husband. The husband is a pretty good
guy, he just really likes to focus on this little shop his owns. We
focused on him more this past few days and on Sunday he came to
church! It was sweet! He's a really great guy and so we're hoping
he'll continue to progress. Anyway, we had a really great week and I'm
looking forward to another great one this week. I love all of you and
I'll talk to you next week!

Love,
Elder Stewart

P.S. Post my email address on the blog so that everyone knows they can
email me! THanks! (hunter.stewart@myldsmail.net)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Emails!, Poda Podas & Family

Hello,
 
Wow, it sure sounds like an interesting week. Poor Spearmint... I'll
definitely miss her. She was quite a classy lady. The big news for the
week this week is that now we're able to email ANYONE. So all you
friends that abandoned writing me but take glory reading my blog each
week, send me an email. (hunter.stewart@myldsmail.net) I don't care if 
it's short! Just tell me about your life and what you're doing with it. 
It's been a while. Anyway, I'm now sitting in the East End of Freetown
having traveled out of Waterloo to come here. There's no internet cafes 
in the town we live in so we have to catch a poda poda for about an hour 
ride and go to a place there. No problem. I got to see our area quite a bit
and it's super sweet! We have a lot of great investigators and I get along
really well with my companion. I'm pretty excited about it all. We're
just starting to get the zone set up and we'll be having zone meeting
on the 26th. Oh, side note I tried to email dad back but the internet
cut out and don't think it sent. Anyway, we had a this lesson with
this man this last Saturday. We taught him about the Restoration of
the gospel of Jesus Christ and he was so excited that he told us to
come back the next week Sunday and to teach his entire family. He said
that was the only time that they'll all be around. It was pretty
sweet. My whole mission I've been wanting to see an entire family
(Man, wife, children) get baptized together on the same day but it
hasn't happened yet. The best thing about it all is being a part of it
with your family! It definitely changes lives, that's for sure. To
know everything about it and then to leave it all behind, I don't
think I can ever understand it. I've met a lot of people who left the
church because of some argument they had with a church leader, or
something that happened that offended them. I just wish they could
remember that although the organization is perfect, the place is
filled with imperfect people. Everybody makes mistakes. Anyway, I'm
definitely excited for everything and can't wait to see another week.
I love you all and will talk to you next week!
 
Love,
Elder Stewart
 
P.S. My camera has been having a problem- when I turn it on the screen
is just this white flashing color... I'm afraid it might be kicking
the dust too. But I'll see what I can do with it this week.
 
(I, Jill, got this picture from Hunter's Mission President's blog) 
 
 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Transfer News & Learning More Than Possibly Imagined

Hello family!
 
Well the week was a good one. I just looked at all those pictures of
your room- what! So different. It looks super good though, I like it.
You can tell Sister Wuertenberg I've gotten a letter from them in the
last little while. Just one. I'm glad to hear the Latrini's haven't
died yet, hopefully no one will break their hip this time (boom
roasted). Maui sounds, well, extremely nice. Wouldn't mind to find
myself there at some point in the future. Haha.
 
Anyway, the big news for the week is that we got transfer news this
past week and I'm getting transferred! My new area is called Rokel and
I'm super super super excited to go there because that area meets in
the Kossoh Town branch! In case you forgot, my first area on mission
was Kossoh Town, so it means that my converts from the beginning of my
mission, I'll be able to see them again! I was so stinking excited
when I found out that I would be going there. That was actually my
hope, that I would one day be able to go there. Another big surprise
was that I'll be a zone leader still and that I'll be opening a new
zone. It sounds a lot cooler than it actually is. Really all that
happened is that the Freetown East Zone split in two and me and my
companion will be the zone leaders for the new Waterloo zone. Rokel is
between Kossoh Town and a small town known as Waterloo just outside of
Freetown. Anyway, I'm really excited to be going there and see what
will happen next. There's still a lot more work to do. This last week
was pretty good, we had our zone meeting on Tuesday and focused a lot
on the development of the individual and on becoming better people. I
honestly don't know what I'd be like if I wouldn't have gotten this
chance to come here. I'm definitely learning more things than I could
have possibly imagined. One sweet thing that happened this week was
that this nice little family we met (gotta get the parents married
first), all came to church! They all are really happy and even the
last time we saw the wife she said that she wanted to be baptized and
beginning coming to church. I'm hoping to hear all about it. I'm sad
to be leaving Lewabu but I know there's more people who I need to see
in Rokel! My last Sunday there I was just looking around the chapel
and saw all the people I had taught sitting in church and I just felt
blessed to have been able to serve here as long as I did. Anyway, the
work is sweet and next week I'll be back to the bustle of Freetown! I
love all of you so much!
 
Love,
Elder Stewart

Monday, March 4, 2013

Zone Conference, Super P-day & Egg Hunt

Hey family,
 
Well this last week was absolutely crazy. On Tuesday we had a Zone
Conference with President Roggia and Elder Burton and I gave a small
instruction about enduring to the end. We pretty much just invited
everyone to keep showing love to their recent converts and to continue
teaching them even after baptism. We also invited them to write some
of them letters. That's something I'm going to try and do before I go
home- write all of my converts a letter. It's hard because we get so
busy and its hard to even find time to write my friends letters
sometimes! But I'll do my best. After the zone conference we had zone
leader council with President Roggia which is basically just a meeting
with him and he gives us some information about what's going on in the
mission and what we need to be focusing on in our zone and things
like that. He also gives us a topic of something to talk about at our
next zone meeting which is always the following Tuesday (tomorrow). So
we've been trying to work that one out. On Wednesday we went to Kenema
and I got to go with the Simbeck Elders so I saw some of the people I
taught and a couple of converts while I was there so that was pretty
sweet. I would give anything to go back to Kenema, man that place is
sweet! Thursday we traveled back to Bo and started to work on the Zone
Meeting instruction and getting things in place to have a super p-day
on Monday (today). Friday was a regular day and we got things prepared
for a baptism the next day. Saturday we had a baptism for one of the
SWEETEST people ever; I think I talked about him last week. The
service was really nice and the next day, Sunday, everything went
smoothly for his confirmation. Something sweet that happened was that
on Sunday this family that we just started teaching came to church.
Well, half of them anyway. The man is a muslim so he didn't come, but
his wife and three of their kids came. So that was pretty sweet. It's
kind of funny because the man told us he would come and the woman just
kept avoiding the question and never really answered us. Maybe she
just wasn't sure. Haha. We'll be trying to see them this week. Today
was a pretty sweet day too because we had that Super P-day. All the
Elders from Kenema came to Bo and will be here until tomorrow after
Zone Meeting. For the super P-day we boiled some eggs and had everyone
decorate them with markers and write their favorite scripture on it.
Then while everyone left, Elder Burton and I hid them around the
compound. Then we all went and played a nice game of football. It was
pretty sweet and I scored a nice goal off a volley. So that was pretty
exciting. Then we all went back to the compound and everyone found the
eggs and everyone shared their scripture and shared their testimony.
Then we all ended up by eating a nice big bowl of jollof rice. No
problem. Its been a pretty successful day so far and we're looking to
have a nice FHE this evening and a nice zone meeting tomorrow. So
hopefully everything will go well! Anyway, I'm glad everything is
going well at home and I'll be looking for those pictures! And a big
thank you to aunt jen! I got the package this past week and I think
all the candy is gone already. Haha. And don't worry, the tortillas
didn't mold over. So THANK YOU. Oh, and if its not too late, if it
would be possible to add some slap ya momma or tony's to the package
that would be sweet. Anyway, thank you for everything! I love you and
I'll talk to you next week!
 
Love,
Elder Stewart


  Baptism from the 16th!
Baptism from the 23rd!
 
Kids wearing sweet clothes.

 My MTC Elder Wuthrich on our 18th month mark!
 Guinea pigs from Guinea.
 Can you identify this snake for me?
 Baptism from this past weekend, the 2nd.

 I've been wanting to take a picture like this for a long time. I
always imagined it saying something inspirational at the bottom like
"Dream Big"... haha don't worry I'm still thinking about all this
cheesy artsy optimistic business.
                                  Super P-day!
 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Answers to Random Questions Part 2

These are the random questions I asked Hunter:

1-Pirates or Ninjas? Why?
2-Have you eaten any rice in the last week? If so, what flavor?
3-Where did you catch that snake in the pot? and what kind was it? It looked pretty wimpy compared to the snakes in the Shed of Horrors!
4-Have you seen any other creepy creatures lurking about?
5-Do you have any requests for the package I am sending you next week? Let me know!!!!!


Hello family!
 
Sounds like it was a great week. We had a nice baptism this past week
and have just been focusing on finding sweet people. We're hoping for
some super sweet miracles. This one guy we've been teaching got
interviewed and will be baptizing this week. I think I talked about
him last week. Basically he has a super strong testimony and just
loves coming to church. It was too bad to hear about LHS. It's about
time they bring a championship in. I don't have a lot of time so I'll
answer your questions quick. Oh, but before I do we have zone
conference tomorrow and it's all about enduring to the end. My
companion and I have to give an instruction in it so we're hoping it
will go well. I've gotten a lot more used to doing that kind of stuff
now. It should hopefully help a lot when I go back! So the first
question- Ninjas. Because I see them here all the time. 
Second- I've eaten rice every single day. Not even kidding.
I had fried rice last night, ground nut soup some other nights, and
pumpkin! I've learned how to cook pumpkin and make a tasty little
sauce to put on the rice. So I'll try and make it for you all one day.
That snake was lurking inside the senior couples apartment. I cut its
head off. We found a 2 foot one in our compound the other day. I'll
send a picture next week. I've been having a small problem with the
memory card but don't worry it's not serious. I can fix it. Fourth,
any creepy creatures? Not that I can think of. They have some crazy
looking lizards that are always around. They look like little dragons.
Kind of cool. And finally, as far as a package goes, something that
would be sweet would be another 8 gb memory card. The one I have is
about to fill up and I think one more would be perfect. And of course,
sweet stuff like Oreos and those kinds of things. Haha. Anyway, I love
all you so much and will talk to you next week! Sorry this letter is
so lame!
 
Love,
Elder Stewart

Monday, February 18, 2013

What is Cold?, Football & Nothing Absolutely Insane

Hello again,
 
Man I'm super jealous of the Nauvoo trip. I definitely want to go see
all of those things when I get back. It was weird to hear about it
being cold outside. I'm literally going to die. I don't know what cold
is again! This week was pretty good. We had a baptism last Saturday.
We also played football today! So that was fun. We don't keep score
because we don't want the game to be competitive... but we totally won
6-4. Haha.
 
Well, this week was pretty normal. Nothing absolutely insane happened.
This one guy we're teaching has been really excited about everything
we've been teaching him and knows its true, but he has missed church
for the last two Sundays. He has a really crazy work schedule that has
him working from 7pm-7am on Saturday evenings to Sunday mornings. The
last time we saw him we taught him about the Law of Chastity which is
something he has been struggling with. We helped him to see its
importance and what he can do in his life to begin keeping the
commandment. He said he would do it and this Sunday he came to church!
He was super tired because church starts at 9, but he stayed for the
whole thing and contributed a lot in class. It was pretty cool. I also
found out that one of my converts has been going to institute every
week and giving the teacher boku problems with his questions. So
sweet! Haha. It's not easy trying to get the church working the way
its supposed to. The church isn't even close to the way its supposed
to be or like how it is back home. It just made me laugh when you said
you had a stake council meeting because I'm pretty sure that one has
never happened here. Anyway, everything is going good! We have a zone
conference next week Tuesday so I'll be looking out for some of those
packages people have said they sent me! I love all you and will talk
to you next week!
 
Love,
Elder Stewart

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Moroni 10:3-5

Hello family,
 
Well this last week was pretty much the worst week of my entire life.
. . okay, not really. It was super sweet as always. One reason was
because... we had a baptism! Woo. These people were super sweet too.
Remember the convert that got married last December? His daughter got
baptized and her cousin (who stays in the same house). Also a guy that
started investigating the church over a year ago, and the best friend
of one of the ladies we baptized on the 26th. It's pretty crazy how
fast people's lives can change! Most of the last week was spent with
us trying to find people to teach. Well, it's easy to find people to
teach, it's hard to find to the people who are ready to change their
lives. So that's what we spent the week looking for. We also spent a
lot of time working on a zone meeting we have going on tomorrow. We're
focusing a lot on trusting in the promises given to us by the Lord.
Like the promise in Moroni 10:3-5. We need to have more faith that the
Lord will answer people who are seeking for answers from him. We need
to have more faith that when we invite someone to pray and ask Him
about the things we teach them, that he will answer them and tell them
they are true. We need to have faith that the Spirit can testify and
teach them that what we are saying is right. We've been pretty busy
but we're looking forward to the next week. Anyway, I hope you guys
have a good time in Nauvoo! Tell me how it goes!
 
Love,
Elder Stewart
 
PS- Aunt Jen- Happy Birthday!
 

 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Transfer News, Living in the 1800's & A Crazy Australian Lady

Hellooooooo family,
 
Africa is here. No worries. We did finally get transfer news and I'm
still in Lewabu with Elder Burton. That's super sweet though because
it's exactly what I wanted! I'm a pretty happy camper here. I'm
guessing that I'll be out of here at the end of this next transfer but
we'll see what happens, still plenty of work to do before then. It'll
definitely be exciting to see all the changes in the house. I'll bet
it looks pretty sweet. A family trip to Nauvoo would be pretty
stinking nice... I want to see all those church history places! Also,
I just want to tell the Nielsen's that I miss them! And Big Black.....
WRITE ME BACK MAN! There's a bucketful of noonas I'll be wanting to
hear from you. So send me all the juicy ones.
 
I was thinking about some stuff the other day and I realized that the
culture here is like people living in the 1800s but then there's cell
phones and modern cars. But in many ways it's similar. Women spend
their entire lives in the house washing clothes on washboards, cutting
wood, cooking over an open fire, taking care of children, etc. The men
usually have hard labor jobs and are busy with that all the time. The
houses are made out of mudblocks and sticks, or this combination of
sand, rocks. and small cement. The roofs are all with thin pieces of
zinc. It's kind of a weird mix of modern and old. No problem though.
The work here is sweet and I'm definitely blessed to have been called
to this mission. One missionary just got an update about his friend
who is serving in Korea- the guy has been out for 6 months and
yesterday was the first time they've had an investigator come to
church. I think my first Sunday there were 10 investigators in church.
Definitely spoiled to be here. We're even supposed to be having a
baptism this weekend. Speaking of being spoiled, this last week
something really crazy happened. Last Tuesday we went to Kenema to do
interviews and trainings. The next day, Wednesday, we were standing in
this big car park where you get in vans to travel between Kenema and
Bo. Basically it's a big dirt field and people are walking around
selling things and there are cars everywhere and people trying to get
you to get in the car whether you want to go to where they're going or
not. Anyway, we went to the place that the vans are going to Bo and
the one they were filling up had only one space so we were standing to
the side waiting for the next van to come. While we were standing
there this guy looked at us and asked us what country we were coming
from. We told him we were from the US and he just looked at us for a
second. Then he said "You guys should just get out of this country
because you're not doing anything to help it." Then he went and sat in
the van. We were super confused and a little offended so we walked
over to him and asked him what his name was. He got out and told us
that he wasn't going to tell us his name and he wanted us to get out
of his way and go away. While he was saying all this, a white lady
stuck her head out of the passenger seat of the van and said "You
people just want money! Money, money, money! You divide families and
ruin lives!" Then she stuck her head in the van and the guy sat inside
the van again. At this point we were just incredibly confused and
didn't really know what was going on so we just stood there and left
it because we didn't want to make a scene. One more person finally
came and the van started closing all the doors and getting ready to
depart. Just before leaving the white lady gets out and walked up to
us. Before we could say anything she told us we were terrible people
and needed to get out of Africa because we're just taking money and
dividing families (again). She also said that we needed to leave her
own people alone and stop ruining everyone's lives. We asked her where
she was from and she said Australia and started walking away. We asked
her if she knew what church we were from and she was just like, "Oh, I
KNOW your church." Then she slammed the door and they drove away....
what?? We were so taken aback and confused. I guess she didn't know
that we have to pay for ourselves to come out and that one of the
biggest doctrines in our church is that families can be together
forever. It was just so rude and as we were on our way back I just
couldn't see how people can serve missions in places like England
where everyone is just rude to you and won't even let you get a word
in. That was the first time anyone has been super rude like that for
no reason and it was just really weird. I don't know what happened
that filled those people with so much hate, but I hope one day they
can understand who we are and what we're REALLY doing. It kind of
messed up our morning but later we had a massive group of children run
up to us cheering and greeting us so that was always a plus. The work
here is sweet though, don't worry. I'm still happy and no crazy
Australian ladies are going to change that! I love all of you and will
talk to you next week! Mission is weird sometimes!
 
Love,
Elder Stewart
 
PS we had to go to a new internet cafe because the other one was
closed... this one won't let me send pictures. Sorry!
 




 I (Jill) found this new pic of Hunter meeting Elder Curtis and his wife on 
the Mission President's blog so I thought I'd include it since Hunter 
couldn't send any pictures this week!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Churched Out, Baptisms & "Latter Days"



Dearest family,

How art thou? Yup, I'm all churched out now. Elder Burton always talk about how we weren't like those crazy churchy people back home and that we don't think we are now but then we realize that we totally are and we're just fooling ourselves. But it's all good I guess. No problem. Speaking of being churchy, we had a baptism last Saturday! Yay. We had a mother and her daughter, one lady that was a referral from a return missionary (coughhisgirlfriendcough), and another little girl who was a referral from the branch presidency. It was nice and they're all wonderful people! As far as transfer news goes, it got delayed again so we probably won't know anything until next week. We'll see what happens though.

Anyway, like I said the people baptized this week were pretty sweet. The lady that got baptized with her daughter first heard about the church about 4 years ago. She was taught by missionaries but for whatever reason she didn't get baptized and I guess they just stopped teaching her. A little over a month ago, two missionaries were walking by her house and she suddenly called out to them "Latter Days!" Oh, and just a sidenote- no one in this country calls us Mormons. I've been called a Mormon maybe once my whole mission so far. Everyone here calls the church "Latter Days Church." Anyway, she called that out and the two missionaries stopped and asked her if she knew that church. She said she had talked to them many years ago but it has been a while. They invited her to come to church and asked for her phone number so they could contact her. She said she didn't have a phone. They tried to give her a small pamphlet but she couldn't read. That Sunday she didn't go. Within that week those two missionaries showed up at her house and they had a nice discussion called the Restoration of the gospel. She finally understood why there were so many different churches all teaching different things. She came to church for the next 3 weeks and is now baptized and confirmed! I wish I knew more about what actually was going on in her head, but I guess it went something like that. She was super sweet though and you could tell that she really understood the message we were sharing. Now we're teaching almost all her neighbors and they should all be baptized in the next month or so. It's kind of crazy how those things can work. It was a great week though. Sierra Leone is an amazing place, that's for sure! Anyway, I'm out of time so I'll talk to you all next week. Love you!

Love,
Elder Stewart


P.S. Clayton I got your latest noona.... YEAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!




 Just a sweet poster I saw hanging up that I wouldn't mind putting in my room.
  Baptism!


  The only standard church building in the country! Running water not included.