Monday, June 1, 2015

June 1, 2015

I can’t believe that Elle is getting baptized this week. My little cousin has grown up so fast!
Please tell her that I am proud of her and I love her.  That love needs to be sent to all of my Hawaiian family members yeah?
This week has been very good.
I just heard from my dad on the mission Elder Barker that he is getting married in November...Furthermore and he has asked me to be one of his groomsmen. That awesome! I don’t really know what job groomsmen have other than to be in all of the pictures and look good but that seems like a job that I can do haha
As far as the Mission work this week we are doing solid.
I had a mini cambio with a spanking new missionary from Utah this week.
His name is Elder Barson and he has about 5 weeks on the mission. It was so much fun being with a new missionary again. He can barely talk in Spanish but he has all the energy in the world to do it.
During the day he kept asking me questions like what the mission was like, what has been the best and hardest part of my mission, what was some advice that I could give to him...  and what not.
This has brought me to reflect a lot about what I have experienced on the mission and what I have internalized and applied into my life.
I have come to know the reality of God the father, His son Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost.
God is our loving heavenly father. We pray to him and he listens. He cares for each of us personally and worries about us. He is happy when we obey, and pours out blessings and opportunities when we are willing to receive them. He also feels pain when we choose the wrong, and allows us to take responsibility for our actions. He is the Father of our spirits and has provided us a plan to return to his presence, not as children however but as princes and princesses of his kingdom because that is our divine heritance.
Jesus Christ is our savior. Our mediator with our father. He has made it possible that we can return to the presence of God again. NO unclean thing can enter in the presence of God. And we can only become clean through Jesus Christ because he took upon him the sins pains and sicknesses of the world, suffered, died and took up his life again as an immortal being. He is the way the truth and the life.
"We do not know what lies ahead of us, we live in a world of uncertainty. Sometimes there will be times of great accomplishment, rejoicing, gladness and good living...sometimes disappointment confusion, sickness and all measures of sorrow. We just don’t know, but one thing we do know; like the polar star in the heavens, regardless of what the future holds there stands our redeemer. He is the rock of our Salvation, our comfort, the very focus of our faith" Gordon B Hinckley
 HE provides us the chance to change, to become better, to grow and to progress.
The Holy Spirit is our teacher our guide and the force of good that we feel when we obey the commandments.
The Spirit can guide us in times of trouble and confusion and when we are in the work of the Lord. The main calling that the Holy Ghost has is to testify the truth and the reality of the father and the Son.
As missionaries of the Lord we are called and given power and authority to testify of the restored gospel here upon the earth. We try to speak to others so they not only hear our voice but feel the voice of truth.
 That is only possible through direct revelation asked in a prayer of faith, given by the father through the Holy Ghost to those who have applied the atonement of Christ in their lives.
 It’s all connected.
The mission is great.
The Mestre family are progressing very well! We are now focusing on 3 of them, the mother and 2 of her kids.
We are encouraging them to pray and read as a family.
The basics are the most important.
ILL talk to you next week! Love you

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

May 26th, 2015

Hey family! So right now I am writing to you In Chillan.
Due to the fact that I am dying in 3 weeks or so the president has given us permission to come here to buy recordatorios...reminder trinkets...recuerdos...
I don’t know what their called.
But I’m here shopping for all of the traditional Chilean.
I am having so much fun finishing the mission. And I assure you that I am working so very hard as well.
The Mestre family are doing very well. 5 out of the 7 members of the family went to church and they loved it. They stayed for all 3 hours and enjoyed the classes a lot.
This week in our lessons with them we focused a lot on the book of Mormon and the way that they can gain their own testimony of the restored Gospel.
The answer is so simple that sometimes people don’t do it.
1. Read the book of Mormon
2. Pray and ask God specifically if it is true
3. be willing to act upon the answer you receive
I Think sometimes we under appreciate the amazing privilege that we have to talk to God our Eternal Father, sometimes  we don’t even take advantage of this great gift to give thanks and to ask for the things we need to know.
After our lesson with them and before church started we asked Cecilia (the mother of the mestre family) if she prayed and if she asked.
With a smile on her face she said that she did, and that she knows it is true and sent from God.
It is difficult to describe how the Holy Spirit communicates to us, because it is a description indescribable.
One can try to use works, but it comes in a way that words cannot describe.
In Galatians Paul says that the fruits of the Spirit described as “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance”
 But that’s very generalized
 Other prophets have also felt and tried to describe it... Elijah found himself one time on mountain before the Lord, he felt “a great and strong wind …; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: and after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice” (1 Kgs. 19:11–12).
How curious it is that the Lord was found in the still small voice.
I think the best way to explain it is...
When you fell it you know...
And when you look for it with "full purpose in heart" (Jacob 6:5) you will feel it.
This week I also had the chance to go on a mini cambio with Elder Alfaro in Longavi
Longavi is very similar to Yungay and it was great to go back to the campo!
We were led by the spirit as well that day to a little old lady sweeping the side walk in front of her house.
We offered to help, then we shared with her the gospel.
She explained to us that she felt very lonely and wants to feel God closer in her life
From that experience I learned that life doesn’t follow our plans.
We need to be willing to let go of our day to day plans and errands to fulfill the plans that God has for us.
That’s about all folks
I love you!
HEY Austin’s home... CRAZY!
My dad on the mission Elder Barker is married CRAZY
McKay is 18 and graduated high school #CRAZY
Any other news? Let me know

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

May 18th, 2015

So I guess this is when the countdown truly begins…
 It hasn’t even hit me that I am coming home yet. I hope it doesn’t hit me.
Anyway... this week was awesome
Tuesday my companion and I went to Concepción for a special conference just for the missionaries that are dying in the mission this cambio. It was really great because I got to see a lot of the missionaries that I came with that I haven’t seen for a very long while.
This conference was called the “trunky conference”
For those of you who are not familiar with the word trunky it is a term that Spanish speaking missionaries use to describe those who are home sick or disoriented, or those who are thinking about their home or are materialistic minded… (It doesn’t really have a very good translation)
So all of us old guys who are dying were invited to this conference, but it was really good. President just explained the importance in finishing strong and not laying back.
The height of the bar at where we finish our mission is going to be the height at where we set our lives...
If that makes sense... (I took my notes in Spanish so this is hard)
This week has been a roller coaster. I feel that this week God has testing my knowledge... making sure that I am applying all that I have learned in these 2 years into my work.
We have been planning, calling people, working hard, talking to everyone, working with the members and being exactly obedient but we were not seeing any results from our labors. I remember at one point during the week I paused and prayed, telling God that I am doing all that I can, but that I didn’t know what he wanted to me to do or to learn in that moment… I remember, that right after my prayer a feeling of peace fell over me and Ideas started to enter into my head... For the rest of that day, we were guided by the spirit to many different houses. One of those being the house of the family mestre.
They are a family of 6 (a mom and her 5 kids)
2 of the kids were baptized 2 years ago but were promptly forgotten about and stopped coming. We came in at the perfect moment and now the whole family is willing to progress and learn more.
This past Sunday, the family came to church and loved it!
I know that the Lord hears and answers the prayers of all of his children.
This week we also had a district conference and we have a new district president!
We also had interviews with president Arrington and they took us out to at afterwards at a really fancy Chinese food restaurant! Haven’t eaten that in a long time!
I also might have possibly broken my thumb toe playing soccer this morning. I’m walking with a limp like an old school pimp.
That’s about all I have time to say...
Happy Birthday McKay!!  
I love you family!

Friday, May 15, 2015

May 11, 2015

 Happy mother’s day! It was so great to see all of you yesterday... even though time flew by and we didn’t get to say much...
But have no fear, just wait 5 weeks yeah?
This past week was full of changes and surprises. My companion elder Wiese went home last week. I was working with elder Del Rosario and elder Garrido for 2 days until my companion got here Tuesday. My new companion is cool. His name is elder Incil and he is from Lima Peru. We are having a lot of fun together, but we are a little lost in our sector still because I have only been here for 6 weeks and this town is very big and all of the streets look the same.
This week the seminary teacher was sick so I was assigned to teach seminary for a couple of days. It was pretty fun to be with the kids and teaching them. This year they are studying doctrine and covenants.
We actually had a pretty good turn out here as well... enrolled in the class are around 15 kids but around 10 or 11 show up every day.
The weather is changing rapidly...the cold and the rain is coming in fast.
We got rained on 1 day this week, and we weren’t prepared... we returned to the house soaking wet.
My shoes do not have any grip on the bottom so every step feels like I am walking on banana peels.
I have almost fallen in the water flooded streets and muddy sidewalks at least 37 times.
I love you all.
Us on our bikes...
Elder Santos from Brazil
Elder Garrido from Columbia

Elder Incil and I

Monday, May 4, 2015

May 4th, 2015

Yeah so sorry for last week. I didn’t have much time to write because we had a zone activity in the mountains and then in the afternoon we had to take the long and lonely bus ride to Concepcion for a leaders meeting.
But events were very awesome however!
For our zone activity we went to a cabin in the mountains of some members of the branch. We got there really early in the morning and because it was so cold we stayed in side for a while and played mafia! But it was the Spanish Mormon version of it called ¨oh pueblo de nefi¨
Then when the sun came out we played capture the flag in the forest! We explored, we went down to the river and then we grilled for lunch!
For our leadership conference we talked about how we can better help our zone.
President shared with us part of President Uchtdorfs priesthood talk on, seeing things as they really are; instead of focusing on the looks, worry about how things really are.
I really like that concept. I think that people worry so much about how they appear to be when they should worry more about how they are.
The help others we cannot just get to know their superficial need but the desires of their hearts and the hope that truly drive them to do what they do.
I was a very good conference.
 On another note winter has come. And it come on fast. I’m worried that our bean plants won’t make it.
With winter comes Christmas! Hot chocolate, and carols!
 We have decorated our house with a little Christmas tree and I now listen to Christmas music in every moment that I can.
I have even started passing out "he is the gift" pass a longs again.
I am just full of the Christmas spirit. But my companion is not. haha I have been driving him insane!
Speaking of my companion... Elder Wiese has finished his mission and is on his way back home!
We have had such a blast together. Wiese is the man.
Now with these new cambios (my last cambio) I will be with Elder Incil from Peru.
In Tomè I did a mini cambio with him in his sector of Ditchato, he is really cool!
Here’s the best news, out investigator Kathy got baptized! She is super awesome and has a solid testimony.
Always before baptisms there are difficulties and she passed through pretty much everything, from her kid sick in the hospital, to her family not supporting her, to personal problems with her health but with prayer and strength from above she did it!
She even bore her testimony this past Sunday. It was a sweet experience to hear her say with confidence in front of the congregation that this church is true, and that she knows her savior lives!
I have 6 weeks left in the mission. I am going to go out with a bang.
Love you family!

And those that read this’re the best

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

April 21, 2015

You better start studying the word of wisdom, because you will be teaching that a lot over there...
I wish I was there to see you to open the call. The Lord has picked that mission for you! There are people prepared and waiting for an Elder Stewart to teach them the restored gospel. Go get em, raccoon.
On a side note, are there raccoons in Colorado? Because that would make you like 10 times the raccoon you were before...
Ahh I am so excited for you McKay. The mission is the greatest. So many miracles.
For example
This past week we also had a family home evening with a less active family. We were teaching a doing an activity where everyone had to right a little note to God. And then we compared that to the scriptures that God also has written notes to us through his prophets and they explain exactly what He wants us to know.
During the activity we asked the mom to share what she wrote in her note. And as she was explaining, something really weird happened. In mid-sentence she stopped, as if listening for something, jumped up and gasped in shock, tears filled her eyes as she said,” talk to me talk to me!”
We were very confused at first, but then she explained to us that she had lost her hearing 5 years ago in one of her ears, and as she bore her testimony of God,( which she hasn't done vocally in about 5 years as well) she heard a pop and she could hear perfectly again!
It was a special moment for her and for the whole family!
AS a mission this week we all got together in Chillan for the special conference with Dallin H. Oaks. For those who don't know he is one from the quorum of the 12 apostles, and he visited Santiago this past week and spoke to all the missionaries in the country.
Friday afternoon we embarked on the 2 hour bus ride to Chillan with the other 18 people in our Zone and split up to different houses of the missionaries in Chillan to stay the night. We went to the house of my old zone of Chillan Viejo and we got to hang out with some old friends! Elder Lake my MTC companion and Elder Miller, who was in the same zone as me months ago. (He lives just outside of Seattle, I think that his family is in the same stake as Scott’s family) that night we had a house party with a disco ball, laser lights and the best of EFY and mo-tab.
At the start of the conference the next morning, there was so many difficulties with the broadcast and the sound system. The conference was starting and we could not hear or see what was going on. President Arrington and some other missionaries who were good with technology were fumbling with cords and pushing lot of buttons, for a good 15 minutes, but without any real progress...
The problem was getting pretty serious this was a battle. Technology vs. An apostle of the Lord. Finally president turned too looked at us, and said “it looks like we cannot fix the problem, but I know the Lord can. So of you could ask him that would be great”
Instantly all of the 200 missionaries in the room bowed their heads and began to pray to ask for help so we could listen to Elder Oaks.
Not even 2 minutes later the screen lit up, and the blurred and muffled sounds emitting from the speakers evolved into the crystal clear voice of the announcer.
Elder Oaks spoke on the importance of our calling as missionaries, that we are called to serve full time so we need to be focused on the mission at all times.
He explained
-to reach full conversion one needs to not only do and act, but feel and desire. The only way to know what is true is through the Holy Ghost, which testifies of Christ.
-That the sacrament meeting and the ordinance of the sacrament should not be taken lightly. That it is a chance every week to be spiritually renewed and energized. He also said that in the upcoming conferences we would be hearing a lot about that topic (so be prepared)
-he gave us a special promise. He said that if we are exactly obedient with the mission schedule and in our personal and companionship studies, we would be led by the spirit to people that will receive a true conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
It was a really good conference.

After the meeting, because we live so far away the mission gave us extra money for lunch, so our zone went out to eat at Donatello’s a very fancy pizza and Italian restaurant. We ate a lot of pizza that day.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

April 14, 2015

Happy Monday family.

I hope this really fast email finds you all healthy, content and full of life. Because I am.
Today as the sun rose I sat meditating over the peaks of the Andes, above a vast crystal blue mountain lake, inhaling into my lounges the clean and untouched air only hearing the crisp, winter wind hum through the canyons and brush against my face.
So you could say it was a pretty neat experience. We went to explore the Andes Mountains today.
I do feel very in touch with Mother Nature lately here in the farmlands of Linares.  In the house one of the missionaries always listens to meditational music and sounds and we have bought incense to burn! We have started a garden in front of our house and we are seeing a lot of progress. We have planted sun flowers, beans, lintels, mint, tomatoes, bell peppers, and normal chili peppers. And even though we planted very very late in the year and it’s starting to get cold we have faith that the strongest will survive, and bring forth fruit!
In our Zone we are working with a Missionary couple from Tucson AZ! They live on the east side of town and I am sure that you guys would know them (or at least dad would know them)
They are the Minch family…
They are awesome. This week we ate in there house and they made us cheeseburgers and French fries with blueberry muffins! Haven’t had a meal like that in a long time.
I actually am restricted from eating a lot of things because I am with my companion Elder Wiese. He has allergies to just about everything that Chileans eat.
Here’s the official list.
-peanuts almonds cashews. All types of nuts
-beans, peas, lintels, and all other types of beans.
-pineapple, watermelon, banana, melons, kiwi
He has a huge epipen in his backpack at all times just in case something happens. I have been official trained to stab him in the thigh for any emergency.
This week my testimony was strengthened on the principle of fasting. We fasted this week so find a guy to teach that would be willing to progress in the gospel and revive the priesthood in the future to edify and uplift the branch...because that is what we lack here. We worked all week to find this person, and even though we found a lot of great people and we were working diligently, no one seemed to fit the category of who we were specifically praying for. We knew that the Lord would prepare a way.
So there we were Saturday night, we had 20 more minutes until we had to be in the house. We said a Little prayer and then a name suddenly popped into our heads. Andres!
He was some guy that we contacted a couple days ago that didn’t seem too interested but gave us his direction to pass by another day. Luckily he didn’t live too far away from our house, so we went over to the direction that he gave us and he let us in and we taught him an amazing lesson, and he is now more willing and open to listen and learn more about the gospel
Step one has been initiated!
Elder Dallin H. Oaks is coming to Chile Friday and we are going to listen to him! WHOOHOO!

Love you