Hey everyone, it's Megan. I'm sorry that there haven't been any recent posts lately. I've gotten so busy that I've had a hard time keeping up with my own blog. We have also decided to stop posting Matthew's' letters word for word. Instead I'll summarize his letters and still keep you posted.
So we got a letter on Week 7 that was title S.M.I.L.E. He said "We need to keep an eternal perspective on everything we do, no matter what it is. "...to be Spiritually Minded Is Life Eternal." Remember always the spiritual things in life and thank God continually for the things we have, we're more fortunate than many others."
Then we got a letter on Thanksgiving. He talked about how they had a devotional with Elder D. Todd Christofferson. He liked a quote that Elder Christofferson quoted from President Hinkley that said "Get on your knees and plead for help, then get on your feet and do it." He also shared something that I thought was rather cool and that I didn't know about. He said that Elder Christofferson also talked about the relationship between the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and missionaries. He explained that missionaries are essentially companions to the Twelve; that they have the same apostolic commission to go out into the world and be a witness of Jesus Christ. It's hard to summarize this next part so I'll just quote him. "I finally understood why we hold the title of Elder, rather than just holding that priesthood office. The title of Elder is given to the Quorum of the Twelve, the Quorums of Seventy, and the Missionaries of the Church; that's it. No one else in the church has that title attached to their name, even if they are ordained to that office of the priesthood, only those people bear the title of Elder on this earth." I thought that was pretty cool!
Then he flew out Monday morning and we got an email from his Mission President today saying that he has arrived safely.
Continue to keep him in your prayers!!!
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Hola a mi familia y todos de mis amigos!
After six weeks, I'm beginning to feel more and more like a missionary. I got a haircut about a week ago and it felt really weird to have the lady touching my head. For those of you reading this who are not LDS, one of the mission rules is to have no physical contact with members of the opposite sex except a handshake. So, having her touch my head was a little weird, but hey, my hair is once again regulation length.
There have been several things here that have really begun to open my eyes to the work that we are going out to accomplish. I was told last week that the UN announced that the world population has breached the 7 billion mark (I thought we already had...). The last number that I heard of members of the Church there are world wide was a little over 14 million. Doing the math, I figure that only .002% of the world's population is LDS. The message that we have to share is so wonderful that I'm excited to go out and give it to others. I don't want to treat any person as a statistic, nor do I want to consider just baptizing people. What I am going out to do is share my belief in Christ and the Message of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ to the other 99.998%. Well, I guess a much smaller number since I'm only going to a part of the world. But the fact remains that there are so many people out there who have never even heard of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or the message we have to share with the world, and now I get to go out and help other people come to know, as I do, that Jesus is the Christ and that His Church has once again been established on the Earth today, for the last time, until Christ will come again to reign personally among His people at His second coming.
I am going out to share the message of the Restoration; that God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to a boy who sincerely asked to know the truth; that that boy, Joseph Smith, through the power of God translated the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ, and restored the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth; that families can be together, a sealed family for time and all eternity; and that once again, through Faith in Christ, Repentance, Baptism by the proper authority of God, The reception of the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End, we can live eternally with our Father in Heaven. The message of the Church of Jesus Christ, the message I am privelaged to share with the people of Argentina, is the way to lasting peace, happiness, and joy, not only in this life, but also in the next.
A few weeks ago, I shared with you the story of Nephi's family, in particular the story of Laman and Lemuel. We all have been given commandments of God, and we asked for those commandments so that we could know the way to return to live with Him again. Laman and Lemuel, even after being visited by an angel of the Lord, still refused, ultimately, to follow the commandments, because they saw them as "hard things" and they murmured. I can tell you all now that life here in the six weeks I have spent, has progressed leaps and bounds, but that progress has been slowed every time I have complained about something. It is in human nature to complain and to be disatisfied; it is godly to put aside the self and to focus on others - to serve. We can lose track of ourselves and our own discomforts only through sincere service to others, and it is through enduring, persevering, and service, not through complaining and lazing, that we can find true happiness. "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."
Life here at the MTC, and I'm sure in the mission field, has been wonderful and will continue to be. As I have been told several times, attitude is everything. If we approach every task with a good attitude, it will be accomplished timely and seemingly quickly. Approach something with a bad attitude, and it becomes a chore and a bore, and we do not want to do it. Approaching things with a positive attitude, wearing a smile, can quickly and easily make our day better.
Mom and Dad, if you could link that here, I think people would love to see it.
Also I came across a youth video that is good for those of all ages.
Rely on the Lord and He will lift you higher,
Elder Matthew Dewsnup
Mom: The letter you send at 11:28 on Monday I received the following day. I have not as yet received the package, but then we also haven't checked the mail today. Also, I have withdrawn money from my account for my Hep A2 shot wich is in a little over an hour today. I can explain the other medical charges later, if you ask me about them (I don't remember off the top of my head what's been charged and what hasn't).
Dad: I got your letter on Monday and loved the message you shared with me. Thank you!
All others: Thank you for your continuing support, prayers, and encouragement to me. I love you all, and I'm praying for you as well!!!
Posted by Megan Stoker at 8:01 PM
Thursday, November 3, 2011
First off, my apologies to those of you who have written to me and I haven't written back. My letter writing window is small on P-Day and y'all know I don't write very quickly. I'll try to do better, but I still haven't replied to at least two letters I received my first week. I should be getting those out today, but again, I apologize in advance if it doesn't get out as quickly as that.
Second, even though DearElder.com is supposed to be same-day-delivery to the MTC... It's not. My mom sent me a letter that way on Monday that I didn't get until yesterday, so it can take anywhere from an hour (Meg's was like that the first week) to probably three days. Physical mail can take up to about 5 days. I got a letter from my dad yesterday that was mailed on Saturday... So... Plan ahead.
On that note, thank you all for your continued support and encouragement. I love hearing from y'all and look forward to replying.
This last week was pretty sweet. Our investigators are... moving along. But the highlight was when we had Elder Zwick of the Quorum of the Seventy gave our Tuesday Devotional. He and his wife devoted their time to the topics of prayer and the Holy Ghost. In both talks the comment was made that "you are never alone." The only time you will feel alone is when you want to be. I've heard it said that "if you feel further from God today than yesterday, who moved." When you ask for the Spirit, it will be there, provided you are worthy to receive it.
On the subject of my investigators, I'll begin with Macarena. She's now really receptive and has accepted the baptismal invitation (keep in mind that both of these investigators are our teachers). But, while she now wants to be baptized, we've hit a wall with the Word of Wisdom. We were prepared on Monday to teach her about the restoration, but at the beginning of the lesson she mentioned that she was going to a Halloween party that night, at which she'd be drinking. Neither of my companions picked up on that right away, but I was stopped in my tracks like a deer in headlights. With Tati, we've discussed the Word of Wisdom from the point of a smoker, but none of us have even really thought about it from the perspective of alcohol. The best (or worst) part is that, while we know it's bad, we don't yet have the language skills to explain what we need to. Its frustrating, but we'll rigure it out. Tati, is coming along well. We've been doing a better job with him and we feel like he's really progressing well, but he still has a little trouble quitting. We've given him a calendar on which he can check off whether or not he smoked, drank, read from the scriptures, prayed, or other things, and that's helped him to see his progress, but he still has a little trouble with the temptations. The last time he smoked that we know of was on Saturday, but we have another visit with him tonight, so we'll see how he's doing with that. We also had to push his baptismal date back by two weeks, so we have enough time to teach all the things we need to and to help him overcome his smoking habit.
As far as the MTC goes, it's starting to blend together. It feels like I just wrote my last e-mail yesterday, so the time is really flying. And I'll be getting my travel papers either next week or the following (though I'm pretty sure it's next week). In four weeks from today, I'll be in Argentina. Sooner, even, and that just feels weird. But it's where I need to be and I'm anxious to serve the Lord.
I love and miss you all!
Elder Matthew Dewsnup
Meg and Marvin: I'm sorry I haven't yet written, and I got your letter last week after I got out email on Thursday and I wasn't able to write anymore. There will be one in the mail this week.
Mom: As I said, I got your message yesterday. And I really did laugh at your quote... "Ohhhh, someone's been doing some really dark magic in there..." ;) Also, would you be able to send me another three pair of my white atheletic socks? I'm having to double up since we have gym time every day... And if there's any way I can get the family picture from thanksgiving two years ago, that'd be awesome! The one where we're all wearing black shirts and jeans.
Dad: I also just got your letter yesterday. I hope you're feeling better by now, and if not, know that I pray for you and all the family every day. Thank you for your example and encouragement.
Joseph: If you can, try having your Teacher's Quorum start reading Preach My Gospel now. Ask the Bishop if you all can get copies. I'm sure he'll give them to you or can get them. Also, I'd recommend starting to read Jesus the Crist. It's a really heavy read, but once you become accustomed to the language, it'll move along quickly. And you have an advantage that I do not. You can look up the words he uses. I don't have access to either the internet (at least not free access, only email and lds.org) or a dictionary. But doing both a study from Preach My Gospel and Jesus the Christ is helping me develop a closer relationship with my Father in Heaven.
Sarah and Brandon: Do you have a family picture of the three of you that I could get somehow? I can't print things off here, but if it's possible, just a 4x6 picture woud be great! Love you! I hope Singers is coming along well too, and your classes Sarah!!!
Posted by Megan Stoker at 4:53 PM