First off, an explanation of the subject name:
"Si Dios quiere" is the bane of us Spanish missionaries existence hahaha! It means "If God wants" and people say it alllll the time as an excuse.
"Hermano, will you come to church this Sunday?"
"Si Dios quiere Elderes"
Hahaha me and my companion always respond with a stern "Sí hermano, Dios quiere" meaning "OF COURSE GOD WANTS YOU TO ATTEND HIS CHURCH" hahaha jk
Secondly, I want to settle some miscommunication from last week:
Because I have an IPad, President has given us permission to check our email during non-proselyting time (lunch, dinner, or before bed) This is because sometimes the mission will send important updates via email. But I can't respond to any emails until Monday. But I was saying that you are more than welcome to send me updates throughout the week(:
Ok so now for the week! I honestly feel like there is so much crammed into one week that I could never explain everything. So I've decided to highlight two things:
The first is that this week I had my first intercambios! Which is basically when the District Leader or Zone Leader go on exchanges with you to see how everything is going on. Elder Marchant said that it is one of his favorite parts of missionary work. But here is the thing, usually when you are a brand new missionary, you get exchanged into the area of the Leader. And he takes you around and evaluates how you work with him. Especially when a brand new language is being learned, then obviously you go to the area with the most experience.
So imagine my surprise when we got the phone call from Elder Nelson (our DL) that he was going to come and stay with me, and Elder Marchant was going to swap with him and teach in his English area. So what that means is that I was supposed to lead Elder Nelson through my area and teach lessons, and track, and contact, and plan. All in Spanish. Did I mention that Elder Nelson is English? Ya he doesn't speak a lick of Español besides "somos misionaros de la iglesia de Jesucristo de los santos de los últimos días. "
To say the least I was stressing out about it like crazy. I spent all my free time practicing my door approach and blah blah blah. But I suddenly realized I was doing it all wrong. I needed to study obviously, but i REALLY needed to rely on my Heavenly Father. I spent the remainder of my week praying like crazy that when the day came, I would be able to use the Gift of Tongues.
The day rolled around and instantly I felt extremely blessed. Elder Nelson is hilarious and super fun to hang around, so we had a great time. ( the exchange started on Friday at 4 and went till 4 on Saturday. I had a ton of opportunity to practice my Spanish, and had some really cool experiences with some investigators.
The one that stands out the most is that we had a lesson with Sergio & Elaina! They don't know any English, and this was an actual lesson appointment in which I was expected to spout some uplifting doctrine in a foreign language. It was awesome. I ended up being able to teach and talk with them for an entire hour by myself. I even let Elder Nelson bear his testimony and I translated what he said into Spanish. It was amazing. At the end, I thanked them for being patient with my Spanish but they said they understood everything. I was surprised. Wow! the Lord looks after us.
The second story is about Sergio and Elaina again! They are the family I was talking about last time that I put on date for baptism. They are incredible. Especially Sergio, he has ridiculous amounts of faith it is so cool! We have been teaching them abunch, and this Sunday was going to be the first time they came to church. They were so excited, and we hyped it up a ton too in our lessons ( not false hype, church is rad, people! )
So Sunday rolled around and when we stopped by their house and they were all getting ready, ah I was so excited! We waited at church for them to arrived....and waited....and waited some more. I was honestly having an aneurism. We ran outside and called them. They were lost! We gave them the proper directions and then waited some more. They ended up missing sacrament which was a bummer, but they all (Sergio, Elaina, and Alán their 6 year old) filed into our row when sacrament was done. After that point I don't think I stopped smiling all day. It is ridiculous how much joy you can feel when you know someone is taking the right steps in their lives.
Then get this! It was fast and testimony meeting right? Well all of the sudden Sergio passes his Book of Mormon to his wife and whispers, "I have a testimony to share," Bam. Stands right up and walks to the pulpit. I was dying. Trying not to laugh out loud with joy. And also-I was a tiny bit nervous he would say some of the wall things.
Luckily he bore a beautiful testimony, it was really a special experience. He kept thanking us (Me and Elder Marchant) for bringing him something brings him and his family happiness. He loves the bibles so he always compares us to Paul! Hahaha It was rad. Not true, but rad.
Here is something I wrote in my notes the other day:
I have realized recently the oddity of missionary work. I came out here so that I could serve my God, and give as much as I could back to my Savior for His infinite sacrifice. But I have now realized that it is actually impossible to do that! The more that I try to bail myself out of the tremendous debt I have towards our Savior Jesus Christ, the more he blesses me! I am out here trying to give back, but I feel like I am only getting more in return.
Missionary work is rad! Get involved and I promise you will see the blessings. Help the missionaries that are in your area!
Love Elder Stewart-Chester (:
Ps. Mom your question about having one active member in our area: We only have one hour of church (or one branch) that is for Spanish speakers. So that means our areas are huge! So in total we have about 60 active members in the branch, but since we are only delegated a portion of the branch boundaries as our area, we only have Hna. Crispi. This cute old woman, but she is a widow so we can never visit her without having another male present which is a bummer.
P.p.s. I going to send a billion pictures don't hate me.