Sunday Aug 13th 2017 9:00 am
Pleasant Grove, Utah
Sunday July 30th 2017 9:00 am
Sunday Aug 13th 2017 9:00 am
Pleasant Grove, Utah
Ay como los quiero!
Well fam, this is it! I will be seeing you all in a few short days, and of course I am incredibly excited. The reality of it all is quite shocking, but I trust that there are good things to come.
This last week in the mission field has been extremely busy and satisfying. We put everything into these last moments as a companionship and we saw our efforts come to an incredible climax. On Saturday, I had the privaledge of baptizing Eddy Pagan a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint. The sweet spirit of that ordinance, I will never forget. We had a huge attendance from our branch at the baptism and I was blessed with the opportunity to see the effect of our labor here; unity and strength. I will miss these people with all of my heart, they have become my second family as I have learned to speak their language, love their culture, and admire their faith. I love the people of Illinois.
There are so many experiences that I could share, just from this final week! But I will be able to tell many stories once I am home. Instead I would just like to report that my mission means everything to me. It has changed so much of who I am for the better. I could never express adecuately my gratitude towards everyone who made my experience what it has been.
It is startling how things have changed from the begining of my mission until these final days.
One thing however is irrevocably consistant.
The Savior Jesus Christ is the center of everything in my life.
He is "Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end,"
From the first moments until the last, He is why I choose to serve.
All because of Him.
I love Him.
See you all on Wednesday bright and early!
Con mucho amor,
Que tal? Buenos dias!
What a beautiful day. The sun is shining. Good things are happening. There is work to do!
Well, this is officially my last full week of service as a full time missionary. I will have another opportunity to write to you all next Monday, and then I will be home on Wednesday.
I will spare you all from the heart felt details until that time comes! This upcoming week is stacked with lots of people to see and lots of work to do. I cherish every moment.
Incredible news! Hermano Eddy Pagán passed his baptismal interview on Sunday and will be baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ this coming Saturday. I am incredibly excited for him, and he even asked if I would be willing to baptize him.
As my friend Edward Leon D____ would say,
"God is good. All the time."
- (a man that we met and passed off to the English Elders, from the South)
Many other great things happened this week, I wish that I could write them all to you! The bottom line is that nothing will ever be able to fully describe what has taken place each day in my mission. God's hand is in the details of our lives.
One experience that calls my attention was on an exchange with the English Elders. We accidentally turned down a completely wrong road on our way to our apartment to have dinner. Elder Western, who was driving, said, "Why did I do that?" My response was, "I don't know, but I see someone walking over there, let's go!" We jumped out of the car and met Marissa. Miracle. She is currently staying at a domestic abuse rehabilitation center for women and she just happened to be outside and willing to let us talk with her. There is no other way we would have been able to meet her becuase the Rehab center is closed to male visitors and hidden from the main road. She told us how she feels like her relationship with God has been lost. She was more than willing to set something up in order to have the Sister missionaries return and visit her - she wants to get all of the women at the Rehab involved.
I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father that is aware of the needs of His children. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to serve and experience here in Illinois and witness His tender mercies.
I am indebted to Him for everything good in my life, and somehow He just keeps on giving.
Follow that example this week! Look for opportunities to GIVE! of yourself, your services, your time, your talents.
24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself
Los quiero mucho! Que les vaya muy bien!
1 Chess (No Shame)
2 Foto from my Birthday that a member took awhile back
3 Foto of Elder Gubler's Bday with the same family
Hola Familia! Que tal?
Como les ha ido?
Wow! It is Monday! Crazy.
Well this email should hopefully turn out to be a little more satisfying than last week's. Cross your fingers! Much has happened and I am still so incredibly grateful to be a missionary, what's new? Rockford, IL is a little slice of heaven. (probably slightly more violent and ghetto than heaven) I love it here!
I don't even know where to begin!
Thursday and Friday we were on an exchange in the English area. Our area basically covers the equivalent of 4 english areas, so we worked in our own area just with all the people that would attend the english congregation. Notice how I didn't say "all the people that speak English" becuase there is way to much diversity. The amount of people from central Africa that I spoke to was pretty incredible. Rockford is a diverse place!
Usually we greet the people saying "Jambo" which is hello in Swahili. People are incredibly surprised when two white blonde haired missionaries yell out "Jambo!" and talk about the Kitabu Cha Mormoni (the Book of Mormon). However, we went to another appointment at the end of our exchange with a family from Africa and we tried to speak Swahili and found out they are from the other side of the African Congo! I spoke some French to them and they laughed so hard! We ended up singing a hymn with them and meeting one of the most prepared men to recieve the Gospel. He said, "There is only one truth! That is what I am searching for!" Followed with things like, "I have the Holy Ghost, why can He not tell me what is the real truth?! I think He can." We were forced to agree with him(;
(we also may or may not have gotten bed bugs from their apartment...again poverty is pretty intense over here)
Overall, I really have been focusing on how much I love the people that I serve out here in Illinois. There are so many different backgrounds and experiences to learn from. I am continually impressed by the way that God works in each of our lives.
I am reminded of a scripture about the Savior Jesus Christ,
1 John 4 19 "We love him, because he first loved us."
Despite what seems to be unfair or unjust in the world, I am constantly reminded of the goodness of God. His works are innumerable. I would be nothing without Him!
The work is pushing forward! I love my life!
Pray for Eddy Pagan, he is preparing to be baptized on the 22nd!
I love you all,
So we had some tornados touch down this week....
It was an intense storm! We couldn't leave the church building for a few hours...
1&2 Melany Chavez was baptized!
3 We made "Pepián" with a member. Sorry the foto doesn't really include the food, but it was delicious
4 Today we met this guy Tom (in the middle next to me) who taught us some great bowling tips, and we shared the Gospel with him!
Familia! How are you all? So much has happened this week. All good things! Unfortunately, I have zero time to really describe anything to you all. Some of our members took us to go bowling today, which was great! But zero time left.
The good news is that Rockford is doing wonderfully! Melanie Chavez will be baptized this coming Saturday which we are super excited for! And we were also able to set a goal with one of our investigators named Eddy (the man that took us to see the Al Capone vault) to be baptized the 22nd of July! Make sure to pray for him please. He is extremely excited.
That miracle family I told you about last week, the Ortiz family, is still progressing and meeting with us! Thank you so much for everyone that prayed for them. We saw those blessings this week.
So much is going on, and there is even more work to be done yet! The work is undeniably true. I found a quote this week that I would like to share with you all:
"Men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour out peace." - President Eza Taft Benson
I found this to be pure truth on my mission.
Whatever step of the ladder you are on in turning your life over to God, I invite you to consider the possibilities. Turn to Him.
I love you all! I love this work with everything that I am.
Que tengan una semana muy linda! Los quiero mucho,
1319 Butterfield Rd Ste 522
Downers Grove, IL 60515
1 Hna Ramirez and I cooking up a storm
2 & 3 Bowling
Como estáis vosotros?
What a beautiful week! It has been hot and rainy here in Illinois the past week. Everyday you have an occasional downpour, which is interspersed throughout a super hot 85º+ weather. Glory. It's wonderful.
It has been an exciting past few days over here in the mission! We had a mission tour with Elder Eduardo Gavarret from the 1st quorum of the Seventy! That was exciting. He and his wife are uruguaianos (Shout out to Brady). It was an incredible opportunity to kick start this transfer with a lot of energy. His wife specifically bore incredible testimony about her conversion to the Gospel. She talked about giving your whole soul to this work and I couldn't help but get semi-emotional. I love my mission! Something that she said that I really loved I'll paraphrase: Missionaries, you are walking! You need to RUN, RUN, RUN! hahah! That is what I plan to keep doing!
One choice miracle sticks out to me this week:
We were working hard and busy all week. We had more meetings to attend to than regular, so by the end of the week we found ourselves not achieving the goals that we had planned for. It is always humbling to not see the results that your are hoping for! So literally, at 8:15 last night my companion and I were walking down the street wondering what on earth we could do with our remaining 45 minutes. We stopped for a second (We were listening to the Spirit and a few gun shots we could hear from across town) I got the impression we were going the wrong way so we turned around and decided to stop by a house of a man that we had contacted last week. Unfortunately, his house was gated and locked so we could get in, so we tried the next door neighbor and BAM! Miracle family.
I shouted out to the lady who was in her backyard with her two daughters. As she approached and we began to talk you could tell that her heart was so prepared to recieve us! She immediately recognized us as servants of the Lord and when we asked if we could share a message with her family she readily agreed. So we sat with her and her husband and two daughters in their home and taught them about the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is incredible how God looks out for us even in the last moments when we are about accept defeat! It was such a blessing to meet the Ortiz family and we are going back on Wednesday to teach again. Pray for them with us!
I wish that I had more time to talk about my thoughts and feelings, all that I can say is that there is no better happiness than the one found while serving. Go out and do good for others! I dare you.
Again, I love my mission! I love the people of Illinois. I love my Savior Jesus Christ!
Have an incredible week,
con mucho amor,
Elder Fletcher Stewart-Chester
We went to a Japanese Garden today!
Elder Burton and Elder Western also featured
The Chavez Family! Melanie is the one preparing to be baptized! She is holding a picture of the Plan of Salvation that she drew after we taught her!
Super adorable English Bulldog puppy
Que tal familia?!
What a beautiful day! *blink* Has it already been a week? Well here goes:
This week was super fantastic as per usual.
IMPORTANT: All of those who sent me Birthday wishes, I love you and wish that I could reply more individually to you all! I appreciate everything!
Yes, this week was my birthday, the big 20. It feels absolutely no different at all! Haha! Again, I am just incredibly grateful for the opportunity to focus on others rather than myself. It seems like life is much more fulfilling this way. My heart is full when I think about the many examples of selflessness that we see in the life of the Savior Jesus Christ. I love Him and can testify that He sets the perfect example, and helps us to emulate it even with our weaknesses!
Transfers! The incredible news is....nothing is changing! I will be staying with Elder Gubler in Rockford and having the time of my life. There are many people to love and to serve and to teach! We were able to set a date for our investigator Melanie to be baptized, I am so excited for her. Another notable event of this week was being able to travel back to Arlington Heights on my birthday to see a baptism of a boy that I taught more than a year ago! It was too much fun to see Obispo and many others that I love. (Obispo is still crazy and hilarious).
We have set some incredible goals for this upcoming month and I am so excited to achieve them with the Lord's help and the help of my companion. I love my mission so much "it makes my teeth hurt" - phrase of President Griffin. My whole soul and heart is here in Illinois. I plan on giving the Lord everything.
I know that the work in which I am engaged is true. Nothing can bring more joy than this message, and if you don't quite believe me, maybe you just need to try it!
Have a fantastic week! You are in my prayers!
Con mucho amor,
1319 Butterfield Rd Ste 522
Downers Grove, IL 60515
1 The District
2 After service tilling and laying sod - we are dirtier than we look
3 I saw Elder Ellis again before he left!
1 Obispo Belmonte
2 The car trip down to Arlington Height (Do you remember Alfredo Huerta?)
4 Elder Gubler - Icecream
5 Picture of Armando that didn't send last week
All of the Spanish Elders in the mission!
Last time I will see Elder Ellis and Tedders :,(
We found this spot today!
Hola Buenas Tardes!
Que tal están?
WOW. Weeks are turning into days! I feel incredibly happy to be where I am and doing the things that I am doing. It is getting hot! Really hot!
Speaking of the things that I am doing, my mother asked me to write about what a normal day looks like for us, so let me write about this past Thursday:
Normal Incredible Day of Missionary Work:
6:25 - Alarm sounds, Elder Gubler groans
6:30 - Start exercising
8:00 - Plan out our day and our studies for the people we will visit and lessons we will teach
8:30 - Start our personal study, focus on people and their needs, Read from the Book of Mormon
10:00 - Leave the apartment and start proselyting!
We went straight to the home of one of our investigators to see if she was home. We knocked on her door a few times with no reply. All of the sudden we heard someone shout from the other side of the neighborhood, "They ain' t home!". We ran across the street and met a man named Leon! When he found out that we were "spreadin' the Word" he opened up to us about some recent deaths in his family. We asked if we could say a prayer with him in his home and ended up teaching him a incredible lesson, and setting up a return appointment for the English Elders.
12:00 - Eat Lunch!
12:30 - Study as a companionship for the lessons that we want to teach throughout the day, do practices on how we can improve our teaching/contacting
On our way home we saw one of our investigators outside working on bricking his driveway, so we went home, changed into service clothes and cruzed over there to help him. He is from Colombia, super cool man! It was time well spent removing brick and doing service.
Our day became a blur and at some point we studied Spanish for a little less than an hour, and then went back out into the streets to start talking and serving more people!
We met a man named Armando on his porch and sat with him talking and teaching. He is the nicest 65 year old mexican man ever (see picture). He was so grateful to recieve us and while we read the scriptures with him he burst into tears...he said, "Now you've made me cry, but men cry to, right?" as he was laughing and wiping his tears. Sharing spiritual experiences with people happens often. It is a huge blessing.
Later we went to teach an incredible 9 year old whose family has recently started coming back to church with our efforts. This was our first lesson with her and we are super excited, her family really wants to be active in the church and wants their daughter to be baptized, her names is Melanie.
So between flying from these appointments, and talking to everyone we see in the streets, we find ourselves pretty busy. I have never felt so much love for so many people as I do when I serve them with all of my heart. Everyday is different from the last.
Some days have people that accept more than others! All in God's timing. For example, last week we were lead into some what of a trap when one of our investigators set up a lesson for us to come over while he invited his pastor and other bible study companions to "happen" to be there at the same time.
We couldn't leave, they were asking questions.
We defended our faith like lions.
Poor Elder Gubler wasn't understanding too much of what was happening but ended with powerful testimony and we left them with a Book of Mormon.
All is incredible in the mission field. I love my life and wouldn't have it any other way,
The Gospel of Jesus Christ brings me peace.
I love you all!
Con mucho amor,
A service project we did for an investigator!
Weird to find something so rural close to the city!
Fletcher is called to serve the Lord in the Chicago West Spanish Speaking mission. This is a blog of his letters and adventures