I wish that I had more time to write, but it's really been a crazy week, and we're just about to head off to catch a bus. I love you soooo much and have been thinking about the family a lot lately. Hope that everything is well at home, let Mary and Travis know that I love them as well and congratulations.
[Note from Meredith: Due to time constraints Stewart just sent us the same update he sent his Mission President. Here is that letter.]
It's been an tough week. We were still able to accomplish a lot, it just didn't seem to show up on the key indicators. We were really hoping to stay above 20 teaches a week this whole transfer, as it was one of our transfer goals, but it just didn't seem to be in the cards this week. A lot of things happened that weren't within our control, including a few of our really important teaches falling through.
Let me update you on Chris the fireman. Unfortunately, his teach was one of the teaches that fell through. I have a lot of faith that he will be baptized and I know that if we were in his home more often he would see the worth of our message. He's a true seeker. We're trying to get better communication out of him. I pray for him daily and beg that we can help him in any way possible. Also, I think that some of those prayers have been answered in the form of rain :) Not so good for proselyting, but if it keeps a fireman at home with his family, then that's fine by me.
Our archer friend Ian decided to go to the national championship archery competition this week instead of coming to church, dropping his baptismal date in the process. I've come to the conclusion that he is scared of getting an answer, and because of that he won't go past the "just curious" stage of investigating. He's keeping every other commitment, but until he comes to church more regularly, he won't progress any further. Luckily, we were able to teach him with the bishop and committed him to coming to church every other week. We'll see where this leads in his progression. I wish with all my heart that he would just put away his fears and choose to find his answer. He's so close.
We're keeping positive. Elder Astorga is a wonderful goal setter. Hopefully we can both come to a better understanding of setting faithful goals and how the Spirit functions in confirming those goals. I'm convinced that the Spirit confirms goals when they will make us stretch to a point that we accomplish what the Lord desires us to. I guess it's really all up to determining what it is the Lord wants us to accomplish, because most of the time I feel that it isn't a number on a page. I know that I haven't felt disappointed with the work we've done this transfer. In fact, I feel that it is some of the best missionary work that has ever happened in this area.
Our relationship with the ward is getting better by the week. Mainly, it's due to the relationship we have been building with the bishop. He's just come out on a few teaches with us, and we're working with him on a new project concerning integrating his ideas and action plan into our ward-list program. It's really getting the ward invlolved, and when they see the Bishop's example, everyone wants to come out on teaches with us. Now we just need to solve the distance to our area problem :) That will disappear when we baptize Chris and Ian, as we will have more members to bring on teaches in these outer-areas.
My driving lessons are coming along, but I'm not going to be able to finish them before this transfer is over. I'm going down to Reading with Elder Tanner in order to get some experience with a member down there for my practical test, and my theory is scheduled for this weekend. I'm not worried about passing the theory, I've done enough study, but I do need more driving lessons before I can take the practical and pass. I really just need a bit more time behind the wheel. Elder Astorga and I have talked about it and think I could take the practical test in three weeks time. Give me one more transfer and I'll have a licence and this area will have another wonderful member.
President, I really hope that I've given and am giving all that I can to this ward and area. Sometimes I can't tell, it's been a while since we've baptized, and it often seems that is all the ward is able to see as missionary success. I hope that the seeds we are planting will lead to that. We're so close, the Spirit whispers keep going and be patient. The other day, I received some of the most clear and applicable revelation I've ever had in my life. It was this: patience fulfills faith. Those Christ-like attributes are a lot more intertwined than I ever thought before. I will keep working and expecting blessings in the Lord's time.
I love you. Thanks for all that you do and all the care you give me. I think I'm going to be moving out of this area, which I'm quite scared and sad about at the same time. There are so many memories here, people that I love, and people who are soon to be baptized. We'll see what happens.