Monday, December 30, 2013

Email Update: 12/30/2013--last of 2013

Dear Familie,

It was really fun to talk to you on Christmas, and the rest of Christmas went really well, too.

After that, the week was kind of average until Friday, when we had district meeting. One of the first things that our District leader mentioned was about our Key Indicators, specifically what we needed to have in a lesson, which includes at least teaching at least two principles, and saying a prayer. Elder Myers and i decided that we would make sure to do that, and i have to say, we have had some of the best few days that we have had all of the time that we have spent together. I personally have felt the Spirit more strongly, and for a longer stretch of time, than at any time in my life, with the possible exception of the MTC.

That first day after we were given that assignment, we were able to visit 7 families, all of which included at least two principles and a prayer. One of those was an older man named Ron, who we've been talking to for a little bit now, and who has been investigating for about a month now, we were able to teach the first two lessons, and commit him to read Moroni 10. Along with that, he committed to pray to know if it was true, and that, if he did learn that it was true, he would be willing to be baptized. We did try to set a specific date with him, but he felt that he wasn't ready, and even though we tried to convince him that he could work towards it, he was pretty firm in waiting for now.

Things have been working along that same line since then. We had a really good lesson with some members of First Ward, named Carol and Eric (not related) and a bunch of lessons in second ward. Along with Church, that was really our week.

Could I get Casey's address again? I seem to have lost the box with the address on it. 

Thank you and love you all again!

Elder Stuver

Monday, December 23, 2013

Email Update: 12/23/2013

Dear Everyone,

I kind of figured that things might work their way back to our original method of writing... ;) Yes, i got both of your packages. Thank you very much. 

Things have been going pretty good this last week (and so on). Emily's baptism went fairly smooth, with the only hiccup being that we got to listen to two different talks on baptism, because the one who was scheduled to speak originally ended up being a little late. Nichole did end up moving, so we aren't sure how she's doing right now; she decided not to tell us when they were headed out, so we never got an address from her. 

As for this week, we had one of our most productive weeks ever. (I'm going to tack one extra Friday, because something kind of fun happened.) On Friday, We were given an opportunity that really surprised me, because i'd never heard of it happening. Thursday night, we got a call from Brother Double, the Seminary Teacher in New Plymouth. Turns out, he was going to be out of town tomorrow, and needed someone to substitute for his two classes. So, we were able to teach Seminary at the High School. It was actually really weird, because he didn't leave us a lesson plan, so for the first class, we were really just winging it. Luckily, we were doing something that i'm actually fairly good at; learning about a chapter in the Book of Mormon, specifically Alma 7. So, by the second class, things went really smoothly.

On Monday, after Preparation Day, we went to a member's home, named the Waters, and taught their daughter, who is just about to turn 8, the Plan of Salvation. It was quite the time trying to find a way to say something that she would understand, without using hugenormous words that she wouldn't know yet. I think that we did a good job, however, and it was great practice for simplifying things down, and not using Mormon Jargon. After that lesson, we went over to a different members' home, and participated in the New Member Discussions (NMD) for the Roses, Seth and Keely. It ended up being pretty much the first half of the Message of the Restoration, along with watching the Nativity Bible video at What was cool along with that, is that Sherelle's (the kids' mom) sister in law was there as well, and she wasn't a member. When i offered her my scriptures to follow along, she gladly accepted, and said thanks after the lesson. So, i think that there is some great potential for an investigator there.

Wednesday comes next, with the Christmas Zone Conference. We went down to Caldwell and started at 9, going all the way till three. We sang lots of songs, heard a cool story about a gas station owner, and had a white elephant exchange (i got a fruit box---yay.)

Our next big day was really---the next Friday, when everything pretty much fell on us all at once. We had the first NMD with Emily, we had the Second Ward's Christmas party (where we met another potential investigator), and we had another appointment---that i can't think of right now. Oh well.

Well, i think that pretty much covers it for now. For more information, wait two more days.

Love Elder Stuver

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Email Update: 12/16/2013--Very Short

I have not gotten them just yet, but that could change by the end of the day; It had the week before last when you asked if i'd gotten Casey's package. If you could tell everyone thank you, and that I'm working on a reply for them. By the way, I have some presents for imediate family + Mario and LillyMei, but you may have to wait until January to get them, because shipping is EXPENSIVE, and the stuff is kinda heavy.

Thank you for all the things that you do, whether i see them or not. 

Elder Nathanael Stuver

Monday, December 9, 2013

Email Update: 12/9/2013: Q&A

This week, Nathanael didn't respond in a normal letter fashion. My parents asked questions and he answered directly below. Here's the email (bold=parents):

Dear Nathanael,

What are you doing for Christmas?
I honestly don't know just yet, but on the 18th there is going to be a Christmas Zone Conference with a White Elephant exchange, and i think that i already have the gift that i'm going to bring. It's a little finger that I carved (basing i off of my thumb) with a ring on it. I'm debating whether i should try to carve CTR onto it, because i don't know if i have that kind of skill just yet. (for further info on Christmas, continue to next question)

Will you be calling on Christmas? When?
I will be calling on Christmas, kind of. One of the Part Member Families that we have been visiting offered to have us over to use their iGadgets to Face-Time, so that we can see you as well as hear you. As for what time that will happen, that is yet to be announced. I'll let you know when we get it all set up.

Is it cold? How cold?
Yes, yes, yes, yes,yes. Yesterday, it hit -16*, with 6 inches of snow on the ground. It's cold. The funniest part of that, however, isn't everyone wrapped up like Eskimos. It isn't even California Boy (Elder Myers) going crazy over it. The Funniest part is how everyone we talk to all say that "this doesn't usually happen," "Never this early," and "My Son said when we were moving here you're moving to the Banana Belt of Idaho. I still have yet to see it..."

Do you still need boots? Any other cold weather gear?
I could still use some boots, but other than that, i'm all covered.

How did the Open house go?
....It flopped. We were sad. Our High Councilor blames it on the fact that the Program was in the Chapel, so it was Sunday Dress code. However, I feel like Elder Myers and i put in the effort that the situation required, so i feel like, on our part of it, it was a success. The Ward Christmas Party that was attached was really well attended, and was one of the most decked-out productions that i have ever seen. Elder Myers and I even had a picture taken on a full blown sleigh that they had dragged onto the stage. As soon as it gets emailed from the photographer, i'll forward it to you.

How did the baptism go?
That one went amazing. Emily didn't seem nervous at all, and her non-member parents even showed up from Eureka, Nevada in order to see it. we got to meet the both of them, along with her grandma, who got her started going to church in the first place, and all three of them were really great people. Jerry Jones, one of the first members to meet and get to know Emily, was the one who baptized her, and Brother Kim Ellis, our Ward Mission Leader in the 2nd ward, confirmed her in Sacrament Meeting the next day. Funny part of the baptism's program, the speakers, who had both already been called, ended up getting there late, so we had 2 different talks on baptism, one from Anna Rupp, the one that Emily asked to do it, and one from Brother Postlewait, a Ward Missionary from the Second ward, whom brother Ellis had asked to give in case Sister Rupp didn't show up. Sister Rupp got there after Brother Postlewait had finished 3/4's of his talk, so we got both.

We hope that the baptism and the open house went well and that the spirit was strong. Keep up the good work. Keep the faith. Love you!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Email Update: 12/1/2013

Dear Everyone,

Thanks for letting me know on the financial situation; i hadn't realized that i'd been spending that much. I'll make sure to fix that from now on. It sounds like everyone had a great time this last week, what with Thanksgiving and Babies being blessed and all. I'm glad you are all getting along without me (super corny fake sniffle).

 I haven't recieved Casey's package, but tell her not to worry; more often than not, it's just the mail being super slow. However, do ask if she used UPS or FedEx; those aren't able to be forwarded from the Mission office to the appartment, so she might be getting it back if she used either company.

As for the church open house, it's actually THIS Friday, at 5:00. It seems like it's going to go pretty well, although there are a few things that are grinding against my nerves. The first is that the sister in charge of planning the Christmas Party, which we are going to have the Open house work with, is wanting to have the program in the Chapel, rather than the gym. That means Sunday dress code, and i feel like if we try to ask people to wear Sunday clothes, they are going to turn right around and leave, even if they had wanted to come and were interested before they found out. Along with that, she wants to have the adults eat apart from their kids, and have the kids separate during the program. I already know of a MEMBER who isn't going to come because of that, so i'm really worried about anyone who isn't. Other than those two things, i think that it's going to go very smoothly.

Emily'sbnk baptism is this Saturday, also at 5:00. We are going to get everything for the program set up this Friday with Sister Stukie, who has been the fellowshipping family for Emily for the past few months. Sister Stukie is probably about 33 with 6 kids, and their house is immaculate, so i think that things will be able to go pretty smoothly with her help. I know that the Singles ward, both New Plymouth wards, and at least 10 members of her family are going to be at the baptism, so attendance should be pretty good. the only thing that i am worried about is stage fright. Emily is super excited about getting baptized, she wasn't nervous about her interview (passed with flying colors), and she knows most of the people who will be there, but she hates getting put on the spot. She doesn't want to have the spotlight all on her, so even though she will have plenty of support there for her, i think that that might actually mke things a little worse for her Stage Fright. At this point, i just hope that her excitement over powers her fear.

Our Thanksgiving was really fun. We ate at two members homes, the Austins (the people who's basment we live in) and the Marshals, a recently reactivated family, the Father of whom just recieved the Melcizadek Preisthood (and no, i do NOT know how to spell that word). About the food, though i do miss Mom's pies, i gotta say, triple chocolate pumpkin pie that is almost too rich for ME is nothing to shake a stick at.  The rest of the week was pretty basic, and nothing really to report, except for the fact that Nichole may be moving to Weiser in late December, and we got to help deliver some Thanksgiving Baskets to some of the people who we had been teaching.

Well, that'll about do it this week. Have an insane follow-up week!

Love Elder Stuver

Monday, November 25, 2013

Email Update: 11/25/2013

Dear Everyone,
 This week has been even crazier than then last one, because of all of the things we have been doing to get ready for a church open house that is coming up in just a few weeks. We are going to have 4 different rooms set up, using the four different lessons from Preach my Gospel as the bases for each room. In Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, we are planning on having the Mormon Message "the Restoration" playing in the background, with a Q&A table set up with the most common questions about Joseph Smith, etc. The Plan of Salvation room is going to have the different principle of the lesson set up as before life, during life, the Atonement, and after life. The rest of the rooms are set up in similar styles. We spoke to our High Councilor and our Ward Mission leader, and with a few suggestions from each, we got it set up really smoothly.
Along with the Open house, we have Emily's baptism coming up. She already has asked a man named Jerry to baptize her, so what we need to do now is--everything else.
Nichole is doing well, with just one problem, one which I will keep confidential. Other wise, things are going great there.
We have been spending a lot of time at Jason's home, and just this last time we were over there, his father actually showed us a Masonic Ceremonial Sword, that had to be at least 1890's. I feel like the family is really growing to trust us, and feel comfortable around us.
That about does it for this week. Thank you for all of your prayers.
Love Elder Stuver 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Email Update: 11/18/2013

Dear Everyone

This week went by way too fast. I honestly am not sure what happened this week, and what was last week. However, Elder Myers and I did get to speak in 2nd ward yesterday, and we ended up taking the whole sacrament meeting....

The good thing out of it is that when we went to see a family named the Burbanks, Sister Burbank said that she had planned on leaving right after we spoke, so that kept her at church for the whole meeting.

Other than that, not much really happened this week. We had a really fun Thanksgiving Zone Conference on Thursday, and the Fast and Feast that was part of it really helped to get me at least in the right mind set to listen and learn. Saturday was our district meeting, and we discussed searching for people to teach, and the times when it becomes necessary to drop and investigator. That stuck out a little stronger to me because there is a lady who we have been teaching on and off that I really don't see moving forward with any real intent. She says that she wants to be baptized, but doesn't take the steps that she needs to in order to be ready. She'll also change her mind back and forth whether she wants us to even stop by or not, from one hour to the next. I'm still thinking of what I should do, but i'm feeling more and more like if she's not going to do the work to be ready and able to move forwards, we are going to have to focus on others, to her exclusion.
Well, that's about it for this week. Thank you so much for the things that you all do for me, and for your prayers.
Love Elder Stuver

Monday, November 11, 2013

Email Update: 11/10/2013

Dear Everyone,

As far as Seth and Keely's baptism is concerned, everything went really well, at least according to all the people who said something to Elder Myers and me. Sharelle ended up already having planned most of it, and the parts that she hadn't pretty much fell into place. Sharelle's brother did end up still being there on Sunday, so that went well. The baptism ended up being so well attended that we needed to move from the baptismal room to the chapel for most of the program! It was great to see Justin help out where he could during the baptism, and we made sure to have him sigh the paperwork approving the baptism, so that he had a major role in the baptism.

Emily is still amazing. We were able to have Jason, a less active man that we have been working with, come to her appointment with us on Friday, and the lesson went really well for the both of them. She is coming to the Second ward regularly now, and Gospel Principles class was really smooth yesterday. She had been having a little trouble before, because a few people had been trying to get her opinion during the class, and she really does not like to be put on the spot. That fact was something that had been making her nervous about her baptism, but then something really cool happened...

Nichole, who we've been having a hard time getting a hold of, was finally able to set another appointment with us for this last Thursday. We went and taught her and Lane (her boyfriend) the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Within the first ten minutes of the lesson, we asked if she would be willing to be baptized on December 7th, and she said that her boss had just asked her the same thing earlier that day, and she had said that the only reason that she hadn't was because nobody had asked her. Then, when we posed the question again (just to be sure), she said that yes, she would be baptized. After she made that commitment, Elder Myers asked Lane if he would be willing to prepare himself to be the one to baptize Nichole, and, after some doubts were taken care of, he agreed as well. 

All in all, it's been a really good week. 

I hope that your weeks have been going well for you too, and that they will continue to do so.

Love your Crazy Corespondent,
Elder Nathanael Stuver

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Email Update: 11/4/2013

 Dear Everyone,

Yes, i did get the coats, and i really like them. I still like Elder Myers so things are still going well. I'm glad things are going well for all of you.

We had a really good Halloween this year; we had 7 lessons with members present on just Halloween!! That made it so that we broke our record of 26 lessons in one week be a full 7 lessons, for a total of 33 lessons this last week.

We were hoping to get in contact with Nichole this last week, but whenever we went over to visit her, she was either not home or didn't answer the door. We think that she probably started to work swing shifts, so that she is sleeping during the day. We are going to keep trying to have another appointment with her this next week, so we hope that we can catch her at home/awake.

Emily is still going great, though she says that she's getting a little nervous; her baptism is only 4 weeks away. We have been working on taking care of any comments or concerns she has, and i feel like she is going to be perfectly fine on the day of her baptism.

This Saturday is Seth's and Keele's baptism, and i have to admit, i'm getting a little frazzled. I've never planned a baptism before, and i want to make sure that it goes smoothly for everyone involved. The kids' mom, Sharelle, is a reactivating member, and their dad, Justin, is a nonmember, so i want to help it be a good experience for them as well as Seth and Keele. Along with that, Sharelle's brother is the one who has been planning on doing the confirmation, and he wont be able to be here Sunday, which is when convert confirmations are supposed to take place. One of our Ward Missionaries told us that he'd gotten a call from Sharelle's mother telling him this in tears, so i want to know what to do to follow the appropriate layout for the confirmation, but i want it to fit for the Rose's family as well. I'm confused, and i don't know what to do to make it fit.

Well, that pretty much sums up my slightly hectic life for now. Thank you again for all of your prayers and for your love.

Elder Nathanael Stuver

Monday, October 28, 2013

Email Update: 10/28/2013

Dear Everyone,

Things have been going pretty well out here, aside from Nichole having to be at the hospital for her sister, so that we were unable to have our appointment this week. She really does seem like she will be baptized, all i am worried about is her and her boyfriend, and her and her boyfriend's smoking. i think that we will probably extend another baptismal invitation this week when we see her. I say it again, i have never seen anyone as glued to what we teach as Nichole, except maybe for Emily Traveno. I don't think, once she makes the decision to be baptized, that anything will get in her way.

Speaking of Nichole, we were able to take a less active member named Jason Fisher with us when we were headed to her appointment, and even though the appointment ended up falling through, we were able to teach him a little, and to talk to his non-member family. It went really well, and i think that they like us a lot because of the work that we have done with Jason. Even his Baptist sister was happy to meet and talk with us. Jason has just decided to give up smoking, and i feel like if we continue to have him be involved with Nichole and her lessons, he will be able to keep that commitment.

We also visited a man named Conrad Burbank, who we have been talking to for quite some time ourselves, and the missionaries have been talking to for even longer. (if Dad knows the term "eternal investigator," that's what Conrad is.) He is hilarious, loyal to a fault, strong with his family (though he clashes with one half brother) and the most honest man that i have ever met. He only has three real problems; he drinks like a fish, smokes more than he breathes, and could teach a sailor with some of his language. He knows that the church is true; he told us so himself. He also told us that his wife would have him baptized after he was dead... So, what we are going to try and do is ask Conrad if, since Elder Myers is new, we could practice going through all of the lessons with Conrad. We hope that this will get the Spirit back in the home more often, especially since his wife and one of his daughters are already members. Eventually, we hope that we can work on the smoking and the drinking, bit by bit, so that any withdrawals don't kill him off.

Well, those are the major points of this week. As for how Elder Myers is a clone of me, he knows all of the internet stuff i do, he has all of the same interests i do (to varying degrees) and we frankly sometimes finish each other's sentences. So, turn me Latino, and you have Elder Myers.

Thank you Mom for trying to remember the coat and boots; just when ever you do and get the chance to send them, i would appreciate it. There hasn't been any snow so far, and the coldest it has been is 30 degrees, so i'm not too worried just yet.

Love your crazy corespondent, 
Elder Nathanael Stuver

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Email Update: 10/21/2013--Greenie Companion

Dear Familie,
Yeah, i was surprised at my training as well. Yes, our mission is getting a lot of new missionaries, and will keep doing so for about 3 more transfers, according to President Cannon. My trainee (or Greenie, as all of the missionaries call them--along with a lot of the families that we teach and eat with) is named Elder Josh Myers, from Layton California. To save you the trouble of looking that up on Google Maps, Layton is right around Fresno, and is even smaller than New Plymouth. Elder Myers is 19 years old, and is pretty much a clone of me, if you made me a white Latino--his mom is from Argentina. I'll see if i can send you a picture of him today. 

This week has been really cool, and it has flown by really fast. We've been working almost non-stop from the time that we got back on tuesday, to last night at 9:00. We were able to get a hold of one of the people that Elder Rogers and i had tracted into while on exchanges, named Nichole (i may have already tole y'all about her a while ago), and we were able to teach her and her in-active member boyfriend, named Lane, the Plan of Salvation. It went really well, and we were able to get to know her a lot better, not to mention meeting the boyfriend for the first time. They were both really attentive, and seemed to understand everything really well. the only problems that i can see are that she doesn't want to pray with us, they both are heavy smokers, and they are living together. Those things aside, i have never seen anyone so glued to the lessons that we teach as Nichole, and Lane was paying close attention as well (once Nichole had convinced him to come and listen to us).

Other than that, we've been doing a lot of meeting the leaders in the ward and introducing Elder Myers to all of the investigators that we already have. That, plus organizing the Area Book (the great big book of everything about our area---depending on how well it was filled out by the missionaries before you) has filled up all of our time for the past week. All in all, it's been a really good week. 

In answer to the rest of your questions, no, not a lot of missionaries are going home, so our mission just keeps getting bigger and bigger.I went on exchanges so much because Elder Jarvis was the District Leader, and he wanted to take some time with all of the Elders to say good bye, because he was pretty sure that he was going to be transferred. As for winter gear, all i need is a coat and some boots. 

I love you all!
Elder Stuver

Monday, October 14, 2013

Email Update: 10/14/2013--Transfer 3: Training and Pictures

Dear long distance acquaintances,

Tell everyone that i say hi back, and that i'm doing fine.

We just found out about transfers on Saturday morning. I am staying in New Plymouth, Elder Jarvis is moving to Middleton, and i am going to be training. It's really weird to think about; i've only been out a few months, and feel like i don't know enough to be trying to teach someone else how to do it. Well, i guess it's a good thing that i'm not in charge of where i'm supposed to go; i wouldn't know what was best. We are moving around today, so i will be staying with the Elders in Ontario until tomorrow, when all of our trainees fly in. I don't know what we are doing until then, i will try and keep you posted. 

As for this week, things have been going pretty well. I went on Exchanges for most of the week, once with the Ontario Elders from Tuesday to Wednesday, and once with the Elders in Fruitland from Thursday to FridayOn Wednesday we got to have District Meeting (where everyone from one district plus the Zone Leaders get together and teach each other) in a tree house; I'll send you some pictures with this email if i can. In between those, Elder Jarvis and i were getting ready for him to be transferred; he had a feeling that he was going to have to move. We went and saw a lot of the people he wanted to say good bye to yesterday, and then we spent some time having fun with the 2nd ward Bishop's family before heading home.

Saturday was especially cool. We got to go to a baptism in Fruitland for a mother of two of our young investigators named Seth and Keele in New Plymouth (she got divorced from their dad, and the kids go back and forth). Along with that, Emily has a baptismal date for December 9th, and came with us to watch the baptism. She is so ready to be baptized, and she knows it too. The only thing holding her from doing it right now is getting everyone's schedule lined up. Things are picking up around here, and i feel like it will just keep going higher.

Well, that should cover most of it. Thank you for your letters, and i hope that you keep going well.

Elder Stuver
District Meeting
District Meeting
Elder Jarvis and Sister Brown, the Second Councilor's wife in the New Plymouth First ward
Random Cat
Albino Squirrel

Monday, October 7, 2013

Email Update: 10/7/2013

Dear Everyone,

This week has been pretty cool. We went on exchanges with our zone leader and his trainee on Tuesday, and Zone Leader Sterling Rodgers came with me in New Plymouth. It was a pretty normal day, visiting a part member (wife is a member and her husband is not) family, a couple named the Marshalls, and then we went tracking, for the first time that i had gone in New Plymouth. We knocked on a couple of doors, and nothing really happened, until the third door. We knocked and a probably 28-30 year-old woman answered. Elder Rodgers asked if we could share a message, and she said sure, so we taught the first lesson, The Message of the Restoration. I've never seen anyone so glued to what we were saying; even her 7 and 5-year old were paying attention. The Spirit was super strong, and we were able to set up a following appointment for this Wednesday. She seems like she is really interested, and i feel like she will do well as we teach..

Conference was really awesome, and like always, President Uchdorf's talk in the Saturday morning session was my favorite. my favorite quote was "doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith." There was a lot on missionary work in this conference, so i hope people will listen and give us a hand out here... ;)\

John and Sandy, the nonmember who gave me the quad, got to go the Sunday morning session of general conference, so i hope that he was able to be touched by the Spirit; i know that i was.

Well, that about sums it up. Thank you for the emails, and i hope that your lives smooth out. I love you!

Elder Stuver 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Email Update: 9/30/2013

Dear Familie,

I got the pictures that you sent, and Lilly Mei looks really good. Yeah, Curtis is just a bit bigger... I'm glad that you all got to spend some time with the now Great grandparents, i'm sure that they enjoyed that.

This week has been flashed by pretty quick,  like they all have so far, but not too much happened. Emily did decide to move her baptismal date forward to sometime in December, she just needs to coordinate her schedule, her family's schedule, and her daughter's schedule all together to find a specific date. We just taught the first half of the Commandments discussion to her, and she pretty much took it in stride. She is doing so well, and i know that she will continue to do so as she works and continues to grow.

We picked up a new investigator as well; Dan's old girlfriend, Dora. She called us to start having appointments, and she seems to be willing to do the work that she needs to in order to learn and to grow. We asked, if she found that the church was true, and the Book of Mormon was the word of God, if she would be baptized, and she agreed.

This last Saturday, we worked at a memberhouse in the yard for almost 6 hours. I liked it, because she actually let me dig out all the weeds, rather than making it difficult to do so by not letting me dig deep enough! We were able to clear out an entire flower bed of weeds so that it was ready to plant, and split enough wood to last her the winter. She was really happy about the flower bed, because she said that it had been something that she had been working on for about three years now. She has a really hard time weeding because of a past knee surgery that makes it so that she can't kneel down or put much force on it. We also got to talk to her son Garth (pronounced Gart) for the day. He is an inactive member who is 19 years old, and stopped going almost 4 years ago. He turns out to be a real video game buff, so Elder Jarvis got along really well with him.

Well, that about sums up this last week. I'm glad that things are going well with you, and that Jeffrey had a good play. Michaela, make sure that you don't worry yourself to death about Lilly Mei, especially over the little things. You'll get the hang of everything, and you always have at least 4 people to talk to: Mario, Mom, Dad, and Heavenly Father. 

Love Elder Stuver.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Email Update: 9/23/2013

Dear Family,

This week there have been a few cool things, a few frustrating times, and a lot of inbetweens.

One of the cool things is that Emily, the lady who wandered into church on her own, had a baptismal date, set for July 27th. The reason it's so far out is because she wants to read the whole Bible (and yes, she does mean the Bible and not the Book of Mormon; we checked) before she get's baptized. When she heard how long it can actually take from Elder Jarvis (he said that he's only 800 pages in and has been reading since he came out to the mission field), she said that she may end up making it sooner, so our next appointment we will teach about the qualifications for baptism, and how to feel that you are ready to make the covenent.

Another cool thing was a fireside that happened just yesterday in some of our zone's stake. It was all on  missionary work, and it started off with Elder Holland's talk on when the Savior asked if Peter loved Him. It really set the tone on missionary work, and after that, the people split up into 5 different groups to answer anonymous questions on different aspects of missionary work in everyday life. The section that Elder Jarvis and I covered was on working with less-active members and with recent converts, and i feel like we really got the idea into peoples heads that the best way to start working with people is by making a friend, and focusing on that before you try and convert someone. In fact, in my opinion, you shouldn't be thinking so much about trying to convert someone as about learning to love them and to get to know them. Anyways, that went really well, and it felt like people had a spark of sharing after the meeting.

Something a little frustrating about this week was last night, when a member of one of the ward councils flat out refused to try to hand out a Book of Mormon, saying that he just wouldn't do it--in those words precisely. It was annoying that he didn't want to even try, or just keep it on him. It kind of put a damper on the rest of the day.

As for the inbetweens, a lot of it involves a lot of amazing food (including breakfast for dinner last night--waffles!!), too much down time, and a lot of trying to find people to teach during the day and on Saturdays. That, and a little Stephen Colbert when we visit one of our ward missionaries (just when we get there; then he turns it off).

Well, that's the size of this week. I love you, and still want to hear how your lives are going too.

Love Elder Stuver

Monday, September 16, 2013

Email Update: 9/16/2013

Dear Familie,

Yeah, things have been going pretty well. The talk was just on missionary work, and how to do it simply and in your everyday life. It's alright about the SD card; the baby's more important. I did get the link to the pictures; she. is. TINY. Funny that she likes Japanese TV; have you and Mario been rubbing off on her already, Dad? Have them try running it all day to see how long she will watch--maybe they can keep her up all day and she'll fall asleep at night. Why does it not surprise me that Lilly likes Grandpa best? Oh, that's right--every baby does.

Things have been pretty much the same here, with a lot of emptier days and lots of food at night. I got the chance to teach Debbie, the lady who had cancer just a month ago and is only in her thirties. We taught the Plan of Salvation, and she asked a lot of really good questions, along with her son, Ryan. I felt like they understood what we were teaching, and that they felt like it made sense. Yesterday, i went over to John's house (the one who gave me the quad) and we had a good family home evening. Other than a lot of political talk, it went really well.

Well, that's about it. I hope things continue to go well for all of you and Lilly Mei.

Elder Stuver

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Email Update: 9/9/2013

Dear Family,

Things are going well with me; We were able to set a baptismal date for one of our investigators! Dan, who is now living on his own and working to get all settled into his own place, is scheduled to be baptized on January 4th, 2014. It was really cool to be there and watch him make that commitment to move forward in his life. Emily and her daughter Ali are doing great as well, and Emily is liking the Singles ward, so she is still going to church every Sunday, and she has been reading the things that we have been assigning. With a little more work on all our parts, I feel that she is going to be ready to set a date soon. Kathy sounds like she is doing great too, and actually found herself defending the church to her mother for a good 2 hours, according to her. She is most likely going to move out of our area soon, so we will have to wait and see how the rest of that goes, but she seems like she knows that what we are teaching is true.

Along with all of that, I gave a talk in one of the wards we coveryesterday. It followed my usual pattern of taking an hour to write, and 2 minutes to speak. I think that I did ok, though, and the rest of the talks went really well. I did save a copy of the ward bulletin, for more than just that; it was the first time that they had me in there as one of their full-time missionaries, rather than Elder Jarvis' former companion, Elder Sergeant.

Well, that's about it for this week. It's awesome that Michaela's a mom now, and that Mario's a dad. Tell Jeff I said hi. Loves you!

Elder Stuver

Monday, September 2, 2013

Email Update: 9/2/2013--Transfer 2

Dear Everyone,

It has been really cool here in New Plymouth. Today is the start of my 2nd transfer, and i get to stay here with Elder Jarvis. Emily is still going strong, and she's started going to the YSA ward, so that she feels more comfortable. Everything went really smooth, and if felt like she was learning a lot. She brought her daughter as well, and she was really quiet and calm. (she fell asleep in sacrament meeting; she snores XD )

We have bee having a harder time getting in touch with Kathy, so we're not quite sure how she is doing, but we do know that she is going through some rough times, and that she may be moving to Vale Oregon, where she grew up. If so, she will be out of our area, and the Vale Elders will start teaching her. Last we saw her though, we taught the Plan of Salvation, and it seemed to stick really well with her. I feel like she is coming to know that it's true.

Another one of our investigators, Dan, just moved out of his (ex) girlfriends house, and seems like he is just about ready to be baptized. We think that we are going set a date for just before the end of this transfer, and it. will. be. Awesome.

I had a true Chinese meal two nights ago. My mouth is still watering, it was so good. i miss oriental food... *sniff sniff*

Well, that just about covers it this week.

Love Elder Stuver

Monday, August 26, 2013

Email Update: 8/26/2013--Two Stories

Here's Nathanael's most recent letter. I linked the scripture to the chapter, but you'll have to scroll down to the proper verses yourself.

Hi Everyone,

I'm doing really well, and we have a new investigator named Emily, who seems like she is going to get baptized; she wandered into church all on her own one Sunday, and is 15 chapters into Gospel Principles. We just taught her Lesson 2, the Plan of Salvation, and even though I blanked when Elder Jarvis asked me to lead on the Atonement part of the lesson, we were able to fix it, (and I did well when someone else led into a topic), and we had a really good lesson. She said that it was pretty much perfect timing for her to learn this, because she was just coming up on the 2 year mark of 2 of her friends dying, right around the same time. Now she knows that they are in a good place, that she will see them again, and that they will all be happy.

One more cool story before I finish. There is a Part member family in New Plymouth 1st ward named John and Sandy. John is not a member and Sandy is, and we have been visiting them a little bit, and seeing Sandy quite a bit while we have been helping a 93 year old man named Brother Humble fix up his house and his yard. (Just saying, I wish I had remembered my camera on Saturday; that was the biggest pile of weeds I have ever seen in my life!!!) On Saturday, after 2 hours of weeding and cleaning up his yard, Brother Humble threw a Pot luck at his home, so that he could show off all the work that Sandy had done on the place. At the Pot luck, John and Sandy walk up to me, and John hands me a quad set of scriptures, leather bound with tabs, and the scripture Alma 46:12-20 embossed on the front cover. "That's for you. We thought that you could use a new set of these." That was John who said this, and I remembered him saying that they were going get me some, just in passing at a dinner appointment a week ago. John isn't a member, just reminding. I was just about speechless; all I could say was "Thank you" about three or five times. To me this shows just how awesome people can be, and how much we need to try and be the same.

Well, that's all I got for now. Thanks again for the letter, and please keep me updated.

Love, Elder Stuver

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Email Update: 8/18/2013

My first transfer call will be on August 31st, and yes, transfers are 6 weeks. According to Elder Jarvis, i will most likely be staying in New Plymouth for 2 more months because I'm a greenie, so we will have to wait and see how long i stay in one area. To be honest, i hope that i get to move sooner than that; the basment apartment that we live in is crawling with spiders and horseflies. (not small ones, either)
This week was pretty great; we had more lessons than we had had in one week before. We have been working with an investigator named Beux Clatin, and i was able to teach with the ward's High Priest Group leader and Beux's new home teacher. We worked throught the Restoration again, and i was able to spend more time on Christ's Atonement than may have been spent previously. I challenged him to always ask to feel God's love, and to know that if he can feel the Spirit in his life, the Atonement is working to repair damage in his life. I felt like Beux better understood what i was saying, that he felt the Holy Ghost, and that i was able to teach the things that Heavenly Father wanted me to teach.
Along with teaching Beux, we had another opportuntity to Kathy Tamez, and she seems to be progressing really quickly. Every time we talk i can see more things click into place in her mind and heart. One problem that we have run into is the fact that she works in assisted living, which requires that she work on Sundays from 6:00am to 2:30pm, making it impossible to attend church, especially since there are only two wards in the New Plymouth building, so there is no evening time for church. Other than that, she is doing really great.
I was able to give another blessing this week, to a less active member named Jenny Kitchen, Roxy Kitchen's mom. It was still nervewracking, and i stlipped up at the beginning, but after i had fixed that, i was able to say what Heavenly Father wanted me to say. After we finished blessing Jenny, i had the opportunity to annoint Roxy for a blessing. Both experiences were great faith-builders, for the Kitchens and for me. Speaking of blessings, Kayla (the other little girl) is still doing well, and she said that the test for her grass alergies should be coming soon.
All in all, it's been a really great week.
Love Elder Stuver

Monday, August 12, 2013

Email Update: 8/12/2013--An Average Day, Plus a Lesson!

Here's Nathanael's email from this week, and guess what? He even sent a picture!

The most average day is:
6:30) Try to wake up
6:45) Zombie walk to the shower
7:30) Get out, get dressed, and study
11:00) Head out, and try and think of someone to teach.
9:00pm) Head home after a bunch of fruitless calls, some appointments falling through, and a dinner appointment with the members (where everyone tries to outdo the last family-hence the having eaten better than ever).
10:30) Try to fall asleep for a few hours.
This week there was a cool story, however. We were able to teach a lady named Kathy Tamez, and the lesson went really well, apart from my jumping off on 50 different tangents in 5 minutes. We started by teaching the Plan of Salvation, and then I ended by dumping a ton of simple doctrine, and assigning a reading that might have confused her (the intro to the BoM, and the other stuff before 1 Nephi). However, even with that, I could see things fall into place in her mind, and how it all started to make sense to her. It didn't hurt that she said just that herself, about halfway through the lesson. I feel like we said what she needed to hear this time, and I know to focus a little more the next time. Along with that, she said that she skimmed the BoM before the lesson (she had asked for any "literature" when we had helped with her yard a while back), and said that her daughter had picked it up as well. I feel like things are going well with both of them, and I am starting to get a little excited about it.
Nathanael's Companion: ElderJarvis

Monday, August 5, 2013

Email Update: 8/5/2013

Nathanael asked that everyone was aware that the Mission Home forwards mail and packages, so please send everything through the USPS--especially for packages, use Priority Mail  rather than FedEx or UPS. 

Here's the Mission Home address:
Idaho Nampa Mission Office
1008 W Sanetta
Nampa, ID 83651-5047

The Mission Home address is also listed in his Contact Information section.

I asked Nathanael a few questions about his mission, and here is his answer:

Being out in the field is a lot more easy going then we were lead to believe. Because there aren't a lot of investigators or referrals (and my companion hates tracting), there isn't as much going as i thought there would be.The easiest part of being a missionary is eating. I can say with utter confidence that i have never eaten as well as i have in the last week and a half. The hardest part is trying to find new people to teach. Like i said before, there aren't many referrals, and my comp hates tracting, so finding opportunities are slim. My area is New Plymouth Idaho, with one ward in Fruitland. My companion is named Elder Bryce Jarvis, and he's pretty cool.

There are your questions answered. Now for a short story time. 
I was able to participate in the baptism of a 9 year-old girl (as a witness, then in the confirmation) on the Saturday after i came into the field, and it was a great experience. Her name is Roxy Kitchen, and she is really smart. Then this week i was able to give the first blessing in my life, to a young girl with exima (however you spell that) named Kayla Topps. I was so surprised that she wanted me to give the blessing, and was nerve-wracked the whole time, but i felt like i was able to say what Heavenly Father wanted me to, and in the way that she needed to hear.

Seemed like time was short, so that's all he had to say, and unfortunately he hasn't sent any pictures yet. Still no card reader, I guess.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Email Update: 7/29/2013--First Week in the Field

Nathanael hasn't had a chance to get a memory card reader, but promises photos soon. Here's his email:
The mission field has been pretty cool so far, with all of the members feeding us, a 9 year old girl getting baptized this last Saturday, and working with a few more investigators. The members like to make the best meal for us when we visit, so I haven't had a small dinner since I left the MTC! By the way, you should look for a recipe for Strawberry Rubarb Pie; that's what we had for desert on Wednesday, and it was awesome!! The girl's name is Roxy Kitchen, and she had a baptismal date before I arrived at the area, so I just got to see the baptism. It was really fun; her mom is a less-active member, but she still came for the baptism and the confirmation on Sunday. It was really helpful to get to see someone join the church so soon after entering the Mission Field; I needed the boost in confidence.
One of the other people we are teaching is named Dan, and he's great to talk to, fun to be around, and keeps the commitments he makes. He wants to be baptized, but can't yet because of some personal issues that he is working on with us. So, for now, we go over and continue teaching, and help where we can.
That is pretty much the size of what's going on up here. I gotta say, 1400 people are much slower paced than 100,000+
Elder Stuver

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Letter from the Mission President

Dear Missionary Parents,


How thrilled I was to greet your son and to welcome him as a full-time missionary in the Idaho Nampa Mission.  What a blessing it will be to our mission to have him serving here to the assigned field of labor.

After arriving at the mission office and conducting a brief orientation of the mission, I had the opportunity of interviewing your son in an effort to become better acquainted with him and to feel of his spirit.  As a result of this interview, I felt impressed to assign your son, as a companion, to the most obedient, most skilled, and hardest working missionary in the mission.  You can be assured that this companion is one of our mission’s very best.

We are confident that your son will have a very positive experience while serving in the Idaho Nampa Mission.  We know he will strengthen his skills, increase his knowledge and testimony of the gospel, and establish an increased measure of love for all of our Heavenly Father’s children he will assist in teaching.

We have attached a picture of your missionary with myself and also a picture of him with his trainer, Elder Jarvis .

May the Lord’s choicest blessings be with you as you sustain your son and pray for his continued welfare.

Faithfully yours,

President Stuart B. Cannon

Idaho Nampa Mission

Nathanael and his companion: Elder Jarvis
Nathanael and his mission president: President and Sister Cannon

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Into the Field

Mom wanted me to let everyone know that she was able to talk to Nathanael from the Salt Lake airport. He called, boarded his plane and should be headed towards the mission home.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Email Update 7/21/2013--MTC Life

I wrote Nathanael an email, and here was his response:

Mrs. StuHarper,

I did send a responce to your letter, did you not recieve it? If not, I might have forgotten to write the "4" for your apartment number.

I leave... on Tuesday. AAAAAAAAAAAHHHH

MTC=Cabin feverawesomeness
I had some awesome spriritual experiences, including participating in my first blessing, consecrating my own annointing oil, and finally knowing for sure that God loves me, i'm in the right place, and that He's pleased with me.

The MTC has been awesome, but I'm glad that it's almost over; it's time for me to be out there. Like I said, I leave on Tuesday, and it is kinda freaking me out, but i'm really excited at the same time. We wake up at 6:15, be at the travel station of the MTC, take off at 11:00, and touch down in Boise at 12:15. From there, meet the Mission President and head to the mission home. So, if you have my mission home address, start sending stuff there.

The blessing i helped with was for a sister in our district, named Sister Paisley Stevens (i have a picture of her, i'll send it when i can.) I won't go into detail, so that you can post this if you'd like, but she needed a little comfort, and the Elders needed the Spirit that came from it.

My comp's name is Elder Jacob Olson, and though he makes a rest stop about 4 times a day too many, we work really well together, and we both learn from each other. (Again, picture to be sent... eventually.) We've been able to teach "Bob Nash" (our teacher roleplaying) and we've learned a lot about how and what to teach, and when to do it. During some of our Companion Study times, Elder Olson and I go out sometimes and make random approaches to missionaries as if they were people on the street. It's been pretty cool, and again, we've learned a lot.

Well, my time's up, so I'll end with saying that you should read Alma 48:17-18 to know what told me to be sure and stay.

Love Elder Nathanael Stuver

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Into the MTC!

Today Nathanael went into the MTC at 1:30. Here are a few pictures prior to the MTC and the curbside drop-off.
Loading the car before the MTC
Mom and Nathanael on the way to the MTC

Nathanael and Jeffrey on the way to the MTC

Nathanael and Dad on the way to the MTC
Elders helping Nathanael unload at the Provo MTC.
Nathanael unloading at the MTC
Nathanael, Mom and Dad at the MTC
Final Goodbye at the MTC! Nathanael, Mom and Dad (Jeffrey is in the car already.)

Thanks Mom for the pictures!