Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Elder Johnson and I are Holiday Set!

From Elder A. Stoneman

Hey so they allowed us to send a quick email out today concerning Christmas. I didn't have time to read everyone's emails but it looks like you will all be at Sam's around the time I will be calling... holla. We are going to be eating Christmas dinner at the military base like Thanksgiving with the Prichard’s'... hmmm that'd make a good title to a hip new Christmas song... haha We'll be eating around 1:30 at the base our time and I will be calling shortly after that... maybe 2:30 or 3... So that'll be around 1 ish your time. 30 to 40 minute phone call... lame. But it'll have to do. I’ll call Sam’s landline... so I can talk to my peeps. holla!!!!

Mom I got your package. Thank you! Thank you for the sweaters. The black fits perfect... I love it. Thank you for everything.

Elder Johnson’s mom sent him money to buy a Christmas tree. So we bought lights and a 4 foot fake tree... all we need is the smell... And I bought a cheap stocking and we hung up our stockings on either side of the thermostat... it's kinda like a fireplace... so we're in pretty good shape. We've put our presents under the tree. Oh! Jana! I got your package too! Thank you so much! Loved it. I put your presents under the tree and the treats in my stocking. :) A birthday/Christmas letter is on its way. So yeah. Elder Johnson and I are all holiday set. It’s going to be a good one!

Love you all! Thanks for everything - talk to you on Christmas!


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

December 14, 2009

Goose Creek, South Carolina.

Walking through the streets with forest on each side is pretty sweet. Especially when it has just rained and the frogs are out. It seriously feels like the beginning of Pirates of the Caribbean.

Thanks to everyone who wrote!! Mom and Dad I got your emails. Sam! You are the bomb. Thanks for the love. I got a few handwritten letters from Land, Mom, and from the 8th ward! Thank you 8th ward - loved it. The cards and Primary poster were so nice. Thank you. And of course Margo... thank you so much for your thoughts and letter. I’m very appreciative of it and your support. Thanks for the cash. I bought some pan-dulce with it. Mexican sweet bread. So good! Thank you.

We had our ward's Christmas party this past Friday. So awesome. It's funny how all wards are the same. Our Bishop dressed as Santa, sweating bullets. The baby Jesus was a creepy little doll with blonde hair and a bad haircut. and even the uptight party host... in the least excited and uptight, weary, frustrated voice you can imagine - "HEY! ATTENTION!! HEY! we are NOW moving on to the entertainment portion of the evening!" Awesome.

Well an update on our strongest investigators - Saul and Lucio. We have 8 investigators but these two are the strongest. They are both scheduled for baptism. Saul on the 2nd of Jan and Lucio on the 26th of December. They are both really great men. They are progressing and keeping their commitments and coming to church. Things are looking great at the moment. Every time we teach and every time they come to church... they seem to get more serious about it and have a stronger desire to do better and keep commitments in preparing for their baptism. (Unfortunately, Lucio’s wife isn’t quite as receptive thus far…)

We do a lot of biking. Our area is so huge that we drive the car to a certain spot and then bike the rest of the way to our various neighborhoods. The bike is absolutely great!! Thank you Auntie Cath. :)

Best church marquee of the week:

Tues night - gospel study
Wed night - birthday party for Jesus

Well I’m off to Wally world. Thank you for everything. I will hopefully work everything out for the call on Christmas.
Love you all!!

Elder A. Stoneman

Friday, December 11, 2009

The News From Goose Creek

Man! What a crazy week. It went by so fast. The mission field is so great. So here it is P-day again. It seriously feels like I just emailed yesterday.

So yeah. Thanks to all who wrote. I got an email from Mom, Ben, Steve Hatch and Sky – (thanks for putting me on your email list!) So... what’s this about the Max?!? That's freakin sweet! Felicidades! Max, when Hillary swears you in.... don't let her pull a "Jeanie" and kiss you okay? haha

Mom last night I got to go to the ward and watch the Christmas Devotional. We were encouraged to bring investigators... no luck... haha but we still went. It was good though. Loved it. I even got to see my mother. dot buther. Christmas music is the bomb. In the car we listen to HIMNOS - we're on Christmas cd’s. I set up my cd player in the house and we listen to all the cd's I brought.... except (don't laugh) the showtime one... haha it's a rule... no showtune MoTab. haha

Elder Johnson is awesome. He's so hard working and pretty funny. I’m so grateful I’m with him and that I can develop the good habits I’ll need as a missionary.Llast week though was a little slow. We're still trying to find areas. We're about to 13 areas that we move around in. The areas are so spread apart that we do a lot of biking (we are limited to about 30 miles driving in the car a day)... which can be a bit nippy in the evenings. Mom I may buy a sweater at wally world today... and possibly a beanie and gloves. Elder Johnson said that Jan and Feb. get pretty chilly.

So p-days are awesome. Last week we went to office max and with the help of an angry lady we made large copies of our area map. We made our map and it's up on our wall. We've dotted investigators, leads, members, less-actives... it feels like we're planning this huge terrorist attack as we plan every night... intensely looking at our map deciding what to do and where to go. I hope no one walks in on us one night. hahaha We go to the library (bytheway I’m an official library card owner in the Berkeley library ... holla) and we get an hour on internet time. After I write this email I’m going to try and figure out sending pics. Anyway so p-day includes doing laundry (there's laundromat in our complex), wally world, weekly [planning, and possibly a ciesta. Elder Johnson and I do a lot of cooking. The ward missionary feeding coordinator has been out of town so we're not on a feeding calendar yet. but we talked to her on Sunday and she already had some ideas for this week. We've been to one member dinner appointment.

Mom and Dad you were right... there was some pretty intense rain... honestly I have never seen rain like that before EVER! The crazy thing was that it was so warm during the rain too. The day started off cold and got warm and then just dumped! Perfect weather for a... yup you guessed it... tornado. haha We were on a tornado watch! What?!??! We got a message from our district leader... about 6 hours late... saying we were on tornado watch. Then Elder Johnson and I were leaving the apartment in our car and it was just coming down like crazy... I mean dumping BUCKETS... then we got a voicemail message from our zone leaders saying, "Sister McConkie has confirmed that we are in a storm watch.... for those of you who haven't ALREADY noticed... go home..." Crazy night. that was last Wednesday. We haven't had any serious weather since... but it's been cold.

So our investigators currently are: Lucio, Saul (both came to church yesterday) Mario and Elton. Ben and max - Elton is from brazil. he speaks Portuguese and we're getting him a livro de mormon. In fact we are finding SO many Brazilians... about a fifth of our findings. Kinda crazy. so we are getting Portuguese pamphlets and BoM's etc. pretty cool.

Hey actually I’m about out of time for sending pics... next week I promise. Well I love you all. I hope to hear form you all soon. hint hint. :) Send me hard mail too. I’ve yet to get anything in my mailbox. First person gets a prize. :) Love you all and know that I’m working hard and loving it. And you're all in my prayers.

Nos vemos.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Hey Ya'll

Monday November 30, 2009

Hey ya'll. I hope everything is good. Things are awesome here. I love it and it's nice to actually be doing missionary work! I am sitting here in South Carolina writing my first email back home.... kinda weird.... but in case you were wondering - I did make it. It was a close one... the MTC almost got me but I escaped!

I landed in SC around 3:00 p.m. and it is gorgeous. Everything is so green. Oh! and there are SO many trees!! They took us to the chapel near the mission home and we were there until like 10:00. Pres McConkie... is great. He knows what's up. Awesome man. He acknowledged my letters (Mom & Dad - thanks for encouraging me to write him!) and said I was the only one who wrote frequently prior to my arrival. Sister McConkie said that she and the Pres saw you two at a play a while back at Pages. So I was greeted warmly and really felt the love from the McConkies. So awesome. We then went and stayed at the mission home overnight. We got both dinner and breakfast made by Sister McConkie.... mmmm she knows what’s up in the kitch!

The next morning we got our transfers. (So that’s the last time I saw Elder Finch.... I wonder how he's doing...?) Entonces... they announced my name... and I am serving in (drum roll) Charleston! Well technically Goose Creek just north of Charleston in the Crowfield Ward area. Interesting thing is... my trainer Elder Johnson and I were white washed in... meaning that no other Spanish elders had really been in that area for a while... so we've had to start everything from scratch. Oh! And my comp.... Elder Johnson... is awesome. He's been out 21 months. So he has 3 months left or 2 transfers, and it is very possible that we will both just stay together in this area until he leaves. So I’m very happy about that.

So the past few days we've just been contacting and finding Hispanics and getting to know the area. There are SO many churches down here. One of my favorites being titled - "The EXCITING Baptist Church on St James Ave".

Thanksgiving was fun. We went onto the military base and ate with Elder Prichard who is the senior missionary over the base. The best thing I had was almost like a pumpkin pie (it tasted like it) but it was made with yams, and it had crusted cinnamon pecans on the outside.

Okay, so apologies to all the foreign missionaries of the fam... I’ll just say it... I’m spoiled. haha I know. I realize that and I’ll try not to brag... except... I am very grateful for the luxuries we have. We do have a car. Debit cards with 135 a month. Also we have a comp cell phone. Our apartment is new... well to the mission. No missionaries had lived there before - as Elder Johnson pointed out... "'s clean."

We've already found a bunch of areas. We have a few investigators already. In fact one came to church with us. So awesome. I went and scored some himnos from the RS room and the three of us sang the hymns in Spanish. He liked that. There aren't enough Hispanic families to have a branch so they do the translation thing with the special church equipment - it's pretty cool.

Best church quote of the week...

There was a linger longer after church with Thanksgiving dinner and they used the ovens to warm the food. One of the dishes was dripping and so it smelt like something was burning. The missionaries of course were hanging out by the kitchen and every time someone walked by they'd ask "Is something burning?" Well this sister walks down a little while later, sniffs the air a few times, and then with the thickest Southern accent you can imagine says "Oh! Are we sacrificing a Baptist?" and then just busts up laughing. Hysterical.

Well things are great here. I love everyone and I’m doing so well here in SC. My testimony has grown so much in this past week just in doing real missionary work. I love it.


Elder A. Stoneman