Monday, September 26, 2011

Elder Aug is Comin' On Home!

Elder Stoneman's mission report is scheduled for Sunday, October 16, 2011 at 12:50 in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building chapel. Please join us afterwards for an open house in the social room of Canyon Road Towers at 123 2nd Avenue, SLC, 84103.

Holy Cow!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Holy Cow!

This is nuts. I was doing alright until I opened my email inbox this morning. I got about 10 emails almost all of which were entitled something to the effect of "holy cow."

Holy cow is right. I couldn't help but include it in my own title.

This last week has been so awesome. Best way to end the mission.

Elder Augilar and I found a ton of new people. We have 7 people on date in the month of October. We taught a couple as well who came to church. They followed us there. It has just been way fun. We have worked hard and the Lord blessed us.

We went out last Monday night and found this kid who is 15 years old. He was pretty interested. At the end of our porch lesson with him, we went to go and get a pamphlet out of the car. Elder Aguilar felt impressed to stay behind and talk to him. Elder Aguilar said to him, "Sorry, I still learning English. I from Mexico." The young man responded, "You’re from Mexico?!?! I have a good buddy from Mexico." It turns out this good buddy is a recent convert in the Spanish branch who is 13 and way active and solid in the gospel. So we've taught him with this friend of his and he came to church yesterday.

R and E are the couple that we found. Way cool. They were waiting outside for us to come and guide them to church. They are cool.

Saturday evening was the dia de hispanidad. The Hispanic culture celebration party. It was awesome!! All kinds of food and culture. There were dances from various countries. It was so cool. Taliq came. Members brought their friends. Part member families came. And some more of our investigators came. It was so great.

Church was pretty cool. I bore my testimony. We had 3 investigators there. It was just a good last week. I’m happy about it.

But now I’m trunked. You finally got me. I contained it until now. And now I’m freakin out!

I’m totally kidding. I’m only kind of trunky.

Today we ate at a barbeque restaurant. Probably my last good southern meal. I’m getting fed by some Hispanic families tonight and tomorrow. I have to pack today. I’ll be sending home a package or two. Don’t open in case they beat me there.

Wednesday is transfers. I get to see the other end and point of view of the transfer week. I am confident that all will go well. I am grateful for my mission. Missionary work is helping the Master in his work and glory to help others live the gospel. I love these people so much.

Being a missionary is such a blessing that I will be forever grateful. There is no greater calling. I am humbled by the experiences and trials I have faced. Especially this last transfer. I was not able to baptize. I learned this lesson even more so in the past six weeks that all the miracles and success stories I have seen throughout the entire mission have all been by the hand of the Lord. He has carried me and helped me do His work and has allowed me to participate in many conversions.... and I’m not totally sure why. But I do know that His hand was there – and it was not me. For "as to my own strength I am nothing." I am grateful to have studied the Savior and his glorious plan of redemption. I am grateful to have taught the message of restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ everyday to new people. and of these things I have established and fortified a testimony.

I love you all and thank you for your support and encouragement. Thank you for your love and prayers.

Elder Augustus Archer Stoneman

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hey Y'all !!

Hey this will be a shorter email today. I need to send the Assistants pictures from my mission for the departing slide show.

It’s been a rough week. I’m definitely glad it wasn't my last week. This week is... and I am going to make it the absolute best.

We had 8 people committed to come to church. All of which bailed on us Sunday morning. No one came. We are needing to drop more investigators. There are a few who are really cool and interested that we will hang on to.

I think my favorite day last week was Friday. It was so legit. Elder O. and I went for a run. Elder A. and I did weekly planning. It was a really good planning session. He is really a good missionary with a lot of great ideas. We then got a call from a recent convert who was baptized the week before we got here telling us that he is moving. We have worked with this guy a lot. He went out with us to proselyte. We helped him prepare to bless the sacrament. We also helped him write a talk for church. They have fed us a lot! We went over and had pizza and just talked about the gospel. We pumped him up to endure to the end. To keep living the gospel wherever he lives. He thanked us and then we said goodbye. The rest of the day was just awesome. This Saturday there is a HUGE activity for the branch. It’s a Hispanic culture celebration. We are inviting everyone!! We put up flyers and such. We also visited some investigators and had great lessons with them. It was a good day.

I have been studying a lot about the Savior this transfer. It has been a great study. I’m reading the New Testament. I memorized the living Christ. I’m excited to read Grandpa's book.

This morning I took the time to write down what I understood of the Savior and His role in God's plan for us. It was such a good experience to write down what I know... to write down my testimony. I have a testimony of God's plan and of His work. I have absolutely loved taking part in it.

Elder Stoneman

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Baby Named Steve

Hey Family!! How goes it?

Hey mom thank you for the email. Thanks for the money. I really don’t need that much. I may be sending a package or two home with some more souvs.

Thanks for inviting people to come and visit. I think it will be fun. I can’t wait to see Sky.

Alright enough trunky talk.

Things are pretty good here in Greenville. It’s been kind of a harder week. That’s okay though. We’ve learned a lot from it. We drove out to Easley to do some English work out there. We spent all day trying to visit part member families, but no one was home. It was pretty trying. We kept good attitudes though.

Our investigators are not keeping their commitments. We have a huge teaching pool, but no one is coming to church. We did have J come. The part member that plays in a Mexican band. Hahaha it's called Techno Caliente. Hahaha. He got in at 3 am Sunday morning from a gig and STILL came to church. He has a good desire to be with the family at church. He needs to get married before he can get baptized. That seems to be everyone’s concern at the moment.

I heard from Elder Douglas - they went to visit L. L is doing so awesome. He has to work down in Charleston a lot. But he takes his gospel principles book to study in the hotel. He is a ward missionary and doing missionary work. His wife had the baby. They didn't end up naming him Steve. hahahaha L told me in June that they were thinking Steve. hahaha I don't know why, but I thought that was hilarious. It just doesn't fit. but anyway he is doing very well. He attends church regularly and goes out with the Spanish elders a little bit too. It's awesome.

The mission tour with Elder Peiper was pretty cool. He has a powerful testimony. We all got to shake his hand and then when he started speaking, he had us ask him any question pertaining to missionary work. how to do things more effective, what if this, what if that?... etc. he then talked about the doctrine of finding answers to our questions. he spoke on that for about half hour. it was neat. He then went through each question and discussed them with us. He gave a lot of good tips and advice. The spirit was strong in the meeting and helped answer many of the questions as well. Personal revelation.

President and I give him a blessing gave a blessing to an elder. President Holm is such a great guy. Along with President McConkie, he has been a huge help and influence in my life.

Elder A is doing well. He is really mature which helps the most in becoming a great missionary. He understands the work and the importance of it, and he is also very teachable.

M didn't come to church. It's been pretty tough to get him there. Something that has struck Elder A and me is that we should drop our investigators who are not progressing. We need to be spending our time and the Lord’s time more carefully. There are people prepared. We have already been finding some great new people.

Well I love you guys!!

Elder Stoneman

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Hey Y'all

Hey ya'll. Here is a summary of the week:

So M didn't turn out to be what we'd hoped. We went over and had another good lesson with him. We worked out everything with his ride to church too. We had everything worked out and then ever since he has been avoiding us. He’s doing a good job too!! So we will see what happens.

I met a woman last night who is in the English ward where we serve. Her husband and son weren't home so we spoke to her just on the front porch for a while. After a short visit, she asked where I was from. I told her Salt Lake City. She got all excited and said "Oh we used to live there!" I asked her what part and she said very casually - the avenues! My jaw dropped and I was like, "No way!!"

She lived there from about 1990 to 1993 and then she proceeded to list off a bunch a people she used to know. The Barnes. The Burtons. The Shrums, that attorney who wears a bowtie and rides his unicycle to work. hahahahaha I was dying. It was nuts.We are going back to visit later this week.

So that was pretty cool.

We are doing good work. We are finding more people. I have a feeling that Elder Aguilar's next comp will be an English elder. So I am beginning to push more towards English work and working in the ward. We have some cool English investigators.

I love the branch. We have gotten to know the members really well and established some great relationships. I’m loving it. Yes - just like McDonalds. haha. Seriously I would kill to have like 6 more months here to really get some stuff done. Mom, don’t worry I won’t do can take a deep breath - the plane ticket is already purchased.

This week is zone conference and a mission tour with a GA, Elder Peiper. That will be on Friday - I’m pretty stoked.

Have a great week!!

Elder Stoneman

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Irene Missed Us!

This week has flown by!! Seriously. The time is ticking... my mission is not finished!! I still have work to do!! And it doesn’t help that my family is throwing trunky comments at me left and right. hahahaha.

So no rain at all. No hit from Irene. Charleston and Myrtle Beach got evacuated though. hahaha I have already missed some crazy adventures in the office.

We are driving a car. Thanks for the letter Ben. You are hilarious.

It's been a good week. We are working with a part member family. J married into the L family. The L’s are recent converts who were baptized in Washington and just moved out here. J plays in a Mexican band. He is awesome. He is really smart and looks like a movie star. He really likes church. Sister L works every Sunday, but he still brings the kids to church.

Alright I have a cool story....

On Thursday Elder Aguilar and I went to this trailer park to call on people. After we left, later that night, we were doing our daily planning and we got a phone call. The number was saved in our phone as M C... so obviously the previous missionaries knew who he was. I answered and this really nice guy is on the other line. He said that he saw us in his trailer park that day and was asking why we didn't come and visit him. hahaha I was like... well... I don't really know who you are. I explained that we were new in the area. I asked if he went to church, he told me no because he had an accident. He wanted us to come and visit the next day.

We went over and knocked on the door. No answer. Honestly the whole thing was a little eerie. Especially when we went to go and knock on some of the other doors of the trailer - there were wheelchair ramps all over the place. We found a side porch with a ramp leading up to it and a HUGE door. we knocked it and this guy came to the door. I thought he was M and he said "Just a minute." So we waited there for like 10 minute - I was so confused.

He then let us in and I suddenly realized that he wasn't M. The room we went into was small and the majority of it was taken up by a hospital bed. Sitting the bed was M. He is from Mexico and is paralyzed. About 5 years ago the missionaries knocked on his door and he was pretty rude to them. A few months later he was drinking and driving and got in a serious accident and is now paralyzed. After a while he invited the missionaries back and for the last five years he has studied the gospel.

He can move his arms a little bit, but he only has full use of this head. He speaks fine and is very bright. He does everything with his mouth - he writes. he has a phone that is propped up in front of him that he uses a pencil in his mouth to dial etc...

He uses the same pencil to flip through the scriptures to read them. He just sits there. It is unbelievable.

M has a strong testimony of the gospel and wants to be baptized. He told us that he was baptized Catholic and grew up Catholic. He said that he realizes it’s not correct and does not want to be Catholic anymore. He knows the church is true and wants to become a part of it.

I talked to my district leader and he said that missionaries have worked with him for five years. He has only been able to come to church twice as it's just hard to get him there. In one of our lessons with him, he said that another reason is because that he doesn't always trust every set of missionaries to take him out of the house. M told us that he trusted us from the moment he called that night.

M is on date to be baptized on Sept 17th. The hard part is now to get him to church. His family has a van but the dad uses it for work. We don't know what to do. But we will get him there. We are also gaining favor with the family, they apparently haven’t been very receptive. We taught his sister last night and she is pretty interested.

PLEASE pray for M and his family. We need a miracle.

I love you guys!!!

Elder Stoneman

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I'm in Greenville!

Wow. What a crazy week and half it's been. Since a week ago Saturday so much has happened... I hope that I’ll be able to fit it all in this email.

The “3rd” Assistant, Elder C, went back to his area for his last weekend. Then Elder Douglas and I picked him back up Sunday evening. Saturday was a blast. We did some shopping and I got some great souvenirs. Thanks Auntie Cath. Love ya. I sent home a package with the goodies. Don’t open!

Sunday at Fort Jackson was amazing. What a great way to finish my time there. I spent 9 months there and so many great things happened. This last Sunday, Brother E was baptized. He is the RLDS soldier. He told me that he always attended church growing up and also attended other churches, but never felt the way he did at church his first Sunday at Fort Jackson. His battle buddy brought him. Brother E told his buddy that he would go to church but would not join. His buddy, Bro EV said that you could see the change of heart on his face within the first five minutes. So awesome.

Brother EV did not serve a mission. He recently went through the temple and when he gets home he will be sealed to his wife. He seemed so grateful and pleased that he has been able to do missionary work at Fort Jackson. He told me with tears in his eyes that the past two weeks have been incredible. Bro EV has loved sharing the gospel and bearing testimony to Brother E. He was able to get in the water with his friend and baptize him. So cool.

Monday we did all of the last minute transfer stuff before the new missionaries arrived. It was nice to have 3 assistants to do it all. We had to set up 23 beds at the mission home. There were 25 of us sleeping the two nights at the mission home including the Holms.

We had to take the van and 3 other vehicles to the airport in order to pick up all the new missionaries. We got there right when they were coming down the runway. 20 of them!!! They were all so excited.

We took them home and fed them. We spent the next couple of days with them and we also had a meeting with the trainers. So at one point we had 40 missionaries that we had to worry about for rides, sleeping arrangements, etc. It was so fun... but man it was a LOT on our plate. On Sunday we ended up spending hours on the phone making calls, arranging rides, finding living arrangements, temporary transfers, etc to make all this happen. It was draining. PLUS we had to go and open another apartment Tuesday evening late. We opened 8 new areas this transfer. For those we had to gather proselyting materials, phones, dvd players, cars, etc. For real. This has been the craziest but most fun transfer ever.

Tuesday night we had a testimony meeting with the new missionaries. I couldn't believe it, it was super powerful. The spirit was really strong there. At that point I was getting a bit nervous about leaving. It was a little stressful - but as testimonies were borne and as I bore my own, I was strengthened. It was peaceful and I’ve felt great ever since.

After the testimony meeting Elder Douglas, Elder Clarke, President and I worked on the transfers. To make a long story short (we were up until midnight).... we couldn’t find the right trainer for the native elder who was called to English-speaking, and we couldn't decide who would be the right companion for me. So to solve both problems, my new missionary to train is a native Hispanic elder who is called to speak English.

His name is Elder A. His English is good, but his accent makes it rough. He is AWESOME - he is a convert of the church of 2 years, he is 22 and just baptized his 20year old brother before leaving home. He is from Guanajuato Mexico, but has lived in Texas for the past few years. He was born in California so he is a U.S. citizen but has lived his whole life in Mexico. Elder A joined the church because of a girlfriend he has. His parents were not totally supportive of him serving a mission -they didn't want him to go. But, he got a letter from them in the MTC saying that they are okay with it now.

Elder A and I will go to the Greenville 4th Spanish Branch. We also will serve in the Greenville 3rd Ward. We will do about 50/50 Spanish and English work. We speak Spanish and English about 50% of the time (my Spanish is coming back and his English is getting better). Funny huh? The white kid was called to speak Spanish and the Mexican was called to speak English and we were put together. Elder A’s testimony and teaching skills are phenomenal. He is awesome.

This transfer is going to be SWEET.

But anyway we are getting our feet on the ground. We had someone at church yesterday. We also have 2 people on baptismal date. One of them we found last night. Sister C - she previously investigated the church and already knows Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the Book of Mormon is true. She and her husband didn't get baptized because he didn't feel ready. He is now in Alabama working and she committed to baptism on the 17th if her husband is okay with it. She is supposed to call and ask him. Please pray for sister C.

I miss the office. A lot!! But it's so great to be back to regular missionary service.

Well I think I’ve crammed it all in. I sure love ya!!

Elder Stoneman

Friday, August 19, 2011

I Named the Giraffe Carlos

With Mr. Pig at the Piggly Wiggly

Last Time in Charleston

Goodbye to Fort Jackson


Finished the Mission Map

Three Assistants

Max thanks for the email. You had me laughing pretty hard. Love ya!

We had mini zone conferences this week. In September we are having a GA come to tour SCCM. President Holm has not had a zone conference yet and he didn't want his first one to be the one with the GA... So we threw together a mini zone conference schedule. It was fun. We did 7 zones in 4 days. It was just like meet the president tour all over again. A LOT of driving. It was a great zone conference. President Holm trained on his vision of the mission. He had us make cards to give everyone. His focus is member work. He is pushing it. Everyone is on board so it will be so awesome... we just need to start applying. As a mission we are just not used to working effectively with members. President Holm gave us really good advice and tips on how to do member missionary work. It’s what the mission needs.

President Holm got speak a lot with Uncle Dan at the MTC. Uncle Dan told him to call me Augie a bunch. And he has. hahaha. I’m glad to hear that they're there in Novosibirsk. Give them my best.

I have a replacement. President called Elder C. to replace me the new assistant. We did things a little differently this time though. President announced Elder C. in the first round of zone conferences because that was the zone we were in. President had called him the night before and told him to pack his bags. Elder Douglas and I figured out the rest of the logistics. and Elder C. has been our companion since Tuesday. Three Assistants! He will be able to go through a full transfer week and help us prepare for it. It's been a lot of fun in a 3-pack. He is a way funny kid who reminds me a lot of Peter Burton. I leave the office on Wednesday for my new assignment! Will keep you posted on that.

Fort Jackson was great last Sunday. I taught the class. a soldier raised his hand for baptism. He is RLDS. He said that he has attended church his whole life but has never felt like the way he did on Sunday. He recognized it as an answer from God. He wants to change his life and become a better person. He committed to being baptism tomorrow.

Love ya... I will write a week from Monday... August 22nd

Elder Stoneman

Monday, August 1, 2011

Fort Jackson July 2011

The Time is Far Spent

Hey y’all:

This week has just flown by. "The time is far spent... there is little remaining to publish glad tidings by sea and by land..."

I love my mission. As the time passes I find myself reminiscing of the good and hard times and I also feel an increased sense of urgency.

Thanks for the birthday package. It was the best... yes I opened it early. Worth it. hahaha. I’m looking forward to the do it yourself cake. yum. Elder Douglas and I will enjoy it for sure. Thanks for the cash as well. Monday is going to be a blast.

I love the cd mom. Thank you. It has some really great ones on it. When I read the title, my mind immediately went to Grandpa Gibbons and his book about the Savior’s mortal ministry. How is it coming along? Tell them I love them and pray the best their way.

I gave the other cd to President Holm. He was really touched. and thanked you profusely. He sends his and sister Holm’s love and thanks across the way. They called me today to tell me that they were listening to it and absolutely love it.

So at fort Jackson last week two soldiers were baptized. The first was brother K. He is just as awesome as his name. He just turned 18 and a few weeks ago he raised his hand saying he'd like to be baptized. We've been teaching him and he has been very accepting to the gospel and gospel living. So on Sunday I pulled him out after the sacrament was passed so that he could be interviewed. When I pulled him out his face was just drenched in sweat. It was a little warm in the building but I asked if he was nervous, he got a big grin on his face and said, "Yeah!" He was baptized. He is just a great guy. I have not seen anyone as happy as he was after baptism.
The experiences continue to be so incredible at Fort Jackson.

So it’s been another week with more of the same - interviews and trainings. We went down to Augusta for a meeting. President Holm is handling it all well. He will do some incredible things.

Love ya all,

Elder Stoneman

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

You Wake Up and It's Transfers!

I opened my email today with a whole bunch of fan mail. Everyone in SLC seems a bit trunked out of their minds – all they talk about is me coming home. What the heck? Thanks though. hahaha. I was glad to hear though that everyone is doing well back home. Everyone looks pretty different. I got some pics. I’m so glad to hear about Sky's homecoming. That awesome. He looks good. Tell him I love him. And to shoot me a letter. Did he get my last one in time?

Well before I begin climbing in the trunk myself I better move on. The week has been pretty good. Well as good as transfers can be. President Holm said in the MTC they told him that when you're in scouting, you'll wake up and it'll be Tuesday, then you'll wake up and it'll be Tuesday, then you'll wake up and it'll be Tuesday. They told him that after a few months out, he'd wake up and it'll be transfers, then he'll wake up and it'll be transfers. That how I feel. Transfers come so quickly!

Things went very smooth though. It was a big transfer. We decided to just throw the Augusta zone into the mix as well. So the mission is officially merged. hahaha Needless to say, we've been getting a lot of calls as to "how to do things" - their culture and our culture are just so different. The proselyting programs and goal setting is different. BUT it’s the same gospel. If the church wasn’t true, the missionaries would have messed it up a long time ago.

The departing missionary group was a tough one to send out. Elder P left with such a strong testimony. Hilarious well rounded missionary. Definitely one of my closest friends. He was an awesome leader. We lost a lot of leaders. So there were some big changes made on Wednesday. It’ll be interesting to see how it develops.

Elder Douglas and I have been teaching quite a bit. We are working with the M family. They came to church at the Irmo ward. They loved it. The mom is going through chemo right now, but has found a lot of strength and comfort in the gospel.

We found two more new investigators. They are sisters from the Bahamas. They are in their 30s and married with a few children. K is visiting for the summer from the Bahamas and A lives here. The lesson that we had with them was incredible. We first started off by reading Alma 32:21 about faith because on their wall was a little plaque that pretty much said the same thing. They were so impressed by that. Then we taught them the restoration as they asked questions like "Why are there so many churches?" "Shouldn’t there be just one?" They were asking the most golden questions. They are definitely elect and prepared by the Lord. We had them each pray at the end of the lesson on their knees to know if Joseph Smith is a prophet. They received their answer. One said that it just feels right.

So that's who we're teaching in Irmo.

At Fort Jackson things are awesome. We had 4 baptisms last Sunday. We’re looking at a good month - there are so many soldiers. Attendance was 300 total.

Well that's it.

Love ya

Elder Stoneman

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Gift

With President

Graduation Day

Wheewww !!

July 4, 2011

Wheewww! The first deep breath I’ve taken. It has been quite a week. President Holm is having us take our p-day today. Happy fourth! We woke up this morning, went to the mission home and had a quick planning session with breakfast and now we are gonna have p-day.

I guess to catch up... I’ll start from where I left last Saturday

The mission office move. It was intense. The church hired a moving company to come and move all of our stuff. There were three guys who came. The look on their faces when they saw the mountains of boxes and furniture was hilarious. They could not believe how much we had. I couldn't believe it either. I overheard the boss on a phone call early in the move say.... "There’s a lot of boxes... bring another dolly!!!" hahahaha. It took all day and at the end I was able to chat with the movers for a little bit and give them each a copy of the Book of Mormon. One of them asked earlier "Where do ya'll want these.... uh... blue bibles?"

New office address:
110 Oak Park Drive
Irmo, SC 29063

At Fort Jackson there was a miracle baptism. Brother B was very prepared and willing to except the gospel. He had been to church before. I sat down with him for quite a while. He is an older soldier who has a family. He grew up pretty rough - a part of a rock band... and he turned his life around. He married a woman from Brazil. They’ve been married for 14 years. They have two children. He is awesome. He’s been looking for something for his family. He noticed the incredible maturity and spirituality in some return missionaries in his platoon who have been teaching him. He was baptized and is excited to return home to bring this to his family.

Later Sunday night we had the Greenville fireside. President’s last meeting. We had some missionaries from other parts of the mission come and sing because President loved their performance so much at other firesides. So bus driver Elder Stoneman loaded them all up (including the McConkies) in the shuttle and drove them to Greenville. Hahaha it was a fun ride. The fireside was amazing. There was a great spirit there and a wonderful turnout. President said that is was the best one he'd been to. It was a good note to end on for him. I drove everyone back. Hahah that was a late night. We pulled into the mission home at 11:45. I ran over a toad when we pulled in. President said the next morning when I was cleaning it up. "I recorded in my journal - the crowning event of all the road kill we've seen and hit in our time here in the south... is Elder Stoneman running over a toad in my driveway!" hahahaha

Monday and Tuesday we spent trying to get the office in order. Yes we were moved in but not unpacked or organized at all.

President Holm flew in Tuesday in the afternoon. I was pretty nervous. We went with the McConkies to the airport and waited. Suddenly we saw him. He had a big smile on his face and his hand was raised waving to us. My face went numb. We picked up their luggage exchanged a few words at the airport and then Elder Douglas and I took the van and their bags back to the office. The McConkies and the Holms rode together. When they arrived at the new office... it looked great! The office staff had finished up the cleaning, etc and was anxiously waiting to meet the new president. They all walked in together. President Mcconkie had taken his nametag off. After introductions, we had dinner and then we all went to the mission home. It was time for goodbye. The goodbye was good. The hard part was leaving. Driving the stupid van away from the mission home back to our apartment with just Elder Douglas and I was one of the most difficult things I’ve done on my mission. I’m not totally sure why either. I love the McConkies and I’ll see them soon. It was just a hard thing.

Wednesday we were off and running. We had a meeting with President Holm to begin to coordinate things. With the new Pres and the merge of the two missions - there is a LOT to do and to consider. We planned and prepped mostly for the Meet the Mission President Tour. Then a few other scheduling items.

Meet the president tour - 7 zones. 3 days. Hahahahaha. We traveled the whole mission in 3 days. It was so fun. The missionaries love him.

I really like President Holm. He is a successful business man. He’s a great public speaker. He really got the missionaries excited. It was a blast. Sister Holm is great. Super nice.

We went to the Augusta zone on Friday. We are holding quite a few meetings this upcoming week to discuss how to best merge the missions. President Holm has experience in this in merging companies. So he knows what he's doing. Zone leader council will be held on Wednesday to make those decisions.

We also have the Augusta missionaries coming up to the mission home for interviews and to get to know them better. We also have a leadership training meeting this week to make all of the announcements about changes in the mission. Also to offer training.

Things are crazy busy and exciting. Love ya

Elder Stoneman

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Fort Jackson

The Fireflies are Back

Hey family!! How are ya?

Skyler wrote me!! Man I was so pumped to hear from him. He says that he has 3 weeks left. Crazy. Tell him a letter is on its way this week. Tell him I love him!

At Fort Jackson last Sunday I taught Sister S. I actually started teaching her two weeks ago and then I taught her again last Sunday. She is from the Virgin Islands. She is way elect. She has so many questions... not so much in contrary to what I teach her, but rather in seeking the truth. Sister S reminds me a lot of R and A down in Charleston. Last week’s lesson was just incredible. I was able to sit down with her and her fellowshipper/battle buddy, Sister R, and teach her everything. We talked for about an hour and a half. I taught her and prepared her for the baptismal interview questions. She asked a lot of questions. I realized in the lesson how much I have come to understand about God's plan, His love, and the atonement. I’m grateful for it and how we can grow through the restored gospel. Sister S is so cool.

Zone conferences started this week. Elder D and I each trained. I trained on extending the baptismal commitment in the first lesson. The zone leaders trained too. We then had lunch and afterwards Sister McConkie spoke. President spoke for the remainder of the meeting. He gave a lot of really good advice. The basis of his comments were on becoming the right kind of missionary and lifting those around you. It was good. He’s getting the mission prepped for the transition.

During the zone conference in Florence, President Holm called. President of course threw him on speaker and had him say a few words to the congregation. It was neat. I have yet to talk to or meet President Holm, but he sounds pretty cool. He told us how excited he is to come out. He gets here two weeks from Tuesday.

The goodbye at the end of the meeting was tough to watch. President hugged each missionary and he just looked heart-broken. I still get to see him for quite a few days, but just watching made me get that lump in the throat feeling. It was very sad. Not as much "fun" as we had planned. It was still really good, but definitely not what I expected. We have two more this week. Charleston and then Columbia.

We visited L last night. Man he is so funny. He pronounces my comps name as "Elder Doooglas." hahaha We had a short lesson about missionary work. We are going to take him out teaching with us this coming week. He is so excited to share the gospel. He told us how it is a duty as a priesthood holder. I think I did a double take when I heard that.

He speaks pretty good English. It’s awesome. He speaks even better Spanglish. He’ll tell his daughter "ponga tus choos(shoes). Vamos a la church." haha Last night he was commenting about my Spanish. He says it's good but I’ll miss a word here and there. But he said, "it's okay, it’s not your mama language." haha

The fireflies are back. I caught some a couple of times this week. They are awesome! We caught some at L’s house. He asked "How does it work?" - I told him "I dunno - you're the electrician." hahaha

I think that's it. A lot happened this week. I got to do some sweet Spanish work. It’s been a blast. I conducted a Spanish baptismal service this morning.

Love ya

Elder Stoneman

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

In My Mind I'm Going to Carolina

With President

Sam Bought a Cow?

Thanks Mom and Dad for the letters. Give Aunt Suzi my best. And drive safe.

Hahaha Sam I can’t believe you bought a cow. I hope it has a cool name. Herman the blowfish was my favorite and probably tops them all.

Mom, thanks for the package. And for the cash. Elder Douglas and I went to lizard’s thicket again.

It has been a good week.

Sunday, we had a miracle baptism. Remember Brother J? He came about a month ago. He was committed to baptism and all set. He was so cool. When I taught him, he knelt and prayed with me and had an awesome experience. The next week was graduation, but he was staying at Fort Jackson for AIT. Ever since, he hasn't showed up. Well Sunday, he just showed up with a recent convert. We reviewed a few things and then I asked him, if he was ready and he said yes. The recent convert ended up performing the baptism. It was so cool.

On Tuesday we had zone leader council. President’s last one. He’s to the point where he is doing all of his "lasts." According to the brethren, "the 4th year is always the hardest." Tell Uncle Dan to get pumped!

Elder Douglas and I re-did the transfer board at both the office and at the mission home. We changed the style of it and now it just looks sweet!

Thursday, we went out with a companionship and we both had awesome days. I taught this cool family who home schools their children. Way nice and humble people.

It was so hot. I forgot how bad it got last year. Yikes. At the end of the day, the craziest storm came in. the lightning and wind were nuts. Elder Douglas and I drove home and there was a traffic jam on the freeway at 1015. We were safe - no worries mom. When we pulled into our apartment complex, it was just pitch black. The power was out. It was a little ghetto, but we survived. The next morning it came back on.

Yesterday was such a fun day. We had the west Columbia zone leaders call their zone and set up appointments all day. We went all around visiting the investigators throughout the zone. It was so fun. I taught a few Spanish families. One of them knows L. And they can't believe that "he's a Mormon." hahaha It’s a small world in the Spanish community. I loved being able to do some Spanish work this week. It was a blast. I also taught a Brazilian lady. I’m brushing up on my Portuguese.

We also taught a few others of the investigators. They were so cool. We helped firm them up for baptism and committed a few new ones to baptism as well.

This upcoming week, we start zone conference. It is the final one. We’ll give President his gift and do a few other things. He’ll have some final words and that's it. It’s so crazy. He only has like 3 weeks left. I’m nervous. It’ll be fun though.
Love ya

Elder Stoneman

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The "Assistance"


Fabled Mission Van with Trailer

What a Week!

What a week!

Mom thanks for sending a package. I’ll be so excited to get it. Also tell Peter and Auntie Cath thanks for the letters.

Sunday started off great! Sister S was baptized. I was able to finish teaching her and then she had Elder Fullmer baptize her. It was awesome.

After the post, Elder Douglas and I drove out to Sumter for the other fast and testimony meeting. This one lasted 5 and half hours. haha. It was a little long, but it was just as good. In my testimony I told the story about preparing a talk for stake conference where it was a possibility that the Prophet could be there. I was nervous then. I was nervous to bear my testimony even now at this meeting... but then I explained the difference - the nervousness then was that I didn't know what I’d say... and the nervousness now is that I’m more anxious to tell everyone that it is true.

Transfer week is always intense. It started Monday morning. We got 6 new missionaries. 2 of them were from Canada and probably the most solid missionaries that came in. So cool. They were hilarious too. One of them is 24 and he was just amazing. they have the best accents and now I all I want to do is move to Canada. The Taylors in the office are from Canada, too - they're working on me as well.

We had to give a lot of training their first few days. Then we had the transfer meeting where all of the transferring missionaries come in and receive their assignments. President says a few words and then we put the new assignments up on a slideshow and then they all leave. It’s really cool.

The best part was that everything went smoothly. Usually it doesn't.

After that, we spent the rest of the day with the departing missionaries. It was so fun. That whole group was just packed with the best missionaries. There were ten of them and President spoke about how between all of them, they were responsible for about 300 baptisms over the past 2 years. The 3 sisters that went home in the group were the 3 that I came out with. Elder Taylor left - back to Bicknell. Man... it was just a tough group to see go. We had a lot of fun though and some good stories were told. Then the next morning we drove them to the airport and they were off.

Thursday I was just dead.

I sent a ton of pics from Sister McConkie from transfer week. We lived at the mission home for about 3 or 4 days. She took plenty of pics of me and Elder Douglas.

So I think the whole mission, including Elder Douglas and I, are all just about settled from transfers. Everyone is getting their feet on the ground and looking to have a great June! it is President's last month. Yikes. I don't want to see him go. We have the goodbye zone conference coming up in the next few weeks.

Elder Douglas and I had a way cool experience last week that carried over to this week. Last Saturday night, we were getting ready to make transfer calls and then start our fast... so naturally we wanted some take out Chinese. We went to this ghetto place right down the street from the office that we'd never been to before. When we pulled up, this Chinese man (about 25 years old) look so excited to see us. His English was so broken that we couldn’t understand each other, other than ordering our food. The man wrote down on a piece of paper though, the date - 3- 18- 2011. After we got our food he made a phone call and then suddenly handed me the phone. On the other end was a Chinese sister missionary serving in New York. She told me that he was their recent convert baptized in March and that he just barely moved down to SC. So Elder Douglas and I since Saturday, have visited him, we gave him a BoM in Chinese, and found a Chinese speaking member to take him to church. He’s so awesome. He’ll be going to church tomorrow.

So many miracles are happening. It’s awesome.

Love ya

Elder Stoneman

Monday, May 23, 2011

Shemlon, Shilom, and Nephi Zones

All the News

Hey ya'll. Today is the end of the world. We’ll see how that plays out.

Updates from the week:

At Fort Jackson last week, I taught two sisters. Sister S and Sister C. Sister S has been in basic training forever!!!... She hasn't graduated yet. She’s been coming to church for quite a while and the Fullmers have been working with her. She finally committed to baptism. The Fullmers asked me to teach her everything. She was very accepting and open to the doctrine. She is ready. She will be baptized tomorrow. Sister C is 17 and we'll have to get parental permission. So I’m not sure about her.

Last Sunday night we went to Newberry for a mission fast and testimony meeting. Half of the mission came. President stood up and opened by saying that there were about 60 of us there so if each missionary took 1 minute, we'd be there an hour. 2 minutes - 2 hours. 5 minutes - 5 hours. He did not care about time, he did not give us a limit, and he just requested that each missionary bear their testimony to their fellow companions in the mission. President then said, "It does not bother me if we stay here all night.... seeing how you all are fasting, it may bother you..." ha-ha It had to have been one of my favorite meetings so far. Each missionary was just so real and sincere. There were quite a few laughs. A few missionaries cried. There is this fairly large elder and he cried and then said, "Yeah leave it to the big elder to be the first to cry." He is so awesome. What I loved the most about it was how everyone was just so attentive. It lasted 4 and a half hours and then we broke our fast afterwards. No one complained though. It wasn't boring. It was awesome!! Best quote was from Elder T who got up and said, "I bear my testimony everyday to investigators.... seeing how there are no investigators here, I can feel comfortable quoting from if you could hie to kolob or o my father." hahahaha. It was a very powerful meeting.

So apparently school is out. There have been more returned missionaries that have come back to visit the mission these past few weeks than ever before. It’s pretty weird seeing them. They always come to the office so I get to see them all. AND their wives. haha. Everyone is getting married. What the heck? Elder T is engaged to that girl. Haha

Transfer planning has been quite laborious this time around. We have spent many hours - this upcoming transfer will be the transition transfer. I think we got everything just about perfect though. We did some more this morning. Tonight we will make the transfer calls. So fun. Transfers is definitely one of my favorite parts of being here in the office.

We finished up interviews. Three zones. Whew. Meetings wear you out. (Except for dad. He can’t get enough of them.) I trained, while President interviewed, on building on the foundation that we already have to see greater success. We are seeing a lot of success here in the mission. We are obviously doing something right. I trained to keep going and to "cease not" ... I based it out of Helaman chapter 3... Where the Nephites migrate northward and have to learn to build with cement. And then they start getting wood again and they incorporate it into their building methods to build stronger and more effectively. Then they baptized thousands. Cool chapter. There were some other things I focused on, but that was the gist of it.

This upcoming week is transfer week. New missionaries. Transfer meeting. Departing missionaries. Fix transfer problems. I am so pumped.

Love ya!

Monday, May 16, 2011

May 2011

Hey Ya'll!

Hey ya'll.

The post was so great last week! Brother F and his fellowshipper, Brother C barely made it to sacrament meeting. I sat between them and Brother C leaned over to me and said "he's ready." He told me that they had been talking all week about it. Brother C had taught him the plan of salvation and Brother F was all the way up to 2 Nephi.

We sat reverently during the sacrament and I noticed that Brother F was praying and really taking the sacrament seriously and to heart. You could see that he had a testimony. I pulled him out after the sacrament was passed to finish teaching him and to get him interviewed and suited up. We went out and his knowledge and testimony of the gospel was incredible. Brother F told me a cool story - he said that a few weeks ago, he was going to some protestant church and they had invited him to be baptized. He was going to be baptized the next week. He explained that it just didn't feel right to be baptized then... so he didn't show up. After attending our services and studying with me and Brother C, he said that he prayed about it and it finally felt right. He’s so awesome. He got the priesthood and then this past week he graduated.

Mother’s day call was so great! Thanks for being there everyone! I loved being able to talk to you all.

Sister F had her last round of chemo last week. She's doing really well. This week, she had her same old energy. The F’s took us to a military graduation for Brother C and Brother F. There were 1300 soldiers graduating. the bleachers were packed. Our seats rocked!! We sat LITERALLY right behind the general of the whole post. So intense. There were snipers out in case there was an attack. Pretty sweet. The graduation was cool - very patriotic.

So along with all of the crazy events going on... I am working on a few things. I’ve created all of the Spanish tools/materials for the Spanish elders. It's a huge packet of materials that will help the work of the Spanish elders. Also, Elder Douglas and I are working on some letters to give to the returned missionaries on post... to increase member missionary work. Also we are working on a letter to recent converts to increase retention rates.

We stopped in Greenwood on the way back from interviews. That’s where Elder T is assigned. The town was INFESTED with sakayda bugs. Freakin nuts. The whole city hummed. we then stopped at a very southern old couple’s house who were recently baptized. Here are the best quotes from the visit.

"Take a seat - just throw them pillers off the couch."

The wife began talking about how the Bible and the Book of Mormon were written at the same time and wrote about the same things... she said, quite seriously - "Now that's a miracle, ya'll!"

Love you guys!!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

April 29, 2011

Ushering Assignment

Posterity Tie


Angels in Dark Suits

Early Trip to the Dump

Whew... it has been quite the week!

President Mcconkie is down to 2 months. Yikes. Things are gearing up for a change. A lot of things will be changing. I’ll keep you posted as they happen.

Speaking of post. Fort Jackson last Sunday was such a great day. I met and taught a man named Brother J. He is so awesome. He is really simple. And humble. As I taught him the simple and humble truths of the restored gospel, he recognized them as truth. He would say things like, "that sounds really good." or "that makes a lot of sense." He told me that the church is something he's been thinking about joining as he's heard his battle buddies talk about it throughout the week. Also... he loves the BoM. He graduates this week from basic training. BUT he is staying at Ft. Jackson for additional training. So he will continue to come and worship and prepare for baptism. He is so excited. He may not make it tomorrow with all that goes on with graduation week. But when he returns, he will be baptized.

R is doing well. We taught him and he is very humble and sincere.

Tuesday I had probably one of the best exchanges ever. I was on a bike. It was hot. And I was with Elder W. We had so much fun. The second door we knocked on was a man from Liberia. SO sweet... he was really open and accepting of our message. As I began to commit him to be baptized I said, “We will be holding a baptismal service on the 28th of May..." he then cut me off and said,” OH! I better write that down." He strongly accepted. The rest of the day was a little slower. I viewed it that we were working hard to thank the Lord for that wonderful blessing. It was super hot. I got burned big time. (Bytheway aloe vera has been my best friend this week). Then out of nowhere, it dumped rain! Holy cow. It had been sprinkling here and there. The sky was a little overcast throughout the day. Elder W and I came around this corner, and just saw the blackest sky ever. I pulled over so that I could quickly throw all valuables into a zip lock bag... as I stepped off my bike I looked over and this HUGE wall of rain just flew towards us. hahahahaha It was nuts. BOOM we were hit. We biked and worked in it for about 2 hours. Man! It was fun.

Zone Leader Council. The mission is very successful. We have been staying very consistent this whole year. Last week when Elder Posey came... he told us that we are the number 2 baptizing mission in the south! The zone leaders are great! Really funny and enthusiastic. Elder P is definitely our strongest. He is in east Columbia (where I was) as a traveling zone leader and works on post with us. He has grown a lot and I am super impressed with him. He goes home in July. I will definitely miss him. Elder P leaves too. These next few transfers will be killer on us. We are losing some of our best missionaries.

Speaking of Elder P, he doesn't have a bed... so he's been complaining for the past few months about sleeping on the couch. It's pretty funny actually because when he complains, he'll do it in his English accent. haha. So Elder Douglas and I had a free morning so we took some beds from an apartment where they weren't being used and took them to his apartment. We broke in and set them up to surprise him like we did with Elder T. haha We're regular bed deliverers. Well we took the couch he'd been sleeping on. It was nasty - time to chuck it. Well, that day and the next day were going to be super busy... so only solution - the next morning, we got up really early and drove it to the dump. What an experience!!

Well after zone leader council... Elder Douglas and I had an interesting night. The BYU Young Ambassadors are touring the south. They came here to do a performance. One of President's old assistants was in it - they set it up for investigators to come and all that. About an hour before it started, President called and said - Hey we need you and four other missionaries to come and be ushers. haha So we booked it there and ushered.

Whew! I think I got it all.

Love you guys!

Elder Stoneman

Monday, April 25, 2011

With President McConkie

Good Friday

This week had been pretty awesome.

The base was kind of tough. I was so excited for Brother C but he didn't show up... he apparently went to a protestant service. Lame. I did teach an Hispanic soldier though. Sister M. She was pretty cool.

Following the base, we went to the Columbia ward to go to church with L. He received the priesthood. It was way sweet. The first thing he said when he sat back down was - now I can baptize my wife. He is so solid. He is a great fellowshipper. He is studying and loving the gospel. His wife is still hard to meet with. She is interested though.

Other than L’s wife, we aren't really working with anyone. Elder Douglas and I are out proselyting in the evenings and finding very cool people... (but then they aren't at their return appointments :)

Elder Douglas and I were out the other night and randomly came to a neighborhood. We wanted to knock just one more door. It was about 8:50.... We knocked it and a man came out from the side door. He was in a lot of pain, having just had back surgery. He was a rough looking character - cigarette in hand and covered in tattoos. But he was super nice and humble. He told us that he had grown up in the church... but was never baptized. He really wanted to meet with us again. You could tell he remembered the good experiences he had growing up. We are going by today at noon. His name is Ron. Right before we left he asked for a copy of the Book of Mormon. Elder Douglas and I are super stoked.

We had a leadership training meeting this week. It was pretty hectic getting ready for it. It turned out to be a great meeting. It was yesterday - Good Friday. Elder Posey, out area authority came. He is being released on May 1st. He trained us on becoming converted. It was awesome. President then trained on the Savior and his atonement. He referred back to it throughout the entire day actually. He also spoke of the loss of his son which happened around this time of year. It was a really spiritual meeting. Elder Douglas and I trained on committing investigators to baptism, church, etc.

I received a package from Steve Hatch. Tell him thanks and that I love them!!!!!!!

Love ya'll,

Elder Stoneman

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Transfer Week

The base was way cool on Sunday. Actually it didn’t start out all that well. It seemed like I just wasn't seeing any success. Every soldier I taught was either graduating or not interested. Super lame. Elder T taught the investigator class and he taught this awesome soldier named Brother C. He’s cool. I has just met him, and he committed to baptism. It was Elder T’s last Sunday on base so he's having me teach Brother C tomorrow.

So now I’m approved to drive the mission van and the trailer. 12 passenger! I’ve driven it all week. I’m sick of it already. That thing is huge!

Transfer week is always an adventure.

Monday we were just crazy before the plane arrived with new missionaries. We got there just in time. Their flight came early. That never happens. So President was late.

New missionaries - they were an awesome bunch. Actually all of the trainers are stellar. Elder T is one of them. He has left me to fend for myself. haha. He actually got the best missionary of the group to train. They will have a great transfer.

We took the new missionaries to the temple grounds. We call it the sacred grove experience. We got them up really early their first morning and drove them to the temple. We didn't let them see the temple, so we drove the back way. Elder T and I dropped them off in the forest right behind the temple and President led them out. Elder T and I then parked the van and president's car. President McConkie took the missionaries and had a short devotional saying that, "This is sacred ground." They all read from the Joseph Smith history and sang the first vision hymn. He then let them go pray and have their own sacred grove experience. He pointed them in the direction to go afterwards and then.... he left. When the missionaries came out of the woods they saw the temple. It was a testimony builder for all of them. They loved it. President then talked about bringing our converts to the temple.

Transfer meeting is always hectic.

Transfers went smoothly. Usually something goes wrong. Something did. There was a missionary who had to go home due to health issues. It was tough to see him go. Great elder. So we had to make a few arrangements so that his companion would have a companion. Other than that it went really well.

The departing missionaries were quite the bunch of missionaries... haha. An interesting bunch for sure!... but a lovable bunch at that. Elder W was one of them. Honestly... it was tough to see him go.

So I have a new comp. Elder Douglas. He is the man. I’ve been waiting to serve with this missionary for a while. He is one of my best friends out here. I am so pumped. He is from Cottonwood Heights Utah. He played basketball in high school... he actually played with Sam McConkie - President's youngest son. He was good buds with Sam growing up.

Elder Douglas served in Mt Pleasant - which is the downtown Charleston area while I was a zone leader there. He is a star missionary. I remember he was always a huge help to me and Elder P. He baptized some really neat people down there that I got to interview for their baptisms.

At the transfer meeting when he walked up to meet me after President called his name for the transfer, he said to me.. "It's a long walk. Longest of my life." He's nervous to be an assistant but he will do awesome.

So yeah - Elder Douglas and I get along great. We're gonna have a sweet transfer. We're working hard and we'll have success.

We’ve already had some sweet adventures - we needed to take beds around to the missionaries that didn't have them. Namely Elder T. We brought bunk beds. Elder Douglas and I broke into their apartment and set up bunk beds. Surprise!! I left a note that said, "Bunk it up, brethren!" haha. We drove to the upstate to do that. Along with a dryer. It was like Tetris trying to fit it all in the van. We had to take seats out.... anything to not have to take the trailer. I hate the trailer. I’m good at driving, but the trailer just stresses me out.

Then we went on exchanges in Spartanburg. We had a great time. I taught some Spanish guys. My Spanish is struggling – apart from exchanges and L, I haven’t studied or spoken Spanish in months! But it was still a good lesson.

Love ya!

Elder Stoneman

Monday, April 11, 2011

L's Baptism

Transfer Prep!

Hello Family.

Conference was awesome! Elder Gonzalez is our area authority and I loved his talk when he committed the entire world to be baptized. He tops our group baptismal commitment that we give on base. There were so many great talks. Elder Holland’s testimony was amazing. It was totally different from any other conference talk I’ve heard. The music was great too. It was great to see you mom!

Last weekend was pretty crazy. Even though it was conference weekend, we still had services on base. Conference doesn't start until 12 so we were able to stay and teach and baptize and still make it to conference. The soldiers came. So did President McConkie. I asked him if he wanted to teach the investigator class. He did. He got up and started to teach. The soldiers were in awe. One of the members was so pumped he asked if president would keep coming back. Haha. I ended up helping president out in the lesson. We taught the message of the restoration together. Neat experience. Two soldiers raised their hands - Brother D and Brother C. It was their first time and a member had brought them. I will teach them both tomorrow - if they're ready, they will be baptized.

Then we went to the Sunday morning session and L brought his wife and daughter. We weren't able to hook up the translation - so his wife didn't understand. Bummer. But she has really opened up to us and the church.

In between sessions, we had L’s baptismal service. President and Sister MccConkie came. We had a huge turnout from the ward. I baptized him. The spirit was so strong when Bro B confirmed him. President spoke and we had another one of his fellowshippers speak. L will be a solid member. He’s got such a strong testimony. He is one of the favorite people that I’ve met out here. I know that I was sent to teach him. I’ve worked with him since around Christmas time.

So after conference weekend, the week got even crazier. We’ve been running around getting ready for transfers. Elder T is leaving. I will get a new comp. I still can’t tell you who it is... but he is a very cool guy. I am really looking forward to serving with him. He’s been a good friend of mine on the mission for about a year now and he is great. We are going to tear it up... and then we’ll need some humbling and divine help when the new president comes in order to help him with a smooth transition.

We have new missionaries coming in on Monday. I love new missionaries... they are so fun. We have been prepping for them.

One of the zones this last month was a baptizing zone. They had 16 confirmations in March. We took them to the temple to do a session and Sister McConkie fed us lunch. It was a great. Spiritually uplifting. President gave some great words.

I’ve written bout the B family... the convert fam down in Charleston. Well they went through the temple last week. When we visited the zone, we saw them there. It was so great to see them in the celestial room. I spoke with them for a bit.

Well I wrote early this morning because I’m off to Gaffney for a blitz. We'll work there during the day and then come back and make all the transfer phone calls to the missionaries.

Love ya!

Elder Stoneman

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Bi-Lo Wedding Cake

I’m very glad to hear that things are well. Give Grandma my love.

So it's been a great week!

The wedding went great. So awesome. haha Elder T and I went around to find plates, cups, forks, punch and a cake! It got to the point where the wedding was in an hour and we still didn't have a cake. We went to a Bi-Lo and there was the perfect size cake we were looking for. The kicker was that its colors were red white and blue. To me that wasn’t the best fit for a wedding. We of course didn't buy it but we bought another cake and had the lady write congratulations in Spanish on top.

The turnout was good. L cut his long curly hair. They both looked so good and very happy. I translated the ceremony and then we had cake and punch.

L did not get baptized as he was scheduled for last Sunday. Bummer. We found out like right before the wedding that he had not told his wife about getting baptized. She has been a little stand-off-ish.... so we did not want to create any problems. We pushed the baptism back a week to give L some time to talk to her. It's been pretty stressful waiting for that and and waiting for her approval. We had gone over Tuesday night and we role played with him - practicing how to tell her. That didn’t go well. Finally I just asked L to tell Elder T and I why he wanted to get baptized. He then explained about how much he cares for his family and that he knows that baptism is something that will bless his family. He said that he knew he would become a better husband and father. It was amazing. After he was done I suggested to him that that was what he needed to tell his wife. He finally told her Thursday night, and she is supportive. She will be coming to his baptism tomorrow and staying for general conference.

Other than that the week has been pretty mild. We've had interviews in Spartanburg and Columbia - and we go up to Greenville next week.

We had transfer planning last Monday. I know who my new comp is... haha... sorry I can’t tell ya yet. We will have another planning session though this upcoming Monday to make any changes to the transfer scenario. It's looking good. We only have two transfers left until President Holm comes in.

We had zone leader council yesterday. So awesome. The zone leaders are just pumped. We are having some real great success so far this year. President McConkie has received some phone calls from various general and area authorities telling him that they've noticed how well we're doing. Apparently we are in the top tier of the southern missions. We are focused though on doing even better. We are doing well but we're not settling for that. There is so much more we can do in the Lord's vineyard. We have so much potential.

Well I’m stoked for conference. As usual, mom, I’ll be having every missionary sitting around me keeping an eye out for you. It makes the songs even better than they already are.

Love ya!

Elder Stoneman

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Assistants in North Charleston

Crazy Week!

Wow... a lot is going on back home... sounds like a crazy week. Hope everyone is doing okay. How about the rest of the gang? Are you both healthy? What’s Grandma's recovery looking like? Send my love to Aunt Suzi. Well all I can say is be safe and you're all in my prayers. It has been a crazy week for me too... where to begin...?... The beginning is probably the best haha

Sunday - I taught the investigator class on base. So awesome! The spirit was very strong. I made sure that there was a lot of participation from the soldiers. It made the ones who were dozing off be a little more attentive. Anyway it was a success. At the end, four soldiers raised their hands wanting to be baptized. One of them is particularly solid, named brother A. He is way cool. Very humble. He will be baptized tomorrow. Brother S passed the sacrament.

Sunday night we went down to Charleston for another missionary fireside for the stake. One of the best ones yet! President McConkie spoke and just tore it up. I took a lot of good notes.

Monday - I went with one of my old companion Elder A (who is serving in west Columbia now) on exchanges for the evening. We had a good time reminiscing, He was probably one of my funniest comps. We taught this very Catholic lady who felt the spirit, but then told us "but I’m Catholic." Afterwards I took Elder A to help teach L. It was a rough lesson – the kids were running around screaming. And then to top it off, my allergies turned into a cold. I’ve been sick and fighting it ever since. Monday night was a rough one.

Tuesday - interviews BACK in Charleston. We had a good time. I was a bit out of it with my cold. Before heading back to Colombia we went and taught with some of the missionaries. I got to see E - he leaves for his mission in two weeks! He also told me that F will be interviewed this week or next for the Melchezidek priesthood.

Wednesday - We went up to Camden for L. That night we visited him to try and make some plans for his baptism.

Thursday - Interviews in Columbia. Rough day. Sick like a dog.

Friday - L was interviewed this morning for baptism! He will be baptized Sunday at 2:30 with a waterside confirmation due to general conference.There it is. The gist of my week. I am feeling better. And so excited. L is the man. His testimony is so strong. He took us out to dinner last night at Cici's pizza (where his wife works) and we went over the interview questions. He is beyond prepared.

Well I’m so grateful. And off to my day!
Elder Stoneman

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mormon Lane

The Green Stuff is Back

Mom thanks for the letter. I’ve got a couple other letters too from family and you all sound trunked out of your minds! I’ll have you know I’m staying focused. Your trunky comments make me smile though.

Hey thank you for the CD's. So awesome. I love the "Morning Trumpet" song.... it's a good'n. I haven't seen President all week but I left his copy on his desk. I’m in the office today and it is no longer there so I assume he has it. Thanks for thinking of him and Sister McConkie. I know they'll love it. Also thanks for giving the conference tickets to Elder T. He's an awesome guy. you'll love him when he comes over to visit.

Thanks Mol for the letter. I miss you guys too and the Burg. My best vibes are on their way.

So it was an okay week. nothing too exciting except for D's baptism. It was so cool. He's awesome. There was a huge turnout. On base no one was baptized. Brother S came though and was ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood. All of the recent converts there are doing really well. The base rocks!! Bro G is cool but is nervous about baptism.

On Monday the office staff (senior missionaries) took Elder T out to lunch for his birthday. It was a good time. The office staff is so funny.We went on quite a few exchanges this week. We stayed in the Columbia area for the most part and then yesterday we traveled out to Georgetown, SC. It is pretty close to Myrtle Beach. Long drive. Elder T and I worked out there and had pretty good success. The branch out there needs a boost so us and a few other missionaries went and blitzed the area. It was a good day. The pollen out there was nuts though. So gross. I forgot how bad it is. My shoes were green by the end of the day.

So same old same old here. Sorry not too exciting this week - but I still love and pray for you all of you!

Elder Stoneman