Monday, January 31, 2011

It's Like Playing Tetris

What a week! I cannot believe how quickly the time goes here in my new area. I get less sleep but the days go by faster.

Well, let’s begin:

I taught the investigator class at the Fort Jackson military post... pretty intense - especially when President showed up and sat in on it. The investigator class is held right after sacrament meeting in the chapel on the front few rows. I taught about 10 nonmembers and 10 additional members the message of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I was really nervous but it ended up being alright. The cool/intimidating part of that class is that towards the end of it you commit everyone in attendance to be baptized. "Those of you who are willing to follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized by someone holding the priesthood authority of God.... will you please raise your hands." And you wait for the response. A very humble soldier showed his courage and raised his hand last Sunday when no else did.... brother B. He will be baptized tomorrow. Keep him in your prayers.

A little about the base... it is a very quick teaching process. Soldiers are baptized 2-3 weeks of being taught. We only teach on Sundays. But we send them mail throughout the week. They are already living the commandments. The font is a portable one that Elder T and I carry around with us... it is a horse water trough. We work with a senior couple on base as well. The base is cool. I also continue to work with Elders P and P ... they are the zone leaders here.

I went on a few exchanges last week and finally got to see the upstate. It looks about the same. ha-ha But I had a good time. We performed a lot of baptismal interviews as well this week. We have some really great missionaries in the mission. We got to do some good proselyting and teaching on Tues and Wed. It’s pretty cool knowing who they all are and where they are serving... because before it was always a big secret.

We have a huge meeting coming up this Thurs and Fri - a general authority is coming. President asked Elder T and me to plan for a few parts of it. It’s a lot of time in the office, but we do make it out to go proselyte almost every evening. We planned a few trainings. We also had to plan how to get all the zone and district leaders from their areas to Columbia for the meeting next week, using limited miles/cars and figuring out where they would be spending the night on Thursday. That was fun. I talked on the phone with one of the old assistants and he said - "Oh I loved doing that... it's like playing Tetris." ha-ha... Not to mention there will be 10 total of us in our 1 bed 1 bath apartment. Ha-ha Wish me luck

There is another baptism coming up tomorrow. Elder T and I work the Columbia area but also the Windsor Lake area. So I get BOTH of the best ward mission leaders ever - Bro B and Brother E. Anyway Windsor Lake sisters will be baptizing someone tomorrow that we've been working with as well. Good spirited brother with a good heart.

All is well here. I'm finally getting in the groove of things... but there is still room for improvement. Thanks for all the love, support and advice I get from ya'll. I sure appreciate it.

Love ya.

The work is true.

Elder Stoneman

Monday, January 24, 2011

Here We Go

Hey Mom and Dad.

This week has been nuts. On Monday and Tuesday I made the rounds saying goodbye to the area and the ward.... by the way the ward was furious that Elder P and I were getting transferred. I guess not much had happened until we got there and started getting some good work done. The Ward Mission Leader is so cool. He was really upset to see us go. I think he actually called Pres. McConkie. It’s all good though. We did get some great things going for the area and have now left it to some new missionaries.

Wednesday morning we loaded up the car and headed to the transfer meeting. Elders P and P are now together still as the zone leaders in Columbia. They work on the military base too.

I was called to be an assistant and am serving with Elder T. If you remember he was my first district leader back in Goose Creek. Anyway so I sat down next to him as President finished the meeting and he leaned over and said, "Get ready for your life to light on fire..." and then he handed me a bunch of papers warning me, "You are about to be bombarded with a ton of questions. Here’s what’s going on down the road and here's what going on today." Intense. In my mind I was just thinking - "Here we go - it's gonna be a crazy ride!”

Then we spent the rest of the day with the departing missionaries. We went to the temple and had a departing devotional. It was pretty spiritual. We had a good time. It was a great group of missionaries.

Ever since then I have been in the office working on projects with President. One of them is that he wants me to translate into Spanish all of the little "tools" that we give missionaries, so that now we will have that information for the Spanish elders as well.

In the evenings we will still proselyte unless we need to take care of some task or whatever... which will actually end up happening more often than not.

I’m really enjoying it... but I feel a little overwhelmed... still learning what I’m supposed to do... I’m still figuring out the calling. But I’m enjoying it and am ready to learn.

President McConkie is a great man. He has many plans for the next few months. It will truly be a blessing to work with him so closely. Although he jokes saying that I shouldn't be allowed to watch general conference anymore in case I’ll see mom. Ha-ha

I’m still teaching my Spanish investigators in Columbia. Keep L in your prayers. He’s so cool. Also I get to work on base a lot more now. The base is wonderful. Keep Sister G, Brother V, and Brother W in your prayers for tomorrow - hopefully they will all be baptized.

Love you all,

Elder Stoneman

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

To Dear Old Dad

Hey DOD:

Thanks for the email. Things are going great. I am glad things are great there too. Work sounds like a great blessing.

Hey scripture time. So I was thinking about it. Alma 29:9 is a really great scripture on missionary work. "...this is my joy"

Dad.... the mission is so great. Time is flying. I’m really going to miss it. Thank you for your support and encouragement growing up to serve a mission. I don't know if you remember this story but it came to mind the other day... I had to have been around ten, but I was obviously nervous to leave and asked you if I could just stay home and study the scriptures instead of going.... you very kindly, but straight forwardly told me no. hahahahaha. Gotta love it. I think I also asked one time if I could take mom. Leaving was tough... but I’m surprised and grateful how quick I got over it. I now know that I will always be able to survive on my own. ...unless you and mom are going out to eat.... then I’ll tag along.

I don't have much time this week either to write. I apologize. So forward this to mom.

Hey real quick. Transfers. I have a new assignment. President McConkie called and "wants to keep a closer eye on me..." Tomorrow I will be transferred in to be an assistant to the president. I don't know much more beyond that. other than - pdays will probably be on Saturdays (so I’ll write then) and that I will continue to work on the military base and work with the Spanish investigators I currently have... plus be in the office with president.

Love you too dad

Elder Stoneman

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snowed In

Hey mom.... I only have a quick minute today. Sorry. I’ll explain and write updates in a quick paragraph below.

It snowed - so all of the libraries are closed. It snowed a ton. haha Pretty crazy. Our cars are on lock down. So we will be walking for tonight and maybe tomorrow and the next day. The Brazilians are out of here now. They got their visas on Friday and they left this morning. I’m finally now proselyting with my zone leader comp - Elder P. He is a great guy. We get along well. And now our apartment isn't cramped. Also we had nine people at church yesterday.... a lot of great miracles and things are happening in the area. We have a lot of work ahead. Everything is looking pretty good. Transfer calls are on Saturday. I hope I get to stay here with Elder P. We went to the base yesterday ( it was closed over Christmas break - they call it 'Exodus'). I taught a Hispanic woman soldier. I have this sweet mini military quad.... I love teaching at the base.... all the soldiers come in their gear. It is way sweet.

Well, that’s about all.
Love you guys... more next week!

Elder Stoneman

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

December 2010

New Year's Eve Lockdown

2011 is here. I cannot believe it. Time is running, and man, it's fast... freak.

Everything is great here. We had such a great Christmas and new years. I enjoyed it so much. This holiday season has truly been "the bomb"... now I have so much candy I don't know what to do with myself.

Thank you all for the Christmas gifts. Grandma and Grandpa Goomis thank you for the note. Hatch’s.... you picked the best, thank you. Ben and Me and the boys - the notes were so funny. I, too, wanted Lego Atlantis... must not have been good this year (can't imagine being better than I ever have been.... but I guess there is always room for improvement). Molly thanks for the note - I LOVED the pic. Graham’s huge.... and has teeth. Auntie Mary I got the package. Best gift. State Fair nuts... you know me too well. And everyone else... I got many a note and gift this year. Thanks to everyone!!! And thanks for all the prayers and love as well. I notice and appreciate it.

Christmas - I schooled in ping pong. Then we ate dinner at a part member’s home. Very good food. Non member husband - pretty cool guy. We're going to teach him this week. Later that night we went caroling. SO fun. We made the rounds in a huge white van with 12 missionaries. hahaha We'd get out like a mob and swarm a home and sing. After singing we'd leave them with a movie. It was the best. A good time. Christmas day was just an over all great day.

I listened to this sweet talk - The Mortal Christ by Jack R. Christianson. So good. It talks about a lot of really cool stuff - one in particular - coming to know Christ to help us overcome anything.... and not just know about Him, but know Him. We can accomplish that by becoming like Him... one of my new year’s resolutions is to study Chirstlike attributes again from PMG. I’m pumped. Good talk - very inspiring.

Zone leader council was last week. I forwarded pics. There are a lot of new zone leaders. I’m one of the older ones now. At the end of this transfer I will have been a zone leader for half of my time in the field. We had a good time and discussed some important things and made plans for the new month and year coming up.

So the M girls, S and D, are doing well. They came back to church with their dad... who we are now teaching. We put him on baptismal date for the 29th. He is really cool and really likes the church... he just has some commandments to get used to... But it's all good... we have finally built a decent teaching pool.

There is this other cool guy we have been working with - L. He is SO great. He speaks decent English and has long curly hair and is very smart. He is also on date for the 29th.... keep them in your prayers.

New years eve lockdown was pretty cool. We went in at 6 and did our weekly planning. Then we had the zone set baptismal goals and new year’s resolutions as part of it.... then a member brought us pizza and ice cream. We even threw some of those snaps and blew a mini air horn. Then I went to bed at 10:30..... I know I know.... Elder Stoneman partied a little too hard this year. I’ll be sure to tone it down for next year.

That’s it. Love you guys.

Elder Stoneman