Monday, February 28, 2011

February 2011

Small World Indeed

So this was pretty neat.

There is this sister in our mission from India. She has served in SC for about 4 months. She was originally a Temple Square sister. What they do is send them out somewhere into the field for a portion of their missions. So she has been serving here and is such a great missionary!! She will leave and go back to Temple Square next week for the remainder of her mission.

Well, Elder T and I went into President's home one day last week. This sister missionary, Sister V, and her companion were sitting down with Sister McConkie. Sister V was so excited to see me. "I have to show you something..." (in a sweet Indian accent). She pulled out of her scriptures her patriarchal blessing and showed me the signature on the back... sure enough - Francis M. Gibbons. I about fell to the floor. Apparently it had come up in conversation with Sister McConkie. The sisters were going to leave but wanted to wait until we arrived to talk to me and to have a picture with me taken. Sister McConkie took a picture and I’m attaching it.

The Secret is Out

Mom, you asked about Elder T. He is a great guy. He's from a small town in central Utah. His home town's name says it all - "Bicknell, Utah" hahaha I love it. He grew up on a cow farm. So he loves cows. I’m having a blast with him. He is one of the best teachers in the mission. He's wicked smart too. Cool guy. He goes home in two more transfers - May 2011. Usually President will send his assistants out into the field for their last transfer or two to train a new missionary and to just tear it up. Elder T will be staying one more transfer with me and then probably train a new missionary for his last transfer.

So the secret is out... officially. President Holm from St George Utah will be our new president. He sounds like nice guy and very successful. President McConkie seems to think we will like him very much. Also another secret that is out of the bag in our mission... I don't know you if you've heard. ... but our mission is increasing in size by about a third. In July we will get the whole Augusta Stake. Pretty awesome.

Last Sunday on post, I taught a man named G. I taught him for about an hour and a half with his fellowshipper who is a young man preparing to serve a mission. It was a really good lesson. We talked a lot about families and I was pumped when it came time to share with him about my own family. I made you guys sound good... your welcome. :) - really though - you are the best family ever. He committed to baptism tomorrow. Keep Brother G in your prayers.

Thanks for the package, Sam and Kell. That blue tie is the bomb. Thanks for the stuff - I actually needed quite a few of the things you included. haha I loved the notes from the kids. Hobby, it makes me sad too that I can’t see you. But I will be home really soon - right after your birthday. Kayla keep singing. I want to hear more of it when I’m home.

So we had more transfer planning this week. Transfers are on Wednesday. We will get new missionaries on Monday. Then pretty much from Monday to Thursday its nuts. We get the new missionaries. Then we train them. Then we have transfers. Then we get the old missionaries and send them home. I’m so excited though. It's always a fun week.

Next month will be crazy! We have zone conferences in each zone, plus more of the firesides in each stake, and then we’ll go around to all the zones again for interviews, and then back to transfer planning at the end of the month. Wish me luck :) I will need it.

I think that's it.
Love ya!
Elder Stoneman

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

February 2011

Blue PowerAde

It has been a very exciting week. Last Sunday sister W was baptized. I had her battle buddy/fellowshipper (the one from Goose Creek) baptize her. The water was freezing and needless to say it sure was a bummer when her knee didn't make it under the water. She came out shivering and was a little less enthused when we told her she had to do it again. She almost didn't let us. But she calmed down and when it came time for her to go under I went over and helped push her down under the water. She was quite the trooper. After her confirmation you could tell she was different. She felt the spirit and was so happy. She said a great light came over her. She was so excited and began to brag to her fellow soldiers that she "went under TWICE." It was a great day and my shirt and suit coat sleeves were soaked to tell the tale.

We had transfer planning Monday morning. Nothing is final so I won't let ya'll in on what's goin on. President McConkie also talked to the new mission pres on the phone. Exciting but weird. I can't imagine a new mission pres. President McConkie is doing well though. He is working very hard to get things ready for the new president.

Transfer planning is really cool. Moving people around is a lot of fun. It’s also kinda tricky. We sat with President and Sister McConkie in front of the transfer board at the mission home for about 6 hours trying to find and place leaders and missionaries where they are needed. It was a really cool experience. We'll be back at it on Monday to make some changes.

I went on exchanges again this week. This time to Myrtle Beach. Man!...that was weird. haha. It felt like I was in California / Las Vegas / South Carolina at the same time. AND from a distance I saw the ocean. I had a good time. I went out with Elder E from Mt. Caramel Utah. He is a cool guy. We came out together. Also Jessica knows him from SUU. I spent a few days there and we had some good success. I also met a ton of crazies. I’ll just say this much – there was an infuriated 60 year old woman who tried to kick us while on our bikes. And she then, as we were pedaling away, threw a blue PowerAde at us... an experience that I’ll probably only witness once in my life. Maybe twice.

While at Myrtle Beach I met a woman from Morocco. Max I got her to write you a note saying "hello" in Arabic and I also have another surprise for you.

Thanks for all your prayers! Love ya!!

Elder Stoneman

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

With Brother G

Private B Baptism

Horse Trough

February 2011

Christmas Morn

Let it Snow

Best Ward Mission Leader Ever!


Hey Mom and Dad! Thanks for the email and for Peter’s email. Also thanks Auntie Cath for the note and Derick for the letter and Star for the post card.

Mom to answer your questions... my schedule is good. Two nights in a row I had less than 6 hours of sleep... but last night I got a full 8 hours and it's surprising how I feel fully rejuvenated.... so I’m great! Elder T and I are working on getting more proselyting into our days as well... we spend a lot of time in the office and we're trying get out to proselyte and teach the earliest we can each day. It's working out. That being said, whenever we have meetings or transfers or exchanges... there won’t be time for us in our area. So our area is a little slow. We're still baptizing though. L should be baptized next Saturday. Plus we have the Fort Jackson post every Sunday. That's where most of the proselyting effort is put in. We haven't traveled a ton yet but apparently we will. My biking days are over. We have unlimited miles. ... (I’ll bike though when we go on exchanges). As for the horse trough... it's SWEET. I’m sending a pic here in a minute. We can collapse it and fit it in our trunk. I teach in English at the base (expect for the occasional Hispanic private)... these days I do very little with my Spanish. I’m bummed about that. But I’m still reading in Spanish and hope to keep it up over the next few months.

This past week has been great. Private B was baptized on Sunday. I baptized him.... the water was freezing. We filled up the trough with hose water and outside was about 40 degrees. haha! Really cool experience. It was neat... we got out of the water and he sat wet and shivering while I confirmed him outside, right next to the font. I didn't even feel cold. The spirit was strong and then we gave him the priesthood. Fastest baptismal process I’ve ever seen. Seven days total.... and I only saw him two of those days to teach him. It was so awesome.

So I heard that P and F are officially taking the temple prep classes. We'll be going down to Charleston for an exchange with the zone leaders this week and to do a baptismal interview with one of the families that I taught down there. I think I may also go visit F and P as well as a few other converts. I’m stoked.

The rest of this week was pretty much spent prepping for the meeting. We made these really cool mission plans with action cards which promoted baptizing, teaching skills, and obedience. We have such good missionaries.

The meeting was cool. Three days. On the last day we had a general authority. Elder Gibbons of the Seventy. And yes... we are related. hahaha. When they picked him up, Sister McConkie made the connection. Elder Gibbons came up to me later and formally introduced himself and said... "I think we're related. Your grandpa is Francis Gibbons? Andrew Smith Gibbons is your great great grandpa and he is my great grandpa." The conversation went something like that. Very nice guy. He was a great teacher. He gave us some really good training on working with members. Elder Gibbons really enjoyed the meeting and our mission, and I think he liked me okay too. haha

Elder T and I housed eight missionaries in our apartment during the conference. It was a funny group. One morning one elder yelled to me in the kitchen from the bathroom, "Elder Stoneman... did you put in my contacts!?" haha I didn't... and then some other elder realized that it was him. They both freaked out. Man, it was hilarious.

Well I love you guys.

Elder Stoneman