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

Monday, March 14, 2011

March Madness...Missionary-style

Quiche...Not the Food...The Dialect

Hey Mom and Dad. I’m glad to hear things are good. I bet it's getting busier and busier in prep for conference. I know I’m pumped for it. Mom, make sure you get more camera time this time around. Dad, slip the camera guy a fiver.

I was absolutely delighted to hear about dad's new calling. HAHAHAHA - the young men calling is in your blood. It literally is inevitable.

Thanks for letter mom. I enjoyed it. I bought Elder T a shake. It’s his birthday on Monday. Auntie Cath thanks again for the note. I always look forward to hearing from you. Thanks also for the words on prayer. I love that scripture too.

I know everyone is probably frustrated with me... I have not been good about writing and sending out letters to friends and family. I know I need to... I will get to it. There literally is hardly any time though. P-day’s are non-existent now. But once more... I will get to it.

So on base last Sunday there were some awesome miracles that happened. First of all... we got there about 8 am and filled up the font (trough) and then the Fullmers grabbed us and said that a solider named Bro Hall walked into the chapel saying that he wanted to be baptized! Surprise! haha. He grew up in Utah and his fiancé is a member. He just never had the interest. Bro Hall had been to church a few times before on base and has been prepping for baptism. BUT he had also wanted to wait until his fiancé could be there. He didn't come the week before... so things weren't looking the most hopeful for him until he just walked in with a change of heart. I interviewed him and he knew everything. He was so sincere. He told me that he had wanted to wait... but over the week he just got this strong feeling that he needed to do it now. I baptized him and Elder Douglas confirmed him all before sacrament meeting even began. He was given the Aaronic priesthood.

More miracles on base. Last week I wrote about Bro S who I had invited to pray a few Sundays ago. He came to church on Sunday telling me that he has not missed a day since. He has had such a huge change of heart and character. It was so cool to see. Great blessings and changes of heart come to those who are humble and submissive to God's will. Bro S was baptized by his battle buddy - Bro R. So awesome!

Okay more miracles. This one is SWEET!

So there is a set of sisters serving in an area called Sumter. There are no Spanish missionaries serving anywhere near this place. So they when they find Hispanic people - they teach them (one of the sisters speaks a little bit of Spanish). For the past month they have been teaching a Spanish guy named D. D is from Guatemala and also speaks a dialect called Quiche. He’s single and lives with another family. The sisters have been teaching him with a man in their ward who translates the lessons into Spanish. Well he was all set for baptism so they asked me to come out and interview him. They told me that the translator didn't always translate what the sisters would say, so I knew when I approached this interview that I would need to do some teaching myself to ensure his understanding before baptism. When I sat down with him... he was answering very timidly with general answers. He didn't understand some concepts and his responses were often off topic. I was very concerned. At that moment I thought - he can't get baptized... he's not ready. But I gave him another day to study and pray. I returned the next night to follow up on his reading... he didn't read. I asked him other follow up questions and his answers just always seemed to be " follow God..." very vague and simple. Which is fine... but the answers didn't always fit. I was bummed. I couldn't pass him for baptism. I pulled Elder T aside and told him what was going on. We stepped outside and talked about it for a bit. Then we prayed and the answer that seemed to come was... let's give him a few more weeks. We went back inside and I asked to visit with D alone again. I was so frustrated - I thought... "Why doesn't he understand? Why is it so hard for him to understand the gospel? He wants to be baptized and has pure desires... why doesn't he understand the rest of it?" I was just about to go in and break the news to him when finally the inspiration came - I asked him, "How much Spanish to you speak?" he said only a little bit. I asked, "How much do you understand" he said he only kind of understood Spanish. I realized that the reason that he didn't understand was because he doesn't speak Spanish. He speaks Quiche and felt uncomfortable answering in Spanish. I thought of the family that he lived with. T is D’s friend. I ran out and asked T "Do you speak good Spanish and Quiche?" Miracle... he did! I had him come in and translate the interview all over again. Spanish to Quiche... Quiche to Spanish. D’s answers were amazing. He understood the gospel and is ready for baptism. I passed him and he will be baptized today. The sisters asked if I would perform the baptism.

Zone conferences have been keeping us busy. We’ve been all over the mission in a week. President asked me to train the missionaries as part of the conference. I trained them on being a faithful missionary. The zone conferences were a success. The missionaries were really motivated by the end of it. President can sure inspire a large crowd.

That's it. I gotta go.
Love ya all,
Elder Stoneman

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

By Small and Simple Things

Hey mom and dad. I didn't hear from you this week. The emails have all been pretty unreliable lately. Emails will come really late. It might be better to send your emails sooner.

Thanks Ben. Sweet letter. The office staff loved the "Elder Churchy Pants Stoneman" ... hahaha I don't think they got it though. Calvin g - thank you for the joke.

Thanks Auntie Cath for the note. You have been a great example for me to work hard. So thank you. Love you too.

Transfers went surprisingly smooth this week. It was quite busy. The new missionaries were a blast... an interesting group. It was interesting to watch the President... he was very strict with them... but then the next night with the departing missionaries he was so relaxed. I’ve seen many different sides of President.

One of the departing missionaries is Elder J - you'll recognize the name from a lot of my other emails. We're good buddies. He was a great missionary. He wants to come and meet you both. I gave him your phone number and address. He's cool. He's from Vegas. Mom, could you hook him up with general conference tickets?... he's never been.

Zone Conference was great. The mission doctor came and spoke to us. He talked a lot about overcoming the natural man... how we are to learn to deal with suffering - especially on the mission. It was a great talk. It made me think though that he's secretly trying to tell the missionaries to quit complaining. While he was talking about suffering on the mission, Sister McConkie leaned over and handed me a note that said,"You became an AP to ensure total suffering!" haha

Brother G did not get baptized last Sunday. He wanted to talk to his family about it. If all goes well, he'll be baptized tomorrow.I invited a soldier on post to pray two Sundays ago. It wasn't a lesson, but more of a short conversation. He came back last Sunday and told me that he took my challenge and prayed, after not having done so for 10 years! I told him to do it again during Sacrament meeting. When the meeting was over he came and found ME. He obviously had had a very humbling experience. He told me that he doesn't like to be helped and it's kind of messed with his beliefs in God. He prayed, though, and felt the power of God and began to weep. We had a great lesson on weaknesses and humility - Ether 12:27. He committed to be baptized tomorrow.It was a small invitation to pray, but it will forever change his life. By small and simple things...

Love you all!
Elder Stoneman