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