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

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