Note: For the duration of Riley's mission, this blog will be produced and edited by his parents, Daisy and Todd Stonely.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Week#5 en el CCM: "Three Amigos"

Dear Friends and Family,

As every week I believe I have said, this one was one to remember! I feel like every day continues to be a roller coaster of things happening on and off and experiences both great and not so great. But every day I learned something knew and grew in a way that has helped me as I continue to push forward!

Last Tuesday Elder Neilson and I had the opportunity to "Host" a missionary for a couple days because his companion left Monday but he didnt leave until Wed. So we got to know him and talked a lot and he became part of our companionship. We were like the "Three Amigos!" Throughout our time in the CCM we had noticed that him and his companion did not seem super close and they often were doing seperate things. We got to talk with him and found out that his companion really did not care about him at all and was constantly getting mad at him and not really caring where he was or how he was doing. He did not feel like he should complain to anyone about it and so went on living in this way for his six week stay here. We both felt terrible that he had such a terrible experience here and felt glad that we could have the opportunity to cheer him up before he went out into the field. He expressed his greatest appreciation for all that we did for him and said that those two days were the best days he has had! We felt very greatful.

This experience led me to think about just how close my companionship with Elder Nielson at that moment was and how it has been improving. I thought of so much more we could be doing to improve our relationship and the way we work together. Noticing that there were times where the spirit wasnt able to help us out in some way I wanted to change some things.

Luckily every friday we have a weekly planning session and at the end of each planning session each companionship has "companionship invitory" This time is used to discuss with our companions about what we can do do strengthen our lessons, relationships, set goals, and really reflect on how we are doing and how we can improve. we watched a clip about weekly planning from "the District" films for missionaries and I knew what I had to say and what we needed to talk about.

Obviously Elder Nielson felt the same way because right when we began we both had thoughts about the exact same things. We talked and set goals for what we could do better to have the spirit with us 24/7. It was one of my favorite moments from this week. My teachers kept telling me that this is "sacred time" but I never really thought that because it was just busy and stressful! but now I really do understand why it is a sacred moment in our week. Our companionship grew so much and I was so happy that I had this experience to change the way I look at parts of the mission experience.

This week was one that will never be forgot and one I needed to have before I set out into the field. I am greatful for teachers and instructors who really do know what they are talking about and know the best ways to help each and every one of us. I know this gospel is the one and only true and fulfilled gospel on the earth today and am eternaly greatful for everything that every person has through this sacred message.

Until two weeks! (i leave next tuesday in the morning so there may not be a Week #6 in the CCM.)

Much love back home,

Elder Stonely
so... we did this... HAHAHA I know im a stupid boy, but This IS FUNNY!!! we got in trouble and I repented so dont worry.... :D

Week #4 en el CCM: Obedience

THIS WEEK WAS ONE TO REMEMBER! We had the opportunity to visit the temple today for a couple hours and even though it was closed for something, IT WAS AMAZING! The spirit was so strong throughout the whole visit (which is my topic and highlight of the week). Two sister missionaries gave us a tour of the visitors center in temple grounds and my oh my it wonderful. We watched a short clip about the saviors atonement and how he changed everything and anywhere he went. I am pretty sure its on or somewhere. But it struck my heart so hard. I thought of what he did for all of us and especially after this week, I realized that the atonement is not only for when we make terrible sins or mistakes. This week Elder Neilson and I had a couple disagreements with lessons, or frustration because of our lack of communication between eachother. I was struggling so hard until Sunday when I realized that i needed the atonement in my life at that moment to help me change the way I interact with my companion.

For starters, sunday was fast sunday and it was the first sunday where I really realized what it means to fast. (it breaks my heart to say that and I regret every fast sunday I could have done something more) There were a couple people in our district and our presidents wife who needed the blessings and thoughts. I decided that I would fast for them throughout the whole day and decided to change the way I looked at each day and change my actions.

I know the Lord has been wanting me to change some things before i have to go out into the field to help others. Each lesson and devotional last sunday were FILLED with personal revelations and thoughts that i had through the Holy Ghost. Each speaker mentioned multiple times answers to questions I had been asking the whole week. With our district, we had been struggling to find the balance between fun and spiritual. I was getting frustrated and down because all I wanted to feel was the Holy Ghost. I wanted his constant companionship throughout each day and really was not finding it. But Lessons were taught on Obedience and what that meant. I realized yet again that I had some repenting to do and some changing to do. I talked with my companion and figured out what was going on and we worked it out together and came up with a better way of doing things. Ever since then our lessons have been stronger and the Holy Ghost has been the Senior companion throughout the day guiding us and building us. (the way it should be for ALL companionships)

The Holy Ghost has been something that I strive for and something that when I have i realize what i need to do and where i need to go. He has guided us in our lessons, our thoughts, our actions, and how we live. President Machado shared a quote with us which i have been constantly thinking about. He said "You want to have the spirit with you? How do you do it?" he continued with the lesson and ended with this sentence which really made everyone in the room ponder. "The way to have the spirit with you is simple... Obedience."

I thought for a moment and after some time I realized just how important and true that was. The only way the spirit would not be able to be our companions is if we break one rule. If we make a joke that leads our thoughts away from our purpose of if we do somthing that is not allowed. This is something that I am learning to do more and more. Though honestly i think i do a pretty good job at it, but i look back on every day and see multiple parts of my day i could have done better.

The Holy Ghost is the way that we recieve personal revelation and the way we are guided in this life. Without the Holy Ghost, missionaries are nothing. In one of our devotionals, the speaker said this, "What is a missionary without the Holy Ghost?... Nothing. He/she can not teach investigators without the spirit. Because we are not the people that teach. The spirit is. If you do not invite the spirit into the lesson, the investigator will not feel the truth and power of your message and will not want you to return."

Those devotionals were super important as I continued throughout the week working harder and harder on having the Holy Ghost in my studies, lessons, and throughout my day. I want to feel it forever because i know the importance of it.

Im greatful to be a part of the Lords work in touching every one of his beloved children. And i can not wait to better myself as I move forward. This next week will be a test for me as I apply what I learn daily.

Much love from Mexico City,

Elder Stonely