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

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Week 14: "Patience"

Dear Friends and Family,

Santa clause is coming to town! HAHA totally kidding. But really... Its been like 20 degrees cooler in the morning every morning when we go running and it feels PERFECT! So nice:) I congratulated myself today as I noticed I finally am showing some hope for some upper body strength. Doing exercises for 5 min every morning showing off! TENDER MERCY! JK:)

Alright so not much excitement this week, but I know that the Lord has been helping me in the little things. My main point of this week is yet again Patience. This transfer I have been blessed to have such a wonderful trainer and remain with him for yet another six weeks. And I would not have it any other way. During our training hour early on in the week I was having a rough day. rough time and honestly everything felt terrible... BUT! He mentioned some things and the only thing i could really think of was having more patience. Not only patience with situations everywhere around me but being patient with myself. (Something I now am understanding... After 18 YEARS!) But hey:) better now then never right? HAHA So as I have gone throughout the week everything that happens, i begin to see with a "patience" perspective. (not sure if that makes sense...) but in every thing that happens i notice that it takes patience. And when we have patience things are easier and better. I love this scripture which states it plainly:)
"And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the lord" (Mosiah 24:15). Patience is so important in everything we do and makes my week and days 100 times better. So, now that my little rant box is over on to the good stuff!

Tuesday we met our new district! Sadly Elder Clayton is gone, but Elder Olsen is a pretty boss District leader! Everyone in our district is either being trained or training. HAHA so pretty new district if you ask me:) and it is exciting! Everyone is pretty quiet during our meetings, which reminded me of when Elder Clayton went home telling everyone i was quiet! (which may or may not be true...) HAHA so now i have to break out of that box and actually talk to people! Shocking... i mean i am a missionary. HAHA No jk:) But i've been thinking of what i could do to bring our district a little closer together so we aren't so "NEW" to each other. And I thought of an amazing idea which i will try out! i'm not ganna mention it cause if it fails i will feel like Einstein without his persistence in trying and trying and trying. HAHA so we will see how the new district goes:)

Last day for Elder Clayton's leadership!
Elder Stonely and Elder Clayton saying goodbye!
Missionary companions for a day, cousins forever!

There has been like a Plague occurring in the branch. At least on the Hispanic side of things. HAHA Luiz cruz (one of the members) received his patriarchal blessing and is now preparing to go to the temple and so I think that has excited all the other Hispanics into getting their own! Which is great cause now all the Hispanics are excited about it!!!! So we have been helping them all out with preparing them to receive this amazing guide in their life's:) The members are now very attached to us which is good because they have been coming out to lessons with us and helping our investigators find better jobs and working with them on their journey. Which is how it should be because people need to feel loved in this world! And i'm glad that our investigators have been finding that through the members. I am proud of all of them down in the Foley Branch:)

Lucia and Ramon and their family are doing great:) We had to push their Baptismal date back a little bit due to some small things, but they are excited and really want to keep going. Its been a joy to see the excitement in their life's. Ramon made mention to us during the last lesson with him how one day he showed up to work and He didn't say a single bad word all day. His boss noticed his change and asked him why he wasn't cussing. Ramon replied that he had met some people (us) from the church and that he was trying to change his life. His boss seemed really impressed with him. Needless to say, Ramon has been seeing some CRAZY changes in his life habits and he is progressing very fast. We are excited to continue teaching him.

Today We had the really exciting chance to go hangout with a member in the branch! he invited us to come over and do some fishing for a bit in the morning and that was extremely fun! There will be pictures and stuff coming later hopefully! But basically... Fished for about an hour, i caught nothing, but the member was like, "alright, we aren't leaving till one of us catches something!" and not joking... right after that he threw his pole out into the lake and caught a fish. LIKE HOW???? HAHA it was pretty cool:) so we went up to the house and he decided it was cool to take us through the forest on his golf cart. And to make the experience seem less terrifying and scary as it was, my companion almost got his face ripped off by a "Banana spider" the size of my palm... IT WAS SCARY! The member was showing us cool looking spiders, so we got off the cart to look at one cool one and I look over to my companion and a foot away from his head is this GIANT spider. Like not kidding... biggest spider i have seen in my entire life. HAHA so the member told him to slowly walk away. and when everyone was out of the way he pulled out his hang gun riffle thing, (i don't know anything about guns) and shot the spider! It was pretty scary... But apparently that's normal or something. HAHA Well i think it was alright cause he took us out for lunch after:) and here i am. Still alive and still pushing forward! Tender mercy if you ask me. HAHA I felt like i was in Harry potter just surrounded by spiders. HAHA

Glad that this week has been a changer for me. I am beginning to see the blessings in my life and things that i need to work on. But always remember to give thanks for your difficult trials and challenges. Because then you get to learn from them and apply the wonderful Redeeming and Enabling power of the Atonement. I love you all so much and pray that you may all see the Lords loving hand every day as you wander on this journey, continually holding to the Rod of Iron. The savor and redeemer loves each and everyone of you. May you find joy in his gospel.

Much love from the little town of Foley,

Elder Stonely

Week 13: "Pasoli!"

Dear Friends and Family,

Well this week has been so great! For starters, i am addicted to "Pan Dulce" which is pretty much sugary bread that you can buy at the Mexican stores that look so fancy. HAHA those things are amazing... And they are what i buy for a good "pick me up" snack. HAHA some member gave us a GIANT tub of Ice cream so i pop one of the pan dulces in the microwave for 15 seconds and plop a scoop of icecream and it makes for a very tasty bowl of joy:) HAHA

Also while on the topic of food... we ate this thing called "pasoli" (not sure if that's how you spell it, but whatevs!) and it is some Mexican soup type things that you eat with Mexican chip things. And it is amazing! so anyway we ate it at a members house and enjoyed it and wanted more. She always gives us the extras, so we brought a bunch home. And then one of the families who we are currently teaching invited us over around dinner time to have dinner and to have the lesson. And guess what they made?!?!?! PASOLI!!! It was so good. and not even old after eating it so much. BUT! that's not even the best part. we walked out of that dinner/lesson feeling so full and the white lady who we had tracted into and helped with their car came out with a big bowl. and what was it?? PASOLI!!!! HAHA we were a little hesitant because she was a white person cooking a Mexican dish so we didn't expect it to be very good. BUT, It was better than all pasoli we have ever had. So we thought that was pretty funny:)

Ok now moving on from food and onto the good stuff. Honestly... This week was hard. VERY hard. Things falling through, we had to "Drop" a couple people, (which means stop teaching because they aren't reading or doing anything. they just like the listening) so there are other things we could be doing more productively. Its sad to drop people but necessary. and lessons were falling through especially with our main family, Elies and Patricia. They haven't come to church and we assume they are just busy and things are happening. so another way to have patience. And i am working on it! However... Something really truly amazing happened just within the last week that has been a blessing and will be a blessing to the branch here in Foley.

Our third family. Lucia and Ramon. Not sure how much ive mentioned about them, but i will debrief on their story so you all can have a little background. This family is AWESOME! They are from Honduras and have three kids. And we thought that the father was a member cause he said he was baptized, but it came out to be that he was baptized into some other church and he just knows a lot about the church! but we are looking for his records just in case... But we met the mother one day while tracting. she didn't seem too excited, cause i mean we are other "preachers" going around trying to convert. The father wasn't home that time so we weren't able to go in and teach but at least we got a return appointment. So when we went back for the next appointment we finally met the father and he seemed to be SOOOO excited about the church. Like he LOVES it! so we taught a simple lesson about how families can be eternal forever. and they were excited:) this time the wife seemed to show a little more signs of life. HAHA So long story short, we asked if we could come by and keep teaching them. And they agreed:) even asked us when our church was cause they wanted to come! And guess what... THEY CAME!!! 0ur first investigators that came to church:) It was way cool! and the cool part was they were participating in the gospel doctrine class. So that was super cool!

K so cool part time! at church they invited us over for dinner so we could eat and then have a lesson. And though the food was SOOO good, that wasn't the best part. HAHA It was a great lesson and we definitely felt the spirit! and to cut out all the unnecessary parts, they accepted the baptisms invitation!!! Both the Mom, Dad, and if the son chooses to he will be baptized as well!!! and that will hopefully be happening the 26th of this month!!! super soon, but super possible! We are all excited about that. HAHA

So all comes to show. Patience and hard work all pays off. Even though we didn't have to really do anything because these people were prepared by the lord and they are ready. And i am glad that i could be a part of their lives and be a part of this change. We have a lot of work to do this week and we are excited! Love you all so much and cant wait to keep you all updated on the family we are teaching:)

Much love from Foley Alabama,

Elder Stonely