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

Monday, November 2, 2015

Week 20: "My First Baptism!"

Dear Friends and Family,

A lot of great things happened this week and I have grown a ton personally and spiritually. I am constantly learning and this week wanted to share the experiences that I had.

For one, we had the opportunity to have interviews with our mission president, President Smith, this week. Since these don't happen very often, I wanted to come up with some good questions to ask him and to talk about. When it was finally my turn to have my interview, I went in and we started it off. He began by expressing his love for me and my companion. and he told me a lot of things that he was grateful for. And they made me seem very blessed. I was, and still am grateful for the opportunity that I have had to have Elder Chapdelaine as my companion. President Smith made it clear to my mind just how awesome he was and I realized so much that I learned from him and still am learning from him. President smith went on to talk about how our area is flourishing and how grateful he was that We came into the area and changed it. He mentioned that he has to constantly keep tab on other missionaries, but he loves us because he doesn't have to worry as much about us or keep us obedient. I went on to ask him about advice and He gave me a couple things I could do which I have started applying to my missionary work. And Through those things I have seen a lot of additional improvement and growth in myself, our companionship, and the branch. And it has only been a couple of days! (now i share this experience not to be prideful, but to share the impact of being obedient and working your hardest.) When I came into the mission field, Elder Chapdelaine asked me if I wanted to work on being a Consecrated missionary. Which was basically putting everything on the alter of sacrifice and changing everything in a better way. At first I was a little hesitant because i thought I was doing great and didn't need much changing. Well Elder Stonely... you thought wrong. over the past three transfers I have come to the knowledge that I need to change so much. And I have been constantly working to improve. At times I don't feel like I am improving, but after this interview I noticed just how much I had changed, but hadn't realized. Though there is so much more I could do to become better and work harder, I am beginning to see the result of dedicated work and a focused mind. I love that I have such a dedicated companion who is willing to help me make little changes to become better. And this week especially, with interviews and the other experiences that I have had, I am experiencing the fruits of my labor!

Now I hope that paragraph made sense, because it is beginning to come to my knowledge that my English skills, (well the ones i had at least) are starting to disappear... HAHA I should start taking English classes. Any how, another experience That i had was at Stake conference. And the stake president brought up a TON of amazing ideas. That came from three topics. One, the law of chastity. Two, Family counsel. And Three, Fasting. So many great words were spoken about these three topics and I learned a lot about things I could work on now and later down the road of "life." I thought of fasting the most. All the Hispanics down here have a hard time fasting. And we don't know if its just cause they don't know what it is? or if its "too hard"? or if they just don't do it. HAHA But we both felt impressed to help the branch out with fasting because of the many blessings that we can experience. I know that fasting is one of the best ways to feel the spirit and to receive blessings. I have experienced many opportunities where I have received the answer to a question or the help i needed. One of the biggest helps that I have received has been the strength to continue working hard. There have been countless experiences where I have struggled, but through fasting have received the help I need. And for that I am grateful!

I invite all of you to fast at least once a month! And not to just fast for no reason. (if that's the case I feel sorry for the pain you have to endure as you starve yourself.) HAHA There is always something that you could fast for! Whether its for another person, or a blessing/ help that you need personally. Whatever the case may be, fasting is essential.

Alright now comes the good part! We had a baptism this week! well three I guess if you count it number wise. Ramon, Lucia, and Daniel got baptized and It was a joy to see them baptized. We worked hard, and It was nice to finally see them make this step! As their son went first, I was overwhelmed by the spirit that I felt as I watched him get baptized. I felt so happy and so blessed. I knew that this was the right thing and more importantly I am glad they knew! They now have a goal to be sealed in the temple and I can not wait for that day! even if im not in the area :) Thank you all for your prayers and your thought for this family! I can assure you they are doing well ;)

To end this week, I wanted to share another experience with the priesthood and the power of the priesthood. Yesterday I started to get really sick. I woke up and could not talk without pain because my throat was very swollen. I took some medicine to help it and told myself I would endure the pain the whole day. Sadly, I'm 100% sure that I yet again was wrong. HAHA I came home after one of the worst days (physically) I've had on my mission. We had just visited an 18 year old after helping him do family history. he noticed that I was sick and straight up told me, "have you had a blessing yet?" I instantly felt like the worst missionary in the world because I failed to recognize that I had people here with the Priesthood. I felt like an idiot and told him, "no I have not. But I will." And that night when I came home I asked for a blessing. Today, I feel almost 100% top notch! I am blessed to be able to have that 18 year old chastise me a little bit and have the courage to tell me to get a blessing. I wish I would have had the faith to ask for one sooner, but none the less am glad that I received one.

Remember that there is always a priesthood holder near by. I, like many others, at times may not think of the power of the priesthood, but after last night I don't think I will ever fail to ask again. I know that Priesthood blessings work and I am grateful to hold this priesthood power. I love you all for your support and for your prays and thoughts. I continually receive blessings that help me every day. Looking forward to another great week!

With much love, Elder Stonely

PS. pictures will be coming shortly :)