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

Monday, December 21, 2015

Week 27: "Light of Christ"

Dear Friends and Family,

Out of all the weeks I have had so far this one was by far the best one. A lot happened that has confirmed to me just how true the gospel is and the eternal impact that it can have when applied and lived. There are over 10+ mini experiences that we have had as a companionship with members, investigators and with us that have really sparked my interest and I would like to share just briefly a few of them.

For starters, the last couple of weeks I had really been worrying and thinking about Ramons family (the recently baptized family) There was a lot of things that were going on and they seemed to only be taking this family farther apart. It was tearing me up to watch and feel like all I am doing was sitting and watching. So I put a lot of thought into their family. And I used the help of the Branch President. I asked other missionaries what they could do in a situation similar to theirs and then I formed a plan. The main theme that we wanted to teach to them was the basics of the gospel. Along with basic family activities. We went over and had about 3 really good lessons throughout the week that were very well needed. Overall, I have been able to see the blessings that come in a home when based upon the basics of the gospel and when simple family activities like prayer, scripture study, and FHE are put into place. I have grown a strong love for this family and for all they do and now they are stronger together then ever before. And they have a goal to go to the temple and be sealed as a family. I love the Gospel.

Second, we have recently started teaching another investigator named Gabriel. He is 26 years old and is from Mexico. When we first started teaching him he would act like a teenager at first and would be really goofy. I wondered how we would ever seriously teach him. But lesson learned, never doubt. Because we had planned to go over and teach him the gospel Saturday morning. We had our scriptures and everything ready to teach. When we got there we started teaching and the lesson went very well. Scriptures are a perfect way to bring the spirit into the lesson. With Gabriel, we explained things very simply and he understood them well. Now comes the great part, when the lesson was about to come to a close, we felt prompted to read with him Mark 10:39 which talks about baptism and how we need to be baptized like Jesus Christ. We read the passage and felt prompted to invite him to be baptized. (now at this point my mind was going insane because we have only taught him twice and we had barely introduced it) We extended the baptism commitment and without hesitation he said yes. It made me step back and think. I was so happy and just super excited! I'm still not sure really what happened there or why he so readily said yes, but I believe that he has been prepared and that the principles of the gospel were something that opened up his heart. I know the spirit was very strong and testified to him the this message was true. I am grateful for this experience.

The last topic I wanted to mention comes from a lot of different experiences. But it is the Light of Christ and the change that it makes in peoples life. We had a lot of investigators that we were teaching and a couple of times when we went over, they had family there, but weren't there themselves. So we just got to know the family members and a lot of them told us that they were interested in what we were teaching because they had been seeing the change in their families lives. And we picked up 4 new investigators just from that! Amazing right?? Blessings for those families for doing what they should be doing. And the Light of Christ really is bright!

Funny side note, this Sunday, I had to translate and there were a ton of Hispanics that showed up and it was super stressful. HAHA and not sure if the Hispanic members like stressing us out, but the teacher for gospel doctrine didn't show up so they all looked at me and said, "your turn" HAHA so yeah taught my first lesson in Spanish without any preparation. It didn't go as well as it could have... HAHA still learning!

Other than all the fun we had this week, We are continuing to push forward and forward! I have enjoyed every minute out here and it seems to be going really fast! i hope to be able to find more people and to report back to you all how amazing Foley is. Much love from the coolest and most humble missionary in the world! (HA totally a joke)

Elder Stonely

Love you all!