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

Monday, December 26, 2016

Week 80: Merry Christmas

Dear Friends and Family,
This week has been quite the week for sure :) Christmas was awesome! Being able to talk with family reminds me of the happiness that they always have brought me. Lets just say I'm glad they are my family and that I will have them forever and all eternity :) I also love my grandpa more than the world! For those of you whom are unaware, my grandfather is deaf. I have never been able to communicate directly with him the way others communicate with their grandparents, but one thing is for sure, and that is we have a strong connection. My grandfather is very talented. He can read lips, and has such a great spirit.  Sister Smith, President Smiths wife, shared during our last zone conference how she came to find out one of her spiritual gifts that she had been given was her smile. All I could think of while she was talking about that was my grandfathers wonderful smile :) I have never seen him ever not happy! And Its amazing. So that whole story just shows how much I love my grandpa and was able to talk with him on Christmas :)
The rest of the week was a bit hard for missionary work due to everyone being busy with Christmas and the holidays, though one thing is for sure that we have had a lot of experiences to share the video the church put out for the Christmas season. It was amazing to be able to see how many people are willing to remember Christ and do their best to serve others and share the light of Christ. All of the missionaries in our zone decided that they would all go Christmas caroling at the Hospital. We showed up in the morning, but since we weren't allowed to go into anyone’s room and sing, we decided to walk through the halls and go through the hymn book singing. At first it felt a bit awkward because we are a bunch of missionaries who don't know how to sing, though as we went through the halls singing, our talents somehow got way better!!! And there was someone in their room who heard us and stopped us. She invited all of us in and then we sang her favorite hymn. But what made that memory so special was that when we were about to leave, one of the missionaries asked her if there was anything we could do to help her, and she started to cry, and told us, “no. you've already done it.” I started to think of how it was such a joy that we were able to bring Christmas into her trip to the hospital. And how she felt the love that the Lord has for her. It was an amazing experience that's for sure!!!!
Elder Leandro and I are doing great! He is adjusting to missionary life pretty well and I am enjoying having the opportunity to show him around and teach him the ways of missionary life. He has only lived in the United states for about a year and so it almost feels like I'm with a foreigner who doesn't know the United States very well. HAHA Lets just say that it has been enjoyable :) Well to all my BOSS family and friends out there, the church is true! The gospel is real! Keep on in the path of righteousness and you'll be blessed :) I love you all so much and wish you a happy New Year!
Much Love,
Elder Stonely
My new companion, Elder Leandro.
Senior missionaries in our area.

Me and former companion, Elder Sturdevant.

Christmas package from my awesome family.
Gift from Santa!
Yes, a Tallahassee Florida Mission t-shirt! I've been jealous of all the other Elders who have been wearing them.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Week 79: Elder Leandro

Dear Friends and Family,

I must say, this week was quite the week! For starters, I got my new companion on Wed. His name Is Elder Leandro, He is, like i said last week, from Brazil, he speaks Portuguese, his Spanish is pretty great, and his English in entertaining. He speaks really well, and he is a joy! He is a very funny guy and we are going to get along together great :) 

The first day he got here, we had such a great experience. Here is an excerpt from the email I sent the Mission President:
Elder Leandro and I have definitely seen the blessings that come from inviting people to be baptized just in the first week of being together. His first day here, we got home and did a little bit of studies. We Role played the restoration and how to begin teaching to prepare for a couple lessons we had with our investigators. When the time came for the first lesson, we went to go visit Angela. We went with a member, and the lesson went really well. We did exactly what we did in the Role play and at the end, invited her to be baptized. Well, first we asked her if she believed the story of Joseph Smith and she said yes, then we extended the baptismal invitation. She accepted!!! She said she wanted to wait a little bit and talk to her husband, but she accepted. And now we are working with her! It was the first lesson we had with her and Elder Leandros first ever lesson in the field. He was pretty tired when he got home probably due to the long trip here, and then going out and teaching a lot of people. It was a great first day!

The other spiritual thought that comes from this week comes from our visits to the Hispanic stores that we call "tienditas." We decided to go to visit and spend the last 30 minutes of the day contacting Hispanics at the store. We went, contacted some people and then were talking to the store owner. The first thing he said to us was, "oh no, I don't trust you both!" We asked him why, and he went on to tell us how he saw two missionaries in the store looking at girls for a while and since then he doesn't trust any of us. It caught me off guard and I began to think at just how important our calling as missionaries is. People are constantly observing us and watching us, as missionaries and as members of the church. after we left the store I asked myself, "What image do I give others?" As I reflect every day at the type of person I want to become, I see many opportunities to change and to become more like Christ. I know that by doing so, those around us will start to see the light of Christ in us more and will start to see the blessings of the gospel that come into our lives. I love you all so much from back home! Have the Merriest of the Christmas season! Much love and joy, 

Elder Stonely

Here are some pictures of me using an inversion table :)

Monday, December 12, 2016

Week 78: Transfers!!!

My amazing Friends and Family,

This week is transfer week! Which means a lot of fun news :) We didn't know if Elder Moore would be leaving or not because he is right on the fine time line of going and staying. Though, calls came in, and Elder Moore went out the another zone as a zone leader, and I will be training an elder from Brazil here in Tallahassee!! I still don't know what his name is, but he is 6 foot 6 inches and plays volleyball! I'm not sure if he speaks Spanish, but he should be able to understand it cause the languages are pretty similar. Though he has lived in the states for about a year so he may know English. Either way, I'M GONNA LEARN PORTUGUESE! I'm excited! HAHAHAHAHA I was a little scared to train, but then I realized that I have already done it so its not that hard. And if he picks up Spanish fast then it will be easy! I'm still so excited to be here and to keep pressing forward!!!

This week was quite the shortest, it seemed to fly by, but the spiritual highlight of the week comes from a trade off we did with our zone leaders. Elder Birch, is one of the sickest missionaries ever! He comes from a family where his dad left his family at age 16 and he was put into the father role. With 8 other siblings, he provided for the family, they moved around almost yearly, and he never was able to serve a mission till now since his mom re-married. Despite these difficulties, he decided to serve a mission at age 25 and dedicate two years. I talked to him and got to know him and one of the greatest things that I learned was the lesson of "Magnifying your calling." All of Elder Birches family is less active and he mentioned it was hard for him to always go to church. Though after every move, he would go directly to the bishop and asked for home teaching assignments and a calling. I saw in his example of how that prepared him to be an amazing missionary. As I thought about him I began to ponder of how I am doing at "magnifying my calling?" I know there are always things that seem to get in the way of fulfilling our duties, though I realized that as we do our very best to serve the Lord and those around us in our callings, we will be blessed :) I am very grateful for all the examples around me :) 

Thank you all for your amazing love and support in all you do for missionaries around the world! Much love and appreciation,

Elder Stonely

Monday, December 5, 2016

Week 77: Birthday Blessings

Dear Friends and Family,

So... Yum yum sauce is pretty tasty from Japan. I don't know whats in it, but its pretty good.

This week Elder Moore and I went out to a Hibochi Grill to celebrate. And we were the only ones in the restaurant which was funny because while he was cooking, for any of you who have never been to a Hibochi grill, the table literally lights on fire. HAHA so it was an experience. And I have never had Yum yum sauce so it was a joy :)

Also on my birthday, the whole zone got together in the morning and we played Futsal inside the church gym. It has been a while since I have played soccer and it brought me back to memory of the many times the Maeser soccer team would play inside. It was a good birthday gift!

For the spiritual side of this email, I thought I would share part of an experience we had. On Sunday we had the opportunity to go visit the Local Catholic Church service because someone invited us to attend and she said she would come to ours. So, being the kind missionaries that we are, we decided to go at 8:45 in the morning for the Spanish service. Now I really do respect and love the religion and people of others, though on Sunday my testimony of the restored Gospel was strengthened by a million. All the people at the church were friendly and nice, though the manner of worship was different. I have never been to another church before in my life, though this catholic church was way different than what people told me it was like. The whole time we were there the story from the Book of Mormon when Alma goes to the Zoramites to preach the gospel (Alma 31) was being brought to memory. We were handed this piece of paper with 12 hymns on it. All the hymns were part of what we thought to be "mini ordinances" because everything was recited and everyone knew what to say except us. HAHA in order to go to the catholic church you must have to memorize a lot. Despite the many differences in the way of worship, the leaders, the sacrament or anything else, there was one that stuck out to me the most. Which was the spirit. I know for a fact that many times in my life I have taken for granted what we truly feel at church. While we were visiting the church there was a song they sang where the lyrics were:

"Ten piedad, ten piedad."

It was that phrase over and over which means "have pitty on us" and I thought of the Atonement. We are truly blessed to have the restored gospel and the correct knowledge of the gospel. Though like I was saying, there is something special about the spirit and how it can testify to us of what is right and brings us true Joy. I am grateful for what we have!

Though the catholic church experience was one that I am grateful for :) Maybe it will help our investigator come to ours. What we thought was funny was that we knew half the congregation just from all the Hispanics we meet on the streets. HAHA 

Well, much love for all of you! I send my love and joy! Have a great week!

Elder Stonely

Here are some great pictures!
Birthday meal with Yum Yum sauce at a Hibochi grill.

Birthday cake with 20 candles! I'm no longer a teenager!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Week 76: Gratitude!

My fellow brothers and sisters,

This week was the Longest week, yet the shortest week. It was long because our investigator pool is getting smaller. Since Trump won the elections, most of the illegal Hispanics are working 24/7 to try to save up some money. which means they are never home... So we moved our time over to finding legal Hispanics! And we have had some great success! The week was short, because I, like many of you have probably done, started to be more grateful for the many blessings that we have in our life. Though as i thought about it and as i listened to people give talks during sacrament meeting, one of the speakers shared this quote from the Prophet Thomas S. Monson in the May 2000 Ensign:

"Let us follow him. Let us emulate his example. Let us obey His word. By so doing, we give to Him the divine gift of gratitude. My sincere prayer is that we may, in our individual lives, reflect that marvelous virtue: an attitude of gratitude."

I thought that the phrase "an attitude of gratitude" is applicable to not only thanksgiving, but ours lives as well. I am so grateful for all that I have. And it being that on the 3rd of December I get officially fat and old by turning 20, here is 20 things/lessons that I have learned throughout my 20 years of living that i am grateful for:

1- The Atonement is the greatest gift of all.
What other greater thing to be thankful for. I have the healing and purifying power to be cleaned from sin, lifted up in trials, and resurrected to be able to return to our Heavenly father. All because of the love of my Savior. 
2- Service brings Joy.
Not just missionary service, but when we are serving others in any form, we experience the love the savior has for them. Which is the Joy that we strive for. We are never happy when we think of ourself.
3- Our Heavenly father is only a prayer away.
4- Family is important. They wont always be around.
5- My mom REALLY does do a LOT!
6- Avoid comparing yourself to others.
Everyone has different temptations and circumstances, and i should be grateful for mine. I am grateful for what I have been given and can continue to improve myself to become more like Christ.
7- Magnify your calling.
The lord needs us wherever we are and whoever we are. We have talents that He needs to grow His kingdom.
8- The best leader is a Follower.
The best leader is him who is following Christ.
9- Seeing Others Happy makes me happy.
10- Be yourself!
We all are weird, so just get over it! I'm a lot happier when i can be weird and be ok with it :)
11- Dads always have the BEST advice.
12- The Sabbath is a delight. 
13- How to Crochet. 
14- Take care of your back.
15- Laughter makes all days better.
16-The Book of Mormon not only answers the questions to the soul, but is the best spiritual doctor ever! (right behind the savior)
17- I really love ice-cream. 
18- There is always a special bond between Mothers and Sons.
19- I live in a beautiful world.
20- I am a child of God. And he truly does love me.
No matter what happens, this is something no one can take away from me. My true identity of who i am and where i am going. I am grateful for this knowledge.

We are all so truly blessed! And I am grateful for everything that I have been aloud to learn in this life. i am grateful for the people that I have been able to grow up with and meet along my journey. I love you all so much! Have the best of a week and enjoy your Christmas Holiday!

Elder Stonely,
Much love :)

PS> Birthday Shout out to the twins! Sam and Ashlyn Ellis! They are also fat and old like me now that they are turning 20! HAHAHAHAHAHA totally kidding. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

On FSU gameday everyone does a tailgate party. So we went to Checkers and had our own "tailgate" ice cream party. HAHA
Driving selfie. HAHAHAH

Monday, November 21, 2016

Week 75: The Waters of Mormon

Dear Friends and Family,

Another great week of learning and improving. This week I thought I would share a couple great experiences that we had throughout the week.

As some of you know, I had the opportunity to visit Ana Fuentes and assist her baptism. Its been a while since I have used her name so i will bring it up again for everyone. Ana is a sweet lady from El Salvador. She has been meeting with the missionaries from the time i was in Cairo GA and I began teaching her. She is SOOOO amazing. She has such a sweet spirit. We set a Baptismal date with her back in june or july for the 19 of November. She prayed about a date and that was the date that she picked. So we went over and would teach her preparing her for that special day. Sadly, I wasn't able to continue teaching her and visiting with her as I have been moved to the city of Tallahassee (about an hour south). However, this past week was the day of her wonderful baptism and I was invited to go! After getting permission from President Smith first. HAHA So we went up there and enjoyed the trip! The spirit was so strong and i could see how happy she was! It was cool to hear her say as we left, She said "this is the best day of my life." My dear friends, I cant remember the details of my baptism, though I do remember how amazing i felt. Especially when i got home. I was sitting on the steps watching my friends and family. My wonderful Grandmother, Vicki Stonely was there talking with us all. They told me I could start fasting now since i turned 8. HAHA I proudly agreed, but then couldn't do it for more than 10 min. HAHA though i remember feeling so happy, so peaceful and it felt right. How special is your baptism day? What do you remember from "the best day ever?" If you cant remember, think of the temple. That was my favorite favorite day. Ana is amazing and I was happy that she reminded my of "my best day ever." 

This week we also went to contact a referral that we had been given from the 6th ward missionaries here in Tallahassee. As we talked to the lady from Venezuela whom they had referred to us, we asked her if she knew her neighbors. She pointed out that her neighbor was from Cuba. so we decided to walk over and knock on the door. We talked with him and set up a return appointment. He was from Cuba, though spoke both english and Spanish. So on Saturday, when we came back for our appointment, we drove up and guess who was there? the 6th ward missionaries!! Now I don't know what it is like in other missions or in Utah, but down here there are some areas that are SOOOOOO spread out. And being Spanish missionaries, sometimes we have to travel an hour to get to places. So this drive was an hour away, and when we got there, there just so happened to be two other missionaries talking to the same guy, in the middle of nowhere, at the same time we had planned on seeing him. HAHA so we left back home and let the other missionaries teach him. We were on the drive home and feeling a little bit down cause we had then wasted about 2 hours of time. Though Ive learned never to say "wasted" because the Lord always places people in our path. So the story continues as we were driving home. (Now for all of you who have never seen a picture of our car, I will just say that other missionaries did not take care of this car like they should have. There is a lot wrong with it.) We were driving home and Elder Moore saw a sign that said "Free brake inspection." He asked me suddenly if we should go because our brakes were squeaking like crazy. Key point, (Normally we would just wait to get these issues fixed or things like that done till later when we have free time. We were headed to a lesson, but decided to stop and get the brakes fixed. It was completely unplanned.) We both decided at the same time to quickly turn into the mechanic shop. We got out of the car, walked inside and told him we saw the sign and just stopped in. He went outside to look at the car and we sat down and made ourselves feel at home. I started to think and thought to myself, "We are completely wasting our time... What have we done?" HAHA And no joke, In that very moment, two Hispanics walked through the door!! Now that sounds very surprising to you all maybe, but down here, in the city of Tallahassee, we have to first do an Easter egg hunt to find people who speak Spanish, then we can see if they are willing to listen. But these two walked right into the bears cave as we just happen to choose to change plans and get our brakes checked. We immediately talked with them and this guy was from some place in Texas where he knew a lot of Mormons. Now I'm not joking, this man asked us more questions than we could answer. HAHA So we talked with him and gave him our contact information. He isn't living here in Tallahassee, but he is going to talk to missionaries there. 

Now that was a cool experience. Because i never thought that the spirit would work in simple ways like telling us to get our brakes checked. Though when this Hispanic guy and his wife walked through the door I felt those tender mercies literally falling through the sky. The spirit is incredible. Even though sometimes he works in ways you would never think of. 

I love you all and hope that this week the spirit will guide you to those whom you can serve and bless! Count your many blessings and remember how much we have been given! On December 1st is world wide service day so go out and do some service in the community! There is not a better way to show who we are as members of the church than serving our fellow brothers and Sisters! I love you all! Take care and Enjoy the holiday seasons!

Much love,

Elder Stonely

Ana's baptism.
Zone Conference with Spanish Elders.
I made the BEST spaghetti!
I visited the Jacki Robinson Memorial.
Remnants of Jacki Robinson's home.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Week 74: dem mercies be mad tender!

Dear Friends and Family,

yep, those mercies be mad tender!

This week there has been a lot of tender mercies. Not really anything extraordinary or out of the normal daily routine. In fact, they have been more of the little things that most people tend to look over. One being the sweet children in our little branch. We had our Primary program this past week and the 10 children that are in our branch were able to sing, recite scriptures, and show their amazing spirits! truthfully, they have some of the most amazing spirits ever. I never fully understood and probably wont understand completely until I'm become a father of why my parents would cry when we would go up and sing primary songs. Though this past Sunday I was in charge of translating. you would think translating for little kids would be easy, but NOPE!!! one must really perfect the language of "baby talk" to understand some kids! anyway, that was a side note. As I sat in the meeting listening to the children sing and talk, I started to ponder on what it would have been like to live in ancient times and watch the Savior teach the little children:

"And it came to pass that he commanded that their little children should be brought.
"So they brought their little children and set them down upon the ground round about him, and Jesus stood in the midst; and the multitude gave way till they had all been brought unto him."
-3 Nephi 17:11-12

"But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God."
-Luke 18:16

I imagined what he would be saying and what he would teach. How he would act and show his love. As well as how the parents of these little ones would feel? And I realized that these little children are so much closer to the savior than most of us adults. They have pure clean spirits and they are full of the love of Christ! Sure they can be a handful sometimes, but children are what we should strive to be like:

"And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can n nowise receive these things.
"And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God."
-3 Nephi 11:37-38

As you can see he told us that we must become as the little children. And then he REPEATED himself! you know its probably important if he repeats himself. HAHA So I sat there pondering these scriptures, and thinking of the children that were standing up on stage, and what I could do better to "become as the little children" So mom and dad! I now know why you would always cry when we went up to sing!

We also find ourselves with a lot of car time here in Tally. Probably a good 2 plus hours is spent in the car driving around. It wouldn't be that way if we were English missionaries, but we cover the whole stake which is pretty big so our ward is spread out. I always enjoy the car rides where I get to reflect a lot and think of those we are going to teach. Its perfect!

On a fun note, I learned how to be Bob the Builder this week! We helped a member put 5, 30 foot 6x6 poles in the ground for a porch that he is building! It was quite the project! There was one of his friends there helping him who wasn't a member, and he was a funny dude! So while we built this HUGE thing, we pretty much taught this guy a lot of the lessons and talked about churchy stuff. I would say thats the best Service, Lesson, Member fellowship ever! 

It was a fabulous week this week! And I cant wait for the next one to come around the corner. I love you all and look forward to writing next week! Be safe, and enjoy the upcoming holidays! 

I love you all!

Elder Stonely
Banana soda from Honduras.
A plate of the famous Papusas from El Salvador!  Some of my favorite food that I had in one sitting!
Service project - GIANT poles we put in with a tractor.

Awkward selfies.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Week 73: este... te digo una cosa.

Hello fellow friends and family :D

This week has been a testimony builder for us. We both got our flu shots and got sick from it. Then we got worse from the water at Golds Gym, so we were both down for a little bit. We also had the blessing of going out into the streets and finding people to teach! We knocked doors, talked with people outside, walked around, said prayers, yet we had about the same result. 0.  

Though that big fat zero always gets filled with tender mercies after the trial of your faith! After many rejections and people trying to prove to us that Joseph Smith was false, we found the one person who was willing to listen. But more importantly, feel the spirit. 

There is an investigator here whom the missionaries have been trying to see for over a couple months before I got here. She had met sister missionaries in Alabama only a couple times before moving here and they sent her information to us. Her name is Monica. Monica is not currently a citizen of the united states and fled from Mexico with her family to come find a better life. While in Alabama, her husband was taken by the immigration and currently resides there. As we talked with Monica, she began to express to us her feelings and experiences that she had had throughout the last year. She turned to many people for help and support in her time of need, though nobody was willing to give aid. She said that after her husband was taken, she prayed that something would happen. The next day, the Sister missionaries in Alabama showed up and visisted with her just before she moved here. She took that as the help from her Father in Heaven. Over the last couple months we have been trying and trying to visit her and call her, though with no success. however this week we finally got in. And she expressed her gratitude to us that out of all her "church" friends, we were the only ones who didnt forget about her and continued to worry about her. She asked us why that was? and we told her that we were sent by our heavenly father to teach his restaured gospel. And she took such a great interest into it! It was super special to see how our efforts of walking around, trying people, trying them again and trying a third time always pays off! As well as the example that we show others every day. Im glad I get to show the light of christ to others as I walk and serve him! 

I hope that you all had a great week and that you have another blessed one this upcoming week! I love you all! 

Elder Stonely

P.S. we be looking pretty ugly this week! HAHAHA

Monday, October 31, 2016

Week 72: Tender Mercies Fly from the Sky

My Beloved Brothers and Sister, this week I have been asked to give my talk on the topic of Elder Stonely's week. I would like to first start with an experience:

HAHA sadly I realize that's how I've started all my talks back at home. We helped Amber, a recent convert, prepare a talk in sacrament meeting and that is how she wanted to do it. HAHA though in Spanish :) It was pretty cool to help someone prepare a talk! now I know what my parents felt like when they had to help me and my siblings :)

Alright well, I have a lot of time to share with you my amazing week so this time I will try to remember what happened... I tend to forget :/

I had more pizza with elder Moore. We have had so much pizza here its ridiculous... we visited some potential people and found one of our Less Active members who we thought had moved and invited her to church.

We had District Meeting and then knocked the LOADS of doors. Here in Tallahassee we have to find productive ways to find the Hispanics since they are "hidden" throughout the city. We already know where all the illegal ones live (trailer parks). Nonetheless, being around the voting time, this past week we decided to put our heads together! We walked into the Building where you go to vote and asked for a list of all registered voters who are Hispanics... AAAAAAAND... Got a list with 6600 Hispanics that live in the city of Tallahassee :) So we have been knocking a lot of doors where the Hispanics are sharing the gospel :) Having this list is super creepy kinda, but we only use it to find out where they live :0 Then we just act as missionaries! And we are finding more Hispanics in this GIANT city! Although I must say, being kicked out of two apartments in one week doesn't feel too great :) but I guess getting smitten upon, scorned at, and crucified is worse. Our savior wins that one!

We are teaching a family who speaks Portuguese!!!! Its pretty similar to Spanish so we can understand them pretty well :) Luckily the daughters speak English so they can do the translation from English to Spanish. HAHA Though I must say, Sister Stonely, my cousin serving somewhere in Africa Portuguese speaking will have to hook me up!

I must say the week has gone by pretty fast. We spent a lot of time tracting, teaching and enjoying our time out and about. That part is the best part of being a missionary. We get to visit the poor, the needy and the afflicted and heal their wounds, sins, and afflictions by sharing with them the Gospel of Jesus Christ and then sit back and watch the Atonement take over. Although most missionaries know that not everyone accepts the gospel and we face a lot of rejection, the thought of what our message is and how important it is to someone out in our way keeps us going to fight for them! Our spiritual brothers and sisters. Elder Moore shared with us in District meeting a story that someone shared with him and I only think it appropriate to share it with all of you!

"A young man, just before leaving on his mission, stood in Sacrament Meeting and bore, in essence, the following testimony. "My Brothers and Sisters, as you know, during the past few weeks I have been awaiting my mission call. During the time I was waiting I had a dream I was in the pre-existence and was awaiting my call to come to earth. I was filled the same excitement and anticipation that I had before I received my mission call. In my dream, I was talking to a friend. He was a very dear friend, and I felt a special closeness to him, even though I've never met him in this life. As we talked, a messenger came and gave me a letter. I knew it was my call to go to earth. In great excitement my friend and I opened the letter I gave it to him and asked him to read it aloud. The letter said: You have been called to earth in a special time and to a special land. You will be born into the true church, and you will have the priesthood of God in you home. You will be raised with many advantages and many blessings. You will be born in a land of plenty-a land of freedom. You will go to earth in the United States of America. "My friend and I rejoiced as we read my call. And while we rejoiced, the messenger returned. This time he had a letter for my friend. We knew it was his call to earth. My friend gave me the letter to read aloud. The letter said: You have been called to go to earth in circumstances of poverty and strife. You will not be raised in the true church. Many hardships will attend your life. Your land will be frought with political and social difficulties which will hinder the word of the Lord. You will be born in Costa Rica. We wept, my friend and I as we read his call. And my friend looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, "when we are down on earth, you in your choice land and me in Costa Rica, my friend, come and find me." Then this young missionary, with tears in his own eyes, said, "Brothers and Sisters, I have received my mission call. I am going to Costa Rica. There is a special sequel to this story. About a year after this Sacrament Meeting, the Bishop to this Ward received a letter form the Missionary in Costa Rica. The letter had one sheet of paper in it, and on the sheet was written in inch-high letter four word: I FOUND MY FRIEND." -unknown

Now I know this applies to missionaries, but I thought it was a nice message that can be applied to all of us. This week I would encourage you to ask yourself, "where is my friend?"

I know that the Gospel has the ability to change peoples lives for the better. It also has the ability to make good men better. I find joy and comfort knowing that I have a way to repent and improve as I fall short every day. Though I know that If I try my best, ill be able to find "my friend." Go out and find yours wherever and whoever they may be!

I love you all so very much and none of you really understand how much we missionaries appreciate your love and support every day as you pray, help and think of us. There is truly no other greater joy than following in the footsteps of the savior and feeding his sheep.

"Verily, Verily I say unto you, Farewell my brothren until we meet again. Nevertheless, we are united by the infinite love of Christ until that day." -The Epistle of Elder Stonely 1:43

Elder Stonely

P.S. pictures will be coming next week :) Happy Halloween to you all! I love you much!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Week 71: Sickest Companion and Investigator Ever

Dear My fellow friends and beloved family :)

This week was a blast!!!!! So much happened and it was what I like to call crazy... HAHAHAHA and there were so many tender mercies throughout the week. HAHAHA For one, I have a sick, positive companion who is just awesome and he makes my day every day :) Second, We have what you call the SICKEST investigator ever. Here is his story:

Erlin, his wife Yeny (pronounced Jeny), and their cute daughter of 7 months, Laura. I dont have pictures for you all, but will work on getting some :) On Monday Night, a week ago we went to go see some pontentials (One of them being Erlin). Missionaries had met with him in the past, but with no success. We passed by and he was COMPLETELY drunk with some of his buddies. Not going to lie, drunk people are some of the funnies people, but i have never left a drunk person without feeling sad for their life. However, we talked with Erlin and didnt really think much of the visit because he was drunk. so we left. 

Wednesday comes rolling around the corner and we had the last hour before calling it a day to fill. We decided to go see a less active member out close by Erlin, however on the way out, We felt an impression to pass by his house. So, being a spirit whisperer, Elder Moore, the driver, since i cant drive, whipped the car around and went to his house :) He was completely sober and his countenance was changed. He talked to us about his life story how he was a drunk driver and had been in prison for 4 years as a result as well as his family strugles, and he expressed desire to change his life and turn it around. And trust me, before we could say anything he asked us if we could come by every night before church to help him prepare to go. His wife, being so sweet as she is was totally on board. So we went over every night, taught them some great lessons, invited him to baptism and he came to church. At church a member invited him and his family to come over to dinner with us as well :) So we went, And this member family has a little baby boy 1 year old who got along with their cute daughter. More importantly, Erlin and Yeny were able to see an example of what the Family should strive to be. I cant put into words the experience that I had nor the way that Erlin and Yeny looked, but I can tell you just within this past week this family has definitly changed. It wasnt us as missionaries, it wasnt members or anything, it was the spirit working through their hearts telling them this was what they wanted. And It was amazing!!! We are so waiting for Erlin to get baptized this upcoming month :)

Well, other than that like I said this week was crazy! We did a service project and cracked 900 pounds of crab. Im not a huge fan of sea food, but this crab was actually pretty good :) we went to another soccer game as FSU as well as a Hispanic festival! So it was great :) I hope you all have a great week this week and I love you all so much!

Until we talk again,
Much love :)
Elder Stonely

Florida State soccer game.
Chill'n at the game.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Week 70: The Purpose of the Word of Wisdom


This week was awesome :) It was full of so many great adventures :) I am not sure if I shared my experience talking with a drunk man at 9 at night...though for anyone who was wondering what it is like, don't do it. HAHA We are scared to go over to our recent converts house because her brother wants to fight me every time I go over. Moral of the story, the Word of Wisdom was created so that Elder Stonely doesn't get beat up by people under the influence. HAHA

I had a great experience this week :) We had a lesson with one of our investigators named Alex. From the information that I had gathered about this man, he seemed to not really care what the missionaries really said. Though we had picked him up again. We had a scheduled visit with him, we wanted to bring members out with us but we couldn't find anyone. We texted Brother Pizzaro who gladly accepted last minute and came with his wife. His wife doesn't speak Spanish and Alex doesn't speak English, but we took her along anyway. We taught the restoration, then felt that we should give the member and his wife some time to bear their testimonies. They both did and at the end of the wife's testimony we asked Alex what he thought and he told us, "I just have to do what she said and read and pray about it. Then I will know!" (Elder Moore and I felt like we were looking around the room for a secret camera or something like this lesson was planned or something... HAHA) But the spirit was strong. Even though there was a language barrier, or as we thought, the members were able to show great love and care for him and they invited the spirit. Thus, don't be afraid to talk to people! The spirit will do the teaching :)

Also cool story from this week, many of you know we were teaching a lady named "Ana" when I was in Cairo, GA. Welp, to my surprise, on Sunday (during sacrament meeting), she, her husband, and her grandaughter walked in the door!!!! They drove 50 minutes to come down here to the Spanish branch and participate. And probably to see me. HAHA It made my Sunday pretty great :) She still has her baptismal date set so we will see what happens :) 

Overall, this week has been great :) and I can pretty much tell you that I have still yet to step foot on the same street here in Tallahassee; that's how huge it is... HAHA JK. But really its huge. I think it would only be fair to say, 

From the smallest heart here in the city!

Elder Stonely 

Well for all of you that want to know just how fat the south is... Here is a 30 inch pizza... The plates, which we are holding are 12 inches long. The pizza hangs over the plates! I could lay on this thing!!!!

Look, I made a cool candle!

Another bad selfie...

Monday, October 10, 2016

Week 69: The Temple

Dear Friends and Family,

This week I have pondered a bunch on the Temple. For any missionary who has ever served in a mission without a temple, or for anyone who lives far away from the temple, you all know what I mean. I think EVERY day I think about going to the temple and feeling the peace and love that is found within the sacred walls. It is the best place for us to go to be closer to our savior. And well if you all haven't heard, TALLAHASSEE IS GETTING A TEMPLE!!!!

HAHA totally kidding. I mean there will be one some day :) But not today :) I encourage you all to go to the temple :) Its amazing :)

We had Elder Satati, from the Quorum of the Seventy come and do a mission tour. He talked to us on what it meant to come unto Christ and how we come unto Him. He tied it in with how if "we" as missionaries come unto Christ, then we will better help our investigators come unto Him. It is such a very simple concept, but we all took so much out of the visit with him. I realized that most days I forget about what it truly means to follow our Savior's example and walk in his footsteps. It is easy to forget who we want to become. Though, through prayer, diligent work and a whole lot of faith, we will get there. And we may see tender mercies along the way every day :) I am grateful for our inspired leaders! It was pretty hard NOT to feel the spirit in the same room with a 70.

Well funny experience this week. We were out walking about. We headed to a referral's house, though he was not home. So we decided to head back. On the way home we noticed a white car on the side of the road. Though we noticed it while we were taking the exit, SOOO... thinking to ourselves we felt like we should go help them. THAT required turning around on the freeway, backtracking a couple miles till we could take the same exit we got on to go home. Nonetheless, 15 min later, we arrived at the site. We got out of the car and talked with the people. Their first words were, "Did y'all know we were members?" HAHA and you could probably guess where the story goes from there. Their wheel had blown out and we helped them get it fixed. After it was all done, we hopped in our car to head out, and to what most people would call "great luck" our own car wouldn't start. The battery was dead. HAHAHAHA AWESOME! So we called some people, but nobody was answering. After about 5 minutes of waiting for people, we both decided to say a prayer and try the car again! we did, and the Lord must have been waiting for us to use a little faith, cause our car started again!!! HAHA I laugh because throughout the day the car did the same thing a couple times, but after the first, it was easier to believe that the Lord wanted us out and about so it kept going :)

Well this email was pretty long. But I hope for some of you its a great story :) I know that the Lord does watch over every single one of us. It is amazing to see so many tender mercies every day and be able to be a blessing to others lives. I love it! 

As our mission president always said, "GO OUT AND GIV'EM HEAVEN!" 

I love you all! 

Hope you have a great week :)

Elder Stonely

Here is a cucumber :)

Here is me and ELDER STURDEVANT!! we are loco...

Riley's district???

ANd me and ELde4r Shaw on a tradeoff :)

Monday, October 3, 2016

Week 68: Exploring Tallahassee

Dear Friends and Family :)

This week someone sent me these funny pics so I thought I would share them with you all :)

As far as missionary work goes, Tallahassee is still kicking it! Its pretty huge and there are so many things around every corner. Sometimes I want to call it the "great and spacious city" because there is just so much. This week we spent some time teaching some awesome people and I look forward to seeing them all next week as well :) I just like to meet a lot of people. 

General conference was amazing! I hope that we all learned something unique to ourselves :)

Today we went to the capital building of tallahassee and it was a pretty big building... Not sure what to compare it too cause its been so long since ive been in utah, but it was pretty big. The elevator felt like we were flying in an airplane. my ears popped while going up. HAHA

This week I was also able to see the tender mercies of prayer :) As I watched General Conference, I kept getting the impression that my prayers needed to be more sincere. Sunday night I went back home and made it a point to make my prayer special, and not just a "Prayer." It was nice to know that as we do that, our father in Heaven is able to bless us more and help us more. I think just as Elder Uchdorf, that sometimes we take advantage of some of the little parts of the gospel like prayer. When in reality those are some of the primary answers that allow us to participate in the blessings of the spirit. I am pretty happy that I have the tender mercy of prayer :)

I love you all so much and hope you have a great week!

Edler Stonely

View from building/museum behind State Capitol.

Riley, as a charming southern woman.

Fooling around

Florida State Capitol.