Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Nov 4- Gratitude

First I have to say... Daylight savings? I can do without. I'll just stick to Arizona.. or Hawaii!! (hehe) and not have to worry about it! Yeah that's what I'll do.
Next! Halloween was bom.com! Sister Roper and I were Minions! hehe We both had blue skirts and yellow tops and then we just made goggles! It was great! And we aren't allowed to go out on Halloween evening so my zone got together at a members, had chilly (I made some guacamole and brought chips) and we watched Monsters University, and The Kroons. SO funny! You could definitely tell we were missionaries and hadn't watched movies in a while. We laughed at anything and everything. It was really entertaining!
We also had a miracle this week. We have been working with a family to come back to church for MONTHS now. I love them SO much and want so much for them! We went out to get ice cream with them and they told us they were coming to church on sunday (which they had been saying for the last little while). Sister Roper and I were Sitting on a bench saving it for them, and here they come walking in with big grins on their faces like (told ya so) ah I almost cried, It was so amazing!! I loved everything about it!! ---I want to invite everyone to do that!! Find someone that needs just a little extra love and help them come back! It is the most rewarding feeling ever!! Love them!
We had an exchange this week and interviews with president which are always amazing! I may or may not have cried because I am going to be leaving soon and this is my 2nd to last interview with him. sad day! We are just teaching amazing people! They are all preparing for December baptisms! And are so solid! I can not wait!!
So this week I have been thinking a lot about me... "Woah is me I am going home and I have a hard life". (which is foolish because I don't...I know Sometimes I can be lame) So this week all of my prayers are going to be gratitude prayers. Not that I am ungrateful but I need to stop thinking about me and asking for things and just recognizing the blessings I HAVE, and there are a lot. It's been fun and I have become really creative, because I still need to ask for Heavenly Father to bless my investigators, but instead I will say, "I am grateful that (enter name here) will have an increased desire to read this week." It changes everything. I have to have more faith, and do more to make it happen. So it's been really cool! And I am just happier. When we "make" ourselves do something because we are "suppose" to be grateful for it. We aren't too happy to do it. However when you actually say thank you for each specific thing you have, even if it's you coat (which I am VERY grateful for this week! ha) It changes everything!
I am so grateful for this gospel in my life, for my family and for my friends! I am SO grateful that my best friends are getting married and have found the Love of their lives to spend eternity with! I am grateful that I get to be a missionary. To help other people that I have grown to love have eternal families as well. I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father, who knows my every need and lets me learn by climbing. Sometimes it's hard, but lets be honest, when you climb a mountain and get to the top you don't think about the struggle, It's just liberating standing on the top! And I am grateful for that. I love you all so very much! Let's take the time to be a little more grateful and to let Heavenly Father know it! I love love love you!
Have a blessed week!
Sister Stones

Dropbox: "Halloween was bomb.com!! Minions all the way!! We carved pumpkins in District meeting ours was faith.. like a seed... It's growing into a flower... we didn't have very long haha. and beautiful fall trees!!! love them!"

Oct 28

Hola Familia!!
What a week I've had! Seriously! It has been a jam packed week! I'm not even actually sure how we fit it all in! .... really..
Let's start with monday. Our really cool, super awesome, wonderful invesigator Debi has been begging us to get permission to do Zumba with her one time! SO we magically got permission and on monday got to take a Zumba class! wooowee can I say I have not so good rhythm anymore. hahaha. but it was really great to support Debi! She rocked it! This little hispanic lady behind Sister Roper and I just kept laughing at us. haha. But lots of fun. Then that night we had a conference call... yeah you read that right, a conference call with our mission president and the other leaders in the mission to tell us that we are now going to be "Online Missionaries" Including: Facebook, Blogs, Mormon.org. AND in december we are getting Ipads and IPhones!! SAY WHAT?! Yeah... Mind. Blown.
Let's just say I have been almost freaking out about it because I know how many of my friends are married or having babies or are getting married! Do you know how distracting that is?! So yes I am now a Facebook Missionary. SO If you see me on there please oh please! Only talk to me about missionary things. If you have a friend you would like me to teach. OR if you are someone that has quesions than by all means chat it up! And think about how you can be a facebook missionary too. again.. mind. blown.
On to normal missionary work!
We taught the Alfeire Family this week! They are a part member family and we are teaching Brianna (9) and Connor (8) so that they can get baptized in December! They are so cute! We taught them the plan of Salvation and they ate it up! Cute kids! We also taught another family just like that. The Masons their two youngest girls haven't been baptized yet, and their family has been Less active for many years, so we are teaching the whole family. We taught them the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation this week and again they ate it up too! They are getting baptized in December as well. Heavenly Father has blessed us so much! We are teaching so many wonderful people! Debi is still preparing for December 24th. and she is so excited! :) Robert is learning how to rely on Jesus Christ so he can stop smoking! He's doing great!
We went on 2 exchanges. Sister Schramm came to me and we worked! It was wonderful! We went knocking on doors (first time I've done it in this area) and we found a new invesigator! Her name is Norka, she is in the Military (like everyone else) and yeah we found her by knockin on her door! She's fun. Definitely Military. After everything we said or every question we got a "yes, Ma'am". Loved it!
Then I went back to my old stopming grounds in shirlington!! CRAZY! We walked around everywhere and man oh man has that place changed in a year! It was super fun to go back though!
Friday we had a Sisters Conference which was so wonderful! I was asked to talk with the Sisters on how to stay focused and no become distracted. ha. That's fitting for life right now. Heavenly Father knew what I needed and how to help me get back into the swing of things. Have me study and talk about it. The spirit was really strong, and I was able to say exactly what was needed for me, and for everyone else. Then we had a meeting about how to use facebook. (I felt like mom. "wait. go back. I didn't see which button you pushed!" "Wait. Show me again. "How did you get here?" haha it was really commical)
I can't believe how much the work is progressing even in this small area of Fort Belvoir! And now we get to teach people all over the world! I am so blessed to be a missionary right at this time! I wish I was at the beginning of my mission so time was on my side. But I will work with what I get! :) and as our Member Brother Parkes liked to remind me last night "Hey that's only 14 weeks" ah... rude. :) haha Love them! Anyhoo. I love you all and I know that Heavenly Father is Hastenin his work! SO everyone jump on! I love you all so much!
Sister Stones

Oct 21- Lovin' The Mission Life

Wow has this week been full of miracles!! First off all I have to say is God is great! We have been working really hard at seeing each of our investigators twice in a week so that they are having more frequent reminders to read and learn and things, that is almost nearly impossible in this area because everyone has 2-3 jobs trying to make ends meet. But this week we had 12 lessons. That's right I think the most I've had almost my whole mission except with Sister Rozsa when I was being trained was 6. So I was so happy! We also had the primary program this week for church and we had 9 non members that came with us! 9! That is an amazing miracle, and they LOVED it! The little kiddo's did just a good job I was even in tears when they sang "I like to look for rainbows". They did sign language with it, and it was just beautiful! It reminded me when I was the primary chorister with mom and they had me teach all the little ones "I am a child of God" in Sign. So. cute! I love them!
We went into DC today to go to the Arlington Cemetery and it was really cool .We ran into a bunch of members. One was from one of my old wards! So that was fun, and the spirit was just so tender ans sacred in that place. We also happened to go right as they were changing the guards at the "Unknown Soldier" which was also really sacred and cool to watch. We are so blessed to live where we live, and to have the freedoms that we are so blessed to have. And today was just beautiful! Very rejuvenating! Muh feet hurt... but we'll look past that. ha :)
I love Sister Roper! She is wonderful and just loves life, and I need her! This week was huge for both of us. She got a package in the mail from her mom congratulating her on her 1/2 way mark! She's been out for 9 months. And I got a letter from the mission office.... The "Trunky letter" as missionaries around here call it, or "We're about to give you the boot, lets figure out the details." or "Thanks for all you do, don't let this distract you but... Your going home." Yeah. I may or may not have cried. I haven't really thought about it, but knew it was coming... So when I got it in the mail I just looked at it and my heart dropped and I put it back in the mail box and walked away. hahaha The I laughed and went back and grabbed it and then couldn't breath right. So I am officially on my climb home haha because they are going to have to carry me out on a stretcher from this place!! I'm headed home on:
February 7th.
Now people don't have to ask me. haha there it is. I have mixed feelings about it, but I am going to try my very hardest to not get distracted, funny enough we are having a Sisters Conference this friday and Sister Riggs has asked me to talk with the Sister's on how to do just that, "Being here" and not being distracted by anything at home or whats to come. So Heavenly Father is giving me a little help so I know how to do it too haha!
I love my mission so much! I can't believe how fast it has flown by! And I know how fast the holiday's go so I will be home sooner than you know it! ah. ***deep breath*** ok I'm good. Yes I love everything, even the crazies! Because there are some, don't you worry.
I love you all. I hope you have an amazing week and I will talk to you next week!!
Sister Stones
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Changing of the Guards. So Cool.
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"Fall!!! Arlington Cemetery. And just our pretty faces! :) love you!" Drop Box: https://www.dropbox.com/home/Fort%20Belvoir%202#!/home/Fort%20Belvoir%202

Oct 14- Tender Mercies

What is up my good lookin Family!!
I don't have a lot of time today because I took so long being distracted by who knows what. ha. But this week has been crazy and weird! SO I am in a new area and I have just been sick. Almost the whole time so far. Terrible headaches, nauseous, you name it, I had it. No idea why. I even had this awful terrible night mare. and when I say awful I mean it. bleck. No fun. I am slightly afraid to go to sleep some nights. It's weird. I haven't ever been like that. SO I am banking on this next week being WAY better. But even with me being sick and super off, we still taught 10 lessons, put 2 people on date, and had 2 wonderful souls come to church! Let's just say God is really good at what He does, and using his instruments even if they are a little out of tune sometimes, or even broken. Helps me know that I am not super woman and sometimes I can't do it all. Weird. but true haha :) So I am doing better, and sleeping again and jumping right back on the horse! I am still getting to know the area and this week we are jumping right into exchanges again. So I am excited to work with other Sisters in different areas. Back to a couple old stomping grounds which I am stoked about!
We also went to the temple this morning. Which was really needed! The spirit was stronger than usual and I think it's because the Lord knew I needed a little extra boost. Which I did and it was recieved warmly and with open arms! In Relief Society on Sunday we learned all about the tender mercies of the Lord, and then last couple days I have been bombarded with them! I just know that Heavenly Father is aware of me. We went to a members home to check on her because she wasn't at curch and her nephew was there so we taught him and when he ended the lesson with his prayer he prayed the we would be protected and that no evil spirits would be around us. It was crazy! Because the night before I had had a nuzto dream and hadn't been able to sleep! He had no clue, and such a random thing to pray for. But Heavenly Father needed me to know he was there. Cool.
We also went to see another member and met a man named Javier out side and started talking to him about the church and by the end of our chat we had taught the restoration and given him a book of mormon to pray about. and then o end the lesson he prayed. Which was a miracel because he hadn't prayed since he was 17 when he stopped going to Catholic school and to church (now he's 40)and the spirit was so sweet as he prayed, you could just feel the Heavenly Father was grateful to hear from his son! Man I am so lucky. I get to have those moments everyday. I am so blessed and even with sickness and crazy going on I know that God is aware and then he loves me! I love you all and I know this church is true. I know that I am here in Lorton Virginia serving in the Fort Belvoir ward because that's exactly where Heavenly Father needs me to be! I love this work! I love you all and I hope you have an amazing week!!
Sister Stones
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"Fort Belboir""WE HAVE AN IHOP~! yummmm, just built. They knew I was comin. I was sick with migrains, Grandma (she's amazing!) The temple! Tender mercy: the Gainesville Missionaries were there and so I go to see a couple members and muh mission buddies! ...ANd stress=a cold sore. "
Drop box:

Oct 7- Pumpkin pie is gross... no matter what people say!

Dear Family,
Crazy eventful week!!
Like I said on friday, I have been transfered! I am now in Fort Belvoir Ward Serving with Sister Roper! I love her! I have been on a bunch of exchanges with her before this and I just love her to death! She is an amazing Missionary, hard working and we ard just going to see lots of miracles! I can't wait! Plus being sister training Leaders! It is going to be so much fun!! It is going to take me a while to get to know all the investigators and everyone's names, because they are all from Ghana and have such beautifully interesting names, but it will be great! And since I only have 3 transfers left (super sad day, and kinda crazy to think about.. so now I am done thinking abou it... ha) I most likely will stay here till the end! Super crazy. But who knows. Lets be honest, this girl doesn't. Ha I just go where ever the Lord needs me too and then I open my mouth. I love this work! man it's just the best!
Also, Was conference wonderful or what? I was so touched by all the different talks and all the messages my heart is still just so full! I have been preparing and studyin and getting ready for conference. I came up with questions to have answered, and I just studied :) Well, lets just say all my questions were answered and I am just so grateful for a living modern day prophet! Heavenly Father loves us so very much! We definitel need to work on some things, but he loves us and wants us to know that and I sure felt it! If you missed it go to lds.org and watch it! Totally worth it!
We got to go to the Temple Visitor Center and watch conference with our investigator Blake! That was fun! It was sunday morning (afternoon here) session, super cool!
Let's see. I am just getting settled and getting used to everything. Oh at transfer meeting I got to sing wih Sister Goates, a sister that goes home this next transfer, and I am so grateful, because it was really beautiful. The night before I get a phone call from the Ap's and it's Elder Cluff, he says, "Uh so. Sister Stones, We neglected to plan in advance. How are your vocal cords doing?" haha I said, "Doing great do you need a musical number?" and he said, "We thought you'd never ask!" ha so the next morning I found Sister goats and someone to play the piano and we sang, "I need thee every hour" it was so fun. I am so grateful to know that I am trusted in that way. That everyone knows that no matter what it is they can call me, even last second and if I can I will always be there to help. I hope I am always like that! :)
Welp, I am off to have another wonderful miracle filled week! Love you all so so SOO much! Go out and follow the coucil from the prophet aka the mouth piece for God and spread the gospel to everyone!!! :) Love you!!!
Sister Stones
Ps. I had pumpkin pie for the first time this week and It was gross. Good thing I'm a missionary and can muscle things down haha :) Love ya
"Tranfers"-"Our Last disrict meetings, the Fish family, packin the car. Transfers, We watched conference at the temple visitor center, and it's pouring today!"
Dropbox: https://www.dropbox.com/home/Transfers!#!/home/Transfers

Oct 5- Drumroll Please...

I have been transfered BACK to the Mt Vernon Stake! I am serving with Sister Roper in the Fort Belvoir Ward Still serving as sister trainer leader. I am stoked! I'm over Sisters in Kingstowne AND Shirlington!! That's my first area! So stoked!
My new address is:
Sister Michelle Stones
7520 Woodside Ln #14
Lorton, VA 22039
you can send letters and all sorts of stuff. :) What ever your hearts desire!
Love you all! Talk to you Monday!
Sister Stones

Sept 30- If you don't like where you are, then change it. You are not a tree.

Hello Family!!
This week has been loads of fun!! Seriously! We had a bunch of meetings and a bunch of lessons and a bunch of pranks pulled on us. ha man oh man I love this big family I am apart of right now!
Ok So first off I will start off by saying the Elders in our mission are crazy! AND they LOVE pulling pranks on us, because we give the reaction they want. haha but these ones were really good. First. There used to be an Elder in the Mission he has been home a while now, but I heard a rumor that he was coming back to visit his name is Elder Makwenkwe and he is from Africa and amazing! I called one of the Assistant to the President (AP's) to ask him a question (Elder Cluff) and this is what I hear, "Hello this is Elder Makwenkwe." WHAT?! I was stoked! I then proceeded to have the best conversation with elder Makwenkwe! Asked him how we was doing and what he had been up to. and as I continued to ask him questions his thick African accent started to slip and so half way through the conversation I hear this timid voice, "uh... Sister Stones. hey.. uh... it's elder cluff." "What?!" (seriously so confused!) "It's Elder Cluff." bahahaha then I hear Elder Day in the background just bustin a gut! (They were on exchanges) and then we all laughed hysterically. man oh man I am a blonde. The next day We got a text from the zone leaders (where elder Day is) and it says, "Hey remember that one time when you thought Elder Cluff was Elder Makwenkwe? ... good times." ha terd. Oh but that's not all, I then got a call from Elder Gustafsen asking how my convo with Makwenkwe was. I am with a bunch of children. ha. I love them!
To continue forward onto the next one. (ha) We had the best night Saturday. We got a ride from a member to the Relief Society Broadcast (the women's organization in the church) so we were being really kind and we gave the elders the keys to the car so they could drive the rest of the night since we weren't going to be using it. After this spiritually uplifting experience (quite life changing I might add) we are driving home and we were telling our member that the elders have our keys to the car. And then all the dots connected and I said... "Oh they also have the key to the apartment." hmmm... "Elders don't do pranks." Says the member sarcastically. OH.NO. So the elders come and let us in to the complex, and give us our keys and silly us are just so tired we don't think anything of it (short term memory loss I swear), UNTIL we get up to our room and I go to turn on a light and nothing happens. or any of the other light switches in the house. Oh ok they turned off our power. So we find the power box and turn it back on... oh wait nope they have taken all the lights out of the light fixtures... it's fine it's just pitch black and we are all screaming and yelling and (I am recording this on my camera for laughing purposes) when I find all the bulbs underneath our beds! And the ones where they couldn't take them out were on our balcony! haha So we get all the lights in and on and Sister Olson goes to turn on the water in the sink to wash her hands and she is then sprayed!! Yeeup they had rubber band, (rubber banded??) our sink sprayer so when we turned it on... we got wet. Her face should have been recorded! Seriously! I dropped to the floor laughing! Man good times. We got it all figured out and are now trying to figure out how to get the elders back. any good ones?!
Onto the spiritual now, because this week was full of that too!
We are still teaching Steven, Debbie, Tim, Amy, and are doing new member lessons with Zahra. They are so amazing. They are all struggling with their own things that they are needing to overcome but as they read the book of Mormon little by little they are struggles anymore. They recognize the strength that comes from keeping the commandments and they are working on finding out if this is true for themselves.
We went to a Fireside with Steven last night and it was wonderful. Afterward he said, "Yeah I feel like my prayers were answered by some of the testimonies that were said. I think I know this is true. I want to get baptized on the 12th." !!! YAY! So we are working hard and helping him remember why he loves this so much! It's fun! We also had a half mission conference, and learned all about how important it is to go back to the basics. And so that is what I am doing. It has been great so far! I'll just keep it up!
Ok last thing before I run. This morning I was studying and reading from the Book of Mormon and read Alma chapter 26. It is about Ammon and his brothers when they have finished their mission among their brethren who didn't know Christ and how much joy they have for being an instrument in the Lords hands. I feel that exact way! This experience has changed my life! I have become so deeply grounded in the Gospel nothing could change my mind ever! I know that there is a Prophet of God on the Earth today and that this weekend we get to hear from him and the other general authorities of the church, and I can't wait. We have divine guidance sent straight from Heavenly Father, through his servant to us! Wow he loves us so much! I want to challenge everyone who is reading this to watch it! Watch it with questions, and I promise they will be answered! I love you all so much and I love my Savior Jesus Christ. I hope you all have an amazing week!!
This is one of my favorite verses from the chapter (Alma 26:36-37, and exactly how I feel!!:
"36 Now if this is boasting, even so will I boast; for this is my life and my light, my joy and my salvation, and my redemption from everlasting wo. Yea, blessed is the name of my God, who has been mindful of this people, who are a branch of the tree of Israel, and has been lost from its body in a strange land; yea, I say, blessed be the name of my God, who has been mindful of us, wanderers in a strange land. 37 Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen.
I love you all. Remember that we are all children of God and we are all meant to change and grow! SO If you don't like where you are, then change it! You are not a tree!
Love you,
Sister Stones

Dropbox "September Fun" Elders pranked us, I made spaghetti squash for dinner, Sister Olson in her Armor of God, And Sister Christensen. LOVE YOU ALL!"

Sept 23- Blessings Amid the Storms

Hello Family!

This week has been so eventful! Crazy week indeed!

I don't even know where to start. ha

Ok lets see, well first we didn't have a baptism this week Steven is still really figuring out what he is going to do. SO keep him in your prayers. So we'll pause for a moment with his baptism, He is so amazing!

We had two CRAZY exchanges! and when I say crazy I mean crazy. Let's just say.... Sister Missionaries are so silly! haha For some reason the Elders don't have these problems, the ones where they feel like they have to be perfect all the time, and if they aren't then they are failures! Oh WAIT that's girls in general! Why? It's silly! We are just here to do the best we can, and to rely on the Lord for the strength to keep it up. Anyway, It's all good now, but I am so grateful for the blessings of the spirit to know what to say and how to help these amazing Sisters! I love them so much and am learning so much from them and will continue to do so! I am SO grateful for Momma though, I always pull from things she taught me and it keeps me going and it helps them as well. They keep me on muh toes.

We found a new investigator!! His name is Robert and he is super great! It was Sister Billman (on exchange), Sister Hodgkin, and myself and we were out knocking on doors and knocked on his. We taught him the restoration on his door step, invited him to read the book of Mormon to know if it was true for himself, and to pray to Heavenly Father because He was the one who was going to tell him (Robert) if this was HIS church or not. And he accepted, and I invited him to be baptized into this church if he knew and again he accepted. I know some of your jaws might have just dropped!! you did what when?! On the first visit! Invited him to be baptized?! On his doorstep?! ... Yep! :) I LOVE door step lessons! AND I love inviting people to be baptized! It is such an amazing feeling watching the wheels turn in someones brain as they answer this life changing question! (I have the best life ever!) So he's great!

We also put Debbie on date for baptism! For the 26th of October! And she said she would definitely pray about it! We taught her with our member Angie Gretz (who is a convert of about 3 years) and it was amazing they talked most of the time and we listened and taught here and there but it was really good for Debbie to see someone not raised in the church and their story! LOVE HER! She also looked at me with these little squinty eyes and said, "How much longer to I have you here with me? I know you do this weeks then you gone business and you've been around for a while." haha I told her when transfers were and then I had no idea if I was going to stay or go. But I would definitely be at her baptism whenever that would be! :) It has been amazing teaching her!

Oh and then for the Lesson topper! On Saturday it rained.... all day! We had planned on going to see our investigator Tim later that night but felt like we should stop by around 6ish, so we did and he was home and at first he said, "You guys are early!" we asked if there were any females home and he said no and so we had to stay outside, he tried to get us to just come back another time and we just kept talking and ended up teaching him as we stood outside in the pouring rain getting completely drenched, under a tiny umbrella and he stood inside. We taught him the restoration of the gospel and answered all his questions (he asks really great ones) and invited him to read and to pray so he would find out for himself. The spirit was so strong. Then Sister Hodgkin invited him to be baptized on November 2nd. The spirit was even stronger then, and he said if he knew he would be the first in line. We invited him to pray right there and to ask and he tried to push it off on me to pray and I said, "He hears from me all day, he wants to hear from you." and so he did. It was a sweet and simple prayer and it was perfect. After ward we sat there quietly and he said... "woah". :) Don't ya just love the spirit? I do. I smiled from ear to ear as I knew (and he knew) that the Lord had answered his prayer. It was really cool!!

Right before his lesson we got a phone call from President Riggs telling us there was going to be a mix up in our companionship and that Sister Hodgkin was going to be leaving and serving in Kingstowne (where I was!) and that another sister, Sister Christensen would be coming to us (with a switch in the middle). It was sad I love Sister Kodgkin!! But I love change so bring it on! And then he proceeded to tell us that we had to make it all happen haha and before church.... Our church starts at 9. SO Sunday morning we were up at 4:30 and out by 5. In Kingstowne by 6, and Chantilly by 7 and then home again by 7:30-8 just in time to gather things get some breakfast and rush to church! I WAS TIRED! But we had two people come to church! Man this week has just been full of miracle after miracle. When I am in the middle of it, I don't see as many, but when I look back. Man the Lord has most certainly been there! So we have a new companion. She is adorable! We will keep her till transfers next week and then see what happens from there.
Wow that was a long one! Sorry if there were some dry places! haha my brain is still feelin the lack of sleep with all the crazy, but I wouldn't change it for anything! I love everyone so much and hope everyone has an amazing week!!!

Love you all,
Sister Stones

Sept 16- Take Me Out to the Ball Game!

Hey Family!!

SO we had an amazing week! Full of fun and laughter if I can say the least!

Our mission and the missions around us were invited to the Nationals baseball Game to kick of the National Day of Service!! It was AMAZING!! We had such a fun time! We left here around 4 and didn't get home till about 1!! My body started to shut down around 10 haha It was so funny how loopy all of us got once we were out later than we are normally. Funny thing is that I would normally be starting my night at that time back home! ha Funny how things flip. Didn't think that would happen.... Surprise. It Did. We took lots of pictures, sang, and danced (respectfully as missionaries would), but it was funny, I literally couldn't control it. I had to dance even if it was just the bob of my head, it is embedded inside of me hahaha But it was so much fun!! I ate some dip-in-dots, and basically saw the whole Herndon ward! They were there and I got to say hi! That was cool! Seriously a blast!! It's been a long while since I had that much fun, with THAT many people! So great!

We also had an AMAZING lesson with a woman named Gina! Sister Olson and I had knocked on her door a couple weeks ago and had a return apointment for the next day, and when we went to go to her appointment Sister Olson's tire went flat (we rode bikes that day) and we missed her by 5 minutes. There was a note on the door saying that she had waited but that she had to get back to work and the kids and she wished us a wonderful mission. So we hadn't gone back until sunday afternoon. We knocked on her door and apologized for not making it to the last appointment and asked if she had a few minutes to talk now? And she said yes and let us inside! We sat down at her kitchen table and she talked about how she was born and raised in Arizona and how she had a friend that was Mormon growing up! (go member work!). She told us how she was catholic but was still searching. She told her reason why she believed, and then asked each of us. And each of us bore a similar testimony about the Book of Mormon, and how we read it and prayed and know it to be more scripture from Our Loving Heavenly Father! And then she asked us some more questions, but the most amazing one was she asked where Joseph Smith got his authority or how he could be a prophet. And so I told her about Joseph Smith searching for Gods church when he was 14, we read together the Scripture that touched him so deeply to pray and ask (John 1:5) and then recited to her the first vision. (I have to give a a little side note, there had been some quite country music going on in the background while we were talking that wasn't disruptive or distracting.... but still on. which normally we would ask them to turn it off at the beginning of the lesson, but had neglected to do so.) So as I was telling the first vision, the music, which was quite and unnoticeable until that moment seemed to be almost screaming in my head. I prayed with all my heart as I was focusing and trying to bear my soul to Gina and it was as if Heavenly Father turned it off himself, the spirit pushed through and was FILLING the room that nothing else existed. After Sister Olson asked her how she felt. And she said "amazing, Sister stones you almost brought me to tears. You believe this so much it would make anyone want to believe it." Sister Olson testified that it was the spirit that she was feeling, teaching her of truth. That this was true. And then I shared with her what had happened. I said, "Gina, we as missionaries don't listen to music like this right now." and her mouth dropped and her eyes filled with tears as she said, "Sister Stones, there was no music as you were telling me that story." I started to cry as I testified that God knows her heart that she is searching for truth, that it was no coincidence that we knocked on her door when we had, and that he loves her so much." By that time we were all crying, and I invited her to be baptized. She said that she would read the Book of Mormon and pray about it, but if she knows than yes. aaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh IT WAS SO COOL!!!!! The Church is true!!!

And then we ran to the Church and Steven got his baptismal interview and is getting baptized on FRIDAY!!! SO cool!!! Seriously though it was an amazing week! I am so thankful for the spirit and for the peace I feel from it being a missionary! I love this gospel and I love my Heavenly Father!! I love you all and hope you have an amazing week!!
Love ya,
Sister Stones
Inline image 1
"The Nationals Baseball game!!! SO MUCH FUN!! I love these missionaries!! They are so great! The game was so awesome and the Nationals WON!"

Dropbox pictures: https://www.dropbox.com/home/Nationals%20Base%20ball%20game!#!/home/Nationals%20Base%20ball%20game

Sept 9- Teach People Not Lessons

Hello familia!!
This week has been wonderful! We got a new sister to join our party! Her name is Sister Hodgkin she is from the temple square Visitor Cener mission and is here on her out bound (my 3rd trio) I love her!! She is from Germany and such a fun addition to our companionship. We all have so much fun and know how to laugh and have a good time as we go about our work teaching the gospel!
SO this week has been nuts! As sister trainer leaders we go around and do exchanges with each of the different sisters we cover but we also go to each of the zone conferences! This week we had zone conference with the centreville and the ashburn zones. And we rocked it! We were given the topic of teach people not lessons and so we had to teach and present at the conference to help the missionaries better at asking inspired questions. Sister Olson got this Bomb.com "skit" to do. In my pictures last week I sent a picture of my legs all torn up from mosquitos. I had at least 15 on each leg! bleck. anyway. I have tried EVERYTHING on them. every kind of cream you can think of because they were miserable! We happened to have about 5 or so different types of creams or lotions or whatever you can think of to relieve the pain from my bites and so she had this idea...
We wrote down different problems people would have on pieces of paper like: pink eye, a cavity, the flu, ear infection, heart complications, and my bug bites. and then we handed them out and had the missionaries come up to the front and she would ask (as Dr. Sister Olson) what their symtoms were and how she could help. (haha) She asked me and I said, "I have these terrible bites that itch like crazy and I really need help!" She said, "Oh I have the perfect thing for you! Benedryl!" Me: "Perfect that will work just great!" Then she went to the next person, and say "What are your symptoms?!" they'd say, "Oh you know, I think I might have [enter illness here]. And I am not feeling too good." then she would look at them and say "oh I have the perfect thing for you!!!..... Benedryl" (haha) and then after she asked everyone (and gave the same response) she went back down the line to see how the medicine worked. I told her that I was all better and my bites were all gone! but the coments from everyone else were hilarious! On the pink eye, one missionary said.... "uuuhhh... well now I'm blind in that eye, but my pink eye is gone" (haha) it was hilarious. But the point of the whole thing was that it didn't "work" for everyone. Not because they weren't ready but 1. she wasn't knowledgable enough to help 2. She didn't listen 3. Medicine is here to bless and help! But just because it's "medicine" doesn't mean that it is going to work for everyone all the time. In the same way that the gospel IS FOR EVERYONE but you have to get to know the right diagnosis to really know what part of the gospel will REALLY help them. We have to really study every day to know what the Lord would have us teach each person, each and every day, something that worked for someone yesterday or even the lesson before isn't going to help the person I am teaching today. I have to study and gain more knowledge everyday, and then I have to ask questions. It was awesome! (hope that made sense..... if not... sorry haha) I loved it and it was really effective! I have a great companion!
Zahra got confirmed on Sunday!! And recieved the Holy Ghost!! It was a sweet blessing and a wonderful sacrament meeting! She is so wonderful! Steven is still preparing for baptism but probably not this weekend he is still reading and praying to make sure this is exactly what he is wanting to do! He is great! Him and his mom made us dinner the other night! It was delicious! I love this work so very much!! I know that the Jesus Christ is my Savior and I know tha I am learning to pattern my life so that one day I will want to live with God again! I love this work and am so blessed to be a missionary!! Love you all!! have a Glorious week!!
Love Always,
 Sister Stones
"These are the great adventures of Sister Olson and SIster Stones and Sister Hodgkin!! Don't mind the video!! hahaah we have an investigators daughter who talks like that ha she is adorable and we love her!! (Samantha Fish) oh and the cat shirt is for tori and darlene! haha I saw this at target and thought of you girls. LOVE YOU ALL!!!"

Aug 26- "Wait what?! Did you get bit by a snipe?!"

Hello amazing family!! I love you all and thank you so much for you letters and love and prayers my way! This week has been so much fun! Transfers were this week and my new companions name is Sister Olson she is about 4 feet 10 inches and has the biggest heart! I feel like a GIANT as her companion (being 5'6" and all) but we are having a blast!! There are also elders in Gainesville now too! That is a lot of fun! They are rockin it!
SO funny FUNNY story! I have the most amazing companion! seriously besides the fact that she sleep talks which wakes me up for a half a second and then I am back asleep she is amazing! haha but last night at about 2 in the morning I woke up to her throwing back her covers and in one motion up on her feet with her hands clasped together against her chest knees bent STANDING on her bad crouched as if she is talking to someone and she says, "What?! What? You got bit by a snipe?! Was it a snipe?! Wait (as she starts to come to) Wait Sister Stones did you get bit by a a sni... a ssnake?!" BAHAHAHAHA I was laughing so hard I just said, "Nah, you're just sleeping." hahaha and then she slowly got OFF her bed and laid back down and then just started laughing hysterically!!! hahahahaha oh.my.goodness. I love her!!! most.epic.night.ever! haha!!

I have been tremendously blessed this week! So sadly for about the last 3 and a half months I have not had a voice. It is all rapsy and it isn't really there most days. It is hard to talk and singing in nearly impossible. Which has been a really big struggle because I love singing so much! Well we had a Musical Fireside last night and I was asked to sing "Savior, Redeemer of my Soul." Which is really amazing! I love it so much and it brings the spirit so strongly! However yesterday my voice was worse than it normally is. I wasn't sure what I was going to do. I fasted and prayed, and was ready to let someone one else sing it because at 6:30 I ran through it and hardly anything came out. Everyone said I should still do it and so I asked for a blessing. I received a sweet blessing from one of the Elders and went out in confidence from the blessings I was promised. And then most amazing thing happened. I had a voice. Not full voice, not amazing, but it was there and I could sing. So I sang all the numbers with the choir, and then it was my turn to sing. I got up and started to sing,
"Savior, Redeemer of my Soul
Who's mighty hand hath made me whole
Who's wondrous power hath raised me up,
and filled with sweet my bitter cup!
What tongue my gratitude can tell,
O Gracious God of Isreal."

It was a little weak and hoarse, but it came out. That I sang,

"Never can I repay thee Lord,
But I can Love thee. Thy Pure Word.
Hath it not been my one delight
My Joy by day, my dream by night.
Then let my lips proclaim it still
And all my life reflect thy will."

Then the piano and violin continued to grow and I just allowed the spirit to take it and I gave it my whole heart and soul and sang
"O'errule mine acts to serve thine ends.
Change frowning foes to smiling friends.
Chasten my soul till I shall be
In perfect harmony with thee...."
I began to cry and with tears running down my cheek barely audible sang
"Make me more worthy of thy love
and fit me for the life.
I shouldn't have been able to sing, I shouldn't have been able to. I physically could just minutes before, But I know that my savior loves me and he knows my heart! He knew how badly I wanted to praise him and sing in the fireside that he allowed angles to be my voice! I will be forever grateful! There wasn't a dry eye in the chapel. One of the elders came up after. Brand new only been out for a few days and he said, "Sister stones (as he shook my hand) Thank you for singing. I have been feeling really homesick ever since I left home and when you sang the spirit washed it away and I just want to go out and serve my Savior. Thank you." I love this work! I know that Heavenly Father knows each one of you. He knows your hearts, your desires and your dreams, and I know that if you give them all to Him He WILL make miracles out of your offering. I know that my Savior lives. I know that he loves me and knows how to use me as an instrument to bring people closer to him and I am so humbled. I love you all and hope you have an amazing week. Remember as we are obedient God will bless us.

Sister Stones
"Zahra's baptism, Sister Olson, and my bug bites! oh and one of the elders that went home. haha we were friends! " Dropbox pictures: https://www.dropbox.com/home/Gainesville%20Part%203#!/home/Gainesville%20Part%203

Aug 23-New Mail Policy

Hey hey hey everyone! Just reminding everyone about our new mail policy! Please don't send mail to the lyngate address any longer send it to the address that I am living! :) which is

Sister Stones
13550 Heathcote Blvd #321
Gainesville, VA 20155

And then I'll let you know on the address change when I get transferred to new areas. But I will be here for the next 6 weeks :) Oh and My new companion is SISTER OLSON! She's awesome! Pictures to come! :)

Sister Stones

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Aug 19- Hello From the East Coast

This week has been so much fun! And it has been beautiful. It's been in the 60s-80s with light humitity and light breezes. It's like I am in california... except without the beautiful beaches. But it's ok. Last summer I was MELTING and on bike so I will take this anyday! I even busten out my cute half boots and scarfs today! LOVE IT!
Ok first I have to comment on how hilarious it is that jonathan can't stay on his bike! I think he is going to far surpass me in the tally for "Bike: enter number here, Elder Stones:0" So all I have to say is I am going to make a score board if no one else does hahaha I love you bubba and I feel your pain! haha You will get a point some day! OH I know. You can gain a point every week you don't fall off!! That's a good one! You're welcome!
Ok so onto my amazing week! First we were supposed to have a baptism this week but it got pushed back a little. Zahra's mom is really wanting to make sure that she is knowing what she is doing, so she has asked her to visit a couple other churches and then when she does and still feels like this is right for her she can go ahead. haha that's a weird commitment to give someone, "Go to some other churches please so you can get baptized!" haha she knows it's true and I am not worried at all, I am grateful she loves her mom enough to do what she asks. SO I don't know when but Zahra's getting baptized one of these weekends! haha :)
We went on two exchanges this week with some amazing Sisters! I love having this calling! I get to learn so much as I teach these sisters but also as they teach me! I have the amazing opportunity to meet so many different people from all over and in differen phases of their conversion so I am learning a lot!
But besides our amazing investigations we got to go to the temple this week!!! It has been REALLY needed, and I was so grateful for the spirit there. I am so thankful for the blessings of the temple in my life!
Lets see... what else is happening! Oh yeah! Man how can I forget! Transfers are this week. Thursday. We find out tomorrow for sure, but we are pretty sure that Sister Borland will be transfered and I will get another companion. I am so excited/sad. I love change, but I love sister Borland! It will be good though! We are also getting elders in our area as well! AND our Bishop is moving to Utah in about a week!! SO there is a lot of change that's going on and I am thankful for the strength I will recieve to just keep swimming and loving the sun! :)
ALSO, there is a new mail policy. It is getting to be too much for the office to forward our mail. and the post office is going to start charging them. so with each new transfer you will have to send you letters to my specific address. my gainesville is:
Sister Michelle Stones
13550 Heathcote Blvd #321
Gainesville, VA 20155
Let the writting commence!
I love you all and I hope you have an amazing week!! You are all wonderful and I will talk to you next week! With more exciting updated news!! The life of a missionary is exciting!
Sister Stones
This link is to a dropbox photo album that Michelle created I am not sure if it will work or not. :)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Aug 12- Mailin' Monday!!

Hello Familia!!

How has everyone been?! I love getting everyone's email's they make me so happy! I am so blessed to have such amazing family members who keep me updated in their lives so I don't feel forgotten hahaha :) I love you all!

This week has been wonderful! I love gainesville and am so blessed to be a sister trainer leader! We are coming up to the rap up of this transfer and my heart is just jumping for joy at the miracles and people we have met over these last couple tranfers together! We have had many miracle lessons and this weekend we have a baptism planned and in a couple weeks we will be having another one! I am in awe of the blessings God grants us as we have faith, are diligent, and humble.

I went on two exchanges this week and one with Centreville and one with Herndon! I got to see and have a lesson with Oscar and Sister Dean!! My heart was so happy! I am so lucky and blessed to have this calling! Oscar is preparing for baptism! I can't believe it! He has been coming to church and he loves the Book of Mormon! I just remember the first time I knocked on his door! And our first lesson! Man oh man I love this work!

We also have had wonderful lessons with Zahra (who is preparing for baptism this weekend!), Steven and Debbie! They are all doing so wonderfully! Just learning more and more and drawing more and more to our Savior! It's really amazing to be apart of!

This week I am focusing in on different topics as I study and I am so amazed at the beautiful information the gospel brings us! I have been studying forgiveness and change or repentance. And how important it is to forgive ourselves in the process of change. We are changing everyday. It really is our only constant in life. The thing we can look forward to that will stay constant: change. That is what the gospel of Jesus Christ brings us though. As we are building our faith and gaining knowledge and a love for our savior we no longer want to do bad things, or even little annoying things that just ping our spirit, for instance: losing your temper on the road. When we focus on the life of our Savior you automatically will want to change. That doesn't always mean that the change will take place though. We have to be wiling to let go of whatever it is that keeps us from him. And with that come our willing heart. Man oh man is that hard! I have A lot of things that keep me from being prefect now. But it's ok. Because Jesus Christ wants to forgive us. He came to earth, suffered, and died for each of us so he could forgive us. Why then, is it so hard to forgive ourselves? If we ask, and really change, we then have to let it go. Don't live in the regret, and don't live in the sadness, or in the what if, or woulda coulda shoulda. Once you are forgiven by God, OR once others have been... let it go. move on and forgive! I love this concept and I am so thankful Heavenly Father has been inspiring me to study it! The only way we accept the inevitable is once we realize that change is good, forgiveness is possible, and We are here to have JOY! So go and love today with a free heart!

I love this work, I love my savior, and I am so thankful for the knowledge I have of the plan Heavenly Father has for each of us! I love you all and I hope you have a glorious week!!


Sister Stones

PS and go study forgiveness!! :) It's great!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Aug 5- Missionary Life

This week has been the life! We have been jam packed with lesson after lesson and meeting after meeting. It has been wonderful! I can't believe it is already august! My mind is blown! Where has the time gone?!
A couple shout outs:
-First Dawn wins the best member missionary award! Man oh man ask her how amazing she is!
- Second Mom sent the most AMAZING gift! It is a plaque that says "Come what may and LOVE it!" done! (and the goodies inside were good too!)
- Loved ALL the letters from the Stones Family and loved hearing about whats going on in everyones lives!
Ok so I am loving the Trio I am in! I love having Sister Magaoay and Sister Borland as companions we are all best friends and we work so well together! We have had miracle after miracle happen!! I will start at the beginning!
First like I said last week, we finally got in contact with Grant! And then Monday night we taught a lesson to a girl named Zahra and put her on date for baptism on August 17th and she accepted so we have been teaching her a couple times a week to help her get ready! She is dating one of the youth in our ward, is reading the book of mormon and LOVES it! She knows it is true and can't wait to get baptized, and she came to church on sunday!
Debbie is doing amazing!! We taught her about the importance of church because we invited her the last few weeks and she said yes and then never showed. So we asked if she would like a tour of the church so she could be more comfortable, knowing where the kids would be going and what she would be doing and she said yes! We had a tour of the chapel the next day and then Sunday morning her and her ADORABLE children came to church!! SO GREAT!! Amazing feeling as a missionary having people come to church, and the ward was so welcoming. It was wonderful. One of the members looked at her and said, "Are you a little overwhelmed?" and Debbie's eyes just got big and she chuckled and said yeah and then Sister Lopez said, "It's like standing under a waterfall and trying to figure out what part you are trying to catch." (haha) we all just started laughing and Debbie agreed... She is so wonderful. We also talked about baptism and when she feels she would be ready and she said she know's she needs to, but needs to pray more for the strength to give up he coffee and things. We talked about filling her life with better things, like reading and praying instead and then the Lord can help her! She agreed! Man oh man it's great!
There is also a family in the ward where the mom and dad are both members but none of the kids are. So we knocked on their door and asked if we could come and teach them! They agreed and loved the lesson so we are going to continue to teach them as well!
We have been so blessed this week! I haven't had a week like this since the very beginning of my mission! I love watching people lives transform because the gospel is touching their hearts. It is such a humbling feeling knowing that it isn't because of anything that I am doing that these individuals are accepting the gospel. It's because they are allowing the spirit to touch their hearts and then they are acting on it, and I just sit and watch it happen.
I love you all so much and am now about to go tackle another amazing week of miracles! This is the Lords work and I love being apart of it!! Love you all! Talk to you next week!!
Sister Stones

July 29- Aloha!

Why hello my wonderful family!
This week has literally been insane! I am LOVING being a missionary more and more the longer I am out but this week was extra special. So Sister Borland and I did back to back exchanges on tuesday to Wednesday one to one, I was in Oak Marr (the Oakton Stake), and then Wednesday to Thursday I was back in Gainsville and Sister Borland was in Chantilly one to one and then we were reunited on Thursday for interviews with President Riggs at 1:15. She planned my day and I just followed suit. BUT the best part was when I was on exchanges with Sister Wilcox in Oak Marr that night Sister Borland called and said "Hey I have fun news for you! We are getting a new companion tomorrow!" uhh what? "Yeup so you will be on exchanges and you will pick up our new companion whenever Sister Riggs calls." hahaha It was insane. So at about 5 (dinner time) Sister Riggs had our new arrival! SHE IS AMAZING!! Her name in Sister Magaoay (Ma-Go-Why) she is from Hawai'i and on her out bound from temple square (like Sister King), but President hasn't had a moment to pause and recieve revelation on where she is going and with who and so he put her with us for the time being and it has been amazing! Oddly enough we have actually really needed the extra hand this weekend. We have gone on a couple splits with the ward and needed an extra person to be able to be in 2 places at once (so very inspired by President)!
We all get along so well and we teach really well together too! We taught really great lessons to Mary, Debbie, and Steven. Who are all doing wonderfully! Steven even came to church on sunday and loved it! We are walking around and just talking with everyone! And having so much fun while we are doing it! I wish I had my camera cord with me (I am at the library because our complex computers stopped working) So I could show you our trio... It is literally me, Tori, and Darlene!!! HAHAHA seriously though. I have been telling sister Borland from day one that she reminds me of my best friend Tori. And then Sister Magaoay gets thrown into the mix and it's like a blast from the past! We are just constantly laughing and just having a grand ol' time! Love em!
Ok lets see on a spiritual note...
Heavenly Father is amazing and in the details of our lives! Today as we were going about shopping and things we needed to get a quota on some apartment complexes in gainesville for elders to move into and it is in the same complex as grant (our former investigator). We have been trying for weeks to get a hold of him and haven't been able to! But, today we went and were talking to this old guy (His name is Ed and he is great... and basically deaf. But so great) and asking about renting places there and stuff and grant walks out! My heart skipped a beat I was so excited! He saw us and waved and put his finger up like "hold on" and when we were done talking to Ed we went over and talked with Grant. Saw how he was doing, and why he has been bobbin and weevin our calls and things. He has had a lot of things happening so he's been "busy" (He say's "Awe man I just can't lie to you girls. I try and I am doing horrible." and I said , "Yeah but it's fun to watch you try." haha He is so hilarious. He is really wanting to meet again. So we set up a time for next week! Man oh man. It was such a miracle. We have been trying to contact him for weeks. And once we stopped worrying Heavenly Father was able to orchastrate it so all would work out. Sister Magaoay said that this morning in her studies. Elder Ballard came to the Temple Square Mission and had a Q &A with the sisters and one of them said "How do we know if we are following the spirit or what?" and he said, "EASY, Relax. You let Heavenly Father worry about it. It is His work. He can worry about how scared you are and if the person is going to accept the message. All you have to do is show up." It is true and I am thankful she shared that because I needed it :)
Ok I have like 2 minutes left on my time so I am going to wrap it up! I love you all SO much and I can't believe I have been our a year! It has been amazing and I can't wait to work my little bum off in the great work for the next few months! They are just goin to fly! I love this gospel with all my heart and I know it is true! I know that Jesus Christ loves me, and I am thankful to know I am a Daughter of God! I love you all and hope you have an amazing week!
Sister Stones

July 22- This is Michelle's talk on Eternal Families

Becoming an eternal family: This Life is the time to prepare
I grew up in a family of 6 a crazy family of 6, and I love every one of them. I remember waking up at 6:30 in the mornings to read scriptures and pray as a family before my older siblings ran off to school. We each took a turn reading and then closed our eyes to “listen” to the story as everyone else got a turn. With nudges from mom and dad to wake up. I remember Monday evenings consisted of “Once there was a snow man”, popcorn, the Book of Mormon, and someone quarreling with someone else and my mom singing “let us all speak kind words to each other” or “Love at Home” (They were interchangeable.)  I remember going to church each Sunday with mom just grateful we all made it in one piece, and Dad passing out tootsie rolls to keep our mouths busy. I loved church. My family was strong in the gospel and active at church.
My mom and dad taught me from a young age how important it was to be kind, and do as the Savior would do and I am so thankful for them. I am the way I am today because of all the little things they have instilled in me to do. I have been learning how to get along with my family now so I will know how to be with them forever.
Today I have been asked to talk about becoming an eternal family, that this life is the time to prepare.
Eternal families are how God has intended his Children to live from the beginning of time, from Adam and Eve. They were married and sealed together by the power of God. And when Jesus Christ was on the earth he gave that same divine authorization to Peter, when he promised: “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of Heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
With the falling away of Christ’s church for a period of time, that authorization was gone with it. And without it no eternal families….Thankfully, it was restored back to the earth so we could be blessed by it once again. That is why we are married in the temple.
I honestly never knew just how important this blessing was until here serving my mission. I knew I was blessed by it because my parents were married in the temple. They were sealed by that same power to be together with their family for time and all eternity. But I never knew the other side of that. I sat the other day and thought of how it would be if I didn’t have a guarantee of being with my family. If I didn’t know the gospel of Jesus Christ had been restored and along with it this amazing gift from a loving Father. How differently I would act, I probably wouldn’t be very close with my siblings. My heart ached just imagining not having that. I see it every day when we knock on doors or when we talk to families who are broken because of the world. I know from growing up watching my mom and dad that eternal families are something you work for, something you fight for. My little brother was saddened because of the choices and judgments of members of the church that he didn’t want to go anymore. So he didn’t. I watched it break my mom’s heart. I saw her kneel in prayer by her bed every morning and stand up in faith knowing that the Lord had this in his hands. I love my mom and her faith. I came on a mission because of her faith, and with me being on a mission it softened his heart. He saw how important it was to me and how many lives I was touching daily and that I was teaching the gospel of “Good News” to everyone. His perspective widened and he recognized how much he needed the atonement in his life. He came back to church and read his scriptures again. He just entered the mission field to serve our Savior in Boston. I am so proud of him.
The atonement is something that we are all needing to access. There is no one here who cannot be helped or reached or picked up from where ever you may be by the atonement of Jesus Christ. That is again another amazing gift from our Heavenly Father to enable us to change. To become more like Christ and to live happier more fuller lives. One of my favorite Scriptures in the book of Mormon says, “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.” Our Mission President is all about absolutes. He always points out promises in the scriptures and helps us see how we can obtain them. Something interesting about this scripture is that there aren’t any absolutes. And you ask “Well, then why is this your favorite.” The scripture says “and men are that they might have joy.” We chose to come to earth, to gain a body, and to live in a place that we have to CHOOSE to have joy. Agency or the gift to choose is one of the most important gifts God gave us. We choose to have joy.
No matter what our circumstances may be… When we choose to access the atonement we can find joy in anything... We just have to see the cup half full… not half empty.
When I was at a really difficult time in my mission I remember writing my mom and asking for advice. I had prayed and prayed and tried to keep my cup half full, but just found myself feeling as if I was drowning in the missionary life. I couldn’t connect with the people, my companion, or the ward. I put on a face of happiness but inside I was searching for comfort of some kind. My wise mother counseled me “to kneel in humility, and to stand in confidence in the promises of my Father in Heaven.” I needed to show my faith in my Savior. I remember kneeling in prayer and as I knelt in humility, I felt a wave of comfort wash over me that I hadn’t felt in a long while. I allowed, I chose to let, my Savior in, I had stopped doing it on my own and really listened, and then stood up in confidence knowing I would be ok. And I was.
She is a great example to me. How I had allowed the business and loudness of the world cloud my ability to communicate with my Heavenly Father. I had been praying, but not humbly enough to really accept which answer I was going to get. I didn’t get the answer I was wanting but I got the comfort I needed.
Elder Richard G Scott a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has said, “Many voices from the world in which we live tell us we should live at a frantic pace. There is always more to do and more to accomplish. Yet deep inside each of us is a need to have a place of refuge where peace and serenity prevail, a place where we can reset, regroup, and reenergize to prepare for future pressures.
The ideal place for that peace is within the walls of our own homes, where we have done all we can to make the Lord Jesus Christ the centerpiece.”
How true it is, when we center our lives and our homes on our Savior it becomes a safe haven from this changing world. I always knew I would be safe in my house because we were careful what we brought into our home… From the media to our attitudes.
My mom would always say “This is a safe place, leave all that is weighing you down in the garbage can outside. If you want to pick it up again with you when you leave you can, or you can just leave it there and have a better day.” Our homes are safe places, and if it isn’t yet. Make it one. And it’s everyone’s job to make it that way. President Ezra Taft Benson taught, “In an eternal sense, salvation is a family affair…” and I say, it can start with you. Choose each day to be a little kinder, put the dishes in the sink, or do a siblings chore. Our constant goal in life should be to live each day as if the Savior were by our side. To be obedient, “don’t rationalize future happiness by taking shortcuts instead of applying sound gospel principles. Remember “By small and simple things. Great things are brought to pass.”… “Simple, consistent, good habits lead to a life full of bountiful blessings.”
So how do we prepare? We live the gospel of Jesus Christ. Each and every day we nourish our faith in Jesus Christ, we repent and change to become more like him, we make and keep covenants or promises with Heavenly Father, receive the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end. When this is repeated throughout our lives it becomes a pattern of living, and is the only way of living that will bring peace of conscience and enable us to live with our families in Heavenly Father’s presence.
In “The Family: A proclamation to the world” it says, “The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.”
However, just as I stated earlier Satan is attacking the family, and the world is tearing it apart. People are using the philosophies of man to run their homes rather than the commandments of God, and then wondering why their lives are falling apart? It breaks my heart to see people become so selfish they separate themselves from their loved ones. Too many families are being destroyed because of Satan’s efforts. God doesn’t want this. Through the light of the gospel, families can resolve misunderstandings, contentions, and challenges. Families torn by discord can be healed through repentance, forgiveness, and faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ.
Preach my Gospel states that “Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.”
I know from personal experience, we had a family reunion a few years ago. It had been the first time in 5 years that all of us, spouses and kids included, were together. I don’t know about everyone else, but when we all got together the mix was different. Years of not being together and knowing each other’s personalities really put a wedge in the family, we didn’t mesh as well as normal and a lot can happen in 5 years that can fester and grow and if not handled right when it should can really get destructive. One night as we were cleaning up after dinner something happened that was the last straw that broke the camel’s back and chaos ensued. We all separated and cooled off for a few hours, and I will forever be indebted and thankful for my dad. Who kindly and gently brought us all back together to talk… We sat and talked with one another each getting a turn to speak. As we talked hearts were mended, forgiveness was given and received, and our family became stronger than ever. My dad fought for out eternal family. As we talked that night we also fought for our eternal family, and I am so thankful for the gospel for this to be possible. It brings peace to my heart knowing that just as my family was mended, every other family who has ever been broken can as well. The love our Father in Heaven has for all of us in unconditional. We need to give that same love to our families.
This life is the time to prepare. Right now. We can change because of Christ, be better, and choose to have joy. As we read from our scriptures daily, and pray and talk with our Heavenly Father we will know exactly what we need to do to prepare. Just as my family did the little things as I was growing up, so can each of you. I have such fond memories of my childhood and the dedication my parents had to the gospel.
Each one of us can be that example in each of our families. I am so excited to see the blessings of eternal families continue to play out in my life, to marry in the temple and to have an eternal family of my own. We can’t afford to not have the blessings of the temple. If you don’t have them now prepare for them. If your family members don’t have it pray and ask Heavenly Father how you can help them, know the gospel well enough that it truly becomes a pattern in your life! I love this gospel and I love my Savior. I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored to the prophet Joseph Smith and that the Priesthood Power of God is on the earth again. I love the Book of Mormon and I know it is the word of God to bring us closer to him. And I say these things. In the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

July 22- Lovin' bein' a missionary

This was such a fun week! Man oh man I am so excited to get emails from Jonathan and to feel his fire! We had an interesting start to our day so it pushed our time to write emails to later and I am so thankful or I would have had to wait an entire week before getting to hear from him! Oh hey also does anyone have his mailing address? That would be good to have! :) Man oh man I love my little brother!

This week has been loads of fun! I'll start at the beginning of the week and give you the run down.
Tuesday we had district meeting and played Jeopardy! It was hilarious! Sister Borland and I are the only companionship that stayed together in our district and most everyone was new. The topics were Book of Mormon, Preach my Gospel, New Testament, Doctrine and Covenants, Hymns, Prophets, and Random. We were put into teams and I was keeping score so I asked the other team to come up with a name and Elder Staley said, "I don't know." and I said "WE DO" So those became our team names. hahaha It was hilarious! It was the most fun game of Jeopardy I had ever played, probably because I could answer all of the questions. Sister Borland and I were on opposite teams so it actually ended up that everyone was helping with all the questions haha. It was great! Afterward though... not so great. Sister Borland had to go to the doctor because she hurt her knee 6 weeks ago (We were playing gator-ball and she got pummeled by a Samoan... not on purpose they just both went for the ball and she lost! We thought her knee would get better on it's own but... it hasn't so off we went.) She was so scared! This was the first time she had gone to the doctor.. ever... welp good thing I was a pro. We aren't sure what is wrong with it quite yet we have to get a MRI of it to see what up. SO please keep her in your prayers.
After we came home and had a little melt down. We picked ourselves up and went to work. And had 2 really amazing lessons. With Bonnie and Carrie.
We taught Bonnie the plan of Salvation. It is one of my favorite lessons to teach and I haven't been able to teach it that often. Her little kids LOVED it though. They love when we come over and talk about Jesus (they are Samantha (5), Jackson (5), and Robert (3)) and when they all get excited they stutter which usually comes out as "I I I I I I LOVE JEEEESUS". or "a a a a and he saw JEEEESUS." (referring to Joseph Smith). So as we were teaching the plan of salvation they kept mixing different things up (which made me just giggle) and then Robert's eyes got really huge and he stood up and said, "I I I I have a perrrrrfect BOOODY" with his shirt lifted up and patting his stomach. We then explained that, that is the goal but first we have to keep being good here. Haha I love the fish family!!
And then we went over to Carrie's house and taught her all about feeling the spirit and recognizing answers that we receive. She is really awesome and progressing to know her Savior more and it is really cool to be apart of.

We went on exchanges with some sisters on Thursday and I went to Ashburn and trained Sister Heidi Loar! Which was SO much fun! Because we knew each other before the mission, and even hung out with the same people so we did a blast from the past! Which was crazy but lots of fun! And then we went and taught some great lessons!

I spoke in church on sunday. First time on my mission. I thought I was going to make it without speaking. haha no such luck. BUT Mary came!! That was amazing! And then we had a lesson with her at 8 that night and the spirit was so strong and she recognized it! So many amazing miracles and fun memories this week!

Oh and fun fact... I hit my YEAR MARK on Thursday!!! What?! That is nuts! Really I don't believe it! I will be on exchanges that day. SO I will celebrate with a high five to myself and then I'll dance a little and cry a little! haha. I really have been so blessed being on a mission and have learned so much I couldn't have ever learned any other way! I love being a missionary!
Love you all!!
Hope you have a fabulous week! And everyone eat ice cream on thursday!! :) LOVE YOU!
Love Sister Stones
 This is my scared little companion!
SISTER LOAR! So much Fun.


July 15- I am a drama queen :) Nuff said!

Oh hey family hey!!

This week we had transfers and I am safe! Still here in Gainesville with the wonderful Sister Borland as Sister Trainer leaders! And loving every minute of it! She seriously is so amazing and such a goof! I realized I haven't really said much about her, but she is so great! And brilliant in all things. That's currently our running joke. I (who doesn't know very much) asks her What does that mean? or What is that? or Why is that (because I am a toddler apparently) and she either answers with a super profound answer (which is so mind blowing) or "Why would I know?" Which I than respond "because you know EVERYTHING!" hahaha I love it! I am learning SO much!

I had to go to the foot doctor this week to figure out why my foot has been bothering me and why I have been having a hard time walking on it and they took an xray and saw that my bones are too close together and are squishing my nerves so when I walk it irritates it. So my options were 1. have an injection or 2 get an MRI which may or may not end in surgery.... uhh.. both options not ideal.. So I chose option 1 and about passed out when she brought the needle in and it was a HORSE needle! I was laying on this chair reclined (like the first time I had this done because I had a toothpick in muh foot. SO that didn't bother me) however I was freaking out because I don't like needles so kind sister Borland began to distract me by teaching the doctor and her assistant the first lesson and what we do as missionaries! haha it was awesome. She tried to incorporate me in on the teaching but I ignored her and I just laid their and made sure I breathed. hahaha I survived! I have a HUGE bruise on my foot but no more pain. Yay!

We are teaching such amazing people and have had some cool miracles! One which actually happened the other night. We have been seeing one of our investigations quite frequently and she is kind of an "all over the place" kind of thinker so it has been effecting Sister Borland and myself in our ability to really work (because we are taking on some of her habits), and so we have been thinking we need to lay off teaching her for a little. To give our brains some break. And then the other night we both felt really prompted to go and see Mary (which is her name). So we headed over there and knocked on her door. And to our amazement there was no answer. As Sister Borland wrote a little letter on a sticky note, I knocked the door that was across the way. No answer. So then we went to the next door. And this really awesome lady answered the door! We had an awesome conversation about a lot of different topics, and it was the end of the night so we needed to be getting home and as we were getting her information I said,"oh, I am sorry We didn't get your name, I am sister Stones." She then said. "It's Mary".
!!!! MIND BLOWN! So cool! I love when we listen to Heavenly Father and he puts us where we need to be! A lot of times He will use things that are familiar to us and as we listen and do His work He will bless us! So Yeah we are going to teach (New) Mary this weekend! Love it!

I love this work! I love you all! I am about to go kick some trash in Zone sports, or get mine handed to me... which ever happens today, either way it will be fun! I love you all!

Sister Stones

July 9- Happy Fourth and Fun Miracles

Oh hey Fam!!

Ok so first I have to give a shout out to mom for being the greatest mom and drama teacher ever! With this leadership position we do lots of training with the other Sisters and I have used MANY acting tricks with them and it has been really awesome! I have obviously tweaked them a little for missionary purposes but it has been really cool! I will give you an example! For some reason every missionary who ever is on a mission has this weird idea that missionaries "sound" a certain way (and it makes me nuts) I call it the "missionary voice" or the "spirit voice" which is actually just when missionaries get this weird tone that actually doesn't do anything but make them sound weird (If you have been a missionary than you know what I mean). SO I had one of the Sister's teach me something and she leaned forward lowered her voice and looked at me and said "Our Heavenly Father has a plan for you." all "spirit voice like" so I paused her and asked her to just tell me about the plan don't "teach" me. As if I was just her best friend and so she started and was all over the place and not really actually teaching... so I paused her again and said sincerely, "This is the most important message I am ever going to here. You are the only one that may ever have a chance to tell me about it." She asked if her voice was allowed to change? and I told her of course Sincerity it different than the spirit voice. Sincerity will bring the spirit. She paused and thought about it for a moment and then she began to teach, and the spirit just filled the room. I felt every word that came out of her mouth, and I was on the edge of my seat because I could tell that she knew and wanted to tell me. It was really cool. So thanks mom :)

I love being a missionary so much! I am so blessed to rub shoulders with so many amazing people! I learn so much about myself and about this great work! This week has been truly full of miracles day after day. We are teaching some amazing people right now. One being Debbie who I talked a little about last time. We will be seeing her later tonight to teach her all about the plan of salvation which is so exciting :) We also are teaching a man named Steven, He is the son of a woman who has been a less active most of her life and just decided to come back so we are teaching them and man Heavenly Father has just been blessing us with these solid people to bring into the gospel and we just happen to be in the right place at the right time (ok I actually don't believe in coincidences I know that Heavenly Father has been leading us all a long to be able and prepared to teach such amazing individuals!) mm love it! Oh and we have made some great progress with Mary! She is a born again christian and LOVES Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ but is trying to figure out, if she can feel the spirit in all churches why there would be just one with his authority. Which is a great question. So we have been helping her understand about the apostasy and just why there are so many churches with the same source all teaching different things. And why it's so important to know which one is Heavenly Fathers. So it's been amazing. I love that woman!

Tomorrow night my Zone is putting together a Musical Fireside and Sister Borland and I are singing at it. We are singing "Come thou Fount" and it should be really wonderful! It's been interesting though. I have been missing my voice for the last almost 6 weeks (which is hard as a missionary) so I am just praying that is will be here tomorrow... So it will be wonderful because I know even if I can't sing how I would like I know that the Spirit with be there to carry the message to everyone's hearts.
Let's see... Oh yeah the fourth of july happened too (haha wow this is oober long!) We had such a wonderful fourth! We went to a block party at the bishops. They had food and fun and fireworks! I took fun pictures of everyone and all the sparklers. And some hooligan kids bought the big fireworks so we got to see some of those too. ha it was really fun! We are so blessed to be in such a great area where we are take care of and loved so much!
We have had a couple of meetings relating to building the mission and allowing the grace of Jesus Christ to really fuel us, and heal us, and change us, and I love that topic! I also have loved studying in the Book of Mormon. There is a part where Captain Moroni is preparing for war against the Lamanites and he continually is preparing (Alma 48-50. go read 'em). He doesn't ever stop. Even after they have successfully beat them, and caught them off guard. I feel that is the same in our lives. We may feel safe and comfortable where we are but we must always keep our guard up against Satan and always be preparing because he is! As we daily pray and read our scriptures and go to church we are doing what is required each day to continually stay strong. So if anyone has been slacken on any of those things, I invite you to pick it back up, build that part of your wall, and don't allow the enemy in! I love you all so very much and hope you have an amazing week!!! LOVE YOU!

Sister Stones

July 1- Oh Hey

Oh Why hello there Family!!

I feel like I just wrote... oh wait I did. :)

Not much has happened in the last little while. We are just working hard and teaching everyone who will listen about the Gospel. Which hasn't been very many people because we have had some CRAZY rain storms! I went on exchanges to Oak Marr in the Oakton Zone and it POURED while we were walking around so I then just danced in it! haha it was awesome. No one was outside and no one was answering their doors so I just danced in the rain. :) It felt wonderful and then at the end of the night I ran and jumped in a HUGE puddle hehe it was so much fun! I was soaked from head to toe and wouldn't have it any other way :)

Lets see. I have done lots of shopping on p-days haha I am basically a walking target mannequin. It's great! Haha... I know not that spiritual but it's whats going on. I am trying to think of something super profound to write but not a whole lot has happened that's not the norm haha like talking to people and having dogs attack us, and us coming home and smelling like dogs. Knocking on doors, visiting members, and teach people the gospel. Oh that just sparked an idea! We did talk with a lady that has been Less active her whole life basically after she got baptized and she is wanting to come back to church which is so exciting, but she doesn't remember much about the church so we are going to teach her and her sons the lessons :) So that's exciting! Oh and we are going to visit with a lady named Debbie tomorrow! We met her while we were just walking around and she was sitting in her Garage looking really sad so we walked up and said hello, and I asked her if we could help her. She said no, and I walked up and knelt down next to her on the ground and told her who we were. That we are representatives of Jesus Christ and that it is no coincidence that we walked by her house. We then had a great lesson about the struggles she is going to through and how the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ will help her. And so we are going back tomorrow to teach her and her cute little family! SO great! I love this work! :)

We are also going around the families in the ward and teaching everyone the message of the Restoration and answering any questions they might have and then teaching them how to teach it to their family and friends so everyone can feel comfortable and excited to do missionary work (I would suggest doing that in your wards, ask your missionaries, they would love to do it!) So we are starting this week and I will tell you how it goes! Anyway. I am off to finish laundry and all that fun stuff before p-day is up! LOVE YOU ALL!!! It was fun to see all the pictures from the Trip Ally sent them. It made me miss everyone and want to give everyone HUGE hugs!! So {{Hug}} :D Love you!!

Sister Stones

 Sister Billman and me after dancin' in the rain!