Monday, July 27, 2015

Chilis, Spiders, and Miracles

Familia! I have been waiting for this day all week. Like I mentioned last week, it is crazy how much you think about family when you're gone! I am so happy that you were able to talk to Mckell's mom and Tanner's mom too. They're both so great and YES. I find so much comfort in knowing that there are other missionaries, some great friends, and an army of 88,000 missionaries doing exactly what I'm doing every day. I haven't gotten any letters from you guys yet but I did get one last week from Aunt Jen. Will you please thank her for me? :) 

Chili's was a huge blessing. Of course I got the oldtimer burger and it was everything I wanted it to be haha then after we got some icecream. The other hermanas and I justify it by saying "we live by so many rules as missionaries that there aren't any rules for how much treats you eat". I say that knowing full well that I am going to complain to you in about 3 weeks that I've gained a bunch of weight. They didn't lie when they said all you eat here is rice and pototoes. Don't get me wrong, it's great but there's not a ton of variety. I know you said to ask for a small portion but that's our only real meal of the day so we stock up! I haven't eaten any fish yet (we normally eat chicken) but I'm trying new things every day. Yesterday we had fresh papaya juice that was weirdly thick, but really good. The only bad thing is I think it is doing weird stuff to my skin. My acne is pretty bad and the other day Daniel, Jose and Jessica's 5 year old asked me what happened and if my face is okay. yeah....

The weather is kind of cold but nothing I can't handle. It's crazy to think that it is 100 degrees at home! Anyways, every Wednesday we do service as a district which is really fun to be wearing pants and to be with the whole district! We were basically shoveling and transporting huge rocks out of a members "backyard" and every time we moved them, there were tons of spiders! We caught some of the huge ones and put them in a jar placing bets on whose Spider would be killed off first. It was kind of like in Harry potter when the class watched the Spiders be tortured but hey, it was fun. All of the Elders were laughing too because I told them that my last name was like Hermana Piedra. Between Page (Pagina) and I, they got a kick out of our English translations. It's hilarious because here they throw random English words in among Spanish. For example they'll say "necesito un break". Que en el mundo?¡ haha My favorite though is when they say "freaking" among the rest. The elders said I'll come home saying it with an accent. Another funny English thing is the songs you'll hear sometimes in the buses or motos. The other day "1000 MIles" by Vanessa Carlton (I think) came on and it struck me as so funny. Hermana Valbuena was very impressed I could sing along to every. single. word. hahaha Another funny moment was when the 20 year old son of the Mosquito family tried to kiss me (in the manner that we greet the women). My eyes got as big as they were in my drivers permit picture and I just said "no no no no" really quick and stuck my hand out. Everyone was laughing but Hermana Valbuena said I handled it mas o menos alright ;)

I don't remember if I talked about this last week but there is so much trash in the streets! Everyone literally puts their trash on the ground between the streets that go opposite directions (barrier), including us. Every time we take out the trash Hermana Valbuena says: ¡Que Vergúenza! What shame! People and dogs pick through all of the trash and literally the streets are a public bathroom. IF only pictures could capture smells.... Again, crazy to think that here people urinate in the streets and if you were to do that in the US you'd go to jail. People just live such different lives. The dogs are EVERYWHERE. They don't bug me and some of them are even kind of cute. THey are a little scary though at night.  

On a more serious note, I was struggling a little bit and feeling pretty down. Elder Page gave me two talks that really helped him out in my stage and they were both on patience (Monson and Uchtdorf). Wow literally an answer to my prayers. I have been really working on being patient with myself this week. One line from one of the talks was something to the effect of "when we are impatient, we are being selfish". This is so true. I need to trust in the Lord and his timing. Note: will you please send me the talk by President HInckley that talks about forget yourself and go to work? We had a conference with the President on Thursday that was focused on the role of the Holy Ghost in conversion. The whole thing was great (from what I could understand) but what stood out the most to me was when he taught about how God communicates with us spirit to spirit. This is the reason why we need to strengthen our own spirit through sincere prayer, reading and meditating AND APPLYING the Scriptures to our own lives, because when our Spirit is strong and close to the Lord, He can more readily communicate with us and give us the revelation we need in our own lives and for those we associate with (how to bless an investigator or help my companion etc). I know that I have already become so much closer with my Heavenly Father as I have been humbled SO MUCH and had to rely on Him literally every minute of every day out here. A miracle that we had this week was we went to teach a lesson to a woman we contacted on the street named Monica. We couldn't remember exactly what she looked like but we went to the address we had written down and were ready to teach the first lesson. When we arrived, we asked for Monica, who apparently wasn't home but here's the thing: it wasn't the same Monica! Their last names were different but we were still able to teach the two women who answered the door and have another appointment for this week. Another miracle is that mom made me buy the ugly sister missionary shoes. haha I am so grateful for them every day hahaha 

I really am doing better and I pray for help and happiness probably literally 50 times a day. Hermana Valbuena always says "Sí o sí podemos que hacerlo" Yes oh yes we can do it. I am so lucky to have her and I am so lucky to have you guys, as you said, as my cheer section. I really appreciate the support and can feel your prayers and love for me. Know that I too pray for you every day individually and feel so blessed to have not only such a wonderful family, but a wonderful family who ALL enjoy the blessings of the gospel. I love you guys so much!

How was the 24th celebration? Tell Joseph and the boys hi for me! Send pictures! Love you,


Found the other hermana Eliason!

Monday, July 20, 2015


HOLY NUGGETS I AM A REAL MISSIONARY NOW. This week has been crazy and different and hard and wonderful. I don't have much time so I'll just give you some basics:

Food: We don't have a pensionista so we just eat with members every day for lunch! There are little stores on every corner that sells cookies and chips (nothing here is refrigerated I swear) so that's where we buy stuff for breakfast. Every morning I eat a bowl of cereal (FRUTT is the name) with a strawberry yogurt stuff in place of milk. yum, I know. We don't really eat dinner but we always buy an orange or crackers/cookies or something to eat at night. But the lunches are amazing! They weren't lying when they said rice and potatoes with everything. I can't remember the names of things but I've been writing them down so you guys can look it up. ONe of my favorites was puré. It's like mashed potatoes kind of. I've also learned to just eat everything they give you because it may be the last real thing you eat all day. This means I've been eating cucumber tomatoe salads and beets and all kinds of things I wouldn't have touched before. Miracle of the mission? Some might say, yes. Also WE ARE GOING TO CHILIS FOR LUNCH TODAY. The other americans say it's not the same but I am still so pumped. 

Companion: My companions name is Hermana Valbuena and she has been out for 14 months! She is from Colombia and is so sweet and has the prettiest hair. We always laugh that I am like Anna and she is the Latina Elsa. She is mas o menos tone deaf but she still loves to sing and is a great missionary. She is apparently also pretty funny because she always has the members and investigators and other missionaries laughing.

House: Wow. At first it seemed rough but we have it so good compared to what others are living in. We don't have any hot water but I guess it's a blessing because I really need the jolt to wake up in the mornings. It can get pretty chilly though. Winter here is cold!

Our Kitchen
Just plunging our shower haha This is where we wash our socks, our dishes, take "showers" (I put that in quotes because we don't have any hot water and it is barely tolerable! I wet my hair, turn off the shower and apply shampoo, turn water on to rinse really quick and then finish asap. Now at least I have an excuse to not shave my legs!)
Language: So I don't really understand anything but I've figured out mas o menos when to laugh and smile even when I have no idea what's going on. I've also realized that i can just say "si" to just about anything and be pretty safe. It's crazy that I'm here.

The scary thing: a lot of borrachos  whistle at me because I'm a gringa. They always say princesa hermosa and a bunch of other crude things I don't understand because I don't speak Spanish- blessing in disguise? But I know that I'm safe and there are certain areas we avoid at night.

Other: My area is Los Angeles (look it up!) We are in the cerros which are big hills. It's fun because it's just like hiking every day- but in bad shoes and dresses. haha We found an awesome family this week. They came with us to church yesterday and even invited their aunt to come too! I'll keep you updated on them. After the first 2 days we got to meet up again with the new missionaries in Lima north which means I got to see Hermana Kingston, Hna Eliason, Elder Sanchez and elder Gerken again! Wow it was so so good to see them and talk to them and know that we're all going through the exact same thing. (also to answer your question Elder Williams is in Chiclayo and Hna Ekins is in Lima East. They're my two best friends from the CCM but we will be friends in 23 months again!)

I love you guys so much and I carry around our family picture in my scriptures so I have it with me always. Thanks for the prayers and thanks for raising me the way you did. If I've learned (or taught) anything this week it's that families are ordained of God. Families are so important in God's plan for our happiness. And I've been given a pretty good one. Love you!

Hermana Savannah Stone

Saying goodbye to my BFFs

View from my window

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

In the Field!!

These are the emails we received today from the Mission President's wife, as well as the Mission office:

Dear Stone Family,

We are thrilled to welcome Hermana Stone to the Peru Lima North mission and look forward to serving with her. She will e-mail Monday, her preparation day.

Hermana Erickson
Hermana Stone with the Mission President and his wife, President and Sister Erickson

Incoming missionaries!
Dear Family Stone, we are happy to Have  Sister Stone in the mission field.
We have a letter for you.

We are at your service
 Elder Herrera/Secretario Personal

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Feliz Cuatro de Julio!!

Family!! So here in the CCM is so good and so fun and HOLY NUGGETS I AM LEAVING THIS PLACE IN 5 DAYS. It was so funny because we heard an analogy about the CCM and the field. Basically the CCM is the garden of Eden, we are surrounded by the Spirit all the time and have great teachers and can speak English and the food is all delicious and have made the best of friends. However, we are getting "cast out" soon into the dark and dreary world where things aren't all wonderful! Although I am scared out of my mind, I am so excited! I still can't believe it's here and I am so sad to leave all of my friends here but no worries, we are already planing a reunion at Minson's wedding!! ;) 

My immigrations paperwork is still not done... I did have to go and sign a paper and give a fingerprint so they can make changes to my paperwork (who knows, I could've just signed away my first born child. Sorry about it, I don't know spanish THAT well) I guess being deported would be a fun story??? 

This week was great! On the Fourth they decked out the Comedor with a ton of American Flags and streamers and they made "hamburgers" and "fries" and "onion rings" and "chicken fingers" (yes, the quote marks are necessary because, bless them, but it was not real american food!!) It was still super yummy though and there was Watermelon and apple pie with vanilla icecream too! All of the Latinos kept saying "Feliz Cuatro de Julio" to us and it was so cute! 

This week was pretty ordinary but still great nonetheless. I finished the entire Book of Mormon yesterday! I don't know if I told you this or not but I started it over again a couple of days into the CCM. Holy cow, reading it quickly and in this environment was so awesome. It really made the stories come together and it's amazing how my reading has changed- There really are answers in the scriptures! It's so cool to study FOR others as well. Whether you need a scripture about bringing a less active back who is worried about not fitting in or being loved again by God or the church, you can tell them the story of the Prodigal Son or patience in your afflictions can be Alma 34.41 or DyC 121.7 or needing comfort DyC 109.22 ALL OF THOSE ANSWERS ARE THERE! I have come to love my scriptures so much. It's also cool to be studying in DyC and the Bible too, I had never really done that before. There was a great quote from one of our devotionals this week that I'd like to share. It is by Elder Nelson's wife. She said: "DESPERATELY ask, DESPERATELY seek, DESPERATELY knock, and you will be lead to those who DESPERATELY need the Gospel of Christ." I loved that! Are we sincere in our prayers? Are we desperate to repent and partake of the Sacrament? To do our home teaching? To tell your family you love them? (PS I love you guys. My mission has changed me! I love hugs now and tell my roommates I love them every night before we go to bed) I hope that you keep in mind that a little bit of DESPERATE is good sometimes. 

A funny from this week: Elder Sanchez got white, wet paint all down his suit coat jacket. It was hilarious until we realized that it won't come out... He's getting it dry cleaned on Friday so wish him luck! Another funny moment from this week, Hermana Ekins and I were eating dinner with some Latina's the other night and we were just chatting when all of the sudden one of the Latina's started whispering to the other ones so we couldn't hear what they were saying. I told her that she doesn't need to whisper because we literally can't understand anything they say anyways. They all burst out laughing, shrugged their shoulders, and then finished their story loud and clear. I sure do wish I understood them hahahaha I love it here and it's crazy to think that next time you hear from me I'll be in in el campo! (that is, if I don't get deported) Send some love my way!
Hermana Stone
Feliz Cuatro de Julio!!

Elder Gerken (photographer) got artsy with the angles

Elder Cleverly and Elder Williams. Both from Colorado and some of my BFFs

D112 with Hermana Rivera (our teacher)
all of us Avocados (advanzados)

Another one of us "Avacados"

My morning teacher Hermana Rivera and I at the temple this morning! She is THE BEST and is getting married in October (so so cute. She always updates us hermanas on the wedding plans)

We may or may not have gotten left behind this morning in La Molina. Luckily we had delicious fruit juice and nice weather :')

found Halea!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


Family! Holy nuggets I can't believe AJ already has so much of a tan line. I am definitely rocking the farmers tan right now but all is well! Even though it's winter right now, it gets so hot sometimes! Today I literally felt like I was melting but at least I don't have to wear a full suit like the Elders.... 

This week was  interesting to say the least. On Thursday we all loaded up into big vans to get our final card for Immigrations. We were pulling out of the CCM when someone stopped the car and said Hermana Stone needed to get off. Apparently my information was incorrect or they had a problem of some sort so I had to spend the whole day alone! (Well, as alone as you can be when you constantly have to have a companion, but my comp was a stranger!) Everyone waved through the windows at me as they drove away. haha of course it would happen to me. They're still working on my paperwork and I had to sign something. Hopefully everything will be okay because I literally could've signed my whole life away and not even know it because yes, my Spanish is that good hahaha!

On Saturday we got to go Proselyting in the field! We were in Lima East about an hour outside of La Molina. My companion was a member who returned from a mission in October named Catalina. She was LA BOMBA. She didn't speak English hardly at all but she was such a blessing. She made me try and get contacts with EVERYONE on the streets. We came back with over 20 contacts/referrals by the end of our 4 hours! We taught 3 lessons, two of which were to people who haven't been to church in years. It was amazing and even though I could hardly understand any of their responses, I felt comfortable sharing what I CAN say. It was also very humbling already. The houses and area in general are very humbling. Today I had a different experience. As usual on P day we went to the temple and shopping and we try to proselyte a little while we're out. I gave out a couple of pass along cards and we sang Joseph Smith's first prayer to the tune of Come Thou Fount to some old women who absolutely adored us. Then our experience completely flipped. Hermana Eliason and I started talking to a different woman who, from the little I could understand, thought that we were very bad people. She tried to bible bash with us and spent literally 10 minutes with her finger pointed at me and telling us that we're horrible people. I just told her that our message is about God's love and if she has any questions for us I can arrange for some other missionaries to meet with her before  leaving. I admit, it really freaked me out and I may or may not have cried a little bit but it just serves to show that not everyone wants to listen to our message and it'll be okay. I still love the CCM and this new batch of North Americans is HUGE so that'll be interesting. (We get new people every 2 weeks but we stay in the same District the whole 6 weeks to answer your question) I love the CCM. I love my mission. I love learning Spanish (mas o menos haha) and I love learning the Gospel and teaching, even when people don't necessarily care to hear our message. Everyone appreciate the full moon right now!!

Love your favorite hermana,
Hna Stone

Futbol Jerseys!

District 112 Drawing

Hermana Stone and Hermana Miles (everyone pronounces it me-lays)

D112 BFFS say what? (Sanchez, Ekins, Williams)