Monday, August 31, 2015

Elder Bednar!!!

This week was absolutely loco. In fact, it was so crazy that I feel like I should rewrite this line for emphasis in caps. THIS WEEK WAS ABSOLUTELY LOCO. Basically my whole life changed again. Last Monday right after we left internet to email you guys we went to the Capilla to see who has cambios. The way our zone leaders did it was each person received a little slip of paper with a scripture on it. One by one we went up to the front and read our scripture. Most of them were from DyC and said whether or not we were leaving the area. Mine said something to the effect of "you will remain" and Hermana Valbuena's said something to the effect of "you will be leaving". I couldn't even speak for an hour after to save myself from the shame of crying in front of my whole zone (again). In other words, no, Hermana Valbuena and I are not together this cambio and I am now directing the area. This is super rare because I have only been here for 6 weeks and it has been a little bit of a struggle this week. I have been stressed because I don't know the street names, the members super well, we literally spent half an hour walking around trying to find the Bishops house which I've been to a thousand times. I thought it was a little bit funny though. Right before cambios I was responding to a friend in the mission who just became zone leader and feels super inadequate.  I was telling him not to worry because the Lord qualifies us for every calling. Of course right after I was "called" to do something scary and wanted to write him and take it all back! But it really has been good for me. I read the talk titled "But if Not" (thanks mom) and it talked a lot about having faith includes having faith even when things don't go exactly as you want. I would highly reccommend it. 

My new companion is named Hermana Haro and is from Mexico F (the capital). She is super cool and a really good teacher. She only has one transfer more than me! This is pretty much unheard of because she has 3 months in the mission and I have 6 weeks. I guess the Lord really trusts us or wants a good laugh. Since we both don't know super well what we're doing, this week has been a lot of organizing and guessing and calling the zone leader for help but si o si we can do this! Every night before bed she comes and gives me a big hug. She loves treats (this is bad for both of us). She too is the oldest in her family and honestly I think we will be good friends. 

This week we had a couple of interesting experiences. One day we were teaching an older woman who was telling us about how she is really worried about her son (who is about 26). During the lesson, he came outside where we were and we started talking to him. He was all about hearing our message until we said that we were "Mormons". His whole countenance changed. He said that we need to leave his house and that he didn't want any mormons talking to his mom or anyone in his family. We politely asked if he had a bad experience with the Church in the past or if there is some reason he didn't want to listen to a message about God. He said something about how all white people are liars and that we don't believe in God. When we tried to respond he spit at us and said that he was the Devil to try to scare us off. Bueno. haha We were teaching another man about how we can find answers to questions of the soul in the scriptures, specifically the book of mormon. He started asking about Extra Terrestrial beings helping to build the pyramids and Machu Picchu. Finally, in the house of one of our investigators Ana, we had a big surprise. We came into her house and there on the kitchen table was a big dead pig. The biggest pig I have ever seen in my entire life and there were 3 people gathered around it using a hand saw to cut it up. I did my best to not freak out (you know how much I love raw meat and dead animals and the smells that are associated with them). I went around the table to greet her mom and on the bench next to her was the head of the chancho. I said "Oh my Goodness" in English and stumbled backwards almost fainting. The family/helping neighbors thought that was hilarious. I couldn't look over there for the entire lesson haha but it was pretty embarrassing. It was even more embarrassing though later that night when I was recounting the story (and acting it out of course) and completely fell on my fanny in front of the Elders while we were preparing for a ward "Noche de HOgar". IF you thought that was bad, it was even more embarrassing when I tripped in front of the entire ward while participating in one of the games. NO SHAME. hahaha I'm used to hitting my head on the roof of the bus while bajando and saying embarrassing things (for example, I was trying to say I like peanut butter and honey sandwiches and it came out as peanut butter and skin sandwiches because honey and skin sound a lot alike) Oh well, add it to the list. 

Finally, ELDER BEDNAR! I can't even begin to describe how incredible the conference was with Elder Bednar. We were 10 feet away from him (perks of being a Hermana, we get to sit up front) and for a little more than three hours he talked with us. It wasn't a prepared talk at all; he literally was asking our opinions, personal examples, and questions. From the moment we all stood as he walked in the room, I felt the Spirit more than I have ever before in my life. At the start of the conference he told us to take notes "like the small plates" about the things the Spirit says to us, not like the "large plates" which is simply a record of what he said/quotes. This was really cool because when we looked back at the end of the conference, we all had learned different things. One thing that I learned is that he is an apostle of the Lord. This sounds silly but I felt the witness of the Spirit 4 different times that I can remember testify that he is one of 13 men on the Earth that has all of the keys of the priesthood of God. And because he is a true apostle, Thomas S. Monson is a prophet and because he is a prophet, he has the power and authority of God, and because he has this priesthood, this is the true church. Of course I already knew all of these things but it was a moment of something transferring from my mind to my heart. It was incredible, and I got to talk for a couple of minutes with Ekins and Minson!! 

This week really was great. It was awful and I felt emotionally exhausted at the end of each day and like I almost can't do it, but I know that I can do it. And looking back, it wasn't too bad. :) Thanks for the pictures and thanks for your love. I can feel it bouying me up every day. I love you!

Hermana Stone
NEW COMPANION!! Hermana Haro and I

I am a giant- with Hermana Valbuena

My 1st Zone

With the Zone Leaders

With the District Leader

Las Hermanas

With the Colombians

Mi madre y madrastra (capacitadora y segundo capacitadora)

Please ignore my tired eyes and gross hair- with Hmas Ekins and Minson, 

2 Hermanas and 4 Elders all squished in the back of a cab at 4.30 in the morning on the way to hear ELDER BEDNAR!

Finally met up with hermana Kingston!

Monday, August 24, 2015


First of all, this internet cafe is playing the song Hotel California, and yes, I am jamming in my booth. It's weird to think of how hot it is back home! Some days in the afternoon it gets pretty warm but the evenings are always freezing. I always laugh at Hermana Valbuena because she literally sleeps with two pairs of pants, a coat, two pairs of socks and even gloves! She then makes a cacoon of blankets and once she's in, there's no getting up. I'm glad Utah hasn't been hit by all of the wildfires! The smoke in the air probably looks a lot like our sky. It's pretty but I miss the stars. I don't remember if I mentioned it before but we always say that the lights in the cerros (hills) are like our stars. I am so jealous of your fresh peach and raspberry jam and pies. I would kill for some of your bottled peaches! 

I'm happy to hear you guys are getting up early to read scriptures together every day for a couple of reasons. First, it makes my waking up at 6:30 every day not seem so bad haha Second, the scriptures are so important! I've always had a testimony that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, is true, and contains answers but ever since being out here I've gained a TESTIMONY testimony of that book. I want you guys to read the introduction, especially the last two paragraphs. There is a promise that if we do three things, we can receive three answers. I know that this promise is true because I've seen it in my own life, specifically in the last two months. There are countless examples, stories, testimonies, conversions, and pure gospel truths contained in the Book of Mormon that can and will bless your life every single day if you allow it. 

The new reservoir looks so nice! Along with the stars, the color green is something I miss. It's funny because when we ask people in the streets how they have seen God's hand in their life, many people respond with family and the naturaliza, or nature. I laughed because I thought to myself "man if you even knew!!" but there is a lot of beauty here. Like the forget me not flower talk you sent me last week (thanks by the way!) there are a lot of little things that anywhere else would be completely overlooked. 

Please tell CJ good luck for me and give Vanessa an extra big hug! Also, I'm so sorry to hear about grandpa! I didn't know about his hand but hopefully he will heal quickly.

In response to your questions: I have my first cambios TODAY. After internet we will all meet together and read off the list of who is leaving. I don't think that Hermana Valbuena and I will have cambios, at least that's what I've been praying for for the last week ;) But I am sad that my district will be changing! Two of the Elders (Elder Narvais and Elder Miranda) are entering their last 6 weeks and Hermana Valbuena and Elder Espitia only have 12 weeks left, or two cambios.  Since there are so many people leaving soon, presidente will want to bring in new people to start learning the area before they leave. I love my district! 

In other news,
I HAD MY FIRST BAPTISM THIS WEEK! I wanted it to be a surprise and it was so so good. Her name is Nicol and is 12 years old. She and her sister Kaysei were both supposed to be baptized next week and long story short, Nicol was baptized on Saturday and Kaysei is... difficult. She has days where she wants to be baptized right now but then the next day she is scared to change her religion. This is in part because in the school system here they learn about catholocism and she doesn't want to do anything against her friends and really change. But she is very prepared and all in the Lords time, will eventually come to be baptized I just know it! Nicol is an angel. She participated in the ward talent show this week and the stake choir, loves young women, and when they interviewed her for her baptism, the zone leaders said that she said: "Estoy mas de seguro. Estoy super bien!" At her baptism the whole district sang I'm trying to be like Jesus. It sounded awful but it was really spiritual. In one of the talks during the service Elder Espitia asked Nicol how long we have to endure. The correct answer is to the end, but she responded "till Navidad" which Elder Miranda jokingly taught 3 weeks ago. NO worries, we cleared that up before she was dunked! ;) It was a great day.

In other news, the ward talent show was really good. Hermana Jessica, a recent convert surprised everyone and sang acapella a song from her other church that was... interesting. When she stood up unannounced Hermana Valbuena turned to me with huge eyes and said "Do you know what she's doing?!" it was a surprise for everyone but hey, you've got to admire her confidence. Also, I finally went to immigrations! If you thought my passport picture was bad, you should see this one. Let's just say I have rice cheeks (insert sad laughter here) We had a last district lunch with lasagna, cocacola, fries, and oreos to celebrate fulfilling our goals for this transfer. I'm going to miss everyone. As far as our other investigators go, we are working hard with Nicols family. Her mom is ready to accept the gospel but she first needs to get divorced to her ex husband and married to her current husband before she can be baptized. We are also working with some other ladies very special, but they all need to get married... Their names are Celia and Ana (a mother and daughter) whose hearts are pure gold. On our first lesson with them, we mentioned that we like papas juankayeenas (honestly I have zero percent idea how to spell that but this is how it's pronounced) and for our next visit, there was a hot plate of it for each of us! They have a lot of complications but we have faith! If there is anything you can pray for, pray for the husbands of these people. THose darn husband are a big complication for almost all of our investigators.

I am doing well and thank you so much for the letters and package! I am having fun distributing the treats! (minus the almond joys of course which I am hoarding and carefully distributing so I don't eat them all at once and can enjoy them for a longer amount of time!) This week we have a special conference with Elder Bednar on Thursday with Lima East! I am so excited to hear from an apostle (AND IN ENGLISH HALLELUJAH) and hopefully see Ekins! Love you guys a lot. Thanks for the prayers and the love. I can feel it :) :)

Love always,
Hermana Savannah Stone

Nicol xoxo

Pardon the crazy hair but I was very excited to receive this!!
Some of our Zone

Noche de Talentos

Choir, Los Angeles

Monday, August 17, 2015

." Pobre gringa!"

 I can't believe the kids started school today! Tell everyone good luck haha This week was good. Last P day we had a feast and the pensionista and 2 of the Elders cooked us barbecued steak, corn on the cob and potatoes. We also had chips, soda, and icecream and needless to say we all waddled out the door for proselyting the rest of the night! It was really fun because we got to watch a new(ish) disney movie called Intense Mente. I'm not sure what it is in English but it's all about the different emotions inside of everyones head controlling their actions and choices depending on the emotion. There is a part where they are all fighting over the control board and we were all laughing because that's exactly what happens every single day in the mission. You're happy, sad, tired, confused, giddy. It's great haha During our visito de trabajo (teaching with the DL and ZL) we got home at the end of the night and I realized that my shirt was insideout the whole day. That's where the feelings of embarrassment come in I guess! 

 Every Tuesday we have District and Zone meetings and this week we focused a lot on misericordia vs justicia or, mercy versus Justice and how to apply it in our teaching. Basically we talked about how we need to be loving towards the people but also be direct and clear in order to help them understand just how important this message really is. Our job is to call people to repentence. If they are breaking the law of chastity, they need to repent and live it. If they are lacking faith, they need to repent and live it. It applies to us too. Every day we repent of our short comings and because Christ fulfilled the atonement and justice aspect, He can offer us the mercy in order to be forgiven and have the weight taken away.  I have been reading a General Conference talk every night before bed and there was a line that really struck me. It said: Teaching is more than talking and telling. I think that that is important not only for missionaries but for everyone. Even more important than talking is listening, to the needs and concerns of each individual because based on what they say we can know how to better serve them. 

During a rough spot I was listening to the song "Love is Spoken here" and felt an overwheling peace come over me. The song says "I see my mother kneeling with my family each day. I hear the words she whispers as she bows her head to pray. Her words to the Father, QUIET ALL MY FEARS. and I am thankful, Love is spoken here." I could feel the prayers of everyone at home strengthening me and offering me comfort. I know that that is what Love really is. There are many times in the scriptures where thanks to the prayers of the righteous, the wicked were saved. I know that thanks to the prayers of many parents, children make better decisions. Thanks to the prayers of a sunday school teacher, the Spirit can witness to each of the students what they need to hear. Thanks to the prayers of a sincere friend, we can feel loved or support. (ex. Alma and Alma the Younger) Keep praying!

random: Elder Narvais and Page made us banana oreo drinks that were SO. GOOD. My taste pallet has definitely changed. What is being picky???  One of the girls we are teaching surprised us by telling us she's pregnant. Her story was crazy. The father died somehow and it was very dramatic. Turns out I was just completely confused and he is just dead to her, not actually dead. They all thought that it was funny but also endearing." Pobre gringa!" I've started making a happy list for the things of Peru similar to the one I made last semester. It's interesting to see how things change based on what I have and don't have here. 

In response to your questions: I haven't gotten any mail yet (ahhhhgggh) but I'm hoping to get your package tomorrow! We get mail (that actually comes through) on Tuesdays in zone meeting! We don't have a microwave, or stove, but we do have one burner hot plate and one frying pan! I would say hashtag blessed but I can't find it on this keyboard :,) 

Love you guys! THanks for the pictures!
The Girls

Apparently 'tortilla' here refers to a fried egg and rice type dish so we had homemade guac with Lays and Doritos

Hma's Stone and Valbuena

My room

Zona Los Angeles :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

God Qualifies His Servants


First of all, mom your selfie game has always been the best in the family. Pictures are always my favorite part of internet time! It's always fun to see who is wearing my clothes I left this time ;) And Delaney and Rich (heart eye emoji) Yay! haha I can't believe my little girl Corynne had her farewell today! I bet she did great and I'm so happy you were able to go support her for me. The green pictures were so great! I honestly miss it buuuuttt I guess it'll help me appreciate it more when I get home? It is so funny because here if there's a little patch of grass, it is surrounded by a big metal fence so nothing can touch it. 

This week was really good. We had a conference with Presidente and 3 other areas. For part of it we had practices for teaching Lesson 1. Presidente sat in on our lesson and I almost peed my pants but lived through it. He is definitely a "tough love" president and told me I have a lot to work on. I've been struggling a little bit with comparing myself to other missionaries. I feel like everyone has a better knowledge of the gospel, of scripture references, are better at Spanish, or are more eloquent in their teaching methods. I felt a huge weight on me and pretty upset. But the Lord always answers our prayers. That same day we were at lunch with a member and our district leader and his companion and we were able to speak IN ENGLISH for a bit. They reminded me that I only have 4 weeks in the field, that God qualifies His servants, and that it will come. It was nice to be reassured and reminded to be patient with myself. They also shared with me several scriptural example of God calling the weak. Joseph Smith was only 14 years old! Ever since that day I have literally felt God helping me: in my conjugations, in being happy even when appointments fall though or people don't keep their committments, in understanding more every day, in leading me to scriptures that are exactly what I need or something that will relate to a lesson later in the day, and with the Holy Ghost comforting me. EVERY SINGLE DAY. I never really understood how cool the Gift of the Holy Ghost was before. We literally have a member of the Godhead with us at all time ready to comfort us, to help us make good decisions, to guide us, as long as we live worthy of it. I had a cool experience with the Holy Ghost I would like to share. We had a lot of appointments on Friday and Hermana Valbuena and I decided to do our first divisions. This was huge for me because I still don't feel confident in my understanding completely and taking charge is a little scary. I was feeling inadequate and unready silently to myself as we were walking down the cerros when I heard a voice in my head say: "You've got this. You can do it" several times. I know that this wasn't my own voice, but the voice of my loving, patient Heavenly Father telling me that He's proud of me and will help me. The divisions turned out fine and once again, God fulfilled His promises. 

In response to your questions:
1. What are you doing on Pday? Is it the same each Pday?
Every P day is different. Last week was so fun! We met up with the Santa Isabel zone and played volley and futbol. Everyone is competitive in the sense that we love to trash talk each other zone vs zone (in the most Christlike way possible of course haha) I even made a goal to the surprise and happiness of my zone. We also went to Pizza Raul and of course with our pizza got a mountain of fries because why not? And it wasn't even the Americans that chose it! Today one of the cooking ladies for a set of elders is making our zone a feast. Hopefully we'll have some time to rest too.
2. What is your favorite Peruvian food?
Favorite Peruvian food is hard to say. I love almost everything we eat here. I had some coconut Icecream that was to. die. for. Also they have this thing called papa juancallina (wow spelling is probably wayyy off) that's really good and also fresh fruit juices or tea with every lunch. Yesterday we had something almost like Hawaiian Haystacks that was really good. Then again, we also had something that smelled like a christmas candle with the same consistancy as melted wax that was a little scary. But you have to just smile and swallow haha
3. Scripture of the week?
Scripture of the week: Matt 25:34-40. I've been reading conference talks from that Ensign you sent me (thanks) and there was a talk by Elder Eyring about succoring others. It struck me with this scripture that when we succor others we are literally succoring Christ, because he suffered all things for everyone. When we help someone it is as if we are relieving His pain slightly. 
4. Is your acne getting better? 
My acne is still bad and I'm using my medicine but I think it's just the stress and food and different climate. It's okay though. I'm not too worried about what I look like- I mean, at least I have all of my teeth ;)
5. How do you do laundry?
There is a member that does all of the missionaries laundry! She is great at getting stains out but I miss the "fresh laundry scent" that does not exist here.
6. Are you happy? 
I am happy! I don't want you to think that I'm not, I just like to be completely honest because the moments that are hard, are the moments that I grow and learn from. There are several funny/happy  moments this week. For example, I was not understanding something again and finally I got it. (The woman was explaining that her dog got bathed yesterday). I told her that I understood it now and she didn't believe me so she asked me to explain to her what she said. Unfortunately, when I was relating it back to her I confused the word banar with bautizar so I told her that her dog got baptized yesterday. Also, Hermana Valbuena told me all about the "3 cosas que perdemos en la mision" (3 things you lose in your mission): your boyfriend, your figure, and your sense of shame. Love it hahahaha
I am so happy to hear from you guys and I love you!

Your favorite hermana,
Hermana Stone

The Mountain of Fries
A basket of puppies!

With Hermana Evans from PROVO!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Chicken with fins?

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SENDING PICTURES!  I loved seeing Grandma Peggy too. I can't believe she is 95! It looks like you guys are having so much fun. I'm happy :)

Investigators: This week was really good. We were leaving our house one morning when a little girl came up to us and asked us what church we were with. We explained that we were missionaries and offered to come teach her and her family. Long story short, we've taught them twice, they came to church with us yesterday and we have high high hopes for them to accept the gospel! They have a really strong testimony of prayer after the youngest son almost died but was saved through mighty prayer and faith in God. I'll update you next week on them! The little girl's name is Nicol and she is 11 years old and so sweet and concerned about her family. She told us she has seen us the last couple of weeks and wanted us to come and help her family. She reminds me a lot of Sadie. The other family we've been working with is not progressing at all. They keep making excuses buuuut we keep persisting and inviting. In the words of our district leader: "Ah el albedrio!" (OH, the Agency!) haha They have a 5 year old daughter named Reina who is adorable and always makes us drawings when we visit. It kills me to know what blessings they're missing out on! We are also teaching and keeping busy. Our mission goal is to teach 32 lessons a week and this week we reached it!!   
At the Internet Cafe ready to email home!
Food: One of my favorite things about Peru and the people here is the food. Member or not, almost everyone we teach wants to give us something to eat. They are so humble and generous and even the very poorest people give us an orange or a slice of bread. Another woman named Rocillo we are teaching made us lemon meringe pie for our appointment! It was so good and reminded me of Madeline. However, not everything is as good as that pie. For lunch one day (we eat with members every day) we all sat around the table and Hermana Marqui brought out a plate with rice, beans and chicken seasoned with herbs and celery. At least that's what I thought until I realized that the chicken was actually a fish and the celery was actually the fin to the fish that I just put in my mouth. A FIN. For another meal I ate some other questionable parts of a chicken. Best not to look! haha. After our district meeting on Tuesday Elder Page and Elder Narvais bought Hermana Valbuena and I fries and chicken nuggets from Polleria Paredes. That's how I know we're in, because they are sharing their beloved food with us! Elder Page is our district leader and super cool. He's also from Colorado. He shared 2 Nefi 32:3 with us that says "Los Angeles hablan por el poder del Espiritu Santo" (Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost)It was funny because Los Angeles is our area! Another day a member couldn't feed us so we went to Chifa Felicidad. I love chifa which is bad because it is literally a mountain of Panda Express ham fried rice with chicken. Anyways, there was a huge family there. I'm talking grandparents, aunts uncles and a bunch of kids. It was exactly like our day after thanksgiving reunion with dad's side of the family for Christmas tree shopping. It made me a little homesick but it was nice to see them all together. Before we left we told them what a beautiful family they have and also invited them all to church haha Our contacts for the day were done ;) 

Random: This week we got a call from the Hermana Lidres saying that we are doing a swap for 24 hours. What this means is one of the sisters comes to our area to work with Hna Valbuena and I go to their area to work and learn from one of them. I was so scared to leave my "mom" (when you come to the field they call it "being born" and your first companion is your mama) and have a sister leader critique my teaching and sleep away from home and yada yada yada but it ended up being a really good experience. My companion for the day's name is Sister Rodriguez from Equador and she is so cute. She loves Maroon 5 and was so excited when I could sing the lyrics for her haha. She taught me a lot and it was a really good experience aside from the fact that she likes to wake up extra early and do insanity. While we were proselyting she was correcting a sentence I was saying by saying "a travez" however, the whole time I thought she was saying "otra vez" (again) so I repeated myself like 8 times. She was laughing so hard trying to explain herself but I eventually caught on. 

Hermana Rodriguez from Equador (Sister Leader that Savannah did splits with- not sure why the picture is covering Savannah!)

I am reading the Isiah chapters right now. IF you thought they were hard, try reading them in Spanish! I literally don't understand any of it but sometimes the scriptures teach you Christ like attributes such as patience and endurance. I read an awesome talk this week called "The challenge to become". It is about how the gospel doesn't require us to DO things, but rather to BECOME something. I highly reccommend it (October General Conference 2000 I believe). ANyways, my area is good the ward is super sweet and I am becoming more accustomed and enjoying it more every week. Poco a poco. I love you guys! Have a great week,
This is a typical bus here. I hope you can see the city through the window because we're not supposed to really take photos outside because it looks really touristy. And I'm in the mirror 
Your favorite missionary,