Thursday, January 29, 2015

Sister Jones Week 43

So this was a super stressful week but it ended up being really good. We got a new district leader and he was super controlling and would call us every 5 min to see if we had our numbers for the day. He didn't have the goal at the normal level.  He wasn't just inviting us to get higher numbers.  He was forcing us! I was super stressed all week and really close to biting his head off.  We made it too the end of the week.  My testimony has really grown of respecting our leaders because they receive revelation for each of us.

This week we had so many people come up to us and say that they want us to visit their daughter because she isn't a member of the church or their husband or their friend and all the lessons have gone really well. Also we had a new family at church this week and if everything goes well Abraham(the last member of the Chavez family)  will be baptized on Sunday(please keep him in your prayers).

Also a lot of young woman in our ward are thinking about going on missions.  They all went out and worked with us this week which was super great. Also there are so many sister missionaries now that some of the missions here in Mexico will not accept anymore sisters.  There is an overwhelming amount. It wouldn't be a problem to have so many hermanas except that they need priesthood in every area.  It is making it difficult with having more than half the mission as sister missionaries. So that is pretty crazy the difference in the setup of missions now from just two years ago. For example our ward has 4 sisters and 2 elders and we have 10 more sister missionaries than elders in our zone now! hahah we are outnumbering the Elders. It was funny because one of the members was talking about how sister missionaries are like bacteria in a dish. You start out with one and then before you know it there are thousands!

Anyway I have learned lots of important lessons this week. We learned in church this week that we can't look at our leaders as men but leaders in the church of Jesus Christ.  Heavenly Father will always bless us for being obedient to leaders in his church.. I hope you guys have a great week!
Love,
hermana jones

Elder Jones Week 33

Hey guys! Sounds like you all had a great week! This week we had a training from Carlos Godoy from the first quorum of the 70 this week. He gave a general conference talk in Portuguese this last October. He also speaks English and Spanish. I learned a lot from him. One of the things he told us was that when you magnify your calling, what people see in you is greater than who you where at the beginning of your mission, because they see your calling. They don´t see Hal, they see Elder Jones, and who Elder Jones is depends on how well I magnify my calling. And then at the end of my mission who I am is the sum of Hal and Elder Jones. He said that when people call you their angels it is because you are doing a good job of magnifying your calling, because they actually see you as their angels. (and then later that day two different investigators we have called us their angels, so that made me feel special)  Also this week one of our investigators, Eileen, received an answer to her payers that she definitively needs to get baptized, so I considered that a miracle and I decided to do a fast of gratitude, like I was talking about a couple of weeks before. It was really interesting. I wasn´t expecting anything amazing to come out of that fast and nothing amazing really did come out of it, but I do feel a lot closer to my Heavenly Father and I feel like I have more of his trust now. Also something really weird was that during the entire fast, I wasn´t hungry at all. So Yea I thought that was interesting.
One of the young men in our ward received his mission call this week. He had been waiting 3 months for it,  and he didn´t open it until sacrament meeting. He gave a talk first and then opened his mission call. It was the most suspenseful sacrament talk ever. He got called to Japan, which is really amazing because no one ever gets called to Japan from Peru unless they´re Japanese. And he´s not Japanese at all and doesn´t speak Japanese. I´m really excited for him because in the little time that I know him I already know that he´ll be a great missionary. 
I´m starting to take advantage of the time we use in the day walking from appointment to appointment to memorize scriptures in Spanish and it´s really great because we have about 4 or 5 hours a day of just walking so that´s more than half a week of scripture and language study every day. 
My companion has his doctor´s appointment today and we´re going to find out if he needs to go home or not. It´s gotten pretty bad, his stomach hurts a lot and it´s hard for him to work all day but hopefully he gets better
Hope you guys have a great week! 
Elder Jones
 





























 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Elder Jones week 32

Hey! So my new area is in Rimac! The only other Zone with houses on the side of hills! except these hills are a lot taller and the houses reach a lot higher up. My area is completely flat though but I have a really great view. My new companion is Elder Membrillo, from Trujillo, Peru. He has even less time than I do in the mission! He`s also relatively new in Rimac so niether of us know very many people here. 
 
My ward is the best.  Rimac 2nd ward.  The people are all so nice and the leaders know what they`re doing and know their responsibilities.  They have an efficient ward council.  In my mission I`ve always met people that remind me of people from home and the Relief Society president is exactly the same as mom.
 
I really like my new area. It`s a lot calmer and quieter.  It reminds me of Italy.  The people aren`t suffering as much here and there`s a lot more infrastructure.  It`s not rich, but it`s more comfortable. We have activities in our ward every week and two days a week we offer classes.  I teach English lessons one day and piano lessons another day, while my companion teaches guitar lessons, and one of our recent converts, Angel, is a professional artist and he teaches art classes.  The church has a piano but no one knows how to play it so now I play piano in sacrament!  
 
There are so many people to teach here, and it`s almost impossible to not teach with a member here.  Every morning this week we`ve had to go to the hospital to get some tests done for my companion because something's going on with his stomach and no one knows what.  I really hope he doesn`t go home because he`s such a good missionary.  So yea, I`m really happy here.  This week was mostly getting to know people.  
 
There`s a young woman in our ward that has been investigating the church for over a year and has wanted to get baptized but can`t because she doesn`t have the permission of her grandparents who she lives with, and basically the goal we`ve had is to start to gain the trust of her grandparents, and the grandpa really likes music and coincidentally he has a keyboard and a guitar.  So when we visited them yesterday my companion played something from the Red Hot Chili Peppers on the guitar and I played "Clocks" from Coldplay on the piano because that's the only song I know how to play without sheet music, and it turns out that he really likes American music, and he wanted us to play more and we told him that we`d like to play more but first we have a message we`d like to share with you and your family, so he sat in on a lesson with us and later we played more on his keyboard and guitar and he`s going to come to church on Sunday!  So I think the most important thing I learned from this is that missionaries aren`t robots and everything we do has to do with building a relationship of trust. Also thanks to Jacob West for teaching me "Clocks" on the piano.  
 
I`m really excited to be able to serve here.  This computer isn`t working very well so I`ll have to send pictures next week.  Also I finished the "My Family" book with pictures and stories and everything and I feel really good having that completed.  I hope you guys have a great week! 

Elder Jones      

Hermana Jones week 42

This week was super great.We had transfers, but Hermana Leonard and I are staying here together.  I will have 6 months here in Sauces by the end of this transfer, but I am ok with that because the area is super safe and we are super spoiled here :) 

This week I read a few talks, and since mom sends me lots of talks I will send you some of my favorite talks, too. One is called "The workers of the Vineyard" by Jeffery R. Holland. Another is "Our refined Celestial Home" by Tad R. Callister (that one is a BYU speech). And another one is also a BYU speech and it is called "Where did you Put the Tigers?" If you don't mind can you send me the "Where did you Put the Tigers" talk because I like it a lot.  It is on speeches.byu.edu.  Thanks for all the talks-- they are great. 

This week we had the five confirmations of the Chavez family, and it was super awesome because the youngest daughter got a blessing that she would have the opportunity to serve the Lord as a missionary.  I love just listening to confirmations because it is almost a mini patriarchal blessing :) Also they have been doing really well this week because the dad has been searching for a job for a really long time and this week he got three job offers!  I was so happy because I really think that helped strengthen his testimony. 

The only member of the family not baptized now is the 15 year old son and he didn't go to church today but I was so happy because we visited the Chavez family at about 7 at night and there were a ton of young men at their house talking to the son and asking why he didn't go to church and that they missed him:)  It just makes me so happy sometimes when members help so much and we don't even have to ask them :) 

Also, I forgot to mention last week that grandma's package came and I opened it with the Chavez family and so they were going crazy because they had never tried a lot of the candies that were in the package :9 They loved the lip balm that grandma made and it was perfect because there was enough for me and my companion and every girl in their family.  Also I gave all the mints to the mom and she loved them because she had to quit smoking before her baptism and she eats the mints now every time that she wants to smoke.  I am actually so proud of her because she hasn't smoked at all! I think it helps that she has 6 children always watching her though:) I  just love their family so much and I am so happy I have another transfer here so I can see the whole family get baptized.  Their grandparents also went to church on Sunday! Also we are teaching their aunt's family too.  It is so nice here in Mexico that everyone's family lives so close.  Have a great week. Oh I laughed a lot about dads pilates experience:) haha!

Love,
Hermana Jones
 






 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Hermana Jones week 41

So this week was super amazing is all I have to say. On Jan 6 it was the Dia de los Reyes and I think that is my favorite holiday here in Mexico.  So what you do is instead of Santa it is the three wise men and they bring presents on the 6th of January because on the 25th of December you just get presents from family members.  So what you do is you buy a balloon and then you write what you want from the three Reyes and tie the note to the balloon and then bring the balloon outside and let it float up to heaven I think so God can tell the three wise men what you want.  
 
It was really funny the next day, though, because there were balloons all over the place. In the trees and in the phone lines.  Then all the little kids put their shoes under the Christmas tree and they get their presents in their shoes.  Also there is delicious bread that they make for only that day you can't buy it any other time of the year and it is really funny because inside there is a tiny baby Jesus and whoever gets the baby Jesus needs to buy tomales for everyone.  I found it! I was more excited that I found the baby and got to put it in my journal then sad I had to buy tomales :) 

Also this week we spent a TON of time at the Chavez family's house.  They were just having lots of problems because I think every baptism has lots of problems before hand but maybe because they are such a big family they had a lot more problems than usual.  Just anything that could go wrong did go wrong.  Anyway, finally Saturday night everything was set for the baptism and the next day on Sunday an hour before church they called saying that their dad had left early in the morning because of a few problems and the family wasn't going to church and wasn't going to be baptized!  

It was pretty much the saddest moment of my life but we decided to run to their house and luckily everyone was there except the dad. The mom said that the dad was super upset because his family members had been talking to him and had said a lot of things so he decided that no one in his family were going to be baptized.  The three girls were super sad because they had been counting the days until their baptism.  We were all sitting there not knowing what to do but we called the dad and convinced him to come home and then talked to him.  He finally calmed down and finally admitted that he was just scared but when he agreed they could all be baptized none of them had showered and all were in their pajamas and church is 40 min away and it was already 12:30 and church started at 12:00. 

So everyone was running like crazy getting ready and it was the scariest car ride of my life because we got to church in 15 minutes and all 8 of them in their family plus me and my companion went there in one five person car.  But we made it and they got baptized! I was so happy:) Even their son went to church. He has never been to church and never wants to go but in the morning it was the biggest miracle because he came our ready to go and said "hermanas is this ok to wear to church". We were so happy it really was a miracle! Also he really liked church so we are planning a baptism for him in 3 weeks because they need to go to church 4 times to be baptized. It was just such a special spirit baptizing a family so big. It was super cute though because they got baptized youngest to oldest and once one got baptized they would wait to see the next person baptized. So they were all standing there dripping wet and cold but so happy and it was so cute once their dad got baptized because they had their whole family there. 

I just love that family so much I can't even describe it but I am super sad because we are having transfers next week and I am probably leaving so I wont be able to see the last member of their family baptized :( Maybe I will come back in 6 years when their youngest son can be baptized :) 

Anyway last night was the first night I slept well in a long time because for the whole week I couldn't sleep because I was either worrying about their family or thinking about what we were going to teach them the next day.  So in our ward the elders baptized one the other hermanas baptized one, and we baptized five, so there were 7 baptisms in our ward on Sunday

Then because our stake is only the stake center and our  building is the only one with a baptismal font ( All the others are tiny branches) three other branches came to our ward building to have members baptized!  So that other picture is the 11 baptisms of those three braches. We stayed to help because it was a lot of people trying to get baptized and dressed.   So I saw 24 people be baptized yesterday! :) It was super late when we left though because we left at 7:30 so it was a long church day. Anyway I hope you guys have a great week.  Happy birthday Mom!

Love,
Hermana Jones
 







 

Elder Jones week 31

Hey guys! So it´s official, I´m leaving Caja de Agua tomorrow.  Elder Figueroa is training a new missionary. This morning I couldn´t write because we had to go to a training for new trainers. I have to finish packing up my bags and saying goodbye to everyone. We had lunch with Isabel and her family. Delia had to work so she couldn´t be there but she left a recording for me and she bore her testimony and it´s going to be really hard to leave this family. I also just got done saying goodbye to the Fonseca family, with Marilu who was in the mototaxi accident, and Estefany who is going to go on a mission, and my grandma Salomé. I gave my only hymn book to Salomé because she always wanted a small one because the big one weighs a lot, so I gave her mine even though she can´t see the letters.  I still have to say goodbye to Jesús Pachas, Jackie, the Calderón family, Angelo, and basically everyone else in Caja de Agua. Don´t take this the wrong way but seriously this is harder than leaving home was, because I´m not just leaving behind one family this time. 

Oh thanks- yeah this week I was thinking about how I was going to organize the way I record the things I learn, and I made a binder that I´m going to organize by topic, like the topical guide, and keep adding paper when I need to add to a topic. 
 
Wait that´s so sad about Hermana Seivert, the last time I talked to her was new years and she was on crutches, but she said she was fine and that she didn´t need to go home.
I got a letter from the Kurihara family this week and it said that Brother West has memorized Maka´s full name and he recites it when people ask him. I don´t know why but that made me laugh and I really miss Buffalo Grove first ward. That´s really awesome about your kickboxing class! Have fun!
 
So things are going really well with my new year's resolutions ( that I`m not going to enter into a mototaxi, taxi, bus, or train without talking to someone about the gospel, that I`m going to meet at least one new person every day, that if I know I`m not going to have time to study one day because we have a meeting or service project or anything, I`m going to wake up early to study with my companion, and to always have eye contact with someone when I´m teaching) This morning when we were going to the training for my companion we were talking with our taxi driver, and we answered a lot of his questions about the gospel and he was really interested. When we arrived he told us that he´s having some problems with his wife and family and that we really helped him and that he knew that we were sent from God. We stayed in the taxi for about 20 minutes and we taught him the first lesson and we passed the reference to the missionaries from where he lives.  I also had many meaningful conversations with other people in the train and bus.  I realized that I´m a lot happier on my mission now that I talk to so many more people every day. 
 
This week something that I think would be worth sharing from my personal study is from Alma 45:1. It talks about the Nephites that prayed and fasted AFTER the Lord had delivered them from their enemies. And I thought that was something really interesting because normally the examples I find in the Book of Mormon are of people that are asking for something. But you can and should do fasts of gratitude, just like prayers of gratitude are as important as prayers of petition, especially after miracles.   I´ve seen many miracles in my mission so far and this is something that I want to try someday after I witness a miracle in my mission, a fast of gratitude. 
 
In our ward and with the ward we share a building with there is a lot of problems with people going to whichever ward they have more friends in, and also families not doing family home evening or doing it on Sunday instead of Monday because it´s more convenient for them. And I was thinking and I really wanted to know if these people needed to follow the standards of the church or if it was better that they were at least going to church and doing their family home evening.  And I realized that people can´t put conditions on God.  There shouldn´t ever be the option between attending the other ward or not attending, or doing family home evening on Sunday or not doing it.  I was reminded of the quote "Obedience brings blessings, obedience with exactness brings miracles" and of course God will bless his children for going to church, but we can´t promise miracles in their lives if they aren´t attending the church they belong to.  And of course God will bless his children for doing family home evening, but we can´t promise miracles in their lives if they aren´t making an effort to do it on the day that the prophet set apart for the family.  I realized that as a missionary I can only promise miracles in the lives of the people I teach if I teach them what qualifies as obedience with exactness. (I realize that there are exceptions and that God will understand people that really can´t, but this isn´t the case here) 
 
So yea I hope you all have a great week and I´ll let you guys know next week where my new home is! 
 
Elder Jones
 






 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Elder Jones week 30

Hey guys!

Great to hear that you guys had such a great week. On the 31st we saw Meet the Mormons as a mission and it was actually really good.  Then later we had dinner with Isabel and Oliver`s family and I saw the fireworks for New Year's from the roof of my apartment and it was so insane!!  I`ve never seen a fireworks show anything like that before.   There were fireworks exploding 20 ft. above my head.  I`m in a ring of small mountains and the people from one side of the ring were shooting off fireworks at the other side of the ring.  The fireworks went on continuously for 45 minuets and the sky filled with smoke really quickly.  And at the end when everyone ran out of fireworks they shot off flares and there were a ton of flares in the sky and some people lit floating lanterns that were really cool.  
The next day on the 1st as a zone we played soccer the entire day and cooked pizza and we had permission to watch Frozen.  Then the day after that we went to the temple.  It was really great to be able to go to the temple because I found so much revelation for my investigators.  For example afterwards my companion and I talked and in the temple we had both felt that one of our investigators, Manuel, needs to hear the words of Thomas S. Monson.  Even though we`ve never talked about the Prophet with him before.  I got some family names done too.
So next week is transfers again and I`m probably going to leave Caja de Agua this time and that`s really sad.  I really want to see the parents of Isabel and Oliver get baptized, but I know that God is preparing specific people for me and specific people for other missionaries.  I am kind of exited to find out where I`m going to go though. 
Yesterday was fast and testimony meeting and one thing that I realized is that on my mission there isn`t ever a fast and testimony meeting that I don`t want to bear my testimony, because that`s my favorite thing to do now.  That`s always the best part of the lesson for me when I get to bear my testimony.  But yesterday I was about to go up to bear my testimony and I felt the spirit actually telling me not to go up and bear my testimony, and then immediately after that my recent convert with one week as a member, Isabel, went up and bore an amazing testimony and I was so proud of her. 
I bought a soccer ball and every day after running I`m practicing juggling it and the first day I got up to 12 without it hitting the ground and then every day since that I haven`t gotten anywhere close to that. 
This transfer went by so quickly for me and we had so many days off, but we were still so productive.
We had 2 baptisms and 5 reactivated, and I`m so happy for all of them because I can really feel that they are going to endure to the end and progress in the gospel.  That makes me really happy. We reactivated the parents of the missionary that left from our ward a few months ago and now we`re preparing them for the temple to get sealed.  There are actually so many people that we are working with to arrive at the temple because a lot of them just never really learned why what we do in the temple is so important. 
I hope you guys have a great week and that everyone is well. Love you guys!

Elder Jones