Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sister Jones week 29

So this week has been so amazing and so fun. So we had Raul who was going to be baptized this Sunday.  He passed his interview and everything.  When we went to his house on Saturday he said that he wasn't going to be baptized on Sunday. He is taking classes right now so that he can pass elementary school.  When he was younger his parents took him out of school so he could work in a slaughter house. He had to take his final exam on Sunday morning at 8 the same time as when church starts. He asked if he could take the test another day but they said no.  If he didn't take it at that time it would count as if he failed the test. We were so sad but told him if he had faith and prayed everything would work out. We visited him in the morning at about 11.  We were praying and fasting all day that he could be baptized! He finally called us at 8 in the night and said that the teacher was sick.  She changed the test time to the following Saturday! It was such a miracle! 

I heard the whole story about Raul at the baptism.  His son bore his testimony in the baptism and everyone was crying. So two years ago everyone in the family was baptized except for Raul. He wouldn't even be in the same room as the missionaries and would leave if he saw the missionaries coming. After two years he warmed up to the missionaries little by little. Then about 8 months ago he started listening to the missionaries. he said though that before he would do anything he had to read the whole Bible.  So the missionaries dropped him. When my companion and I visited him he was only in Genesis.  We were a little bit discouraged but the thing that kept us coming back was his wife. Every time we shared a message with her she would cry and tell us how much she wanted her family to be able to go to the temple and be together forever. So we visited him almost every day and soon we started to see some progress. When he didn't understand something he would start looking in the bible dictionary that his wife had. Then he started reading some of the book of Mormon and then one day we were talking about Joseph smith with his wife and he said out of nowhere I want to be baptized! We all just looked at him and didn't no what to say but then his wife got super happy and called her son and told him and we started preparing for the baptism. It was super great and the best part of the baptism was his sons testimony and his wife ran to give him a hug after he came out of the font. I think this was one of the best experiences of my life just to see a family so happy together. 

This week also our zone leader called us all to the stake center and we did crazy switches.  He gave us all different companions for the day and gave a us all 3 goals we had to complete that day. It was actually super fun to switch things up and work with another person. 

Oh I have Halloween pictures because a member sells Halloween masks. Usually people sign up to have all 4 of us to come and eat. So we took pictures of our district after we ate at her house.

The thing that kills me here is how much food they give us. First they gave us a plate of spaghetti and I was feeling bad after that.  Then they brought out enchiladas with salad and all kinds of stuff on top and they gave me five enchiladas and I wasn't feeling so good after.  Then they brought out a hamburger with cut up hot dogs on top of the burger and I nearly died. Sadly that is not the first time and probably won't be the last time that I almost threw up from eating so much.  One of the rules in the mission is you have to eat everything on your plate because it is super offensive here not to eat all your food. Oh and next week we are getting two more hermanas so we are going to have 4 hermanas and 2 Elders in our ward! yea hermanas!!! :) Have a great week!!
Love,
hermana Jones
Great things happening in this mission. The majority of the zones are starting to have more hermanas than Elders :)


Hot sauce on Pizza:)





 

Elder Jones Week 19

Hey! Okay so this week was great. I got a stomach infection on Tuesday. It was the first time I've been too sick to leave and teach. I couldn't even leave my bed except to go to the bathroom, which I had to do every five minutes, and throw up. But yea I`m better now.

Jesùs` baptism was Saturday! Elder Torres baptized him and I did the confirmation yesterday during sacrament meeting. It was my second time giving a priesthood blessing and my first time in Spanish but I wasn't really afraid.  It was fine. Jesùs also has his interview tomorrow to get the priesthood.

We had a training in the stake center yesterday with our Zone and we talked about the problems that we have about the leadership in our wards and I realized that Buffalo Grove 1st ward is such a good ward. Our ward has a lot of problems right now but I`m glad I`m serving in an area with a lot of problems because I`m learning more about how the church is led and the responsibilities that every leader has. I`m excited to learn more and get experience. 

So I sent pictures of the baptism, a granadia which is that alien looking fruit that tastes really really good, and my Peru scripture cases. A heads up for the pictures, Peruvians don`t smile in pictures but they smile all the time in real life. I took a video of when we sang Battle hymn of the Republic in Jesùs´ baptism. It`s 20 seconds long but it`s still too large of a file to send through email.

This week I read my patriarchal blessing for the first time on my mission and I realized that I need to read it more. I realize something different every time I read it and the things that I realized were exactly what I needed at that time. 


So the family that we are super super close to reactivating is doing well, and I don`t think we would have been able to make it this far without their 12 year old son Angelo. His family has been inactive all his life but when he was 9 he decided by himself that he wanted to get baptized even though his father told him that he shouldn`t. He kept insisting and insisting and they let him get baptized. He hasn`t been able to go to church since then because he was too young to go alone, but once he turned 12 they let him go alone to church and he`s been going to church alone for the past couple of months, and we`ve been teaching him and his family and a few weeks ago his mom started going because of the example of her son, and then yesterday his mom and his sisters went to church and it`s really awesome to see how much power a good example has in a family. Angelo has his interview tomorrow to be reactivated and to get the priesthood and we`re really excited for him because he`s such a strong example to his family. It was a good week.
Hope you guys have a great week!






Sunday, October 19, 2014

Hermana Jones week 28

So I don't have a ton of time to write because we have a baptism this week and we went to their house today. We also helped a little on Saturday with the young men and young women but we only had our skirts on Saturday so we couldn't help much so we came back today in our pants and helped. It is kind of hard here because people dont really ever have lawn mowers so you cut the grass with sickles and machetes. Alos we helped weed out his garden. All I can say on Saturday is that is was a pretty bad idea to give a bunch of young men machetes......lots of people got cut. After we helped clean the garden we were going to leave but the hermana wanted to make us lunch and it took over two hours to make, but it was the best food I have ever had in my life it is called pasole and it is super yummy. Sadly though we only have an hour of a pday but it was worth it because it is the hermana we are going to baptize this sunday.

It is crazy to see the difference in him from the first time we met him where he would get up and walk out of lessons to know where he wants to get baptized. His family is super exctied because they have all been members for a litttle over a year but the dad didnt want to listen because he was super super catholic. And super catholic in the US is different thean super catholic here. Super catholic here is the have a shrine of the virgin maria that takes up a whole room in their house and they walk through the strrets to the church singing and  bring flowers to the virgin every friday. So the change in him is a little cray but we are soo excited!!!

Thank you for all the talks and it looks like you had a fun time in Boston. So exciting that Audry was baptized. A student ward with 150 people sounds like it would be so much fun! This week I also had a great experience with the Book of Mormon. I had a question about something I found and we looked in the bible and we found the answer but that just caused us to have 5 more questions. By the end we were so confused we were looking everywhere when finally my companion said hermana Jones do you believe that the book of mormon is true? I said yes and she showed me a scripture that answered every question that we had in 1 verse. I cannot even explain how much my testimony grew of the book of mormon in that second because the answer was in the bible but with the help of the BOM it made so much more sense. That is one of the things that I love about my companion is every night we talk about the things we dont understand or the trhings we have doubts about and then we both look in the scriptures fro the answers. Before my mission I thought it was bad to have doubts or questions but I have really learned that it is OK to have doubts because everytime I have doubts and find the answer for myself in the scriptures my testimony gros drastically that things things are true. I still think it is funny that before my mission I thought I knew everything that there was to know about the church. I have realized here on the mission that there are so many things that I didn't know and so many things that I still don't know!

I hope you have a great week!
Love, 
Hermana Jones

Elder Jones week 18

That's so awesome that you guys went to Audrey`s baptism and Palmyra!! Thank you, she looks really happy. Tyler has a suit!! He looks like a missionary. I miss you guys, it sounds like a fun weekend. 

We saw all the sessions of General Conference this weekend in the Stake Center with Jesùs Pachas who gets baptized this saturday and HE GOT HIS ANSWER. He already had a testimony of the book of Mormon and Joseph Smith but he wanted to get a confirmation that Thomas S. Monson is really a prophet, and he told us yesterday that definitively without any doubt he knows that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet chosen by God. He knows that baptism is the right thing for him to do and that he eventually needs to enter the temple. The members in our ward have been awesome with him by going to his house to read the book of Mormon to him and just being his friend, and I`m really happy for him because there`s no doubt in my mind that he will ever go inactive. When we were walking back from general conference he talked to almost every person that passed by about the gospel. Some people we were able to make a teaching appointment with, and always at the end Jesùs would bear his testimony about the Book of Mormon and the Restored Gospel. He told us that he used to be a fisher of men once too. It reminded me of Elder Bednar`s talk in the Sunday afternoon session about how our willingness to share the restored gospel with others is a reflection of how much it really means to us. And for Jesùs it means everything to him. Almost every time we visit him he has a reference for us. I`m really happy for him and that God answered his prayers. 

That`s about it for spiritual experiences this week, sorry this email will probably be shorter than normal. We had a lot of rejection this week. One of the recent converts that was baptized not even 3 months ago told us that she is always going to be catholic and that we should stop visiting her. She stopped going to church a couple months ago because her Mormon boyfriend broke up with her. We are teaching her mom though and she seems really interested and she wants to continue in the lessons because she wants her family to have something better. One of the inactive families we have been working with is probably going to be reactivated this week so that`s really exciting. They were inactive for 11 years. I`m learning a lot in my personal study in the scriptures and I really love studying them. General Conference was really great because I noticed that a lot of the time when I teach I make it more complicated than it needs to be, and that I should just focus on teaching basic principles one at a time and making sure that they understand what it is that I`m teaching. I kept that in mind when I taught yesterday and our lessons went a lot better. I love it here and I`m learning a lot. I hope you guys have a great week and I love you guys. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Elder Jones week 17

Hey guys! so this week was great! Last week Elder Torres and I went to Larcomar with a member family and it was so clean it was like America. The view of the beach was pretty crazy and there were a ton of people paragliding off of the the cliffs before the ocean and it was only 80 soles which is like 30 US dollars. If I wasn`t a missionary I definitely would have done that.

We had a good week teaching. I stayed up late organizing the area book because it was basically empty, and not to say anything bad about Elder Torres or the other missionaries that used to work here, but there aren`t any teaching records from the last 6 months in our area book. So I did as much as I could from the past 2 months and every night I`m working on it and I`ve really found that my love for the people I`m teaching grows when I work on the area book.

I`m starting to get really organized too.  And we clean our apartment a lot more often now.  When I got here Elder Torres told me that we only clean the apartment right before the Zone Leaders come to check it and for the other 3 months we don`t do anything and it got really really dirty.  But now we clean every day and I`m not as sick anymore so that`s good.

I got to watch the Saturday afternoon and Sunday Morning sessions of conference in the house of members because we brought investigators.  I really really liked both of them.  I liked Henry B. Eyring`s talk about revelation and how when someone receives revelation their words aren`t their own. They are the Lord`s.  And we should treat their words as words from God, like we treat the words in patriarchal blessings as words from God and not the words of the patriarch.  He talked about how Nephi said he would go and do what the Lord commanded, and not what his father had commanded because he knew that his father had received revelation from the Lord.  
 
And also this morning I was reading in Mosiah and when the Prophecy of Abinadi came true, it says that the words of the Lord were fulfilled, not the words of Abinadi.  I was thinking about how that could apply to my mission.  In my mission I`m in a lot of councils.  Ward council, mission correlation, and district council. We talk about our investigators or other people that need help and we talk about how we can help them. In our church we use councils because they`re really efficient and we receive revelation for the people we are talking about. And when someone receives revelation and makes a suggestion, it`s not their words, it came from God. And we can`t just brush off the suggestion and ask if anyone else has any other ideas because that`s like asking if anyone has anything that isn`t from God. 

I also really liked Russel M. Nelson`s talk about how we sustain the prophet, how it`s not only by raising our right hand.  And when a prophet is sick or incapable of fulfilling all of his duties we shouldn`t doubt his ability to receive revelation from God. He has his 2 counselors to help the presidency fulfill it`s duties. 

One of the families we`re working with watched the session on Saturday afternoon and had a lot of questions and really liked some of the things they said. The only thing is that they didn`t like that there were so many white general authorities.  I gave an answer about how there are a lot of general authorities from other countries but I could tell it wasn`t the right direction to go to answer that question. So yesterday I studied it out and this is what I learned. In 1 Nephi 22:23 it talks about the church of the devil and how it will always seek to do what is popular in the eyes of the world.  Something that is important to understand is that our church is led by God, not by men.  If it were led by men we would absolutely call more people from other countries as leaders because the diversity would attract more people to our church.  We also wouldn`t have so many unpopular opinions.  When someone receives a calling in our church it is because they were called of God to serve with specific responsibilities, not because of anything good they did to deserve that calling. With mission calls and patriarchal blessings they don`t change depending on how much good you did before receiving them. God has a very specific plan for each of us and when someone receives a calling we can`t judge God for not choosing who we want. The priesthood isn`t man. It is God and it is held by man. When someone is given a calling in a leadership position they aren`t given power over anyone. They are called as a servant and to receive revelation for the people they are serving, and when they speak to us they are telling us what God has revealed to them for us. And we can`t say "I would rather receive my revelation from God through someone from a different country". We are probably going to see more general authorities from other countries in the future but when that happens it will be because they were called of God, not because we are trying to look more diverse. God isn't a politician. He doesn`t care what`s popular in the eyes of the world, and neither do we. We are a peculiar people and we will continue to be the only church on earth led by God.  Also the Book of Mormon is full of Latino prophets. 

Okay I love you guys. I hope you have a great week and its really exciting to hear about what`s going on at home. I miss watching conference with you guys in the super nest. Bye!

Hermana Jones Week 27

So this week was super great. We found an investigator like no other. We contacted him in the street and he said that we could come by, so we left him with a pamphlet to read about Joseph Smith.  Usually people either don't read it or read a paragraph.  He read the whole thing through and told us that his whole life he has been intrigued by the life of Melchizedek and doesn't know why, but it caught his attention when he read about the restoration of the priesthood of Melchizedek he was super interested.

He asked us all types of questions about the priesthood and about Joseph Smith and then came to conference with us and then wanted to go to the priesthood session too. He is progressing super well and read the whole book of Mormon in 2 days.  He says he can't put it down-- he is just frustrated that he cant read faster.  It is super funny because he just asks question after question after question and says it feels like we are filling something inside of him that he didn't know was empty. So I am super super happy for that. Also Hermana Karen worked out all her problems and is getting married!!!!!

This week was fun too because in between conference we went to eat at a member's house and they gave me a huge machete and I started whacking off parts of the cactus so we could eat it. Fun stuff here in Mexico.

I really loved conference though especially because I have been studying a lot about the sacrament and I prayed they would talk about it and there were two whole talks about it.  My favorite talks though were the talks in Spanish because there weren't the annoying voice overs. It is super distracting for someone to be speaking in English but the voice is in Spanish. The first one that was in Spanish there were a lot of people crying during the conference because it is just so amazing to hear someone speaking Spanish and it isn't even my first language. It was funny too to listen to the talk in Portuguese because I could understand a lot of what he was saying.

This week we also got a Liahona magazine about a jade cabbage which sounds weird but I love the story. It says that for a piece of jade to be valuable it has to be the same color, not have cracks or ripples. The jade cabbage is made out of jade that has colors that are so intertwined that no one would even bother with it. However a master carver took this piece of jade and used its weaknesses to make is seem more real. The white is the bottom of the cabbage and the green is its leaves the crack and ripples make the leaves look more life like. I liked this story a lot because it says if the piece of jade could speak it would probably tell the master carver that it was of no worth. That is had so many imperfections it would be impossible to make anything with it. However the master carver worked with these weaknesses in the jade and made it into a piece of art unparalleled.  Many times in this life we can only see our weaknesses but God has a plan for each of us and with the power of the atonement weak things can be made strong. Ether 12:27. We are still in the process of being carved and should trust in the master carver, Jesus Christ who will make our weaknesses become strengths.

I hope you guys have a great weak. Oh, one of my favorite quotes from one of the talks in Spanish- "If it works, it works. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work." I loved this a lot because many times in life we see something that isn't working but we are too lazy, or think that there is no other way to do it but we need to look for something that works.

Oh, and this week I also learned that it is just as important to be served as to serve others. My whole mission when someone offers me something or tries to help I say I am fine but this week my companion told me that I am not accepting service because I am prideful. I didn't see it like that at first because I just didn't want people to have to worry but she said by rejecting their service I am denying them blessings that they need. Maybe I don't need the service of someone offering me their umbrella when it is raining but they need the blessings that they can receive by giving me their umbrella. I thought a lot about that and thought about the life of the savior and how he always served but always accepted the service of others as well.  I never looked at it like that but now that I do I know it is true. We should never be too prideful to accept the help of others. Hope you have a great week.

Love,
Hermana Jones

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Elder Jones week 16

Hey!

This week was great. That's awesome about the apple picking and camping, I really miss camping with our ward. So on Tuesday we went to the temple!!! I missed the temple so much. I think I learned more in the Spanish session than I did in English in Chicago. I love the temple so much. I wish you and Dad could have been there.  
 
I bought a new hardcover King James version Bible that was dirt cheap like 1 US Dollar, and I`m so excited to just study it and mark it up.  Also I bought some Bibles for some of our recent converts and Investigators who don`t have a Bible. And I bought these really cool weaved Peruvian scripture cases with Llamas and cool Peruvian patterns on them I`ll send you a picture next week. 
 
So for conference we get it a week late because there are elections that Sunday and we can`t have any sort of meeting because in Lima you don`t have the option not to vote, so on Sunday all the people in Lima, minus the missionaries, have to be in one spot to vote. So we probably won`t be doing anything Sunday except for studying like the whole day. 

Jesus Pachas is progressing really well. He forgot to tell us that he was the pastor at the church that he used to attend that`s really close to his house, so they`ve been without a pastor for a few weeks. He knows that Joseph Smith was a prophet but he`s still praying about Thomas S. Monson and he`s hoping that when he hears him in conference he`ll get an answer. He`s such a good investigator. We visit him every day to read the Book of Mormon to him and to teach him something, and it`s really cool because he studied the Bible his whole life and he knows it really well, so when we teach him something he already knows all the scriptures in the Bible that support it and he`ll tell us how that makes a lot of sense because of some scriptures that we hadn`t ever come across but totally support what we just taught. At the end of every lesson we sing Battle Hymn of the Republic because that`s his favorite hymn in the world and even though he can`t read the words he knows the chorus and when he sings it he`s sooo happy. That`s probably my new favorite thing to do; sing Battle Hymn of the Republic with Jesus Pachas. 

Yesterday there was a baptism for the other ward that shares a building with us, and we brought our investigator Jackie, the cousin of the Gonzalez family, and it was a really good experience for her. There were so many people that came to the baptism and she said she could tell that when people are baptized in our church that there`s a lot of support from the members. Also they showed Mormon Messages on a TV before the baptism started and while we were waiting for people to change, she really liked them and she asked to borrow our Mormon messages for a couple days to watch them all with her family. After the baptism we taught her at the Gonzalez family`s house and she said that she knows that she needs to be baptized but she`s afraid that she`ll go inactive and that would be worse than if she hadn`t ever been baptized.  We explained receiving the Holy Ghost and what that means, and how she shouldn`t be afraid that she`ll go inactive after her baptism because she`ll have the companionship of the Holy Ghost, and if she honestly does her part and tries to keep the companionship of the Holy Ghost in her life she doesn`t need to worry about giving in to temptation because God will protect her and the Holy Ghost will guide her in her decisions. It was a really good lesson. 

We know for sure that she and Jesus are getting baptized this month. With Jesus at first we tried to rush him to baptism because he was so ready in the first lesson, but really what he needs is answers to his prayers and a firm testimony of the things we are teaching him, and then baptism. I made a goal early in my mission, around the time I found out that there are a ton of people that have already been baptized in Caja de Agua, but really don`t know anything about our church or don`t have a testimony of anything. The goal I made was that the people that I baptize on my mission have a real testimony of Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon, so that they don`t go inactive once I change areas. I realize that they have their agency, but I`m not going to baptize just to baptize. I`m really excited for both of them and I know that they are receiving answers to their prayers, and that they`ll receive a ton of support from the members of our ward. 

This week was great I love you guys. have a great week!

Elder Jones