Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Sister Jones Week 30

Elder Jones Week 20

Hey guys! This week was great. Transfers were this Tuesday and Elder Torres and I will stay together for the third transfer in a row, so we`ll be together 4 and a half months in total.  By the end of this transfer I`ll be 6 months done with my mission! That's so scary. I`m feeling a lot better, not so sick. I lost a ton of weight though. I weighed myself this morning and I`ve lost 9 kilograms since I started my mission. I don`t know how many pounds that is but I`m thinking it`s too much. 

On Saturday all the members of the ward were supposed to clean the church and only the missionaries and Jesùs showed up. He`s almost completely blind but he was sweeping and mopping and singing Battle hymn of the republic the whole time. He got the Aaronic priesthood yesterday and also he got called as a ward missionary! So he`s going to go teaching with us a lot more. It`ll be hard because there are a lot of stairs but he wants to do it so we`re happy. Today for pday we`re going to the other side of our mission with Jesùs to visit the cemetery where his mom was buried because he can`t remember when she was born and when she died. Also just because he hasn`t been able to go in a really long time. 

That`s awesome about the Halloween party! October is kind of different here because of the Catholic holidays. There are bombs and fireworks constantly going off and everyone wears purple in honor of Santa Rosita. and there are a bunch of... I don`t even know what to call them.. floats, that are carried by priests. Kind of like the arc of the covenant but with an image of Santa Rosita. So yea that`s fun. 

Yesterday we had a lesson with Jackeline who has a baptismal date for November 9th, and her little sister also wants to get baptized, and we taught them both. It was a really good lesson because we can tell that every time we meet with Jackeline her conversion is continuing to increase. Saturday she called us that she wouldn`t be able to come to church because she had a commitment with some of her friends, and we encouraged her to make the decision to go to church, and yesterday she went to church with her little sister and her friend! She`s really progressing well. 

On Saturday morning there was a ward activity for the young men. It was a soccer tournament, but each of the young men in our ward had to make up their own team with friends that aren`t members. 35 young men showed up and only 7 were members. A couple of our investigators, Jon and Noè, came with their own team too. And then while teams were waiting to play we were there talking to them about the church and answering any questions they had, and we invited everyone to church and almost everyone that went to the tournament went to church yesterday. It was really cool. 

Our mission president told us to restart the Book of Mormon regardless of where we were at in it, and at first I really didn`t want to because what I`ve been doing for the past couple months is when I read a chapter in the Book of Mormon I write what I learned and important scriptures to remember on half a notecard and tape it to my wall, and I`m already halfway done with Alma. The idea is that when I finish and I have all the chapters of the Book of Mormon on my wall, when we are planning and thinking about which chapter we should give to our investigator to read, I can just look at my wall and find a chapter that would be good for that investigator. But I made the decision to restart the Book of Mormon and I`m really glad that I did because I notice things that are really important and helpful for my investigators that I didn`t notice before. 

I`m really excited for Jesùs in his new calling and the opportunity that he has to progress in the gospel. OH also something really funny that happened yesterday and almost every Sunday in the class for new converts and investigators. Whenever the teacher tells us to go to a scripture in the Bible, Jesùs just starts reciting it from memory. I don`t know how he does it or how he knows the Bible so well but I`m convinced he has the Bible memorized. This week was great. I`m still loving it. Hope you guys have a great Halloween! Goodbye

Elder Jones 

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!!
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!
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!