Monday, November 24, 2014

Elder Jones Week 24

Hey guys! wow I feel like missionary work in Buffalo Grove has never really been this rapid or successful. God really is pressuring the work all over the world, not just in Caja de Agua. Today we hiked up the hill San Cristobol, which is the hill that my sector is on, with Elder Escobar, Elder Bruton, and Jacky. It was crazy, you could see all of Lima. Lima is so big because it`s the number of people in New York but in 1 and 2 story buildings. 

This week we were trying to focus on finding new people to teach because we don`t have very many people progressing. So we decided to do a day of talk with everyone. Literally everyone. We talked with everyone we saw on Wednesday, and we had been praying and fasting that we would find people that had been prepared to receive this message. Honestly I was expecting Heavenly Father to try our faith and not give us any success but we found a TON of prepared people. So we now have 8 people with a baptismal date. We found a family too on Saturday. They have 3 sons and a daughter. Isabel, who is 22, Miguel Angel, 18, Yoseph, 16, and Oliver Jefferson, 11. When we knocked on their door, the mom, Delia, and Isabel were there and they let us in and immediately they had a ton of questions for us from the restoration, the plan of salvation, the gospel of Jesus Christ, fasting, and basically everything else we teach. We tried our best to answer every question but the questions just came one after another after another and it wasn`t possible to answer them all. Then after about 30 minutes the mom told us that just a few hours ago that day they had found out that her husband has terminal cancer, and that she doesn`t know what to say to Oliver Jefferson. So we decided to teach them about the plan of salvation, and temples, and what it means to have a sealed family in the temple. At the end of the lesson we invited Delia and Isabel to baptism for January 3rd and they accepted, and they want to get sealed in the temple as a family. Then Miguel Angel, Yoseph, and Oliver Jefferson entered the house and they all want to go to church.  Delia and Miguel Angel had to work this Sunday but yesterday Isabel and her two younger brothers went to church. Isabel signed up to sing in the stake choir for stake conference next Sunday, and she also signed up for three years of the Liahona. The only problem she had yesterday was that she wants to get baptized sooner. She can`t wait till January 3rd. So she`s thinking more like 2 weeks from now. So yea we`re really excited to see her grow. Also on Wednesday on the day that we were talking with everyone we met we found a young man from the other ward, and he told us that up until two weeks ago he had been planning on serving a mission and had his papers all ready, but he had an experience with one of the other members that offended him and he didn`t want to go to church and he signed up for a job with the police and paid for all the medical exams which are really expensive, and that he wasn`t going to go on a mission anymore. We talked to him for a long time and we told him that he needs to ask God about what it is he needs to do, and why a mission is so important, and then the next day we saw him again and he had decided that he`s going to go on a mission. 

I`m also really excited this week because on Thanksgiving I`m going to be in the Temple with all the recent converts in our ward and Angelo! We`ve been working a ton with all of them this week to make sure everyone has a family name to do baptisms for, and I`m really excited because I miss the temple a ton. 

I hope you guys have a great thanksgiving and also with respect to skyping on Christmas, I don`t know if it can be another day other than Christmas and also I think but I`m not sure that 3 way skype is possible. But yea I`ll figure out. This is my last week with Elder Torres who has been my companion since I got here in Lima so that`s too bad. Have a great week!

Elder Jones

Week 34 in Mexico for Sister Jones

So this week was another great week. It is crazy that it is Thanksgiving this week. It was funny because all week all the members were telling me that there were storms and lots of snow in Chicago. Makes things seem a lot warmer here. Winter is kind of weird here because we are at such a high altitude.  In the afternoon it is deathly hot but then at night it is pretty cold.

This week was super good we had three whole families at church on Sunday. One of the families is getting baptized next week so I will have lots to be thankful for on Thanksgiving.  Another family is super cute because it is the wife, husband and their cute little baby. The wife’s name is Yantze.  She loves when we visit.  She likes to hear about the message but also looooves to teach us Spanish.  It is so funny. The other family who came was one of the ladies who lost her husband this year. I was sooooo happy because the topic in gospel principals was the plan of salvation! She absolutely loved it.

We went over afterward to see how they liked church and they all loved it. They have a girl who is 16, a boy who is 15 and then a little boy who is 6.  All the kids loved it so much. They have visited lots of churches but never wanted to go back to any of them.  However, the little boy loved primary and the two teenagers loved young women and young men. I love that our ward has a really strong youth program.  It really helps so much when there are new kids there. There are about 32 young women and about 37 young men. I think it will help a lot that her kids loved it so much. After church my companion invited the family to baptism (it was her first time) and they said yes!!!! It was super funny because she asked and the 15-year-old boy.  He said yes in a second which really surprised the mom.  He usually doesn’t want anything to do with church.

This week was super hard and we were working a lot. I pretty much passed out in bed every night.  However, when you have people at church it is the best feeling I have ever had in my whole life.

Also it was super crazy because a girl just showed up to church by herself.  A member called us out of second hour and told us we needed to talk to someone. The girl had passed by the church in her car and just really felt like she needed to pull over.  We started talking to her and realized pretty fast she didn’t know Spanish.  She was super confused talking to the members who had spotted her in the hall.  She was on her way out when we started talking to her. It turns out that she is from Bulgaria but knows English!!! She is here to teach English to some people here in Mexico. Good thing we are two American missionaries!!!!! So we started talking to her and are going to visit her this week. I hope I know how to teach the gospel in English hahahah!!!  We will see how that turns out.

Anyway there are tons of things to be thankful for and even though it doesn’t seem like Thanksgiving I am sure it will be super great! I hope you have a great week and tell everyone how much I love them!!! Have a great week!!!!!
Love Hermana Jones 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tracy's letter from Peru

ts a pleasure i have more fotos!
Jacky's baptism

Carapulcra con sopaseca , jacky cooked this 

Elder Jones loves peruvian FOOD

Thanks for the sweet letter elder Jones is a good friend of mine an excellent missionary!!!

Week 23 Elder Jones

Hey! Holy smokes Dan is so grown up. What. That's not allowed, when I get back he`s going to be taller than me. So this week was great as usual. The woman that got in the mototaxi crash, almost everyone in her family are new converts (2 of her daughters, her son, and her mom) and she has a little more than a year in the church. A couple of weeks ago we had lunch with them and Elder Torres casually brought up that Estefany, who`s 21 and will complete her first year of membership in February, can serve a mission if she wanted to. And she had actually already begun to make the decision to serve a mission a couple of weeks before and had already been talking to her friends and family about it, so she was really surprised because she hadn`t told anyone yet and on Tuesday we had a really great lesson with her about serving a mission. It would be really hard for her and her family because she`s the only one that works in her family, and her mom really didn`t want her to go because she has a really close bond with Estefany and it isn`t obligatory for sisters. Estefany told us that she had already prayed about it and she said she was reading a conference talk from a while ago and it said something like "take care of my family and I will take care of yours" and she took that to be her answer. And we read D&C 4 with her and talked about even though it isn`t obligatory for sisters, if someone has the desire to serve they are called to the work. We had another lesson with her mom Thursday and she told us all the reasons why she didn`t want her to go and how hard it was going to be for them but at the end of the lesson she was more okay with her going because she`s a convert and she realizes how important missionaries are. On Saturday we fasted with Estefany for her mom and her family and on Sunday we told the Bishop that Estefany wants to serve a mission and after church he told her that he wanted to talk to her. She thought she was in trouble for something but when she found out it was to start her mission papers she was so happy. She told the bishop all about her testimony of the Book of Mormon and why she wants to serve even though it`s not obligatory and we visited her and her mom last night and they were both so happy because she had officially begun her mission papers. We were so surprised that her mom was so happy because she was so against it at the beginning of the week but now they`re both so happy and excited. We read Alma 26 with them which talks about the joy that comes from missionary work and seeing the fruits of your labor. So I really hope I`m still here when she gets her mission call. 

Okay so other things that happened this week. There`s a 12 year old boy that we always talk with in the street named Jhon and after  like 4 months we were able to enter his house and teach his family. It turns out that Jhon is Elder Torres` 2nd cousin. Also we`re teaching one of Elder Torres` friends from Chiclayo that he used to play soccer with. He recently moved from Chiclayo to Caja de Agua, and when they saw eachother they were so confused. There are so many people from Chiclayo in Caja de Agua. Also from Tumbes. Theres a family from Tumbes in our ward and they have a very distinct accent. A Tumbes accent in Spanish is the same as a Chicago accent in English. They pronounce A`s the same. So when I teach them words in English they sound like they`re from Chicago. They have a grandson, Jesùs Smith, who`s 2 and trying to learn how to speak. This week for the primary program he was practicing how to say "I believe in Christ and I love him" in Spanish, and he couldn`t say it. So I said it in English and he repeated me perfectly in English. This week I tried tukush with is a potato that smells really bad, and most people don`t like it but I really really liked it. It tastes like cheese. One of our investigators, Marino, whose the father of Jean Pierre, one of the young men in our ward that`s also working on his mission papers, told us that he`s going to get married in January! so that`s really exciting. When we visited him on Monday we hadn`t visited him in 4 weeks and he told us that he`s been praying every day and he`s almost done with the Book of Mormon, and now the only thing holding him back is marriage. So we`re really excited because he`s definitely going to be a convert because he did all the things he needed to do to progress even though we hadn`t visited him. Yesterday we had a lesson with Jackie she`s doing great. Hope you guys have a great week. 

Elder Jones  

Half Way Mark for Sister Jones

So this week was suuuuuuuper amazing and I really don’t even know where to begin. I think I will start with two amazing referrals we got from a recent convert. Well it started out that a recent convert showed us a house of a lady who her husband who had died about 7 months ago.  She told us that we should go visit her. The next day we went over to her house. I was praying that she would let us in the door.  If a member doesn’t come with us, we aren’t allowed to use their name and say this Hermana sent us. I was super nervous that she wouldn’t let us in because it is just like contacting people at their house.  Sure enough she let us in her house, which was the first miracle. Second miracle, she started asking us about what we believed.  She wanted to hear what we had to say before we even had the chance to ask if we could share something.  Third miracle, her friend was there and wanted to listen to us too.  It was a super great lesson and we talked about the plan of salvation. She started crying and said that her husband died and really loved the plan of salvation. It was crazy because the friend there also started crying and said that her husband had also died the year before. It was one of my favorite lessons in my whole mission just because you could feel the spirit so strongly that these things are true. It was literally a miracle that she had let us into her house and that her friend had been there right at that moment so that she could also listen to the message that we had to share.

Then we had another miracle. My companion contacted a girl on the street and she said that we could come by her home.  When we came to her house she walked out and acted like she wasn’t going to let us in.  Then all of a sudden she saw the book of Mormon in our hand and asked what it was. She let us in her house and it turns out that all of her husband’s family is members of the church except for her husband. She is interested in learning a little more about what they believe.

Also we found someone this week that has been to church three times and wanted to be baptized.  Somehow she got lost in the switch of missionaries about a year ago.  We found her and she wants to come to church and be baptized. While I was sitting in that lesson I was just shocked. I felt like we had received way to many blessings in one week and I couldn’t wrap my mind around how it was all happening.

Then the best miracle of the week happened. Recently Victor has been having a lot of doubts about getting baptized and he was at the point of saying that he didn’t want us to visit him anymore but then a miracle happened. He started talking to a member of the church who works at the gas station.  This member of the church didn’t know anything about the doubts that victor had but this member talked about the doubts he had had before joining the church.  He did not ask him a single question to know what his doubts were. Victor said that this was the answer to his prayer.  He knew that Heavenly Father was listening to his prayers because he hadn’t told anyone his doubts and yet this member had answered every one of them. I know that when members and missionaries work together there can be sooo much more success in bringing people to Christ.

Then on Sunday it was super funny because my Zone Leader told me that in the stake center there was going to be baptisms because there was a ward that didn’t have water.  So they were all meeting there to do baptisms.  It was an hour before church started and the stake center is about an hour away and it was too late to go get Victor there.  He had already left for church.  I told the zone leader sorry but we couldn’t make it. So then at the end of church the Zone Leader called and said the stake center didn’t have water either.  So they were all coming over to our ward. I was expecting maybe one or two people getting baptized but it turns out that 8 people were getting baptized and 16 missionaries! It was one of the best baptismal services I have ever been to because we just got to see person after person getting baptized and it was just so great to be with so many happy missionaries :) I think it was all planned out by God because what are the chances that the wards of all those missionaries didn’t have water to fill up their baptismal fonts?!

Anyway I know that God lives and he loves each of us. I am so happy that this week was leading up to my halfway mark I am a little sad that the mission is going so fast...maybe I will just extend my mission a month and a half :) In church this week they said something that I really liked. They said when we don’t do something in the church like read our scriptures, prayer, go to church, it isn’t a lack of time; it is a lack of desire. I really thought about that and it is true we always have excuses to say why we aren’t doing something. However, if we aren’t doing something it is because we really don’t want to do it. There is never a good excuse.

Oh also this week we went to the doctor because Hermana Dungan has a sinus infection and I feel bad for my companion.  However, I was super excited to go to the Doctor to test my Spanish.  People  people say that you are pretty fluent in a language if you an go to the doctor and understand what they are saying. And I understood everything111 yaya Spanish!! Hahah! Well anyway I hope you guys have a great week! Love you tons!!!!!
Hermana Jones

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Next week is Courtney's halfway mark!

Next Monday Courtney's mission will be half over.  This week we are going pray to have individual missionary moments and then share it with Courtney in a letter or email.  If you would like to join our family in celebrating this event, please share with her your own missionary experience.  We are so grateful for the wonderful experiences Courtney and Hal are having on their missions and the Lord's hand in their lives.
All the best,
The Jones Family

Sister Jones Week 32

So a ton of things happened this week. I hope I have time to write it all! So this week we have seen so many miracles. We have had people come up to us in the streets and ask us if we would come visit them. We are now teaching 10 complete families and 4 more part families. 

This week our ward did an open house and it was one of the best days of my mission so far. We set up little tents in a park on Saturday.  The tent in the middle had all kinds of stuff about the church in it and then every organization had tents around it.  There were activities to do in each tent. The relief society was doing a cooking class of how to cook with wheat, soy and vegetables.  Then the people got samples of their cooking.  The young women were doing a station making bracelets. The primary had a place where the little kids could go to color.  The young men were doing bicycle repairs.  Then the high priests were doing things on how to clean out viruses in your computer. It was super amazing because there were tons and tons of people at the park.  All the young men and young women were running around the park contacting people and telling them to come to the activity. I have never seen the youth so excited about missionary work. It was so funny and really touched my heart. 

The best part was that our investigator was the one teaching about how to clean viruses off computers. The high priest knew that he was really good with computers so they asked him to come. I know he will be baptized soon because so many people think he is already a member. They go to church every week, his kids were in the primary program this week, and he was at the open house.  At the open house he kept saying, "Hermanas how many referrals do you have?!" 

From the open house we had referrals to go visit 32 families.  It was crazy because there was a young man who said he wanted to go to church the next day! So his name is Mario.  He is 15. He said that he had heard of the church before but was never interested.  But at the open house he went to the middle tent and heard about the plan of salvation and wanted to go to church the next day. He is only 15 and has never known his dad and his mom died when he was 7.  So he has had a pretty hard life  but I CANT EVEN EXPLAIN HOW MUCH HE HAS BEEN PREPARED TO HEAR THE MESSAGE BY THE Lord. He came to church with us.  It was the primary program and he cried almost the whole time listening to them sing. I was a little nervous about whether the young men would accept him but they came by and brought him to his next class. Then after church I was afraid he had left in the middle of third hour because I couldn't find him anywhere.  Then I walked outside and I nearly cried. He was surrounded in a group of all the young men. They were all laughing, having fun, asking for his phone number and asking if he was coming to mutual on Wed. It just touched my heart so much.  I'm amazed how much the spirit of missionary work grew in the ward after this activity. It was super funny too because we were thinking that we should probably try to get young men to do visits with us at Mario's house.  Then after church there were 5 young men who brought their Moms over and asked when they could come and visit Mario with us. I can't explain how great this week has been. 

Satan has been fighting against us super hard this week. Hermana Dungan has a sinus infection and asthma. I have had a cold and food poisoning. However, when you are seeing the miracles of the Lord in your life the other things don't even bother you for a second. You just can't stop being grateful for the blessings that you have in your life. I know that this is the church of Jesus Christ and I know that when members and missionaries work together there can be many miracles. I hope you guys have a great week!
Love hermana Jones
Oh and as for Christmas... just whatever... makeup and things like that would be super appreciated but its whatever you want I will be happy with anything :)
my zone

 Tamales that were the most delicious things I have ever ate...and then it gave me food poisoning :(

all the missionaries in our ward at the open house!!!