Monday, September 22, 2014

Hermana Jones Week 25 in Mexico

I love, love, love my area here.  It was kind of a weird transition but now that I am here I love it.  There is just such a difference here.  I feel like we are in the United States just everyone speaks Spanish.  It is super different than El Oro.  In El Oro I felt like I was in the heart of Mexico.  Here we have McDonalds, Wal-Mart, and gyms.   Our house looks like any house in the United States.  It weirded me out a little when I first got here after 4.5 months in El Oro.  I feel so old though because I have 7 MONTHS in the mission!!!!!!!  

When I first got to my new area though it was super funny because one of the girls was like hey I know you.  I was weirded out but she said there was a picture of me on Facebook from a lady in Atlacomulco.  I am still in the same stake so a lot of people know some of the people over in El Oro.  The story with Atlacomulco was that I was working with one of the capacitadoras in Atlacomulco and at a member’s house.  Their baby was crying but when I walked in the room, he stopped and just stared.  Then when I walked into the other room, he started crying again.  When I walked back in, he stopped and just stared.  So the mom took a picture of me to see what would happen if she just showed him my picture.  Every time she showed him the picture, he would stop crying and just stare at it.  So I guess the mom put the picture up on Facebook and said this is how I get my baby to stop crying and the members thought it as so funny.  

I really love it here because there are so many members who like to come out working with us.  There is Diana who is 18 and she is the ward mission leaders daughter.  There are also 4 other girls who are 18 or 19 who come out with us a lot.  Then there is Vitalia!!!  Vitalia is so funny because she just got back from her mission and said she is depressed to be home.  So she teaches with us almost everyday.  One day she worked with us from 10 in the morning until 9 at night.  She also wants to hang out with us on our p days.  Even if we are just going to Wal-Mart, she will come with us.  It is so funny.  I have a feeling that’s what I am going to be like after my mission.  She says it is just so lonely after your mission.  You are so used to having someone there 24 hours of the day and then all of a sudden you are all alone.

So I have a few people for you to pray for this week.  We have an investigator, Karen, whose husband was an inactive member.  When Karen started listening to the missionaries, he got super excited.  He started going with her to church.  The only thing is that they aren’t married.  So we talked to them about getting married and they said yes.  The only thing is that here in México it costs a lot of money to get married.  There are all kinds of papers they make you get and tests.  Then to actually get married it costs money.  It was super sad because they decided they would get married and then the next day the husband lost his job at work. Now they are not so sure what they are going to do.  It just goes to show that Satan is always working.

Also we have an investigator, Olivia, who wants to be baptized but with her husband.  The thing is the husband doesn’t want to be baptized.  

Oh and also hna. Vitalia has a niece, Paula, who is always crying that she can’t come out and teach with us.  She is 8 years old and has her future missionary badge on and everything.  It was super funny in the lesson.  We were about to end and she was like I didn’t get to share anything!  So she shared with the investigator one of the articles of faith.  She is super funny because she brings her scriptures and a notepad to write down the names and addresses of the people we contacted in the street.

This week has been super great.  I had a good experience this week with ward council.  At first it bothered me because they were all talking about how they were ex missionaries and how they knew better than us how to be missionaries.  They told us to read in  Preach My Gospel and that the reason that investigators come to church isn’t to have friends and how salvation is personal.  If they don’t want salvation that it isn’t our fault.  I can’t even tell you how sad I was after ward council.  When we went home I started underlining all the parts in Preach My Gospel that talk about how investigators need friends and scriptures and everything.  It was weird though because the more I studied the softer my heart became.  Soon I lost all the sadness that I had.  Before I was so focused on how I was going to prove them wrong the next ward council.  Then the Spirit just showed me how I could help them understand.  I know that the scriptures can heal our heart if we will let them.

I was reading in the Liahona and it struck me.  In an article that said conversion is the aim, love is the motive.  Why are we here teaching and helping others come unto Christ?  Because we love God and because we love the people we are called to serve.  All of a sudden the thing I was going to talk to the ward council changed from criticizing and proving them wrong to a message of love.

One thing that is kind of funny about the wards here in Mexico is that if one family member goes up to bear their testimony, the whole family has to get up after them.  It is actually pretty funny!  When a Dad starts getting up to go bear his testimony, all his kids try to block his path from getting out :)   They don’t want to have to go up to bear their testimony, too. 

Some other random thoughts from this week…I love Alma 26:27. Also we were talking to a guy who came home from his mission a year early.  We started talking about Gods plan for us and repentance and he started crying a lot.  It was a good experience.   However, it reminded me that although repentance is a huge blessing in our lives, it is also a painful process.  It is much better to avoid the sin in the first place.  
I was reading in a Liahona about a lady who volunteered to clean the temple.  She said she was annoyed about dusting for an hour just to come back with a rag as clean as she started.  She said she learned a great lesson though.  When someone said the point wasn’t useless cleaning, it was preventing the Temple from ever getting dirty in the first place.  The lady in this story said looking at it that way made a huge difference.  That is how our lives should be.  We do the simple things like praying and reading the scriptures not to do useless cleaning but to keep our lives from getting dirty in the first place.  I also like a quote that the final judgment isn’t an evaluation of what we have done, it is who we have become!

I hope you guy have a great week and find opportunities to share your testimony with others.  I know that this church is true and I know it just a little bit more every day! 
Hermana Jones
Vitalia and the little missionary, Paula!

Elder Jones Week 15


First of all WOOOOOOOO!!  That`s so exciting about Hayden!!!! So he`ll be speaking Portuguese?  We`ll kind of be able to communicate because Portuguese sounds almost exactly the same as Spanish and when people are talking in Portuguese I can pretty much understand them.  But yea that`s so exciting about Hayden! Okay so this week was great.  For my 3 months on Wednesday Elder Torres and I made clam ceviche and it was the best.  I`m so happy I have a companion from northern Peru because he knows how to make seafood.  I`ll send some pictures. 

Also on Saturday we, the missionaries in our ward, planned an activity and it was so fun.  It was called "el avion" and we separated the back half of the chapel with paper and organized the seats to look like an airplane.  Then for the activity we pretended that we were all in an airplane going on a trip to Hawaii.  It was really funny because first Elder Gutierrez would give the airplane instructions in Spanish and later I would give them in English.   Then once we landed we had a bunch of rooms with a bunch of different activities.  There was a room with board games, a room with a bunch of food and music, a room with a service project, a room with a fortune teller, and a room where the missionaries were teaching about the gospel and singing hymns. Each time you enter a room you get a colored card.   Then later we returned to the airplane, but this time the airplane crashed and we all died, and depending on which colored cards you had you either went to the Celestial kingdom, Terrestrial kingdom, or Telestial kingdom, each with varying degrees of light in them.  I was in charge of the terrestrial kingdom.   I taught them what this activity was about and what it represents and how we have our agency and we don`t know when our life on earth is going to end.  So every minute we have on this earth is an opportunity to exercise our agency wisely and that we shouldn`t waste our time with things that have little worth to us.  A ton of people showed up and it was really great because we have so many new investigators now. 

Also this week one of the young men is leaving on his mission to Paraguay.  His farewell talk was 30 seconds long.   He has a really strong testimony, he goes on teaching visits with us a lot and he`s going to be a great missionary.  Our sacrament meeting is a little bit different than in the United States because the members of the congregation don`t give talks.  The bishop gives a talk for the entire time every week.  I`m not criticizing the way our bishop runs the church meetings because I realize that he has the priesthood keys to lead this ward and he receives revelation for our ward.  I don`t want to be like the priest that died trying to steady the arch of the covenant because he thought it was about to fall. This young man’s farewell meeting was last night and a ton of people from our ward showed up and bore their testimonies.  He`s the only active member in his family and he`s going to bless them with his service. 

Yesterday we got 5 new investigators with a baptismal date! They`re all family members of the Gonzalez family and they`re perfect investigators. Yesterday we taught them about the restoration and they asked us all the questions that we normally ask our investigators.  When we asked them if they would be baptized if they received an answer that this is the truth they all said no.  So we talked a little bit more about how to receive an answer and why it is so important.  Then Sister Gonzalez and her daughter Tracy that is about to go on a mission both shared their testimonies and how they know this is true.  Then later they all agreed to be baptized when they receive an answer from God.  That`s really great because we know that their motives for doing this has nothing to do with us the missionaries.  They actually want to find out for themselves.  If they all get baptized with their own testimonies they will be such a strength to each other during trials and it will be really unlikely that they`ll go inactive.  We`re also teaching another family, Luis and Dalia, who have a 1 year old daughter, Britani, who never changes the expression on her face, and we think they have a lot of potential too. 

This week was great. Glad to hear that you guys are all doing so well!

Elder Jones

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Week 14 Elder Jones

Hey!   Glad to hear everything is going well with you guys!  We had transfers this week on Tuesday.  Elder Torres and I are a companionship for this transfer again!  The meeting was really fun because I got to see all the missionaries from the CCM and missionaries that have served in Caja de Agua that the members always talk about.  Elder Torres and I had to bring Arroz con Leche to all the missionaries that have served in Caja de Agua and their companions from a member family here.  The members here really love the missionaries, especially since almost everyone here is a convert within the last 10 years.  I also got to see missionaries that are newer than me!!  They all look so scared.  I also found out that one of the Elders that I was good friends with in the CCM went home last week because he hated his companion since the first day, and then after 4 weeks he was switched to a different companion.  He hated that companion too so he decided to go home.  It was really sad for all of us in the CCM with him. 

 I was supposed to go to the temple Friday but I had 2 days of Immigrations that they kind of just told us about 2 days before our ward went to the temple.  So yea, that sucked because I really miss the temple and Immigrations is the worst, but we believe in obeying the Law of the land so yea gotta be obedient.  Elder Bean and I were companions for our 2 days of immigrations and he was in the CCM with me. The night after our first day of immigrations we went and taught people in his sector.  But yea, for immigrations we had to wake up at 4:30 to get to the mission offices on time.  On the busses Elder Bean and I spoke to everyone we could and it was so awesome.  I love to introduce myself and have conversations with random strangers now.  I´m so blessed to be serving in Peru because that´s normal here.  At the temple Elder Torres and Elder Arevalo brought some of our investigators.  The cousins of the Gonzalez family really want to take lessons with the missionaries now and it´s really exciting.  Jesus is still really interested and he´s progressing. 

I saw the Ocean today!  I´ve been in Lima almost 2 months and today was the first time I saw the Ocean.  We played Soccer as a zone on a soccer field right next to the beach.  It was so much fun. I love soccer so much. 

OH so the Assistant to the President in our mission in the nephew of the Madura family in our ward, and the AP that he replaced was the one that served in our ward for a while when he was waiting for his visa.  So with that and Hermana Sievert being related to the Brady´s and the Rubow’s, our ward has a ton of connections to the Lima Peru Central mission. 

The weeks are flying by.  It seriously feels like I wrote you guys yesterday.  I need to start having a bad attitude about everything and complaining a lot so the time goes slower, because this week is 3 months for me.  My appreciation for the Book of Mormon has grown so much in these last few months.  Usually after I get done studying the Book of Mormon every day I´m really excited.  I just want to share what I learned with someone because there´s so much I´m learning that I didn´t even know before.  Before my mission I studied the Book of Mormon but it wasn´t ever like this.  I´m gaining a testimony of the realness of my calling.  Missionary isn´t just a title that they gave me because I wanted to serve a mission.  I received my calling by the laying on of hands by someone with the authority to do so, and with that comes real power and authority that I´m starting to realize.  The Lord has called me for this and now he is qualifying me.  It´s such a testimony-builder of the priesthood and callings in the church. 

I love you guys and I hope you all have a great week!

Elder Jones 

Week 24 In Mexico Hermana Jones

So this week was super good because Hermana Vea and I decided to do everything that we possibly could to find people to teach.  So we found a lady, Roxana.  The first time we talked to her it was good.  However, the second day we came over to her house, her mother in law was there.  It was obvious that she was there just to fight with us.  Everything we said she would fight against it.  It was one of the best lessons that we have ever had though because every time she would say something we would just bear our testimony.   I have never felt the spirit so strongly in my life.  I think I was converted in that lesson instead of Roxana… hahah.

There was a part of the lesson where I started shaking.  It was weird because I was about to talk about Joseph Smith and the first vision.  I just prayed in my heart to have the strength and the Spirit to help.  When I said the first vision I felt every word of it and knew it was true.  Maybe Roxana will never get baptized but I think I will remember that lesson for the rest of my life!  

I’ve thought a lot about how the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ is our unique message.  However sometimes, it is the message that we have the most fear to share.   We believe in revelation.   We believe in a living prophet.  This sets us apart from every other church.  I know that when we talk about these things and bear our testimonies of these things that the Spirit will bear testimony through us.  

I had to give a talk on Sunday.   I have thought a lot about why we share the gospel with others.  I have thought a lot about why I am hear giving up a year of my life.  The answer I finally found in the scriptures was in Romans where it says" I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ".   (I never have my scriptures with me when I go to write letters home. I should start bringing them, so that I can quote the scriptures right). I’ve thought a lot how everything centers in Jesus Christ.

Every week we have to contact  at least 70 people in the streets and I usually start with, “Hola soy Hermana Jones y este es mi compañera Hermana Vea.  Y SOMOS REPRESENTANTES DE JESUCRITO”.   In English that is… we are representatives of Jesus Christ.  If we don’t say this one line, we are not allowed to count it as a contact.  It doesn’t matter how long we were talking to them.  In Preach My Gospel it says our purpose is to invite people to come unto Christ.  We are to help people realize that this isn’t just another church here on the earth.  That is church is the restored church that Christ established while he was here on the earth. Christ is the leader of this church.

Anyway this week was super sad because I was transferred out of EL Oro.  I seriously feel like part of my heart was torn out.  I thought I knew what a broken heart was but I was very very very wrong.  I had no idea.  Even though I had a lot of hard times in El Oro, I met some of the best people I have ever know in my life.   It’s going to be OK though because Hermana Vea and I decided we are going to go visit El Oro together (The City of Gold hahah). We are both studying in Utah after the mission.  She gets home 3 months before me.

I am now in a big city again in Taluca.  My new companion is Hna. Mejila.  She is super cute and tiny.  She looks super tiny in the picture but I am bending down.  She is smaller than she looks! This area seems like it will be good.  It will take some getting used to after spending the majority of my mission so far in El Oro.

Oh and my foot is fine.  I feel like things heal crazy fast here.  I was only limping for like 2 days.  I think all the exercise of walking up mountains and stuff warms up your foot or something.   Really I have no idea but I’m fine.

Our area here in Taluca is crazy.  We just have one neighborhood. It is a gated community.  No one can come in unless they live there.  There are stores and everything inside the gates.  So the only time we leave is to go to church.  It is kind of convenient because everyone you talk to lives here.  It is about 2 miles long.  I kind of feel weird after being in a huge area where all you can see are fields and animals.  Now this place is so tiny and fenced all around.  I am sure I am going to learn to love this area just as much though.  It is like those movies where everything is super perfect inside the fence.  There are little cute houses and parks but then there is a huge fence around it.  There are police every five feet and no one inside knows what is going on outside.  Hahah- Joke!!!  I am just being dramatic.  I hope you guys have a great week though and keep doing great things.

Hermana Jones 

Favorite El Oro food...we had it every week.

Reactivated Family...LOVE LOVE LOVE them!

Kenya and Wendy

Hermana Vea

El Oro Bishop and his family

Hermana Rosario- the best person I have ever met.

Hermana Joseanny and family

Best family EVER and they will be bapitzed

New Apartment in Taluca...SO NICE!

My new Companion!!!!

 Pretty much every candy has chile in it in Mexico:)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Week 13 Elder Jones

Hey, that's awesome that Tyler finished his Eagle project! Oh my gosh that brings back stressful memories. And Congrats to Allie! That's so awesome. I remember the summer before 8th grade cross country was when I really decided to dedicate myself to cross country and that's really cool that Allison is doing so well and she likes it. Dan- that`s so great, keep with the violin!!

Okay so this week was great.  Tomorrow is transfers, but I'm pretty sure that Elder Torres isn`t going to leave, which is great because he`s my best friend. I got the package Wednesday! Thank you so much. Seriously. It felt so good to eat something that wasn`t rice, potatoes, or chicken. I'm sending some pictures. Oh my gosh American food is so good.

Friday nights here are the worst because all the Peruvians in Caja de Agua all have e a party starting at 10pm and it goes until 10am. And the music they play is soooo loud, it`s like the equivalent of having a stereo in our room blasting Peruvain music. Then Saturday after the party is over they all sleep for a few hours and then play soccer the rest of the day.

So we found a Cornelius this week!!! (someone that wants to be baptized right away). On Saturday we had 3 people that wanted us to visit them at 11am, and all 3 of them weren`t in their houses, so we decided to knock on a door. An elderly man, Jesùs Pachas, answered the door and when he saw us he was really happy and he was smiling a lot. He invited us in and showed us that he had a Book of Mormon from 10 years ago when the missionaries visited him, and he wanted to know what the Book of Mormon was about but his eyes are bad and he can`t read it. He said he always sees us walking around Caja de Agua and that he had been praying for a long time that we would knock on his door and that God had answered his prayers.

He told us that he had been baptized as a Catholic and Pentecostal but he doesn`t believe they have the authority to baptize and he told us that he believes that we have a truth that is from God and that if the Book of Mormon is coupled with the Bible, and the Bible is something great, then the Book of Mormon must be something great too.  He wants us to come to his house to teach him and to read the Book of Mormon to him.  He`s always wanted to go to our church but he can`t walk very well because his nervous system doesn`t work very well. He wants to get baptized the 27th of September. Yesterday we had told him that we were going to come pick him up and take him in a taxi to church. An hour before church started, he was just so excited to go to church that he tried walking to church on his own and we found him half way on his way to church when we went to pick him up. He loved church so much. He knows so much about what we believe, but he`s still so humble and willing to learn from other people. Last week we weren`t able to go to the temple because not enough people were going to go, but this Friday there are enough people that want to go and we`re going with Jesùs to stay outside the temple and talk and walk around while the ward members are inside.  Amazing that it's just 6 days after his first visit with the missionaries, and he's visiting the temple.  I`m really excited for him. He`s going to have an awesome experience at the temple and so much is changing for him so quickly and it makes me really happy.

So yea it was another really good week, hope you guys have an awesome week!

Week 23 Hermana Jones

I hope everyone is doing super great this week! I loved getting all the pictures.  It is funny to see people from home and sounds like you had a great time at the bee party and during Tyler's eagle project.

So this week was a little hard, but it was good. At the beginning of this week I made the goal that I was going to be the best missionary that I possibly could. I am just going to tell you that's a bad goal as a missionary because it almost guarantees that the week is going to have lots of challenges. This week we pretty much walked to Africa ha ha ha, just kidding! but it was super far, looking for investigators.  I got so sunburnt, but luckily not on my face.

Also, I stepped on a rusty nail so...I had to get a shot.  After I stepped on the nail, it started healing and then I got the same foot run over by a taxi! What are the chances of it happening to the same foot? We also had a lot of investigators drop us this week, which was a little hard, but I am sure we will find more this week! Anyway, I know that Heavenly Father was helping me be the best missionary I could be this week because we showed what kind of person we are going to be in our trials not in the easy times.

I also got the package this week, though, so that was super awesome :) I am sending you guys a package and it actually is all of your Christmas presents because I have no idea how long it will take since your letters still haven't gotten to you. If you get it early though, you can't open it until Christmas!! just kidding, I wouldn't do that to you, you can open it when you get it.

I have been watching the Doctrine and Covenants movies because I haven't been able to sleep very well this week, and they are so good. One of my favorites is about forgiveness and it is the story of W.W Phelps.  It tells how he was the cause of a lot of Joseph Smith's hardest trials in his life but when he asked for forgiveness, Jopseph freely forgave him and asked the church to let him back into the fold.  Then my favorite part of the story is that W.W Phelps wrote the Hymn"Praise to the Man." There are so many stories in the Doctrine and Covenants movies and history of the church that I didn't even know and they are so good.

One of the ones that I have watched at least ten times now is the one about Emma Smith and it shows all her trials and her hardships and I think I cry every time especially when she is standing with Joseph and he tells her that it is his time. I just love watching it, though, because I just think if she can make it through all of that I can easily make it through anything that I am experiencing in my life. I also love the story about how when the Saints' water was poisoned a lot of people started to complain but Joseph just went and started digging for water. I love that example for us because when hard things are happening we shouldn't complain, we should trust in the Lord and go out and do something.  I just have a lot of random thoughts from my studies but a quote I loved was " We aren't obedient because we are blind, we are obedient because we can see."

This week I also had a great experience. The Reyes family has not been to church in three weeks, so we went to look for them, but we went last week in the rain and mudslides and after we were thoroughly wet and dirty we gave up.  We looked again this week and still couldn't find them when we ran into a investigator who knew where they lived, and when we got there the bishop was there. Then five minutes later someone yelled "Good Afternoon!" and another family came to visit and then another and then another. We ended up with 20 people in their little tiny house on top of a mountain that cars couldn't go up.  Some of the members had walked ten miles from their house to get there. It was one of the best experiences I have ever seen because this family did not have money to come to church that week but the Mom was just crying she was so happy that her "Family" had cared enough to come visit her. I know that it was the Holy Ghost that gave us all the idea to come visit her and there were so many things that had to come together to be able to find her house. I think that was one of my favorite experiences here in the mission because the world would call it coincidence that we found an investigator who knew the way, or that we had all had the idea to visit this family at the same time but I know that Heavenly Father loved this family and he needed them to know he loved them so sent us all to show his love for them. I hope you have a great week and love you all!

The pictures are fiesta bread and another creature visiting our home.

Love Hermana Jones

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Week 12 Elder Jones

Hey! this week was great! Still loving it. So I keep forgetting to tell you guys this but  there are 2 languages spoken in my mission-- Kichwa and Spanish.  There are a few old people that only speak Kichwa but pretty much everyone here speaks both Kichwa and Spanish so I'm learning a little bit of Kichwa every day. It`s really, really difficult.  It`s not that important to learn Kichwa, but I am interested in it and want to learn.

Okay, so something really funny about the people here.So you know how when Americans say they can speak Spanish when they really can`t and they just put o at the end of every English word? Peruvians do that too only they put "ation" at the end of every Spanish word. So yea if you`ve ever wondered what English speakers sound like to people who don't speak English, that's what we sound like

Last  preparation day our zone all got Peru Soccer Jerseys and we went into the city where there's a Mormon church with an outdoor soccer court and we played against Elder Baker`s zone who had Colombia jerseys and it was so fun. I hadn`t realized it, but my soccer playing was improved after playing with Mexicans for 6 weeks.

We get to go to the temple this week and I'm really excited to see the Lima temple and to go through a session in Spanish.

So a couple experiences this week. Elder Torres and I were having our weekly planning session and for our goals for the week  I wanted to put 0 for baptized and confirmed because all our investigators either aren't married or don`t have enough church attendances to be baptized this week. But Elder Torres said no. He said that we`re never going to put zero for the week. He said that we needed to have faith that something would work out. So we put 1 and 1 for baptized and confirmed. Later that day, Hermana Katherine called us.  Hermana Katherine has been taking lessons with the missionaries for over a year, and her mom, sisters, brother, and grandmother are all members of the church.  She also has an amazing testimony of the Book of Mormon and the gospel of Jesus Christ, but she couldn`t get baptized because she lives with her boyfriend.  She told us on the phone that she had made the decision to separate from her boyfriend for the safety of her two little boys and that she wanted to be baptized as soon as possible! So now all we need is a baptismal interview with the district leader and she`s ready to be baptized.

Alfredo and Evelin are progressing really well, they keep all their commitments and they have a desire to learn more. The only thing is that it`s difficult for them to attend church because they`re very old and they live on the top of the mountain, making it hard to walk that distance. It`s hard for Elder Torres and I to walk up to their house to meet with them.  But they do want to come to church.

One more thing. We had a meeting downtown this week with our whole mission. It was going to be with Elder Christofferson,  but he had to go back to Utah earlier than expected, so it was with Elder Suarez from the presidency of the Seventy and his wife and Elder C. Scott Grow.  It was really good-- they all gave really good talks. Sister Suarez talked about how if your investigators have trouble with their commitments they're probably going to have trouble with covenants. I feel like I remember Elder C. Scott Grow from General Conference because his face looked really familiar.  I think I remember Dad pointing out that his name is a sentence.  It was a good conference.

The busses are always super packed here and not all the people can reach the bar to hold on to, so there were people holding on to my arms and shoulders and there was a little kid holding on to my leg. It was actually very funny.

Hope you guys have a great week, I'm still really happy and I still really love the people.

Elder Jones