Monday, April 21, 2014

Week 3 in Mexico City


Ok this week was probably the most exciting weeks of my life I don’t even know where to start.  I guess just at the beginning of the week.  On Tuesday there was so much rain it felt like a monsoon.  The raindrops were huge.   There was so much wind it looked like the rain was falling horizontal!  We got so wet but it was so much fun.   Everyone was inside and all the cars were off the street so we were running around in the rain.  

Then to make things even crazier it was holy week this week in México.  I have never seen anything like that in my life. One day there were these men who dressed like they were in the kkk and started hitting themselves and each other with sticks in this little circle of salt.  They believed they were all sinners. Then the next day they reenacted Jesus on the cross.  They had a man tied up on a cross and paraded him through the streets.  Then one night there were church bells and gun shots going off all night long.  Here in México there are shrines to the Virgin Mary on every street corner.  During holy week there were giant groups of people all around the shrines. 

Then on Easter they don’t even eat candy.  So we decided to make little presents for some of the people in the ward.  People  who have helped us a lot like the bishop, ward mission leader.  Then the lady who lives underneath our apartment was really sick so we gave her one too. It was funny though because all the families thought that  it was so funny that we were giving them candy on Easter.  One family even took a picture and put it on Facebook as their first American Easter.  It was so funny!

On actual Easter we ate dinner with the second counselor and his family.  Easter dinner was interesting.  I ate horsemeat and chicharones which are fried pig skin.  We had tortillas but they are so different here because they are made out of corn.  We  also had some rice and beans.  It was quite the classical Mexican meal.  It was so funny though because my companion is terrified of dolls and at the second counselor’s house there are these giant dolls as big as me.  So the second counselor’s daughter who is 5 and I ran around the house with the giant creepy dolls chasing my companion.  

Ok next exciting thing is there was a huge earthquake all over México City this week.  It was a 7.2 and it was the scariest/ coolest thing that has ever happened.  My companion and I were doing companionship study and then all of a sudden the ground starts to shake a little bit.  We just thought it is our neighbor again because his music is always so loud in the morning that it shakes the ground.  Then we could feel the ground clearly moving and our front door fling open even though it was locked.  The floor was moving so much.  So we ran to the window to look outside and you could see all the telephone wires shaking up and down.  Then I saw the coolest thing of my life it was like the street was water and you could see a huge wave going across the street.  That’s when we decided we should probably get outside because the buildings in México are made super badly and we are on the 5th floor.  So my companion told me to grab my nametag and we ran down the stairs.  They were shaking so much we kept falling over and there were tons of people in the staircase trying to get out of the building.  We finally made it to the street and it was actually pretty good because a lot of our investigators were outside.  We got to talk to them for a while but when we finally decided it was safe to go back.  However, my companion realized she hadn’t gotten the keys.  She remembered my nametag but not the keys.  So we spent the next half hour breaking into our apartment.  Eventually my companion ripped off the doorknob and kicked open the door. It was so funny though because the next day one of the ward members who lives under us came up and told us that they have an extra key.  I guess the elders once got locked out and had to break the whole doorknob.  We were just like those silly elders.  It was super funny though. 

Oh and I forgot that the day before Easter everyone was getting each other wet and throwing water on each other because it was super hot that day.  All of a sudden we turn a corner and there was a group of kids that are super wet and they point at us and yell in Spanish get them.  So this giant mob of kids start chasing us with water buckets and we were running because we didn’t want to get our dresses wet.  By the end we got soaking wet though and it felt super good because it was in the 90s that day. I had been sweating pretty much all day in the sun.. so it wasn’t so bad.  

One day someone told us to give him our backpacks trying to rob us.  My companion just said no and they walked away.  My companion said you just have to know when they are dangerous.  If they are, just give them your stuff.  If not, just say no. A lot of the time when you say no they leave you alone.

Ok now that all the exciting stuff is out of the way, I will talk about the spiritual things.  So we have an investigator Marcos who was super ready for baptism.  He had his interview and it was going to be perfect because he was going to have an Easter baptism.  It was going to be the best Easter ever.  My companion and I fasted that it would all work out and we would have an Easter baptism.  It was the longest fast of my life and I was like this has to happen it is just too perfect.  Then the day of the baptism he tells us he has to work and it all fell apart and I was super depressed.  I couldn’t figure out why it wouldn’t happen when we did everything right.  What I learned today is everything happens in the Lord’s time.  He  always has a plan because now Marco’s friend Mario wants to be baptized next Sunday with Marcos.  He says he is so much more motivated not to smoke so that he can be baptized with his best friend.  Also Easter Sunday was pretty great because a family came to church and the first thing the mom said to us was she wants to be baptized.  Her brother is a member and has been talking to her about the church and it just feels so right.  So we just have to teach her and her family 3 more lessons.  If they come to church 2 more times, their whole family can be baptized.  It was also amazing because we had 4 other investigators at church on Sunday.  We were blessed even though we didn’t have a baptism.  It was just amazing to have so many investigators there at church with us.  

Oh and these week was my two month I cant believe I have already been on my mission for 2 months!  Oh also the mission leader has a 17 year old son.  We started teaching his girlfriend.  Every time we go over to teach I can’t help but laugh because he is the Mexican version of Hal.  Every time we ask him to give a testimony of the Book of Mormon or something it makes me laugh because he gives such Hal answers.  If  everything goes well Stephanie should be baptized in two weeks.  I’m super excited for her because she has become one of my favorite people here on my mission.  She is just so funny and I can’t even explain how much I hope she gets baptized.  I know that Heavenly Father works miracles.  We have investigators who when I first met I would never think they would even want to listen to the gospel.  You just never know who the Lord has prepared to hear the message.  

If you guys would pray for Mario that he can stop smoking, Marcos that he will be baptized, Stephanie that everything with go well and for the family Ortenga, that would be amazing.  I know that every prayer helps.  I will tell them that my family is praying for them. Mario especially needs a lot of help to stop smoking if he wants to be able to be baptized this Sunday.  In this mission you have to go 2 weeks without breaking the word of wisdom before you can be baptized.

Oh one more spiritual experience.  My backpack was on the ground and then all of a sudden I just got a feeling to pick it up and put it on my back for no apparent reason.  Then 2 minutes later a man ran by and grabbed the purse of the lady standing next to me. She started chasing him but he was too fast.   I felt really bad for her and we tried to make her feel better but I was just so glad he didn’t take my backpack.  I had my ID, passport and all my money for the month in my backpack to bring home from the mission office.

Anyway I hope you guys have a great week and I am so excited for Hal to go on his mission.  Especially because he goes straight to Peru.  Good luck giving away your Book of Mormon but I know that you will find someone.  I will be praying for you anyway! Always follow the spirit and everything will go just fine that’s what I am learning here on my mission anyway :)  

Oh wait one more thing they are making my companion and I sing in church! I sing a verse in Spanish all alone.   Then she sings in English all alone.   Then we sing a verse together in Spanish.  I am freaking out a little because no one knows how to play piano so it is a capella.  The only good thing that I kind of love about church here is that Mexicans usually sing really really loudly in church.  I have never heard people sing so loud.  It is also so out of tune and so bad.  It is like those kids during the primary programs who are just yelling the words the whole time.  So I don’t think their expectations will be too highJ

Have a great week :)
Love Hermana Jones

Monday, April 14, 2014

Week 2 In Mexico City

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So this week has been great!  I love Mexico City so much!  Everyday is quite the adventure!  I think riding the Metra is my favorite part because you never know what is going to happen.  This week I got dragged on with a bunch of people.  I looked out the window and my companion was still outside!  Luckily my companion had already went through with me what to do when that happens.  It is so crazy in there.  My companion is so funny.  The very first thing she taught me when I got on my mission was how to call a taxi and how to find the microphone in the Metra Station.  I found the loud speaker in the Metra Station and called her name so that she could find me. 

The longer I am here the more I love it.  I don’t feel like my Spanish is getting any better.  However, the ward members keep saying how much better it is getting so that is encouraging.  We go to Hermana Dulce’s house all the time for family home evening and other stuff.  They just got baptized three weeks ago and their family is amazing!  Her daughter is our age and goes out teaching with us about 3 times a week.  Her son is about 10 and says my Spanish sounds about like a 1st grader with a really bad accent sooo... :) 

I have a new best friend.   A lot of people can’t understand my accent or my grammar.  However, there is a 6 year old boy who understands me perfectly even when I am trying to sign out what I am saying.  He translates for me. 

Another fun thing that happened this week was I am always afraid to street contact because I can’t speak very well.  My companion said I had to street contact this one guy.  I was really nervous but then he came up and talked to me about the gospel!  So that was definitely a tender mercy!

This Sunday we were so sad because we went to go pick up our investigators for church and none of them answered their doors. Then when we walked into church there was someone who just decided to come so we got a new investigator.  Getting our investigators to baptism this week was super hard.  It seems when someone is making progress all of a sudden everything goes wrong.  One of our investigators got chicken pox.  In Mexico when you get chicken pox you have to stay in your house for at least 3 weeks so that you don’t spread it to everyone.  Then the pregnant lady I talked about last time is having difficulties with her family and wasn’t able to get baptized this week.  We only had one baptism this week.  Even one was amazing though.  It just makes me want to work harder so other people can look that happy when they come out  of the font.  

This week church was so funny.  It was fast and testimony meeting and they told people to stop coming up after ten minutes of the meeting.  It still went for 2 hours because so many people wanted to share their testimonies.  Hermana Magaña and I also went up to bear our testimonies.  We went straight from sacrament to relief society.

 I love all the ward members here though because they are super involved.  The young women leaders came with us yesterday and we went and visited all the inactive young women in the ward.  Then on Sunday the young men leaders came in and had us talk to the young men about missionary work.  From that experience we are going out with the young men and their moms.  We talk to their friends and  less active young men.  This week we are scheduled to go with a different young man and his mom everyday this week.  It is great when members want to go out with us.  It is so much easier to get someone to come to church when they have a friend.  The ward is also amazing at giving us references! This week we got 32 references to go visit.

As for danger it is not that bad.  There are a few areas that are a little bad but our mission president is super involved.  He refuses to let us go to those areas alone even in the morning.  He will either come with us or send one of his counselors out with us.  As for you praying for my safety I will laugh if you prayed for me either on Friday or Saturday night.  Don’t worry though there are plenty of experiences where I am just so surprised how much Heavenly Father is protecting us.  We will make decisions that don’t seem to have any reason or significance and then the next day it becomes very clear that those ideas came directly from the Holy Ghost.  

I am so happy because my companion and I get along really well.  She says I am her favorite one to train because I don’t cry at night or complain when we are working like a lot of the other people she trained.  I think it is just because I am having so much fun.  I really don’t think I have had this much fun in my whole life as I have had in just two weeks here.  Everyday feels like I am eating at a restaurant and you just never can expect what will happen the next day.  The people here are so nice  They love to help me withy my Spanish and random people will come up to me and try to say things in English.  Usually it is “Ello” as in “Hello” or “Bi” as in “Bye”.  It is actually super funny.  It makes me hope that is not what I sound like to them when I am trying to speak Spanish.  

I also love this place because I haven’t gotten sick yet.  It is super hot and I have gotten some pretty bad sunburns but it is strange because I never feel it when I’m out working only when I get home.  I know Heavenly Father is blessing me with strength here on my mission.  I have never been so exhausted in my life.  There have been a few days I get home and literally collapse.  I woke up the next day in my dress. 

Oh also I am the first American my companion has trained.  She thinks it is so funny because I say some things so wrong.  She says it is like teaching a kid because I accidently swear a lot.  She try’s not to laugh.  She just corrects me.   If she laughs, she is worried I will always be afraid of saying it wrong.  It is just hard because normal words in English like stupid.  If you say the Spanish version of  it apparently it is a really really bad word.  Also I was pretty proud of myself today because I ordered food for the first time by myself.   They understood me!  
Another good experience we had this week is there is an inactive family who decided that they want to meet with us again.  Their son was invited to mutual.  He told his parents afterwards that he wanted to go to church with his new friends the next Sunday.  It was really cool because the son was 16 and his family hadn’t been to church since he was 8 years old.  

Ok I just remembered the only thing I don’t like here and that is their nasty flower water.  They give it to us all the time.  I am always so thirsty so I drink it anyway. Literally sometimes you can see pieces of flower petals in it.  Other than that all the food is great!  

I love visiting members because they are just so humble they live in tiny houses but they are just so willing to give you everything they have.  I have to go but I loved hearing about your week and I hope Dad makes it home safely!

Love you guys!
Hermana Jones

Monday, April 7, 2014

First Week In Mexico

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Ok, so I don’t have a lot of time to write and it is a little difficult to write on these Spanish keyboards but I love, love, love Mexico!!! I am in the actual city.

Mexico is so so different than I thought it would be but I love it so much!  My companion is from Baja California and has one more sibling than I do. The Spanish here is crazy crazy fast. The phrase I have down really well now in Spanish is, “please repeat that only slower”.

So my mission president is great and super super nice.  The only thing is we have so many rules!  We wake up 5min early so we never wake up late even by a minute.  We can only listen to Motab and that’s only during our exercise time.  We aren't allowed to write letters or emails to people of the opposite gender unless it is the mission president or a member of our family.  The boys have to comb their hair with a part in it.  The list just goes on for a long time. Even though it is super strict I love it.  The mission president said if your whole heart and soul is really into the work you really won’t care at all.  It is so true.

There is so much success here.  Our mission is one of the highest baptizing missions in the world with over 300 baptisms a month!  At first when I heard the numbers that we need to get each month I thought there was no way!  But after talking to people no one even comes close.  They always go way over!  We are supposed to bring 4 people to church every week,  add 12 new investigators every week, 14 lessons with member’s present, 50 lessons taught, and 1 baptism every week.  We already have 3 people who are getting baptized this upcoming Sunday so I am so excited!!!  Especially because one of the ladies husband is a member and she is pregnant and she really wants her little family to be together forever.

This area is a new area for sisters so the ward loves us so much!  It is super funny though because I am trying to learn Spanish but everyone tries to practice their English with me.  In our little apartment there are tons of members, which is super nice.  They let us wash our laundry there and always offer to come teaching with us.  It is great!


Another thing I was super worried about was the water but it turns out that no one drinks it.  So every house has huge jugs of water to drink from.  So on that side everything is good. Another thing they always give us that is really good is water blended with a little bit of pineapple or mango.  It is super good.  Actually all the food here is amazing!  So don’t be surprised if I come back round because the food is super bad for you and comes in large quantities that is part of what makes it so delicious!  Oh and everything is super spicy. Even when they are serving spaghetti.   I am like… oh good something not spicy tonight.  Then the sauce will be hot sauce instead of spaghetti sauce.  

Another thing I love here is all the buildings are super bright colors!  I am already planning on where I am going to live after my mission when I come back to Mexico.   It is preferably going to be an apartment with windows.  Our apartment is actually pretty nice because we have a water heater.  However, it only has holes in the walls for windows.  It  wouldn’t be so bad except there are probably as many dogs and chickens running around as there are people!!  So the dogs are howling all night and the roosters crowing all morning!

I have literally never seen more people in my life!  Public transportation has been the highlight of my week. The buses are super crowded.  You have to stand and hold onto something, which was a little hard today with all our groceries. But these little combies are worse! They are like a mini van that they have stripped all the seats out.  So there will be 40 to 50 people standing in the back.  You are super squished but you can’t even stand up!  Everyone is hunched over. However,  my favorite part by far was the subway!  In each car people are smashed against the windows.  There is a worker that if people aren’t fitting, his job is to try to push as hard as he can to get everyone to fit.  You don’t even have to hold on because you are so squished you couldn’t move if you wanted to.  I thought getting on would be the hard part but getting off was so much funnier.  When someone trying to get on sees you are trying to get off, they will grab both your arms and pull as hard as they can.  So they can get a spot inside.  So I was in the middle so I had two people pulling my arms so hard that at one point I just crowed surfed my way out of there.  It was probably the best experience of my life so far.

Another thing that is crazy is I would say there are about 5000 people living in our apartment building.  Instead of having separate mailboxes for everyone all mail goes in one big box.  We spent a solid hour looking for our bills through all those letters.

If you think it is hard to stay awake for general conference, try watching it in a language you don’t understand. It was pretty funny to listen to the prophet  with an old Mexican man voice though.  It was really cool because I wouldn’t understand anything but then all of a sudden I would understand a whole talk.  I know that that talk had a message that I needed to hear.

My favorite people to talk to here are kids about 4 and younger because we can understand each other perfectly!  Our Spanish is about the same level!  So I have made friends with lots of little kids in the ward.

Another crazy thing about the streets here is that the numbers make no sense!  If we are looking for house 67 it will go 64, 65, 66, 134!!!  We will spend forever looking for houses and usually end up going to the wrong house.  The cool thing though is every wrong house we have gone to is now investigating the church.  So there is a reason for everything!  

Another weird thing is there are no building codes so sometimes to get to people’s houses we are walking on roofs and all sorts of weird places. I love it though and all the people here are super amazing.  vLots of weird things have happened which I will leave out until I come home from my mission. No need to worry my companion studied in Tijuana so she has some major street smarts. Lots of amazing things have happened too though. we were trying to find a member’s house because we had a lunch appointment.  We asked directions from this guy.  We started talking about the church and he said he would come to conference and he did but it turns out he has 8 Kids!!!  It was so cool to see how you never know what can happen when you are talking to someone.

Well I thought all your stories were super funny and I can’t believe that dad lost his ipad again!  But the mission president said we aren’t doing our job if we don’t leave a spiritual thought.  So the field is white everywhere not just in Mexico!!!
Got to go!
 Love.
 Hermana jones

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Mission Home Experience





Dear parents of Hermana Jones,

President Whitehead and I want to let you know that your daughter, Hermana Jones, safely arrived in Mexico City and is now working hard in the mission field.  You should have received a phone call from her right after she arrived at the mission home Monday night.

We are so thrilled to have your daughter in our mission. President Whitehead hand-picked top-notch elders and leaders in this mission to train this group of elders and sisters.  We have anticipated their arrival for months.

We fed your daughter dinner soon after we picked her up from the airport, had a short devotional and sent her to bed here at the mission home with the other sister missionaries. The next morning we fed them all breakfast and then she was interviewed by President Whitehead.  Next she was briefed on the rules of the mission by the APs and afterwards met her new trainer and companion that she will have for the next 6 weeks, Hermana Magaña. We took pictures and after, she and her companion left the mission home together to give away a Book of Mormon and get as many referrals as they could in 15 minutes.  When they returned we talked about their experiences, fed them pizza and then they were whisked away by taxi to their new destination to go to work.

Thank you for raising this wonderful young woman.  We feel her special spirit and love her already.

President and Hermana Whitehead

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Some of the last MTC photos!














Court flew to Mexico City on Monday.  Sister Hicken"s Mom gave her a go-phone so she could call us from the airport in Atlanta on her lay-over.  It was great to talk to her.  She is so excited to start her adventures in Mexico.  When she arrived to the Mexico City mission home her mission president had her call home so that we would know she had arrived safely.  She has been assigned a native Spanish speaking companion and will be opening a new area for the sisters.  She is soooo excited!  We don't know much more than that.  Her next P-day will probably be next Monday. 

Friday, March 21, 2014


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Hey!

So I don't leave until thee 31st of March so I still have a week and a half left.  The only thing I would want before I leave for Mexico is pictures,   If you guys would be able to do that, I kind of want some family pictures, some Chicago pictures, BYU pictures like the fall ones that we took, or just any other pictures that you want to send :)   Just so I can fill up my little book with pictures and have them before I leave for Mexico.  Thank you so much and I hope that you guys have a great time on spring break!  I am glad to hear that Mormon prom went so well and that Audrey had fun. I am glad that she was able to find a dress. From Rachel's letters it sounds like Hayden's girlfriend was having a hard time finding a dress.   Hayden texted Rachel asking for dress advice and I guess a little later sister Moffat asked Rachel too.  That is good that everyone had fun and that Logan went! Take lots of pictures while you are in Switzerland and Italy so I can see what it was like:)

       So there isn't that much that has changed here at the MTC .  Except my companions and I are now the new sister training leaders for the Zone.   So we get to greet all the new people and show them around.  So that is cool :)  Also at main campus they have a huge map of all the missions in the world.  Hal has the smallest mission I have ever seen!!  We could hardly even find it because it is such a little dot!  It was so funny.  Also I met someone who served in the same mission as me and he told us all about Mexico.  It made me so excited to finally get there!   He told us that we should never take any medicine that members offer you when you get sick.   He made that mistake and it made it way worse. They gave him a pill that turned out to be pure coal.  It was supposed to get all the toxins out of your system but it made his whole mouth black.  He talked about how amazing the people are and how great the food is though.  So it is worth it to be sick a few times for it :)  
 
So other news we went to the temple today and did some sealings.  That was pretty cool. Missionaries are only allowed to act as the siblings and during sessions they are not allowed to be in the prayer circle.  It was cool to get to do those again before we leave.  We only have one more P-Day here in the MTC.  We will probably spend most of the day doing laundry and packing.
 
The funny story for the week is we practiced street contacting....but we are surrounded by a fence and the only people inside are members so we had to practice on our teacher and random missionaries that walked by...and on a random duck in the pond.  It was pretty great though!  I can't wait to start doing it for real.  Another thing is we have a teacher who is literally obsessed with Dan Jones.  He has us practice Dan Jonesing.   So we will go to a random place, stand on something and start teaching the gospel in Spanish. It sounds really weird.  It felt really weird the first time but now it is one of my favorite things to do.  It is just so fun. He went to Guatemala on his mission and he would do the Dan Jones approach all the time.  He would go to the front of the bus and start preaching the gospel.  I guess he did it enough that people started to recognize who he was.  He was so happy when I told him that I had a brother named Dan Jones but said Dan Dan has big shoes to fill :) 
 
Other news I guess this week someone broke into one of the girls apartments here at Y-view and assaulted someone.  So now there are roving security guards all night long. It is a little freaky because none of the missionaries have a phone to call if something bad happens.  I am thankful now that I have two companions living in our apartment now instead of just one! Everything is going great here at the MTC though. 
 
I am still learning a lot.  Since we are going to Mexico the investigators that we have are really good.  They try to make it like people that we will meet in Mexico.  Some are really Catholic, one can't read so it makes it harder for him to have a testimony of the Book of Mormon.  I got the picture book version of the Book of Mormon and read it with him at the beginning of each lesson.  We have some people who commit to baptism and never show up to church.  It is frustrating,  However,  I am glad they are giving us experience with all these different kind of situations before we get out on the field. I love the MTC but I am just getting excited to finally get out on the field.  Especially because the guy I was talking to today said in Mexico City they speak so much slang.   You will never learn how to speak how they speak here at the MTC.  Also I found out that there are only a few other white sisters in Mexico City West mission.  So all sisters go out for 1 transfer with their trainer.  Then they all become trainers because there are so few.  There are so many sisters coming into Mexico City this summer that sisters have to become trainers early.  So I hope I learn fast.  I kind of hope I end up with a native speaker at the beginning so I am forced to learn the language faster.  
 
That's pretty much all the new news I have for you guys and I hope that you are having a great time! 

 Love,  
Hermana Jones