Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pictures of Sister Jones

Winter Quarters Visitors Center! 

Sister Jones at the MTC! 

Omaha, Nebraska Week 5

September 20, 2011
Hello familia!!
How's life for everyone? Things are going well here! It's starting to feel like Fall! The weather is all over the place though... one day it's way cold and rainy and the next it's warmer. I've been wearing scarfs and tights this week. I still feel a bit goofy wearing those particular items of clothing but whatever will keep me warm! lol!

This week was an exciting one!! It was Sister Hawkes' 22nd birthday this past week! We had a good time! My roommates and I woke up pretty early to decorate our apartment with balloons, streamers, sticky notes, and the works! (I had a blast because I LOVE doing that type of stuff for people!) We also made her a cake! I coordinated with our district leader and he made her brownies and brought ice cream to our district meeting that we had that day. She had a great day with LOTS of desserts! Since I'm her companion I can't leave her hanging so of course I had to eat right along with her. I believe we had 5 different desserts throughout the day. :)

Everybody in the whole mission had to take time this week to clean out their entire apartments. Since there are so many missioanries going in and out of the apartments they start to collect a lot of junk and randomness. Since we don't have much time on preparation day to clean they made everybody take time within two days to make sure it was spotless. We spend 7 hours total making a huge pile of things to donate, items to take back to the mission office, and scrubbing things that probably hadn't been cleaned in forever. haha! It actually was pretty fun and time flew by fast! Now the place actually feels like ours and is much more organized! I was finally able to get all my stuff situated in our room as well.
-Mom, the picture of the room is for you... do you like my sheets?? Sister Hawkes was cracking up when I took those out of the package that you sent me. What a lovely surprise! Her and my roommates think you are pretty funny for sending me those wonderful Spongebob sheets! I think they are fun though and how can you not be happy laying down on Spongebob's happy face! So thanks for the fun sheets to spice life up a bit.

On Friday our whole zone got to go to the Winter Quarters Temple!! That was such an amazing experience! The temple is so peaceful and amazing! This Sunday we had our Omaha stake conference! It was a really good meeting with a ton of different people. One of the talks was really good... about being consumers and contributers. That can be applied to life in general or applied to the gospel. Are we letting everybody do things for us and taking the passenger seat in life? Or are we making contributions to society and making it a bette place? Overall he related it to being active in church and doing service. This Sunday was my first day in the mission where we have had to meal appointments right after eachother!! NEVER AGAIN!!! We didn't mean for it to be scheduled that way but that's just how it worked out. We had lunch at 2 with a family and then early dinner at 4pm with another family. I was still full from the previous meal, where they had served my plate so I couldn't get a smaller portion. Then they served my plate at the other meal so I was literally shoving food down... one bite at a time. It was bad! My stomache was hurting but I didn't want to be mean and not eat or look whimpy. haha! I basically finished the whole meal. Parents, I'm sure you're very proud! Then each of the families sent us home with a plate of cookies. Then another family we visited gave us ice cream bars. I may be waddling out of Nebraska when the time comes. We don't eat with families much anymore so it's ok to stuff ourselves on Sunday.

So if you didn't know, everybody in Nebraska is obsessed with the Huskers. There are countless Huskers flags hanging from people's porches and even carved into people's trees. Pretty funny! It's football season and so on Saturday it was hilarious to see how quiet the streets were during the times of the game. We can still go around and visit people but normally we select those who aren't really into football. People here are a bit crazy about it though. Oh well, go Huskers!!!

We have been meeting some great families lately and teaching them about the gospel. The hardest part is meeting with people after our 1st lessons with them. People still say they want us to teach them but them don't have the time. So we are praying to have more 2nd lessons and that people are more availiable. One lady we met and talked to on her porch said she was having a super hard day was was singing a song saying, "Lord, send me an angel." and that we just happened to show up right after that. She wants us to come back and teach her more about the church. We get to have cool experiences like that pretty often. Another person said they were praying to be guided by the Lord and know what to do in their life and then we happened to show up on their door. We don't randomly knock doors too much because we have appointments with people but when we do take time to knock people's neighbor we sometimes will have neat experiences.

Well I have to go now! I love you all and hope you enjoy the pictures I attached! Also, my p-day will be Wednesday next week!
Dad, I hope you had a WONDERFUL birthday!!! :)
Lex, Can you email me my family chart that I made? It's either on my computer or in my email. You can just send me the chart in an email! Thanks!
I love you all! Have a wonderful day!! I get to go apple picking with a senior couple today! I'm excited! The senior couples are all so nice!!

Omaha, Nebraska Week 4

September 12, 2011
Hello loved ones!

The weeks are flying by out here in Nebraska! I feel like I just wrote to you not too long ago but I'm glad I get to update you on everything! I try to make notes during the week of things I may want to mention in my email or letters so it makes it easier to write about when I have to type up things really fast. Now that I'm getting settled it's getting a little harder to think of what to write about... unless you want to hear in detail about how each of my lessons with people go or the tours I take. I'll get creative though so you can hear a mixture of things that are taking place on the mission!

To start off, there is a quilt show here at the trail center!! So downstairs there is a large room filled with amazing quilts! I have been inspired to take up quilting sometime in my life. So family, remember how one of my new years goals was to learn how to sew? haha... well obviously that didn't work out but when I get home I'll make sure that happens! Mom and Lex: In the meantime I think you two should start quilting so when I get home you can teach me and we can start our own club! :) How does that sound?! Maybe I'll send you some pictures of the quilts that I have been witnessing so you can be just as excited as I am. So after we take people on tours we get to send them downstairs to look at the quilts. Some people that live in the area stop by just to see the quilts. When I show people around I even get to wear cool white gloves to show them the backs of the quilts hanging on the walls since they can't touch them. It's serious business! haha

I'm sad to say I can't follow up on too many people I told you about last week because we weren't able to see them. Pretty sad! Both Stephen and Theresa weren't able to make their appointments. The hardest part about missionary work is people keeping their appointments. Life is way too busy for people's own good! This week was kind of odd though because we were in the trail center a TON! Although the trail center is nice it makes it hard with our proselyting area. We are still held to the same missionary standards as far as lessons taught and what not, but with half the amount of time in our area than normal missionaries. This week we were in the trail center 4 whole days and had zone conference another day so we were hardly in our area. That stinks but next week we are only in the Trail Center for 1 day. That's also really weird but at least we can have a week where we can really focus on teaching our people! So exciting!! We were able to visit a lot of less active people this week and also found a lot of potential investigators. After a dinner appointment this week we were in a neighborhood that was super cute with nice people so we went knocking on some doors. We found a lot of families who were interested in learning more about the church! We call it the magical neighborhood now because it was just crazy! We were at one house and the lady hadn't answered the door so as we were walking away she calls out to us to come back, so we walk back, talk to her a bit about her Christian religion, and she wasn't too interested so we just talked about her friends who were LDS. When we left a few minutes later she walks down the road to catch up to us and gives us some water bottles! What a sweetheart! (that was amazing considering we were pretty thirsty.) We have seen so many little miralces this week!

I had some really neat experiences being at the trail center so much this week. We are normally here for 6 hour shifts and have to pack 2 of our meals to squeeze in sometime while we're here. I feel SO blessed to be able to work at a historical site! There are so many amazing people that come through here. We give tours on our own so this is the one place where we aren't with our companions all of the time. It's so fun to take people on tours because for 45 minutes it's just you and them and you really get to know people. Not many people really get that opportunity talk about personal experiences with people and have them open up a lot, while relating it to trials and the faith of the pioneers. What's interesting is that the tours totally depend on the people and their openness. If they come in with a closed mind not willing to talk or learn much then the tour is alright, they learn facts, hear my testimony, but aren't strengthened as much as they could be if they were willing to be open and share. The purpose is to invite the spirit and strengthen their testimonies of Jesus Christ. When people are friendly, happy, and willing to share we have such a great time together and feel like friends by the end of the tour. I love it!!! Overall people are way nice and friendly and really enjoy learning about the pioneer history.

So I have some fun news! Our mission is no longer having dinner appointments after 5:00 pm. Overall we are doing this so we can be more effective during the best times to proselyte, which is between 5-9pm. Although this means we won't be fed too much I am very excited because we'll be able to teach a lot more. Normally we would have dinner at 5:30 and would be there an hour after eating and sharing a quick message with them. Now we have a solid 4 hours to teach!
Here is what President Kunz says,
"I recently learned that the most productive proselyting time is from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., so to help missionaries better fulfill their purpose, we are changing the daily schedule effective Monday, September 12th.  Missionaries will now be expected to proselyte from 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. on non-Preparation Days and 6:00 p.m. on Preparation Day (usually on Monday except for transfer week when it is Wednesday).  Missionaries will continue to meet with members to teach a 15 - 20 minute lesson on the doctrine of Christ to help members fulfill their missionary responsibility and be better prepared for the media campaign.  In conjunction with the daily schedule change, we are also increasing the standard of excellence from 5 investigator lessons with a member per week to 8 investigator lessons with a member per week to encourage more member involvement with investigators. 
 Missionaries will be able to have meal appointments with members before 5:00 p.m.  Missionaries will be able to eat with members after 5:00 p.m. if a progressing investigator or potential new investigator is present, these meals should be completed by 6:30 p.m.  Members can still feed missionaries by either providing meals to be picked up or by donating food to them.  We greatly appreciate the meals provided by members and the opportunity to serve and support them and hope to have continued support from members in even more productive ways. 
 I have a firm spiritual confirmation that by our missionaries spending this additional productive time proselyting from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. we will see more miracles in the mission and many more people baptized."

I am excited for this change and know that it will really help us to be better missionaries and to reach out to more people. Now we just get to budget our money better so that we can supply the majority of our meals. If you know any good and simple recipes let me know! We don't have much time to cook so lately we've been doing a lot of PB&J's and frozen meals. Luckily we work out every morning! It's probably better than eating large dinner meals with dessert included each night though. I don't think I've gained any weight so far. Then again I haven't weight myself since the one time I was able to step on the scale at the MTC. haha! I'm not worried about that though.

So a couple miracles from this weekend:
On Saturday we were in the trail center literally ALL day! We had training at 7:45am where all of the sisters and senior couples get together each week and have a devotional or do role plays. Then we had weekly planning which takes about 3 hours. Then we had our 6 hour shift of giving tours. It was crazy! Since we couldn't be in our area much this week we prayed that someone would be able to come to us that we were teaching. Without us even having to make a call to invite someone one of our less-active ladies that we teach texts us and asks if we were in the trail center because she wants to bring her mom to the quilt show. It was amazing!! Her mom isn't a member and it was fun to meet her and be able to show them around then have a mini lesson with them. It's super rare for someone to come to see us at the TC so we were very happy that worked out.
Yesterday (Sunday) we had to go straight from church  to the TC (trail center). It was also a car fast day so we had to get a ride to the TC from our church which is 30 min away. A wonderful lady in our ward, Sister O'Rourke, gave us a ride. She is sooo incredibly nice and we were so grateful. She asked what we had for dinner and lunch and we said PB&J. I guess she didn't like the idea of that so after she drove back home she came back and made us a dinner to eat!! We couldn't believe it! She had a total of a 2 hour trip just for us. I love our ward members because of selfless and wonderful women like her. We have to do something super nice to pay her back!
Our ward is great that we serve in! What's neat is that there area  ton of converts in the ward. They are so enthusiastic about missionary work and are great with team-ups. (where they come and teach lessons with us.) I never realized how important those were before my mission. I guess they didn't stress them much in our ward. In ward council I would hear about them but didn't realize that missionaries sometimes needed them or really would love people to go out with them. I would've loved to be more involved in that way. So family, you should all see if there is a way you can get more involved with the missionaries to go out and teach with them. They would greatly appreciate it! Member missionaries can be so powerful during lessons because people can relate to them better.

This week I organized my letters! I have a binder with letters from the family and another binder of letters from friends. Pretty exciting! I have them in sheet protectors and everything. I feel much better now that they are organized. I'm just working on writing everybody back. That's so hard when we don't have much time! Oh and guess what!? We are going to the zoo today! Yay! I'm excited!

Well I hope everyone is doing amazing!! Let me know how life is going and what miralces you have had recently. I love you all and will talk to you soon! Adios!!

With much love,
Sister Jones

Omaha, Nebraska Week 3

September 6, 2011
Well hello my lovely family and friends!!

I hope you are all doing wonderfully!! Thanks for the emails and letters you sent me! I love hearing about your lives and everything that's going on back home.

Things in Nebraska are going well! This has been amazing week with some neat experiences! Well it's starting to get a little bit colder here... that's no bueno! So far the weather is still pretty nice though. Yesterday it was around the high 60's. We had a bigger rain storm earlier this week. It was fun! We were driving in it and it was really funny to see Sister Hawkes nervously driving on the freeway about about 35 mph or so. Good times! We get to have a lot of adventures here! Thanks for sending me some scarfs and the bigger coat mom! That will come in handy very soon. When missionaries go home they often leave behind their big coats so I was able to get a bigger coat from that selection! Some of those coats are hilarious! They look like sleeping bags that you wrap around yourselves and go to the floor. I can't imagine wearing that but who knows when it gets below 0.

So this week we had two people set for baptism!! YAY!! We also have a good amount of investigators that could potentially be in that boat next week. We had such a good lesson with a man named Steve! Missionaries had met with him a couple times about a year ago but it didn't go anywhere. So we randomly stopped by his house last week to say hi and see how he was doing. We talked to him for a few minutes on his porch and then made an appointment for a few days later. He has such a love for God and Jesus Christ. He was so excited to hear more about prophets and the Book of Mormon. He said with a huge smile on his face, "do you mean that there is a prophet just like in the Old Testament living TODAY??!" We were like, "Yeah!!" and he just sat there for a moment smiling... then he asked for his name and we talked about Thomas S. Monson for a little bit. Then we talked about the Book of Mormon and talked to him about how he can read it and then pray about it for himself. We testified and said that we KNOW that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. He was like, "that's a pretty bold statement... but you're making me really happy right now. I'm trusting you two!" Then we told him that he can trust us, but really is up to him and that he need to pray to know for himself. That's the great thing about it. People make their own choices. We are just the guides, not people who are forcing others to learn or join our church. He said he would read and pray about it and then he said he would be baptized if he found out it was true. He is sooo amazing! He's really smart, funny, and he's about 35. After I said the closing prayer he said, "Do you know what I just told God as you were praying? I said, "God, if you want me to be a mormon, then I'll be the best Mormon I can be!" I can't wait to meet with him tomorrow to see how everything went! He is the most prepared person ever. Sister Hawkes said he is the most prepared man she's met so far on her mission.

The woman we met is named Theresa. We have a lot more to teach her but we talked a lot about repentance and baptism and how she can be made clean. She said she really would like to be baptized to have that pure and clean feeling. She's an older lady who has had a lot of struggles in her life but has real intent. It will be neat to see her progess!

So Lex, you'll be happy to hear that I'm taking your challenge and writing down a miracle, tender mercy, something I learned, or a cool/ funny story down everynight on a note card. I'll gradually send them to you so you can get a better glimpse at what happens day by day. Can you keep them all together for me in a notecard box or something? Thanks! If there's anything good feel free to share it with the rest of the family. But since you asked me to do this you get to keep them. :) I also write in my journal every night so all of my expeiences are going to be well documented.

Well 2 weeks ago I recieved my first kiss on the mission... we were walking down the street and met an older man and talked to him about the church a little bit. He said he was interested so he gave us his address to meet him later. He smelt like alcohol but wasn't too drunk. When we were leaving we gave him a hand shake and he held on to my hand and kissed it! Yuck!! He just dove his head down right for the kill and there was nothing I could do about it. It was kinda funny though! Luckily it was just the hand... there would be no way he could sneak anything else!
Then this week one of our investigators (the one with the mullet) snuck a hug! He went in to hug me and i put my hands up and I was like, "oh sorry, we're not allowed to hug." So he quickly gave my comp a hug without her knowing. Then acted like he was giving me a handshake and gave me a quick hug. Once again, not my fault! I tried to avoid it. He was like, "come on, there's nothing wrong with a hug to a friend! Look, I even give her a hug! (as he gives his friend Theresa a hug.) He is a funny man but it's not happening again. So those were some funny experiences. I was warned this would happen but I thought I could avoid it a lot better. Practice makes perfect though...

The bugs here love me! It's ridiculous! I have random bug bites on my legs and on my neck. They are always flying around my face and I look like a crazy person trying to swat them away as I'm talking to random people on the street. They don't go near Sister Hawkes though. So bizzare!

Also, I've tried putting my pictures on the comp to sent to you but it's not working! It might be my memory card because it says, "connection error" but my chord works for other people's cameras and they get their pictures on just fine. I'm going to buy a new card today and try it later. I'm printing pics today and i'll send them to you all! :)
I have to go now!
I love you all!!! The work is going great here and we get to teach a lot of people. I love it!!
Sister Jones

Omaha, Nebraska Week 2

August 29, 2011

Happy Monday!! I hope you are all doing well with the new school year!! Thanks for your letters and emails! I really appreciate hearing from all my amazing family and friends! Just so ya know, throughout my entire mission you will be sending my letters to the mission home address that I have given you. So no need to worry if I'm every transferred because that address will be the same the whole time! 

So in my last email I totally forgot to mention how gorgeous Omaha, NE is! I know most people probably imagine that it is all cows and corn fields with a nasty yellow color plastering the state... but the area I'm in is so nice! There is a TON of greenery with big, green trees everywhere! It's fun to see so much grass wherever you go! There are also a lot of hills! In the western part of Nebraska is where you find the flat lands with cows and all that fun stuff. We may get to go visit over there in a few weeks for a zone conference! :) The weather is also amazing! Not much humidity and not even that hot!

Ok question for all of you... 
So I have new scriptures (the ones Dad bought me) and I was wondering if any of you have any good and organized way of marking them. Like different topics are a certain color or anything like that. Hit me up with your ideas! They are so new I'm almost afraid to mark them at all. haha!

The missionary work is going great out here! There is a huge push for out here and there will be a ton of advertisements starting in a few weeks. There will be billboards signs, internet ads, radio and TV commercials, and the works! We are so excited for this! I hear they will be starting this is Phoenix soon too! Our mission president said we need to talk to at least 30 members from our ward a week about and what they can do to prepare for this. Overall they want the members to be prepared for their friends to ask questions about the church. 
The 3 main things they suggest are to:
1. Connect the name "Mormons" with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
2. Tell them about how Jesus Christ is the center of our religion.
3. Invite them to do something... go to the site and look at the videos, go to church with you, or whatever you want!

If you don't have a profile you should go and make one and then share it with your friends. A pretty effective way of doing this is posting it on your facebook wall! :)

Along with meeting with different families from the ward we visit with our different investigators and less active members of the ward. Everyone is really nice to us even if they aren't interested or don't have the desire to come to church. We are able to have great conversations with people about how their belief in Jesus Christ has brought them strength in their lives. There are a lot of Catholic and Lutheran people here in Omaha. The area we are assigned to is said to be the nicest in mission. There are some way nice houses and areas. We also have old parts where the area is a little more ghetto but really it's not that bad. I've also heard that the more ghetto areas are easier to tract in. On Saturday we had a "car fast day" where we don't drive the car at all. This means we have to get picked up by someone in the ward to drive us 30 min into our area and then drops us off. I feel like a pain when we have to do this but they are all happy to serve! For Saturday we had our day pretty well mapped out with the people we would visit and then we made a point to talk to everyone along the way! So far this isn't my most favorite thing to do because people act really weird and awkward around missionaries. I felt like before the mission I could carry on a somewhat normal conversation with most people and then stick a missionary tag on me and I'm struggling because of the response you get from people. When you start talking to random people that just pulled up on their driveway they just look at you like, "why are you talking to me and what do you want?" So it's fun to try and get past that and talk to them and then bring up our purpose as missionaries or something like that. The strategy is different with each person but it's definitely not easy! On Saturday we ran into a guy, probably around 22, and he was sporting an ASU t-shirt and cap! I thought that was so cool so that's how that conversation started out. He's never been to ASU but he's a big fan! We were able to share a little bit about what we believe and he wanted to set an appointment for later this week to hear about the church! Yay! Although trackting can be hard it's well worth it when you meet people like this kid who are excited to hear about the religion and truly are interested. There were a few people like that from Saturday's experience. 

Alright so my typical missionary day:
-Wake up around 6:15
-Work out from 6:30-7:00am
Normally for our workout we go running around the neighborhood with some other Sisters. We also have the option of doing work out videos at the trail center! We did that this morning for the 1st time and it was so fun!! There were 4 of us doing Turbo Jam in the theater downstairs. What a fun way to wake up in the morning!
-7:00-8:00-- shower, get dressed and ready for the day.
-8:00-9:00-- personal study
-9:00-10:00-- companion study
- Then we head out to our area and go to our appointments for the rest of the day!
- We normally have dinner at a member's house at 5:30 and are there for an hour and then are back to work!
- Continue with our appointments and visiting people then we drive home and are back by 9:00. we plan for the rest of the day. Then I write in my journal and get ready for bed. 
-Lights out at 10:30!

That's overall the main layout but there's a lot more we do.
The trail center is a lot of fun! I'm getting better at giving tours although we weren't scheduled much this week. 

Well I have to go now! Thanks for the letters and emails!

Have a wonderful day!! I hope you all got the pictures and letters I sent home. Lex said she didn't get some of my letters so hopefully other people are getting theres. Last week we only had 1 hour to write but hopefully i can write more today! 
Love you all!!

- Sister Jones

Omaha, Nebraska Week 1

August 23, 2011
Hello everyone!

How is everybody doing? I am great!! Nebraska has been treating me well and the weather has been pretty nice! Whenever we're inside teaching a lesson is when it rains or at night and I sleep right through the storms. Right now downtown Omaha is totally flooded. Crazy! Last week when we flew into Omaha it was sooo sad because there was one area that we flew right over that was really flooded! You couldn't even see the roads, just the telephone lines and top halves of the houses that were above water. I had never seen anything like that in real life before. It was insane! Luckily our area isn't flooded like that and we live more on a hill. Thank goodness!!

Ok so i'll try and recap the past week for you! We have an hour to use email so I think I have about 40 min left after reading your emails.

First day: We flew into Omaha and President Kunz and his wife were there waiting for us right outside of the security check point. There were 15 of us all traveling together! 6 Sisters and 9 Elders. We have an awesome group of newbies. So the President and his wife are incredibly nice and cute! They are such a loving couple! We then went back to the mission office where we filled out some paperwork and watched a defensive driving video. Even though we can't drive until we are senior companions, which will probably be a while. Then we had an interview with President Kunz and he gave us each a priesthood blessing. That was really neat and a good experience. He's an amazing man! After the business stuff was done we went to the President's home, had dinner, had a lesson and some role plays, and then called it a night. We stayed at a hotel near by the first 2 nights! That was fun! Sister Bergeson had the room all to ourselves!

2nd day: We woke up nice and early and met up with the rest of the group! We went on our little tour of Omaha! First we went to downtown Omaha where there are life size bronze statues of pioneers along the side of the road on a park. I took some pictures of them because they are so neat! You should try to google it or something. They have handcarts all lined up along the side with random animals. My description isn't very good so try and look it up. LDS sculptors made it but it represents all of the different pioneers that came through, not just the LDS ones. Then we went to Council Bluffs and went through a tour there. That's where Brigham Young was sustained a prophet. Lots of neat history there! After that we made it to Winter Quarters!! I was WAY excited!! This is where I would be spending a good amount of my time and the place I had been researching since the day I got my mission call! We went to the temple grounds first and walked around the cemetery. I loved it! There's such an amazing spirit there knowing the sacrifice the saints went through throughout their journey. The President talked to us for a little bit about the cemetery and the temple. The Mormon Trail Center was the next stop, which is right across the street! We went on a little mini tour of the place. It's so neat because it has ALL of history starting from Nauvoo all the way to Salt Lake City! So I have a lot to learn but it's all coming!
After the tours we got partnered up with another missionary and went out to do real missionary work! This wasn't our official companion but mine happened to be! We found out later that night who our companions were! My companion is Sister Hawkes and she is amazing!! I will tell you more about her later. So the first place we went to was a family's house that they had taught 1 other lessen to before. The young woman answered the door and I was able to teach her about the Book of Mormon! It was a good lesson and it was really cool to see how helpful the MTC was and that the role plays we used to do apply to real life. This girl was so excited to read the BofM and to feel the peace that comes from reading and praying to God. After that lesson we just went around to different houses (tracking) and talked about religion to people. Good times! Peope are a lot more open to talk about religion than I thought!
Overall my first experience was a good one! After teaching with Sister Hawkes I was really hoping my companion would be as happy and nice as she was. We all had lunch at the mission president's home then we had some lessons taught to us by the A.P. (assistant to the pres) missionaries and then by Presdient Kunz. His message was mostly about obedience and how that is how we are successful and happy. It was really good! I wish i had time to type up the notes I took! Later that night we had a testimony meeting with all of us new missionaries. That was such an amazing meeting and the spirit was so strong! Loved it! After that we all were given an envelope with our new assignment in it with our companion's name. We got called up, they handed us the envelope and we read it out loud to everyone. Luckily I was the 2nd one to open mine because I was super anxious and excited! I felt like it was opening my mission call all over again! haha! Then I read where I would be serving (In an area about 30 min from the Trail Site.) And that Sister Hawkes was my companion!! I was SOOOO happy!! Ok let me tell you about how amazing Sister Hawkes is.... She is the happiest, most positive, enthusiastic person I know! She has such a good heart and is so kind. She is outgoing and so friendly to everybody. She is always so uplifting and constantly is giving me compliments on my teaching or random things like that. She is just a joy to be around!! I love her! I am incredibly blessed to have her as my companion and trainer.

The fist night in our place there was a big storm in the area with golf ball size hale! We missed the hale but while we were driving home the power was out in the city and we were lost! Since it's my companion's first time driving since she's been out on her mission! haha! I was laughing throughout this whole experience but Sister Hawkes was stressed and kept apologizing over and over. There were trees laying out in the road and all the lights were out and I guess we were driving in the ghetto. hahaha! It was a funny experience to say the least!! Then the 1st time we got to our apartment the lights were all out so I carried my luggage into our place in darkness, took out my sheets, pj's and toothbrush and called it a night! Then i woke up to a cute apartment that I finally got to see. We had flashlights so that's how i wrote in my journal that night. So fun!
Mom- thanks so much for the package you send me with my sheets, blanket, and all of the goodies!!! It was fun opening that in the dark! Lots of fun surprises in the morning! THANK YOU! That was the coolest package every. Btw, i like the spongebob sheets you sent me. My comp and i got a kick out of that. Gracias! I appreciate it!

We live in an apartment with 4 of us total, right down the hill from the Trail Center. We work at the trail center normally about 3 days a week for about 6 hour shifts. The rest of the time we are in our proselyting area where we go teach our investigators or visit less active members. The first day doing the normal missionary stuff with my new companion was on Thursday and it was one busy day!! Probably the busiest so far! We had about 6 different lessons scheduled and then did some tr acting between the gaps we had. Everything ran smoothly and I was able to hold my ground and teach the best I could. I noticed I was a little quieter than normal in our first 2 lessons but then I loosened up and went back normal. haha! I was nervous for our first day doing the Mormon Trail Center (what they call Winter Quarters). Threw us right in on the first day! I had to  give two different tours! SCARY! Considering we haven't been trained on the info and hadn't been able to study anything about it. The first tour I had another sister missionary with me who did all the historical talking and I was there to bear testimony and relate principles from the pioneers to our own lives. These people asked a ton of questions so i felt weird just smiling and turning to the other sister to answer. The other tour I was by myself with a family of about 5. Luckily I was able to focus the tour more on the younger kids so I didn't have to be a history buff. It was a lot of fun though! The tours are normally 45 minutes and shouldn't go longer than that. The place is arranged in a timeline so it starts out at the Nauvoo temple and wraps around the place till you end at the Salt Lake City temple. It's really neat! I've given a lot more tours since the  first day and I learn new things every time. I'm getting better with the historical stuff now that they gave us a packed to read. But mostly they want us to bear testimony and get the group to share experiences and have their faith strengthened.  THe main purpose of the historical site is to bring them closer to Christ.

I love teaching people as well. It's so cool to be in diffferent people's homes and to really get to know them and their lives. Everybody is really friendly and nice to us! We get fed pretty much every night! We've had pancakes, panda express, sloppy joe's, soup, and the works! Everything has been really good! On Sunday I got to meet a lot of people in the ward and it seems great! We had so many ward members there with us in the lessons and the missionary focus in the ward is so great! We also had to teach Sunday school! That was good. When I found that out earlier in the week i was kind of nervous but everything worked out and went really well.
Last night we went to a couple's apartment and had a really good discussion with them. It was so funny because the man that answered had no shirt, lots of tatoos, beer belly, and an AMAZING mullet!! I was so impressed! He and his wife were so nice though and shared a lot of their life experiences. Let me tell you, they have lots of different experiences and were very open with us. We shared our message with them how God knows them personally and loves them so much. We also talked about the Book of Mormon and they are interested. They believe in God and Jesus Christ. It just shows how you can't judge a book by it's cover! It's amazing how fast you can automatically love people! And I don't just love the older man because of his mullet... he has an awesome testimony of God and that he can perform miracles in our lives and same with the woman who had seen God's hand in her life. Pretty neat!  We also get to do lots of service! Sometimes we will do dishes for someone and other times we do yard work. It's a lot more fun doing it for other people than doing it for myself. :)

Well I have to go! Let me know if I left something out that you wanted to know!! We are going to walmart to get groceries and print pictures after this! We've already cleaned our place and have done laundry. Well i'll talk to you all later!! BYe!!
I love you all!!!

Sister Jones

MTC Week 3!

August 12, 2011
Hello everyone!!

So I apologize for forgetting to mention last week that our p-day got changed to Friday because of our new schedule with the Visitors Center training that we started on Wednesday. I felt bad that I couldn't even write to let you know it changed and not to expect an email or letters on Wednesday. Sorry, I'm sure you were all hovered around the computer ALL day anxiously awaiting my email... HAHA! jk!

Alright, here we go... The 3rd week at the MTC has been good! Right when we got into our comfort zone with our schedules and teaching appointments they switched it up on us and moved us into the visiting center training. This past Tuesday all the Elders from our district went to CA! I'm excited and nervous for them! A little nervous because some of them didn't take advantage of the MTC as much as they should've so I hope it's not too big of a wake up call to them when they get into the field. They are all so nice and it's weird not having them around to crack jokes with. I may keep in touch with a couple of them to see how their missions are going. As much as we miss them we had an AMAZING class with just us 4 sisters the day they left. Our teacher, Sister Murray, just taught us sisters and it was by far my most spiritual experience so far at the MTC. I'll tell you a little about it.

The class period mostly focussed on us as missionaries and on Jesus Christ. We watched a movie clip on Christ's life where it showed many of the miracles He performed and also his crucification and resurrection. Watching the miracles Christ performed and seeing the peole's faces of love and grattitude made me cry. (silent tears, not like a baby or anything.) Then also seeing the Savior be crucified because of the love He has for us made me tear up even more. During that clip I just had so much love for Jesus Christ and during moments like that you can't deny that He is real and that the atonement was done out of pure love for us so we can return to Heavenly Father. After the movie our teacher had us write a letter to Jesus Christ expressing our feelings and to write "what we will to do be worthy of being a representative of Christ." So let's just say the tears continued to trickle out during that as well. I have water marks on my letter to prove it. It was an amazing experience I wish I could explain in more detail or clearer but the timer at the top is haunting me. I was just filled with joy and happiness! That was only my 2nd time crying at the MTC. The first was when we watched a video on virtue in our relief society meeting and at one point there were 3 sisters talking about eternal families and then started crying and hugging eachother... that was mean of them to show us that! haha, I couldn't even sing the closing hymn because I was choked up thinking about how much I love my family but specifically my sisters. I love my family and I'm so grateful for all of you! People ask me how it is having divorced parents and 2 big families and I say, I LOVE IT! I have 2 big happy families, doens't get much better than that!" I can tell they are jealous.. lol

So the visitor center training is pretty cool! There are 22 of us Sister missionaries in that class! They said it's one of the biggest classes they've had! It's such a fun and nice group of girls... with LOTS of personality! There are 9 girls going to Temple Sqaure, 3 to the Mormon Batallion, 5 to Winter Quarters (YAY!), and 5 going to Washington D.C.
The class is sometimes kinda funny because we do a lot of role plays... the first day was hilarious to me because we practiced, "Hi! Welcome to the visitors center! My name is sister Jones. What brings you here today?" or something like that. Practiced greatings and then we've learned how to introduce the Christus and carry a discussion about paintings. They don't actually tell us what to say or anything but we have to go with what we feel they may need to here. We've also practiced the referral cards. I'm still getting used to that. A lot of us sisters feel like we don't want to be annoying about it but they are training us a new way to ask people for referrals for their themsevles to hear more info or their friends. They say that it's another way to follow Jesus Christ and invite them learn more from the misssionaries. So we're all getting used to using those. Yesterday we had our first practice where there was a room set up as a visitors center with a Christus (cardboard version) and other paintins/ pictures of Christ, prophets, families, temples, the Book of Mormon and so on. We had 2, 20 minutes lesson/ tours with first a nonmember and then a memeber. Overall it went pretty well! It was interesting because we feel like we weren't prepared much of what to say but you learn as you go and once you get to know the person it flows and you're able to lead them to something that would interest them.

For a while we were eating meals with our zone and hanging out with them. They are a really nice group of Elders! They are pretty goofy though and can be flirty at times as well... so let's just say we've been eating with the Sisters from class a lot more often to avoid that scene. People supposedly like my laugh here... they think it's "hilarous and unique" An Elder even wrote me a note saying that my laugh is the best ever and that it makes him happy. haha! I guess I'll take that as a compliment. Whatever makes people happy i suppose!

So far I've seen 21 people I know here from AZ! That's always fun! My compainion thinks it's funny so she's actually the one keeping count. I talked to Shawn Alt, Colby Denton, Ashley Mitchell (caldwell's friend), Elder Naef, Chelsey Hieker (mark stokers friend), Elder Harris (bryce's bro). along with many others. Elder darrow and elder moore left on tuesday and i literally saw them every day at the MTC. I also got nice and awkward pictures with them befor they left!

Thanks mom for the package you sent me! I have so much junk food now! I really appreciate all the snacks though! Milton and Grace Jones sent me a whole box of cookies too! I'm going to write them a thank you note today because those were really good!

I'm glad everyone in Cedar is having fun!! That's awsome that the whole crew is hanging out there... like jon, caldwell, taylor, and lex. Thanks for keeping me up todate with all of the fun adventures that are happening! You better send me some pictures! :)

SO I leave to Nebraska this Tuesday! August 16th. I get to call home that morning at the airport so be prepared to asnwer the phone anytime betweeen 7:30- 10:00am. My flight is at 10:30 am Utah time! I'm excited to talk to you! I'll probably call mom first and then dad. Hopefully I have enough time! I don't know how much time they allow us to chat.
I can't wait to be in Nebraska! The only things I'm nervous about at the moment is my new companion and the weather. Have I mentioned how much I'm going to love the humidity? I'm already pumping myself up about it... and the cold! :)

Tomorrow (saturday) we are going to the Salt Lake Temple to be missionaries for the day!! They are going to pair us up with a sister that serves there and we get to walk around and teach for the day! I can't wait!! That willl be an awesome experience!

Have a great day I have to go now! Hope everyone is doing well! Talk to you on tuesday!! Remember to wake up and answer the phone! :)
I love you all sooo much!!

Sister Jones

MTC Week 2!

August 3, 2011
Hi family!!!

I'm so excited I get to write you!! On Tuesdays it takes me forever to fall asleep because I can't stop thinking about what I want to tell you all. Writing once a week is difficult but it's all good. It makes me even more excited for p-day. So i have 30 min, here it goes!

I am still loving the MTC! My experience is getting even better and easier as time goes on. We practice teaching  A TON! We normally teach about 3 different 30 min lessons a day. We practice with the other missionaries, then we have fake investigators that we teach. My companion and I teach about 4 people about twice a week. Even though it's not a real person when you are in the lessons it definitely feels real if you are taking it seriously and it's amazing how strong the Spirit can be. Even when I"m pretending to be an investigator I seriously get really happy and excited when they are teaching a lesson that can be applied to not only my fake characters life but to my own. It's awesome!! Our teacher does lessons with us and pretends to be an investigator with no religous background and after different lessons with him he committed to baptism. It's a really good feeling when somebody commits to follow Jesus Christ and have faith to follow Him. Sister Bergeson and I were so happy and the Spirit was incredible in the room.

We are loving gym. We have an hour each day except for Sunday and Wednesday (p-day). We have a lot of fun playing sand v-ball, normal v-ball in the gym and 4-square. I think 4-squar is the most fun and all my skills for elementary school are coming back!! Not to brag, but i have been doing pretty well and sometimes get to scare the Elders. They stand in line and say, "how are we going to get Sister Jones out?" haha! It's hilarious how intense they get! I'm normally laughing the entire time.

So last week I was given the responsibility of being a Coordinating Sister. That means I take care of all the Sisters in the zone! I make sure everyone is doing well and is keeping the rules. I work with the zone leaders and have a bunch of meetings I get to go to. It's fun! When the leader asked me if i would do this he told me, that basically my job "is to be the happiest person in the zone and be a great example. But you're always smiiling so you've got that down." The branch leaders are older men and they are really nice. On Sunday I had about 4 different meetings so it felt more like my normal SUndays at home. lol. I love Sundays at the MTC though! THey are so relaxing compared to the rest of the week. I also really enjoy the devotionals we have. We get guest speakers every SUnday and Tuesday to speak to us. That's one of my favorite things about the MTC.

My whole district is getting sick... it's no bueno. I think they are coming down with cold-like symptoms. My companion doesn't feel too well right now so we went and got her some meds. My roommates are feeling better now! I've been great except for last Thursday... Ready for a funny but kinda gross story?
Last Thursday I woke up feeling pretty nasty with a bad stomache ache. I thought i would be able to act like nothing was wrong until I started throwing up a bunch. Before breakfast I was throwing up, which was weird because we fasted the day before so i have no idea what I was throwing up. But after it calmed down I went with my comp to breakfast so she could eat. We walk in i hurry to the bathroom and throw up a little. THen sat while she ate and afterwards I thought i could make it back to the room but right when we left the cafeteria I ran to a bush and did my thing right in front of everyone. Sick! then we walked more and I had to hurry to an area where there was grass and flowers. So this happened 3 times outside then I made it to the room and made camp in the community bathrooms. Good times! Looking back it's pretty funny but in the moment it wasn't too fun. I had to miss the first session of classes but slept a bit and felt completely fine after that. My companion was a good sport though she was holding my hair back as I was throwing up outside iin front of everyone. That hasn't happened in a long time! Hopefully your stomache doesn't hurt now. haha!

We had to move 2 floors down yesterday in are living area. It wasn't that bad of a move. With the move I gave Sister Bergeson the bottom bunk since i've had it the rest of the time. I figured we could go half and half. Plus she's not feelign well so the bottom bunk is the least i could do to help her out. Also, our laundry is getting paid for by an elder in our zone because he dared us to eat ketchup covered fruit and we did it. So that's nice we don't have to pay for that. even though it's only 25 or 50 cents.

The sisters in our room love listening to my music! THanks Dad for all of the CD's you gave me!
Also, thanks everybody for the letters and dearelders! It's so good to hear from everybody throughout the week! I get the letters 6 days a week and normally in the afternoon. Our district leaders picks up all our mail and passes it out before class normally. They stilll all make fun of me because of how much mail I get. Then I read who they are all from and it's mostly all family. You are all amazing!

My 2 favorite sciptures for this week are Deuteronomy  31: 6 &8 and 2 Nephi 31:20. These are what I call the HAPPY scriptures. They work really well for people who feel like God isn't listening or doesn't care and just to give people hope and a purpose.

I'll be writing more personal letters later and sending pictures! Finally! Sorry it took so long to do that! Later today we will be going to the temple, doing laundry, writing letters, then class at 6. They don't give us much time to write unfortunately!
Well time is up! Talk to you later! I love you all! :)

Sister Jones