Wednesday, September 28, 2011

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


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