Wednesday, September 28, 2011

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


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