Sunday, January 29, 2012

Week 23

January 23, 2012
Hola familia!

This has been a really nice week. On Tuesday we had interviews with President Kunz. That was really nice! It's not an intense interview or anything. It was basically him just seeing how we are all individually doing. In my interview it was us mostly discussing how the area is going and how Sister Ashby is doing. He said some really nice and encouraging things and overall just let me know that I am doing exactly what I've been sent to do here Grand Island. It was a very uplifting interview. :)
After the interviews all of the missionaries took turns giving a 10 min lesson on any two random principles from the 1st 3 lessons and were filmed. It went pretty well! We basically did a role play where one of the missionaries pretended to be one of our investigators and we taught them whatever two main points they told us to... making sure we used scriptures, analogies, asked questions. Before we started doing the role play I couldn't stop laughing just because of how weird it was that they were filming us and there was only 4 of us in a little room. We taught about the Fall of Adam and Eve & Agency and Our Life on Earth. It went really well and then afterwards we watched ourselves teach. Good news everyone! I don't make weird faces or have awkward gestures when I teach! haha! It was cool to watch us give a lesson though because we were able to evaluate what we can do better. I noticed I need to leave longer pauses after I make a statement or read a scripture. Sometimes I tend to just jump back to talking too fast and don't leave much time for them to think about it. Overall that was a really good experience!

On Wednesday and Thursday we were walking the whole day and it was really windy. One of the days i believe the high was 20 degrees. We were totally bundled up and it didn't seem too bad. Somehow it always works out that it cold an windy when we are walking. The elders get really lucky! Yesterday it snowed but it wasn't too bad. I heard this week it will start warming up and get into the 40's and 50's! Yay!

Lately we've been doing a lot more tracking- knocking on doors. That is always an interesting experience because you never know what is behind each door. Sometimes we have good conversations with people who are interested, other times we have conversations with people who are nice but not interested, and the rest of the time we have funny experiences with people who aren't interested at all. haha! Missionary work can be really funny sometimes. People are hilarious, even when they aren't trying to be.
Funny woman #1: She just opened the door...
Me: Hi! How are you doing today?
Woman: Ehh, not too good.
Me: oh no! What's wrong.
Woman: My stomach and feet hurt... so i better get off of them. Bye. (starts closing the door.)
Me: Wait! Can I give you a card with a really great website? (Me smiling, handing it to her)
Woman: Fine, whatever. (i accidentally started laughing a little because it's been so long since I've heard an older woman say "whatever." She was a funny one! Maybe you had to be there to find the humor.

Funny story #2: We met a younger man named Joseph (maybe about 16yrs old) and he said we could come back and talk to him and his family. So a few days later we came back and talked to him outside his house and he went inside really quick to "check his schedule" and he brings out his aunt... who is a nun, named Sister Agitha.
Sister Agitha: Hi ladies. Joe here is a beautiful Catholic boy with great faith. And i wouldn't want anything to happen to his faith. So i would appreciate it if we just stopped here."
Us: basically explained we don't try and tear down anybody's faith and are there to strengthen it.
It was just really funny because Joe "the beautiful catholic boy" was so embarrassed that his aunt called him that and was being kind of harsh when we were all having a nice pleasant conversation right before. it was pretty funny though. She was wearing normal clothes but with a black nun hat on. At least she was nice and firm in her beliefs.

Those were some fun experiences this week. We also found about 5 new investigators!

Next wednesday is our next preparation day because of transfers! Transfers are on Feb 2nd! That should be interesting because I have a feeling we'll be getting affected by the change. We'll see! Stay tuned for next week, on Wednesday!

Love you all,
Sister Jones

Week 22

January 16, 2012
Hello everyone!!
Happy Martin Luther King Day!!

I don't really know where to begin... this week was awesome! So many lessons came through and we met a ton of new people to teach! Whenever things start getting slow and I'm starting to feel like I don't know where to go or who to see, all the sudden Heavenly Father just starts blesses us so much and we are able to see soo many miracles in our area! 

Here are a few highlights from the week:
 Last Monday was Sister Ashby's 22nd birthday!! I woke up super early to decorate the apartment with lots of streamers, balloons, and sticky notes! I even made paper snowflakes that I scattered on the ground since she was talking about how she's used to there being snow when it's her birthday. (Thank goodness there isn't real snow the ground right now!) I put the presents that I got her under our cute little Christmas that we still have up. I told her the birthday elf did everything. So we had a fun day together celebrating her birthday! She almost started crying saying nobody has every done anything fun like that for her birthday. Later on we played volleyball with the other grand island missionaries and then had cake! It was a good day and she really enjoyed it!  Mission accomplished. :)
Tuesday we had an awesome lesson with a man named Ruben who we set for baptism... but we are giving him to the Spanish elders. On Saturday I set another man for baptism but also have to give him to the Spanish elders as well. It's sad because they speak pretty good English but we know they will understand the gospel better in Spanish. At least we still got to play a role in finding and teaching them!
Wednesday and Thursday it was REALLY windy! It was hilarious because we were covered head to toe and we were walking all day. I'm sure we were a funny sight to be seen for all those who were driving. All people could see were my eyes. The wind is torture! But we were still able to see a lot of people for it being so cold and windy.
Friday night at 10:00pm we were surprised by the zone leaders telling us that we were going on exchanges that next day! We were so excited and then realized we had to plan a whole other set of plans for that next day. Stressful! But two sisters from Omaha drove out Saturday morning to come to Grand Island and have exchanges. (where we switch companions for the day.) It was such a blessing! I was with Sister Robertson and Sister Ashby went with Sister Runyon. Sister Robertson is a fireball and awesome so we had an amazing time street contacting a ton of people!! We found so many new people to teach! Having them come out to do exchanges with us was such a breath of fresh air! I LOVED it!! The weather was really nice that day so lots of people were outside. We had a blast talking to as many people as we saw and teaching them about Christ! Doesn't get much better than that. :)
Yesterday we had a really great lesson with a couple named Michael and Becca. They are so sweet and very prepared! They were calling us angels and Becca said that she feels different with us. She was saying how calm, peaceful, and safe she feels when meeting with us. Then we were able to let her know that she is feeling the Spirit. I love it when people feel the Holy Ghost and recognize it. It's the best!
Well that about sums up the week! Within those main points we had tons of other lessons! It was amazing and such a blessing! I hope you are all doing well and having a really great week! I love you all and am so grateful for your examples and support!

Sister Jones

Week 21

January 9, 2012
Hello everyone!

Sounds like everybody is having a good time settling back down into normal life from the Holidays!

Our mission address is being changed to:
Nebraska Omaha Mission
11027 Martha St.
Omaha, NE 68144

Mail from the old address will be forwarded but this is the new address you can write me at for the rest of my mission!

Did everyone get to follow through with the commitments I left them on Christmas? Please email me back with how that went! Thanks!

This has been an interesting week! Sister Ashby was sick for three days so I had three long days of sitting in the apartment studying. She had the flu so she slept A LOT and I had to find different ways of entertaining myself and still being productive. I was able to read my scirptures a lot, watch church movies (church history from D&C and also the District- episodes of missionaries teaching people), wrote in my journal, cleaned, ate, walked around the apartment, straightened my hair, read some more, ate some more, wrote out lesson plans, called people to set up appointments, and make a sheet with lots of scripture references. That about sums it up! Three days is a long time to be cooped up my yourself and not talk to anyone. That was the weirdest part- not having much human interaction, besides when Sister Ashby would wake up for a little bit. Luckily she is feeling better now and we are back to work!

While I was reading I found a new favorite scripture: Alma 26:11-12
You should definitely look it up!

Guess what?!!! Me and Sister Ashby got to ride bikes for the first time on Thursday!! It was so exciting! Normally only the Elders ride bikes but we asked if we could borrow theirs while they had the car and it was sooo nice compared to walking! As long as there isn't snow on the ground we may continue to use their bikes when we don't have the car. We were like giddy little kids when we first started riding off to our appointments. Good times! :)

While Sister Ashby was sick President Kunz called to see how she was doing. She was sleeping at the time so I got to talk to him a little bit. It's rare to get to talk to him one on one. He basically told me that he really appreciate all the work i've been doing. He said that I've really turned the area around and that is one of the reasons why I was sent out here. Sister Ashby has been having a hard time and so I've had to take a lot of the leadership responsibilities upon myself and he acknowledged that it's a tough spot to be in but that I'm doing exactly what the Lord wants me to do. It was really nice to hear that from him and know that what I am doing is recognized. I love President Kunz!!

Well I hope you are all doing great!  I love you!
-Sister Jones

Week 20

January 3, 2012
Hi family!!
The library was closed yesterday so that is why I have to email you on a Tuesday again. Sorry if that confuses you. It will be back to Monday next week!

Did everyone have a good New Years? From a couple of the emails I got it sounds like you guys had a fun time. That's fun the family got to hang out in Vegas for a while!
New Years on the mission is very different. It's just like every other day to us. We still were working till 9pm, had to plan for the next day, go to bed at 10:30pm, and woke up at 6:20am. So we slept peacefully right on through the new year! :) It still doesn't even feel like 2012! That is so unreal to me. It feels like it just barely turned 2011! I remember last New Years like it was last week! Crazy! Then on New Years I had the realization that I only have 1 year left on my mission! OH MY GOODNESS!!! That still just blows my mind how fast the first 1/3 of my mission went. Is time going fast for everyone else or is it just me? Normally I am on the ball with New Years resolutions but I haven't had too much time to sit down and write them out. I have so many weekly goals that I don't know if I really even need goals for the entire year. I'm sure I'll come up with some though. Overall I just want to be a better missionary and be closer to Heavenly Father. That about sums up the majority of my goals for now.

So this past week we found a few new investigators. Everybody else is either slowly progressing or we have dropped. We're at a weird stage right now where we just need to focus on finding new people to teach because we have been weeding the people out who want us to visit but don't want to put any effort into reading or praying. Some of these people will be great to see in a month or so but they just need a break for now to decide if this is important to them. We are really seeing the effects of past missionaries not keeping any records of those they taught or contacted in the past. It stinks but at least the missionaries after us will have plenty to work with and will have a much easier time.
Last night we set a woman named Beverly for baptism! That was exciting! She said she's been looking for a church to go to for a while and knows she needs to go but has been holding it off. That's just what we like to hear and we have what she's looking for! We pray that she will continue to learn and prepare herself for baptism. :)

So Nancy and Braden came to church this week! YAY! They come up with 1 million exuses why they can't come normally but this Sunday they surprised us and came! Braden, who is 11, said he was on that morning and was chatting with the missionaries on the website and they suggested that he should go to church that day. (I love teamwork among missionaries!!) So Braden told his grandma that they should go to church because the missionaries online told him to. haha! I thought that was hilarious but so awesome! They showed up an hour and a half late but I'm glad they came. (That would be so cool if Braden was talking to some of the sister missionaries at the Mormon Trail Center.)

Want to hear something really funny/ potentially embarasssing??
So yesterday (preparation day) we did our laundry and shopping and then went to play volleyball at the church with some other missionaries. Before we went to the churrch to meet up with them we dropped off our laundry at our apartment- bad idea! So we get to the church and me and Sister Ashby are changing into our sport clothes and I realize I forgot my sweatpants with the rest of my laundry, that was now at the apartment! At first I thought I was dreaming... this couldn't really happen to me! But unfortunately I was not dreaming and the harsh reality was that I didn't have sweatpants to wear to play. But of course that didn't stop me, I played volleyball in my skirt, normal sport shirt, and tennis shoes! hahaha! (I had leggings under my skirt so it wasn't a big deal) It was the most hideous and ridiculous looking thing I have ever worn in my life. Me and SIster Ashby were cracking up laughing in the bathroom at my outfit. I even had tears in my eyes because it was so funny. The elders got a good laugh in and said I looked Omish. lol! Luckily I was able to pull it off and make it funny and not awkward. By the end of our volleyball game they all wish they had skirts on as well. Let's just say my team won and I was still better than pretty much everyone. I'm not trying to brag or anything. This is a more musical group compared to athletic. There was only 6 of us there so it wasn't like I had to face a whole group of people. It was so funny though.

Overall life is great and we are happily working and finding people to teach! I love you all!
-Sister Jones