Monday, April 9, 2012

Week 34

April 9, 2012

Hi family!
Happy Easter!! Hope you all had a wonderful Easter sabbath day and were able to think about the Savior and all that He has done for us!
Wow, another completely miracle filled week!! We are being soo blessed right now!
I know you are all curious about the craziness that has been going on with my eyes so I'll give you the update on that first then I'll go into the better details of the week. I went back to the eye doctor on Friday. The doctor I have been going to is an opthamologist. This last check-up my eye vision wasn't any better so she ran a few more tests. The most important test was the corneal topography where they found out that I have a "steep cornea" in my right eye. The doctor also said that I have stage 1 of keratoconus in my right eye. Meaning I have irregular thinning of the lower cornea. I just have a little bit in my left eye, but both are pretty blurry. I'm getting used to not being able to see a ton from further distances. Mostly everything is slightly blurry though. She said it could be treated with gas permeable (hard) contacts. Right now I'm waiting for the office to send in my test results to the overall mission doctor so that he can take a look at it and determine if I need to go to a cornea specialist. They also said that my eyes are really dry and not producing many tears so when I blink the liquid quickly evaporates. She said there are different variables taking place in my eyes so its hard to determine exactly what is going on. And there you have it! That's as much as I know about what's going on with my eyes. This whole transfer I have been wearing my glasses and seeing everything with a blur. Good times!
 BUT I think because if this and also many other factors... (like faith, hard work, obedience, and many prayers) we are seeing so many miracles!!! Heavenly Father is literally dropping people right in our arms to teach!!! :)
Here's a summary of a few different experiences we've had this week:
  • Matt & Amy- a cute, younger couple who we tracted into a few weeks ago. We stopped by their place with a member earlier this week and Matt immediately let us in to teach them. We were able to get to know them better and really just teach to his needs. He has been looking for a church to go to and when we asked what he was looking for he basically described the LDS church. We were able to share the restoration of the gospel with him and he was soaking it up and participating a lot when we asked questions. The wife was there but mostly playing with the baby to avoid having to participate. haha! Something I have really come to know the past couple weeks is that there is POWER in Joseph Smith's experience with seeing Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in the grove of trees when they answered his prayer. Every time we share his experience in his own words with the people we are teaching they always feel the Spirit. Matt said he felt really warm and calm as we shared Joseph's experience. He thanked us so much for coming to see him and his family and said he really needed that because he was flying out the next morning to see his dad before he passed away. Matt said he needed to feel peace and God's love. He was grateful for God's timing in sending us. (and so were we! What a blessing!) Him and his wife are now set to be baptized on May 29th. I feel like they have a lot of potential and really desire to come closer to God because they haven't been really religious.
  • Ayn (pronounced Ann) She is AMAZING!!!!!!!! This is who I'm talking about when I mentioned Heavenly Father is literally putting people right in our arms to teach. Wednesday night we got a call from the bishop of our ward saying Ayn came to the building and said she wanted to meet with the missionaries, take the lessons, and be baptized. I was the one on the phone talking to him and I think there was a moment of silence after he said that because I was in shock! Then I was just super happy and excited of course! We were able to meet Ayn the next day!! She is incredible and soooo prepared! She is Jewish, born and raised. Her boyfriend is Mormon but isn't too active. She became interested and read the Book of Mormon in 9 days and has read Mormonism for Dummies. She loves both books! haha!! Ayn is ridiculously smart... she got a perfect score in the SAT in high school. She is in her early 30's, very cute, HILARIOUS, loud, outgoing, and very humble. You wouldn't be able to guess she was a genius because she is really laid back. She is a pro at the Old Testament. And who knew there were so many similarities between the Jewish faith and the LDS faith! (besides the the belief in Christ.) They hold a lot of the same beliefs and practices. Me and Sister Robertson feel very blessed to have the opportunity to teach her and get to know her. She is such a great person and really desires to follow God in any way. She came to church on Sunday for the 1st time and loved it. She got along with everyone and is the type to be able to talk to anybody and have them laughing in a heart beat. I love her so much!! We had a 2 lessons with her this week and last night (Sunday) her and her bf came to the trail center to watch the Testaments movie. We just happened to be there when they randomly showed up!
  • Guess what?!! Courtlyne was baptized on Thursday!! YAY!!!!!!!! She sent me a letter saying how happy she was and what a great service it was. She said she really wished I could've been there but understand why I couldn't have been. She said she was really grateful that I could play a big role in her conversion. I am so grateful for this experience in being able to teach Courtlyne, even if I wasn't there for her baptism. I was able to be there for her during all of her ups and downs and we shared some really special and sacred experiences together. I feel honored to have been able to been apart of that.
  • I had exchanges on Thursday where I was able to go to another area for a day with 2 other sisters. So for the day I got to see what it was like to be apart of a trio (3 sisters together). Honestly, it felt pretty weird. haha! We would be street contacting people and talking to whoever we saw and it felt odd to have, what felt like, a mob of us sisters go to talk to someone. It was hilarious! It was also really cool during lessons though because we were all able to bounce around different ideas and you have different perspectives. Overall it was a good day!
  • Easter was great! I loved being able to totally focus on the Savior. It was a very special Easter in that regard. We had a great church service and then afterwards we spend the rest of the evening at the Trail Center. We had the "on call" shift, where we are at call center, calling our referrals. But we also got to give a tour because a less-active young man from our ward that we tracted into and found a few weeks ago came! That was an awesome tour that both me and Sister Robertson got to take together. He moved from UT about 6 months ago and hasn't been to church the whole time but came yesterday after we invited him! Yay! That was really exciting! :)
I hope you all are doing great!! Sounds like life is going well and keeping you all busy! Time is flying by here in Nebraska! It's already very green here and the weather has been super nice! No complaints! Thanks for all of your prayers and support. I love you all!
-Sister Jones

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Pictures of Sister Jones!

Sister Jones has taken a ton of awesome pictures while she has been on her mission.  Here is just a quick preview of all the fun she is having while serving the Lord!  She loves her mission, all the people she has been able to meet and teach, and seeing miracles in the lives around her each day! If you read some of her more recent letters, she has been having a lot of problems with her eyes and has been through a series of instant care and a couple eye doctors.  Keep her in your prayers! She is an amazing missionary! 
267 days until she is home! IT HAS FLOWN! 

Working out with some Sister's in their freshly dyed shirts! 


Their rings made of nails.  I'm pretty sure they are from Winter Quarter's back in the day. :) 

Pumpkin carving! 

Sister Ashby in Grand Island, NE

Fun with Sister Ashby! 

Super windy in NE! 

Cold much? Haha! 

Merry Christmas :) 

Sister Jones and her bike! 

Keeping warm in Grand Island! 

Jenn always finds a way to use the timer on her camera! 

Sister Jones' 22nd on Valentine's Day! 

Some good ping pong! I'm sure Sister Jones showed them up ;)

Birthday letters! 

Week 33

April 3, 2012

Hola familia!

This has been such a great week!
Just to follow up on some questions you have had... my eyes are still not better. My left eye is doing pretty good and my right eye is very blurry still. BUT I am still able to work and act like I can still see everything and everyone. When I went to the eye doctor she said I still have the open sores on my cornea and to keep using the eye drops and they should get better. Well they got worse after that appointment so I called the other day to make a closer appointment. She said that it may take a while to heal but we moved up the appointment to Friday. I may go somewhere else soon because I'm not sure if she knows what it really is and doesn't seem too confident with how to treat it. So we'll see how it works out. Luckily it's not hindering the work anymore and I'm getting use to having blurry vision. haha!

Exciting news!
-I recently found out the other day that Courtlyne, from Grand Island who was supposed to be baptized when I was there, is back on track to be baptized THIS Thursday! OH HAPPY DAY!! I started tearing up when I got a text from the GI sisters telling me about the news. How exciting! That is definitely a reassurance that God hears and answers prayers. The night she dropped us I prayed and asked Heavenly Father what we could do or what the next step was and I had a clearly clear impression that she would still be baptized, just in His time and not mine. That answer brought so much peace to me that night. I'm sad that I can't be there but am so happy that she is getting baptized! What a blessing!
-The woman, Amanda, who I mentioned last week who is agnostic said that she felt like God answered her prayers this week! This is HUGE!! She really didn't believe that God was there but there was a big/ sad event that took place in her life this week and she handled it so well and said that although it was really difficult it was an answer to her prayers and will help her in the long run. It's too personal to share but it had to do with her bf who she is now broken up with. That was a big step and I'm excited to see how she continues to progress.
-On Saturday we had trail center training in the morning where all of the sisters and senior couples meet for a training. Gabi, the girl who me and Sister Hawkes taught and then was baptized from my 1st area, shared her conversion story for everybody! It was the best feeling ever to see how her testimony has grown over the past few months and know that I was able to play a part in her conversion! It was incredible!! She is the cutest, nicest and most driven person ever! :)
-General Conference this past weekend was AMAZING!!! I LOVED IT SO MUCH!!! If you haven't been able to watch it yet you should definitely do that... right now! :)
My favorite talks:
1) Richard G. Scott's talk on revelation.
2) Ronald A. Rasband's talk on struggles.
3) Neil L. Anderson's talk on being an example of Christ.
4) David F. Evans on missionary work and following the Holy Ghost.
5) Dallin H. Oaks on sacrifice.
6) the talk on being converted to the gospel vs. being converted to the church. I thought that was a great talk but can't remember who gave it.
-Here are some of the themes I saw: Live the Doctrine of Christ, Sacrifice, Strengthen the Priesthood, Families are Eternal, Rescue the Less-Active and Downtrodden, and Strengthen Members through Prayer, Scripture Study, and Service.

Yesterday we saw so many miracles! Met two very prepared people!!! One is Shylynne and she let us right in to teach her as we were tracting. We shared the whole message of the restoration of the gospel. When I shared Joseph Smith's story in his own works she was silent for a moment and said, "wow, that gave me goosebumps." We asked her where she thinks that feeling comes from and she said, "Christ." We were able to then testify of the Spirit. She is so great and she's excited to read the Book of Mormon. She also wants to work towards being baptized on May 19th. Just another reassurance that God is very aware of the work we do and is placing being who are receptive and open in our path.

I love you all! Have a great day!
SIster Jones

Week 32

March 26, 2012

Hi everyone!!
This week has been so much better than the past two weeks. The past couple weeks have been kind of odd with the transfers and my crazy eye problems. But this week things have come together... my eyes are better, we were able to teach lots of people/ investigators , and had great experiences at the Trail Center!
So last week I told you I wrote a funny poem about what went on with my eyes and I brought it to the library with me... ready for this? Here we go! (keep in mind I am not a poet, at all. Please don't judge and be sure to read with enthusiasm and a smile on your face.)
These few days as a blind have been no fun
I've been vanished to a bed and lay like a bum
With red fiery eyes and a stinging sensation
That led to one very negative correlation
The first verdict was allergy season
Then come to find they were only teasin'.
The whole sabbath day my eyes were sealed tight
because they were so sensitive to the daylight.
My dearest companion, Sister Robertson was there
Who stayed by my side and gave me great care.
The sacrament and a blessing I did receive
With Brother Bucksbee's blessing I felt more relieved
Then I went like a bat to dwell in its cave
To take a nap in the dark so my eyes would behave.
My eyes only opened for several seconds at a time
Oh how life before this problem seemed so divine.
Back to urgent care, 8am Monday morning
What they came up with this time wasn't so flooring.
"you have pink eye!" the doctor assuredly said
Not surprised, I smiled and nodded my head.
We walked over to Walgreens to get my prescription
Hoping these new eye drops will help my condition.
Then off to the Trail Center, to the sick room I went
With lots of time to sleep and write a poem to vent
Such great times my highly contagious disease and I have had
But once it's gone I will be oh so glad!
The message of the gospel I will once again share
With reassurance Heavenly Father loves me and truly does care.
The was the 1st part of the poem that I wrote before I went to the eye doctor because my vision wasn't getting any better. I went to the eye doctor on Friday and here's the 2nd part of the poem that I threw together today.
A couple days later I did come to find
It wasn't allergies or pink eye that made me so blind.
With the red in my eyes faded and vision still blurry
I made an appointment with the eye doctor in a hurry.
The doctor tested my eyes and looked through the scope
and explained to me that there was still hope!
With open sores on both corneas and them swollen as well,
Why I was pained and blinded we could now tell.
I left with some eye drops to use every day
They were goopy and thick, many prayers I did say.
I have proof that God hears me because I can see
What a visionary missionary I will now be!
There you have it! That is the poem that sums up my weird eye experience. So basically the eye doctor said that I have open sores on both cornea in both eyes and that it could've been caused by irritation from my contacts or from an allergic reaction to my contact solution. I have a follow up appointment with the eye doctor today so hopefully everything is all better! Up until yesterday my vision was still really blurry so that was what made me believe it wasn't really pink eye.
We have quite a bit of investigators in Plattsmouth! A few of them have very little faith in God so it's really interesting to hear how they are working to have a belief that He is really there. I am constantly praying that they will pray and receive/ recognize answers from God. I have so much confidence that as they practice their faith they can gain experiences to know that God loves them. We are teaching a woman named Amanda and we set her for baptism! She has a lot of work but she said as God answers her prayers she will work towards being baptized.
I love working at the Trail Center again. The hardest adjustment is not having much time to work in our area now. But I have met so many great people already by taking them on tour. I love it! I met a great couple the other day who are not members but by the end of the tour they said they would like a Book of Mormon to read from. Pretty exciting! They really appreciated me taking them on tour and asked if they could take my picture. haha! So they made me pose in front of the wagon with the oxen. Too funny!
The Plattsmouth ward is really nice! I'm excited to get to know them! It's small but still bigger than Grand Island!
Also, the weather has been AMAZING! it has been in the 70's and I love it!
Well i have to go now! I love you all!
Sister Jones

Week 31

March 20, 2012

Hi family!!
So far I am loving Plattsmouth and Sister Robertson! She is super nice! She is from New Mexico, has red hair, blue eyes, is the most loving person ever, very pretty, and is a great and dedicated missionary! We are going to have such a great time together and are going to see so many miracles! She is one transfer ahead of me so she gets to drive. (sad!) It's so nice because we are both willing to work hard and totally dedicate ourselves to the work! I am also back working at the Mormon Trail Center. It was fun going back there and seeing all of the sisters. I got swamped with lots of hugs and "Oh my goodness! We have missed you so much!! We're so glad you're back from the middle of nowhere! We love you!!!" I heard that a lot on Friday and Saturday. I definitely got my fair share of attention the first few days of being back in the Omaha area. haha!
On Friday we served at the Trail Center all day long. In the morning I went around the gallery to familiarize myself with everything. As I walked around I remembered how much I had forgot over the past 4 months of being gone. So I did another lap of the gallery and took notes of dates and places the pioneers went. Then shortly after I was giving tours again! Luckily a lot of the into and facts came back to me... I give all the credit to the Spirit bringing it back to my remembrance. What a blessing! It was fun giving tours again but it did feel kind of weird. Especially when we were waiting for people to come in and there was time to read scriptures. I felt so strange because you don't have that kind of time when you are full-proselyting. You are always on the go and out teaching people. So that was kind of odd and something I'll have to get used to. But it will start getting really busy soon so there won't be any time to sit down.
Starting on Thursday my eyes have been freaking out! At first they were really red and I thought it was just allergies. Then on Saturday morning they were stinging pretty bad and were really sensitive to light. Later on that afternoon we went to the urgent care and they also said it was allergies and prescribed me some allergy eye drops. So I take those and struggle through some lessons we had throughout the night. During our lessons I was just praying that my eyes would stay open. They kept closing because they were hurting from the light. It was bad. People probably thought I was on drugs because my eyes wouldn't open all the way and they were red/ pink. Well then I woke up on Sunday and I couldn't even open my eyes for more than two seconds at a time. They were watering a lot and stung pretty bad. I kept at the allergy drops and they didn't do anything. We had to miss church and I was bed ridden all day long. It has been the worst my eyes have ever been. Sister Robertson was so good to me and got me food and made sure I was ok throughout the day. We live in a member's home- the Bucksbee's. Brother Bucksbee gave me a priesthood blessing which was really nice and also him and another member gave us the sacrament. That was a really neat experience! I felt so dumb though because I couldn't barely keep my eyes open and I was trying to talk to them and thank them for everything. Overall it was just a not fun experience to feel helpless and not be able to do anything and be blind. So on Monday morning we went to the urgent care again and this time they said I have pink eye! Oh joy! So we got drops for that and headed to the trail center because I still couldn't keep my eyes open very long and my vision was blurry, even with my glasses. So all day Monday I had to lay in the sick room they have in the basement of the trail center. I slept for a few hours, wrote a funny poem about this whole experience (i was going to bring it to send to you but I forgot it at home- sorry!), and tried reading but my eyesight was too bad, and sat bored and went through scriptures I have memorized. Being sick/ handicapped as a missionary is a bore and really annoying. I would much rather be productive and be able to meet the people in the new area I'm in... but instead I'm stuck laying in bed blinded with pink eye.
No worries, I'm getting better though. The drops have been helping quite a bit. I can actually keep my eyes open today! Yay!! My vision is still blurred, which is really weird to me, and my eyes are still pretty sensitive to the light. If it isn't better by the end of tomorrow they said I should go to an eye doctor. I really hope I don't have to go to that extreme. So this eye experience has basically dominated my whole time I've been back to the Omaha area. I can't wait to actually get to know all of our investigators and the members that are in Plattsmouth.
Oh yeah, so last Wednesday right before I was transferred we got to meet with Courtlyne. That was really nice. Right when we walked in she said in her cute Tennessee accent, "let's take some pictures before I start bawling about you leaving!" After taking some pictures we talked for a little bit about what happened the previous week and she said she just got really nervous and needs to work a few things out with herself. She sounded like she's going to continue coming to church and keep learning from the missionaries. At one point she was crying hysterically about me leaving. It was really sad. She said she called her boyfriend and the Butlers before we came over to have them pray that she could hold herself together during out meeting. She said some really nice and touching things to me. Something she said that stood out was something like this, "You are an angel. You have no idea how many lives and hearts you have touched while you've been here in Grand Island. I was talking to the Butlers (bishop and his wife) and they are so sad you are leaving- and they are used to missionaries coming in and out of their lives. So many people love you here and we don't want to see you leave. Just know you have left an imprint on our hearts." She is a sweetie and I am going to miss her. I didn't feel that sad because I know that I will keep in touch with her and continue to be her friend. She is a very special woman and Heavenly Father has big things in store for her.
Well that about sums up my week! Also, I'm back to the crazy p-day schedule where it switches back and forth between Monday and Tuesday. So next week my preparation day will be on Monday. I hope you are all doing great!!! I love you and hope to hear from you soon! Even with this annoying pink eye I am still happy and ready to get back to work! Pray for my eyes to start functioning normal! :) Thanks!
Love always,
Sister Jones

Week 30

March 14, 2012

Hi family!
Wow, it feels like forever since I have written to you all. Transfers just throw things off a little bit.
Well first of all, we got transfer calls this afternoon and guess what... I am getting transfered back to Omaha. The area is called Plattsmouth. I'm not sure if that is an actual city or if it's just the name of the area I will be in. My companion will be Sister Robertson. She is really nice and I've actually have been on two exchanges with her in the past, so that's exciting! I have really mixed feelings about this transfer though. I really don't want to leave Grand Island. I feel like it's now my home away from home and I've met so many great people and friends that I don't want to leave. It's also hard because I feel like I've put so much time, engery, work, and faith into this area and it's really hard to just pick up and leave. On the plus side, I have been able to see this area grow a lot and have been able to see so many miracles take place here. While I've been here I've seen more trust and support come from the ward, lots of records to help out the missionaries in the future that come to this area, and some good investigators to work with! So I feel good with leaving because I know I've made a positive impact in this area. (I'm saying this in the most humble way I can.)
Oh man, so Courtlyne... she didn't get baptized this Saturday as planned. Let me tell you this sad story...
Courtlyne came to church on the Sunday the week before her baptism and was all set, ready, and excited! We met with her on Tuesday around noon for lunch with her and a member then went over the interview questions with her so she would feel ready for her interview with the district leader later on that night at 6. We went through the questions she answered them all great and she didn't have any questions or concerns. Fast forward to 6:01 pm.... Me and Sister DuBois are at the church waiting for Courtlyne and the district leader. We then recieve a text from Courtlyne. Here is what she said,
"Girls: This is difficult for me. Believe me, I know it will be hurtful. At 4:40 today I met with a pstor. He was raised Mormon. He told me many beliefs I hadn't been made privy to. I have decided not to go fwd with the membership. It is best if we end all contact at this time. I do love you, Sister Jones. and you too, Sister DuBois. I will never forget you and always will pray for you. Courtylne."
As you could guess that left us speachless with tears whelled up in our eyes. Unfortunately this wasn't a joke or a crazy passed down missionary story. And of course you always think, that couldn't possibly ever happen to ME or to MY investigator... then Heavenly Father reminds you, through an experience like this, that Satan is real and that people have their own agency.
So then the district leader came in and we had to explain what just barely happened to him and the elders helped us formulate a text back. I really don't like that this had to all be done through text because she can't call on her phone. I wish she couldn't told us in person so we could've resolved her concerns. So we decided that we should go to her house later on that night and see if she'll talk to us about what happened... We went to her place, knocked on the door, and then she walked up to her door, looked through the window that's on it, and just walked away. Ouch! I still love her but that wasn't the nicest or most mature thing someone has ever done.
Although we had to cancell her baptsim, there is a plus side to this story! She isn't talking to us at the moment BUT she did let Sister Butler, the Bishop's wife who she loves and became friends with, talk to her a few days ago. They had a good convo and basically Courtlyne was just shook up and had a lot of negative comments from her friends and the pastor. It seems like Courtlyne is still open to the gospel just needs some more time. From this experience it just reminded me that Satan is real and that he really is working with people so that they don't make good decisions and won't be happy. This was a really sad experience this week but I have faith she will get back on board and eventually be baptized. She is an amazing and faithful woman.
I text her telling her I'm leaving and asked if it would  be ok if we stopped by tonight to say good-bye. She said that would be ok and that she'll cancell the plans that she had. YAY!!! Oh happy day!!!! :)
The rest of the week we've been doing lots of tracting and finding new investigators! Fun times!
Well, I have to get going now! I have LOTS of packing to do today! Oh gosh, i have no idea how I'm going to fit everthing back into my suitcases. Hope you are all doing well! I love you all!
 Sister Jones

Week 29

March 5, 2012

Hello wonderful family of mine!
How is everybody doing today? Hope you are all happy and healthy! :)
Here are some of the updates from Grand Island, Nebraska!
Last week for preparation day we got to play ping pong with the four Grand Island elders! It was so much fun! And guess what?! I beat everybody! haha! (Only one person was actually a little bit of a competition. So there's no room to brag or anything.) I loved it though and we had a good time.
Courtlyne is doing AMAZING!!! She is all set to be baptized this Saturday! YAY!!! She was even sick this Sunday and she still came because she didn't want to have to move her baptism day. That's what I call dedicated! Other people have a tiny sniffle and they call us saying, "Oh man! I'm sick... guess I can't come to church today!" (something to that effect at least.)
This week we taught Courtlyne the commandments like the Word of Wisdom, Law of Chastity, and Tithing. She already knew about them so basically we just had to go over them and make sure she was willing to live them. She's already living all of them so she is set! When she first learned about the word of wisdom and that we don't drink coffee she had a hard time with it but then she went to the doctor and the doctor told her she can't have coffee anymore and then Courtlyne asked her with a straight face, "Are you Mormon??" The doctor tried to hold back her laughter and said, "No, I'm not. Why?" Then Courtlyne said, "because the Mormons told me not to drink coffee too!" Then Courtlyne told her it was a joke and that she can laugh. So she took that as one of the signs that she really should stop drinking coffee and that this is what God wants for her.
Every missionary needs at least one really awkward/ funny experience while teaching the Law of Chastity.... and we definitely got ours this past week! I debated whether I should even write about this, but then I decided that you may as well know what us a missionaries get to experience and that not everything is all peaches and cream. (if that makes any sense.)
Well here I go! I'm just going to quote my journal for this one...
"Tonight we had an awesome and hilarious meeting with Courtlyne. Brother Loveday was there as a team-up. We taught her about the World of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity. [talked about WofW- skipping to LofC] Oh gosh... then comes Law of Chastity. Right as we are about to start teaching this ever so wonderful commandment the lesson was haulted as we heard sammy (lab/ mut of some sort) growling at Chicco (part Chihuahua/ terrior mix- small dog) as Chicco was expressing his unfixed love to Sammy. Courtlyne was embarrassed by Chicco's unchaste behavior and separates him from Sammy by bringing him back to the table and holding him on her lap, with him standing on his hind legs and his thingie pointing straight out at me, Sister Dubois, and Brother Loveday. I have two words to describe this site: sick and disgusting!! Let's just say I've only been around animals that were fixed. She was oblivious to what we had to see because he was pointed away from her. I couldn't help but laugh inside my head about the irony of this situation. Even with feeling like us 3 were being held at gun point by Chicco, we continued on with the lesson and taught the Law of Chastity. Then when we were about to finish up her boyfriend decided to randomly stop by! haha! She was so embarrassed when he walked in and the Law of Chastity pamphlet was just laying there smack dab in the middle of the table. Her face was bright red. She really didn't have anyting  to be embarrassed about because they are both good Christian people already being chaste but it was just sooo funny. We had never met him before so we were excited to finally get to meet him. I couldn't stop smiling the whole time because I could tell she was just in shock still. So great! I just love being a missionary!"  
That's just a sneak-peak from that lesson. It was hilarious! The other lessons are a lot more normal and mellow. She has so many great stories about how God is helping her to make this decision to be baptized. Her boyfriend is being a big support too. They are just cute because they both love reading the scriptures and praying together. He is born again Christian.
We have done a lot of tracting this week! We found an awesome family who became new investigators. They are Catholic but not too active in their faith. The kids were so nice and very well behaved. We knocked on their door and the mom let us come right in and share a message. After talking a little bit and getting to know them the lesson flowed into talking about Christ and the atonement. We left them a Book of Mormon and they said they would read the intro! We have a lesson set up for next week!
Angel is still struggling with coming to church. This week she had mucus coming out of her eye... really?! How does that even happen. haha! They are having lots of trials popping up when it comes to getting their family to church. So we'll keep praying for her that she will get better and come to church so she can get baptized on April 7th.
It has been especially windy lately. It's getting warmer though. With the wind has come a fun cough! As a missionary it's not fun having a noticeable sickness- like a cough because it's distracting. I find myself trying to hold my breath during lessons just so i don't interrupt. lol! But it's not too bad and it's getting better, no worries!
Next week is transfers so p-day is on Wednesday! talk to you then!
love you all!
Sister Jones

Week 28

February 27, 2012

Here are the highlights/ my thoughts from this week:
  • Walking all day in the wind is kind of hard because people don't tend to want to talk to missionaries when it's really cold.
  • One of our investigators, Christina, who is married to a member is very, very pregnant and should be having her baby any time now. She always looks so miserable anytime we go visit her... Seeing the poor girl makes me not very excited to have kids some day! haha! But on the plus side, she still is reading her scriptures and praying! :)
  • We do service for an older woman Sister McMillon each week. She is a major pack-rat so it's hilarious trying to help her sort through things and get rid of stuff. She used to collect fun hat and has a ton so I started the traditional hat picture every time we go over to give service. I'll send some pictures home soon!
  • Courtlyne is doing great and came to church this week! Tonight we are all going over to Bishop's house for dinner and family home evening all together! I"m excited! She is still set and ready to be baptized on March 10th! Yay!! She is one of the most faithful and amazing people I've met! Hopefully you will all get to meet her someday.
  • The Spanish elders had a baptism on Saturday and asked us to come so Sister DuBois could play the piano. So we went and everything was in Spanish so i thought i was off the hook to have to do any impromptu speaking or anything like that. But Elder Meza said the opening remarks and said the hymns # and all that and then nodds at me to lead the music. I of course look at him confused then glance all around me to make sure he was in fact nodding at ME to conduct the music in SPANISH. Then I even pointed at myself to double check and he just smiles and nods again. LOL! So I quickly get up make sure I'm on the right hymn page and lead the music attempting to sing in Spanish. Good times! Elder Meza was smiling/ laughing throughout the opening and closing song because he knew I couldn't/ wouldn't be mad but that it would be uncomfortable. It was pretty funny though. They said I did a good job and that I looked like I knew what i was doing/ saying. I even when I lost where I was at on the page i just kept smiling and waving my arm to the beat. (The arm was doing good- the spanish not so much.) That was a memorable experience!
  • I ended my 40 day fast this week! Now I can eat chocolate and listen to music other than hymns. The 40 day fast was a great experience and I saw lots of blessings come from it. I'll talk about that next week!
I'm out of time! I"ll talk to you all later! Adios!!
Sister Jones

Week 27

February 20, 2012

Happy Presidents Day!!
Thank you all for the birthday wishes this week! It was a great and memorable birthday! Not only did I receive lots of lovin' from family and friends from back home, but I also did from ward members and other missionaries. We had our Kearney zone conference on my b-day and it was great! President Kunz made it a point to mention it was my b-day as much as he could! haha! I think he was purposefully trying to embarrass me. Right when him and Sister Kunz pulled into the parking lot he rolled down the window and yelled, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY SISTER JONES!!!" and then in the meeting he mentioned it by saying, "and now the birthday girl, Sister Jones, will offer the prayer!" He had a fun time with that. lol. So because of that lots of the other missionaries said happy birthday. The elders in my district made a card for me and that was nice! It's so funny being surrounded by a ton of elders (boys) at big meetings like that. Me and Sister DuBois are the only sisters there. Even without it being my birthday there is already enough attention on us. lol! It was fun though! We talked a lot about the atonement of Christ and having more meaningful and revelatory personal prayers.
Courtlyne is progressing really well! She came to church this week and has been reading from the Book of Mormon. She has decided that the Book of Mormon is true and doesn't have any doubts. She also believes Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. Overall she is doing great and just needs to continue coming to church and she'll be all set to be baptized on the 10th of March. Angel and Lisa's baptism dates had to be moved because they didn't come to church. Sad! Lisa was sick and Angel's grandma was in the ER. Hopefully they can get past those trials and com to church next week.
We got another baptismal set this week! His name is Bobby and he's really nice. He is living in an assisted living place right now because he just got surgery on his foot. He really wants to learn more about God and Jesus Christ. Bobby called the church and asked for a Book of Mormon, so the next day we showed up and gave him a Book of Mormon! It's going to be hard to get him to church but we'll see what we can do to help him.
So remember the guy Colt that me and Sister Ashby randomly met at the gas station who said he was mormon and then showed up to church the next day because we invited him? Hopefully I told you about him last month. Well, he has been coming to church faithfully ever since! Pretty cool! He is in his 20's and said he hadn't been to church since he was 12 or so. He is doing great and even came teaching with us earlier this week! Doesn't get much better that that. I love watching people take steps to change their lives around and watch their faith grow!
We have a new investigator named Virginia who is super nice but doesn't speak very good English. We offered to have the spanish missionaries come teach her but she said no. haha, I guess she likes us and wants to learn in English. So that should be interesting since she isn't totally fluent but it will help us be better at teaching simply. After the first time meeting with us she gave us wonderful homemade Mexican food! Sooo good! (That doesn't happen very often.) Then when we left her house I had my first fall of the winter!!! HILARIOUS MOMENT!! I took a step on her stairs and didn't notice a layer of clear ice covering it and totally biffed it down all 4 stairs. hahaha! Definitely a Kodak moment. I started laughing so hard and bounced up really quickly. Luckily my backpack took most of the fall and I landed in a crab position. Sister DuBois and Virginia were all worried, especially Virginia. I couldn't stop laughing. But no worries, I didn't get hurt... i just scratched my hands a little and a small bruise on my leg. I have done so well this whole winter without falling though and I finally broke that streak. It was really funny though slipping down a case of stairs, in what felt like slow motion. :)
Last night me and SIster DuBois got to go to Kearney for a stake youth fireside! President and Sister Kunz picked us up in Grand Island and we drove with them there. They asked me to speak for about 5 minutes about what my mission means to me and then they talked the rest of the time about being missionaries. That was a lot of fun because there were about 150 kids there ranging from 12-17. I was honored to be able to talk about how much I love being a missionary and what a difference it has and will continue to make in my life. That was a memorable and great experience! I loved being able to represent the girls as a sister missionary!
Well my time is up now! Hope you are all doing wonderfully!!!
Sister Jones

Week 26

February 13, 2012

Thank you everyone for the birthday emails and for updating me on life! I love hearing about how everyone is doing!
Well, this week was AMAZING! Oh my goodness! We set three different people for baptism! It was incredible and Heavenly Father is preparing people. I'll explain a little about each one of them...
  • Lisa- We tracted into her last week and came back this week to share a lesson with her. We taught her the restoration of the church, which is normally the 1st lesson we teach people (unless the Spirit directs otherwise). The restoration includes God's love, prophets, Christ, the Apostacy, Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and praying to know if it's true. That's the general flow of the lesson. But she was really accepting of everything we taught her and really wants to start coming to church. She has had a lot of struggles in life and finds hope through the message that we share about Christ.
  • Courtlyne- She is the wonderful lady who gives us food from Salvation Army. She was a former investigator but stopped learning before I came into Grand Island because she had a hold up about the trinity and us not believing they are all one. Well, we had an incredible lesson with her reading 3 Nephi 11, when Christ comes to the Americas after He was resurrected. In one of the versus in that chapter it talks about how God and Christ are one so that brought up her concern and we were able to discuss it with her. As we talked about how God, Christ, and the Spirit are three separate beings but all one in purpose, her heart softened towards the subject and a switch turned (thanks to the Spirit) and she said, "That makes a lot of sense. I guess I can be Mormon!" She said she's been having a lot of experiences recently where she feels this is the path she needs to take. Many people at her work have asked her, "You act like a Mormon, you look like a Mormon, so why aren't you Mormon?" haha! She's funny and sarcastically says, "what's that supposed to mean?" But she said it's a compliment to her because of how Mormons live and the examples that they are. She said she's been around Mormons her whole life and she's just been skirting around them. She is SOOO prepared and ready to make this step of faith. I feel like I have learned so much from her about having pure faith and a love for Christ. A singer named Alex Boye also helped her come to the realization that she wants to be baptized. She was watching his documentary on the BYU station and she said it really touched her. She said, "He loves Jesus as much as I do and with the same enthusiasm! I know we could get along because he loves, loves, loves Jesus too!" She is so cute! I am soo excited for her and she is set to be baptized on March 10th.
  • Angel- She is 13 and her parents are less-active members but are starting to come back to church. Yay! Angel wants to be baptized now and she is also set to be baptized on March 10th.
So basically things are going really well in Grand Island! We have 5 people set for baptism all together and most of them are progressing towards that date. Yay!! I love missionary work! If you can, keep these people in your prayers. Especially Cortlyne and Angel. They both need to be healthy and come to church the next 3 weeks or else they won't be able to get baptized on their dates.
This week was pretty cold! It was around 16 as the high for some of the days and today it snowed. I don't mind when it snows because it's warmer. The cold doesn't really bother me... but it is awful when it's windy, no matter what the temp is. With all my layers I hardly notice the cold temp though! It's great! :)
Me and Sister DuBois are getting along really well. Once I figured out her personality I was able to just be patient with anything that might have annoyed me from the get go. I believe you can love anybody once you get to know them. Of course, some are easier to love than others but I have been lucky to be companions with people who want to work and serve the Lord. When we were out walking in the cold all day on Wed and Thurs we would make up missionary works to random song tunes. It was all snowy out and white and we made up fun missionary lyrics to "walking in a winter wonderland." Fun times!
This week in church we had 8 different people there who normally don't come! I get so happy when I see people coming to church after we've been working with them! I wrote down their names on a heart sticky note! I love it!
Well that about sums up our week! It has been awesome!
Tomorrow for Valentines Day we have zone conference! So we get to drive to Lincoln and be there most of the day! I love Zone Conferences so that is the best way I could imagine to spend my birthday! It will be fun because we get to be with a ton of other missionaries and also the mission president and his wife! I'm excited!
I love you all soo much! Thank you for your examples and love! I have the best family and friends ever!
Have a wonderful Valentines Day!!!
Sister Jones

Week 25

February 6, 2012

Hi family!
Life in Grand Island is.... GRAND!
As I explained last week, Sister Ashby is now in Omaha and now Sister DuBois is my new companion. She is nice and is from Phoenix, AZ! She only lives about 15 minutes from home in Peoria! Pretty crazy! She went to school up at BYU-I for 2 years and was studying Wild Life Ecology. She loves animals and Harry Potter! She has a fun sense of humor and laughs at my jokes... so I think we will get along just fine! She also is willing to work hard and has a strong testimony of the gospel.
So once again I love trailor parks! We went back to the same trailor park as a few weeks ago where I first developed my love for them. As we were walking to go check up on somebody I went to talk to a woman, Sonia, who was outside her home. We had a really great conversation with her and we were all just testifying of God's love and how He can get us through any trial. It was awesome because she has such a strong faith! We starting talking about the Book of Mormon and then she brings up how she just recently was given one by her mom and started reading it! (What a miracle! That doesn't happen every day!) So she said she would love for us to come and visit her. It sounded like her mom had been given a BofM but gave it to Sonia. She seems to have a lot of potential and just wants to follow Heavenly Father. She is so nice and I already love her!
Yesterday Michele, our recent convert, came teaching with us! We took her to see a less-active man who wants to start coming back to church. She did such a great job and was able to talk about how much the sacrament means to her. She was even asking him questions like, "Do you have the priesthood? - Oh wow, that is so special! How neat! You should definitely come back to church." She was soo cute!! Then when we went to see her later on that night she was like, "I really hope Joe comes back to church! He was really nice!" It's the best when you can take recent converts to go teaching! :)
Sorry this email is so short! I'm running out of time!
I love you all and I'm grateful for you love and support!
I know that God knows each of us so personally and is there to help us through anything. I am able to see His hand in the missionary efforts every day. I absolutely love being able to testify of Christ every minute of every day. It's the best!
Sister Jones

Week 24

February 1, 2012

Hi family!
So we got our transfer calls this morning... I'm staying in Grand Island and Sister Ashby is going back to Omaha. We figured that would be the case. Sister Dubois is going to be my new companion! She is also from Phoenix, AZ and she came out a transfer before me and I knew her from when I was in Omaha. I am going to be the seinor companion. Of what I remember she is nice and very quiet. (So I will get to continue to work on zipping my lips and evening out the talking/ teaching. haha!) Although change is always good, I teared up when I heard that me and Sister Ashby won't be together. We grew pretty close throughout the past 2 transfers. At least she will still be there when I get back to Omaha (probably in another 2 transfers). I'm a little nervous for this next transfer but everything will work out and I know that the Lord will help me.
It feels like so much has happened in the past week and a half... I don't even know where to begin!
Here are the main things that happened that I could remember:
  • Kearney Zone training! I love it when the whole zone gets together and President and Sister Kunz talk to us. They mostly focused the trainings on asking good/ inspired questions and using the scriptures more effectively. It normally lasts from 8:30-4:30 so we learn and practice a lot of really good and helpful things!
  • An old investigator named Cortyln gives us a lot of food each week because she works at the Salvation Army food pantry and gives us what isn't used. That is really helpful and makes grocery shopping much easier! But the best part is that Cortlyn wants to study the Book of Mormon again with us. Yay!
  • We had a lot of people at church this last week! We had about six less-actives come to church that don't normally come. I get SUPER happy when I see people come to church for the first time in a very long time!! :)
  • Wendy is a really nice lady we went to see a few weeks ago who was baptized about 10 years ago and stopped going to church a couple years later. The 1st time we went to see her she had no interest in the church and said her beliefs had changed. We asked her to pray about the Book of Mormon and to read the restoration pamphlet and just testified about how the gospel can help her in her life. The next week we came back and she had a totally different attitude and said she felt sooo good as she prayed and knows she needs to come back to church. We have been teaching her again and basically have to start from the beginning but it's incredible how she is finding out the truth again. What a miracle! You could tell how much her heart has been softening over the few weeks that she has been reading the Book of Mormon and praying. She came to church this last Sunday and loved it. She is so nice and I just love her!!
  • I'm doing a fast from chocolate and music besides hymns. It's called a 40 day fast where you sacrifice something to have the Spirit more in your life. The only reason I mention that I'm not eating chocolate is because Valentines Day (and my birthday) are coming up. So you don't have to send me any chocolate. :) But if you do then I will either save it till the end of February when the fast ends or share it with others. haha! For my birthday I don't need anything but I would LOVE it if you would just send a nice letter with your testimony/ beliefs and anything else you want to write. That would mean more to me than any other gift you could send. Thanks! :)
  • Yesterday we had a district activity and we all went to the Stuhr Museam. It has lots of Nebraska history and talks a lot about the pioneers that have come through. It was really cool! You might be able to look it up online to read more about it. I didn't know that Wels Fargo was established here!
  • We did a lot of tracking this week. We had some good experiences where we found some people to teach but the one that stands out most in my mind is a man that we talked to outside of his home. We were talking about and how it talks about our beliefs. Then he said, "Do you believe in going on dates?" (My thoughts: Gag!) Then I said: "Nope! Not as missionaries!" But there are plenty of Mormons that do!!" And he said, "Oh man! Well that's too bad." We quickly rapped up that conversation and let him be on his way with committing him to look at the website. Oh goodness, some people are just crazy. He started the convo by reading our tags and asking if we are nuns... why would you even try to ask a nun on a date?! Desperation? haha- I don't even get it!
  • The Spanish elders and the other Grand Island Elders both had baptisms this week! That was really exciting! We only got to go to the GI elder's baptism because we gave a restoration lesson while the people were changing right after they were baptized. The baptism was so good and the spirit was really strong!
  • Two of our people that we've been teaching that are set for baptism are moving this week to Council Bluffs. That's a bummer but at least there are missionaries there that can continue teaching them.
That about sums up the week! I'll talk to you all on Monday and let you know how everything is going with transfers. It's going to be SO different here! I keep telling myself- change is good!
Well I hope you are all doing well! I love you!
-Sister Jones