Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Week 52

August 21, 2012
Hello family!

There has been a change of plans as to when I'll be going home now...  The date has been set as January 4th again. I have been asked to send you and e-mail with all the logistics. Thank you all for you flexibility and your support so far.  Sister Lund in the Mission office called on Saturday and said when she was trying to book the flights in December  that the system wasn’t allowing her to purchase the tickets. She called into Salt Lake and they said that we don’t have that option anymore for us coming home December 19. I’ll explain the reasoning, but first I’ll kind of tell you the background and how the timing for visitor center missionaries differ from other missions.
        Typically every Sister missionary serves an 18 month mission or 12 transfers. So if I was a regular proselyting missionary my 18 month mark would be on January 20th, but because I’m a VC(Visitor Center) missionary my mission is a little shorter. The reason for this is because my MTC experience. When you go into the MTC that counts as one transfer (3 weeks long), but if you serve at a VC or Historic site you are in the MTC for one week longer than everyone else and so they count that as two transfers, lame I know. So I don’t really get how it happens, but it ends up that our official release date was January 4th. Anyway so here are the obstacles that Salt Lake sees:
1.      In order for you to return on a different date than the one that has been assigned, you first have to have a valid reason(which they believe that school to be one of them.) Then is has to be 30 days before or after the time you are supposed to officially leave the mission. Which would be fine because I’m scheduled to leave January 4th, but since I came out on July 20 they use  January 20th as the date to base that off of, and since December 19 is 31 days before my “return date” I guess I don’t qualify.
2.      The mission would have us(Sister Proctor, Belka, and I- all in the same boat for school) come home on the Dec. 20th or something like that to make it work, but there is also a policy that we can’t travel a certain amount of days around big holidays, so that wouldn’t work either.
3.      President Weston was going to try and see if they could Grandfather us in, but I guess last month or so they came out with a new rule that missionaries are to not leave in the middle of the transfer(but it’s confusing because there are multiple Elders from our mission that are still scheduled to leave December  19th anyway). Elder Watson (our big TC Dad) wasn’t happy to hear and he said that he is going to see what he can do, because he doesn’t want us to have to stress out when we get home frantically preparing for school. Haha he is so funny. But as of now I am coming home on January 4th.

Sorry for all this craziness  and I hope that I didn’t confuse you in this long shpill!
As for me, I know that whatever happens is what the Lord wants, so I’m okay. Actually I would love another Christmas on the mission, even though it will stink not being able to see the all of the family before I'm thrown into real life (school & work). There is nothing greater to have all your focus on the birth of the Savior and being able to literally be able to represent him and be set apart as one of his disciples. That was one of the hardest factors in my decision process to begin with. That and the idea that I felt that I was already finishing my mission early and wanting to serve to the exact time that the Lord has called me to. Then I realized I was being selfish and needed to look at what was best for everyone, and especially you. I feel like I’m throwing you a stick of fire since you'll have to help me get situated and ready to go for school and then we'll have maybe 2 days to get things ready to go for school. That's going to be a fun time! haha I feel bad putting that extra pressure on the family though.
Thank you all for your love and support!! I have the best family in the world! :)
Sister Jenn Jones

August 21, 2012
Good afternoon!!

This has been a crazy/ busy week!! We only spent the night at our actual home maybe 2 times and the rest we had to stay the night at the trail center apartments. haha! I'll bullet point off as many things I can within the little time I have. (I hope you all got the email that mentioned that I'll be more than likely going home on January 4th. Sorry about the confusion!)

Our investigator Trudy came to see the Joseph Smith movie! She loved it and said she felt the Spirit very strongly. We also went to see her yesterday and she hadn't smoked the whole day. She has been working at quitting and is putting forth extra effort lately. Yay! We are so happy for her!
Yesterday when we walked out of our house there was a young man across the road. We walked over to talk to him and he ended up being a magazine salesman. So he did his best at marketing the magazines until we crushed his hopes by saying we don't read magazines as missionaries, but appreciate the offer anyways. That was the perfect lead in to sharing the gospel with him! (Muahaha!) Ben is SOOO prepared!! He immediately opened up to us and saying how he's been desperately seeking God in his life and doesn't know where to turn. He recently starting practicing the Muslim faith because he felt like they have high standards that they live by and he wants to be accountable for his decisions and live a good life. (Boy have we got the religion for him!) While we were standing on the side of the street we quickly shared the Book of Mormon with him, shared how the gospel will give him that added direction and faith he is seeking for in his life, and committed him to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. It was incredible to see how open and willing to learn he was and open to the message of the gospel. It really strengthened my testimony in Heavenly Father's inspired timing, the principle of talking to everyone, and that God really does prepare people for us to find. I LOVE being a missionary and an instrument in the Lord's hands!!!
This week we had Zone Conference in Suix City, Nebraska! It was great! There are a few new things that President Weston is now implementing in the mission. I don't have time to writ them now but maybe next week. I'm excited about the changes.. except for the fact they are not allowing work out DVD's anymore. Good bye Jillian Michaels. :( It's ok, I'll survive. I just have to get creative with my own cardio workouts now. I sent it home today along with a lot of other stuff I don't need for the next 4 months. (Mom- look out for a big box of my treasures! It should be getting there on Monday.)
After zone conference all of us sisters (about 10 of us) got to take a quick stop in South Dakota! We all drove with a couple Senior couples. It was a blast! we have a small section of South Dakota in our mission. Fun times!!
I got to go on exchanges with Sister Bergeson for an evening because her comp was sick. It was fun because she was my MTC companion. We have both grown a lot and it was fun to see that and work with her again! :)
Well I have to go now! I love you all very much! Have a wonderful week!!
Love, Sister Jones


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