Hermana Jones

Hermana Jones

Monday, July 27, 2015

First week! An angel was sent to be my first companion.

Wow. What a week it has been. There is so much to say and not enough time to say it! A few basics: I am serving in O. My companion is Hermana Llaguarima from Ecuador. She will be 27 in August, has been in the mission for about 4 months, and is truly an angel sent to be my first companion in the field. When I left the capilla (chapel) that first Monday night, Hermana Stutznegger gave me a hug and told me that my companion knows probably the least English of the Hermanas who have been here for a few months. By the way, I love, love the Stutzneggers. It has been so great though. My companion is hard working, obedient, fun, and very patient with me. I am very grateful for this time I have to serve with her. She is a certified physical therapist and worked in a hospital for awhile before serving a mission. She has also taken to correcting me on how I walk; she had me practice walking back and forth over and over again haha :)

Elder Juarez is my district leader (such an awesome guy) and Elder Miller is his companion. Hermana Wolferts, Hermana Wong, Hermana Lambert, and Hermana Villalobos are also in my district. We have a great time and I see them every day :)

Quick note regarding the food and the eating aspect of my life thus far. I have been told a few times that I will lose weight here. Honestly, I think I already have. We eat breakfast in our apartment a little before 8:00 every morning, maybe a snack during study time, a big lunch at the home of a member of our Church at 2:00 p.m. each day, and then whatever we want for dinner that night. I tried some street tacos the other day though with some grilled onions and cactus and it was AMAZING. If I keep up the exercise every morning when I wake up, walking all over kingdom come, and this pattern of eating, the Hermana Jones who comes back will be a few pounds lighter haha. I have really enjoyed the food here. Yesterday for lunch they served us the best guacamole I have ever had...I thought of you Mom :) I would love to bring the fam back here someday and have you try the food and the pan (sweet bread...so stinking good).

I have had some wonderful experiences this week! I can’t understand very much but I am able to speak pretty well. When I tell people that I have been in the field for a week, their eyes get huge and they tell me that my Spanish is muy claro. I have asked a few of the members what I need to fix in my pronunciation and they said I don’t need to change anything. I have truly felt blessed in my ability to speak and want to recognize the Lord’s hand in those tender mercies and blessings.

Ahhhh I am running out of time! I am glad that you can see the Facebook pics posted by President and Sister Stutznegger. Again, I cannot say enough good about them. They are wonderful. Matt, have fun at EFY. Jackson, thank you for the email! I love reading what you write to me. I am sorry for not writing this week but I enjoyed all of the pictures you sent. I belly laughed when I saw the poster, oh my goodness that was sssssoooo funny!

I promise to share more spiritual experiences (there are many) and pics next week. I am seeing blessings each day. I am including a couple of my CCM District departure pics that they show everyone Sunday night before we leave. Real quick, I taught my first English class on Saturday...now that was a fun adventure :) I hope this gives you a good summary with my limited time to do so. I love you so much. Thank you for all you do, Mom and Dad. I am so grateful to be here even though it is difficult at times. Just know that I am doing just fine and you don’t need to worry about anything :)

Love, Emily

Monday, July 20, 2015


Hello! Well, I have left the pearly white gates of the CCM for the last time. I am at the Mission Office in the Southeast Mission right now! Last night I said goodbye to Elder Mabey and Elder Helvey, the two Elders in my CCM district. I miss those two. They were awesome. During the middle of the night I woke up every couple of hours to say goodbye to my district Hermanas. When I woke up this morning I was all alone. That was weird, let me tell you. However, I buddied up with the Hermanas going to my mission, ate breakfast, finished the last little bit of packing I had, cleaned the room, and left casa 21 for the last time.

Around 9:30 this morning the 15 of us were gathered in Reception and in walked Presidente and Sister Stutznegger! I immediately had the best feeling and felt so full of joy and excitement when I saw them for the first time. I can´t say enough good things about them. They are so full of life and energy and goodness. Elder Smith, one of the Assistants to the President, came as well. We took a bunch of pictures (I don´t know if I will be able to send those to you this week, lo siento) pero I have a bunch to show you of all of us! After pics, the 18 of us piled into a van with our luggage in another van and drove maybe half an hour to the mission office. I have met the Hermana trainers (lady missionaries who work with the mission president to help train other lady missionaries), secretaries, and other leaders. It feels so good to be in MY mission now. I love it!

We have gone over a lot of the paperwork stuff like rent and money and things like that, as well as standards of excellence for the mission. This is a hard working mission -- I can tell already. A lot is expected of us but nothing more than what the Lord expects of us. I had a great interview with President Stutznegger. I could talk to him all day. Apparently I have been the most quoted missionary around here the last few weeks because a few weeks ago when we went to the immigration office in Mexico City, I am credited for calling the nice part of the city "sketchy" (I honestly don’t remember feeling that way and did not intend to diss this amazing city!). I guess that was quite amusing for every one who has been in the mission for awhile :)

Typically, all of us new missionaries would stay at the mission home tonight and be there for the huge exchange meeting tomorrow at one of the Church buildings where we would meet our new companions. But, it sounds like there are youth events going on there and the Church building will not be available. So, to avoid having to travel to another building that is out of the safe areas where Hermanas can go, or something like that, tonight I will be in my very first apartment with my new companion. We are just hopping right to it! I feel a little bit nervous but honestly it is time to just get this thing rolling and I´ll worry about being nervous when I have something specific to be nervous about. Right now it´s mostly just the unknown and overwhelming nature of the whole thing. Overall, I feel so happy to be here. It just feels good and right. I know that Heavenly Father loves me and is mindful of me.

There are 17 Hermanas in the mission total right now and that will be it for awhile (there would have been 18 but one sister went home last week for medical reasons). Basically this means that after my 12 weeks of training are over, I could possibly be a trainer for new Hermanas who come. My trainer will most likely have just finished her training, entonces we are in this together! It´s exciting! One thing I learned during my time at the CCM is that they throw you in the deep end but you always have floaties to swim so you don´t drown. I taught my first lesson ever after just a day and a half, but it was fine. Nothing traumatic or terrible happened and I am better for it. I never held a conversation in Spanish with anyone before 6 weeks ago and now I can...somewhat...talk with Latinos haha. We get put to work but they don´t ask us to do anything that we can´t handle. Through these types of experiences we grow. That will be the case with tonight and tomorrow and that is just fine with me. There is nothing else I would rather be doing right now.

The Holy Ghost is so vital every moment of the day. This last week my companion (she´s all the way in Tampico now!) and I had a lesson planned for our investigator. As soon as we got there we knew that the lesson we planned wasn´t what we would be teaching her. She was going through something really difficult and all she needed right then was comfort and direction, not a the lesson we prepared. Earlier that day I read Mosiah 7:33, in the Book of Mormon, and absolutely loved it. During the lesson when Estefania asked us what she should be doing right now to press forward through this difficult time, this verse came to mind through the guidance of the Spirit. I asked her to read it. When she did, tears welled up in both of our eyes and I told her that if she fully turned to the Lord, He would deliver her. The Gospel is true and it heals and helps every person who receives it through the Spirit. I am excited to begin that tomorrow in my very own area.

I love you and pray for you.

Love, Hermana Jones

Oh! Quick fun note. Hermana Villalobos in my mission is from Honduras. She knows the Bowlers and absolutely loves them! (The Bowlers are from my home area and are serving as Mission President in one of the missions there) When I send you pictures I will point her out...small world :) For now, please post the pictures taken by Sister Stutznegger. Ok love you bye!

The Hermanas going to my mission from the CCM.
(Photo cred of these pics to Sister Stutznegger)

All of the Elders and Hermanas going to my mission from the CCM. 

Ride from the CCM to mission office.


Receiving important information, like rent and money etc. as well as mission standards.

Web-cam pic looking out to the eastern/southeastern side of Mexico City in late afternoon today (Gracias dad).

The closing of a chapter

Hola! I am writing on Saturday rather than Tuesday to give you a quick update about travel plans. I report to the Reception Building at the CCM at 9:30 Monday morning and will be picked up around 10 A.M. along with the 6 American missionaries going to my mission, along with 2 Latina Hermanas and 7 Latino Elders. There are 15 of us total, 7 Americans and 8 Latinos. Every one in my CCM district leaves early in the morning before I wake up so I will be saying goodbye to all of them Sunday night except for my companion -- I will be waking up a little before 3 A.M. to walk her to Reception and someone else will then walk back with me to my casa. Those of us going to the Southeast Mission will be picked up by someone from the mission home (hopefully Presidente and Hermana Stutznegger!) in a van (or something like that). After that I have no idea what will happen, but that´s the information I have for now! Super exciting!

I love my district so much. We have had the best of times and the worst of times, as to be expected when you spend 16 hours a day in a classroom with them, but they are great and I love them a lot! One of the many things I have learned here is that everyone has something to offer, no matter where they come from, or what their personality is. The fact is that they all made the choice to serve the Lord for 18 or 24 months. I am looking forward to keeping in touch with them and will see Elder Mabey and Elder Helvey at BYU in 2017. Elder Mabey lived in B9 in Helaman Halls this last year and I didn´t even know it! Small world. I write in my journal every day and look forward to sharing more with you about the many wonderful things that I learned here in the CCM as time goes by. The history and Spirit here is incredible.

Quick response to your question about the blue thing on my tag. Starting week 5 in the CCM we start "solo español" where we can only talk in Spanish during class. We did pretty well...haha...it is easy to forget to talk in Spanish all the time and my brain was fried after the first 3 hours of it but it was pretty fun! Anyways, the sticker just said "solo español" on my name tag.

Our last day with our awesome morning teacher, Hermano Hurtado. He was our first "investigator" Jesús, before he was our teacher. After he became our teacher he also became our second investigator, Gabriel. Gabriel was very difficult which taught me a lot of patience and helped me realize that not every person that I teach is going to just smile and accept the Gospel in the first lesson. I had some great experiences with him though. In fact, it was during a Friday morning lesson with him that I followed the Spirit and recounted the First Vision by memory and Spanish flowed from my mouth. I could see the change in his face as I did so. Since then whenever I talk he pays close attention and smiles when I share my testimony. It was an amazing experience. I will miss Hermano Hurtado but he lives in the East Mission right next door to my Mission so maybe I will see him!

Goofing around. We are such an attractive bunch. More about Hermano Hurtado -- he served in northern Mexico, has been back for a little over a year, and is married to the girl he baptized before his mission. He laughs and rolls his eyes at us Americans a lot but I think deep down he really does love us.

I wish I had better pictures with her but this is our afternoon teacher, Hermana Perez. SHE IS AMAZING. Oh my goodness I love this lady! She has been our teacher from the beginning and has been our other investigator, Estefania. I have learned so much from teaching her, especially how to comfort and use the scriptures when teaching. I have had some very special experiences with her. Hermana Perez served in Mexico Torreo, I think, and has been back for probably a little over a year. She is so spiritual, but also very fun, and I love her to death! I am about to go say goodbye to her which I don´t like :(

This was taken earlier this week but, sadly, today was our last day of sand volleyball. Boy have we had some good times out there. The sand has helped burn off some of the athlete´s foot on my feet haha which, by the way, I have been treating lately with the spray and powder you sent with me. It is getting better. The mixture of rain and wet shoes are the perfect recipe for a little athlete's foot fun. TMI? :)

Giant moth outside the front door of my casa, just chilling. It was probably a little bigger than my palm.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Last week at the CCM!

Thank you so much for the emails this week :) Okay. I was over here belly laughing a little bit when I saw those pictures of Jake hahahahhahahahhaaha. Oh man...classic! (Jake is our family dog that my brothers dressed up for a bit). Sounds like the family reunion and Lagoon and all of those events were so much fun! I am so glad you were able to spend time with family :) Yay Brayden! He is going to have a great time, I just know it. I feel so bad because I get a ton of mass emails from relatives and my friends on missions and I don’t have time to read them! Would you be able to give me highlights of the missionaries? Unless it is a personal email specifically to me I don´t have time to read them. Thank you.

The Fourth of July here was so fun! The kitchen staff made sure we had plenty of bbq chicken, fries, hamburgers, blueberries, mac and cheese, AND APPLE PIE WITH VANILLA ICE CREAM. They were so nice and sweet to us. Most of the American missionaries wore red, white, and blue, and our teachers let us say the Pledge of Allegiance and sing the National Anthem. During lunch we all broke out in song with the National Anthem again and all of the Latinos were taking videos and cheering for us :) They are so nice!!

This is my last email to you from the CCM. I cannot believe it. I guess when I think back to that first day in the airport it feels like a long time ago but really time has moved by so quickly here. I will be sad to say goodbye to my teachers and district but I am SO EXCITED to meet the Stutzneggers and my new district and zone! It´s exciting!

During a lesson with a woman this week we talked about the our Heavenly Father’s Law of Chastity and the woman we were teaching was asking us more about modesty in clothing styles. I explained why we dress modestly and during part of the conversation I explained that our shirts as missionaries cover our “hombres” (men) instead of “hombros” (shoulders); she just laughed and laughed and laughed at me :) Haha whoops! There will be many more of those to come I´m sure, but maybe not as many as Hmong speaking cousin Brayden haha :) I finally gave a talk in Sacrament Meeting at Church this last Sunday. When I was done the Branch President, Presidente Ruiz, said that my Español is muy claro and very nice to listen to. He also said that he is very glad that he is not an American missionary serving in Mexico City because that would be super difficult. I am excited and will be just fine. I appreciated the compliment a lot. I still have trouble with conjugating but I have the accent down pretty well I think. Then again, this is still the CCM...sssssooooo I could be way off :)

I feel like as soon as I log off I will remember something that I wanted to tell you! Ahh I´m sorry, there is just so much to tell! I am writing in my journal every day though. If possible, you should try to save my emails.

By the way, the middle district that was in that picture of us on the Fourth of July (see last week’s blog) all left last week. The one in the middle with long lighter brown hair is Hermana Hale and is serving in the Nevada Reno Mission :) She is awesome! The tall skinny blonde Elder is Elder Hebertson and is in Sister Anderson´s mission in New Jersey. We have a new zone now (a zone is a group of missionaries that serve in the same geographic area in a mission). One of the Hermanas is also reporting to the Nevada Reno mission...Hermana Gratten or Gatten I think. My group is the only one staying in Mexico. Most American missionaries here are going back to the States. We watched President Boyd K. Packer´s funeral on Friday via satellite and I felt the Spirit very strongly (he was a member of the Church’s Quorum of Twelve Apostles). Heavenly Father’s Plan of Happiness for us is real.

I love you all so much. I love being a missionary so much. I love my Savior and His Gospel so much.

Okay I need to go now but hope you enjoy the pics that I sent. I love you so much. I have a meeting later this afternoon about travel plans and such and will be emailing you again probably this Saturday about all of that. Until then, have a great week!

Matthew and Jackson, I love you guys and miss being able to hang out with you. I have the two best bros in the whole world. Have a fun summer :)

Love, Hermana Jones

Just some pics of our cute little casa. The top picture is the front room where we chill sometimes before bed.  The bottom picture is the hallway leading away from my room to the laundry room, and kitchen (which we don't need to use it because we eat meals at the cafeteria).

Our bedroom! My bunk is the bottom one on the left and Hermana Clark is above me. Hermana Guerlain and Hermana Royce are on the right. The bathroom is on the right. My bunk is closest to the hallway door. The four of us are in one room, Hermana Jones and Hermana Wolferts are in the one next door, Hermana Garner and Hermana Crichton (pronounced Cry-ton) are in the next bedroom. There is a bedroom across from us that is now empty since the 3 Hermanas in that room left yesterday. There has been one other empty bedroom during our stay as well. The four of us in our room have really bonded :)

Our little mini BYU reunion at the CCM! From left to right -- Elder Falk going to Florida Fort Lauterdale, Hermana Palmer my next door neighbor on our floor in Stover Hall who has been in the Mexico Reynosa mission for a week now, Hermana Taylor who lived down the hall from me and is going to California San Jose (both of these girls are two of my favorites from BYU), then me, leaving with Elder Falk and Hermana Taylor next week, and Elder Scholes, who left for the Michigan Detroit Mission yesterday and was one of my home teachers. I have met and seen others from BYU while being here and it is so fun to serve with them!

The many adventures of Hermana Jones and Hermana Garner. Aaaahhhhhhh I love her so much! The other night after a rough day she gave me a note of encouragement. It was exactly what I needed. She is amazing.

Our two mile run this morning. Companionship goals!

The sandcastle that Hermana Royce built for me :)

Missionaries leaving the CCM and going to the Mexico City Southeast Mission in one week! Hermana Clark (top right in dark shirt) will be going to another part of Mexico :(

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

I'm sorry...I just suddenly ran out of time!

Dear all,

Thank you so much for your emails. They mean so much to me and I draw strength from them every week. I am sorry for the very short, non-informative email this week. I just suddenly ran out of time! I spent a lot of time emailing other people this week...mostly friends who have been so kind to take the time to email me...especially the ones on missions. Elder Ita (serving a mission in Fiji) told me in an email about how the Spirit can speak any language and bring love to those we teach. He welcomed me to the work. It made me tear up a little bit.

My dear little buddy Jackson, thank you so much for emailing me every week. I love seeing your notes to me when I open up my email each Tuesday! They strengthen and encourage me so much. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. Yes, I am staying very healthy and happy here in the Mexico MTC! I have lots of fun with the other missionaries teaching people, learning Spanish and even playing some sand volleyball :) I know that Heavenly Father hears you and answers your prayers when you sincerely talk to Him. He loves you very much. I hope I can take you to Mexico someday. The food is so good, Jackson, so yummy! Way better than what Nacho Libre makes for the kids in the orphanage ;) How are you liking scout camp?! I am sure that it´s a lot of fun. It is hard being away from home sometimes but you can always feel close to Heavenly Father no matter where you are.

I promise I will catch you all up on everything next week. Also, dad, thank you for taking the time to type up notes about my setting apart. That has really helped me. I love you all.

Love, Hermana Jones

Quick pic of our wonderful 4th of July :) More details next week about this great day!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Mexico City Temple

Hola! I am going to try to focus a lot on downloading pictures this week so this message won't be as long due to time constraints. First of all, I want to say thank you Mom and Dad for your love and support. It means so much to me to that you are there thinking of me and praying for me but still living your lives. I love hearing about everything you and the boys are doing. Thank you for fulfilling your callings so willingly. It sounds like Young Women Camp was awesome! The two of you bless and inspire so many people in our stake, especially the youth. I am so happy for Brayden (my cousin going on a mission to Wisconsin, speaking Hmong)! The MTC will be the perfect place for him. He is going to thrive there.

Quick random note...the food here is so delicious. My favorite breakfast so far is homemade tamales with thick, creamy, cinnamon-y hot chocolate. SO GOOD. Chocolate and cheese are so much tastier here. Delicious! Breakfasts here tend to be more like lunch and dinner foods than what we are used to in the States. 

Today for P day we went to the Mexico City Temple grounds and the visitors center in Mexico City! They are both so beautiful and I can't wait to serve there when it is reopened. I loved seeing the sister missionaries there serving already. The ones who took us on the tour were awesome. They were from Guatemala and the Dominican Republic. The bus ride was super fun because we were with a bunch of Latinos singing hymns in Spanish and talking and laughing. The sisters at the Temple were very excited to hear that I play futbol and assured me that if I tell the people I teach that I played futbol in America that they will listen to me haha :)

You will be happy to know that I had a major break through with Spanish last Friday! It was the most amazing thing. I have been able to memorize quite a few things in Spanish, including Joseph Smith’s “First Vision”. In both of our lessons on Friday something just clicked. I shared the First Vision from memory with both investigators, and bore my testimony of how they can find answers to their prayers, as Joseph Smith found answers to his, if they sincerely study the scriptures and pray. I was able to talk! I was able to teach! (Quick background for my friends of other faiths, we teach many principles as missionaries and part of what we teach is the importance of prophets, especially for us today, how Joseph Smith became a prophet, and that we have a prophet today) Literally, I felt that the words were put in my mouth and both teachers/investigators really felt the Holy Spirit from the lesson and later praised me. (They are AMAZING teachers, by the way, and I am learning so much from them!) Since Friday my compañera and I have been united in our teaching. We are able to bounce off of and testify of what the other is saying. It feels amazing. I know that Heavenly Father is watching over me.

That is all I have time for for now. I love you so much :)

Love, Hermana Jones

Mmmm...sugar coma coming my way... Thanks for the Krispe Kremes!

It rains here. A lot. There are thunder showers almost every afternoon and evening. The mornings are nice and cool. (Emily's expression of "we may need a canoe eventually" :)

Our bus to the city center. 

The beautiful Mexico City Temple. I cannot wait to serve there. My companion is wonderful!

Palacio de Bellas Artes (Palace of Fine Arts)

Angel de la Independencia (monument on a roundabout in the Paseo de la Reforma, a main avenue in the heart of the city)

Benito Juarez Monument, near Alameda Central, a public park in Mexico City.

Not sure of the name of this fountain.

The Hermanas going to my mission when we finish at the CCM. I love them! Fortunately I get to see them multiple times every day.

My classroom where I spend almost all day every day. We love it...even the occasional competition to liberate ourselves from the mosquitoes :)