Hermana Jones

Hermana Jones

Monday, August 31, 2015

How is it September already?!

What I want to know is how is it September already?! Well, I guess we have one more day of August but still. This is crazy. I have almost three months down in the mission. What happened?! I am quickly realizing that the only day I ever had an 18 month mission was the first day in the CCM. Every day after that is one less day to work and serve and teach! Yikes!

Elder D. Todd Christofferson came last Wednesday and spent a good three hours with us. Wow. What an incredible day. As soon as he walked in the room I felt the Spirit very powerfully. He truly is a witness of the Savior. Before we did anything else he had every missionary line up to shake his hand. The two seconds that I held his hand and looked into his eyes I felt the love of the Savior. So much love and power exuded from him. It was amazing.

I believe that the musical number went really well. Presidente Stutznegger shed tears, and when we ended Elder Christofferson whispered "Excelente" (he was sitting right behind us). During the meeting, Presidente and Sister Stutznegger, Elder Christofferson's wife, Elder Valenzuela from the Seventy and his wife, and three Stake Presidents from our mission spoke to us. Then, Elder Christofferson talked with us and gave us the opportunity to ask questions. Everything was in Spanish and I was able to pick up most of it. Even if I couldn't understand everything, I felt everything. I wish I could share all that I learned. I felt full of new power to go out and teach and be a representative of Christ. Elder Christofferson is such an amazing person. He is both funny and wise. Seriously so intelligent and yet he makes you feel like the most important person in the world. I love him! After we took the Mission photo he said goodbye to a group of us Hermanas. SO COOL. He said he felt the Spirit very strongly as we were singing. It was such a wonderful day. I am grateful to live in an era when there are living prophets and apostles on the earth. I can humbly say for myself that it is true. I was with one of the Lord's chosen servants and will be forever grateful for that experience, and for what I heard, felt and learned.

This is our Mission picture (above) with Elder and Sister Christofferson (front row/middle, with Elder and Sister Valenzuela, front row/middle, next to me). President and Sister Stutznegger are standing on the far left. Click on the pics to enlarge.

This is our Mission picture (above) with President and Sister Stutznegger in the front/middle.

This is our group that sang (above). L to R -- Elder Pollock, who accompanied us on the piano, Hermana Lambert, Elder Walters, Hermana Garner, Elder Mafi, me, and my District Leader Elder Juarez. We sang "O Mi Padre" to the music of "Come Thou Fount" (an arrangement that we have at home). We made several changes to it. I sang the tenor part, an octave higher, for the last two verses.

There are many good things are happening here. Diego is getting baptized this Saturday! WOOHOO!!! :D He is the beeeeest. We have a new Hermana joining us this week and she and her companion will be moving in with me and my companion tonight! We have been getting the apartment ready today. This is also my last week of service at the Temple...I have loved it!

Friday was my companion's 27th birthday. So, Thursday night we had a surprise party for her (we are so sneaky haha). Elder Juarez, my District Leader, dumped a bunch of confetti on her and then we had a confetti war and at cake :)

My companion, Hermana Llaguarima, is from Ecuador. That means that she is always cold even when I am dying of heat and that she can make some really delicious rice and fried bananas. That was a good night for sure. It called for a selfie.

Also, on another note, I was eating a piece of cake last night that has been sitting on the top of our microwave for the past maybe two weeks -- not the wisest choice I have ever made -- and while I was eating it I found a little worm crawling around in another part of the cake. Pray for me that I don't get parasites. Hahaha I am not smart. Love you!

Love, Hermana Jones

This is my District (above). L to R -- Elder Miller, Elder Juarez, Hermana Wolferts, Hermana Wong, Hermana Lambert, Hermana Llaguarima, me, and Hermana Villalobos. We are the only district that has all Hermanas (except for our District Leader and his companion, of course) and where everyone is training.

Hermana Wong helped me pick out this outfit. She is fluent in Spanish, English, French and Italian. She also studied fashion in France and Italy. She is amazing.

Mi amiga, Hermana Garner!

Silly Presidente :) I am so grateful to serve with President and Sister Stutznegger!

Monday, August 24, 2015

There is something special about Mexico

Hello all! I don't know about you but time is flying by here. The days are long but the weeks are fast. I am almost halfway done with training already! I find that when we hunker down and work the day is suddenly over. I much prefer working to sitting around. First of all, congrats Matt on your awesome soccer game! Sounds like you represented the Jonesie name well :) I am looking forward to hearing more updates about this season! Glad you and Jackson have awesome schedules for school this year.

Well one thing I have learned this week is that even if I can't always contribute to the extent that I would like, I can always be kind and testify. Those are two things I can do. Our purpose is to bring others to Christ, but if I am to do that, I need to be a light for others. I take every opportunity I can to tell the people here how much I love Mexico and that I consider it my home. They always really appreciate that. And it's true! I really do love Mexico! I miss the States a lot but there is something special about Mexico here. Every time we enter a home we leave with some sort of gift, or food, or service of some sort. People are very generous. I love them so much and look forward to having the ability to relate with them better as I can speak more fluently. 

One cool experience I had a couple weeks ago was with a 12 year old girl named Ruth. Her family is currently less active in the Gospel and her dad is not a member of the Church. One night when we were visiting with her mom in the kitchen I could hear "Suzuki Book 1" songs being played on a violin. My ears instantly perked up (Mom note: Emily learned violin through the Suzuki method). I went to the room next door and there was Ruth practicing on her violin. I had the opportunity to praise her on her playing (she really does have great musicality) and then I played "Allegro" in Book 1 as well as "Nearer My God To Thee" (Mas Cerca Dios De Ti). The whole family was oooing and awwing and wanting me to play more. It was a great bonding moment where we were able to connect and I was given an opportunity to be a friend to them. It was a neat experience.
More about Julio! I talked about him a little last week. He is preparing to be baptized on October 4 :) He is so ready and willing to keep commitments and meet with us. I have really come to notice the difference between people who are ready to learn about the Gospel and who are teachable and others who are ready to have the small seed of faith planted. We went to the Temple open house with Julio last week and it was a great experience. I saw him praying in the Celestial Room and he loved the paintings in the Temple. 

So this is the Temple schedule. We wake up around 5:30 or 4ish every morning, get to the Temple around 8:30, and start at 9:00 and go until 3:00 in the afternoon. We switch off spending 3 hours in the reception tent and 3 hours in the video rooms. So many people came on Thursday and Saturday this last week. At one point Hermana Llaguarima and I had 4 rooms that we rotated through at once (usually 3). We start one group with the video, and move to the next, and then the next, and then let the first one out and start a new group. It is just crazy and I love it! A group of Americans came and the guide told me to conduct the presentation in English; it honestly was one of the hardest things I have done on my mission haha. I have been speaking Spanish 24/7 and my mind is immersed in it. So, at first I could not remember how to say good morning in English and it was so difficult to invite visitors to turn off their cell phones and let them know that they would be given shoe coverings while in the Temple etc. It was even kind of hard to share my testimony in English at the end. So weird. They were all kind of laughing at me a little :) I love bearing my testimony at the end of the video. I also love seeing the people in the room smile as I speak. I am not sure if it’s because I sound silly or what, but the Spirit is there. I also felt the Spirit very strongly when we talked with one particular group all in wheelchairs. I teared up a little because they made such a sacrifice to come to the Temple. I am amazed by the sacrifices that people make.

Guess what?! The currency has moved to 17 pesos per dollar instead of just 15! Woohoo! I bought a new skirt and shirt for our Wednesday meeting with Elder Christofferson. I am so looking forward to that experience. Also I saw the Coyote and thought of you, Dad! Can I please have Sister Hall's email (director of BYU Men´s Chorus)? If you can find that I would love it. Thanks. 

Aaah, I am short on time today due to a meeting. I saw Elder Mitchell at the Temple this last week (he was the one who was on the "Kiss Cam" with me at the BYU basketball game as we both looked up at the video board in horror hahahahhahaha). It was good to see him -- tons of missionaries come from the CCM to visit the Temple.
Also, I forgot to mention previously that I sang with Elder Juarez at Ruth's baptism a couple of weeks ago. We sang "Lord I Would Follow Thee." There are days when I am just walking down the street and I feel so good. Missionary work es tan dificil but it feels great to be here. I love you :) Again, thank you so so much for your notes and prayers. They mean so much.

Love, Hermana Jones

PS Hopefully more pics next week.

Quiet moment in the reception tent following a Temple tour (photo credit to Sister Stutznegger).

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Families can be together forever.

First, mi familia. Mom, AAAAAAWWWWW I just love you so much; thank you for your note and updates. Sometimes I cry a little inside when I see other daughters with their moms. I miss you but I know that this time will make our reunion that much sweeter. Thank you for your example and prayers and everything you do for me. I am so glad you had a girls trip! How fun!

My dearest padre, thank you so much for the emails you send me every week. Thank you also for the scriptures you marked for me, they have been very helpful. You are the wisest person I know. You have always been such a strength and example to me. Thank you. I love you.

Matt, congratulations on making VARSITY! WHAT. So awesome! I am so excited for you! Represent the "Jonesie" name with valor and honor. Also I am excited to hear about how school is going when you start. This year was one of my favorite high school years. It is such a fun time. I love you and pray for you.

Jackson, I can´t wait to hear about your schedule for school! I hope you enjoy your last little bit of vacation! In answer to your questions, I am feeling great and I love the mission! You will be able to do this one day too. Someday I want to bring you back to Mexico. It is a pretty awesome place. I love you and think about you all the time.

Feliz Cumpleanos, Bishop! You the best! You are number 1! Hola my dear friend Makenzie :) miss and love you buddy. I love hearing about everyone back home, at school and on missions. Thank you for the updates. Also tell the Egberts hello for me and that I am happy for them :)

Oh boy what a week. Yesterday my companion and I enjoyed some great experiences. Diego came to Church all on his own as always and is preparing for baptism on September 5. He is amazing. A few months ago he was not interested in the Church at all when my companion contacted him but later had an experience in which he felt as though he had been reborn and contacted us. He keeps every commitment that he makes and his testimony of the Gospel grows every day.

We are also teaching two new really amazing people! One is Julio, a man who contacted us in the street about English classes. He is a musician who lived in Tennessee for awhile and wants to learn English. Since that night he approached us we have kept in contact, and guess what?? Yesterday he came to church on his own! It was so neat. We had lunch with him and his family later that day and afterwards taught them about how the Savior’s Gospel has been brought back to the earth. It was really an interesting experience because many members of Julio´s family are of another faith. His 14 year old nephew just wanted to bible bash (argue about the meaning of scriptures and doctrine) but the Spirit was with us as we taught and we were able to avoid contention. Our purpose is to teach and invite, not to contend and argue. It was a great learning experience for me and it made me appreciate the happy, peaceful feelings the Gospel brings me. It is not just about knowing where scriptures and doctrines are in the Bible. It is about developing faith in Christ and finding truth and light. I was grateful for that experience. Afterwards when we were talking just with Julio, he talked to us about what he felt while we were teaching...he expressed it as a feeling of tranquility...and loved what we taught about God being our Heavenly Father. We are taking him and a few members of his family who are interested to the Temple with us this Wednesday. I have high hopes for him :)

We also had Noche de Hogar with the family of a woman who recently joined the Church and one of them came to Church yesterday too. They loved hearing about the Temple. Noche de Hogar is a really powerful tool here. We try to have at least one a week, if not two, in the home of a Church member and we invite conversos, menos activos, and investigadores to it. It is always so much fun and a great teaching experience. (For my friends of other faiths, Noche de Hogar is Family Home Evening, in which we devote time on Monday evenings to family time which can include family prayer, singing together, discussion of a Gospel topic, family activities and...treats...mmmm!)

Serving at the Temple has been amazing. I get lots of kisses on the cheek from sweet old ladies and little kids. Many people ask to take pics with me. It has also been a great opportunity to grow closer with the other 16 Hermanas in my mission. I love them. Serving a mission is a wonderful way to meet new people. I talk to people every day whom I never knew existed. I love it. Spanish is getting better. Yes, I did see Sister Burt! Haha what a surprise that was (she is from my home area). I really enjoyed talking with her and the family she is staying with. Not gonna lie, I shed a tear or two after she left, but only for 5ish seconds and then I was back to work. I have been more sentimental this week due to the Temple because it is focuses our attention to the eternal nature of families. I know that families can be together forever. It is true and that is that. Families are eternal, not just for this life, and I am grateful for the role that Temples play in family progression.

I love you all. Enjoy the last little bit of summer vacation!

Love Hermana Jones (sometimes pronounced Honess, or Juan, or Joe-ness haha I love it :)

Early Saturday morning at the Temple, ready to serve with the Hermanas of my great mission.
(Photo credit to Sister Stutznegger)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


Hola mi familia!

First, Madison, I am so happy and proud of you for your decision to be baptized. I know that Heavenly Father loves you very much. Felicidades! How special it is that you were baptized on the same day as Hermana Ruth was baptized here in my mission.

I love my area and am grateful for it. We are teaching the Gospel to some amazing people right now including three wonderful investigators - Celerina, Sergio, y Diego. All three of them have come to Church for the past two weeks on their own, which is tan bien. So happy! Also Mom, I need ideas of fun activities for teaching the niños English. I taught the advanced class the other night which was super fun :) Mexico is awesome.

We had training at the Mexico City Temple today. Our mission was the very first group of people to walk through the Temple. It is so beautiful and I had some special experiences there; I felt very close to my ancestors in particular moments. Temple work is so important. We also served for an hour in the video room, welcomed four groups of people, and I actually didn’t mess up the words! It was really fun :)

I will not have a p day next week because we will be serving at the Temple, so my email will come at some random time - not sure when - but I will get one to you. The following week we will have p day on the 26th when Elder Christofferson comes. We will be singing “Oh Mi Padre” to the music of “Come Thou Fount.” Practice is going well and I am excited about it. President Stutznegger shared a special moment with me...he and his family received a lot of healing through that song when his son sang it at his brother´s funeral. He shed some tears as he was telling me this and it was really special. He is very excited for this. So am I. President also sang with us Hermanas for fun and he has a great voice! I am so grateful for him and his wife. They are the beeeeeeeessssst!

Quick cultural note...I get a lot of whistles and catcalls here. A popular word is “guera” or “guerita” which means white girl. I have also been specifically called out with a "mi amiga! predicar a mi!" (my friend, preach to me) and "usted es muy hermosa!" (you are very beautiful), and “you are an angel that has fallen from the heavens!” They make noises through their teeth to get my attention haha but I just keep on walking. I never feel unsafe so don´t worry. It just keeps things lively haha.

We do a lot of street contacting in my area. We just walk and talk to lots of people. I admit it was hard and scary at first but it gets easier. We also have the opportunity to teach wonderful members of the Church who are not as Gospel centered at this time in their lives.

Love you!

Hermana Jones

PS  I am so happy you got my hand-written letter! It sounds like it took a month to get to you. You should send mail to the mission office address. Also, you should be able to enlarge the pictures by clicking on them.

Temple selfies...preparing for Temple open house service with President Stutznegger.

Preparing for Temple open house service with Sister Stutznegger.

Don't forget hair prep :) (Photo credit to Sister Stutznegger)

On our way to the Temple! (Photo credit to Sister Stutznegger)

The Mexico City Temple! (Photo credit to Sister Stutznegger)

At the Temple with my companion.

Quick note from Emily's parents in light of her recent experiences with the Mexico City Temple for our friends. By way of background, the Mexico City Temple has been closed for an extensive renovation project. A free public open house for the Temple has begun and will go through early September when the Temple will be rededicated on Sunday, September 13. 

During an open house, visitors learn more about the purpose of temples and why they are important to members of our Church. The open house experience typically begins with a short introductory video, and then a volunteer tour guide (like Emily) takes visitors into the temple. Once inside, the guide explains the functions of the main rooms, which may include instruction, marriage, or baptism. The tour guide also gives a brief explanation of our belief behind these functions.

Emily will be explaining that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints revere temples as the “house of the Lord,” the most sacred places on earth. Temple services bind families together forever, teach the purpose of life, and explain God’s plan for His children. Temple attendance also emphasizes personal spiritual growth and strengthens commitment to following the example of Jesus Christ.

A little about the Mexico City Temple itself...it is a landmark in Mexico City, located near one of the city's principal parks called Bosque de Aragón. The Temple is characterized by its Mayan-inspired exterior. The Temple grounds are park-like themselves and feature beautiful gardens. The Temple grounds also include an informative visitors' center which is free to the public and displays a beautiful reproduction of Thorvaldsen's Christus statue. During Christmas, the grounds are decorated with thousands of lights.

There are currently 141 operating temples worldwide and 28 announced or under construction.

Baptism of Hermana Ruth (in the middle, dressed in white). Elder Miller is on the far left with Elder Juarez (our awesome district leader), my companion and I are on either side of Hermana Ruth, and Hermano Luna, our ward mission leader on the far right.

My wonderful companion and I with Hermana Ruth.

Nicole (my "angel" friend).

Song practice with mi Hermanas! Oh how I love them and all of the Hermanas in my mission! (Photo credit to Sister Stutznegger)

We went out to eat lunch at Tortas Gigantes the other day for lunch since our wonderful member family couldn´t feed us. I ate that whole thing. Tan Bien Rico. 

View from my apartment door. We are blessed with a great apartment in this area.

We typically hand wash our laundry at a Church member´s house, but when we can't, this is what my laundry looks like - a bucket of water with laundry detergent and fabric softener. I just let it soak all day and hang it to dry in our house at night. I always have a bucket of clothes going and just keep rotating it around.

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Hermanas are angels

Buenas tardes from Mexico City!

My little fingers are flying right now as I type away. I have taken to the practice of taking pics of emails and reading them later so I apologize for not answering many of the questions you had last week, and in advance for those I may not answer this week. I love the emails though (please continue to thank our relatives who email). I have also written to a few in answer to their notes.

Alright. We have a baptism scheduled for Ruth this Saturday and 4 baptisms scheduled for September 5th! So excited! Between this and serving at the Mexico City Temple open house this month I think I might keel over...but I am so happy. Two Saturdays ago during our meeting about the Temple I had an amazing spiritual experience. President Stutznegger was inspired to tell us right then and there that we have been called to this mission at this time, for this purpose, and that we would be guided in the Temple tour groups to people who are ready to learn about the Gospel, and that they would also be guided by the Spirit to us. To some this may sound peculiar. However, the more I learn about the purpose of this life, that it is indeed part of our Heavenly Father’s great plan of happiness for us, that we are His children and that He is in charge, it is absolutely true that He gives us very personal guidance in our lives for our learning, benefit, and good. Often, such guidance and blessings come through other people, and our connections are more than just chance. Mom and Dad, you will remember that I have been counseled that I will have the opportunity to be an instrument to bless many lives through my service in the Lord's Temples. That counsel hit my heart and soul with such force during President Stutznegger’s inspired message to us. I know that this is where I am supposed to be right now. So what if I can't always speak Spanish the way I can speak my own language. There are people here for me to teach and who are seeking Heavenly Father. I love speaking Spanish because it keeps me focused on the basic truths of the Gospel. Oftentimes, all I can do at this point in my mission is bear my testimony. However, I have the Spirit with me as I do so. I know that the Holy Spirit is the true communicator no matter our own abilities.

I had another memorable experience last week. We finished a very long, frustrating lesson and I was feeling discouraged. My companion was talking to someone else in the foyer of the church so I was standing there by myself. Suddenly, a younger teenage girl came up to me, gave me big hug, and talked with me. Her name is Nicole and she and her mom were baptized a year ago. She told me that the Hermanas are angels and that I am an angel too. She hugged me probably five times, and each time she did it felt as though the Savior was hugging me. It was exactly what I needed right then. I will never forget that experience. I know that the Lord sends angels to us.

A few answers to questions. My area is quite small, but there are SO MANY PEOPLE here. So many shops and apartments all crammed into one area. My feet are doing great :) I wash my clothes by hand at members' houses and hang them to dry on their rooftops. My apartment is nice and has a working shower :)

President Stutznegger called this afternoon and asked me to organize a musical number for when Elder D. Todd Christofferson comes to visit our mission on August 26 so I will be working on that! For my friends of other faiths, Elder Christofferson is a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in my Church. This will be a wonderful and rare experience for which I am very grateful. I have the opportunity to sing many hymns in many homes during my normal routine, which I love.

Final fun tidbit. I ate a dish called pancita this last Tuesday. It is a Mexican tripe soup with an assortment of fun ingredients, including COW STOMACH. It looked like chunks of shag carpet in brown liquid. It looked, smelled, and tasted...well, not my favorite...and I was constipated for the rest of the week (the opposite problem I thought I would have haha) but I ate the whole bowl!

Well I have to go but I love all of you so much!

Hermana Jones :)