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).