Hermana Jones

Hermana Jones

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Another great week of missionary work!

What another great week of missionary work! We did not get any rain from the hurricane but we were on alert and were asked to make sure we had at least 3 days worth of food and water. All is well. Hermana Wong and I enjoyed some time at the mall today. We bought all the ingredients we needed for making banana bread only to come home and realize that we have no idea how to use our blasted oven.  Wish us luck on that one. We will eat gluten free banana bread! Just not sure when hehe :)

A few neat experiences this week. First, we were walking past an Alcoholics Anonymous building this past week when two of the residents outside stopped us and asked to talk with us. One of them, Miguel who is 23 years, asked us what our supreme being is and asked us to share more of our beliefs with him. His companion (all of the residents have a companion, just like missionaries but a little less strict haha) named Emiliano who is 18 told us that as recovering drug addicts and alcoholics, they are taught to develop faith in a higher power. Hermana Wong and I gladly shared with them our faith in God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. They both were really interested and asked to meet with us again. Soon afterwards they received permission to leave so they could visit our chapel and have a lesson with us. A recently returned missionary joined us, which was great. After the lesson we took them to the chapel and had them close their eyes as we sang the hymn "Nearer My God To Thee". Then, Emiliano offered the prayer. They both shared very neat feelings and impressions with us afterwards. We continued to check on them throughout the week. On one of those occasions Miguel asked us "so what do I need to do to be baptized?" My jaw nearly dropped to the floor haha...that does NOT happen very often. They both came to Church with us on Sunday and they loved it :) Miguel was released from his recovery program and left our area so, unfortunately, we will no longer be teaching him. I am so grateful for the small part I had to bring him to the Gospel. However, we are excited to continue to teach Emiliano. Another one of the residents ran after us one day to make sure we would come teach him too and that he wanted to come to Church with us next week :) Blessings.

Another great week lies ahead. This Wednesday we will be hearing from Elder Brent H. Nielson of the Seventy. In preparation for this opportunity, all of us missionaries have read two amazing talks from Elder David A. Bednar on the Atonement -- one from a BYU Devotional in October, 2001, and his Sunday morning General Conference talk from April, 2014. Both very wonderful.

Love you all and have a great week! Enjoy Halloween!

Love, Hermana Jones

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Totally immersed in the work and loving it.

Hello Family :) What a GREAT GREAT week. I now have a new companion...Hermana Wong! I lover her SO much. We busted our little tails this week, taught 42 lessons and found 11 new people to teach. We organized all of the carpetas de area (area books) and actually went to ward council and are getting things figured out. Man I love her. We have such a fun time and I look forward to getting out to work every day with her and talking to as many people as we can. She just makes me want to be better and work harder but we have a ton of fun at the same time. I can't adequately describe how happy I am right now. I have been totally immersed in the work and loving it. I feel like a real companion and missionary now.

We had a lot of great experiences, one of which was during a lesson with Diego's mom who was baptized in 2009 but has not been active in the Gospel since then. We went in with one plan but as we began singing and saying the opening prayer that original plan did not feel right to me. I felt prompted to take a different direction and so, when we ended the prayer, I took a couple seconds of silence and then started asking questions I felt prompted to ask. She totally opened up and scriptures came to both Hermana Wong and I as we taught and helped her with real concerns. Everything was totally guided by the Spirit. Of course it is not good to just ditch plans willy nilly but I am learning how important it is to follow promptings of the Spirit. Also, it is ok to take a few moments of quiet to think before responding. Listening is also really important. We do a lot of that as missionaries. The husband of one of the people we are teaching passed away last week so Hermana Llaguarima and I were able to go over to the home that day and help prepare for the viewing. Then yesterday Hermana Wong and I stopped by and just listened as she and her brother talked. We ended with a hymn and a prayer. Beforehand I was worried about what we would say, but we just listened and talked about everyday life...things like movies and cooking. Then, ending with a hymn and prayer was just right and what they needed. As my Spanish and confidence continues to improve and increase, I am finding that it is easier to be more natural and really follow the Spirit. Sorry, I feel like I am blabbling but it has been a wonderful week and I feel like I am really connecting with people now and I love it.

Also I fasted for a bit last week that I would be blessed with calmness and confidence as I led the area and did most of the planning, phone calling and decision making this last week...and I have been blessed with exactly that. It is been a great week, one of my favorites of my whole mission. I love working. I really hope Hermana Wong and I have a while together and get a lot done here. She is from Mexicali, Mexico and will be turning 27 on 13 de Noviembre. My first two companions so far have been the two “oldest” Hermanas in the mission haha :) She studied fashion and is fluent in French, Italian, English, and Español so I have been learning little bits of French and Italian which is super fun :) She lived in both of those countries for a few years. Her grandpa was from China...hence her last name. Apparently, a lot of Chinese immigrants came to Mexicali in the early 1900s. We have so many of the same favorite movies and share a desire to have everything tidy, neat, clean and organized; I feel like I have met one of my best friends this last week. Everything is great over here :)

My district leader is Elder Miller (attah boy!). He is training Elder Acosta, a new missionary, who is a piano genius. We eat at a different member's house every day but we eat at Hermana Lila's house every Tuesday and Hermana Norma's house every Wednesday. Hermana Wong cannot eat anything with gluten or leche so President Stutznegger took us to hospital to get some allergy tests done. We enjoyed a great day with President and Hermana Stutznegger. So much fun and I am glad he emailed you :)

Prez told us that they will probably not send American sisters to this mission any more for safety reasons. It is crazy that there are just four of us here now! Also I am pretty sad about Hermana Garner but we had a chance to talk a little bit and I am so glad that she and her family are at peace with the decision for her to return home and focus on her health. I always envisioned us being companions but she came here to do what she needed to and Heavenly Father has a plan for her at home.

Love you,
Hermana Jones

(Parent note: We received an email from President Stutznegger while he had some time at the clinic waiting for Hermana Wong. We were so grateful to receive it and get a glimpse into the incredible, consecrated service of a mission president and his amazing wife. They left their home early to pick up Hermana Wong and Emily and then drove clear to the other side of Mexico City. "Sooo much traffic!" They spent a lot of time in the car laughing, talking, joking and singing. President asked Emily to sing to them and said it is not everyday that he rides in a car with a member of the BYU Women's Chorus and that "we had an angel in the car singing to us." They even sang some Christmas carols, and President Stutznegger sang harmony with her as they drove the "crazy roadways of Mexico City." President had never been to that particular clinic, and Emily sat in front following the blue dot on his GPS. They reportedly made it "through trial and error." After the medical appointments, they picked up Sister Stutznegger and went to a new mall just about a mile from the Stutznegger's house. Emily was reported to have enjoyed the food very much. We cannot adequately express how grateful we are for President and Sister Stutznegger!)

Baby Victor. His mom and dad live with one of the people we are teaching. 

After the Sunday session of General Conference -- Hermana Llaguarima, Diego, Sergio, Raul (baptized about a year ago... he has a brain tumor so the left side of his body doesn't work too well, but he faithfully walks with his cane to the church for meetings!) We visit him fairly regularly outside by his family's fruit-stand), and me. Great people here!

And a pic of me with my zone leaders: Elder Chico from Torreon, Mexico, and Elder Zubietta from Ecuador who went home with my district leader "Papa Juarez" last week. All great guys. Elder Chico and Elder Keller are our zone leaders now.

My District Leader, Elder Juarez, and me. 

General Conference weekend with my cute little District. Hermana Llaguarima ended up going to Neza and she is one of the sister training leaders there with Hermana Tirado. Hermana Wong (on the other side of Elder Juarez from me) is now my companion (YAY!!!), Hermana Lambert is a sister training leader here with Hermana Sic, and Hermana Wolferts is with Hermana Martinez. They live together and serve in Barrio O. Elder Miller, Elder Acosta, Hermana Wong and I serve in Barrio F.

My Ward had a going away/birthday party for Elder Juarez because his 22nd b-day was his last Sunday in the mission. Love these people and am looking forward to really working with them this next cycle (hopefully two but we'll see). 

I especially love these little kids :)

We ate with Hermano Jorge Rodriguez (second counselor in the bishopric) and his wife Sandy (who studied at BYU the year before my freshmen year there), their cute little baby Regina and Sandy's mom Hermana Reina Torres. It is always wonderful when we eat with them. SO DELICIOUS. They try to make us American food sometimes, which I appreciate. We had some amazing lasagna, mashed potatoes, cream of carrot soup and CHOCOLATE CAKE!

I think this is a poinsettia tree?

I'm pretty sure this is a domesticated parrot haha, quien sabe? Little birdie in the sky... :)

Selfie in the street with Diego.

Hermana Ramirez, Hermana Llaguarima, HermanaVazquez and me. 

Fun picture of my Zone as part of a mission-wide Zone photo contest.

Enjoying some good food with President and Sister Stutznegger after Hermana Wong's tests. This is not typical mission food in my area :) I am grateful for the Stutzneggers.

My new companion...Hermana Wong!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


Well, I was hoping to send pictures but they aren't working at the moment so you may not be getting any this week but I will keep working on it. In the mean time, another week has gone by! It is so weird to be sitting next to my trainer and knowing that this time tomorrow I will be teaching with someone new. Last night as we walked home we realized that it was our last time teaching together and we will most likely never do so again :( I can't believe that 12 weeks has gone by with her. So fast... In thinking about dad’s mission reunion, and the opportunity he had to see such great people again, I am looking forward to events like that someday because there are wonderful people here who I love so much! One thing about serving a mission that I am truly grateful for -- all of the people I am meeting. It is so hard to think of the reality that one day I will have to say goodbye to these people probably for forever.

As a missionary, we have the opportunity to learn patience. That’s for sure. Sunday was a bit disappointing because we have 4 investigators progressing to baptism and not one of them came to Church. However, we just need to continue working with them and helping them to receive blessings as they keep commitments. The work goes on!

This last week I had my first divisions with Hermana Sic from Guatemala (divisions are where companions work with missionaries from other areas and receive training). She is a firecracker packed into a teeny little frame haha and I love her. She is awesome and I had a blast teaching with her. It was very different being the one leading the area and deciding where we would go when lessons fell through etc., but it also felt really good. The day before and the morning of divisions I prayed very hard for awhile to my Father in Heaven for the blessing of peace and confidence -- I was feeling quite nervous. Then when the time came to leave my companion and head back to my area with Hermana Sic, I felt filled with a power that was not my own. Everything went so well and I guided the lessons and talked in such a way that I have not before. I was filled with total calmness and confidence during all of our lessons. I had a fun time getting to know Hermana Sic as well and enjoyed learning from her. This was a direct answer to prayer from Heavenly Father. I know that He knows each one of us individually and answers our prayers that are offered in sincere faith, and not just for the sake of offering a prayer. Prayer is something that I sometimes take for granted but I am truly grateful for the ability to communicate with our Heavenly Father. In the Book of Mosiah (in the Book of Mormon) when the people in Alma are in bondage, it is a great example of how we can overcome difficulties, or sometimes scary situations, with His divine help.

Well, this time next week I will have likely had a week in my area with a new Hermana! I find out tomorrow morning!

Love you all!

Hermana Jones

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

General Conference was wonderful!

All is well here in Mexico :) I ate a tamale on the side of the road for breakfast this morning before taking a micro ride (really ghetto bus) to another chapel for a zone activity and also drank coconut juice as well. So delicious. I also learned how to make tamales the other week from a family of recent converts and thought of friends back in Chicago who used to make them for us on Christmas Eve :) I also played futbol (soccer for my gringo friends) with bunch of Elders today and it was the best! My legs feel like they used to after soccer practice every day. I miss that feeling. It was really fun :) We had a zone photo contest today and there are some great pics that I hope to share soon :)

This happens to be my last week of training! Where has the time gone?! Next week I will most likely have a new companion and teach her the ropes of the area. Lots of mixed emotions but mostly excitement :) I have a lot of goals and ideas in mind for what I would like to do and accomplish. We have some new people who are interested in taking the lessons from us and I look forward to working with them. Change is always hard but life wouldn't be life without change and feeling a little outside our comfort zone at times. This last week I have felt a measurable growth in my Español. It is so wonderful to feel more like a companion instead of a trainee and I am looking forward to building on that in the coming months. All in all, the mission has been a humbling experience and has taught me that we are not meant to be perfect in this life. We can be perfect at trying though (great quote from “Meet the Mormons”). My companion and I have also grown really close these last few weeks and she has become a dear friend to me despite our many differences. I have had a great experience with her and will miss her. Sometimes we talk late at night and laugh ourselves silly :) It has only been the two of us for the majority of the time in our apartment during these twelve weeks; the only time others lived with us was during the Temple open house.

General Conference was wonderful! We had a person that we are teaching come to a session of Conference with us and I was able to watch it in English :) I was reminded of how grateful I am for living Prophets and Apostles on the earth today. I know that they are inspired and called of God. Before Conference, I wrote down three questions and prayed to receive answers. All three were answered within the first session! The Lord knows exactly what we need. I loved what President Uchtdorf said about the Gospel being pure and beautiful like a lily. We need to not complicate things so much and just enjoy the beauty that the Gospel has to offer. Also, it is okay not to know or understand every bit of doctrine right away. The Gospel is simple enough for a child to understand and yet we could spend an eternity learning all that there is to learn about it. As a missionary, at times I feel pressured to answer every single question, but really my purpose is to teach those who are teachable and ready to hear the basic truths of the Gospel. I fully sustain President Monson, his counselors, the Twelve (I loved hearing the testimonies of Elders Rasband, Stevenson, and Renlund and am very happy for them), and the leaders of the Church.

Thank you so so so so so much for the package! Chocolate :) I almost cried. It is so expensive here so thank you. Haha I ate a package of old saltine crackers I found in our cupboards and as I was about to eat one I noticed some little yeast looking things on them so I quickly ended that. The “worm cake” never gave me a problem so I am trusting that my iron digestive tract will continue to hold true! Believe it or not, one thing that I have learned to love here though is chicharron -- fried pig skin. It really is quite tasty. However, it is not what you want race out and put on your top ten list of nutritional foods/substances :) Fun cultural fact...people mop the sidewalks here with soapy water and brooms. I love it :) 

We had a few earthquake alarms this last week and are preparing for a big one to come these next few months. Our District Leader called at midnight one night this last week to warn us to prepare to leave. As my companion was running all over the house, I just moved my shoes and clothes over to my bed in case we needed to run and continued to lay there. I don't have an emergency backpack yet and there's really nothing we could do at the moment but be on alert for an actual alarm. 

I love you all and hope you are doing great :) Pics next week!

Love you :)

Hermana Jones