Hermana Jones

Hermana Jones

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

18 Meses

Dear Family and Friends,

About two years ago I received a letter that changed my life forever. It came on my 19th birthday. I still remember the feelings I had as I read the words stating that I would be serving in the Mexico, Mexico City Southeast Mission, preaching the Gospel in the Spanish language. My heart was full of a love for people I didn't even know, and now here I am after 18 months of living amongst the most wonderful people I have had the privilege of knowing. My heart is breaking knowing that my time here has come to an end...the love I felt for this place and this people has only grown. This love does not just come from putting a name-tag on and carrying a bag with scriptures and teaching materials. It comes from viewing people from another perspective -- a heavenly perspective -- in a way that only Heavenly Father and the Savior can do perfectly. It comes from weeping and laughing with them, serving them, teaching them, praying and hoping for a better life for each person. Walking over broken city sidewalks and dirt roads, and up and down hills and mountainsides every day for the last 18 months is not what has made me a missionary. The doors I have knocked and the information I have recorded in my agenda really don't mean anything without the people behind them. I am coming home a different person because of the changes I witnessed in the lives of the people I have met...a change that only comes through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. I am coming home a different Hermana Jones because these principles have changed me personally. I have had to rely wholly on the Lord and His will and counsel, even though it often meant doing things I was scared of, or out of my comfort zone. Faith is essential to our happiness. Repentance is also essential to our happiness. I have repented and changed and learned every day for the past 18 months. I have had to learn things about myself and understand that I could not be the missionary God wanted me to be without embracing faith, change, and growth. I have grown to more fully understand the importance of covenants -- promises we make with our Heavenly Father -- and how obedience to these covenants, beginning with baptism, brings blessings. The commitments we make with Him and how we fulfill these commitments is all that really matters. Baptism and covenants are essential to our happiness. The communication we have with our Heavenly Father and His influence we feel through the Spirit is a guiding light. When we think about it, why wouldn't we live in such a way that permits us to have Him with us at all times, and in all things, and in all places? I have learned to trust in and follow the promptings I receive and not question them because they always lead to good things that I never could have accomplished without them. Receiving and following the Holy Ghost is essential to our happiness. El perseverar hasta el fin -- enduring to the end -- is where it all comes together. It is the day-in-day-out doing what you need to do, when you need to do it, without being asked, in your own little corner of the world where you become the person the Savior knows you can become. He suffered and provided an infinite Atonement for each of us, and if we come unto Him and rely on Him day in and day out He will make all of the difference. Enduring to the end is essential to our happiness. I love the Gospel and I love my Savior. It has been a blessing to serve Him and under His name this last year and a half. I am excited to continue to do so in the next chapter of my life. I am super excited to see you all :) It has been fun reading your emails the last year and a half. Thank you for your support, love, and prayers. I couldn't have done it without you :) I know that what I have taught and defended here in Mexico is true. It is all true.

Love, Hermana Jones

The group of missionaries departing in December had the opportunity to go to the Mexico City Temple last week with President and Hermana Stutznegger (pics courtesy of Hermana Stutznegger). I began my mission by serving with the other Hermanas at the Mexico City Temple open house before it was re-dedicated. It was fitting to go back near the end of my mission with people that I love so much. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Feliz Día de Acción de Gracias! and Final Week

(Parent Note: the emails below are from the last two weeks)

Feliz Día de Acción de Gracias! (November 23, 2016)

That is Happy Thanksgiving in Spanish, and I mean it! Happy Thanksgiving everybody! I am excited to go hog wild tomorrow at President's house ("Don't mind if I do Lilian"). It has been a great last week and a half. Here in the mission (and throughout the whole world) we are getting very excited to start La Iniciativa de Navidad for this year! I invite you all to go to Mormon.org this Friday to see and share the new Christmas video the Church has made as well as all of the great ideas of how to iluminar el mundo this Christmas Season as the Savior did during His earthly ministry. Also, 1 de Diciembre is the world day of service so start planning the service projects you will do next Thursday! I am going to enjoy this last week and a half I have to spread as much Christmas cheer in Mexico as possible! We have already seen a lot of success in contacting on the streets with the little cards we have as well as visiting members and inviting them to join with us in the Christmas initiative. I love being able to focus on Christ and the light He gives to everyone, regardless of beliefs or religion.

Okay, a funny quick experience to share with you this week -- my companion and I were on our way to the stake center when we had the impression to talk to a mother and daughter. The mom was knocking door to door and the daughter was sitting on the curb. We started talking to them and turns out that they were selling canaries -- the little birds -- to try to have a little money to buy something to eat. My companion encouraged me to buy two of them. So, after giving them a pamphlet, we continued on our way to the stake center with a little brown paper bag with birds inside. When we got there we left them in the kitchen and headed into our meeting. Afterwards, we took President to the kitchen...to find the bag empty and the birds flying all over the room! I then witnessed something epic that I will never forget -- President going into action and managing to catch the birds with my companion screaming every time one flew by her head. I had tears streaming down my face I was laughing so hard. After Prez got them in the bag he turned to me and said "That is the dumbest thing you have ever done on your mission" HAHAHAHAHAHA. He gave us a hug and thanked us for trying to be kind to someone on the street but suggesting that next time we just give the person money instead of taking the animals with us. We gave the birds to a sweet old man who is a recent convert and is taking very good care of them. I need to run...we had a great day at the National Museum of Anthropology near at Chapultepec. Thanks everybody! I love you all and am grateful for each of you!

Love Hermana Jones

Final Week (November 28, 2016)

Hello everybody! I apologize now that this is going to be so short and boring. We just got back from saying goodbye to Monte Corona and Jardines Wards (second area) way up in the mountains and volcanoes and all that fun stuff so I do not have much time at all. It was a great week. Yesterday we were present for the baptism of a young man that we taught and then later the Elders when they arrived to cover the south part of the J.E. Ward. I have come to truly appreciate the importance and value of the ordinance of baptism here in the mission. Every single person is a child of God who is on the path home again and it is amazing to see. Also, our 66 year old investigator M went to Church yesterday and stayed for the baptism afterwards and LOVED it. I think he will be baptized here in a few weeks :)

Quick story...yesterday I saved the Bishop jajajaja during Sacrament Meeting I felt the need to check the little frijolito of a phone we have and found that the Bishop had sent us a text asking one of us to share a message right after the speaker that was speaking at the time. I sent him a message telling him not to worry and that I would take care of it. I also asked if there was a specific topic I should speak on and all he asked of me was that I didn't share with the congregation that he had asked me on the spot to speak haha. So, I once again used the story of Grandpa Wayne and I walking to the bus stop and then shared some verses from Mosiah 5 about how we need to have Christ´s name written on our heart, and know the name by which we are called. We can't get to know somebody unless we spend time with them. I also again used the story of the disciples and Christ on the road to Emaus. I asked them a few questions about if they were spending enough time with Christ every day. It was fun :)

Sorry I have not sent more pictures over the past few weeks. My camera has officially died so I can no longer take pictures. I am relying on those that people send me and then I forward them to you. I love you all so much. I am excited to work as hard as possible this last week I have as a missionary. Okay I really do have to go now. LOVE YOU. Cheers and saludos!

Hermana Jones

Saying goodbye to people in my first area. It is a little overwhelming and I did not see as many as I hoped but these are all converts who I worked with and visited a lot during my first few months. A, the older man, is now cancer free! When I visited him with my trainer Hermana Llaguarima and Hermana Wong and, during the first part of Hermana Carrasco's training, he was always in a recliner chair or flat on his back in bed. Now he can walk! I could hardly understand or talk to these wonderful people when I first arrived but they did help me a lot during the refiner's fire of learning Spanish haha.

Two of my favorite adorable kids from my first area.

A and I...It was a blessing to enjoy the journey that lead to their baptism.

Me with Lilian who is the Bishop's ten year old daughter (they live above us). It was really fun to teach her "Soy un hijo de Dios" for the primary program. She did a great job!

Selfie while waiting for interviews. This was about twenty minutes after I had the privilege and honor of giving my companion her flu shot! That was one of the coolest experiences and really wish we had it on video. As soon as she saw the needle she nearly fainted and we had to shove her into the chair (I used the technique my mom used one time when I was young. She told me we were going on a fun trip after school to get donuts and did not tell me a thing about going to the doctor! My companion had forgotten about the shots and I did not remind her. Mama Stutz didn't have donuts but she did have Tootsie rolls so that was good). She was literally kicking and putting up a good fight. Hermana Stutznegger had to bear hug her while I managed to get the needle in. Afterwards, Hna Stutznegger said that Hermana Torres has taken the cake for being the worst missionary ever to receive a shot. It was hilarious haha poor thing :)

This pic is of us with a lady who we contacted on the street while we were looking for somewhere to eat (the members had given us money for the day) and she invited us into her cocina economica. She was so sweet :)

Us with Hermana L who gave us la comida yesterday. She is always full of energy and super fun to be with!

"Las Alas" or "The Wings" nearby Chapultepec. We had a great time today visiting the National Museum of Anthropology there. It was impressive.

More pics from el museo -- it is a huge place. We did not even make it through half of the building I think but we went to a few of the highlights which are the rooms of Teotihuacán, Mexica, and the Mayas. Lots of human sacrificing and other interesting things.

Real human skeletons. There were a lot of those in the museum. It really is a fascinating place that I hope to return to some day.

Thanksgiving with the Hermanas and the Stutzneggers!

I love my sisters!

More pics from Thanksgiving at with the Stutzneggers. I love them!!! (photo credit to Hermana Stutznegger)

Simplemente México :) 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

I should be able to see the Light of Christ in my countenance.

Hellooooooo! It was fun to hear from all of you and read your emails this week. Thank you! It is always so much for fun to read than to write haha. We had a good week full of work and meetings and divisions and everything that comes with being a missionary. It was very special to have el élder Jesús Alfonso Ortiz Tirado, of the Seventy, and his wife Olga Lydia. They are a powerhouse couple. I mean WOW. Talk about stellar people. Elder Mafi and I organized a musical number for the Friday conference with the zones Neza, Oriental, Pantitlan, and La Perla 1 y 2. We sang “Calma Mi Alma” -- "Be Still My Soul" -- that just recently came out in Spanish. I started out with a solo and then slowly other people joined in (we got the Stutzneggers crying so I hope that means it turned out alright :P). Before the conference started I had the opportunity to have an interview with Elder Ortiz. He is such a kind man and knows so much about life and the Gospel. I will have to tell you more about him when I get back. He and his wife's story is incredible. Anyways, we had a chance to talk and when he asked me if I had any questions for him, I asked him what is the best thing I could do when I am home as a returned missionary. He gave me some great counsel that I have written down that I really appreciate. The rest of the conference was great! I learned so much. Everything seemed to be geared to how to use this time we have now so that we are prepared to go home and be returned missionaries who remain faithful. Then on Saturday during the leadership council many of the same principles were discussed but in a different way to say them. Basically the whole conference was for me!!!! It really helped and I feel contenta right now with where I am at in the mission and with regards to coming home. It was funny because during the conference on Friday Elder Ortiz called me up in front of everyone so I could share with them a little of what we had talked about in the interview. Essentially, as a returned missionary I will have many other obligations and things to take care of and simply will not be able to study in depth from the scriptures for 2 hours every day, or go out and spend hours in the streets preaching the gospel every day, nor should I reprimand my family for not doing "companionship study" with me every day hahahaha and things like that and THAT IS OKAY. He told me that it is normal to be thinking about home a lot during these last few weeks because I need to start preparing myself for what lies ahead. What he did counsel me to do that I later shared with the missionaries is that we need to live what we have just spent 18 months or 2 years teaching people and I do not have to lower myself to all the vulgar and vain things of the world after having been set apart as a missionary (PME pg. 4 the quote by President Spencer W. Kimball). I should be able to look in the mirror and see the Light of Christ still there in my countenance. If I can no longer see that, something is wrong. He also shared with me that, although I can no longer do it for two hours every day, real scripture study for 15 minutes every day is essential. In front of all the missionaries he told them that I had told him that "I don't want it all to end and that I would like to stay here." Then he said how he was just thinking of my dear parents back at home and how they would feel about that decision hahaha and said, "Oh hermana, como verás que no es así" (translated in context: oh sister, you will see when you get home that your parents don't want you to extend your mission) it was really funny how he said it and I understand that it probably doesn't make sense when I say it in English. (Parent note: we are definitely looking forward to being with her, but actually wish that she could stay longer because it has been such a blessing for her and us both!). He gave me his email to write him when I get home so that he can get me in contact with his unmarried son living in Utah hahaha he said that we can be friends because he doesn't have a lot of friends in Utah so that will be fun.

I had a nice time doing divisions with an hermana last Tuesday in Oriental, helping her feel more comfortable with contacting in the streets and knocking doors. It is so much fun because we never know quite what we are getting ourselves into when we contact! Ok, to a certain extent we can sometimes predict the outcome but not always. We followed the Spirit and knocked two doors where two people accepted us and we were able to teach some of the Restoration there at the door. I miss my combi days when I could sit up front with the driver and chat. In Neza we walk every where or take a mototaxi and it is just not the same. Today I will start saying goodbye to my old areas, starting with Oriental/Fovissste where it all began. I am also planning on going to the Museum of Natural Art and History (I think that is what it is called) next week and will have to change my P-day for that visit because it is closed on Mondays...just a heads up. This week my companion has her last interview with President as well as her pictures and interview for her visa. Next week we will be at President's for Thanksgiving! Woohooo!

In answer to questions, I have had a few comments about Donald Trump here jaja. Friday we had a super fun Ward activity making carne asada with all the fixings and playing basquetbol y futbol. A few investigators, converts, and less actives who we have been working with a lot lately came which was great (the sad part is that none of the people we are teaching from our half of the Ward came on Sunday so once again their baptism dates fell). After realizing that playing in skirts and Crocs flats simply just wouldn't do, H took us back real quick to change and we arrived just in time to kick some trash on the court. I was brought back to my glory days of high school soccer and Church-bball and had all the hermanas on my team shouting "hermana güera!" (blonde girl) to pass them the ball. I think I surprised quite a few people with how aggressive I can be when it comes to sports, particularly basketball and soccer hahaha we had a good time and there was a great turnout :) Well, I will try to send some pics from my companion’s camera really quick...mine seems to be toast. I love you all very much and hope this week treats you well!

Hermana Güera Jones

Mission Conference with Elder Jesus A. Ortiz

Mission Leadership Conference last week. 

I am getting very excited to have a dryer again at home because here we have to hang the wash to dry and when it rains (like it did every day this last week) we are left to our own devices hahaha wet laundry strewn all over the apartment!

This is a group picture of those who went to the visitor's center for the family home evening (minus the Bishop who took the picture).

The jack-o-lantern we carved for Halloween that President and Mama Stutz gave us (it was the first time ever for my companion!)

Eating ice cream with H last Monday after playing basketball and soccer with a bunch of other missionaries. He has been wanting to take us to ice cream for a long time now hahaha :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

I have seen people change and come unto Christ, which has helped me change and come unto Him as well.

Happy Monday everybody! It's good to be back once again before starting another week. I must inform you that you all at home are not the only ones celebrating the victory of the dear Chicago Cubs. Here in my ward there is a wonderful family -- La Familia M -- who loves baseball and was rooting for the Cubs right along with me. They kept me informed throughout the week and on Sunday all gave me huge hugs and high fives when they shared the news with me :) hahaha very sweet people and I am happy to have shared that with them down here in Neza.

This week was fun and a little bit difficult as always, but that is just the way we like it! Hermana Torres has now received her visa and begun the process of interviews and final touches. I think she will be going at the same time with me! We will see what happens. On Saturday we were running around like crazy trying to make sure people could go to the Ward Family Home Evening in the Visitor's Center. After spending the whole day doing that we arrived with a little micro full of people and spent the evening with just 23 members and 1 investigator. I'll admit, I was pretty frustrated but we pressed forward and did the best we could. The evening was centered on Jesus Christ and the Atonement. The Elders and my companion and I took a little bit of time to share messages, and the majority of it was taken by an hermano from the Ward who is a doctor and talked about a recent medical study about the physical trials the Savior went through in Gethsemane and on Calvary. Although the projector didn't work and we just listened instead, it was very impactful and very special for the 24 people who went. The following Sunday many of those who went shared their testimony, including our 14 year old investigator who is the son of H, and he said in front of the whole congregation that he knows that the Church is true and hopes that the hermanas (us) can teach him more about Christ. His dad H also got up and expressed how much he loves us which really means a lot. We were able to do a fast with him to help him stop drinking completely, and he loved the whole experience.

The mission is by far the hardest thing I have ever done but definitely the most rewarding experience I have ever had because I have seen people change and come unto Christ, which has helped me change and come unto Him as well. Our efforts may appear to be in vain or futile but I promise all of you that every time we do our best to help another person, how every big or small the act my be, it means something and measures up. Love you all :)

Hermana Jones

PS I’m still having issues with my camera :(

Parent Note:

The following pictures were taken by Sister Stutznegger of children celebrating Day of the Dead.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Acts of kindness by ordinary people who made a huge difference in our lives.

Happy Halloween and Feliz Dia de Muertos (for the kids tomorrow on the 1st and the adults on the 2nd of Noviembre)! Here in my area one of the main streets that we walk on is jam packed with people buying food, trick-or-treating with the little kids dressed up in costumes, and viewing the ofrendas or "offerings" for the “day of the dead” put on by a few of the regional high schools. I will try to send some pictures. It is a really neat tradition here. They make altars with flowers, candles, fotos, favorite foods of the person who died, and other things to honor the dead. All of the high schools did this for a group project grade in their schools but it is to preserve the traditions here in Mexico. After I finish writing we will head in for the night. Tomorrow should be interesting because they will still be celebrating and it may be hard to get from place to place for our appointments.

This last week was a little tough but had some real gems. Although we struggled with helping the people we are teaching to progress, we had some neat experiences from following the guidance of the Spirit. One of which was we passed by a woman sitting on a moto-taxi on the side of the road and I felt the need to talk to her. They had some sketchy (I don't know how else to describe it haha) music playing and it just looked kind of uncomfortable to talk to her so I didn't say anything and we kept walking. I felt it again but stronger this time so we went back to talk to the woman. She definitely looked a little surprised to see us but as we started talking and asking how she was doing she told us she was not too well because her mother in law had just passed away days before. We gave her a pamphlet of the Plan of Salvation and shared more of that with her. She does not live nearby but I hope that she can get in contact with other missionaries. Another neat experience we had was during a Zone activity in another area doing a similar thing we did in mine -- looking for people who are less active in the Gospel. We went to a certain house and out came a less active woman who has been unable to attend Church for awhile due to declining health. She was so happy to see us and told us that about two weeks ago she had a dream of missionaries coming to her door and visiting her. It was a special experience to be able to really help someone out who had been waiting for a visit. Another neat experience was when we went to the home of a contact we made in the street. An older woman answered the door and after we told her that we are missionaries and representatives of Christ, she asked us if we would like to come in and drink some water. She was so kind to us. We were able to visit with her and her husband who is really ill and declining fast. I asked them why she had decided to let us in and she said that it was because of what she felt when she was with us. She sensed that we brought goodness with us. They accepted an invitation to learn more. It will be really hard for them to make it to Church due to her husband's health but we are excited to teach them more. Our wonderful investigator Berenice in the wheelchair is so incredibly powerful. She loved Church last Sunday and is praying to know if the gospel is true. This last week during one of our visits when introducing the Book of Mormon to her, her eyes lit up as we talked more about it. We assigned the introduction to her as homework for the next time. She cannot read while lying down so she asked us right there in that moment to help her sit up. We got her situated and, after asking for the book, began to read the introduction right then and there. I love her! We invited her to be baptized and, after she said yes, we began to talk to her about a specific date and that through her faith and our's she would be at a point physically when she could be baptized. We extended December 3rd (my last weekend here in the mission) and she said, "Oh yes, that will totally be fine!" and was very happy because that is her dad's birthday. She wants him to baptize her. It is going to be so beautiful and we are so happy for her :) Well, we have two awesome Elders here in the Ward with us now. We spent a bit of time showing them around and presenting them to people. One of them got sick during the week and, being new in the area, had nothing to eat in their house so we went to buy them some food. We stopped at the tienda of a man we had contacted before who did not have interest in learning more but recognized who we are. After trying to figure out what we could feed two Elders, without a whole lot of money to feed them, and asking this man for the price of every single thing in the store, I handed him the money that I had which would exactly cover what we needed to buy. He accepted one bill but the other he handed back to me and asked me to please take it. He said that he sees us walking all over, back and forth-back and forth, in front of his store every day and knows that we are here doing something good. He insisted that we take the rest of the money and said that whenever we need anything, ANYTHING, we can come to him. I teared up a little as I thanked him. After that, we crossed a super busy street in which a man stopped to let us cross first even though there were a lot of people behind him. We stopped by the Elders' house and learned that they did not have any drinking water, so we went to another tienda and had just enough money to buy water for them thanks to the man in the other tienda. It was a series of very incredible miracles and acts of kindness by ordinary people who made a huge difference in our lives. I went home very grateful that night for Heavenly Father's love and awareness of us in our little spot of the world. I am sure that there are more incredible things to tell you all but I honestly cannot remember them but I have them written in my journal so don't worry. I love you all and wish you a wonderful first week of November!

Love Hermana Jones

PS I am so sorry but my camera has a virus so it is really hard for me to send pictures and I need to get home now. Next week when I have more time I will dedicate a good half hour to do it, I promise.

We had a great day. President and Sister Stutznegger were kind enough to take us to Plaza de la Ciudadela...it has a bunch of Mexican handcrafts and is a little overwhelming haha. I was able to buy some fun things.

President and Sister Stutznegger are the best! They found out that I wanted a pumpkin to carve for Halloween and they found one for me :)

We also had a surprise birthday party this morning for one of our zone leaders, Elder V in the blue and white soccer jersey just above me. It turned out really well and was a lot of fun :)

Monday, October 24, 2016

Someone who I needed to find during my mission.

Hello everybody! Only one week til Halloween. I have looked high and low for a pumpkin to carve but have searched in vain... I guess my companion and I will just celebrate by buying and eating our own candy and pan de muerto in the house. Today begins my last cycle/transfer of the mission ): That is all I will say about that. A few neat experiences this past week. First of all, my comp and I waged WWIII in the apartment today, her in the kitchen and me in the bathroom. We basically live in the Titanic due to old pipes and the leaky shower which means water and mold EVERYWHERE! Yuuuusssss. When we pulled a table away from the wall we found little uncooked frijoles all in a row stuck to the wall. I whipped out the good old broom and a fancy new anti-hongo (anti-fungus) spray I bought today and went ham wild in the baño, spraying and scrubbing and screaming in frustration at times, so much so that pretty soon I had a hard time breathing and had to run out for fresh air. Maybe opening the little window before fumigating the place may have been a wise decision. In any event, it is a little bit cleaner now. The water still leaks out of the bathroom and makes a nice puddle outside the door, but we will take what we can get. Also, we made brownies :)

Now to teaching. The week before last we met a sweet old lady named M outside of her business/house (the majority of people here have the two connected in the same building and multiple families live in the same house) while she was weeding. We finished the weeding for her and then began talking with her. When she mentioned that her husband passed away a year ago from cancer, we gave her a folleto (pamphlet) of El Plan de Salvación and sacamos una cita (made an appointment) for a few days later. When we went back, she first started out by saying that she didn't want to waste our time because she cannot change her religion. She said she cannot always come to Church and she is still learning to read and feels that she cannot read and speak as eloquently as other people; but she invited us to come in anyway. As we began talking more she told us of how much she loved the pamphlet we had given her. Although she is still learning to read and write and has partial facial paralysis which makes seeing out of her right eye even more difficult, she had read it little by little until she had finished the whole thing. She told us of how a day after we had given her the folleto, she received news that a dear friend had passed away, which was devastating in and of itself. It also brought back emotions to the surface related to her husband's death. She was going through papers on the table, found the pamphlet, and began reading. She was overwhelmed with peace and comfort reading about the Plan that God has for us and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. She prayed and felt that it was true. As I listened to all of this, I was filled with so much love for this sweet woman. I felt what I am sure is only a little tiny bit of the love that our Heavenly Father and the Savior feel for us, but it was enough to bring tears to my eyes and want her more than anything to be happy. As I offered the opening prayer, I had tears streaming down my face as I pleaded that she could be healthy and strong and know that what we teach is true. After that I couldn't talk much and my companion took over for awhile. Maria continued to ask amazing, sincere questions and by the time we had finished she was wanting to go to Church. I said a prayer in my heart that she would accept baptism, and when Hermana Torres invited her to be baptized on the 26th of November she said yes because she wants to do what God commands us to do. It was so incredible. She is so powerful. I really felt that she is someone who I needed to find during my mission. Two elders will be coming back tomorrow and taking over the other half of the area where she lives but I am grateful for the time we spent with her. We have another new investigator named B who is also amazing. She is 34. Several of her family members are members of the Church but she and her 10 year old son are not. A little over a month ago she was on a motorcycle when she crashed and flew I don't know how far into the street and completely split her head open. She has been left with the left side of her body paralyzed, a severely fractured hand, and other injuries. She is looking for God in her life. From what the doctors had said, it is a miracle that she is alive. She has so much desire to do all that she can to come to know Him better. A Ward member is helping us take her to Church on Sundays which is wonderful. We are grateful that we can teach her during these next several weeks. Hermana Torres and I are finishing things off together this next cycle which I am so thrilled about :) We are going to bust a move in our half of the area while we are here.

We were protected this week. Last night we went to the home of a less active family to have a Family Home Evening and we were planning on just teaching the grandparents of the family. We were unaware that their son-in-law, who is an old investigator of ours, was there. We were in one room talking to the hermana as we started to hear a heated discussion outside. All of the sudden, the old investigator stormed into the room and started shouting and swearing, saying that he doesn't want anything to do with us. Then he stormed out of the room and started fighting, and throwing mirrors and movie discs all over. Then he stormed out of the house with his wife chasing after him. It was really sad because their four year old daughter didn't understand what was going on and began crying. We felt a strong impression to get out of the house, which we did, and a minute after doing so we saw the man storming back to the house. It was a very good thing that we were not there. We felt pretty badly because we don't want anybody to get hurt, while at the same time feeling thankful that we were kept safe. We had another similar experience this week where thankfully we were not in a certain place at a certain time or else who knows what could have happened. The Lord watches over and protects us. Well I need to go but I hope you enjoy your week and I love you all! My camera is being stinky, again, so I apologize for no pictures :/

Love Hermana Jones

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Lost sheep.

Hey everybody! I am still here and still preaching the good word. I am sorry that I did not write last week; we got to visit Teotihuacan and returned late. I don’t have much time today either and this may be the lamest letter of my mission. Just know that I am happy, well, and still working hard. Life has been very busy. We had an activity on Saturday in our area with missionaries in our zone, along with a few ward members who helped us out. What we did is my companion and I took a few hours to go through all of the baptism records in our area books, organize them by address, and divide them into groups of about 4 or 5 homes. We marked where to find them on maps and gave each companionship 2 lists, along with maps, and sent them on their way with a Ward member to look for these "lost sheep" -- people who have been baptized in the last 2-5 years and then fell off the face of the earth. There is a lot of retention to do here. My comp and I also had the chance a few weeks ago to do a training on contacting and finding which was fun. Last week Hermana Jonapá and I participated in a training for new district leaders and talked about leadership -- we used the example of Captain Moroni to illustrate the type of leader we should be. Not many of our investigators are progressing which is difficult but we are trying to involve more Ward members in our lessons. Yesterday the Primary in our Ward presented its annual program and it was absolutely incredible. Those little kids are darling. Lilian did very well playing "Soy un hijo de Dios" on the violin. I was able to help her get it tuned and warmed up before the meeting (by the way, I will send pics next week I promise). We had fun teaching families this last week and sharing teachings from the Bible. Man I love the Bible and am grateful for the time I have had on my mission to study it more and to learn it. Well, take care this week! Enjoy the Halloween festivities!

Love Hermana Jones

Thursday, October 6, 2016

I don't want this time to end.

Hello everybody! Sorry for the delay. We went to the Temple today so our p-day was changed (and just a heads up for next week, all of us who go home in December are planning a trip to Teotihuacan next Monday so my writing time may be short but I will do my best). Anyhoooo, what a week. Lots of great stuff going on. I am trying to remember all that has happened but honestly the days just blend together. We are working on cleaning out our list of people we are teaching -- those who are progressing and those who are not. We have been able to find many new people to teach but it is a whole other story getting them on the path and keeping them going. We were able to bring the first counselor of the bishopric to an appointment we had with the Familia S. B. which was cool. They gave us agua azul, which is water with roots in it that dye the water a metallic blue and supposedly helps your kidneys. Some of them are less-active members and others are not Church members. 13 year old B is a champ. He really has a desire to learn. We taught them the Restoration and it was cool to see the countenance of the very closed off dad change throughout the lesson, especially when teaching the First Vision. That is such a powerful event to teach and testify of. I love telling people that los cielos ya no están cerrados, or that the heavens are not sealed/closed and that God reveals His will to a living prophet today.

We got soaked this last week in the rain, actually the last two to three weeks we have been getting poured on but it makes running between appointments a little more exciting. We have started to try and visit more of the active families, sharing basic Gospel principles with them, and get them motivated to share the Gospel with their friends. It was a lot of fun to get people revved up for General Conference which I absolutely loved. I watched it in Spanish in the Neza stake center. I look forward to reading the talks and being able to delve into what they are really saying. When I start to jot down little notes during the conference it is harder for me to listen to all that is being said, especially when the adorable little 3 year old next me starts handing me her my little pony toys or bouncing them around on my arm haha but it was a wonderful experience. I was shedding tears through the whole Saturday afternoon session which was mainly dedicated to missionary work. I also received distinct answers to prayers during that time. I loved listening to the MTC choir sing "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go" -- it brought back many memories to my mind of all that has happened these past 16 months and all that awaits me in the time I have left. I just don't want to go. I don't want this time to end. I mean, I do but I don't. It is hard to explain, but there is just not anything else quite like the mission. It has been such a special experience for me.

In between the sessions on Saturday we went with the Familia J and taught them the Restoration. A, the dad, accepted a baptismal date for the 5th of November just like that. He is loving learning more and is very excited to continue on this path. Everything that the Spirit taught to him while we were teaching just made sense to him and he gets it. His daughter needs more time to think about it but we are happy for them :) I am enjoying practicing “Soy Un Hijo de Dios” on the violin with L, the bishop's daughter. Brings back good old memories of giving violin lessons to S. W. and Little Jimbo back home :) Yesterday we caught our little buddy who was baptized last year drinking and he began to cry because he feels bad and really does not want to do this any more. We had him take the remaining cans and dump them in the drain on the side of the street right then and there. It was actually a pretty powerful experience and he said that he felt much better afterwards. It is a process but I am so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ that brings us hope and a way to be better people. Being in the Temple this morning was wonderful and I am looking forward to the rest of the week. On Monday my comp got her braces off and we were able to see Hermana Stutznegger again :) So good to see her! We have all missed her dearly. I love you guys and hope you have a nice couple days until I write again!

Hermana Jones

My zone/district at the temple today (October 5 :) These are some of the most amazing people I have ever met. We went to the 8 am session and then enjoyed eating in the Temple cafeteria afterwards and navigating our way through the hot, stuffy metro on the way home. Last night my comp and I spent the night with the Lucero hermanas because Hermana Jonapá and I did divisions with a few other hermanas in Oriental so our hijas worked together yesterday.

My little friend M on the 15 de Septiembre.

Hermana F who we found in the rain during our first week in the area and brought
back to Church with us. She gave us a nice dinner Saturday evening.

These pics are of our recent zone conference. The pushups I was doing (oh gosh I do not even want to see that picture haha) were part of "Chicken Fat" -- it is an exercise routine created for kids back in the 60s. We did that for about 15 minutes as a break during our zone conference.  Photo credit to Sister Stutznegger.

We love President :)