Hermana Jones

Hermana Jones

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The saying "Mi casa es tu casa" is very literal here

I hope this note finds you well, even though it is a day late. It was a great day at the Temple for me. We stayed the night with Hermana Lambert and Hermana Tirado last night and went with them to the Temple this morning. We also went with two Elders from our district, very great missionaries -- Elder Close, our District Leader, and Elder Reyes from Guatemala.

I had a great birthday! My district threw a surprise party for me...they are the BEST! There is a fun little tradition in the Latin culture for birthdays that I look forward to implementing when I return home (get ready mom :) Someone stands behind you as you prepare to take a bite of cake and they smash your face into it really hard. I had cake way up in my nostrils hahaha good times :) I also had a surprise party on Thursday night with the Familia Romero Rodriguez from the J Ward. They even gave me gifts. I cannot believe how amazing the people are here! We have also received many many referencias for people to teach from them. Just before my little surprise party with the Romero Rodriguez family we found a new family to teach with one of them. The Spirit was very strong as we talked with this new family. They are the Familia Dominguez Sandres, and are a family of five with two parents, an 18 year old daughter, a 14 year old teen boy and a 12 year old boy. We had originally planned to visit another family but they weren't home so we looked for this family instead and they were home! There are no coincidences, especially when it comes to the work of the Lord and I am really excited to begin the lessons. Then, on Saturday night, I had another surprise birthday party with la Familia Jaimez Sanchez from the MC Ward. They are some of the sweetest people! We grilled burgers and ate cake and they gave me a few gifts as well. It was with Hermana Ana that I learned how to make tortillas. She was wearing a baseball cap the other day that I really liked of some Mexican restaurant and I complimented her on it. What should happen next? She promptly took it off and gave it to me. I am quickly learning here that I cannot tell people that I like the things they have because they give them to me! It happens so often. The saying "Mi casa es tu casa" is very literal here. I opened the package you sent while I was with them and gave them the granola bars and nut clusters. They went CRAZY for them and would like some more in the future haha ;) In other news, I have been dealing with athletes' foot and also took a bit of a tumble and scraped up my knee. I have been using antiseptic spray as a remedy and it has dyed me purple haha :)

I want to share an insight I had this week while reading the talk from this last General Conference by Elder James B. Martino. He mentioned the scripture James 2:17 which we states that faith without works is dead. He also mentioned that works without faith is dead. This really struck me. It is so true! Oftentimes we just do things to do them – because they are required, because other people will think better of us if we do them, and other similar reasons. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ, many times we just read the scriptures or pray or go to church without real faith or intent. Essentially, we just go through the motions. As a missionary, if I just contact people to get my 10 contacts in every day or set goals for numbers of lessons or things like that without real faith or desire, it means nothing. I learned something similar to this from my dad and Grandpa Jones a few years ago. Dad, I remember we took on the project one day and it was frustrating, tiring, and took forever because it hadn't been done right the first time. You shared with me that many years ago Grandpa told you something about how life is much better and more meaningful when we do things right the first time. In like manner, we need to do the things we do in a manner that is edifying and faith building, not just to do it. I can't believe that a year ago, on my birthday, I received and opened a mission call telling me that I would be serving in Mexico. Now here I am a year later, 7 and a half months in to the mission, living in Mexico, speaking Spanish, meeting incredible people, and making lifelong friendships. I cannot adequately describe how much this experience has changed me and how grateful I am to be a missionary here in this time and place. I love you all so much and wish you all the best. Act in faith.

Love, Hermana Jones

Hermanas Lambert, Tirado, Carrasco and me at the Temple (Tuesday January 26, 2016)

District surprise birthday party

I love my district!

Cake up the old nostrils...mmmmmmm...its the baste!

Surprise birthday party with la Familia Romero Rodriguez (more below)

Surprise birthday party with la Familia Jaimez Sanchez (more below)

Hermana Ana (she taught me to make tortillas...and gave me her hat!)

Little cat friend I found outside our house. It was a mistake being kind to it for a few minutes because it would not be quiet for the rest of the night. Incessant meowing outside the house the whole night!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


Oh my goodness P days are so plum loco! My schedule was packed today and I am still getting used to traveling a fair distance to be able to write to you. I am writing like a mad woman over here with a very very full stomach and must be brief today due to limited time. My concern of gaining weight in this area is ever increasing more and more rapidly. I ate SIX meals on Saturday. One was breakfast in my house. The other FIVE were in the home of Church members. Everyone wants us to eat with them! I nearly threw up at the table during the comida with the wife of one of the Bishops. Poor thing probably thought that I didn't like the food which is not true but I was really struggling to finish the plate and would have to sit back in my seat at times trying to get it all down. I must have looked ridiculous. Tender mercy though - I offered a silent prayer that I would be able to finish and was able to stuff the rest in. Weird analogy but this and other mission experiences remind me of stories in the scriptures of people who prayed for extra strength to deal with difficult situations. We cannot pray for everything to just magically be okay. We pray for strength, and then we get off our knees and get to work - in this instance, stuffing my mouth full of the ever abundant chicken here in Mexico. However, the lesson is applicable to all hard things that we face in this life.

The Church members here are trying their best to help us find people to teach and I am so grateful for them. Overall, I am discovering that finding people to teach is pretty tough here. We get rejected a lot and some people are not very kind about it. Yet, we seem to end up finding that one person who listens to us and invites us over :) Every contact is worth it.

I made a tortilla this week from maize azul. It is harder than it looks. I squished it too flat so there were a lot of holes in it but I will keep practicing :) We also received some manna this week...in the form if chicken eggs. As it turns out, a chicken visited our yard and laid a couple of eggs there. You know what they say, when life gives you eggs, you cook them and eat them. So, we did :)

We also had a great visit from President and Sister Stutznegger this week as they brought us some additional much needed supplies. I love them so much. I love you all so much, too! Keep spreading the good word! :)

Love Hermana Jones

On the road to my little puebla. Photo credit to the Stutzneggers.

The volcanoes near my new home. Iztaccihuatl (dormant) is closest, and Popocatepetl (active) is farthest. Both are over 17,000 feet above sea level. Photo credit to the Stutzneggers.

Hermana Carrasco and I in our yard. Photo credit to the Stutzneggers.

Girl's best friend.

Making tortillas.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Transfer to Ixtapaluca

Greetings from the far eastern end of the mission in the Ixtapaluca Zone. First, great news! I talked with Hermana Wong on the phone this week (she is still in my previous area with a great sister named Hermana Vazquez who left the CCM with me). Ingrid was baptized and apparently the baptism was absolutely beautiful and everything went so well! It won't be long before Aide, her mom, is baptized too. I just know it. I'm really sad I that couldn't be there for the baptism (I am so far away from everyone now) but I feel so blessed to know that I was involved every step of the way and was able to serve and teach that wonderful family for so long. I hope to be with them in the Temple one day.

Now, about my area. I will try to give as much information as I can, so here goes. Our area covers two little pueblos (towns) that are nestled in the mountains. The air is much, much fresher and cleaner and it makes me very happy. I am covering two Wards, one of which takes up the upper side of the "hill" in one pueblo and the other which takes up the bottom half of the "hill" as well as another pueblo. We walk A LOT. Also, to get from one pueblo to the other, we take a combi (taxi) for about 20 minutes. You have to time it well because it runs on a very strict schedule and only comes every two hours. To email, I come back down to Ixtapaluca where we have our district and zone meetings. We take a combi to get there as well. It is about a 25 minute drive in a combi down a very looonnngggg curvy road on the mountainside (I understand car-sickness now). 

Working here is very different than working in the city. There are not nearly as many people to contact but there are a ton of Church members who are some of the most wonderful people I have every met in my life. I almost cry every time I enter their homes or talk to them because they are so humble, sincere, loving, and willing to help. I have been receiving referrals left and right - more in just 5 days of work than I ever got during my five and a half months in my previous area. They tell us "hermanas, whenever you don't have any food to eat or need anything, please come right over. It is a blessing to have you in our home." Basically I don't have to worry about going hungry or doing laundry here because the members are climbing over each other to help us. This morning Hermana Yolanda knocked on our door and basically told us that she would be expecting us at her house for lunch today because she knows it's P Day and we don't have a place to eat. Eight of her nine children have served missions, so she understands. She and her family are some the most amazing people. She wanted me to send a hello and a hug to you today as I write to you. The hermanas who were here before left us lots of lists of potential investigators to look for. We will be doing that, working with the people who are less active in the Gospel, and contact the referencias we have received to find people to teach. 

My apartment is actually a little house and it is so pretty, but FREEZING. I haven't been this cold in a long time. We work and sleep in our coats. I can see my breath inside the house. President should be getting a space heater to us today but we have been sleeping under 6 or 7 blankets to keep warm. We study in our beds too because it is so cold. The bathroom has water that condenses on the ceiling but we have a shower with hot water that works when we turn on the boiler outside. I periodically have to turn off the water and wait a few moments for it to heat up again while showering though because it doesn't last that long...but I am grateful for it. My first morning there I enjoyed a bucket shower - splashed myself with water using a bowl and a bucket - because we didn't have gas. That was fun :) But we have lots of flowers, and cactus, and peach trees outside our house which I love. It's in a beautiful place. I don't have time for pics this week but I will try to get them to you next week. 

As for other little details, I ate rabbit leg in a bowl of salsa for lunch yesterday with the usual rice and tortillas - can't leave those out - and it was really tasty. I loved it actually. I am definitely not in the city any more. I am walking older cobblestone or dirt roads at times where people ride their horses or pull their donkeys along. I can see the horizon and wake up to the mountains every morning. President talked to me the other day and told me that I didn't live in Nevada in the country for nothing. He firmly believes that I was supposed to be the one to work and continue training Hermana Carrasco in this area. I am so grateful to be here right now. 

Being a missionary is just the best :) No matter what comes our way, we have the decision to make the best of things. Life is too short to be unhappy. Being happy is so much more fun and fulfilling. 

Love you all so much!

Love, Hermana Jones 

Parent note: The pictures below are courtesy of President and Hermana Stutznegger last week at changes. Hermana Jones got to help give vaccinations. This is quite humorous because this is a child who would cry and have anxiety when receiving vaccinations as a little one. We did not see this coming. However, she did have valuable experience giving vaccinations as she grew up...to cattle on her Grandpa and Grandma Jones' ranch. As we liken the scriptures to ourselves we see that "all these things shall give thee experience and be for thy good." 

Parent note: The pictures below are also courtesy of President and Sister Stutznegger, who brought much needed supplies to the missionaries in the Ixtapaluca Zone. The Stutzneggers reported that they found the missionaries happy, cold, and excited. We are grateful for the way that they lead, love, and care for their missionaries!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Prospero Año y Felicidad!

Hey everybody! Happy New Year and hello 2016! This is my first email of the year. And, I come home this year. Que loco! No puede ser, en serio. Ok, I am going to write the majority of stuff as I send pics so just a quick little update on me here. The time has come for me to leave the city and the Fovissste Ward! I have changes! This is going to be a very big change for the whole mission due to the boundary adjustments. Almost everyone has changes. By the way, all of the flu vaccinations finally came so I will be helping administer those during changes tomorrow haha :) Alright so guess what? Hermana Carrasco and I are being shipped out to the farthest corner of the new part of the mission in Ixtapaluca! We will potentially be in charge of two Wards where we know absolutely no one. Also, we are going out to the mountains! No more city for me! It is just going to be me, my trainee companion who has 2 months in the mission, and the mountains. Apparently it snows there too so that makes me very happy :) I am so excited....and nervous....and excited! My new areas are HUGE compared to my current area. Literally, we are in no man's land and the area is quite rural. Should be interesting. The sisters who are serving there right now will show us around for a day and then we are on our own. I must say though that I LOVE the people that I have served in my first area and will miss them!

We had a little bit of a scare this week. On Wednesday we had divisions. Hna Wong and I went with Hna Lambert (SO FUN) while Hna Carrasco went with Hna Sic. It came time to meet up again at the church around 8 but when we arrived we found my companion crying and Hna Sic just looking totally dazed. Turns out that they had been assaulted by three men and robbed. They were not physically harmed in any way but my companion's backpack was stolen as well as Hna Sic's phone. Poor things. They are doing just fine though. Later that night, I began to have a little episode. It became harder to breathe, my vision started going fuzzy/sparkly, my hands were purple and sweaty, and my whole body was trembling. The whole week leading up to that point I had felt weak and shaky and finally things just got really weird. Thankfully, the Elders were able to come right over and give me a blessing. Elder Miller wrapped my feet up in his sweater (terrible mistake haha now it's infected with my foot fungus) and I began to feel better. Also, I was able to get in Saturday for medical treatment and some blood tests; everything came back normal so I am not sure what's going on. We were thinking that I might have anemia or something of that nature, but nope. Nothing like that has happened since then but I don't feel 100%. Don't worry though, it might have just been stress:)

Well the next time you hear from me I will be out in my new area! Love you!

Love Hermana Jones

(Parent note:  Please keep Emily in your prayers that she can remain safe and maintain good health.)

Los tiangis! Long long long street markets where people just camp out and sell things under tarps and tents. You can find everything from pig entrails to pirated movies. Haha I mean everything. We have found skirts for a lady who wouldn't come to church because she didn't have anything to wear. The tiangis cover entire streets. We have made friends with a boy who sells fruit and a man who sells the most delicious aguacates (avacados) and makes fresh guac right there. We are faithful clients haha :)

Hermano Levi is THE BEST. He is a teacher at the CCM and is such a huge help. Gonna miss him.

English class (love my kiddos that I teach each week). L to R - Rodrigo, Giovani, Marlene, Cesar, Ivan, and Karla. Darlings!

Esperanza! The most beautiful pan (bread) store in the whole world. Basically a giant bakery of Mexican goodness.

Christmas Eve with the Castillo Family! We enjoyed whacking a Santa piñata and eating romeritos, bacalao, and pavo.

More from Christmas Eve.

Waiting anxiously (can you tell?) outside the Reyes Fuentes home on Christmas Day before talking to you and seeing you on Skype! We were a mess :) 

The Reyes Fuentes Family who we spent Christmas with. Such a wonderful family. Not all of them are shown here but I thanked them profusely on your behalf and mine. 

I took a picture with a real live Mariachi band! Three of them aren't pictured here but they were so excited to take a pic with me haha :) I LOVE their music. 

Hermana Norma. I love this sweet old woman. I have eaten with her every Wednesday since coming to this area. She is an angel and I will dearly miss her. She was baptized in the 1970s. She always has a big bouquet of flowers on her table every week, usually lilies and gerber daisies.

Painting the apartment. THAT was a lot of work.

Peace out to Fovissste 2, my first area, after 5 1/2 months!