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!