Hermana Jones

Hermana Jones

Friday, April 29, 2016

I decided to serve a mission one early morning in Seminary.

Buenas tardes! Not a lot of crazy stuff has happened this last week but I will address a few questions that have come up. First of all, I apologize for not ever telling the story about the dead man. Honestly I thought I had. It's kind of sad really. The sweet woman who lives across the street from us was taking care of her 74 year old son whose wife had passed away maybe 8 months ago and he was in deep depression. We tried talking to him a few different times but he had completely shut off. Then one day near the beginning of February (I was still with Hermana Carrasco) we were told that he had passed away so we rushed over to the house to see if we could visit his mother. When we walked in, his body was still there on the bed. It was covered with a sheet so I didn't actually see him but it was still a new experience (I guess you could call it that) for me. We spent some time there singing with his sweet mother, poor thing. So that's that.

Last week I was able to give talks in both Wards that I serve. In the MC Ward my talk was how to develop Christlike attributes to be strong members of the Gospel. I began by telling about how Grandpa Wayne came for me every single morning on his bike without fail to walk me to the bus stop and how I could depend on him to be there for me and how we would talk and laugh together. Looking back on it now, I realize how much my testimony of the Gospel was strengthened by hearing that of my grandfather and can also see that him picking me up every morning like that was an act of pure love. I explained that in order to become more like somebody it is important to spend time with them and "walk" with them so to speak. I then related it to the walk two disciples had with Christ on the Road to Emmaus (Emaús) and how the disciples didn't want Him to leave them and could later recognize the love that the Savior had for them. It went well and the members enjoyed hearing about Grandpa's bigote - mustache :) In the J Ward I took the opportunity to talk about my gratitude for Seminary after two teens in the Ward talked and shared their feelings about Seminary. I shared with the congregation two of many important things happened in my life because of Seminary. One was that I received a definite answer to prayers and decided to serve a mission one early morning in Seminary. Another was that my awesome friend Daniel S. came to Seminary with us every morning senior year and was baptized the following summer after graduation. I then related that to my assigned topic -- missionary work -- and how we experience true joy through the Gospel. I shared a few verses from Alma 5 with them and invited them to evaluate their lives and, as President Uchtdorf (one of our Church leaders) has mentioned, to see if the Gospel is really working for them. It is important that our testimony of the Gospel is burning brightly if we are to help others. It was fun sharing a few thoughts with the members; they are so wonderful and take great care of us.

Sorry for the short letter today. I think we will be video chatting on Mother’s Day sometime in the afternoon but when we have set plans I will let you know. I cannot wait to see you all :)

Love Hermana Jones

Making blue corn tortiallas.

Making chiles rellenos.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Great Gems and Miracles

Buenas tardes a todos! This week was full of memorable experiences. REALLY great gems. Among them, Hermana Lambert and I went to eat with La Hermana Natalia, a very sweet 94 year old woman. She lives across the street from us (she is the one whose 70ish year old son living with her died and I walked in and his body was still there on the bed). Being in her nineties, she can't see or walk very well but she was determined to do her part and feed the hermanas, for which we were very grateful! But going back to the not being able to see or walk very well part... we walked in for lunch and found her bent over the stove cooking some sort of very interesting concoction. We began to feel a little nervous. Hermana Lambert went to pull out her chair and found a very still looking kitten laying on the floor nearby. She then asked Hermana Natalia, "Hermana, su gato está bien?" (“Sister, is your cat okay?”) but she didn't hear and continued cooking and talking to us. Upon further inspection we discovered that the poor thing was dead and probably had been so for at least a couple of days. Hermana Lambert slowly slid into her chair and I had to leave the room for a sec because I was "coughing and sneezing" -- basically trying my best not to burst out laughing (I have been battling horrible seasonal allergies the last few weeks though so it wasn't totally fake). Soon, after seeing what we would be eating, we invited the hermana to sit on the couch with her back facing us so she could rest. We then began clanking our eating utensils on the bowls to make it sound like we were eating but instead put the food into a nearby Styrofoam cup and made futile attempts to feed it to the other still living cat. I know I sound like a terrible person saying all this! I am pretty adventuresome when it comes to eating a wide variety of things, in a wide variety of circumstances. However, Hermana Lambert and I were in agreement that we could not eat that food from those dishes. It truly would have caused great concern for our health. Thankfully, all this was done without the dear sweet hermana ever knowing. We then snuck out and informed her grandson's wife who lives nearby that we needed help taking care of a “little situation” in the house -- meaning collection and disposal of the dead cat. She told us to go distract Hermana Natalia while she cleaned it up. We walked back in, began singing hymns to her, and nervously watched as the other hermana silently entered with a broom and dustpan. As she "swept" the cat it left a trail of cat juices on the floor, and then to top it all off, it wouldn't fit into the dustpan! So, she gave it a good hardy shove with the broom into the dustpan...all this while we were singing “O Mi Padre” and “Now Let Us Rejoice”...without Hermana Natalia even knowing.

Well, I managed to knock Hermana Lambert over in basketball while playing with the young women during an activity to which we had invited a few of the girls from our English class. She took a fall which resulted in a scraped elbow and a hurting wrist. Some of the members thought she dislocated it so one of the big strong hermanos in the Ward began massaging it and seeing if he needed to reset it. Thankfully nothing was broken, but it was deeply bruised. I have been enjoying making fun of her huge purple hand; it looks like the hand of Baymax from Big Hero 6 except purple instead of white. Poor thing! I am officially a terrible companion!

We continue to work hard to bring the Gospel to Rio Frio. Went there this week and talked with a policeman working in the Delegación office if there was any community service we could do there in the town. He gave us the contact info we needed and then continued asking us more about what we do. He invited us to the next door tienda to buy us some Snickers and when we asked if there was anything we could do for him he said to tell us more about the Church. We then had a lesson with him and store owner right there and they loved talking to us! As missionaries we find ourselves in all sorts of situations, but in just about every single one we can talk about the Gospel. It is the best!

We were really blessed with a few miracles this week. For the first time since I have been in this area we had two investigators who we have been teaching come to Church. The whole Ward was delighted! Also, Hermano Hans -- the only Church member in Rio Frio who was baptized last year but has not been coming -- came to Church as well!!! We have been working really hard with him. He is from Germany and we love talking with him because his accent in both English and Spanish are really cool. He is so sweet. We also went to the Temple Visitor's Center with a less active woman and her daughter. They also finally came back to Church last week after many attempts on our part to visit them. We all loved that visit. It is amazing how just being on the Temple grounds brings the Spirit so powerfully into your life. Also, Hermana Lambert and I spoke in both of our Wards yesterday (I'll give details on what we spoke about next week) and I played the piano in Sacrament Meeting! I am so grateful that I bought the simplified hymn book for piano while at the Temple because it literally saved me. I think I was divinely guided on that purchase. Haha that was exciting :) Even more exciting is that two wonderful people we have been teaching are scheduled to be baptized on May 7. Keep them in your prayers!

Okay I need to go now but thank you for your prayers and your love :)

Love Hermana Jones

Parent Note:  By way of other news that occurred while the missionaries were sleeping, the volcano Popocatepetl erupted again in the early morning hours of Monday, April 18.  There is a time-lapse video of the eruption at various websites.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Por Fin!!!!

Finally! I can write to you all now! I am so sorry for the disappearance the last couple weeks. The Internet was a little grumpy up on the mountain but I am finally able to write to you. I am really sad that the draft I had written didn't save and honestly I don't remember much of what happened back then but I will do my best to fill you in. So much has happened over the last couple of weeks. The past two weeks we have had the lovely Hermana Padilla with us! We have been in a trio with her while she was temporarily put in or mission until everything with her visa worked out. She worked for a cycle in Oriental and has spent these last two weeks with us. I am here at the mission offices writing as we hand off Hermana Padilla. Tonight she flies out to the Missionary Training Center in Brazil to learn Portuguese and then to serve in the Portugal, Lisbon Mission. She is so cool and we are really sad to see her leave! It has been fun being in a trio with her, but Hermana Lamby and I will soldier on. I am so happy to be with her!

The last time I wrote was the Monday before Easter. We did not get out much on Easter weekend and were asked to remain in our little house. It gets fairly crazy around here during Easter and we maintained a low profile. More and Easter in a moment. I don't think I told you about the Relief Society (Church organization for women) activities we have had in the past few weeks so I'll start there. In Monte Corona we had a super fun activity. First we split into groups and visited and sang to a few of the Ward members who have not been coming to Church much. It was a great part of our time together. Then we had lots of fun playing different games, including "broom hockey" and basketball. I must say, these hermanas up here know how to kick trash. I want to start a league team up here with them and I know we would dominate everybody :) After that we ate lots of food, you know, the usual. Okay, second Relief Society activity. In the Jardines Ward, we went to clean the house of a sweet hermana whose son is confined to a wheelchair and many of her family are not very active in the Gospel. I appreciated the opportunity to provide service to that great family. Also, in the process, I discovered that the common household broom, or "escoba", can be used not only to sweep but to mop, scrub toilets, and wash windows. Who knew?! It's amazing! Life changing really :)

After that, Hermana Lambert got sick. AGAIN. So that meant that we just went to one Sacrament Meeting in the morning and spent the rest of Easter in the house. Have a great vacation family! Me too ;) While she slept for hours and hours, I spent some quiet time reading from Liahonas (Church magazine published in Spanish) and the scriptures. It was probably the most peaceful Easter afternoon I have ever had. I truly did feel the love of my Savior and enjoyed time to ponder and think for awhile. Then I was very happy when Hermana Lambert finally woke up because, you know me, I get a little stir crazy without someone to talk to, even more so now that I have become accustomed to having a companion with me haha :) I was grateful for my Easter in the mission field and the opportunity to reflect on the infinite sacrifice of my Savior, for the divine assistance made possible by His grace, and for the gift of resurrection that we all have because of Him. I love Him and am grateful to be one of His full-time servants.

Last Monday we were able to go to the Temple again and it was wonderful as always. It was such a nice day. I am truly grateful for Temples and the role that they have played on this earth since Old Testament times.

As far as other events of interest, the volcano Popocatepetl south of us exploded in recent days...hahaha we didn't feel a thing until Hermana Stutznegger called to make sure we were okay. I was happy to report that no we had not been covered in lava and volcanic ash raining from the sky. It is one of the more active volcanoes in the world and must have felt that it was high time everyone knew it. Also, Hermana Lambert got peed on by a dog while we were teaching about the Restoration of the Gospel in the street. That made my day. Hermana Wong and I are not the only ones (you may recall our shower of sadness ;)

We have found a lot of new people to teach lately. The problem is none of them come to Church. We will keep plugging away at it. After all, "that's just the way we like it!" :D As far as my health goes, the trail mix has been helping a lot but the last few days I have started to feel shaky and trembly again. I drink plenty of water and have some Gatorade and keep a bag of trail mix in my bag at all times. Love you all and have a wonderful week! I am going to spend some time making sure that I successfully send some pictures.

Hermana Jones

We were recently with President and Sister Stutznegger. Love them!!! They let us send this selfie to our families from President's phone recently to let them know we were okay after not hearing from us for a couple of weeks.

Hermana Lambert, Hermana Padilla and me. Good food, good times.

The three amigas working hard, living the dream.

We found a little Don Quijote statue outside a huge ranch in our area.

Sights of sheep herding is common here.

Sopes! So delicious. Hermana Lambert made a few (this is the same legendary kitchen where I attempted to make blue corn tortillas). We were stuffed. Our pleas and cries for less food didn't work this time I am afraid...

Mas sopes!

Familia J. Sanchez :) We are teaching one of them. Her name is R. (Once she is married she wants to be baptized).

I love this family!

Relief Society activity! These women are amazing!


Hermana Lamby and I recently took a little time out to take pictures of each other...just for fun.

 We are enjoying the coming of Spring!

Parent note: Pic of Popocatepetl eruption compliments of the Internet.