Hermana Jones

Hermana Jones

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

La Casa de Oración

Hello everybody! Well the big news from last week is that we had our first Sunday in our casa de oración on Sunday, June 19, and it was such a special experience. We were planning for around 30 people... the final count was 62! We ended up having the full three hour services and it was truly wonderful. My companion and I got to teach the class of La Sociedad de Socorro without any notice (that happens often as a missionary) but it was a beautiful class about rescuing the lost sheep from the teachings of Howard W. Hunter. I also helped teach los jovenes and investigadores in the class of principios del evangelio about el dia de reposo and used the old putting mustard and nasty stuff on ice cream example -- that helped get the kids' attention. We were all squeezed into a Church member's home very close to my house and used a few of the rooms to teach classes. We have faith that this little congregation will progress rapidly. It is so fun to be a part of something like this! I made a new friend with a combi driver. His name is Carlos. He recognized me the next time we took a combi and had us sit up front with him so he could talk with us. Love it love it love it :) I have had many small meaningful moments with so many neat people here. I love being a missionary. That is all I can say. Se cuidan mucho :)

Love Hermana Jones

Parent Note:  The following pictures were taken at a recent mission leadership council and posted on Sister Stutznegger's Facebook page.  We are thankful that they take great pictures and share!

The following pictures were taken at a recent Zone Conference and again posted on Sister Stutznegger's Facebook page.  Thank you!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Honestly, being a missionary is the funnest and the bestest! :)

Hello! Muy buenos dias/casi tardes a todos! I hope this email finds you well and enjoying your first real day of summer vacation! What a crazy but fun weekend you probably all had. I have always loved graduation weekend and cannot believe that I graduated HACE DOS AÑOS! (I graduated 2 years ago) Me siento viajita. It is also crazy to think that one of those years has been spent as a full-time missionary. What a special year it has been. Speaking of which, congratulations to all those who will be leaving on missions in the next few weeks! I love reading mission calls in my emails and am so happy for all that is ahead for each of you :) It feels good to know that I am just one small part of a world-wide army of missionaries. Suerte a todos!

Well, not a ton of crazy stuff happened this last week. We went shopping for dress pants with President and Sister Stutznegger and had a great time. It will actually be weird to wear them but we will because were are in an area with mosquitos and threat of Zika virus. Yesterday was wonderful because A. went to Church! It was the first time that he has been in 3 years. He leaned over during one of the talks in Sacrament Meeting and told me that he doesn't know what he or other people would do without the missionaries. He said that we really are the light in the world and guide people to come back to Christ. That meant a lot to me. He has a baptismal date for 16 de Julio. It was our last Sunday in the Church building because next week we will be cramming approximadamente 40 people into a little house for la casa de oracion! Lots of people are really excited because it will be much easier and cheaper to go to Church now. The Church building that everyone has been attending is about 15 minutes away and, depending on where you live on the hill, it costs up to 13 pesos a person. To take a family to and from Church every Sunday starts to add up; so many people are excited. The majority of the members who live in our area are less active in the Gospel for this reason (other reasons too of course) so I am feeling confident that this will be a very positive change for many here. Los servicios empiezan a las 9 en la mañana (the Church services start at 9:00 a.m.). I think a very special Spirit will be there with all of us.

Yesterday we contacted a referencia from the Elders named G. He is a stud. We taught La Restauración to him outside his front door on the sidewalk and he accepted baptism right there. I am looking forward to getting to know him better. One of the things I will miss the most will be teaching random people in random places and at random times about how the Savior’s Gospel was brought back to the earth after being lost for many years. It is so much fun! Now that I feel really comfortable with Spanish I can take the kind of direction I want with the message, and change it up depending on the person, their needs, situations, and concerns. The other night after a day of divisions (working with other missionaries) we were in a jam packed combi and, because there wasn't enough room in the back, my companion sat right behind me and I sat in front in between the driver and another guy. Sitting in front in the combis is the best because I just start chatting it up with them and have a grand old time. Eventually they ask me where I'm from and what I am doing here and I teach them. This last week I taught a man named D. and a man named E. -- both times by myself in the combi. I love seeing their faces light up as I share the message of the restored Gospel with them. I don't think it's very often that they have someone in front with them asking them how their family is or how work is going. Honestly, being a missionary is the funnest and the bestest! :)

Blast...I am on one of the office computers right now and they need it for something so I'll try to get on later, but I love you all so much!

Hermana Jones

Me with the most wonderful couple who got baptized this last Saturday. Their names are D. and K. Elder Allred and Elder Onofre have been teaching them and it has been great getting to know them along the way. I met them for the first time in the Temple visitor's center when they still weren't sure whether to be baptized or not. It was during that visit to the Temple and Visitors Center that they decided to be baptized. That was back in April when I was still in my previous area. I didn't know then that I would move to the area right next to where they live! They have a three year old daughter named R. Love them :)

Me in pants next to a sweet old Volkswagen (there are so many of those in Mexico).

These are pics, courtesy of President and Sister Stutznegger, of the pants shopping excursion. As Sister Stutznegger said, “it's a new day, sisters wearing pants instead of skirts to protect them from the diseases carried by mosquitoes. 3 hours later we had 32 pairs of dress pants.”

The missionaries had a fun activity in Ixtapaluca (photo credit to the Stutzneggers).

Hermana Martinez (photo credit to the Stutzneggers).

Pics from my new hill.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Lord had better plans in mind for us

It's funny. People will ask me how much time I have in the mission and I will tell them about a year and it doesn't really phase me. Then I log in to my email today and read a few emails from people reminding me that I basically been out a year and it hits me! How did that happen?! Well all I can say is that this has been the craziest but most fulfilling, rewarding, satisfying, happiest years of my life! I can't really describe it so I'll just leave it at that. I still have 6 months to go though and I’m going for the gusto, so don't be making the welcome home banners yet haha.

This week was full of changes. My beautiful, wonderful companion, hermana, and friend Hermana Lambert flew home last Thursday to have surgery on her wrist. It was a very weird, sad moment to stand by with President Stutznegger that morning in the airport as we watched her walk away :( I learned so many things from her and am forever grateful for the time we spent together as companions. She is an incredible person and I can't thank her enough. Shout out to Hermana Lamby! Love you!

So now I am still in my same area with Hermana Martinez, who trained Hermana Erin Jones, and she is stellar. We called her the night before to tell her that she would be my companion and needed to pack everything up. She is 25 years old, has 15 months in the mission, and is from Chihuahua, Chihuahua, México. She pronounces her "ch" like "sh" so she says things like "osho" instead of "ocho" and "buenas noshes" instead of "buenas noches." It's fun :) On Friday and Saturday I had the agenda nice and full with lots of appointments and plans and what do you know, NONE of them were home. So we spent two very hot, very long days walking around contacting and trying to find other people to visit. We experienced a few miracles along the way though. One was that, after being companions for 4 hours, a man approached us in the street and asked if we were missionaries. He explained to us that he just got back from Canada a week ago (he had been living there for 10 years) and that he was receiving the lessons from a few sister missionaries up there. He also told us that he had been reading the Book of Mormon and he wants to be baptized. His name is M.A. and after meeting with him on Saturday, we put a fecha for 16 de Julio :) (set a baptism date for July 16). Also, our casa de oración will be starting in two weeks! A very special experience yesterday -- we went with the Bishop, one of his counselors, Ward Mission Leader, an Hermano from the stake, and the Elders to the home of La Familia S and talked with them about starting Church services there. They said that they had faith in the Lord and his Church leaders and humbly said yes. Afterwards, each of them received Priesthood blessings, including their 4 year old grandson who lives with them because his mom was killed when he was a baby. It was a beautiful experience and we are very excited to start our own little ramita, or Branch, up here on the hill. It will be called La Rama Tlalpizahuac (not sure if I spelled that right :). Also, on Sunday we ended up visiting a less active, part-member family because the other appointment fell through and the dad, who is not a member, wants to be baptized :) So, as it turns out, the Lord had better plans in mind for us. Totally worth tromping around in the mud and rain! We have found a few less active families this last week who have family members that need to be baptized. Another miracle -- we went with O and B’s family Friday night (a family that we are teaching) and had planned to teach about el dia de reposo -- the Sabbath Day -- but when we came in and learned that J, O's dad, was once again in the hospital, we immediately knew that we needed to change lesson plans real quick. So, we just kind of went for it and said what came to mind. At the end of the lesson, I felt prompted to promise them that if they came to Church, the Lord would bless them for their dedication and effort and that J would be able to bear the afflictions he has right now. Up to this point they had not been to Church yet. Yesterday morning we passed by for them in the combi (taxi) of one of the Church members and there they were, ready to go to church :) I was beyond excited. We will visit about a baptismal date with them again this week. One last miracle -- another appointment fell through but both Hermana Martinez and I felt impressed to visit another woman we are teaching. When we got there we found her very worried because her daughter had gone to the movies with a friend the day before and still had not come back. We were able to let her use our phone to try calling her, sang her a hymn, and offered a prayer. There wasn't much else we could really do to help her but I am grateful that we were guided to visit her. I am continually amazed by the guidance that the Lord provides in our lives if we just listen and respond.

Well, I think that is all for now. Yes Mom I am using bug spray -- it smells like bananas -- and Hermana Stutznegger will be taking us to buy dress pants (allowed by new missionary clothing guidelines to reduce risk of mosquito contact and Zika virus). I really like my apartment, especially now that we have killed all of the worms and cockroaches ;) Love you all so very much! Happy week!

Love Hermana Jones

Our last hoorah with Hermana Lambert, eating tortas de tamal, or basically a tamale sandwich, together. So delicious.

My new wonderful companion, Hermana Martinez.

It rained SO HARD yesterday. We hiked down this very muddy slippery hill to an appointment only to find that she was not able to meet that day and asked if we could come by next week. Also, Hermana Martinez´s glassed broke so she was left to hike blindly through the mud and rain. We laughed the whole way though. It was a lot of fun actually :)

This is a pic from part of my new area.

Another pic from my new area.

And another...It is not all concrete :)

I found this sweet Batman mask in a member's home. I couldn't resist :)