Hermana Jones

Hermana Jones

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Last Week in Ixtapaluca.

Hello everybody! I am writing this email to you all very very very full of food. Today as a district we made tortillas de harina, carne asada con chorizo y salchicha, frijoles con queso, guacamole con jitomate y cebolla y jalapeno, cebollitas asadas, tocino, y un buen de otras cosas. It is so cool being comps with a nortena because they know how to cook. I absolutely love my district and will miss them a lot. This coming week is my last week in Ixtapaluca and I will be shipped out next week to an area in Nezahuacoyotl. NEZA YORK BABY!!! hahaha I am excited to finish things off out there. We were in Neza quite a bit this last week for various meetings and activities. On Tuesday I was there for the training meeting -- I will be receiving a temporary hermana from Mexico who will be here until her visa is approved. She will then be serving in St. George, Utah! She will be coming here to the mission straight from her house without any experience in a mission training center. I am super excited to meet her and begin working together in Neza. (This will be the third of four areas that I have opened. I haven't been transferred to an area where someone was already in charge of things since my training...and I am going to go for it!) After the meeting we came back to our area, worked for a little bit, then went back to Neza Tuesday night for an activity we had all day Wednesday in Pantitlan. We spent a whole day with youth from the Estaca Pantitlan teaching them how to be missionaries. All but two of the hermanas in the mission went to help out and we worked in Neza for the day since Pantitlan is not super safe. We started at 7 in the morning studying with the youth, had a great devotional by President Stutznegger, and went out to work. I went with two amazing jovencitas named S who is 13 and was baptized four months ago and with K who is 15 and was baptized 4 years ago. While visiting people with them I was reminded of what a pure testimony really is. They were absolutely incredible during the lessons we taught and handled contacting like champs! We spent probably two and a half hours just walking and contacting since we were working in a place I have never been and without a list of people to contact, or a map. I loved being with those two and having them tell me the things that they learned throughout the day. We slept in Neza again on Wednesday night and came back Thursday morning. (Most of us were crammed into Hermana Wolfert's apartment and I stole the blanket from Hermana Wong during the night haha poor thing!) On Thursday we worked as a district in my area. We had prepared lists and maps divided into colonias for each of the companionships and set to work with the purpose of finding all of the people on our list...we focused on those who are less active in the Gospel. We are really trying to grow this casa de oracion (a newly formed congregation). We have had a consistent attendance of about 50 people every week by what I am able to see. It was so cool because as soon as we started to work a girl of 17 years came up to us and asked us if we were missionaries. She explained to us that she had been baptized in Los Reyes about a month ago and had just barely moved here last week. She and another friend who is a Church member who was a baptized a year ago and lives here too (but we didn't know him) came to our noche de hogar and Church on Sunday. About an hour and a half later my companion asked a woman for directions and she got super excited because she is also a Church member and her family just moved here four days ago. We were so happy to find so many people to bring to Church with us! It has been so special working in the casa de oracion. I am very hopeful that construction on a capilla (church building/chapel) will be approved soon. We went back to Neza on Friday for the leadership council and I was able to hear the testimonies of a few of the most amazing people I have ever met on the mission who will be going home next week. That has been one of the best things about serving a mission -- meeting incredible people from other parts of the world who decided to give two years of their life in the service of the Lord. Their testimonies have forever strengthened and changed mine. We have wonderful investigators who are progressing so well and have the sincere desire to come unto Christ and be baptized. Two of them will be baptized this Saturday :) The casa de oracion was llenisimo yesterday with many investigators, less actives, and new people who recently moved here. On Saturday we had a noche de hogar como rama and it was so much fun. The Elders, my companion and I taught from the story of the Jaredites who we read about in Ether (in the Book of Mormon). We talked about how we need provisions (the scriptures), impermeable ships (homes where we have family home evenings), lighted stones (leaders and priesthood holders of the restored Church of Jesus Christ), and prayer to help us cross the seas of life and return to live with our Heavenly Father. Afterwards we played games and ate homemade donas and arroz con leche. It was so much fun. I have grown to really love the people here and will miss them so much! We set a few more baptismal dates last night as we met with people who we didn't have a set appointment with but were hoping we would come. The same thing happened a few days ago with a few investigators who we lost contact with and who had said prayers earlier that day asking Heavenly Father that we would come. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY. It is the most special, wonderful thing I have done in my life because other people's lives have connected with mine in a way that only our Heavenly Father can design. My heart is so full right now. I love you all very much and wish you all a wonderful week :)


Parent note: The following note was posted by Sister Stutznegger on her Facebook page along with the pictures. We are grateful for the Stutzneggers! 

“On Sunday (July 17, 2016) we attended a "House of Prayer." It was established in Ixtapaluca for some of the members of the church that live too far away from a chapel. Often they don't have the funds for the transportation. The meeting was held in a home. We have 4 missionaries serving in this area.”

Today as a district we made tortillas de harina, carne asada con chorizo y salchicha, frijoles con queso, guacamole con jitomate y cebolla y jalapeno, cebollitas asadas, tocino, y un buen de otras cosas. Mmmmmmm.....see pics below.

The picture below is from our day with the youth from the Pantitlan Stake. So great!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Serving a mission is also preparing me for the real mission I have ahead of me when my time here is finished.

Today we are going to Zocalo and the Centro as a district which will be a lot of fun. I just want to share a few things real quick. President and Sister Stutznegger joined us for Church yesterday. It was so fun to have them with us! I love this little casa de oración. I will try to get some pictures. I played the keyboard during Sacrament Meeting yesterday haha. The two Elders who are with us in the branch play so much better than I do but circumstances arose that put me in the hot-seat :)

Yesterday was hard. My two wonderful investigators who were going to be baptized on July 30 couldn't make it to Church and their baptism date is changing. I will be transferred to Neza in two weeks and will be training again so I will no longer be here. It was really discouraging for them to not be there yesterday but then I realized again the importance of patience and that serving a mission is also preparing me for the real mission I have ahead of me when my time here is finished.

The good news is that A.R. was baptized on Saturday up in Monte Corona Ward in my previous area. Hna Lambert and I got to know her really well through English classes and began to teach her. The Elders there are wonderful and really helped her to learn and progress to where she is now. It was fun to see so many of the people I love in the mountains again! A.R. was the first person to be baptized that Ward since December.

Hermana Martinez and I with A.R. at her baptism.

I love these kids SO MUCH. They are the grand kids of the wonderful Hermana T who lives in La Rey and helps us a lot by going with us to teach lessons. One of these boys is not yet a Church member but wants to be baptized. We played a fun memory card game about faith with them yesterday and then had tamales oaxaquenos and hot milk.

Love these two girls -- I and J from the Monte Corona Ward in my previous area. They are the ones who fed me chicken heart. We met their cousins here in our current area and we are helping them become active in the Gospel again.

This is us making chiles rellenos (I will be making them for you when I get back) in the home of P, a woman we are teaching and who we eat with every Thursday. She is progressing very well to be baptized on the 6th of August. It was so funny how we met her. Hermana Martinez and I were walking down the street when an old Volkswagen bug pulled up behind us and two people in the back tried getting our attention. Usually when that happens I just keep walking but they insisted so we turned around. It was P and her "husband" M asking if we could visit them. Turns out that they had been receiving the Hermanas from the Chalco Mission for a few months last year and want to be baptized. We have been working with them since. Wonderful people!

Well, I need to go for now. I love you very much. Thank you for everything.

Hermana Jones

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Feliz 4 de Julio!

(Parent Note: this Hermana Jones sent this email on July 4, 2016)

Happy Independence Day to everyone back home! It is hard to believe that this time a year ago all of us Americanos sang the Star Spangled Banner in the comedor of the CCM while all the Latinos took videos of us haha and the staff made us really good American food and apple pie with vanilla ce cream. Well I just spent a really fun day at el guarda. It felt good to drive through my old area again. I will be heading up for a baptism in two weeks of someone I taught and who the Elders there have been working with. Her name is A R and she is awesome.

Okay well my week was crazy. We went to the Temple twice -- once to do baptisms with recent converts of the ward and branch, and the other for our P day. We also went to the Los Reyes and Paraiso zone conference on Thursday. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday it felt nice to just work in our area. Tonight I will be going on divisions with Hermana Pacheco who is an hermana temporal here and is waiting for her visa to go to the Trinidad de Tobago Mission where she will be speaking English. She is so cute and will be finishing up her training in a month. Yesterday, my companion (who I dearly dearly love) and I had a fun time seeking to be guided by Spirit since all of our plans fell through. We had a great day in the little branch -- the attendance continues strong in the 40´s/50´s so if we can keep this up construction of a capilla will be underway hopefully soon. Also my comp and I taught the relief society about the importance of las maestras visitantes and we had five investigators come, three of whom have plans to be baptized on the 30th of July. After Church meetings, we were ready to hit the streets and visit a few families. Our plans fell through so we found other things to do. We stopped by real quick with two new investigators who are a reference from a less active member we are visiting. They were really grateful for our visit. The last time we visited with them they shared with us that their 6 year old daughter wrote everything completely backwards, from right to left, all the letters mirrored the opposite way, everything. They shared their concern with us because the teacher doesn't help and gives her bad grades and their daughter doesn't understand why she is different. In that moment the scripture Éter 12 came to my mind where Moroni is writing about how he is weak in writing and is worried that those who read what he has written will mock his words. The Lord then gives him the famous promise that those who are humble will have weak things made strong unto them. I have always loved that scripture but have not ever understood why Moroni included that part about his ability to write being weak. In this moment, I realized the application of that scripture to this family and, like many other times in my mission, my testimony of El Libro de Mormón was strengthened. That book was written for our times and its words can be applied to our lives. In this particular occasion, I was able to share this story with a pair of worried parents and help them feel some comfort. Okay, so after we visited this family we started back down the street and I felt the impression to turn back and go down another street. At first I questioned "why?" but then I felt the impression again and told my companion we needed to go back. She told me that she had felt the same thing (by now I have learned to not question and just do it when I hear or feel something -- that is what I am here for. I have also realized that I don't need to be shaken on the shoulders or smacked in the face to know that El Espíritu Santo is communicating with me; it comes in very subtle passing thoughts) so we headed down a street that we have never been through, just walking and kind of waiting to feel or hear something again. Nothing in particular came so we knocked a random door just as it started to rain. HARD. As my comp says, "Está cayendo el cielo!" We ran to a little tienda next door where a woman named S told us to come on in and take shelter from the storm haha. We began to chat and she shared with us that she is Christian and is worried about her two teenage sons who are in this difficult time of making choices and avoiding temptation and all that, as well as her parents whose health is declining and she is taking care of them. She also shared with us that for awhile as a teenager she left the path and fell away from having a relationship with God but she eventually came back and is searching for more peace in her life. We were able to hit on a few good points of the Restored Gospel and teach her about El Plan de Salvación. It was really nice. Then it stopped raining just as our conversation was ending. She is interested in coming to Church with us and we will be looking for her this Friday. I don't know what will happen with her; all I know is I am grateful that my companion and I both followed the Spirit and met this lady. It is an incredible feeling to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord. I am just a small part of the huge plan He has and I am happy to do what He asks of me. Later, after a random joven contacted us in the street, we decided to stop by the home of a few ladies who had asked us to teach them. Once again, it started to rain hard and we huddled under the awning by her their house and had a great time talking about Mexican food. One of my favorite things is to rave about the food here -- I really do love it -- and then these people practically fall over themselves telling me about this and that and other family recipes they want to cook for me. This particular señora (her name is Y) wants to send me home with una prensa para tortillas and a molcajete -- the awesome rock bowls they use to make salsa. The people here are incredible, so kind and so loving. When you show them love, they give it to you right back. I love that about this culture and it is something I will miss. Other experiences...we had a great meeting with the first counselor of the obispado of the ward Izcalli, his wife who is la presidenta de la sociedad de socorro, and Elder Olson and Elder Camarillo who are working with us in la casa de oración. Some great things are in the workings for this little branch. This Wednesday we will be starting a weekly lectura of El Libro de Mormón where we will read and touch on parts of the assigned chapters that were given the week before. It will be a chance for the members and investigators to get to know each other and to hold to the rod of iron and make sure that these people are studying the key to our religion. We will also be starting a calendario of noches de hogar where families sign up to have us and a friend over during the week for family home evening and have a noche de hogar as a ward on the 23rd. The Elders, who just got here together starting this cycle, are so on top of it and the members are very supportive.

Okay, another experience we had a few weeks ago with two of our investigators who will be baptized on July 30th. They are brother and sister, L A who is 12 and D M who is 14. They have been to church two times now, have friends there their age, and absolutely love it. We are also teaching their mom A who is working on finding a testimony. Well during this lesson we were reading Mosiah 18: 8-11 with them about how the pueblo de Alma were getting ready to be baptized. They loved it and it helped them to better understand what the convenio del bautismo really is. Then it came time to extend them la invitación bautismal. L happily said yes right away with a big grin on his face. Then his sister began to tear up as she explained to us that she has done things in her life that she wants to change and be clean of. She said that now she understands that baptism and the Atonement is the way to do that. That was one of the most special experiences I have ever had in my life, to see someone who truly wants to come unto Christ and be forgiven and change. I love them so so so much and love being a missionary so so so much. It is the best thing I have ever done in my life and I am so happy to be here and give it all I have for these next five months que me falta todavia. I love the Savior. Okay I have to go now but I love you all back home -- have a bleeeast in Chicago :)

Love Hermana Honess (the sweet temple worker who greeted me called me that LOVE it)

(Parent Note: the Following email was sent on July 11, 2016)

Hey there! Thank you for sending all of the fun pictures from Chicago :) You all look so great! This week went by so fast. I have no idea what is going on with the time. I wake up, go walk around for awhile, and come home at night. It is crazy! I am so excited for our two adorable investigators who will be baptized on July 30th. They love coming to Church and are developing strong testimonies. This morning while reading a talk by Elder Rasband from the last General Conference I realized how important it is to strengthen the youth; they are the future leaders of the Church. I am so blessed to be a small part of D and L's lives and help them discover the blessings of the Gospel. A couple of cool experiences this last week. I spoke on sacred covenants yesterday in the casa de oración (which continues to have about 50 people consistently every week) and used the example of when Mom brought home the old smoke damaged dressers and, with a little work and polishing, uncovered the beautiful woodwork and made them like new and usable again. I related that to how, at times, we may feel so imperfect and that we do not have potential, but Heavenly Father sees something different in us. He knows our potential and what we can become; therefore, He has blessed us with covenants such as el bautismo, la recepción del don del Espíritu Santo, and La Santa Cena cada semana para renovar nuestros convenios. These make us clean, come closer to Christ, and reach the potential that God knows we have. I think this is one of my favorite Gospel principles of all time -- tenemos un amoroso Padre Celestial y somos Sus hijos. It is such an important truth. Yesterday, we met with a new investigator named G, his wife V, and their daughter X. Very chosen people. My companion found them during divisions this last week because she had been knocking another door across the street very loudly and finally G came out to tell her that no one was home haha. She and Hermana Sic left but my companion felt that she needed to go back so she did and he accepted an invitation to be taught. When we talked with him yesterday he really opened up and told us that he wants to stop drinking but needs help to do it. He asked lots of great questions and wants to know how he can feel the Spirit more in his life. I am very excited to teach them. The divorce process is underway with another couple we are teaching. They are living in union libre and one of them is still married to their ex but that should get done within a month where normally it takes a long time. They are truly repentant and want to do things right. They cannot wait to be baptized and take the Sacrament. I may not be here next cycle to see that but I am so grateful that they are progressing and making changes in their lives. That is one of my favorite things about being a missionary. I love you family. Thank you for your love and support. You all look so fine! The Schwartz Family has been in my prayers every day. Take good care of Sister Schwartz. Love you :)

Hermana Jones

Today (July 11, 2016) we played fútbol as a zone at the church :) My companion
and I bought a rotisserie chicken and a can of chipotles


Zone activity and a good day of fútbol at La Guarda on July 4, 2016. 
We enjoyed smashing our zone members in a combi! Some of the best people I have ever known! 

You see a little bit of everything here :)

Us with the assistants to the President and Elder Cervantez 
(he went to the same high school as my cousin Brayden)

Friday, July 1, 2016


Hello all. What a great day...we went to the Temple with Hermana C. She does our laundry almost every week and is one of my all-time favorite ladies. She is so kind and wonderful. I have had incredible people take care of me along the way during my mission. Also, yesterday, the 8 members of my District took people who have recently joined the Church to the Temple. We all went together in combis and had so much fun.

I am short on time but we experienced many wonderful miracles over the past week. First of all, we had five investigators in Church! I LOVE the little casa de oracion. There is such a special spirit there. We were able to teach las mujeres jovenes (young women) and it brought me back to all the wonderful times I had during our Laurel's class -- shout out to you Mom! There were just two of them including J who is 12, and M, our investigator who is 14 who has a baptismal date with her brother L on July 30. Woohoo! It was very special to spend time with the two of them during the last hour of Church. We didn't have a lesson planned because we weren't planning on teaching the class so we talked about how God is our loving Heavenly Father and this affects all that we do. It is one of my most favorite principios of the Gospel.

Me in front of a fruit/veggie/candy stand owned by a couple cool investigators who live in La Rey.

My awesome district from the last cycle. Four of them left and four new equally awesome Elders have taken their place.

This is the room where we had Young Women's class -- it is part of la casa de oracion. This was a couple weeks ago when we were helping clean before the first Sunday there.

The pictures above are of Conferencia de Zona de Ixtapaluca! Hermana Martinez and I trained about how important planning is in a little 10 minute workshop that we did four times (split up groups rotating around) and we were in charge of the fun activity to take a break during the conference. We did a relay race of sorts -- four teams of 8 missionaries each. The first compañerismo had to do 20 push-ups, then ran to the next pair who did "chubby bunny" (shoving 10 marshmallows in their mouths and saying "conejito gordito"), then that pair ran to the next who had to eat donuts off of strings without their hands, who then went to the last pair who had to blow up a balloon and sit on it to pop it. The first team who finished won chocolate -- like they needed any more sugar! It was a hit if I do say so myself :) We will be doing the same thing tomorrow in Los Reyes with the Los Reyes and Paraiso zones.

This pic is of the rooftops of a sweet mercado (market) where you can buy fruit and lots of other stuff super cheap. Gosh I LOVE MEXICO! I have a couple of very neat experiences to share with you next week. Just so you know, we have three baptisms lined up for July 30 and they are great people with more coming! Also, next Monday we are going to the Guarda with the two Ixtapaluca zones so I don't know how writing will go next week :) I love you so much and have a blast in Chicago!

Love you!

Hermana Jones