Happy Monday! Today President Stutznegger took us to the orthodontist so my companion could get her braces off but we will be going back again next week and I took advantage of getting my permanent retainer fixed. Some of the glue popped off one of the teeth several months ago. Sorry for not sending pics, the computer is being difficult but I will do so next week. We spoke in Sacrament Meeting yesterday and I was assigned to speak on an article from this month's Liahona by Elder Clarke about practicing Pure Religion. I started out by mentioning how I play violin and that the violin is an interesting instrument because if it is left in the case for a long time without being played, it loses its resonance and tone and beautiful sound. I related that to us being instruments in God's hands to practice pure religion, taking care of the widows, orphans, poor and needy, and "the sheep of the fold" as mentioned in James 1:27. If we do not serve, we lose our pure tone and resonance and cannot be useful instruments in the Lord's hands. When talking about taking care of orphans, I shared that Grandpa W and Aunt P were adopted and thanks to the examples and values and principles that Great Grandma and Grandpa W taught them, Grandpa was prepared to search for and accept the restored Gospel and how that has affected future generations, me included. I also invited the Church members to take care of the children and teens in the ward whose parents are less active in the Gospel because it affects future generations. It was fun to speak -- love doing it -- and later that day the bishop's wife and 10 year old daughter asked me to help her prepare to play a primary song on the violin in the primary program in October. That will be fun to help :)
Now that we are here at the end of September, October begins my favorite time of the year with all the festivities and weather and such. It will be wonderful to start things off with General Conference this coming weekend! I have to admit that Saturday night my comp and I completely forgot about the Women's Session and did not end up seeing it :/ The good news is that during that time we found a new family of five to teach and they are AWESOME! So I guess it was worth it :) Thanks to my CCM teacher, Grandma W, and Mom for all telling me a little bit about President Uchtdorf's talk about faith. That is something I needed to hear this week (the baptism we were supposed to have on Saturday fell due to the woman's personal decision concerning a few things and it was quite frustrating). It is important to understand that faith includes understanding that God can do all things and could do all things but that it is necessary to have opposition in all things as well. Faith can move mountains if it is expedient in God's will to do so. In any case, I look forward to reading the talks from that session in the November Liahona.
This last week was very exciting because we found FAMILIES! That does not happen for us very often -- as in a complete family of papà, mamà, and hijos who all want to listen. We are very excited to teach the B, T, R, and J families :) We found La Familia B through the registro of a convert of about 2 years ago who no longer attends Church. There are probably about 10 integrantes in this family and little B went to church with us yesterday so this will be a lot of fun. We found a member of La Familia T in the street. The three of us were waiting to cross the same street and I complimented her on her sweet little bicycle ("shocks, pegs....lucky!") and we began to talk with her. Turns out that the Elders in that area gave her and her husband a Libro de Mormòn about 4 months ago and have started reading. It is an older couple with kids all grown up, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They are very kind and genuinely interested. La Familia R is a reaffirming testimony to me of what Elder Holland has said before that we need to do all that is possible in our power as missionaries until the last minute of the work day. After a long day of contacting with little success, we were about five houses away from our house when we stopped to talk to a man and his two daughters who were just arriving home as well. He was super excited to talk to us and enthusiastically invited us to come back. We went to visit him, his wife, and three daughters on Saturday. Turns out that the mom, E, listened to two sister missionaries about 12 years ago as a jovencita and has read the whole Book of Mormon and everything. When the hermanas left, she lost contact and did not continue learning. We enjoyed a good visit getting to know them. La Familia J came from a member presenting us to a jovencita who has been to Church twice now with her step-sister and step-grandma who are members. They invited us over after Church yesterday and we showed up unexpectedly at their house, catching the parents off guard. Oooops. I saw the look on the dad's face (the dad of the jovencita) and could immediately tell that he was not pleased to see us there. We nervously and kind of uncomfortably sat down and began to try to get to know everyone. It consists of a family, some of which are Church members but less active presently. Two are deaf and mute, and the dad and daughter from eastern Mexicao and are not Church members. I offered a silent prayer in my heart to have the Spirit with us as we taught -- there seemed to be a lot of tension in the room -- and we began to navigate the situation. One of the daughters was signing in sign language to the mom who is deaf and mute throughout the whole visit. I was able to show them that I know the alphabet in sign language and that helped ease things a bit. Slowly but surely, as we began to talk about our purpose as missionaries and share our feelings about the Savior, I could feel the Spirit testify to them that what we were saying is true. By the end of the lesson, the dad asked us to do them the favor of not eating beforehand when we visit them on Saturday and come ready to eat with them :) It was a very neat experience.
I am loving being here. Every day is an opportunity to be better and work harder. I love each of you and wish you a wonderful week :)
Love Hermana Jones
We enjoyed some ice-cream with our wonderful President Stutznegger today while on our orthodontist outing. I cannot imagine a better mission president! (Photo credit to President Stutznegger)