Hermana Jones

Hermana Jones

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Feliz Día de Acción de Gracias! and Final Week

(Parent Note: the emails below are from the last two weeks)

Feliz Día de Acción de Gracias! (November 23, 2016)

That is Happy Thanksgiving in Spanish, and I mean it! Happy Thanksgiving everybody! I am excited to go hog wild tomorrow at President's house ("Don't mind if I do Lilian"). It has been a great last week and a half. Here in the mission (and throughout the whole world) we are getting very excited to start La Iniciativa de Navidad for this year! I invite you all to go to Mormon.org this Friday to see and share the new Christmas video the Church has made as well as all of the great ideas of how to iluminar el mundo this Christmas Season as the Savior did during His earthly ministry. Also, 1 de Diciembre is the world day of service so start planning the service projects you will do next Thursday! I am going to enjoy this last week and a half I have to spread as much Christmas cheer in Mexico as possible! We have already seen a lot of success in contacting on the streets with the little cards we have as well as visiting members and inviting them to join with us in the Christmas initiative. I love being able to focus on Christ and the light He gives to everyone, regardless of beliefs or religion.

Okay, a funny quick experience to share with you this week -- my companion and I were on our way to the stake center when we had the impression to talk to a mother and daughter. The mom was knocking door to door and the daughter was sitting on the curb. We started talking to them and turns out that they were selling canaries -- the little birds -- to try to have a little money to buy something to eat. My companion encouraged me to buy two of them. So, after giving them a pamphlet, we continued on our way to the stake center with a little brown paper bag with birds inside. When we got there we left them in the kitchen and headed into our meeting. Afterwards, we took President to the kitchen...to find the bag empty and the birds flying all over the room! I then witnessed something epic that I will never forget -- President going into action and managing to catch the birds with my companion screaming every time one flew by her head. I had tears streaming down my face I was laughing so hard. After Prez got them in the bag he turned to me and said "That is the dumbest thing you have ever done on your mission" HAHAHAHAHAHA. He gave us a hug and thanked us for trying to be kind to someone on the street but suggesting that next time we just give the person money instead of taking the animals with us. We gave the birds to a sweet old man who is a recent convert and is taking very good care of them. I need to run...we had a great day at the National Museum of Anthropology near at Chapultepec. Thanks everybody! I love you all and am grateful for each of you!

Love Hermana Jones

Final Week (November 28, 2016)

Hello everybody! I apologize now that this is going to be so short and boring. We just got back from saying goodbye to Monte Corona and Jardines Wards (second area) way up in the mountains and volcanoes and all that fun stuff so I do not have much time at all. It was a great week. Yesterday we were present for the baptism of a young man that we taught and then later the Elders when they arrived to cover the south part of the J.E. Ward. I have come to truly appreciate the importance and value of the ordinance of baptism here in the mission. Every single person is a child of God who is on the path home again and it is amazing to see. Also, our 66 year old investigator M went to Church yesterday and stayed for the baptism afterwards and LOVED it. I think he will be baptized here in a few weeks :)

Quick story...yesterday I saved the Bishop jajajaja during Sacrament Meeting I felt the need to check the little frijolito of a phone we have and found that the Bishop had sent us a text asking one of us to share a message right after the speaker that was speaking at the time. I sent him a message telling him not to worry and that I would take care of it. I also asked if there was a specific topic I should speak on and all he asked of me was that I didn't share with the congregation that he had asked me on the spot to speak haha. So, I once again used the story of Grandpa Wayne and I walking to the bus stop and then shared some verses from Mosiah 5 about how we need to have Christ´s name written on our heart, and know the name by which we are called. We can't get to know somebody unless we spend time with them. I also again used the story of the disciples and Christ on the road to Emaus. I asked them a few questions about if they were spending enough time with Christ every day. It was fun :)

Sorry I have not sent more pictures over the past few weeks. My camera has officially died so I can no longer take pictures. I am relying on those that people send me and then I forward them to you. I love you all so much. I am excited to work as hard as possible this last week I have as a missionary. Okay I really do have to go now. LOVE YOU. Cheers and saludos!

Hermana Jones

Saying goodbye to people in my first area. It is a little overwhelming and I did not see as many as I hoped but these are all converts who I worked with and visited a lot during my first few months. A, the older man, is now cancer free! When I visited him with my trainer Hermana Llaguarima and Hermana Wong and, during the first part of Hermana Carrasco's training, he was always in a recliner chair or flat on his back in bed. Now he can walk! I could hardly understand or talk to these wonderful people when I first arrived but they did help me a lot during the refiner's fire of learning Spanish haha.

Two of my favorite adorable kids from my first area.

A and I...It was a blessing to enjoy the journey that lead to their baptism.

Me with Lilian who is the Bishop's ten year old daughter (they live above us). It was really fun to teach her "Soy un hijo de Dios" for the primary program. She did a great job!

Selfie while waiting for interviews. This was about twenty minutes after I had the privilege and honor of giving my companion her flu shot! That was one of the coolest experiences and really wish we had it on video. As soon as she saw the needle she nearly fainted and we had to shove her into the chair (I used the technique my mom used one time when I was young. She told me we were going on a fun trip after school to get donuts and did not tell me a thing about going to the doctor! My companion had forgotten about the shots and I did not remind her. Mama Stutz didn't have donuts but she did have Tootsie rolls so that was good). She was literally kicking and putting up a good fight. Hermana Stutznegger had to bear hug her while I managed to get the needle in. Afterwards, Hna Stutznegger said that Hermana Torres has taken the cake for being the worst missionary ever to receive a shot. It was hilarious haha poor thing :)

This pic is of us with a lady who we contacted on the street while we were looking for somewhere to eat (the members had given us money for the day) and she invited us into her cocina economica. She was so sweet :)

Us with Hermana L who gave us la comida yesterday. She is always full of energy and super fun to be with!

"Las Alas" or "The Wings" nearby Chapultepec. We had a great time today visiting the National Museum of Anthropology there. It was impressive.

More pics from el museo -- it is a huge place. We did not even make it through half of the building I think but we went to a few of the highlights which are the rooms of Teotihuacán, Mexica, and the Mayas. Lots of human sacrificing and other interesting things.

Real human skeletons. There were a lot of those in the museum. It really is a fascinating place that I hope to return to some day.

Thanksgiving with the Hermanas and the Stutzneggers!

I love my sisters!

More pics from Thanksgiving at with the Stutzneggers. I love them!!! (photo credit to Hermana Stutznegger)

Simplemente México :) 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

I should be able to see the Light of Christ in my countenance.

Hellooooooo! It was fun to hear from all of you and read your emails this week. Thank you! It is always so much for fun to read than to write haha. We had a good week full of work and meetings and divisions and everything that comes with being a missionary. It was very special to have el élder Jesús Alfonso Ortiz Tirado, of the Seventy, and his wife Olga Lydia. They are a powerhouse couple. I mean WOW. Talk about stellar people. Elder Mafi and I organized a musical number for the Friday conference with the zones Neza, Oriental, Pantitlan, and La Perla 1 y 2. We sang “Calma Mi Alma” -- "Be Still My Soul" -- that just recently came out in Spanish. I started out with a solo and then slowly other people joined in (we got the Stutzneggers crying so I hope that means it turned out alright :P). Before the conference started I had the opportunity to have an interview with Elder Ortiz. He is such a kind man and knows so much about life and the Gospel. I will have to tell you more about him when I get back. He and his wife's story is incredible. Anyways, we had a chance to talk and when he asked me if I had any questions for him, I asked him what is the best thing I could do when I am home as a returned missionary. He gave me some great counsel that I have written down that I really appreciate. The rest of the conference was great! I learned so much. Everything seemed to be geared to how to use this time we have now so that we are prepared to go home and be returned missionaries who remain faithful. Then on Saturday during the leadership council many of the same principles were discussed but in a different way to say them. Basically the whole conference was for me!!!! It really helped and I feel contenta right now with where I am at in the mission and with regards to coming home. It was funny because during the conference on Friday Elder Ortiz called me up in front of everyone so I could share with them a little of what we had talked about in the interview. Essentially, as a returned missionary I will have many other obligations and things to take care of and simply will not be able to study in depth from the scriptures for 2 hours every day, or go out and spend hours in the streets preaching the gospel every day, nor should I reprimand my family for not doing "companionship study" with me every day hahahaha and things like that and THAT IS OKAY. He told me that it is normal to be thinking about home a lot during these last few weeks because I need to start preparing myself for what lies ahead. What he did counsel me to do that I later shared with the missionaries is that we need to live what we have just spent 18 months or 2 years teaching people and I do not have to lower myself to all the vulgar and vain things of the world after having been set apart as a missionary (PME pg. 4 the quote by President Spencer W. Kimball). I should be able to look in the mirror and see the Light of Christ still there in my countenance. If I can no longer see that, something is wrong. He also shared with me that, although I can no longer do it for two hours every day, real scripture study for 15 minutes every day is essential. In front of all the missionaries he told them that I had told him that "I don't want it all to end and that I would like to stay here." Then he said how he was just thinking of my dear parents back at home and how they would feel about that decision hahaha and said, "Oh hermana, como verás que no es así" (translated in context: oh sister, you will see when you get home that your parents don't want you to extend your mission) it was really funny how he said it and I understand that it probably doesn't make sense when I say it in English. (Parent note: we are definitely looking forward to being with her, but actually wish that she could stay longer because it has been such a blessing for her and us both!). He gave me his email to write him when I get home so that he can get me in contact with his unmarried son living in Utah hahaha he said that we can be friends because he doesn't have a lot of friends in Utah so that will be fun.

I had a nice time doing divisions with an hermana last Tuesday in Oriental, helping her feel more comfortable with contacting in the streets and knocking doors. It is so much fun because we never know quite what we are getting ourselves into when we contact! Ok, to a certain extent we can sometimes predict the outcome but not always. We followed the Spirit and knocked two doors where two people accepted us and we were able to teach some of the Restoration there at the door. I miss my combi days when I could sit up front with the driver and chat. In Neza we walk every where or take a mototaxi and it is just not the same. Today I will start saying goodbye to my old areas, starting with Oriental/Fovissste where it all began. I am also planning on going to the Museum of Natural Art and History (I think that is what it is called) next week and will have to change my P-day for that visit because it is closed on Mondays...just a heads up. This week my companion has her last interview with President as well as her pictures and interview for her visa. Next week we will be at President's for Thanksgiving! Woohooo!

In answer to questions, I have had a few comments about Donald Trump here jaja. Friday we had a super fun Ward activity making carne asada with all the fixings and playing basquetbol y futbol. A few investigators, converts, and less actives who we have been working with a lot lately came which was great (the sad part is that none of the people we are teaching from our half of the Ward came on Sunday so once again their baptism dates fell). After realizing that playing in skirts and Crocs flats simply just wouldn't do, H took us back real quick to change and we arrived just in time to kick some trash on the court. I was brought back to my glory days of high school soccer and Church-bball and had all the hermanas on my team shouting "hermana güera!" (blonde girl) to pass them the ball. I think I surprised quite a few people with how aggressive I can be when it comes to sports, particularly basketball and soccer hahaha we had a good time and there was a great turnout :) Well, I will try to send some pics from my companion’s camera really quick...mine seems to be toast. I love you all very much and hope this week treats you well!

Hermana Güera Jones

Mission Conference with Elder Jesus A. Ortiz

Mission Leadership Conference last week. 

I am getting very excited to have a dryer again at home because here we have to hang the wash to dry and when it rains (like it did every day this last week) we are left to our own devices hahaha wet laundry strewn all over the apartment!

This is a group picture of those who went to the visitor's center for the family home evening (minus the Bishop who took the picture).

The jack-o-lantern we carved for Halloween that President and Mama Stutz gave us (it was the first time ever for my companion!)

Eating ice cream with H last Monday after playing basketball and soccer with a bunch of other missionaries. He has been wanting to take us to ice cream for a long time now hahaha :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

I have seen people change and come unto Christ, which has helped me change and come unto Him as well.

Happy Monday everybody! It's good to be back once again before starting another week. I must inform you that you all at home are not the only ones celebrating the victory of the dear Chicago Cubs. Here in my ward there is a wonderful family -- La Familia M -- who loves baseball and was rooting for the Cubs right along with me. They kept me informed throughout the week and on Sunday all gave me huge hugs and high fives when they shared the news with me :) hahaha very sweet people and I am happy to have shared that with them down here in Neza.

This week was fun and a little bit difficult as always, but that is just the way we like it! Hermana Torres has now received her visa and begun the process of interviews and final touches. I think she will be going at the same time with me! We will see what happens. On Saturday we were running around like crazy trying to make sure people could go to the Ward Family Home Evening in the Visitor's Center. After spending the whole day doing that we arrived with a little micro full of people and spent the evening with just 23 members and 1 investigator. I'll admit, I was pretty frustrated but we pressed forward and did the best we could. The evening was centered on Jesus Christ and the Atonement. The Elders and my companion and I took a little bit of time to share messages, and the majority of it was taken by an hermano from the Ward who is a doctor and talked about a recent medical study about the physical trials the Savior went through in Gethsemane and on Calvary. Although the projector didn't work and we just listened instead, it was very impactful and very special for the 24 people who went. The following Sunday many of those who went shared their testimony, including our 14 year old investigator who is the son of H, and he said in front of the whole congregation that he knows that the Church is true and hopes that the hermanas (us) can teach him more about Christ. His dad H also got up and expressed how much he loves us which really means a lot. We were able to do a fast with him to help him stop drinking completely, and he loved the whole experience.

The mission is by far the hardest thing I have ever done but definitely the most rewarding experience I have ever had because I have seen people change and come unto Christ, which has helped me change and come unto Him as well. Our efforts may appear to be in vain or futile but I promise all of you that every time we do our best to help another person, how every big or small the act my be, it means something and measures up. Love you all :)

Hermana Jones

PS I’m still having issues with my camera :(

Parent Note:

The following pictures were taken by Sister Stutznegger of children celebrating Day of the Dead.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Acts of kindness by ordinary people who made a huge difference in our lives.

Happy Halloween and Feliz Dia de Muertos (for the kids tomorrow on the 1st and the adults on the 2nd of Noviembre)! Here in my area one of the main streets that we walk on is jam packed with people buying food, trick-or-treating with the little kids dressed up in costumes, and viewing the ofrendas or "offerings" for the “day of the dead” put on by a few of the regional high schools. I will try to send some pictures. It is a really neat tradition here. They make altars with flowers, candles, fotos, favorite foods of the person who died, and other things to honor the dead. All of the high schools did this for a group project grade in their schools but it is to preserve the traditions here in Mexico. After I finish writing we will head in for the night. Tomorrow should be interesting because they will still be celebrating and it may be hard to get from place to place for our appointments.

This last week was a little tough but had some real gems. Although we struggled with helping the people we are teaching to progress, we had some neat experiences from following the guidance of the Spirit. One of which was we passed by a woman sitting on a moto-taxi on the side of the road and I felt the need to talk to her. They had some sketchy (I don't know how else to describe it haha) music playing and it just looked kind of uncomfortable to talk to her so I didn't say anything and we kept walking. I felt it again but stronger this time so we went back to talk to the woman. She definitely looked a little surprised to see us but as we started talking and asking how she was doing she told us she was not too well because her mother in law had just passed away days before. We gave her a pamphlet of the Plan of Salvation and shared more of that with her. She does not live nearby but I hope that she can get in contact with other missionaries. Another neat experience we had was during a Zone activity in another area doing a similar thing we did in mine -- looking for people who are less active in the Gospel. We went to a certain house and out came a less active woman who has been unable to attend Church for awhile due to declining health. She was so happy to see us and told us that about two weeks ago she had a dream of missionaries coming to her door and visiting her. It was a special experience to be able to really help someone out who had been waiting for a visit. Another neat experience was when we went to the home of a contact we made in the street. An older woman answered the door and after we told her that we are missionaries and representatives of Christ, she asked us if we would like to come in and drink some water. She was so kind to us. We were able to visit with her and her husband who is really ill and declining fast. I asked them why she had decided to let us in and she said that it was because of what she felt when she was with us. She sensed that we brought goodness with us. They accepted an invitation to learn more. It will be really hard for them to make it to Church due to her husband's health but we are excited to teach them more. Our wonderful investigator Berenice in the wheelchair is so incredibly powerful. She loved Church last Sunday and is praying to know if the gospel is true. This last week during one of our visits when introducing the Book of Mormon to her, her eyes lit up as we talked more about it. We assigned the introduction to her as homework for the next time. She cannot read while lying down so she asked us right there in that moment to help her sit up. We got her situated and, after asking for the book, began to read the introduction right then and there. I love her! We invited her to be baptized and, after she said yes, we began to talk to her about a specific date and that through her faith and our's she would be at a point physically when she could be baptized. We extended December 3rd (my last weekend here in the mission) and she said, "Oh yes, that will totally be fine!" and was very happy because that is her dad's birthday. She wants him to baptize her. It is going to be so beautiful and we are so happy for her :) Well, we have two awesome Elders here in the Ward with us now. We spent a bit of time showing them around and presenting them to people. One of them got sick during the week and, being new in the area, had nothing to eat in their house so we went to buy them some food. We stopped at the tienda of a man we had contacted before who did not have interest in learning more but recognized who we are. After trying to figure out what we could feed two Elders, without a whole lot of money to feed them, and asking this man for the price of every single thing in the store, I handed him the money that I had which would exactly cover what we needed to buy. He accepted one bill but the other he handed back to me and asked me to please take it. He said that he sees us walking all over, back and forth-back and forth, in front of his store every day and knows that we are here doing something good. He insisted that we take the rest of the money and said that whenever we need anything, ANYTHING, we can come to him. I teared up a little as I thanked him. After that, we crossed a super busy street in which a man stopped to let us cross first even though there were a lot of people behind him. We stopped by the Elders' house and learned that they did not have any drinking water, so we went to another tienda and had just enough money to buy water for them thanks to the man in the other tienda. It was a series of very incredible miracles and acts of kindness by ordinary people who made a huge difference in our lives. I went home very grateful that night for Heavenly Father's love and awareness of us in our little spot of the world. I am sure that there are more incredible things to tell you all but I honestly cannot remember them but I have them written in my journal so don't worry. I love you all and wish you a wonderful first week of November!

Love Hermana Jones

PS I am so sorry but my camera has a virus so it is really hard for me to send pictures and I need to get home now. Next week when I have more time I will dedicate a good half hour to do it, I promise.

We had a great day. President and Sister Stutznegger were kind enough to take us to Plaza de la Ciudadela...it has a bunch of Mexican handcrafts and is a little overwhelming haha. I was able to buy some fun things.

President and Sister Stutznegger are the best! They found out that I wanted a pumpkin to carve for Halloween and they found one for me :)

We also had a surprise birthday party this morning for one of our zone leaders, Elder V in the blue and white soccer jersey just above me. It turned out really well and was a lot of fun :)