Tuesday, July 30, 2013

vale la pena

Hola Familia,
How goes it?? This week here in Tejas has been full of ups and downs. This week we had two really solid families drop us! What??? It was super sad.  They had baptismal dates and were excited about everything and then one day told us they don't want us to come back because they don't want to change.  We tried to figure things out but haven't yet.  We're going to continue to visit them and try to find out what happened, but yeah it's sad. 
Other than that though, this week has been dandy dandy! We found some really good investigators that have a lot of potential and set a few baptismal dates for the end of this month that we're praying can be kept.  We work with a lot of unmarried couples so that's a challenge, but definitely do-able.  We're probably going to be having a couple of weddings this month so that will be fun!
This week I've seen a big improvement in my Spanish which is great.  I love those occasional moments when I actually completely understand someone and know how to respond without much effort.  It's so fun.  It's like I'm learning how to talk again.  Well I guess I am... haha.  But I forgot how fun it is to actually have conversations with people and get to know them and not have to have my companions re-cap me on everything.  Good times this week.

I've had some of the spiciest food I've ever had here and it's great! Lots of rice and beans and tortillas and spicy stuff.  It's fun.  My clothes are getting tighter, so I'm going to take that as a sign that I'm a good missionary. :) Full of the Spirit or something... right?

Our ward here has 500 members, but only about 100 are actually active.  That's not a very good percentage.  We've been working a lot a lot with the inactive members and trying to get them to start coming to church.  We've been focusing a lot in our lessons on the importance of taking the sacrament.  It's a big deal! We've been really bold with people this week which is super fun because I don't think they expect these tres muchachas to be that bold but it's great because it's working and we've had more people start coming back to church.

Cool story from this week.  Kassi is one of our investigators.  She has two children, and I think she's 21 or 22.  She came to church for the first time yesterday, which was great.  She even went and bought a skirt because she always saw us wearing skirts haha.  Anyway, she shows up at church and apparently she had gotten a flat tire on her way to church in the middle of nowhere.  She didn't know what to do and out of nowhere comes a guy and helps her fix it.  So she made it to church right in time! Super cool.  She's great. And she really enjoyed church!

Love you bunches,
Hermana Jones

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Monday, July 22, 2013

La mision es lo mejor

Como esta familia? Este semana ha sido llena de experiencias espiritual y chistoso.
Okay, all you Spanish speakers can go ahead and critique that sentence but hey, atleast my point is getting across! haha.
Oh, what a week what a week! First of all, it's been raining off and on which has been GREAT.  I don't even mind walking around outside in the rain because it feels so good.  But alas, the rain has ended and this week will be hot and sunny and humid and wonderful. 
We've had to do a lot more walking this week because we are running out of monthly miles on our car.  They put sisters in this area just the transfer before me, so when they were finding housing, apparently they got the wrong apartment complex or something and accidentally got an apartment that is about 10 miles outside of our area.  We work in south Fort Worth but live almost in Arlington, so we have to drive about 40 minutes to our area every day.  It's fine because it's good study time. Hermana Reina helps me with my Spanish during that time.  But it's a little hard because that's an extra 20 miles every day and we only get 1050 every month so we have to be really careful and only work in certain parts of town every day.  Also we can't drive to members houses for dinner because of the lack of miles so members just bring us dinner to the church a lot of times and we eat there.  It's all good though.  I'm definitely grateful that we have a car in this heat!
It's pretty cool because there are 10 missionaries in our ward. 10! That's a lot! 2 comps of elders and of hermanas, all in a Spanish ward haha.  We have to be careful not to sit in groups and talk because it looks intimidating to some people to see a ton of missionaries all in a crowd. It's great though.  Last week at church until about 10 minutes before church, we all had a lot of investigators there so there were more investigators and missionaries than there were members haha.  That's a good problem to have I guess! One of the Elders, our district leader was in my freshman ward at BYU.  It was funny when I first met him because I read his nametag and saw "Elder Newman" and then looked at his face and we both go, woah! no way! So it's been funny to have to call him "elder Newman" now. 
Yesterday at church was fun because I played the piano for Primary.  There is a pretty big primary in our ward.  It's funny because all of the kids are bilingual because of school and a lot know English better than Spanish, so the teachers were trying to get everybody to be quiet and listen and a kid yells out, "Can we just speak English please?" I was like, yes! Thank you! Haha.  That kid read my mind.  But it's good because this week i've actually seen a lot of improvement and can understand people a ton better.  I'm getting used to their speed of talking and their slang and what not. I still can't speak super well but I can understand pretty decent which is great.
Oh yeah, another funny thing about Spanish.  A lot of people here speak Spanglish, so it's funny because someone will be talking and I'll understand what they're saying and they'll say a word and i'll ask my companion what it means, and she'll tell me it was an English word, but they say it in a spanish accent that I don't catch it.  It's funny.  For example, no one ever says "fiesta," everybody always says "party" except they say it with an accent so it sounds kinda like "poorty" and it throws me off every time.  My companions and I have a good snicker every time someone says it.
Our investigators have kind of gotten a little stuck this week.  We're still working hard with them and are trying to figure out what it is exactly that they need.  Most of our investigators are at the point where they know it's all true, they just don't want to do anything about it.  So we've been working and trying to get them to make sacrifices and commit to things.  It was pretty cool this week because we were teaching a girl named Kassi.  She's hispanic, but she prefers English.  We taught the Restoration and when we talked about Joseph Smith and the First Vision, and she said that she had been so confused about religion and everything so one day she prayed, like he did, and the next day we came over, so she's taking that as an answer to her prayers.  Wow! What a miracle.  She has such a strong desire to do what's right and really wants this for her kids.  We have a baptismal date for her so hopefully she continues to progress.
Anyway, I'm running out of time so I'm going to close up but thank you so much for all the letters and love.
Love you!
-Hermana Jones

Thursday, July 18, 2013


Can't believe it's been another week here in the great state of Texas! We've had a few rainy days which has been a wonderful break from the heat.
This week we've been focusing a lot on inactive members of the church.  We were able to get a ward list and so have been visiting everybody that we don't know and such.  We've found and talked to quite a few people with all sorts of experiences and reasons for not going to church.  We had a couple back at church yesterday which was great.  It's a different kind of success.  As missionaries we of course want a lot of baptisms, but I've learned a lot about the importance of "enduring to the end."  Many people are converted to the Gospel, but aren't truly converted.  We're trying to help them reach the point of true conversion where people don't have to worry about them anymore.  Where they'll come to church without us calling them on saturday and pick up their Book of Mormon and starting reading without us committing them to do so.  It's difficult because people are so comfortable with the way their lives are, but this is the only kind of conversion that brings true happiness.
We also have a few investigators that are progressing really well.  We have a few baptismal dates set up for August 3rd, so we're working to make sure those go through.  We have one family in specific who was a little iffy on the church idea and so we brought some members to meet them and so they came to church! It was perfect because they had automatic friends at church and were able to see that not all members of the church are weird girls walking around in skirts all day that never watch tv or listen to music haha.
So we have this investigator name Josefina.  She's a sweet old lady from Mexico.  My companions found her before I came here, and so she's been taught for about 6 weeks by now.  We've taught her all the lessons and she accepts everything, but she refuses to get baptized! She literally said, "I will do anything in your church except get baptized." (In spanish, of course.)  She comes to church every week and all the activities and loves them but she won't commit to a date and won't get baptized.  We've been trying so hard to figure out what is stopping her.  It's definitley a little frustrating, so we're continuing to work with her and see how we can help her.  She's going to look great in white!
We also have another investigator named Jose who, with his family, has come to church two weeks in a row which is great! (The hardest thing is getting people to actually come to church.) Anyway, he has had some drinking problems and really wants to change.  He tells us that "espierta mi deseo para cambiar" or something like that which means we woke up his desire to change. Or something.  That's what i'm picking up in my Spanish knowledge. He loves our church and how it makes him feel but he isn't too sure about the Book of Mormon and he doesn't want to be "cien por ciento" (100%) in our religion.  So we're going to continue to work with him and help him get to that point.
It gets a little easier every day to speak and understand, so life is good. 
La Iglesia is verdadero.
Thanks for everything, love you all!
Hermana Jones

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Hola Familia,

This week has been pretty sweet.  Missionary work is sweet.
We had fourth of July this week which was fun.  I mean, it was the same as any other day haha except we talked with more drunk people.  Some members had us over and we ate good ol' barbequed... Fish. haha.  They bought some fish and wrapped it in foil and threw them on the grill and then we ate them with the bones, eyes, scales/fins, and all.  Fun times. It wasn't too bad it was just kinda weird to be eating something that was looking at you.  Definitely an experience. 
On Saturday I had such a cool experience.  We went to teach a young family.  We have taught them once before and they seemed decently interested but are Catholic and we were thinking they were just being nice by letting us in because we were super sweaty when we came to the door, haha.  Anyway, they are two parents and three boys: 12, 7, and 5 I believe.  Anyway, we decided to teach them more about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon.  First cool thing of the lesson: I didn't realize until afterwards that I was understanding what they were saying.  I almost forgot they were speaking Spanish, so that was sweet.  Anyway, we were teaching them and then Sister Reina recited the first vision, and the spirit was so incredibly strong.  It was totally silent and everybody was totally focused.  It was incredible.  We taught more and explained that the only way they are going to know if this is true is to read the BOM and pray for themselves.  Then they started telling us that they are really glad we've been coming and teaching them and not trying to force anything on them but are just trying to help them.  They said that many different missionaries from other churches come to their door but all they want to do is argue or force their beliefs on them.  The Dad goes, "But you missionaries are different.  You are respectful and there's just something different when you're here.  It feels different." (In Spanish, of course.)  THAT'S THE SPIRIT! We gently explained how that was the Spirit and all that jazz and then they just started asking tons of questions about our church and beliefs and everything.  I'm not good at storytelling, but I promise it was super duper cool and we could tell they felt the Spirit really strongly.  We invited them to church.. and they came! Yay! They're so solid.  We're praying that things will continue to progress well with them. 

This past week we got to meet our new mission president! He's from Liberty, and is really great.  He does know you, Dad.  We had a meeting with him and we all got to talk to him for about a minute.  He is very excited to be here and to get the work moving even more.  It was really cool because he shared some things that he learned from the apostles at his MTC training two weeks ago.  He emphasized a lot about how much this work is progressing and how important it is for everybody to get with the program so they don't get left behind.  One thing that President Ames quote from Elder Nelson at their conference is, referring to Jeremiah 16:16, something about how the days of hunting behind every rock are finished.  It is now through the ward that we are finding the people.  Something like that.  Point of the story is that the most success comes from referrals from members and less actives/part member families.   I've never realized how much of an effect the members make.  It is always so great having members at lessons because they add a lot of validity to what we're saying and help the investigators understand that we're not weird or whatever.  We had a member come to a lesson this week who used to be Catholic, so he shared with our investigator how he came to know that Catholicism was missing something and how he knew our church had it.  It was a pretty bold lesson but really effective and the Spirit was really strong.  We're always calling members and trying to get them to help us out and trying to get referrals. So my challenge to all of you, this week, is to get involved in missionary work! Woo! As a missionary, I'm going to commit you to that.  Will you become more involved in missionary work by going on splits with the missionaries and giving them referrals? Great. I hope you said yes. If not, I would ask why not and then promise you blessings. Haha.

So I came here to Ft Worth with 9 others who are going to Peru and last week 6 others got their visas and are now in Peru.  That was a tad discouraging but it's all okay because I'm enjoying my time here and actually forget a lot of the time that this isn't even "my mission." I love the people here and excited to see how they progress over the next little bit so I'll just do whatever happens.  But, I am still praying for my visa and having Faith that it'll come.

Love you all tons, Have a great week!
-Hermana Jones

Thursday, July 4, 2013

No me gusta Mole

Hola Hola!
Well, I've successfully completed my first 5-ish days here in Fort Worth Texas! And let me tell you, it is HOT. And Humid.  It's been about 105 every day we've been out here which is awesome.  I've been putting on sunscreen but have gotten some sweet tan lines already.  Lovin' it. 
So we got here on Tuesday and did some orientation stuff and ate some good barbecue and met our mission president and then split up to different places to sleep.  I stayed at a senior couple's apartment. The next day we did some more orientation stuff and met our comps and then said goodbye to our mission president for the last time because we then got a NEW mission president on Saturday haha.  Anyway, I'm in a tripanionship serving in the city of Fort Worth.  My companions are Hermana Reina from Honduras and Hermana George from Orem.  Hermana Reina has been here for 10 months and Hermana George for 6 weeks.  So sister george is halfway through her training and now Sister Reina is training us both! We are serving in a Spanish ward here in Fort Worth.  So pretty much, I never get to speak English when we're out proselyting.  Which means I pretty much never speak when we're out proselyting haha.  It's definitely been overwhelming and challenging because I want to help others but the people are all from Mexico and don't speak as clearly and slowly as my MTC teachers did (go figure) so I don't really know what people are ever talking about.  Fun stuff! But it's all good because every day I understand a little more and participate in the lessons more so it's coming, but I just have to be patient with it.  Hermana George communicates pretty well and has been out only 1 transfer so that gives me hope. :)  Anyway, the language is challenging but the work is good.
We met a lot of people last week and taught some great new investigators with a lot of potential.  We had nine people commit to come to church.  They all seemed pretty committed and we even called them all on saturday.  Anyway, sunday came and only one showed up.  It was pretty disappointing but I guess that happens a lot in missionary work.  So we're going to follow up with them and see why they didn't come. 
Most of the people we teach are from Mexico.  Some from Venezuela, some from Honduras, Guatemala, Dominican republic, etc.  But they all do have one thing in common. They're Catholic! Every single one of em haha.  I hear about 10times/day "Soy Catolica" haha.  And a lot of virgin Mary's.  They're pretty much all happy to listen and let us teach them, a lot of them just don't want to go through the trouble of changing their lifestyle. 
I had my first interesting food experience this week! We usually get fed pretty well.  A lot of Mexican food so rice and beans and stuff. We went to a less active member's home on saturday night and his sweet sweet small old mother wanted to feed us.  This woulda been great had it not been our third dinner and had it not been "Mole" haha.  I still don't even know what Mole is, but apparently it's some sort of chocolate pepper thing with meat that wasn't cooked all the way. Anyway, it was pretty "interesting" and I was already stuffed full.   I got really good at swallowing with my nose plugged. I also was using the tactic to swallow with a swig of coke.  The whole time the lady was sitting there watching us eat so we just kept on eating with a smile on our faces.  Man.  It was definitely an experience.  And I'm sure there are plenty more to come.
We got our new mission president the other day, Pres. Ames.  We all get to meet him tomorrow I believe. 
We've been working pretty hard out here.  I know there is definitely room for improvement though so I'm hoping we can step it up and work a little harder out here but I'm enjoying my time and learning as much as I can.
Hope you have a great 4th of July this week, Love y'all!
-Hermana Jones