Thursday, May 22, 2014

Tour DE Ecuador...and Peru

Hola familia!!

OKay, so you may be wondering why I'm sending this email on a wednesday instead of Monday.  Let me just explain, these past two days have literally been the craziest ever! I'll try and fit everything in here and help you understand how awesome these days have been.

Last week an Elder from the offices called me and said I needed to be at the offices at 8am on Monday to go to the migrations office and to bring money and clothes in case we got back late and I had to stay the night in the offices. Well people do that all the time so it's normal but at 10 on sunday night, another sister called me and asked what I was packing to go to Ecuador.  I was quiet and asked, "ecuador? what do you mean ecuador?" and she said, "oh, you didn't know? We're going to ecuador tomorrow." 
What?? Like the country??? 
So yeah, I'm not sure how that detail got left out, but about 15 of us had to go to ECUADOR!! Basically we are the ones that are here without visas and our time went up and we were illegal so we had to fly to Tumbes, the city closest to Ecuador, and take a bus to leave the coutnry and then come back so they could give us six more months legal here.  I was so shocked! But that is what happened.  We left and flew to Tumbes, up by the border and it was an adventure!
We got off the plane and it was incredibly hot and humid. We all got in a bus and drove to Ecuador, waited in a line, entered the country, then turned around and waited in a line to get back into Peru and they give us six more months! Woo! So we finished all of that at about 3pm and our flight back wasn't until 9pm. SO the driver took us to the center of Tumbes and we just walked around and took pictures and ate and it was great! Tumbes is so cool and green and has a million mosquitos! So we finished up and went back to the airport and it started pouring so our flight got delayed but then we finally made it back to Lima at about 12 at night! 
We drove to the offices and were getting ready to go to bed, at this point it was about 1:30 am, when an Elder called us and told Hermana Alonso and I that the next morning we had to be ready at 6:30 because President was going to take us to the temple for being the comp of the month. Yay! So we slept a good three hours, got ready and went to the temple. We did a session, my first session in Spanish! And my first time seeing the new movie! (It's awesome!) and it was so refreshing to be able to go after almost a year! I loved it. So then President drove us around central Lima to see all the fancy places and we went and ate at Tony Roma's on the beach! IT was so delicious and I was in heaven.  We went back and after about 30 hours being out of our area, we finally made it back to our area at about 5pm last night.  What!!! THat was the most eventful to days of my mission haha.  It was incredible and I can't believe I went to Tumbes, Ecuador, and The center of Lima.  I took a million pictures and it was paradise.  
We got back and were worried because we had been away from our area for so long, that gives Satan a ton of time to work. Luckily we were able to get to teaching again last night and everything is good so far.  Oh, and I'm extremely tired.... haha.  
Now every week that I don't go to another country is going to seem boring haha. But they were good experiences.  I absolutely LOVED going to the temple and being able to just sit and clear my mind for a bit and remember the covenants that I've made.  There is a constant mission stress here, worrying about all the people we meet and such, but It was great to be able to sit and just enjoy the Spirit. To just think about what I've done here and what I still need to do in these six months. I was able to reflect a lot and feel the Spirit testify to me that the work I'm involved in is true, and that I need to keep on keepin on here in the Lord's vineyard. The church is so true!!!!
This weekend we are excited for Pamela to get baptized, pray that everything goes well for her! She's awesome.
Thanks for all the love and prayers, I hope everything is going well back home! 

Hermana Jones 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Una Semana Loca

Hola hola!

Congrats to Lynelle for graduating BYU! I don't know if you'll still be sticking around Provo or what but that's great and I hope you feel accomplished from graduating from one of the top 80(or so?) universities in America! 

okay so we had an interesting week and this is why.
Last monday we had transfers, and how they do them here is that they call our leaders on Monday and tell us to pack up and go to the meeting on Tuesday. We don't know where we are going, they just tell us to show up with our stuff. Well Monday came and they said that Hermana Alonso and I were staying together so we didn't have to pack or anything. Woo! We were super excited because we DID NOT want to leave. It was great and we went and celebrated by eating Lomo Saltado, my favorite peruvian dish. (picture attached.) We enjoyed our Monday and all was well.

WELL, we woke up on Tuesday to a text message sent at 11:30pm from the assistant to president telling us to come to the transfer meeting, without our suitcases... what? we were confused. But we went and it was fun to be able to see all of the other sisters that were getting transferred and we took pictures and such.  So what they do is that everybody goes into the room together and there is a slideshow and the assistant announces, "In the area of _____ we have Hermana ____ with Hermana _____" adn then our pictures and names pop up on the screen and we find each other and hug and such.  Well before the meeting I shook President Archibald's hand and asked, "why are we here?" and he laughed and said, "that's one of the three questions of the soul right? Where did I come from, why am I here, and where am I going?" haha so he thought he was pretty funny and didn't answer me. Well the slideshow started and it came to our area and said, "In Puente Piedra 2, Hermana Jones and Hermana Alonso, as sister training leaders!" And our pictures popped up and so we jumped up and hugged and were super excited! So now Hermana Alonso and I are sister training leaders together! Yay! 
What is a STL you may ask? Okay so basically since they changed the mission age there are a ton more sisters and Zone leaders and district leaders can't go on exchanges with the sisters obviously so what we do is we still work normally here and have our area and investigators but at least once a week we travel to another area and do exchanges with other sisters to help them in their area or with whatever they need.  It's kinda like zone leaders for sisters but not because we don't have the priesthood and still work under all of the other leaders. A cool part is that we get to go to the mission council meeting every month and get awesome trainings from President. I'm excited!! We have a lot more pressure now and are going to be a lot busier but it will be awesome to be able to work more and help others in the work as well, and I can't imagine how much I am going to learn from all of this as well! 

So basically this week has flown by because we are getting ourselves oriented with all that and also we had a fun service activity! We painted the upstairs of the house of the Sanchez Family with our district.  We blasted our EFY music and all got to know the family well and the paint actually turned out really well! (Sometimes missionaries don't do the most quality work.... but hey! It's free) but no it looked really good and they were grateful.  All of the houses here are made of concrete so I don't know if that is easier or harder to paint than dry wall but it worked out. 

The weather is getting cooler (in the 70s!) and our animo is getting bigger.  Life is good here in Puente Piedra and we are excited to see what is to come in these next couple of months that we will be together! 

So at the beginning of my mission I set the goal to read Jesus the Christ on my mission, and then I never obtained the book and here it is only in Spanish. But hey, I might as well start now and see what I can read in 7 months. Mom, is there an extra laying around the house somewhere and if so, could you send it to me in the next couple of weeks? They only have it in Spanish here.... If not, that will just be a goal to accomplish after my mission. :)

Thanks for all the love and prayers and I hope all continues to go well for the Jones Family! (and friends)

Hermana Jones 

La Semana Santa

Hola hola!

Congrats to Matt and Jessica for getting married! And welcome to the family, Jessica! From Mom's little note it sounded like all went well and well, they ended up sealed so that's the important part. Send me some pictures one of these days so I can see! 
So now only two of us in the family lack our ticket to the Celestial Kingdom.  We'll get there! 

This week went well and it was one of the most interesting Easter's I have experienced!
So here they celebrate the entire week up until Friday.  They all burn incense and stuff like that and then thursday and friday everybody got the day off work and school and such.  Friday they only eat Fish and nobody did anything all day except there were virgin mary parades in the streets that people went out to participate in.  It was interesting to see the culture/religious differences of Easter. Everybody here celebrates the death of Jesus Christ. While we are grateful for the fact that He died for our sins, in the church we prefer to celebrate his resurrection and the fact that He now lives! 
Friday was a holiday for that reason but then everybody had to work on saturday and sunday, as if his crucifixion was the only thing Christ did.  Anyway, we had lots of good lessons about Christ explaining the garden of Gethsemani, (which most people don't know about) and the resurrection.  It was a good week and we had a lot of great lessons, but everybody claimed to be die hard catholics despite they hadn't gone to church in forever...haha. Anyway this week will be better because they will be back in the rhythm of life and we can teach more about the Restored Gospel! 
Yesterday I was actually asked to give a talk in church so I decided to focus on the resurrection and it went great.  While there are a lot of members of the church here, most of them are recent converts so were born into the Catholic church and carry on those traditions. I explained the significance of the resurrection and the reason why we don't use crosses in the church (Thanks for that quote by Pres. Hinckley, Dad!). It went well and when I said, "you may notice there aren't any crosses in any building or temple", a lot of people looked around surprised as if they had never realized that before. It was pretty funny. It went well!

Anyway, it was a great week and life is good here! Today they are going to inform us if we get transferred or not, and I'm hoping I'll get to stay here for another transfer with Hermana Alonso! 
Have a great week and Love you bunches! The church is true!