Week 7! Praying For Opportunities

It’s that day of the week again. Monday!!

I have some really great news for all of you. Are you ready for this? Drum roll please…. dadadadadadadada… The snow has finally melted! I know this might not be anything spectacular but it is pretty awesome to me. It has been gone for about a week. This past week was pretty warm. It got to the fifties! I actually saw grass in Pittsburgh for my first time. It was a sight to see. Also due to the snow melting so fast and Pittsburgh having terrible drainage systems, there was water everywhere.The sidewalks and roads have lots of pot holes and cracks so you have to be really careful where you walk otherwise you might be walking with soggy socks all day. One day of the week was actually warm enough that I walked around for an hour without a coat on. It was glorious. Although I have no idea what I am going to do with all the things I keep in my coat pocket when it comes time to really ditch the coat. But I’ll figure it out.

We got a senior couple in our area this week. They are the cutest and nicest people ever. They let us use their mission phone for the whole week while we waited for ours to come. They are from Wyoming and they are not use to a place like Pittsburgh, but they are settling in just fine. They take really good care of us missionaries.

This week all of us missionaries in our district went to a less active’s house, R’s, and she fed us dinner. I ate the most I have EVER eaten in one sitting. Every time I go to her house I feel like I am going to puke. She cooked us like ten pizzas, she made a cake for Sister Stokes’ birthday, and then she had cookies. She is from Brazil and she loves to make big meals. The thing is is that she expect us to eat everything. She always says she wants nothing left. You want to know how much I ate? It’s disgusting, but I ate six pieces of pizza, two and a half pieces of cake, and half a cookie. Plus ten glasses of juice (she kept saying we couldn’t have empty cups). We would eat or drink all of it and think she won’t give me more. Well I obviously didn’t catch on, she kept serving me more food and drink. I eventually called it quits and didn’t finish my cake or cookie. I felt like I might die when we left the house my stomach was so full! Sister Stokes and I went running the next morning to try and work some of it off.

We met with a new investigator this week. His name is J. We found out that he is an atheist who used to Presbyterian. We gave him a Book of Mormon when we first met him two weeks ago. He read all the way to 3 Nephi by the time we met with him this week. Crazy thing is that he read that far yet he doesn’t believe in God. He was really excited to read it though. He told us he is searching for something. J also told us he didn’t like the Bible. The stories and laws in the Bible are actually what caused him to believe that God doesn’t exist. It is pretty hard to understand because the Bible and the Book of Mormon all talk and point to there being a God. We have to start at square one with him. So this should be pretty interesting. I’ll let you know how this week’s lesson goes.

We met with two of our investigators named B and T. We set both of them with a baptismal date on April 12th! David’s birthday! They are old investigators who were dropped by other missionaries. B and T were the ones that contacted us. They missed the missionaries and wanted to meet with and continue to learn more. So we are really working with them and hope they keep commitments and truly try to find the truth.

Our investigator M who we have been working with since I got here has been progressing. It is little steps but it’s progress. At the end of our lesson this week he actually committed himself to do something. We talked about taking to time ponder after we pray or ponder after a lesson because this is the time that we are giving the Lord to answer our prayers. We can’t just say our prayers and ask for what we need or ask for an answer and then just get up and walk away. We have our time when we are speaking, we also need to give the Lord time to speak too. M committed himself to make more time to ponder in his week. It was awesome to see him really apply what we taught to himself and want to make the change. This is something that I have been trying to work on too. I have been giving more time to pondering and paying attention to the thoughts and feelings I have. I know that the Lord does answer prayers we just need to listen.

We had stake conference this weekend. Saturday night was all about member missionary work and how member’s can approach friends and family to share the gospel with them. I know for me when I first started out I thought I had to baptize people right away. But I’ve learned that that is not the case. Although baptism is vitally important we must take small and simple steps to bring about great things. By taking small steps such as inviting people to FHE or even just dinner at your house can lead to them noticing your families example and that can lead to further conversations about the gospel and eventually inviting them to church and the missionary lessons. My point is is that it doesn’t have to be something huge or grandiose. Start small and then work you way up. Something to remember too is that not everybody is ready to accept the gospel. Keep praying for them and pray to see opportunities to share it with them. I promise you that the Lord will bless you with opportunities to share the gospel and that he will tell you what you should do.

My favorite thing to do everyday is to read the scriptures. I have truly come to love the Book of Mormon. I finished it for my second time ever and I have started again. It brings me so much peace when I read it and so much guidance too. I have never realized how simple the Book of Mormon really is. I have found that as I have really focused as I read I have understood a lot more. I also pray for understanding before I read, which I’m pretty sure has helped too! I have also started reading the Old Testament which I have never read before. The stories are interesting. Our investigator M really loves the Bible and knows it really well. We asked him how he came to know that the Bible was true and that it was God’s word. Well this made me think about how do I know the Bible is true and that it is God’s word? Up to this point in my life I think it is something I have just accepted, but with the Book Of Mormon I have come to know by the power of the Holy Ghost that it is true. I have decided to do the same with the Bible. I prayed to know and I felt like I should read it. So far since reading I feel it is true and I obviously can tell that some parts might not be what the original text said, but it makes sense and brings me closer to God.

Well that was my week! I love you all and thank you for the support! Keep reading you scriptures and keep looking for ways to share the gospel with those around you. Pray for opportunities. Have a great week!

Love,

Sister Jones

the glorious sun

the glorious sun

the flooded streets

the flooded streets

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though Cassie would like this

though Cassie would like this

50 degrees

50 degrees

the cake for our district being transferred

the cake for our district being transferred

the cake i ate 2 1/2 pieces of

the cake i ate 2 1/2 pieces of

Week 6!! The More I Share it……The More it Grows!!

Hey everybody!

Sorry I missed you yesterday. Since it was president’s day all the libraries were closed. Everything is Pittsburgh is going great. The work is moving along. We are finding lots to teach. It snowed pretty much everyday last week. I wear tons of layers in order to stay warm. Today was actually really warm. It got to 42 which was glorious. The sun never felt so good. I literally stood there and basked in it while we waited for a bus. I was glad to see the snow finally melting. Pittsburgh doesn’t have a very good drainage system for the streets so there is a lot of water everywhere. But I can deal with it as long as it’s not snow.

A really neat experience happened this past week. We were at a bus stop and I looked over to my left and saw this woman sitting on a bench. I thought I should go talk to her, but then she pulled out a phone and started talking to someone so I pushed it off. I turn the other way and talk to Sister Stokes for a little bit. I turn around and the lady is standing next to me and she asks if we are nuns. (little tangent: everyone here thinks we are nuns because our tags say sister. No body really knows about our church which is really weird.) I start talking to her about our church and then all of a sudden I’m giving her a Book of Mormon and telling her to read it. I told her to start at the introduction. She accepts it and says she is really excited to start reading it. We get her information and then she hopped on a bus. We call her and set an appointment with her, but then we find out she is out of our area and she lives in the elder’s area. We had to turn her over to the elders to teach, but we called her and told her. We asked if she had read any of it. She said yes! She had read the whole introduction and that she felt like it all made since. She felt that the Book of Mormon was just a continuation of the bible. She felt like the bible just ends and that it doesn’t answer all her questions. We told her that the Book of Mormon goes hand in hand with the Bible and that it can answer the questions of our souls. I know the Book of Mormon restores certain truths that were lost from the Bible. The Book of Mormon was preserved so that we could have these truths restored to us in these days. I know the Book of Mormon answers questions if we are willing to put in the effort to read and then to ask God.

Another cool experience happen today. Our phone decided to stop working last night. It won’t turn on at all. This makes it really difficult for us because we rely heavily on our phone for appointments and calling the buses to get routes. We were both really worried that we wouldn’t make it to our appointments or be able to confirm our appointments without a phone. We said a prayer asking that everything would work out. We decided to just head out to the bus stop and just go with it. Well on our way we ended up running into a sister from our ward. She was coming to our apartment to drop cake and ice cream off for Sister Stokes since yesterday was her birthday. Crazy thing is is that she almost took a different route to our house. Luckily she didn’t. She let us use her phone to call and figure things out to get a new one. Then she lent us her phone for the rest of the day. It was seriously a testament to me that God is aware of us and that he will take care of us. Everything worked out perfectly.

Oh and something else that was awesome happened today. It was just a really good day haha. We had a lesson today with three older women. Before the lesson we changed our lesson plan. We were a little nervous about how it was going to go so we decided to role play it at a bus stop. The lesson was on faith. During the role play I was the investigators and Sister Stokes was the missionary. She asked me why faith was important. I was directed by the spirit to say that without faith we have nothing. I kid you not during the lesson when we asked that question one of the investigators said that exact phrase. We also role played asking them to be baptized. Sister Stokes played the investigators and I the missionary. She felt that one of them would say no and that it was because she had already been baptized so why would she need to do it again. During the lesson this exact thing happened. The investigator she thought would say that said that. We didn’t even know much about this lady.  I was seriously so amazed when the things we role played happened during our lesson. I could say after our lesson, but God is awesome and he truly knows each of us. During the role play we were truly guided by the spirit to know what our investigators concerns would be.

We taught T again last week and it went really well. We taught her the last half of the plan of salvation and she is progressing really well. She feeds us really well too. She made this amazing barbeque chicken. I ate so much. Luckily I walk everywhere. We had a really spiritual experience with her. As you know she has a son who is autistic. He is higher functioning but he still is slower at learning. She was worried that he wouldn’t understand what he needed to do in order to return to live with God. I cried… and bore testimony to her that God would take care of it. As long she taught M what he needed to know and helped him learn and grow that Jesus Christ would make up the difference. I said that Christ’s grace is sufficient. She started crying too. It was just a great lesson.

Oh Sister Stokes’ birthday was yesterday. She turned 20. Since it was p-day we had a member take us shopping and then the member took us out to lunch for her birthday. She took us to steak n shake which is so good. We then went to the church where we planned a little birthday party for her with other missionaries. We had cake and a little sign. We played dodgeball for a couple of hours. It was tons of fun.

I love being on a mission. I know it is where I am suppose to be. Everyday my testimony is strengthened in the gospel. The more I share it, the more it grows. I challenge all of you to share the gospel with someone you know or even a stranger. I’ve realized that the gospel brings me so much joy and all I want to do is share it. Not everybody is ready to accept it but we should at least try and plant a little seed. It may sprout into something in the future.

Another neat experience was that while we were teaching a recent convert at her apartment we left the community room door open. Apparently someone who lived in the building was listening because the next morning while our convert W was waiting to be picked up for church the lady was there and she told her that she really liked what we were saying and that she agreed. She really liked that we talked about the Book of Mormon completing the Bible. It answers a lot of questions that the Bible doesn’t. W is going to invite her to our next lesson to see if she wants to learn more. You can find people everywhere to teach even when you aren’t looking!

Missionary work is so much fun. Lots of hard work but worth every minute of it. I love Pittsburgh and I love the people here.

Love you all!

Love,
Sister Jones

wait for it

wait for it….

yay snow

here it is….. more snow

Sister Stokes & I

Sister Stokes & I

snow, snow and more snow

snow, snow and more snow

…...more snow

……more snow

let it snow

let it snow

Sister Stokes and I

Sister Stokes and I

more snow

more snow

Heart Attacked an investigators front door.

Heart Attacked an investigators front door.

Sister Stokes & I on the bus

Sister Stokes & I on the bus

Us on the Bus

Us on the Bus

Aw look and them beady eyes

Aw look and Dem beady eyes

Week 5! Pittsburgh…… More Like Ice-burgh

Family!

Where to even begin! This week has been so good. Lots of cool experiences. Lets begin with the weather update. It is still snowy and cold. There were a couple of days where I thought spring might be coming. The snow was melting, I was actually sweating, and I could see the blue sky. Needless to say that ended quickly. Pittsburgh tricked me and the snow came right on back. Hopefully it will start warming up. My fingers are crossed!

This week started out with exchanges on Tuesday. It went really well. I got to drive in a car for a day. That was a little foreign but fun. I realized that I love being in walk area. I talk to so many more people, especially when on the bus. I wouldn’t be mad if I stayed in a walk area my whole mission. Plus I get my cardio in for the day.

   On thursday we met this really cool guy named J. He is super interested in the church. He knows all about the church’s history and he wants to learn more. We gave him a BOM and he asked for the D&C and the Pearl of Great Price. He is so excited to learn. I can’t wait til we get to share more with him. We gave him some time to read the BOM and we will meet with him on the 19th to see how he feels.

I had a really neat and spiritual experience on Friday night. We were at our mission leaders house having our weekly meeting with the elders in our ward when all of a sudden there is a knock on the door. As we are sitting in the other room we can hear a lady talking at the door. She is in tears as she explains that she had been waiting outside of her friends house for two and a half hours and she was freezing! Our mission leader let her come inside. She explained that she had been homeless for a month. They gave her some food to eat and drink. Sister Stokes and I decided to go into the kitchen and say hi. We got on the conversation of our missions and we asked if we could share a message with her. We shared Alma 7:11-12 with her and bore testimony about our Savior Jesus Christ and the power of the atonement. I started to cry and then this lady started to cry. The spirit was so strong. She said that she felt like being here was a sign. She could have knocked on any door, but she was so glad that she knocked on this one. She asked for our number and said she would love to talk to us again.

Yesterday was pretty awesome too. I have had a hard time starting conversations with people on the bus and then bringing in the gospel. On Sunday everything was about faith. I realized I needed to have faith in the Lord and his ability to help me know what to say when it came time. We took the bus home from church and as we are sitting there this young girl gets on. I have this thought, a prompting, that says talk to her. I’m like I can’t she isn’t even sitting next to me. I look behind to see where she is and sitting is sitting behind me and across the aisle and to the right. As I look back I see a man standing behind her. I think to myself now I really can’t say something because it will be awkward to talk in front of him. I say to God “make him get off the bus and I’ll say something”. I kid you not. Right after I said this he moved to the front of the bus! I was like oh crap! Now I have to say something. I did and it turned out awesome. I told her a little bit and gave her a card. Then some other lady started asking us questions about our missions. It was just a testament to me that if I faith God will be there to help me. Fear can’t coincide with faith. I have to have faith in God and his power. Faith can be so powerful. Faith can bring miracles. NOT the other way around.

This whole week I felt God’s love more than I have ever felt in my life. It is seriously THE greatest thing ever. God loves each and every one of us. He knows us by name and He is aware of our situations. We need to put our trust in Him and He will help us overcome any obstacle in our way. When I say any I mean any obstacle in our way. Nothing is too great for God. WE must exercise faith in Him to see those miracles in our lives.

We have been teaching this woman named T. I mentioned her before. She is the woman we tracted into when I first got here. Her son has autism. She is so great. She told us on thursday that since she started meeting with us she can sleep better at night and she feels like she has clarity in her life. It is amazing to see the blessings the gospel can bring into people’s lives. We are hoping to set her with a baptismal date soon! She said she loves having us around. When we were at her house this Thursday her son came downstairs as we were getting ready to leave. She told us that her son has a hard time starting conversations with people and he isn’t really good at keeping one with people. But when he came down he started talking to me about all his stuffed superheros and we had a full on conversation for a good five minutes. She told Sister Stokes that he never does that. He never talks to people like that. It made me feel so good that M could trust me and that he felt like he could talk to me. He such a cute little kid. We are going to see if she’ll let him listen to the lesson next time.

   Well I think that is it for this week! I love you all and I hope you have a fantastic week. Remember the Lord loves you! Keep reading and keep your faith!
Love,
Sister Jones
Sister Stokes fell... again. This time she dropped the holy bible. Can you find it?

Sister Stokes fell… again. This time she dropped the holy bible. Can you find it?

district meeting

district meeting

district meeting

district meeting

district meeting

district meeting

District meeting

District meeting

CIMG0625

the view from inside the bus

the view from inside the bus

Cold stone with Sister Stokes

Cold stone with Sister Stokes

Week Four!!

Hey yins!

This week was a crazy one. The weather itself was pretty crazy. One day it was below zero and then the next it was 52! The snow finally melted… but that was short lived because it snowed a ton this morning. The snow is really pretty but a little difficult to walk in especially up and down all the ginormous hills in Swissvale! Sister Stokes and I were actually walking down this huge hill by our house which we take to get to the bus stop. The ground was icy. I was in the front and Sister Stokes was in the back. We are walking and talking and then all of sudden the talking stops and I hear a thud. I think please tell me she didn’t fall. I turn around and she is laying on the ground laughing. I helped her up and we both started laughing. She was okay no injuries. Luckily I haven’t fallen yet… knock on wood. The people here are pretty adamant about cleaning up their sidewalks and steps. Speaking of steps! When we tract every house has about 10 steep steps up to their porch, it’s nuts. I definitely get my workout that way everyday, it’s great!

I went down to this place called the strip district last p-day which was pretty cool. We met some other missionaries down there from our zone. It is pretty much a huge flee market. There is steeler paraphernalia everywhere! It’s insane! Everybody is a steelers fan. Almost every door we knock on has a steeler sticker of some kind. But the strip district was cool to walk around and see all the stuff. I’ll to go again and get some stuff to send home. We didn’t have much time to do a whole lot of shopping.

I am going on exchanges tonight. My first one! Crazy! I have already been a missionary for a month now. Time really does fly by. I am already on my fourth week in my first area. Insane! I trained in district meeting on Thursday which was cool. A little nerve wracking since I was training all these missionaries that had been out a lot longer than I am. But it went really well.
We did a lot of tracting this week because a lot of our appointments fell through.You meet some pretty interesting people when you go tracting let me tell ya. We met this man the other day. Who was such a character. We sat on his porch and talked with him for a good hour. As we were talking and getting to know him he would stop and look at my water bottle and say “I like your jug… It just cracks me up!” and then he would comment on Sister Stokes gloves saying “Those are cute gloves, I need to get some new gloves”. He did that at least three times. He had a lot of problems. He drank, way too much. He smokes. It doesn’t help that he has diabetes and epilepsy. He said that he was in pain all the time and that’s why he drank, to numb the pain. We told him that Jesus Christ could help him overcome this pain better than any beer or cigarette could. He actually asked us to tell him where in the Bible it said that it was okay to drink if our pain was too much to handle. I told there wasn’t. He says he prays all the time for God to take away the pain. But the thing is that we need to be keeping the commandments in order for God to show us mercy. God can’t bless us if we aren’t doing what He has asked of us. We are meeting with this man later this week and I hope that we can help him see that Christ can help ease his pain. He might not take it away but he can help ease it. But he needs to do what God has asked him particularly the word of wisdom. By not drinking and not smoking and eating healthier with his diabetes, I know that his health will improve and that he won’t be in so much pain. God can work miracles he just has to show his faith. And the same goes for all of us. Miracles proceed faith.
We also have been teaching this thirteen year old boy and his mother named D and C. We have been working with them to just pick a date for D to be baptized. They kept putting it off. We had faith that the Lord would help them know that he is ready and that the time is now. Finally this week we received a call from them saying that D picked a date in march! It was so awesome and heart warming to see this young boy make that decision. C is also starting to see miracles worked in her life because of her faith and she might be baptized soon! We are still working on that. Hopefully I can update you soon. Missionary work is awesome! I love it. I love putting on my badge everyday and talking to people about our message. I challenge all of you to talk to someone. Share what you know with them. Everybody should take part in the joy of the gospel. Help out the missionaries in your ward. The best way for missionaries to find people is through the members! I love you all. Keep reading and praying everyday. The Lord will bless you for it.

Love,
Sister Jones
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