Week 12! Flowers Are Starting To Spring Up….

Well this is the last week of my second transfer!! I am almost done with training. This is a happy feeling and a sad feeling because I may have to leave Swissvale. So many things are happening here and we have such amazing people that we are teaching. I don’t want to have to say goodbye to them. Which I may not have to if President Topham decides to keep me here.
It is nice and sunny here in Pittsburgh. I am not wearing a jacket and I am not wearing tights! This is a new thing for me. I forgot how white my legs are. They really haven’t seen the sun in three months. Flowers are starting to spring up!! Hopefully spring is coming. This week’s forecast says it will be warmer but who knows. It snowed this past Wednesday.
I got to watch the Women’s Broadcast on Saturday which was really awesome. So many great talks. We as women really do need to support one another and help each other grow in the gospel. We actually got to stay out past 9:30 because it didn’t start until 8 here since we are two hour ahead of Utah. Rebel!
Our baptism that was suppose to happen on March 17th is this Friday!! Crazy. My first baptism out on the mission. It has definitely been a struggle to make this baptism happen, but God works miracles. Everything is working out and D should be baptized on the 4th.
We have an investigator named G that we are teaching. We met in the beginning of February. He was the one who had the word of wisdom problem. We ended up dropping him shortly after that because we felt he wasn’t accountable. This past week we picked we went and visited him while we were in the area. He was doing so much better. He was actually sober this time. So we have picked him back up again and we are teaching him. He is such a sweet man and he is lost. He is looking for direction and I know that he has no clue where to find it. I know that the gospel will help him. I think it already has. He has changed just from the few times we have met him. He talks about his pain a lot. He has a lot of medical issues : diabetes, epilepsy, back pain, and knee pain. We told him that he could pray to Heavenly Father to receive the strength to endure these trials. I think once he starts living the Word of Wisdom and applying the atonement in his life a lot of the pain will go away. I am excited to see how the gospel can bless him.
T is doing really well. She re-hurt her back when it was just getting better. Go figure. We invited her to D’s baptism and she said she would come. She is actually really excited about it. I think it will be good for her because it will help her feel the spirit and prepare her for her own baptism on May 3rd. We haven’t been able to get her to church, but she is coming to watch General Conference with us (which I am super stoked about!). The change in her has been tremendous. She is really applying the atonement in her life and she told us that she is seeing a huge change in the relationships she has with family members and friends. She even said she has seen a difference in how she handles situations which in the past would have made her mad. The gospel really does bless families. It allows us to experience happiness. T is truly an amazing woman and I have come to really love her.
We picked up another investigator named Char and we had our first lesson with her on Wednesday. It was such a good lesson. When we first got there and sat down she had to get up to go give something to her son. Sister Stokes looked at me and said do you feel it. I just sat there and breathed in, the spirit was so strong. My whole body was filled with warmth. We had an amazing lesson with her about the Restoration. Every time we teach about the Restoration and get to Joseph Smith’s first vision the spirit is so strong. I usually quote it because Sister Stokes doesn’t have it memorized, and I always feel the spirit and it continually testifies to me that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that he did restore Christ’s church. I know that to be true with all my heart.
Yesterday was such a good day. I was so happy. I have really come to know most of the people in my ward. I am sad to say I don’t know all of them, but I know most. I have made really good relationships with them and I walked into church and said hi to all of them. My mission President came to our ward yesterday so I got to see him and his wife. That was super fun. I have seen them so many times within my first two transfers it is pretty cool. I thought I wouldn’t know my mission President very well, but I was wrong.
You will all have to come out to Pittsburgh some time in your life.It is such an incredible city!!! So many cool things. Cool thing of the week is that apparently Russell Crow is filming a movie in Pittsburgh, maybe I’ll see him!! Haha Pittsburgh is popular for filming movies because it is so stinkin’ awesome.
Love you all. Have a fantastic week. Keep reading, praying, and going to church. CPR. It will keep your spirit alive in the gospel.
Love,
Sister Jones

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Week 11! Spring Cleaning….

Lots of funny and awesome things happened this week.
Number one. On Wednesday night Sister Stokes and I are in the bathroom brushing our teeth and then all of sudden the lights go out! The flicker back on for two seconds and then go back out. We both are freaking out, as girls would, and we shut the door. My thoughts went immediately to someone breaking in. Thankfully that was not the case and the lights turned back on. The story doesn’t end here… I go to grab something off of the shelves and I see a spider! I freak out again. I grab the bottle it is on and I accidentally dropped the bottle due to my freaking out. Encase you were not aware, I don’t like spiders… at all. Back to the story, the bottle drops the spider goes flying. I have no idea where it is. Mean while Sister Stokes never saw the spider is she thinks I am lying. I told her I had to find it or I couldn’t go to sleep. I searched everywhere and about five minutes later I found it and killed it.

Number two. Saturday we watched the movie Ephraim’s Rescue, which is so good by the way so if you have a chance watch it, and there is a part when one of the pioneer boys is talking about not showering for four weeks. This crazy lady in one of the wards was in front of us and she turns around and says “What is so bad about four weeks? I haven’t showered in four weeks. That is what happens when you don’t have running water.” This lady seriously cracks me up every single time I talk to her. She makes nicknames for all of us missionaries. She calls me Sister Jones, Sister Bones. Don’t ask me why.

Number three. This morning. Sister Stokes and decided to do some spring cleaning and rearranging of our room. Once we got everything put into place we decided to knock down all the spider webs in our house. There are a lot more than you would think. Well again I hate spiders and yet I was the one knocking them down. Our ceiling is really high and we have one of those webster things. I am standing on a chair knocking them down while freaking out in the process. I have learned that I can never kill spiders for a living.

Number four. We took a little longer cleaning our apartment than we planned and we still needed to run to the store before we came and emailed. We decided to go to CVS instead of the Giant Eagle Grocery Store. While printing out pictures to put on my wall this lady walks over and asks me if I would be able to help her print our her pictures. I said sure! She looked at my badge and started to read it. I told her we were missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. She asked if we were baptist and I said no Christian. SHe went onto say that she had never heard of our church before (this still blows my mind that most of the people here have never heard of our church). We went on talking and she told me about her mom passing from cancer and that she wanted to get closer to God because she has been pretty distant since her passing. I bore testimony to her about God’s plan and that I knew she would be able to see her mother again. I told her that I knew this because the Book of Mormon restores this to us. We gave her a Book of Mormon and she is very interested in learning more. We are meeting with her on Wednesday! She told us that she almost went to Walmart to print out her pictures, but she decided to come to CVS and she knows exactly why she needed to come; she needed to meet us. God really does prepare people for us to teach. We were in the right place at the right time and we were able to meet Char. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!

I taught at district meeting on Thursday and that was pretty fun. I taught about adjusting to the needs of the investigators and teaching for understanding. The cool thing was that the night before, Wednesday, Sister Stokes and I had a really neat experience with adjusting the lesson to meet the needs of your investigators. We had plan to teach our investigator M and the pioneers because he was interested in that and we were going to tie it in with faith and sacrifice. We had plan to read a passage out of the book Our Heritage. Before leaving to the church I asked Sister Stokes if she grabbed the book, she told me she had. While in the lesson we started teaching about something totally different. Sister Stokes looked at me and showed me the book… She had grabbed True to the Faith instead. We followed the spirit and taught M something he really needed. You could feel the spirit so strong during that lesson because each of us were relying on it to share what God wanted him to know.

I have seriously come to love all the people we meet and have been teaching. I enjoy sharing the gospel with all of them. I have really come to rely on the spirit when I talk to people. I have noticed that I’ve stopped thinking about what to say and it comes to me right in the moment. God really is there helping me and guiding me to the right words so that I can help bring his children back into the fold.

This week went by so fast! I had so much fun and enjoyed every minute of it.
I love you all and hope you that you have a fantastic week.
Love,
Sister Jones

love Pittsburgh! (That is what the hand sign means... Well it means I love you, but eh that same!)

love Pittsburgh! (That is what the hand sign means… Well it means I love you, but eh that same!)

Me and Sister Berry on exchanges

Me and Sister Berry on exchanges

California license plate in PA.

California license plate in PA.

cool bridge while walking to find a referral.

cool bridge while walking to find a referral.

Sister Stokes and I walking under the bridge.

Sister Stokes and I walking under the bridge.

bridge

bridge

Water front

Water front

cool tunnel artwork

cool tunnel artwork

cool art work in the tunnels

cool art work in the tunnels

ride back from Green Tree

ride back from Green Tree

ride back from Green Tree

ride back from Green Tree

ride back from Green Tree

ride back from Green Tree

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Ride back from Green Tree

Ride back from Green Tree

Ride back from Green Tree

Ride back from Green Tree

Ride back from Green Tree

Ride back from Green Tree

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

PNC Park

PNC Park

PNC Park

PNC Park

PNC Park

PNC Park

Downtown PA

Downtown PA

downtown PA

downtown PA

Downtown PA

Downtown PA

Downtown PA

Downtown PA

Week 10! Happy Saint Patricks Day Everyone!

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!!! I hope you are all wearing green.

I hit my two month mark on the 13th! It’s nuts!

Earlier this week we had exchanges. I stayed in Swissvale and Sister Stokes went to Penn Hills. A missionary came here with me and I had to be the one in charge for a day. It also happened to be on a day when there was a nonstop pouring of rain; that was definitely an adventure. We waited at a bus stop for 45 minutes in the rain. Luckily there were people to talk to so the time went by faster. The whole exchange went really well. The other missionary asked me if it was my first time leading out and I told her yes, she was surprised and told me she had thought I had done it before.

I have been trying to talk to more people while on the buses and so I have made it a goal to talk to at least one person whenever I step foot onto a bus. I have kept up with my goal so far. I have been talking to people like crazy it feels.

We had zone conference on thursday and that was really cool. President Topham was there and a bunch of other missionaries. We talked about new ways to find. They stressed that we should try things other than tracting. Sister Stokes and I have really tried to find people through bus contacting or referrals from people we are teaching. It has been going really well. I gave out a few Book of Mormons this week while on the bus.

Speaking of contacting people on the bus. I met this guy about a week and a half ago. He called us the other day and we couldn’t answer so he left a voicemail. With the most ghetto voice he says, “Sista Jones. Sista Jones. This is brotha I-van. I really want to talk to ya Sista Jones. I wanna learn more about this Church of Jesus Christ of Latta Day Saints.” I chuckled when I heard it.

Our baptism that was supposed to happen today got rescheduled from April 4th. There was a big huge ordeal over the fact that baptisms can’t happen on Monday nights. Sister Stokes and I did not know this and we got the okay that we could have a baptism on a Monday. We found out you couldn’t and the mom freaked out because 3/17 meant something in her family. So this week we tried to work with her and help her calm down and pick a different date. God helped soften her heart and she picked April 4th.

We have this awesome less-active lady that we are teaching named S. She is seriously so amazing. She is always willing to give Sister Stokes and I food. On Saturday we had a lesson with these three other ladies and I ended up leaving our cell phone at their house. I didn’t notice until we had gotten home. S was coming to pick us up in an hour so we didn’t have to time to go back and get our phone. We prayed and asked God that we would find some way to get our phone back because we needed it that night. We decided to go and ask someone if we could use their phone. I asked Sister Stokes if she had the keys… she couldn’t find those either. We searched the house for ten minutes looking for them and we finally found them. While walking to the grocery store S pulls up behind us and tells us to get in. She took us to our investigator’s house. We got there just before the son was leaving. He told us to come on in and get it. I asked him if a woman was in the house. He looked at me like I was crazy. He ended up going inside and looking for it. Our phone was returned to us! Cool thing is that if we hadn’t been able to find the keys we would have missed S and we wouldn’t have gotten our phone back. God works in mysterious ways but it always is in our favor!!

I started re-reading the Book of Mormon a couple of weeks ago and I have been reading it with a particular focus on endurance. It has been pretty cool. Everyday I read I can always find something that talks about endurance or helps me understand how I can endure. I thought this would be something that you all could do. Read the Book of Mormon from cover to cover with a particular question in mind or a topic. I guarantee that you will find and answer to your question or you will gain deeper understanding on the topic you are studying.

We started teaching this family this week. They are seriously so awesome. We taught them about the Restoration and they loved it. The dad said he felt just like Joseph Smith in wanting one church for everyone. He loves that the Book of Mormon talks a lot about the things in the bible. This next week we are going to teach them about the plan of salvation and think they are really going to like that. I will let you know how it goes.

I love you all! Keep reading, praying, and going to church. CPR. you need it.

Love,

Sister Jones

Week 9! My two months in Pittsburgh will be on the 13th of this week… crazy!

The sun is shinning and the snow has melted yet again. I hope it is permanent this time. I’ve actually been able to wear only one coat, one pair of tights, and flats instead of boots. Buds are starting to appear on trees! Birds are also starting to come back. They actually have cardinals here. I’ll have to try and get a picture sometime.

My two months in Pittsburgh will be on the 13th of this week… crazy!

    Funniest thing happened on the bus about 45 minutes ago. Sister Stokes and I are just sitting there and apparently both of us were eavesdropping on the conversation between in the two people in front of us. This man was talking about going to Hawaii and seeing the cultural center. He said that is was run by Mormons… Sister Stokes and I started chuckling and the lady looked back and saw us and then turned to the man and said there are two Mormons sitting behind us. He didn’t care and kept on with the conversation. Not that funny retelling, but it was funny in the moment.

This past week was really good.
Biggest news of this week!! We finished all the lessons with our investigator D! He is ready to be baptized on the 17th! I am going to see someone I’ve taught be baptized next monday! His mom, C, also had a really cool experience yesterday. She isn’t taking the discussions, but she sits in on the lessons with D. Last night she told us that reading the scriptures everyday and praying everyday has really strengthened her and that she has thought about being re-baptized. (C had her name removed from the records a while ago) We are hoping that when she sees D be baptized that she will want to enjoy the blessings that her son has.
We met with our investigator M on Wednesday after Book of Mormon class. He told us that while pondering he came to the conclusion that before he made any decisions about baptism he needed to learn more. We told M that this was an answer. We are still trying to help him recognize answers to his prayers. We ask him what he wanted to learn more about and he said he would think about it. It may take him a really long time to realize his answer about the church, but we are willing to work with him and help him find it.

We taught our new investigator J who is atheist. He used to be Presbyterian, but he read the bible ten years ago and he said the God they describe in those books could not exist. We tried to teach him about God’s love on Wednesday and he wasn’t really hearing any of it. He kept pulling up Bible verses that he thought showed an unloving God. This kind of bothered me after we left the lesson. During my personal study of the Book of Mormon throughout the week I have come to realize that God will preserve His righteous if that means that His wrath has to come upon the wicked. God is just and there are consequences for our actions, the people in the Bible hardened their hearts and God warned them that they needed to repent. Well… we know that they didn’t. Moral of this rant is that God does love us. If we are keeping His commandments and continually softening our hearts, He will preserve us and protects us at all costs. Sister Stokes, our member, and I all bore testimony of God’s love and told Him that he needed to have faith. Our next lesson is definitely going to be on faith.

We also taught T on Saturday. We showed her the Restoration video and she loved it! She told us that she could really relate to Joseph Smith and how confused he was. She expressed to us that was confused and that she had never really admitted that or accepted that because she always felt like it was a bad thing. Everyone around her knew what church they belonged to, but she thought every church had some truth and then some things that she didn’t like. She was searching for which church was right for her. I asked her about the Book of Mormon. She expressed to us that she never felt like it wasn’t true. We clarified and asked her if she thought it was true. She said yes. I asked what that knowledge made her want to do, she answered “know more”! We are really excited for her and she is excited for her baptismal date on May 3rd. T said that it would be a new chapter in her life!! During the video when Joseph Smith knelt down and prayed you could feel the spirit so strong. It testified again to me that Joseph Smith did see Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. My testimony of the Restoration and the Book of Mormon has grown tremendously in these last two months. I know that this is Christ’s church and I know that the Book of Mormon is true.

This week in Gospel Principles we talked about Our Heavenly Family. I really liked this lesson because it made me think about how we are all brothers and sisters and need to help one another. It also made me think about the family I want here and after this life. I want an eternal family. That is what I love about the gospel, my knowledge that I can have my family forever as long as I am worthy. I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who has given worthy men the Priesthood so that covenants can be made. I am grateful for my Dad and his worthiness to hold the Priesthood so that I could receive it’s blessings while growing up.

I LOVE the gospel!! Seeing the impact the gospel has in people’s lives makes me want to share it everyday. I love you all so much!! Thank you for all the support and the love that you have shown me. You have all been examples to me and have helped me become the missionary I am today. Have a great week!

Love,

Sister Jones

Week 8! One Transfer And One Week In!

One transfer and one week in! Crazy! Last week I told you that the snow was gone… well it’s back and still cold, but apparently it is suppose to warm up later this week. Hopefully it’s for good. February flew by. I can’t believe it’s already March. I guess time really does fly when you’re having fun.

We got fed like crazy this week by our members. We had a dinner appointment every night. Our is so great they love the missionaries and they love feeding us. I have had fish more times on my mission than I have had in my life. It’s actually really good.

     We had a member this week who was our saving grace. She had signed up to feed us Friday night. Previous to this we had been having a really hard time getting a hold of and meeting with our investigator D, who is getting baptized on the 17th, and his mom C. We had tried and tried to make appointments but she wasn’t giving us the time of day. We were really worried that we wouldn’t be able to teach D and the lessons and that he wouldn’t be able to be baptized on the day he chose. Well… without us knowing, this ward member had invited C and D over to have dinner and a lesson with us. We were able to see C and D, have a lesson, and get back on track. We are still shooting for the 17th of this month!

Missionary work is going awesome!! We set our investigator T with a baptismal date, May 3rd. She has the autistic son named M. She is so amazing and you can tell that she has been prepared by God to hear the gospel. T has never read the bible and she doesn’t know much about Jesus Christ. This last lesson we had with her we read from the Bible Christ’s atonement and crucifixion. She loved it. She said that she knew Jesus Christ was who we need to follow and that she asks God for forgiveness each day. During the lesson the spirit testified to me that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that He is the only way back to God. I’m grateful for Jesus Christ and His example, I try to more like Him each and every day.

Cool story happened this morning while grocery shopping. When we go to Forrest Hills to teach a recent convert of ours we usually go to Taco Bell there. Well when we went a week ago we were making a lesson plan while eating our food. A worker who is sweeping asks us what we are studying. We told him the Book of Mormon and then started talking about what church he went to and more about the gospel. Twenty minutes pass and Sister Stokes gives him a pass along card before he left to go home. This morning we ended up running into him at the grocery store. He said that he had been talking with his fiancee and sister about the Mormon church. He said that since we talked to him a week ago he hasn’t been able to stop thinking about it. We gave him a Book of Mormon and told him a little about it. He said it made sense and that he really wanted to read it. We told him to call us if he wanted to learn more about it. I have a feeling that he definitely will! While checking out of the grocery store we also ran into the man G who met tracting a while ago. he was the one who had all the medical problems and Word of Wisdom problems. He was actually sober this time and he seemed to be doing a lot better. It’s crazy that when we go places I actually recognize people because we talk to a lot of them. God is preparing people all around us.

A lot of people here love the Bible and they know it very well. During my studies this week it was reaffirmed to me through the spirit that the Book of Mormon supports the Bible. It testifies that what the prophets have said is true. Everyday as I read the Book of Mormon my testimony is strengthened in it. I learn more and more truths each day. Things that didn’t make sense before make sense now. Reading the Book of Mormon isn’t suppose to be a one time thing, or a once in a while thing, or only when I’m struggling type of thing, it is suppose to be an everyday thing. Reading the Book of Mormon allows us to plant our faith and testimony firm in the foundation of the gospel. Like in Lehi’s dream, the iron rod safely guides the people to the tree of life. They have to catch hold of the rod and continually press forward. The iron rod is the word of god and the word of God is the Book of Mormon. I know that it is true and that as I read it everyday and apply it to my life I can be safely guided back to my Father in Heaven. I encouraged you all to read the Book of Mormon daily and truly study the words it contains. I promise you that it will bless your life and that you will find the strength to endure this life.

I love my mission. I love the people of Pittsburgh. I love all of you. Keeping striving to be more like Christ in all that you do!

Love,

Sister Jones

So as you know I’m in a walk area. Well we walk a lot and up a lot of hills. My boots started to break, but don’t worry that’s what super glue is for! I super glued them and now that are good.

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