Week 16- Its a Jungle in the Middle of the City……

Soooo this p-day started out awesome! I went to the Pittsburgh zoo! This was my first time at the zoo and it was so much fun. It is a pretty big zoo and they have lots of different animals. They also don’t have much blocking you and the animals, don’t worry we were safe 🙂 I saw lions, tigers, polar bears, Oh my! Haha… but really I did. I saw giraffes, elephants up close, leopards, and more. I had a blast and it was a super fun p-day. It started raining while we were there, which meant that there was pretty much nobody at the zoo. It has been raining quite a bit, but all the flowers are starting to bloom and Pittsburgh is so pretty!!! It is a jungle in the middle of a city basically. GORGEOUS!!
As for this past week it went really well. We taught the most lessons I have ever taught in a week! We are really working hard to get new investigators and teach as many people as we can.
These past two weeks we had been trying to get a hold of our investigator T, but we had no luck. We texted, we called, we left notes at her house, but no answer. This Thursday we decided it would be our last time trying before we would just give her some space and check in a while. Part of me was saying “don’t go, you’ve tried so many times already, she’ll call when she is ready.” Another part of me (I realized this was the spirit and the other part was Satan) said “Go one more time and see. It won’t hurt.” After talking with Sister Zaugg we decided it was best that we went. We knocked on her door and she answered! We found out that her phone had been broken and she lost our number. If we would have stopped coming by she would have had no way of getting a hold of us in the future. After the fact I realized that Satan was trying to keep us from getting to her, but I sure am glad that we listened to the spirit and decided to go. We talked to her about why she hasn’t been coming to church, she finally told us the reason was that she was scared to take off work because she would be working less hours (before she only worked on Saturdays and Sundays). We promised her that God would take care of her. He would bless her for keeping his commandments. She shared with us her favorite scripture and it is Isaiah 48:18, which talks about keeping God’s commandments. She looked at us and said I think I need to do what my favorite scripture says. I know that our Heavenly Father blesses us for keeping His commandments. He knows that they are for our benefit.
We have this investigator named Barb was knows the church is true, knows the Book of Mormon is true, and knows that Joseph Smith was a prophet, yet she isn’t willing to keep some of the commandments, especially the Word of Wisdom. If we know the church is true and we need to keep ALL of God’s commandments. We can’t pick and choose which ones we follow.
We are still meeting with our investigator M and he is still working on receiving an answer on whether or not the Book of Mormon is true. In our last lesson we could tell that him and his wife B (who is a member) are getting frustrated because he isn’t “receiving” and answer and they are waiting to have kids until they are on the same page when it comes to religion. It has been a trial of my own faith and patience since we have been meeting with him these past four months. I have really had to rely on the Lord and His timing with answering prayers when it comes to M. Through my own studies I have also come to realize that God trusts us to make our own decisions at times. By making our own decisions we learn to trust ourselves and the fact that we can make right choices. I feel like this might be the case with M. This next lesson we are going to really have to rely on the Lord because it is the last time we will meet before the week of the baptismal date we set him with. I have also come to learn that even though I want M to have the answer right now, it may not be the Lord’s will for M to have the answer right now. I have been learning lots and lots of patience out here.
Our recent convert D’s mom just started taking the lessons with us. She texted us out of the blue and asked if we could start. I was so excited! This is something that we have been waiting for! God really does prepare people, we just have to wait for when they are ready. We had our first lesson with her this week and she told us that she finally understood why we say that this is Christ’s restored church and why we needed a restoration in the first place. It finally clicked for her that this is the true church. My testimony of the Restoration has grown tremendously since I have been out here. I know that this is the true church and I know that the fulness of the gospel was restored through Joseph Smith. I love teaching the restoration!
On the way to church on Sunday we ran into this man we have met a couple times before named John. I sat by him and started talking to him. I asked him if he had read anymore of the Book of Mormon and he said that he had decided that he was drawn to the Bible and that is all that he would read. He went on to say that he doesn’t read much besides the Bible and how he has never been an avid reader. This was the kicker! He went on to say that he likes to read things that have true stories and that if we were to ever write books about our testimonies he would read something like that. I chuckled, well on the inside of course, and told him that that is exactly what the Book of Mormon is. It is true stories about people lived anciently and their testimonies that they wrote down. I testified that I knew it was true and that I had to come to find it for myself. I told him he could too. After church we were walking behind the church to our bus stop and I saw this man in front of us. He looked lost. The spirit whispered to me “talk to him”, so I did. I asked him how his day was and he said it was alright right. He was just searching for something. I asked him what and he said he didn’t know. He was reading a book so I asked him what it was. I don’t remember the name, but it was some religious inspiration book. He said he had bought the book that morning and just started reading trying to find hope in something. We talked more about religion and his life. He told us that he had done the “fun” stuff in life and that that wasn’t enough anymore. I told him we had a message that would give him hope and that a message that would help him find his purpose. I invited him to come to church next Sunday. He said he passes by it every Sunday for a year and that he would have to stop in. I told him that God has a plan for him and that there is much to hope for after this life. We gave him our information and as he was walking away he said you got that glow that we all want. I told him he could have it too. I know that our Heavenly Father loves each and everyone of his children.
Also during district meeting we do role plays and we had an investigator come and help us out. He played the investigator and all of us missionaries (5) did a “lesson” with him. At the end when I was bearing testimony I cried and told him that I know our Savior lives and that he can redeem us. At the end he went around a told each of us our strengths. He got to me and said “You are all full of passion. You can tell that what you say comes straight from the heart. You are going to touch a lot of people and you are going to have them crying right there with you.” That really touched me, but I know that it is the spirit that does the work and reaches out to people and touches their hearts. I am just so glad that I can be an instrument in the Lord’s hands while on my mission.
I love my mission. I love training. I love being a missionary and I love you all.
Have a great week 🙂
Love,
Sister Jones

CIMG0970 CIMG0986 CIMG0992 CIMG0999 CIMG1011 CIMG1030 CIMG1039 CIMG1041 CIMG1069 CIMG1071 CIMG1094 CIMG1109 CIMG1110 CIMG1129

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Week 15-God knows how to get through to his children….

Hello!!
This week was awesome especially with Easter being yesterday. On Saturday our ward had an Easter Activity at the park and that was a lot of fun. We as missionaries got to be the “Easter bunnies” and hide the eggs for the kids to find. While at the park one of our members have the little scooper things where you can throw and catch the ball back and forth. They let us missionaries play with them. Well we ended up breaking both of the scoopers… neither of them on purpose. The first one broke while trying to pick the ball up from the ground, but it was still usable. I was using the semi-broken scooper and an elder was using the other one. I threw the ball and he went to catch it. As soon as the ball hit the scooper it shattered into pieces. It was THE funniest thing ever. I didn’t even throw the ball that hard, but I guess I don’t know my own strength. Luckily someone had brought duct tape so I played doctor and pieced the thing back together.
That night a member had us over and they did an egg hunt for us missionaries. It brought back memories from home when we would have our egg hunts 🙂 I got to eat ham twice this weekend which was a luxury! Ham is definitely my favorite.
It has been warming up here in Pittsburgh. There are now flowers on the trees. The buses now have the A/C on instead of the heat, which I am very thankful for otherwise the buses would be miserable
We have been teaching our investigator M still and he is doing good. Still set for May10th. We had a lesson with him last week and we did something called a Book of Mormon read. We picked a chapter, Moroni 10, and then out loud read two verses and then stopped to discuss anything that stuck out. We did this in the MTC and it helped me understand how to receive revelation and what revelation is. This is how they explained it: when you read and something sticks out and you think it is cool or interesting it would be termed as insight. When you take that a step further and say why does God want me to know this or how can I apply this to myself, that is when you receive revelation. We explained this to M and he thought it was interesting. He had never thought of revelation as a two-way communication. He always thought of it as all of sudden out of no where God gives you revelation, which is possible, but not always the case. We did this with him and we got to verse 4 which talks about how we can receive answers to our prayers. It talks about having a sincere heart, with real intent, and having faith in Christ. He looked at us and said “I can’t help but think what am I doing wrong… why haven’t I received an answer.” It broke my heart. But I was doing personal study later that week and I was reading the story in Matthew about Christ’s life right before he was crucified. I realized that people continually asked Jesus to say or prove he was the Christ and the son of God. Even right before he was crucified Caiaphas, the judge, asks him to tell him if He is the Christ, the Son of God. It hit me that Jesus had told them so many times already, but they never listened. They asked, but never listened for the answer. I think M is the same way. He has asked and asked and asked, but I don’t know if he is really listening. Then I turned it to myself and I know that I don’t always listen to what the Lord has to say when I ask a question. When I was praying and asking God whether or not I should go on a mission, I know I didn’t listen to the answer God had, I did what I wanted and pushed it aside and said I wasn’t going. I have learned that God knows better and that He also knows how to get through to his children. I have faith in our Heavenly Father that He will help M recognize his answer. We as missionaries are here to help him as well. I know that Heavenly Father answers prayers we just need to be willing to listen.
We had a cool experience the other day. We have this recent convert named Winnie. She is seriously so funny. We brought out to come and teach a lesson with us, the only thing is is that she has a lot of back pain that makes it hard for her to walk long or climb up stairs. But being the trooper that she is she climbed up these huge steps to our investigator, G’s, house. When we got to the top I could tell that she was in a lot of pain. I asked her if she would like me to say a prayer. She said yes. I said a prayer and asked God to give her strength and bless her for coming out here to help us. We got inside and started the lesson, she was still in pain. Not even halfway through the lesson Winnie looks over and you could tell that she felt so much better, that the pain had been lifted. We could all feel the spirit so strongly. We walked out of the house and Winnie told us that she wasn’t in pain anymore. That Heavenly Father had blessed her for coming out to serve Him. I know that to be true. I know that our Heavenly Father blesses us for doing his work.
Being on a mission has brought me so many blessings. I know that as I continue to serve faithfully the Lord will bless me 🙂 The same goes for all of you.
Love,
Sister Jones

Sister Stokes and I on our final day together

Sister Stokes and I on our final day together

Artwork at a bus station

Artwork at a bus station

Met an awesome lady who owned chickens in a city... reminds me of home :)

Met an awesome lady who owned chickens in a city… reminds me of home 🙂

Shoes hanging on a telephone wire. I thought that only happened in movies

Shoes hanging on a telephone wire. I thought that only happened in movies

Pittsburgh!!!

Pittsburgh!!!

An overlook of Pittsburgh

An overlook of Pittsburgh

Week 14! I Am Officially A Trainer…

Spring is coming! Spring is coming! The weather has been so nice out here. It got to 86 yesterday after it poured rain for about five minutes in the morning. Unfortunately it is suppose to snow tomorrow. Pittsburgh is really bipolar with weather. The flowers are starting to blossom and it is making me really happy 🙂 I actually got a little sunburned the other day and it wasn’t even that hot. That tells you how long it has been since my skin has seen the sun. Not cool. haha
I am officially a trainer! Sister Zaugg (I spelled it wrong last time… my bad!) is now here in Swissvale. She is really awesome. She’s nineteen and originally from Canada, her family now lives in Provo. Teaching her this week has really shown me that God puts us where we need to be. Sister Zaugg is going to be able to help a lot of the people here. We are still working out how to teach with one another, but that will come with time. She is really progressing and it is cool to see how much I am learning from her. I guess the saying “the teacher learns more from the students than the students do from the teacher” is true. I have definitely learned a lot from her.
I picked Sister Zaugg up on Tuesday and went to a training on how to be a trainer. I had to say goodbye to Sister Stokes, but luckily she isn’t too far and she is still in my zone so I will see her once every transfer.
This week we found a lot of potentials which we now have to follow up on and hopefully start teaching them. I have become really comfortable with OYM-ing (opening your mouth) and I have been talking to a lot of people. It is really cool to see how your mouth is literally filled with words once you start talking to someone. I am pretty excited about summer because everyone here has porches and they like to sit outside all day which will be nice for us because we will have lots of people to talk to.
I met a crazy on the bus the other day. Well not a crazy but this old man who said that Mormons were a cult. I promised him that we were not and that we were Christians just like he was. He started to tell me that I didn’t know what I was talking about and that he had done his research and he knew. He said he had been to every church Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, etc. I asked him if he had ever come to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he said no. I said how do you know then if you have never been. I asked him if he has read the Book of Mormon and again he said no. He went on to tell me that he had done research in the 60s. I am not sure what kind of “research” he was doing, but he definitely did not know anything about our church and he wasn’t willing to listen. I was actually pretty bold with him and I told him that I knew this church was true and I knew that we have worthy leaders who lead and guide our church. If he wasn’t open to hearing more that was his choice. I was just inviting him to learn more. The only part that stunk was that I had to continue sitting by him for the rest of the bus ride, it was only five minutes, but it was still weird.
All the other people I talked to that day were really nice and very polite. My favorite part when trying to find new people is listening to the spirit and telling them what God wants them to know and helping them see that the message we share can bless their lives. You can see that it touched them and that the spirit is speaking to them. Yesterday actually we knocked on this lady’s door and she tried to push us away by saying she believe in God, but didn’t see a need to go to church. I felt impressed to tell her that God has a plan for her and that plan is of greatness. She can find out this plan by reading the Book of Mormon. I told her that there was more to come after this life, more joy to experience than we can ever imagine. I can tell it touched her because she then asked if we were giving out the Book of Mormons. I told her yes and gave her the one I was holding. We are going to try and set up a time to meet with her this week. If we listen to the spirit it will tell us what those around us need.
Oh!! So I was braiding my bangs the other morning and while looking in the mirror I notice a black spot on my shirt. I look down and it starts to move!! I realized it was a spider and then I started to call Sister Zaugg to get it off of me, but due to my panic I couldn’t remember her name. All I could say was Sister… Sister… Sister! She knocked it off of me and then I squished it with a shoe. It was a nasty looking spider too. I am not having the best luck with spiders out here.
We had a lot of our investigators show up at church this week!! That was awesome. The two of us couldn’t keep track of them all (all as in 6).
We focused on teaching the importance of coming to church and the fact that it is a commandment. With out investigator T she didn’t even know it was a commandment. We taught her about it and at the end she said I just need to take off work and come. I know God wants me to. I know that we are blessed for going to church each week. Yes we are commanded to keep the sabbath day holy, but the Lord blesses us for doing it. By going to church we can feel the spirit, feel God’s love, and support one another.
I am so grateful to be a part of this church and to have the knowledge that I do. The gospel is so amazing and so many people are missing out on the blessings from it. It is hard when people say no or don’t accept what we share, but that is what comes with agency. I love being a missionary and talking with everyone!! I love you all and have a great week!!
Love,
Sister Jones

Sister Zaugg and I

Sister Zaugg and I

Sister Zaugg and I

Sister Zaugg and I

CIMG0915 CIMG0941

Week 13! My Family Has Really Grown = My FAITH Has Really Grown!!

This week flew by. It was the last week of the transfer. Most of our appointments fell through this week, but that didn’t stop Sister Stokes and I. We kept treking. We talked with everyone and found quite a few potentials. We will have to follow-up on all of those (just like Elder Ballard talked about). Conference was really amazing this weekend. A little bit different as a missionary. You actually have to great dressed for the day. Say what? haha I really enjoyed it nonetheless. I felt they talked a lot about standing firm in your faith. That really hit home with me because that is what I have to do every single day. I haven’t had anyone fight with me yet, yet being the key word, but I have had to stand up for what I believe in even when others don’t. No one can ever take our faith away from us, we can let it go, but if we continue to strengthen it and rely on it no one will ever be able to take it away. My family has only grown since being on my mission. At times I have had to rely completely on my faith when we go into lessons or we aren’t sure where to go. Faith is very important and it is like a muscle, when you stop using a muscle you experience atrophy the only way to keep it strong is by exercising it. It is the same way with our faith, when we don’t exercise our faith it weakens, but the adverse reaction happens when we do exercise it. Exercise that faith!!
Oh how could I have forgotten to open up with this!! One of our investigators was baptized on Friday April 4th! 13 year old D was baptized. It was such a neat experience and a privilege to be a part of. When he walked into the church he was all smiles. Being the 13 year old he was he tried to hide it, but it would come right back. The spirit was so strong at his baptism. We did something really cool before he was baptized, we opened up about 10 minutes for whoever wanted to share their story/testimony of their own baptism. It really invited the spirit to be there. Also our ward members are so stinkin’ awesome! The whole Relief Society room was filled with members supporting him. Sister Stokes and I worked really hard to call/text people to get them there. We were so excited that a lot of the ward was there to welcome him in.
Oh and I am not being transferred. I will be staying in Swissvale!! And get this President Topham asked me to train!!! There is only one sister coming out this transfer and he asked me to train her. I will be the only sister training. It’s insane. I just finished my own training. I am really going to be putting my faith in God that I can help this sister be a great missionary. Her name is Sister Zogg and I will meet her tomorrow!! Sister Stokes is being transferred and she got called to be a Sister Training Leader! She is pretty stoked about that. (haha see what I did there) I will be in Swissvale for another two transfers, which means I will have been here for six months. Ew. I can’t believe time is flying by so fast.
Also we set our investigator M with a date. I never thought I would see this happen. I thought he would accept a date maybe years from now. We had a really spiritual experience with this one. So Tuesday night after Addiction Recovery our whole district met together and discussed our investigators and the need to help them progress towards baptism. After the meeting Sister Stokes and I both had the impression that we needed to re-ask M to be baptized. We had a lesson with M the next night at the church. The lesson is going great and then all of a sudden the Elders walk in. They put something then as they are about to leave they turn around and tell us that they felt like they needed to come back to church and were wondering if we needed them. We invited them to sit in on the lesson with us. The spirit was there before they got there but once we resumed the lesson it was super strong. Shortly after that we asked M to set a date to work towards…. and he said yes!! I had asked him to be baptized when I first got here and he said no. Sister Stokes and I were both shocked. We set him with May 10th to work really hard to know if he should be baptized on that date. We felt that if we set him with a date he would be showing his faith to God that if he were to find out it was true that he would actually do something with that answer. Having all four of us missionaries as a vessel of the spirit really helped M know that this was something he needed to do. I am so excited for him and so happy to see what happens.
Missionary work is so much fun. We met this guy on the named J on the bus last monday. We sat behind him and when I went to go sit down I noticed that he was looking up the KJV Bible on his phone. I was like I need to say something to him, but I don’t know how to do it from behind without being awkward. Luckily he ended up turning around and asking me if I could help him figure out how to get to the book and chapter he was looking for. I said yes. Shortly after he noticed our badges which got us on the conversation of church. While trying to help him I continued to talk with him. I asked him question about how he came to know God, what religion he was a part of. He told me that he wasn’t with any church and that he found God later in his life and right now he is just reading the Bible and trying to live the way God wants him to. I gave him a Book of Mormon and told him a little about it and bore my testimony. He told us that he believes God works through others. I agreed but then we had to get off the bus to come email. Well we ran into him again yesterday. We were on our way to a dinner appointment after Conference. We got on the bus and I was about to sit down when I hear “Stokes and Jones.” I look over and it’s him! I say hey John! He was really surprised that I remembered his name. We went and sat by him and talk so more. He has some misconceptions about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith writing it. We cleared that up as we talked more about the history of the Book of Mormon then about the Restoration. I recited the first vision and we talked about the work JS had to do in restoring Christ’s church. We again had to get off the bus because it was our stop (I really dislike when that happens when you are talking to people but eh what can you do?) I say a quick testimony and then tell him to call us. As I get up he says “maybe that is why I haven’t found the right church yet”. It was such a cool experience and I seriously love talking to people on the bus. I really hope he calls.
Another experience happened on the bus this week. I sat next to this man and I felt like I should say something, so I did. We got to talking, having a nice conversation and then I always throw something in about being away from home and on a mission. It always gets them. They always ask for what church. Then we start into the church conversation. Well with this guy I really focused on scripture reading especially the BoM. I gave him one of those and then bore testimony about how it had helped me in my life. How it helps me put on the armor of God before I go out each day. Things got silent. Then he started to laugh. He said “God is good…. All I can say is wow. He said I feel much better after talking to you. It is has been pretty tough because my nephew has been in the hospital and hasn’t been doing too good. I know that God wanted me to meet you.” I told him that I didn’t believe in coincidences and that I knew God wanted us to meet. I told him that God has a plan for him and his nephew. Whatever that plan maybe GOd will take care of them. It touched my heart that he was willing to share that with me and that I was able to share something with him that could help him. This is why I love missionary work. I am able to uplift others and it is by sharing the gospel with them. The gospel really does bring true happiness. Living it and sharing it with others has brought me so much joy.
Share it with as many people as you can!
Love,
Sister Jones

All the food our less active R made us. SHe is so talented and it tastes so good.

All the food our less active R made us. SHe is so talented and it tastes so good.

D's Baptism

D’s Baptism

Our recent convert W that we are teaching. She cracks me up and is seriously my favorite :)

Our recent convert W that we are teaching. She cracks me up and is seriously my favorite 🙂

 Cute kids of someone the elders baptized! They love us!

Cute kids of someone the elders baptized! They love us!

The train in Swissvale

The train in Swissvale

All the food our less active R made us. SHe is so talented and it tastes so good.

All the food our less active R made us. SHe is so talented and it tastes so good.

All the food our less active R made us. SHe is so talented and it tastes so good.

All the food our less active R made us. SHe is so talented and it tastes so good.