Week 25- I am now a Sister Training Leader in Butler, PA…

How yinz guys doin’?
This week has been really good! I am now a Sister Training Leader in Butler, PA. It is so awesome out here! There is so much land and everything is green. I realized something the other day. There are absolutely no sprinklers in PA, they don’t exist! It rains enough here that no one has to water their lawn and plants grow by themselves, which might be the reason why everyone has gardens out here. Everyone here owns a ton of land and they are all related somehow… it’s weird. It’s different than Pittsburgh but I love it. The ward is awesome! They were so welcoming and they love to feed us out here πŸ™‚ I am now in a car, which I am super grateful for because it has been extremely hot and humid most of the days.
My companion Sister Thomas is amazing! We get along so well and we have a lot of fun. She’s from Payson, Utah and she played softball. We are a good companionship. We work really hard and we push each other to go out of our comfort zones.
When I got to Butler I had no time to unpack we just went straight out to work. Our apartment is infested with spiders and not tiny spiders either, but huge spiders. I have killed so many since I have been here. No houses really have air conditioning here which I do not understand with all this heat. But our house and others that we visit are always extremely hot so you sweat a lot. It still rains a ton here in Butler, but I know have a car that I can drive in and not have to walk everywhere πŸ™‚
We have been doing a lot of less-active work. This is a lot different than Swissvale because we had only three less-actives in our area. In Butler we have a ton which is sad because you never want someone to become less-active. Teaching less-actives is different than investigators because they already know the doctrine they just need help strengthening their testimonies.
We did lots of service this week for less-actives and members of our ward. That was a ton of fun. We also did service at a soup kitchen called Katie’s Kitchen. We help prepare the food and serve it. While looking out at all the people there my heart went out to them. My heart was also filled with gratitude for all the things that I have in my life. There are a lot of things that I have taken for granted. Being on my mission has opened my eyes to the woes of the world and how good I really have it. Mom and Dad am I so grateful for all the things that you have allowed me to have in my life. I am grateful for all the hard work that you both have put in to us kids. I love yins!
We were teaching a less-active yesterday named Brenda. She has gone through lot in her life. She was telling us how she has been divorced and she doesn’t know if she is going to be sealed to someone so how is she going to reach the Celestial Kingdom. I told her about my reading of the book “Daughters of my Kingdom” and how it says that Heavenly Father will give everyone the opportunity to make those sacred covenants that will allow them to enter into the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom whether it is in this life or the next. I could feel the spirit testify to me that this is true and that Heavenly Father wants all his children to return to Him and He is going to give them every opportunity to do so. I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father.
While doing my online time this week I came across some really good quotes. One is by President Eyring. It says “When you give your heart to inviting people to come unto Christ, your heart will be changed. You will be doing His work for Him. You will find that He keeps His promise to be one with you in your service. You will come to know Him. And in time you will come to be like Him and be perfected in Him.” I have really come to see this as I have been out here inviting people to come unto Christ. I know it will be the same with all of you. I know that sharing the gospel is the best thing that we could be doing with our time. The other one was by President Monson. He said, “Everyday courage has few witnesses. But yours is no less noble because no drum beats for you and no crowds shout your name.” being courageous isn’t easy, but Heavenlt Father recognizes our courage when we go out and share the gospel or when we stand up for what we believe in. We as disciples of Christ and as members of His true church need to stand up now more than ever and defend what we know to be true. The Lord will bless us for not wavering. I know that to be true.
I love you all and I hope you have a fantastic week. Be strong and of good courage!
Love,
Sister Jones

The Carnegie Mellon Institute Building that was in the movie Batman

The Carnegie Mellon Institute Building that was in the movie Batman

The Carnegie Mellon Institute Building that was in the movie Batman

The Carnegie Mellon Institute Building that was in the movie Batman

The Carnegie Mellon Institute Building that was in the movie Batman

The Carnegie Mellon Institute Building that was in the movie Batman

The Carnegie Mellon Institute Building that was in the movie Batman

The Carnegie Mellon Institute Building that was in the movie Batman

Pictures at the Cathedral of Learning in Pittsburgh.

Pictures at the Cathedral of Learning in Pittsburgh.

 Pictures at the Cathedral of Learning in Pittsburgh.


Pictures at the Cathedral of Learning in Pittsburgh.

 Pictures at the Cathedral of Learning in Pittsburgh.


Pictures at the Cathedral of Learning in Pittsburgh.

Bishop's family of my last area.

Bishop’s family of my last area.

Sister Zaugg and i

Sister Zaugg and i

Sister Thomas and I

Sister Thomas and I

Sister Thomas and I

Sister Thomas and I

Week 24- Called to be a Sister Training Leader of a Zone…

Hello yinzers!
So I got the call Saturday night and I am being transferred. I got a call Sunday afternoon from my mission President calling me to be a Sister Training Leader of a zone. So wherever my next area is my companion and I will be doing weekly exchanges and training at zone training/conferences. I am super nervous, but excited at the same time. It is going to be a lot of fun. I have no idea where I am going or who my new companion will be. When President Topham called me to be a Sister Training Leader he said” You said you wanted to grow on your mission didn’t you?” I answered yes. He said ” This will be a huge growing experience.” Since I am going to be an STL I will now be in a drive area which is nice due to how hot it is going to get, but not so nice when it comes to exercise.
I am sad to be leaving Swissvale and the Pitt 7th Ward, but I am excited to see somewhere new in PA and work in a new area. I said goodbye to ward members yesterday at church. A recent convert that we have been teaching named Winnie told me that I would spread sunshine wherever I went. I hope that I can connect with the new ward like I did with the ward members here.
I will find out tomorrow afternoon at transfer meeting where I am going and who my new companion will be.
We met with our investigator Sisi on Saturday and she told us that she really wants to get baptized. She told us that she is going to talk with her mom and that she really hopes she says yes. Sisi said that she wishes her mom understood why she wants to do this. It makes me smile knowing that Sisi desires to be bapitized. We have been praying that her mom will soften her heart and allow her to. She told me that I couldn’t leave. I am so grateful that I have had the privilege to help her learn the truthfulness of the gospel. I hope to hear soon of her baptism!
A potential investigator took us to lunch this last week. We went to a Thai restaurant and I decided that this was my one chance to try something new, so I did just that. I ate DUCK! I ate a duck noodle soup. It was actually pretty good. I don’t know why people say it tastes like chicken because it tastes nothing like it.
So I have been using a broken umbrella. On of the spokes that keeps it open broke, but I taped it and it worked fine. But one day during a huge down pour we hopped on a bus to go to a dinner appointment. While on the bus I put down my umbrella… we get to our stop, so we hopped off. When we got off the bus I realized that I had left my umbrella on the bus! Luckily it hasn’t rained since then πŸ™‚
On Saturday we helped at an all-day Family History Conference that was taking place at our church. The cool thing about it was that it was for the whole Pittsburgh community. Members and nonmembers were there and were able to go to workshops to learn how to search for their family. It was really awesome to see how excited people get about family history work. The spirit of Elijah I tell ya!
An awesome thing about PA is that there are fire-flies here. They are so awesome! When we are walking home at night you can see little green lights all over. It is such an amazing sight especially when there is a lot of them.
One of my favorite things to do each day is read the Book of Mormon. I could read it all day. I have never had huge desire to read the scriptures, but since I have come out here and have gained a stronger testimony of the Restoration I come to see how important the Book of Mormon is. It is what makes our church different. It is how we can come to know this church is true. It is meant to help us receive revelation. It is a divinely inspired book. I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon and for the strength that it gives me every day. I know that it can give each and everyone of you the guidance and strength that you need. Just like we eat and drink food to survive temporally, we need to feast upon the words of Christ to survive spiritually. Verses that I have recently come across that I love are Alma 37: 44-45. The verses previous are talking about the Liahona and how it gave Lehi and his family guidance while in the wilderness. The Liahona as we know worked according to their faith and heed that they gave to it. When they had faith and followed the directions that it gave the progressed towards the promised land. When they did the opposite they were lost in the wilderness and walked in circles. Verses 44-45 talk about how the words of Christ can guide just like the Liahona and if we follow their course we will end up in the promised land.
“44 For behold, it is as easy to give heed to the word of Christ, which will point to you a straight course to eternal bliss, as it was for our fathers to give heed to this compass, which would point unto them a straight course to the promised land.
45 And now I say, is there not a type in this thing? For just as surely as this director did bring our fathers, by following its course, to the promised land, shall the words of Christ, if we follow their course, carry us beyond this vale of sorrow into a far better land of promise.”
I know this to be true. I know that if we follow the revelation and direction that we receive as we read the scriptures we will reach a better land of promise. Whether that be a few years into the future or the celestial kingdom, we will be able to reach the goals that we have set for ourselves. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I encourage you all to feast upon the words of Christ daily.
I love you all! πŸ™‚
Love,
Sister Jones

CIMG1320 CIMG1316 CIMG1315 CIMG1380 CIMG1376 CIMG1381 CIMG1382 CIMG1366 CIMG1369 CIMG1370 CIMG1343 CIMG1336 CIMG1340

Week 23-I blinked, boom, I’m here again!…

This week flew by! I feel like I was just sitting in the Carnegie Library emailing and I blinked, boom, I’m here again! That is what this week felt like. It was a great week all around.
We had zone conference on Tuesday which was a lot of fun. It was our last time with our current Mission President. I had the idea to have all of us sisters give him a group hug, so I got everyone together and we cornered our mission president and gave him a big hug. President Topham thought it was funny.
We met with our investigators Tammy and Barbara and we set them with a baptismal date! We are super excited and we are going to do all that we can to make sure that they are ready for it. Barbara told me that Sister Stokes and I are her favorite missionaries yet. It touched my heart and made me feel so good knowing that an investigator cares for me just as much as I care from them. I have really come to love each and everyone of the people that we are teaching out here. It breaks my heart when they choose to go down another path, but my heart leaps with joy when they make changes in their lives that bring them closer to Christ. These changes come because they are living the gospel. In my Preach My Gospel it says that only the gospel can keep the world from it own self-destruction. I know that to be true. I know that the only way for this world to be saved is if everyone is living the true gospel. That is why sharing the gospel is so important. People can’t be saved without first having performed ordinances by the Priesthood.
I was reading a talk by President Eyring called “A Priceless Heritage of Hope”. It talks about the inheritance of hope that we can leave behind for the generations that come after us. President Eyring talked about how important it is that we make covenants while we are here on earth and how “each covenant brings with it duties and promises. For all of us those duties are sometimes simple but difficult. But remember, the duties must sometimes be difficult because their purpose is to move us along the path to live forever with Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, in families.” I love this. The hard things we face in life are meant to help us draw nearer to Heavenly Father and progress. My duty as a missionary has definitely helped me draw nearer to my Heavenly Father and has helped me not only become a better person but become a better disciple of Jesus Christ. I know I still have a long way to go, but by small and simple things are great things brought to pass.
Another quote that I really liked from President Eyring’s talk was about how we shouldn’t worry about things if Christ is at the head. “They know that He is at the head. He is all-powerful and He cares. If you let Him be the leader of your family, things will work out.” As a missionary I can’t sweat the small stuff. I know that if I put my trust in the Lord and follow the promptings of the spirit things will work out in the end. He is aware of everything and even if people fall away for a time, things will work out in the end.
On Saturday Sister Zaugg and were in squirrel hill and we tried this ice cream place called Rita’s. It was soooo good. We got something called gelati, which is layers of flavored ice and custard. It is a huge thing out here and everybody loves it. I agree πŸ™‚ Afterwards we went with some Elders to do service at one of their investigator’s house. We helped pull weeds and then for payment she cooked us amazing pulled pork sandwiches, smoked corn, cole slaw, homemade guacamole and chips!
We having still been meeting with our investigator Sisi. She is doing really good. Still no baptismal date set. It is so sad to see all the things that she has to worry about as a ten year old. I don’t even remember thinking about these things at her age. Satan is working so hard on the kids in this world. I am so grateful that I have always had the gospel in my life. Mom and Dad I am so grateful that you both taught me the principles of the gospel and helped me live them πŸ™‚
Today Sister Zaugg and I went to the Strip District in Downtown Pittsburgh. It is pretty much a china town with a ton of Pittsburgh paraphernalia. It was a lot of fun. Downtown Pittsburgh is amazing. I am grateful that I have had the chance to serve in Pittsburgh. People weren’t kidding when they told me it was one of the most beautiful cities.
I love you all and I hope you each have a fantastic week πŸ™‚
XOXO
Sister Jones

CIMG1285 CIMG1298 CIMG1299 CIMG1303

Week 22- I will not be confounded before men…

Hey yins!
Hope you all had a fantastic week! This week here in the burgh was great πŸ™‚ Perfect weather all week long.
On Thursday we had dinner at a less-active’s house. His family is Polynesian, so they made us a family favorite. They grilled homemade teriyaki chicken and rice. It was soooo good! It made me want to go to Hawaii. One of my favorite meals yet!
Our investigator Sisi no longer has a baptismal set. You can tell that Satan is working really hard on her to keep her from being baptized. Her mom told her that she should wait until she has gone to other churches to see if this one is the right one. Being ten, she is trusting in her mom. Nevertheless she is still coming to church and going to activity days. We are giving it time and continuing to teach her until she decides whether she wants to be baptized or not. She is still the sweetest thing ever and she is really blossoming in the church. She has made new friends and is comfortable walking to her own classes and what not.
We saw our investigator Josh last week and it was such a powerful lesson. We would state something and then he would come up with a question that would try to contradict what we should. Josh is all about having physical evidence of the Nephites/ Lamanites existing other than the Book of Mormon. He kept talking about archeological finds and scientific theories and how there are so many Gods that other people believe in how do we know our God is the true God. I knew we weren’t there to prove our point or to even fight with him, all we were there to do was share what we know. I did exactly that. I bore my testimony to him and told him I didn’t know everything about science, history, or archeology, but that I do know that there is one God and He is the God I pray to. I told him that I know the Book of Mormon is true and it because of the witness that I have received from the Holy Ghost. I told him we weren’t there to argue. I told Josh that my witness from the spirit that this is the true church was all I needed to believe. I don’t need physical evidence because that isn’t faith, faith is believing without seeing. I know that he felt something as I spoke. After I finished he couldn’t say anything. One big thing that I have learned on my mission so far is that nobody can dispute your testimony. It is truths that we have come to know by the power of the Holy Ghost. I am grateful for the testimony that I have and that Heavenly Father has promised that I will not be confounded before men. I have seen that first hand. Being on a mission has strengthened my testimony so much and I only want to strengthen it more.
We did service on Friday morning for a sister in our ward. Her husband is suffering from Parkinson’s and she can’t really workout in the yard as much as she used to. Sister Zaugg and I went over and we helped trim a tree in her backyard so that she could park underneath it. We got to chop a lot of that poor tree down. We helped loosen some soil so that she could plant flowers. While doing so we found/ took out a root that was as long as me! I will be sending a picture.
This morning was good too. We studied, cleaned, and then headed to the grocery store. We usually walk to the store, but we saw the bus coming so we decided to get on. Little did we know that this bus had already gone to the store so it was making its other rounds. We ended riding the bus all the way around, back to our house and then to the store. While on the bus a member texted us saying that she wasn’t feeling well and if we could do her a favor and get her some things at the store. We told her yes, it would change our plans for the day, but we knew the Lord would want us to. We got everything we needed and then headed home. Once home we ate lunch and then headed back out. While walking to the member’s home we ran into a lady we know on the street named Andrea. We talked with her and she offered to take us to lunch to get Thai food next week πŸ™‚ We made it to the member’s home, talked for a few and then left to catch a bus. We get to the stop light and we see the bus turning! We still have to cross the street to get to the bus stop. We start running and flagging the bus down. Luckily the bus driver stopped because sometimes they don’t. We got on the bus and everything turned out to be right on schedule. I know that Lord was helping us accomplish everything that we needed to do today while also accomplishing those things He needed us to do today. I know the Lord wanted me to learn that I am here to serve others and not myself. By serving others I am serving Him. It changed our plans for the day, but we were able to help someone in need and still have everything work out. When we are in the service of our fellow beings we are only in the service of our God.
Serving a mission for the Lord is such a privilege and I am so grateful to be out here.
I love you all! Have a great week πŸ™‚
Love,
Sister Jones

i told you it was a city within a jungle

i told you it was a city within a jungle

i told you it was a city within a jungle

i told you it was a city within a jungle

the root was as long as me

the root was as long as me

 

Week 21- Become as a little child…

Another week bites the dust! Time goes by so quickly out here. Yesterday was my five month mark as a missionary. Another transfer is almost over. We only have three weeks left of this one. We will have to see if I am staying here in Swissvale or if I will be moving. This is my fourth transfer in Swissvale. I love it here! I can walk around and usually run into someone that I know or have met before it’s awesome πŸ™‚ The people here are so friendly. The weather is starting warm up and I’m getting pretty tan. Don’t worry mom I’m wearing sun screen πŸ™‚ It’s suppose to get really hot in July so we will see how that goes… It’s pretty humid here. Some days are better than others.
Yesterday was fast Sunday and it was so good. We had our little investigator Sisi come to church again and she sat next to me. During testimonies she looked at me and said “will you go up there for me?” I said yes, so as soon as the person was done I went up, but as I got up so did the Elders in our ward and then Sister Zaugg followed behind. We all went up at the same time and didn’t even plan it. I bore my testimony about missionary work and how important it is. This gospel has brought me so much joy and all I want to do is share it with others. Heavenly Father wants us to share it with others.
We had a lesson with Sisi last week on the Word of Wisdom. She was good with everything, but coffee. She has never had it before, but it looks so good and she has always wanted to try it. We explained to her why we didn’t and the blessings that come from not drinking it. After we finished talking she looks at us and says “I just had a thought.” We said share it! Sisi told us that while we were talking a thought popped into her head that it wasn’t worth it, that trying coffee wasn’t worth it. I told her that that was the spirit talking to her. She smiled and told us that she would live the Word of Wisdom. This ten year old girl amazes me. She is so open to the promptings of the spirit. The phrase “become as a little child” has taken on a whole new meaning since we have been teaching her. All Sisi wants to do is make Heavenly Father happy and she doesn’t let her pride or carnal desires get in the way. Some of these adults that we teach can be so stubborn or so set in their ways and don’t always listen to what the spirit is telling them. I know that if we humble ourselves and become as a little child we will be more open to the promptings of the spirit and receive the guidance we are all looking for.
We were serenaded by a little girl yesterday. We were walking around and talking to people who were outside and we started talking to this lady named Tina. Her granddaughter came out and we started talking with her about dance and singing. She told us that she could sing so she started singing frozen songs and she was phenomenal and she was only six!
We have been finding a lot of new people to teach. We have been talking with everyone. The other night we saw a lady gardening so we walked over to talk to her. I guess we didn’t make any noise because when we said hi she jumped and turned around. She started laughing and so did we. We talked about gardening and then she mentioned that her husband had passed a couple of years ago. I told her that I knew she would see her husband again. As I said this I could see tears forming her eyes. This lead to us talking more about the plan of salvation because she started asking more questions. We got her info and a return appointment. When leaving she told us that she knew the reason she came outside was to talk to us. She has been really lonely and it was so nice to talk with people and she was interested in what we had to say. She was so grateful that we stopped to talk to her. She gives us hugs and we said goodbye. Everyone needs the gospel, some are aware of it and some are not, but everyone needs it. There are those who aren’t ready to accept it, but it important to share it with all because we are preparing them to accept it in the future. I know the message that we have to share will help anyone and everyone.
While studying out of the Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith I came across this quote by Joseph Smith, β€œIn relation to the kingdom of God, the devil always sets up his kingdom at the very same time in opposition to God.” I believe this to be so true and I have seen how true it is out here on my mission. As hard as we are working to share the gospel, Satan is working just as hard to keep us from sharing it and others from accepting it. I know that as long as I am working my hardest good will always conquer evil.
My love for my other brothers and sisters has grown so much since I have been out here. As I meet and talk with them I can just feel Heavenly Father’s love for them and it just makes my love grow. I am so grateful for a Heavenly Father who loves us and is always willing to show us that love.
I hope you all have a fantastic week! Go out and share the gospel πŸ™‚
Love,
Sister Jones