Hey you guys!
This week has been great! We went on two exchanges this week in Cranberry and Beaver. We were out there from Thursday to Saturday afternoon. We blitzed both of the areas which means that we stayed in the area and exchanged companions. It was a lot of fun, but that meant that we weren’t in Butler for two days. Getting to know the sisters is so much fun. They all have different ways of sharing the gospel and I feel so privileged to be able to find new ways to be a missionary.
On Monday we went and saw Rich and tried to teach him about the Plan of Salvation. I have never heard someone talk so much in my life! We were constantly bringing it back to the gospel, trying to find ways to tie things he said to a certain principle. During our lesson a man in the neighborhood named Donny came over and sat in to listen. Donny has a lot of mental disabilities and health problems that have stemmed from the amount of alcohol that he drinks. He has been in the hospital multiple times so close to death. As we talked with him my heart hurt for him. I asked him what would he do for his family. He said that he would do anything, he would give his life for them. Rich looked at him and said would you give up the alcohol for them. Donny said he couldn’t… It broke my heart. He says that he would give his life for them but he won’t give up the one thing that is going to take his life and destroying their family. Being out here my testimony of the Word of Wisdom has grown tremendously. I know that it was inspired by God to bless us so that we could have healthy bodies and be able to use those bodies to their full capacity. I have met a lot of people who have so many medical problems due to alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs. I am grateful for my knowledge of the Word of Wisdom and the blessings that come from keeping it.
On Tuesday we did service at a place called Produce to People. It is kind of like the bishop storehouse/ soup kitchen. We package up a certain amount of carrots, onions, potatoes, apples, etc. to give out to people. People line up outside and take a number so it is based on first come first serve. They open up the doors and the people walk by and pick up the allotted amount of each fruit or vegetable. It was so much fun 🙂 People would walk in a look so sad and we would talk and joke with them as we served them and waited for the line to move. I love making people smile and laugh. While working another volunteer came by, his name is Thomas, and asked us who we were. We said we were missionaries for our church. He said what are the Latter-day Saints all about. We said that we could meet and talk with him more about it. Thomas said that he would love that because he is really trying to change his life. Sister Thomas asked him if he lived close by, he answered that he lived right up the street. In my mind I was thinking “Yes, this is so awesome. We are totally going to teach this guy and baptize him!” We asked him when he was free and he said that he had a lot of free time. He then goes on to show us his wrist and he has a green paper bracelet on. We look at it and it says “BUTLER COUNTY PRISON”. He was in inmate from the prison! Don’t worry mom and dad we aren’t teaching him, but we did give him a Book of Mormon and told him to read it. He is in a program at the prison that allows him to come out into the community and do service.
On Saturday we had another awesome lesson with our less-active Jeanette and her nonmember husband Tiny. I know that Tiny will be baptized sometime! The awesome thing is that Tin has never really let missionaries into their home until a little before I got here. Tiny also hasn’t never taken the discussion until I got here. He is making progress, it is slow, but he is coming along. Jeanette called us last night crying bearing her testimony to us and telling us that she wants her and Tiny to be married in the temple. It is so amazing to see the effect that the gospel can have in people’s lives. We are working with Tiny to help him cultivate a desire to quit smoking and drinking coffee. He told Jeanette that he knows he needs to, but life is to stressful. We are going to help him see the blessings that will come from keeping the Word of Wisdom and embracing the gospel.
We had an awesome lesson with our investigator Angie last night. A ward member named Rafaela came out on a team up with us. She converted in 2009 and she is from Micronesia. The lesson went so well. We read 2 Ne 2 with Angie and Rafaela told her how much the Book of Mormon and the gospel has blessed her life. Angie really connected with her and could really feel the spirit. Angie’s son was home so he took the grand kids in the back and kept them busy. It was the first time that Angie could really focus on the lesson and feel the spirit. Having Rafaela there with us made all the difference. She has such a desire to share the gospel and her testimony. Members bring such a strong spirit with them. I have high hopes for Angie. I know she wants happiness and peace in her life and this is what can bring it.
I cannot express how much I love my mission. I have truly enjoyed my time out here and sharing the gospel with so man wonderful people. My understanding of the gospel increasing everyday as I study and learn new truths. I know that my Savior is walking with me every step. I love you all and I am so grateful for the support! Keep sharing the gospel. It is the best thing that you could do with your time.
Sister Thomas and I weekly planning in a park between exchanges.
We both love softball so we had too
Driving in the car having fun
Driving in the car having fun
Hello yins guys!
These past weeks of this transfer have been flying by. I really don’t know where the time is going! This week was super awesome. I had a couple more firsts this week when it comes to food. I had something called olive-loaf… The name even sounds gross. We were at a less-active’s house and they wanted us to try it, so I did. It is basically bologna with olive pieces in it. Not my favorite. They also cooked us fried green tomatoes. Those weren’t bad, but they were tomatoes that weren’t ripe yet covered in egg and flour, then fried. People eat some weird stuff out here that is for sure. You’ll all have to try it when I get home. Sister Thomas hit her one year mark this week and so we went to Texas Roadhouse. I had never been there before and I really liked it.
We also had interviews with President Johnson this week. That was really nice to get to know him and Sister Johnson a little better. Mom and Dad he wanted me to tell the two of you thanks for allowing me to come out here and serve. He and Sister Johnson are so awesome and they are going to come to Butler and go hiking with us some time soon! At our district meeting this week Elder Alexander made the district Jamaican food again. It was so good. He made something called jerk chicken. It tasted kind of like the seasoning of beef jerky. I enjoyed it 🙂
A funny story this week was that I bribed kids to give me a phone number. Yup, I am that missionary that bribes to get a phone number so that we can teach someone. Well the story is that on Thursday we went to our investigator Angie’s house. We had been waiting for a couple of days to here from her. We don’t have her number because her phone isn’t working right now, but she said she could use her son’s. We show up to her house and she sends her grand kids to tell us that now isn’t a good time. We do this whole sending the kids back and forth to talk to each other and then I finally ask to get her son’s, their dad’s phone number, from Angie. Turns out Angie doesn’t even know her son’s number, but the grand kids do. So I asked if they could give it to me. The little boy who knows it says that he will only give it to me if we let him call his dad so that he can tell him that he broke her DS. We had left our phone in the car so we told him we couldn’t. Being a kid he refused to give us the number then. Which led to the last resort of telling him that I would give him a quarter if he gave it to me. He smiled and started spouting out numbers. Needless to say that I was persistent and made sure we left with a number.
This week we found a new investigator whose name is Rich. We were tracting in a trailer park and he was sitting on his porch with is dog. We talked to him for a while and he talked to us about all the hard things he has gone through in his life. The most recent was his wife passing away. We shared with him scriptures out of the Book of Mormon. While we were talking with him I could just feel the love that Heavenly Father has for him. I just wanted him to know that. It is so sad to see all these people who don’t know how much God loves them and don’t know what the spirit feels like. I am so grateful for the gift of the Holy Ghost and that I have the ability to have him with me at all times. I know that it is through the Holy Ghost that we are able to feel God’s love. That is one divine role of the spirit.
We had an amazing lesson on Saturday with a less-active named Jeanette and her nonmember husband Tiny. Tiny listens to the Book of Mormon every night, MoTab, and conference talks. He is constantly asking us questions that he encounters as he reads. His only problem is the Word of Wisdom, he won’t give up coffee and cigarettes. Well we read a talk by Howard W. Hunter called “He is Risen” with the both of them. Tiny had had a question about a certain scripture in the Bible pertaining to Christ. As we read we stopped and talked about it and bore our testimonies. At the end we talked about the Book of Mormon and how it can help us gain our own testimony of Christ. I bore my testimony to him on how the Book of Mormon has strengthened my faith and how everytime I read it I can feel love oozing out of the words. Yep I really did say oozing. But as I testified to him I could see the spirit working with him. I could see it in his eyes. Tears were started to form. After this Tiny told us that he knows the Book of Mormon is true. He said how could it not be. He went on to say that he just couldn’t give that stuff up (coffee and cigarettes). I asked him if he believed that Christ could help him give them up? He said yes. We told Tiny that we could help understand more about the Church and the Word of Wisdom if he wanted. He agreed. We told him that it is ultimately up to him to decided whether or not he wants to live it. This touched his wife Jeanette because she had never heard this from Tiny before. Jeanette also bore her testimony to us on how she knows the church is true and that she is so grateful for the Priesthood. She said that she wished Tiny had it, but she knows that it is ultimately up to him to decide to join the church. Jeanette told us that she has never born her testimony for anyone either. I know that the spirit was there working in side them which caused them to know the truth. I am so grateful for the spirit and the power that he has. He can cause a mighty change within all of us if we allow him to.
Allow the spirit to work within each of you. Follow the promptings that he gives. They will lead you down a path back to Heavenly Father.
I love you all! Have a great week 🙂
we had to get pictures with the barn
we had to get pictures with the barn
we are definitely excited to eat this stuff
We got Menchies to celebrate Sister Thomas’ one year
more pics with the barn
This week went by really fast. We had MLC (missionary leadership council) and an exchange this week. It was a lot of fun. MLC was on Wednesday and it was down in Pittsburgh. So I got to go back through my old area. It was good to be able to see something familiar 🙂 The council went really well. We discussed the strengths and weaknesses of the mission and then mission rules. President Johnson is very different from President Topham, but in a good way. I know Heavenly Father sent him and Sister Johnson here for a reason.
I had my first exchange as an STL from Friday to Saturday. A set of sisters come to Butler and we blitzed the area. I went with Sister White and we tried to contact some less-actives. It was so weird being on the other side of exchanges. It was a ton of fun getting to know the sisters and learning from them and how they do missionary work. They have all been out longer than me so I can definitely learn a lot from all of them, probably more than they can learn from me haha.
While on exchanges Sister White and I went to go see a less-active that Sister Thomas and I have been meeting with. Her name is Kristen. A crazy cool thing happened while we were there. Earlier Friday morning, before the exchange, Sister Thomas and I had role-played our lesson with Kristen. During the lesson as I asked questions Kristen gave the exact responses that we had said earlier that morning. It was a testament to me that the spirit really can help us discern other people’s thoughts and feelings that we have stewardship over. Heavenly Father knows each of us better than anyone and so He can work through the Holy Ghost to let us know what we need to do or say to help them.
We have been working really hard to get Kristen to come to church. She is doing everything else, but coming to church. She has come a long way to get to where she is now, but she isn’t doing all that she should. Our lesson with her this week was focused on coming to church and the importance of partaking of the sacrament. During our lesson Sister White brought up something that a general authority had said the PA missionaries a while ago. He said, “If people really understood the importance of sacrament they would be crawling across the country to get it.” This is so true. I know that I have taken the sacrament for granted, but as my understanding of it’s importance has grown so has my desire to partake of it each week.
We summed up the whole lesson by tying in obedience; being obedient brings blessings. If we are not obedient to the commands that Heavenly Father gives us we don’t receive blessings. We shared with her the scripture in D&C 130: 20-21 which reads
20 There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—
21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.
No matter what our excuse is for not going to church, for stealing, for lying, or for whatever it may be blessings are withheld from us. Heavenly Father has to live by the law of heaven. He wants to bless all of His children, but can only do so if they are obedient. As I have been out here on my mission I know that being obedient brings blessings. Some of these blessings won’t be seen right away and some of things blessings won’t be seen until the next life, but I know they will come.
I committed Kristen to come to church. Well… Kristen texted us and Sunday and told us that she couldn’t make it church because as she was about to walk out the door she saw a black bear eating blueberries in front of her porch. Go figure. A black bear would show up and make it so that she couldn’t come to church. BUT she did say she is coming this Sunday. Say a pray that no black bears show up this week!
I love being a missionary! Serving here in PA has been so much fun. I have really enjoyed these last three weeks in Butler with Sister Thomas. We have been working really hard. As we have put our efforts in with the Lord’s the work has really been picking up and Butler is becoming a better area. We have high hopes for the future!
Be obedient and the Lord will bless you. Serve with all your heart, might, mind, and strength and He will be there with you.
Love yins! Have a great week 🙂
Hummingbird Bee at a member’s house doing service
Jamaican food Elder Alexander made us at a member’s house. He is originally from Jamaica. It was curry chicken and coconut rice. It was so good!
MLC in Pittsburgh!
Downtown Pittsburgh on our way to MLC
Downtown Pittsburgh on our way to MLC
A farm in Butler, PA
Downtown Pittsburgh on our way to MLC
MLC in Pittsburgh!
Hi yins guys! I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July. This was the first time I have gone without seeing fireworks, but other than that my 4th was great 🙂 We had a member named Sister Bonetti who came out with us for the day. She drove us around which saves us on miles and we were able to help her have her first experience of going out with the missionaries. It went super well.
When I got here to Butler we only had one investigator and were teaching a few less-actives on and off. Sister Thomas and I decided that we really needed to expand our teaching pool and find new investigators. We went to work this week! Tuesday we went out all day tracting and walking around talking to people. We met a lot of potentials and handed out a couple copies of the Book of Mormon. We went done to another street and started talking to this lady on her porch and we asked her if we could share more with her. We ended up teaching the first lesson to her right there on the porch. Her name is Angie and she is one of our new investigators 🙂 She is Presbyterian, but has stopped going to church. She seems really down because her grand-kids aren’t very nice to her. They don’t show her much love and you can tell that it gets to her. I know that as she develops her relationship with Heavenly Father she will feel that love in her life. As I have met with her I can feel Heavenly Father’s love for her. I know His love is unconditional and everlasting. The things of the world can bring happiness for a time, but those things eventually run out or it no longer makes you happy.
I met our new mission president and wife this week. They are super awesome! They are super funny and I think they are going to be really great for this mission Heavenly Father needs them hear for a reason. There 16 year old son is going to stay in the mission home with them. The Johnson’s have eight kids and they love to be outdoors.
We had a scare with bed bugs earlier this week. Apparently the have been sweeping the mission and quite a few missionaries have been getting them. We had a less-active call us earlier this week and let us know that she has bed bugs at her home. She didn’t know, but had just found out. The day we visited her her grandson had gone home with lots of bites. She had someone come check and she found out she has them. Sister Thomas and I freaked! I checked under my mattress and I didn’t find anything there. Later that night before we went to bed I grabbed my flashlight and checked. Thankfully I didn’t see anything and I have been bitten by anything and neither has Sister Thomas. The Lord blessed us by not letting us get bed bugs. Don’t worry mom we are bed bug free 🙂
Some other firsts happened this week. I planted flowers for the first time (I actually did it twice) and I ate anchovies (probably the saltiest thing I have ever eaten in my life!). I learned how to plant flowers and I am pretty sure I have green thumb now due to how flowers I have planted for people. We had dinner at a member’s house last night and they had anchovies so I decided to try one… if those won’t cause a heart attack I don’t know what will. Besides that they weren’t bad.
Since I have been out here doing a lot of less-active work I have come to see that converts have a deep love for missionaries. No matter who the missionaries are, they show you so much love and they love having you around. They always say that we make their day whenever we come by. I love helping them feel the spirit and feel loved.
We met with a less-active and her nonmember husband the other day and helped them plant flowers. Their names are Jeanette and Tiny. Afterwards we shared a message with them and we talked about the Book of Mormon. Tiny has been listening to the Book of Mormon every night for the last twenty years. He believes in the book, but he against joining the church because he doesn’t like a church telling him what he can and can’t do. He loves drinking coffee/ tea and smoking cigarettes. It is sad to see that someone can become so attached to worldly things that they can’t see the spiritual benefits that will come from letting them go and setting their hearts on kingdom of God. Being out on my mission I have come to see a lot of the ways Satan tries to deceive people and he succeeds a lot of the time because people lose sight of the eternal perspective. Studying our scriptures, praying daily, and going to church each Sunday are three things that can help us stay out of the bonds of Satan and not be deceived. I am grateful for the power that comes from having the spirit and allows me to stay on the right path.
We had dinner last night at a member’s home whose husband is also is not a member. Their names are Nick and Jan. I love going to their house! Nick is hard to read at times especially on whether or not he is interested in the gospel. He listens to the spiritual thoughts we give and Jan has said that she has seen him reading the Book of Mormon multiple times. We asked her if Nick would be interested in taking the lessons, she told us she thought he would. Last night after dinner Jan turned to Sister Thomas and told her to ask Nick her question. So she did. Nick was hesitant at first and didn’t really know what to say. But Sister Thomas bore a powerful testimony to him and told him how much we love him and want to help him. Nick agreed to take the lessons! He said he couldn’t promise anything from it, but he really does want to learn. We are super excited that we are going to be able to share the gospel with him. Jan says that he is really looking, but he doesn’t know where to find it. That is exactly what we are hear for. There are so many people out there who are looking, but they don’t know where to look.
By the end of the week we found two new investigators and we are going to try find some more this week! We have been working hard to improve the area of Butler.
We are meeting with Nick this Tuesday, I will be going to my first missionary leadership council on wednesday,and I will be going on my first exchange as an STL this Friday. I am super excited for this upcoming week. I love you all and I hope you have a great week 🙂
Love, Sister Jones