Week 33- We set a vision for ourselves to increase our faith to find….

First off answers to the riddles last week.
1. What happens once in a minute, twice in a moment, and never in a thousand years? 
          The letter M. It  happens once in a Minute, twice in MoMent, and never in a thousand                    years.
2. You are driving down the road, it’s pitch black, you don’t have your lights on but yet you can see everything. How?
          It’s daytime, but the road is black! 
     This week was awesome! We found three new investigators, had a meeting with a seventy, and I went to Franklin for an exchange. Things are really starting to pick up here in Butler.
      When I first got here we had one investigator and she dropped off the planet shortly after I got here. So for a while we weren’t teaching any investigators, but that has changed as Sister Thomas and I have worked hard to find people to teach. We set a vision for ourselves to increase our faith to find. That has definitely happened and we are beginning to see the fruits of our labors to find. The three people we have started teaching are all referrals. One is named Carrie and she is interested in learning more about what we believe. Her faith in Christ is strong and she does well at teaching her children too. She was a referral from a nonmember who lives down the street from her. When we went to go contact her we found out that she had actually been reading the Book of Mormon. What? Crazy I know! She had received a Book of Mormon from missionaries a long time ago and she decided to read it and we happened to come by at this time. We are excited to continue teaching her and her kids and help them receive the blessings that come from the gospel. 

     We also received a referral from our less-active Kristin. It is her brother’s girlfriend named Valerie. She is super solid. The first lessons that we had with her were so amazing. The spirit was so strong and Valerie could feel it. She told us that she felt good and doesn’t feel like anything we have shared with her is wrong or bad. Valerie is very good at recognizing and understanding the spirit. We had a really neat experience in our second lesson with her. We were teaching the Plan of Salvation and Sister Thomas said that she received a prompting that she needed to bring up baptism. She brought it up and then I felt that I needed to ask her to be baptized… Valerie said yes! She said that before I asked her something told her that she needed to be baptized. I couldn’t help but smile and feel the love that Heavenly Father had for her in making that decision. Valerie went on to say that she had been praying to Heavenly Father to help her because she felt like something was missing in her life and she didn’t know where to find it. She said that we were an answer to her prayers. Valerie is doing so awesome she is reading the Book of Mormon and she came to church yesterday! I am so happy for her 🙂 There are some things that she has to overcome before she gets baptized. She has to get married because she is living with her boyfriend and she has to stop smoking, but we are going to be here every step of the way to help her!
     We also received another media referral from mormon.org and someone requested a bible… or so we thought. He actually requested a Book of Mormon, but he referred to it as the Mormon Bible. His name is Bob and he is a super awesome guy. He is recently retired and he is well versed in the Bible. He said that he has always been curious about the “Mormon Bible” and he now has a lot of time on his hands to read it. We talked with him about the Book of Mormon and how we still read the Holy Bible. He really liked what we were saying. He told us that he goes to a church where they sing the entire service. I have never heard of that before. It would be pretty interesting to go see. We are meeting with him this week and going to share the Restoration with him. 
    In these past almost 8 months I have come to see how important it is to having an understanding and testimony of the Restoration. This is what helps people understand why we claim to be the true church of Christ. We are unique in our belief of a literal restoration of Christ’s church. I am grateful for my knowledge of the Restoration without it I wouldn’t be a missionary and I wouldn’t be an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We have to continually strengthen our testimony of the Restoration. One way of doing that is by reading the Book of Mormon daily and praying and asking Heavenly Father if it is true. This is something we can do more than once, we are actually encouraged to do it multiples times throughout our lifetime. If we do this I know that we will continually receive the same answer that will strengthen our testimony of the restoration of Christ’s true church. The Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion. By knowing the Book of Mormon is true we know that Jesus Christ is our Savior, we know that Joseph Smith is his prophet and revelator in these latter days, and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ’s kingdom established on the earth once again. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and my testimony if the Restoration is strengthened each day as I preach it and as I read from the Book of Mormon daily. I want to challenge all of you to read the Book of Mormon daily and if you are already doing that to pray and ask Heavenly Father if it is true. I promise you that if you do this that the Holy Ghost will whisper to you that it is true and your testimony of the Restoration will become strengthened. 
      We also went on an exchange this week to Franklin. It is such a cute town. It was lot of fun. I went will Sister Manwill and we had a really good time. I love going to new areas and meeting new people. When I go into exchanges I have to rely solely on the spirit because I don’t know much about these people that the sisters have been teaching. We had a really awesome lesson with some less-actives and their fifteen year old daughter who hasn’t been baptized. We talked about the importance of prayer and communicating with our Heavenly Father so we can develop a relationship with him. It reminds me of this scripture “For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?” (Mosiah 5:13). In order to have a relationship with anyone we have to talk with them. It is the same with our Heavenly Father if we want to know who he is we need to talk with him daily. Being a missionary you say A TON of prayers throughout the whole day, but this is the closest that I have been to Heavenly Father. 
     We tried to teach Angie with Raphaela this week and it was crazy! As we are trying to have a lesson with Angie her grand kids blast the song Party Rock Anthem and start having a dance party in the living room. It was the funniest thing ever watching them dance, but it was also the hardest lesson I have ever had because the spirit was not there. We tried to settle them down, but it would last for two seconds and then they would be going to the next crazy thing. It definitely tries my patience, but I am learning to be patient with them and explain how important it is that we share these things with their grandma. It is always a mad house when we go there so we are going to wait until Ashari and DaVonte start school this week to go back and have a lesson. I am grateful for the home that I grew up in and that I was able to feel the spirit in it. I am grateful that I was taught to believe in God and my Savior. These kids don’t know anything about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. It is important to teach our children young so that they can foster that belief now and then strengthen it when they come of age. 
     I love you all and I am so grateful for all of your support. I love my mission and I love my Savior. Have a great week!
Love,
Sister Jones
 
Another riddle:
1. What do you call a cow that just had a calf?
 
CIMG1576(1)
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Week 32- Continue in Patience

This week started off really great! On Monday afternoon we received a media referral. Someone had gone to mormon.org and he requested a Book of Mormon and so we contacted him later that night. As we are pulling up to the house there is a “private property, no trespassing” sign. Sister Thomas and I looked at each other and decided that we better go anyways. So we drive up to the house and park. We said a prayer before we went in. As we are walking up I am just picturing a grumpy old man to answer the door well to my surprise it wasn’t. He was a nice young man and his daughters who came to the door. He immediately invited us in to talk with him and his family. Their names are John and Amalie and they have three cute little girls. John had so many good questions about the church and about the process of becoming a member. I could feel the spirit guiding us as we answered these questions and explained our purpose. When we would answer questions he would say “that was a good answer. I wasn’t expecting that.” His wife Amalie has met with missionaries before when she was in college. Nothing came of it then, but doesn’t mean she isn’t ready for it now! We gave them both a copy of the Book of Mormon. John told us that he wanted to read some of the Book of Mormon and do more his own research before he takes the lessons from us. He has researched a lot of other religions before and he doesn’t like things about each of them. His family doesn’t belong to a religion at this time, but they are searching. They are a cute little family and I know that this gospel will bless them. I know it will bring them closer. We haven’t heard back from them yet, but we are continuing to pray for them each day.

     We received another referral from a member this week as well. She is a less-active that we have been teaching, her name is Kristin. Her brother’s girlfriend wanted to sit in our next lesson with Kristin. Our lesson with them went really well. We taught the restoration and they both learned new things. Kristin was raised in the gospel, but she was never fully taught the importance of the restoration. While things were clicking for Kristin, Valerie was feeling the spirit and everything we taught made since to her. Valerie cried a couple of times during the lesson and she told us that she can just feel when things are good. She really liked it and she wants to learn more! Valerie and Kristin have been reading the Book of Mormon together and Valerie always wants to keep reading. We are seeing her again tomorrow and we can’t wait to see what happens!
     We went a visited our less-active Jeanette and her non-member husband Tiny on Saturday. They are so sweet to us. It feels like Christmas every time we go there because they always have gifts for us. This week Jeanette surprised me with a blanket that she had crocheted for me. It was so nice of her. Our mission president has also been putting a real big push on using family history in missionary work. Jeanette is really into family history and so we asked her if she could show us how to do it. She got really excited and then had to show us a bunch of the things she has found in her and Tiny’s families. It was so awesome to see the spirit of Elijah working with in her. She just lit up as she talked about her ancestors. We also had a really cool experience with her husband Tiny. He has never taken the lessons from missionaries before, he doesn’t like the Elders, and he has only recently let sister missionaries come into their home. We have strengthened our relationship with him over the last eight weeks since I have been here. He has so many deep questions about the gospel and so we decided to ask him if he would like to take the lessons. We told him that all these questions are great and we would love to answer them, but we feel that having an understanding of the foundation of the gospel would help him answer a lot of these questions. Tiny agreed to take the lessons from us! I have learned that becoming friends with people first makes sharing the gospel with them a lot easier. They are more open and more willing to hear the things that you hold dear. This is why sharing the gospel with our own friends is so important. We are closer to them than the missionaries or anyone else in the church. It is our responsibility to share the gospel with them. That is something I wish I would have done more before I came out here. I want everyone I know and love to have the blessings of the gospel in their lives. 
      We had a crazy experience this Sunday. Last Sunday we committed our investigator Angie to come to church and then we followed up at our lesson on Friday that she was still coming. She said yes both times and that she was excited to come. Raphaela, a member, went on Sunday morning to pick her up. She arrived at 9:15 am and we have church at 10. Raphaela drove 20 minutes in the opposite direction of church to get there and it is about 45 minutes to church from Angie’s. Sister Thomas and I are at church and we get a text from Raphaela that her and her son, Kevin, are waiting for Angie to get ready. This is around 9:45. We expected Angie to get ready quickly… that didn’t happen. Raphaela and Kevin ended up waiting over an hour for Angie. We told them to leave Angie if she wasn’t ready. They ended up leaving Angie and missing Sacrament meeting. I felt so terrible! Things like this make me realize that not everything goes as planned. This happens a lot, but I have learned to trust in the Lord that everything will work out in His time. So I have know idea when Angie is going to make it to church, but I do know that I will not stop trying. Raphaela and Kevin were so good about it and they said that they were on the Lord’s errand and they did all they could. I am grateful that they had good attitudes about it. They are so strong in the gospel and they desire to be missionaries. 
        This week during my studies I learned about patience. Something that I have grown in, but I am still working on. Dieter F. Uchtdorf gave a talk on patience titled “Continue in Patience”. He defines patience so well and he starts off by saying that patience is the ability to put our own desires on hold for a while and it is a “purifying process that refines understanding, deepens happiness, focuses action, and offers hope for peace.”I love this! As we are patient and wait for things to come in the Lord’s time we begin to understand His will, our happiness grows as we put more trust in Him, our eyes begin to become single to His glory, and we know that peace will come. Patience hasn’t always been my strongest quality, but I have been developing it as I have been out here and I know that all of this happens as we become more patient. My understanding of God’s will has grown tremendously, happiness comes even when hard things happen, I have become more focused on things that matter, and I know that things will work out in the end. I love the gospel and the joy that it brings into my life. I am grateful to have it in my life because I know that I wouldn’t be happy without it. Eternal happiness comes because of the fullness of the gospel.
      I love you all and I hope you have a great week! Here are some fun riddles a member told us. I’ll tell yins the answers next week.
1.What happens once in a minute, twice in a moment, and never in a thousand years?
2.You are driving down the road, it’s pitch black, you don’t have your lights on but yet you can see everything. How?
Let me know your answers!
Love yins guys!
-Sister Jones
Jeanette and the blanket she made me.

Jeanette and the blanket she made me.

Week 31- 5 out of 13 Transfers Gone!

Lots of different and amazing things happened this week. We traveled again this week. Monday night we drove up to Erie, PA which is 2 hours north of us. We stayed until Tuesday night and the exchange went really well. I went with Sister Anderson and we had a ton of fun. We did service for a member of their ward in his vineyard. It was super cool. I had never seen a vineyard before nor have I worked in one. On top of that we worked in the rain. We just walked up and down all the rows and made sure all the vines were standing up off of the ground. The member also had a chicken that just had chicks. I got to hold one. It was so cute and tiny!
Wednesday we were able to do some really cool things. We did service for a member at the Butler Farm show. It was really fun to see all the different animals… we even saw a leopard! Pretty sweet 🙂 The same member that we helped at the farm show invited us to come see chickens be butchered. What? Yeah super cool! Of course we said yes, when was I going to ever see chickens be butchered again? So we went over to their house later that night. We had proselyting clothes on so we didn’t get to help; we just watched. I was really nervous that I wouldn’t be able to eat chicken again… Don’t worry I ate chicken two days later. We watched them kill and skin the chickens. Let it be noted that chickens are still very active after their heads are cut off. I am SO grateful that I don’t have to go through that process in order to have a chicken to eat. I am very grateful that I live in a country that I can go to the store and buy a chicken ready to cook. It was an interesting process to watch, but again grateful I don’t have to do that.
Thursday we had a lesson with a less-active family that we are teaching, a mom and her two daughters. Before the lesson started Brandi, her oldest daughter, excitedly told us about her reading of the Book of Mormon. She told us that she wasn’t feeling good one morning and couldn’t go back to sleep so she decided to read the Book of Mormon (which she hasn’t done in a while). She just flipped open the book and started reading. Brandi really liked what she read and she said that she really wants to study more about belief. It was so awesome to see the progress that she is making. She wasn’t very open with us at first and she was stand-offish about the church. Brandi is starting to develop a testimony of her own and I am so grateful that I am here to see it grow.
After our lesson with them we drove to Pittsburgh for our Missionary Leadership Council Meeting that we had on Friday. All of the Sister Training Leaders got permission to stay at the mission home. It was a really cool experience. We all were able to talk to each other and get to know each other. I was pretty excited about the fact that I got to sleep in the mission home. My first night in Pa I stayed at senior couple’s apartment. The MLC meeting was a lot of fun. We talked about family history and how President Johnson wants to use it more to get nonmembers interested in the church. I am super excited about this because I know that it is going to helpful in finding new investigators and helping people learn about the church.
Sister Thomas and I have been working really hard to find new investigators. We have been praying for to see opportunities to share the gospel and find people that are prepared to accept the gospel in their lives. Things have been looking up for us this week! We got a text for our less-active Kristin that we have been teaching. She text us saying that her brother’s girlfriend wants to sit in on our next lesson! We are super excited about this because this is a potential investigator and Kristin’s excuse for not coming to church is that she doesn’t want to go alone. If he brother’s girlfriend goes with her she won’t have an excuse not to come!
We had an amazing lesson with our investigator Angie last night. It was another testament to me of the power of having member’s at lessons. Raphaela, a member from our ward, offered to help us with our lesson. She went above and beyond and took a twenty minute drive out o Chicora to pick up Angie, bring her back to her house, and then after the lesson took Angie back home. It was so great getting Angie out her house, away from her crazy grandkids, and in an environment where she could feel the spirit. We talked about the pre-earth life and about the purpose of this life. I could feel the spirit so strong. I bore testimony to Angie that I knew that Heavenly Father sent us to Angie for a reason. He wanted to have this knowledge, He wanted her to have the blessings of the gospel. We talked about the feelings that come from the spirit. Angie told us that she felt good whenever she me with us and she really liked it. I told her that she could have a good feeling from the spirit all the time if she were baptized and received the gift of the Holy Ghost. I asked her to be baptized and she paused for a moment. All I could do was say a prayer in m heart that she would say yes. She looked up and said yes! We have asked her before but she has never given us a definite answer. We must have looked shocked or something because after she answered she asked if Sister Thomas and I were okay. It was such an amazing feeling to see the power that the spirit can have in helping people make the right decision. We set her with September 27th, the day after my birthday! I am super excited for her and the decision that she is making. Having Raphaela really helped Angie see the blessings that come from bringing the gospel into your life, just by the sincere testimony that she bore throughout the lesson. Angie does have to stop smoking but we told her that we would help her the whole way and help her be prepared. I told her that we can only do so much, but the majority of it is up to her. She has to find out if this is true for herself, she has to have the will power to quit, she had to read, pray, and go to church.
This week was just a good week all around. Transfers are tomorrow and both Sister Thomas and I are staying in Butler! I am super excited to see what happens within these next six weeks. I am loving my mission and I am loving the people. My testimony is being strengthened and my understanding of the gospel is growing everyday. I am learning so much about myself and about the person that Heavenly Father knows I can be. I hope to one day achieve it. I am so gratefulf or the gospel in my life. I know that it brings me so much peace and happiness that I couldn’t find anywhere. I would search and never be satisfied. I see it all day long out here. People are truly searching for happiness and truth, but they know not where to find it.
I love you all and I hope you have a fantastic week!
Love,
Sister Jones

The vineyard we worked in up in Erie

The vineyard we worked in up in Erie

 Leopard at the farm show

Leopard at the farm show

My finished painting... don't judge. I know I am no Monte.

My finished painting… don’t judge. I know I am no Monte.

Week 30- I am not the teacher, the spirit is. I am only an instrument….

How yinz guys doing?
This week was really awesome! We had some funny things happen. First off we left Monday night and drove an hour and a half northeast to Brookville, Pa. We had an exchange with our sisters up there. We ended up blitzing their area and it was so much fun. I love getting to see the different areas. Brookville was so cute. I went on an exchange with Sister Hansen. We had a good time. We walked around to save some of their miles and it felt like being back in Pittsburgh. I was able to talk to so many people. Being in a car I don’t feel as productive because in Pittsburgh wherever I went I was talking to people, even when I was on the bus. It was fun to do that again.
Last p-day we went to a member’s house and started painting. Her name is Jan, and she is really good at it so we decided to have her teach us. I have discovered that I really like painting. I am not very good at it but I can see why so many people love doing it. It is so relaxing! We are going back to her house today to finish out paintings. We’ll see how mine turns out…
Funny stories for this week:
Ok this is one isn’t funny, but more of gross. One night we come home and go into our room to daily plan for the next day. We are sitting on the floor and all of a sudden I notice a little maggot on me. It rolled off of my shirt and onto the floor. We go to look for it and notice that there is more than one of them on the floor. We start wigging out and wondering where in the world they came from. I go and grab tweezers and start picking them up and putting them in a plastic bag. I ended up collecting ten of them. Nasty! We vacuumed the floor twice. We searched to see where they came from and then noticed holes in our ceiling right above where they were. We took some good ol’ duck tape and covered the holes. We then remembered that we had heard a critter in our ceiling a week before. We only heard one day and then never again. We think that the critter must have died… Pretty gross right? Now onto the funny stuff.
We went to go check in on a potential investigator, Tammy, that we had left with a Book of Mormon a couple of weeks ago. We knock on her door, she answers and tells us that now is not a good time because she is on the phone. We tell her that we will come back and so we walk away from the door. Her window right next to the door had an air conditioning unit in it, but it didn’t fit in the window so there was a gap on the right side. As we are walking pass the window one of her little dogs sticks his head out the window and he jumps out! We didn’t want the dog to run away so we call him over and start knocking on the door. We knock and knock and get no answer. I was afraid the dog was going to run away so I picked him up… bad idea. All of a sudden I hear Sister Thomas start yelling, “He’s peeing! He’s peeing!” I start laughing and put the dog down. He ended up peeing on Sister Thomas… my bad! But we decide to open up the door a little and call into Tammy .We thought we heard “let him in” so we did just that. Well then we hear “No! Don’t let him in!” The dog goes straight for her little Chihuahua that was in the kitchen. Apparently he didn’t like the Chihuahua. Tammy comes running and grabs him and puts him in the back room. It all turned out fine. The Chihuahua was smart and hid and she grabbed the dog fast enough. We walked away laughing because it was the weirdest experience ever!
After this we went to see our investigator Angie. The coolest thing happened! We had left her with the commitment to finish reading 2 Nephi 2 after our last visit on Sunday. We walked in and I noticed something different about her. She looked happier, she looked brighter (if that even makes sense), but she just looked like that spirit was with her. As we talked with her we found out that she had read her Book of Mormon after we had left on Sunday! This was now Thursday and that effects from reading were still visible. It was a testament to me of the power that the Book of Mormon has. Angie read only a couple of verses and we noticed a difference in her four days later. The spirit that comes from the Book of Mormon is amazing. I have noticed it as I have read from it everyday for the last seven months. I know that it has been inspired by God for us to have in these latter-days. There is power in every word. It can put a light into all of us. We can be that light that is on a hill that cannot be hidden. I know the Book of Mormon to be true.
I have really started focus more on the Book of Mormon lately and helping understand why it is so important to know if the Book of Mormon is true. The Book of Mormon is the reason that I am out here. Everyone has the Bible, but not the Book of Mormon. It has so much power within the text to convince people that Jesus is our Savior and that a Restoration has happened. I challenge you all to read the Book of Mormon daily. It will keep your testimony of the Restoration strong and it will bring the spirit into your lives.
We had a really amazing lesson with our less-active family that we are teaching. We had members come with us and we taught them the Restoration. Patty, Brandi, and Hope had told us that they had heard the Restoration so many times, but Sister Thomas and I felt that they didn’t really understand it. We taught to their needs and we could see that their eyes were opened. They really understood why a Restoration was needed. It was so cool to see how the spirit can guide you to use certain scriptures, to say certain things, to use a certain analogy that really helps them understand what is being taught. Without the spirit I could not teach. I know that to be true. I am not the teacher, the spirit is. I am only an instrument. We are making a lot of progress with this family. They are coming to church and the girls are really starting to open up. I am excited to see what the future holds for them!
Being a missionary rocks! I cannot put into words how much I love being a missionary. There is nothing more important that I could being doing with my life right now. I know that this is where the Lord wanted me to be. It took me a while to realize that the Lord wanted me to go on a mission, but I am so grateful that I opened my heart to the promptings of the spirit and followed Heavenly Father’s will. I love the people that I am serving in Butler! I love you all! Hope you have a great week!
Love,
Sister Jones

Sister Thomas and I

Sister Thomas and I

 Licking St... we thought it was fitting :P

Licking St… we thought it was fitting 😛

Me in Brookville at the Red Bank

Me in Brookville at the Red Bank

Sister Thomas and I

Sister Thomas and I

the beginning stages of my painting.... don't judge

the beginning stages of my painting…. don’t judge

Me trying to picture up this cow. It is actually a couple of inches off the ground. You just can't see it. If you squint and tilt your head to the right you can see it. Try it :)

Me trying to picture up this cow. It is actually a couple of inches off the ground. You just can’t see it. If you squint and tilt your head to the right you can see it. Try it 🙂