Week 38- “We Are Teachers!”

How yins guys doin’?
Life here in Butler is really awesome! I had a wonderful birthday this past Friday. I have had so much cake and ice cream it is ridiculous! My hips don’t lie.
Thanks for all the packages and letters. I loved them all 🙂 We planned for most of the day, but then a member and her husband took us to this really awesome Italian restaurant called Olives and Peppers. THE best Italian food I have ever eaten. You’ll all have to try it when you come out to Butler, PA. I can’t believe I’m 21. Time just goes by too quickly.
I learned how to make stuffed cabbage this week. It is actually pretty easy. I haven’t eaten any yet, but they smelled really good. I let you know how they taste once we cook them.
This week we went and tried some less-actives that we had never seen before. One of them being a lady named Donna. She just lit up once she saw who we were.She invited us in and showed us around her house. We got to know her a little better as we talked. She told us that elders had come by a while ago and they tried to force her to come to church. She said she didn’t like that and didn’t think she was coming back anytime soon. We talked with her and as we did I kept trying to think of a way we could help her. Finally she mentioned how she loves learning and anytime she hears someone teaching she loves to listen to what they have to say. I thought to myself, “We are teachers!” I prayed in my heart that I would have the words to invite her to learn. As we were walking towards the door I asked her if we could come back and read scriptures with her. I told her that she has a lot of knowledge that she can share with us. She got excited and told us that she would really love that. I am grateful that the spirit gave me the words to say because I had no idea what I could say. The spirit really does help us know what to say in times of uncertainty. I have learned to really trust that when I open my mouth words will come out.
After Donna we went to go see another less-active named Earl. This story is pretty awesome. WE knock on the door and Earl answers. The first thing Earl does is start laughing and says, “You’re kidding me! We just went and saw the play last night!” He was referring to the play
The Book of Mormon” that is being performed down in Pittsburgh. We started chuckling and then his wife came over and told us that when they were leaving the show Earl said, “Wouldn’t it be funny if the Mormons showed up at our house tomorrow”. Well we did! I think he was pretty amazed at the situation because missionaries hadn’t been to their house in four years. They invited us in and we talked with them about the musical and got to know them better. We found out later that nobody has been able to get into their house because they have expressed no interest in the church. They ended up inviting us to have dinner with them. We had a pretty awkward situation at dinner though. We dished our food first and then waited for them thinking we were going to say prayer… His wife then tells us that they don’t say prayer before they eat, but we could say our own prayer if we wanted to. Sister Thomas asked if they wanted us to say individual prayers and they said that that would be fine. So we bowed our heads and said our own silent individual prayers as they waited for us to finish. Probably the most interesting dinner prayer I have had on my mission yet! Other than that the night went really well. We got to know them and we laughed with them. It was just a neat experience for me in realizing that Heavenly Father was leading us unknowingly. This was the first time we ever attempted to visit them. There are no coincidences. Heavenly Father is preparing Earl and his wife and letting them know that He is there.
We picked up a new investigator named Shana. She is very sweet, extremely shy, and probably 15. We met her about a month ago tracting. We decided to go see her again on Friday and set up an appointment. We asked her if she wanted to set an appointment for the next day or the Saturday after that. She told us that she wanted the next day. We went out appointment on Saturday and knocked on the door three times. No answer. We wrote a note and left it on the door and got back into the car. As we are getting ready to drive away her brother came out the other house door (it is a duplex). We asked him if Shana was home and he told us to go to the other door. We found out that the door we usually knock on is actually to her grandparents house. Whoops! We sat outside with her and tried to help her feel more comfortable with us by getting to know us. We began to talk about the gospel and how us a missionaries help people come closer to Christ. We asked her if she wanted to come closer to Christ. She told us that she did. We explained the Book of Mormon and testified of the importance of it. We gave her a copy and invited her to read and pray about it. We have an appointment with her this Wednesday.
We watched Women’s Conference at the church with women of the Relief Society. It was such a great Conference! They talked a lot about temples and the importance of making and keeping covenants there. I love the temple! I am sad I don’t get to go very often, but it has made me realize that I really took for granted the fact that back home I have four temples within an hours driving time. From the last two places I have served in it is about a four hour trip to a temple. I can’t wait to go when I get home! To those of you who are close to a temple.GO! It is a privilege to be able to go often. I really loved what Linda K. Burton said, “holding a temple recommend is a priceless privilege and a symbol of obedience.” This is so true! It is a privilege to be able to have a recommend that allows you to enter into a place where the spirit resides and covenants are made. It also shows that we are obedient to the commandments that have been given to us. I also loved when Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, “your divine origin alone does not guarantee you a divine inheritance.” Just because we are spirit children of a King does not mean that we automatically inherit His divinity. We have to do our part. We have to work for this divine inheritance. This is the most important thing that we can work for in our lives. I know that Heavenly Father wants to bless us with this divine inheritance but we must meet all the requirements.
Another awesome experience happened with our investigator Tiny. Heavenly Father is so amazing! Saturday we went out to see Tiny and Jeanette. It was really awesome because as we walked up they had a sign that said, “Happy Birthday” with balloons all around. They threw a mini surprise party for me. It was so sweet of them 🙂 We ate cake and ice cream and then we had a lesson with them. We talked about the Plan of Salvation. We got to earth life and then Sister Thomas brought up the importance of baptism. I felt impressed to be a little bold and say,” that we (as I pointed to all of us) were sent here at this time to come to earth and perform our labors. We only have this time, while we are living, to complete our own works. Once we pass on we cannot do it for ourselves. We have to do it now.” Then Tiny said,” what do I have to do? Who do I need to talk to in order to be baptized?” We talked with Tiny about the process of finishing the lessons and then having an interview. We talked about the questions they would ask and what he would have to know and follow before he could be baptized. He said that he wanted to be baptized before Sister Thomas left. We told him that would probably be at the beginning of November. He said that he didn’t know if he could be ready then. We told him that in order for that to happen we would need to meet twice a week. He said that he only had Saturdays. We told him that he needed to stop smoking and drinking coffee. Sister Thomas asked for his cigarettes and he said he wasn’t ready to give them up yet. By the end of all this we realized that Tiny was getting closer to baptism but wasn’t quite ready. We told him that we would fast for him on Sunday.
Fast forward to Sunday. Church is over and we realize that we have a missed call and voicemail from Jeanette. We listen to it and Jeanette tells us that there is an emergency and that we need to come to their house as soon as we can after church and that is about Tiny. I start thinking all of the things that could possibly have happened. Tiny either doesn’t want to be baptized, he had some awesome experience last night, or he is deathly ill. The thoughts were endless. As soon as we could we drove to their house. As we walk up we see Tiny, Jeanette, and Jeanette’s parents sitting outside and Tiny doesn’t look very good. I go up to shake Tiny’s hand and he says, “this is all because of you, troublemaker.” They tell us that Tiny had an experience last night. At three in the morning Tiny was awakened from his sleep by someone touching his head. He looked around to see if it was Jeanette, but it wasn’t. He isn’t sure who it was. I am not sure all of what happened, but Tiny conversed with people beyond the veil. He stayed up the whole night pondering and crying. It shook him to the core. Jeanette woke up the next morning to find Tiny sitting outside crying. Before we got to their house Tiny received a priesthood blessing and he was told that he needed to step up, finish the lessons, and be baptized! This is exactly what Tiny needed. He told us that he wanted to be baptized at the end of October or the beginning of November. We decided on November 1st! I couldn’t stop smiling. I felt like Alma when he sees the people have been humbled by the Lord. I knew that this was the Lord’s work and that Tiny was ready to accept the gospel fully. Tiny was so overcome by the spirit that he cried. Tiny has never cried in front of people and he had done it three times now. He kept saying that I was the one that brought all of this out of him. He would smile as he called me the troublemaker. I told him that I know Heavenly Father sent me here for a reason and that reason was him. Apparently I am Jonesy the troublemaker now haha. I told Tiny that I was glad that this happened and I know that he was ready. I told him to give me his cigar box filled with cigarettes. He handed me the whole thing. He even crumbled them up and threw them away! He has no doubt now that this is what he needs to do. This was the coolest experience ever! The gospel is so true!!!!! We sang “The Spirit of God” to Tiny and he cried as we sang. Tiny has been prepared by God to be baptized. His heart has been softened and I am so grateful that I have the privilege of being a part of this. We are going to be working with Tiny twice a week now, he gave us his cigarettes, and he is set with a date!!!!
That was such an incredible experience to end the week with. I absolutely love being a missionary! So many amazing experiences each week.
I love you all and I hope you have a great week!
Love,
Sister Jones

Tiny and Jeanette's surpirse party

Tiny and Jeanette’s surpirse party

Dinner at Olives and Peppers Gifts Jan and Nick got for me.

Dinner at Olives and Peppers Gifts Jan and Nick got for me.

Dinner at Olives and Peppers Gifts Jan and Nick got for me.

Dinner at Olives and Peppers Gifts Jan and Nick got for me.

Tiny and Jeanette's surpirse party

Tiny and Jeanette’s surpirse party

Tiny and Jeanette's surpirse party

Tiny and Jeanette’s surpirse party

Flowers that Jan, the member who took me to Olives and Peppers, got me.

Flowers that Jan, the member who took me to Olives and Peppers, got me.

A cute poster that the Bishop's kids made me.

A cute poster that the Bishop’s kids made me.

Week 37- Through the Plan of Salvation…

Hey-o family and friends!
This week has been really great! For starters Sister Thomas and I are staying in Butler for a third transfer! We are super excited 🙂 We have had so much fun these past 13 weeks and we are going for another 6. Heavenly Father still needs the both of us here. We have been doing a lot of work here.
Monday night was super cool for us. We went to go see a potential investigator and his family to invite them to a musical celebration that our ward had this past Sunday. We dropped by unannounced, as missionaries usually do, and they welcomed us right in. As we walked in their little girls are jumping up and down saying, “We are so glad you stopped by!” It was super cute. We sat down and caught up with them since we hadn’t seen them in a month. Eventually John starts asking questions about the plan of salvation. We asked him if we could just teach him the plan of salvation. He was very willing to listen. He told us that he had heard a lot of different versions of the plan of salvation. We prefaced our lesson with the fact that ours was going to be very different than other people’s, but we know it came from God. It was so cool to see that we were able to have an impromptu lesson about the plan of salvation. It was because we had the spirit with us. John is a little intimidating with the super deep questions that he has, but we were able to answer them as we were guided by the spirit. He had some concerns with the plan at first, but then as we explained more you could see his understanding expand. We were right in the fact that it was very different than anything else he had heard, but he liked it. We told him to ponder the things we had shared with him and to pray and ask God if it is true. His wife isn’t on board with things yet, but she listens as we talk. Every time I go there I can see all of them being active members and partaking in the blessings of being an eternal family. I know they will join the church, I am just not certain when. All I know is that it will be in the Lord’s timing.
We were invited by a family to come play volleyball on Tuesday nights at the church. Their sons invite their nonmember friends to come play. So on Tuesday we went and played. It was so much fun! While we were there we were talking to this kid named Bruce. We found out that he has read the entire of Book of Mormon. He said he thought it was really interesting. I guess he talked to Anthony (his member friend) about the Book of Mormon. Anthony asked Bruce if he wanted to learn more and he said he did! We are hoping to set up a time to meet with him. He is suppose to be coming to church this next Sunday. Things have really been looking up in the Butler area 🙂
I went on another exchange this past week. I went out to Cranberry and worked there with Sister Hodson. Cranberry is such nice area. We went to this 95 year old lady’s house, named Emmie. She reminded me so much of Grandma Jones. She was cracking jokes, singing little jingles, and we just a hoot. It made me feel right at home. We went to this member family’s house for dinner Wednesday night. After dinner it came time to share a message with them, but the elders thought the sisters were doing and we thought the elders were doing it. I pulled out my scriptures and the first scripture that came to my mind was 1 Nephi 7: 17. I talked about the power of prayer in our lives when we seem to be in a sticky situation or going through a hard time. The Lord is the best person to turn to in our time of need. After the message the family told us that they are so grateful to have us over and that we were their pick-me-up for the week. I told them that going to member’s homes is our pick-me-up as well. They told us that we bring a light with us and that they always feel better when we come around. It hit me when they said that because I hadn’t been realizing the impact that we really do have in people’s lives. It isn’t really us, but the spirit that is with us. I am grateful for the companionship of the Holy Ghost. His presence really does help uplift people.
We had another awesome lesson with Tiny this Saturday. He is always so excited to learn what we have to share. He always has a smiling face when we come over. We were nervous to talk to him because we found out that there is an order through which permission has to be granted to do someone’s work in the temple. Tiny was last on that list. He took it a lot better than we expected. He was still worried about his sister because he didn’t want he to be lost. I asked him where he though Dot was. He said that she was in limbo and he wanted her to be with their mom and dad. We taught him the Plan of Salvation but starting from the spirit world. We helped him understand where Dot was. We helped him see that Dot would have her chance whether it was in this life or the next. I explained to him that sometimes other people’s choice hurt us or make us sad or angry, but they have their agency. I know that his brother-in-law is hurting him by not letting Dot be baptized. I told him that Dot would have her chance and that our Savior will not forget her. She will have her opportunity to accept baptism and although someone is stopping it now it won’t be eternal. We told Tiny that he had to worry about his own salvation. He has the opportunity now to accept the gospel. Dot didn’t have a chance here, but he does. He said that he know he will be baptized. He actually said, “When I am baptized Sister Thomas will have to come back.” (This is when we thought Sister Thomas might be leaving this transfer) I asked Tiny when he would be baptized. He said again that he waiting for the Lord to answer his questions. He then said, you have already answered some of them since you have been teaching me. My face lit up. I could hold back a smile. I was so grateful that the Lord was using me as an instrument in His hands to help Tiny along his journey in life. Tiny says he has a few more to get answered. He then told Jeanette (his wife) to tell us something. She cried as she told us that Tiny is already working on being ready to get baptized and have the priesthood. I say this every week, but I am literally watching Tiny be prepared by the Lord. It is the coolest experience ever! The Lord has put me in Butler to help Tiny specifically. I am grateful to be a part of this 🙂
We having been working with our Bishop’s wife to put on a Musical Celebration for the whole community. It was last night. It was such a good experience. We had nonmembers, members, and less-actives there. Different members played or sing musical pieces and then we watched this video called the reflection of Christ. It is a video with pictures of Christ’s life and someone singing “Come Thou Fount”. I had never seen it before but for me it was the highlight of the night. I could feel spirit so strong and it made me reflect on how grateful I am to have a Savior. I am so grateful for what Christ has done for me. I am sadden that I have caused him pain by my sins that I have committed, but I am grateful that he was willing to take them on for me. I know that we have a Savior who suffered for us, died for us, and lives for us. I know that it is only through Him that we are able to return to our Father in Heaven.
This is my new favorite mormon message. It is seriously so amazing. We have been sharing it with a lot of people. Watch it 🙂 Share it!
http://www.mormonchannel.org/video/mormon-messages?v=3701964025001

I love you all and I hope you have a fantastic week!
Love,
Sister Jones

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I finished off a tin of altoids and the wrapper inside has instructions on how to make paper mustaches. So I quietly did it and turned to Sister Thomas. She lost it! We couldn't stop laughing.

I finished off a tin of altoids and the wrapper inside has instructions on how to make paper mustaches. So I quietly did it and turned to Sister Thomas. She lost it! We couldn’t stop laughing.

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 Members got us these awesome jackets. They usually get pink ones, but they don't make that color anymore. So we started the BLUE CREW!

Members got us these awesome jackets. They usually get pink ones, but they don’t make that color anymore. So we started the BLUE CREW!

A member of our ward who is now on his mission in Provo.

A member of our ward who is now on his mission in Provo.

We volunteer at a soup Kitchen and this guy named Bob volutneers there. We thought we looked like him :)

We volunteer at a soup Kitchen and this guy named Bob volutneers there. We thought we looked like him 🙂

4. The Charles Family! We love them <3

4. The Charles Family! We love them ❤

 I ate a frog leg! What? Yepp. It has the texture of chicken, but fishy flavor.

I ate a frog leg! What? Yepp. It has the texture of chicken, but fishy flavor.

3. Our District with mustaches we made. (The idea came for an Altoids can I have)

3. Our District with mustaches we made. (The idea came for an Altoids can I have)

2. Exchanges in Cranberry

2. Exchanges in Cranberry

Week 36-I went to Mars, PA that is :)

We have entered into the last week of this transfer! Crazy! I have been in Butler for almost 13 weeks. It feels like I just got here yesterday. I’ll probably have another two transfers here as a Sister Training Leader. Butler is a ton of fun!
Last p-day we had a ward member named Jan take Sister Thomas and I to get manicures and pedicures. It was luxurious! Jan spoils us 🙂 She is one of my very favorite people that I have met on my mission. She loves having the missionaries over and she loves to take care of us. Damage control was done on my feet and it was great! 8 months of walking around has done a lot to them.
We went on an exchange this week. I went to Beaver, Pa with Sister Wilde on Tuesday. It was such a great exchange. I moved a lawn for the first time in my life! Almost 21 years without mowing a lawn. We saw a lot of people. One in particular was a woman named Aiesha. She has been through a lot in her life. Abandoned by her parents when in elementary school, adopted, drugs, alcohol, abuse, you name it. She has been through it all. The sisters found her about three months ago outside of a women’s shelter in Beaver. Since that day Aiesha has come such a long way. She was so excited to see us. She expressed to us how much she loves prayer and good she feels when she does it. Aiesha didn’t believe in God before the sisters met her. She told us that she was 135 days clean from drugs and that she was getting her 3 months old daughter back this Thursday. Since she has meet the sisters she has made a lot of changes in her life. The gospel has really helped her to do this. It was amazing to see the light that was in her eyes. She wants her children to be baptized but they aren’t at the age of accountability. She desires to do what is right and make better decisions in her life.
Wednesday we drove back to Butler and had a Zone Conference with another zone and President Johnson. We talked about family history and the importance of it. Sister Thomas and I were asked to bear our testimonies on the what our experience was with family history. I bore my testimony on the power of the spirit of Elijah. It is a real thing. As I have been learning how to do family history this past month my desire to help my ancestors has grown. Their salvation is just as important as my own.
Thursday we went to a member’s house and made raspberry jam. It was so good and quite easy actually! It was my first time canning something. People do it a lot in Butler. They even can meat… don’t know if I’ll ever do that. Jan came with us to learn how to do it too. I even picked the raspberries to put in it. That was a first as well. We had a good time cookin’ in the kitchen.
After we made jam we left to go see Angie’s son and check on how he was doing. He wasn’t home, but as we were leaving his neighbor came outside. We started talking with her and getting to know her. Then we started talking about the gospel. This experience for me showed me that we can always be finding. Whenever we meet someone new we use that as an opportunity to share the gospel. Not to shove it in their face, but to give them opportunity to learn more. We talked with her for quite sometime about the church. Her name is Penny and her eleven year old granddaughter lives with her. She adopted her when she was younger. We told her all about the programs that we have in our church for the youth. Penny really liked that. I brought up the Restoration and the Book of Mormon. I realized I didn’t have a Book of Mormon to give her, but then she mentioned that she only had a couple of DVDs to watch and that was it. A thought popped into my head, “You have a copy of The Restoration DVD that you could give to her.” This DVD had been in my bag for a couple of weeks now. I saw it everyday, but never took it out. I was unsure if it was just a thought of mine or a whispering of the spirit, so I didn’t act upon it. But then the thought came again and I realized that it didn’t matter whether it was my thought or the spirit it was a good thought. So I took it out and offered it to her as I explained what it was about. She gladly accepted. Afterwards Sister Thomas told me that she didn’t know what to do because she didn’t have a Book of Mormon to give out either. I don’t know if Penny will watch it, but it was a lesson for me in learning to listen to the spirit. The spirit is the only way that we are able to do this work.
Our stake had an awesome Relief Society Activity called Sisterfest on Saturday. It was so much fun. So many women showed up. It was all about letting our light shine forth, realizing we are enough, and that we should focus on the positive rather than the negative. I really liked the last part in focusing on the positive things in life rather than the negative. When we put more effort into focusing on the negative we become weighed down by these things. The opposite happens when we choose to focus on the positive. Our countenance is lighter and we are happier. As a missionary lots of negative things happen, but I have tried to put a conscious effort in to focus on the good of every day. Let me tell you. It really makes a difference. Try it. I can promise you that you will be happier and at the end of the day you will be lighter. Heavenly Father wants us to be happy, so do it! Choose to be happy by focusing on the good 🙂
That night we went out to Evan’s City to see Jeanette, who is a less-active, and her nonmember husband, Tiny. We went inside today since it has been getting colder here. It’s only September! This can’t be happening yet! Anyways… back to the story. As we go into sit down Tiny goes into the other room saying he couldn’t wait anymore to give me something. They told me to close my eyes, so I did. They had bought me a porcelain doll that looked just like me for birthday. They bought her, brought her home, and then realized that her dress had September embroidered on her dress. They said they knew it was the perfect gift for me. It was such a nice thing for them to do. They are the sweetest couple ever. Tiny wasn’t feeling well so we were just going to leave a short spiritual thought and go. We were planning to teach the Word of Wisdom since that is something Tiny struggles with. We talked about prayer and the importance of it. We talked about the greater responsibility that comes when God gives us answers to our prayers. We asked Tiny what he needed to do with the answer he received about the Book of Mormon. He said he knows it is true, but there are things that he needs to work out with the Lord. He wouldn’t tell us what, but I felt that I needed to talk about the temples. I bore my testimony to Tiny of the importance of the temples. I said to him that God told him the Book of Mormon was true so that he would go to the temple to be sealed to his wife Jeanette. No shocker here, but I cried as I told Tiny that I knew he could get to the temple. He told me that he also knew that he would get there too, but there are things he needed to work out. Tiny then asks if I were to get baptized could my sister be baptized at the same time as me. His sister passed away about two years ago. We told him that it would have to be done in the temple after he was baptized, but he couldn’t be the one being proxy for her. He explained that he already had his mother and father baptized, but his brother in law wouldn’t let him have his sister be baptized. He broke down in tears as he explained that he and his sister, Dot, did everything together. I couldn’t help but cry as he cried. I didn’t know what to do. It broke my heart to see this grown man weeping. He told us that this is what has been weighing him down and keeping him from being baptized. Before he is baptized he wants to know that Dot is baptized. He apologized for breaking down and he looked at me and said it was my fault, that I had drug it out of him. I didn’t do anything that night. It was the spirit speaking to him and he was finally able to voice his true concern. As we are sitting there all of a sudden Sister Thomas asks, “Can Sister Jones and I sing to you Tiny?” My heart skipped a beat! He said yes and we decided to sing I Know that My Redeemer Lives. As we sang the words”He lives to hear my soul’s complaint. He lives to silence all my fears. He lives to wipe away my tears. He lives to calm my troubled heart.” He began to cry again. We bore our testimony to Tiny that we would do all that we could to find out if we can have his sister be baptized in the temple and that we knew everything would work out. I know that Heavenly Father is very aware of Tiny and the righteous desire he has to have his sister be baptized. I know that everything will work out. I don’t know when, but I know that it will. As we left my body was shaking because of the spirit that I felt during the lesson. It was powerful and I know that Tiny felt it. I know that that night was one of the reasons I needed to come on a mission and serve specifically in Butler. Tiny has never opened up to missionaries like that let alone he hasn’t ever taken the discussions from them. Moments like this help me know that I did the right thing by coming on a mission. It has been the greatest experience these past eight months.
Love yinz!
Sister Jones

getting the royal treatment all thanks to Jan!

getting the royal treatment all thanks to Jan!

getting the royal treatment all thanks to Jan!

getting the royal treatment all thanks to Jan!

We drove through Mars with Jan on our way home from Sisterfest. Cutest little town ever.

We drove through Mars with Jan on our way home from Sisterfest. Cutest little town ever.

We drove through Mars with Jan on our way home from Sisterfest. Cutest little town ever. They really have spaceships and aliens and everything!

We drove through Mars with Jan on our way home from Sisterfest. Cutest little town ever. They really have spaceships and aliens and everything!

The doll Tiny and Jeanette gave me

The doll Tiny and Jeanette gave me

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Mars, PA!

Mars, PA!

We drove through Mars with Jan on our way home from Sisterfest. Cutest little town ever. They really have spaceships and aliens and everything!

We drove through Mars with Jan on our way home from Sisterfest. Cutest little town ever. They really have spaceships and aliens and everything!

Still more fun on our way home!

Still more fun on our way home!

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Pickin' Raspberries!

Pickin’ Raspberries!

Oh I forgot to mention that we went to our favorite restaurant to celebrate my birthday. (just in case Sister Thomas leaves)... Chilis!

Oh I forgot to mention that we went to our favorite restaurant to celebrate my birthday. (just in case Sister Thomas leaves)… Chilis!

Pickin' Raspberries!

Pickin’ Raspberries!

mowing my first lawn

mowing my first lawn

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Week 35- I love feeling the spirit and sharing the gospel….

Hey yinz guys!
This week went by so fast! Lots of things happened this week. Lots of traveling on our part. This week started out with an exchange with the Sisters in Brookville. This was my first actual exchange as a sister training leader. All last transfer we just blitzed each area. It wasn’t as fun as this exchange was. I stayed in Butler with Sister Williams and we got a lot of work done.
We taught our investigator Carrie. The lesson went really well. We talked about the Restoration and the importance of the Book of Mormon. The crazy thing about Carrie is that she has a lot of knowledge about the gospel. She will tell us her beliefs and they are exactly what we teach within our church. She has found these truths from all the different churches she has researched. I told her that all those truths were taught within a single church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It saddens me that people don’t recognize that all the truth can be found in one place. That is why it is so important that we share the message of the Restoration with people and help them see why a Restoration was needed. I don’t think that has clicked with Carrie yet, but are going to help her feel the spirit testify of it.
We also had our investigator Valerie drop us out of the blue! We were so sad. She went to go see her parents this weekend and then we tried to set up an appointment when she got back and she said she wanted to take a break. We hope that we can talk to her and see why she wants to stop investigating. It seems that whenever someone gets close to doing something good Satan is right there to pull them away. We don’t give up on people despite the adversity that comes.
We traveled to Pittsburgh on Thursday night and I got to go back to Swissvale for the night!! We stayed in my old apartment and then went to MLC on Friday morning. It was so weird being back in Swissvale and not serving there. It was really fun to get to see the area again and be back in the apartment. MLC was awesome on Friday. We talked more about Family History. Our mission president has asked us to catch the spirit of Elijah by doing our own family history work. It has been really neat to read stories about those in the past and see census records, etc. Family History work is so important. Without us our ancestors cannot become perfected. They are waiting for us to do their work. They need us just as much as we need them. Our purpose in doing this is so that we can use family history as a missionary tool. The crazy thing was that we got a call from a lday namd Beverly on Saturday. She told us that some girls had come by her house two years ago and gave a card for familysearch.org. She moved and ended up miss placing the card. Once unpacked at the new home she found the card again, but then lost it. She recently found the card and both her and her sister were able find their grandfather that they didn’t know. She thanked us for bringing the card and she has shared family search with a lot of her friends. It was awesome to see the spirit of Elijah working within Beverly and her desire to help others increased as well.
We had an amazing lesson with our investigator Tiny. We talked about the Book of Mormon and how it is the keystone of our religion. He has told us that he knows it is true so we wanted to help him understand that by knowing the Book of Mormon is true he knows that Jesus is our Savior, Joseph Smith is a prophet of God, and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s kingdom established on the earth once again. He told us that it all made sense to him. I asked him if he believed Joseph Smith is a prophet God and he paused, thought for a moment, and then answered, “Actually yes I do.” We talked about how we have had prophets ever since Joseph Smith and that we have one on the earth today. We talked about Thomas S. Monson and asked if he believed he was a prophet. He answered that he needed to listen to him first. During the lesson he was already having us look up talks by President Monson so that he could listen to them. It is so amazing to see the progression that Tiny is making. He asked us what the next lesson was on and we told him the Word of Wisdom. He started looking it up on his phone. This is going to be one of our biggest challenges with him. We just have to help him understand the importance of commandments and why we should obey them. I know that Tiny is being prepared to accept the gospel. They tell us so many stories that are bringing Tiny closer to the Lord.
The craziest thing happened during our lunch with Tiny and Jeanette. We are eating and talking and then all of a sudden I see something fall out of the sky. I thought to myself,”Was that a leaf? That was pretty big. Is the sky falling?” I felt kind of like Chicken Little. Well I leaned over the table and a bird is just lying there on it’s back. It fell out of the sky from nowhere! All I could say is, “Why is it dying?” Everyone looked at the bird. The bird flipped over and you could see it breathing so hard. Jeanette picked it up and put it back in their garden. It was the strangest thing ever.
Another crazy thing happened yesterday. We haven’t seen our investigator Angie in two weeks. We haven’t had time to go down to Chicora since it is on the one of the farthest corners of our area. I tried to see her earlier this week while we were on exchanges, but no one was home which is really strange. Raphaela, a member from our ward who is Angie’s fellow shipper, asked if we would go with her to Chicora after church. We said of course! We get to Angie’s house and her grand kids answer the door and say, “Grandma isn’t here.” I was surprised that Angie wasn’t home. She always is. They told us that she was at their Aunt Tracy’s. We asked how long she had been there and they said they didn’t know. I asked how long she would be there and again they said they didn’t know. I told them to go get their dad so that we could talk with him. DJ, Angie’s son, came to the door. HE told us that Angie was going to be gone for a couple of months. We were shocked and then he said, “Oh we didn’t tell you. My mom found out that she had a brain tumor and they had to do an emergency surgery about two weeks ago. She just got out of the hospital this past Wednesday.” I was not expecting that at all! He invited us in and he showed us a picture of Angie’s CAT-scan. Her tumor was almost a third of her brain. He told us that she went in to see if she had depression and then the found out she had the tumor and did surgery that night. As they were transporting her to the hospital she started to decline and go in and out of consciousness. They caught just in time and said that if she had come a day later she would have died. DJ told us that Angie is doing fantastic and has been recovering quickly. He said that she is a completely different person; happy, energetic, and mobile. No one would have ever known that she had that tumor had she not gone in to get a check up on depression. It was a lesson to me to never take anything for granted not even the fact that I wake up every morning and that we kept seeing Angie for a reason. We almost dropped her a couple of times, but always decided at the last moment to not. We always felt like something was blocking her from truly feeling the spirit and acting upon the things we taught her. Because she is staying at her daughter’s house she is now out of our area, but we want to transfer her to other missionaries. We met Angie for a reason that day she was sitting outside her house and we were walking by. I can’t wait to see her!
I cannot express how much I love being a missionary. I love feeling the spirit and sharing the gospel.
I love you all and I hope yinz have a great week 🙂
Love,
Sister Jones

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Week 34- 8 Months Today!!

It’s my click day! I can’t believe 8 months have already come and gone. I feel like I need 18 more months to learn everything I need to. I remember at the beginning of my mission thinking I had so much time to learn things, but boy was I wrong. It really does go by quickly. I have enjoyed every minute of it!
Last p-day us and the elders went fishing with some members. It was so much fun. This was only my second time fishing in my life. He used live-bait… it kinda grossed me out putting the worms on the hook, but I did it. We fished in a private pond owned by Brother Mathers’ friend. I actually caught a fish! It was a pumpkin-seed fish I believe. It had a spiny dorsal fin that you had be careful when trying to release it. I really enjoyed it! I might have to take up fishing when I get home 🙂
This week was really good. Didn’t have as many lessons as usual. We tried to meet with our only progressing investigator, Valerie, this week and it just never seemed to work out. We had an appointment planned for Tuesday. While eating lunch that day a nonmember named Loretta called us to come over to her house. She works at the soup kitchen that we volunteer at every week. We decided to go over to her house because she doesn’t invite missionaries over very often. We figured we would go and visit with her for a few minutes and then head over to our appointment with Valerie. Well on our way to Loretta’s we saw the same guy that we had seen at the library earlier. We both felt that we needed to talk to him. So we pulled over and got out of the car. We talked with him for a while. He didn’t seem too interested, but we were following the promptings of the Lord so who knows. By the time we got to Loretta’s we wouldn’t have time to see Valerie before she left for work. We tried to reschedule, but she was going to be out of town or doing errands before work so we weren’t able to see her this week. We are definitely going to see her this coming week though! I think the Lord was trying to teach us to listen to the spirit this week.
We did service for an organization called Produce to People. It is so much fun. We help package the produce for families and then pass it out as they come by. I loved being able to talk with them and make them smile. Most of them don’t look happy when they walk in, but my goal is to always get them smiling by the time they leave. It saddens me to see how many people are in need of food or extra help. I am grateful that I have the opportunity to serve them!
We were running low on miles this last week so we decided to walk to places that were close. As we are walking down main street in Butler a man walks passed us and I can tell he wants to talk to us because he slows down and stares at us. I say hi. We start talking with him and he says are you 7th day. We answer no and he immediately says that we are mormons. He goes right into, “You believe you are gods right?” I told him that I am positive I am a human and I make mistakes. This man continued to ask questions and I could tell that he was just trying to trip us up. We bore testimony to him and then we parted our ways. We walk opposite ways and we end up walking down and going back up the other side of the street. On our way back up the other side we run into him again and this time he is sitting with another man outside a restaurant. The other man starts a conversation with us and asks if we’ve talked to a lot of people. This guy was a lot more contentious than the other one. He was persistent that we answered this question: “What would you say to God when he asks,’ Why should I let you into heaven?'” We told him that we didn’t think that that was how our encounter with God was going to be. We believed that it would be joyous and that our Savior, Jesus Christ would be advocating for us. He eventually stood up and said, “This is my job. Pastor Berkeley.” I am grateful for the promise that Heavenly Father has given us that we will never be confounded. It is something I rely on when men try to trip us up and prove us wrong. The way this man and others go about sharing the gospel is different than the way we do. He didn’t make me feel loved, he didn’t make me feel God’s love. The first thing we start of when we teach people is about how we have a loving Heavenly Father. I know that Heavenly Father would want us to preach out of love and show our love towards others.
I gave my first talk as a missionary yesterday. I went 8 months without giving a talk. I was asked to talk on missionary work of course 🙂 This was actually the first time I didn’t write out my whole talk. I wrote bullets points and brief explanations. I decided to leave everything up to the spirit. I was a little nervous before hand but as the sacrament prayers were said the words “Shall always have His spirit to be with you” pierced my heart and comforted me. I had made a covenant with God that if I am worthy I will always have his spirit to be with me. I was guided by the spirit as I spoke. As my family knows… I cried… but it was awesome to just be guided by the spirit. I talked about being converted to the gospel. Being converted means that we have a mighty change of heart, receive a testimony, and then act upon that testimony. Elder Bednar said, “conversion is an offering of self, of love, and loyalty of God on the gratitude for the gift of testimony.” As we are converted our desire to share the gospel increases. Look at Alma the younger. When he was converted to the gospel he labored the rest of his days to share the gospel (Alma 36: 6-24). Also we must be converted because as President James E. Faust said, “you cannot convert people beyond your own conversion.” In order to help someone else become converted we must have received our own testimonies and felt the spirit work within us. I know that I didn’t really have a desire to go on a mission and share the gospel until I had a mighty change within my own heart. Once I felt the redeeming effects of the atonement and changed my desire to conform to God’s will and share the gospel increased. I have a desire to share the joy and happiness that has been brought to me by the gospel and the atonement. My favorite quote that I shared is from Dallin H. Oaks. He said, “The intensity of our desire to share the gospel is a great indicator of the extent of our personal conversion.” If you don’t have a testimony of the gospel fast, pray, study, ask the Lord for a testimony. I know that he will bless you with one. If you have a testimony continue to strengthen it by doing those same things until you have a mighty change of heart. Share the gospel! Joseph Smith said, “All that has been said, the greatest and most important duty is to share the gospel.”
We had a really neat experience last night with following the spirit. We were leaving our dinner appointment and we couldn’t decide who would be best for us to visit. WE decided to go visit a less-active named Sister Larimore. We start driving to her house and we both didin’t feel right about it. We stopped and prayed to ask who we should visit. A name of another member popped into my head, Sister Allyson. We prayed to know if that was right. We both felt like that wouldn’t be bad to go see her, but we felt that there was someone we were supposed to find. I was driving so we decided to just drive and follow the spirit. We are driving and I said, “Why can’t we just have a name or an address?” As soon as I said this Sister Thomas said, “The word Oak popped into my mind when you said address.” We plugged Oak into our GPS and we both were drawn to Oak Ridge Dr. After praying we both felt a strong desire to go there. We started driving and this street was all the way back to where we had our dinner appointment. It was around 8:30 pm, it is super dark , no street lights, and it is raining. We had no idea what house we were suppose to go to. We drove slowly down the street looking at all the house. We got to one and felt like it was the one we were supposed to go to. We prayed again… missionaries says lots of prayers. We go to the door. Lights are on inside. We knock twice and no one answers. We decided to leave a flier for a musical celebration that we are helping our ward put on. We put a note on the card with our number. I have no idea why we ended up at that house, but I do know that we were following the spirit and I felt peaceful after we left the house. I don’t know if that person needed us to come or if I just needed to have that experience in following the spirit and trusting in the Lord. I am so grateful for the spirit and the guidance that he gives. I love feeling the spirit. It is the best thing in the world and nothing beats feeling the spirit. I strive everyday to have the companionship of the Holy Ghost. I know that if I have him there I will never feel alone. He is there to help us feel God’s love and to have a little taste of what it will be like to be in the presence of our Father in Heaven.
I am learning so much on my mission. My relationship with my Heavenly Father has grown and I have discovered so much of what he has blessed me with. I am so grateful for a loving family and friends who support me.
Have a great week!
Love,
Sister Jones

Sister Thomas and I

Sister Thomas and I

 Sister THomas and I with the Elders

Sister THomas and I with the Elders

Little girl named Kenzie that stood by me the whole time. We were fishing buddies. She was the granddaughter of Brother and Sister Mathers.

Little girl named Kenzie that stood by me the whole time. We were fishing buddies. She was the granddaughter of Brother and Sister Mathers.

This is my fishy. I shall call him fishy and he shall be mine.... Well I had to let him go. He's swimming with all his other fishy friends. Remember fish are friends. Not FOOD!

This is my fishy. I shall call him fishy and he shall be mine…. Well I had to let him go. He’s swimming with all his other fishy friends. Remember fish are friends. Not FOOD!

 We were visiting Jeanette and Tiny. They have an awesome garden so we decided to play in the flowers.

We were visiting Jeanette and Tiny. They have an awesome garden so we decided to play in the flowers.

Us being funny with the pumpkins that Jeanette and Tiny are growing. They are HUGE!!

Us being funny with the pumpkins that Jeanette and Tiny are growing. They are HUGE!!