Week 42- Baptism…

Well this week was awesome! Tiny’s baptism was this Saturday and he was confirmed on Sunday. The baptism went so well. We pretty much filled the Relief Society room with people which I was glad to see so many people supporting Tiny. Tiny was excited and ready to take the step. He was all smiles before and had an even bigger smile afterwards. His baptism was a little different because three people were in the water. Someone there to assist in bringing him back out of the water due to Joe not having much arm strength left. When Tiny was being baptized the baptismal prayer had to be repeated a couple of times, but eventually he said it perfectly and Tiny went into the water. It was so awesome to see. It was all so surreal to me. I couldn’t believe that it was actually happening. It all happened so fast! Tiny let the spirit in and then it all went from there. When he was confirmed a member and received the Gift of the Holy Ghost yesterday it was such an incredible experience. The spirit was really strong and his blessing encourage him to stay strong and that he would make a difference in other’s lives by sharing the gospel. When got up from the chair he had tears streaming down his face. I know that Tiny received the Holy Ghost in that moment. I know that it is something that is going to bless his life. Tiny is doing so awesome I am so proud of him. He has come a long way and the gospel has changed him. Tiny is happier, I can see it within him. I am so grateful that I was able to be a part of this experience. Sister Thomas and I also had the opportunity to sing at Tiny’s baptism. We sang “Come, Follow Me” and Tiny started crying when I looked at him. Afterwards he said you did it again.
Earlier this week we had exchanges. I went to Beaver with Sister Romero. It was a ton of fun. She actually served with Sister Stokes after she left me in Swissvale. We were able to talk about the fun times we both had with Sister Stokes. It was also nice because we got along really well with each other. While there I met a member who was from Panama. She made us “real” Mexican food as she said. It tasted pretty good with a little spice, but then she gave us rice and it had duck meat in it. I couldn’t finish it. I’ve had duck and it is not my favorite meat. She was a very nice lady and she was soooo enthusiastic about sharing the gospel. She was a member present for a lesson and she literally got down on her knees during the lesson and acted out Joseph Smith’s vision. It was probably one of the most interesting lessons I’ve been in.
By the time I get home I am going to be a professional painter. I think I’ll start a business haha. We paint so much as missionaries. It is actually a lot fun. We have been helping a less-active paint her new house. Her name is Kim. Kim and her husband both can’t be around paint fumes so it is just Sister Thomas and I painting. They come in every so often to check on us and they feed us lunch too. Apparently we have made an impact on her nonmember husband because he wants to have us over for dinner once they get moved into their house. We’ll see what happens there!
We also did some more painting this week. Saturday morning we had a Stake service activity at Moraine State Park. This place is huge and so beautiful. There is so many lakes and so many trees. We painted the outside of a building that used to be an old restaurant out there. It is a pretty big building. It took a couple of hours. In order to get the top of the walls of building Sister Thomas, a Park Ranger, and I climbed on top of the roof and painted. It was a fun day of service. I really enjoyed being outside and we were right next to a lake and boats were going out. As we were painting from the roof we talked with the Park Ranger and he was telling us that our church is the biggest help when it comes to service in the park. He was very grateful for our help each year. It was awesome to hear that the Church’s name is getting out there in a positive light.
We had another lesson with Shana this week. I asked her how her baptism went at the Baptist church and she said that she wasn’t baptized. The catch is that she was suppose to be baptized yesterday. The Baptist church has a certain amount of times that you have to go to church before you can get baptized (just like we do). I asked Shana and her mom what they thought about her being baptized in our church. Teresa said that she was fine with it. We told Shana to pray about it and let us know. We actually picked up her mother, Teresa, as an investigator. I think this will be really good for them both. Teresa was explaining to us that two of her major concerns are how to know which church is the right one and how to know if someone is a true prophet. She really does not want to make the wrong choice and so the way she went about it was by not making a choice at all. She stopped going to church all together. We told her that it all comes down to prayer. Through prayer you can find out the truth of all things. She didn’t think that God talked to her, but to chosen people. We explained to her that she could receive personal revelation from Heavenly Father. Teresa really wants to know how. We found out that the both of them are visual learners and hands-on learners so Sister Thomas and I are going to have to come up with some fun ways to teach the gospel. If anyone has some ideas of how to teach the lessons in a visual way let me know! I want to help them the best I can.
Things are going so well here in Butler. I seriously love it here! The people are amazing and the work is just increasing. This is the last week of this transfer. I can’t believe four months have already gone by. I could spend forever in Butler. Being a missionary is the greatest and most rewarding thing I have done in my life so far. I am grateful that I listened to the Lord and came out here.
I love you all and I hope you have a Happy Halloween!!!
Love,
Sister Jones

Had some fun with the Charles family while on a walk to have a lesson

Had some fun with the Charles family while on a walk to have a lesson

Joe in the glasses baptized him and President Manley assisted

Joe in the glasses baptized him and President Manley assisted

Where we did service. The restaurant was to the right of this picture.

Where we did service. The restaurant was to the right of this picture.

 Making apple dumplings last Monday

Making apple dumplings last Monday

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Where we did service. The restaurant was to the right of this picture.

Where we did service. The restaurant was to the right of this picture.

Painting on the roof!!

Painting on the roof!!

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Sweet picture of the leaves and sunset. Elder larsen to my left and Sister Thomas to my right

Sweet picture of the leaves and sunset. Elder larsen to my left and Sister Thomas to my right

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Week 41- Another transfer winding down… 2 weeks left!

Yins guys!
Well this week was fantastic! The leaves have changed and have officially starting falling… Fall is here! There is seriously no place like Pennsylvania 🙂 It actually hasn’t gotten to cold here. I hoping it stays off for a while. Apparently this winter is suppose to be worse than the last one. I thought the last one was pretty bad so we’ll have to see how this one goes. People also said that this summer was suppose to be bad but it wasn’t bad at all. I think there were probably 2 weeks of heat. I couldn’t complain though.
We met with Kristin, a less-active that we have been working with, this week. We had a really spiritual lesson with her. We were planning on telling her that we couldn’t meet anymore because she wasn’t doing her part. As usual the Lord had different plans. We talked about what it felt like to go to church and she explained that it felt like coming home. Again she told us that she knows she needs to come to church, but she has to help her mom go to work. We were bold, but loving with Kristin and told her that she shouldn’t let anything keep her from working out her salvation, not even family. We told her that it was important to help as much as she could, but there comes a point when her salvation is being jeopardized. I could tell that this really struck Kristin and she realized that she wasn’t taking care of herself. I know that it is important that we help our family members because we are here to support each other, but we also have to work out our own salvation. I know we shouldn’t let anything get in the way of getting back to our Father in Heaven. We committed Kristin to come to church and she said that she would talk with her mom and try and work out a way to come. Flash forward to Sunday. We are sitting in a pew before church starts and I hear Sister Thomas say, “Kristin!” I looked around and saw Kristin walking in. It was a surprise to me to see her there. I was so excited to see her there that I got up and gave her a hug. She is making changes and it is so awesome to see! She told us that she talked with her mom and her mom ended up pushing back a meeting so that Kristin could come to church. The Lord always provides a way to accomplish that which He has asked of us.
I love going to church each Sunday because I have really gotten to know the ward members and I always feel at home and loved. The ward her in Butler is so awesome and I love the people here. They are so down-to-earth!
We have been teaching a young girl named Shana. Her and her two younger sisters came to mutual. They loved it. We had the opportunity to go to mutual with them. It was so much fun to be back in Young Women, I haven’t been there in forever it seems like. The girls really enjoyed themselves and their older brother wants to come this week. We taught Shana and her mom Teresa this week. It went really well. We decided it was important to teach them the Restoration especially because Shana was planning to be baptized in the Baptist Church. Teresa expressed to us that she doesn’t know how to choose the right church and so she decided to not join any church because she didn’t want to make the wrong choice. As we told the story of Joseph Smith I think it really touched her and helped her see how she could find her answer. We explained how the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion and invited her to read it, ponder it, and pray about it.
I went on exchanges this week to Cranberry. That was really fun. I went with Sister Valikoula (she says that it is volley(ball) and (coca)-cola). I love going on exchanges with the sisters and getting to learn from them. I found out that they are teaching someone that we found last time I was on exchanges in Cranberry. It was so cool to hear that. While on exchanges we went to go see a former investigator named Lynn. She was so awesome! Such a sweet lady. At first she was a little stand-offish, but she warmed up as we talked with her and made her laugh. She invited us in and we talked with her. She told us that her husband is suffering from cancer and isn’t doing well. He has been in the hospital for quite some time and they decided to let him come home. Lynn told us that she was so close to getting baptized last time she met with the Elders, but her husband was Catholic and he didn’t want her too. She told us that now might be the time that is right for her. She told us that lately something has been pulling her to read the Book of Mormon (the SPIRIT!!!!!). She asked us question about where her husband would go if he were to pass. I told her that Joseph Smith was worried just like she was about his older brother, Alvin. He was worried about the condition of his brother. We taught her a little from the Plan of Salvation about the spirit world. Lynn looked at us after we finished reading for the scriptures and with tears in her eyes said,” That is a peaceful thought. That makes me feel good inside.” I told her that we are able to work for those who have passed in our temples. She loved that idea too! We left her with a prayer and she told us that we could come back. It was a really neat experience for me. I had just met this lady and I already could feel so much love for her and it helped me see how much the Plan of Salvation does bring happiness and peace into our lives. There are so many people out there who are wondering where their loved ones are that have left this earth. With the knowledge from the Plan of Salvation we know where they are and with the gospel we know that we can be with them forever. I am so grateful for temples and for the work that we are able to perform within their walls. Our Father in Heaven has blessed us with the Priesthood that allows us to make covenants that bless our families and return to Him. I would encourage you all to go to the temple as often as you can. I know that I took for granted having temples be so close to me. Being out here and not being able to go and seeing that members have to drive four hours in order to go to a temple makes me appreciate that I have multiple temples really close to home.
Now onto Tiny! He is doing so awesome! We met with him and Jeanette this Saturday and Tiny had smoked no cigarettes which is awesome, but he was trying to get rid of the e-cigarette too. We talked about eternal marriage and the blessings that come from being worthy to have one. Tin truly desires to get to the temple and so does Jeanette. It is so awesome to see them beginning with the end in mind. Tiny knows that baptism is not the end, but that he must go to the temple and receive of the blessings there. Tiny and Jeanette came to church this Sunday and they really enjoyed it. Tiny just fits right in 🙂 Yesterday we had our last lesson with Tiny before his baptism. His interview was also yesterday. He was so nervous for it. He puts a lot of pressure on himself to get it all perfect. He also thinks he has a hard time expressing his feelings. We talked about the Priesthood and Tiny kept saying that he couldn’t wait to have that so that he could bless his family with it. Halfway through the lesson the Elders showed up to interview Tiny. Tiny got so nervous. He was so overwhelmed that as we started talking he broke down in tears. I could tell that he really wanted this and he didn’t want to mess it up. We finished the lesson and talked about service and being a missionary. I asked Tiny to explain how the gospel has blessed his life. He bore such sincere testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel and how it has brought peace to his soul. He expressed that all he wants to do is return to Heavenly Father. The spirit was so strong after Tiny bore his testimony. I pointed out to him that his tongue was loosed! He chuckled 🙂 He asked me to give the closing prayer and I cried because I was so thankful to be able to be a part of this. It has been such an amazing opportunity to see Tiny grow in the gospel. Tiny went into his interview and he is ready to be baptized! Elder Scott, our district leader, said that Tiny did so awesome and that the spirit is really strong with him. I am so excited for Tiny and I know that Saturday is going to be a really special day for him 🙂 I can’t wait!
This week is going to be pretty busy in helping Tiny get ready for Saturday. We are going to help them make stuff for the baptism.
Before I came to email we went to the Bonetti’s house, who are members, and they showed us how to make dough (that has a hint of pumpkin taste) and we made pizzas with it. It tasted sooooo good! I have the recipe so I’ll have to make it for you when I get home. We also made apple dumplings which are extremely good. I’ll make those too 🙂
Well I love you all and I hope your week is filled with happiness!
Love,
Sister Jones

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Butler. Pretty leaves and the sun is setting

Butler. Pretty leaves and the sun is setting

Lynn

Lynn

Famous cemetery that was in the moving the Living Dead. It was filmed here in Evans City, PA

Famous cemetery that was in the moving the Living Dead. It was filmed here in Evans City, PA

Gifts that we made for Jeanette and Tiny. Jeanette's was a mason jar filled with inspirational Quotes.

Gifts that we made for Jeanette and Tiny.
Jeanette’s was a mason jar filled with inspirational Quotes.

Tiny's was his old cigar box that we covered with pictures of Jesus and then filled with scriptures, quotes, and hymns.

Tiny’s was his old cigar box that we covered with pictures of Jesus and then filled with scriptures, quotes, and hymns.

Week 40- Another week closer to a BAPTISM!!

How yins guys doin’?
Life in PA has been going great. The leaves are changing and so is the temperature. It is so beautiful here. I can’t wait for all of the leaves to change. I can do without the cold weather, but at least it hasn’t gotten too cold.
This week we had Zone Training. We learned about how to use Family History as a way to find, teach, and reactivate. Family History is so exciting and the First Presidency is pushing all of us to start working on it. Family History work and Missionary work go hand in hand. They are both furthering the Lord’s work.
While at Zone Training we also had the opportunity to watch the movie “Meet the Mormons”… TWICE!! I haven’t sat down and watched a movie for that long, but it was sooo good. I hope you all had the chance to see it and if not GO see it! It is so touching and I know it will open others eyes to what it is really like to be Mormon… which is NORMAL!! haha. I love how they took people from all different walks of life, from all ages, from different places of the world. I think it is going to change how people view us 🙂
We had exchanges this week and it was awesome! I stayed in Butler with a brand new sister. Her name is Sister Bennett and she has only been out for three weeks. She is super sweet and very quiet, but she started to open up as the exchange went on. It was really cool to be able to do training with her in the morning. It felt like going back to when I was training Sister Zaugg. It is so much fun being a Sister Training Leader! I don’t want it to ever end!
I love having family home evening with members. We had FHE with a less-active family that we have been working with. It was so much fun. We talked about the importance of reading our scriptures and why we should do it daily. We then made little canvases that would remind us to read each day. They girls loved it! I have come to see how important FHE really is. It brings families together and allows them to bond and grow in the gospel. It is such a divinely inspired activity.
We had two lessons with Tiny this week. We have to have two a week in order to have him be ready to be baptized on the 25th! He is doing so awesome. Tiny is such a different person than when I first met him. He was so reserved and not happy. Ever since he has let the Spirit in his whole demeanor has changed. It’s Tiny, but it’s not, if that makes any since. He smiles more, he laughs more, and he shares his thoughts and feelings more. He cries more… just like me 🙂 Seeing this has been a HUGE testament to me that the gospel really does change lives. At the end of our lesson on Saturday Tiny prayed out loud in public for the first time! It was so awesome! He was nervous as all get out, but he got through it and he felt so much better afterwards. It is something that he is still working on in order to be comfortable praying in public. He’ll get there 🙂 Tiny also came to church yesterday. This was the first time he has ever come to all three hours. He has gone to sacrament before and he never knew what went on the last two hours. He absolutely loved it! Tiny doesn’t like big crowds of people, but he did so awesome and the ward was great in introducing themselves to him. He got all dressed up and it was the first time I’ve seen him dressed up. He kept smiling the whole time. Tiny is working so hard to be ready on the 25th! I am so excited for him!! Missionary work is the greatest. He always tells us that we were the ones that he was waiting for. He told us that when Sister Thomas and I were put together that the spirit was so strong between us that it hit Tiny hard. He told us that the power between us is overwhelming. I know that Heavenly Father placed Sister Thomas and I in Butler together for a reason. I know that it was inspired by God.
So the craziest thing happened last night. We had a lesson with our investigator Shana on Saturday and committed her to a baptismal date in December. Well during our lesson last night we were thrown for a loop. We asked her if she talked to her parents about getting baptized and she told us that she was already planning on getting baptized at the Baptist church is attending, this SUNDAY! I had no idea what to do. Do I congratulate her? Do I tell her not to? Do I not say anything? I have never had this happen before. All I could say was that was awesome and bear my testimony about the Restoration of Christ’s church. Talk about caught off guard. She still wants to meet with us so we are meeting with her this Saturday and are really going to try to help her understand the Restoration.
We have a really cool opportunity on November 1st to go on team-ups with a General Authority’s wife. Elder Renlund is coming to our Stake Conference and his wife asked to go out with sisters for a couple of hours. President Johnson asked if we would like to go out with her. We said yes! I am looking forward to that. Hopefully all goes well that day.
The PA Pixburgh Mission rocks! I love it so much 🙂 The gospel is true and this church is true. I know that nothing will stop this work from progressing!
Have a great week.
Love,
Sister Jones

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Our FHE activity with Brandi, Hope, and Patty

Our FHE activity with Brandi, Hope, and Patty

Week 39- A lot of good things here in Butler…

So many good things are happening in Butler. I love it! Being a missionary is seriously the greatest! I learn new things every week and my testimony and understanding of the gospel grows every day 🙂
For starters General Conference was fantastic! I loved every minute of it. This time we were able to watch it in member’s homes. We watched the Saturday morning session with Jeanette and Tiny. Tiny absolutely loved it! The rest of the sessions we watched at the Cloud’s home. They are very nice and sooooo helpful to us missionaries. I really enjoyed Elder Bednar’s talk, especially the story about his sons. We have all felt the loving and saving effects of our bigger brother’s atonement and we desire to share that with everyone else. I know that is true for me. The joy that comes from the atonement is what drives me to share the gospel with everyone I meet out here. Let it be your driving force too 🙂 I am so grateful that we have the opportunity every six months to hear from the Prophet and Apostles of the Lord. I know that they have been called to lead and guide Christ’s church. I am so grateful for wisdom and the testimonies that they shared this weekend.
We had a lesson on Tuesday with our investigator named Bob. It was a really powerful lesson for me. We taught him about the Restoration. I love telling the story of the first vision. I can always feel the spirit so strongly confirming to me the truthfulness of it.
We had Mission Leadership Council this week down in Pittsburgh. All the sister training leaders had the opportunity to stay at the mission home again. It was so much fun. The funny thing is that no one stays up late because we are all so dead tired by 10:30 at night! We woke up and went on a hike with President and Sister Johnson and the Zone Leaders. Well it wasn’t really a “hike” per say, but more of a nature walk with a slight incline up a hill here and there haha. Pennsylvania doesn’t have mountains just hills that they think are mountains. This nature walk was super fun and Pennsylvania is beautiful!! The leaves are starting to change 🙂 I’m excited to see when all the leaves change. MLC is so much fun and I really enjoy getting to see how the rest of the zones are doing. We were able to see the first half hour of the movie “Meet the Mormons”. It was soooo good. We are going to watch the full thing this Wednesday. I am excited. I would encourage you all to go see it this Friday when it comes out in theaters if you can.
We had two lessons with Tiny this week on Saturday and Sunday. Tiny is doing so awesome! It is so amazing to see the change that has happened within him. He told us that is so glad that he finally found a place where he can get rid of the burdens of his sins every week. Jeanette explained to us that Tiny doesn’t get as mad or as impatient as he did before. Tiny told us yesterday that he was lost before we started meeting with him. He said that he had tried the Lutheran and Presbyterian Churches and he felt nothing there, especially nothing like he has felt as we have talked with him. He told us that he had questions that he was searching for answers to and we have been answering them for him. He told us that he knows this gospel is true! It is just so amazing to hear those things and to see what the gospel is doing for him in his life. Every time I go there I am just so grateful to have this opportunity to be an instrument in the Lord’s hands. As of last night we decided to move Tiny’s baptismal date to October 25 instead of November 1, so it is one week earlier. Tiny is making leaps and bounds to be prepared for this date. I am so excited for him and Jeanette! They have a strong desire to get to the temple one year after Tiny has been baptized.
We taught our new investigator Shana on Saturday evening after Conference. It was a neat experience that taught me the importance of following the spirit. Shana’s mom asked if it was ok if the family sat in the living room with us. We said that would be wonderful 😉 Shana’s other siblings didn’t want to sit in but her mom did, so that was good! Her mom was talking to us about her beliefs and a thought popped unto my head about sharing the Plan of Salvation. Sister Thomas started the lesson by teaching the Restoration so I followed along. About ten minutes into the lesson Sister Thomas stopped and said that she felt like we needed to switch gears so we started teaching the Plan of Salvation. I learned three things. One being that I should have listened to the spirit the first time and just said we needed to start with the Plan of Salvation. Two, that the spirit will always speak the same thing to both of us and three that the Lord makes sure that he will is accomplished. We needed to teach the Plan of Salvation because that is what Shana needed to hear that night and even though I didn’t follow the prompting I received the Lord prompted Sister Thomas too. I definitely have so much room to improve on listening to the spirit. In these past months of being on my mission I have learned to recognize the spirit more, but I still have ways to go to be perfect at. The spirit has his own language and it is something that we all have to learn. It takes time and practice. I encourage all of you to listen to the spirit and learn the language.
I love the gospel! I love being a missionary! I love Pennsylvania! And I love all of you! I hope you all have a fantastic week 🙂 Like Thomas S. Monson said at the close of Conference yesterday evening. Be a little better, be a little kinder, and change!
Love yinz!
Sister Jones

The "hike"

The “hike”

The "hike"

The “hike”

Sister Thomas and I at MLC

Sister Thomas and I at MLC

Heinz Factory in Pittsburgh

Heinz Factory in Pittsburgh