Week 55- Washington D.C Temple!!

What a great week!!!
First off we had the opportunity to go to the Washington D.C. Temple and do a session there. It is was so beautiful! The temple is huge and has so many floors. It felt so good to be able to go to the temple. I hadn’t been in a year. Being out here has definitely made me appreciate the fact that when I go home I have so many temples that I can go to in the matter of minutes. It was about a two hour drive for us to get there. Every time I go in the temple I feel so much peace and comfort. It is hands down my favorite place to be on earth, even better than Disneyland which is suppose to be the happiest place on earth. I think they got it wrong… Temples are the happiest places on earth 🙂 One of the first things I want to do when I get home is go to the temple.
Our investigator Christine had her baby this week so we went with some members to go visit her in the hospital. It kills me that we aren’t allowed to hold children! I wanted to pick up the baby and hold her so bad. The baby is so cute and Christine is doing well. The night before she went in we had a lesson with her about the Plan of Salvation. We got to talking about being prepared to meet God and what we need to do in order to do that. We asked her if she would be baptized and she said that is something she would like to do. There are hurdles that she needs to get over in order to be ready to be baptized, but we are ready to work with her. She is definitely going to be overwhelmed with this new baby, but when things settle down we are going to get down to business with her.
We did this stop smoking program with Brian, the less-active we are working with. It is a pretty cool program. It guarantees that it can help people stop smoking or get rid of any tobacco addiction in just a week. It was created by missionaries in the 1980s and has not been changed since. Thousands of people have used it and have stopped smoking. It is 15 simple steps that help recondition the body to turn off the bell that causes people to smokes or chew or whatever. He had been going strong ever since. He started it on Tuesday.
We have gotten quite a bit of snow this past week. Wednesday was the first real day of it. People here are pretty afraid to drive in the snow and cancel all our appointments because they don’t want us to drive in it. They don’t realize that we still have to go out for the day regardless of the snow. But we decided to go see a referral that we had received named Kun. We pull up to her driveway and it is covered in snow. The drive way is on a hill and there was no way our car would make it up so we pulled over got out a shovels and started shoveling the driveway. Her neighbor came out and started plowing his yard. He came over and finished the rest of the driveway that we were doing. Kun came out and saw what all of us were doing. She asked how much we wanted and we said nothing. The neighbor who came to help said that he saw us in our dresses shoveling so he decided to come and make it easy for us. Kun told him thank you and then she invited us to come inside when we finished. We quickly finished and then came inside. Kun is from Korea and speaks broken English. We talked with her and got to know her better. Her husband passed away a year ago. We testified to her that she could be with her husband again and that we could help her know how. She started to cry as we talked about it. We gave her a Book of Mormon and told her we would get her one in Korean. She told us that we could come back and have dinner with her and talk with her some more. It was neat to see how a kind act of service opened her heart and she invited us in. We had visited Kun two weeks earlier and she told us to come back in a couple of weeks. When we came back the Lord provided us with a way to soften her heart. I know that service can be the key to sharing the gospel!
We had Zone Training this week! It was really good. We talked about Finding People and trying to get out their and finding everyone the Lord has prepared for us. This training only deepened the desire that I have to find everyone that I can. I know that there is people out there that are waiting for me to find them.
Speaking of finding people. We had a cool moment of OYMing, meaning talking to someone. We were in downtown Carlisle walking around and we walk up to this Liberty Tax sign waver. We stopped and talked with him. At first he was just being nice to us and talking with us. I gave him a card and said he could call and get a free Book of Mormon. I then asked if there was anyone that he knew who would be interested in or benefit from hearing the message we had to share. He said, “my wife and kids.” I said that is great! We asked questions about his wife and kids and told him that we could help him and his family be together forever. We said that we came out here for that purpose, to help families be together forever. He opened up to us more as we talked with him and we ended up getting his information. We are going to stop by his house this week!! I know that as we testified to Calvin of what we believed he could feel the spirit. Calvin told us that his boss at Liberty Tax was a Mormon. I told him, “You want to know something funny? I have actually worn that exact costume that you are wearing. I was in a play in high school and we borrowed a statue of liberty costume from the Liberty Tax in my hometown.” He thought that was funny and started laughing. What a coincidence!
Transfers are tomorrow and Sister Amendola and I will be staying in Carlisle for another 6 weeks. Yay!! I love it here and I am so glad to be staying. I hope that I can stay for the rest of my mission.
I hope you all have a fantastic week!! For those of you who have sunshine, enjoy it! I’ll be over here in the cold snow 🙂

Zone training

Zone training

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Love,
Sister Jones

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Week 54- Amish, Food, and Missionary Work!

I can’t believe this is the last week of this transfer. These past weeks have flown by! We still have seven more weeks left of training though so Sister Amendola and I will be staying here in Carlisle 🙂

Shout out to Carie and Chris!! Happy Birthday to you! I love you both and Carie I hope you had a great birthday and Chris that you have a wonderful birthday on Wednesay 🙂

Last p-day was super awesome! We had a member take us to Harrisburg to see the Capitol Building and to go to the largest farm show in America. It was so much fun. The Capitol Building is BEAUTIFUL!! We had someone give us a tour of it and it was breathtaking. The artwork and architecture of the building was magnifcient and it is historical. The farm show was a ton of fun. We ate really good food and saw a bunch of different farm animals. We ate fried cheese cubes (which when you hear that you would think that they were little cubes… Nope! They are a huge block of chesse battered and fried. SOOO good!), to die for milk shakes, the best apple cider I have ever tasted (it was made purely from apple juice), a pumpkin funnel cake, and potato donuts. Needless to say I was stuffed by the time we left! There were a ton of Amish and Mennites there. It was a lot of fun. We even had an opportunity to share a Book of Mormon with someone who was working at the farmshow. I prayed that morning that we would have an opportunity and the Lord blessed us with one. He was working at this western wear booth and we we were looking around. He looked at my badge and asked what Latter-day Saints meant. I explained that these are the last days and we are Saints. We went on to explain that we were missionaries and what we do. He was floored by it and explained that he believes in Christ but doesn’t go to church. We had a copy of the Book of Mormon with us so we gave it to him. He was very interested in it and grateful we gave it to him. He doesn’t live in Carlisle, but he happens to live in a town right outside of Butler. How about that? I told him I just came from living in Butler I knew exactly where their store was in Butler. I know that if we pray for opportunities to share the gospel the Lord will bless us with them.

We had interviews with President Johnson this week which was really nice. I always love talking with President because he is so encouraging and is so loving and kind in the way he speaks to us. He just encouraged me to stay strong for these last six months that I have. He told me that I need to serve everyday with all my heart, might, mind, and strength. It was great for me to hear that because that is what I want to do. I want to keep giving my all everyday so that I can come home and say that “I fought a good fight. I have finished the course.”

Last night we had a neat opportunity to hear from John Bytheway. A member of our ward knows him and set up a fireside over facetime for our ward to see. John Bytheway is super funny by the way! Ha It was a really great night and he focused on D&C 4:2 which says:

“Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that yeserve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that yemay stand blameless before God at the last day.”

He defined embark as leaving on a journey either by boat, plane, train, or other means of transportation. He also said that when you embark on a journey you are either all in or you are out. There can’t be halfway embarking. Brother Bytheway reworded D&C 4:2 to say:

“Therefore, O ye that halfway embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with half of your heart, half of your might, half of your mind and half of your strength, that ye may stand halfway blameless before God at the last day.”

No one wants to be halfway blameless before God at the last day so we need to emark in the service of God and give all that we have. We can’t sit on the fence and wait nor can we give when we feel like it or when it is convient but we must do all that we can all the time. If we do this I know that we will be able to stand blameless before God at the last day.

We had another great lesson with Anna this week. We met at her house and Sophie came along with us. We taught the Plan of Salvation and it went really well. Anna told us that it was comforting to hear and that it made the most sense out of anything that she has ever heard. I felt prompted to ask her to be baptized. She said that she wasn’t ready to committ to anything yet. I asked her if she had prayed about the Book of Mormon and she said that she hadn’t. She expressed that she hasn’t prayed sense she left her church and she felt weird about coming back to it. She said that she doesn’t know if she’ll figure it out now, but she will do it when she has time in the future to give her full focus to it. I told her that it didn’t matter whether or not she got baptized but I that I knew that it was better for her to find God now than to wait. I told her that having God in her life would make her life better and she would be so much happier. We committed her to pray this week and find out if God is there. Anna is still has her reservations about the church and she just wants to explore right now and regardless if she gets baptized I want her to know that God is there.

We had another neat experience with sharing the gospel. We were getting our oil changed and we were talking to the store manager and he was asking us questions about missionary work. When we were leaving I asked if we could share a card with him by the time we got done talking we ended up giving him a Book of Mormon. We can literally share the gospel with everyone we meet regardless if we are a missionary or not. There are people all around us who need the gospel. They may be our best friends or they may be the person we met in the check-out line in the grocery store. God places people in our path who need the gospel and we must share it!!

It has been another great week here in Carlisle. We have found some new investigators and have a few more potentials to work with.

Our Sister Johnson, our President’s wife has a mission blog that she updates. You all should check it out. http://ppmmemories.blogspot.com/

I hope you all have the best week ever!!!

Love,
Sister Jones

Sister Amendola and I

Sister Amendola and I

The Capitol Building in Harrisburg

The Capitol Building in Harrisburg

Us and the Elders at the Farm Show

Us and the Elders at the Farm Show

farm show

farm show

farm show

farm show

Week 53- So Many Wonderful Things are Happening Here in Carlisle!!

Hey everybody!
I hop everyone had a great week! This week was so good here in Carlisle. We saw so much success and I am so excited to see what this week holds. We picked up two new investigators 🙂
We went on exchanges this week with our Sister Training Leaders. It was a little different being on the other end of things again. It was so much fun though. It is nice to not have to worry about other sisters and how they are working together in their areas. This exchange was pretty awesome. I got to stay here in Carlisle with Sister Jones!! So it was a Jones squared day! Everytime we introduced ourselves as Sister Jones and Sister Jones people would get the weirdest look on their face like they were confused. We would have to explain to them that we weren’t really sisters, but that we just happened to have the same last name. It was fun because Sister Jones actually came out when I did and we sat next to each other on the plane rides out here. While on exchanges we tried to visit a bunch of less-actives and formers. We didn’t have much success, but we perservered nonetheless.
We met with a less-active named Brian. He wants to come back to church and receive the Priesthood. He told us that he has “demons” that he needs to fight before he can get it. He wouldn’t tell us what his demons were, but I felt like I knew what they were. I am sure it was the Spirit that told me. I told him that we know he may have things he is struggling with and if they happened to be something like coffee and smoking we could help him with it. Apparently I said coffee and tea three times as I went on talking and when I finished he said, “Well since you said it three times I will tell you what my demons are… Coffee and smoking.”I thought that was pretty cool. I didn’t really know what his struggles were but the thoughts just came to my mind.
Can I just tell you all how awesome the Carlisle ward is? I seriously love it here. The ward members are so great. I love going to their homes and having dinner with them. I always feel so loved and they cook some good food! But seriously they are just fantastic people and I love them all already 🙂 I am starting to get to know the members really well and making friendships with them. We went over to a member’s house the other night and the wife told us that she was so impressed that we helped clean up after the farewell we had for a family that is moving to San Antonio, TX. She expressed to us that the sisters before would just sit around and wouldn’t help at all. She was shocked when she saw us help clean up without being asked to. I am not saying this to toot my own horn, but that people are watching us even when they think they aren’t. I didn’t know anyone was paying attention to the fact that we were helping. This member has changed her outlook on what kind of missionaries we are and is willing to help us with anything we need.
We had a lesson with our investigator Mark. He and his wife are an older couple. Jean is a member and Mark is not. They LOVE to talk!! We taught Mark the Restoration and it went really well. It was extremely hard to keep them on track, but whatever tangent they went off on I always tied it back to the lesson. Sometimes that can be pretty difficult but it is a fun little game for me that keeps me listening. It was helpful for Mark to see what we really believe and understand more about the background of how our Church was established.
Friday the most awesome thing that could ever happen to a missionary happened. Ok maybe not that extreme, but something awesome really did happen. We were doing our weekly planning session and our phone starts to ring. We look at it and our caller ID says “Sophie”, who is youth member of our ward, we answer it and it is a girl named Anna. She tells us that she is friends with Sophie and that she would love to meet with us to learn more about Mormonism. We said OF COURSE!! We set an appointment with her to meet at Sophie’s house and have a lesson on Saturday.
So saturday came and we had such great lesson with her! Anna started off by telling us that she isn’t very religious and considers herself to be atheist right now. She went to Catholic school when she was younger and right now she is just curious to learn about other religions. She told us that she didn’t know if she was on some spiritual journey to find a church or if it was curiosity. We told her that was fine and that we were willing to talk with her, but our purpose was to help her come closer to Christ and find out if this was true for herself. We taught her the Restoration and it was so powerful. I had fasted that day that our lesson would be powerful and that we would have the Spirit to be with us. Anna asked so many wonderful questions that we were able to answer. When I recited the first vision to her the house was quiet and you could just feel the Spirit all around. I started to cry… And so did she. (It didn’t help that I have been sick this week and super congested so it wasn’t very pretty) But she felt the spirit. At the end of the lesson she said that she wanted to learn more that she really liked talking with us. Anna said that she felt so calm throughout the whole time we were talking with her. I told her that she was feeling the spirit and that it was great that she was paying attention to how she felt because that is how God is going to talk to her. She was excited to meet with us again so we have another appointment to meet with her this Saturday.
We had a lesson with our investigator Lucianna and it went well. We weren’t able to finish the first lesson with her, but we invited her to come to church. She said her and her family would be there… We waited for them on Sunday but they didn’t show up. I was bummed, but I decided that we were just going to work super hard to get her and her family their next week!
So many wonderful things have been happening in Carlisle. The Lord is blessings us for the work that we have been doing these past couple of weeks. I am grateful for the many tender mercies that the Lord shows unto me everyday. Without them I wouldn’t be able to get through the day! I love the Lord and I love being a missionary.
I have been reading the book “Jesus the Christ” and it has been helping me see deeper into the life that Christ lived and what he really did for me. My Savior did so much for me and I will be forever grateeful and forever indebted for what He did. I can change and become a better person and more importantly I can live with my Heavenly Father again. I love this gospel and teaching it everyday. Nothing makes me happier than gettting to share the gospel and feel the spirit while doing it.
I hope you all are doing the basics. C.P.R. Church. Pray. Read. Keep your spirit alive!!
Love yinz and I hope yinz have a great week 🙂
Love,
Sister Jones

Week 52- First Letter of 2015!

I hope yinz had a wonderful New Year!!
This New Year was kind of like the last. I went to sleep at 10:30 so we didn’t really get to celebrate, but it was still a great day! Carlisle does this thing called the First Night of Carlisle. Lots of people come to downtown and they walk around to different venues. We decided to go downtown to talk with people. We were told by a lady that we weren’t allowed to proselyte. So we decided to walk around anyways just so that people could see us out and about. Poeple were doing lots of different things. There were carriage rides, someone twirling flaming sticks, ice carving, and lots of other things. It was neat to see the town come together for the night of the New Year.
It was crazy to think about what I was doing last New Years. I was preparing to enter the MTC that day. I can’t believe a year has already gone by. I feel like I just started my mission maybe a few months ago. It is weird because when I tell people how long I have been out that say,” Oh you’re an old missionary. You’ve been out a while.” I remember telling them I had been out a week or a month and they would say, “Oh you are just getting started. You’re still a greenie.” Crazy how fast time goes by.
I have spent a lot of time reflecting on the past year of my mission. There have been so many wonderful moments that have strengthened my testimony and brought me closer to God and Christ. I truly have experienced so much joy as I have shared the gospel. There is nothing better that I could be doing with my time than what I am doing right now. I love being a missionary and getting to share the gospel everyday. I really want to stay strong for the rest of my mission and not let myself get burnt out. I want to be burnt out when I go home. I still have fire left within me and I plan to make it burn until the day I “die” in missionary lingo.
This week started out great! A member who is a professional outdoorsman took us and the Elders on a hike. It was so much fun. We went to pole steeple and got to hike a little bit on the famous Appalachian trail. This trail I believe is the longest trail in the US.. maybe the world, but I am not sure. It stretches from Maine all the way to Georgia. Part of it goes through Pennsylvania so we hiked on it for a little bit. I loved getting to see Pennsylvania! It is such a beautiful state.
We saw this less-active named Brian this week. He is going through a divorce right now and trying to get things straightened out in his life. He has been away from the church for a while. He reached out to us and told us that he wants to come back to church and get involved. He said that he really needs to come back. Brain told us that he has a desire to get the Priesthood. He wants to work to get it because he wants to baptize his youngest son. It was so awesome to see that he, himself, wanted to work to get the Priesthood. He has such righteous desires and we told him that we would do all that we can to help him. He started to cry as he expressed how much he wanted this and wanted to be a good example for his sons.
We didn’t have very many lessons this week. It has actually been pretty slow since we have gotten here due to the holidays. Now that they are over we have quite a few lessons planned this week. Hopefully they all work out. We have been going out and contacting lots of less-actives, potentials, and former investigators. The other day we had a pretty neat experience. We were out contacting potential investigators and we were having no success. I really like we needed to tract some houses. I didn’t know where and I didn’t know who we were looking for. It happened to be on the day when it was raining all day and it was slushy rain. Sister Amendola had never gone tracting before so I brought it up to her and she was a little hesitant because she didn’t really know what to expect, but I told her it would be ok and I would be there too. We decided to get in the car and drive to another section of the trailer park. When we got to the stop sign we decided to pray to know which way to go. We could either go left, right, or straight. We both felt like we should go straight. We pulled off onto the side of the road and parked. We said a prayer and then started knocking doors. The first couple of doors all said no and walked away. I told her that we just had to show our faith to the Lord and He would bless us for it whether it was that night or sometime in the future. We kept knocking and we ended up finding two people who said that they would like to meet with us again. It was a wonderful experience that strengthened my faith in the Lord and listening to the Spirit. I know that if we follow the promptings of the Spirit no matter how scary or of you don’t want to do it things will always work out and you will be blessed.
We had a neat experience with OYMing as well. We had about 30 minutes left of the night before we had to go in. We had tried people all day and had no success. I was extremely wiped out and really wanted to just go in for the night. I knew that was Satan trying to tempt me so I decided not to give in. I decided I was going to change my attitude and be happy. I thought about the joy I have received from sharing the gospel and how this is my only opportunity that I have to share the gospel full-time. We started walking on the main street and started talking to people. It lifted my spirits and then on our way back to the car we ran into this man named Jeff. We got to talking to him and he told us that he believed in a higher power. We asked how he had come to know this and he said that he had been in many accidents where he shouldn’t be alive. He told us that he hadn’t gone to church much or read the Bible. He was lost in life and just doing his own thing. I told him that as missionaries we could help him find God and become found. That he could discover who he was, a son of God, and experience so much joy and happiness in life. We told him about the Book of Mormon and gave him a copy. He was so surprised when we offered him a copy for free. He was so thankful. Jeff’s whole demeanor changed by the end of our conversation. I know that he felt the spirit during our encounter. He said that he would meet with us to talk more about what we believe. The crazy thing is is that he was on his way to his apartment which had just been on fire thirty minutes before we had saw him. He said that he was about to go find out if a higher power existed. We haven’t seen him since then so I don’t know if everything was ok with his apartment, but we are going to find out this week!
We have an investigator named Christine who is due to have a baby any day now. We went over to have a lesson and she was just really overwhelmed by all the things she needed to do. We just started helping her do her dishes and pick up her house. Her fiancee, Chris, has really started to open us to us more as we have started to serve them. I have really come to see how much good service can do in other’s lives. It really opens up new doors and softens people’s hearts. When we serve people they feel our love and they feel the love of God. Out of love God has sent you to help one of his children who are in need. Service has been a huge part of my mission. I love doing it and I love help those I care about.
It has been a great start to the New Year and I am so excited to see what the rest of 2015 holds. It is so weird to say/type 2015. I still mess up when I write it on papers.
I wish you all a great week!

Love yinz

Sister Jones

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Pole Steeple Trail

Pole Steeple Trail

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Flag football at christmas eve

Flag football at christmas eve

we helped members decorate their tree for Christmas

we helped members decorate their tree for Christmas

The Hike at Pine Grove State Park

The Hike at Pine Grove State Park

The Hike at Pine Grove State Park

The Hike at Pine Grove State Park

Our District

Our District

All the things we got from a members house to take home to eat!

All the things we got from a members house to take home to eat!

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