Week 59- I Think I’m Gonna Like It Here…

Forecast for this past week in Carlisle: really cold temperatures and white stuff everywhere. We got the most snow we have had all winter this past week. It is crazy! It is the end of February and now we are getting all the snow! This weekend was very nice though. We got to go to church. Woohoo!! And it was even better because our investigator Paulo came!!! I’ll get to that though.
The weeks of this transfer have been going by so quickly. I can’t believe it is already Monday again. I got my haircut on Monday by a ward member. She did such a great job. My hair really needed it. Since I have long hair you can’t really tell, but I can tell 🙂
Monday night we met with two pastors who are a husband and wife. They are the pastors of a church called Brethern in Christ over here. We found them tracting a couple of weeks ago and decided to come and try them again. They welcomed us in and just ask questions about our church and about missionaries. It is so funny to see how blown away get when we tell them all that we do and give to be out here. I love getting the opportunity to talk with people of different faiths and learning about what they believe. The cool thing is that what they share with me always strengthens my testimony and knowledge that a Restoration really did happen. It intrigues me to know what other churches have come to believe and practice over the years. We ended up teaching them the Restoration. A little scary teaching pastors of a different church, but it went really well. They didn’t set a return appointment but Micah, the husband was interested in learning more and took a copy of the Book of Mormon from us and said that he would read it. I don’t think they are ready to accept the gospel right now, but I know that we played a role in preparing them for the gospel.
We have a new investigator!!! Her name is Amanda. She is a young mom of three kids. Amanda is so ready for the gospel. She has met with missionaries in the past off and on. She doesn’t remember much, but the standards and beliefs she has coincide with ours. She wants to know how to be able to raise her children in a world the way it is. I told her that I know the gospel that we have to share can help her. Being raised in the gospel has helped me set my standards and know what I need to do in order to get back to Heavenly Father. I am not going to let anything or anybody keep me from doing that. Amanda is very receptive and I think she could be ready for BAPTISM!!!
Our Korean investigator, Kun, fed us this week for lunch. It is was good Asian cuisine. She told us that her friends at her church tell her that she shouldn’t talk to us, but she told them that we all believe in the same God and that she likes us. It made me smile to hear her say that. We just have to help her understand why our Church is different and what blessings she can receive from having the fulness of the gospel in her life.
Paulo and Victoria are doing awesome. We taught Paulo the Plan of Salvation this week. He had questions about the pre-existence and why when we think we are doing right do we encounter a lot of trials. Thanks to mi mejor amiga Cassie Corriveau in Mexico who told me to read Job, I was able to share with Paulo the story of Job. Job was a righteous man, but yet the Lord let Satan take everything from him and test him to see if he would prove himself. Although things got rough for Job and there was a time when he wanted to give up and wondered why all this was happening to him. He stayed faithful and in the end he received double what he had before. I told Paulo that this life is tough and hard but if we hold out faithful our reward will be far beyond double what we have here. We all have trials in this life whether we are good or bad, but why not remain faithful and receive blessings along the way and after this life? I know that I need the blessings of the Lord to get through this life and I know that blessings only come when we are obedient. With this lesson we were only able to get up to judgement and we told him we had to go to another appointment. He said, “You can’t do that to me. You can’t just leave me hanging. What are those things? Celestial?…” We have a picture board that we use to explain it and he was looking at the kingdoms of glory. He asked what we were doing later that day and wanted to see if we could come back to finish because he REALLY wanted to know. We came back later and ended up teaching him the rest. It is awesome to see how excited he gets to learn and he is really progressing. He said the closing prayer to our lesson. At first he was hesitant but Victoria encouraged him and told him he could do it. He offered the prayer and it was great. He said that he knew the Lord sent us to him for a reason.
He came to church yesterday, him and Victoria. He sent us a text from Victoria’s phone saying, “Hey sisters!! This is Paulo. Don’t sit next to anybody at church. Thanks!” I know he was nervous, but the ward members did a great job at fellowshipping him. He participated in class and everything. He said he would only stay for two hours, but he ended staying for all three because a member invited him to Priesthood. Members really play a key role with investigators. Paulo felt more comfortable because he was meeting people.
We went to HERSHEY Pennsylvania today! “The Sweetest Place on Earth”. Paulo and Victoria took us. It was so much fun! We got to go to the Chocolate World and see how Hershey Chocolate is made. It was so cool. They have a little ride and everything to take you through a tour of the factory to see how chocolate is made. They also took us to get Vietnamese food. It was such a great day!!
We did a ton of service this wee. We helped Paulo and Victoria paint and our investigator Christine paint. Needless to say I have gotten pretty good at cutting-in. I don’t even need tape to do it. I love painting though. We also did service at Project Share. It was a ton of fun. We went to the distribution center this week. It is basically a bishop storehouse. They have a ton of volunteers. They had someone who was playing the piano and she was playing a song from the Sound of Music so I started singing and she told me to come over and sing. She kept asking what songs I knew and she kept wanting me to sing. It was a lot of fun and really nerve racking at the same time. We got to talk with her about the church for a little bit afterwards.
I can’t tell you how much I love Carlisle! I am having so much fun and I am loving my time here. Things are going so well and I love getting to share the gospel everyday! The Lord sends us a lot of blessings.
I hope you all have the best week ever!! I love you all so much and I am so thankful for all the support you give me.
Love,
Sister Jones

Hershey, PA!

Hershey, PA!

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Week 58- Dropping Temperatures, Foreign Investigators, Spiritual Moments…

Well the temperature is dropping. On our way over to the church to email this morning the barometer said: 10 degrees plus the windchill. It snowed on Saturday and dropped over the night and the wind got up in speed so everything froze. When we woke up on Sunday and were all ready doing our studies before Church at 1 we got a text saying that church is cancelled. I said what? I have never had church cancelled in my life. I didn’t know what to do. They said that the back roads were bad and the temperatures were low. Even though Church was cancelled we still went out for the day. We got to see a few people as we went out. It was weird not going to church. I love church and getting to be around the other members.
Things are picking up here in Carlisle. We were so busy this week with appointments. It was great! The Lord is really blessing us 🙂
We picked up the most awesome investigator ever! His name is Paulo. His wife, Victoria, is a member. Paulo is from El Salvador and Victoria is from Mexico.They were married last August. We went over Tuesday morning and he comes in the room with a big smile carrying hot chocolate and saying, “Sisters!!” He is super funny and he jokes with all the time about joining our forces and other things. He was raised Catholic but he has his issues with the Catholic Church and he is interested in learning more about our Church. He has already decided that he wants to raise their future children in the Church 🙂 To me that is a sign that he knows something he just hasn’t recognized it yet. Tuesday morning when we went over we got to know him and help him get to know us better. He ended up needing to leave for a meeting and we asked when we could come back and he said, “How about later today? Come back and have lunch with us!” So we came back later that day and had lunch with them. Victoria made us authentic Mexican food. So good!!! I miss that stuff. They don’t have anything near what we have in California. Anyways… We came back later for lunch and had a great lesson with them. We talked about prayer and how it is important in order to develop a relationship with God. We committed him and Victoria to pray together everyday. He asked us how we knew that our Church was the true Church. Victoria had to leave for school so we weren’t able to teach the whole Restoration to answer his question. But we asked when we could come back to answer it. He said, “What are you doing tomorrow? Victoria and I have nothing going on.” So we came back Wednesday morning and finished the rest of the Restoration. The had prayed together that morning and they really liked it. At the end Paulo said that it all made sense and that he can see where everything fell apart and has been brought back. We invited him to be baptized when he came to know this was true and he said that he would! We tried to set him with a date and he was hesitant. We told him we thought he could be ready by April. He said he was thinking maybe a year. He has a lot of things going on and has a lot of stress and he doesn’t have all the time to sit down and research everyday. He then went on to say, “I know you are going to say if I read the Book of Mormon it will help me with everything that is going on.” I looked at him with a big smile and said, “You said it yourself.” Paulo told us that he needed to research it more. We told him that was fine, but committed to read the Book of Mormon and pray and asked God if it is true. He said that he would. I know that he will come along. Victoria is doing great with him and answering his questions and motivating him to actually do the things he says he will.
We also saw Kun, our Korean investigator. We dropped by her house to drop off a Korean Book of Mormon.We talked with her and told her how much the Book of Mormon could bless her life. She told us that she knows that we come over and check on her because we care about her. She told us that she is grateful that we come over. She invited us to come and have lunch with her next week! We committed her to read the intro pages to the Book of Mormon. She was very impressed that we had a copy of in it Korean. She was excited.
Zone Training was on Friday. President and Sister Johnson were there! We were trained on teaching the Savior’s way and obedience. We were all asked to prepare 3 minute talks on teaching the Savior’s way and they were going to call on people to give them. As I was preparing for my talk I was looking in “Jesus The Christ”. I finished it the other day and it is a great book. I would recommend that everyone read it. It dives deeper into the Savior’s life and helps us understand truly why He is the Christ. But in one chapter is talks about how the Savior taught with parables. It explains that He taught in parables so that even though people may not understand it in that moment they would be able to one day. The stories He told dealt with the daily tasks they did and the stories would stick in people’s minds and as they went about doing those daily tasks they would remember the parable. As time went on it would eventually be unfolded to them and they would understand what Christ was teaching about. I thought that was so clever. We receive truth when we are ready for it. At different times in our lives we are ready to learn new things. I also got to see Sister Zaugg (my first trainee) at Zone Training. Last time I saw her was seven months ago when I left Pittsburgh. It is crazy how time flies. She doing great! She is such a great missionary. It was neat to see how much she has grown since I last saw her.
We met with a less-active this week. It was the saddest thing ever. She is really down on herself and the trials that she has to go through. As we talked with her my heart went out to her and I could just feel how much Heavenly Father cared about this precious daughter of His. I felt prompted to tell her how much Heavenly Father loves her and cares about her life. He wants her to live her life to the fullest and not short change herself. I was overwhelmed by how much love I was feeling for this woman I had barely met. But I knew that she was precious to Heavenly Father and that He wanted her to know that.
Things have been going so well and I love it here in Carlisle. The members are great and life is great! I hope yinz guys had a wonderful Valentine’s Day and that yinz have a great rest of the week 🙂
Love,
Sister Jones

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Week 57- I Love All The History!!

This past week flew by so quickly. The weather has been great! It has been a really weird winter. It has been cold, but nothing compared to last year. Pennsylvania just wanted to welcome me to the mission last year 🙂
We went on exchanges again this week. I got to go to the famous city of Gettysburg. I was with Sister Jones again!! It was a Jones squared day once again. It was really neat to get to see the battlefields and town (we only got to see the battlefields while driving past). But while there we did see the famous stop where Lincoln got off the train when he came to Gettysburg. I also got to see the famous hotel that all the Presidents stay in when they come to Gettysburg. The exchange went really well with the people that we saw. We saw this lady that considers herself a witch! That was pretty interesting. It was quite the visit, but it came down to the fact that she has her views and we have ours.
We have had some pretty cool experiences this week with teaching unplanned lessons. Wednesday we were out visiting former investigators and we ended up getting invited in by this elderly lady named Jackie and her husband Henry. They are in their 80s. Henry had a stroke a few years back and it effected his ability to speak. He can understand perfectly, but he has a hard time getting words out and it frustrates him. We started talking with them and getting to know them. Jackie would have to speak for Henry because he couldn’t get the words out. They asked us where our church was and then Henry stands up and says that he wants to come to our church. Jackie was hesitant. She wanted to go back to their old church which they haven’t been to in a while. Henry really wanted to come to ours so we taught them the plan of salvation hoping they would feel the spirit. As I started talking about the pre-existence and living with God before we came here, Henry said, “That is true!” and he looked at Jackie. As we continued to teach you could see it in Henry’s eyes that he was feeling the spirit. He really liked all the things we said. We finished the lesson and Jackie was still really reserved and she didn’t want to give up her old church. We left her with the commitment to pray about the Plan of Salvation. We’ll have to go back and see what her experience was. I love being able to see when people are feeling the spirit. They say that the eyes are the window to the soul and I believe that. When I look into people’s eyes as I am teaching I can tell if they are feeling the Spirit.
On Wednesday we also had a lesson with our investigator Mark. He is doing really well. He had read 11 chapters of the Book of Mormon. Can you say AWESOME!!! He really liked reading it and he understood a lot of it. Mark is starting to make ties between the Book of Mormon and the Bible. He is connecting Jewish history and how the book is a true story. He thought that it was written in the 1800s and didn’t really realize that it was an ancient record. We talked to him about the importance of prayer. We used the stories that he had just read in the Book of Mormon to help explain how prayer helps. We talked about Nephi wanting to know about his father’s dream and what it all meant. In 1 Nephi 10: 17-20 it talks about how we come to know the truth through the Holy Ghost testifying to us. If we seek the truth we will find it. In the next chapter 1 Nephi 11: 1-6 it talks about how Nephi believed that the Lord would answer him so he spent time pondering the things his father had told him about his vision of the tree of life. He took the time to think about pray about his question and then came his answer. The Spirit came unto him and granted him an answer to his prayers. We testified to Mark that prayer is the way to know if the Book of Mormon is true and if this church is true. We committed him to pray about it. Mark went on to tell us that his church is starting to decline and that he isn’t being utilized in his position. These are all good signs that the Lord is preparing him to accept the gospel.
Another unplanned lesson happened on Thursday. We were going out trying to visit less-actives and formers and having no success. People were being rude to us and telling us not to come back and the whole shebang. But we decided to go see another less-active. There were no parking spaces in front of his house so we had to park farther down the street. As we were walking to his house I could see a lady sitting on her porch with a young kid. I felt like we needed to talk with her. I asked how her day was and if she was enjoying the weather. She was sitting out smoking on her porch with her grandson. She said it was cold and invited us in to get out of the cold. Of course we took the offer 🙂 We went in and ended up teaching her the Restoration. It turns out that once when she was in the hospital she didn’t have her Bible to read, but there was a Book of Mormon so she picked it up and started reading it. She really liked the things she was reading. It was neat to see that Heavenly Father unknowingly lead us to her. We thought we were going to see a less-active, but God used the information that we had to place us in the path of someone who is ready for the gospel. Heavenly Father literally preparing people all around us to be placed in our path so that we can share the gospel with them. We should take every opportunity we have to share the gospel!
We have seen our investigator Christine almost every night this week. She is doing well. She told us that she always feel more at peace and calm when we come over. We are making headway with her slowly but surely. She is hesitant to give up smoking and she wants to get married, but her fiancee doesn’t. He is complacent with just being engaged. It is a hard situation because they have four kids so she can’t really just up and leave, but we told her to pray about how to approach Chris about getting married. Sister Amendola have been praying for a miracle! Everything will work out in the Lord’s time. We are trying to help her see that the best way to know if the Word of Wisdom is true is to live it! She is making progress with it, but our goal is to get her to church when the baby is old enough to be taken around. She wants to do good and she wants to get baptized but there are some hurdles we have to get over first.
We have been getting more and more people to teach. The Lord is truly blessing us!
Some food for thought this week. One of our stake leaders in church yesterday said, “We are always waiting for the right time to share the gospel. The thing is, there is no right time. The right time is when you do it.” I know that to be true. We can give every excuse in the book as to why it isn’t the right time, but really the moment you decide to do it is the moment that is right. The Lord will bless you in your efforts to share the gospel!!
Being a missionary is the best! So many miracles each day and so many opportunities to help change people’s lives for the better.
I wish you all the best week ever!! Oh and have a Happy Valentine’s Day ❤ Love yinz 🙂

Sister Jones

 The train station stop that Abraham Lincoln got off when he arrived in Gettysburg

The train station stop that Abraham Lincoln got off when he arrived in Gettysburg

The hotel that all the Presidents stay at

The hotel that all the Presidents stay at

Week 56- A Little Snow Isn’t Going To Stop Me…

The weather outside is frightful, but sharing the gospel is so delightful!! Haha I know Christmas has passed but it was so fitting for this past week. It has been getting pretty cold here and snowing. Thankfully it has not been as cold as last year. By this time last year we were in the 15’s and 20’s, but it has been around the 30’s lately. Also remember that the humidity is a lot higher here so 30 degrees with a wind chill can bring it down to the 20’s or 15’s.
Not too much has happened this week, but we have been working hard to find new investigators. We have come up with some new approaches to talk to people on the streets. We have tried doing surveys downtown. We haven’t found any new investigators, but we have a few potentials to work with.
I read this awesome talk called “What Are Nonmembers Interested In?” from the October 1977 Ensign. It is fantastic. You should all read it. It is about research done on recent converts and why they joined the church. It breaks it down into three sections: preparation, introduction, and conversion. The three things people need to go through. This study helps us understand how much of an impact we as members can have on helping people join the church. It says straight up that missionaries aren’t the main reason why people join the church, it is because they knew someone in the Church and saw how the gospel blessed their lives. I know I have said this before, but members are so very important, more important than we missionaries are. From reading this talk and receiving my own personal revelation I know that the best way to help the work progress here in Carlisle is to work with the members. We were weekly planning this Friday and I had this thought come to me as we were thinking about how to help the members become more involved. “Why not call the members to be member missionaries?!” I remember how excited I was to get my call letter and put on a badge to be a missionary, so we typed up a call letter for each family and made little missionary badges to give to each family member. When we go to dinners we call each family to be member missionaries and ask them to help us in the work. Then we commit them to meet with us to make a family mission plan to help them, as a family, do missionary work in the year 2015. It has been going really well! The kids love it because they get missionary badges to wear around. I really hope that this inspires members to be more involved in the work! I know it was inspiration from the Lord because I have never thought of it before and I am trusting in Him that it will all work out in the end.
Check it out at:
https://www.lds.org/ensign/1977/10/what-are-nonmembers-interested-in?lang=eng
Things have been going well with the people we are working with. Brian, our less-active, is doing great! He is still smoke free and he actually came to Book of Mormon class this past Wednesday! He text us and asked us to find him a ride. He enjoyed Book of Mormon class so much that he said he is for sure coming this Wednesday. He is progressing and our hope is to get him to come to Church.
Our investigator Mark is doing well also. He has come to church these past two weeks and he really enjoys it. Lessons are always a little rough with him and his wife because they talk so much! Sometimes it is hard to keep them on track, but we manage to bring it back to the lesson. We have been trying to help him become more comfortable with the Book of Mormon. He says he isn’t used to it like he is the Bible, but we tell him to keep reading it and it will become more familiar. Our setback right now is that he won’t pray about the Book of Mormon because he is afraid to change and he doesn’t see how we are so different from his Methodist Church. I feel really strongly that if we teach them about temples and eternal marriage that is something they will desire and it will help Mark feel the spirit.
We have this new less-active that has come out of the woodwork named Somer. She really wants to come back to church and get right with the Lord. She has an eight year old son, almost nine, who hasn’t been baptized and she really wants to help him learn about God and be baptized. Somer is super enthusiastic and is willing to do whatever it takes to come back. We had and appointment with her on Thursday, but she had a bad day and so when we came over she just asked us to pray with her. I offered the prayer and afterwards she said, “I felt that.” She felt a lot better afterwards. It is neat to see how the Spirit can change the mood so quickly.
Our investigator Christine is doing awesome! When we first started visiting her her house was not in good shape. You walked in and it was not a pretty sight. But each time we have come over the house has gotten better and better. The tv was always on loud, even though no one was watching it, and their were four dogs and five kids that were going crazy. These last few times we have gone it has been so quiet and peaceful. I asked her if she has felt a difference and she said it was so nice to have a clean home and have peace and quiet. I know that she has been feeling the Spirit and it is causing a change within her which is causing her to want to change the environment she is in.
I hit my thirteen month mark yesterday! It is hard to believe that over a year ago I was a brand new missionary still learning how to even be a missionary and now I am training someone who just started her mission.It blows my mind that I am becoming what is considered an “older missionary”. I thought it would take forever to get here, but I guess forever has passed because now I am here 🙂 I really want to make these next five months of my mission count! I want to be able to return home and say like Paul, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith…” (2 Tim 4:7) This has been my motto for the new year.
I wish you all a fantastic week! Keep reading, keep praying, and keep going to church. You’ll never go astray!
Love yinz!
Sister Jones