Week 63- I don’t want to jinx it, but i think spring is here…..

This week flew by!! I can’t believe it is Monday again and that this transfer is already halfway over! Things are still going super good here in Carlisle (Side note: whenever I type or write Carlisle I always say Car-lis-lee in my head… Anyways!). Sister Wilson and I are working super hard and she is doing so good having only been out a month. The birds are singing, the snow is gone, and I’m not completely freezing. I think Spring might be here, but with Pennsylvania you just never know.
This week we saw Calvin and Christina. They are so awesome! I love them! They always love when we come over. We are working really hard to get them to church because they live about 40 minutes from the church and they don’t have the means to drive out to church every week. I have definitely realized that in the West we are spoiled. We have churches and temples left and right. But besides that Calvin and Christina are doing fabulous! They are understanding the lessons and participating a lot more. Calvin has even been reading out of the scriptures, which when we started he always said no. Now when he reads we tell him to read one verse and he ends up reading three or four, he just can’t stop 🙂 The other day during out lesson Christina stops in the middle and says, “I am really going to miss you.” I said, “What do you mean?” She said, “When you leave, I am really going to miss you.” I reassured her that I had a while left in Carlisle and that she didn’t need to worry. I really have come to love them and it is amazing how quick they come to love us too.
Somer and Braydan are doing really well too. We taught Braydan the Plan of Salvation and he absorbed it like a sponge. We asked him to tell it back to us and he could do it all by himself. During our lesson he gave THE cutest explanation of how kids come to the earth. This is what he said, “All of us were in heaven and Heavenly Father lined up all the parents and the kids got to pick. Then God sent the parents to earth and the babies were taken care of by the angels. When it was time for the babies to come to earth, the angels put the babies in a holy bubble and they were put in their mommies tummies.” He said this with the straightest face. I thought it was so cute and all of us cracked up laughing. This kid is amazing and he is super spiritual. He says his prayers every night and is excited to get baptize. Our goal is to get him involved in cub scouts and get him and his mom to church. They didn’t come this week… we have yet to find out why.
We had a really neat experience with OYMing the other night. It was about 8:20 and we tried to contact an old referral. She wasn’t home so we decided to walk around and talk to people since we were already in downtown Carlisle. As we were walking down the street I could see this guy walking towards us and I felt like we needed to talk to him. I stopped, said hello and asked how it was going. I paused to see if he would stop and answer, he did. I saw that he had a volleyball jacket on so I asked if he played. We then got to talking about that and school. Then he asked if we went to school, this led right in to getting to testify and share the Book of Mormon. I could definitely feel the spirit directing me what to say to him. By the end he was so excited and really interested learning. His name is Nisaiah. He told us that he has been thinking that he needs to get back to church and he wants his mom and sister to come too. It was such a cool moment for me to see that the Lord leads us where we need to be. We were in the right place at the right time to meet Nisaiah. It blows my mind to think about how He is leading us everyday to where we need to be, but not just us EVERYONE around us too. We are going to be meeting with Nisaiah this week. Hopefully all goes well! Funny thing, while talking to Nisaiah I asked if we weirded him out when we randomly stopped him on the street. He said, “Yeah at first because I didn’t know who you were.” I laughed and said, “We Mormons are a little strange, but that is because we want to share the joy we have with others.” He has a lot of potential and I think he could be prepared to accept the gospel!
Paulo and Victoria are funny as ever! We got to see them this week. We haven’t been able to set a time for the last two weeks. During that time Paulo has taken a few steps back and has stopped reading and praying. It makes me sad to see that. He feels that life is too busy and stressful right now. He has been working a lot and he is trying to find a new job. Paulo told us that he doesn’t want to stop meeting with us, but maybe when he gets a new job he will have more time to focus on learning. I don’t know if Paulo will be ready to be baptized any time soon, but I know he will be as soon as he humbles himself and turns to the Lord. I want to help him to the best of my ability. I have learned that I can’t make people do things, they have to want to do it themselves. We told him we will read the Book of Mormon with him until he is ready.
We had Zone Conference this week in Harrisburg. It was so spiritual and so much fun to see all the other missionaries. President and Sister Johnson were there as well. President and Sister Johnson like to include lots of music in our Zone Conferences so I got to be apart of some musical numbers with my district, zone, and a group of sisters. It was so much fun! I got see most of my old companions as well. Sister Stokes (my mom), Sister Zaugg (daughter) , and Sister Amendola (daughter) were all there. It was a missionary family reunion. Sister Stokes goes home in three weeks. That is so crazy! I can’t even believe her mission is almost over. It was good to get to see her though.
Saturday night we watched the General Women’s Broadcast. It is crazy that it is time for another General Conference. I feel like I was just watching it in Butler. It was really good though. I enjoyed it a lot. They talked so much about the importance of families and how they are of God. I know that to be true and I know that when a family is created in the right manner, blessings can be received now and in the eternities.
I am grateful for the knowledge that I have and for the blessings that come from being obedient. If we want lasting happiness we must live the gospel. Everything of this world is fleeting, but our Savior and His gospel is not. Our Savior came to this earth so that we could cultivate happiness here and reap eternal happiness in the world to come. It is Easter this coming weekend. It is a time to reflect on Savior, Jesus Christ, and what he did for us. The Church has this new initiative that is called Because He Lives. There is an amazing video that you all should watch and share with your friends and family.
Check it out at:
HeLives.mormon.org

I know that my Savior lives and that I can always be with him if I am living a life like His.

Happy Easter yinz!!!

Love,
Sister Jones

 Never heard truer words. We always have a friend in Christ and our friendship will never die. (P.s. it was made in Butler PA!)

Never heard truer words. We always have a friend in Christ and our friendship will never die. (P.s. it was made in Butler PA!)

Our family reunion at ZOne Conference. 4 out of my 6 companions.

Our family reunion at ZOne Conference. 4 out of my 6 companions.

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Week 62- I Could Not Ask For More!

Hello out there!!
This week was another fantastic week here in Carlisle. Things are going so well with training and we are working hard to find people to teach. The weather was nice and warm at the beginning of the week in the 50s and then by the weekend it was snowing. I woke up to snow on what was suppose to be the first day of spring… not so much. Luckily it wasn’t bad snow. It only stuck to the grass and plants not the streets.
So many exciting things happened this week. Heavenly Father blesses us everyday as we are out here working. We have picked up three new investigators this week and we have three people set with baptismal dates in may and a less-active who is coming back into activity!!
We saw Calvin and Christina twice this week and they are doing so good! Christina told us in our lesson on Friday that she believes the things we are teaching them. When she hears us talk she just feels good about everything we are saying. At the beginning of my mission this kind of bothered me that people said they believed what I was saying was true without even praying about it. But as I have studied the Book of Mormon I have come to find that those who can believe on the words of others are extremely blessed and gifted. The other day I was reading in 3 Nephi 12: 2 which says:
2 And again, more blessed are they who shall believe in your words because that ye shall testify that ye have seen me, and that ye know that I am. Yea, blessed are they who shall believe in your words, and come down into the depths of humility and be baptized, for they shall be visited with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and shall receive a remission of their sins.
Christina has enough faith and is open that the spirit can immediately testify to her that these things are true. That is something I strive to be able to do in my life, to be more receptive to the Spirit and discern truth from falsehoods. They are progressing well towards their baptismal date on May 2nd.
We picked up two new investigators named Becky and Garry. They are an older couple who were referred to us from a nonmember that is being taught by missionaries in Chambersburg. We tried to see them on Wednesday and they said they weren’t feeling well and to come back on Saturday. We came back on Saturday and Becky welcomed us right in even before she knew who we were and what our names were. We sat down and she got right into to telling us about her life and how she has come to know God. Garry wasn’t in there at first because he didn’t want to be a bother to us. Luckily he came back inside and we asked him to join us. He did 🙂 We had a great lesson with them about the Book of Mormon. Becky told us that she feels that the Mormons are the ones who have it right and she believes the things we believe as a Church. They are really interested to learn more about what we believe.
We had interviews with President Johnson this week. It is always nice to see him and Sister Johnson. They came and visited our district and we will see them this at Zone Conference too. I can’t imagine what it is like to be a mission president and wife, but I do know that they are so busy everyday yet they take the time out to make sure that every single one of us is doing ok. Interviews are always great to talk with President and receive his insight and encouragement. He asked us to tell him two spiritual gifts that we have. I told him that one of mine was the gift of communication, being able to have conversations with complete strangers or anyone with no problems. I told him my mom was the same way. She could talk to a complete stranger at the grocery store and be best friends with them by the time she leaves. Oh and Mom he told me to tell you thank you for being that example for me and teaching how to use that gift 🙂
We are starting to make headway with Christine and Chris. When we first went over they would always have the tv blasting even if no one was watching it. We would always have to ask them to turn it down or if bad music was playing we would ask them to turn it off. Now when we go over and the tv is on Chris will automatically turn it off without us asking. WE went over to help do some cleaning and Christine came in and ask what kind of music we were allowed to listen to so she could look it up on her phone and play it. These are small changes, but they are changes! Chris has farther to go in his conversion, but he is coming along. Christine is doing well with reading and praying. We just need to get her and the kids to church.
We have a less-active named Somer that we have been trying to work with since I got here and we haven’t had much success until this week. Her son Braydan turned nine last Sunday. She really wants him to be baptized and herself come back into activity. This week we went over to start teaching Braydan the lessons so that he can be prepared for baptism. We taught the Restoration really simple for him, but it was good for Somer too. WE committed them to come to church and Braydan to be baptized on May 30th. We tried to get them to Church last week and it didn’t work, but this week it did!!! WE called Somer at 11 yesterday and she was up and getting ready to go, Braydan too. We saved them seats at Church but then sacrament started. I was disappointed because they weren’t there. 15 minutes passed and then I hear commotion to the side of me. It was Somer and Braydan!!! I was so excited and I thanked Heavenly Father that they were there. It was a good thing they were there too because Somer had a break through. When sacrament meeting was over she was bawling! She was overwhelmed with the Spirit. She told us that everything she heard was exactly what she needed to hear. SHe felt like they were speaking to her. Somer told us that she hadn’t driven her car in months. She doesn’t know why she became afraid to drive, but all she knew what they she needed to come to church. She prayed all morning and the whole drive to church that she would have the strength. While driving she thought so many times should I pull over and go back, but she kept on driving. I told her that Heavenly Father blessed her for exercising her faith. Getting into the car took faith, starting the car took faith, and to keep driving took faith. She knows that she needs to come back to church and she wants to get to the temple. It was amazing to see how the spirit was working with her. She wants to do good in her life she just didn’t know how. She asked for a Priesthood blessing. Braydan came and sat in too. In the blessing she was told that one day she will go to the House of the Lord! I was so excited. The Brother giving her a blessing didn’t even know that was a desire of hers!! After the blessing Braydan immediately said, “I really need to get baptized.” I was shocked and asked him why he thought that. He explained that he wanted to have the Spirit. It was the cutest most amazing thing ever. I am so excited for Braydan and Somer they are both extremely spiritual people and I know they are going to be strong.
There are so many moments the Heavenly Father gives me to be able to stay strong and keeping moving on. Moments like with Somer help my faith grow and give me the desire to keep sharing the gospel.
I hope you all have a fantastic week! I love yinz so much 🙂
Love,
Sister Jones

CIMG2245

Week 61- I’m Staying And Getting Another Greenie…..

Another new transfer has begun! We got the call Saturday night that Sister Amendola is being transferred, so that means that I am going to be staying here in Carlisle! I am sad to see Sister Amendola go because these past two transfers have been a blast. I am really excited that I get to stay in Carlisle though, it is such a fantastic city and ward. I love it here! With the news I received on Sunday I think I might be finishing my mission here.
Yesterday while at dinner with a member family we received a call from President. He asked for me so I took the phone and started talking to him. He asked how things were going and how Carlisle was. Then he asked, “Now Sister Jones, why would I be calling you on a Sunday evening?” I knew what he was talking about and I was about to answer when my face accidentally hung up the phone. I called him right back and he said, “Sister Jones! Did you just hang up on me because you knew what I was going to say and didn’t want to hear it?” (He said it jokingly of course!) I laughed and told him no I did it accidentally. He went on to tell me that I was being called to train again! So I am leaving to Pittsburgh tonight to go meet my greenie companion and then on Tuesday night we will have to drive back out here to Carlisle. I am excited but nervous at the same time. There is a lot of weight when it comes to training. I have to make I help this sister start off on the right foot for the rest of her mission.
This past week in Carlisle was great! Things are still going well here in Carlisle.
We saw Paulo and Victoria again this week! It was a really great lesson with them. We had lunch as usual and then we went into the lesson. He told us that he hadn’t read until that morning, but he didn’t want to disappoint us so he read and when he started he couldn’t really stop. (As my dad would say,”Here’s your sign!”) I know he was feeling the spirit and that he was really getting into the Book of Mormon. We were planning to teach the Word of Wisdom but the spirit took us down another path. Paulo asked us what is something that we have learned from our missions. We each answered. I told him that I have learned so much, but what came to my mind was that I have learned to trust in the Lord. He knows better than us and He knows what we need to do and where we need to be. I wouldn’t be where I am today or who I am today if it wasn’t for the Lord. My will wouldn’t have led me here, but God’s will did. I am grateful that I listened. We then turned it onto Paulo and asked him what he has learned since he has been meeting with us. He told us that he has been more at peace with himself and life in general. He started out meeting with us because Victoria wanted him to, so he did it just to make her happy. But now he has become more interested. He then voiced concerns about why he even needs to be a part of a church and said that the bible says that all we need to do is accept Christ into our heart and repent. I told him that yes that is very important, those are the first principles of the gospel, but Christ also told us that we must be born of the water and of the spirit otherwise we cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven (John 3: 1-7). I know Paulo is fighting the Spirit. He comes us with questions and concerns to try to avoid the answer he knows he is going to get, but when it comes down to it we can always answer. He still hasn’t prayed about it. We told him that if he wants to know that is what he needs to do. We can tell him everything we know until we are blue in the face, but what it really comes down to is prayer. Asking Heavenly Father if this is true and then listening for his answer. We keep telling him to pray and he hasn’t so we committed him to pray that night on his knees and to not get up until he gets an answer. He said he would. We haven’t seen him since then so we will have to wait and see!
We also had a neat experience with street contacting. We were on our way into a building to see a less-active lady and I saw this elderly lady raking up peanut shells with this tiny little rake. I asked her if we could help her and she said she got it. I stopped to talk with her some more and ask where the peanut shells came from. She told us that she feeds the squirrels and birds every day. She isn’t allowed to, but she in her words, “She is too old to change.” She was trying to put the shells into a trash bag and was having a hard time so I went over and grabbed the bag to help her out. We ended up talking to her for about an hour while she went around and picked up the shells. Her name is Sharon. She told us all about her life and how she is a miracle. She has almost died three times in her life and she knows that God has kept her alive for a reason. Sharon told us that she has tried so many churches and hasn’t really found one she likes, but she does like going to church. She hasn’t been in a while because all the churches here are older and have so many steps, her little old knees can’t take it. I smiled at her and said, “The only step at our church that you would have to take is up the curb.” She laughed and said well that is nice! We ended up giving her a Book of Mormon she was really intrigued by it. She told us that she would read it on Sunday as part of her scripture study since she doesn’t go church. We asked if we could come back and she said that she would love to have us come talk with her. I am really excited to see what happens with Sharon. I was nervous to talk to her about the gospel because sometimes elderly people, like she said, can be set in their ways and not want to change. But after talking to her I know she has been searching her whole life so why not end her search 🙂
Getting to share the gospel everyday is so much fun! Sure we encounter people who are rude to us or don’t want to hear what we have to share, but all of the moments are superseded by all the times I feel the spirit as I testify and know that what I am sharing is true. There is no greater work on this earth!
I love you all and I hope you have a great week!!
Love,
Sister Jones

Our aparments

Our aparments

Sister Amendola and I when we got at least 5 inches of snow that day.

Sister Amendola and I when we got at least 5 inches of snow that day.

Our last Sunday

Our last Sunday

Isabel. The daughter of our investigator Christine. Izzy always says, "The girls are home" whenever we come inside. So cute!

Isabel. The daughter of our investigator Christine. Izzy always says, “The girls are home” whenever we come inside. So cute!

Week 60- So Many Miracles!

Hey yinz guys!!!
This was a fantastic week. We have seen so many miracles it is unbelievable! I know that Heavenly Father is aware of us and he is always leading and guiding us. There have been so many times when I don’t even realize that He is leading me. It’s crazy!
The first miracle happened with Paulo and Victoria. We had lunch and a lesson with them this week. We were running late to our appointment and showed up 15 minutes late. Whoops, but it actually plays a part in our miracle so it is all good. We catch up on the week and eat our lunch. Then we transition into the lesson and we follow-up on our commitments with Paulo, following up is key as Elder Ballard said, and we find out that he didn’t read OR pray! So we put down the pamphlets we were going to use and we tell him we can’t move on so we will read with him. He took the Book of Mormon closed his eyes, flipped to a page and pointed. He started reading Alma 25:10 and continued til the end of the chapter. We asked him how he could apply it to himself and he said that he needed to get rid of his pride and his arrogance and be humble. Paulo told us that he has actually noticed a change in himself. He works at a casino and every time he would go into work he would just judge the people and try to take all their money, but as he has started meeting with us he feels more at peace and he doesn’t judge people anymore. When they come in he just lets them do what they want and he doesn’t care. In the middle of the conversation he looked at us and asked if we had our phone. I told him it was in my coat pocket on the couch in the other room. He told me to go get and that he had prayed about something and he wanted to see what happened. I got up and grabbed the phone. When I came back into the kitchen he said, “Turn it on. What do you see?” I told him that all I saw was Jesus Christ and showed him the picture on our lock screen. He then had a surprised look on his face and said, “There is no message?” I said no. He then showed us that he had sent a message right before 12. It said, “Sorry sisters! Something came up and we can’t meeting today. We’ll have to reschedule for later this week.” He told us that him and Victoria had gotten in a fight right before we came and he wasn’t feeling in the mood to talk so he hurriedly texted us telling us not to come. After he calmed down and thought about it he realized that he enjoyed our lessons and that it was always better when we came over. He said a prayer asking Heavenly Father that if we were meant to come to their house that He would make a way for us to come. Paulo told us that he thought that since we were late that we weren’t going to come, but then all of a sudden we showed up at their door.
I had a huge smile on my face as he told us this story. We never received Paulo’s text message and we still showed up at their house. The Lord works in mysterious ways, but Paulo was able to recognize that Heavenly Father does answer our prayers. I testified to Paulo that I know that Heavenly Father sent Sister Amendola and I to Pennsylvania for a reason. He sent us to Carlisle to meet him and Victoria. (Of course I cried) But as I bore testimony to Paulo i could see it in his eyes that he was feeling the Spirit! I left their house that day with a huge smile and my spirits high. I know that Heavenly Father is preparing Paulo and that we had just witnessed a miracle.
Victoria told us that she has recognized that their house is more peaceful since we have been coming. She also said that she has been feeling the spirit a lot more in her life as well. Both Paulo and Victoria are being strengthened as they have these spiritual experiences together.
We had another miracle with a sweet less-active elderly lady that we visit once a week. Her name is Juanita. She always has so many stories to tell and they are always ones that you would think only happen in movies! She told us her conversion story. She became a member when she was in her early 50s. She was so drawn to the D.C. temple that she loved to visit it even when she wasn’t a member. All she could think about was going inside some day. She eventually took the lessons from the missionaries and loved everything about it. She got baptized and she wanted to serve a mission as a senior sister, but then her health went down hill and hasn’t gotten better since then. As we were meeting with her this week she told us that she had given a copy of the Book of Mormon to one of her aids that comes to help her. We told her that the message we had for her dealt with missionary work. We then went into the message we have been sharing with all the members by calling them to be member missionaries. No one has had the reaction that Juanita had that day. We began by asking her if she had a desire to serve God. She then bore us a powerful testimony about how God is the only one who gets her through her days and that she doesn’t worry about anything other than being right with God. She began to cry as she testified. It was powerful. We then called her to be a member missionary and gave her a call letter and tag. She was so overwhelmed that she began to cry again. She told us that this was amazing and that she had been waiting for her day to be called. She always wanted to serve a mission, but never had the chance. She was so excited to put her badge in her wallet and share the gospel with her friends as a member missionary. It was overwhelming for me to see how much this impacted her. I had no idea this would happen when the thought came to me months ago to call members to be member missionaries. It was another moment of Heavenly Father leading me unknowingly. Juanita kept telling us that we made her day and that she was so grateful for what we did.
Another miracle happened last night. We have a less-active named Ash that we work with and we haven’t seen her in awhile because she has been depressed, but we actually got in last night! We talked with her and let her tell us what was going on. We were there to comfort her and tell her everything was going to work out. We talked to her about the importance of having faith and not fear. I read her the story of Peter walking on water and how as soon as he started to fear/doubt that is when he started to sink. Life is like that sea. We are like the disciples in the boat rocked by the trials that come our way. But if we want to be with Christ and Heavenly Father again we have to brave the sea and have faith that we will make it through. We told her that she may have times of fear or doubt but that is when she needs to exercise her faith even harder. Normally we don’t get through to her, but last night she really took it in and she was more calm by the time we left her apartment.
So many wonderful things have been happening here in Carlisle! I don’t want to ever leave!! We find out this Saturday if one of us will be leaving. My hope and prayer is that I will stay 🙂
Weeks like this are the reason I am out here. The gospel changes lives and there are so many miracles that happen!
I love you all and I hope you have the best week ever!!
Love,
Sister Stacie Jones

CIMG2212

Sister Amendola drew me as a mermaid. Isn’t she talented?