Week 67- It’s The Lords Work Not Mine!

Another week flew by! I feel like I was just emailing yesterday. We have had a really busy week this week. We did quite a bit of service for people and we had some amazing lessons!
For starters, things are going so well with Paulo! We saw him this week for the first time in almost two weeks. Victoria asked if we could come help Paulo’s mom do some spring cleaning, of course we said yes! When we came to help Paulo was also there helping. We cleaned what we needed to and then we went over to Paulo and Victoria’s, they live next door, for some water. We sat down with them and talk for a little. Paulo asked why we he hadn’t heard from us in a while. We told him that we were giving him time and that we were waiting for him to call us when he was ready. Paulo told us that he was waiting for us to reach out to him. Needless to say we were all waiting for each other, but it gave Paulo time to think and search. He told us that he had prayed a few times and they were really great experiences. He even said that he almost committed himself to do something in his prayers, but then he was too scared to do it. I asked what it was and he picked up his glass and started to act like he was pouring it out. He said, it has something to do with this. Paulo is thinking about baptism!! He told us that he was scared. We tried to find out why, but he wouldn’t let it out. We have to dig some spiritual digging to figure it out. He then told us that he was looking at some new job offers so that he could get out of the casino. I was super excited to hear that! He told us that he didn’t know which one was the best one to take. We shared a message about prayer and how he should ask God and He would let him know which one to take. We told him that we would pray for him and put his name on the temple prayer roll.
We did just that! Guess what? Two days later he text us telling us that he didn’t just get one job he got two! He invited us over so he could tell us that whole story. As soon as he finished telling the story he said himself that he would come to church on Sunday, jokingly he said even all 4 hours! I knew that our prayers and the prayers of the righteous in the temples were answered. Paulo felt that God answered his prayers and he felt the desire to go to church. He came to church yesterday and it was fantastic!! We had something called a Regional Conference. It was for the whole Northeastern part of the US. We had Neil L. Andersen and Robert D. Haled speak to us through a broadcast from Salt Lake. Paulo had a great experience and the ward members we so welcoming to him. The Spirit is definitely working with Paulo. He is being prepared more and more each day. As I see people progress it is a constant reminder to me that this is the Lord’s work. He is the one doing it, I am only here to be an instrument in His hand’s to help His children find the path.
We invited 4 of our investigators to be baptized this week! 2 of them are really devoted to their churches, but are still searching for more even though they don’t necessarily see it. One of them was Mark. His wife, Jean, is a member. He has come to church quite a few times and he is doing really well with his reading of the Book of Mormon. He is already in Mosiah and he had only been reading for a few months. Both Sister Wilson and I felt like it was time to invite him to be baptized. We watched the Restoration DVD with him. He watched intently and asked all the right questions. I could see it in his eyes that he was feeling the Spirit. We testified to him of the truthfulness of the Restoration. He told us that there are things he doesn’t like about his church and that they have changed things over the years so not everyone is on the same page. We invited him to be baptized. I think this was the first time that he has ever been invited. Mark told us that he isn’t saying no that he wont be baptized, but that he needs to think about it. We invited him to pray about it and ask God if that is the path that he should take. He said that he would. We are making a lot of progress with Mark. I know that we aren’t doing much of anything, but it is the Spirit that is helping him change his heart and feel the truth.
Other investigators that we invited are named Becky and Garry. They are such a cute couple. They have gone through a lot of hard things in their lives. Becky believes in God and has a firm faith in Him, Garry is still trying to figure things out in his life. He hasn’t been to church since he was little. But we have been witnessing a change in Garry since we have started seeing them. We taught them the Restoration. Garry was in and out of the lesson, but eventually he came in and sat down. He started to listen intently and ask questions. He has never done this before. They told us that they are going to try a church that is right down the street from their house and if they don’t like it they know what church they need to go to. Becky told us that a couple of weeks ago she was going to go and be baptized into another church, but when she was suppose to go she felt like she shouldn’t. She was trying to figure out why that was. That is when we invited them to be baptized. They said that if they received a witness that it was true that they would be baptized. We invited them to also pray about it. We taught them how to pray. When we were teaching about prayer Garry was super excited and intrigued to know how to do it. He had never really learned how to pray before so he wanted to see how we did it. Becky and Garry really just want to know what is right and do it. They have come a long way in their lives and they just want to be with God again. I know that the gospel can help them!
We did service this week at Project Share, helping a member pack up her house, and a Stake Day of Service. The Stake Day of Service was so much fun. All the wards did something in each of their areas on Saturday. Our went to a place called the Two-Mile House. It is a part of the Historic Society here in Carlisle. We helped them do some of the spring cleaning outside. We raked up leaves, weeded, built a stage, and pruned the trees. It was such a blast to work with the ward members. I love doing service especially now that we can be outside!
We had a really neat experience last night. I felt like we needed to go see these potential investigators that we have tried to contact in the past, but have had no luck. Their names are Terry and Sharlyn. They just had a little baby boy and Terry met Sisters a while ago and told them to come back, but they never had the chance. Well we had about 15 minutes before we had to head in. I didn’t want to go in. I wanted to find someone. I wanted to share the gospel and be where the Lord needed me to be. A thought came into my mind to go see Terry and Sharlyn. I told Sister Wilson and she said lets go. We have tried them before, but haven’t had much success. When we tried them last night we caught them both home!! They invited us in and we were able to talk a little about the Restoration and about our church. We gave them a Book of Mormon and a Restoration pamphlet. Terry told us that he is searching for a church. He wants to raise their son right and he knows that he needs to get back. He said that he would read the Book of Mormon. We weren’t able to set an exact return appointment because he is a truck driver and is rarely home, so it was a miracle that we caught him at home! He said that we should keep in touch and try and find another time when he is home. We left them with a prayer and as I walked out of the house I was so happy that I had listened and that the Lord guided us where we needed to be. I am so grateful for the Spirit and the guidance that it gives me while I am on my mission. I wouldn’t be able to do this work without it.
This was such a great week!! I love being out here and I love doing the Lord’s work! He gives me the strength and the courage I need in order to succeed.
I love yinz! Have a great week!
Love,
Sister Jones

Service. We were pruning the trees.

Service. We were pruning the trees.

Service. We were pruning the trees.

Service. We were pruning the trees.

Service. We were pruning the trees.

Service. We were pruning the trees.

I don't know if you can tell, but the trees are starting to blossom here! I am not happy at all :)

I don’t know if you can tell, but the trees are starting to blossom here! I am not happy at all 🙂

 The Two-Mile House

The Two-Mile House

Week 66- So Much Love in C-Love <3

Hello!
So we just finished a transfer yesterday and now we have begun another one. I will still be here in Carlisle because this is Sister Wilson’s last transfer for training. Another six weeks it is!! Things have been going really well. We spent some time this week OYMing and it is always so much fun. I love walking around the streets and talking with the people here. The people of Pennsylvania definitely have my heart. Now that it has warmed up we don’t even need to knock doors because they all sit out on their porches.
We had a neat experience with OYMing. We drove around looking for where we wanted to park and start walking. We found a good spot, parked the car, got our stuff ready, said a prayer, and got out of the car. As I got out I could see this man sitting on his porch right where our car was parked. I knew that we needed to talk to him. His name was Kevin and he was from Jamaica. We talked with him for quite some time about the church and his beliefs. Kevin told us that a couple of weeks ago he was telling his mom that he needed to get back to church. He told us that he trusted us and that he really wanted to come and check out our church.
An investigator named Becky, who we haven’t seen in a while, called us this week and asked when we could come over. We had a lesson with her this week. She is a true Pennsylvanian in the fact that she can talk for days. Eventually we were able to bring her back on track and share part of the message of the Restoration with her. She told us that she wanted to know if Christ’s Church was on the earth again. We explained that we would be able to help her come to know that for herself. She has a lot of potential and we are going to try and set her with a baptismal date when we see her tomorrow.
We are still working with Braydan and Somer. We have been having a really hard time with getting them to church. We called Somer yesterday morning before church and made sure that she was up and getting ready. She told us that they would be there, but we never saw them at church.
We did have another investigator named Mark and his less-active wife Jean show up church. It was awesome! This time they stayed from Gospel Principles without us even asking them to. It was a great class. They love to share their thoughts during class and I can see that the Spirit is working with Mark. This week we are planning on inviting him to be baptized. He hasn’t ever been invited before, but we feel like it is time. The Lord has been preparing him and we hope that he is ready to accept.
Paulo hasn’t received his answer yet 😦 Sad day, BUT Victoria told us that they have been praying more and that Paulo finished watching the Blue Print of Christ’s Church that we committed him to watch. We asked her what she wanted us to do and what she thought Paulo needed. She said that she doesn’t know if Paulo is ready for it yet. I honestly feel the same way, but I don’t want to lose contact with them! Victoria said that she would talk to Paulo and see what he wants to do. So right now we are waiting to see what happens.
We had another cool experience with OYMing and with another Jamaican. We went to the Library to use the computers and it was a really rough day for me. I prayed to Heavenly Father to give me the strength and help me do His will that day. When we were walking out I saw this woman leaning over her trunk which was open. The Spirit told me to talk to her. She looked tired, so I asked if we could help her with anything. She told us that she was fine. I asked how her day was and she told us that she was tired because she has just gotten back from doing a 20 mile hike. I about died when I heard that! She began to tell us why she hikes and how it is a break from the corporate world that she works in during the week. That was a perfect segway into the gospel so I told her that that is what the gospel of Jesus Christ does for me. It strengthens me and gives me the rejuvenation that I need to live in this world. I asked her if she had a faith in Christ. She began to tell us that she did until her mom passed away 4 years ago. After that the things she once believed in she couldn’t believe in anymore. She wanted to know where her mother is and why we are here. I thought popped into my head to share the scripture Alma 40: 11-12 with her. I testified to her that we had the answers to the questions that she had. We have the answers because Christ’s Church has been restored through a modern day prophet. We have the fulness of the gospel and with this we know about the plan that God has for us. She then asked where do you think we go? I shared the scripture in Alma with her and she became intrigued even more. We had to cut it short because she had to go into the library to return things before in closed in 5 minutes. After all this we finally got her name which is Juliet. I asked her she would accept a Book of Mormon and if we could share more with her on another date. Juliet said yes, but that she wants two weeks in order to read from the Book of Mormon. As we walked away I felt so uplifted because I had felt the Spirit guiding me in all that I said. I knew that Heavenly Father placed Juliet there for me so that I could receive encouragement. I know that Heavenly Father is aware of each of us and He is always there to bless us in our time of need.
Yesterday at Church something really amazing happened with a member. This member is one that I love. A few months ago she fed us dinner and we shared a spiritual thought with her. After the thought she told us that while we were sharing it a thought came to her that she needed to ask her nonmember cousin if she could do the work for her son that had passed away a few years ago. We told her that we would love to help her in anyway that she needed. I told her that we would even role play with her so that she could practice. She isn’t a very open person when it comes to her feelings and so she turned us down for role playing and said that she would be ok, her sister could help her do it if she needed to. Well yesterday she came up to us after sacrament and asked if she could use some of our time after church to role play. I immediately said yes because I knew exactly what it was for. She told us that she was planning on doing it tonight and she had been thinking about it a lot and she just needed to get it out before she talked with her cousin. All during church I prayed that we would know how to help her be prepared to talk with her cousin. As we met with this member after church and role played with her it was so powerful. She could definitely feel the Spirit and she knew that it was what she needed to do. We were able to talk with her and help her refine what she was going to say. She cried as she practiced the last time and I wanted to cry too because I could feel the Spirit and I knew that the son of her cousin wanted his work to be done. I don’t know how it went talking to her cousin, but it was a great moment for me to see that we are here for the members too. I was so touched that she trusted us enough to come and ask us for help. I love this member and I love this ward so much!!
This has been yet another great week in Carlisle and I am so excited for another 6!! I love yinz and I hope yinz have the best week eva’!!

Love,
Sister Jones

Our last district photo. We will have some new members this week!

Our last district photo. We will have some new members this week!

Week 65- The Adventures of Sister Jones aka Doctor Jones, but more commonly, Stacie Jones…

Well what a week! We had some pretty interesting adventures, but it was a great week nonetheless!

The week started out with getting locked out of our apartment. This is the first time it has ever happened to me on my mission. Let me explain the whole story. So we have a treadmill in our basement that I use every morning. I had noticed that leaves were falling through our basement window because they had become piled up pretty high. I told Sister Wilson that needed to clean out the window well so that the leaves wouldn’t keep falling inside. So Tuesday morning was the day we decided to do it. We thought it would be pretty simple so we stayed in our dresses and grabbed a rake and a snow shovel (don’t judge, that is the only kind of shovel we had). I go out the back door first then Sister Wilson. It was pretty warm outside so I took off my jacket to go put it inside. It was then that I realized that Sister Wilson had shut the door. I turned around and said you just locked us out of the house. The locks on our house are pretty weird. Even if it is locked you can still turn the handle from the inside and open the door but not from the outside, Sister Wilson didn’t realize this. We didn’t have a spare key outside nor did we have our cell phone. The only way in was through the basement window which we covered by leaves. We cleaned out the window well like we originally planned to do. Then it was time to climb down into the basement. I volunteered to do it. But then as we cleaned out the well all these spiders, stink bugs and beetles started to climb out. I attempted to climb into the window, but all the bugs were freaking me out and I couldn’t get myself to put my hands and face near the leaves that were still in the well. Sister Wilson was the brave and awesome one that climb into the basement window and let us in. I now know why Heavenly Father didn’t send me somewhere foreign where there are a lot of bugs. I would have not been able to handle it!!! I am a city girl for LIFE!! As we were cleaning up Sister Wilson says, “Don’t move Sister Jones.” And then she grabbed something off of my dress. Come to find out it I had a quarter-sized spider chillin’ on my dress. I wasn’t even the one that climbed through the window! I attempted then chickened out. Go figure. I cleaned it off the window for Sister Wilson 🙂 Thankfully we were able to get back inside and we didn’t have to call the locksmith to let us in. We then had to put the window back in and duct tape it shut with some stylish mustache duct tape.

We had exchanges this week. It was Sister Wilson’s first one. I stayed here in Carlisle with Hermana Bills. It was a great exchange. We went to go see Paulo and Victoria. It was a great lesson led by the Spirit. We were able to find out some of Paulo’s concerns. I asked him if he has seen any blessings that have come since he has been learning about the gospel. He told us that he has seen a change in himself and that when he was meeting with us more frequently during the week he felt more peace in his life. Lately we have only been meeting with him once a week. He told us that that could be God trying to talk to him and tell him it is good, but he doesn’t want to see it. The Spirit is working with Paulo and is trying to help him open his eyes to the Lord talking to him.

Calvin and Kristina dropped us this week 😦 While on exchanges we had a lesson set with them and a member. When we get to the house Calvin answered the door and came outside to talk with us. He told us that they had a lot going on right now and that they were going to stay at the Church they are currently attending. He told us that it wasn’t us, but that it was him. He feels comfortable at their church because that is where he grew up. I was definitely not expecting that. It was so sad because I know that Kristina really wanted to be baptized. Calvin just needs to work some things out and then I think it will be time to try again. We are getting the Book of Mormon on CD for them so I asked if we could bring it by when it arrived. Calvin said that he still wanted it so that would be fine if we brought it by.

While on exchanges Wednesday night we were going to try a former investigator right before it was time to go in. I typed an address in the GPS and then Hermana Bills told me that I had put it in wrong. I put in the right address and then started to drive to the house. On the way Hermana Bills said, “What if we were suppose to go to that address and we just hindered the Spirit?” I said that it was possible. The former didn’t answer so we drove to the first address I had put in. Once we arrived we decided that it would be better to knock in the day time. So the next day Sister Wilson and I went back to that street. Coming back in the daylight shed some light on the fact that the house number we were looking for didn’t even exist. So we talked about what we should do. I realized that a potential lived right down the street and he was outside. We said a prayer and then got out of the car. The potential then got in his car and drove away…. Now what? We decided to knock doors. A man was standing in the door frame of his house and talking to his friend that was coming inside. I said hello and then knocked on his neighbors door. No one answered. He was saying goodbye to his friend that was leaving so we decided to skip his house and knock on his other neighbor’s door. While waiting for someone to answer the man asked if we were cold (it happened to be a colder day). We started talking to him from his neighbor’s porch and then he asked what we were soliciting. I walked over to him and told him who we were. His name was Damir. He told us that he saw the guy missionaries riding their bikes all the time when he was growing up. As we got to know him he began to express that he is really interested in learning about religion and he is open to learning. He told us that he has read the Koran, Bible, and Torah. Damir asked if we had anything to share with him. I then asked if he had ever read the Book of Mormon. He answered that he had never read it. We then had the opportunity to bear testimony of the Book of Mormon and how it contains the words of Christ. It was pretty neat to see that the Lord was leading us to where we need to be. You can call it a coincidence, but I am here to tell you that it wasn’t. Everything worked out perfectly. I typed in the wrong address, Hermana Bills had the thought to visit it, Sister Wilson and I went when we did, and Damir was standing outside when we happened to come by. Damir also told us that something told him to call over to us when we were at his neighbor’s house. When I first saw him I knew we needed to talk to him, but I didn’t know how to approach him. I am grateful that the Spirit spoke to Damir and Damir then spoke to us.

Sister Wilson had an awesome lesson with Paulo and Victoria on Friday. The whole thing was guided by the Spirit. We talked about Eternal Marriages. This is a topic that I LOVE to teach on because no other church does. We helped him understand that marriages only continue past the grave if performed by someone who holds the Priesthood and has the keys to do it. I think it is so special and wonderful that the words used in a temple sealing are “for time and all eternity” instead of “til death do you part”. Man can only grant things for the here and now, but Heavenly Father can grant things for now and hereafter. Earlier that morning while studying and praying to know what to share with Paulo two symbols came into my mind a straight line and an infinity sign. I had no idea why those popped into my mind or how to even tie them into the lesson. Well during the lesson I found out. At the end of the lesson Paulo asked us to explain why he needed to join. The symbols came into my mind again, but this time I knew what I was going to say. I got up and said I can tell you why. I went over the whiteboard that they have in their kitchen and I drew a straight line. I looked at him and said, “If you want to only receive blessings here then stay the way you are.” I then drew an infinity symbol, looked at him and said, “If you want to receive blessings here and in the eternities then live the gospel. That is what the gospel does. That is how we achieve salvation. Christ told us that he is the well of living water and if we come unto Him and live His gospel we will never hunger or thirst again.” I sat back down and realized that I had no idea what I was doing if it even made any sense. But I looked at Paulo and he just nodded his head and said he understood. We then committed him to pray and ask God if the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was Christ true Church on the earth again and to not stop until he gets an answer. He said that he would and then he added that we wouldn’t be able to see him until he received his answer. I thought it was pretty bold and my face must have shown what I was thinking because then he asked, “What? You don’t have enough faith Sister Jones?” I said, ” I do, but do you have enough faith? I know that Heavenly Father will answer you prayer. He could do it by tomorrow if you have the faith and are listening to the Spirit.” So we all agreed that we wouldn’t meet again until Paulo received his answer.

We started meeting with a less-active named Sandy. We met her for the first time on Saturday. She is a so sweet and is wanting to come back to church. We taught her the Restoration with the a visual aid that we have and it really helped her see why Christ’s Church needed to be restored and how we know that it has happened. We committed her to come to Church and she ended up coming and she brought another less-active named David that lives down the hall from her. It was pretty awesome to see that they both made it out to Church together.

The work is going really well here in Carlisle. I seriously love it here. I can’t believe that I have already been here for four months. It blows my mind how fast it has gone. Winter is finally over and spring has sprung. I love the Spring and Summer because we get to spend a lot of time outside talking to people as they set out on their porches. It is the best way to find people to teach!!

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

Love,
Sister Jones

Window Well Madness

Window Well Madness

Window Well Madness

Window Well Madness

Week 64- Sunshine, Rain, and General Conference…

What a great week especially with General Conference this weekend. I always love getting to watch Conference because I learn so much. This time I tried something that I haven’t in the past, I thought of questions that I would like answers to whether it was for me or people we are teaching and I brought them to Conference. I was actually able to receive answers to 5 out of the 6 questions that I had. It was amazing. Instead of copying down what they said word for word I wrote down what the spirit was telling me. Maybe something I needed to change, do better, or learn. I was able to get a lot of out of Conference this way. It was nice because we also got to watch it in member’s homes which is always nice.

Easter was fantastic. Another missionary said something funny. He said that our churches were the only churches yesterday with empty parking lots. Which is true everyone was at home watching Conference. Normally a lot of people who don’t normally go to church will go to church on Easter and Christmas because we focus on Christ those days. As Easter was approaching I was thinking about the importance of the Resurrection. I’ve realized that without it there would be no point to anything we do in this life. It would all amount to nothing because we would be stuck unable to return to our Heavenly Father. Without the Resurrection there would be no Christmas. I am so grateful for the Resurrection. I have a testimony that Heavenly Father has a plan for us and in that plan we will all be blessed with the gift of resurrection.

Yesterday we arrived at Somer and Braydan’s to ride with them to go to a member’s house and watch the first session of Conference. We rang knocked, and called with no answer. We tried the front door and back. It was so disappointing because we were so excited for them to be in an active member’s home and get to watch Conference. We aren’t giving up them, but we need to make sure that Somer is stepping up and getting more involved. Braydan went to Cub Scouts this week and he loved it! He had such a great time with the other boys and he had made some new friends in the ward.

Last Sunday we had this recent convert family, the Foultz family, visit our ward and refer their daughter who lives in our area. They told us that she is going through a rough time and they think that this is the best time to share the gospel with her. We went and saw Gloria this week. The meeting with her went really well. Brother and Sister Foultz couldn’t remember the exact house number but they gave us two to try. We tried one and got no answer so then we moved on to the other. It was a bunch of apartments so we walked into the main hall and knocked on her door. Gloria let us in and we talked for 20 minutes just getting to know her. She doesn’t believe in religion but she believes in God and Christ. As we talked I could tell that she had had a rough life and that she had never really felt loved in her life. I bore testimony that the Book of Mormon would answer the questions of her soul and that living the gospel would bring her more happiness and peace than she has ever known. She told us that she was open so I asked if we could come back and share more about the Book of Mormon. Gloria said yes. I know she is searching I can just feel it and see it. I know that the gospel is what she is looking for even though she doesn’t know it yet. I am excited to get to teach her this week.

Paulo and Victoria are doing well. He told us that he had a question for us. He said, “Say there is this really wicked man who kills people, robs people, and does all sorts of bad things. His mom is praying for him to get a job or get help. Would God answer his mother’s prayer and if so why? He doesn’t deserve help.” As he explained this scenario it reminded me of the story of Alma the elder praying for Alma the younger and God answering. So we turned to the story in Mosiah 27 and read that story. It was neat because we were able to use the Book of Mormon to answer the question that he had. I told him that the prayers of the righteous will be heard and answered by God, not necessarily in the timing they want nor the way they want. Earlier that morning I had read a book that said, “Those who deserve love the least usually need it the most.” I shared that with Paulo and bore testimony that those who are making poor choices needed our prayers more than anyone else.

We saw Calvin and Christina with our Bishop this week. The lesson went really well. We even had the two oldest boys CD, who is 6, and Matt, who is 5, sit in on the lesson with us. We found out that Calvin and Christina have a hard time with reading comprehension so they haven’t been reading the Book of Mormon. They do better when they listen to it. Bishop said that he could get them the Book of Mormon on tape. Bishop brought his ipad so that we could show them Because He Lives. We started the video and no one was paying attention and there were a ton of distractions going on. Calvin had to go help his grandmother so Bishop paused the video. When Calvin came back Bishop restarted it and this time he read the words to them. I know that reading the words was inspired. It really helped everyone in the family focus because they didn’t have to worry about reading or not understanding what was going on. At the end we asked how they felt and Christina said that she was almost going to cry. I know that they felt the spirit and that the Savior was there for them.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter and General Conference. I love yinz so much!!

Love,
Sister Jones

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