Week 78- The Last Mail-In (Melon)

Holy cow! Have these past 18 months flown by or what? I think they have. Day in and day out for the past 18 months I have been serving the Lord. It has been the happiest and hardest days of my life so far, but I know they won’t be the last. I can’t even believe that I am sitting here right now typing this last email as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
My heart is swirling with a ton of emotions right now. It is hard to even think straight.
Pennsylvania will always have a piece of my heart. I have truly come to love this place and these people. I don’t think I have ever been filled with so much love in my life than I have on my mission.
I have learned so much these past 18 months that I wouldn’t have been able to learn any other way if I didn’t come on a mission. I am so grateful that the Spirit spoke to me over 2 years ago and told me I needed to serve a mission. The Spirit was right, 100%. I needed to serve a mission. I’ve have grown so much and I can never repay or thank the Lord enough for the wonderful experiences I have had or for the many things I have learned. These past couple of weeks I have been reflecting on what I have learned on my mission. I came up with a 100 things I have learned. I know I have learned many more and some of the things I have learned I won’t realize until later, but 100 things! 100 priceless things that I will treasure for ever and will use throughout the eternities.
It has been a privilege to serve alongside the Lord in His labor of love among His children in Pennsylvania.
My mission in life isn’t over yet. I still have more to do, this will be the start of yet another chapter.
I know that the Savior loves me and all of God’s children. I know that He lives and because he lives all of us may return to our Heavenly Father as eternal families. I know with all of my heart that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and in fact does contain the very things we need to know in order to return to our Heavenly Father. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is Christ’s true Church that has been restored to the earth by the prophet, Joseph Smith. I know the gospel changes lives and it has changed mine and will continue to change my life as I live it every day. I love my Heavenly Father and my Savior, Jesus Christ. I love all my and friends who have supported me these past 18 months. Thank you!
THE END.
Love,
Sister Jones

Week 77- Back to Where it All Began!

First things first. Welcome to the world Baby Lehi! Nephew number 12
🙂 I am so excited to meet you soon!
This week went by so fast! We were out of town a lot this week so that
made it go by even faster
We got to go to the temple on Tuesday! It was so amazing. It was
suppose to rain all day Tuesday, but I prayed so hard the days before
that we would have no rain. What made it even better was that we got
to go to Palmyra of all places. I mean that is where it all began. We
go to go see the sacred grove which was so amazing. It is so peaceful
and you know that it is holy ground. The only bad thing about it was
that it had just rained,but not while we were there :), so there were
a ton of Mosquitos and we both got eaten alive by them. Despite that
it was so neat to be there. To think that a young boy went in those
trees to offer up a sincere prayer to know the truth and receive
direction. Something amazing happened that day. We also got to see a
replica of the smith’s log cabin, where Moroni would have appeared to
Joseph three times. It was so neat to be in the room upstairs where it
would have happened. AMAZING!!!
Then we went to the temple and did baptisms and an endowment
session. It was so cool to do all of that and be in the temple for a
couple of hours. It was about a three hour drive to the temple for us,
but it was so worth it. We got to see the Hill Cumorah as we drove by.
It was such a great day!
Then Wednesday morning we headed to Pittsburgh for a monthly
meeting all the sister training leaders and zone leaders have with
President and Sister Johnson. It was about a three hour drive. We had
MLC and it was a great meeting. I got picked at random with three
other missionaries to give a three minute talk that we all had to
prepare on teaching with the spirit. It went really well!
We all went back to the mission home and had a pizza party and
then the Johnson’s took us on a hike. It was so pretty! I LOVE
Pennsylvania. I’ve never been in a place more beautiful than here. We
got eaten by more Mosquitos, but we survived yet again! The sister got
to stay in the mission home for the night so that was a lot of fun. It
so funny to think that before the mission we would have all stayed up
talking t because we are all so tired we just went to bed.
As for our investigators we are working with. We moved Wendy’s
date to the 25th because she isn’t quite ready. She was still working
up the courage to tell her mom, but I fasted yesterday and she told us
last night that she is working on telling her this week 🙂 She is
doing so well it is so awesome. I am sad I won’t be here to see her be
baptized, but I think we are planning in FaceTiming or skyping me when
it happens!
Speaking of fast Sunday we had to stay home all day yesterday. We
even missed church I wasn’t to happy about that, but Sister Ludwig had
pinkeye and she could barely open it yesterday morning and since it is
contagious Sister Johnson told us to stay home. I wanted her to feel
better too. I felt bad that she couldn’t even open it, so we decided
it was best to let her rest. It was the most boring day of my mission.
Missionaries want to stay in all day, but let me tell you, no they
don’t. I felt like I was going go to go insane. I didn’t have anyone
to talk to because Sister Ludwig slept and I couldn’t leave. I don’t
think I have read the Book of Mormon so much in one day. Thankfully
she is better today and we were able to leave the house. Yay!
Froun is doing well. We are taking things slow with her and
trying to help her discover God. She is doing so much better than the
last time we saw her. There are still a few walls that need to come
down, but I know the Lord is working on her.
4th of July was awesome. We spent it was a less-active named
Amber. She didn’t have anyone to spend it with nor the means to have a
true 4th of July meal so we went to Walmart and got everything we
would need. We roasted hotdogs over a fire with chips and fruit. It
was great. We the. Watched Ephraim’s Rescue with her. That movie is
amazing. Everyone should watch it if they haven’t yet. Amber is doing
great she is working really hard to be able to go to the temple to for
her mother. We are super excited for her!
This is my last full week of my mission. My emotions are s little
crazy about the whole thing, but I pray everyday for the strength,
motivation, and diligence I need to finish my mission strong. I’ve
come this far and there is no point in stopping now. I want to be able
to say what Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought a good fight, I
have finished my course, I have kept the faith:”

I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July! I love yinz guys so much 😉
Love,
Sister Jones

Me! At the sacred grove entrance. Before I got eaten by Mosquitos :)

Me! At the sacred grove entrance. Before I got eaten by Mosquitos 🙂

the sacred grove. So many beautiful trees

the sacred grove. So many beautiful trees

the sacred grove. So many beautiful trees

the sacred grove. So many beautiful trees

IMG_0377

smiths log cabin. Moroni appeared to Joseph there

smiths log cabin. Moroni appeared to Joseph there

FullSizeRender-7 FullSizeRender-6

Palmyra Templ

Palmyra Templ

Palmyra Temple

Palmyra Temple

Palmyra Temple

Palmyra Temple

HAPPY FOURTH

HAPPY FOURTH

HAPPY FOURTH

HAPPY FOURTH

Last District Meeting :( Left to right Elder Whitmire, Elder Harper, Me!, Sister Ludwig, Sister Amendola, and Sister Rock Elders Whitmire and Harper and Sister Rock came out with me.

Last District Meeting 😦
Left to right
Elder Whitmire, Elder Harper, Me!, Sister Ludwig, Sister Amendola, and
Sister Rock
Elders Whitmire and Harper and Sister Rock came out with me.

Smiths Family Farm

Smiths Family Farm

I had over 18 of them. Some of them were pretty I they. Thankfully a member had calamine spray.

I had over 18 of them. Some of them were pretty I they. Thankfully a
member had calamine spray.

Week 76- There’s Always New “Gators” to Catch….

This week has been so awesome!! So many amazing things are happening here in Lock Haven. The work is really starting to pick up. Blessings from the Lord!
    On Monday we were eating dinner and then a member called and asked what we were doing. He told us to meet them at the Ice Shack and he would buy us ice cream. Apparently the whole Branch was getting together because a missionary from 14 years ago was coming back with her family and a family that used to be in the ward 8 years ago was also back in town. It was so neat to be there with everyone. They were all laughing and catching up with one another. It was awesome to see how excited they were to see the returned missionary. They all remembered her and loved her. I don’t think it was a coincidence that she was a red head 🙂 Her little daughter was a red head too and when she saw me she said, “We’re twins!” I laughed and said you bet we are 🙂 The Ice Shack is an awesome place. It is actually run by Mennites and all the proceeds go to the Boy Scout Camp out here. Pretty cool!
    Our investigator Froun came to church on Sunday. We are still working with her to open up and let the burdens of the past go. They hold her back from feeling the Spirit and truly coming unto Christ. Today we had an awesome lesson with her. I felt impressed to ask her if she wanted her burdens from the past to be gone. She said yes. I promised her that if she would pray and read the Book of Mormon every day that Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ would help her do that. I cried as I told her how much God loves her and we love her. She was definitely feeling it because tears welled up in her eyes. We have been thinking about dropping her but we know we need to keep meeting with her and helping her feel the Spirit. She said that she would read and pray every day! The Spirit was burning in my heart as I promised her those blessings from reading and praying. I know it to be true with all my heart!
    We picked up 4 new investigators this week! It is amazing! One of them is named Brandy. She is a potential from sisters in the past and we decided to try her. We got in and taught her a brief overview of the Restoration using our pamphlets. She was really interested. With the brief overview it gets people curious to know more and to want to learn. WE are going back on Friday to see her again!
    The other three are a family. Betty, George, and Cindy. We met Betty and George about a month ago. We were trying a less-active that lives next door, but she wasn’t home and they happened to be on their porch so we talked with them. We when went back this last Friday they were so happy to see us. They told us that when we first met them they were having a really down day and after we left they felt so much better. They actually started looking for us a couple of days later and they were worried that they missed us. Their dog had eaten the card that we left with our number on it. We asked if we could share more with them and they said sure. We shared with them the Book of Mormon. When I mentioned it George said that he had heard of it once, a long time ago. He was driving truck in Utah and he was on a drive with another coworker. This coworker was really pushing at trying to share the gospel while on the drive that it really upset George and he asked to get out of the truck so that he could go home. I was really nervous when he told us this, but thankfully the spirit helped him realize in that moment as he told us that the guy probably had a good heart he just didn’t present it in the best way. We apologized and then explained the Book of Mormon. He said that he wished the guy would have explained it the way we did a long time ago. They told us that they see the Book of Mormon as another tool in the toolbox 🙂 They were super interested and really wanted to read it. George’s mother, Cindy, came out and she was really interested too. They each wanted a copy so they could read. George was explaining to his mom what we were talking about with the Book of Mormon. He said, “I have been listening and everything they have been saying is truth.” I am pretty sure I had a big smile on my face when he said that. They are such an awesome family! We are so excited to teach them!! They even gave us fresh eggs from the farm 🙂
     We went on exchanges this week with the Berwick Sisters. I was going to go to Berwick with Sister Moss, my MTC companion, but I felt really impressed that I needed to stay in Lock Haven with Sister Crisp. To this day I don’t really know why I needed to stay, but I did and the exchange went really well. It rained the whole day! Literally the entire day!
      While on exchanges we saw Wendy and John. Wendy is doing great other than the fact that she hasn’t been feeling well. She is still reading and praying which is super awesome. She is still set with the 11th and we are working hard to make sure she is ready for it. We are excited for her 🙂
     Toady wasn’t our p-day that is why this email was so late. We went out and saw people to day, because tomorrow we are going to…. Palmyra!!!!!! I am so excited. I seriously can’t even hide it 🙂 We are going with some members to go see the sacred grove and to go to the temple! I will give more details next week after I have actually gone 🙂
     I hope everyone has a fantastic 4th of July!! Happy Independence day 🙂
Love,
Sister Jones
Last p-day we caught a little frog! We let him go because we can't have a pet :(

Last p-day we caught a little frog! We let him go because we can’t have a pet 😦

Members gave us this box at zone conference last week. Pretty awesome right? You would think. We never looked inside we just brought it in and put it in the freezer. Well it turns out that we froze potatoes from the potato bar they fed us, not ice cream.

Members gave us this box at zone conference last week. Pretty awesome right? You would think. We never looked inside we just brought it in and put it in the freezer. Well it turns out that we froze potatoes from the potato bar they fed us, not ice cream.

Members gave us this box at zone conference last week. Pretty awesome right? You would think. We never looked inside we just brought it in and put it in the freezer. Well it turns out that we froze potatoes from the potato bar they fed us, not ice cream.

Members gave us this box at zone conference last week. Pretty awesome right? You would think. We never looked inside we just brought it in and put it in the freezer. Well it turns out that we froze potatoes from the potato bar they fed us, not ice cream.

Week 75- Love of God<3

This week zipped by!
We had a lot going on this week and it was super awesome!
We have been working hard as a mission to take all of the paper
records that we have and enter all the data onto our iPads. It is a
lot of mundane work and takes a ton of time. Some days I wanted to go
insane from looking at teaching records all day! I really don’t like
being cooped up for a couple of hours a day. It was mandatory that we
did at least one hour a day of it. We finally finished this weekend.
That was an awesome day and an awesome feeling! Once the whole mission
is done entering in data we will be able to use social media! Crazy,
right? We will get to use Facebook, Skype, and blogs. The church is
definitely expanding our reaches in order to share the gospel with
all. Soon we can teach people all over the world, not just in
Pennsylvania.
Froun, our investigator, is doing sooooo good! We were so
surprised to see a Book of Mormon sitting on her chair when we came
back for our lesson. She has never had it out before. She told us that
she read out of it! We were super excited. We have been trying to get
her to read. When we came to our lesson later this week she had read
some more! She is definitely progressing slowly. We had a really
powerful lesson on the gospel of Jesus Christ. We talked about the
importance of forgiveness. She has a really hard time with that. She
listed off all the reasons why it is hard for her to forgive and it
just hit me, the Spirit so strong. I thought, “that is exactly how the
Savior felt, but He who has descended below all is willing to forgive
all those who caused Him pain.” I told her that the people never
recognized how much the Savior did for them, they didn’t believe Him,
they mocked Him, spit upon Him, even crucified Him. Despite all of
that He said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” I
bore my testimony to her of the importance of forgiving others. If we
don’t forgive them how in the world can we expect the Savior to
forgive us. That was a powerful experience for me to realize how
loving the Savior is.
We had exchanges with the sisters in Mansfield this week. We
blitzed their area, meaning that all 4 of us worked in Mansfield for
the day. Sister Amendola and Sister Rock are there. I got to see
Sister Amendola! She is doing so well in Mansfield. It was a great
day! We went to a member’s house and she had a ton of cats and
kittens. I mean well over 20. They were so cute. Pictures to follow 🙂
Sister Rock and I taught a lesson to a less-active on the love of God.
(Sitting here right now, typing this email I have realized that I
learned a lot about the love of God this week). As we taught him, the
Spirit warmed my soul as I bore testimony of how the Gift of the Holy
Ghost allows us to feel the love of God everyday. I know that to be
true. I have never felt the love of God more abundantly than I have on
my mission. As I have been filled with the Spirit everyday it has been
so strong.
My last Zone Conference was this Thursday innState College. It
was an emotional day and a busy one. I was in three musical numbers.
sister Ludwig and I Sang first. We sang “As Sisters in Zion”. Sister a
rock, Amendola, Ludwig and I sand “In Christ Alone”. Then my MTC
companion, Sister Moss sang “Because I Have Been Given Much” with me.
They were all great! At our last Zone Conference we have to give a
departing testimony. I was the last one of all that were leaving to
give mine. My heart was pounding the whole day as I waited for my
turn. I bore a short testimony on how my testimony has been
strengthened since I have come in a mission. I am so grateful that I
came on a my mission. To think that I didn’t want to and that I tried
to ignore the Spirit is crazy. It has been the best decision I have
made in my life. I have learned so many things that I know are going
to bless my life.
To top off the week Amber, a less-active we are working with, and
Wendy, our investigator came to church this week! Three weeks in a
row. Boo yah! They are doing so awesome. Wendy is really working hard
to be ready for the 11th. Also three more less-actives came to church
on Sunday and they said they had a friend they wanted us to teach. We
are going to reach out to them this week! Well until next time…
I hope everyone had a wonderful day Father’s Day and that yinz
have the best week ever!
Love,
Sister Jones

Our investigator Wendy is super duper crafty and she made us these Angels. They have our names on them.

Our investigator Wendy is super duper crafty and she made us these
Angels. They have our names on them.

All of us came out on the mission together (left to right: Elder Glick, Sister Moss, Sister Rock, Elder Redford, and of course... ME!) The New Years Crew 🎉

All of us came out on the mission together (left to right: Elder
Glick, Sister Moss, Sister Rock, Elder Redford, and of course… ME!) The New Years Crew 🎉

 Kittens inspired by Kittens. "I'm her mom!" "No she's not!" Haha some of the many kittens and cats that were at the house.

Kittens inspired by Kittens. “I’m her mom!” “No she’s not!” Haha
some of the many kittens and cats that were at the house.

Kittens inspired by Kittens. "I'm her mom!" "No she's not!" Haha some of the many kittens and cats that were at the house.

Kittens inspired by Kittens. “I’m her mom!” “No she’s not!” Haha
some of the many kittens and cats that were at the house.

beautiful Pa Sunset

beautiful Pa Sunset

Zone Conference

Zone Conference

River once again

River once again

River

River

Week 74- Great Things Are Happening Here!

Well this week was crazy busy, which is a really good thing!
It started out with doing service for a member on Tuesday. We
helped her move. She had a lot of stuff and there weren’t very many of
us so it took longer than expected. It was definitely a workout! She
has so many staircases in her new house we had to go up and down up
and down. She was so glad that we came to help. She was really
stressed out that the people she asked to helped back out at the last
minute and she wasn’t sure if she was going to be out in time. We,
being the youngest ones there, were able to move a lot faster than the
other 3 that were helping.
Wednesday night we drove to State College to do my first exchange
as a Sister Training Leader again. I was in State College with Sister
Wyasket. It is such an awesome place. The university there is Penn
State. There is so much diversity the there in the student population.
It is also a walk/bus area so it reminded of good ol’ Swissvale 🙂
Exchanges went awesome! We went to try a potential of their’s
named Meng Meng. She was home and invited us in. She moved here from
China a couple of years ago. She didn’t much knowledge or
understanding about God or Christ so we ended up teaching her about
Christ right then and there. I felt like she and I really connected.
The Spirit was so strong. The Spirit was inspiring me to know how I
should explain things so that it made since to her. Meng Meng was
willing to meet with the sisters to learn more about the gospel. At
the end she asked us how she could find peace in her life. I smiled at
her and told that by listening to the sisters and living the gospel
that they teach her she would peace in her life.
We had an open house here in Lock Haven at our Branch building. It
went ok. E turnout wasn’t quite what we wanted, but I think we needed
more time to prepare and to publicize it a whole lot more. It was a
great idea though and next time we know how to do it better. We set up
posters of facts and pictures of our church all in the building. It
was wonderful to see. Hopefully we can get more to see it the next
time they do it.
Yesterday we had Branch Conference. It was great! I sang a solo
in sacrament meeting while Sister Ludwig accompanied me. I sang “Ye
Elders of Israel”. I don’t know why, but I was so nervous. I guess I
haven’t done something like that in a really long time. I just prayed
for the strength and the ability to be calm and that the Spirit would
touch their hearts as I sang.
The most awesome thing of this week is that we set our
investigator Wendy with a baptismal date! Yay! She is working towards
July 11th. She told us that she wants to be baptized, but she is
afraid of what some family members might think. We asked her if she
has prayed about it.she said yes. We then asked what she felt as she
prayed. She said that she feels like she should, but then a voice says
not to. We told her to not listen to the other voice and do what is
right. I felt prompted to invite her to be baptized and I did. She
said yes and we set her for July 11th. Cool thing is is that yesterday
at church she asked us where she could go learn more about baptism. We
gladly told her where. It made me so happy to see that she is thinking
about baptism and she desires to learn more about it to prepare
herself for it.
Froun is doing really well. We had a great lesson on the Plan of
Salvation. We were planning to teach the restoration and then she
brought up the three kingdoms because she remembered other sisters
teaching her about it, but she wanted to know more. I could tell that
she was definitely feeling the spirit during our lesson. The Spirit is
definitely working on her!
We are also teaching a 13 year old named John. He is super
awesome. He is the son of a member and he really wants to be baptized.
He has to get permission from his dad before he can be. It amazes me
at how well he can understand the scriptures. I definitely did not
understand them at his age.
It was just a great week. The branch is awesome and we are
working on making it bigger!
Shout out to my pops, Happy Father’s Day on Sunday! I know it’s early
but better early than late 🙂 Thanks for being the best dad a little
girl could ask for!
I hope you all have a great week!
Love,
Sister Jones

Sister Wyasket and I on exchanges in State College

Sister Wyasket and I on exchanges in State College

Week 73- The Results are in…. Lock Haven PA!

Hello out there!
I am officially in my last area and with my last companion. Would
you like to know where and who it is? I am now in Lock Haven. It is an
awesome place. We live right off of the Susquehanna River which is
pretty sweet! There is only a Branch out here. Which, for those of you
who don’t know, a branch is smaller than a ward. We have only about
20-30 people who come on Sunday’s. Crazy right? My goal is to make
this area grow. I only have so much time to make a difference in Lock
Haven. We only had one investigator when I got here. There is
definitely potential here and I am going to try my best to do what the
Lord needs me to do. I pray every night for His instructions and I
feel like He has definitely been leading me.
As for my companion, her name is Sister Ludwig. She is from Idaho
and is a twin. She has been out for 13 months and has only been in
Lock Haven 6 weeks longer than me. I love her already and we have been
working so hard this past week. We have the same goal to make this
area stronger.
As for this week we have spent a lot of time trying to find people
to teach. We have quite a few potentials and one new investigator!!
Woohoo! I feel like I have been trying tot follow the Spirit more now
than I ever have on my mission. I know the Lord needs me here for a
reason so I am working hard to figure it out.
Our investigators are Wendy and Froun.
Wendy is doing great! She came to both session of Stake Conference
this weekend and she was glowing with happiness. She told us that she
is really praying hard about baptism. She is worried about how it
would effect her relationship with her family. She wants to do the
right thing so she is praying to know. We are going to try and set her
with a date!
Froun is our new investigator. She is so sweet! She met with
missionaries before. Froun told us that she hasn’t been getting
anything out of the church that she is going to right now, she feels
like something is missing. When she said that I could feel the Spirit
so strongly. I knew it was the gospel. I knew that it would fill the
void that she had In her life. I also had a feeling that she is going
to get baptized. I don’t know when but I definitely felt that. I
couldn’t deny it.
We had Stake Conference this weekend and Elder L. Whitney Clayton
came. We got to shake hands with him and attend a YSA question and
answer that he did. It was super neat to see. He is definitely a man
called by God and is so wise and knowledgable in the scriptures.
Oh and we did service this week at the Piper Aviation Museum
here in Lock Haven. It was so neat. He took us on a tour and showed us
the planes. Piper planes are historical planes that fought in WWII…
I think. He gave us a lot of information so I don’t quite remember.
Anyways, it was so much fun. We helped file papers and blueprints.
Lock Haven is beautiful and I love it so much. I am so excited for
the weeks to come. I love yinz! Have a fabulous week 🙂
Love,
Sister Jones

 Sister Ludwig and I

Sister Ludwig and I

Elder Clayton and a Elder Haney visited our Stake this weekend. All the missionaries in our zone -2 sisters.

Elder Clayton and a Elder Haney visited our Stake this weekend. All
the missionaries in our zone -2 sisters.

Piper Airplanes. The yellow one is the original model

Piper Airplanes. The yellow one is the original model

Piper Airplanes. The yellow one is the original model

Piper Airplanes. The yellow one is the original model

I touched this skunk. It was someone's pet! 😳

I touched this skunk. It was someone’s pet! 😳