Tuesday, September 30, 2014

When we promise 'si' at baptism, we promise 'siempre'


It´s been a good week. This quote is from H. Trendler, who is serving in South America right now :)
Monday there was a lightning storm! I got a fairly good picture of it. In spanish, they have one word for the rays of lightning, and one for the flash of light.
On wednesday I had intercambios, which is when the Sister Training Leader companionship splits with us, so my companion went to their area, and H. Blake came here with me, for a whole day. I had to be without my companion for a whole day! And more importantly, I had to know where I was going and what I was doing for a whole day! It was scary, but really fun. We visited a few people, and then went to our investigator Bryan´s house. He´s been having the lessons for a few months, and is really conflicted about being baptized (he wants to be confirmed in another church like the rest of his family--keep in mind, hes only 14). ¨We´ve been doing Family Home Evenings with his family (his mom´s a less active member) for a few weeks. We started talking to him, and he said, ¨You know, I was talking with my mom, and I want to be baptized. Not this week, but next week.¨ Hearing that...ahhh it made my heart melt! Baptism is an essential step in Heavenly Fathers plan for us, and we have to be baptized in order to live with Him and our families after this life. It is really important for people to come to their own decision regarding baptism, because, especially for Bryan, it might bring family difficulties because his dad doesn´t like the church. But being baptized for the remission of sins and later receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost brings so many more blessings! I´m so happy for him. It will be this next friday, so I´ll send pictures next week :)

I taught my first english class this week! And guess what? only kids showed up! It was this group of like 11 kids, and I just had NO idea what to teach them. We worked on how to introduce ourselves, and I tried to get them to sing the alphabet song with me (I was not successful with that).

OH and on friday there was this massive rainstorm! The streets were flooded, and we still had to work...some members gave us umbrellas, but we were COMPLETELY soaked. It was ridiculous. I felt so bad that we got everyone´s floors wet that we visited, and I think some of them only invited us in cuz they felt bad for us haha. It´s been raining off and on ever since...everyone says this is not very normal haha.

Well, I´ll let you know if there´s any new developements, but I´m doing well! Thanks for your emails and letters...I don´t always have time to write back, but I LOVE reading them :)

Hermana Jones

Monday, September 22, 2014

"Hey, if it's for mission work, Adelante!"

Hello :) 

The quote for this week is courtesy of my companion, Hermana Herrera. A member called us and asked for 8 copies of the Book of Mormon, and we have about 20 in our apartment. I wasn´t sure if we were allowed to give that many to the members, but she said this, and it just made me laugh.
I think that mission work is always great, but sometimes different degrees of great. We´ve experienced the lower edge of great this week haha.

On Monday, we sat down with the Tres Mujeres and told them what we expected of these lessons, and they told us their thoughts about baptism. It was a wonderful lesson, and we really cleared up some things about our church that they didn´t know. Our purpose as missionaries is not to invite others to Christ, not to only sit in a park and chat. We left feeling really good about that lesson.
And then Wednesday came around. It started out fine, but in the afternoon, we had a really difficult lesson. We´re teaching four young people, my age, who are all friends (two couples). They´re amazing, and I love them all, but they tend to try to see us as friends, not as representatives of Jesus Christ. We spent an hour trying to teach about Joseph Smith and the Restauration, but in the end only shared a scripture and left. It was disheartening, but I was looking forward to our lesson with the Tres Mujeres.

When we got there, they were all very sad looking, very serious. I pointed out that one of them had brought her Book of Mormon like we´d asked last time, and she said, ¨Yes, I have all the things you gave me,¨ and gave them to my companion. She started explaining something about her husband in Spanish, and the other two women were talking as well, something about Mary, and I was like, what is going on...I realized that basically, her husband doesn´t like that we´re teaching them, and the other woman doesn´t like that we don´t worship the Virgin Mary, and the third was being supportive of her friends. They said they didn´t want to have the lessons anymore.

We understood, and completely respect their decision and right to make it. But afterward, we went to a bench a block away and just cried. I haven´t ever before felt like I did in that moment, when I watched them reject us. Because really, they weren´t rejecting us, they were rejecting Christ, who is the center of all our lessons. They were rejecting a chance to know God, to have peace in their homes and with their families. It made me so sad, because they didn´t realize that that is what they were rejecting.

So, that was hard. The rest of the day felt off, and to be honest, the rest of the week. We still see them and say hi, but of course it´s different. Something my companion said was this: ¨They aren´t ready now, they can´t do it now. But maybe in the next life, we´ll have the chance to teach them again.¨ That was very comforting.

The rest of the week was uneventful, honestly haha. Transfers came, so we have two new missionaries in my district, and they seem nice. We had a lot of investigators at church yesterday, and it was awesome. I´d say it was one of my most spiritual experiences at church so far on my mission, because I was praying the entire time for our investigators to feel the Spirit. They all enjoyed the meeting, and it was great for us as well. 
Well, spiritual thought for the week: ¨God gives a testimony to those who are willing to share it.¨ President Uchtdorf (this is paraphrased, cuz I don´t remember the exact way he said it haha)

Love you all! I hope your weeks were great,
Hermana Jones

Monday, September 15, 2014

End of My Second Transfer

Hi! I hope you all had a great week! It was weird for me to realize that I just finished my second transfer (every 6 weeks is called a transfer). I´ve been in Spain for 12 weeks, although it definitely feels like longer.
I thought I´d make a list of what I did/accomplished these past 6 weeks:
1. I communicated with people in Spanish--that is one of my biggest accomplishments haha. I am far from being good at Spanish, but I can talk and understand most people.
2. I got food poisening for the first time :)
3. I ate kebob (a type of food here that isn´t in the States) and paella every week, and who know what else. I usually don´t ask what type of food the people feed us primarily because I wouldn´t know the English equivalent, and also because I feel like I probably wouldn´t want to know :P
4. Spent time every day walking in the sun, in 90+ degree weather, and I am still here!
5. Became a resident of Spain
6. Made friends with the local dogs (literally every person has a dog here. We try to be on good terms with them so that the people will like us, and so that the dogs won´t attack us).
7. Ran out of money and phone minutes multiple times
8. Ridden (and ran for) the train more times than I can count. They really need to give us a car; we spend 10 or more euros a day on the train to get to our pueblos.
9. Already broke my Book of Mormon. My companion says it´s because I´m too enthusiastic when I read hahaha
10. Had a baptism and confirmation! Her name is Monica, and she was baptized on Saturday. We started teaching her almost a month ago, and she´s a gem. The baptismal service was so special, even though before hand we were running around like crazy trying to get things done. Monica bore a really sweet testimony about how she came to know that God exists and that this is His church and, more importantly, His gospel. Then yesterday, she was confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and her smile was so big. It was the best weekend ever :)

Well, I´m looking forward to the next 6 weeks! We´re going to start teaching English classes...that´ll be an adventure.
I love you all! Have a great week,
Hermana Jones

1. a picture of one of the AMAZING sunsets here

2. I call this an ice cream shovel. It´s the proper utensil to use when eating ice cream, apparently (and they have Burger King here!). 

3. Jose, a member who baptized Monica, Monica, H. Herrera, and me :)

Monday, September 8, 2014

"Everything the light touches is our area"

Hey! So, I think I forgot to send a letter this past week...Sorry about that. I really don´t have an excuse other than that I forgot haha. We have an hour and a half to email, so I have plenty of time.
The good news is that I didn´t have much to write about anyway haha. We had a lot of lesson cancelations (On Saturday, every single one of our nine lessons fell through). BUT that´s why we have back up plans for every hour of every day! We were able to meet some new people to teach.
For example, the pueblo we work in most, Torre Pacheco, has like 50 small parks. We were walking in one of them, and these three ladies stopped us. Apparently they sit in the park every day and talk. They asked who we were and what our church was about, so we taught them about the Plan of Salvation, that everyone can be with their families and with God after this life. We´ve continued teaching them a few times a week in this park. It´s kind of an odd situation...we just show up and all of us gather around this bench/table thing and learn about the gospel. H. Herrera and I call them The Tres Mujeres (The three women), because they´re always together.
We also are teaching this sweet woman, Monica. She´s pregnant, and the first time we met with her, she started bawling, saying she wanted to change her life. We were thrilled, because that´s exactly what we try to teach people, how to have better lives. More about her next week :)
Those are just some of our investigators. Each pair of missionaries is assigned to a certain area to share the gospel, and we rarely leave our area. I just LOVE my area, love it. The people are odd sometimes, and it makes me sad when some of them reject what we teach. But I´m responsible to bring them the gospel of Jesus Christ, and they have the right to reject or accept it. Even if I am sad for those people, I know that there are men and women here who I need to find, who the Lord has prepared to hear His gospel. It´s an amazing feeling. Kinda like a scavenger hunt haha. In fact, today our ward mission leader took us on a tour of Cartagena and the surrounding pueblos. Basically a tour of our area. Remember how I said that we have 11 pueblos in my area? I´ve only been to two of them! But we got to the top of a mountain outside Cartagena, and you could see all the little pueblos and areas there. Our leader was pointing out the different parts, and I was like, ¨So...basically everything we can see right now is our area.¨ It´s awe inspiring, and very humbling.
Well, I think that covers my week pretty well. I am being well taken care of here by the members, so don´t worry about me :) I love you all!
Hermana Jones

PS points to anyone who can guess the reference to the subject line!