Wednesday, May 27, 2015

"There´s a time in your life when you have to have God..."

"...because you have no one else.¨ This is a missionary from The District videos, Sister Voyles. I have gained such a testimony here of the fact that there will come a time (or there will come TIMES) when we need God, when everything else fails and we have the option to rely on Him, or we can just continue spiraling down in sadness. I´ve gotten to see a few of those times in other people´s lives, and it is incredible.

This week was INSANE. It is the last week in the six-week transfer, and at the end of the week we receive calls to tell us if we will be changing areas or not. I´ve been in Malaga for a while now (over 4 months) and so I was pretty sure I was going. So, anyway, that was stressful.

In addition, we are a trio right now, because there was a missionary who didn´t have a companion. She spent the week with us, and it has been so fun! I´ve learned a lot from her. She´s from Norway, which is pretty cool.

Well, on Monday, we saw a recent convert, named Toby, who is from Nigeria. He had an accident--he was pushed down the appartment stairs, and had to go to the hospital. We brought the elders, the missionaries, over to give him a blessing for the sick, and it was INCREDIBLE. We all felt the Spirit so strongly, and it was humbling to be there and witness God´s power in work.

On Tuesday to Wednesday we did exchanges, and that was really fun. I always learn so much from the sisters. This one, Hermana Cook, is an amazing missionary, even though she´s only been here for like 4 months.

Oh, and then on Wednesday afternoon we had a miracle: There were these less active members who we went to go visit, and they answered the door saying, oh, we´re tired, today isn´t a good day, we really don´t feel like it. We started chatting a bit more, and the mom mentioned that she had some pet ducks, and if we wanted to see them. We said yes, and she let us into her home to see them. (Sidenote: it is so amazing that people let us into their homes, and I´m always so grateful for it. We carry the most important message ever to be shared, but I understand that it is really hard for someone to open their door and receive a pair of young people. So I´m grateful that they do.) This family is amazing, and super good and sweet. We´re looking forward to working with them more.

Also, Hermana Cook taught me how to make french toast :)

The miracle on Thursday was that we were hurrying to an eating appointment, and we have to take a 40 min. bus ride to get there. As we were walking, we see the bus go past...on the other side! So we start running, and we crossed half the street, but cars were coming by on the other side, so we had to wait. I shrugged at the bus driver (because he saw us running) so that he could keep going, but he stopped and waited for us!!! It sounds kind of silly when I´m writing it, but it was really nice of him, and it saved us a lot of time. There are some really good people here!

And then, on Thursday night, we were waiting for the elevator to visit a friend we had in a building, and we started talking to the woman there. We talked for a minute, and suddenly she opened up and started telling us how there were problems with her pregnancy and she was really worried. We told her about a priesthood blessing (like how I mentioned before) for the sick and afflicted, like what Jesus Christ did for the people in His time, and she said we could come over the next morning.

So, we talked to the bishop, who lives right next to us. He said he couldn´t, but his sons could come. We went over the next morning with the sons to give her the blessing, and she explained that she felt the Spirit very strongly. She went to the doctor that night, and they operated on her the next day. We haven´t talked to her since then, but we´ve been praying for her, and the Lord will protect her.

Also, fun fact, I got a library card! So that we can use the library computers for free. But then we found out.....THE IPADS ARE FINALLY HERE! We´re going to get them this Friday. It´s super exciting.

On Saturday was when we were supposed to get the calls for transfers. We waited, and waited...finally it was lunchtime, and we ate together with the sisters in the other Malaga ward, and the assistants to the president, and the office elders. They took pity on me (because I was DYING to know where I was going, and my zone leaders--the ones who were supposed to tell me--hadn´t called and weren´t answering their phones) and told me that..... I´M STAYING IN MALAGA! Yay!!! That means I´ll spend 6 months in Malaga. It´s very exciting.

And then on Sunday, I went with the Norweigan sister to her ward in Fuengirola, while my companion stayed with a member in our ward here. It was cool to see another ward and how they do things.

Anyway, it was a great week. There are a lot of changes coming up! It´s very exciting. I´ll keep you updated.

Love and miss you all,

Hermana Jones

Some of the wonderful missionaries here! They´re awesome.  Hna. Cook, Elder Mangum, E. LLavina, H. Giler, E. Alomia, Me, E. Sykes, and H. Merrill.

Monday, May 18, 2015

"Compared to me, you and your companion aren't that different."

So, there´s this story about a missionary. He was obedient and happy and diligent and everything that a mission president wants in his missionaries. One transfer, he got paired with a missionary who was completely the opposite: lazy and pessimistic and selfish and who didn´t want to work. The first missionary had such a hard time--he struggled helping this missionary to find joy in missionary work, but he felt dragged down by his companion. One day he and his companion were riding their bikes, and the second missionary stopped, got off, sat down on the sidewalk and wouldn´t move. The first missionary prayed in his head, ¨Heavenly Father, how can I do this? I have to drag him everywhere, and his attitude isn´t good, and he doesn´t do missionary work well.¨ He heard a thought in his mind, as if it came from God: ¨Compared to me, you and your companion aren´t so different.¨

I was struck by that. In the grand scheme of things, there are no ¨investigators¨ and missionaries. We´re all investigators, compared with God. We´re all trying to get back to Him, and even though some are a bit farther along in the path, we are all there together. This missionary and his companion were trying to get back to God, in different ways and at different speeds, but they were both trying.


My week was GREAT. On Monday and Tuesday was the Missionary Leadership Council, when the leaders in the mission get together and we talk about what our missionaries need. It´s really spiritual, and you can feel how much love President Deere has for all of us.

So that was fun. And then on Tuesday afternoon we did exchanges with another pair of sisters here in Malaga who are AMAZING. I really enjoyed it, and I thought about how blessed I am to be able to go and visit all these areas and meet all these new people and learn from and help other missionaries. It´s the best!

And then, on Friday, we had a Zone Meeting. We had to prepare a talk for it, which is always interesting haha. And then night before, some sister missionaries came and spent the night in our apartment because they lived far away. One of their birthdays was that day, so we had a mini party (with weird spanish birthday cake and pudding). We got up early the next morning to play soccer with our zone, and it was super fun!

And then we had a miracle: On Saturday we were walking in the street, and saw a little older lady carrying groceries, and so we offered to help her with them. She said, ¨No, thank you, but I´m a member of this church.¨ Apparently she went out of the country for four years (and just moved back LAST MONTH) and hasn´t been able to go to church, but she wants to. So that was super cool! She didn´t end up coming on Sunday, but next week she will :)

So, all in all, it was an awesome day! But Sunday was really cool: it was the 17th of May. 12 years ago from that date, I was baptized. And 1 year ago from that date, I went to the temple. It´s a special day!

I love and miss you all! I hope you have a great week.


Hermana Jones

PS Here´s a cool quote from President Hinckley: “Now, my brethren and sisters, the time has come for us to stand a little taller, to lift our eyes and stretch our minds to a greater comprehension and understanding of the grand millennial mission of this The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is a season to be strong. It is a time to move forward without hesitation, knowing well the meaning, the breadth, and the importance of our mission. It is a time to do what is right regardless of the consequences that might follow. It is a time to be found keeping the commandments. It is a season to reach out with kindness and love to those in distress and to those who are wandering in darkness and pain. It is a time to be considerate and good, decent and courteous toward one another in all of our relationships. In other words, to become more Christlike.”

Monday, May 11, 2015

"We need to pray often..."

"...we need to read the scriptures often. The trials will pass, the impurities will disappear from our lives, and we will be ready for the coming of the Lord.¨ The bishop here in Malaga 1st Ward said this. He was talking about Revelations 3:18-19, which says, ¨I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich...As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.¨ I have understood here, more than in any other part of my life, that for the Lord, we are all gold. We are all precious to Him. But we ALL have impurities and dirt and we´re shaped weirdly and aren´t useful for anything. He knows what we can be; He knows that we can be perfect. But to do that, He needs to change us, and ¨[try us] in the fire¨. That´s not an easy process, and it hurts. But if we don´t give up, and if we don´t give up on Him, we will make through it. ¨The trials will pass.¨

This week was AMAZING! We got to have a mission wide conference to talk about the iPads that are coming. So that was cool; I got to see Hermana Herrera, and Hermana Adrian, and Hermana Miller, my anterior companions, and a lot of other missionaries that I hadn´t seen in a while. But better than that were the speakers: Elder Allen and Elder Dykes, from the Quorum of the Seventy. The first thing they said was, ¨This is not about iPads.¨ They talked about obedience and repentance and how to do missionary work more effectively. (That´s something I was really interested in: sometimes, it feels like I´m working really hard, but until I start working effectively, I don´t see many results). It was an AMAZING conference.

And besides companion taught me how to make perfect rice :) And we have some amazing investigators right now. One told us, ¨I don´t know if this book is true, and I don´t know if God exists. But every time I meet with you, something good happens to me.¨ We also got a call from an investigator from a long time ago who said, ¨I know your church is true, and I want to be baptized.¨ She´s amazing! She´s working on stopping smoking, but once she overcomes that, she´ll be baptized. It really was a wonderful week.

Love and miss you all,
Hermana Jones

"It wouldn´t be the gospel without my family."

This is a quote from a boy in our ward here in Malaga...the first Sunday in May is Mother´s Day in Spain, and it was also Fast and Testimony meeting in the church. This boy gave an amazing testimony about how grateful he was to his mother, and how he, only being 17 years old, was coming to understand how important and wonderful the family is.

It was a great week this week! It was Consecration Week, which is when we try our best to give everything we have to the Lord, and we really did see a lot of blessings from it. And the President´s Assistants (who are in my district here) saw some amazing miracles: they found over 40 new investigators this week! It was incredible, and I´ve never seen anything like that before. It really taught me that, when you are obedient and good and work hard, the Lord WILL bless you. But more than that, He will bless others through you. Those 40+ people that the Elders taught had the amazing blessing of getting to know the gospel of Jesus Christ. Miracles!

Monday was a good day. Every Monday we do a Family Home Evening with the Bishop and his family, and it´s super fun! They are so great and take such good care of us. They live right next door, so we see them a lot.
On Tuesday we had a lot of funny moments. I´m not sure exactly what happened, but it was just one of those days when nothing goes right...but we really enjoyed ourselves. And there are some really good people in Malaga. I love being here!
On Wednesday we went to eat with a member from Brazil whose food is SUPER good. So that was the highlight of Wednesday haha...we worked hard and visited a lot of people that day. One was named Oscar. He opened the door when we knocked, and we started talking about God and if He exists, and why all these bad things happen in He really does love us. It´s hard for him, but he has such a big heart and is so willing to find out if what we´re saying is true. We invited him to pray to see if God exists, and he said, ¨Okay, I´ll do it. You´ll have to come back in a few days to see how it went.¨ It was awesome :)

And THEN came the crazy exhanges...we had planned to do an exchange with the sisters in a city about 2 hours away, Granada. But then we got a text that there was an emergency in another city, Almeria, and we needed to do exchanges with them asap. (and this city is 3 hours away, in the opposite direction). So we had our Granada exchange (which was super fun because it was with a sister that was in the missionary training center with me) from noonish on thursday until noonish on friday, and it went really well. I stayed here in Malaga and Hermana Giler went to Granada. Then, on Friday, I had to be on a bus to get to Almeria at 3, but Hermana Giler wasn´t getting back from Granada until 3:30, and I had the keys...I called the Bishop´s wife and she told me to leave them under the mat of their door and that Hermana Giler could pick it up afterward. So we did that, and I got on my bus, and it was all good. But it was stressful for a bit. Almeria was great, and super beautiful, and the exchange went well. But on Saturday, on my way back to Malaga, the bus broke down! It wasn´t a big deal, I felt very calm, but we were kind of in the middle of nowhere, and I don´t understand car language in english, let alone spanish and my poor companion had to find someone to be with while I was stuck there...but there was a nice German couple in front of me who didn´t speak english nor spanish, and so I talked to them a bit. (¨Talked¨ as in, we laughed a bit and tried to communicate...but I did learn that kaput is a real German word.)

And then´s supposed to be a day of rest, but for missionaries, it´s one of our most stressful days. The Sacrament meeting was wonderful and very spiritual, but afterwards, the problems started. The other missionaries in the ward were going to have a baptism right after church of an AMAZING woman. She came up to us (my companion and I) and told us that she forgot a towel. So we left church and went to our appartment to get a towel and blow dryer for her, and when we got back, we were informed that the hot water wasn´t working. So we had to fill the font with what we could of the water from the building, and heat water on the stove for the rest of it. It was an adventure...we were running back and forth for a few hours doing this, and then there was a gas leak from the water heaters...but at the end, the baptismal service was incredible. I gave a talk about the Holy Ghost, and it went well. And the woman being baptized, Monica, is so special. It was a really tender day.
So, that was my week. It was awesome :) This Wednesday, we are going to Sevilla to be trained on how to use the iPads, but we won´t actually get them for 2-3 weeks because the company is having some shipping problems. But it´s all good :)

I love and miss you all! Have a great week,
Hermana Jones

"My answer from God? It was that I need to start praying again."

This is a quote from one of our investigators...he´s very scientifically-minded, which is great, but he won´t accept anything on faith. We´ve been teaching him for a few weeks, and FINALLY he said that he would pray that night to see if what we were teaching is true. We went back the next morning to see how it went, and he said...he forgot to pray :( So we asked him to pray that night and he said yes, and we went back the next day...and he had prayed! I asked him, ¨What answer did you get?¨ and he said, ¨My answer from God? It was that I need to start praying again.¨ It was SUPER powerful, and I felt the Spirit a ton. (Turns out that, in his prayer, he didn´t ask anything about what we had been teaching him, so he still doesn´t know if it´s true, but we´re getting there haha).
Well! This week was AWESOME. It started out well also: last monday we found 3 new investigator friends who are really cool. They´re evangelicals (I don´t know if that´s how you say it in english...) and they´re really open to hearing about the message we have.

And then, we got to do two companion exchanges this week with the sister missionaries here, and it was super fun! I stayed in my area (because my companion, Hermana Giler, doesn´t know it yet) and it was awesome. Actually, all of our appointments failed on us, BUT I figured it was for a reason...and we ended up finding more new investigators as well. So that was cool. I love exchanges, I think I learn more from them than the other sisters learn from me :)

And then we just had some amazing, wonderful, crazy miracles... When we were on an exchange, and Hermana Giler was in a different part of Málaga, a man came up to her and said, ¨Are you Mormons?¨ She said, ¨Yes, we are.¨ ¨The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?¨ ¨Yes.¨ ¨Joseph Smith, 1820? Alma, Nephi, Moroni?¨ ¨Yes, that´s us!¨ He was a bit drunk, but said, ¨I need you to come visit me.¨ So they wrote down his address, and turns out that he lives in OUR area! So we went to visit him, and turns out that he´s actually a member of our church already. AND turns out that he was baptized in 1977 (a year after Spain was opened to let in other religions) and that he holds the Melchizedek priesthood!

This Sunday he came to church and the first talk was about...the Word of Wisdom. (I swear, we did not plan that at all.) After he said to me, ¨That talk was for me. I need to stop drinking permanantly.¨ Since he met Hermana Giler that first time, he hasn´t touched alcohol at all. He´s so awesome!!!
Oh, and we also got a new ward mission leader here. There was a bit of a problem with our old one...and so we haven´t had one for a few weeks. For me, that´s a bigger problem, so we´ve been bugging the Bishop haha so that he and his counselors can pray about it and call another one. They called a man who just moved into this ward, and who´s AWESOME, and served a mission a few years ago, and doesn´t have a job. (That´s too bad for him, but really good for us--as missionaries we require a lot of support and contact and help from the ward, and the ward mission leader is our connection to the ward. They recommend that we´re in contact with him every single day. AND it´s not just my companion and I; there are 4 pairs of missionaries in our ward here, so he´s got a LOT of work ahead for him.) I think being ward mission leader would be a very difficult calling...but also incredibly rewarding.
Anyway, I hope you have a great week! Love and miss you all!

Hermana Jones

This is the zone of missionaries here...they´re awesome!

"Repentance is more valuable than forgiveness"

This is a quote from Elder Frost, one of the senior missionaries who lives here in Malaga. He was explaining that it isn´t enough to get into Heaven being forgiven; we have to be like God, and we learn that through the process of repentance.
Well, it was a great week, as usual. 
Monday: The first part of the day was P-day...we played soccer, as usual. My district here is made up of the assistents to the president and another pair of elders and us, and a few times a week we go and play soccer in the mornings. But most p-days we go and play soccer also. Every monday we always do family home evenings with the Bishop´s family, and it´s super fun. They´re awesome, and although they all know our missionary object lessons, they like to participate and bring their friends.
Tuesday: We had a lesson with a wonderful 12 yr old who has been meeting with the missionaries since she was nine, but her parents won´t let her be baptized. But she´s amazing and her testimony of Christ is incredibly strong :)

Wednesday: TRANSFER DAY! It is always crazy...we are the sister missionaries closest to the train/bus station, so we are always getting calls asking us to pick up or drop off or stay with other sisters...but I love it. Hermana Herrera went home :( but Hermana Giler came! She´s amazing, she and I were in the missioniary training center together, and she is an INCREDIBLE missionary. I´ve loved serving with her, even for only the few days she´s been here.

Thursday: We do weekly planning sessions each week, and this week was amazing. Preach My Gospel says that weekly planning should be a spiritual experience, and it definitely was this week. And we got to plan for the exchanges that we´re going to do this transfer (we do 6 every transfer).
Friday: We had district meeting, and afterward ate with the assistants and some sister missionaries close by. It was super fun!

Saturday: I randomly woke up sick...again. This time, it wasn´t food poisoning or anything, but all my muscles hurt and I had an awful headache. I felt sad because we couldn´t go out and work, but we were able to go out for a few appointments and so it was okay.
Sunday: I felt a LOT better, and church was great! We had some great lessons with our friends who are getting to know the church, and it was awesome. It was a great day :)
So, that was my week. I would share pictures, but I don´t have any new ones...haha sorry!

Love and miss you,
Hermana Jones