Tuesday, August 22, 2017

que le pasa calabaza

I learned that phrase this week and I think it's funny so I decided to throw it as my subject line this week.
Two weeks ago in the zone we prayed all week for someone to have a miracle on Sunday. Some days I forgot to pray specifically about it but most days I did pray about it (this is like the most milagrous (miraculous maybe?) thing that has ever happened to me in the mission). Anyway all week we were praying and then on Friday I needed to call the mission leader of one of our 5 wards. I call him and explain him what's going on. He says "okay, great now I have something to tell you. There's a girl that had her records lost and she's going to get baptized on Sunday. it counts for you guys but she needs an interview." It just so happens that I am the district leader and I had to do the interview. I call her mother and said "I have to interview your daughter so she can be baptized on Sunday. We can be in your house in 30 minutes if that's okay with you." She says "I'm not in my house..." and we're like dang it...what do we do now. Then she says "I'm in the chapel" and we're like GREAT we'll be there in 10. So we sprint to the chapel, I interview her, and she gets baptized on Sunday. Isn't that a miracle????? Like it says in Moroni 7, today is still a day of miracles, but as long as men have faith, we can see miracles. Man, gotta love missionary miracles! Aren't they the best???
I went to my first wedding this week. We had to marry some of our investigators so that was pretty cool. They got married in the chapel and then the husband (the investigator) comes up to me and says "well, you obligated me to do this, and here we are" haha! It was so funny but he's a great guy and he was happy. It was a tender moment.
This past week I experience the metro more full than ever. It was the best thing ever. The metro at around 8am in a station called el rosario is like WWE smackdown or something. Except it's not acting. Elbows flying, everyone pushing and cussing at each other, and squeezing in as many bodies as you can is what its like. This past week we got in around 6pm in a different station, and it was so packed that you didn't even need to grab on to anything. It was like sardines in a can. I couldn't help but laugh so hard because if the metro went around a curve and everyone just leans and smooshes each other. You haven't experienced Mexico until you experience the metro like that.
One of the members in one of the wards has this painting in their house and in Spanish its called "discutiendo la divina comedia" and it's DOPE. Google it and someone buy it for me please. :)
On Saturday we baptized Gerardo (the homie that we got married) and it was just great. I was able to give a talk in the baptism and mentioned eternal families a lot because his wife has been a member and finally they're all members and in a year they'll be able to be sealed. It's sad because I wont be here in a year so it'll be more difficult but I hope I can go to their sealing. 

LOOK WHAT I FOUND THIS WEEK IT'S A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE IN AUGUST

We were eating this week with an hermana and talking about all the dangerous places in our area and dangerous things that have happened in the mission. I told her that the other day we went out at night to buy some pancake mix and passed this sketchy guy and she was like "omg no you didn't. let me go get you some right now so you don't leave you're house again" and she gave us a box of Krusteaz pancake mix. #blessings
Yesterday we went to the baptism of the son of Gerardo (he got to baptize him. How tender.) It was so funny because he got confirmed after and they finished confirming him and he stands up and says "do I have the spirit now???" It was super cute. 
To finish, I would like to share 1 Nephi 15:27 
27 And I said unto them that the water which my father saw was filthiness; and so much was his mind swallowed up in other things that he beheld not the filthiness of the water.
Is that not just so interesting? So many times in life we think "how in the world can I avoid temptation or bad things or whatever it may be?" For example with pornography: we can put filters and block websites and check phones and all that stuff, but the best way to avoid whatever form of evil in the world, is to be so swallowed up in other things that we don't see that evil. We always need to study the scriptures and pray and do all those things that are good for us to help us stay on track. 
Thanks so much for your support and prayers and help. It's all downhill from here! Love you guys, stay safe!
PS: Pray for Andrea so she can get baptized this coming Sunday.


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

welcome home

Hello everyone. As I mentioned last week this change we will be in 5 areas.The Elders who covered some of the areas that were closed left a lot of work for us, so this past Saturday we had a baptism!
​This baptism is quite the tender story. This little joven is called Ines. Ines lives really close to my first convert in my whole mission, called Juana Maria. They spend a lot of time in Juana Maria's home. Ines is Juana Maria's granddaughter!!!! Isn't that amazing?? It's amazing how one convert really does lead to more. Sometimes as missionaries we're upset because we don't baptize much, but Ines is a living testimony that one baptism always leads to more.
I was also able to go to the services of Tezozomoc on Sunday to confirm her and it was like coming home. Lots of people were really excited to see me, and turns out some members had even been asking for me. It was quite the tender mercy to be able to come back to that ward. It felt like home.
We ate some cake this week. It was weird. I'm not sure how many of you have eaten a cake made out of shredded jicama, carrot, and cucumber, with mango and gummy bears on top. And then it was sprinkled with spicy sweet Mexican stuff on it. Not gonna lie it wasn't bad, but it was REALLY weird.
I'd like to share this poem I stole from Elder Nielsen's email (homie from my CCM district):


"In whose hands"

In my hands a basketball is worth $20
The hands of Lebron James worth thousands

A baseball in my hands is worth 8$ 
A baseball in the hands of Babe Ruth is worth millions

Some mud in my hands will get me dirty
Mud in his hands will heal the blind

With couple of Nails in my hands I can build a bird house
A couple of nails in his he saved all of us. 

Whose hands are we in?


This made me think...what can we be in the hands of the Lord? It's interesting to take this perspective about things and really think about: whose hands are we in?? Each of us has the divine potential to be instruments in the hands of the Lord. Sometimes we may think, we're just another human. Why would God care about me when there are billions of others to care about? But in God's hands, we're a priceless work of art. 

I love you guys! I hope everyone has great week. I almost have a year in the mission! Letters and emails are greatly appreciated.😉

- Elder Jones

PS....Perks of a waterproof camera: you can take selfies from beneath the water of the baptismal font. Cool, huh? Someone should make this tumbler worthy with a cool quote.






Tuesday, August 1, 2017

11 months

Hello friends and family! After 11 months in the mission, thank you for still reading my emails😂.

Today are transfers!! I'm still here so basically me and Elder Noris are hoping to rock out 8 baptisms this transfer. We're covering 5 wards right now because President closed the area next to ours. We are covering the same 5 areas that I did at one point in my first two transfers. I'm just living in a different house now. So good times. We're going to baptize the grandchild of my first baptism!! Isn't that cool? Small blessings of the Lord.

Few cool food things: I discovered A&W Cream Soda close by, so you can all be sure that I bought a case of 12 cans. You can also all be sure that all 12 cans were gone on Saturday night. Also, there's a sister in our area that has a sister that comes to sell chicken wings in her house on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Those wings are free for missionaries. We eat free food so much. It's a blessing.

One of the very last things I did before the mission was build a trampoline. Well last week, I put together a trampoline as service. It was fun. Too bad the hermano didn't let us jump on it

We went to go eat with the Hermana Miranda Iniestra (those are both last names btw) and she has a son that's in the military. Mexico doesn't really fight any wars, but they do fight the narcos. Her son is in the north in the mountains searching narcos and for a long time she didn't want him to do it because she was scared. On Sunday she said something that really hit me for some reason. She said "solo estamos aqui de paso" which more or less translates to "we're only here to pass by". Before the mission I didn't really fear death. I just knew it was a part of life and if I died I would move on. But now that I'm in the mission and I know that next comes studying/school, working, and most importantly having a family, it scares me some times. I want to be able to have a family and enjoy that for a while before parting ways with the world. haha. But when she said that, I realized that really we're just here for a time. We're not entitled to a certain age, but when we go we go, and it's because the Lord knows that it's our time. I pondered on that for a bit and it gave me some comfort.  Hopefully that can bring us all comfort. Eternity awaits us after this life, so there's no need to worry about how long we'll be here.

Hermana Tita is this lady in our ward who loves the missionaries.  Yesterday we went to go visit her and we just talked about life and all this stuff. I asked if we could share something and she said "of course because I know that you guys always say what I need to hear". I got scared  because I was thinking what if I don't share what she needs to hear?? So I opened my scriptures and found Mosiah 4:14 which talks about our children and how we should teach them and help them to be obedient. I explained how our duty is to teach our children, but that doesn't mean they'll always be obedient. I explained that if our kids make some not so great choices, it's not always the parents fault. As parents we need to teach them correct principles. That is our duty. As I was explaining that the hermana just started crying. She explained how that is what she needed to hear. This is something that kind of scares me....that my future kids may or may not make good choices and may not be obedient at times. But then I think about myself and how I was at one point in my life. We can all return and repent. The Lord has his mysterious ways of doing things, and we just have to trust in him. 

Thanks for everything! I appreciate your prayers and support. Have a great week!!

-Elder Jones


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

i've been really wet this week

It's the rainy season in Mexico so it rains EVERY SINGLE DAY. So EVERY SINGLE DAY when I get home I'm normally soaking wet from the waist down. We've been working so hard so one of my pairs of shoes has got holes in them so when it's not raining its nice ventilation. When it's raining it's just not very fun.
We had this dope lesson with Rafaela this week. We got to her house early in the week (or maybe the end of last week?) but anyway, she started telling us about how she didn't want to listen to us anymore and that we were wasting our time. I was so upset because we had been planning her baptism for the next week (last Saturday). We started to share our thoughts and do our best to help her feel better and by the end of the lesson she had committed to do even more things! She decided to go to all three hours of church and get baptized no matter what...and lo and behold:
​Rafaela got baptized, and lots of people came. It was my favorite baptismal service by far. I was able to play piano as a special musical number and the pila was very full, and the water was warm, and lots of people came. It was just a wonderful experience all around.

A few weeks ago we were going in the metro coming back from the doctor. It was really late. It's really common in Mexico for people to sell things in the metro or ask for money on the streets or in the buses, or they just rob you and take your money, but that hasn't happened to me recently. This night there was this lady on the metro. We sat down and she sat down next to us. She looked rough. She was an older lady. I could see through her shoes and she smelled kinda bad. I asked where she was going and she said that she was going to deliver something to someone and was going to get paid for doing it. I just felt so sad for this lady. We talked with her for a while. She was nice and funny. As we were getting off the metro I went to shake her hand and gave her a 200 peso bill and asked her to buy herself some new shoes. Some people have so little, even less than what they need to survive, and are still just happy people. Those are the people that keep me motivated to just keep pushing on.

This week was crazy. For the past two weeks, I have been the final speaker in sacrament meeting in two different wards. First speaking about missionary work and eternal families, and the next week about baptism. I invited everyone there that wasn't a member to get baptized. I love being able to speak and teach and just share my thoughts with people. 

I directed my first funeral service this week. Around noon on Friday we got a call from one of our Bishops saying that he needed us to come by his house. So we stop by and he tells us that there's this less active lady in the ward that had a family member who died, no idea who or how but he passed away. The Bishop said that the family wanted someone to go and share a message about where he's going and all the great knowledge we have in the church. So I'm like sure, cool we can help these guys out....just talking with a  few family members to help them feel better. We later find out that it's going to be a legit funeral service with the body in the casket and everything. I begin to  freak out a bit. I'm like nope, I'm not going. I don't know who it is or who's going to be there. This is not what I signed up for. So I decide that I'm not going to go but my companion says we have to....it'll just be like talking with people and seeing how they are and it'll be easy. We decide to go. We're looking for the house (never been there before, don't know who lives there or who died still) and we pass a house full of candles, people dressed in black, and a casket. I just keep walking. I said NOPE....and kept walking. My compa is like dude just ask for Ana, and we argue about who will ask for a bit, and finally I walk in and ask for her. This is all just so hard because I've never had someone really close to me pass away and I don't know how to deal with it or how to help people. I was struggling, but finally the hermana there says "we just want you guys to give a blessing and say some words and then sing a hymn". I have no idea what to do. So I call the Bishop and he doesn't answer. I look at my companion and I'm like "I don't think we can bless dead people", I was so confused. He said "well, we can say a prayer with them" and so we head on in and start planning things and we're about to start and I finally say to the hermana, "hermana, I don't know what to do. I've never assisted a funeral". She explains and I wing it the best I can. There is one thing I do know....as we were singing the hymns, God Be With you till We Meet Again, Oh My Father, and Families Can Be Together Forever,  I was about ready to start crying because I felt the spirit so much. I was sure that this young man was in the spirit world listening to the gospel. It was a huge help for my testimony of the plan of salvation. I know that whenever we die, that while our bodies stay in our graves, our spirits go to the spirit world. That in this spirit world, all people who haven't accepted or haven't had the opportunity to accept the gospel of Jesus Christ, will have that opportunity. Then people here on earth can perform the necessary ordinances for them so they're saved! The sacrifice of Jesus Christ is infinite. Even if we don't accept in this life, there's still hope in the next. I know that he died for us so that in him, we can live again. through his sacrifice, we can have an eternal family, and live with them forever. I know that he loves us so much and that's why he did what he did and because of that, I have an eternal family, and will have my own eternal family some day.

Love you guys lots!! Feel free to send me letters and packages as an appreciation of your amor for me. Hahaha!! Have a great week and stay safe everyone!
Elder Jones







Sunday, July 9, 2017

USA USA USA USA USA USA USA

Tomorrow is the celebration of the Independence of the U S of A and I happen to be in the Republica de Mexico. But no worries you can all be assured that I will be living it up tomorrow the best that I can. Enjoy a Mountain Dew and some barbecue and fire works for me.(except we have more fire works in Mexico actually)
Due to the special transfers I received on Saturday morning I'm now in the area of Aquiles Serdan/ Culturas/ Hacienda. We're covering three areas. I'm pretty pumped to be here. Nervous, but pumped. These areas border my first two areas so I actually know some of the members. I got to see some of the members from my first area last night which was super cool. I'm excited to be here with Elder Noris from Sinaloa, Mexico.
Right now I'm in the process of applying to BYU so everyone pray a lot for me and if you'd like to write my essays I would greatly appreciate that.
Look what I found in my new area:
​That be HoneyCombs cereal and great value milk IMPORTED FROM THE U S OF A. Milk here is terrible. It ruined my life so when I can find real milk it's just the best.
I'd like to share a poem with you all (I didn't write this one)
​You all can study and ponder on that this week.
I want to testify of the power of the atonement and repentance. This past week at church someone gave a lesson on repentance, on how we need to talk to the Bishop when we have bigger problems, and how we can get the burdens we carry off of our chests. I want to testify to all of you that repentance is worth it. The process is probably one of the hardest things we have to go through in our lives, but it is WORTH IT. I used to think that it was so easy for missionaries to talk about repentance because they never have to do it, but I promise you we are no where near perfect. When I was in the offices I saw many people go and talk to President and work through problems, and even I have had to work with my own personal problems with President. Repentance is like using a really good weight loss program. Afterwards you're a new person. I know that we all, through repentance, can lose a LOT of weight and become new people, through the power of the atonement. I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love us so much. I know that we can be forgiven because of what Christ did for us. I know that they love us no matter what we've done and we can ALWAYS return.
Sorry I've been bad at writing group emails but we'll see if I can get back on track! I love you guys! Stay safe!! Pray for me and my area and my companion and for America and the Prophet and yourselves and everything! Prayer is important!
cuidense mucho y les amo
Elder Jones
Enjoy this Mexican sunrise:

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

oops i did it again

Oops I didn't have time to write a group email again, but I will leave you all a picture of a beautiful pig foot that I ate this week: 

Love you guys!!!! The work is good and I am safe. Pray for me so that we can baptize someone or help someone to change a tire this week. We need some more work! Have a great week everyone and hopefully you don't have to eat a pig foot (it wasn't the tastiest).

Love, Elder Jones

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

the water was cold?...my bad

I just want to start off by saying that I'm only slightly upset that no one notified me that USA and Mexico were going to play last night or even that they played. But it's okay. Now I know that they tied. 

We baptized again this week. Tianguistenco is a great area with a lot of potential and the people here are just so great. The point of my subject title is that I turned on the font and it's not like the states where you just turn on the hot one and hot water comes out. You've got to close the drain, turn on the boiler (this alone takes Albert Einstein and 4 US presidents and a prophet to find out how to do it), figure out which key is the hot one, then depending on the font you've got to do some trampa to get it to come out good. Fact of the matter is, I didn't know how to do the trampa to get it to come out good so at first it came out hot, and then later it turned freezing cold. How did we find it it turned freezing cold? My companion and Mari (the convert) got in and about died of hypothermia. Oops. 

Wow I look really tan. I'm becoming more Mexican. That's what the pueblos do to you. The ward is just AMAZING here tbh. We have so many good friends and the work is good. Don't get me wrong it's not like life is easy but I've seen so many blessings here. This week one of the greatest seminary teachers of all time (Sister Womack) sent me a quote that her son Ethan who's serving in El Salvador sent her. He said, 
"On a serious note, it really is a privilege to be a missionary.  Lately I've been enjoying all the little experiences and moments that I've been having.  The little things, like sitting on the ground drinking water and talking with my companion.  Like be around missionaries that I have served with and love and have come to be some of my closest friends.  Like feeling the gentle voice of the Spirit in a lesson.  I have come to realize that success on the mission can't be measured in numbers.  It is very important to work with goals and strive to achieve them, but success on the mission comes from inner conversion.  It comes from loving where you serve and giving every ounce of energy to the work.  It comes from being humble and patient and obedient.  2 years is a long time.  It goes by fast.  I'm glad that I am blessed enough to be a missionary.  I know that everything that I have learned and felt here will stay with me for the rest of my life and longer.  I wouldn't trade this opportunity for anything in the world.  Its not easy.  It has never been easy and it never will be.  But it is worth it. "
This is an area that I've learned to love. I'll be honest, there are times when I still struggle to be 100% diligent or 100% obedient, but Elder Womack's words reflect my feelings. It's hard having to report numbers several times a week and not seeing a whole lot in the technical side of what you're doing especially when you feel so good about your week. But it's really not about how many new people we've found, or how many we baptized, or how many came to church, it's about the spirit that we feel as we teach and as we help others. The mission is tough, but like Elder Womack said, "it is worth it"

It's so crazy that this is already the last pday of this change! Next Monday I could be in a different area or have a different companion, but we're about to see! 

Last Monday was my companions birthday. There's a tradition in Mexico called "la mordida". Basically the whole point is to try and take a bite out of the cake without someone else slamming your face in it. My companion lost the game and ended up with cake all over his face. One of these days I'll send the video home.

The same family that slammed Elder Matchett's face in the cake also has a tradition of telling the new elders fake horror stories (that become more believable when you're a missionary and live in Mexico). They scared me and my companion so much. 

Elder Matchett and I have started a video series. This video series is of weird tacos you can eat. The first video in the series is tacos of tongue. Video soon to come. Other videos in the series will be: tacos of brain, tacos of eye, tacos of cheek, tacos of trompa (still haven't figured out how to translate that one). Also I tried mollejas this week. I never knew what they were and didn't know what I had eaten until after the fact. Basically it's all the stomach and liver and intestines of the chicken. Now I can say that there are two foods I've tried on the mission that I will never willingly eat again. Eggplant and mollejas. 

Jonathan left our ward this week. Jonathan was probably my best friend. He kind of speaks English but not really. I took a picture with him to celebrate our friendship. I'm sad that he's gone.

Other food news: I tried a chupacabra this week. This is different than the goat sucker. There's a local de tacos by the house. We go there so much (at least once a day) that the people who work there have become good friends with us. They have this torta (huge sandwich thing) that's HUGE. It's called teh chupacabra. It has every single ingredient in the store on one single sandwich:

milanesa, jamon, salchicha, queso amarillo, queso oaxaca, queso de puerco, chorizo, piña, cebolla, rajas, aguacate. I'm pretty sure some other stuff but that's what I remember. All I have to say is that I will probably not buy it again. There is such a thing as too much meat.

Yesterday I tried pancita for the first time. In Texas we call it menudo. I must say, it is not my favorite thing in the world. For those of you who don't know what that is, it's cow stomach. 
Something that tastes even worse than cow stomach would be mollejas....that's chicken stomach. hard pass

Yesterday we celebrated my birthday. I don't know why because my birthday is in April, but anyway they slammed my face in a cake. My mom will be uploading the video to facebook.

We walked into the chapel on Sunday to find 6 white people in the entrance. My companion said "they were some really white Mexicans". I then let him know that they were in fact some very white Wyomingans. Turns out one of them had served here 22 YEARS ago and he came back to say what's up. #dope
One thing that I loved from this past week is that Abi (Abinadi) who is the bishopric counselor in charge of the missionary work here asked us what our objective is as missionaries. Of course we said, "invite others to come unto Christ by helping them to..." and so on and so forth. He said great great, but really why are you hear? We said to baptize, teach, to save souls, help others, the whole nine yards...we laid it out for him. He said that's all great and that's all true, but no. Missionary work is a work of creating eternal families. I love that phrase so much. Missionary work is not a work of baptizing, or teaching, or showing service, or helping, but is a work of creating eternal families. That is so true. More than anything, I'm here to help others to be able to have an eternal family. On a little plaque in our house back in Texas it says, "a missionary is someone who leaves there family for a little time, so that others can be with their families forever." I have such a strong testimony of the family. It's something that the world today is trying to destroy and diminish and say it doesn't matter. I know that it's SO important. I'm so grateful for the family I have. I'm so grateful for my dad. (because it's father's day this Sunday even in Mexico) Without them, and without the example of especially my Dad in this case, I would not be writing this email right now because I wouldn't be a missionary. I'm eternally grateful for what our Heavenly Father does, for what my earthly Father does, and I know that right now I'm learning how I can some day be a great father for my children. I know that through this gospel we can live with our families for ever. The only way to do it is through this gospel. And that no matter what happens, the family will be together forever, and that's what I'm here to teach.

I love you guys so much! Happy Father's day to all the dads out there!! You guys rock (even though you're too strict sometimes but it's for the better) Cuidense mucho, y les amo!!

Elder Jones