Well today I experienced my first earthquake and I will let you all know that it was very scary. Haha! I'll just give you guys a short rundown of how it went. We were on the third floor of the temple whenever it started. We were sitting down when the temple began to shake so we started to get up, but one of the temple workers was like "no sit down!". Then it started to get really violent and the chandeliers were moving like crazy (I thought they were gonna fall off) and then all the lights went out and we started falling over because of how violently it was shaking. So we all had to evacuate and I'm not gonna lie I think the scariness of an earthquake compares with the scariness of being robbed. Haha. But the spiritual-ness of all this was something really profound. We were all scared but while we were evacuating the temple worker said, "Don't worry everyone. The temple is built to last until the second coming. There's not a safer place we could be." In the midst of all the scariness and confusion that brought a lot of relief to my soul. The temple is the House of the Lord. When he comes again to visit the earth, he'll visit those temples. I know that there's no where safer that I could have been. Anyway, I'm alive and well! Lots of people have lost their lives and there's been a lot of destruction so keep the people of Puebla and CDMX in your prayers! Love you guys, Thanks for your prayers! Stay safe!
Elder Romero and I alive and smiling after the earthquake
Just a tiny bit of the damage we saw on the way back from the temple.
***President Grossen had all the missionaries contact their parents about the Earthquake that happened overnight in Mexico. This is the short message we received from Braeden letting us know he is OK:
"Just to let you know I survived the earthquake thingy. I heard the siren go off...and supposedly we should go outside but it was like 12 and my compa was asleep so I was like nah, so I just prayed that I would live and laid back down. I felt my bed shake and listened to the house creak. It's crazy that we felt it. First earthquake...."
Hello everyone, I now have 1 year in the mission. That's kinda crazy but it's gone by fast and I'm enjoying it.
Just a short email this week: first crazy story is about the metro. Last Monday we had a zone activity and we had to use the metro to get there. We knew it was going to be full because it's always jam packed from 6-9am. We get into the metro and they have it closed because there are so many people. It's kept closed for a little bit until some people leave. We finally get down there and it's RIDICULOUSLY packed! It's so packed people are taking pictures and everything like that. When the doors of the metro open everyone just starts pushing and it's like a huge fight throwing elbows and all that fun stuff. I had a bag with a soccer ball in it and one time the doors opened and everyone started pushing, and long story short: my ball got inside the metro, but I did not. That was really sad. Next we actually get pushed in too, and then someone says "hey is there a shoe over there?" and so everyone starts looking for a shoe and finally we found it and passed it to the guy looking for it. It was pretty funny. Then it was time to get off (which is almost harder than getting on) and we all started to push off. Me and some guys behind me didn't make it, and so I'm like "guys I need to get off" and I turn around and this guy is like "are you getting off?" and I was like "yeah" and then he says "lets do this". In my head I was laughing so hard. I start pushing and this guy starts pushing me and another guy is pushing the guy that's pushing me and then this police man grabs my arm and starts pulling me out of the metro. It was so epic! As I get off I see that I have black marks all over my shirt from squeezing in through the doors and some lip stick stain on my pants (no idea how that happened).
Now for the spiritual. This week we ate with Hermana Niño two times. The first time we showed up to her house and had to call her so that she would come down and open the door. We arrived at the same time as this joven. Hermana opens the door and the joven goes to the dept of the hermana.....turns out he's her nephew. He hasn't been to church in a while.Fast forward toSundaywhen we go back to Herman's house and she tells us this: "after you guys left, my nephew just started laughing, so I asked him why. He told me that a few days before you guys came to eat the first time he had a dream, and he saw his grandma that had passed away. He said she was trying to talk to him but he couldn't understand what she wanted to tell him. He said that the day he showed up at my door and saw you guys (the missionaries) he knew what his grandma wanted to tell him. His grandma was trying to tell him he needed to go back to church. He thought it was funny." Isn't that an awesome experience?? I'm not sure if he'll come back to church or not, but he'll always have that reminder that his grandma wants him to come back to church. I think little things like that are just miracles but we don't always see them as miracles. That experience was really cool to me.
Finally, I'll talk a little bit about one year. Here is a list of 5 things I've learned to do in the past year, and 5 things that have changed about me:
5 things I've learned:
to eat whatever is on my plate
give 10 to 15 minutes talks with no preparation
what a REAL taco is (hard shells is apostasy)
to wash clothes by hand
5 ways I've changed:
I'm kinda chubby now
I'm more grateful for everything
I'm more service minded
I love more
I appreciate family more
I've become all sentimental and write poems now....so I wrote one for one year in the mission:
One Year in the Mission
One year down in the mission,
Only one more to go.
There's still so much to learn;
So much more I could grow
The time has flown by,
It's passed by so very fast;
But the experiences I've gained
Are ones that will last.
There's no where near enough time
To do the work that must be done,
But I'll put in my best effort
Because I represent God's son.
My call comes from on high,
"Recommended as one worthy,"
And so when the hard times come
I'll just try to keep on working.
He is the reason for my work.
His life - my perfect example.
That's why I try to keep in mind
As I share his love so ample.
One year left in the mission,
Time to stand tall.
As I go preach the truth
I must give it my all.
One year left and I'll be home. I hope that I keep learning and growing. Love you guys! Stay safe....and send me an email or two
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.
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.
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!!
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!