Friday, March 31, 2017

i'm sick of airports

So basically I've been to the airport 3 times in the past 24 hours (as of Wednesday morning when I started writing this). Elder Sweat and I are running on about 5 hours of combined sleep the past 2 days. The secretary life is the greatest life, amirite?

We had an accident with a missionary and he had to go home so Elder Bennion actually left me about 2 days early...I actually miss him haha. But Elder Sweat and I are killing it here in the offices. This coming week I think we'll be able to settle in and start going at it hard here in the area. These past few days have been CRAZY busy, with the new changes, going to the airport a million times, and tonight having to plan leadership council, and then tomorrow actually is leadership council...we've just been super duper busy. I'm exhausted.

This will be short because I don't want to bore you all to death. I had to replace some toner in our printer this week. I took out the old cartridge because it wasn't letting us print at all and I decided to take apart the cartridge. As I'm taking it apart, I finally find the part with the ink or whatever and then all this blue dust falls out. I begin to freak out then realize that the toner is just some kind of I decided to be an artist for a few minutes and this is what happened:

​Can someone sell this as art for a couple thousand and throw it in a compound interest account?

​Also I've decided to partner with Nike as their new advertising agent.

Today we had consejo, which is when all the leaders of the mission get together and we talk and have training and eat. Today I learned how to make carne al pastor. Al pastor is like the biggest food group in Mexico. Also the best tasting. I thought I'd include some instructions on how to make it:
1.) buy a half kilo of cabeza de lomo (lamb head, I think)
2.) chop it up pretty finely, not ground but finely
3.) throw in oregano, salt, pepper, and a little cumin to taste
4.) add a little vinegar
5.) buy some dried up guajillo chiles and then wash them and boil them in a pot of water. Then blender it, and drain out the water through a really fine strainer like a sifter. Then pick out the big chunks, and throw that kind of paste in also.
6.) then chop up an onion or half onion depending on if you really like onion (whichever way you like) and throw that in
7.) then if you want to do it the right way, chop up some pineapple (the top part that's not as sweet) and also throw it in there. 
8.) mix and mash it all together in a bowl with your hands
9.) then cook a little at a time in a pan, sauteing it until it's all done. 
10.) then make a good salsa and get some corn tortillas out and you're ready to go

Also at consejo we had Hermano Tejeda come. He is this super cool guy in our ward who does pretty well working as some kind of guy who helps directors of businesses develop and achieve goals personally and for their business. He talked about leadership and accountability and it was honestly so great what he talked about. For me I think it was great because he related the success we can have and the motivation and drive we have to a business kind of model, and how business directors have that drive and then how it leads to their success. I want to share a few quick things that I learned today. He talked a lot about this circle:

​It all starts with the why. If we don't have a why of why we do certain things, then what are we even doing? Once we know the "why" then we can work outwards to the how and what. He used a quote from a guy named Simon Sinek that said "people don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it." Obviously this is in a business sense but I thought it was crazy how that applied to missionary work. People aren't "buying" the fact that we're here just preaching and talking to everyone and whatever. They're "buying" why we do it. For example, the testimony that each one of us has gained is our "product" and we're sharing it with everyone. Another example, I'm here because I know how much my Father in Heaven loves me and I want to share it with everyone that I can. If other people see that and begin to feel that love, they're going to "buy my product". This was all put in very business-y terms and seems like we're just selling some message, but honestly it's such a good point that is made.

I think that all of us need to find our "why". Why do we do what we do? Why are we here? Why do we keep on keeping on? When we do, we'll begin to understand more. In whatever aspect of our life this can be such a huge part. This is especially important in the gospel though. One thing we do a lot with less actives is become their friends first, but then we ask them why they got baptized. This starts to help them to remember, and start to act on it. When we have those doubting times or big trials in our lives, all we have to do is step back into that inner circle and ask ourselves, "why?" and with that, we'll start the path back to that strong faith we had. There's a scripture in D&C 122 that says, all of these things will give you experience and be for your good. 

I know that it's tough to live and breathe some times with every thing that goes on in our lives, but I know that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love us, they're always here for us even if we feel that they are forever away. I know if we can remember that, that we can make it through any trial in our lives. I've lived it and I'll never forget the lessons I've learned.

Love you guys! 

oh btw feliz cumplemeses to me

​Have a great week! 

- Elder Jones

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Lots of Pictures

street tacos are the best


​I have 7 months in the mission(almost) and I ate my first street tacos this past week. They were really good....lets hope I don't get sick. I've discovered that street tacos are probably the best thing you can eat in Mexico.

I got a new companion this week, Elder Sweat the California boy. He's literally the best guy ever. He's so funny and we work out and eat healthy. He's pretty much the solution to all my problems.
here he is:

​Ignore my acne I'm working on it. I'm also going to cut all my hair off tonight.

This past week Elder Muñoz went home which was terribly sad, I'm gonna miss him a lot. He was one of my favorite people here in the mission. 

At a consejo we cooked 42 hot dogs and 60 burgers, because we're the secretaries and that's just what we do. 

I went running for the first time since the ccm like 2 days ago. It sucked.

Enjoy this picture of me on a bridge. This is the rich part of Mexico City.

​This is a trompo. It's a Mexican top. Some missionaries from the pueblos had one and I was fascinated. I'd never seen one! They said you could buy it in any papeleria so I bought one for 10 pesos (about 50 cents) and started playing with it and carrying it everywhere. One night we were going to go visit a little kid that wants to be baptized. I was about to leave my trompo home but decided to bring it last minute. We arrived at the house and his mom wasn't home so we started to leave...then the boy saw the trompo in my bag and asked "do you know how to throw the trompo???" I told him I kind of knew how and that we could come back and play some time. We went back and found time to play with him while we waited for his mom to get home. We start talking and finally I asked him "do you know why we're here?" and he says "are you the ones who are supposed to explain to me about the.....bastimo??" (baptism in Spanish is bautismo and he didn't even know the word). I asked if he wanted to be baptized and he said yes!! So now we have this dope little trompo friend and we're going to teach him.  I'm just super excited about it!

There's this song I've been listening to lately that's called "How Can I Be". Here it is:
It's about how we can be like the people in the Book of Mormon. It's just so good! I love the examples that it gives and it just sounds cool. I'm in the process of conseguiring a ukulele to learn. 

Finally, this morning we had an AMAZING lesson. So we have the English ward in our mission because we're really close to the embassy. Anyway, 80%​ of the  ward works in the embassy. Our Bishop is like a super dope FBI worker. He gave us a reference a while ago for this lady and finally today we could go visit her. We went to this super fancy house to teach her. She's some high ranking FBI lady that is SUPER nice and literally a golden investigator. We taught all about the restoration. I haven't taught about Joseph Smith in a LONG time. This past week I was studying about the first vision and I was reminded of the really strong feelings that I have about the restoration, the first vision, and Joseph Smith. I really have such a strong testimony about who Joseph Smith was. A lot of bad things are said about him and he's slandered, but I would imagine that's done by almost purely people who have never read the Book of Mormon. I know without a doubt in my heart that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and that Jesus Christ's true church was restored through him. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. All it takes to know that is to just read it, like you would read any other book. I know that this book is convincing evidence that Joseph Smith was a prophet, because he translated it by the power of God. I felt tears coming to my eyes today as I taught about him and what he did for our church. In the words of Jeffery R. Holland "As one of a thousand elements of my own testimony of the divinity of the Book of Mormon, I submit this as yet one more evidence of its truthfulness. In this their greatest—and last—hour of need, I ask you: would these men blaspheme before God by continuing to fix their lives, their honor, and their own search for eternal salvation on a book (and by implication a church and a ministry) they had fictitiously created out of whole cloth?
Never mind that their wives are about to be widows and their children fatherless. Never mind that their little band of followers will yet be “houseless, friendless and homeless” and that their children will leave footprints of blood across frozen rivers and an untamed prairie floor.  Never mind that legions will die and other legions live declaring in the four quarters of this earth that they know the Book of Mormon and the Church which espouses it to be true. Disregard all of that, and tell me whether in this hour of death these two men would enter the presence of their Eternal Judge quoting from and finding solace in a book which, if not the very word of God, would brand them as imposters and charlatans until the end of time? They would not do that! They were willing to die rather than deny the divine origin and the eternal truthfulness of the Book of Mormon."
As Joseph Smith did, I personally would give my life for this book, for this belief, but most importantly, for Jesus Christ. I know without a doubt that as missionaries we're sharing his true message of salvation with the world, and I couldn't imagine a better place to be than where I am right now
I love you guys and miss you a lot!! Write me this week!
-Elder Jones

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

it's an elder!

Hello, amados amigos míos. I have a story to tell about this picture. There's an hermana from my generation (arrived in the field the same time as me) and we both ended up at the same meeting one time and we were talking and she asked me how much time in the mission I had and I just looked at her like "seriously bro???" I told her that we were from the same generation and she said "oh no le reconocí porque se ha engordado tanto!" (Oh I did not recognize you because you have gained so much weight) Which was not very cool. So today she took this picture of me and Elder Bradley, we were joking about pregnancy pictures or whatever and at some point Elder Bradley just yells "it's an elder!!!" I thought it was pretty hilarious so I thought I'd share. Elder Bradley is the definition of amor puro de cristo. He literally is the most loving man I have ever met in my life. I couldn't stand it at first tbh but he's probably one of my favorite people ever. Elder Christensen is in gray and Elder Bradley in green....they're my beloved zone leaders.

Today we had this zone activity where we had a clue hunt kind of thing....something like that. We had scriptures and had to find the stations according to the scripture and then do something dumb. Some eamples are: make a torta and then eat it, act out something funny from the past change, water a tree with a water balloon, make two baskets with a basketball, make three trashkets, sing a song in English on the piano, dance with your companion, wash your companions feet (this was hillarious), make shaving cream beards, build a tower out of chairs, and a few other things that weren't as cool but it was actually fun! Then we got to play soccer which was pretty cool.

I'm really starting to miss soccer. You'd think we play it all the time but we don't. I did play my first game of real soccer with real Mexicans on Saturday, like not missionaries. The elders quorum had an activity and an investigator came so I got to ball out. It was pretty fun to ball out in full proselyting clothing, I felt like a real missionary in that moment. I also realized how out of shape I am.

My favorite word in Spanish is"porfa", If you can't tell what porfa's just por favor and it's just a shortened way to say please. IDK why but I just love to say it so much. So basically in any situation I can (when its appropriate) I use It's pretty great.

This past week was a week of puras conferencias. For three days straight almost all day Elder Bennion and I went to all the zone conferences in the mission, organizing things and making sure things were going smoothly. For the first two days it was kinda hard being so close to the temple and not being able to enter while everyone else was, but finally on Thursday morning President said we could go, and I was so stoked. Also really nervous because I hadn't been in for a while but more so excited. As we walked into the room the missoinary in front of me sits in the very last seat, and I thought I might have to wait. But then the temple worker took me to the very front where there was an empty seat and I got to sit in the front row. I viewed that as such a tender mercy for me to be able to have that seat. I loved being able to sit up front which meant that I was the first missionary to enter the celestial room and just sit there.

​I sat down in the chair on the back wall on the very right, and just sat and thought. I really thought about why in the world I was in Mexico, why I was a missionary, why I decided to do this....I was just trying to find out why. And I felt more strongly than ever the love that our Heavenly Father has for us. In that moment, I felt it for me, but as I reflect on it I know that every single one of us can feel that love. I have a friend that wrote me late one night this week, telling me that he had been talking with God, and he completely decided to change his major, and what he was going to pursue in his life. That's because God loves us, wants to hear from us, and when we talk, he's going to hear and he's going to respond. I reflected on the vision Lehi had that's talked about in 1 Nephi 8 in the Book of Mormon, and how the fruit represents the love of God, that it was most desirable above all things. Right after Lehi partook of it he desired that his family tambien partake. That's why I'm here. I've "partaken" of this fruit, and now I desire that everyone else partakes of it too. 

I know without a single doubt in my heart that this church is the true church. There is absolutely no way in heaven or earth or any part of the universe that I would leave my family and my closest friends for two years to Mexico to get robbed and yelled at and spit on to share something that isn't true, and that can't change peoples lives. I can testify with every fiber of my being that Jesus Christ is the living son of God and that he loves us so immensely that he died for us, so that we can repent and return to live with our Father in heaven once again with our families. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, that he saw Christ and the Father and that through him, Jesus Christ restored his true church to the earth. I know that the Book of Mormon is the convincing and perfectly true evidence of this and that no one can say that this church is not true, no one can deny it, without having read that book. If you will read that book with sincere intent and ask God if it's true, you won't be able to deny it. I know that and I promise you all that. I invite you all to read the Book of Mormon. It doesn't matter if you're a member of this church or not, just read it as you would read any other book. I know it will bless your lives. I've seen it in these past 6 months, and in my own life. I don't know where I would be without it's teachings, and it's testimony of Jesus Christ.

I love you all so much, and I miss you! Don't forget my birthday is in a month. :)

cuidense, les amo mucho

-Elder Jones

Monday, March 13, 2017

hey mom

hey mom how was your week?? I hope good I'm sure it was. But I'm sure this week will be better because it's spring break. Are you guys gonna go anywhere or do anything cool? Keep me updated on the cool stuff you guys do. Can you believe we're almost halfway through march? The time just flies by faster and faster, and supposedly whenever you leave the offices it flies by even more so who knows how I'll do it. But anyway, we found out last night that Elder Bennion is most likely leaving the offices this change. But it's still top secret so don't tell anyone. This week we got to go to all the conferences at the temple so I'll explain more in the big letter, but I was thinking a lot this week and I can't remember what I was thinking about but I wanted to say a big thank you for everything you and dad have ever done for me. All the support you've ever given me in anything I've done, all the money you've spent on me (because I'm your favorite child) and really just everything you guys have done, from the temporal to the spiritual. I was thinking last night about how big of a deal family is. Before the mission one doesn't appreciate it a whole lot, but once it's gone you realize what you had. And so I've been thinking about that a lot, and how I wish that Kate and Josh and I were best friends and I'm hoping to change that while I'm gone and when I get back. I love you SO much mom!! You're the best ever, and thank you so much for everything. I'll write later! Have a great day

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

last week i was a rapper...this week i'm a

barber. - I'll explain more later.

Well this was yet another even more dull week in the offices...


I'll start with whats gonna go on this week. So as a secretary I get a lot of opportunities to help plan things in the mission, and bring up ideas with President and organize a bunch of stuff that goes on. About two weeks ago we had to sit down and plan zone conferences for this coming week, and we were just talking and President says "what if we do it at the temple?" We were all just like ha that's hilarious (he took away permissions to go really anywhere for a time just because of misbehaving missionaries) but we realized that he was serious. His plan was to have each zone go to the temple and have their conference in a chapel next door, and then everyone is going to get to do a session! I'm super stoked about that (pictures and revelatory experiences to come)

This past week we had consejo, which is when all the zone leaders and Hermanas capacitadoras come to President's house and we aconsejar about everything that's happening in the mission. It's really fun because I get to see Elder Mayer (he's like my best friend basically) and we all learn from one another. We give advice to one another and can really see the unity between the leaders. It was really great. 

This is my homie Elder Mayer:

I've lost 8 POUNDS GUYS. 8 pounds since the transfers. I'm feeling pretty good and I'm still going to lose no worries. I'll be skinny again someday.

So the reason I'm a barber: a few weeks ago I conseguired some clippers and started to cut my own hair. I've been cutting it for a while now, and Elder Bennion asked me to cut his for him. We've been joking about it for weeks but he finally got up the courage to let me. So I cut his hair and it turned out GREAT. I was so proud of myself and I think he was really relieved.

The work moves on here....very, very slowly but I promise it's moving. We teach Hortencia, she is a viejita that's super christian. She wants us to help prepare her for baptism so that's super awesome. She's just got terrible hours to visit her so we're figuring that part out.
We also teach Natsuki. She's this super awesome, young mom that's Japanese. She has lived in Mexico for 10 years and speaks PERFECT Spanish. We've had trilingual lessons because she also speaks English. She also works all the time so that's a little difficult to see her.
We're about to start teaching Nelly. Nelly is this dope, super important security lady in the US embassy here. All our English homies(members) have super important secret jobs in the embassy and said she's basically ready to get baptized. We're excited to help her learn more and change her life.
Finally, we're also about to start visiting Aaron. Aaron is a little boy whose mom wants him to be baptized because he's 11 and hasn't been baptized yet. I've been waiting to make a dope friend that's young and can beat me at soccer.

Please pray for me, but more so for our investigators, that they can make the right decisions in their lives.

This week was tough. I keep finding every week to be tougher and tougher because I really miss my family and friends. The offices beat a person up.  I read a BYU speech by Elder Holland called "Cast not away therefore your Confidence". It talks about...not casting away your confidence obviously, but it talks a lot about how before Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus Christ, he was taken over by this extremely powerful force, that almost stopped him, but he eventually overcame...and look what happened. Then with Moses, right after he had his face to face conversation with God, was then tempted greatly by Satan. It just shows that right around the greatest times the hardest things happen. It's like the cliche saying "everyone wants happiness, no one wants pain, but you can't have sunshine without a little rain" 

TBH it's really cliche but it's so true. I'm so grateful (well trying to be grateful) for the trials I have in my life. They help me to appreciate the good times more, and really understand why there is an opposition in all things. My invitation to you this week is to think about the trials we each pass through and why, and what we can learn from them. I know that as we do, we'll learn and grow and be able to find the best things in our lives.

I love you guys all so much! I hope that everyone is doing great back home...write me!! Send pictures, that's always fun. Cuidense, y que tengan buena semana!

-Elder Jones