Tuesday, December 29, 2015

It's a Christmas Miracle! - week 72, 70 weeks in Phoenix Mission, 22 weeks in Glendale

It's a Christmas Miracle! -
 Week 72, 70 weeks in Phoenix Mission, 22 weeks in Glendale

Dear friends and family,

Merry Christmas! I hope all of your Christmases were spectacular. I
had a great time seeing family and friends on Skype. Lots of fun
things happened this week.


Christmas
Let's just get this one out of the way...we had a great Christmas Eve
and Christmas! Both days were non-proselyting days. Christmas Eve was
spent hanging out most of the day. President Griffin told us we needed
to deep clean our apartment again to make it less disgusting. He
wasn't saying it was super dirty, it is just a gross apartment. So
that's how we spent the morning! Our district came over and we cleaned
the place from the ceiling to the floor. Then we hung out and played
board games. We had dinner with the Barton's! Their whole family was
sick with a stomach bug, but we risked it and went over there. No
sicknesses yet. I think we may have survived. That night our
downstairs neighbor was going ballistic because we were being too loud
I guess. If we even moved a chair he would bang on his ceiling and
yell at the top of his lungs. Bro, you're being louder than us! We
just opened all of our Christmas packages Christmas Eve night.
Christmas Day was great too. We spent most of the day with our whole
zone hanging out at the institute building. This skype call has been
the best so far. We had dinner with Javier and went home and hung out
for the rest of the night. Exciting right?

Weather
It has been pretty chilly for Phoenix! Everywhere I go, I hear people
complaining about how cold it is. Myself included... Temperatures have
been in the high 50's. You'd think that we had 2 feet of snow here by
how much people talk about how cold it is.

Baptism
The day after Christmas I was able to go back to Peoria to see Leah, a
girl I taught while there, be baptized. It's crazy to think that 10
months ago Elder Flynn and I had our first lesson with her. She was so
excited to be baptized, but her mom remained skeptical for quite some
time. After showing her commitment by attending church and institute
at college, her mom lightened up and supported her being baptized. It
was awesome to see everyone again and to witness the miracle of her
being baptized.

Investigators
Even though there was a lot of down time this week, we still taught
quite a few lessons. Lucilia is set to be baptized in a couple weeks.
She turned 9 recently so she was switched to our jurisdiction. She is
so excited! Rusty and Liz are still going strong, waiting on Rusty's
baptism approval from headquarters.

Special gift
I normally don't talk a lot about gifts I receive, but I did receive a
very, very special gift this Christmas from my family and loved ones.
A little while ago, my mother asked me to put together a list of the
12 most influential men in my life. I thought about it, and I came up
with the list. I didn't think much more about it until I opened my
Christmas package from home this week. Inside were 14 envelopes and 14
little boxes. (They got 14 instead of 12) Each envelope contained a
letter from one of the most influential men in my life, and a tie from
each of them. I have, since then, enjoyed wearing one of those ties
every day. I am so blessed to have such wonderful people in my life.
Thank you to anyone who may have contributed to the gift.

Gospel Principles
Elder Fernandez and I taught Gospel Principles and I got to share my
experience of the Joplin tornado with the class. We talked about how
the Lord protects us, and how we can better follow the Spirit. It was
a good class with lots of participation. I'm glad I've learned how to
teach on the fly, because we got a 30-minute notice that we were
teaching. Yay for the Spirit!


That was my week. Thanks for all of your prayers and support. Have a
very happy New Year! May you all make resolutions to change and be
better.

Much love,

Elder Jones
Black Canyon Ward
Arizona Phoenix Mission


 Apartment mustache party

Christmas breakfast with the zone


 Leah's baptism!!!

weekly selfie- #1

weekly selfie #2

 Zone bowling picture last pday
Christmas skype 

Christmas skype w/ ghost Kevin!

family picture- 12/25/15

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Bye Bye, Rodrigo!---week 71, 69 weeks in Phoenix mission, 21 weeks in Glendale

Bye Bye, Rodrigo!---
week 71, 69 weeks in Phoenix mission, 21 weeks in Glendale

Dear friends and family,

We had such a great week!! The Christmas season is a great time to be
a missionary! It's also the most difficult time (for me) to be a
missionary. But great, nonetheless. Elder Rodriguez is being
transferred in the middle of the transfer up to Prescott. I've been
serving with him ever since I got to Peoria last February. Needless to
say I'm going to miss my Argentine brother!

Cold
My week was very very cold. Let's just say that being in Phoenix for a
long time has made me a wimp! The highs have been in the upper 50's
and lows in the mid 30's. I swear the weather is all that the people
here want to talk about. If we engage in a conversation with someone,
the subject of the weather will come up within two sentences of
starting the conversation—guaranteed. The cooler weather has brought
out my cooler wardrobe. Sweaters, coats, scarves, and gloves have been
lifesavers.

Christmas decorating
Elder Fernandez and I went over to Christine's apartment this week to
put up the rest of her Christmas decorations. She is our convert who
is terminally ill. We set up her Christmas tree and decorated it with
her many ornaments. We went in to her room and told her it was done
and she wanted to see it. She got up out of her bed while screaming
because moving hurts so much for her. She wheeled out in her
wheelchair and cried because "it was so beautiful." The spirit of
service never fails to touch my heart when I visit Christine and serve
her. Whether it's setting up her Christmas lights, or just merely
reading the scriptures with her. Service is service, and the Lord
knows.

New investigator
We got a referral for a lady named Dianne. Apparently she had talked
to missionaries before in the past and followed up with another member
to ask us to come back. It was about 8:30, typically we stop knocking
on unknown doors around 8 or 8:15. The Spirit prompted us to visit
her, though. We set up a meeting for the next day. We visited her and
taught her the Restoration. She accepted everything and wants to be
baptized. We set a baptismal date for January 16. She came to church
and stayed the whole time! People fellowshipped her and made her feel
welcome. That's always a plus!

Christmas Conference
Our mission took a trip over to Mesa to visit the temple, visitors
center, and the Christmas lights! We got to the temple and went
through the visitors center. There were a lot of awesome new exhibits.
We had lunch on the temple grounds and went and did an endowment
session. The Spirit is so strong in the temple. President Griffin took
us to dinner to Old Country Buffet, and we went back for the Christmas
lights. I got lots of great pictures and had some quality time bonding
with my fellow missionaries.

 Christmas musical fireside
Our zone leaders organized a sweet Christmas musical fireside for the
stake. It featured different solos, a choir, and the spoken word. Each
missionary companionship introduced a performance. Elder Fernandez and
I introduced Elder Clark's vocal solo of, "O, Holy Night." It was
probably the most powerful event in the program. Elder Flynn also
played an incredible piano arrangement of "Joy to the World." Elder
Stott, one of our zone leaders, made home made pumpkin and pecan pies.
No complaints! :)


So that was my week! Trying a different letter format. I hope you all
have a merry Christmas!! Soooo last week I said to send mail to the
new mission office. Don't!! Apparently they aren't getting packages
there yet. Have a great week!!

Elder Jones
Black Canyon Ward
Arizona Phoenix Mission

Missionaries at Mesa Temple

Transportation to Mesa Temple

Missionary Christmas Fireside

Elder Jones' Christmas Tree

Elder Jones at Mesa Temple

Elders Jones & Flynn at Mesa Temple

Lots of Elders!

On the Bus, Elders Jones and Fernandez

Elders Jones and Fernandez
in front of Mesa Temple

Elders Jones and Fernandez
at night in front of Mesa Temple

Christmas lights and Name Tag

Lunch on Temple grounds

visitor center

Elder's Christmas fireside
he finally sees Chris is there.

Outside the Temple w/group
Elder Jones is on left side 3 rows back @ 3 in

dinner at Old Country Buffet

dinner at Old Country Buffet 2

Old Country Buffet 3

Old Country Buffet 4 - everybody looks happy

President and Sister Griffin

Selfie at the Temple

visitor center

Selfie.... Cooking?

 Our zone after the Christmas musical fireside!

Bye bye, Rodrigo! #DontCryForMeArgentina




Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Divine Intervention! week 70, 68 weeks in Phoenix mission, 20 weeks in Glendale

 Divine Intervention!  
 week 70, 68 weeks in Phoenix mission, 20 weeks in Glendale

Dear friends and family,

We had a wonderful week! The area is going great! We had the best week
we've had in a long time. We found some new people to teach, those who
have a baptismal date are progressing and coming to church, and our
members are helping! It doesn't get much better than that. Oh, and
Elder Fernandez is like the best trainee ever—he makes me wonder why
the heck I was so stressed at the beginning of my mission. He's always
so calm! Anyway, here was my week!


Monday: Monday was an adventure. After studies we went to Target and
got some things. We were searching for a game called Munchkin. Since
Elder Thaut left, we didn't have it anymore...no luck at Target. We
even went to the big Walmart instead of the Neighborhood Market in
search of the game. Finally we came home and accepted the fact that we
would not get it. Elder Bryan suggested trying Barnes and Noble. They
had it! So we got it! Afterward we went to the church and played
speedball. It was pretty intense. After pday we went out and contacted
a referral that turned out to be a family of 5!! We talked to the dad
and he is very interested after attending the Christmas lights at the
Mesa temple. After the visit we went to someone's house to give a
blessing to a man with terminal cancer. I had never given a blessing
to someone who was that sick, but the Spirit guided. It was a humbling
experience. Afterward his family (all non-members, his neighbor is
friends with a member. So no members were present.) asked us a lot of
questions about blessings, the Priesthood, and missionaries in
general. It was a pretty cool experience to teach them about the
priesthood. It was a great way to end the night.
Temp: 75°F

Tuesday: I don't remember much that happened Tuesday. I forgot to
write in my journal. Either that or we were just rushed. We had a few
lessons, one with Gary, who we've been working with for a while. He is
starting to come along and realize the importance of the gospel in his
life. We were led to his door by pure revelation three months ago. We
have been talking with him ever since.

Wednesday: It was a super busy day. We ended the day with 7 lessons. I
think I biked more than I did any other day on my mission. We were on
our own for the day, with appointments on the opposite side of our
area—multiple times. I guess I'm just preparing Elder Fernandez to
walk on his mission when he gets to Argentina! Probably our best
appointment for the day was our last one. We met with a lady named
Sam. She was baptized a little while ago in a different area, but she
came to church a few weeks before. She just moved into this area. She
explained how she has such a love for the gospel, but she doesn't
realize how to access Jesus Christ's Atonement. She knows it works,
but she can't figure out how to access it. So we explained to her how
she can, by repenting, having faith and showing that faith by coming
to church and reading her scriptures. Most importantly, by praying. We
will now see her once a week! She's awesome!
Temp: 76°F

Thursday: Weekly planning. Then we had a lesson with Rusty and Liz,
our two most solid investigators. We taught them the Restoration all
the way through. They understand the need for a Prophet, and the need
for a restoration. It was a great lesson. They are on track to be
baptized on their date, Jan 2nd!!

Friday: Zone meeting and then exchanges with a Elder Clough! One thing
really hit me in our zone meeting. One of our zone leaders, Elder
Gardner, asked a question, "Would you be the same missionary if Jesus
Christ was your companion?" We all thought about it. He then followed
with this—"He kind of is--your companion is a representative of Jesus
Christ. You should act how He would act." We need to be an example.
After dinner we had a lesson with the Sesay family, a big family in
the ward from Liberia. Their daughter just turned 9 so we get to teach
and baptize her! It's always fun to go over there because they're all
so lively and energetic.
Temp: 67°F

Saturday: I was on exchange with Elder Clough until 3. We went finding
in the afternoon and focused on contacting. We talked to everyone we
saw and even met a pretty crazy person. (That's pretty normal here.) I
exchanged back with a Elder Fernandez, taught a lesson to Javier, and
we went to the ward Christmas party! There were about 250 people
there! Lots of less-active members came, and Rusty and Liz came! They
were fellowshipped really well. I think they like the French sisters a
lot too haha. They were there with their French convert, Raphaël! It
was a wonderful dinner and program. Everyone enjoyed it.
Temp: 61°F

Sunday: It was a wonderful Sunday. Rusty and Liz came to church and
enjoyed it. Plus, a guy named Randall came to church after his friend
invited him. He stayed for the whole block and enjoyed it! When he
introduced himself in priesthood meeting, they asked if he was a
member. He responded with, "Not yet. But with more days like today,
hopefully soon!" So we got his information and we have an appointment
with him this week. And he even seems normal!!! Not even crazy!! Had
dinner with the Barton's which is always a treat. Then Brother Barton
went out with us to visit Gary. His mom was there and is interested
too! We taught the Plan of Salvation and he really enjoyed it and said
it makes a lot of sense. It calmed my heart when he opened up and said
that it just "clicked" with him that he needs to be reading the Book
of Mormon. We invite him, but it really clicked this time. I'm eager
to see how it goes for him.
Temp: 60°F


That was my week! Thanks for all of your love and support. Our mission
office has a new address, so if you want to send me mail (pretty
please! :)), send it to: (or get my apt from my mom)

Elder Kevin Jones
Arizona Phoenix Mission
6833 W. Bell Rd.
Glendale, AZ 85308

* Note from MOM:  Just an update on the mail sent to the Mission home office- only letters can go there now.  If you are sending a package it needs to go to the OLD Mission home address for the next month.  But you can still send letters and packages directly to Elder Jones' apartment.  The office holds their packages for them.  He would love letters!! 

The gospel is true. It changes lives; it changes people.


.Zone picture! Left to right: (standing) Elders Gardner, Miller,
Wheeler, Rodriguez, Dawson, Bradley, Bryan, Jones
(Sitting) Elders Clough, Stott, Conover, Cespedes, Dwigans, Davenport, Fernandez

Elder Jones and Elder Conover
He is a friend of an Elder serving in our ward.

Elder Fernandez and Mike's drawing (of Elder Fernandez...) on the
tablecloth at the ward party.....yep that's Mike! Hahaha

Elder Jones at ward Christmas Party and the drawing. :)

 don't do selfies very much....so here's rock hands.

My weekly selfie

Elder Jones and Fernandez getting
birthday cupcakes from a member

Elder Jones same night


Thursday, December 10, 2015

I'm a Father! (kind of)...week 69- 67 weeks in Phoenix- 19 weeks in Glendale

I'm a Father! (kind of)...

week 69- 67 weeks in Phoenix- 19 weeks in Glendale

Dear friends and family,

Transfers happened! My new companion (son) is Elder Fernandez from
Fresno, California. He turned 19 yesterday. He is waiting on his visa
to go to Rosario, Argentina! So he'll be here in our mission until
that comes in. It could be tomorrow, it could be in six months! He's a
great missionary. Here was my week!


Tuesday: Pday, except we were super rushed all day because Elder Thaut
was getting transferred. I got my training call. Someone in the stake
presidency is a chiropractor, so he gave the whole zone free back
adjustments which was amazing! We visited Javier and Elder Thaut asked
him to give him a priesthood blessing. The Spirit was so strong as
Javier gave his first blessing as a newly ordained Melchizedek
priesthood holder. It was a great way to end a dream companionship.
Temp: 64°F

Wednesday: Transfers! Elder Thaut got shipped out to Buckeye and Elder
Fernandez just got here from the MTC. After the meeting we went home
and got settled. We went out with Brother Barton and taught Liz and
Rusty, two of our new investigators. They accepted the challenge to be
baptized on January 2nd! They're really solid and prepared. We put
someone on date in Elder Fernandez's first lesson. Oh yeah!
Temp: 67°F

Thursday: Weekly planning. We went to the institute building for lunch
with our roommates and the zone leaders. We couldn't find someone to
come out with us so we biked to our lessons after dinner. We had four
in one night! Elder Fernandez said he was feelin it in his legs! He is
borrowing Elder Rodriguez's bike and He has a great attitude about
working. It's helping me stay motivated too!
Temp: 72°F

Friday: District meeting! Elder Bryan is the new district leader and
it was a great meeting! We did a scripture chase—literally! There were
two chairs set up, each with a Book of Mormon. We split up into two
teams. Elder Bryan would ask a question and we had to find an answer
in the Book of Mormon before the other team. Questions like, "Where is
my mom now? She just passed away." or "Why do bad things happen to
good people?" It was a really fun activity and I learned a lot about
the power of the Book of Mormon. After dinner we went out with Brother
Taylor and taught David, and made more visits. Not much luck, though.
Temp: 73°F

Saturday: I went on exchange in my area with Elder Bryan. We helped
Christine set up her Christmas decorations because she can't get out
of bed. When we finished she wanted to see them so she—after a lot of
help and painful screams—got into her wheelchair and started crying
because she was so thankful and because it was so beautiful. I
definitely felt the Spirit. After dinner we contacted someone in their
parking lot and got a return appointment for the Spanish elders! We
had a lesson with the Costa family, and their friend was there and is
interested. He's pretty much a golden investigator, just as long as he
stays in the area.
Temp: 73°F

Sunday: Pretty good day at church! Liz came! She seemed to like it. It
was fast and testimony meeting which can sometimes make missionaries a
little nervous, but it was fantastic!! The Spirit was so strong during
the meeting! Probably Raphaël, the French convert in our ward, bore
his testimony in French and even though I didn't understand it, the
Spirit was there. He testified. After church and studies we had the
Christmas devotional. It was great as always. It was Elder Fernandez's
19th birthday! :)
Temp: 77°F


So that was my week! I love you and miss you all. Stay strong and I'd
love to hear from you all. Please keep sending prayers that I'll be
able to train Elder Fernandez well.

Much love,

Elder Jones
Black Canyon Ward
Arizona Phoenix Mission

Elder Jones and Elder Fernandez
Elder Fernandez's Birthday!
From the turkey bowl on thanksgiving!

Elder Fernandez meets his new
"DAD", Elder Jones

Missionary models?

Pday selfie

Selfies x's 2!