Monday, August 31, 2015

Beautiful Skies! 55 week on mission, 53 weeks in Phoenix, Az mission, 5 weeks in Glendale area

Arizona sunset.
Beautiful Skies! 55 week on mission, 53 weeks in Phoenix, Az mission, 5 weeks in Glendale area

Good day, friends and family! Pday is upon us once again. This past week was great. Today has already been pretty eventful. While we were studying President Griffin stopped by our apartment to lend Elder Rodriguez a violin so he can play it. So it was pretty cool to see him! Luckily out apartment was pretty clean. As we were taking the trash out, a guy in our complex stopped us and said, "Hey, guys, this is kind of embarrassing, but I just can't figure out how to tie this thing." He wanted us to help him tie his tie. We did, and he was very grateful. He called us "life savers" little does he know....hahaha ;)
So here was my week! 

Monday: It was a great day. We did the usual stuff then went to the church and played volleyball with everyone from our zone. (Except Elder Flynn and his companion.....if you're reading this, know we missed you....) Then Elder Ogden from Camdenton, MO cut my hair! He did a pretty good job. We went out and taught a couple lessons after our time off. We taught the Pope family and they're still doing great! Then we taught Martin, the guy whose sisters stopped us on the street to go talk to him. He's doing great. We taught the Restoration and he felt the Spirit. Pretty cool lesson!!
Temp: 105°F

Tuesday: No appointments cancelled! It was a Christmas miracle!! Brother Gomez went out with us all afternoon so we weren't biking much. We taught three lessons during the day and they all went great. One in particular stuck out to me. We taught a guy named Bill who has been baptist his whole life. He's an older guy, probably about 70. We shared the Restoration video with him. He said it was "inspiring." We biked all the way to the bottom of our area for dinner and they cancelled at the door. That was pretty lame. After dinner we had a lesson with Katie, a recent convert. She had forgotten about our appointment but she was sitting outside on the steps with a couple of her friends. She invited them both to come sit in on the lesson, and one actually accepted! His name is Chad. We were planning on talking about prophets, but we quickly changed our lesson to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As we talked about the parts of the gospel: Faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end; Chad was very interested in baptism. He asked us, "I want to know more about baptism. I think that's the next step for me." So right there, having known him for 10 minutes, we testified of baptism and extended a baptismal date for him. He accepted. It was a great lesson.
Temp: 98°F (rainy)

Wednesday: Not much out of the ordinary. We taught a few lessons but nothing spectacular. We did, however, get to visit Mike, the guy we baptized a couple days after I got into the area. He's HILARIOUS. 
Temp: 104°F

Thursday: Weekly planning! As we were planning a pretty gnarly storm rolled in. Here in Arizona there is SO MUCH lightning during storms. So while we were planning, the lights went out. We looked around for a second and then, "BOOOOOOOM!!!" And the lights came back on. So that night we had dinner with Brother Gomez and some of his family. They made some killer ribs. After dinner we went out with our assistant ward mission leader, Brother Barton. He is the definition of funny. We made puns the whole night. It was glorious. 
Temp: 105°F

Friday: District meeting. I gave a practice teach over inviting people to sacrament meeting. After the meeting and dinner we taught Katie about the Word of Wisdom. She brought up that some of her friends were harassing her about being baptized a member of the Church. The Spirit immediately put into my mind a paragraph in the Joseph Smith pamphlet about his persecution. I read it to her:

       "So it was with me. I had actually seen a light, and in the midst of that light I saw two Personages, and they did in reality speak to me; and though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision, yet it was true; and while they were persecuting me, reviling me, and speaking all manner of evil against me falsely for so saying, I was led to say in my heart: Why persecute me for telling the truth? I have actually seen a vision; and who am I that I can withstand God, or why does the world think to make me deny what I have actually seen? For I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it; at least I knew that by so doing I would offend God, and come under condemnation."
She said that it really helped her. I love the Spirit. As a missionary, it is so critical to stay in tune with the Spirit. If not, one could miss a critical moment to help somebody's own personal situation. 
Temp: 106°F

Saturday: It was a super good day today, but super hot. One cool experience did happen. Our last door we knocked on for the day finally opened after a day of no answers. Gary answered. He told us that he used to be Mormon, but is now a "non-believer." Then he told us he believes in Christ. Then he told us that he likes the teachings of the Church. Then he said he wants us to come pray with him. So he convinced himself to have us pray with him and come back once a week. It was a pretty cool experience. Then we had dinner with the Pope family! Before they left, they gave us something interesting. Kool-Aid pickles...they mixed the pickle juice with Kool-Aid powder. Then put the pickles back in the jar and they soaked. It was sooooo good. The pickles were red!!! We then taught two first lessons. One we referred to the Spanish elders. Good day!
Temp: 110°F

Sunday: Typical Sunday! Church, lunch, little nap. I woke up from my nap with a terrible migraine. Fortunately it went away when we ate dinner. Not much happened at night. Except a cooooool lightning storm. The sky was insanely beautiful.
Temp: 105°F

This week was great. Our whole district hit out mission's standards of excellence. That like never happens apparently. The Glendale zone is doing great, and I'm very happy to be a part of it. The work is hastening. He is making it happen. I am honored to participate in His marvelous work. Have a wonderful week, everybody!

Much love,

Elder Jones
Black Canyon Ward
Arizona Phoenix Mission

Weekly Selfie

Left to right: Elders Hunsaker, Richards, Bradley, Wheeler,
Ogden, Thaut, Gardner, Jones, Rodriguez,
Clough, Ockey

Bottom row: Elders Flynn, Price, Hermanas Zamora, Lamb

Add caption

Pretty sweet rainbow

The glorious horse monument.

Arizona dust storm/thunderstorm + sunset

My bro and me


Monday, August 24, 2015

Miracles!!! 54 weeks on Mission, 52 Weeks in Phoenix, 4 weeks in Glendale

Weekly apartment mates selfie!
Miracles!!!   54 weeks on Mission, 52 Weeks in Phoenix, 4 weeks in Glendale

Hello, friends and family! This week had a couple miracles that were
amazing to watch. I felt like a true servant of the Lord as we
participated in helping God bring His children to Him. We also had
interviews with President Griffin, which is always a highlight. Here
was my week!

Monday: A pday full of absolutely nothing. Haha. We emailed and played
Munchkin most of the day. After pday we went out and had a great
lesson with the Pope family. Man, I wish we could spend all night with
them. We shared a short message on the 10 Commandments. The Popes'
mother lives with them and she isn't a member of the Church. However,
she asked us why we were on a mission and how we found God. We both
bore testimony of the truthfulness of the Restoration. It was a pretty
cool experience. We then went out finding after the lesson but not too
much happened.
Temp: 109°F

Tuesday: Super funny experience. We went over to a referral that the
bishop gave us. It's for a lady who isn't a member but she lives in a
halfway house. We pulled up on our bikes after riding 30 minutes to
get there, and a lady about 1/4 of a mile away saw us pull up and
started yelling at us to get off the property. We told her to calm
down for a second and told her we're there to visit someone who ASKED
us to come by. She was mad that we actually had a reason and she still
told us to go away. So we told her we'll be back some other time then.
It was hilarious. Then on our way home for dinner a drunk guy stopped
us and said, "Are y'all Mormon or Latter-day Saints?" We told them
that "Mormon" is just a nickname for the Latter-day Saints. He wasn't
buying it. "NO. Are you MORMON or LATTER-DAY SAINTS?" I told him,
"Sir, we are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints." And he said, "Thank you." And walked away. It was super
funny. After dinner we had splits. I went and taught David, the guy we
met at the mailbox. I was with Brother Christensen, an elder in our
ward. We taught the Plan of Salvation. He told us at our first lesson
he was a bit skeptical about Joseph Smith, but he said that as he read
the Book of Mormon something just "clicked." He said he believes it's
true. He accepted the Plan of Salvation too. By the Spirit, I invited
him to be baptized on September 26. He accepted. Earlier in the day we
were on our way to a 4 o'clock appointment and Elder Thaut turned down
a neighborhood road and said he felt prompted to visit a referral we
had gotten a week ago that hadn't answered the door yet. So we
knocked, no answer. Again, no answer. Once more, no answer. Confused,
we headed toward our bikes to leave. Then a little girl answered the
door! We asked to speak to her parents and her dad came out. He told
us that he is Baptist and wasn't really interested, but as we bore
testimony of the Restoration right there on his doorstep, his
countenance changed. He looked at us and said, "actually, yeah. You
guys can come by." The cool thing is that it's a family!! Oh yeah!
Temp: 106°F

Wednesday: Interviews with President Griffin! During interviews,
President asked me how long I had been out now. I said, "I don't know,
like two weeks?" He thought it was pretty funny. I told him I had been
out for a little over a year now. He said, "Wow, here pretty soon I'll
be sending you on an airplane back home!"—yikes. After dinner we had a
great lesson with Gabby, a 12-year old girl we're teaching. We put her
on a baptismal date for September 19!
Temp: 106°F

Thursday: Weekly planning. Not too much else. Had a great lesson with
a super solid recent convert, Frank.
Temp: 106°F

Friday: We had a great district meeting. President Juchau of the
mission presidency was there. Elder Flynn gave a really good
discussion on the Book of Mormon and having Christ as our foundation.
All of our lessons cancelled that night which was lame.
Temp: 103°F

Saturday: The night of miracles. The day was pretty slow so I'll just
skip to the night. We felt prompted to go visit some people in the
bottom of our area which is a rougher area. And it was night time, so
we knew it was by the a Spirit. We didn't have a lot of luck until
about 8pm. As we were walking back to our bikes, a car pulled up next
to us and there were two ladies in the car and they asked us to visit
their brother. They pulled over and walked us up to his apartment. His
name is Martin and he has had a lot of challenges recently, and has
turned to God. He has been looking for a church but nothing had stuck
out at him yet. We sat down with him and talked about the Gospel of
Jesus Christ, focusing on baptism. He said that he really wants to be
baptized and start new. We invited him to be baptized on September 19.
He accepted. The Spirit was tangible.
Temp: 103°F

Sunday: Martin came to church! He stayed for the whole 3-hour block
too. We will be visiting him tonightt. Went finding after dinner and
visited a super crazy guy. Enough said about him haha.
Temp: 104°F

What a week full of miracles! Thanks to all who have been praying for
me and for our success out here in Arizona. I miss you all so much but
I know this work is very important. Glendale can be very unpredictable
but I love all of the surprises that we encounter. It's good to have a
laugh every now and then too. :) Have a great week!

Much love,

Elder Jones
Black Canyon Ward
Arizona Phoenix Mission

Weekly Selfie

Finally got the nametag picture from Jones and Bradshaw

Elder Thaut and friend

Elders Clough and Jones w/sock ties

Elder Ogden from Camdenton, MO, one of
Elder Jones' zone leaders, cut his hair today!

The "cool" nametag picture I get today.... Really, that's as creative as he can get?  This is just SAD!  I told him to try again.

The Mighty Four- silly picture.  Elder Thaut's face is the best!
Elder Rodriquez's face is great too!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Hump Week!! 53 week on Mission, 51 weeks in Phoenix Mission, 3 weeks in Glendale

Hump Week!!  53 week on Mission, 51 weeks in Phoenix Mission, 3 weeks in Glendale 

Good afternoon, family and friends! We hit record highs this week in
Phoenix. It hit 118°F Saturday so that was absolutely insane. I've
never felt like my skin was boiling, but I sure did that day. As you
can tell by the title of my email, this week was "hump week" or, in
other terms, I hit my 1-year mark! It's crazy to think that I'm
already half way done with my mission. I never thought I'd be able to
endure a whole Phoenix summer while on a bike, but this summer is
almost over! Oh yeah! Onward! Here was my week! Lots of great—and
kinda crazy—things happened.

Monday: Pday, pretty boring but great. Our roommates are in a
different district than us and their district had an activity all day.
So Elder Thaut and I stayed home and emailed and were lazy. It was a
much needed lazy day. We taught a really cool recent convert family
about enduring to the end. I always love hearing about how the gospel
can change peoples' lives. Especially here—most people don't have much
money, but they are grateful for what they have.
Temp: 104°F

Tuesday: Haha Tuesday was a very crazy day. Things did not go as
planned! So we got up and went to service with a member of the Spanish
ward. As we were riding over there we got caught in a random dust
storm. It was huge. And windy. And gross. And we were trapped in our
car until it passed. It was crazy! Then all of our members who were
going to come with us said they couldn't go to our appointments with
us, and our teaching appointments all ended up canceling on us. So
that was pretty lame but we had fun finding. We had dinner with a
German sister and she brought her friend who isn't a member! We had a
good dinner with them and a good lesson on how much God loves us. He
said he agrees on what we taught. It would be cool if sometime down
the road he met with missionaries! After dinner we went to visit a guy
named David who we met a couple days before. He lives in the same
complex as us. I felt prompted to check the mail at like  8:30pm as we
were coming in. We had already checked the mail once that day, but I
felt prompted to check again. That's where we met David. He said he's
interested in learning more. So we taught him and as I shared with him
about Joseph Smith's first Vision, he said, "Wow. I'm speechless—I can
relate to Joseph Smith. I'm just searching to find out who's right."
It was a very powerful lesson. One I'll never forget.
Temp: 103°F

Wednesday: We went searching for a new apartment, but we couldn't find
anything much better. So it looks like we're going to stay here! After
lunch we went out finding until about 4. Not much luck. Before dinner
we had a great lesson with a progressing investigator, Sarai
(pronounced Saudi). We hadn't met with them in a while so we caught
up. She had a few concerns about church and the Book of Mormon, but we
were able to talk to her about them. She is excited to start meeting
with us again. That evening we went out with our assistant ward
mission leader, Brother Barton. He's the man! We got to visit with a
few of our investigators and set up times to visit. We then taught a
recent convert lady. Her dog was huge and cute. :)
Temp: 108°F

Thursday: HUMP DAAAAAY! And Weekly planning. After planning we had a
short lesson with Christine, a recent convert who is in very poor
health. Her testimony is still rock solid, though. She doesn't let her
health shake her faith. We then had dinner with Brother Gomez, a
recent convert, and his wife! I love Brother Gomez! We then visited
Jesse, a less-active member. He hadn't been to church in forever. He
wants to come back to church but he has a lot of misconceptions that
we're in the process of clearing up... After the day I headed over to
our district leader's place for an exchange with Elder Dennis. He came
out with me.
Temp: 111°F

Friday: Went on exchange with Elder Dennis. Not much great happened.
We had district meeting, which was good. Plus I can't remember and my
journal entry is super bad because I didn't have much time...haha. IT
Temp: 116°F

Saturday: All I remember is that it was incredibly hot. As I mentioned
earlier, there were records set. I have never sweat so much in my
life. Plus our appointments fell through so we were out in it all day.
Phoenix don't care about yo skin.
Temp: 118°F

Elder Rodriguez's car shows temp outside!

Elder Jones w/ apartment mates- Elder Thaut
Elder Rodriguez, Elder ?

Elder jones w/ his camel "hump day" tie

Selfie weekly

Elder Jones and Elder Thaut "flexing?"

waiting at church

We found sticky mustaches.
Rodrigo pulls his off.

Elder Thaut w/ his favorite animal cat

White is so hot it's off the scale. Literally.

Elder Rodriguez's hump day picture!

Sunday: It was a great Sunday. Lots happened! Right after dinner we had a lesson with a girl named Gabby. She is 12 and has been coming to
church with some of her friends and Brother Bleyl, in the bishopric,
introduced us to her last Sunday. So we met with her! We taught her
half of the first lesson and she wants to be baptized. It was a pretty
cool lesson. I haven't taught someone that young since my first area!
After the lesson we went to a guy named Rich's house. He stopped us as
we were passing by his house and told us to come by sometime. So we
stopped by. He is absolutely crazy, but he loves God. He will be a
good place to stop by to get some water. After we talked to Rich for a
while we headed home. It was a great day with two new investigators!
Temp: 110°F

That was my week. Everything is going great here! Thanks for all the support. :)
Have a great week! I love you all!

Much love,

Elder Jones
Black Canyon Ward
Arizona Phoenix Mission