Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Blood Moon, week 59, 57 weeks in Phoenix, AZ mission, 9 weeks in Glendale

Blood Moon, week 59,  57 weeks in Phoenix, AZ mission, 9 weeks in Glendale

Dear friends and family,

Greetings from Arizona! I bet you're all experiencing nice, fall
temperatures. HA. WE'RE NOT!! But that's okay because although they
aren't "fall temperatures", they're falling temperatures. A couple
days were pretty unbelievably nice. Then summer was like, "NOPE NOT
DONE YET!!" We had a pretty cool experience with the blood moon
yesterday. I'll send pictures and I'll talk about it in my letter.
Anyway, enough rambling—here was my week!

Monday: Pday. The normal stuff happened. Elder Ogden cut my hair and
we played sports at the stake center. Like I said before, I'm a huge
fan of speedball. It's a mix between basketball and soccer. Pretty
fun!! After pday was over we went to the Pope family's home to teach
them about the Word of Wisdom. The lesson went well like always.
They're an awesome family and have really grasped the gospel since
they've been coming back and since Sister Pope and Caden were
baptized. After the lesson we went out finding and biking.
Temp: 89°F

Tuesday: We got a new table today. We finally have a table to eat on
and we no longer have to use a box! Hahaha. We made a couple visits
and taught Christine and Bill. Bill received some bad news on his
health so that was super sad. He wasn't feeling well during our lesson
so we made it pretty short. I'm sure he'd appreciate a prayer on his
behalf. After that lesson we had a few minutes before dinner so we
knocked on a potential investigator's door. A lady answered and was
super friendly. She let us in and it turns out she's a member. We
asked if we could help them with anything and she pointed to her
brother and said, "You could teach him, he's not a member. He could
use the company!" He accepted the invitation to have us teach him. It
was a pretty cool experience! After dinner we went on splits but no
one answered. Oh well.
Temp: 86°F (Amazing!!)

Wednesday: A pretty good day. In the morning everyone in my apartment
except me decided to update to iOS 9. I didn't for some reason. Well
it was good I didn't because their iPads all froze up and wouldn't
work! They had to reset them all! It took like 3 hours...haha. So I'm
going to update mine tomorrow just in case it doesn't work. They told
us the problem had been fixed, but I'm going to wait just in case. I
don't want to sacrifice my precious email time... :) After dinner we
had three lessons! One with Gabby, one with the Barton family, and one
with David. David's was pretty great. We have taught him almost
everything now. We shared the law of tithing with him. He said that
has always been a difficult principle for him, but that he would be
willing to live the law. It was a great lesson.
Temp: 96°F

Thursday: Weekly planning. Had a great dinner with the Gomez family. I
just love them. They feed us every other Thursday night. The best
night of the week!! After dinner we went out with our ward mission
leader, Brother Clawson, to make some visits. We had a lesson with a
returning member. We then visited one of his home teaching families.
It turns out that their daughter was hit by a car and is really shaken
up. We gave her a blessing on their doorstep. It was a really cool
experience. Holding the Priesthood of God truly is a great blessing.
Temp: 103°F

Friday: I went to Peoria today! I had an appointment in Peoria IN MY
OLD AREA! It was pretty weird to be there again. I felt like I was
back at 6 months out!! It was funny to be with Elder Rodriguez
again—in Peoria—on exchanges. Crazy. We then had a great district
meeting and great lessons with two recent converts. One of them,
Mike—the guy who got baptized my first week here—is awesome. He asked
us some questions and we gave him some answers. Plus he always gives
us a feast of junk food and soda during our visits. :) One of the
other wards had a baptism and we stopped by the church to get some
water and I saw President Juchau's car in the lot. He's a member of
the mission presidency. We left a note on his windshield that said,
"We love you, President Juchau!" And he texted us that night and said
that it made his day. So that made us feel pretty good!
Temp: 102°F

Saturday: Exchanges! I was with Elder Ogden in their area. Elder Ogden
is from Camdenton, MO so we reminisced about Missouri. Except he's
returning to Zion in like 3 weeks. We did a lot of finding and taught
a lesson. Had chipotle for dinner which is always a plus.
Temp: 103°F

Sunday: Nothing too exciting. We went to church and had ward council
after church. It was fast Sunday. A guy named Will came to church and
expressed his desire to have us teach him! Oh yeah! So we set up an
appointment with him for Tuesday. Had dinner with the Bleyls, one of
my favorite families. Afterward, there was a blood moon! Brother Bleyl
has a kick-butt camera so he was getting some sweet shots. He sent one
to me so I'll definitely attach it.
Temp: 102°F

So that was my week. I can truly feel the prayers and love. I hope you
all have a wonderful week and remember that the Lord loves you. He
knows you more that you know yourself. I have seen that so much

Much love,

Elder Jones
Black Canyon Ward
Arizona Phoenix Mission

Big EXTRA purchase this week

Blood Moon


Elder Ogden's Chipotle!

Yes, those are bullet holes. Hahahaha.

The Bleyl's dog is begging for food! Haha.

Left to right: Elders Flynn, Dennis, Clough, Bradley, Thaut, Jones,
Wheeler, Gardner, Ockey
Bottom: Elders Ogden, Rodriguez, Dwigans

Monday, September 21, 2015

600 Volkswagens- week 58, 56 weeks in Phoenix AZ Mission, 8 weeks in Glendale

600 Volkswagens- week 58, 56 weeks in Phoenix AZ Mission, 8 weeks in Glendale

Dear friends and family,

Last week was great. It was slower than normal, but it was still a
great week. My birthday Monday was awesome. I'll write more about
it in my letter. Anyway, it feels weird to be 20. I feel like I should
be starting my freshman year of high school. Oh well—half way to 40!
:) Here was my week!

Monday: My 20th birthday! It was a normal pday. We went and played
sports at the stake center. It was supposed to be "district wars"
meaning district against district, but one companionship—you know who
you are—decided not to go so the teams were uneven. Oh well! After
pday Chris from my last area came to Glendale and took Elder Thaut and
me out to dinner! Her aunt, uncle, mom, stepdad, and a couple cousins
were there to celebrate! They also had a couple birthdays in their
family so we all celebrated together at Chili's. It was a great night.
I really enjoyed catching up with Chris and talking to her again. I
miss teaching her; she is probably my favorite person I've met on my
mission. After dinner we went out with a kid named Juan, a priest in a
neighboring ward. He's preparing for a mission next year and so he
comes out with all the missionaries whenever he can. Our lessons fell
through, but we got to talk to a couple cool people.
Temp: 94°F

Tuesday: Nothing too special happened today. We had a lesson with an
"eternal investigator" named Bill. He's awesome and loves
missionaries, but he just doesn't want to commit to changing his
religion. He feels the Spirit when we read the Book of Mormon with
him, but he doesn't read on his own. I feel like if he does, he'll
gain a testimony. Something cool happened that night. We went on
splits and I went with Brother Jones. After we made our visits, I told
Brother Jones that I loved Volkswagens. He is a mechanic, and he
showed me a ton of pictures of his old Beetles and the ones he has
restored. He told me that over his lifetime he has bought, restored,
and sold/kept almost 600 VW Beetles. He really likes to make them into
Baja Beetles. They were SWEET. Not only do we share a name, but we
shared the interest in Volkswagens. :)
Temp: 94°F

Wednesday: A full day of service. We started the day early and went to
do service at a senior center. Our whole zone participated in the
activity. Basically what we did was pass out food to people who needed
it. We stood behind the table and put food into peoples' bags. Some
were homeless, some were refugees, and some just needed some extra
help with food. After the line had gone through, we started talking to
a couple from Syria. I bet you can guess why they aren't there
anymore. They told us that they're Christians and lit up when they saw
"Jesus Christ" on our name tags. They told us in very broken English,
"Nobody in Syria Christian. You all angels. Thank you." It is so, so,
so awesome to be able to represent Jesus Christ Himself. Moments like
that keep me going. Then we went to help at the IRC again. Elders
Thaut and Gardner helped in the shop, and Elder Ogden and I folded
sheets, took things to the dumpster, and cleaned up. It was fun. After
dinner we went to an investigator's house for a lesson. We taught her
about families and she is super excited to learn more. She told us
that she used to work at Culver's, so I reminisced. :)
Temp: 94°F

Thursday: Weekly planning. After we planned we went out with Brother
Haight. He's new in the ward and is a very young guy. He's newly
married. All four of our lessons happened and we got along great with
him. It turns out that he plays Munchkin with his friends when they're
all together, so they have like two expansions to the game. He let us
borrow an expansion! So we've been enjoying that. :) I think this is
the first time in a while where no appointments cancelled!
Temp: 96°F

Friday: Mission tour! Elder Foster and Elder Montoya, both from the
First Quorum of the Seventy, came and spoke to us! The biggest thing I
got out of the meeting was when Elder Foster told us, "You only have a
short time to be a missionary, but a whole eternity to look back on
how you spent your time." That struck me. I think I can do better at
working my hardest all the time. There were other great insights from
the meeting, but that was the biggest one for me. We had a couple
lessons cancel, but we did get to see Mike, a recent convert we
baptized right after I got into the area. He is hilarious. We had a
great discussion about the Priesthood.
Temp: 98°F

Saturday: Lots of food. Javier, a recent convert in our ward, fed us
and four other missionaries in the zone breakfast! Home made flour
tortillas with chorizo and beans! It was soooooo good! Then we almost
went straight to lunch with the Spanish elders. I was so full. Later
in the evening one of our lessons cancelled, but we had a great lesson
with the Costa family, who were baptized in April. They're going
through a lot, but it's amazing to see their faith. It's a testimony
builder for sure.
Temp: 98°F

Sunday: Church, studies, dinner, finding. Not too much to report here.
Haha! One cool thing did happen, though! David, the guy who has a
baptismal date for October 10, came to church! He loved it! We were
worried because it was the primary program and his first Sunday, but
he loved it. He wants to come back.
Temp: 101°F

That was my week! Sorry it wasn't that interesting. I hope you all
have a great week. Thanks for all of the prayers and support. I can
truly feel them on a daily basis. Stay awesome!

Much love,

Elder Jones
Black Canyon Ward
Arizona Phoenix Mission

Elders Jeong, & Jones at Mission Tour

8 zones at mission tour w/ 2 of the 70 to speak.  Elder Jones is on the top row 5th from left in a pink tie!  I think that is the tie McKay Prestwich gave him when he was serving in Webb City.

Elder Jones and Jeong one last time

Elder Thaut w/ the weekly cat picture

weekly selfie- although I'm not sure he
 took this picture!  And he has on an old
companion's shirt which is to big!

Breakfast at a new member's house.  

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Dirty South! 57 weeks on Arizona Phoenix Mission, 55 weeks in Phoenix, 7 weeks in Glaendale

The Dirty South!  
57 weeks on Arizona Phoenix Mission, 55 weeks in Phoenix,   7 weeks in Glaendale

Dear friends and family,

Last week was super good! We found six new investigators and had
transfers. I am staying in Glendale with my companion, Elder Thaut,
for at least 6 more weeks. Thank goodness! I love this area and my
companion and I are getting along better than ever. President Griffin
told us, "I'm not used to a companionship getting along as well as you
two...." So this week a lot of changes happened in the zone. Our zone
leaders now cover three wards! Because of all the switches, we are now
in the "Dirty South" district. We are no longer in the "Notorious
North." That means Elder Rodriguez and his companion are in my
district now! Rodriguez is the district leader. Ah, it reminds me of
Peoria. :) Anyway, here was my week!

Tuesday: Pday. We didn't get the transfer text until like 2pm which
was lame. We had lunch at Culver's. When the text finally came we
found out that our whole apartment is staying and that we're now in
the same district with our roommates! And Rodriguez is the district
leader! Heck yeah. After pday we went out with a member to visit Jesse
& Kina. Kina isn't a member; Jesse is less-active. Kina is extremely
interested! We used to teach them but they would always cancel, so we
dropped them. We decided to visit them just to check up on them, and
they want us to start teaching them again! We had a wonderful lesson
about how God loves us and how families are essential to His plan.
Kina was kind of scared off by baptism before, so we are moving slower
with them now. Which is totally okay.
Temp: 103°F

Wednesday: We visited an older lady named Alice! She is baptist and is
pretty set in her ways, but she enjoys us coming by and talking with
her. Somehow we got on the topic of family history and she just LOVED
talking about it. It was really neat to see her open up. We shared
some family stories and next time we will share more. Her neighbor is
a member of the a Church, so we will be talking with her about getting
her into the Family History center. After dinner we taught David. He's
the one who lives in our apartment complex. He had just got a ton of
new electronics so we opened them with him. Brother Barton was with us
and said, "Man, David, I feel like I'm with you on Christmas morning!"
We joked for a long time. We shared a message on spiritual CPR—church,
prayer, and reading scriptures. He enjoyed the message and knows those
are very important.
Temp: 100°F

Thursday: Weekly planning and a couple lessons. We taught some kids
who have been coming to church recently, Zach and Caden. They were
taught before, but they just moved back for the school year. It was a
pretty scattered lesson, but good. We had dinner at the Gomez home.
They have a couple Navajo sisters living with them temporarily, and
they made us Navajo tacos. Hooooooooly cow they were delicious. We
then had a lesson and went finding for the night. Not too much luck.
Temp: 94°F

Friday: We finished weekly planning then had district meeting! We were
"inducted" into the Dirty South district. It was good to have Elder
Rodriguez leading the district once again. Since we're in their
district now, that means we get a ride to district meeting. So that's
a perk. :) After the meeting we had dinner with the Jones family!
Brother Jones makes the best ribs ever. My face was a mess afterward
but that just means I enjoyed it. :) After dinner we watched "The
Testaments" with Mike (a recent convert) and his girlfriend who we are
about to start teaching! It was a great night full of laughs and
Temp: 100°F

Saturday: Exchanges with the Spanish elders! I went with Elder
Rodriguez in his area. Just like old times—sitting there, not
understanding a word, and bonding with Rodrigo. It was a great day. I
don't know why, but it seems like I always get American food for
dinner while on exchanges in the Spanish area. Someone did ask me
where I was from in Spanish. I responded, "Soy de Missouri." Rodrigo
was proud! It was a great exchange.
Temp: 102°F

Sunday: We had a pretty good Sunday. We had three investigators there
which was great! Unfortunately David didn't come today so he won't be
able to be baptized on the 26th...we'll just move it back a week or
two. No big deal! After church we met with Gabby finally. She's 12.
Her mom said that she can't get baptized until she's older. Laaaame!
But oh well—we're still going to teach her. Our lessons fell through
for the night so we visited a recent convert, Javier. He is AWESOME.
He's moving this week right by he church! So still in our ward. They
took us to visit their new home. Spending the evening with Javier and
his family was wonderful.
Temp: 103°F

Thanks for all of the birthday wishes. I don't feel any older....haha.
20 is a pretty big number. It's crazy to think this is my second
birthday on my mission. Ugh it's going by way too fast. I hope you all
have a great week! Love ya!

Much love,

Elder Jones
Black Canyon Ward
Arizona Phoenix Mission

Favorite place to eat

Lip Syncing in car

Elders Jones and Rodriguez

Missouri street sign

exchange w/ Rodriguez

puppy who fell asleep during lesson

weekly selfie
20th Birthday!

Birthday dinner at Chili's

Chris's family and Elder's celebrating Kevin's birthday

Elder Thaut, Elder Jones, Chris



Wednesday, September 9, 2015

CLEVER TITLE! 56 Week on Mission, 54 weeks serving in the Arizona, Phoenix mission, 6 weeks in Glendale

CLEVER TITLE!  56 Week on Mission, 54 weeks serving in the Arizona, Phoenix mission, 6 weeks in Glendale.

Dear friends and family,

Wow, pday finally came. It's transfer week! But they still haven't
sent out transfer news.......kinda lame. I'll keep y'all posted. Here
was my week!

Monday: Typical pday routine. After that we had a zone activity to
celebrate Elder Hunsaker's last pday. We went bowling and I'm pretty
sure everybody doubled my score the first game. Then I bowled a 100
the second game. Oh yeah! I actually beat a couple other missionaries!
Haha. I was pretty proud. After pday we went to FHE at the Gomez home.
Then we had cake! A pretty bad storm kept us there for a long time.
Finally we braved the storm and biked the 3 miles home. We were wet
and dirty but we made it!
Temp: 103°F

Tuesday: Pretty cool day. We visited a potential investigator named
Alice. She's an older lady. We knocked on her door and she let us in.
We shared a quick message with her and she invited us back. She is
open to hearing more! That night we went out with a member of the
elders quorum and visited Katie, a recent convert. We taught her about
the importance of coming to church, reading scriptures, and praying.
We related it to CPR (church, praying, reading) and how it can revive
us when we have "spiritually died." Then he took us to Dairy Queen. It
was a great night!
Temp: 101°F

Wednesday: We did a pretty cool service project in the afternoon. We
helped out with the International Rescue Committee (IRC)! We worked in
the "shop." Refugees from foreign countries would come in and we would
help them find the things they need like clothes, dishes, toys,
toiletries, etc.. Some people were from Romania, Ghana, Liberia,
Czechoslovakia, and other countries. Hardly any of them spoke English
so that was frustrating at times but it was still fun. We had splits
after our coordination meeting. I went out with our assistant ward
mission leader, Brother Barton. We made puns all night. It was
Temp: 98°F

Thursday: Weekly planning! After planning we did an exchange with out
apartmentmates. I stayed in our area and Elder Clough was my companion
for the day. He is awesome! At dinner we helped Brother Taylor unclog
his drain. We did not prevail. The drain won the long battle. It was
fun to help him, though. Later that night we taught David, our most
solid investigator. We taught him the Word of Wisdom. We thought it
might be a problem for him, but he said that he's already living it.
He's still going strong for the 26th! It was like 79°F that night
which was amaaaazing. I can't wait for Fall and Winter!
Temp: 96°F

Friday: We had such a great zone meeting. I felt the Spirit so
strongly. I usually don't feel the Spirit a TON during zone or
district meetings, but I did this time. I got a lot of revelation on
what I can do better and how I can be a better missionary. Elder Thaut
bore his testimony on the sacrament and we sang "I Stand All Amazed"
as the closing hymn. I adore that hymn. That night we were heading to
a potential investigator's apartment and two kids stopped us on the
bike path. One was a Jehovah's Witness and it sounded like he just
wanted to bash and prove our religion wrong. After we let him read a
few scriptures, we felt prompted to talk about the Book of Mormon. The
Spirit filled our mouths as we testified of the divinity of the Book
of Mormon and Joseph Smith the Prophet. After we finished the two kids
(17 & 16) were speechless and they thanked us for talking to them. We
gave them our number and a Restoration pamphlet. It was pretty cool!!!
Temp: 93°F (rainy)

Saturday: Not a ton happened. Lots of appointments cancelled. A funny
thing happened as we were biking home for the night. As we passed a
house there was a big group of girls just singing at the top of their
lungs. As we passed, they got quiet and Elder Thaut started to sing in
a super low voice. They all busted up laughing. It was a funny,
had-to-be-there, moment.
Temp: 93°F humid!

Sunday: Normal. Church, ward council, dinner, finding. Not much to report!

Monday: Working  Monday's are always the worst! But it was a great day!
Lots of dumb things happened. Two lessons cancelled at the door, but
we had a great lesson with a guy named Bill. He has been sick recently
so we gave him a blessing. He felt the Spirit as he was crying during
the blessing. Then we visited a cool referral from the bishop! We got
a return appointment with her! She seems very interested. We then went
to FHE and dinner at the Gomez home! I loooove them! It was a great
night with a great message.
Temp: 103°F

That was my week! I hope you all had a great week as well. Love and
miss you all! Thanks for all of the prayers and support.

Much love,

Elder Jones
Black Canyon Ward
Arizona Phoenix Mission

Double Elders!

Last pday. Me, Elder Flynn,
Elder Wheeler (his trainee)

Elders Jones, Thaut, and Roderiques

 Rock hands!


Elder Thaut and me. At a door,
waiting for a member to show up.

Elder Thaut and a cat.