Friday, November 27, 2015

Spaghetti & Tiwi -week 67-65 weeks in Phoenix -17 weeks in Glendale

Spaghetti & Tiwi -
week 67-65 weeks in Phoenix -17 weeks in Glendale 

Dear friends and family,

My week went pretty well. There were a couple funny and crazy things
that happened. We had spaghetti 4 nights in a row, all the mission
cars got a driving monitoring device called Tiwi, and I got hit by a
car (I'm okay, Mom...). Plus we got to teach a lot and yeah the normal
missionary stuff! Anyway, here was my week!

Monday: Brother Turley, the high councilor over missionary work, fed
our whole zone breakfast. They were super good breakfast burritos!
After pday we had a couple lessons and then biked in the cold, windy
Temp: 58°F

Tuesday: We went and volunteered a couple hours at the IRC! We helped
stock the shelves in the clothing distribution store. It was pretty
fun considering we're usually there on Thursday dealing with the rush
of people. So this time it was more calm. We then had a lesson with
Christine. Because she's in so much medication because of her medical
condition, she couldn't speak, so she wrote out all of her comments.
Recently she's been having to do that. We then had dinner with a
family who aren't members! It's kinda cool how we found them. We got a
referral from their son who is a member saying that he felt inspired
that he refer them to us. We met the mom, Theresa. She said that her
son was serving in Argentina and that she would feed us dinner. So we
set up the time and it was wonderful! Such a cool family. Not ready
for the gospel yet, but now she knows we're around. After dinner we
didn't have a ride (we got dropped off) so we waited for our member to
pick us up. He was running late so we sat outside for a while. It was
pretty cold! But we survived.
Temp: 61°F

Wednesday: Tiwi arrived! We had a big zone conference about the new
Tiwi devices and then just a normal meeting afterward. So basically
Tiwi is just a little black box that sits in the corner of the
windshield....and monitors your speed, seatbelt, and it monitors how
hard you brake and accelerate. It speaks to you, too! It says "check
your speed", "check your seatbelt", and "aggressive driving." I'm on a
bike so it doesn't affect me directly, but it's a pretty funny device!
If you make a speed or seatbelt violation, you have a few seconds to
correct it or else a notice is sent to the mission president and SLC.
Aggressive driving violations are automatically sent. Kinda crazy, but
I can see why they're necessary! So after the conference we went
finding and we met a referral that we received a while ago! She is
interested and we set up a return appointment!
Temp: 67°F

Thursday:  Weekly planning. And I got hit by a car. Haha! It's kinda
crazy how my bike is totally fine. So we were just biking south on
31st Ave headed to a lesson, and we come to a four way stop. We stop
first, and a car to the right of us stops. We start going, and I guess
the car didn't see us so she accelerates (fast, I may add...) and
slams in to the front of my bike. Somehow I ended up standing and my
bike fell over on the ground. I'm still not sure how that happened.
But the lady pulled over and was soooo scared that I was hurt. I was
fine and—somehow—so was my bike. We we just left. It made for a funny
story when we got to the Gomez home. They were kidding us because we
were a little late, so I told them what happened and they were mad at
the lady for me! I assured them it wasn't that bad. Haha!
Temp: 74°F

Friday: We went finding some and then had a lesson with Jamie. She is
doing great. Still the most intelligent eight-year-old I've ever met!
After dinner we went out with Juan to visit a couple people. We
visited Katie but she wasn't home. Then her neighbor invited us in
after we talked to him for a little while. Man, he's the definition of
crazy...yikes. Then we headed to Mike's house and taught him and
Cindy, his girlfriend. She is reading the Book of Mormon and is liking
it! I really hope she gets baptized. Unfortunately Elder Rodriguez had
to leave the apartment....they put two extra elders in the Spanish
ward, so they split Elder Clough and Rodriguez. Elder Clough is still
in the apartment and our new roommate is Elder Bryan from Kaysville,
UT! He's awesome. I still miss Rodrigo, though.
Temp: 77°F

Saturday: We went finding all through the afternoon. Not too much
luck, but we tried. Then after dinner we had a great meeting with
David, our recent convert we found at the mailbox. Then we met with
Javier and his wife, Ana, also recent converts. Javier just received
the Melchizedek Priesthood a few weeks ago! He has had bronchitis so
he's been down and out for a couple weeks. So we went by to see how
he's doing. Fortunately he's doing a lot better and isn't contagious.
They're having us for thanksgiving, so we finalized those plans.
They're having us for lunch and dinner. Oh yeah!!!
Temp: 82°F

Sunday: Church, ward council, and then we went to the stake cottage
meeting! Cindy and Mike were able to come so it was awesome. President
Cathcart in the stake presidency presented the lesson. He drew out the
whole history of the Church and apostasy from Adam all the way to our
time. He drew it all on the board and explained it all in 30 minutes.
Pretty impressive!

So that was my week. Mom, I bet you can't believe I ate spaghetti 4
times this week! You should be proud!!
I hope you all have a wonderful week doing whatever you do. Then
Church is true, as is my love for the Savior.

Much love,

Elder Jones
Black Canyon Ward
Arizona Phoenix Mission

new apartment companionship


lunch line


multi zone conference


weekly selfie

another apartmentship photo

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Cold Water Miracle! --- week 66, 64 weeks in Phoenix Mission,16 weeks in Glendale

Cold Water Miracle! --- week 66, 64 weeks in Phoenix Mission,16 weeks in Glendale

Dear friends and family, 

It was such a wonderful week. We were able to baptize Elaine and Aaron, two people my good friend Elder Claypool taught in Vegas before they moved to Phoenix. The baptism was nothing short of a miracle. Let me tell you, Satan did not want them to be baptized and confirmed! But the Lord made it happen.  Anyway, here was my week! I'll talk more about the baptism shortly.--OH! And our neighbors got their wifi back so we have Internet again! Hallelujah! 

Monday: Pday. We didn't have wifi so we emailed and played some sports at the church. It was a normal pday. Nothing too exciting. We went on exchanges that night so Elaine and Aaron could be interviewed by Elder Rodriguez. So I went with Elder Clough in Solano. Sometimes it's hard to stay awake when you don't know the language at all...haha! Elaine and Aaron passed their interview so all is good!
Temp: 77 F

Tuesday: I forgot to write in my journal so I don't remember much about Tuesday... We did have a great lesson with Christine, our recent convert who has a terminal illness. She isn't very old; maybe 40. Her spirit is so sweet. She knows she doesn't have much longer on this earth, but she is using her time to the fullest. She has been researching family names to have taken to the temple. She just finished the Book of Mormon all the way through. She has a bedrock testimony of the gospel, and it's always a pleasure going to visit Christine. Later that night we visited some people and had a lesson with a guy and his son. It was pretty good! We didn't have much time so we said we'd come back the next day. 

Wednesday: It was a super good day. We had three really solid lessons in the afternoon. One with an investigator where we read 1 Nephi 8 in the Book of Mormon. This guy, Bill, has been investigating for a few months now so we've been reading with him. He really likes the Book of Mormon, he just lacks the true conversion. It'll come, though. We have faith! He's such a good guy! We then met with Jamie, the eight-year-old we've been teaching. She is super sharp! She is very excited to be baptized, and her dad wants to get worthy to baptize her, so that's super cool! After dinner we went out with Brother Barton to visit Gary and his son. When we got there, his (ex?)wife, Allison, was there too! She was totally on board as we answered their questions about Joseph Smith and shared the message of the Restoration with them. Gary is a very analytical thinker, so he automatically questions every point in religion. Brother Barton is an attorney, so he's super good at talking to people and talking them through situations. He challenged Gary and Allison to read and pray about the Book of Mormon together and to set a baptismal date in faith. They accepted when we extended December 5th as a baptismal date for them. They agreed to experiment on Moroni's promise in Mornini10:3-5 in the Book of Mormon. It was one of the most powerful lessons I've ever been a part of on my mission.
Temp:67 F

Family and friends, the gospel of Jesus Christ is true. These changes I have been seeing in people for over 15 months is no mere coincidence. The Lord cares about His people. It is never too late for anyone to receive His grace and mercy. Whether you're a member of the Church or not, His arms are always outstretched. 

Thursday: We volunteered at Goodwill from 9-12. It was pretty fun; we were basically free employees for three hours, but we had a great time! Afterward we did a district lunch across the street at Panda Express. It was super good!!!!! I don't remember liking it that much! I'm super excited to go home and have one in Joplin! :) After service and lunch Elder Thaut wasn't feeling well so we stayed in and I studied while he slept it off. Later we had dinner and a lesson with Frank, a recent convert. He's the man! They're the ones with the chihuahua named Sammy. I sent a picture holding her last week. I chased her around their living room while we waited for the bishop to come to Frank's. After dinner we visited a referral named Lashay. We got in and taught them a short lesson and got a return appointment! She was really interested in the missionary program. It really catches peoples' eyes seeing two young guys devoting two years of their lives to the ministry at such a young age. 
Temp: 75 F

Friday: We weekly planned and had district meeting. I led a discussion on accountability. It went alright. After the meeting we had a great lesson with Cesar. He really opened up to us about how grateful he is that we take time to visit him every week. Man, I love Cesar! Then we had a great lesson with Mike, a recent convert, and his girlfriend, Cindy. Cindy is interested in the Church, but is very active in hers. We read out of 2 Nephi 2 and shared the first half of the Plan of Salvation. She is definitely coming along. :)
Temp: 79 F

Saturday: BAPTISM!!! Elaine and Aaron were baptized into the Lord's Church at 6:30pm. It was a very stressful afternoon leading up to the baptism, though. We started filling the baptismal font, and after 30 minutes the water was still ice cold. We had no idea what to do. We had tried all we know how to do. We saw a brother in the building and asked if he knew how to fix the problem, and he called a member of the stake presidency and he came by and reset the water heater settings. The water then got warm! The baptism started a little late because of the cold water scare, but it still happened and it was glorious. The Spirit was so strong. I was able to baptize Elaine, and Elder Thaut baptized her son, Aaron. Their smiles and good spirits were tangible. It was a day I'll never forget!!
Temp: 77 F

Sunday: Elaine and Aaron were confirmed during sacrament meeting. None of the microphones were working, so we had to project our voices! It was the first time I confirmed someone. I confirmed Elaine, and E. Thaut confirmed Aaron. After church we ate and studied. Elder Thaut wasn't feeling well, and I didn't want to stay in again, so Elder Clough stayed with Thaut and I went with Elder Rodriguez to the Spanish ward for the night. We went to their ward choir practice, which was pretty fun. I didn't understand any of the words, but it was good. 
Temp: 67 F

So that was my week! I hope you all had a great one too. Love you all. I appreciate all of your prayers and support for me and all of the other missionaries serving around the world. 

Much love,

Elder Jones
Black Canyon Ward
Arizona Phoenix Mission

Elaine and Aaron's baptism

cool sunset

Dinner at Culvers

The district after volunteering at Goodwill!

 The "Dirty South" District... Standing: Elders Thaut, Ockey,
Clough.. Sitting: Elders Dwigans, Jones, Rodriguez.

weekly selfie!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

French Baptism- week 65 , 63 weeks in Phoenix,15 weeks in Glendale

French Baptism- week 65,  63 weeks in Phoenix,
15 weeks in Glendale

Dear friends and family,

This week was super great! A lot happened and we are making progress!
Plus I'm not sick anymore! I have a cough that's just lingering, but
that's okay. As of today, I come home in just 9 months. How crazy is
that? The mission is definitely changing me. In a good way, of
course... Anyway, here was my week!

Monday: It was pday! Not very many exciting things happened. But it
was still a good break. We spent the day at the church because our
neighbors still haven't reconnected their wifi. Haha! After pday our
first lesson fell through, but we were able to meet with the Popes. We
taught them about the Priesthood and talked to their 11-year-old son
about the responsibility of being a Priesthood holder when he turns
12. It was a great day!
Temp: 83 F

Tuesday: We actually spent a good amount of time trying to find people
to teach! We haven't been out biking and finding as much as usual
because of meetings, service, and me being sick. So it was good to get
back out on the bike. Plus the weather cooperated really well for us!
Nothing super crazy happened, but we were able to find and talk to a
lot of people and set up return appointments! We went on splits after
dinner. I went with Brother Gomez and visited Katie, one of our recent
converts. We read Alma 7 with her. She really enjoyed it. The Spirit
is always so strong when we read about the Atonement of Jesus Christ,
and that is what Alma 7 focuses on. When we got back to the church
after splits, my bike was locked with someone else's lock to the bike
rack. Someone thought it would be funny. Turns out it was our
roommates and they had forgotten they did it, so we had to wait for
them to come back and that made us have to bike in the rain. I wasn't
very happy, but it's okay.
Temp: 77 F

Wednesday: It was super rainy! We went and volunteered at the IRC and
worked in the shop. It was super fun, as always. Except for the
language barrier with most of the refugees. There was a pretty cool
experience there. It was nearing the end of our time working there for
the day, and a lady comes up to us and tries asking us a question in
broken English. She just couldn't get it out. She was extremely
frustrated with herself! Elder Rodriguez looks up and asks, "Habla
Espanol?" And she lights up and they start speaking Spanish to each
other! The refugees speak mostly waaaay different languages. Very few
speak Spanish. So that was super cool that Elder Rodriguez could
communicate. After the service I went on exchanges with Elder Clough
in my area. We went straight to an appointment across our area in the
cold rain. We taught Jamie, an 8-year-old girl whose parents are
less-active members. She really wants to be baptized. And I kid you
not, this girl is the most attentive child I have ever met! She pays
attention better than most of the adults we teach! We taught her the
Plan of Salvation. She understood it and loved it! Then we biked home
in the rain. My tan sweater was super dirty!! Went out with Brother
Barton after dinner. He always makes the nights better.
Temp: 65 F

Thursday: Weekly planning. Then we had a short lesson with Cesar
before dinner. He's a member who just needs a visit every week. We
then had two pretty solid lessons right after dinner! We met with Zach
and Caden, two boys who live by the church who want to be baptized.
They love going to scouts. We then met with Elaine and Aaron. We
retaught them the rest of the Restoration and talked about their
baptism. They are super psyched to be baptized next week. As we were
leaving with Brother Gomez to go teach a lesson at his house, Brother
Calhoun, our elders quorum president, stopped us and told us he had
been praying for two Melchizedek Priesthood holders to show up at the
church to give him a blessing. His prayers were answered! He had hurt
his leg and had a long shift coming up that night and he was hurting
super bad. We gave him a blessing and he told us later that he felt a
lot better at work. It was an awesome, chilly day!
Temp: 65 F

Friday: Super awesome day! We had our district meeting and interviews
with President Griffin! We met at the church building around 1 and
President provided lunch for the whole zone for achieving our
contacting goal from the month of October! He got us Bobby Q's, a
super good bbq restaurant. After lunch we had our district meeting,
and President came to it. He gave us a super good training about a
plethora of things...all I remember is that it was super good! Then we
had interviews. Mine was super short but I always enjoy interviews
with President.
After interviews we rushed off to dinner with Mike and Cindy. Cindy is
Mike's girlfriend, and she is investigating the Church. Mike is newly
baptized. We only planned on being there for a little while, so Cindy
left to go pick up some pizzas. Apparently while they were cooking our
pizzas, one of ours caught on fire. Apparently the whole restaurant
was filled with smoke and made everyone evacuate. Cindy somehow got
the 4 pizzas and booked it out of there. Hahaha! So that was just our
luck. :)
Temp: 72 F

Saturday: Amazing day! We had a baptism in our area for a guy taught
by the French sisters out of the Scottsdale mission! Raphael was
baptized and his smile was undeniable. He may not speak English, but
his testimony was so strong. So our ward will now have two more
missionaries for a while. A set of French sisters will come to our
ward to translate for him every week! They came last week too and man,
our ward LOVED having them there! We were invisible! Hahaha. Just
kidding. But it was a wonderful baptism. Then we we had zone meeting.
It was okay.
Temp 79 F

Sunday: Church was super good! The regional broadcast was great. Not
really sure why Missouri was included in the American Southwest
region, but what ever! After dinner we met with Elaine and Aaron and
taught the Plan of Salvation. We went over their baptismal program and
filled out their baptismal records. Elaine wants me to baptize her and
Elder Thaut will baptize Aaron. I'm so excited to baptize Elaine
because I know her favorite missionary--That's you, Elder
Claypool!--so well. Saturday will be a great day.
Temp: 81 F

That was my week. I love and miss you all. You're always in my
thoughts and prayers. Remember that God and Christ love you more than
you can imagine!! Stay strong and read your scriptures. You won't
regret it!!

Much love,

Elder Jones
Black Canyon Ward
Arizona Phoenix Mission

Elder Jones w/ his "happy tie"

P day picture

Elder Jones got to see Puddenhead!

Using the wifi at Culvers

Culvers dinner

Brother Gomez's dog, Sammy!
She's so cute!!!!

Elder Thaut w/ his weekly cat fix!

Monday, November 2, 2015

week 64, 62 weeks in Phoenix Mission, 14 weeks in Glendale Sick, Sick, SICK!

week 64, 62 weeks in Phoenix Mission, 14 weeks in Glendale--- Sick, Sick, SICK!

Dear family and friends,

Happy Halloween! As you can tell from the title of this email, I was
sick all week. And it was absolutely terrible. I'm pretty sure I had
the flu. I had a sore throat, headache, nausea, fever, congested nose,
and a cough. Probably the worst I've felt my entire mission! But we
didn't stay in very much. I persevered! We still ended the week with a
lot of lessons. Here was my week! Sorry if it's a boring email!

Monday: Pday! We went mini golfing as a zone activity which was pretty
fun. I'm still super bad at it. After our time off, our lesson fell
through so we spent the night finding. Not much else happened!
Temp: 89°F

Tuesday: I didn't write in my journal because I went straight to bed
after we got home. The sickness began on Tuesday. We did stay in until
we had a few lessons at 2, 3, and 4. Those lessons were super hard to
teach because I felt sooo bad. So yeah, a pretty miserable day.

Wednesday: Still sick! Despite my illness, we went to do service for
the IRC (International Rescue Committee). They help refugees from
other countries. Once again, we worked in the shop. Elder Clough and I
sorted through incoming clothes and restocked the clothes racks when
they were getting low. It was super fun, like always! Except nobody
who comes in speaks English. There is a lot of Arabic, African
languages, and European languages. After service we headed to dinner
and a lesson with a less-active family who wants their 8-year-old
daughter, Jamie, to be baptized! It's pretty cool because we get to
teach her parents, too. I've never met such an attentive kid. Jamie
sat there the attentively for the whole 45 minute lesson. She asked
great questions and is excited to be baptized. She isn't an
"investigator" because her parents are both members and she is 8, but
we're still going to teach her so she knows about the gospel! It's
pretty cool. Her dad really opened up and showed some interest in
coming back. He actually served in the military and was stationed at
Ft. Leonard Wood so he was excited to learn I was from Joplin! Plus
he's super into cars and he said he loves when VW makes manual cars. I
told him about my Beetle and he was pretty excited to hear about it.
Overall it was a great meeting! Later that night we met with Elaine
and went over the Baptismal interview questions with her. She is so
ready to be baptized! Super cool!! You did well, Elder Claypool! :)
Temp: 85°F

Thursday: Still sick. Weekly planning. After planning we had a great
dinner with Javier and Ana, recent converts! Javier just received the
Melchizedek Priesthood! He teaches our gospel principles class and
does a great job even though he's only been a member just under a
year. We had some Mexican food! Then we had a great lesson with Frank,
another recent convert. He's the best. He has a little tiny chihuahua
named Sammy and I have spent the whole time I've been in this area
trying to get Sammy to come up to me. She finally did and I held her
the whole lesson! I think she likes me now.
Temp: 78°F

Friday: Super bad day, but we did our best! All lessons cancelled and
I was still sick. Had district meeting which was pretty good.
Temp: 77°F

Saturday: It was a pretty weird day (Still sick). We got up and
exercised and came back to study. Mike, a recent convert, calls us up
and asks if we want to come over and present our first lesson to his
girlfriend, Cindy. *We usually go over to Mike's home every Friday to
see him and Cindy is there on Fridays. We usually just talk with Mike,
but we felt prompted to start teaching Cindy. She is very active in
her own church, but is curious.* So we went over there and he fixed us
French toast. Then we presented our first lesson, the Restoration. She
accepted it pretty well and accepted the challenge to read and pray
about the Book of Mormon. It was a super powerful lesson. That's all I
remember about Saturday. 

 Sunday: Still sick! Church, nap, studies, dinner, finding.
Temp: 82°F

That was my week! I'm feeling a little better every day. Today I just
have a cough. That I can deal with! Things are cooling down to the
point where I need a sweater at night. Life is good!

Have a wonderful week!

Much love,

Elder Jones
Black Canyon Ward
Arizona Phoenix Mission

Elder Thaut and the weekly cat

Our apartment unity is unreal

Normal Picture
weekly selfie