Wednesday, January 27, 2016

CATS!! Week 76, 74 weeks in Phoenix mission, 26 weeks in Glendale

Week 76, 74 weeks in Phoenix mission, 26 weeks in Glendale

Dear friends and family,

This week was pretty great. I don't have much time but here is my best
shot at a good letter!

Missionary Broadcast
We got to watch a broadcast put on by the missionary department to all
of the missionaries in the whole world. It was really great! Nothing
really changed.....but the messages were all wonderful. Lots of focus
on teaching repentance and baptizing. Basically the essence of what we
do as missionaries. We learned how to fulfill our purpose better. We
watched it at a member of the stake presidency's home.

Brother Palmer, the Great
There is a member in our ward named Brother Palmer. He is such an
amazing man. Very few people are available during the day to come with
us to lessons, so Brother Palmer comes with us quite a bit. We came
with us to a lesson with Christine, our recent convert who is
terminally ill. After our lesson, we didn't have time to bike all the
way to our dinner appointment, so he just dropped us off. They hadn't
confirmed, and the French Sisters were coming to our member's house
for dinner too. We asked Brother Palmer to make sure they were home
before he drove off. Turns out our dinner appointment forgot, so we
asked Brother Palmer just to take us to our apartment. He offered to
have us and the Sisters over for dinner! So we had a great dinner with
their family, and they fed us the next day because that's the day they
actually signed up for. Needless to say the Palmers are the best!!

Our investigators are doing really well! The lady we have on date for
baptism on February 13, Dianne, has quit smoking! She had smoked for
years and after we taught the word of wisdom—she quit! We told her to
replace the desire to smoke with the Book of Mormon, and it has been
working really well for her. Rusty and Liz are still doing great and
treating us well. When we bike over there they always tell us to call
them when we get home because it's a bad neighborhood. It's nice
having someone care that much about our safety that they request a
call. I know that if my mom could request a call every night, she
would.  Haha! We also had an incredible lesson with Katie, a recent
convert. It's been hard to have a lesson with her recently since she's
been so busy, but we finally got in. We read Moroni 10 with her and
she really felt the Spirit.

Rusty and Liz have a lot of cats. 14 to be exact. We usually meet
outside for that reason. After our lesson with them on Friday Rusty
wanted to show us something inside their apartment. We went in and saw
all of their cats. They have so many! The thing is, though, none of
their cats are nasty! Liz raises pure bred shorthair cats and takes
REALLY good care of them. That didn't help the allergy attack that
went down, though. So I got a picture and a video of all of the cats.
I'll send the picture in my picture email. :)

Cool referral
We have been teaching Lucilia and her family since she just got
baptized. We're trying to help their family strengthen their faith and
return to activity. James, the dad, said he felt prompted to invite
Lucilia's friend's family to hear the gospel. He's going to ask them
this week!

So that was my week! Sorry it seems kind of lame. Elder Young is doing
great. He's awesome!! I hope you all have a great week!!!

Much love,

Elder Jones
Black Canyon Ward
Arizona Phoenix Mission

Elder Jones and Young

At Culver's w/ member

Elder Jones

Elder Young

Member's Cats

Elder Jones is highly allergic!



Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Dirt, Baptisms, and Transfers! --Week 75, 73 weeks in Phoenix Mission, 25 Weeks in Glendale

Dirt, Baptisms, and Transfers! --
Week 75, 73 weeks in Phoenix Mission, 25 Weeks in Glendale

Dear friends and family,

It was a great week here in the APM! Sooooo much happened this week
and I can't wait to tell you all about it! Here we go!

New Companion
After spending a few days with Elders Clough and Bryan since a Elder
Fernandez left, transfers finally came around  on Wednesday. The whole
missionary force around the world is getting rid of organized transfer
meetings, but since I am training again we went to the training
orientation meeting. While there, I got to see a few missionaries who
I haven't seen in a while. For example, I got to see Elder Thaut
again! He is also training a new missionary down in Buckeye. Anyway,
my new companion is Elder Young from Kingsport, Tennessee. He has the
accent to prove he's from the south! He served a few weeks in Mexico
City a while ago but had to come home due to medical problems. He came
back out to Arizona and is here to stay, but he's assigned as a
Spanish speaking elder. So he does language study with our roommates,
since I can't really train him on how to do language study. Elder
Young is doing GREAT! Elder Bryan is also training a new elder—Elder
Plourde (Pronounced Plerd) and he is from Alberta, Canada. That dang

Early Friday morning we headed over to Brother Stanley's home with our
roommates to help him spread dirt in his back yard. He had 6 tons of
dirt delivered to his home and we used shovels and rakes to move and
smooth it out across his back yard. Man, talk about manual labor. My
arms were sore for days after it. It was really fun, though. We were
able to build trust and get to know a member even better. Plus he got
us some Barro's Pizza, which is like Heaven in a pizza box here in

Saturday was a very special day. We were able to be a part of two
baptisms: one for Lucilia, a 9 year-old we have been teaching, and one
for Marie Jeanne, someone the French missionaries have been teaching
in our area. Her husband, Raphaël, was baptized about a couple months
Lucilia's baptism was awesome. Her dad was able to baptize her which
was a really cool experience. I gave a talk on baptism and I asked her
how excited she was to be baptized. She replied with "More than this
excited!" And she held out her arms as far as they would go. She was
then baptized by her father. The Spirit was so strong.
Later that afternoon, we had the baptism of Marie Jeanne. All of the
French missionaries were there and lots of members of Marie's family
were there as well. The room was absolutely packed. I conducted the
baptism which was a new experience for me...every time someone would
get up to conduct/talk, it would be translated. If the person was
speaking English, a French missionary would translate it into French.
If someone was speaking French, it would be translated into English.
Needless to say the baptismal service took a while. But that's okay,
because it was an AMAZING experience. She was baptized by Israel, who
was the first French convert since they introduced the French
missionary program here in Arizona. There had to be at least 30 people
surrounding the font to witness this miracle. Ever since Raphaël got
baptized, his wife is now a member, and there are three others in his
family who are taking the missionary discussions and are scheduled to
be baptized in February. I'm so excited to be a part of this work! The
Lord is hastening His work in many languages here in the Valley. After
the baptism, Marie Jeanne and some of the members of her family sang a
song about Jesus in Swahili, which is their first language. Overall an
amazing experience.

Almost all of our investigators are progressing. We had 5
investigators at church Sunday and had two confirmations. I had
the opportunity to confirm Lucilia as a member of the Church during
sacrament meeting. Marie Jeanne was confirmed by a member of the
bishopric. We taught Liz and Rusty about the word of wisdom and they
agreed to live it. One of our investigators, Dianne, also agreed to
live the word of wisdom. Oh, and during a lesson with her, her cat was
crawling all over me. I love cats and I usually don't have too much of
an allergic reaction, but I was really messed up that night. I had a
pretty bad allergy attack from her cats! But it's all good–it went
away. All of our investigators are doing really well and I'm so
excited about it!

This week was a really good week weather wise. Mid 60's every day!
This coming week is supposed to be 70 every day. Yep, be jealous! :)

Bike Miracle
Elder Young didn't have a bike, so we drove up to Peoria to see if
there was one in the mission storage that he could use. We opened the
storage unit and there was an almost new bike right there in the unit.
There wasn't a tag on it that it was being sold, just a missionary who
has since gone home's name. We called up the mission office and asked
if we could just use that one. He said that if there's not a price tag
on it then it's available for use! So we grabbed it and it's been
working great! Yet another miracle to add to the books.

Anyway, that was my week! I have lots of pictures so I hope you enjoy
them. Love you all and I wish you the best!

Much love,

Elder Jones
Black Canyon Ward
Arizona Phoenix Mission

The baptism of Lucilia. Her dad, James, and
Elder Young and myself.

Elder Josh Young (Elder Jones' new trainee)

Elders Jones and Young

 Going to transfers with Elders Clough and Bryan,
and Brother Gomez!

Look who I saw at the training meeting! Elder Thaut!

Me, Javier, and Elder Gardner.
Sisters Casagrande(French), Haymond(French),
Javier, Elder Gardner, 
and myself.

In front of the new mission office!

Look what I found at the store. It's been WAY TOO LONG!!

Elder Young and Elder Plourde at the mission office

Mike harassing me for liking the Patriots...

Today's selfie!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

This Little Argentine! Week 74, 72 week in Phoenix Az Mission, 24 weeks in Glendale

This Little Argentine!   
Week 74, 72 week in Phoenix Az Mission, 24 weeks in Glendale

Dear friends and family,

Oh my goodness this week was full of changes!! It was such a sad and
happy week all at the same time. Plus it is transfer week so our pday
is today, Tuesday, which made for an extra long week. Honestly, it
feels like last pday was weeks ago. It has been nice to relax for the
day so far. Anyway, here was my week!

Argentina :(
Wednesday morning as we were studying our phone rang. I looked at the
screen and it said, "APM President Griffin." As a missionary, a
million things go through your mind when you see that your mission
president is calling. The time in between the initial ringing to the
time you answer the phone feels like an eternity. Anyway, we answered
and he greeted us in his usual sarcastic way. We made some small talk
and then he said, "Elder Jones, I have some bad news for you and good
news for Elder Fernandez." He then told us that his visa came in and
that was going to fly out of Phoenix Sky Harbor at 2pm on January 11.
We dropped Elder Fernandez off at the mission office to embark on the
rest of his mission journey in Rosario, Argentina. I really grew to
love that kid and know that he's going to do wonders in Argentina.
Since Elder Fernandez has been gone I've been in a tripanionship with
my roommates who cover the Spanish ward.

Transfers + Training
Today is transfer day, so we obviously got the transfer news.
President told me on the phone when he called about Fernandez's visa
that I would be training again.  That means I'll be staying here in
Glendale for at least 3 more months. Then maybe I'll be able to come
off bike for the last 4 months of my mission! :) Fingers crossed!
Elder Clough, one of my roommates, is getting transferred. We came
into the apartment together, so I have lived with him for six months!
I'm gonna miss him a lot! Anyway, this transfer coming up will be a
great one. This transfer I will enter the last quarter of my mission.
I hope to make it the best 6 months ever!

Temple Trip w/ President
A while ago, our zone leaders presented us with a challenge at zone
meeting. They challenged us to contact 1500 people as a zone in the
month of December. We had to talk to someone, invite them to do
something, and ask for a referral for it to "count" as a contact. So
our zone got to work. At the end of the month we had almost 2000
contacts all together! President Griffin rewarded us by taking our
whole zone to the Phoenix temple for an endowment session on Friday.
It was really cool to be in the temple with so many people I have
grown to love. Every time I attend the House of the Lord, my testimony
grows. Friday was no different!

Baptisms Coming!
Lucilia was interviewed to be baptized yesterday! After putting off
the baptism for a week to reteach her some things, she understood all
of the baptismal interview questions and passed her interview! After
we would teach her a lesson, we would write down what we taught her
and she would study it in preparation for the next lesson! It was
awesome. I wish all of our investigators would do that! So Lucilia
will be baptized this Saturday, January 16. Also, the French
missionaries serving in our ward will holding the baptism of Raphael's
wife, Jeanne, on the 16th as well! The work of the Lord is hastening
in multiple languages here in Arizona, and it's been a miracle to see

We continue to teach Rusty and Liz on a weekly basis as we wait for
Rusty's permission to clear Salt Lake City. We taught Lucilia a few
times this week in preparation for her baptism.
One lesson we had this week was nothing short of a miracle. On
Wednesday, Brother Barton, Elder Fernandez, and myself went by to see
Gary, a guy we have been teaching for a while now. We knocked on his
door, and his crazy ex-wife was there causing a scene. She was on
drugs or something like that and was having a breakdown. He was
politely trying to kick her out, but she just kept throwing a fit. He
was obviously embarrassed about what was happening, so we left. A few
days later, Elder Fernandez suggested that we just stop by. One of our
lessons fell through, so we biked over to his home. We knocked on his
door and he let us in. He told us that he honestly didn't think that
we would come back after what we saw the previous Wednesday. We told
him that it wasn't his fault and that it was okay. Gary had told us
that he was struggling with the concept of baptism, so we went over
there with the intent to teach about the gospel of Jesus Christ, which
involves baptism. I got the prompting that we should read 2 Nephi 31
about it. As we were reading, we could see Gary's eyes light up as he
was understanding what he had never been able to understand before.
His eyes were opened, and he told us he knows why baptism is
important. The converting power of the Book of Mormon is real!! We
invited him to be baptized and he said that he wants to be. What a
great end to a rainy night. I was grateful Elder Fernandez followed
the prompting to go visit him, and that I followed the prompting to
read with him.

Food Bank
Yesterday afternoon after we dropped Elder Fernandez off at the
mission office, we went and helped sort food at a food bank! It was a
ton of fun! And seeing the happy people receiving the food was the
best part.

This whole week was full of mid-50's. Three straight days of rain made
biking a cold nightmare, but luckily we have nice members willing to
drive us around sometimes. :)

That was the important parts of my week! I look forward to a second
chance to train another missionary. It amazes me every day how much I
can see the Lord working in my life and in the lives of others. Pray
for me and my new companion! I love you all and appreciate all of your

Much love,

Elder Jones
Black Canyon Ward
Arizona Phoenix Mission

Weekly Selfie

New bag!  He wore the last one out!

Phoenix Temple

Elder Bryan.....after the pepper made him sick.

Elder Bryan about to eat a ghost pepper...
.he threw up when we got home.

Elder Fernandez after he got off the phone w/ Pres. Griffin
telling him his visa came and he would be heading to Argentina
the next Monday.

Taking Elder Fernandez to the Mission Home

Last exchange w/ Brother Barton

All packed and ready to go!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Cabin Fever -- Week 73, 71 weeks in Phoenix Mission, 23 Weeks in Glendale

Cabin Fever --  
Week 73,  71 weeks in Phoenix Mission,  23 Weeks in Glendale

Dear friends and family,

Yeah, I apologize if this letter is extremely short. With the New Year
and the end to the Holiday season, not much happened. People didn't
want to meet much this week, we were stuck inside a lot, etc..But I'll
give it my best shot!

New Year
So it's officially 2016. I was a missionary for the entire year of
2015. How crazy is that? It feels like just yesterday I was beginning
my "blackout year" last January. And now I just finished it. (A
blackout year is the year a missionary is a missionary the entire
year) As I look back on 2015, I can honestly say that I am proud of
who I have become. I am eager to see where 2016 takes me! In the
course of this year, I will:
—Continue teaching the wonderful people of Arizona
—Return home to my family and friends
—Head off to college
—Begin real life...
That last one scares me quite a bit. I'm just a kid! I guess real life
has to hit me sometime. :)

The New Year as a missionary wasn't  really that exciting. On New
Year's Eve and Day, we couldn't  proselyte. So we basically just
stayed in and played board games/card games—all day. I can honestly
say I had a bad case of cabin fever! Our dinner appointments with
members kept me sane.

This week we taught Lucilia, the girl about to be baptized, four
times. Teaching her and her family was most of our teaching for the
week. We determined that she needed to be taught again before she is
interviewed, because she didn't understand a lot of the interview
questions. So we postponed her baptism and began teaching her what she
doesn't understand. We also taught Rusty and Liz. They are doing well
and progressing. They really enjoy coming to church and meeting the
people there. Rusty is very interested in the organization of the
Church—as am I—so we enjoy discussing that aspect of the Church.

Church Attendance
Our ward has been on the declining slope in attendance recently. Prior
to church  on Sunday, we attended our ward's ward council meeting.
Brother Bleyl, a member of the bishopric, told us the bad-news
numbers. He encouraged us to reach out and pray for those who are
less-active to come back to activity.  Two hours later when sacrament
meeting started, the whole chapel was full. It was a great sight to
see so many people attend church. The bishop and his counsellors were

This Sunday was testimony meeting, which can be either really good or
really bad. This week it was really good. Raphaël, the new French
convert in our ward, walked up to the pulpit to bear his testimony.
One of the French Sisters followed him up there to translate for us.
As he spoke French, the Spirit filled the room. Sister Casagrande
explained what he had said in French:
--He had been praying for his wife to join the Church. A few days ago,
his wife had a dream that she needs to be baptized. So now she is on
date to be baptized in just a couple weeks.
Although only a few members of our congregation speak French, the ward
has wrapped their arms around this precious convert and his family.
The gospel is so true, not even language is a barrier.

Brother Barton
We received the devastating news that Brother Barton will be moving
THIS WEEK. He is by far my favorite person I have met in this area and
in the top 3 on my mission... He was supposed to move in early March
to be closer to his work. Well, turns out a house became available
just a mile from his work, so they jumped on it. As a result, he will
be moving this Friday. He was just sustained to be the new ward
mission leader two weeks ago! More changes are coming, I guess! I will
include a picture I took with him. Our whole ward is saying they're
going to make signs and protest their move. We told them we'll lead
the charge. :)

Well, that's about all that happened this week. Hopefully next week
will be more exciting! :) I hope everyone has a great week. I love you

Much love,

Elder Jones
Black Canyon Ward
Arizona Phoenix Mission

Brother Barton and Elder Jones

Weekly selfie

Elder Jones and Elder Bryan (apartment mate)