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.

Teaching
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
beaming!

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
all!!


Much love,

Elder Jones
Black Canyon Ward
Arizona Phoenix Mission


Brother Barton and Elder Jones

Weekly selfie

Elder Jones and Elder Bryan (apartment mate)

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