Monday, February 29, 2016

Temple Miracle---Week 81, 79 weeks in Phoenix Mission, 31 weeks in Glendale

Temple Miracle---
Week 81, 79 weeks in Phoenix Mission, 31 weeks in Glendale

Dear friends and family,

It was such a wonderful week full of miracles. Hopefully we will be
moving sometime this week. I can't wait to get out of this apartment!!
Then our neighbors who think we're loud can have actual loud
neighbors! Anyway, here are the highlights from my week.

Temple with Christine
As I mentioned last week, one of our recent converts, Christine, went
through the Phoenix temple and received her endowment. Christine is
terminally ill and pretty much bedridden. Doctors were predicting she
would pass away last August. Despite her terrible condition, she made
it all the way through the session. Everyone was so patient and it was
truly a special experience for all who were there—especially
Christine. After the temple, we all went back to her apartment to
congratulate  her and have cake. She had to go straight to bed because
she was in such bad shape afterward, but she said it was so worth it.
I'm so grateful I got to witness such a miracle. Christine is not
doing well now. She could pass on any day now.

Our roommates, Elders Plourde and Bryan, got an extra companion for
this transfer. Now there are five elders living in our apartment. The
new Elder is Elder Benolerão from New York City. He is Filipino and
hilarious. Luckily we're moving to a new place this week because it's
getting pretty crowded in here!!

New Investigators
This week we broke our dry spell and picked up two new investigators!
The first is Jamie, who we have taught before, but she just turned 9
recently so she is now "officially" an investigator! She is seriously
the smartest kid I have ever met. It amazes me how much she takes in
and understands. She committed to be baptized on May 13, which is her
late mother's birthday. It's really far away, but we didn't want to
spoil that special day for her. We know that day means a lot to her.
Our other new investigator is who we're super psyched to be teaching.
Her name is Michelle and she is a self-referral, which means she got
online herself and requested missionaries. She had talked to the
missionaries before in Nevada, but had lost contact. We stopped by
with our ward mission leader, Brother Taylor, and had a great lesson.
We basically just set expectations and asked about her past with God.
She just broke down crying and said she is so grateful that she found
the Church again. Right there, 5 minutes after meeting her, I felt
impressed to invite her to be baptized. I did, and she accepted the
invitation. She will be baptized on March 26, if not earlier. She is
the definition of a "golden investigator".

Zone Service Project
On Friday, our whole zone participated in a service project in a really
ghetto neighborhood. We helped the City of Phoenix clean up an alley.
It was a really small alley and it took two hours to clean it up. But
dang, it looked great(er) when we were done. We picked up trash, and
other things that probably shouldn't be mentioned by a missionary. We
also weeded the whole alley. Seriously, there were some pretty nasty
things left in that alley. No worries though—we wore gloves and masks.

District Meeting
We do a district meeting every week, but this one was really good! I
have a discussion on how to overcome big problems we have on our
missions. Some struggle with testimonies, homesickness, girls, etc..
And the best way to overcome those obstacles is to focus on
eliminating the smaller problems such as getting up on time, eating
healthier, using time wisely, etc.. When we work on those problems,
the Lord will trust us and help us with our bigger problems. I know it
really helped me!

It was about the same. About 82°F and sunny every day. It's getting
pretty warm! #PrayForFlagstaff

Well that was my week. I'd love to hear from you all! Very few people
understand how much an email from someone back home really means to a
missionary. Just over 5 more months and I'll be back in MO. Until
then, I'll be rocking it here in PHX.

Seriously though—email me! Now or sometime during the week! Not that
I'm demanding or anything... :)

Much love,

Elder Jones
Black Canyon Ward
Arizona Phoenix Mission

With Elder Young at Phoenix Temple

Blurry zone picture in the alley we cleaned up.
Left to right: Elders Buckway, Bradley, Davenport, Katz, Plourde, Young, Gardner, Dawson, Conover, Jones, Bryan, Benolerão, Jones, Cespedes, Diamante

District pic. Top row: Jones, Dawson, Young, Diamante, Jones,
Cespedes Bottom row: Plourde, Bryan, Benolerão

Us with Frank, a recent convert.

Elder Young with a cat that hangs out by our apartment.

weekly selfie

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Citrus Attack!--Week 80- 78 weeks in Phoenix Mission- 30 weeks in Glendale

--Citrus Attack!--
Week 80- 78 weeks in Phoenix Mission- 30 weeks in Glendale

Dear friends and family,

Hello, wonderful family and friends of mine! This was a great week.
The work here in Glendale is going great and I'm excited to be here at
least one more transfer. Oh yeah—im not getting transferred. Neither
is Elder Bryan or Elder Plourde, but they're getting another Spanish
missionary. They'll be in a tripanionship this transfer. Here was my

We got a very welcomed phone call on Thursday morning. Right after
studies we were just talking to our roommates and our phone rang. We
answered, and it was Elder Petty, our housing coordinator. He told us
that he was getting us out of our nasty apartment ASAP. He told us to
go look for another place to move, so we did! We found a super nice
complex in our area with some openings. Elder Petty came down and
signed some papers and made it official. He said, "I don't care if I
have to pay for a vacant apartment, we're getting you out of there."
We will hopefully move in on February 29th! Boom!!

We had a trainer/trainee meeting in Peoria on Friday. I got to see a
lot of the missionaries I miss dearly at the meeting. A couple I got
to see were Elder Thaut and Elder Rodriguez! It was great to see them.
At the meeting President Griffin gave some great training regarding
the most important things we do as missionaries. It was really
inspiring and made me want to do better!!

Fruit Picking
We participated in "Glendale's Day of Service" with our ward. Our
group was assigned to pick grapefruit off of trees in a local park.
The fruit was then donated to a local food bank. It was so fun to pick
all the fruit! We picked alongside of the Conn family, members of our
ward. We got to talk with them and build more trust! My arms were all
scraped up from the pointy things on the tree, though. Worth!!!

I was able to go on two exchanges last week! One with Elder Bryan (DL)
and one with Elder Gardner (ZL). While I was with Elder Gardner, we
visited Mike and Cindy, a recent convert and his girlfriend who isn't
a member. Well, not girlfriend anymore. THEY'RE ENGAGED! So that's
super cool!! I will send out a picture of them. Cindy is struggling
with the desire to be baptized, so we asked if she has truly prayed
about the Book of Mormon. She admitted that she hasn't, so we
committed them to kneel together as a couple and to pray to know if
the Book of Mormon is true. She said she would, so we'll find out how
that went this week!

Winding down
I only have 4 transfers left on my mission. AHHHH IM NOT READY FOR

Whelp, it hit 90°F in February. It's gonna be a fun summer. #PrayForFlagstaff

That's about all that happened this week! We had some good lessons
with converts and less-active members, and we got two super good
self-referrals we will be following up on this week! Hopefully I'll
have some good news next week! :) OH, we finally got our new ward
mission leader after 7 weeks of being on our own. Brother Taylor, who
was the YM president is now our new ward mission leader. Yay! :) can't
wait to work with him.

Have a great week!

Much love,

Elder Jones
Black Canyon Ward
Arizona Phoenix Mission

weekly selfie

Elders Jones and Young 

Elder jones

Deciding to buy a steak over a cheeseburger
write this on the calendar!

eating his yummy dinner... Thanks Chris!

 Elder Plourde, body builder

Me with Mike and Cindy!

 Mike and Cindy's engagement! Super cool!!

Elder Bryan on our exchange

 Elder Thaut and me.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Warmth!--- Week 79- 77 weeks in Phoenix, 29 weeks in Glendale

Week 79-  77 weeks in Phoenix,  29 weeks in Glendale 

Dear friends and family,

Yet another week has gone by on my mission. I have been in Arizona for
18 months now, and it is getting hot again for the third time on my
mission. This week was pretty normal, we contacted quite a few people,
people are progressing, and some are being dropped. Everyone always
thinks that all missionaries see is miracles. Part of that is true—we
do see miracles—but there are also hard times. The miracles and good
times outweigh them most of the time, though. Here are some of the
highlights of my week. Enjoy!

Rusty and Liz, our two most progressing investigators, are getting
married! When we first taught the Law of Chastity to them, they were
very firm in the fact that they don't need to be married. After we
talked with them more about it and explained the reasonings behind it,
they warmed up to the idea. After the lesson with them two weeks ago,
Rusty texted us and said, "I asked her—she said yes!" He then texted
us, "However, our wedding will not be the royal wedding she deserves."
We told them that the temple marriage that will come will be that
Royal wedding. They are actually excited about it now, which is really
cool to see. They have been coming to church every week and have
enjoyed meeting the members of the ward. Witnessing true conversion is
always a great sight.

Gospel principles:
Javier, the gospel principles teacher, was sick so we taught the class
on Sunday. Our ward is full of different personalities, so many
different personalities attend Sunday school. Most of the class is
made up of converts, so it's really cool to see their new spiritual
minds work. I'm grateful that the mission has taught me to be able to
teach with clarity the principles of the gospel. A lot of people say
that if you can't teach the gospel to a child, then you don't know the
gospel well enough.

Special Dinner:
This week we had dinner with two returning members, the Dazley's. They
hadn't been to church in a while and have been coming back. Brother
Dazley is working to advance in the priesthood. They're both making a
lot of progress! They feed us dinner every month, and we ate with them
this week. They invited their neighbor, Louise, to eat with us. They
made some super good tacos and afterward we taught about the
Restoration to Louise and bore testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book
of Mormon. Turns out she has dementia, which I realized right off the
bat when she told us the same story twice within 2 minutes. It
reminded me of the old times when my grandparents lived with us! The
Dazley's brought their friend to church this Sunday, too!!

I'm sure you've all heard me talk about one of the recent converts in
our ward, Christine. She has terminal cancer and was baptized 10
months ago. The doctors were predicting she would pass away last
September, so she has long outlived their expectations. She got some
good news this week! The First Presidency approved her to go to the
temple two months early to receive her endowment. So she will be going
to the temple next Tuesday, Feb 23rd! And she invited us to come too
and we got permission to go! I am so excited for her. I believe she
has held on this long for the opportunity to go to the temple in this
life. She is one of the most faithful people I have ever met! Pray for
her this week!!

Valentine's Day:
Well, for Valentine's Day I wore a pink tie. That's about the extent
of my celebration. :)

The title of my email sums up the weather for this week. Mid 80's. No
sweaters needed. Next week it will hit 90°F. The heat is back! Woohoo!

Transfers next week:
I should be safe from transfers next week as Elder Young still has
another transfer of training. Our next pday will be Tuesday, but I
won't have a lot of time to email as we are going to the temple with
Christine around 2pm-ish.

That was the extent of my week! I hope all of you haven't forgotten
about me! I'll be home before you know it. Goodbye from Sunny Arizona!

Much love,

Elder Jones
Black Canyon Ward
Arizona Phoenix Mission

District picture

weekly selfie
Chef Plourde

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Sick...again -- Week 78- 76 weeks in Phoenix- 28 weeks in Glendale

Sick...again -- 
Week 78- 76 weeks in Phoenix- 28 weeks in Glendale

Dear friends and family,

As you can tell by the title of the email, I have been super sick this
week! I feel kind of bad for Elder Young because he's just kind of had
to hang out at home with me a couple days. I wish I could say it's
getting's not much better. Anyway, here was
my week! I didn't write much because I was really sick.

We had interviews with President Griffin this week! Normally
interviews with church leaders can be boring and annoying, but not
with President Griffin! He is so great and always asks how he can help
with our work. And when you've been out a while like me he throws in
some funny stuff. He has such a dry sense of humor that just makes me
laugh so much. This one funny thing he said during my interview with
"Elder Jones, when did you come out again?"
"August, 2014."
"Oh yeah—so you're one of the old ones now!"
"I don't feel like an old one, President!"
" don't look like one either. When you're 30 and married
your wife is gonna look like a cougar!"
I just thought that one was funny. He's such a great guy and
definitely makes me feel comfortable in the mission. I have learned so
much from his example in the 18 months I've been in Phoenix.

So Rusty and Liz, our two most progressing investigators, need to be
married before they can get baptized. Rusty got his approval from the
First Presidency, so that's their only barrier. They aren't too fond
of the idea of marrying, because they believe that they were put
together by God, they don't need to sign a paper....etc. which is a
legitimate concern! But we talked with them and said it's not our
rule—it's God's. They lightened up on the subject and Liz said, "Oh,
and there's one more problem....He's never asked me!!!" The mood
lightened up and we put them on date for March. We tentatively planned
March 12, but we're not sure when the wedding will happen so we'll
see! Anyway, great news!

Urgent Care
I had to go to urgent care because of my sickness! My right ear is
completely plugged because of an "imbalance of pressure" or something
like that. I kinda wished it was something that could be treated, but
oh well. DayQuil and NyQuil have been my best friends. Plus I got
ID'ed when I bought NyQuil. I felt like an adult.

With my sickness I slept a lot. I never thought I'd ever say that I
was tired of sleeping, but I sure was after the second day of being
sick. Now that I'm a little better I can function more haha.

I'm going to attach a picture of the weather in my picture email. You
will all be jealous. Heck, I'm jealous for you!!

That was my week. Sorry it was short. I'm sure you'll get over it! ;)
I hope you all have a great week and stay strong. This week I will hit
my 18-month mark. o.o

Much love,

Elder Jones
Black Canyon Ward
Arizona Phoenix Mission

The district Elders Bryan, Plourde, Cespedes, Miller, Jones, Young,
Diamante, Dawson

Weather. Be jealous. ;)

weekly selfie

Pday - getting some meds from a member friend


locked out of apartment:(

Me and Elder Plourde

Elder Bryan and Elder Plourde

Chilling in Urgent Care