Monday, March 28, 2016

Trying Week!-- Week 85- 83 Weeks in Phoenix mission-- 35 weeks in Glendale

Trying Week!-- 
 Week 85-  83 Weeks in Phoenix mission-- 35 weeks in Glendale

Dear friends and family,

I hope all had a happy Easter. The Easter season is always a great
reminder of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. This week has been a tough
one for me. This letter might make a lot of people realize that
missionary work isn't always just miracles and happiness! Sometimes
everything goes wrong and everything seems to get on your nerves. This
was one of those weeks! But have no fear—The Lord never gives us
challenges or trials we can't handle. Boy am I thankful for that

I'll try my best to highlight some of the good things that happened:

Lichelle & Devin
We are teaching a new couple, Lichelle and Devin. They have struggles
with the word of wisdom and are kind of beat down by that. We went
over there this week and shared a message on the Atonement of Jesus
Christ and how It can apply to healing addictions. Lichelle had a hope
in her eyes that was undeniable. She felt the Spirit, and has a strong
resolve to change. It's a great sight to see.

It was a great Easter service. Probably the best part, though, was the
first speaker. Raphaël, the first French convert in the area,
delivered a powerful talk on the Atonement. Sister Haymond translated
the whole talk as he delivered it in French from the podium. The
Atonement has changed that family's life. They are living examples of
the word "convert".

This week was full of trials. Almost all of our lessons cancelled this
week, and I have felt pretty homesick the past couple of weeks and
honestly, I am getting super burnt out in this area. It's a great
place to serve, but I feel like I'm getting cabin fever in this little
chunk of the city. I've been here for nearly 9 months. I'm definitely
praying for change, but I will always accept God's will over mine.
Like I said earlier, the Lord never gives us too much to handle. We
just have to find a way to handle it.

Probably the highlight of the week was getting to go on an exchange
with Elders Plourde and Bryan in their (Spanish) area! Plus I got to
drive a little bit, which is a rare occurrence... It's
interesting—every time I go on exchanges in a Spanish area I seem to
pick up more of what is being said. This time I even prayed in Spanish
at the end of a lesson. I guess that's what happens when you're
surrounded by Spanish 24/7.

Easter dinner
We had dinner with the Bleyl family. Sister Bleyl is Tongan, and a lot
of their family was there! Needless to say there was a ton of food.
Sometimes I think that "Tongan food" is just "a lot of food." That's
what I've gathered so far.

Too hot for March. Enough said.

That's about all that happened this week. Please pray for me to be
able to finish my mission strong. I don't want to coast, but it will
be so easy to do so. Have a great week everyone!! I love you!

Much love,

Elder Jones
Black Canyon Ward
Arizona Phoenix Mission

Easter dinner with Tongan family

Elder Bryan with palm tree leaves...don't ask

Rare photo of Elder Jones driving!

Happy Easter!! :)

weekly selfie

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Defying Mission Boundaries!--Week 84-- 82 weeks in Phoenix mission-- 34 weeks in Glendale

Multi zone conference w/ General Authority
Defying Mission Boundaries!--
Week 84-- 82 weeks in Phoenix mission-- 34 weeks in Glendale

Dear friends and family,

Greetings from Glendale! We had a really great week. Lots of meetings
and other fun stuff, plus 5 new investigators! Here was my week!

No Boundaries
Here in the Arizona Phoenix Mission, we know NO BOUNDARIES! This week
I went out of the mission...twice! Elder Young was with our roommates
at a Spanish specialized meeting so I was with the zone leaders for
the day. President Griffin asked the zone leaders to go to Central
Phoenix to give someone a blessing in the hospital. Sooo.....I went to
central Phoenix! It was a fun day with the zone leaders! I rode a
hover board at their house and I owned it!  Later in the week we had a
service project just south of our mission boundaries. We helped the
City of Phoenix clean out an alley in another rough neighborhood. We
painted over graffiti and cleaned up a lot of trash. It was fun!

We had interviews with President Griffin this week. I asked him what
his plans are for me for my last 3 transfers and he said, "I'm not
sure yet, but you've been in your area for a coon's age!" Hahah! I
love President Griffin. He is the man.

New Investigators
On Tuesday we went out with Brother Acedo, a member in the ward. Our
appointments fell through so we visited Amanda, who was a referral. We
knocked on her door and she answered and said, "Wow, crazy timing—my
dad just died today and I've been really sad..." We told her about the
Book of Mormon and gave her a copy. We invited her to read it and we
would be back next Wednesday. So that was a miracle!
The elders who cover the Rose Lane ward met a family who is interested
and is in our ward. We taught them the first lesson on Wednesday.
Their names are Lichelle and Devon and they are very interested in
learning more. Heck yeah!
Our roommates were walking through a complex in our area looking for a
Spanish guy, and they were searching for a dumpster to throw a bottle
away. They found the dumpster, threw it away, and heard someone yell,
"Hey Elders!" They went over to the guy, and it turns out Tony and
Cindra had just prayed asking to know what church they should attend.
Talk about a miracle!! So they had a great lesson and they came to
church on Sunday! They're looking to get back on the right path and
they are excited they found the Church. Such nice people. Oh—Tony grew
up in Joplin, MO. #Connections

Bon Voyage, Soeur Casagrande!
Unfortunately, Sister Casagrande, one of the French sisters in our
ward, got transferred to open a new French area in the Phoenix North
Stake—just over the I-17. It was sad to see her go! We have become
pretty good friends in the 4 months she was here. I know she'll do
great opening the new area.

Cool contacting
We did a lot of street contacting this week, and a couple really stuck
out. At the beginning of the week we were visiting a returning member
named Jesse. His downstairs neighbor was sitting outside with his wife
and jokingly offered us a beer. I said no thanks, and struck up a
conversation somehow. We just talked for a good 15 minutes about what
missionaries do and he invited us to come back to talk to him more. It
was a really good meeting with him. Turns out he's looking for another
church to go to.
Another contact was on our way out of Jesse's apartment complex. We
talked with her and she said she's from Virginia. I told her my family
originates from Virginia and she told us she's from ROANOKE! Her
accent reminded me exactly of my mom's and grandma's. She was ecstatic
when I said my family is from there. She invited us back right there.
Making connections is one of the most effective ways to get invited
back! Crazy how many connections happened this week.

Lots of biking, and temps all the way up into the mid 90's. CRAZYYYY.
And it's only March............. #PrayForFlagstaff

Well, that's all that happened for the most part! It was a great week.
I hope all is well with everyone. Sorry for the late email. We've been
bowling! I'll attach pictures in a separate email. Love you all! :)

Much love,

Elder Jones
Black Canyon Ward
Arizona Phoenix Mission

Zone Conference w/ Pres Griffin



silly zone

French sisters- Bon voyage, Seour Casagrande! Left to right: Sisters Paul,
Casagrande, me, Elder Young

Zone Bowling activity

weekly selfie w/ a little photo bombing going on

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Crazy Week!--week 83- 81 weeks in Phoenix Mission- 33 weeks in Glendale

Crazy Week!--
week 83-  81 weeks in Phoenix Mission-  33 weeks in Glendale

Dear friends and family,

HAPPY HALF BIRTHDAY TO ME!! Yep, I'm 20 1/2 today. ;) It was such a
crazy, long week! But SO worth it! We didn't have the opportunity to
teach a lot this week because of all of the other stuff we had to do,
but we still taught some good lessons and got a lot done. Anyway, here

New Apartment
As I mentioned in my last letter, we moved apartments on Tuesday!! We
didn't want to draw out the process, so we bit the bullet and did the
whole move in Tuesday. We got to the new place just as the workers
were finishing the place up. (That's how newly renovated it is...) New
sinks, countertops, floors, bathtubs, toilets, appliances—everything.
It's truly a miracle! Haha. Things just feel better here. It's safer,
quieter, and smells better. Definitely a better place to feel the
Spirit. Plus, the young men's president is our (kind of) neighbor! Too
bad he lives too far away to use his wifi, though!!

Mission tour
The day after our move we had mission tour. Half of the mission
gathered together to hear from a member of the First Quorum of the
Seventy, Elder Arnold. Let me tell ya, he's the next Elder Holland. He
was very bold and told us how we need to be better. Although he was
bold, he was still very loving. He focused a lot on getting the
members involved in the work and asking for referrals from everyone!
Things we already knew, but needed to be told again.

We are still working with the same people, but we picked up a couple
potentials this week so we will be seeing them more next week. The
golden investigator we found a couple weeks ago, Michelle, is
completely MIA. She's never home, doesn't reply to texts or
calls—nothing. Hopefully she'll respond back soon. Rusty and Liz are
still doing great. We met with them on Friday and reviewed the
baptismal interview questions and they understand and believe all of
the doctrine contained in the questions. They just need to get married
and boom! They'll get baptized!!

Miracle Sunday!
We were kind of bummed because we didn't get to see a lot of our
investigators this week due to moving and meetings, so we weren't
expecting a very large turnout to sacrament meeting this week. Well,
were we wrong!!! While we were at choir practice Rusty and Liz walked
in super early, which is normal for them. Right before sacrament
meeting started, Mike came in with his fiancée Cindy, who we're
teaching. The Sesay family came and brought their friend, Tru, who
were also teaching. Then, right before the sacrament, Jamie and her
mom and dad walked in!! We've been trying to get them to church for
months! Jamie is 9 and is an investigator, and her parents are
less-active. Our only concern for them has been resolved! Plus a
couple other less-active members we've been working with showed up. It
was a great Sunday to be a missionary! Also, we heard that Sister
Casagrande, the French missionary from France, will be transferred to
the Phoenix North Stake to open a new French area. I know she will do
well there, but we will definitely miss her being in the ward! All the
members just love her.

On Saturday I went on exchanges with our roommates, Elders Plourde and
Benolerão. Elder Bryan went with Elder Young in our area. It was the
first time I've been in a tripanionship other than when Elder
Fernandez left me companionless for two days when he went to
Argentina. The exchange was a blast! We taught some people—well, they
taught some people; I watched—and we just had a great time. We have
some great missionaries serving in this zone. I'm fortunate to serve
around them!

Yep, it's been in the mid 70's all week. We couldn't have had more
beautiful weather for the move.

That was mostly what happened this week! I doubt many of you read this
far in the letter anyway haha. Love and miss you all! 5 more months
till I'm home!

Much love,

Elder Jones
Black Canyon Ward
Arizona Phoenix Mission

Our last night in the old apartment. ALL SLEEP IN THE LIVING ROOM!

A member's cat likes me.

Elder B thinks he's buff

Our balcony of our new place! Taken today.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Chipotle Miracle!--Week 82- 80 week in Phoenix Mission- 32 weeks in Glendale

The Chipotle Miracle!
Week 82-  80 week in Phoenix Mission-  32 weeks in Glendale

Dear friends and family,

We had a pretty normal week! Sorry if this email is super lame. But
I'll do my best to make it great! Here goes.

The French Sisters had two baptisms on Saturday! Two more of the
Mwanamulenda family were baptized. So far the four of them have been
baptized and there are more to come. They are truly an amazing family.
The two who were baptized, Christine and Macinda, are 12 and 10. They
only speak Swahili!! As if there wasn't a big enough language barrier
with French! The ward is doing well with accommodating their needs,
though. Raphaël, the first to be baptized, was just called as the
French gospel principles teacher. I see a French branch coming really
soon. I am so grateful to be a part of this incredible miracle. The
gospel will be preached to everyone; the Lord's promise is being
fulfilled here in the Black Canyon Ward.

Chipotle Miracle
So I know this is a really lame thing to put in my email, but it was
pretty funny how it happened. Two days ago we got a coupon in the mail
for a free burrito from Chipotle. We were figuring out who would get
it since there are five of us in the apartment. Elder Plourde won the
coupon after we drew names out of a hat, so we headed out. We saw
another coupon on the ground, and two more on the top of the trash!!
So that left one person not having a coupon. Elder Young volunteered
to pay for his, so we were in line getting our burritos and a guy from
the back of the line comes up and says, "I'm paying for all five of
these guys." Just a tender mercy!! Such a nice guy.

I went to urgent care again this week because I have had the same
cough for about 3 months. When I told the doctor how long I had the
cough, she looks at me and says, "Don't you think that's a little
long??" I told her that the last urgent care said I was fine. She said
that was stupid and she put her stethoscope to my lungs and told me to
cough. She said, "OH YEAH, you're sick" and she prescribed me
antibiotics. I guess I had bronchitis after all! So I'm feeling a lot
better now. The cough has almost stopped. Woohoo!

Our investigators are all still doing well. Not much to report on
them. Mike and Cindy got new jobs paying double what they were making
before, which is great for them since they've been struggling a little
bit! He said the Lord is blessing them more than they can comprehend.
I hope Cindy will notice those blessings and become even more
interested in the Church.

The weather has cooled down a little bit. Every day has been the upper
70's and sunny. Yep, we're spoiled. Not for long, though!

So we get to move tomorrow! I'm so excited to get out of this
apartment! This new one is so much better. I can't wait.

Well, that was my week. We have a ton of meetings/trainings/other
stuff going on next week so it should be jam packed with cool stuff!!
Have a great week, everyone!

Much love,

Elder Jones
Black Canyon Ward
Arizona Phoenix Mission

Elder Jones and Elder Young at Culver's w/ Chris

waiting for meds

Dr. checking him out

Not sure what she is doing

waiting for meds

trying to look happy

Me and my best friend, Sammy. I love little dogs!!!
I'm the only 
missionary she will come up to.

Elders Bryan and Benolerão with their ukes!

Elder Jones and Elder Jones! They are in the same district!

Weekly selfie