Monday, April 25, 2016

"How Did You Know That?!" Week 89- 87 Weeks in Phoenix Mission-- 2nd week in Buckeye

"How Did You Know That?!"

Week 89- 87 Weeks in Phoenix Mission--  2nd week in Buckeye

Dear friends and family,

We had a really great week here in Buckeye! Lots happened and we
reached most of our proselyting goals! I'll try to put everything into

New investigators
We found two new people to teach this week!! Both are pretty cool
stories. The two people we found are James and Stephanie.
-James: James is the new husband of a member. He is a really cool guy.
He works on bicycles and is really good at what he does. James was in
a very serious car accident a few months ago which has hindered his
mobility. He can still get around, but he's very slow and steady. The
accident didn't affect his funny personality, however. He cracks
jokes, laughs, and still has a great time. He came to church last
Sunday and had a lot of questions about the Book of Mormon and Joseph
Smith. We were able to teach him the Restoration and he understands it
all now. He is excited to learn more.
-Stephanie: Okay, this story is pretty cool. Monday night we were
visiting the Hert family, who are less-active. We park, go inside, and
sit down and talk for a little bit. Right before we say the opening
prayer, someone knocks on their door. Sister Hert answers the door and
then says, "Uh, Elders, the solar salesman wants to talk to you." We
go over there, and the solar salesman, Jared, talks to us. He said he
saw us walk inside. He had just finished selling solar to a lady up
the street and he had a great conversation about the Church with her.
He told us we should stop by and give her a Book of Mormon. So...we
went by the next day! She answered and was a bit confused about who we
were. We told her we were missionaries and Jared sent us. She let us
in and we talked with her for a little bit and set up a return
appointment. We went back on Saturday and she was there waiting for
us. She invited us in and we had a great lesson with her. She had read
the whole Restoration pamphlet and had started reading the Book of
Mormon. She had lots of questions about it so we did a brief rundown
of the book. As we were talking about Moroni burying the plates, she
said, "Oh! Moroni is the son of Mormon, right?" Mine and Elder
Sumsion's jaws dropped. We both laughed and said, "How did you know
that?!" She said that she remembered it from reading. So this must be
what it's like to have a solid investigator. Haha! We continued on and
taught a little more about the Book of Mormon and set up another time
to visit her. Yeah—she's solid.

I was able to go on an exchange with Elder Thaut in his area. It was
great getting to be his companion again, even if it was just for a
day!! He serves out in west Buckeye, the third biggest area in the
mission. They live with members in the middle of nowhere—off a dirt
road, and off THAT dirt road. It was super fun riding around in the
middle of nowhere. There are lots of crazy people out there. I'm glad
I serve in the more affluent part of Buckeye. :) We taught a couple
lessons and reminisced about when we were companions.

Working out
For those of you who don't know, my companion, Elder Sumsion, is a big
workout freak. I've always wanted to get bigger, but never had much
motivation to work out. With Elder Sumsion's help, I have started
working out morning and night! I'm not doing anything too intense, but
enough to feel and see results hopefully. Well, it's not very intense
for Elder's pretty intense for me! Needless to say I'm
not very good at working out, but he's helping me a lot! My arms are
almost always super tired. So that's that.

Yard work
We went over to one of our investigator's house to help her with her
yard. She's an older lady with a lot of health problems so she can't
get out much. She is a smoker, so every time we go over there to teach
we always have to come home and change and shower before we go out
again. Anyway, we were just pulling weeds and trimming her hedges when
a van pulls up. Two ladies got out and walked in. They were Jehovah's
Witnesses! They didn't really see who we were because we weren't in
our shirts and ties, just our tshirt and shorts. We went in to get
some water and they saw our name tags. After we introduced ourselves
one of the ladies said, "Well, we were just finishing up anyway. We'll
see you folks later." And they left hahah! I guess that's all it
takes. I kinda wanted to sit in on their "lesson"...would have been
fun. :)

It has been pretty hot this week! Man, being in a car makes the days
go by so much faster. I feel like I'm able to get more done too. Like
nobody walks the roads here in Buckeye so it's not like we miss
talking to very many people. Sometimes Elder Sumsion and I get out and
walk around a little to talk to people. It's pretty fun!

So that's about all that happened this week. We got to teach quite a
bit and do some service. I'll attach a couple pictures of our zone
hike this afternoon. Hopefully we'll have another successful week this
week. Elder Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles will be here
to speak to our mission on Thursday afternoon....hopefully he doesn't
send me home! Just kidding, Mom, calm down :) Have a great week

Much love,

Elder Jones
Buckeye 1st & Sundance Wards
Arizona Phoenix Mission

Looks like Arizona. Dirt, dirt, random brush, cacti, dirt

Elder Weston gave me a piggy back ride!

Bolo tie!

Elder Thaut's area (the boonies)

On exchanges with Elder Thaut (THE CAR IS NOT MOVING DON'T WORRY.....)

weekly selfie!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Buckeye Fever!--Week 88- 86 weeks in Phoenix- 1 week in Buckeye

Buckeye Fever!--
Week 88-  86 weeks in Phoenix- 1 week in Buckeye

Dear friends and family,

Greetings from my new area in Buckeye, Arizona! I love it here! My new
companion is Elder Sumsion. He goes home in six weeks. We get along
really well!! Here was my week!

Well, I knew where I was going so transfers were pretty low stress.
All of my favorite elders in Glendale came by to say goodbye before
Elder Bryan and I left... I was really happy when I found out that
Elder Wille was going to my old area. The ward will love him.

So I am serving in the Buckeye 1st Ward and the Sundance Ward. Buckeye
is a lot different from Glendale. Fewer crazy people, fewer methheads,
fewer crazy drivers, and the list goes on and on. We live with a
member family, the Maxwells. They have 6 boys, the youngest two are 16
and twins and they still live at home. The rest are grown. The area is
half rural, half suburbs. Almost all of the houses are in brand new
developments so that's pretty cool. I am the driver, and I have the
privilege of driving a 2015 white Ford Fusion! So much better than
biking! And just in time for the summer. President Griffin said I'll
be here for the rest of my mission so that's good.
So far my time here has been great. We've spent a lot of time visiting
ward leaders to introduce me to them and to ask who we can visit.
Elder Sumsion has only been here 6 weeks and was doubled-in with a
trainee. So we both don't really know the area all that well. We have
been able to find some part member families to work with and get to
know a lot of the ward leadership. They seem to like me which is good.
When they ask us how long we've been out and I say 20 months and Elder
Sumsion says 23 months, it almost instantly builds trust. Two
veterans! Haha.

On Sunday we were just sitting down right before Buckeye 1st Ward
started and in walks 5 people: an older guy, his wife, and three
boys—ALL of them had mullets except the mom. I turned to Elder Sumsion
and said, "Hooooooly mullets.." He laughed and the bishop's wife went
up and talked to them. She turned to us and mouthed "they aren't
members!" So we talked with them and got their info and sent their
info to the zone leaders. They're excited!!

I can't really remember much about what else happened, but know that
I'm doing well and I'm enjoying being out here "in the sticks" as
someone at church described it. My new address is:

Elder Kevin Jones
23429 W. Hopi St.
Buckeye, AZ 85326

You can send letters, packages, anything there and I will get it. I
love you all and hope you keep being awesome! Just 3 1/2 more months!

Elder Jones
Buckeye 1st & Sundance Wards
Arizona Phoenix Mission

Elder Jones w/ his new companion Elder Sumsion

Bye, Elder Plourde!

Bye, Elder Young!

Bye, Elder Bryan!

My home for the rest of my mission!

Our area. :)

weekly selfie

The district! Left to right: Elders Weston, Ockey, Thaut, Price, Jones, Sumsion


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

New Experiences-- Week 87, 85 Weeks in Phoenix, 37 Weeks in Glendale

10 minutes after we found out I'm getting transferred. Elders
Rodriguez, me, and Bryan.

Juan! He just put in his mission papers! A convert of 2 years.
Gonna miss him.

Right before Frank's ordination!
Normal zone picture


Brother Taylor, our ward mission leader.

Rusty and Liz have a lot of cats. I said, "bring me your favorite
cats." And we took a picture. :)

The Stanleys! One of my favorite families!

Bye, Cesar!

Rusty and Liz after stake conference. I'm going to miss these people so much.

The Sesay crew! (Missing 6 of the crew...hahaha)

New Experiences

Week 87,  85 Weeks in Phoenix, 37 Weeks in Glendale

Dear friends and family,

The time has finally arrived that I will be leaving Glendale and transferred to another area. On Friday, President personally told me that I will be leaving. It was a pretty funny experience—I will write it out in this letter. As the title states, this week was full of new experiences for me. And the future will also hold "new experiences" according to President Griffin. Here was my week!

Trainer/Trainee Meeting
On Friday, we all loaded up in our roommates' Corolla and drove up to the Peoria North stake center for the trainer/trainee meeting. I always love meetings where we get to be instructed by President Griffin. The meeting really focused on being obedient and not complaining when hard things arise. "Putting your head down and working." President Griffin took the last 30 minutes of the meeting to instruct us. At the beginning of his discussion, he said, "Elder Jones, come up here." I was sitting in the last row with Elder Rodriguez. I was a bit puzzled, because it was extremely random that he told me to come up. I get up there and he puts his arm around me and looks out at the group of 40-ish missionaries. He says, "Everybody, this is Elder Jones. You probably don't know much about him, but he's a good missionary. He's a quiet, gentle missionary. And he's been in his area for quite a while—BUT HE'S GETTING TRANSFERRED. He's just finding out a little before you all." I was shocked. He continues, "And how long have you been a biking missionary?" I said, "My whole mission—20 months." He looks at me and smiles, "And HE'S GETTING A CAR, TOO!" Then I gave him the biggest hug ever. In front of everyone. Haha! He then went on to explain how no one has the right to complain about being on a bike. After I sat down he added a comment, "He never complained to me once—you think your President doesn't notice that stuff. He does. Thank you, Elder Jones." 
It was a very interesting experience I definitely won't forget!! 

Bedbugs scare
One morning in the beginning of the week I woke up with nine crazy huge bites on my arm. Over the course of the day my arm swelled up big time. It was one of the worst experiences of my life! They itched like crazy, and my whole arm felt like it was going to fall off! We called the housing coordinator about having our apartment sprayed. He hooked us up with a member who did it for free for missionaries. So he came, flipped our beds, and said that he didn't see any traces of bedbugs, so we either didn't have them, or they're really fresh. He said either way it should be easy to treat them now. Phew! Luckily I haven't gotten any more bites—we were seriously contemplating going to the ER. I'm seriously allergic to whatever bit me.

We had stake conference this week which is always wonderful. I had a very, very special experience after the conference. One I will never forget—another new experience for me. Let me tell you a little about Frank Gomez first. He is a member in our ward who has been married to a member for 27 years. He was always a die hard Catholic. He was one year away from becoming a Catholic Priest. He would attend church with his wife for 25 years. He was well known at church, just not a member. Well, about a year ago, a bold missionary told him he would be baptized. He said, "okay" and he said he felt a rush go through him. He had accepted a baptismal date. He was committed. He was then baptized last May. I got to the ward in July and have been teaching him the new member lessons since then. He and I have grown very close. Anyway, he was presented before the Conference to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. After the conference we all gathered in the little bishop's office and he said, "Elder Jones, I would be honored if you would ordain me into the Melchizedek Priesthood." I was shocked. His baptism missionary was there. His absolute best friend is the bishop and he was there. And he chose me. It was such a special experience to bestow the Priesthood upon someone I love so much. I met with him that night and gave him a copy of my line of authority. 

Stake Conference
We had a really wonderful stake conference. Elder Johnson of the Seventy came and addressed us. One thing really stuck out to me during the Saturday session. He was talking about having "No other Gods", the first commandment in the 10 Commandments. He started talking about English, so I naturally perked up. :) He said, "There are no such things as PRIORITIES." You can not have plural priorities. If you do, then you don't really have a priority. If God isn't your priority, you are breaking His first commandment. Wow! What a profound statement. The Spirit definitely spoke to me that I need to continue trying to make Him my first priority. Always. 

Zone Meeting
As you can tell, we had a week full of meetings. Sometimes that can be sad and boring, but I enjoyed every one of them. As the zone leaders Elder Gardner and Elder Katz were presenting their discussion, they randomly said, "Who in here wants some Taco Bell?" Of course I raised my hand. Everyone but a few raised their hand. They told everyone who wanted Taco Bell to go into the library. The zone leaders came in and gave each of us a pass-along card. Some were yellow, but Elder Plourde got a red one, and Elder Conover was denied one all together! So we went into the commons room where a member was taking our cards to enter the room with Taco Bell. Elder Plourde was denied access to the room because his card was different. And Elder Conover couldn't enter because he didn't have a card at all. As we are partaking of the glorious Taco Bell, we know there are others who unfairly didn't receive any. They likened it to us as missionaries. Sometimes we deny people the gospel by not talking to them. By not inviting them to partake of the tree of life which is the gospel. Another profound lesson learned.

Although I am so ready to get transferred, I have been reflecting on all of the lifetime friends I have made here in this area. Those friends range from youth, adults, missionaries, leaders—everything. This area has taught me to be patient. It has taught me to not judge others according to the circumstances they're in. It has taught me to be a better teacher! Sometimes you don't  know how much of an impact you've made until you're packing up and leaving. I will hopefully be returning a few times to witness the baptisms of those I have taught. Jamie will be baptized in the beginning of May, and Rusty and Liz will be baptized soon too. Plus a couple more. I love being a missionary. There's no place I'd rather be right now. 

Elder Bryan and I went on one last exchange last night. He is someone I will for sure stay in contact with after the mission. We get along so well. Most likely the next time I'll see him is in the mission home when we go home. On our exchange while I was gone, Elder Young put one of our investigators on a baptismal date. Yep, the area is in gooood hands. :)

This week we had another French baptism. This time, the daughter of Raphaël, Louise. She was very excited to be baptized and anyone who was there could have felt that sweet spirit. It's been amazing seeing this family of FAITH come into the Church. They have had way more trials than they deserve, but the Lord works in mysterious ways. He knows what he's doing. And this family has benefited from their perseverance through their trials. 

Well, that's about what happened this week! I have to pack today and I'm not feeling too well so I might not get a chance to email much. But I'll do what I can. Hopefully next week you'll hear that I'm in Flagstaff :)

Much love,

Elder Jones
Black Canyon Ward
Arizona Phoenix Mission

Note from Momma- Elder Jones is being transferred to Buckeye, AZ.  It is SW of where he is now and is the most western city of the Phoenix area.  It has a population of 6,500!    We will have an address next week.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Freetown -- 86 Weeks, Week 84 in Phoenix Mission, 36 Weeks in Glendale

Freetown -- 
86 Weeks, Week 84 in Phoenix Mission, 36 Weeks in Glendale

Dear friends and family,

I had another great week here in the APM. General Conference was
wonderful. If you didn't get a chance to watch, give it a look. You
won't regret it. We were able to teach quite a bit this week and have
some super fun experiences.

This morning we received the reward for accomplishing our zone-wide
contacting goal for the month of March. The reward was getting to
watch a movie with President Griffin as a zone. He came with movies
and we chose to watch "Freetown," which is about 6 Liberian
missionaries who had to escape Liberia due to rebel groups. It was
awesome hearing of how the Lord protects His missionaries. Those
Elders escaped with their lives multiple times. It was a super intense
movie. President bought us doughnuts so we ate as we watched.
Definitely a super fun morning spent together.

General Conference
Of course, General Conference was wonderful from beginning to end. We
spent 10 hours total listening to living prophets, seers, and
revelators deliver us the word of God. General Conference as a
missionary is even more special. Even though some speakers speak on
finding a wife, getting married, and dating, each speaker delivers a
special spirit to missionaries. I'm so grateful for living prophets in
this day to instruct us. God has not shut the door. God has not
forgotten His children. He does not love His children in the past more
than he does now. He is literally "the same yesterday, today, and

"Thank you, missionaries!"
We had a very tender, special moment when Elder Young and I went and
taught Jamie, our 9 year-old investigator. We rode up and locked our
bikes like we always do, and knocked on their door. Jamie opened up
and asked if we saw the picture she drew in chalk on the driveway. We
didn't pay much attention to us, so she took us out front to show us.
She had spent 2 hours drawing us a picture that depicted the 3
kingdoms of glory (we taught the plan of salvation the week before and
drew pictures) and above it said, written in big, blue letters: "Thank
you, Missionaries!" It was impossible to wipe the smiles off our
faces! It was so precious! She said, "Wednesday's are usually the
worst days for me at school, so I always look forward to the
missionaries coming over and teaching me a happy message." She is Sooo
cool. I'll send a picture of her chalk drawing.

I just told you about Jamie. Needless to say she is doing great! We
are now teaching a guy named Rob. He is the husband of a member of the
ward. She isn't active, but they want to be married in the temple and
are willing to do anything to do so. They really enjoyed conference!
We are going to invite Rob to be baptized on a specific date tonight.

Go away summer....this week it is supposed to be in the mid 90's. We
haven't seen rain since January. Ha.

Well, that was my week! Sorry my letter was kinda short. Just a lot of
Conference! I hope everyone who watched came away with their
testimonies strengthened. I know I did. Thank you all for the prayers
on my behalf. Just 4 more months to go and I'll be back on good old
MO. I'll know transfer news by next pday which will be next Tuesday.

Much love,

Elder Jones
Black Canyon Ward
Arizona Phoenix Mission

Elders reading menu at Culver's

Apartmentship being fed by their favorite member Chris!

Drink line

Elder Jones

Elder Jones

Elder Young

Elder  Benolerão,

Elder  Plourde and Elder Bryan

Elders Benolerão,, Young, Jones, Plourde, Bryan

Zone: After watching "Freetown" this morning!
Left to right: Elders Gardner, Bryan, Diamante, Buckway, Benolerão,
Dawson, Davenport, Katz, Jones, Plourde, Conover, Jones, Cespedes,
Young, Bradley.

Jamie and her picture!