Week 66 and 67 – Elder Jones

Week 66 – Halloween, Rain and Interviews

Happy Halloween!
Halloween was pretty good. The Trunk or Treat went well. All the missionaries dressed up in one way or another but it cool to see how they still had it mission appropriate. I got in the back of the trunk and used the skeleton hands to scare little kids. They all loved it.

Sisyer Taysom and Sister Hrivnak dressed up as Elder Stevens and Mooney for Halloween. Nailed it!
Then we came back. We had a ton of candy we have gathered through the month and we gave that to people that came to our house.
We were able to drop a large print Book of Mormon off at *******’s and she was very very excited about it. That’s awesome. Now she can read it.
Then we had interviews with the mission president. It was….. rough. But it was good. I’ll explain. At first we talked about ******* and how to do stuff with that. Then I asked him about if I could post my weekly on Facebook. In the end, he said you can post it on your page but I shouldn’t have it on my page. And I should take the past ones off of my page. So I’m thinking that if you could fix my email up and send it back before pday is over and I could send it out in an email. It would require some work on your part but I’d rather be obedient. If not, then I’ll just direct them to your page.
Then we got to the “rough” part. It was actually fantastic. Just rough. President Ward said that several people said that they think I should train. He asked me about it and we had some conversation about it. For some reason I was kinda awkward in how I responded. Yes, I really want to train but it all came out weird. But we talked for a few minutes. Then he paused and looked at me and said: “Can I be frank with you?” I said yes and he proceeded to chastise me. Not on stuff that I was being disobedient in, but more of what I need to change as a person and a missionary to be a good example for the new missionary (if that happens, he pretty much said that was the plan, but he might change his mind). The main thing was that I say a lot of small funny comments that attract attention to me and make too much lightness of missionary work. And he didn’t sugar coat it at all. He just laid it all out for me what I needed to fix. Chastisement. It was good. I definitely needed to hear it. It was very humbling and I know he is right. I do need to change that. When he was through, he asked if what he said was too much. I said no. Then he asked if I was offended. I said no. He asked if I wanted him to stop. I told him to keep going. Then he went of to correct me on some other things. Again, nothing bad like disobedience. But things I needed to improve on. And he asked the same questions at the end. I had the same response. I need his correction. Eventually he said he was going to  stop correcting me I’m told him to keep going, but he wouldn’t. I can tell that before he started, that pause was the Holy Ghost talking to him saying ‘just he blunt with him, it will be the most effective and he will learn the most’. I’m glad he listened. Yeah, it stung, but it’s what I needed. And I hate it when people sugar coat things. He said it in the way I needed to hear it. I had some awesome conversations with Elder Niederhauser afterwards. He is such an awesome companion. He just supports me a lot. In the end, it was actually a really really good interview because it is helping me change. Yea it stung quite a bit. But it was really, really good. I trust him. So it went well, even if I felt a little sick after. But that’s the regret that helps us complete the repentance process.
I’ve never been so stressed in my mission. After yesterday, carrying intoto today, trying to get ahold of *****, it’s been so stressful. We had an awesome dinner with a ton of Zone Leaders that had served here, so that was awesome to see them.  We met with **** again.  The whole time I was stressing about ******. She texted us in the middle of the day through her daughter saying that she doesn’t want to be baptized. 1 day away!  We were going to go over there with an awesome member but she wasn’t  home. We stopped by the church and she happened to be there, trying to take *******  to urgent care because she was having some problems. We briefly talked about it. She said she is going to wait for her kids but if ****** isn’t going to get baptized in two months, she and **** are going to go ahead and do it. So it’s good she is still planning on it herself, but not yet. She will be there to see her daughter get baptized and that will be a great example. So we will still be having a baptism tomorrow, ****** just won’t be making the covenant. It’s sad, but it feels like she shouldn’t be pushed at this point. We have done all that is humanly possible to make it. It is just her choice. 🙂 But there are bright plans for the future. So, a lot of the stress is gone. We met with the sisters to discuss and set up for the baptism, and we are all under so much stress. We all just sat there defeated and some of us felt paralyzed (I was one of them). I just felt paralyzed. It’s been a little too much.
Rain! It’s raining! It’s beautiful. It’s finally fall! It’s the first time it’s rained since like April. So awesome.
Alright, so after service this morning and lunch, we started weekly planning and getting the baptism ready. We were at the church all day. We had to kind of jump back and forth between getting the baptism ready and planning but that was ok. We cleaned out the font and practiced our songs that we were doing for it. We got jumpsuits ready and set chairs up. And planned. We finally got a full planning session in. A short one but a real one.
Then the baptism came.   ****** was so excited! She was skipping down the halls and had the biggest smile on her face. I’ve never seen anyone so exited before.  ***** (*****’s daughter) was excited too, even though she had to go to the hospital last night.  They made it. Five minutes before the baptism started there were only a few people there. But in those 5 minutes, the room filled. ****** was there and brought her son and another one if her daughters and both of their families. And a ton of random non-members showed up. There might have been more non-members there than members. ******’s son’s family was saying they want to be baptized. We told them we would send missionaries to them. They are moving to Gridley though so we might see them more. Our songs went very well. The Holy Ghost helped me a lot, because I played a lot of piano during the baptism. Prelude, mid baptism prelude while they were getting dressed, opening and closing songs and both of our musical numbers. It was a lot. But it all went well. Afterwards I was so exhausted. So tired. Then we went to dinner with the Spanish Elders for enchiladas because we didn’t have dinner. It was amazing. I got home, got dressed and fell asleep in an instant. I’m actually writing this on Saturday morning. But it was great. A very successful baptism. I’m so proud of those two for making such a great covenant.
Also, yes, all we have been listening to is Christmas music 🎄
Nothing too abnormal for today. We visited a less actives, then we stopped by ******’s. she wasn’t home. We had a good discussion with **** though. About the Book of Mormon. He hasn’t read it yet. We shared a video and commented it to the Book of Mormon. We finally had time this afternoon to go contacting. It was amazing. It was the only time in my mission that I wanted to contact rather than do companionship study. Usually you can’t wait for studies just to have a break. But not now. We haven’t done much contacting so we loved it. But none the less, we had to study. We had an awesome dinner. Slower day but a good one.
Man, that was nice. There are only two times a missionary gets to sleep in. If he is sick, or daylight savings time. It was perfect. I woke up at 6:10 and was awake and ready because I got my extra 40 minutes. So I waited for the alarm then got up. So nice. Church was great. We walked into Gospel Doctrine and in the projector they were playing a missionary parody to “Hello” by Adele. I’ve seen this a million times but it was funny to see it in class. The class was on member missionary work.
We had an awesome lesson with ****** and everyone in that house. They really felt the spirit as we talked about the Book of Mormon and broke it down. The funny part was that in a chair behind us was some guy that was either passed out drunk or passed out stoned. We mainly just ignored him. So it was a fun lesson.
Week 67-  Exchanges, Elder Kerby and Transfers
I’m on Exchanges right now in Oroville. But I read your e-mail Dad. I really appreciated it. It meant a lot to me. Thank you for your support. I slightly remember that story but I’m glad you retold it. And the words you had to accompany it helped guide and direct me a little bit more. Your summed it up right. Thank you.
At the end of it you said listen, act, love. When you think of little phrases like that, usually you might end it with a word like change or do or something. But you put love in there. I’m really realizing that the most important thing on a mission (and in life) is to love. If you love, all else falls into place, because that is the greatest motivator.
We went on a “hike” today above oroville. It wasn’t much of a hike. In a good way though! It was only a couple hundred yards to get to the cool stuff. Then it was like a half mile of Rocky Mountain face and you could see for miles and miles. It wasn’t a rock pile, it was more like the mountain side was all rock and had a time of massive boulders and a couple scraggly trees. I’ll send pictures. So we walked all around that and climbed stuff and took pictures. It was the coolest thing ever! So beautiful. When I come back to the mission, I’m going to camp overnight there. It was amazing. We stayed for several hours. I want to take the whole family here.
Two day exchanges started last night. I’ll get back tomorrow. I was with Elder Owen, one of the Zone Leaders and he’s awesome. We did some finding and stuff in the morning, visited with their investigator this afternoon that is going to be baptized this week, had some really cool lessons with people. We ran into some really weird people up here, but such is Oroville. Our dinner was way out in the middle of nowhere, took almost an hour to get there.
Today was not so great. I have still been in Oroville all day and the zone leader I was with all day….. I did learn one thing that I’ve been thinking about for several weeks now and this experience solidified it: The most important thing in the mission is to love people. I’m going to do an in depth studies on Love now.
Oh, it’s so good to be home. I love my companion and home and district and area and my investigators.
Ok, I’ll make this super short because we need sleep. Today we went to get a new tire because last Night, right outside of our house, something put a huge hole in our tire. That was an adventure.
We had a lesson with **** and he said that he has to work on Sunday now because they changed things. That really sucks.
We walked over to ******”s to do service and she wasn’t home. But as we walked back we saw a car pull up in front of our house that was obviously a missionary car and had people in white shirts in it. One of the missionaries got out and immediately recognized him as Elder Kerby! I sprinted down the street at him, kinda scared him because he didn’t see me, and have him a huge hug. He was in town for a trainer meeting and had something he needed to get to me. He wanted to sneak it into my porch but I saw him. We only had time to say hi and bye, but it was awesome to see him.
I’m sorry. I missed two days. It’s been stressful.  I’ll sum up. We helped ******* move her stuff to storage on Friday so they can fumigate her house. Then weekly planning. We had a short lesson with *******’s kids and some other Investigators there.
Yesterday was crazy. I’m the morning President Ward sent out an email that basically said that transfers are going to be really big and that a lot of people are going to be moved around. It was several paragraphs long and it set everyone on edge. I was starting to get worried. Was I going to leave? What craziness was going to happen. I was told I was going to train but I had no idea what would happen. Then at night, that’s when the calls for trainers go out. President calls all the trainers. We got a text from Elder Stevens saying that president called him and said he would train. Then the sisters called and asked if we had gotten a call. We said no and they said they did.  Me, I had been told I would, but I never got a call. And I went to bed. No call ever came. So that was sad. I couldn’t sleep at all because I would wake up every 15 minutes and stress about transfers. I was so worried that I would leave. I was worried that I would stay and have a new companion, I didn’t like. I would be fine staying with Elder Niederhauser. But what if we both left?  The transfer board email came around 6:40 this morning. I looked and I am training! I’m happy about that. It says we don’t have a car so looks like they are taking that from us. I have no idea how we are going to do this. I am not going to worry about that right now. But Elder Niederhauser is going to my ward in Citrus Heights with JT (JT is a missionary from here that we all know and love!)! So that’s super cool. I’m sure they’ll like each other. It’s cool that both of those fell into place. My entire district is training except for one companionship. So I’m a little releived now after no sleep last night.
Today Niederhauser said goodbye to a lot of people. Made me appreciate them. We had a district transfer devotional. This has been my favorite district my entire mission. I have no idea how to describe it. I can’t. I love them all. So sad to see some leave.

Week 65 – Elder Jones

Birthdays, Interviews and Domestic Violence

We went over to ******’s place and eventually went over the law of chastity. It went well. We taught it all thoroughly and as far as we can tell, she is good. She understands it and we did all we could. If there’s something that she is doing that’s wrong, we can’t tell. So she it set. She was supposed to have her interview today, but she had to reschedule for tomorrow because things come up. So we will be doing that tomorrow afternoon. So excited!
It cool being on bikes here because everything is flat again. It’s good. We had a lesson with **** again. It was awesome! We went over the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He is really smart. Not that his mind is open, as opposed to the last 20 years of him viewing the church as a cult and having a very anti view with anti material, everything is clicking in his mind. It all is just fitting together in his mind and you can see him ask where a puzzle piece of the gospel is, and we give it to him and it all makes sense. And the experiences that he has are truly amazing. We asked him now he felt about baptism. He says he knows that’s what he needs to do, but he is thinking about it. Sincerely. He wants to know more and have all the puzzle come together more. We asked him if he wants to aim for a date in the future and he said he’s not there yet. It was good to see where he is at. From being anti-Mormon, he is progressing very fast. He has been able to change from having a very hard heart of stone into a very soft and open one. I’m amazed.
Holy cow. Super crazy. ****** has been really nervous and scared about her baptism. I think that’s part of why he pushed her interview back to today. We were planning on going over to her house before the interview and going over some stuff and making sure she made it. We got there and there was nobody home. We had it scheduled. They had even called us to make sure we were coming. Eventually we got ahold of them. They had to get some meds for ***** and they wanted to push it to tomorrow. We wouldn’t let that happen. It might keep getting pushed back. So we asked if they could do it tonight. We left the time open and made it so they didn’t have an excuse. The Book of Mormon class was right before and her daughter goes to that. We go to it because **** is there. But *******, her daughter, was saying that ******* had been talking to a less active Sister that she is really close with. And the Sister was telling her not to rush into anything because she had taken many years to get baptized and that’s ******* shouldn’t rush into it. Elder Niederhauser and I were kinda mad about that. So we honestly though that ******* was backing out again. After the Book of Mormon class we put all of our faith in the table. We had ****** and the 3rd ward Sister stay, we had Elder Stevens and Mooney come to interview here and all waited. But she wasn’t showing up. Man my stress levels were high. We were all there waiting in faith, knowing that chances were that she was too scared to come. Eventually ****** called ******* and talked to her and from my end I heard ****** say this: “where are you? We are all waiting for you. …….. well why don’t you come here and tell them that?  ……..  no, you just come down to the church and tell them that yourself.” At this point obviously ***** was coming to tell us that she wouldn’t go through with it. ****** called us and said she was running late but would be here. Eventually she got to the church and she went into the interview! I have no idea how this miracle was happening because she has been so nervous and has backed out of baptism so many times before. But it happened. My stress levels were so high because there were a ton of crazy kids running around and we were so worried and it was almost curfew and we were showing the kids the font and they were being crazy. But ***** came out and passed the interview. After they all left, Elder Niederhauser, Elder Stevens, Elder Mooney and I all just kinda had a group hug. ***** has been worked on for years. Like 5 years. She has never made it this far. She’s just over a week away from baptism. But we were all so grateful and amazed at the miracle that happened. I’m so grateful for all the other missionaries that have helped her throughout all the years, preparing her for now. Please pray for ****** that she will make it all the way to baptism and that she will grow to be an amazing member if the church.
Too tired yesterday. We met with **** and ***** yesterday. Those lessons were good. With ****, we scheduled to fast for him to get work off I’m the 31st and then we will go eat dinner at his house. So that will be good.
Today we did service at ****’s. She is awesome. Very good at gardening. Work is so much easier with jeans that aren’t falling apart. Then we threw a surprise party for Sister *******. Her birthday is tomorrow. That’s was great. We had cake and pie and brownies. Then we had to clean all the confetti up. It was fun though.
We are still so busy. We hardly have time for anything. We haven’t been able to go contacting in over a week. We just haven’t had time. It’s awesome.
We had some service today. We helped ****** out with some stuff. I practiced for the piano songs that I’m doing for the baptism. But tonight there was a religious freedom conference at the Mormon center in Sac and Elder Raw and was there and we got special permission from him to have our mission watch the broadcast. It was really good. Overall what I learned from it was to love others, and lift where you stand. Wherever the fire if opposition is burning against our freedom of worship, stand where we are and hit that fire. You don’t have to be an expert that goes to court and to D.C., just stand up for other people’s right to believe, and your own. It was such a cool conference. Go watch the religious freedom videos if you haven’t.
So last night at 3 in the morning, we heard something that sounded like someone half crying half screaming. From where my bed was, I couldn’t see it yet, but Elder Niederhauser saw a guy attacking a girl outside. He smacked her in the face and stole her phone and demanded for the passcode. She was yelling please don’t hurt me. She was able to smash her phone on the road. Elder Niederhauser called the cops and I was still watching and she ended up on her knees in the middle of the road and he was above her with something in his hand. I thought she was about to die. He ended up forcing her to her feet and the were headed down the road when a cop pulled up. By the end, they both ended up in the cop car and were driven off. We watched it all from our house. It happened on our sidewalk. Elder Niederhauser didn’t sleep after that. It took me a few hours to get back to sleep. So that was crazy.
Besides that, we had an awesome Stake Conference today and I learned a lot. Some cool stories were told and inspiration given. I love this quote: “Your pen or keyboard is the antenna to the receipt of revelation.”
Tonight we went over to ******’s. She is struggling and very nervous so we just went and hung out with them and it really put them at ease. She was laughing and it took a load of stress off of her. We tried to give Elder Niederhauser a black hairdo but he didn’t have long enough hair. We ended up putting Noah’s extensions in. It was awesome. You’ll get a picture.
Quote of the week: “******, how do you know how to do all these cool things?” Her response: “Because I’m black!”
We’ve been so busy this week. We had no time to contact people because none of our lessons cancelled. That’s an amazing feeling. I love being busy.
I’m actually really glad that you have been taking good of my guitar. I wasn’t sure if y’all were going to just have the kids use it or not. I didn’t want that because I am really scared after Bryson’s Guitar going mission. So thank you. But yeah, I’m glad you brought it out for her. I’m sure she enjoyed it. And don’t worry, I’ll get that guitar I have in the mission office to y’all when I get home.

Week 64 – Elder Jones

Zone Conference, Busy Week and the P-day Gone Haywire

So tired right now. But I need to type this. P-day went haywire. We did a hike. It was a 45 minute drive from Oroville. It was only supposed to be a 2 mile hike. But the elder leading us, that had been there before was wrong. It was over 5 miles. Just to get in. Some of the sisters started dropping like flies so some other elders and I started heading back with them. They were so exhausted. And they had to hike back. In the last few miles we had to stop every couple of minutes. And there was hardly any water. I didn’t have any water the whole time because the girls needed it more. So everyone was dehydrated. Then some other elders and I got attacked by hornets because Elder Niederhauser stepped in a hornet nest. They chased us for like half a mile. Nasty stings. We got back to the parking lot at around 6. We had left the church at about 1.
We get to dinner late. The lady we had dinner with said that there would be an investigator there. We assumed she just meant non-member. But a little bit into dinner he asked us if he could take the lessons and do it every Tuesday. We were a little shocked cause we didn’t think he was actually interested. We found out that he started investigating the church about 69 years ago and is finally ready and wants to be baptized. He said: what do I need to do. We told him he needed to take the lessons (which he already knows the stuff) and make sure he does what he needs to. Then he can be baptized. It was insane. We have a lesson tomorrow with him. Very prepared.
We taught him tonight. It went well. He is really prepared. He does not seem like he would be a religious guy. But he is. The reason why he is now going to church is because if some members that he works with were just simply being an example. Being good people, and following the commandments. It really touched him a lot. So he started going to church. The reason why he started actually taking the discussions now is because of General Conference. That’s how he gained a testimony of prophets. We taught him the Restoration. We learned about a his concerns. He isn’t sure if the Book of Mormon yet, but logically it makes sense to him. He hasn’t quite gained a testimony if it yet, but is trying and knows it will come.
I also got y’alls package today. Thank you so much! Candy corn! It’s sitting in a container right now on the counter. Now I can go sneak candy corn from myself. 😈
We had Zone Conference ostracized of the day today. There was a guy from Salt Lake there that taught us and he answered questions about Facebook and it made it so I think I can handle it better. It’s much more clear now. I learned a lot of good things. I also was able to see Elder Nielsen for the first time since I was companions with him it was so awesome to  catch up with him and to just talk with him. It’s been way too long.
Tonight we went to the Book of Mormon class because **** was there. He is very knowledgeable and very funny. He said a lot of really good things in there. We talked about the vision of the tree of life. He makes really good connections to the scriptures and everything clicks really well in his head. He said he is going to keep going to the other ward though until the time changes. So we will have to work with that.
Crazy, crazy day. We had a lesson with ***** again. He is still making good progress. We had a lesson with ***** and ******. Surprisingly, ***** said she is still planning on getting baptized. She has backed out by this time every time by now in the past, but she is sticking to it. We are talking with **** and setting a date for her. She is very smart. We shared some scripture with her trying to resolve some of her concerns about not being ready. We explained more thoroughly the Gospel of Jesus Christ and about the Sacrament. It was awesome to see it all, click in her head. She is praying about whether or not to be baptized. Her friends are surprisingly supportive.
It started to rain as I’m going to bed. First rain of the season! I love it!
I’m tired. Bedtime!
I think that this week I realized how much I love the mission. I remember this one talk from years ago. I think it was in sacrament meeting, in Alabama. But whoever it was, said that when he was in high school, all he looked forward to was leaving the house and be on his own. He kept telling himself, ‘once that happens, then I’ll be happy’. Then when he was not under his parents roof, he looked forward to being married. ‘Once I get married, then I’ll be happy’ he would think. Then once he was married, he said the same thing about having kids, finishing college or getting that promotion. Whatever it was, he would say, ‘once I have that, then I’ll be happy’. Then at some point he realized what had happened. He needed to be happy where he was and find the joy at every point it time, because it will get better, but it will also not at the same time. You’ll still think the same thing.  I’ve remembered this talk throughout all my life. I have always tried to have the mindset of ‘I can be happy where I am. I don’t need to wait to be happy’. I did pretty well on that before the mission. But on my mission, it’s kinda hard not to think ‘once I get home, then I can be truly happy’. During zone conference especially, because of seeing all the missionaries I hadn’t seen for a while, I realized how much I really love the mission. I love so many people. So many missionaries that I love. So many members and investigators I love. And I realized that at this point, the thing I miss about home is the people. Then I realized, when I get home I’m going to miss the missionaries, members and investigators out here. Then at college I’ll miss everybody. But I’ll always have people to love. I’m happy out here. And I realized how much I’m going to miss it when I get home. I just looked at my watch and realized that I hit my 15 month mark today. 9 months left. That’s really scary. I love this and I’m going to make the most out of it.

We had a lesson with ********. She got there super late. She had a friend with her that had just gotten out of jail. We talked a bit about what missionaries do. They were all so amazed that we could do all of the things we can do. We also talked some about prophets. Again, the spirit guided us and we had them and her kids listen to the Restoration message. It was amazing. She was in tune to the Spirit. She had so many questions and we had 20 minutes to teach it. Each of he biggest questions were answered by the next point in the lesson. It was amazing. After we got out, Elder Niederhauser asked: “Was that scripted?” It was like someone had written out a MR. Brown lesson. We answered it all and she was so excited that the church is back and we have the priesthood and prophets. She was just so hungry for the truth. It was cool. We gave them all Book of Mormons. It was too much for them to take in so we will be going over it all again more thoroughly soon.

Our car will be in the shop for three days and we had to get my Elder Niederhauser a tube. So we got matching license plates.
Saturday: Man this week has been really busy. We were supposed to do weekly planning yesterday but we didn’t have time, we tried to do it today but we didn’t have time either. We only had time to contact 1 name this week. Besides that, lessons, checking in on people, service and random jobs in between. Today was a lot of service, filling reports and such out and also a ward harvest party. It was great. **** came either her daughter and grandkids. We teach **** and two of her grandkids and that 3rd ward sisters teach ******’s daughter and two of her kids. ***** and ***** are getting baptized together. So we see both families frequently.  We know both of them well and are very involved. They were all at the party and it was great.
Also, Elder Niederhauser’s trainer came back to the mission and came to the ward party. Elder Niederhauser really enjoyed it a lot. I’m glad he got to see him.
For my person scripture study, I am currently reading the Book of Mormon, them going through the lessons in PMG and finding which if those scriptures are best for using in lessons. I’ve been working on that for a while. It’s making it so I can get to the most useful scripture faster so I’ll use them more in lessons. And also lots of studying for Investigators.

I got y’all a letters by the way. Thank you! Elder Niederhauser enjoyed them too!

Halloween Pass Along Carding!
Love y’all!

Week 63 – Elder Jones

Fires, Friends and Facebook

Tuesday: Sorry, I forgot.
Wednesday:  So, we got Facebook today. Yay! We don’t start really actually using it until the 18th for proselytizing. But we are all going through and cleaning it up and adjusting as necessary. As I got on there, it felt like all my friends are getting married. I only knew of like one person that got married. And now I see how many people are actually married. That is weird. I also have seen several things that y’all have posted. I never realized how much everything back home has changed and how everyone has grown up. It cracked me up, Mom’s comments in my profile pictures. Yeah, you can still comment and do whatever you want. But if you want to contact me directly, email me please. Besides that, act normal. I’m still taking it all in.  I’m really confused right now with whether I’m still on a mission because it’s so different having access to Facebook. Give it a few days and I should be fine. I’ll get tired of getting distracted with what I have access to and ignore most of it. But now we can contact people a lot better.
We went to go get a broom for an investigator that needed one and we remembered that it was also her granddaughter s birthday. So we went and got her some gifts at the dollar tree.  I saw a cylindrical Rubix Cube. I bought it. Man it was hard. My mind couldn’t wrap around it at first. It was hard.  But after a half hour, I was able to solve it. It got easier after that and I could do it in about 5.  It is fun.
Cleaning out Facebook was horrible today. I had to go unfollow all the pages I’d liked so I don’t see notifications from them of see their stuff on my feed, but that means I had to go to my page, which means I had to see the last thing they posted. All the pages I liked were country music. And I saw a ton of the stuff that’s been going on, artists I’ve forgotten about. It was a little hard to unfollow them, but I did it. Wow, this is weird. Also going through all the pictures I have.  I miss a lot of people. People from EFYs, Alabama, Washington, Family, everyone else. Man it was a weird trip back in time. 
I am also very, very proud of all the people that are on missions right now. there are a lot. Way more than have gotten married. I’m so proud of them and it gives me a lot of motivation to know that I have so many friends that are preaching the Gospel alongside with me.
Besides all that, we had a good lesson with **** today. The only thing holding him back from baptism is that he has to work on Sunday. So we asked him to pray about whether or not he should fast about it to get Sunday’s off. So next week we should be setting up a day to fast with him. It went great!
Btw, I can see the Pursuing Happiness videos on your page now if you post them the way you have been.
Friday: It’s so weird to have our first names back. Oh Facebook. I also think it’s cool how missionaries are flooding the internet now.
Wow. It was such an amazing day. We did service in the morning for a member.   She also calls all the missionaries by their first names. Haha. Anyways,we had lunch there. Then we planned. Some of the sisters gave us pomegranates and so we ate those and planned. After that we went and contacted a little. Some weird stuff happened. Contacting is always interesting.  We are still listening to a lot of Christmas music. We had dinner out. Some guy was asking questions in the restaurant and we talked. He was a little intense but had some amazing questions and was really sincere. I gave him my Facebook name so he could contact me because he said he wanted to talk to me personally as a person, not just missionaries. 
Then we went to stop by *******.  She’s the one that had the insanely crazy lesson with. We went over and it was super awkward at first. We knocked and they looked through the blinds and the door never opened. Then her Daughter and her friend came up and let us in and said she wasn’t home. So we walked across the street to see some people and the daughter came and hunted us down and said she actually was home, she had just been in her room. So we went back over and as we were going back over, her son came home with two friends. So there were five kids there and they were going to have a sleep over and we made a little suggestion that they could listen to a little lesson. Surprisingly they ran and grabbed everyone and sat down.  We showed a video and they asked what the name of the video was so they could watch it again. Then we shared some scriptures and talked and answered questions. They wanted a test so we started quizzing them on the stuff they learned. They wanted another video to watch before we se them next.  We gave them one and will be back tomorrow with quiz. It was amazing. It went so well and they all listened and participated. We had been talking about being bolder earlier that day, so we applied it. Took a shot in the dark and with the help of the spirit, it worked.
The appointment wasn’t home tonight. But we will hopefully see them at church.
We had a ton of service today. We also biked to Biggs. The wind was insane. It was blowing us off of our bikes.  We had to go and it was only three miles away. But took us over a half hour to get there.  We visited someone, then started riding back.  My companion got flats in both tires, his handlebars got messed up as we pulled up, and his tire went uneven. We ended up biking back on semi-flat tires. About halfway back, the tire went completely flat and we were riding on the rims. We took turns. It was horrible, but a great adventure too.
Sunday: Don’t worry, the fires haven’t reached me yet. I can stay a little more in tune with the fires with Facebook. But I love that you are keeping me in the loop. Facebook of filled with so much clutter, it makes it hard to see the important stuff, so please let me know any updates. When you let me know about the Oroville fires I had just heard about them a few hours earlier. The next mission over, the Santa Rosa fire, is all burning. Like, the actual city is on fire. Also, Loma Rica, which is just below us is really, really on fire.  Oroville which is right above us is on fire. And when it starts raining, let’s hope the Oroville dam doesn’t break. It’s in our zone. It would reach here in just a few minutes.
I woke up with a ringing in my ear and it hasn’t gone away yet. It’s been horrible.
Monday: Ringing is still there. That’s not good.

Week 62 – Elder Jones

Gridley, Elder Jones and Elder Niederhauser

Good bye Elder Kerby. 😦
Tuesday: I have no idea where to start. This has been one of the craziest days on my mission. The transfer went well. A member took me all the way up to Gridley. He had a truck and so it was no problem. Said goodbye to eElder Kerby today. And bye to the Baldridges last night. They got me a Spider-Man sweatshirt. I love them. I got to Gridley and that’s when things got crazy. There are two Spanish elders that got evacuated from Puerto rico. One is named Elder Jones. I have no idea why they put two Elder Jones’ in one district. We ate some lunch all four of us because they have nothing. They had a few things in a small suitcase but lost most everything in the hurricanes. So we had them for a while. Then we handed them off and dropped my stuff off and went to a lesson. The lesson flaked and so we went contacting. Then we went to another lesson and it was great. I would give details but it’s late and I need sleep. Then dinner. Then we went to a lesson and it was one if the craziest lesson of my life. It was insane. I felt like I walked into a battlefield. Then, I had to get my name tag to the other Elder Jones because he lost his in the storm. Now I know why they put us in the same district. God definitely knows what he is doing.
Elder Niederhauser is cool. He reminds me of Ben Teams. He is from Logan, Utah. He just got done with a hard companion and so it looks like he wants to work hard. So that’s good.
We live in a house. It’s great. A big living room is what we use. We don’t really even use the three bedrooms in the house. A big kitchen. Individual bathrooms. Garage. It’s an old house but it’s good. So that’s great.
Anyways, I’m exhausted. Im going to sleep.
Wednesday: Well this was a super crazy day. Last night we stayed up till 1:00 I’m the morning talking. I replaced him when I went to auburn so we talked about the ward. This morning we went and updated the areabook. 2.0. It’s pretty cool…..except for the most important part: the calendar. You can’t tell what is going on and it’s super hard to do anything. So that sucks. Then we went contacting and such and met some people and had some lessons. We went to Oroville and got the car separated  because it has scratches from other missionaries. After dinner we had a lesson with an investigator. She has had previous baptismal dates but has gotten cold feet and cancelled. We put her on date for November 4th. She is super awesome. She has cool dreads. She has such an amazing personality. So I’m excited for her.
Oh also, I have WiFi again so things are better.
Thursday: MLC happened today.  It happens here in Gridley so we went to the lunch and saw everybody. It was awesome. Later we went and contacted and did studies. Saw some people. Had dinner with the APs and another set that served in this ward. We went on a cherry picker. It was fun. Then we met another family.
Friday: We had district meeting. I met the district. They are all amazing. There are twelve of us. It’s massive. It’s bigger than some zones. The people are amazing. There are some missionaries that I know from the past that are there. It’s such a cool district. Then we did weekly planning. It was really hard because of the new areabook, but we stuck through it. Then we rode our bikes around because we are trying to save miles. Contacted some people. Then we had some dinner and then met some less active kids. They were fun. Then met the Ward Mission Leader. Good day.
Saturday: Sorry but this will be a quick one. We spent most of the day doing service. Elder Niederhauser is awesome! I can tell that he was being held back by past companions and isn’t very good at standing up to companions. But with a companion that makes it easy to prepare and be good, he does great. We have had some good talks and he really has a good heart and a love for the gospel.
We listen to a lot of Christmas music.
Sunday: Very, very windy today (Thus all those wildfires in Northern California). Went to church. Half of the Ward wasn’t there because it’s harvest time (Cool!).  Two other wards were there because their building was having problems. So I was super confused. But the ward is awesome. In the last weeks it’s so cool to see how much I’ve learned about the ward and am confident in what I do know. We met lots of people and it’s great.
So I just remembered something. During district meeting, I looked around at everyone. There are 12 of us in the district. That’s an really big district. I looked around at everyone and an absolutely horrible truth dawned on me: I had been out longer than anyone in the room. I couldn’t handle it. It was a horrible, feeling to realize how much longer I’ve been out, because that means I’m closer to going home than almost anyone in the room (one of the sisters goes home before me and one if the elders goes home with me). I can’t be that far done with my mission. I’m trying not to think about it.

Zamples, Flip and Flop, SALT, Raining Bows, $400 Burgers, General Conference and Homecoming!!!!


Hadley making a beautiful looking, not so good tasting chocolate pie for our Preach My Gospel dessert.  She accidentally added a TABLESPOON OF SALT.  It was so funny!

Falling apart laughing while sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office.  For some reason the random people and situations got to me.  I couldn’t stop laughing.  Tessa filmed me, but I think I’ll pass on sharing that with you.  It felt good to laugh that hard, but I don’t advise anyone to do it at that location….

Crazy Fall schedule.  I think I live in the car.  Maybe we should just get a motor home, then I could make dinner while they are at practice.  😉

Dixon’s sayings:  “Right over there, Mom, there is a raining bow.”  “Mom, let’s go to Costco and get some zamples.”  Royce keeps trying to correct him, but I quickly stop him.  I can’t let him grow up…. 🙂

Dixon from the back of the car:  “Johnny at soccer, says that Werewolves are real!”  Me:  “Well, what do you think?”  DJ:  “His Dad says they are too, especially during Halloween!”  Hmmmmm…..  Then we saw this huge, super moon come up behind the beautiful mountains.  Dixon quickly said:  “See the big moon, well it looks like the werewolves will be out tonight.”

Nana and Boppa visiting Tess at work.  Tess got all flustered and charged them $400 for their food!  So funny!

Sleep sacrifice for Hadley’s hair things.  She doesn’t like how they look, but loves the curls.  🙂



Love for Kevin’s woodpile!  We look out each day and see the seasoning wood getting ready to heat our home for the winter.


Tess creating and framing her own list from Preach My Gospel.  Love our Tessa!

Orders coming in for our MintCreek store on Etsy.  We make and sell custom made pallet pictures.  It became a joke when each day a new order came in.  Previously, we were getting about one a week.  Kind of fun.

Fun game night with friends.   I’m so thankful for other fun people that can make me laugh.

Addisen’s 21st birthday!!!  Oh how we love our Addy!  I’m so thankful for who she is and that I get to live life with her in it.  I love watching her navigate her own path.  Love you my AJ!

Beautiful rain!  It poured for four days, but then the sun came back.  It feels like Autumn, which is my favorite.  Running in the crunchy leaves makes my heart smile!  One day last week, I finished my run along the river, then went down to the water.  It was so beautiful that I had to go get the kids at home and take them down to the river too.  It was a great recess for them. 😉

Royce:  “Mom, why are Flip Flops called Flip Flops?”  Me, having NEVER thought about this before said:  “Because they flip up, then flop down”.  Cool huh?  I bet you all have had deep thoughts about this topic before, right? 🙂

Dixon and Foxy sound asleep…..

Watching General Conference!  It was so wonderful to be together as a family and snuggle up to hear words from our Prophets.  I’m so thankful for the the time they take to teach us.  The sticky notes are quotes we all write out so we can play Conference Jeopardy later on.  🙂 We have fun texting our other kids during it too.  Next year Corbin will be part of the texting!!!  I’m so excited!

Sweet Family Home Evening.  We watched Elder Hale’s Life Videos.  It was so neat for the kids to see how young he used to be and what a great life he led.

Apples, apple juice, apple sauce!  Yummy!

Getting to attend Mica and Joe’s baby’s blessing.  It was precious and her sweet Avalie is perfect.  Warms my heart to see these once young women become amazing momma’s.  🙂

Royce receiving his Bear at Cub Scouts.  The kid LOVES Scouts and is constantly working on it.  It oozes out of him, so cute!  He kept saying to me “Get ready Mom, you’re about to go up there.”  🙂

Tessa as a cute CNA student.

Nana and Boppa coming to the kids soccer games and swim meets.  We’re so thankful for them.  We usually get a meal in with them too.  🙂 We met Nana at Kennedy School in Portland for dinner last week.  It’s such a cool place!

Vancouver Pumpkin patch with the Johansen’s!  We thought we’d seize the day while it was sunny.  The best part was hardly anyone was there, so we had the entire place practically to ourselves.  Great pumpkins, great prices, great friends.

Tess getting to sign the National Anthem with her ASL class (300 students) at the Homecoming football game.  So cool!  They even had fireworks right afterwards.  The boys LOVED having them go off right over our heads.

Tess going to the Homecoming dance with a great group of kids.  Her date was Nolan Purkenson.  They were all so cute!  The fabulous other Jones family made a five course meal and outdid themselves.  Tess loved the food and had a great time.  






Week 61 – Elder Jones

General Conference, Transfers and Stolen Bikes

Monday: So……..my bike got stolen. Story time!
We were going over to a members house to watch the Facebook training
videos and we were just going to sit outside of their house to use
their wifi. Then we remembered that they have security cameras that
set alarms off inside the house to let them know that people are in
their driveway or yard. We were going to go to the side of the house
behind their gate like we usually do but since it was super dark out
we didn’t want to scare them. So we were going to leave our bikes in
front of the gate and knock on their door and tell them they were
there and then grab our bikes and go to the side of the house behind
the gate. They said they we could just watch the videos inside but
first wanted to talk to us about some members. So we completely forgot
about our bikes. We went in and within 30 seconds we heard the
security alarm go off. We all froze and Sister Godfrey looked out the
door and saw someone. We went out and my bike was gone. It was really
dark but I saw his silhouette as he rode off. I almost started running
but then realized elder Kerby probably wouldn’t want to. Brother
Godfrey called the cops and then had me talk to the cops and he went
to chase the guy down. When I was done talking to the cops, I couldn’t
go anywhere because they said to stay there. For some reason I felt
super calm and not worried at all. So, we watched the videos on
Facebook and talked about how we can be better as a companionship. It
was a really good conversation and we resolved some things to make our
companionship better. Eventually brother Godfrey got back and he
couldn’t find the guy but said the cops were still looking. Elder
Kerby and i kept talking as brother Godfrey went though the security
cameras and found where it caught the guy in camera. He had a hat and
a backpack on but we couldn’t tell much else. It caught him taking the
bike though. Probably a homeless guy. There’s a lot here. So we ate
some ice cream and eventually a cop finally showed up and asked what
had happened. Then he told me he had my bike and looked at the camera
recordings and gave me my bike and asked for ID and got some info.
Nothing was stolen from my bike thankfully. It was a little dirty
because when the cop found him he ditched my bike and ran. They
haven’t found him as far as I know right now. Bunk got it back. So I’m
happy. Prayers work. The cop found the guys hat and backpack so they
are looking into it. I don’t care really, I got my bike back. No harm
done. So that was fun. Afterwards elder Kerby and I were saying we
should have yelled “Swiper no swiping!” That would have fixed

Tuesday: Not much happened today. We had a ton of lessons set up and
most cancelled. We did some service. We watched more training videos
and had great conversations. The coolest thing was after dinner we
went to a ward missionary’s house and just talked with him about how
we can affect people better. How we can improve our dealings with
investigators and members and show them that we care. He wasn’t
flowery about it. He was to the point and I loved it. He told us what
we do wrong and how to fix it a very smart man. I soaked it all in.
Coolest conversation in a long long time. There’s so much I need to

Wednesday: We had to go to Rocklin this morning for something for
Elder Kerby. We crashed a district meeting. I got to see elder Goodman
from Yuba City and that was nice. And I got to see a Sister Andersen
as I passed her in the hallway. I haven’t seen her since my first
area. It was cool to see those two. It was a fun adventure altogether.
This afternoon we had a lesson with ****. *****’s friend. I’ve
mentioned him before in past emails. We sat outside Starbucks and we
focused on getting to know him and what he believes. We didn’t have
much time but we answered some questions he had. He had some hard
questions that were very direct. The way he asked them was very cool,
focusing on what we personally believe on touchy subjects like
evolution and homosexuality. He’s very smart. We will see him again in
next week.

Thursday: Great day, we had service, meetings and cancelled lessons. We had members come to those lessons and neither happened. But
one of the members was super awesome and took everything the extra
mile and did things we can’t do because we are missionaries and he is
a member and he fulfilled his part. I’m super tired and need sleep so
I’m going to bed.

Friday: Mostly daily planning today. But we had another great lesson
with the *****s. We had the Bishop and his son come, who is their
age. They should be coming to mutual. And maybe church, next week. I’m
writing this in Saturday because I totally forgot.

Saturday: General Conference was amazing. It’s the conference that I’ve gotten the most out of. We watched it at the Baldridge’s. So awesome and I learned so much from all the amazing talks. I will probably send my
notes in it just for fun. Right now I feel horrible because we just
got a call from President Ward saying Elder Kerby will train. Which
means I’m leaving. And I don’t want to leave. So I’m not happy right

Sunday: Ok. Wow. I have quite a bit to catch up on. So, first, General
Conference. Now that I am done mourning, I can talk more about it. I
have never been much of a note taker but I made myself do it this
time. I’ll send the notes to you. Remember, I haven’t gone through the notes yet but I’ll do it anyways. But it was amazing. As
Sister Wall put it “All the talks were written just for me so they
couldn’t have been written for you”. So true. That’s how I feel. But
somehow they were that way for everyone that listened intently. I have
so much I want to say about it. This talks were amazing! I can’t
stress that enough. I have never gotten so much out of Conference and
that’s because I was listening intently and prepared. To sum up, the
themes of Conference were: Support your leaders, trust God, joy is a
choice and read the talk about the Book of Mormon from last conference
by President Monson’s. That talk was quoted by over 5 people. It’s
important. And even cooler, I have watched that talk and been showing
it to people lately. That was so cool to see how I was prepared. We
watched it all at the Baldridge’s and they are amazing. I love them so
much and will miss them a lot. But I could go on and on and on about
how amazing this conference was but I have to do some things. Next

I’m going to be going to Gridley. It’s just north of Yuba
City. There will be another Elder Jones in the district. We got a ton
of missionaries from different countries that have been demolished by
the hurricanes and he is one of them. So that’s cool. I’m going to be
with Elder Niederhouser (I think I butchered the spelling). I replaced
him here in Auburn.  I feel very good about it. There is supposed to be a lot of work in Gridley. It’s the first stake organized in California. Lost and lots
of members. A super small town. It’s going to be great. We have a
house, but I heard it’s been trashed by missionaries. I’ll get a car.
That’s fun. I think it’ll be like Yuba City but in a smaller town. It
pretty much is.  So I’m excited. I’m super sad that I am leaving though.
I said goodbye to the Walls and the Baldridges. We watched Conference
at the Baldridge’s and it took me over two hours to make myself tell
them that I was leaving. I love them so much. I was dreading telling
them. And dreading leaving them. Sister Baldridge and Abby are coming
to say goodbye to me tonight. That’s going to be really hard. Abby
reminds me of a quiet Hadley. I’m so sad. But I trust God that he
knows what he is doing.