Weeks 79 and 80 – Elder Jones (The second week is exciting!)

Week 79

The Book of Mormon, Wagner’s and Captain Jack Sparrow

Wednesday:

I looked at the weekly baptism report for the mission and Nan Shaw from Auburn got baptized! I didn’t think she was going to make it but she did! So happy for her. Wow.  Yesterday was just crazy because of transfers. We had to babysit Elder kite and make sure he cleaned his apartment. It was fun. We got to know his new companion, Elder Marsh. He is super cool.  He is the new district leader and the district meeting this morning was fun. There’s another one if the sisters that came in that I served with in Yuba City and that’s super cool. During district meeting we set a goal for how many Book of Mormon’s the district was going to give out this week. Elder Kelson and I loved this since we have been focusing on this lately. We set a goal for an average of 5 Book of Mormon’s to give out per companionship this week. Elder Kelson and I tend to give out all 5 today but only made it to 3. But that’s a lot for one day. We worked really hard and got 3 out and that’s a great start. So who knows how many we could have at the end of the week. It’s a tangible goal and I can do that.

Thursday:
We were able to give out another Book of Mormon. We had a pretty full day which is awesome. We had 4 appointments set up. We had a practice teach and that was great. Elder Kelson did amazing and I didn’t have any complaints. The next two appointments didn’t happen, but we were able to reschedule one for tomorrow. Then we had dinner and a lesson with ****. The lesson ended up being just all of us doing what we can to help him. We have to just wait until he is divorced so he can get baptized and it’s hard on him so we focused on just getting his spirituality up.
Friday:
We went to Mary’s in the morning. We were able to get a lot done even though it was just two of us.  We moved some pots around and cleaned up portions of her garden and replanted and repotted some plants. Successful service. We had to cram everything else in for the rest of the day. We had three lessons set up. None of them ended up happening though. ***** and ***** had to reschedule and our new investigator ***** wasn’t there. Then **** was asleep when we got there. But we were able to get the other stuff in, we weren’t going to have time for it all in the first place.
We had dinner with the Wagner’s again. Love them. We actually took the Spanish Elders with us. I always learn so much from the Wagner’s. He is such a wise man and always has something to say that I soak up. So cool.
Its weird. Y’all have no idea how it is for me out here. Those who have been on a mission know what it’s like, but they don’t know the people that I know. They don’t know my relationship with them out here. Nobody does except the missionaries that are serving with me and those people that are here. I wish that I could show you a glimpse inside. It’s so cool.
Saturday:
It was a great day today. We wrote up the progress record and went and tried some less actives. In the afternoon we got ahold of this former investigator and she was more receptive than she seemed before, which she already seemed pretty receptive, and we have a lesson set up for her on Tuesday. Super pumped about that. We got ahold of some other people we haven’t been able to get in contact with.
Our lesson with our new investigators from last week fell through. Bummer. We will find him.
We helped ******* move to Biggs, in our ward. So excited for her to be in our ward. ***** is ***** daughter, the one that got baptized. So they will be in our ward and we were able to get a lot of stuff moved up there. Had some great help from Brother Thompson.
Sunday:
For the last two weeks, the evenings have been in the 70’s and beautiful. Today and yesterday it dropped back to the 60’s. I’m not liking the cold being back.
We also have another Book of Mormon away. #6!  We still have till Wednesday to give out 5 more, so we are ahead of schedule.
Great day. Super busy. Cool quote from Sister Wagner’s sacrament talk that I need to apply to my life (her talk was one of the most amazing, sincere talks I’ve heard in my life), she quoted Capitan Jack Sparrow:  “The problem isn’t the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem.”  Man is that true.
Scripture of the week: 3 Nephi 11:39-41
39 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.
40 And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them.
41 Therefore, go forth unto this people, and declare the words which I have spoken, unto the ends of the earth.”
 
I liked this scripture a lot when I read it this week because Christ tells us what his doctrine is in some of the previous verses and if we understand this, and stick to it, then we can withstand all that is thrown at us by the world, by Satan, and anything else that may happen to us. Crazy hard things happen to us as missionaries, and to any normal person. So when we stick to the teachings of Christ, then we can not be overcome by all the bad, hard or impossible struggles that we have. Then, at the end, the apostles are told to declare it to the world. And that applies to us. Especially me as a missionary. But to all those who understand it. I know that when we do build our lives on Christ that we will be able to get through anything that comes up against us. No matter how big or small.

Week 80

Greenie Day, Cheez-Its and Lessons on Being Prepared

Tuesday:

What a great day! Today was greenie day, as in I pretended to be a greenie and Elder Kelson was the trainer. We did this mostly for the purpose of seeing how he did when he completely took over and so I could see what else I needed to teach him. He did great! He knows the area well and did a great job. It was a fantastic day. We met with **** and he is getting married! Not sure when yet but it’s official now. So Happy for him. He will come to the high priest dinner on Friday so that’s great.

We had a lesson with a guy named *** today. Last week we got a text that a lady in our ward’s daughter’s boyfriend wanted to be taught. We went over and he has no Christian background but went to church with his girlfriend a couple times and wants to learn more. Wow! We taught him and he just soaked it in. He is praying about it. It was hard to teach him because he is the second person I’ve ever taught that hasn’t had a religious background so it’s from ground 0 and I don’t know how to teach that very well.

We had many other miracles today as well. Got Book of Mormon number 8 passed out. Wow. That’s a lot.

Even better, to top it off, tonight we went to ***’s.  We have just been giving small lessons and stuff and waiting for her to bring up baptism on her own. Tonight she did! She asked about **** and when he was getting baptized. Then she asked how setting a date worked and eventually after a few more questions she finally said that she wanted to get baptized before I leave. So we are going to meet on Saturday and talk about it further. We are not going to push at all and just let her take steps on her own because that was a problem last time. So she knows that she set it up and wants it for herself. I’m excited. What a great day.

Wednesday:

So this morning I looked Dad up on Facebook as I periodically do to see if you have made another one of those Pursuing Happiness videos. Because they’re too big to send, I just check to see if you posted it. And you had! I watched it. I loved it! Dixon is not that old. That’s got to be Royce. He can’t talk that well! I can tell that a lot has changed since I’ve been gone. Just a lot of little things. Man, I wish I had realized how awesome my family was before I left. Y’all seem like y’all have a lot of fun. And the video doesn’t even show all the little things about being in our family. I’m really excited to see y’all again! Love y’all!

“I learned something about sin today. I tried drowning my sorrows by eating Cheez-Its, and it just made it worse. Like drinking. It doesn’t work.”-Elder Kelson

Besides all that, today was great. District meeting was great as usual. Love seeing all the other missionaries.

After that, we headed (I hope that’s a real word) off to our lesson with ***. It went great. We taught the Plan of Salvation. He took it all in well. We taught simply. Very simply. He read the pamphlet we left him about the lesson we taught yesterday and he had written down a list of questions, which we answered before we taught the lesson. They were amazing questions. Afterwards, we asked about how he was doing with the Book of Mormon and  he said while reading it it hit him how God has been very present in his life and he never realized it! Wow! Oh yeah, and during the lesson we challenged him to baptism and he accepted. We didn’t pick a date because we didn’t think we would be challenging him to it. We asked him if he got and answer that the church and Gospel is true if he would be baptized and he responded immediately that he would. So amazing!

Sadly, we have to turn him over to the sisters because he is YSA age. But that’s ok. As long as he progresses. Then we had our next two lessons cancel on us. That was kind of a downer. I think that’s what put Elder Kelson into his binge eating the Cheez-its. He was struggling for no particular reason. Probably our cancelled lessons and that we have to give up ***. But then as we started studies, the Spanish Elders walked in to our house for something as they do a lot, and they said that they just had something cool happen.

They decided to knock on the door across the street from us. Their plans fell through and Elder Marsh said he saw a Mexican in the steps one time. So they knocked at the house and the guy answered. He said that for the past year or more of missionaries living where we live, he has been waiting for us to knock on his door but we never have. He was super happy to see them and has been deciding what church to go to but doesn’t know. They gave him a Book of Mormon and he said he would read it with his kids every night. He has just been waiting for us the whole time. His wife and kids don’t speak Spanish so they want to be taught in English. So that’s us! Apparently he has observed us over the past year and likes us and is excited to meet with us. Let’s just say that turned Elder Kelson’s day around.

Thursday:

Great day again with more miracles. We got ahold of a less active and she’s fine with us practice teaching her. All of our lessons cancelled on us of course except for one practice teach. But we were able to fill our time because the *******’s needed help with moving furniture and it turned into us helping them with a lot of stuff they couldn’t do. So that was great. We parked on the side of the road on the very edge of our area to put in stuff in our area book and as I did, I got a small thought that we should knock the door. Now, I’ve been really bad about following spiritual promptings. I’m starting to get actual promptings from the Holy Ghost, which I never really have gotten promptings like this before, but I’m starting to get actual, clear promptings. But I always seem to convince myself that it’s just my mind making up things. Then afterwards I realize it’s the spirit. This time, it was very subtle and I almost didn’t but I decided to anyways, even though tracting at night sucks. But we knocked the door and said we are missionaries and the lady said “Can you come back during the day, it would be a lot better then.” 🤔 Yeah, we can.

But the best part, I called Elder Niederhauser a few nights ago to tell him the good news about **** and ***, but he didn’t answer. He called back this morning and I told him and he was really happy. But then he said he had good news for me. ***, our investigator from Citrus Heights is going to get married tomorrow! Apparently after getting Sister ***** got over there (which we started up when I was there) she has been able to work her magic  ***** is going with it! This means that *** can be baptized! Amazing! I hope all goes well tomorrow. I really do. That will make me so happy.

Friday:

So I learned a lesson about being prepared last night. It’s 2:45 in the morning. I’m sound asleep and I’m suddenly awaken by Elder Kelson yelling in his bed. The yelling ends up turning in to short spurts of yells, almost hyperventilating yells. That slowly turns into him, in Rhythm with the short yells, yelling “I should have be been more prepared! Elder Jones, save me!” At which his arm flopped around. I calmly but forcefully said “Elder Kelson, we are not in a teaching appointment. We are in bed asleep.” “What?” he responded. I calmly replied; “We are not in a lesson. We are in our beds sleeping.” There was a pause. Then he spoke. “That makes a lot more sense.” Another long pause of about 20 seconds. Then he let out a painful groan which, being interpreted meant “I just did something dumb, didn’t I?” We didn’t talk about it till the next morning. He remembered almost nothing. Only something about it teaching and that he did something dumb.

So I’m really tired because I went into two houses with cats tonight and they got me reacting. I took a benedryl  and that’s helping but they make me sleepy. But we had lots of planning and Mary’s and a good lesson with ****** and *****.  We also got ahold of some less actives that we have been trying for a while.

Saturday:

We did service for 6 bourse. That was fun. We didn’t end up with time to do most of our studies but we were busy. We got the progress report done. We met with ****** tonight and she is on date for the 17th of March! So excited for her. Pray for her please. I’m sure things will come up, but with God, we can get through them. She is initiating it so it’s all her.

Sunday:

We had lots of studies, had an investigator drop us because she is an atheist, and people not show up for their appointment. Typical day. Church was awesome though. *** and the kids came. *** came. **** came. All great.

Scripture of the week: Malachi 3:10

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

I love this scripture because it applies to more than just tithing. The Lord said to prove him if he will not give you the blessings. That means to test it. Not only just test it. He basically says “Go ahead and try and prove me wrong.” You won’t. You can’t. With any commandment there are blessings attached. We can try and prove him wrong that the blessings won’t come but they will. It’s a really amazing affirmation that blessing come from keeping the commandments. Whenever I keep a commandment I get blessings. I have way more blessings than I deserve. Yea there are things in life that suck. But think of all the amazing things that I do have. I have no reason not to be happy!

 

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KJ’s Turn 46! Skin-ny, Dis-Cover, Braces, Ax vs. Foot, Christmas and Great Movies!

Two months again!!!  My lack of writing starts building up and then it just goes on and on.  It think I’ll blame it on the holidays and birthdays….  Here’s to resuming my once a week blog…..  😉 

THINGS THAT DIDN’T WORK:

Having an ah-ha moment about words.  I’m sure you already know these things, but I’m still learning everyday about things that are obvious.  The word “Skinny” has skin in it.  Duh!  It all has to do with the skin (and maybe what’s under it, or not…)  🙂 Royce came up with “Discover” today.  Taking the “cover” off of something and seeing what it is…..  Obviously, we are making up our own way to define things in our house.

Kevin getting braces!  Not only that, his overbite was so bad that they had to put a thing behind his front teeth.  This causes his back teeth to not meet anymore.  That means he can’t chew anything!  Yes, he has lost weight (while I gained weight).  It also caused him to have a huge lisp, making it really hard to deliver his workshops each week.  He has done a good job overcoming it and you can hardly tell anymore.  It was a horrible first month though.  He literally had blood drooling out of his mouth after some of the workshops.  😦 Kevin is my hero for figuring out a way to make braces happen, despite the inconvenience.  He’s always wanted straight bottom teeth.  I’m so amazed at his tenaciousness.

Having the missionaries over for dinner.  One of the missionaries was new.  Our family proceeded to have our wild and crazy dinner.  I apologized for to them (not that I am totally innocent) and the seasoned missionary said to the new missionary “This happens every time we come.”  He said he loved it, but still…. Do we really have to leave our mark on everything?

A month of retraining OUR TEENAGERS on their behavior while they sit on the pew at church.  You think you’re done with craziness in church after your littles grow up.  Not with the Jones family!  We were all laughing so hard that Kevin finally looked down the pew and yelled (in a whisper) “OUR FAMILY SUCKS AT BEING REVERENT!”  Of course, that made all of us laugh even harder.  We’ve been doing much better the last few weeks. 😉

Royce chopping his foot open with an ax!  All I have to say is “Boots, Kevin, boots!”  Kevin and Royce love to chop wood together.  Somehow the boots didn’t make it on this time and the ax swung past the log…..  That was a fun one to explain to the Urgent Care people during school hours.  Kevin had to jump on a plane, so I got to do the honors.  By the time we left, the nurses were showering Royce with presents and couldn’t wait for us to come back, figuring we would probably be regulars.  So cute! Royce is cute, not the foot…. 😉 

Royce: “Not that I’d ever get a tattoo, but if I did, I’d get an ax tattooed on my foot where the scar is.” 🙂

Washer and dryer breaking at the same time during Christmas Break!  I spent some time at the laundry mat, which is a pain, but I can get a weeks worth of laundry done in two hours.  AMAZING!  I need some industrial size units at my house!  I’m truly thankful for washers and dryers.

Having a great, bad experience that solidified how I want to spend my time.  The older I get the more I keep learning about myself.  With Heavenly Father’s help I hope I can live the life He wants me to, one that feels right for me.

President Thomas S. Monson passing away (Prophet of the Church of Latter Day Saints).  It was sad, but happy.  We’re so glad he is with his sweet wife, but sad to lose him.

Little boys being ornery!  Thankfully, Kevin arrived home at the end of the week and reset them.  I’m so thankful for a wonderful husband and father!  Not to mention how much Kevin makes me laugh all weekend.  Fathers are so important.  I’m in awe of single mother’s who do such an amazing job.

Kevin is training a guy for work and one of the finacial advisors described the other guy as a Rated-R version of Kevin.  Ha!  So funny!

Hadley coming five minutes late to dinner because she just couldn’t tear herself away from “The Greatest Showman” music.  I told her she needed a punishment, so the kids started coming up with some.  It was hysterical how creative and harsh they were.  Hadley was thankful I only gave her an hour of  yard work.

Dixon:  “How about when we retell stories about when someone says a bad word, we don’t say the real bad word.”  We were cracking up because the previous day, Dixon had said some pretty bad things himself.  So funny!

Merritt getting migraines.  Most of our kids go through a teenage phase of getting migraines as their hormones kick in (I had this as a teenager too).  Merritt is pretty stoic, hardly ever cries, etc.  I told her, jokingly, that if she let her emotions out more, maybe she wouldn’t get the migraines anymore.  Emotional Therapy.  So we’re doing the opposite of what most teenage parents do, we’re trying to have her have MORE emotions.  JK, it’s now a great joke in the house when she tries to fake cry or feel more than she really does.  Merritt is awesome!

Merritt in control of the music in the car and picking all sad songs to make me cry.  Maybe this has something to do with the aforementioned paragraph…. 😉 She accomplished her mission!  I was all sad about people dying or growing up by the time I got home.

Dixon asking all day if he could pack for Great Wolf Lodge (actually he was asking for the previous 4 days, but I said no).  I needed to finish the laundry, so I finally had to pull the “You won’t get to go, if you keep asking” line.  The next thing I know he’s folding his own laundry and soon trying to reword the question concerning whether he can pack it in his suitcase… “It’s not time to pack yet….” Without the question part.  Ha!  Now I know he can fold his own laundry and pack for trips.  😉

Trying on swimsuits for Great Wolf Lodge and Merritt outgrowing the one that fit last October!  She is getting so tall!

They’re taking over….. 🙂

THINGS THAT WORKED:

The wonderful Dansie’s dropping off “The Little Lamb From Bethlehem” book and stuffed animal.  We used the calendar to help us do different services throughout the month.  We loved it!  Thank you Dansie’s!!  #LIGHTheWORLD

Amazing meteor shower!  The kids froze outside but had so much fun.  I could hear them scream every time meteor would fill the night sky.  Warmed my heart!

Dixon:  “I saw the Tiny Dipper last night.”

Going to Star Wars with Hadley and Merritt!  It was so fun to watch together.  I think I actually had a spiritual experience at the end…. 😉 

Yummy Christmas cookie exchange!

Hadley finally getting her ears pierced!  She was a little scared, but she was brave.  The two ladies attacked her ears at the same time.  That was great!  My last girl to get her ears pierced.  😦 

Picking up Bryson from the airport for Christmas!  Dihana arrived the day before.  The drive home was full of jokes and reminiscing.  I was laughing so hard.  LOVE MY BRYSON!

Fun Young Women Christmas Party.  I’m so thankful for all the effort the leaders and girls put into the program.  Also, a fun Stake Father/Daughter Luau.  The girls had a blast with Kevin!  🙂 

Christmas Brunch with Nana!  It was at the Gracie’s in downtown Portland.  The food was divine and we loved our special time with Nana.

Christmas, Christmas, Christmas!  We had a wonderful Christmas Season full of traditions and a Skype call from Elder Jones!  We had snow, service through picking up trash on the side of the road, Temple Visitors Center Concerts by the Bennion Family and lots of laughter.  We loved having Bryson’s girlfriend Dihana with us too!  I love our little family with all that I am.

It was a great competition for ugliest outfit to pick up trash.

24th Wedding Anniversary for Kevin and I!  We’re pretty excited about our 25th year and plan to celebrate!  So thankful to get 25 years with my wonderful Indy! 

Getting eight huge sub sandwiches for a Regional YSA Harry Potter Yule Ball.   

Spontaneously meeting up downtown with the McEntee’s.  The kids got to visit while Kevin and I laughed and laughed with Celeste and Dylan.  We’ve been friends from the beginning of marriage and had all our kids together.  We’re just so thankful for true, genuine people like the McEntee’s.

Going to “The Greatest Showman”!  Oh how we all loved this movie!  The soundtrack is now playing constantly and Hadley has all the dance moves down.  So fun!

Cleaning up the garage and yard on a  beautiful Saturday afternoon.  The next thing I knew, Dixon had found the horseshoes, hammered the posts in and started playing.  I joined him and had so much fun. We also ran down to the Columbia River to enjoy the sun. 

Randomly ending up on the temple sessions with our past wards.  It was so wonderful to get to visit with people we haven’t seen in years.  The weird part was it kept happening, not just once, but time and time again.  Love it!

Tessa’s fun ASL performance!  Love the song and my Tess!

This is called the flying selfie…. 😉 . We love eating at Kennedy School.

Two birthday dinners with my Mom and Dad.  I’m so thankful to have them close and get to be with them.  This year I wasn’t feeling old, just so thankful to get to live another year.  Life is amazing with all it’s ups and downs.  I was trying to think of what I wanted to do on my birthday and realized I get to do that everyday.  Sleeping in, reading, driving along the beautiful Washougal River, eating yummy things, laughing with my family and friends.  I’m just so thankful for it all.  Thanks to all of you that sent the sweetest messages.  It truly warms my heart.

Royce’s basketball games!  Oh how we love to watch him zip all over the court.

As much as I love the few sunny days we get in the Winter, I LOVE THE RAIN!  I seriously can’t get enough of it in the Winter.  I love the wind and the storms.  Of course, I still love when it ends, but while I’m in this season, I really love it.

Happy lunches or phone calls with wonderful friends.  I’m so thankful to get to slip out and meet up with old and new friends.  It truly fills me up.  🙂

Getting to go to the new Paddington 2 movie with the kids and Nana.  I didn’t think I’d really like it, but I LOVED IT!  It was so cute, witty and sweet.

Church quote:  FEMA stands for “FIND EVERY MORMON AVAILABLE”  Ha, I thought that was so funny.

Randomly watching our first four kids birth movies.  Oh my goodness, we were so young!  Our littles were hilarious with their squeaky voices.  I CAN’T BELIEVE I DID THAT EIGHT TIMES!  I think it’s just hitting me.  I’m so thankful I got to, but wow!  I wouldn’t trade anything in the world for my eight babies and the life I get to live with them.  It’s extremely special to see what we were like and have the memories come back.

Bonneville Dam field trip.  It was a beautiful day for a drive up the Columbia River Gorge with the awesome Johansen’s.  We loved our private tour (major perk for home schoolers) and learned so many fascinating things.  Then we hit Thunder Island and had some outdoor fun.

Beth Collins visiting from Alabama!  It was so great to visit with her and soak up her wonderfulness. 🙂  We also got to meet up with the Rodarte’s from Alabama over Christmas Break!  So great to feel the love.  

Reading the book “Villette” by Charlotte Bronte (I haven’t finished it yet).  How did I not know this book existed?  I love Jane Eyre and I think this is just as creative with beautiful language.  Oh, that I could ever write as Charlotte Bronte does.  It’s obviously not my talent, but I can read it and soak it up. She describes how we have such a intimate relationship with God, but when we meet regular people “It is on the surface only common gaze will fall”.  It’s not anyone’s fault but we have relationships that have to be like that.  I’ve found I really love it when encounters don’t have to stay shallow and we can get real, but most important is our relationship with Heavenly Father.  It’s always real, consistent and loving.

 

Week 78 – Elder Jones

Car Fix, Second To Last Door and Deleted Email(Sorry,😬)

Well, on Saturday night my entire e-mail got deleted. So this one will be short.

Exchanges with Elder Stevens were great. Lots of fun. Did some cool
Spanish stuff.
Got to see Elder Duseigneur yesterday. He goes home on Tuesday and we
realized our path were going to cross. He got to meet his grandson and
my son got to meet his grandpa. It was great to say goodbye because we
thought we already had two transfers ago. 

Super tall Elder Clark! He’s on his way home this week (oddly enough his sister lived in Farmington Ward with us). So cool!

Saturday:

We picked the longest street (after we had prayed about it)
and said we weren’t going to stop until we found a new investigator.
We tracted and got nothing until the last chunk where it got to the
rich housing. People there already have their minds made up about
religion so I considered skipping it but then I decided not to because
that’s the street the spirit said to tract and we needed to finish it.
We had faith and pressed forward. On the second to last house, a guy
opened the door and he was open to us! We gave him a pamphlet and set up a time.  He asked how much the Book of Mormon is and we gave
him one because they are free. What a miracle.

Sunday:

Transfer boards came in. Elder Robbins is in the zone again.  I’m so
glad to be around him again. Well, sort of serve around him. He is in
the other district. A few people are leaving and some missionaries I
know are coming in.
We had a transfer devotional tonight. Talked about first impressions people make. It was great.

Happy birthday Dad! I don’t really remember how old you are but that’s ok!
I also realized that I missed your birthday Mom. So happy birthday to you too!

Moroni 8:16 “Behold, I speak with boldness, having authority from God;
and I fear not what man can do; for perfect love casteth out all
fear.”

I love this because my whole mission has been so centered on love. It
makes it so I can push through the scary and the hard stuff, all my
fears disappear because I love people. I taught the 16-17 year olds in
church yesterday and eventually shared this scripture with them and
challenged them to include at least one genuine compliment for the person
they’re talking to in every conversation they have. I know that it can
change people lives, so I challenge you to do the same. Christ loves
us, so let’s love others.

Luva!

Elder Kelson and Stevens

Week 77 – Elder Jones

Practice Teaching, Vomit and Trains

Tuesday:
We have been doing well on miles this month. Really well. So we were able to go out into the country (we needed to anyways, and everywhere is the country anyways, but further) and we also had dinner out there. So I enjoyed that. We stopped by some members this morning because we were tracting and they saw us and told us to come over for a drink so they made us hot chocolate (I was freezing to death btw, it was like 50 degrees and a wet kind of cold. I’m sure I sound like a wimp but I’ve gotten adjusted. I’m going to die when I get home). We got to know them better, because we haven’t been able to do that very well. We set up practice teaches with them which is great. We also practice taught the ****** tonight after dinner. They are the ones that asked about recipes for Christmas dinner. They rock. Love them. We practice taught last night too. So that’s yesterday.
Today and Thursday we get to practice teach.  So good. With these, Elder Kelson and I evaluate and even though he doesn’t like getting corrected and I hate correcting him, it has to happen. But he learns really fast from his mistakes. Man was it a lot better tonight. He learns so fast. We had a good discussion about correction and training tonight. We both understand that I have to correct as a trainer and he has to listen. It sucks for him especially but I don’t like it either because I remember how much I hated it and how miserable I felt after and before and during correction from my trainer. It was the hardest thing about being trained. Elder Kelson is a good sport about it though. Man, what a good trainee. How lucky I am.
Wednesday:
Zone Conference today. It was actually a really good Zone Conference. One of the things we talked about was etiquette and manners and because I have the most amazing mother ever who raised me right, I knew all the answers. Like not eating until the hostess eats. President and Sister Ward were impressed with that one. Hehe. But yeah, I learned a lot from the Zone Conference altogether. There is a new thing that will be implemented in our mission that is about reactivating less active Melchizedek priesthood holders and being bold with them with the spirit. It’s kinda cool but not sure about how the whole process goes yet. We will start with it in the next few weeks in our zone.
Now for the bad part. We talked with President Paulson and President Ward and apparently ***** has to get permission from his wife to be baptized. She’s against the church.  I am not sure what to do now. But we will probably fast and pray with him. It really sucks. But, for some reason I feel really peaceful about it, like it’ll be ok and I don’t need to worry about it. I have faith that it will work out. Whether we just have to wait or that we all fast and pray and he is inspired with how to get that from her. I don’t know. It’ll be ok though.
Thursday:
I think it was a good day. Super busy. We had district meeting in the morning. We gave Sister Wilson a blessing afterwards and that held us over a bit. Then we did some studies. Then we went to a practice lesson. That was an awesome practice lesson. We had them pretend they were investigators and they asked hard questions. It was very good for Elder Kelson. The evaluation afterwards that we did must have sucked for him. I hate having to call him out for what he doesn’t do right. But I have to. Then we did studies, then off to dinner. Our lesson with ***** didn’t happen because he hardly got any sleep and couldn’t drive safely. So we met with our ward mission leader, Brother Dewsnup and went over a ton of names and made a list to work on bigger. Oh man, I love having names to go off of. But it was a great day. Very busy, the best.
Friday:
It’s always wonderful to help **** out. Love her. That’s what we did in the morning. We helped take her bed apart and put it back together the right way. Weekly planning after. It was Elder Kelson day to plan and he is learning to make sure we are doing the best thing at the right times. It was hard for me not to tell him what would be great to do because he struggled to find stuff to do, and figured it out when it was too late. But it’s for the best. He’s learning. Got ahold of **** and set up regular days to see them again.
We had to pick some materials up at the sister’s house tonight and they told us that I think today that when they were knocking a door, Sister Thornhill just threw up on their doormat mid-sentence.  It’s probably not funny to you but it’s really funny to me how it happened. She wasn’t even sick. I’m just mentioning it because it was so funny and this is kinda my journal and I want to look back in a few years and be able to remember that that happened.
Saturday:
We contacted a lot today. And a lot more people were welcome to us coming back than normal. Percentage wise it was probably the same. But since we did a lot, there is more to go off of. So we were really busy and worked really hard all day. We drove a lot. My eyes hurt from all the driving.
It was such a beautiful sunshiny day that on the way back from the middle of nowhere we decided to take pictures on the train tracks with the sun shining and the Sutter Buttes in the background because it was so perfect. Because we didn’t want to have farm equipment in the picture, we had to walk a few hundred yards along the tracks. As we were we heard a noise off in the distance. I looked up, saw a single headlight and immediately took off running in the opposite direction. There was a train coming at us. Both sides of the track were muddy marsh and not enough room to just stay in the rocky slope of the railroad tracks because those trains go fast. So we are running along the side of these tracks, on a slope, the ground is Rubixs cube size rocks so we are also slipping and we have to beat the train back to our car or jump in the marsh. Luckily, we made it back in plenty of time so be safe, and even had time to get in the car and wait about 20 seconds. Man, I was scared. But I’m safe. We noticed it while it was still a ways off.
Sunday:
Busy today. Yeah, it was cool to be watching the same broadcast as y’all. Man, there were some cool stories. Especially since I lived through some of those fires, it was cool.
We had to tell ***** that he can’t be baptized yet today. He hid it pretty well on the surface and put on a good game face, but I could tell that he was really disappointed and angry. Man, I have probably never stressed so much about an investigator. Maybe, but man, I’m praying hard and I don’t see a solution yet.
Super proud of Elder Kelson. We were tracting and we saw a family we know had recently moved in because the house was empty for a long time before they came in. They were all out in their yard and I’m the street and so I told Elder Kelson we should talk to them. He said yeah and was set on giving them the Book of Mormon. So we went over and talked to them and Elder Kelson got nervous and said goodbye without sharing the gospel or the Book of Mormon. As we were walking off I asked him why and he said he got nervous and it got a little awkward and he chickened out. I kinda made him feel a little bad about it by just leaving him hanging there to think about it. After that, we went home and started some studies and on his own (yes, it worked), he said, “I want to go back and give him the Book of Mormon.” Yeah! So he wrote our number and highlighted and bookmarked a scripture and we went back and he was prepared with what to say. The guys Mom answered the door and it confused him because he didn’t expect that but he bore a really awkward testimony that was so sincere. After we left, he kept beating himself up over it. I couldn’t be more proud of him. That was a hard thing to do. And I felt the spirit. It was personal. It was his own words. Man, he is awesome.
I love all the wonderful stories I’ve been getting from y’all. I’m putting it together and probably will do something with them. Man, I love all these spiritual experiences. Especially the chainsaw with the accompanying metaphor. I’m going to have to think about that one a lot more.
Scripture of the week:
Maybe it’s more like modern day scripture but it’s the best thing I saw all week. It’s from the October 89 Conference by Richard G. Scott called “Learning to recognize answered to prayers”.  Amazing talk.  I’ve read it a lot but I reread it a few times this week because I love it.
My favorite quote:
“When He answers yes, it is to give us confidence.
When He answers no, it is to prevent error.
When He withholds an answer, it is to have us grow through faith in Him, obedience to His commandments, and a willingness to act on truth. We are expected to assume accountability by acting on a decision that is consistent with His teachings without prior confirmation. We are not to sit passively waiting or to murmur because the Lord has not spoken. We are to act.”
 
And is that ever true. We have been given the light of Christ and judgment. Let’s use it. My answers are more often than not a withholding of an answer. So if you don’t get an answer, do something. If you take a step in the wrong direction, he will stop you. But we need to act. Faith is a principle of action. So act.
Luva!

Week 77 – Elder Jones

P-Day, Mike and Mud

 

Tuesday:
Yesterday we go to have a normal p-day. It was such a relief. We played a lot of board games and other games and it was such a blast.
Today was a little different. I had Elder Kelson take on a lot more responsibility today and lead the entire day. We will be doing this every other day for the rest of our time together. He did a pretty good job. He had some great ideas. We found another person that was ok with us coming back. We are setting up more practice teaches. We are getting more solid stuff with ******. That’s a lot of what happened today.
Thursday:
We got stuck in the mud on the side of the road today. What was cool was that earlier today we stopped by someone that was on the side of the road and we couldn’t help her but we tried. When we were stuck the same thing happened. A guy stopped right away and he tried helping but he couldn’t get us out. The rope snapped. So we called some members to bail us out and after 45 minutes since we first got stuck, we were out. It was really easy, just too hard for he Corolla by itself. The cool part was that it was kinda like the golden rule Jesus taught. We tried helping someone in the morning and when we were stuck, someone tried helping us.
We had a lesson with **** and went over the baptismal interview questions. One of them he wasn’t sure about, but is praying for an answer. It’s Joseph Smith being a prophet. But he is smart enough to figure it out. The last question kinda scared him though. It talks about are you ready to accept the commitment of being a member and stuff. He is praying hard. But he did get down to no coffee today. This was his first day without it.
Friday:
We did Weekly Planning. Elder Kelson lead it and he did a great job. We were busy and ended up having some car troubles and I got some of those fixed.
We had a lesson with **** and it’s so good to be able to meet with him again. We are getting him back on track and also invited him to church. It’ll be hard for him because it’s in the middle of his sleeping time and he is so tired.
Saturday:
We had to go way out into the country to contact some people and that was fun. One of them said we could come back. We also helped a less active lady move and she has been not friendly with the church but she let some ward members help her move and it went fast afterwards, she told us at least twice to come and visit her. That was a miracle.
We finally made it to the Reamer’s for dinner. They invited the ward mission leader and his wife. That was fun. She had Mormon music playing in the background and that blessings song came in. The one that Mom always listens to on Pandora and I would go and skip it if  nobody was around because I got tired of it. But I heard it and I loved it because all I remember is Mom singing to it and loving it so much that it made me happy. Love you!
Sunday: Oh yeah, I forgot to say this for yesterday but yesterday I hit my year and a half mark. That’s super scary. Aahhh! I don’t even know what more to say about that. It’s weird.
**** still hasn’t had any coffee. He’s doing great. It’s hard but starting to get better.
Cats. Oh cats. Yeah it’s a challenge (This in reference to my allergic reaction last week at someone’s home, we both have the same thing that happens). The Lord has protected me a lot more than I thought. We go into a lot of houses with cats and hair everywhere. I just try not to touch anything, wash my hands a lot and sit on the edge of my seat. I still break out sometimes, so I take a Benedryl and shower. It’s really hard but I’ve been blessed a lot to not have to deal with it much. It still happens a few times a month but I’m mostly good.
Scripture of the week (I’m going to try and make this a thing): D&C 6:23-24
Sometimes we already have the answer and so the answer to our current question is: “I’ve already told you it’ll be alright. Trust me.” Trust God. Don’t just believe in him, believe him. Man will you be blessed. I am filled with love.
I think it goes really well with how I knew the gospel was true. When I was searching for my solid answer about the gospel, eventually, after pleading with God for an answer for a while, with a lot of sincerity, the answer I got was that I already knew the Gospel was true.  I can testify with confidence to all that I meet, looking them dead in the eye and telling them the truth, that this is Christ’s church and that he lives.
 I am loving all these scriptures and quotes I’ve gotten from you too. It’s been really up lifting. I’ve been struggling to do all the right things as a trainer and I can’t seem to do it all right or get there. Church yesterday gave me revelation and personal studies had put me in the right path that I just need to focus even more on the work and on the Gospel. I get distracted easily, and I need to focus more.
I want everyone in the family to send me their favorites scripture, why it’s their favorite, and bear testimony of it. Can y’all do that?
Luva!

Week 76 – Elder Jones

Many exchanges, Pete and P-Day

Tuesday:

Exchanges. It’s weird having my son leave for a couple days. They will come back tomorrow even though we exchanged last night. We saw a million miracles. We contacted a less active and he said he didn’t have time for us after we left and we’re doing something else, he texted us and wanted to take us out to lunch and he did.  We talked to him about the gospel and about him. It was a cool miracle. We had a lesson with a potential investigator and she isn’t really interested but said she would read from the Book of Mormon. Then later, while tracting we taught a quick doorstep lesson and that was great. He didn’t want to set up a time but that’s ok.

This is what happens if you park for district meeting first. We call it getting “boxed in”. This is why you don’t come first.
Then we tracted another door and a Calvinist named *** answered and we talked and he let us share a message and after talking for awhile he had some questions like polygamy and stuff. We did our best with those and he was really understanding and interested. He is super busy getting the carpet redone and getting surgery right now, but we set up a time in a month. What miracles.
Then we helped a less active named ****** prepare for a lesson on Sunday. Surprisingly, him he took it seriously and did his best. I’ve never seen him so serious about anything. He’s always messing around. I think the Gospel is changing him, wow.
So yes, it was a day of miracles.
Also, tonight we found the study journal of the Princess of Samoa. Sister Puletua. That’s cool.
Friday:
Sorry I haven’t written for a few days. Been so tired when I got home. So, the cool stuff that happened was that we went on exchanges and I was with Elder Kite and that was a blast. We got some people that said we could come back.  After Book of Mormon class we stayed a little with **** and he has a question that he has been worrying about and it’s why he hasn’t been re-baptized. As we started explaining it again it clicked and he understood. What a miracle. Then last night we had a lesson with him and finished all the stuff he has to be taught to be baptized. He was supposed to drop to 8 ounces of coffee by today. But he dropped to 4! My mouth literally dropped and I couldn’t say anything. He is ready to get on with things. Never seen so much faith in an investigator.
Then today we tracted into a kid that totally wants to be taught and loved the video we showed him and wanted us to come back. So we met our goals in that aspect so far. So it’s all been good.
We got to watch President Monson’s funeral today and that was great. I’m going to miss him. What an amazing person.
Saturday:
It was kinda a long day but a lot of good happened. We tracted a super long street and had two people say we could come back. One of them seemed super open and really wanted it. That was great. We taught a less active family, mostly the kids, and they are starting to take things more seriously, at least it seems.
The mission is starting to let up on the new rules a little bit. Now we will sometimes be able to go to p-day with other missionaries. We got permission for this Monday so that’s a relief.
Sunday:
Great Sunday full of amazing talks. **** is doing well at church. Had some awesome questions that we were able to help with. He is doing amazing and takes great notes. He says he could progress faster (which I can almost not believe because of how fast he is already progressing) but doesn’t want to burn out because if going so fast. So he is staying at the rate of progression and taking it one step at a time. He’s awesome.
Had dinner with the Wagner’s. Such an awesome family. Love them. They are so awesome in their callings and they are amazing people too. It’s the perfect mix of both. Hard to describe. They just rock.
That’s pretty much my week. Right right now I’m at the Toyota dealership getting the car fixed.

Week 75 – Elder Jones

Elder Pirir, Addresses and Miracles

Tuesday:

Yesterday Elder Pirir was back in the mission and he stopped by the house and we talked for like and hour. That made the day a lot better. It was so good to see him and it helped me see how much I have grown since my first and second areas where I served around him.

Today was good because we had a lot of good things to do. We started cleaning up the areabook because when people put down addresses wrong, it chooses some random place in the world to make their address. So we have to go find them, with almost no information. Half the time we can’t do it. But Facebook helps a lot for searching out those people. I feel like such a stalker. I’m FB stalking for the first time and it’s weird.
Wednesday:
I was really, I don’t know what the right word is for this, bummed? Angry? Super sad? All of the above maybe? When I heard about President Monson dying. It kinda ruined my studies. It must be a relief for him because if his condition and he gets to be with his wife, but it’s still very sad. The death of a prophet is huge. Especially my first full prophet that I have been able to understand the gospel with. He was kinda “my” prophet. And man, the stories about him. He does not mess around. How much of his life he dedicated to the gospel. It’s amazing. I have a lot of love for him. He has always been very direct which is the best way I learn so I’ve learned a lot from him. I’m really sad. But happy for him. It’s crazy because I’m able to be on this spiritual high of being a missionary while this happens, I connect well and it’s real to me. So grateful for a living prophet.
Thursday:
We had a good day. We did some finding, we went out to East Biggs for a service project. That was fun and we got it done super fast and stayed on schedule. Then we drove way out to the top of our area and saw ******. We actually made a little progress with her this time and she said she would read the Book of Mormon a little. Nobody really came in to the gas station that we could talk to so we didn’t really have that part.
We had an awesome lesson with **** tonight. He is down to 12 cups of coffee tomorrow. That’s great. We taught the Ten Commandments and with the law of chastity. He’s fine with all of that except the 3rd of the Ten Commandments. But he has been working on it and is doing great. He already knows what he has to change before we talk about it and talks about how he has to change it before we even bring it up. It’s so awesome. We moved his baptismal date to February 3rd so he can be off coffee for long enough. So that’s great and I’m exited.
Friday:
Interviews. It took forever as usual. We got there and President Ward had to take a long phone call so he told us all to go get lunch so we got to stay out of our area and eat at the local burger place in town. I miss that place.  So that was a relief. Then we waited for our turn. My interview was good. He asked me about training. We talked a little bit about the whole rules change and it is mostly still the same. He did talk about how I had changed from that time he ridiculed me and stuff and that I have really changed and matured. That was nice if him. Maybe because I was just feeling quiet today. But it was nice to hear him say that. I’ll keep working on it. I’ve been quieter lately.
Elder Kelson is doing a great job in the area. He’s talking more and even asking for more responsibility today. Man am I lucky to have him.
Tonight we went and did some stuff at the *****’s house and afterwards, because Brother ****** was home and he isn’t at home way too often and is quiet, we talked with him and had a jam session with him. Elder Kelson played a telecaster and I got on the piano and brother closer brought out a mandolin and we played some hymns and bonded with them. It was great to get to know them better. And instruments were fun. They are the family that is holding my guitar right now. I played some guitar too.
Saturday:
Miracle! So before the miracle, we went to Mary’s this morning which was great. Except they made some more rules and now only us and Spanish elders can do the service for now. But the sisters can come for the lunch part at least.
Then that creeper guy showed up at the sisters baptism and started blaspheming to everyone and said he was God. So we had to go help take care of that.
Later, we were tracting and we have been trying super hard to get people to teach. Every spare minute we go finding. So we knock one house and as we were walking to the door we notice an U-haul and some people moving in. So we knock the door and even though we saw them there, they didn’t answer. So we went over to the other house where the family was moving in and offered to help. And they said yes! Their electricity to the house wasn’t turned on yet and it was getting dark fast. We got it done just in time. We talked with the dad, afterwards and gave him our number if he needed more help. We wrote it on a pass along card and he looked at it and said “is this a card from your church? Because we had talked about being missionaries while unloading. We said yes and then said that we share an awesome message about Christ and asked if we could share it sometime. He said “yes, we will have to set something up sometime”! So we told him that he should call us to move the heavy furniture upstairs when they do that and said if we didn’t get a call we would stop by soon and he said we could. So that’s great! What a miracle! Tracting isn’t that effective but if you show the Lord that you will be obedient and that you’ll put the work forth and overcome fears, he will give you someone to teach.
Sunday:
Had an awesome experience with *****.   ***** was acting weird and in the end we ended up just talking to ****.  It was an awesome lesson with him. Which is a massive step for him. And even more, twice he bore testimony of Christ and also said the believes and still reads the Book of Mormon. What a miracle. He is truly changing.
So I had an awesome spiritual moment. I’m pretty sure I white about it, it back I’m Citrus Heights I listened to a lot of Hank Smith and he has this one story of a girl that just glowed with the spirit because she was kind to everyone and loved everyone unconditionally and tried to make everyone her friend. Then he told about how he tried to be like that later and was able to basically change another girls high school years because if how he befriended her. I’m pretty sure I wrote about it but I made a resolve to try to take that challenge and be that kind of person. Such a touching and motivating story. I haven’t listened to that talk since Citrus Heights so when we listened to it today, I remembered how I wanted to be like that and how much love has played a factor in my mission. But I had a thought. Did I do the challenge? Had I been that person that was nice and loved and befriended the person who was an outcast and as included? And I thought about it and realized I hadn’t. I wasn’t quite there yet. Then I dawned on me. I had. There is a sister in our district, who is almost 30 years old, pretty different from most of us, very quiet and had a hard life and sacrificed a lot to come out on a mission. When she came into the district, she was kinda not as included because she isn’t that social and quiet and different. Looking back now I realized that I made a resolve after meeting her the first time to make her my friend, include her as much as possible and love her as Christ would. After almost two months, we are very good friends and she is very included and is very loved. I have loved her as Christ does (to the most of my ability) and(I’m the least prideful and most humble way) I have seen how I have helped her and really been able to make her feel that love and changed her experience here. I did it! I did to the challenge that I challenged myself a year ago. I’m changing! It was so cool to have that realization of how I set a goal and I accomplished it, especially one like that. It wasn’t something I would do if I was at the beginning if my mission, but I realized that it’s more a part of who I am now. I don’t consciously think about it. What a cool experience.
Luva!