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

Week 79

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


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.

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.
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.
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.
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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!



Week 77 – Elder Jones

Practice Teaching, Vomit and Trains

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

Week 77 – Elder Jones

P-Day, Mike and Mud


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.
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.
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.
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?

Week 72 – Elder Jones

Transfers, Marstons and Temple!

Wow. I’m a little behind. It’s been probably the craziest week of my mission. I headed toward the temple on Tuesday night to go stay with Elder Moon who also taught ***.   I stayed the night and President Kenny took us to the temple. He also gave us the news that President Marston (my first mission Pres.) was going to be there. I got out of getting changed and there he was! Since the temple is out of the boundaries President Marston was able to come. He went through the temple with *** and so did Sister Marston. It was awesome. I was afraid *** wouldn’t understand anything and be super overwhelmed and confused, but in the Celestial Room she was just so happy and it seemed like she comprehended a lot. She just said she was so happy. I got to see one of the temple videos I haven’t ever seen. It was so good to be able to go to the temple after so long. It’s a bigger temple than I thought it would be, so beautiful. I’m so happy for ***.  Then she got sealed to her parents. I’ve never seen a sealing, so that was amazing. The Marstons acted as her parents.  We saw a ton of members from Rush Park Ward. One of the temple workers was from my Yuba City Ward. It was great to see those people. So grateful! I needed that a lot. I would type more but I am so tired so I will move on.
We went to Mary’s today. Since it’s the last week of the transfer she had the sewing stuff ready. She made ties for all the elders and aprons for the sisters. My tie is so cool. She always finds out what missionaries like and and makes tons off of it.
We did weekly planning too. After that we had a lesson in Biggs and it was great! It was a less active and he nonmember daughter and they are super positive and she’s been reading the Book of Mormon occasionally and want to become active in church and we will be doing family home evening with them. It looks like there’s a lot of potential there. They are awesome. Great personalities and a lot of fun. Our personalities really click well together.
Saturday: We had the Oroville Ward Christmas breakfast in the morning and that was a blast. Sat on Santa’s lap. I told him I want the Gospel to be spread to the whole earth for Christmas.
Then we did some work in Oroville. Then we made it to Gridley for the tail end of the light the world booth down there. It’s in the Zone leaders area and got someone for us to teach. So that’s great!
Then we had the Ward Christmas party for my Ward. It was a blast. We were able to show the light the world video on the projector. We had tri-tip for the dinner and it was great. I’m fat.
When we got home I was filling out the progress record and the phone started ringing in my pocket. Because my wonderful trainer had sent me an email a week and a half earlier, I knew what it was. President Ward told me I’m training and it means I’m almost sure to stay in Gridley. We will get the official transfer board tomorrow. I’m excited.
Today was good though. Lots of church.
Mom, a goat head is just a really thick thorn that punctures bike tires really easily because it doesn’t snap because of how it is built. It’s really sturdy. My foot got better after I got ahold of some hydrogen peroxide.
Merry Christmas, Luva!

Week 71 – Elder Jones

Hot Chocolate, Kay and Miracles!

Merry Christmas! 🎄
Today was pretty good. We did a lot of service. We went to **** house and he was outside sweeping some leaves and since he is 88 we made him sit down and raked his entire lawn by hand, and some of the neighbors started to help and some of his grandkids stopped by and were really touched and took pictures and made us hot chocolate. We go and teach ***** a lot and we put it all into a physical example. It was awesome. #lighttheworld
We listened to this song today that talks about how Christmas isn’t Christmas without Christ. Then we all got all mad and started to get fed up with people saying happy holidays and not Christmas that every time we saw so one we would roll down the window and yell merry Christmas. They loved it! Most people aren’t offended. They actually want it. It’s weird to think that the world has to cater to the few people that might get offended. And since I’m a missionary, I can share Christ with everyone.
We are on Exchanges right now. Elder Owen and I went to Gridley with Spanish Elder Stevens. We will kinda work a little bit in my area too. But we got into the Spanish elders apartment because they left it open for us. But they made it look like someone was in the bed and they even had a manikin head so it looked super real. So we hid and shut all the lights off and when the other elders got home we had the head on a pole and when they opened the door the head popped out at them and they got real scared. We got it on video. It was great. I’ll send it.
I have a lot of respect for missionaries speaking a foreign language. I’m glad I got called English because I am so far from perfect and make so many mistakes. But add another language to that?  Exchanges were good except I couldn’t understand anything anyone was saying half the day.
I got to have dinner with the Pratt’s. They are in our ward boundaries but are in the Spanish branch. But it’s Audrey Smith’s aunt and uncle. So that was cool!!!
We saw cats try to kill each other during a lesson. We were on the porch and they were chasing each other all around the street and mowing each other down and screaming and clawing. It was viscous. Kinda funny.
Elder Owen and I tried to practice teach in Spanish. Neither of us know Spanish and we fake tracted. It was bad. I’m sure none of it made sense to the Spanish sisters. Elder Stevens helped us, but man, I don’t know Spanish. Spanish at Clark Community College helped, but I don’t know how to teach the gospel in that language.
Also, Happy Birthday Dixon! I hope all was good today, which, by the time you will have read this, it’ll be way later. But happy birthday anyways!
Fun day with lots of lessons. We met with ****. He is having a hard time giving up coffee. Stopping cold turkey didn’t work. He talked to his doctor and his doctor said to wean off of it so he can get there more solidly. We talked about relying on the Lord and all the things with the gospel that will help him. He did a lot of research on coffee and thinks it’s the most horrible thing ever now and really wants to get off of it.  That’s a good change from not knowing why it’s bad.
We talked to some guy and his son outside their apartment. They were both smoking cigarettes. They kept talking to us and asking questions but were being stubborn. Then the son opened a wooden box. As soon as he touched the lid, I knew we needed to leave. Thank you Holy Ghost. He then proceeded to take out a ziplock with weed and started putting what he needed together. We left.
It was a great day! We weren’t going to be able to go Mary’s. But a lesson rescheduled and we were able to go! We moved a ton of stuff in her yard and raked massive piles.
We weekly planned and went to our two lessons and neither were home.
We then went to Oroville and taught a lesson to a less active lady.  She brought her kids and they want to be baptized.  Man, their ward is crazy. So that was an amazing lesson, then we went back to my area to Biggs for dinner. Then we went to see *******. We started teaching the Plan of Salvation and they sucked it up. We ended up talking about church again.  It went really well.
Ok, so super exciting thing! On Exchanges, I got a Facebook message from Brad Clinton from Citrus Heights. He is the son of Kay Clinton, the lady we taught with president Marston that was in a nursing home outside the mission boundaries. She is receiving her endowments on Wednesday and Brad got permission from President Ward to invite two missionaries.  They picked me and Elder Moon! I was able to get ahold of President today and  Elder Moon and it’s all set. I have permission and everything! I haven’t been to the temple since the MTC and I’m so excited for Kay! It’s been rough for her and so I’m stoked! All I need to do is get a member to take me and pick me up from Lincoln. So excited! What a great Christmas gift. The temple will even be decorated for Christmas! 😆
Spent part of the day in Oroville. But we spent the afternoon in Gridley with the #LightTheWorld event. You saw it on Facebook. We had trays and a tree and hot chocolate and a video stand and cards and chairs and Santa hats and gift wrapped copies of the Book of Mormon and everything. We went all out. It was awesome. We talked to a lot of people and gave away a ton of stuff. It was a blast and we were able to do so much! It was great. We are planning to do it again on Thursday.
Yesterday morning I was walking through the apartment and I stepped on a random goat head. It was huge.  So the thorn went up my foot and hurt for a second and it was ok. But randomly tonight it just started hurting and I have to walk on my tip toes on that foot. It sucks.
Sunday: Oh happy day! It was a good day. I’ll save the best for last.
The bad part was that yesterday there was this YSA investigator that we all knew was creepy, but yesterday he was getting kinda touchy and creepy and verbally inappropriate with one of the sisters and we all had to protect her be making it so he couldn’t talk to her or sit by her or even see her. She ended up crying after he finally left. It was bad. Today we had to sit by the other set of sisters, like really close, because he tried sitting next to them and we almost had to squish up to them so that he couldn’t sit by them. He tried squeezing in and in the process almost sat on one of the sisters lap. Through all of church we had to sit by the sisters and get people to sit in the other side of them as well. Thank goodness this was the ward where we could stay the whole time. So that was pretty bad. I’m sure it’ll get worse. The YSA Ward knows and is on high alert. A lot of them saw some of it today. So that was an adventure.
The great part was dinner with the Gibson’s. They are pretty much my favorite family in Gridley. Then again, I say that about a lot of families. But especially them.
Then there was the community Christmas concert. Our stake put together a concert and different churches put songs together and different stuff. It was at the stake center. It was really, really good. The whole time I was just thinking to myself how could you not be happy at all right now? It was so amazing. They did some good songs and there was a lot of talent.
Now the good stuff. On the way though the church parking lot we saw **** and talked to him and he said that his daughter saw such a change in him in such a short time that she is kinda interested and wants to come to the Book of Mormon class on Wednesday! Wow! How cool is that! What a good example Mike is. The Lord is blessing us a lot.
The other best part was that ********* made it to church! She and ***** made it and loved it! We could only be there for one hour but she messaged me saying how much she loved it and how many people she met and was amazed by church! ***** knows some of the kids in church too! Now that she knows more people and absolutely loved church, they will be able to progress. It was an absolute miracle.

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.