Week 66 and 67 – Elder Jones

Week 66 – Halloween, Rain and Interviews

Tuesday:
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.
Wednesday:
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.
Thursday:
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.
Friday:
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 🎄
Saturday:
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.
Sunday:
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
Monday:
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.
Tuesday:
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.
Wednesday:
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.
Thursday:
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.
Friday:
Saturday:
Sunday:
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.
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Week 65 – Elder Jones

Birthdays, Interviews and Domestic Violence

Tuesday:
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.
Wednesday:
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.
Friday:
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.
Saturday:
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.
Sunday:
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.
Luva!

Week 64 – Elder Jones

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

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

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

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

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

Halloween Pass Along Carding!
Love y’all!

Week 62 – Elder Jones

Gridley, Elder Jones and Elder Niederhauser

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

Week 58 – Elder Jones

Smoke, Catfish and The longest Week Ever

This is what happens when you’re iPad gets stolen by missionaries…. 🙂

Reading the blog and crying some for Charlotte. I hadn’t seen some of
those pictures. It hurt.
I also love seeing Dixon in every few blogs, wearing the lifeguard
visor that I gave him and Royce. That really makes me happy to see
that either he likes it or remembers me.

Wednesday: I don’t even feel bad about missing yesterday. And that’s
because I didn’t leave the apartment once. Or my pajamas. I was really
really sick. It was horrible. Monday night, we finished dinner and
very soon after I started biking I just started feeling sick. It came
on fast. We kept going and got worse and worse so we came in early.
The next morning it was so bad I had to sleep in and I could hardly do
anything. My throat hurt so bad and my mind was really clouded which
turned into a headache and my nose was super clogged up and I was
sneezing a lot. Elder Kerby was completely fine. I called the Zone
leaders so see if they could go buy me some Sudafed. Turns out they
had some because one of them was sick with the same thing. And it was
the one I had gone on exchanges with a few days earlier. So we assumed
that we had picked something up from someone we had visited.  Then they came over and since his companions was fine as well, Elder Kerby and Elder Robbins went out and worked all day while Elder Christenson and I stayed in our apartment and died. I slept a lot. I thought I would
be able to get to sleep last night but I slept ok. So we just stayed
in all say and laid on the couches. It was horrible.
This morning when Elder Robbins and Elder Christenson came to pick us
up for District Meeting, they told us they had talked to their Ward
Mission Leader the day before. When they said they were sick their
ward mission leader told them what it was. He used to be a fire
fighter for the Forest fires in the area and knew quite a bit about
that stuff. He pointed out that it had been the smokiest it has been
all summer. We knew that but didn’t make the connection. We didn’t
realize how bad it was. What happened is that the Delta Breeze (a wind
current that runs up through the valley of California and up further)
has taken all the smoke from the forest fires that are going on in
Sacramento, Gridley, Oroville, Redding and everywhere else, even from
the fires in Canada, and basically pulled all of it into the Auburn
area. So it was a lot smokier than normal. As I write this, I’m
looking outside and the sky isn’t blue, it’s white. If you look off
into the distance, it looks like it’s overcast. But look straight up,
it’s white. So what happens is that the smoke makes everyone feel more
tired than usual, because if the bad air quality. Everyone in Auburn
is being warned in TV to stay indoors or in a car as much as possible.
Elder Kerby and Elder Robbins said they have felt a little more tired
than normal. But the reason why Elder Christenson and I got sick is
because we both breath through our mouths. I do this because my nose
is broken. I don’t remember why he does but the smoke just came in a
wrecked our lungs and made us horrendously sick. This morning I feel a
whole lot better after staying inside all day. But I can’t go outside
because I would be on a bike. I feel pretty good compared to yesterday
but if I went out and worked then I would get really sick again.
So we had to stay in most of the day. We did some administrative stuff
with lists but it’s hard not having any connection. At 5 a high priest
went out with us and we saw some people for an hour and a half. Then
we had dinner with the youth and they asked us questions about the
mission and about it. It was an awesome opportunity to help the youth
see that we are normal people and are just like them and that they can
reach their potential.  Yeah, but all of that was inside a car or building, where the air is better filtered. Tomorrow should be spent some inside and some doing what work we can with lessons.

Thursday: I did not sleep well last night. Yesterday there was this
huge wall of fog up north and I woke up this morning and it was here.
I was coughing all night last night. I had to go sleep on the couch to
stop the coughing. My throat feels like it has permanent damage. I’m
sure it doesn’t but it feels like it.
Well right now I’m not feeling the best. Physically I am.
Mentally and emotionally, nope. The upside to the day: An awesome
member of our ward that made the Panamanian dinner for Elder Kerby
made a southern meal for me this time. Fried catfish and grits. It was
amazing. I love her so much. And my favorite ice cream to top it off.
That was amazing. The down side: Everything else! It wasn’t a horrible
day, it’s just everything is building up. We started off the day with
a lesson with ****. It went horribly. The spirit wasn’t there at all
and he is not open to change or to new ideas which makes him
unteachable. He just wants to prove his points and not find answers. I
was trying to just focus on the spiritual part but Elder Kerby and I
ended up wanting to do different things in the lesson so we weren’t on
the same page. It just went horribly and nobody got anywhere. I got
very, very, very frustrated and had to leave the room (thankfully we meet
with him over the phone so **** didn’t know I left) and I was just
super stressed. I just sat there and solved the rubix cube a million
times. That sucked. Then we ended up going to a lesson for a older
lady who is awesome and it was good. She is a member that isn’t very
mobile. But after that we were stuck at the apartment all afternoon.
We ended up calling a ton of members to see if we could have people
come out with us over the next few days. But being stuck in the
apartment for three days when you normally work really hard is tough.
I don’t feel the best physically but I am losing all my motivation.
Elder Kerby is having a hard time too.  And I’m just sick
and tired of a lot of things. ****** and **** especially. I feel like we
are doing so much but not getting anywhere. Now we aren’t able to do
anything so we really can’t get anywhere. Right now I feel like nobody
is actually progressing. Neither Kerby nor I are doing well at this
very moment. We were both really…. I don’t even know the word.
Stressed maybe? Nothing is clear to me. It’s just hard. Hopefully I’ll
be fine in the morning.

Friday: It was a great day. We had an awesome lesson with Craig smith.
We just answer some questions he had and it went great. We did some
weekly planning. That was fun. Then we went around with a ward member.
This morning we tried biking to a lesson and it was really hard. It
got hard to breath. So I can’t bike yet. I can be outside, I just
can’t bike yet. But we went around with a ward member and got some
appointments set up with people. Then we went to a lesson. It went
amazing. It was probably the best Elder Kerby and I have taught
together yet we are teaching three kids and they love it and soak it
all in. The Spirit was really there which was amazing and what we
needed after the hard day yesterday. It was awesome. They comprehended
a lot of it as far as we could tell. And we taught it in a short time.
It was amazing. Such a good lesson. We went out to some restaurant
with members and in come another couple as sit down in the next booth,
and with them was the Zone Leaders. So that was really funny and
great. But it was a great day.

Saturday: We weren’t able to do much at all today. We had Brother
Baldridge take us out and drive us around so we could do some work.
Besides that we’re weren’t really able to do much. We filled out some
reports and stuff.  I realized how slowly the week has gone by.
It’s been sooooo slow.  The week hasn’t been way too torturous but I realized that it has been forever since the last Sunday. It seems like ages
ago.

Sunday: Today was the primary program. It was awesome. Love little kids!
We tried to drop *****’s tonight. It didn’t quite work. It was hard. But
we both feel we need to drop him. It was a complicated situation. But
we are going to drop him this upcoming week. That’s most of the day.
Elder Kerby and I got especially fat this week with no workout.

Luva!

Week 57 – Elder Jones

Interviews, Eric and Tired

Tuesday: Well, it was a great day! We started off the day with
interviews. It went very well. It’s the best interview I’ve ever had
with a mission president. It just went really well. We talked about
important things and we were both edified by the Spirit. He is such an
amazing mission president and cares so much to learn about us and our
investigators. He even prays for *****. If he does that, he must be
praying for a lot of people.
We found this cool new guy names C*****. We were going down a street
and some guy stopped us to ask if we were Mormons. We said yes and he
said he loves us because we always smile. We talked with him and he
went to church once in Lincoln and he is halfway through the Book of
Mormon. He reads it every once in a while. So we asked if we could
come by another time and talk with him about it and he hesitated then
it was almost as if the Spirit came up behind him with a rolled up
newspaper and smacked him upside the head with it, then he said:
“Actually I would like to meet with you.” And we scheduled something for
Friday. So that was cool. We met some other cool people today as well.
I hurt a lot today biking because I played really hard on Monday. We
played ultimate frisbee.
Update on E****: We called him this morning and he said that he didn’t
want to continue with us anymore, he had some excuses and stuff that
are concerns but not that big. We talked it over with him and he ended
up saying he will keep going with us. He is really, really stressed and
in a really horrible situation. We found out a lot and his situation
today and it’s really hard for him and Satan is attacking him hard.
Tonight we had a ward missionary that is amazing go and drop off a
plate of cookies. We are trying our best to help him.

Wednesday: Elder Kerby and I have been working in talking to everyone
we can. It’s still so hard to do, and no matter how long I am out or
anyone is out, it will still be hard. But we did a lot better today.
We contacted a lot and rode a lot. We had an awesome lesson with a
less active and his wife. They were especially friendly today even
thou we thought it would be a rough lesson because we brought a member
with us and they are in a touchy situation. So it went really well.
I love it when members that feed us have been on missions. I love
hearing Mission stories because they motivate me and make me happy.
That’s why I read a lot of missionary articles in magazines and ask
people about their missions. If you want to Dad, you could write up
some stories from your mission and send them to me. Or any cool
missionary stories that y’all or anyone finds, I would love to hear
them. Anytime during the week, just send me one if you find any.

Thursday: I’m exhausted. We biked a lot today and had so much
scheduled. We started out by biking up the mountain to go do an hour
and a half of service, mostly digging and such, then came back down.
We had a lesson with Jim, which actually went really well. We have
been able to talk less about deep doctrine and specific scriptures and
more on how we can feel the spirit testify to us. We got through a
third of the Restoration, but at least we started one of the lessons
with him. Then we rushed up another mountain to a lesson and then off
to another lesson. Then we biked along this road that goes up and down
half of the mountain like 4 times. It took us a half hour to get
there. That lesson cancelled and then we biked back where we came from
over the steep endless hills and to dinner. I had a lot of energy
during it all actually. It wasn’t bad. It was great. And it felt so
good outside.  My body has gotten way too adjusted to the heat. It’s
100 degrees out and we are biking up these massive hills and I think it’s the perfect temperature for biking. It’s going to be hard going home to
y’alls climate.
One of our lessons was with B****. He wanted to read the scriptures
where the Jaredite civilization gets wiped out. So we took him to
Ether 12 and it started out with faith. For some reason, all of our
lessons with him end up centered on that subject. He is starting to
get it and really wants to know if there is a higher power. So it is
all working well with him.

Saturday: Sorry for not writing yesterday. We started exchanges
yesterday and I didn’t have time to write. But exchanges were good. I
went to Auburn 2nd ward with my Zone Leader, Elder Christenson. It was
nice to have a car for a day. Elder Christenson is from Florida so we
had some awesome talks about the South. I was able to be a witness at
a baptism for the first time, and I wasn’t even in that ward. That was
cool. We went and talked to a lot of people. We did some tracting.
People didn’t like us this morning when we knocked on their door. Oh
well. I’m just really tired right now and I need sleep.

Sunday: Well what a day, for at least part of it. All after dinner.
We decided to stop by and see E****. We found out that he is going
through a really hard divorce and it’s not going well. He has been so
stressed. But we ended up just stopping by randomly to see him. He is
doing a little bit better stress wise. And he has been studying the
church just as intensely. But he got into anti stuff lately. So that
was a fun conversation. He still wants to meet with us and he is still
seeking to know if the church is true.  We are going to study and see what we can do to help him. He is still really understanding about it. So it’s shouldn’t be as hard as ****. Speaking
of ****, we had a lesson with him tonight, it went well, we taught some
more of the restoration and he had some sincere questions that weren’t
really attacky, but he is still stuck on the same Jehovah being
Heavenly Father thing, but he has a lot of scriptures to back him up.
We do too but we are avoiding going that way because we are trying to
teach by the spirit and not by proving. And I have been able to
understand him better. So I can help teach a whole lot more.
That’s about it.
Luva!

Week 56 – Elder Jones

Sisters, PTSD and Blogs

Tuesday: Elder Leathers, my second companion, finished his mission
today. He’s home now. That’s my first companion to go home so far.
That’s weird. It doesn’t feel like I’ve been out that long. A ton of other missionaries I know went home too. So that’s weird.
We got sisters in the zone finally. They are actually in our complex.
I think they are the only sisters in the mission in a truck.
We went to contact someone today and this kid set up a lemonade stand
and he put a little piece of paper on it, I thought it was for price but
apparently he was selling “sandwiches”. He had put cream cheese all
over this piece of bread and cut it up to like 7 pieces and put an
olive or a pickle on it. Best dollar I ever spent. It was not tasty at
all but he was so cute and it made him so happy.
I have PTSD. We rode down this huge hill to contact someone and we go
and knock on the door and nobody answers. Elder Kerby and I start
talking quietly while we wait to see if someone would come. Elder
Kerby turned to me to say something. That’s about when I see through
the glass of the front door, a door on the inside of the house off of
the living room and a teenage girl comes….. all she
had on was a bra. I walked to my bike and ran away. It was horrible.
But does it end there, you may ask? Oh no, this is missionary life. Of
course it doesn’t end there. After we go back up the hill to contact
someone else, who ended up not living there, a car drives by asking if
the church could give them gas money. We told them no and they said ok
and kept driving. At the end of the street I see the car stop so I
look up. A girl gets out if the back seat and walks around the car.
And her pants were about 9 inches too low. Then she bent over to check
the wheel or something and then they were definitely too low. It was a
very surprising day and I have PTSD.

Wednesday: We had a good district meeting today. Elder Kerby is
district leader now and that’s good. We also have sisters in our
district. That helps control things a little, when it’s all guy.  With our last district leader, it could get a little out of hand but
thankfully it’s better now. We had a meeting with the Zone Leaders
today. Elder Kerby and I plan very differently and have different
opinions on weekly planning and how it should be done. We have
differing opinions mostly because of our mission experiences. Neither
of us are wrong, we just needed to find a solution. This is about the
only thing that we don’t agree on in missionary work so we asked the
Zone Leaders to help us with that. It’s not a problem that causes us not get along, it is just something we needed help with. So all is
good. We contacted a lot today, we ended up going out pretty far
trying to find someone but the house had a gate so we couldn’t get in.
We had a high priest take us out and drive us to some people that we
can’t bike to. I’m super,tired right now.

Thursday: Today was a pretty solidish day. We did some service in the
morning and then went to a lesson at a less active’s house. We are
trying to get him to church but he never seems to be able to make it.
His name is C*****. We have some suits that a member gave us that
are too big for us so we said we would bring them by and see if they
fit. Later, we did and they didn’t fit. But he seemed excited about it.
So we will see if we can get him one that fits. Maybe that will help.
We are probably dropping A******. We don’t think he is
accountable and he just isn’t progressing anyway. So that’s sucks. But
we might keep him. We will talk about it tomorrow.
We had a good lesson with B*****. He always kinda seemed like he
doesn’t want us to be there at the beginning but he is very into it at
the end. He seems like he can make some good progress. He needs to
gain a little more desire and he can really progress.

Friday: Today was awesome! It was just a spiritual day. Especially by
the end. I got this awesome article from Elder Robbins about becoming
a consecrated missionary.  Man did that talk humble me. The spirit
just kept calling me out and saying to work on everything. There’s so much I have that I can do to be better. I can be so much better. I am
really not as good at everything as I wish I was. I want to get there.
Such a cool talk.
We had an awesome service this morning. We went to the local airport
and helped clear out a hanger of stuff and move it to another hangar.
There were some awesome planes there. A lot of them were from like he
40’s and 50’s and are restored. There were some really cool planes.
Apparently the guy, I don’t remember his name right now, that broke
the sound barker lives really close to here. Right over in Grass
Valley, in our stake. So that’s cool.
We did a lot of planning and organized today.
We had a good lesson with a less active member about enduring to the
end and it was great. I think that the best part of he day though, was
companion study. It was just awesome. After such an amazing personal study, Elder Kerby and I got into a really awesome
deep conversation and it just edified me. It was so cool. And Elder
Kerby is funny. We were in the middle of a super deep spiritual
conversation and the Spirit was there and we were super deep into it and
suddenly he freaks out at his bike sitting on there other side of the
room. It had a flat tire hat he had just fixed twice and went flat
again. But he just freaked out while I’m the middle of this.   He has ADHD so it was funny. But that ended it, which is good because we went over
time anyways. But it was really funny.  It was such an awesome day.

Saturday: Going back and reading old blogs in my downtime this morning
was so much fun. Y’all are so funny. I just sit there and laugh and
Elder Kerby looks at me weird.
Went to a ward baptism this morning. It was cool. We got to
give a talk in it. We did a lot of administrative stuff today. Elder
Kerby and I had a frisbee war in our apartment using Tupperware lids.
It was fun. Then he started acting like a pirate because he put some rag
looking thing on his head. He looks like a real Hispanic pirate.

Sunday: We had an awesome sacrament meeting. It was all youth. 5
speakers. It was awesome. All of them were told to choose a topic from
the For Strength of Youth. They did such an awesome job.
We kept trying to see people throughout the rest if the day. Had some
good conversations.

Monday: This morning was awesome. We went disc golfing as usual. But I
got a brand new disc. And it’s such a good disc that most of the holes
I overshoot in the first throw. On the last hole I overshot on my
first throw my a hundred feet. It’s amazing.
I also was just informed a few minutes ago that we are going to be
getting Facebook in the mission. I don’t have details but it’s
officially happening.