Monday, March 30, 2015

For all this, there is a reward in Heaven

I've officially been out for 8 months today. WEIRD.

I thought I was better from being sick, but I've sounded like batman all week with a sore throat.  

We taught Henk on Wednesday!  He lives at the halfway house, so we just taught him in the cafeteria.  The lesson was going so well, so much spirit, when all of a sudden this guy just marches over to our table and starts yelling at us and at Henk asking him if he knew we were "the mormons" who don't believe in Jesus Christ and all this freaky stuff.  So we told him that we believe that Jesus Christ is our Savior.  But he wasn't having it.  It's really sad to see such hard hearted people.  We really can't help them if they're not willing to listen.  So we just let him walk away.  I was shaking.

We had a few other experiences like that the same morning..such an eye opener.  But then I came across a scripture in my studies: D&C 127:4

" continued on and not cease; and let your diligence, and your perseverance, and patience, and your works be redoubled, and you shall in nowise lose your reward, saith the Lord of Hosts. And if they persecute you, so persecuted they the prophets and righteous men that were before you. For all this there is a reward in heaven."

I am just amazed at how God knows exactly what we need when we need it.  

We taught our new investigator, Mary!  A member from another area texted us saying that he had a friend who needed missionaries to stop by, so we called her and went on over!  We taught her a little bit of the restoration, and she is SO ready for the gospel.  She'll be gone for a couple weeks though, but she said she would be baptized if she comes to know it's true! :)  

Women's conference was superb, not going to lie, all that talk on family made me a little trunky for mine. 

 I was reading in Helaman 13 yesterday about Samuel the Lamanite. this point, Samuel has been kicked out of the city for preaching the gospel, so he's heading home an tells him to go back.  So he goes back, but they won't let him back into the city.  I think this poin s what sets apart a consecrated member of the church/missionary from the average:  Samuel doesn't take no as an answer, and CLIMBS ON TOP OF A WALL to preach the gospel even though they told him to stop.  This is not convenient, easy work.  This is Salvation.  This gospel is not easy.  It stretches us and takes us into places we never thought we would go.  It molds us into who we need to be.  And I love it.  

I was reading in Helaman 13 yesterday about Samuel the Lamanite.  At this point, Samuel has been kicked out of the city for preaching the gospel, so he's heading home and God tells him to go back.  So he goes back, but they won't let him back into the city.  I think this point is what sets apart  a consecrated member of the church/missionary from the average:  Samuel doesn't take no as an answer, and CLIMBS ON TOP OF A WALL to preach the gospel even though they told him to stop.  This is not convenient, easy work.  This is Salvation.  This gospel is not easy.  It stretches us and takes us into places we never thought we would go.  It molds us into who we need to be.  And I love it.  

I hope ya'll have a good time watching general conference, I know I will!  

Onward, ever onward.

Sister Jones

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Glory of My God

well.  being sick as a missionary is probably the worst thing ever, but we're on tail end of it so hopefully the rest of this week is better. 
The wonderful land of Alberta sent us a big bucket of snow for the first few days of spring, but it should all start melting here pretty soon. :)
I'm sort of starting to get to know the bus routes and stops we use most frequently, it'll come with time. 
Funny/awesome/sad/random happenings this week:
*we taught a man who claimed to be Jesus Christ and asked us if we would help him organize a church..but then he accepted the invitation to be baptized.  ...not too sure about him. :)
*we got a new investigator, Peter, who is from Kenya.  He's very talkative and passionate about his beliefs, but is very interested in learning more. 
*I sat down by this man named Andrew on the bus one morning, and started talking with him.  He was super nice, and I was almost waiting for him to tell me which ward he was in or something, because he just seemed like a member.  Turns out, he's not a member, and I gave him a Book of Mormon and basically taught him the restoration and he LOVED it.  He kept saying that there was something different about us and he wanted what we had.  He doesn't live in our area, he's on the west side, and one of my good pals from the MTC is in the area he lives in!  So I know he's in good hands.  :)  God really does put people in our paths that are prepared. 
*we went to Brian's(the lost sheep we found at the bus stop) house with the elders and he really opened up and it was such a powerful lesson. 
*PEGGY QUIT SMOKING!!!  then she started again.  but we're not giving up on her, she'll get there.  It hasn't helped that she came down with the flu as well. 
*we started teaching our new investigator, Henk!  Henk can't speak, he has a hole in his throat from cancer, so he writes everything on this note pad he carries around.  It was a miracle that we found him!  I got sick Friday night, and Saturday morning felt even worse.  But for some reason I just couldn't stay inside, so we went to meet with a less active who lives at a halfway house downtown.  We read the Book of Mormon with her, and then on our way out, Henk waved us down and wrote a question for us on his notepad, "do you have the truth?" we told him we do, and taught him about the Book of Mormon.  He was so happy and said he would read it!  We were supposed to teach him again on Monday morning, but Satan's really rude sometimes and we were too sick to go out.  We'll be seeing him tomorrow though!  The work of God cannot be frustrated!
*my hair got stuck to the bus stop shelter pole...kind of like on the movie A Christmas Story....yeah it was an adventure to get it off. 
I was reading in Alma 60, and the last verse just hit me! verse 36:
"I seek not for honor of the world, but for the glory of my God, and the freedom and welfare of my country."
most times, as followers of Jesus Christ, the "honour" and "glory" of the world do not come.  But as long as we are doing all we can for the glory of our God, everything else will fall into place.  The honour of the world is nothing compared to the blessings and glory of the Lord. 
The church is true! 
Onward, ever onward.
Sister Jones

Monday, March 16, 2015

Don't Count The Cost

greetings from the big city of Edmonton!
the new area is a bit crazy, right downtown.  We're a walking/bussing area, but I would argue that we do little to no walking and almost never stop running.  Let's just say I'm definitely sore. :)  I absolutely LOVE the energy of the city.  Everything is so fast and it reminds me of how urgent this work really is.  SO MANY PEOPLE TO SHARE HAPPINESS WITH! 
I'm follow up training Sister Trujillo.  She's amazing!  From Colorado and has so much drive for the work, I couldn't have asked for a better companion.
This week has been insane!  Before leaving Drayton, I said goodbye to all my favorite people, it was sad.  Drayton Valley has become my home!  But all is well because Heavenly Father has a plan.  and Forest Heights is a whole new adventure. 
We met with our investigator, Peggy, on Friday, and she's such a sweetheart!  She's on date for baptism in June, she's trying to quit smoking.  We're going to go over the stop smoking program with her this week and hopefully she can get baptized sooner! 
I've found my new favorite thing.....BUS CONTACTING!!! 
it's so much fun. 
as long as we don't miss our stop..hahah that's always stressful. 
I'm slowly learning the routes and the area, by the end of this week I'm hoping to know how to get around without too much help.
Sister Trujillo and I were waiting for our bus while downtown, and started talking to this lady about the gospel, and this guy stood next to me and I felt like I should talk to him.  So I turned, and he says, "How are the battles today, sister?"  We got talking and turns out he's a member!  He said he didn't know what ward he's in and hasn't been to church in years, so we got his address and everything, and he's in our ward. :)  The Elders are going to stop by his place and we're going to help him get back to church. :)  The Lord really does put people in our path everyday that we can reach out to, we just have to be doing our part. 

I was reading a talk this week about missionary work (go figure) and one line in it really stood out to me.  "Don't Count The Cost."  When God asks us to make a sacrifice, there will ALWAYS be a cost; and as humans, we tend to focus too much on the cost.  BUT THAT WILL GET YOU NOWHERE!  Anything God asks us to do will bring immeasurable blessings when compared to the cost.  So I'm trying my best to forget about the cost of being a disciple of Jesus Christ, and constantly remember why I'm here.  I'm here because I love the Lord, and I love the people, and I know that this is the real deal! 

Onward, ever onward.
Sister Jones

Monday, March 9, 2015

You can take me out of Drayton Valley, but you can't take the Drayton Valley out of me

well i'm being transferred and to be completely honest I'm a bit peeved!!!  BUT....obviously Heavenly Father knows what he's doing.  I just have to humble myself and do as the Lord asks to see what I can learn in the big city of Edmonton!  I have been serving outlying my whole mission, and now am headed to Forest Heights!  Which is apparently the downtown of Edmonton and super crazy.  (this is what I'm told) so a new adventure is about to begin!  *holds back tears*..............

this week was really great though!

We taught Chaise a few times and watched the Joseph Smith movie with him and Carrie.  The spirit was definitely there and he most definitely felt it.  He has been a little hesitant about everything though because he really doesn't want to be deceived.  Which is understandable.  He's still on date though and still not smoking. :) I'm so sad I won't be here for his baptism.  We also went to his open mic night and met a pastor named Seth who wants to meet with us.  We're not sure of his intentions, but it'll be an adventure for sure!  

We had our musical fireside which ended up just being the sister missionary, Palsky, and Curry show.  it was a success though!  Lots of nonmembers came and the spirit was so strong.  I didn't die singing in front of everyone, so that was a plus..  Heavenly Father definitely doesn't call the qualified..but qualifies the called.  

Gloria, our etgernigator finally committed to pray about baptism!!!  She has been investigating for almost 3 years and still won't commit, but she's getting there!  She's the greatest.  

On Friday, we got dropped by Mellisa and her family.  
Then Lynn dropped us and said this isn't helping her at all.  

Agency is the worst sometimes!!!  

and we decided that daylight savings is just Satan in disguise, because nobody came to church since they slept in!  hahah.  such is life I guess!

But honestly Drayton Valley has been the greatest place on earth.  It is my home.  And I'm so sad to be leaving all the people I love so much, but I'm excited to see what's in store for the future.  

looking back on my time in DV, I think the biggest lesson I have learned is that nobody is ever too far gone for the atonement.  Not ever.  The power of his grace reaches far beyond any of us can imagine.  We've taught recovering meth addicts, drug dealers, and criminals, and been able to see the love and power of the atonement change their hearts and countenances into who God has created them to be.  I have learned to love more deeply than I ever knew I could, and I've seen how pure, Christlike love can enable people to leave behind their old ways and take courage.  Courage to humble themselves before our loving Heavenly Father and submit to his will, however hard it will be.  I love this gospel.  I love these people.  and I'm happy to say I'm a changed person from serving in the promised land of Drunken Valley...I mean..Drayton Valley ;) 

"and they separated themselves and departed one from another, trusting in the Lord that they should meet again at the close of their harvest; for they supposed that great was the work which they had undertaken." Alma 17:13

Onward, ever onward.  

Sister Jones

Monday, March 2, 2015

"My joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God"

OH MY WORD it has been a marvellous week.  And we have only Heavenly Father and the wonderful members here to thank for that.  Sister Whiting and I started a 40 day fast from sweets for our investigators 8 days ago, and here some of the miracles that have come of it:

-Tuesday, we met with Chaise.  We had planned on teaching him the Plan of Salvation, but as we were talking before, he pulled out his pack of cigarettes and said he was thinking about quitting.  We said he could crush them right now, and then HE DID.  HE JUST CRUSHED 'EM!  So we were all freaking out so excited, and Sister Whiting and I booked it back to our apartment to grab the quit smoking program for him to go through it.  He's still a non-smoker, DAY 6! :)  
-We met with him again on Friday, and taught him the plan of salvation.  He loved it and committed to baptism on MARCH 28th!!!!  And he got a hair cut!!! It's amazing, his countenance has changed so much and the spirit truly is working in his life.  He made the comment that this is something that will completely change the direction he is going in life, and he's happy about that. THE ATONEMENT IS REAL. We've been reading the Book of Mormon with him just about everyday since.  He also came to church yesterday and everybody introduced themselves and really made him feel welcome.  We asked him how he liked it after, and he said, "it was actually really good." he didn't think it would be hahah...such a punk.  but he loved it! 

-Anita, from the gas station came as well!!! She brought her little boy and was just so enthused about church!  She says she wants to be baptized and that she's going to come every sunday from now on. :)  We're teaching her tonight and planning on setting a date for her baptism.

-While attempting to contact a former, we found Greg!  This super sweet old man that let us come back the next day. Sister Curry came (asked for work off--such a gem!) and we taught him the restoration.  He is so ready for the gospel!!!  So prepared.  We'll be teaching him again tomorrow.    

-We were finally able to teach Laurence, he's one of the investigators that the elders had  before their area closed down, and it has been a joke trying to meet with him.  So many complications, but he came to church yesterday as well, and when we had our lesson, he committed to baptism on May 15th!!!  He's such a sweet soul.  

Fast and testimony meeting yesterday was INCREDIBLE.  The spirit was so apparent, and my heart just couldn't stop rejoicing in the Lord.  This gospel is real.  I know it is.  
Just a few minutes ago...Sister Whiting and I went outside the church for a second, and tried to come back in when we realized we locked our keys inside.  With no jackets and the windchill of Alberta, we just huddled in a ball up against the church building because we were sooo cold.  We called Sister Giddey, and she said she'd be right over.  We sat there for probably 20 minutes (which doesn't sound too long...but felt like an eternity) and just froze and our eyes were watering and we couldn't feel our hands and we thought we were going to freeze to death.  We just sang, "Come Come Ye Saints" to ourselves and cried.  
When we got to the part where it says, "Grace shall be as your day" Sister Giddey drove up!!!  It reminded me of a lot of things...but mostly made me reflect on my mission.  It has been about 7 months now, (ahhhhh) and most of that 7 months has been working and working and not feeling like anything was coming of it.  But Grace always comes, just like this week came.  Miracles always come when we do our best and leave it all up to God.  And sometimes, you just have to keep working (or keep enduring the windchill) for a little bit longer until the promises of the Lord are fulfilled.   

Ammon says it better than I can:

I just love the Book of Mormon :)
35 Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has allpower, all wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a merciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name.
 36 Now if this is boasting, even so will I boast; for this is my life and my light, my joy and my salvation, and my redemption from everlasting wo. Yea, blessed is the name of my God, who has been mindful of this people, who are a branch of the tree of Israel, and has been lost from its body in a strange land; yea, I say, blessed be the name of my God, who has been mindful of us, wanderers in a strange land.
 37 Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen.
Onward, Ever onward.

Sister Jones

Exchanges with Sister Cardona