Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Seal it for thy courts above..

Well.  I just got kicked off to the computer at the library by a
little Asian boy so he can play mine craft.  These kids rule the
library.....ha so this will be brief.

What a week! We weren't expecting it, but we got a transfer call
yesterday!  Sister Howard is getting transferred and I am getting a
new companion in River Valley, Sister Holbrook.

This week consisted of us getting dropped by all of our investigators
or we dropped them....so we're currently just on a mission to find
people who actually want the gospel, and we will find them!  My only
question is WHERE THE HECK ARE THEY??  Hahah but really.  This week
was interesting, we did a ton of searching for the elect, and probably
about 99% of the people we talked with weren't interested in their own
salvation.  But there is that 1% that actually listened and considered
letting us show them more of God's plan for them!  I have realized
that every "no", every slammed door, every hurtful comment we get,
they're all worth it to find the 1% that want to listen.  And I have
been on my mission long enough to realize that there is never a bad
week.  So here are the miracles/tender mercies we saw:

-it's finally to the time of the year where the sun sets before 9 and
we actually SEE it. Alberta skies though....
-we got to give a training at the new leadership meeting and it went
really well!  We'll take any excuse to be with President and Sister
Manion ...they're the greatest.
-we met a new Indian friend named Paras, and he wants us to come
 back on Sunday to "talk of Jesus" with him. :)
-we went and visited a lady in the ward named Carol and had a really
powerful message with her and we all cried and she said it was just
what she needed. Little did she know that it was just what WE needed.
Funny how that works.
-we also met another Indian lady named Celine, who is Roman Catholic
and said we could come teach her!
-we stopped by another member's home to share a little message, and 
right before we left, the husband told us that it was just what they needed. 
-we knocked on a man named Chris' door last night and told him that God 
loves him, and he told us that he really needed his support right now.  We 
asked if he believes in God, and he said no, but he would like to talk about it
next week.  WHAT THE??  so yeah we'll be going back next week.  
-we had supper with our Recent Convert (baptized in May) Comfort, and she fed us
 like....so much food i went into the washroom after and almost puked.  it was bad.  
she just really doesn't want us to starve...ha but she is amazing and we're 
getting her ready to go to the temple to do baptisms! 
one night, as we were driving home on the Henday, the sunset was UN.REAL.  (like
most nights) but man it was breath taking.  And lo and behold the song that came on 
in the car was MoTab's version of Come Thou Fount and it was just perfect.  
the third verse just hit me hard though:

O to grace how great a debtor daily I'm constrained to be!
Let thy goodness like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee
Prone to wander Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love
Here's my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above
I am so indebted to my Saviour, sometimes it's overwhelming.  His
grace is always there to make ALL the difference in our lives.  So many
times i feel SO prone to wander.  Prone to doubts and fears.  Prone to give
up the fight.  but then he gives me that grace that I need to lift me and
propel me forward!  To give of your heart is a big sacrifice, it goes against our
natural instincts of selfishness, doubt, and ultimately pride.  But when we 
give it up to him, and consecrate it to him, the blessings are REAL.  Salvation
and joy are REAL.  And i am so grateful for the grace that Christ gives me
each and every day.  "Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength
 I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my
God, for in his strength I can do all things;"
Onward, ever onward.
Sister Jones 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Therefore, cheer up your hearts

Greetings from the magical land of exchanges, bikes, rain, miracles, and perogies!

It was a solid week for sure. 

We had TWO exchanges which was crazy but AWESOME!  

I went on an exchange with Sister Platter and she is SUCH a gem.  Seriously a rock star missionary.  We got TWO REFERRALS on the exchange which was a mega miracle because getting referrals is sometimes more rare than +20 degrees in an Albertan winter.  It was funny because we attempted to talk to tons of people and like NONE of them spoke english.  #welcometoedmonton the biggest melting pot of all time. hahhah it's great.  

I also got to go back to the HOLY LAND OF DRAYTON VALLEY!!!  Yes it was wonderful and magical to be there and heartbreaking to leave again, but those people there have my heart and I think it's fair to say it's my second home.  I got to exchange with Sister Alvord and she is just really wonderful. :)  

Sooooo we totally taught Isi the restoration and it was SO POWERFUL!  She has already been baptized in the catholic faith, but she accepted everything we taught! She didn't accept the invitation to be baptized yet, the spirit was there and it just felt good. she'll get there :) We will be teaching her again this week, pray for her please! 

Yesterday was just a blessed day.  Here's why:

soooooo earlier in the day everything kept falling through so we did a ton of searching but not much finding.  People weren't all that receptive, but we just kept working and working until an appointment we had at 5 which also fell through.  We prayed and decided we needed to knock 7 more doors and the first 5 were anything but friendly..but the last two BOTH accepted to learn more!!!  WHHHAT???? yeah.  it was a miracle.  
After we had supper, we decided to bike the rest of the night because we're running out of klicks for the month.  Remember that filipino family i told y'all about like...a month ago?  They were members back in the Philippines but came here 5 years ago and haven't been active since.  Well we found them on exchanges by some crazy miracle of Sister Howard texting us the wrong address for a potential (it ended up being their address).  The Tagalog elders haven't been able to get in lately, and we were nearby so we decided to try.  We talked with Celeste (the mom) at the door for a while, and finally she let us in.  We shared Because He Lives and the spirit was just soo.....REAL!  I can't explain it.  It was just so real.  And she cried and told us that she had been praying to be able to go back to church, because she knew that she needed to bring her family back.  And that's when we knocked on her door.  God's hand is in the details of our lives, i just know it!  There is no denying the manifestations we have seen of Him and his plan of happiness.  I love it.  As we were leaving, she started crying again and just said, "these are tears of joy, i am just so happy."  She said they would come to church this Sunday!!!  

you probably won't believe it but the miracles don't stop here. 
We rode to a few less actives to try to see them and didn't have much success, and we had about 30 minutes left.  I wasn't quite sure what on earth we would do since we had tracted SO much already that day, so we decided to just ride a little bit down the road and see who we could find.  I was ahead of Sister Howard and I thought we would just stop and knock a certain cul-de-sac.  We stopped and locked up our bikes, and the FIRST house we knocked on, this super awesome lady came out and said she would love to learn!!!  :)  We were just shocked and so happy and excited and life is just amazing.  Then we turn and leave her house and the sunset was just UNREAL.  So we stopped to take a picture.  We then heard someone behind us in their open garage, so we went to talk to him.  His name is Abel and we just walked up and told him that god loves him.  He seemed really moved and then started asking us how we know that.  He was SOOOOO seeking for truth, he went inside and brought his friend, Carla, out so that he could understand us better.  (he speaks mainly Tagalog).  We just bore our testimonies to both of them and they now want to learn!  They don't live in Edmonton, they were only here for a few days, then they're heading back home tomorrow, so we'll be going with the Tagalog elders today to start teaching them before they leave!!! 
then we started walking away and unlocking our bikes and THE RAINS CAME DOWN AND THE FLOODS CAME UP.  ha maybe not the floods but it was POURING so we rode home as fast as we could and were totally soaked when we got in the door.  :)  it was all just so wonderful and there is no doubt in my soul that God's hand is in EVERYTHING. 
I was reading in the Book of Mormon last night in 2 Nephi 10 and verse 23 just hit me. 

22 For behold, the Lord God has led away from time to time from the house of Israel, according to his will and pleasure. And now behold, the Lord remembereth all them who have been broken off, wherefore he remembereth us also. 
 23 Therefore, cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves—to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life.
 24 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved.
 25 Wherefore, may God raise you from death by the power of the resurrection, and also from everlasting death by the power of the atonement, that ye may be received into the eternal kingdom of God, that ye may praise him through grace divine. Amen."

When we choose to cheer up our hearts, and CHOOSE HAPPINESS, things just work out.  I know Jesus Christ lives, and I know that this is his living church on the earth today.  
I love it.  

Onward, ever onward. 

Sister Jones

Biking through the wilderness...actually just a fake forest in the middle of a neighbourhood :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

That we might not shrink

Well well well this week was nuts and I feel like our area got put on the back burner for a bit. 
We had two zone meetings that we gave trainings at, and the first one went like...perfect. Ha it was awesome, the spirit was so strong and there was so much participation and it went exactly as planned. So much revelation it was PRIME. then the second one....hahahah like halfway through the elders training, we realized they were practically giving OUR training and sister Howard and I just look at each other like uhhhhhhh what do we do.  So we basically had like the 5 minute break in between he trainings to plan a 60 minute training on the other half of what president gave us at MLC.  Hahhahahha Yeah it was crazy, but the spirit really took over and it turned out to be a successful training after having the spirit somewhat called people to repentance through us in the beginning....weird when that happens. 

So the trainings were good, we had some other STL responsibilities come up that took us away from our area quite a bit, but we were able to serve so much which is what I am here to do.

We had exchanges and I got to go with sister Wangsgaard who is a BOSS and she goes home next week so I felt like she should be the sister training leader. I learned so much from her it was wonderful. 

We also found a GLORIOUS canola field and went to take some pictures in it and now some crazy bugs or plant gave us these sketchy rash/spots on our legs that KILL ha so that happened. 

While we were doing our weekly planning, we were trying to figure out what on earth to do to get this area going and to get investigators who will progress, so we were like, "hey, maybe we should drop everyone that's not progressing" then we realized that you need people to drop...like you have to actually be teaching people haha so just pray that we can find the elect.  

We did find some potentials though!!!  A couple weeks back in exchanges, we found this man named Ike that told us to come back later, which is what a lot of people tell us to make us leave, but we came back last night and met his wife Isi and they're from Nigeria!!!  And she set up a time tomorrow for us to come back!!!!!!! Seriously it was the biggest miracle of my life. I just can't thank Heavenly Father enough for these miracles and tender mercies that he sends to me. 

I GET TO GO TO DRAYTON THIS WEEK. that's a miracle. 

Sometimes, things are rough when you don't really have any investigators and you go out every day doing your best to find those who are prepared. Sometimes when things are rough, it is easy to just put yourself on survival mode, but I have realized that WE CANT JUST DO THAT!  Ever!  

"As we confront our own … trials and tribulations, we too can plead with the Father, just as Jesus did, that we ‘might not … shrink’--meaning to retreat or to recoil (D&C 19:18). Not shrinking is much more important than surviving! Moreover, partaking of a bitter cup without becoming bitter is likewise part of the emulation of Jesus” 

not shrinking is much more important than surviving. I have reflected upon this for the past few months of my mission. No matter what life throws at us, we have to realize that we are sent here to be tried. Elder Bednar says in the same talk:

"I do not know why some people learn the lessons of eternity through trial and suffering--while others learn similar lessons through rescue and healing. I do not know all of the reasons, all of the purposes, and I do not know everything about the Lord’s timing. With Nephi, you and I can say that we “do not know the meaning of all things” (1 Nephi 11:17). But some things I absolutely do know. I know we are spirit sons and daughters of a loving Heavenly Father. I know the Eternal Father is the author of the plan of happiness. I know Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. I know Jesus enabled the Father’s plan through His infinite and eternal Atonement. I know that the Lord, who was “bruised, broken, [and] torn for us” (“Jesus of Nazareth, Savior and King,” Hymns, no. 181), can succor and strengthen “his people according to their infirmities” (Alma 7:12). And I know one of the greatest blessings of mortality is to not shrink and to allow our individual will to be “swallowed up in the will of the Father” (Mosiah 15:7). "

I just want to add my testimony to his, I know with all my heart that this is God's eternal plan of happiness, and I know that he loves his children. I am so grateful to get to serve him by serving those children. 

Also, go read this talk it's AMAZING. that we might not shrink by elder Bednar 

Onward, ever onward. And remember not to shrink. 

Sister Jones 

sister McEwen...I mean Dakota.....my trainer 💛💛

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Miracles, mountains, MLC and lots of other cool things...

What a week!

I got to go on an exchange with Sister Woolsey, who just came out this transfer!  She is such a gem and is already such an amazing missionary.  It was fun, once again, we just did a TON of knocking on doors and such.  We found a few potentials, now the trick is getting in to see them. :) 

We taught Riley again and he's doing pretty swell!  He didn't come to church even though he said he really wanted to, so that was a big bummer, but hopefully this week.  We invited him to be baptized and we'll be setting a date this week! 

We had our Mission Leadership Council meeting and man it was so enlightening and such a big slap in the face with a slice of humble pizza.  (my favorite kind of pizza btw) President gave trainings on becoming better teachers and we had some AWESOME revelation come and it was just amazing all around.  It was also my year mark and so many of my bff's from the MTC were there and it was just super cool to see how much we have all grown.  

We went to see a less active, Laurie, and her nonmember boyfriend, Steve on Friday night!  (oh and we totally biked there....trying to save on klicks so we're doing some biking in our area....:)) but it was INCREDIBLE!!  Sister Howard and I accidentally didn't have a lesson plan for them because we randomly had the inspiration to go see them, and we get in and Sister Howard looks at me like...what are we sharing?? and I just look at her like....i don't know whatever the spirit gives us!  In my head, I had thought of a specific mormon message, but didn't say anything yet.  As we started teaching them, we just got some of Steve's background and what not, and I look down at Sister Howard's ipad, and she had opened the same mormon message that came to my mind earlier!!!  #spiritofunity It was pretty cool.  We shared it and had an amazing lesson and the spirit just hit me so hard that we needed to invite them to take the lessons together and THEY ACCEPTED!!!  We're going back tonight. :) Pray for them please!

We got to volunteer at HERITAGE DAYS!!! which is the greatest thing ever, it happens annually and they have a ton of tents set up from different countries selling cool cultural things and the best part FOOD.  I ate a Jamaican beef patty which made me feel like a dragon because my mouth was ON FIRE.  but it was oh so good.  Canadians don't do spicy so it's a tender mercy when we can eat spicy food.  But we volunteered with the food bank and collect donations from people, I got to talk to some pretty awesome people and it was all in all a good day.  In the morning it POURED on us for about an hour, so that was an adventure.  

Aaaand yesterday we got to go to JASPER!!!!!!!!!!  the most beautiful place on the planet.  Okay, I don't know, but it was BREATHTAKING.  I haven't seem mountains in like....a whole year!!! I'll try to send some pics because man it was unbelievable. President lets each missionary go once while on the mission.  The Larsen's took us along with the Rainbow Valley sisters, sister Warr and sister Rasmussen. :)  I honestly just felt the spirit so strongly as we were overlooking the beauties of God's creation and it just made me so grateful.  

okay so i had this incredible epiphany in my studies the other day i just have to share!
I was reading Alma 36, where Alma is telling his son, Helaman, his conversion story and he just testifies so boldly of the atonement.  Before his experience, Alma had been one of the "most vilest of sinners".  After his soul has been "racked with eternal torment, harrowed up and racked with his sins," he says this,
"...in fine so great had been my iniquities, that the very thought of coming into the presence of my God did rack my souwith inexpressible horror. Oh, thought I, that could be banished and become extinct both soul and body, that might not be brought to stand in thpresence of my God, to be judged of my deeds."
After calling out to the Lord for his mercy...
 19 And now, behold, when thought this, could remember mpains no moreyea, washarrowed up by the memory of my sins no more.
 20 And oh, what joyand what marvelous light did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!
 21 Yea, say unto you, my son, that there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea,and again say unto you, my son, that othe other hand,there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy.
 22 Yea, methought saw, even as our father Lehi saw,God sitting upon his throne, surroundedwith numberless concourses of angels, in the attitude of singing and praising their God; yea, and my soul did long tbe there.
i had never realized how much Alma had to change so that after being horrified to go back into God's presence, he longed to be there.  Only the atonement can change a heart that way.  Only the atonement of Jesus Christ can change our desires, our behaviors, our natures.  I have come to find that using the atonement is not a one time thing, it's something we must do every single day, many times a day, so that we can progress in our Heavenly Father's great plan.  No matter how much we have already changed or haven't changed, the atonement is for each and every one of us.  I sometimes think that because i have already grown so much on my mission and have come so close to the Saviour that I don't need to progress anymore, but the reality of it is that "all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God,changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters;"

We all need a Saviour.  And we all have one.  I love this gospel with all my heart! Don't give up and remember that you have a Saviour who has already suffered for you to be able to return back into his presence, and for you to have eternal joy.  I know it!

Onward, ever onward.
Sister Jones  ❤