Monday, August 3, 2015

Last letter of the mission....

Hi Everyone,

So... how does it feel that I´m writing my last letter as a missionary? A little weird. It hasn´t all sunk in that in three days I´ll be back in my home and native land. That the majority of the people around me will be speaking English.

It´s been a privilege to be a servant of the Lord here in Veracruz. In Ojo de Agua, Nogales, Primero de Mayo, Jardin and Zaragoza. I´ve seen many miracles here...even in my short time in Zaragoza and I know that we are only instruments of God, nothing more.

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 ; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.  Alma 26:12

I can´t repeat enough the words of Ammon. Was it tough? Absolutely. Did people reject to hear this glad message? Every Day. Was I free from illness, Haha...nope.  Brother Laycock wrote in my little ' byebook' before I left that a mission would start out as the hardest thing I´d ever do and become the most rewarding thing I´ll ever do. He´s right.

I left Edmomton knowing only' hola',' adios',' como estás' and 'aguacate'. When I got to the mission, I cried many nights because I couldn´t understand why I was here. I couldn´t speak the language. I couldn´t understand what people were telling me. I felt lost.

 Now, Mexico has become a part of me. A part I can never take back. I´ve met amazing people here, been able to feel the love that God has for His sons and daughters. And trust me.... He loves us SO MUCH!!! Never ever doubt that.

He´s been able to help me a lot. I´m still the same girl, the same Tessa Marie...but He´s been able to help me how He sees me and how I can help His sons and daughters even more. That´s what I strive to do.

When I was 15 I wrote down my dream in a paper cloud for our grade nine farewell that I wanted to change someone´s life for the better.  My Heavenly Father has let me be a part of that. Him...guiding me along to the people that especially needed Him. I know He´s got a lot more in store for me, and sometimes the future frightens me, but right now I´m feeling pretty calm. So...let´s do this.

I love you all. Thanks for supporting me throughout all this time and I´ll see you in the Bearspaw Chapel at  1 pm August 9 as I report my mission. All of my friends and family are welcome!

Para Siempre,

Hermana Tessa Marie Jones

Misión México Veracruz
Tessa in the missionary training center March 2014  

Tessa in the number one spot on the board, meaning next to go home 2015
 March 2014-August 2015

Monday, July 27, 2015

My missionary family

Hi Everyone,

So opening an area is interesting. We´re really reopening it because there were missionaries in it before. But... we don´t have an area book in our house so we don´t really know a whole lot about our area. Basically the Elders have been giving us some tips about a few members because they worked in that area before. It´s pretty small and we´re trying to go around and visit the members so we can gain their confidence and we´re trying to find the less actives. One of them we found has been less active for 20 years and he came this Sunday! The ward is so small, and we only had 40 people come this Sunday. That´s a lot smaller than the branch I was in.

 The assistants came to the ward and one of them helped with the blessing of the sacrament and a visitor helped pass the sacrament. So... yep. What was nice is that we were able to get to know some of the members in the ward.

 It´s a little difficult when this past week we didn´t know a whole lot of members, not knowing who the recent converts are ... basically not having an area book. An area book is a missionaries map.  We asked for it in the mission offices but one of the Elders said it wasn't a helpful area book so ... we continue without one. a ni modo.

On Wednesday we didn´t have anybody to eat with so... we ate with Elder and Hermana Willingham! They took us to this restaurant called Rock & Burger... and my burger and horchatta were super yummy.  It was fun to go out and eat with them. They really are like the grandparents away from home. Hermana Willingham likes to say that we are cousins because her mom was a Jones. She said she has ancestry from Wales.

Even though it´s a little difficult here, we try to make it fun. Yesterday I was thinking what a blessing it was to be where we are. We´ve got an awesome district leader who cares about us, as well as the zone leaders... and being in the area of the mission offices, we´ve got the assistants and secretaries.  We´re basically surrounded by a whole bunch of brothers ... because when you´re a missionary, your family kind of grows.

This is my second last email as a missionary.... so weird. Not all of it has quite sunk in yet. Yesterday I basically said goodbye to one hermana who helps out us missionaries and I´ve grown to love her dearly.

Sorry I don´t have photos this week. My cable went missing a few weeks ago and I don´t have an adapter today.

Take care Everyone!

Hermana Jones

Monday, July 20, 2015

Opening a new area

Hey Everyone,

Hold up, I´ve still got 3 weeks almost. But I´m excited for these last three weeks. I´m in Veracruz now (it´s what I predicted) and I´m opening an area! I´m opening this area with.... Hna Casabal!!!! My companion after Hna Jensen in Nogales. So it´s sweet because she´s cool and we get along. I think Gramma will be excited to hear this part, we share the ward with the senior couple missionaries. They´re pretty excited to share the ward with us.  We´ve heard good things about it, so that´s good.  We´re in the area of the mission office.  The chapel is right in front of it so that´ll be nice and handy.

My picture is the first one up now. It´s craazy!!!  And... one of my baptisms made it to a picture frame in the mission offices! Happiness right there!

I´m super tired right now.  I tried sleeping on the bus but didn´t have too much success there. It was my last bus ride in the ADO of the mission!  Hna Rodriguez and I (she´s going to train) were the only sisters among a bunch of Elders for what seemed like a long time but was only maybe 20 minutes.  I saw Hna Jarquin and she´s doing great.  There´s this other hermana from Chile and she´s so sweet and she always says in English ´´I love you!´´ That I saw too. She´s feeling a little sick so I´m sure prayers for her would be great. Hermana Amestica is her name.

So....this last week in San Andres was a good one. We found double the amount of new people that we found last week. Among these people we found this cute older couple. I started talking with the viejita (the older lady) to ask her the name of the street we were on and we told her we were mormon missionaries and asked if we could help her carry her little bag of groceries to which she gratefully agreed.  She´s 79 and her husband is 81 but they seriosuly look 10 years younger. They accepted a baptism date and wanted to go to church, but the sad part is that when they we came back the next day she told us that her sister in Mexico City was sick and they had to take care of her so they couldn´t come to church with us.  They were super sad about that.  Hna Rodriguez said she´d keep me up on  newa with them when I get home.

Something Hna Rodriguez said this week ´´This is the  area where I´ve worked most with the members. Everyone reading this, you don´t know how much your help means to us missionaries. If you sacrifice one hour of your day to go out to a visit with us... it means so much!

So, here´s to a new adventure and a new area. I´m super excited to see what happens these last few weeks I have here.

Love you all,

Hermana Jones

Monday, July 13, 2015

Still in beautiful San Andres

Hi eveyone,

Greetings from beautiful San Andres. I´m hungry because I forgot to eat lunch. Or really... I didn´t want to do anything because my feet were tired from walking up 254 stairs in El Sato de Eyiplantla. I know I shouldn´t complain, I´m a missionary.  Even though we have super powers, there´s a limit to them sometimes.

We gave talks in Sacrament Meeting yesterday.  I didn´t know until the branch president's secretary asked if we were ready for our talks.  I said ´´what???´´  So, I prepared something while my companion and Elder Hoffman were giving their talks. So....even though it was completely last minute and my only points I had were scripture references... it went pretty good. And...I went a little bit over. Sorry. It was short in my mind. I promise I won´t do that to the High Council speaker when I get home.   And my talk was in Spanish.  I hope I can give my homecoming talk in English without messing up and speaking spanglish.

  President wants us to do divisions 2 times a week with the members.  I already mentioned that J. was going to do divisions with us. was a great day. J. was contacting like a missionary. She was  awesome to teach with. When we split off I worked with J. and we had a lesson with one investigator named E. We taught him the plan of salvation (his mom died 3 months ago).  While I was teaching a principle, J. was reading in the pamphlet of the things it said and when I finished speaking, she would automatically take over from where I was teaching, and taught as if she wasn´t just a recent convert of a few days.  I´d say she was a missionary.  When we left the lesson she told me that before we came to her house she was praying that Heavenly Father would help her to say the right things, and said she felt He was there in the lesson with E. She wants a year to pass by so bad so she can be a missionary and she was asking me when someone can recieve their patriachal blessing.

One day when we went to visit R, he told me that he wanted me to leave a photo of me before I leave to put it up in his family photos because he said he considers me as one of his family.  That was so touching to hear that. He was ordained to the priesthood this Sunday!

Some people just aren´t listening to us or not taking in importance to what the gospel has to offer them.  That´s a little frusterating. But I can´t lose hope to find those chosen. They exist! I´ve found them before and I´ll find them before the plane home!

Elder Hoffman and Elder Pantuso have been amusing themselves in counting down how little time I have left. I got a little cold this week and asked the Elders to give me a blessing (I rested for a day, but I need to continue working)   Elder Hoffman asks me ´´why are you getting sick? Oh.... it´s because you´re old and you´re about to die´´.   Mission terms. Because your mission is your life and when you finish your mission you die as a missionary).  I know it´s all in good terms. They´re good guys. But when I was walking with my companion I asked ´´why do they have to do that?´´  She says to me ´´don´t worry about it, it´s just their way of saying they´re going to miss you here´´

When we had divisions on Friday, Hna Fletcher was telling me something that President said in a leaders council. That more than baptisms, a successful mission is one where you´ve had many spiritual experiences... I´ve experienced a ton. These two that I shared of J. and R.  are part of those experiences.  And... we got to see the baptism of an 85 year old man of the Elders in Santiago. They did the baptism in our chapel because over there they have a prayer house and ours has hot water. It reminded me of Gregorio. 99 years old and was open to listen to us and make a covenant with God.

We´re here on this earth to have spiritual experiences and make covenants with God.


Hermana Jones

Monday, July 6, 2015

Special prayers requested.....

Hola a mis papas, hermanos, abuelos, tios, amigos, conocidos ... todos que lean mi blog,

Este... I´ve got a month. Today. My companion asked me what hymn I wanted to sing today and I chose " El Fin Se Acerca."  I don´t know what it´s called in English.    Hna Rodriguez asked if I changed in my character from when I first arrived and I wasn´t sure what to answer.  When we met the STLs for Nanciyaga today, I asked them. Hna Fletcher was saying that I´m the same character but a lot less fearful and more confident. Well...coming from my very first street contact to now I would agree with her.

And.... I am going back to school in the fall!!! For this I am very excited. You all know how much I LOVE being a missionary but I´ve missed school. It´s a little new because I´ve changed my degree to be a SPANISH / ESL teacher. least at the end of one amazing adventure I get to start another one.

Jessica already has a calling. She´s going to be the 2nd councilor in the Primary. She´s not entirely sure what it consists of but she is very excited to have a calling.  Tomorrow we´re going to do some divisions with 2 members in the branch and she´s one of them.

We found a few new people this week but none of them were able to come to church this week. Two of them already had plans to go visit their family in the prison. Their names are M. I., E., A. and E.... like E. in "Frozen. " When we saw E. she said that she loves hymns because it fills the emptiness she has.  We  said.... this message can help you fill this emptiness!

We´ve been working hard with our converts. R. has said that he´s been having trouble with his faith, so one day we decided to read with him the story about when Peter starts walking to Jesus and I asked him what he would do if he was in Peter´s position. It was super cool because he totally put himself in Peter´s position and it really helped him. He didn´t go to church the past two weeks because he was sick, but he came this Sunday and that made us very happy!

One thing we work on with the new converts and investigators is the " My Family"  booklet for Family History.  We started it with A. this past week and he got super excited when he started filling it out. The other day when we left from seeing E. we went to see A. because he lives near by and his mom said ´´he was excitedly waiting for you guys, but he had to leave.´´   The promise of Elias really is alive!

A new assignemnt President has given us is read the Book of Mormon again and this time focusing on the mini blocks in the chapters.Like...where there is a natural shift in the story and to think of the doctrine that can fit in them and write down 4 questions that can help us with teaching. Well.. this is what I thought of today when  I was reading. Lehi had to leave Jersulalem because it was so wicked and the people wanted to kill him. He also  had to leave behind a lot of stuff. Well, these days we need to be aware of where we are. Perhaps we find ourselves in dangerous situations. If we stay in these situations, we can be killed spiritually. So we need to be obedient like Lehi and leave behind the situation, including leaving behind things to us that may seem valuable at the time. Perhaps it could be friends, oppurtunities to be in a higher level of society. Many things. So let´s be brave and valiant like Lehi.

Last of all and something very important ... Please put Hna Rodriguez and her family in your prayers. Her dad had been super sick from diabetes for a long time and he passed away on Saturday. So... I´m trying to help my companion in the best way I can. She´s more worried about how her family is doing and says it´s easiest for her to work so she she can forget for a bit what´s going on at home, where she can focus on other people. But please... put her in your prayers.

Con Cariño,

Hermana Jones

Monday, June 29, 2015

6 weeks left

Hi Everyone,´s official. I´ve got little time left as a missionary and I´m not quite sure how I feel. I´m coming home August 6th.
We had interviews with President this Friday and he said to me ´´Hermana Jones, you´ve got 6 weeks left. These last six weeks I want you to work harder than you ever have in your mission. You´ve done a really good job, and before you leave I want you to give it all you´ve got.´´

He also told me that most likely I´d finish my mission in the pórt. And...I´ve got mixed emotions in that párt too. Because there´s a part of me that wants to finish my mission in the port too.

Other news...I have another companion. Hna Palafox had to go to the port because her knee was really bothering her. My new companion is Hna Rodriguez. She just came from Nogales. So...she´s been updating me on how everyone´s doing. So... that´s kind of fun.  She´s 26 years old and she´s from el Distrito Federal. She just turned 8 months in the mission yesterday.

This week has not been normal at all.

Monday is always a little crazy. Seriously... Monday is never a restful day. It´s a lie.

Tuesday we started the day in divisions. But that ended up quickly because Hna Palafox´s knee was really bugging her. So after lunch Hna Kind and I went back to the house and I started making a bunch of calls so Hna Palafox could stay with a sister and for another sister to go out and work with me.

Wednesday, we were in the middle of a lesson and then President calls us to say that Hna Palafox has to go to Veracruz and we needed to go on Thursday.  Then in the evening at our English class, Jessica came and told us that she wanted to get baptized on Friday, so Elder Hoffman had a baptism interview with her. After English class we went to buy the bus tickets.Hna Palafox said she couldn´t leave without buying a memela, so we bought Memelas.

Thursday we left early morning to Veracruz with Hna Rodriguez waiting for us. We had to wait 3 hours for the next bus to San Andres.  Thursday is weekly planning here so we did our weekly planning in the bus place.

 Friday we had interviews with President,  and also Jessica´s baptism.  After Jessica got baptized, President told her to come and meet him. So that was cool.

Oh...and then Saturday  was crazy because this whole week my ear had been bothering me, and the drops weren´t working.  I want to a pharmacy doctor and he told me to go to a specialist but told me it would be super expensive. So...we decided to go to the clinic to just ask a few questions .... and in the end the specialist fixed me up for free.

So.... does that sound crazy or not?  I seriously hope this next week is a lot more sane.

Keep being awesome!

Hermana Jones

Monday, June 22, 2015

Thoughts for the week.......

Hi everyone,

This week we celebrated Rodrigo´s birthday. He turned 52. He said he never before really celebrated his birthday so we decided to celebrate it. We bought him cake with candles and a few decorations and sang to him. He was well pleased. I tried sending some pictures but this computer I´m using today doesn´t want to send pictures.

We also had Alan´s baptism on Saturday!!!! Something that was nice is we invited some less actives to come and assigned them to give a little thought. One of them was a teenager and he stayed a little after because there was this dancing activity that he participated in. And the other one came for the first hour to church on Sunday.

We found some new less actives!  One of them  is a nurse. This nurse was actually calling after us when we were walking down the street so we turned around and she told us she was a member that hadn´t gone to church in two years.  We visited with her and she´s pretty cool. She gave us a referral, so we after we went to visit this referral, and at the end thinking we had a new investigator , she told us she was a member.

 Yesterday in Gospel Principles we learned about the 12 different spiritual gifts. Something the teacher said made me really think. God gives each of us gifts and it´s important that we recognize these gifts.  Once we recognize the gifts, it´s important that we use them and build them. If we ever neglect or reject these gifts that God gave us, he´ll take them away. It´s like the parabol of the talents. There were the two men  that were given talents who worked hard on gaining more. And the one who hid his talent was reprimanded because all he did was hide it. So.... we should find our talents and gifts that God gave us and use  them for good.

Sorry for the short letter. The internet kept crashing today and I couldn´t send photos.

Love you all
Hermana jones