Monday, April 28, 2014

Birthday Week!

Hola Everybody!

Thanks to those who sent me birthday messages. Mission rules are that I can only email my family, so that is why I don´t respond to individual emails. I love you all! As for those asking about Dear Elders, Elder Boyd said they only come every three months. I haven´t received any yet. Those that were sent to the MTC after I left will get to me too, just really late. So my recommendation is to send snail mail to the mission office: 

Sister Tessa Marie Jones 
Mexico Veracruz Mission 
Apartado Postal 103
91700 Veracruz, Veracruz

Apparently my Spanish is getting better. I don´t notice it as much myself, but Hna. Cookies was saying this morning that she´s noticed me speaking more. Well, I try to speak more.  This morning I made some goals. This week I want to work on my past tense. Pretty sure Cookies is not how it is spelled, but that´s what it sounds like. Her daughter is leaving on a mission in July to another part of Mexico. That family is so nice. They come to our house often at night to drop off some food. They say that their house is also our house.  Mi casa es su casa.

Being on a mission is hard. I remember in an email from Sister Bates she said that the hard times were worth it for the good times. I have had some good times this week. To help practice my Spanish, Hna. Orduña has me in charge of sharing the scriptures at meals.  There was one time I had no idea what scripture to share. Nada. We try to share according to the family's needs. I said a short prayer in my head of what to share. I shared D&C 4:5-6. It´s part of what we recite at zone conferences.  The member we were with is a less active. She said she was touched by it.

The other day we went for comida (food) at another lady's house. Her granddaughter was there. She´s 10 and she wants to serve a mission, she was asking all these questions about missions and what we do. She was really sweet. According to her needs, I shared D&C 18:10,15,16. She even wrote the reference down.

When we are on the streets, that´s how we do contacting, which means Hna Orduña is contacting. Because I don´t know if I can do it yet. A lot of people accept the invitation to be taught. But of the ones we´ve tried so far, we haven't had the best of luck. So I'm hoping that we can find them again and share a message.

Taylor´s Birthday was on the 23rd, and Camrie´s was also on the 26th. I know Chelsea and Ryan had their Edmonton reception that day as well. So I hope all celebrations were wonderful! I thought of you all. My birthday... well the night before when Elder Boyd was phoning to know how we did for the day, he wished me an early birthday wish. 
Hna Orduña said "That´s not allowed. She´s my daughter so I should be the first to wish her a happy birthday."  She sang to me first thing in the morning, and I opened my gifts. I loved them! Thank you! The Elders phoned and sang happy birthday, and the other Hna´s in our district. And Hna. Cookies made me a cake! The Elders came over to help us eat it.
Hermana Jones' birthday cake!

Happy 20th!

That day, we went over to a home of less actives. They were converts and didn´t go to church for too long after. Their daughter was home. She´s college aged. She told us she didn´t have a testimony of The Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, the church. Hna Orduña shared 2 Nephi 3 with her. That chapter relates the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. Read it.  After she shared that, Hna asked if I had something to share. Before I opened my mouth, I thought I was going to say something similar to what I told Hna Orduña that morning in practicing how to teach. I bore testimony of how the BoM and the Gospel has helped me and my family. But with this member, I shared how I knew with a surety myself that the Book of Mormon was true.  Guided by the spirit.

We have this one investigator. Hna Orduña said he was complicated but didn´t really expand on why. I found out yesterday. He invites us over to teach him, and yesterday was the word of wisdom. He was asking why we shouldn´t drink coffee. I did my best to explain why. And I thought of John 3:15. If ye love my keep my commandments. I asked him if he loves God. Here is where it is complicated. He doesn´t believe God is a person, but more of an essence. So.. from that we (mostly Hna Orduña since I cant say a whole lot in Spanish) asked him why he invites us over if he does not believe in a God that watches over him, a God that has commandments so we can strive to live the best lives to return to Him. What our purpose was for Him. If any of us want to progress, we need testimonies. We need to build on our testimonies. I shared my testimony, and once again how I gained a sure testimony of the Book of Mormon (I´ll save that story for another week). I gave him a commitment to pray. Pray with a sincere heart, if God was there, and he was here to help him. 

That goes with my challenge to you all. If you are not sure you have an exact testimony of something ... pray about it. God hears us all and he will answer you.

Les Quiero!!!

Hermana Jones
Hermana Jones' desk.  It's cute.

Monday, April 21, 2014

White Milk & Bucket Showers


I am in Mexico!

The flight there was a bit long. Our plane to Veracruz got delayed an hour, so we didn't arrive until about 12. President Treviño met us there with his assistants.

Fun fact. Which is also quite cool. I am the first Canadian President has had. And I'm the fourth generation of non-Latina hermanas. I don't really know what that means. But it's new, I guess.

Missions. From this first week already, they are hard. I remember just after I received my call I was talking with Jessie and Brandon  Tanner. Brandon was saying that there were some days where you just wanted to cry. It has already happened for me. But, I know it is all worth it. I don't know Spanish and I just want to share the gospel with everyone, but it's hard when I don't know everything that everyone is saying.  Anyone who has thought of a mission but have doubted yourself. Stop it. I say that to myself as well.   Stop doubting. I don't speak Spanish well. But let's remember the prophets like Moses and Joshua. They didn't think they were powerful enough to lead God's people. They had doubts. Even the greatest people have doubts. But God will provide a way. He will give you the gift of tongues, whether that be in a different language or your own language.

I will speak Spanish better. I just have to remember that it takes time.

So I missed a lot. First night, the Hermanas slept in a hotel 5 minutes away from the mission home. It was so hot and humid! I didn't sleep with a blanket that night. The next day we had meetings with the assistants and secretaries of the president, Hermana Treviño, and we met our trainers.

Mine is Hermana Orduña. She's from another place in Mexico, I forget where. She barely knows any English, so it can be a little difficult to communicate. But I know this is where I will learn lots. Hna. DeFriez said that when her dad had a Mexican companion (he served in Mexico), he learned more Spanish than with his previous companion who was from the USA.

I'm in the Cordoba Zone. It's inner Mexico so it's not as humid and apparently one of the coldest places in the mission. Perfect for me. Speaking of zone, we had a zone conference my second day. I barely understood a thing. Funny thing, in my zone is Elder Dial. I found his blog and looked through it a little bit after I received my call.

My District: My trainer and me, Elder Boyd who is from Idaho,  and Elder Lopez (who is a huge joker and trickster) ...I forget where he's from. And two other Hermanas. Hna. Ledek, from the US and Hermana Zarate from Bolivia. So it's nice to have two English speakers in my district.

We go to members houses for lunch and to share a scripture. They are all so nice and the food is all good. I don't always know everything that I eat, but most times I do. The grossest thing I've had is white milk. Yuck. Last house I shared a scripture. Mosiah 4:9. I encourage everyone to read it.

I don't know too many of the investigators yet. When we planned to visit them, it almost never happened. But we had some investigators that got baptized on Sunday-- that's the day we have baptisms. They are so sweet! They said that they felt so happy after their baptisms. 

I've also met some less actives. One house has dogs and they are so cute.

My house. It does not have an oven so I can't make cookies. We have a hot plate though. We also use buckets for our showers. I actually love it. We heat the water in the buckets with some heater things. ... with that you can tell my English is really going down the drain.

For our Pday today, we went to this place that was part craft fair and part taking fun pictures. And I know I'm supposed to lock my heart, but today I fell for Superman. I hope this isn't too disjointed.


Hermana Jones

The Hermanas and two of their teachers at the MTC

The only picture we got from Mexico...

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I Still Hiccup

Hola todas las personas quien leer mis cartas,

Last week in the CCM. Less than a week. Wow. This week itself has been going by super fast. Are we ready? We're a little worried. We know enough Spanish to try to get a point across in our lessons. But we have SOOO much more to learn. I guess that's going to have to happen in the field. Remember before I left I was feeling every emotion? It's kind of like that. But I feel it more. So... I just have to put my trust in the Lord and remember that with Him I can do all things. Everyone should read Alma 26:12. It is my favourite scripture because it reminds me that our Heavenly Father strengthens us and with Him we can see miracles happen. Read the whole chapter. It's fantastic.

I've loved my time at the MTC...or the CCM as we call it here at the West Campus. Assuming that Devon Healey  is coming to the CCM, he is in for a treat. I remember one of the Elders back home said the CCM is a weird campus. It's not, it's the best. There are so many things here that you can't experience at the MTC main campus. You get to know the cafeteria staff a little better. The cafeteria is small here, whereas it's huge at the main campus. When I was in Vegas, one of the staff noticed and asked where I had been that day. You also get to say thank you when you hand your tray to the dish pit. It's all automatic at the main MTC.  You get to see the mountains every day when you walk from your residence to the classrooms.
You get the ducks. I love the ducks at this campus.  You ride The Ryde (the bus) to go to the temple and you have awesome drivers. Our favourite is Logan. He's an awesome hipster.  The teachers here are awesome.   Espeically mine.

Conference was amazing. We watched it at the main MTC so we were there for two days. I forgot my notebook in my classroom. But I am grateful for Elder Ballard's talk, the importance of follow up. We've been learning about making important committments lately. I try to do the committments that we extend to our investigators and see what I learn.

For our Sunday Night devotional, a 9 man acapella group from BYU came to sing to us. Vocal Point. They were so good! They had inspiring messages as well. To remember our purpose.

 On Monday I was in Vegas all day. It was tiring. It wasn't as exciting as it sounds. When we were outside taking a break at this institute, this guy came up to us Hermanas and started talking to us. I think it's because he saw a bunch of pretty girls from the distance. We told him we were missionaries, and he when he went back to his friends he basically told them 'never mind, they're missionaries'. We went to the consulate to take fingerprints for our visas as well as another picture and we got dropped off at the airport after. We were there at about 2:00pm. There were 11 of us. We ate our lunch/dinner at California Pizza Kitchen at the airport and I got a thai chicken pizza -- it was really yummy. Our flight was supposed to come at 6:40 but it got delayed until 8:25. So.... we didn't get back to residence until about 12:00. When I got home, I brushed my teeth and just went to sleep in my dress.  I didn't wake either of my companions up :).  I missed learning and being in the MTC that day.

Tuesday morning my zone was happy to see me, and I was happy to see them.  I hiccuped when Hna. Orr walked into the classroom and she said "I missed those hiccups."

We all LOVE our district. They are awesome. We both have our study periods at night, and they like to invite us to their classroom so that we can have a closing prayer together. I feel closer with them than I have the previous districts, so I'm excited for the missionaries that come in our zone after them.

I'm sorry that this letter is shorter than my previous ones. Sometimes it takes longer for me to collect everything that I want to say.  And I never get to say everything that I want to.

I'll end with this:

My companions needed a pep talk last night because of all the stress right now. As Senior companion, I took the lead in that. There are days that are awesome and that we love. There are also days that are so hard and we just want to go home and cry. But every day we grow a little more. We may not recognize it at that moment, but it happens. Think of your favourite scripture and why it inspires you, and each time you have a hard day, read that scripture and remind yourself why it means so much to you. I have grown a lot this past month, and I'm excited to see the growth that happens throughout my mission. One reason we are here on this earth is to grow and be perfected.

Until Mexico.

I love you all.

Hermana Jones
Just for you, Al. The candy cane skirt.

One of our elders and another elder from main we thought looked like him.

On the way back from to residence. Listening to Christmas music. I
actually liked listening to it.
I just needed chocolate.  It was a stressful night of language.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Guess Who We Saw?!

Hola Familia y Amigos!

So . . . a lot happened this past week. Where do I begin?!

So Hna. Furner's foot/ankle might be broken. On Friday we were late in getting out for gym, so people were trying to rush out of the doors. The doors to the gym are revolving doors. Hna. Furner was behind Hna. Fletcher, but she didn't know that. And Hna. Furner's foot got caught in the door. We're hoping it's nothing too serious and that she can come if not with us, if not then shortly after.

Speaking of going places, I'm going to Vegas on Monday for my visa stuff. Hermana. Bullock is going on that trip as well and we're excited about that. I love seeing her around campus! If we're not in earshot, we always wave to each other.

One thing I forgot to mention is that we have devotionals on Tuesday and Sunday nights.
We've been hearing from the quorum of the 70, and people that work with the MTC & missionaries. They're really good. There was this hustle about Sunday night, so we thought that maybe a general authority was coming. So... we made sure to get good seats. Like 20 feet away. However the screen showed that the speaker was Richard Elliot. We were disappointed it wasn't an apostle.  The name sounded familiar.  We figured out that he plays the organ for MoTab.  When he walked in, alongside him was David Archeleta. True Story. Not joking. Our district had a little fan-girl moment.  He barely got off his mission from Chile. He bore his testimony and sang a few songs. Voice of an angel. Be Still My Soul, Come Come Ye Saints. I didn't write down the last song. But, he sang the first 3 verses of it, and we sang the fourth verse with him. So...I have sung with David Archeleta. Along with a another few hundred people.

Sunday, said goodbye to the Elders in our zone that were leaving, and our Elder friends from another zone. The ones we played volleyball with. Both districts gave us so much candy. Including a lot of Reese's. Plus some items we're supposed to pass down to the Elders that come. We got them because there were only Hermanas in our district. But we get to sign them. So we're like... honorary Hermanas. Haha. Or something. They're gonna be awesome.

AND WE HAVE A NEW DISTRICT!!!! We found out on Sunday, and we've been so excited! They arrived yesterday. 4 elders and 5 hermanas. Ususally, the zone leaders and sister training leaders come in the Wednesday night for a little orientation. But since we only have an STL*, Hna. DeFriez and I were able to join her. One of the new Hermanas has lived in many different countries, as her dad works in the military. We think this new district is pretty awesome.

So...apparently our district is an example district on this West Campus. I'll explain. So, lately we've been having instructors coming in and observing our class and they are really impressed with us. We are involved in our learning, and we HSI** a lot. We probably speak 70-80% of Spanish in our classes. We were told two days ago that we'll be meeting the American Ambassador for Croatia. The Croation bound missionaries have been off and he's been an ambassador for Spain before, so he knows Spanish. He came in yesterday and told us that ambassadors come in the smooth things over with visas or something. So that they know we're not going on our missions to spread North American culture, but for a purpose. And we get to eat at Main Campus! Which we're also excited about. We're also meeting Elder Hinckley, President Hinckley's son.

Obedience Brings Blessings. Exact Obedience Brings Miracles.

General Conference is this weekend!!!! We are so excited!!!! We're told that as missionaries, through general conference we can receive a lot of revelation. We're also watching the women's broadcast when the Elders watch Priesthood. I encourage everyone, whether you're a member of this church or not... to watch it. For everyone to prepare questions for it and listen to the voice of prophets, seers, and revelators.

I can't believe how  fast time has been. It's already April. It's my birthday this month. What???

Amazing things always happen at the CCM. I love it here!

Hermana Jones

*We do not know what STL means 
**We do not know what HSI means 

Hermana Bullock!

Missionaries are great at sharing