Monday, August 25, 2014

Surprise transfer

Hello Todos!

So... I'm writing from the city of Orizaba. I promise I'm not joking. I was in Veracruz with my two companions, Hermana Korzenowski and Hermana Jarquin.  Sometimes there are special transfers, and this one involved me. We were walking to our comida when the President's assistant called me and told me "Disculpe" (I'm not sure the best word to translate that into English)" but you are going to Oriziba tomorrow and you're going to be companions with Hna Jensen.'  For some reason...I wasn't entirely shocked. I had a feeling I would stay in Orizaba this transfer.  I'm in a totally different part, a lot more into the valley of the mountains,so it's a lot cooler here than where I was. It's called Nogales.  I'm in the same district as Hna DeFriez. And Hna Orr  is in the zone. So...I´m in the Zone of Orizaba. Or Orizaba Zone...but it sounds weird to say it like that cause it´s backwards in Spanish.

Monday Night...I did a round of goodbyes. I wasn't able to see everyone I wanted as they didn't all live in the same area, but it was a night of goodbyes , and with them, I could tell that I was able to make some kind of impact in the lives of these people.  If people are going to miss you, it means you did something right. Something I found endearing... We were at one members house, and she said  to me 'keep safe'. Why did i find it endearing? As  missionaries, we use usted (formal you) for everyone and people say that to us. She said 'cuidate' informal,  not `'cuidase'. Cuidate is something you would use for your friends or your kids'. So...that felt good..

 When I arrived in Veracruz, I was able to see Hna Orr, Furner, and Fletcher at the big bus station.  Hna Fletcher is training now. Hna Furner is out in the Tuxtlas. They're all doing well.
So...if I cant share everything, because I want to write a lot, I want to share one experience from Veracruz. Hna Korzenowski left her bank card for the mission at the bank machine on Monday. She didn´t realize it until Wednesday, so she phoned the assistant incharge of money and he was going to put her money into my account.  Thursday  when were walking to comida,  this young man came up and asks hna Korzenowski 'is your name (her actual name)´ Hna k 'yes, but in this time i'm hna korzenowski`  He then said,  "I  have your bank card.  I  found you on facebook and sent you a message but got no response.  So here`s your card`  Hna K was saying that they are almost never on this road, and this man...he didn't even live in the area. His work was around there for the day. Coinidence? No. Another solid evidence that God exists and cares about us.

So...apparently this area is really big as well. I hope I`'ll be able to know it well,and better than when I had to lead the area of Ojo in surprise. Hna Jensen is awesome. She's already told me a bunch about her friends and some of her life.  She's been a little stressed lately about some things from before I came. Saturday morning the STL's made a random visit to see what we need.  We found that  a little odd at first, as now it's Hna Zarate and Hna Terry, and Hna Terry was just recently companions with Hna Jensen, so she knew what the house needed.  Hna Jensen was still a bit stressed that morning and the STLs could tell. So Hna Zarate said ´'do you want to do some divisions today?`'  We decided we would. The STL's went to make a quick visit to some other hnas before we did divisions for the day. Hna Jensen went with Hna Zarate to their area and I was working with Hna Terry.  They just started English classes, and they`re on Saturdays.   Hna Terry and I taught our student how to sing  "I am a Child of God  in English. The day with her was really cool. She's an awesome hermana. But why did they visit us if Hna Terry was just at the house?  The STL's were waiting for a bus to take them to the hna`s that lived a little bit farther than us. But...the bus just wasn't coming so they decided they would take a bus to our area and connect with another bus that would take them to the other hna's area.  They thought to drop us a visit on the way.  Hna Jensen told me that today what Hna Zarate told her. Why didn't the bus come in the time they were waiting for it? Who knows...but what I do know...  they needed to visit us. They needed to help Hna Jensen with her needs that I wasn't able to help her with in that moment.

Hna Jensen is awesome. She's from Utah. In a small little town behind a mountain  that's by Lake Utah...or something like that. We've already established that I'm coming to visit her when I´m done and watch all these musicals that I've never seen. Well...I was already making a plan to visit Utah with almost all my of MTC district that lives there.  She was in musical theatre in High School.  She also has an amazing singing voice.
Hna Jensen just told me that she got an email from her mom asking for Hna Jensen to serve on jury duty.  She's s a little too far from Utah to do that,.

Time is up!
And I love you all!
Love the gospel!

Hna Jones

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Off to Veracruz

                                                                                                       Aug 18, 2014

My third transfer here in the Mexico Veracruz Mission is over. So... what is happening now?

Just like people guessed here... I'm off to Veracruz. To the Mocambo Zone and in the Costa Verte ward. Hna Orta has served in that ward and says that the people are wonderful! This zone also happens to be in the area of temple, and I hear it is beautiful and HOT!  Also... I'm going be in a trio. I already know of one ofthe hermanas I'll be with but I don't know the other one.

This week has been one full of emotions, because we knew changes were coming

Monday night, we had FHE|Birthday Party for Hna Garcia at the house of Hno and Hna Nadales. Also attending were Hno and Hno Herrera, Hna Lidia,and Abi. It was a fun time.

Tuesday was our last district class of the transfer. Elder Boyd talkd about the importance of working with members.  Then he asked if we could all bear a little testimony of what we learned this transfer. So follow that spirit with singing" God Be With You Til We Meet Again",and then this beautiful prayer by Elder Rodriguez. We were crying. I have never been so open about the shedding of my tears until I came out here. Hna Garcia and I, after his prayer, were just crying to each other about how much we love this district and how we've learned so much.  Meanwhile everybody disapears and then comes back with a birthday cake for Hna Garcia.

Tuesday we spent the afternoon in Portrerillo, where S. and K. live. We found S. on the street and he told us that he found his ex wife! They had been separated for 20 years. We are so excited for him and K! So now they're going start the divorce process and their goal is to be baptized in September! Hna Garcia said to me 'They are our miracles' and they really are. Thursday night we had a lesson with them. Before we went to their house we stopped by Pedro's house to see if he could accompany us. P. is a 22 year old convert who is preparing for a mission. He wasn't there, but we told his mom where we would be headed. So...we get to S. and K's house, and as we were going to walk through the door we saw P. running up the hill of the street to come and help us out. Having P. at our lesson was awesome. We taught the first part of the plan of salvation and P. added a powerful testimony to it. Here's something I want to share that will always be special to me. So... Hna Garcia was talking, and the way we teach is that when someone guards their silence,we know it's the other person's turn to talk. She doesn't like looking at the other person to start talking. But this time...she looked at me , so I just started talking about what was coming to my head. It was basically this.... we all have different experiences in this life, personal to all of us. Mine are different than someone else in the ward,and so on. We may not understand why we have the experiences we have, but what's important to remember is that God knows why. God knows why each person passes through different things, different challenges. While I was speaking...there was this look on S.'s face... that these words coming from my mouth were so personal tohim.  These words from my mouth.... were not my words. Before I started speaking I wasn't even sure what I was going say. These were our Heavenly Father's words to S. I was just His mouthpiece.

Wednesday... in the evening was a ward activity. Goodbye to Elder Boyd and welcome back to Samuel Blanco,the stake president's son who came back from his mission in New Jersey. It was a spiritual night of testimony.

Wednesday and Thursday for part of the day we were at a member's house from Escamela Ward. We were recruited by the Escamela missionaries to help them with this 'obra' for a ward talent night. It was a story about a pair of missionaries who were having trouble finding someone to teach. They went to a member's house to see how they were doing and were able to find out there that this girl's mother died, and she needed a messageof hope. So while the missionaries are there teaching her (played by me and hna garcia),there's her mom in the spirit world getting taught up there. And the very last verse in Malachi...about the children's hearts turning to theirfathers. The message was... the importance of this work, that there's hope... not just forthe people here on earth  but for the people who didn't get the chanceto hear this message on earth. They aren't lost. This was done Friday night.

Sunday, the musical number went well. A recent RM told me that her companion sang " Come Thou Fount" all the time and she really liked it.  Other members told us they liked it as well. Elder Boyd gave his last was excellent.  In the evening the Stake President invited us Ojo de Agua and Escamela to his house for a goodbye dinner to Elder Boyd and Elder Rodriguez. We still hadn't got news about transfers. Elder Figureoa was on the phone a bit getting news about the transfers...and when he was done he and Elder Rodriguez went into another room. So there we are...all waiting to hear the news. Everytime I heard a door open... I would look over and it would be a false alarm.  And finally... Elder Rodriguez comes out to bring the news. Other than he and Elder Boyd going home, I'm traveling the farthest. Another Hna Garcia is taking my place, and Elder Dial who was in our zone but a different area is moving into Ojo and takingthe place of district leader. Hna Orta and Hna Kind stay together for another transfer.

Next time I write I'll be in the deep heat. Here's to hopes I'll be able to survive it well.

Les Quiero

Hermana Jones

Monday, August 11, 2014

Survival Cookies and STLs

Hi Everybody!

I don't know about you, but Hermana Garcia´s feeling 22. It´s her birthday today! We're gonna go out to a buffet with Abi a little later to celebrate.

So the pictures from last week and the baking. Hermana Cuquis has been called as the new Relief Society president. I`m not sure if I've said that already or not. But she wants to help the Hermanas with their 72 hour kits. She asked us hermanas to help her out in teaching the hermanas of Relief Society how to make emergency survival that's what it is. They´re a no bake kind...but they were still super fun to make. Two different days this past week we had a activities in how to make them and other emergency preparedness stuff.

We had our last zone class of the transfer on Tuesday. Last zone of the mission for Elder Boyd, Elder Rodriguez, and another Elder in our zone. Tuesday there was a lot of rain and we were NOT prepared. We were on the bus to visit the H family (the recent converts I always talk about). So when we got off we were just running for cover, getting soaking wet on the way. And I'm just like ... ¨All I need is my shampoo".  We ran to this little shop to buy some garbage bags for our backpacks and then off to visit the H's. The past week, the mother of Hermano Lucio H has been in the hospital, so it was just Lucio and Rebeca. Hermana Rebeca lent us her sweaters as we were soaked. With that visit, we went to buy some ingredients for hot chocolate and Hermana Rebeca made us this yummy soup with fried up tortillas and frijolis, and the hot chocolate. She told us that visit  ¨If you two need anything, a bite to eat or whatever...con confianza (I´m not really sure what we would use in English with this phrase), come!¨ It just really goes to show that we really have her trust. They're also not afraid to ask questions in which they still have a few confusions in the church. 

On Thursday we went to visit a member and her less active daughter. She cuts hair, so when we went to go visit her she was cutting hair of.... and old investigator of mine and Hermana Orduña. V. And I just felt bad because he was from the beginning of my time here and I couldn´t recognize him without his hat. And at the time... I barely understood Spanish. So I knew about him and what he's living with, but the details not so much. And Hermana Garcia's trying to get to know him a little better. And he keeps referring back to Hermana Orduña and how he found she was really good. And Hermana Garcia´s just like ¨I know, Hermana Orduña and I are different. She loves to talk, me not so much. But however we are, we as missionaries have the same prupose.¨ I just felt so bad for her, not to mention the aniversary of her dad´s death was this past week. So she's been through a lot this past week.

We ordered a pizza this week to celebrate our 5 and 11 months. I can´t believe it´s been 5 months already.

Friday I was companions with Hermana Kind for the day.  We were off to Veracruz to update our visas so we can legally stay in the country. So it was fun to get to know her a little better and talk about our lives.  She told me some pretty places in Georgia to visit. I want to travel to southern United States one Georgia will be one of my stops.  In Veracruz, we were doing the visa thing with other hermanas. Most of them came within the past one or two transfers. One of them was Hermana Atkin. She's the one my companions and I met while we were in the MTC and she already had her call. I had been thinking about her and wondering when she´d be coming. She was in the MTC when the mission presidents were getting trained, so she told us that she got to meet Presidente Cordova while she was there. And they had this special devotional where 6 General Authorities were present.

I also met an hermana from El Salvador. Like me, she is pioneer... in which she is the only one from El Salvador in the mission. Another hermana from Honduras. They both told me that even though they´re native spanish speakers, they´ve had to learn new words.  Some words they use at home have a different significance here and vice versa. 

Also there ... Hermana Arandia. She was a sister training leader in charge of my area for my first transfer. I saw her probably only twice in that transfer. But she was SO excited to see me! She came and gave me this big hug and asking how I´m doing and all.  She´s an STL in Veracruz with Hermana Fletcher's trainer.  Hermana Kind was talking to her while we were in the consulate while I was talking with some of the other hermanas. Hermana Arandia was in Escamela for one of her areas. Hermana Kind has been a little discouraged as well. Something Hermana Arandia told her is she didn´t even have baptisms in her areas for her first 5 months. She has one more transfer left and she's not entirely sure what to do after. But she's not too worried, she knows that if she trusts in the Lord, everything will work out how it should.

I´m out of time, but there´s one thing I want to say before I sign off. With these examples I´ve had of sister training leaders. I want those qualities. Through my experiences in the mission, I want to live the mission so that if I ever get the oppurtunity to be one... that I´ll feel ready and that I can really help the hermanas that would be under my care.

Take Care Everyone!

Les Quiero
Hermana Tessa Marie Jones

Monday, August 4, 2014

How to be a Good Companion

Hi Everyone,

It was a better week for me. No, we didn't get a bunch more investigators or commit anyone to baptism. But I learned a lot.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before, but I love and appreciate the priesthood and for those who are worthy to hold it. My companion and I both got blessings from Hermano Hernandez Tuesday morning after a little earth tremble. It was the first one that Hna Garcia ever experienced and she was pretty freaked out. So Hermana and Hermano Hernandez phoned us to see how we were, and came over to our house and Hermano Hernandez offered to give us blessings. I wasn't going to refuse. In this mission I´ve learned and experienced even more how powerful the priesthood is. Things that were said in the blessing were things I really needed to hear as I've been a bit discouraged lately. The Lord really truly is mindful of us.

And this week alone I've learned a little more about how missions really are inspired. We're not just here to inspire those that aren't members, those in the ward, and those less active. But we as missionaries are here from each other too. I received a letter from Hermana Kind on Tuesday and I want to share something she wrote me.  'This mission is just as much for you as it is for the people you teach. You have the area, experience, companion, ward, district, zone, etc. for a reason. Maybe we won't see for a while or maybe tomorrow we will, but the point is that God has a plan. And just as it is for Hermana Jones. People she needs to meet, experiences that will grow her faith and testimony, an area or companion she needs to love.' She also included in her letter that I've helped her in ways she can't describe in English or Spanish. So...I am helping people. Sometimes I don't see it, but I am.

So tonight we have an appointment with this guy and we're not sure what to think. A member really wants him to learn, and he's really methological and confused about a lot of things because he reads according to the wisdom of man, not God. Hermana Garcia was saying yesterday that she wanted to talk to Elder Rodriguez (one of our zone leaders), who really does help us understand things better whether in zone classes or district classes. Last night, he phoned us. He told us that he was reading in his Preach My Gospel and he got the impression he needed to call us and share what he learned. 
Zone leaders are inspired for their zone, district leaders for their district, sister training leaders for the sisters in their area. They KNOW when we need their help. I've had plenty of help from all of them this week. And of course, my mission president. So missions are inspired. They're all inspired by God.

Wednesday we went to the Stake Centre in the central of Orizaba for our every 3 month interview with the president. The STL's were there, though they were done their interviews. So after Hermana Garcia went out with Hermana Zarate for a bit, Hermana Zarate asked if she could borrow me. So keep in mind that I was still struggling with inner struggles here. She said to me 'I know you're not happy right now. I can feel it.'  And we talked for a bit, I told her my concerns, and how I was feeling. And she gave me some words of council, and some words of advice. And shortly after we came back, it was my turn for my interview with Presidente Cordova. He said that he's proud that me, the only Canadian, is here on this mission. He's been our president for only a month now but I could already feel his love for us as missionaries. When I asked him how I can be a better companion, he said this to me. 'Love. That doesn't mean just giving your companion a hug. It means caring for her and worrying about her.'

So we're late, but Thursday is when we really started talking to each other as people rather than just missionaries. People as Tessa and Alma. And with that, we feel our companionship is a lot stronger. It's sad to think of all the time we've lost in the mission. But I have so much more love for my companion now. 

On Friday, I decided to put my bug spray on for once. Hermana Garcia loved the smell of my organic bubble & bee spray so I let her put some on too. I told her a week before that I'm a hippie, because of my shampoo bar and the organic things I have and stuff at home. So we were in a taxi to one of the neighborhoods we were to visit. The taxi driver said to us "Are you two wearing perfume? because whatever it is, it smells good." Hermana Garcia told him "'s organic bug spray. We're hippies." And I'm just like 'but we're not just hippies, we're also missionaries.' so we had a little lesson with him as he drove us where we needed to go.

That night...we ordered ourselves a pizza. Well...Elder Boyd did for us and we paid him back. So while we were eating our pizza on my bed Hermana Garcia says to me 'I've always wondered what it was like. Just eating some pizza and hanging out with your friends. Now I know.'  Hermana Garcia....she hasn't had the best luck with people back at her home. Hermana Garcia and I aren't just companions, but now we're friends too. And these past few days I've enjoyed learning more about her life, her dreams, and her epiphany of why she is on the mission, why she's experienced the things she has in her life.  What she hopes for.

On Saturday, the four of us missionaries got to eat together at the house of Hermana L. As her house is a little farther than others in our area and when it's like that, we can eat together. Part of the walk there after the bus, was among fields of sugar canes with the mountains in the distance. Beautiful. To me, it was a special experience.  After  the meal and Elder Boyd sharing an experience, he told her we would all sing O My Father. It's one of my favoruite hymns, and after we finished the Spirit was so strong. Hermana L also asked if she could get a blessing. Elder Moreya gave it and it was such a beautiful blessing.

Yesterday we all ate at the Stake President's house for dinner. There we had spaghetti and meat sauce...which is the first time I have had spaghetti like that in the mission so it tasted heavenly. We found out that he served his mission in Veracruz, and at the time when men were serving for 18 months.   His wife is a wonderful piano player. 

Elder Boyd wants for us all to sing a musical number his (and most likely my last Sunday in the area). O My Father, in the tune of Come Thou Fount. In the middle of it we'll be singing a verse of Come Thou Fount. And at first Elder Boyd wanted all of us to sing an English verse...but we're taking pity on the companions of ours that don't know English. So essentially, for one verse, I'll be singing a duet. Never would I have imagined before the mission. But here, where we sing a lot ... you get more comfortable with our singing voice. Our practice went well, so I look forward to when we can sing it infront of the congregation.

It's another week of more learning. I'm studying lesson 2 of PMG this week for those that want to follow along.

Take care
I love you all.

Hermana Tessa Marie Jones