Monday, May 12, 2014

Fw: Tough Decisions

Hellooo, everyone!
So as most of you could probably tell, I've been struggling here recently on my mission. I was pretty certain, though, that all I wanted to do was tough it out and serve the entirety of my mission. I was just going to grit my teeth and trudge on through. I felt like doing otherwise would be considered weak, so I wasn't even considering any other options.
My companions are really supportive, and Sister Joslin mentioned to me that I'm really not at peace as I am. I was pushing through at the cost of my own health, and even then, I still felt like all I was doing was dragging my companions down. It didn't feel like I was actually contributing anything to the mission, if anything, I was holding it back, so it wasn't like I was actually accomplishing any sort of great feat out here. Maybe that's just the adversary talking, but that's how I've been feeling. Sister Joslin mentioned to me that I shouldn't just not consider the option of going home. It wasn't giving up, really. And then my companions brought up the option of serving a service mission. I was thinking about it, but I still just couldn't seem to allow myself to accept that option.
Well, this last Sunday was fast Sunday, so I was fasting and praying. Then on Wednesday, I went to the temple. And I was praying about what I should do. And you know what? I felt peace. Peace that what I've given so far has been a sacrifice that is acceptable in the sight of the Lord. Peace that I've learned what I came here to learn. And peace that it's ok for me to go home now.
All I ask is for your support. I don't want you to be disappointed in me. I don't want you to convince me that I should stay on my mission, because I assure you that I've thought through all the worries, all the possibilities, and all the implications of the decision. This isn't an easy way out. If anything, choosing to go home is harder because I have to very suddenly figure out what I'm going to do with my life, and I really have no clue what to do.
The important part is I'm not giving up. No. I'm not just copping out because things got too hard. On the contrary, I love my companions. I love my area. This has been my best time I've had on my mission. And yet I still continue to struggle. As President Uchtdorf said, there are no endings. Only interruptions and new beginnings. I don't plan to end my mission just because I'm going home to Washington.
I also compare this experience to Abraham and Isaac, or to Zion's Camp. With Abraham, he was asked to sacrifice his only son. I'm sure Abraham was thinking the whole way up the mountain, "Do I really have to do this, Lord? Are you really going to make me follow through with this?" But the important part was that even though it was hard, he was still willing to do it. And the Lord didn't stop him until he was about to swing the knife. With me, I kept thinking, "Do I really have to serve my whole mission? Is this really what you want me to do?" and the answer I got was, "Yes, it is," and so I was pushing myself to do so and had committed myself to follow through, but now I've received the answer that it's not necessary, God was just seeing if I was willing to follow through.
And then I brought up Zion's Camp. Early on in the church, the saints in Missouri were going through strong oppression, so Joseph Smith received the revelation that they needed to go to Missouri and "Redeem Zion." So they organized a large group of men in Ohio and started to march towards Missouri, and on the way, they had a miserable journey filled with contention and problems. But they also saw many miracles. Then, when they were almost at their destination, Joseph Smith received the revelation that they needed to turn around and go home. A lot of people questioned why they had to go on the journey when they didn't even finish what they came to do, but they learned that the journey was there to refine them. I started my mission, I had problems, I saw miracles, and I'm now choosing to turn around and go home. But I would never take back the experiences I've had, because they refined me and allowed me to grow.
Anyway, I've been thinking long and hard about this. And I am at peace with my decision. I'm going to see my mission president later this week and talk to him. I'm not sure exactly when I'm going home. It could be next week, it could be three weeks from now. That's part of what I'm going to discuss with President Murdock. Thank you all for being supportive and understanding and for helping me on this journey. Thank you. I love you.
~Sister Richelle Jones

Monday, May 5, 2014

Fw: Life, the Universe, and Everything

Hey, everyone.
I don't actually have much of anything to talk about this week. No miracles or cool stories or anything. :/ Sorry. I actually have no idea what to write about for this week.
I've been sick but in a different way. But to be fair, so have my companions. We still went out almost every day this week and actually had quite a bit of success, but we didn't find anyone who was too horribly interested this week, and our teaching pool has gotten kind of thin, so while we are teaching quite a number of people, most of them are people we see on the streets or through knocking door-to-door and usually they let us talk for a little, maybe take a Book of Mormon, but aren't really interested in having us come back. Either that or the schedule a time for us to come back and they're no-shows. So. Yeah. It was one of those weeks I guess.
I don't really know what to say other than that. Um. Happy Cinco De Mayo. Yeah.
~Sister Richelle Jones

Monday, April 28, 2014

 I forgot to mention... On Monday for P-Day, we ended up going hiking up Deer Creek which was really pretty, so I got some cool pictures. Also, random story, while hiking, there was this Elder who was being a punk and had decided to climb some rocks just to show how cool he was. So I decided to show him up and climb the rocks, too. I succeeded. It was awesome. Maybe I was being a bit of a punk, too, but it was fun.

Fw: Truckin'

Greetings to everyone,
This week has been a bit of a tough week. I've been feeling sick through most of it. I'm kind of sick of feeling sick, so I pushed myself to do work anyway every day of the week except for Sunday. Yup. It felt like there was a knot in my throat that was constricting my breathing and was making me feel sick to my stomach. I went to Urgent Care on Saturday and they told me that my throat was swelling a little. Not much, and it wasn't causing any serious problems, but it was obnoxious. The swelling hasn't gone down all the way, but it's better than it was Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. >.>
It was cool, though, since on one of the days where I wasn't feeling good, we were doing some finding, and it was really a struggle to keep going, but I didn't want to hold my companions back from doing actual missionary work. So I kept going, and the next door, this lady answered who was really prepared to hear our message. It really shows that the Lord truly sees our efforts.
We also did some service painting someone's apartment, which was fun. I love doing service.
Also, we ended up talking to this crazy guy. He looked a little sketchy and we weren't sure we wanted to talk to him, but we talked to him anyway, and he talked to us for like an hour straight about how the stories in the bible were fairy tales made up to teach children how to watch for the seasons and know when to plant crops. o.O It was possibly the strangest thing I've ever heard. He was like, "Yeah, the story of the three wise men following the star to find the Christ child is actually talking about the three stars that make up Orion's belt and how on December 25th, they line up with the brightest star in the sky, Sirius, and they together point to the location in the sky where the sun is at it's lowest point when it rises, so the Christ child is actually representing the sun. He isn't the son of God, but he's the sun." Yeah, it was pretty crazy. Fascinating. But crazy.
Anyhoo, I think that does it for stories this week. I'm just Truckin' along. Yup. :)
~Sister Richelle Jones

Monday, April 21, 2014

Fw: Easter!

Dear everyone,
This week has been a good week. I'm enjoying my area and loving my two companions. I got a little sick near the end of the week, but I'm sure I'll get over it. I was still able to go out and do missionary work, so it wasn't that big of a deal.
For Easter, there weren't a whole lot of people who wanted us to randomly show up at their house, so we weren't able to see many people. I did enjoy the sacrament meeting we had, though. We had this beautiful musical program offered by the choir and soloists in the ward. It's a very musically talented ward.
After our dinner appointment, we ended up taking a walk around Clement Park, the park that our area is named after. That's where the Columbine memorial is, and yesterday was the 15th anniversary of the Columbine shooting. That combined with a gorgeous sunset and warm evening weather made for a beautiful walk with lots of pictures. :D
We dyed Easter eggs Saturday night during our dinner hour since our dinner appointment had canceled that day. I forgot to take pictures of that, though. :( But then I turned them into deviled eggs for my companions. My stomach wasn't feeling good that day, so I may have eaten one or two deviled eggs since I seemed to be sick anyway. They were tasty, but then my stomach was even less happy, but I didn't throw up, which was good.
Yup. That was pretty much this week. :)
~Sister Richelle Jones
P.S. I would send more pictures, but my computer is being slow and it's already blue-screen-of-death'd once on me. I think this is all you'll be getting this week. Sorry.