Monday, August 26, 2013

Fw: My first mission baptism!

Hello all!
It's kinda interesting that my first baptism out in the mission is also Sister Pfeifer's first mission baptism. Granted, I don't allot the baptism to myself or to Sister Pfeifer by any means. Jess was ready to be baptized from day one, and her own relationship with her heavenly father was what brought her to the baptismal waters. In an ideal world, this is how all baptisms should be.
The baptism itself was ever so slightly chaotic. Sister Pfeifer and I had spent a good amount of time (as much as we could while also doing missionary work) setting up the baptism. We had the relief society looking really nice and set up when the first people started to arrive. All the guests then proceeded to go into the chapel. Apparently it's a tradition in the Eagle area for baptisms to be held in the chapel. Whoops. Then Jess put the jumpsuit on backwards. Bahaha. Then the program had one of the hymns wrong. But overall, the whole thing went very well. Jess was so ready, and it was just all very perfect despite the many flaws involved.
Earlier in the week, we had zone conference. Unfortunately, before it even began, I dropped something and bent down to pick it up, but the act of doing so strained something in my knee, so the whole conference and the entire rest of the day, my knee was in more pain than it ever has been thus far. I'm not sure how many elders or sisters noticed how much I was limping or spending extra time standing or sitting, but it was certainly not my proudest moment. For the musical number, I sang "I stand all amazed" which is my favorite hymn. I managed to convince Sister Pfeifer to refrain from singing with me, so that was good. I did great the first verse. But when I started the second verse, my voice cracked and I coughed awkwardly before starting again, and then I blanked on the lyrics and had to pull out a hymn book to finish the verse. But, despite the errors, I persevered and sang the last verse beautifully. I got a lot of comments about how good I did. Some people were like, "I would have died if that had happened! You handled it so well!" I'm pretty sure my voice had extra vibrato just from how badly I was shaking, but I kept it mostly under control considering how bad at singing in front of people I am. It was certainly good practice for when I'm going to be singing in sacrament meeting in a few weeks.
One thing that happened during zone conference was that Sister Murdock told all the sisters that although the grooming standards say that we are not required to wear makeup, she's changing it to say that all the sisters in this mission have to wear makeup. This is particularly frustrating and distressing for me seeing as how foundation makes me break out in acne for the next two to three weeks so I can't even imagine wearing it, mascara smudges and looks horrible, and I hate lip gloss, and in general I despise all makeup with a fiery passion, and that's not even accounting for the amount of time it takes to apply and remove it... And to me, I consider myself to be pretty enough without slathering paste onto my face. Thank you very much. So I'm grumbly about the whole thing, but it's directly from the mission president's wife, so I can't exactly ignore it. Sigh....
I also talked to Sister Murdock about my knee. Her response? Ice it and elevate it at night. So I iced it for a good hour or so, and I've been elevating it at night. Surprisingly, it's been helping. The pain I felt during zone conference is gone. I still don't trust my knee to do any sort of strenuous activity, but it's better than it has been for the last several weeks. Hopefully it will go away soon.
But we did see a couple of miracles this week. Last week, our numbers were depressingly low and we couldn't seem to find anybody to teach despite hours of hard work. This week started to look like it would lead to the same. Monday through Thursday, we were only getting one or two, sometimes three if we were lucky, lessons a day and finding absolutely no one new. We had 9 lessons for the total of the week. So Friday, we went out just the same as normal, and the morning seemed just the same as normal, but right around dinner time, we felt inspired to do some finding. So we skipped dinner and did some finding. We came out with 8 lessons in just the one day, doubling our efforts. The Lord really does bless his servants when they are in times of need.
Oh, and we had another cool experience. We've been teaching Brittany for a while, but she's one who wants to be your friend and will only hear the gospel as friends talking to each other. So we've been able to share the plan of salvation and the restoration with her over the course of like five to six visits, and she refuses to pin down set "lesson" times, but enjoys having us come visit her and talk to her a lot. But during the early visits, we left her with the restoration and the plan of salvation pamphlets. Then, one day we came to the door and she was like, "I don't have enough time to visit with you gals today, but I do want to say that I read through those pamphlets you gave me, and it was kinda cool because it was like seeing all of my beliefs sort of laid out in front of me. The only thing I don't believe is the whole Joseph Smith thing." So it was a moment of , "AAAUGH you're so close!" The funny thing is that we've talked to other people from the church she goes to, and I can already tell you that the church she goes to does not believe the same things she believes. And all of Brittany's beliefs were revealed to the world by God through Joseph Smith. But we explained to her the book of Mormon, and she was like, "Oh! So it's basically parts of the bible that have been missing since it took place on a different continent!" "Mmhmm, yeah kinda," and she took it and said she'd read about it and pray about it. I know that the spirit will work inside her and she will grow in her understanding.
Brittany also has this cute 4-year old granddaughter living with her, and little Kyrie was like, "I missed you," when we came to visit them last time and gave Sister Pfeifer a big hug. That whole family is just so sweet.
Funny story for this week. This morning I put in my laundry, but Sister Pfeifer was like, "Wait! I need to throw in this towel!" and stopped the washing machine to put in the towel. I was then under the assumption that she started up the machine again. Half an hour later, Sister Pfeifer changes over my laundry into the dryer. The dryer has this feature that detects how wet the clothes are before it dries them, so it started going, then finished about a minute later. Sister Pfeifer was like, "Hm. That was fast." but took out the clothes anyway. So I'm folding my laundry and I'm going, "Gee, these clothes still smell funny. Hey, this still looks awful dirty..." I finally figured out that Sister Pfeifer had forgotten to start the washing machine, so my clothes took a nice happy trip through the dryer, remaining just as dirty as before. Don't ask me how she didn't notice that the clothes were still dry when she put them in the dryer, but I guess that's what happens when you don't switch over your own laundry.
Anyway, that's about all I have for this week. Thanks for all the letters, and thanks for showing me the engagement photos, Darcy! I love you all!
~Sister Richelle Nicole Jones

Monday, August 19, 2013

Fw: Another day, another week, another month

Hello all!

It's been two months since I've been home and stuffs. Crazy, huh?

So this week was a little sad since we found no new investigators, and we had a lot of people drop us, but those weeks happen, and the only thing we can do is move forward with faith.

One person we had was a potential investigator we had met on her doorstep, and she invited us to come back. But when we came back at the scheduled time, she was at the hospital having her baby. So we came back later, again and again, but she was either not home or busy. Usually busy. But then one day we came back and her fiance was like, "What do you people want with us?!" We apparently forgot to explain to her in our visits back that we wanted to share a gospel message with her, so all she knew was that a couple of strangers kept coming to her door asking after her, and it was starting to creep her out. Whoops. It was a sad day, but Sister Pfeifer was just laughing so hard at our mistake and that anyone could ever be creeped out by us. :P

This Saturday, Jess is getting baptized! She's the golden investigator we found a while back. She is super stoked, and she's been sharing with everyone her conversion story and offering people book of Mormons and she isn't even baptized yet. She's already wanting to serve a mission! She is awesome! So we're all very excited and stuff.

We have one cool story, a few weeks ago, we were driving out in some of the country roads to visit someone, and Sister Pfiefer felt inspired to stop by this random house. There were no cars in the driveway and the whole place looked dark, but we tried it anyway. To our surprise, this old lady answered. She only let us offer a prayer with her, but she was touched by our visit anyway, since it was apparently her husband's birthday and her husband had passed away some three years ago, so she just needed some support. Then this week, we were in the area and felt inspired to stop by again. We asked her if she needed any help, and she did! She was looking for someone who would be able to wash her windows for her since she couldn't do it herself, so we got dressed in our work clothes and got to work. It was great! She wouldn't let us share a message with her, but I feel it was good and inspired of the Lord all the same, and I'm hoping her heart will soften over time.

So my left knee has gone through much abuse since I've been out here. First I scraped it up in the MTC (and it left a scar that looks like I have a permanent bruise on my knee), then I injured it while running, then I injured it while playing volleyball, and after much time of healing, it still hurts like the devil. If it persists, I will probably have it looked at seeing as how it's driving me bonkers, and I'm afraid there might be something torn in it. We'll see.

Oh. So I've been asked to also do a musical number in zone conference. Word spreads that I can sing, apparently. Unfortunately, the zone leaders told Sister Pfeifer to sing with me. They've heard that I can sing, but haven't heard Sister Pfeifer's attempts to sing. Sister Pfeifer can't keep a tune in a bucket. So we'll see how it goes. I told Sister Pfeifer to please oh please for the good of all the ears in the audience to not sing, but she's like, "I can sing! Just not on tune! But it doesn't matter!" grumble grumble.... Hopefully I can convince her to not sing before Thursday...

Yesterday, we had a fun experience. Sister Pfeifer and I were tracting, and this one guy let us in, and he started preaching to us. He was apparently anti-religion, but he believed in Jesus Christ according to the new testament, and he kept telling us about how that was what we needed to turn to for truth, not to religion, and we were just like, "Mmhmm. Mmhmm. That's pretty much what we do. We're kind of the church of Jesus Christ... Mmhmm..." And we just listened to him preach to us. For two... Hours... The guy wouldn't stop talking. And at first, he absolutely refused to take the book of Mormon because, "The only thing we should read is the word of God." Mmhmm. That's what the book of mormon is. Yup. Finally, at the end, he like grabbed the book of Mormon and was like, "Here! I'll take this, read it, study it, and pray about it, and I'll give you girls a call later!" Sister Pfeifer and I practically wooped in triumph when we got back in the car and drove to our dinner appointment. He was doing it in defiance, but seriously, I hope his heart is soft enough that he'll recognize the truth of it when he reads it. :P
And that's the gist of my week. Our numbers were depressingly low, but it happens, and we can still see miracles in our lives if we only know where to look. I know this gospel is true and that this is the Lord's work. It's true. It really is.

~Sister Richelle Nicole Jones

Monday, August 12, 2013

Fw: Not a greenie

Hello, hello!
I've heard it said that you remain a greenie for the first year of your mission, but I've been through one transfer, so I've had some experience... For this transfer, I'm staying in exactly the same place, as is my companion.
By the way, I didn't get the package you guys sent me. I was saaaad. :(
So before I begin my account of this week, I just wanted to start by saying, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAVID!!!!" :D This is my happy birthday song. I'm singing it just for you. And when you hit the gong, it means that my song is through. My song is not so hard. Only one verse is said! I just keep singing it over and over again and again and again! Jk.

Alright. Now to begin. This week was significantly better than last week. Though for irony's sake, I played volleyball last P-Day and injured my knee again. Go me. I must have something against my knees. I'm going to end up coming home a gimp if I keep this up. :P
Funny story time. We had a zone conference. Now, back at home, the Lacey stake only comprises the boundaries of Lacey. That apparently doesn't happen around here. In fact, the Meeker stake ranges all the way from Wyoming all the way past Parachute or something, which is practically the entire western half of Colorado. As it is, Meeker is far far away in Judea's plains, but that's where we meet for stake conference, zone conference, the whole shebang.
So for zone conference, we had to leave pretty early to get there on time, and we were considering driving up to Glenwood and staying for the night to knock off half and hour of our journey. We would be staying with the Glenwood sisters, and we set up the time to have a sleep over. Well, we forgot a vital fact. The Glenwood sisters are pranksters. And so, the night of, we get this call from the Carbondale elders saying that they heard word that Sister Murdoch was in the hospital. Worried, we called up Sister Daily, and she said that Sister Murdoch had appendicitis and they wouldn't be home, but that we could still use the apartment. However, that's kind of a serious thing, and we decided that it wouldn't be a good idea to head up to Glenwood if the sisters weren't even there, so we stayed home.
Sister Murdoch was fine. It was a joke. They had been hoping that we would have already been on our way to Glenwood when we got the call from the elders, and so we would have come to the apartment expecting it to be empty and they would jump out and surprise us. The funny thing was that they spent almost an hour lying in wait for us to come before they thought to check their phone to see that we had sent a text saying that we wouldn't be coming over. Bahahaha.
So we made fun of them the next day.. It was highly entertaining, though it did mean that we had to wake up early the next morning.
That's our funny story of the week.
As for other stuff, Jessy was on vacation until Thursday which was sad, and Mindy dropped off the face of the planet, which was also sad. But Jessy went to church while in California, so that was really cool, and then she also attended church at our building yesterday, and she is well on her way to being baptized. She's already come to telling her coworkers that she's Mormon, and her mom and brother have accepted her decision to be baptized, which is super good news considering that a week ago, they were completely against it!
Random story, we were tracting earlier this week, and we came across this girl who knew nothing about religion. We asked her, "What do you think the purpose of this life is?" And she didn't know the answer. She hadn't even thought about it. She didn't think about where we were going after this life either, and she didn't even know who Jesus Christ is. We were shocked, and kind of stumped about how to go about teaching her, too. So that should be fun. We meet with her again this Tuesday.
There were a couple of frustrating things about this week, though. First of all, Pam (The woman who refuses to give up coffee) canceled our appointment to go to California. We gave her about a week and a half to wait for her to get back, then sent a text asking her how California was. Her response was, "Oh, I haven't left yet. I leave tomorrow." >:( grumble grumble grumble.
Second of all, we got one of those people who was only listening to us so she could try to debate with us and was trying to convert us to her religion. She had pamphlets and scriptures set aside before the lesson even began to try to disprove our religion. Let me tell you how horribly frustrating that is. I mean, I can see someone saying, "I'm not really interested in your religion," and then we leave, but she wanted to denounce us. It was sort of like, "Ok, we're wasting our time here. Just let us go about the Lord's work and find those who aren't so hard-hearted." We taught her the lesson (as calmly as we could) and then we were like, "Ok, we told you the facts, now you have to pray to God to know of its truth, because only your heavenly father can reveal truths to you," and her response was, "No. I won't pray about your book because I already know it's of the devil."
Ok, I don't care if you don't want to learn, but to refuse to pray to know is sheer mockery before God. It's like saying you're smarter than God is. And if you're so confident that it isn't of God, then wouldn't you be unafraid to pray about it if you're so certain of the answer? Because if it's wrong, he'll tell you. If it's right, he'll tell you. To not pray to ask for knowledge is to deny his intelligence.
I ended up having nightmares the next night of yelling at this lady and condemning her for her actions. And when I wasn't dreaming about that, I was dreaming that I was tracting and that all the people I was talking to refused to hear what I had to say. It was not a very nice night for me.
The whole experience sort of reminded me of the account in Jacob chapter seven. It's only too bad that I don't have the authority that Jacob had. Like Alma said, "Oh that I could be an angel." But I know that it isn't my job to force people to righteousness. And so I must hold my peace and simply move on with my life to find those that are willing to hear the gospel.
Oh, yeah! I haven't talked about Jeff yet! So we were tracting a few weeks ago and saw someone getting out of his car. So Sister Pfeifer and I said hello and introduced ourselves as missionaries from the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and asked if we could share a message with him, like we do with all the people we randomly happen to meet. He said, "Yeah! I'd be happy to! Just not right now, I'm on a really short lunch break. But come back later!" He told us his name, where he lived, what time he would be available, but when we tried to knock on his door later, he wasn't home. We tried again several more times over the course of a few weeks, but never got a response.
Then earlier this week, we were walking in a different area and spotted someone walking the other direction. The sun was setting so we couldn't see him very well at first since he was kind of far away, but we greeted him and again started off by introducing ourselves as missionaries. Then he got close enough that I could see his face and I was like, "Wait a minute... I know you..." So we were actually able to set up a specific appointment with him.
We taught him about the restoration of Christ's church and the story of Joseph Smith, and he totally accepted it! And apparently, he saw a Book of Mormon once in a hotel room in Idaho and had started to read it there, and any time he goes to a hotel, he looks for a Book of Mormon so he can keep reading. He was actually very grateful when we gave him a Book of Mormon that he could keep with him! He said he would read it, and we could tell he was telling the truth. *Glares in general direction of a certain friend by the same name who promised me he would read the Book of Mormon and didn't...*
Unfortunately, Jeff is traveling to Grand Junction for the next few weeks and we won't be able to see him again until the 28th. But he says he'll have a lot of travel time to read the Book of Mormon in, so I'm hoping he will be a strong investigator when he gets back.
Anyway, I think that's all the stories I have for the week. I'm glad to hear that Aunt Cherryl is doing better. You're all in my prayers! The church is true, and the Lord is always looking after us! Never forget it!
~Sister Richelle Nicole Jones
P.S. I got called to do a musical number during sacrament meeting on September 8th. Apparently word got around that I can sing...

Monday, August 5, 2013

Picture taken at the MTC.

Fw: Knees

Hello all!
So this week was a little bit hard on us. Every day, Sister Pfeifer and I worked diligently the same as we've been doing every other week, but it seemed like almost every day turned up fruitless. Monday, Saturday, and Sunday all turned out with no lessons. At all. People were either not home or busy. We went finding a lot and found nothing. We were turned away an awful lot. Saturday was the hardest day since we were out and about the full day and got absolutely nothing. I was also suffering from a huge headache and by 8, I was feeling pretty done. But Sister Pfeifer wanted us to knock on one last door, but while going down the steps to their front door, I tripped and fell and scraped up my right knee. It wasn't as bad as when I skinned my left knee in the MTC, but with all my frustration and whatnot for the day, I just started crying. I pulled myself together long enough to knock on the door but no one was even home, so Sister Pfeifer let me go home and just cry.
Things are a lot better now. We haven't been able to meet with anyone still (Must be vacation week or something...) but I'm feeling a lot better. Again, my knee is already almost healed, and I'm feeling better.
And although we had very little luck this week, we had some good moments, too. We did find a new golden investigator. She's not as ready as Jess, but she's still prepared. Her name is Mindy. She was raised Catholic, but just recently started looking to include Christ in her life more. She had attended a Christian church for about two weeks, but then we found her. She expressed a firm desire to follow Christ in any way she could, and she knows that he is her savior and will lead her to where she needs to go. She was very willing to have us come and talk with her, even though she was busy preparing for her cousin's quinecenera which is apparently a big deal for Mexican families. Another cool thing about Mindy is that she's friends with a lot of the young women in the ward, and her mother actually really likes Mindy to spend time with Tania Molinar because of the good example she is. It's true that members carry a certain light within them.
So we brought Jenna Jay with us to a lesson (Tania was busy since her family was leaving to go to California for the next few weeks) and during the lesson, I just felt really inspired and turned to Mindy and invited her to baptism. Mindy's reaction was great. She actually fell backwards exclaiming in disbelief, "Are you serious?!" She wasn't ready to make the commitment just yet, but she told us, "If it's what the Lord leads me to do, then yes, I will." After the lesson, Jenna's expression was hilarious. She was totally not expecting that. Eheheheheh.
Anyway, so yeah. The week wasn't a total loss. As for my left knee, it still twinges funny sometimes and hurts for a little bit, but it's happening less often, so I deem it as healing and I'm not going to worry about it. I can still walk. We're going to put off the hanging lake hike for at least another week, though. Partly because none of the other missionaries in our district wouldn't go with us this week. But all is well, it gives me more time to heal.
Oh, so funny story. The other day, Sister Pfeifer and I were greeting people as they came in to sacrament meeting, as were the elders, and this little girl from one of the families we had met earlier in the week came up to us. She first addressed Sister Pfeifer and was like, "Do you have a baby?" and Sister Pfeifer was like, "Uhhhhhh.... No." and the little girl was like, "Why not? Are you married?" "No. Not yet..." "Why?" "We're missionaries..." "Well, you should get married. I know! You can marry him, and you can marry him!" She then pointed from Sister Pfeifer to Elder Rollins and from me to Elder Olivas. So apparently I'm marrying Elder Olivas. :P I thought it was amusing. Little children are great.
Anyway, that's all the stories I've got for you this week. I love you all!
~Sister Richelle Nicole Jones