Monday, September 30, 2013

Fw: Timing Indeed

Hello, everyone!
For transfers, we all drove down to Rifle. We got there and the zone leaders didn't know who my companion was or where Sister Pfeifer was going yet. So we had a few hours of wondering what the next transfer would be like. Then the AP's (Assistants to the President) showed up along with all the trainees. Sister Pfeifer ended up going to Denver.
So then I asked the AP's who my new companion would be, and when they said her name, I was thinking, "Why does that name sound so familiar?" Then she walked up asking, "Are you Sister Jones?" "Yup!" "Are you David Jones sister?" "Why, yes. Yes, I am."
David is probably doing a happy dance.
Yes, I am training Sister Peacock, your fellow french-horn player from BYU-I. Sister Peacock is awesome!
So when I read in Mom's, David's, and Darcy's emails that David was excited wondering if I would be training Sister Peacock, we were both laughing so hard! Indeed, the Lord puts people in your path who have been prepared for you. Also, Sister Peacock is from Oregon and knew my MTC companion, Sister Baker. I am loving having Sister Peacock as my companion. We became friends super fast! It's like, as opposite as Sister Pfeifer was from me, Sister Peacock is extremely similar to me. It's been great and I love being companions with her. Training her has actually been pretty simple. She served a performing mission in Nauvoo with the symphony for a while, so she's technically an RM. My job is basically helping her learn how to best teach people and building her confidence in speaking with people.
As far as stories go for this week, I'm afraid there aren't many. As much as my joy has been with Sister Peacock, this week has not been easy. It's pretty safe to say that this has actually been the worse week of my mission as far as investigators and lessons go. Near the beginning of my mission, there would be some days where we would only get one lesson, maybe two, and sometimes zero. Those days were very stressful and some of them I came away from with tears. Well, every day this week was like that. The main thing that kept me going was having Sister Peacock as my companion gave me a spiritual boost for the week. But seriously. We did just as much work as I did with Sister Pfeifer, but it was like no one was home, people were busy, or they just flat out rejected us. We had no scheduled appointments, so we ended up spending an awful long time tracting with no immediate results. Our previous low for this area was 15 lessons. This week, we only got 7.
That being said, I felt the spirit this week stronger than I have my whole mission. So, yes, it was a horrible week, but I know that God will bless us and our work because we are working hard. I've already seen how the Lord has blessed this area, and I know that he will continue to do so, but there had to be a trial of our faith first, I guess. And despite how bad it was this week, I enjoyed being able to work with Sister Peacock. Mostly, I was just worried about how she would feel, coming out on her mission to a terrible week. I spent most of my time reassuring her that the Lord is with us and this area, it's not normally this bad, and as long as we keep working hard, the Lord will bless us. And I know he will. It may not be this week, but it will come eventually.
So one of the things that Sister Peacock and I decided to do... Well... 8 pm is a horrible time for doing anything. No one wants to meet with us then and most people are asleep by then. Apparently people go to bed super early out in the country. Proselyting at that time is virtually impossible. So instead, Sister Peacock and I decided to use that time to self-teach ourselves Spanish. President Murdock was talking about how he wants some of the English-Speaking missionaries to volunteer to learn Spanish. A lot of our area is Spanish, anyway, so it's very difficult to talk to people in the streets when you can't speak the language of half of them. Thus, we are using our 8 o' clock hour to do language study. Sister Peacock has a Spanish Preach My Gospel and El Libro De Mormon. It's going to be difficult since I don't know a lick of Spanish, but that's what the gift of tongues is for. We'll pray for help and do our best to learn. How hard can it be? :P
That's about it for this week. Pray that we'll be able to find success and that the hearts of the people will be softened. That's all for now. Byez!
~Sister Richelle Nicole Jones

Monday, September 23, 2013

Fw: transfers

Hey, everyone,
Tomorrow is transfer day. They called us Friday to tell us that I'm staying in Eagle, but Sister Pfeifer is leaving. I'll be training, so my new companion will be a greenie straight out of the MTC. So that will be new and different. I'm not sure how confident I am about training, especially so early in the game seeing as how this will only be my third transfer, but whatever the Lord needs me to do. I'm sure it will be a whole new ball game having to take the lead.
As far as stories for this week, I'm afraid they are small in number. Sister Pfeifer and I both got the stomach flu early in the week and weren't really fully up to par. Sister Pfeifer has this whole, "Do it anyway," sort of attitude so we never ceased working, but we were ratherly sick and our numbers kinda reflected that. It made Sister Pfeifer super stressy (which is a little extreme. I mean, we were sick. No matter how hard you push through it, the fact of the matter is that you are physically incapable of working your hardest when you are in pain.) but we did alright.
I only have one story for you. A while ago, Sister Pfeifer felt inspired to take a Spanish Book of Mormon with her while we were visiting someone. There was no particular reason for this since the person we were seeing didn't speak Spanish, but she went with it and brought the book. Then while walking, she was like, "Hey, let's stop by this door." I also felt we needed to go there, so we did, and this woman and her son answered. She started speaking Spanish to us, starting off with "No English..." but we explained who we were anyway and showed her the picture of Christ we have on our restoration pamphlet. She then talked to us a lot in Spanish. The only thing I caught was "Catholic" which seems to be the number one excuse among Hispanics for why they turn us away, but then her son spoke to us in English and explained to us that what she had said was, "We are originally Catholic, but we've been going through a lot of hardships and I know that God sent you here to help us."
That's not a statement you hear everyday.
So, using her son as a translator, we told about how our message is about Jesus Christ and how it blesses peoples lives, and we told her about how God is our heavenly father and wants what's best for us. We then handed her the Spanish Book of Mormon and she promised to read and pray about it. She then set up a time for us to meet with her for the following week.
The next visit, we brought one of the Spanish members from the church, and with her help, we were able to teach this family. Then, during the lesson, we invited her to come to church with us, and she was like, "Can I get baptized when I go to church with you?" Apparently, she's had Mormon friends in the past and has been wanting to join the Mormon church for a while now! We had no idea! And apparently, after we left that first day, they were able to rent out both their lower and upper apartments to people, so it ended up saving them financially, and she told us that she knew it was because she had accepted us into her home and God was blessing her for it!
Miracles happen every day. Both mother and son came to church yesterday, and afterward, she just thanked us wholeheartedly. They are both on baptismal date, and the Spanish members of the ward just folded them in with loving arms. It was so special to see! The son went to Primary and was able to be given a part in the primary program already, the mom went to the Spanish gospel principals class, it was truly a miracle, that whole experience.
I know that this church is true. Seeing the two of them accept the gospel so willingly just allowed me to know that the spirit is able to touch people's lives and help them to be happy.
The only other thing that happened this week was that some less-actives invited us to come over and paint rocks with them last P-day after we were done with the hanging lake hike. That was super nice for me since it enabled me to relax after the hike. I love painting. So Sister Pfeifer painted a purple ladybug, and I pulled up one of my pictures of the Glenwood Canyon from my camera and painted a quick landscape. It turned out pretty good. Now I just have to figure out who to give the rock to seeing as how I can't exactly haul it around with me.
When we visited this same family later in the week, we asked Brother Deacon (Who recently had his mom, dad, and brother pass away) what we could do for him, and he just started crying, and he was like, "Can you bring back my family?" It's hard to respond to that, and we were just like, "Well, you can see them again after this life," and his response was, "If I had a dime for every time I've heard that, I would be rich." Then suddenly one of the Janice Kapp Perry songs came to my head, "The Test" specifically the last verse of it, so I sang it for him. I was in tears by the end of it, as was Sister Pfeifer and Brother Deacon. The words are, "Tell me, love, why must you die? Why must your loved ones stand with empty hearts and ask the question why? Tell me, love, so I can go on. How, when your love and faith sustained me, can the precious gift be gone? From the depths of sorrow I cry. Though pains of grief within my soul arise, the whispering of the spirit still my cries. Didn't he say he sent us to be tested? Didn't he say the way would not be sure? But didn't he say we could live with him forevermore, well and whole, if we but patiently endure? After the trial, we will be blessed, but this life is the test." He said it touched his heart. I know I felt the spirit, and I wish I knew how to say more to comfort him, but I know that the spirit was there, and the spirit of comfort is one of the best things you can give to a person in their time of need.
So yeah, that's it for stories.
Wait! Wait! I forgot one! A while ago, we were driving down the road and we saw these two little girls with a table set up and holding a sign. Our thought was, "Lemonade?" So we parked the car and walked over, and these two girls were holding up this sign that said, "FREE ROCKS!" They had a baggie full of a bunch of ordinary rocks from the ground, some of which were shiny or strangely colored, and the little girls were just handing out rocks to anyone who wanted to stop. It was adorable. So I just wanted to tell you that we got free rocks.
Anyway, it sounds like you've all been pretty busy at home this week. I hope they find someone to do the percussion for the play. I would have loved to do that, but I'm needed out here. Maybe next time they do a play, I'll be able to participate. Maybe they could see if Kevin (Billy's little brother) would be willing to fill that role. He's a good percussionist who's also a member of the church. He might not have time, though, since he does a number of other extra-curricular activities, but you could still ask him.
Well, I have to go now. I'll talk to you more next week! Wish me luck in training!
~Sister Jones

Monday, September 16, 2013

Fw: P.S.

I forgot to mention, I'm doing fine. The floods are all the way in Denver. They haven't gotten anywhere close to Eagle Valley. I'm safe and sound, and have only heard stories from those who were affected by the flood, most of which were just people trying to head home and couldn't because the roads were closed. Keep those who were affected by the floods in your prayers.

Fw: Hanging Lake

This morning we got to go to hanging lake! We went as a zone and had a little "zone training" at the top. It was awesome! My knee hurt, but that's ok. I think that next week, I'll finally break down and have it looked at if it's still hurting. This is the last week of this transfer, so next week we'll see if I'll be staying in Eagle Valley or not. I was glad I was able to go up hanging lake before I potentially move.
So this week, a miracle happened. One of our cards actually worked. We hand out those cards like candy to people in the street, it comes to the point where you hope they check out the website, but that's usually all you get. This week, we got this text by an unknown number that just said, "Hi." So we responded with, "Hello, you've reached the Sister Missionaries from the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints." Apparently, we had handed this guy a card and he was interested in learning more about the gospel! We brought Bishop and Sister Mayne with us to the lesson (for safety reasons) and it turned out to be awesome! So, yeah. That was cool.
I also got hit on by a drunk guy earlier this week. One of those experiences that I think most Sister Missionaries go through at least once while on the mission. Just remove yourself from the situation ASAP and you're good.
So yesterday, we were out tracting, and normally when people aren't interested, they're usually pretty nice about it. Well, we had three extremely rude people right in a row. One of them said he never wanted to see us again, another one was just rude, and the last one started yelling at us about how we were a cult. After that, I just turned to Sister Pfeifer and said, "Satan must really not want us to go forward today," So we pressed forward. Immediately afterwards, we had three awesome lessons where the people were interested, listening to us, and took a Book of Mormon with the promise of reading it. One guy in particular was listening to the restoration and he was like, "There's a prophet today?! Why have I never heard of this before?! It makes so much sense!" which is a phenomena among missionaries. It was so awesome!
It's been raining a lot here, which has been reminding me so much of home. Granted, all rain here comes with lightning, but it rains significantly more than it did in Rexburg. It's been pretty relaxing, having beautiful rain and thunderstorms every day. We were kinda lucky for the Hanging lake hike since it didn't rain, but was overcast through most of the hike, so we didn't get too hot.
Anyway, that's all I've got for you this week. Thank you all! You guys are awesome!
~Sister Richelle Nicole Jones

Monday, September 9, 2013

Fw: Turquoises

Greetings everyone!
Sorry for how short last week's letter was. We were at turquoise lake and we had a dinner appointment to go to, so we had to read and write letters in 20 to 30 minutes. Most of the turquoises I got were tiny flakes, but it's stuff that can be shined up and potentially used for some kind of homemade jewelry. It was cool just scanning the ground and sifting through the rocks to find a million shocks of green and blue mixed in with the dirt. Finding anything bigger was difficult, and most of the pieces were half hidden within chunks of rock. I got myself a nice little baggie full of rocks and stuff, though. When I get home, we can do more stuff with the turquoises, and it might be cool to make something with it to remember my mission a little more.
One cool thing that happened was that we were helping one of the members move, and then this army jeep car pulls up. This thing is heavy-duty and looked like it came straight out of the war zone. In it were more members coming to help out, but while driving behind the moving van to the new home across town, we got to ride in it. Then Brother Ponder pulled off the street and onto the hills on the side of the road and we took a trip through the hills. I wish I had my camera on my so I could show you the near-vertical positions that little jeep was in. It was like a roller coaster, but without the reassurance of a track. And Brother Ponder did things like go down a hill, then throw the thing in reverse and rev it back up the hill. One of the girls who was with us was screaming the whole time and Brother Ponder just yelled back, "Hey, we've got the sister missionaries with us! We've got nothing to worry about!" It was awesome! Then after a time, we pulled back onto the highway and drove over to the house. It was a cool experience, and I took a picture of the jeep once I got my camera just so I can have some evidence of it.
So for sad news, the investigator who tried to drop us last week did actually end up dropping us. That was mostly frustrating because she had read all the pamphlets and seemed enthusiastic about how they outlined her beliefs perfectly. She just refused to accept the Joseph Smith story and refused to read more of the book of Mormon because it "wasn't for her" and didn't want to join an organized religion. I spent a long time trying to help her see the potential she was missing, but we can only stress the restored gospel so much before we have to back off and let them make their own decisions on the matter. That doesn't make me any less sad, though. I mean, if you're in sight of the goal, that's the time that you push forward, not back off. :(
But for every sad experience, there comes a happy experience.
In the first two weeks of being in the mission field, the Elders had given us a referral. Danielle had actually street contacted the Elders. They had been walking by and she stopped them to ask them what their beliefs were. So they referred her to us. We tried to get in contact with her, but she had a baby, and then consistently, every time we stopped by her house, she was either busy or not home. We were getting a little discouraged about coming simply because we didn't want to seem like a bother or creepy strangers or anything, and it had been over a month that we'd been trying to see her. We were about to just call her contacted and stop seeing her when she met us outside as we were walking by. She talked with us, told us she was still interested in seeing us, and set up an appointment time. We showed up to the appointment, but she wasn't there. Discouraged once more, we moved on. Later in the day, however, we checked our phone and there was a voice-mail left by her! The message basically said, "I'm so sorry I missed the appointment! I got called in at the last minute for a job interview and I forgot my phone at home so I couldn't call you guys! I just wanted you to know that I'm really not trying to avoid you, I really want to meet with you, and even if I'm not there, I'd like you to get to know my 14-year-old daughter because you girls seem very professional and nice, and I really want some good influences for my daughter. So please keep coming back and we'll set up a time that actually works. Thank you for being so patient with me!"
So we finally got to meet with her this week. And she's amazing! She talked about how she's heard a lot about the Mormon belief, most of them anti, but she wanted to hear about it from the source, and she's really looking to include God in her life more. She talked about how she went through AA to stop drinking, and that helped her find her faith in God. She had a lot of questions about the church, and it was cool because at one point she was like, "Oh, you guys don't smoke, do you? That's ok. I need to quit anyway. It's bad for my health and a huge drain on my finances." She is so ready to change! And she was really excited about getting her daughter into the Young Women's program. So, yeah. We're super excited for her!
Oh, another cool story. We were walking down the street and there was this teen going the other way. We stopped him and started a conversation with him. At first he was like, "No, I'm not interested in hearing a message from you guys," but Sister Pfeifer kept talking to him, and as we talked, he finally admitted that he wanted to come closer to Christ, he just didn't feel worthy of it. We set up a return appointment with him, and we brought Jess (Our recent convert) with us. Well, the teen wasn't home, but his older brother was! So we started teaching the older brother, Saul. Saul at first was saying, "I'm an atheist," but as we spoke with him, he admitted that he did believe in God, he just wasn't so sure that the bible was true and wasn't sure about the religion his parents had brought him up in. So we talked more with him, and Jess turned out to be such a huge help since she used to be Catholic just like he was, and she just connected with him really well. Saul turned out to already have a copy of the Book of Mormon someone had handed him before, but he had never read it before because he "didn't have the time," but by the end of the lesson, he was like, "You know what? I will make time! I will just watch less TV." It was amazing just seeing the change the spirit brought to him. It was a conversion from Saul to Paul. He wouldn't set up a return appointment with us, but he gave us his number and promised to read and pray about the Book of Mormon.
Well, I think that's all I've got for you for stories this week. As far as my knee goes, it's not healed all the way, but the pain has dulled, and I'm fine with doing missionary work without having it looked at. I've been icing it and elevating it, and I'm sure it will heal eventually. If it's still bothering me in a few months, then I'll have it looked at. I'll be fine, Nathan. I'm not going to die.
It sounds like Dad and David are having fun with the play. There's a big youth activity that's preparing for a play next July. They're going through a lot of the Book of Mormon stories in this play, and there are five stakes participating in it. If you consider how huge each stake is down here, that's kind of a big deal. A stake here doesn't consist of one city, it consists of a whole bunch of cities scattered across Colorado. So, yeah. All the missionaries on the Western Slope of Colorado will be ushers for the play next year. Should be fun.
Anyhoo, I'll let you guys go now. I love you all! Be awesome, be happy!
~Sister Richelle Nicole Jones

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Fw: Woman's pull

Hey, all!
Back when I was on the pioneer trek, I had a bit of an experience on the first day. I had been walking all day long and felt like I was dying, and just when I thought the camp was going to stop for the night, we were thrown for a bit of a loop when the "Mormon battalion" happened and all of the boys had to leave. It was then up to the girls to pull the wagons up and down some of the hardest hills of the day.
This week the Elders for our area were emergency transferred.
One day we're talking with Elder Rollins and Elder Olivas and the next, they're gone. Elder Rollins went to Grand Junction and Elder Olivas went to Rifle. Apparently someone in Monterose got sent home, so the zone leader from Grand Junction got sent there, and Elder Rollins took his place, and since Elder Olivas was left without a companion, he got sent to where our zone leaders are currently serving. So yeah.
This is one of those weeks where I have a ton to talk about, but unfortunately, Sister Pfeifer and I spent all day at Turquoise lake with some of the members of our church and found us some turquoise, and we have a dinner appointment coming up on us, so time is ratherly short. But I'll try to fit as much in. Sorry for all those I want to email but can't, I'm really really out of time and I shall get to you next week. Probably.
By the way, Happy Birthday, Grandma Nancy!
So we had the Sister Trainer Leader do exchanges with us this week which was awesome.
And one of our investigators tried to drop us immediately after the Elders got transferred, and I was like, "No! Not happening!" and I managed to somehow talk her out of dropping us. I think the spirit had more than a little to do with that, but I was not going to let another person go.
Aaaaaaaaand I'm really out of time. I have lots of stories to tell. Sorry that I can't this week. In return, I have some turquoise to show for it, so hey.
You all are awesome! Have an excellent week!
~Sister Richelle Nicole Jones