29 December 2008

Letter #31 (12-29-08)

Good thing we had a lot of eating appointments this last week because our fridge is broken. Ever since my 2nd day here it has slowly gotten warmer....now the freezer won´t freeze our food!! I love missionary life!! We put our milk outside, but had to throw everything else away. We get a new one on Wednesday!! The Bremen apartment is just so great....just peachy...hope you can hear the sarcasm in my voice!!! :o) I will try to send pics next week!!

Christmas was so great!! I got to enjoy 3 days of it!! Germans are so cool...they find any excuse to have a holiday. So this is Christmas in Germany...

Heiliger Abend (Christmas Eve) The stores are still open till about 1pm and then it is family time. There isn´t much missionary work that you can do on the 3 days of Christmas because it is dangerous...don´t get between a German and their holidays!! lol. At about 5pm the kids are kicked out of the living room and sent to another room in the house or out for a stroll so that the Parents can light the Christmas tree. In the olden days the German´s would put real candles on the tree and then light them and put decorations on the trees. The Santa comes to at that time and then the kids come into the room and open up presents and get to see the tree and stuff. It was interesting because in America they start selling Christmas trees the day after Thanksgiving, but here I didn´t really see Christmas Trees for sale till about 1.5 - 2 weeks before Christmas. The traditions are changing a bit and conforming to more what America does, but a lot of people still do it this way. I didn´t get to see it myself, but I got to hear stories.

We went to the Fritzsch´s house and enjoyed a wonderful German Meal...Rotkohl (red cabbage), Roladen (Rolled Beef and bacon), Knödeln (potatoes pellets and seasoning boiled in a little plastic bag), and for Nachtisch (dessert) we had Quark (the most tasty yogurty thing ever...not aloud in America because it is too alive!!) We then sang songs and opened some presents together...we got toilet paper and laundry soap. It was a good time.

Weihnachten oder Der Ersten Weihnachtstag (Christmas or the First day of Christmas) So this day is our normal Christmas. They just eat and hang out with family. We went to the Bishop´s house and had dinner with his family. We ate Puten (Turkey...somehow she bought a turkey that was 17Kilo...that´s like a little less then 40lbs...ooops), Kartoffeln (Potatoes), Kartoffelnpuree´ (Mashed Potatoes), Rotkohl (red Cabbage), und Preiselbeeresause (Cranberry Sauce...not normal. German´s don´t normally eat cranberry´s. I think it was for our sake!! :o)) We also had Scottisch Firecrackers...these things are hard to explain, but there is a paper crown inside that we had to wear, jokes and also a little prize!! It was cool. We also went on a walk and played a little bit outside....I also took a nap....only for 20 minutes or so, but it was nice!!

Der Zweiten Weihnachtstag (Second day of Christmas) I actually don´t know the traditions for these days...it really is just an excuse to party, but I don´t really mind!! We went to a member from the Philippines and that was fun. Her house was SO cold. I almost wanted to be outside more then in her house. She is the funniest lady though. We got to speak English which was nice. It was so fun. We ate some food from her home country and watched a few Christmas church movies. It was a good time.

I have a poem in German about the 4 candles that they light on the 4 Sundays before Christmas, but my comp is giving me the eye because I´m taking so long to email!! lol :o) I will have to translate it another time!! It´s really cool though. Well we did get to visit a lot of people this last week and that was good. It will be great to get back to a normal week, but this week is New years and Fireworks are not illegal to light alone...like in safe old Washington. So our president has asked us to be in on Silwester (New Years Eve) at 6pm sharp!! We will find something to do though...like sleep!! YEAH!!! I love to sleep!! Well I love you but have to go!! Have a great week and a happy new year!!

Deine Sister Jones

Letter #30 (12-22-08)

(Christi forgot to email this letter to me last week...so here it is, a bit late...)

So...I have arrived in the beautiful city of Bremen. It really is beautiful here. It was really hard to leave Bielefeld and to say goodbye, but I did it because the Lord wants me else where. I really like it here though. My Companion is Sister Fowkes and she is from Arizona. She is 24 and has been on her mission for 2 transfers. I´m still a little nervous about our German, but we are getting through it. The Lord did not send me to Bremen to fail. She can understand a lot and we are working on her speaking more. She already has to speak more because I don´t know the investigators or the ward and so she gets to practice her German by introducing me. She is doing great and she has already seen a difference in her ability to speak. I have also seen a difference. I can´t understand as much as I want to yet, but I understand a lot more then I give myself credit for!! It´s really weird to have someone ask me German grammer questions and ask me what the person was talking about!! I can´t believe that I can actually answer. I speak different German then she is used to. Every Missionary learns different words and it also depends on where you serve. I speak Bielefeld German and so she questions me a lot about what I say, for example...I´ve NEVER heard that word before...I don´t think they use that word here...they pronouce that different here. I just smile and try to explain that she hasn´t heard all the German words yet and that they also speak different in Bielefeld. She really loved her trainer and she liked the way her trainer spoke and did missionary work. I´m different then her trainer, but have also had a lot of experiences and we can learn a lot from each other. I think things are going better now...she is getting used to having a different person around and we get along fine!! She is really fun and it will be a great 7 week transfer! I have a lot to learn and can´t wait to find out what I can do to change Bremen for the better.

Sister Jones

25 December 2008

Merry Christmas...

Today was the day we got to hear her voice...Christi is doing great and sounds fantastic.  She got to her new area a week ago and says that Bremen is a much bigger city.  It's still new to her, so the coming weeks will most likely bring a lot of new investigators and stories.  She told us that the German people really love their holidays...and Christmas is 3 days long.  They celebrate on Christmas Eve...then Christmas day is Christmas #1 and the 26th is Christmas #2.  Christi was able to spend Christmas day with a missionary couple and the Bishop's family in her new ward.  She said she had a great day!  During her conversation with her family, she bore her testimony in German...


They also convinced her to sing "O Holy Night" (for those of you who aren't aware, Christi is a bit of a singer...okay really she has the most beautiful voice, and this song is the one we expect to hear every Christmas)...of course after much stalling on the phone she gave them about 10 seconds...

It was great to hear her voice and to know that she is happy and doing well!  We are all excited to hear from her next week via email and hear more about her new area and the people she will be serving there.  Thanks to all of you who continue to support her and pray for her!  
Happy Holidays to you all!

22 December 2008

See what happens when you are awake at the crack of dawn...

So I won't try to explain why I was up at 4:30 this morning...but I was...and on the computer.  So I decided to keep my eye out to see if I could catch Christi on the email.  At around 5am, I got a quick little weekly email from her (just a response to my email and not much else since we get to talk in 4 days).  I sent the following email right back and then the rest was a funny few minutes:

(from Teri):
are you reading and responding to emails right now....if you are...hi....if your email is just arriving 'cause it takes for ever for emails to come through from Germany...then you probably won't understand this email...I couldn't sleep so I am awake (5am).

(from Christi):
hi!! I´m still here...are you there??

(From Teri):
yes...of course we catch each other the week we get to talk on the phone

(from Christi):
Yeah figures!! Well I´m on a computer in a library and it shuts off every 15 minutes...I only have 4 mintues left!! I love you and can´t wait to talk on thursday!! Now I have 3 minutes!! :o)

(from Teri):
If you get this...I love too! ...and mom will be so jealous!

(from Christi):
Yeah..and I give you permission to rub it in her face!!

***Note: the emails took like 5 minutes for me to get from her...I'm not sure what the lag time was on her end...but it made for a difficult normal conversation, but kinda fun all the same! Christi didn't send a family/friends letter this week, but we get to talk to her on Christmas, so I will give an update after that! Merry Christmas!!!

16 December 2008


Here are a few excerpts from an email to Christi's mom, answering some questions...

"Yeah I just saw the Christmas Broadcast last night. It was cool because of what President Uchtdorf talked about. He explained my Christmas experience here. And just so you know...Stollen (the Christmas cake he talked about) is really dry and ussually doesn´t taste very good!! I have had some that is good, but that is rare. I don´t like it too much, but I eat it!! :o)

How cold is it here?? Well I only know in Celcius. Usually it is right around 0 degrees...which I know is 32 degrees F. It´s only gotten down to -2 degrees, but it is colder in Bremen because of the water!! Bbrrrrrr!!! It´s not that bad when you just walk outside...I mean I lived in Rexberg of all places. It was like -20 F sometimes in the winter, but even when it is only 32F here in Germany...it seems colder because we are out in it for so long!! It´s only beginning...January and February are usually the coldest months of the year, but I only have to live through it once...that is what keeps me going. Next year I will be warm inside...all bundled up with my family!! :o)"

Week #29 (12-15-08)

So, the time has come....I have been TRANSFERRED!!! AHHHHHHH!!!! I´m going to Bremen and I will be comps with a sister only on her 3rd transfer....she has only been here for 3 months!! That is nothing...well it is something, but I am considered her follow up trainer or as the missionaries here call it...her step-mom!! Her trainer is her mom. I´m leaving my place of birth and I´m a little sad. It was hard to say goodbye to the members and over the next few days I will be saying goodbye to the investigators. I know that this is what the Lord wants for me, I just hope that I did what I was supposed to do while I was here. 7 months is a long time, but not quite long enough. I´m excited for Bremen though. The other Sister Jones served there for about 7 months and she loved it!! I hope it is as good as she made it sound!! It´s all what you make it though.

This is my new address:
Sister Christi Jones
Bismarckstrasse 92
28203 Bremen

Zone Conference was really good. We had a few talks from the AP´s and then broke up into zones and our zone leaders then talked to us. I have the BEST zone leaders. They are the nicest and most charitable people I have met. Who ever new that there where people like them in the world!! I will miss serving with them. Now I have the highest standards for my future zone leaders...they have a lot to live up too!! lol.

After that we ate lunch...which is my least favorite part. I´m not the type of sister to sit down with the Elders and chat. If I have served with them then I feel more comfortable doing that because we have things we can talk about...old investigators, members, experiences as a district and so on. But Elders that I don´t know yet...I have absolutely no desire to talk to them... I don´t know what to say. I don´t want to talk to them about before their mission or after their mission...that´s just to personal for me as a sister. I´m not snobby or anything. I say hi and ask them how their area is doing. I wish them good luck and so on. That is about the extent of my conversations at lunch. The Elders I do know I will talk to more, but as I said it usually has more to do with the work...which is good. Maybe I have lost my social skills, but I´m sure that they will come back when I need them. :o) I left lunch early because I was bored so I went and practiced the songs that Sister Cha and I were going to sing. We ended up doing a Christmas medley. It turned out pretty good I think...even though I can´t sing as well as before. All the time I spent to cover up my nerves when I sing have gone down the drain...but it was fine because I felt the Spirit and that is what is important. We had a music and spoken word type thing and then President and Sister Thompson talked to us. I really got more into the Christmas Spirit from this Conference and realized how cool it is that I get to be here at this time preaching the Gospel and talking of Christ. Even if the people don´t seem to listen.

A lot of our appointments fell out this last week, but I finally got to see O again. She has been really sick for the past couple weeks, but I called her and invited her to come to my last Sunday. She just stayed for the first hour, but I got to see her and say goodbye. I will miss her so much as well. She was my dream baptism because Sister Jones and I found her on the street and I really wanted to see her get baptised. Find, teach and baptise is every missionaries goal!! I just hope she continues to come. I also said goodbye to Frau A today and my heart hurt so bad!! I can´t explain the feeling except that it was like someone had ripped it out of my body, stepped on it, poured salt on it and then stuck it back in my body!! I was so sad and don´t know when I will ever see her again...maybe never. I have never experienced that in my life. When ever I say goodbye to family and friends I know that I will be able to see them again. The states are not that far apart, but Germany is really far...and she is from Sri Lanke...who knows how long she will stay here in Germany!! Man...this is hard. I will really miss everyone I have met here!! I love Bielefeld...I was born here, but now it is time to move on and to try and change another place!! I just hope that I accomplished all that I was meant to here in the beautiful City of Bielefeld!!

Sister Jones

09 December 2008

Week #28 (12-9-08)

Well we moved our P-day again. We had so many people who could meet with us yesterday that we moved it to today. It is really funny because we normally meet with Frau A on Monday (which we still did) but every time we move our P-day we still seem to have Frau A in the morning. I don´t think I have had a P-day with out Frau A for many weeks!! I love it though because she is so cool!!

This last week was so great!!
We had an appointment Frau O, which was a referral from a member. She is from Africa and speaks English. She is a strong believer in the Bible and very religious...just like most Africans from Gauna and Nigeria. She has a 4 year old daughter here in Germany and 2 sons back in Africa with her mom. We made another appointment with her for later this week and so she became a new investigator.

Then we stopped by an old contact O and we set up an appointment with her. We had already taught her, but since she didn´t have time to meet with us before we never had a time to make out a new appointment with her. So since we made out a new appointment she became a new investigator.

Then we went to an Enrichment Activity with Frau S. We took Marzipan and molded it into animal shapes...I´m not to good at that!! Marzipan is this sugar stuff with Almonds ground as small as it will go. They put it in almost EVERYTHING here. I didn´t really like it at first, but it is growing on me!! We had a lot of fun though. And because Frau S came she also became a new investigator.

We got 3 new investigators in one day!! WOW...it was so cool.

Today we went to visit another old contact...actually she was a referral from a member who didn´t have time to meet with us before. Her name is Frau S and she is an Artist. She is SO cool and she ended up letting us in again and we taught her and set up a new appointment....NEW INVESTIGATOR!! That was the 4th in 2 days!!

We then ate at the Schneider Family...they have the missionaries over EVERY week on Wednesday. They have been doing it for like 20 years or something. I don´t mind it...except when she makes us play games with her for an hour or 2. It´s getting better though. Our president has really stressed only 1 hour eating appointments..so we are trying our best!!


We had District Meeting in the morning and then made Pancakes afterwards. I have four Elders in my district and only 1 of them helped and the rest just sat around laughing at pictures on people cameras. I´m so glad that there are guys out there that help without being asked. I could never marry a guy that just sat around as I cooked dinner...I´m just not going to be that kind of wife. I was really grateful to see that I have a chance of finding a guy like that some day, my chances are just really slim!! :o) Anyway...We then went to Kerstin´s...a member who was baptised in Jan and had a talk with her. We meet with her every week, but I haven´t been seeing much progress. I think I told you about her. She works on Sunday so she cannot come to church. She has not been for a while even though she was supposed to come once a month. She told us today that she feels different. She feels like some things have left. She used to have a strong good feeling a lot of the time, but she said that that has gone away. I asked her if she thinks that that is because she doesn´t go to church and she said yes. She seems to finally be catching on to what me and my comps have been trying to teach her. You cannot progress very far if you don´t go to church on Sunday. I NEVER realized before my mission how important it was to be in Church EVERY Sunday. No matter where you are...you should be taking the sacrament on Sunday. There is nothing more important then that...except for the temple!! She is finally catching on, but says that she can´t come to church till Jan. She is moving in March to where her mom lives and plans to get a job where she doesn´t have to work on Sunday. I hope that she doen´t lose to much of her testimony before then!!

We met with Frau O again today and it was pretty good. She is really knowledgeable about the Bible...I´m not so much!! I love the Bible, but I have spent more time in the Book of Mormon then in the Bible because it is easier for me to understand. We tried to commit her to pray about the Book of Mormon, but she doesn´t think that she has to because she thinks that it is a good book just like a lot of other Christian books. She said that nothing is as good as the Bible. She finally committed to pray about it, but it took some convincing.


We met with Frau S today. It was pretty good, but she likes to talk. We all talk a little slow in German because it is not our first language, but she likes to talk a lot and will interrupt you if you don´t talk fast enough. During the lesson Sister Cha asked her about what she remembers about Joseph Smith...well she started to talk and within a few minutes was talking about how many days are in February. I was so confused how we got there. Later when I was talking I was talking in like spurts because I would say a sentence and then be in the middle of another sentence and then I would pause for just a second to think of a word or how I should say something and I would see her mouth open to start to talk, so I would quickly finish my thought before she could change the subject by talking. That was how my whole part was...I would talk and then have to speed up to finish my thought...and so on!! It was really hard for me because I didn´t feel like she was listening to us. She just wanted to hear herself talk it seemed like!! She is super nice, but needs a lot of help. I try to be a good listener, but she goes off on these random tangents and I have a hard time concentrating. We will see how it goes!!

Well Frau S came to church and it was really good for her I think. It was Fast and Testimony meeting and I think it went well!!

We met with Frau A today, but her daughter is in the hospital for a few days. I´m not sure exactly what happened, but she is doing better. We made a plan to go tomorrow to the hospital to visit her and her daughter and to have the Elders give her daughter a blessing. We talked to her about her husband and what he thinks and she said that they watched the Restoration film together and that he really liked it. I really hope that now he will take to time to meet with the Elders. Frau A also wants us to go shopping with her. That is going to be hard to say no to, but we cannot be her friend. She will not take us seriously and keep her commitments if we become to good of friends!! She is so cool though...!!

We then met with Frau O and she is getting a little more stubborn. She said that she could never put another book equal to the bible and that she will not pray about it because she knows that it is true and good, but nothing is as complete as the bible. But then at the end of the lesson we were talking about how the bible is missing verses and books and has been translated so many times...she totally agreed and even told us the amount of verses missing...doesn´t sound so complete to me!! :o) It will just take time. She is reading in the book and that is what is important now!!

We met with Frau Sauer again and brought the member that referred her!! That hadn´t seen each other for 3 years, but the member had continued to send her church material. I wish I had time to type everything that she said, but I don´t. She is so cool though and the member is perfect for her. They get along great and Frau Sauer has great respect for her. She said that if the Bible is true then the Book of Mormon has to be true. She is really religious and reads everything that we give her to read!! She is GREAT!!!


We met with Frau A and her daughter in the hospital. The Elders came and gave her a blessing. It was really cool. Then the sisters taught her and answered her questions as I played with her cute daughter. We had a good time and are going to go back tomorrow as well.

Well...I have to run now!! Our Christmas Zone Conference is on Thursday and transfer calls are on Saturday!! Sister Cha and I will sing at zone conference...I love singing with her. She is a professional!!

hope you have a great week!!
Sister Jones

02 December 2008

Week #27 (12-1-08)

This past week was fun, but slow. A lot of our appointments fell out, which was sad, but we had fun anyway!! We moved our p-day to Thanksgiving last week so Monday we went out and worked. We had 2 eating appointments, one with an active family and the other with a part member family. The part member family is from Italy and the mother has been a member for almost a year!! It was really hard for her to join the church because of her extended family. They are Catholic and very much against breaking that tradition!! She is so strong and has learned so much over the past year. I think that her husband would be more open to the church if he spoke better German. They come to church as a family once a month and they sit right in the front row, but he finds it boring....well I do too when I don´t understand what the heck they are talking about!! Hopefully he will allow us to start working with him, but he had a hard time understanding us...if only I spoke Italian!! JK. It would help our German because we would have to speak so simply!! We will see what happens.

On Tuesday we met with a inactive woman named P M. We have been meeting with her for the last couple of weeks. She has now given up smoking...going on 7 or 8 days!! But she thinks that our religion is too strict. She is bugged by little things...like that we need to wear a skirt to church. I told her that that is not a commandment, but she still finds it dumb that it is requested. She said that she would wear a skirt anyway, but just because they tell her to, she doesn´t want to. (Kind of sounds like how I was...when I was like 14!!!) She is a super cool lady and just needs to get a Testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. She still agrees to meet with us, so she must like something about our church!!

On Wednesday we met with Frau H. She is a lady that we met through doing doors. She is kind of old and is leaving for the Month of December with her family for Christmas. The appointment was super good though. We taught her about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and she agreed to read and pray. She even said that she would take the Book on Vacation with her!! Cool huh??

On Thursday we had Frau A, but she was not home. We waited for a little bit, but not long enough. She called later and said that she got home 15min past. She had another appointment and tried to get home as fast as she could. Normally we wait 15 minutes, but we didn´t this time!! To bad...oh well, we made an appointment for Friday. We then went to our District Thanksgiving Party!! It was kind of a bummer because 2 of our Elders went to play soccer with some other missionaries...so they came a few hours late!! Our Zone leaders were also invited, but they told them no because they already had plans with the district!! To me that shows what kind of people they are...they really are the nicest Elders ever!! I wish I had friends back home to hook them up with, but they are all getting married now!! Oh well!! We ended up having so much fun anyways. As the other Elders were playing Soccer in Minden (about 30min train ride north) we were making the food. I was in charge of the Jello salad...you know the kind with the cool whip and fruit cocktail and jello powder stuff!! Well I had to improvise...they don´t have cool whip here. The Elders had Extreme Green Apple Jello from America so I used that and also made my own cool whip. It was ok, but I´m not a fan of Extreme Green Apple!! Pistachios is so much better. The Elders were nice though and told me it was good...good thing guys eat everything!! Sister Cha made the Turkey...well they were turkey breasts with this super good sauce!! It wasn´t like a normal thanksgiving, but it was SOOO good anyways...a little Germanized!! We then just played cards and then went out to work! It was a Memorable Thanksgiving...the only one I will have in Germany!!

Friday was Sister Buynak´s Birthday so we went out to eat and then had weekly planning. Frau A called us and cancelled our appointment and changed it to Monday!! I think I´m going to buy her a daily planner for Christmas. She never remembers her appointments!! lol

Saturday we did splits. We went over to a members house and made a bunch of cookies and then we went out and delivered the cookies and advent calendars that we made to the less actives and new members. I went with the Member. Her name is Carolin Adler and she is 24...so we are the same age!! She is pretty cool and we had a good time together. Not to many people were home and they live SO far away from one another that it is hard to visit too many, but it was still effective. We left notes and calendars for a lot of people though. It was weird to not be with my comps. I have not been away from them in so many months...it was weird to have it just be me and a member!! :o) The Adler family actually have relatives right around where mom lives in Federal Way. They are not members, but I will visit them when I get home and tell them that I met their family in Germany!! It will be so cool!!

Then Sunday we went to church and then there was a baptism of a little girl in the ward after church. We then had our Christmas dinner (lunch). It was super fun. I taught some of the girls there this cool cup game that I learned at girls camp. We had fun doing that. It is really weird because before my mission I was super loud and what I would call crazy fun. I loved to just be me and not care what others thought around me, but now on a mission I have to be a little more serious...only a little though. I try not to be as loud and I´m a lot more serious then I thought possible. Sometimes I miss having my silly fun, but I can be that way when I get home. I still have fun with people, but it is not the same because I need to be more professional...plus the German´s are a little bit more of a serious people. I love being more serious though because I notice more people around me and am learning how to help and recognize other people's needs!! It is good for me to settle down and grow up...but that is sometimes hard!! I´m working on a good balance of both.

Sunday night we were visiting some more inactives and we stopped this lady on the street. She said that she used to go to church with the Mormons and that she would like to start coming back. We were right by where she lived so we went in and talked to her for a while. Her name is Frau S and she is an older lady. She hasn´t been to church for a long time, but wants to slowly make her way back. We invited her to come to a RS activity tomorrow. She said she would come!! Oh...funny story. Ok, so there were some chocolates on the table and she said that we could eat some. Well we didn´t take dinner that night so I decided to eat one. Well I unwrapped it and took a bite and juice went everywhere. I made a noise and she looked over and asked me if I didn´t like it and I told her (while holding the juice and chocolate in my mouth) that it just went everywhere. She then asked me if I didn´t like alcohol and told me that there was alcohol in them...she said that while she was getting me a paper towel. I looked at her with big eyes and she said that it was just vodka. I then took the paper towel and spit it out. She then asked if we don´t drink it and I said no...we don´t drink alcohol. I only ended up swallowing a little bit because I held most of it in my mouth. When I had unwrapped the chocolate and took a bite I thought that maybe it was one of the chocolates that had a cherry with juicy stuff in it, but no...it was vodka!! You got to be careful here in Germany. They put alcohol in everything...chocolate, bakery foods, ice cream!! They sure love their alcohol!! I think that that is the second time I have broken the work of Wisdom while on my mission!! Hopefully the last!! :o) Man...it was so funny...I felt kind of sick the rest of the night. It was either my guilt or the fact that I had drunk a little bit of alcohol for the first time...I think it was my guilt!! :o)

This morning we had an appointment with Frau A, but we did splits again and so Sister Cha and I didn´t go. We thought it would be better with only a few people. So Sister Buynak and Schwester Wächter went. She said it was good and that Frau A is just really confused!! She even prayed that she wouldn´t be so confused. I hope that the Lord answers her prayer!!
I love this Gospel and the fact that I get to talk about it everyday!! I really know that this is the Gospel of Jesus Christ and that what we do everyday is so important. Everyday we are one day closer to meeting our God and I can´t wait for that day to stand before Him and be able to kiss his feet!! I love Him and all that He has done for me. He gave up His life so that I can live and I have given Him this time to try and pay Him back. I know that that is impossible to fully pay Him back, but I will do what I can to make Him proud of me and to help His children here in the wonderful country of Germany!!

Sister Jones

24 November 2008

Week #26 (11-24-08)

I´m dreaming of a white Thanksgiving....just like the ones I never knew!! lol!! Ok, well they don´t celebrate Thanksgiving here, but that doesn´t mean that we can´t!! We moved our P-day to Thursday so that we could have a thanksgiving party as a district. We are not going to have a turkey, but we are going to try our best to make it normal!! I love Thanksgiving...It´s one of my favorite holidays. Plus, guess what?? It SNOWED!!! Yup that´s right...snow!! It´s pretty to look at, but kind of miserable to walk around in!! Lol. Funny story....so I bought boots to keep my legs warm for the winter and was so excited to have them. Then it snowed and it was really wet melty snow and I found out that my boots are NOT water proof!! That was a fun day. We went to the church to prepare for a music night thing that we were putting on and I took my boots and socks off. We were in the kitchen making cookies for the people at the music night and so I put my socks on the heater in the kitchen to help them dry faster!! I think I grossed out some of the Germans!! LOL!! It was so funny!!

The music night was a success. We had a few members bring friends to it so we got to talk to them. We didn´t get any referals or appointments from it, but one older lady I talked to said that she would come to church!!! That will be cool. It was so cute because I was in the bathroom washing my hands and this little old German lady came up to me and told me how she had invited her friend to come and that she came. It was so cool to see the excitement in her eyes and voice as she told me about it. I told her how cool that was and what a good job she was doing. She is such an old member, but so cool. She is excited to bring her friend to church on Sunday!! I got to sing a few songs which was so great!! I sang "Wishing You were Somehow Here Again" because that is one of my favorites and I also sang "If thou had been here" from the Woman at the Well CD!! My comp...the opera singer...can play the piano really well and made me sing it. Before I sang it at the Music night I explained to them what it was about because it was in English. It was funny because at the end of the night some people came up to me to tell me I did a nice job and some of them even complimented my German!! I was so excited!! I think my German is horrible, but if the German´s say nice job then I must be making progress. Especially since they NEVER compliment anyone!! I love Bielefeld and will be sad when I have to leave!!

This last week has been good!! It has been hard...it´s really hard to get anything done with 3 people. We talk 3 times as much, we are 3 times as slow and we are 3 times more PMSy!! lol!! It is so funny!! Normally it takes us 10 minutes to walk to the church because we normally walk fast...well now it takes about 20 minutes!! Geduld Sister Jones, Geduld!! (Geduld-Patience) I´m learning just to laugh at things and not take it so seriously!! Sometimes it is harder then others, but i´m getting better!! I love this time of my life and I´m so grateful that I chose to serve a mission. It is hard, but SO worth it!!

O is not doing too well. A friend of hers died and so she will be gone for a few days. Please pray for her and her friend's family. I´m just afraid that when people die that the families will become mad at God. It happens way more then I ever knew. I don´t think that she will get mad, but please pray for her anyway.

I don´t have much an update with Frau A because we are not meeting with her till Thursday morning. How is it that even when we move our P-day to another day we still teach her on P-day...naja, so ist das!!

I want you to know how much I love this Gospel. This really is Christ´s Church and we really do have His Authority to baptise and to seal families together forever. I love this mission thing and I´m so glad that I have plenty of time left to spread this happy news with others!!

Alles Gute,
Sister Jones

17 November 2008

Week #25 (11-17-08)

So this last week was interesting. You know how they say that 3 is a crowd?? Well I don´t know about it being a crowd, but it sure is crowded!! One more person is a lot more then I thought. When we go to appointments we always try to have a member with us. It helps the investigators have friends in the ward and also see that there are people in our Church that have normal lives....the life of a missionary is not normal. So normally there are 3 of us and the investigator...which is the perfect number. Well we went to an appointment the other day and there was the 3 of us, the member and the investigator around a tiny little table. It actually worked out fine, but it was just crowded. We teach pretty well together, so that is really good. It´s hard, but is also fun....for now!! :o)

Frau A is confused. We meet with her every Monday morning and it is always really good. We have the Spirit when we teach her and everything. When we commit her to do something or keep a commandment she always agrees and I can see that she feels the Spirit....I can see it in her eyes. Last week we committed her to coming to our church on Sundays and she agreed. Then I called her on Saturday and she said that she was confused about what to do and she wasn´t going to come. Well...she doesn´t just meet with us she also meets with the JW´s. We found out today that she meets with them on Saturday mornings...that is why she is confused!! They are confusing her. Our goal this week is to have more contact with her during the week so she won´t forget the Spirit that we bring when we meet with her!! The Elders also have contact with her during the week because they teach her kids English. Please pray for her to understand what is important and that she will recognize a difference from when we are there and when we are gone!!

O is doing good as well, but also confused. The ward is pressuring her to get baptized...they are not meaning it that way, but they keep asking when she is getting baptized and that they are excited for when she gets baptized. She is so wonderful and I think that one day she will get baptized, but she is not ready yet. She won´t pray about the Book of Mormon or Joseph Smith yet because she is nervous for an answer!! She is praying now for the courage to pray!! Please pray that she will get that courage!!

I love our investigators in Bielefeld and the new members...well and the other members as well!! It is so great here and the work is moving forward!! We found a new investigator last week who comes from Gana, Africa. She is cool and I hope it goes well with her!!

Thanks for your prayers and for the support!! I hope you have a great week!!
Sister Jones

10 November 2008

Week #24 (11-10-08)

So guess what?? I´m still in Bielefeld!! I was so sure I was going to be transferred because I have been here for 4 transfers now, but the Lord has other plans for me....it´s called 2 companions. Yep...Sister Buynak and I are still together and we have another companion coming this week. Sister Cha is her name and she is from Korea. She is 32-yrs old and is on her last transfer...so she will be dying here in Bielefeld. (That´s what we call it when someone goes home). I´m pretty sure I will be transferred the week before Christmas...which is pretty dumb. It is possible for me to stay for Christmas, but that would be 6 transfers in the same city....that´s half of my mission in my Golden City!! 5 transfers is already 7 MONTHS!! WOW!! I´m excited though!! It will be a good change and this transfer is only 5 weeks (starting Thursday) so it will go by really fast!! I love Bielefeld, but it is hard to know what to do with the same contacts, investigators and families after so many months!! I will just continue to work hard and see if I can find out why the Lord still wants me here!! :o)

This past week was good....they seem to go by so fast!! Nothing really new happened. It´s still hard to get O to meet with us. She came to church which was good...but she has still not read in the Book of Mormon. She has a total social conversion, but we are trying to work on her spiritual conversion!! She has to have the Spiritual to get baptized and the Social to stay active. Normally the Spiritual is first and we have to fight to get the Social.

We contacted a referral from a member this week...well actually 2!! The first one was super cool because we just said the name of her friend and she invited us in. We had a great talk, but she is too busy making Christmas cards to meet with us now, but she said maybe after Christmas...lol. The other didn´t have any interests, but she was really nice and we gave her our card and said she could call us if she changed her mind. I think that if I could give any advice to members of the church it would be to pray about their friends and then give the missionaries referrals. Not everyone that is referred will get baptised, but just saying the name of a member that the referral knows gives us a way better chance of getting in and teaching the lessons. The first referral kept telling us that her friend (the member) is super smart and if she thinks that this book is true then there must be something right about it. She is just too smart to be fooled into something like that. It was just cool to hear her rave about her friend and the difference that she sees in her compared to other people. I hope that it works out and even if it doesn´t this non-member has more knowledge about the church and knows she can always go to her friend with questions!! So...moral of the story....be a good example and give referrals to the missionaries. :o) We LOVE referrals!!

Frau A is good....I think. We were supposed to have an appointment with her this morning, but she changed it to tomorrow morning!! We have quite a bit to do before our new companion comes, so it will be an exciting week!!

Oh...I do have a funny story (Sorry, I´m sitting here racking my brain to know what to write. Some weeks it is a whole bunch and others not so much!!) So we were sitting on the Bahn and this drunk old man walks on....well stumbles on. He walks towards us to sit in the seat right in front of us and was about to sit down when the Bahn started to move. Well, when the Bahn moves and your still standing up most people almost fall till they grab onto a poll or something...but when someone is drunk there is no control. He fells right on top of me!! I mean full on...all weight on my body for a few seconds before my companion and I pushed him off into the seat across from us!! Then all he said was "Oh Entschuldigung"....Oh Excuse me!! It was so funny, but also really gross. Most people here in Germany smell especially the bums, but when a person is drunk and kind of bumish together....that is pretty disgusting. I wish I could bottle it up and send it to you for Christmas...just so you could smell it!! lol

Well that is all the exciting stories!!

Have a great week,
Sister Jones

04 November 2008

Letter #23 (11-3-08)

This last week has been so fun. We kind of went on a mini vacation/trip!! lol...not really, but really!! :o)

On Tuesday we went and visited a contact and we taught her a lesson. She is from Russia and her German is not very good...her daughter had to translate a lot of what we said. She was a JW, but she doesn´t go to their church anymore. We taught her about the plan of salvation and also showed her a short Joseph Smith film in Russian. We started out with Joseph Smith, but as with all JW´s they care more about the millennium and the after life...so we switched gears and laid out this super cute plan of salvation puzzle. I think that she really started to understand. The problem is really the language barrier. If she comes to church we have no members that can speak Russian...except for O our other Russian investigator. She might be able to translate for her...we will see. She didn´t know when she had time this week so we have to call her and set up and appointment. She is super cool!!

O didn´t show up for our appointment on Wednesday night, but she called us on Thursday morning and apologized...she was at the University and couldn´t get out of what she was doing. Normally she is really good about calling us...she is not flaky. I told her it wasn´t a problem and reminded her about Stake conference in Hanover on Sunday. She said she would be there!!

We didn´t get to meet with Frau A last week because she was sick!! But we met with her today and she is doing so good...she had a few word of Wisdom problems, but we can work through them. She was reading in Acts 3 in the Bible and she was thinking that the Scripture (vs. 21-24) was talking about Joseph Smith...we turned there together and OH MY GOSH!!! She is SO spiritual and understands WAY more then me. I had written a note in my English scriptures about this scripture...that it was about the restoration of the Gospel. (We teach her in English...did I tell you that??) And so it was totally about Joseph Smith....I know that the Spirit was speaking to her and helping her to understand that the prophets of old really have foretold of Joseph Smith!! We had a really good lesson and at the end I asked her if she would get baptised when she found out that this church was true and she said yes....but she will only do it if her Husband joins as well!! She has hope for him and she wants the elders to teach him (we actually set up an appointment for them). He is a little stuck in the Catholic church, but that doesn´t matter. I think her example will help him. She is so ready, but she will only come if her whole family comes....that is one of the only excuses that I except. I don´t think God wants us to break up families!!! I just hope that he will meet with the Elders and try to find out if it´s true or not!!

On Wednesday night we carved pumpkins with the JAE´s (YSA). It was so much fun....they don´t really have good pumpkins here, but we did the best we could with what we found. They sell them, but they are REALLY small...I will try to send pics next week!! We had fun though. The young people here are SO cool!! I love them.

Then on Thursday we had Zone Conference. It was so good and I learned so much....almost tooo much...it´s sometimes hard to know what to work on, but I have a small list of things that I want to do better with!! After Zone Conference Sister Buynak and I rode to Hamburg with the President and his wife. Sister Buynak had tooth problems a few transfers ago and so she had to have her last check up. She was serving in Hamburg when it all happened. It was just easier to go there and not to have to explain everything to a new dentist. So we got to spend the night in the Mission home!!! WAHOOO!!! That doesn´t ever happen...unless you pick up a new missionary of course!! It was cool!!

Then on Friday we took our p-day and went to the dentist and then went shopping with Sister Thompson. She even took us to lunch. Then she had to leave so we toured around Hamburg for a few hours. I was kind of grumpy because we had to pull our suitcase around everywhere and it was kind of big and heavy, but I sucked it up and had fun anyway!! Then we traveled down to Hanover that night and did an exchange with the sisters there. So we spent Saturday with the Hanover Sisters and then on Sunday went to conference at the church with the whole stake!! Then we took a bus back down with the ward. O came!! She is so wonderful!! I love that girl...I´m just sad that she is so busy!! She is practically a member, but she has to meet with us to get baptised!! Hopefully she has time this week!!

I love doing exchanges because I learn so much. I learned so much about myself and what I want to change to make my comps life easier and also to help us work more in unity!! That is so important. Sister Jones and I taught the same way so it was easier, but now we teach a little bit different and we just need to figure out how we can teach together a little better. It is not bad, but it could be better. I have learned so much this last week and I hope that I can take that and do something to change and be better.

So that was my exciting week!! We were kind of all over the place so our numbers weren´t very good, but we learned a lot to help our numbers and our missionary skills. I´m excited for this week!!

Love Sister Jones

27 October 2008

Week #22 (10-27-08)

I can´t believe how fast the time flies when I am here!! I feel like every few days is Monday. So Last Monday we had an appointment with a nice older couple. We brought a man from our ward, Bruder Wächter, that was about there age. The investigators just asked him question after question. It was pretty good because Bruder Wächter served a few missions with his wife over the last 5 years, so he did a great job. We kept trying to get into the conversation, but it didn´t really work....good thing the Tea tasted good...only kidding!! They ended up saying that they weren´t really interested in meeting with us again. The man said that he didn´t really believe in God and he wouldn´t even let us pray. You can´t find out that God is there if you don´t pray, but he is just not ready to accept an answer even if he got one. They are a really friendly couple and maybe one day they will accept our message. Then we went to FA (FHE) with the JAE´s (YSA) and we played a board game...in German of course. You pick a card that has a word on it, then you have to either draw a picture, act it out, or explain it in words. They let us use our dictionaries, but otherwise they weren´t very easy on us. It was really fun and we did pretty well...we actually won!! I didn´t like it at first because I feel so bumb auf Deutsch, but I sucked up my pride and played and actually didn´t do that bad!!

We took our P-day on Tuesday last week and Sister Buynak and I went to Detmold. It´s about 30min on the train and it is the cutest city!! It is very German. We saw so many cute buildings and even took a tour of the castle there!! We had so much fun...it is so amazing here!! The Castle was so HUGE and amazing. We didn´t get to take any pictures on the tour, but it was cool. They had HUGE portraits on the walls of people who had lived there and also family members....I didn´t get all the details because it was in German, but I understood enough to know what she was talking about. There was this one room with animal heads and antlers all over the walls!! It was so dark and scary...she said that it was the men's room, which was obvious compared to the other rooms that are so open and bright. There was this one room that looked like a ballroom and it had red walls with nudie angels on the celling. I took a design class at BYU-I and it was cool because as I was looking at the furniture and the designs on the walls I remember learning all about it and the time periods and what they mean, but I have forgotten it all now...I just remember learning about it!! I also forgot the word for my pitch pipe the other day....4 years of college are escaping my head. Oh well...life goes on. I just hope it comes back quick when I need it!! :o)

On Wednesday we met with O!! She is SOOOO amazing. We found out that she is married and that her Husband lives in another city because of work and she lives here because of school. She said that they see each other usually once a week!! WOW...I wouldn´t be able to do that. We brought Schwester Adler along as our Joint Teach and it went well. It was a really long appointment...like an hour and a half or more, but we taught her a lot and answered a lot of her questions. Normally we meet 3 times a week for only 30-40 minutes...so since we are only meeting once a week then if it´s longer it´s ok. She agreed to read in the Book of Mormon and pray and she is really excited to meet with us again this week. She didn´t come to church on Sunday, because she was out of town, but she is coming to Stake Conference in Hannover on Sunday!!

On Thursday we went and visited a Russian girl named N. She normally comes to our English class on Wednesday, but hasn´t been there for the last 3 weeks. I´m so glad that we stopped by because her mother-in-law is in a coma and she was really fragile. We sat and talked with her for a while and I really had a gift of tongues experience. I have a hard time knowing what to say to console people in English let alone in another language, but the Lord really helped us to know what to say and what to ask. I didn´t understand all the specifics, because I don´t know German medical terms, but through asking questions I found out that her mother-in-law has blood in her brain and she is only living because a machine is keeping her alive. It was really sad, but we bore our testimonies about God and His love for us and a little bit about the next life. We even prayed at the end and the Spirit was really strong and I know that she felt the Spirit while we were there. It was a really cool experience. We are going to go back this week and see how her mother is doing.

So there is this new member in our ward, K. She was baptized in Jan of this year. Her daughter was just baptized in August. We went and visited her this week and we were a little nervous. Kerstin works on Sunday so she can only come to church one time a month. She has a really strong testimony, but the ward and us as well are worried that if she keeps this up that she won´t be able to progress anymore. She can´t go to the temple unless she comes to church on Sunday...it is one of the 10 commandments to keep the Sabbath day holy and that includes going to church. She knows all this, but we want her to understand that if she puts her trust in the Lord that everything will work out. Her fear is that when she finds another job that she will have less time with her kids...she has a 2 year old and a 10 year old. She only works 2 or 3 times a week...here in Germany if someone works on Sunday then they get paid double...they do that because it is really hard to find people to work on Sunday. All the stores are closed and most resturants as well...it´s like a Ghost town in the city on Sunday. She works on Sunday so that she gets more money and doesn´t have to work so many days. I can totally understand that, but if she keeps the commandments the Lord will make it up to her somehow. My comp and I both have personal experience...we lived with single mom´s who never worked on Sunday. We didn´t see them much during the week, but they were always there on Sunday in Church. We bore testimony to her about how much our families were blessed and the wonderful example that our mothers set for us. I also told her that God has blessings for us, but he waits for us to keep the commandments and then he gives them to us. When we don´t do what he has asked then he can´t give us the blessings that he wants to give us. She knows what is right, but the sad thing is, is that she won´t do anything about it. We told her that we love her and that her family will be SO blessed if she will set a goal of going to the temple in January. The temple blesses familes so much, but she said that she couldn´t do that because she had to work on Sunday. She understood what we talked about, but she is just not ready to trust the Lord completely. It was really sad.

This week has been a hard week because we have talked to so many people and no one really listened to us. We don´t have very many investigators and we aren't finding people either....but the thing that I am excited about is that we only have 2 investigators, but they are both progressing and that is amazing!!! I love this work and I know that the Lord is in it. It is his work and this is his Church! It is true and I know it. I am here in Germany because there are people who need my testimony and I will shout it from the mountian tops to make sure that they all hear it!!

Ich liebe dich!

Deine Sister Jones

20 October 2008

Week #21 Letter (10-20-08)

Here it is definitely winter...ok well I guess just fall because I heard it gets a lot colder. It is still really beautiful. The leaves are all over the ground and are all kinds of colors. The sun is still shinning and so that makes the cold wind and weather not seem so bad. It gets dark really early here...earlier then I remember at home. It´s dark by about 6:30pm and when we change times this upcoming weekend then it will be 5:30pm when it is dark. It is really hard to do missionary work in the dark. We will just have to try and have more appointments at night, so we can do street contacting during the day when it is light. We shall see.
So this week was a challenge, only because our Präsident has asked us to teach 15 lessons a week and if we can do that we will receive many blessings...more happiness in our lives, better teachers, see more success and a bunch of others. So we plan and we plan and we plan and then we go to our appointments and the person is not home. We had so many appointments that fell out this week, but that is just the way it is. We are still trying to work hard to get our 15 lessons...we are doing our part and it is up to the people to be there!! :o)

We had an appointment with an older couple this week, Herr and Frau E. They are pretty courious about our church. They were an investigator in our area book, so sister Jones and I went by and made an appointment with them and then Sister Buynak and I taught them last Monday. The Man refused to let us pray and he said that he was very sceptical about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. We told him that if he would pray and ask God, then he would find out it is true. He told us that he doesn´t really believe that he would receive an answer if he prayed. They are one of the nicest couples. It was never an argument...it was just a conversation. We have another appointment today and we are bringing a member with us...Bruder Wächter. He is about their age and him and his wife just got back from their 3rd mission..or something like that!! We wanted to bring them both, but we thought that maybe 2 members, 2 missionaries and 2 investigators would be to many people!! :o) We then went to Family Home Evening with the YSA and O came with us!! It was pretty good. They didn´t have a game or activity or anything...it was just us sitting around talking. Which is fine, but I think it would be more exciting if we did something. We can sit around and talk anytime (well not sister Buynak and me), but we get together on Monday to have fun!! We then had a lesson and that was good. O asked a lot of good questions and the YSA did a good job answering and explaining it. All in all it was a good night!! O was too busy again this week to meet with us!! She did come to church again though and she even stayed for and brought something for our ward lunch. She loves coming to church...she even takes notes. She has a lot of friends there already. It is so good to watch!! I love O, she makes me so happy. I really want to get her baptized so that she can have the fullness of joy that only the Gospel brings!! We have an appointment this week and I really hope that she will commit to be baptized!! She is so ready!! We shall see!!

We had interviews this week...which feels like so long ago!! lol!! They were really good. We had a zone meeting and then we had our distrikt meeting and then we had interviews. I love seeing Sister Thompson because she is always so happy!! It really boosts my spirits!!

We met with S this week and she is doing so amazing. She is reading every morning and evening in the Scriptures and praying as well. She is really excited for her new calling as well. She is so wonderful. She just needs more friends in the church. That makes it a little hard, but I think it will come with time. She is not like O...she is a little more quiet and reserved, but when you get to know her she is really fun and funny!!

So we were at the Wächter´s for dinner on Friday and Schwester Wächter said something really nice to me. The Elders and Sister Buynak were talking about all the cities that they have served in and when it came to my turn I said that this is my first. One of the Elders said...Oh yeah, I forgot that you are still in your Golden City. I was like, yeah...I think that some people in the ward have forgotten that too because they talk to me like I understand everything that they say. Schwester Wächter then told me that they probably think that because I talk like I understand everything. That my German is good enough that people wouldn´t think that I have just learned it. She said that ever since I got here she has thought that my German was good. That was a surprise to me because I think my German is bad. I mean it´s way better then when I first got here, but it is still not very good, but I was really flattered when she said that. A German thinks that my German is pretty good!! I still don´t have a very big vocab and I still struggle understanding people, but it´s coming. I love the German language...it´s a lot harder then what I thought it would be because I always heard how hard English is, but then again learning a second language is never easy!!

We had a street preach in Paderborn on Saturday and it was pretty good. Sister Buynak and I were only there for about an hour and a half because we had 2 appointments...which fell through...but it was still fun even for a short time. Paderborn is where the other 2 Elders in our Distrikt are. It´s about an hour train ride southish. It was pretty fun, although most people said that they didn´t have time. I really want to know what Germans do during the day because they always say that they don´t have time. I don´t know what Americans say, but I would be interested to know if it is the same thing or if it is just the German´s who never have time!! It just makes me laugh inside...mostly because I don´t want it to bother me.

We met with Frau A this morning. She left on vacation after S´s baptism and she just got back last week. She said that she only has time to meet with us one time a week...which is better then none. She said the Spirit was so strong. She asked us why Joseph Smith had so many wives. (a friend told her that) So we spent the first little bit explaining that. It´s hard to explain because I don´t full understand why. It went really well and I even told her that I don´t fully understand, but that God doesn´t do anything without a purpose. I think it went well. Our Joint Teach also really helped because she was a convert and also wondered the same thing before she got baptized. Then we taught her the Word of Wisdom and she commited to live it. She said that ever since Sister Jones and I told her that we don´t drink coffee, she stopped as well. Funny story. So we went and visited her before Sister Jones left and she brought us Coffee. We told her sorry, but we don´t drink coffee and I swear that we told her that we also don´t drink green and black tea. She then made us tea, but I guess she didn´t hear that, because I just found out today that she had given us black tea!! Oooppss!! Tea is huge here in Germany and we can drink fruit tea and herbal tea, but not green or black tea!! So she commited to stop drinking that as well!! She is still a little confused with there only being one true church on the earth, but we will hopefully clear that us next week!!

Sister Jones

13 October 2008

Week #20 (10-13-08)

Sister Jones and Sister Jones with really "useful" umbrellas, in the rain (good thing Christi is from Seattle and use to this weather).

Hey mom...I think a new pair of slippers may be on Christi's Christmas list.


Sister Buynak (her new/current companion)

Smores....are all German women this short, or is Christi just extremely tall!

S...at her baptism

Couple questions mom asked and Christi answered:

Do you get to speak English? We ALWAYS speak German to each other. This transfer is an only German transfer. We speak German day and night. Sometimes a few English words come out when we don't know them, but not too often during the day. We are aloud to speak English, but our Mission President has encouraged us to speak German from 9 am-9 pm...so we took it one step further and just speak it non-stop!! It's fun.

How was the ICE train? IT WAS SO COOL!!! Ok, so normally it takes about 1.5 hrs on the train to Hannover, but with the ice train we were there in like 30 minutes!! Although it was a long day. Our first train was 20 min. late which made us miss our train in Hannover. Although, we ended up catching another and were only about 30 min later coming into Hamburg. I then picked up Sister Buynak and got back on a train 30 min later, but this time it was a slow/normal train. We left Hamburg at about 3 pm and didn't get home until 8:30 pm. We ended up missing one of our trains and we had to change trains about 3 times!! It was fine though....we were just really hungry!! :o)

Letter #20 (10-13-08)

This week was great. We are trying to get in contact with the inactive members of the ward and get to know them. We spend a lot of time visiting them and calling them this week. We didn´t really see any success until Sunday when a lady came up to us and told us that she was Schwester Grasshof...a lady that we went to go visit and she just talked to us through this little box...she said she was too busy to let us in. Then she called us the next day and left a message and then she came to church. She even got up and bore her testimony in testimony meeting. We have an appointment with her this week. Our goal this transfer is to try and strengthen the ward by helping the inactives.

We have been speaking German all day everyday since Sister Buynak got here...it is an only German transfer. It is helping us a lot. I feel a lot more confident in my German...we even speak only German to the elders to, which was not the case before...it helps us help each other with our German!!

So Sunday was Fast Sunday and the ward Counsel and missionaries were fasting for specific investigators and members together. It was cool because we even broke our fast together. The ward here has a goal of 10 baptisms for the year. We have only had 4 so far so we have a lot of work to do. In Ward Counsel on Wednesday the ward asked us what they can do to help. It´s hard to think of what to ask them for. They come on Joint teaches and they pray for us, they talk to our investigators when they come to church. The problem is just finding people to teach. Sister Buynak and I were walking through the city for 2 straight hours talking to people one after another and we didn´t get any contact info. No one wanted to listen to what we have to say. So our Ward Mission Leader asked every organization to come with a referal for us next month. They all agreed!! I love referrals!! The ward also wants to plan a music thing for Christmas and they turned and asked me if I could do it...I told them I would but I don´t know if I will be here. That would mean I would be here in my Golden City for 7 transfers...that is not very likely. That is over half of my time in the mission field!! although I do love it here....by that time I think I would need a little bit of a change!! :o)

S received the Holy Ghost yesterday!! Wow the Spirit was so strong and she even got a calling. She is on the ward activities commitee!! That will be really good for her!!

I bore my testimony in church Yesterday (our mission pres has asked us to do that every month) and I totally cried....you know me!! lol!! I just felt the spirit really strong when S recieved the Holy Ghost and I was telling the ward about our experience on the street and I just cried when I bore my testimony about my Father in Heaven and His son Jesus Christ. When I first started to cry I told them that it´s ok for me to cry because I´m from America...they all laughed!! lol...I can´t believe that I was funny in German!! It was a great Sunday!!

Well I think that is all for this week...by the time Monday comes I have forgotten most of what happens...I will try and remember more for next week!!

Sister Jones

06 October 2008

Letter #19 (10-6-08)

Conference for me was SO great!! Man...it should really be more then just 2 times a year. Maybe like every other weekend!! We had an investigator (O) at conference, which was SO cool and to make it better...she brought a friend(Am). O stayed for all the sessions and the women's conference and Am watched all but the one on Sunday night (so women's and the 2 Saturday sessions). The way conference is done here is confusing, but it works. They tape Women's conference and then we watch it on Saturday at 4pm and then the Saturday morning session of conference Saturday night at 6pm. Then the Priesthood session is taped and they watch it at 11am Sunday and then we watch the tape for the Saturday afternoon session on Sunday afternoon 2pm and then we have waffles in the church because it is too far for most people to travel home and then back. Then we watch Sunday morning session live on Sunday night 6pm. We never get to see the last session unless we watch it really late (10pm-12am)...but I can just read it in the Liahona!! I need my beauty sleep!! lol

There were so many talks that talked about trials, depression, discouragement, and all of those painful things we experience in this life and how we can get rid of that. From what I got out of it, is that it is a choice. Elder Worthlin said that we need to laugh more about things that happen and not take it so seriously. Präsident Uchtdorf talked about hope and how when we have hope all of those feelings go away....we cannot let ourselves give into the temptation to lose hope. Präsident Monson talked about how if we don´t do something today we will just have a bunch of empty yesterdays. There were so many talks that I liked and I don´t have my notes with me, but I can´t wait to be able to read them again!! Wow...every single one just grabbed my attention!!

The Baptism for S was so great!! I can´t believe that she got baptized!! AHHHH!! The talks were so great and we even had an investigator (Frau A) and her 3 kids there and a girl in our English class as well!! It was a pretty good turn out from the ward as well. The best thing was how strong the Spirit was!! I just love baptisms because of how well everyone can feel the Spirit.

Sister Jones is now home..tear!! And now I have a new comp. Transfer day was a bit long!! We traveled up to Hamburg on the ICE train...the fast train. Normally it is 4.5 hrs from Bielefeld to Hamburg, but with the ICE it is only 2-2.5hrs!! But the ride back we had to take the slow train...I mean normal train!! :o) We didn´t get home till 8:30pm because we missed a train and had to change trains 3 times!! There is no direct train from Hamburg to Bielefeld...you know, they should really do something about that!! It was a long day, but good!!

Our German is not very good...she knows more words and my grammar is better, so we are able to help each other!! We are pretty much on the same page German wise!! She is great and we will help each other grow. This transfer is a non English transfer for us!! Only German...even with the Elders!! It will help us a lot...so far we have done really good!! I´m excited!!

Well she is waiting for me because I´m taking to long....

Sister Jones

29 September 2008

Letter #18 (9-29-08)

Ok, so transfers came...can I get a drum roll please?? I´m staying in Bielefeld for my 4th transfer and Sister Buynak is my new companion!! (Buynak like Buy-nah-k). Sister Jones has served with her and said that I will like her!! I´m excited. She has been out for 5 transfers, that´s about 9.5 months on the mission and about 7.5 months in the field!! She is pretty young still...only 2 transfers older then me...so I´m a little nervous. I´ve always been able to rely on my comp if I don´t understand or if I don´t know what to say. Sister Jones says her German is good, so I shouldn´t worry. But she also tells me that my German is good and it totally isn´t!! :o) It will be fine, because it is what the Lord wants!! It will be a growing experience. I´m excited because I remember how much I grew when Sister Jones first came. She pushed me a lot harder then my trainer and I learned a lot. It will be good!! I will tell you all about her next week!! Sister Jones and I are heading up to Hamburg on Thursday morning and guess what?? We get to take an ICE train...don´t know what it stands for, but it is FAST!! It only takes about an hour to get to Hamburg and on a normal train it takes about 4 hours or more and you have to change trains 2 times!! We get to do that because Sister Jones has to be to the mission home early and my new comp will be in Hamburg with her old comp because her old comp is going to pick up a new missionary. I don´t know if that makes sense at all, but we are going to be meeting in Hamburg and then riding back on the train together. Not many missionaries get to ride the ICE train, so it will be cool!!

Ok...so enough about me!! Now it is on to the really exciting stuff!!

S - We met with her 3 times last week, she came to English class, and also FHE at a member's home. She is doing SO good and is very excited for her baptism. She invited us over for dinner tomorrow night and also one of the YSA in the ward as well!! She is also coming to FHE again at Sch. Poplinz house!! The one wrinkle in the perfect picture is that she didn´t come to church yesterday. We went by and visited her and she wasn´t home. I really hope that she comes today...her baptism interview is at the church at 5pm!! I really hope that she is there and that she is still going to get baptized!! I just hope that she didn´t get scared!!

Frau A - She is also doing good. We only got to meet with her once this past week because she is really busy, but we taught about Child Baptism because she had so many questions about it!! We taught her from Moroni 8 and she found it really clear and really seemed to understand that it is not necessary. Her concern was that she didn´t want her children to be sent to hell. She wants her children to always be with her!! She has a lot of good questions and sometimes has a hard time staying on the lesson topic. I think it might just take her time to understand everything. She is Catholic and they have a lot of strong beliefs that are wrong and it is hard for them to understand what is right. They say that they follow the Bible, but yet in many ways they don´t...like the way they baptise. Jesus Christ was NOT sprinkled with water. She also has a hard time that we don´t pray to Mary...Mary was a great woman, but God has asked us to pray only to him. Frau A is wonderful and is really searching for the truth!! She came to sacrament meeting yesterday and even brought her 3 beautiful daughters!! They are the most beautiful girls I have ever seen!! I will try to get a picture!! We are meeting with her again tomorrow!!

O - I don´t know if you remember her. We met her on the street and invited her to church and she came!! We tried to set up an appointment, but she was too busy that week. She said she would come the next week and we could set up an appointment then, but then she sent us a text and said that she had a visitor and that she couldn´t come. Then we lost contact with her. We tried to call and tried to text her, but nothing. That was a really long time ago...probably almost 1.5-2 months ago!! Guess what?? She came to church yesterday. I was so happy to see her and she us!! It was so wonderful. She told us that she was so sorry that we didn´t have contact. She had lost her old cell phone and didn´t have our number. She said that she missed us and knew that if she came to church that she would find us again!! And of course she did!! She stayed for all of church and just like last time, even took notes...she is better then I am because I (a member) don´t even take notes!! :o) She says that she has so many questions and wants to meet with us. We have an appointment tomorrow and I can´t wait!! She is so awesome! It was an absolute miracle that she came to church!!

B- She is a new investigator of ours!! She is meeting with the Jehova Witnesses and she doesn´t believe in God. We tried to get her to pray, but she said that she didn´t see the point because she doesn´t believe that there is anyone there listening. The Spirit was so strong as we met with her. She didn´t have time to meet with us this week, but she gave us her number and said that we could call and set up another appointment for next week. I know it is possible for people to believe in God...it will just take a lot of faith on her part to just and find out for herself!! She is a cool girl and open to new ideas...that must be why she meets with the JW´s!! lol (Sorry that was not nice at all!! They are good people just walking in the wrong direction!! I apologize!!)

Well I think that is all we have going on right now. Sister Jones and I have been planning a music night for the ward which is on the 17th of October. Our mission Präsident also challenged us to read the Book of Mormon in 90 days...in English or German. I have chosen to do it in German because I really need to improve my German and I think that this will be a great help!! He has asked us to highlight every time Christ´s name is mentioned (including pronouns and other names He has), to highlight every time He speaks including when a prophet says "Thus saith the Lord", and also to highlight all of Christ´s attributes. So far I am on track, but I have been reading everywhere possible. I was even reading on the Bahn and this cute old lady asked me if I was studying and I got to tell her about the Book of Mormon. It was really cool.

I want you to know that I know this church is true!! I know that Joseph Smith was called as a prophet and that he restored this church to the earth!! This church is the same church that Jesus Christ organized when he was on the earth. He calls prophets to lead His church...always has and always will. Christ is real...he loves each of us...and will come again!!

Sister Jones

25 September 2008

Letter #17 (9-22-08)

Can you believe it has been 6 months already?? CRAZY!!

Well I don´t have much time to write this week because we have district activity today. We are going to Minden (about 30 min north) to see the big monument thing!! IT should be cool!!

S is doing great. She didn´t end up going on vacation so we get to teach her this week and then she will be baptized next wednesday!!

I´m doing good to!! Just plugging along, trying to be a good missionary!!
I love you all and will write more next week!!

Sister Jones

17 September 2008

Yeah...more pictures!!!

Here are some pictures that Christi has sent....
everything in quotes is what she said about the pics.


"So Germany has the funniest signs!! Miteinander geht mehr...directly translated doesn’t make much sense (directly "together goes more"), but it means (as you can see from the pic) Together works better."

"Not a very useful Umbrella...the wind must have done it!!"
(look in the garbage)

"Riding bikes in the pouring rain...can you see where the line of wetness is?"

"Alicia at her baptism"

"S, who is getting baptized October 1st!"

"This is Svetlana that I think I told you about..if not, let me know!! 
She has gone back to France!! Sad!"

"Gemeinde Essen (Ward lunch) 
We made an American Sister Jones cake. 
The YW loved the fact it was cake mix from America...
they LOVED it!! lol!!"
Christi's b-day was August 8th and her mom sent her a cake mix to make her own cake.  Pretty sure it is a yellow cake with chocolate frosting...Amen little YW that is delicious!

Olaf Wessely and me....he accidentally dropped this noodle thing in my apple juice at lunch...it was so funny. He turned red and we all laughed..with him of course. Sister Jones and I were almost crying we were laughing so hard!!

16 September 2008

Letter #16 take 2...

Here are Christi's answers to questions asked by her mom:

"I still love the country, which looks more and more beautiful everyday. The people are growing on me...I think when I know more of what they say I will need to try really hard not to be offended!! They are very blunt!

P-days are fun...we don't do much, but sometimes it is really nice just to not have much planned. Today we went and bought groceries and now we are doing emails. Then we will go to some stores so sister Jones can buy some stuff before she leaves!! Next week I think we are going to this really cool place that is supposed to be VERY German. I hope we do because even the Germans talk about how cool it is!!

My favorite food?? I don't think I have been talking much about the food lately. Ok, so the main meal for Germans is Lunch. Almost all of our eating appointments are at 1:00 pm. The main thing we eat are potatoes (pealed and boiled) with some type of meat and sauce. Sometimes a vegetable as well. I don't like gravy, but I love the different sauces they use for their meat and potatoes!! We also always have Nachtisch (dessert), which is ice-cream or fruit (like fruit cocktail) or Quark (pronounced Qvark). Quark is SO good!! It is like yogurt, but so much better. It is illegal in America because of the amount of live bacteria in it!!! Weird but true!! It is so tasty!! MMMmmmm....Oh, sorry I got distracted with Quark....back to my favorite food. I had this thing at this members house about a week ago and I almost died because it was so good. It was this meat stuff rolled in thin slices of ham and then cooked in this delicious cream sauce, served with potatoes (of course). I only let myself have one helping because I was already full...there aren't many members that let you do that. Most of them tell you to eat more...2 helpings is required at most houses. I just need to learn to take smaller helpings. The food here is really good though....I LOVE it!!

The weather here is so strange. When I first got here it was hot and then it was freezing for a week and then it was warm again. Lately it has been so beautiful...perfect temperature without much rain. But about 2 days ago fall came and now it is cold again. I don't think it would be as bad if we weren't out in it all day long. I'm going to look for a fleece jacket and see if I can find a cute one that I can wear under my jacket. The leaves are falling to the ground, but they don't have maple trees here that I have seen, with the HUGE leaves that turn all sorts of beautiful autumn colors!! It is still beautiful...they have such beautiful countryside that it makes up for it!!"

15 September 2008

Letter #16 (9-15-08)

This week has been cool!! We started teaching this woman named Frau Angelas. She is from Sri lanke (don´t know how to spell it in English) and she speaks English and German, but she prefers to be taught in English. We had 3 appointments with her this last week and she prayed about the book of Mormon and said that she had a feeling that she had never felt before in her life. It was so cool!! We are meeting with her again this week and hope to put her on baptismal date this week or next week!!

Speaking of Baptismal date....S is doing so well. We taught her about temples and she really liked that we do work for those who have passed on...she has some family members who have died. She is progressing...although she will be gone for 10 days on vacation, but we planned her baptism with her and so everything is pretty much set when she gets back!! WAHOOOO!! :o)

We had a very interesting Sunday. There was this Stake Woman´s Conference in Hanover that we got to go to...well S said she was going to go...that´s why we got to go, but then she ended up not showing up at the train station. We had already bought a ticket for all of us and a ward member, so we just went anyways. It´s a little over an hour of a train ride to Hanover. It was a really good meeting...from what I could understand. Diana, the ward member who came with us, went back with another ward member in her car...because it is faster and she had to get up early. Well it´s a good thing because we had an interesting ride home!! I guess there was a Fußball game (Soccer) that night and there were SO many people waiting for the train. There was another train coming in about 25 minutes...so we decided to wait....bad idea. It was even more packed and there were a ton of drunk boys...yes boys..between the ages of 16-25. There were drunk people sitting on both sides and we were crammed in the middle of the 2 sides of the train car with a bunch of normal people. Things were fine at first because it was so packed that no one noticed how we were dressed or our name tags. Then the train started to empty out and I was sick of standing against the doors that kept opening to let people in and out. So I moved out into the middle of that area and just balanced myself as the train moved along...wrong choice. I immediately felt about 8 people just staring at me on one side through this glass door. I refused to look because I knew that they were drunk and crazy. They were all looking at me for SO long as I just stared right ahead. I finally looked the opposite direction of the staring boys and this guy waves at me from the other group on the other side. I looked right at sister Jones and we both thought the same thing..."Oh no, they´ve noticed us!!" I moved back against the door by Sister Jones and we were then bombarded by 5 or 6 of them. They came right up to us and we were just stuck against the wall. They were asking us who we were and why we were dressed like that. They kept asking if we were nuns and we said no about a million times. They said that only nuns wear shoes like ours!! I think my shoes are cute, but whatever!! :o) They kept mocking us and asking why we didn´t have a cap on our heads. One of them got right up in my face and pointed at my name tag with his beer bottle. I thought it was going to spill all over me. They ended up offering us a beer and asked us to party with them...we of course said no. It was a little scary because they were pretty drunk and unaware of what they were really doing and so we kept trying to find a way out as they stood around and talked to us, but the only way out was to get off the train because we would have had to walk by all of their friends to move to another car. Soon it cleared out a bit and only 3 of them hung around. One of them was speaking English to us and kept swearing, which I hadn´t heard in a long time...German swear words just don´t pierce my heart as much as the English ones. One of them kept asking me what we do for fun...why we don´t party. I told him that I have fun doing what I´m doing and he kept asking why we don´t party...I don´t really think he was understanding that we don´t party like him!! It was a LONG train ride..about an hour and then it was finally over. We ended up missing our connecting train because the train was so slow, so we didn´t get home till 10:00pm. An hour later then planned!! Lesson learned? ALWAYS take the first train!! lol

It was an exciting week!! I love missionary work and all the excitement it brings!! I know this is the work of the Lord and that He is watching over me!!

Have a great week!
Sister Jones