30 June 2008

Letter #5 (June 30, 2008)

Hello my beautiful family!!

Thanks for the email. I looked on your blog and almost started to cry as I watched the video of Cameron at his swim lessons. He looks so big and grown up. He is SO cute!! I really miss my little nephews and niece!!! Well I miss you all, but they change so much more!! I hope that I answered all of your questions in my big email. if not let me know and I will next week!! I love you and I thank you for the prayers for Andrea. She needs to get baptized so that she can truly feel the cleansing power of Jesus Christ and companionship of the Holy Ghost. I have never wanted someone to have this Gospel so bad. It hurts my heart to think that she might not get baptized. Continue to pray Mand!! She needs a miracle, but I know it is possible!!

YEAH!! WASHINGTON!! How are you doing in the greatest state ever?? How fun for you and I heard that David came and surprized you?? That is so great!! Ok...so I met Elder Thompson. I talked to him about what his mom said...so hopefully he will add more detail to his emails. He seemed pretty cool. About Kassel...I will never be able to go their because there are no sisters their. We only have like 15 sisters and they are only in the biggest cities and they haven´t had sisters their for...well I accually don´t know if they ever have. If they open it to sisters then I would have a chance, but otherswise no!!
Thanks for the blog...it is wonderful!! I would love to look at your blog to if you want to put pics/videos on there that you want me to see!! Thanks would be fun!! Thanks for the support Teri. I love you and I hope your last week at home is wonderful!!

Thanks for the dearelder...I got it from my mission president at Zone conference, but I don´t know when it was written!! You are such an inspiration for me. I love the stories you relate from your mission and the spiritual thoughts as well!! Thanks for everything!!

I love you all and thank you for all you do!!
Love sister Jones

And the rest...

Well this week was so great!! I love being a missionary. It is really the hardest thing I could ever do...I knew it would be hard, but I didn´t know how hard until I got out here and found out for myself!! I have really been struggling for the last couple weeks, but I finally feel like I´m slowly moving forward instead of backwards!!

Last Monday for P-day we had a District picnic in one of the many parks in Bielefeld. We had a lot of fun...cartwheel contests, races, and summersalts make up a great pday. We then had a meeting with a contact that we met on the street. When we first walked in she told us that she was Catholic and that she is staying Catholic, but we ended up staying and talking to her for 45minutes. She had a lot of questions, but sister Welch did good in answering them, I just tried to bear my testimony when I could. It´s so great to see how much the Book of Mormon was really written for our day. The woman´s name is Rosa and she practicly quoted the BofM without even knowing. She started talking about how she already has a Bible, and she doesn´t need another Bible. It was really funny in my head, but also really sad. So we committed her to pray about it and we are going to go back and see her...she wouldn´t set up an appointment with us, but she did say we could come back!!

We had Zone Conference this week in Dortmund...my first one. It was SO great. The Spirit was so strong and I got to renew my desire to follow the rules more fully and to talk to everyone. My district sang a musical number and they talked me into doing a solo as one of the verses. I have really missed singing, so I loved it. We also did a Tausch (exchange) with the Dortmund Sisters. Sister Welch and Sister Cha went back to Bielefeld and I stayed with Sister Denton in Dortmund. It was so fun. We got along great because we are a lot a like. We have very similar backgrounds and out looks on life. I love how she talked to everyone. Male, female, old, young...EVERYONE!! My comp sometimes doesn´t talk to people because they are too old or a male. It is her choice, but everyone is a child of God and should get a chance to hear the Gospel, even if they won´t accept it...that is not for us to decide. I´m not perfect, but I learned a lot from the Tausch and I hope to be a better missionary because of it. I was with her for about 24hrs and then we switched back. It was really good and it helped me to love my comp more. Sister Denton and I would be perfect together, but I have to learn to get along with other people, not learn to get along with people like me!! That would be pointless. I know that one of my greatest trials that I am going to face on my mission will be companions. It will be good for me, but I know it will be hard!!

So, we travel a lot on the buses and Bahns, but we also have bikes. My comp has been on a bike for almost a year, so she is super fast. This one day we were trying to catch the train and so we were riding really fast and I swear I was going to die!! It was so hard, but kind of fun!! I like bikes because then I don´t feel as lazy just sitting on a bus or Bahn all day. Oh random thought. We saw this guy on the Bahn the other day and I swear it was Christian Bale. I just stared at him and couldn´t find a difference in their features. If we weren´t in Germany I would have gone and asked him...they were seriously identical...especially in the eyes. It was weird.

So I had some cool experiences with the gift of tongues this week!! On the Tausch I could understand the people better. Then in an appoint. with my comp on Sat. I was telling the Joseph Smith story and words were just coming out of my mouth. The Spirit was so strong. I looked her right in her eyes and I KNEW that she could feel what I was feeling. She wants a few weeks to read through the BofM a bit, but it was just cool. I can´t even remember what I said, but I know that the words weren´t mine!! I really hope she doesn´t forget that feeling.

Then on Sunday this JAE (YSA) came up and was talking to me about Waterskiing and then I asked her to come to a teaching appointment with us this tuesday. I did it all by myself and she understood me and we even set up a place to meet so we could go to the house together. I was so excited. I´m not perfect that´s for sure and I can´t understand much, but I´m trying!!

Andrea is doing well. We are still trying to work out her work situation so she can come to church. We committed her to pray about Joseph Smith, but when we visited her on Sunday she still hadn´t prayed about him yet. So we recommitted her. She is so wonderful and needs this Gospel so bad...more then she realizes. She has come so far. She gave up drugs, smoking, coffee, and tee when she wasn´t even meeting with the missionaries because she just didn´t feel it was right. Who does that?? Hardly anyone...the Lord has prepared her. Now she just needs to come to church so she can get baptized!!

Well I think that is all!! I hope that my next week is even better. I´m striving to look for the possitive and concentrate on that and that is really helping me!!

Sister Jones

23 June 2008

Another pic of Christi, her comp and mission president

***also, check out the video on the side bar....it's a video from the MTC of all the german speaking missionaries singing.  You don't have to listen very hard to hear Christi...she's the soprano!

Letter #4 (6-23-08)

This week has been interesting. I feel like we spend more time traveling then anything else. It is a little difficult when we could be knocking doors or something, but our area is really big and it takes usually a half hour to an hour to travel to anyone we are teaching or meeting with. We went and visited this one member who just joined the church a months ago and it took us almost 2 hours to get to her house!! 2 HOURS!!! It was crazy. I´m mostly just trying to figure out how to do missionary work. We are asked to talk to everyone, but my comp hates talking to people on the buses and Bahns (subway) because she doesn´t know what to say to start a conversation. I want to talk to them because I LOVE to talk, but I´m at a literal loss for words. I can teach a simple version of the Gospel, but I don´t know how to talk to a stranger in German on a bus or Bahn. On the streets we just approach people and talk about the Gospel, but then they have the choice to walk away or stay and talk. On the Bus and Bahn you don´t want to force the person to talk to you about the Gospel, so you have to bring it up some other way. Or so they say. I can do it easy in English, but my limited vocab makes it a bit more challenging in German. I will get there though. That is one of my goals for my mission is to be able to talk to everyone , no matter where I am at, street, doors, buses or Bahns...I want to gain a vocab that will help me accomplish all of those aspects of missionary work. I have a long way to go, but I will just keep working at it. I´m still not sure what missionary work is, but I will just keep trying and see if I can figure it out.

We got to meet with Andrea this week 4 times. She is really struggling, but she is praying everyday and reading the Book of Mormon. She wants to come to church, but she has to work. So we are praying for a miracle. She wants to get baptized on Aug. 8 (my birthday!! Although she doesn´t know that) but she has to come to church at least 3 times and then be able to come to church after her baptism as well!! So we are praying for a miracle, so that she can come to church. Another thing we are working on is how to get new members and investigators to church. That is not much of a problem in the US because almost everyone has a car. Well hardly anyone has a car and the buses and Bahns make travel a little longer. We have a new member Stella, who was just baptized, who would have to travel about an hour and a half with 2 small kids to get to church. The hour and a half isn´t that bad...it´s the fact that she would have to take a taxi and then a Bahn and then a bus. That is a lot of work to get to church, so we are trying to get her there some other way. It is hard, but possible. It is just a test of their faith. I know that Lord will provide them a way and make it worth their while.

We unfortunately had to "tschuss" and investigator this week. (tschuss means bye and that is what they call it when someone drops you or when you drop someone) She wasn´t making any progress and she wouldn´t really keep her commitments either. She said she was coming to church last week (not yesterday, the one before that) but she slept in. She has been an investigator on and off for years and she still doesn´t want to get baptized. It was sad, but time to say Tschuss.

We got 4 contacts this week, which was exciting. We stopped a woman and her daughter on the street and set up an appointment for Tuesday. I really hope it goes well.

It was a good week and next week I will let you know if I have figured out missionary work more!! :o)
Sister Jones

16 June 2008

letter #3 (6-16-08)

(answers/comments to her sisters questions)

Well I don´t know Elder Thompson, but if I meet him I will say hi from his family. That is funny that his family wants to follow my progress. Elders tend to not write much!! The Elder in you ward from Kastle?? I´m not sure where that is at, but if I get moved there I will definitely find his parents. That would be awesome.

(and the rest....)

This week has been great!! I love my companion and the ward that I am in. They are so supportive of us...which makes our work a little easier. The German is coming...slowly. I´m trying to learn as much as I can and I sometimes can understand what people are saying, but only every once in a while. I love that I can be sitting in church and feel the Spirit and have no clue what they are even saying. That is a testimony to me that this is the truth. It is amazing.

Ok...so I have been thinking of funny things that have happened this week. I have been making a list of interesting things that are in Germany that are not in America and I also have been making a mental list of my favorite excuses of why people can´t talk to us on the street.

Reasons people can´t talk:
Most use- "Keine Zeit, keine Zeit" (no time, no time)
They don´t think it is right to talk about God on the street. (Jesus Christ talked to people everywhere, so why can´t I as His representative?)
The best reason, so far, why they can´t talk:
This one lady said- "Ich habe keine Zeit. Ich muss auf Toilette." (I have no time. I have to go to the bathroom) It was so funny!!

Ok, so cool things about Germany:
- The washing machines take a few hours to wash the clothes.
- The toilets have hardly any water in them...the US wastes water.
- There are NO public toilets or drinking fountains. If you find one, you have to pay to use it.
- There is graffiti EVERYWHERE.
- Not many houses. Mostly just apartments and they have these Klingle boxes that you have to push and someone who lives there has to buzz us in. Even places that look like one house...it is really one apartment per floor.
- People have simpler lives. Not everyone has a TV...most people don´t have computers or the Internet. They just have less stuff because they don´t have HUGE houses to fill with just things!! It´s really kind of cool. People get out and go for walks in the BEAUTIFUL parks. They ride bikes everywhere and spend time outside. It is so wonderful.
- The ambulance has this really annoying sound...like you hear in movies, but the worst part is when it passes by you. The annoying sound somehow changes keys and it drives me batty. I get one key in me head and then the moment it passes me it changes and I freak out!! (Well my insides freak out because it sounds horrible) Maybe it is just the singer inside of me!!
- My personal favorite thing is the bike bells. They are hard to explain in writing, but I will try. In America the bells on bikes are like a "bring,bring" sound. Here it is just a little "ding". When I first heard it I had no clue what it was. I don´t know if that makes any sense, but it I love it!!

Ok, so one more funny thing. Sister Welch and I were waiting for the Bahn (subway) and this man came up to us and said, "Ich bin Gott" (I am God) We were really confused. So sister Welch Said, "Sie sind Gott? (You are God?) And then he went on to tell her that he was God and that if we were going to be representing him that we shouldn´t dress so professionally. People would take us to seriously. I think that is that point though...they need to take us seriously. I don´t think that he was quite all there in the head!! It was really funny!!

So we have this investigator Sonja who we are struggling with a bit. We will commit her to things and sometimes she will keep it and sometimes not. On Tuesday she didn´t read, so we spent the appointment reading with her what she had committed to read. So we gave her more to read and committed her and went again on Thurday expecting that she didn´t read. Then she did. Sister Welch was all ready to tschuss her. (Tschuss is goodbye in German and that is what the missionaries call it when you let an investigator go...or when they let you go.) But now we are at a loss of what to do. We had a great meeting with her on Thursday though. During the lesson the words, "Werden Sie sich taufen lassen?" came to my head. (Will you be baptized) and I felt like we needed to ask her that. I didn´t know how to just come out and say it with the little German that I had, so as I was thinking about what to say first when sister Welch started to talk about baptism and asked her. She said no, but it was so great that we both had the prompting. There was a reason for that...we are not sure what it is yet, but hopefully we will find out someday. We committed her to pray about it. She is so awesome and we know she knows it is true...she just doesn´t want to make the change. I hope we can help her realize how important this is.

So I had a super cool experience on Sunday. My mission pres asked that the whole mission fast for the investigators that have baptisimal dates in our individual zones. We have 3 on date right now. So Sister Welch and I fasted and also added the names of our investigators to the list of people we were fasting for. Well we had this one investigator, Andrea, that we hadn´t heard from in almost 2 weeks. I only met her once at a lesson and the Spirit was so strong there. Then we just couldn´t get a hold of her. We would call and she wouldn´t call back. We went and visited her and she was never home, so we left notes and still nothing. So Sunday afternoon after our fast she called us!! On the message she said that she was sorry that she hadn´t called us. She said that things were not going so well and that she wanted to meet with us again!! It was a miracle!! I know that was a blessing from the Lord. She is so ready to get Baptized. She is just scared....that is why she disappeared. I will keep you up to date on her progress.

Anyway...my time is up. I´m a little sick this week and by a little I mean...snot, cough, head and chest pressure...I hope it goes away soon!! I have work to do!! :o) I love you all and I hope you are well!! Thanks for all the support!!

Sister Jones

15 June 2008

And the world keeps getting smaller...

This is a comment that was left on Christi's blog this past week....just crazy really. And to you Maudjean...please feel free to read Sister Jones' blog and comment anytime...I am just amazed at how small the world really is!

We're the Thompson's, Dave and Maudjean, from Bothell, Washington. Our daughter came across your great blog for Sister Christi Jones thru her friend, Analisa Walk's site, and then discovered Sister Jones is a cousin of our good friend, Hannah Unguren. We've been friends with the Unguren family for many years. What makes us more excited is that our son, Elder Alec Thompson, is also serving in the Hamburg Mission!! He arrived there this past December. He's serving in Dortmund right now. While Elder Thompson is a good letter writer, he doesn't describe things like a girl does! So we learned so much from Sister Jones' first letter, the info about the rock, and what they did when they arrived! We hope you won't mind if we follow her progress on your blog. Maybe our missionaries will meet during their missions! Thanks again for sharing Sister Jones' great letters!

Teri (Christi's sister in UT)....also a Thompson, but I don't believe any relation to you Maudjean :-)

10 June 2008

Letter #2b (6-10-08)

Email to Christi's dad...

Well we had a half p-day yesterday and the other half today. Kind of weird, but we had interviews with the president yesterday and it cut into our p-day. I promise to write more next week. I didn´t get much time to email this week!! Too many people emailed me kind of long emails, so I spent a long time reading!! :o) I love email, but I told some of them to keep them a bit shorter so I could write more. They are funny!!

This week was great. We had a baptism on Sunday....it was so wonderful. We are going to work on getting more investigators this week because we only have a few and they are not really commiting to much. We are working hard on getting them to read and pray and it is slowly coming...I hope. They are so wonderful and I just want them to have the happiness that the Gospel brings to my life, but it is up to them. They have a lot in their lives to change and that can be hard, but I know that if they made the changes that the Lord will bless them. They just need a little faith. It is strange to ask someone to completely change their life, but that is what I am here to help them do!! I love this work and I learn to love it even more each and everday.

Thanks for the email and the love and support.

Sister Jones

09 June 2008

Letter #2 (6-9-08)

 From the sounds of the "letter" she sent this week, she had very little time for email today (PDay) and since us sisters and her mom are slightly long-winded in our emails I think we monopolized her time with reading instead of writing.  (She even asked us to keep our emails short)  So she responded to a few questions in our emails and here they are (you can guess what the questions were).

Hello everyone.

The Area is great. The people are awesome. We haven´t gotten many contacts, because Germans are stuck in their ways, but we have not given up...nor will we ever.

My comp is great. We had an interesting time learning to get along, but we seem to have worked it out. She is great...very stubborn and likes to do things her way, but I just smile and do what she says and it seems to work out ok. She says that she loves to argue, but she trys not to. Sounds like it could be dangerous for me, but I just hold my tongue. We have been doing good though.

Biggest adjustment?? The key board for right now...but in all seriousness I would say just the language. When you go up and talk to someone and they talk back and you have no clue what they are saying it is very difficult, as you know from your mission (Vicki's questions).

Favorite gift of Tongues experience? Well I haven´t had many, but on Sunday my comp was dealing with things for a baptism that we were having and so people were coming up and asking me things...I had to ask each of them to say it again, but I understood enough to know what they were saying. So I was able to help some people out. It was pretty cool.

Favorite culture part? I love the houses and the cobble stone streets. I think that is my favorite...it´s just the way that the cities and little housing communities look. It is just so COOL!! Way better then the US!! haha

We had a baptism for Stella on Sunday and it was amazing. We are struggling a little with our other investigators, but it will work out. I will be more detailed next week. We have a weird pday today...so I don´t have much time.

I love you all so much and want you to know that I´m doing well. I´m trying to be patient with the language and I´m learning to love people that I don´t even understand, which is weird but SO awesome. I love the ward I am in. They are amazing and very nice to me. I gave a talk this last Sunday as well. I was pretty nervous, but the ward was so nice to me. I love it here!

Sister Jones

Christi's actual address is:

Voltmannstrasse 122
33619 Bielefeld

She has informed us that it costs 3 Euro ($5) to mail a letter to the states so she will not likely be able to respond to people individually very often.  However, I believe it costs less then a dollar to mail her a letter and she could definitely use the support!

Thanks to all of you who view her blog...leave a comment if you have a minute (to Christi) for her to read when she returns home!

04 June 2008

Pictures from MTC (3-26-08 through 5-26-08)

At the Provo Temple.

Companions at the MTC.
(Sister Pelo & Sister Fourtina)
New Missionary Techniques.

Life in the MTC

(getting ready for bed)

Drying her hair...(pretty sure a dryer would be easier)


Doing laundry...


02 June 2008

Letter from Mission President and Pics in Germany

Christi's mission president sent the following email and pictures to Christi's mom.  I guess this verifies that she is really there:

Dear Sister Anderson,

Your daughter, Sister Christi Jones, arrived safely on 28th of May here in Hamburg . Although she was very tired when we picked her up at the airport, we felt of her great spirit. She then traveled to the Elbe river where we ate lunch and had some orientation. She then arrived here at the mission home for a little rest, a nice meal and a testimony meeting, in German. We then sent her to bed for a well-deserved rest.

The next morning we had some training before she received her new assignment. Her new companion, Sister Welch, came to pick your daughter up and take her to Bielefeld . We have very carefully chosen those to train our new missionaries and we know that your daughter will have a great training experience with Sister Welch.

Sister Thompson and I deeply appreciate your faith in sending your daughter on a mission and we will care for her as if she were our own daughter for the next two years.

P-day is on Mondays for the Hamburg Mission so you may wish to write your e-mail on Sunday evening so that she can read and answer it Monday morning.

Attached are a few photos of your daughter with us and also your daughter with her new companion.

Please feel free to contact us at any time with any issues or concerns.

With our warmest wishes,

President Wesley B. Thompson
Sister Rebecca L. Thompson

Christi with the mission president and his wife in front of the "big boulder" she talked about in her first letter.

Christi and her first companion and trainer, Sister Welch.

1st letter from Sister Jones in the Mission Field (June 2, 2008)

I´m in GERMANY!!! Can you believe it?? I sure can´t!! Well actually I can because I´m surrounded by people speaking a language that I don´t understand!! My first day here was pretty good. We were exausted from 22 hours of travel. Our mission pres picked us up at the airport with the assistants and his wife. They then took us to this park by the river thing in Hamburg. When I walked into the park everyone was in awe at how green and pretty it was...and it was, but it looked just like a park in Seattle that I have been to. I was really happy though cause it reminded me of the best state in the world!! (WA of course...in case anyone is confused) Then we went down by this river and there was a HUGE rock and he said that this rock had been in the middle of the canal and that the ships had to be really careful about going through there until the rock was moved. It was really hard to move, but once they moved it, it was safe for the ships to travel through and it was easier for things to get done. He then related that to us. What ever "boulders" we have in our river, we need to move or it will get in the way of the work we have to do. We then all took pictures and then went to the mission home.

Germany is green and beautiful like WA, but the houses and streets and everythings else is really cool and european!! The mission home is so awesome...it is like an old victorian house that is like 4 floors!! Ok...so I could go on forever about Germany and awesome it is, but I need to move on.

They gave us time to shower and nap...which I only did for like 20 min. Then we had a little orientation and dinner...which was SO good compared to MTC food. Even the plane food was better then the MTC...anyway...we then had a little testimony meeting and then they sent us to bed. So went to bed at like 8:30pm...or so. I don´t think I have ever fallen asleep that fast in my life. They told us we could sleep in and that breakfast was at 8, but sister Seiter and I decided we would get up at 6:30am like we are supposed to. So we had breakfast and then a meeting and then we got paired up with our trainers. Sister Welch is my mission Mom. (That is what they call it here) The we hoped on a train and traveled for another 4 hours or so...I got to ride on a train!!! WAHOO!!! Then we dropped my stuff off and headed out to do missionary work!! Oh I´m serving in Bielefeld. We headed to the main part of the city to street contact!! I was really nervous and didn´t really know what I was supposed to say to people. So we did like a 2 second practice and then she said..."ok, there is a person behind you, talk to them." So I turned around and just started speaking about all the german that I know. They told me that they were not interested and just walked away!! I can´t believe that I actually did it!! I wasn´t even that scared when I did it. So we did that for a little while and then we headed home for the night. It was pretty exciting. No one really talked to us for very long and I didn´t really know what they were saying, but it was good anyway.

Ok...So I´m trying to remember the rest of my days. On Friday I had my first meeting with an investigator that is getting
baptized this up coming Sunday. The meeting was good cause it was in English. She is from Gauna so she understands English, but not perfectly. Her son was being a pretty big distraction so I sat in the door way of the play room (so I could still see my comp) and played with her son. I felt a little helpless because I could see that she was having a hard time understanding what we were trying to teach her as her son ran around dumping cookie crumbs everywhere!! He is the cutest little thing ever. We also had lunch at a members house that day. That was intereting...I tried to understand what they were talking about, but it was hard to follow. They talk to fast!! My comp also made me do the spiritual thought....I did my best and then I pasted it to her for the commitment part. I know that the language will come, but it takes time. Sister Welch told me that I can say and understand a whole lot more then she could when she first come here. She has been out for a year and understands almost everything that people say to her...I have a long way to go!! On Saturday we had another lunch appointment. This time the Elders that are in our ward also, came with us!! The family was so funny. I had a harder time following them...they spoke SUPER fast. Especially the dad. Although I was pretty happy wih myself because he asked me a question and I responded and then I thought to myself "wow, I can´t believe I understood that." It was cool.

Ok, well everyone wants to go!! Really quick...Sunday was amazing. I got up and bore my testimony and I was suprisingly not scared at all. It was great...not the testimony just the unnervous part!! We also has this amazing meeting with the girl named Andrea. We are trying to get her baptized. She was so nice to me and even though I only understood 1/8 of the conversation...the Spirit was amazing. We then went street contacting again and sister Welch talked to a family and then got there contact info...it was amazing. Oh and we also knocked doors for a few hours on Saturday. That was actually kind of fun!!
I love you all and I´m so excited to be here!! I love Germany and I´m learning to love the people!!

Sister Jones

01 June 2008

It's a small world after all...(at least in my world)

At church today I bore my testimony...but that's not the cool thing.  I talked briefly about Christi leaving for her mission this past Tuesday and heading for Germany.  After the meeting one of the elders in our ward came up to me and asked where my sister was going in Germany and I told him Hamburg.  He stated "that's my mission....that's where I'm from".  I had no idea he was foreign...he barely has an accent.  Anyway...his name is Elder Krieger and he is from Kassel, which is in the Hamburg Mission.  He told me that she would be well taken care of and to not worry about her.  I may have mentioned that I was a little worried about my little sister being so far away....sorry Vicki, but I just wasn't worried about you...you are the big sister you know!  I thought that it was VERY cool and thought I would share my story!

Teri (Christi's sister who lives in Utah)