29 July 2008

Finally...some pictures!

Christi with her 1st district and 1st companion (Sister Welch)

On the bahn

Christi says, "Schwester Poplinz...I´m so BIG!! She calls me her große Sister Jones (groß means big or tall) Thanks Schwester Poplinz...way to give me more confidence. But hey the woman speaks the truth, just look at her!! :o)"

A day spent in Dortmund with Sister Denton.

Helping move a family...for all you Washingtonians this probably looks familiar.

Sister Jones meet Sister Jones
comp #2

Christi says, "District Activity at the church. "Missionary Olympics"
It was so fun. We did all kinds of activities to demonstrate "missionary skills" like unmaking and making a bed blind folded, baby toss (we are not supposed to hold children...this was to practice keeping them away!! lol), 3 legged race (always stay with and work together with your comp), tie tying contest, water balloon contest, eating contest...Germans feed you so much and MAKE you eat it all. I didn´t believe that till I tried and they give you more even when you said you were full!!"
District Olympics...game 1: strip the bed and remake it...

Don't forget the nurses corners, like your momma taught you.

Game #2: tie tying

Game #3: 3-legged race

Game #4: baby toss
What you ask?  Baby toss...yep, that would be a cabbage patch kid being tossed...what must the locals think.

28 July 2008

Letter #9 (July 28, 2008)

Ok well this week was crazy!! I don't have much time to write today so this might be short. We had so much going on last week, but this week was not even as close to as busy!! A lot of the investigators that we got last week have disappeared. Mira and Kristin didn´t show up on Monday. After trying to call them Monday and Tuesday we finally got a text on Wednesday to cancel that appointment as well! Sad...we are still trying to get in contact with them. Then our super amazing investigator Katharina wasn´t home when we went to our appointment on Wednesday. We left her a note and then a few days later left her a reading chart for her vacation..she is gone till Aug. 5th and we hope to be able to meet again when she comes back. We haven´t met with Andrea for a while...she keeps canceling our appointments. Weird.

Last Monday my Mission President told us to use Preach My Gospel in personal and comp study everyday for a week and then report to him of what miracles we saw and for a while I got a little confused because we were doing that and yet everything was falling out. Well sometimes patience helps..which is one of the many things I am working on!! ;o) We met with Sonja again and this time her friend didn´t show up, but what a great blessing. We ended up committing her to baptism and set a goal for Sept. 27. It´s kind of far, but at least she has something to work towards. Remember how Sister Welch and I "tschüss"ed her because she didn´t want to commit?? Well now she has...I have seen such a change in her. She even bore her testimony to her friend during the week about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and the church. She still has a long way to go, but she is doing great!!

We met with our other baptism date...her name is Alicia and she is 10. Her mom got baptised last year. Alicia´s date is for the 9th of Aug. and she is very excited. We were a little worried because she has been out of town and so she hasn´t come to church and we haven´t met with her, but she is so ready!! She is WAY more prepared then I was when I was baptised!! This coming week we are going to plan the day!! It will be great!!

Then on Sunday this random girl named Olga came to church. We talked to her on the street a few days earlier and invited her to church and she said she would come, but people always say that and then never show...well, she showed!! It was so great. She even participated in Sunday School (the investigator class) and Relief Society. She said that she is really busy this week, but she will come to English class on Wednesday and then church next Sunday and then she will have more time next week!! I really think that she is going to do it!! She is so wonderful. My comp and I have been talking about how weird it is that we wait for blessings and we don´t think that they have come because we are looking for them in the wrong place. For example....I was looking for blessing with Mira and Katharina, but instead the Lord blessed us with Sonja and Olga. I sometimes forget that this is the Lord´s work and that He is in charge. I get disappointed when appointments fall through, but maybe the Lord just has other plans for us at that time of the day. Investigators can lead us to the people who are really ready to get baptised!! This work is amazing!! I´m really learning to love it...not everyday, but I´m trying!! We are still working hard and doing well together. The Lord is so amazing and is pouring blessings upon us!! Please pray for Sonja and ask that she will be strong and be able to progress toward her date!!

Ok...so I have a gift of tongues experience. This man in the ward came up to me and wanted to give me 2 referrals. I was a little worried that I wouldn´t have a clue what he told me about the people, but I got it. Not word for word, but I got all I needed. One is a sick woman in a hospital. He asked that we call the hospital first and set up a time that we can meet with her before we go. He said she was a little "not all there", but that she would love to have visitors. Then the other was his sister...that was a little more difficult to understand because he involved another person to explain the situation, but he wants us to go and visit her. She knows a little about the church, but she needs some encouragement before she thinks about joining. I will tell you more next week after we visit them. I thought that was so cool that I got it though....I was so excited!! German is SO hard...even the German´s have a hard time with it sometimes...it´s just the Grammar that is hard!! I know I will get it....it is coming...slowly, but coming!!

Sister Jones

22 July 2008

What is your fav memory of Christi?

Calling all Memories!!

Take a minute and leave a memory that you have with Christi, in her comments. Then if she gets a minute on her next P-day she can see that we are all thinking about her and the wonderful memories that we have with her!

21 July 2008

Letter #8 (July 21, 2008)

So this week was AMAZING!! We worked so hard and it was so fun!!
We had a surprise party for my companion. I couldn´t really help plan it too much because I´m always with her, but I helped a little before she came. It was so fun. I made up an excuse for us to go to the church and then I told her I was thirsty and needed a drink. I pretended to test her knowledge of the church building by having her take me to the kitchen. She then opened the door and the Elders jumped up and surprised her. It was so wonderful. The Elders BBQ´ed brats and then we went outside and flew a kite that the Paderborn Elders bought for her. Our District is really fun...it is made up of 2 elders in Paderborn and 2 elders here in Bielefeld. It was a great time.
After p-day ended we had an appointment with a contact named Tina. She is Catholic and seems pretty religious. She is so great, but is really busy with 2 jobs and trying to find a new apartment. We had a great lesson though. The Spirit was really strong and she agreed to meet with us again. We then went to the JAE FHA (YSA FHE) and we brought an investigator named Sonja...I don´t know if you remember her, but we "tschüss"ed her when I was with Sister Welch and then she randomly came to church last week. The FHA was a little boring, so a Mitglied (member) and I decided that we needed to play a game. It livened it up a bit. :o)
We met with a super cool woman named Katharina...she is the coolest person ever. I think I might have told you what happened last week when we found her. We were totally led by the spirit to her house and then we came and taught her part of the first lesson. About Jesus Christ, Apostacy, The Restoration, and The Book of Mormon. She is really hard for me to understand, but she said that she believes that it could be true. So we set up another appointment and commited her to read and pray.
Then we had interviews with the President at the church building. Our whole zone was there and we had a really good meeting about Jesus Christ. After Interviews my comp and I were starving because we hadn´t eaten all day, so Pres. and his wife took us out to eat. It was really fun. I love my mission president and his wife is the sweetest person ever.
We met with Mira and her friend Kristin again today. They are our 18 year old investigators. They are so cute and so interested in religion for being so young. We had a great lesson. We taught them about the importance of baptism and I committed them to baptism...well I tried. It was my first time and I did my best, but then I got an answer that I didn´t really expect. One said that she had already been baptised and the other said that she hadn´t. I didn´t really know what to say because there answers were opposite, so my wonderful comp stepped in and bore testimony about the importance of baptism and then taught about authority. She is a great teacher. She then committed them to pray about it. Mira can´t come to church on Sundays because of work, but we committed Kristin to come and she said that she would bring a friend. So we picked a place and time to meet in innenstadt before church so we could go together.
We then met with a woman named Clara...she was a referral from a woman named Schwester Wolf in the Gemeinde (ward). I had spoken with her on Sunday to come as a joint teach and she agreed. So we met with them and it was really weird. Clara is so old that she can barely hear what we are saying and doesn´t remember anything. She told us at least 4 or 5 times that she has 3 children. She also put the Book of Mormon on the floor by the side of her chair so she "would remember to read it later," then when we referred back to the BofM that she had put on the floor she asked, "what book?" We taught her what we could and did not set up a return appointment. She is 94 years old and would not know what she was getting herself into. You should have seen the look on Schwester Wolf´s face though. The entire time she had a HUGE smile on her face. She was so proud of herself that she was involved in Missionary work. It was so great to watch her and hear her bear her testimony.
Today was so cool because we got a surprise investigator. We had an appointment with Sonja today, but our joint teach fell through and they really really encourage you to only teach a lesson with a JT (joint Teach) there. That is after the first appointment. So we were going to change the appointment to another day, but we just went anyways and guess what?? Sonja had a friend there. So we taught her friend as well and even gave her a Book of Mormon. They both agreed to meet with us again, so we set up an appointment for sat.
We also visited a less active member. Her name is Gerda and she just got baptized at the end of last year. Although, she is not allowed to come to church now. She is a little handicapped and so her brother takes care of all of her financial stuff. When he saw that she started paying money (tithing) to a church he forbade her to come or he would cut her off. He has all control, so poor Gerda chose to listen to him. I mean what choice does she have? She can´t take care of it herself...she needs her brother. Her family thinks that we are a sect (a cult...auf Englisch). So we talked to her and just bore testimony of how important it was that she reads in the Book of Mormon and prays. She may not be able to go to church now, but there are things that she can still do to follow Christ. We are going to visit her again this week with the Bishop!!
This day was the weirdest day. We had service at a members house in the morning set up and also 4 appointments...3 of which had JT´s that were coming. Well the service got moved to later so that we couldn´t go, so we studied instead and then went to Katharina´s again. She is just so great!! She is so prepared. She asked us why we had knocked on her door, she said that she wanted to ask last time, but she was too scared. So Sister Jones told her that we were looking for a certain person, but didn´t know where they lived and when we came to her building we felt like we needed to knock on the doors. So we did and we found her. The Lord has really prepared her!! We had given her 2 chapters in the BofM to read and she said that she read them over and over again. She said that she had such a great feeling every time she read and that every time she thought about the book she thought about the scripture...those who seek shall find. I really hope that she continues to meet with us. We have one more appointment with her and then she is going on Vacation till the 5th of August. So after her appointment one of our appointments fell out, but then we got a joint teach for our other appointment. Then the woman called again and said she couldn´t come because her son was sick, but that was fine because then our appointment called and cancelled. So we only had one more appointment for the day. So we went to the service and found out when we got there that the moving truck wasn´t going to be there till later and that someone was supposed to tell us...no one did. The poor woman was so stressed out that she started to cry. We told her we would do our best to be there later. So we tried to figure out a way to cancel our appointment. It was at the church with a woman and we didn´t have her number. She we tried to call the JT who was friends with her, but her phone was off. So we called the Elders to try and get another number, but that didn´t help. Finally the Elders called and they just happened to be on the bahn with the member we tried to call. So we talked to her and cancelled the appointment. We then went and helped the woman move and paint a little bit. While we were packing the truck it started to down pour!! I felt really bad for her, but we got it all done. Her husband couldn´t be there to help because he is already in Austria working. I will never move unless my husband is there to help...there were a lot of Mitglieder (members) there to help, so that was really good. It was a crazy day because nothing went as planned except for our first appointment. Welcome to the life of a mission I guess!! Nothing ever goes as we had it planned the night before!! It stresses me out a bit because I get so excited for the day and then it never works out, but I guess it does work out. I mean, heavenly father made it possible to cancel our last appointment so that we could help this woman. He is in charge and I need to learn to roll with the punches a bit more!! It was still a great and fun day.
We met with Sonja and Alexandra again today and the bishop's wife came with us!! She is such a great JT and Mitglied!! I love that woman!! It was an interesting appt. It was really weird because neither of them really seem very interested...although we finally found out that Alexandra is a little mad at God because he took her dad away. I can understand that, if I wasn´t a member of this church and didn´t understand His Plan I would be mad too. So it was nice to find out her concern right up front so that we can help her understand His plan for us. We have another appt. with them next week!
I love Sundays. We were stood up today...Kristin never came. We have an appt. today so will see what happened. Sacrament meeting was so good though...at least what I could understand!! It was about repentance. I couldn´t understand everything, but I could feel the Spirit and the power of their testimonies. My comp and I taught the 3rd lesson in the investigator class and it went well. The elders have a baptism next week and so that is who we taught. Although we had to run around and find a woman member who would come in with us...we can´t be in there without another female. It all worked out though and went well. After church we had an eating appt. and told her right when we got there that we had to leave in an hour and 15 min. to catch our bus because we had to go to Oerlinghausen. She said ok, but I was still doubtful. The Mitglieder like to keep us forever, especially on Sunday...at least 2 hours or more. This woman especially. But we did it. We ate and it was wonderful and then I gave the Spiritual thought and then we left. Sister Jones said that that was the quickest Sunday eating appt. of her whole mission!! We were very excited. Then we went home, packed a dinner, and headed out in the pouring rain on our bikes to the train station. We got SO wet!! When we got there (about 20-25 minutes in the rain) I rang the bottom of my dress out because it was so soaked!! It was so funny!! We laughed and took pictures!! My long coat helped me out a lot!! We then got on the train and went to Helpup, visited a family there and then went to Oerlinghausen...it is the most beautiful place I have ever seen. When I imagined Germany that is what I pictured!! I love it out there. We did doors for an hour and a half and then headed back home!! We had a good time!! I love Sister Jones, she makes even the worst weather fun and exciting. Thankfully the rain didn´t follow us to Helpup or Oerlinghausen!!

So that was my week...it was great. We got 5 new investigators and had 5 joint teaches. We hope to make more of our new investigators this week progressing investigators next week!! We worked so hard this last week and I loved it. We have so much fun together doing missionary work!! It will be a great transfer!!

Sister Jones

14 July 2008

Letter #7 (July 14, 2008)

Things are GREAT here. Transfers were on Thursday and so I have my new companion...Sister Jones. She is the best. Seriously!! I love this girl. I prayed so hard in the MTC to have a comp like her...and now I have been blessed to learn from someone that is so wonderful. She only has 2 transfers left and I hope that we get to serve the rest of the time together. She is very obedient and works really hard. We have so much fun together and I have learned that missionary work is actually really fun. It doesn´t feel like a chore with her. I´m excited for each day that we get to go out and talk to people and teach people. She also really pushes me. I have done things with her that I never thought would be possible. I have called Germans on the phone to set up appointment or joint teaches, even though I have no clue really what they are saying back to me. I have a part in every lesson that we teach and I talk with more people on the street then I ever thought possible. The work in this city has slowly been going down hill, but we are working our little tails off to change that around. I love how she just does what she is asked and what is excepted without asking questions or making up excuses. I don´t want to make her sound perfect or anything, but she is the perfect comp for me. We have a lot of the same goals and things that we want to change and make better in this city!! I'm just so happy.

Friday was our first full day together and we got 3 contacts from talking to people on the street. We called them the next day and have 2 appointments next week from the 3 contacts...that is amazing!! She also rode a bike for the first time on her mission on friday!! It was really funny...she makes everything fun!!

We met this woman on the street...one of our contacts..and I couldn´t understand her, but she said something and I bore my testimony about the book of Mormon. The I started to explain it a little bit before giving her the Book on the street. I talked about how it is another testiment of Jesus Christ and then she said something else that I didn´t understand. A thought then came into my head as my comp replyed to her and I turned to 3 Nephi 11 (when Christ appears to the Nephites) and I then told her to start reading in that chapter and quickly told her what it was about. She said she would read, but she didn´t want to give us her info. She said she would call us when she had more time and I really think she might...she was really excited about it. After we walked away I asked my comp what she said and I guess she told us that she doesn´t know anything about Jesus Christ, but she wanted to learn more...normally I just have people read moroni 10 when I give them a book on the street, but I had a feeling to do something different and I followed it. It was so cool. I may not be able to understand everything, but that was a testimony to me that Heavenly Father can still work through me to bless other people. It was so wonderful to see the joy on her face as we bore testimony of Jesus Christ!!

On saturday we had an eating appt. with the GML (ward mission leader) and that was good. My last comp didn´t like the GML, but we both think that he is great. Before we ate he asked if sister Jones would say the prayer, but didn´t look at either of us...we just stared at him and then he looked at us and laughed. He then asked the older sister jones to say the pray...still without looking at us. So we all folded our arms and waited...Sister Jones is older on her mission and I´m older in the area, but we both thought it was the other sister Jones. Again the GML laughed. Then he finally asked me to say it. It was funny!! So many times already we have had funny things with our names..."Hallo, Ich bin Sister Jones." (Hi, I´m sister Jones) "Ich auch." (Me too) It´s really awkward, but WAY funny!! We had another lesson with Andrea on Saturday and she is doing ok...she hasn´t read since the last time we met. If you aren´t reading or praying then you won´t progress. I recommited her to pray and read. I committed her to pray specifically that she will be able to come to church...she has to work on Sunday mornings, but I know that the Lord will provide a way, but she has to CONTINUE to do her part. I have come to see how important reading in the Book of Mormon is. It was written for our day and I can always find things that apply to my life now and what I am going through. I love it. Through the Book of Mormon we come to know of God´s plan for us, plainly and clearly and we also learn that it is only through faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end that we can be saved and return to our heavenly Father. It is repeated so many times and it is the only way. Also through the Book of Mormon we can gain a testimony that Joseph Smith is a prophet and that the Gospel was restored through him. I love telling the first vision auf Deutsch...I feel the Spirit so strong everytime!! It is amazing how strong the Spirit can be felt, even when you tell it so many time. It´s because it´s the truth and I know it. I love this work...it is amazing and we are seeing miracles everyday.

I LOVE SUNDAYS!!! I always feel like I have made so much progress!! I spoke more in church today then any other Sunday. In our Sunday morning meeting I had to try and explain how our investigators are doing and what the ward can do to help...I managed to get through it. I then set up a few appointments, joint teaches, and even changed one of our meetings this week to a different time!! It was so fun. I just went from member to member and said what I could and listened intensly. I understand a lot more every Sunday, which makes me so excited for a new week. Oh my gosh...do you remember Sonja?? She was an investigator that we "Tschüss"ed because she wasn´t keeping commitments. Well she showed up at church today. We saw her on the street the other day and asked if she was coming to church. She said yes, but I had heard that so many times from her and she wouldn´t come...I know, I know I didn´t have any faith...but she came!! She was about an hour late for sacrament meeting, but she stayed for the rest of the meetings and even stayed for our ward lunch. We set up an appointment with her this week to see if anything has changed!

We have so much going on this week. We have been setting up appts. like crazy and we are working hard to have joint teaches. They ask us always to have a joint teach (bring a member) after the first lesson so that they can make friends in the ward and also see that it is possible to live this life because there are others who do it...not just us weird looking missionaries!! ;o) It is so fun the have a joint teaches.

After church we went to visit a contact, but silly us...we forgot to write down what building she lived in, we only had the street. So we just started checking the names on the klingles (the door bells). The first building we came to didn´t have her name, but I had a feeling to just klingle the building (do doors in the building) the second one we klingled let us into the building...so we walked up the stairs to her door and she wasn´t interested. So we just knocked on the other door on our way down the stairs. After a few rejections we finally came to a door and a woman answered and said we could come back. We gave her a Book of Mormon and left. Then as we were going home from that area we stopped a girl on the street who was interested and she said we could come back on Tuesday. We didn´t end up finding the actual contact, but we got 2 others that we are going to visit on tuesday and the original one as well!! People really are placed in our path. It was so cool!!

It will be a good week. I hope to be able to tell you about a lot more investigators next week. Right now we only really have 1 that is progressing and she (Alicia) is 10yrs old...her mom is a new member and Alicia has a baptisimal date for the 9th of Aug. Other then that we don´t have much...this week will be good for us.

I love this place and I love the people. It is hard sometimes when they turn you down, but that is just the way it is. Missionary work is the hardest thing you can do, but also the most rewarding. I love seeing miracles and I hope to be able to recognize even more as time goes on!!

Sister Jones

07 July 2008

Letter #6 (July 7, 2008)

Ok...so I have been here for almost 6 weeks now...which means it is time for transfers. In this mission we do it a little different. We have a huge conference call and all of the missionaries listen as the pres tells us where we are going. Sister Welch my comp is going to Hannover with Sister Seiter who came out with me. When the pres was announcing the Bielefeld Sister he said, "Sister Jones as Senior Companion...." (pause) "That´s Sister Brittany Jones as Senior Companion and Sister Christi Jones and Junior Companion." All of the missionaries laughed and pres. said that no, it was not a mistake!! :o) So my next comp is Sister Jones as well...I heard she was really nice, so I am very excited to meet her!! I don´t really feel ready to show someone around a city and introduce them to the members, but I have no choice now. It will be good for me though...I need to have more responsibility!! I´m really excited for her to come!!

So one thing that is nice about a mission is you notice all the horrible things about yourself and then you try to figure out how to fix it. I want to change so bad and become more like Christ, but it is hard...you can´t do it over night. One thing that I have been trying to work on is looking for the possitive in things. The Lord is blessing me and if I can learn to recognize it more, then I will be even happier. Sundays are always the hardest day as a missionary...especially fast Sunday. I love Sundays though because of all the blessings that I get. I understood people more then I ever have before. Not perfectly, but enough to have a few conversations. It is so exciting. My German is really bad and I have been really afraid to talk to the members, but I noticed that as I tried to talk that they helped me and they understood what I said...and even what I could not say. I love that they are so helpful and I hope that I can work on opening my mouth more so that they can get to know me better and so that I can get to know them as well!!

We had a cool miracle this week...well I consider it a miracle. We ride the bus all the time and I had seen this older lady with white glasses on the bus quite a few times and for some reason she always stood out to me. Well we were walking down the street this last week and she was coming toward us carrying some really heavy bags. We stopped her and started talking to her and she handed us the bags...she was completely out of breath. So we helped her carry her bags home and she invited us in. We were on our way to an appointment, but we talked to her for a little bit and asked if we could come back. Her apartment was really messy, so we offered to help her clean and organize and even invited her to church. She said she was going on Urlaub (Vacation) but we could come by when she got back. I´m so excited...when I first saw her I felt something and I didn´t know why until this week. I really hope that it all works out.

We met this other girl on the street and we talked to her about the Book of Mormon. I asked her if we could meet and we could give her a book and tell her more out it. She agreed!! It was so great. We ended up calling her and she wanted to meet us at the Library. Sister Welch didn´t think she would actually be there, but she was and she brought a Friend to. They are 17&18 and are super cool. We set a an appointment with Meera (who we met on the street) and then asked her friend if she wanted to come as well...she thought for a second and then said, "Warum nicht" (why not) It was so awesome. The appt. is on Wednesday...I hope it goes well!! I´m very excited!!

Ok, so cool German stuff for this week. I have been thinking of what to say and I wanted to talk about weird phrases, but I only have one for now..."Wir sehen uns" which is translated to "we see us" which means "we´ll see each other later". It is so much more fun to say. I love this language. I will try to listen for more and tell you more things next week!!
Well I think that is all for this week!! I love you and I hope to hear from you next week!!

Sister Jones