25 August 2008

Letter #13 continued....(8-25-08)

Sorry about last week. I sent the emails and then when I checked this week they were all sent back to me!! I hope that this works and I resent the one from last week!!

(Parts of last weeks letter to mom):
I know that the Lord is in this work and that He loves me. Sometimes it is so hard to see the things that he has blessed me with. Especially during my trials, but when I step back and look at the big picture I can more easily see what he has given me!! Sister Jones and I were talking this week about how interesting it is to be on a mission and how differently you see the world and the people in it. I related it to a snow globe. I feel like I´m holding a snow globe in my hands and that I am watching all these people go to and from work, the store, visiting family and just living their lives. I just see the world from a far distance and am learning to understand what people think, how people think and why people think the way they do. People say things to us on the streets and it just makes it so evident that these truly are the last days and that their truly was a falling away and that we truly have the Gospel again. It's hard to explain, but I just see everything so different and more clear then I ever have before. Missions really can solidify your testimony for life...it definitely has for me.

We met this woman on the street this week from Africa. She told us that she felt like the Spirit was telling her to go for a walk and she followed that feeling and met us. We brought her a Book of Mormon a few day later and taught her about Joseph Smith. She is a strong believer in Christ, but she didn't understand why we talked about Joseph Smith instead of Christ. We tried to explain to her that it is through prophets that we learn more about Christ. For prophets are here to testify of Jesus Christ and bring us closer to him. Through Joseph Smith we have the Gospel of Jesus Christ again. She still didn't really like that we talked about him, but we set up another appointment. She said that she is always at her church because her husband is one of the pastors so it would be best to meet there. We agreed and a few days later headed to this church. It's more like just a building then a church, but we went in and talked to another woman for awhile and then the other pastor came out of his office and we taught them the First Vision. He also said that he didn't want us to talk about Joseph Smith because if we teach about him we will forget about Jesus Christ. They are such strong believers in Christ, but they don't understand how His church works. The church of Christ is looked over by prophets and apostles when teach about Christ and serve His people. Their goal is to bring others unto Christ. They know the Bible really well, but they don't understand what His church really is. It was a really cool experience...thankfully it was in English. The woman we met on the street finally came, but by the time she got there we had to leave to another appointment. The Pastor was so nice though and told us that we are always welcome in their church. They are so close to the truth, but yet so far. They are so close that they don't even recognize the real truth...even when it walks into their church. I will let you know if more happens!!

Sister Jones

Letter #12/#13 (8-25-08)

I don´t have much time to write this week!! So I´m attaching the letter that I wrote to my president this week!! I hope things are great for you!!

Love Sister Jones

Hallo Präsident Thompson,

This week went by so fast. We met with Svetlana again and she said that she prayed about the Book of Mormon and that she felt something good, but she wasn´t sure what it was. We bore testimony to her that it was the Holy Ghost telling her that the Book was true. She believes that it´s true!! It was so cool. Then we watched the Joseph Smith movie together in Russian and then asked her what she though about it. She said that it could be possible for that to happen and that if the Book of Mormon is true then Joseph Smith is a prophet. She has made so much progress in the last 2 weeks!! Although....Satan works really fast. She didn´t come to church on Sunday. Olaf (one of the family members she is staying with) said that she seems to be a little overwhelmed with it all and that maybe it is just to much too fast. She also cancelled our appointment for Sunday night. I called her to see how she was and she asked if she could do something with us today (P-day). I think it will be good for her to see that we are normal people and that you can be a member of our church and still live a normal life. I really hope that we can meet with her this week!! She is just so wonderful!!

Everything else is great. I kind of had a break down this week because I´m still really overwhelmed with the language. I still can only understand a little bit...more then when I first got here, but not enough to always know what people are saying. I thought I was doing fine because Sister Jones is always saying how proud she is of me and how much I can understand, but then the Elders keep saying..."You still don´t understand yet?" Well thanks Elders...I don´t think they mean it exacly in the way that I took it, but I was still frustrated and then got down on myself. But I got a blessing yesterday and I feel a lot better now!! I still don´t fully understand, but I know it will come when the Lord wants it to!! I´m trying to do my part!!

Thanks for everything and I´m excited to see you and your wife this week!!

Sister Jones

23 August 2008

No letter this week...(8-18-08)

For you faithful followers/readers...you may have been wondering "why no post?"....well, if you can believe it, there was not email from Christi this past Monday.  We thought maybe she had a weird P-day and we would hear from her on Tuesday...but now the week is over and we still haven't gotten anything.  I know this is shocking to all of you who know our Christi....but yes, she didn't even get an email off to her mom...she better have a real good excuse!  I guess we will find out in a few days!  Stay tuned...hopefully it will be a long email!

...her Utah sister

11 August 2008

Letter #11 (August 11, 2008)

This week was great..although I think I say that about every week!! ;o)

We had Zone Conference this week. Normally it is 2 zones together, but this time it was a half zone conference, which is 3 zones. It was really cool because I got to see my old companion and the sister that I came out in the field with. It was so Spiritual and SO good. So they have this thing called Pin and Patch in my mission. It is something that missionaries can earn. For the Pin you have to memorize 20 scriptures in German and also do outlines for lessons 1-3. The Patch is 20 more scriptures memorized (you have to be able to recite all 40) and outlines for lessons 4-5. For my first zone conference my mission president commited all the new missionaries to get their Pin by the next zone conference. Well I started it, but then got lost in doing other missionary things. Well, my wonderful comp encouraged me to do it and told me that it was still possible. So I started memorizing like a crazy person and managed to get it done. So the morning of Zone Conference I passed off my scriptures to my district leader and also had my outlines done....so during the meeting I got to go up and get my Pin, which looks super cool and I also got to go up and get sung to for my birthday!! The meeting was mostly centered on Jesus Christ and the atonement. It was so good. My comp and I are excited to spend one more transfer together. She goes home at the end of this transfer, which is sad because I wish I could spend my whole mission with her. We get along so well and have SO much fun. This last transfer was only 5 weeks because of a missions presidents conference this next week that our pres is going to, so we still have 7 weeks left together. The transfer ends in the beginning of October and I will be getting a new companion and hopefully staying here.

We had a baptism on Saturday for a 10 year old named Alicia. Her mom was recently baptized and Sister Welch and her old comp, then sister Welch and I and now Sister Jones and I have been teaching her. She is so cute, but very much 10 years old!! I think that she will be great though because she has her mom´s support. She is way more prepared for baptism then I was!! ;o) The whole thing was crazy because people kept calling and saying that they couldn´t come. Normally we have it after church on Sunday, but her mom wanted it on Saturday. We still had a pretty good turn out for a saturday. I ended up singing with the Elders because our Musikalischerdarbeitung (yeah...that is musical number) fell through. I also sang again on Sunday for church and have realized how excited I will be when I am able to practice everyday again. I have lost a lot of the control of my voice...meaning now you can hear in my voice that I am nervous, but that is ok!! One day I will get it back, for now I will just do what I can with what I have left!!

Sonja is doing well, but she keeps promising to come to church and then she doesn´t show up...we are working on figuring out why. She is always at our appt., but never at church. She just needs to understand how important it is!! It will be fine!! This week we have a lot planned already and I´m very excited!!

Thanks again for all the support and the emails with words of wisdom....it really does mean a lot to me!! There are many things that I want to change about myself and how I do missionary work, but it won´t happen in one day. I just need to do a little better every day and the Lord will help me!!

Sister Jones

04 August 2008

Letter #10 (August 4, 2008)

This week have been really good. We had an appointment with Sonja on Friday and it was so great!! She keeps saying that she is waiting for an answer, but yet she says that she feels good when she reading in the book of Mormon. I told her that that is her answer. I told her that she knows that the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith is a Prophet and that this church is true and she agreed, but she is waiting for an answer. So I told her that when I got my answer I didn´t see an angel, have a huge spiritual experience, or have a dream/vision....I only had a good feeling in my heart. I told her that that was her answer. When she reads and gets a good feeling that is the Spirit telling her that it is true. We didn´t plan on talking about that, but I´m so glad that I did. The Spirit was so strong and I felt such a huge love and excitement for her as we talked. It was the best appointment that I have had since I got here. I was SO happy for the rest of the day!! I have been striving to remain that happy everyday...it is a struggle to always be positive and happy, but it is something that I am working on because I love it here.

Then Sunday came and I was still pretty happy. Then a member came up and said hi to me and gave me a huge. She is a very old lady who has always loved the missionaries. She is a convert and has had the missionaries over at her house for FHA (FHE) for the last 20 years or something...at least that is what she says. Well last transfer the Bishop and the GML (Ward Mission Leader) told us that we needed to be more involved with the JAE (JSA) by going to their activities...mostly FHA on Monday nights. So Sister Welch and I went and told this Lady that we were unable to go to her house anymore for FHA because we needed to be with the JAE. She took it pretty well at that time, but asked us to come for Sister Welch´s last Monday before she got transferred. So we went with the JAE for a few Mondays and then went to this lady´s house for Sister Welch´s last one. Then Sister Jones came and we have been super busy and every Sunday this Lady comes up and asks us if we are going to her house for FHA. We always have to say no because we either have an appointment or we are going with the JAE and an investigator. She has been getting more sad and more sad every Sunday that we say no. Last Sunday she even said that we are ruining her FHA. So back to Sunday (yesterday). She hugged me and then asked me if we were coming tomorrow to FHA. I said, "Nein..." and before I could say another word she made an angry sound, waved her hand at me to brush me aside and then walked away. I think that I had my mouth hanging open as she walked away because I was so shocked at her childishness. She finally came back and talked to me later and I got to explain to her that we have an appointment and our investigator is coming to the JAE FHA with us. I told her sorry, but she looked devastated. The thing is, is that the missionaries are not the only ones that go to her FHA. She was more people that she invites, but she cancels it if we cannot come. The other thing is that the bishop has talked to her and told her that if we have appointments or have an investigator that is going with the JAE then we can not go with her...she knows that because she has been told that many times. I love spending time with the members, but spending 2.5 hours at her place every Monday night is a waste of time. If it was every once in a while then that would be fine. When we used to go it was bad because we would have p-day then go straight to her place at 6pm (when p-day ends) and then leave her place at 8:30pm and go straight home to be home by 9pm!! That is a whole day with no missionary work. I felt so horrible on Sunday because she was mad at me and I couldn´t fully explain to her in German that I was sorry. It was really hard. I´m understanding more and able to say more, but I can´t fully express how I feel. It is hard in situations like this when all you know how to say is sorry. I have to be blunt because I don´t know how to sugar coat things in German!! The day got better though because we went and ate at one of my favorite families house. Schwester Perschk is SOOO cool. She reminds me of an American mom. She lived in Australia for 4 years and kind of adopted a more English/American way of living. She is so cool, but still very German!!

This week was so wonderful...with all the ups and downs I just LOVE missionary work!! It is only Monday and our schedules are already almost full for the week!! We are working on daily contact with our investigators, so with that and all the appointments that we have we have barely any time left. It will be a great week!!
I love this work, I know that it is true and that this is the Lord´s Church!!

Sister Jones