Monday, May 20, 2013

Growing and Thriving - Email May 6th

Dear Family,
   I hope that you have had a great week! It was so good to hear from all of you in your emails! I'm glad that Daddy's thing went well and Grandma is recovering well from her surgery! I have been wondering about both! Thanks for letting me be part of Daddy's special night! I can't wait to watch it on video. This week has been good! A week of a lot of walking and a lot of knocking on doors! We have met a lot of great people and hopefully some of them will continue to have a desire to learn more. We are working hard though and doing our best!
   In Kennewick I had a big inside joke with the branch because the english ward would always feed us speghetti. The hilarious thing that I have found about this is that people always tell you why they made speghetti. I'm not a big speghetti fan so it became like a curse and it was hilarious. Well here everyone makes roast (we have had speghetti twice). We have had roast 6 times in 3 weeks. It is unreal but still hilarious. Last night we laughed so hard over it we were basically crying.
  We have also encountered a lot of dogs lately..not on leashes. You can imagine that this experience is a bit disturbing for me.
  We had stake conference this weekend. Our stake president taught a really cool analogy. There is a grove of trees in the Washington Cascade Mountains called "The Grove of the Patriarch." In it there are trees that have existed for thousands of years. He posed the question what is the difference between these trees that continue to grow and thrive after thousands of years and trees that die. He said that he found three things: 1. They were planted in a goodly land. 2. They have an unlimited supply of water. 3. They took time to become what they were meant to become.
The stake president explained that likewise we have been planted in a goodly land. We have the living water of Jesus Christ in unlimited supply and lastly we recognize that some things just take time! We have to be patient and have hope. We must look to the future and trust in Heavenly Father's promises. In Romans 4:18, 20 and 21 we read: "Who against hope believed in hope. He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God. And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able to perform." We CAN fulfill our purpose in this life. We cannot hesitate or draw back. Today is the day to become what Heavenly Father needs us to become. To trust in the prompting of the spirit and go forward with faith that our Heavenly Father gives us all experiences for our good. Some things just take time! But we like these trees have hope that we will grow and thrive. We will become what we were meant to become as we drink of the living water!
   Sorry this is kind of short! Please know that I love you all so much! I consider myself the luckiest girl in the world to have the family and friends that I have! Thank you for everything from the bottom of my heart!
Hermana Jones

Sunday, May 19, 2013

JTAYCL - Email April 29, 2013

Dear Family,
   How are you? I hope you are all having a lovely week! Things are going wonderful here in the good ole Yakima Valley. Last night at dinner a boy said "What's the armpit of Washington?" His dad then said without hesitation, "Look around son." We started dying laughing. There is a sign here that says "Welcome to Yakima, The Palm Springs of Washington." It's hilarious because it could not be farther from the truth. We are having some fun and the fun don't stop. Haha. Hermana Pierce has started giving me speech therapy to try to heal my accent. Haha not really but it has become a joke. Apparently so far I say the words Own, Upon and Orange incorrectly.
We have started referring to Mondays here in Yakima as Miracle Mondays. Every Monday after P-Day ends we start to see miracles. It is so cool. About a week and a half ago we had tracted for 2 and a half hours straight one afternoon. During that time we met a little 12 year old girl who told us we could come back and meet her family. We made an appointment but kind of lacked confidence that she would keep the appointment. We even joked about it all day on Monday. When we came to her house her parents were outside and they were staring us down. This made us a little nervous so we drove past, parked a block away, stalled for a second by OYM'ing a trailer and then worked up the nerve to go to her house. She answered the door and her mom came out. Her mom then told us that her daughter had told her we were coming but she didn't know if we would actually show up. She told us that she and her family do not attend church anywhere, that her family is all catholic but that aren't practicing at all and that she has wanted to find a church for her family. She said she would love to hear what we have to say and then she said, (this is not a joke) "So we're excited to hear what you have to say and if we like it, we'll stay." As we walked to our car afterward Hermana Pierce just kept repeating, "If we like it, we'll stay?" It was awesome. We have an appointment with their family tonight because the mom was out of town last week.
The mom who is worried about her son asked us to teach her even when her son wasn't home. She told us that if she sees a change in him she will be interested in coming to see for herself. I know the change that can come because of Maria Zamora and that's what made her mom interested too.
We went to Women's conference this weekend for Relief Society and it was really good. We live with our stake relief society president and she put a lot of work into it. A sister that spoke talked about receiving a magnet from the missionaries that said "JTAYCL" which stood for "Just talk about your church life." She said that when the church is such a big part of our lives why do we not bring it up more in casual conversation. She talked about how easy it is to bring the gospel up. She said that she has a friend who is a really good member missionary. She went on a trip and prayed to have a missionary experience on the plane. She anxiously awaited to see who would take the seat next to her on the plane and was really disappointed when a man with all kinds of tattoos and piercings walked up. Then the spirit whispered, "There's your guy." She said she fought with the spirit for several minutes but then ultimately decided to casually bring up that she was LDS. The guy got really excited and said he had been wanting to know what Mormons believe. Sister Stapleton said that Heavenly Father trusted this lady to share the gospel with this guy because he knew that she had done it so many times before. I realized that I really want to be someone that the Lord can trust to do the things he needs done! So my challenge to ya'll is to Just talk about your church life!
 I love you all more than you know!
-Hermana Jones

The Power of the Chapel - Email April 22, 2013

Dear Family,
   We have had quite the week and by that I mean it is has been pretty uneventful but good things are happening here! For one the toe nail polish Kaili sent me has been put to good use and thanks to that and Jergen's Natural Glow lotion I feel somewhat like a girl again. It's a miracle! This newly wedded guy we had an appointment with named Alberto texted us and said "FYI, you three are hott for some mormons..." So despite the fact that Lupe says I was pretty BEFORE my mission (haha Love you Lupe) apparently I'm not completely busted...yet. Hahaha. We are having a blast. I always thought a threesome would be miserable but we are loving ours. I feel like it is really cool preparation for having a family. We call McBride our child...she is hysterical...a complete nut. The other day we accidently knocked on the wrong door for a return appointment and it happened to be this atheist guy we had met the day before. So McBride just says "Hi...we were just coming by to see how you are doing.  You doing okay?" Later we were joking because it was like "You still atheist..oh good...welp see ya later." We literally laugh all the time. Pierce and I seem to have this belief that we are going to be seperated again and because of that we have a hard time going to sleep at night because we can't stop talking. Things are still very slow here but they're good!
I don't know if I mentioned this to you but when we got to Yakima there were two investigators, a family and another lady. This week, within 36 hours, they all dropped us. We have been knocking doors like there is no tomorrow and we are seeing some results.
Last Monday night we met a lady who is very content in her church but her son is having a hard time because he has gotten in with the wrong crowd at school. She told us that she has been praying for him because he doesn't want to go to church with her. We found both of them home together and invited him to be taught. I told her that sometimes Heavenly Father answers our prayers through other people. She agreed to sit in with him and we came back and had a great lesson with them.
Friday night we were knocking in a trailer park and saw a mother and daughter outside. We approached them and they were nice but both said they were really busy and didn't know when they would have time. We walked around the block knocking and as we were walking back to our car we passed a different trailer. Turns out the daughter lives there with her little family and was just pulling up as we walked by. We asked if she needed any help getting a shelf out of her trunk and she said no but then she said, "I actually have a question for you, do you teach on Saturdays?" We told her yes and she asked if we could come back the next day. We had a great lesson with her and think she is a searcher.
Yesterday we decided to drive past where we usually go in Moxee into the hops fields and passed one house that looked promising (there was a hispanic man outside). We pulled over and knocked on their door. The mom let us in (I think because Hermana Pierce was shivering) and we started to teach her. A few minutes later her 17 year old daughter came in. We reintroduced ourselves and starting teaching again. The mom was having a hard time understanding what the Book of Mormon was and so the daughter explained. She said, "Mom, it only makes sense that if there were prophets on the other side of the world there would be prophets on this side too and the Book of Mormon is a record of those prophets." It was like she was bearing her testimony to her mom about a book she had just heard about for the first time. She has a light in her eyes and we are so excited to teach her! Then the dad came in and he was just as cool! Good things are happening here! We are having a hard time containing our joy after we walk out. We always say "Stay calm, stay calm" and then when we know we are where no one can see us we do a little victory dance. It's pretty hilarious. Someone is probably going to catch us one of these days and it will be pretty embarrassing but Pierce does a pretty mean heel click.
    This week we had interviews with President Greer. We had a training meanwhile with the APs and we talked about the importance of the chapels in our churches. I realized as we sat there that so many of the really special experiences in my life have taken place in the chapels of the church. From my baby blessing to my confirmation to my mission farewell to my first testimony in spanish. I'm so grateful for those sacred experiences. Then President Greer got up and he started pointing to an elder who is about to go home. He said Elder, in a couple years you are going to stand up here and bless your baby. Then he pointed at me and he said "In about 14 years Hermana Jones is going to have a little boy and he's going to sit right there and then he's going to pass the Sacrament for the first time. And then Hermana Pierce your son is going to sit right there (pointing to the Sacrament table) and he is going to bless the sacrament."  It was so powerful and I realized what kind of mom I want to be and how much I want to teach my kids. I'm so grateful for the gospel in my life. I can't wait to have a family. But right now this is my season to share the gospel. Please keep praying that we will see miracles here.
    I love you all so much!
-Hermana Jones
Picture 1- McBride begged me to let her straighten my hair yesterday. It is long.
Picture 2- We have encountered a lot of animals here...this is Jack the goat. This is what happens when we tract. If only the people flocked to us like the goats.
Picture 3- Remember how I hate animals? What am I doing here holding a rooster? No one knows.

Trying to Love Again - Email April 15, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,
   Hello from Yakima! How are you? I hope this finds all of you doing wonderful! Thank you so much for all of your prayers and encouragement in light of the hardest week of my mission so far. I thought leaving home was hard but if I had known how hard it would be to leave one area and go to another on a mission I might have opted out of this whole thing! Just kidding...but seriously. Leaving Kennewick was really really hard. I hadn't cried that much in a long time. Getting to serve with Hermana Pierce again has been a real tender mercy. Our teaching pool is pretty much non-existent so we have laughed a lot to keep from breaking down. Our trainee, Hermana McBride, knows Anders' family because his sister was her nanny. It's a small world after all! It's pretty incredible because her parents are both not active in church but she is here on a mission. I think this week has been a real reality check for her as for what missionary life is like. It is really interesting training with someone else. The other day at breakfast Hermana McBride said "Don't screw me up Moms." I laughed so hard I spit my cereal out.
   When I first got here to the mission field I was listening to a song by Jessie Clark Funk called "Again and Again." The words really helped me when I had no idea what I was doing as a missionary. A couple of days ago it came on again and it helped me again. It says:
 "Again and Again I ask myself why, I don't think that I have any tears left to cry. My soul is so tired, I'm longing for rest. I'm giving my all and I'm doing my best. It hurts to move on from the place I am in but you understand where I've been and you reassure me it's time to start over again."
  I feel like that is literally what I am doing...starting all over again. I feel kind of scared to love the people here like I loved the people in Kennewick. But I know that being scared to say goodbye is no reason not to love. I know that the people that I met there have changed my life for the better. I feel so blessed.
I love you all! Please continue to pray for me!
-Hermana Jones
These pictures are of all the people I left in Kennewick! Sorry I'm wearing the same outfit in all of them.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Email from Sister Anna Walser

Hi Paula,
We had the privilege to drive your daughter to Yakima for transfers and her new missionary(Hermana McBride)  to train.  She is with another Trainer missionary, Hermana Pierce she was with in the MTC.  We met both of them when they first came too.

I took their picture for them to send to their moms.  We are missing her already.  She made a lot of friends and left behind some "life long" acquaintances in the East Kennewick branch.  
Sister Jones' Spanish has blossomed and communicates very well.  She works hard and is busy all the time.  She is a great example to the young women in the branch and influenced them to greater goals of personal worthiness and modesty.  They love her and want to be a missionary like her.  

We wish her the best and know she will have a successful mission.

God bless you, your husband and your family.
Love, Elder and Sister Walser

Part of You Forever - April 8th

Dear Family and Friends,
     Well I've got some good news and some bad news. Which do you want first? I'll go with the bad so we can end on a (really) good note. I'm being transferred. Bummer man...he delivers. I have loved serving in Kennewick so much that when President Greer told me at our baptism last week that I needed to prepare myself to be transferred I was kind of in denial and may or may not have made myself sick over it. Change has never been my strong suit. The good news I will be transferred to Yakima, Washington and will be serving with Hermana Pierce. She and I will be training a new missionary together! I never would've thought that we would have this opportunity but I am so excited! It should be good! A lot of tears have already been shed here (some due to the cruelest april fools joke ever played..I can't even tell you about it I feel so bad). Yesterday I think I made three different people cry..."What are we the Schmultz family, pull yourselves together?" I'm crying right there with them though. On Tuesday I ended up just sobbing in the shower. Sister Doman told us in the MTC to love like we have never loved before and I can honestly say that has happened for me. In short, I'm dreading tomorrow but am excited for Wednesday.
I heard a quote in the MTC by Elder Eyring that said: "We become a part of the place we serve and it becomes part of us forever." I know I will never ever forget the people here. They have changed my life. I have learned so much about how to give of oneself without hope of reward and about humility. I have learned that nothing is more beautiful than seeing the hope come back into someone's eyes. I have learned that the gospel can make bad men good and good men better. I have come to feel a small part of the love that Heavenly Father has for his children and am so thankful for that privilege. 
Last night the elder's recent convert that we have been teaching, Maria Zamora, told Sister Kidd and I: "You know how they say people can be sent somewhere just to help you? You two have been that for me." I think before my mission I thought that a mission was all about investigators and baptisms but I have come to find that it is so much more than that. It is members, families, investigators, companions, recent converts, less actives and last but not least mission presidents. Missions are about people and I think this mission has to have some of the best people in the world. 
Speaking of people...we had 5 investigators come to watch general conference. Cindy Flores and Jacqueline Zamora who are both on date came. They are progressing well and I am excited to see what happens with them in the future. Maria Sanchez, a lady that Hermana Alard and I met in grocery outlet months ago but who hasn't been able to come to church previously came and loved it. She plans to come to church next Sunday and should be on date soon. It's neat because we talked to her in the grocery store because she smiled at us as we walked in and that rarely happens. :) We later found out that she has had a lot of contact with the church, has toured the conference center and works for a member. She loves everything we teach and keeps all of her commitments. She's awesome. All of these women are mothers and I know the gospel could change their families forever. 
I loved conference but I think the biggest thing that I learned was not something that I watched but rather somethings that happened during conference. Maria Sanchez came to watch the first Saturday session. When she got there we took her to the relief society room where it was being shown in spanish. She was the only spanish speaker there. I felt terrible and realized I should've called someone ahead of time to come watch with her. I began to pray that Heavenly Father would send someone. During weekly planning the previous day I had been trying to think of a good fellowshipper for her and thought of Hermana Antonia Sanchez. Sister Sanchez is an incredible member of the church. Ironically they have the same last name. When I prayed that Heavenly Father would send someone I specifically thought of Sister Sanchez and lo and behold twenty minutes into the meeting she showed up. I have a testimony that Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers. 
Maria Zamora, the elder's recent convert, came to all four sessions of conference and took incredible notes. We had encouraged her to write questions prior to conference in order to receive personal revelation. In the first session she turns to me and says "No way! He just answered my question." Her question, "How do I know when the Lord has accepted my repentance?" I know that Heavenly Father answers our questions and that the talk about how Heavenly Father wants to forgive was an answer for a 16 year old girl who is doing everything she can to be better. 
   I read a quote by President Monson this week that I loved. It says, "Each of us can be true for just one day and then one more and then one more after that- until we've lived a lifetime guided by the spirit, a lifetime close to the Lord, a lifetime of good deads and righteousness." That is what I am trying to life one day at a time, being true every day. I love this work! I love you all! Thanks for all your love and support! 
Hermana Jones
P.S. Mama I am loving the clothes you sent as evidenced by the pictures. #bestmissionarymomever