Drawing on the Powers of Heaven

Hoookay.  Here she is.  This week was actually a really good week. I am enjoying the challenge that comes from training and opening an area.  It is a real big test of my faith.  We are reading as a zone a book called “Drawing on the Powers of Heaven.”  Just in the past couple of days that I have been reading this book, it has really changed my perspective on missionary work.  I have always been a person that believes in depending more on God than myself, but without the real knowledge on how this principle of faith actually works.  This book talks in depth about faith, and how to truly use it as a principle of power in our lives and not just as a motivation for our own works. It goes through how to set goals, what are true desires, mental processes, and so on, to be able achieve righteous desires in any facet of our lives.  Be it in sports, schooling, or work, by applying these principles in our lives we can be more effective as people in overcoming our weaknesses.  It specifically talks about seeking and gaining spiritual gifts, a topic which I have extensively studied here in the mission. Although nothing can substitute work, working efficiently is an important part of our work as missionaries.  I can bust my back all week and have killer dats, or I can do my part in seeking gifts to enhance my abilities to further my success, and not leave the mission with grey hairs.  The anxiety as a missionary to perform is big here. Although I am not saving lives physically, I am doing it spiritually, which with an understanding of the atonement of Christ is what really matters. We will all be resurrected, but we will not all go to heaven. The sicknesses need not just missionaries who work hard and do the drill, but professional amateurs. jaja. I say that being that we are the amateurs, but with God and his gifts we are professionals in his work. It is inspiring and brings great joy.  Although it is hard and results often aren’t seen until later on, it is worth it.

Also part of this book explained a principle that really hit me, which is that of our own mental strength in the process of faith.  As we all know a man may not have faith and doubt.  They are opposites.  Satan uses our own weakness of mind to keep us from gaining the blessings of our works by making us doubt and lose faith.  Faith must accompany our works if we are to receive blessings.  There were many quotes from “As a Man Thinketh” which I have read several times, and it really gave it a spiritual twist to our own mental power.  He brought up the point about mental idleness.  I am not idle in thought by any means, but he showed it from a different point of view bringing up movies, music, and other sources of entertainment that are like opium to our minds. Giving us the high and allow us to be in a blissful idleness – which is true.  Before the mission I listened to music 24/7.  It is a passion of mine but I listened all day everyday, which is too much.  It gives examples of how we need to take time for scheduled meditation everyday, to exercise our own minds to the capacity that we could achieve.  There were many other neat points in this book that will be of great use to me in these next 10 months of my mission.  I’m a Reading Rainbow fan and I don’t know that I could ever do justice to the greatness of this book so I just want to say, “Of course you don’t have to take my word for it, pick it up and read if for yourself.”

We are slowly progressing with our new investigators and gaining more and more confidence with them.  We have 3 family nights planned, an activity with the youth in the park on Saturday, and various references to contact this week.  It should be really productive.  We are really focusing on the principles of being strictly obedient to be able to gain the blessings needed to have success in our area.  We study hard, work hard, and play hard.  We are still trying to get set up here in the area, but it will come with more time.

I went to take money out of my mission card today, and the ATM ate my money.  That means that I have to last till next week on 10 dollars while the bank fixes the problem.  jaja.  Wish me luck.

Yes Elder Romagnoli is new and is a great guy.  He is 18 but is really mature and fun at the same time.  We get along perfectly and its a nice break after babysitting for 3 changes.  All our  hard work paid off in Mira Flores too, they should have 5 baptisms this month.

Ok, answering your questions.  Here the church is really strong it is a ward of 200 people.  The chapel doesn’t fit everybody there are soo many people.  They are going to split it soon but need our help.  They put us in to help them out a bit, but the missionaries were taken out before because the members weren’t helping out as much as they should.  But know its round 2 and they have 2 really nice missionaries in town 🙂 The members are nice though.  We are going to really start to work hard with them.  We live in the upstairs of a house.  We have 3 rooms, and a bathroom.  It is really big and nice.  The shower is cold and we only have a stove that goes on the table, however the lady who owns the house, who also is an investigator, has an oven.

The week I got here I started hearing “que guapo” a lot and girls making kissing noises in the street.  I’m sure that they are talking about my spiritual handsomeness.  So I started counting this last week and I got over 15 guapos and 7 kisses.  I kind of like it here. lol jk

I can’t believe parker is already getting ready to leave on a mission. That’s just crazy.  I don’t know how I like that. Not seeing my own brother for 4 years – kind of rough.  We’ll see how things go.  The Lord has it all planned.

Christmas package????? I have no idea what I want.  It’s always like that.  I don’t know, and then after Christmas all the things I want pop into my head.  No, but all is well right now.  I’m happy, healthy, and working hard.  Nothing more I could really want.  Just make it nice.

I was really tempted to buy a pillow the other day, but I decided that I’ve already had almost 14 months without a pillow.  Another bit will not hurt.  Oh, and I have flees in my bed that came from my comp touching a nasty dog, and then in turn touching me.  NASTY!

Well my time has come to an end and I must be done. Ibeeluvinufolks.  KEESHESH and HUGS

– ELDER JONES  O_O   (your missioncanary)

I’m in Paradise!

HELLOO FAMILY,

All right, well I’m in paradise.  I just had the nicest change.  It’s going to be a real challenge, but I am going to thoroughly enjoy it.  I am opening an area that has been closed for 5 months, training, and staying as DL.  Like I said at the beginning, my area is called paradise or Paraiso.  I am in the Zone Danli, to the east of Tegucigalpa.  My area is about 15 minutes from Nicaragua.  It is a really nice big area, shared with two other missionaries and is divided by the calle pricipal. It is green, moist, and beautiful and a huge change from my last area. People respond well when I throw out greetings in the street and have a genuine interest in what we have to say.  It doesn’t seem to be as dangerous, but we have a ton of narcotic officers pass from Nicaragua, and we often hear gunshots at night.  Drugs and money are found here on the road going from my area to Danli.  We are the only elders outside of Danli.  We take a 40 min bus ride to get to Danli that costs a dollar – pretty cheap.

The ZLs are spankin nice.  They went and found us a house, so that it would be a bit easier opening the area. The only problem is that it wasn’t furnished but we were able to get a table, mattresses, fridge and a stove.  We live in the upstairs of a house and the owner is a really nice lady.  It was actually kind of a miracle how they found the house. The ZL’s came to the area to find us a house, and to find people to teach before we got there.  Elder Jensen felt like he should knock a door and ask this lady if she would rent out the upstairs of her house. She said yes, and we moved in a week later.  It just so happened that when we were moving in some of our stuff, the first counselor in the stake presidencies wife started talking to one of the neighbors.  We found out later that the neighbor mentioned to her that a couple of days ago she had a dream where my companion, Elder Romangnoli and I were cleaning her front porch.  The Hermana responded that we were here to clean her spirit, and that she should let us teach her.  Kind of a cool experience. We went and talked to her the next day, but she wouldn’t even let us come into the house to pray with her.  It may take some time.

My companion is Elder Romagnoli (it sounds like pasta) the gn forms a ene in Spanish which is like a y and a n sound.  He is really chill.  He is actually 18 due to the fact that in Mexico they can leave earlier.  He is really down to earth and we are going to get along really well.  He was at a school of the church before the mission and had a scholarship for dancing traditional Spanish dances from his area in Mexico.  He is from Vera Cruz I believe.  He is always dancing and smiling. ja.  He’s really solid.  He came with lots of knowledge and tons of excitement, and his teaching will improve with time.  We haven’t had much time to teach being that we had district meeting Thursday, and Friday we found a map and walked around the area, and Saturday and Sunday were spent in good ole General Conference.

I loved general conference.  It was a hoot.  We have a sly bunch of gringos here and we enjoyed watching it in English and munching on tons of grub.  We played Uno and watched press conference, danced, and talked between sessions.  I loved all of the talks but I think that the one that was just for me was President Uchtdorfs talk about regrets.  I can happily say that up to this point of the mission I have very little regrets, and the ones that I do have are small and insignificant.  But seeing the bigger scale of things really is what I have been thinking about and fed my eager mind on this subject.  I am OCD thinking about the future and planning things out, and making sure I live up to my full potential.  To do so I know I have to live not just as a good missionary or as a good person.  I must live even higher, do things even better, and be truly converted and attached to the spirit to do so, living my life according to the will of the lord.  I have heard many people share stories and confess regrets and problems that they wish they didn’t have, working as a CNA, and one in particular when this man cursed his life and everything he had, because he had messed up his life so bad he had no hope of ever fixing it.  But as long as we have Christ, and time we may fix anything.  Like what President Uchtdorf said, don’t look back but look forward because in the future regrets may be changed.  I also loved the general theme of families, conversion, and missionary work.  Overall it was a nice time to sit back, relax, and be spiritually fed.

In my area there are a lot more bugs than in the city mostly because I live right next to a mountain.  In fact I almost stepped on a frog last night.  There are tons of frogs, and they make a really funny sound.  I couldn’t believe it came from a frog.  I’m going to catch one and send it to yall.

I was really critical when I met our mission leader and it proved to teach me a lesson.  I looked on the outside and listened to him speak and assumed too much.  Anyway we left last night with him to go meet some members, menos activo people, and listening to him talk with them made me realize just how great of a man and a member he is.  He used to be a borracho (a drunk) who was not kind to his wife and had no job.  He was not faithful to his wife.  Then 13 years ago 2 missionaries found him, took care of him and taught him the gospel.  Now he is a completely changed man, with a son on a mission.  I listened to him talk last night and couldn’t believe the dedication, love, and knowledge that came from him.  You don’t find members like him everyday.  He is really going to be a great asset to us and I’m excited to get to work here with him.  Once we get started and have more investigators we will be having baptisms every Saturday.  Not only that but my area has been untouched for 5 months, so it ready to be harvested.  My companion has an excitement that is contagious and we are ready to get working this week.  I believe that in this area several things in my patriarchal blessing will be fulfilled.  After being in 2 hard areas for more than a year, I am grateful for this opportunity and challenge to show the lord my devotion to him and my love for his children.

Ok, and just so you know Parker cannot go on his mission – Not yet.  I can’t go 4 years without seeing my buddy.  Listen….. Parker isn’t mature enough. aha. Ok, yes he is, BUT, the rule is extended to those if they desire and have prepared, and are spiritually mature enough.  It isn’t that he has to leave at 18 upon graduating from high school.  Just make it a part of your prayers.  WE have business to be doing b4uleafmedood. Que la recuerda.

I don’t have much more time to write.  Just know that I love you and that you all are the best.

– ELDER JONES  O_O

P.S. Hermana Rosa is from Paraiso.  I called her Saturday for her birthday and she is going to come up here sometime to introduce me to her family so we can teach them about the gospel.

Divisions

HI FAMILY,

Well we had a slow week this week.   The dats were a bit low due to lots of fallen appointments.  We almost never knock doors, because it doesn’t work. So all that we can do is teach the members how to be missionaries and talk to their neighbors.  We go with some of the youth teach lessons, and are painting a house right now as service.  I am also doing more divisions with the elders from Sabana Grande, and we went Friday and Saturday to get to know some of the investigators in the hermanas area.

I did divisions with the elders of Sabana Grande (big sheet) on Thursday.  It’s a tiny little pueblo (little village) about an hour out of the city.  It is actually out of our mission boundaries.  The other mission, Comayaguala, didn’t want Sabana Grande, so they gave it to us.  We take a taxi and then a bus to get out there.  We got on the bus and this guy grabs his seat and it bends back and gets close to hitting my companion (for the day) and he says sorry.  That kind of surprised us because nobody apologizes here, and nobody speaks English.  We started talking with him and come to find out that he is from Israel.  He know Hebrew, English, and another language that they speak there, and he speaks English better than I do.  He started out in the military there (it is a requirement of all men in Israel to be part of the army for a certain amount of time) and then after that he kept going with the military as his job.  He worked in Virginia, I believe he lives in New York, if I remember correctly, and is here in Honduras for work.  He said he was baptized in our church, but due to his work hasn’t had the time to go.  He said “I’m in the army of men, you  are in the army of God.”   He was a really cool guy.  He told us some other stuff that I can’t share. Top secret; keep it on the DL, nobudybeknowin, kind of stuff. Well then we went to Sabana Grande and took care of some branch business.  The elder who I was with is the branch president and a missionary.  I am sure it is very difficult to balance the two things, but he does a good job.  Also we have been working with the hermanas and meeting their families.  In April we got a little bored, and went into an area, that technically is theirs.   So we were able to give 3 references for them to go and teach.  Over all things are good in the district.

Not much more to say this week. I’m truly sorry.  It’s a bummer, but some weeks I just don’t have much to report.  Send me a list of questions and I can answer them if you want next week.  Love yall!

ELDER JONES

A Visit to Trinity

Hello Family,

This week there really isn’t a whole lot to tell.  We have really been working on having more lessons with members present. We had 15 this last week, which is a huge improvement.  We are really trying hard to focus on these lessons, and getting more references.  It is really hard, however to talk to our investigators if I don’t have a phone to call them. It’s difficult but we ask the members to lend us their phones.  This last week we had a baptism of a kid of a family who we activated.  It all starts in the family.  If we can help the families here through the gospel, they will change their communities and hopefully it will be so much better.  There is such a big gap between the members and the rest of the people here.  It really makes it easy to identify a member when you see one.

I was able to go back and visit my old area of Trinity.  I went back and visited Rosa, Walter and Ruth and some of the other converts and friends.  I was able to go because a guy that I started working with back in November was getting baptized.  He quit marijuana, is living the law of chastity, stopped drinking, got a job, and was baptized Saturday.  I was able to go with my son, elder sac, because he is in my zone now, and he was asked to baptize him.  It was so nice to see Rosa y family.  We ate lunch, chilled, I wrote them a letter, drew a picture of Jesus, and printed photos to give them.  It was a really good day.

Well I’m sorry but I don’t have more time.  I know it is a boring letter. I apologize. Keep it real family.

ELDER JONES

Our Land Lady is Baptized

Ok, so I wrote down a bunch of things that happened this last week so I could remember to tell them to you.  It was a very interesting week.

My companion and I were walking back to our house the other day and a lady hops out of a truck and says “Hey Elders I need your help!”  She had a family member who died in Miami and she needed to give the death certificate to the registro so that it would be valid here in Honduras.  So we went to a little food place of one of the members, sat down and she had me translate the death certificate.  It was really difficult, but I did it without a dictionary.  There were a lot of words that we don’t normally use in every day vocabulary due to the fact that it was an official document.  When I couldn’t figure out a word, we played guess the word.  I would describe it to my comp and he would tell me what it was.  Kind of fun.  It took over an hour to translate but the she was really appreciative.  She bought us tacos and soda.

We had a very busy Saturday but it was really nice.  We had a Stake activity where we had a devotional that started at 1:30 in the afternoon and then we got in a big tourist bus and went to the temple site.  It is getting close to being finished.  Outside it is pretty much finished and they are working on the inside now.  We went to the hill behind the temple and had a Stake devotional about the temple.  They talked about living on a higher plane, preparing spiritually, putting their lives in order and preparing names for the temple in preparation for the temple opening and had a stake choir sing some songs.  The local Scout group helped out by being security, handing out bags of water, and giving out helium balloons that they let fly into the air at the end of the devotional.  It was really cool to see tons of white balloons with notes tied to the strings flying to Jesus.  We took photos as a zone, and with 2 families from the ward that are awesome.  The family Ordonez are like family.  Their oldest just did a mini mission in the south and is really excited to leave on his mission.  He gave us a reference and is always ready to teach with us. Anyway after the devotional we all returned to the capilla to have our baptism.  We baptized a lady who basically lives in our house.  Ha.  We rent her apartment.  She is the mom of the newest family of the ward that were baptized in March.  She is the sweetest old lady.  We call her “pelo de jabon” or hair of soap, because she has white, white hair.  We always joke that it turned even whiter after her baptism and confirmation because she is now pure.  After that we hurried and ate Chinese rice and chow mien with the Ordonez family. After that we left with the oldest son to go and visit the Mendez family. They weren’t home, so we went to another investigator, put in a baptismal date and then went back to the Mendez family.  We caught them just as they got home.  So we went in and read 3 nefi 11 with them about when Christ came to the Americas.  It was nice, but they still have doubts.  The dad wanted to leave because there was a soccer game on and every once and a while would say. ” So you’re leaving now right?” Kind of funny.  It’s going to take some time working with them, but they are ready for change.

I’ve got a new district, two elders and two hermanas.  It is a nice change.

We have been in and out of the hospital all week with my comp because he has really been bad with his allergies.  We talked to a doctora and he did different exams, and put my comp on a different treatment now, but it is still pretty miserable for him.  The medicine makes him like a walking zombie, but he still works.

OK TIME TO GO. I love you family.  Ihopeyoosbeedoingood.  Oh and I should be getting my scripture covers next week.  They are going to be spankin nice.

– ELDER JONES  O_O

La Familia Ordonez – my Honduran family

La Familia Martinez

My Zone

Right before the baptism

“If you judge people, you have no time to love them”

Hello Family,

This week was another really slow week, with lots of appointments that fell. However we did have some nice highlights of the week.  We went with 2 sisters in the ward (one who does our laundry and another who we eat with every Friday) and we went to the big record building that is in the Mira Flores Plaza and handed out a load of materials.  In this building the people get their identity cards, take out partidas to get married, and other things like that.  On the outside they built a pavilion walkway with benches lining both sides for people to sit on while they wait to do their stuff.  So we took 45 Liahonas and 35 pamphlets of Lesson 1-3, and the Proclamation to the World about the family.  People responded well to it and many seemed to read it.  There were a few who were really interested and thanked us for handing them out.  Some people refused to take them saying “I’m catholic,” or “I don’t believe in God.”  We even had a discussion with an evangelical lady who said it doesn’t matter what church you go to, you just have to accept Christ in your heart.  We put our names and numbers on the backside of all the handouts.   Nobody has called yet, but there is always the hope.  We also made a sheet this last week with our abilities and how we would like to give service; painting, piano lessons, bathing your dog, chopping your yard, etc.  People have taken them down in places though.  We put the logo of the church on the paper, which we probably shouldn’t have done to avoid people taking them down.

I read a quote this last week that I really liked and fits in really well with what we do here as missionaries.  “If you judge people you have no time to love them.” Mother Teresa.  I used to be a very judgmental person due to my perfectionist tendencies, and here in the mission I have seen how I have changed.  I am trying to always look for the good in others.

I was really sick this last week.  I mean, take a time machine and go back to December kind of sick.  Tuesday we ate lunch with Hermana Vanegas who makes thee most heavenly meals, but something happened and it killed my guts.  I’m still sick, but doing better. And it wasn’t just me, but my comp was sick to.  Things are better now, but I have to really watch what I eat.

We had changes this last week.  We are the same.  It will be 6 more weeks of a difficult situation but it will be all right.  We have some good things going for us right now, we just need to keep going.

I saw in the newspaper this last week that the UN named Honduras the most dangerous country in the world.  Booyah.

We eat lunch with another member who has a little restaurant on the side of his house.  We were eating there, and I heard a lady screaming really, really creepily.  I’m talking paint peeling, hair standing, and back scratching kind of scream.  I look up and on the News there is a video of a creature that they said was the product of witchcraft. It was basically a serpent coiled up, attached to the back of a chicken, and a dead head of some creature with blond hair.  I wouldn’t be surprised if it was real.  Some freaky stuff happens here.  People like to play with magic too much.

Well I’ve got to go now.  My time is up.  I Love you all.  I’m jealous that you were able to go to Lava.  Puchica.  I would love to go right now. Ha. But I have more important things to do.  Keep it reel.  luv yoos

ELDER JONES

This is what happens when I can’t study any more and I need to do something different. Child Link 🙂

I drew a picture of Jesus yesterday.

Silent Night

Hi Family,

(In response to new about all the fires in Utah)  Wow, well it seems to me that things are just getting right out of hand in the United states.  I was reading the paper in the barbershop the other day, and couldn’t believe all that is happening.  We are defiantly seeing some signs of the times.

This week was pretty nice.  We had a TON of our appointments fall, but found a really positive family.  Another family like Rosa and Walter.  ck ck. awww yeah, super nice.

Before we came to the stake center to write and play some ball, we stopped off at the BK lounge to eat a burger.  We met 2 gringos there that were backpacking through Central America.  They were from Florida, and Idaho and one served a mission in Argentina.  It was pretty cool to see them and talk with them – real live gringos.  It always amazes me to see them here in Honduras. They started in Costa Rica, and then went to Panama, then Costa Rica again, and then Nicaragua, and now Honduras.  Tonight they should be in El Salvador or Guatemala.  It was nice to chat about what’s happening in the states and speak English.

We had a great musical devotional this last Friday.  I sang Silent Night.  I know it is a Christmas song, but it was refreshing to have something different.  My zone leader, Elder Houston and I sang together.  I sang the melody for the first verse in English while he sang bass.  Then we switched parts and sang in Spanish and then for the 3rd verse we switched back, and finished in Spanish.  It was good.  We just prepared it real quick.  The devotional was about 2 and a half hours of musical performances from the missionaries.  It was really quiet neat to see such talent in the mission. I loved it because it wasn’t too long and boring, and we felt the spirit really strong.

President Hernandes and Hermana Hernandes came to our ward yesterday.  It was nice to have them there, and we were able to talk to him after sacrament meeting about the different ways we are trying to work here.  There isn’t an area like it in the entire mission.  Really, really hard, but we still are able to have some pretty good dats.  The members here are great.  They are always ready to help and so kind.  We had our second coordination yesterday with all the organizations of the ward and the bishopric.  It really helps a ton to be working together.  We have a new family, the Mendez family.  They are chosen and ready.  It is just a matter of time until they are baptized.  We went to contact them with a member last Thursday, and had a really neat lesson – it just all flowed. We only taught up to the apostasy of lesson 1, but they really understand it well, and feel comfortable talking with us.  We are going this week to paint one of their rooms, and chop wood in front of their house.  We also made a date for baptism for the 21st.

We have food for almost every meal, with members so don’t worry.  The people here are kind, so no problem with the food.  Plus I bought a huge bag of corn flakes at Pricemart last Monday.  It’s almost gone, but that’s all right, I’m going to make oatmeal this week.  We don’t have any cockroaches or mice.  It is actually really, really nice. But we did have a nice flea that was biting us.  We found it and killed it quickly.  A lot of the members here have the little shiatsus or little white housedogs, so we always play with them, and I’m sure that’s where the flea came from.  Grandma’s cookies, in my birthday package were delicious.  I ate every single one in an hour.

I was able to go on divisions with my Zl´s this last Friday.  It was really nice to go to the office to pick up mail, be in a different area, meet new people. My comp told everyone that I was mini-changed and everyone was sad.  It was nice to see how happy they were when they saw me in church Sunday.

Well things are good here.  I love the time I get to study and then apply it to the people who need it most.  Service to others, and being able to see this change in the quality of their lives, is the best.  When I entered the mission I thought that I had to focus on my self to help other people.  Learn all I could, be at peace, be the best I could be.  But I have found that these changes I want in myself come when I am focused on other people, not on myself.  The self-refinement doesn’t come with thoughts in oneself.  That’s why I think so many people love getting “lost in the work” because that is where the joy and the change come.  This last conference has had some key information and lessons for me that I have been able to learn and really help me understand this principle.  Another thing I learn this last week comes in a quote from Joseph Smith “A man gains his salvation only as fast as he gains intelligence.”  Like the scripture in dyc 131 ” we can not be saved in ignorance.”  It is so nice to have so much time to study.  Sometimes I feel like I could study all day long.  There are so many things to study its overwhelming at times.

I love you family!

Elder Jones

Playing b-ball with the zone

Friends in the Mission

Little cutie-pies that hatched outside my window

My group that came into the field last November. There are more outside the city but a good amount are here in the city.