Total Pageviews

Monday, August 5, 2013

Thoughts on my Mission

So this will be my last entry in Argentina, and I have served as a missionary for more than two years. Throughout my mission, I have:

- been assigned to six areas, within the zones Santa Fe, Paraná, Rosario Norte, Pergamino, San Nicolás, and Entre Ríos Este.
- lived with many different missionaries from different countries, including Colombia, Mexico, Argentina, Guatamala, Chile, and the United States.
- eaten lots of Argentine food with numerous families :).
- had to handwash my clothes often and sometimes live without hot water and sleep on a mattress on the kitchen floor.
- had so many different experiences.

That last bullet is maybe the most significant for me. Throughout my mission, I have leared so much! Even without going to school, the experience of living in another country and serving as a missionary has influenced my life greatly. I hope to take the good knowledge and experience back with me. 

I also want to thank everyone who has sent me mail! Honestly, cards are great for missionaries. I appreciate the time any of you took to write me :).

As my mission comes to a close, I will experience different emotions. I have spent time with so many different people down here, and it has really impacted me.  I will maybe cry a lot; some of these families I may never see again! Some of you will see me when I come home! I hope you are all doing great.

Simply put, my mission has changed my life. 

Thanks again for everything,

Elder Jones

Editor's note: His homecoming talk will be on August 25th in Champions Ward, 9:00am block! 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Working with the Members!

Wow, Elder Thorn and I taught six lessons with members present this past week! Even though we are small in numbers on Sunday (around 20 people), we can still work together and have success!

One of the days, my companion went with the Branch President, and I went with another member to visit some people! When multiple people work together, we can really accomplish more. Though more planning is sometimes involved, it is definitely worth it! 

We also have three new baptismal dates from this past week, and maybe one of them will get baptized before I leave! Time will tell.

I am so grateful for the help we have received from the members. The food, the ideas of people we can visit, etc. Obviously these members have lived in the city longer than us, so we can use their knowledge to help us work more effectively!

Not only can the members help with the teaching during the lessons, but later on they can help the investigators when they go to church.

This coming week, we will see if we can work with the members even more! We have a goal of 12 lessons taught to investigators with members present. We will see what happens!

Thanks for all of your support. I will only have one more entry for the blog, and my mission is coming to a close. I have gone through many experiences and have lived in six cities here in Argentina!! Wahoo.

I will see so many people in August when I come home! 

Have a great week,

Elder Jones

1.      How does it work receiving mail and dearelders?  If it is a zone conf, do the zone leaders just distribute to everyone or do they hand them to district leaders and they pass on, etc?

It´s kinda complicated, but here is a brief overview: 
  • it arrives at the mission home
  • it stays in the librarian´s office until the zone leaders go to the mission home
  • the zone leaders take it with them, along wiht other mail and pamphlets, etc.
  • when we have a zone meeting, they should bring the mail and distribute it. 
So depending on when the dearelder arrives at the mission home, I could maybe get it rather quick. But if it arrives right after the zone leaders go to the mission home, it could be quite a while. The zone leaders go to the mission home about once every four weeks. If you send any more dearelders, I probably won´t get them here in Concepción. I will maybe be able to read the last few ones on the plane home! When I go to the mission home to go home, I could probably pick up mail one last time :) 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Reunion de zona. :))

Photo from one of the zone meetings. Elder Jones will have a blog post next week! He still appreciates letters if you want to write him as he's finishing up his mission:)

Monday, July 15, 2013

A Week of Meetings and Lessons

Well, I traveled to Concordia and Paraná last week. This week I am here in Concordia again to have a special Pday and interviews with President tomorrow, so that was another bus trip!

Things are going alright in our area, back in Concecpión. Even though we haven´t had much time to work recently, we had an investigator in church yesterday! We have two people with baptismal dates right now, too!

One of our investigators owns a mini supermarket, and we teach him there sometimes. Though somewhat small, it is a little, convenient place to buy some quick food when you need it. He seems to have some solid interest, and it was great to see an investigator in church.

His wife is part of another church, but it doesn´t seem like she´s actively participating. Maybe her interest will spark more with time.

We also have some other investigators that live on the other side of town, extremely far away from our apartment! It can take like roughly 30 minutes to walk there!

Anways, we are going to watch a movie today (maybe Despicable Me!). I hope you have a great week!

Elder Jones

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

District Travels

Editor's Note: Elder Jones's sister was a little sick yesterday but is feeling much better. Sorry for the delay! :) Here's his weekly update: 

This week, I will take some bus trips! We have a zone meeting tomorrow in Concordia. Then on Wednesday, I have a leader´s meeting in Paraná since I´ve been called as District Leader this last transfer. After the meeting in Paraná, I´ll travel back to Concordia to get my companion. Then we will both travel back to Concepción del Uruguay, our current area. A total of roughly 16 hours on buses!!!!!
In other words, we will probably leave tomorrow morning and maybe not return until Wednesday night or Thursday!
Hopefully the meetings are good!

Elder Jones!

Questions of the week…
1.      Have you received any DearElders recently? It's been awhile since you have commented on any of them.
It´s maybe been around a month. I should get some tomorrow finally!

2.      Tell us about moving into new apartments, since you have such good experience with that!  Do you have to purchase everything or do you sometimes receive donations from the local members?
I have had to move twice in my mission. Coming here was also my third whitewash! A whitewash is when two missionaries go and replace the other companionship. So Elder Thorn and I took some time to learn the streets and get to know some of the members. Though tough at times, a whitewash provides the opportunity to start from scratch and see small miracles after hard work!
When we came here for the whitewash, we had to buy a new fridge and heater. The general process is as follows:
  • Missionaries gather together three price options (or more) and send them to the offices by phone or maybe email
  • The prices get approved and money is sent to a missionary´s visa card
  • The missionary goes and buys the appliance
There are maybe other small steps to the procedure, but that´s the general idea.

3.      How are your member lunches scheduled?  Do they pass around a calendar or schedule with you directly?
Here we basically eat with the same members on the same day of each week. However, it depends on the area. In San Nicolás, there was a calendar where people signed up to have lunch or dinner with us!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

English School Presentation and Other Facts!

Here is some quick information!

Private English SchoolElder Thorn and I did a Q&A at a private English school this past Thursday. There were less than 20 people there, but it was fun to see them practice their English. Some of them actually seem to understand a decent amount! It can be hard to learn a language, and I enjoyed seeing them practice! The two teachers seem to understand extremely well, and maybe one of them will start listening to the missionary lessons! We will maybe do it again with another group of students here within the next couple of weeks.

Other Facts
- I´m in my last transfer! I´ve already finished 15, if i´m not mistaken! Plus all the time spent in the MTC.
- We had a cleaning day yesterday. Elder Thorn and I cleaned for a SUPER long time, but now our apartment looks good!
- There is a less-active member who owns a restaurant close to the church. He gives us food sometimes during the week, usually on Monday! 
- I have lost maybe around 10 pounds since my arrival. Maybe it is from stress because I´ve haven´t really been dieting or anything. Maybe my scale isn´t very accurate, but hey, no complaints!

I will keep learning and pushing these last few weeks.

Have a good 4th of July, everyone!!


Elder Jones

Some Q&A from Elder Jones:

Weekly Questions…
1.      A bunch of new sisters coming to the mission this transfer?
I honestly know only little about the transfers. Elder Thorn and I are somewhat isolated, so that can make it tough. I think many missionaries, both elders and sisters, are waiting for their visas!
2.      Have you been near the border?  Is there major security between Argentina and Uruguay?
Elder Thorn and I saw the border while walking one day! Across the river we could see part of Uruguay. I think that with  an ID number or something, a person may transfer without problems between Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and maybe a few other countries. Maybe I could ask our Branch President. He is from Uruguay!
3.      How is the church building?  Do branches in small cities (like you are in) have small, simple buildings?
It´s nice and small. Definitely considerably smaller than ours back home. We had roughly 20 people last Sunday, so we don´t need tons of room. There is also a nice, small soccer field!

Monday, June 24, 2013

More Interesting Facts!

We watched a movie with two other companionships today, and I will write a few quick notes right now before doing groceries. 

  • Two Sundays ago, I presided and my companion directed Sacrament Meeting because the Branch President´s wife was sick. That was the first time I´ve presided in a meeting!
  • Sometimes Elder Thorn and I walk and give the Sacrament to members in their home on Sundays. 
  • This past Sunday we had around 20 people in Sacrament meeting, an increase from the roughly 10 people last week!
  • Elder Thorn and I are trying to work with the members, but it can be tough sometimes since there are few. 
  • I admire the faith of some members in this city, as well as in Argentina in general. Even though the church struggles in some aspects, we can see small miracles and progress as we work together.
Maybe I will write more next week, but I appreciate all you guys have done for me. I invite the people reading this message to pray for missionary opportunities.

Have a great week!

Elder Jones

Editor's Note: additional Q&A from Elder Jones

1.      So how is the exercise program going?  Are you able to run or jump rope at all?
I exercised today a little bit in the morning, using some weights. It was very minimal, but still something. I can´t jump rope due to fans inside our apartment as well as little space. Maybe one morning we will go to a nearby park, but it is usually really cold in our apartment and also outside in the mornings. We bought an electric heater and a metal stand that gives us more options to hang up wet clothes to dry. The heater can heat up one of the rooms in our apartment quite well if we turn it on, but we can´t use too much electricity since the light bill will eventually come!
2.      How has the luggage held up with all the transfers?  Are they really stuffed the last couple of times?
They have held up pretty well. Transfers can be tough! I have collected some souvenirs!
3.      Do they have scale in the office to weigh your luggage before you go to the airport?
I think they have a spring scale, or at least they did when I was in the offices!
4.      On your flight plans, do you bus to Buenos Aires or do you catch a flight from Rosario to Buenos Aires?
We should take a van to Buenos Aires, and then I think it is all flights from there!
5. Were you able to watch the missionary broadcast last night. Does your small branch have a satellite?
Yes, we watched the Spanish translation last night in the church. Some other Elders came from Colón, a nearby city, since they don´t have a satellite system there. It seems like missionary work keeps growing on a global scale, and the work is incredible. Was it in the Marriott Center?
6. Are you fed lunch every day by members or is it hit and miss since the branch is very small?
We have a handful of lunches each week. When we don´t eat with members, Elder Thorn and I usually cook some simple food in our apartment. I have eaten a lot of rice lately. haha. I really enjoy eating with members sometimes, especially since the quality of food is generally better and we can get to know them during the visit.
7.  Tell us about Elder Thorn?  What does he like to do and how's his Spanish speaking experience?
He really likes to juggle, is from California, and his brother was in my zone at the MTC. Small world sometimes, huh? His high school only had around 400 students in total, and his graduating class had 93 students. A little different than my high school experience, isn´t it? He already knew some Spanish from the MTC and from serving in the states temporarily, and he is improving during his time here. I´m still improving little by little too. There are still many small concepts and part of the language unknown to me.