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Monday, April 29, 2013

Pushing Forward

So we have had some pretty difficult weeks. We spent almost 75 percent of our time looking for new families to teach the message of the gospel this past week. 

We are trying to find the perfect balance between working with members and finding new people on our own. We knock lots of doors and visit many people. However, we are still looking for golden families. Maybe this week will be the one!

I have also really seen a striking difference on my mission between the active families and the less-actives ones. When someone really applies the Gospel doctrine and teachings, they see the results--sometimes almost immediately.

We have mission council this week. In other words, Elder Braher and I have about four reports/documents to send in to the mission offices. I hope everything goes well. That´s why I don´t have that much time :)

We are doing our best and enjoying the work. 

Thanks for the support.

Elder Jones :)

Editor's note: Here are some questions asked to Elder Jones along with his answers.

What’s going on with your suits?  Are they wearable at all?
-"My blue one is still okay. My black one is pretty much destroyed. I´ve had it forever, though" :)

Did you receive any of the birthday packages yet???  
-"I got one package!!!!! Thanks. I will have a lot more details next week. I should get the other package in a couple of days!

Have you figured out Skype yet or just use the phone for  Mother’s Day?  It will be great to see you and visit with you?
-"We will figure out Skype this week. I will let you know next Monday."

Tell us about Elder Brasher.  Where is he from?  What does he like to do?  Does he have any pretty girls writing him?
-"Brasher is great. He loves sports, especially wrestling. He has a girlfriend that is kinda waiting for him. He is just a great guy and one of my best companions. We are working really hard. He's well-rounded."

Monday, April 22, 2013

Lunch Surprise and Hard Work

Hello Houston! We had a tough week, but everything is going well.

We worked hard, knocked on doors, and tried to find new people all week! Little by little, we are increasing our investigator pool. Basically, the entire week was dedicated to finding new investigators, and we have a lot of new families. Hopefully some of them will start progressing! Long story short, we spent many hours either in the street looking for new people or helping members within our area. We should have a pretty solid upcoming week!

Aside from the rigorous work, we had an interesting lunch. I´ve lived in Argentina for nearly 19 months now (crazy, huh) and thought I knew just about everything. I have general knowledge of the food, culture, traditions, missionary work, etc. Well, that is what I thought haha. 

So at lunch after church on Sunday, we went to eat with the Ríos family. They are from Bolivia, about 60 years old, and live in humble circumstances. As a great family in the ward, they always contribute what they can and willingly serve when called upon by the Bishop or other ward members!

She was making a stew, and I was almost positive that it was "Guiso," an Argentine mix of rice, noodles, and meat. Guess what? I was right. Well . . . not completely. haha. I was just about to dig in when I noticed some weird bumps on the meat, all mixed in with the potatoes and other sauces. I asked the memeber about it, and she said it was "a surprise," as a smile creeped up on her face. 

Man, that brought back a lot of memories from the beginning of my mission. After eating a few bites, I asked if it was rabbit, a less-common but still normal food here. She smiled and said, "no." I was just really confused. On my mission, I have eaten cow heart, intestine, kidney, but never this type of meat. I had tried horse two times but knew that wasn´t it, either. 

It was really squishy and juicy, covered with bumps and also kind of slimy. After a few more minutes, I foud out that it was COW TONGUE!! I had eaten half of a cow tongue without even realizing what it was! It is a delicacy and actually not that bad. Don´t worry, I´m not gonna come home and just start making cow tongue stew in my mom´s kitchen. haha. However, it actually wasn´t that bad :).

It was just an random, fun experience for me. You learn something new every day!

I hope you are all doing great. Thanks again for the mail!

Elder Jones

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Help from Members

These past few weeks we´ve really tried to work more with members of the church. Fortunately, if we schedule everything well enough, a member will willingly go with us to visit any family in need. We also have some young men who do splits with us every once in a while, helping us get twice as much done in a small amount of time!

We have about three married couples who really help missionary work move forward here in San Nicolás, as well. They give us a few referalls every once in a while, go out along with us when possible, and even encourage other members to work with us. Whenever one of them comes to the house of an investigator, the lesson always goes smoother, and the investigator can relate more with the city native than with us 20-year-old missionaries.

The members here become somewhat like our adopted family, especially since they cook and care for us! Wherever you are, after reading this message, try to think of how to help the missionaries serving within your current ward! When members offer a helping hand, the work speeds forward and we see rapid progress--both with less-active members and investigators! Active members too!

I am really tired due to the exhaustive workload this last week. I am really grateful to serve here in Argentina, and your friendly support always helps me keep going forward, step by step! Before we know it, I´ll be back home again in August. 

This afternoon I plan to write a few more letters. Thanks for all the prayers and mail. I love to open your cards and read about what´s going on up there!

Have a great week.

Elder Jones!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Baptisms with Brasher

I have really enjoyed these past few weeks as we´ve worked hard, found many new people to teach, and just had some fun. Among the families within our investigator pool, we have found a young couple that are rapidly progressing! I will give you the lowdown in a few quick paragraphs.

Ángel y Daiana. We found them while contacting about a month and a half ago. They have two young kids, and the youngest walked for the first time recently. After marrying and living together for a couple of years, both of them really wanted to find a faith and religion to help them grow together as a family.

Well, guess what? Elder Jones and Elder Brasher have brought them exactly what they needed! We visit them about three times a week to share some scriptures as well as the basic gospel doctrine. Little by little, step by step, they have learned more about the church and its principles. They showed up to Sacrament Meeting three weeks ago and really had a great experience, especially after getting to know so many families similar to theirs. 

Fortunately, they watched part of general conference with us as well, and we have really discussed the importance of modern-day prophets with them during these last couple of days. Last night, we taught the plan of salvation, really showing them the importance of the family! With such great progress, they have already accepted a baptismal date for the 13th of April, but we will probably move it back just a tad to make sure they are ready. You know, just to make sure. :)

The small changes in their family make all the difference. They try to pray together as a family and read a few verses from the scriptures every night before going to bed. While fulfilling these new family activities, these gospel principles have really started to change their lives and draw them closer to one another and to Christ. 

I really enjoyed the lesson last night, especially after they asked us to baptize them.

After thousands of contacts in the streets, the daily rejections, and the hundreds of study hours, it´s all worth it in the end if we can bring but one soul into the kingdom of God. :)

That´s what we do. That´s why we are here!

Stay true to the gospel,

Elder Jones 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Ten Interesting Facts

This week I´ve decided to share some random, interesting facts about both my mission and my current zone, San Nicolás. Hopefully you enjoy them!
  1. Elder Brasher and I travel to another area within our zone once a week, during which we get to know the missionaries better and learn more about the city
  2. Our apartment has two rooms and a huge kitchen, which is an extremely nice setup compared to most apartments. We have tons of space for just us two!
  3. We have 14 missionaries working in our zone. 10 of them work within city limits, whereas the other four work in nearby towns, just a 40-min bus ride away.
  4. We have transfers every six weeks, or I like to call it, "mission chaos." haha. It is fun, though. Next week we will receive the new transfer lists and find out about the changes across our entire mission. Most missionaries should stay in our zone, including me!
  5. We have lunch everyday with a member family in our area. We enjoy the nice break and get to know the members better too.
  6. I ate rabbit again last week. It is a common occurrence now, but at the beginning of my mission it felt weird. I´m just pure Argentine right now :)
  7. Across the mission field, each companionship teaches roughly 15 lessons on a weekly basis. So as a whole mission, we teach around 3,000 lessons weekly. Cool, right? :).
  8. I described "mate (mah-teh)" in a previous entry. We see that on a daily basis; it is extremely common!
  9. Downtown is covered with small, one-way streets, old buildings, and tons of stores. It has a cool, rustic feel to it.
  10. Right now Elder Brasher and I have 11 people with baptismal dates, and many of them have lessons planned with us this coming week!
The work is hard but rewarding. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve for two years. I am down to the last four months and plan to work hard as if I were new into the field :). Day by day, week by week, I keep the constant goal in mind of sharing the gospel. I know your prayers reach me down here and also help the missionary work around the world. Stay strong, and thanks for all you do!
Your friend and missionary,
Elder Jones