ARGENTINA

ARGENTINA

29 December 2010

A SHORT PHONE CALL AND AN AWESOME LETTER!!!

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!  We did, and I think Taylor did too!  We didn't get to talk to him that day, but he called from the airport on Monday before his first flight to Dallas.  We all laughed when the phone rang because I was getting impatient waiting for his call, (I know, you're all saying "Not Dee"), but right before the phone rang I was looking at my phone and saying "RING! RING! RING!" and within a minute, it did!!!  I screamed "Taylor" and all the boys here just said "Mom, you're so weird!"  I don't know what they expected me to do!  The boys and I all got to talk to him.  It was wonderful!!! :):):)

Taylor sounded wayyy excited to be on his way to the mission field!  There were a couple of times during the conversation that he slipped into Spanish when talking to me.  He knows that his Spanish has a long way to go, but he also felt that it wasn't going to get any better at the MTC and that was why he was ready to get to Argentina and speak with native Spanish speakers.  He said it was cold in Utah and I said it was cold here.  He laughed at me!  He was excited to get to Argentina when I told him what the weather for the next week was going to be like in Bahia Blanca!  I asked him about his Christmas and he said it was AMAZING!!  Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles came and spoke.  Taylor said he was there for a total of three meetings with the missionaries.  The phone call wasn't long enough for him to tell me what he spoke about or anything.  Maybe I will get more information in a letter.  I asked about his luggage and if he had enough room for everything.  He said both of his suitcases weighed 50 pounds, but that he had had to give away some stuff.  I know he gave away some of his p-day clothes, but I'm not sure what else.  Maybe I'll be sending him things! :)

The latest letter I've received from Taylor was sent before Christmas but it just arrived in the mail on Monday.  I hadn't opened it yet when we talked to Taylor.  If I had I would have been able to tell Taylor in my own voice and not just in writing how proud I am of him.  I would have been able to tell him what a change I am seeing take place in him.  I would have been able to tell him what a terrific man he is becoming.

Here is a portion of that letter:

On Sunday, Hermano Claybough, (sp?) he is in my branch presidency here, spoke in priesthood and it was amazing.  He spoke on the Fall and stuff.  He said when Adam fell, he fell forward.  I loved the quote.  So I am going to use it in my lessons.  So I can write letters on Christmas Day as well!  You will be getting a letter soon!  So Elder Shane M. Bowen of the Seventy spoke to us tonight.  He spoke of Jesus Christ and how he is our Savior & Redeemer.  His wife spoke about how we need to make decisions before the situation arises, like when the opportunity to be disobedient arises, we should have already made the decision to be obedient and it will be easy to do.  I know this to be true and am putting it into play immediately this way I will be ready for the mission field when I leave very soon.  I am so thankful for the district I am in and know they are going to be great missionaries.  I would be happy to be any one of their companions.  I love Christmas time because it is the time to focus on Christ.  He did so much for me and for everyone.  I know he loves me and he knows me personally.  I am so grateful to grow up in the Gospel.  I love you Mom and wish you the best.  Hang in there til Monday.  Hugs & kisses!!

Con Amor,

Elder Jones, your son :)

21 December 2010

TRAVEL PLANS AND FELIZ NAVIDAD!!!

In my email to Taylor this week, I was very specific and in CAPITAL LETTERS told him I wanted detailed information about his travel plans.  He came through! Yay for my boy!  He is learning, I just need information so I feel like I know what is going on.

A few items of explanation: the coat he is referring to, and referred to last week, is one I have been trying to get him since I took him to the MTC, but has been on backorder and every week the store would tell me "next week" and the goodies he refers to are stuff that my mom and I sent for him and his companion for the 12 Days of Christmas.  He hasn't opened his real Christmas presents yet, or at least shouldn't have!

As Christmas draws near I want to say Merry Christmas to everyone.  This is the first year I haven't sent Christmas cards out.  Consequently, I thought I would attach a family picture.



May we all enjoy family and friends this Christmas!  Sending my love, Dee!


WAHOOO!
guess who got travel plans on friday?! i know when i am leaving and want to leave now. first i will be flying out of salt lake to dallas and that willl leave: 255pm  arrive: 630 pm (in dallas). so be expecting a phone call around 145 or 2 :) then i leave dallas for argentina buenos aires at 735 pm and i will arrive in argentina on tuesday around 900 am. so i am excited to leave. i will be able to eat real food and stuff. so elder page had picked up a package today and it had breakfast burritos made fresh this morning. they were the best food i have eaten in my life.
last wednesday, my district got to be the host missionaries for all the new missionaries in the mtc who were arriving. it was pretty fun. very cold. i wore the huge jacket you sent and i was very warm. muchas gracias! while being a host, i saw grayson koeliker, he was coming in last week and it was pretty sweet. and then yesterday i finally saw trevor brown in the bookstore. so i think i can say i have seen everyone i know in the mtc now. elder simon, with his first newbie, took the elder to the wrong floor of his dormitory and put him in the wrong room. when they went to test the key they found it was wrong. so it was pretty funny.
so the packages you have sent are like death. when i leave, i am going to leave behind a lot of food and candy. the new missionaries will be very happy. but thanks for all the goodies! my roommates are loving the candy. so, elder simon and i started a new investigador progresivo in the TE with hermano galan. he is from ecuador and he talks very fast. our goal is to teach him and practice listening to natives who can speak very fast. right now, i am struggling. but i am getting better! we are going to teach him about the book of mormon and the resoration tomorrow. we have been preparing for him today. hermano milne, my teacher, left last night to go home, so yesterday was our final day with him. he shared with us exp.s about his mission and pictures. hermana smith is still here and not going anywhere. so, in class, we started the "olympics" to test our knowledge of spanish and preach my gospel. i am proud to say that my elder simon and i are dominating. although he is doing most of the work jaja. in the TRC on friday, we only had one investigator for our three companionships. so we ended up teaching all six of us to the investigator. its a bit difficult because there was a lot of repeating and we didnt know how the others worked and stuff like that. but it was a great experience. i am happy to have had the chance to exp it.
feliz navidad. i believe i am going to have a white christmas here. it has snowed non-stop since yesterday. it is nice and annoying at the same time. check out moses 5:10-11. my mission president taught about adam, eve and the fall on sunday and how they knew what they were doing when they partook of the fruit. i know that if they hadnt done that, we would not exist today. love you all!
con amor
elder jones

Moses 5:10-11  And in that day Adam blessed God and was filled, and began to prophesy concerning all the families of the earth, saying: Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God,
11  And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have had known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient.

14 December 2010

WE ONLY HAVE TO TEACH THE BASICS (WITH THE SPIRIT) & I NOW HAVE MY VISA AND AM READY TO LEAVE FOR ARGENTINA

Even though there is a little bit of worry left in me, Taylor seems to be doing well this week!!  His letter was more upbeat, maybe it is because he can see the light, only two weeks until he leaves for Argentina.   I know he is excited to go, even if he is not totally ready!!  As his mom, more than anything I love reading Taylor's letters and seeing his spiritual growth.  I'm grateful for the references to scriptures he has given at the end of his letters.  The last couple seem to have a common theme.

It seems that every letter I wrote to Taylor this week was looonnngggg.  He probably got tired of reading them by the end.  The letters contained thoughts about certain scriptures, thoughts about principles, updates on sports teams and details about things going on here, mostly in his brothers' lives.  It is going to be a hard transition for me when "dearelder" letters won't be delivered to him daily anymore, once he leaves the MTC.  My weekly emails will become like novels if I am going to share with him the same kind of information I currently am.  I hope he gets more than half an hour on the computer for email in Argentina!!

I wasn't too happy to hear from him that Elder Summers, who went into the MTC the same day Taylor did, but is already in Argentina, because he was moved to advanced Spanish, has already been robbed twice.  He has only been in Argentina three weeks, at most!!!  He is in a different mission than Taylor is going to, but I don't know what difference that makes.  As a mom, you think of your kids as your "babies" no matter how old or big they are.  I have tried to explain to the boys that they will always be my babies and they don't get it, yet.  I am struggling a little bit again as my "baby" gets ready to leave the MTC for this foreign land called Argentina!


HOOOOOOLA!
yes i got the box and the coat! muchas gracias. the coat does fit and i would have you know i wore it today while waiting to get a sack breakfast at 630 in the morning. it was very warm and i am grateful. everything is going great. elder simon and i are growing in unity and our lessons are getting better. we are realizing that the investigators are "spiritual children" and we really only have to teach the basics. as well we need to stop repeating what the other said. we taught about 10 lessons last week which was our goal and about 8 of them were amazing. two of them we hadnt prepared enough and it didnt go well but we didnt crash. so all in all, we are teaching with the spirit and its going great! devotional on sunday was the mens choir from byu singing to us and it was pretty amazing. reading the book of mormon in spanish is pretty good. i think i can understand it better than in english at times. but i still dont understand many parts due to my lack of vocabulary skills. we are not allowed to go to the call center, its a new rule they started here. i would love to go though. my favorite part of the week, hmm. probably teaching to our investigator "scott" last night. last night was our fourth visit with him and it was pretty awesome. we almost got him to say yes to baptism but he said he needs to learn more and we almost have him committed. but last night was our final night with him because hermano walton (he plays scott) is leaving to go home this week and we wont be able to teach him anymore. but we are starting another investigator in the TE this week. we are excited to begin teaching again to someone new. teaching is a bit difficult when the investigators dont keep the committments. manuel and elizabeth is hard because they dont say anything and when they do talk its saying they dont know or they dont have an opinion. but we are progressing. the spirit is guiding us and we are learing the does and donts of teaching.
My visa. i had two meetings in the past week. one on friday and one on monday. the first one was to fill out a form with my fingerprints for my visa and the second was to meet the argentine consolate to sign the form in front of the argentine ambassador or whatever. but i believe i now have my visa! so no need to worry and i am ready to leave for argentina. i found out i will be able to see penguins. so elder simon emailed elder summers last week to see how he is doing and we heard from him today. elder summers used to be with us but he was moved to advanced spanish and left a while ago. he apparently has been robbed twice and his glasses have been stolen. we thought that was a bit funny. he hasnt had any baptisms yet but he said he was close. he said he was loving it there as well. he is in neoquen if you were wondering. well, i got nothing else. 2 nefi 32:5. the holy ghost will show us all the things we must do. i love this because the holy ghost is my companion and shows us all we must do, including during lessons with investigators.
CON AMOR
ELDER JONES

2 Nephi 32:5  For behold, again, I say unto you that if you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive  the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do.

13 December 2010

10 REASONS A MISSIONARY CHRISTMAS IS DIFFERENT

I belong to an email group for missionary moms.  It is a place where you can submit questions to the group and get answers from other members who may have already experienced what you are going through or you can share stories or thoughts or feelings.  Sometimes the owner of the email lists gets stories on her personal email that she then has permission to distribute to all of the email groups.  Such was the case today.  I wanted to share this email I received today:

TEN REASONS WHY A MISSIONARY CHRISTMAS IS DIFFERENT
-Written by Sally Tielemans, Henderson, Nevada -Missionary mom to
Elder Tielemans-Japan Sendai (Now an RM)

1. Last Christmas we were counting our money; this Christmas we are
counting our blessings.

2. Last Christmas we were giving thanks for gifts from stores; this
Christmas we are giving thanks for gifts from God.

3. Last Christmas we valued things that were costly; this Christmas
we value things that are holy.

4. Last Christmas we were wrapping gifts; this Christmas we are
wrapped up in the work.

5. Last Christmas we looked into people's eyes when we spoke; this
Christmas we look into their hearts.

6. Last Christmas we prayed to obtain a testimony; this Christmas we
pray to share our testimony with others.

7. Last Christmas we were impatient with the weaknesses of others;
this Christmas we are working on our own.

8. Last Christmas we read the scriptures as a duty; this Christmas
we read them as a joy.

9. Last Christmas we thought it was enough to celebrate the
holidays; this Christmas we are finding ways to consecrate them.

10. Last Christmas, Japan was just a place on a map; this Christmas,
it is a place in our hearts.



Merry Christmas everyone!!

08 December 2010

NO NEED TO WORRY AND 100 WORDS OF ENGLISH THIS WEEK

Wow! The things Taylor is learning are amazing!  His attitude is impressive!  I won't say all my worrying is for nothing, but I do feel much better after his letter this week.  Thank you all for your support throughout the week!!

Hola familia,
 
no need to worry! i had one bad teaching experience that wasnt really bad at all. i only had that one rough spot but that is why we are here. to learn, progress and figure out how to teach. this week when we taught to elizabet, it went better and i think we can turn it around next time we meet. elder simon and i now how three investigators we are teaching to. so far its going well. we startedx teaching to a person in the TE (teacher evalution i believe). i thihnk we started thast off really well. we are dominating teaching together and we can only get better. our unity is building and we are slowly but surely becoming more in tune with tthe spirit. so onve more, mother, you do not need to worry! today we did sealings and it was very cool to participate. missionaries can only be proxies for children. but i got to see the whole thing i think. very interesting. on sunday we had mission conference and that was pretty long. it was two hours and the seat i was in wasnt very comfortable. but i still learned a lot whil in there. not much has happened this week. same old same old. i saw elder nielson the night before he left and said adios to him. i also got a picture with him mother, so yes, i am taking pictures. so i am ready to leave the mtc. its great and all here but i want to get out and start teaching. but i know i need to keep preparing and i know i am not ready. this week my district and i have a goal of only being able to speak 100 words of english. right now i have about fifty left. its very difficult when i forget we are only talking in spanish. one sentence is a killer. but this is good practice for spanish. surprisingly, it has been very warm here. so i have not needed to wear more than two layers at any one time. well, i have nothing else to report, pretty much the ame thing is going on and the routine is boringish but hey, i cant complain. well, i love you all and thanks for the support. take a look at 1 Nefi 4:6. me gusta mucho. Ciao!
 
Con Amor

1 Nephi 4:6  And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do.

01 December 2010

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!! A LITTLE LATE

Well, I guess I need to get in the habit of checking the mail daily!  I don't know when this letter arrived, but I just got it out of the mailbox this afternoon.  I am so used to getting letters from him only on Saturdays (emails on Tuesdays) that I haven't worried about checking everyday.  That's going to change!  I feel a little better about the lack of information he gave in his email about Elder Holland on Thanksgiving Day now.  But, his comment at the end about "having a hard time" confirms my concerns that he is having a hard time.  Keep him in your prayers!

November 25, 2010

Dear Family,

Happy Thanksgiving!!!  Sorry my letter is coming late.  I forgot about Thanksgiving up until Wednesday.  Today is Thursday and we are allowed to write letters so it works out. :) I just got back from eating turkey, mashed potatoes and all the other good treats as well.  It isn't the same as at Grammy's, but food is food!  Elder Jeffrey R. Holland Spoke to us today at the devotional.  It was pretty cool  So now I have been able to been able to hear from three apostles while I have been here: Elders Ballard, Bednar and Holland.  It's been awesome!  Elder Holland brought his whole family and his grandchildren sang to us.  It was funny and cute at the same time.  He also told us he was acting as our family today and it was very spiritual.  I was loving devotional!  He spoke on how we, missionaries, have such an impact on everyone and how grateful he was for the example we set for his grandchildren.  He expressed his love for us and the work we do.  I am so grateful for the gospel and the role it has played in my life.  I am thankful for my family and the example you have been to me in my life.  I know I am doing the Lord's work and that I could be so many other places right now, but I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you.  I know that if I do what is right, I will be blessed even if I am having a hard time.  I want you all to know I love you with all my heart and you are in my prayers!

XOxOXoxXOo
Con Amor,

Elder Jones

ELDER HOLLAND AND "I GOT POSTERIZED"

Taylor has been out five weeks today!  His email arrived yesterday afternoon and for the first time, I am a little worried about him!  His email didn't have the usual "happy, cheerful, everything is great, I love this" tone to it!  Not having served a mission, I sometimes feel inadequate in giving him advice, but I hope he listens to the things I have to say as his mom.

Taylor refers in his letter to a talk given by Elder Holland.  I have included both the video of that talk and a link to the written text.
video
http://classic.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?hideNav=1&locale=0&sourceId=185b230bac7f0210VgnVCM100000176f620a____&vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD

Dearest Family,
Thanks giving week was the same except for the actual thanksgiving day. on thanksgiving, we had a morning fireside and elder holland spoke to us and his talk was very similiar to a talk he gave two years or so ago. it was about how we are not alone or none were with him. im sure if you look it up you can see that talk online :) yeah, its kind of wierd thinking i have been out a month already. i dont know where all the time is going. weeks feel like days and days feel like weeks. that exp. with the question was actually with hermana smith. but last night, my teaching didnt go well at all. it went very horrible and afterwards i felt like i was leading an interrogation. but that is what the mtc is for. i need to find the line of questions and explaining things. i need to work on finding out the needs of the investigators and getting them to open up to me. right now, that is the hardest part for me. o and thanks for telling me how many days i have left, that really helps... jaja
so elder simon is from las vegas, henderson area. yes, he is going to colombia bogota north i believe. he is now my permanent companion and its going well. the branch presidency thought it was better than it was before because the other companionship wasnt working out so well. so elder simon and i are going to kick butt! the other day i got released from being district leader. it was a sad day but i enjoyed serving my district and all. i fel we have beome real close and its awesome. i honestly love them all and they are amazing. from being in branch council meetings, i realized things could be a lot worse and my companion be a real pain in the butt and not want to work at all. we didnt have trc this week because all the volunteers were not going to be here and its was a holiday. so we just taught to other districts on friday. it was good practice.
supposedly, there was supposed to be the storm of the century here in provo last week but we got maybe 2 or 3 inches of snow. i heard that salt lake got blasted though. yesterday and sunday it started snowing and i am freezing cold. i am wearing two or three layers at all times. walking to the temple today, i barely felt my face when i got there. i did initiatories with elder simon today. next week we plan on doing sealings, so it will be awesome! i got a hair cut today which was much needed. o, yesterday, i got posterized. during gym, this elder dunked over me and it was embarrasing but the same time awesome. i wish i had a picture of it. well, i have to get my laundry and go study for my progressive investigator tomorrow. i look forward to hearing from you and love you all! i really do love being here and having the spirit with me at all times. being 100% obedient is more hard than i thought but its amazing how much the extra effort helps. i want you to know that i know that this is the Lord's work. He could do it on his own, but He allows us to help Him. i know that i couldnt do this work alone either and i need all the help i can get. I love you all and wish you the best!
Con Amor,
Elder Jones

i almost forgot. this week i finished the book of mormon and now i am starting to read it in spanish. i cant belive how fast i got through it. spanish is going to be a bit easier though. that was the only other thing i forgot. ciao!

23 November 2010

ELDER EDWARDS AND I ARE THE SOLUTION AND LOTS OF TEARS

Earlier in the week I sent Taylor an email asking him how his teachers can teach him the vos form of Spanish if they didn't got to Argentina on their missions.  He had previously told me that his teachers went to Mexico and Guatemala I believe.  The reason I asked him is I met a lady from Argentina who was telling me that they only use the usted and vos forms in Argentina, never the tu form.  This is different than most Spanish speaking countries.  I had four years of Spanish in high school and a couple more in college (I don't know if Taylor realizes that) and I know a bit about Spanish.  So, that is what he is trying to explain in his letter, but it still isn't clear to me.  Maybe they aren't teaching him the vos form and that is something he will have to pick up in Argentina.  If anybody that reads this knows, please drop me a line.

As far as him getting the ten dearelder letters in one day, I must confess that I did ask two people to write him one day on top of the letters that the boys and I wrote for family night.  So, here is the breakdown, the boys and I were five letters, but Colton forgot to include something in his so he wrote a second letter,  I wrote another letter the following morning (my usual morning letter), I asked my brother and sister to each write one and when my mom heard they were each doing it, she wrote one, for a total of ten!!!

The baked cheddar snack mix that he is asking for at the end of his letter is something that he asked me for in his last text to me before entering the MTC.  I have looked for it everywhere since then.  It must be something he started eating while at BYU Idaho because I didn't know what it was.  Finally, this week I ordered a case (64 bags) of it online to include some in his Christmas package beyond!!  And, the bag of Skittles that I sent wasn't just for him, it was for him to share with his district, but it still may last the whole two years!! :)

Enjoy his letter:


HOLA!
jaja gracias for all of the dear elders! i ended up having ten in total. so i am officially the leader with most letters in one day. and then the following day i got two packages. it was very funny. and then my teacher hermano milne showed me a picture of when he was on his mission and he had seven packages in one day. i was humbled real fast jaja. my week has been amazing. this week has blown by so fast. the days are starting to slur together and the weeks seem like one day. today in the temple i did initiatories. this elder on my floor has a bunch of names that we can do and it feels so nice to be able to help him out. so the branch presidency switched my companionship as well as the companion ship of elder harris and elder simon. elder simon is my new companion. elder edwards is now companions with elder harris. they got switched up because elder harris and simon were butting heads a little and not making any progress. so elder edwards and i are the solution! jaja but its alright. we are getting along real well and i wont know if its permanent or not until after this week and the branch presidency talks it out. elder page, my zone leader in my district, sprained his ankle yesterday in gym playing basketball. his companion, we gave him a blessing, elder edwards annointed and elder leigh blessed while everyone else in the district stood in. it felt really good to be able to help him. i dont think i have had so many tears in my eyes these past four weeks compared to the rest of my life. its just so spiritually uplifting here and i love it!
basically we have been studying spanish and predicad mi evangelio (preach my gospel or PME). right now our district goal is to talk as much spanish as possible. its not hard at all, only the vocab is difficult and a couple conjugations here or there. but all in all, i am really progressing. as missionaires, we are taught to only use the usted form and not the tu form. im not sure what you mean by vos, but tu is informal and usted is formal. so we use usted for everyone to show respect because we dont know them. you can have someone else explain this to you who speaks spanish. we only use tu form for when we pray to heavenly father. its confusing if you dont know spanish so have someone explain it to you :)
this week i went into the travel office and signed a paper to get them working on my visa. so i am not sure how far along is my visa and what not. but yeah, not much else to report. i thank you all for everything and what not. my time is about up.
Con Amor
Elder Jones
P.S. send me a bag of baked cheddar snack mix. i am good on skittles to last me about fifty years! :)


alma 26:12 is my favorite scripture for the week.
last night while teachign to my teacher with elder simon, she was acting as an progresive investigator, it was going somewhat bad and then i had this question pop into my head and didnt know where it came from. so i ended up asking it even though i didnt know why and it ended up making the contact go real well. i love the spirit and all the power the holy spirit has.


Alma 26:12 Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.

16 November 2010

HE LOVES SITTING IN THE CELESTIAL ROOM AND "IT'S FUN HERE AND ALL BUT I WANT TO GET DOWN TO THE MISSION FIELD"

Tay's email came this afternoon.  Like I said last week, I love Tuesday's!!!  I'm not going to write much myself today, but just post his letter and then a few of the pictures that  he sent home.  All of the pictures play in the slideshow in the sidebar but they are small and fast so I thought I would put some of him here for better viewing.  Enjoy!








Oh, one thing, though, the P.S. at the bottom of Taylor's letter, it came in a second email.  I thought that was kind of funny.  It must have been pretty important for him to have sent a second email to get that in there.  Hmmm, where does his competitiveness come from???  I never want to win anything.  :)  I thought about telling everyone to write Taylor on a certain day to see how many letters he would actually get, but then I decided that would be SOOOO wrong.  See, I am working on my competitiveness!  We can beat 4 letters in one day with just me and the boys if I can only get them to sit down and write the letters!!!


HOLA!
first off, i want to say thanks for the package from all the youth. i am going to enjoy the candy. tell bishop and sister loy thanks for the letter as well. i liked hearing from them. sound like thanksgiving dinner was a hit. wish i could have been there :) i would like to have a pair of gloves an beanie sent to me. on the temple walk on sunday i was freezing. it was not pretty. o and i dropped my journal at the temple and the pages tore off the binding of the covers. that was not my favorite part of the day. o i also want a bag of baked cheddar snack mix. a big bag. :) i actually dont need and stamps. today we went to the temple and did an endowment session. i love just sitting in the celestial room afterwards. elder edwards is still my companion.
well this week was by far the fastest i have had. it feels like yesterday i just got here. not much has changed. elder leigh and elder page just got called as zone leaders on sunday. they were not expecting it at all. they also told me that our branch is receiving 31 new missionaries. our sacrament meetings are going to be very cramped starting on sunday. one of the old zone leaders is going to provo south i think and i dont know where the other is going. elder summers left this week to go down to neoquen argentina. it was cool seeing him leave. i want to leave right now, its fun here and all but i want to get donw to the mission field.
i have TRC every week. turns out we are "experts" for an intermediate spanish. i dont believe it. but i feel this TRC went better than the last time. i talked more and my spanish flowed more. my spanish is coming along real well. my prayers are starting to become better and have more detail. this week, we started teaching our teachers as progressive investigartors. so we practiced contacting and teaching with them. contacting is harder than i thought... but i can only get better at it. i really cant imagine how far i will be in six more weeks. i have learned so much. o, one of my buddies who i met up here left for his mission today. he was from mission high school and played volleyball. his name was Elder Taylor, i didnt get to know his first name. but he left for canada spanish speaking. he was in a different district in my branch and we would hang out during gym time dominating in volleyball :) i am also getting better at basketball as well, surprisingly. me and my district love to just start bursting out into song and its sounds terrible. we end up laughing at how bad we sound. i have seen elder nielson many times but not had the opportunity to get a picture together yet. hopefully soon though. i dont really have much else to report at this time. if i think of something, i will write a letter tonight! love you all and thanks for the support!
ELDER JONES

ps. tell everyone that i love to get dear elders and packages. my district and i love to compare how much mail we get each day. so far the record is four in one day. tell everyone to dear elder me in the same day. i want to be the winner :) thanks!
con amor
elder jones

14 November 2010

A LETTER TO HIS BROTHERS AND AN APOSTOLIC BLESSING!!!

As you all know, I was pretty darn excited the first week when I got communications on back-to-back days from Taylor, one via snail mail and one via email.  So when I only got an email last week and no snail mail I was pretty let down.  And then again this week, there wasn't anything via snail mail.  Then late Saturday afternoon I went out to get the mail and there was an envelope for "The Jones Boys."  Even though it wasn't for me I was ecstatic!!  When I felt the envelope I could tell that there was something in it, I wasn't sure but my hunch was that it was the memory card from his camera.  That meant that I was going to see my missionary for the first time with his missionary name tag!!!!  The only problem was that the boys were gone for the weekend.  I texted them to let them all know I received the letter and since none of them responded I just figured I would take it to them at church on Sunday since I knew I would see them there.  Dallin and Riley actually came home before church because they hadn't taken their church clothes with them and so they opened the letter and I was right, it was the memory card!  I realized I didn't have a card reader so I would need Dallin or Riley's camera to put the card in and I immediately started bugging them for one of their cameras.  Dallin said "You are such a mom!"  I took that as a compliment!  Anyway, I got the pictures put on the computer before church and got to see my missionary.  He looks so happy!!  Now all I have to do is figure out the best way to share the pictures with you.  I will try to have that done by the time I send out the email on Tuesday after I get his weekly email on his pday.

After the boys read the letter they shared it with me.  It was short and sweet.  It warmed my heart though, because the things that he said to them let me know that he actually has been reading the letters that I send to him.  He just wrote a sentence or two to each brother, but each sentence was directly related to something that I had told him about each of the boys and what was going on with them.

Taylor added a postscript to his letter to the boys that I want to share.  I cried when I read it.  We had a big family dinner tonight at my mom's house.  One of my cousin's read the letter to my aunt out loud.  I was standing across the kitchen with my back to them, but just listening to it, my heart was full again.  Telling another cousin about it later in the evening caused me to tear up once more.  Taylor is growing so much spiritually it is amazing!!  There is nothing in this world that could please me as a parent more!  Another huge payday!!!

Here it is:

P.P.S. Elder David A. Bednar spoke to us at devotional today.  He gave the whole MTC an Apostolic Blessing.  It was amazing.  He blessed us that we can "study diligently.  The doctrine will distill upon our souls and we will be able to teach and bring understanding and direction to investigators.  This will be magnified and able to assist others.  According to our faith, blessings will be spread throughout all our generations."  He spoke unto us about how we should teach doctrine and not application.  It was an amazing devotional and I didn't want it to end.

Con amor,

Elder Jones

09 November 2010

TRC IN SPANISH, ELDER BALLARD WAS AMAZING & COMPANIONS ARE WAY CHILL

I'm grateful for Taylor's letter this week, it contained answers to a lot of questions that I had asked him!  The only problem with that was it didn't leave him any time to share anything besides the answers to my questions. :(  With time we will get the bugs worked out in the system!

I thought I would share something that I shared with Taylor in a letter I wrote him this week.  I shared with Taylor the testimony shared on Sunday by Erika Geis, our Relief Society president, in fast and testimony meeting.  She spoke of her experience with her oldest son wanting to say a prayer to help find a stuffed animal at bedtime and then the next day her next son following his brother's example when he needed to find his blanket, I believe at nap time.  Upon hearing Erika's testimony, I remembered a time when Taylor was either in 2nd or 3rd grade and he had a a CTR ring (not one of the cheap adjustable ones either) that he wore everyday to school.  He lost it one day at school.  He was pretty upset.  He prayed that he would find his ring.  He did that for three nights.  I was certain the ring was long gone.  But the next day he came home from school and had found the ring at recess in the middle of the grassy field!  I was amazed!  He knew it was an answer to his prayers.  What an amazing experience for a young boy!  How grateful I am for a Heavenly Father that hears and answers our prayers!!!  I, like Erika, am grateful for the example, too, that older brothers set for those that follow and am grateful for the younger brothers that follow the example of the older brother!!!


Hola!
Lets start with the questions.Elder Angell was my frist companion but he got moved up to advanced spanish class. i am in intermediate. elder summers is one of the elders in my district who just got moved up to the advanced class this week. elder edwards is my new companion who i got on the second day here. Elder Harris is companions with Elder Simon. And Elder Summers was companions with Elder Page before he moved. We got a new elder, Elder Leigh. There is only one district leader. there are two zone leaders though but they are leaving so and my district is wondering if we could get picked to be the next set. Almost everyone is my district if going to argentina except two. Elder Edwards is gooing to tulsa OK and Elder Simon is going to columbia bogota. Elder Page is going to Neoqen or something, Elders Harris and Leigh are going to Resitencia i believe. my spanish is progressing really well. we had our first TRC this week (teacher resource center). its where we teach to members acting as investigators. and to boot it was in spanish. so that should give you a good idea of how my spanish is coming :) we are told no other class has taught their first lesson in the trc in spanish other than the advanced class who are native speakers. we have devotionals on sundays and tuesdays. sundays are usually mtc staff. tuesdays are usually general authorities or someone else. last week we had Elder Ballard. he was amazing. we dont know who is speaking until they walk into the auditorium. p day ends about six for use because we have it on tuesdays. but thats ok. we go to the temple every p day and its awesome. danny north got in last week and he is now on my floor of my residence hall. we got to go to the temple together today. it was pretty awesome. i have taken a lot of pics. i may send the card home today but who knows. i did get your package. thank you :) i forgot to bring my toe nail clippers and some gel for my hair. i would like to have a vanilla coke or two in a bottle sent to me as well :) i sure do miss those. the food is pretty good in my opinion. i love all my companions. they all are way chill. the branch president, president craig, told me during branch council i have an amazing branch and that he reallly does like us. my teachers are hermano milne and hermano smith. hermano milne served in mexico guadalahara and hermana smith served in peru. we are trying to talk only spanish all the time and it gets pretty funny. come to think of it, this is the most english i have talked all week. it is kinda wierd. o and on mya way over to send this email, it started to snow. i am now ready for snow. my companion, elder edwards loves the snow. not much else i can think of really. ummm, i love and miss you all and maybe i may be zone leader in two weeks. who knows?! o and the two elders who got moved to advanced spanish, they are leaving in a week i think. the advanced class only has 3 weeks in the mtc. i sure will miss em. my time is down to 1 minute. i love you all and look forward to your emails!
sinceramente,
Elder Jones

02 November 2010

ATTEMPTING LAUNDRY, ANOTHER COMPANION AND THE SPIRIT SO STRONG HE WAS ALMOST IN TEARS

I don't know if this will ever happen again, but I am thrilled to hear from him on back-to-back days!!!  And now I know when his p-day is.  Yesterday's letter came snail mail and today I got an email.  I am going to just copy and paste it, so if you notice a difference in style that would explain it!  I have to say that Taylor did a pretty good job of answering questions.  He got to a lot of them.  I know it is going to be tough for him writing to so many people.

I have told Taylor numerous times (I think I have sent him four letters and two emails) how proud I am of him and the example he is setting for his younger brothers.  All of those were before receiving anything from him, but right now I don't think there is a mom in the world that is/could be more proud of her son!!!



hello madre!
currently in the laundry room attempting to do my laundry. this past week has been hectic to say the least. glad to hear the boys are doing well. well, since my letter, i have become district leader, my companion elder harris was moved to advanced english. i now am companions with elder edwards. he is from orem utah and we are getting along real well. my district has seven elders including me. we all like each other and have no problems. i am told i have a pretty awesome district and we will be great. my branch president it president craig. he is a great guy. sunday was my favorite day so far. i had so many spiritual experiences. at the fireside, president swenson of missionary services spoke and he was phenomenal. i was almost in tears because of the spirit i felt. my spanish is coming along real well and i am really improving. i learned how to pray in spanish and right now my favorite hymn is mas cerca Dios de ti. its amazing. we also got to go on a temple walk on sunday. it was nice to be able to go to the temple and just sit on the grounds and take pictures with my companions. i may print off some pictures and send them home if i have time. the food i kind of like. but i had a bad experience in the bathroom last week. but its past!
onto the questions. my teachers are hermano milne and hermana smith. i like hermana smith because i can understand her more easily. we are supposed to speak spanish all the time during class and its pretty hard but i am improving quickly. i am supposed to teach lesson one this week in spanish with my companion. we are preparing and it will be sketchy but great. my verb tenses are iffy but getting better as well. almost all the elders in my district are going to argentina. but none of them to my mission unfortunately. i have seen elder nielson a couple of times, andrea twice, elder grossen twice and my roommate steve brown from college twice. my p-day is on tuesdays and i love to get dear elder letters as well as real letters. por favor dont send me a lot of emails because i only get 30  mins to email everyone back. writing letters is easier to do. i am not allowed to meet anyone when i go to the temple which is on tuesdays. so if travis does have my stuff, he should just send it. i will be writing more letters because i have almost no time left and when time is up it automatically shuts the email down. well i love you all and i will tell you more next week!
Elder Jones

01 November 2010

THE FOOD IS GOOD SO FAR & PRAYERS IN SPANISH

It's been five days since Taylor went in, an emotional five days.  But, I'm glad that Taylor's first four days in the MTC are over.  You see, when I got back to my brother's apartment after dropping Taylor off at the MTC, Travis told me that if Taylor makes it through the first four days, he'll be good.  He wasn't saying that because he doubted Taylor would make it, he was just saying that those were the hardest days because you were missing people, you had to be in a suit 100% of the time, and it was meeting after meeting after meeting while you learned the ropes.  Travis said that once Taylor got past Sunday everything would be great!  Well, now it is Monday and I got a letter today and a little bit of peace!! :)  Have a great week everyone!

October 28, 2010

Dearest Mother,

Thank you for the letter.  I was the first to get a letter!  Well, the MTC is pretty sweet!  The food is good so far.  My companion is Elder Angell and he is from Georgia.  We get along real well.  I feel as though he will push me hard because he took 4 years of Spanish and remembers all of it.  I on the other hand remember very little and am having trouble keeping up.  But I have learned new words and we are starting to say prayers in Spanish.  I'm struggling with that part.  I saw Elder Neilson today.  He was surprised to see me.  Well I can only write this for so long.  Oh, and email, I am only allowed 30 minutes a day so tell everyone to only send me letters.  The computer will shut the email down in exactly 30 minutes. Te amo!

Elder Jones

29 October 2010

TAYLOR IS A MISSIONARY!!

Taylor was set apart as a missionary last Monday night by President Briggs.  Russ and his parents, the boys and I, and my parents were all able to be present when President Briggs did the setting apart and gave Taylor his blessing.  It was a special occasion!  What an example Taylor is setting for his four younger brothers!

Tuesday morning Taylor and I left for Provo.  I enjoyed the ride very much.  There were quiet times where I could just reflect on things (Taylor was enjoying his last naps) and there were some great conversations about different things past, present and future!  I wouldn't have missed the time with him for anything!  When we got to Provo we got him a new CTR ring and then visited with some long-time family friends before heading to my brother's apartment.  Taylor went to play basketball with my brother for a little bit and then back home for "lights out."

Early on Wednesday morning we got up and my sister-in-law said her good-bye to Taylor before heading off to work.  My brother, Taylor and I got ready and went our separate ways (my brother to class and Taylor and I to run errands) with plans to meet back at his apartment to take Taylor to the MTC.  I gave Taylor his choice as to what he wanted for breakfast and he chose Chick-fil-a (the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, I guess), so we headed to the mall and had Chick-fil-a for the second straight day.  We bought me a sticker for my car that says "I <3 My Missionary" and then we headed to the distribution center for some thermals.  Then it was back to the mall because we forgot to have him try on a raincoat that I wanted to make sure of on size for when it was time to send to him, and by then it was time to head back to Travis's apartment.  We had about 20 minutes at Travis's before we had to leave for the MTC.  Travis used that time to talk to Taylor and give him some advice and pointers and insight to the MTC, as Travis has only been home from his mission about 14 months.  I suggested we have prayer and Taylor asked Travis to say it.  I think that was because I am known for giving long prayers, but it backfired because Travis gave an eloquent, lengthy prayer that I appreciated very much!!  Then it was time to go.




The whole process only takes about two minutes at the curb to drop the missionaries off.  Some have wondered whether it is worth it to make such a long trip for that two minutes?  The answer is a resounding YES!  Both for the missionary (even if he doesn't know it at the time) and for the mom!  I am now anxiously awaiting the first letter from Elder Jones.  As soon as I receive it I will post it for all to read.  But as my last post said, and as he reminded me several times on our way up, "I am not a writer, Mom!"  I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that he answers the questions I've asked in my letters to him!

25 October 2010

"I'M NOT A WRITER"

So last week Taylor says to me, "Mom, you know, I'm not a writer."  I just had to shake my head, because when I asked him if he wanted me to do a blog for him, I specifically told him, it would mean he would have to give me some decent letters to post and he said he would. My intent, all along, has been to have the blog be a combination of my thoughts and his so that at the end of his mission I can have a book made for him as a special remembrance.  I'm hoping Tay will pull through and surprise us!!

17 October 2010

OPEN HOUSE AND FAREWELL

There will be an Open House for Taylor on Saturday, October 23, 2010 from 7:00-9:00 pm at the Perry home, 7 Freesia, Las Flores.  We would like to thank the Perry's for opening their home and hosting this, and also thank Rose Putnam for helping to plan the food.  Taylor speaks the next day in church and then we leave for Provo!! My, the last two months have sure gone by fast!!  Taylor is going to be a FANTASTIC MISSIONARY!!!!

03 October 2010

TAYLOR'S DAY AT THE TEMPLE






Taylor went through the temple last Saturday, September 25.  His dad was his escort.  I also went through the temple with him that day, as did my parents (Grammy and Popo), my brother Matt and his wife Rachel, Bishop Loy, Jenny Chamberlin (who was my visiting teacher for years and has been a great family friend for many years) and Enia Castillo (the mother of Andrea Riggs, one of Taylor's best friends).  It was a beautiful day!

EXCITING TIMES!!

video
It took awhile but here is the video of Taylor opening his papers back in August! What an exciting time for the whole family!

24 September 2010

I AM NEEDED OUT THERE!!

This post is based on a conversation Taylor and I had the first time a couple weeks ago.  A couple weeks ago on Thursday we were in the car and he told me how the lesson that Brother Greiner had given the night before at mission prep was "really awesome."  I asked him what it was about and he said that it wasn't so much what the lesson was about that made it awesome in this case, but that it had been the Spirit that made it great.  I got choked up at that point for a couple of reasons.  It was one of those "paydays" that a good friend of mine told me about years ago that would eventually come.  The other reason was the pure timing of it.  Just that morning I had received an email that there was a new "Mormon Message" available on youtube entitled "Voice of the Spirit."  Taylor and I were able to talk about how it doesn't matter if someone is the greatest teacher on the the planet, it is the Spirit that converts.  Taylor recognizes this and I know that he is going to be an AMAZING AND EFFECTIVE missionary!!

In that same conversation, it came up that I thought we were extremely lucky that Taylor got his call in mid-August and is leaving before the end of October.  He and I both know or have heard of many other people that received their calls before Taylor and aren't leaving until after he does or received their calls at the same time and don't leave until February.  In another "payday" moment, thinking like a missionary, Taylor told me "I AM NEEDED OUT THERE!"  Last week, recounting that conversation to my mom, Taylor brought us both to tears.  Go get 'em, bud!

30 August 2010

THE BLOG IS READY!

Well, thanks to help from a friend, I got the last gadget, widget, whatever you want-to-call-it-thing that I wanted to have on the blog put on here a little bit ago!!  Now I can send out the link to everyone.  There is still one thing that isn't complete, but I am waiting on Taylor to give me the information for that.  He needs to tell me what his favorite scripture is, the one he is going to have put on his missionary plaque that will hang on the wall at church for THE NEXT TWO YEARS!!

I don't think I mentioned anywhere in the long post "OPENING THE CALL!!!" how ambivalent my feelings really are.  I am sooooo excited for Taylor and know that he is doing the right thing, but at the same time, the mom in me is kicking in knowing just how long two years is and how far away Argentina is!!  Knowing that our family is not the first to do this, and that we have lots of people to call on for support, in addition to our Heavenly Father, will make the next two years a great deal easier though!

25 August 2010

TAYLOR'S "FAREWELL"

Taylor will be speaking on October 24.  Our ward meets at 1:00 pm at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the corner of Oso Parkway and Antonio Parkway in Las Flores.  We welcome all of you to attend in support of Taylor.

20 August 2010

OPENING THE CALL!!!


Hi everyone! I know this is a little late (Taylor opened his call last Saturday), but better late than never, right?  And, actually, I'm posting this before I even give any of you the link to the blog so it really isn't even late!! :)  Here are all of my reasons (translated excuses) for not posting sooner and for not giving out the link any sooner:  I'm a new blogger and I don't know what I'm doing, I'm a perfectionist so it has to be exactly how I want it before I'll give out the link, but, most of all, I'VE BEEN WALKING ON AIR AND AM JUST RETURNING TO EARTH!!!!

Let me explain a little about the post before this one about the "Two Brothers Apart."  I was trying to figure out how to put a link to the "Mormon Messages" on the blog and was very proud of myself when I thought I had figured it out all by myself.  I sort of did.  It put the message on the blog, it just put it as a post.  What I wanted it to do though was put it as a link off to the side.  I will continue trying to figure that one out.  But, since I like the message so much of the brothers' story I thought I would leave it up as a post.  I hope that my boys all will watch it and will grow to be as close as these brothers!

Sorry for the long introduction and side note.  On to the important stuff!  As my first post said Taylor had turned his papers in back at the end of July.  On Sunday, August 8, I asked Bishop Loy if he coud check the computer to see what the status of Taylor's papers was.  He told me he could, but he would have to do it later and he would get back to me.  He called me later that night and gave me what I thought was AWESOME news!  He said that the "papers were in the mail." According to the computer they had been mailed from Salt Lake the Friday before, August 6, therefore he said we could expect to receive them the next day, Monday.  He and I both thought this was a little odd, because every call that has come to anyone here in our area recently (for years) has arrived on a Thursday or a Friday, but the computer said so.  I called Taylor and told him, and he said someone had told him that the computer was wrong and not to expect it.  I was sure the computer was right.  Well, no call on Monday, no call on Tuesday, no call on Wednesday. Thursday comes and still NO CALL!  I was DYING!!!  What was going on???  I am not the most patient of people when it comes to surprises. Taylor on the other hand was very calm.  He seemed to handle this with his traditional "No big deal" attitude. The mail had been arriving between 11 and 11:30 each day of the week and I had been texting Taylor to find out if it had come each day.  So, Friday rolls around and at about 10:30 I text him something to the effect of "You know the drill. Let me know as soon as the mail comes."  At 11:45 I still hadn't heard anything so I texted him again and he said it still hadn't come!  Of all days for the mail to be late!!  The mail didn't get there until 1:00!!!  Well, at least we knew that it was finally here. Russ was on his way back from Northern California but it wasn't clear what time he was going to be back and we obviously wanted to wait until he was there to open the call, even though that meant more waiting.  What I didn't anticipate was what Taylor told me next.  He wanted to wait until SATURDAY night at dinner to open it!!  That meant more than 24 MORE HOURS of waiting to find out where he was going to spend the next two years of his life serving the Lord.  Taylor was steady and strong and I don't think blinked an eye about having to wait that long. The other boys will vouch that I on the other hand was a complete basket case!!

I just want to close by saying that I am so proud of the decision that Taylor has made to serve a mission.  I am proud of the example he is setting for four younger brothers.  He will be a great missionary.  It will be tough.  It will be a learning and growing experience.  He will be humble.  He will be valiant.  He will serve righteously.  I am proud of the man he is and I am proud of the man he is going to become!!


18 August 2010

01 August 2010

WAITING FOR THE CALL

Taylor's papers are in... It's just a matter of time now.