Monday, 27 February 2012

27th Feb 2012 in the Philippi & Delt area of Cape Town

Last weeks P-Day

Ice skating with other Elders



I appreciate the large email! I can't promise I will be able to answer everything but I will try my best to do so with the little time I have to reply! First off, that’s fine about the car... I do want you to know that I am safe. I am thinking about you guys and I appreciate everything you do for me! I love you guys so much!
Regarding the letters… you should not put Cape Town at the bottom. "Observatory" is the city, Cape Town is huge and Observatory is a place within Cape Town. Keep the address the way it is and I will get all your mail! I already have gotten one of your snail mail letters mom, and I might be getting another one today or tomorrow, apparently I have lots of mail this week coming but not for sure yet.
Life of a missionary isn't easy... Sometimes I'm out there trying my best and trying to do as much work possible, but things just don't work out how they were planned and then another day is gone with seemingly no work done... This week was rather tough.. It was our worst week yet for appointments and lessons taught... We had waaaay tooo  many appointments fall through! People hear just can't keep commitments no matter what we do! How do we teach if the people are never there for a return appointment? It's rather frustrating... We have not been able to teach Nomvuyo again yet because she is not keeping any appointments that we set with her... so I don’t know what to do with that one... but Elder Beck and I are still trying! Elder Beck is losing some steam because he goes home in 4 weeks, but he's still doing well compared to some other dying missionaries in our mission. It's hard to believe that it has been 2 and a half months already!!! It's crazy! It's also crazy to think that I'm only a month and a bit younger in the field than Elder Palmer! I feel sorry that he had to go through such a long time in the MTC!
I'm sorry my blogs each week are getting shorter and shorter, but I am having less and less time to write it. I'm just a little jealous at how mild the winter is there! I really miss snowboarding a TON!! But I am going to buy a skateboard and take the trucks and wheels off and go sand boarding one of these days! I'm stoked!!!! I'm just preparing to get a lot of fleas from it though... because apparently fleas like sand... last P-Day we went ice skating and there were like 12 elders there skating and only like 4 of us had ever skated before! (The 4 white guys by the way) and it was hilarious watching all these black guys wipe out and trying to skate! Oh man it was awesome! I'll attach a couple pictures! Let me just repeat one more time how amazing it is to be here and how I love this place so much! I wouldn't want to be anywhere else, do anything else! I love this gospel! I love the Scriptures! I love all of you! Yes even you Matt Johnson! I think about all you guys! I don't want to list all the names because I know I mill miss someone, but just know that I am thinking about all you guys! And I got a letter from Roxanne which I loved! Thanks Roxanne! You have one coming back to you! I love you all!
-Elder Jones

Monday, 20 February 2012

20th of Jan 2012 in Philippi & Delt Area in CapeTown.

Here is Elder Jones new letter with more pictures from last weeks letter.


 These are the Greenie Christmas Challenge goodies. My mom wrapped up every green thing here separately and put a scripture on each one.  I had to look up and read the scripture first trying to guess what the gift was. Every scripture had a word in it describing the item. Then out of the 32 small gifts there were 17 with a number in a circle beside the scripture reference. I had to count out to that numbered word in the scripture and write it down. After I found all the 17 words I had to unscramble and figure out a quote from Pres. Joseph Smith. It took quite awhile but here is the quote:
"After all that has been said, the greatest and most important duty is to preach the gospel."

 I got your first snail mail letter mom! Thanks,  I'm fine and doing great! At this point I am in the Cape South Zone in the Philippi & Delt Area (soon to be having Browns Farm officially in our area also) to answer your question, the office doesn’t  mail our incoming snail mail at all. We are literally a 10 min drive from the mission office, so presently the zone leaders pick up our incoming mail, (outside of the emails), every Monday and give it to us on Tuesday... I don't know what will happen with that type of mail once I am further away then Cape Town... Sure you can do whatever you want with my blog, you are in charge of it.

 I know you are concerned about my letters and journal entries. Before I started doing that my journal entries were extremely lame... I didn't have much desire to write in my journal everyday like I am supposed to... but once I started writing my journal entries as letters, I started writing in more detail because someone would actually read it, and I have a much greater desire to write in my journal every day now! I got the idea from my mission president in the MTC because he was telling us that was what he did when he was on mission. I will make sure you all know about everything I have done and that I do...

The baptisms were on 29th of January. We do have more coming but the problem is, even though we have a set date, quite often the dates end up being postponed for various reasons... in fact the 2 baptisms we have set for the 4th of march are being postponed for the 18th, and we are trying to have 2 more baptisms for the 18th so we could possibly have 4 next month... but we are never for sure about any dates 100% till the week before really...

I have a few things I want to send home that I got here in Africa. I have not sent it yet because I do not have everything that I want to send. … Actually, I like your idea of indexing my spiritual experiences on the last page of my journal! I will have to start implementing that! Thanks mom! I love you!

You mentioned you wanted me to write down things for you to send me in a package. Well this is what I got so far...
#1: 16 GB flash drive or two 8 GB flash drives so that I can back up all my photos onto them. It is highly suggested by all elders because of how easy it is for it to be stolen or broken or lost. I ask for them from you guys because they are really really expensive here...
 #2: Church music! I need more variety! and I request you to send me the song "His Hands" because I love that song and I’m craving it! Could I even get a copy of the "Church Tunage" CD that you'd always listen to in the car? I would really like that! Whether you send it on a cd or on a flash drive, both work.
 #3: a nice Canadian Flag pin for my suit jacket!
 #4: a Canada flag patch to sew on something (optional... don't care too much)
 #5: ties... I’m always open for more ties!
 #6: family pictures, I just need something to tape up on the wall so I can look at you guys or show to my companion and so I can look at pics of my family during the week and not just on the computer.

 That’s all I could think of really... but any church talks or church anything is nice!
Oh one more thing… mini eggs would be nice... anyways... that’s what I have! Love you!

This week has gone by so fast!!! Seems like yesterday I was emailing! This week was actually pretty rough compared to our other weeks... on Tuesday we didn't have one appointment go through... it was actually rather depressing and we found ourselves spending the entire day looking for fellowshippers to go with us and ended up cancelling appointments... the sad thing was that we had an entire day of set appointments too... and just to make the day even worse, Elder Beck arranged for an appointment with a recent convert and a members house, but he didn't write it down, and he never told me, so we didn't plan for it because he forgot about it, so the one appointment we had that we could have actually taught a lesson at, we ended up missing! And the people weren't too happy about that... But Elder Beck made sure he did the right thing,  to go and apologize to them.

That was a rough day... All in all we hardly had any lessons with investigators this week but we did have a lot of lessons with recent converts! We are struggling with balancing recent converts with investigators, because our top priority is recent converts, and we have 11 of them that we are trying to teach every week, and we still have to find and teach new investigators and progressing investigators... it’s hard to do...

One investigator we have, her name is Nomvuyo,  we met a few weeks ago. We met her because Elder Beck had a prompting to knock on one more door. It was late, we had just finished a lesson at a member’s house, and at this time we usually go pick up the walking Elders from their area and go home because it’s not good being out past dark. But Elder Beck had the prompting, and I was driving, so we said a prayer and I had the prompting to drive to this certain spot, I had never even been there before. I drove us to the spot and parked the car, then we got out and I had an undeniable prompting to walk to a door that was open. Elder Beck had the same prompting and we both started walking towards the door without even saying anything to each other. We ended up meeting Nomvuyo and scheduling a return appointment with her and gave her a Restoration pamphlet. The next time we came and visited her, she was super curious about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. So we taught her about it and gave her a Book of Mormon. It was awesome!

When we went to our next appointment with her she wasn't there... so we ended up not even seeing her for 2 weeks even though we dropped by many times but she was never home. Eventually we were able to teach her again and she was saying that she was really really busy with work and she hadn't had time to read the Book of Mormon at all, but that she had finished 1 Nephi... WHAT!?!?!? After just one appointment she had read 1 Nephi and said that she hadn't had time to read?!?!? …not to mention she explained everything that she read and her understanding was spot on! THAT’S GREAT!!!

She is a dream investigator! She said she still had to sit down and read the book! That’s sweet!!! Usually investigators are barely done 1 Nephi by the time they are baptized! Well maybe a bit further... but on her second visit I was just so surprised! I was so startled that I actually sucked at teaching and Elder Beck had to carry most of the lesson! So she is one investigator that we need to set a date with next time we see her! She has already committed to baptism by the way, but we haven't given her a date yet. I thought you all might like a cool experience or something! So there it is! I love this work!

My watch tan is getting better every day! Being in a car traveling back and forth all day doesn't help too much but it's coming! We are going ice skating again for P-Day today so it should be interesting... it’s kind of boring but most of the elders have never skated before so it's really fun to watch them WIPEOUT EVERY TWO SECONDS! I'll film some of it! I love you all! The work is amazing! I'm doing amazing! SEND ME LETTERS! 

-Elder Jones

Monday, 13 February 2012

13th Feb 2012 in the Philippi Delt area in Cape Town


South Africa Temple

My companion Elder Beck

I have sent all the pictures to dad because your email won’t take how large they are. In answer to your question, we confirm our newly baptized investigators the following Sunday after they are baptized. We definitely focus on bringing strong members into the church, I love it! Hey mom could you send me that 4 generation pedigree chart through email or snail mail because I was thinking, if I ever serve in a white area, it would be cool to know my Dutch history and maybe share it with the Dutch  people I meet.  No I have not gotten any snail mail from anyone except Tori, Terri, and Riley’s parents. If you ever send me something put “Air Mail” on it and I will get it two weeks earlier.
No mom, I am staying in this area during this transfer. They have a 12 week training program I am in where I stay with the same companion and the same area for at least 12 weeks. I love you!
Anona and Riley got a Escalade!! That’s sweet!! I can’t wait to take a ride in it! I’m getting sick of the Chev Aveo that I am in pretty much all day…. It looks sweet too! Thanks for the pictures Sounds like the Talia’s blessing went well! And for Jennet sweet care! Same car as Tori’s except black actually! You’ll def like it! Sounds like things are going well at home! I appreciate all the support. It would be nice to hear from other family members email or snail mail.
The work is still moving forward. I will tell you guys a few things about out here…
 First off, where I am serving is in a township. That is where there are tons of shacks and huts everywhere. My area probably has 10’s of thousands of people in it and it isn’t that big of an area. If there are any people who own a house ( a small house at that) they use their backyards and build shacks in them and rent out the shacks in their yard. These shacks are the equivalent size of our little red shed in our backyard. Maybe a little bigger than that, but it’s pretty close.
Everyone is black! Elder Beck and I are the only white people within thousands of people once we are in the area. One day like 2 weeks into serving, we were driving from one appointment to the next and it struck me! I said to Elder Beck, “Holy Dina, I just realized something!” Elder Beck said, “What’s that?” and I replied, “I just realized we are the only white people here!” as I looked around the streets at all the black people! Haha! Seeing a white person in the township is rare! Sometimes we are the first white people that kids ever see! We always hear. “Malloongu!” (white man) from the little kids as we walk by them.
Secondly, there are about 3 days of the week that we can’t find people sober. Friday, Saturday, Sunday are party and get drunk days, and Monday is the recovering day. It is really frustration to work on these days because finding sober people is near impossible. People literally park their cars on the streets and party and get drunk.  This is an Experience to see, but we are fine.
Driving here is absolutely psycho (it’s ok mom) but for some reason I just absolutely love driving here. The traffic is crazy and traffic rules almost don’t apply, but for some reason I just feel so much more comfortable driving around! Also traffic circles are absolutely genius! Way better than stops signs! They should have traffic circles everywhere! It makes traffic flow so much smoother! There are traffic circles everywhere here! Life is good!
 I’m sorry today’s email was so short. I would have had more time but I resent all of those pictures to dad’s email. I will send a longer one next week… I love you all! I know you are all jealous that I am in Cape Town, and you should be, but it’s totally awesome! Sometimes days are long with no appointments work out, but sometimes the  work is just absolutely incredible! I only have two years of this? I wish my whole life could be like this! Just studying the scriptures and teaching all day every day! It’s so enlightening and uplifting! I love you all! I hope you can feel some warmth from the heat outside through this email!
-Elder Jones

Monday, 6 February 2012

6th of Feb 2012 Letter in the Philippi Delt area of Cape Town


Well I'm sorry yet again for you guys not getting the email! I ran out of time and didn't have time to send the email to dad, but I definitely sent it to mom's email... I guess she didn't have room... I sent all those pictures along with it! Do you guys get all the pictures I send you? I hope so because I attach a lot of pictures every time! I didn't this time because I forgot my camera and my camera cable...
ANONA AND RILEY GOT A CADILAC?!?!!? SEND ME PICS!!! That’s so sweet! Hey since we are on the topic of cars, there are a ridiculous amount of Audi's and BMW's here! Like they are really really common! Like people living in shacks will have a M3 BMW or like an A6 or A4 Audi! It's sweet! Tons of nice cars here in Cape Town! I learnt that you can send me Audio files, so if you can't send videos you could try just recording something for me and I could listen to you guys! I can't respond but I think it would be cool!
So I think it is now imperative that Riley sends me some of his elk jerky! (Did he make jerky too?)  South Africa doesn't have jerky, I’m pretty sure! That’s awesome how you got so much meat from the elk he shot though! I'm glad you are doing so well with your job mom! And that you are busy sewing! You are the sewing master!
Also about the picture of me with a badge on... I forgot my camera at the boarding this week... I'm really sorry! But I will definitely have a picture for you next week! I will look through my pictures and find one of me with my badge on! Sorry it is taking so long!
Today was awesome! Elder Beck and I went golfing with President Wood!!!!! That was sweet! Just us 3! and yes, I was the one that convinced President to come with us!!! It was awesome! He isn't that great at golf, but just the fact that we were with Pres made it sweet! Plus he got a senior discount and saved us each $30!!! I can't complain!
 This week was actually pretty good for DA's! I actually had 2 DA's yesterday! One for lunch and one for supper! The food here is pretty basic though... and you can't go a meal without rice... or chicken... haha so rice and chicken at every DA with no questions asked! That’s just what people eat here... and they keep saying that they eat real food and food from America is all fake food, but honestly the food back at home tastes better and there is such a bigger variety to choose from than just rice and chicken! (This is hinting that I miss ma mamma's cookin!) But when I cook my own meals I make them taste good!
Life is really good here! We are getting new investigators and just chugging along teaching people! I think the hardest part is balancing Recent Converts with New Investigators, and Less Actives... because really the Ward is supposed to be in charge of teaching all the recent converts... but the ward here pretty much doesn't do anything... heck the home teaching numbers are horrendous! So us missionaries have to go and visit and teach all those who have been baptized within a year, and that takes a lot of our finding and teaching investigators time... not to mention re activating less actives...
 It is really cool being a missionary! People just open up to me all the time, and really listen to what I have to say to them and I really have the ability to help them reach Salvation, or not help them and they potentially dwindle in unbelief... It is a heavy responsibility, because I have such a huge influence on every life I come in contact with! But the reality is that being here is such a huge blessing and even now, since I have been here, I have not only grown significantly myself, but my knowledge has expanded exponentially about the gospel! I have learnt so much and I have seen in so many ways, the things which I have learned helping others!
To be honest, I really don’t even think it has hit me yet that I am on a mission... But I can say one thing; I have never felt so happy for such a long period of time before! I feel as if I am just floating on a cloud of joy! I know it sounds ridiculous, but it's pretty much like the feeling I had at Moroni’s Quest or the feeling I had at Martin's Cove.. except all the time! Morning to night! I'm fairly sure I even feel that while I sleep!!!! Can't promise that one though...
Also I have been working on my watch tan! Once it is ready, I shall reveal the final outcome to you in picture form! So check back at the same time every week to see! Oh man it is so hot out these days! Blistering sun! It actually makes working harder to do... and it makes me so sleepy during lessons! But I’ll get used to it! Oh and the time is flying by the way! 9 more days and it’s been 2 months! How crazy is that?!?! I love you all! Oh and just for mom's sake, green (or greenie) in Xhosa is Luhlaza, fun fact! Also in a week I am no longer the youngest missionary in the mission so that is cool! I always have so much more to say while I think about what to say to you all back at home through the week, but I forget when it comes to typing... not to mention my short amount of time to email... till next time!

Till next time.  Elder Jones.

RESENT LETTER FROM 30th JAN 2012 in the Philippi Delt area of Cape Town



Those are cattle waking across the bridge. 

         Motorbike accident.
         The ambulance was there.

Hi everyone! I finally figured out the green scripture challenge from moms Christmas package. "After all that has been said, the greatest and most important duty is to preach the gospel." Turns out that quote is in Preach My Gospel and it took a month to figure it out! haha good one mom! I love you!
Sounds like weather back home has been pretty crazy! I'm glad dad is safe! I did get pictures! Thanks so much for all the pictures! That’s awesome that you found the camera! What a blessing! That’s crazy how you found it too! I'm glad everything is going great back at home! I love you all so much! And maybe one of the pictures I send you will be what you are looking for. Dad, I serve in a ward. the khyalitshia (i dunno about that spelling...) ward.
Well, I don't want to brag or anything, but this is my first transfer and I have already had 3 baptisms! But really I don’t want to brag, because that’s rather common here, but we had the baptisms yesterday! It was awesome to see the faith of such strong sisters! Elder Beck was chosen by all 3 to baptize them, which i was fine with. It was a cool experience for sure! The work is still pushing forward! We have 2 baptisms set for March 4th and hopefully this week we are going to set another one for March sometime!
Faces have been touched for privacy. We have to have consideration because this blog is open to everyone on the internet.
The weather is sooooo hot here! I have a sweet watch tan now that I’m stoked about! I'm just thankful that my area is a driving area so that I get a shot of Air Conditioning every hour or so! Also another thing I’m not so proud of, is that I started counting, but I stopped counting once I got to 200, but I have over 200 flea/mosquito/bug bites... They are really really really annoying and I’m so itchy everywhere all the time! Sleeping at night is sometimes hard because I’m so itchy that I just can't sleep! We sprayed down our apartment and I spray my shoes every day, but for some reason they just love Canadian meat! It's killer! but I’ll get over it...
I'll quickly share an experience I had this week that was awesome! We were just getting out of our last appointment for the day on Tuesday, and Elder Beck had a prompting to go to one more door. We said a quick prayer, and I started driving (by the way driving on the other side of the road and on the other side of the car, are really weird! And traffic is absolutely psycho here!). I was prompted to drive a few blocks then hang a left and stop. So I did and we got out of the car and Elder Beck and I both felt the prompting to go to this one door. We went and there was a lady at the door and we told her what we do and who we are and a little bit about how the message we have to share are centered on Jesus Christ and how it can bless her life and her family. She looked interested and we set a return appointment with her. Then we went home. It wasn't anything spectacular but it was pretty cool. What was cool wasn't evident until we came back to see her again!
When we came back we got to know her a bit. Her name is Nomvuyo, she has 2 kids and is married, and she has taken bible classes and other things at school and was really curious in what we had to share. When we saw her the first time we left her with the Restoration pamphlet and she read it and was really really curious about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. We taught her the Restoration and gave her a Book of Mormon and she was really excited! She committed to read the Book of Mormon and then she committed to be baptized! I'm so excited! If she get's baptized, it will be Elder Beck's only baptism his entire mission from tracking rather than member referrals. 
That experience just truly showed how the promptings of the spirit, if listened too, can truly direct us to what we need to do. It really strengthened my testimony of the Holy Ghost and was yet more proof to me that it is very real! I love this gospel and I love the Church! I know without a doubt in my mind that it is true and that me being here on a mission is what I need to be doing! I see the blessings come in each and every day! and Heavenly Father truly reaches out his hand and helps his children who are seeking for the truth! I have seen many people change for the better because of these teachings and I have seen lives change and I have only been here for a month! 
It's not always amazing being here on mission. Sometimes days are long and not productive, and sometimes the heat just makes us exhausted and tired, and sometimes I’m nodding off, almost asleep, during appointments! But as I work through these trials and keep pushing forward I see the blessings come in! I can feel the support I have from home and I thank you all so much! I love you all so much! I'm so grateful for all of your examples and I love each and every one of you! Take care and be safe! Enjoy the warm winter! I wish I was snowboarding!  Oh by the way, I met a man yesterday who is from Cape Town here but lived in B.C. for a year and worked at Whistler! He learnt how to snowboard and everything! He's sweet! It was nice to hear from someone who appreciates Canada!
-Elder Jones