Monday, 24 June 2013

24th June 2013, Zone Leader, Queentown South Africa



I'm super grateful to Heavenly Father for answering my prayers and keeping my entire family safe! Well, for me, the weather is calmer. It's actually fairly nice here. It's not too hot and not cold either. Just sitting at a comfortable temperature. The sun is out and the sky is clear. There's no wind, rain or floods! In fact, if there is one thing I have noticed that distinguishes South Africa from home is how mild the weather here is. Events like you just had never happen here where I am! Every now and again Cape Town might get heavy rains which cause flooding, but nothing even close to that extent, and maybe once a year. Every other day in the year is mild weather. So it is just really fascinating how it is like that.

Elder Mukongoro has told me about his home in Kenya. He says all year round it is the same! There are no seasons there! In the mornings it is clear and still and cool. Afternoons are hot and sunny! Evenings are also hot and humid and as it starts to get dark they'll get some rain to end off the evening... Every day, day after day, forever! Super mild weather! I don't know why, but it just fascinates me to see the weather differences here and at home. I ponder about it and compare it to the words of the scriptures constantly and I see how all of God's words are being fulfilled! I love the Gospel!

Anywho, well this week was really nice! We had a few successful days in the area, and then on Thursday my whole zone travelled the 3 hours to East London for the Zone Conference. Elder Bricknell (from the Area 70's) did the training and it was super powerful and inspiring and informative! It was all about obedience and how imperative obedience is in both salvation and in serving the Lord as Missionaries. We also had a powerful training about "Taking upon us the name of Jesus Christ" by President and Sister Wood. I learned a ton! I have gained a whole new perspective and understanding on my baptismal covenant and on the importance and power of the name of Jesus Christ.

That conference also gave me a renewed desire to serve the Lord and it gave me a boost in my missionary labors! I honestly love being a missionary! I am learning so much and I couldn't imagine using my time in any better way! Anything else seems to be a waste of time! For me to even fathom the thought of going home makes me sick because I feel like I am going to be wasting so much time when I could be consecrating all of my time and energies to serving the Lord and bringing others into the Kingdom of God!

Our area is doing incredible! We have a ton of people that we are teaching. The problem we have right now is that a lot of our investigators that were in this area for school have left for the holidays. They are all going to their homes in other places to be with their families till school starts again, so for about a month a lot of our teaching pool is going to be gone, but that is ok! That just means we will have to find more people to teach! We have this one family that we are teaching and they are awesome! We are teaching the whole family together. It's the Qolo (the "Q" is a click... I wish I could see everybody who reads this try to say the name) Family. They are planning on coming to church next Sunday! Also they are going to read and pray about the Book of Mormon! They are awesome! I love them so much! I love seeing people come to realize the truth and I love seeing the changes and blessings come into their lives that bring them so much joy and happiness! We also have others that we are teaching, but to mention them all will take too long...

This week is transfer week, so my companion, Elder Mukongoro, is going home this Thursday, and I'll be getting a new companion on Wednesday. I don't know who my companion is yet, but I'll find out tonight! I'm going to miss Elder Mukongoro... We worked the best together! I've really enjoyed my time with him, and we have been working really hard in our area! But he's really old and needs to go home and get married! He's 28!
Last Monday, my companion and I went to the Animal reserve again and we saw some pretty cool things, so I'll attach some pictures. Thanks for all the support that I get from everyone! I hope everybody is alright from that crazy weather over there! I love you all too much!

-Elder Jones

Saturday, 22 June 2013

17th June 2013, Zone Leader, Queenstown South Africa

                                  SORRY EVERYONE IT WAS A CRAZY WEEK


Happy Fathers Day! For lack of time I will combine my fathers day message with my happy b-day message that I re-sent separate. I hope you had a nice one! It sounded like you did! I'm glad you all had a busy and eventful week! Monday we didn't really do anything, just made some chapati's (its like a thicker version of a tortilla) with Elder Mukongoro, and I enjoyed my letters and packages! Thank you so much Aunt Terri!

This week was nice! We once again exceeded our goals for lessons this week. Also I was on exchanges with Elder Hixon in Sada on Tuesday. It was nice to see their area! On Thursday we tries to fit in a lesson, but in the area we got a flat tire, so we went and got it fixed for our trip to.... Drum roll!!!! MTHATHA!!! Woo! So Thursday we took the 3 hour drive down to Mthatha, had all you can eat pizza, then slept at the Elder's house there. I was able to see some old faces again which was nice! On Friday it was exchanges and I got to go into my old area and see our investigators who were baptized the week after I left Mthatha. They are doing awesome! They are still super strong and are trying to read the whole Book of Mormon in one year by reading 3 pages a day. We had a Family Home evening there. It was awesome! I also got to see the another family so we taught some nice lessons that day as well, and one was with a family I was teaching before. I loved it! We came back on Saturday.
Sunday was also awesome! We have some awesome investigators! The biggest problem for us is getting people to church on Sunday... our area is quite far from the chapel, but we have a ton of investigators. Last night we taught a family that we found the other week, and after we finished the lesson they wanted to know when church was so that they could come and visit! That was awesome! If the whole family came, that would be incredible! But... most of the time people don't have cars, and they can't afford to take the whole family to church by taxi. It's R20 per person, and that adds up quick! But the work is pressing forward! I am seeing the tender mercies of the Lord every day! This is His work, and I just need to be the tool in His hands.
Well, I'll explain the pictures quick. So Saturday night, I cut my hair then I took a shower to get rid of all the hairs on me. When I was in the shower, I turned around, and right by my face was this GIANT spider!!! Luckily it was on the other side of the glass. My first thought (because it was so ridiculously huge) was that it was fake and that Elder Mukongoro was pranking me. But that thought quickly left me as a realized that I'M IN AFRICA!!! So I quickly finished my shower, escaped through the second shower door, and took a few pictures. My companion (from Kenya) wasn't even phased... I was freaking out about how huge this was and he says to me, "It's harmless..." So I went and found a nice clear container with a lid, and trapped it inside (accidentally chopping off two of it's legs in the process).

 I took it with me to the other Elder's boarding while we took reports, and they were all freaking out! Then Elder Mukongoro opens the container and puts his hand in and starts playing with the spider! Once he opened it everybody ran away and were scared. Then he took it by it's back leg and held it up as if to eat it. I quickly grabbed my camera and took a pic! After, I thought of how awesome that picture was, so I opened up the container, grabbed it's back leg and also did the same! So that's the pictures. By the way, the spider was still alive in those pictures. It was probably very poisonous (this is Africa), but later we let it out in a clearing by the railroad. That was scary but awesome!!! I know mom, I shouldn't do that, and you are right.
I hope I don't see any more big spiders in my house. But that isn't the biggest spider I've see here, but that was just the biggest inside my house that I've seen. I guess is was looking for a warm place because it's getting very cold here. It's getting into the negatives at night and we are waking up to frost almost every morning now. I just need snow!!!! Anywho... So that's my update for the week! I love you all and that you all for the support and love that I'm constantly getting!
-Elder Jones

Monday, 10 June 2013

10th June 2013, Zone Leader, Queenstown, South Africa

Hello Mom and Dad!!

Looking at those pictures I just noticed that we have a different couch in our basement! It will be nice for Oma to see her sisters again! The happiness she will feel seeing her family again after such a long time will be a fraction of joy that we will experience when we get to meet with our families again here after for time and all eternity! That's a nice thought :) Thanks for the update!

Picture of frost on front lawn!
Mom, you are very good at predicting my week! Always busy, packed with appointments and meetings, your right! I'm sorry dad, we ended up not going to the game reserve last week. When we got there they told us that we have to pre book in order to go through the park... so instead I cut everybody's hair... well 4 other elders hair. I have some hair clippers that I cut my own hair with, and some elders in my zone needed haircuts, so I cut their hair! Ya! Didn't even know I could do it, but I did! I'm surprised they trusted me!
This week has been packed with eventful stuff! I was on exchanges this week with the Queenstown Elders, then on Thursday the Assistants to Mission President were coming down to go on exchanges with us for Friday but Thursday night at 7:30pm I received a text saying that an Elder in our zone in the biking area was hit by a car and was in the ambulance on his way to the hospital. So we cut our lesson with a less active family short, and rushed to the hospital! When we got there, the rest of the zone missionaries were there (except the Mthatha elders of course because they are 3 hours away) and the Assistants to the Mission President had just arrived. The Bishop was also there with his son.
 FIRST I WILL SAY!!!! The Elder missionary is ok!!!!!
 He was hit by a car that went through an intersection without seeing the Elders biking across. The Elder was knocked off his bike and his face hit the concrete. He had a nice gash in his forehead and his nose was bleeding. An ambulance just so happened to be passing by right after this happened and picked him up and brought him to the hospital. He was treated and released 2 hours later after some xrays showing no broken bones. His back is sore and his face still healing, but he's alright.
 Lesson we can learn from this? WEAR YOUR HELMET!!!!!!!
Friday was Zone Meeting, and it went fairly well. It was about Obedience, which I love! I think my zone got the message and are going to be more obedient and diligent in their areas, and work.
Very eventful week! It has also been a very powerful week work wise! We exceeded most of our goals for the week and had a ton of lessons! We also found 6 new investigators! We are teaching a whole family and another YSA (Young Single Adult) age brother. The work is pressing forward very nicely! We'll hopefully be having a baptism on the 30th of this month! I love mission too much! It's hectic, and busy, and stressful sometimes, but I'm learning so much and growing so much and helping others so much!

Thursday, Friday and Saturday were really warm days, and then Sunday and today it has been so cold! This morning I woke up to a nice surprise on the front lawn! Look at the pictures! My companion had never seen frost before. He's from Kenya! This is the coldest I have felt so far here in Africa. You might be thinking I'm crazy being so excited about frost, but that isn't very common here! I hope snow will be coming very soon!
 If you look carefully at the picture with the mountain in the background, you can see a black part to the right where the fire was on the side of the mountain that I shared with you last week. Sorry that my pictures are all lame today. Next week I'll have better ones!
 I love you all TOO MUCH!!!

-Elder Jones


Monday, 3 June 2013

3rd June 2013, Zone Leader, Queenstown South Africa

Mom and dad,

Sounds like things are going well. My mind is very scatter brained right now.  Thanks for all of the love and support!
Well for me life is going very well. I'm still busy which is really good! If I were to have any free time, I would fill it instantly with something productive to do! It is causing the time to fly by though... But I have come to realize that this far on mission, whether I am doing nothing or really busy doing stuff, the time still flies by at the same pace! SUPER FAST!!!! But I am loving it! And If the time is oging to fly by super fast no matter what I do, I may aswell get the most out of it as possible!

My companion and I are working well together and getting stuff done in the area! We have a baptism set for the 30th of this month, and a couple others on the way. Actually like 5 mins ago, an investigator we are teaching (father of a family) was just in the Email shop and said hi! The work is going very well and the Zone is doing very well also.

This past week Elder Mukongoro and I had to drive the 2.5 hrs down to East London to attend a Zone Leader Skype Call with all of the Zone Leaders in the Mission as well as the Mission President to discuss some trainings and some issues with the mission. I really enjoyed it and this week my companion and I will be sharing all of that with our zone.

The weather is starting to get colder. It's been really windy the past few days and dry. My skin is starting to get itchy around my knuckles. It reminds me of home! Don't worry mom I have some lotion. I think today we are going to be heading to another animal reserve that is close by, so I should have some cool pictures from that. We are also focusing on working with members and so far we have been able to have a family home evening with a different family each week. I love it here!

Just a quick comment. One of my most favorite things to see happen is when we are teaching a person, and something we say or a principle of the Gospel we share all of a sudden makes sense and they know it's true and it's as if a lightbulb turns on in their heads! I love that! It makes me so happy! What makes me even more happy is when I see that person act upon that knowledge that they have just gained, and actually do something positive about it! That's what I thrive off of! That's what the Gospel is all about! Mission ROCKS!!!! I love it too much!

Well I don't have much time, but thank you for all of the support and love you are constantly sending my way, as well as prayers! They are much appreciated!

-Elder Jones