Wednesday, 31 July 2013

28th July 2013, Zone Leader, Queenstown South Africa.

(Sorry no pics....)
Hi mom and dad,
WOW!! Those pictures just blow my mind! That's really awesome with the ariel view of the storm path! That's a lot of hail! One elder in my Zone just asked me, "Elder Jones, is Canada even going to be there when you get back?" That's a good question!

That is crazy weather you are having though! I still puzzle and marvel over it. The weather here, in contrast, is extremely mild! It was a bit windy for a couple of days, but that's pretty much it! It is starting to get warmer and the sun is slowly starting to get higher in the sky. Seems like Fall is over and we are jumping straight into Summer! No spring or winter here!  Thanks for the advice, I will do so for sure! I can't afford for anything to happen to my zone members, or myself.

This week has been pretty awesome! Lots has happened but I don't have time to share everything... Last Monday we started shooting a film that the mission President has asked that Elder Maciver make for him. It's about a man who is taking a vacation away from city in a rental car, and on the highway in the middle of no where he gets a flat, and when he checks the trunk for a jack, it's missing. So he decides he's going to borrow a jack from a nearby farmhouse. As he is walking up to the house he starts thinking about all of these things that could go wrong where the people won't want to let him borrow their jack. He thinks that maybe they'll charge him for it and what not. So by the time he gets up to the farmhouse to ask to borrow a jack, he is so angry that instead of asking for a jack from the farmer, he yells, "WHY DON'T YOU JUST KEEP YOUR JACK!!" The message behind it is that we shouldn't "assign dark motives" to other people but rather we should think positively and always give somebody the benefit of the doubt. So turns out that I'm the actor in this film, so we were filming that on Monday and we will be finishing the filming today...

Wednesday was awesome! We had a Zone Training with President Wood and we also had interviews! Lasted until 4:30, but it was very nice! Elder Mholo and I had to give 2 trainings on the importance of teaching Repentance and President Wood gave a training on Grace. His training was awesome! Pretty much all we did was watch a talk by Brad Wilcox titled, "His Grace is Sufficient." IT IS SUPER AWESOME!!!!! I highly suggest every single person who reads this to find that talk and either watch it, listen to it, or read it! It pretty much summarizes, and puts into words clearly and simply, the main lesson that I have learned as I have been on mission. If more people were to understand what he talks about, people would have such a huge jump start on eternity! It changed your perspective and view on the Atonement and on the purpose of this life! FIND IT! STUDY IT!!!

After training, President and Sister Wood came with us to an appointment with an investigator that we have. We taught the Restoration and the lesson was powerful. President and Sister Wood simply testified during the lesson, but the spirit was so strong and everything went very well! I wish I could bring them out with us for lessons every day!

Saturday we had exchanges with the Assistants to President. It went very well also. Our area is on fire right now and I love it! I am still being let down every Sunday when only 1 person rolls up to church out of the many that promise us they will. But it will come. We have been trying to give as many people as we can baptismal dates so that it will push them to come to church. We have been able to give out 5 and the goal we have for the end of the week is 11. I'm sure we will be able to achieve it! Hopefully it will funnel out for our investigators to take that next step and change their lives and become baptized. We have been working working working and I'm loving loving loving it! I've seen so many miracles and so many things that I am noticing that the Lord is doing His work here! It's incredible!

This is the last week of the transfer! How crazy is that!??!?! It feels like I just got here! This last week I'm going to work harder than my whole time here! Hopefully, if all goes well, I'll get to stay here for another transfer, but only the Lord knows... and President Wood I guess... So maybe next Monday I'll know my news... and maybe not... we'll see... Well, I hope that everyone will be able to stay safe from all these crazy storms!
Take care! I love you all tons! Thanks for the constant support from everyone!
-Elder Jones

Monday, 22 July 2013

22 July 2013, Zone Leader, Queenstown South Africa

Good morning!

 That looks like a crazy hail storm!!! I keep telling the elders in my zone about the crazy weather back home and I show them the pictures and they are just in awe at the crazy weather you guys are having!

I'll have to try some of those addicting chocolates you make dad. I'm glad Oma enjoys my bed so much! I needed someone to keep it worn in for me anyways! I'm also glad that you got a wedding invite to Marshall's wedding! The idea of him getting married is still blowing my mind! Haha! I miss that kid!  Thank you so much for the update on everything! I have the best family ever!
This past week was interesting! It was full of adventure, road trips, reunions, and miracles! Last Monday wasn't that exciting... Just hiked that one hill again with my companion. But the week was powerful! Our area is doing incredible! This area is so powerful! We teach teach teach teach teach! Any free time I have is absorbed by the work and my Zone members. I love it!
Actually working bring me so much joy! Whenever I waste any time I just feel sick inside and want to work harder! I feed off of the Joy I see in the people who I am able to share the Gospel with! I've seen so many miracles in the work as well since I have been here! The Lord is just preparing the people and he's trusted me enough to be the one to teach them. I just rejoice every day in the mercies of the Lord!

Our teaching pool is very big! We are swamped with work. Whenever we have free time we are filling it with super productive things to do! On Wednesday out of the 7 set appointments, 6 of them held and we had powerful lessons!
One lesson, we were teaching an investigator. We were going over the Restoration again with him. The lesson was going well and the spirit was there, but all of a sudden, halfway through the lesson, our fellowshipper just walked in. He had seen our car outside the house on his way home from school and decided to join us! Well that was a blessing because we had him share some of the lesson and at the end he testified and the spirit was so strong that we committed our investigator to baptism right there and he said he would! 

The only problem now is getting to church... We have a lot of people who have great desires to be baptized and to live the gospel, but the chapel is super far away that getting them to attend church is a big issue... I have such high hopes every sunday for so many people to come... but each week my hope come crumbling down when nobody shows up... it's frustrating and hard, but I've come to realize that I am helping to lay the foundation right now and to plant the seeds, then when a branch starts here at the end of the year, there will be an explosion in the work!
Reminds me of when I served in Knysna! 2 weeks after I left 3 of the people I was teaching were baptized, then within the next month 3 more were baptized, and over the following 6 months, 13 were baptized there. After I left Mthatha 2 were baptized, the following 6 months 6 were baptized and this Sunday 3 more were baptized that I was teaching... I feel like I'm a seed planter... haha! But I love it! I am seeing great miracles and great changes in people's lives every day!
We also went to Mthatha this week and I was able to see some of the families that I was visiting there! It was awesome! I miss those people! It was a hit to our area though because we have so much work there and we were out of the area for 2 days straight, but oh well... I love this work! TOO MUCH!!!

Just one last cool experience from the week. Last night we had a lesson with a father led family that we are teaching. At the end of the lesson we committed them to read, ponder, and pray about a chapter of the Book of Mormon together. So I was looking for a chapter for them to read. I opened to Alma 34 and thought, "no not this one." Then I thought, "somewhere in 3 Nephi..." so I flipped to 3 Nephi 11. I thought, "No, not this one either." So I flipped to chapter 18 and again thought it wasn't right. Then I turned back one page to chapter 17 and read the chapter heading and thought, "This is perfect!!!" While I was searching for a scripture, He was staring at an open page in his Book of Mormon. I asked him If I could mark the page for him and he said yes so he handed his open Book of Mormon to me and lo and behold, he had it open to 3 Nephi 17 and he was reading the chapter heading. I said, "Wow! This is open to the chapter I wanted to give you!" and he said, "I knew that you were going to give me that chapter to read, I had a feeling." I was just blown away! The Lord works in funny but awesome ways!!! Well I'm out of time! But I love you all! TOO MUCH!!! Take care!
-Elder Jones

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

15th July 2013 Zone Leader, Queenstown South Africa

Mom and Dad,

WOW!!! Even though I am on the other side of the world, I still feel so happy to have a new Niece! Thank you so much for the pictures! Looks like a healthy baby to add to the other 2 healthy babies! I'm still super amazed at how fast time is just flying by! It's insane! I try not to think about it really...
Thanks for the update on everything that is happening including Highriver. Sounds like the Saints are doing a lot to help! As for transfers and the new amount of missionaries coming in, our mission lost a week. Some missions gained a week. Some gained 2 weeks. Depending on the transfer schedule and the new mission schedules, missions were changed accordingly. You should still ask the office though.

 Well...Now for an update on me... Things are great! I am just getting over a cold. It hit hard yesterday, but I still worked all the day long and went to church and everything! I'm feeling better now. The work is going great! School starts today, so everybody should be back from holidays, so I think our teaching pool is going to go up! Also, our fellow shipper is back! So our worries of not being able to visit people anymore is over! I only see positive things from here on out!
We found about 6 new investigators last week, and one of them we taught the first lesson to, and the lesson was so powerful that she was bursting with tears saying how she has been confused her whole life but now she is seeing the light! Those are the kind of moments that I thrive off of! I've been focusing a lot lately on working out of strictly a love for the people. I'm noticing that I am able to discern their needs better and I'm able to be more sensitive to the spirit in helping them as I put their needs first. I'm loving it and I'm learning a lot about the Christ like attribute of Charity.
I'm predicting a few baptisms in the upcoming month. Our biggest issue is getting people to church because it is so far away... It's pretty much the same distance from Welling to Raymond like the area Ezibileni to Queenstown. The difference is that the majority of the people living in Ezibileni don't have cars because of the poverty and the fact that it's a township, so they have to take taxi's and it costs about R20 per person to go to town and back and that's a lot of money for these people. Especially if you have a family of 5 and them it adds up to R100 and that's tough. So we are still trying to work around that, but hopefully by the end of the year, the area Ezibileni should get it's own place to meet and become a branch! That'd be awesome! But I probably won't see the day...

 I was able to talk to Bro. Vanden Dungen from our ward, (I don't know how to spell it) on Monday! That was cool! He was enjoying his stay in Cape Town for a wedding. When I talked with him, he was at Cape Point, which is where I was like a year ago. Beautiful place!
 Things are going well with me and my companion and Queenstown is getting warmer. I don't think we'll get snow... which is a bummer... Well I don't have much more time. On p-day we went to the Queenstown dam, so that's what the pictures are! The lake was glass! Could anything be better than Wake Boarding in Africa on a lake of glass?!? I submit that it cannot! I love you all tons! Thanks Aunt Terri for the treats!
 Till next week!
-Elder Jones

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

8th July 2013, Zone Leader, Queenstown South Africa

Hi mom and dad,

Whenever I tell anybody here about the weather that my family and others back at home in Canada are enduring at this time and even during winter, they always tell me that that is insane and that they would never EVER live there!
     I'm extremely fascinated by the natural disasters happening in the world and how pretty much all of them are happening in the America's. Weather here is extremely mild compared to home. The other day it was a bit windy and people were freaking out because it was "SO WINDY!!!" These past few weeks it has been a little cold outside, yet people are wrapped up in blankets in bed or wearing big coats outside saying "IT's SO COLD!!!" If there were to be any kind of weather here like it is back home, thousands of people would die because they are unprepared for such weather.
That kind of weather is only ever talked about on the news in places like the America's. The prophecies in the Book of Mormon are being fulfilled, especially about the America's. Don't think that I'm happy that these things are happening to people, cause I'm not, and I feel bad for those people and I wish I could help them (I bet the missionaries there are loving the extra service projects they have now), but I am fascinated by the increased testimony I'm receiving about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon by seeing that the prophecies of old are all coming to pass, and I wouldn't have realized it as much if I wasn't here in South Africa to see the contrast.
 I'm happy that the members are helping out so much and fulfilling their Baptismal covenants to lift and serve others, "to mourn with those that mourn, and to comfort those that stand in need of comfort." I'm so grateful to have this incredible truth of the restored Gospel in my life, and to know exactly what my purpose is and what my potential is and most importantly, how to get there! It humbles me to know and realize that there is no possible way that I can reach that potential on my own. I must rely on others in order to progress. I must submit myself to the Lord and do His will. Only through Him can I reach that potential that He's prepared for me. All God has ever done, now does, and will ever do is give. All he expects of us is to give. As we learn to give (more especially, wanting to give) and overcome all fleshly (or selfish) desires, we can return to live with Him and even become like Him!
Sorry I could go on for ages and if I was sitting down with my scriptures open I could sit for hours just flipping through scripture references and talking about the Gospel. I love it with my whole being! I love sharing it as well! The more I share, the more I learn! I'm so grateful to be on mission! This is an incredible gift that Heavenly Father has given me. Mission is not a sacrifice, it's a blessing! For anybody who ever has the opportunity to serve the Lord in any capacity, TAKE IT!!!! There's no substitute and there's nothing you could possibly every do better for yourself.
Well this past week has been nice but difficult. We are struggling a bit in the area. We aren't losing hope though, we are still pressing forward with faith and diligence. I know that great things will come. The holidays are just making things difficult, but we have been doing more finding and are trying to increase our teaching pool (it's going to be a huge teaching pool when everyone comes back from holidays!) So Ezibileni has a ton of potential, and we are seeking to tap into some of that. Of course we can't do anything of that sort without the help and direction from the Lord, so we are also seeking to be as obedient as possible in order to have the companionship of the Spirit to help guide us in the area! I'm loving it! I'm growing a lot too! Obedience is starting to run through my veins and I love it! We were supposed to get a new car last week, but it didn't happen, so this week we are supposed to be getting it. I'm excited! My companion (who I love so much! He's awesome!) and I were talking about how we complain about how our car is getting old and has dents and scratches and over 100000 km's on it and all of these little problems with it and how we need a new car, yet there are thousands of missionaries in the world who will probably never ever even have the privileged of having a car their entire missions! It's easy to take things for granted when you have them so abundantly. I might go my entire mission never ever being in a walking or biking area! Can I even classify myself as a missionary? hmmm...
We have some really awesome investigators though who we are teaching, and 2 of them came to church on Sunday (our area is far from the chapel, so the biggest struggle is to get investigators to church). That was awesome! We may not have any baptisms this month, but next month for sure we we will be having baptisms! We also have a Father led family that we are working with and there is great potential for them as well! I'm excited! My companion and I are getting along great! We are good friends!
Last night I received a phone call from Elder Dale (from the mission office) telling me that a member from my ward is in Cape Town and he wants to see me. I'm in Queenstown though, so apparently he has purchased a phone and is going to call me instead. It's Bro. Vandendungan (I don't know how to spell it) who is here for a wedding or something. So this afternoon we will get to talk to each other. It's too bad I wasn't in Cape Town to talk to him in person. I'm excited though!
Well I best be going! I've taken up too much time with this email. I love you all toooo much! Stay safe! READ YOUR SCRIPTURES!!!
-Elder Jones

P.S. I forgot to mention that My comp and I went to East London for a Leadership Counsel this week as well. We took some pics. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

1st July 2013 Zone Leader, Queenstown, South Africa


What a Glorious day it is! It's rather bland here in South Africa though, but I'm tempted to Parade around the streets with my Canadian Flag and sing "Oh Canada" for my P-Day activity! I hope all you Canadian's have an awesome Day today! I'll also give a shout out to you Americans and wish you a happy Independence Day on the 4th! Thank you so much for those pictures! Talia is Huge!!!! I was really surprised to see how big she is! Same with Oakley! I thought it was Diesel for a second! Those Spritz Oma was making in the picture made my mouth water!
Well this week has been interesting... It was transfer week this week, so..... drum roll.....! I'm staying in Queenstown as Zone Leader, and I got a new companion, Elder Mholo, from South Africa. Actually I received a whole new half of a zone! Every companionship in my zone had a new companion, and every companion that was staying in the area have only been there for 1 transfer! So I practically have a whole new zone! It's awesome! No evil traditions of the forefathers in play. And with the past Zone Conference on Obedience by Elder Bricknell, everybody seems to have a greater desire to be obedient and to serve more fully! It's awesome! I'm ecstatic about my new zone!

So on Tuesday my zone travelled to East London (3 hour drive) to send out their comps and get their new ones, on Wednesday we all switched around and drove back, so work didn't start till Thursday... Since Thursday we have been having a lot of struggles with the work, but I know it'll pass by. Our fellow shipper is gone for the holidays, so we have had to cancel a lot of our appointments with sisters. Also, almost all of our investigators who were progressing are gone home for the school holidays, so our teaching pool just depleted drastically. Let’s just say that the work has been dry for the past few days. But it will pick up again, especially after the holidays end in 2 weeks.

On Sunday, since it was the 5th Sunday, it was the Missionary Sunday. So Elders do everything from the prayers to the talks and even the musical number if they want. I was assigned to give the opening prayer, but the talks were all about missionary work and were powerful and awesome! Later that day we were talking with a member who was saying that those talks were answers to her prayers and spoke of how she has been doing missionary work and then she gave us 2 referrals! That was awesome! They weren't referrals for my area, but none the less that is two souls who Elders in East London and Grahamstown are going to be able to visit and teach! I want to plan a missionary fireside for the ward. If they were fired up about a few talks in Sacrament meeting, imagine how they would be after a missionary fireside!? I love the work here! I'm learning a lot!

I'm also going back down to East London this week for a Missionary Leadership Counsel Skype call with all the Zone Leaders in the mission. I'm excited to hear what President Wood has prepared for the mission to implement! Also when we go down, I'll be picking up a new car. It's a manual transmission, so it'll be nice to drive stick again! It's weird with the left hand though.
Happy Birthday Riley! I'm sorry if I missed it! I'm losing track of birthdays these days! I'll be surprised if I even remember my own!

Enjoy the Holidays! Enjoy the Celebration! Enjoy Canada Day! Enjoy the Family! Don't be too jealous of me though, because I'm doing something a billion times better than Canada Day, I'm doing the work of the Lord! I love you all too much! Thanks for everything you do for me! You've made mission such an incredible experience for me! Love ya!

-Elder Jones