Articles on this Page
- 12/15/15--06:45: _ Divine Interventi...
- 12/23/15--21:12: _Bye Bye, Rodrigo!--...
- 12/29/15--13:51: _It's a Christmas Mi...
- 01/04/16--17:18: _Cabin Fever -- Wee...
- 01/13/16--15:45: _This Little Argenti...
- 01/19/16--16:59: _Dirt, Baptisms, and...
- 01/27/16--17:25: _CATS!! Week 76, 74...
- 02/04/16--18:41: _Arizona Winters Rul...
- 02/11/16--17:46: _Sick...again -- Wee...
- 02/15/16--17:00: _Warmth!--- Week 79-...
- 02/23/16--16:38: _Citrus Attack!--Wee...
- 02/29/16--18:29: _ Temple Miracle---W...
- 03/08/16--06:19: _The Chipotle Miracl...
- 03/15/16--07:00: _Crazy Week!--week 8...
- 03/22/16--17:27: _Defying Mission Bou...
- 03/28/16--19:10: _Trying Week!-- Wee...
- 04/04/16--18:13: _Freetown -- 86 Week...
- 04/12/16--18:38: _ New Experiences-- ...
- 04/18/16--19:05: _Buckeye Fever!--Wee...
- 04/25/16--18:28: _"How Did You Know T...
- 01/27/16--17:25: CATS!! Week 76, 74 weeks in Phoenix mission, 26 weeks in Glendale
- 02/11/16--17:46: Sick...again -- Week 78- 76 weeks in Phoenix- 28 weeks in Glendale
- 02/15/16--17:00: Warmth!--- Week 79- 77 weeks in Phoenix, 29 weeks in Glendale
- 04/12/16--18:38: New Experiences-- Week 87, 85 Weeks in Phoenix, 37 Weeks in Glendale
- 04/18/16--19:05: Buckeye Fever!--Week 88- 86 weeks in Phoenix- 1 week in Buckeye
We had a wonderful week! The area is going great! We had the best week
we've had in a long time. We found some new people to teach, those who
have a baptismal date are progressing and coming to church, and our
members are helping! It doesn't get much better than that. Oh, and
Elder Fernandez is like the best trainee ever—he makes me wonder why
the heck I was so stressed at the beginning of my mission. He's always
so calm! Anyway, here was my week!
Monday: Monday was an adventure. After studies we went to Target and
got some things. We were searching for a game called Munchkin. Since
Elder Thaut left, we didn't have it anymore...no luck at Target. We
even went to the big Walmart instead of the Neighborhood Market in
search of the game. Finally we came home and accepted the fact that we
would not get it. Elder Bryan suggested trying Barnes and Noble. They
had it! So we got it! Afterward we went to the church and played
speedball. It was pretty intense. After pday we went out and contacted
a referral that turned out to be a family of 5!! We talked to the dad
and he is very interested after attending the Christmas lights at the
Mesa temple. After the visit we went to someone's house to give a
blessing to a man with terminal cancer. I had never given a blessing
to someone who was that sick, but the Spirit guided. It was a humbling
experience. Afterward his family (all non-members, his neighbor is
friends with a member. So no members were present.) asked us a lot of
questions about blessings, the Priesthood, and missionaries in
general. It was a pretty cool experience to teach them about the
priesthood. It was a great way to end the night.
Tuesday: I don't remember much that happened Tuesday. I forgot to
write in my journal. Either that or we were just rushed. We had a few
lessons, one with Gary, who we've been working with for a while. He is
starting to come along and realize the importance of the gospel in his
life. We were led to his door by pure revelation three months ago. We
have been talking with him ever since.
Wednesday: It was a super busy day. We ended the day with 7 lessons. I
think I biked more than I did any other day on my mission. We were on
our own for the day, with appointments on the opposite side of our
area—multiple times. I guess I'm just preparing Elder Fernandez to
walk on his mission when he gets to Argentina! Probably our best
appointment for the day was our last one. We met with a lady named
Sam. She was baptized a little while ago in a different area, but she
came to church a few weeks before. She just moved into this area. She
explained how she has such a love for the gospel, but she doesn't
realize how to access Jesus Christ's Atonement. She knows it works,
but she can't figure out how to access it. So we explained to her how
she can, by repenting, having faith and showing that faith by coming
to church and reading her scriptures. Most importantly, by praying. We
will now see her once a week! She's awesome!
Thursday: Weekly planning. Then we had a lesson with Rusty and Liz,
our two most solid investigators. We taught them the Restoration all
the way through. They understand the need for a Prophet, and the need
for a restoration. It was a great lesson. They are on track to be
baptized on their date, Jan 2nd!!
Friday: Zone meeting and then exchanges with a Elder Clough! One thing
really hit me in our zone meeting. One of our zone leaders, Elder
Gardner, asked a question, "Would you be the same missionary if Jesus
Christ was your companion?" We all thought about it. He then followed
with this—"He kind of is--your companion is a representative of Jesus
Christ. You should act how He would act." We need to be an example.
After dinner we had a lesson with the Sesay family, a big family in
the ward from Liberia. Their daughter just turned 9 so we get to teach
and baptize her! It's always fun to go over there because they're all
so lively and energetic.
Saturday: I was on exchange with Elder Clough until 3. We went finding
in the afternoon and focused on contacting. We talked to everyone we
saw and even met a pretty crazy person. (That's pretty normal here.) I
exchanged back with a Elder Fernandez, taught a lesson to Javier, and
we went to the ward Christmas party! There were about 250 people
there! Lots of less-active members came, and Rusty and Liz came! They
were fellowshipped really well. I think they like the French sisters a
lot too haha. They were there with their French convert, Raphaël! It
was a wonderful dinner and program. Everyone enjoyed it.
enjoyed it. Plus, a guy named Randall came to church after his friend
invited him. He stayed for the whole block and enjoyed it! When he
introduced himself in priesthood meeting, they asked if he was a
member. He responded with, "Not yet. But with more days like today,
hopefully soon!" So we got his information and we have an appointment
with him this week. And he even seems normal!!! Not even crazy!! Had
dinner with the Barton's which is always a treat. Then Brother Barton
went out with us to visit Gary. His mom was there and is interested
too! We taught the Plan of Salvation and he really enjoyed it and said
it makes a lot of sense. It calmed my heart when he opened up and said
that it just "clicked" with him that he needs to be reading the Book
of Mormon. We invite him, but it really clicked this time. I'm eager
to see how it goes for him.
That was my week! Thanks for all of your love and support. Our mission
office has a new address, so if you want to send me mail (pretty
please! :)), send it to: (or get my apt from my mom)
Elder Kevin Jones
Arizona Phoenix Mission
6833 W. Bell Rd.
Glendale, AZ 85308
The gospel is true. It changes lives; it changes people.
.Zone picture! Left to right: (standing) Elders Gardner, Miller,|
Wheeler, Rodriguez, Dawson, Bradley, Bryan, Jones
(Sitting) Elders Clough, Stott, Conover, Cespedes, Dwigans, Davenport, Fernandez
|Elder Jones and Elder Conover|
He is a friend of an Elder serving in our ward.
Elder Fernandez and Mike's drawing (of Elder Fernandez...) on the|
tablecloth at the ward party.....yep that's Mike! Hahaha
|Elder Jones at ward Christmas Party and the drawing. :)|
|don't do selfies very much....so here's rock hands.|
|My weekly selfie|
|Elder Jones and Fernandez getting |
birthday cupcakes from a member
|Elder Jones same night|
We had such a great week!! The Christmas season is a great time to be
a missionary! It's also the most difficult time (for me) to be a
missionary. But great, nonetheless. Elder Rodriguez is being
transferred in the middle of the transfer up to Prescott. I've been
serving with him ever since I got to Peoria last February. Needless to
say I'm going to miss my Argentine brother!
My week was very very cold. Let's just say that being in Phoenix for a
long time has made me a wimp! The highs have been in the upper 50's
and lows in the mid 30's. I swear the weather is all that the people
here want to talk about. If we engage in a conversation with someone,
the subject of the weather will come up within two sentences of
starting the conversation—guaranteed. The cooler weather has brought
out my cooler wardrobe. Sweaters, coats, scarves, and gloves have been
Elder Fernandez and I went over to Christine's apartment this week to
put up the rest of her Christmas decorations. She is our convert who
is terminally ill. We set up her Christmas tree and decorated it with
her many ornaments. We went in to her room and told her it was done
and she wanted to see it. She got up out of her bed while screaming
because moving hurts so much for her. She wheeled out in her
wheelchair and cried because "it was so beautiful." The spirit of
service never fails to touch my heart when I visit Christine and serve
her. Whether it's setting up her Christmas lights, or just merely
reading the scriptures with her. Service is service, and the Lord
We got a referral for a lady named Dianne. Apparently she had talked
to missionaries before in the past and followed up with another member
to ask us to come back. It was about 8:30, typically we stop knocking
on unknown doors around 8 or 8:15. The Spirit prompted us to visit
her, though. We set up a meeting for the next day. We visited her and
taught her the Restoration. She accepted everything and wants to be
baptized. We set a baptismal date for January 16. She came to church
and stayed the whole time! People fellowshipped her and made her feel
welcome. That's always a plus!
Our mission took a trip over to Mesa to visit the temple, visitors
center, and the Christmas lights! We got to the temple and went
through the visitors center. There were a lot of awesome new exhibits.
We had lunch on the temple grounds and went and did an endowment
session. The Spirit is so strong in the temple. President Griffin took
us to dinner to Old Country Buffet, and we went back for the Christmas
lights. I got lots of great pictures and had some quality time bonding
with my fellow missionaries.
Christmas musical fireside
Our zone leaders organized a sweet Christmas musical fireside for the
stake. It featured different solos, a choir, and the spoken word. Each
missionary companionship introduced a performance. Elder Fernandez and
I introduced Elder Clark's vocal solo of, "O, Holy Night." It was
probably the most powerful event in the program. Elder Flynn also
played an incredible piano arrangement of "Joy to the World." Elder
Stott, one of our zone leaders, made home made pumpkin and pecan pies.
No complaints! :)
So that was my week! Trying a different letter format. I hope you all
have a merry Christmas!! Soooo last week I said to send mail to the
new mission office. Don't!! Apparently they aren't getting packages
there yet. Have a great week!!
Black Canyon Ward
Arizona Phoenix Mission
|Missionaries at Mesa Temple|
|Transportation to Mesa Temple|
|Missionary Christmas Fireside|
|Elder Jones' Christmas Tree|
|Elder Jones at Mesa Temple|
|Elders Jones & Flynn at Mesa Temple|
|Lots of Elders!|
|On the Bus, Elders Jones and Fernandez|
|Elders Jones and Fernandez|
in front of Mesa Temple
|Elders Jones and Fernandez |
at night in front of Mesa Temple
|Christmas lights and Name Tag|
|Lunch on Temple grounds|
|Elder's Christmas fireside|
he finally sees Chris is there.
|Outside the Temple w/group|
Elder Jones is on left side 3 rows back @ 3 in
|dinner at Old Country Buffet|
|dinner at Old Country Buffet 2|
|Old Country Buffet 3|
|Old Country Buffet 4 - everybody looks happy|
|President and Sister Griffin|
|Selfie at the Temple|
|Our zone after the Christmas musical fireside!|
|Bye bye, Rodrigo! #DontCryForMeArgentina|
Merry Christmas! I hope all of your Christmases were spectacular. I
had a great time seeing family and friends on Skype. Lots of fun
things happened this week.
Let's just get this one out of the way...we had a great Christmas Eve
and Christmas! Both days were non-proselyting days. Christmas Eve was
spent hanging out most of the day. President Griffin told us we needed
to deep clean our apartment again to make it less disgusting. He
wasn't saying it was super dirty, it is just a gross apartment. So
that's how we spent the morning! Our district came over and we cleaned
the place from the ceiling to the floor. Then we hung out and played
board games. We had dinner with the Barton's! Their whole family was
sick with a stomach bug, but we risked it and went over there. No
sicknesses yet. I think we may have survived. That night our
downstairs neighbor was going ballistic because we were being too loud
I guess. If we even moved a chair he would bang on his ceiling and
yell at the top of his lungs. Bro, you're being louder than us! We
just opened all of our Christmas packages Christmas Eve night.
Christmas Day was great too. We spent most of the day with our whole
zone hanging out at the institute building. This skype call has been
the best so far. We had dinner with Javier and went home and hung out
for the rest of the night. Exciting right?
It has been pretty chilly for Phoenix! Everywhere I go, I hear people
complaining about how cold it is. Myself included... Temperatures have
been in the high 50's. You'd think that we had 2 feet of snow here by
how much people talk about how cold it is.
The day after Christmas I was able to go back to Peoria to see Leah, a
girl I taught while there, be baptized. It's crazy to think that 10
months ago Elder Flynn and I had our first lesson with her. She was so
excited to be baptized, but her mom remained skeptical for quite some
time. After showing her commitment by attending church and institute
at college, her mom lightened up and supported her being baptized. It
was awesome to see everyone again and to witness the miracle of her
Even though there was a lot of down time this week, we still taught
quite a few lessons. Lucilia is set to be baptized in a couple weeks.
She turned 9 recently so she was switched to our jurisdiction. She is
so excited! Rusty and Liz are still going strong, waiting on Rusty's
baptism approval from headquarters.
I normally don't talk a lot about gifts I receive, but I did receive a
very, very special gift this Christmas from my family and loved ones.
A little while ago, my mother asked me to put together a list of the
12 most influential men in my life. I thought about it, and I came up
with the list. I didn't think much more about it until I opened my
Christmas package from home this week. Inside were 14 envelopes and 14
little boxes. (They got 14 instead of 12) Each envelope contained a
letter from one of the most influential men in my life, and a tie from
each of them. I have, since then, enjoyed wearing one of those ties
every day. I am so blessed to have such wonderful people in my life.
Thank you to anyone who may have contributed to the gift.
Elder Fernandez and I taught Gospel Principles and I got to share my
experience of the Joplin tornado with the class. We talked about how
the Lord protects us, and how we can better follow the Spirit. It was
a good class with lots of participation. I'm glad I've learned how to
teach on the fly, because we got a 30-minute notice that we were
teaching. Yay for the Spirit!
That was my week. Thanks for all of your prayers and support. Have a
very happy New Year! May you all make resolutions to change and be
Black Canyon Ward
Arizona Phoenix Mission
|Apartment mustache party|
|Christmas breakfast with the zone|
|weekly selfie- #1|
|weekly selfie #2|
|Zone bowling picture last pday|
Yeah, I apologize if this letter is extremely short. With the New Year
and the end to the Holiday season, not much happened. People didn't
want to meet much this week, we were stuck inside a lot, etc..But I'll
give it my best shot!
So it's officially 2016. I was a missionary for the entire year of
2015. How crazy is that? It feels like just yesterday I was beginning
my "blackout year" last January. And now I just finished it. (A
blackout year is the year a missionary is a missionary the entire
year) As I look back on 2015, I can honestly say that I am proud of
who I have become. I am eager to see where 2016 takes me! In the
course of this year, I will:
—Continue teaching the wonderful people of Arizona
—Return home to my family and friends
—Head off to college
—Begin real life...
That last one scares me quite a bit. I'm just a kid! I guess real life
has to hit me sometime. :)
The New Year as a missionary wasn't really that exciting. On New
Year's Eve and Day, we couldn't proselyte. So we basically just
stayed in and played board games/card games—all day. I can honestly
say I had a bad case of cabin fever! Our dinner appointments with
members kept me sane.
This week we taught Lucilia, the girl about to be baptized, four
times. Teaching her and her family was most of our teaching for the
week. We determined that she needed to be taught again before she is
interviewed, because she didn't understand a lot of the interview
questions. So we postponed her baptism and began teaching her what she
doesn't understand. We also taught Rusty and Liz. They are doing well
and progressing. They really enjoy coming to church and meeting the
people there. Rusty is very interested in the organization of the
Church—as am I—so we enjoy discussing that aspect of the Church.
Our ward has been on the declining slope in attendance recently. Prior
to church on Sunday, we attended our ward's ward council meeting.
Brother Bleyl, a member of the bishopric, told us the bad-news
numbers. He encouraged us to reach out and pray for those who are
less-active to come back to activity. Two hours later when sacrament
meeting started, the whole chapel was full. It was a great sight to
see so many people attend church. The bishop and his counsellors were
This Sunday was testimony meeting, which can be either really good or
really bad. This week it was really good. Raphaël, the new French
convert in our ward, walked up to the pulpit to bear his testimony.
One of the French Sisters followed him up there to translate for us.
As he spoke French, the Spirit filled the room. Sister Casagrande
explained what he had said in French:
--He had been praying for his wife to join the Church. A few days ago,
his wife had a dream that she needs to be baptized. So now she is on
date to be baptized in just a couple weeks.
Although only a few members of our congregation speak French, the ward
has wrapped their arms around this precious convert and his family.
The gospel is so true, not even language is a barrier.
We received the devastating news that Brother Barton will be moving
THIS WEEK. He is by far my favorite person I have met in this area and
in the top 3 on my mission... He was supposed to move in early March
to be closer to his work. Well, turns out a house became available
just a mile from his work, so they jumped on it. As a result, he will
be moving this Friday. He was just sustained to be the new ward
mission leader two weeks ago! More changes are coming, I guess! I will
include a picture I took with him. Our whole ward is saying they're
going to make signs and protest their move. We told them we'll lead
the charge. :)
Well, that's about all that happened this week. Hopefully next week
will be more exciting! :) I hope everyone has a great week. I love you
Black Canyon Ward
Arizona Phoenix Mission
|Brother Barton and Elder Jones|
|Elder Jones and Elder Bryan (apartment mate)|
Oh my goodness this week was full of changes!! It was such a sad and
happy week all at the same time. Plus it is transfer week so our pday
is today, Tuesday, which made for an extra long week. Honestly, it
feels like last pday was weeks ago. It has been nice to relax for the
day so far. Anyway, here was my week!
Wednesday morning as we were studying our phone rang. I looked at the
screen and it said, "APM President Griffin." As a missionary, a
million things go through your mind when you see that your mission
president is calling. The time in between the initial ringing to the
time you answer the phone feels like an eternity. Anyway, we answered
and he greeted us in his usual sarcastic way. We made some small talk
and then he said, "Elder Jones, I have some bad news for you and good
news for Elder Fernandez." He then told us that his visa came in and
that was going to fly out of Phoenix Sky Harbor at 2pm on January 11.
We dropped Elder Fernandez off at the mission office to embark on the
rest of his mission journey in Rosario, Argentina. I really grew to
love that kid and know that he's going to do wonders in Argentina.
Since Elder Fernandez has been gone I've been in a tripanionship with
my roommates who cover the Spanish ward.
Transfers + Training
Today is transfer day, so we obviously got the transfer news.
President told me on the phone when he called about Fernandez's visa
that I would be training again. That means I'll be staying here in
Glendale for at least 3 more months. Then maybe I'll be able to come
off bike for the last 4 months of my mission! :) Fingers crossed!
Elder Clough, one of my roommates, is getting transferred. We came
into the apartment together, so I have lived with him for six months!
I'm gonna miss him a lot! Anyway, this transfer coming up will be a
great one. This transfer I will enter the last quarter of my mission.
I hope to make it the best 6 months ever!
Temple Trip w/ President
A while ago, our zone leaders presented us with a challenge at zone
meeting. They challenged us to contact 1500 people as a zone in the
month of December. We had to talk to someone, invite them to do
something, and ask for a referral for it to "count" as a contact. So
our zone got to work. At the end of the month we had almost 2000
contacts all together! President Griffin rewarded us by taking our
whole zone to the Phoenix temple for an endowment session on Friday.
It was really cool to be in the temple with so many people I have
grown to love. Every time I attend the House of the Lord, my testimony
grows. Friday was no different!
Lucilia was interviewed to be baptized yesterday! After putting off
the baptism for a week to reteach her some things, she understood all
of the baptismal interview questions and passed her interview! After
we would teach her a lesson, we would write down what we taught her
and she would study it in preparation for the next lesson! It was
awesome. I wish all of our investigators would do that! So Lucilia
will be baptized this Saturday, January 16. Also, the French
missionaries serving in our ward will holding the baptism of Raphael's
wife, Jeanne, on the 16th as well! The work of the Lord is hastening
in multiple languages here in Arizona, and it's been a miracle to see
We continue to teach Rusty and Liz on a weekly basis as we wait for
Rusty's permission to clear Salt Lake City. We taught Lucilia a few
times this week in preparation for her baptism.
One lesson we had this week was nothing short of a miracle. On
Wednesday, Brother Barton, Elder Fernandez, and myself went by to see
Gary, a guy we have been teaching for a while now. We knocked on his
door, and his crazy ex-wife was there causing a scene. She was on
drugs or something like that and was having a breakdown. He was
politely trying to kick her out, but she just kept throwing a fit. He
was obviously embarrassed about what was happening, so we left. A few
days later, Elder Fernandez suggested that we just stop by. One of our
lessons fell through, so we biked over to his home. We knocked on his
door and he let us in. He told us that he honestly didn't think that
we would come back after what we saw the previous Wednesday. We told
him that it wasn't his fault and that it was okay. Gary had told us
that he was struggling with the concept of baptism, so we went over
there with the intent to teach about the gospel of Jesus Christ, which
involves baptism. I got the prompting that we should read 2 Nephi 31
about it. As we were reading, we could see Gary's eyes light up as he
was understanding what he had never been able to understand before.
His eyes were opened, and he told us he knows why baptism is
important. The converting power of the Book of Mormon is real!! We
invited him to be baptized and he said that he wants to be. What a
great end to a rainy night. I was grateful Elder Fernandez followed
the prompting to go visit him, and that I followed the prompting to
read with him.
Yesterday afternoon after we dropped Elder Fernandez off at the
mission office, we went and helped sort food at a food bank! It was a
ton of fun! And seeing the happy people receiving the food was the
This whole week was full of mid-50's. Three straight days of rain made
biking a cold nightmare, but luckily we have nice members willing to
drive us around sometimes. :)
That was the important parts of my week! I look forward to a second
chance to train another missionary. It amazes me every day how much I
can see the Lord working in my life and in the lives of others. Pray
for me and my new companion! I love you all and appreciate all of your
Black Canyon Ward
Arizona Phoenix Mission
|New bag! He wore the last one out!|
|Elder Bryan.....after the pepper made him sick.|
|Elder Fernandez after he got off the phone w/ Pres. Griffin|
telling him his visa came and he would be heading to Argentina
the next Monday.
|Taking Elder Fernandez to the Mission Home|
|Last exchange w/ Brother Barton|
|All packed and ready to go!|
It was a great week here in the APM! Sooooo much happened this week
and I can't wait to tell you all about it! Here we go!
After spending a few days with Elders Clough and Bryan since a Elder
Fernandez left, transfers finally came around on Wednesday. The whole
missionary force around the world is getting rid of organized transfer
meetings, but since I am training again we went to the training
orientation meeting. While there, I got to see a few missionaries who
I haven't seen in a while. For example, I got to see Elder Thaut
again! He is also training a new missionary down in Buckeye. Anyway,
my new companion is Elder Young from Kingsport, Tennessee. He has the
accent to prove he's from the south! He served a few weeks in Mexico
City a while ago but had to come home due to medical problems. He came
back out to Arizona and is here to stay, but he's assigned as a
Spanish speaking elder. So he does language study with our roommates,
since I can't really train him on how to do language study. Elder
Young is doing GREAT! Elder Bryan is also training a new elder—Elder
Plourde (Pronounced Plerd) and he is from Alberta, Canada. That dang
Early Friday morning we headed over to Brother Stanley's home with our
roommates to help him spread dirt in his back yard. He had 6 tons of
dirt delivered to his home and we used shovels and rakes to move and
smooth it out across his back yard. Man, talk about manual labor. My
arms were sore for days after it. It was really fun, though. We were
able to build trust and get to know a member even better. Plus he got
us some Barro's Pizza, which is like Heaven in a pizza box here in
Saturday was a very special day. We were able to be a part of two
baptisms: one for Lucilia, a 9 year-old we have been teaching, and one
for Marie Jeanne, someone the French missionaries have been teaching
in our area. Her husband, Raphaël, was baptized about a couple months
Lucilia's baptism was awesome. Her dad was able to baptize her which
was a really cool experience. I gave a talk on baptism and I asked her
how excited she was to be baptized. She replied with "More than this
excited!" And she held out her arms as far as they would go. She was
then baptized by her father. The Spirit was so strong.
Later that afternoon, we had the baptism of Marie Jeanne. All of the
French missionaries were there and lots of members of Marie's family
were there as well. The room was absolutely packed. I conducted the
baptism which was a new experience for me...every time someone would
get up to conduct/talk, it would be translated. If the person was
speaking English, a French missionary would translate it into French.
If someone was speaking French, it would be translated into English.
Needless to say the baptismal service took a while. But that's okay,
because it was an AMAZING experience. She was baptized by Israel, who
was the first French convert since they introduced the French
missionary program here in Arizona. There had to be at least 30 people
surrounding the font to witness this miracle. Ever since Raphaël got
baptized, his wife is now a member, and there are three others in his
family who are taking the missionary discussions and are scheduled to
be baptized in February. I'm so excited to be a part of this work! The
Lord is hastening His work in many languages here in the Valley. After
the baptism, Marie Jeanne and some of the members of her family sang a
song about Jesus in Swahili, which is their first language. Overall an
Almost all of our investigators are progressing. We had 5
investigators at church Sunday and had two confirmations. I had
the opportunity to confirm Lucilia as a member of the Church during
sacrament meeting. Marie Jeanne was confirmed by a member of the
bishopric. We taught Liz and Rusty about the word of wisdom and they
agreed to live it. One of our investigators, Dianne, also agreed to
live the word of wisdom. Oh, and during a lesson with her, her cat was
crawling all over me. I love cats and I usually don't have too much of
an allergic reaction, but I was really messed up that night. I had a
pretty bad allergy attack from her cats! But it's all good–it went
away. All of our investigators are doing really well and I'm so
excited about it!
This week was a really good week weather wise. Mid 60's every day!
This coming week is supposed to be 70 every day. Yep, be jealous! :)
Elder Young didn't have a bike, so we drove up to Peoria to see if
there was one in the mission storage that he could use. We opened the
storage unit and there was an almost new bike right there in the unit.
There wasn't a tag on it that it was being sold, just a missionary who
has since gone home's name. We called up the mission office and asked
if we could just use that one. He said that if there's not a price tag
on it then it's available for use! So we grabbed it and it's been
working great! Yet another miracle to add to the books.
Anyway, that was my week! I have lots of pictures so I hope you enjoy
them. Love you all and I wish you the best!
Black Canyon Ward
Arizona Phoenix Mission
|The baptism of Lucilia. Her dad, James, and |
Elder Young and myself.
|Elder Josh Young (Elder Jones' new trainee)|
|Elders Jones and Young|
| Going to transfers with Elders Clough and Bryan, |
and Brother Gomez!
|Look who I saw at the training meeting! Elder Thaut!|
|Me, Javier, and Elder Gardner.|
Sisters Casagrande(French), Haymond(French), |
Javier, Elder Gardner, and myself.
|In front of the new mission office!|
|Look what I found at the store. It's been WAY TOO LONG!!|
|Elder Young and Elder Plourde at the mission office|
|Mike harassing me for liking the Patriots...|
This week was pretty great. I don't have much time but here is my best
shot at a good letter!
We got to watch a broadcast put on by the missionary department to all
of the missionaries in the whole world. It was really great! Nothing
really changed.....but the messages were all wonderful. Lots of focus
on teaching repentance and baptizing. Basically the essence of what we
do as missionaries. We learned how to fulfill our purpose better. We
watched it at a member of the stake presidency's home.
Brother Palmer, the Great
There is a member in our ward named Brother Palmer. He is such an
amazing man. Very few people are available during the day to come with
us to lessons, so Brother Palmer comes with us quite a bit. We came
with us to a lesson with Christine, our recent convert who is
terminally ill. After our lesson, we didn't have time to bike all the
way to our dinner appointment, so he just dropped us off. They hadn't
confirmed, and the French Sisters were coming to our member's house
for dinner too. We asked Brother Palmer to make sure they were home
before he drove off. Turns out our dinner appointment forgot, so we
asked Brother Palmer just to take us to our apartment. He offered to
have us and the Sisters over for dinner! So we had a great dinner with
their family, and they fed us the next day because that's the day they
actually signed up for. Needless to say the Palmers are the best!!
Our investigators are doing really well! The lady we have on date for
baptism on February 13, Dianne, has quit smoking! She had smoked for
years and after we taught the word of wisdom—she quit! We told her to
replace the desire to smoke with the Book of Mormon, and it has been
working really well for her. Rusty and Liz are still doing great and
treating us well. When we bike over there they always tell us to call
them when we get home because it's a bad neighborhood. It's nice
having someone care that much about our safety that they request a
call. I know that if my mom could request a call every night, she
would. Haha! We also had an incredible lesson with Katie, a recent
convert. It's been hard to have a lesson with her recently since she's
been so busy, but we finally got in. We read Moroni 10 with her and
she really felt the Spirit.
Rusty and Liz have a lot of cats. 14 to be exact. We usually meet
outside for that reason. After our lesson with them on Friday Rusty
wanted to show us something inside their apartment. We went in and saw
all of their cats. They have so many! The thing is, though, none of
their cats are nasty! Liz raises pure bred shorthair cats and takes
REALLY good care of them. That didn't help the allergy attack that
went down, though. So I got a picture and a video of all of the cats.
I'll send the picture in my picture email. :)
We have been teaching Lucilia and her family since she just got
baptized. We're trying to help their family strengthen their faith and
return to activity. James, the dad, said he felt prompted to invite
Lucilia's friend's family to hear the gospel. He's going to ask them
So that was my week! Sorry it seems kind of lame. Elder Young is doing
great. He's awesome!! I hope you all have a great week!!!
Black Canyon Ward
Arizona Phoenix Mission
|Elder Jones and Young|
|At Culver's w/ member|
|Elder Jones is highly allergic!|
So far today has been pretty lame, but it's been alright. I apologize
that I'm not getting any of your emails. The missionary email server
is running off a potato, obviously. Sorry if this email is kind of
On Tuesday Elder and Sister Dixon from the mission came by to inspect
our apartment. They were amazed about how clean it was! When they said
they were 10 minutes away, we made popcorn and set out party hats for
them. They thought that was pretty funny. Sister Dixon said our
apartment was spotless! Still old and nasty, but spotless!
On Tuesday I went on exchanges in my area with Elder Plourde. Before a
few lessons we went out visiting people. On our way back to our bikes
after knocking on a potential investigator's door, a lady asked us if
we were Mormon missionaries. We told her we were, and she told us she
had been baptized in Preston, Idaho a few years back. We chatted for a
minute or two, then went on our way. We ran into her again a few
minutes later and she invited us up to her apartment to give us water.
We went up there and she asked us a lot of questions! She is
interested in learning about the Church again. Oh yeah! It was a
really good meeting and she is excited to learn again. Later, some
kids stopped us on the street and tried to bash with us. They got
owned, long story short. Haha!
Our zone conference was wonderful! We basically just discussed the
missionary broadcast, and how to develop a culture in the mission.
President Griffin is such an inspired speaker. He always grabs my
attention every time he speaks.
We went with our roommates helped Christine take down her Christmas
decorations. She is very particular in how she does things, so I guess
we did a lot of it wrong. She was fired up as she was telling us how
to fix everything! She overreacted a ton, but in the end was grateful
for our help. Let's just say I was very glad to be out of there after
We had a meeting for investigators/recent converts at a member of the
stake presidency's home. We learned more about the plan of salvation
and listened to them sing some really good songs.
All of our investigators are doing great!! We're having a bit of
trouble finding new investigators, but we're doing our best. I have a
feeling it's gonna pick up again real fast! Rusty and Liz are doing
great. They gave us like 10 boxes of cereal that they weren't going to
eat, so that's pretty cool! Cindy, Mike's girlfriend, is also doing
great. She's having trouble understanding the priesthood, but she
comes to church every week and is very into the lessons.
Winter in Arizona....it doesn't get much better than that. Every day
was sunny and 72°F. Be jealous! :)
That was my week. Again, sorry if it was kinda lame! Hopefully we'll
have a more interesting week next week. I'm about to hit 18 months.
Yikes!!! I forgot what it's like to be an actual citizen!
Have a great week, everyone!
Black Canyon Ward
Arizona Phoenix Mission
|Multi Zone Conference|
|Multi zone conference|
|Part of mission picture|
|Multi Zone - Elder Jones on back row center|
|back row -right|
|Elder Young's birthday party|
Sister Haymond (French missionary serving in my ward-the one in the|
middle) got transferred. Here's a goodbye picture!
|Elders Young and Jones|
|Tag picture I kept requesting|
Spencer stopped by last night to give|
us leftovers from our dinner. He hung
out for a while. He's awesome!!
|As usual he orders a cheeseburger- no matter|
where he eats.
|Multi Zone conference|
As you can tell by the title of the email, I have been super sick this
week! I feel kind of bad for Elder Young because he's just kind of had
to hang out at home with me a couple days. I wish I could say it's
getting better....buuuut......it's not much better. Anyway, here was
my week! I didn't write much because I was really sick.
We had interviews with President Griffin this week! Normally
interviews with church leaders can be boring and annoying, but not
with President Griffin! He is so great and always asks how he can help
with our work. And when you've been out a while like me he throws in
some funny stuff. He has such a dry sense of humor that just makes me
laugh so much. This one funny thing he said during my interview with
"Elder Jones, when did you come out again?"
"Oh yeah—so you're one of the old ones now!"
"I don't feel like an old one, President!"
"Haha....you don't look like one either. When you're 30 and married
your wife is gonna look like a cougar!"
I just thought that one was funny. He's such a great guy and
definitely makes me feel comfortable in the mission. I have learned so
much from his example in the 18 months I've been in Phoenix.
So Rusty and Liz, our two most progressing investigators, need to be
married before they can get baptized. Rusty got his approval from the
First Presidency, so that's their only barrier. They aren't too fond
of the idea of marrying, because they believe that they were put
together by God, they don't need to sign a paper....etc. which is a
legitimate concern! But we talked with them and said it's not our
rule—it's God's. They lightened up on the subject and Liz said, "Oh,
and there's one more problem....He's never asked me!!!" The mood
lightened up and we put them on date for March. We tentatively planned
March 12, but we're not sure when the wedding will happen so we'll
see! Anyway, great news!
I had to go to urgent care because of my sickness! My right ear is
completely plugged because of an "imbalance of pressure" or something
like that. I kinda wished it was something that could be treated, but
oh well. DayQuil and NyQuil have been my best friends. Plus I got
ID'ed when I bought NyQuil. I felt like an adult.
With my sickness I slept a lot. I never thought I'd ever say that I
was tired of sleeping, but I sure was after the second day of being
sick. Now that I'm a little better I can function more haha.
I'm going to attach a picture of the weather in my picture email. You
will all be jealous. Heck, I'm jealous for you!!
That was my week. Sorry it was short. I'm sure you'll get over it! ;)
I hope you all have a great week and stay strong. This week I will hit
my 18-month mark. o.o
Black Canyon Ward
Arizona Phoenix Mission
The district Elders Bryan, Plourde, Cespedes, Miller, Jones, Young,|
|Weather. Be jealous. ;)|
|Pday - getting some meds from a member friend|
|locked out of apartment:(|
|Me and Elder Plourde|
|Elder Bryan and Elder Plourde|
|Chilling in Urgent Care|
Yet another week has gone by on my mission. I have been in Arizona for
18 months now, and it is getting hot again for the third time on my
mission. This week was pretty normal, we contacted quite a few people,
people are progressing, and some are being dropped. Everyone always
thinks that all missionaries see is miracles. Part of that is true—we
do see miracles—but there are also hard times. The miracles and good
times outweigh them most of the time, though. Here are some of the
highlights of my week. Enjoy!
Rusty and Liz, our two most progressing investigators, are getting
married! When we first taught the Law of Chastity to them, they were
very firm in the fact that they don't need to be married. After we
talked with them more about it and explained the reasonings behind it,
they warmed up to the idea. After the lesson with them two weeks ago,
Rusty texted us and said, "I asked her—she said yes!" He then texted
us, "However, our wedding will not be the royal wedding she deserves."
We told them that the temple marriage that will come will be that
Royal wedding. They are actually excited about it now, which is really
cool to see. They have been coming to church every week and have
enjoyed meeting the members of the ward. Witnessing true conversion is
always a great sight.
Javier, the gospel principles teacher, was sick so we taught the class
on Sunday. Our ward is full of different personalities, so many
different personalities attend Sunday school. Most of the class is
made up of converts, so it's really cool to see their new spiritual
minds work. I'm grateful that the mission has taught me to be able to
teach with clarity the principles of the gospel. A lot of people say
that if you can't teach the gospel to a child, then you don't know the
gospel well enough.
This week we had dinner with two returning members, the Dazley's. They
hadn't been to church in a while and have been coming back. Brother
Dazley is working to advance in the priesthood. They're both making a
lot of progress! They feed us dinner every month, and we ate with them
this week. They invited their neighbor, Louise, to eat with us. They
made some super good tacos and afterward we taught about the
Restoration to Louise and bore testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book
of Mormon. Turns out she has dementia, which I realized right off the
bat when she told us the same story twice within 2 minutes. It
reminded me of the old times when my grandparents lived with us! The
Dazley's brought their friend to church this Sunday, too!!
I'm sure you've all heard me talk about one of the recent converts in
our ward, Christine. She has terminal cancer and was baptized 10
months ago. The doctors were predicting she would pass away last
September, so she has long outlived their expectations. She got some
good news this week! The First Presidency approved her to go to the
temple two months early to receive her endowment. So she will be going
to the temple next Tuesday, Feb 23rd! And she invited us to come too
and we got permission to go! I am so excited for her. I believe she
has held on this long for the opportunity to go to the temple in this
life. She is one of the most faithful people I have ever met! Pray for
her this week!!
Well, for Valentine's Day I wore a pink tie. That's about the extent
of my celebration. :)
The title of my email sums up the weather for this week. Mid 80's. No
sweaters needed. Next week it will hit 90°F. The heat is back! Woohoo!
Transfers next week:
I should be safe from transfers next week as Elder Young still has
another transfer of training. Our next pday will be Tuesday, but I
won't have a lot of time to email as we are going to the temple with
Christine around 2pm-ish.
That was the extent of my week! I hope all of you haven't forgotten
about me! I'll be home before you know it. Goodbye from Sunny Arizona!
Black Canyon Ward
Arizona Phoenix Mission
Hello, wonderful family and friends of mine! This was a great week.
The work here in Glendale is going great and I'm excited to be here at
least one more transfer. Oh yeah—im not getting transferred. Neither
is Elder Bryan or Elder Plourde, but they're getting another Spanish
missionary. They'll be in a tripanionship this transfer. Here was my
We got a very welcomed phone call on Thursday morning. Right after
studies we were just talking to our roommates and our phone rang. We
answered, and it was Elder Petty, our housing coordinator. He told us
that he was getting us out of our nasty apartment ASAP. He told us to
go look for another place to move, so we did! We found a super nice
complex in our area with some openings. Elder Petty came down and
signed some papers and made it official. He said, "I don't care if I
have to pay for a vacant apartment, we're getting you out of there."
We will hopefully move in on February 29th! Boom!!
We had a trainer/trainee meeting in Peoria on Friday. I got to see a
lot of the missionaries I miss dearly at the meeting. A couple I got
to see were Elder Thaut and Elder Rodriguez! It was great to see them.
At the meeting President Griffin gave some great training regarding
the most important things we do as missionaries. It was really
inspiring and made me want to do better!!
We participated in "Glendale's Day of Service" with our ward. Our
group was assigned to pick grapefruit off of trees in a local park.
The fruit was then donated to a local food bank. It was so fun to pick
all the fruit! We picked alongside of the Conn family, members of our
ward. We got to talk with them and build more trust! My arms were all
scraped up from the pointy things on the tree, though. Worth!!!
I was able to go on two exchanges last week! One with Elder Bryan (DL)
and one with Elder Gardner (ZL). While I was with Elder Gardner, we
visited Mike and Cindy, a recent convert and his girlfriend who isn't
a member. Well, not girlfriend anymore. THEY'RE ENGAGED! So that's
super cool!! I will send out a picture of them. Cindy is struggling
with the desire to be baptized, so we asked if she has truly prayed
about the Book of Mormon. She admitted that she hasn't, so we
committed them to kneel together as a couple and to pray to know if
the Book of Mormon is true. She said she would, so we'll find out how
that went this week!
I only have 4 transfers left on my mission. AHHHH IM NOT READY FOR
Whelp, it hit 90°F in February. It's gonna be a fun summer. #PrayForFlagstaff
That's about all that happened this week! We had some good lessons
with converts and less-active members, and we got two super good
self-referrals we will be following up on this week! Hopefully I'll
have some good news next week! :) OH, we finally got our new ward
mission leader after 7 weeks of being on our own. Brother Taylor, who
was the YM president is now our new ward mission leader. Yay! :) can't
wait to work with him.
Have a great week!
Black Canyon Ward
Arizona Phoenix Mission
|Elders Jones and Young|
|Deciding to buy a steak over a cheeseburger|
write this on the calendar!
|eating his yummy dinner... Thanks Chris!|
|Elder Plourde, body builder|
|Me with Mike and Cindy!|
|Mike and Cindy's engagement! Super cool!!|
|Elder Bryan on our exchange|
|Elder Thaut and me.|
It was such a wonderful week full of miracles. Hopefully we will be
moving sometime this week. I can't wait to get out of this apartment!!
Then our neighbors who think we're loud can have actual loud
neighbors! Anyway, here are the highlights from my week.
Temple with Christine
As I mentioned last week, one of our recent converts, Christine, went
through the Phoenix temple and received her endowment. Christine is
terminally ill and pretty much bedridden. Doctors were predicting she
would pass away last August. Despite her terrible condition, she made
it all the way through the session. Everyone was so patient and it was
truly a special experience for all who were there—especially
Christine. After the temple, we all went back to her apartment to
congratulate her and have cake. She had to go straight to bed because
she was in such bad shape afterward, but she said it was so worth it.
I'm so grateful I got to witness such a miracle. Christine is not
doing well now. She could pass on any day now.
Our roommates, Elders Plourde and Bryan, got an extra companion for
this transfer. Now there are five elders living in our apartment. The
new Elder is Elder Benolerão from New York City. He is Filipino and
hilarious. Luckily we're moving to a new place this week because it's
getting pretty crowded in here!!
This week we broke our dry spell and picked up two new investigators!
The first is Jamie, who we have taught before, but she just turned 9
recently so she is now "officially" an investigator! She is seriously
the smartest kid I have ever met. It amazes me how much she takes in
and understands. She committed to be baptized on May 13, which is her
late mother's birthday. It's really far away, but we didn't want to
spoil that special day for her. We know that day means a lot to her.
Our other new investigator is who we're super psyched to be teaching.
Her name is Michelle and she is a self-referral, which means she got
online herself and requested missionaries. She had talked to the
missionaries before in Nevada, but had lost contact. We stopped by
with our ward mission leader, Brother Taylor, and had a great lesson.
We basically just set expectations and asked about her past with God.
She just broke down crying and said she is so grateful that she found
the Church again. Right there, 5 minutes after meeting her, I felt
impressed to invite her to be baptized. I did, and she accepted the
invitation. She will be baptized on March 26, if not earlier. She is
the definition of a "golden investigator".
Zone Service Project
ghetto neighborhood. We helped the City of Phoenix clean up an alley.
It was a really small alley and it took two hours to clean it up. But
dang, it looked great(er) when we were done. We picked up trash, and
other things that probably shouldn't be mentioned by a missionary. We
also weeded the whole alley. Seriously, there were some pretty nasty
things left in that alley. No worries though—we wore gloves and masks.
We do a district meeting every week, but this one was really good! I
have a discussion on how to overcome big problems we have on our
missions. Some struggle with testimonies, homesickness, girls, etc..
And the best way to overcome those obstacles is to focus on
eliminating the smaller problems such as getting up on time, eating
healthier, using time wisely, etc.. When we work on those problems,
the Lord will trust us and help us with our bigger problems. I know it
really helped me!
It was about the same. About 82°F and sunny every day. It's getting
pretty warm! #PrayForFlagstaff
Well that was my week. I'd love to hear from you all! Very few people
understand how much an email from someone back home really means to a
missionary. Just over 5 more months and I'll be back in MO. Until
then, I'll be rocking it here in PHX.
Seriously though—email me! Now or sometime during the week! Not that
I'm demanding or anything... :)
Black Canyon Ward
Arizona Phoenix Mission
|With Elder Young at Phoenix Temple|
Blurry zone picture in the alley we cleaned up.|
Left to right: Elders Buckway, Bradley, Davenport, Katz, Plourde, Young, Gardner, Dawson, Conover, Jones, Bryan, Benolerão, Jones, Cespedes, Diamante
District pic. Top row: Jones, Dawson, Young, Diamante, Jones,|
Cespedes Bottom row: Plourde, Bryan, Benolerão
|Us with Frank, a recent convert.|
|Elder Young with a cat that hangs out by our apartment.|
HAPPY HALF BIRTHDAY TO ME!! Yep, I'm 20 1/2 today. ;) It was such a
crazy, long week! But SO worth it! We didn't have the opportunity to
teach a lot this week because of all of the other stuff we had to do,
but we still taught some good lessons and got a lot done. Anyway, here
As I mentioned in my last letter, we moved apartments on Tuesday!! We
didn't want to draw out the process, so we bit the bullet and did the
whole move in Tuesday. We got to the new place just as the workers
were finishing the place up. (That's how newly renovated it is...) New
sinks, countertops, floors, bathtubs, toilets, appliances—everything.
It's truly a miracle! Haha. Things just feel better here. It's safer,
quieter, and smells better. Definitely a better place to feel the
Spirit. Plus, the young men's president is our (kind of) neighbor! Too
bad he lives too far away to use his wifi, though!!
The day after our move we had mission tour. Half of the mission
gathered together to hear from a member of the First Quorum of the
Seventy, Elder Arnold. Let me tell ya, he's the next Elder Holland. He
was very bold and told us how we need to be better. Although he was
bold, he was still very loving. He focused a lot on getting the
members involved in the work and asking for referrals from everyone!
Things we already knew, but needed to be told again.
We are still working with the same people, but we picked up a couple
potentials this week so we will be seeing them more next week. The
golden investigator we found a couple weeks ago, Michelle, is
completely MIA. She's never home, doesn't reply to texts or
calls—nothing. Hopefully she'll respond back soon. Rusty and Liz are
still doing great. We met with them on Friday and reviewed the
baptismal interview questions and they understand and believe all of
the doctrine contained in the questions. They just need to get married
and boom! They'll get baptized!!
We were kind of bummed because we didn't get to see a lot of our
investigators this week due to moving and meetings, so we weren't
expecting a very large turnout to sacrament meeting this week. Well,
were we wrong!!! While we were at choir practice Rusty and Liz walked
in super early, which is normal for them. Right before sacrament
meeting started, Mike came in with his fiancée Cindy, who we're
teaching. The Sesay family came and brought their friend, Tru, who
were also teaching. Then, right before the sacrament, Jamie and her
mom and dad walked in!! We've been trying to get them to church for
months! Jamie is 9 and is an investigator, and her parents are
less-active. Our only concern for them has been resolved! Plus a
couple other less-active members we've been working with showed up. It
was a great Sunday to be a missionary! Also, we heard that Sister
Casagrande, the French missionary from France, will be transferred to
the Phoenix North Stake to open a new French area. I know she will do
well there, but we will definitely miss her being in the ward! All the
members just love her.
On Saturday I went on exchanges with our roommates, Elders Plourde and
Benolerão. Elder Bryan went with Elder Young in our area. It was the
first time I've been in a tripanionship other than when Elder
Fernandez left me companionless for two days when he went to
Argentina. The exchange was a blast! We taught some people—well, they
taught some people; I watched—and we just had a great time. We have
some great missionaries serving in this zone. I'm fortunate to serve
Yep, it's been in the mid 70's all week. We couldn't have had more
beautiful weather for the move.
That was mostly what happened this week! I doubt many of you read this
far in the letter anyway haha. Love and miss you all! 5 more months
till I'm home!
Black Canyon Ward
Arizona Phoenix Mission
|Our last night in the old apartment. ALL SLEEP IN THE LIVING ROOM!|
|A member's cat likes me.|
|Elder B thinks he's buff|
|Our balcony of our new place! Taken today.|
|Multi zone conference w/ General Authority|
Greetings from Glendale! We had a really great week. Lots of meetings
and other fun stuff, plus 5 new investigators! Here was my week!
Here in the Arizona Phoenix Mission, we know NO BOUNDARIES! This week
I went out of the mission...twice! Elder Young was with our roommates
at a Spanish specialized meeting so I was with the zone leaders for
the day. President Griffin asked the zone leaders to go to Central
Phoenix to give someone a blessing in the hospital. Sooo.....I went to
central Phoenix! It was a fun day with the zone leaders! I rode a
hover board at their house and I owned it! Later in the week we had a
service project just south of our mission boundaries. We helped the
City of Phoenix clean out an alley in another rough neighborhood. We
painted over graffiti and cleaned up a lot of trash. It was fun!
We had interviews with President Griffin this week. I asked him what
his plans are for me for my last 3 transfers and he said, "I'm not
sure yet, but you've been in your area for a coon's age!" Hahah! I
love President Griffin. He is the man.
On Tuesday we went out with Brother Acedo, a member in the ward. Our
appointments fell through so we visited Amanda, who was a referral. We
knocked on her door and she answered and said, "Wow, crazy timing—my
dad just died today and I've been really sad..." We told her about the
Book of Mormon and gave her a copy. We invited her to read it and we
would be back next Wednesday. So that was a miracle!
The elders who cover the Rose Lane ward met a family who is interested
and is in our ward. We taught them the first lesson on Wednesday.
Their names are Lichelle and Devon and they are very interested in
learning more. Heck yeah!
Our roommates were walking through a complex in our area looking for a
Spanish guy, and they were searching for a dumpster to throw a bottle
away. They found the dumpster, threw it away, and heard someone yell,
"Hey Elders!" They went over to the guy, and it turns out Tony and
Cindra had just prayed asking to know what church they should attend.
Talk about a miracle!! So they had a great lesson and they came to
church on Sunday! They're looking to get back on the right path and
they are excited they found the Church. Such nice people. Oh—Tony grew
up in Joplin, MO. #Connections
Bon Voyage, Soeur Casagrande!
Unfortunately, Sister Casagrande, one of the French sisters in our
ward, got transferred to open a new French area in the Phoenix North
Stake—just over the I-17. It was sad to see her go! We have become
pretty good friends in the 4 months she was here. I know she'll do
great opening the new area.
We did a lot of street contacting this week, and a couple really stuck
out. At the beginning of the week we were visiting a returning member
named Jesse. His downstairs neighbor was sitting outside with his wife
and jokingly offered us a beer. I said no thanks, and struck up a
conversation somehow. We just talked for a good 15 minutes about what
missionaries do and he invited us to come back to talk to him more. It
was a really good meeting with him. Turns out he's looking for another
church to go to.
Another contact was on our way out of Jesse's apartment complex. We
talked with her and she said she's from Virginia. I told her my family
originates from Virginia and she told us she's from ROANOKE! Her
accent reminded me exactly of my mom's and grandma's. She was ecstatic
when I said my family is from there. She invited us back right there.
Making connections is one of the most effective ways to get invited
back! Crazy how many connections happened this week.
Lots of biking, and temps all the way up into the mid 90's. CRAZYYYY.
And it's only March............. #PrayForFlagstaff
Well, that's all that happened for the most part! It was a great week.
I hope all is well with everyone. Sorry for the late email. We've been
bowling! I'll attach pictures in a separate email. Love you all! :)
Black Canyon Ward
Arizona Phoenix Mission
|Zone Conference w/ Pres Griffin|
|French sisters- Bon voyage, Seour Casagrande! Left to right: Sisters Paul,|
Casagrande, me, Elder Young
|Zone Bowling activity|
|weekly selfie w/ a little photo bombing going on|
I hope all had a happy Easter. The Easter season is always a great
reminder of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. This week has been a tough
one for me. This letter might make a lot of people realize that
missionary work isn't always just miracles and happiness! Sometimes
everything goes wrong and everything seems to get on your nerves. This
was one of those weeks! But have no fear—The Lord never gives us
challenges or trials we can't handle. Boy am I thankful for that
I'll try my best to highlight some of the good things that happened:
Lichelle & Devin
We are teaching a new couple, Lichelle and Devin. They have struggles
with the word of wisdom and are kind of beat down by that. We went
over there this week and shared a message on the Atonement of Jesus
Christ and how It can apply to healing addictions. Lichelle had a hope
in her eyes that was undeniable. She felt the Spirit, and has a strong
resolve to change. It's a great sight to see.
It was a great Easter service. Probably the best part, though, was the
first speaker. Raphaël, the first French convert in the area,
delivered a powerful talk on the Atonement. Sister Haymond translated
the whole talk as he delivered it in French from the podium. The
Atonement has changed that family's life. They are living examples of
the word "convert".
This week was full of trials. Almost all of our lessons cancelled this
week, and I have felt pretty homesick the past couple of weeks and
honestly, I am getting super burnt out in this area. It's a great
place to serve, but I feel like I'm getting cabin fever in this little
chunk of the city. I've been here for nearly 9 months. I'm definitely
praying for change, but I will always accept God's will over mine.
Like I said earlier, the Lord never gives us too much to handle. We
just have to find a way to handle it.
Probably the highlight of the week was getting to go on an exchange
with Elders Plourde and Bryan in their (Spanish) area! Plus I got to
drive a little bit, which is a rare occurrence... It's
interesting—every time I go on exchanges in a Spanish area I seem to
pick up more of what is being said. This time I even prayed in Spanish
at the end of a lesson. I guess that's what happens when you're
surrounded by Spanish 24/7.
We had dinner with the Bleyl family. Sister Bleyl is Tongan, and a lot
of their family was there! Needless to say there was a ton of food.
Sometimes I think that "Tongan food" is just "a lot of food." That's
what I've gathered so far.
Too hot for March. Enough said.
That's about all that happened this week. Please pray for me to be
able to finish my mission strong. I don't want to coast, but it will
be so easy to do so. Have a great week everyone!! I love you!
Black Canyon Ward
Arizona Phoenix Mission
|Easter dinner with Tongan family|
|Elder Bryan with palm tree leaves...don't ask|
|Rare photo of Elder Jones driving!|
|Happy Easter!! :)|
I had another great week here in the APM. General Conference was
wonderful. If you didn't get a chance to watch, give it a look. You
won't regret it. We were able to teach quite a bit this week and have
some super fun experiences.
This morning we received the reward for accomplishing our zone-wide
contacting goal for the month of March. The reward was getting to
watch a movie with President Griffin as a zone. He came with movies
and we chose to watch "Freetown," which is about 6 Liberian
missionaries who had to escape Liberia due to rebel groups. It was
awesome hearing of how the Lord protects His missionaries. Those
Elders escaped with their lives multiple times. It was a super intense
movie. President bought us doughnuts so we ate as we watched.
Definitely a super fun morning spent together.
Of course, General Conference was wonderful from beginning to end. We
spent 10 hours total listening to living prophets, seers, and
revelators deliver us the word of God. General Conference as a
missionary is even more special. Even though some speakers speak on
finding a wife, getting married, and dating, each speaker delivers a
special spirit to missionaries. I'm so grateful for living prophets in
this day to instruct us. God has not shut the door. God has not
forgotten His children. He does not love His children in the past more
than he does now. He is literally "the same yesterday, today, and
"Thank you, missionaries!"
We had a very tender, special moment when Elder Young and I went and
taught Jamie, our 9 year-old investigator. We rode up and locked our
bikes like we always do, and knocked on their door. Jamie opened up
and asked if we saw the picture she drew in chalk on the driveway. We
didn't pay much attention to us, so she took us out front to show us.
She had spent 2 hours drawing us a picture that depicted the 3
kingdoms of glory (we taught the plan of salvation the week before and
drew pictures) and above it said, written in big, blue letters: "Thank
you, Missionaries!" It was impossible to wipe the smiles off our
faces! It was so precious! She said, "Wednesday's are usually the
worst days for me at school, so I always look forward to the
missionaries coming over and teaching me a happy message." She is Sooo
cool. I'll send a picture of her chalk drawing.
I just told you about Jamie. Needless to say she is doing great! We
are now teaching a guy named Rob. He is the husband of a member of the
ward. She isn't active, but they want to be married in the temple and
are willing to do anything to do so. They really enjoyed conference!
We are going to invite Rob to be baptized on a specific date tonight.
Go away summer....this week it is supposed to be in the mid 90's. We
haven't seen rain since January. Ha.
Well, that was my week! Sorry my letter was kinda short. Just a lot of
Conference! I hope everyone who watched came away with their
testimonies strengthened. I know I did. Thank you all for the prayers
on my behalf. Just 4 more months to go and I'll be back on good old
MO. I'll know transfer news by next pday which will be next Tuesday.
Black Canyon Ward
Arizona Phoenix Mission
|Elders reading menu at Culver's|
|Apartmentship being fed by their favorite member Chris!|
|Elder Plourde and Elder Bryan|
|Elders Benolerão,, Young, Jones, Plourde, Bryan|
|Zone: After watching "Freetown" this morning!|
Left to right: Elders Gardner, Bryan, Diamante, Buckway, Benolerão,
Dawson, Davenport, Katz, Jones, Plourde, Conover, Jones, Cespedes,
|Jamie and her picture!|
|10 minutes after we found out I'm getting transferred. Elders|
Rodriguez, me, and Bryan.
|Juan! He just put in his mission papers! A convert of 2 years.
Gonna miss him.
|Right before Frank's ordination!|
|Normal zone picture|
|Brother Taylor, our ward mission leader.|
|Rusty and Liz have a lot of cats. I said, "bring me your favorite|
cats." And we took a picture. :)
|The Stanleys! One of my favorite families!|
|Rusty and Liz after stake conference. I'm going to miss these people so much.|
|The Sesay crew! (Missing 6 of the crew...hahaha)|
Note from Momma- Elder Jones is being transferred to Buckeye, AZ. It is SW of where he is now and is the most western city of the Phoenix area. It has a population of 6,500! We will have an address next week.
Greetings from my new area in Buckeye, Arizona! I love it here! My new
companion is Elder Sumsion. He goes home in six weeks. We get along
really well!! Here was my week!
Well, I knew where I was going so transfers were pretty low stress.
All of my favorite elders in Glendale came by to say goodbye before
Elder Bryan and I left... I was really happy when I found out that
Elder Wille was going to my old area. The ward will love him.
So I am serving in the Buckeye 1st Ward and the Sundance Ward. Buckeye
is a lot different from Glendale. Fewer crazy people, fewer methheads,
fewer crazy drivers, and the list goes on and on. We live with a
member family, the Maxwells. They have 6 boys, the youngest two are 16
and twins and they still live at home. The rest are grown. The area is
half rural, half suburbs. Almost all of the houses are in brand new
developments so that's pretty cool. I am the driver, and I have the
privilege of driving a 2015 white Ford Fusion! So much better than
biking! And just in time for the summer. President Griffin said I'll
be here for the rest of my mission so that's good.
So far my time here has been great. We've spent a lot of time visiting
ward leaders to introduce me to them and to ask who we can visit.
Elder Sumsion has only been here 6 weeks and was doubled-in with a
trainee. So we both don't really know the area all that well. We have
been able to find some part member families to work with and get to
know a lot of the ward leadership. They seem to like me which is good.
When they ask us how long we've been out and I say 20 months and Elder
Sumsion says 23 months, it almost instantly builds trust. Two
On Sunday we were just sitting down right before Buckeye 1st Ward
started and in walks 5 people: an older guy, his wife, and three
boys—ALL of them had mullets except the mom. I turned to Elder Sumsion
and said, "Hooooooly mullets.." He laughed and the bishop's wife went
up and talked to them. She turned to us and mouthed "they aren't
members!" So we talked with them and got their info and sent their
info to the zone leaders. They're excited!!
I can't really remember much about what else happened, but know that
I'm doing well and I'm enjoying being out here "in the sticks" as
someone at church described it. My new address is:
Elder Kevin Jones
23429 W. Hopi St.
Buckeye, AZ 85326
You can send letters, packages, anything there and I will get it. I
love you all and hope you keep being awesome! Just 3 1/2 more months!
Buckeye 1st & Sundance Wards
Arizona Phoenix Mission
|Elder Jones w/ his new companion Elder Sumsion|
|Bye, Elder Plourde!|
|Bye, Elder Young!|
|Bye, Elder Bryan!|
|My home for the rest of my mission!|
|Our area. :)|
|The district! Left to right: Elders Weston, Ockey, Thaut, Price, Jones, Sumsion|
"How Did You Know That?!"
We had a really great week here in Buckeye! Lots happened and we
reached most of our proselyting goals! I'll try to put everything into
We found two new people to teach this week!! Both are pretty cool
stories. The two people we found are James and Stephanie.
-James: James is the new husband of a member. He is a really cool guy.
He works on bicycles and is really good at what he does. James was in
a very serious car accident a few months ago which has hindered his
mobility. He can still get around, but he's very slow and steady. The
accident didn't affect his funny personality, however. He cracks
jokes, laughs, and still has a great time. He came to church last
Sunday and had a lot of questions about the Book of Mormon and Joseph
Smith. We were able to teach him the Restoration and he understands it
all now. He is excited to learn more.
-Stephanie: Okay, this story is pretty cool. Monday night we were
visiting the Hert family, who are less-active. We park, go inside, and
sit down and talk for a little bit. Right before we say the opening
prayer, someone knocks on their door. Sister Hert answers the door and
then says, "Uh, Elders, the solar salesman wants to talk to you." We
go over there, and the solar salesman, Jared, talks to us. He said he
saw us walk inside. He had just finished selling solar to a lady up
the street and he had a great conversation about the Church with her.
He told us we should stop by and give her a Book of Mormon. So...we
went by the next day! She answered and was a bit confused about who we
were. We told her we were missionaries and Jared sent us. She let us
in and we talked with her for a little bit and set up a return
appointment. We went back on Saturday and she was there waiting for
us. She invited us in and we had a great lesson with her. She had read
the whole Restoration pamphlet and had started reading the Book of
Mormon. She had lots of questions about it so we did a brief rundown
of the book. As we were talking about Moroni burying the plates, she
said, "Oh! Moroni is the son of Mormon, right?" Mine and Elder
Sumsion's jaws dropped. We both laughed and said, "How did you know
that?!" She said that she remembered it from reading. So this must be
what it's like to have a solid investigator. Haha! We continued on and
taught a little more about the Book of Mormon and set up another time
to visit her. Yeah—she's solid.
I was able to go on an exchange with Elder Thaut in his area. It was
great getting to be his companion again, even if it was just for a
day!! He serves out in west Buckeye, the third biggest area in the
mission. They live with members in the middle of nowhere—off a dirt
road, and off THAT dirt road. It was super fun riding around in the
middle of nowhere. There are lots of crazy people out there. I'm glad
I serve in the more affluent part of Buckeye. :) We taught a couple
lessons and reminisced about when we were companions.
For those of you who don't know, my companion, Elder Sumsion, is a big
workout freak. I've always wanted to get bigger, but never had much
motivation to work out. With Elder Sumsion's help, I have started
working out morning and night! I'm not doing anything too intense, but
enough to feel and see results hopefully. Well, it's not very intense
for Elder Sumsion...it's pretty intense for me! Needless to say I'm
not very good at working out, but he's helping me a lot! My arms are
almost always super tired. So that's that.
We went over to one of our investigator's house to help her with her
yard. She's an older lady with a lot of health problems so she can't
get out much. She is a smoker, so every time we go over there to teach
we always have to come home and change and shower before we go out
again. Anyway, we were just pulling weeds and trimming her hedges when
a van pulls up. Two ladies got out and walked in. They were Jehovah's
Witnesses! They didn't really see who we were because we weren't in
our shirts and ties, just our tshirt and shorts. We went in to get
some water and they saw our name tags. After we introduced ourselves
one of the ladies said, "Well, we were just finishing up anyway. We'll
see you folks later." And they left hahah! I guess that's all it
takes. I kinda wanted to sit in on their "lesson"...would have been
It has been pretty hot this week! Man, being in a car makes the days
go by so much faster. I feel like I'm able to get more done too. Like
nobody walks the roads here in Buckeye so it's not like we miss
talking to very many people. Sometimes Elder Sumsion and I get out and
walk around a little to talk to people. It's pretty fun!
So that's about all that happened this week. We got to teach quite a
bit and do some service. I'll attach a couple pictures of our zone
hike this afternoon. Hopefully we'll have another successful week this
week. Elder Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles will be here
to speak to our mission on Thursday afternoon....hopefully he doesn't
send me home! Just kidding, Mom, calm down :) Have a great week
Buckeye 1st & Sundance Wards
Arizona Phoenix Mission
|Looks like Arizona. Dirt, dirt, random brush, cacti, dirt|
|Elder Weston gave me a piggy back ride!|
|Elder Thaut's area (the boonies)|
|On exchanges with Elder Thaut (THE CAR IS NOT MOVING DON'T WORRY.....)|