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    0 0

    --Citrus Attack!--
    Week 80- 78 weeks in Phoenix Mission- 30 weeks in Glendale

    Dear friends and family,

    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
    week!


    Housing
    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!!

    Reunited
    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!!

    Fruit Picking
    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!!!

    Exchanges
    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!

    Winding down
    I only have 4 transfers left on my mission. AHHHH IM NOT READY FOR
    REAL LIFEEEEE

    Weather
    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!


    Much love,

    Elder Jones
    Black Canyon Ward
    Arizona Phoenix Mission


    weekly selfie

    Elders Jones and Young 

    Elder jones

    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.


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    Temple Miracle---
    Week 81, 79 weeks in Phoenix Mission, 31 weeks in Glendale

    Dear friends and family,

    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.

    Tripanionship
    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!!

    New Investigators
    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
    On Friday, our whole zone participated in a service project in a really
    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.

    District Meeting
    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!

    Weather
    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... :)


    Much love,


    Elder Jones
    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.

    weekly selfie


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    The Chipotle Miracle!
    Week 82-  80 week in Phoenix Mission-  32 weeks in Glendale

    Dear friends and family,

    We had a pretty normal week! Sorry if this email is super lame. But
    I'll do my best to make it great! Here goes.

    Baptisms
    The French Sisters had two baptisms on Saturday! Two more of the
    Mwanamulenda family were baptized. So far the four of them have been
    baptized and there are more to come. They are truly an amazing family.
    The two who were baptized, Christine and Macinda, are 12 and 10. They
    only speak Swahili!! As if there wasn't a big enough language barrier
    with French! The ward is doing well with accommodating their needs,
    though. Raphaël, the first to be baptized, was just called as the
    French gospel principles teacher. I see a French branch coming really
    soon. I am so grateful to be a part of this incredible miracle. The
    gospel will be preached to everyone; the Lord's promise is being
    fulfilled here in the Black Canyon Ward.

    Chipotle Miracle
    So I know this is a really lame thing to put in my email, but it was
    pretty funny how it happened. Two days ago we got a coupon in the mail
    for a free burrito from Chipotle. We were figuring out who would get
    it since there are five of us in the apartment. Elder Plourde won the
    coupon after we drew names out of a hat, so we headed out. We saw
    another coupon on the ground, and two more on the top of the trash!!
    So that left one person not having a coupon. Elder Young volunteered
    to pay for his, so we were in line getting our burritos and a guy from
    the back of the line comes up and says, "I'm paying for all five of
    these guys." Just a tender mercy!! Such a nice guy.

    Doctor
    I went to urgent care again this week because I have had the same
    cough for about 3 months. When I told the doctor how long I had the
    cough, she looks at me and says, "Don't you think that's a little
    long??" I told her that the last urgent care said I was fine. She said
    that was stupid and she put her stethoscope to my lungs and told me to
    cough. She said, "OH YEAH, you're sick" and she prescribed me
    antibiotics. I guess I had bronchitis after all! So I'm feeling a lot
    better now. The cough has almost stopped. Woohoo!

    Investigators
    Our investigators are all still doing well. Not much to report on
    them. Mike and Cindy got new jobs paying double what they were making
    before, which is great for them since they've been struggling a little
    bit! He said the Lord is blessing them more than they can comprehend.
    I hope Cindy will notice those blessings and become even more
    interested in the Church.

    Weather:
    The weather has cooled down a little bit. Every day has been the upper
    70's and sunny. Yep, we're spoiled. Not for long, though!

    Moving
    So we get to move tomorrow! I'm so excited to get out of this
    apartment! This new one is so much better. I can't wait.


    Well, that was my week. We have a ton of meetings/trainings/other
    stuff going on next week so it should be jam packed with cool stuff!!
    Have a great week, everyone!


    Much love,

    Elder Jones
    Black Canyon Ward
    Arizona Phoenix Mission

    Elder Jones and Elder Young at Culver's w/ Chris

    waiting for meds

    Dr. checking him out

    Not sure what she is doing

    waiting for meds

    trying to look happy

    Me and my best friend, Sammy. I love little dogs!!!
    I'm the only 
    missionary she will come up to.

    Elders Bryan and Benolerão with their ukes!

    Elder Jones and Elder Jones! They are in the same district!

    Weekly selfie



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    Crazy Week!--
    week 83-  81 weeks in Phoenix Mission-  33 weeks in Glendale


    Dear friends and family,

    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
    goes!


    New Apartment
    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!!

    Mission tour
    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.

    Investigators
    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!!

    Miracle Sunday!
    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.

    Exchange
    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
    around them!

    Weather
    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!


    Much love,

    Elder Jones
    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.


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    Multi zone conference w/ General Authority
    Defying Mission Boundaries!--
    Week 84-- 82 weeks in Phoenix mission-- 34 weeks in Glendale

    Dear friends and family,

    Greetings from Glendale! We had a really great week. Lots of meetings
    and other fun stuff, plus 5 new investigators! Here was my week!


    No Boundaries
    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!

    Interviews
    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.

    New Investigators
    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.

    Cool contacting
    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.

    Weather
    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! :)


    Much love,


    Elder Jones
    Black Canyon Ward
    Arizona Phoenix Mission

    Zone Conference w/ Pres Griffin



    lunch

    Zone

    silly zone




    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



    0 0

    Trying Week!-- 
     Week 85-  83 Weeks in Phoenix mission-- 35 weeks in Glendale

    Dear friends and family,

    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
    knowledge!

    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.

    Church
    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".

    Trials
    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.

    Exchange
    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.

    Easter dinner
    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.

    Weather
    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!
    #PrayForFlagstaff!


    Much love,


    Elder Jones
    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!! :)

    weekly selfie


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    Freetown -- 
    86 Weeks, Week 84 in Phoenix Mission, 36 Weeks in Glendale

    Dear friends and family,

    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.


    Freetown
    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.

    General Conference
    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
    forever."

    "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.

    Investigators
    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.

    Weather
    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.
    #PrayForFlagstaff


    Much love,


    Elder Jones
    Black Canyon Ward
    Arizona Phoenix Mission

    Elders reading menu at Culver's

    Apartmentship being fed by their favorite member Chris!

    Drink line

    Elder Jones

    Elder Jones

    Elder Young

    Elder  Benolerão,

    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,
    Young, Bradley.

    Jamie and her picture!

    Selfie


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    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


    Zone

    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!

    Bye, Cesar!

    Rusty and Liz after stake conference. I'm going to miss these people so much.

    The Sesay crew! (Missing 6 of the crew...hahaha)

    New Experiences

    Week 87,  85 Weeks in Phoenix, 37 Weeks in Glendale

    Dear friends and family,

    The time has finally arrived that I will be leaving Glendale and transferred to another area. On Friday, President personally told me that I will be leaving. It was a pretty funny experience—I will write it out in this letter. As the title states, this week was full of new experiences for me. And the future will also hold "new experiences" according to President Griffin. Here was my week!


    Trainer/Trainee Meeting
    On Friday, we all loaded up in our roommates' Corolla and drove up to the Peoria North stake center for the trainer/trainee meeting. I always love meetings where we get to be instructed by President Griffin. The meeting really focused on being obedient and not complaining when hard things arise. "Putting your head down and working." President Griffin took the last 30 minutes of the meeting to instruct us. At the beginning of his discussion, he said, "Elder Jones, come up here." I was sitting in the last row with Elder Rodriguez. I was a bit puzzled, because it was extremely random that he told me to come up. I get up there and he puts his arm around me and looks out at the group of 40-ish missionaries. He says, "Everybody, this is Elder Jones. You probably don't know much about him, but he's a good missionary. He's a quiet, gentle missionary. And he's been in his area for quite a while—BUT HE'S GETTING TRANSFERRED. He's just finding out a little before you all." I was shocked. He continues, "And how long have you been a biking missionary?" I said, "My whole mission—20 months." He looks at me and smiles, "And HE'S GETTING A CAR, TOO!" Then I gave him the biggest hug ever. In front of everyone. Haha! He then went on to explain how no one has the right to complain about being on a bike. After I sat down he added a comment, "He never complained to me once—you think your President doesn't notice that stuff. He does. Thank you, Elder Jones." 
    It was a very interesting experience I definitely won't forget!! 

    Bedbugs scare
    One morning in the beginning of the week I woke up with nine crazy huge bites on my arm. Over the course of the day my arm swelled up big time. It was one of the worst experiences of my life! They itched like crazy, and my whole arm felt like it was going to fall off! We called the housing coordinator about having our apartment sprayed. He hooked us up with a member who did it for free for missionaries. So he came, flipped our beds, and said that he didn't see any traces of bedbugs, so we either didn't have them, or they're really fresh. He said either way it should be easy to treat them now. Phew! Luckily I haven't gotten any more bites—we were seriously contemplating going to the ER. I'm seriously allergic to whatever bit me.

    Ordination
    We had stake conference this week which is always wonderful. I had a very, very special experience after the conference. One I will never forget—another new experience for me. Let me tell you a little about Frank Gomez first. He is a member in our ward who has been married to a member for 27 years. He was always a die hard Catholic. He was one year away from becoming a Catholic Priest. He would attend church with his wife for 25 years. He was well known at church, just not a member. Well, about a year ago, a bold missionary told him he would be baptized. He said, "okay" and he said he felt a rush go through him. He had accepted a baptismal date. He was committed. He was then baptized last May. I got to the ward in July and have been teaching him the new member lessons since then. He and I have grown very close. Anyway, he was presented before the Conference to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. After the conference we all gathered in the little bishop's office and he said, "Elder Jones, I would be honored if you would ordain me into the Melchizedek Priesthood." I was shocked. His baptism missionary was there. His absolute best friend is the bishop and he was there. And he chose me. It was such a special experience to bestow the Priesthood upon someone I love so much. I met with him that night and gave him a copy of my line of authority. 

    Stake Conference
    We had a really wonderful stake conference. Elder Johnson of the Seventy came and addressed us. One thing really stuck out to me during the Saturday session. He was talking about having "No other Gods", the first commandment in the 10 Commandments. He started talking about English, so I naturally perked up. :) He said, "There are no such things as PRIORITIES." You can not have plural priorities. If you do, then you don't really have a priority. If God isn't your priority, you are breaking His first commandment. Wow! What a profound statement. The Spirit definitely spoke to me that I need to continue trying to make Him my first priority. Always. 

    Zone Meeting
    As you can tell, we had a week full of meetings. Sometimes that can be sad and boring, but I enjoyed every one of them. As the zone leaders Elder Gardner and Elder Katz were presenting their discussion, they randomly said, "Who in here wants some Taco Bell?" Of course I raised my hand. Everyone but a few raised their hand. They told everyone who wanted Taco Bell to go into the library. The zone leaders came in and gave each of us a pass-along card. Some were yellow, but Elder Plourde got a red one, and Elder Conover was denied one all together! So we went into the commons room where a member was taking our cards to enter the room with Taco Bell. Elder Plourde was denied access to the room because his card was different. And Elder Conover couldn't enter because he didn't have a card at all. As we are partaking of the glorious Taco Bell, we know there are others who unfairly didn't receive any. They likened it to us as missionaries. Sometimes we deny people the gospel by not talking to them. By not inviting them to partake of the tree of life which is the gospel. Another profound lesson learned.

    Impact
    Although I am so ready to get transferred, I have been reflecting on all of the lifetime friends I have made here in this area. Those friends range from youth, adults, missionaries, leaders—everything. This area has taught me to be patient. It has taught me to not judge others according to the circumstances they're in. It has taught me to be a better teacher! Sometimes you don't  know how much of an impact you've made until you're packing up and leaving. I will hopefully be returning a few times to witness the baptisms of those I have taught. Jamie will be baptized in the beginning of May, and Rusty and Liz will be baptized soon too. Plus a couple more. I love being a missionary. There's no place I'd rather be right now. 

    Exchange
    Elder Bryan and I went on one last exchange last night. He is someone I will for sure stay in contact with after the mission. We get along so well. Most likely the next time I'll see him is in the mission home when we go home. On our exchange while I was gone, Elder Young put one of our investigators on a baptismal date. Yep, the area is in gooood hands. :)

    Baptism
    This week we had another French baptism. This time, the daughter of Raphaël, Louise. She was very excited to be baptized and anyone who was there could have felt that sweet spirit. It's been amazing seeing this family of FAITH come into the Church. They have had way more trials than they deserve, but the Lord works in mysterious ways. He knows what he's doing. And this family has benefited from their perseverance through their trials. 


    Well, that's about what happened this week! I have to pack today and I'm not feeling too well so I might not get a chance to email much. But I'll do what I can. Hopefully next week you'll hear that I'm in Flagstaff :)
    #PrayForFlagstaff


    Much love,


    Elder Jones
    Black Canyon Ward
    Arizona Phoenix Mission


    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.






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    Buckeye Fever!--
    Week 88-  86 weeks in Phoenix- 1 week in Buckeye

    Dear friends and family,

    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!

    Transfers
    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.

    Buckeye
    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
    veterans! Haha.

    Mullets
    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!

    Elder Jones
    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. :)

    weekly selfie


    The district! Left to right: Elders Weston, Ockey, Thaut, Price, Jones, Sumsion

     

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    "How Did You Know That?!"

    Week 89- 87 Weeks in Phoenix Mission--  2nd week in Buckeye

    Dear friends and family,

    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
    words.


    New investigators
    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.

    Exchange
    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.

    Working out
    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.

    Yard work
    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
    fun. :)

    Weather
    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
    everyone!


    Much love,


    Elder Jones
    Buckeye 1st & Sundance Wards
    Arizona Phoenix Mission

    Looks like Arizona. Dirt, dirt, random brush, cacti, dirt

    Elder Weston gave me a piggy back ride!

    Bolo tie!

    Elder Thaut's area (the boonies)

    On exchanges with Elder Thaut (THE CAR IS NOT MOVING DON'T WORRY.....)

    weekly selfie!
     

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    Disappointment Central -Week 90- 
    88 Weeks in Phoenix mission- 3 weeks in Buckeye

    Dear friends and family,

    Well this week was a huge disappointment. All is well, it just seemed like everything that could go wrong did go wrong! We had a couple good lessons which made this week alright. We also did some service for a couple people.

    Elder Holland and Elder Robbins.....yeah about that.....
    Thursday was the long awaited day that I would finally meet an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ! While on my mission I have been able  to meet various Seventies, Area Seventies, and other Church leaders. But Thursday the anticipation was thick because of the special guests—Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the Presidency of the Seventy.  We arrived early to the Glendale North stake center and began to place ourselves for the picture when the Brethren would arrive. In walked Elder Robbins and President Griffin. They said Elder Holland's plane had a minor delay, and that he would be here shortly. We took the picture and filed into the chapel after meeting and shaking hands with Elder Robbins. I took my seat next to Elder Bryan—whom I miss dearly—and began preparing for the meeting. President Griffin got up to the pulpit to start the meeting and said, "Elders and Sisters, I have some disappointing news...Elder Holland's plane is still delayed.  He won't be able to make it in time for our meeting." We were all devastated. Elder Robbins told us that when Elder Holland heard that he wouldn't be able to make it to speak to us, he was devastated too.  The meeting went on and Elder Robbins taught very powerfully about agency and responsibility being linked together. The two doctrines cannot be separated. We have the agency to choose what we do, but we
    don't have the agency to choose whether or not we are responsible. It was a GREAT discussion and it was well needed throughout the mission.  We could tell that Elder Robbins was trying to stall the meeting in hopes that Elder Holland would arrive in time to meet us. At about 4:45, Elder Robbins received an email that Elder Holland had landed in Phoenix and was 45 minutes away. We all got SO excited. Elder Robbins said that he had to close the meeting. We were all devastated again.  Twice in one day! He was coming to speak to the single adults in the area and wanted to speak to the missionaries before then. Just saying....we would have had plenty of time. But it wasn't my call! So we all went back to our areas, and a member of the Twelve Apostles arrived 10 minutes after we left. Talk about a heartbreak... Thank goodness Elder Robbins's message was on point.

    Investigators
    Our investigators are doing well. Stephanie is still keeping all of
    her commitments which is so cool! She was wondering how she would recognize the Spirit when she prays about the Book of Mormon. We explained to her how the Spirit feels. I felt impressed to tell her that if she feels good when we come by, that's the Spirit speaking to her. Her eyes got big and she said, "I was just thinking about how I have been feeling since you guys started coming over....I feel so much better! I really want this to be true!" The Lord is showing Himself in her life which is so cool to watch.  Our other investigators are doing well, but not much to mention.

    Service
    We did lots of yard work this week. One was with a less active family.  He was really grateful and actually came to church yesterday! He's trying to get his life together and it seems like he's going to the right place to help. His son, Dalton, is 18 and also looking to do better. He is going to come with us to a few lessons this week which will be so fun! He's a nice guy!!


    That's about all that happened. Have a great week!


    Much love,


    Elder Jones
    Buckeye 1st & Sundance Wards
    Arizona Phoenix Mission

    Elder Jones and Elder Sumsion

    storm is coming! Looks like MO!

    The best apartmentship reunited at the mission conference with
    (not)Elder Holland! Elder Clough, Thaut, me, and Rodriguez!

    weekly selfie

    Whole mission waiting for Elder Holland

    Official Mission Picture
     

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    Under 100 Days!!---week 91, 
    - 89 weeks in Phoenix Mission, - 4 weeks in Buckeye

    Dear friends and family,

    We had a really great week. It was pretty crazy. I'll just get right into it.


    Crazy Sunday
    This Sunday was unlike any Sunday I've had on my mission. We were
    asked to teach sharing time during primary in Sundance, both junior
    and senior. So we were kinda stressing about that but we knew it would
    be fun. We have Buckeye 1st Ward first, so we went to church and right
    before sacrament meeting started we got a text at 9am from the
    Sundance bishop asking if we could fill in for someone who cancelled
    their sacrament meeting talk last minute. Uhhh, sure.... So we had an
    hour to scramble together something to say. We spoke in sacrament
    meeting—on Mother's Day—last minute. I felt pretty good about it,
    considering I've spoken on either Mother's Day or Father's Day since I
    was 12....including my mission. (I spoke on Father's Day last year...)
    Then we went in to primary and spent church in there. Man, primary is
    so fun! Kids have the sweetest testimonies. After church so many
    people came up to us and thanked us for all we did. So we gained a ton
    of trust in just one Sunday. Moral of the story: Help the ward! After
    church we got to skype our families! It was great getting to see
    everyone again. The next time I see them it will be in an airport!
    That's such a crazy thought. Mother's Day was also my 100-days-left
    milestone. Sunday was great.

    Exchange
    I led the area for the first time with Elder Price. I served with him
    in Glendale, too, so it was a fun reunion. He got to meet most of our
    investigators! We had a great lesson with Stephanie about the Plan of
    Salvation. She had tons of questions that we were able to answer. She
    said that she never understood Adam and Eve, and everything clicked
    when we explained that it was part of God's plan. She has also never
    understood why a loving God would only prepare two places: Heaven, or
    Hell. She loved the idea of the Kingdoms of glory. She is reading the
    Book of Mormon, the Bible, and the pamphlets we leave with her. She is
    progressing well. We had dinner and watched the Joseph Smith movie
    with another investigator, James, and his wife who is a member. Then
    we helped Ruth, another investigator, clean up the remains of her yard
    sale. In the rain. It was pretty miserable, but fun! (You won't
    understand unless you're a missionary!)

    Zone Conference
    It wasn't my favorite meeting, but it was great. Our whole district
    wore pink ties, pink wristbands, and pink socks in support of Elder
    Price's mom who was just diagnosed with cancer. Here in the Buckeye
    District we have true unity! The meeting was all about how we're
    called to be "fishers of men." We need to keep our lines in the water
    as much as we can so we can find those who have been prepared to
    receive the gospel. President Griffin taught us more about how to work
    better with members. He always relates it to his business in Montana.
    I got to say goodbye to Elder Gardner, who will be going home in two
    weeks. I'm gonna miss that guy. (Oh, and by the way, I drove all the
    way up to Surprise on a major interstate. I know you don't believe it,
    Mom!)

    Weather
    Well, it broke 100°F this week and I've never been more grateful to be
    in a car. Haha!


    That was my week, sorry it was a little short. We are teaching quite a
    few people right now and I'm just loving it here in Buckeye. Thanks
    for all the support you send me! Speaking of sending me things, SEND
    ME A LETTER! Please!! :) My address is:

    Elder Kevin Jones
    23429 W. Hopi St
    Buckeye, AZ 85326

    Thanks for all your prayers. I love you all!


    Elder Jones
    Buckeye 1st & Sundance Wards
    Arizona Phoenix Mission
     
     
    Bye bye, Elder Gardner! :(

    Elder Bryan w/ Elder Jones

    Elders Thaut, Sumsion, Jones and Bryan

    The district at zone conference! Elders Ockey, Weston, Price,
    Thaut, Jones, Sumsion.

    lunch

    mukti Zone meeting

    Mother's Day Skype

    Our car! (Yes, Dad, I backed in.)

    Temperature.....

    Us at skype call from Kevin's end
     











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    He's Hearing Plane Sounds-week 92
    90 weeks in Phoenix mission, 5 weeks in Buckeye




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    --Buckeye is Home--Week 93--

     91 weeks in Phoenix Mission, 6 weeks in Buckeye area


     


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    Training: Round 3--Week 94, 
    92 weeks in Phoenix Mission- 7 Weeks in Buckeye

    Dear friends and family,

    A lot happened this week!! It feels like an eternity since last pday
    because of all of the stuff going on. Lots of changes happened out
    here in Buckeye. Here we go!

    New companion
    Elder Sumsion went home on Tuesday morning so I got a new companion on
    Wednesday! I spent Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday morning with Elders
    Price, Thaut, and Weston. Elder Ockey, Elder Weston's old companion,
    was just made the assistant to the president. Soooo Elder Weston and I
    both needed new companions. What happened was definitely not what we
    expected. Elders Thaut, Weston, and Price combined areas and are
    serving in a tripanionship (3 of them), covering 4 wards. YIKES. So
    needless to say they're really busy. I am training again for the third
    time. President Griffin My new companion is Elder Thames (pronounced
    "Tim's") and he's from Tucson, AZ! He is serving a three-month mission
    to see if he can handle the two year mission. So far he is doing
    great! I'm learning a lot from him. He's different from all of the
    companions I've had, but I really enjoy being with him. He's always
    happy and is SUPER grateful to be out on a mission. I'm excited to
    continue working with him. Because of the weird transfer, they moved
    the Spanish Hermanas into the Buckeye district, so we have 7 in our
    district now. It's weird having sister missionaries in my district; I
    haven't had them in my district since my first area, 18 months ago!

    Miracle knock
    We got out of our dinner appointment a little early on Elder Thames's
    first day in the area. We decided to knock on a referral's door that
    hadn't been home the past five or so times we've tried. We knocked,
    and she answered! And let us in! And accepted a return appointment! So
    we got a new investigator off Elder Thames's first contact! Pretty
    cool! Her name is Crystal and she came to church on Sunday!

    Sacrament
    Yesterday at church we were asked to help bless the sacrament because
    of the shortage of people at church because of the holiday! It was
    awesome to be able to do that again. I hadn't done it in 2 years!

    I don't really know much else that happened this week; we've basically
    been visiting members to get Elder Thames acquainted with them. We had
    a couple good lessons but nothing out of the ordinary. I'm looking
    forward to a great transfer! Have a great week everyone! :)


    Much love,

    Elder Jones
    Buckeye 1st & Sundance Wards
    Arizona Phoenix Mission

    Elder Jones & Elder Thames

    Elders Thaut, Weston, Price, Jones, Thames. Hermanas
    Zamora and Lawrence.




    Elder Thaut  always making faces!

    Selfie

    Memorial Day Root Beer Floats!  Thanks Brother Wright

    Helping at the transfer trailer!










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    Baby Cows and Korean Food!-- Week 95, 

    93 Weeks in Phoenix, 8 weeks in Buckeye

    Dear friends and family,

    This week was choc-full of fun stuff! Well, not really, but it was
    still fun. Lots of cancellations, but also a lot of happenings. Here
    we go.


    Baby cow
    I guess the proper word for baby cow is calf, but "baby cow" sounds so
    much better... Elder Thames hadn't met the Buckeye First Ward's bishop
    very well yet, so we stopped by on Tuesday evening. After talking for
    a little bit, they asked if we wanted to see their baby cow in their
    backyard. Uhh....YES?! Is that even a question? Well, apparently its
    mom died so they rescued him. His name is Jorge, and he is the cutest
    thing ever. He is being bottle fed and petted on an hourly basis. That
    thing is a pet! Bishop Gable said he won't be much of a pet when he
    gets 400 pounds! So anyway, it was a good night because I hugged a
    baby cow. Oh, and the bishop gave us some good referrals. That was
    good too! :)

    Korean food
    There is a member in the Sundance ward who served his mission in South
    Korea, Brother Dorrough. He is a super fun guy and loved his mission.
    Funny, I told him that my trainer, Elder Jeong, is from Korea and he
    asked his name and I showed him a picture....he knew him! From Korea!!
    Pretty small world, huh? But anyway, he had us over for dinner on
    Friday. One of his old missionary companions was visiting from Utah—he
    just so happens to be a freaking chef! So he and Brother Dorrough
    prepared an authentic Korean dinner for us. It was sooooooooo good! My
    favorite meal so far on my mission! I ate so much. Of course I got
    pictures. It just so happened to be his old companion's birthday, so
    we sang him happy birthday....in Korean. (Thanks, Elder Jeong, for
    teaching me that almost two years ago!!) It was a blast.

    Baptism
    Kinda a heartbreak for me, but it all turned out okay! So we have been
    teaching this 8 year-old kid, Morian, before he gets baptized to make
    sure he understands the Church because his family was less-active
    until now. His uncle is the only priesthood holder in his family, but
    he was going to be out of town for his baptism. So he asked me to
    baptize him!! We showed up to his baptism (it was stake baptisms, so
    there were three 8-year-olds being baptized) and I got dressed in my
    baptismal clothes. Turns out his uncle was able to make it! So I
    changed again! Nevertheless he got baptized and he gave me a big hug
    afterward and said, "Thanks for teaching me, Elder Jones!" With a big
    smile. Yeah, it was special.

    Stephanie
    We've been working with Stephanie for a while now and she finally made
    it to a normal church service! (Not stake conferences....she had been
    to two of those...) She really enjoyed it and no one said anything
    blasphemous during testimony meeting which is always a scary thought
    when you have an investigator at church for the first time... She
    stayed all three hours and enjoyed all of it. She was the last one out
    of the relief society room after church was over because everyone
    wanted to meet her! The Sundance ward has some dang good
    fellowshippers.

    New Investigator!
    We have been doing pretty well at finding people the past couple
    weeks. It's a pretty slow area, so the fact that we have found 2 new
    investigators the past two weeks is big! We visited a Part member
    family and got in! Sister Quillin is not a member of the Church, and
    she has had the missionary lessons a couple times. The teaching
    records show that she struggles with faith a little bit, but she
    seemed pretty faithful. We shared a message about the Book of Mormon
    and its importance. She agreed that it is important and she committed
    to start reading again! It looks like we caught them at the perfect
    time. She had just been thinking about starting to read the Book of
    Mormon again, we showed up, shared a message about the Book of Mormon,
    and invited her to have us teach her. Plus, she's a teacher, so she
    has the summer off! She said things are falling together. I love when
    I notice when I'm being promoted by the Spirit to visit certain
    people, share certain messages, and so on. It's a great feeling.

    HOTTTT
    YEAH it's been so darn hot. Saturday was 117°! Last year it didn't get
    that hot until the end of July. This summer is gonna finish me off
    strong. Haha! At least I'm only in it for 5 minutes at a time, not 5
    hours at a time. ;) #CarLife


    Well that's about all that happened this week. Maybe a couple small
    things I forgot, but it's okay. It'll do! Have a good week, everyone!


    Much love,
    Jorge the baby cow

    The Korean FEAST with the Dorroughs!

    Yeah. It's hot.

    Brother Dorrough and me!

    Me and  baby cow. Bishop Gable lookin on in the background!  I love that guy!

    Buckeye/Goodyear zone conference!
    Left to right: Elders Thames, Thaut, Price, Weston, Jones, Romney,
    Petersen, Davis, Elliott, Dwigans, Jensen, Preisdent Griffin....
    Sitting: Hermanas Zamora, Lawrence, Lever, Sister Williams, Sister
    Griffin

    Weekly Selfie


    Elder Jones
    Buckeye 1st and Sundance Wards
    Arizona Phoenix Mission

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     Don't Be Toxic!!
     Week 96-  94 weeks in Phoenix Mission-  9 weeks in Buckeye

    Dear friends and family,

    Today marks a very surreal milestone. I entered the MTC 22 months ago
    today. Here's to two more months of sharing the gospel of Jesus
    Christ!!! It was a fairly average week, we just taught more than
    usual. Nothing spectacular!


    Lessons
    So we ended the week with 7 investigator lessons and 4 recent convert
    lessons which is super good for this area! I'll highlight our best
    lesson.
    Stephanie: She really enjoyed meeting members at church last week, so
    we brought the Marrs with us to a lesson. Sister Marr and Stephanie
    are just like the same person. I'm so glad the Spirit prompted us to
    bring them to a lesson! The Marrs picked her up for church and sat
    with her during church and relief society!

    New investigators
    We picked up two new investigators as well! We were visiting a recent
    convert family and they have some friends living with them. They
    agreed to have us teach them! They're pretty interested and they said
    they'd read and pray!

    Finding
    We spent a lot of time out and about trying to find new people to
    teach. We didn't find much immediate success from that, but the Lord
    definitely blessed us with a fruitful week! It's a great thing to be
    so close to so many members. And I haven't even been here very long!
    Hopefully next week we'll have more news about upcoming baptisms!

    Zone meeting
    We had a great zone meeting which focused on building unity in the
    zone. Recently people have been pretty tense and biting toward each
    other. I led a discussion on helping increase unity and communication.
    I introduced a League of Legends term, "toxic", to the zone. In
    League, "toxic" means you're being a bad sport, blaming everyone else,
    and just a jerk overall. No one wants to play with toxic players, and
    they almost always lose. So we applied that to missionaries. We can't
    be toxic!!
    #DontBeToxic

    That's about all that happened with my week! Sorry if it was kinda
    lame! Have a great week everyone! :)


    Much love,

    Elder Jones
    Buckeye 1st & Sundance Ward
    Arizona Phoenix Mission
     
    Weekly selfie

    Meeting w/ Chris

    Elders Thames and Jones

    The "TAG" picture

    Zone

    My love has returned to stores!

    "I'm beautiful inside!"

    The Zone
     


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    Little Kittens!!---Week 97-  
    95 Weeks in Phoenix Mission-  10 Weeks in Buckeye

    Dear friends and family,

    We had a great, great week. Lots of cool stuff happened and we have
    some pretty cool news!!

    HAPPY FATHER'S DAY AGAIN, DAD!!! :)

    Cool news
    We have been teaching Stephanie since my second week in Buckeye, so a
    couple months now. She has been eating everything up and accepting the
    gospel. She comes to church, and how we found her is just a pure
    miracle. (The solar guy story...if you haven't heard it, ask me and
    I'll tell you!) She's just hung up on one principle, but she is coming
    to terms with it. Well, we went by and talked to her about the 13
    Articles of Faith and had a good meeting with her. Later that night,
    she texted us asking if THIS COMING SATURDAY WOULD BE TOO EARLY FOR
    HER TO BE BAPTIZED? Of COURSE not!! Everyone is super busy so she
    won't be able to get her interview until Friday so it'll probably be
    the next Saturday, July 2. Nevertheless, she will be baptized and I
    will be here to see it. So exciting!!

    Little Kittens!
    On Monday we did a family home evening with a member family and after
    the lesson their 6 year old daughter came into the living room with
    two baby kittens!!! They were so dang cute! I got to hold them and
    watch them wrestle. Definitely the cutest thing ever. One of their
    names is Cuddles. Now if that's not the cutest name ever, I don't know
    what is. Totally worth the itchy eyes.

    The Frank's family baptism
    If you remember from my first email from Buckeye, I wrote about the
    family of five who walked in to sacrament meeting all with mullets.
    Well, we talked to them that Sunday and referred them to their ward
    and missionaries. They got baptized on Saturday!! The whole family! It
    was such a great baptism. Plus, Stephanie was able to go and see what
    a baptism is like. It was that night that she said she wants to be
    baptized. I'm sure that experience had a big impact on her.

    Exchange
    I was able to go on exchange with Elder Thaut's new companion, Elder
    Bies. (Pronounced Buys) He's from Utah and is finishing up his mission
    here after 15 months in England. He's a really funny guy so we had a
    blast. I even introduced him to Arizona's best drink—Mucho Mango.

    Raffa
    We've started teaching a young man named Raffa (that's his nickname)
    and he is doing great. He lives with members and is curious about what
    the Church believes. We have taught him twice now, and he is pretty
    solid! We invited him to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it and
    he said he would. We invited him to be baptized, and he's all for it
    if he received the witness that it's true. Well, let me rephrase that:
    WHEN he finds out it's true. :)

    Weather
    Yesterday was the hottest day of my mission so far. It was 120°F. I
    never want to endure a day like that again!


    Well, that's about all that I can remember! I hope you all had a great
    week. I'd love to hear from you all! Shoot me an email!


    Much love,

    Elder Jones
    Buckeye 1st & Sundance Wards
    Arizona Phoenix Mission

    The Maxwells' cat, April.

    Me with Cuddles!!

    120°F.......

    Weekly Selfie


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    'Is This A Dream?'--Week 98-- 
    96 Weeks in Phoenix mission--11 Weeks in Buckeye

    Dear friends and family,

    This has been the best week of my mission so far. Everything that
    happened just blew my mind! Hold on to your seats...


    Surprise!!
    On Monday evening the whole mission got an email from President
    Griffin telling us to be at the Glendale North stake center on
    Wednesday at 9:30. We needed to be in our seats no later than 9:30. He
    said that he received new trainings that he was excited to teach us.
    Confused on why we had such short notice, we cancelled some lessons
    and planned to go. When Wednesday came we drove the 40 miles up to
    Glendale North. We got there really early just in case traffic was
    bad. They directed all the missionaries into the gym to take a mission
    photo. I took my seat next to Elder Bryan, my bff missionary from
    Kaysville. Everyone was sitting and ready to go, but President Griffin
    wasn't there. The assistants to the president tell us all to be quiet
    and about 15 seconds later President and Sister Griffin walk in the
    door, and ELDER JEFFREY R. HOLLAND of the Quorum of the Twelve
    Apostles walks through the door behind them. WHAT.!?! Oh my gosh we
    all just about fell out of our seats. So he takes his seat (about
    three feet away from me...) and we take the picture. They go into the
    chapel to greet each of us and shake our hands. Guys, I shook the hand
    of my favorite Apostle. We then spent the next two hours listening to
    him speak to us. Since he couldn't make it a couple months ago, he
    said he had to make it up to us, so he came out for the day. Our
    Church leaders do care about us.
    One cool thing he said was this: "I always like shaking the hands of
    all the missionaries at a meeting like this. I loved it on my mission
    when I got to shake hands with a general authority. But I didn't
    really do it for you missionaries. I did it so I could personally
    interview each one of you as I looked each of you directly in the eyes
    and STARED INTO YOUR SOULS." He said, "You have a pretty great mission
    here. A few are struggling, but for the most part, you have a great
    mission. And to those of you who are struggling, welcome to life." It
    was seriously like the best day ever!! I got some good notes, but I
    really learned the most from how I felt as he spoke.

    Reunited!
    At Elder Holland's visit I got to see lots of missionaries who I
    hadn't seen in a while. Elder Young told me all about Black Canyon, my
    last area. He told me he's surviving on bike. Haha. Apparently that
    area is still killing it in English and French work. Last year that
    ward had 22 convert baptisms. It would be cool if they broke that
    record again this year! I was also able to see my two favorite French
    missionaries, Soeurs Casagrande and Haymond! Even though they're in
    the Scottsdale mission, President Griffin invited them to come. It was
    a nice surprise! I also got to see Elders Clough and Rodriguez, and
    Elders Bryan and Plourde. It was good to see everyone again.

    Baptism!!
    As if this week couldn't get any better, Stephanie got baptized! It
    was kind of spur of the moment, but she decided to just do it! The guy
    who introduced her to the gospel, Nick, was moving back to Utah in
    just a few days and she wanted him to baptize her. (He met her going
    door to door selling solar. She was interested after she asked if he
    was Mormon! Craaaazy story!) Since she couldn't be interviewed until
    Friday, we told her she probably wouldn't be able to do this week. We
    asked the mission presidency if we could do it the day after the
    interview if she passes and they said yes! Sooo we had like 4 days to
    prepare. We called a lot of people, set everything up, and made tons
    of plans to make this happen. IT HAPPENED. She passed her baptismal
    interview with flying colors. We had the baptism the next evening.
    Nick and his family were able to come and support her. The room was
    pretty much full of people supporting Stephanie on her big decision.
    Every time someone asked her how she was feeling she would say, "Is
    this a dream?" I then confirmed her a member of the Church on Sunday.
    Stephanie always said she had a problem accepting miracles. In the
    Bible, Book of Mormon, present day—anywhere. Miracles were hard for
    her. She recognized that God also recognized that about her. Her whole
    journey to find the Church was a series of miracles. She definitely
    believes God can do miracles now. The Sundance Ward will be greatly
    blessed by Stephanie's loving heart and positive spirit. I'm grateful
    to have been involved in such a conversion.

    Weather
    It continues to be outrageously hot out here. From 105–115°F every
    day. It was 120°F a couple weeks ago. Yeah, no thanks.


    Well that was my week! Next week is transfers so our pday will most
    likely be Tuesday, but because of Independence Day, it might just be
    Monday this transfer. We'll see! Have a great week and keep doing
    good!



    Much love,

    Elder Jones
    Buckeye 1st & Sundance Wards
    Arizona Phoenix Mission


    Elders Jones and Thames at a member's home for dinner

    Elder Holland visits the Phoenix mission.  Elder Jones is 3 rows behind Elder Holland!

    The 'old gang' from Glendale
    Kevin loves these guys!


    Elder Jones must be directing people!

    Elder Thaut making sure everyone sees him!

    Elder Holland w/ Pres and Sister Griffin.

    Waiting while Stephanie is getting baptismal interview

    Stephanie at baptism w/ Elders

    Whole Phoenix Mission w/ Elder Holland

    Sister Casagrande, Haymond, and myself. French-English combo REUNITED!

    Elder Plourde and me at Elder Holland's visit! I love this bald teenager. Too bad he's Canadian.

    Weekly Selfie!









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    And Then There Were 3...Week 99-  
    97 weeks in Phoenix Mission-- 12 weeks in Buckeye

    Dear friends and family,

    This week was pretty average, so I'm sorry if it's a lame email! Here goes!

    Transfers
    So we got our transfer news! Elder Thames and I will be joined by a
    third elder, Elder Gunnell. I don't know much about him but I'm
    excited to meet him and spend my last transfer with him! Speaking of
    which.....last transfer.....yikes things are getting real.

    Service
    We did quite a bit of service! Last Tuesday we helped our ward mission
    leader and his wife clean out their garage. Brother Woodruff is blind,
    so it was fun to help out! He is amazing. It is incredible how many
    things he does as if he could see. He helped us lift things, sort
    through things, and put things away. All while not being able to see.
    Yeah, he's amazing. Plus, it was like 110°F while we were cleaning out
    the garage.
    We also got to help the Gomez's again by finishing up painting in
    their house. They had us over to help and then fed us burgers for
    lunch! They're really fun people to be around. Both are high school
    teachers so it was nice to pick their brains about how to be a good
    teacher.

    July 4th
    Well we had a pretty lame Independence Day! After we helped the
    Gomez's with their house, we just kinda......hung out because we
    couldn't go out and proselyte after 6. So we had dinner and hung out.
    Haha. HARDCORE! I did, however, wear my American flag tie. See
    attached picture. :)

    Lessons
    We had lessons with most of the same people. We got to meet with
    Ladonna finally after not meeting with her for about a month. We'll
    see if our next appointment holds through with her!
    Stephanie is doing great as a recent convert. She continues to learn
    every day and accepts the gospel more and more. She is already seeing
    the blessings in her life! Man, I love being able to promise people
    blessings and have God follow through!! She's excited to go to the
    temple for baptisms and she's already super eager to get her
    patriarchal blessing! She is progressing—FAST.

    Well that was my week! Sorry it was a short letter. I look forward to
    my last transfer with new opportunities to learn and grow!
    #FinishStrong


    Much love,


    Elder Jones
    Buckeye 1st & Sundance Wards
    Arizona Phoenix Mission

    Abnormal district picture

    Normal district picture

    Stormy day in Buckeye!

    Happy Fourth!


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    Cue Last Transfer!--Week 100--

    98 weeks in Phoenix Mission- 13 weeks in Buckeye

    Dear friends and family,

    Greetings heroes and villains, things are going swell out here in the
    Buckeye Kingdom! We had a few miracles this week and I can't be more
    excited for my last transfer. We have a lot of potential this coming
    transfer. Plus I got another companion so that's cool!


    New companion
    Because Elder Thames and I are both going home at the same time,
    President put another elder with us so he can take over the area when
    we go home. Elder Gunnell is my new companion and we are getting along
    great! He has been out for nine months and is from Shakopee,
    Minnesota. He's a cool kid who played League of Legends just like me.
    So we have plenty to talk about. It's been a while since I've had a
    companion who played video games! I'm excited to get to know him
    better and show him around our area!

    Ladonna miracle!
    We have been teaching a lady named Ladonna for a long time. She is
    what we call an "eternigator," or an eternal investigator. We stopped
    by her place and taught her a powerful lesson on church attendance.
    She committed to come to church (which she has done multiple times,
    but never showed up). WELL SHE ACTUALLY CAME. AND LOVED IT. She said
    she would be back next week and we set up another time to see her. She
    is progressing!!! Such a cool miracle. The members were so happy to
    see her at church.

    Service
    We got to do some more service for the Gomez family! They are
    remodeling their house so we went by and helped him move some bricks
    and painted some of his house! We'll be going by again this week to
    help him paint more.

    Baptism!!
    Rusty and Liz from my last area were baptized!! Although they wanted
    me to baptize them, I couldn't go to the baptismal service because I
    have been gone from that area for more than six weeks. Kinda sad that
    I didn't get to go since they're two of my absolute favorites, but
    they were still baptized and apparently all went well! They sent me a
    picture of them after the baptism with their current elder, Elder
    Wille. It's only fitting that they were baptized by one of my favorite
    elders, Elder Wille! Rusty, after he was baptized, let a rubber ducky
    go in the font just like he promised. I told him he wouldn't do it. He
    did it. He's a legend. I love those people so much!


    So that was my week! I love you all and appreciate your kind words and
    prayers. I'm excited to finish strong. #REKT


    MUCH LOVE,

    Elder Jones
    Buckeye 1st & Sundance Wards
    Arizona Phoenix Mission

    Kevin and his 2 companions Elders Thames and Gunnell

    The three Musketeers

    Rusty, Elder Wille, and Liz at their baptism. HE LET THIS DUCKY GO

    Restoration Jenga with Stephanie!

    New district photo!

    Weekly Selfie
     

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    Taking the Back Seat - Week 101--
     98 Weeks in Phoenix Mission -- 14 weeks in Buckeye
    Dear friends and family,

    Greetings from good old Buckeye, AZ. Things are going well here! I
    wish I could tell you we had the greatest week ever, but it was pretty
    normal. Here goes.


    Exchange
    I was able to go on exchanges with a Elder Davenport in his area. He
    took a Elder Thaut's place two weeks ago. We taught a couple lessons
    and visited some people. We tracted (knocked doors) for an hour or so
    and met a lady who only spoke Spanish. I got to ask if she wants
    Spanish missionaries and she understood me and said yes! It was pretty
    cool! I served with Elder Davenport in Glendale so it was cool to
    catch up with him again. We also did some service with the zone
    leaders, Elders Weston and Thaut. They are Sooo fun to be around.

    Interviews
    We had interviews with President and Sister Griffin last week. He
    prefaced our interview by saying he's not going to trunk me out by
    talking about home. He's gonna save that for my exit interview. Funny
    story though, when I went in for my little interview with Sister
    Griffin she said, "So, you excited to go home?!" Haha so obviously
    they didn't coordinate the message :) But it's okay. It's gonna take a
    lot more than that to "trunk me out."

    Stepping back
    It's really really hard stepping back and letting my companions take
    the lead in situations. I'm so used to being the leader having been
    the senior companion almost my whole mission besides like five months.
    President wants me to let Elder Gunnell and Elder Thames take over and
    lead. I usually know what to say and I want to say it, but then I
    remember what my wonderful trainer, Elder Jeong, would do to help me.
    He would let me lead. He would let me make decisions. He would let me
    mess up so I could learn. I'm grateful for his example of how to be a
    good follower—while still leading and teaching. You da best, Elder
    Jeong! :)

    Awesome call
    Last week we got a call from a member telling us about a lady named
    Frances who wants us to come by. Well turns out she's a single mom
    with like three kids who is interested in the Church! She said she
    would not be able to attend church because of work and custody stuff
    with the dad. However, by the grace of God, they switched the day Mom
    has the kids to weekends! So they can come to church! We have our
    first meeting with them tomorrow night. I can't wait.

    Lessons
    We were able to meet with quite a few people this week, but mostly the
    normals. Stephanie is doing great! She's progressing to her
    patriarchal blessing and will be attending the temple to do baptisms
    here in a couple weeks. She is SO solid!


    Well that's about it. Thank you all for your support and prayers. I
    can definitely feel it. Stay classy, Y'all. Keep prayin.


    Much love,

    Elder Jones
    Buckeye 1st & Sundance Wards
    Arizona Phoenix Mission
    Zone

    giving directions to Chris

    Crazy zone picture

    1 MONTH to go!

    Companions

    My hamburger boy has turned into a steak man!

    Elder Thames

    Elder Gunnell

    Chris and Elder Jones  Favorite member from Peoria.

     

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    We Found A Family!!--Week 102-- 
    100 Weeks in Phoenix Mission-- 15 Weeks in Buckeye

    Dear friends and family,

    We had a really good week! Looking at our schedule ahead, my last
    three weeks in the mission are gonna be jam packed with fun and
    awesomeness! My letter may be kinda short this week, but oh well!


    Family!!
    We were just minding our own business last week and we got a text from
    a member saying her friend and her kids are interested in having us
    come by! So we took a member with us to her house on Tuesday. She had
    fixed us lasagna (we just came from a dinner appointment....) so we
    ate our second dinner with her and shared a message with her and her
    family. Frances, the mom, speaks many languages. To name a few, she
    speaks English, French (fluently), Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese, and
    Italian. She has four kids, all speak English, Japanese, and one
    speaks French. Such a neat family. Unfortunately, the kids' dad isn't
    too happy with them going to church, so we are all praying his heart
    will be softened so they can come to church as a family and be
    baptized. I'm sure it will happen if the kids tell him how much they
    love church. We'll see! In the mean time, we are SO excited to teach
    them!

    Baptism
    We got to go to the baptism of one of Elder Gunnell's converts in
    Phoenix! Two of my favorite missionaries, Sisters Haymond and
    Casagrande took over his area AND the French work so I got to see them
    at the baptism! Man, reunions are so fun. Plus, I got to ride around
    in my first area! It was weird—I felt like I was being trained again.
    I hadn't been back to that church building in 18 months. Definitely a
    trip!!

    Upcoming temple trips
    We are going to the Phoenix temple with my favorite member family, the
    Marr's, this Wednesday! They are like carbon copies of my parents,
    just a few years older! Brother Marr's personality is identical to my
    dad's, and Sister Marr's personality is identical to my mom's! I can't
    wait for them to meet my parents when I come visit. Funny
    story--Sister Marr HATES getting up early and when I asked if they
    could take us to the temple this week they happily agreed. When I told
    Sister Marr it was at 7am, Sister Marr said, "You're lucky I love you,
    Elder Jones!!" Hahaha. Apparently it's a big deal that she'll be
    getting up so early. It's so funny! Then, on August 5th, our zone will
    be going to the temple with President Griffin for achieving our
    baptism goal. Then, on August 9th, I'll be able to go with Elder
    Gunnell's old zone since he gets to go back. So, in my last three
    weeks, I get to go to the temple THREE times! So exciting.

    Bye Bye, Bike!
    I got to ship my bike home. That was such a wonderful experience for
    me! I'll just leave it at that!!

    Zone conference
    We had a fabulous zone conference this week. The assistants led a
    discussion about "What I wished I knew my whole mission" and we had a
    great discussion on how we can improve. The older missionaries were
    able to give the younger missionaries lots of advice I wish I had when
    I came in! Then President Griffin got up and talked about how we can
    choose our path. We must choose to follow the correct path. If we
    don't have a vision of where we want to go, then it doesn't matter
    what path we take. When we have the gospel, we have our desired
    destination. It was really moving. I enjoyed it a lot. Plus, I got to
    see a lot of old companions. In fact, ALL of my companions who are
    still in the mission (except Elder Young) were there. Yes, Mom, I got
    a picture. You're welcome! :)

    Sheet music
    My good friend Patience, who is a senior this year on the Webb City
    drumline, sent me the snare sheet music for this year's marching show.
    I figured I'd learn it and play around with it. Thank goodness it's a
    pretty easy show, because my skills have decreased so much. Haha!


    Well, that was my week! Everyone wish my wonderful mother a happy
    birthday! She turns 29 on the 28th! (Ha ha....) And also, my best
    friend ever turns 20 on the 29th! Happy birthday Jessica! You're the
    best friend anyone could ask for!! I hope everyone has a great week.
    God speed!!
    Just 3 more weeks! Until then, I remain a dedicated servant of the Lord.


    Much love,

    Elder Jones
    Buckeye 1st & Sundance Wards
    Arizona Phoenix Mission



    Elder Jones and 5 of his past and current companions- Elders Gunnell, Thames, Thaut, Bradshaw, Flynn


    Cleaning their car

    Elder Jones' companions, Thames and Gunnell

    Smile!

    Lunch w/ the boys!



    Not sure why Elder Jones is with the birthdays since his isn't until September.  Maybe sneaking an extra gift?


    Hands up!!

    Zone Conference

    Elder jones being silly on Thaut's shoulders

    Bike loaded into Chris' car before she shipped it home.

    Elders Jones and Flynn.  He was Kevin's 3rd companion, when he 1st served in Peoria.

    Current Companions

    acting silly

    Brother and Sister Marr took Took Elder Jones and companions to the temple.

    Elder Jones at Phoenix Temple


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    Flight Plans!!!!
    Snake eating mouse

    Selfie

    '42 NASH


    BLIND!!--week 103-- 101 Weeks in Phoenix Mission-- 
    16 weeks in Buckeye
     Dear friends and family,

    Well it's officially August. Time is flying by so fast. I am enjoying
    my time here in Buckeye! Things are going well and I am enjoying my
    time with my two great companions. I couldn't have asked for a better
    final transfer.


    Temple trip
    This week we were able to go to the temple with my favorite family in
    this area, the Marr's. Sister Marr hates waking up early so when we
    told her we had to leave at 6am she almost collapsed! But she loves us
    so she went anyway. She even had a good time! It was such a special
    experience to feel the Spirit of the temple with such great people.
    They remind me so much of my parents. Their personalities are almost
    identical. I went to the temple with a few questions and I feel I'm
    one step closer to having them answered. This week we have another
    temple trip, and another next week. I'm looking forward to those for
    sure!

    1942 Nash
    We had dinner with an older couple and after dinner they took us to
    their garage and showed us their 1942 Nash! He told us some history
    about it that kinda went in one ear and out the other, but it was
    super interesting. Apparently they had just made the 1942 model the
    month before Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, so there weren't very many
    made. He says that they only know of 10 1942 Nash cars still around.
    And boy, his is restored and beautiful! Dad, this is for you! I'll
    include a picture or two.

    Flight plans
    I got my tangible flight plans in the mail!! That means things are
    getting real. For those who want to come see me in the airport, I will
    be flying in to the Joplin a Regional Airport at 9:58pm on August
    16th. I apologize for the super late time slot, but there's not much I
    can do about that! I would love to see anyone there who can make it.

    Chess
    Elder Gunnell is like the best chess player in Minnesota, so he loves
    to challenge members whenever he can. So far he hasn't lost, but we
    have a game set up with Brother Emmett this week who is supposedly one
    of the best around. We'll see how it goes. Haha!

    Snake
    A member in our ward has a banana king snake and I love it! We got to
    come by and watch it eat four mice!! It was like the coolest thing
    ever! I filmed the whole thing LOL.

    Blindness
    We had such a great week for lessons. Our most exciting one was
    probably win our new family we met two weeks ago. They're still in a
    tough situation, but they are solid as solid gets. We brought our ward
    mission leader, Brother Woodruff, to the lesson. There's only one
    thing—Brother Woodruff is blind. He gave such a powerful testimony of
    the truthfulness of the Restoration by relating it to eyesight. He has
    to live by faith every day because he can't see anything. The same way
    we can't SEE the gospel is true, we can feel it. That's how he gets
    about in life. The kids loved listening to him speak—so did I! I'm so
    grateful Brother a Woodruff is such s great example!!


    Well, friends, that's about all I have for this week! Thank you all
    for your support and prayers. Have a great week! See you in two weeks!
    :)


    Much love,


    Elder Jones
    Buckeye 1st & Sundance Wards
    Arizona Phoenix Mission



    Elder Jones w/ Brother & Sister Marr

    Outside Phoenix Temple

    Companioship at Temple







    Elder Jones at Phoenix Temple




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    FIN!!!!--Week 104- 
    102 Weeks in Phoenix Mission-  17 weeks in Buckeye
    Temple Trip.  Kevin got to see Sister Simon and say good-bye

    Last Selfie!
    Dear friends and family,

    Well, so I begin my last pday as a full time missionary for the Church
    of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For my final letter to you all,
    I wanted to give you the normal recap on my week and then a recap of
    my mission. Here goes.

    Temple—again
    We got to visit the Phoenix temple once again, but this time it was
    with our whole zone!! Elders Bies and Davenport picked up my
    companions and me at 5:30am and we headed to Krispy Kreme for a
    pre-temple meal! It was delicious! We then headed for the temple in
    the POURING rain. I tell ya, people here in Arizona do NOT know how to
    drive in the rain! People were going 10mph on the Interstate. It was
    hilarious. We got there and had a great session in the temple. We felt
    the Spirit, and I actually got to see one of my favorite members from
    Glendale, Brother Palmer, at the recommend desk. It was a joy to see
    him again! After the session it was still pouring down rain, so I
    didn't get many pictures. Luckily, we'll be heading to the temple
    again on Wednesday with Elder Gunnell's old zone. There, I will see
    some more of my favorite missionaries: Elder Plourde, Elder Cespedes,
    Sister Casagrande, and Sister Haymond. I can't wait!!

    Moving
    Something that kinda stinks is that we're moving to an apartment
    tomorrow. I mean, I don't mind that we're moving, but I have to pack
    twice in a week! I'll probably just live out of my suitcase after we
    move. :) So we're doing that tomorrow...

    Zone meeting
    We had a great zone meeting about following the Spirit. I got a lot
    out of it. I gave my departing testimony to the zone. It was super
    weird because I've always been the missionary who listens, and my time
    has come! Surreal!!

    Exchange
    I went on exchange with my district leader, Elder Bies, in his area.
    It's in the middle of nowhere and we saw some funny things.


    Here's a look back!

    MTC
    When I entered the MTC on August 13, 2014, I was terrified out of my
    mind. How could I teach? How could I be away from family and friends
    for two whole years? I was blessed with a great MTC companion, Elder
    Sultan, which made it a lot better. I had great instructors, but I
    didn't have the best time at the MTC. I hoped the field would be way
    better than the MTC. Thankfully, it was. I departed the MTC with a
    very happy heart headed for Phoenix.

    North Phoenix — Shaw Butte & Moon Mountain Wards (6 months)
    When I entered the Phoenix Valley, I was slapped in the face with the
    heat of the desert. At the transfer meeting, I stood across from the
    trainers and was placed with my trainer, Elder Jeong. I knew that the
    Lord truly knows me when I got to know Elder Jeong. He and I got along
    great, and he helped me learn. He even put up with me being a bit of a
    punk those first few weeks. He'll never know how much of an impact he
    made on me. I also had the amazing opportunity to live with Sister
    Simon, the grandma of the mission! She was soooo fun and always took
    care of her Elders. I was sad when Elder Jeong left. However, I was
    blessed with a great second companion, Elder Shurtleff. He was from
    Kansas, and we got along great, too. When my time came to an end, I
    prayed my time on a bike would come to an end. I was mistaken.

    Peoria Stake — Oakwood & Centennial Wards (6 months)
    I was transferred to Peoria with Elder Flynn. He came out with me. A
    biking area! We kinda clashed in the beginning, but later found out
    how much we needed each other. Both of us had been hard headed, and we
    kinda humbled ourselves and worked together. I look back on our
    companionship and see a lot of regrets, but Elder Flynn and I have
    become very close. Recently, we saw each other at a zone conference
    and relived some of our dumb moments. If it wasn't for our rocky
    companionship, I don't know where I would have ended up. Elder Flynn
    got transferred 12 weeks later, and I was paired with a Elder
    Bradshaw. He was a very fun companion! Had our moments where we would
    bicker, but it was a great companionship. Twelve weeks later, I got
    transferred. Car here I come!

    Glendale Stake— Black Canyon Ward (9 months)
    NOOOPE. Bike area! This area was a very, very, very humbling
    experience for me. I feel like it is here where I peaked as a
    missionary. My testimony grew, I worked hard, and baptisms came. I was
    placed with Elder Thaut, who became my favorite companion by far. He
    was my only companion I had for three transfers, or 4.5 months. The
    area was rough. Historically it was the highest baptizing area in the
    mission. They had 24 convert baptisms in 2015, which is a loooot. Not
    to mention I was replacing arguably the best missionary that ward (and
    possibly the entire mission) had ever seen, Elder Gardner. (Love you,
    buddy!!) So I felt a lot of pressure. I was biking in areas I wouldn't
    even feel comfortable driving in. Having been raised in such a small
    town, the city scared the crap out of me. I did my best to face my
    fears and work. It was the hardest 9 months of my life, but I'm so
    grateful I faced my fears. There in Glendale I would meet some of my
    favorite people from my mission. I grew roots. After Elder Thaut left,
    I was out with my first trainee, Elder Fernandez. Most people in the
    mission know him as "the missionary who came in with a scarf" haha. He
    was a very stylish person. He and I had a great time, but
    unfortunately our time was cut short as his visa came in for him to go
    to Argentina. I will always be his father!! After Elder Fernandez I
    received my second trainee, Elder Young! He was so gentle and kind.
    Typical southern boy! He was great! Amidst all this, our ward was
    having tremendous success in multiple languages. Many French-speaking
    people from Africa were becoming interested. Two French speaking
    sisters out of the Scottsdale mission came to accommodate them. We
    became very close and developed a lasting friendship. Sisters Haymond,
    Casagrande, and Ylisaari shook things up in the ward and United
    members and missionaries even more. I was very sad when I had to leave
    Glendale, but I was excited for something new because I was there for
    so long.

    Buckeye Stake — Buckeye 1st & Sundance Wards (4.5 months)
    I got to Buckeye and absolutely loved it. It is a farming town NOT in
    the city!!! I was in heaven. Plus, we had a car. Plus, Elder Thaut was
    in my district! Man, I got spoiled in my last area. My companion,
    Elder Sumsion, was about to go home. He loved to work out and lift
    weights—polar opposite of me. We got along great, though. When he
    left, I received my third trainee, Elder Thames. Then, Elder Gunnell
    joined us to take over the area when I leave.

    Throughout my mission, I have made wonderful friendships with members,
    missionaries, investigators, etc. I have found myself, discovered my
    testimony, and shared it with the people of Arizona. I have seen the
    gospel of Jesus Christ change countless people. I have seen the
    Atonement work in my life and in the lives of others. I know that
    God's love is real and His Church has been restored once again before
    the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. I know it with all my heart, for
    God has told me through my sincere prayers. Thank you all for
    supporting me in my endeavors in Phoenix whether it be through
    prayers, comments, financially, spiritually, physically—thank you. I
    know this work is true, and I can't wait to continue working when I
    get home. The next chapter of my life is about to begin, but it is
    just a new chapter—not a whole new book. See ya soon!

    Much love,

    Elder Jones
    Buckeye 1st & Sundance Wards
    Arizona Phoenix Mission


    Saw this on exchange in the middle of nowhere haha
    Elder Fullmer and me at the temple

    Zone meeting. Last one!!

    Zone meeting

    Rain at the temple.