Monday, December 28, 2015

Santa paws, missing keys, and a tornado? The second coming must be near!

Hey y'all!

Just some updates =)
Taylor Partlow: passed his interview and will be baptized this Saturday!

Laura, Sister Stahnke, and Taylor all came to church!

We were able to give Christmas to Ashley and Carson who absolutely
loved it! We haven't been able to visit them in a while since Ashely
works a lot, but she did text us very gratefully, even though it was
supposed to be anonymous. We also finished off the 12 days of
Christmas nativities and the Andersons, Phillip, and Sister Stahnke
loved it! We gave Christmas gifts to Tracy Lynn also from the gift
cards sent, we gave her a classy bracelet that she absolutely LOVED!
She kept texting us when people would compliment it. We also gave the
Elders a Walmart card since they seem to always be running low on
groceries and they helped us put a spare on our car last week.

We went on exchanges with Tyler on Wednesday. I was in Nac with sister
Cooper, we had a great time! Then we went on exchanges with Gilmer
directly from that exchange and I went to Gilmer with sister Whittier.
When we were exchanging Gilmer had gotten a ride to Henderson to
exchange so we got their ride back and this was at maybe 9:30 at night
when we got back. We get out of the member's car to go into their
apartment when sister Whittier realizes that she does not have the key
ring which has their car keys and house keys on it! Sister Terry had
the keys about 2 and 1/2 hours away in Nac! Sister Whittier then
remembers that there is a spare key to their apartment in their locked
car sitting right there. So we called the WML and he called around to
find someone who could break into the car. He called back about ten
minutes later and says "sisters, I have some good news and some bad
news. The good news is, I found someone who can break into your car.
The bad news is that it is President Austin." So by now all of Gilmer
knew what was going on and president Austin probably told president
Taylor, but you know, that's ok! It was so funny our predicament! I
was laughing the whole time! We always forget something on exchanges,
the phone, the keys, whatever it may be, it always works out! :P

We have just had a crazy week with key stories! So last Saturday the
elders called us wondering if we had a library key because they had
locked their keys in the library. This week they called us wondering
if we had a key to the family history center because they locked their
keys in there! We got to the church to find them climbing through the
ceiling into the attic and then into the family history center. Now
you know how to break into a church building family history center if
you ever want to do family history without an appointment! :P

Christmas Eve was so much fun! We got to go to bishops house and do a
white elephant sock exchange! I got some cat socks that say "Santa
Paws!" Sister Bramall got Dino socks. We watched Mr. krueger's
Christmas after planning in our Christmas socks!

Skype on Christmas was nice! It's weird that it was my last one!

We visited a former investigator, Annette, Saturday. She told us that
she saw a "little fairy" in her yard. Sister Joseph tried to tell her
it must have been a little angel, but Annette was not having that!
According to her "fairies do exist!" :P

We got a text Saturday at around 6:30pm that said all missionaries
need to go inside immediately. There was no explanation as to why. Our
weather was probably like 75 and no rain or nothin! So we were
speculating all sorts of stories! Maybe there was a bombing, maybe
scary people started tracking down missionaries, maybe it was a drill,
maybe Isis finally realized that Mormons are Christian...who knows!
Then we found out there was a tornado in the city. We were
disappointed, tornados happen all the time, it seemed like a lame
reason to lock down. But we heard it killed 11 people in Garland or
somewhere. I am so grateful that President Taylor kept the
missionaries safe! We had another lock down last night as there was a
tornado warning for Nacogdoches. Apparently there actually was a
tornado over Garrison, which is part of our area. Just a couple miles
from where we were. There was also a tornado in Tyler.

In the middle of sacrament meeting everyone's phone went off with the
tornado warning sound and no one even flinched. We just went on with
the talks even though the tornado was only a few miles away! That's
Texas for you I guess!

Ponderizing Ether 12:27 "And if men come unto me I will show unto them
their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and
my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me;
for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then
will I make weak things become strong unto them."
I love this scripture for the obvious reasons. It is comforting to
know that when I feel so aware of my weaknesses it means I am coming
closer to Christ, and that I have hope that He may make them into

Hope y'all had a merry Christmas! Thank you to the couple of families
who sent Christmas cards! They are on our wall!

Sister Jones

Datin Girls

Monday, December 21, 2015

5 armaaadillooooos! 4 Longhorns grazing, 3 roaches running, 2 boots a scootin, and a real Texas Bar-B-Q!!!!

Hey y'all!

We are sitting in Firestone waiting probably for a couple hours to get
our tire fixed, it was completely flat this morning! We are so blessed
to have elders in the area who quickly came and put on the spare for
us to get here!

Updates on people:

Andersons: same
Ruth Stahnke and Don Tippins: same

Taylor Partlow: shared with us that he sees the happiness and strength
of families in the Ward and he wants that for his future family which
is why he wants to be baptized! He is going to be a great husband and
father someday! We are scheduling his baptismal interview for this

Ashley, Carson, and Steven: Steven is Ashley's boyfriend. We started
teaching him and set a baptismal date, but it is hard to set up times
to meet with them. We usually just have to drop by when we have time!

We also had a Dallas trip this week for the Christmas specialized
training in the Taylor's home. It was nice to be there and feel their

My ponderizing scripture for the week is Ether 12:6 "And now, I,
Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show
unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen;
wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness
until after the trial of your faith"
This scripture has helped me to recognize that even though I have
worries weighing on my heart, that because I am continuing to act in
faith, I will eventually see a miracle, but not right this instant.

Sister Bramall and I have been having loads of fun dropping off parts
of nativities for 12 days of Christmas and snowflaking peoples doors!
We have only been caught 2 times so far...of course Phillip caught us
in our 12 days of Christmas, now he just waits a minute before he
answers the doors to leave us time to get away :)
The other time we were caught was snowflaking a family in the Ward.
Sister Bramall was putting up the snowflakes and I was giving her the
pieces of rolled up tape. Their dog started barking and I ran for the
hills! (Well actually I ran behind their car) and sister Bramall just
flattened herself against the wall of their house right next to the
door! One of the kids opened the door and didn't even see her! He went
back inside and she started to put another snowflake up when he
quickly swung the door back open and caught her mid act! She silently
gave him the snowflake and then we both ran to the car and left! :)

I am so thankful for my supportive family! I know that the family
truly is ordained of God. I am grateful for the sacred roles my
parents play-my mom giving birth to me, and my dad baptizing me to be
born again. I am thankful for this example of a family so blessed by
the gospel, this is what I want for my future family.

Merry Christmas!
Sister Jones

Gifts at specialized to represent baptism and the sacrament as the
savior's gifts to us
More pictures from our road trip to specialized this last Wednesday

More pictures from our road trip to specialized this last Wednesday

Monday, December 14, 2015

small and simple, Nac-a-miracle

Hey y'all!

Jessica Anderson: met with President Taylor, he endorsed her baptism! They both wrote letters to the first presidency to get permission for her baptism! we should hear back in a month or so! She also came to church again this week!
Aujayla and Jaymarian enjoyed YWs and cub scouts!

Ruth Stahnke and Don Tippins: Stopped the stop smoking program. but it is ok! they will start again soon!

Taylor Partlow: has been sick, but was in church and we will meet with him tonight!

Ashley Jinkins: We anonymusly dropped off the gifts that my family sent in a package and they are SO excited! Ashley immediately took the story book and sat down with Carson and read it to them. They really felt the Holy Ghost, I don't even remember what book we gave them, but whatever it was brought the spirit!

On Thursday we got to do service at the Mumm's farm again! I love manual labor, it is always a nice break! We took down fences and hauled out wood and pried out nails and got dirty!!! =)

We went on STL exchanges on Wednesday to Thursday as well. So I was with Sister Whittier. Sister Bramall and I conspired together before the exchanges and found about 20 pictures of Sister Terry and I from The Colony. We sent Sister Bramall to Gilmer with some tape to place the pictures all over their apartment while sister Terry wasn't looking! She is still enjoying the image of my face as she continues to find the pictures! =)

This week has been a little more stressful than usual, I feel a lot of pressure and almost like I need to solve everyone's problems! I have been a little worried about things going on here with the Sisters. I am just so glad that the Savior is the one who solves the problems, not me! I am trying not to feel overwhelmed by it!

My ponderizing scriptures actually have really helped. I was able to relate this week's ponderizing scripture to last week's. This week is Helaman 5:12 about setting our foundation on Christ. I know I cannot do anything worthwhile without Christ! Last week was Alma 37:6-7 about small and simple things. These scriptures have helped me to realize that I don't have to save the world, or the Sisters out east. =P I just need to keep doing the small and simple things that I actually can do because the Lord will do the rest. I need to humble myself and not expect myself to fix it all, the Savior already did! =) I am so grateful that He did because there is no way that I ever could! Yesterday I fasted for them and I always pray for them. Besides that, exchanges, phone calls, and letters, there is not much else I can do . Just love! Fasting was a small and simple thing, but I am promised in this scripture that great things will come of it!

I hope all of y'all are having a great week and enjoying time with your families! =) Second holiday season away gets me excited for next year when I will be with my family! Don't worry though, there is no place I'd rather be this year for Christmas than in Nac-a-miracle! =)

Sister Jones

STL Exchanges

Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?

Sunny day in December

Played Chubby Bunnies in YW
Jessica Meets with Pres. Taylor
Sister Marcum!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Poor Bambie!

Hey Y'all!

Taylor Partlow: We set a baptismal date with Taylor!!! Sister Bramall set her first date! She was so bold and followed the spirit and he accepted the date for January 2nd!

Ruth Stahnke (LA) and Don Tippins (IINV): We had a lesson that did not go as we planned, but it went as the Lord had planned! We ended up talking about the word of wisdom again and Don expressed his desire to quit smoking, then Ruth piped in and said she wants to do it with him! This was a huge miracle because before Ruth was too afraid to even pray for the desire to quit!
We also went to the Nac Christmas parade with them on main street!

Abdersons: We watched the Christmas devotional with them last night! Earlier we were teaching a lesson on faith through trials, the spirit was so strong! Jessica was cry and bore powerful testimony of waiting on the Lord as we do all we can, the she said "Sister Jones, I just have to show you this video!" We thought it would be some faith building video she found on FB, but it was a video of some lady getting infusions! If you don't know what an infusion is, it is a step up from a weave. She then proceeded to tell me that she talked to her friend who can do them and she wants me to get them! Of course she'd interrupt her own testimony to talk about fake hair!

Speaking of hair... I dyed Charity's hair on Tuesday! Charity is a less active member we have been working with the whole time I've been here. She heard me say something about Sister Ricks dying the ends of my hair blonde and she assumed i knew what I was doing and asked me to dye her whole head! She thought I had experience or something! She also is really picky about hair and never let anyone dye it except Sister Peterson who had a cosmetology license! So you can imagine what my prayers sounded like as we were going into her house! my prayers worked and she loves her newly dyed dark brown hair!!

Another adventure of the week: we were driving down the highway and heard a big thump on the side of our car! We looked back and saw that we hit a deer!!! It must have pin-balled off the car going the other way and hit the drivers side door of our car! So now we have run over an investigator's cat and hit a deer! Just the other week the Elders hit a dog! We are so cruel! =P

My ponderizing scripture for the week is Alma 37:6-7 "by small and simple thing are great things brought to pass"
Sister Bramall has been helping me to recognize how crazy I am, but also the joy in the little miracles. =) Experiences that are normal to me are new and exciting to her, I can re-live the pure enthusiasm that comes with missionary experience of Nacogdoches! through small and simple things have I received new eyes.

Sister Jones

1.Sister Whittier and I are hosting a weekly picture contest for the out east sisters this transfer! Just for fun and to help us become one and enjoy the season. This week's theme was snowmen! This was ours...Do you wanna build a snowman?! with the Cranks!

We should have done this! What were we thinking! only in East Texas! 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Claustrophobic blessing

Hey y'all!

My new companion is Sister Bramall!!!! She just came straight from the
MTC and gets to be trained out in Nac-a-no-where!!!! She is from Orem
Utah and just graduated from high school. She is so ready to work and
learns so fast!!! She has such a positive attitude and reminds me of
my cousin (Melissa Thompson). We got to welcome sister Bramall into
east Texas by passing billboards that say "JESUS" and "REPENT" :)

My STL companion is now in Gilmer instead of being with me, so we talk
on the phone quite a bit to coordinate our efforts. Sister Whittier is
now my STL partner, I went on a great exchange with her last transfer!
She is going to be great! :)

We also got a new car at transfers! We got to swap with some city
sisters, the new car is so much better for east Texas, the old Carola
was fixin to break down out here. Now we have a Ford Fusion.

We went to Dallas twice this week! The first time for transfers, and
then again on Friday for new missionary follow-up training, so we are
exhausted! But, despite all the road trips and thanksgiving, we had a
super productive week!

We had a great southern style thanksgiving!

Usually Sunday's are our hardest day. We call several people, and even
stop by houses to try to get those who promised they would come to
church to come, and we have no success. We sit in sacrament meeting
with heavy hearts. This week we did not have to endure the
disappointment! Jessica (INV), Aujayla (RC), Jaymarian(RC), Laura
Blount (La), Ruth Stahnke (LA), Charity (LA), and Sister Swanson (LA)
all came to church!!!!! We were only missing Don (INV) and Taylor

As we sat squished into the back row of soft seats, for the first time
I was so grateful to feel so claustrophobic!

Sister Jones

Sister Ricks says goodbye to Buc-ee's!!!!!!!

Sister Bramall says hello to Buc-ee's!!!!! 

Thanksgiving with Sister Harris! 
Aujayla and Jaymarian

Monday, November 23, 2015

No hanky panky!

Hey y'all!

Tomorrow I get a new companion out here in Nac-a-no-where! Hopefully
it's not too hard of a culture shock on her!

Jessica: still struggles coming to church. She will be baptized I have
no doubts, it's just a question of when!

Don: is still progressing!

We had zone conferences on Thursday. The Gilmer, Tyler and Longview
zones were combined. Sister Ricks and I gave a training about the new
Christmas initiative coming out soon and how we can help the members
to use it to introduce their friends to us in their homes. We had lots
of fun planning it, we even played Christmas charades at the end!

On Friday we sang for the seniors at the Alzheimer Center with the
Spanish Elders. We all sang together in the bleak midwinter, and I got
to sing Believe from the polar express.

In Ward counsel we were telling the bishop that Ruth and Don are just
roommates and that they are not dating. Our WML said "there's no hanky
panky, just Ruth Stahnke." Then about 10 minutes later we were talking
about families in the Ward that could use some help this Christmas and
we mentioned Ruth and the bishop said he'd rather stick with families
with children and Brother Cox said "we could give her a blanky." We
were all just cracking up as it came out of his mouth so naturally and
without expression!

I just finished memorizing the family proclamation and I am sure those
words that are now imprinted into my brain will be a huge blessing now
and in the coming years!

Hope y'all have a wonderful thanksgiving!
I am grateful to be here out in the country of East Texas! I am
grateful for the humility and patience I have learned here, as well as
how to relax and take life slower! I am grateful for the personality
of Nacogdoches and all the blessed people we work with and love! I am
so thankful for my last three transfers with sister Ricks! She has
been a strong and positive influence to help me to be myself while
being a missionary.

Sister Jones


Monday, November 16, 2015

The FAIRYTALE PRINCESS sings: "I'll fly away"

Hey y'all!

We had exchanges on Wednesday, it was a very interesting day so full of surprises! I was with sister Chenney in Nac, she served in the Colony too! Now she is in Tyler.
We had a lesson with a less active who talks without taking a breath, she lives in a nursing home right now.

Then we went to see Laura, but as we were getting in the car to head over there she called saying she wanted us to come later because she just got to Kroger to grocery shop. We told her we couldn't come later because we were busy. She wanted to see us so badly that day that she told us to just come to Kroger and talk with her there! We had called and asked a member to come to her lesson with us so we called up the member again and we all met at Kroger! We talked to her as we walked down the isles of the grocery store and shared a scripture in the checkout line! It was one of the most unique lessons I have ever had!

Later that night we were eating dinner with the Turner family (we eat with them maybe two or three times a week, whenever no one signs up so we know them well) we love the Turner family so much! Their 13 year old son, Taylor heard about my chubby bunny contest at MLC a few months ago and decided that he could beat my record of 8 jumbo marshmallows. He tried for 9 but couldn't do it! It was hilarious to watch Taylor stuff his face!

Later that same night, Jessica had her interview with President Austin, now president Taylor wants to meet with her! She is struggling with doors being closed in her face and needs prayers for the whole Anderson family!
That was a lot in one day wow!

We started teaching Ruth's friend, Don. Ruth is a less active member, but she came to church Sunday to bring Don for his first time!!! Don's family has misinformed him about the church and really does not like him meeting with us, but he decided to meet with us anyways because he thinks we are "cool people" and he respects the way we live our lives. If we are standing as witnesses of Christ our lives are the message! We are the message, you are the message!

We also started teaching Taylor. He is a student, and is dating one of the members of the YSA. He has a lot of potential! His first lesson was very spiritual.

On Sunday a member couple came up to us ask us to go and visit LA with them that afternoon. The man they were looking for lives in a senior center. We got to the senior center and found his room. We went in and started talking with the man that was there, we sang a song, said a prayer, and shared a scripture. Then sister Ricks  and I realized that this is not the right guy! The man we we were talking to had some mental retardation problems so he didn't tell us he was the wrong guy! He was just so happy to have visitors! He asked us to sing "I'll fly away" --a classic Baptist hymn. We found the right guy a minute later and we started the message over. I'm sure the other man just needed a visit as he seemed very lonely!

Sunday night we held a missionary fireside for the YSA, it went super well! We focused on the diversity of gifts and talents that God has given us to use to reach out to others. We thought this would be appropriate since the YSA has a lot of diversity! Cowboys, Hispanics, socialites, Pokemon lover, etc. we had a great turn out! There were about 11 YSA there of maybe 12 active members of the YSA.

Quote of the week: "Thank you. I love you baby girls very much. Like fruit roll ups. Y'all are definitely the sweetest in all the land, said the FAIRYTALE PRINCESS of nice & sweet forever kingdom"
-Laura in response to our offer to help her paint her house

I love y'all more than fruit roll ups!
Sister Jones

Last fall I taught the Bradford boys, Wally, Joseph, and Glen. Sister
Kerr and I were their first missionaries. Their mom was LA of our
church but enjoyed the music from the baptist church more than our
gentler hymns. Since I left, She died and the boys moved to Fort Worth
to live with their sister and were baptized by the elders there! The
boys gave sister Kerr and I a shout-out in their testimonies after
they were baptized! :) they were baptized about a month or two ago but
I was finally tracked down and received the photo!

Monday, November 9, 2015

If you mustache me, I'd say I gained some weight...

Hey y'all!

This week we went on exchanges with Longview, I got to stay in Nac
with Sister Head! We had fun catching up from when we were in the same
district in Frisco!

We have bonded more with the YSA this week and we also have done lots
of member stop ins and Ward counsel work. We are getting some
referrals! It's so exciting!

We are no longer teaching recent converts or less actives without the
"right" member present so we have been doing a lot of coordinating,
but it's paying off!

Jessica is closer and closer to baptism! We are still working on
church, she has some health obstacles that get in the way. She has
such real intent though! She understands the difference that church
and scripture study and prayer make in her week.

For the next few weeks my ponderizing scripture is actually the Family
Proclamation. I feel that it is very appropriate due to what is all
over the media about the handbook change. I am so grateful for the
strong and supportive family that I have. I am just so immeasurably
blessed to be in the Jones family.

Sister Jones

No-shave November

Monday, November 2, 2015

A magical weekend!

Hey y'all!

Sister Ricks and I had a super neat experience! So last Sunday we both
felt lost, we didn't know how to get our one investigator to come to
church or how to find more that we wouldn't have to drop a week later.
We prayer and took the sacrament. We both had a feeling that it is not
something we are supposed to do, it's the members who will get Jessica
to church and find us new investigators! We started doing a bunch of
member stop ins. We started to increase in love, patience, and
appreciation for our members! On Sunday we were practically mobbed in
the hallways of church because all the members and little kids wanted
to say hi and hug us and talk to us! The members have increased love
for us too!!! And then we went to mission leadership counsel on
Tuesday and that was the hot topic of discussion-member and Ward
counsel work! Our mission is so unified! We came up with that focus
for our area and the Lord had that focus for the whole mission! I am
learning to not sweat the numbers, the members are more important
right now :) besides I sweat enough already without worrying about
numbers. We have some solid member referrals coming in soon! The work
will explode as soon as the members catch fire!
We have also been focusing on the YSA. We go to institute and FHE
weekly. On Thursday we did a lemonade stand on the SFA campus in front
of the library with the YSA. It wasn't super successful, but we had
fun and bonded with the YSA. Once we are friends with them, it will
feel more natural for them to introduce their friends to us!
At the lemonade stand some random college student said to me "hello
Jesus, oh sorry, I mean sister Jones" I have never been so honored to
be confused for someone so amazing as Jesus Christ! Ha, well I guess I
do represent him!
We went on exchanges on Friday. I was in Gilmer with sister Whittier.
She is SO sweet and caring!!!! I had a cold that day and she took such
great care of me! She is so sweet! I felt like she was the STL! Our
roles were almost reversed, what a great example of service and love
she is to me! We got to wash dogs for a few hours in the afternoon, I
never thought I'd ever wash a dog in my life! =P but it was surely an
experience to remember.
Friday night was our Ward trunk or treat! We got Charity (our less
active) to go as a Harry Potter character with us! Sister ricks was
slytherine, Charity was ravenclaw, I was from Griffindor, we were just
missing a hufflepuff! It was so fun! The Ward loved our costumes, even
one senior sister in the Ward who thought we were trying to dress up
as elders! I guess the ties and white shirts fooled her! Harry Potter
is a younger generation apparently.
Saturday night we weren't allowed to proselyte from 6 to 9 so we got
together as a zone and had a tri-wizard tournament!!!!!!!!!!! We had
three events and quitdich (excuse my spelling please) to finish it
Hope y'all had a magical Halloween!
Sister Jones

Just missing hufflepuff!

Leadership Training

Leadership Training

Leadership Training

Exchanges with Sister Whittier!

Got this little note on Sunday! =)

Exchanges with Sister Whittier!

Exchanges with Sister Whittier!