Monday, December 26, 2016

CHRISTMAS!!!

So this week was a party!  

Monday we went to stake family home evening at President Johnson's house and it was so much fun.  We took Mike and Miley and they loved it.  

Wednesday was the Christmas zone conference.  President asked me to conduct which is really out of the ordinary!  In fact, I've never seen a sister conduct a zone conference since I've been here.  It was a bit nerve racking  and quite exhausting for me as I really don't like to be front and center and I blush really easily, but oh well!  I did as I was asked.  

Thursday was the start of the endless weekly plannings. I'm grateful president isn't making me go to all of them by myself, but we got to go do weekly planning with the Crescent Ward Sisters.  It's really fun to dive into a new area and try to help other investigators. I have learned that my favorite part of missionary work is the actual work part.  I love teaching, contacting, talking to people and everything else.   That night I got this nasty chili that was "supposedly" gluten free from a restaurant that a member took us too, and ended up vomiting two hours later on the dot.  First time I've been sick in the mission, and it was awful!  It is pretty miraculous though that this is the first accidental encounter I've had with gluten since I've been here!  

Friday was such a fun day. We had to do our weekly planning, and then we went to work. We found new investigators, we taught investigators, we saw less active members.  It was a blast.  I had an experience where we were walking out of a sketchy apartment complex, and there was an open door that we walked by.  I had the distinct impression that we needed to turn around and knock the door.  So we did and ended up meeting a 16 year old boy who really needed the gospel.  

Christmas eve was a normal day, but better :) God tends to bless missionary holidays.  We had hot chocolate with Brother Bartholomew, then we went to lunch with MIKE AND LURENE! We got to see Sister Webb and Sister Barber (two old less active ladies who are a little lonely) and then we had an incredible dinner with Sister Bowers.  Then we went to the Howe's for fun and we went to the Mirandas (I'M ABSOLUTELY IN LOVE WITH MEXICAN FOOD !!)

Then on Christmas we woke up and tried our hardest to study, opened presents, went to church and then visited the lady we met last week who is alone.  It was pretty neat.  THEN I TALKED TO MY FAMILY!  It was so good to see them.  I held it together until the end and then lost it a bit.  I  continue to miss them A  LOT!!  We had a really nice dinner with the Relief Society President's family and she even made me GF apple crisp for dessert.   

Merry Christmas everyone!  Here's to an awesome 2017 New Year!

Love, Jes
Sure love these two people!


My companion is amazing!  Her visa still hasn't come for Mexico, so we'll be together a bit longer.  Yay!



HIGHLIGHT OF CHRISTMAS FOR OUR FAMILY!!

Service and Prayer

This week was cool but it was strange too!

Tuesday I was on exchanges in the Harper Park ward with Sister Caldwell. I love her so much. She is the sweetest missionary in the whole world.  She is such a good example to her companion. We had some stellar lessons with investigators, and we found new investigators! 

Wednesday- WE GOT SUPER GOOD SUSHI on Wednesday

We had a huge meeting on Thursday that started at 8:30 in the morning and we didn't get home till 6:00 because we hit traffic. It was an experience. They mostly talked about weekly planning. Our weekly planning this week took forever because we had to do it the way they trained us.  Usually it takes us like three hours but this went LONGER!  The hardest part is that they asked us to train the rest of the mission on how to do weekly planning by doing it with them. So I have to do a billion weekly plannings with the other sisters :(  

Friday was Sister Watson's LAST DAY!  We just did normal missionary work and said goodbye to some of her favorite people. 

Saturday was the worst-best day of my life. We had to get up really early to take Sister Watson to the airport.  The night before we stayed up past curfew to do her hair and we watched Mr. Kruegers Christmas. IT WAS SO SAD! Then we got to do service at the Catholic church.  We helped put together food boxes for low income families, and it was pretty fun.  We worked for a few hours and then in the evening we had the ward Christmas party. It was amazing, it was one of the better ward Christmas parties I have ever been to.  They started with a tour of the nativity.  They had people in enacting the shephards, angels, wise men, and the stable scene in Bethlehem.  Then they had a whole big spread of Mediterranean food. We took some plates to MIA investigators after the meeting!  We also found out that another one of our investigators might want to be baptized!!!

Sunday, our mission president showed up at church and he talked to our investigators about baptism.  They had a really good conversation!  Our mission president is very impressive in gospel conversations with investigators and tends to be able to commit them to baptism in a powerful way.

We really wanted to find another new investigator on Sunday, so we prayed before we got out of the car, and knocked on a lady's door named Shirley's.  She answered the door, let us in, and started talking to us about her family.  All her children had passed away and so had her husband.  She was recently injured so she couldn't put up any Christmas decorations, so we offered to help her, and we asked if we could come visit her on Christmas day. She was ecstatic.  I almost started crying for this sweet blessing. What a tender mercy that God allowed us to find her!

I hope you all enjoy this week before Christmas and make sure to take time to reflect on our Savior!

Love, Jes


Monday, December 12, 2016

Goodbye Sister Watson:(

Well... one of my FAVORITE COMPANIONS (Sister Watson) IS LEAVING ME THIS WEEK (traitor).  We are taking her to the airport this weekend and then she's gone!

Two of our investigators moved this week.  This is the family that made me the wonderful creme brulee!  We spent a few hours this week helping them get packed up and ready to leave. Then the elders quorum came and helped moved the heavy things on Saturday morning. It was really good for them.  They basically believe everything, we are just waiting for the day they want to be baptized.  I think they were impressed with the member's genuine care, help &  fellowshipping! 

We had two exchanges this weekend.  My first was in Seapoint with Sister McGarry.   She is my MTC companion. We had a ton of fun.  Her ward is the hardest ward in the entire mission.  They get so much rejection everyday.  We had people screaming at us, yelling at us as we were walking away that we were a cult, telling us that "john-jacob-jingleheimer-smith" (AKA Joseph Smith) was not a prophet, and we had plenty of doors rudely slammed in our face.  It was one heck of an experience. But WE STILL HAD FUN, and WE WERE STILL HAPPY! I'm struck with how differently those with affluence in this area reject the missionaries in such harsh and offensive ways.  There really is truth to the humble people of the earth receiving the gospel.  We needed a good lunch to ease our beaten up efforts, so we went to this Thai place called Lemon Thai, and it. was. so. good.  

Then we went on exchanges again the next day.  We had a cool experience.  I was with Sister Equihua and Sister Chapman, and I wanted to teach them that they can do anything with God's help.  So we specifically prayed for a new investigator who wanted to hear our message, wanted us to come back, and was excited to hear the gospel.  Then we prayed to know where to go.  We felt impressed where to go and we drove there, got out of the car, and NO ONE was there.  But there was someone in a car in their driveway.  I decided to  knock on the car window.  God said to talk to everyone right? Even if they are in their car?  That was something my first STL taught me.  Anyway, turns out she was interested in hearing our message!  It was a neat experience and I felt a lot of gratitude.  Then after that WE GOT STREET CORN from the street corn guy.  It's called elote, and it's awesome. 

We set a baptismal date with Miley and I think we will set another this week with Jenny.  They are both ready to be baptized, we are just waiting on them... But they have really been progressing lately so maybe they will be baptized soon!


I love you all and I hope you have a good week. 


It finally cold enough for Hot Chocolate!

Visiting a Buddhist Temple

Here's our threesome!  We all love getting frozen yogurt!

We've only gotten to the beach a few times.  It's really pretty!

Yes, it is Christmas at our apartment . . . a humble one!

Sure love these two comps of mine!

Yes, I took a fall a while back.  This is probably what caused my vertigo for a few weeks.  i'm doing good now!

Exchanges!
 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

CALI CRAZY

OH MY WEEK!  WHERE DO I BEGIN!

Last p-day we get a call from the mission president saying that Sister Equihua's family is going to come pick her up from LA for the evening so they can fill out some immigration forms.  Sister Equihau is our 3rd companion waiting in our mission for her visa to Mexico.  So we met her family!  They are really neat people.  So Sister Equihua was with them till the early afternoon on Tuesday.  We got to go to the beach too! 

Tuesday came around, and I WAS SO DIZZY.  I had been crazy dizzy (like world spinning dizzy) for four-ish days.  Thankfully we were at the mission office for the new missionary training, and I got to talk to the nurse.  Our companion (new missionary) was still gone, and told us she wouldn't be back for a while longer. My companion and the mission nurse made me go to the urgent care in Huntington Beach and they told me I have vertigo.  I thought vertigo was only for old people, but turns out it's not!   I've never stopped working when I've been sick, because it makes me anxious and I feel bad about it.  God allowed me to get sick on a day when I wouldn't be working anyway! That was a little tender mercy.

We had a super stellar lesson with Mike and Miley that night. Miley has been investigating the church for a while and both of them have hard pasts.  Miley really opened up about her life, her opinion of the church, and her relationship with God.  I think she might be baptized soon!  We still need to set a day, but we are not sure when yet. 

We also had dinner with an investigator at Sister Howes house (she's a member).  This was the first time I have invited an investigator to a dinner with a member.  It was a wonderful experience!  The member and her really got along great, and she loved it.  If you want to make a missionary happy tell them to try and bring an investigator or a less active member to dinner!

I was asked to give a training in district meeting on commitments, and it went well but then guess what.... THE AP'S CALLED AND ASKED ME TO GIVE A TRAINING IN MLC ON COMMITMENTS!  DO YOU KNOW WHAT MLC IS??  It's missionary leadership council, and DO YOU KNOW WHO GOES TO THAT MEETING??? THE MISSION PRESIDENT AND ALL THE HOTTEST ELDERS IN THE MISSION!!!!  I almost yelled at Elder Oniki (the AP who asked me to train), AND I was the only one giving a training except for the AP's and President.  I was so scared!  I was shaking and flipping out all morning.  It actually went really well though.  My companion said I was amazing and President said I did a good job too, but I'm still mad at Elder Oniki!

We also got to go on exchanges this week. I was with Sister Greener in the beach ward, and she is the sweetest missionary ever.  She is a twin and has an awesome life story. 

I love the new christmas initiative.  It's so much fun to tell random people on the street to pull our their smartphone to watch a video.  They all love the video. So make sure you watch it!

I've been thinking about lots of things this week, and one thing I have been thinking about is listening. I've gotten so much better at listening to people on my mission, but I've learned that the friends who stick around are the ones that listen.  They are the kind of people that ask about my life and how I'm doing, they are the friends who actually care.  I want to be that kind of friend to people because I like having friends like that.  I've thought back on lots of my "friends" and realized that the ones who listen to me and care about me personally are very few...but they have never left me, and I have never left them.  So maybe to light the world this season, you could actually listen to someone.  Even if they are not struggling, just ask about their life, how they are, what they love, what drives them crazy, and tell them how amazing they are. There is more to "true friendship" than having a true friend.  Half of the fun comes by being a good friend!

I love you all so much, have a wonderful miracle filled week!

Love, Jess

Chilly Thanksgiving in Cali

So this week has been absolutely insane.

Monday night, my companion went to the departure dinner so I was with the beach sisters, running around the Beach ward, saying goodbye to all the Beach members.... because Sister Montague was leaving. It was really strange, but it was fun! I also got to see all of the departing missionaries and that was a treat. Some of my favorite sisters in the mission went home this transfer.  I've never seen missionaries going home this close up before and it's so strange!  I don't like it at all, it's super sad, and it's really weird to think that I'm going to be doing that in a few months!

Tuesday we got to pick up our new missionary. Her name is Sister Equihua, and she is from LA, but she is going to Mexico on her mission.  I get to be her companion for 5 more weeks, then she will leave.  She is a really good missionary. She is a convert of two years and is super funny. She loves the church and she speaks fluent Spanish so we can officially talk to everyone who is not Vietnamese (Westminster has a high Vietnamese population too).  

Wednesday was district meeting and they trained us on how to present the new Christmas initiative!  I'm so excited for this, it's going to be awesome! Look on mormon.org to see it :)

Thursday was Thanksgiving and HOLY PHAT!!!  We. had. so. much. food.  The day started out good, we had a meeting with our ward mission leader (I think he took pity on us so he held a meeting) and then we got to meet with Brother B. a nice less active man who is really smart!  Then the fun began, we got to go first to Eddie's family party.  He is Samoan, so all the Samoans there were so excited to see us.  We had to leave early (so we didn't get to eat, thank heavens) because we had to get to another dinner. We had an amazing dinner with Tammy and her Kids (the recent converts).  They had the WHOLE spread, and it was all super good. They had these garlic brussel sprouts that were AMAZING, and the potatoes were way good.  Then we went to the Miranda's (a recent convert/ investigating family) and their food was super good too. They had Ceviche which is a Mexican thing and it's so good. I've had it a few times on my mission from Latino families I've served with. They also had the best sweet potatoes I've ever had in my life. Then we went to the Bower's and by they time we were done with them, I wanted to curl up in a ball and die.  Needless to say, I didn't eat anything for about a day and a half hahahaha. 

The weekend was really rainy and cold.  However I feel very blessed because my mission is not usually rainy and cold. We also got to see Vince's (our investigator) chickens, and we were taught by a Jewish couple, and some guy gave us a book he wrote on with his philosophy of life (you can tell how great of a missionary I am, I'm supposed to be giving people books and I'm supposed to be teaching people about my religion... but whatever).

I don't have a spiritual thought this week but I love you all!! 

Love, Jes

Monday, November 21, 2016

Only 18 Weeks Left!

So this week was just the bomb.  We get a call from the Spanish elders and they told us to get over to our investigators house right now.  So we go and he is FINALLY HOME.  We taught a super powerful restoration lesson. He's Samoan and comes from a family of all Mormons. He wants to be baptized in December.  The only problem is that his girlfriend messaged us yesterday and said they wont be investigating the church anymore because she has tattoos and that makes her a "tainted" woman (whatever the heck that means).  So we might stop by and pretend like we didn't get the message.  

Tuesday, I was with the "beach" sisters.  My companion went to the departing missionary temple trip.  We did service for the Catholic Church and it was pretty neat.  They are putting together packages for those in need this Thanksgiving.  It's really humbling to see tiny Huntington Beach homes with fifteen people living in them and to watch all these wonderful Catholic members work together to help these poor people have a fantastic holiday. 

We also had a really neat lesson this week with M (the man) & L (the woman).  M is a less active member who wants to be active again. L lives with him and both of them have had crazy life experiences. M's wife was killed in the hospital on accident by one of the nurses, and L's companion was shot through the window when she was in the passenger seat by a gang member. (Westminster has lots of gangs sadly).  Both of them want peace, and both of them want to be happy. Missionaries have tried to teach them for forever, but have had little success. This week though, we decided to take them on a church tour, and we did and they came to church the next day! L has never come to church before so this was a huge step for her.  They loved it!  

C was also at church this week. He is this kid that was baptized about a year ago. He loves the church, he is 16.  He was baptized by himself and knows more about Mormons than most 16 year old kids.  He has had a rough few months, but I can only imagine how hard it would be being Mormon without a supportive household.  I feel like my testimony is strengthened every time I talk to him. 

T and her kids are doing good (the family that was recently baptized)! We think we get to go over to their house this Thanksgiving so that should be fun. They love the church so much!  

We also taught S and C this week. They are fun to teach and talk too, I just wish they would progress more. C found out I'm gluten free and made us Creme Brulee!  I haven't had that my whole mission!  

I'm not sure what my "spiritual thought" for today should be. I think this week I learned about Joy. It's so important to always have joy. God can give us joy on good days, bad days, hard days, easy days... Joy plays more of a role in the Plan of Salvation than I think we realize.  Why is the gospel so appealing? Because it promises joy!  People generally desire to be happy, and by following his gospel, WE CAN BE HAPPY, no matter what.  If you haven't had a chance to read Elder Nelson's talk on joy from the most recent conference, here it is!  https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2016/10/joy-and-spiritual-survival?lang=eng&_r=1

I love you all!

Jessica

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Tabernacle of Moses and The Beach!

Jessica spent most of her time today writing to Amanda on her birthday and giving her some really amazing advice in preparation to serve a mission.  Jessica's companion kindly sent her weekly email of their activities which I will publish below.  It was fun to hear about the week through her companion's eyes!

"This week we had the opportunity to help build a life size replica of the tabernacle that Moses and the Israelites carried around in the wilderness. Its AWESOME!! We got to carry heavy things and wear jeans all day! It was the closest I have come to being normal on my mission and I felt so weird! We also went to the "beach" and got peanut butter milkshakes! It was great! 

Sister Webb had a run in with the road and it was so scary but hilarious at the same time. We were jay walking/running across the street and she tripped on the bumps they use to help drowsy drivers wake up.  I looked back to find her curled up in a ball in the middle of the road and I was prepared to stop traffic!! It was so funny though because she pops up and grabs her shoes and we ran across the street the rest of the way. We used the crosswalk on the way back haha!!

Wednesday we did weekly planning and got all the good stuff planned and figured out. Sis Webb made homemade salsa and it was super good!! Then we went down to help the Seapoint Sisters with their issues. We had lunch and they are in a trio so we talked out all their problems. We basically had a good sit down and tell us how you feel. It went super well and they are doing lots better now. Tears were shed and the spirit was felt. #SistersTherapyLeague for the win! 

We had a lot of lessons to teach on Wednesday and went strong until dinner. We had to go to the bathroom really bad, so we stopped at Jack in the Box and when we came out, all these gang guys were standing around our car and watching our every move, so we jumped in the car and locked the doors and drove off as fast as possible!  We were laughing.  We are really protected as missionaries and our week went really well and so fast!  We have so many people progressing and I love being a missionary!"


This is the Arc of the Covenant.  It's beautiful!
Exchanges

The Tabernacle coming together
At the baptism with Sis. Watson

The BEACH!


Dreamin . . . 

This is the sacrificial alter at the entrance of the Tabernacle

I really love this family!  This was a highlight of my entire mission!!





Monday, November 7, 2016

My AMAZING, AMAZING Week!

We received a text today from a member in Huntington Beach.  They told us Jessica is helping to build "The Tabernacle".  We knew exactly what they were talking about because a few months ago on LDS living, my sister sent us this amazing video of a Youth Conference in Huntington Beach and we knew they were bringing this tabernacle to the members in the area.  It's a remarkable endeavor and such a wonderful public relations tool to all those interested in Moses's Tabernacle. Here are some pictures of Jessica helping out, a video link of  the Tabernacle and another video link of what these members did for their youth at their Youth Conference!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mFGsLEpKKk

http://www.ldsliving.com/Life-Sized-Tabernacle-Brings-LDS-Stakes-Interfaith-Communities-Together/s/83368?utm_source=ldsliving&utm_medium=email



Now for her letter:
I don't think I could even begin to adequately describe my week, but I will try!

MONDAY WAS HALLOWEEN!  We got to wear sweats all night because we were inside (for safety), and we organized and trashed lots of stuff.  I actually love organizing stuff... and I know that's weird but it's true!  We had like five trick-or-treaters and that was awesome!  We also got to go to Buba Sweets... they give missionaries free cupcakes and they have one that's GF!

Tuesday I had my first MLC, that means Mission Leadership Council.  I'm not a big fan of numbers and they spent a long time trying to figure our number goals to set for hitting standards of excellence.  I understand their importance in keeping track of the work, but I was grateful when President talked about how we need to make sure people are converted to Christ first. He said that if they are converted to Christ they will be converted to the church. 

Wednesday we had zone meeting and Sister Watson and I had to give a training. Then we had T and her kids BAPTISMAL INTERVIEWS!  It was awesome! 

Thursday was weekly planning and another exchange.  I got to go with Sister Oikle, and she is an amazing missionary. We had a smack down lesson with an investigator, taught an awesome less active member, found a new investigator and just had a GOOD DAY.  We also ate at this place called Lee's and it was super good, and cheap (love cheap).  

SATURDAY SATURDAY SATURDAY was the best baptism in the whole world. (and Sister King made gluten free ravioli, it was so good...) T and her kids were baptized, and it was the most spiritual experience I have had in a long time. The ward was fantastic at helping with everything!  The room was full and there was active participation from the ward.  Everyone has scooped up our investigators and loved them without us falling on our knees and having to beg them.  The Spirit was almost tangible, and everyone was in tears to see this family brought together.  I love this gospel.  


I know it's hard to express feelings over email but this week I have an overwhelming testimony of this work!  I KNOW that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints is the kingdom of God and it does have every saving ordinance and doctrine of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  This is the only way to be eternally happy, this is the only way to return back to live with Heavenly Father, and this is the peace the world needs.  I've thought about how as the world gets more and more wicked, we need more converted disciples of Christ to love and serve and be examples of hope and righteousness. I am touched that this week, FOUR PEOPLE THAT I LOVE decided to join the disciples of Christ!  I am so grateful that God has asked me to be a part of His mighty work and wondrous glory.  I will never stop being a missionary!!

Love you all,

Jes



Monday, October 31, 2016

Mission Prep, Temple Prep & My Week

My mom asked me to focus my thoughts this week on the temple and preparing for a mission.  Of course I'm thinking of Amanda who will soon be a missionary, but these thoughts are very personal and might not apply to everyone, so take what you would like from them . . .

The temple for me as a missionary:  I was really homesick at the beginning of everything.  California, even though it is not Hong Kong, has a totally different feel than Utah. Homes here are different and everything felt messy and crowded,.  The pace of life is fast and nobody wants to listen to you unless they have recently been humbled my the Lord.  When I first got here, we had a missionary out with us who had just returned home from Mexico.  He was shocked when the first door we knocked on was slammed in our face and they yelled at us to go away.  He was more surprised when the people on the street weren't even cordial with us, even if they have nothing better to do. Everything felt superficial and hard.  I was just tired and felt so far away from everything that was comfortable to me. We went to the temple, and the second I walked in, for the first time in two and a half months, I felt like I was at home. I went through the endowment with just complete peace in my heart.  I wasn't worried or scared or tired. I was happy -FINALLY HAPPY.  I cried because I was so relieved to finally feel normal.  Then I went to the celestial room and told God how grateful I was for this home, His home.  I asked Him if I could feel His Spirit.  I feel the spirit powerfully, . . . that is something I have learned since I have been a missionary.  The spirit comes to me with a very distinct feeling, and I can feel it any time I am worthy.  But it usually only lasts a short time and then it leaves.  This time in the temple, it just kept coming.  There was no limit to how much I could feel it and it felt like home.  It was wonderful.  That is why I love the temple.  I care a lot about the covenants I make there and I am keeping them, but on my mission, the peace and happiness I have felt there has been life sustaining for me!  I love the temple because it is the closest thing to our heavenly home that the world offers.  AND YOU CAN FEEL THAT when you go. 

Preparing for a mission:  I hesitate to say much because I feel like I wasn't very prepared when I left, and I still feel under qualified.  I also don't think anyone can specify the best ways to prepare for a mission because everyone needs different things. So I'll tell you what I needed at the beginning of my mission that I didn't have. 

BEST MISSION PREP CLASS
1) Practice teaching as much as you can . . . it is necessary!  You should practice teaching every mission prep class.  So sorry to the instructors who talk a lot, but practicing teaching is the way to go. The more we practice teaching, the better we will get.  
2) Use the best three resources money can provide for missionaries every lesson: Preach my Gospel, The Book of Mormon, and recent RM's. 
3) Sharing mission experiences is wonderful, but a few are enough to motivate each class. They really inspire but too many can be distracting. 
4) The best mission prep class I went to was run by RM's during Sunday school in my singles ward.  It was run with the intent of creating good missionaries. It wasn't the one at the institute, and it wasn't the one I went to at 6am.  It was the one that involved group discussion, practice teaching, and using PMG a ton. 

THINGS I NEEDED AT FIRST
1) Homesickness- Recognize that you will be homesick for something.  It may be your family, your old culture, watching movies, or living normal life.  Everyone is homesick for something.  I know very few missionaries who are never, and have never been homesick... and the ones who claim it are probably liars:) A good cure for homesickness for me has been journaling, praying, and reading The Book of Mormon. 
2)  New missionaries are many times humble in the fact that they are ready to learn, but prideful because it's hard to be corrected.  Let people correct you, take the blow to your pride, and be better. Sadly you don't know everything, so let your companion help you even if they are crazy. 
3) When you are mad at your companion, which will happen, pray for love and serve them. Those ALWAYS work. 
4) When you are tired and unmotivated, tell your companion, and pray.  Even if you are with your companion just say, "Hey I need to pray, can I have three minutes"?  Then beg God for energy and desire to do the work. HE WILL GIVE IT TO YOU IF YOU ARE WILLING.  The natural man doesn't really want to be a missionary- but God wants you to do it. He will help you. 

TALENTS and KNOWLEDGE I WISH I CAME OUT WITH
1) I wish I would have known the Book of Mormon better. I think the best way to come to know the Book of Mormon would be to memorize scripture references that are often used by missionaries.  (2 Nephi 2 and 32, Alma 5, 11, 40, 32, Ether, 3 Nephi 11....)  Just know the basics of where stories and famous scriptures are. 
2) I wish I had memorized the points in the missionary lessons before I came out. 
3) I wish I had gone out to lessons with the missionaries more. 
4) I wish I had watched the entire "District" (a series provided by the church)
5) You have time on your mission to prepare with things to know. You should prepare beforehand more on the spiritual and emotional side of things.  Make sure you are ready spiritually and emotionally- these are key to success!

MOST OF ALL - GOD LOVES HIS MISSIONARIES!  Missions are hard but really amazing!

So . . . This week was awesome.

I went on exchanges with Sister Montague and Sister McGarry.  Both of these sisters were in the MTC with me,  so it was fun to catch up and be near them again. It's cool to see how they have changed. 

T AND HER KIDS ARE GETTING BAPTIZED THIS WEEK!  That's four people!  The missionaries found T and her kids three weeks before I got here and we have been teaching them 2-3 times a week since I arrived. They are so neat and I really like them.  They are golden investigators, and have been super prepared by the Lord.  They were ready to be baptized when they were found. 

We were driving down the street and a POSSUM fell out of the truck in front of us.  Random!

The YSA elders called us and said they found a lady we could do service for. We went over with the elders to do service. We were raking her leaves and a huge black widow came booking it out of the wall.  I freaked out and Elder Salazar came over and started to playing with it.  NOT SO SMART! Anyway, he killed it with his hand, and he is still alive.  I personally think he is crazy. We ended up teaching the lady who we did service for and it was the first lesson I have ever given in pants.

We also had the Halloween party this week and it was so much fun! The kids did a trunk or treat, and we actually had lots of non-members there.  

Anyway- the church is true like the sky is blue. Have a good week! 

Love, Jes
Our first day together in our new apartment and it was FREEZING COLD!
Think I may be loosing it some nights!
This is as dressed up as we get on Halloween:)


Letting it all out after daily planning!


Beautiful Cali sky


Love Sister Watson

My first day being an STL

Our zone

Stole my comps companion in the bathroom #alwayshavetopeetogether

Glad she's the driver!

Exchanges!

THANK YOU Jim, Rach & Family for sending me a Halloween package.  I LOVED IT!
  

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Life is good, God is good . . .

This was a crazy week!  I had my first two exchanges this week and I felt the Spirit so strong.  I know Heavenly Father needs me to be an example to these sisters.  It was hard at times, but we saw so many miracles.  Heavenly Father wants His missionaries to succeed and be happy!

We had a family home evening at the stake president's house with T and her kids. The spirit was so strong. It's amazing what members can do to invite the Spirit! 

On Tuesday morning we went to a less active's house and she was outside.  She said that she wanted to come back to church so we get to meet with her again this week and help her come back. We also found a new investigator in the last five minutes of the evening that day.  It was so neat!  (The part I wasn't going to tell you was that he was really good looking and I was so proud of myself for being able  to talk to him without blushing or stuttering or anything! I acted totally normal!  It was fantastic.:)

We met with another less active family.  He is a surfer and loves the beach and she is a sweet mother. They have met with many missionaries in the past and they tell all the missionaries they want to come to church again.  They just have a hard time getting there.  We are going to love them and keep encouraging them to come!.

We had a stellar lesson with S and C. They are investigators who want to obey God and His will for them.  They have some strong opinions, but they are devout Christians.  They listened to us, and they think our religion is interesting. So we get to keep teaching them! 

I love my companion so much!  It's amazing for us to be back together!  We get along so well and we laugh all the time.  She feels like a sister, and I'm not even kidding.  I could do or say anything with her.  I love her SO MUCH! 

We also had a training from President on how to work with members.   He had some really good ideas but I still am not totally sure how to do it.  SO I decided to ask you all back home, what can a missionary do to help members do missionary work?  

Have a great week!
Love, Jes

Monday, October 17, 2016

Spam & Conversion

This week was crazy! We have been trying to get our feet under us and especially me as I adjust to my new assignment and responsibilities.  We were busier than I think I've ever been.  A few days we forgot to eat lunch!  

On Sunday we had FIVE investigators at church. It was wonderful.  We are teaching a family that I really love. My biggest adventure this week was trying SPAM for the first time.  I actually liked it!  My mom probably won't fix it for me when I get home, so I better enjoy it while I can:)  I am in Westminister which is just north of Huntington Beach.  It is beautiful here and cooler than La Mirada.  I saw the ocean for the first time on my mission!  We were dropping some sister off in Huntington Beach and I was so happy because I love the ocean!

I really love my mission, the work is rolling forward and it is so much fun.  We do lots of tracting- but my new mission president changed the rules. He doesn't want us to plan our day around tracting.  So basically we set appointments with people and when they fall through we tract by them. My area is HUGE compared to my first area, but compared to other missions it's tiny. I'm in the smallest mission in the world.

I've been thinking a lot about conversion and how it can be a difficult process for many.  There are a  lot of negative things, true and untrue, about our church.  Faith is so important in conversion!  Sometimes you have to look at the reasons why the church is true instead of the hard things it says or does. Believe it or not, the "pro" list outweighs the "con" list (I've actually made one).  The doctrines, feelings and opinions in this church are pretty bold.  But you can't forget that the God we believe in destroyed cities because of wickedness and is constantly declaring repentance and rebuking His children for not following his ways.  Even the Savior spoke boldly.  So boldly that they took His life.  Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ do love us SO MUCH. They would do, and have done everything for us, but salvation was never easy. I find for many people it's much easier to not go to church, to not go on a mission, to not obey the word of wisdom, to not read the scriptures, to not be Mormon.... but I believe in God. I know He wants me to do something about the feelings I've had, and when I pray like Joseph Smith did and ask "Which church is correct, or is there a church that is all true" I always receive the answer that it is this church.  Even if we get yelled at all day with this and that and told by others how they hate our church, I still know it is true.  It's not because I'm stubborn or prideful, It's because of the Spirit.  One of my favorite talks this conference was by Elder Ballard entitled, "To Whom Shall We Go?".  Here is  the link: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2016/10/to-whom-shall-we-go?lang=eng/. I would recommend it to anyone who is struggling with doubt and fear, or who may feel inadequate or unworthy.  It is wonderful!

I promise that there is nothing in this world you can do that would cut you off from God.  Sin can be forgiven!  That is why we have repentance, so everyone can be worthy to return to God. Even the worst sinners can repent. WE ALL FIT INTO GOD'S PLAN!  We always have.  

Love you all,
Jess