Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord

William James Jones has been called to serve a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ ofLatter-day Saints in the New York Rochester Mission from November 2012 to November 2014.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Hello, Fairport!

25 February 2013

This week I got my first transfer call and am now called to serve up in Fairport. I will miss serving in Freedom and am kind of bummed about leaving as I was really starting to get pretty close to the people in that area.  In many ways it is very similar to Buckingham in that it was in the middle of the countryside and that it was a very small family-like branch.  What's cool about Freedom is that it is mentioned in D&C section 106 verse 1 and that it has a dot on the map in the scriptures.  What's also kind of weird is that since I'm leaving and my companion (Elder Allen) got left behind he will be serving there for at least nine months which is a really really long time.  What I have noticed though is that President Christiansen usually leaves people in the country areas for long periods of time. 

But anyways I've been up in Fairport for almost a week now and it is very different from Freedom.  People up here are really really rich.  I've got to take some photos of some of the homes up here.  They are ridiculous.  They are really fun to tract to.   But in this area the people up here are harder to work with than in Freedom as most of them are pretty content with what they have already.  At least they think they are content.  What really is hard is that most people aren't even home during the afternoon so we have a lot of time that we spend tracting when most people aren't even home.  Anyways that makes things difficult.  But a good thing about this area though is that the members are really awesome in helping the missionaries out with the lessons that we teach with people and with getting rides to places.  We also have a dinner appointment every night which is really nice.  But if there was one place that I would compare Fairport to I would compare it to Springfield in the DC suburbs.  Except that this place is just pretty much the Rochester Suburbs.  But for people we met with this week,  we met with this awesome less active Vietnamese war veteran guy called Brother Traun.  His English is terrible but he is still really cool to talk to at least try to talk to anyways.  He taught me how to speak one through ten in Vietnamese.  And then we also met with this other less active mom called Sister Mcqueen.  She is really awesome and talkative and she has this really smart nine year old son who we read the scriptures with.  We aren't too sure why she doesn't come to church though and we are trying to get them re activated.  We also met with another less active family called the Mohneys.  We also teach their 3 kids as well who are 10, 10 and 17 respectively.  Their seventeen year old has some mental problems but they all still have awesome testimonies.  I also met with this one comic book guy called Steve Skeates who has tons of comics that he writes himself.  He is a less active guy who knows nothing about the church,  but he said that he thought that the Book of Mormon was the word of God which is a really good step.  We also met with this one old investigator and talked and read the Book of Mormon with him which seemed to go well. He also promised to keep reading the book of Mormon by himself.  

My new address is 460 Kreag Road, Pittsford New York which is the mission office itself. 

Goodbye to Freedom - New York, that is!

20 February 2013

Had an amazing time serving my first two transfers in Freedom.  I am grateful that I was able to go and meet so many awesome people there and I will miss you all.

Debbie Jones of the Freedom Branch

Freedom Branch & 5 K & all that snow!

11 February 2013

5 K!  Realized how truly out of shape I am lol!!

Elder Jones and Elder Allen 

It's what it's all about!

I got my first baptism!

26 December 2012
Joseph Smith Farm with Elder Allen and Amanda Dombrowski

4 February 2013 - Amanda's baptism

The Westons, Amanda, and Elders Jones and Allen

Snow and baptism!

4 February 2013

It is quite chilly up here in New York.  A couple of weeks ago, it was 5 degrees - minus 15 with wind chill in the daytime as a high.  It was horrible.  It was soooooo cold!  And we are getting loads and loads of snow up here.  It's actually kind of funny because Buffalo gets so much snow they actually have to get these huge trucks to take the snow out of the city.

Lots of snow in Freedom, but could be worse!

What are you doing each day in your quest to become more like the Saviour, Jesus Christ?

23 January 2013

"For many of us, conversion is an ongoing process and not a onetime event that results from a powerful or dramatic experience.  Line upon line and precept upon precept, gradually and almost imperceptibly, our motives, our thoughts, our words, and our deeds become aligned with the will of God.  Conversion unto the Lord requires persistence and patience."          David A. Bednar

Happy New Year

January 2013

I'm having a blast up here in Western New York even though it's so cold outside all the time and it never seems to stop snowing.  Most of the time the temperature doesn't go above freezing.  I'm currently serving in Freedom, New York which encompasses the mighty towns of Arcade, Freedom, Delevan, Springville, Bliss, North Java, Machias, East Concord, Yorkshire and Holland.  The people out here are really nice but some are completely crazy.  You wouldn't believe some of the people I've met out here.
Spiritual Thought

"I will go and do the things which
the Lord hath commanded, for I know
that the Lord giveth no commandments to
the children of men, save he shall
prepare a way for them that they may
accomplish the things which he commandeth them."
--- 1 Nephi 3:7 ---

31 December 2012

I'm almost done with my first 6 week period thing.  I think it's called a transfer?  I do get along with my companion pretty well, but yea I guess one thing you learn on your mission is all the pet peeves about people that you didn't even know you had.  This past week has been by far the most dramatic week ever.  We went to the TSO concert with an investigator.   He paid for the tickets and meal that we had.  He's so awesome.  His wife is actually the one that we are teaching and actually has a baptismal date.  He on the other hand isn't very into religion because of past events but for some reason loves the missionaries.  For now since we are teaching his wife.  We are just hoping that eventually as he see's his wife become changed by the gospel he will follow along with it too.  He actually fed us a really awesome t-bone steak meal.  I don't think I'm ever going to have an investigator quite like him ever again on my mission.    Then on Thursday night we gota phone call from a previous investigator (called Jacob) who got sent to jail for not paying child support.  He said that he wants to meet with us which we did.  He has PTS syndrome and is really really paranoid kind of guy because he served in the military.   What's crazy though is that his NOW ex girlfriend is Amanda who is the girl that we've had a baptismal date with but she had to postpone it because she got wasted.  She broke up with him in jail so now that he's out of jail he wants to see the kid that he had with her and just today actually went over and took the kid with him to his parents house.  He said that she wasn't taking care of her properly. Toa degree yes that house they were staying in was a complete wreck.  There was junk and trash all over the place and actually her other daughter that she had who is not his daughter (Amanda actually has 4 children each with different fathers only two stay with her) was really sick and feverish. When she took her to the doctor   the doctor said that she was allergic to head lice.   So Jacob is saying that he's going to call Child support and stuff but this is properly going to go to the courts.   This is definitely one of the most crazy situations ever because both of them want to keep meeting with us and both want to keep coming to church. Anyways tomorrow I'm going to be taking control of the area because my companion is going on exchanges to Cattargus.    

TSO (Trans Siberian Orchestra) concert with Elder Allen

17 December 2012

My mission is going well and I am really starting to get into the missionary routine of things.   The lady that got drunk is actually making good progress now.  She seems to actually be getting happier every time we see her.  With the other guy he still has a lot of work to do and he will take some time to get a testimony.  He's like probably the only guy on our mission that we will want to get baptized later.  I also ran 2.5 miles to the library today instead of driving to the library.  I am eating as healthy as possible with the budget that I have. 

The Christmas Devotional was really really good this year.  Me and my companion had the privilege of watching it with an investigator at her home.   It was really cool to watch with her because you could tell that she was really enjoying watching it and learning from it. This week especially will be very busy as I have exchanges and a Christmas devotional to attend this week.  Hopefully there will be 3 baptisms either by the end of this month or the beginning of January. December is a difficult month as many people become very busy during the Holiday Season.  

Spiritual Thought 

I recommend President Uchtdorf's talk at the recent October 2012 General Conference titled "Of Regrets and Resolutions."   This talk is INCREDIBLY Important.   A lot of the time I would be guilty of letting myself not be happy until I could reach a certain goal or point that I wanted to achieve in life.   That is not the right way to view things and we should always be happy along the entire journey not until we could reach a certain goal so that we can live our lives without regret.

10 December 2012

Things are going well out here.  The missionary schedule is starting to come to me more easily now too.  The one person who was going to get baptized is actually going to be delayed a few weeks. Me and Elder Allen were talking with her sister (who is not interested in the church) and she just casually brought up in the conversation that the person being baptized had just gotten wasted the night before. But all is not lost.  She is making excellent progress though on other major obstacles in her life and is actually going to start going back to college.   We hope that this occurrence was just a once off thing and that she will never drink ever again.  We also have another guy who wants to be baptized too.  

The weather up here in New York, while pretty depressing and cold compared to Virginia,  is actually really really mild.  Usually about now there would be several feet of snow on the ground and it wouldn't melt but instead there's been no snow now for the last week.  Hopefully it will continue to keep staying this way.

People out here are starting to be pretty cool. Our Christmas Eve schedule is crazy we have to meet up with so many people.  And yea politics seems to still be going pretty crazy lol!   My companion is pretty ultra conservative bless his heart  I just try to stay out of talking about it because it's against the mission rules. But I personally am learning to communicate a heck of a lot better with other people and am getting way better at sharing the gospel with random people.  

Spiritual Thought

"But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,
And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man  standing on the right hand of God."  (Acts 7:55-56).   

I just love this verse because it shows that God and Jesus are two separate distinct people not some kind of fusion being that transforms into different people.  The experience would have also been amazing to behold.

Greetings from Freedom, New York

3 December 2012

Things are going well.  Who would have guessed that I would have made it to a branch again.  Freedom Branch is pretty awesome.  It reminds me in many ways like Buckingham Branch although the people are a lot different in lots of ways.  This place is kind of like Buckingham but it has a lot of towns in it and the towns have a lot more stores in them. It is also very industrial and has a lot of heavy machinery repair places.   It is very very cloudy and dark most of the time which makes it a lot colder and darker than Buckingham.  It also snows quite a lot although as of today the snow has all melted off. The recession has hit a lot of people here and a lot of the people we are teaching are unemployed and don't seem to be to terribly busy.  A lot of people also seem to be part time employed although some haven't been employed in years.  But apparently this place is one of the highest baptism areas in the entire mission and is one of the most friendly parts of the mission. Almost all of the branch members are converts.   One of the coolest parts about this area though is that people are so open to talk about religion and to just straight up talk to you.  When me and my companion went tracking we were out tracking for an hour but only talked to like four people. This one guy who was seventh day Adventist just straight up invited us in and we talked about both of our religions.  The first baptism that I will attend will be held this Saturday.  We also have this one lady who comes from a hard working family and is very close to becoming baptized. Me and my companion have been meeting with both her and her husband at different times since they work different hours.  Her husband loves talking to us, just not about religion as he has had a lot of events in his life that have impacted his view of God. 

Me and my companion are going to go see a concert by the Trans Siberian Orchestra.   My companion is pretty cool and has established good relationships with the people in this area.  His name is Elder Allen.  He's eager to work and isn't a slacker.  And the Mission President is really cool and nice,  but doesn't put up with people that mess around on their missions.  Apparently when he first got here this mission was one of the worst for missionary disobedience and one of the first things he did was send 13 people home all at once.  

I do get to use Facebook in this mission although I'm limited to an hour a day and can ONLY talk to people about the gospel only.   And we get to drive a truck for the snow.  

Here is a picture of me coloring with the investigator's two girls.  Initially me and my companion both had parts of a lesson that we were both going to teach but the girls kept constantly interrupting what we were teaching so I just went over and colored with them so that my companion could teach.  The investigator we are teaching is a very interesting person and has had a very difficult life.  She has a testimony though and although she doesn't understand or can't even explain some simple doctrine (I'm not sure if she's shy about it or if she doesn't understand it all the way through) she says she feels happy when she reads the book of Mormon and when she goes to to church. Me and my companion will for sure keep meeting with her after she's been baptized and the branch president is meeting with her now so hopefully everything will go through okay.

Spiritual Thought

We are all the "Offspring" (Acts 17:29) and "Children" (Romans 8:16) of our Heavenly Father who is the "father of our spirits" (Hebrews 12:9).  How wonderful that piece of knowledge is!  How fantastic it is to know that we aren't just some mistake or some random event but we are children of the most just and magnificent being in the universe.   How amazing it is that we can all talk to him individually and that he truly can listen and answer all of our prayers individually and personally cares about us all and is not just some distant creator who just sits their and watches us for naught. How wonderful is the thought that his work and glory is to "bring to the pass the immortality and eternal life of man" (Moses 1:39) and how he wants us to be happy not just in this life but in the life to come.  How amazing it is that we have the potential to become even as he is and "shall be like him" (1 John 3)!   So whenever you feel sad or unhappy about yourself just remember that you are a Child of God and think about what that phrase truly means.

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