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.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Next to last interview with President Francis -good gospel conversations with people

27 October 2014

This week was way awesome and some really awesome things happened!  So yea we pretty much got fed by investigators every day it was insane.  Monday we got fed by this couple who aren't really interested but like to feed missionaries so yea they let us leave a message but they still aren't too interested in changing.   Tuesday was interviews my 2nd to last one before I go home.    We also FINALLY got in with this less active part member family in Eden and they fed us steak it was way good.  He hasn't been to church for like 25 years and she isn't a member but we had a good gospel conversation with them and they set up a time to come back in November!  Also I've been making a little headway with an investigator by talking to him on Facebook.  He's trying to convert us to becoming Jehovah witnesses so it's kind of interesting.   He under estimated my knowledge of the scriptures though and so we had a good conversation.  He was pretty snarky but there was no bible bashing.  I got him thinking about how there was so many scriptures and books missing from the current bible that we have and pretty much just read the Book of Jude to show how much is missing.   Interestingly however Jehovah Witnesses don't believe in a spirit world or even that departed spirits are conscious after death but that they are all asleep before the final judgement.   I asked about the parable of Lazarus (Luke 16) and just to see what would happen I asked about the story of the witch of Endor( 1 Samuel 28) and Ecclesiastes 12:7.  But anyways yea I'll have to tell more back home. Then Friday was interesting.  We taught a lesson through the phone with some guy called Anthony who we had called the week before.  It was very strange we prayed with him through the phone and then we read 3 Nephi 11 with him and we talked about it.  It went pretty well and he liked it and he even set up a time to call him again next Friday at six again!  It was pretty weird but pretty awesome.  We'll figure something out with him.  Saturday we got fed at 3:00 and at 5:30 so we were like way stuffed two different investigators took us out to eat.  We are making some progress with them.  Sunday was awesome President Francis came and taught the third hour of sacrament and it went well.  He talked about how members can do missionary work.  The gospel principles class was pretty interesting though and it got pretty heated in it but oh well it's Cattargus!  Anyways It's my last week pretty nuts!!!  

Hey I still got two weeks!
I'm gonna go and make the most of it!

20 October 2014

This week was pretty awesome and nuts and just unique.   To start off I got to go to Niagara Falls on Pday!  It was pretty fun!  I got to see Canada as well and apparently the Canadian side is the better view but the view I still got was pretty good!   Niagara falls is pretty ghetto though and the Canadian side looked a lot more fancy from what I could see.   

Tuesday we had Elder Hamula from the seventy come speak to us in the Buffalo zones.  He gave a talk at last general conference  and he was pretty awesome.  We got to do a Q and A with him and some pretty good questions with pretty good answers were given.   The one that was way good was this one Elder asked if having baptisms and being a zone leader or Assistant to the president was a sign of a successful mission.   This certain missionary actually had served in Brazil for like 9 months but got reassigned to New York due to health problems and apparently in Brazil he was told that so pretty deep.  Elder Hamula answered by saying something that I remember that President Christianson said to me when I first came out.  He said that every missionary should have one convert when they go home and that should be THEMSELVES.  He also said that the whole district leader zone leader assistant thing is more for the missionary than for leadership skills which I actually had thought about before in how some missionaries really cleaned up their act in being given those leadership responsibilities.  I've heard some pretty sketchy things happening in Brazil and I'm glad that I"m not serving over there.   I don't believe that baptizing someone into activity is in anyway a good thing.  In fact I believe it's actually worse than not having them baptized at all as now that individual is under covenants with God and NOT keeping them.  At the same time, however, baptism is an important thing and should be strived for and set as a goal early in the teaching process (preferably the first lesson depending on the situation).  Earlier is better then later so that they can progress quicker and get the gift of the Holy Ghost BUT if they aren't keeping commitments and if they don't understand what they're really getting into then in my opinion they shouldn't be getting rushed into baptism.   Anyway I digress.  He also called a lot of missionaries to repentance and said they should be getting up on time and using their time properly and should strive for exact obedience.  I'm so grateful Mom and Dad got me those work out dvd's.  They have been such a good tool in getting me to stay awake and also for giving me like a ton of energy through the day.  They are also why I haven't gained any weight on the mission too but that's just a bonus.  I'm glad me and Elder Bennett are being obedient to that before hand.  

One missionary asked a question about how we can place more trust in Christ than ourselves and Elder Hamula answered it in a really interesting way.  He said that we should have trust in Christ and Ourselves.  He said that Christ's grace gives us the confidence and divine assistance so that we can trust in ourselves and that he can work through our actions.  That was pretty interesting view which makes complete sense because if you really think about it.  If you want to obey Christ's commandment for instance then you have to have the confidence in yourself to even keep it!  Nephi is the perfect example of this.  He says I will go and do -  not just I will sit and wait for God to do things for me.   Nephi through Christ's Grace was able to go and receive divine assistance to achieve the task that God had given to go and obtain the plates.   

The rest of the week a ton of people canceled it was pretty sad but we did the best with what we had.   We tracted a lot in the Angola lakeshore part.  There's a whole lot of beach bums there so they're pretty chill.  We had the regular tracing oddities like talking to a completely high guy and having a completely naked kid answer the door ha ha.   This one guy also came outside and was like a hippie or something and he gave us a hug and told us that he was a lay Methodist preacher and that he loved us and what we did and wanted us to keep on going and gave us a fist pump and went inside and closed the door.   But we also had some good conversations with people too and got a couple of potential investigators.   

Then on Saturday me and Elder Bennett got tired of tracting and it was raining so we went to the car and decided to do something I've never ever done before.  We decided to go through our phone and call everyone in it to see if we could pick up some investigators.   It was pretty awesome!   Our phone had over 500 contacts in it so we didn't realize it would take this long but we called everyone from the A's to the C's and it took two hours!   And we did some more of it yesterday.  This phone number has been a missionary phone number for a long time so we talked to some people that hadn't seen missionaries in years.  Almost all of these people we had no records or anything on.    We talked to a guy who lived in this town called Geneva which is like 3 hours away from where we are and he's been an eternigator for 50 years who still meets with missionaries and he talked to me for like half an hour on like everything.   I also talked to this one lady and she was like yea I'm not really interested but I had the missionaries come over and mow my lawn and they played video games and I was like ummmm this is awkward ha ha.  We also talked to this one guy who set up an appointment for us to read the Book of Mormon with him over the phone this Friday so that will be interesting.  I can't say that I have ever taught a lesson over the phone before but no reason why not!  We also talked to some RM missionary who lives in Utah whose number was for some reason in the phone too.   However we didn't realize though that we had left the lights on and our truck ran out of juice so we had to have a member come jump start the car for us!  

The directory clean up meetings that we had are finally over and everyone as been assigned members to go and see (the directory has over 300 members on it).  

I can't believe I only have two weeks left.  It's nuts how fast the time has gone but I try not to think about it at all as I don't like to think that my mission is almost up.  But hey I still got the two weeks!  I'm gonna go and make the most of it!  

13 October 2014

We are going up as a district to Niagra Falls.  This week was pretty awesome!   We had a bunch of people at church and an investigator we are working with will be baptized in December.  We were talking with her and we encouraged her to talk with her inactive brother who is serving in Afghanistan  to have him do it as it would hopefully give him some more incentive to get reactivated.  We also had 4 less actives show up at church who hadn't been for awhile.  We also found some promising investigators as well.  We did the corn harvest again at the church on Saturday as well and my hands are sore from picking all that corn.  Tuesday we are having a member of the Seventy  come talk to us.  He just spoke at general conference as well although I can't remember his name.   

I was nominated by Heather Jonas to share my favorite scripture.  Philippians 4:13 has helped me a lot especially when some things in life can seem overwhelming and impossible to Christ can help me to accomplish it.

            Group effort and unity - essential!

6 October 2014

General Conference was this past week and it was awesome!  I really like the  talks that were given.  Elder Holland's talk was pretty stirring and Elder Bednar's talk was awesome on explaining missionary work and I really enjoyed the priesthood session talks given by President Monson and Uchtdorf but I think my favorite was Elder Christofferson's on moral relativism as that seems to be a pretty big problem with people in the world today. All in all though they were all good and I can definitely testify of Elder Chi Hong Sam Wong's talk about unity in ward councils and as a church as whole.  It takes a group effort and unity to work with individuals and the wards and branches that do that are generally having a lot more converts and reactivations then the wards and branches that don't do this or where people work just on their own. 

Anyways as for this week we helped one of our investigators cut down some tree limbs that were scraping the top of his house.  We are making good  progress with some members too and gaining some referrals from them.  Hopefully they will work out!  This sweet recent convert native guy we took to go see a less active and she's been struggling with going longhouse or going Mormon and she's not sure which path to follow and he actually was longhouse before and so he was able to talk to her and relate to her about things and it was pretty interesting how the beliefs aligned up.  Apparently they believe in a creator that went across the sea and when he came back he said he was betrayed by friends and that he had piercings in his hands and feet.  They also believe in a guy named Handsome Lake who received revelations and was apparently the founder of the longhouse religion and invented a code that forbade alcohol and smoking.  Pretty interesting stuff If I do say so myself!   

This week has been pretty interesting.  Just keeping the work going!  And I've noticed I've done a pretty terrible job in constantly telling you all about specific people so when I get back don't worry I'll tell you all more about the specifics!  It would just take forever if I was to really explain every single person that I met with every week! But yea that's the big stuff!  

The First Presidency

The Quorum of the 12 Apostles

29 September 2014

This week was interesting for sure!  So I guess to start off the week we saw a few people in Angola again on Tuesday.  One person we were seeing her husband had some kind of weird chest pains and they called the ER while we were there and they came and took him away.  He is okay now but yea it was kind of nuts to be there while that happened.  The sister missionaries came into the other Elders area (Gowanda) and so now the district is us, them and a senior couple so the dynamics have changed a lot.   We gave them a couple of people to work in our area and we got a few from their area that would work better for both of us respectively. Thursday was pretty crazy.  I had a district leader training meeting to attend to but the zone leaders and the assistants pretty much asked me to pick up all the district leaders in the zone on the way to the meeting which was in Amherst.  So that ended up taking two hours of driving to get there and two hours to get back and then I had to wing a district meeting cause I had no time to prepare it but it went pretty well.  Friday we spent pretty much the whole day helping a couple of families move.  It was pretty nuts.  One thing I learned is that if someone asks for your help moving make sure before you say yes that you ask them to have all their stuff ready to move in boxes as it takes far longer if they haven't spent time packing.  

Saturday the church had the corn harvest which was pretty well attended by some people in the community.  I was busy pulling off ears of corn and then stamping on the stalk to beat it into the ground so that people wouldn't waste their time looking for corn on an empty stalk.  I didn't realize that after a while those ears of corn can cut your hand pretty badly if you aren't careful.  I got a couple of nicks on my hands.   

And then yesterday there was a stake missionary fireside that a few people from the branch gave talks for and it went pretty well I think.  The weather here as been awesome these past couple of weeks with it being really warm and sunny and the leaves are starting to change colours.  This next week will be pretty awesome.  I'm excited for general conference!  It should be pretty awesome like always!  

"When through the woods and forest glades I wander
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees,
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur,
And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze.  
Then sings my soul my savior God to thee
How great thou art!
How great thou art!"

District leader again

22 September 2014

So this week was just as nuts as last.  Tuesday started off awesome.  We finally caught some  less active families home.  Our investigator Rodger has cancer again so that really sucks hardcore.   We are just going to try to help him out anyway we can.   And then 2 of our other investigators were sick and were unable to meet up so yea that wasn't good.  Wednesday everyone  stood us up too. People in western New York are pretty bad with
keeping appointments.  Saturday we got to help out with a stake
service project celebrating the 40th anniversary of the  Buffalo Stake.  We also had a lesson on Sunday with the guy who represented me at the court case.  He is awesome but isn't super active. He falls into the category of being borderline meaning not less active but not completely active. Me and Elder Bennett also talked about and made a list of these members and will be hopefully seeing them this upcoming week.   Oh and yes finally transfers came and I'm staying and Elder Bennett is too but the other elders are gone and sisters are coming and I'm district leader again! So yea we are gonna have to do a lot of reorganizing with this distinct now.  But things are going good!  

Another thought to ponder ....

 "Often times we forget that sometimes we need to forgive ourselves
and let things go just as much as we need to forgive other people
and the things they've done."
- Elder William James Jones -