Monday, February 22, 2016

Faith Over Fear!


Yo yo yo, how is it going? 

It has been so fun to hear about all he happenings back home! Thank you for your emails, updates, love, and prayers! I feel them and I am SO grateful to know that I am loved by so many. I LOVE YOU! 

Fun facts:
-The Welsh say "bril" instead of "brilliant".
-When something is super nice or tastes good they say "Man, that's lush!" (I am already using these words way more than I should, but I love it!)
-When something or someone is extra classy or dresses nice, they say "That's posh!"
-All the kids who attend schools here have to wear uniforms (kinda like Harry Potter, but without the capes and wands:) 
-A lot of the kids are taught in Welsh schools, which means they literally learn everything in Welsh. It's a dying language, but hey, gotta keep the tradition going! 

 This week has been a busy one filled with loads of service, meetings, and cool experiences. I just have to start off by expressing my gratitude for my Savior. I have never been more sure that my Redeemer lives! I know it. I know he is there. Every single day, I see His hand is in my life. I know that He is ever so aware of my circumstances and my feelings. He knows me. He knows what I need, when I need it, and in what way. I know that this is the work of our Father in Heaven. That He is so mindful of the miracles that we get to be apart of and witness. I know they are there! Every good thing on this earth is evidence of a higher being. Every answer to prayer is proof to me that He loves us and knows the feelings of our hearts. It is such a blessing to be out here, on the other side of the world, experiencing miracles ever day. I know that when we show our desire to grow closer to Him, He will grant us those experiences need to help our faith to grow. Always.

We went to the castle today!!!! It was so much fun!
They actually did some reenactments and other fun things. It was really cold and super old! Sorry this explanation is super lame.

We visited Castle Coch today! It is a beautiful castle that a man made for his wife in the late 1800's. It was GORGEOUS! 

The courtyaaarrdddd.

It is a literal fairytale castle that is tucked away in the woods, set on a beautiful hill. 

 One cool story from this week, happened when Sister Scherf and I were talking about what to do with an allotment of time in the next day's schedule. As we discussed what to do, we decided to get on our knees and pray about some streets to tract. When we do this, we pray sincerely for guidance, end the payer and wait for the inspiration to come as we go through our individual maps. Once we both feel that we have received specific and clear direction from Heavenly Father, we say "ready?". This time, in particular, there was quite a long amount of time before we decided our streets. We waited and eventually were both ready to discuss the revelation that we had received. I said my first street, then my second street, then my third. Sister Scherf seemed to be okay with them, so asked her which streets she chose, but she want to know if I had a fourth street in mind. In fact, I did. And guess what happened next? She turned her Ipad around to reveal the streets she had chosen previously. 

And to my astonishment, 3 of the 4 streets that we had chosen were the SAME. 

I was speechless. Absolutely speechless. I know that we were provided that experience to truly understand that God wanted us to go to those streets. No if's, and's, or but's about it. We were told to go! As of right now, we haven't found out the elect on those streets yet, but we still have on to go and I know the Lord will give us that opportunity to find those who have been prepared!
We were asked to help with the Young Men's activity on Wednesday night, which went SO well! We were able to go through a day in the life of a missionary with these young boys and it was so fun to see their excitement! We split them into three groups and they were asked to prepare a lesson from Preach My Gospel. As they taught, it was incredible to see how much they knew! The spirit was there. Especially when the little Deacons taught. I could just imagine the missionaries that they would become, the men they would be, and the role they would play in this precious work. It was such a privilege to be apart of that experience!
1) The sisters in our zone!! 5 of us are from Idaho (I know, right?), 1 from Canada, 2 from New Zealand, 1 from Washington, 2 from Utah, 1 from Wyoming, and 1 from Holland (my favourite). 

The next day, we had Zone Conference and were able to have time with just the sisters and Sister Leppard, We were told to bring pillows and didn't find out until we got there. Our lesson was on the divine nature that we have as women and specifically as missionaries for the Lord. That we have a destiny that allows us the opportunity to become queens! Woot! A Queen. How miraculous is that? We were then instructed to lay on the floor and close our eyes. Sister Leppard then took us through a relaxing meditation exercise, which required no exercise at all! Holla! Hah, it was amazing, So relaxing and much needed!

On Sunday morning, I woke up to find my desk decorated for Valentines Day by my awesome companion! It was such a nice surprise! She actually wrote down 100 things that she loves about me! I have no idea how long it took her to think about them all, but it definitely made my day! Some of my favorites were: 
#14 I love how you have a cute round nose 
#32 You make the best weather reports
#94 I love how you eat with me when I don't want to eat on my own
#86 You have beautiful cheek bones
#30 You are BOLD

#40 You are courageous. 

 I have just been overwhelmed with love this week and I am so grateful to have had such cool experiences this week! It is such a blessing to have the constant companionship of the spirit and to know that I can be guided by Him if I am worthy. I know this church is true. I know that when we are spiritually prepared to receive revelation from God, that He will never fail to give us that guidance.

I challenge whoever is reading this (yes, that means you) to prepare yourself to receive guidance from your Heavenly Father. That you may be a clean vessel for the Lord to guide your actions. I promise you that when you do this, you will see a change in yourself and be able to recognize those small, simply promptings from the Holy Ghost. He will ALWAYS answer you because He wants you to be happy! You are a miracle. You are important. You are loved

 Thank you for blessing my life with your words and your examples! I am so thankful to know you! May your week be filled with love and so much FUN! Life is not meant to be endured. It's meant to be enjoyed! :) Make the most of every second you are given!
Taa-daa for now,
Sister Sydney Elise Jones

2_15_16 Faith Over Fear!

Good afternoon from Caerphilly!! 

  I hope you all are well! How has your week been? How is the weather? How is your family? Let me know!   This week I have really felt like an actual missionary, rather than a clueless greenie. I am finally understanding this area, the bus and train systems, and door approaches. As we were out tracting yesterday afternoon, I found myself knocking on doors without the slightest ounce of nervousness. When the door opened, I just spoke! It was that easy. It has been something and will still be something that makes me nervous, but I seemed to conquer that fear for a small moment! It was a pretty cool feeling :)

  We did a lot of finding this week. A few days in particular were pretty hard with regards to our success rate. The rain was endless and the wind howled as we trudged up the lovely Welsh hills. We didn't find much success, but we continued on because, well, that's just what you've gotta do! Then yesterday, as we were tracting and contacting, we found many people who were interested in learning more! By the end of the day, we came to know that the previous day's work to find was a test, to see if we would submit ourselves to His will. We did so and Heavenly Father saw our desire to follow the promptings that we received. We were so thankful to see our efforts pay off, in a sense. I love this work!
  One of the greatest things about this assignment is that I get to talk to literally everyone I meet! What?! My favourite thing in the whole world is meeting to new people and learning about them. I am fascinated by others and the stories that lead them to be who they are.  I feel so privileged to have such a cool calling.   Something that we have found is a good conversation starter is dogs! I don't think Sister Scherf understands my obsession with dogs, but it seems to be doing us some good! :) When we meet someone with a puppy, we tag team it; one of us occupies the puppy (gives it lots of kisses and bum scratches) and the other talks to the owner about this lovely gospel. Genius right? I've decided that I need to start keeping record of all the dog names we come across, we've definitely had some weird ones.   The best experience for me personally this week was that I was able to 'defeat' the two hills that defeated me on the bike a few weeks ago. We came around the corner of both of them and I just did it! (Shout out to Nike) As I rode to the tops of these hills, I looked to the left and could just see the sad, struggling greenie that I once was(hahah, still am), lying on the sidewalk with ripped tights and all. Part of me just wanted to have a laugh with my struggling self and tell her that everything would be okay! It was cool to see that moment of growth. Not only physically, but spiritually. I can see that I have grown from the person I was nearly 3 months ago and I am so grateful to have had a reassurance that I'm not doing as bad as I think I am :) THERE IS HOPE PEOPLE!   This week, we chose to support a less active in his pursuit to stop drinking tea, by us not eating sweets......Mercy. The first few days were brutal! Our energy hit the ground and we really had to dig deep to give our all to the Lord. But, the day's got better! We were able to adjust and find joy in eating fruits and such healthy things...Hahah it has been a good time. :) Our less-active is still going strong and so are we! I literally have no idea when this famine will be over, but it has helped me to realize two things. 1) I depend on artificial sugar way more than one human-being should. And 2) trying to stop doing something that you have always done, like an addiction, is not easy whatsoever! I have gained such a greater understanding for those who are struggling with an addiction. I know it is possible to overcome those temptations! Your temptation might be different than a homemade apple pie straight out of the oven at a dinner appointment, BUT it can be overcome! Christ can give us the strength we need and the power to resist temptation, but only when we use the Atonement. So use it! That's what it is there for! :)  I have learned so much about myself this week. The personal hurdles that I've had to get over have been many, but the growth that I am seeing in myself makes me want more hurdles placed in front of me! Because I now know that when we are experiencing those hard moments, is when God is testing our desire to become who He needs us to be. And if we can just hold on a little longer and submit to His will, He "will make weak things become strong." I know that the weaknesses that we have now, will someday be strengths in our lives.  I know that through Christ, all things are possible. If we but only have faith, we will be given the strength we need to conquer our fears! He will never leave us hangin'! He's got our backs! I can testify that there is nothing He wants to do more than to help us get back to our Father in Heaven. Let Him lead you. He knows you better than you know yourself and promises to lead us HOME.   I love this work and the miracles that are wrought because of it. I know I am supposed to be here for a reason...and I can't wait to find out why! :) Take care.

Taa-daa for now. 

Love, Sister Sydney Jones

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