Monday, March 7, 2016

3 Months and Counting!

Dear fam,
 Hello! How has your week been? I hope all is well across the pond..

My "3 months and going strong" picture! I actually think I look quite tired, but that's a missionary, right? 

 This week has been a great learning opportunity for Sister Scherf and I. The experiences that we shared brought us even closer together as well as closer to our Savior.
  Each day this week we received three challenges from our zone leaders. They were all meant to push us out of our comfort zone and give us opportunities to share the gospel. Some in particular were: stop someone by complimenting his or her mustache, give your companion a foot massage, pet 7 cats, make up a handshake with an old person, tie a random persons shoe, hug a random person, and have lunch with a stranger.
  The last challenge gave us a chance to eat fresh French brioches (sounds posh huh?!) with a woman by the castle. We had an amazing conversation with her about how 'Pure Christlike love flowing from righteousness can change the world' (Jeffrey R Holland). We came to the conclusion that the world would be a much better place if people would go out of their way to have lunch with random people on the street or in a shop. Can you imagine the change this would ensue?
  Well now you can! We want to extend this challenge to all of you! Share your lunch with someone you meet. Go out of your way to brightens someone else's day (cheesey, I know) and please let us know how that goes... :) I promise you will be and are a blessing in someone else's life!
  Now for the moment that challenged both Sister Scherf and I. Some issues surfaced with a recent convert here and we were unfortunately involved in the sticky situation. It was hard to not see the situation as a negative one, because it was so hard for us both at the beginning. But we were able to find guidance through the spirit to be able to handle the moment that tested us so harshly. We were brought closer together over this unfortunate matter and were able to see the hand of God in this situation. I am so grateful for my Savior who provides much needed strength for me when I feel like my faith is being torn. He is the mender of all things and promises to give us strength and build us up when we feel as though we've been knocked down.
  I know that he wants nothing more than to help our faith to grow. He needs us to be strong and valiant when times get hard, so that we may stand as beacons for those who cannot find their way on their own. I know that the influence we have on others is incredible. There are opportunities all around to serve and to ensure we all make it back to live with our Father in Heaven again. So, be an example, even when you feel that others are not looking. Smile when it rains. Laugh when it snows. Encourage those around you to be the best they can be, simply by loving them. Become the person that God needs you to be, so you can bring others along for the journey! 

Dragon outside of the castle! Yes, there is actual steam coming from his nostrils! Sweet huh?!

  This weekend, two of Sister Scherfs recent converts came down from Nuneaton, to take us out to dinner! They were both so lovely and we were able to chat and have a stake! Ooohhhhhh man. The first stake I've had since being out in the field! Rib-eye. It was brill! It was fun to be in a restaurant with normal people. Hahah, we don't get out much do we? Following dinner, we went to the stake talent show and it was amazing! The talent here in the Cardiff Stake is incredible! We felt so privileged to be there to enjoy the evening with the people that we love so much!
  Yesterday was Mother's Day here in the UK and (my mother doesn't know this, but I could've chosen to Skype her yesterday instead of the American Mother's Day...but I definitely didn't. Sorry mom!) it was lovely! There were pink ribbons plastering the town in honour of the mothers and everyone was out and about, enjoying the raaaaaiiiinnnnn! Lovely it was. Absolutely lovely! 

Our random lunch date! She was awesome!

  At fast and testimony meeting, I stood to bare my testimony and began with "Good morning everyone! I cannot even tell you how hard it is to hear you all talk about how wonderful your mothers are, whilst mine is on the other side of the world! It is so hard, but I am so grateful to be here in Caerphilly and to be blessed with such wonderful mother figures here! You have taken us under your wings and have given us every single opportunity to feel our mothers love. I am so grateful that my mother taught me to have a love and a desire for this gospel. Without her example, I might not be out here in this beautiful land sharing this great word!" Etc....
  Needless to say, I am eternally grateful for my mother and the incredible woman that she is. (I miss you so!) I am grateful for the women at home in my stake and the wonderful friends who have richly blessed my life with their examples. And lastly, I am so thankful for the blessing that these women here in Wales are to me. I love this ward. I love this town. This is my temporary home. It has my heart and so do these wonderful people! With transfers just around the corner, I pray that I will be able to stay here just a little while longer; so as to continue the work forth here in Caerphilly (Philly, the Phil, Caer...) Good times. 

One of our members came back from America with HIDDEN VALLEY RANCH!!!! Hahahah such a cool surprise! She also brought Reeses bunnies for Easter! Absolutely made our week! 

  Anywho, this week has taught me much and has given me many opportunities to fall at the feet of my Savior and ask for strength and guidance reguarding those things that tested my faith. I know that these challenging moments are there for us to grow from and to be strengthened by. I am so thankful for Sister Scherf and the best friend she has become to me... How did I get so blessed? She's awesome and I love her to bits. I am loving each day here and the moments that challenge me to become better. This experience and adventure is such a blessing! I am having the time of my life! The absolute best time!
  Thank you for all the love and prayers! I feel them! And I am praying for you too! Keep the faith and continue forth. Talk to you soon!

  I love you!
  Taa-daa! :)

-Sister Jones

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