Monday, April 18, 2016

Carbon Monoxide & It's Challenge Week!

**Story Syd wanted added in to her blog about her experience listening to the Spirit**

Can you add this story to my blog?

      Listening to the Spirit

      This morning, at roughly 4:30, I was shaken awake. As I lay there, I guess I was having a casual conversation with the Lord, asking him why I was awake. I began to go through our investigators one by one in my head; thinking that maybe He wanted me to know something at that moment. As I got to the end of the list, a thought came to my head to go check the Carbon Monoxide Detector in the living room. I then said two silent prayers, asking the Lord if I really needed to go check them, or if they were just a silly thought. Just as I began to pray for the third time, I heard a very strong reminder to "go check the detector!" So I do so, even though I knew that I would be waking up my companion. 
      As I stared at it, waiting for the green light to blink as a sign of it never came. The batteries were dead, with no warning. I suddenly went to every clock that we have and stole the AA batteries from them. When I put them in the detector, it began to blink green as an indicator that the air was safe.
       Moral of the story is, we didn't die. Hah but, I followed a prompting that I received and I do not want to know what would've (in the future) happened if I had ignored that prompting! I am so grateful! As a result of this experience, please check to see if your detector is working in your home! Carbon Monoxide is deadly and we all deserve to live! :)

**Now for the Fam letter**
Dear family and friends,
        Oh how glorious was the morning! How is it back home in the US of A? The weather here has been all over the darn place this week! Hot and sweaty to windy and miserable. Hah, kinda sounds like Idaho weather to me! The humidity here is unreal. Even when it is cold, the damp air just runs right through our jumpers- straight to our bones! I never understood what "cold to he bone" weather was until this week. I swear my bones are probably blue from frostbite! But, it has been a great week nonetheless!
       On Monday, we began the mission wide 'Challenge Week'! The purpose for the challenges was to 'wake up' the mission and encourage us to go 'above and beyond' the call of duty (thank you Buzz)! The winning prizes for each district was EBM hoodies! Holla! So, needless to say, we were definitely motivated!! Some of the challenges were silly and caused us to get out of our comfort zone and others were just down right daunting!
       Some fun ones were; take a selfie with 7 random people, have a dance off with someone in the city, have someone draw a portrait of us on a pass-a-long card, and pet 10 separate cats. These challenges in particular were not too hard at first, but they definitely required some work! We were able to get all the seflies and one of the people we took a picture with actually became a new investigator! Miracles! I had the lovely opportunity to have a dance off with a beautiful young girl in the middle of a neighbourhood. That was such a blast! And the darned cats... We literally had to crawl under cars and make every embarrassing noise possible to lure the cats towards us; and still we came up short! Turkeys!
       The ones that challenged us the most were; committing 6 new people to come to church, putting 2 new investigators on dates in the first lesson, and to teach 6 different lessons in one day. Wow. We felt so pressured to accomplish them all and literally poured ourselves into every challenge! One moment stands out a little more than the others. On Tuesday evening, we were on our way down a hill in Abertridwr to find one more potential before ward council and SLAM! There goes my ankle onto the pavement, with all my weight baring on it! Oh my word. *Bad basketball memories right here people* My skirt flew up and I was laying up-side-down on the pavement. After I realized what had happened, Sister Wiesner helped me up and we had to hop to find  our last potential before the bus came! Long story short, we missed the bus because I couldn't run, but we were able to find our last potential and catch a ride to ward council! And the beauty of this story is, my ankle was absolutely fine in the morning. No bruising, no inflation, nothing. Which has never, ever, ever been my experience with rolled ankles!
 Heavenly Father truly knows what moments will define us! Will she let this bum ankle slow her down and give up on finding this chosen potential or will she continue forth in faith? We continued forth and we were blessed for our efforts! I am so grateful to know that He is aware of me and my situation. He knows how to test us. He knows exactly how far to push us until almost the breaking point; but never beyond it. That experience was such a tender mercy to us!
       The rest of the week was quite fun! Man. I cannot even express how much fun Sister Wiesner and I have with each other. We just mesh and it makes the hard moments seem SO much more bearable! She is such a blessing to me. One moment this week made us laugh until we cried! Some members invited us over to share a message with them and then they would feed us dinner.        After we shared our message, the wife said that she didn't want to cook so she asked in McDonald's was okay. We accepted the cheap date and headed on down! We went inside and picked out our meals, then jumped in the car! We began to eat and they just drove!      ended up in Llanbradach and they just pulled over in a random neighbourhood and said "Well! Thanks for coming!" Sister Wiesner and I just looked at each other with a face of "Are you serious?" Hahah then we just grabbed our fries, rocksacks, jackets, and ipads and exited the car with our hands overflowing with our personal garbage! They promptly drove off and we just stood there. Homeless! The wind began to blow and the clouds came and there were now lunch-friendly benches to be found! So we plopped ourselves on the curb in this old folks haven and ate ourselves some Mickey D's! Nothing but wonderful mission stories! Bless their souls. :)
       This weekend, we were able to attend Stake Conference and hear from our lovely Mission President and his wife, as well as Elder Herbertson from the quorum of the seventy (from Ireland). They spoke about how our testimonies are our defence in this world. That we should not waste our time on worldly things (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter) when your testimony could be growing! This world is temporal! We need to be focused on our eternal destination; the Kingdom of God. They promised that as we make a conscious effort to further ourselves from worldly enticings; that our eyes will be opened to the wonderful world that reaches beyond our 4 inch screen! How glorious will that moment be!? I challenge you all to do this! Pull away. Worldly addictions can consume the mind and mentally paralyze our ability to communicate with people! Human people! So, do this.! After you're done reading this email (love you ;) put the phone, computer down and play with your children! Write a letter to our grandma! Invite a friend to lunch! This will change you! Please heed the council of these great men!
       Following Stake Conference, we were able to spend the day with the Williams family and celebrate by eating steak! It was lovely! The steak was quite literally the size of my face! Dreams do come true! :) And then Sister Williams surprised us with every flavour Ben and Jerry's ice cream offers! Woah! Sister Wiesner was able to pack it into her hollow leg, while I could barely finish half of it! The members here truly take such good care of us! We are so incredibly blessed to have the support that we do. We never go hungry here in Caerphilly! Nor is there a lack of hunger for the spirit! They lift us and encourage us to be the best missionaries we can possibly be. How blessed are we!
       I am truly grateful for the opportunity that I have to be serving the EBM at this chosen time. The turmoil in the world is often what is driving people to seek a higher power; and that is where we come into the picture! We are the guides to help them to get back home! I know this gospel is true. I know that Joseph Smith saw Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know Thomas S. Monson is on this earth to lead us in this world filled with darkness. I know that He, our Saviour, LIVES! I know it; therefore I must share it!
 Thank you for your letters and prayers! I love them and I love you!

Taa-daa for now,

Sister Syd

Monday, April 11, 2016

Do You KNOW You Are A Child of God?

**First a snap shot of her letter to me**

Mother mother!

     What a joy it is to have received these beautiful pictures of my beautiful family!! Oh man! Brother Rob Taylor came up to me as soon as we got to the chapel yesterday and said "Have you seen them?" "Have I seen what?" "The pictures of your sister! they're on Facebook!" Hah, he whipped his phone out right there and showed me the wonderful pictures that Sarah posted! Oh it filled my soul! No, I did not cry. And I haven't cried :) I cannot help but have a smile a mile wide! I am so grateful that you are all together! And might I say that you looking absolutely wonderful! And your hair is so darn cute!! Plus, Sarah's camera is way nice, so those memories can be held in high def! Woot! Please do that for me when I come home :)
     Thank you for being so sensitive with telling be about all these glorious experiences, but I am doing great! Friday was a little hard, as we had a little too much time to think about it. But Saturday was great and we have been incredibly busy ever since! The joy in pictures from home has lifted me to cloud nine and I couldn't be any happier! 
     I stood to bare my testimony yesterday and was overwhelmed with how this beautiful place has become my home. I related Katelyn's homecoming to how we will one day be called home to our Heavenly Father and their might not be banners and cake, but there before us; will stand our Saviour! How glorious that day will be! This life is our mission and we've go to do all that we can to improve ourselves and those around us before it's our time to go! :)
      It is so fun to hear about her getting off the plane and hugging you and daddy, then seeing Jaden (He is GIGANTIC by the way! Stop feeding him! He's about to pass up dad!) and crying! How sweet is that experience! From the pictures and explanations, I feel like I was there and have envisioned it a few times. So fun :) The whole family was there and you all look SO wonderful!
I was telling dad that I cannot imagine how hard it would be to take off the badge.. Goodness. I cannot imagine. I would burst into tears too. She is so strong. I've heard the transition is hard, but I hope she'll be okay. I am imagining her being a mission and so confident and I am just so proud of her! That must be so fun to watch! Have you just cried and cried? Or more laughed with her? :) I'm sure you are just loving it! We never thought this day would come!
And Jaden bore his testimony!? Woot! Awesome!
     I hope the (Logan) temple is wonderful. Every time we teach about temples, I just miss it so much. Not going for a whole year and a half will be the longest time away in my life! I could never stay away this long at home. I hope you enjoy it so much! Take her to get some Aggie ice cream afterwards and take a picture like we did at that table :)
There is so much going on and I am so excited for you all! It's crazy that she starts back so soon! Mercy.. You hardly get to keep her! But I hope she gets distracted with school work quite quickly.. All will be well! So funny that she still goes to the bathroom in the middle of dinner! Gosh I miss her.
Thank you for asking about my week. IT WAS EASILY THE BEST WEEK I HAVE HAD ON MY MISSION THUS FAR! :) :) 

Bottles: Clean water! The tap water here is gross!
Pic w/ girl: Kirstie Wilkinson
 YSA in our ward
     There is no where I would rather be at this time then in Caerphilly with the wonderful superstar Sister Wiesner. She will be leaving me in two weeks, but I will hopefully be here for another 5 after that. I pray, I pray!
     There is so much more that I want to tell you, but I'll have to write it in my family letter because I'm running out of time. But here are some pictures from this week!

I love you!!!

**Now the for the main attraction**
Good afternoon from Caerphilly!!

     This week has been one straight from heaven! Wow! I will just share a few experiences for the sake of time. But needless to say, this has been the best week that I have had on my mission thus far! I cannot explain how many miracles we have seen, nor how often we have been the Lord's instruments. I cannot full comprehend how I got so blessed to be here in Wales, sharing this good news! Every time I feel the promptings/reassurance of the spirit, it is a testament to me that I am here for a reason. I know that I am supposed to be in this country at this special and chosen time! This work is changing me. This work gives me the unique opportunity to serve everyone around me and I absolutely love it!

     I was actually asked this week what has been the best thing about my mission so far. Tough question. But, it would have to be when we can see in the investigators eyes that they know that they are a child of God! It is a powerful, tender moment that I long for every human to experience! Because, when you know that you are a divine child of God, you stand a little taller, you speak a little more confident, and you look at yourself a little different. Do you know that you are a child of God? Entrusted with divine qualities that you are given to bless the lives of others? Do you know this?! If you do not, pray to your Father in Heaven to know that you are. That you are loved beyond all comprehension, that you have a purpose here on this earth! And if you already know this, please share it with those around you! Everyone deserves to know that they are loved! :)

      On Thursday this week, we were able to meet with a mother named Andrea and a beautiful young soul of age eight, Lowri. We were able to speak about the Restoration of the gospel and about the Plan of Salvation. Every few minutes, Lowri would ask a question of understanding and repeat to us what she had just learned! She is like a little sponge of a human! 
      As I had the opportunity to share Joseph Smiths words about the first vision, my chest felt heavy and I recited His words. 
      "I saw a pillar of light, exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. When the light rested upon me, I saw two personages whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other, this is my Beloved Son, hear Him!" 
      I saw in Andrea's eyes that she felt the power in those words. She understood that Joseph did truly see God and His Son! She knew that because He knew Joesph's name, That God does actually know her name too! She knew that she was a daughter of God and has a divine purpose here on this earth! It was incredible! Shortly after this, Lowri turned to her mother and said, "Mom, when can I be baptized?" Ahhhh! We both took a gasp in and all laughed together! We were able to commit them to read the Book of Mormon and for them to come to church! They are both so excited and it is great to see the enthusiasm that little Lowri has. Miracles!

      Next miracle, we were able to find a FAMILY! Natasha, Geraint, and Nyree. The sweet baby is 5 months and they have been married for 2 years. Neither of them knew about God or Jesus and they have never been to church. 
     They kept asking questions upon questions and we answered them and they accepted our answers with great understanding and excitement! We actually taught them 3 lessons in an hour and a half! All because of the questions that they were asking! 

     We invited them to kneel with us and pray at the end of the lesson and it was SO COOL! As I said that prayer, it was hard to hold back my tears because I just imagined them in the temple, being sealed as a family! That spirit was incredible! I get tinglies just talking about it! 

     We left that home and just skipped down the road and were absolutely speechless!!!

      This was definitely a defining moment of my mission so far and I am so grateful that the Lord entrusted us to have that experience! I am so grateful!
      I know this gospel is true and I am having the absolute time of my life! Thank you for your prayers and love! I feel them! I hope you all have a wonderful week!!


Sister Jones

Monday, April 4, 2016

4 Down, 14 To Go!

Us browsing the shops in Cardiff and we came across this HUGE marry go
round! This is us today :)

**Part of letter to mom first**
Dear momma-bear,
  Tears are currently filling my eyes! Ahhhhh. Home. Katelyn Grace Jones, HOME. oh how I long to see this precious moment for myself. It is hard not to think about such moments without longing to be there.. Very hard. I knew this time would come, but it kind of snuck up on me and took me by surprise! I don't quite know how I will handle it all, but I will hopefully receive permission from the AP's to call Sister Scherf on Saturday, just because she wants to see how I am doing. Sweet of her. 
  But all these plans and ideas just make me so excited for you all! I am so thankful that Sarah will be there to capture every single moment! Such a blessing. How cool would it be if K and Emma could see each other in the airport! What? How awesome would that be? And about her getting an old companion for a roommate?!? Holy moly.. Dreams do come true! She will be so stinkin' excited! I would love that.. All my companions so far are either foreign or getting married ASAP when they get home; or both! Hahah so maybe I'll have a single American companion sometime in the near future ! ;)
And conference....Wasn't that just the most rewarding 8 hours of your life?! Mercy.... I loved it so much! I felt like I was in a spiritual swimming pool, soaking up all the spiritual goodness! I have only seen the first three sessions and the woman's session, so thank you for letting me know that Jeffery R. Holland will be speaking! We were wondering if he would! Unfortunately, we will just have to read it when it comes out in the Ensign, but good things nonetheless! I will talk more about it in my family letter.

My Welsh name tag finally came!

Hello family and friends!
 Did you enjoy conference or did you enjoy conference?? I don't know if it could've been any better! We still haven't watched the last session because of the time difference, but we look forward to reading it in the next few days! It was definitely weird to watch conference in the evening at the chapel, especially because I've only ever watched it at home in the comfort of my pj's and couch! But, I enjoyed the spirit that filled the chapel and the wonderful opportunity it was to hear from the Lords leaders, apostles, and dear prophet- President Thomas S. Monson. What a joy it was! 
Beautiful Caerphilly Castle at sunrise, whilst on our journey to play basketball at a local park! 

 My favorite talks would have to be Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson and President Dieter F. Uchtdorf. Sister Oscarson spoke on the importance of understanding that this church is not just a social club, that it isn't a part-time commitment, nor just a nice place to go on a Sunday. This gospel requires work. Your either moving forward or you're moving backward, there is no in between. If you don't feel yourself growing spiritually, you are most likely moving backward. I loved her challenge to search the scriptures instead of the Internet! Oh how wise is her counsel! Please heed this!
 President Dieter F. Uchtdorf spoke on how we can be spiritually rebuilt through repentance and binding our hearts to our Heavenly Father. His talk wroght a change in me; to help my Father in Heaven to find those sheep that are lost so that they might be rebuilt! I know that He will find them, but we are litereally His hands here on earth and that is what we are here to do; help Him to find the one! What a joyous calling this is. It is so specific and is not a calling that should be taken lightly, therefore we must heed every single prompting that we receive! Needless to say, I aboslutely enjoyed this glorious conference weekend! 
The Big Cheese! Apparently Caerphilly is known for making cheese? Who knew!

 This week I have been taken ill by the nasty flu bug going around the UK. It's terrible, but the Lord has definitely given me strength to endure and accomplish those things that He has asked of Sister Wiesner and I. We faced a lot of adversity this week, but I am grateful for the learning experiences that it provided for us.
 A few miracle experiences come to mind when I think of the last week.. On Wednesday afternoon, we were out contacting and decided to take a little short cut through a huge field....At the beginning, the grass was green and beautiful, then came the mud out of no where! We started walking down a small slope and all of the sudden BOOM. Down goes Sister Jones! Mud. Mud everywhere! And I mean everywhere! So, we had to walk 30 minutes back to our flat so I could shower and it kind of dampened my day, if you know what I mean. But I was privileged with the following experience that totally made up for it! :) 
  On Wednesday evening, we were teaching a couple about the Restoration and it was my turn to speak. So, naturally I took over speaking and all of the sudden I realized that the words that were flowing from my mouth were not the words that I had intended to speak! They were about something completely different, but I could see the eyes of the mother begin to water and I was quickly assured that the spirit had literally flowed through me at that moment. The gift of tongues is REAL! And the Lord will fill our mouths as long as we "treasure up the words" then, we are promised that He "will give us the words in the very hour" that we need them to "touch the hearts of men"! How neat is that?! I testify that if we our everything, "He will give us all that he hath"! I know this to be true.
Us in front of the Welsh sign at the chapel. Neat huh? 

  On Thursday evening, we had no dinner appointment, so we found ourselves in a convenient store and came out with BBQ Pringles and chocolate milkshakes. (I know, mom, terrible life choice) And it turned out to be okay! We went over to a corner shack filled with old cigarettes and beer bottles, just to escape the wind. As we were eating our humble Pringles, I looked down at the garbage around us, only to see a FIVE POUND NOTE lying amidst the rubbish!! What? Talk about miracles! 

We couldn't help but relate this experience back to our finding efforts. How we will always find more people who are not interested, then those who are! And the ones who are interested will be harder to find because of the opposition surrounding us and this true gospel. But when we do find them, the are like GOLD. Priceless above all! What a cool opportunity to learn! BTW, we did end up spending this money on pizza making supplies, so it went to a good cause ;)
Spitzbueben cookies! Sister Wiesner is a master baker and surprised me with these on the morning of my 4 month mark! :) 

  As I reflect on the last four months, I am in awe at how fast my mission is flying! Am I learning enough? Doing enough? Becoming who God needs me to be? I hope so! I am amazed at the grandeur of this calling and the incredible opportunity I have to be on this beautiful island; serving the one who gave me all! I have 14 glorious months left and I intend to give every ounce and breath to the wonderful people of Britain. For the Lord has called me here for a mighty purpose! :) 

  I am excited to hear that my best friend, Bailee, has received her call to the Ohio Cleveland Mission leaving June 15th! Woot! Spreading the great word! Also, that my beautiful champion of a sister is returning home from her mission in just 5 days! Where does the time go? She has been such a strength to me over the past 18 months and I am stoked to see her begin the rest of her non-missionary life! :) 
*I think we get a pic of this because its her favorite color.

  I am grateful to be here and am so thankful for all your love and support from back home! It keeps me goin'! I hope you all have a wonderful week and continue to ponder on the words we received in General Conference! 

Peace and blessings.

Taa-daa lovelies, 

Sister Sydney Jones

Right after I fell in the muddiest mud hole ever!