Monday, October 24, 2016

Work Hard, Play Hard!

**First:  An update from Syd's birthday weekend**
Morning birthday celebrations ๐ŸŽ‰

Dear Fam & Friends,

      I am happy.

Elder & Sister Willmore! My beloved Kaeli Petersen's grandparents
serving here in the mission office! A little piece of home! :)

Sister Nkomo & Manaefaiga.  ๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฆ ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ

My beautiful Sister B. Reunions are glorious!!

Last time as a district together. Love these girls.

Last day serving together! I will miss her greatly!

 Birthday morning! Mind the bags under my eyes, but I had to catch a
picture with my American Ranch! Thanks Dyers!

And finally, Sister Pugmire and Sister Belnap! <3

Birthday cake brought by the elders with matches instead of
candles...priceless :)

Birthday dinner at the Bishop's house,
where another birthday cake was waiting for me!

   Working hard and loving life. I am enjoying my birthday with the district, eating pizza and playing basketball! Nothing
better. We have a dinner appointment with the bishop tonight and we will be indulging in some wonderful steak! We have had an awesome week full of many meetings and reunions with awesome missionaries. I am so grateful to be here and to now be serving with Sister Pugmire! We are excited to work hard and see miracles together!

      We will be seeing Elder Quentin L. Cook on Monday and we are preparing diligently for that. We are hoping for a spiritual feast! I have the privilege of giving the closing prayer!

      I am so grateful to be here and to be having a great 20th birthday.  Thank you to everyone who has sent cards, emails, packages, and their love! I appreciate you all! I am so blessed! Have a beautiful week and don't forget to laugh!



                    Sister Sydney Jones

**Please excuse the shortness of this I am currently partying it up**

WARNING:  This week is FILLED with picture overload.  Don't know why we are so lucky, but Sister Jones has broken whatever preexisting record she had for # of pics sent.  You have been warned :)

Break time for some PUPPY LOVE 

 Beautiful English countryside.

Sister Pugmire loves catching candid pictures of me.
This is one of me watching a video that my sister sent me.
Such tender mercies.

Oct 24, 2016

Dear fam and friends,

      Hello from England! 
      First of all, I just want to thank everyone that sent emails, cards, and packages for my birthday. I was FLOODED with love from all over the world, THANK YOU! I truly am richly blessed! Forgive my if I can't send you a personal 'thank you', due to lack of time, but please know how grateful I am! 
Sissy sent me flowers.

      We have had a crazy 10 days of work! Bear with me if this email is a little long, we have had some really cool experiences this week as well as the occasional creepy one. :) My mission is going wonderful. We are working the hardest that I probably have my whole mission; as a result, our numbers reflect our work this week. 
  We hit the ground running at 10 AM and fall into bed 12 & a half hours later. During that time we are talking to everyone that we possibly can, seeing countless miracles, and honestly just having the greatest time ever!! 

      Elder Cook on Monday was absolutely brilliant! Wow. We were able to shake an apostles hand and be on the front row to hear him address us. 

The spirit was thick and our eyes were fixed on his every word. He told us stories about when he served here over with Elder Jeffery R. Holland as his mission companion, how cool is that? He encouraged us to remember that we truly do have the power to call down heavenly help to aide us in our work. He reminded us to be BOLD and to share this message with everyone; rich or poor, educated and uneducated. 

At the end of his talk, he invoked a blessing upon us; not as a mission, but specifically each of us individual missionaries. He said that every person that we meet for the rest of our lives will be blessed because we chose to serve a mission. He promised that if we work hard, the fruits will come and that our families will be blessed financially, spiritually, and physically. What an incredible blessing and reassurance that was for us! 

After he finished speaking, I had the privilege of giving the closing prayer. I was slightly terrified to pray in front of an apostle of the Lord, but when I got up there, every single word that fell out of my mouth was not my own. It was a beautiful experience. One that I will never forget.

      On Friday night, we met a wonderful girl named Sanchia. She grew up in Switzerland and was raised by a woman from Uganda who taught her about God while she was growing up. We get talking about her life and she tells us that she was baptised as a baby. So, we tell her that we don't baptise babies in our church because we don't believe that they come into the world with sin. She thought it was fascinating! We told her about the power of the priesthood and then invited her to be baptised! She said yes! We are excited to see her again this week and get her on the road to baptism!
Tag pic in the forest.
      So, I'm still a little sketchy with the bus system, so I took a guess and we hopped on the #14 bus. Needless to say it was the w ring bus and we were stuck on it for a whole hour before we came to the end of the line and the bus driver asks us where we wanted to go. We couldn't help but laugh at our stupidity and neither could he! We eventually got to the members house two hours later, but not before the both of us had stepped in some fresh dog poop. Ugghhh.. no joke. Two different dogs. Two different poops. Our luck was ridiculous! Haha, we can laugh about it now :) 
Puggy stepped in poo.
Ice cream after a long day.

Another candid shot from Puggy.

      Sister Pugmire is such an incredible blessing to my mission and the Stourbridge area. She is so concerned with me and whenever she senses an ounce of stress in me, she immediately offers to give me a foot rub or a head message. Such a golden companion. I truly don't know what I did to be so blessed with the wonderful companions that I have had. 
B&W. Love this girl.

Zone meetings are fun.

We were trying to figure out how to help a less active remember to pray.
And this is what we came up with..#noshame

      The ward is taking such great care of us. We surely feel at home here. Plenty of food and love to go around! We are working so incredibly hard transform this area and this ward into what the Lord needs it to become. This experience is unlike any other. We love it! I am blessed and so thankful to be here! I hope you all have a great week and are searching for opportunities to share the gospel! 

 Fun facts of the week:
- It doesn't get light until 9:30 am and is dark by 5:30 pm. Welcome to the darkness of English winters.
- I was asked to marry a man from Israel; the prospects are everywhere mom. :) 
- I am pretty sure that I will be coming home with second hand smoke..cough cough. 

- We were harassed by some chavs (turkey teenagers) in a chippy this week, but we survived. (We have quite a few scary experiences as sister missionaries, but most of them don't get sent home to our moms:)

- A guy told us to prepare for war immediately, because religion isn't going to save us. He started going on for another ten minutes and eventually I had to interrupt him and said "Dave, it's really nice to meet you, but we have to go prepare for war now. Have a nice day!" #doomsdaypreppers 

- We met 3 guys on the street this week that have read the entire Book of Mormon. #miracles We are excited to follow up with them this week!

- Elder Mwbingana shared a story in sacrament meeting about when one of his investigators came to church for the first time. The sacrament came around and the investigator took a piece of bread and instead of putting it in his mouth he put it in his pocket. When the sacrament was over, he proceeded to pull out a sachet of butter and put it on his piece of bread. The whole ward was in stitches for about 5 minutes over the persistence of this innocent investigator! ๐Ÿ˜‚ 


           Sister Sydney Jones
The Crumps! They go home in just a few weeks.
Family Pic:  10 1/2 Months out together,
we all came to the MTC the same day.

MTC group reunions are bomb.

MTC Group Swag

Swasey girl. So good to see her!

Sister Beazer. My favourite Canadian. 
One of my STLs

Elder Gaffney and Elder Stephenson and Swasey girl.

Sister B is Sister Swasey's STL and I am serving with Sister Puggy, her greenie.
Sister Gillette! One of my STLs.
Going home this month.


Lovin' Sister Puggy

King Kong and Jurassic Park drive an Audi

 My first district has been reunited!
Random Pegasus on the motorway.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Beans on Toast

Dear family & friends,

      Isn't being alive just the greatest thing in the world? Having the opportunity to be happy and create memories is what I live for! I crave the chance to make an ordinary moment into something incredibly unforgettable and the mission field is the perfect place to do it! 

      This week has been brilliant. We have worked tirelessly to find and teach the wonderful people of Great Britain! How privileged I feel to be here. Sister K and I are seeing loads of miracles and countless blessings as we strive to find the elect. Our relationship with the ward is top notch and we loving the Stourbridge area. 

      We have had the privilege of teaching many people on their doorsteps this week and a few of them were brought to tears by the comfort that came from our message about Jesus Christ and His saving grace. One of my favourite things to hear is "How did you know that I needed you today?" That question is always a reassurance that we are in tune with the spirit and are being guided to the right people/streets. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป
Sister Gjevik is the coolest Norwegian ever.

District meetings are a spiritual feast.

Zimbabwe, France, Norway, Australia, Peru, Utah, and Idaho(x2).

      On Thursday at district meeting, our zone leaders challenged us to conduct a spiritual self-examination to evaluate our growth thus far. As I sat to write down my thoughts, I had to reflect on the past 10 months and really 19 years of my life. What really have I learned from the many experiences that I have had? Am I growing and going in the direction that the Lord needs me to? I'm pretty sure that I found more short-comings than I did actual growth, BUT I know that He is patient with me. I know that my testimony has become powerful as I have had countless opportunities to bear it. I know that I am growing spiritually when I feel the spirit guide me. I know that I am growing spiritually when I am given trials and am able to overcome them with the help of my Savior. I challenge you all, whether you are 12 or 92, to conduct a spiritual self-examination. Find out where you are in reguards to your relationship with God and Jesus Christ. I promise it is worth it! 
Classic English "beans on toast" with a fried egg and sautรฉed mushrooms.
SO good.

      We truly are in the thick of it now. The days fly by and so do the weeks. We are BUSY, but we are absolutely loving it. When the alarm goes off in the morning, I wonder if I even slept! Hahah, but it is so worth it. 
We were riding on the top of the double decker bus and saw that someone
had scratched SNAPE in the front window.
#thisreallyisEngland #HPforlife
Clichรฉ tag picture

Cool braid that Sister K did for me.

       Within the next week, we have some exciting things happening here! 
Tomorrow: A meeting about The Poppy Appeal, regarding the missionaries selling poppies in remembrance of those who died in war. I will have more info about it next time. 
Friday: Transfer day! (We are expecting to stay together) And a combined ward Bake-off which should be great! 
Saturday: My 20th Birthday! ๐ŸŽ‰ And an extra P-Day to prepare for Elder Quentin L. Cook coming to speak to us on Monday! 
Sunday: Sister K and I are speaking in church.
Monday: Elder Cook will be here to address the entire mission! The first time that we will all be together! :) 

 I am loving my mission so much and am so grateful for the many incredible people that I am able to meet on this incredible journey. There is no where that I would rather be! I hope you are all well and are enjoying the lovely autumn weather. Stay safe. Be kind. And courage carry!

            God bless & God speed.

                                  Sister Sydney Jones

Fun facts: 
-The English eat LOADS of Heinz baked beans. FYI: they are not in barbecue sauce like the ones in America, but actually in tomato sauce.
-"Beans on Toast" is the equivalent of Ramen Noodles for Uni students here in the U.K.
-All the cigarette packs here are sold with a "SMOKING KILLS" sign written on them.
-But that sign doesn't seem to hinder anyone from smoking, because at least half the people we meet are smokers. The 'coolness factor' of smoking kind of faded out in America, but not here! 
-Most people think that we are Jehovah's Witnesses, but when we explain that we are Mormons, (and the fact that we believe in blood transfusions) people actually stutter and ask "Well, who are ya then?" It gives us prime opportunity to explain our purpose! #thanksJDubbs
A massive chair in front of a pub.

Candid uke moments...
#jammin #doublechins