Monday, April 24, 2017

Earn Your Pillow!

beautiful blossoms

All the cigarette packs are sold with this or some other warning on
them in this country.

 Senior prom or Stake Conference? #wewereconfusedtoo :)

Dear Loved Ones,

       I hate to be that missionary who writes a novel every week that no one wants to read, but I cannot possibly keep these incredible
experiences to myself. Therefore I must share them with you! :) 

Thanks you kindly for following my mission and for being apart of these precious memories. You support means everything to me!
Derek and the dinosaur.

      So, on Tuesday we had a tie-breaker challenge for the tied districts in the mission from challenge week. We were told that we would get a call between 1 and 3. When this call came in, we would have to give out 1 Book of Mormon, 3 leaflets, and invite 50 people to learn about our church. We met as a district in Coventry town centre, with the only option of winning. Nothing else mattered. EBM hoodies were on the line, so we were focused and determined to win! The call came, we went like the wind towards families and groups of people. We gave out all the paraphernalia and focused on getting 50 ITL's. Sister Cebollero's thumb was going crazy on the clicker, but we did it! The whole district finished in just under 4 minutes. It was insane! We texted the word DONE to the Assistants and just waited. We soon received a phone call explaining that we WON!!!! We totally screamed in the middle of town centre. We were SO pumped!
50 ITL's in 3 minutes! #winning

      Because we won, we are now enjoying a P-day in Birmingham with the Birmingham Zone! We just did a 3 legged race, a bean bag toss, human battleship, and a massive tug-of-war! It has been quite fun.  It's so fun to be with Sister Belnap, Dignos, and Price. All our MTC sisters reunited and soon to be returning home together! We just finished having a barbecue, playing lightening, and learning Chinese jujitsu from President Leppard. Such a fun day!
B-girl. 💁

Winning Zone/District

 MTC Group on Point ⬆️

Squad pic! 🤔

      Back to the week...we had two Zone Meetings which took up a load of our time, but we're SO spiritually uplifting! One Elder commented and spoke about how his dad told him to "earn his pillow" every single day of his mission. Meaning to work so hard during the day, that I earn the privilege of sleeping. It is absolutely the motivation for the rest of my mission! No time to waste, only time to work hard!
Lichfield Zone! We Love Each Other.

Coventry Zone! Just a Bunch of Misfits :)

      Sister Beazer, one of my STL's, came to visit with her family from Canada! They took us out to eat to enjoy gluten-free fish and chips.  It was so good to see her and catch up. She even gave us some very much needed returning home advice about adjusting back into normal life. Such a blessing. I love make mission memories with awesome people from all over the world!
Gluten-free Fish and Chips with Canada's Finest!

Dinner Date with Sister Beazer. One of My Faves <3

      We were walking in War Memorial Park on Saturday, when we stopped a 
woman named Carol from Kenya. We asked her if we could meet with her another time and she said "Yeah! Do you want to come now? Let's go!  It's not too far!" Little did we know it was a 35 minute walk away from the park and our car! Haha. And then we got to her flat complex and of course she lived on the very top floor! She lived at #15 which is super significant in both Sister Cebs and I's life. Besides the point. She sat us down, gave us apple juice and scones, and then we taught her the Restoration. It was a beautiful lesson and by the end she said "So, when are you coming back to see me?" AMAZING. We are so excited about #CarolfromKenya
Monty Python

Bus and a Pug

      Life and the work in Coventry is going well. We are working hard, specifically doing a lot of ground work, but we know that it will pay off. The Lord will provide a way! We are excited about the many people that are at the beginning stages and know that miracles are on the way.

      I am so grateful to be the Lord's servant at this time and in this
part of His vineyard. God is good and is over all. I know that Christ's Atonement truly does heal ALL things. I am grateful that my sins can be made as white as snow. 

He lives and His love is endless!

      All my love,

            Sister Sydney Jones

Monday, April 17, 2017

"Please forgive our sins..and the sisters..."

100 invitations to learn...✔️

Dear fam,

 Mercy! Where do I even begin.


     We has SO much fun and really enjoyed the opportunity to fulfill the challenges that were asked of us. Of course we had Annie (Sister Caupain) with us until Thursday, which made the whole week even sweeter!

      We began the week with interviews with President. It was going well until he brought up the H word. Yeah, you know the one...He asked me about my plans and what I want to accomplish before I go home, etc. It was a super surreal moment that brought out all kinds of funny feelings; sweaty palms and shortness of breath! But no water
works...I'm holding strong so far! ;) I am so grateful for a Mission
President who genuinely love me and not only cares for the success of my mission, but for the rest of my life. I know that his counsel is
inspired and I sustain him with my whole heart!
Annie Caupain's candid masterpiece.

 Trio life is grand.

      We went tracting after interviews to try and find 2 new
investigators. We knocked over 50 doors with absolutely nothing to
show for it. With only 5 minutes to spare we knocked on the very last door on Abbeydale Road. Karen opened the door and kind of invited us back, but didn't want us to come in right then. All of the sudden the door slammed shut and she was locked out of her house! Woot! Miracles!

     When her roomie finally came to open the door, we had already talked to her for 5 minutes and her heart had softened. She invited us in and we were able to share the Easter video with her! New investigator! Woot! It was amazing! I could've cried... :)
Marshmallow's the little things in life. (excuse my bed head:)

      That evening we went to Sarah's home to share a meal with Sandra do Kristina. We watch the Woman's Conference and they loved it! Following dinner and the lesson, Kristina's 5 year old son Junior knelt down to offer us the closing prayer. Kristina whispered sweet words into his ear and repeated them, until it got to "Please forgive our sins....he added...."and the sisters." Hahaha we died. Bless him. Must've thought we needed to repent for something! Cheeky boy.
 Tracting with my girl one last time!

More of us... (:

 On Wednesday we had to:
        1) give out 3 Books of Mormon with our 
             testimonies written inside, 
        2) add a new family to our teaching pool, and 
        3) stop by two part member families. 

We tracked for HOURS without any luck of finding a family who wanted us to come back and teach them. I swear our legs were going to fall off. Annie kept our enthusiasm high and we continued knocking. As the evening was coming to a close and we had an appointment to go to, Annie looked up in the back seat and said "Hey! My brother and his family live in Coventry, could we stop by them?" We both screamed and looked at each other and said "Of course!" We had to be quick though. We rolled up to the flat complex and scurried to the door. Lauren and her two little kids opened the door and let us share a message with them. It was AMAZING. Miracles everywhere!

      Thursday was BIG! We had to 
        1) get 100 ITL's, 
        2) give away a BOM with a members testimony in it, and 
        3) give out 10 Books of Mormon. 

ITL's are invitations to learn, meaning after the introduction of who we are, simply asking them if they would like to learn more about Jesus Christ and His church. It was tough going! The first 50 went quickly.
In front of the old cathedrals in Coventry. Little did we know that our new
investigator Karoliina was standing in the background! So fun! 

This kitty came tracting with us for about 6 doors..
 Haha almost ran into someone's house! Missionary kitty!

      We went to Coventry City Centre and just talked to people for an hour. It was awesome! We had some cool miracles. We stopped a woman named Karoliina from Finland. We introduced ourselves and she proceeded to tell us that she used to come to our church and learn from the missionaries...Man. Sister Cebollero and I just look and each other with tears in our eyes. We immediately felt the love that God has for her and how badly He wants her home. It was incredible. She became a new investigator and we set up a time to see her tomorrow at 12:30 pm! Woot! Miracles!
Mi compañera Hermana Cebollero!

Sister Cebollero's brother got his mission call this week! He's
going to the Mèxico Saltillo Mission! Woot!

      We accomplished the 100 ITL's and gave out all the BOM's. We were absolutely shattered, but we did it! We took Annie to the train
station that evening and not 10 minutes later, sweet Sister Swasey and Sister Kovisto joined us in Coventry! What a sweet reunion that was for us! Such a  tender mercy to see my girl once more before I return home in a few months. We had the privilege of going tracting with them and it was just like old times! We caught up on the events of the past 11 or so months since we've been together and it was beautiful. She has grown so much, spiritually and physically! It swear she has gotten taller! I'm so proud of the missionary that she has become and the work that they are doing up in Derby. What a blessing.
And this is what we call a field of rapeseed! They use it to make
oil over here and apparently it smells something awful, but the view

 Badge picture with a field of rapeseed as the background!

      The next morning, we headed off to our quad zone conference! We arrived early to see many of the missionaries that we haven't seen in AGES! So good to see them all. We had the privilege of hearing Elder Philips from the area seventy. He is actually Elder O'Hare's uncle, which was totally weird and cool. His training was focused on the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We knew that we loved the Saviour and us by the way that he spoke and the many tears that filled his eyes. He encouraged us to examine our lives and to find those things that we need to put on the alter of God. He said to do whatever it takes to make that change and then don't go back. Just don't. To repent, make restitution, change, and move on! The spirit was powerful and the call to repentance was clear. It was amazing. I am so thankful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ and for the freedom that it indeed provides for me. I know that there are many things that I need to change to become closer to my Saviour and I know it is only possible through Him!

      On Saturday, we had to:
         1) invite 2 people to be baptised on a specific date, 
         2) invite 30 people to church, and 
         3) hand out 25 Gospel of Jesus Christ leaflets with a member. 

It was a good hard challenge, but we did it! When we were nearly done in town, but needed to find one more person to invite to baptism, we pulled Georgie aside and asked her to pray for us to find this specific person. She asked Heavenly Father to let the spirit pour down so that we could find this person! We said 'amen', as you do, and began to walk into town. All of the sudden I see this man come out of no where with a Chicago Bears shirt and hat on. I did a double take and totally said "Hey! The Bears! Wow!" Haha I was speechless. If that's not a sign from God, I don't know what is. ;) We hardly ever see people wearing American sports memorabilia here, so he definitely caught my eye! We chatted with him for a bit and then asked casually invited him to be baptised. He looked at us like, 'Woah, I didn't think I'd be getting invited to be baptised on my way to work this morning!' Haha, but he said maybe!  Ha! He didn't want to give us his information, but was so kind about it. He took Book of Mormon and we can only pray that something miraculous will come out of it! :) #goChicagoBears
      Oh, also, it was my half birthday on Saturday. We celebrated with Chinese takeout which actually didn't make me ill, so that was amazing! :) 🎉
      And yesterday was Easter, which was beautiful. The chapel was filled and the praises were sung! Unfortunately none of the people that we invited came, but agency is a beautiful, terrible thing! We can't force them to come and take away their agency, otherwise our freedom to chose would have to go as well! At least they all now know where the chapel is! ;)
And this is what we looked like at the end of challenge week...DEAD.

Our killer district. #challengeweek

      I am so grateful for my Saviour Jesus Christ and for the life that he has given to me. I am grateful for the sacrifice that he made so that I can be made clean again. I, like us all, have a sinful past that has only been able to be made clean through His blood. What a blessing it is to learn of Him and to have His name on my lips always as I share His word. That an incredible honor it is to aide Him in this work. I know this church is true and I love it with my whole heart. I am grateful for a wonderful companion who always encourages me to be and do better. I feel so fortunate to have all that I do! I hope you feel the same amount of gratitude that I feel for our Saviour! Have a blessed week!

-"Ya'll want bacon?" (after we just returned home from a DA)
-"I'd marry Jesus.....can I say that?" (no, no you cannot Annie!)
-"Eat up as much as you possibly can, don't worry about spiritual
obesity." (holla)
-"Nice prospects for us in your church, eh?" (a group of African
chav's after we invited them to learn about Jesus) (look up the word chav if you don't know what it means)
-"Was it just me or was conference playing 'Wrecking Ball'? (Annie
fell asleep and Junior was playing Miley Cyrus in the back room, haha)

            Signing off from Cov-love,

                                  Sister Sydney Jones
Sister Manefiega :) reunited!

Swasey girl!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Annie the Unstoppable!

Tracting and getting TAN w/ our Sister Caupain! 

Dear family & friends,

      Welcome welcome to another good week here in Coventry! We have the wonderful Annie Caupain with us here on a mini-missionary until Thursday! She has been an absolute joy to serve with for the past three days! She was born in Holland and is originally from Ghana. She is actually the girlfriend of an Elder that I was in the MTC with. Crazy! She has brought so much life to our lives and we have spent the last few days in stitches! We don't know where she comes up with half the stuff that she says, which makes for a good time! It is such a joy to be with my black soul-sister, hahaha she reminds me that I am actually as black as I feel like I am inside. :) You can imagine how much fun we are having.... She will be submitting her papers in early May!
 I always knew I was African in my former life...
this weekend with Annie has already confirmed that! ;)

      Her first ever tracting experience came on Saturday afternoon. She knocked on this door and the teenage son came on to the landing, totally interested in the gospel. Then the father opened the door and was interested all the same! All of the sudden the side window opened and the mother stuck her head out of it. She asked us who we were and then preceeded to encourage us off her property quite loudly by using the f-bomb over 26 times. We left abruptly and told her to have a nice day. She said "Oh yeah? You too! **Bbbllleeeeepppppp**" LOL.. The neighbor guy soon apologised for her behaviour, as she had been "down at the pub all afternoon." Poor Sister Caupain was on the verge of crying as we approached the next house. We had to reassure her that all doors/people were not that bad! We were just mortified that this experience was her very first and the absolute worst Sister C and I have had in a long while! She is a trooper though and made it through the entire street! :)
We painted the Reynolds fence and got sunburned!!!! Woot! 
 Courtesy of Toby's Carvery in Cov-love. A traditional English roast dinner. Yes, I know that yorkshire pudding is as big as my face. We were a little disgusted as well, but it tasted oh so good! 

     Monday and Tuesday really taught us a lot about the power of the Book of Mormon and the priesthood. We had some very very interesting experiences but thanks to the power of the priesthood we've been healed in the form of uncontrollable laughter. Yes, Sister Cebollero and I just can't stop laughing. Lessons, ward coordination, you name it.. it's literally uncontrollable. It's bad...but so good! :) #besties

Workovers are cool..Sister Gjeka from Albania and Sister Mwyosvi from South Africa! :)
      We were in Wolverhampton on a workover on Tuesday and I was with Sister Mamajanyan. As we were driving, the ladies car in front of us totally busted and the exhaust fell and began to scrap on the pavement. We hurried to help her, only to find out that she was a former investigator! Her name is Ketty and she is from Zimbabwe. Amazing. We gave her a lift home and were able to share a message with her and be invited back! Miracles! 
 Phish food can cure any rough day.
Sunny Sundays #triolyfe 

      This coming week is the EBM MISSION-WIDE CHALLENGE WEEK!!!! Woot! This happened exactly a year ago when I was with Sister Weisner! We are pumped for a good, hard week! We will be given three challenges every day that we need to fulfill. Each day they will get harder and harder to complete. The end result will be dinner, a zone pday, or district hoodies. We are striving to win it!! 

      We met a cool old lady named Kay while tracting the other day! After she got a little more comfortable with us, she told us that she has seen Margaret Thatcher, the first woman Prime Minister of Britain, in her undergarments while they were in school together! Hahahaha, mercy, we DIED. What a cool lady... 
Began together, finishing together. #missingsisterprice
Welcome to the cutest part of the EBM MLC.

      I am continuing to love my mission and work as hard as I possibly can as the time draws near to a close. I truly am grateful for the opportunity to serve, for it would be selfish of me not to be grateful for all the blessings that the Lord has so graciously given me. I am thankful for the amazing people and influences that surround my life! Thank you for your love, support, and prayers! I FEEL THE LOVE! :) 

      We look forward to a busy weeks its interviews and a half-mission conference! Sister Swasey will be coming to stay the night on Thursday before the big conference! Talk about blessings!! Woot! I hope you all have a wonderful week and remember the source of your joy, because it truly all comes from our Saviour Jesus Christ! Have a wonderful Easter! 

            Best wishes and all my love,

                                    Sister Sydney Jones

Monday, April 3, 2017

Be Still and Know That I Am

Spring has sprung! :) It's beautiful here!

Dear family and friends,

      What a cool week. Sister Cebollero and I are totally having a blast here in Coventry. We were probably Premortal companions. She shows up with the same bedspread and Christmas jumper. Holla. We have had loads of bonding experiences in our short week together. And we have laughed A LOT, which has breathed new life into my tired mission bones! We went running 3 days this week and are committed to running nearly every day this transfer! Only 11 weeks to get this body into shape before returning home! Sister Cebs goes home just one transfer after me, so we are in the same boat. :)
      On Tuesday morning, I dropped off Sister Romo at the train station and then it was just me. ALONE. For one whole hour. The longest I had been on my own for 16 months! I got in the car and panicked all the way to the petrol station and back. It was a weird experience that I will really need to get used to understand just a few weeks. I was so grateful to see Sister Cebollero step off the train! Such an odd experience.
The field of dreams...#flowers

      I was so grateful to have watched the first three sessions of
conference this weekend. We haven't been able to watch the final
session because of the time difference, but hopefully we will catch up soon! I loved the reminders to set goals, follow the first prompting, to take time to just be still, and to be BOLD with my testimony. I am so grateful for the inspired men and women who lead and guide us today. It truly was a spiritual feast that will fill me for at least six months! ;) It was so exciting to hear that there will be a new temple built in Pocatello Idaho! I enjoyed hearing the gasps and silent cheers that came from the crowd!! The church is growing for sure!
       Something that I found quite difficult, was to listen to the thick
American accents that came from the pulpit! It was hard for me to
understand a few of the speakers because they had such thick accents. I'm just not used to it! One of Sister Cebollero and I's goals this week is to 'sound less American'. :) Haha I love the plethora of
accents that we hear on a daily basis! We meet people from all over
the world! I got asked this week if I was from Poland or Scotland.
Hahah. I just had to laugh!
 District selfie after finding. Elder Barth looks like Adam Sandler, huh? :)
      Just before district finding this week we stood on a corner and
offered a prayer for guidance and for our mouths to be filled with
God's words. Just as Elder Dodds bowed his head, I saw a man come around the corner and as we passed us said "What's this? A corner prayer?!" I braced myself for a shove or a glass of water to be poured over our heads, but we all kept our heads bowed until the prayer was over. It turned out to be a grumpy man who didn't like people praying. Haha. It's something that I've never experienced on my mission before!
We did have good reason for calling and she totally let us in... #holla
       We are working in our Spanish and are preparing to teach our first lesson in Spanish here soon. We are excited to see some of our most promising investigators begin to progress. We saw both Sandra and Kristina this week who said that they felt like they are getting closer to something, but they don't know what it is. Kristina looked at a picture of President Monson and just said "There's something about him, but I just don't know what it is!" We smiled and explained who he was, but she still didn't catch on. They are both progressing and are seemingly unaware of the change that is happening in their lives. It's amazing to see their hearts literally being changed by the Book of Mormon and through prayer. It's such a blessing to see these changes in them!
Silly air freshener don't even smell...
 Premortal comp unity.

        Last night we went to a families home for dinner and during our
spiritual thought the father told us that one of his sons (who was
present) doesn't come to church anymore and asked us to share how he can find Christ in his life. We took a deep breath and tried to
understand his situation. I then bore my testimony about how I had to find out for myself if the Book of Mormon was true and no longer lean on my parents testimony. Sister Cebollero then bore her powerful testimony and we look to the father for approval. With tear-filled eyes he thanked us for coming to their home to share a meal with them, said a prayer, and then departed. The spirit was strong and we were so grateful to have been apart of that special moment. These type of experiences are absolutely irreplaceable!
Weekly planning on the balcony. #welovesunshine
Our "walls of love" are on point.

      We are excited for this coming week. We have MLC and will be getting a mini-missionary on Saturday! We are so excited! We will be inviting everyone that we meet to church this Palm Sunday. It should be GREAT!
      I love this work and the opportunity to share my testimony with the people of Coventry England. What a privilege it is to be with an
incredible companion who teaches me so much. I am grateful for a
modern Prophet who guides us in these latter days. I am thankful to
know that I can take time to just be still and feel the love of my
Saviour and not be overwhelmed with the cares of the world. I know He is there. I know that he loves us more than we can begin to comprehend. I know this to be true.

     All my love from Cov,

                           Sister Sydney Jones
The new pound coin! It has twelve sides and resembles the two pound
coin. So cool!

I got a limited edition Shakespeare two pound coin last week when
we were in Stratford! It has a quote from Hamlet written around the