The Days Are Just Packed!

It’s that special time of the week again, my ½ hour allotment of computer-assisted communications! So here we go, 30 minutes of speed typing!

Some of you have asked about my experiences here at the Missionary Training Center, so I’ll try to give you just a little taste of it.

 My week in brief:

 Tuesday I got a lovely letter from my family, which included a printout of some Facebook updates posted by friends and family, so nice!

Wednesday, I also received a letter from home; a complete and utter Godsend, thanks Mom! I had been feeling so discouraged that day (frustrated with myself for not teaching better, not studying more, struggling to communicate with companions, being late, and then feeling guilty about feeling discouraged instead of trusting the Lord to strengthen me! Whew!).  Your words were just what I needed to hear. Most days are brilliant, but it’s a roller coaster (as those of you who have been here will know). 🙂

I’m starting to get into the routine – which is fun but in a way is a bad thing! Sometimes I find myself feeling too relaxed and struggling to keep language and scripture study a focused experience every day. Also, some days I struggle to be in tune with the Spirit: I go to so many Devotionals and spend so much time studying the scriptures that one would expect I feel the Spirit 24/7. Yet sometimes I’m just going through the motions. Finally, working and teaching together with both my companion, and our other classmate is sometimes a tough balancing act. I think a threesome is far more challenging to manage smoothly than working in pairs, especially considering the language barrier (we have different mother tongues, and on top of that, we’re all trying to speak Slovak to each other!).

I’m doing my best, and loving it overall – the bitter just helps me recognise the sweet! But feel free, my dear friends and family, to offer your sage counsel, cunning advice, or handy tips! This “greenie” can use all the help she can get. 😉

Thursday was a sunny Valentine’s Day (pansies starting to bloom, and Spring tingling in the air), and our whole District (Czech/Slovak classes) spent the day leaving notes and candies on each other’s desks. Here’s what Elders H and P wrote:

“Roses are red,

violets are blue,

We can’t flirt with the sisters,

But we still love you!”

And the most exciting news of the day:  Kniha Mormonova (the Book of Mormon) was finally released in Slovak last week! Our teachers read out letters from missionaries in the field, describing the tears that were shed and the spirit felt as it was presented to Slovak people for first time. Miracles are already occurring, and I can’t wait to get out there and be a part of it.

That night we taught members of the Church in the Teaching Resource Center (a facility where nice people volunteer to help us practice our language and teaching skills) – it was fabulous! Natalia (a native slovak) had an actual copy of Kniha Mormonova, that she showed us. We’re still waiting on our copies.

Natalia gave me some very kind and touching words of praise and encouragement after our session, saying that it actually moved her to tears of joy to hear me read from the Slovak Book of Mormon, telling me “You are going to be a great help for the people in Slovakia”, and even calling my Slovak “perfect”. An exaggeration of course, but reassuring nonetheless!

Sunday blew me away – it was so great! We had a wonderful fireside (that’s Church jargon for an evening meeting. In the old days, it would actually have been held by the fireside) on having faith to perform miracles. Welshman Dan Jones was held as an example of fiery faith, as when he was serving as a missionary in his native land back in the 1840s and ‘50s, he would enter a city and make a public announcement that he was there to convert the whole city, so “be ready for me”! It brought tears to my eyes to hear of Wales…awww, my home: ).

Also, it was so cold in the mountains that some deer came down, jumped the fence and pranced around in the MTC grounds a bit before being herded out!

I’ve been praying lately to know what the Lord wants me to learn during my experience as a missionary. I feel that I need to learn how the Spirit works: develop a listening ear. I need to develop charity: lose myself in the work and learn to care more about others, rather than just myself. I also need to take this chance to become more humble and truly rely on the Lord in all things. More and more, Helaman 3:35 is becoming my mission theme.

“Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God.”

But not forgetting Proverbs 17:22!

“ A merry heart doeth good like a medicine…”

Any advice on these topics would be much appreciated!

Today (Monday) is awesome so far (blueberry pancakes for breakfast – how could it not be?), and I was able to spend some time serving in the temple. It was so lovely; being right next to the Provo temple is a huge blessing.

 Some Random Awesome stuff:  It’s a small world, after all! I met an Elder T from Helsinki, Finland – apparently he’s friends with my cousin J! There’s another Finnish elder in Greek class down the corridor, and naturally, he knows my Finnish relatives too. The Greek class also has a Swedish Elder from Orebro. He said my Swedish is still really good, and asked how I’ve kept it up. I responded that I still watch the Swedish tv channel’s Christmas mini-series for children every December, on the internet.

“Hur har du behallt det?” “Julkalendern!” 😉

HIS companion is Elder S from the Leeds area (also going to Greece). I introduce myself, “Hi, I’m Sister Jones”. He says, “Yeah, I know, from ___________.” I say: “???!!”. Turns out he and his family visited our Branch in summer 2011. 😀 Crazy right? Ok, one more: I met Sister M from Colorado, going to Manchester England Mission, speaking Chinese Mandarin. Look out for her in Bangor next month! 😉

Here’s a mini Slovak lesson: Ne mi s’kodit’! (Don’t hurt me!) Ako s’ef (like a boss). Fiha! or Fuha! (Oh my goodness!) Najus’lachtivejs’ie  ( the most noble.)

Drat! I’ve overrun my time, but next week marks the half-way point in my studies here, so it’ll be the perfect time to give you more juicy details of MTC life!

Lots of love and missionary-appropriate hugs,

Sestra Jones



3 thoughts on “The Days Are Just Packed!

  1. It sounds like you are starting your mission out on the right spiritual foot! I can share something I was taught by my mission president. He said that I should just try my best and not worry so much about what I lacked. He said I would be placed in situations at the right time to help in the right way. I would not be the same person at the beginning of my mission as at the end. The person I am right now is who the Lord needs right now, and the person I will be later is who he will need later. He said it much more eloquently than I can, but I think you can get my point. I have found that to be true in all aspects of my life and it has been a very comforting thought. Another comforting thought for you might be that for me the MTC, as wonderful as it was, was nearly the most difficult part of my mission 🙂 Love you Sister Jones! You’re off to do great things 🙂
    Sister Stokes

  2. Uncle Rick says, “For what it’s worth, my advice to you is “Relax” — there’s no such thing as the perfect missionary, and a mission won’t make you perfect. A little apathy is necessary to get through it all. Of course you work hard and try your best, but don’t kid yourself, it’s not always going to be the best, so don’t beat yourself up over what’s normal. Just my 2 cents!”

    I say, you’re doing fine, kid! Keep up the great work. When you look back at this time at the end of your mission, you’ll realise how demanding the programme was, and you’ll feel amazed at how hard you worked, and how much you achieved. You’ll feel as proud of yourself then as the rest of us feel proud of you now.

  3. “Sometimes I find myself feeling too relaxed and struggling to keep language and scripture study a focused experience every day. Also, some days I struggle to be in tune with the Spirit: I go to so many Devotionals and spend so much time studying the scriptures that one would expect I feel the Spirit 24/7. Yet sometimes I’m just going through the motions…”

    That, my dear, is called “exhaustion” 😉 . There is no better place in all the world to enjoy a bit of exhaustion, than in the MTC! Not only because sooner or later, the rigorous schedule is sure to induce a classic case of it, but because even when you’re feeling fuzzy, dull, and unfocused, you will still see, hear, and do great things! Just by floating along in the MTC current, from scripture study, to class, to devotional, and back again, you will accomplish far more than those of us who are exhausted at home, trying to muster the strength to reach the remote.

    Spirituality can be like the tide: waves lap the shore, then draw back again, then rush in again. With each movement, the landscape is altered, and new things open to the view. Sometimes there is a high tide that thrills the senses, a surge of awesome power that roars and crashes against the sea wall in frothy splendor. At other times, the sea seems to have retreated almost to the horizon and only a gentle murmur can be heard.

    Whether the tide is coming in or going out, there is energy and motion at work shaping the shore, sustaining life, and revealing treasures. The ocean is beautiful and glorious in all of its phases! But some phases are better for sandcastles, and some better for surfing…

    Love you.

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