Notes from the Field

27 January 2014

Mission life is as challenging and enthralling as always! I hit my year mark this past week and can hardly bear the thought of it slipping by so fast. What a blessing to learn to serve others freely and strive to develop Christlike attributes at this crucial stage of my life.

We’ve had a miracle and complete answer to prayer in the Branch: there is a family of 5 moving in from London today! This is so exciting! There are three children in the family, aged 20, 16 and 8 years old. They were baptised in Paris. I can’t wait to meet them!

Yesterday we taught V about reading scriptures daily. A totally unrelated question came up about one of her close friends currently facing challenges. We could see it was really important to her, but we were not sure how to respond without getting completely side-tracked from the lesson we’d been inspired to prepare to help her progress. It was one of those special teaching moments when it was like my mind was enlightened and my whole body was buzzing with the Spirit: I just knew exactly what to tell her, and the power and presence of the Holy Ghost was so sweet. The Lord made us powerful teachers and instruments in His hands.

Another miracle was meeting two charming young sisters from Ukraine who were on their way to Prague. They came to the Church building for a tour while awaiting their train and were just glowing with wonder: they had so many questions, their eyes were sparkling, the Spirit was present, and they LOVED the way we pray from the heart. We’ll be meeting again on Tuesday when they pass back through town! 🙂

I know this is the Lord’s sacred work. This is His church, and we are blessed to build it. I love you and keep you in my prayers daily!

S láskou, Sestra Jones

Advertisements

Riding the Rails

20 January 2014

Ahojte!

It’s been an eventful week – and I can’t seem to recollect half of it! I honestly cannot believe that I’ve been on a mission for an entire year now. That can’t possibly be right! It’s as if I’ve always been a missionary, and yet I just got here. I intend to make the most of every minute I’ve got left!

This young photographer created an exhibit featuring street performers... including singing missionaries!

This young photographer created an exhibit featuring street performers… including singing missionaries!

Anyway, on Monday we went to go see our friend B’s photo exhibit – with us in it! 🙂 She got a good grade on her photography project, so we’re happy for her. Now if only she would meet with us and accept a copy of the Book of Mormon… working on that one 😉 .

Tuesday we were not looking forward to 6 hours on a train to Bratislava. OK, to be honest I was more like piously trying not to enjoy the prospect of sugary snacks and board games and the Elders’ hilarious jokes and seeing the gorgeous Tatra mountain range whiz by. Sestra Bar is a wonderful example of being focused at all times and truly desiring to further the Lord’s work no matter what the situation.

"Risk": a diversion worthy of an epic, 6-hour train journey

“Risk”: a diversion worthy of an epic, 6-hour train journey

But I really struggle to hit upon a way to make good use of travel hours (I mean apart from the obvious accomplishment of getting closer and closer to our intended destination). I find that trains are like a brain-numbing time vacuum: it’s noisy so it’s hard to work via making phone calls, and motion sickness dissuades me from studying, reading, or writing. It’s not impossible to be productive, it just tries the “natural man” in me to say the least.

But this time, instead of surrendering to the futility of working while traveling, we were blessed to successfully set up a lesson with our beloved V, who was also traveling on the train! And our good friend and Branch member D came too! It was perfect! We taught the law of chastity and V’s comprehension as always surprised us, touching on modesty and media and positive thinking. The Spirit present was so sweet and the crowning moment for me was V pulling out her iPad and saying: “I found this Mormon Message about being daughters of God – I just love it!” (the one with Queen Esther) Another weary train ride was far easier to bear with a victory like that.

The training in Bratislava was just fab; we’re geared up for the new year and approaching our work with a VISION. On plan for 2015: a temple in Kosice! 😉 We’re counting our blessings, and know that “by small and simple things are great things brought to pass” (Alma 37:6).

Prezident and Sestra van D are fantastic: some representatives from another faith came to their door last week, were invited in to talk, and left with copies of the Book of Mormon and an invitation to return!

I know that this is the Lord’s work! Deuteronomy 8:2-3 touched my heart this morning: REMEMBER what the Lord has done for us. My goal this week is to learn to keep a prayer in my heart at all times, always seeking to do His will, not mine. I love you all and pray for you daily, and I try to live worthy of the trust placed in me as an ambassador of the Lord.

S láskou, Sestra Jones

Short and Sweet

13 January 2014

We have seen so many wonderful miracles this week! The Zone Leaders came on Wednesday and we had a very enriching District meeting. That day we found a Slovak gentleman who lives in Wrexham, North Wales (my home turf!). He was very interested to know more and gave us his address so that missionaries can visit him when he returns to the UK this week.

breaking bread together

breaking bread together

The Mils are back, for which I am so grateful. It makes a big difference to be greater in numbers on Sundays – it lifts the spirits of the members of the Branch, who are all experiencing great personal and spiritual growth. It is so humbling to see people who have struggled to stay active now teaching Sunday school with visible, careful preparation or bearing testimony to others and fully contributing in Church meetings. Other members are not quite living up to their privileges yet; I wish I could help them realise that things like attending church and keeping the Word of Wisdom are not activities for when life is easy, but the cure when life is hard.

Our English class is growing and we held our first post-English lecture about the Church. Street and bus contacting is becoming increasingly rewarding as we start in with bearing testimony. We’re moving forward and trying to follow the Spirit and be obedient, so I know our area will grow!

S láskou, Sestra Jones

2014!

7 January 2014

"Dare to be honest and fear no labour." Robert Burns, Scottish poet Starší Fe'l, Sestra Bar, Brat R, and Starší Chri'n in lumberjack mode Sestra Jones and her fellow missionaries start the new year out right with a service project in the great outdoors

“Dare to be honest and fear no labour.” Robert Burns, Scottish poet
Starší Fe’l, Sestra Bar, Brat R, and Starší Chri’n in lumberjack mode, helping a Church member to clear some land and chop firewood

Happy new year! Gott nytt ar! Blwyddyn newydd dda! St’astny novy rok! (That’s your new year’s greeting in English, Swedish, Welsh, and Slovak)

Looking forward to an epic 2014 – after all, most of it will be spent in the mission field for me.  🙂  Sorry you didn’t get an email from me yesterday, it was a public holiday – Epiphany (Three Kings) – and both the library and internet cafe were closed.

I don’t have much time left for writing, but suffice it to say that today I feel I’ve crested a steep climb. While at the beginning of the week I was struggling with dreading the days filled with contacting, lessons falling through, and freezing temperatures, I am now enjoying my service and SO HAPPY once again to be a missionary. I feel hopeful, empowered, grateful, and trying to stay humble so I don’t relapse into feeling sorry for myself ever again.

My fave activity of the week has definitely been singing displays!  Stopping by the Church building and grabbing a whiteboard, the Elders, and our songbooks; then singing our hearts out on the town square, bringing the Spirit, and encouraging people to stop and ask what makes us different.

Elder Chri’n had a lovely surprise: he unwittingly contacted one of our lovely Church members who has been absent from our midst for awhile. She greeted us with a sweet, “Hello, angels!” And we sisters had fun getting to know B: a young woman who is devoutly Catholic and yet SO excited to hear about the Book of Mormon, and see paintings from it in the church building. She is a photographer and is doing a project about street performers.

Another great blessing was that someone actually came to our Family History class! The first time in months! She was an absolute hoot and really got into it: we’re helping her set up a Family Search account later today, and will invite her to take the missionary lessons.

Strong, sunny, smart, and spectacular: the mighty sisters of the Czech/Slovak Mission

Strong, sunny, smart, and spectacular: the mighty sisters of the Czech/Slovak Mission

Yesterday was monumental: after an unusually eye-catching District singing display we got on a bus to go tracting closer to home. However I had a quiet thought to try visiting V, our lovely Former Investigator who we hadn’t been able to get in touch with since before Christmas. I told Sestra Bar: “I don’t know if it’s just me or the Spirit.” Her response: “Is it a bad thing to do?” That settled it: we were going. We hopped off the bus and hit like, a dozen obstacles to get to her door (weren’t sure which panelák (apartment block) was the right one, the zvoncek (intercom) was broken, we couldn’t get through to her on her mobile phone…), but each was miraculously overcome in turn (she has great neighbours!), and suddenly there we were on her sofa. She was so happy to see us, and said she’s gained a testimony of the Word of Wisdom, loves the Church’s teachings, and will try to come to church this Sunday. Sestra Bar and I were both prompted to open up Alma 36 with her (Holy Ghost telepathy!), and we had a very uplifting lesson. She wants to be taught every week – yay!

This week will be great: Zone Leaders Bar and U are coming tomorrow, then we’ll have Zone Conference in Bratislava on the 15th to kick off the new year. They’re on fire over there: they had the mission’s first baptism of the year, and 4 more investigators with baptismal dates! The Lord’s work moves forward.

Love you lots! Sestra Jones