Mission Call

Mission Call

Dropping CJ off at the MTC!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Possibly the last email... YIKES!

How do i even express how i feel right now as it all rolls to an end... AMBOT!

What a week we had and what a week we have ahead of us! Staying busy is the only way to go! As ive said my entire mission with my batch from the MTC, "go big or go home!" ... now that we are going home its more like..."youre going home so go big!"

We had a super awesome family home evening last monday where we made a piggy bank for them to save money to go to the temple. We let Sister give us pedicures so we could help them get started. It was fun to decorate the container with pics from the Liahona and then watch them put their first 25 pisos into the bank with smiling faces! :) The mission is so rewarding!

So i said how we went hiking last monday... oh my... ive never been so sore in my life... i think. Sister Manzano and i were dying that night. Our legs were throbbing like crazy. Walking was impossible but we had to if we wanted to go home. What an experience!

I traveled to Tacloban with Sister Larsen on Thursday cause she had a doktors appt and i had my exit interview with President Malit. We had quite the fun time at the hospital. Then i think my interview was an hour... maybe longer. Everyone laughs at me cause im known for taking forever in interviews... oops. i dont mind though. I have been able to develop a great relationship with my mission president, President Malit. He helped me so much this week. He helped me figure out for myself that im ready. I am strong. I can face the challenges ahead.

On friday and sat we had our giant zone conference/farewell ni President Malit and his family. Friday morning all us departing missionaries this transfer did a day with President and Sister Malit. SO MUCH FUN! Then in the afternoon we started conference with all missionaries! We did presentations and sat we had testimonies. I managed to not cry! What a success. My prayers were answered cause i knew it was going to be way difficult if i started the whole crying business. I was the last of the 17 of us going home to bear my testimony. What a spiritual meeting that was. There is so much more i could share about it but ill keep it short and just say it was awesome! I was so happy to be able to see everyone again right before i leave the mission.

President was so nice to allow us 4 sisters to stay sat night so we could see the baptism of Beth. Sister Quimson and i found her and she is amazing! The baptism was very tender moment. Sister Quimson and i were the on the spot speakers but it was awesome and i felt so privileged! I love Beth! Since we stayed we werent able to go home till Sunday morning.That was an experience!! Man... our church service is 8 to 11. We left Tacloban at 530am... we arrive in Calabyog at 1030am! I had the van take us directly to the church... we carried our suitcases into the church, ran upstairs and walked into sacrament meeting. It was pretty funny when the 4 sister missionaries all walk in late... awesome examples! I was sad that we missed sacrament and the other meetings but as i sat on the bench listening to the talks i realized how grateful i was to be there, even if it was only 30 min.! So many people came to church too... it was the highest attendance so far! 123! :)

Scripture of the week, Jacob 5:71. As i go into my last week im giving it all i got! If i do i know i will have blessings/the fruit of my labors waiting for me. Im so grateful that ive been able to serve a mission here in the Philippines. Heavenly is real and Jesus Christ lives! The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church on this earth. i have no doubts!

Gugma gad!
Sister Carissa Jones

P.S. Might not be able to email next monday... if not... see you soon! AHH

Monday, June 20, 2011

3rd to the last email!

Its getting really close huh!? Half this week we will be here in Calbayog and on Thursday thru Sat we will all be in Tacloban for one last final zone conference with the entire mission! Im excited to be able to see everyone right before i leave. President Malit and his family will leave a few days before we do. He is really sad but he is being such a great example to all of us! I love him and his family very very much!

This last week we had one of those difficult weeks... no one being home or too busy! But we kept going! There is no end to missionary work!

We had interviews this week. It was great! Of course i cried like a baby... Its a difficult time. Then after we had a fireside with the branch with President Malit. He told some stories and then did a question and answer thing. Super funny questions. It was great. Then after he took us 8 missionaries, plus the 2 Assistants out to dinner. We ate at the hotel he stayed at. It was so nice! Nicer than some hotels in America (if i remember correctly). The food was delicious. President Malit is so good to all of us!

So my companion, Sister Manzano, whom i love so so so so much!, reminds me of Kimmy from Missouri (Fanny Farkle). The way she looks and then sometimes she makes faces or just acts like Kim. She is the filipina version of Kimmy :)

Every Sunday night we teach an english conversational class. Its so much fun! The members are so funny! We did skits last night using phrases we taught. They love acting so it was super funny.

One of the cutest things happened this week while we were walking around... The little kids are always saying, "Americana!, Americana!" Well one kid said that and then a girl, maybe 10 yrs old, replied. "Dili siya americana! Dili siya nakahibalo sa english! waray waray la." Translated that is, she isnt american, she doesnt know english, just waray :) It made my day! Sister Manzano and i couldnt stop laughing. I finally did it! I became a filipina!! SUCCESS!!

We've had some less actives come to church and families make temple goals. It brings me so much joy i cant even describe. Im getting super close to all the people in the branch... it will be so hard to leave them!

Earlier today we took an adventure with a bunch of branch missionaries. We went to the waterfalls. First off, i asked if the way was difficult... they responded no... but they had no idea! Plus we wore tennis shoes... dili pwd! We had to take the shoes off and one of the elders carried them for Sister Manzano and I while we went barefoot. The path consisted of an hour and a half hike of mud, and balancing on a 3 in wide cement thing, crossing rice fields, etc. An adventure to say the least. Luckily the falls were beautiful and we were able to rest and feel the freshness of nature... then an hour and half hour hike back to the highway. Its one of those really good experiences that you are glad you did but you would do it again on the mission. :)

Scripture of the week...1 Nephi 3:15. Im not done yet!

Naghigugma ko sa iyo ngatanan!

Sister Jones

Sunday, June 19, 2011

June 13, 2011


First, happy anniversary Mom and Dad!

This week has been great! Lots of great lessons and people coming back
to church.. but of course still many that dont yet have the faith
built to act. We just have to be patient but persistant in extending
the commitments to repent to them.

We had some really amazing, spiritual lessons this week that are very
close to my heart. Its hard to describe how great it is sometimes. I
love being a missionary so so much. Also so really funny ones.! As in!
I prob had the funniest "look at what you are teaching in Sister
Jones!" moment... ill tell you about it in person (just remind me)
cause its such a good story.

We had a MCM on Saturday night which was really good although long.
President Dawisan (branch president) ask me to speak on Sunday (the
following day). I accepted with a smile. I should be use to it know to
teach on the spot. I gave my talk on Temples! I really enjoyed it! I
hope they enjoyed it. :) I have such a strong testimony of the temple.
It truly is the house of the Lord and where we all should aim to go!
One reason i am excited to come home (one of very few) is that we get
to go to the temple in Manila! It will be a nice prep for the long
plane ride. I would like to go on Friday in Idaho Falls so if we as a
family to plan to do that i would love that. Anyone that can come!

Scripture of the week... Moroni 10:3-5. If you doing have a testimony
of the Book of Mormon i encourage you to develop one :)

I love you all!

Sister Carissa Jones

June 6, 2011

Sorry i wasnt able to say more last week... this will be much better...

Ok so first off Heavenly Father must really love me! Im feeling a little spoiled!! I couldnt ask for a better way to end my mission... seriously!

My companion is Sister Manzano, which is my apo (grandchild) in the mission! Tapos, Sister Larsen (who i trained and who trained S. Manzano) also lives with us. And my last companion, Sister Quimson, is the companion of Sister Larsen. Us 4 are having such a blast together. Its different living with more people but the 4 of us work really good cause none of us are caddy. Sister Manzano is so good at learning languages and we are learning really fast together. the language is Waray waray but the Waray waray here is much different than the Waray2x i learned in Tacloban. Its so fun to learn language after language after language! A really growing experience! I truly love every minute of it! The weather is hot and rainy... nothing too different :)

We are all in Calbayog in the same branch along with 4 elders... so 8 missionaries total in one branch! When i first got here on my mission there were no sister missionaries in Samar. About my 4th transfer they opened Mondragon for sisters. Us being assigned in Calbayog is the 2nd sister area in Samar. Im really excited to be able to serve here because many sister never get the chance to see Samar. Us sisters have been given a special assignment. We strictly do reactivation and retention. Their are many members here but MANY less active. They have been a district for so long when other areas around that started at the same time have grown into big stakes. President Malit really wants to help them become a Ward and Stake so that is why we are here :) The 4 elders teach all investigator and then us 4 sisters strengthen the members and bring back less actives. Its a whole new ballpark of missionary work but im really loving it! We've had to change all our goals around which we have had lots of fun doing.

We had a good week. The members are great about working with us! Thank goodness kay we would never be able to find our way in some of the barangays. Some of the branch missionaries are like full time missionaries. Such great teaching skills and testimonies... they blow me away! Ive also already gained a little boyfriend in the branch. He is 2 and his name is Yehosheua (no he cant say his own name... i hardly can!). He sat with me all during church... well he didnt sit the whole time. But then after church he grabbed my finger and dragged me to the door and said we had to go home now. When he found out that we werent going to their house he threw a little fit... how cute! He is the grandson of the district president.

We have had such a great time visiting people.... lots and lots of good laughs! One day we went to the bukid (we didnt realize the family we chose to visit lived in the bukid). Bukid means mountain. It had rained earlier that day so the mud was nice and fresh. Its difficult to balance on logs and scurry up and down muddy hills in plastic shoes. Which, by the way, ive already walk a whole in these pairs of shoes and ive only had them more 3 months! Anything... back to the bukid... we finally arrive to the house... seriously SO far. By the time we shared a message it was dark. That trail was ten times harder! We all had our cell phone flashlights and two of the sons of the family followed us out. Sister Manzano and i both fell... i ripped my skirt really good!! When we got out all we could do was first breathe and then laugh! :) Thats not the end... we waited for a ride on the hwy... none... so we began walking. One hour later we arrived at our next appointment... of course late so we rescheduled and went to the last appointment (which was one of those tender mercy lessons!). Im so glad i had Sister Manzano by my side!

Well i love you all. The scripture of the week is Jacob 2. Sister Manzano shared it in our companionship study today and i remembered how much i like that chapter!

Gugma ora2x,

Sister Carissa Jones

new area- May30

Well .... ill make it quick!

I got transferred! I am now in Samar in Calbayog! It is new for sister so new... dirty... apartment. We spent all day sat cleaning. I am with Sister Manzano. I trained sister Larsen and SIster Larsen trained SIster MAnzano... so its fun! Also there are 4 of us in the apartment.. Us two and Sister Larsen with Sister Quimson! Oh man its fun. Ill explain more details next week cause we are out of time!

SIster Jones

May 23, 2011


This week was great...

The Santa Cruzans will last all of May so the work will continue to be a little up in the air.

We found awesome investigators this week and im so excited for them! The 2 really good ones came to church! YAY!! Sunday feels so successful when your investigators and returning members are at church!

There were lots of white people at church... it was kinda the joke of the day! Like seriously lots. I talked to one after sacrament. His name is Henry and is super cool He is from Baltimore and is just has been working here. He goes back to Amerika today. He is episcapalian (dont know how to spell) and he just wanted to see the church and learn what it was like. He said the one thing he would want to know is what the main difference is between us and other churches. It was so fun to share to him about the restoration! I explained the Priesthood and living prophets and that is the greatest difference. It was really difficult to teach in english... everything was coming to my brain in waray waray! But Heavenly Father helped me. I hope i was able to plant a seed and he will continue his search back in Amerika!

So last week we made this deal that we would only walk everywhere on Sundays. We felt like we were encouraging working on Sundays and that would be breaking the Sabbath Day. So... last week wasnt to bad cause we stayed pretty close to the house. But this week we WERE NOT thinking when we scheduled appointments. We literally went from one end to the other and then back. We had 3 ward missionaries with us... who were dying but still laughing about it. Thats all we could do was laugh! The sun seemed to be 3 times as hot yesterday... dont know why! As in, boiling lava hot! When we arrived to the first appointment i looked like i had just gotten out of the shower... sick! And the best part is that the sister we went to visit wasnt home! The next two appointments were tho so its all good. We got fed cake at the 2nd which made us all feel a little better. Then at the last we got fed dinner. This really helped with our kulang energy. Those pour ward missionaries... haha. I love them!

Scripture of the week... Alma 7. We taught a lesson and focused on developing Christlike Attributes as members of the church to continue on our journey after baptism. Our goal is to be like Christ in the end so we must work on becoming like Him in this life. We did the Christlike attribute activity in Preach My Gospel (last page of ch 6). I invite you all to do it and see where you can improve and then this week study that attribute in the scriptures and work on developing that attribute! Im working on patience this week :)

i love you all so much!

Gugma Gad!

Sister Jones

Monday, May 16, 2011

May 16, 2011

Hello. Its been a week...

Had a really awesome family home evening with the family we are working with getting back to church. The daughter (who has been the first to come back to church and now works with us every week) gave the lesson on faith. It was such a touching lesson as she pleaded for her family to hear her and follow the commandments. She cried and i sure did too! It was a very special moment in my mission.

Zone conference... or what we call it here, 'a revelatory experience.' It truly was a revelatory experience for me. Every time i take questions to such meetings (including church) i receive answers. We always promise our investigators and members that if they bring a question in their mind to church then it will be answered there. Its a really neat experience. I challenge all to do so. Every Suday can be a revelatory experience where you can receive personal guidance for things in your life.

Fiesta Time! this is where they celebrate the saints. Different times of the year there are different fiesta for one specific saint. I think this week was Saint Cruz. They celebrate by eating lots of food and drinking and singing for all hours of the night and day. Its sad how these celebrations are bigger sometimes than the celebrations for Christmas. It affects the work cause all your catholic investigators are busy with fiesta or anyone new you meet is drunk from the fiesta. We were able to find some that were available though. Next to our house, music played for literally 48 hours none stop. Many different genres. Friday morning i was listening to Jack Johnson during personal study and then by Saturday i got to listen to Chicago and Hotel California. Reminded me of home!
So at the beginning of the week i was thinking would Jesus Christ attend a fiesta? As members we dont have fiestas cause we dont worship the saints but we do recognize them as good people. I think i got my answer and i will never attend a fiesta again... So our apartment owner is a less active (back to catholic) and they had a big fiesta. His aunt, who lives there, is a very active LDS member still and she invited us to eat lunch on friday with them. We accepted the invitation. It was catered and very delicious... Friday night my stomach began to hurt really bad but it was bearable. Went to bed. Woke up at 1:30 and my stomach was killing! I cant even explain it. I went to the CR (bathroom). It was a not so wonderful experience! Most pain ive ever had going to the bathroom! This wasnt the end... I went back upstairs but as soon as i laid down it hit again! This repeated 3 times (going up and down the stairs was very exhausting since i was still partially sleeping). by the 4th time i decided to just stay downstairs. I would spend 15 min in the CR and then go out... read true to the faith or lay down on the tile then shortly return to the CR. The pain never stopped. By 3:30 (2hours later) i was able to go upstairs and sleep.. sort of. I kept waking because of the pain but luckily didnt have to go down to the CR. Saturday morning i text Sister Malit and she put me on the BRAT diet (banana, rice, apple, toast). And i just drank lots of water. So my conclusion is that the water (or ice they used) wasnt filtered. Ive drank unfiltered water here before and didnt have problems but im taking this as my answer to my question... Would Christ ever attend a fiesta?... NOPE!

Saturday afternoon was our Jubilee celebration. I felt a little better by then and we were able to attend. It was such a good show! It started late but it was ok. I just sat there drinking lots and lots of water. It was so fun to see all the youth and single adults perform their dances. Their costumes were so fun and their enthusiasm was inspiring. Our ward did the hardest filipino dance (tinkling). It is with bamboo sticks and dancing in between them as they are clapped together. I dont really know a better way to explain it but its really cool! The celebration was really long. It was funny cause after 4 hours we looked around at all the missionaries and you could tell by their body language what they were thinking... "oh man, we have been sitting here forever not being productive!" Us missionaries arent used to that! :)

We had more companionship exchanges this week as well. They were really good and i had such a fun time working with and learning from Sister Christianson and Sister Insong. I have seen a tremendous growth in Sister Christianson since the first time i was able to work with her. She is such an amazing missionary who really knows her purpose. It felt so good to teach with her because the Spirit was so strong! I love her! Then Sister Insong is so cute. I learned lots of language things from her and felt her strong dedication to the work. She is never lazy and a future leader!

Scripture of the week...Alma 5:26. The old mission president here and his wife came to visit and they spoke in church on Sunday. They were really good talks. Brother Elgren used this in his talk and it touched me.

Naghigugma gad ak ha iyo! Bagoha ang imong pag-istoryia ug magbago ang imong kalibutan!

Sister Carissa Jones

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

May 9 2011

This past week was a bit slower than the last but im looking at it as a test of faith. Even tho slow still many great things happened!

We had interviews this week which was probably my highlight. I really needed it! I received lots of revelation as i spiritually prepared to learn from the Spirit. Im not gonna lie... im really scared to come home. I love it here and my life is so nice and structured and i dont know... its just not quite as scary as the real world. But i learned what i must do to prepare and also how to go home with honor. I simple just need to live the Doctrine of Christ, there are specifics to me personally, but i invite you all you study the doctrine of Christ and see how you personally can be living it better.
President Malit is so amazing! He always does things by the Spirit and i always feel better after talking to him. He has helped me to grow so much here on the mission. I realized in my interview as we talked that i really have become such a better person and im so much happier with myself than i ever was before. Its amazing i cant even describe it in words really.

Saturday it rained all day... as in storm gad! The wind was crazy! We were using our umbrellas more like shields in front of us rather then over our heads... really funny! Sometimes during ridiculous weather i just giggle and think, "what am i doing here!?" haha... i love it!

Scripture of the week... Helaman 14... As i read this this week i thought about the signs of the second coming. We are witnessing them right now. We need to make sure we recognize them for what they are. Side note... anyone have any guesses on who the 3 Nephites are?

Gugma Gad!!

Sister Carissa Jones

May... Why is it already May!!

Seriously, this whole time thing is getting out of control. Its going to fast! I know that you all want it to go fast but maybe you could pray that it goes fast for you but slow for me :) i love the Philippines so so much! Sometimes i look around and think how in a short time i wont be able to see all these beautiful faces and flowers and plants and mountains and waters... it makes me really sad!

This week has been the busiest finding week ever in my whole mission... maybe even just the busiest all around! President has really been pushing finding new investigators cause nothing happens till we have people to teach. So we made a goal of 25/week (the standard of excellence for the mission in 20/week). And guess what! We had a good start last monday with 11! We went to a family we have been trying to teach for 2 weeks and finally the kids wanted to listen. Then they invited some friends! It was a 2 hour lesson but so good! With that group we were able to add a few more at our return appointment. They are fun group of teenagers to teach. They range from ages 10 to 24! Then every day we worked hard, filling any open time we had for finding and teaching! Every day we found at least 2 new investigators and by Saturday we had achieved our goal. We were hoping to get a few more on Sunday to exceed our goal but all our appointments fell thru. We were happy to have met that goal tho! Achieving goals is like the coolest feeling ever... im such a nerd but that ok.

Michelle, our AMAZING investigator, had her baptism on Saturday! It was so special. She is 25 and after her baptism she told us that she felt like a baby :) She is so happy to be clean and is ready to just continue moving forward. She was so prepared and is already receiving so many blessings. She will be a forever friend to me.

This week the Philippines began their celebrations for their Jubilee! (50 years of the church in the Philippines)! What an exciting time for them and i feel so bless to be able to be here at this time to experience it with them. The dancing and music is so fun to watch. They started in Manila and had a big broadcast. Our stake celebration will be May 15 here in Tacloban. Cant wait to go! Our youth have been working so hard on their dances that they will be preforming. Yesterday we had a Area wide broadcast stake conference. Elder Teh gave such an amazing talk about studying the scriptures. I hope that we all will make studying the scriptures a daily duty. Then Sister Beck spoke about families, Elder Cook talked lots about history and Elder Packer gave a great talk. He told us how he spent time in the Philippines during the war and right here in Tacloban he and another member held the first sacrament meeting (as of record) that took place in the Philippines. The people here felt very special.

So our area is huge and the names of the streets and Phases help emphasize that fact :) The subdivision is split into 8 different phases (think of like all the different waterfields in Missouri). Each phase is classified with a different category for the street names. Fish, fruits, veggies, places, space, etc... Lets just say every day i take a universe tour. I can go from Pilipinas, to San Francisco, to Los Angeles, to New York, to Texas, to Jerusalem, to Israel, to Saudi, to the Milky Way, to Saturn, to Jupiter, etc. Its great... but very tiring!! :)

Ok so scripture of the week... 2 Nephi Ch. 33. Last night we used this in a FHE as we talked about the counsel from Elder Teh about reading the scriptures. We went around and had every one saying why that reading the scriptures was important to them (no one could repeat something already said). There were about 20 of us and at first they thot it would be hard to not repeat but by the end it wasnt at all. Everyone had great simple reasons and we could have gone around the circle again. I love the scriptures! They are such a blessing and a strength in my life! Reading helps answer my questions and brings me more in tune with the Spirit so that he can answer my questions. What a blessing. Remember what Nephi's last words were... "I must obey" And WE MUST OBEY too if we want to be happy and free!

I love you all so so much! Remember who you are... who Heavenly Father created.

Gugma Gad,

Sister Carissa Jones

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Happy Easter from the Philippines!

hello po!

well with not writing last week i have lots to fill you in on. Ill try to be fast but thorough...

Sister Blonquist went to Sogod! It is in the south part of the island. We have divided to conquer! She is with Sister Schneider, which is totally awesome! I cant even begin to describe how much i love her! We lived with her in Tanauan forever so yeah...

I had to say goodbye to Sister Barroca which was very hard. I love her so much! Cant believe she isnt in the mission anymore. Going to the airport to say bye got me really scared to come home... cause it will come so fast! Later today i was thinking as i walked and looked up at the beautiful sky over the green mountains.... the thought came into my brain... "Im prepared to meet my Maker!" For the first time in my life i can honestly say that i am prepared to meet my Maker. It was a really cool moment! The mission has changed me for the better. Im still Carissa or CJ or whatever... im just a better version with lots more knowledge and direction!

Sister Quimson is my companion... filipina! I love her! She speaks lots of tagalog which makes my brain hurt cause im trying to sort like 4 languages in my head but im learning so its good. We only speak waray waray or tagalog so its good. My english will just get worse now :) but thats ok. Sister Quimson is from Calamba, Laguna on Luzon.(close to Manila)

We have been really busy with the work! Trying to find and teach and find and teach some more so we can have baptisms!

We have awesome investigators right now. Many i feel i knew before this life. Brother Junie is one of my best friends... very stubborn but man do i love him! We have many others but one is Michelle! She is receiving baptism on Saturday! She is always studying and understands everything so well! She told us the other day that she wants to go on a mission! She is the best! And so is the Maglana family (which is where we teach Michelle). They always feed us and just are awesome!

We are making progress with some returning member families. I was able to share my mission decision story with a family and also hear their tesimonies. They have really grown since we began visiting. I love them! One of the girls bore her testimony about scripture study... at first she didnt like to read cause she said that she could never understand. a few visits ago i told her to pray before she reads so that the Spirit can help her. She said she was trying to study for the assignment that we gave her on scripture study... she still wasnt understanding and then she remembered what i told her... so she prayed. She then understood as she read and she was excited! She decided to start over her Book of Mormon reading just last week and now is already in Alma. She was explaining the stories perfectly.. i just wanted to cry i was so happy!

We had a birthday party at their house with last week and man was it a party! Tons of delicious food cooked by Sister Maglana! She made this upside down pineapple cake with may have been the most delicious thing ive ever tasted in my entire life (other than Grandma's rolls, of course!)

We had our National day of Service here in the Philippines on Saturday so we cleaned the nearby elementary school. It was fun... i mainly just carried around a trash bag for people to dump the leaves in and then took lots of pictures! We had a really good turn out! Our recent converts and a few investigators came! YAY!!

This last week was Holy Week... Many people are busy or out in the bukid. It kinda stunted our work but that didnt stop us. On Friday (Holy/Black Friday) we were allowed to stay in our apartments because not much transportation (everyone rests because its the day Christ was crucified). We were able to work in the afternoon cause our appointments were close!

So Happy Easter! No bunnies here in the Philippines but i was able to really focus on my Savior and all that He has done for me. I love Him and i know He loves each and every one of us! The songs in sacrament were so great and i felt so close to my Savior, Jesukristo. Many of the catholics here focus so much on His death (even reenacting it every year) but i glory in that He lives! I know that He lives!

Scripture of the week... Mosiah Ch.4. I have always said that this is my favorite chapter... in a lesson with a less active family we read it and i actually realized just how much i love it and really for the first time totally understood why i love it! Hope you enjoy it as much as i do!

i love being a missionary!! Whoot whoot!!

Gugma gad,
Sister Carissa Jones

Monday, April 11, 2011

WhOOt WhOOt for General Conference!

Dear Family,

I wrote you a letter today so i wont say much about conference other than that we all have lots of guidance given to us and we need not take it for granted. It amazed me how the talks were so personal! I love conference! We were able to watch all 4 sessions of conference... and we heard that priesthood was phenomenal!! I cant pick a favorite... there are too many but the one that especially touched me, in which i surely did cry, was Elder Richard G. Scott's humble, touching and inspired talk. The weirdest part of confernce was seeing the scenery... not gonna lie i kinda had forgotten what America looked like!! I looked for Christina and Josh (thinking they would be in the choir) but i never saw them... maybe i looked too hard. Ill just have to go back and rewatch them when i come home so i can see their faces. What an amazing experience that must have been for them two!! Tell them both that i love them and they did an amazing job singing. The music touched me along with the amazing talks.

This week was busy... we seriously worked so hard despite the fact that we got punted one schedule after another. I got sick friday night (dad we had the same sickness... weird!). I had a killer fever (100.5 F) after saturday watching conference but i couldnt stay in the house and rest. We went out and taught. I felt myself almost collapse a few times as we walked but i can honestly say that i felt angels beside me holding me up. I know i received that blessing through faith and diligence. I felt a little yucky sunday as we watched sundays conference but the fever was gone and now i just am stuffed up a little... nothing big.

The Shortcut Kids... its kinda like the Buttercream Gang... We love these kids and they LOVE us! This whole 400 meter walk we just have this parade of kids. Teaching them is like this giant sweaty ball of dirt but its AWESOME!!

We have a group of young girls that are all cousins that we are teaching. They are great! Their parents arent allowing them to go to church or get baptized even thought the 5 of them want to but no worries, lots of praying and fasting will change open their hearts and hopefully we can teach each family.

We have a really good new investigator, Michelle. She is smart! This week she was looking thru the Preach My Gospel of her fellowshipper and copying scripture down in her phone to study later... WHAT!? How often does an investigator do that after the first lesson? Talk about AMAZING!!

I received really special news this morning! At 1am a little baby was born in Albuera. She is the daughter of recent converts that i was lucky to begin teaching and was able to go back to Albuera to attend their baptism as Sister Blonquist and i traveled from area to area. Im humbled to say that they named the baby after me and Sister Larsen. Her name is Carissa Kay Casero. How neat is that!? She is going to be just the cutest little filipina around!!

We just found out about transfers two hours ago. Sister Blonquist will be leaving me... im SUPER sad! I love her and have learned so much... i feel like not enough! We just have to move forward with faith... even when its hard. Pray for her to feel the comfort she needs in her next area. i love her so much i cant even put it into words. i cant wait for you all to meet her!

Scripture of the week... 3 Nephi 27:21,27,33. We are Latter-day Saints! What manner of men ought we to be?

I love you all! The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true!

Gugma gad,

Sister Carissa Jones

April 4, 2011

Its April...

My companion and i are asking ourselves when Easter is... no one has talked about it and they dont have too much to celebrate it really so we have no idea.... WEIRD!

So last week it was still raining profusely last week but this week, luckily, it has slowed up. The whole one payong thing isnt working to well cause we both just end up half dry and half drenched. Or i where my rain jacket which doesnt keep rain out after so long of rain :)

We met lots of new friends these last two weeks! Mainly kids. They just love us so we love them! We have a whole little crew that follow us around. Some even come up behind you and just hold your hand as you walk down the street. Its really tender. They are such cute little children of God. We have fun teaching them with pictures and stories. Since missionary's thing is extending commitments, last week i committed them to do service for their parents (like clean or wash dishes, etc.)

Had a neat experience teaching the Restoration in candle light. I guess there is a world wide energy conservation hour done every year... didnt know about that the first 21 years of my life oops... but the Philippines is big on doing it. It was last Saturday (March 26). We taught a family during that hour... really neat and spiritual experience.

This week Sister Blonquist and I were able to invite two different companionship to come work with us in our area. This allows us to better train and learn with the other sisters in the mission. Its so fun! We love getting to know all the sisters and learn from them. We may be the ones with the calling to be the leaders and do the training but it always seems that in those types of positions you are the one that does the learning and you grow tremendously! I am so incredibly grateful for this opportunity that Heavenly Father has given to me to learn and be a better missionary.

So this week was April Fools Day... awesome... the elders, not gonna lie, got us so good. They had us for about 20 minutes thinking that Elder Bednar was her in Tacloban.... There is much more to the story but only a few choice will here that so just remind me after the mission sometime and ill tell you... maybe. Touche to the Elders!

We had a really really great week. First... Joey received baptism! His original baptism date since the first time we taught him was April 2 Then the member he is close with would be out of town on the 2nd so we moved it to the 1st two weeks ago. But then last week he had an unexpected seminary that he had to drive his boss to so we were going to have to push it to the 9th. We prayed all week that his seminar would be canceled! All week when we visited he said it was still on... then on Friday when we visited he told us that it got canceled! And That Sister Millama (the member friend) wasnt going to leave until the 3rd! I wish you could have seen our bright faces and how quickly we pulled out our cell phone to call our ward mission leader. Luckily 2 elders in the ward also had a baptism so all worked out perfectly! We have been focusing on EXPECTING MIRACLES! And look!... A miracle happened.
Second reason that it was a great week was that a less active family came back to church after 2 years. We both felt very impressed to visit them one night and we did.They realized then how much they needed to come back. Theirs' is a VERY difficult situation but they exercised their faith and it was amazing! They invited us to come pick them up so we did. We showed up at 8 and everyone was about ready. At 830 we got into their multicab which wasnt starting. The clock was ticking and things werent looking up. We all bowed our heads and offered a vocal prayer. We were then able to find another multicab and get to church. We were 10 min late but were able to all sit and partake in the sacrament still (thanks to all the confirmations which took up time at the start :) ). Im so glad to be a missionary and be a part of this great and marvelous work!

I cant even believe its April and ill be home in 3 months! Like thats absolutely insane! Agi Daw!! PasPas an panahon. Damo nga nahibaroan ngan damo pa nga moabut ha ak ha tulo ka ulanhing mga bulan nga anaa pa ak ha misyon. Napapasalmat po ak ha gugma ngan pasensya ha Diyos. Magilub ak hasta ka hasta!

Scripture of the week.... Helaman 5:1-12... REMEMBER!

Sister Carissa Jones

Friday, March 25, 2011

March 21, 2011

We thought wrong about not getting affected from the Earthquake! Our weather was so so SO intense this week. Im not joking... it rained non-stop from tuesday till saturday. And then it also rained sunday. And im not just talking a light rainfall... i mean BUCKETS! The entire Tacloban area was flooded. Even other areas in region 8 were bad. Mainly all the little areas around Tacloban were way bad though. I never knew what a flood meant until this week. Our area was the worst out of all the office areas. V&G is classic for flooding when we get lots of rain.. but that flood is like 2 or 3 inches in the road. By Wednesday night there was a foot of water in the road and the really bad part of V&G was 1 meter high! The highest the standing water reached was by Thursday morning. Even tho it continued to rain, the water slowly went down. Only the really bad parts are still a little flooded but those evacuated were able to move back in today. We had landslides in some areas too!... so many people were evacuated because of the flood. Our apartment owner said he was lived here for 7 years and there has never been standing water outside on the road. Outside our house there was almost a foot on thursday morning! Another lady in the ward said that this is the worst in 30 years! Only one other time it was high but not to the point of evacuation.

On wednesday night we decided to go contact an old investigator but soon found that God sent us in that direction for another purpose. We spent 30 minute helping our bishop and his family move mattresses and other belongings to the empty upstairs apartment that their house i attached to. When we got there the rain was only like a few inches outside and just starting to come into their house. The youngest boy was brushing it off the porch with a broom. After those 30 min the water was 2 inches throughout the entire house! It was rising SO fast! We were drenched and stopped by the Malits to get some hot water to wash our skin (cause there are diseases in standing water). We had no stove at that time to heat water cause we are still getting all moved in to the new apartment. They were so nice and fed us a yummy dinner and then drove us home (even tho we live down the street) By that time the water in the road had gone from 3 inches to 6!

The next days were crazy! We tramped through the flooded streets trying to help people. Sister Blonquist got some cute purple rain boots! None fit me... guess all the filipinos got to those sizes first.. hehe. On saturday we went around with members and delivered relief goods to families that were affected and needed help. It was awesome! I love helping people!

Sometimes riding on the pot2xs were like we were in a water park! It was super fun and all Sister Blonquist and i did was laugh! It was like we were in the ocean as we rode and walked around! Waves were created from the cars and other pot2xs. They even washed up on us a couple times and we got soaked! Sister Blonquist and I joked all week saying, "Hey!... its raining!"

Made enchaladas for lunch for all us missionaries in our ward... oh my... mmm, mmm, mmm... SO GOOD! It was a nice perk to the crazy week for us all!

Scripture of the week... Alma 37:38-47. this week i compared the Liahona to a patriarchal blessing... pretty cool!

Gugma gad!
Sister Carissa Jones

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Well i didnt say much last week so ill review...

It was transfer week and man was that crazy but exciting! Sister Blonquist and I are still together thankfully! We love each other... he. But with being in the office we got lots of calls and questions and were able to see how stressful it is for the assistants. Luckily we were able to help them chill out by helping to add a little humor to the stress :) We all get along so well. Sister Blonquist and I are always saying, "I hope that the elders have the same idea about us all being best friends after the mission!" haha. We love the elders. Such great examples they are to us!

I received great news when transfers were announced! Im gonna be a lola!! (which means the sister i trained is training!) My apo (grandchild) is filipina. Her name is Sister Manzano. Sister Larsen was freaking out when she was told she would be training. I called her and we talked and i told her that she was more than ready! We just talked earlier today too and she seems to be great! When you train you grow so much because you have a lot on your shoulders. Also, Heavenly Father is able to show you just how much you actually DO know that you didnt realize before. My most favorite text that i received from Sister Larsen this week was something like, "Sister Jones, thank you so much for being my nanay! Sorry i got frustrated when you would fall asleep during nightly planning sessions! I know how you feel now... its so exhausting!!" haha... oh i love the mission!

So this week...

#1... our investigator Joey is doing amazing! He came to church for the second time yesterday and loves it! We passed by on saturday morning and saw him our reading pamphlets and the Book of Mormon! There is no greater sight for a missionary! Sister Blonquist and I just looked at each other and smiled. We love Joey. He is so prepared and has such a great support system already. Being on a mission makes me want to be the best fellowshipper after the mission. All i want to do when i get home is work with the missionaries!! Joey is getting bapstized on April 2 and makes amazing progress at every visit! (we've only visited 4 times so far but it feels like we have known him for a lifetime!) People like Joey make the mission all worth it!!

#2... As for other investigators... we are meeting some interesting people. Most dont want to continue or are just too crazy to continue. There are so many stories but the best one from these past two weeks is we happened to meet two different men that voiced to us that they want 3 FAMILIES! The first said it in front of his wife in a lesson... she was disgusted but put up with it.We asked this man, before the prayer, what he wanted because we always do that so we can pray for those things that they want in their life. He straight up said, with no hesitation, "i want 3 families!, money, etc.." S. Blonquist then turns to me and whispers under her breath... "you're praying!" haha. I did but definately didnt ask Heavenly Father that this man could have 3 families.
During the lesson the man spoke english to us and kept standing up and pointing his finger at me and calling me a "he" while he was talking to S. Blonquist. (there is no gender difference in these languages so when they speak english they call girls "he" and boys "she".) He had something against me... maybe cause i stood up in the lesson and asked him to sit down cause we dont want to fight and when he stands its like we are fighting with each other. That wasnt a good idea... but S. Blonquist saved me... that is why there are two of us!
The next man was on a jeepney ride home... this ride lasted 30 min... What a LONG 30 min! First off, he kept going off about lots of things to us. Then we tried to calm it down by asking about his family, which just made things more crazy. He flat our said that one family is good, two families are better and three families are best!! We told him no and that is very very wrong but he was set on his idea. I thought actually he was going to kiss S. Blonquist, he was so close to her face. And as a missionary you just dont even know what to do... those situations are EXTRA AWKWARD!! But we made it out alive.
Sister Blonquist has a good theory... since we met two men in one week that want specifically 3 families. They have their one right... then these two beautiful americanas come in... and that makes 3! sick!

#3...This week was what we call "puntastic". We literally didnt teach once on thursday or friday cause we just kept getting punted! We werent happy but tried to stay positive... You can never give up! Cause the work is not yet done!!

#4...Guess what!? We got an apartment in Tacloban! We are so excited. It is brand new! And smell like new. Its like all fresh construction (so i think of Dad every time i walk in and smile!) We are moving in today actually so tonight will be the first night. YAY! Its literally down the block from the Malits and the mission office! We love it already!
Today we got the best pay back ever! We are always making the office elders treats and they are always like "we will get you back sisters!" And today was the day! They successfully pulled off the the ultimate mission. They made us PEACH COBBLER! They asked Sister Malit to use their oven in the mission home. They put it on our desk in the office and we were speechless! I cant even describe how yummy it was and how thankful we were! BEST DAY EVER!! (these elders know how to cook!!)... THANKS ELDER HAWKES and ELDER BINGHAM!!

#5...So the Earthquake and Tsunami...
The earthquake in Japan we here was huge! 8.2 or something yeah? There is a member in Japan that was from Albuera and i pray that she is ok and wasnt harmed! On friday we received a text from President Malit about the earthquake and that we were on a #2 tsunami alert. The tsunami was predicted to be 1 meter which could do some damage so he was keeping us updated along with all the other people on the streets. Luckily the tsunami never actually hit the Philippines so its ok! We just got buckets and buckets of rain! Like im not kidding, BUCKETS! Our whole area was flooded. We walked all day saturday in water up to our knees! Also the poor little pot2x drivers are pedaling their bikes and the pedals are under the water! Sister Blonquist and i decided that it was like being in a water park all day! haha! We got drenched but it was an unforgettable experience!

So im alive and very healthy so no need to worry! I love you all and hope you are all doing great! Pray for those people in japan, hawaii, and california.

Scripture of the week... Genesis 26: 6-10 (i think)... i got to explain the word "sporting" (vs. 8) to a filipino elder earlier today... haha


Sister Carissa Jones

February 28, 2011

Is there something faster than flying? cause whatever that is, that is what is happening to the time on the mission! WOW!

This week was AMAZING! Really busy.. of course but nothing is better than being busy busy busy as a missionaryo! We travelled and did more training and then worked with 3 different companionships. Its so great to work with the other sisters and learn from them. I learn so much about the work too cause the Spirit is different depending on how the work is being done and is really felt. I got to work with Sister Laddaran from Hong Kong... well she was born in the Philippines, then lived in Paris then worked teaching english in Japan and Hong Kong and some other places. She arrive two weeks ago but is such a great missionary! I love when you meet people on the mission and you just click (other missionaries or just anyone). Sister Blonquist and i were talking about this and what a blessing it is to be here and serve here. The mission is full of tender mercies from the Lord as He allows us to be reunited with our friends from the life before. I feel my Savior's love!

We actually got to do some tracting and work in Tacloban this week!!! YAY! Sister Blonquist and i were beyond stoked... you have no idea! We were probably the two happiest people in the world. I love love love being a missionary! Sometimes during lessons ill just get this thot like, "MAN... you LOVE this! This feels so good!"

Sister Blonquist and i literally have the same brain... its insane. We always will turn to the other person to say something... always seems to start as a question tho to like lead into what you want to talk about (its a missionary habit) but as soon as you ask the question the other will be like, umm yay... blah blah blah... and its exactly what the other was thinking. We laugh so hard all the time about how we are always on the same page! Like even random stuff like riding on the jeepney and asking, "So what do you think about so and so" and then the other saying, "i was JUST thinking that!" Or "I just figured out why i came to the Philippines!" and then the other person says the exact reason cause you just noticed the same thing happen! I just love her! We have a blast! Heavenly Father loves us too! an extra funny... Sister Blonquist spent 30 min of MCM picking lice eggs out of my hair!... oh yeah, mom... i have lice! eww

Scripture of the week 2 Nephi 32. Its been used a lot this week to help the people we taught! Such a short chapter but so full of great information if you take the time to study!

I love you all so much!!

Sister Carissa Jones

Monday, February 21, 2011

February 21, 2011

This week was amazingly fun and crazy!

I got to go back to my old area and work and see a baptism of 4 people that i started teaching! I met a really cool guy on a bus and taught him as we rode and gave him the elders number where he lives. He text them the next day and told the elders that he met us and wants to join our faith! WOW cool!! On the ride back to Tacloban i stopped and held the bus cause i had to get off and go to the bathroom! I was praying SO hard cause i had to go SO bad! The bus came to a stop so i immediately asked to get off and pee... I ran to a random house and paid him 5 pisos to use his CR (bathroom). It was a little creepy cause it was a dark alley thingy and my comp was still on the bus but both of our prayers kept us safe! hehe. We gave a few trainings at zone conference and i was drugged on benadryl for one! I didnt realize that it made you sleepy when Sister Schneider gave it to me that morning!! I literally fell asleep as i was talking as Sister Blonquist and I were preparing for the training! All we could do was laugh about the situation! Please pray for us to find an apartment cause we still havent. We are just continuing in faith. That is faith... taking a few steps in the dark, showing Heavenly Father that you trust Him... then after those few steps of faith He will take your hand and guide you!

Scripture of the week... Alma 30. Read it this morning and remembered how much i love it! All things denote there is a God and we all have always known that there is a God!

Love you!

Gugma Hinduru
Sister Jones

Valentine's Day 2011

Well hello and i send my love to you all on this very happy valentines day! On the way walking to the internet shop a little ADORABLE girl was walking too and said quietly but sincerely, "You are very beautiful." It was SO cute so i of course told her she was too cause she was! and gave her a little heart balloon from Shakeys Pizza restaurant we had just ate at and told her happy valentines day. I just love people in the Philippines! Sometimes they are very blunt and its not too nice but times like this, its nice... haha.

This week was another week of crazy travel! But OH SO FUN! We worked in 3 different areas. Tanauan (which is where we live currently), Sogod, and last Hilongos. All the sisters were super awesome! I had amazing, spiritual experiences in each companion exchange. I feel like the most blessed sister missionary ever! By the end of the travels we were very exhausted. Luckily the Elder Assistants were in the same zone we were on saturday so we were able to ride in a nice air con car on the way home to Tacloban. Not that i enjoyed the air con myself.. i curled up in my malong but Sister Blonquist was excited so we were both happy. We hit a dog on the ride home... Elder Cabrera really tried not to hit it but it ran right into us. He got up and ran to the side with his leg up and about 5 dogs ran up to him. It was like they were saying, "Dude! you ok man? That was insane!... you just got hit!"

Upon arriving home i found that my leg was starting to swell and hurt pretty bad. We attended a baptism in our ward from the elders (there are 8 missionaries in our ward). And by the end of the baptism my leg was throbbing and and i could hardly walk! The office elders drove us home thankfully and i soaked it in hot water... it felt like boiling lava hot but im sure it was pretty normal to you all. My skin just isnt use to it anymore. On Sunday i could hardly walk but i managed and i can walk today. Its still really swollen... as in like nasty cankle going on but hopefully its not permanent... haha. Another ridiculous thing that happened in the category of swelling is this morning i wake up at 330 to do my laba (washing) and the left side of my top lip is swollen! After discussing it with Sister Blonquist we decided that it was a tiki kiss (which is like these little lizards that run around everywhere!) This same swelling lip thing happened to Sister Christianson two weeks ago and almost every night i wake up in crazy itch attacks! But then i have no bug bites. So the conclusion is that the mga tiki just crawl on me and then one decided to kiss me last night. Its pretty legit... i mean it is Valentines day!

Ok so we are on a great search for an apartment so PLEASE pray that we can find one in Tacloban for us sisters cause we dont want to transfer! This week we had so many brownouts! Last week we had one for 48 hours (sat thru mon) and then on sunday we had one in Tacloban so church was fun. The generator kept the lights on but no air con... oh i was in heaven with just the open windows but the other missionaries werent so much happy! haha. Im turning into such a filipina and i LOVE IT! I take that as such a compliment when people tell me that.

Last night was a fun experience... We were out of support and literally didnt have enough to get home from our apartment. We were short about 15 pisos. So... we are searching in all the corners of our bags to find extra changes. This is why we should always have 1000 pisos on us as a reserve fund... oops. But not really oops casue because a tender mercy of the Lord i remembered that last week i had put 1000 pisos in my journal which was in my bag. Oh what a blessing!

So on the spiritual side. I had some amazing experiences this week. The first one is a monumental moment of my mission for sure. As we were teaching this returning member family the Spirit was so strong. I asked them inspired questions, guided by the Spirit so that they were actually able to teach themselves and the Spirit was able to witness to them. The room was full of tears and as Sis. Schneider (my comp at the time) was talking i received the strongest witness from the Lord that this is true. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true church on the earth and i am a true representative of Jesus Christ Himself! This is something i could never deny. I love Heavenly Father and the love that He has for me and all His children!
Another experience was helping a investigator realize that she is more than ready for baptism! She doesnt need to wait anymore and she now knows that in her heart! I used the Book of Mormon. She bore her strong testimony of the Book of Mormon and how she knows that if she has a question she can read that book and find all answers!! It was stronger than most member testimonies of the Book of Mormon!! She was kinda looking for a sign to know she was ready... As i ask questions and taught from the Book of Mormon it gave her the opportunity to bear her testimony which then, thru the Spirit, i was able to know that the answer that Heavenly Father had given her was the Book of Mormon! I was able to tell her that and then everything made sense to her. The light in her eyes was the best and the witness i personally gained was unforgettable!

Well the scripture of the week would have to be Mosiah 4:27. With the craziness of our assignment right now i have to remind myself of this simple truth! Remembering that as long as i have the Spirit and am diligent i will accomplish all that the Lord wants done, even if i may think that i didnt get done everything i thot needed to get done. This is His work... not mine.

I love you all so much and pray for you daily!

Gugma Gad,

Sister Carissa Jones

Monday, February 7, 2011

The wonderful life of a missionary! Feb. 7th 2011


Every week is so busy, i dont even know where to begin! Bottom line... life is great and i love being a missionary!

Sister Blonquist and I continue to enjoy being in the office... especially S. Blonquist with the air con.. hehe. The elders arent tired of us yet... probably because we try to keep them fat with yummy snacks. This week we successfully made rice crispy treats! what an achievement! whoot whoot!! We werent in the office too much because we did lots of traveling to work with the sisters in other areas.

First we working in Dagami, which is close to Tacloban. We worked with Sister Brinton and Sister Dustin. Both are amazing missionaries and we had SO much fun. Sister Blonquist has been companions with them both and Dagami was her old area.

Next destination was to Mondragon, which is at the top of Samar! WOW! What a great experience. This is the only sister area in Samar and just recently got opened. We didnt think we would ever be able to be in Samar but look how the Lord blesses us! It was a long ride but it was fun. We rode with the Assistants (Elder Cabrera and Elder Hawkes). And also had one other elder, Elder Bowman, part of the way. We bought lots of snacks for the trip! We had a few set backs so we didnt get out until late and we finally arrived in Mondragon at 11:30 p.m. The sisters up there were amazing. Both filipinas, Sister Ponte and Sister Escanan. It rained the entire day we were there and i gave my umbrella to Sister Blonquist cause at least i had a rain coat... Well thats what i thot! Turns out that if you are in heavy rain for a long time the wettness starts to leak thru and your clothes get drenched! Oh well... sacrifice is where its at! The waray ive been learning is different from the waray there so it was fun to learn a new waray for a couple days! It was so beautiful up there and we were like right on the ocean! The waves were going every direction... a really interesting but cool sight to see.

We road back with President Malit, which was so amazing! We had 5 hours to be with our mission president and ask him anything... of course the first thing we ask was, "what's your favorite food?" hehe. It turned into a great spiritual experience and i gained some answers and assurances that i had been looking for.

On saturday we had a baptism! Two little girls. Their father is a member who isnt active. Their grandma is active and has been bringing them to church for years but the parents wouldnt allow them to be baptized until just recently. We were blessed to be able to teach them and be apart of their special day! They were so cute and gave the sweetest, pure testimonies. We visited them on Sunday and they said they felt so good at the baptism that they wanted to be baptized every week (you can thru the sacrament... how cool is that!) They also said that they wanted us to visit every day! Oh how we wish we could but we will be all over Leyte this week!

So today we were practicing teaching (Sis. Blonquist and I) and we didnt feel like talking to the wall so we pulled out a picture of you Andrew and we taught you... it was a pretty saweet lesson... im pretty sure you loved it and wanted to be baptized.. hehe.

I just love how much i am growing. I learn so much every week i wish i could convey it all to you. Ill try to organize my thots better so i can make my emails more spiritual. I cant even explain how different i am spiritually. It has changed me for the better and i thank Heavenly Father daily for it! I LOVE being a missionary!

Scripture of the week... So i was reading today and just really liked this scripture. My favorite Christlike attribute on my mission has been hope... so with that... I was reading in Alma about when Aaron teaches the king (Lamoni's father).. great story!... ok so the scripture of the week is Alma 22:15-16. Let us ask ourselves as well... Are we willing to give up everything to receive this eternal joy? Are we willing to give up temporal things to have eternal things? Then are we willing to have faith=act so that we can gain the hope=assurity that we will receive the promised blessings.

Cge. Do you all know how much i love you!!? Its a lot!!

Gugma gad!
Sister Carissa Jones

Thursday, February 3, 2011

February 3, 2011

Just want to apologize for being such a slacker at keeping this blog up to date. I have a goal to be better. We had a great Wedding (Andrew and Stacey) December 21st and then Mark and I went on an amazing cruise to the Caribbean last month. I am now back to reality and the cold weather. We love hearing from Carissa and as you will read she is having an amazing time and does not want to come home but will in July sometime. YEA for us!
Love, Lynette

January 31, 2011

BOOM number two... Jan 31

What a week! Not even sure where to being... kinda cause i forgot what i said last week. Well the assignment in the office is great but its a little hectic. love it tho!

Ok so originally we were going to build the area up around the mission home/office/church and invite the sisters to work in our area and that is how we would train them. I cant believe my Savior trusts me to train all the sister missionaries here... what an opportunity and privilege. I will grow more than ever! We were unable to obtain the apartment that we were hoping for so the office elders are on a desperate search for an awesome apartment for us. As for now, we live in Tanauan with Sister Christianson and Sister Schneider. We love them so much!! Since we are unable to really work much because travel is one hour in the morning... about 2 hours at night from Tanauan, for the month of february we will be travelling the whole mission to help the sisters in their areas! Sadly we wont be able to drive (driving is crazy here and we are all like the daughters of President and Sister Malit). This will be an insane month but Sister Blonquist and i are so willing and ready! We both feel that Heavenly Father has a lot for us to learn and we really need to be in tune at all times to be guided as we fullfill this assignment!

The ward here is amazing! Except for the fact that they all speak tagalog... so President challenged us to learn tagalog and waray waray! oo po! Sister Blonquist has been in waray waray before so she helps me a lot. Im picking it up pretty well! Just little things are weird getting used to like really everyday phrases that just come out in cebuano. i love waray tho, its interesting. Tagalog i can understand what they are talking about but speaking it would be impossible at this point. I love having the confidence to learn a language. As i trust God i truly know that i can do anything! i love that ive learned to rely on my Heavenly Father in all aspects of life. At times i look at myself and am amazed at how much i have changed for the better. i love it!

We have been able to a little work in the area. And the little work is great!! We have a baptism of two little girls this coming saturday. Also, a 21 year old male that was baptized by the elder on dec 18th, hadnt been coming to church since his baptism. So we caught him at his house twice this week and guess what!? He came to church and we able to finally get confirmed after a month had past from the time of his baptism! The Elders were so happy and so were we!! And during the lesson with him on friday he had an earring in and so we reminded him of the law of chastity and he took it out immediately! It was so saweet!! i love missionary work!!

This week we will being travelling. First in Dagami (which is next to Tacloban) and then to Catarman, Mondragon area (you can look on the map i sent home). That is the furthest north you can go in the mission! We are excited. Luckily the Assistant Elders (Hawkes and Cabrera) will be driving so we wont have to take public transportation. Hopefully next week i will have some fun exciting stories!

BTW... im freezing in the office! The air con is not my friend!... how will i ever live in America again!? yikes!

Scripture of the week... Alma 16. This is Alma going to the Lord in prayer to ask if what they plan to do is according to His will. Anything we do, or any decision we make we should finalize it with God. This will help give us courage to push through the task when it gets hard because you will look back and remember that God approved. If He approves, there is a way to accomplish the task. No need to fear. So if you have a question, go to Heavenly Father.

Gugma Gad,
Sister Carissa Jones

January 24, 2011


Where to begin... I feel like there is so much to say but im not even sure how...

Ok... lets go back to Albuera and finish there. It continued to rain and we continued to get nice and muddy. Also, when it rains a lot we lose water pressure so yep... no water... which means no showers... eww! And also a lot of dirty dishes... hehe. We managed ok tho.

On tuesday and wednesday i was assigned to do a companionship exchange. I traveled to Palompon and Sister Yao traveled to Albuera and worked with Sister Larsen. I worked with Sister Christianson. We had great experiences and i learned so much. The gospel is so true. I didnt know those people really well but as i was able to listen to the Spirit, he guided me in what to say and discern what their needs were. It was such an awesome experience! I felt the Spirit so strong and Sister Christianson told me that we were able to make some break throughs with those people that they had been struggling with. I was so happy to see that the Lord was working through me to help bless His children. On Wed we took a hike to the bukid... literally about 45 min till we got to the house. The mud was ridiculous! I feel kept sticking to the mud... like the craziest noises were created as i treded through the swamp... not to mention the barb wire fence that we were using for balance... umm that could have been dangerous. Luckily the lesson was amazing! On the way home tho of course it began to rain... guess who didnt bring her umbrella? Yep me... oops, again. I was drenched by the time that we got back to the road but oh well. I slipped out of my foot once and then when we arrived back to the apartment in Palompon i discovered a nice cut in my foot which was filled with dirt grains and a little pebble... OUCH! i got it cleaned out tho and all is well... i still have a working foot. This little adventure set us back a bit so we missed the last van ride to Ormoc so i could return to my area in Albuera... So then we discovered that we could travel and hour to Isabel and then catch a later van to ormoc. We decided to go for it and prayed that there actually would be a ride to Ormoc cause if not we would have been stranded! Our prayers were answered and we got back to Albuera eventually. The 4 of us sisters just stayed in Albuera that night.

Transfers were announced that night and Sister Christianson and I both were transferring, along with some other elders in the zone! I had been praying for more experiences so that i could grow and i got my answer. I guess i didnt realize how hard that would be tho. Saying goodbye to the people in Albuera was the hardest thing ever! I will be missing Joselyn's baptism next week which is really hard. She cried when she found out i was transferring which of course made me cry! Thursday was a day of tears... saying goodbye to the family i have gained in Albuera. I cant even describe how much i love those people!!

So... then comes Friday... transfer meeting. The ride was fun and we all made our guesses. I really didnt know where i would go. Everyone kept guessing but i wasnt sure. One elder said... "you are going here... or if not, youll be the new AP (assistant to President). I laughed and said, that will be the day when there are actually sister assistants, cause that never happens!
All the sisters from my batch were being transferred (Blonquist and Farnworth). It was great to see them and Sister Barroca was training again so i got to see her too! The training was so great and then came the letters... drum roll.....................................

It read that i would be serving in Tacloban City, area V&G. I am companions with Sister Blonquist!! and we have a special assignment... Elder Shelley made a comment that we were like the new APs... haha... we laughed... We were told that we would have an interview with President so he could tell us our assignment...

In that interview we were told that we would be secretaries/assistants for him... BOOM! We are leading the sisters pretty much. We are in charge of organizing companionship exchanges. And then also we are to build up our area in Tacloban and then we invited sisters to come work with us and we train them! And we also travel to their areas to help them in their areas! Yes... im not kidding! This is intense. The last couple days have been crazy but we are SO pumped! Sister Blonquist and i are loving being companions again and all the office elders call us the AP's... its funny. They all have us saved in our phone as 'AP Jonequist'... haha. We dont have an apartment yet so we are staying with other sisters about 45 min away... its a bit stressful. President drove us home last night which was super nice! And they fed us hot choc and sandwiches and spaghetti! They are so nice! We have our little office space and are working on getting all the plans organized... not to mention trying to build an area. The elders have us 3 investigators to start with... this is going to be challenging but Sister Blonquist and I are so excited!! I cant even believe how much i have learned in the last few weeks. I see that Heavenly Father has really been preparing me cause the last few days have been totally full on inspiration as we are depending on the Lord for a lot of guidance! I feel so blessed to have the trust of my mission president, President Malit, and the trust of my Savior to be called to this special assignment.

Im out of time but i will tell more next week cause there is tons more! LOVE YOU ALL!!

Sister Jones

Scripture of the week... Mosiah 5:5-6

January 17, 2011

So... what is new in the Philippines...

It continues to rain and we continue to come home with the muddiest feet ever! My toe nails are permi painted mud... no joke! Sister Larsen continues to give me foot massages tho. She says it helps her relieve stress and i have no objections of course. She is such a great companion... and not JUST because she gives me foot massages. She is a great example and pushes me to be better. With her, ive been able to see my weaknesses and now, being on the mission, i am much more humble to accept my weaknesses and desire to change. Going on a mission is definitely what i needed in my life... Hopefully ill be recognizably better when i get home.

Ive been having nightmares about coming home! In all the dreams i am suppose to come home but it doesnt feel right and i have no idea what to do! I cant even imagine coming home even tho it is approaching much quicker than i expected. I sure miss all your faces but after doing what ive been doing its hard to think of leaving these people that have become my family and friends too. Everyone begs me to come back after the mission and i hope i will be able to do so! You all can come with... ROAD TRIP!!! ... umm... across the ocean...

So this week was full of great lessons and great learnings. I wish i had better organization of all the great things that i learn... there is just so much! Before my mission i kind of thought that i need to learn it all on the mission but now ive realized that there is always more so i dont need to stress so much. I just need to focus on the people here and i have years igo to continue learning for myself.

We also had interviews this week. It was so great to talk with President. I think i might have taken the longest time... oops. We just talk about everything! I feel so much love and support from him. He always makes me feel capable and desire to keep going. He "hinted" that i might be transferring. I will be happy to gain new experiences in a new area but i will miss Albuera like crazy! I have lived here for 7 months! I have gotten so attached to the ward members and just the people in town. We walk down the street and people call across the street to me by name. And the workers at the water and electric place and market and other little shops know me by name. I just feel that Albuera is my home! It will be different to leave and very difficult to say goodbye to the people. Its really hard to think that it could be the last time i see these people here in Albuera. I love them so much... i cant even explain to you what the love is like that i have for them.

We had the funniest lesson last night with our cute little family. Sister is the one getting ready for baptism next week. (her husband is already a member). They have the two cutest little kids. We find that when one of us is talking that the other has to entertain the kids so that the couple can pay attention. So we really never know exactly what the other teaches but the lessons always turn out great! The Spirit is definitely guiding us! haha. Last night the two kids managed to take EVERYTHING out of my backpack... Every little knik knak... haha... It was funny to find everything scattered on the floor at the end of the lesson. Also, little Yan2x (1yr old girl) saw a picture in the Strength of Youth pamphlet and was SURE it was me! haha... she kept saying, "Look Look!.."... "Sistr jos! Sistr Jos!" while i was trying to read a scripture. She kept putting the pic right in my face so i couldnt see the scripture to read... we all just kept laughing. Then at the end she did a little dance for us. It was similar to a 'head, shoulders, knees, and toes' song/dance. SO CUTE!! I get so excited every time we go to visit this family!

Scripture of the week... Alma 9:26. I love when i read about Christlike attributes and how perfect He is. Just reading a description of Him makes me smile... And then to think i can obtain all those attributes if i ask for them and develop them. We all can be like our big brother one day. What a great reason to never give up! I know it will be worth it. No matter what the struggles we face, it will all be worth it in the end.

Naghigugma gud ko sa inyoha! Ayaw kabalaka mahitungod nako kay ok ra kaayo! Naggiya ang Balaang Espiritu Santo kanunay sa akoa. Buhi si JesuKristo ug naa siya permi alang kanato pinaagi sa atong mga pagsulay. Nasayud ko nga kaya nato! Padayon lang gud ug kit kits sa unom ka bulan. Amping!

January 10, 2011

I think every day in my journal ive written 2010... oops...

Lets call this week a wet dog week cause pretty positive that is what i have looked like every day! The rain has been absolutely none stop since last saturday! (so 10 days)... and yes, it is raining right now as i type. P.S. my keyboard is broken so if i miss any mistakes its not my poor english its the computer.

So with all the rain Sister Larsen bought a new ubrella. Then one day we were walking and got into a convo with a nice little lady selling ice cream. It began to rain...of course and i knew her how was far so i gave her my ubrella. This was especially funnny becuase Sister Larsens ubrella was a mini one. So us two with our bags were waddling under this little ubrella... we had some good laughs!

We have been humbled by incredibly poor conditions here lately. I cant even believe how some people manage in the 5 by 5 hut with 4 people. Their poor conditions but humility really humbles me. I thank God every day for all my many blessings!

So we have soe really really great investigators. One family in particular. The husband is a member but has been less active. We began teaching his wife. They have two ADORABLE kids! (4 and 2). Wow i just love them so much. I get so exctied for the days that we get to visit them. We can see how much more exctied they get everytime we visit. At first Sister was shy and hesitant but now she laughs and is so excited to be baptized! They are especailly excited becasue they are excited to go to the temple and be sealed as a family! This desire has helped her desire to be baptized grow tons! The little kids just love us too and i wish i could bring them home with me! I love the gospel and how it truly changes lives.

We also are teaching this wonderful little kid... he has NO attention span what so ever! But this last week he has really improved and he actually focused long enough to say the closing prayer of a lesson! We were SO excited. As we make the gospel more real and fun for him, he loves to learn! The gospel is a very serious thing but it can be fun too. It has to be! It is our life, our road... and of course Heavenly Father wants us to enjoy our journey! I sure love the gospel and love living it! Sister Larsen recently asked me what will i do when i go home and everyone tells me how weird i am!?... she notices how weird i am cause i always connect everything to a gospel principle... she gets a kick out of it. I kinda do to. Its crazy how much i have changed but i love all the changes. i told her that i will tell them its ok if they think im weird. I know who i am and am completely comfortable standing up for what i have learned. I dont want to have this mission be for nothing. These changes are life long changes. Dont worry... im still cool... haha.

Here is the scripture of the week.... inspired by a lesson we taught where there was a gay person and a lesbian. Its amazing how when you listen to the Spirit, he will tell you all you need to say so that the message is received well for whoever you are teaching... 3 Nephi 18:18-25
And also another inspired scripture we used. The lesson went from the girl being to busy to take the discussions to "can i come to church next sunday!?"... 2 Nephi 2:27-30.

Love you all and miss ya tons!

Gugma Gud!
Sister Carissa Jones

January 3, 2011

Well.... This new years at midnight i was asleep... hehe... Hope you all were safe and had a good new years. For new years here in the Philippines they cook a lot of food... then they wait till 12... they yell and dance and light off lots of fireworks. Then they eat their feast at 12... Then when they are done eating they sleep. And then all day on the 1st they eat left overs and lounge around the house. We were able to help a family in the ward have some food to feast on and it was the father's birthday. We had fun with them until we had to be home.

There has been LOTS of rain the passed few days. Literally it rained 24/7 for Saturday and Sunday! Saturday we kinda let it make us lazy and not want to work. At the end of Saturday i wasnt liking my lack of diligence and got pretty down on myself. I was feeling like i was letting the Lord down. I said some humble prayers and then decided that i didnt need to get down on myself. We arent perfect. I realized that i needed to practice what i preach and just take action then dig myself into a pit of guilt. Sister Larsen and I made a commitment to continue this week with full diligence whatever the weather may be. Sunday then came with continual rain and since it had rained all day saturday the puddles were huge and the mud was extra slippery (we almost biffed it a number of times... the angels must have caught us from falling completely!) We huddled under my umbrella in our rain jackets and got lots of work done! This was a total test from our Heavenly Father if we would do what we committed the night before. We pushed through the entire day and felt great and felt we had redeemed ourselves from the day before. We felt the forgiveness and love of God and Jesus Christ. I love the gospel!

Scripture of the week 2 Nephi 28:17... Repentance is ALWAYS available. I have realized recently while reading the scriptures that when it talks about destruction and the grabi doings of the wicked people, after it always mentions repentance and if they repent all will be well! All we need to do is repent!! No matter what the sin is we can be forgiven... check out all the incredible sins in 3 Nephi 30! Just be humble and repent... its a great gift!

I love you all!!!

Gugma Daghan
Sister Jones

December 27, 2010

Well we just talked this morning on the phone but i wasnt able to say everything about my Christmas... so here was Christmas in the Philippines!

First, Christmas conference was absolutely wonderful! Being in a busy city with people speaking a different dialect was quite interesting but i was able to catch on pretty fast. We met on Tuesday and played sports all morning with all the missionaries. What a blast to catch up with old mission friends!! Then at 5 we had a nice dinner and had a presentation show. Each zone gave a presentation, mostly singing. The funnest was that we all sang Once There Was a Snowman! (normal, slow, and fast, just like in primary!) Even President and Sister Malit were joining in. We had a little exchanging gifts. I got some fun little things! One thing was a green frog that ribbited... Spencer, President Malit's 6 yr old son, loved it so i gave it to him for Christmas. We was super happy! This Christmas really was able giving and not receiving which was really nice. One of the most enjoyable Christmas' ive had.

Our ward Christmas party was at a swimming pool... yes, a swimming pool because its always hot here! hehe. Lots of people came and we had a good time. Sister Larsen and i sang 'Far Far Away on Judeas Plains' in cebuano. The other auxillaries performed as well. It was fun and we had lots of yummy food. Many of our investigators came which we were so excited about! We have some great people we are teaching right now. I feel so incredible privileged.

Then for Christmas Eve we visited families and gave little goodies. We made no bake cookies, since thats the only treat thing we really can make cause walay oven. We made little homemade Christmas cards and had fun giving them out to our investigators and close member families. On Christmas Day we woke up and set up a Christmas tree made out of our washing buckets. We read the account of the birth of Christ in Luke 2 and then opened the Christmas packages that Sister Larsen received. It was fun just peacefully spending time together. The best was taking most of the gifts and other things we had and figuring out who we could give them to. So we used the wrapping paper that her gifts were in and wrapped up a bunch of stuff to give to others. I gave away my earrings and lotions and such that i had. Sister Larsen made some yummy crepes before we studied. We studied and made a cool little Christmas message to share as we went about delivering gifts and more cookies! As we went out we realized that Christmas in the Philippines is much different than back home. Most people were about doing their regular routine. And many people we visited we realized didnt receive one gift. This hit Sister Larsen and I pretty hard. I guess we didnt realize that there would be zero gifts. All month people talk about gifts but when it comes down to it they dont really do the whole gift giving because of how poor they are. The main thing they do is save money to have a nice Christmas Eve dinner. This made us giving small gifts and teaching about Christ that much better and touching. As we walked up and down the street we reflected on life and how grateful we really are for our Savior, Jesus Christ. Without Him i wouldnt be on a mission. I wouldnt know all these wonderful people and i wouldnt have all the blessings of the gospel in my life. I really dont know what i would be left with. This has given me a strong desire to keep going in this great and marvelous work so others can have what i have... not material things but spiritual things that bring happiness beyond reason!

Scripture of the week... 2 Nephi 19:6

I have assignments for each one of you in the family to study. Just things ive been studying and had the inspiration to have you study and tell me what you learn... so that is your assignment this week and next email let me know what you learned! :) Ill email you individually your topic but just know that every one has something different.

Gugma Gud!

Sister Carissa Jones

December 13, 2010

This is short... sorry...

We have been teaching an entire 4th year high school class, which is about 50 students (4th year means this is their last year before graduating). It is the class of our Bishop's wife, so thats how we got the hook up. They are such a great group of kids and ask awesome questions. We taught the Plan of Salvation and the Restoration so far. About 6-10 of them are now taking individual discussions and are participating in ward activities. It has been a fun experience and a very growing experience. Faith is the shield, testimony is the sword. I love this work! My testimony grows everyday! They invited us to their school Christmas party so we spent the morning today with them playing games and serving food. They are so much fun!

We also sacrificed our mattresses this week so the ward could use them for the youth camp. We slept on couch cushions... what an experience... haha.

We watched the broadcast of the 1st Presidency Christmas devotional last night and i learned a lot. We were able to get some Christmas spirit, which can be difficult with the hot weather still. I loved listening to the 1st Presidency and their advice to us all to refocus on the true meaning of Christmas. I absolutely love that Pres. Uchtdorf referred to the Grinch... SAWEET! But what i got from them all was that sometimes this Christmas time can get full of craziness and stress but if we refocus we can see it in a new light and feel calm through all the bustle. I thought of how Christ came to us. This was Heavenly Father's greatest gift to the world and He came in a stable. This gave me a new take on giving gifts for Christmas. I love you all and hope you can review all their talks and find peace in this wonderful time of the year.

Scripture of the week... 2 Nephi 9:51

December 6, 2010


This week was totally saweet. Well actually it was really slow and work was hard... but thats the life of a missionary... its hard work!

The highlight of the week was on Saturday when President Malit came to Albuera to work with us. He worked from 3 to 8 oclock with us and helped us in all phases of the work... finding, teaching, contacting. He is the best mission president ever! We were fasting and every time i have fasted on the mission i have seen miracles! Its SAWEET!! We visited mostly investigators... one was interesting... he had drank right before we arrived, but President handled it so well and with such love. Love really is the only way you can do this work! I was able to learn so much from President Malit and the way he spoke to people and taught to each persons needs and on their level of understanding. Even though Pres. Malit was speaking Tagalog (cause everyone in the phils. understands it) i actually could understand most of what he said! The Spirit truly opens a missionary's mind so that they can discern. Im scared to not be a missionary...maybe i wont be able to understand the cebuano language as well... AHH. joke lang.

Scripture of the week... Helaman 3:33-35... Remember that people in the church are not perfect... but that doesnt mean that the church is not perfect. The Church of Jesus Christ and His gospel is absolutely perfect!

Love you all!
Gugma Daghan!
Sister Carissa Jones

November 29, 2010

Its almost December! How crazy is that! I never thought i would say that.

This week we did actually did celebrate Thanksgiving! We made mashed potatoes and corn... hehe. We also did a little chicken/green bean caserole, with rice of course. I cant eat with out rice... im weird. It was an interesting Thanksgiving... i mainly just gave Thanks for all that i have... especially all of you! That night was a very hard night for us. We just had lots of discouraging events happy right after another. We found this little circle piece of concrete and offered prayers, Sister Larsen and I. It was one of the most spiritual moments of my mission as I pleaded on my knees to Heavenly Father. I cant even explain how wonderful it was. Im stronger now because of it!

We are so busy teaching and finding, its so great! I knew i always liked being busy and having a hundred things to get done but didnt realize this would be even more work. I still love being busy!

We had quite the experience this week... We had a Book of Mormon Fireside planned for Saturday. We have been planning it for a month. An hour before we were to start we had a huge brown out in all Albuera. It lasted for 3+ hours! By 6 we were all gathered in the chapel using out phone flashlights. We were planning to watch a movie but with no power we turned it into a question and answer session. We had some great investigators there and they had a great time, even with no power. We had a big candle light dinner in the back parking lot of the church afterwards and as we left the power came on... we just had to laugh about it.

Scripture of the week... 3 Nephi 9:20. Even if you have already been baptized, remember that this is what is required of you before and we should also strive to to this so that our baptism has validity.

I love you all so much!!

Gugma Daghan
Sister Carissa Jones