Mission Call

Mission Call

Dropping CJ off at the MTC!

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