Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Mission Log: 26 Nov 2012

Transfers happened this week. I'm now in a new area, I'm second half training a new missionary, and I'm in charge of all the Spanish for our area because she's an English speaking missionary. So much crazy. My new area is really wooded and full of crazy expensive houses. It looks like the scene out of any typical horror movie. Which is great because I'm a super jumpy person, so every time we're outside at night I'm completely convinced that an axe murderer is behind every tree. I'm sure that I'm a sight to see. 

To make things more fun it was a holiday week. So Thanksgiving as a missionary...just a little bit weird. A lot of missionaries got together at the Princeton stadium and played football. I did not play football, because let's be real that sport is completely over my head. But I did wear jeans. Also, we ate tons and tons of food. People are sometimes under the impression that sister missionaries can handle as much food as the elders...that is false. Either way, we did a lot of eating. The best part about Thanksgiving is hearing people say what they are thankful for. I JUST got to a new area, so I didn't know anyone we were eating with, but I loved hearing their testimonies. Everyone we spoke to said how grateful they are for their Savior Jesus Christ, for the gospel, for the scriptures, for their families, etc. It makes me so happy to hear that when people really think about the things they are thankful for it always comes back to the most important things. 

If there were ever any doubt let it be known now that I am immensely grateful for the blessing of the gospel in my life. I am grateful to parents who raised me to appreciate the principles of faith and repentance. I am grateful for the scriptures, for the answers to prayer that I receive as I read from them daily. I am grateful for family and friends that encourage me to be my best self. My life is rich with blessings and I could not be happier. I know that God lives, that He loves me, and that I can do all things when I trust Him.

Then we did hurricane clean up. Hurricane Sandy did quite the number on this state. It is so sad to see how much devastation people are having to deal with. I wish there were more I could do to help them than just rip out their floors and tear down insulation, but I'm not actually allowed to share the gospel while we're serving, so I spend a lot of time singing or whistling hymns and hugging crying women. It's the best I can do. 

We also had a missionary Christmas fireside yesterday. I love that it is time to prepare for Christmas. I love that people's thoughts are drawn toward Christ at this time of year. I wish it would last. As missionaries we sang Christmas hymns, shared scriptures, and our mission president and his wife shared their testimonies. To close we sang "This is the Christ." I love singing my testimony. While we were there Sister Roper (my new companion) and I met a recent convert who wants to serve a mission. She told us all about her experience with the missionaries and how much happiness she has experienced since joining the church. If you want others around you to be happy, share the gospel with them. It changes lives! Be thou an example of the believers. Do those things Christ would do. Be kind. Be patient. Seek knowledge and encourage and uplift others. It will bring you greater peace and joy that you can handle...but that's okay because God always makes more room for joy in our hearts. 

I love you all and I hope you have a wonderful week. 

All my love,

And Jari's new address is:

200 Flemington Arms
Apt # C2
Flemington, NJ 08822

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mission Log: 19 Nov 2012

1st NY and Jersey City at Night
Marisol, one of the young women that always comes out with us, and her mom who always makes me delicious mexican food
But for real, my city rocks. 
My favorite little family. Felipe, Maryella, and Montserrat
My miracle family. Giovanni (Son) Misael (father) Hno. Veliz and Hna Veliz (the members that introduced us to them) me, Amelia (mom) Isela (daughter) Bryan (littlest brother) LOVE THEM! 
my city 
Missionary life is crazy. I was told this before I became a missionary. I've already experienced it, but still so stinking crazy. Monday our car decided to be a punk and breakdown...and some how we ended up at the mall while it was getting fixed. I've decided that the mall is the meeting place of all things ridiculous. What are people even wearing since May? These clothes are ridiculous! Everyone looks like the early 90's threw up all over them. Keep it classy people, c'mon.

Then the rest of the week was just a crazy run here, run there,do this, kind of week. We found 9 new people who want to learn more about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Don't you love that. I love meeting people who really have a desire to change their lives and be more like Jesus Christ. We should all be more like Christ. We should all apply the principles of faith and repentance and become more kind and loving towards others. Sounds like a good idea to me. 

So we're trucking through this week. Then on Thursday we get a call to let both me and Hermana Herrera know that we'll be trainers for the next transfer. Hermana Herrera will be training a brand new missionary, and I'm going to a new area to finish training another missionary. WHAT THE CRAZY. So, we had to go to a special meeting on Friday and my brain is going everywhere because I have to leave my Jersey City that I love with all my heart. Sad. It's ridiculous how quickly I've come to love all the people here. I don't even really know what to do with all the love stuffed inside me. Now I'm getting taken away from all of it and I have to go love more and be more and do more in a different area. It will be interesting and wonderful, I'm sure. But AHHH my achy breaky heart (yes, I achy breaky, you caught that reference right). 

So while we're driving home from our meeting we get a call from our investigator to let us know that she will be getting baptized on Sunday. AWESOME! So we start making all the plans for that. But because all the missionaries spend our entire weekend doing hurricane clean up we had to track down different Elders (male missionaries) from different areas to help us get everything ready. The Elders who oversee us were getting all the wrong text messages. Lets just say it was stressful, and I threatened to throw our cell phone out the car window a couple of times, but somehow between Friday afternoon and Sunday night we managed to do 4 hours of hurricane clean up, had a baptism, taught a couple lessons, got me packed and ready to move out tomorrow, and we still fit in some eating and sleeping. Miracle week I tell you!

I don't have time to proof read anything I write ever, and my mind is going a thousand miles a minute at the moment so I hope all of this makes sense. If not I just hope that everyone who reads this knows that I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. I know that God hears and answers prayers. I know that when we have faith and keep the commandments that we can see miracles. I decided to pay special attention to all the miracles in my life this week and I decided that my whole life is one giant miracle. Even my trials, even those moments that I'm almost certain will kill me, are miracles that help me become the woman I was always destined to be. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart. Motto for life. 

Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving! 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mission Log: 13 November 2012

Jersey Shore

Well, things are back to normal, or at least as normal as they’re going to be for the next who knows how long. Hurricane Sandy really did a number on this state. We will be working every Saturday for the next month at least to clean up the damage. This Saturday we were sent to Union Beach. What a tragic sight. The shoreline has been mostly washed away. Houses are completely destroyed by salt water damage, and sewage damage in some cases. People were throwing out every earthly belonging they’ve ever owned, down to the family pictures.

We helped throw out freezers full of rotting meat. We threw out filing cabinets, we destroyed desks with sledge hammers, we took out insulation, we mourned with those that mourned and comforted those that stood in need of comfort (but, for real!), and we sang hymns. It was one of the most heart wrenching yet incredible experiences of my life. And I get to replay it over and over for the next few weeks. There was one house we were working on that belongs to an older widowed woman named Stella. The boys were carrying out all of her furniture while the women wrapped up the few things she was trying to salvage. She told us about how she had won the yard beautification contest for her neighborhood just a few weeks earlier, and now everything was in shambles. There were a lot of us working there and we got the work done pretty quickly. Eventually she stopped us partly because there was no more we could do and partly, I think, because she was exhausted with the wreckage that had become her home. Before we left we sang "Called to Serve" and she broke into sobs on a kind stranger's shoulder. Her son also did the best he could to hold back his emotions. It just breaks my heart to see these people in so much pain, but then I see the ways that it turns them to God. These disasters are difficult and challenging and just no fun, but they bring people together. It's beautiful to see complete strangers offering support and love. It's beautiful to see people working together to deliver food, to clean up, to lend a hand in anyway they can. 

In my ward the members have been growing closer together by the necessity to care for each other. It's sad that we require such drastic measures to turn our thoughts toward God and our fellowman, but the results are glorious all the same. 

On a lighter note, lots of service all day long must have meant for some bored missionaries. While we were driving home we passed another car full of missionaries returning to their area. They ended up throwing bananas at our car for the next 10 miles. I don't know where they got all the bananas or why they thought it was a good idea to throw them at our car, but it made me laugh...and it also terrified me a little bit. 

We met an incredible man this week. He told us that he has been looking for truth and praying for an answer from God. We read the Book of Mormon with him and taught him how to recognize the Holy Ghost. I love meeting people with pure hearts. I just love them. 

I hope all is well at home. 

All my love, 


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

November 07,2012

moving the couch
friends much?

So much crazy!! 

So p-day has been ridiculous for the past two weeks, sorry that you're getting your weekly e-mail on wednesday. Things should be more normal next week. 

Soooo, we're back in Jersey City. FINALLY! We got back yesterday. I literally thought I would die if I had to spend one more second away from my area. For real. Phone lines were bad, and power only came back yesterday, so we haven't even been in contact with our members or our investigators. My little missionary heart was ready to explode. But we're back, and we have a full schedule and we're making sure that everyone is okay. Which brings peace to my heart. 

Now there's a huge snow storm coming in...awesome. It just started snowing right now actually. I decided that natural disasters are much more fun in Florida where it's not FREEZING! 

Anyway, when we were stuck in Morristown last week we got to do lots of service! I even sawed down a tree. Oh my gosh Jersey has so many trees. SO MANY TREES! And the hurricane totally derooted them. It was madness. Gigantic trees, with HUGE roots.

First, remember how I got evaccuated? Yeah. I only had 15 minutes to pack...totally forgot service shoes, or pants, or anything. So I had to do service in purple fuzzy socks and size 9 proselyting shoes that I found at the mission home. 

Also, a million leaves fell down, so before we could even find the logs and fallen branches, we had to rake...and rake...and I jumped in a pile of leaves, of course!

Things are sort of back to normal...but not really. We're going to be cleaning up the shore line and some places that got flooded for at least a month, maybe two. Basically, parts of New Jersey are completely underwater/destoryed

party, right?

Oh...and when we got back to Jersey City we realized that we had left hamburger and chicken in the freezer...then we lost power and it all melted and rotted. It smells like something died in our apartment...it made me throw up. Real effective atmosphere for studying the scriptures :)  Then the mom of one of our members said that coffee grounds absorb fridge smells...so we cleaned the fridge all out and she gave us fresh coffee to help the nasty fridge...She said "now aren't you glad I don't do that diet thing of yours so that I can give you coffee?" now our apartment smells like starbucks. Awkward. 

I just feel so weird. I'm ready to go back and teach. I was locked inside for too many days and sitting in the library to write this e-mail is more than my brain can handle right now. 

I miss yall a lot. I hope yall are safe. I hope that you're WARM! 

Like I said, things should be normal again by monday. So normal e-mail, normal letters, normal everything...maybe. Unless the winds from the blizzard knock down all the trees that made it through the hurricane...to be determined. Keep an eye on the news :)

Okay. I'm done now.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Mission log: 02 November 2012 (Hurricane Sandy Addition)

So...there was a hurricane. I wasn't really too worried about it because,  let's be real, I'm no stranger to hurricanes. But my companion was a little scared so we were smart and did the whole buy food and prepare the apartment thing...no mattresses in the closet though. Anyway,  Sunday night we got a call from our zone leaders so that we could report our emergency plan and while talking to them I realized that we live SO close to water. We ended up being evacuated. Party, right? So we were given 15 minutes to pack up everything we would need and get out of Jersey City. So we've been in Morristown for the past few days with the sisters who work there and also the New Brunswick sisters (hna Lowry) who also got evacuated. 

We weren't allowed out of the house for a couple days, and we're not allowed to go back to our area until the gas shortage let's up. So...now we're working in Morristown. We've mostly been rocking the yellow Mormon helping hands shirts while we clear trees out of yards and other hurricane clean up. Today we'll get back to normal teaching and we should be back to our area sometime soon. 

It's been interesting having 6 sisters  crammed into one tiny apartment. I've learned a lot about diligence and about accepting God's will. I'm grateful for the relationships I'm establishing on my mission. 

All I have to say is that Mother Nature is angry. She's waiting for the coming of her Lord.  

In other news, Brenna Kate, happy birthday!!! I sat up in my bed this morning and said "happy birthday Bren, I love you!!" I'm sorry I haven't been able to send your birthday card yet, blame Hurricane Sandy, but know that I love you and am thinking of you. Happiest birthday, love!

Hope all is well where you are. 

All my love,


So, I have a little more e-mail time than I anticipated so I thought i'd tell you some stories about the hurricane.

So the first night we had to steal mattresses from the elders apartment (they had all been moved to the mission home) so picture it. 6 sister missionaries, the night before a hurricane, hauling 3 mattresses through the muggy humid air at 10 at night. Such a sight. People kept stopping us and asking what we were doing to prepare for the storm. 

Then we were told to buy food because we were going to be trapped inside for 2 days....so we bought frozen pizzas, cheese, milk, and other perishable foods...bad idea. They all went bad as the power went out, good thinking on our part. 

On the first day of clean up we met the most incredible family. It was a young grandma and grandpa and their 30-something son with his 2 children. We found out that the 30 year old man had lost his wife 2 years ago and that the storm had completely destroyed everything he owns. It was so sad. But we helped the grandparents who had trees fallen on every side of their house and we got the 2 kids involved. The kids were so happy at the end of it, and a the grandpa told us we were a blessing in disguise. I told him that we aren't in disguise at all. We're wearing bright yellow shirts and a the name of Christ on our hearts. He agreed with me and we were able to give him a pass along card. I just want everyone to experience the peace and joy of the gospel.