To anyone who is interested. I was asked to speak in church this past Sunday about Ammah's mission and I thought... if nothing else it will be part of her blog so she has it forever. For those of you that are not members of the LDS church. We do not have a Pastor or Bishop or Priest that gives a sermon from the pulpit every week. That happens occasionally, Instead the members are invited to speak on different gospel principles ie..prayer, tithing, scripture reading, genealogy, Christs life, Service...etc....you get the picture. So this is my talk, I printed it out but tried to use it just as notes as much as I could.
Most of you know who I and my family are, for those of you who are new. My husband David Jones and I have been married for 23 years and we have 3 lovely daughters, our oldest daughter Ammah is serving a mission in Quezon City Philippines which is basically Manilla the Capitol of the Philippines.
Her mission has consisted of jungle,
outer city and inner city.
My talk assignment today is” how I think my missionary has been changed for the good while serving and…how we as a family have been blessed by her serving her mission.
Before Ammah left on her mission, Her life consisted of
the singles ward, and activities with them
her job at the Hospital,
reading the newest Hunger games or Harry Potter book
playing her guitar and learning new songs for her band,
shopping for a new outfit,
trying out a new hair style,
what boy she was going out with or trying to get rid of
going to movies and events
and sleep since she worked nights.
In comparison….Now her life is about everyone else but herself.
here are just a few things that I have loved hearing from her. And I think I might need to frame them.
1. Apparently….My husband and I are NOW the best parents there EVER was and she appreciates and loves us so much more than she ever knew she did before she left.
2. She cherishes our advice….What?? Yup…she wrote that in a letter home while asking for our advice about what to do when she gets home in July.
3. All the pictures she has sent home show a Sparkling apartment with beds made, not a stitch of clothing on the floor and the desks are always neatly organized. I even asked several of her companions if Ammah is messy? Apperantly she is very organized. Yeah…that’s a change. I can’t wait to see that change in person and I hope that one sticks for life.
On a more serious note: I have realized that her life really has done a 180 degree turn because her life is all about serving others with no thought to herself.
Gone is the trendy hairstyle…which has been replaced by a sweaty pony tail.
Her hot shower has been downgraded to a bucket and a ladle,
Her novels have been replaced by her scriptures and Preach My Gospel manuals
Her movie night consists of lds.org Bible videos during her emailing time each week, or church movies when there is allotted time.
Her comfy bed has been replaced by a bug net covered bunk bed with only a sheet for a cover
And, her fun high heels have been replaced by rubber clogs that clean up easily with a little hose water.
But those are all physical or monetary things that have changed for her.
From the beginning I could see an instant love for the Filipino people growing.
When the Typhoon hit the Philippines in November last year,she wrote about her deep sadness for all the loss of life and stated “these are MY people, and I love them with all my heart”.
All she cares about now is her investigators, the less actives, how she can get them to church, the sister missionaries she is over as a Sister Trainer Leader, her next work shop she has to plan for, the children in her ward and helping them stay strong in the church and prepare to serve missions themselves. She even gave several young boys piggy banks to start saving for their missions and adds pesos to their banks whenever she visits them.
She prays for miracles to happen for new members and investigators and is elated when she sees that a miracle has happened.
While she was sick with Dengue fever last month she wrote/ Quote”
”I’m so upset:( we had 4 companionships to do splits with this week and another workshop to give. I didn't sleep at all last night because my body just hurts and I was uncomfortable and cried half the night cause I was sooo sick of having a fever and I was really looking forward to working with the sisters this week.”
It’s as if her illness was just a total nuisance that was getting in the way of her service.
She has learned how to work. Now, I should tell you that she was working a 40 hour work week for 2 years before she left on her mission and was going to school part time so she knows how to be busy and work hard but working in the mission is a whole different kind of work. It’s Sun up to Sun Down and all she thinks about even in her sleep which she wrote home about several months into her mission. Quote:“Funny story, I have been having a hard time sleeping since I've been in the mission field I wake myself up at night sleep talking ha-ha I will wake up sitting up in my bed teaching a lesson, or being in a district meeting ha-ha Sister Sabiano tells me what I say because I wake her up with my talking too, I did this a little before the mission but now that I'm in the mission it is a lot worse. I think its worse because I go to bed so exhausted every night. Hopefully it doesn't keep going on cause it's embarrassing!”
She feels immense responsibility to find people to share the gospel with and hurts when things don’t progress. She has had to learn a lot about moving on and leaving an investigator alone for a while. She wrote in a letter…”Quote”
“Some of the investigators we have had… we have had to drop because they aren't progressing...it's so so sad when we have to decide to drop someone. We don't completely say goodbye to them though we just "put them on a shelf" so to say. Maybe it's just not their time right now and that's okay. I pray that someday they will think about the things we have taught them and maybe some missionaries in the future will find them again when they are prepared. For right now we have to use the lords time wisely and find those who have been prepared to hear the gospel right now. One of these is a 14 year old boy Erwin whom I have taught since my 2nd week in this area. I have so much love for that kid and a week ago we had to say goodbye. We still visit and say hi to him, but my eyes watered as we left that house...I pray for him every night. hmm.. but that's the life of a missionary though. You find those prepared and than the ones that are not so prepared and you love them all.”
That is my favorite sentences she has written home. It is such a humble jumble of words.
Something else I have noticed in her is how humble she has become. She recently took part in the teaching and baptism of a 92 year old woman.
She had been taking discussions for 40 years from other missionaries.
3 children out of 4 of her own children had converted many years ago
At the baptism the women's family kept thanking Ammah and her companion for finally teaching their mother in a way that helped her accept the gospel and be baptized. They kept patting their cheeks and hugging them but Ammah wrote home that it really had nothing to do with her and her companion. It was all the seeds sown by previous missionaries over a 40 year period of time and living with her different member children's homes and their good examples of being happy in the gospel that compelled her to finally take the step towards baptism.
It has been such a blessing in our lives to have Ammah serving the Lord for this past year. We have grown closer as a family and have become more involved in the missionary work ourselves. My two daughters have invited several non member friends to join them for activities, YW’s, church, seminary, invited them to baptisms and to the Gilbert Temple open house. We have even had the most amazing experience with Amelia’s friend Jade who was baptized 4 months ago and now she is the president of her beehive class in young women's in her very own ward. Even a few nights ago we had a long discussion where we answered questions about the Temple and our beliefs with a friend of Andelyns at our Kitchen table over bowls of ice cream.
I’m not sure but I feel as though our family has caught the missionary spirit since Ammah has been gone and we have all really enjoyed inviting people to partake of the gospel.
I have noticed
Her letters seem to draw us closer as a family and with each of our own relationships with Ammah, The girls write her with question and want advice and can’t wait for Ammah to receive their letters and they are impatient for her to send letters back to them.
She has even counseled me a few times when I have had issues or problems. Wow have the tides turned.
We also have enjoyed working Ammah’s mission into different conversations, It is a wonderful way to head a conversation with a new acquaintance in a gospel oriented direction.
The same thing has happened with her blog. Sisterammahjones.blogspot.com
We have found that many people not in our family and not members of the church are addicted to her letters home, and even remind me that I’m late posting her latest letters home to her blog.
Her serving a mission helps us to want to be better people. To try harder in our lives to live the gospel principles. If our daughter can give 18 months solely to the Lord…what can we be doing at home. Sadly…I think our efforts pale in comparison but we do keep trying and that is all God expects of us. To never give up, I have read several times in Ammah’s letters that “this is going to be the hardest 18 months of my life but I can do it and I can do it with a smile in my heart.
I am grateful I have been asked to share these things with you all today and I hope you have felt the spirit in these words.