Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Week In the Life of the Jones

Apologies at the beginning.  I'm 3 days late posting this (these blogs are a LOT of work!  So please note that all references are to LAST week.....

I suppose it would be nice of us to share what a typical week for the Jones looks like - as much to show you that it's not ALL sun and sand here and to share the fact that even though it is not the 'typical' proselyting mission, we still find our ways to share the Light of Christ.  I tried to throw in a bunch of pics so that it doesn't become too ... dull?


Let's use this last week as an example:

Last Sunday was General Conference.  For those not of our faith, General Conference happens twice a year.  It is broadcast from Salt Lake and is two days longs; two 2-hour sessions on Saturday and two 2-hour sessions on Sunday.  It is an opportunity for us to hear inspiring talks and instruction from our church leaders.  I love General Conference.  I love our leaders.  They are such find men and women - wonderful examples of wisdom and service.
Watching conference (old pic, but still our dear Prophet)
Normally Elder Jones is up on Sunday by 5:30 a.m. heading to a Stake meeting of some sort or another (Stakes are regional divisions - we attend wards as a congregation - - those wards are grouped into Stakes for further organization.)  On a normal Sunday he comes back around 10 - tries to grab one more hour of sleep and then it's off to Sacrament.  This Sunday he got to sleep in until 6:00 a.m., when the first session of General Conference was broadcast here in Hawaii.  We sleepily toddled downstairs and watched it with the Kalama family. Following the first session we had a breakfast fit for royalty.  That Keni Kalama should open a restaurant.  Anything he cooks is amazing.  We are very grateful to have been invited.  We love this family.

Keni's mom and dad showed up too.  Danny and Robyn Kalama are our age and we consider them good friends.  It's always a delight to spend time with them.

We got a few other things done around the apartment for an hour and then it was off to church to watch the other 2 hours of conference which they show via satellite and Internet around the world.

After that we met with all of the other missionaries in the area for a potluck (oh, the food we eat.....I'm seriously considering getting back on the diet soon.....) and then back home to write e-mails and prepare for the week.  Sometimes there is a fireside at the temple visitor's center (either a talk or musical presentation).  Love that.  There is also the genealogy library.  On top of that, I've been working with my Bam (Amber - one of my favorite on her family's genealogy.

All the senior missionaries serving in Laie.  Elder Jones is the nonconformist on the right

Monday morning I'm out of bed at 5:30 am to get my exercise in before work.  I go to the the gym 2 times in a week, the pool 2 other times and walking the big hill behind the temple one day a week. While exercising (except for the pool), I'm plugged into my phone listening to scriptures and gospel manuals trying to soak up as much information and inspiration as possible. Ron gets to work at 7:00 a.m. and I'm at my assignment shortly thereafter.

The BYU-H pool.  Same size as the SARC facility pool in Sequim, only 'buggier" :-p
....and the gym - only 'rustier"
Elder Jones has been assigned to put together a maintenance management system.  It basically tracks the equipment, plan it's maintenance schedule and who performs it and how often. Its bringing in a more proactive approach than just waiting for something to breakdown.  He had to start from square one, but its really coming along now.  He will soon move to an energy management focus.  I think he likes his assignment well enough, though would rather just be a guy with a wrench in his hand.

I've already shared that I am working with the on-line marketing department.  In order for the Polynesian Cultural Center to be able to help the students to their fullest, they need to be self-sustaining.  We have some really unique, beautiful, fun items for sale in the PCC shops (i.e., where else could you possibly find a selection of shark toothed edged weapons as were used in bygone times....hmmmmm?)

My latest 'creation' on
I'm not a trained photographer, but I'm basically learning and loving that.  I place merchandise on the web.  I work with the on-line team to plan and institute new ideas.  I support anyone who needs it. It's all so hands-on and creative and the people I work with are such incredibly fine people.  I can really see Heavenly Father's hand in this assignment.  It's so wonderful to know you are exactly where you need to be doing exactly what you were meant to do.

Every weekday we spend lunch exploring the PCC.  Here are some pics:

Lunch outside of Hawaii

Sitting in Fiji, looking at the fishing hut by Tahiti

Poi Balls is a common game both girls and
boys play in Aeoteroa (New Zealand)

Presentation to 'welcome the guests'
Fiji on a very, VERY wet day

Monday nights we have Family Home Evening with all the other missionaries which consists of someone - usually a guest to the island or local leader - presenting a fine gospel centered talk.

Ended up being a full house at the latest
Missionary Family Home Evening meeting
Elder Pollock - Our Senior Missionary Coordinator
He's really amazing - and he and his wife are
going home in January.  I just don't know what
we'll do without him
Besides daytime assignments, we take tickets at one of the luaus or dining facilities in the evenings twice a week (more or less - this week more).  That goes from 4:30 - about 6:30.  Then we get to eat dinner there.  The food is fantastic - though I must admit, the same cuisine so often is going to wear thin really soon.  But it sure saves on the grocery bill.

A beautiful Hawaiian dance from my vantage point
Time to uncover the baked piggy!
Once a week we spend an evening in the temple.  This temple is particularly beautiful.  It was built in 1915 and was completely renovated just a few years ago.  It's such a wonderful place to be and helps me to feel God's love and influence in such a powerful way.

Yes, it is that beautiful everyday.  And we live 1/2 a block from it.
Once a week we try to have someone over for dinner.  Maybe another missionary or two - but mostly young adults.  It's not easy to be a student here, especially if you are far away from home.  We love the opportunity to get to know them and their culture.

I try very hard to get Elder Jones into the water at least twice a week.  If I don't he starts getting melancholy and grouchy.  Wednesdays and Saturday were our snorkel days last week. We explore various beaches trying to find the perfect combination of snorkeling opportunities and a place for me to swim without bumping up against coral.  Still looking for just that right spot, but the exploring has been fun in and of itself.  Things are going to get switched up here now, because Elder Jones just bought a used surfboard.  Oh joy for me.

My surfer dude
At least once a month there is a special Saturday morning event.  Next Saturday it is the Fijiian Devotional at the Fiji complex in the PCC (that is, if Tropical Storm Ana doesn't put a stop to it.) A Polynesian themed devotional consists of regional food, talks, and a cultural showcase. Always love those.

There is a campus-wide devotional once a week also, and many times there are health or information fairs, concerts and presentations that we senior missionaries try to support.

Shopping on any scale higher than the local farmers market is usually done in the big city - which is an hour away.  I'm trying to get us down to going once every other week.  I have so many other things I'd rather do than spend my day in Walmart and Costco, believe me.

Well, lets see - church, work, taking tickets at luaus, meetings, special events, photoshoots, exercise, getting Ron in the ocean, temple, eating, eating and more eating.  Yep.  That's our week.  Most mornings it just feels like the eyes open, the starter's pistol sounds andddddd, we're OFF.

Speaking of which, it' time to run.   Much love to you all - and hoping to hear from you soon.  Let us know how you are doing, the latest news from your corner of the world - and if you have any questions for us, we'd be happy to answer them!  Thanks for reading!


Missionary Thought

Here is an excerpt from my favorite talk (Elder Lynn G. Robbins) from General Conference (they all were good, but this really struck me):

Courage is not just one of the cardinal virtues, but as C. S. Lewis observed: “Courage is … the form of every virtue at the testing point. … Pilate was merciful till it became risky.”1 King Herod was sorrowful at the request to behead John the Baptist but wanted to please “them which sat with him at meat” (Matthew 14:9). King Noah was ready to free Abinadi until peer pressure from his wicked priests caused him to waver (see Mosiah 17:11–12). King Saul disobeyed the word of the Lord by keeping the spoils of war because he “feared the people, and obeyed their voice” (1 Samuel 15:24). To appease rebellious Israel at the foot of Mount Sinai, Aaron crafted a golden calf, forgetting which way he faced (see Exodus 32). Many of the New Testament chief rulers “believed on [the Lord]; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:42–43). The scriptures are full of such examples.
Now listen to some inspiring examples:
  •  First, Mormon: “Behold, I speak with boldness, having authority from God; and I fear not what man can do; for perfect love casteth out all fear” (Moroni 8:16; emphasis added).
  •  Nephi: “Wherefore, the things which are pleasing unto the world I do not write, but the things which are pleasing unto God and unto those who are not of the world” (1 Nephi 6:5).
  •  Captain Moroni: “Behold, I am Moroni, your chief captain. I seek not for power, but to pull it down. I seek not for honor of the world, but for the glory of my God, and the freedom and welfare of my country” (Alma 60:36).

  • The scornful often accuse prophets of not living in the 21st century or of being bigoted. They attempt to persuade or even pressure the Church into lowering God’s standards to the level of their own inappropriate behavior, which in the words of Elder Neal A. Maxwell, will “develop self-contentment instead of seeking self-improvement”3 and repentance. Lowering the Lord’s standards to the level of a society’s inappropriate behavior is—apostasy. Many of the churches among the Nephites two centuries after the Savior’s visit to them began to “dumb down” the doctrine, borrowing a phrase from Elder Holland.

  • The Savior, our great Exemplar, always faced His Father. He loved and served His fellowmen but said, “I receive not honour from men” (John 5:41). He wanted those He taught to follow Him, but He did not court their favor. When He performed an act of charity, such as healing the sick, the gift often came with the request to “tell no man” (Matthew 8:4Mark 7:36Luke 5:148:56). In part, this was to avoid the very fame which followed Him in spite of His efforts to eschew it (see Matthew 4:24). He condemned the Pharisees for doing good works only to be seen of men (see Matthew 6:5).

  • The Savior, the only perfect being who ever lived, was the most fearless. In His life, He was confronted by scores of accusers but never yielded to their finger of scorn. He is the only person who never once forgot which way He faced: “I do always those things that please [the Father]” (John 8:29; emphasis added), and “I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me” (John 5:30).

  • Link to the full talk:
and another really excellent talk - by our Prophet, Thomas S. Monson:

I hope these great words bring you as much inspiration as they did me. We love our mission.  It's not always ideal.  We're human, afterall.  All this togetherness is quite the adjustment for two independent souls like ours....and we're still getting used to the fact that we purposefully made ourselves 'homeless' and wonder every few days what will become of us in a couple of years.  But we wouldn't be anywhere else.  We love the Lord, we love the students we serve.... and we love each other - 100% of the time!


  1. Hi Nina!
    No kidding, Elder Robbins' talk was my absolute favorite also! As I was watching it with Jim & Diane Louthan, I commented to them, "wow, this talk is amazing! It will quickly become a classic! " it truly spoke to my soul and I realized that he was articulating exactly how I feel and strive to be: a woman of God making all of my choices from the vantage point of the Lord. You cannot worry about feelings getting hurt, even your own. You have to knuckle down and be 100% true to God, even when you feel scorn and ridicule from every side. Your feelings of tender validation from the Lord will far outweigh any satisfaction you may gain from human approval. Thanks for referencing this talk, Nina. A great way to start my day! I love you guys, Debbie G.

  2. Hi Nina,
    Thank you so much for taking time out of your crazy busy schedule to share with us. You two are amazing and so inspirational. I do have one question however. Just curious. How many hours do you spend at your actual jobs? With all that you do there does not seem enough hours in the day- its sounds exciting yet exhausting!!
    Diane Louthan

    1. Welll Diane...we're asked to give 6 hours/weekday, but we both have so much that needs to be done, so we spend more like 7-8. But we're kinda wired that we don't mind at all. Most of the missionaries feel the same.

    2. I think it is also important to let you know that there are many senior missionaries of advanced years. Although they may not put in the hours that some of us do, they put in all they have. We admire them very much

  3. Thanks Nina for the Overview of your "typical week". Wow, it sounds really full and fun. How blessed you are to know you are where you are do be, doing what you love to do. :-) We have beautiful fall here. Colors galore. Last weekend was our 13th annual "pumpkin party" with grand-kids. We can't believe how they have grown up in that time. And us, well we are growing older I guess too. I look forward to your posts. Aloha!