Thursday, December 31, 2015

Christmas Miracle!

Homemade Christmas Tree and presents

     This week has been amazing!  On Monday, we had the opportunity to have a dinner with some of our investigators and it was so great to show them that we are regular people too!  Christmas Eve was fantastic as well!  Even though we were red dotted for a while (this means the weather was considered too severe to go out in it) and then we didn't have much success with the snow and everyone inside.  It got to the point where we had an hour before dinner and we decided to pray to find a new investigator and we found one!  It was so awesome to see our prayer answered!  

   Christmas was so amazing!  We had a wonderful breakfast with some members and got to Skype our families which was so amazing!  It was great to hear from them and see them again!  My family had somehow received a package containing some of the contents of the stolen package with no idea how it got there.  What a miracle!

   Saturday we committed a lot of our investigators to come to church and one family came, which was so amazing! We have had more success this week talking and sharing messages with people on the street which has been great.  Elder Franco has been saying less and relying on me to say more, which is getting me out of my comfort zone and that has been really helpful in helping me grow!  Another fantastic week in the mission!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Robberies and growth

This was the first thing we saw/heard from Elder Jarnagin this week- it was a sad way to start!
   This week was rather interesting.  We had a slow week, until the Christmas party on Saturday for the branch where we had our investigator, Manuel, show up, which was so awesome!  We got back to our apartment that night and some of our neighbors informed us that I had been robbed.  Apparently, there was a package on the doorstep and during the time we were gone to the Christmas party three boys came, opened it, and took everything inside.  The neighbors filed a police report and since then it has been an interesting growing experience.  Earlier in the week I felt myself just going through the motions, so I prayed for a trial to grow more.  Heavenly Father answered my prayer.  I recognized that and through that I am trying to use this experience to grow to be more Christ-like.  It is hard to have charity for those that do things, like steal my stuff, after my family put time and effort into finding the gifts, but I have found that through humble prayer and asking the Lord to support me, it is possible.  I also found that just getting out there and working hard was the easiest way to bring back that joy to my heart.  It was so cool to experience that! 
Out working hard with Elder Franco.
Dinner with familia Vivas

Dinner with familia Perez
   Another blessing/miracle we saw was one of our dropped investigators called us, because he wanted to talk with us!  We asked how he was doing and re-committed him to a baptism on January 2nd.  What a miracle!  We are going to try our hardest to help him fulfill this goal! 

  Today as we were leaving to go shopping, I felt impressed to look up the hill where the kids had run off with my gifts and I found one they dropped!  What a miracle!  This week sure has been interesting but I am so grateful for this opportunity to come closer to my Savior!

The found gift...
We sent him a fleece blanket with pictures from this past year printed on it.

Their shoes after finding the stolen gift on the hill.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Slowly but Surely

   This week was slow when it came to missionary work.  A lot of lessons cancelled and we spent a lot of time looking for people that had been referred to us because they were Spanish speaking.  We helped a less active church member move out of her boyfriends house who is an investigator who dropped us.  I felt bad because she owned most of the stuff in the house and the house was close to empty when we were done.  
   We had exchanges again and I went down to south meadows again, this time with Elder Day, Elder Shearers companion.  He is really good and natural at street contacts, so I learned a lot.  We had a great lesson with Juanita and Victor yesterday with our new Ward Mission Leader, Hermano Larios.  It was great because he was able to share his conversion story and his testimony of blessings and we were able to give their two year old daughter a blessing.  Their daughter has a heart defect and I anointed, in Spanish.  It was scary, but the Spirit guided me and it turned out alright.  I am so thankful for having willing members to come to lessons with us and for the guidance of the Spirit in all that we do in the field.
  A note from Mom-  In my email, I asked what happened with the blue gems and stones they found last week.  He said that they took them over to the home of some church members who live close in the area and called the police.  As far as he knew today, the police have not gotten back to them yet.
  Some of you asked if Elder Jarnagin or Elder Franco was driving when they got the speeding ticket last week.  With a sigh of relief, I can report that it was not Elder Jarnagin.  


Sunday, December 13, 2015

A Week of Unfortunate Events

   So this week has been very eventful, even though it has been two days less than the others.  Elder Franco got turf toe on Thursday and we had to go to the hospital to get it checked out.  (I had never heard of such a thing before, so I looked it up and got more info here.)   We had Exchanges on Friday and Saturday.  I was with our District Leader, Elder Shearer, from Massachusetts, and we were speaking English.  It was cool to try to teach in English and it was just slightly easier in Spanish.  There are not many people willing to hear the message in that area so a lot of the time was spent walking, looking for people.  We were walking by a river and looked down and saw blue stones.  We got them out and found they were polished gems and that there were many more in the river.  We spent some time digging them all out and some looked like they were stolen and others looked like they were taken from necklaces.  Some had price tags of up to 100 dollars per stone.  (I wish I knew what happened once they got the stones out.)
   We had stake conference on Sunday and President Chesnut spoke.  Our one progressing investigator dropped us, but later that day we had an awesome lesson with a family named Juanita and Victor.  We taught about the importance of the Book of Mormon and it was such a great experience!  The spirit was so strong and Juanita was crying from the Spirit. 
   We got pulled over today and got a huge ticket so that will be interesting. 
   I am thankful for the Spirit and how it can change peoples lives! 

   During this Christmas Season, we are especially thankful for Brayden and his willingness to sacrifice two years of his life to help share the love and light of Jesus Christ.  We especially love this video that helps us reflect on these truths.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Burnt Potatoes Smell Like Cigarettes

So until about two days ago it had been a regular week of awesome times serving the Lord.  Elder Franco and I forgot that p day is today (Wednesday) and not Monday this week.  Monday we had a mission tour where Elder Snow, of the seventy, and the church historian came and talked about faith and working with members and that was great.  We got back into our apartment at around 9:30pm and it smelled burnt.  Apparently a pot of burning potatoes smells like cigarettes and our apartment reeked of it.  It got into our clothes and people have been asking if we have been smoking which has been super awkward.  I have been opening up to people on the street more and more and that has been awesome to feel the fear of random strangers gradually melt away.  I got my first haircut in the field today.  A miracle we saw this week was Elder Franco wanted to give a referral to the english speaking missionaries and soon after he expressed this desire, we found an english speaker interested in hearing the Gospel!  The weirdest thing was when street contacting, we asked if a man would be interested and he said, "Thanks, but I'm a Wiccan", Which is like a witch sort of thing and he pulled out a bunch of herbs around his neck.  I am thankful for the opportunity to talk with everyone we find!

A side note from Mom-
With Christmas quickly approaching, I know Elder Jarnagin and his companion, Elder Franco, would love to hear from you.  An email, a quick letter or even your family Christmas card, to let them know they are loved and supported in the good work they are doing.  Their direct address is- 7350 Silver Lake Rd, Apt 7G, Reno NV 89506.

And a few pictures I found at the mission website-
 Reno and Reno North Zone Conference-

Monday, November 23, 2015

Everyone in Nevada owns a Chihuahua

So almost every household in Nevada has a Chihuahua.  They will bark at us, bite us, stare at us, and always shiver at us.  This week was pretty full of them and full of the work.  This week we committed 5 people to baptism and we are working with them to achieve that.  That has been such a blessing.  We had Zone Conference with the mission president and we learned about how important it is to use the Book of Mormon with investigators.  You can find out more about the Book of Mormon here.  This week was rather normal, if that is a thing in the mission.  Many lessons, many people hiding and not answering, many miracles.  We did tracting in a lot of trailer parks, we got thrown out of one and almost got attacked in another.  The thing attacking us was a chihuahua that we lovingly named Fluffy. Fluffy makes every dog in the area bark/try to bite us and that is always fun.  
Clearly this dog owner loves it enough to put it in a hoodie!
Elder Jarnagin says this is a Demon Chihuahua....
The view from Elder Jarnagin's apartment window.
Elder Jarnagin and his first mission 'apartment' selfie.  Clearly, he needs a little selfie training ;)
A view of the kitchen in his apartment
I think I forgot to tell the conclusion of the toe saga last week.  It hurt a ton while traveling and my first day.  I had gotten a blessing of healing for it and the blessing said nothing about healing, but about working hard.  My first day in the field I worked as hard as possible and I was pretty sad that it hadn't healed.  I woke up in the morning and the toe had re-gown the nail overnight.  Such a huge miracle that I feel bad that I forgot to share!  
   I am loving serving out here and will be sure to share many experiences next week!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Up Hills and Down Hills


   The one word to describe this last week would have to be- Wow!  There have been so many let downs, but so many miracles this week as well.  To start off, I will talk about leaving the CCM.  Our last Sunday there, we said goodbye to the Hermanas in our district and the next day we had class so it was weird without them.  For our last night, we all decided to stay up until our flights,  except for Elder Davey who stayed an extra day in the CCM.  I said goodbye at around ten and then he went to bed.  Everyone in my district gradually went to take a nap until their flights and it was weird saying goodbye.  The weirdest part was leaving my casa.  Let me describe the scene... I am in a suit with all my possessions in the middle of an un-lit road with only the stars as light, companionless.  That was the weirdest part and I spent the next day completely companionless.  It was so strange. I got to reception to wait for the other person who was coming with me to the airport, but they never showed up.  One of the workers brought me to find them.  We weren't sure if they were male or female, so we couldn't enter their assigned house.  We decided to knock on the door and window, but we got no response. We decided to check the house, so we went in and found a house full of Hermanas.  That was super awkward.  Anyways I got to the airport, passed security, and went to look for my flight and realized I didn't have a gate assignment on my ticket.  I ran around the airport looking for help, with five minutes before boarding and with a destroyed toe.  My toe was a terribly painful experience, I had cut too deep in my toe and some of the skin under the toenail was super agitated. I had received a blessing for it, but it wasn't healing quite yet.  It was very painful to put pressure on it.  So In the airport now, ten minutes past boarding time, limping around, I finally find a lady who tells me the gate I am supposed to be at is on the other side of the airport, like a half-mile away (Mexico city airport is HUGE).  I speed limp over there, probably as fast as an old lady with a walker, and make it to my flight.  My flights were sleepful and sadly uneventful.  I get off the plane and immediately get a confirmation that this is Nevada.  The first thing I see is a slot machine.  The second is my mission president.  He is super cool.  We got to the mission office and had a lot of training there about every aspect of the mission, it was still weird not to have a companion. We finished at around 7p and went to meet our companions.  The meeting of our trainers was cool and each trainer meets their trainee in a different way. For example, my trainer was announced and a random Elder ran though the crowd and jumped into my arms yelling, "I'm your mission Dad!"  One of the things we do in the mission is have a mission lineage, so out here I have my mission dad, grandpa, great grandpa, and so on.  It turns out that I have`an aunt and grandma as well. Anyway, my mission Dad or trainer is Elder Franco. He is super cool and really good at Spanish.  We get a truck out here which is super cool.  My first area is Stead, which is just north of Reno. 
   Our first day was awesome, we had 7 lessons and so many miracles.  Thursday we had weekly planning and our weekly service with a catholic church giving out food to the less fortunate.   Friday we had training and we learned the parable of the bike from president Chestnut.  He told us in biking there are uphills and downhills and you have to work really hard just to get to the top with uphills and with downhills you just go down, taking a break and feeling the wind in your face.  The same is with life and missionary work.  There are going to be days that are unfruitful and hard to bear that will make you feel down and sad, but if you are giving it your all for the right reasons you will feel success.  We have felt this the last two days.  Saturday we had no success, shut down everywhere.  We asked for referrals at one house and she said no one wants to talk with us.  We came back that day exhausted and downtrodden. Sunday was the downhill.  We found so much success, miracles and blessings that day it was awesome. We committed everyone we taught to pray on what we had taught them and I think they will and they will gain a testimony because of it.  I am so grateful to be out here in Reno.  It is awesome out here and I know this is the mission for me.  I look forward to another week of service!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

He made it to Reno!

Tuesday, November 10th, Elder Jarnagin traveled from Mexico City to Reno NV.  We received a hand written letter that he made it safely, though it was weird for him to travel alone, without a companion.  The mission has a website- -where we found some great pictures from his arrival-
We are assuming this is his new companion and look forward to hearing more from him tomorrow, assuming Monday is his P-day (preparation day).

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Week 5 (Life changing changes)

This week has been awesome!  I have felt the blessings from last week pour upon me and I am so grateful for that! We taught out first real investigator Saturday and that was so cool!  He had a baptismal date set for this Saturday!  It was so cool to feel a love for him because he was working hard to come to the truth!  I have seen blessings come as I remember that its not important what I want, what's important is what Heavenly Father wants.  As I remembered this and remembered to be humble, I saw blessings in my companionship, my relationships, feeling the Spirit, the food tastes better, every aspect of life has been improved.  I feel that even though I haven't been out here long, I have been learning life lessons that will change me and stay with me forever.  I have learned that charity blesses others through your actions and the Lord blesses you for having that mindset of thinking of others. One thing that I have been doing since the start of my mission is asking myself one question.  The question is: If I were honorably sent home today would I be happy with the way I have improved?  This question has kept me working hard so that I may be the best I can be to help bring others into the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  This week was the first where I asked myself this question and the thought of returning home scared me.  It scared me because I felt I wasn't ready to be in the real world, where I wouldn't have the chance to be doing nothing but serving.  I think these feelings are good because it helps me strive to be the best I can and to make these two years life changing and the best two years of my life.  I think a similar thought process can be applied to life out in the world, a thought process of am I doing my best to do and be the best I can be? A thought process like this seems like it would bring about great changes in the life of the one who tries this.  I would challenge all who read this to ask themselves are they doing their best to serve the Lord? To do and be the best they can be? This thought process has worked for me to bring about life changing changes and I know it will work for you.  The closer I get to leaving the more excited I am to be out in the field!  I can not wait to be serving in a week from today!  I hope I will have powerful stories, spiritual stories and comical stories to share with you all when I get out there!  I know that this Gospel is true and that this work is necessary to bring others to Christ.  I love my Savior and all He has done for me and for every person on earth.  I love to serve and the blessings it brings. I am so excited to get out there and serve all of those wonderful people in Reno!

(Elder Jarnagin flies from the Mexico City MTC on Tuesday November 10th to Reno NV.  Once we hear of where he is assigned, we will post it here.)
Elders Davey and Jarnagin- Mexico City CCM companions

Elder Davey getting 'loco' on the CCM sign

Elder Jarnagin and the other Elders in his District

I think this is Elder Rodriguez(?) running faster than allowed... ;)

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Week 4 (A week of humbling)

   This week has brought new trials, ones that are not so much external, as internal.  This week has been a wonderful opportunity in my life to be humbled, quite a lot and in many ways.  The first was in my Spanish. I have always been decently sure of my Spanish skill- I knew there were many words that I didn't know, but other than that I thought I was coming along well.  This thought of mine was punctured during a district prayer, before bed.  I had been asked to say the prayer and someone told me to try to not say it like a gringo.  I had no idea what they were talking about, but they pointed out that my Spanish accent is super thick and sometimes hard to understand.  I was so self conscious during the prayer that because of the fear, it was hard to speak.  Afterwards they laughed at me because of my pronunciation.  This week I have prayed and prayed to understand how to improve and be more clear in my speech. Classes have been difficult because they will usually laugh if I say anything out of the ordinary. Looking back I am so grateful for this.  Because of the ridicule I received, I felt weak and pathetic.  Because of those feelings, I had to turn to our Father in Heaven.  Because I had to turn to Heavenly Father and had sincere desire, I was blessed.  Through turning to the Lord with a humbled heart, he was able to bless me.  Just yesterday someone commented that although I still sound like an ultra gringo, my accent is improving.  I am so grateful for this opportunity to be broken, humbled, and to learn from my Father in Heaven and others and grow.    The other way I was humbled was in my work load. The schedule of our days here is pretty rigorous and it will only get worse once we get to the field.  Our teachers and leaders have repeatedly pointed to the example of the Savior and how he dealt with his hardships.  For one, his load was the heaviest out of all of us.  Second, when he was tired or sad, he didn't cry or bemoan his situation, he turned outward and helped others, not needing or expecting gratitude.  I have tried to remember this when I think I am to tired from sitting down and learning all day, that compared to the Savior my life is a walk in a park.  
Elder Jarnagin fell asleep after dinner and before class.  Photo snapped by Elder Cruz.
Long days of growing and changing.  Artistic shot by Elder Jarnagin.

   Besides these wonderful learning experiences, the week has been easy and wonderful.  The district that was older than us just left so we are now the oldest in our zone.  We had a wonderful talk by a member of the Seventy last night about how obedience keeps us safe.  We had TRC on Saturday with one of the members of the district older than us.  We spoke through the Spirit and it was something he needed to hear and he teared up and that was cool.  I love to help others through telling them what they need to hear through the power of the Holy Ghost!  This month has gone by in the blink of an eye and soon i will be in Reno!
Before the severe storms swept through Texas this week, they crossed Mexico.  Elder Jarnagin reports his suit got soaked through, even using his umbrella.
Reflection of palm trees in an after rain puddle.
Another artistic shot from Elder Jarnagin- 'There is always sunshine after the rain'.