Monday, May 30, 2011

Well, Jason's life has been quite busy...

After returning home from his mission, Jason soon got a job doing computer programming for a small company in Seabrook.  This came as a huge blessing as Jason has never actually done a whole lot of programming, and basically has just been teaching himself.  But this manager decided he would pay Jason to learn and program for them.
    In January, Jason flew to Hawaii to start attending Brigham Young University-Hawaii.  Yes, there is a BYU in Hawaii as well.  He was fortunate enough to have a boss that really liked him and is paying Jason to work remotely from Hawaii.  So he sets his own hours, works when he can and makes some darn good $$$.
   Jason is currently the Ward clerk in the church where he attends.  He has two assistants under him.  He is in charge of all the church records (membership and finances).
    It has been nice having Kaydee and Jason attend school together as he has been a huge help giving Kaydee blessings, and helping out with her health issues.  He's been a great "Big brother" to her.
   He is having the time of his life and has also learned to love Hawaii.  (even though it wasn't to hard to love).  He is studying Computer Science.   He will return home the first of August, and in September will transfer to BYU-Idaho where he will continue his education.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

September 7, 2010

Elder Mace Returns!!!!

On September 6th, 2010  Kassie and Joe were able to visit Jason at the mission home in Scottsdale, AZ before Jason returned home.  This took special permission from the Mission President as Kassie and Joe had to leave to return to Idaho for school.  They were able to spend approx. 1 1/2 hours with Jason!  Below are some of the pictures they sent to us.....

September 7th, Elder Mace arrived at the Phoenix airport for his 2 hour non stop flight home.  Little did he know this was about to be the longest flight of his life.   In the meantime, his family checked the internet and saw that his flight had taken off and would arrive on time. So off we left for the hour drive to the airport.  With signs in hand, we arrived at the airport all excited to meet Jason.   Little did we know, thanks to a tropical storm, the airport was closed, and Jason flight was diverted to Austin.  There he sat in the airplane for 5 extra hours.  So, we sat at the airport waiting.....

After  waiting at the airport for 5 long hours, his plane finally arrived!
We were a little tired, but still excited to see him arrive!!!

He was able to meet his new nephew for the 1st time....

Then we grabbed a quick bite to eat, before we had to meet
with the Stake President to be released....

we finally got home at 8:03 pm....  A very long day, but well worth the wait!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Last pictures sent from the mission field today...

Last Baptism in the mission field
August 28, 2010

His last zone in Snow Flake, AZ

August 31, 2010

Well today's emails came with bitter sweetness....  This is our 100th posting to Jason's blog, and his last email as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  One week from now Elder Mace will be home and released from his mission.  
    His "family" email was short today, as he took the time to email us each of us individually.  Which I will not post to this blog as they were personal for each of us.  Jason has grown tremendously these last two years and he is very grateful that he was able to serve our Heavenly Father in the great land of Mesa Arizona.  A true witness to those who are waiting for calls to the mission field, that the Lord truly knows where you are needed.   Elder Mace accomplished so much while serving in Scottsdale, Mesa (two different areas), Central Phoenix, Apache Junction, and finishing up in Snow Flake.  What a great blessing it was to our family to have Jason serve so diligently!  We are so proud of him! 
    Through out his mission, many things happened in our home, that would have given him many chances to just decide that he was going to quit and come home.  Starting with Hurricane Ike that came just after entering the MTC.  Then not ONE but TWO of his sisters got married.  (And Jason is VERY close to his sisters, so we know this was very hard for him to miss out on).  He was very concerned for months about his sister Kellie and the medical issues she was going through.  And to top it off, as soon as Kellie's surgery was over, he got news that his dad was seriously ill and would be in the hospital for 81 long days.  Still Jason moved on.  Never giving up!  And the Lord blessed him by keeping him extremely busy.  Oh and of course, He even became an Uncle! 
   There were also some very personal experiences that our family went through, that I'm sure broke Jason's heart, but still, he knew he had to keep going.  And he and our family was blessed for his dedication and service.  We are so grateful for his service and his willingness to endure to the end.  Jason's life has been
changed for the good!

    Here is the short email we received that we will share....

I love you all and hope you each got my email. I don't have time to give you a report of my week, but a quick update:
Damon and Dillon were baptized. It was a great experience for the family.
(The girl) is still struggling with her family's support. But she's still strong and "bearing with patience [her] adversity." Things will work out.
We have three baptisms still set for September, but all for after I come home.
I'll miss the mission a lot, but I love you all and I am looking forward to seeing you all. I'll give you a VIVID report when I come home.
I have to go now. Don't bother to try to email me, 'cause I won't get it.
Love you.
Elder Jason Mace

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

August 24, 2010

Hey family!

It sounds like life is as interesting as ever. :-)

Mom: I am really bad at looking ahead when I email! I'm really sorry, but I did remember your birthday. So Happy Late Birthday! . . . . It's not quite the same. . .. :-(

Dad: I am most certainly planning on doing Tae Kwon Do when I get back. And tell Addison that I would be SUPER happy to go with her to the ocean nationals. Heck, I might even compete (and thus lose because I am terrible now) just for the heck of it. It's probably mostly just an excuse so that I can wear my Tae Kwon Do uniform all day. That would be awesome.

And I'm excited to talk to Kassie and Joe soon.

But I am really having a hard time comprehending the idea of me leaving the mission. I don't understand how some missionaries get trunky, stop working, and want to come home. I mean, I love you all a ton and I really want to see you all soon and give you all massively big hugs. . . . But I don't want to leave. There is too much to do here, and too many people that I care about. It's like I'll be leaving my family here behind when I leave. We've had some crazy times, especially this last week, and through it all my love for the people that we've been teaching has really increased. I almost wish I could just get really homesick so that leaving here wouldn't be so painful. I don't know. But I do love you all and I'm excited to see you soon.

My week has been by far the hardest week of my mission. This is kind of a long story, but I wanted to fill you in:

I told you a while back about a person we're teaching. She was introduced to the church by a friend of hers. Her parents are both members, but both are not active.  With her dad's permission,   she started meeting with us. She's probably the most solid and sincere person that I have ever taught on my mission. As we taught her, she began to ask some amazing questions and she has been very diligent about reading and praying about the Book of Mormon. In not much time, she received a witness from God that it's all true, and that she needs to follow it. She has a great desire to be baptized, but lacked the courage to ask her mom....

We suggested that we should meet with her parents-- first her dad, then her mom and dad together. But her dad refused to talk to us (in fact he avoided us). And so it became apparent that she would have to do it on her own. That's always really hard on me when I can't help or do things for the people we are teaching. I could see how hard this would be for her, but I couldn't do anything to help. As I pondered what to do, the Lord inspired me to set a goal  for her to be baptized. I didn't understand why or how, but I knew I shouldn't doubt. As I studied, I came across a story that I felt would help. Last Wednesday we taught her and shared the story from the Old Testament about courage. Moses comes to the promised land and sends twelve men to spy on the land.

 Numbers 13:

17 And Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan . . . 
  18 And see the land. . .  and the people. . .  whether they be strong or weak, few or many;
  19 And what the land is that they dwell in, whether it be good or bad; and what cities they be that they dwell in, whether in tents, or in strong holds;. . .
  25 And they returned from searching of the land after forty days.
  26 And they went and came to Moses . . .
  27 And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it afloweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it.
  28 Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are awalled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there.
  29 The aAmalekites dwell in the land of the bsouth: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan.
  30 And aCaleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.
  31 But the amen that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. . .
  33 And there we saw the agiants. . . .
Numbers 14:
6 ¶ And aJoshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes:
  7 And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land.
  8 If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey.
  9 Only arebel not ye against the Lord, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the Lord is with us: bfear them not.

After the lesson, we set a goal for her to be baptized on Sept 4th. We felt inspired to promise that, if she would ask her mom, everything would work out. That was not Elder Mace saying something that sounded good, that was an inspired promise from a loving Heavenly Father to one of His children. She was excited, but nervous about talking to her mom. On the car ride home with her mom, she remembered me saying that there would never really be a good time, so she got up the courage, turned to her mom and began explaining what was going on and how she felt. We had previously been fasting and praying that her mom's heart would be softened and that everything would work out. But her mom was not very supportive. She told her she couldn't support the decision..... She asked her mom to stop talking bad about the church because that's what she believed in. Her dad also seems to have withdrawn his support, and her older brother and sister are giving her a hard time over everything. I don't think I have ever fasted so hard, prayed so often, cried so much, or lost so much sleep over anything before in my life. It's been a tough week on everyone. But as Caleb and Joshua taught, the Lord is with us. I trust the promise the Lord gave in our last lesson. It will all work out.

We have a baptism coming up this week, which is a miracle in and of itself. Damon and Dillon are two kids who have been taught by missionaries for years, but they and their  family have never shown much desire apparently. But now they are doing great. They've been coming to church, reading the scriptures, praying as a family, and they're amazing. I am really excited for them.

We recently started teaching another guy. He's awesome. His parents are members, but they stopped going to church when he was 2 years old. Last night we taught the Plan of Salvation, and invited him to be baptized, and as if he were already expecting it, he said yes. Wow. He's a sharp young man. :-)

We've been blessed with new people to teach, and we set a lot of baptism dates. Things are going well, and we're getting through the trials.

I don't tell you all enough, but I really love you all and I thank you for your support on my mission so far. I know without a doubt that this is where I need to be, and what I need to be doing. Jesus Christ lives. He loves each of us individually, and knows our circumstances. He wants us to be happy, and can make even the worst pain bearable. This is His church and His gospel. Thank you for helping me come. Thank you for always being supportive of my decisions, whatever they were. Thank you for being there for me. I love you all.

Jason Mace

Oh, and Elder D called and gave me some bike mailing information. So I'm on top of that. I just need the address and info on how to mail it. Love you all.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

August 17, 2010

Hey family!
How is everyone doing? I'm on late again today because we went to the temple this morning, and then we all got together and had a zone activity. It was really fun, we went to one our our bishop's-- Bishop Willis-- to go through their corn maze. Oh, yes, a corn maze! And then we had lunch afterward. So now I finally get to email you all.
First of all, to answer the bike question. I not really sure what to do with my faithful bike. To ship the bike home it will cost $70. I'll go ahead and do what ever you'd like my to.
And that is really strange that Phillip and Michael come home almost a year before I do. It's the darn-dest thing. But that's pretty crazy that their coming home soon. Time goes by quick, for sure.
It's been getting really hot up here, which is sad because this is SNOWFLAKE!!! I thought that I left Mesa and the heat behind! But it's been close to 100 degrees a couple of days this week, and one day I think it got all the way there. Lucky we're on bikes, huh? . . . But despite the intense heat, we found a ton of new people to teach this last week, which is a miracle in and of itself. This coming week we have over thirty lessons planned (already!), not including dinner appointments of course. That's amazing for the area. We're really excited by the sudden increase in work, or in other words blessings.
On Wednesday we taught a guy, who is a 70-ish year old man who's wife passed away in April. It's kind of a sad situation. He's been lonely and depressed since he lost his wife. He told us about how he often goes to casinos to get away. We taught him a little bit. He wasn't incredibly open to learning about things like the plan of salvation (ironic, because that's exactly what would help him-- understanding where his wife is at and how he can be with her again). But hopefully as he continues to learn he will be able to allow Christ to help him more in his life.
Another one was an absolute miracle. There is a family in our area that we started teaching on Saturday. Jena is a member of the church, but her husband Zack is not, and doesn't beleive in God or religion. Jena wants to start coming back to church, and so we asked if we could meet with her and she agreed. Her husband wasn't interested. Jena talked to him and finally convinced him to sit in on our visit to just give it a try. And the lesson went great. They're both awesome, and even Zack showed a great desire to follow God (turn's out he does have a least a little faith) and do what's right. What a miracle that we found them!
We also started teaching a guy named Josh. Here is an interesting story for you. Josh recently was baptized in Show Low, which is a city near Snowflake, but it's in the Arizona Tempe Mission. Josh just moved to Snowflake to live with his aunt for a while. His aunt found us and asked us if we would go by and teach him all over again, because his understanding of the gospel was limited. We went by and met with Josh, and he is an amazing young man. (he's 19.) The missionaries in Tempe visited him, but they didn't really teach him. They apparently just came and hung out and shared some brief messages that Josh didn't understand very well. Josh still had a desire to do what was right, and so he read the Book of Mormon like the missionaries asked and prayed to know if it and the church are true. The answer came, and he was baptized, faithfully following the direction he recieved from God.......  Oh. . . . Anyway. . . .
We are getting ready for a baptism in our area a week from Saturday. Damon and Dillon will be getting baptized. Damon is 12, Dillon is 11. Their parents are members of the church, but haven't been going to church for a long time. Missionaries have been working on them for a while-- like three or four years on and off-- and they never came to church or anything. But by some amazing miracles, the family is now excited. They've been coming to church. They've been reading their scriptures. They've been praying. And now they are preparing for baptism. Wow.
I'm not really sure what else to tell you all about. . . . Other than that, everything is about the same as always. The work moves foreward.
Thanks for all you've done for me.
I love you all,
Elder Jason Mace
P.S. Tell Ally and 'Lisha I said kick hard. :-)
P.S.S. And tell Brady I said good luck. The MTC is probably the best place on earth. Right next to Mesa, Arizona (and Scottsdale, Phoenix, Apache Junction, and Snowflake).
P.S.S.S. I just wanted to add another one of these. ;-)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

August 10, 2010

Hey family!
How is everything going? I enjoyed the pictures of Camren eating the green beans. But the poor child doesn't realize that he's eating vegetables! Someone really needs to give him deep fried Cheerios quickly! Otherwise-- for the rest of his life-- he might eat. . . . healthy things! *shudder* Don't worry, uncle Elder Mace is coming to save you because aunt Kaydee's not doing her job right! ;-)
I got your package, by the way, on August 4th. Perfect timing. :-) Of course I waited until the 5th to open it. My companion thought I lost it, waiting to open a package. Anyway, thank you so much. I haven't had a chance to make the cakes yet, but I am planning on it. Who would be crazy enough to eat something that I make, I don't know-- I might have to make them think someone else made it-- but I am planning on it. Maybe for district meeting a week from tomorrow.
And Addison got baptized! I still can't believe she's that old. Oh, wait! How old is Logan now?! Please tell Addie that I said congratulations and she's awesome, if you didn't already.
Yesterday was Zone Conferrence with President Ellsworth. It was our first real zone conferrence with him, and it was great. I can see how the mission will continue to progress under his direction. The work will move forward even faster now with some of the new things that will be happening. One of the main things that we talked about was love, and showing our love for everyone like the Savior would if He were here.
At the end of Zone Conference, all of the missionaries that are going home share their testimonies. Since it was just the Snowflake zone that was there, there was only one missionary in the zone going home. Guess who that was? . . . . Me. Before that it hadn't really hit me that I am going home soon. But it hit me like a ton of bricks at that point. Of course I almost started crying; I've gotten emotional in my old age, apparently.
This week was amazing, too, in the sheer number of miracle that we saw. It was really crazy. We found new people that we will start teaching soon, a lot of them we found in some really crazy ways. One was a random house we knocked on, the occupant of which happened to be a member, and she happened to know one of her neighbors that might be interested. She had meant to tell us about him for months, but never did. Turns out her neighbor was interested.
We also had some people that we are teaching come to church-- FINALLY-- after we've been trying to convince them to come and give it a try for weeks.  And they had a great experience, which is the best part. Everything has really picked up this week. Hopefully the blessings and the miracles will continue to come. The Lord does his work well, that's all there is to it.
It rained a lot again this week, and the roads were SUPER muddy. My bike is now covered in mud and clay, and it has a flat tire. Wonderful. They just had to put a biking area up North. lol. It's been really fun to bike around in the rain, though.
And we played golf today, which is why we are a bit late getting online today. We had a group playing that was too big, so it went slow. . . . But it was fun anyway.
I know Elder Kunz a little bit. I don't know the other one, and probably won't now, lol. Speaking of missionaries from Houston, yesterday Elder Coffman came back to visit the mission and his old areas. :-) He's from Katy.
So that's about all for my week. Or at least that all I have time for, 'cause I gotta go.
Love you all,
Elder Jason Mace

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

August 3, 2010

Hey family!
How is everything going? Thank you for all the emails this week. The big 21 is coming up, huh?
Anyway, I got a letter from the mission office a few days ago informing me of my flight information, so I brought it with me to tell you about it, but I guess you already got all of that. lol. I'm was surprised to see that I was flying into Bush airport rather than Hobby. (I don't even know where the bush airport is anymore, but I know it's not as close, lol. I can drive right to the Phoenix airport, though. lol.) But that's alright. I was just surprised to see flight plans come in the mail. Speaking of which, I decided that from now on they should NOT repeat NOT send that to missionaries. There really is no reason for me to know my flight plans, it just makes me home sick. They should just send that stuff to the missionaries families and let the missionaries know about it when they show up at the mission office to go home. Why do I need to know what time I leave and what flight and all that stuff more then a month ahead of time? Anyway, enough of that. . . .
Libby Lee is FOUR? What?! When did that happen? Everyone is so grown up now. I probably won't recognize anyone. Tell Addison that I said a VERY VERY VERY VERY SPECIAL CONGRATULATIONS on her baptism this Sunday! That's super exciting. And tell Logan that if she wants to drive the three and a half hours to snowflake from Phoenix, I would be happy to keep my eyes open for her. lol.
Well, this has been an interesting week. It's rained a lot, thus I've been rained on a lot. lol. The temperatures have actually been really nice, though. Not too hot, and because of all the rain, we've had a good deal of humidity, which I am LOVING because it's sooooooooooooooooooooooooo dry in Arizona. Everyone here complains about it, so I get a good laugh out of it, too. My poor companion from Idaho hasn't seen humidity a day in his life, apparently, so he's suffering. But again, I love it.
And we have been really blessed with people to teach this week. We've had a hard time finding new people to teach lately, so everythings been struggling as a consequence. But the Lord blessed us a lot this week.
About six weeks ago elder Lerwill and I talked to a guy named Shawn, and he said that we were welcome to come by and visit with him. We got his address, and went by but couldn't catch him. After a while we gave up, thinking he gave us a fake address (that happens sometimes) because no one was ever at the apartment that he said he lived in. Well, a week ago we were going to another appartment and we saw a light on in Shawn's apartment. Elder Lerwill and I were shocked and obviously we knocked on the door to see if it was Shawn. A guy answered the door, and after talking with him it turned out it was him (I couldn't recongize him after a month and a half). He was busy but we set up a time to come by and talk to him and his girl friend.
We went by on the day that we had set up, and wouldn't you know it, no one was home. . . . We were really discouraged, but we left a note on the door and went with a member to drive around and make some other visits. While we were driving, we stopped and talked to some people who were walking around along the way. As we were talking to someone, I looked over and saw Shawn mowing someones lawn. I jumped out and talked to him. He apologized for not being home, and reset a time for us to go by. We did go by, and he and his girl friend were there and the visit went great. They're awesome. It took a lot a miracles to help us get to teach them, but we finally got there.
And we had a similar thing happen with another guy. We went by to teach him, he wasn't there, but we caught him later and had a great lesson anyway. Miracles. If there is one thing that I've learned, it's what's in Mormon 9:16-17
15 And now, O all ye that have imagined up unto yourselves a god who can do no miracles, I would ask of you, have all these things passed, of which I have spoken? Has the end come yet? Behold I say unto you, Nay; and God has not ceased to be a God of miracles.
16 Behold, are not the things that God hath wrought marvelous in our eyes? Yea, and who can comprehend the marvelous works of God?
I've seen lots of miracles. I guess those verses are kind of the unofficial theme of the mission.
Speaking of, funny story. We were out making visits a few nights ago, and we ran into some older members of the 6th ward. They invited us in for a minute, and we shared a message with them. I shared the story of Alma and the Zoromites in Alma chapters 31-32 (surmrised, of course) and talked about how the Lord prepare people. And then the sister said that it reminded her of a story that she had heard recently in a talk in sacrament meeting that impressed her, and she wanted to share it. It shocked me when she suddenly started sharing the story of me tracting in Scottdale, when I ran into Ceanna. When she finished the story (she left out some of the best parts, but that's okay) she started trying to figure out who it was that had told that story. I didn't want to say "that was me!" and sound prideful because she was just saying how it impressed her. "I think he was a returned missionary. . . " my companion and her started trying to figure out who it was, and then she said "No! It was a missionary who's companion was sick!" My companion finally figured out that she was talking about me, and that I wasn't telling her, and we changed the subject. But it was really funny, and really neat that something I said in a talk stuck out to someone who heard it. When I gave that talk, I wasn't planning on sharing that story, but I felt prompted to at the end, and so I did. I always choke up a little when I tell that story (I'm getting emotional in my old age ;-]).
But that's been about my week. Teaching has slowed down a little bit, but miracles have not.
No box yet, but I did get Kellie's letter a week ago. :-) Yay!
And trunkyness leads to laziness, which leads to apostacy, which leads to outer-darkness. See? Where do you want me to end up? lol.
I love you all and hope you have a great week.
Uncle Elder Jason Mace
P.S. I love you Camren!      o( ^ _ ^ )o