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Week 60 "I'm Going to Geneva Switzerland"

I'm getting transferred to Geneva Switzerland! 🇨🇭 
Look what the young woman wrote for me on the board at the top. " Sister Jones, we're going to miss you!"
 When president called to tell me where I would be serving, I just had this feeling that I was going to Geneva. I have wanted to serve there my whole mission! My Grandpa Max and Grandma Nancy served there a few years ago and I have always wanted to see where they served and meet the people they love. Wowowowow! My new companion will be Soeur Delmundo. We were in the MTC together. She is from Canada. I also heard you eat dinner and lunch with members in Geneva.   Soeur Schneider (who I am replacing) told me today.... you WILL get fat. Hahahahaha. So bring it on round cheeks and double chins! Also, Swiss is SUPER expensive and very clean. I think it will be quite different from France. 
At parc de la tête d'or saying goodbye to our dear friends. 
Leaving a ville is always a bitter sweet moment. I have absolutely loved serving in Ecully, being so close to the Browns, watching new missionaries come in and sleepover at our apartment, being comps with Soeur CUSICK!!!!! Ahhhhhh I loveeeeee Soeur Cusick and am really going to miss that crazy nut head. I love how real she is. I think that is something Soeur Cusick taught me. Is to be myself no matter who I'm with. I am going to miss her and the people in Ecully a lot. Luckily I am coming back for MLC in one week
I said goodbye to many people I love this week. Yesterday we went to Parc de la tête d'or and sat on the grass with "E" and "G". I am sad I won't be here for "E's" baptism but am so proud of the progress and changes she has made in her life that don't mind too much not being there.

I love how "E" is so sensitive to the spirit. I love her humility and kindness. I love that she calls us "les filles." I love that she invites us to eat Brazilian food with her every time we teach her. I her Portuguese accent. 
I am grateful to have met Amandine, Soeur Berger Perrin, "E", "G", the ZINNS. I absolutely adore the Zinn family. They treated me like one of their own kids and just took such good care of me. We went over there Sunday night to eat dinner. Soeur Zinn asked me what I wanted for my last dinner and I said "brocoli chicken casserole, rolls, and banana cream pie." She is the BEST. I love her food too.
I can't wait for you to meet them one day mom and dad! Calvin their son makes me laugh sooo hard. He wanted to give me a gift as I was leaving so he brought me 2 American kraft mac n cheese boxes from their pantry.

Pretty dang good gift if you ask me. Last night Soeur Zinn and brother Zinn took us home but they took us on a "scentic route" which just ended up as them driving us around in their car talking and laughing. 
So this last week we found a really cool new ami. Her name is "J" and I felt super impressed to talk to her on the bus last week. She is from Mexico and is about the same age as me. We were able to go over to her apartment and share a video about Christ with her. I promise you I love French people. But people from South America and America are a lot more open in general with the whole religion subject. I am grateful though to have served among French because it has made more patient and less judgmental. 
I gave a talk on Sunday so that was terrifying but also good. I still have a fear of talking to large groups of people in French. Jamo you will totally be able to relate to this... but people judge your French really hard. French people and missionaries. I am pretty sure France is the only mission where people really care about and correct your speaking skills. Well it's okay, I am just glad with how much my French has progressed since day 1. For my talk, I talked about how we come to know the Savior as we serve others. I feel I have become so close to Christ on my mission because I have been able to serve so often. I talked about how the best service we can give others is our time. To really sincerely listen to someone will fill you with more compassion and love. You will be able to see people as Christ sees them. 

Love, Abby 

I took a trip to Grenoble last week to do an exchange.

Goodbye Ecully! I love all of the people I have met!

Saying Goodbye to Melanie
Soeur Berger Perrin

Anne Mebodo

Breakfast with Kelly .....

Oh myyy breakfast in France is so different!

My desk with Jamison and Haylie's Wedding invitation.....They are getting married in 3 weeks!

Samedi Football

Week 59 "Good Moments Outweighing the Bad"

Our favorite bus.....#5

I am currently writing this as I ride on a train to Grenoble. We will be doing an exchange out there tomorrow with Soeur Perry and Soeur Hayes. Normally the sisters come here, but we decided it would be a good idea to go out there and do an exchange. I neverrrr leave my little Ecully so it be fun to go to a different ville. I have never been to Grenoble before! 
I really saw the hand of God this week. We had some amazing miracles. But it's not just like we prayed for miracles and they happened. I felt like my faith was extra strong and because of that, we were able to act on our faith and see miracles. Friday was especially full of miracles. We were walking out of our apartment at 8:30 am and we see this one old potential ami we had met a few weeks ago. We called her name and talked with her. She started crying to us and told us her sister in law had just passed away. We listened to her express her feelings of sadness and testified to her of the reality of the plan of salvation. That death is not the end. 

I love Soeur Baranco from Ecully. 
Then.... we were walking down to the church right after this experience, and I see this girl waiting at the bus stop outside our church. I had this feeling that we needed to go talk to her. But of course, excuses filled my mind. ("You have an appointment with Erika right now, you cant be late for that!" Or "she will be so weirded out with you talking to her." Or "the bus is about to come and it won't be worth it to start a conversation" or "your companion will think you are crazy!") 
As I was putting the church key in the gate to open it I say to Soeur Cusick, "Okay, I feel like we should go talk to that girl but I don't know if it is the spirit or me being crazy..." And Soeur Cusick just yells out,"OH MY GOSH, I had the exact same feeling." So we both turn around and start walking towards the girl. We start some way awkward conversation about the weather being cold. The bus pulls up and Soeur Cusick and I both just look at each other and then we follow her onto the bus. We talked to her for a while and ended up taking the bus like 15 stops with her. We exchanged Facebook information and invited her to game night at the chapel. Her name is Manoe and is 20 years old. Soeur Cusick and I just got off the bus in the middle of nowhere and said.... "WHAT JUST HAPPENED!?" It was one of the craziest acts of faith I have ever done on my mission. We literally just let the spirit lead us along. 
Jeremy's baptism

Then that night we were taking the elevator down after visiting with a member. Some annoying 10 year old had pushed all the buttons on the elevator so we were both getting impatient. Then, we hit the top floor and this African man walks in... looks straight at our plaques... and says, "oh, you believe in Jesus Christ?" He told us he would love to talk about the "word of God" with us. We were so shocked we just tried to act as natural as possible even though inside it was just like, what is happening?! His name is Chris and we will be meeting with him this week. 

Meeting via facebook ....

Saturday we were walking to the bus stop when I get a text from a girl named "T" who we had talked to probably 3 months ago. She ran up to me and Soeur Margrin at the mall 3 months ago and said, "Missionaries!!!! I am from Utah, but I am not a member of the church!" She told us to text her to come to church and if she was available, she would come. 

Well we lost contact with her. Well, fast forward 3 months and she texted us and ASKED if she could come to church on Sunday because she is back in France for her studies. Whattttttttttttttttt!!!! I freaked out. Sure enough, she came to church. Stayed all 3 hours. Knows way too much about Mormons because she grew up in Bountiful. She is so cute and it was so fun talking to her about Utah and chick-fil-a and Lagoon. Soeur Zinn invited her to dinner and she came to Sunday dinner with all of the missionaries! We were all laughing so hard and had a good time. It was cool for her to see that Mormons aren't just happy in Utah. Mormons are happy people everywhere you go! We will hopefully teach her this week!

We met Paul Gouttin over a year ago when their family invited our family for dinner in Lille.
Jamison knew the Gouttin family really well when he was serving in Northern France.

"E" our ami is doing amazing. She has been meeting with the missionaries for a year now and has only come to church a few times. But a couple weeks ago, something changed. She told us that NOW is the time she wants to change and progress. She has been so diligent at studying the gospel and keeping commitments we give her... for herself. Not to please us, or her daughter, or anyone else. But to please God. She has come to church these past 2 weeks. She texted us Sunday morning and said, sorry, I am feeling sick this morning and won't be able to come. We were so bummed out. But then Soeur Cusick turns to me during church and whispers, "E" is HERE!" I turn around and sure enough, "E" was sitting in the back with her daughter Giuliana. I was sooooooo proud of her. 

Yesterday night I received a blessing from Brother Zinn. He is like a dad to me and I told him he reminded me of my dad. It is different getting a fathers blessing. And since I don't have my real daddy here with me, I asked Brother Zinn to give me one. Lately, I have been feeling like my efforts will never be good enough. And I just want to give the Lord my all on my mission and feel like my efforts are acceptable to him. But during the blessing, I had an overwhelming weight lifted off my shoulders.

Presidents pday

 I had the feeling that my efforts are acceptable TODAY before the Lord, WITH all of my shortcomings included. That I don't need to be perfect as a missionary. That it is part of the process to have weaknesses because that is what makes me reliant upon Jesus Christ. During the blessing, I felt how proud the Lord was of me and really just an overwhelming feeling of His love. I am so grateful for the priesthood and know that Heavenly Father knows me personally. 

There were a lot of hard moments this week. Moments of tears and stress. But in the end- it was just kind of swallowed up with the good moments. The simple miracles and tender mercies.  Those good moments make the hard moments bearable. 

Love, Abby 

Presidents pday....Just a chill day. We ate homade cinnamon rolls......HEAVENNN!!!
Live pic with Soeur Brown on Presidents Pday

Week 58 "Surprising Soeur Brown "

I am thoroughly convinced that being grateful and serving others is the cure to sadness. I am not always the best at it. But when I am serving others and thinking about how I can help someone else... I am so much happier. I know that Jesus Christ is the perfect example of service. I want to serve like he did.

Exchange with Soeur Gruse

This week we had tri zone conference. Soeur Cusick and I did lunch for 80 people. Some highlights of Zone Conference: We sang a musical number "Dear to the Heart of the Shepard." The harmonies were so simple and beautiful!

 We had an interview with President Brown and we were able to see tons of missionaries! Also, President invited us to do a challenge and contact everyone! He challenged us to raise our expectations and raise the bar. I have been trying so hard to talk to people everyone I go. Sometimes it is soooo scary. But I am a lot happier following the spirit and just trying to share the gospel. We have talked to so many people these past few days and have seen amazing miracles from it.

Some funnies:
-We went to samedi sportif football (soccer) and played with the Elders, some members, and amis. Soeur Cusick and I pranced around the whole time and just kept screaming "ooops sorry!!" "Oops missed the ball. Sorry next time" hahahaha seriously, we tired.

-Soeur Cusick and I RAN into each other while playing soccer and we just fell to the grass on top of each other laughing so hard/ in a lot of pain. I scraped off her tanning lotion she had put on that morning!!!! 😂

-We went to Soeur Browns this morning to sing "Happy Birthday" to her. I got in a garbage sack to yell surprise (cause I thought everyone else was too). But turns out it was only me. So I just sat on the porch in a garbage sack and Soeur Brown opened the door and laughed so hard.

Vieux Lyon... One of the prettiest places I have seen in France!

Update on some amis:
We saw the dad and his son this week. 
 We went with "L", the recent convert who referred them to us, to teach them. The Dad had just woken up from a nap and smoked the entire lesson. But we watched "he lives" and talked about the reality of repentance, forgiveness, and starting over. Lucie shared her sincere testimony about how her baptism really was like a "new life." We have another
RDV with them this week so I hope that they will be interested in the gospel!

I almost died my hair this color today. I tried Soeur Merrils hair on my head twice this week. But then I didn't. So ur welcome mom:)

The other week, I was on a bus and I had just talked to an old couple who were nice, but not interested in the gospel. There was another man over hearing our conversation. The old couple got off the bus and the spirit prompted me to talk with the man who had over heard the conversation. I kind of didn't want to but really felt that I needed to. So I did. 

Turns out, that man, "N" had talked to missionaries before but it had been years since he last saw them. We ended up exchanging numbers and he said we could come visit him. We felt it was better to have elders teach him so I gave his number to the assistants. Well, these past two weeks he has come to church and will be getting baptized in October. 

Like.... woah! I would never have imagined all this happening 1 month ago when we talked on the bus. It is a reminder to me that the spirit leads us to do things we don't always know why. But we do it and we trust. We exercise our faith. Following the spirit requires faith.

About 2 1/2 months ago I contacted a young girl and her mom and younger sister on a bus. They are from Guadalupe. The young girl, "O" was going into nursing like me so we were so excited to talk to each other. I texted her after that but then we lost contact and I thought it just kind of died down. Well the other week I saw her mom and little sister again on the bus! We were finally able to go out there to their house and we had a lesson with the mom this afternoon.

The message of the gospel really is a lesson of hope. I am grateful I get to spread such a good message with other people. I love telling people about who Jesus Christ is and how much he means to me. The mom, is progressing soooooo well. She has her baptismal date fixed for October. But even more than that, she has come to church these past 2 weeks in a row! And she is so determined to progress and change. She reminds me a lot of my aunt Ginny and my
mom. She is seriously so sensitive to the spirit. She is selfless and always does everything for everyone. She is humble. I told her she reminds me of my mom and she had tears in her eyes. I love watching people make small changes in their life. I love watching people grow and progress.


Juliette is moving and Atrid too.....soooo sad!!Astrid is the cutest baby!!

Week 57 "Fall is in the Air"

Exchange with Souer Siley. Fourvière in the background.

Fall is in the air here in the south of France! The leaves are
starting to turn yellow. It is getting colder in the morning and
darker earlier in the evening. It rained this week. I even got to wear tights one day. There is something so refreshing about change. I love seasons. I think seasons are one of the biggest gifts God has given me. It feels so good to have the weather cool down and not have it be sweaty hot at night. 

With the weather getting colder and trees changing color- I have been having crazy flashbacks of when I was serving in Nice. Pretty weird to think that about a year ago, I arrived in France and began this crazy, hard, life changing, beautiful

This week was better than last week. Not for any particular reason. But I feel as if Heavenly Father has blessed me with a boost of support and love. I can feel prayers from people back home carrying me along. Angels too. I can't point out any crazy manifestations that God showed his love for me this week. I just felt it. I had the opportunity to fast on Sunday. I am grateful that we can fast.  Before the meeting began, I felt tired and hungry and weak from a long week
of missionary work. But as people got up to bear their testimony, I literally felt full of spiritual strength. President Brown gave a powerful, simple testimony about the plan of happiness Heavenly Father created for us and the reality of eternal families. I have a testimony that we need to be spiritually fed. It is amazing how much better I felt after going to church.

 As missionaries, we do spiritual things all day. But even we need to go to church every week, take the sacrament, and be spiritually fed. 
Sunday we had a really cool miracle! Sunday afternoon, Lucie, a recent convert texted us and said she was coming to the chapel later that day and was going to bring 2 friends. (Recent converts are AWESOME at missionary work). She brought her family friends ( a dad and his son).  We gave them a chapel tour and then taught them about the restored gospel. From the outside, I never would have guessed they would be so interested in the church.They were both very
open and had a lot of questions and I have to say it was because they were humble. Humble people are the best to teach. 

Coming on a mission has helped me see a glimpse of why Heavenly Father asks us to be humble. We are so much more teachable when we are humble. We are more
dependent on Christ and his strength rather than our own. Joseph asked what he should wear to church.  You know someone is serious about coming to church when they ask what they should wear.  I can't wait to keep teaching them!

I am so grateful for our living prophet, Thomas S. Monson and for the inspired leaders of our church. This week I was able to read some talks from general conference and I felt so uplifted and inspired. I know that modern revelation is real. I know that God loves us today just as much as he loved his people in the past. Thomas S. Monson is the true prophet who leads and guides this church through God. They
are not perfect people. And boy am I grateful for that. They make me feel like it is okay to be a human who isn't perfect. But I do know that they do their best. And I do know they are called from God. That they are humble men who love God and love us. I know the priesthood is real. Holding the priesthood is an opportunity to serve. I am grateful for all the blessings I have received from my dad who worthily
exercises his priesthood as well as President Brown and many others.

If you don't have a testimony of the leaders of our church, start with finding a testimony of God. Create that relationship with Heavenly Father again and you will realize that they are truly called of Him.

Love love love, Abby

Week 56 "When you have a bad day... you buy yourself flowers"

Missionary Leadership Conference....these are all the people that came into the mission with me!

Saturday I was so tired. It was muggy hot. We finally were able to get outside and then waited for our bus for 30 minutes and Soeur Cusick lay down behind the bus stop and we almost fell asleep. And then we went to our next RDV, but the person had forgotten we had a RDV so we left. Went to our RDV with "S". We taught her about how much God loved her. It was a good lesson I thought. Then at the end, she dropped us. Told us it is complicated with her boyfriend right now as he is skeptical with religion. 
 Then we were waiting for our bus. And Soeur Cusick looks at me and says, okay we are going out to eat and I'm paying for you. So I said, what a perfect way to end the worst day ever. And we literally started laughing. Because it was almost funny with how hard the day was that we just had to laugh. We walked past a flower shop and Soeur Cusick and I both look at each other and are like, why not. So we go inside and she buys herself a potted cactus and I bought myself a bouquet of flowers.  Then we ate pizza by the Soane river. 
We got facebook finally! This will be an amazing tool to use as missionaries. We can now easily connect with our amis daily. We can also do video/ skype lessons. We can share videos and posts and spread the light of the gospel with thousands of people at the same time. It was also crazy though logging back onto my old facebook and seeing my old life and it was just a whirlwind of mixing my two worlds. We still do normal missionary work like before, this facebook is just a tool to help us with the work. Find amis, keep in contact with amis, share the gospel! 
I had an exchange with Soeur Driggs. She is so cute and so helpful and always ask me questions. I love that about her. She is really positive too. 
This week I am going to focus on three things. Following the holy ghost, attitude and effort. There are a lot of things I cannot control. But I know I can control my attitude and effort. That is something you taught me, Dad. 
It has never been more clear to me, than on my mission, that the center of God's plan of happiness is the family. The gospel doesn't make families perfect. It heals families. It builds families. I am so grateful that I know I will raise a family centered in the gospel. I don't know what challenges that will come to my future family. But I know that God has promised to everyone who stays faithful, that they can have an eternal family. The Browns son came and visited with his wife and 3 kids this last week. There are so many good examples to me out here and back home of couples and families that work at their marriage and family to be happy. The family is the greatest source of joy. Marriage is of God. Creating families is of God. The family is of God. I love my familyyyyy!!!!!!! Jason, Mimi, Jamison, Haylie, Eliza, and Madeline!!!!!! Best family ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Giant gummy bear as our mascot for district meeting

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