Week 4 "Being Vulnerable"

August 26, 2016
Souer Goold braided our hair. She's amazing!

I've almost been out on the mission a month. Like WHAT! The first 4 days here felt longer than the whole time I've been here combined. I love being a missionary and having so much time to dedicate to my relationship with my Heavenly Father. I love having an HOUR of personal study where I can actually study the Book of Mormon and not feel rushed. I already know I am going to miss having this much time to study after my mission. But I might as well embrace it while I have it! 
Our District on the way to the Temple

This week Soeur Goold and I talked a lot about being vulnerable. She told me her new year's goal last year was "be vulnerable." And I didn't really get it at first but the more I think about it the more I love it. As I studied about the atonement yesterday, I had some cool revelation. 

When it talks about "hell" in the scriptures- I associate it with: guilt, non stop thinking about past mistakes, weight, stubbornness, pride, not wanting to admit to ever being wrong, not willing to change, short term happiness, misery.
And then when I think of "heaven" (or following Christ)- I associate it with: admitting to sins, being humble enough to admit to imperfections, accepting that you need Christ's help, relief from mistakes, freedom, ability to move forward, teachable, empowered, JOY. 
It's so obvious when I write down the difference between these two states... which one you'd pick. Obviously accepting Christ is the better route. Yet when we are living day to day- it's much harder to become humble and ask for Christ's help. I ask myself, am I trying to be right or am I trying to do right?  DO I TRUST CHRIST ENOUGH TO BE VULNERABLE? To be pushed, challenged, and CHANGED? This mission is full of moments of vulnerability. By this I mean, sometimes we are asked to do things that feel uncomfortable or push us. Like going to talk to random people in France on a subway about Jesus Christ. Or taking a step forward of faith even when I don't know what lies ahead of me. But when I am following Jesus Christ, and trusting in his wisdom, love, and perspective, I know that thing will work out. It takes courage, faith and humility to trust in God. It really does. But sometimes just taking a step of faith a day at a time is all we can do. 
Soeur Tanner and Soeur Luka (soeur tanenr left to Madagascar this week! soeur luka leaves to Tahiti the same day I leave to France)

I love the Book of Mormon. I told my mom this last week in a letter to her. But when I read the Book of Mormon I see with such CLARITY in my life. Decisions seem more clear. I remember what is most important in life and let all the other less important junk melt away. I worry less about myself and think of ways I can help others. I don't have to worry "Am I following the holy ghost or my own thoughts" because I am naturally guided to do good. The Book of Mormon blesses me in every aspect of my life. I wish I would have given even more time to studying its precious words before my mission. It's something that is so worth reading and ACTUALLY pondering (taking time to think about). 

- I sleep on the top bunk in the glorious MTC. The bunk beds here are SO creaky. Every night I try and fix my sheets before I get into bed. It literally rocks the entire bunk bed (with my companion underneath) and makes a terrible squeaky noise. Every night my roommates say, "I hear the chevaux in the room". (Chevaux means horse in French). Lol so I am the squeaky chavaux on the top bunk. 

- My district is unreal. They are all so weird and funny I love it. Yesterday Elder Sorensen and Elder Amison tried a new challenge. They tried to jump off of the ground without bending their knees or moving their toes. So basically standing on your heals with your legs completely straight the whole time. It basically looked like a tree trunk with arms flailing in the air. I was laughing so hard because it looked so absolutely ridiculous. If you want to know what this strange task looks like- just try it out and you will know what I'm talking about hahahahahaha.
Abby and Steph Rigby sent us swig cookies!

- Okay. I don't even know what happened yesterday but I had a laughing attack. It was the hardest I've laughed in about 4 months. We had a substitute teacher Frere Call teach our French class. We went around and did introductions (what our name was, where we were from, what we liked to do etc.) I was the last one to introduce myself, and when it got to me, my mind went waco. I said, "je m'appelle Soeur Jones. Je vien du Holland." Like I think I meant Holladay? But I said Holland? Elder Pistole is from Holland Texas so maybe that's why I said it? I have no idea. But after that I tried to say I like to laugh (in french) ...all of the sudden I just got the worst giggles and couldn't finish my sentence. Everyone in the class was staring at me and I couldn't even breath I was laughing so hard. I had tears running down my cheeks and no sound coming out of my mouth. Just completely lost it laughing at who even knows what. I had to get up and leave the classroom because I couldn't breath. My comp just stood up and followed me out. BAHAHAHAHAHAHAH. It was literally too funny to even try to explain. 

Oh I love where I am. I love being a missionary. There are a lot of amazing days where I feel great, frustrating days where I'm hard on myself, and sometimes just plain old okay days. But I truly do love where I am. I love it because I choose to be present. To not think about how good it will be when I get to France or when I'm home from my mission, but just to enjoy this very moment, here in the MTC... today! 

Love, Soeur Jones


Week 3 "Broccoli Surprise"

August 19, 2016
Bonjour ma famille!!!
I feel like the MTC is FINALLY starting to pick up. I feel like our last P-day was just yesterday. This week I had the awesome opportunity to host 3 new sister missionaries coming into the MTC. As I waited on the curb for the new sisters- I got a complete flash back of 17 days ago when I was dropped off. I watched cars full of crying families pull up one by one to drop off their missionaries. My entire body just got the chills and it was the most surreal experience of my life (other than the day I arrived here). 
Me and Sister Goold after going to the Provo Temple
Oh man, I'm so glad I never have to say goodbye to my family ever again. As the cars pulled up- I would walk up to one with a sister missionary in it and say, "Hi! Welcome to the MTC. You must be the Mom? I'm Sister Jones. I am going to take great care of your daughter. Oh! And you must be the missionary? Where are you going Sister Collins? Wow- Washington State! That is so awesome. Okay so you're going to get about 2-3 minutes to say your goodbyes and then I am going to take you to class okay? I'm going to take really good care of her!" And then the hugs and tears happened and I would take the Sister off on her way to start the most amazing journey of her life. Such a cool job. I get to host again this Wednesday!
Studying, Studying, Studying
I love the simplicity of the gospel. I love it I love it I love it. Too often we get caught up in things in the church that distract us from our main focus. If there is one aspect of the gospel I would say is the MOST important, it would be our personal relationship with Heavenly Father. Sometimes when we have an issue with the church (baptism at a young age, church history, Joseph Smith, etc.) we go to blogs, friends, and books for our answers. But our first source should ALWAYS be Heavenly Father. He will guide you and answer your questions through prayer and through the Book of Mormon. Whenever an investigator here at the MTC asks a question, we always try and relate it back to the simple doctrines and principles of the gospel. God is your LOVING Father in Heaven. The Book of Mormon can provide answers to your questions. The Holy Ghost  can let you know the truth of ALL things.
My District. All of us are going to Lyon except for 2 who are going to Canada
If people's testimonies are built off of logic or science, they will eventually hit a wall. You MUST find out for yourselves if this gospel is true. You must have experiences that build your faith otherwise your testimony will eventually break. I know this gospel is true and REAL because I have found out for myself. Because I have a real relationship with Heavenly Father. This gospel requires faith. It requires faith that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and his Son. It requires faith that God answers our prayers. It requires faith that we will see our families again after this life. But FAITH builds real, solid testimonies. 
I can see my progress in French! Peu a peu it comes. I can understand soo much more when my French teacher gives our lessons than I could at the beginning. And honestly- that is all that matters. That I feel like I'm progressing. Even if its just a couple new words a day. No, I'm not fluent in French. I definitely don't understand half the things my investigators ask me either. But I feel like I know more French than when I got here!! French is the most beautiful language.  French is the best!! My companion and I also try to practice our French whenever we are walking somewhere. It is fun to have people look at us when we are in line for food (speaking in French) and ask us where we are going. 
My Next Door Neighbor, Parker Ribgy going to New Mexico
The message I feel that has stood out to me most this week, is that I cannot do this work on my own. Literally- without the holy ghost I am nothing. My Dad, Uncle Harland, and devotional speaker this Tuesday, Bonnie Oscarson, reminded me of this. The holy ghost so hard to explain. It doesn't makes logical sense explaining it. It HAS to be felt and experienced. The holy ghost requires faith. Every single time we teach a lesson in French, I try my best but honestly don't know what anyone is saying half the time. But when I have faith and just OPEN my mouth, the holy ghost testifies of the truth to the investigator. The holy ghost is REAL. 

Packages. Mommmmmyyyy thank you for the homemade cookies. I love you. Grandma Gayle. I was so confused when I got the package from Amazon with a ping pong kit in it because it didn't say who it was from on it. 

But I totally guessed it was you. Harland and Hayes family!!! The Krispy Kreme donuts were so delicious. I shared them with my whole district. Thank you for thinking of me.
Broccoli Surprise
-MOM!!!!!!!!!! HAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA. Okay. So I went to go pick up a package. When the man behind the desk handed me the package he said, "Um this package smells kind of funny. If there is anything perishable, I would suggest NOT eating it." I'm all.... uhhhh okayyy. So I take the package and Sister Goold and I are like WHAT is in here?! It smells like 50 year old beans and broccoli. So we go outside to open the package and suddenly we get a huge wiff of broccoli. I look in my package and there is just a bag of yellowish green/ wet broccoli. HAHAHAHHA!!!! The dress my mom sent me in the package had a very strong odor of broccoli as well as everything in the package. It was so funny. So thank you mom for the silly broccoli surprise. I loved it but maybe next time don't send anything that has to be refrigerated. Lol. 
Package from My Family
-Today my companion and I are going to send one of the Elders in our district a fake note from his old girlfriend. Just because we make fun of him for proposing in high school every day. So I will keep you updated how that goes. 

I love being a missionary and can't believe I'm half way done with the MTC. 

J'taime!!!  Soeur Jones

 A BAT was in our hall. They made us evacuate the floor at 10 pm so they could get the bat out

Me and Sister Roloff eating chips while we wait for the bat to leave

Week 2 "A Better Version of Abby Jones"

August 12, 2016

"And the Lord said unto [me]: Go forth among the [people of France] and establish my word; yet ye shall be patient with [rejection, bad days, difficult companions, and discouragement] that [you] may show forth good examples unto them in me, and I will make an instrument of thee in my hands unto the salvation [and happiness] of many souls." Alma 17:11
At the Provo temple with some missionaries from my district
Has anyone ever seen the movie or read the book, The Giver? You know the part where the giver scoots Jonah really close to him right before he is about to give him the memory of death and says, "Jonas, there is no way for me to prepare you for what is about to happen." And Jonas says, "I'm ready, I'm ready! Give it to me." And the the giver looks at Jonas cautiously and  grips Jonas' hands and... kasjdfoijq; vlektjikrejfkjdsfklj BAMMMMMM, memory of death happens. WELL... that is what a mission feels like. It's like you KNOW it's going to be hard. People keep telling you it is going to be hard. And you've prepared the best you can, but there is still no way possible to prepare for the shock of the mission. The first couple days here, I know I sounded happy. But I actually wanted to go home. The thought occurred to me, how would I even tell my parents, "I want to go home." I honestly didn't know if I could do a mission. But turns out, I'm still here. And I love it more every single day. Change just takes time to get used to. 
Soer Goold and I joined the MTC choir. It is the coolest experience!!

Obedience has been an interesting concept to me here on the mission. They are always emphasizing EXACT obedience. It was really difficult for me in the beginning because I am much more of a "spirit of the law" person than a "letter of the law" person. At first, obedience felt like they were trying to make me into someone I was not. I have a fear of becoming a robot missionary and I just really didn't like the concept of exact obedience because I felt robotic. However, I talked to my French teacher, Frere Kellett, and he really gave me a whole new perspective on things. We are asked to develop Christ like attributes, not become Christ clones. Heavenly Father doesn't say, "Become Christ" but rather "Become like Christ." On my mission, I am not supposed to become a different person, but rather a better version of myself. A better version of Abby Jones. 
Elder Keller and Elder Fox...Two of my favorite friends from OLY High School!

This week I experienced the Gift of Tongues. Whenever people would say they experienced "The Gift of Tongues," I imagined them all the sudden being able to understand French, suddenly speaking French fluently in that exact moment. And I'm sure that DOES happen to people and that probably will happen to me. But I realized that the Gift of Tongues is the holy ghost testifying the truth to our investigator even if I only speak 5 words in broken French. We just finished our last lesson with our investigator, Nathan, yesterday. It was so scary to speak French when I literally only know like 30 words max. But I prepared the BEST I could and went in there trusting God would testify the truth of our message. There was a moment where I testified to Nathan that Jesus Christ can take away all our sins and can make us feel more peace in our life. There was silence in the room and Nathan's face changed. The holy ghost testified to Nathan the truth. That was soooo cool. The Gift of Tongues is real. 
Souer Jones and Elder Finlayson (another great friend from High School at the MTC)

Elder Anderson from the Quorum of the 12 apostles came and spoke to us for Tuesday devotional. When he speaks, you can just feel he is a real apostle and knows what he is talking about. I'm pretty sure Elder Holland is coming this week. Whatttttttt. That would be cool. 

-The other night, I undid my bun from my hair. My hair was literally a giant frizz. So then I fluffed my hair up more and made a puff on top of my head. It looked sooooo funny. The girls in my room were on the ground laughing. Then me- being me- decided to go out in the hall to see what people would do. I heard one girl down the hall say, "what is that puff ball in the hall?" And another girl said, "I love your hair." And another girl just walked past me with really wide eyes and then just burst out laughing once she passed me. AHAHAHAHA lol I am so weird. 
My Puff Ball Hair

-In our language class we get so distracted every day. We talked about French food for 2 hours the other day. Raclette and croissants and Kbabs and cheese. Ahhh we are all so excited.

-Some guy in my district got engaged in high school. Lol. They broke it off recently. 

The first day at the MTC we sang "Armies of Helaman." But instead of saying, "we will be the Lord's missionaries" we sang "we are NOW the Lord's missionaries." That was so powerful. I am grateful to be apart of this awesome work. 

Thank you sooooooooo much for your packages and letters this week. It literally kept me going. Shout out to ABBEY RASCH for sending me yummy homemade cookies... I love you and that totally made my whole day. Shout out to Kristen Keller for the notebook you gave me before I left... I use it every single day here in the MTC. Shout out to my family for the kindest cards ever and best packages. Ahhhhhhh I have the best family in the world. 

Yummy cookies from my Daddy

 My district celebrating with the cookies that Jason Jones sent us. Elder Thompson, Perry, Amison, Sorensen, Jacobson, Pistol, Sister Huntsman, Allen, Goold, and JONESSS


Love, Soeur Jones

Seriously the best day of my life getting this package full of letters and homemade peanut butter balls from my family

My companion trying to escape from the MTC


Week 1 "FIRST P DAY"

August 5, 2016

Helloooooo!!!! I am so lucky because I get a P-day 2 days after arriving here. Most people have to wait a week. First of all- I have an awesome companion, Sister Goold. She is from Washington D.C. and we were actually in the same ward at BYU this year. We BOTH we pre nursing majors and BOTH got into the nursing program and are BOTH starting the same semester (winter 2018). So that's pretty cool.

Sister Goold is easy going, positive, motivated and willing to try new things. For example, our first day here, we were sitting in class and she said, "Let's join choir, I've heard its good." So... we are probably going to join the MTC choir! She also loves the simplicity of the gospel- just like me. She never tries to over complicate anything. She always makes it sounds so simple. I already feel so much love for Sister Goold and feel so blessed that I got a great companion.

Sister Goold and I are both spirit of the law type of people. So sometimes we'll be like, "eh, we can wait a couple minutes to turn off the lights." But they keep emphasizing exact obedience here, so we made a goal to both work on being exactly obedient. Obviously this will be a process throughout the mission. But we are going to try. I just don't want to turn into a robot- but I also want to be a good, obedient missionary. My branch president, President Dowling, said something good that I liked though. He said, "It is not so much a big deal to wake up at EXACTLY 6:30, as it is that you are being obedient." So basically, is it really going to make a difference if you get up at 6:30verses 6:34? Probably not. But its the fact that you are being OBEDIENT that matters. That helped my perspective on things.
Soeur Allen, Soeur Goold, Soeur Huntsman, Soeur Jones at the Provo Temple

The language. The first day I walked into class and they just started blabbering to me in French and I had no idea what was going on. The first day also felt like 28479 years. But like everyone says- the days start picking up as time goes on. I know it will just take time to get used to this crazy tiring, rigorous schedule. I am working on memorizing "Preach My Gospel Missionary purpose" in French right now with my companion. "Invite les gens a venir au Christ en les adaint a recevoir....". I am so excited to eventually be able to speak French. One thing I have realized about the language- is I just have to go for it. Even if I mess up or sound dumb, I HAVE to start somewhere.
Our French District
The food tastes way good here because I am so hungry by the time I get to eat. We also eat at 4 or 5:00 which is kind of early. After dinner we still have like 4 hours of class. It's crazy. We literally go to class ALL DAY. 
Taking a break after reading "Preach My Gospel Missionary Purpose" in French

-there is always that one missionary that is just the classic "I know everything" missionary. We were in zone conference and our zone leaders asked us to read the white handbook with our companion by Sunday. The Sister in front of me raised her hand and asked, "So... what if we've already read the entire white handbook?" uhhhhhhh. Everyone in the room just went silent and our zone leaders told her to read it again. Lol I just laughed under my breath.
Girls in my District: Soeur Jones, Goold, Allen, Huntsman

-My companion and I begged people for coins to use in the vending machine because we only had $20 bills. A girl in our room finally gave us some. We get SOOO hungry at night because we eat way too early. So we always just wander to the vending machines at about 9:00

We pray so much here. It is kind of insane. I think we prayed 13 times yesterday. Pray before lessons, before meals, before you leave, when you wake up, when you go to bed... you get the idea. We pray a lot. It is cool to communicate so often with Heavenly Father. 
                             Me and Sorella Roloff (my close friend from Olympus going to Italy)

My advice for the week is to prepare NOW like you are going on a mission. Pray often. Study sincerely. Create a REAL relationship with Heavenly Father. Even if you have already been on a mission, have never been on a mission, or aren't planning on ever going on a mission... prepare like you are going to go. Because something I realized day one I got here- was that I'm not going to all the sudden just be this stellar, prepared missionary JUST because I am on a mission now. I am now Soeur Jones, but I am still Abby. Even though I don't know everything, and I'm not a perfect missionary, I have been preparing. I am grateful for that. 

I feel SOOO happy, even though I'm exhausted. Whenever I feel tired or down on myself, I just look down and my name tag and it makes it all worth it. I LOVE WEARING THIS NAME TAG. It is truly an amazing experience, just to be a missionary. 

I love you all. Pray that I will have the energy to do this EVERY DAY. I will pray for you back home.  I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!

Love, Soeur Jones



August 3rd
Bags are packed and Abby's ready for the MTC!

One last family photo before dropping Abby in Provo. 


At the MTC, Abby ran into our neighbor, Miles Keller, who will  be serving in Milan Italy. 

HELLO! I am alive and well. UMMMMMMM guess who my companion is.... SISTER GOOLD. Like WHAT?! Oh I got so lucky. She is the most easy going, kind, best companion. I feel so blessed to have her as my companion. I literally died when I found out she was my companion. I was walking with my host to my room and I said, "I can't wait to find out who my companion is." And she said, "Oh her name is Sister Goold." And I was like "WHATTTTT!!" I know her already. Sister Goold and I are already planning to go to areobics/yoga together tomorrow morning at 6:00am. So that will be fun. 
After I left you guys I turned the corner and just got the biggest grin on my face. I was sent to get my name tag and books and all I could think was, "this is it. THIS IS IT!! I am a missionary. I love wearing a name tag and I already love being a missionary. The MTC is kind of overwhelming and we never stop moving (or at least that's how it felt today). Right after I dropped my stuff off in my room- I went straight to my language class. My teacher asked me a question in French right when I got there and I had no idea what he was talking about (OBVIOUSLY I didn't know what he was talking about.. I don't know French yet...haha). But I will at one point!!! 
The food is exactly the same as the cannon center. Tonight for dinner I had a crispy chicken and weird potatoes. But I am used to the food from BYU last year, so I will live:) 
Today I saw Nate Fox, Ryan Lunt, Miles Keller, and Carly Rolloff (all friends from Olympus). They all seem so happy! 
Okay well they are telling me to stop emailing, but I love you all SO MUCH!!!!
P.S. My P-Days are on Friday. So I will be emailing you guys again in 2 days.
Love, Soeur Jones
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