Week 8 "A Really Nice Week"

September 26, 2016
 Our adventure in the rain to find Madame Gazagne's house

Hello again! 
This week we had a sweet little miracle on the top of a green hill in southern France. Our mission president, President Brown, has really emphasized sharing the importance and value of the temple with people here in France. It is important to "begin with the end goal in mind." Which I think is pretty amazing. Because so often we picture baptism for our investigators as the end goal. Like "If I can just get them baptized then they'd be so happy." But baptism is just another step in the journey. In fact, it's really just the beginning step of faith. So when we teach, we have been trying to start with the temple. 
Rainbow after the rainstorm

Show our ami's how amazing the blessings of the temple are. (You can be with your family forever, you can feel more peace and happiness here, you can feel of the savior's love here.) The coolest part, is that the Paris temple is being finished THIS VERY MOMENT. We show our ami's this beautiful temple video in French (Strength Beyond My Own) and afterwards tell them how in order to enter this beautiful house, you must keep the commandments, get baptized, etc. This way- baptism isn't this HUGE daunting goal. And they know our expectations and goals for them from the very beginning.
Paris Temple almost complete

This week we started teaching a new ami. Madame Gazagne is this sweet, 79 year old woman. It took us so long to find her house because it was literally on a random hilltop in Nice. As we walked to her house up a very steep hill, it started to rain. Okay... I love rain. I love it I love it I love it. And with the city of Nice and Mediterranean sea below us, just pouring rain, so unreal. 

We finally found her house and just got to know this very sweet old woman. As we sat in her basement, with the back door open (the rain pouring outside and thundering), her orange cat napping on the couch, and us sharing the beautiful message of the gospel, and our savior Jesus Christ- time stood still for just a moment. It was indescribable. We showed her the video of the temple, and she just started weeping. The Holy Ghost flooded the room and I felt so much love for this 79 year old French woman next to me on the couch. When we finished the video of the temple, she looked at us with wet eyes and said, "I'm sorry, I don't know why I'm crying." We testified to her of the reality of this message. That God loved her and gave us temples because he loves us. We asked her to be baptized so that she could go to the temple and she nodded her head. It was just a sweet miracle. It testified to me that there REALLY are people who have been preparing to hear this message. Madame Gazagne has been waiting 79 years to hear this message of the restored gospel and is so prepared. 
"Zone meeting!" (elders in Corsica are in our zone, facetimeing us in the bottom corner). 
Hogan Blackham (my neighbor) is in the left corner.

Our Ward building looks like a temple. 

"Nice" Ward

"Aloha"!!! Hugging a palm tree outside our ward building.

I LOVE THE NICE WARD. For some reason I had this stereotype in my head that my France ward would be all these proper French people drinking tea. Haha. But my ward is insane. Like the adults are all hilarious and just all over the place all the time. We had a ward lunch after Church yesterday. Now this lunch was no "throw our the Costco cookies and some cups of water" lunch". No- it was full on home cooked meal with all these delicious French desserts. A woman named Violeta in our ward made the best food I have ever tried. It was this creamy, yellow, chicken, vegetable dish that you put over rice. When I asked her for the recipe, she just laughed and told me she just threw some stuff in a pot. WHAT ON EARTH?! Why are French people magicians at cooking? They appreciate good cookin like no other. After our feast, Violeta passed out cantiques (hymn books) and we all sang songs as loud as we could. Oh man, I love this ward with all my heart. 
Our friend Claude, took us out to pizza. The pizza was HUGE!

Also, someone SO awesome in our ward, is our DMP, Elton (in charge of the missionary work in our ward). He texts us everyday to keep up on how the work is going and gives us advice on how to improve. Elton is from New Caledonia and joined the church 3 years ago. (Shout out to hezzy in New Caledonia... Hez, I seriously meet so many people from New Caledonia here and I tell them about you and show them your tribal pics. They wanted to know what tribe you're in hahaha) This week he went out contacting with us. (Contacting is just where you basically go up to people on the street and bus and talk to them about the gospel and try to find new amis). Elton has no fear and just goes up to everyone on the street. He is so kind and just LOVES the gospel. He just is so easy to be friends with. We were able to talk to SO many people when he worked with us and gave 2 lessons on the road. Members are VITAL in missionary work. 
"Elton", our DMP helping us contact. He has his original Book of Mormon

-Oh dear oh dear. This week we were all on the bus late at night. We were with the 4 other Elders in our district all standing up. I bent down for a quick moment to fix my shoe. As I was bent down, the bus came to a quick halt. I tumbled backwards in a little ball in the middle isle of the bus. I squealed on the ground in half French half English. I tumbled into Elder Peron (from Northern France) But he just looked at me and didn't know how to help me because Sisters and Elders can't really touch each other. And my companion, Soeur Holmgren was just dying laughing. Everyone on the bus was looking at me just helpless on the bus floor. BAHAHAHAHA. Bless my heart. 
Souer Barras. She is a member in our Nice ward. 93 years old. So spunky and fabulous. She fed us ice cream

Another cute little thing that I love that French people do... Whenever we are teaching a member, or ami, or anyone, they love to give us treats. They ALWAYS bring out a tray with little baked goods on it. Or ice cream cones. Or homemade cake. I am embracing all the wonderful food here. 

Even though I'm living in such a beautiful place in the world, I'm still a missionary. And YES it is an amazing experience to be a missionary. But I also feel my self growing a lot, which means a lot of discomfort too. I must remind myself every single day to be patient with myself as a learn. As outgoing of a person I am, it is REALLY hard for me to talk to people here in France. It is so out of my comfort zone. I get so nervous to start conversations in a language I can barely understand. But this week (and for the rest of my mission), I am working on faith. And for the rest of my life for that matter. It is so hard to just put our COMPLETE trust in God and have faith in him. Because sometimes it doesn't make sense. I think "God, you want me to open my mouth to this woman next to me on the bus? But God... I don't even know French! How am I supposed to talk to her about the atonement of Jesus Christ when I don't even know how to say "Where are you from?" It doesn't make sense God!" But that's just it. That is where faith comes in. Sometimes it won't make logical sense. But we have to trust God that he knows what he is doing and he is a God of MIRACLES. We must have courage to take a step of faith.

I love you. I love you. I love you. I also miss you a lot. But I wouldn't rather be anywhere else right now except for my mission. In France. In NICE!

Love, Soeur Jones

                                         Favorite Hymn in France

Pday activities and photos:

Our adventure through the wilderness this morning with the Elders

This photo is for Eliza. I couldn't believe what I found in the woods!

Elder Sauro (from Canada) failing at trying to find the caves. He slipped down the mountain.


Week 7 "NICE"

Bonjour tout le monde!!! Or should I say alohhaaa? Ok. So first of all, I'm in Nice. 

When I found out I was going to Nice for my first area my heart just jumped so high. My trainer is Soeur Holmgren and she is so rad. She is such a good missionary and really just wants me to be happy here. She is so cute to me. Our first night in Nice, we went to town and bought a warm baguette, gouda cheese, and salami. We ate it on our deck and just enjoyed the city lights of Nice with our very classic French meal.
Souer Jones with her New Companion, Soeur Holmgren

There is no possible way for me to describe what the south of France looks like to you. Especially the Cote d'Azur where I live. Each morning at 6:30, we go on a run along the coast of the beach. We aren't allowed to go on the actual beach yet because there are naked people. Buttt- the beach rule ends in October sooo... we can go on the beach in 2 weeks. As we run along early in the morning, we see the endless ocean, palm trees, and morning sunrise just starting to begin.
It is truly magical. I feel like I am in Hawaii /California/  France.

There are green rolling hills everywhere with tiny little homes embedded into the hill. The homes are painted beige, pale yellow, cream, and red with kind of Southern California style red roofs. The color of the ocean is so blue that it could be the color of a crayon. Ok- and the train ride along the Cote d'Azur is UNREAL. During the entire train ride, my face was just pressed against the window. I honestly need 4 eyes to take everything in here. Everywhere I look it's something beautiful.

I love President and Soeur Brown so much. They are so in love with each other and just have the cutest relationship. Soeur Brown is totally spunky and fabulous. She had us play some nerf gun game here the second day and that was funny. President Brown is the most in-tune with the spirit man that I have ever met. He is so reasonable and loves us so much that it makes me want to be the best missionary I can
be. He also believes that we are capable of so much. He inspires me, he really does.

Sooooo- Soeur Holmgren and I opened up a new missionary companionship in Nice. There haven't been sisters in Nice for almost a year now. We are completely white washing the area. Which basically means we had no ami's (investigators) to start with. We just had to start over from scratch with finding new people to hear the gospel. Both of us are new
to this area so we kind of just fly by the seat of our pants to find new ami's on the streets. Um- my fist day contacting was the scariest experience of my life. HAHAHAH. Like- okay. Contacting is the ultimate test of vulnerability!

 "Hi, my name is Soeur Jones. I left my country for 2 years to be in this country to talk to you (who I've never met until now). And here is my testimony- my whole heart and soul." And then you wait for them to walk away or keep talking to you.

The second day here we got off the bus and my companion just said, "Okay. Let's contact for a couple hours." We were in downtown Nice and my companion just went up to a woman and introduced ourselves. She wasn't interested. Same thing happened a lot of times. I felt like a weak little limp noodle as I watched my companion contact people. I
didn't talk to anyone the first day. So the next day I was dreading contacting because I knew I just had to do it. We were walking down the street and I walked up to a lady, "Bonjour, Je suis Soeur Jones. Je vien des Etats Unis. Je suis venu dans votre pays pendant 18 moins partager une message au sujet de Jesus Christ."  She listened to me curiously, smiled, and said, "No merci." And walked away. And GUESS WHAT? I walked away just completely grinning from ear to ear. I didn't even care that she said no. It just felt so good to share the gospel and not feel disheartened with "No."

For the rest of the night we contacted people. As we were on our way to catch the tram, we passed an old woman and a man talking on a bench. While we waited to cross the street, I turned to my comp and said, "I think we need to go back and talk to those people on the bench." So we turned around and went to talk to them. In the beginning they thought we were nice but, they weren't interested because they were Catholic. But we asked the woman about God in her life. She told us how she had lost a daughter many years ago and wanted to know why. After she finished talking, I looked at her straight in the eye and said (in broken French), "My Uncle Brandon died this last Christmas. I know I will see him again. I know that your family can be together again. I know God loves you." Her eyes started watering and the whole mood changed. She looked at me and said, "I feel that you know what you are saying is true with all your heart." The woman told us that God sent us as angels to her right at that exact moment. It was such a sweet experience. The holy ghost is real and directs me while I am on this mission. People can feel the holy ghost when we speak to them. There is NO denying it. There is just this force of love, peace, and
goodness between us and them. It is absolutely amazing.
 Missionary work is exhausting. I just fell over on the ground the first full day because my feet felt so heavy and my body so weak. But it is also the most fulfilling job in the world. Helping people know of the goodness of God and helping them change for the better. I love Nice. I love France.

Beaucoup d'amour , Soeur Jones




Abby's Arrival, companion and New Area

September 14, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,
Abby arrived safely in Lyon yesterday. Today they were assigned their new area and trainers.
Abby was called to Nice, France with Sister Holmgreen. Please see her new mailing address. All of her updated contact information is on this blog under "contacts".
Thanks for your prayers, love and support. Her updates will be posted on Friday. 

France Lyon Mission

7:58 AM (49 minutes ago)
to SisterSisterme

Dear Parents,
Sister Jones has been assigned a wonderful trainer/companion Sister Holmgren.  They are serving in Nice, France. Their address is:
Les Missionnaires
Sister Jones
101 Blvd François Grosso
06000 Nice
Please address all mail or packages in this format.  See the attachments for a picture of  Sister Jones & her Trainer/Companion.
We are grateful to have your wonderful daughter in our mission!

With Warmest Regards
Soeur Sweeney, Mission Secretary
Mission Française de Lyon

Week 6 "Au Revoir MTC..."

September 9, 2016
My MTC District

I leave in twoooooo dayssssss. Akljdslkfjnvkldj KJ Fi9384yu idhafkjhkfja!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so excited to fly off to France on Monday! I am ready to not eat cafeteria food from the MTC anymore. I am ready to buy a baguette with some moldy regional cheese! I can't wait to find out the first area I will serve in. I had a dream my first area was Annecy or Anise or something. Or somewhere on the southern tip. We'll see if that dream comes true. 
Soeur Cochain!!! She left for Temple Square mission this week. She is from Paris but served in Lyon for 4 months waiting for her visa before this. I love her and she is the jolliest French person i've ever met.

This week I felt a little discouraged with the language. I haven't felt that way a ton. But this week I did. And I know I'll feel that way in France in the beginning. My french teacher wrote 4 peoples names on the board. Those 4 people had to teach solo lessons in French. I was one of those people. I felt a little down on myself because I felt like the 4 people he picked were the people who didn't speak as much French and spoke less in lessons. The solo lesson forced me to really listen and try and speak as much french as I could. Sigh. I know the language will come. Preach my gospel says, "Powerful testimony is not dependent on eloquence or the volume of your voice but on the conviction of your heart." I know this to be true. I will bear testimony and try my hardest to help people in France come unto Christ even if I speak the worst French ever. There are a lot of people in this world who can speak French well. But not a lot of people in the is world who can testify with all the conviction of their heart that they KNOW Jesus Christ loves them. That God is our father and can help us if we choose to turn to him. That the Book of Mormon is the word of God and can give us personal revelation if we study it. I have a testimony. I am constantly being converted to the Lord. And that's why I'm on a mission. Jesus Christ is REAL. He LIVES!

Frère Kellett's last day with us! (our French teacher)

This week I came across the word "born again" in Mosiah 27:25. I decided to study it because I didn't understand fully what it meant. I decided being "born again" meant to be converted. Conversion is a change of heart. "Turn ye even to me with ALL your heart." Turn your desires around. Turn your thoughts and actions to me. Turning takes PHYSICAL work. It isn't just like "ehh... I'll just glance at Christ with my eyes." NO. The scriptures say TURN. That takes effort. Repentance takes effort. Changes takes effort. But when we TURN to Christ ( not just our actions but our thoughts and desires)... he can lead and mold us into something soooo beautiful. I know that because I'm experiencing it. There I things that I need to try and change every day. But repentance feels so good. Repentance is literally improvement. It's changing for the better. Who wouldn't want that?? This week, Todd D. Christofferson said "when you testify of repentance, you testify of the Savior." THAT is WHY as missionaries we preach repentance. Because it turns people to the Savior and allows them to rely on him.

For me, conversion is tasting of God's goodness. Receiving a witness from the holy ghost that it is true. (So you KNOW what you felt/ experienced was right and REAL). And because of that, choosing to follow Christ and be baptized. Being spiritually reborn. Becoming someone NEW and leaving behind the old habits, mistakes, state of mind... and from there- continuing in the faith. Enduring to the end. And sharing that sweet joy and knowledge with others who don't have it/ need it. Conversion is a cycle. It is a life long process. In fact- conversion is just like the missionary purpose. Faith, repentance, baptism (continue taking the sacrament each week, and improving), gift of the Holy Ghost (strive to always have it), and enduring to the end. THIS is how we change, improve, and progress. THIS is how we become like Christ. 
The Elders all wearing matching ties

Todd D. Christofferson came and spoke to us this week. As a choir, we sang "Sweet Hour of Prayer" and it was so powerful.  

 " And since he bids me seek his face,
Believe his word, and trust his grace,
I'll cast on him my ev'ry care
And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!"

He talked about how testifying of repentance is testifying of Jesus Christ. Giving people access to the atonement. A chance to feel free and improve. When we repent- we feel of Jesus Christ's love and grace. He also said, "it is greater to be trusted than loved." And at first I didn't really understand that. But when you trust someone, you also love them. But giving someone your trust is so vulnerable. God loves ALL his children, but he doesn't trust all of them. It made me think, "Does God trust me? Can he trust me to keep my word and be a servant of his?" I sure hope so. I just loved hearing Elder Christofferson speak. I felt so at peace. He wasn't condescending or too in your face. He was just gentle but still powerful. He has so much wisdom. Elder Christofferson is a real apostle of the Lord. He is a good man. I felt truth when he testified. I felt a feeling of peace. 
My cutest friend Brittany. I was best buddies with her last year.
 She does dishes at the MTC.

- The other day Soeur Goold and I were sitting in the classroom with 2 other elders. I was trying to show them my botox face ...I gave them a very good laugh.  My companion may or may not have wet her pants in the process of this commotion. HAHAHAHAH. 
- An elder in our district (also not to be named) had a "revelatory" dream. And let's just say that now he thinks my companion my be his future wife. 
Our celebration party. I put easy cheese on a slim jim and ate it. ha!!! We are getting our last fill of processed American food.

I have absolutely loved the MTC. I have learned so much here. I have loved my teacher, Frère Kellett. He has given me so much good advice. But I am so excited for the REAL DEAL. I can't wait to embrace yet ANOTHER new adventure. I leave at 11:00 am Monday morning to Virginia... then Paris... then LYON! The next time you hear from me I may be wearing a beret, eating a baguette, and playing the accordion! Ha jk. I'm gonna be preaching the gospel!!!!!!!!!! 
Bunt cake from Sister Pistole! Celebration!

Bon Voyage! Je t'aime beaucoup! Love, Soeur Jones 



September 2, 2016
My District Celebrating with Vitamins from my Dad

One month mark! How in the world did that even happen?! 

Me and Sister Goold after the temple this morning.

This week was pretty exciting actually. Yesterday we had to evacuate our building and MOVE to a different residence hall because BATS have infested our building. They don't want us to get rabies and what not. Every day you just hear girl screaming because they find a bat in their shoe or in their room. It's pretty funny actually. So yesterday, we all packed up our entire room and had the Elders in our district come and help us roll our bags to a different building. Actually we just gave the Elders our bags and made them carry everything while we walked beside them lol. 
Cleaning out our room

Moving out of our room.

Soeur Goold and I got to go on a little adventure this week and venture into the REAL WORLD. And by real world I mean Provo/ outside the walls of the MTC. But it felt like we were breaking the force field of the MTC. Soeur Goold got pink eye so we went in a little van to go pick up medicine in Rite Aide. While we were in line, we met a lady FROM FRANCE. We had no time so we had to hurry and say goodbye. But I asked her, "Parlez- vous francais?" And then she started blabbering off in fast french and my eyes got really wide and I had no idea what she was talking about. But it made me so exited to go to France and share the gospel with real people! It was crazy wearing name tags and speaking a little francais outside the walls of the MTC. Also- because Soeur Goold had pink eye, I made her a little eye patch so she could keep her eye shut.
Sister Goold and Sister Jones venturing out into the REAL world!

The eye patch I made for Soeur Goold. She is a pirate 

Soeur Goold and I were walking around campus taking a study break on Monday when a woman named Jen walked by. She was wearing a gold tag that said "guest." So my comp and I asked her if she worked here. She told us that she was an investigator and that she wasn't a member of the church. We got talking to her and ended up asking her if we could meet with her the next day and teach her about the gospel. She agreed and we were pretty excited. And then we found out she was actually a member just acting. BUT- we still got the chance to teach her in English! 
French Speaking District

We have taught her two lessons and have another one tomorrow. It's a lot of fun teaching lessons and praying in English because I haven't done that in a month. But I learned a little lesson for myself from this experience. The holy ghost is the one who converts. Still. Even in English when I understand and can speak just fine. The holy ghost is the one who converts. During the lesson, I found myself praying to know what to say next and how to help Jen. Even though our lesson flowed a lot smoother, the spirit the lesson was the EXACT same as when we teach in French. Such a good reminder to me that I must continually stay humble enough to let the holy ghost guide the lessons.
 This pic is for madeline. Soeur Huntsmans mom sent us fresh peaches!!!!

This week I had some revelation about the relationship between missions and marriage. We build up this idea in our minds of what a mission is. In the back of our mind, we know it will be hard- but often times the superficial fluff clouds that vision. Clouds our REAL purpose as missionaries. The thrill of opening a mission call, the chance of going to a cool place in the world, the cute mission pics we'll take before departing, the amount of people who will attend our farewell, the yummy cupcakes at our going away party, the idea of being in a foreign country. Fluff fluff fluff flufff FLUFF. All fun stuff don't get me wrong, but fluff. When all this melts away, it's a mission. It's raw and it's real. So similar to marriage. After the cute engagement photos, fancy reception food, dream wedding dress, and honeymoon... it's marriage. It's great. But it's real. Are we getting married for the right reasons after ALL the fluff is taken away? Are we going on missions for the right reasons when ALL the fluff is taken away? A good question to ask ourselves. Serve a mission because you love the Lord. You love how the gospel has helped you in your life so you WANT to share it with others. Get married because you care about and love your significant other. Because you are willing to work together when times get hard. Clear away the fluff and focus on what matters most. 

It's starting to get pretty real now. We received our flight plans today and I leave to France in 10 days. I am nervous because I still feel like my french is just the same as it was about 2 weeks ago. But I am ready and excited to start yet another new adventure. 
Elder Pistole trying to fix the vent. Elder Perry helping him out lol

My top 5 favorite things about the MTC
1. I have the best teacher, Frere Kellet, who gives us so many words of wisdom. He encourages us to be better and work hard without being annoying or self righteous. 
2. The desert here is honestly pretty good. HA! The peanut butter chocolate pie. YUM. Soeur Goold and I both love desserts. Grateful she is not one of those people that only eats salad and water. 
3. I get to go to the temple once a week. And I get to WALK to the temple cause its so close.

4. My district is hilarious and all so diverse. 
5. I have a companion who I feel like I relate to so much. She is real and has such cool insight on the scriptures and life. She also encourages me to be more athletic. We always feel much better after we run around the field every day. This week we ran about 10 miles all together! (We run 3 times a week)
My Mom sent me this shirt

On Sunday for our Sunday night film, we watched "Legacy." For those of you who have seen this film, you know the part when "David" and "Eliza" are about to kiss after their first date on the porch? Well right when they were leaning in everyone in the room stared off in a low, "ooooohhhhhh." And then they kissed.. and the ENTIRE MTC broke out into screaming and whooping noises. AAHAHAHHAHAH Sister Goold and I were dying. Just like- where even are we? I guess people here are just very deprived of romance lol. I just embraced it and laughed. Ohhhh the good old MTC. 
- I am 87% convinced that the vegetables they feed us here are actually hamster food. Like little bits of corn, beans, peas... yep hamster food. Madeline, I think they stole it from Teddy's cage and snuck it into the MTC. 

10 days from now I will be on a flight to Lyon. Trust in the Lord. Have faith. Be present. 

LOVE, Soeur Jones

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