Week 12 "Happy Halloween!"

Halloween Homeade Peanut Butter Cups with Soeur Holmgren

Ah! Can I just say how much I love fall/ Halloween? I love this season because I have so many sweet memories from this time of year. A warm home, homemade soup, ginger snaps, football season and sweatshirts. Mom and Dad dressing up in weird costumes, the leaves changing colors on Shadow Wood Circle, carving pumpkins, scary movies, and "This is the Place Haunted House" with my friends in Junior High. I love this time of year. And although the French people might not be as stoked about Halloween as I am, it's still a magical day! My companion and I are currently making home made peanut butter cups... and later today we are going bowling with the elders and a member in our ward.  TONIGHT we are eating at a members for FHE with them. So pas mal if
you ask me!

Blues Conference This Week

This week we traveled to Lyon for Blue's Conference. (Blue's are the new bees in the mission). They haven't had blues conference in over a year so we were really lucky to get it. It was suchhhhhh a HAPPY day to see Soeur Goold again. As well as all my old MTC district pals. Soeur Holmgren and I stayed at Soeur Goold's apartment. We got McDonals Mcflurries and Soeur Goold made us coconut chicken curry. She is an UNREAL cook. I'm praying that I'll be companions with her again just so she can cook for me... hehe.

Soeur Goold and Sour Jones Reunited

I loved what President Brown said at Blue's Conference. But more importantly, I loved what I felt and the PERSONAL revelation I received. What I got out of this conference is that it is okay to struggle and feel like this is hard. Because where there is discomfort, there is growth. And although I may feel weak, like I cannot do it... Heavenly Father is standing back, patiently waiting, not stepping in RIGHT away, because he knows I can do it. That is something I need to learn. And the only way to learn is by doing it by myself. He cannot do this mission for me. Sometimes we have to do what we don't want to do in order to become what we want to become.
Heavenly Father knows me. He knows what I need and what my weaknesses are. He knows how to make those MY weaknesses strong but it's going to take some struggling and effort to do so.

MTC District reunited

Another incredible personal revelation I received is that I have help on this mission. He talked about how Jesus Christ asked his father to take away the pain in the garden of gethsemane. How it was too much for him to bear, and if it be his father's will- remove this cup from me. Although his father didn't take away the pain, he sent an angle-Michael- to comfort and strengthen Jesus.

The scripture came into my mind- I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up. And I thought of my uncle Brandon. How he is one of those angels with my on my mission. Standing by my side and helping me have the strength to do this. Maybe Brandon needed to leave this earth when he did, so that he could be here as an angle for me on my mission. I love my uncle Brandon so much. And I talk about him a lot as a missionary. Because I know... I absolutely KNOW that I will see him again one day. Perfect and complete. I am so grateful for everything he taught me because he has made SUCH an impact on my life and on my mission.

Memories of Brandon

Train Ride from Lyon

Last week I wrote in my journal, "Something really amazing must be just around the corner. Because this week was another hard one." And sure enough, something really amazing was around the corner. We were sitting at our table weekly planning on Saturday, when our ami "Q"
called us. He told us he is still in Orleans visiting his brother, but that he will be back today. We asked him if he had prayed and he said, yes. We asked him how he felt when he prayed and he said... I felt a good feeling. I felt an emotion inside of me. He said how his life has been really difficult lately. How ever since he stopped basketball its been really hard and he doesn't know his place in life. But that ever
since he met me on the train, he has felt different. And how he knows something needs to change in his life. He said, I think you have what I need to help me. It was incredible to hear him open up to us. Everything that he said to us just blew me away. It was miracle after miracle after miracle. My companion and I were just looking at each other while he talked to us on speaker phone, with our jaws open and
gripping each others hands just silently squealing with joy.

We are going to meet with "Q" this week. I really have a lot of faith and hope in him. He didn't even believe in God when we first met him, and now just bit by bit his faith is growing. Pray that he will have a desire to continue to develop this faith. That his heart will soften and change.

"M" is are other rockin ami. She is SO RAD. When we met with her this week, we asked her where she was in the Book of Mormon. She pulled out her Book, and she was to page 150!!! And there were all these verses she had marked. It was such a proud "parent" moment. She hasn't gotten an answer to know if the book is true or not yet. But we
are patient with God's timing. She is determined to finish until the very end. Pray that she will give it a try to come to church. She hasn't come to any meetings yet. But we have faith in her!

A Family we visited in the mountains

Funnies: We were walking home from Kevin's apartment (dinner) last night, talking with the Elders. We were talking about halloween and what we were going to dress up as. Elder Zhu gave the suggestion that we dress up as TJ's (Jehovah's witnesses) and walk around with a stand. Um no. Okay and then Elder Zhu said, "I know, I can be rice!"
AHAHAHHAAHHA. I don't even know why but I literally lost it.

I loveeeeee the ward in Nice with all my heart. The members are incredible here. We met with Soeur Shimales this week, a recent convert from Ethiopia preparing to go to the temple. Every time we read a scripture, or she realizing something good, she makes a giant gasping noise like "wow! That is the best thing I have ever heard" noise. It is so cute. She was so excited as we showed her the things she needed to do in order to go to the temple. She smiled so big and nodded her head as we went through the list and she was able to check
off all the things she has ALREADY done.
As a missionary, I've realized how lucky we are to have the temple. People here prepare and prepare to go and are just so determined to make it to the temple. They are preparing for Paris by finding names for the ancestors. The temple is such a special gift. The spirit in the temple feels like Heaven on earth. I love the temple and cannot wait to go back when I'm done with my mission.

The Halloween package I received from my Dad!

Happpyyyyyy Halloweeeeennnnnn!!! Don't be out too late... cause last year there was a spooky man in a mask wandering around late at night.
Have so much fun and eat as much candy as you can!

Love Soeur Jones

We went bowling on Halloween (our Pday) with our new costumes sent from my Dad

Week 11 "JOY"

This week we got transfer calls and I found out....I'm staying in NICE with Soeur Holmgren!!! YAY! 
Our Amis. Quintin is on vacation right now for 2 weeks. So we haven't been able to meet with him. But he called us from his train to Paris! He called to say hi and ask us some questions he had about what it meant to be Mormon. The crazy thing about being a missionary, is you realize how simple the gospel is. And how when people ask questions like, "What does it mean to be a Mormon?" You have to really think... wait a sec, what DOES it mean to be a Mormon?" We REALLY hope he can meet with us when he gets home from vacation. 
Maite is so believing. Her love for Jesus Christ is inspiring! We are trying to help her understand the importance of coming to church right now. Because she still goes to her Evangelical meetings on Sundays. But something that is really cool about her... we gave her the Book of Mormon and she loves it. She was reading it during one of her Evangelical meetings and the pastor walked past her and said, "You shouldn't read that book. The Mormons are a sect." And she said, "Oh yeah?! Well this book talks about Jesus Christ in it so I am going to read the whole book until the very end." Hahaha she is so sassy I love it. 
Madame Gazagne hasn't been able to meet with us these past two weeks due to illness. But we really have faith that she can be baptized soon because she is so prepared.

French people know how to eat. I am blown away with how food tastes here. And how much time the French people take to sit down and talk and eat without rushing. Food is an experience in France, not a task. We went to Kevin's house last night for dinner. (Kevin has been a member a year, is from New Caledonia, and is currently the assistant to the mission leader in our ward.) We walked into Kevin's apartment last night (It was me, Soeur Holmgren, and the other 4 Elders in our district) and it was all "zen" feeling (that's a word French people love to use). It had candles everywhere, some soft church music playing, and smelled like Christmas. Kevin asked us what we wanted to drink, "Mango, Pina Colada, or Mojito." I expected him to bring out just a cup with some juice in it. But no. He brings out this full on tray with legitement Pina Coladas (no alcohol dont worry) with like a pineapple and everything.

 HA! I was like... where even am I? And the main meal he fed us was this delicious asian noodle thing. If there was a dish to describe what autumn would taste like... it was this dish. We ate SO much food at Kevin's... that when Soeur Holmgren and I were walking home, we were just hunched over we couldn't stand up straight. OHHHHH BOYYYYYY. 

This week was a little tough for me. I feel like there are so many expectations I am asked to live up to as a missionary. And also it's hard for me to feel where I'm needed. Because I speak and understand so little french, etc. That sometimes I wonder, am I even needed here? All I do is sit there during the entire lesson and smile and bear MAYBE a 20 second testimony. As a missionary I am asked to be exactly obedient, on time, happy, productive, organized, clean, focused, speak french, know the gospel principles, study preach my gospel, the list goes on and on and on. And this week I felt so bottled in I just wanted to scream, "I CAN'T BE EVERYTHING!!!' But then I remember all the talents and blessings God HAS given me. I am not everything, but I am enough. And one thing I will never lose is my trust in my Heavenly Father. And I think that is what President Nelson meant in his talk about joy. That even though I had a hard week and felt down on myself, I know Heavenly Father has a plan for me. I know that Jesus Christ is my friend and savior. And that things are going to be okay. Because of the gospel of Jesus Christ, I have a greater perspective. 

I studied a lot about joy this week. 

Alma 27:17-18 says
Now the joy of Ammon was so great even that he was full; yea, he was swallowed up in the joy of his God... Now was not this exceeding joy? Behold, this is joy which none receiveth save it be the truly penitent and humble seeker of happiness.

President Nelson says
"If we look to the world and follow its formulas for happiness, we will never know joy. The unrighteous may experience any number of emotions and sensations, but they will never experience joy! Joy is a gift for the faithful. It is the gift that comes from intentionally trying to live a righteous life, as taught by Jesus Christ.
He taught us how to have joy. When we choose Heavenly Father to be our God and when we can feel the Savior’s Atonement working in our lives, we will be filled with joy."

Joy doesn't come because of THINGS. Joy comes because of Jesus Christ. Because even if we feel depressed, lonely, frustrated, or just sad... we can look to Him and know that there is hope. That is why it is absolutely essential to make Jesus Christ the very core of our lives. To strengthen our relationship with Heavenly Father. And I know I say this every week. But the more I come to know my Heavenly Father, I understand how full of love he is. That is why I need him in my life. Because when I feel mad at the world, I can turn to Him and say, please help me. I need you with me. I absolutely could not do a mission without Heavenly Father by my side. I am so grateful for his companionship. 

Bisous! Soeur Jones 
I received three letters this week! 

Souer Holmgren captured this photo while I was on the bus reading the letter from Mom, Madeline and Eliza!  



This week Soeur Holmgren and I took a two day journey to Annecy to do her legality. And when we finally got there, they said... ops, sorry, it didn't work. Sooooo- we turned back around and went home to Nice.

Annecy Encore

 Haha. No but in all reality it was the best thing ever because 1. I got to stop in Lyon the night before and sleepover with my first companion SOEUR GOOLD and 2. Because we got to hang out in Annecy for 4 hours. 
When I saw my cute cute Soeur Goold I just ran into her arms and we completely embraced. It was the strangest thing seeing someone I spent 24 hours a day every day with for 6 weeks... and then not see her for 6 weeks... and then seeing her again. Ah! It was bizarre. We all slept over in Lyon and stayed up chatting and laughing and catching up for hours. I loved to see how much Soeur Goold has grown over these past few weeks.


 We have both learned so much and realized how different the field was from the MTC. Our testimonies have both deepened so much and we've become more tough. I didn't even realize how much I loved Soeur Goold until I saw her again. She is an amazing person and I am so lucky to have her as my first companion and friend. It was so fun to talk with her because we are both going through very similar situations right now with being new. We talked about feeling so out of french conversations, fear of contacting, both sharing 1 Nephi 11:17 with every ami, how much we love the French people and want so badly to communicate with them, becoming more obedient, etc. Just such a joy to catch up with that lovely girl. 
Annecy is the most beautiful ville I have ever seen. It is only 25 minutes outside of Geneva. When we arrived, it was pouring rain and very gloomy... my favorite. We walked around the park that has the mystical lake and swiss alps surrounding it. We also went into Vieux Annecy which was quite charming. A beautiful old canal, colorful homes, ivy crawling on the walls, outdoor cafés lining the canal. We had lots of fun strolling down the tiny roads of Vieux Annecy in the pouring rain. It was actually freezing cold and Soeur Holmgren was wearing SANDALS. Hahahah everyone was just staring at her. Her feet turned all red and swollen and numb. 
I am discovering more and more how the Lord really does prepare people to hear the gospel. Before my mission, I heard that, and I was kind of like, "Ok, yeah yeah." But now that I'm here, I realize that the people who are ready to hear the gospel, have been getting ready to hear it before I came (even if they didn't know it). Let me tell you how I discovered this. In my first couple weeks here in Nice, I'd say to Soeur Holmgren, "Ugh, if only we could get their number, schedule a rendez-vous with them, come over to their house, and teach them the gospel, they'd feel they spirit and WANT to join our church." 

Well- turns out, there have been some REALLY nice people I have met. Who HAVE invited us over to their house and we HAVE taught them and they DID feel the spirit. But, they chose not to meet with us again. Why? Because they are not ready to hear the gospel. That is why it is so vital to pray to find and search for the people who are ready. I am on a mission to find those people who are prepared and ready to accept the message of the restored gospel. It is really hard sometimes to let ami's go that are not ready for the gospel. But sometimes we need to in order to find those who are ready. 
I experienced a miracle on the train home from Annecy this week. It was a 5 hour train ride so I tried to sleep. But every time I would lay my head down and close my eyes, I just couldn't sleep. And let me tell you- as a missionary- it's real easy to fall asleep just about anywhere because you are so tired always. But I just couldn't fall asleep. I sat there for a while just thinking. The train stopped and I asked the man across from me if he knew where we were (Nous sommes ou?). Ended up that he spoke English (hallelujah for me because my comp was asleep next to me). We talked for about 30 minutes. His name is Quintin and he is 22 years old and from Nice. (Apparently he played basketball professionally for Antibes but now is in the military.) We spoke about religion and why the message I share with people has made me the happiest person in the world. And for the first time on my mission- it felt like I was Abby Jones being a missionary and sharing my real feelings and testifying with my sincere heart. I felt like myself! He told me how when he went to catholic churches when he was little, he felt scared. And I said, "come to our church this Sunday, It will make you feel happy. And if you don't like it, you don't have to come back again. But give it a chance." For some reason- my words came out so bold. But bold with love. Like no sugar coat. Just come to church. He agreed. I also felt like I should give him a Book of Mormon. Which at first I thought, no... I want to ease him into this religion. But then I gave him it anyway and explained how the book has changed my life and made me happy. When I set it on the table, he was a little unsure and then silent for a second. He placed his hand over his heart. He said, "My heart is beating right now because of this book. I don't know why. It's kind of freaking me out. " And I said that is the spirt of God you are feeling (trying not to just explode and burst out in squeals of joy and excitement. 

Passing By Marseille

So I didn't really expect him to come to church because so often people bail. But we called him and HE SHOWED UP AT CHURCH. He was able to stay for sacrament meeting and Soeur Holmgren even gave a talk about faith. I asked him after church if he felt scared during the meeting and he said, "no, I felt a good feeling." After sacrament, he said one hour was good enough for today so he could soak it all in. (Which is totally understandable). But before he left, he looked at me and said, "the real reason why I came in the first place... is cause... well, you know, I don't believe in God or any of that stuff. But, on the train, I felt like you were a good person. I felt that from you." 
It was amazing to see that even if people don't at first agree with or believe what we have to tell them, just by being who we are and being a good example has an impact on them. So my message to you is to be an example of the believers. We are different yes. Maybe even peculiar to the world. But people notice it. We must never let that light die because we want to fit in with the world or be popular. People can FEEL the light of Christ. I am not sure if he will continue to meet with us, but it was a miracle. It was a miracle to share the gospel and to help him feel the spirit and feel that God loves him. 

District Meeting:

Spaghetti at Claude's house. With Elton, or DMP and Mark Antion. Elton brought his guitar. We wang hymns and it really brought the spirit!

This week I learned another good lesson. We went to visit this woman who we found in the area book from forever ago. When we walked in her apartment it was just a wreck. She is a hoarder so things were staked everywhere, the dishes piled up and up and up, no where to sit, empty toothpaste and shampoo bottles on the counters. Just wild. She was very sick, her hair unkept, and quite frankly, a bit crazy. We didn't even end up teaching her anything or praying with her because she didn't want to. And I kind of just wanted to get out of there. But as we were awkwardly standing there in her kitchen door frame, watching her peel clementines, I feeling came over me. I looked at her and thought, "God loves her JUST as much as he loves me." Wow. My face expression changed and I was filled with so much love and compassion for this woman. Then I had another thought come to me, "Jesus Christ suffered every detail of pain (mental and physical, hoarding addiction, sense of loneliness, insanity) that this woman is suffering. And then everything in me changed and I felt so much gratitude for Jesus Christ and empathy for this lonely, crazy woman living in a random corner of Nice. 
I am so grateful for my savior. For his ability to weep and empathize with us. To feel every detail of the hard things we go through. I am amazed with his capacity to love. I TRULY stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me. 
Love, Soeur Jones
This is Soeur Carbonne. We visit her every week. She is 96. This is her STANDING UP. And I am sitting sown and STILL taller than her. She feeds us ice cream chaque foi. 

After we leave her apartment, she stands on her balcony and we her "YOOOOO HOOO" (imagaine Grandma Gayle's voice) and she waves her arms and calls to us and smiles and waves goodbye. 

Funnies: Elder Zhu had a birthday last week. He always tells us (the sisters) that all we eat is salad. And he has the funniest Chinese accent so it's hilarious. Whenever we are going to eat a piece of bread, or a cookie, or a cracker, he stops us and says, "you cannot eat that, you can only eat salad." (He has the best poker face even when everyone else is laughing). So anyway, for his birthday, we got him salad and just dumped it in a brown paper sack. Before we gave it to him he said, "I hope it is salad." And when he opened it, his poker face cracked and he laughed so hard.


                                        Train Ride home from Annecy

Soeur Jones and Soeur Holmgren in Annecy 


Week 10 " Zone Conference in Nimes."

Sister Holmgren and I in Nimes the morning after a rainstorm on our way to zone conference.

This week we had zone conference in Nîmes. Did you know that "denim"originally was created here? De Nîmes... Of Nîmes. Pretty cool. Okay so we got into Nîmes around 8 pm. We went to go get tacos with some of the Elders before we had to check into our hotel. "It's only a 10 minute walk" was actually a 25 minute walk. And it started POURING RAIN. So we got our tacos to-go and sprinted back to our hotel to check in on time. Soeur Cusick, Soeur Clark, Soeur Holmgren and I could barely even see where we were going it was raining so hard. 

Thunderstorm with some people from my zone

The most rain I have ever seen. Also- full on thunderbolts cracking through the night sky. One of the thunderbolts struck right above the colosseum in Nîmes. I was laughing really hard because Soeur Clark was wearing her glasses but they were all foggy so she just kept running
into stuff. I was trying to carry the tacos but the bag ripped and I was just praying the tacos would be okay because I was so hungry.

You can't even tell how wet I am in this picture. The taco bag is ripping. I had to ring out my dress because it was so full of water!

It was insane! The hotel we stayed at was just an average "Jo" hotel. But as a missionary- the BEST thing ever. (And I know you are laughing parents because you have been staying in a hotel for 6 months and you are like GET ME OUT OF HERE... I HATE HOTELS) But It was a dream for me! You never get to do stuff like that as a missionary.

Hotel with Soeur Cusick, Soeur Holmgren, and Soeur Holmgren
(Sisters from Cannes and Nice)

President Brown is inspired. He has so much love for his missionaries that it just makes me want to work hard and love the Lord with ALL my might. I also love Soeur Brown because I relate to her personality. She is fun, easy going, spontaneous, and care free. They are the perfect Mission Presidents for me. It was powerful because for part of
zone conference, President Brown spoke to us while we were seated in the colosseum! 

The Colosseum

What I personally got out of zone conference is that my time is now. It's time to not beat around the bush any more with missionary work. If someone isn't ready to hear the gospel, move on because there are other people who the Lord HAS prepared. I felt like the Lord told me, "I need you in France, at this time, right now. Do not doubt me. Trust my words. Trust my love, Your time is now. I will be on your right hand and on your left. My angels around you to bear you up." I am a firm believer in personal revelation. We read the same Book of Mormon, hear the same talks, go to the same sacrament meetings, but we can ALL get something different out of it. We can all receive exactly what we need to hear if we pay attention to the Holy Ghost. That's why it's so important to apply gospel principles to your own life and not just say, "Oh, well that was a nice quote, I'm going to write that down." Think how you can APPLY it. Otherwise it's just another cute quote hanging up on the wall.

Train ride back home after zone conference 

Our amis (investigators): 
Our most consistent ami right now is "C". Do you remember my first email from Nice how I talked about talking to that old woman on a bench? When she said that she could feel my conviction? Okay- so she ended up not being interested in learning more. But the old man sitting next to her, "C", has been meeting with us ever since that first week here. It is really hard with him though because we aren't sure if he is actually interested in our church or just socializing with us. He lost his wife a couple years ago and is pretty old and lonely. We don't really feel progress with him.

Madame "G" is the one we taught up on the hill as it rained. She is so sweet and old. She has been taught basically all the missionary discussions before from the Elders. But hasn't committed to be baptized. Now the sisters (we) are teaching her. It is difficult with her health to come to church. But she seems really prepared and receptive.

"M" is an evangelist from Africa. We have had only one lesson with her. She is SO believing and passionate about her God. But she is also really active in her church. It is hard to explain to her why it is necessary to be baptized with someone who has the proper priesthood. "A"  She is 21 years old, from Turkey working as a journalist here. We met her on a bus. We haven't had any lessons with her yet.
But SHE brought up God before we did. She is so believing and I feel like she is SO ready to accept the restored gospel. But it's not up to me to decide. Just pray that she will at least find ONE time to meet with us and give it a chance.

Elder Hoggan from Olympus High School!!

 We have found a lot of people to teach, but I feel like none of them are REALLY interested in continuing lessons. The thing about missionary work, is you hear all these miracle stories. And there ARE miracles. That is true. But sometimes you picture the picture perfect lessons with amis who are just prepared and ready to be baptized! But in the end, these are REAL people. There is no better way to describe it other than just saying this is real. These are real humans with real lives that we teach. There are a lot of hard moments on the
mission. But the joyful, miraculous moments make all the hard moments that much sweeter.

I came into the mission thinking I was a certain person. I thought I knew what I was good at and what my weak points were. But Heavenly Father knows me. He knows who I can become. I feel myself being stripped away from everything I thought I was. And it is painfully humbling. But I feel myself growing, my testimony deepening, my love for my dear Savior becoming so real. I am learning to trust that HE
knows my potential. He knows who I can become. He BELIEVES in me. Let us not only believe in Him, but believe Him. We are capable of so much more than we can even imagine. Trust Him. Trust His love.

For anyone who thinks that missionaries are perfect people, who had perfect family situations back home, or never made a mistake, or whatever it is... you are absolutely wrong. Every single missionary I've met and talked to here all has THEIR story. Why THEY are here. Every missionary is struggling with something different. They are not here because they are perfect. They are here because they chose to be
here. Despite having made mistakes, having difficult family situations back home, not having a testimony at some point in their life, messing up... whatever it is. They still chose to come here. Perfect people do not go to the celestial kingdom. Repentant people go to the celestial kingdom. Repentant people feel comfortable and at home in the celestial kingdom. Repentance is changing for the better. It is the best gift we've ever been given. Jesus Christ performed the atonement
so we could change for the better. Let us USE that gift every day. It feels so good to say "I'm sorry" or "how can I improve?"

Prepare for a mission by developing your own story. A love for the Book of Mormon and for Jesus Christ. A relationship with Heavenly Father. When the winds (and I mean REALLY strong winds) come, you will stand your ground. You will feel the pain of the wind but it won't break you. If I didn't have a personal relationship with Heavenly Father, I honestly don't know if I could do this mission. The more I come to know Heavenly Father, the more I understand the love he has
for me. God IS love.

Love, Soeur Jones


Stir Fry. So colorful and yummy: NEWS: I am really starting to like peppers and tomatoes!

I was going to get an almond croissant for Daddy today but then we got this instead. Waffle, banana yumminess!


Famous French Perfume. We went into this amazing shop because I LOVE perfume. A German woman came in to take picutres for an article they are writing on this perfume. Moulinard is the name of it. 

On our way home from the grocery store in Nice, France

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