Week 16 "Change is a Process and Repentance is a Pattern"

Soeur Carbonne just told just me she loves me...
It was her 96th Birthday last week! 
My cute mission prep teacher last year at BYU, Brad Wilcox, said, "Change is a process, and repentance a pattern." Sometimes it is hard for me so see my progress as a missionary because change is so gradual. But this week, I was able to reflect at how far I have come.

Yesterday in church, a family from Utah showed up. I helped teach the two little girls dance for princess camp when they were younger so it was crazy to see them here in Nice. It was so weird to see people from home. Because I felt like I was old Abby Jones, but then I wasn't because I am more mellow and more grown up. I feel like I have become more real and genuine. I think it is a mix of maturity, missionary, and French culture. I sat there during the sacrament meeting just smiling and closing my eyes. I realized for the fist time on my  mission, how much I have progressed. I sat there thanking my Heavenly Father over and over again for the progress I have made and the person I have become. And then I realized that it is truly because of the atonement of Jesus Christ that I am able to progress and change. Repentance allows me to progress. I am so grateful for Jesus Christ. For his atonement that he gave me to use and change. I am grateful the mission has been so humbling for me.


The number one thing I have learned so far on my mission is to trust my Heavenly Father. Even when I don't understand why he isn't stepping in right away...or  I feel like I have no idea where he is leading me...or why I am having an unmotivated, hard week. I have recognized how important it is to have consistent trust in Him and His plan for me. I have to trust that he knows me and know who I can become. I need to let go of what I think my limits are and just be vulnerable enough to allow Him to change and mold me into the best version of Abby Jones.

District Meeting in Cannes


Right now as a mission, we are really focusing our efforts on working with members, and working with part-member families. The members are so vital to this work. They help our ami's realize that normal people here in France, have benefited from the gospel. They also help new converts stay active in the church because they are there as their friends and not just missionaries.

Soeur Jones and Soeur Tauira

This week I was able to go on my first exchange with my STL's in Aix-en-Provence. Ohhhh what a beautiful ville. The rolling hills were full of yellow and orange trees, for the peak of fall. An exchange is where you basically leave your companion, and be companions with someone else for the day. I went with Soeur Tauira. She is a great missionary who comes from Tahiti. I loved how happy she was every time
we would walk up to people on the street and talk to them. I also love how thoughtful she is. That is something I need to be better at. She asked me, "So... what are you doing for Soeur Holmgren before she leaves?" I was like, uhhhhhhh, I didn't have anything planned. HAHA!



And she said, "Okay, well lets go buy stuff right now for her so that you can have a surprise for her when she leaves." She helped me cut out hearts and notes and print off fun pics for Soeur Holmgren. She also pulled out a giant bag of her Tahitian shell necklaces and pulled out 3 to give to my companion the day she leaves for the airport. I love the different things I learn from each Sister missionary in this
mission.
course 1-pumpkin, orange, thyme soup

Course 2-duck and mango salad             Course 3-turkey, carrots, potatoes, brussel sprouts

Course 4-key lime cheesecake for dessert                           WE LOVE DONNA!!!

Thanksgiving was SO RAD this week. Donna invited us over to her house. Like I said last week, Donna is from England but she is working as a personal chef for famous people here in Nice. Andddd we ate at her house for Thanksgiving. Okay actually, she was house sitting someone else's really expansive house. So we pulled up to the house and it was
just on the hill top of Nice. I walked out on the balcony and it was an ocean front view. I looked out on the ocean and there was a fancy private yacht just floatin there. 


Donna's View

I seriously sometimes have to pinch myself that I am a missionary here. The food Donna made was again so good. Really- there is no way to describe it. You just have to come out here to try it. Ps. Parents... Donna told me she would cater for my wedding. All she requires is the plane ticket and accommodations. And she said she'll do it. So I have that covered now! Woot woot!



On our way to Eze

I went to Eze twice this week! Ohhhhh man. This time we were able to go to the actual village of Eze. It is this little village on top of a mountain. It reminded me a lot of Mont Saint Michel that we saw in Normandie, except it was more colorful and bright. There are these beautiful gardens at the top with different types of cacti. And waterfalls and old ruins from the castle. 


So tranquil. There is also a beautiful yellow chapel at the top of Eze. The streets are lined with little shops, perfumeries, and restaurants. The walls are crawling
with ivy and purple flowers. Oh and did I mention the view? The ocean is so endless and blue from the top.  It seriously felt like a story book.

This week is my companion, Soeur Holmgren's, last week as a missionary! Today we decided we would have the best pday ever. So we went on an hour hike with the other Elder missionaries in Nice to the top of Eze. We hiked along the side of the mountain with the sea below us. We explored Eze village, bought perfume, and topped it off by eating a fancy, expensive lunch at the very top. It was definitely the best pday I have had my whole mission.


 Last pday for Soeur Holmgren

I am really happy. I am happy to be where I am and who I am. I have never felt so close or dependent on my Heavenly Father as I do right now in my life. And I can't believe that I have already been out 4 months on my mission. 


Seeing Soeur Holmgren get ready to leave just makes me realize how fast it really does go by. A year in a half is nothing. But then again, some days feel really long. Those hard
moments make the good moments that much sweeter!

Grand Bisous! Soeur Jones


More Pday photos:

Top of Eze in the Gardens





Exploring Eze






Nice During the Storm


Christmas is coming to town in Nice....Making Snow

  THE NUTCRACKER BALLET IN NICE
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Week 15 "Zone Conference in NICE"


This week President and Sister Brown came down from Lyon for Zone
Conference. I loved this conference because it was a smaller group-
only our zone (Nice, Cannes, Antibes, St. Rafael, and Corsica). I also
loved it because President Brown was able to interview each one of us, one on one. I really needed that. He gave me some great advice. What I got from our interview, is that I need to stop self critiquing and just go forward with what I have to offer.  He said "You could drive yourself into a mental hospital self critiquing."


 Soeur Cusick is one of my favorite people in the world

I shouldn't hold back who I am because I am scared of what people will think. He also reminded me not to dwell on all the things I am not so good at, but to focus on the people......to  love them and TRULY listen to them. I should see them as Christ sees them and love them before being a missionary to them.

Abby and Elder Hoggan....Olympus Buddies.


I know that one of the reasons I was sent to the France Lyon mission,
is to have Traci Brown as my Mission Mom. I feel like I relate to
Sister Brown so much. I told President in the interview, "I feel like
my personality, who I am, just doesn't fit in in France." And he
replied, "And you think Sister Brown fits in here?" I just laughed and
cried all at the same time and said, I guess not. Sister Brown was
needed here in France as the person she is. Not as some cookie cutter someone else. She is so real and so genuine and that is what people need. She is herself. She drinks too much diet coke, loves to play games, and cannot keep a secret for the life of her. Like if I were to imagine a mission for Sister Brown I would say... Texas. But France?



Hahahaha. But the thing is...   she IS needed here. I need her here. I
also love President and Sister Brown's relationship. She will just
yell down the church hall, "Scottieeee?" "Yes sweetheart?" They are
always talking about how lucky they are to have each other. If I ever
found a man who loved me as much as President loves his wife- I would marry him like THAT.

After meeting with President Brown, I have realized how personal
this gospel is. Every baptism, confirmation, temple ordinance,
interview is one by one. I also think of my patriarchal blessing, how
personal to me- Abby Jones- that blessing is. I sometimes wonder,
"Wow, how did President Brown say EXACTLY what I needed to hear?" And it is because he is being guided by the holy ghost. It is not
President Brown, or my bishop, stake president, or patriarch who know me perfectly, it is my Heavenly Father. That is why it is so important for me to go to him as my first source. Because he knows me inside and out. He knows what will make me happiest, what bugs me, what tempts me, what motivates me. That is why it is so important to be in tune with the holy ghost. To know how the holy ghost speaks to you personally. The holy ghost tailors to each person specifically.  It is so real.

DONNA the Gourmet cook




At zone conference... we ate SUCH GOOD FOOD. AHhhhasldkfjlakkdnvoewrnv  yooommmyyy yummmyyyy oooommeeyyy it was sooooo good. A woman in our ward named Donna made it. Donna is from England, but she works as a personal chef for famous people here in Nice. Like whatttttt! We ate like kings- mushroom stuffed turkey, baked vegetables, "grown up brownies" and whites chocolate mouse. I sat next to Sister Brown and we chatted and chatted.




 Pancake night at the chapel


Saturday night we had a Soirée Pancake at our chapel. The missionaries
organized it and we invited our ami's. It was SUCH A HIT. We had 3
ami's show up! Quentin came, as well as Dave and Erin's friends from
Eze- Chantal and Yves. It was fun to feed French people some American pancakes. With whipped cream, Nutella, and all that jazz! 
A lot of ward members showed up which was awesome for our ami's to meet them. We also watched the Easter Mormon Message, "He Lives." It was so powerful and the spirit was so tangible in the room.

Dave and Erin's friends...Chantal and Yves came to our Soiree Pancake that the missionaries organized.


I just want to testify of the truthfulness of this gospel. I have
never come to know my Savoir so well as I have right now in my life.
Every day, I get to tell people about Jesus Christ. That there is a
Father in Heaven who loves them. That the atonement can help them move on from their past mistakes and help them see all the good things about life. The atonement has never been so real to me as it is right now. Because I get to tell people about the hope of the atonement, but also use the atonement for myself. This message is real. The Book of Mormon keeps me grounded. I could not do this work if I didn't know it was true. I could not walk around for 15 hours a day telling people that God loves them if I didn't know it for myself.

Love, Soeur Jones





PDay Photos:


VIEUX NICE


MASSENA PARK



MASSENA PARK



HAPPY BIRTHDAY DADDY!! 


My sister Eliza drew this for me and Soeur Holmgren. Amazing! Thank you Eliza for sending this!!
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Week 14 "EZE"


                   Eze is that tiny little lump of island smack in the middle with the Cathedral on top

Flouerent and Yves took us to the top of the hill where you can see all the Cote d'Azur and some of Italy!

This week we went to a beautiful ville, Eze. It is a Ville just
outside of Monaco and 15 minutes from Nice. My Uncle Dave's friends live there so we went to go visit them. They were seriously the nicest family I have ever met. They fed us quiche lorraine, lasagna with homemade bolonaise sauce, and a tarte de pomme. YUMMM. And there house is on top of a big hill that overlooks the sea.


Eze with dejeuner in their backyard overlooking the sea
Flouerent, Chantal, and Yves....making lunch for us! 

It was fun to hear them talk about how much they love Dave and Erin. And how when Dave came, he just ran to they top of every mountain. We'd drive past a Cathedral and they'd say.. David ran up to this! Or David lovessss France so much. Uncle Dave- we'll have to come back together sometime and visit them! I also gave them a Book of Mormon and we were able to teach them a little bit about it. They want to have us over again in a couple weeks soooo.... that is cool! I dont know if they are interested in learning more, but they were so nice and it was amazing
to share the message of the gospel with them!
 

 Eze


Monaco hats they let us use because it was so sunny..ha ha

Let's talk about how much I love Soeur Shimales. She is probably my favorite person I've met so far on the mission. She is from Ethiopia and was a less active for a long time. But now we are trying to help her get to the temple. Her testimony is FIRE. This week was her birthday. She invited us over for a birthday dinner she made (for her own birthday). She also invited two friends that are not members and a
couple other people in our ward. It was funny to look around and see the diversity of people gathered around the living room with me.


Sour Shimales. She opened her door wearing full on snow gear...in her house cause she was cold. LOL

 There were 3 from the United States, 1 from Ethiopia, 1 from Senegal, 1 from France, 1 from China, 2 from New Caledonia. I thought, "Wow, how cool is this that I am sitting here having a Birthday party with one of my favorite people ever..  with all these different people from around the world... that I didn't even know 2 months ago... IN FRANCE!!"

Soer Shimales' birthday party.


Missions are the best!!! Sarah shared her testimony to her 2 friends and we talked about the Book of Mormon. I love the energy new converts bring! Sarah is too funny... she will call me "My petite American" or she'll say "Oh when you have a financée you can bring him back to my house and you can stay here!" She will sometimes get all dressed up at night
with her sparkley lip gloss and fashion top. I LOVE HER.

Soiree Familial (or Family Home Evening)


We had a ward talent show this week and that was a blast. Soeur Holmgren and I were going to do a cup song to "you are my sunshine" but I think they forgot about us and we never went. Oh well. Also President gave us permission to stay out later since the talent show STARTED at 8:00.... (welcome to France)... So that was so sneaky and not
usual. We stayed out to 11:30!!  That is not usual for a misisonary!




 I loved the dance that the Tahitians in our ward did. With the grass skirts and flower crowns and movin their hips around. We were really hoping some of our ami's would show up, but no one did. Oh well, such a fun night with SUCH
good food. The food that the members make is always tasty!

Tea at Soeur Barras' house. Teaa and crummpettss. Look at me! I am so proper!!


This week we taught a TON of lessons to new potential ami's. On Saturday, we taught 4 lessons to potential amis and amis. I was seriously so excited for Sunday because I was just so sure that we'd have at least 4 ami's show up at church. So we waited and waited and waited for our ami's to show up.... and not even ONE showed up. Sigh.
Life is SOOO full of change and disappointments. It is frustrating as a missionary. Because I know how much the gospel would help these people we teach. How much the Book of Mormon would bless their life if they read it sincerely. But in the end, it is not up to me to decide.
They have their agency just like I have mine.

The Da Silverta family from Peru

We taught our ami "Q" again this week, but he never ended up coming to church. I think one thing I am really started to learn, is that a mission is real. Like one week an ami can be making such good progress, but the next week it feels like they aren't even interested any more. They forget to read, or pray. They sleep in and don't come to church. As much as you want a mission to be that picture perfect mission you imagine in your head, people are human.

Soeur Marot being our Mom and taking us to do groceries. She is literally the most selfless person I have ever met!

 We are teaching REAL people as missionaries. They aren't like some fake cartoon on a computer screen. And I guess I am learning how to be patient with people. That was something that was something that was so hard for me
before my mission. But sometimes as we teach ami's, it feels like I am watching a snail race. Me, being me, I just wanna be like... "WHOOO okay! You prayed, you feel something good when you read the scriptures, you know this message is good... let's get baptized!" But they are human. They make progress when they need to. And it is really
good for me to learn patience.

We hadn't heard from Madame Gazagne in so long so we went to go visit to see if she was home. When we went to her house, her son in law answered the door, and told us that Madame Gazagne passed away on October 20th. It was really sad news for me to hear because I love
her. She was my very first ami on my mission. But I know that she was ready to go to heaven. Because her body wasn't well enough to get baptized, but she was so ready. She wanted to so badly.

Making Tarte de Pomme at Soeur Ranuzi's house


Our ami "M" is reading the Book of Mormon still, but is not
progressing. It is kind of hard to explain. We aren't really sure if we should keep teaching her, or give her some space. Like I said, these people are human. I still see miracles, and there are a lot of amazing parts about a mission. But it is also so real and there are a lot of normal things about a mission.

One thing I would like to say... is how cool it is to watch people experience the spirit for the first time. I feel like a parent watching my child do things for the first time. For example, showing people the Book of Mormon for the very first time. Like how cool is that? I am just in France, and I meet random people on the streets, and give them the Book of Mormon. A book that is so important to me in my life. Wow. Honestly just sharing the gospel is an amazing thing.
And although it I may not seem like at first people care or are
affected by the light of Christ, I know they can feel something! And who cares if people stare at us weird on the bus because we have Jesus Christ written on our name tags, who cares if people say no when we tell them we have a message that we want to share with them, and who
cares if people think we are so strange!? Because I AM HAPPY. I am proud to wear Jesus Christ's name. I know what I have felt by living the gospel of Jesus Christ and I cannot deny it. I may be differentfrom the world, especially here in France, but I am happy.

Love, Soeur Jones



Pday

Baguettes on the beach
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