Week 72 "The Best Christmas Gift Ever"

So transfer calls went a little something like this:

“Soeur Jones we’ll start with you. You sure love those people in Geneva don’t you. You have some amis that are ready to be baptized in these next couple of weeks.”
(Me nodding my head over the phone.)
 “Soeur Jones. Do you know how much the Lord loves you?”
“A lot”
“Oh Soeur Jones. You don't even know half of it. You are going to be staying in Geneva for your last transfer, with Soeur Wilson. You will be trading apartments with the Geneva English sisters and living in France so that you can continue serving in Geneva.”
I didn’t even have words to say back to President Brown. I just sat there and cried with tears of joy.

That is literally the LAST thing I thought would happen. I knew I would leave Geneva since it my 3 months of being legal were up. But President found a way to make it work. THE LORD found a way to make it work. This is truly, the best Christmas present I could ever ask for. I love these people here in Geneva with all my heart. I was not ready
to leave them.

When I first began my mission, I decided I would leave my mission a transfer early to start school in January. Several months ago, I decided I needed to pray and fast about the decision because I wasn’t feeling so good about it. It really scared me to think of waiting 7 months to start school. I told myself it was just better to go home a transfer early. But after praying and fasting and talking with President Brown, I decided I would stay until the end of my mission. It was a decision that took a big leap of faith. But I felt good about
it. I knew this last transfer on the mission would be really special because the Lord had told me to stay for it. I always thought it would be because he really needed me here until the end, or that I would train a bleue who really needed me. 

And now I see that it wasn’t because of that. It was simply a gift from a loving Heavenly Father. To LET me stay an extra transfer in Geneva. With these people who I loved even before I got here. It is truly the most special gift I could ever ask for.

This week we were not able to see "L" and "C" because they have been sick ALL WEEK! But we are not giving up! We will see them as soon as they are better. On the bright side, "N", that guy we gave a chapel tour to last week, came to the ward Christmas party AND church yesterday! As I was giving a talk in sacrament meeting, I looked out and saw "N" sitting in the very back. Wow! What a great miracle.

The nativity done by the Primary

I am going to miss living with the spanish Sœurs. They make me laugh so hard. This week we had a dance party at night in our apartment with them. Oh they are crazy.

Today we moved into the English Soeurs apartment (16 avenue voltaire, Apt 2, 01210 Ferney-Voltaire, France). It is refreshing having a change. The apartment is... well a missionary apartment. But small and charming. And it is on the 4th floor. We have a perfect view of Mont Blanc.

I don’t really have words for the joy I feel. As I begin this last
transfer, I feel nothing but gratitude. Grateful to be a missionary. Grateful to STILL be in Geneva. I spent this week saying bye to so many people I love, only to see them again Sunday and tell them I am staying! It was the absolute best.

Ps. I will skype at 5:00pm my time, 9:00am your time. :))))))) Talk to you soon!!! 


This list goes around the relief society every week to feed us. Look how many people signed up this week! I'm going to get so fat. YAY!!!

Soer Tchumi

Eating some Japanese candy that Soeur Oritz's sister sent her

My umbrella broke. It was literally just a metal stick with some fabric. Everyone who passed me just started laughing. My comp kept telling me to just throw it away, but I loved that people kept laughing. I love making people smile.

Soeur Gillet. A widow in the ward that I LOVE!!

Week 71 "Christmas Zone Conference"

🎄I really don’t have words for this week. There were so many miracles and so many really really hard moments.

Last week, we have a RDV with "C" and "L" (the family from Italy).  It was with the member in our ward Frère "Volpicelli."  We taught about the restoration and watched the movie about Jospeh Smith. It was incredible for me to sit there and hear "C" respond to the spirit. When we asked her how she knew God was there if she can’t even see him. She told us, “because he speaks to me. When I pray, I talk with him. “ It was so simple. But true! She is very in tune with the spirit and I just adore teaching children.
 We felt very strongly that they were ready to be baptized. We invited them to be baptized Saturday (the 16th) and they said yes. They have such a strong desire to follow Jesus Christ that it just came naturally. We were so excited after the RDV, we cried. I also did the jump splits to celebrate (after they left).

"L" and "C" drew this after we taught them about faith in Jesus Christ and repentance.

Ward Party in Geneva

Singing the Traditional Escalade Song in at the Ward Party (Geneva Switzerland)
(video can be viewed at abbyinlyon.blogspot.com) 

Escalade Pot: It's a tradition to smash the pot and I got to do it:)
(see video on blog)

But miracles come with opposition. Soeur Wilson was sick almost all last week and we had to stay in the apartment for four days. It is hard for me to not get outside. But the lord helped me. He sent me angles to help me not go crazy. Then Frère Volpicelli got sick. Then "L" got sick and wasn’t able to come to church Sunday. So we have to push his baptismal date back. Sigh. I know. But I still trust the lord. They will be baptized when the time is right. I am just grateful the lord let me play a small part in this incredible miracle. The biggest miracle for me out of this experience, was watching Frère
Volpicelli share the gospel with his friend. Listening to him testify of his own experiences, and seeing the joy it brought him was a miracle. I love seeing how "L" and "C" have already changed. They understand that Christ loves them and will give them strength. They know that in Christ, there is hope. They are happier. They are closer together. When families TRY to live the gospel, they are blessed.

Tonight we had the craziest miracle. This guy named "N" texted us wanting to see us later today. I though it was "N", the recent convert I know, from Ecully. So we agreed and went to a café to go meet up. But as we were waiting at the café, this man walks up to us and shakes our hand, introducing himself to my companion as "N." My eyes got wide. I was so confused. This wasn’t the recent convert from Ecully. Then I realized that I had contacted this man on the bus on Sunday.  He had told me he would text me but then I forgot about it. Turns out his name is "N" too. So we acted natural like we knew all along he was coming. Then we offered to go over to our chapel and give him a tour. We gave him a tour and talked to him for a while. He was so curious to find out about what we believe. He is feeling pretty
lonely here in Geneva because he doesn’t have his family here. He has one son, but he lives in the south of France. So now this man is a new ami we are teaching. It just blows my mind how the Lord uses us as instruments in his hands to do miracles.

We also had Christmas conference yesterday. That was so magical and fun. Soeur Brown organized it so of course it was fun. We listened to Christmas music, ate a lot, received our Christmas packages, and watched CARS 3! Honestly, I almost cried during the movie. Hahaha. As missionaries, we naturally find the spiritual message in every film, music, etc. because that is what we are used to doing. We also did a
fun “light the world” activity.

 We passed out little bags of candy with a candle and a light the world card to random people on the streets of Lyon (Ecully). It was pouring rain and we were all just so happy. Running up to random cars and knocking on the window to give them candy. Some people were freaked out and wouldn’t answer. But most people laughed and smiled. It was pretty weird being at the Christmas conference with almost everyone in the mission. I realized it was my last big conference (since the next one is just single zone). I also realized I probably won’t see Soeur Cusick until she goes home in 2 transfers. We cried about that. It is starting to get real. This is my last week in Geneva. Then I find out where I will serve for my last ville! I am grateful I still have time left in the mission. I don’t want this to end yet!

Love,  Abby

Sour Morabito

These people served in the Paris mission. She knows Haylie (my new sister in law who served in the Paris mission as well)

Cécile, a member from Swiss Germany. 16 years old and wants to go on a mission. I love her!!

Bishop (Corneta's) house for lunch today

Week 70 "Marshmallow World"

I love Geneva. Switzerland is really special. I love the class. I love the cows. But most of all I love the members here!

Thanksgiving Dinner (Last Week)

"I am grateful for my family"

This week we were able to have another FHE with the "V" and the "P" family. "A" came as well! "L" made pasta this time. We were able to talk more about the Book of Mormon and how it can strengthen their family. The bishop invited us and "L" to his house this week to eat with them. He also came to church yesterday and was serving everyone hot chocolate at the ward activity after haha. It is awesome how well the ward is already just embracing them. "L" and his daughter "C" have been reading in the children’s Book of Mormon together. 

Our lesson with "A" went SO WELL this week. She is really humble and ready to change. Some amis that we teach aren’t actually willing to apply the things we teach. "A" asked such sincere questions, like “what is your advice for me to better follow the commandment? Where should I start?” We told her to start where she is. Start with something simple like praying every day. She as well has come to church these past 2 weeks. Sadly, we will be passing her over to the
English sisters because she will understand church better in the English ward. But oh well because we are all on the same team, doing the same work for the lord.

Video : Abby Making cookies in Geneva for  "Light the World"
see it on abbyinlyon.blogspot.com

It SNOWED this week in Geneva. I was doing the dishes one night before bed and looked out the widow to see fat snow flakes falling in the light of the street lamp. It was so magical. Sadly the snow only stayed for a couple hours. But still. What a little gift from god.

Best moment of the week: Everyone in the apartment was feeling kind of down. It was a bit gloomy in our cave like apartment. So Soeur Wilson got her speaker and started blasting her favorite Christmas song “Marshmallow World.” Then we went in the Spanish Sœurs room and we formed a train and started dancing. We were all copying the leader in the front dance moves as we danced around the entire apartment. We were all laughing so hard after. Soeur Jimenez makes me laugh so hard. She tries to be Beyoncé all the time and will just like drop randomly and I love her. I am grateful for young sisters in the mission who have so much life in them still. They keep us old grandma missionaries laughing.

I think it is starting to hit me that I am going home soon. I have moments where I have fear for the future. So many people keep telling me that life is tough after the mission. And that scares me. Because I feel like I have grown so close to the Savior and just learned to turn outward on my mission and I’m scared that I will just turn into a piece of poo when I go home. But I know those thoughts come from
Satan. In all reality, life will never be easy. Even after the
mission. But after I had this little moment this week, I prayed and read in the Book of Mormon and was able to feel at peace. I felt the Lord tell me “look unto me in every thought, doubt not, fear not.” I know that as I continue to put my trust in the Lord after my mission, I have nothing to fear.  Not even the future.

Love Soeur Jones

A member made this advent calendar for us 

Danielle from the Spanish ward who loves my Grandma Nancy. She said how institute always smelled like cookies!

My breakfast

Laudrée (a favorite store that sells Macaroons and lots of cute French things).

Week 69 "Lasagna"

Beautiful miracles are happening with members and missionaries working together. 
So like I said last week, the Volpicelli family prayed for a missionary opportunity and received one. On Monday night, we were able to do a FHE with the Volpicellis and their friends, the "P" family from Italy. The Dad loves to cook and made the most incredible lasagna I have ever eaten. The mom is from Bolivia and actually knew the missionaries when she was younger! She read some of the Book of Mormon but then lost contact with the missionaries. The daughters name is "C". She is 9 years old and has so much faith. When "C" came to the FHE the other night, she was holding the Book of Mormon in her hands with a bright yellow homemade bookmark to mark her page. She has read 3 pages of the Book of Mormon and had brought it to school with her that day! When we invited the family to be baptized, "C" thought for a second, looked right up at us and said, oui. I am seriously so inspired by the faith of this 9-year-old girl. It is such a special experience teaching this family. Especially because the Volpicellis get to be apart of it and feel of the joy of missionary work. We are teaching the "P" family again tonight at their house! 
Second huge miracle. "L" BROUGHT his friend "A" to church yesterday with him. She is also from Italy. They both stayed all 3 hours at church yesterday PLUS the baptism after church. "A" is super open to learning more and kept saying "see you next week!" to members at church. She will be joining our lesson tonight as well with the "P" family. 
It is crazy because I didn't do anything special to have this family meet the church. God has been preparing them their whole life. And, it is the member who brought this family to church. We never know when miracles will happen. Sometimes I work hard on my mission to find new amis, and I want the results right away. But I have learned that we just need to keep being diligent with following the spirit and in God's timing, we will receive the blessings. When everything in our life seems to be falling apart, we just need to keep pushing forward. One step at a time. Because God will not leave us. We must advance forward and keep trusting in him and his perfect plan. Easier said than done. I'm still working on this. But I'm trying. And I'm learning. 
Wednesday we went to Lyon for a Thanksgiving with President Johnson. 
From the conference, I learned the mission is only the beginning of hard experiences. My life will not suddenly snap into easy mode after I finish my mission. Trials and huffing and puffing are a part of life. It is how we grow. I also loved something President Brown said in MLC. He said, "relax, and listen." He was talking about when we teach or talk to people. How we just need to relax and sincerely listen to what they are saying. The spirit will guide us. The spirit will touch the people. 
I was also able to see my BFFS, Sœur Cusick and Sœur Goold at Conference. Sœur Cusick literally waited by the door for an hour for me to arrive and then cried when she saw me. Hahahaha. I love her so much. 


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