Week 25 "SIX MONTHS!!"

Heyyyyy I hit 6 months this week! Which means 1/3 of the way through.WEIRDDD. Literally feels like one week ago that I was sitting in the MTC going to get lunch in the cafeteria with Soeur Goold. But 4 transfers 2 areas and 3 companions later... I'm 6 months into the mission.

You know what is a hard hit of reality? The only way to grow, is by experiencing hard things. I mean think about it. Can you think of one moment in your life that you really grew and changed... that didn't include some discomfort and challenges? I sure can't think of any. I feel myself growing so much on this mission. But that also includes some really tough times.

This week was a lot better. I read and studied about charity. The scriptures truly inspire me so much. I was feeling really irritable able and frustrated. Then I sat down. Read about charity in Moroni 7 and it was simple, clear, and exactly what I needed to hear. Moroni says "charity never faileth." (Okay, don't imagine some cutesie relief society handkerchief handout that says charity never faileth). But really think about those words. Charity never faileth. As in charity ALWAYS works. The pure love of Christ always works. 

This week I took a step back and thought... well, there are a lot of things I can't change. I can't change people's personalities or flaws.  So I asked God what is one thing I could change. Heavenly father didn't tell me a million things at once. But he told me simple things I could do better to improve the relationships.  He told me... don't be so reactive. Be more patient. Look for the good qualities rather than dwelling on weaknesses. The atonement of Jesus Christ allows us to repent. Or in other words... to change! We all have weaknesses and when we use the atonement, our weaknesses turn into strengths. The other night, we were laying in bed, it was all quiet. Then I heard my comp say, "I really admire how good you are at talking to people on the bus and trams." It touched my heart. And made me realize that it just takes an active effort on both our parts to make it work. Honestly. Can we just be super honest here and say that a mission is THE best marriage prep? I can just see myself in the future looking back at these times as a missionary and being so grateful for the lessons of patience that I am learning.

On Wednesday we watched the world wide missionary broadcast. With Elder Oaks, Elder Bednar, and Elder Anderson talking to all the missionaries. The biggest news is that the missionary schedule and key indicators have changed!!! I was all stoked cause I thought this meant
I could just kind of fly by the seed of my pants and follow the spirit for how to do the schedule. But it turns out it is more like each mission President adjusts the schedule for how it best fits that mission. Still a good change though and now we have more time on Pdays to get stuff done.

The key indicators changing has actually really changed my way of thinking. There use to be 10 different key indicators we would write in each day. Some of these including how many conversations you have, how many lessons you taught that day, 15 minutes with members, etc. And now... there are only 4!!! People baptized and confirmed, baptismal dates set, new amis, and amis at sacrament. It shows how important faith, repentance, baptism (taking the sacrament), and the holy ghost are. I really love it because I feel like it helps us fulfill our purpose as missionaries. To simplify down to why we are here. Now I don't feel all this pressure to talk to people because I know I should be having conversations each day. But rather I focus on, Okay, what is the spirit trying to tell me right now and what does the Lord need me to do. And I feel like my conversations with people are a lot more real and less forced.

The work here is totally moving. It is seriously so exciting having so many young students around all the time. It also means some annoying teenagers laughing at us on trams and stuff sometimes too but WHO CARES. There will be some teenagers that hop on the tram, look our our
name tags, whisper to their friends, pffff... Soeur! And I just sit there and smile at them. It is quite funny actually. This week we were able to meet with our ami "C" and "F"...

"C" has taken all the lessons and would get baptized today if she could, but her divorce is making it really challenging to get the approval for her baptism. But she is seriously incredible, comes to church every week, and just humble!! "F" is  24 and is from Nigeria. She recently just lost her first child and really needs the gospel in her life. I love our lessons with her because they are so simple and slow. You definitely have to be humble to want the gospel in your life. Because accepting the gospel means repenting.. which means changing! That is not easy for anyone.

Are my relationships perfect and jolly???  No. But I know that little by little, Christ is teaching me lessons that are helping me grown into a stronger, kinder, more patient person.

Love Soeur Jones

Week 24 "Montpellier"

This week has been interesting. I got my my new companion, Soeur Thompson, she is in her 9th transfer. It has been really hard leaving Nice and being in a new area. We got to our new apartment and it was a wreck. There were earwigs crawling around in the bathroom and in the fridge I found bowls of old cream and food sooo moldy. Just mold spilling out all over. So we spent some good time cleaning the apartment building. I felt a lot better after our apartment was clean. 

I am so grateful for my Heavenly Father who has been with me every step of this mission. Each ville I leave different people behind, but my Heavenly Father is my loyal companion and I am so grateful for him. Yesterday night I just poured out my heart to him as a said my prayers. And I heard his gentle voice telling me, yes I am still here. And asking me, do you STILL trust me? 

This morning I read a scripture that gave me a lot of comfort. 
3 Nephi 13:28-34
28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin;
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, even so will he clothe you, if ye are not of little faith.
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.
34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient is the day unto the evil thereof.
I have such a testimony of personal revelation. I know the Holy Ghost gives me the comfort and the guidance I need. And HOW I need it. In the way Abby Jones needs it. I read the scriptures this morning and felt so close to my Savior. I know that even though I may be having a difficult time right now, I know because of the atonement... I can press forward. The Holy Ghost tells me line upon line how I can improve. He tells me to say sorry more. To not be critical of my comp and to look for the best in her. He tells me through the scriptures to love and pray for those who I don't get along so great with. I am really recognizing how the spirit speaks to me. I am so grateful for the Holy Ghost. 

Me and My New Companion Soeur Thomson

Soeur Thompson makes really good curry and zucchini !

I will tell you that the work here seems really amazing though. There are students allll over the place. It is exciting and also less glitzy than good ol Nice. There are 4 main trams that can basically take you all over Montpellier. They are decorated really fun with flowers and birds and stuff so that's fun. Each tram has a different theme. I still need to wear my coat around and even though I'm pretty close to the ocean, I can't see the ocean. But ça va... i was way to spoiled in Nice. The members here are really cool too. I am trying to talk to them at church and stuff and not hold back. But I also know I just need to be patient and give it some time. 

New Zone Leaders: Elder Osborn and Elder Nelson....both super cool!

I saw this African lady with two small children get off the tram the other night. I thought... ahhh I want to talk to her so bad. But then she walked off. As we were waiting for our next tram, I felt someone small bump into me. And it was her 5 year old son trying to walk backwards. Haha! I saw the African woman again and she apologized for her kid bumping into me. But I laughed, told her it was fine, and started taking to her. We both got on the tram and she told us she loves the word of God. We were like... SWEET we love the word of God too. She gave us her number and we are meeting her this Saturday! Cool miracle. We also have our amis, Christine and Favour we are working with so that has been fun to meet with some progressing amis. 

Thank you for your love my dear family. I love you so much. 
Love, Soeur Jones 

Just Stress eating....... Also I love my new planner with President and Sour Brown on it.


Big news!! I am being transferred to Montpellier. This letter won't be the best this week because transfer days are a little crazy. But this week has been full of goodbyes and lots of tears. Sarah Shimales, Clémence Carbonne, Kevin, Elton, Donna, the Da Silveiras. AHHHHH my heart hurts. But at the same time, I am ready for a change and so excited for Montpellier.

Saying Goodbye to people I love in Nice!!!

This week has been full of tender moments. Saturday night we ate Donna's with our zone leaders. We laughed and talked and ate delicious spaghetti. 

Sunday night we ate at Kevin's. Ohhhhh Kevin. We drank piña coladas and ching chinged our glasses and talked about the gospel. We also ate a galette de Roi and I found the fève which meant I was the queen.

 Oh my goodness. These people have literally changed my life. I am going to miss Nice sooooo much. The ward here is something so special. It is the most beautiful place in the world too. I can't believe the time has already come for me to go my way and leave my birth ville of Nice.

Montpellier is a giant student town with tons of young people. They also have really fun colorfully designed trams. My new companion is Soeur Thompson. She is from Missouri. Pretty chill, natural, very real, hard working. I feel really lucky to have her. I have awesome zone leaders and I have heard the people here are also wonderful.

got to Montpellier a couple hours ago and change is seriously so exciting for me.  I see all these new missionaries I have never worked with and I can't wait to get to know more.

Every missionary I tell that I served in Nice just goes, "ahhhhhh no wayyyy. You are so spoiled. You served in the promise land." And Nice truly is something so special. But I also want to just love where I am now too. I will love the people here in Montpellier. My goal this transfer is to be present and work hard. Happiness is a choice. And I am choosing to be happy.

My new companion Soeur Thompson from Missouri

The gospel is simple. Life is complicated and overwhelming. The gospel simplifies things and helps us remember what is most important. I know that the Lord knows me. I trust him. I trust his love. I know who I am. I know that Jesus is my savior. I am so grateful I get to preach about his life and testify of his love. I don't know exactly what this transfer will bring and who I will meet... but I know there are amazing experiences and people waiting for me just around the corner.

Love, Soeur Jones

Ps. Sorry I can't reply to personal emails today:) I'll catch up with you next week!

Here is a beautiful video Abby sent after her pday last week. She and her companion and other Elders hiked the coast overlooking Monaco.  To end her pday, they had a miracle lesson that evening.  The woman they were teaching wants to be baptized!! What a way to finish her week in Nice!


Week 22 "LOVE"

The "Galette de Roi" ....I won as the "Reine." This is the best French tradition ever! All of January they have these cakes where they put a tiny santon or figure hidden inside.  If you find the figure, you are queen or king and get to wear the crown!

How is it that I love these people here in Nice SO MUCH, that I have only known for 4 months of my life? It really blows my mind. I get so excited for Sundays because that means I get to be with all the members, less actives, amis, and other missionaries here in Nice. I love getting to the church early and waiting by the glass doors, to see all the members walk in. Every week- there is Felix, just dragging his grocery caddy along and wearing a bungee cord as a belt. He brings the missionaries gifts of random food items every week in his caddy. I love when the sisters of the ward walk in and we bise, and I get to ask them, "Vous-avez passée une bonne semaine?" 

I LOVE THE PEOPLE OF FRANCE. My love for them is just bursting for them. Before my mission I would hear people say, "Oh, you will just fall in love with the French people." And I didn't really understand that completely. Because sometimes I will be riding a bus full of French people, and I look around and think, I don't feel this OVERWHELMING love for all these random people around me. But for me it is that I feel so much love for the members and amis I have met here. I have learned to better appreciate the French flaire. The honestly and bluntness of French people. How sincere and not fake they are. 
This week we had district meeting here in Nice. Which meant I got to see my favorite Soeur evaaa SOEUR CUSICKKKK. Literally she is absolutely insane. Soeur Cusick tried to get Elder Carlson (our zone leader) to let her lead district
meeting. She wanted to lead the meeting so bad. Malheureusement, he wouldn't let us lead district meeting. In district meeting we talked about remembering to hear the MUSIC of the gospel. How sometimes we do the dance steps but forget to hear the wonderful music of the gospel. At district meeting, Elder Tew from Texas made his famous biscuits and gravy. Yeee hawww a little taste of 'Merica." Any event where we get to be with other missionaries is basically the best day ever. Because you feel like you actually have friends and people who are similar to you haha. Also- I laughed so hard during our meal at district meeting with the other Cannes Sœurs and my companion that my cheek bones were just so sore by the end. Elder Reuben is an elder in our district who makes all of us laugh our heads off. Have you seen "A Cinderella Story?" With Hillary Duff? Okay. Well Elder Reuben is just like Sam's best friend, Carter. The one who tries to dress up as a gangster and then Sam is just like, no Carter... stop. Seriously everything Elder Reuben says we just DIE at. 

At district meeting we were all in the kitchen cleaning up and I said to Elder Wiberg, our other zone leader, "Elder Wiberg, do you remember when Felix sang, "Je t'aime car même, je t'aime car mêmeeee"" But all the other missionaries only heard me say the last part "je t'aime car même" to Elder Wilberg wich means, "I love you still." And all the missionaries looked at me and just laughed way hard. Oh the things missionaries find funnny...
This week, sadly, we were not able to see our ami, Alexis. He said he was really busy with work this weekend. But that is okay, we will keep trying and praying that he will continue to progress and learn. BUT a little miracle happened. There is someone in our ward who brought his girlfriend, Veronique, to church about a month ago. She is not a member but has a religious background and a lot of faith. Well yesterday she showed up at church again with him! I talked to her for a while about how she has found her faith. She also said that she and Daniel (her boyfriend who is a member) have been reading the Book of Mormon that we gave her and praying over the phone together. She lives in Toulon so it makes it a little tricky for her to come to Nice often. I talked to her yesterday and asked her if she would be interested in having the missionaries in Toulon teach her and she said that would be good. MIRACLE. And tonight... we are having a Soirée Familial with her and Daniel!!!! I can't wait!
Donna bought us Crumpets. YUM! They have these holes in them so the butter can soak in:)
I read a talk a few weeks ago that has really been on my mind a lot. You should read it. It was given in conference October 2015. These lines from the talk have really influenced me. It says, 
"The Holy Ghost doesn’t tell us to improve everything at once. If He did, we would become discouraged and give up. The Spirit works with us at our own speed, one step at a time, or as the Lord has taught, “line upon line, precept upon precept, … and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, … for unto him that receiveth I will give more.” For example, if the Holy Ghost has been prompting you to say “thank you” more often, and you respond to that prompting, then He may feel it’s time for you to move on to something more challenging--like learning to say, “I’m sorry; that was my fault.”
So if you are wondering, "How do I better use the atonement in my life?" This is how. Little by little. Line upon line. When we go to the Lord and say, "Hey, what is one thing I can improve on or be a little better at?" He will tell us!!! And little by little, we change into the best version of ourself. It is a lot less overwhelming to me when I look and think of it that way. Of like... okay. Heavenly Father ISN'T requiring me to change everything at once. He just helps me one step at a time. 

Another good quote I read this week from a talk in conference said, "You are rich if you can live happily within your means.” It got me thinking. That really, we are happy if we choose to be grateful for the things we have, the people we are with, and where we are at RIGHT NOW in our life. Because it would be easy for me to say, "Well... Im not with my family right now, and they are the ones who make me happy. So I'm not going to be happy."  But I have other people around me right now. I have Soeur Allen. I have the members here in Nice. I am not the best at it... but something I am going to work on is just being grateful for what I have and where I am right now in my life. If I waste away my time wishing I had more ami's to teach right now, I won't be happy. 
I am SO grateful for the people I HAVE met here. And although I haven't had the opportunity to help someone get baptized, I know that I have made a difference in someone's life here in nice. Even if it is not an ami. Even if it is just Soeur Carbonne. That is good enough for me. These people here have truly changed me for the better. Soeur Carbonne always tells me EVERY TIME... "Aimez-vous les unes les autres." Or in English (love one another.) It is so simple but how easy is it to forget something as simple as that? Love one another. Take time to listen to your kid, your Dad, your friend. Think of how much you have been given and all the tender mercies that the Lord blesses you with every day. None of us are going to be perfect at it. But if we just continue to make a consistent effort to be grateful and try and love others a little better... we will be happier. 

Love, Soeur Jones
P.s... for pday today... we are going on a hike that overlooks Monaco. And for lunch we are going to go eat at a burger place in Massena. I can't wait to wear my chacos and Utah sweatshirt today! 


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