Week 33 "Botox Face"

What is it about everyone loving my botox face I can make? Hahahaha. I can make this face called "botox face" and it literally looks like I got botox. Everyone always begs me to do it here on the mission. At district meetings, missionary reunions, etc. I never thought that the botox face would continue this long in my life. If only Lily Winterton knew how much I have used my botox face, she would laugh so hard. 

On that side note, this week was a week full of courage, faith, and hope. Our ami "C" is ready to be baptized. But she is going through a difficult time in her life.  We have been praying and fasting to know what to do for her situation. We had a rdv with her chez- Soeur Poissonnier. We watched the "courage" video about Esther and all the other woman who decided to have the COURAGE to do something hard. She was so inspired by this message and Esther's courage. When she went home, she got on her knees and prayed. She watched the courage video again and went forward to do the right thing.  I know the Lord works miracles if we show our faith. I know the Lord can soften hearts. We have done all we can. "C" has done all she can. And that is what the Lord asks of us. So we will pray on and continue on. We will follow the LORD'S will and not our own. I am so inspired by "C's" example of faith and courage. There are so many incredible people I have met out here on my mission and "C" is one of them. 

Eating lunch at the family "David's" (an older couple who have been in the ward forever.) Their house was so cute and antique

I have been thinking/ studying a lot about hope this week. I always hear that faith, hope, and charity work together. I know what faith is. I know what charity is. But what is hope? President Uchtdorf describes hope as, "Hope is not knowledge, but rather the abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill His promise to us. It is confidence that if we live according to God’s laws and the words of His prophets now, we will receive desired blessings in the future. It is believing and expecting that our prayers will be answered. It is manifest in confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, and patient perseverance." (The Infinite Power of Hope, general conference 2008)
I say, oh yeah I have hope. But do I REALLY have hope? Do I have hope that I will have a happy, successful mission? Do I truly hope that one day I will live with God? President Uchtdorf also says, "Is it possible to imagine a more glorious future than the one prepared for us by our Heavenly Father?"  These words have been on my mind all week. Sometimes, we worry about the future. We worry about things we cannot control. But if we are doing what the Lord has asked of us, why worry? Is it possible to imagine a more glorious future than the one prepared for us by our Heavenly Father? No. It is not. He WANTS us to be happy. 

He knows what will make us happiest. We need to trust that he is leading us where we need to go. He is teaching us through hard, out of comfort zone experiences because he knows that is how we will grow and become more like him. I know that if we try to do what the Lord has asked of us, that we don't need to worry about the future. That we can just take one day at a time with confidence that all will work out. We can have peace today knowing that we are in the Lord's hands. It is so much better to put our trust in our father in heaven. He is full of wisdom, experience, and love. 
I think I am really starting to love Montpellier. Yesterday I looked over at Soeur Poissonnier during church and she was just smiling so big with her big, bright blonde, curly hair. She got her nails done a very soft pink because she went to the temple and didn't want them to be too bright. She makes me laugh so hard and I love her. 

I didn't think it was possible to love anyone as much as I love the people in Nice. But I love the people here in Montpellier. My relationships are really different with the people here than they were in Nice. And that is okay. I think it is so easy to compare our current situation with what it used to be. And think what we HAD was better. But I know that I am happiest when I just embrace what is in front of me right now. The people who are with me, right now, today. I love Soeur Poissonnier, Christine, the Calvos, Emilie, the Lassons, the DeBarcelos, and so many others. These people have inspired me through their examples and just who they are. I know one of the reasons I was called on a mission is so that I would be able to meet these people. Not just so I would change their lives, but so they would change MINE. I am grateful Heavenly Father has let these people into my life. 
Gros bisous xxxxx
Love, Soeur Jones 

Soeur Bonnammy made us Ratatouille!!! I am a real French woman!

Aimé made us dinner last night.

Pretty church by the gare

Journée de la femme. 175 anniversaire for relief society. French people know how to eat!!! We had lunch hour, dessert hour, and goûtée hour (snack)

I did a handstand with an appleasauce in my mouth

Botox face

Week 32 "Votre grand père était très beau quoi"

I will start out with my favorite Soeur Bonnamy quote this week. She was looking through my "my family" booklet with my genealogy. She saw a picture of one of my great grandfathers and said, "et en plus, votre grand père était tres beau quoi!" (And also, your grandpa was very good looking!!!) Ha, she is a funny one.

Soeur Zamori and Soeur Bonnamy

Another funny story. We bought flowers for an old woman in our ward. Her name is Marguerite Zamori and has 94 years. We were going to visit a member before Soeur Zamori and we didn't want the member to feel bad that we didn't get them flowers too. So before walking into the member's apartment, we hid the flowers under the gate. After the 10 minute RDV with the member, we walked outside and the flowers were
gone! Someone stole them! Hahaha. So cute Marguerite Zamori didn't get flowers. BUT someone else did! I hope they appreciate those flowers. I hope it made their day.

Just doing my autoome hour and studying Jamison's genealogy book he made. 

It made me cry

Pretty cool miracles this week. We ate lunch at Aimé's house with Soeur Bouloi. Aimé is a very kind member in the ward from Africa. He is so generous and always gives us tons of random food from his house. He is in a wheelchair and his voice was affected because of an accident a few years back. Soeur Bouloi is a convert of 10 years. As we sat around the table eating lunch, she told us her conversion story. She told us how she was Protestant but refused to be baptized because she didn't believe they had proper authority to baptize. She searched and searched around a bunch of different churches. She said, the day she finds a church with a prophet, she will be baptized. 

When two missionaries in white shirts walked directly towards her on the road one day, she felt as if they were sent from heaven. It took her a
while to actually meet with the missionaries, but when she finally met with them and they told her that we have a living prophet on the earth today, and showed her a picture of Gordon B Hinkley, she couldn't believe her ears. They also told her that we have temples on the earth today. And she told the missionaries she wanted to go right now to the temple. And they said, okay, well first come to church. Super cool story. She is so passionate about the simple principles of the gospel. I love the energy of converts. I think we should all have that same energy.

As Soeur Bouoli told this story, 2 girls walked in. One was Aime's niece, Elsa. She sat down next to Soeur Bouloi and listened to her tell this story. The spirit was so strong in the room. After, Elsa asked a bunch of questions. Soeur Bouloi bore such a simple, sincere testimony of the Book of Mormon. After, she gave Elsa the Book of Mormon. We 3 missionaries sat there in amazement as we listened to
this member just killin it as a missionary. We are going to try to have a RDV with Elsa this week. But it is cool how when you just keep doing what the Lord asks of you, he fills your life with miracles along the way. And a lot of them come when you're not expecting it. I was so touched by Soeur Bouli's story and was reminded of why I am here on a mission.

I love the gospel. Today I have been thinking about how grateful I am to have the gospel of Jesus Christ in my life. Too often, we get caught up in details of the church that are not the core. But I know that the five basic principles of the gospel are what keep us grounded. Continual FAITH (and trust) in God. REPENTANCE (change for the better. Recognizing when we have messed up and trying to be
better. Letting the Lord take the weight of sin from us). BAPTISM (taking the sacrament every week and coming to the Lord and asking him how we can improve. HOLY GHOST (having this gift with us all the time to guide us through this bumpy journey of life). And ENDURING to the end. Being patient through trials. Choosing to be happy now.

Sunset in Aix en Provence

This mission is not easy. But it would be impossible or completely miserable without Christ by my side every single day. I know that even the days when I feel like Christ has left my side and I am all alone, I know I am not. He has not left my side and he never will. My joy is full because of this gospel. I have changed and grown so much since day one of my mission. And at first I was really scared of change. But
by being humble and teachable enough to let the Lord help me, I know I have become something so much greater than I could on my own. This gospel takes a constant effort, but it is so worth it. I am so happy. I am so happy to have Christ as my center.

I feel like at the beginning of my mission, I wasn't super happy. I think I was waiting for the day I would be happy. But then, I decided just to stop waiting for that day and to be happy today. What a good choice that was.

Love, Soeur Jones

Hannah Bousquet. Uncle Dave Hughes knew her when he was here in Montpellier.

Uncle Dave's picture of Hannah Bousquet, while he was serving his mission

Macdo (McDonald's) with Soeur Poissonnier and Christine.

Soeur Bonnamy and Soeur Kelly- My STL in Aix en Provence

Soeur Bonnamy and I on our exchange in Aix en Provence

Church/Castle by our apartment in Montpellier.

Week 31 "Happy in Montpellier"

I actually don't really remember what happened this week. All I know is I am pretty content with life. I know I always talk about being present in every letter (maybe that is the only lesson I will take from my mission). But I read a quote from a conference talk "today- a day of eternity" that I liked. It says "Today is as much a part of eternity as any day a thousand years ago or as will be any day a thousand years hence. This is it, whether we are thrilled or disappointed, busy or bored! This is life, and it is passing.” Today is another day in eternity. Let's make the most of it. 

Soeur Annie Carrado (who Uncle Dave Hughes knows from his mission. side note: Dave started in Nice and went to Montpellier...I have met many people he knows from his mission)

I also had a hard moment this week. (It wouldn't be a good week without a hard moment, right??) At the beginning of the mission, I feel like certain things stressed me out (knowing if I was working hard enough, talking to random people and French, the mission rules). Since we got to Montpellier, I haven't been TOO stressed. But at district meeting this week, something was said in the meeting that just STRESSED me out. I felt so anxious and stressed. I think it is when I compare myself to how other missionaries do missionary work that I feel stressed. But I know those feelings come from Satan, not from Heavenly Father. 

Arc de triomphe-de Montpellier

I am grateful for prayer and for companions that gave me some comfort when I had my little moment. I am also grateful for tender mercies. Right after I had this little moment, the zone leaders gave us letters from the mission office. Soeur (cutest ever) Goold sent me a Swiss chocolate bar and a letter. And Daniel sent me a letter too. These came at the perfect moment. I think Heavenly Father knows how much words of encouragement help me so he saves really good letters and emails for times when I am really need them. I think I am a person who really needs words of affirmation. The mission- and having companions- has taught me that. Also Soeur Bonnamy is so cute. She could tell that I was stressing out during district meeting, so she sent me a note on airdrop that said, "TOI needs to laugh et eat chocolat." She was so right, I just needed to eat chocolate and laugh a little bit. 

A Birthday Card we made for a member, Soeur Lasson. Thought Eliza & Madeline would be proud of my drawing!!

Soeur Bonnamy really makes me laugh. The other day before district meeting she was rolling on the ground around doing summersaults.

Soeur Bonnamy jumping off the chair before going into a somersault. 

Soirée Familiale (FHE) was a great turn out this Friday. We invited "P" (the ami we share with the elders) and "L" is the girl we met on the bus. We told "P" we would pick him up at 5:45 at the bus stop. We ended up being late, so I was worried "P" wouldn't be there or something. I prayed and prayed that he and "L" would come. We pulled up to the bus stop, and sure enough, "P" was sitting on the bench just looking around. My heart melted. "P" is so humble and sincere. When he saw us get off the bus, he smiled so big!
 Soirée Familiale (Family Home Evening)

 "L" wasn't there, so I was a little disappointed. But I was so determined to have her come. It took a long phone call and some perseverance, but I was able to direct her over the phone how to get to the chapel. And she came! Prayer is real. Faith is real. It is how God works. It is how he has ALWAYS worked. President Uchtorf says, “Faith cannot … force our will upon God. We cannot force God to comply with our desires--no matter how right we think we are or how sincerely we pray. … No, the purpose of faith is not to change God’s will but to empower us to act on God’s will. Faith is trust--trust that God sees what we cannot and that He knows what we do not.” 
One day of the week, we had a great day planned (aka, lots of RDV's planned). And then, right before we were about to leave for the RDV's, everyone cancelled! Wohoo! If anyone's every been a missionary, you know how poopy that is to have all your plans tombez-vous. But oh well. Missionaries are pretty used to re-adjusting plans. We also spent 5 hours in a little town called Lunel this week to pass by 4 less actives. None of them answered/ or lived there anymore. And then we found out that Lunel is a very big RED zone that we are not supposed to go because it is dangerous. Uhh woops. 
So random side note. What is up with everyone hatin' on Utah?! Hahaha. Literally, missionaries and members are always like "Ohhhhhh you're from UTAHHH, wow so special." Elder Kelsey and I are the only ones from Utah in our district. So whenever people hate on Utah we start singing "Utahhhh, people working together. Utah, what a great place to beee." (The Utah theme song or something). I am writing this because the missionaries just started hating on Utah and I am literally singing the Utah theme song as I type this. I am proud to be from Utah!!! Yeee hawww. 

Today for pday we are playing games at the chapel. I love playing games! 

Love, Abby 

Eating n'importe quoi from the chapel fridge. Just some old random food we found because we were hungry. Ha the life of a missionary!

Some cute trinkets I bought today

Week 30 "TRIO power"

Week number one as a trio has been a blast. We feel pretty invincible because we can visit whoever we want! Normally, we can't visit single men but now we can because we are a TRIO! Okay, let's get down to business. I LOVE Soeur Bonnamy. She is French. She is very honest (which is just her French flaire). She loves nature just like me. She will be walking and suddenly stop in front of a big tree full of blossoms, and say NOOO, c'est trop belle. And then pick a blossom and smell it for the next hour.

 She is so silly. I love how much she loves to laugh with me. The other day she went upside down and put her head through her legs and yelled "COUCOU!!" at me. HAHAHAH.
Or lately she has been calling me "Francis" or "Susan" and I am not 100% sure why but it makes me laugh really hard. Also, the other day when we got off the tram, I waved to the tram driver and mouthed "merci." And she asked me "Pourquoi vous faites coucou à le conductor?! Il est votre ami? Vous le connaissez?" (Why did you say hello to the tram driver? He is your friend? Do you know him?) And I was all, "no, I'm just saying waving thank you because I figure no one ever tells the tram driver thank you and he just sits in that box all day long and probably gets lonely." And she was so confused. Hahaha. It was pretty funny!
 I can tell Soeur Bonnamy and Soeur Thompson are trying to get used to each other. They are two very different personalities.  But I am trying to not be on one persons side when there is a little dispute. But just all get along because that will help us have peace in the companionship.

Okay I had the funnest day of my life on Thursday. Soeur Poissonnier took us and our ami, Christine, out to lunch at the beach in Palavas. Each plate was 16,95 euros. I had a fish soup thing with fancy croutons, LES MOULES (muscles), and a 3 layer chocolate mousse for dessert. The sun was shining, so we sat outside next to the sailboats.

As I sat there basking in the sun eating muscles and salty fries, I thought, am I even on a mission right now? You know- sometimes you contact to grumpy French people and no one listens to you. And otherdays- you eat 16,95 euro muscles by the seashore. The life of a France Lyon missionary. Soeur Poissonnier was laughing her head off because I was appreciating the food so much. I just kept telling her how good the food tasted. Everyone was like, wow, Soeur Jones really likes food. And YES it is because I DO. Hehehe. After lunch, we walked around the port next to the tiny bright tourist shops and outdoor cafés. 

Me and Soeur Poissonier

Soeur Poissonnier is so hilarious and spontaneous. She saw the chairlift that goes over the sea and just let out a huge outburst yelling, "OHHH WE ARE GOING TO RIDE THAT!" (In english). So we rode the chairlift over the sea and Soeur Bonnamy and I were laughing so hard the whole time because Soeur Poissonnier was behind us just screaming and laughing, while trying to film at the same time.

This week I talked to a girl from Africa on the bus. Her name is lovely. What a cool name! I was going to explain to her that "lovely" is my friend Jane Froerer's favorite word, but then I was like, no that is way to complicated and too personal for the first sentence of talking to someone. HA! But I thought of you Janey. We invited Lovely to FHE Friday and she called us saying she would like to come. Sadly, she wasn't able to make it. But she wants to come this week!

All the Sisters in Montpellier ward!! Souer Annie Corrado in the back middle just in the front left of me is the one that Uncle Dave Hughes knows!!!

Sacrament meeting was completely packed yesterday. Our ami Samera, from Brazil, came for the very first time. The missionaries have been teaching her for 4 months and that is the first time she has come to sacrament. It was a miracle. And a less active, Karine finally came too! It was such a happy day. Christine is doing well. Comes to church every week, just waiting for her divorce to be settled before she can
get baptized. She is a great example to me of having her heart in the right place and still doing what the Lord asks of her even if she isn't a member yet. 

Visiting Soeur Zamori. Every time we visit she gives us apple juice and "Madeleines." She is 94! I love older French ladies!

I am so so SO grateful for the members who made our amis feel so comfortable at church yesterday. One member jumped right in and began speaking Portuguese with our ami Samera and just took her right under her wing. I feel like these amis are my children and just want them to feel included and loved when they come to church. I am grateful these members did that! The two families that we WERE going to teach last week, dropped us and said they were not interested. But that won't stop me from having faith to find more people! I'm just gonna keep going one day at a time.

Today we shopped for Pday and I bought a little backpack. I am feeling very European. I love you all!

Love Soeur Jones

Nightly Planning. Soeur Bonnamy said something so so funny, I can't even remember what, but I laughed so hard and she caught a picture of it.

Best Day Ever!!!

Visiting our friend in Sete. The view is pas mal. (not bad)

At IKEA getting stuff for our apartment. Aimaline, again drove us home with all our stuff. She is the one on the right. 

O Tacos for dinner with the other missionaries in Montpellier and Nimes

A View from the Chair lift up in the air!!

Soeur Bonnamy and I on the chairlift

"Poissons" Is fish in French! 
Soeur Poissonnier by the Poissons sign

People canoeing in Palavas


ENTREE                                                                   LES MOULES (muscles)

                                                               Dessert (chocolate mousse cake)

Video of Me trying Les Moules for the first time. I made a wish too. It is a tradition in France when you try something for the first time to make a wish.

Video of me and my companions thanking Soeur Poissonier for taking us to such a fancy place.

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