Week 42 "Tahitian Love"

Fourviere, famous cathedral in Lyon

Beautiful Lyon

Hello! First week in Lyon. It is hot here. I am constantly wiping my neck with sweat. Our apartment is basically like a really fancy big hotel compared to my old one at Montpellier. We have a TOASTER (I dont have to warm up the oven for 30 minutes to make toast!)

My companion, Soeur Margrin, is the definition of love. She is exactly what you imagine when you think of a Tahitian full of love. Literally what President told me about her has proven to be true. Soeur Margin is my example missionary I want to be just like her. She works hard, she talks with everyone, she is happy, she is obedient (but not stressed out), she is positive, she is real, she finds the best in others and she loves food. I will tell you just a few experiences that show her love. We were walking down the road and I was telling her that she is the missionary I want to be like. And she stops me and says, "Awee vous êtes TROP CHOU (you are too cute)" and gives me a BIG fat SMOOCH on the cheek... right then and there in the road with people around us. HAhahahahahha. At our rdv this week with a member, she asks the woman, "Is there anything we can do for you?  Do you like massages? I am really good at face massages." And the woman goes, "uhhh yeah, sure!" And Soeur Margrin says, "okay, I need you to come over here and lay on my lap with a pillow." My eyes got super wide and I was just like, wait, she is serious. And the member just lies down and Soeur Margrin starts working her Tahitian magic and gives this member a facial massage after we shared our spiritual thought. It was dead silent and I was trying so hard not to laugh out loud.

Mom- yesterday was mothers day here in France. And because I am new to the Ecully ward, I got to bear my testimony to introduce myself. So I bore my testimony about the importance of mothers. And how I know that my role as a missionary is important, but my role as a mother is my most important calling in my life. I talked about you mom. I said that my mom and her example have influenced my life. How my mom is the patient, sensitive, positive, and has christ as her center. I bore testimony that children look up to and follow their mother's example.

This ward here is really amazing. I have only been here for a week and I can just tell. It is a little intimidating being in the same ward as the assistants. But then I realized they are literally just missionaries like I am. I know I am supposed to be here for a reason. I am not the same as any missionary. But I am me. And I know Heavenly Father needs me to be me.

There is an American family in our ward called the Zinn family. Apparently EVERY Sunday night the missionaries in our ward go there for Sunday dinner. We went there last night and ohhhh my gooodddness, it was so refreshing and also weird being surrounded by such American people. We ate meatloaf (with KETCHUP) and mashed potatoes and salad
all on the SAME PLATE. It was insane and so not French. 

I LOVED IT. Ha! I promise I love france but I also have realized I am definitely American. The elders shared a really good spiritual thought from the story of the brother of Jared in the Book of Mormon. As we all sat around listening and feeling the spirit, I was reminded of the importance of raising a family in the gospel. The gospel of Jesus Christ is meant for families. It heals families and makes them stronger. I am so grateful that I will raise my own future family centered in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I am really excited for the work here in Ecully. Soeur Margrin and I are both so determined to share the gospel and be happy. A lot of missionaries talk with people because they "have to" or it is just "what they are supposed to do." But when I watch soeur Margin talk to people on the bus, she isn't totally stressed or robotic. She is just sharing the gospel because she loves it! And that is something we are both trying to do. Just always be aware of finding new people to
teach. I have talked to so many people this week and I am HAPPIER.

I have a testimony of following the spirit. Soeur Margin and I were waiting for a bus but it was late so we went to the bus stop across the street to see if it would come any sooner. There was a woman waiting at the bus stop that we both felt like we needed to talk to. Even though we needed to catch our bus, Soeur Margin just started talking to her.  "M" is from Portugal. She ended up telling us religion is really hard for her to accept because her husband is super catholic but has recently been disloyal to her. (Um yeah, that doesn't make sense!). Religious people shouldn't be like that. But we have the RESTORED gospel. And oh what a joy it is to share that message. We exchanged numbers and are going to teach her tonight.  This experience was a testimony to me that sometimes we just need to slow down a little and listen to the quiet promptings of the spirit.

Love, Abby

Week 41 "Transferred to Ecully"

The Montpellier district transfer 6

Well folks... the news is out. I have been transferred from
Montpellier to Ecully. I will also be an STL in Ecully (sister
training leader) so that will be super fun. Ecully is 20 minutes away from the very center of Lyon. When President called me and told me I would be going Ecully STL my heart leaped I was STOKED. One of the first thoughts I thought when he told me was, "yes! I get the rocket ship shower." 

The Ecully apartment has a shower that looks like a rocket ship and I was stoked for it. I seriously am so excited right now that I am here in Lyon in the center of the action. I am in the same ward as the assistants and President and Soeur Brown so that is basically the funnest thing ever. (Even though President and Soeur Brown obviously will not be there often because they travel). But still. As an STL I will also get the opportunity to go on exchanges with other sisters in the mission every single week.

Okay well I will just tell you a little about today. I got up early
and took the train to Lyon. We went straight to the mission office where there were SO many missionaries. Tons of missionaries are going home this transfer so the office was super packed. I also met my companion, Soeur Margrin, at the office. Soeur Margrin is from Tahiti and probably the kindest person I have ever met.

 When President told me I would be going STL with Soeur Margin, I said, "I dont think I know her." And President said, "oh sister Jones, you are going to love Soeur Margin. I have never met anyone who is full of more love that Sister Margin. And you two together- oh you will just explode with love." I am also excited to be with a companion who speaks French again!

Our new apartment in Ecully. It's sooo nice!

Today we brought my suitcases to our apartment and I was able to unpack a little bit and we did our groceries. Man, Lyon is so exciting and fun but today has been a little overwhelming with so many missionaries everywhere and such a big city. Honestly, I am trying to feel sad about leaving Montpellier. But I am seriously so stoked to be here in Ecully that the sadness and heavy heart of leaving a ville just kind of washed away. I think it is also because I am getting more
in the groove of the mission and more accustomed to change.

I love Montpellier. I am so very grateful for the opportunity I had to serve there. I definitely learned some major lessons with my companions that I needed to learn. Like how to be more patient, less picky, and more charitable. I will miss Christine and Soeur Poissionnier SO MUCH. 

I think Soeur Poissionnier called me about 7 times in the past 3 days to tell me she loved me. When I first told her I was being transferred she just started bawling on the phone and
said, "no no no. I will not let you leave. I need to say a prayer
right now to ask the Lord to help me accept this call because right now, I do not accept it." Oh my little heart was so touched. She told me she had a surprise for me one night and brought it to the church.She gave me a little silver necklace with a heart. To always remember our love for each other.

This weekend was such a beautiful way to end my service in
Montpellier. I was able to attend the Paris temple spectacle and temple dedication (via television). Wow, what an amazing thing to see so many latter-day saint youth participating in the spectacle. I love being able to be a part of this celebration of French culture. The temple dedication was beautiful Sunday. President Eyring presided and Elder Anderson and Bishop Gerold Causée was also there. I felt a lot of peace and hope for the people of France during the dedication.
The family lasson. Soeur Lasson and Aimeline 

This week was full of so much. But I am seriously so full of gratitude right now. When I got to Ecully I just went in my room and prayed to thank God. Because literally, I have had such an incredible mission so far. My challenges have refined me and helped me grow so much. Sometimes it is hard to see in the moment how many blessings the Lord
has given me. 

And it is hard to see the results of doing what is right, following the commandments, and serving the Lord. But now that I look back at my 10 months of service, I see all the blessings the Lord has given me every single day. I am so grateful to be a missionary. I am grateful for this opportunity I have to serve in Ecully. I cannot wait to meet the members and amis here. So I can't believe I am about to say this- but I think I finally love the mission. I loved it before. But I realized today, I don't think I want to never leave. I literally will never get a chance like this in my
life. I love the people I have met here. I love France.

Soeur Jones

Rachelle, a member from Tahiti in our ward. I love her, especially when she sings so loud each week!

Erika and Jade

Montpellier University

Cute family who invited us to eat Raclette with them last night.

Finding names on family search with Genney from Chile.

Genney gave this to me ...from Chile! Chile is my Dad's mission BTW.

Week 40 "Paris Temple Open House and Spectacular"

Talking with Abby on Skype: Mothers Day May 14, 2017

Abby meeting Jamison's girlfriend Haylie on Facetime . She went to Paris on her mission.
 She, Jamison and Haylie were all speaking French during the Skype session on Mothers Day.

Mom... I loved talking to you yesterday. Happy Mother's Day. I am so glad you are my mom. I loved seeing your happy smiling cute face on the camera yesterday. I love you family. It never feels like it is enough time to talk but that is why we get eternity to be together :)

This weekend we had the open house at our chapel for the Paris temple. There is obviously the real open house at the Paris temple but there is also little open houses in some chapels to present the Paris temple. It started on Thursday and ended with our ward's spectacle (show) Saturday night.

Paintings members did for the Paris temple open house

 We invited a ton of people and passed out all our invitations. We waited and waited and waited at the chapel Thursday, Friday and Saturday and probably had 6 people total come to the open house. And half of them were members and our amis. Have you seen the movie "the hundred foot journey?" You know when the Indian dad sets up his restaurant and gets in his special Indian costume and works so hard to set up the restaurant? And then the opening day of the restaurant, he waits outside and no one comes? That is exactly what I felt like. But we made it fun..... 

Soeur Guenea, the other member who painted these beautiful paintings

At one point, Soeur Poissionnier and I were waiting outside the church holding up the sign and an old couple walked by. I basically just dragged them into the chapel but it worked! And they came! So that was cool. The best part was definitely the spectacle Saturday night. We had around 40 non members come and they were also able to see the temple open house before. 

The members performed numbers of different eras in France. There was a king and queen number and then one with cute little cafe Paris deal. And us missionaries sang "I love to see the temple" at the end. 
I love this ward in Montpellier!

This week, I had a night walking home where I just felt down. It was right before the temple open house and I knew Satan was doing his best to make me feel down because he KNEW God was about to work miracles. We walked up to our mail box, opened it up, and a big fat letter for me fell out. It was from "your Holladay 4th ward fan club." I immediately said a prayer of thanks just saying, God, you know me so well. You know exactly what I need. Exactly when I need it. I went up
to our apartment and cried and cried with every single letter. My cute ward back home wrote me letters and I seriously needed that so bad. Just to remind me there are so many people supporting me and cheering me on back home.

Biggest biggest miracle happened this weekend with our ami "C". As you know, she has been waiting almost a year to get baptized. She has been really hesitant about telling her kids that she was meeting with missionaries because she is scared. But we invited her one more time, to just INVITE her son to the spectacle Saturday. She was super hesitant, but mustered up the courage and invited him and he said yes and CAME! The ward made him feel so welcome and he loved the show. He asked his mom what time church started the next day and said he would like to come to church.
Like what!!!!!! The next day he came to church and that night, we called "C". We said, "hey, what's going on, how are you?" She says," oh good, I'm just reading my scriptures. And also my son would like to read scriptures with me so I was just wondering what would be a good chapter I could give him? He would also like to come to our next lesson because he has a lot of questions." Soeur Bonnamy and I were trying to act calm and keep our cool on the phone. Frantically searching the scriptures during the phone call looking for a good chapter.

But after we hung up we were JUMPING and screaming and rolling on the ground. I love how Soeur Bonnamy makes a huge deal out of miracles that happen like me. We are just both so expressive. But seriously, it was the biggest miracle to have that happen with"C's" son. And so cool that I have taken this journey with her and Soeur Poissionnier these past 4 months. This scripture came to my mind with these miracles this week. "Be still and know that I am God." Or in other words, "I am a God. I created this universe. Do your best, be and peace and then just WATCH what I will do. I am a God of MIRACLES."

This Sunday is the dedication for the Paris temple. Wow, I can't wait.

Love, Abby

Family Roman

Soirée FROMAGE at the family Romans

Bishop De Barcelos and our dmp Frantz

Ivy House: Dad, you would probably tear down all this Ivy hahahah


The Calvos practicing being queen and king. They are practicing for the Spectacular for the Paris France Temple..

Singing cantiques with the cutest ever Soeur Zamorie. We are also drinking apple juice and eating Madeleines.

This week I hit my 9 month/half way mark/hump day. It really doesn't feel like I have been out for 9 months. But then again, it feels like I have been on my mission my whole life! I truly feel like a different person than when I began this journey. I am so grateful for the Savoir who has refined me into someone better. My goal for these next 9 months, is to just get lost in my mission. Get lost in this work for my Savior. 
This week we had zone Conference in Montpellier. I love when President and Sister Brown come to visit and talk to us. In conference, Sister Brown talked about the importance of temple marriage and sealing. She told the story of how she and President met. She also showed a video clip from "Princess Bride" because that is President's favorite movie. Hahah she is hilarious. She encouraged us to find our true love and get sealed in the temple ("well... maybe not RIGHT now... but soon!" - Soeur Brown). My interview with President Brown was sooooo needed. I talked to him about some decisions I need to make that have been on my mind since before the mission. I am a person who really likes to have my plans set before me and feel prepared for the future. But right now, I am having to put all my trust in the Lord. My future is in his hands and I am letting him guide me. It is so tough for me. But I know the Savior will lead me along. I have been singing the song "Lead kindly light" in my head and I love the lyrics. 

Lead, kindly Light, amid th’encircling gloom
Lead thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home;
Lead thou me on!
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene—one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor pray’d that thou
Shouldst lead me on
I loved to choose and see my path; but now,
Lead thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years.

This is Church yesterday. In the photo: Soeur Jones, Emilie Esmeue (who will leave to serve in the Paris Temple Mission in June). Souer Bonnamy, Charolette DeBarcelos...oh and Benjamin Esmeue.

Yesterday night we went over to the family DeBarcelos (bishops family) to read scriptures with them and have a little goûter. I love the way I feel every time I go to their home. As I sat there last night reading from the Book of Mormon and discussing the importance of the temple, I felt so at peace. I know the feeling that I feel in that home is love. Love and the holy ghost. I read this quote in the bible dictionary and thought of it during this moment. Under "temple" it says, "Only the home can compare to the temple in sacredness." I know that we can prepare for the temple by first making our own homes a place full of love where the spirit can dwell. 

Chez DeBarcelos

This week we had the opportunity to help our ami Pricilla move apartments. Her mom had also driven in from Spain to help her. But when we went to help, Pricilla was at work so it was just us and her mom. And her mom speaks ONLY Spanish. Soeur Bonnamy speaks a little Spanish and I just said "hola" and "muy bien" and "gracias." Haha it was pretty crazy feeling like I was a bleu day 1 on my mission again... not being able to understand any of a language. It also made me realize how much french I speak and understand! Things are going well with Pricilla. We had a lesson about faith with her and a member from Chile (Genney). It was awesome because they were able to speak to each other in Spanish. 
- Every Saturday night, our neighbors in our apartment have a party. Montpellier is a student ville so it is not very surprising. But every Saturday night, I kneel down to say my prayer before bed, and I hear the louddddd music of Ariana Grande and Bruno Mars blasting through the walls. It is kind of funny and unusual to the world, that a 20-year-old girl is saying her prayers and going to bed at 10:30 on a Saturday night. But... that is my life right now! Hah! I still there and try to fall asleep but the music is loud and I can hear teenagers yelling and dancing. Just a little funny moment of my week. 

I cannot wait to talk to you on Sunday mom! I love you so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love, Abby 

Gariguette Fraises. Nothing like French strawberries. So cute and full of flavor. (very different from our Utah grocery stores or warehouse strawberries).

Finally gave in and bought a blender. it was only 20 euros and I have used it every morning this week. now all I need is some vanilla protein and I will be Jason Jones:)

MOVIE NIGHT....no folks, it's not "Mission Impossible" or "The Notebook." It's the pioneer movie legacy and the 80's church film "Together Forever!"

Movie night after planning meeting. We are eating  REESES PUFFS (sent from my family)

I bought this today. SO cuteeeee I am gonna dieee. this place is a fromage platter for cheese. And the other thing is a cute candle.

Found this shirt at a popular teenage store called "pull and bear" here in France today on pday.
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