Week 47 "Cats on the Table and Towels on our Heads"

This week, we had wonderful people invite us to their home. 
Dad I just thought you would love having 3 cats on your kitchen table. 

IT WAS SOOOOOO HOT THIS WEEK. We had the "canicule" period this week, which is this deathly hot time in France where tons of people died several years ago because hospitals were not prepared for the heat wave. Members let us soak our heads with cold water in their showers and we put towels on our heads to wipe up the sweat. I am so grateful for the clouds today.

Today we are going to President and Sister Browns house for "presidents pday" so this letter might be a little shorter. We will play games, have a BBQ, talk with Soeur Brown... its going to be awesome.

I love this video of children singing on Fathers Day: only available on blog abbyinlyon.blogspot.com

Yesterday was the best day of my life. It was the "Saint cène de berger" (sacrament of the Shepard). It is a special Sunday every 5 weeks here in Ecully where all the members try to invite a friend or less active to church. The talks are very well prepared and the meeting is just incredible. Giuliana (recent convert) gave a talk...as well as Elder Menzel (missionary) and the bishop. The Elders and
some other male members also sang "Israël, Israël, God is calling" in French, bien sûr, with all the harmonies and it was BEAUTIFUL. The spirit was so strong. And guess what!? We had 4,000 amis at church!!!!! Okay, we actually had 13 but it literally felt like 4,000. That is the most amis I have ever seen at church on my mission. "E" came, as well as "R", "L", "A", "F", "P"   ... and SO many others. And some of them were
our amis but it is because MEMBERS brought friends too. I was just surrounded by all these non-members during sacrament and it was the best moment of my life. And guess what?! "A" is getting baptized Saturday!!!!! She is the assistants ami but literally I feel like i am part of it because we are good friends. The first time "A" came to church she was so timid. But yesterday she was full of light and hope and change! I know the atonement is real and it changes people. "A" and I just really click I don't know what it is. She is so sincere and I just love how real she is. Yesterday I was able to give her some words of encouragement because she is worried about her baptism Saturday. And she asked me to say the prayer for her baptism. I seriously cannot wait for Saturday. 

We also went to go pick up "R", our ami, for church yesterday. She is an older lady but very spunky and likes to play cards. Well yesterday she came down the stairs and she was wearing this yellow dress and was all dolled up for church. That is the first time she has come. We each took one of her arms and walked with her to
church. It was such a happy moment.

Soeur Theromy with the Elders

I am so happy. This mission is so hard. It is hot. People still reject us. But I am so happy. Not this one time happy but this consistent stream of peace and trust in the Lord has filled my life. I love the gospel. I love talking to people about Jesus Christ. The mission is the best decision I have ever made. And that doesn't mean a mission is the best decision for everyone. But for me, I needed it. I needed to learn certain lessons and grow here. The gospel is so simple. It is Gods plan for us to have joy on this earth, today. Despite how unfair our life is. Despite the trials and weaknesses, we have been given. Despite church members not being perfect. This gospel gives us joy. Faith, repentance, baptism (the sacrament), the Holy Ghost, and being faithful to Christ until the end are the core of the gospel. I love Jesus Christ. He has been so loyal to me. I love what he has helped me
become. I love being a missionary!


Dinner chez Giulina. Erika is her mom in the stripes. I made and amazing chocolate cake and carried it on the packed metro.

The other week at parc de la tête d'or
Soeur Kemp the mission nurse.

Lauren lived in Salt Lake for a little while. She became friends with my sister, Eliza. I met her at our ward the other day.

Lauren's family at church

Walking to the family Zinns......this building is in the park and it is a cooking school.


Week 45 "Ivy In Ecully"

The Zinn's home. We go here every Sunday for dinner.

This week was a little bit heavy, but also full of of light. I
was doing my studies Friday morning when I got a call from the Nice sisters. They told me they had just received the news that Soeur Carbonne passed away that morning. It is hard for me to describe the weight I felt. Soeur Clémence Carbonne is my best friend I have met on the mission. She is 96 years old and I knew that her life was coming to a close. But Mom & Dad, I wanted so desperately for you to meet her. I wanted you to share my love that I have for her.

Memories of Soeur Carbonne

 Soeur Carbonne was an angel for me at a time I really needed her in my mission. At the beginning of my mission I didn't feel like I fit in anywhere. But Soeur Carbonne just wrapped me in her love and took such good care of me. I will never forget the lesson she taught me to "love one another." There is nothing in the world more important than love. When I was in Nice, it was hard for me to see if I was really having an impact on anyone. I visited Soeur Carbonne once a week because she needed it. And now I am so grateful that I did that. She has truly influenced me and changed me. I am so grateful to Heavenly Father for letting me love her. I love that spunky, positive, small, full of outbursts, kind woman. I know that she too, is now one of my angels. I spent a lot of time in prayer this week and was completely filled with sunshine, light, peace, and gratitude. Prayer is real. It will carry us.

Me, Soeur Margin, Amandine and Jesus behind us

So what's Ecully like?
-65% of the homes are almost completely covered in ivy
-20 minutes away on bus/metro from the center of Lyon
there is a huge basilica called Fourvière, that sits at the top of the hill. It was apparently used as the castle in the new Beauty and the Beast movie
-The people are not super pressed with time. They are more tranquil because it is in the countryside of Lyon
-ZERO air conditioning. Every single house we go into is HOT. I am sweating a LOT.
-Lyon is the gastronomic capital of the world. One of the specialties here in Lyon is called Quenelle. It is this potatoey, bready cylinder log thing with either a red sauce or a creamy white sauce and mushrooms. YUM
-There are a ton of Africans in our ward with lots of little kids. I love African babies.

Beautiful rainy view right outside our chapel in Ecully. 

I love the ward here in Ecully. This week we had SEVEN mangez-vous (eating at members houses). I know that is normal for Utah for missionaries to eat every meal with members but not here. It was awesome and I think I gained 4 kilos. 

Really Spicy Food with Soeur Theromy and Daniel from Malaysia

We ate spicy Malaysian food, classic French lasagna, Hawaiian food and even "Cafe rio" with the Zinns. We had a "Hawaiian night" at the Geddes couples apartment. They
invited about 14 other missionaries and it felt like a YSA activity lol. There was Hawaiian flowered table clothes, Hawaiian fruit and "POG" drink. There was even Hawaiian music playing. They sat us down at the end and told us their "love story." All of us looked like 5-year-olds gathered around them to hear a bedtime story. They are AWESOME!!!

"Hawaiian Night" at the Geedes couples house with lots of other missionaries. 

This week, I had a learned an important lesson. We were having a lesson with a less active member, "N". We patiently listened to her for about an hour and when we were about to leave, I heard the spirit say to me, "pray for patience." So I did. I prayed about 3 times for patience and charity.

All the sudden, I felt calm and I tried to REALLY sincerely listen to what she was saying. She turned to Soeur Margrin and asked, "what do you think? What do you REALLY think. I want you to be honest." And Soeur Margrin looks her in the eyes and says, "What do I think? I think we need you at church. I think there are members who need your gifts and talents." I then went on to tell her how I overheard a member asking if she would come to church soon. Her face changed and she looked at me and asked, "really?" "Someone asked where I was?" After that, her attitude completely changed and she said, "I am going to come this week. I am going to come this Sunday to church." (Keep in mind it has been at least 9 months since she has come). Do you remember when I talked about hearts being softened here in France?
Well, this day, MY heart was softened. I just needed to be more patient and really listen to her. And I realized, that is what people need. Patience. Love. Sincerity. With people who have gone "less active"... we just need to love them back in to the church. Be sincere. And be patient with them. I know that is what Jesus Christ does with every one of us.

I love you! Bisous!
Love,  Abby

Ps. Today we are going shopping with a recent convert, Giulianna! When we were riding on the bus I saw a grandma wearing my same shoes and I told her, "Hey I have those shoes." And she said, "Ohhhh no Soeur.
That is not okay. We are going shopping Monday to buy new sandals for you." Hahah bennnn voila!

Fathers Day. "Heart Attacking" President Brown

Soeur Margrin and I giving the spiritual thought

Souer Carrier bought us 3 chocolate "ROYALS"

I made this display for the Plan of Salvation when we teach this lesson.


Vieux Lyon for pday today

Zinn Family

Visiting Soeur Kemp....the mission nurse who lives 5 minutes away from us.

View from top of fourvière

Music Box and Magnet I bought from Lyon

Saint Jean Cathedral

Week 44 "I Love Soeur Brown"

This week we had one day where we had so many miracles. We are teaching a part member family. Their  son "M" who is 16 (non member) had so many good questions he asked during the lesson. He is really sincere with his questions. We taught about faith and he asked, "Do I have faith? How do I know if I have faith?" That was a miracle just being able to teach someone who sincerely wanted to know truth for himself. We have another ami, "E". She is the mother of a recent convert, "G". She texted us and said, "hey sisters! I am reading the Book of Mormon right now." That was another miracle. Then on the metro ride home this lady on the tram is just staring STRAIGHT at my plaque. She even leaned forward on her seat to look at my plaque cause I was standing up. In my head I knew I needed to talk to her. But Satan's little voice told me, "no. You don't have time to talk to her. you are getting off at the next metro stop and it is not worth it to start a conversation with her and then end it in 2 seconds." But another little voice of the spirit told me, just open your mouth. I was going back and forth like this but knew I needed to decide quick cause I was about to get off the metro. I decided to open my mouth. And I said, "have you seen the missionaries before?" And pointed to my plaque. She said she hadn't but that she was interested in gospel things and that every morning she listened to gospel tunes on the radio. I ended up giving her our number and inviting her to church. I am glad I listened to the spirit. THE SPIRIT IS ALWAYS RIGHT. Always. After this day of miracles, we were walking home almost to our apartment and I just yell as loud as I can, "I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARYYYYYYY." And then I yelled, "I love the LORDDDDD!" Hahah. It was awesome.

This week we had Zone Conference at Lyon. There were a ton of departing missionaries who bore their testimonies. Each of these missionaries talked about how they had grown on their mission and their love for the Lord. I realized how close I too, have become to my savior on my mission. I love my relationship I have with him. In my interview with President the next day, I asked for a blessing. I feel like in this point in my mission, I just need some counsel directly
from the Lord to tell me what I need to do. I needed the Lord's strength. The Lord's words. And the Lord's love. I knew that even though it was President Brown giving the blessing, the word's were coming directly from the Lord. I have such a testimony of the Priesthood. I know it is real. I experienced it this week. During the blessing I had a confirmation of how much the Lord knows ME. I felt so much strength and love after the blessing.
I LOVED talking with Soeur Brown at conference. She is so funny. She brings in all these fresh pain aux chocolats and homemade chocolate chip cookies. And she tells us we need to stuff the cookie IN the pain aux chocolat and squish it together and eat it like that. HAHA.  Soeur Brown and I had a jolly time talking about Utah things that no one else understands unless you are from Utah. She was like, "Do you know where Meires chicken is? My son worked there." "No  way, I worked at the green snow cone truck island flavor!" "No way! I would go there all the time!" "Soeur Brown, I probably served you snow cones! And we didn't even know each other." Hahahahah. We also talked about costco
and other american treasures hahaha.
This ward here in Ecully is really really special. There is an amazing missionary spirit. The members really have a desire to share the gospel with their friends and it is so refreshing. The missionary spirit is contagious! There is the CUTEST recent convert here named "G". She is 16. She was taught by SOEUR HOLMGREN when she served in Ecully! She is so strong and is preparing to go on a mission. On
Sunday, she got off at the metro "george de loup" (30 minutes walking from the church). There were not any buses until later. And she didn't want to be late for church. So she RAN (keep in mind she is by herself) to the church from the metro. In heals and a long dress. I am just like WHAT! I live next to the church in Utah and I am sometimes late to church. Oh man the members are so strong here. I admire them.
A member in Ecully, Soeur "P" was so courageous and gave a Book of Mormon to her neighbor, "L", as a gift. She ran up to us at church and was so excited to tell us what she did. Well Saturday night we passed by "L's" house and she let us in. She was so excited to see us and showed us the Book of Mormon Soeur "P" gave her. We taught her the plan of salvation and she was just agreeing with everything we said.  She told us, "you know, I will not change religions because I love my catholic religion, but I love talking with you sisters! I love hearing what you have to say." I know that little by little she will discover the truth for herself and naturally want to come to enjoy the complete truth of the gospel. The restored gospel!
Members are SO vital. I cannot say that enough. I know there are people prepared in your life that are ready to hear the gospel. Maybe it is not through dumping the plan of salvation on them. Or telling them every single thing we believe in 20 seconds. Maybe it is just through being open about what you believe. Maybe it is just through your good example. Or inviting them to your house for dinner to see what it is like to have the gospel in a family. Pray for missionary
opportunities and the Lord will give them to you. I promise you. It feels so good to share this truth, light, and joy with others.

Love,  Abby


Week 43 "Beautiful Lyon"

Lyon is so GREEN! It is more green and lush than any other city I have served in. Ecully is so beautiful because it is more of the countryside of Lyon. I have a desire to take pictures of everything here! Today for pday, we went to "Le Parc de la tête d'or" (the park of the head of gold). It is a giant park in Lyon with a zoo, a rose garden, a lake with paddle boats and row boats, ice cream stands, and a carousel. There were families everywhere picnicking and riding bikes. I felt like I stepped into a painting. It was so charming and so
French. (And it was all free!) Mom, you would have thought it was so cute! I can't wait to go back with you one day and we can go on the row boats together.

This week we worked our tails off and I felt like we just never
stopped moving and talking to people. It is contagious to share the gospel with people. 

Sometimes, I get really hesitate about talking with people, over think it, and don't talk to them. But the more often I talk with people (the people sitting on the metros, the bus driver, the random lady walking her dog, the person at the boulangerie), the easier and more contagious it is! And do you want to know THE COOLEST MIRACLE?! So as you know, the Paris temple was dedicated 2 weeks ago. And in the dedicatory prayer, President Eyring prayed that the "People's hearts would be softened." He also blessed the missionaries who are currently serving in the boundaries of the Paris temple (me) and blessed the members with courage to share the gospel with their friends. Ever since the dedication, there has been SPIRITUAL power
here in France. With the temple now dedicated, I have truly witnessed "people's hearts being softened." Every time we talk with someone, the will not just reject what we have to say and walk away. They will talk to us and listen and even if they don't agree, they listen to us.

Soeur Margin giving a head message to our friend

 Yesterday we were speedily traveling to a lesson with our ami Stella, and a young woman with her dog was walking the opposite direction as us. I didn't even mean to, but I stopped her and introduced ourselves. She said she was completely non-believing and wanted proof that there was a God in order to know he exists. We bore testimony to her that every creation in this world is proof there is a God. We talked to her for probably 15 minutes. Did she give us her number? No. Is she a new investigator now? No. But she listened to what we had to say. She thought about what we had to say. Her heart was softened! Oh my gosh the church is true and there is POWER in the temple!!!

Dinner with Sour Carrier 

We also have been seeing miracles of talking with someone on a bus or something, and then having these people become potential investigators. I know it is because we are just plowing forward with faith, hope, and positivity! When something goes wrong or someone says no, we don't let it stop us but we just keep going! Keep sharing the gospel. I feel happier. We found 3 new amis that we all taught this week. They NEED the gospel and are ready for it! But... all 3 of these people live in other sectors we found out. So we passed them to the other missionaries serving in these sectors. That is a hard part about Ecully, it is such a small sector because Lyon has so many people. But I am just happy we found these people who are ready for the gospel.
Even if we don't get to teach them.

We had MLC (missionary leadership conference) this week and I SAW SOEUR GOOLD. I just ran and embraced her and we talked like we hadn't seen each other in 10 years (it has been 7 months). I love soeur Goold and there is a special connection with her since we came in together. We also played Soeur Brown's "spiritual" games at MLC (lol). She has 3 very small blow up "pools" and different teams. It was church related charades you had to act out while sticking one foot in the pool. Things like, "get baptized" "invite a friend to church" "keep the law of chastity" hahaha. She is awesome.

This week I gained a better testimony of the importance of sincere prayer. I had been praying to Heavenly Father asking him what I can improve on to progress and the answer I got was "I want to hear from you more. I want to guide and help you. Will you let me?" Heavenly Father is always there for me. I just need to let him in and guide me. This work is impossible without him. It is impossible for me to be happy without him. I have been trying more to say a prayer when I am feeling stressed, about to talk with someone and I need courage, and just talk with my Heavenly Father in prayer more often. I also tried to make my prayers more sincere this week. I felt that I was guided in knowing I needed to have my prayers more sincere through other people. What my mom said in her email to me, Emily Taggart's experience with
prayer, and a letter a member wrote me. I knelt down Sunday morning and just prayed sincerely. I didn't thank God for every single blessing I have or pray for all our amis and all my family members. But I made it really sincere. I talked to Heavenly Father about how I was feeling RIGHT now in the mission and what I need from him. I felt so much closer to Heavenly Father and I know that is something I need
to continue to do. There is power and peace in prayer. There is a DIFFERENCE when we make our prayers sincere.

Our sector

Ps. Family, I GOT THE PACKAGE. I love youuuuuuu. Thank you for the
protein powder and fun treats. I especially loved the letters. (And I loved getting that letter from ELLIE!!!). I felt like I was just in a little moment of peaceful heaven as I read those cards and opened the
packages. I love my JONES'!

Love,  Abby

Ecully Chapel

Soeur Tessa from Lille who freaked out when I said Jamison (Elder Jones was my brother)

Zinn Family. We ate Sunday dinner with them. They are American. It was so refreshing to eat meatloaf and mashed potatoes and feel American. 


Turning Tahitian

VIDEO of Abby and Soeur Margrin

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