Week 52 "One Year!"

In a couple days I hit my year mark. WHATTTTT. I have loved this year. But it has also been the most challenging year of my life. The craziest emotional rollercoaster. Starting in the Provo MTC and then to Nice, Montpellier, and now Ecully. 
I love the people I have met. The trials who have turned me into someone better. The best friends I have made here.
So this week was hard. I don't even know why it was hard. I felt so tired. I felt that I had been on my mission for 10 years and that I will be here for another 6 years. I know I know. Everyone keeps telling me, it will FLYYYY by. But this week I felt like I was walking through silly putty.

 I am going to be honest because I am an honest gal. Missions are amazing. But they are hard. I am grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ who helps me continue through hard moments. Sometimes I don't realized how much Jesus Christ is helping me, but when I look back, I realize I couldn't have done it without him.

One day this week, we had one lesson in the morning with a family in the ward, and then everything after that got canceled. We made calls for the week for an hour to fix rdvs for our exchange, and no one answered. It was like 4:00 and I felt like such a potato plop for sitting in the apartment all day making calls. I thought, well, at least we will have an awesome rdv with "E" (our ami) tonight and will have a fun dinner chez elle. But then 2 minutes before we were
about to leave, she calls us and says, sorry girls, I am going to have to cancel tonight, something came up. After we hung up, I just sat there staring blank faced at Soeur Cusick. She looked and me and just starts dying laughing. Because we were too emotional drained to cry so it was easier to laugh. I just tumbled to the floor and lay there like a splatted pancake. And let out a nice long scream.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Then Soeur Cusick gets out her ipad and says, "I'm doing it. I'm playing the song." And I thought, no I am really not in the mood to play a song. But then she starts playing an EFY jam. And we stand up and start doing cheer moves. Like full on cheerleading routine "go big o, high v, pump it up." And we were going crazy and just laughing our heads off. After I felt so exhausted from laughing so hard. But it felt a lot better than crying. I am so grateful for Soeur Cusick. Who is a positive person. Who makes me laugh in
situations when the last thing you feel like doing is laughing. I am grateful that she is expressive. That she likes talking out problems and thoughts. I love that she is honest and so real. That she admits to the difficulty of a mission, missing family, stress of contacting, just real mission stuff.

We had some cool miracle this week. Finally had a RDV with "T" again. Then a member brought a friend to church and we taught she and her 2 kids. She is from Portugal and has read half way through the Book of Mormon.

I love the Zinns. She made chicken broccoli casserole for Sunday dinner last night and I wanted to cry it was so good. Just some American goodness. She made it because Elder Underwood requested it for his last meal at the Zinns. He is going home in a couple weeks. I love how real the Zinns are. They are great examples to me of reaching out
to people outside of the church and never judging anyone. I just love how the gospel of Jesus Christ looks different on every person. It is the same doctrine, the same gospel, but we are unique individuals. So the gospel will look a little different on everyone. Different hair colors, sizes, shapes, different family traditions, etc. But the gospel of Jesus Christ is for everyone.

I know that Heavenly Father is watching over me and my family. Not just because I am on a mission. But because he loves me. And I feel his love. Last night there was a thunderstorm. I sat out on the porch and read the Book of Mormon and just cried. I was reading Nephi 17.
About when he heals the people who were sick in ANY manner (probably everyone) and then weeps with the children. I felt his love so strong.

Sometimes you just want to be tough and power through and be the best and never be sad. But then you realize you are weak. And you NEED Jesus Christ. And even if you always choose the right and you read your scriptures every night, you are still going to have trials. But when we let Jesus Christ into our lives, and we let him just sit by our side and comfort us, our trials become bearable. I feel of Jesus Christ's love for me. Even if my trials aren't as big as some peoples.
I feel that Christ cares what I am going through. I am so grateful for Jesus Christ. He truly gives me the strength, peace, and comfort I need every single day of this mission.




Week 51 "Lucie's Baptism"

Parc de la tête d'or with Giuliana and Bliss

Right now... we are driving home from Parc de la tête d'or with the Val de Soane Soeurs. "Embark" the EFY song is playing and I'm just jamming and crusin around Ecully. Whoohoo for EFY music! 
So I will start out with the first cool miracle that happened this week. Monday night we were on the bus coming home from institute with the Elders ami, Lucie. Do you remember that ami "T" I met about a month ago? The girl from Madagascar who was super interested?  Okay, well 3 weeks ago she just kind of dropped off the face of the earth. I was super sad about it. So we were on the bus coming home Monday, and I look around at all the people. And I think to myself, I wonder if "T" is on this bus. So I look around, and she isn't. The bus stopped and people started getting off and right in front of me, I think I see "T". So I tap on her from the back, she turns around. And it is HER! She says to me, "Oh sorry, Im getting off this stop." I panic and Soeur Cusick and I say, "Uhhhh, yeah, we are too!" Soeur Cusick and I were already late getting home. We were 2 bus stops away from our house. But I felt the spirit telling me so quickly and quietly to get off the bus with "T". So we did. We talked to her and found out why she lost contact with us. She had lost her phone THREE times in the past 2 weeks. I think Satan was seriously trying so hard to not have us have contact with her. You know, I really have gained a testimony of the importance of being obedient. Even being exactly obedient. But I also believe that I shouldn't be a robot and I need to be in tune with the spirit and FOLLOW the spirit. Even though it wasn't "exactly obedient" to be home late, we followed the spirit to get off the bus with "T". And now we have contact with her again. I really hope to see some progress with her soon. 

Lucie's Baptism
This Saturday was Lucie's baptism! She is Elder Fiala and Elder Sorensen's ami. But we have also had the opportunity to teach her with them. After some talks were given, everyone walked into the other room to watch Lucie be baptized.  We went into the bathroom with Lucie (that leads to the baptismal font), but the door was LOCKED! So we ran to go get my keys in the chapel. But when we came back in the bathroom, she was gone! And then we walk out of the bathroom and I hear her coming out of the water in the other room.  We are all- ah! What? They already baptized her? So we run into the bathroom and she just walks into the room. Dripping wet.  So clean. So pure. SO happy. Alors- sadly we didn't get to SEE her be baptized because we were running around looking for the keys. Haha. But it is okay. The best part was hugging her right after she came out of the font and seeing how happy she was.

 She was literally giggling and just smiling so big. The best part about people being baptized is watching how they change. Baptism is just such a fresh start. A new life. Leaving behind old mistakes and going forward with a clean slate. With courage. With faith. And I know that every time we take the SINCERELY take the sacrament, we can also have that fresh start.  We don't need to dwell on who we used to be. Or the mistakes we made that week. If we sincerely repent, we can move forward, with a clean slate, with courage, and with faith. 
Church was a big miracle this Sunday.  My friend "E" came! AHhhhhhhhh. I was soooooooooooo happy when she walked in the room. I jumped out of my seat and motioned for her to come sit by me. Also, a member from Portugal brought one of her friends to church, and she loved it! Ahhh- I love when members and missionaries work together.  
RCM with our new DMP and family from Colombia

A couple days this week, I was having such a hard time focusing. We were in a lesson with a member, and I LITERALLY could not get myself to focus. I was so so tired. Sometimes it is so easy to think of what my life will be in 6 months. When I am home. For as long as I can remember, I have known I would serve a mission. It was my goal and I have been preparing for it for a while. But now I am here. And I know my mission will come to an end before I know it. I want to be present. But what am I supposed to prepare for, you know? Like-ahhhhhhhh! Leaving on my mission felt like I was jumping off a cliff. I didn't really know what it would be like. But what is life even like after the mission?! ahhhh. 

But I am really grateful for some personal revelation I received this week. I was taking the sacrament, and just sitting there praying and thinking. And I asked Heavenly Father one thing I could work on. I wasn't receiving an answer. But then one word came into my mind. Patience. Not only being patient with things that bug me in certain moments. But just with where I am right now in my life. "Patience little Abigail. Patience." Just be where you are right now. Life will unfold as it needs to. 
Institue with the Geedes couple, Anne Mebodo, Sam and Lucie

I am so grateful that Heavenly Father gives me personal revelation as I need it. I am grateful that the holy ghost helps me feel at peace. That he helps me improve little by little. 

Love Abby

Soeur Holmgren is engaged (she was my trainer in Nice!) Also, cute Soeur Rigby is in the office chair. I showed her a picture of my Grandma Nancy and told her that she reminded me of her...She started crying when she saw a picture of Grandma.

Marriage wall in the mission office! Soeur Holmgren is up

Soeur Siles made us Paella...She is originally from Spain

Giuliana and Lea trying on our name tags. Future missionaries!!

Exchange with Grenoble Soeurs

Soeur Brown
Cleaning the Obretchs apartment

Week 50 "Just Still Goin' "

Hey everyone, just still goin! Out on the mission, here in France. 

Ecully is exploding with miracles. There was Amandines baptism a couple weeks ago. And this past week, she was given permission for her children to be taught and baptized. And then there is "L's" baptism this weekend. And I think "F" with also baptized in a couple weeks. It is just insane. What I love about Ecully, is we all work here as a team. Yeah, none of these baptisms are "my amis" but we all work together and help teach everyone's amis so it all feels like we are contributing. The ward here is also very good at taking care of the missionaries and they are willing to try and invite their friends.

My Friends in the Ward

Soooo you are probably all thinking, wow Abby! Your mission is just all baptisms and fun! But... it's still a mission. Oh my goodness. I am just going to explode for a second and just say.... A MISSION IS SO HARD! It is the biggest roller coaster. But hey- I'm still goin! You have these incredible miracles where you see people's lives change.
But then you miss hanging out and watching movies with you parents. And then you feel the spirit way strong in a lesson. And then you are so tired at the end of the day you just roll into bed. And then you eat some way good French "quenelle" at a restaurant because Lyon is the food capital of the world. And then you try to talk to someone on a bus and they tell you they think you are doing "commerce" by talking to them. It is just up down up down up down.
 But there is one thing that has been consistent for me my entire mission-and that is Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. Every time I am feeling anxious, stressed, overwhelmed, off balanced, homesick- and I pray- I feel Heavenly Fathers love and support for me. The gospel is literally what keeps me going on this mission. France is hard guys. But it is the mission. Heavenly Father called me to, so I trust him. I love reading my patriarchal blessing, the scriptures, and listening to hymns when I am sad. I have such a testimony of the peace the Holy Ghost brings us. It doesn't make my problems go away, but I feel peace.

Today for pday, we went to "Au Comptoir les Gônes", a Bouchon Lyonnais restaurant. We went with Amandine. I ordered Quenelle. Very Lyonnaise. Elder Wiberg ordered a BLOOD SAUSAGE. When it first came out, it just
looked like a charred black banana. I tired it and it just kind of tasted like warm blood meat. Pretty good actually. Amandine is so cute. She paid for all of us. She is so generous. Isn't it crazy how people like her, who don't have a ton of money, can be way more generous than people who are rich? I hope to be a generous person. Just like my dad.

Viex Lyon with Amandine and Soeur Cusick

Ready for some big news... OUR MISSION IS GETTIG FACEBOOK. We are becoming an online proselyting mission. I think that will start in 2 weeks. I will use my same facebook account and post church videos and just share the gospel online! We will be on it every day. I know that
this will help us share the gospel in ways we have never been able to. Our relationships with amis and members will be more normal. We can more easily share gospel material with people. And also people here won't think we are from 2002 with our brick phone. In the world, but not of the world. Love it. I'm stoked. "Embrace change" (my moto right

Other random things:
- I wear Soeur Cusicks clothes every day
- We ate hotdogs and Costco buns yesterday and the Zinns house
-This week was Bastille day and I heard some fireworks going off outside our apartment but didn't see anything. A cute member Melanie called us at 10:20 and invited us to go see fireworks with her. Ummmm- yeah we have to go to bed in 10 minutes

- I went on an exchange with Soeur Driggs this week (Daniel and Emily's cousin). She is so cute. Works so hard. Is really humble and asked me lots of questions. And really positive. We ate lunch together in Vieux Lyon and my "pasta box" was actually just a box of melted french cheese.
- I ate too many patisseries from Amadines boulangerie this week.

I love you!!!!! Share something of the gospel via social media/ or a
text this week. :)

Love Abby

Soeur Driggs

Michael Driggs and Rachel Nash's Wedding invite: I lined them up!!!

Sour Brown and Friends

Sour Goold



Soeur Cusick is my companionnnnnnn! She is from Provo Utah. Her hair is black. She is super expressive. She loves to eat healthy and has a protein shake every morning. We run together too. She is so positive. It is insane. And I have decided positive attitudes are contagious. It makes missionary work a lot more fun and less stressful.

10 New Baby Bleues stayed at chez nous

Today is Soeur Cusick's 20th birthday! I planned a little surprise birthday for her. I told her we were going to the chapel to load our emails. I texted a bunch of missionaries to come. Soeur Blackham set up decorations at the church. I even invited President and Soeur Brown. Hahaha. We walked into the basement of the church, and SURPRISE! Everyone popped out. And cute Amandine made us 2 birthday cakes to eat. We ate cake and then went upstairs to play games (planned by Soeur Brown). 
The game was called "hungry hungry hippo." There were a bunch of ballons in the center of the room. And 4 teams (one in each corner). Each team has a skateboard attached to a rope. Soeur Brown would call out a color of ballon and then you get on your belly, on the skateboard and roll to the center of the room to search for the ballon. Then your team pulls you back as fast as they can with the rope. Oh man. I was laughing so hard. Just crashing into everything. Yep. I have the best mission parents.

I love Ecully. It is such a dream to serve here. Super beautiful and green. A lot of missionaries who work hard and are super determined... but also happy. The members take care of the missionaries. But it isn't just that it is a good ville- I feel like I am just learning to appreciate even the hard moments of the mission. And I think I am choosing to be happy. I still have hard days. But I choose not to dwell on things that make me stressed, sad, or anxious.

Last week at Church

Soeur Cusick and I have been talking to a lot of people 'along the way.' As we move from lesson to lesson, we have been talking to people on the bus and metro. I find that the best, least stressful way. Because God places people in our path, along the way. This week we also had a lot of canceled RDVs. Or we would have a RDV and the person would just never show up. Then never call us back. That is hard. It is hard when you don't have stuff to do as a missionary, but it is even harder when you THINK you have something to do and then it gets canceled.
 Amandine at her bakery

But we had one cool miracle after our canceled RDV this week. "T", our new ami, never showed up. So Soeur Cusick and I say a prayer that we will be lead to her house. We had no idea where she lived so we just started walking. We ran into some apartment buildings. So we decided to look at every last name and guess which one was hers. We never found it. But I felt like we should just start ringing people's doors. No one accepted. But then right as we were about to leave, this woman was walking into the building and stopped to talk with us. She ended up telling us about her sister who passed away and we testified to her of the reality of eternal families. She had tears in here eyes. She felt the spirit. We felt the spirit. She declined our invitation to learn more. But it was still a miracle. I know that when we follow the spirit, we are lead.

Sour Driggs!!! I am her STL

I feel like I have changed so much here on the mission. Not really my personality. But my relationship with God is so much deeper. The changes were so apparent at the beginning of the mission, and now, change is just so normal. I love repentance. I love the fact that I can change my weak points and let God help me turn them into strengths. I love the simplicity of the gospel. It is crazy how off track you can get in life when you stop doing the small daily things. Prayer and scripture study. Those two things build our relationship with Heavenly Father. A relationship is living. It must be fed.

I am grateful the Lord gives us chances to change. Chances to become better and try again. No matter how much we have messed up. Gotten off track. Or even betrayed him. He lets us try again and will always be
there to love us and help us when we are ready.

Love Abby

Cleanin at member's house while listening to some efy jams


Oh my goodness so many exciting things happened this week I think I might explode! 
A. MY BROTHER JAMO IS ENGAGEDDDDDD ahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!! I am so happy for him and so happy that Haylie is going to be my new sister 

My Brother Proposed to Haylie Vandenburghe last Thursday in Kauai overlooking the Napali Coast!
They both served in the France Paris mission!
B. I am staying in Ecully another transfer and SOEUR CUSICK is my companion.
I literally thought it was a joke when President told me. We were having a sleepover with the Val de Soan Soeurs and then we got transfer calls in the morning. President was like, "Soeur Jones, are you sitting down? You might want to sit down". When he told me Soeur Cusick would be my companion I have laughed half cried and then fell on the ground. Hahahaha. And then when I went to meet her at the gare today... we ran towards each other and just SCREAMED and hugged for 5 minutes. It was so funny. Everyone around us was staring. 
I love Soeur Margrin though. She is going back to Tahiti. Back home. Ahhhhhh I LOVE her. She taught me so much. She taught me to not be stressed on the mission but just love the people. To share the gospel because you love it. To forgive quickly. To enjoy food and not care about how much you eat. To be obedient because you love the Lord. To follow the spirit. She is the definition of love. 

Soeur Margrin is returning with honor!!

There are a lot of changes in my life. My brother got engaged, he will be married soon, I will have a new sister, my own sisters are growing up, I am changing and growing... And I know changes will just keep happening. So my motto for this next transfer is..... "embrace change." Thomas s Monson's talk "finding joy in the journey"  says,
"Day by day, minute by minute, second by second we went from where we were to where we are now. The lives of all of us, of course, go through similar alterations and changes. The difference between the changes in my life and the changes in yours is only in the details. Time never stands still; it must steadily march on, and with the marching come the changes.
This is our one and only chance at mortal life--here and now. The longer we live, the greater is our realization that it is brief. Opportunities come, and then they are gone. I believe that among the greatest lessons we are to learn in this short sojourn upon the earth are lessons that help us distinguish between what is important and what is not. I plead with you not to let those most important things pass you by as you plan for that illusive and non-existent future when you will have time to do all that you want to do. Instead, find joy in the journey--now."
So I am going to do my best to do that. To let change happen. It is a part of life. I am a missionary right now. So this is where I will be. 
This week "A" was baptized. She is the ami of the assistants. But I am good friends with her. She is just my girl. This week I went over to her apartment and she tried on some of my outfits to wear the day of her baptism. The day of her baptism is was raining. The earth felt so fresh and clean. Perfect for her special day. It was so sweet to see her dressed in all white. She loves black. It is her favorite color. And that is fine. But it was also so beautiful to see her dressed in all white. When she went I into the water, I felt that God told me, "this is real" "the priesthood is real." "A" is clean. She is pure. I ran to help her change in the bathroom right after. She just started bawling but she was smiling. It was the best moment. I asked her how she felt and she said it was "magic." She was laughing and smiling and talking with all the people after her baptism. The next day she wore a long white skirt for the day of her confirmation and she just was SHINING. Although the baptism was incredible, my favorite part about all this was seeing the little increments of change in "A". Each week she came to church she seemed a little happier. And now just looking at her, she is filled with so much hope and purity. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is real. When we use it and we repent, we are changed. 
Elder Underwood made a comment in amis class Sunday that I thought was so true. Someone asked the question, how do we prepare for the second coming of Jesus Christ? And he said, repentance. We repent. And I thought about that for a while. Repentance is truly such a joy. When we repent, we draw closer to Christ and ask for his help to become better. I am so grateful I can repent and change into someone better through Jesus Christ. WITH Jesus Christ. 
This week we also had a cool RDV with a new ami named "T". She is from Madagascar and in her 20s. She is super prepared. She told us how she prayed to feel protected a week ago, and then met us and was led to the chapel. As she stared at the portrait of Christ she knew that her prayer had been answered and that she was led to something good. The truth. I know God answers sincere prayers. I am excited to see where things go with her. She has so much potential.  
Also, another exciting event happened when Soeur Brown called us in the morning to come help her grocery shop. Um YESSSSSSS. And drink diet cokes with her. Oh Soeur Brown. Love her. 

This week was magic!

Eating with Family Obrecht, our DMP

This was my last Sunday with Soeur Margrin. There are 4 missionaries in our ward going home!


One of the EIGHT mangez-vous we had this week!!
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