E-mail, 21 June 2013

Hey family!
 
Sorry you haven’t heard from me! I didn’t get a P-day last Friday, because I was in San Francisco getting my Visa. I did, however, send you two letters last week which you apparently haven’t recieved yet. I heard mom called and freaked out the MTC people because she hadn’t heard from me. But I’m okay momma. I’m alive. I’m happy.
 
My first two letters outlined the details of last Wednesday through Saturday, so hopefully you’ll get those soon and you can read all about my first day and going to San Francisco.
 
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So I started out with two companions. There is Sister Kimball. She’s from Salt Lake City and she’s 21 and she’s going to Paris. There is also Sister Johnson from Riverside, California. She’s 20 and going to Lyon also. It’s really nice that I have the two of them in my district because we can all speak French together. This week, another French speaking Sister moved into our district, who was accidentally put into a beginning district at first. Her name is Sister Gordon. So, now the four of us stick together and practice our French when we can. My district is entirely either people going to foreign countries who already speak their language, or people coming from foreign countries to the US. So, we have a ton of international missionaries in our zone, which is super fun! We have missionaries from Bolivia, Cameroon, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Finland, Albania, Mexico, and the Phillipines. I got called to be the district leader on my second day here. (There are more details on all of this in my first two letters, so I’ll move on.)
 
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The MTC is a lot harder than I thought it would be. I’ve been a member of the church my whole life, and I felt (at first) like I knew a lot about the Gospel. However, coming here, I’ve learned that there’s so much more that goes into actually being able to teach people about the church. We are completely busy every second of every day. We have six hours of class a day, working with progessing investigators (teachers pretending to be investigators), TRC investigators (paid actors), and a TON of personal and companion study.
 
Since the comps and I are french speaking, they sent us a French speaking tutor. He just got back from the Lyon mission (he says it’s the best mission in the world and that the Roneys are totally cool) and so he works with us one hour every day. He pretends to be an investigator and we teach him the lessons IN FRENCH. Yikes. Our investigator’s name is Christoph. He’s from Switzerland. He has a wife and two kids. He’s Catholic, but he doesn’t practice. Our first two lessons with him were SO HARD
 
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Our first lessons with him were so hard! We had no idea what were doing. Much less what we were doing in French! But, as the days went on and we learned more about teaching and connecting with our investigator, the lessons got a little better. Two lessons ago, we taught him about the Atonement and he really connected with it. We invited him to pray to ask Heavenly Father if he could feel his love and know that the Atonement was for him. He didn’t do it. Yeesh. It’s so frustrating when investigators don’t follow through, because you just want them so badly to understand and to feel the Spirit. But then, in our lesson on Wednesday, we asked him to offer a prayer for us asking God if Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and if the Book of Mormon was truly the word of God. As he offered the prayer, the Spirit filled our little classroom completely. It was amazing. It was seriously the best feeling ever to know that he was finally getting it. It makes me so excited to get to teach more in France. 

I’ve been getting really frustrated with my French. It’s so hard to know what you want to say to an investigator and not be able to say it. So after one of our lessons, I was feeling really discouraged, and one of our teachers, Brother Jensen taught us a lesson on grace. How we just have to do the best that we can and the Lord makes up the rest. So I’m just trying to do my best. I bought a big thing of flashcards from the Bookstore and started making some vocab cards to study. I’ve been reading the Book of Mormon in French aloud, hoping that will improve my grammar and ability to speak. So…. hopefully, it will come quickly. I’m impatient.
 
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Once we got to Sunday, everything seemed to get easier. We had church, I had branch council, we had relief society, where Sister Marriott from the General Young Women’s Presidency spoke. It was great. We had an amazing devotional from General Manager of MIssionaries for the church, and a movie night where we watched The Testaments. It was so funny to watch that movie in a room full of missionaries. Every time Jacob would awkwardly flirt with the girl in the movie, all the missionaries found it hilarious because most of them haven’t seen romantic interaction in over three weeks.
 
There’s a virus going around the MTC. Yikes. The stomach flu. Three girls in my room have been sick this last week. Our room got turned into a hospital room, so the healthy sisters had to move into the room next door. I’m staying far away and washing my hands A LOT.
 
I fly out MONDAY!!!! I fly to France on MONDAY. I’m obviously freaking out. I can’t wait. We have a LOOOOOOONG flight though. We fly from here to Chicago to Heathrow to Lyon. Yeesh. It’s like 23 hours in total of traveling. And we get into France at 11:00am, which means we’ll be awake for like 48 hours straight. Because apparently, missionaries aren’t allowed to have jet lag. So, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to e-mail next week since I’ll be traveling on my P-day. Erg.
 
On Wednesday night, since I’m a district leader, I got to help welcome all the new missionaries to our zone. It was so fun! We took them on a tour of the MTC, had a general information meeting with them, and took them back to their dorms. It’s great cause I felt all knowledgeable even though I just got here a week ago. But it’s so fun to work with the new missionaries. 
 
FUNNY STORY:
We were in class the day before the virus broke out. We were sharing experiences related to some Gospel principle I can’t remember at the moment. One of the sisters in my district was sharing a story and she started laughing. All of a sudden, in the middle of her laugh, she barfs everywhere. BARFS EVERYWHERE. It was so hilarious and disgusting at the same time. Oh dear.
 
Having been at the MTC for a week, I totally understand why missionaries come home from their missions so weird. This place makes you crazy. It’s kinda fun though. The girls in my room have become such good friends, we have so much fun (when we have time for fun) together. 
 
Love,
Soeur Jones
 
 
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