Being a missionary makes you get bags under your eyes. . .

Bonjour all!

This week was rather eventful, fairly difficult, but a good week overall.

On Monday, we met the Elders from our ward down at Parc de la Tete d’Or. It was beautiful. It’s this huge park in the middle of Lyon with a free zoo and a huge botanical garden. There were hundreds of Frenchies there just hanging out in the park. We walked through the zoo and played some American Football as passers-by looked at us with the “They must be Americans” look on their face. (We get this look a LOT).

On Tuesday, we met with our ami François. He’s from Cote d’Ivoire and an older man and he’s super cool! He loves the Gospel and loves taking the lessons from us. He’s told us that he’s really committed to being baptized, however, he isn’t keeping all of  his committments. He believes that since he already believes the Gospel is true, he doesn’t need to do anything else. It’s very frustrating, but we’re doing everything we can.

We also met with Ludmilia (who was baptized two weeks ago). We taught her about eternal marriage and at the end of the lesson, she said the prayer and prayed for us all to find husbands. LOL. It was all I could do to keep from laughing in the middle of the prayer. Ludmilia is such a amazing person. She loves the church SO MUCH. She is going to do really great things for the church in her lifetime, I just know it.

On Wednesday, we had an exchange. Soeur Stevens went to Saint étienne and Soeur Russell from Saint étienne came to spend a day with us. We spent most of the day contacting. Contacting is the big focus in the Lyon mission right now. It’s all about contacting at least 50 people a day. Contacting is NOT my favorite thing in the world, but I’m trying to love it. It still just feels a bit awkward to me, and usually people don’t want to listen to you anyways, but I’m working on it. Contacting really helps my French, so that’s a plus!

We also met with one of our amis, who asked us to call her Maman Hélène. So we do. Her husband is a member of the church and the missionaries have been working with her for a long time. She’s a strong woman, and very stubborn which makes it hard for the missionaries to get through to her. But our lesson was great! We were really able to address some of her major concerns about the church and the Livre de Mormon which was great. At the end, she offered a very heartfelt prayer to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet and to know if we really need a prophet today. It’s a little stressful, just because as a missionary, you spend so much time worrying about whether or not her answer came, or whether or not she’ll recognize it when it does, but I’m trying to learn to better leave it all to the Lord and trust he’ll do what’s right for her. Then, she told us we were too skinny and gave us ice cream. This happens a lot with people we visit. If it keeps going like this, they won’t be able to tell me I’m too skinny for much longer…

On Thursday, we had district meeting in Saint étienne. It was my first time to travel out of Lyon, so I was pretty excited! We took an hour long train ride into Saint étienne, which is a beautiful, beautiful city. It’s much smaller than Lyon and it’s exactly what you imagine the south of France looking like. It’s all rolling green hills with little villages of white homes with red tile roofs nestled in. We met in the church building with our district and talked about the work in our area, practiced contacting, and made lunch together. It’s always a good time when we get to meet with other missionaries. We have a lot of fun together.
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 This is the lovely district. (From left to right: Elder McCarty and Elder Petek (the zone leaders), Elder Nelson and Elder Wheat (the district leader), The Greens (they are missionaries at the LDS youth center in Lyon), Soeur Hills, yours truly, Soeur Stevens, and Soeur Russell and Soeur Modersitzki (the sisters in Saint étienne).

ImageSometimes you leave district meeting to find pictures like this on your camera.

On  Thursday, after we got back to Lyon, we had a first lesson with a lady named Nicole who we contacted at Gorge de Loup (our favorite contacting area). The lesson was pretty good. Nicole had a lot of questions, but didn’t seem as interested to hear about anything else. However, we are visiting with her again this week, so hopefully the second lesson goes well!

On Friday, we woke up to find the nastiest rash on Soeur Stevens’ feet. It was nothing that I’ve ever seen before (and I’ve seen a lot of rashes, as you well know). So we went into the pharmacie, which here is more like a doctor, and they gave her some medication to put on it and see if it goes away.

We were able to see our ami, Sy for the first time in FOREVER. Sy is 26 and from Senegal.  He has a baptismal date and thinks the Gospel is just the best thing ever. We know he could be baptized soon if he would just meet with us! We taught him the  Plan of Salvation lesson and he loved it. He says that everything in the Gospel just makes sense, that it appeals to logic and to heart. This is so true. All of our questions (or pretty much all) can be answered through the Gospel.

We taught François with Ludmilia. We had an entire lesson just about reading the scriptures. Ludmilia is a lawyer and she LOVES the Book of Mormon, and she just went at him. She was basically like, “All of your excuses are stupid. If you wanted to read, you would.” It was hilarious. And a little terrifying. Hopefully, he got the message.

We also had our ami Mercy’s baptismal interview at the church. It was very hard, because it ended with her not being able to be baptized this Sunday. She is from Nigeria, she doesn’t read, and her comprehension level is very low. We teach her like a child, but sometimes she still doesn’t understand. The Elders felt that she needs more time to better understand the Restoration and the Book of Mormon before she is baptized. That was a really hard thing to explain to her and we were so worried she would feel like she did something wrong, when it really wasn’t her fault at all. It was a difficult night for all of us, but the seven of us missionaries talked a lot about what we could do to better prepare her for a future baptismal date.

Then, Soeur Stevens’ foot rash was spreading and turning purple, so we stopped by the Roney’s house to have Soeur Roney look at it. (She’s a nurse). She was quite worried about it. She thinks it’s some kind of bacterial infection that is causing it. (Perhaps from her grody blister problem last week).

So, Saturday morning, we went to the doctor. French doctors are kind of… different. He was old. And wearing jeans and sneakers and a plaid shirt that was unbuttoned down to his belly button practically. It was so freaky. He prescribed Soeur Stevens some antibiotics and we just took the prescription and ran… cause we were a little freaked out.

We got the prescriptions filled and stopped at a little patisserie across the street and got some pains au chocolats. I’ve had many a pain au chocolat since I’ve been here, but this one was the BEST EVER. It was flaky on the outside and soft on the inside. It was filled with chocolate chips and “mystery cream” (It’s this cream that is inside most pastries here… and we don’t know what it is. . . but it’s tasty!) And it was covered with almonds and powdered sugar. We scarfed those things down and decided we would definitely be coming back soon.

Because Soeur Stevens could barely walk, we spent most of the day in the apartment. We did our weekly planning (which usually takes about five hours) and started making our own streetboard! Which I loved! Cause I got to be crafty! I’ll send a picture next week when we finish it!

On Saturday night, Soeur Hills and I were out in the main room writing in our journals. All of a sudden, like four bugs landed on my journal. I looked up and there was a thick, black layer of bugs covering our walls and ceiling. We realized we had accidentally left the outside door cracked! It was so barfy. So we grabbed the vacuum and spent about an hour vacuuming our walls/ceiling.

Here’s a really attractive picture of me vacuuming the ceiling:
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Yesterday, Sy came to church for the first time! And he LOVED it. He said he can’t wait to come back! Whoop! We visited some older ladies in the ward that can’t come to church because of health reasons.

It rained today, so the weather was really nice and cool for the first time since I’ve been here! I was not prepared for it to be so hot here! So the rain is nice!

I hope everything is going well at home and that everyone is healthy and happy!

Love, Soeur Jones

PS. My companions are dorks.
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One thought on “Being a missionary makes you get bags under your eyes. . .

  1. Good Afternoon Souer Jones,
    Sounds like you had a busy week filled with the spirit and mixed with lots of humor. Sometimes a sense of humor can get you through even the toughest of times. Look forward to your post each Monday and appreciate the little details…..food….landscape and weather. XO Aunt Rebecca

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