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Bonjour tous! 

I feel like this last week was exactly five minutes long. It went by so fast!
 
Last week for p-day, we decided to do something fun, so we spent part of the afternoon at Vieux Lyon. Vieux Lyon (Old Lyon) is really beautiful and authentically French with cobblestone streets and little shops and crepe stands and the Cathedral St Jean. 
 
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In front of the Lyon Lion.
 
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That’s me in the “L.”
 
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Then, on Monday night, the most tragic thing happened. I was reheating mashed potatoes to eat before we went out to streetboard, and when I was taking them out of the microwave, I tripped and almost dropped the bowl. Don’t worry, I caught it, but my hand kind of sort of went into the bowl of boiling hot mashed potatoes. I had burn blisters on three of my fingers and I couldn’t take them out of cold water for more than like two seconds without them burning. So, we couldn’t really go streetboarding. It was kind of a bummer. The Elders bought me some burn cream and we had to walk down to a little plaza near our apartment to get it, and I had to carry a bag of frozen broccoli on my hand all the way there. It was kinda awkward. But don’t worry, it all worked out in the end and they’re healing up nicely. 
 
Tuesday was Soeur Lewis’ six month birthday, so of course I made a Texas Sheet Cake to celebrate. Soeur Stevens and I sang happy birthday to her and put a candle in her cake. (Don’t worry, we didn’t light it). My companions are the best. We get along so well. We have lots of fun in addition to getting lots of work done. 
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François is really getting excited for his baptism. He has already started planning his own program and calling people in the ward to give talks and say prayers. It’s the greatest! I am so excited for him!
 
We have a new ami named Ernest, who has really been progressing well. We were able to teach him twice this week and he came to church yesterday and I think he really liked it! We are seeing him again on Tuesday and are planning on inviting him to be baptized, so that’s pretty exciting!
 
This week, our zone focus was on contacting. As a zone, we set a goal to contact 8,000 people this week between our 11 equipes. This rounded out to about 750 contacts per equipe. So, to do our part, we went streetboarding twice this week and we ended up contacting 1001 people!!! Can you believe that? That’s a lot of French people for three little American girls to talk to. We were counting up our numbers last night at about 8:00pm, and we realized we had talked to 998 people that week, so last minute, (we have to submit our numbers at 8:30) we ran out of our apartment and chased people down the quai so that we could contact them and get to 1001. It was fantastic. 
 
We had the opportunity to give a lot of service this week. On Friday, we took a bus about 45 minutes out of Lyon to a suburb where our Bishop lives. We painted a shed for him. It was kind of hilarious. All three of us ended up covered in paint. Then, on Saturday, the Omorodian family moved apartments, so all the missionaries from the ward went to help them out. It was pretty fun! Speaking of the Omorodians, Comfort had her baby on Tuesday! Her name is Amarantine which means “eternity” in some language that is not English or French. 
 
Yesterday we had a baptism in the ward, which is always exciting! The AP’s baptized a lady named Nicole who has been an ami for about a year now! It was a really exciting day! Here’s something else crazy… Today, one of the AP’s goes home. His parents came to pick him up and they came to our ward yesterday to see his baptism! So we all saw him see his family for the first time, and of course, he, being an Elder just took it all calmly and didn’t even tear up at all. I, on the other hand, was bawling. It was the greatest thing. So crazy. I’m at the point where I feel like I’ve been a missionary FOREVER (even though it’s only been like 3 months) and I feel like I will be a missionary FOREVER. 
 
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The Soeurs with Nicole!
 
Love you all and vous me manque!
 
Bonne semaine! Good luck with school starting! Try not to be too sad:)
 
Avec amour,
 
Soeur Jones
 
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PS. We found this aisle in the grocery store last week. It’s our new favorite. LOL. “Tex Mex.”
 
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La Semaine des Miracles

Okay. This was the biggest week of miracles ever. One of those being that my camera came in the mail! Soeur Green told me all about the troubles. Yeesh. France. What are you going to do?

 
Our first miracle happened a week ago. At the grocery store. Carrefour of all places. Soeur Stevens, Soeur Lewis and I were just walking around looking for the creme fraiche, and this completely random lady walks up to us and says,”I’ve been looking for you.” We were like, “Uh… we don’t work here…” And she said, “No, I’ve been looking for you Sisters. I met the Mormons in Paris on vacation and I’ve been searching for you in Lyon for months.” WHATTTT??? She started to cry and hugged us and told us that she had been praying that very morning about the Mormons and when she saw us, she knew it was God who sent us to her. She then gave us her phone number and address and said she wanted to learn everything about the Mormons. She continued to cry and hug us until she looked at us and said; “I just feel like I know you, like I’ve met you before.” Needless to say, it was like the best day EVER. And the biggest miracle EVER. We are seeing Mirella for our first lesson tomorrow!:)
 
Miracle number two is that François has a firm baptismal date! He will be getting baptised on September 8th! We are so excited! François is too, he’s just too cool to really admit it, but we know he is because he told us he already picked out the cantiques (hymns) he wants to sing at his baptismal service. 
 
Miracle number three is that on Wednesday night, we streetboarded for two hours and contacted 300 people. 300. That’s a lot of people. And after, we were so tired (streetboarding takes a lot out of you) and we didn’t want to do anything else, but we decided to do some porting (door knocking). On our way from streetboarding to porting, we contacted into this man named Guy. He told us that he had actually met the missionaries when he was on vacance in Grenoble. He had started reading the Livre de Mormon, but he lost the card with our phone number. And we just contacted right into him and set up a rendezvous! We taught him the introduction lesson and he came to church yesterday! And he said he really liked it (though I’m 75% sure that he slept through most of the Saint-Cène. (sacrament meeting). 
 
Miracle number four is that on Friday, we taught three more introduction lessons! One of them set up another rendezvous with us and the other took a Livre de Mormon and is still in contact with us (another rendezvous pending). 
 
Miracle number five (I know, this is a lot of miracles): We taught two more introduction lessons on Saturday, each to two people. And three of them became new amis! It was absolutely crazy! We got four amis and four potential amis this week! We have been praying for people to teach, and the Lord has been guiding them to us! We are so lucky! 
 
We got to attend a baptism AND a wedding this week! The baptism was for an ami of the Elders in another sector of Lyon. I played the piano and it was really beautiful and fun! All the Lyon missionaries came to support the Elders, so we got to all spend some time together which was great! The wedding was for a couple in our ward. They had their state marriage at the church, and we got to attend, and it was very… French.
 
Sorry there aren’t any pictures this week! I’ll try to get the new camera up and running so I can send some pictures home next week! We are going to Vieux Lyon today with the Elders for P-day, so I should get some great pics from that trip! 
 
Thanks for the package mom! It was the best! It was like it was my birthday or something. Packages rock.
 
Love you all and hope you are doing well! Good luck with school starting back up!
 
Soeur Jones

Letter dated August 12, 2013

[Note: Some weeks we are lucky enough to get a hand-written letter from Jordan, which usually arrives on Saturday. I don’t always post those here, but this seems infinitely post-worthy.]

Family,

I loved getting everyone’s e-mails this week! I’m glad to hear you are all soaking up the last few weeks of summer! I miss you all and wish I could be there to start school again with you. (But not really, ’cause the mish is WAY better than school.)

Wanna hear a crazy story that JUST happened? After e-mailing, we went to Carrefour to get our groceries. Soeur Stevens and I exited an aisle and this lady came up and grabbed Soeur Stevens’ hand and looked at her. Then she grabbed my face and looked at me, and she said, “I’ve been looking for you two everywhere!” She told us her name was Mirella. She met the Mormons in Paris and lost contact when she moved to Lyon some time ago. She said she saw us across the store and felt like she knew us, that she’d met us somewhere before. Then she saw our tags, and she realized that we were supposed to teach her about the church. As she said this, she started to cry. She hugged us and said we were like a beacon, shining just for her. So we got her number, and we are going to see her next week. It was a miracle. The Lord blessed us to find her. It was the most amazing thing that has ever happened. Being a missionary is the BEST.

I love you all and miss you lots! I can’t wait until you can come to France! I often see or do things during the wek that I know each of you would love.

Have a great week! Be happy and safe!

Love,
Jojo

the best week EVER.

Okay. So really, this week was great. I feel like I grew so much this week. Perhaps it’s because my trainer left, so I’ve been forced to really step it up. I’m doing a lot of things now that I didn’t do when Soeur Hills was around. I’m street contacting on my own, teaching bigger parts of the lessons, talking on the phone in French! (Which is a LOT harder than it sounds). I’ve also been cooking more! I’d just like to give a shout out to Pioneer Woman. Because of her, my companions think I am the best cook ever. ME. Hear that momma? I’m a good cook! Who knew? I made Pioneer Woman fried rice and florentine pasta and they were both a huge hit!

ALSO. This one’s for you dad- I fixed our shower head this week. It was freaking out and the water pressure was really low. SOOO I just grabbed our little tool box and used random different tools to hit the shower head with. (Just kidding… But not really). And I fixed it!!! I actually just tightened the bolt between the shower head and the faucet (Cause it’s one of those) and it fixed everything! 
So there you go! I’m learning all kinds of good stuff out here in France!
 
This week, we were able to see all four of our amis. They are all doing pretty well. François is moving really steadily towards baptism. His baptismal date is August 21st, but we’re probably going to have to move it into September, because he’s having a bit of anxiety. He doesn’t feel ready (though he really is). I have seen this man change SO much since I’ve arrived in France and started teaching him. He’s a completely different person. It’s the most amazing thing. The Gospel really changes people!
 
We also saw our ami Sy. He’s a younger ami, a student here in Lyon. He really loves the lessons, but he works in Paris a lot, so it’s hard for us to be able to see him. However, we talked a little about prophets with him this week and we showed him a picture of the First Presidency where they are all laughing. Sy took the picture and stared at it. He just kept pointing to Thomas S. Monson and saying over and over, Il est beau. (He is beautiful). And then he said. I know he’s a prophet. I can see it in his eyes. It was an amazing moment.
 
We saw Mercy. We are teaching her the Restoration again, very simply and reading a Book of Mormon Stories children’s book with her. It’s a little bit of a hard situation, and we don’t really know how to handle it, but we’re just trying to love her and do our best. 
We also saw our new ami named Nathalie. She read 12 chapters of the Book of Mormon inbetween our first and second lessons and she says that she loves the story of Néphi. (pronounced Nefi). So, this is a pretty exciting development! 
 
Our amis are doing well and I am loving the teaching part of my mission. It’s my favorite part. It’s probably everyone’s favorite part, but I just really love it when we’re teaching and people are understanding, and slowly you can see the light turning on in their eyes. It’s a good feeling. 
 
This is the first week where I think I can really see my French has improved. We had a post-baptism lesson with Ludmilia that was more of a discussion than a lesson, and I found that I understood everything she said, and had no problem expressing anything I wanted to say. It was kind of a miracle moment. I feel really blessed. I know my French is improving a lot faster than it could possibly improve for a normal person. 
 
Since we’re in Lyon, when the new missionaries come in every transfer, we’re in charge of entertaining them for two days before they are assigned a ville and a trainer and shipped off. So, we had 24 new missionaries and 24 trainers. Yikes. We got a lot of the members of the ward to come to the church and volunteer to have the new missionaries teach them practice lessons in French. We did some workshops and contacting. So it was pretty fun to not be the newest missionary anymore! We pretty much spent two days this week inside the church with the new missionaries, which was fun, but kind of frustrating because we just wanted to get out and actually get some work done. 
 
So, this random man named Antonio called us saying that he recieved a pass along card and wanted to meet with the missionaries. We were pretty excited because this NEVER HAPPENS. So we met with him and a member at the church. And he was kinda crazy. He kept reciting prayers and saying crazy things. Then he showed up at church. And he asked Elder Petek for a light. Awks. So…. We’ll see how that goes. 
 
We got a new district leader this transfer. He’s Tahitian. So every Sunday, when we have to have our weekly conversation with the district leader, that means it has to be in French. Yikes. So he called yesterday night, and I answered it without looking. Then I just heard this babble in my ear, and I freaked out cause I didn’t know what he was saying, and I threw the phone at Soeur Stevens and we just really had a difficult time with it. It took about an hour for him to get the information he wanted from us. It was a lot funnier than it sounds….
 
I feel like I’m finally at the point where the members of the ward stop asking me if I’m new. It only took five weeks. LOL. 
 
But anyways, it was a great week and we have a really fantastic week planned.
 
ALSO!!!! It’s my two month missionary birthday today! Can you believe it? Two months already! It’s crazy! It’s been the fastest two months of my entire life!
 
Love and miss you all! I pray for you often!
 
Love,
 
Soeur Jones
 

Transfer Week

[Note: No pictures! Jordan’s camera was stolen, and she feels SO badly about it. I’m going to have to work on getting a camera to Lyon STAT!]

This week was absolutely crazy! I know many of you are wondering about transfers, so I’ll just tell you now… I’m staying in LYON! I’m really happy to get another transfer to work here. écully is the best ward and the best area EVER!!!! Soeur Hills left Soeur Stevens and I to be a sister training leader in Aix en Provence. Soeur Stevens is going to finish training me and we’re going to try our best to get along even though we’re both so young and practically know NOTHING! So that’ll be an adventure!

So last Monday was great! All the missionaries from Lyon went to the Roney’s house and we had hamburgers and root beer floats WITH REAL AW ROOT BEER. It was the greatest. Soeur Roney got the root beer shipped from an American store in Switzerland. Then we played sports and games and mafia and it was just so much fun! It was a fantastic p-day! After p-day was over, we met with a lady that we contacted on the street for her first lesson! Her name is Nathalie and she’s pretty religious and seems pretty interested. We taught her a leçon 0, which is the beginning lesson where we explain who we are and what we do and give a mini retab (restoration). She seemed pretty receptive, so we have another rendez vous with her tonight! Pray that it all goes well and we might have a new ami!

On Tuesday I had legality which pretty much took up the whole day. Legality is when you have to go to a government office and get checked out by like four different French doctors so they can affirm that you aren’t bringing any strange diseases into the country. Don’t worry everyone, I’m good. So I’m legal now! Whoo hoo. On Tuesday night, we had dinner with Soeur Theroomy, a less  active member. (The one who used to own the Malaysian restaurant). So we had more really really really good Malaysian curries. It was fantastic. She is an amazing cook.

On Wednesday, we had a lesson with François. He’s doing pretty well! He’s progressing very quickly! I really think he’ll be baptized on his August 25th date! But…. anyways… this lesson we taught the Law of Chastity. It was really awkward. Like three little white American girls trying to teach this older man about the law of chastity. And what made it more awkward was that he kept giving us these “hypothetical” situations and asking us what we would do in that situation. I luckily didn’t really know what was going on because those words aren’t in my French vocabulary. LOL.

Then we met with a less active member named Soeur Chaptal. She’s really cool! She’s an artist and she paints murals in homes and schools all over Lyon. We were teaching her a short lesson about the restoration and all of a sudden Soeur Hills started talking about paying our tithing. Soeur Stevens and I were so confused about what was going on. Then all of a sudden, Soeur Chaptal burst into tears and said that tithing was one of her major soucis (worries) about the church and that she was so glad that we had come and talked about that. It was a really cool experience. It’s amazing to see how the spirit works through us to help people.

We had another dinner appointment Wednesday night (which is weird, we almost never have dinner appointments). This time it was with an ami named Nicole who is scheduled to be baptized by the Elders in our ward later this month. She is from the Reunion ( a small island near Madagascar), and she made us food from the Reunion and it was SO GOOD. She made us these giant porkchops with all these different herbs on it and this special kind of rice. Then we finished the meal like real french people with a course of bread and stinky cheeses and a course of fromage blanc. Fromage blanc is the weirdest thing. It’s like yogurt, but really runny and aged for a long time. It has a really strong taste, so I always have to put like 78328 spoonfuls of sugar on it to even down it. I’m getting used to it now, because french people ALWAYS eat it in between courses to cleanse their palates. Here’s another weird French thing. I shouldn’t say it’s weird. It’s not weird, it’s just different. In between courses, you always wash your plate. Your salad juices cannot touch your main course and so on. So you either have to go wash it in the sink, or use a piece of bread to clean your plate off. It’s a little stressful.

On Thursday, we had district meeting in the morning. I made a Texas sheet cake and the Elders and Soeurs were scarfing it down like it was their day job. They loved it! We had another lesson with Ludmilia. She is just really the greatest. She reads 5 chapters of the Livre de Mormon a day and every morning she texts us her favorite verse from her reading. It’s the greatest.

We had exchanges on Thursday! Soeur Hills went to Grenoble and Soeur Smith came to écully to work with Soeur Stevens and I. The only hitch was, during a rendez vous with a member, Soeur Smith realized that she had the keys to the Grenoble apartment in her bag. Oops. So Soeur Hills and Soeur Keating had already taken a two hour train ride back to Grenoble to find that they couldn’t enter the apartment. So then they had to take the two hour train ride back and all five of us had to sleep in our tiny apartment. It was definitely an adventure.

Friday was like Christmas because I GOT MY FIRST PACKAGE FROM HOME!!!! It was seriously the most exciting thing of my whole entire entire life. Every single thing I pulled out was like the best present ever and my companions and I oohed and ahhed over every box of crayons and ranch packet and little monsters inc man. It was the best.  Thanks mom! You’re the best! It seriously made my whole week skyrocket up. I can’t wait to make ranch! French people don’t even know what ranch is. It’s really sad for them.

On Friday we saw François again and things went a little better this time. We talked a lot about the Book of Mormon and prophets. We brought him a picture of the first presidency to show him and a talk by president Uchtdorf and he LOVED it. The second half of Friday wasn’t so good. Most of our rendez vous cancelled. Which is the worst. So we did a lot of street contacting. Soeur Hills makes me take every couple street contacts now. So my french is getting much better because I have to talk a LOT more now. Soeur Hills is a fantastic trainer. She really pushes me to be my best without being too overbearing.

Friday was also the day that Président Roney called each equipe and told them what their fate was for the next transfer. It’s customary for the youngest missionary to answer the phone and find out first, so I had the phone sitting on my desk all morning. When it rang I just about fell out of my chair. For whatever reason, I was so nervous. But he told me that I would be staying in écully with Soeur Stevens and we would have another sister staying with us for a short time. Her name is Soeur Lewis and she’s from Utah and very very nice. We don’t know how long she’ll be staying with us, so we’ll see!

Saturday, we had dinner with Joy, our less active friend from Canada. She and her husband Yves are so fun to be with! We had dinner and we played Boggle. In french. Needless to say, Yves (as the only native french speaker) won. But it was so fun! And it helped my french skills! I should tell President that we should add french boggle to daily language study. Joy finally told us why she left the church, so now I really think we’re going to be able to help her! I think Soeur Stevens and I are going to start the missionary lessons with her from the beginnng, so I’m really excited for that. Joy and Yves are so great, I really hope we can help them!

On Sunday we had dinner with these two younger couples in the ward. (I told you we had a lot of dinner appointments this week) They all speak english because the two Frères both served missions in england and the two soeurs have worked in the us and Australia. It was a nice break, to get to speak english. They are really cool and are planning a small get togehter to invite Joy and Yves to so that they can meet some english speakers in the ward. The members of the écully paroisse are amazing. They do so much missionary work and that’s the reason that écully is the biggest ward in France!
Love and miss you all!
Grosses bisous!
Soeur jones