Chalon: Week 2

Bonjour tout le monde!

 
This week was pretty much the same as the last, lots of street contacting and porting (tracting). We’ve pretty much talked to every single person in Chalon at this point. 
 
On Tuesday, I got to go back to my homeland of Lyon for an exchange with the Sister Training Leaders there. It was so great to be back in Lyon, even though I wasn’t in Ecully. While I was there, we had a lesson at the institute building. When we arrived, the Lyon zone leaders had just finished giving a lesson there. I knew them both, but there was this random third Elder with them that I didn’t recognize. I assumed he was new, so I went over and introduced myself to him.
Me: Hi! I’m Soeur Jones!
Him: Jones? Do you know a Soeur Taylor going to Tahiti?
Me: (getting super excited) YESSS.
Him: Me too! She was in my district at the MTC. I’m going to Tahiti, but I’m reassigned here to wait for my visa. 
Me: (screaming) QLSDKJFOZEIRHDFNSDFZ!!!!!
 
It was pretty much the best moment of my life. Then we just bonded over both knowing Soeur Taylor and I was freaking out about it for probably like 40 minutes. It was the best. He said, “She laughs a lot. Really loudly.” I was like, “YES. I know.” So that was a super exciting moment in my week. 
 
This week, we did a lot of porting. We picked this set of apartment buildings that are painted pink and green and orange and decided to port all of them this week. We met some very interesting people. Here’s one of our porting miracles: On Saturday night, we had just ported eight stories of a nine story building with NO success. It was the end of the night (around 8:00) and we were really tired and bored of porting. But we knocked on one of the doors and an older lady answered. We said, “Bonjour, nous sommes les missionnaires pour l’église de Jésus-Christ!” And she slammed the door. Another rejection. So we started walking down the stairs. Then, we hear her door open back up and she says, “Attendez, vous êtes qui?” (Wait, who are you?) And we went back to her door and explained a little about ourselves, and she let us come in! We ended up talking to her for about an hour and explaining a little about the Livre de Mormon and our church.  She was so nice and so interested in all the differences between our church and other churches. She invited us to come back this week! We’re really excited! 
 
We had zone training in a little town called Besançon. I’m really liking being in Chalon, because I get to travel a lot to other cities. When I was in Ecully, everyone came to us. Being in Chalon, we travel a lot to Lyon, Besançon, Dijon, and Geneva. So, this is exciting.

On Friday night, we had dinner at our DMP’s house. It was crazytown because his whole house looks like this:Image

He is a collector. Every room in his house is a museum. Every room has a different theme. This one is rocks and minerals.  He has a room of weapons, one of african items, one of hats, one of snakes (my least favorite). Every spot on their walls is filled with something. And there are bookcases of collections everywhere!!!!Image

Like this one of snakes. There’s like 700 in there. 

It was so crazy and cool. They also have two real snakes. One of which I held. And wrapped around my neck. The pictures are, unfortunately, on my companion’s camera. And she forgot her cord. So I will send the pictures of me holding a giant snake next week. It was the craziest day of my life.
 
This week, I also made a chicken pot pie. 
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It says VIVE LA FRANCE, in case you can’t tell. And don’t worry, that green spot on the pie is not on account of my poor cooking skills, it’s a camera flash. 
 
Chalon is pretty much the prettiest place in the world. I love it! 
 
General Conference is this weekend! I’m stoked! We only get to watch three sessions though, because of the time change. We watch the Saturday morning session from 6-8pm on Saturday, then the Saturday afternoon on Sunday from 10-12am and then the Sunday morning from 6-8pm on Sunday. Then, we can try to catch the Sunday afternoon session later if we want. 
We are watching conference at the senior couple’s home here in Chalon. WHOOP! Can’t wait for that Ensign to come out. Yeesh. I’m such a missionary. 
 
Miss and love you all! Can you believe it’s October already??? Time flies. 
 
Avec amour,
 
Soeur Jones

Well . . .

Well… This week was good. I am so tired. And missing two toes. Just kidding. But I do have two really nasty blisters. Whoo hoo!

 Before I launch into this week, here are some of my pictures from my last week in Ecully:
 
P.S. Dear everyone who sent me a letter to Ecully before I moved, don’t worry, my old companion has taken my mail to the office, so it’ll get to me this week hopefully!
 
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LOL. This man in our ward made a GIANT Book of Mormon that sat outside our church building all of last week. 
 
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Here are two of my favorite people in the whole city of Lyon, Joy and Yves. 
 
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Alicia and Frére Kodo (Ward missionary and mission leader)
 
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Taking pictures with Elders is always awkward… Especially when they aren’t looking at the right camera… Elder Petek (on my right) went home this week. He was my zone leader in Ecully. We were slightly devastated. 
 
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We were really sad. But we smiled anyways.
 
So. There ya go.
 
Now back to Chalon:
 
As we started this week with nothing, this week consisted of a whole lot of contacting. And contacting. And trying to see less active members. And contacting. We walked for probably around 6 hours a day this week (and thus the blisters). 
We had a couple cool miracles and set up about four rendez-vous on the street, handed out about 6 Book of Mormons, got about 8 numbers. This probably doesn’t sound like a lot, but believe me, in France, it’s a LOT. So we worked really hard and some great things happened, but it’s still difficult to be a missionary who isn’t doing much teaching. 
 
So, in short, the week was hard, but have no fear, last night I whipped up a big batch of mashed potatoes, and everything was right in the world. 
 
Soeur Christensen is great! We have lots of fun, but we’re able to work well together. 
 
The apartment in Chalon is GINORMOUS. I totally forgot to take pictures, but I’ll send some next week! 
 
In other news, it is FREEZING cold here. I was not prepared for this to come so fast, being the naive Texan girl that I am. I need tights. And coats. And sweaters. 
 
I wish I had more interesting information to share with you about my week, but until we get started, I’m afraid my emails might be rather boring! I’m the worst. Desolée. 
 
Vous me manquez!
 
Avec amour,
 
Soeur Jones

 

Transfer week

[Note: Jordan’s new address (I’ll also add this to the ‘mail’ page for future reference)]

Les Missionnaires
Soeur Jones
21 Rue au Change
F-71100
Chalon-sur-Saône
France

So, this week was really weird.

Let me tell you why:
 
This week was the Fête de Patrimoine for all of Europe. It’s basically like Pioneer Day for European people. (I know, I don’t really get it either). Mostly they just celebrate their ancestors. So, our bishop thought it would be a great idea to have an event going on at the church this week for this celebration since we have a family history center in our building. We had a big meeting about it and everyone had all these grand ideas and tons of members signed up to come and help out.  The bishop asked the two equipes of missionaries to be there all week. As in all day.  Every day.  Normally, we would never do this, but technically, the bishop is in charge of us and we have to do what he says.
 
Anyways, so it’s getting all hyped up, and the Family History consultant in the ward made this GIANT Book of Mormon, (I kid you not) to put outside of the church during this event. (Pictures of this to come).
 
Well, we show up the first day, the giant Livre de Mormon is outside, and NOT ONE PERSON is there. Not one member. Also, we found out very quickly that the church is in the LEAST trafficky area in all of Lyon.  So not only are there no members there, not one person is passing on foot for us to talk to. So the four of us missionaries sat there that first day and completely wasted our time with this thing. But we preservered and decided that we would somehow find a miracle through this event. So all day, every day last week, we spent at the church. And no members ever came, and not one person even set foot in the church. 
So basically what I’m getting at is that this week was kind of a fail. I should be more positive.
This week was… not so great. That’s about as positive as I can get. Sorry everyone.
 
But we did get the chance to teach some lessons in between our assigned “sit at the church and do nothing” hours. We continued to teach Ernest, (he won’t be ready for baptism by the 29th, but he is still progressing!) started François’ integration lessons, and worked with Joy a few times this week. 
 
Then came Friday. Transfer day. I was really nervous all week about it. You know how I’m a little freaky about these kinds of things.  So Friday morning comes, and I cannot focus on ANYTHING. It was the longest morning of my life. The phone finally rings and it’s the assistants. (Président was in training with Elder Oaks and Ballard this week, so the assistants made the calls)
 
AND THEY SAID, “Sister Jones, we are so proud of the work you’ve done in Ecully these last two transfers, and so we want to move you. We are sending you to a ville that needs help. We’ve whitewashed it (sent two brand new missionaires in) the last three transfers and that hasn’t worked, so this time we’re sending you to open up a brand new equipe there.You’re going to Chalon-sur-Saône.” UH WHAT????!!!!!
 
So I moved today!!! It’s so crazy to me that I just moved to a new city and nobody at home knows about it! It was really stressful. I packed all my things (and yes, it magically all fit into my two suitcases), and I said goodbye to everyone in Ecully (which was the worst possible thing in the world. François was devastated), and I took a train out to Chalon this morning with my new companion, Soeur Christensen. We’ve just been in Chalon for a few hours now. We live in a ginormous apartment with another equipe of Soeurs. Chalon is the EXACT opposite of Lyon. It’s tiny! There is a small branch here with around 35 active members. (Missionaries included) But, I’m excited to get to work here. The ville is really, really cute. It’s a very classical French town with all cobblestone streets and old buildings. 
 
I’ll send some pictures next week. Unfortunately, my camera cord is packed with my stuff, so I can’t send any pictures this week, but next week, you’ll be getting a lot from last week and this week.
 
So basically what I’m saying here is this: Pray for me because I have NO clue what I’m doing. We’re starting a new equipe from scratch. I’m trying not to stress, but I’m a chronic worrier… so that’s not going well. 
 
Love and miss you all!
 
Soeur Jones

My First Baptism!!

Okay, so this week was basically crazy town. To start it off, last Friday, at about 6:00pm we received a call from Président Roney saying that Soeur Lewis would be leaving for Scotland at 5:00am the next morning. LIKE WHAT???? So, we cancelled our appointments, ran home, and freaked out a lot and packed a little and then freaked out some more. The next morning, the office Elders came and picked her up at five in the morning, and she was gone. I feel like this is mission life. Things just happen. Really fast. And then you look back and you’re like, “What just happened?” So. It’s just Soeur Stevens and I now! But we’re still happy. We like each other. Don’t worry.

The next day, we had TWO mangez-vous (eating appointments), one for lunch with the Pascauds (an older couple in the ward) and one for dinner with a recent convert named Nicole. This is weird. This never happens. We’re lucky to be fed once every other week, so the fact that we had two on the same day was strange. French people like to make you eat A LOT. And just when you think you’re done, the next course comes out. There’s the salad, the tomatoes and mozerella, the main course, the fruit, the yogurt, and the dessert. With bread in between each. So you just walk out of these meals and you can practically roll yourself home. AND WE HAD TWO IN ONE DAY. This sounds really bratty. We were, of course, so happy to have two mangez vous, and so happy to have had the chance to spend the time with some really cool people, but we were so full, we thought we were going to throw up if we had to eat more.

The next day, we had ANOTHER MANGEZ VOUS with a lady in the ward who is technically less active, because she can’t come to church because she just had a surgery. The food was, of course amazing. And we were still SO FULL. We had our second English class that night, and we learned the verb “avoir” to have, and words about the family. (i.e. “I have sisters”)

Thursday, we had a district meeting AND François’ baptismal interview. François was SO nervous. We told him it was nothing to be nervous about, but he was like TOTALLY frantic. LOL. But, of course it went well and we were able to get the baptismal recommendation forms filled out.

Thursday night, Soeur Stevens and I took an hour and a half train ride north of Lyon to a small ville called Chalon-sur-Saône for exchanges. We spent the night there, and Friday morning, Soeur Stevens and one of the Chalon soeurs went to Lyon, and I stayed with Soeur Packard in Chalon for the day. It’s the cutest little classical French town. The day I was there, there was a huge marché (market) in the town square. TONS of fresh fruit and veggies. It was so fun! Unfortunately, we didn’t have a chance to do much work, because we had to catch a train back to Lyon at 5:00pm. The exchange was nice, but I was glad to be back home in Lyon with Soeur Stevens. You know I struggle when I get out of my routine. BUT DON’T WORRY. Right when I got home, Soeur Stevens and I headed over the the Anderson’s (the American family) for dinner and we had pizza truck pizza. So basically, all in my life was made right.
Saturday, we saw a few of our amis. First we saw Georgette and her fiancé Phillipe Baptiste. We showed them the short Joseph Smith movie and they were SO touched. Georgette started to cry and she said that she was really committed to the church and wanted to get baptized. She is currently praying about October 13th as her day:)  We also saw Ernest, who is progressing fairly well. He comes to church every week, but we still are working on him reading the Book of Mormon.

We saw Joy, our favorite less active, and are working with her a lot. She’s the greatest! We also saw Jean and Michel, these two friends, and their lesson was crazy town. It ended with the two of them getting in a screaming fight with Michel’s wife about who Mormon was. So, we ran away… It was kind of the worst.

Then came Sunday. The day of François’ baptism. We were so happy when we woke up in the morning. We took five hours picking out our clothes and everything because we were so excited. But it all started to go downhill when we missed our bus. There aren’t very many buses on Sundays, so we realized we’d have to walk. Five miles. To church. In the rain. We got to church an hour late, looking like drowned rats. It was the worst. Then, we walk into the church kitchen to find that NOT ONE PERSON BROUGHT FOOD FOR FRANCOIS’ BAPTISM. This is a big deal, because with every baptism, there is usually a huge buffet afterwards. That’s how the ward shows their support. So, we sent out the normal email the Wednesday before about bringing food, and not one person brought anything. And, of course, we began to TOTALLY FREAK OUT. We knew that François would be so so so disappointed. And we just wanted him to have the best day ever. There was, unfortunately, nothing we could do, because EVERYTHING is closed on Sundays in France, so even if we wanted to break the Sabbath for the good of François’ baptism, we couldn’t have. So we prayed. A LOT. We sat with François and Ernest and Georgette (and another random guy who comes to our English class) during Sacrament Meeting, and we were worrying and freaking out the whole time. Afterwards, we walked back to the kitchen to make a plan, and THERE WAS FOOD EVERYWHERE. Where it all came from, I still have no clue. It was the biggest miracle that ever happened in my whole life. And so, everything was okay. And François was thrilled.  The service was beautiful, and tons of people stayed. Soeur Stevens and I sang him his favorite hymn, “Je sais qu’il vit, mon redempteur” (I know that my Reedemer lives). And he was just thrilled with his life. And Soeur Stevens and I were thrilled with our lives. Even though we looked gross in our pictures cause we walked five miles in the rain. Uphill. It was basically the greatest day of my life. François is the greatest.

PICTURES!!!!!

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Pictures are so awkward when your ami is a man and so you have to stand half a foot away from him.

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Sometimes we are really thrilled with our lives.

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These are my friends now. François and Frère Kodo.

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We were so glad the Saint Etienne Soeurs (Soeur Bowman and Soeur Moderzitski) got to come to François’ baptism!!!

The bags under my eyes will probably never go away

Bonjour ma famille (et mes amis) (et tous les autres qui lisent ces emails),

This week was great! But just a warning, I did a really bad job taking pictures this week… Desolée. I’m the worst. I’ll do better this week. Promise.

But anyways, we had so many exciting things happening this week! We had our zone conference on Tuesday, which was absolutely wonderful! I LOVE zone conference. It’s like a week of EFY fit into 5 hours. We had some changes in the mission that are pretty exciting too! As a mission, our goal is to pray TOO much. So, every week, we pray for not only our amis, but the amis of all the missionaries in Lyon. In an effort to show us that our prayers are affecting missionaries and amis not in our area, Président Roney has decided that we will all be able to attend every baptism in our district! This means, if anyone has a baptism in St. Etienne (the other half of our district), we get to travel out there to attend! This probably doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it’s pretty much the most exciting thing that ever happened. EVER.

Also on Tuesday, we went to Joy’s house for dinner. Joy is progressing so much! I’m sure she’ll be coming back to church soon! The worst thing ever happened though! We were doing our spiritual thought with her, and she was really opening up and telling us her soucis. She said, “You know, since I’ve started meeting with you, I’ve really been feeling like I need to….” Then, in the worst moment of my life, she gets cut off by someone knocking on the door. It’s the movers bringing all of her stuff from Canada and we have to leave really quick. So NOW WE DON’T KNOW WHAT SHE FELT LIKE SHE  NEEDED TO DO!!!!!! It was quite literally devastating.

And don’t worry, it just gets better. We were coming home a little late that night from Joy’s, and we I was sitting on the bus with Soeur Stevens. Soeur Stevens was sitting in the aisle, and I was at the window. All of a sudden, this really creepy guy who we’ve met one time before on the bus and tried to talk to him about Jésus walks up. AND HE BISED (bisoued) SOEUR STEVENS ON THE FACE. She was shocked. And apalled. I think she almost threw up. We were dying.

We started our English Class this week! It was really, really fun! We divided the class into two groups, those who have some English background and those who are starting from scratch. Soeur Stevens and Soeur Lewis worked with the people who already spoke English, just helping them to get some practice, and I taught the three people who had NO English background whatsoever. It was probably the most fun thing I’ve ever done in my life. I taught them the verb “to be” (être en français) and we learned some adjectives. So by the end, the three of them could describe people in the room. (ie. Soeur Jones is small. Soeur Stevens is tall, etc.) They were thrilled with their lives. It was so fulfilling. François was one of my students (lol) and he told me he’s been practicing his vocab every day. So, I can’t wait for class this Wednesday!

Speaking of François, HE’S GETTING BAPTIZED THIS WEEK!!!!:!!!!! I am absolutely psyched out of my mind. I am so excited!!!!!! I really cannot explain how I came to love this 60 year old African man from Cote D’Ivoire, but he’s seriously the greatest. I’m pretty sure his baptism is going to be the best day of my life. So, I’ll have baptism pictures to send home next week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You probably think that this amount of exclamation marks is a little unnecessary, but it is my only means to convey my excitement to you… therefore, !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ALSO, we have a new engagée!!!! Ernest has a baptism date! He is scheduled to be baptized on the 29 of September! We’re so excited for him and excited to keep working with him towards this date!

On Thursday, we took a FOREVER long bus to see a family in our ward. (This is the only bad thing about our sector. It’s huge, so to visit most members means an hour bus ride both ways.) But, we went out to Anse to visit the Rodriguez family, and they are so cool! Both of the parents speak practically perfect english and they have daughters and twin boys that are 2 years old and are pratically the cutest things ever. Except it’s the worst when a two year old can conjugate verbs better than you….. But they live in a more rural suburb of Lyon, and so we went on a walk with the family and picked des mûres (blackberries) off the side of the road! It was beautiful!
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Just a French countryside . . . No big deal.
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We also had our movie night on Friday! We showed Les Témoins (the Testaments) at the church and made popcorn and invited all of our amis and the members, and…. it was a dud. The five of us missionaries were there, plus one ami each (François came… he never lets us down), plus like three members. It was the worst. Very disappointing. But worth it! Because even though the french dubs are really really really bad, François was totally touched by the movie! I think he might’ve even cried. Though he would never admit it.

We also got two new amis this week! We had a intro lesson with a good friend of Ludmilia’s and her fiancé. Georgette is really cool and totally interested! By the time we went for our first lesson, she had already read 12 chapters of the Livre de Mormon!

So, basically, this week was amazing, and we’re expecting this next week to be even better!
Love and miss you all!
Soeur Jones