Chalon Forever

Yes. I’m still in Chalon with Soeur Christensen. No changes here! 

We are getting a new bleue in our apartment though! So that’ll be exciting!
 
Big news of the week: Charlène has a baptismal date! We’ve engaged her to be baptized on the 7th of December and she accepted! She also said she thought that her sister might be interested in taking the discussions! So, needless to say, we are totally stoked! 
 
Miracle of the week:
On Tuesday, Soeur Christensen and I looked at our planners and realized we had a LOT of empty space to fill, so we set a faith-filled goal to set up four rendez vous on the street that day, to fill up the empty time in our planners. So, we set out to do some street contacting and decided to pray for our goal every hour. We did this, and worked really hard all day long and went home that night with four rendez vous– which is like… unheard of. We were so grateful and were able to meet some really cool people. 
 
Stress of the week: 
Transfers really freak me out. I’m not entirely sure why. Maybe it’s just that your entire life is hanging in limbo and you don’t know whether you’ll be living halfway across the country with a random person in two days. President Roney totally knows I’m a freak about transfer calls. He called on Friday morning and let us know the news. At the end of the call, I could hear people laughing in the background. I realized he had put me on speakerphone so that the entire room could enjoy my freakiness. I said, “President, did you put me on speakerphone?” And he said, “Okay we love you bye!” Which means: yes. 
 
Beautiful scenery of the week:
We had a district meeting in Dijon this week. Soeur Christensen and I rode up to Dijon with the Millers on Thursday morning. Chalon and Dijon are a part of the region in France called Bourgogne- where they grow all the grapes for wine and have the finest type of snails for escargot. So, the drive to Dijon is beautiful. It’s basically a one hour long stretch of vineyards, which are now all changing colors for the fall. I wish I could have taken a picture and sent it to you, but my memory card spazzed out. Next time… I promise:)
 
Best day of the week:
So, the Lyon stake had stake conference this weekend which meant we got to go down to Lyon! Soeur Christensen and I took a train to Lyon on Saturday night and stayed in Ecully with Soeur Stevens and her companion and it was so much fun! Then the next morning, we drove to stake conference with my favorite people in Lyon, Joy and Yves. And I got to see tons of the members from the Ecully ward! It was so great! 

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Soeur Paolo (Soeur Stevens’ companion), Soeur Stevens, Joy, me, and Soeur Anderson

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For those of you who have read the blog since the Lyon days, you probably remember me talking about Joy and Yves a lot. Cause they’re SUPER great. Let me give you an update. Joy is now completely reactivated. Her church records have been moved into the ward and she goes to church every Sunday. Her husband Yves (on the far left) is now taking the missionary discussions from President Roney himself. When I found this out, I was so thrilled. The joy of this superceded the joy of even the baptisms that I’ve had. It feels so good to watch someone come back to church- to renew their covenants again and remember the joy that comes with the gospel. Seeing them this weekend was such a tender mercy. 
 
Joke of the week:
So… remember the toilet seat story? Well… it’s a huge joke here among the missionaries of Chalon, even the senior couple, the Millers. ‘Cause Elder Miller is the one who had to come replace the broken toilet seat. The Millers made fun of us about it all the time. So, as an end of the transfer present for the Millers, we cleaned the toilet seat really thoroughly and made it into a picture frame for them. 
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They thought it was really funny. So did we.
 
Best photo of the week:
So, it’s a custom among the missionaries to refer to the missionary that you trained as your child. So, when you are waiting on a new bleue, everyone says that you’re pregnant. Soeur Hutchins, my roommate is “pregnant” because she’s waiting on a bleue. Last night, I walked into our bedroom to find this:
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HAHA. She’s so excited for her new bleue to come! 
 
Anyways, this week was really great, and we have lots of really great things planned for the week to come!
 
Thanks so much to everyone for your prayers and thoughts!
 
Avec amour, 
 
Soeur Jones

I’ve been on a train for my entire life

[Note: I’ve created a photo tab (above). This morning Jordan sent some photos taken of her contacting in the town square.]

Bonjour tout le monde!

 So this week was kind of crazy because we had TWO exchanges right in a row! On Wednesday, we did an exchange with the sisters from Dijon and I worked with Soeur Carvalho who is from Portugal and in her first transfer! She told me, <<Okay, don’t be creeped out, but I read your mission blog ALL the time before I came out!>> So, basically what I got out of that is I’M FAMOUS. My blog has reached Portugal. Soeur Carvalho and I stayed and worked in Chalon, and we taught an entire lesson in Portugese. I had NO clue what was going on! The other Soeurs here in Chalon have a family of investigators from Angola who speak ONLY Portugese, no french. So, we decided to take advantage of having Soeur Carvalho here and so, I would say things in english and then Soeur Carvalho would translate them into Portugese. It was crazy town.
 
Our second exchange was in Switzerland! La Suisse is BEAUTIFUL. It was a LOOONG train ride (about 5 hours), but one of the prettier train rides I’ve taken. We did an exchange with the Soeurs in Renens (which is close to Lausanne, where they decided the Olympics will be held). I worked with Soeur Hoar who is from England, close to Birmingham. American missionaries currently can’t work in Switzerland, so it is all foreign missionaries there. We stayed in apartment with one Soeur from England, one from Italy, and two from Germany. So that was fun. Also, I enjoyed working with Soeur Hoar because she has a super cool accent that I got to listen to all day. It was a constant struggle to not just answer her back in my best fake British accent. So, we spent all day Friday and Saturday in Suisse, which was fun, but also a bummer because we were out of our area for two days this week.
 
But really the most important thing is: I FINALLY GOT SWISS CHOCOLATE. And yes, it is as good as everyone says it is.
 
So funny story: last time we went to Switzerland, we forgot our passports, which could potentially be REALLY bad. Luckily last time, they never checked our passports. This time however, when we crossed the French/Suisse border, border control came around looking for <<les voyageurs salé>> or “dirty riders”. HAHA. We, luckily, remembered our passports this time so all was well. We saw them haul off this one guy and they were yelling at him in french (which is way more terrifying than being yelled at in english). I was grateful that that wasn’t us.
 
Yesterday was Soeur Christensen’s 20th birthday. Her birthday package from her family came this week conveniently while she was on exchange in Dijon, which I then hid. She went the whole week thinking her package never came and then freaked out when we pulled it out Sunday morning. Per her request, I made her a cheesecake! We had church yesterday morning and then went to the Miller’s for birthday lunch. And then we weekly planned. Then, in the evening, we ate cheesecake and ice cream and sang JOYEUX ANNIVERSAIRE at the top of our lungs. So, all in all it was a very good day.
 
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20th birthday cake!
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L’église!
 
So this is the last week of the transfer! YIKES! Can you believe I’ve been in Chalon for five weeks now? We get transfer calls THIS FRIDAY!!! I’m not entirely freaking out yet, but I’m freaking out a little. So, the point is, I wouldn’t send any mail this week, because I may or may not be here next Monday!
 
Passez une bonne semaine!
 
Avec amour,
 
Soeur Jones

Cette semaine

Bonjour à tous!

This week was really CRAZY! But it was super fun!


Our ami, Charlène is doing really great! She accepted an invitation to be baptized!!!! We haven’t set a date with her, but I feel like that will come this week! Soeur Christensen and I are psyched out of our minds of course. We are taking her to a member family’s house tonight for a soirée familiale (FHE). We are so excited! We’re teaching a Plan of Salvation overview, which means that I get to make a giant visual today. CRAFTING! COLORING! SO EXCITED! Our only problem with Charlène is her transportation to church on Sundays. She goes home on the weekends and has no car and there is no bus. We mentioned it in ward council yesterday, and the Branch President is going to help us find a member who can pick her up.

We had zone conference in Geneva last Thursday! It’s about a four hour train ride from Chalon to Geneva, so the traveling was INSANE. We left Wednesday night and got into Lyon at about 9:00pm. I did get to stay in Ecully, so that was pretty happy:) Soeur Stevens and I had a very screamy and obnoxious reunion. It was so nice to get to talk to her about all of my old amis and François and Ludmilia and everyone:) Anyways, so we had to get up at 4:30 the next morning to catch our train to Geneva at 6:30. Then, we got into Geneva at about 9. It was crazy town. We were EXHAUSTED. But zone conference was great! We had raclette for lunch. It was SO tasty. Raclette is like this super good french dish where you boil potatoes, cut them up on your plate, and then use a raclette grill to melt cheese and cook meat to pour on your potatoes. So basically, it was a melange of my most favorite things. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see much of Suisse, but what we did see (mostly from train windows) was beautiful! Then, our train home to Chalon got delayed an hour and a half, so we didn’t get back into Chalon until 10pm. It was a VERY long day.

Yesterday, we had church and our break the fast meal afterwards. Here’s the thing about break the fast meals in France: it’s always like, gourmet. French people’s normal food is like really fancy. So that is, of course, just good times all around.

Here’s a story to remind you all that missionaries are still real people (real 19 year old girls):

This week…. Our toilet seat broke. Like, broke off the toilet. So, Elder Miller came and fixed it. But then, we just had an old, broken toilet seat, and being 19 years old, none of us could let that go. So, when Soeur Hutchins was on exchanges, we tied the toilet seat to her bed, right above her head. (She sleeps on a bottom bunk.) When she came home and rolled into bed the next day, we had a good laugh for about 40 minutes.

This week was really great and really difficult all at the same time. We had A LOT of appointments fall through, a lot of amis drop us. So, this week, we will be focusing a lot on finding some new people to teach, which means lots of contacting and porting. MY FAVE! (only a hint of sarcasm there).

Shout out to the Wagleys, Sister Bird, and Sister Weinken for your letters! (I just got some of them, because they got caught at my apartment in Ecully after I moved).

Sorry this email is so lame. I’ll add some pics. Maybe that’ll spice it up a bit.
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I had my four month mission birthday on Friday, so Soeur Christensen bought me one of my favorite treats, a chocolate eclair:)
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We walk through this square to get to our church building. On Wednesdays and Sundays, there is a HUGE open market here with lots of french vendors yelling at you in french to buy their fresh vegetables and flowers and homemade honey. It’s always the best moment of my week when we get to walk through it. I feel like Belle on Beauty and the Beast:)
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This is how we always know what time it is. This church’s bells are SUPER LOUD. Love it. This morning, we were walking down the cobblestone road at the left of this big church when the bells chimed 8:00 and my companion was like, ” OUR LIFE IS SO COOL.” I agree.  My life is pretty cool.

Je vous aime et vous me manquez!
J’espère que vous tous passez une bonne semaine!

Avec amour,
Soeur Jones

I got pooped on.

This week was great! It’s so crazy how time is flying by! We start week four of the transfer today! I’ve almost been in Chalon for a month! Yikes. Missionary time warp.  

One of the reasons this week flew by is that we actually got to teach some this week! We taught about 6 lessons this week (which for France is a lot so don’t judge), and we got a few new amis! Our best lesson by far was with a younger girl (probably 20 or 21) named Charlène. She is so cool! I contacted into her on the street.  That day in our contacting, we were focusing on eternal families, so I began to talk to her about God’s plan for us. She immediately responded by saying, “Yes! I totally agree! I was raised completely atheist, but I’ve always thought there must be something after this life.” And so we had our first lesson with her last week. She is so cool! She has absolutely NO religious background whatsoever, no conception of God or Christ. This has been a really unique opportunity for Soeur Christensen and I as we teach her and plan her lessons. We have to really start with the basic basics and teach her like you would a primary child. I LOVE it. At the end of our first lesson (we talked mostly about God being our Heavenly Father and loving us), we talked a little about prayer. Charlène was so excited to try, so we helped her say a prayer at the close of our lesson. It was the first prayer Charlène had ever said in her WHOLE LIFE! It was so touching and the spirit was really strong. Because she had no formal beliefs, her prayer was really a conversation with God. She talked to him like he was just a friend and they were chatting on the phone. It was amazing. We get to teach her again tomorrow! I’m stoked:)
 
We also had general conference! WHOO!! It was so great. It was a little weird, because of the time change, but so great! We saw the Saturday morning session on Saturday night from 6-8pm our time. Then, on Sunday, we watched the Saturday afternoon session in the morning, followed by Priesthood and Relief Society sessions, and then the Sunday morning session. It was a long day of conference watching, but it was great! I did not appreciate General Conference the way I should have before my mission. I appreciated it, but it was more of a “I don’t have to go to church and I get to wear my pajamas all day” appreciation. But now, after having had four months of studying conference talks every day, I feel so much more appreciative of the words of our prophet and the other General Authorities! 
 
Warning: Those who are faint of heart, or get disgusted by poop, should not read this paragraph.
SO. I GOT POOPED ON BY A BIRD THIS WEEK. It was the worst experience of my life. I was wearing my waterproof white jacket luckily, so it didn’t seep through onto my skin or anything, but it was still really disgusting! I got out our map to make sure we were going the right way. We hear a splat and there is, all of a sudden, a giant bird poop on my jacket sleeve. I, of course, started LOSING IT. I was yelling, ” SOEUR CHRISTENSEN! I HAVE POOP ON MY SLEEVE! DO SOMETHING!” So, she did the only thing she could think of to do, which was to take a pad (lol) out of her purse, dip it in puddle water and wipe it off. It was an ordeal to say the least.
 
This week is zone conference! I’m so excited! Our zone conference is being held in Geneva! So I finally get to go to Switzerland for the first time! I’m stoked! I’ve had the opportunity to go to so many cool places! I’m a lucky kid. 
 
The other highlight of my week was getting a package from my momma. It was a fantastic Halloween package. We used the contents of the package to decorate our apartment:) 
Another warning: The following are pictures of my apartment, mostly for the pleasure of my mother. If you don’t care, feel free to skip the following photos. 
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Kitchen / eating area / half bath / laundry
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Halloween deco!!!! 
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Sitting area. Stairs.
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Study room. There are two more desks on the other side. Skeleton garland! 
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Bedroom. Bunkbeds for dayzzz.
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In other news this week, the garbage workers of Chalon went on strike and dumped all their garbage in front of city hall. 
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Also, I have a cool companion. 
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And, we live in the prettiest place.
That’s all for now folks! Thanks for your love and prayers!
 
Avec amour,
 
Soeur Jones