Everything’s fine ’cause I have a jacket now.

IT SNOWED. Did everyone read that???? IT SNOWED. Barf. It snowed in Chalon. Not a lot. But it snowed. I am obviously freaking out. But it’s fine ’cause I have a snazzy jacket now to keep me warm. 

 
So this week…. was really not interesting. Mostly because everyone decided to give their Christmas Cheer to people that are NOT the missionaries. 
The one good thing that happened was that we have a new investigator who has a baptismal date! His name is Laurent. He’s 21 and from Chalon. He’s really accepting of everything and reads the Livre de Mormon every night. There’s only one hang up… he lives with his girlfriend. But we’re gonna work on it okay? 
 
So, this week everyone emailed me and said, “I know you won’t get to celebrate Thanksgiving, but have a good day anyways!” Well… joke’s on you because we’re having a BIG Thanksgiving party at the church tonight!!! It’s a potluck and we’ve been inviting random people on the streets of Chalon for weeks now! Everyone’s really excited about it because it’s ” SO American.”
 
Also, on the actual day of Thanksgiving, we have a district meeting (made up of mostly American missionaries), so we’re having a Thanksgiving lunch. The Millers even managed to find a turkey! So, there’s Thanksgiving written all over my Frenchie life!
 
So, this week we had a kind of party. Because it was Soeur Christensen’s hump day! Her nine month mark! Weird huh? 
So, naturally, we celebrated in true French fashion: with a box of assorted French pastries. 
 
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Don’t worry. We shared. We went with a chocolate theme- Chocolate eclair, chocolate Suiss, chocolate beignet, and a fôret noire. YUM. I love mission birthdays. 
 
Okay. That’s pretty much it. I told you… it was kind of a boring week. 
 
Oh, here’s one more cool thing: They just put up an outdoor ice skating rink in Chalon. It’s super cute and it makes me want to go ice skating… but unfortunately, we are prohibited to do any kind of “winter sport.” Bummer.
 
Well, I hope everyone has a great week off and a good Thanksgiving! I’ll try to snap some pictures tonight of our Frenchy Thanksgiving. The ward members keep calling us and asking what exactly it is that we eat for Thanksgiving. (Most of the things you can’t buy here). So, most of them just said they would make the most American thing they knew how. That should be interesting. 
 
Love and miss you all!
 
Love,
 
Soeur Jones
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HEYO

Bonjour tout le monde:)

This week was really great! We traveled a LOT, so that was kinda fun.
 
On Tuesday, we drove three hours away from Chalon to Yverdon, Switzerland. We had to go up and over the mountains to get into Suisse, and the mountains were COVERED in snow! It was really beautiful, but also a little scary, because I really don’t want that snow to come over the mountains into Chalon. Anyways, zone conference was great as normal. We heard from Président Roney and Soeur Roney and their daughter who recently came back from her mission in Paris. 
The new mission nurse was there too. She was at the zone conferences to give everyone flu shots. Lukcily, I dodged that bullet with the whole egg allergy thing. WHEW.
 
On Wednesday night, we took a train to Lyon for an exchange with the Sisters in Gerland. When we got to their apartment, we found that their heat was… broken. Now, it’s not as cold in Lyon as it is in Chalon, but it’s still too cold to sleep without heat. So, as a solution, I found three sleeping bags in their apartment. And I slept in all three of them. I just got in the first one, then pulled the second and third over that. Given, I couldn’t move and inch the entire night, but I was warm. 
 
Thursday, we spent the day in Lyon on exchange with our Sister Training Leaders. Soeur Vidal and I went with a member to bring some blankets and food to some Armenian refugees who are members who live under a bridge. We went to the bridge, and there were probably close to 200 refugees living under the bridge in various makeshift tents. Soeur Vidal and I weren’t allowed to go under, but we could see it from across the street and it was really sad. The saddest part was that there were members of the church living under this bridge — a father, mother,and a son who is about 17 years old! It was a really touching experience. A member from the ward brought three big bags full of food, blankets, coats, toiletries, etc. When he gave the bags to the  mother and father, they both started crying. Then, the member looked at the son of this family, took off his own scarf from around his neck, and put it around the neck of the Armenian boy.  I was tearing up. It was really touching. I vowed never to complain about the cold again. I’m doing a really bad job. I need to work on it. 
 
Friday, during our lunch hour, we headed over to the open market for some fresh veggies. I took some pictures so you can enjoy the quaintness of it all. 
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I love the market. It feels so Beauty and the Beast-ish. You just walk through it and people are yelling in French about their fruits and legumes and fleurs and épices. I LOVE it.
 
Saturday, we helped a less active member of the branch move. Moving people out of French apartments is really not the most fun thing in the world. Because it involves many flights of really tiny, windy stairs. It was a very interesting experience.
 
Then, Saturday got really good because I got a GIANT Thanksgiving package from the fam! It was the best! Let’s just say, I had Captain Crunch for breakfast this morning and it was UNIMAGINABLY good. Except, we had to get up early and go get milk from the milk machine, because the milk you buy in the stores just doesn’t cut it. It’s COMPLETELY pasturized. You don’t even have to refrigerate it.Yuck. It tastes… not good. But we have a milk machine in our town and you bring your milk bottles to the machine and pay like 2 euros and fill up your bottles with fresh milk that’s like the milk we have in the US.
 
One last picture:
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This is me and my companion with our friend from the branch, Sione Vaioletti. He’s a rugby player here in Chalon. Except he doesn’t speak any French. Which is why he has to be friends with us. So we can translate everything in church. He was in the newspaper here Saturday! The story was all about him being Mormon and playing rugby here to support his brother who is on a mission! Cool huh?
 
If you’re looking for an interesting talk to read this week, try this one. I read it this week and it was very interesting! It’s by Hyrum W. Smith. I can’t remember exactly what it’s called. Something like “The Restoration: Why 1820?” Something like that. I hope you can find it! It was a devotional given at the MTC in the 80’s. It’s super interesting and funny!
 
Anyways, I hope everyone had a great week!
 
Vous me manquez!
Je vous aime!
 
Soeur Jones

I’m in France, and I’m really, really cold.

Bonjour tout le monde!

 
This week went by really fast. I’m sitting here trying to think of what we did and I have no memory.
Well, here’s what I remember:
 
On Thursday we traveled out to Besancon for zone training. This took most of our day as Besancon is about a two hour train ride away. I like riding trains though. They’re much more fun than airplanes. We should think about getting us some more passenger trains in the US. 
 
We did have a major miracle this week! WAYYY back at the beginning of last transfer, right after I first arrived in Chalon, Soeur Christensen and had our first lesson here with a guy named Frederic. The lesson went really well, and he was really cool, but we lost contact with him because his phone broke and we had no way to get ahold of him. Well, the other night Soeur Hutchins and Soeur Di Oliveira were at the church teaching a lesson, and Frederic happened to walk by the church and see the lights on. He went into the church and found the Sisters upstairs. He told them he really wanted to see the missionaries again because he had read 1st and 2nd Nephi and REALLY liked the Book of Mormon. They invited him to come to church the next day, which he DID! And now we’re teaching him again! Miracle right?!
 
On Friday, Soeur Christensen and I had lunch with these two old ladies in the branch. Needless to say, having lunch with little old French ladies is REALLY fun. We had raclette (which I think I’ve told you about before– the potatos with the melted cheese and grilled meat that you make on a special grill). And then we ended the lunch by playing Triominos. Those ladies smoked us. 
 
On Sunday, we had 10 investigators at church! Can you believe that? 10 investigators, 18 members, 6 missionaries. It was super great! An ami family of the other sisters brought another family with them, so we had 10 investigatos in our gospel principles class! 
Another funny story about Sunday that illustrates quite perfectly being a missionary in a small branch: One of the big families in the branch (actually the only big family in the branch that holds most of the callings) was gone this Sunday. So, we showed up to church and the branch presidency was freaking out. So, I conducted Relief Society, played the piano in primary, taught the gospel principles class, played the piano for sacrament meeting, and gave a talk (that I wrote 5 minutes before sacrament meeting started). It was a VERY hectic Sunday. 
 
This morning, we drove out to a nearby castle. We thought it was going to be really exciting and cool– it was coolish… but not so exciting. The tour was TOO long. But I did get some good pictures to share!
 
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Le Chateau Cromatin
 
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Old French rooms
 
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They had a giant hedge maze. Super fun!!! That’s Soeur Hutchins back there.
 
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And a hedge shaped like a chicken. 
 
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Well, we have zone conference tomorrow in Yverdon, Switzerland which is about three hours away, then we have an exchange in Lyon on Thursday, so we’ll be doing lots of traveling this week!
 
Vous me manquez et je vous aime!
 
Soeur Jones

Is it November already?

I can’t believe it’s November already!!! Do you know that one year from now, my mission will be over? That is SO weird. Every transfer seems to be going by faster and faster.
 

So we got a new Soeur in our apartment. Straight from the MTC. Soeur Di Oliviera. She’s pretty cool. The first day she was here, we had to spend the entire day taking apart and putting together furniture. Président Roney has asked that in all four person apartments, we are completely separated, meaning two beds and two desks in one room, and two beds and two desks in another. So, we took apart an Ikea bunk bed and two desks in order to get them moved through our TINY french doors. Basically, the point of this story is, if anyone has some Ikea furniture they need put together, I’m a pro now. 

 
We had two really good lessons with Charlène this week, but she still hasn’t been able to come to church:( 
We had a fantastic lesson with our ami Amede this week. We taught him the Plan of Salvation. I think he was really touched and felt the Spirit. We think this lesson will finally push him to act. I guess we’ll find out this week!
We found a really cool new ami this week named Gerard. He’s a referral from a member in the branch. He came to church on Sunday and started CRYING during the Saint-Céne (Sacrament meeting). He really loved it, and the branch fellowshipped him SO well. That is one thing that the tiny branch of Chalon-sur-Saône is great at: fellowshipping. Every time an ami comes to church, every single member has a conversation with them. They invite the ami to sit by them during sacrament meeting, they invite him or her to their house for family home evening, they do everything they can to help that person feel the love of Christ. I often look back and wonder why I NEVER noticed new people in our ward at home until they were up on the stand in front of us receiving the Holy Ghost. It’s something that I’ve resolved I’m going to be better at when I get home, because I’ve seen the way that member fellowshipping can change an investigator’s course towards baptism. 
 
On Friday, Soeur C and I were doing some street contacting and this random old lady came up to us and said, “This Sunday is different from all the other Sundays!” (Probably because it was Friday). Then she looked at my companion and said, “Est-ce que vous êtes sa maman?” Which means, are you her mother? She thought Soeur C was my mom. Awks. But wait, it gets better, Soeur Christensen, thinking that she asked “ESt-ce que vous êtes les Mormons,” which sounds kind of similar, gives her a big smile and says, “OUI.” Then I just lost it, laughing so hard. The crazy old lady just kind of stumbled away and Soeur Christensen looked at me and was like, “WHAT?” Then she realized what she had said and was super embarrassed. I thought it was funny. Soeur C did not. 
 
On Saturday, Soeur C, the Millers, and I went to a far out ville to spend the afternoon with a really cool family in the branch, the Osmonts. Frère Osmont is a single father with a 17-year-old son and two girls, aged 10 and 7. They are a super great family with some super hard things going on. We did a family home evening with them, and ate with them, and it was a really good afternoon. We’ve even got the 17-year-old to start reading his scriptures, which was a super hard task and involved bribing him with Snickers bars. 
 
The stake president came to Chalon yesterday to speak in sacrament meeting and to do interviews. (In France, if you want to get a temple recommend or mission interview or anything, you have to plan WAY in advance, because the stake president only comes around about twice a year). He’s a SUPER great guy. He was in the Ecully ward, so he let me know how everyone was doing down there. President Bennasar (the stake president) has finally convinced President Catogni (the branch president) that church should definitely be three hours long. So, starting in January, the Chalon branch will start meeting for three hours. I think this will help a LOT. 
 
Sorry there are no pictures. I’m the worst. I promise I’ll take some to send next week. We’re going to visit a castle today… so that should lend itself to some good picture taking opportunities. 
 
Love and miss you all!
 
Soeur Jones