BORDEAUX!

Ohmygosh. I’m in Bordeaux! Bordeaux is SO beautiful! And there are TONS of people around ALL the time! Also, my companion, Soeur MetsÄtÄhti is SO cool. She’s from Finland and super fun and loud, so obviously, we get along quite well! We had a super great week this week! 

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I was sad to say goodbye to Soeur Hills, but she’ll be coming to Bordeaux in two weeks for zone conference!

 
I got into Bordeaux on Monday evening, so we just went back to the apartment (which is super cute and looks like it should be in an Ikea magazine) and we grocery shopped and tout ça. 
 
On Tuesday, we had our reunion coordination des missionnaires at our ward mission leader’s house. Our ward mission leader, Frère Tate is American. He and his wife are from Idaho and they’re living here JUST FOR FUN. Fun stuff huh? They’re SUPER cool. 
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We also made this paper chain because we’re so excited for our P-day next week! We’re going to Arcachon, which is the biggest sand dune in Europe. It’s supposedly SO beautiful! You should google it. 
 
On Wednesday, we had a MIRACLE lesson! We were contacting by the river in downtown Bordeaux (super pretty!), and we contacted this French guy, maybe in his late 20’s. We started talking to him and he asked if we had the time right then to tell him a bit about our church. So, we sat down next to the river on a bench and taught the guy about the Restoration. He was like, totally thrilled. He said that he really wanted to be in a church that had the power of God,  like to heal and stuff. We were like, HEY THAT’S US!!! So it was totally amazing, and we’ll be seeing him again this week:)
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This is my favorite graffiti that I’ve seen so far in Bordeaux. He’s saying, “CAKE.” 
 
On Thursday, we went around and visited a few members and less actives. On our way to the first less active’s house, we got off the tram and a man comes running up to us and says; “Excuse me!? Would you happen to have a Book of Mormon with you that I could have?” We were like, “WHAT?” And it turns out that this guy, Luis, had been taught by the missionaries years ago in Paris. When he moved to Bordeaux, he lost contact with the missionaries. About a year ago, he lost his copy of the Livre de Mormon, so he had been looking for the missionaries so that he could get another copy. We gave him a copy, got his number, and set up a rdv for this weekend! 
 
Then, at the end of the same day, we were on the tram heading towards the Institute and I hear this guy talking on his phone in English. So, when he hung up the phone, I started talking to him in English. It turns out that he is a member from Nigeria! He’s been in France for three years, but his records were never moved over because he was inactive. We made friends with him and got his phone number so that we can start inviting him to church and activities! 
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We found this balloon in the street. So we wrote “God loves you!” on it and gave it to a small child. 
 
On Friday, we were visiting an ami and on the way, ANOTHER man contacted us! (This never happens, so twice in one week was crazy!) He said, “Hello, my name is Papa. I promise this is my name. If you don’t believe me, I’ll show you my ID. (At which point, he showed us his ID. Turns out his name really is Papa.) I am from Senegal. I like talking about God. I’ve seen your missionaries around Bordeaux before and I’d really like to discuss with you. I have some questions about God that I’d like someone to answer. Here is my number, call me next week.” Then he walked away. We were like, freaking out. Ha!
 
BORDEAUX IS A MIRACLE VILLE!!! 
 
On Saturday, I got to meet our ami with a baptismal date. Her name is Amelie and she is 9 years old, and TOTALLY adorable! Her mother is a less active member, and her father is not a member. Her mom is on her way back into the church and Amelie LOVES primary and wants to get baptized. We started planning her baptismal program for the 12th of April and Amelie was SO excited! 
 
Sunday was my first day in the Eysines ward. The ward is full of really cool people! I’m really excited to work with them! Then, in the evening, it was one of the Elders in our ward’s 20th birthday, so we went to the Tate’s home and had a surprise birthday party for him! We had cake and it was really fun! 
 
This week was SO great! I am so grateful to be here in Eysines with Soeur M! We are going to have such a great transfer! 
 
Love and miss you all!
 
Avec amour, 
 
Soeur Jones
 
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The traveling sister

I’m moving. AGAIN! I was only in Toulouse for one transfer! When Président called on Friday, I was sure he would just tell me I was staying here, but alas, NO! I am moving to BORDEAUX!!!! My life is so cool. No big deal. Just moving from Toulouse, France to Bordeaux, France. 

I will be leaving this afternoon! I don’t know much about my new companion, only that everyone tells me we will get along really well! Her name is Sister Mata…. I’m actually not really sure. She’s from Finland, so her name is really hard to spell/pronounce. But she’s been in France for about 5 months and everyone says she’s really loud and fun, so I think we will have a good time together! I’m also really excited to go to Bordeaux! The church is really strong there! There are three wards. I will be serving in the Eysines (A-zine) ward. And Bordeaux is BEAUTIFUL! I’ll be sure to take tons of pictures and send them on! I am, of course, sad to be leaving Toulosue. I really like it here, but I’m excited for another adventure!
 
But anyways, this week was SUPER great! My new, one week companion, Soeur Loder is SO cool! We got along so well and had so much fun! And we had some really great success this week! We were able to find FOUR new amis!!! This is a big deal everybody. Two are these young men who are from Morocco and best friends. They’re really open and interested in the Book of Mormon. We had a first lesson with them and it went REALLY well! 
The other two are a husband and wife, the Brun family. They are really cool and very spiritual. We did a first lesson with them and they were asking all the right questions and it was just perfect! Soeur Loder and her new companion will go see them again this week! 
 
We also had our ward missionary activity on Saturday night! It was an international night. We have TONS of members from all around the world, so each different nationality had their own table and brought objects/food from their country of origin and we all shared and played games and it was SO fun! We were in charge of doing the decorations, so we made this sign for the entrance: 

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This is Soeur Loder and I standing in front of the sign. (The “Howdy” over there in the corner was put on for my personal pleasure.) 
 
We also made world flags out of construction paper. 
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Of course, I made one of the Texas flag:)
 
It was a super fun activity and the ward LOVED it! 
It was great, kind of like a last big party before I left. 
 
Then it was Sunday, and I bore my testimony in church and said goodbye to everyone, members and missionaries. There are so many cool missionaries here in Toulouse! 
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The Elders in my district were so sad I was leaving, so they made me a cheesecake!

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And I said bye to my new Texan elder friend that I made in Toulouse, Elder Fletcher. His family is from Odessa, so we took the brunt of the many many Texan jokes together. Like, when people always ask us why our belt buckles are so small. 
 
We went to my favorite member family’s house (the Sordes) last night for dinner. Soeur Sordes made her famous fleur à l’oranger crêpes for us. It was a really great last day. 
 
I will be getting on a train to Bordeaux in about three hours, so I’m kinda stressing out. But that’s okay. I will let you all know how it goes!
 
I love and miss you all! I hope you all have a great week!!
 
Avec amour, 
 
Soeur Jones

Le soliel!

So, we’ve FINALLY had some sun in Toulouse this week! For the first time in the five weeks I’ve lived in Toulouse, I haven’t been rained on! This is seriously exciting! I’ve been using this fact as a contacting tool. “Hey, did you know that there is a sun here? It’s news to me!”

 
This week was totally crazy! 
 
On Monday, we went to a Russian restaurant in Toulouse to celebrate my russian companion’s birthday. We had traditional Russian cabbage and beet soup (actually super good) and some stewish like stuff that was also super yummy. 
 
Then, on Tuesday, I left on an exchange to Pau. Pau is about a three hour train ride south of Toulouse and it is BEAUTIFUL! Enjoy a picture:
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I got to spend the day working with Soeur Bagley, from Utah, who is in her second transfer. She’s totally hipster and super cool and we had so much fun! 
Soeur Brimhall and I spent Wednesday trying to travel back to Toulouse, without much success. Our first train got delayed by one and a half hours, which caused us to miss our connection. So when we got to the second gare, we had to wait four hours for a train that ended up getting cancelled! So then, we had to take an hour bus ride to another gare where we finally got the two hour train ride back to Toulouse. It was totally an ordeal. 
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On Thursday, we had a district meeting at the chapel. The meeting was great! We talked a lot about improving our teaching. Then, we ate lunch together as a district. I made the food for all eight of us (plus our two zone leaders). I made a BIG OL pot of chili, cornbread, and texas sheet cake. I think everyone was impressed, because there was nothing left over! 
 
Voilà, the district and the sisters of the zone:
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On Friday, we got a call from Président that Soeur Brimhall is being emergency transferred only one week before real transfers! There are apparently some problems in another ville in the mission, and they have to switch out the sisters. So, Soeur Brimhall is leaving for Saint étienne TODAY! I will be receiving one of the sisters from Saint Etienne to be my companion for the last week of the transfer. Crazy huh? 
 
On Saturday, we had a series of really cool miracles! We went out to one of the suburban-ish areas in our sector to do some porting (and hopefully find some families!) We picked a building at random, where we found a couple that had been taught by the missionaries before and were interested in setting up a rendez vous with us again for this weekend! Then, as we continued to port in this area, we rang a doorbell, and a voice came on over the sonnerie and we said, “Bonjour on est missionnaires et on aimerait partager un message du Christ avec vous!” And she said, “I want to learn about jesus Christ! Come on in!” But you know, in French. We entered the apartment, and it turned out to be two girls in their early twenties who had been raised in Muslim families, but don’t agree with the beliefs of their parents. They are dying to learn about Christianity. We will be going back this week to teach them! We are so excited! 
 
So, this week was great! We saw so many cool miracles! I am so excited for this week! We will be receiving transfer calls THIS Friday! Yikes! 
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Now, I will leave you with a quote from President Utchdorf, that really touched me this week. He says, “Heavenly Father’s interest in you does not depend on how rich or beautiful or healthy or smart you are. He sees you not as the world sees you; He sees your heart. And He loves you because you are His child. Seek Him earnestly and you will find Him. I promise you, you are not alone.” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, April 2013, Your Wonderful Journey Home)
 
I love and miss you all and hope you are all well!
 
Avec amour,
 
Soeur Jones

 

Birthdays on birthdays

Bonjour tout le monde!

 
This week was full of really fun days! 
Valentine’s Day was on Friday, then Soeur Hills’ birthday on Saturday and Soeur Brimhall’s birthday on Sunday. So basically, we were partying all week long! 
 
On Monday, we finally got around to doing a little shopping, and then had dinner with a really cool young family in the ward. They both served English speaking missions, so it was fun to trade around mission stories. This dinner made me sure that I will be one of those returned missionaries who talks WAY too much about their mission. And everyone will be so annoyed. Except maybe my mom. 
 
We are still doing quite a bit of finding here in Toulouse. We have a few amis that we are teaching, like Khadidja, our ami from Martinique. She was taught by missionaries about a year ago, but wasn’t ready to be baptized, so she dropped them. Now, she’s started seeing us again, but has a few fears as far as coming to church and being baptized. But she’s really great! So we hope to have her progressing this week!
 
We were also able to go and do some service for the family Sordes this week. Cleaning. They are remodeling their house, so they have a bunch of moving of furniture and cleaning to do, and we spent some time helping them. They rewarded us with crêpes. I’m not sure if I’ve already rhapsodized about French crêpes yet, but they are TO DIE FOR. The classic french dessert crêpe has lemon juice and sugar inside. It’s a VERY yummy combination. 
 
On Valentine’s Day, I opened some presents from the fam. I felt very loved:)
 
The next day was Soeur Hills’ birthday. She wanted a cheesecake, so I made her a cheesecake with Speculoos crust. YUM. We decorated her desk with little cards and notes and it was VERY fun. Anything that makes the day a little special is VERY fun. 
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Yesterday was Soeur Brimhall’s 20th birthday, so we got her some treats and I made another cheesecake (’cause everyone needs their OWN birthday cheesecake) and we had happy birthday dinner last night.
 
I also read a really good talk this week by Elder Scott. It’s called “The Power of Scriptures.” He says, “The scriptures provide the strength of authority to our declarations when they are cited correctly. They can become stalwart friends that are not limited by geography or calendar. They are always available when needed. Learning, pondering, searching, and memorizing scriptures is like filling a filing cabinet with friends, values, and truths that can be called upon anytime, anywhere in the world. Great power can come from memorizing scriptures. To memorize a scripture is to form a new friendship. It is like discovering a new individual who can help in time of need, give inspiration and comfort, and be a source of motiviation for needed change.”
I liked what he said about scriptures being our friends, especially when we take the time to ponder, learn, search, and MEMORIZE them. I could always use some more friends, so I set a goal for myself that by the end of the next transfer, I will have memorized: 
1 John 4: 7-12
Psalms 27:1
2 Nephi 7:11
Alma 42:31
D&C 6: 34,36
D&C 87:5
So. I have my work cut out for me. 
 
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I hope everyone had an equally great week as me!
Time is FLYING! We only have two weeks left in this transfer!
 
I love and miss you all!
Je vous aime et vous me manquez!
 
Avec amour, 
 
Soeur Jones