Joyeuses Pâques!

Joyeuses Pâques everyone! I hope your Easter was great!

 
Ours was interesting! We had church yesterday but not one dang person talked about Easter the whole three hours! I was distraught. Though I did give a talk in sacrament meeting and I was like, “HELLO PEOPLE! IT’S EASTER! Let us give some thought to this holiday about Jesus!” But… not in so many words. Soeur Cherry and I had chili for Easter dinner and we dyed Easter eggs! I want to attach some pictures, but I have… misplaced… my camera cord for the moment. So… next week? Cool.
 
This week was great! It started off with TWO packages, so I was thrilled! Thanks family! And thanks to the Wilder family also! I felt so loved this week! The packages totally made up for our ward forgetting that it was Easter!
 
So, at the beginning of the week, we were at the STL’s (Sister Training Leaders’) apartment and the lighting fixture in their main room came crashing to the ground. Don’t worry, no one was hurt. But then we had a problem… we had to replace the light. The other sisters were like, “It’s fine, we’ll just call the Elders and they can come fix it.” Then I said, “NON! We can fix this light! We are not incapable people!” So I called around and marched us down to the nearest Frenchie Home Depot-like store and I bought us a new light and some screws and special things to get the screws to stay in a plaster ceiling. NO PROBLEM. Then… we got back to the apartment. I was able to attach the wires and everything, but I had a hard time getting the danged thing in the ceiling because we didn’t have an electric screwdriver. In the end, we had to have a set of Elders come and hammer some holes into the ceiling so that I could get it in there. But that was minimal help! WE REPLACED THAT LIGHT FIXTURE!!! So there.
 
We spent the rest of the week getting Soeur Cherry accustomed to working in Eysines, visiting members and less actives. We spent a lot of time trying to find new amis also. The work is a little slow here right now. We’re trying to pick it back up! 
 
This next week we have zone training, so I am pretty excited to see all of our friends from the zone!  
 
In light of Easter which just passed, I’ll share with you a little bit of my talk that I gave yesterday in sacrament meeting:
 
Aujourd’hui, especialement, nous célébrons cet amour et la resurrection du Christ.
 
Just kidding. I’ll tell you in English:
 
Today (Easter), especially, we celebrate the love that Christ has for us and his resurrection. But how can we show our gratitude for his love and his sacrifice all the days of our lives? Christ himself gave us the answer in John 21: Jesus said to Simon Peter: Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter responded, yes Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus said, Feed my sheep. (Paraphrased). 
In his talk, Bring unto me Souls, in the 2009 General Conference, Elder L. Tom Perry points out that, while Jesus Christ is the good shepherd, we also, as members of the church, are shepherds called to His service. How are we shepherds? We are shepherds because it is our duty to find those around us who are lost and bring them back to the fold of God. Elder Perry said, “The full-time missionairies will certainly continue to do their best, but wouldn’t it be better if you and I were ready to accomplish this work that is legitimatley ours and for which we are better equiped because we personally know the people that are lost and need help?” Shepherds know their sheep well. Similarly, you  know well the people of your acquaintance who are in a good place to accept the gospel. Have the courage to “open your mouth” and go in search of the ones who are lost.
 
I wish you luck in all your missionary endeavors:)
 
Avec amour,
 
Soeur Jones
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Transfer 8

Can you people believe I am on transfer number 8? I can’t believe it! Time has passed so quickly! I feel like it was just yesterday that I arrived in Lyon, and I had no idea what was going on, and I couldn’t understand anyone. Now, it’s transfer 8, and I’m staying in Bordeaux and receiving a new companion named Soeur Cherry from Tennessee! I am so sad that Soeur Metsatahti is leaving me, but she’s not going too far, so I’m sure I’ll see her again!

 
I’m feeling like this transfer is going to be super great! Soeur M and I worked so hard last transfer, and we’ve worked up a solid group of potential amis. AND Raphael has a new baptismal date for next month, and we’ve recommitted him to searching for his own testimony. We really feel like he will start to progress now! 
 
So, this week was kind of crazy, as the last weeks of transfers usually are. We started off by traveling to Bayonne for an exchange. Bayonne is a beautiful city near the coast in Basque country. I loved it! Here’s a picture that doesn’t capture the real beauty AT ALL, but it’s not bad:
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So that was a fun little trip! Then we spent a lot of our time contacting contacting contacting, using the questionnaire. 
 
Then, Thursday night, we had a sleep over at Soeur Stevens and Soeur Hulme’s apartment in honor of transfer calls. We made a tartiflette and an apple cake with homeade caramel sauce. And we decorated our planners for the new transfer. We finished the night off with Bible prophecies (a transfer call eve tradition) and then… barely slept at all.
In the morning, we were all freaking out like normal. Luckily for us, Bordeaux is the first ville to get transfer calls, so we heard from President Roney at about 7:15. He told us that Soeur M would be leaving to Carcassonne and Soeur Stevens to Annemasse. We were really sad. We also found out that our district leader, Elder Foote was getting moved to Lyon for his LAST transfer! He asked us to make his LAST planner of his whole mission. This is what we came up with:

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That’s Elder Foote on the front and the rest of the district on the back. It’s a joke because Elder Foote never shows any emotion, so he always says, “I am happy” or “I am sad.” Needless to say, he loved it. Now everyone wants us to make their planner. 
 
Yesterday was a sad day at church. It’s always sad when missionaries leave a ward. But we did all get a good laugh in when, during our investigator’s sunday school class, one of the investigators asked a deep question about the Millenium and our DMP tried to explain it and used this picture:
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That’s Heavenly Father and Jesus at the top. And the Earth below… on fire. And then there’s Satan over in the corner…. all bound up. HA. I’m not really sure that she understood the answer. 
 
Well, I am excited for this upcoming transfer! I am very happy to be staying in Bordeaux, I really love it! Also, my friend Soeur Hutchins is coming to replace Soeur Stevens, so I’m really happy to be serving with her again! I’m going to pick up Soeur Cherry tonight! Wish me luck!
 
Avec amour,
 
Soeur Jones

A castle

Bonjour tout le monde!!!

So, this week started out wonderfully with a trip to a castle.
It was great. Except the castle was SO boring. 
Sometimes, I try to be cultural and broaden my horizons and then I realize that I don’t really have the attention span for that.
Luckily for us, we brought good castle viewing snacks, so all was well.
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The castle.
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All the sisters in front of the castle. *artsy shot by one of the Elders…
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Companion castle selfie!
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Our missionary family. Soeur Hills and her three missionary children: Soeur Jensen, me, and Soeur Stevens. 
 
So anyways, we learned a bit of French history, but our tour guide was a little grumpy and less than thrilled to be leading around a group of 12 19-21 year-old American kids. But it was fun anyways:)
 
ALSO, it was kind of a funeral, because Soeur Hills is DYING in one week! This is her last week on her mission! Shocking.
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We were really sad. But we pretended to smile anyways. 
 
On Monday night, we had a missionary coordination meeting/ FHE at our ward mission leader’s house. It was really fun! We played the Great Dalmuti and had ice cream sundaes. We have the best DMP and the best district here in Bordeaux! 
 
On Tuesday, we had a miracle day! We worked really hard and set some really high goals and were able to meet some cool people and really get in to using our questionnaire! 
 
Thursday, we had a district meeting at the church. Soeur M and I made Pioneer Woman fried rice for everyone and a traditional french apple tart. (Super yummy!) So, that was a good day! 
Then, we got home, and I took off my boots and Soeur M looked at me and said, “Soeur Jones, you really need to throw those tights away.” 
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I don’t know what she’s talking about…
 
We had our weekly planning session, completed, as always by our weekly dose of carambars: 
We have a small jar in our apartment and during the week, we fill it with all the little change we get. Then, we take our jar and dump in on the epicerie counter and ask, “How many carambars can we get with this?” 
 
Then, Saturday, General Conference began! It’s so fun to watch General Conference as a missionary! We had a small room set up to watch Conference in english and all the missionaries from Bordeaux (about 14 of us) were there the WHOLE weekend. Conference was SO great! I was really touched by many of the talks, just some of the specifics that I liked:
 
Elder Ballard suggesting that we ALL try to read and study Preach My Gospel. It really is a FANTASTIC guide to the Gospel. I’ve learned SO much through my Preach My Gospel studies. Two transfers ago, President Roney challenged us all to read through PMG like a book in 3 weeks. It stretched us all, but broadened our view of the gospel and provided us with so much inspiration from the Lord. I know it will do the same to each of us that diligently study from it. 
 
I also loved President Uchtdorf’s talk about having an attitude of gratitude. I know I could definiely work on that one. Often, in missionary work, we pray for blessings, and then once we have them, that’s when we give thanks. I need to be better about giving thanks ALWAYS, not just when we see blessings or miracles. 
 
Our ami, Raphael, came to the Sunday morning session of conference (which was really Sunday night here) and he really liked it! We are hoping that Conference helped him to grow his faith like it helped us grow ours! 
 
So, in summary, conference weekend was SO fun! Evidence:
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Soeur M and one of our favorite members, Angela. 🙂
 
I hope everyone had a great Conference weekend!
 
Love and miss you all!
 
Avec amour, 
 
Soeur Jones

Miracles!

Bonjour tout le monde,

 
So, this week was a little crazy. We had zone conference on Monday and p-day on Tuesday. Then, on Wednesday we went on an exchange with the sister training leaders. So, it wasn’t until Thursday that we got back into working in our sector. 
 
On Thursday, we went and taught english to our friend Corinne, who isn’t a member of the church. And we visited a less active named Bernadette who is from Sri Lanka and really nice. 
 
On Friday, we had a cool miracle! We had a pretty empty day, so we filled it with lots of contacting and passing by less actives and old amis. It was about 6:00 and we hadn’t had much success the whole day. We were getting kind of discouraged. As we were walking through a big place called La Victoire, an African lady with three children flagged us down. She said, “Sisters, I would like to set up a rendez-vous with you so you can come and teach my family.” WHATT? This seriously NEVER happens. Turns out that her sister is a member of our ward and is currently serving a mission in Côte d’Ivoire. Her sister used to take her daughter to church and her daughter still hadn’t stopped talking about how much she loved primary, so she invited us to come over the VERY NEXT DAY and teach her family! So, that we did! We were able to visit her, sing primary songs with her children aged 6, 5, and 2 and talk a little about what we do as missionaries and how we could help them. They were incredibly nice and were interested in taking the lessons. We will be returning this week to see them again! We are so excited! 
 
Our ami, Raphael is progressing well! We are excited to have General Conference this weekend, so that we can invite him to come see the prophet speak!  
 
This week…. I don’t have very good pictures. Just a few random ones: 
 
Here is our tribute to spring in Bordeaux:
 
Me spreading weeds all over Bordeaux. It’s okay though. They’re pretty weeds.
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And… my companion….
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Well, we have a fun p-day planned for today. A bunch of the Bordelais missionaries are going to see a castle not far from Bordeaux! Then, all of the missionaires in my ward are going to have an FHE with our DMP (ward mission leader) because his wife had to fly back to America because her mom is really sick. 
 
I hope everyone is doing well!!!
 
Avec amour, 
 
Soeur Jones

Arachon!!

So, YES. We made it to Arcachon and it was BEAUUUTIFUL! Soeur M and I took the train with Soeur Stevens and Soeur Hulme on Monday afternoon out to Arcachon. We spent about an hour in the little downtown and bought gelato and walked on the beach and it was MAGICAL. 

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Then, we went out to the Dune du Pilat, aka. the LARGEST sand dune in Europe! You can’t really tell from the pictures, but it was like a GIANT MOUNTAIN of sand! We climbed up it (which was actually kind of hard,) and the view was GORGEOUS! We could see the ocean and across the city of Arcachon! 
 
 
Again, it doesn’t look that big, but in real life, it’s totally ginormous.
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The view from the top! 
Heavenly Father blessed us with beautiful weather for our Arcachon trip, so we sat at the top of the dune in the sunlight and it was perfect and very relaxing! 
 
We walked down the dune to the beach. We thought it was a good idea until we realized how far back up we had to climb. 
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After spending a few hours at the dunes, we were able to go to an American family’s house for dinner. They are living out in Arachon because the husband is in the military. They made us lots of American foods: salsa, tacos, cupcakes, so it was a totally good time! 
 
The rest of the week was equally great! Our investigators are…. having a little bit of a rough time right now. Amelie’s mother doesn’t really want us to see her anymore, which is really sad, because Amelie is only 9, so she’s really at the will of her mom for now. We are praying for a big change of heart for her! Raphael is still doing well, but having some troubles accepting the Book of Mormon. But Soeur M and I are working and praying hard to get them both into progression in addition to finding new amis through the questionnaire! 
 
Sorry that I forgot to tell everyone that I wasn’t going to be emailing until Tuesday! We had our zone conference yesterday here in Bordeaux, so our p-day got switched to Tuesday!
 
But the zone conference was great! It was a tri-zone conference. We had both Bordeaux zones there and the Toulouse zone! It was so fun to get to see all my friends! ALSO, it was the first time that Soeur Hills, Soeur Stevens, and I have been in the same place at the same time since we were companions! We were so happy to see each other!
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Soeur Hills is actually going home at the end of this transfer, and we are SO SAD! We will miss her so much! 
 
The Roney’s gave a GREAT zone conference! We talked a lot about faith and trusting the Lord. Also, Elder Lund (of the 5th quorum of the seventy) and his wife came to talk to us! They are good friends of the Roney’s and came to visit and speak with us. They gave SUPER great presentations and it was VERY uplifting and helpful! Zone conference is always the greatest part of the transfer! 
 
Also, another important break through made this week: 
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CARAMBARS. Our FAVE candy in France. They’re just flavored caramels, but they are SO good. The little shop that we live above sells them for 10 centimes, so whenever we randomly find little coins in our house, we buy carambars from the store downstairs. (Sorry that I look like an alien in this picture…)
 
Anyways, I love you all and hope you’re doing well back at school after your break!
 
Avec amour, 
 
Soeur Jones

Paper Chains

So, the day is finally here. We’ve been counting down on our paper chain the days until we finally get to go to ARCACHON! AND IT’S TODAY!!! We will be taking a train at 12 with all the other Bordelais missionaries. We’re SUPER excited! We’re going to spend like, an hour in the little centre ville and then head up to the dunes for a couple hours, then we’re going to have dinner and family home evening with an American couple that live in Arcachon! Sounds like the best day ever right? I’ll let you all know how it goes next week! 

This week was REALLY great! 
 
On Monday, we braved a FRENCH hair salon. Soeur M and I both needed haircuts really bad, so we finally just did it. And, it wasn’t as scary as I thought! So, I had them chop off about 3 and a half inches. I was tired of all that extra hair. 
Then, we walked along the famous shopping street, Saint Catherine, looking in all the little shops. We came across a macaron bakery where they were having a special. Of course, we couldn’t pass that one by, so we bought a few: 
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New short hair + macarons:)
 
On Wednesday, we had a GREAT lesson with our ami, Raphael. He agreed to be baptized on the 12th of April! We are SO excited and we’ll be working with him a lot! 
 
On Thursday, we had zone training. It was a great meeting! The zone leaders announced that Président Roney had come up with a new way for us to contact. So, from now until Président tells us to stop, the missionaries of the France Lyon mission will be questionnaire-ing. We all received pre-typed questionnaires we’ll be using in all street contacting. The questions include: 1. Do you feel that there are serious problems in the world today?
2. Do you think it would be good to receive the help of God today?
3. Do you think it would be good if God spoke to a prophet today as he has done in times past?
4. If God spoke to us today, would you want to know what he said? 
 
Then there are some others, but we’re just starting to experiment here with this way of contacting. Soeur M and I haven’t quite got our questionnaire-ing groove on, but we’ll be working a lot with it this week. 
 
So, Bordeaux is seriously the MOST beautiful place! Here is the riverside where we do a lot of our contacting: 
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It’s more pretty in person. Promise. 
 
On Saturday, we had a ward game night that was really fun! The missionaries were in charge, so we planned out some group games, and then had lots of little games (Uno, werewolf, ect.) We played group pictionary races, and the game (my personal fave) where you put the oreo on your forehead and have to get it into your mouth without using your hands. I’m a pro at this now, as I’ve used this game at multiple ward activites and family home evenings:) 
 
Sunday was church, and Soeur M and I got to teach the young women, so that was really fun! 
 
Well, I love you all and miss you tons! I hope everyone had a great week! 
 
Enjoy your spring break:)
 
Avec amour, 
 
Soeur Jones