Monday, August 25, 2014


Woah, so I'm finally here.  In France! Since I last wrote, I was sitting in the Provo MTC, and now I'm here in the chapel in France, sending Emails! Wow, I just can't help thinking how crazy it is to be here, finally here; after a lifetime of waiting to be on a mission I am here. 
     I've really enjoyed the journey so far.  We left the MTC in the afternoon when it was sweltering hot and I was sweating so much and thought, hey it's going to be awesome when we finally get to France, because I'm pretty sure It never gets this hot.  So we headed out, went to the airport, and I got to call home! That was awesome to talk to my parents, because I wasn't sure if they would sound the same, after not hearing their voices for six weeks.  This whole thing is really new for me, and I had a lot of concerns with coming out here.  My parents and family addressed a lot of my concerns, and gave me the comfort I needed at that moment so I could get on that plane with a smile on my face, knowing that I'm doing the right thing, and I'm going to be great out here in France.  

Me in France!(Notre Dame in the background)
     So then the plane ride.  For the first little bit, I just felt happy. There's an unreal happiness that comes from serving the Lord through missionary work.  The plane started, and I sat next to two other missionaries who had never been on a real flight before, and they were both so excited (I was too) to be taking off in such a huge plane, for an equally big adventure.  I got about four hours of sleep on the flight, and I really think it's funny on the plane when they give you a little barbie-sized meal on a little tray and you feel like you're in preschool.  I woke up one time in the night, and according to the plane map, we were flying over Greenland! I tried to see out the window, but it was night-time so I didn't really see anything.  After I woke up again, it was time for breakfast.  We got breakfast sandwiches on the plane that I thought were really really good!  Two hours after that, we got our first view of france.  As the plane came down through the clouds, I looked out the window three seats away from me, and as the plane went to take a turn, the plane rolled to its side and I saw green and tan fields, checkerboarding the countryside.  I thought, woah, so france Does have these rolling country hills, it's not just in the pictures! We touched down, and after we came through customs and got our bags, the Mission President, His wife, and some other elders waited to meet us! We came through and they were all so nice and helpful, we were in a group of about thirty new missionaries, and they managed to fit our luggage all into one big truck.  After we were set to go, the elders gathered us and handed each one of us The Book Of Mormon and said, okay, we're going to ride the Metro, and we want you all to try to talk to someone, and hopefully give this out.  I knew this moment was going to come, and it was finally here, and I was a little scared but my thought was, hey I'm scared but God can help me do anything, so let's see what happens.  As things turned out, I ended right next to a lady and her daughter, and since they didn't have a seat I offered them mine.  We started talking, and I told them this was my very first day in France! They were surprised and I had a good conversation with them, I think....This lady was speaking French, and there was one point when she was talking so fast, I had no clue what she was saying, so all I did was nod my head, and say, "Oui". Which is the best response I could think of, haha.  I was able to ask her about her religion, and said "Catholique, mais pas pratiquant" which means Catholic but not extremely devoted, like she would to twice a year or so.  I told her a little about why I'm serving a mission, it's because I believe that what I'm doing is going to bless my family, and I know my religion is true.  By the time I left, I gave her a pass along card, and I felt good about it.  

A city we were in called La Madeline
     We emerged from the Metro and I had my first view of Paris before my eyes.  There were so many different people, and I was really amazed at how cool it was to be here.  I didn't really understand anyone but we were still in a giant group of missionaries, so it was okay.  We arrived at the chapel in Paris close to George Pompidou museum, which we're not allowed to go to (it looks a little sketchy).  President Babin welcomed us, and then we went out to do Prosyleting in Paris.  My first opportunity to go out ever, and what are the chances, but I get put with Elder Kasteler, my really good friend from elementary school years! Also, our Mommy, or first-time trainer, Elder Millieu, was native French, and this was the last day of his mission! Talk about the best experience I could have got! We walked over to Notre Dame (NOTRE DAME!!! what!? we just walked over there no problem) and I was feeling anxious, because I thought hey, we're missionaries, aren't we supposed to talk with everyone; there are so many people around.  But Elder Millieu kept his cool, and as we walked past a man, Elder Milileu stopped him and he stopped to listen.  He told this man about our purpose as missionaires, and asked him about his religion, he was also catholic.  He started talking about the restoration and then he turned to me, and told me to talk about the Joseph Smith story.  I was a little nervous, but I think he understood me, and I was having trouble presenting my thoughts, but I got across what I felt to say, and Elder Millieu continued the conversation, and it was a miracle because he gave away a Book of Mormon to him, the first Book of Mormon I got, so I can say I gave away my first Book of Mormon, yeah! After that first day, we had mission president interviews, which went well, and when I went to the upstairs office to show my immunizations, I fell asleep on a couch for fifteen minutes, and it felt like a three-hour nap! After dinner, we went to our residence for the night, and I was one of the few with the opportunity to stay the night in the mission Home! There were eight of us elders packed in the basement of the home, but it was only for the night, and the older elders warned us, make sure you don't leave the windows open, or else snails will come in in the night.  Haha, I thought that was funny.  In the morning we woke up, and Sis. Babin had made an amazing breakfast, with all these yummy things like pain de chocolat, orange juice, cereal, and President Babin came in late, but he brought fresh baguettes! 

My meal at the Babin's
     After breakfast, we headed back to the chapel to receive our first mission field companion! My companion's name is Elder Johnson, he is From Smithfiled Utah, he has been out for a year, and he is the perfect companion for me! He helped me get all my bags across all the Paris cobblestone, and onto the Metro, where I was able to talk to another lady about the Church.  Then we showed up in Lille, and once again hauled a lot of bags across the cobblesone to our apartment.  I was still wearing the same suit as before, and I was really tired and sweaty.  We finally reached our apartment, and I put my bags down, and was able to get a bit settled.  After that, I'm pretty sure we went out contacting, which is what we call prosyleting here in France.  I was once again surprised at Elder Johnson's approach.  We talked to fewer people than I expected, and I was still scared to talk to anyone, but I just kept trusting the Lord, knowing that he'd bring me through. 
      The first time we went out contacting, we prayed about where to go, then went there.  We were going down a street and prayed again, and I had a really interesting feeling to go down a road a certain way.  Turns out, the road we ended up on was a dead end, and we decided to knock on a door, after praying again.  Funny thing, I didn't know that people did this, but in France, people will answer you through their windows, not just the door.  An older woman opened her door about fifteen feet above us, and we talked to her for about five minutes about what we were doing out here on missions, a little bit about our religion. She though we spoke French well, and I was happy we were able to alter the reputation of our church for the better.  

My desk in our residence
     The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day saints, most commonly here in Lille, is either mistaken for Jehovah's Witnesses, or Amish people.  A man we talked to yesterday seemed surprised when we showed him we had cell phones, and the surprise will only grow when the Ipads come.  People here seem, unwilling or I'm not sure exactly the word for it, more reserved toward the gospel here, than in South America.  But I believe that just as important as giving out Books of Mormon, or sharing a pass-along card, is spreading a good reputation.  In France, there is sometimes a bad reputation as misssionaries, but I feel like we're still doing great things.  Honestly, it's hard for me to look at our weekly record and see numbers in the single digits, but it's never really about the numbers, I have to remind myself.  This is the Lord's work, about bringing souls to him, whether it's one or a million.  We've had some great experiences this week, and I will touch on a few.  Elder Johnson and I came to church and a man asked if we could sit by him, we said sure and he introduced himself as F. We accompanied him through the meetings and he told us that this was the first time he had come to church in a couple years.  We were able to give him a lesson, and it went really well.  Also, we have just had an awesome week in general.  We were walking through this neighborhood, which reminded me of the Harvard-Yale area in Salt Lake, except with older, taller houses with gates, and taller trees.  I just was feeling like the number of people we talk to isn't important.  It's the sincerity of the contact, and the way we're representing Christ out here.  I feel the spirit so strongly out here, and I love it!  Sometimes I feel homesick, but other times I'm so stoked to be here! Stay strong everyone.  I love you All!
Elder Jamison Jones

Picture of Lille, France
Jamison and childhood friend Colton at Notre Dame

No comments:

Post a Comment