Monday, August 17, 2015

Week 58 "Progress in Cergy"

Things are going amazingly here in Cergy! 
Taking things back to Monday - last Monday.  We had the opportunity to teach two people at the church, our amis R. and S. the lessons went really well but I felt so tired by the end.  Then, not much progressed with these two after our lessons that night.  That's because R went out of town and S suddenly caught a case of heavy fatigue...interesting.  So I'm hoping that they stay involved.  Tuesday marked my first self-created district meeting.  We discussed the importance of setting personal goals each day, and how that helps us to feel more successful and see the progress we are making. Personally that process of personal goal setting helps me a lot because I have very high expectations of myself and sometimes when I don't perform to my desired capacity I tend to let the feelings of hopelessness and failure creep in.  When I pray at night and set a few goals for the following day I feel better about my performance because despite my failure to perform at a level of perfection, I can usually say that I accomplished my small personal goals, which goals I prayed about and made with God, so I know that if I accomplished those goals I did the Lord's will in greater measure.  Each one of us can apply this process of personal, daily goal-setting; it boosts morale, gives us purpose, and aligns your will with Heavenly Father's.  Start doing this and see the blessings, I know they're there.  Just to give you some examples, I have set goals in the past to: do three unnoticed acts of service for my companion, talk to two people about the Gospel with focusing on really loving them, and just today, I set the goal to plan a solid training for the district meeting tomorrow.  Completed. See, now I feel good about the day despite the eight other things in my head that I have to (more or less) do right now.

S. our ami, Elder Gunn, and Me:  Baptism is planned for the 29th!

   Wednesday we went to Le Havre and the best part of the exchange was that we got rained on while contacting and I saw the Atlantic Ocean! We're not allowed to go to the beach during the summer as missionaries, due to the 'clothing optional' standard of French beaches, but we got just close enough to see the dark blue bar of ocean about a half-mile away, and you'll see a picture of it in the email. 

Le Havre with the Atlantic ocean in the background

Thursday hit with our Zone Leader exchange. I was very content to have Elder Mitch Wilson, a good friend of mine from school, come and do exchanges in our sector.  He went with elder Gunn, while I went with Elder Sumsion.  Elder Sumsion gave me some really good advice on ways to contact and cope with stress.  The contacting advice was to give people something to look forward to in your contacts, for example, finish sharing briefly the Restoration then say, 'we would love to meet with you another time to tell you about a book of scripture Joseph Smith translated, the Book of Mormon. Could we come by tomorrow night to talk about that?'  I have tried this method several times since the exchange and it works wonderfully, especially here in Cergy.  We are so blessed here to live in an area with so many different cultures!  I had no idea I'd get to serve a mission in ten countries at once....very very cool!

Elder Mitch Wilson, and Me at the apartment thursday night!

        And guess what another exchange! Friday I served with Elder Van Tonder in Cergy.  He's a really cool missionary and I made a goal while serving with him to learn six things about him and remember them, and that goal turned out a lot harder than I thought, but hey did it! Don't need to list all the things I learned about him on the email but just know I was successful in that goal!  We also found a very kind African family at the end of the night who invited us over to their house next sunday, we will see, and I hope, that that goes somewhere!!! Because you know, finding an interested family is a big blessing.  Saturday we planned, Sunday we went to church, I played hymns.  We taught our soon to be convert, S.  Another one, and we noticed an increased spiritual light in her as we taught the commandments, very cool.  I'm proud to say Elder Gunn is improving in participating in the lessons, and I'm happy to serve with him.  I'm learning to be confident, even if you're not one hundred percent sure on things.  He's really cool, calm and confident, and I work toward having that personality every day.

So we had a problem cooking rice. We tried to fry the rice in vegetable oil and when we strained it we melted the strainer

Elder Shaver and I in the tiny 2 person elevator

        Well folks I'm out of time.  I know that being grateful for all we have makes the biggest difference.  Out of encouragement from our mission president's wife we have been offering, in our companionship, a prayer of gratitude.  In that prayer we say only things we are thankful for and honestly that has been helping me to recognize how much I have been blessed by God to be here on a mission, at this time of the last dispensation.  I invite everyone to take a moment and think of all your blessings.  I know taking time daily to do such has really helped me to be happier and see my life in a brighter light. Those who do this , as Psalms says, 'shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.'  I have a testimony of Gratitude because for everything negative that happens we realize that it's all pretty insignificant compared to the Divine potential and blessing we have to be here on the earth, to be the children of God, and to have accepted His plan and to be here in a time of amazing testing.  It's a wonderful time to be alive.  Pray for me to have strength to continue to talk to people all the time, everywhere I go about the Gospel.  I love you all so much!
Elder Jones

Found an amazing chocolate store today!

My chocolate pain au chocolat with gold flakes

Me crying and eating it
Getting kebabs with Frere Rochet

Paris on Pday: The obelisk from Egypt and the Arc de Triomphe

I received the awaited package from
my very good friend, Stephie now Sister Wiest, full of good things, and that boosted my morale this morning!

The really good chocolates, over a euro for each one! I got Nine 

I saw a double decker plane in the sky!

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