Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Week 59 "everyone I'm doing great"

Picnic in the park in Rouen for District Meeting
"Hi mom, Hi dad, Hi Abby, Hi eliza, Hi madeline.  Guess what?  All your praying worked!  In fact as miraculous as it sounds there were certain moments during the week when I felt, and knew, that someone was praying for me, notably all of you.  It doesn't explain well over email but I knew I was very very loved in that moment, and now too. I got the package at about  10:30 this morning...or the packagessssssss!  Wow, you are all so nice.  I loved the presents. Haha kidding I didn't open them although elder Gunn wanted me to...haha. When should I read all the letters you sent? Man I sneaked and saw the floss, oh what a joy that will be to use floss.  Burritos are in the fridge and freezer.  AAAnnnnnddddd, I have sooooooo much peanut butter!  mmmmm...Elder gunn thinks it's pretty funny how much peanut butter I've been eating. But thank you.  Thank you even more for all the prayers.  I know Heavenly Father is blessing our family! And now those blessings will triple with Elder Hogan and Hirst out as well.  Woo, well um I'm scheduled to do the baptism on Saturday so it should be cool to actually use my white pants.  I hope they're still in the closet.  The big email will come but I wanted you to all personally know that I've been trusting in the Lord and though I'm not perfect, he is and he makes things work out.  Thank You , Thank You, my heart sings.....for the [peanut butter] we eat... Love you each one of you so much."
So let's address our biggest priorities first, our amie S. who is getting baptized this week.  Not the S who I met in the bus, that's a story to be explained further down, but our other S is preparing for baptism.  At the beginning of her time taught by the missionaries Elder Gunn and Roth taught her, but when we merged companionships a month ago the privilege passed to me and Elder Gunn.  Of the four times we went over, the most memorable was Saturday night.  Our phone call went a little like this,

"Hey, S.. I don't know if we'll be able to come tonight, our member cancelled on us, and unless there another man there we won't be able to teach."

"Oh, no, wait....I will get them (her son and nephew) to stay...(hear talking in the background)..ok just come over"  At this point I'm not sure if they'll actually be there but we felt good about going over and we were met with a nice surprise.

"I made you beignets!" She exclaimed as we arrived.  Ohh, so that's why you wanted us to come so bad.  Well I'm not complaining.  Shrimp beignets, just so you all know, are cocktail shrimp, breaded and deep fried.  And were they good?  I don't even have to tell you whether they were good or not, of course they tasted good!  The other best part, was P., her son and her drunk nephew also listened as we taught. Though the nephew threw some curveballs during the lesson, elder Gunn calmed him down, and we connected with P.  who came to church on Sunday. We'll start teaching him soon as well.
Me, Elder Gunn, P. and S. Beignets are in the center of the photo, sorry no close up.
   Let's talk about Elder Gunn.  Although we sometimes argue, he means well and most the arguments we do have are well-humored.  This week I bought a bunch of bananas for myself and put them in the fridge; unfortunately the fridge was set for colder than normal and ruined all my bananas, requiring me to eat them all a couple days after I bought them. Elder Gunn lectured me on my mistake and though I was annoyed I did actually learn that usually it's better to let the bananas sit out, unless the fridge isn't too cold. Throughout the week we have our share of squabbles but usually it ends well If I'm just honest with him, haha.  His french and participation in lessons is improving a lot.  Notably with one of our investigators, J. J has struggled for months to read the Book of Mormon but Elder Gunn pounded it into him by saying, "You need to read the Book of Mormon!" ten times during our brief mid-week meeting. Haha, I loved it and felt very grateful for his participation.
Peanut butter and bananas on the bus to Mantes-la-Jolie then a train after that to Rouen
   That brings me to a bit of a sad topic, our other investigator S. After a week and a half of little to no contact with him, we called him and he actually answered. He was doing well and he wanted to see us the day following our phone call.  So we meet him at the church, planning to pick up where we left off, and we got the following: "So, after having done a lot of thinking, and feeling confused about quite a few concepts I've learned such as the Fall of Adam and Eve, I remembered you saying, even if you don't understand all that now, just remember that Heavenly Father loves you."  "I think I've been too caught up in the small details of things, and I've concluded that the fact God loves me, and I can pray to him is all I need to know.  So with that I'm telling you goodbye."

What?! NO! Ahhh.  "S. what you've learned is just the beginning!"  I said.  Our efforts to sway his decision were to no avail, and then he left...aaaaaaaaacccccgh.  Well at least we ended on good terms, and we said  that whenever he felt ready to come back we would be ready.  Man that was too bad, he's the one I met on the bus about one month ago; he was progressing so well, and we planned on him progressing toward baptism next month, but he's got his agency, and we have to let him use it.  Is there anything more we could have done for him? Probably, but for now we just gotta let him go.
Nice sunset!
        The sad moments never last long in Cergy, if we get up quick at least.  This Sunday elder Gunn and I had a very very cool experience. After returning home for lunch, I was trying to relax and take a nap, but due to everything going on, and some other stressors I was feeling, I could not sleep.  Elder Gunn was knocked out on the couch, and I was debating over what to do that afternoon.  I had the impression to go outside to talk to people.  There were calls to be made but I decided they could wait.  Elder Gunn woke up and I suggested the idea and he accepted.  We made our way to the bus stop, and sat down.  Sometimes I feel like I should sit somewhere specific, well actually quite often, and even though no one sat currently where I felt like I should sit I did it anyway, and waited.  At the halfway point to Cergy Prefecture, a load of people got onto the bus, and a black woman and her daughter took the seats across from me.  The bus started off and before I had the chance to start a conversation with the woman she squinted at my plaque an read it out loud, and asked, "So what exactly is your church?"  We got the chance to explain the restoration to her, and to point out where the church is from the bus. As we conversed she said she has been searching for awhile for a church, and then BAM, we run into her; we testified of how this was Not an accident, we exchanged numbers, she's coming to church next Sunday. BOOM.  Just like my sister Eliza told me in an email this week.....'and He shall direct thy paths' (Proverbs ch.3 v.6)
Look at this airbus a330 i saw this week!
        Thank you.  For all of your prayers! Man I need to start praying for everyone who reads this blog you are all so important to me.  I am a witness to the best and the worst out here, but mostly and over-ridingly the best.  Thank you for praying for Elder Gunn.  Thank you for praying for France.  Thanks.  If there was a scripture to summarize the week, there probably isn't one, just that I feel really blessed out here.  And I realize that If we're just trying to make ourselves happy we won't be as happy as if we turn outward.  And try to cheer others up, that's how the contacting usually starts.  People love it when elder Gunn contacts because normally, he just says, 'Hi, how's it going?'  French get thrown off by that. It's our secret weapon.

     One more miracle. In Rouen the missionaries have a challenge to give out a ton of Books of Mormon this month, and we got to help them at the end of our district meeting-picnic.  Another elder and I carried the heavy bags of picnic supplies back to the church and we crossed one of their investigators on the street. Normally we might have bee-lined it there due to all the bags we had but we took half an hour to teach him and du-   du-du-dun...give him a Book of Mormon! I love you all so much have a great week!
Elder Jones

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