Monday, September 21, 2015

Week 63 "Happiness!"

The Curious swans in Auvers
Things continue to go so well here in France.  The work is really progressing, and I feel really really grateful to be preaching the gospel and teaching people in a place and at a time when the gospel is needed so badly. France, like any other place in the world, is hard to serve a mission in. I feel like there are people who wish they were in a different mission because certain things would be easier, but then they forget that every mission has it's individual blessings and drawbacks.  So even though the physical circumstances may be different, every mission can be hard, and every mission can be rewarding. I'm so grateful to serve in a place where people come from all over.  You may think this is crazy but so far I've met people from twenty African countries, ten Asian countries, and a handful of others from the Americas, Australia, and Europe. I feel so blessed to be serving here.
Elder Harris at The Axe Majeur
   This week started on Monday night at the Louima's house.  The Louimas make Haitian food, and after sharing our spiritual thought and eating enough that we thought we'd explode, Sister Louima filled a giant bag with leftovers!  We contacted home and met two men who moved from near the same region I went to in northern India!  Though they acted kindly toward us they didn't show interest in learning more, but hey I learned something cool from them; that is, Urdu, the mother tongue of northern Pakistan, is extremely similar to Hindi, the mother tongue of India, but only when spoken.  When written out they look completely different - urdu looks like arabic, hindi looks like, well, Hindi; later that week I saw someone texting in Tibetan on his phone, and that looked like Hindi.  My mind is exploding with all these languages.  Luckily most these people speak English or French!
   Auvers-Sur-Oise. Tuesday.  Vincent Van Gogh painted in this town, and we had the privilege to work there for a few hours.  Small town but beautiful still. Contacting went well because people had a more laid back attitude, they didn't seem as rushed.  We also enjoyed the beauty of the land and water, we contacted from this city to the other side of the bridge, and found some swans who though we had food, we didn't but they came close enough for a close up picture!  That evening we met T. who came from Brazil, and he came up to us to ask who we were.  We introduced ourselves, and the church, and we had a good conversation about repentance.  We hope he will meet us so he can learn how to change his life through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Elder Jones in front of the Pompidou
        Elder Wilson and Elder Bigelow came to help us out on Wednesday, and wow they really did a good job.  Elder wilson and I couldn't believe we were serving together for a day, it was very very very great.  We got to teach J our investigator together, then we contacted on the road, and Elder wilson is very bold with talking to everyone, and he inspired me to do a better job of speaking with everyone on the street, regardless. We went home to eat dinner, and made a lot of food. To our absolute delight/horror we came to the member's house and the first thing me and Elder Harris saw was a set dinner table. Oh no, we did not plan on eating dinner here, we were scared that we wouldn't be able to eat all the food because we had just made a big plate of leftovers from our Monday night member visit.  I don't know how, but we managed to finish all the food, and share a nice spiritual thought with the members to top it all off. So elder Jones is definitely not starving here in Cergy.  He is actually eating very well, too well you could say, haha.
This is what we eat most the time: steak hachée and potatoes!

        Zone conference happened Thursday!  I would send you my pages and pages of notes but that would be a little boring no matter how good the conference was. The main subjects discussed were repentance and focusing on Christ, which is a mission-wide goal right now.  As part of that goal we are focusing studies on the New Testament, Book of Mormon, and Preach My gospel.  Right after Elder Chen and I went to Mantes, charged with the good lessons we had learned at zone conference.  We felt a lot of peace contacting people and inviting them to hear about the gospel! We met a lot of really interesting people, including an undercover cop who told us to stay alert and watch out for groups of rambunctious teenagers. At the end of the night we had taught a handful of people, and we agreed that the Spirit had been strong that night, thanks to our focus on Christ.
        At the back end of this week we visited an investigator, Z, and his family.  They made us really good food, and three members of the family would like to be baptized.  The only issue is they need to come to church, but they haven't yet.  So we'll keep hoping they come.  On Sunday we had Stake Conference and very thankfully our recent convert S and her son came, and through our coordination efforts, they went to a family home evening with the Jean-Jaques Family in our ward!  We finished off last night with E.  Another investigator who we actually got to teach at a member's house, woootwoot.  So sunday went well.
We made banana bread! Sister martin, an older lady in the ward, taught us how
        The spiritual thought for this week comes from Nephi, whom, while in the wilderness with his family, followed the guidance of the Liahona. By following it's guidance he and his family were  led in the most fertile parts of the wilderness.  To any outsider, teaching the Gospel in France may seem an impossibility, much like anyone who stayed in Jerusalem felt assured Nephi and his family would perish in the wilderness.  But the Lord does works miracles, and every day he leads us to people who need the gospel.
Just this saturday we walked out of our apartment and we ran into the lady whom we had helped load a large piece of furniture onto the bus. Even the man who repaired our apartment this week was willing to take a Book of Mormon after our invitation.  The Lord's work is so cool! I Love you sooooo much!  Thank you for all your letters and prayers!
Till next week, Elder, Jamison Jones

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