Monday, March 28, 2016

Week 90 "More Attacks, but I'm Safe!"

March 28,  2016

                         I sang Amazing Grace with Elder Trotter, and
                           two other sister missionaries last night for an easter concert. It
                          was really amazing, we felt a good spirit and I love singing!

Well, I can say that this week went well, despite all the terrorist attacks in Belgium.  The week ended on a great note.  I am just happy that all of the Missionaries are safe.  We worked hard again this week, and I am sad to leave Torcy, but oh, am I happy I'm going to Blois.
  Elder Trotter and I had a nice kick-off to our week, went to the Crucy family's house.  One of their kids got baptized this Saturday, so we went to teach him a little more about baptism. Speaking of which, we have two investigators who are still progressing toward baptism, Y and K.  Y is fighting to overcome some addictions and sleepiness, and K is also battling against sleepiness - the biggest obstacle for church attendance.  If we could get your prayers and support for K and Y that would be great, thank you!

  Tuesday morning we had district meeting.  As we were finishing up, I did a quick look through my emails and noticed my Mom had sent me an email about the terrorist attacks in Belgium, and we quickly learned about the four missionaries hurt in the attacks.  I spent a lot of the week thinking about those missionaries, some of whom I know very well.  My thoughts especially go out to Elder Norby, the Senior missionary, who taught the 'My Plan' course.  I thought I'd get the opportunity to receive instruction from him in the course, starting this transfer, but with all that happened to him, I think someone else will take over the program.  I attended the introduction to the course a few weeks ago, and he invited us to ask ourselves some very poignant questions in regards to returning from a mission, such as, "What life skills have I acquired in the mission field?  What resources will I use to fund my education?  When I'm a father, what will my Saturdays be like, what will my Sundays be like?"  All of these questions point to the importance of continually developing mission-learned skills, and I am thankful for Elder Norby's inspired teaching that led me to ask myself these questions. Although I only heard him teach once, I was touched by the power and spirit of his teaching, and he, along with his wife and the other missionaries involved in the attacks, have been in my prayers daily.

Elder Richard Norby, and Sister Pamela Norby 
They were teaching Jamison "My Plan" 
Elder Empey 

Jamison's original group with Elder Empey. Fourth one over from the left on front row. Jamison is 7th one over from the left on front row.

President and Sister Babin. First day arriving in Paris. Elder Empey is pictured 4th from President Babin and Jamison is sitting across from him. 

   I reflected quite a bit about the recent events that have plagued our mission;  Charlie Hebdo last year, Friday the thirteenth this past November, and now the Brussels attacks, which involve people I know.  It just goes to show that you never know what may happen.  The bombings have reminded me of the beauty and delicacy of life, and that we need to treasure every moment we're breathing. God does not keep his missionaries from all harm and danger, but he always enables them to accomplish His work. I don't know why Elder Norby, Wells, Empey, and Sister Clain had to go through what they did, heck, it could have happened to me...all I know is that the Lord has granted them their lives, and we should all be thankful for that!  I am thankful for my mission, I am thankful to be at a distance from these attacks, but still close enough to receive the Lord's reminder of how fragile we are, and how important it is to make good decisions with each moment he grants us.

   I'm happy that President Babin has received strength from God to keep this mission afloat and running.  Shortly after the attacks a lot of you back home thought we would stay cooped up inside, but we received the order to continue on as usual preaching the gospel.  Why,  many people may ask, when It's so dangerous?  Because there are souls who need this gospel.
   J, another one of our amis, gave an insight that I will remember.  During our lesson, a member we taught with was curious why he wanted to be baptized and J said,
   'you've seen what's going on in the news, with all the attacks.  My family has also been victim to this same violence, and I just see so much pain and fighting, and no peace...I feel like following Jesus Christ is a peaceful way".
I feel for J It would be really hard to see so much fighting, I am so happy though, that he feels peace when he comes to church, reads the book of Mormon, and prays to God.  God loves all of his children, he loves you, he loves me even when I struggle to acknowledge His love.  I reiterate the words, "Jesus Christ is a peaceful way". His followers are not perfect, but they are trying.  Jesus, however, is perfect.  He is brave, he is loving and kept even in the heat of his own scourging and crucifixion.  He laid his life down to give us new life every day, and I testify that the life he gives feels, and is, renewing and refreshing.  Happy Easter Everyone!
I love you all!!!
"For the fulness of mine intent is that I may persuade men to come unto the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and be saved"  - The Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 6:4
Elder Jones

Ps. I'm going to Blois in the middle of France, and serving with elder Gavin Smith, this will be such an adventure!

I went on an exchange with elder Ho,
from Taiwan.  He was the funniest guy to work with!  He wanted to take
a picture of this guy with a mustache at a bus stop. So he says mr.
Votre mustache, c'est especial.

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