Thursday, December 16, 2010

Updates & Inside Peeks

Family Dearest!!!!!

How are you?! K but first off, I have to thank everyone for all the fun goodies you have sent. I feel like I must be the most spoiled missionary in the world, and i think you guys must single-handedly be keeping the US postal service in business. Holy cow!!! I am so excited to start the 12 days of christmas, I absolutely loved the calendar (we all pored over it multiple times), the purse was awesome (the other sisters thought it was pretty chic), so grateful for the cd from the cusicks, the boots are super super cozy, and i loved the necklace!!! And the Paris sisters were so cute and surprised me with an ice cream cake (im sorry mom, i used the cake mix you sent me for elder jaquier's birthday!)!! It was definitely a memorable 22nd birthday in Paris, even if we were super super sick and even if I’m still in denial about my old age. haha. So thank you. I love you. You are wonderful.

Things here are going well. I guess the biggest update as far as news is concerned is that my days in Paris are numbered. As soon as my companion gets back (supposedly sometime this week), they are shipping us out to Caen (Normandy). I am so excited about that. Neither of us has ever served there so bring on the whole whitewashing and re-opening a ville the week before Christmas adventure!!!! I figure at least with the Book of Mormon christmas contacting challenge we got at mission conference (which was AWESOME!!!), at least we'll know where to start--ie giving out 22 book of mormons before christmas with follow up. haha, it'll be one heck of an adventure that is for sure. I think the luggage plus christmas packages plus christmas tree moving on a train will, alone, be quite the memorable experience. Mom, don't worry, I will for sure picturize it! I am super sad that I will miss Suzie and Valerie's baptisms next Sunday, but we'll make sure and get everything good and ready this week, so it can go down flawlessly. And on the memory card I sent there is video of the musical number me and Elder Holcombe did for the mission Christmas conference.

Speaking of Suzie and Valerie, can i just say how much I love them?????!!!!!!!!!!! Seriously they are amazing. It is such a pleasure teaching them. They really want to understand and make sure they are doing everything right. K small example, but normally when you teach the 10 commandments, people are like "well yeah, duh," but they are like, "so what does that mean exactly?" And they have really been supported well by the Paris Young Adults. They went to a party a few weeks ago at the young adult center and met a ton of members, and more than once now we have showed up to teach them and they are hanging out with other member young adults and are so well integrated already! Anyway, I love them and I am so excited for them to be baptized, whether or not I am here. And did I ever mention that we set a baptismal date with Marguerite too? I don't know if i did.....oops, sorry about that. hehe. But she was supposed to be baptised the 19th as well, but her mom is still really not happy about her meeting with us, so even though she is 18, we are going to wait a few more weeks. But she is awesome. So, basically I am sad to leave our investigators, but I feel good about what we've seen happen in Paris Lilas and I am excited for a new adventure!

K, you know how i normally get sick like once a year around finals time? Well, it seems that whether or not I am actually taking finals, i am still cursed. Except that I have never been sick like this before. But, we learned very quickly that France doesn't mess around with their OTC meds. When you can buy lidocaine cough drops, you know you don't need to worry!!! (I have pretty much lost everything i once learned in pharmacology, but if i do recall correctly, lidocaine is like a sodium channel blocker used for local anesthesia. like when the dentist is going to drill into your mouth. haha.) Needless to say, it had a nice numbing effect for sore throats and coughing!! And the pharmacists here are hilarious. They like have such pride in fulfilling their pharmaceutical duties well and obviously enjoy doctoring people up. So, you walk in and tell them what's wrong and they are like, "ooohhh.....yeah, you need THIS. this will make it all better." So we get a good kick out of the pharmacists.

We also got a good kick out of the doctors as well, though for a different reason. Our first experience with French healthcare this morning was certainly one i won't forget for a while! First of all, the waiting room, i don't have time to detail, so let's just leave it at--SKETCHY. Then the doctor comes out and has us come back to her office/exam room. The whole place reeks of cigarette smoke, there are cigarettes on her desk, and like shoe boxes containing patient records. More sketchy. So, we chit chat for a bit and she asks us what is wrong with some details for a bit. She looks in our ears. And then asks us for our first and last names and our birthdays, gives us each a prescription for amoxicillin, and says that it will be 22 euros. Seriously, that was it. No questions about allergies (and HULLO!!! that's a penicillin antibiotic), no medical history, no documents, no insurance, no legality (certainly not complainign about that considering my current status (ya, I am still illegal) hehe), not even a single signature. It was like the most hilarious thing. I walked out of there like, "well huh.....that's how healthcare works in France, whaddayaknow." But hey--quick, cheap and got the job done, so we'll go with it!!! And honestly, as long as it helps me not feel this horrible than i am totally down with it!

So other updates--Faman (whose name is really Saman; a fact you will learn in the letter i am sending home today) has started praying out loud. and the right way!!!!! yay!!! seriously, you don't know what a feat that is!

And we also have a new contacting tactic, that seems to be working out pretty well. Basically the plan goes like this--talk to every Indian person you pass. I love Indian culture! Like when they say they will do something, they will do it. When they say they will be somewhere, they are there. Sometimes it's a bit surprising actually!!! Anyway, tactical plan is goin great!!!

okay, well ill get that other letter finsihed up and sent out today, but we gotta run. We did go to the Eiffel Tower today earlier and hiked up all the stairs!!!

Love you guys! Miss you. Hope you know how grateful i am for you!!!!!

did I mention we played our turkey bowl on the fields in front of hotel des invalides? (ie napoleon's tomb place and also the place where we (dad, mom, me & tara) took a nap that one time) I didn't contribute a whole lot, except that I stuck my man well and freaked elder helvey out a little, and stayed out of elder holcombe's way enough that he basically single handedly won the game for us. hehe. but, we were all covered in mud from head to toe afterwards and the next day we were so sore!!

so, side note I have loved the Christmas cds and every time I get weird looks about the bugs bunny ones or whatev, I just say "artistic license!!!!" Thanks Tara!

tell the congers their Christmas card and school pictures were awesome!!!! of course ali has her Christmas cards sent out (even to the people in france) by like december 4th. oh and OMG those letters from grandpa were hilarious!!!!! and he made every single one like tie in somehow to that specific person----so funny! the sisters were impressed with how clever and quick he was, I laughed SO HARD.

did I mention enough times that I absolutely loved loved loved josh's primary talk?????!!! I cried, of course. and made all the sisters listen to it!! (bahaha--it took my dad a lot of courage to go and tell my mom what happened.....hahahaha) also, josh and Halle’s letters this week were even more hilarious than normal. so tender that he donated 1.00 to the "mishonary fund"

Matthew--I am getting too old, because I do not even remember the name of my biology teacher's name......oh's coming....W......Wh....whitaker?????? maybe. and since when did you have an ipod touch?

josh--thanks for donating, that's so nice!!! Can’t wait to hear about your birthday!

halle--of course you're still my favorite little 7-yr-old diva princess!!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Learnings, Laughings, Lovings

Hey gang!!!

How are you doing?! Sounds like things are keepin on at the homefront! I got your package on Saturday and I can't believe how much stuff you sent. That was like the best package ever, but you need to stop! The whole TAco Soup for dummies (aka jordan) was pretty funny. And FYI, even though "Heavenly Father is watching," you are just lucky i am not a mischievous kid, because it was really tempting to peek and "try to figure out" what the gift was I wasn't supposed to open until Christmas Eve.....hmmm...... Speaking of Christmas Eve, whose room is everyone going to sleep in? Oh and FYI, I won't lie I think i much preferred Tara's response to Harry Potter than Dad's. Talk about Bahumbug (hmm never realized that was so hard to spell)!! Speaking of bahumbugs, it sounds like we're gonna have more of an All american thanksgiving in France (go figure) than you guys. So, I guess the bonus to being like the orphan missionary is that I have been kinda temporarily adopted into the paris zone and ward and we are doing a legit Turkey Bowl (an announcement of dividing the teams has already been sent out, but i think elder ellsworth should be fired from the naming of teams job cuz i'm pretty sure we are Tuna Fish and our colors are black and blue) and having dinner all together at an American member's house.

But, before then we have a whole lot to do because there are so many great, great things happening in our areas! And the adventures of these last couple weeks have been great, but I thought I would break up just a few of them into some of our recent learnings, laughings, and lovings. Oh man, I so wish I was better at writing, because bein' on a mission is just so great and I just don't do it justice!!! (Side note: we just had a p-day raclette party for elder jaquier's birthday and it was so fun! Super funny when President and Sister Staheli walked in and it was suddenly absolutely silent! haha. Of course all I can think about is, "ah no, I haven't written my president's letter yet...." President was like "how come I always feel like a wet blanket? Oh, they are just great.)

1. I have a new favorite French idiom--"entre chien et loup." Which directly translated would mean: between dog and wolf. But, idiomatically translated? hehe means: twilight. At first glance, it is totally another one of those really lame french things (like instead of knowing something like "the back of your hand," apparently, here we know things like "your pocket." enough said.), but is actually genius and sheds a whole new light on the term twilight and its use as the title of that book!

2. The typical stranger stopping you to say, "franchement, il faut que je vous dise que vous etes si belle," doesn't always have to end in a horribly awkward way. And this dude actually came to church and gave the elders his number. Definitely a new one for me!

3. So last night, we learned how incredibly awkward it can be to find ourselves in the living room of a Muslim family while you are fasting. To back up a little, I started talking to this man a week or so ago on the metro, turned out he was way nice, had 3 little boys and invited us to come over to his house and meet his wife and stuff. So, we set up to come over Sunday night. We walk in and see the adorable little kids running around and are like "suweet!!!!!", gonna baptize this whole family!!!......and then we see that he is wearing a booboo.

Suspicions begin. Wife is also wearing a booboo. Oh man, definitely from Senegal. THEN, we walk into the living room and there are like pictures of mosques and they tell us the oldest boy's name is mohammed. Well, certainly cleared up any clarification we may have needed. Needless to say, the father wasn't very keen on the idea of starting "the lesson" with a hymn about Jesus Christ. But, somehow the shut down to the gospel was much easier to take than the African guilt trip that came our way for not being able to eat their food because we were fasting.... Awkward. Love it!

4. Ok so this one has been haunting me all week. I learned that French people are very particular about very specific manners. Let me explain this by way of example. We are sitting on the metro one night heading home and I am a little slow at covering my mouth when I yawn, so I only got it covered like half way through. And the man sitting across from me like kicks my foot and freaks out about how I should not show my mouth so in public and was super huffy about it. My first reaction is, of course, to respond by sticking my tongue out at him, but i somehow mustered enough self-control to refrain. Not easy!!

So, now I am like freaked out and edgy every time that I yawn for fear that I will show too much mouth. Apparently they don't have a problem with things like public urination, but be on guard because inappropriate display of the mouth is definitely a faux-pas! Good to know.

When i told the paris sisters about it, Sister Thompson told me that she has also gotten in trouble for folding her arms on the metro because it made her look unladylike. hahahah. And then the MAN proceeded to demonstrate for her, placing his hands and feet in what were, evidently, more feminine positions. So basically you must make sure that all appendages and mucosal membranes are placed and covered and maneuvered appropriately and that you don't look unladylike and that you don't look defensive! And while, of course, it would completely not be appropriate missionary behavior to purposely invoke furor in the harmless passers-by, I do have to add the side note that it is pretty amusing to see them go all "French huffy." Just sayin.

5. Also learned that there is actually an elevator that goes up to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, and that if you are really really nice to the young security guard and tell him that you just came down and forgot to buy the gifts you needed to, he will use his cool walkie talkie and inform the other super secret guard that you are coming over and move the metal gates for you and give you directions to the elevator entrance, and then you can stand comfortably in the 15 second elevator ride and feel all cool thinking about the other people who were currently hiking up the 284 steps on the other side! (granted, we had been those "other people" like an hour before....hehe.)

6. Also learned that you don't give the kids the armor of God visuals until AFTER the lesson. That is, if you intend to actually teach a lesson. Note to self!

7. Okay and I also had more of an eye-opener to how much missionaries really are blessed to learn the language. I told you I was getting a mini missionary right? And that I was praying she spoke French? Everyone is like "oh no, she'll for sure speak French. "Yeah, well, when we met her it turns out she is a 19 yr old American who has been staying in France for a couple months. And we're talking like Joey in our favorite friends episode, hehe! But it was great to have my own companion for the week!

OKAY Im sorry. My companions are done and we need to go, I will finish next week, Im sorry that I didn’t even have time to get to the laughing and lovings!!!!!!!! Love you guys so much!! have a good week!!!!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Empty & Full

Hey family!!!!!

Can I just say i love you?! Cuz I do. So much. I don't know how I got so lucky, but I'm definitely not complaining about having such great family and friends!

So, the Paris Lilas side of the apartment is totally empty, cuz it's just me. The other desk is bare, the closet looks so sad, and it's just weird crawling into bed and not having someone to say goodnight to on the bottom bunk. I mean sure, you'd think the whole 24/7 together thing would get a little old, but really it is surprisingly lonely without my companion here by my side at all times! So, since I am alone, I have been working with Sister Gifford and Sister Thompson and I love working with them, but our schedule is absolutely crazy full since we're working both areas. And Paris isn't exactly what you would call a small city! It has been one adventure after another this week. But President called last night and asked if I could take a mini missionary from Tuesday to Sunday, so I'll have somewhat of a companion until Sunday. Cross your fingers she speaks French! hehe.

Somehow we have been like surrounded by men lately. Good thing is that since we're in a threesome it's easy to teach them, but also leads to some interesting experiences. Like on sunday, this muslim guy, named Mody, (contacted him on the metro a few weeks ago and has come to church the last couple weeks)(and to clarify, he has muslim origins, but doesn't "participate" with them) came to church again. And afterwards i was talking with the other sisters and was like, "yeah, im pretty sure he winked at me; we are definitely passing him to the elders AGAIN." And they both said that he winked at them too, so voilà, easy decision. But then, later on, i realized he has an eye twitch. maybe the fact that he is coming to a christian, mormon on top of that, church on sundays and he might be found out and burned at the stake or whatever by his "people" is a little stressful, hence the eye twitch. Just throwin that out there!! (fyi i wouldn't actually joke about that if i thought it was an actual concern. we are very cautious about muslims.)

The chinese elders had a baptism yesterday and it was great and we had lots of investigators there!! kind of felt like we were herding cattle for most of it trying to run around making sure everyone is being taken care of, but it is such a blessing to have people see a baptism! the spirit is always strong, and then they can see that you know as much as we talk about baptism being like this big important thing, it really is very simple and very NOT scary. And can i just say how grateful i am for members who like "get it." k we'll ask people if they can help with some of our specific investigators or something and they'll be like, "yeah, of course, i'll come say hi at the end of church!" I mean that's nice, and it does help. It'll make them feel welcome. But at the same time it's like, no i meant like can you come take care of this person? like have them come sit with you and allow us to worry about the other thousand things that have to be done. For example, Fabienne (a young adult who got back from her mission like a year ago) came up after church yesterday and just took suzie and valerie into this meeting for the young adults (i think they were planning a party or something), which was so nice! We were then able to take care of the other investigators and didn't have to worry about keeping them entertained until the baptism started, and they felt like they were actually part of the ward, instead of just the tag-alongs of the missionaries.

So we taught the law of chastity to suzie and valerie this week, and the member who came with us, may or may not have kinda given the impression that we think you can never, ever, be alone with a boy. So, we might have to do some clarifying. haha. And after church on sunday, they came up to sister thompson and said, "so, wait, there is a living prophet today?" See!!! poignant example of why church is so important! Makes up for our mistakes and when we forget to mention like only one of the more important and unique aspects of our doctrine--like that we have a prophet! Big time stone. There is this story that sister staheli sometimes shares about a recent convert (like had been baptized for a few months or even more) who went to watch general conference and came out and the missionaries asked what she learned and she said, "well, i learned that God has a body and that we have a prophet today." hahaha. Oops. Slight oversight. There are interesting statistics that talk about how the average missionary, who was born and raised in the church, has accumulated over 6000 hours of gospel learning and instruction (or some very big number, but im pretty sure i just pulled that one out) by the time they are 19, but so many converts are baptized after like 12 hours! Kinda interesting perspective.

Seriously love you guys. I miss you lots (i actually got a little teary the other night lying in bed thinking of the next time i will get to hug my parents and how great that will be. probably like the best day of my life!), but I'm so very grateful to be here!

love, jordan xoxo

tell josh and halle good job on the primary program!!! and even though i wasn't there to cry during it, you can rest assured that ill probably get all teary reading his talk when i get it in the mail!!! so all is well!

and holy cow.....exploding fingers? What? i had no idea that could happen either! that's pretty gnarly. i hope you got good pics to log that away!!!

oh and guess what we heard? Elder collins was the new group of missionaries' teacher in the MTC. they said he was hilarious!

oh and tell tara i met elder hales! actually, we're becoming buds because im kinda like a guest member of their district these days.....and i am pretty impressed with his musical talent and french. and it's so funny because the first thing that all of her friends say is, "you are just like tara."

and yes, tell susan thank you for the letter and the handkerchief…… I was very grateful!!

did i also mention that we now have an exercise bike in our apartment? Elder Ellsworth bought like this 200 euro stationary bike a while ago, but it won't fit in his new apartment and he knows it'll get thrashed if it is in an elder apartment, so he had elder jensen and elder volpe deliver it to ours. and yes, they did come by way of metro, so the videos of elder jensen riding the bike while waiting on the metro quai or riding it while in the metro are seriously hilarious!! (they said this one lady was super annoyed with them, but it was funny to see how many people just didn't even bother paying attention. so french.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Baptismal dates & Toothbrushes!

Hey gang,

How ya doin'?! Reading your emails today was so great. thank you so much!! I'm glad that Matthew Cunger's baptism was so good! Tell grandpa he should send me his talk! I'll admit that being out here gives me a little different perspective on baptisms of the kids in our family. It just seems so "easy!!" I mean sure it's like a lifetime of teaching and instructing, but just in comparison it's a whole different ballpark! So I have decided that the whole multiply and replenish the earth deal is really the best missionary tactic we could employ; we don't need more effective missionaries, we just need to be more effective reproducers!! Just sayin.

I don't really know where to start today, because so many things have happened. But I will start with transfer news (transfer is this Wednesday). Sister England is moving to Anderres, but we will still have 4 of us in the Paris Apartment. Sister Thompson & Sister Gifford will be companions and me & Sister Smart will be companions. But, just because I'm too excited about this, i am going to blurt out that our district now has 6 baptismal dates! Fasting and praying and working works I tell ya! haha. We have four and each set of elders has one (ok, so i guess not 6 in our district, but 6 in our area). So yeah, surprise!!! We set two more baptismal dates this week. December 11th was what we had planned, but we found out that that is stake conference weekend, so it looks like we'll have to do some juggling. Their names are Suzie and Valerie Roberts. They are 18 and 20 year old sisters from Madagascar. We were finally able to see them again this week and they are totally awesome! Their cousin is a member in the nogent ward, so that's how they were introduced to the church. And it's seriously interesting how the people who are elect and ready are so easy to teach and really we do nothing! I am way excited to keep working with them.

This experience, on the other hand, was rather less than amusing. I learned quickly that I don't really like talking to behavioral scientist/psychologist dudes. Long story short, this Algerian man and I are talking at a bus stop and he's telling me what he does and we are just casually conversing when all of a sudden, he interrupts me and says, "you see, by the way you are sitting, i can tell that you are open and willing to talk." and then he turns to my companion and goes, "and you aren't. You are very closed off." And then he sees a book in my bag and asks if i like to read. I say yes and pull out the book of mormon, and he asks if he can see it. I was more than happy to hand over a book of mormon to this muslim man! hehe. And then he asks me why i like the book, so i basically start bearing my testimony about it and answering, what i thought, was his question. But then he stops me abruptly again and says like, "no, no. That's the problem! In the world these days, people try to put themselves into it, and don't talk about what the book, itselt, actually talks about, etc, etc" and just goes on and on.

So, now I'm thinking, "wow i didn't realize my opinion could be wrong, combined with a wow, this dude is annoying." So I start trying to appease him by starting to relay the history of the book, and then he interrupts again and is like, "Now that's interesting. Look at your hands and how you are sitting now. Now you are getting defensive, where before you were very open." And that's about when i just wanted to yank that book back and give him a good thump with it. Defensive my butt!!! ha. I may have made some strides in the whole patience-is-a-virtue thing, but i was so done with the behavior dude!

Hiccups while making phone calls is not the best combination. Faman got a good kick out of this huge hiccup that came out of nowhere when i was talking to him this week. Initially I am like horrified, but then he's laughing, and Sister Gifford and Sister England won't stop laughing, so then I can't stop laughing, and it was a little hard to regain composure and the whole "dignity of my calling" deal during that call. But, we did manage to fix a rendezvous for the next day after english class. And that rendezvous was hilarious as well. He starts out by saying "k we're only going to talk a little, because I don't want a headache." okay, faman. And then we finish talking about God and prayer and he just blurts out, "okay. That's enough for tonight." Okay, faman! And really, it's refreshing to know exactly where he's at! No unnecessary guessing games with him, that is for sure.

So, sunday afternoon, Becky taught us how to make Thai food, and it was definitely an adventure. I am now practically a professional shrimp de-pooper. yup, that's right. I was definitely glad i didn't bother to ask what i was actually doing until i was almost done removing all the "poopings" (as she called them)! We also learned how to make and roll spring rolls and coconut rice. And we didn't burn anything down, so i figure it was a success! (just cuz it was too funny--when we told the paris soeurs about it, sister gifford was like, "man i bet that was a crappy job" and then just cuz she can't help herself, added a "I bet that stunk!" Felt slightly like kib had come for a visit! just saying.)

Ok, and yeah......this wednesday is November 10th. Do you realize what that means? That means that I get to open up my fourth missionary toothbrush!! (side note, i sure hope i am still up to date that the guideline is that you should change your toothbrush every 3 months.) Back when i was on my first toothbrush, I just never thought this day would come. I was talking to this neuroradiologist the other day and he explained what the term "telescoping" means. Basically the idea is that when you get into a new situation, your neurons start firing and creating new neuronal pathways with the new memories. But, then as things start getting more familiar, time starts appearing to speed up (or to seem less like molasses, whichever is more applicable), because you have already created those pathways. So that is why the longer you have been out on a mission, the quicker time seems to go. I thanked him for giving us a better term and sparing us from forever having to use the toilet paper analogy! After all, telescoping does much more sophisticated than toilet paper! But yeah, I am excited for my new pink toothbrush. (In case you didnt catch on, that was, in fact, my round about way of trying to acknowledge that yes, we have made it half way!)

Anyway, I love you guys lots and lots!!!! I'm glad things are going well and hope you know how wonderful I think you are.


pS did i mention the blind couple brought us back rosaries from italy, so "that the virgin mary will protect us and guide our paths?" I think that nice little flare plays in well to your theory dad!

pSS I also did exchanges up in Valenciennes with Sister Pobst and it went really well (until our companions missed their train coming back up, of course, haha). That city is so charming (like mom you would be in heaven) and we talked to a lot of really cool people!

oh and BOYS!!! great job on your grades this semester!!! Im impressed! (and john--you must be completely devoid of any kind of human feeling or emotion if you didnt think the haunted forest was at least a little creepy! i mean really!)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Highlights, Happenings, and & Halloween

Hey gang!!!!

How you doin?! (May or may not have just thought that with a joey tribbiani eyebrow raise.) I can't wait to get those cow pictures!!!! oh man, i think i would pay big money to see Dad, Kirk, John, Matthew and Keaton in cow costumes, and now I get to see it for free!! the simple pleasures. K, but you were a little remiss in that you didn't tell me what costumes Halle and Josh chose. Hullo!! important details here. I absolutely loved seeing some cute little kids out trick or treating last night, even though in general I think France hasn't quite caught on to the awesomeness of Halloween and commercial holidays. Granted, the Irish Pub across the street must have taken their Halloween Party pretty seriously, because they kept that thing going loud and strong the entire night! Somehow, though, adults dressed up as soddom and gomorrah invitees aren't quite as adorable as little neige blanches (snow whites). How did the Great Pumpkin go? And Dad did you survive last week? You sounded pretty spent. Ok this is totally a side note, but mom, please tell me you are planning on going to the Motab christmas concert with David Archuleta????!!!!!! I know, I know, one holiday at a time, but seriously, some things are just THAT important.

Ok, as far as happenings and highlights go, I'm gonna have to back up a little and tell you that Aurelie and Claude Marc set baptismal dates! We had an awesome rendezvous with her and claude marc (he is her 8 yr old son) two weeks ago and just asked her if she had a desire to be baptized. She said yes, set the date for Nov 28th, and when she prayed about it at the end of the rendezvous the spirit was wonderful! Well, actually at first Claude marc was like, "I think I'll wait a little while longer........I can't swim!" Oops that's an oversight--definitely remiss in our teaching if we had this poor kid thinking we were gonna drown him! But, we reassurred him that the water is only "this" high and you only go under for one second. He had us get up and show him exactly how high the water was, but then he was cool with it. So, it's a good thing we successfully fought against Satan right before. And when I say Satan, I am referring to the crabby babysitter who was watching Claude Marc before Aurelia got home. Man talk about enduring to the end!! She chewed us out for probably a good 10 or 15 minutes standing at the doorstep, and let me just say that one would have to applaud her knowledge and proficient use of a very vibrant vocabulary. But, we were victorious and later found out that she had a brain tumor, so I probably should get around to repenting for having called the poor little old lady satan in my mind! Live and learn right.

Ok, so another blind couple story. Helped her through the market last week and when we got back to unload everything, I asked what she was cooking on the stove (she loves giving us cooking tips), and she said something about 'langue.' Oh ok......then about two seconds later was like, "wwwhat? did she seriously just say what i think she said?" And then, of course, curious george got the best of me and I made the mistake of looking into the pot. Oh yup, there it is. She is definitely cooking an entire cow tongue. (Some nice large taste buds on those things i might add.) And so then, ever so generously, she invites us to come over and eat dinner with them later that night. I think that may have been a new record for speed in declining a dinner invitation with as many excuses as I could possibly muster. Oh how i love our blind couple.

So, we had a couple firsts. First time I was ever tempted to tell someone we were actually nunns and that's why we would not EVER be going to get coffee with them, "and that is also why my companion will NO, not marry you." Also experienced a first rendezvous where tax deductibles became part of the conversation and apparently a selling point for the restored gospel. (bless their hearts, can't do missionary work without members, they add everything, but sometimes it is kinda like an "okay, how do we bring this back" struggle! Especially when they start going off on comparisons between us and Islam.....give that one a go just for fun.....)

Also, had a first Brazilian model contacting experience. Didn't know that when we stopped him, but it also didn't take us very long AT ALL to figure out why that was his chosen profession.....enough said. But, the best part was the next day, these new H&M posters were put up and guess who the model is? That's right, our Brazilian friend. Also, did I mention my first haircut experience? The coiffeuse was just full of sage comments, my favorite being that the key to staying young is to "be zen." Well, I must have come a long ways, considering I didn't shed a single tear after I got one of the worst haircuts of my life (nothing quite compares to the Harlem Globetrotters incident 1999), but I'd venture to say that was pretty "zen" of me. So hey, at least me and my horrible hair will look young!

Ok, also was the first time I have ever actually seen an investigator run away from missionaries! Oh so funny. We were waiting at the church for elders Volpe and Jensen, because they had set up a rendezvous to teach this lady and pass her to us. So, she shows up, but won't come in because, long story short, the elders aren't there yet and she needs to go cook for her husband, etc..... I tell you, I used every bit of persuasion I possibly could, but that lady was not stepping inside the church, and then is like, "ok next week," and turns and like literally starts running down the street. K just so we all have the right image--this is a 60 year old lady running down the sidewalk in little heels with her dress billowing around her. So then I am standing there, looking after her and then back at sister england and then back at the runaway investigator, like well, I'm just not exactly sure what the precedent is in this situation!! So then we look up the street and see the elders mosying their way down, so I yell at them and point after her and then back at them, like "what the heck do we do?"

And then Elder Jensen just takes off running down the street after her. Well, of course, a little old-fashioned chase action would be the way to go. And I tell you what, that kid has got some wheels! So, he is like sprinting down the street, bag under arm, elder Volpe is trailing after him looking a little confused, and sister england and I are just laughing like "this is really happening." Luckily, the lady started laughing when they finally caught up, and apparently she's got somewhat of a running habit and it wasn't the first time she had turned and run away from them! (Don't worry, I already asked the "so how many times are you going to make this poor little old lady run away from you before you get the hint that she might not be interested?" question, hehe, but they assured me she was interested and just has this slight running tendency! haha) Also the first time the Bishop tried to fake me out by going into bisoux me. My thoughts: "aaahh, what do i do? what do i do? this is the Bishop!!!" He got a good chuckle out of the panic that was, apparently, evident on my face!

Ok, so I mentioned we had a mini missionary for a few days. Well, Sunday night, all the companionships who were taking a mini were gathered at St. Merri waiting for the meeting to start (where the mini missionaries would get their "calls" and a blessing, instead of a setting apart). We were waiting outside and probably made it incredibly awkward for these young men and young women to have to wind their way through us to come in with their parents. But, I guess embracing awkwardness is a great first missionary lesson! Anyway, so as the youth are coming in, the only thing I said was that I hoped we got the one who chose to wear high heeled boots for her mini mission. And low and behold!!! We got the one with the high heeled boots! She was awesome! 17 yr old from the Cergy ward. She speaks French and English perfectly (mom is swiss, dad is from new zealand; born in utah, moved to france when she was 5), AND she brought another pair of shoes, so we totally got lucky! (I had never heard of mini missions before I got to France, and they can really last any amount of time, but the Paris stake has decided they are going to do this mini mission activity with their youth every year. So basically anyone who wants to can sign up to work with the missionaries for 3 days. They stay with us, study with us, plan with us, and basically are just a third companion for those few days.) She said she had a good experience and bore a beautiful testimony at the "homecoming meeting," but I think she was a little surprised at some things. After the first time we went street contacting, I asked her what she thought and all she said was, "that was hard." haha. But bless her heart she was a trooper.

She was with us on our day to fast (i think i forgot to mention that our zone was doing a 7-day fast, one companionship each day) and we felt like we were starving the poor girl! (side note-we had forgotten how much teenagers can eat......cuz for sticks those two could put it down.) So, she might have gotten a little inside view of the reality of missionary work, but we also saw some awesome miracles! For instance, we had found an old envelope of uncontacted referrals tucked away in our area book and decided to pass by a couple of them one afternoon. Well, after we had successfully snuck into the building of the first one, (we're getting pretty good at the whole creeper business), we knocked on her door, told her we were looking for a Julie Gali. She said she was Julie, and then saw our nametags and goes, "oh! you're the LDS. I have been waiting for you for two years!" She ushered us in right away and I can honestly say I have never seen someone so excited to get a book of mormon! It was so cool and suh-weet rendezvous! After that, Soeur Pettitt (the mini missionary) was like "I don't want to leave! I want to find out what happens with her!" It's true that seeing people excited about learning about the gospel and experiences like that definitely diminish any "hardness" of contacting or other things--the people make it worth it! Julie is a film director and has a big deadline coming up, so unfortunately, she can't see us again until the middle of November, but we figure that will just give her enough time to have read the whole book of mormon! hehe.

You also asked about Sister Davillé. I know you're really not supposed to have favorites, but I'll be honest, I'm not to that level yet, so I'm free to say that I think she is my favorite member in this ward. I will mop her floor with dish soap any time she wants! I absolutely love this woman. You saw the pictures of her, so you can imagine some of the struggles that she has. But, she was baptized last year and has like the most stalwart testimony. Her husband is very against the church (it's sometimes amusing how flamboyant he can be in his distaste for us; especially when he is kicking us out of the house!), but he is nice enough to drive her to church every week. Which is a blessing, because she is so big, she really can't go anywhere unless he will take her. Anyway, so she gets dressed up every sunday and is horribly uncomfortable and has a hard time sitting for that long, but her smile just about lights up the whole chapel because she is so excited to be at church! And if you ever ask her a question about how to do something or whatever, she will answer like, "well, you go to church and pray and read the scriptures." And you can tell she truly believes those things will work! She has this sincerity and earnestness in the power of the "primary answers" that is remarkable. And ya know, I think she's got it right.

If I were pressed, one of the things that would be towards the top of the list of things I've learned on a mission, would probably be the power of the primary answers. I found it interesting how a good portion of the new simplified Preach My Gospel curriculum focuses on how to help people gain a testimony, and whaddayaknow--what are the things on there? Revelation through prayer, the Book of Mormon, and church attendance! et Voilà. I love the primary answers! Plus, let's be real, we all know that primary is much more my kind of level! (Side note--This week I was reading in 1 nephi and started singing the "murmur" song from scripture scouts and the other sisters got a good laugh in. I tried to tell them about the time dad dressed up as King Noah and sang the "i want want want what i want want want" song for one of your overachiever-refrigerator-box-time capsule sharing times, but just don't think i quite did it justice!)

Ok, well I had to type super fast to get this all down, so if any of it actually make sense, then we have all witnessed yet another modern day miracle! Sure love you guys. I miss you lots and pray for you lots. Thanks for being so absolutely wonderful!! Can't wait to hear about next week's adventures and mischief on the home front!

Love, Jordo

ps mom I seriously love, love, loved the family theme. And I had tears streaming down my face when I read the letter from you mommy dearest. All I can say is DITTO! i have no idea about boots still. im sorry! ill look around here a little and then get back to you. Oh and will you tell robbie that i was so grateful for his quick email. seriously meant a lot and i send my love!

Pss tell Allie & Justin CONGRATS for me!!!!! I loved the blog and they are so cute!

Halle—how was the cheer clinic?!! By the way, we loved the Arthur pictures. Me and sister Gifford were talking about how much we loved Arthur when we were your age too! (granted, I think I probably kept watching it after school up until I went to Timpview hehe.)

Johnny – laughed so hard when you were like, “I don’t know I wasn’t really paying attention” so funny!!!!!! Pretty cool about josh warner too, though I have not the faintest idea who z vanny is. OH wait…is that zach vanleeuwen? Man I suddenly feel like I should be carrying a cane cuz I am not keeping up with your slang very well these days, haha. Thanks for the update brother.

Josh –pretty sweet you’re becoming a master origamier. Have you engineered a better way to do the rain gutter curious George boats yet? and how was being water boy? And I miss you too!

Tara – I think dad and I watched that movie together the same weekend we watched big country. Doesn’t get much better!

Matthew – I’ll have to give some thought to your christmas present question, but im kind of thinking you’re gonna have to come up with that one on your own. that's kinda the thing about a 'hearts desire' is that it's gotta be YOURS. sorry!!! dont pick something lame though! and fyi i am going to expect a good harry potter review once you see it. i can't believe how tall you are now!! that is crazy. and holy cow, i just realized i think that means i am in the bottom half of the kids in height now. hey and cool about the messick sibling! i went to school with her brother and i was in the same district as elder messick in versailles!!

pps funniest metro moment this week was with this old man--me:hey so do you think it'll rain today? (yeah super original conversation starter, i know). Old man: Oh no! I brought my umbrella today. It never rains when I actually bring my umbrella. (I just think old men are such a hoot. The world is definitely a better place because of their special little old man flare!)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Adventures, Miracles, and Learnings

Hey fam!!

Thanks so much for the updates! I'm glad to hear things are going well and that some things haven't changed. (Just so you know, currently there are two men (yup) evidently learning a dance off the internet next to us and there are definitely some expressive arm movements going on. Really quite entertaining, though slightly distracting.) Mom--im so glad that cals and liz came up (haha remember the very first time they came up and you found us all crying together on the couch? classic.) i told liz to give you a hug for me, so hopefully she made good! (no pressure liz hehe)

Ok, i just feel like I have so much to tell you I dont even know where to begin. I'm gonna cut out as much as possible, but just know that we have had a week of miracles! However, I have to back up a little and tell you one story from last week. So, i told you about the 57-yr-old lady in the ward who has 8 birds, 7 cats, AND 3 yr old triplets, right? (Her husband left her when she was pregnant and refused to abort any of the babies). Well, she was scheduled to have hip surgery a couple weeks ago. She was all checked into the hospital, ready to go for the next morning, when they found a huge sore/infection on her arm, that turned out to be shingles (i think....again. french vocab kinda stretched on that one) caused by stress. (cant imagine what the poor thing would have to stress about....) Anyway, so, of course, they can't operate on her then and send her back to take care of the infection. So, the elders come with us one night to give her a blessing and it turned into quite the experience. First off, Elder Volpe is talking to her, getting the story, and his face was just about the most hilarious thing i have ever seen, as she starts unbuttoning her shirt (to show him the huge sore on her arm)! He mutters in english, "im scared. im really scared." I'm so mean, but i was definitely having a hard time keeping the chuckling contained. Plus, she had a shirt on underneath, so no worries!

K, so then we are ready to sing and pray before the blessing, and all of a sudden Sister England like yelp-screams from the other side of the table. Remember the 7 cats? Well, one of them had apparently crawled into her purse and cuddled up, so when she reached in to grab her hymn book she was a little surprised to have a big furry thing there instead. Then, of course, the lady starts freaking out, "did one of the triplets put that in there?!!!" HAHAHAHAHA. Kind of Herdmann esque, but the elders were good sports, the blessing was beautiful, and she was really grateful. K then, that same night, we go to our next rendezvous and their little apartment is infested with cockroaches. (Like you open a cupboard, and you brush them off the jar you want to get out.) They are at least the little ones, but when I am like bearing my testimony about something and the girl shoots out her hand to brush a cockroach away from my arm, I all of a sudden feel somewhat less secure about things. K there was a very good reason i was not sent to a mission in the jungle--I would not have survived. I had nightmares about cockroaches in my purse all night!

So, this is a side note, but another interesting phenomenon I've noticed and get a kick out of every time (that takes place way more frequently than you'd think because you just forget that the number of truly normal people in this world may be on a decline) is when random people feel compelled to give you their two cents in order to put you in you're place. (because of the nametag, of course). My two favorites this week would both be categorized as memorable metro moments. The first--we're waiting on the quai, the doors open, a guy is standing there about ready to get off, but pauses and glances at our nametags and then says, "Hell. Direct.," before steeping down and walking casually away. (i just smiled at sister england and was like well apparently we are going DIRECTLY to hell. not passing go or collecting 200 dollars.) The second was a different guy sitting a little ways off, who you could just tell was festering with something to say to us. So right before he gets off, he comes over and with a very severe finger waggle (always my favorite part hehe) tells us that God does not exist and that we need to stop believing in fairytales, etc. Of course these experiences make for good stories, but really you just feel so bad for these people. How much more happiness would be theirs, if they would just let it in?!

But, there are a lot of people who are ready to let it in!! Wednesday morning we passed by some old investigators and we found two of them home!! (well, one of them walked up as we were waiting on the doorstep.) BUT, they both let us in and we had great lessons and they fixed return rendezvous!! Mylene has still been reading the book of mormon and believes it is true. And Aurelie believes that Joseph Smith is a prophet and still has a desire to be baptized! I am super excited to get to work with them.) Saturday we placed 5 Book of Mormons. And Sunday, two new people came to church and it was a great fast and testimony meeting!!! People are ready and miracles are happening.

Those two people who came to church were Faman and Helene (this is a new Helene). I don't think i ever told you the story about Faman. When we were coming back from conference one night, this big group of teenage girls was on the metro and they were all laughing and giggling and trying to flirt with one of the elders and talking about how they were looking for his name on facebook. Anyway, it was all kind of amusing and when they got off I saw this guy laughing at them across the metro, so we made eye contact and exchanged smiles. Anyway, we get off the metro in a couple stops and start walking away, but I look back and see that guy looking at us still. So, thank goodness my comp was on the ball (total fumble on my part not having a card ready) cuz i asked her to hand me a card quick and i ran back and slipped it to him before the doors shut. Didn't think much about it until the next morning we get a call from someone saying, "yeah now i dont know what number this is exactly. Someone just gave me a card, but i'm having a hard time finding this address to go to church." For real! (K I can count on one hand the number of times people have actually called after giving them a card. Actually, im not even sure i'd need a whole hand, but it happened twice this week!) Turns out, Faman just moved here about a month ago from Sri Lanka and said he has been looking for a place to go to church. He said he went to our church when he was living in Romania too. (Granted im not quite as positive about that because he said they used wine for the sacrament and had never heard of the Book of Mormon.) But, he is way cool and chill about things. The Sunday School lesson was kinda confusing for someone's first exposure to the church, but he was just kinda like, "hey I'll get it. Little by little."

Ok and then Helene's story is so cool! I'll fill you in how it unfolded for us. A bishopric member comes up shortly before Sacrament meeting is about to start and says "hey sisters, this is Helene. She just sonned at the door and It's her first time here." So, we greet her and ask how she is doing and she just starts crying. So, she sits down, pulls it together a little, but then we start singing and she starts crying all over again and hardly stops for the rest of the meeting. So, sister england turns around to me and says "i have no idea what is going on, but do you think we should ask her if she wants a blessing?" She asks her and she says yes, so we talked about who we could ask, decided on Guillaume , and I went and asked him. The blessing was wonderful and she said she felt "different." Just so grateful for the way the Holy Ghost can touch people's hearts! Anyway, we asked her if she would be interested in learning more about why she felt that way and about the church and she said yes. (So we're seeing her on tuesday!) But, fast forward to about an hour later, everyone is almost gone and Guillaume asks us if we knew the story with her. No. So cool--I guess he was out working with Elder Ostler like 6 months ago and they contacted her on a metro (she had been praying to God that she would find a church and then the elders and guillaume sat down right across from her!). She had a problem with her teeth that following Sunday, so she didn't come to church, and then admitted she just lacked the motivation after that. But, that morning there was just something that pushed her to come to church and she still had the address, so she came. We had no idea of any of that when we asked Guillaume to give her the blessing, but it was definitely a tender mercy that she already had a connection with him. Just another testimony that this is the Lord's work and it is so wonderful to be a part of it. We should never be "weary in well-doing," because we never know what will come out of a seemingly insignificant conversation that happened 6 months ago!

We also had interviews this week, and they were great as always. President Staheli walks out and goes, "Mountain West Conference coach of the year!" Really? haha. (Did you forget to mention that or did you tell me and i'm just a terrible daughter and didn't congratulate you on that?!) I also love talking with him and Sister Staheli! The topic of his training was the Book of Mormon and how combined with the spirit, it is our greatest tool in conversion. He talked about ways to use it better and more often, and then the assistants directed us in role-play practice of the first invitation to read the Book of Mormon. K, but not like split off into your own corners and practice, we're talking like a companionship comes up in front of the whole zone and practices and then everyone critiques them. I'll be honest, I wasn't super looking forward to our turn (probably an understatement hehe), but we survived and learned some good things, so I really was grateful for the "opportunity." haha. I am very grateful for the converting power of the Book of Mormon. It's a power you can't describe, but is very real and helps make up for some of my own weaknesses in teaching and speaking French.

Ok, that might be a new level of confusing rambling! Good luck getting anything out of that. But, unfortunately, I'm not quite done because I also learned a few new things this week pendant the latest episode of the adventures of holmes and watson.

LEARNINGS of the week:

1. Putting trick candles on Elder Volpe's birthday cake and watching him react to them is even better than watching 3-yr-olds. Maybe they don't have trick candles in Italy.....

2. "Is that a cheese?" is apparently not a good opener. Learned that one the hard way! hehe. Sat down next to this woman, who looked like she was maybe having a hard time of things lately, but decided to try to start a friendly chat. It looked like she was eating some cheese, so I figured hey, french cheeses are friendly and harmless enough...not so! There was definitely some throwing of things into bags and muttering and much arm gesturing that followed. Needless to say, I have abandoned that option.

3. I learned that should you ever comment on an older "ish" lady's collection of perfume, you will be doused from head to toe with it--doomed to leaving a lingering scent whereever you go for like three days! I am not joking that I could still smell that stuff after 2 showers. Rookie mistake.

4. I learned that should you accept directional help from a certain muslim man, you may or may not be put in the awkward position of having to decline his asking if he can come live with you after your mission.

5. I learned that if you start talking to the man on the bench, who is from Martinique, then you may be offered a tour of the neighborhood, which, according to our well-versed guide, "is really more like a village, because it's got a small town charm." (He actually turned out had been taught by missionaries in the past. He's got some way crazy ideas, but he was super nice and gave a great tour!)

6. I learned that should you happen to compliment a Senegalese (?) woman on her gorgeous African dress, she will stop and be practically giddy and give you huge smooches on each cheek!

7. I learned that Germans who are trying to escape you by saying that they don't speak French very well, will be very not happy to having admitted they speak English when you tell them that you, also, speak English much better! (That man was really not pleased and just groaned, shook his head and walked stubbornly away. It was pretty dang funny.)

7. We learned that apparently using the dryer, vacuum, two burners, the oven, as well as the lights and two refrigerators all at the same time is not a good option in France. But, we did eventually figure out how to turn the power back on, so we redeemed ourselves a little.

8. We also learned that candles provide more than just a great apartment atmosphere for companionship study, but also are very convenient starburst roasting tools! (We celebrated Sister England and Sister Thompson's one year mark!)

As far as the terrorist update goes--we received instruction that we are supposed to avoid public transportation during rush hours in the morning and in the evening. And thanks for the advice to follow the spirit w/o question. Actually, I don’t know if I ever told you, but once when I was with Sister Bellini, in the ghetto, I firmly believe we were protected by the Spirit. We were in a semi-sketchy area, but it was mid-day and there were people around. We were trying to find this address to go meet a potential new investigator, but were doing a little wandering. Anyway, we were about to cross a street and we both stopped dead in our tracks and sister Bellini turned to me & said, “I don’t feel good.” And I told her I didn’t either and we turned around and got out of there. Have no idea what would have/could have happened, but was grateful to be warned. Anyway, we had not heard a word about the Eiffel tower being evacuated or anything, that’s crazy!

Well gang, we definitely have to run--lunch at a street cafe by Notre Dame and maybe an excursion to Sainte Chapelle and some scarf shopping are on the agenda for today. Miss you, love you lots and think I am so lucky to have such a wonderful family! I'm glad you're keeping me updated on some of the inside jokes, because I think laughing with you guys is one of my favorite things in the world! (Dad, you are right--that was a classic Pearce and John moment!) I pray for you every day. Hope you have a good week!!!

love, jordo

Oh and just because this was adorable--My favorite metro moment of this week was talking to this five "AND a half" yr old boy (I was under strict instructions not to forget the half), who did fyi have an earring just like his dad. He was hilarious and after we had exchanged birthdays and stuff, he turns and asks me, "How would you grow without having birthdays?" I definitely copped out and told him that that would be a great question for his dad!

Tara--I met an Elder Reed, the day that the new missionaries came in, who said he knew you! (Steven maybe? but no, still have not met elder hales) The poor thing looked like he was about to fall over on the spot from jet lag, but he was hilarious and told me I was exactly like you. I took that as a compliment! Did I ask how the porcupines did? oh and i told all the sisters here about your Keats presentation and they were all as impressed as I was--seriously creative! love you sister. oh and i have a christmas favor--dont send me anything but this of course--but how would you feel about making me a good christmas CD or two? i didnt come very prepared. christmas is a little different i guess, because pretty much anything goes (k like maybe not rudolph the red nosed reindeer type stuff), but it doesnt have to be strictly motab.....would that be too much of a pain with all your hecticness going on?)

John--doesnt sound like you need my help. "star gazing?" Bahahaha. still getting a good chuckle out of that one. But thanks for the details about your life. sure love you johnny bravo!

Matthew--nope, i never had to do a bug thing, which is good cuz i probably would have failed! lizards i can handle, bugs--not so much. and as far as ecuador goes....i think you'll have to give me a little explanation on where in the world that one came from??? What's the last name of the girl in your seminary class? love you math! (hahaha "wathcloth" hahah)

Josh--dude, i could definitely tell that you are an old pro at New York because those drawings were very accurate. I was way impressed with the details. And you're right--i do miss two of halle's birthdays and only one of yours, but I love you both!! but we totally still have our cool people with december birthdays club, k? love you joshy man!!

Hals-I just got your leaf creation today and wow that was beautiful! did you find all those leaves yourself? and girlfriend, I hear you are kickin some booty in gymnastics and piano these days. I'm pretty excited to come to your meets next year. love you halle baby!

p.s. If you ever see Andrew, ask him if he ever taught Gwenelle when he was in Troyes (because she was just baptized this last weekend!), and tell him that Elder Holcombe is still sportin his pants proudly. haha. Also, I ran across one of his fiches for Fati Bounab the other day. She didn't seem super interested in seeing us, but she was really nice!

p.s.s how are Cal and Cameron doing? (TOTALLY cool about the ukraine temple.)

p.p.s tell the rashes thank you so so much!!! beckham is absolutely adorable!!!! give those cheeks a big kiss for me (i still am not very pleased that he will probably be like walking by the time i get home, nor will he have any clue who i am!!! we'll have to make up for it.....) And i loved the notes from the kids!

p.p.s.s. Tell Lisa thanks for the emails, I do get them but can’t respond directly!

PSS president told us to pass it along that if our parents are sending christmas packages to the mission home, they need to be there by December 1st.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Here's to the Weekly Adventures of Holmes and Watson

Hey gang!!!!

It was so great to hear from you. Somehow this last week has been like impossibly long, so it felt like it had been forever. It warmed my heart to hear that there was at least the necessary grumbling about the canyon-conference-oohing-and-aahing-at-the-leaves-drive to make sure that the tradition stays alive!! Just wouldn't be the same without it. And I got a good chuckle out of Tara reminding me of mom's threats to pause conference if people don't stop talking. hahaha!!!!!! Home sweet home. Well, we will probably have some time this afternoon to write some letters, so i will respond to all the good stuff you said then.

So, Sister England and I walked out of our apartment one morning and were on the metro before either of us, apparently, looked down to notice what we were wearing: black shoes, tan nylons, black skirt, purple sweater, and long tan trenchcoat. Yup....both of us. Chalk it up to comp unity or whatev, but we totally looked like TJs and/or little kids dressing up as detectives (think mary kate and ashley--the younger years). All we were missing was the magnifying glass. It was ridiculous. And that is how the adventures of Holmes and Watson began!! Yeah, we are totally cheesy, but "What PoA would you suggest now Watson?" has definitely become one of my more favorite things to say! (side note--i can't believe i am actually publicly admitting how much we are still livin it up as little girls!hehe)

Adventures of Holmes and Watson:
1. Sister England (aka Watson) declared war on the fruit flies that had infiltrated our apartment. Her method of choice was very telling of her character. Instead of just talking and scheming about different ways to get rid of them, she just went and pulled out the vacuum and chased them all over the place sucking them up one by one! Seriously, her mentality of just getting up and getting things done is something I really admire about her.

2. K, it's probably a toss up between my two worst blonde moments of the week. First, we are walking down a sidewalk one day and i feel a large drop of some unidentified liquid land on my neck. I, of course, look up, searching for the culprit in some house wife watering her flowers on a balcony or something. Didn't see anything. Kept walking. Felt another splash on my face. Another on the top of my head. What the heck; that's so gross?! Still see nothing. So, then I start doing all these little quick movements trying to dodge the housewife's "gross" liquid. Until.....I realize it is raining. Dodging raindrops is certainly no easy task! (Sister England hasn't let me forget that one.) Second, I came to the very obvious realization that i probably should have taken a world religions class before coming out, because the out-loud train of thought that took place as I, (just THIS week mind you) put the Baptist church together with John the Baptist was definitely not one of my prouder moments. So, needless to say, the blonde in me may have won a couple rounds this week.

3. So I called Helene one night (fyi she has been super fruijy lately and has been saying she's too busy to set up a rendezvous, "but hasnt forgotten us") and before we hung up, she asked me if I was still praying for her. Actually, more like she cross examined me about what exactly I was praying for in her regard! So once I had sufficiently reassured her, she said "ok good. And don't worry I've been praying for you too. I remember how you told me you weren't married, so I've been praying for you to find a husband." BAHAHAHA. I burst out laughing on the phone about that one! But really, it was very african sweet of her, so I just thanked her and didn't even bother mentioning that that was probably the furthest thing from my mind!

4. Watson and I also made home-made cinnamon rolls for conference weekend! Rather, I assisted and fetched items as Watson made home-made cinnamon rolls for conference weekend. hehe So, sunday morning we had a pajama feast with the other sisters while listening to christmas music. I'm normally such a stickler about no christmas music til Thanksgiving night, but it's been in the air!!! Probably because the sweaters, scarves, and coats are starting to come out and we have started to run through piles of leaves in the morning! (mom--you asked for details about how we watch conference. For the Paris stakes they transmit it at the Versailles and Nogent chapels. So, we went to Nogent Saturday evening to watch the RS session and the Saturday am session. Then Sunday we went and watched the saturday afternoon session from 2-4 and the sunday morning session live from 6-8. So, we'll have to wait til the liahona/ensign comes out to read the sunday afternoon session. The main chapel is set up to watch it in french, but then they usually set up a little side classroom to watch it in english and spanish. Conference weekends are seriously the two best of the year!!!)

5. We accompanied Tina to conference in Nogent on Sunday night (fyi she was passed to the paris sisters because they found out she actually lives in that area), and probably the first thing out of her mouth when we met her at the train station had something to do with black magic!!! hehe. Oh, it was so good to see Tina again!

6. This wasn't technically our adventure, but still pretty funny. We ran into Sister Bellini on her last p-day and she said that Antoine had gotten a calling as a ward missionary. Which is perfect for him! (I think his 26 yr old son is going to start coming to church soon too...) But, he was there for the DMP meeting after church, of course, and the DMP kinda stoned by getting to the recent converts and saying "ok and what are we doing about Antoine?" Oops. Welcome to the inside workings of the church antoine!! Sister Bellini said she turned to him and was like, "So, Antoine, could we keep seeing you?" Yes. "Ok then, that's settled."

Oh dangit, i totally ran out of time and didn't even get to the good stories this week! Super sorry, but i guess I’ll have to fill you in on the cockroaches, cats, triplets, and metro miracles next week, or in my letters this afternoon.
love you lots and lots. sure grateful for ya!
love, pordo

oh and mom dont worry about the terrorist stuff! we'll be smart and they take care of us. stop fretting!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Spoiled Rotten!

Family Dearest,

K seriously brings tears to my eyes thinking of Halle in a big kids bed. So not okay with that!!! But Hals, we love, love, loved the matching game! That was a pretty impressive little activity book you made for me. I'm getting pretty spoiled. Thanks so much! Ok, but seriously, on the subject of spoiling.....mother you have got to stop. I think you must be keeping the postal service in business single handedly. We went and got that package this morning and it was awesome!!! And the roomies loved the notecards, which fyi were adorable. And thanks for the blogs and pictures. And I'm not "arguing and bickering over who killed who" (still a stupid movie, but the quote was germane) about doing those pictures. I think it's a great idea. But really, thanks so much for doing that. Joshy man--you got to go to a yankees game?! That's pretty sweet dude. Did they win? Math--gotta say that all the sisters here were pretty impressed with the length of your last letter. How are those bugs coming along?! (ill be honest kinda sounds like one of those "i'd rather wake up with my tongue nailed to the floor, but you grin and bear it" type projects. good luck with that. And bummer that you guys choked that doubles match, but good job in singles! Speaking of Johnny bravo, how was your weekend?!!!! I don't think I need to say much else, but that was just too good! I'm glad that everyone is doing well. I don't know how you keep up with everything, but I think you guys are wonderful. I'm pretty spoiled to have such a great family.

And I'm pretty spoiled to get to be a missionary! Sheesh, where to even begin this week.......

Well, we'll start with the fluff:
1. Best public transportation siting of the week was probably seeing this old lady (we're talking white hair) whip out a sharpie and start graffitiing on the wall. Gotta love Paris.

2. There was another political manifestation on our street, and I actually saw some guy throw a big glass bottle at a police officer on a motorcycle. We opted for a momentary change of plans and got some of our transfer cleaning done that afternoon instead! haha.

3. I learned how to make gravy from scratch. K like butter, flour, bouillon, and milk. And for most people that's like a whatever, but mom you can rest assured that I managed to not even burn down the building--momentous occasion in my book! I might be able to graduate past bread duty when I get home! haha, well i guess i don't want to get too ahead of myself.....

4. Ya know how you always ask people if you can do anything for them before you leave? Well, this week someone was like, "yeah actually could you mop my floor? There's dish soap in the kitchen." So, I am not joking, we mopped her floor with DISH SOAP! I don't think elaboration is necessary on this one.

5. My new favorite "french person speaking english" quote is "bah, fanks!" (really 'thanks', but the whole 'th' thing is kinda a struggle for French mouths.) When we were volunteering at the Red Cross this week, we were practicing english with Eddie and I told him I liked something and he responded with the typical shoulder shrug and "bah merci", except the english version! Which, i didn't know existed, but is now one of the more frequently used expressions in our apartment.
We are currently teaching as many people as we can and working with a lot of less-actives, but the fact of the matter is simply that we need to keep finding more people to teach. So we're steppin things up. So, one thing that we started is a 40-day purification. We started by fasting for a day and then prayed about and wrote 10 things each that we could do better, and made a goal to completely eliminate, or add, those things for 40 days. If Paul talks about his weaknesses being like a thorn, all I can say is that I've got more like a big 'ole tree trunk sticking out of my side! But, we felt like this was a good way to make sure we would be spiritually prepared when we did find people to teach. And let's be real--I've got a long ways to go, but I've noticed some amazing things already. And one of those, interestingly enough, is confidence. You know how good Satan is at hammering me with doubt; I'm like easy prey! But, since I felt like I've been doing all I can to be exactly obedient and step up my game, I've felt more worthy of guidance from the Holy Ghost and of the Lord's confidence.

I was particularly grateful for that this week, because the night before our rendezvous with Michelle (the inactive YSA from England), we got a text from her saying that she had "come to a decision" and would tell us about it tomorrow. A groan and an "Ah man, this'll be fun" is right. So we were kinda hoping for the best (like crossing your fingers as tight as they will go), planning for the worst, and definitely in need of the confidence that we were worthy of the Lord's help going into that rendez-vous. And I was so not my typical self. I am like the world's best stresser (phd level achieved), but somehow I felt calm and confident going into the rendez-vous. She ended up telling us that she no longer wants to be a part of the church, that she doesn't believe it's true, that she believes it is run by man, that blah blah blah. (She has been looking at all sorts of garbage online, which i so eloquently referred to as "crap" during the lesson....oops!) Most of it I had heard before, but I'll be honest, I was a little shocked when she got to the prophet and apostles and said, "and who the heck do they think they are?" (Just so we're clear, she did not use the word heck....)

We didn't let her go on very long, because it was made clear that she was no longer willing to listen, to be taught, or to seek answers from the Spirit. (I'm not going to detail all the stuff that could be said about the ridiculousness of it all, but among other things, it was very ironic that she was using her belief that the church was run by "man" as a reason to turn away from it, when she was turning to and relying on "man" to make this very spiritually important decision for her.) It was not the time for pleading, but it was the time to be bold in talking about agency and its consequences and to bear testimony. I don't even remember most of what we said, and it's not important anyway, but I do remember feeling the spirit testifying of what we said, even though it was so NOT the outcome we wanted. Anyway, definitely some tears shed during the walk home, but I was also grateful for the reassurance that we had done our part. And there were only tears because it is so frustrating seeing these people you love make such STUPID decisions!!! So, my anger is kinda kindled against Satan. He might be working hard, but darnit I am going to work harder cuz I am bugged!! Let's not talk about whether or not that it is a righteous motivation or not, k?! hehe

Well, sorry, I feel like I didn't say much. But, what I lack in words, I hope is made up with a whole bunch of love! (yeah....i recognize that that is totally cheating, but, desperate times.....) I love you guys lots! Miss you lots too, but I really do love being a missionary. I might not be that great at it, but I'm sure grateful to be here. I loved the pictures this week and am going home to get those back in the mail to you today! Have a great week!!!

Love, Jordo xoxo

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Have you ever?

How ya doing gang? i loved the emails this week. whats funny is that i think you guys have like phd's in reading between the lines. I dont know how you do it, but i am most impressed. its great knowing that you actually "get" what im saying without me having to always come out and say it!

k, so my list of things to tell you is getting ridiculously long and so im just going to send you a super unorganized "handwritten" type email this week.

Did i mention that when elder spicer (the district leader for the st. ouen area) did antoine's baptismal interview, he apparently came out and later went over to the sisters and was like "thank you so so much. like thank you!! he is amazing!" sister bellini said he just went on and on and couldn't stop talking about how great antoine is. And a detail i forgot to mention about the baptism--Kiki (the member of the ward who called me Fifi, which is like a french pet name, and who taught us how to african dance) gave the talk about the holy ghost and definitely might have given him a very strongly worded warning to make sure to block out the devil voice that would try to talk to him!! Just summed up the perfect baptism for the St Ouen ward in my book!! Hehe I'll be honest--I sometimes feel homesick for the st ouen ward. It was fun to see a lot of the people again, especially cuz you would have thought i was like a queen coming to visit them or something with how warmly they welcomed me.

So, i dont think i told you last week, but there was a huge political manifestation and strike a couple weeks ago(like we found out the news had reported the day before that they expected two million people to be there), and of course, the Bastille (tearing down the prison during the revolution, etc) is the ideal location, which also happens to be like OUR STREET! it was out of control. people climbing up and sitting on the bastille itself, smoke, communist party protests, retirement protests, all traffic in the huge bastille roundabout and surrounding streets totally shut down, and their was a huge protesting parade with people yelling and chanting that went straight down our street. we had a great view from our window!!

oh we also ate horse. remember the blind couple? yeah, well when we took her to the butcher shop, she insisted on buying us some horse. so we've figured why not grill it up and give it a try? only live once right? not my fav, but pretty similar to beef. however, what is so amusing to me is I dont get this preoccupation that people have to feed missionaries. she's not even a member of the church and she insists! I swear i have never been force fed so many times in my entire life as i have been the last couple weeks alone. Like and if we cant stay for dinner, they insist on sending us home with a chicken or with pasta noodles and eggs (like for real--a bag of uncooked pasta). very sweet, very nice, we appreciate it.

speaking of the horse looking like beef....our stairwell has smelled suspiciously like cadaver lately. (somehow looking at meat patties still always reminds me of taking dad to the cadaver lab, so thats why that connection does actually make sense.) i havent wanted to investigate, but its a little sketchy! and hey, speaking of sketchy--we saw a dead homeless person in the metro the other day. That was super super sad.

But, one thing we did see on the metro that was pretty funny, even if not super politically correct, was this group of 9 yr old boys laughing together and pretending to be homeless. like one of them would stand up and start pretending to do "the speech" (ya know how like at least every five minutes or so, a homeless person gets on and asks for money because of the terrible situation they are in, blah blah blah......not to make you think that im becoming jaded to it at all....). he'd start, "bonjour messieurs et mesdames. je suis actuellement dans une situation tres grave....." I was laughing pretty hard. First of all, because i thought they were pretty witty, precocious, observative little boys. Second, i just think the cultural difference is amusing. Those are the kinds of things that parisien kids see every day and grow up with. just an interesting difference in childhood experiences. (sorry dont know if that makes sense at all)

Did I mention that in order to reach our mission goal of 300 baptisms by the end of the year (to remind you--last year total baptisms was 122 ish), we had to have most of the september baptisms go through (which would put us just over 200) and then president committed every companionship to baptize one person in the months of oct, nov, or dec. and then about 25 extra spread throughout the mission for good measure (we have 75 companionships right now). So, definitely still living the miracle of 2010, but we've gotta keep doin the things we know we need to do. President Staheli is working right along with us, and in a way he has kinda put himself on the line--he has come out and said, k I had this revelation and this is what will happen......and then we have all committed to work together. In the paris sisters' zone conference he actually said that he would weep for us if we didnt let the miracle happen. ("let it happen" meaning if we let disobedience and mischief keep us from it).

In our conference he asked us why we thought he wanted it for us so badly. people gave lots of good answers, which all played a part in it. But then he explained that he wants us in 40 years to be able to tell our grandchildren the story. He wants us to be able to tell them: "I was there in the france paris mission. I was there for the miracle of 2010. I was part of that." And he wants us to be able to see first hand how miracles are possible. He keeps saying how 300 baptisms for paris is absolutely unheard of.....and he has related it to the movie Miracle. "What was the difference between those young americans and the experienced russians? They believed!!!!" (and this is a side note, but we have to believe but of course, real belief leads us to action and working for it, not just a complacent belief and lack of obedience. I lately have been using "just do it" a lot. I mean cuz it’s so easy to sit down on a metro and not talk to people. It's awkward sometimes and you get shut down hard core sometimes, but we've just gotta do it! On that note, I have decided King Benjamin was a couple thousand years ahead of Nike, because I love the part when he is giving his great temple speech and says, (basically) "now that ye believe all these things, SEE THAT YE DO THEM!!" I think the Nike founder must have been a king benjamin fan! ok, i digress.....and im starting to sound like a total nerd now so im going to stop!)

Wow. That was some serious rambling.

We belted Les Miserables running down the champs elysees the other day. "do you hear the people sing????!!!!!" it was great fun, especially since there are so many different people in paris, we didn’t really even stand out! (it was also like 7 am, so we had the place to ourselves. Except, of course, the teenagers getting arrested for breaking into some construction site and sleeping over.)

Speaking of singing in Paris.....for some reason I am getting way excited for Christmas!! The lights and the caroling and the bundling up because its blustering cold!! (i also hear they turn the big square in front of hotel de ville--the place by st merri--into a big ice skating rink, so im hoping im still here!!! i mean how cool would that be?!

Tara--loved the email details. im gonna try to write you a letter though today. oh and i have no idea what commercial you are talking about.....i couldnt decipher the handwriting in that part of the letter, so youll have to fill me in on what you and john have been having a good laugh over.

halle--i hear you can play a song all by yourself on the piano already????? that is so cool!!! when i talk to you at christmas, youll have to play it for me k?!

josh--i cant believe youre at a 5th grade reading level. that is pretty dang impressive dude! and thanks for the postcards from new york! totally cool!!

johnny--thanks for the dets. shared it with all the roommies and they loved the boy attempt at girl details (did you come up with champagne colored dress all by yoourself?)

dad--flowers sent to the courts in vegas?! that was pretty slick!

oh and we finally got to watch those lake powell videos!!!! SO FUNNY!!!!! like seriously, i cant believe you guys just whipped those out?!!

K tell grandpa that he's lucky i can spell anything right these days!!! you should hear me speak.....serious franglais goin down. but also tell him thanks for the email. oh and he'll get a kick out of this. Was sitting next to this man the other day on the metro, and it was when we were headed to the arc de triomphe to run at 645 am, so we didnt even have nametags on or anything (so he had no idea we were missionaries), and we had hardly said "hey how you doin?" when he just went off about EVERYTHING. Mostly boring, but he's also had a hilarious theory that september 11th, and basically all the evil of the world for that matter, can actually be traced back to the jews. Ok, crucifying christ maybe, but definitely a first I'd heard september 11th being blamed on the jews!!

I can't believe no one bothered to tell me that the penny has changed!!!!! i mean wouldn't that have been e-mail worthy information?????? (sister england got a package from mike, this week and it happened to include pennies.....)

I learned a new trick this week!! i can now jump onto my bed successfully! (im on the top bunk) but for the first few attempts picture Tara. Mexico. Rope Swing. and you've pretty much got the idea (except direction reversed of course).

Least favorite French phrase--faire peepee. make peepee is how you fairly often hear people express the need to use the restroom. It just makes me cringe!

ok, well we have been here way too long and have got to go, but I love you guys!!!! Weird that the transfer e-mail comes out on Saturday already. I have no idea what will happen but I am fine with whatever.
Well, LOVE YOU GUYS LOTS AND LOTS!!!! i seriously have the coolest family ever!!

love, Jordo xoxoxo

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Jordan finally sent me her memory card, so some of these pictures are a bit old!

Sister Belllini & Jordan

At the Eiffel Tower with Sister Bellini & the office elders! Jordan said that the elders received quite a bit of attention wearing their African Boo-boos.

A Seine River Tour!

Jordan's with her newest companion Sister England @ Napolean's Tomb!

President & Sister Staheli with the "sister's"

Oh, the people you meet!

Hey gang!

How ya doin?! It sounds like Homecoming and the latest tournaments were all a success! Thanks so much for the updates! We don't have much time today, but I feel like I have so much to tell you, so we'll see how this works out. So, one day this week I was just kinda chuckling to myself about some of the amusing conversations, confrontations, and interesting circumstances we've found ourselves in lately. Seriously, you never know what is going to happen next, where you'll find yourself next, or what your endearing investigators will say next. One thing I will say, however, is that you meet a whole lot of different kinds of people as a missionary--the good, the bad, and the ugly! But, mostly I think I've been lucky to meet just some really amazing people! So, today I think I just want you to get to know some of the people we've met.

Antoine. (he is the guy we first met on the bus in St. Ouen) Have to start with him, though I don't think words will adequately express how great his baptism was on Saturday! He was definitely one of the elect and so ready to accept and commit to the gospel. And one thing that makes me even happier is that he isn't the kind you have to worry about becoming inactive in a year or two--he is going to be a solid, contributing member of the church! Towards the end of the program, he got up and bore his own testimony and talked about how he loved being an investigator of the church, but how he is very excited to be a member of the only true church. He bore his testimony of the restoration and the priesthood, and can you just imagine what my mascara looked like by the time he was done?! The night before, Sister Bellini had called me and was kinda freaking out because they didn't know how everything was going to turn out, and I was like--"ok listen. All that really matters about tomorrow is that they manage to say the right words, and that he gets dunked all the way. The rest is just fluff." But, even the fluff of the day was perfect!

Zulfia. So, we're walking home after dark one night, and I say hi and smile at some lady, and she smiles back, but then I keep walking. I don't know what it was, but like 25 seconds later I find myself turning around and chasing after her down the sidewalk. Yes, I know I sound like a crazy stalker, and full well realized that at the time (definitely a few "what the heck are you doing’s went through my head). Surprisingly, when I caught up to her, she didn't even skip a beat in starting up a conversation. She's Russian, but has lived in Germany for the last 3 years as a student, and now is living in France for 5 months while she is doing some sort of internship. And she's been looking all over the place for French classes, but hasn't been able to find any good information. So, she asked if we happened to have a French class?! Coincidence? I think not. Anyway, she's probably the nicest person I have ever met. Add in the fact that she speaks english with a lot of incomprehensible russian words thrown in, and you just can't help but love her! We've only actually taught her once (and I'll be honest, I think we might have to do some serious reviewing, because there was a pretty intense game of charades going on for part of that lesson. haha. It certainly doesn't help that Russian looks like absolute jibberish to me!), but she has been coming to all of the english and french classes and she is coming to FHE tonight! I'm excited to see how things go!

Sebulba. Not joking--I met the person who had to have been the voice of Sebulba. The spitting voice! Turns out, he's Romanian and eats at the Red Cross on Fridays. He also asked me for a kiss ("no thanks, but here take your chocolate") and kept telling me how pretty I was, until his friend gave him a little smack, and told him to do more eating and less flirting.

Mikey. All I can say is that anyone who has ever served around Paris knows who Mikey is. He is a homeless guy who hangs out around the chatelet area and church all the time, and he is hilarious. The other day he wandered in and stayed for the entire second session of one of the zone conferences, and he's always asking about what classes are going on. Anyway, Sister England and I were waiting for someone at St. Merri a couple days ago and were able to have a nice chat with Mikey. I think the most memorable part was probably as we are walking away, he calls after us and says, "hey! watch out. Don't get raped. You're too pretty." hahaha, we had a nice chuckle over that little tidbit of advice. Bless his dear heart lookin out for the sister missionaries!

Jessie and Kylie. We went over to dinner at the Jones' this week. Br. Jones is American, Sister Jones is Peruvian, and the girls--Jessie and Kylie--are absolutely adorable and speak English, French, and Spanish fluently. After dinner, Sister Jones informed us that the girls had prepared a special "surprise" for us. I was thinkin like a drawing, but oh boy, had I underestimated them! They went and pulled out these little magic tricks (like guess which coin is under the cup) and then the finale was them dancing for us--leaping and turning and dramatic arms were definitely involved. So, so cute!!! (It totally reminded me of when Tara and I would do those little impromtu fireplace shows to broadway songs. Though i think tara's 'second hand rose' probably still takes the cake. bahaha.) Oh thank goodness for little girls!

Side note: You know how I told you that we have 27 sister right now (because we combined with Belgium)? Well, by the end of the year they will be getting us back down to 18. That’s like 4 cities closing. And that’s where they are going to keep us from now on. I was so glad when St. Ouen didn’t close last transfer(they closed Lille instead).

Aren't I so lucky to be here and to get to meet all these great people!!? There are so many more i wanted to tell you about, but we should probably run.

Hope you know how much I love you and how grateful I am for you! Can't wait to hear all about your latest adventures!

Love, Jordo

Tara--I am so excited for that blasted application to be done. It's been stressful enough for me having to think about you having to do all those ridiculous things! and I don't know what half of them even mean!! And so I hear you were a mean babysitter? Hahahaha. I was actually relieved to hear that some things haven’t changed—josh

Math--how are those 'babes' doin?! Relieved to hear you found my ihome. Haha. Hilarious that you got kicked off the go-karts.

Johnny--speaking of hairy chests.....what's the update?

Dad--food channel eh? 44 going on 80? haha jk, Im glad you thoroughly enjoyed the finest of new york's polish pastrami

Mother dearest--HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!! are you 30 yet?! hehe

halle baby—Did you love the American Girl doll store?!!!! I want to hear all about your favorite parts! And you sent me practically an entire coloring book! Thanks so much. I think your coloring has gotten even better! And a monkey is us singe in French. Has that been coming up in a lot of conversations lately?! (I laughed so hard when she wrote “I miss you. See you in a long time. by.” Too cute!!!!)
Joshy man—I’m impressed with your drawing skills, but if mom and dad had been eaten by sharks, I would not be very pleased!

oh and next time you see them, tell Jackson I’m glad he’s on the ball and taking his calling as pearce Christmas caroling pianist seriously! Hehe, I thought that was hilarious!

And tell the Rash’s congratulations!!!!!! I’m dying to see pictures! So does this mean we think they will have another one trying for a girl?

Lisa--Thank you so so so much for the package!!! that was way too nice! I laughed at first when i saw the frogs, but i gotta admit--they provided much more lively sunday night entertainment for our apartment! things may or may not have become a little competitive! haha seriously, everything was perfect.

Rebs--thanks so much for the email and your address!! sure love ya!