Monday, March 22, 2010

How blessed are we?!

hello dearest family!!!

Sounds like things are as crazy as ever! I’m sorry that I havent been responding to everyone as promptly as I should. honestly its super stressful because there is NO time. But, I will try to do better because I love hearing from you all.

So, I’m not entirely sure how this will work out, but I decided to write this week about the TOP 10 things that happened this week that just would ONLY ever happen in France....hehe.

1. I saw a super old lady (I swear she had to be 90) carrying a scooter--yes we are talking razor scooter--on the metro. I was thinking a cane fit the picture better, but whatev

2. I accidentally told someone I was a nun. (in my defense, who would have thought that 'religieuse' meant anything other than a tasty pattisserie or a religious person?)

3. I realized I have no idea how to teach a language. yeah...english class was a bit rough.

4. I have found it hilarious that I get asked out on like more dates as a missionary than I did in real-life! haha. this weeks top offers were salsa dancing, coffee, and indian food. The salsa dancing one was the best, because he like walked past us and then came back and started talking to us and I was like, sweet--someone saw our nametags and is interested in what we're doing!!!! not so much. He was super hard to understand because he’s Haitian, but as he was trying to explain what he wanted, his friend actually did see our nametags and was like 'oh look, they’re with Jesus. And then the friend like patted him on the head, turned him around to walk away and was like 'oh you silly boy.' So funny. France is also the only place I know where people actually stop you on the streets to tell you 'vous etes belle'. Entertaining for sure, but mostly creepy and awkward to respond to!

5. I have discovered that there are many more misconceptions about the Fall of adam and eve than I ever realized. For example, one lesson we taught, the husband was like, "oh really? cuz I read a story that said there wasnt really fruit or anything, but that they 'ont fait l'amour' and thats why they were kicked out.'" This was from the same dude that said he read an article from some eastern european country that did a scientific study digging towards earth's core, put a camera down and said they had found hell because they heard terrible screaming. We expressed that that was certainly interesting! Oh, but the best Adam and Eve this week was the fight that ensued during Relief Society. hehe. If you aren’t aware--sunday school and relief society/priesthood are much more entertaining in france than in the states....I’ve seen many a heated 'discussion.' What started it all was that a sister said, yeah but even if they hadn’t partaken of the fruit, God would have just figured out a different way to send us to earth." Oh, can I express how grateful I was to sit on the back row and watch the wave of squirming that rolled through the room and the hands that flew into the air?! so great.

6. I love that you just never know what to expect. We were meeting Chanchan to go contacting with her, and she was telling us how she had lost all this weight and I said something like, "yeah, I need to be careful because the food here is so good and I don’t want to gain weight", and she goes, "well how much do you weigh?". I didnt know in kilos, so (this is the best) she turns around, goes into her bathroom, and emerges with a scale in hand. She then told me to take off my coat and get on it. Of course, I obeyed, but I was just laughing so hard. French woman taking things into her own hands!

7. I came to realize that the kids in our ward are out of control! I’m not really bothered by it, because its more 'homey', but it is certainly interesting to see a child running around the pulpit in the middle of someones talk and everyones just okay with it. I was a little relieved to note, that when said child proceeded over to the piano and started banging on it--again, were talking middle of sacrament meeting--that someone promptly returned the child to its parent!

8. I spotted Spock's twin sister. not joking. Had to be related.

9. I went running, in paris, in the spring, IN THE RAIN!!! Does it get much better? Well, my companion could probably list a whole host of things that would have been much better, but I thought it was awesome. We were smelling the roses along the way!

10. But, this is the real miracle of the week!!!! We are so excited about Leiney. She had been super flaky and canceled at the last minute a few times, but it was a lesson to us that sometimes you have to be patient, because we are absolutely amazed with her. She is a Rwandan survivor. Her husband had apparently passed away before, but the rest of her family--we're talking parents, siblings, and THREE sons were all killed during the genocide. Yeah, I had tears streaming down my face before we even said the prayer, as we listened to her story! Talk about someone who needed to hear about the plan of salvation and eternal families! She loved the lesson because she said it answered the questions that her other churches never had. She said she wanted us to teach her the other lessons because she wants to be baptized and go to the temple, and is praying to know a baptismal date this week!!! I am so excited for her and am so grateful to know that Heavenly Fathers plan really provides happiness and hope in this life, and such joy in the life to come! How blessed are we?!

Well, my time is short, but I love you all and am grateful for your support and prayers. They are more appreciated than you know. This week has definitely been more rough, but things are good and I’m grateful for the small, every day, tender mercies of our Heavenly Father.

Tara--i needed you here when we had pesto spaghetti ;) and hope school is going well. johnny—I’m still waiting to see these hairy tough dude pics. hehe matthew-- i still can’t believe you are 14!!!crazy! joshy man--thanks so so so much for the card! I put it in my journal cuz it was so perfect! thank so much dude. halle baby-- your play-dough star and paintings were SOOOOO good. I absolutely loved them! thank you so so much! I can’t wait to get pics of your gymnastics meet!

I love you all and miss you!
love, jordan

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Oh how i had forgotten my long lost loves!!!!

Bonjour ma chere famille! (keep in mind as you are reading the serious struggle i have typing on these impossible keyboards; i promise i am not TOTALLY losing my mind, though will admit, maybe a little)

how are you all doing???? I miss you so much, but im not gonna lie--i absolutely love, love, love being in france and being a missionary. Seriously i am so blessed.

Thank you for all the e-mails and letters (diana-ill keep you posted about london and thank you for your sweet pensees, kim--i love baby details and am so impressed you took a cake class with the girls--not gonna lie i think i would have been kicked out, so even grandma looking cakes sound like you have superb talent to me); people kinda look at me like im un peu psycho when im like chortling out loud, but i can’t help it—you’re so great!! and I’m so grateful to hear that things are going well at home. And Lisa, ali, kirstin, & nana & grandpa, thanks so much for all your support, you guys are amazing, so far, I have hardly gone a day without a letter from at least one of you.

So, I think I had either forgotten (more likely blocked from my memory) some of my long lost french loves. Like milk that supposedly lasts months, or everyone remember THE SPONGE episode may 2008??!! yeah well, the first thing I saw when I walked into the kitchen in our little apartment was a nasty, rank sponge that looked like it had been gathering bacteria for who knows how many millennia!!!! needless to say, i thought it was a very fitting welcome--i felt right at home again in france (and promptly disposed of it and put sponges on the top of our shopping list)!

My next favorite thing--public transportation baby! We live out in a city called Nanterre, which is like an hour away from our church and stuff, so we get our fair share of planes trains and automobiles (more like buses, trains, RER and metro, but whatev), so ive decided nursing is a blessing and a curse. When I step onto the bus I have such an internal struggle over whether i should succumb to the pole and all the array of infectious diseases that are most likely blossoming on its fomitish surface, or whether i should just risk flying into the person standing next to me, which then usually gives you a very valid (albeit awkward) excuse to talk to them! Public transport contacting is great and always good for a laugh. like yesterday on the RER a woman, glowing with pregnancy, and a man who got on the RER and sat across from us. I started asking about when the baby was due and if they had names or anything, etc... turned out he had been to utah and loved Bryce Canyon! Long story short--they were both wearing rings on their left fingers, she was pregnant and they were excited about it, and they were holding hands--apparently STILL NEVER a good idea to ask someone how long they’ve been married. DER. oh....well, lesson learned!

Ok and my third long lost love would definitely have to be French men (more so such parisian men). For the sake of little eyes who might be perusing, i won’t detail. But, great welcome to France!!!

So since we came in at a non-transfer week, our schedule was a little weird. President Staheli picked us up at the airport and then we went to the mission home and had lunch, took a nap, went to consecration hill, had interviews, met our trainers, dinner, testimony meeting (in french--that was fun ha), and then the elders dropped us off at our apartments (Sister howell and I are the only 2 in our apartment, which i said already is in nanterre; but technically our proselyting area is the St. Ouen area). The Stahelis are absolutely wonderful!!! Sister Staheli is probably one of the nicest people ive ever met (if you ever see sister cusick, you can tell her to tell andrew that i made sure to give her a big hug just for him), and president staheli--wow. I am just impressed and feel so blessed to have him leading us. He’s down to earth and way funny, but also just powerful.

It’s a mission wide thing now that everyone is shooting for 20 lessons a week. I don’t know how it is in other places, but just what ive seen these last few days, that is going to work us really hard!!! However, I am excited for the challenge and just wish i knew so much more of how everything works out here. I sometimes feel like a little puppy that Sister howell has to reign in on a leash when we go out in public. Its such a powerful feeling knowing that there are people ready to have their lives changed by the gospel, but I really need to be patient and learn how things work. Needless to say, we know why patience has been given as counsel in like every blessing ive ever received; sheesh--think someone might know me pretty well?

I have to admit I felt pretty grown up when i walked in and saw a board with peoples names on it and realized that WE HAVE AMIS (aka investigators--there are weird mission culture things some of them are REALLY weird, and im not super pleased that they are becoming normal. ask Andrew about the being BORN, DYING, and mom/dad stuff)!!! i still havent met very many of them, because we had a lot of people cancel at the last minute this week. awesome feeling? yup. But i can tell you with certainty that i will never forget my first lesson. Her name is Renate and she has been investigating the church for a while. She is super believing in God, but I swear she must have friends in like every cult possible, and it seems like she just believes everything people tell her. AND she speaks like a thousand miles an hour!!! So you know i wont lie and tell you that i understood everything she was saying, but afterwards i was like "wait, was she really just telling us about a devil worshipping something, with people tied up or something, and something else that i dont even want to write down something??" cuz pretty sure that just happened! We managed to teach a little--I was just trying to figure out where she's at, but certainly an unforgettable experience. She's so nice, has hard things going on, and doesnt really get the whole necessity of baptism thing (problem), but MIRACLE--i squealed and jumped out of my chair when i saw her walk into sunday school!! she came to church!!! My heart was bursting!

long, long story, i will try to make it brief. Sister Howell was having a really hard time the other day. Another person canceled on us and we were running late, and we couldnt get a hold of the member who was supposed to teach with us to tell her that the ami canceled. So, the member eventually calls and i dont know what happened, but Sister Howell ends up in tears. And because shes so upset, she must not have heard right, or was just flustered, so she took us to the wrong place and the member called again and was like "where are you?" So we finally find the member and as we are walking up to her, Sister Howell starts crying again, and like cant speak. So fun for me--I get to deal with this Chantalle woman who just made my companion cry, is shaking her finger at us like only a french woman can, and is saying something about being penibles (annoying)!!! Chantalle asks Soeur Howell what is wrong; sister howell cant speak. So ...i was like "oh. ....its been a hard day and she doesnt feel well. But, everything worked out great--she invited us to her house and we worked out times to go contacting with her and then she came to teach a recent convert with us. By the end, she was insisting we call her "chanchan" and was telling us stories about her family and really offering sincere help finding new investigators and working with the ward and stuff. I think we made a dear friend in Chanchan, and that she will really be able to help the work in St. Ouen!!!

Anyway, my time is up, but i hope you all know how much i love you!!! what a great blessing is knowing that we can have eternal families if we accept Christ as our Savior and follow him?!!!! because i just dont know what i would do without you!!!

mom--i promise i will write you later with more details. the office got my coat today. and were gonna try to go get it sometime soon. its been pretty dang cold, but I’ve been trying to bundle up; and today is actually kinda sunny! Which reminds me--i found one of my favorite Sister Wang quotes in my notebook--she said this in a prayer she gave in class: "Thank you for a shiny day, although its a little cold. But, were grateful for the sunshine." I feel like i have so much sunshine here every day, because this work is truly such a blessing!!!



Friday, March 12, 2010

Arrival in France

Jordan left the MTC on Monday, March 8th. Here she is with President & Sister Staheli at the mission home in Paris!

Dear Brother and Sister Pearce,

Sister Staheli and I were delighted to welcome your daughter, Sister Jordan Pearce, into the France Paris Mission on Tuesday, March 9th 2010. She and her MTC companion were enthusiastic and arrived in good health. She spent her first day eating some home cooked food, napping, visiting with me, contacting non-members in the heart of Paris, and sharing testimonies in our home. We enjoyed her spirit.

The next morning, after a mission orientation, Sister Pearce left for her first assignment to work in the Area with Sister Howell, who will be her trainer. Their apartment address is:
Soeur Pearce
296, av. Clémenceau
92000 Nanterre

We feel very privileged to work with your daughter. We also realize the responsibility we share with you to help her continue to grow spiritually as she faithfully performs her duties. May the Lord inspire us all to sustain her in this challenging and exciting assignment. We hope you will join Sister Staheli and me in praying each day for your daughter, her companion, investigators, and all of us serving in the France Paris Mission.

A positive, supportive letter from home every week does wonders to sustain a missionary’s morale. Proverbs 25:25 states: As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country. If you have any questions or if we can assist you in any way, please contact us at our office (001-331-3480-0483) or home (001-331-3976-8402).

Don H. Staheli
President, France Paris Mission

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

FW: Ok...for real....The Church is just so true!!!


How are you all doing?! To start off I just have to say that I have been so lucky. I know that I have the best friends and family in the whole world! You have all been so great and supportive, even if i feel like you're secretly trying to make me fat and frumpy! hehe. So I apologize if I haven't written you back--I promise i am trying! i have just been too spoiled by you all!!

The MTC has been wonderful, but after this last week I feel ready and excited to get to France! I can't believe it. Butterflies for sure. But for now, i don't think I have fully explained how cool our branch is. I am in the International Branch--meaning people from all over the place--like melting pot central. I am one of only four Americans in the entire branch (also means i'm one of only four white people in our branch)!! We have only about 40 or so missionaries and we have over 20 countries represented!! It's crazy! We have elders and sisters from Taiwan, Korea, China, Samoa, Tonga, Romania, Armenia, Burma (the first sister missionary from there ever. and there have only ever been 6 elders before her...amazing), India, Ukraine, France, the Marshall islands, Brazil, mexico, Canada, Kiribati, the Phillippines, etc, etc... Since I have that leadership assignment, I get to attend the meeting with the Branch President ever Thursday night where they share a little about their backgrounds and a brief testimony...and WOW. every week I am so touched! So many of them are the only members in their family and no matter how far they've come, what experiences got them here, or what language they speak, their testimonies bring us all together because they are all centered on jesus Christ, his Atonement, His plan, and the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It seriously is so cool--the Church is so true!! I've gotten better at employing my charade skills (thanks to halle's advice), because sometimes it's a wee bit of a challenge helping someone figure out their schedule and all the culture and rules of the MTC when you speak not a word of their language (I never really expected that learning Armenian would have come in handy), and they speak like two words of yours. For example, one of my personal favorites--when i ask, "So do you have any questions?' and they all nod and smile. hehe. I certainly love my dear sweet sisters. They are an inspiration to me every day.

There are other funny things that happen at the MTC that make you stop and ask "did that really just happen?" Like when an elder the other day stopped and asked if he could bear his testimony to us on the sidewalk (uh...sure....), or when a little old sister missionary comes and sits down at our table during lunch and says that she had a homework assignment to teach someone the first lesson and was wondering if she could teach us because I am not the most intimidating looking person...dumb blonde (check), short in stature (check, check))! it was pretty cute too because her hands were actually shaking because she was so nervous!! At least we could reassure her she wasn't alone! being ranked 23 is so NOT trivial!! i actually squealed out loud when i read that (illiciting a few weird looks) because that's so awesome! you and your flowy hair (when you run across the court) must be doing a pretty dang good job! p.s. i would have paid big money to see the monopoly man realize he was going down to you!!!! hehe.

Sister Wang left this week, which was bittersweet, but after she left i had to write down her rules so i wouldn't forget them. After she did her morning check list with us (nametag, smile, blue card, etc...) she would always remind us of her 5 rules, which really apply to anyone, not just missionaries. (Granted, i have a much longer way to go improving on them than most of you). 1. love your companion 2. pray for your companion 3. no judge 4. no complain 5. no compare (said, of course, with her cute accent). I really appreciated having her keep me focused!

It was so great to talk to you mom – even if I did catch you way off guard! They just want you to call if your visa’s are delayed or travel changes from what it was supposed to be. So I was there with all the people who were originally called to Mongolia, but they all just got permanent new assignments cuz they can’t get visas there now at all . (wouldn’t you be a slight bit bummed if you had been called to Mongolia & they were like…jk – Denver north now! Maybe the 6 weeks you spent learning Mongolian will come in handy some other time!)

So I decided that once the season is over you should go as a family to volunteer at the TRC. If they do it Monday nights you could just do it as a FHE. Because most of the “investigators” who volunteer are either like young college students or old people. But I saw a cute family with like 3 younger kids there the other night & thought that was so cool for those missionaries, because we’re really encouraged to focus on families, in the field, but teaching a family with kids would be so different than teaching a little sweet old lady who practically cries when you smile & bear your testimony!

I’ve gotten more used to the TRC, but the first time I was scared out of my mind! And then the first time we taught in French, I was sick to my stomach! But I can already tell that I’ve grown. For example, this past Friday a teacher a couple of rooms came over & was like “hey could you go teach with Sister Henry (she is from France) in 5 minutes, because she’s never taught in French before & she doesn’t want to teach alone.” And we did it just fine without any preparation, & we had to teach the same investigator the next hour, so we just went with it & kept him going as a progressing investigator! They are suppose to be “golden investigators,” but it was still fun because we got to practice committing someone to baptism! Plus teaching in French always makes it a little more adventurous. Hahaha. Sister Henry afterward told us that we have “cute” accents & then she said that she was kind of laughing when sister woyak asked, “Quest-ce que vous faites avec votre femme, comme activite?” She was meaning to ask like “so what do you do in your spare time or for fun? But it translates more to “what do you do with your wife, as activity? HAHA. Thank goodness the investigator was just nice & went with what he figured she meant. I look forward to having these moments regularly starting next week. Haha

Speaking of language barriers…funny story. Ya know how we have to prepare sacrament talks every week? Well, the topic last week was “charity & love.” But, one of the Brazilian elders told one of the other Brazilian elders (Elder Lima) that it was “chastity & love.” I, of course, couldn’t set him straight because I thought it was too funny an opportunity to ruin. Elder Lima is like the most innocent, little boy looking Elder here, so picture him worrying about writing & being called up to give a sacrament talk in front of everyone on “chastity and love.”

Ok, cool story from last week, I didn’t have time to write. We had to teach a district lesson last week & the topic was Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ & the Atonement. Anyway, we started planning & I was just not feelin’ it! So I closed my eyes for little bit & thought about it & then came up with the idea of doing a “musical lesson.” I figured that music brings the spirit much faster than anything else does, & that the spirit is a much better teacher than I ever could be. So we prayerfully chose hymns that testified of the principles & doctrines related to Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ & the Holy Ghost. And then basically shared our testimonies of the principles in between hymns & asked the same question after each –“How would having a testimony of the principles taught in this hymn help an investigator progress toward baptism?” It was a super simple lesson (and we didn’t even have a table cloth!), but wow… I felt the spirit! There were tears all around & one of the sisters afterwards said, “it was like Angels were there!” How grateful I am to the Holy Ghost & the ways that it can touch our hearts & inspire us!

K, well I had so many more things to tell you, but we just had an impromptu departure party on the floor. The foreign sisters just came and sang “God be with you,” to us. Absolutely beautiful.

Your letters have helped so much as well! I hope everything is going great and that everyone is staying out of too much mischief (unlikely). I love you all so much and I will write you next week from the most beautiful city in the world!!!! Give everyone hugs for me!
Love, jordan

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I only have 18 minutes!

so...i have 18 minutes to tell you about what feels like a century's worth of stuff!

We went to San Francisco on Thursday… the French Embassy didn’t approve us to leave this Monday (the 1st)… so our flight plans are leaving from SLC NON-STOP (yeah baby) on March 8th. I can't believe it's that soon!

Thursday was great, hopefully I'll have time to write the funny parts--like having a 19-yr old elder be the travel leader and hearing him try to call for a shuttle by starting out with a "yeah...ummm...we're the missionaries....from Christ's church.umm....we need a shuttle...." I didn't even try to stifle the giggle! It kinda reminded me of matthew the other day on the phone actually...just to give you an idea! so great. The highlight of the day was probably that they forgot to pick us up at the airport, so we were stuck there until 10:30 P.M.

So, we do 75 minutes of "service" every week, which translates to us cleaning the bathrooms here. We are super lucky ducks and got the showers the last two weeks...Which, is awesome and terrible. Awesome cuz you get to use these huge industrial power sprayer things and have to wear goggles cuz the chemicals you use might blind you or something (slight exaggeration--but you do have to wear will be sent forthwith). Terrible because when you have like 60 girls living on one floor, that translates to a whole lot of hair in the shower drains.

Another funny moment was in the RC (referral center) this week. You get like a nifty head set and make phone calls following up on things that non-members have ordered (book of mormons, bibles, free videos, etc...) and then bear testimony and basically try to talk them into letting the missionaries come over.. anyway, because you're calling all over the country, you end up on the phone with some pretty dang interesting characters..or more often, you get hung up on by some very interesting characters. usually it's no problem figuring out what to say, but one of them left me ZERO words. I started talking to her and told her who I was and she goes, "Actually, my mom just got murdered and I need to get off the phone." ummm......."okay good luck with that?' I mean what do you say to that really?! The MTC is full of surprises every day!

I am learning patience and how important it is to have the spirit with you. I have come to have a much greater understanding of how seriously awesome the Book of Mormon is.

Oh and yeah--crazy about the Belgium mission!!! We heard about that this week who knows--maybe I'll end up in lots of the same places as Nelson!

I don’t have much time because sweet sister Wang has need of us to re-pack all her bags cuz it was like Joshy man had packed them & because I am emotionally worn out. I haven’t really cried until tonight & sister Wang keeps saying “I shouldn’t waste my diamonds (tears), but man…1. Sister Wang is leaving early tomorrow 2. We had to say goodbye to our elders 3. They made us sing “God be with you till we meet again” @ the departure fireside (just plain mean if you ask me)! I feel like I’m saying goodbye to my MTC Family. We spend so much time together, have shared testimonies, experiences & have grown together & now they’re all leaving to go into the real world!

I’m worried about leaving. I am really scared. The MTC is safe & I can handle it. But I was called to France for a reason & purpose & I am excited to go & seek out those who God has prepared for me to teach. I have faith that they are there – ready & waiting!

It sounds like your lives are absolutely CRAZY! I don’t know how you are keeping up – then again I always did suspect you two had some hidden “energizer bunny” plug-in somewhere in your bodies!

Mom, I missed your admiring all the charming houses w/porches in San Francisco. It just wasn’t the same without you imagining your small-town hick life there!

I love you all to infinity and back and am so grateful for all your support and love!

love, jordo
p.s. I'll send Sister Wang's info in a letter later--tell the Teng's thank you so much!! She gets so excited even when we get mail, and you should have seen her when she got your package of gummi bears!!!???? i will admit that there was some welling of tears. thank you for doing that mom. i really appreciate it. and she thought the note about your boyfriend from taiwan was hilarious.
p.p.s. THAT IS RIDICULOUS!!! who do they think they are trying to split your precious ward…i think you need to march on up and take it up with Salt Lake!!! Then again...i really liked the music and the spoken word idea too, so maybe i'm a little torn hehe.
p.p.s.s. Tell Rash’s thanks so much for the package! The pics made me so happy (especially krew’s hee hee).
p.p.p.s.s. my new email is (dot instead of _)
p.p.p.s.s.s. This week will be crazy cuz we have 20 new missionaries from all over the world, and some of them know like zero English (which makes explaining rules & schedules interesting)
love you love you love you, I wish I had time to tell you more cuz being a missionary is so full of adventures!