Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Heavenly Father is in the details!!

Hello dearest family!!!How are you????!!! I'm starting to feel the stress of the Utah match that will be goin down later on tonight!!! I dont know how you're handling it!
I feel like I just wrote you, but still so much has happened since then. First of all we had a huge zone conference and Elder Teixeira came. It was awesome! And President Staheli gave us new standards of excellence (aka weekly and transfer goals)! They are like double what they were before and include one baptism per companionship per month! He likened these standards of excellence to the Liahona, and said they shouldn’t be a burden anymore than the Liahona was a burden for Lehi and his family. Depending on your area and different circumstances, it might take people longer or shorter to get there, but the standards are just to give us a direction to be working. I'm excited and I know that, since these were prayerfully discussed and submitted under the direction of our priesthood leadership, they are definitely attainable! Eventually....hehe. But, our Versailles elders are startin it out strong!

We went to the baptism of one of their investigators, Joshua, this morning! It was so great! Elder Draut said that Joshua was like shaking when he got into the font because he was so nervous, but afterwards he was just so happy and glowing (i know that sounds way girly, and joshua is definitely a man's man, but you get the idea). Oh and apparently, third time really is the charm! (now i understand why mom was so particular about having our hair pulled back so tight to keep from floating up) The investigator is from Kenya. The elders ported his apartment a few weeks ago and he was definitely someone prepared! And even though his siblings aren't members of the church, when he called them and told them he was getting baptized, they all insisted on coming! (His sister flew from Kenya i think, and one of his brothers is a diplomat here in France or something.) The whole thing was wonderful, except the fact that we had to do ANOTHER musical number.

K you know how I stress about these kind of things, and how I really don’t like singing in public at all. Piano, whatever, that I can handle. But when it comes to singing, I get all nervous! Plus, the Elders called us late on Thursday night to do it, then Sister Bellini was too sick to leave the apartment all Friday, and then the baptism was Saturday morning! So pretty much we figured out what we were going to do an hour before the baptism started (Sister Gifford played and Sister bellini and I sang I’m trying to be like Jesus and A childs prayer.) I thought it was terrible! So you can imagine my enthusiasm when one of the bishopric members came up afterwards and said it was so great he wants me to sing in Sacrament meeting in two weeks. Lovely. just lovely.

But, going to that baptism made me even more excited for Gloria's baptism next weekend! (ps the elders have another investigator who is getting baptized the next weekend, so it’s just an exciting time!) And we found out Gloria for sure can be baptized! We were talking one night and decided we needed further clarification about what it meant to "have an address." Turns out, that while she should still keep looking for her own place, we can use the address of the shelter where she stays at night and gets mail! So, we had her try on her baptismal clothes today and we're going to figure out her program tomorrow. But, she still needs her own place, because wherever she is staying, she can’t stay there every night and she doesn’t sleep very well, because people steal stuff from you while you're sleeping. I don't know how she handles it. She is looking for places, but it's hard because she doesn’t speak French, like at all. I think I left out that detail last time! Our lessons are hilarious!! She speaks spanish, a tiny bit of English, and pretty much zero french. So when we don’t have a member with us that speaks spanish, it's like we need the gift of tongues! She usually does okay speaking in English, but when she gets excited about something, she starts speaking super fast all in spanish, and then when she says, "comprendas?" (or whatever it is), I'm pretty sure our confused looks say it all! When we have a member it is easier, but just so you get a feel for how that goes down: we teach in English (because that’s her second best language), Gloria speaks in Spanish, and the member translates into French for us! So great. The church is true in every language! So, one thing I am grateful for this week is personal study time. the Preach My Gospel sentence that says that even though people may question your message intellectually, it's hard to argue with a sincere testimony (or something to that effect). We started reading in the Book of Mormon with one investigator this week, and we hadn't gotten two lines into the passage, and she stops and goes off about why it doesn’t make sense that we have another book of scripture and how it can't be legit since none of the people in the book of mormon are talked about in the bible, etc, etc; etc. She wasn't really listening to any of the answers we gave, and it sounded like she had just kinda made a decision in her mind before she even asked her questions. Well, that morning I had spent some time in Chapter 11 of PMG and read that sentence (above). So, I thought about that and decided to just bear my testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, how I came to know it was true and how it has helped me. Nothing spectacular happened or anything, but the atmosphere changed and we were able to have a great lesson. I am just grateful that our job is to bear simple testimony, because let's be real--I am no scriptorian! I should know much more about our church and our teachings than I do, considering I was blessed enough to be born into the Church, but I am grateful to know that I just need to teach the best I can, answer the questions I can, bear testimony of the simple truths I do know, and let the Spirit do the rest! So....miracle of the week! (sorry this is so scattered.) In an attempt to mine our area book(s), we sorted and organized and re-sorted and re-organized about a billion difference fiches (umm....in english I think they are called like investigator progress records or something). We found one that had a name and the number of the non-member friend who had referred her to us. So we called the friend and asked if she had a number for the lady, who's name is Evelyn. She didn't. We asked if she had an address. She didn't. But, she said she lives next to the gare in Saint-Cyr and gave us the name of the street she thought she lived on. So, we look in all our books and on our maps and the street name doesn't appear to exist. But, we felt good about this person and wanted to find her. So.....pretty much we knew her name is Evelyn. And we knew she lived somewhere around the gare, on a street that may or may not exist. I can just picture Heavenly Father kinda chuckling at our stubborn determination, because we had NOTHING! But, He must have been amused and decided to help us out a bit....k....a lot.

We get there and this street doesn't exist on any of the city maps either, so we stop a young man and ask him if he knows of it. He doesn't, but says that we should ask the lady that takes the tickets in the station. So, we go ask her and she says, "oh yeah, it's a house just up the way" and gives us directions. So, we follow her directions to a social house (it wasn’t a street name, but the name of the social house), where the gate like opens as we walk up (I think there were people in the driveway who saw us, but still it was funny). The lobby is empty, but eventually a lady walks out and tells us that no one named Evelyn lives there, but there is another social house just up the street where we could check. So we go there and run into this Arab man who doesn't know her, but goes and asks all his Arab friends and then comes back and says that they think there are three black women that live in the building "over there." Ok....so I think you get the gist. Long story short--Evelyn was the first person we found in the building "over there" and she let us in and we taught her! Heavenly Father is definitely in the details of our lives! (ps she was in Haiti for the earthquake and it sounded crazy!!!!!!) Anyway, she is great and I am excited to see how things work out cuz the gospel would so bless her life!

So, I never got to tell you about the Borderie family (the members we had FHE with last week)! She is like a famous artist & her dad has a painting in the Vatican, so he’s like a super famous artist. And they live in the tallest building in Europe, that people actually live in. They are on the 46th floor and have a panoramic view & you can see like ALL of Paris! We were up there @ night & were there to see the Eiffel Tower sparkling! Anyway, great, super nice family. And brother Borderie was like all over hearing about Dad playing in the French Open & stuff & was asking so many questions…he was like, “you need to tell that to the French because they’ll think it’s great.” So, I need some details! Haha Just so I have more talking material. Maybe not your whole resume, but some good French open highlights (if you have time).

So, we just went to the St. Ouen apartment, cuz it’s close to Leiney’s, to check the mailbox (I’m glad we went, I had 3 letters) & steal some stuff (like the scale haha). Well, there was a stench, I investigated a bit & determined it was coming from the freezer. I had a bad feeling before I opened the door, but not even all my nursing experience could prepare me for what we found! Apparently the Elders turned off the electricity. So, there was like an inch puddle of rotting bloody beef & rotting banana mush coating the bottom of the freezer. I so wanted to pretend I hadn’t seen it, but we are tough sister missionaries, so we pulled out gloves, like 6 garbage bags, bleach & a roll of paper towels, starting breathing through our mouths & went to it. Man, we took one for the team! hahaWell, I miss you. Somehow it came up and my companions made me sing our family night song to them during companionship study the other day and I won't lie--I was pretty close to a tear or two! hehe, but they would have been happy tears. Our super cheesy family night song is just too AWESOME! I hope things are going well! I can't believe finals are over and that school is almost over! Is it warm there now, cuz it is beautiful here?! Well, I gotta go, but I love you all so much!!! Love, JordanXOXOXOXOXOp.s; i will write my snippets to you in my letter tonight! and there are other things i just have to tell you! love you

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A little slice of Heaven!


So, not to take away from our REAL 'slice of heaven' in Rome (no, not the convent one with the shoes hanging out the window and the storage room for all the dead cardinals), but I think that Versailles is getting pretty close!!! I absolutely love it here! First of all, my companions are great (yes, i have two again. I think someone is trying to keep an eye on me or something!). Sister Bellini is from Washington and has been out about a year. And Sister Gifford is from Highland and has been out about 8 months. SO, I have TWO people to learn from!!! Talk about spoiled?! And things are just easy with them. We work hard, but we work as a team and i just loving falling into bed exhausted at night cuz i feel like im doing what im supposed to be. Our apartment is in the middle of like this retirement community area, meaning we have a carrefour and a bank and a pharmacy and everything RIGHT there! There are hardly any cars, so its super family friendly and kids play out in the streets all the time! Add the birds chirping and the sunshine this week, and im sure you couldnt blame me for calling it a slice of heaven! Plus, you know how i love old people! And even when they are drunk and telling us about the 'good old days,' you just cant help but love them. I did manage to break the closet my first night here....i guess that whole 49 shirts deal wasnt such a great idea...oops! (the whole bar collapsed hehe, so we had to move all our clothes to the front entry closet, but its all good.)

So, we have a baptismal date! May 1. Her name is Gloria and she is a political refugee from El Salvadore. She has NOTHING, like she carries pretty much all her earthly possessions around with her. I guess conference weekend she was out in the street and just broke down crying because she was just overwhelmed with all the hard things she has had to deal with lately. She prayed and just told God to send her an angel cuz she didnt know what in the world to do....and so im sure you know what happened next! God did her one better and sent her TWO! Two of our dear elders walked up and asked if there was something they could do to help her... this truly is the Lord's work! She is ready to be baptized and wants to so badly, but the problem is she has to have an address before. It doesnt have to be a permanent one, but she has to have one, and the whole financial situation and social security and apartment searching is an absolute nightmare. Its not our job to figure it out, but man I never really appreciated wards back home that actually functioned well and had people with callings like 'ward employment specialist' before. There is just so much red tape. BUT, Heavenly Father is a God of Miracles, and we are going forward with May 1st and as far as we're concerned--its gonna happen on may 1st!! Gloria is already talking about these people she has met in the train stations that she wants to go teach the Gospel to. You just cant help but love her!

Its a little hard trying to organize rendez-vous in two different areas, especially when you travel like 2 hours and have someone not show up, but we're working on making it more efficient, and in the meantime, we've gotten lots of transport contacting practice! Elder Hinckley came and spoke to us this week (and just fyi--the way he articulates some words, I could have sworn it was President Hinckley speaking to us!) and he committed us two a few different things and promised us, because of our specific mission statistics, that if we doubled our finding efforts, we would double our baptisms. Well, we figure that stats backed up by General Authority promise is a pretty good course of action to follow!! So, we are going to start 'mining' our area books (thats what he called it), and that is why its so great that we have TWO area books to mine! We also had to/got to do the musical number for the mini conference with Elder Hinckley and found out like the day before....I tell ya--never a dull moment!

Well, I love your e-mails and it sounds like you guys are having just as many adventures as me! I miss you, but am so grateful and feel so lucky to be sharing the gospel right now. Teaching and testifying of Jesus Christ, the restoration, and eternal families every day?!!! I dont know that it gets much better!!!! haha, sorry to rub it in! But I love you and hope you know that I pray for you every day!



Best thing I saw in passing this week: two baguettes left on top of a boites des lettres! i figured it was like the french equivalent of a soda being left on top of someones car!

and p.s. dogs really do chase after missionaries. its not just a cliche. i am ever so grateful for fences! though, i will admit that it doesnt usually prevent me from the initial scream and fall off the curb (at least my companions are nice and dont laugh TOO much)

p.Ss going porting and having people answer their 'door' by sticking their heads out the window is still so funny to me!

p.S. Church is such a different experience as a missionary. Like when the sunday school teacher for the amis class doesnt show up, and then the fire alarm goes off in the middle of church, its not as much a "sweet, no sunday school today", as a "Is this for real? We are doing a fire drill during this person's first day of church!????!!!!"

Tara--seriously stay away from him! good luck with the rest of finals, maybe let mom get in one 'I told you so!!' hehe.

J&M-- i want the articles of my super star brothers!!! i am not allowed to open up the link dad sent me so i need something tangible--its killing me!!! like a play by play in your next monthly letter would be great (hehe, hint hint). That is seriously sweet. Whenever anyone hints they have any interest in tennis, I always start bragging about you two. hehe. maybe not becoming of a missionary, but whatev!

Joshy man-- i didnt know you are playing soccer now too? tell me about it! oh and how was your dude week with dad? sounded pretty dang sweet to me!

And on to the MOST IMPORTANT THING -----HAPPY BIRTHDAY HALLE BABY!!!!!!!!! (in a few days) i cant believe you are 7 years old!!!!! did you do a party or are you going to wait and do a swimming one when the pool opens?! i want pictures and i want to hear about ALL the presents you get!!!!


dad--ummm...i will definitely be praying about Utahs match on Saturday and dying to know how it goes down! but seriously cool how well youre doing already! and i think the holy ghost likened unto the secret ingredient is suh-weet!!!!!)
Our p-days kinda change around here. Normally it should be on Saturday, but if not, it will be Monday
speaking of letters, you are always safe to send letters to the mission home, because our burea elders are great and they forward them on to us at our current addresses (so if thats easier for you thats fine)
our address now is
Les Missionaires
Sister Pearce
7, Promenade Venezia
78000 Versailles

and mother, you should be so proud! who knew that tortillas could be made from scratch?!!! hehe well, apparently they can, and i now know how. not that i will ever do it again when i come home and can buy them for not a ridiculous price, but still! (oh the things i used to take for granted....)

hey love you mom!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

What a week of Firsts!

Hello Dearest Family!!!

How are you? So cool the boys are doing well in the Easter Bowl. And WHOA about TCU. Im excited to hear how this weekend goes down! 4.0s all around????? nice work....though somewhat disappointing that the 'wall of shame' didnt come back out! AND OMG happy birthday to Tara tomorrow! (ps cant believe youre finishing your freshman year of COLLEGE)

Oh, did news of the two elders getting shot in Switzerland make it there? Sister Howell’s brother is in that mission (which covers part of France), so if it did, I could only imagine that her mom was freaking out! The missionaries are fine, but we heard it was a group of muslims & kinda laughed because we live in a super muslim area. That’s what happens when you are assigned to the ghetto baby! Our church is in the 93 (“neuf-trois”)! And people around here KNOW what the “neuf-trois” means! But the sisters apartment is in a little less sketchy of an area as the Elders’ & we don’t go anywhere near Sarcelles. We’ve passed by on trains & man, I thought you only saw stuff like that in Haiti, Jamaica, or pictures from National Geographic. There are some REAL ghettos. Makes you super grateful, that’s for sure!

So, you'd think that since I have now been wearing this nametag for two months (weird time warp out here for sure), i'd have some semblance of an idea what im doing. While that is somewhat true, not a single day goes by that something doesnt happen for a 'first time.' So, this week I am grateful (again) for FIRSTS.

For the first time, I realized how truly great the scripture reference 'nimrod' is

I got to experience my first transfer e-mail! and whoa. I had not previously understood the excitement surrounding this event. We got back in town Saturday morning and had hardly put our stuff down when we started getting these calls, asking 'so whats going on???' Sister Howell starts shouting at people on the phone not to tell her anything, shouts at me to get my dang nylons on (great moment, like really), and we sprinted (literally), skirts, nylons, and all, down to the e-mail place. Turns out, not only is Sister Howell leaving (shes going to Melun), but Im leaving too and St. Ouen is closing for the next transfer. SURPRISE!! haha. Im going to Versailles to be with Sister Gifford and Sister Bellini!!! I wont lie--it was not fun saying goodbye to friends in the ward (and I had only known them a few weeks), but I am way excited to go to Versailles! I’ve heard wonderful things about the sisters there! Plus, it’s close enough that we can still kind of help keep the St.Ouen investigators goin and stuff. I’ll be in the same district as the bureau elders, and Elder Messick (who went to Timpview) will be transferring to the bureau, so it will be fun to see a familiar face!

First time we got locked out of our apartment. Actually, we figured out that the drawback of having a super sweet-romantic- 'secret garden'-type-ancient key, is that when you dont use it for a few days, it gets super rusty and is nearly impossible to open. Lovely. But, I tell you what--I would have shimmied up the dang tree in our backyard before I called any elders to tell them we were locked out WITH our keys!!! We eventually walked a couple miles to the members who have our spare key and got it to work.

First time I contacted a lady on a bus and she pulled out her husband's lab values (he was in the hospital) for me to look at!! she was asking questions about what we were doing and what happens after we go home, etc, so she found out I was in nursing school. Then, all of a sudden she goes 'oh!! well in that case..." and whips out this stack of papers!!! so funny! dont worry, I did not advise her on anything. I pretty much just smiled and nodded 'oh yeah, that does look a little low...gosh thats hard that he's not feeling very well...." There is still such a special place in my heart for old people!

It was the first time I carried a box of over 20 Book of Mormons home from Versailles. I gotta say, that was probably the hardest thing I have done on a mission so far!!! haha

It was the first time I realized how I am so NOT okay with men giving other men bisoux.

It was the first time I realized how exciting it is to pray during lessons with investigators from very Evangelical backgrounds. You just feel so sweet and empowered when they are like humming, "amen-ing", and 'halleluiah-ing" after everything you say in your prayer! Example--Me: thank you for all of our blessings. Virginie:hmmm....amen!

It was the first time I realized that I truly belong in Primary. One of the elders' investigators (Sophia) has a 4-yr old daughter, Marie, who we took to primary (which she absolutely loved after she got comfortable). I felt like I fit in so much better there on the little chairs! Plus!!! I swear they dont primary-ify lessons as much as we do in the states! However, what's more likely is just that my French is at about a primary level! I felt right at home! Marie and I loved it! (by the way--she is the cutest thing ever! When we met Sophia and Marie at the train station, we hadn’t even gotten all the way to the metro before she had let go of her mom's hand and come and grabbed on to mine to walk with me! We shared shimmery chapstick and talked about our dresses and tights and our favorite colors. I was in heaven! And when I went to pick her up from primary, she runs to me and like shouts all proudly, "look at my pictures! I did them all by myself!" Adorable.)

I was accused, for the first time, of idolatry. Yup. That was a new tracting experience. We were all excited at first, because I tell her that we are missionaries for our church, and she is like "oh come in! come in! I have had a personal crisis and my friend just keeps telling me I need to go to church!" You can imagine how thrilled we were?! k well, maybe not so much at the personal crisis part, but we'll take it...hehe! Anyway, long, long story short--she freaks out that we have a picture of Jesus Christ and tells us what a serious sin it is to worship idols like that and that we should really go home and reflect on the seriousness of our sins! After I got over the shock, I got a good chuckle out of it.

It was the first time I had zone leaders (elders harper and jenson) rip off their shirts, buttons and ties flying everywhere, as part of a visual effect for their part of training! talk about a dramatic 'rent-ing of their clothing!' I dont think Moroni had much on them! hehe. It was pretty much the sweetest thing ever. They then ripped up the shirts and had each companionship write their own "Title of Liberty" of hopes, dreams, and goals of how we are going to avoid mediocrity, etc... After all was said and done, I asked Elder Jenson how his mother would feel about his rent clothes, and he said he used someone elses shirt! hahahaha! so great.

I was able to experience the excitement of interviews for the first time! ok, lets be real--I hardly slept the night before on account of the stress that was eating me up inside--but they were great! Sister Staheli is so sweet and President is awesome. His training afterwards was short, but so great. He used the scripture in D&C 31 that talks about rejoicing and how we should be happy, and NOT stressed (timely advice), and that this should be the most carefree time of our lives. We dont have worry about jobs or money or school or kids and should just be happy and know that when we accepted our call to come on a mission, we succeeded. It was great and I, honestly, felt so much less burdened and less stressed afterwards. I am very grateful for inspired leaders!

ok...I got to go to Belgium for the first time!!!!! (I will admit, I just about had a heart attack on the spot when I heard the price of the tickets (306 euros). I backed away slowly and let Elder Gould and Sister Howell deal with it cuz I just couldnt handle it!) I was totally a skeptic, but their waffles really are better. I dont know what it is....they must have a secret ingredient (I can just imagine dad and tara laughing so hard watching that movie this week haha) And the sisters, who we did the exchanges with, absolutely blew us away! Double booking is no joke, but they had us booked the entire day. Sister Shannon (who is from Ireland, is hilarious, and has the greatest accent ever) and I went to a funeral (their coffins are totally vampire creepy), taught Raymonde, Vicky, committed Emilie to baptism, and helped Mme Humblet pick out her church outfit (most hilarious thing of my life--details to come in letter....)! I am so spoiled! It was so fun and I learned so much!

K well, I had a longer list, but I am out of time!!! I love you all so much!!!! Thanks for your prayers and support! I pray for you every day and am so grateful for you! Being a missionary is such a blessing and such an adventure! Ill write more later...
love, jordan

p.s. More about the coffins, you know how ours are like just nice big rectangles? Well, theirs are like they shoved the corpses shoulders in between two boards & then tried to use as little wood as possible!!! So they have that vampiry shape! Granted, anything that involves incense & a priest chanting in not really my thing.
p.s..s have I told you our landlady calls me “Martine,” because Jordan is too hard for her to say? So funny. I’m gonna miss her.
p.s.s.s. that made me laugh that you included boiling egg instructions. You know me too well!!

(oh and before i forget----the picture of me that goes out in the ward newsletter has got to be done away with!!! i might be a sister missionary, but my vanity is still intact enough that that is SO NOT okay!! thank you in advance hehe.)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

My heart is full!

hello hello hello dear family!!!

I just have to start out by saying that I love you. I have the greatest family in the world and I know it! How was Easter and Conference?????!!! It is my personal opinion that we should have conference weekend every weekend. And we got to watch it in English! My heart was definitely filled. I just wished that our investigators were there...grr, but it was kinda far (1½ hours)...still, the prophet spoke! First of all how cute was President Monson about his wife at the beginning?! And second, every time he spoke, I was just like "wow. I am sitting here, listening to the prophet of God! How lucky are we?" The whole room of missionaries laughed when Elder Holland prefaced his talk by saying that he was going to be bold...Elder Holland? be bold? And it was really interesting how many of the talks focused on the home and families. Loved it, loved every second of it. (And I’m excited to read the talks we didn’t get to see!) It wasn’t quite the same not being cuddled up on the couches and love sacs in pajamas hehe, but this weekend was great! The Easter Bunny even made it to our apartment!!! hehehe, Sister Howell laughed at me, but hey! gotta celebrate the season! (though I think we might be finding those jelly bean eggs for a few weeks...)

We have some wonderful investigators and we're really working on finding the elect. One rendez-vous that was great this week was with Isabelle. She is African and in her late 20s. She works so hard just to make ends meet and her 13 yr old niece, Hermella, lives with her. The spirit is always great during her lessons, but she hasn’t been really great at keeping commitments. However, this week Sister Howell and I left just beaming from ear to ear, because at the end she asked us to pray for her. Which is typical (lets be real), but this is the great part--She said she wants us to pray for her faith in God, because right now it’s really small, but she WANTS it to be really big!!!! That’s a righteous desire I daresay! So, of course, that led into a brief talk about faith and a great topic for our next lesson. It was refreshing, because lately it's felt like we've been practically force-feeding our investigators the gospel and church, which is not how it should be. So, while it may have been a tiny thing, it was great to hear someone actually express a sincere desire to change and to be better and to learn more!

I have learned that you just never know what to expect when you meet with less active members. Oh the things you hear! I have had many an impure thought of just wanting to LOVINGLY wring their necks and say, "hello! this is your eternal salvation we're talking about here, of course temple ordinances are important!" But, life is hard and everyone has different challenges. Thank goodness for repentance. One of them was actually French, so I got to teach a lesson for the first time to a French person (even if she was a super intimidating, beautiful French woman)! I'll be honest--African French is different than French French, and I had forgotten how pretty French French is. Granted, the trade off is that it is a whole heck of a lot faster! (But, it was okay because at the end she randomly told me 'I reminded her of one of those American TV stars....like Friends.' haha.....I laughed pretty hard and thought back to some great memories.)

OH....funny story. So we went porting (door to door) the other day and talked to a 15 yr old girl and set up an appointment to come teach her family later that week. Anyway, so we show up and sit down with the mom and she starts by explaining, "yeah when Nicole set it up with you, I was like, okay fine, as long as you're sure they're catholic." Side-long glance. Umm... well, here's the thing....hahaha. Needless to say, considering they gave us back the Book of Mormon we gave her, they are not on our new ami(investigator) list!

I was alone on a street in Paris this week. It was a weird feeling, that’s for sure. Sister Howell said to get off the bus, so I GOT. Unfortunately, she wasn’t quite as quick! So, I just waited like a little child, until she came back and found me. hehe. oops.

I think people might be confused, I live in Nanterre, but my proselyting area is “St. Ouen.” So I am in “St. Ouen.” And I love it, but it’s not like a charming countryside or quaint downtown paris apartment (Diana asked). It’s like a very muslim populated, run-down place. We have a very strict list of place the sisters cannot go. But it’s home & it’s great! You never know what you will hear in our apartment that’s for sure. Like two nights ago someone was blasting like Irish Lord-of-the-dance music, last night there was a very raucous & drunken party going on outside our building @ 2am & this morning as we left some dude was belting an opera song out an open window! I felt like I was being serenaded on the way to the bus stop!

I told you about Leiney, she’s awesome, we are also teaching Virginie & Isabelle and they are also praying about baptism which would be great! Christian (the guy who read that Adam & Eve got kicked out of the garden for something other than eating fruit) & Claudia are an interesting couple. Christian pretty much told us that he often resorts to illegal things to earn $ for his family, because “you have to survive.” It’s really hard sitting there as a 21-year-old from Provo, Utah listening to real-life hardships & trials. I mean what do you say? Well, I did my best & basically said that it boils down to faith. And then we talked a little bit about that.

There are also a lot of inactive people we are trying to work with. The ward is struggling a bit here. There’s no leadership & probably less than ¼ of the ward is actually active. The ward mission leader (who talks exactly like, and slightly resembles Rafiki) is starting to step it up a little more though in helping coordinate between us & the auxiliaries.

Anyway, things are great here!!! Our apartment is clean, the birds are chirping outside. Our numbers last week were almost double the first two weeks combined, so things are picking up! I’m expecting miracles!! Haha.

This week we have interviews in Paris, AND we're doing exchanges up in Liege!!! And we have good appointments set up. I am so spoiled. I hope everything is going well there. I loved the conference weekend and easter details! Tell ali and linds and brit and nana thanks SO much for their letters! And tell nana that no, pictures wouldnt make me sad, i would love them! Johnny, i laughed really loud at your letter! thanks. Halle--did the Easter bunny come to the house? hows french class? i had a dream about you this week and missed you so much, but i love your letters! Tara--i have so many great things to tell you, but in order to do it, it must be in letter form, so that will go down this afternoon. I love you all and am so grateful for your prayers!

Love, Jordan

k mother--- to cut down on carpal tunnel this afternoon, here are some of my questions/items of business:
p.s.OH FIRST OF ALL---THE SPONGES??????? that was like the most hilarious thing of my life. I wished I had someone to laugh with me who truly appreciated it, but I was like crying laughing so hard! I miss being around funny people like you.

p.s. 2 tell evan and sarah congrats

p.s. 3 mom – even if people groan, @ least you know it couldn’t be worse than the “david Dinkins” episode!

p.s. 4 ****k this is actually important. ask Sister Cusick how long Andrew would talk to them on mothers day and christmas. Because, apparently the general mission guideline is just 'white handbook' about it, but the handbook says 30 or 40 minutes. S howell says some people talk longer, some dont, so i dont know!!! let me know if you find out.

p.s. 5 LOVE YOU!!!!

p.s. 6 i loved yours ands dads e-mails. i look forward to mondays every week, because they like refill my tank!!!! i print them too, so i can refer often

p.s. 7 tell kib & justin thanks for their letters and the quote from Kib, I used it in companionship study

p.s. 8 tell grandpa his letters are so funny. It’s kinda hard to believe my grandpa is writing them! send him and nana my love!

p.s. 9 tell Diana no need to stress – “douche” is shower. That was hilarious though. And I think her French is great & her vocab very well rounded

p.s. 10 that’s so great about san diego, of course it would be the year that I leave that you’re on fire! Nice coaching, tell the guys, especially Cassidy I say hi.
p.s. 11 mom, I’m sorry the boys don’t want to sit around and chat with you all day! I so would! Or watch a movie with you, or go to the gym with you. Really I just miss you. But, I’m starting to tear up now, so I’m moving on. Love you!

p.s. 12 tell sister Sudweeks thanks so much for the newsletter! I read every word & thoroughly enjoyed the news from home ward life.

Friday, April 2, 2010

so...how's the humidity treatin' ya?

Hello my dearest family!!!! You hanging in there with that humid utah air??? Matthew, I just love you and am kinda sad that I missed another classic John or Matthew talk. I would have loved to hear you say it’s important to have humidity instead of humility. bahaha! (I decided we need to note that one down right under 'wathcloff'. hehe.) Happy birthday too Matthew, I hear you scored an Ipod…"nice." Oh & I so wish I had been there when you told mom you had a 100 pt. assignment for Am. Studies due the next day – so classic! (And even though I’m not condoning that behavior, I am chuckling over it!)

President & Sister Staheli are awesome. I wish I had time to write the things he said & taught @ zone conference. They were pretty cool. But one thing that kinda shows the kind of ship he runs is this phrase that he uses: “In essentials, unity; In non-essentials, liberty; In all things, charity.” So we follow the important rules, but we’re creative & we use the brains God gave us.

The work here is really slow, I looked @ the papers & I don’t even know when the last baptism was in this area. I am so excited to be here and I don’t want to waste any of the Lord’s time, but I realize I need to learn how things work here. Sister Howell is really shy and doesn’t like to “contact” people, so I am doing my best…with my French!

Well, it’s been raining (or sprinkling) a lot here. Which means, of course, that I have found myself humming 'My Favorite Things' from Sound of Music quite frequently, because its just the greatest rain song! And it's fitting for life as a new missionary, because I have found a lot of new favorite things, or things that just warm my heart and make me smile. I have realized that you just have to laugh off the annoying stuff and savor the simple, funny things that happen every day (even when they are annoying as well haha).

So one of my favorite things this week was exchanges!!! I got to go up to Lille and spend the day working with Sister Carson. Well, technically I went to Villeneuve d'ascq, so maybe nelson served there too, idk. But, it is awesome! They are on fire and it was so neat to get to learn other teaching and contacting methods and get a feel for how 'the North' (what used to be the belgium brussels mission) does things. Sister Carson is like a master contacter!! We taught some lessons, did some contacting, and went to their district and DMP meetings. And the next morning, on our way to the train station, she made sure we stopped at "the Renard"--which is apparently like 'the place' for good patisseries. Anyway, I absolutely loved it! (side note that is kinda funny about the missions merging. Last night Elder Snee (hilarious Scottish lad--just imagine it) asked me if I was a pureblood or a mudblood! dont worry--I quickly reassured him that I was indeed a pureblood (ie my mission call was always paris)!

Another one of my favorite things this week, that I dont think I have ever fully appreciated, is the alien gore graffiti wall that welcomes us home every night. Like seriously whoever put that masterpiece up on the public property outside our apartment...I applaud them for their artistic ability. It is gloriously gross and like one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever laid eyes on!!! But, it's home. So, I love it. and am very proud that our home has character!!

Another favorite thing---the classic 'ah bah oui' response!!! Have nelson demonstrate it for you sometime, because it really is one-of-a-kind, and usually I have to stifle a smile whenever I hear it used for real!

Another favorite thing--cold weather. This one actually surprised me. But, when its cold we can wear tights!! and tights are so much more cozy and less scratchy than nylons!!! (like I said, savoring the simple things here!)

oh I also love ghetto hymnbooks. Because it creates a great opportunity to laugh when the bisophric hurriedly asks you to come play the piano for sacrament meeting because they dont have anyone, so you rush up to play, start playing, get to the end of the first page of the hymn, and realize that half the dang hymnbook is missing! for real. But I figured it just gave the congregation an opportunity to practice their a cappella singing as I got up and walked to the front row to get another hymnbook, that did indeed contain the music for the second half of Praise to the Man!

oh another favorite--watching people trickle in an hour late to church after daylight savings!!hehe.

ok another favorite thing (though this is more one of the have to laugh it off, super ANNOYING things)--young Morrocan men following you from the quai, down three cars of the train (hoping that they’d get the hint you were going 'away'), and then sitting with you on the train and wanting to chat, where there is no escape! Oh, but it gets better! The one who asked me why I didn’t have a boyfriend, is smoking and blows the cigarette in my direction (mind you he's like two feet away), waiving his hand to blow it into my face, and says, 'here this is for you because you’re so beautiful.' UGH. 1. missionary nametag...hello! 2. I really dont think that is the way to any womans heart. I was slightly, ok super, bugged. So I promptly pretended to put on a cough fest, waved the smoke away, and told him I didn’t smoke. he responds, "oh I think thats beautiful." So, even though we knew they were muslim, we quickly brought up the fact that we could give them information about the english class that the BROTHER missionaries taught. That is a super convenient line sometimes and almost always works--hence, the reason it is also one of my favorite things!

Another favorite thing--African culture. I am learning many things about it that I did not know before. One, is that if an African calls you and then hangs up after one ring, it is 'an african call' and means that they want YOU to call them back, but their phone doesn’t have enough money on it to call you. Two, is that their idea of appointments doesn’t really translate to what americans think of as 'appointments.' The only people they really make actually obligatory 'apppointments' with is doctors, other than that, its like 'yeah 6 o clock at my place sounds great!' And then, if they happen to be home around 6, awesome, if not, then whatever!! haha, so great.

ok another favorite things of the week is Charming parks. Even though we later found out that it was like Muslim Central, this park we found close to our apartment was totally outfitted! We're talking ducks, pond, awesome running path, merry-go-round, playground, children giggling and chasing after balls, etc, etc... But we spent a great consecrated contacting hour there and talked to some great people. Ya know those cheesy stories that always end in 'it was the very last person, or the very last door on the street'...well I have a firm testimony that they are all true! After the white muslim, the lady who said 'it wasn’t worth the pain' (haha), and the old couple who handed us back the pamphlet we gave them, among others, we said okay this is the last one, and we found a baptist man sitting alone on a bench who was awesome! We talked about Joseph Smith and the First Vision, and he was like 'k wait, sit down, I want to hear more!' It was a great opportunity to bear testimony and teach about the Restored Gospel! I love consecrated contacting hours! (thats what the north calls them. apparently, down here its 'pure finding', but I prefer the former and since we’re all one big, happy mission now, its all good!)

I have a lot of favorite things, because life as a missionary is so great! I have A LOT of things to get better at, but I’m learning petit à petit. I am so grateful for your prayers and your support. Mom and Dad I love you and absolutely loved your emails this week (tears--thankful ones only-- and out loud chortles)! I’ll respond to them in my letter to you. halle--girlfriend! you are like a backhandspring diva!! joshy man--hows school going? let me guess... 'terrible'? hehe, is that still your typical response? have you been workin out with the team lately? J&M--good job in los vagice! love you! Tara--this is great, I have been so excited to write this to you all week....bahaha...so ya know 'L'Academie Francaise,' or the group that is kinda in charge of keeping the French language pure (or that is my interpretation of it)? Well, I read in my dictionary (I promise I was looking something up and have not taken to reading the dictionary), that the people in the group are elected for life and they are called 'les immortels.' For real!!! so much good material with that one! Well, I love you dearly family and am glad things are going well, even though they are CRAZY! I really am thoroughly convinced that I have the best family in the world!

love, Jordo