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