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!

Friday, September 10, 2010


Hey Gang!

How you doin?! Thanks for the e-mails!! I gotta admit, I don't blame josh and halle for thinkin you cramp their style! haha. That was hilarious!! (I also thought the way Halle spelled gmaka (Jamaica – in case you didn’t read it) was probably the cutest thing I've ever seen.) And thanks for the details sister! J&M i am so impressed with how well you're doing!! Seriously cool. But, John--you wanna know what's not so cool?? The fact that I have yet to receive a very long, very detailed letter describing every word that was said on your first date and how you asked to Homecoming???!! SERIOUSLY! what is up that dude? Sounds like good things are goin on and that school craziness (even if you didn't even make it through a whole week of attendance) has officially begun. Love it! Wouldn't so much love the first week assignment of reading Beowulf and writing a paper on it, but ya know.....maybe it'll put some hair on your chest or something!

Things are going really well here, and the first good news is that my eye twitch is starting to go away! That said, I am still at a complete loss where to even begin with the adventures, miracles, and just plain chaos of the week, so you're just gonna have to bare with me through a total cop-out bulleted list of happenings! I promise I do love you, even if I am a super lame writer!


1. We taught a lesson in an Irish pub. And ya know, I think that's probably enough said.

2. I gained a new appreciation for the skill of garbage men in Paris. Watching the garbage truck go down the street, causing a complete halt to all traffic I might add, is a surprisingly fascinating experience! Those guys are good at what they do! Skill and precision like the marines I tell you. (It's also interesting to note the kind of things you will stoop to when your companion is sick. I mean there are only so many scriptures you can read, carpets to vacuum, dishes to wash, and closets to organize! Thank goodness we live in a world with seriously entertaining people outside every window! Some of my favorite ones lately have been the ridiculously drunk people swaying down the street, laughing at like 645 am!)

3. One evening we had a rendezvous set up to teach with a member, but we got fruijed (stood up), so we did a consecrated hour of contacting with the member instead. I will admit that I didn't quite know how to respond when she offered a little bit of advice--that being that I shouldn't bear testimony to people because it was like I was imposing beliefs. huh. Some head scratching definitely went on with that little nugget of wisdom!!

4. I also realized that I am a terrible person! And you will only protest that until you hear what I did. This blind couple (ya, like husband and wife both totally blind) called us to help them do their grocery shopping with them. We were happy to do it because we didn't have any appointments scheduled for that morning. Long story short--the blind leading the blind really isn't the best way to go after all. Sister England starts walking down the hall leading Jacqueline, so I am getting the caddy and trying to grab Roger's arm to lead him, but somehow in the shuffle he managed to run into the wall. And not just a little foot bump or something, we're talking full on forehead smack with an echo, followed by some choice words! After I stifled back the quick giggle because of the fact that I just let this poor blind man run into a wall, I felt terrible! I kept thinking about that Parent Trap scene when Meredith goes, "sure you'll help me....right over a cliff you'll help me." So much for my attempt to be all selfless by helping the lame and afflicted or whatever!

5. I think I told you already that the current state of our work allows for many contacting opportunities! hehe. Which is great, except that a peculiar phenomenon has started to manifest itself. It seems that the number of consecrated hours/wk is directly related to the number of times you will be bisoux'd by old men on the street. And ya know what--for older men with canes, they maneuver the bise pretty dang swiftly!! I'm usually pretty good at sliding the handshake in there, but it happened TWICE this week!

6. Our ward has a new baby! We have been working with this less active sister who had her baby, Sariah, this week! She was in the NICU because whe was born a little early, but everything seems to be fine, she just needed to gain some weight. She is absolutely precious, and it was a lot of fun to be back in a hospital! (Though between you and me, she was a pretty dang white lookin' baby to have come from two African parents....just sayin!)

7. So we had been teaching Dibson, this Buddhist man we met contacting, but after he told us to pack our bags because we were going to Cameroon together for Christmas, we opted to give the elders a shot with him! It was definitely a new experience explaining that we do, in fact, have to stay in the country for the holidays! ,

8. We've had our fair share of blonde moments this week, including, but not limited to, getting lost running in the morning on three different days. Well not "lost" so much as "just not exactly found," because we did eventually make it home. They just turned into slightly more extensive workouts than we had anticipated! But the great thing about being lost in Paris is that you turn the corner and you're like, "oh look, there's another huge gothic cathedral," or "oh, huh, wonder what centuries-old national monument that is!?" (Did I mention that Sister England has permission to run for an hour every morning because of a knee problem? So we're seein some cool stuff with the extra time we have!)

9. Ok I also learned that I don't handle African heat very well. We had dinner with this family from Ghana and they made some awesome food!! But then there was this peper (im not sure how to spell it) sauce that you could put on the side, and i swear steam had to be issuing from my ears after a few drops!! They, of course, thought it was hilarious. I was just bugged I was such a wimp about it--I certainly wouldn't have held my own in the "spicy boys club," but Dad, you would have loved it!

10. The best Public Transportation moment of the week had to have been seeing a woman sit down on the metro, rummage in her purse a little, and whip out a piece of corn on the cob to start eating. Talk about being boy scout prepared!

11. We also saw many little miracles. We went to teach Pamela (a less active young adult) and had in mind to commit her to praying for the courage to ask her boss for Sundays off, so she can come to church. Well, when we got there she told us how a couple weeks earlier she had been praying for help finding someone to replace her at work, and she was able to find someone! We were like, hey you took the words right out of our mouths!

Another one was when we taught Fabiola (an investigator). We asked how things were going with the Book of Mormon. She explained that she had a hard time understanding what she was reading, but then added, "But what's strange and hard to describe is that I still feel really good when I read it." Hullo!! It was awesome talking about what that meant great to be able to talk about the spirit and why she can feel that way! She's asking all the right questions and has committed to be baptized when she feels it's true, so she's got a good start. Now she just needs to start putting her faith into action. She said she would come to church next week, so I'm excited to see how things go!

12. And then.... there was church. K, "three ring circus" doesn't even begin to describe the mayhem and havoc that was this week's 7 hour church adventure!! I'm not going to even try to describe it, but we walked out of the building afterwards and I just burst out laughing. Honestly there was nothing else to do (except maybe go home and eat some nutella hehe)! I love that as a missionary as much as you might like to think you have things figured out, you really never know what is going to happen next!

13. We also had zone conference and a sisters exchange this week. I don't have much time to tell about them, but they were AWESOME!! We have 27 sisters right now and Sister Staheli wanted us to get to know each other and feel a strength in numbers, so she and president organized a day at the mission home for all of us to get together. They spoke to us, we had a question and answer session (better believe someone asked about President Staheli proposing to Sister Staheli), and we finished up at consecration hill. (I will admit to feeling slightly like a walking advertisement for a cult with like 28 women traveling through the city with 3 men, but it was still great!) And Zone Conference is always such a nice boost. I don't know how the Staheli's do it, but they somehow manage to inspire you while basically hammering obedience!

Among other things, President talked about the children of Israel and how it was "mischief" that kept them from being allowed to enter the promised land. And then he talked about how we can't let mischief get in the way of realizing the miracle of 2010. It is so close and it would be so sad if we didn't take advantage of this incredible experience the Lord has offered us. And then he shared a quote from President Lee that said something like, "A testimony is as illusive as a moonbeam and it's as fragile as an orchid. You have to recapture it every single morning of your life. If you don't do something about it, that which is yours today won't be yours tomorrow." He talked about how we can't get distracted, but need to be searching steadfastly and obedient in order to recapture our testimonies every day, because we really do have moonbeams to share!

Anyway, a whole bunch of rambling!!! All in all, life is great. I feel so lucky to be here, but right now, we gotta run. Sure love you guys! I'm prayin for ya!

Love you lots and lots,