Monday, July 11, 2011

Celebrate Good Times!

Happy 4th of July Family!!!

Seriously can't believe you got to see David Archuleta....again. AND for one of the best holidays of the year. Well, I guess I should just be happy that you are celebrating appropriately! Speaking of, we figured we only have the excuse to be super annoyingly patriotic Americans in Paris once a year, so despite the momentary regret of not having packed my fake blue eyelashes into my mission trunks (i know, total oversight), Soeur Smith and I managed to pull together quite the festive ensemble. Haha, we might be the only ones who actually think we are funny, but we sure think it's hilarious walking side-by-side looking like someone just puked red, white, and blue all over us!

After all, we are going to the Hagemann's for an All American fete (remember this is the may the fourth be with you-mary poppins lady). Though, when Sister Hagemann was giving me instructions we did have a pretty good laugh over the fact that out of the twelve of us missionaries here, only 4 are actually American. Which really just makes things even more fun, because we totally have another excuse to dress up on Bastille Day!! (I feel like Tara these days, but heck any excuse to dress up!)(and this is random and ironic, but we totally had la marseillaise stuck in our heads all morning in our apartment.....don't worry--we sang a rousing round of the Star-Spangled Banner for our opening song during comp study to make up for it.) Anyway, we also decided that it would be in keeping with the spirit of celebration to go to the Army Museum today and since we have some other things we have to do, this e-mail is gonna have to be brief (you may breathe your sigh of relief now).

So, this week's REASONS to CELEBRATE!!!

1. We can celebrate because Mikey, bless his heart, still looks after us. Just as he did months ago when I was serving in Paris Lilas (funny how things come full circle), one night as we were leaving the church this week, we said goodbye and he yells after us, "k be careful!!! You're too pretty to get raped."

2. We set a baptismal date with Zdroskov. Yeah, it has taken much practice muttering that name to finally get it down. Remember mine and Soeur Clark's bulgarian mamma friends from like way back last year? And do you remember the Bulgarian mamma introducing me to her son at church just a couple months ago and telling us to, and i quote, "make love and conversation?" Well, the son, Zdroskov, came to church again a while back and said his mom wanted to send me a hug and kiss (funny sister missionary moment), and we started talking to him about the church and his mom being a member and why he wasn't baptized, etc. We asked him if he wanted to be baptized and he said no because he needed to change his name first (something to do with being from an old soviet country) or some other sort of ridiculous notion like that, so we gave him a book of mormon in bulgarian and that was that.

Well, he shows up to church a few weeks ago, pulls us aside saying he has something important to talk to us about (yeah....i'll be honest, i think we were both still expecting like marriage proposal 10 of the transfer to go down). And then continued by saying that after he left last time, he thought about it and that he wants to be baptized this month. So, long story short, we taught him with a member and he really does seem sincere. So, we are celebrating the beginning of what is sure to be quite the adventure trying to get Zdraskov ready to be baptized on July 24th. Let's just say we will be praying extra fervently for the gift of tongues, because holy cow this man speaks broken franglais like no other i have ever met. Case in point: "Je build my future famille à God." Good times baby!!

3. I am definitely celebrating the end of that concert! I mean, don't get me wrong--the concert was wonderful, there was a great spirit, and there were some really good new investigators found from it, but the stress leading up to it... let's just say I think my companion was just as relieved as I was to have it over. So, yes, I did end up doing as I was asked, stopped being difficult and sang a solo (I know that My Redeemer Lives) . It was cute, afterwards, Soeur Smith was congratulating one of the chinese twins on how well she did (she is like the best flutist i have ever heard) and the other one came over and was like, "hey! i helped too! My job is to calm her." And Soeur Smith was like, "yes that was my job too. So good job!!!" And seriously, Soeur Smith was and is an angel! And so that's exactly what I told President Poznanski when he asked me about my companion during interviews. Which, brings me to my last bullet....

4. Meeting the Poznanski's (still not sure how to spell that name....oops) was great! They are super nice, approachable, and it will be great having a French couple leading the mission. (He is the first French Mission President for this mission, and only the second French one ever.) They did everything in French, which was different. Though, of course, different doesn't mean bad, just different. And our interviews with President were brief, but he was very complimentary, and then said that a lot can be done in three weeks and that he really wants me to focus on teaching my companion all that I can so that she can teach the gospel as well as I can before I go (apparently he told her to be a vampire and suck out all of my knowledge, haha). So, I'll do my best, but really I learn more from Soeur Smith every day than I could possibly teach her. So, at least two things are certain--we will be learning a lot together in these next few weeks and we can celebrate having a wonderful new mission president!

Ok, well, sorry for the lame e-mail, but know that things are going great! We're celebrating the good times we're having in style and hope you're doing the same! I love you lots and lots!!!

Bisous, Jordan

p.S. as far as other celebratory news goes--Lou is also getting baptized the 23rd!! Bowchikawowow!!!

pss, so that means when making our travel plans, we need to be in paris on sat & sun for the baptisms

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Colorful Adventures!

Hello Dearest Family,

I was surprised to read this morning that everyone was currently at Lake Powell, but I'm excited for you because it sounds like adventures will certainly NOT be lacking this year. Starting off strong there aren't ya Dad?! hahahahah too good. I love that the only thing John was concerned about was the steak dinner he almost had. Classic Johnny Bravo!! Well, I hope you all have such a fun week with the red cliffs, blue skies and clear green water (now that i say that out loud, maybe having green water isn't super comforting...hmmm), because I can assure you we have had quite the colorful week over in these parts!

So, naturally, this email must begin with me wishing you all a happy end of gay pride week! With the location of our church (ie located in the heart of the gay quarter of paris, in case you weren't au courant. gives the name 'gay paris' some new meaning,doesn't it? and the fact that our apartment is right by the Bastille, it was quite the interesting, scarring, or maybe just colorfully questionable experience every time we left the apartment this week. I guess I should just be counting my blessings that we don't have to walk around wearing matching shirts and ties!

This week was also kind of colorful, because we started teaching someone new who is awesome and so sweet and like threw her arms around my neck when we gave her a book of mormon "in ENGLISH!!!!" And who also may, or may not be, a working girl....if you know what I mean. (I may or may not have started humming Lovely Ladies from Les MIs to my companion as we were walking home from that rendezvous.....) hey! even more need for the gospel right?! K, suddenly i feel like this missionary email is going to need some serious editing in order to be appropriate for all audiences.....go figure. haha.

As far as good, clean missionary color goes--I, am still deathly afraid of spiders. I guess some things just never change--remember the high knees incident that Rebecca imitates so well? Yeah, well, this time the spider dream I had somehow ended up with me like throwing my covers off and KOWA-BUNGA-ing (uh?????) off the top bunk in the middle of the night because there was a big red juicy spider coming down its web into my bed. Seriously, it's a miracle I didn't land on a desk or chair and die! That's a long ways down! And the following night, Soeur Didier was apparently really frustrated with someone in her dream and started getting a little colorful (clean,but hilarious) in her screaming sleep talking complaints. Somehow sleep talking is just that much more entertaining when it is in French.

And mommy dearest, you can rest assured that soeur smith is taking good care of me, despite my recent ridiculously frustrating illness (i get sick ONE other time my entire mission and then,of course,i have to get slammed my last transfer.....grr). Apparently, I'm not very good at eating "green stuff" (as i have taken to calling it as of late), so Soeur Smith and the others have ganged up on me to make sure my diet stays colorful enough. Last night, Soeur Smith turns to me and goes, "Okay now.....Sister Pearce. This is what we call a vegetable...." So don't worry, they are nursing me back to health and we're getting ready for some more colorful adventures this week.

The highlight of the week, though, was definitely zone conference. Of course, being me, I had been dreading giving a departing testimony for weeks, but I ended up being grateful for the opportunity to thank the Staheli's and all my comarades for the difference they have made in my mission, and of course to thank Heavenly Father for giving me this wonderful opportunity, despite my severe blonde tendencies!

And it was so nice to get to hear from President and Sister Staheli one more time. They really are just amazing! I had been holding all my emotions together about going home and saying goodbye to the Staheli's all pretty well, (all things considered) UNTIL we stood to sing the mission song. And, let's just say smeared make-up and puffy eyes aren't my best look. Maybe not quite Kelsie at My Dog Skip, but the tears were definitely streaming uncontrollably and I'm fairly certain the assistants were struggling to keep from laughing at me up on the stand.

It was just the whole atmosphere of it--the spirit, 5 zones all together with missionaries in suits, standing proudly and singing with all our hearts about being the army of the france paris mission, and just the realization that this is actually going to come to an end. I don't want to say that I have been living in denial, because I know that it is natural and good for missions to finish and I am so excited to come home, but I guess I have just been going about this transfer like any other because this is what I am right now. This is what I do and it it just "normal."

So the reality that this is actually my last transfer as a full-time missionary kind of came crashing down on me in the form of a lot of tears. All i can say is good thing we had three rendezvous that evening and didn't have any ice cream at home! haha. I apologize for all of this horrible rambling, I'm not very good about putting words to my feelings sometimes, but I guess what I am trying to express is gratitude.

I absolutely love being a missionary and am so grateful to be serving here and now. I think of the speech from Shakespeare's Henry V (that president shared at mission council a couple months ago) and really do think that "we few, we happy few,we band of brothers" are the luckiest kids in the world!! Not only is every day filled with one sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes hilarious, and at least, always colorful adventure after another, it is also an indescribable blessing to share the happiness of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. To be able to testify of the reality of the Atonement and of the Plan of Salvation, to be able to feel the sweet spirit as someone prays to a Heavenly Father who loves them for the very first time, or to get to see with poignant clarity how the power of the book of mormon changes lives.....among countless others, these really are just indescribable blessings.

So I guess it is a little bittersweet. Somewhat bitter to know that this chapter is coming to a close (though, just like reading the final chapters of harry potter, I am holding on to my last three weeks with some tenacity i will have you know!) But very, very sweet to know that I can carry these memories forever and to know that they have hopefully become part of who I am, who I have become these last 18 months, and hopefully a part of the chapters to come.

I was grateful during personal study this week to have studied chapter 1 in Preach my gospel (that talks about Our Purpose) and to re-read the quote that talks about the most important work of the Lord that we will EVER do is within the walls of our own home. I thought it was really interesting that this quote was included in the first chapter of this guide book for full-time missionary service, and as I read it and thought about it, the sweet confirmation came that really my mission is only but beginning and now I get to move on to the adventure of applying all of these wonderful things I have learned. So, like I said, I am just grateful. I don't deserve to be so blessed, but I am sure grateful!

So thank you!!!! Thank you for being the most wonderful family in the world! You guys really are the best and I am looking forward to hearing all about the colorful adventures of Lake Powell next week! In the meantime, this horribly scattered and probably too sappy (sorry!) ramble session is going to have to end, because we have to run off to a mangez-vous! I love you and miss you!

Love, Jordan

Monday, June 13, 2011


Hey dearest family!

How are ya?!!! I can't believe the kids are out of school already. Seriously, I don't know what happened to this last month. It has absolutely flown by. What are the first things on the summer docket?

This last week was awesome, and the highlight, of course, was Anne-Sophie's baptism! You know you have issues when you hear yourself say out loud, "I'm getting a little stressed because this baptism is just not stressful enough." But for real, preparing this baptism was like no other baptism I have ever planned.

The ward is awesome and Anne Sophie is like the most self-sustaining investigator ever (did I ever mention she already finished the whole book of mormon? or that she brought her laptop to one of our rendezvous this week to show us the baptismal program she started making on her own? yeah....i'm for real.), so everything went down without a single hitch.

The spirit was wonderful and Anne-Sophie pulled such a typical "Anne-Sophie" getting out of the font. I guess she had stepped on her dress when she went under the water, so it was kind of tricky coming back up, but she pulled herself up trying to remain all dignified about it and then just blurts, "c'est bon? ok," and turns around to walk out. Very much the matter-of-fact, get down to business, cut the small talk, Anne-Sophie we all love!

And even though she spent all sunday morning in the emergency room and just about fell over walking back to her seat, she got the Holy Ghost, was sustained as a member, and is now no longer only a "half member" as she called herself Saturday night, because her baptism was complete! Seriously, she is awesome. Not even ending up in the hospital kept her from getting to church to be confirmed! (take that satan.) And I know I've told you before how she is just SO French, but we had a very tender moment with her this week.

Last week in church President Gaston talked some about the importance of taking the people you love in your arms to tell them that you love them. And since Anne-Sophie is all about putting the gospel into practice, she told us about how she went home and did that with her roommates and how they were hilariously awkward about it and not used to it, but that she felt good after. And then asked if she could hug us and tell us that she loved us. K, my heart just about melted?! So simple, I know. But a HUG? From Anne-Sophie? It was huge!!!!!! Bit of a tender moment.

Speaking of tender/emotional moments. We watched the Joseph Smith movie with her the day before her baptism in the visitor's center, and one of the elders who was working the center came in to watch some of it with us, but then slipped out towards the end, and afterwards was like, " was getting a little too emotional in there...." Apparently, Soeur Smith and I practically in sobs and sniffling into tissues was a little too much "feeling" for him to handle! That, or he didn't know if he would be able to keep from laughing at our patheticness (is that a word?) very much longer, I don't know! Funny, nonetheless. I guess the little Bingham boy who came up to me in church last week and said, "Girl missionaries aren't missionaries, they are missionariettes" may have been on to something!

Okay, well I have more to tell you, but I think it may have to wait until next week. More important than all this rambling, anyway, is that you know how much I love you. I miss you, and if I could take you in my arms, I would, but just know i'm blowing big kisses for you to catch! You guys are the best and I hope Halle and Josh are having fun running outside on the street getting their Indian feet ready for summer adventures and boy scout challenges!

Love you,

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Where to begin?

Family Dearest,

Let's just set the record straight once and for all--despite my as-of-late horrible emailing habits, I really do love you! I think you are the best family in the world. That said, I just don't even know where to begin telling you about all the horrific, hysterical, spiritual, and just down right crazy adventures we've been having lately.

Especially when I am currently completely wiped out from a day out at the French Open. (For those who didn't hear, there were some people from BYU's presidents council (or something like that) that came to Paris, and my companion and I were able to spend the day with them at the French Open serving as their translators) Can I just say--so much fun!? Djokovic is great, but I just don't think anyone else compares to watching Federer play. He is just too good, and it's fun to actually be able to understand his french now, even if he does have the horrible Swiss accent thing going on! And the BYU people were so nice. So anyway, I feel like we have had some pretty dang sweet p-days lately.

Did I tell you about the Paris scavenger hunt we did last week with a bunch of the elders? Well if not, the most important detail I guess would be to assure you that, despite all the cockiness and trash talk that the elders were throwin down before the hourglass was turned, we totally handed them their behinds on a silver platter. Satisfying? oh yeah! The Scavenger hunt had different things you could get pictures of or do to get certain points. (one example film yourself singing the mission song in front of the Eiffel Tower)

the rules were as follows:
1. only one camera per team
2. must have at least two missionaries in each picture or video unless otherwise noted
3. will be docked one point for every minute late coming back for first ten mins and two for every minute after that
4. other than that all goes

so of course i added the no eye gouging rule!!!

And the work is going pretty dang SUH-WEETLY as well!! Our Elders had 4 baptisms last week that were so good--regular old dunking machine font going on! And then there are a few more in our ward scheduled for the beginning of June and, of course, we have Anne-Sophie's baptism this coming Saturday! We have a pretty crazy week already getting ready for that and all the other things going on, but I'm just lovin' it! Sometimes I laugh at how easy it has been to get Anne-Sophie ready to be baptized, because maybe it's just a lack of faith on my part, but somehow I always feel like it should be harder than this. She is just that golden! When we sit down and tell her what we're going to talk about that day, she practically teaches us the lesson and I just start laughing so hard (which I think she likes haha)! Anyway, we can hardly wait for Saturday, and I wish I could tell you how excited Anne-Sophie is, because you would love it! (Oh this is totally a random side note, but speaking of baptisms--Marie Laure fixed a date for June 25th! Apparently she is insistent that she get baptized before I leave the country, but she hasn't been able to get work off yet, so I'm praying that her step of faith will make things all work out. And don't worry--we have had the talk about not getting baptized for people....

Okay, well I'm just going to bullet point some of the highlights of the last while and hope they make some sort of sense!!! Good luck.

1. Soeur Smith telling a story that included the phrase, "when I had a child." Don't worry--we took care of it!

2. Making these little Muslim girls sing I am a child of God and read from the Book of Mormon.....stellar Sister Pearce signature move.

3. Followed (seriously, I was just on a roll this week) by an unforgettable english class that unraveled into quite the horrible and/or hilarious mess remarkably quick after the suggestion (supplied of course by yours truly) of starting out by sharing first kiss stories in an attempt to practice speaking and anecdote telling. Good intentions, maybe, but big time OOPS! Hey, gotta learn somehow, right?!

4. Teaching a member, at his request, how to properly use "to cut his head off" in a sentence.

5. Experiment gone bad that resulted in the stark conclusion that elder Gubbay is still taller than me when I am standing on a church chair. (he is 6 ft 7)

6. Being invited to a member mangez-vous that included us, a super precocious and informed young couple (that has not been living in the mission bubble for the last long while), and then a husband pediatric gastroenterologist and a wife MIT PhD grad, whose own father invented like some catalyst thingymajigger that was used to convert something into some sort of useable energy that, EVIDENTLY, revolutionized the automobile industry and ended him up in the Inventor's Hall of Fame (which, begs the question--who knew that existed?! and ps those are all the really technical terms for those thingies that i was using. just thought I should clarify.) As you can tell, Soeur Smith and I had a whole lot to contribute to that dinner time conversation! When we walked in the apartment and told the other sisters about it, Soeur Williams responds with a, "Were you afraid to say anything?" haha, so funny! But, really, it was such a nice evening at their home and we were grateful to have a little taste of America again. And to get to bask in the presence of such genius--even if it made me go home feeling like a royal idiot! (But, that kind of relates to one of my favorite quotes from this movie the Area Presidency had us watch this week at leadership training (called the Quest)--"It keeps a man humble to make him admit he's a complete dodo.")

7. And hilarious exchanges, of which, stories will have to wait until next week (parts of which you can stalk on my companion's blog...pretty good stuff, let me tell ya!)

Anyway, sorry for that rushed hodge-podge. is that a word? I don't know, but I do know that is a sign that I need to stop. Have a great week gang and know that I absolutely love being a missionary and I love you to eternity! Cheesin it up this week, I know.

Love, Jordan xoxo

P.S. Tell Stephanie congratulations! Even if I am totally bummed I can't be there, I'm excited for them.

pss to mother dearest--have you been stalking soeur smith's blog for updates?(

pps J&M that is so awesome about state!!!! And I got such a kick out of those girls that john was johnny bravoing it up for.....too good!!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Wanna know what?

Hey Gang!!

How are ya dearest family? Actually, after reading your emails, i think the better question would be, "are ya dead man?" Seriously! Your guys' craziness makes me feel like I'm out here on a vacation getting 8 hours of sleep every night. But, everything sounded totally SUH-WEET!

I can't believe johnny almost let his prom date fall down the stairs. ONE JOB dude!! (Kinda funny though, in a certain way hehe.) Mattmoos--what's new as far as your love life goes? I don't think I have had a good update lately about you???? Hullo, sister needing details here?! So cool that Joshy man was first pick for the draft! Way to represent studly brother! Happy Birthday halle baby!!! I'm still laughing about your smoochy smooch letter. Do you still do the diva dance? And when is your last gymnastics meet this season?

Oh and speaking of hilarious letters--i am still not over how hilarious grampa's letter and picture were. We all laughed our heads off! Too good and so classic grampa. (Still looks as tan as ever i might add) I'm glad your birthday trip out to Disneyland was fun Tara! I really do think it is one of the happiest places on earth (or whatever they claim it is...i forget), so I hope you made sure to get a good princess picture in!

(Okay, just slightly interrupted by the assistants calling and asking me to give the spiritual thought at mission council on friday. Ugh. I think I have had about enough calls from them lately. just kidding! kinda.... ha)

Anyway, I sure do love hearing from you guys and the happenings and craziness ensuing over there across the pond. So thanks for the good updates! You're the best. You really are! I know I've been a pretty big
slacker lately, and now I feel like there has been so much happening here that I don't even know where to begin or what you even care to hear. I'll just have to cross my fingers that I don't bore you to death and that there might be some recent happenings you actually wanna know. So, I'll just start rambling and hope something sensical (is that a word? This could be tough....) comes out.

1. Wanna know my reaction when I got a call from the Assistants on Friday asking if I would be willing to train in Paris, as in St. Merri? I think saying that it took me a few minutes to pick my jaw back up off the ground would be an understatement. After interviews and just transfer logics, I figured training here in caen or being transferred to Paris were possibilities. But never once did it cross my mind that the combination of
whitewashing and training in paris would be an option. Let's just say, I am glad I know they are inspired, cuz otherwise I think I'd be freaking out that I was about to send the mission into shambles. It'll be one heck of an adventure, that is for sure. And I am really excited to be heading back to Paris! And this time I will be on the other side of the apartment-- the one with the good closets. hehe.

2. Wanna know some of the best knews of the week? Yosephe is getting baptized May 8th!!!!!! About time is right! She first met with missionaries in 1998. And I think she is actually leaning towards being
baptized in the font at the church instead of in the ocean. She is still as hilarious and quirky as ever, so I am kinda sad to be missing the baptism because I am sure she will do or say something outrageous. But, I am so excited for her and I am grateful for your prayers for her. I am sure they helped her be able to take that last step of faith.

3. Wanna know one of my new favorite French fetes? That would be the carnival étudiant. Actually I don't know if it is France-wide, or if it is just one of the perks of living in a university city. But, I think Tara's
recent woodstock party must have moved up here, because the best way I can describe it is Mardi Gras meets Halloween Soddom and Gomorrah style. My personal favorite sightings were a group of bearded men dressed up as ballerinas in little pink tutus and leotards, a barrel of beer, and plenty of speedos. It was refreshing to see some french people really get into the "holiday spirit" or what have you, and go all out, even if you had to be really careful where you looked all afternoon!

4. Wanna know one of the most recent DOOZIES? Like seriously, this one I still just can't help but laughing about. Mostly to keep from throwing my hands in the air and giving up. So setting the scene--sunday school class for the investigators and recent converts. The lesson is about scriptures, what they are, why we have them, etc. Basics. Goin' great. Then out of NOWHERE, the teacher (mind you this isn't the normal teacher) drops the urim and thummim bomb. Okay, manage to navigate that one okay--investigators
seemed to have already been pretty au courant with that one. Phewf, bullet dodged. But, of course, we couldn't just quit there. OH NO. We had to continue on, and don't ask me how in the world this tied in, to talk about the "super secret temple room where the prophet and apostles talk with Jesus." I didn't even dare look at the investigators again at that point. I was too focused trying NOT to make eye contact with any other missionaries because I knew I would burst out laughing, like "yeah. that really did just happen." Good vun (said in steve martin pink panther voice).

5. Wanna know how it went down wearing high heels again? (someone asked me about this a while ago, so feel free to skim if it wasn't you) Let's just say I was a bit out of practice, so it was probably a good thing that smartypants had forced me to practice by wearing them to the district meeting the day before we left to New york. I'm sure we looked absolutely ridiculous (heels=very not practical missionary attire), but at least it was good comic relief because I kept falling all over the place. I may or may not have almost taken Elder Rueckert down with me once....or twice. Bad.

6. Wanna know what i think i forgot to tell you forever ago? Zeinabe ( in versailles) got baptized and is doing great!!

7. Wanna know why we gave up our attempt to start running again? Because after jumping a fence, scaling what felt like a cliff (though really only like a 15 foot stone wall), two holes in the pants, and a battle wound
bruise, we ended up popping out of that random street by the Parc des Expositions.....meaning like the far end of La Prairie. Meaning a lot more than we bargained for. All in one morning. We decided we'd deal with those fun feeling-like-you're-going-to-die-panting-experiences once we get home.

8. Wanna know a tried and definitely true method to gain over a kilo in a single evening? Get invited to go eat Raclette at the Pintos. They are the portugese couple that marisela is living with and they are absolutely the nicest people in the world! They've come to church a couple times and we've seen them a couple times, but I don't know how interested they really are. Still, they have started to read the book of mormon and we had a great soirée with them. Good food. Good chatting. Not as good on the scale the next morning! But, totally worth it. (And I think we even scored some points by taking them a thank you note and flowers a couple days later!)

9. Wanna know one of the best things I have ever heard elder holcombe say? Well, he was telling me about this joseph smith class he is going to be taking summer semester and just joking that on the final, he'll just like bubble in the scan tron to spell out "I know that Joseph Smith lives." And, you know me. I can't help myself, so i was like, "oh yeah? Joseph Smith lives does he? Does he live in that super secret temple room too?" And he was like, "Dangit! I've been teaching the wrong things the last two years." Maybe you had to be there, but it was almost as good as cassidy's "primeape" comment. I had a good laugh at any rate!

10. Wanna know one of the most satisfying feelings in the world? picture this: samedi sports with the JA (young single adults). sun is blazing over the volleyball field. 4 missionaries (ie americans) vs. everyone else (ie the french...okay and africans). And we finished the day with three solid wins in a row! We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. And soeur smart and I chuckled together after about how funny it was to see holcombe and rueckert start covering more and more area on our side of the net when points got a little more tight there that last game! But, believe me--I was more of the shove-me-down-if-you-have-to-but-we-have-to-win opinion, so i had no problem with the keep-the-ball-away-from-the-girls-strategery whatsoever! I was just proud to have kept my liability status to a minimum and we had a lot of fun. (didn't hurt that we won either haha)

The JAs in the branch are seriously so great, especially now that they have set up an official JA center in Caen. I totally get why the area presidency has been focusing so much on JA support over here, because they are such a good strength to branches and wards. I mean here in Caen, the young mens president, half of the branch presidency, the primary presidency, young womens counselor, elders quorum counselors, dmp, seminary teachers, and plenty of other leadership callings that are currently evading me, are filled by young adults (albeit, a couple of them are married ones). Anyway....yeah, sorry for that digression.

11. Wanna know how great it was to finally beat Elder Holcombe in ping pong? So good. Words don't do it justice. Plus, added satisfaction of knowing in advance that we had reached at least one of our transfer goals! haha.

12. Wanna know why we might be thrust down? Because we stole toilet paper from the church. If I say, "desperate times..." does that sound too much like justification? ;)

13. Wanna know an important packing tip for future missionaries? Ear plugs. Last week on exchanges I woke up in the middle of the night and felt like I was sleeping between a hibernating bear (ie my dearest companion who will probably kill me for saying this, but she was sick, so its okay. plus she told our district about a really embarrassing dream i had, so i dont even feel that bad! side story about this--we were teasing her about snoring one day and she was like, "come on! among ALL my perfections, I have ONE flaw, etc" So dang funny! While she still insists she was joking, we all know the truth and haven't let her forget it! Classic soeur smart!! Oh man, I love her.) and a dragon (ie the water heater in the brussels
apartment that makes noises you wouldn't believe!). So, ear plugs are not only handy for exchanges and companions, but also neighbors who sometimes provide nighttime entertainment you don't want to hear.

Okay and just to even the playing field, i will admit that I am probably not the best sleeping companion either. Smartypants has informed me that I have giggling tendencies while I sleep, and that occasionally, right as I'm falling asleep, I snort once. Plenty of comp unifying moments when you share 24/7
together, right?!

14. On that subject....wanna know why I am in denial? Because Sister Smart is leaving. Seriously, I think I am going to be a wreck on Wednesday! Gonna have to employ the compartmentalizing techniques again, I guess. I mean, it really doesn't get better than serving with one of your best friends. You get to share wonderful spiritual experiences and you know you've always got each other's back when things aren't going quite so well. You know how the other one will teach and contact, and it's just easy. And so much fun! We probably laugh together too much, but seriously Plus, I think we make a pretty good team. People have told us that soeur smart is "super classe" and that i am "super pétillante." So, I figure she gets us credibility and respect from her classiness and we make people feel comfortable with my "pétillance" because they can rest assured that I am always on the verge of saying/doing something "stupider" than them.

(Speaking of, did I ever mention that during lunch after interviews the other day President was teasing me hard core about fulfilling my role of always being the one to say the wrong thing? Man, he was just on a roll
that day! So funny.) I have loved our last three transfers together and I have learned so much from her. (I think she has been really good for my stress tendencies, because she is so NOT a stresser.) Anyway, I really am excited for her to be going home and getting on with things, but I am going to miss her. Plus, I don't know what I am going to do losing half of my wardrobe all of a sudden!

15. Wanna know one of my favorite days of the transfer? Cleaning day. Yeah, sure the shower might be something I dread for days in advance, but waging war on the room-of-requirement-like missionary closets is always quite the gratifying feeling. So liberating! Nothing better than throwing out garbage bags of crap (scuze the french). Though, what's incredible is that as many transfers in a row that we throw out bag after bag after bag of, what seems to be, decades old junk, there still seems to be plenty left to go around for the next transfer. Chalk it up to Heavenly Father providing us with simple pleasures I guess.

16. Wanna know what a lot of the JAs here call me now? Walt Disney. Not my favorite, but, things could probably be worse. Ambroise is the one who started it, because he insists that when i sing disney songs I sound just like the disney princesses. But, I am reassurred knowing that Ambroise's nickname is meatball. Like i said....things could be worse!

17. Wanna know how great the new senior couple in Coutances is? So great (im sorry, i didn't know how to respond to that one....i think i needed to quit a few bullet points ago)! I think they are starting to get over their culture shock a little, but they are hilarious! And they are so nice. They took us to mont st. michel last week (which was great!) and then we get in the car and elder wilkins was like, "hey as long as we're out here, would you guys care if we went out to the american cemetary out here?" Of course we didn't mind and were excited. Well, like after a two hour search and many many circles, we finally finally pulled up in front of the place and I just started laughing when we saw the sign, "brittany american cemetary." Quite the p-day adventure that ended up with us out in Bretagne. oops!!

Totally didn't intentionally leave our zone, but hey! Now we can both say we've been to Bretagne. I really do love this couple. When they first got here, they were just kinda curious to see our aparment, so calling it an
unofficial inspection, they came back with us from district meeting to just see what it was like. And because we hadn't been planning on it, we just about almost died when elder wilkins went up and started reading some of the sticky notes on our quote wall! Not because they are bad or anything, but without context some of them would need a lot of explanation. Luckily, sister wilkins had some girl sense and was like, "kurt. stop it kurt. those are personal!" But, that was really close to a big OOPS moment. Definitely gonna have to remember to take down our inside joke quote wall before we move out.

18. Wanna know who I am really going to miss leaving Caen? Marie Laure. She is seriously the best investigator ever! She has such a big heart, loves church, loves meeting with us, wants to do what's right and change, and is progressing like you wouldn't believe. And I love her. I am dreading saying goodbye, but I know that's how it goes. I am very grateful for the experiences we've had reading the Book of Mormon with her and the sweet moment we had when she started praying for the first time. I will always remember how that spirit felt and how grateful I was for the my testimony and that I could share it and see the light come into her eyes and the excitement of it all in her voice. She just soaks it all up and was definitely prepared by Heavenly Father to accept the Gospel now. Amazing how he looks after each one of us. Anyway, I know i don't do her justice, but she will be baptized in the next couple transfers and she'll be a great relief society president or something!

19. Wanna know how much I love you?! I LOVE YOU TO INFINITY. And back. haha halle. can't beat that!) Seriously, you're the best. Thanks for being the best family ever! and I hope you have a great week.

Love, Jordan
ps tell diana thanks so much for the email this week!
pss ill have to tell you about the visiting americans who knew you, and the
middle aged member kissing my hand, and why sisters should never drive, and
our musical number for saladdin's baptism and my talk (tell joshy thanks so
much because i used his primary talk for part of the talk i gave at
saladdin's baptism) some other time when i haven't already bored myself to
death with my own babbling. goodness. i never did handle guilt trips very
well, so i think i may have over done it a bit this week. good luck

Tara, that cathedral I was telling you about is in amiens, they claim to have the head of john the baptist. pretty gross actually, but i don't know where they get off claiming that? why the heck would his head have ended up in these parts? i've also heard that there are a bunch of other places that claim to have his head too. Who knew a head could be such a hott comodity? (spelling is going really downhill these days) They might be a little distraught come the resurrection and the people who actually do have the head are suddenly headless. hmmmm.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Spring Fever!

Hello Dearest Family!!

I just have to start out by rubbing something in a little. Classy. Tactful. I know. But, rumor has it (ie the utah family that was visiting our ward on sunday) that things are still pretty chilly in Utah these days. Windy and cold. At least that was the report from our inside source. And rightly so, I feel it is my duty to let you know that Caen is absolutely gorgeous right now!!!

Spring is in full bloom and well on its way to summer. I am currently choosing to live in denial that it won't stay, despite the numerous claims from les caennais that insist that "c'est la normandie, so it won't stay and the weather always changes, etc....." For now I am choosing to believe that ignorance is bliss. And I assure you, our last week has been absolute bliss!

The skies are blue, blossoms are out on the trees, the grass has never looked so green (which also means that we get quite the show every time we pass by the big grass hills in front of the chateau....whether from people just wanting to soak up the sun or those who apparently want everyone to be very much aware that love is also in the evidently potent spring air....lovely.), the mornings are sunshiny, the afternoons are warm, even hott i'd dare say, and the birds are spreading their chirping cheer. I know I sound absolutely ridiculous being all fairytales and butterflies, but I just want to make sure to do a good enough job rubbing it in how currently beautiful life is out here.

Sure, I will admit that first weekend when soeur smart and i got off the train the week before christmas, with what felt like a bajillion suitcases, in the middle of a huge blizzard that all but shut down the entire city, and were then led to our little hole of an apartment with mold covering the whole fridge, a stench that reaked to high heaven, a sink that shocked us when we turned on the water, sheets that were dank and dirty, and no functioning source of heat.....i may have had a moment, or okay two, of doubt. But, I have been put in my place. That is for sure!

Normandie seems to have given us a case of spring fever. But the good thing about that is that we can hardly stand to be inside the apartment, so more adventures seem to be happening every day. Okay, well we don't actually have much time to email today, because we have a lot of rdvs to see apartments, but I just wanted to say hey, to say that things are going well, that I love you, that I miss you, and that I hope the sun is coming your way!!! Profitez-en!!

love, jordan xoxo

ps. i do promise i will give some actual updates soon.

Monday, April 4, 2011


Hey gang!!

How are ya?!! I'm glad to hear that there are still neverending, lively adventures on the homefront. Sure wish i could have been there for the TCU incident, but probably a better thing that me and my big mouth were plenty of thousands of miles away. Though, sounds like middle aged mamma bear didnt need back up anyway. Too good!! Seriously got a good chuckle out of that one. Also was pleased to hear that mom's traditional april fool's joke was still just about as successful as every other year. meaning she ended up walking around soaking wet all day instead of everyone else! hehe.

And I'm glad that the conference pj party went well and that people managed to eat the popcorn like human beings! dang, i miss you guys. I have pretty cool siblings, if i do say so myself. Every time i get letters from you, i make smartypants and the other elders listen to them, just cuz im so proud of you and think you're so great and funny. Okay, well recently it seems like there has just been so much going on that i dont even know where to begin nor how to pick and choose what to tell you.

So, we'll see how this week's blabbering session turns out. (It's probably a good thing i only have a few months left, cuz i don't know how many more of these emails you guys are going to be able to handle.) But, the other day i was thinking about mom and doing projects with her. Random, I know. And how I absolutely hate, but at the same time think it is super funny, how she will always say, "oh dangit," when she is thinking about how to do something, which of course sends me into a panic that we have just ruined this thing we have been working on for the last 72 hours straight.

I mean, we all know that when it comes to operating heavyduty machinery, building swingsets/bunkbeds, redoing electrical wiring, or anything of the sort, you are in good hands going to mom or lisa. (exhibit A: arizona swingset story 1996ish.) Things always turn out great in the end, so really there is no reason not to be completely confident, but that momentary "DANGIT" sometimes adds a little better "adventure"? to the project.

Well, I've decided, as of late, that that is very comparable to having your companion say, "oops." And you're like, oh great, "What does OOPS mean??!" Poor smartypants. She seems to be stuck with a companion that has more than the average share of OOPS moments. So, I figured I would share some of the most recent.

1. I don't think I ever told you this way back when, but jet lag does not do good things to my already spacy brain. One night a few days after we got back from New York, I didn't write in my journal. K, and I know that sounds dumb and would normally not be a big deal. I get that. BUT, that was my first night in almost 4.5 years of not writing in my journal. Totally ruined my streak and I was so not pleased!! Now i'm back to like 3 weeks in a row....grr/oops.

2. I got hiccups the other day while walking out of a rendezvous. But these were no normal hocquets. These were like frog chirps on steroids coming from my spasming diaphragm. I was echoing with like a 30m radius!! And when we walked to the bus stop by the house we were at, we saw that it was like a 15 minute wait, so we decided that we would just walk back home. So we started winding our way around the hippodrome and the people running laps kept laughing at me.

Then we get to centreville and people are like turning their heads to see where that atrocious noise is coming from, and then detecting the source, would smile and start laughing with us. Shared some nice moments with those people, though it felt like the longest hicuping walk of my life! Maybe not the best contacting method, but i will admit thinking it was pretty funny to see french people, who normally do a pretty good job ignoring us at all costs, like turning their heads to pay attention to us.

3. K, but the hiccups incident did come in handy later that day. We went to visit this older sister in the ward who can't walk. She is like 96 years old and after falling and having surgery a while ago, hasn't been able to really regain any mobility. She is adorable and like the spunkiest old lady you will ever meet--she always just goes on about how she keeps praying and hoping that the Lord will bless her to be able to walk again and everything.

K and she has this dog, named Tomy, that is about just as old and frail as she is, but has this horrible hacking cough. So, we're sitting there singing a hymn with this lady who has her favorites memorized cuz she can't really read anymore and takes her singing of hymns very seriously, and this dog comes over and is like hacking up a storm and making all these gagging noises right next to soeur smart's feet. K, you would not believe that these type of noises were coming out of this little dog! So, being the horrible person that I am, instead of focusing on the words and music we are singing, I all of a sudden have the image of this horrible hacking and gagging turning into a massive dog pukage onto soeur smart's coach shoes come into my mind. And I think you can commiserate with me that the image of soeur smart's reaction to that would be enough to send anyone into a fit of giggles.

I swear, i could not help myself! It just would not stop. Try as I might, every time i started singing again, all that would come out was laughing. Eventually, i just stopped singing for a little bit and had to go with the "i'm so sorry! i got the hiccups in the middle of that song." So, yeah, basically I'm a really bad person now. Giggling fit during a hymn plus lying to a little old lady.....oops!

4. So, we had a rendezvous with Marie laure last thursday at the church, because a member, who has two little kids, was supposed to come teach with us. And when we do rendezvous at the church, Gabrielle is usually pretty good and will just play with the toys in the nursery and just walks around to take turns on people's laps and stuff. She's sometimes been a little fussy when it gets close to nap time, but we have never seen her throw a tantrum like she did this last week. (She has been teething, though, bless her heart.)

So, eventually, I gave her a cookie to see if that would at least keep her content to finish the lesson. K bad idea. major oops! She managed to get cookie everywhere and then in the cleaning it off her face and dress process, the crying turned to sobbing to complete hysterics. So then, smartypants and I are just making royal idiots of ourselves practically pulling out the tap shoes to burst out in a song, dance, and puppet show in order to get it to stop. K, i dumped out like all the buckets of toys. we tried everything, but gabrielle would not stop crying!!! So, we were finally like, ok quick prayer and let's get out of here.

Then Marie Laure was like, "maybe it's cuz she hasn't seen the Freres. Are they here?" I said I didn't know, but would go check. Turned out they were there working on their fiche for the DMB meeting we had after, and when they walked around the corner and smiled at Gabrielle, she was all of a sudden like all butterflies, squeals and giggles. I, on the other hand, was like, "you have got to be dang kidding me!!!" It was pretty funny though. And a good clear object lesson in why mom AND dad are necessary. And not just for logistical purposes. You need mom to do all the dirty diapers, feeding, dealing with the fevers and hysterics of the teething child, and then you need dad to come in for laughing and play time. Seriously.....ridiculous!

5. Oh, almost forgot to tell you how long hair can be a serious hazard on public transportation. One afternoon, it was kinda a tight squeeze, but we got on the tram and then i went to go validate my pass and realized with a swift and painful yank backwards, that i couldn't go validate my pass, because my hair was trapped in the tram door. I tried to pull it out, but there was to much of it and it felt like it was ripping, so i just handed my pass to soeur smart to validate and i waited, with my head tilted to the side and some of the girls around us laughing, to get it out at the next stop. Seriously didn't know that could happen!! Oops....Still, though, much better than the NYC-hand-in-the-elevator incident of 1993. At least this time the police didn't have to be called in for the extrication!

Okay, I'm so sorry, but time has just gotten away from me and I haven't even said anything! But, it looks like OOPS' 6-10 will have to continued next week, cuz we have to run. But, know that I miss you and that I love you so much!! You guys are wonderful. Don't know how i got so lucky.

Love, Jordan xoxo

Sunday, March 27, 2011

New York! New York!


Sorry, this will be a quick letter, we are still trying to get adjusted to being back and have a lot to do today.

We went to the hudson theatre every day and listened to different panels discussing and debating women's issues from around the world. There were some really impressive women there with incredible stories. So even though it was a little heart wrenching and eye opening to things that really happen, even in our own country, it was also comforting to know there are people willing to get to work and fight to do something about these horrible situations. I was blown away by Melinda Gates. She is such a classy, intelligent, on-top-of-it woman! And I thought condoleeza Rice was amazing.

Bill Clinton is way taller than i thought and has major bear paw hands, but was surprisingly funny at the dinner interview. (k but not like big, just really uber long fingers.) And the DVF (Diane Von Furstenburg) awards where soeur smart was honored along with 4 other women) were held at a totally decorated United Nations building. It was kinda surreal actually seeing how a "hollywood" type dinner party goes down, so i don't think i would do it justice trying to describe it. (And unfortunately i didn't really get any pictures of that evening....ya know the whole "don't be the tacky tag along" dilemma. :) But Soeur smart's little 2 minute acceptance speech was great and the panel she did the next day was probably the most
effective 5 minutes of "proselyting" we've seen all transfer! Anyway, all in all it was a totally fun, brain-cramming week!

We came back exhausted, but now we are recuperated and dad was right that running does help get over jet-lag quicker. Though, it also pointed out very quickly and poignantly how horribly out of shape i have gotten since coming to caen. Goodness I've got some work to do!

The first couple days back were a little rough because we were just spent (i mean in new york we were always up til 1 or 2 am, then we were waking up at 430 or 5 am because of jet lag and then going going going pretty much all day), but, after a little R&R, things are seriously going really well.

Marie Laure is going to be baptized soon! I really think so now. We found out she doesn't actually live with her boyfriend, and i honestly don't think she really even loves him. She still hasn't gotten over her husband dying when she was 5 months pregnant (i don't know if dad told you the story or not). he was, i guess, like her soul mate and they were so in love and just made for each other. And then after doing all kinds of infertility treatments, marie laure finally got pregnant and they decided to move back to france so they could raise their child in a safe country where there was political stability and everything. And then he died in a car accident shortly after and she was devastated. She put on a good face for their baby, but she hasn't really been healed from the hole that left in her heart.

But, things are just finally all in place for her to be able to accept the gospel. She is probably the best investigator i have ever taught. (Did i ever tell you how we found her? if i didn't, tell me. Just goes to show that really we do so little. I guess the term instrument is very correct in describing missionaries, because we are definitely just the little pawns. And all i can say is that Heavenly Father has got some dang good moves!)

She loved church. The ward loved her and were all smitten by gabrielle (her 13 month old girl); the combination of a "ward family" feel, environment to talk and discuss and learn together, and the spirit testifying of the truthfulness of our message are what she has been waiting for in religion.

She came to the baptism on saturday too and she liked it, though she said she will have start practicing and training to go all the way under, because she is scared of water. (but, did you catch that spontaneous mention of her OWN baptism again???!!!) Needless to say, I'm just way excited!!!

It was great to hear from you and give all the kids a big hug from me!! i love you guys a lot and am so grateful for ya! The open house at the church starts this afternoon. (it is going to be a crazy week with the open house going on every day, but there has been a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and faith that have gone into this open house, so im definitely counting on some miracles!!) Well love you lots!!

XOXO Jordan

Goin' to America!

Family Dearest!!!!

It was so great hearing from you!!! I'm happy to know that things are going well! I sure love you guys lots. So, we just got our flight itineraries for new york, but it's still kinda hard to believe that we are "goin to america!!!!!!" Can you tell that I might be a little excited about this? Definitely never thought I'd be getting on another plane before I was heading non-stop to SLC. hehe.

Soeur Smart is seriously awesome for letting me tag along. She is going for the Women in the World Conference and will be receiving the Woman of Courage award from Diane Von Ferstenburg. The Award evening will be held at the United Nations on Friday night. Talk about the experience of a lifetime in the middle of an experience of a lifetime (ie serving a mission haha)!! Do I sound as spoiled as I feel? I think I'll just forward the conference agenda so you can look through it yourselves. But, needless to say, we are both pretty excited! Should be quite the adventure.

But, I think I am just as excited about the rendezvous we just had with Marie Laure (we had to fix a few rendezvous today because we are leaving for the rest of the week.....AND we have a p-day TO-DO list that seems, somehow, to be getting longer. So, I'm sorry, but you might need to be a little patient with my spacy and lame email today)!!

First off, we committed her to read quite a bit last week and when we asked her how it went, she had read it all AND more THREE TIMES to make sure that she understood. (k just fyi, i have never given anyone joseph smith history to read, but a recent convert member who taught with us said that she had had the same problem--not being able to understand the book of mormon-- but that it helped her to read the joseph smith history....go figure. Until college, I always thought it was so confusing, but again, very clear that i'm no scriptorian ha.

Anyway, so we felt good about it and the member printed off the joseph smith history for her, and marie laure LOVED it!! She would not stop talking about it and really believes that joseph smith was a prophet of God. She still has a ways to go (she was raised by parents who flat out told her they didn't love her and refused to teach her about God or Christ, and now she wants to have a relationship with God, but has a hard time believing that he could love her and that she is good enough), but she has totally been feeling the spirit and is starting to recognize it, and she is learning how to pray and committed to pray about being baptized this week. She is just such a sincerely good and humble person. Through and through. She's just incredible. And I am excited for her to come to understand how much Heavenly Father loves her. More than anything, I am excited for that. It will be incredible!!

Okay well, my mind is totally blanking on the other news i had to share. "The prophet" (remember the crazy chanting guy) has either a) gone off on a healing mission to save people's shakras in the name of christ b) gone to morocco to pick up the bride who has been promised to him since he was 5 or c) decided to go to a different church. So, church has been a little less "exciting" lately. Not many stories there. (But, did i ever mention that one day after church i turned around to see him with his hands on either side of this handicapped member's head chanting and humming? yeah.....that didn't go down so well!!!! still rather amusing though.) Well, I'm not sure why i wrote that....huh.

Okay, so obviously my brain is NOT functioning super well. So, before I start raconting n'importe quoi, I'm just gonna put a sock in it, spare you, and say that things are goin' great and that I love you!!!! You're wonderful and I don't know what I'd do without ya.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Happenings & Highlights!

Hey gang!!!

How's it goin?!! It was great to hear from you. Joshy man, that was totally cool about your missionary experience with the recruit from England!! Do you still want to serve your mission in Germany? Halle baby--those drawings from last week were SO IMPRESSIVE. And girlfriend, totally cool that you already qualified for the state meets! Johnny--bummer about the rotator cuff. Still out of commission? did i ever tell you how much i loved the long tennis letter you sent a couple weeks ago? I totally got a kick out of it. Though i do not understand how you remember minute details like that from all the bajillion matches you play. (i think boys must have an extra "sports lobe" in their brains that is programmed to log away non-important statistics and names or what not that you can then throw around in a group of girls to strut how cool and tough you are? somethin like that?! jk) Matthew--i'm assuming you already knew what my response would be to the question of what im getting you for your birthday....? Think Christmas Vacation. In other words, i give you permission to go "get yourself something real nice!" haha you are funny brother. Tara--i sent you a separate email, but im glad things are going well with your student teaching.

Things are goin well around these parts!! We had another good week. Plenty of "unique" and exciting experiences! The only problem is that whenever I have sat down to write you about them on Mondays lately, my mind is just a total blank. Un trou, if you will. This is a serious problem!! So, I'm gonna cheat and start a bulleted list of happenings and highlights and hope it'll give you somewhat of an idea of what is going down here.

Happenings & Highlights
1. This Branch is on fire with missionary work right now. The leadership really gets things going. We've been working with Muzeyi to plan a missionary activity for this saturday that has basically evolved into a mini MTC complete with "zone conferences" taught by the branch president and his assistants (councilors), gym time team relay races (with things like sewing on buttons, ironing shirts, shaving, packing suitcases, etc), and classroom instruction (taught by us and topics focused on how to work together effectively as a member/missionary team to see success).

The theme of the activity is M&Ms!!! (leave it to me to come up with something super cheesy hehe) "Membre et Missionnaire. Comment trouver la joie et l'esprit dans l'oeuvre missionnaire." Soeur Smart and I re-wrote a missionary call letter the other day in the form of an invitation to the activity and we handed them out at church yesterday, so hopefully people will show up, have a good time, and maybe possibly learn something! And even if things don't go exactly according to plan, there will be plenty of M&Ms, so how bad could it be, right?!

The Branch is also organizing a porte ouverte for March that is going to be focused around the articles of faith. They have designed and put up all these totally cool displays with modern language explanations of the articles of faith and what they mean to us, etc. They had a special joint RS/priesthood entirely dedicated to explaining the purpose and goal of the open house and they charged every member/ family to invite at least ten people to attend. The purpose isn't to invite their friends to meet with the missionaries or anything, but just to come and see what "the mormons" really believe. And the members are taking it really seriously, so i bet it will be a really good experience!

Okay, and I promise I'm trying (maybe not succeeding) not to ramble too much, but I have to tell you the Branch miracle from the other day. We're sitting in sacrament and the Branch President gets up and shares an experience that had happened the other day at work. President Bertrand is a volunteer fire-fighter (ya know, in the spare time that he doesn't have.....seriously i don't know how he does everything he does), and i guess he was on duty the other day and a co-worker approached him kinda awkwardly and was like, "so....yeah.....i heard.....well....someone said something a while ago that you are kinda like a ......well i don't know how to put it....but like a a curator in your church. And i was just wondering, ya know.....if it would be talk to you about.....i dont know.......having my son, who is 8, baptized?" So, President Bertrand said YES! of course and explained a little to him about the church and the missionnaries. And then added, from the pulpit, "so this week I am going to be seeing him with the sister missionnaires..." Needless to say, we were totally stoked!!! They had to cancel the rendezvous last week, but we're crossing our fingers for this week. So, say a prayer that it will go well!!!!!

2. The pigeon poop count is now at 4. Seriously. I was very much less than pleased. You see there is this bridge at the castle that we usually pass under, because it is a shortcut to the church. But, it is a little bit of a danger zone cuz there are always pigeons a plenty hanging out there. So, we have gotten into the habit of walking up to the border of the bridge, sprinting underneath it, and then walking afterwards. Like we do that EVERY time we pass under it. (Which probably looks really weird to passers-by, come to think of it.) So, naturally, the ONE time we don't sprint it, I get pooped on. Which means, I guess, that I only brought it upon myself. Still...not cool.

3. Our investigator, Marie Laure, is doing great! Or at least she was before she fell at work this week and ended up in the hospital for a few days. I feel like someone/something is really trying hard to keep her from meeting with us (a couple weeks ago it was her son who was in an accident and broke his leg), but she is too awesome and solid!! She has this adorable 11 month old baby girl named Gabrielle, who has probably the biggest, cutest eyes i have ever seen. Our lessons have all gone really well and she just seems to "get it."

The problem is that she can't come to church because she works on Sundays. (But there is one sunday in march that she has off, so she is planning on coming.) Last week, despite the momentary freak out sister smart and i had when the member we were teaching with started to go off about the temple and endowment or something, we had a great discussion about the book of mormon. And at the end Marie Laure didn't want to leave. It was a bit of an awkward like, "Okay....well.....been great ladies....but we have another rendezvous we have to get to!" She is already a natural relief society sister chatter! Definitely meant to be a member. :)

4. I learned a new term from the Cherbourg elders at district meeting last week: bromance. It was quite the entertaining and lively lunch time chat to say the least! I've said it before and I'll say it again--serving around elders always keeps life a little more funny! Like when it is your one year mark and you walk into the church and elder holcombe and elder rueckert pull out this mound of tin foil and are like, "We know you said no presents, but we couldn't help it." "Well gosh guys, thanks for the tin foil. I hardly know what to say!"

JK, once I got through like a joshy-wrapping job amount of tin foil, i found out that there was actually a mini ping pong paddle inside. Which apparently they decided was the perfect size for me. They figured they knew I would need my own personal paddle in order to accomplish one of my transfer goals--which is to beat elder holcombe in ping pong. K and it may be an unofficial goal, but i tell you what, that doesn't mean I'm any less dedicated to it! The trick is finding enough p-day time to get good practice in. I was, however, on an uphill. I was totally getting better! Until we had a minor set back last week. Well more like, i became a complete disgrace. Meaning, Elder Holcombe beat me playing left handed. So NOT good!!!!! I had to lick my wounds a little and finally got over it. However, besides keeping me plenty humble, the great thing about being back in the same area as elder holcombe (this is now transfer 6) is that putting together musical numbers is a piece of cake. And now that we're not in the Paris area, we have just started over from the beginning and no one is the wiser!

5. So, our Omaha Beach and the American cemetary expedition last week was awesome. The visitors center tour is all focused around the Competence, Courage, and Sacrifice of the soldiers and leaders who organized and fought in Normandy leading up to and after D-day. It is inspiring and evoking--pride, humility, and gratitude were definitely some of the emotions that overwhelmed me. But, I have a problem. Even if I'm not super outspoken about it, I am fiercely patriotic. But, it seems to be that my patriotism is located way too close to my tear ducts! Needless to say, it was a wonderful experience (even if my mascara didn't make it out quite as well) and I'm so glad we got to go out there again.

7. Well running out of time, so I'm just gonna summarize by saying that the spider episode at FHE was one for the books, James' baptism was a roaring success, and the team effort in getting Yosephe to set a baptismal date seems to be reaching the fourth quarter (She knows it's true, could probably teach the joseph smith story better than me, and she is more active than a lot of the members; she is just scared of making the wrong choice because there are so many churches. Totally understandable, but dangit she has such a good heart and i just want her to be happy, but she is currently just so frustrated with all these fears and questions. Things will work out, but a few extra prayers that she will receive and recognize the assurance she needs to take the plunge would be greatly appreciated!).

Anyway, sorry for the rambling. It seems I just can't help myself. Having to type fast does not help the problem in the least. So, i wish you luck in trying to understand some of that mumbo jumbo and if nothing else, just know that I am so very grateful to be a missionary. Sure, there are moments that are a little rough and very much less than glamorous, but at the end of the day, it is a wonderful learning experience and unforgettable adventure. So, I am grateful. I may not be perfect, but I know the message is true, and I have never been more certain of that in my life. So I'm grateful for the Lord's patience in giving me opportunities to share it with people here.

In other news, we'll be heading to Paris for two days this week for a leadership training conference (i guess starting in may or sometime, there is a new training in the MTC and they want every missionary to have it). Basically I'm scared out of my mind because there is no way we will make it through this thing without some horribly awkward practice teaching stories to talk about after, but I'm sure I'll be better off for it (that is if i do, in fact, survive :)) Anyway, love you and miss you guys lots and hope you have a great week!!

Love, Jordan

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"Keepin' it Cool".....well at least mostly!

Hey gang,

How ya doin'?! Sounds like these are going well and are as crazy as usual. Poor Joshy man--gosh he sounds really sick. That's so sad. I hope he's doin' better soon. (and seriously!!!! did noone get flu shots this fall????) But totally awesome about johnny!! wow those are some good wins. I'm excited to be able to see how well they are playing next summer. Good thing im already in my retirement....hehe. I definitely love hearing details about what's going on at the homefront and the recent stories. They are a nice boost! You guys are so great. I love you!!

Things here are rollin right along. Well, I will admit that throughout the course of the last few weeks, I've had to employ Dad's Grinch advice and just try to "keep my cool" a couple times. As of last week, I have now been pooped on by pigeons THREE times since i have been in France. the only single redeeming quality about the most recent experience is that it was slightly amusing seeing Sister Smart like in hysterics about it. Of course, she has never been pooped on by one of those lovely rats of the sky, so i have seriously never, ever, seen her laugh so hard!!! Eventually, she was able to pull it together enough to wipe the doodoo out of my hair, but yeah.....sure appreciated that comp support moment.

And I'm not trying to be a drag, but there are a couple other things that have been a little less than cool. Things are getting better, but, I think i would almost go as far as to say that i really disliked the transportation in this city for a bit there. It was impossible!! Mostly what i actually felt so disgruntled about is being late to places and feeling lost. But we just could not figure this place out. Not so much that we were lost, because we were usually found.....we just couldn't get anywhere. K like, Paris--i can do. Paris, I know like my pocket! Give me an address in Paris or the banlieu, and I will get you there one way or another. So you'd think, "oh small town caen charm--this'll be a walk in the park." K well, it started out more like a sprint around centreville being sent back and forth by different "supposedly helpful" people until you ended up on the right bus in the wrong direction and 45 minutes late to your rendezvous! haha, seriously this place felt like a foreign country!! :)

Probably didn't help that we didn't really have any helpful maps and when we got here there wasn't even a ward list in the apartment or area book, so we really were starting from scratch. But, so far, at least, we have always managed to find ourselves after losing ourselves, so I haven't totally lost my cool yet. Just been pretty dang close a few times! hehe. But, the good news, we are now becoming more efficient...or at least less deficient!

You know what else is really not super cool? A cell phone that has been changed to voice French. Let's just say nightmare!!! Somehow they don't compensate for the whole american accent thing too well and calling back the crazy who hears voices and we have been discouraged from contacting, is not usually on my top list of cool things to do! Or, if you prefer, going into a rendezvous as a normal smelling person (huh, that's a phrase i never anticipated using) and coming out reeking like you've been a chain smoker for like 20 years is not one of the cooler experiences I have ever had. Seriously that stuff is potent, i was impressed how many layers could be contaminated in under 45 minutes! But the good thing about the fact that Caen has it's fair share of funny people is that hilarious stories are never too far away! And there have also been a lot of TOTALLY cool things that have happened lately.

Starting with the Marie Noelle and Bernadette miracles. We have a rendezvous with this less active family somewhere on the outskirts of Caen, so knowing our track history, and hoping to avoid any "near losing our cool" moments :), we started in the direction of their place like an hour early. Just to be sure. Meaning, that of course, we were able to find their place in like 20 minutes!! So, we decided we would just start at the top and port (franglais for like knocking doors) the building. Got a few not interested, and then this woman opens the door and is kinda staying half way hidden and doesn't seem overly enthused to see us, but doesn't shut the door. So we just kept talking and asking her questions that she wasn't super excited to answer, but was answering quand meme. And then all of a sudden, she comes out into the hall and just starts crying. Turns out her Dad had died about three months ago and she was really hurting and didn't have the answers and said she was mostly just shocked that we would show up at her door right now, because they have never had anyone like us. She said she felt like her Dad had sent us to her. Oh, i just can't tell you how grateful i was at that moment for the knowledge the restored gospel gives us!! And how grateful I was that Heavenly Father helped us find their place in enough time to go knock a few extra doors. It was definitely one of those moments when you are grateful to have been where you were supposed to. And you realize; more tangibly I guess, how much heavenly father loves his children and how good he is at looking after them. Totally cool.

K so that was Marie Noelle. Bernadatte is someone who was taught years ago and we read her fiche tried to get in touch with way back at the beginning of the transfer. She answered the first time and asked us to call back later because she was at work. But then her phone never worked again. We tried for a long time, but never got anything. So then weeks go by and one afternoon we step onto a tram and this lady glanced at our plaques. So i went up and asked if she knew the church or the missionaries and she said, "yeah i think there were some sisters that called a while ago." And I have no idea where it came from, but the next thing out of my mouth was, "oh you're Bernadette." And she goes, "yeah!!! When can you come by?" So, anyway we exchanged info and set up a rendexvous. Then, of course, we show up for the rendezvous--keep in mind it was for the very next day--and call her and she's all, "oh! i completely forgot!" hahahahaha....yup.....African much?! So we re-fixed and were eventually able to see her and so far things are going well!

So, I can't decide if this is cool or not. But, it was certainly one for the books, so we'll see if i can do it justice. This last Saturday we had a good chunk of time in the afternoon after our rendezvous, and when we planned we felt good about going out porting in this place called Lion-sur-Mer, which is a pretty good distance outside of Caen. Well, it was a very charming oceanside area, except that "oceanside" is not the best place to be situated in a huge rainstorm without umbrellas. So we knock a ton of doors, don't really get much, and by the end of a couple hours it is pitch black and we are soaking wet and can no longer feel our toes. (Like i went home and blow dryed my hair--we were that wet!) So, we go and catch the last bus back to Caen and the driver, jean-jacques (mom will probably love that name haha), is like a total chit chatter. But, he apparently also likes music and keeps trying to get us to sing him a song. Eventually this gospel singer couple (what are the chances?!) gets on the bus and sits next to us and when jean jacques asked him, he goes, "okay. the one we're gonna do is called.....(some african name or soemthing)." So, then his lady friend starts layin down the beat and he starts singing and clapping and being very very expressive with his arms and face.

In case you haven't caught on--they were very into it! This is a very much white and French couple i might add! It was one of the greatest things i have ever seen on a public bus! So THEN, jean jacques decides that he won't let us get off until we sing a song for him. Not joking! And, of course, im totally having a brain cramp moment and cannot think of a single song that i know except "My Favorite Things" from Sound of music. So, guess what? Soeur Smart and I sang My Favorite Things for this bus driver and this gospel singer couple on a bus to Caen on Saturday night. Like I said--one for the books! Then the gospel singer woman, bethanie, gave us chocolate muffins, because apparently we were friends, and jean jacques let us talk to him about the book of mormon and took one home saying he would give it a try. I'm just not going to even try to give commentary on this one, because whenever i remember it, i am always at a loss!! So, i guess you can decide whether it was cool or not!

Okay, and i also mentioned that we did exchanges with Versailles last week. I worked with Sister Larsen, who is in her first transfer, and sister smart worked with sister gappmeier. I'll spare you all the details, but it turned out to be a totally cool exchange! Sister Larsen and I were able to give out 4 or 5 book of mormons, get invited to summer with a muslim family in morocco, and set a baptismal date on a first rendezvous! We went and visited this woman named Zeinabe, whose number they had found in the phone, but knew nothing about. And things were going okay, but ill be honest that i was actually kinda stressed during most of the first part of the rendezvous cuz i wasn't really feeling it and was just thinking, "oh dang, im already failing at this senior comp business" and was certainly a little disconcerted about being on the receiving end of the "what the heck do we say to that?" looks! I remember being the one giving those back in the day, but goodness it's a little different on the other side!

But then, once I forgot about me, got out of the way of the spirit and forgot the"first lesson routine"--that's when it worked. And the next words out of my mouth were, "Do you want to be baptized?" And she said, "Yes. yes i do." It was totally cool and there was a really sweet spirit! (Her dad is a member in the St. Ouen ward and she had been to church a few times with him a while ago. It's super weird how things fit together sometimes, but the random part is that her fiche is in the St Ouen area book and she was the very first phone call i ever made by myself as a blue in st. ouen! She didn't show up for that rendezvous way back in march or whatever, but now she is ready and it was time!)

But, probably the best and cutest part was walking out of the building in silence and then turning around to smile at Sister Larsen and seeing her with tears streaming down her face because she was so happy. It was absolutely adorable and a good lesson, or reminder, for me. Not that you forget why we're here or the importance of what we're doing. Those things I probably understand a lot better now than at the beginning. But things have a tendency to become "normal" (and i know that sounds horrible and isn't expressing it exactly right), so it was a good reminder of how NOT normal this is and how truly neat and unique and wonderful of an experience being a missionary is! So, like I said, all in all it turned out to be a cool exchange. The only slightly not cool aspect may have been the 1.5 hour dirt trail trek through the "park of wolves".....but let's be real--totally worth it!

Anyway, en fin de compte, the cool things totally beat out the not cool ones and things are rollin' right along here in Caen. I love you guys and miss you. I hope you have a great week and can't wait to hear from you!

love, jordo xoxo

ps i found out that Santalingam, the buddhist guy soeur clark and i started teaching in paris lilas, is progressing and doing really really well!!!

Totally crazy about michael!!!! talk about standing out....blonde haired white michael in romania!!! hehe that's awesome. so, is romanian a 9 week mtc stay or 12? Tell him I am soooo excited for him, but not super excited I won’t see him for 3 ½ years!

Tara--please throw those boots out!!! you're killin' me with all this talk about washing them over and over. Enough is really enough with boots that have been in manure!!!! seriously are you becoming dirty harriett or something??!!!! and side note, i thought the poem was awesome. i re-read it this week for a good little pep talk! and fyi, i opened your last later the other day on the tram, and there was this little girl around who had been staring at me for a while, so i gave her the snowflake and she was super excited! So thanks for helping with the contacting sister!! k and what is this centennial teaching business you are up to?

Johnny- are you going to valentines this year? i liked the recent tennis letter you sent me, but i dont remember exactly what it said, just that i thought it was funny.

Matthew-was glad to hear your undie supply is nice and stocked! and pretty good star wars meets RISK strategery. Very quick of you, if i do say so myself. although, you remember me--the rule nazi--(exhibit A:lord of the rings watching marathon 2009) all that business would probably not have flown in my book! Still, impressive.

Joshy--im sorry you're not super pleased about school these days dude. are there any cute girls in your class? valentines is coming up.....have you decided who you are going to ask to be your valentine?! im willing to bet your the cutest boy in your class!

Halle—I’m glad you loved the movie A Little Princess! i thought it was asome too!!!! who is your new church teacher? what are you studying in french class?
Siblings--love you lots and think you're pretty dang cool.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Happy & Grateful New Year!

Happy 2011 family dearest!!!!!!

Sounds like you all celebrated in style! I'm so glad it all turned out and you were able to take it easy. And tara--way to represent in the world domination scene!! But, i just have to clarify that i read correctly, Dad really used doilies to put out his party spread?! So, would it be safe to say that i should continue to direct questions regarding the power tools to Mom, but that any interior design or party planning accent questions should now be directed to Dad? Just checking! But, seriously, I can't believe it is 2011 already. (Though since it always takes me forever to get used to writing the new date, in my journal it will still be 2010 for another month or so, so i have a good slow transition ahead of me.)

Do you remember celebrating Y2K and the end of the world? It seems like yesterday!!! (Though, i think it was also a little more memorable of a new year's eve considering that may, or may not, have been the year we toilet papered our own house with nana and lisa......thanks for the clean up job though dad!) Crazy how time flies. Should you have asked me at the beginning of 2000 if i saw myself in france january 2011, i probably would have said, "heck no!" But, asking me now if i would rather be anyway else, i would still say,"heck no!!" I am so happy and grateful to be here and starting out a new year of work and miracles and, what im sure will be, memories for a lifetime! So, today i thought i would catch you up on some of the last couple weeks of current events, by way of a quick list of the some of the little things i am grateful for. We'll see how it turns out......

1. I am grateful for a kitchen sink that still zaps us when we do the keeps you on your toes.

2. I am grateful for new sheets and comforters......I try not to be spoiled, but sleeping in grime is just not something i am okay with.

3. I am grateful for mailmen who ride around town on their little bikes with a basket of mail in just can't beat small town charm!

4. I am grateful for Caen's unique charm, of which a perfect example, was the light show they had set up at the Mairie (like town hall). The presentation consisted of loud music and a perfectly coordinated light projection show that told the story on the outside of the building (ie, the mairie, itself, was the screen). It started out simply enough and we settled in for a cute little bedtime story type thing, when all of a sudden the town is on fire, sirens and lights and flames everywhere. But, apparently no need for alarm, because enter this giant kid (you only see his legs because he is huge) comes storming into the city dragging a ginormous teddy bear and starts urinating on the town (im sorry, i really just don't know how to put that delicately in a way that gives you the right idea of how this scene actually went down in front of us), which heroically, saves the town from the fire, but then somehow turns into an underwater scene. Pleasant, I know. K, so that's when the eyebrows raise, but as this thing continues through acrobatic monkeys and who knows what else, the chin drop did not follow too shortly after. By the end, I glanced at sister smart and we both totally looked like shrek and donkey right after they see that little music box show in Duroc (or whatever the name is). Like, "What the heck did we just see?!" All I know, is I am grateful for that memorable one-of-a-kind welcome to Caen!

5. I am grateful for a companion who is very chill and reassuring. Ie, when I am stressed about how church is going to go down the first week and how thing will work out with the members, she hears me take a deep breath while walking to the chapel and responds with a loving arm pat, "Hey, don't least they can't stone us." Oh, gosh, yeah, that is reassuring!

6. I am grateful that Suzy and Valerie's baptism went well!!! Did I ever mention that? Well, actually i heard it was a little stressful, but hey! They were baptized!!!! AND, i guess the rendezvous the day before, they had invited a couple of their friends over to talk with the missionaries and get book of mormons and have the sisters explain how we weren't a cult (thats a pretty standard introductory course these days) and stuff. Anyway, they are pretty much amazing and have already set a goal to start saving money for their missions. My heart was so happy when i heard that!!! They are so great, aren't they?! (Side note--i also heard that marguerite is also doing really well.)

7. I am grateful for a city that is, maybe what you would call, a little slow at the moment. (Just so we're on the same page, when i say slow, i mean we came in with not a single investigator.) One, because, it ya know--kinda lessens the pressure, like at least I can't make things any worse! hehe. But also because it is really fulfilling and exciting to see and really appreciate all the little miracles. Even the little contacting ones are exciting! Plus, it provides many more opportunities for encounters with interesting and unique people that we may have missed otherwise.

For example, one of this week's highlights was the Russian Mafia couple. Long story short, we go back for our follow up rendezvous and the wife (the only one who speaks least allegedly, of course :)) has prepared this little speach about why they decided they weren't interested in learning anymore. It went down something like this: "ve is Vussian!! Ve neverrr chenge. Ve belief Hesu and ve know novone who vill chenge.....etc,." I think I may also have heard a, "Ve put Ze vodka in ze coffee!" (haha classic pearce sacrament meeting that one.) I wish you could hear Sister Smart's impersonation of this conversation, because it is just too good!

8. I am also grateful for how far a couple of plates of snickerdoodles can get you with the elders at the first district meeting. I know, I know. totally cheap, totally dirty move that I have not resorted to thus far in my time out here, but desperate times, right? I mean we opened back up a ville to sisters under what would definitely not be considered the best circumstances, so i guess i might have been machavellian it a little--maybe the end does justify the means?!! No harm, no foul. And the Elders are very nice. We were sure grateful (and got a good chuckle) for the stocking of little odds and ends that they dropped off for Christmas. Not to worry --it did include some army men toys wrapped up in this decades-old box that looked like had once held a little nativity set!

9. I am grateful that even though we have now transitioned from a metro to a tram and city bus, some things about public transportation are still universal. Between us both having our behinds grabbed and being told we were playing right into satan's plot (I offered someone a Christmas DVD, but that was apparently the wrong move, because "that's exactly what Satan wants"), we are still makin' some new memorable transport moments.

10. I am grateful for people who are understanding of my blondeness, because my "needed an edit button moment of the week" was definitely going up to an elder and saying, "i love how you spin her umbrella to turn her on." I promise that it had contextual meaning!!! But, the elder's face quickly made me realize what had just actually come out of my mouth. But, I have to add to grampa, that we got a good laugh out of his blonde joke this week, especially in light of the fact that the branch has now, apparently, nicknamed us "the blondes." (for example, during choir practice, the director tells one of the little girls, "oh go stand by the blondes.")

11. I am grateful for cities with "nice to pedestrian people." People actually stop for you to cross the street at crosswalks. And this is a new experience, let me tell you! Especially cuz soemtimes they will stop for you just at other random corners or places if they see you standing there. It's true--kinda takes away the excitement of the "dash for your life and hope your companion makes it" element, but it is still very nice. (of course, i guess we could have exercised a little patience in paris and walked to and waited for lights to change, but let's be real--just because i came on a mission does not mean i all of a sudden sprouted a patience tree or something.)

12. I am grateful for the hilarious video you guys sent!! That was seriously so sweet and i love, love, loved it!!

13. I am grateful for a bathroom door that doesn't shut (or at least all the way) provides many more comp bonding activities. And companionship unity is very important after all. A fact we learned even more poignantly on New Year's Eve. We were invited, with the elders, to the Branch President's house. He and his wife are in their early thirties probably and have this super cute, young family. They had prepared an awesome meal, all these little fun table games, there was arm wrestling with the little kids, and then there was this "game" that apparently they like to "play" with all the new missionaries. Basically they asked us to take turns introducing our companions and then used what we did, or did not say or know about our companions, to illustrate the importance of companionship communication and listening in being able to work together as a team. Some kind of game, right?! It was pretty funny though, because at the end the wife was like, "and voila the difference between men and women communicating!"

14. I am grateful for the weird mannerism things you pick up in France that make you look and sound like an idiot when you're speaking English. (i dont really know why i am grateful for that, except that it provides entertainment.) Prime examples that i happened to notice from the last 24 hours: "you have reason" to tell someone they are right, "that tells me something" to tell someone that something sounds familiar, and certainly not to be forgotten--the horse lip puffing sigh thing (you'd know it if you saw it).

Seriously, I laughed hysterically watching nelson do his little french mannerisms segment of the video. I don't know if he remembers this, but he taught that to me in like 7th or 8th grade and said that in learning French that's all i would really need to know. I have remembered and practiced it ever since then, and he was so right! A few times I've been haing casual conversations with people about learning French and i have said "well ya know, really it's not all that hard, all you need to know is"..and then i would do the nelson thing (boh, bah, disant que, bof, tiens, chez pas moi, etc) and they have all thought it was hilarious! They are like, "yup you've got it all down!"

15. And I am grateful for the awesome trainings from president staheli and the assistants last week at interviews. (especially grateful since i wasn't one of the ones called up to practice hehe) But, it's always nice to get like a little extra boost to your spiritual battery and another arrow to add to your quiver. This time the practice teaching part was about learning how to get a solid return appointment fixed after the first street contact. Something I definitely have to work on! So, very grateful for direction from inspired leaders.

16. And last, but not least, I am grateful for you!!!! Thanks for being so wonderful. I sure love you guys!!!

Hope you have a great week and start out the new year with a bang!!
love, jordan xoxo