France Paris Mission 2014-2016

Week 14

This week has been pretty awesome for three main reasons:

1. We got to spend Christmas and Christmas Eve with super cool members, and eat AMAZING food! One of the families gave each of us some cool socks and a really nice tie, and the other gave us these high quality pocket journals and some candy. But the coolest part was just having family to spend the Holidays with because these members really are like family.

2. On Monday night we got three awesome passbacks and a fourth the next night in the same neighborhood. And on Monday we got let in twice. One of them was a super cool, VERY catholic family. There's the mom, Sophie, and three boys from age 17 to about 13. We sang for them and prayed with them, and when we asked if we could come back they all said they would like to hear more!

3. I hit the thirty pound mark! I've lost thirty pounds already and they're still falling. Thankfully the giant sales start in a week or so, so I can get me a suit that doesn't make me look ridiculous! (the French style of suit is a lot more form fitting, so an American suit on someone who has lost a lot of weight is really funny to them haha)

Just as a final note, I gave myself my first haircut on Saturday. It looks pretty good....except for the small but noticeable chunk I took out on the back of my head ;) 

Anyway, I love you all, and I couldn't imagine doing anything more wonderful than serving the Lord right now.

Elder Jorgensen

Description of photos:

1) Our Christmas tree
2) Our district
3) A pic Elder Godfrey took of the old port in La Rochelle at night
4) The pic of the three elders is: Elder Wood(my trainer's trainer, so my grandpa), Elder Godfrey, and me

Week 13 --- Well...I'm 19... and Miracles Happen!

So I just need to say thanks to everyone who has sent me letters/emails/packages for my birthday/Christmas. They've been such a blessing! 

Now for the good stuff! This week has been AMAZING!!!!! Last Sunday night we had our first lesson with a new ami, Anselem. He's a gym instructor from the Central African Republic, and pretty much the coolest dude ever! We taught him the restoration and the Book of Mormon, and he sat and listened and asked great questions (they were even on topic!) and he agreed to read and pray about it. Three days later we get a text from him. He said that he understood what he was reading (brochure and BoM) but had a couple questions. He asked if he moved to the US could he still practice HIS religion (he already is calling it his religion) and if he could find a wife in the church because he would want his family to be unified in their beliefs and lifestyle! We briefly explained that he could do both those things and that we would explain more at our next rendez-vous. So at our next one this past Saturday we planned on just answering his questions and explaining more about our purpose in teaching him, but he understood all of that perfectly in like 5 minutes. So we followed up on his Book of Mormon reading and he said he's been reading every chance he has, and that one of his coworkers asked him about the BoM, and Anselem explained what it was and gave his copy to him! We were so excited! Anyway, we decided to just go into the next lesson (plan of salvation) and we explained the three questions it answers: Where are we from? Why are we here? and Where are we going? He then told us, and I quote, "I know there is a life after this. Our life here is a passage where we prepare to be with God in our eternal life." WOW! So we just explained the premortal life, the fall, and the atonement a little bit. He understood perfectly. Then we asked him if he would be baptized on January 25th and he said he would!!!! So now we have an amazing progressing investigator! We also found two new amis this week that are really cool, one is a Muslim guy (we're guessing not very practicing) named Sammy who is just super kind and chill and willing to talk. And we've been teaching a ton of lessons also, so we're so happy.

On Thursday we were in Paris for a Christmas conference with President Teixiera of the Western Europe Area. SO inspiring! We already have put into practice some of his directions and we've had amazing results.

My Birthday was awesome Sister Fitt made me a cheesecake (delicious!). 

Yesterday was the ward Christmas party after church (we were at the chapel from 9-5!) it was a riot! We have the most amazing ward here and everyone is super funny and like family! Our Bishop is just a hoot. In fact it reminds me of the good ol' 5th Ward. So that was awesome. 

I'm going to close this email with my love and my testimony that Jesus is the Christ. While we celebrate his birth let's also celebrate his life and atonement which is the greatest gift ever given. "Car Dieu a tant aimé le monde, qu'il a donné son Fils unique, afin que quiconque croit en lui, ne périsse point, mais qu'il ait la vie éternelle." Jean 3:16

Joyeux Noël!
Elder Jorgensen

Week 12

I sent some pictures of my apartment, our view, and me at the eiffel tour. The picture of the three elders was taken at district meeting (the numbers we are holding represent which transfer we are in, so it was cool to have 123) 

We've had some miracles this week that have been really awesome. I'd love to tell you about them, but unfortunately we are strapped for time again. It sufficeth to say that the Lord really does give us tender mercies (we got let in the last three nights doing Christmas contacting!)

Everything is going really well, and we've been invited over to members houses for Christmas Eve and Christmas. This week we have a Christmas conference in Paris with the area authority on Thursday which will be awesome!

Much thanks to the Burnetts, Sarah Beth/Dusty, and G-ma/G-pa for the christmas/birthday presents! They've been wonderful.

I'll write more next week!

Elder Jorgensen

Week 11

Ok, so I'm SUPER sorry for last week. I had a some individual emails that I needed to respond to that took some time, and then I needed to write President Babin before we left. But in all honesty not a lot happened last week.

So here goes this week's letter...

These past two weeks have been ROUGH!! We've taught 10 total lessons in two weeks and our goals (which were very realistic) had us teaching 30 lessons. We just have not been having very much success. Thankfully, neither of us are getting discouraged, and we both feel that there are miracles coming very soon.

Something cool happened yesterday in our companionship study. While a missionary is a "bleu" (first two transfers) there is a study program the Church has developed to assist in the training. Yesterday we were supposed to watch video segments from "The District 1" about working with members and ward leaders. As we were doing this we both were in awe at how amazing missionary work can and should be when the members and the missionaries work together. In our ward there has kind of been an attitude of, "the missionaries do their thing and the members do theirs." We get along wonderfully with our ward and they really do love us here, but our efforts are frankly being wasted because we aren't working together. So, Elder Godfrey and I are taking the initiative and are setting up meetings with the Bishop and DMP (ward mission leader in french) so we can change the attitude of the ward and really start hastening the work here in La Rochelle. Want to hear something crazy? In our ward boundaries there are 174 less active households (one or more person) and 100 potential priesthood holders! We have SO much work to do here with the members, and if we really start working together to bring back these brothers and sisters and then get them involved in member missionary work as well the results will be incredible! So I have a commitment to extend to all of you (because us missionaries love commitments), start sharing the gospel! It doesn't have to be something crazy or huge, just share little things. Especially during the season of Christmas (I'll tell you how in a little bit) it's super easy to share the gospel. Also, talk to your ward/stake missionaries and your ward mission leader. Let them know you want to help, open up your homes to teach investigators that the missionaries have. Then start finding people to teach yourself! Use Preach My Gospel, The District videos, and other missionary resources. They are AMAZING! Not only will you learn how to do missionary work, but there are quotes, experiences, and easy to understand doctrine and principles that will strengthen your testimony and help you to more closely follow the Savior.

I said I was going to talk about Christmas, so here I go. First of all I hope all of you saw yesterday on Youtube that the Church took over all the advertisements, and presented the "He is the Gift" initiative (the Church has said that it was probably seen by like 200 million people). If you haven't watched the video yet, WATCH IT! It's amazing! And here's the cool part, it is so easy to share that video with your friends or coworkers, and it doesn't have to be awkward at all. 

Anyway here in France, we have an awesome initiative we're doing along with "He is the Gift." Elder Andersen of the Twelve was a mission president in Bordeaux about 25ish years ago, and he wrote a book (in French) about a super cool Christmas experience he had, and gave the France missions permission to distribute copies of the books to members and investigators as a way to invite their friends to learn about the church. So yesterday we gave each member a copy with the engagement to share it with someone by the 24th and then report the experiences at church during our "missionary moment" at the beginning of priesthood and relief society. Elder G and I are super excited about the miracles we will see.

I have some good news for you all...I started taking pictures! I also have some bad news for you all...I'm a blond and forgot my camera! So next week for sure you will have some pictures.

So this week Elder G had to go up to the north of France to pick up his second year legality card, so Tuesday after our district meeting (which is two hours away) we took a train to Paris (another two hours) where we had an hour layover before hour next train to Arras (another hour). Then on Wednesday after we picked up his card we reversed the trip, but this time it was a 3 hour layover in Paris. But it wasn't horrible because we got to go to this cool hipster cafe where you can get a panini that's the size of a baguette, a drink, and a nutella crepe for 4,50 euro which is a steal! Plus it tasted amazing. Then we went to the Eiffel Tower, so I could get a picture in front of it for Madi Robison because she wanted one, and I just had to do that for one of my favorite Primary kids. So that's a little testament to the fact that Heavenly Father loves Primary kids because as missionaries here we are rushing everywhere and we NEVER have time like that in Paris between trains. I would also like to add that those two days were really tough because we couldn't really do any missionary work. The worst feeling ever is being a missionary that isn't able to work. Although, I'm very glad that the Lord has blessed me with that desire to serve and do His work.

Well I have to write President Babin, so I'll leave you with my love and testimony that in this glorious day the work of the Lord is hastening, and as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints we all have the responsibility to share these glad tidings of great joy. 

Elder Jorgensen

Week 10 --- Thanksgiving 2014 with Elder and Sister Fitt

Note from Mom:  I didn't receive the regular group mail, so I am posting the personal e-mail I received.

I got my birthday present from Sister Poznanski yesterday, and I'm totally going to open it before the 19th... haha!

Anyway for Christmas, this will sound weird, but I would love one of those collapsible back joke. Other than that not really, money is always nice so when I need something I can get it, but for right now I've got everything I need. 

I'll try and get some pictures from other missionaries/members.

Elder and Sister Fitt are amazing! I don't know if he does it for all the missionaries in our district, but he does it for the ones in La Rochelle. Sister Fitt is very much the "mom" type. In fact right now I'm drinking hot chocolate and eating cookies. She always makes sure we have a snack during our emailing time. :) haha

Elder Godfrey and I don't have a ton in common, but we get along great. I couldn't ask for a better companion. Actually, this transfer ends next monday because they don't want a bunch of missionaries leaving on Christmas Eve or whatever. So, our next transfer will be 8 weeks instead of 6 to make up for it. A transfer usually lasts 6 weeks, but you don't necessarily change areas or companions each transfer. You have at least two transfers with your trainer in your area, and then I'll probably stay here in La Rochelle while he leaves because that will have been his 3rd transfer here. Elder Godfrey thinks I might be one of the missionaries that becomes a trainer on his third transfer, and if that happens I'd be here in La Rochelle for another 2 transfers. And we get the transfer roster on the first Monday of the transfer and then we leave (if we leave) the next day.

We keep our apartment clean. We do dishes after every meal, and we clean the bathroom/deep clean kitchen/vacuum/mop every P-Day.

Anyway, Love you lots!
Elder Jorgensen