France Paris Mission 2014-2016

Week 27 --- Six months...ALREADY!?

So as you can tell from the subject line, this Wednesday will be the six month mark of my mission. It is absolutely crazy how fast time is flying by! Wow...

Last week I told you about Annick (I learned how to spell her name right). Well when we saw her last monday we found out that she was actually baptized when she met the missionaries 15 years ago! The branch apparently moved from where she was soon after her baptism, and she didn't really understand what happened, so she became less active. Craziest part is that her records are in our ward, and the Fitt couple had been trying to find her for sometime, but her old address wasn't good. Fortunately, she moved to La Rochelle four months ago, and now we've found her. She has forgotten most of everything, so it's pretty much like teaching an investigator. Although, she really wants to relearn everything! It's just such a miracle :) 

Tuesday we were porting all day without a ton of success, but we did talk with this nice old lady who told us that blue eyed people like us (Elder Smith, me, and the old lady all had blue eyes) were considered devil people where her ancestors were from. Then she went on to explain that she was a descendant of the Romanov family in Russia who were the monarchs there before the revolution, and that she was related to Anastasia. She also asked about my blonde hair and blue eyes combo, and when I told her my dad had brown eyes she stopped me and said, "You don't say that, my mother taught me that you should say 'chocolat chaud a la canelle' (hot chocolate with cinnamon) because it sounds prettier." Haha She was a funny lady :)

Friday we drove about an hour south with the Fitts to go to lunch with a member. We get to the lady's house and she said, "Ok let's hop in the car, I'm taking you to lunch." So we all pile into her van, and then she says we're going to Saintes for lunch (Which is an hour from where she lives). Apparently, she found this really amazing restaurant that she wanted to take us to. We get there and it's an Asian buffet! Haha Thankfully, it was super good. They had a wok and a ton of really good sushi, thai dishes, salads and desserts. It was delicious! Then we spent another two hours coming back home. We got back just in time to teach Jonathon. He had contacted us on the bus the week before, and said he had met with the missionaries in his home country of Congo and he wanted to talk with us. We had a really good rendez-vous and now he's a new investigator! 

Saturday I was sick (just like half of the ward! We've given quite a few blessings recently). It really sucked, but thankfully I'm feeling a ton better now. 

Ambroise was at church with us this Sunday, but he kind of slept through half of it. (We had a combined training for all the adults the first two hours...I almost fell asleep! :) ) Also, he hasn't read out of the Book of Mormon at all. Unfortunately, we think we might have to drop him if he doesn't start keeping his commitments.

Good news now! We finally were able to get in touch with Sandrine! Apparently her first name isn't on the intercom for her building, and we had been calling someone else named Sandrine! Thankfully, she still wants to meet with us and we have an awesome appointment planned for this evening. 

Also cool news, the Fitts just left for Belgium for a little bit while I was in the middle of typing this email, and because they didn't want to pay like 70 bucks for parking, they got permission for us to drive their car and park it at our place! So I just drove for the first time in six months and the first time in Europe. After I finish this email, I will be driving it to our apartment. Unfortunately, it sits there until we go pick them up on Thursday.

Inspirational quote courtesy of President Hinckley, “Cultivate an attitude of happiness. Cultivate a spirit of optimism. Walk with faith, rejoicing in the beauties of nature, in the goodness of those you love, in the testimony which you carry in your heart concerning things divine.” 

Anyway, love you all very much, and special shoutout to my wonderful mom for her birthday this Thursday! (Do something nice for her, but don't tell her I told you to) ;)

Elder Jorgensen

District Photos

Week 26 --- The Albanian Affair...

This week has been tough, but great. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to see Ambroise because he was out of town. I'm kind of worried about him because last time we asked he hadn't been reading the Book of Mormon, and he promised he would. Also, we had a rendez-vous with Sandrine, but we got fruged (she wasn't there). We've tried passing by other times and we haven't been able to see her. 

Those are the rough things, now on to the great things!

A while back we met a guy on the street and prayed with him, and he said he'd be interested to meet with us again. So we saw him this week. His name is Albert and it turns out that he works for the Catholic church and is very involved in everything. Honestly, I was super confused as to why he wanted to meet with us, and then he mentioned that when we prayed with him, he felt something really different, but really good, and he wanted to know why he felt like that with us. He's working a lot now planning for Easter and all that, but after Easter he really wants to meet with us again and find out more. 

We also found a new ami this week named Anique. She had met with the missionaries about 25 years ago, so when we knocked on her door she was really excited to let us in (apparently back then she was meeting with the missionaries because she thought one of them was really cute and she loved the US haha!). We prayed with her and then came back again during the week to share with her why we were there, and some of the blessings of the gospel. In fact, we have another rendez-vous with her in about 2 hours to teach the restoration!

Now it's time for another crazy story from the life of Elders Jorgensen and Smith:

So, back story. Last week we got a referral from the sister missionaries in Poitiers (which is outside of our mission) of just a name and a number. His name was Cezar Martini. So we call Cezar up and try to talk to him, only problem is that he speaks just a tiny tiny bit of French and an even tinier bit of English, so he gets someone who can help translate for him. She says that he wants to come and talk with us, so we set up a rendez-vous for this past Thursday. Thursday rolls around and we're sitting at the church having been fruged by another rendez-vous (and the less active member, Mehdi, who was supposed to teach with us). Then in walks a young man, his wife, their 3 month old baby and some other lady. Needless to say Elder Smith and I were super excited to teach a family! He introduces himself as Cezar Martini, and says he wants to talk. We go and sit down in one of the class rooms and start talking in this weird french/english mix (franglais). We come to find out that he his wife and his sister-in-law want to work for the church as missionaries like us in exchange for a place to sleep at the chapel until we can find them a house in La Rochelle. We were shocked! We tried to explain that we don't help with things like that and that we were there to teach the gospel. Cezar tells us that if we don't help them they will be on the street tonight because they don't have any money. We tried to figure out why they left their house in Poitiers, and so he told us their story(all of this through google translate). They are Albanian and a while back he and his wife decided to get married. Unfortunately, her father was against it and wanted her to marry someone else. We got the impression that her dad was a pretty bad guy, maybe mob boss. So Cezar fled Albania with his new bride and found government housing and a job in Poitiers. Things were going well until about 3 weeks ago. He was walking near his house and some guy shouts to him, in Albanian, "Are you Cezar Martini?" and then he kept seeing this guy in his neighborhood. At this point Cezar is freaked out thinking that his father-in-law found them, so when he meets the missionaries somehow he got the impression that they could help him, and he decides they'll move to La Rochelle to find safety. Now we're hearing all this and we're freaked out because we have no idea what we can do to help them, and our Bishop isn't responding and the Fitts are out of town. But we thought of Mehdi (less active who fruged us) because he runs an organization that helps people in need find housing. We called him and he said he would be right there. Now that's a miracle in itself because he usually NEVER answers his phone. While we're waiting for him we pulled up in albanian and were showing them videos and stuff (we're always on the job!). He gets there and tries to figure out their situation, and calls his contacts trying to find something, but there is nothing available for them because they have a home in the department(kind of like a state) and they were told that morning by the person helping them with legality NOT to go to La Rochelle until they had a solution. So we found a train that was going back to Poitiers that night and Mehdi found them a ride to the station, and we are hoping they didn't get asked for a ticket because they just hopped on because they didn't have any money. And now Mehdi is helping them to find a house here in La Rochelle. All of this happened over the course of like 4 and 1/2 hours.... Our brains were just fried!

Love you all, and I hope next week I'll have more spiritual stories and less crazy ones ;)
Elder Jorgensen

Week 25 --- One more transfer in the land of crazies and jeunes filles...

So this week is the beginning of my 4th transfer here in La Rochelle (I'm not getting transferred). It's so crazy to think of how fast time is flying by. I'm almost a quarter into my mission....

On Saturday we spent the day in Niort (a really big town in our sector about an hour away) and visited a less active lady and her 19 year old son. They made us lunch and we had a wonderful time just fellowshipping her. He is saving up money for his mission and is very active, and just one of the coolest guys you'll ever meet!

One of our African amis, Marie Susan, met us at the church this week and we taught the restoration and watched the restoration movie. She is super catholic, so we weren't sure how she was going to take it, but she was incredibly interested. During the video right before the first vision, she said, "wow. He really wanted to know and searched a lot for the truth." She was very impressed with that and the rest of the movie. At the end we told her if she searched and prayed with the same intent and sincere desire as Joseph she could know for herself if what we teach is true. And she's really excited to learn more.

Another African ami, Sandrine, is a young mom who teaches her 5 year old son about prayer and the scriptures, but hasn't found a church that she feels good at yet. We have taught the restoration and taught about the Book of Mormon another time with a member. She has already started reading the Book of Mormon (which is rare for one of our amis) and really wants to find a testimony of what we taught!

Yet another African ami, Ambroise, came to church for all three hours! And... We set a baptismal date for April 12th! He really liked church and even took notes during sacrament meeting!

Unfortunately, not all of our African amis are doing so well. Mbuta hasn't been able to meet with us/cancelled appointments for 3 weeks, and when we finally talked to him this week he said he isn't ready to be baptized at this point in his life. 

Now I would like to explain the subject line. Jeunes filles are young women, and La Rochelle is full of them. When we walk on a bus 80% of the people are high school and college girls. It makes for awkward contacting ;) haha just kidding! I mention this because Tuesday morning we woke up and went running and as we were leaving the apartment we encountered a group of high school girls in Halloween costumes at an intersection at 6:30 in the morning. Throughout the day at almost every intersection there were high school students dressed up in the most ridiculous outfits asking for money. (Apparently each year they do this to pay for their graduation party). Luckily we were in Nantes for district meeting most of the day! Haha

Another crazy person story as written by Elder Smith...
So anyways here is the my strange experience for this week. 
it was last Monday night. we were in Sandrines neighborhood going to teach her and had a little bit of time before our appointment. so we decided to do a little bit of porting. One man answered the door and said that we could come back at 8 which would be right as our appointment with Sandrine was ending. We agreed on a time and left. After our lesson with Sandrine we went back and he let us in. his name was Bernard (age 70) . He led us to his living room and invited us to sit down. We did. he looked at us and said you have 35 minutes im listening. 
first let me describe the room we are sitting in. It is tiny it is a combo office,dining room, living room, exercise room and bedroom. It is dark and Bernard is smoking. We are sitting at a Plastic folding table on nasty chairs. Behind Bernard on the wall there is a Ninja sword and wooden ninja star holder. In this ninja star holder there were places for six ninja stars but one was missing.... ha ha also behind him was a bookshelf. On the book shelf were VHS tapes and books on how to become a Kung fu and Karate master. 
We started to explain who we are and why we are here. He stopped us and started explaining that he has studied almost every religion on the planet. He said that he has already read the Book of Mormon. He then continued to explain to us his beliefs. This is where it gets interesting. 
He started by telling us that there are three types of people in the world we just do not know it. The three types of people in the world are Insectoids (have a exoskeleton mask), reptilians (full body exoskeleton), and moizidians (just people like us... whatever that means). He talked about how we all live together and do not know who is who. He said that our bodies are like cars and when the car dies the driver stays the same he just get a new car. He said he is in his 13th cycle. 
I cant remember everything that he said but im pretty sure it was sound doctrine. (just kidding)
We ended up just leaving him with a couple of brochures and our card.

I can testify that what my companion has said is true...unfortunately haha!

Love you all!
Elder Jorgensen

Religieuses pastries

Religieuses pastries and a picture of me copying an awkward member of our ward. DO NOT send the one of me (he didn't say anything about posting it on the blog).  

Week 24 --- Freakin' Africans... :)

This week we found five new amis... they're all african but one. Late last night we had a rendezvous with one named Aka. He told us to meet him in front of a grocery store in one of the sketchiest parts of La Rochelle, so we did haha. We sat there while a million muslims and at least three drug dealers walked past us. Then, he shows up 30 minutes late. We had to catch our bus so we just briefly shared why we're here, set up another rendezvous (at the chapel this time!) and prayed with him. He's a super nice young guy though. Just so you know the subject line isn't derogative at all. They're just super flaky and don't understand most of what you teach. But they're super nice and you just automatically love them.

Also this week was Elder Smith's birthday. The Fitt's brought him (and me too) homemade pulled pork sandwiches, and these pastries from Tours, France called Religeuses. They are filled with this awesome chocolate filling and as big as your head! Soooooooo Good! 

We got dropped by the crazy guy who read 110 sections. Apparently he converted to Islam a couple years ago, but still loves the Doctrine and Covenants... so ya...

Love you all!

Elder Jorgensen

Week 23 --- That man has WAY too much time on his hands . . .

I know that's a weird subject line, I'll explain later...

This week we only had about 2.5 working days because on wednesday and thursday we had exchanges in Nantes with our district leader, and our Zone Conference, and then I was sick for half of Saturday. 

So here we go with the awesome things that happened this week because there were a lot of them...

1 During exchanges Elder Meng(my district leader) and I were out porting and we decided to start this appartment building after about 30 minutes of randomly walking around. We get let in, and we knock on the door and this African coulple opens up and they look at each other confusedly then let us in. We ask them if they know who we are and why we were there, and they said yes. Apparently the wife had seen the Elders on the street earlier, but wasn't able to go talk to them, but the couple was trying to find the missionairies and set up an appointment, so they both thought the other had set up an appointment. We told them that we just happened to be in the neighborhood. The man then started telling us how powerful God was. They had been trying to find our church and meet with us for a while, and he was just reading about the role of spouses. He even pulled it up in front of us. He explained that they were in a tough financial situation, but they realized they needed God's help, so they were looking for us to help them find spiritual guidance! We shared a great little moment with them, and then knelt in prayer together. It was sooooo cool!

2 We had an awesome zone conference with President and Soeur Babin. We also got to watch "meet the mormons" after the conference. That was such a good movie!

3 Sunday night (which is usually the least productive night for us, like seriously nothing) we were porting a building and we got let in by a super nice turkish man and were able to pray with him. The very next door we knocked a lady answered who had obviously just been crying. She was super hesitant and nervous looking, but she let us in anyway. She told us that she has never let anyone else in her house before, and she hoped she could trust us. We shared a short simple prayer, and after she said that she really felt something. So we testified that what she was feeling was the Holy Ghost. She told us that she had been crying just before and that we had given her something wonderful, and that she wanted to give us something. She went and got like 15 Euros and tried to give it to us. She was shocked when we told her we couldn't accept it, and that we were just here to help people. By this point she was smiling and kept saying, "Wow!" She agreed to have us come back this Wednesday to share a message with her. It was such a miracle!

4 Now I'll get to the subject line. A couple weeks ago we ran into a guy at the bus stop and he told us he had read the book of mormon and the doctrine and covenants, and he wanted his own D&C. It was pretty random. So we got him a triple combination and met him to give it to him, then we set up a rendez-vous for Saturday to talk about what he had read and so forth. Saturday comes around and he tells us he had read 110 sections already!!! In 5 days!!!! The only question he had was what does Celestial, terrestrial, and telestial mean. Only problem is that we're pretty sure he's crazy. He is the most awkward man you will ever meet in your life...and you all know me haha :)

So that was this week, and I have high hopes for this next week.
Love you guys!

Elder Jorgensen