France Paris Mission 2014-2016

Week 52 --- Only 10 hours in Dunkerque...

Sorry this is late, but when I explain what happened yesterday you'll understand why :)

So Monday night we took a train into Brussels because...

Zone Conference!!! These are always some of my favorite days as a missionary. We had great trainings by our Zone Leaders on the power and authority of our calling as missionaries, by the AP's on teaching by the spirit, and Soeur Babin talked about becoming a stronger "warrior" (she compared us to the 2000 stripling warriors). But the best training was President Babin's. He talked about repentance: the process, the effects, where it comes from, and why we need it. He received some videos from the training for new mission presidents this summer, and he showed a couple about repentance for us. Elders Oaks and Andersen do an amazing job of explaining repentance as it really should be for investigators as well as for us as missionaries. It was probably the most spiritual zone conference I've been to!  

Remember that leak we had a couple weeks ago under our bath tub, well our landlord finally decided he was going to come look at it and repair the damage because some building inspectors were coming the following Monday. So he tells us we need to be out of the apartment tonight and all day Thursday so the bathroom will be completely dry for him to work. So tonight we went to Calais to do an exchange with Elder Wells. We didn't get in until 9:00 so tonight was more just hanging out with the exchange Thursday.

Elder Wells and I were on an exchange today, and it went pretty well.  We taught a couple lessons on the street, and then we had a member present lesson at the church after lunch. It was one of the most awkward lessons I have EVER taught... This lady we taught literally said 7 words the entire  lesson. It's kind of hard to teach for understanding when she won't answer any questions you ask... Haha   :)  When we got back to Dunkerque we met up with our landlord so he could give us our key back, and it turns out he did a ton of work in our bathroom. He caulked all the tile again, got us a new faucet and head for our shower, and painted in addition to fixing the damage. So it's looking pretty nice now haha ️:)

So today we went to Amiens to do an exchange with our zone leaders. It took us two trains and three hours, but we finally made it in around 3:00. I was with Elder Powelson, he's from Canada. Elder Libby was with Elder Schafer, who is also from Canada. They are very proud of their Canadian-ness :)  Anyway, Elder Powelson and I went and taught a really weird less active they have. He was super creepy and lived in the oldest, dirtiest, most rundown apartment I've ever seen... Ya...  But after that we had a cool lesson with one of their investigators who is getting baptized this Saturday. He's from Nigeria so the lesson was in English. Luckily, there is a member who's getting ready to leave on her mission who speaks English pretty well, so we taught with her. It was super cool, this guy has seriously been prepared for the gospel! During our dinner hour, Elder Powelson and I cooked up some chicken and rice for the burritos we were planning on eating at 9:00 with Libby and Schafer. But we had a problem, we were late, and we had another appointment that night with an investigator with a baptismal date. So, we were rushing doing everything and LITERALLY running from the building after to get to the bus, only to see the bus drive by. We had 30 minutes to get to the church which is 30 minutes away by bus, and the next bus wasn't coming for 25 minutes. We decided to walk down to the bus station and try and get another bus that would put us kind of close to the church. We got to the station right as one we could take is pulling up, but Elder Powelson stops and says we should wait for the next one. So we are standing there waiting and the next one is coming down the street when from out of nowhere (legitimately out of NOWHERE) their investigator is standing across the street from us.  Apparently something came up and he didn't have the time to go to the church, but he couldn't call us, so he was just going to not show up.  Thankfully we were guided to be there because he let us teach him in the park just across the street, and it ended up being a great lesson!  God was definitely helping out there! What makes it even better is that we were able to be home by 9:00. This is important because sadly, Elder Libby got a call earlier from President Babin informing him that his grandpa had passed away. So, Elder Libby's mom was going to call the phone that I had so he could talk to her and the rest of his family. It was a miracle that we were there on time. ---As a side note, Elder Libby is holding up really well, and is grateful his grandpa isn't suffering anymore (he had cancer), but if you could include him in your prayers it would be much appreciated.--- Our ZL's are great and they kept us laughing and we actually had a fun night together eating mango chicken burritos (DELICIOUS!!!), snacking, playing monopoly deal (a card version of monopoly, and one of the greatest games ever invented!), and chatting. It seriously was tons of fun!

After personal and companion studies all four of us got together to do Language study which consisted of playing monopoly deal (the cards are in French) with the rule that we could only speak in French! Haha :) 
 It was actually a really good study session!  Then we went and got lunch and Elder Libby and I spent another 3 hours on trains to get home :(   Ok so we had the inspectors come during the middle of our email time, and the mission office and our landlord made a big deal out of it, so we were there early (also it takes 25-30 minutes to get to our chapel) and so we missed a ton of time. Now the annoying part is that there were like 10 people and us cramming into our tiny apartment, then they looked at our bathroom for 30 seconds and left. We lost like 2 hours for that...France....smh....

Haha anyway love you all! Until next week! 


Exchange with our awesome Canadian zone leaders

 Me and Elder Powelson rocking our Bad A leather jackets

  The cathedral in Amiens
  Exchange in Calais with Elder Wells

  Cool tower and flower peacock in Calais. 
Also, nighttime selfies 'cause we're cute ;)

  Us rocking our sweaters because it's getting cold;)
Elder Libby accidentally stole Elder Powelson's comb after our exchange. 
We are screwed...

  What happens when we take too many trains in a week

Week 51 --- I go home a year from tomorrow... :(

Tonight we visited Sister Blanquart. We shared a short little video and message because she just likes having missionaries over every week haha :) Then as we're getting ready to leave she says that we promised to eat dinner with her a couple weeks ago, and we weren't getting out of it. So she leaves to go make dinner. We're chilling there with her twelve year old son, Baptiste, and he's talking about the French soccer team's latest win and stuff. Then he turns on the tv and puts it on some French reality show that seemed to be a mix of big brother and survivor...It was super weird! Haha Sister Blanquart walks out just after with two microwave pizzas that were under-cooked...They were "delicious" least that's what we told her haha :) She's kind of eccentric and really blonde, but a super nice lady.

This morning we did a lot of contacting and we met this classic nondenominational Christian black woman named Rashida. We talked with her for about 20 minutes and even though she really liked a lot of our beliefs and principles, she was sent on the fact that there isn't a need for any sort of organized religion...Darn! This afternoon we had an appointment with Anna and Sister Foutrein. When we get there we find out that Anna had invited her friend who was interested in our message. This lady, Josia was super interesting. She had piercings and tattoos all over, purple hair, neon green glasses, weighed about 10 pounds and had her dog's tail dyed pink! She said she was looking for her path and was interested to know what we are about. We were planning on teaching the importance of the Scriptures, but because of Josia we needed to reexplain the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith as well. Also, throughout the entire TWO HOUR appointment, there were many random discussions and questions about our beliefs and organizational practices like: missionaries, apostles and prophets, angels, ghosts, fortunetellers, abortion, forgiveness of sins, etc. haha! It was kind of crazy, but we taught the message well and answered all their questions. At the end Josia commented that she was feeling something very special and we explained that it was the Holy Ghost bearing testimony of the truth. She also said she wants to continue meeting with us and Anna! Tonight we passed by Jean-Paul's and shared the Mormon message "men's hearts shall fail them" by President Russell M Nelson. Jean-Paul was touched and we also sang a couple hymns, one of which was "In Our Lovely Deseret". Jean-Paul thought it was so funny! Then we joked around about how he wants to kill Elder Libby! It was hilarious!

Today I went over to Calais with Elder Jouffray for an exchange. Elder Jouffray is French-American --- his mom moved over here and married his dad. He lived in France until about 2 years before his mission then his family moved to northern Utah. He speaks French and English perfectly and is seriously one of the coolest guys you'll ever meet!  Also, his second companion was Elder Godfrey, my trainer! We had one of the best exchanges ever! We taught a couple of their investigators, and got some ice cream, and had a great kebab. But the best part was a lesson we taught to their 14 year old investigator. She is seriously amazing! She acts like she's 20 (she's probably as smart as most 20 year olds), and has a great understanding of all that she's been taught. We explained faith and repentance to her and her mom. She was eating it all up, explaining how she knew that sin brings feelings of guilt and shame, and she accepted to pray for forgiveness and start repenting! It was such an incredible lesson, and the Spirit was felt by all of us there. That night when we got back we had to make chocolate mousse for district meeting the next day...An hour and a half, 18 eggs, 6 dark chocolate bars, and 4 sore arms later we had delicious mousse ready to be chilled over night. One of the steps of making mousse is separating all of the yolks from the egg whites, and then fluffing the whites until it's like a foam/cream. Unfortunately we only had hand whisks, so our arms got a serious workout💪🏼 ðŸ˜‚!

Today was district meeting...I must say, the mousse was a total success! ✌🏼We met the new elders in St. Omer, they're super cool. Two elders came in to replace Elder Nord, so now it's a tripanionship.  That would be super awkward doing proselyting with three guys, but what do you do? Elder Libby finally got his iPad today. He was freaking out about it, and even now as I wrote that he keeps nudging me and saying "ya he did, ya he did".  My comp is weird....haha!!!

Today we taught Mike the next integration lesson and as always it went super well. It was a little weird for me because even though I've been out for almost a year I've never taught the law of chastity before today #myinvestigatorsneverprogress :) It also was a little weird talking about that stuff with another 19 year old, but he's chill, so it wasn't too bad. 

We were in Lille for our Stake Conference and while there, Mike was sustained as an Elder!! He will be ordained next week! I also ran into Sister Liaboeuf, she was in my district in La Rochelle. She finished her mission a couple transfers ago and now she's at school in Lille. It was so cool getting to talk with her and all the other missionaries there.

Love you have a great week all!

Elder Jorgensen

Photo 1 and 2:; It's getting cold and there were some good sales going on...#shopping
Photo 3 and 4:  Exchange with Elder Jouffray!
Photo 5:  Both the sticker and the name of the plaza make this pic funny 
Photo 6: Party at the beach here in Dunkerque!  There's a super fancy kite flying in the background btw ...
Photo 7: My comp had sweet socks for 9/11
Photo 8:  #homemadeMcChicken     #lookhighinthispic

Week 50 --- My life is a series of awkward moments...

My subject line was something I said multiple times this week, and as I explain this week you'll understand why. 

You know how I said we had a couple cool passbacks to do last week?  Well today we went out and, well...a backstory is required to explain what happened. We were in neighborhoods with really young families and so we got two passbacks from what we assumed were young moms in their mid-twenties. We show up and their moms answer the door... Apparently ALL French teenage girls look about 5-10 years older than they are.  Suffice it to say that the parents weren't actually interested...haha 

Today we met Anna at the church and gave her a church tour, then taught a lesson about faith with Sister Foutrein from the branch.  Everything was going really well and we taught the principle well, but right at the end Sister Foutrein listed off a couple of "problems" with the Catholic Church...Anna is catholic...We quickly changed the subject! Haha 

Later we went and visited Sister Venant. She's less active because of serious health problems (cancer being one of them). Despite that she's an incredibly sweet and positive person. She was so happy a couple weeks ago when we knocked on her door. Apparently the missionaries haven't visited her in years, but now we're visiting her once a week to help keep her spirits up! This week we shared Elder Cook's talk, "The Lord is my Light". She really enjoyed it and we talked about things we can do to share the light of Christ with others. She told us she loves doing service. She has some neighbors in financial difficulties and so she knits sweaters and other little things for their kids. She is such a great example of Christian love. Also, she's super funny. She teased us about girls and other things, and she makes us sing her a hymn before we say the prayer  haha

Ok so a couple weeks ago we locked ourselves out of our apartment, well I did it again.... To be fair, our door automatically locks itself when it's closed (like a hotel door), and I had change in my pocket that felt and sounded like the keys when I patted them on my way out the door. This time though, our window wasn't open so we couldn't climb across the balcony. Also, the senior couple that has our spare was on a trip visiting apartments on the other side of France, so we were kinda freaking out. After a couple hours we were able to get in touch with the mission office and luckily they told us that their records said there was a spare key in the bishop's office at the church. So we met Brother Price there and got our keys. It took our entire afternoon, but we finally got back in ️ haha!

After that whole mess, we went and visited Sister Jordan with Jean-Paul. We had lesson planned, but somehow during the course of the evening we talked about crazy people from America calling Sister Jordan (she lived in the U.S. for a couple years when she was married to an American we think it has something to do with their divorce), the cost of changing a name, and it ended with Jean-Paul calling Elder Libby a villain because he wouldn't take a serious picture (during their little "fight" Sister Jordan was just cracking up laughing with me haha). It was a weird day...

So today we had branch council in the morning and it lasted FOREVER!!!!!!!! Ok it was only like 2 hours, but we only talked for like 15 minutes max, so it became incredibly boring . But right after we had an appointment with Mike and Kevin at the church, so we were just chilling around waiting for Kevin with Mike when the branch president invited himself to our lesson. We said ok, and then he asked us to visit a less active that lives an hour away with him. We said yes because we can't say no when the members want to help us out! Haha.  Anyway we're waiting there for about 45 minutes and Kevin still hasn't shown up and he wasn't answering his phone, so we decided to leave. This is about 1:45 or so and we hadn't eaten at all that day (I drank my milk too fast for the week, so no breakfast for me), and we were about to go on an almost 3 hour adventure. Thankfully, President Duez asked us if we wanted to go grab lunch before we left, so he bought us some sandwiches and we started out. We finally get to the less active's house and... He wasn't there! So we write a little note and leave our card in his mailbox. Right as we were walking to the car, his girlfriend pulls up to the house. I've never received a more hostile welcome by anyone. Her attitude was a mixture between pure disgust and a mother grizzly bear right before the attack...  scary...  After a very uncomfortable conversation with her we get in the car, but instead of pulling away, President Duez turns and starts talking to us about this less active and the problems with this branch for about 10 minutes. Again, awkward! Finally we get home after having spent our entire day in the most awkward way possible.

We had an appointment with Dominique this morning, and as soon as we get there he says he has to call his doctor real quick. So we're all just chilling around his table while he explains to the doctor that his blood pressure is elevated really high and his head is spinning.  The doctor then told him he needs to get to the hospital. Then he tells the doctor he'll have his son drive him to the hospital. Then he turns to us and instead of apologizing and saying we'll have to meet later he says, "while I'm waiting for my son to get here we can have our lesson." Elder Libby and I are just completely shocked! He is just sitting there waiting for us to start. We give the lesson hoping he doesn't pass out in the middle of it!  We finish and he says he'll let us know if he has to stay at the hospital or if he'll be coming to church....He didn't come to church, but he's back home now. Crazy stuff!

Today wasn't awkward thankfully! We had a great lesson about the apostles and prophets and general conference from a member of the stake presidency and then an awesome testimony meeting. Also we visited Sister Allaert and she asked me to give her a blessing because she fell a couple days ago and she's in quite a bit of pain. She really liked the blessing and our little message. We're going to be going over to help her with some yard work sometime soon.

I love you guys! Have a great week!

Elder Bronson Jorgensen

This is a cool picture of our apartment building and the port
Me and Sister Jordan (we call her Mado)

                                               Those awesome days when a less active gives you a juice box!😉