Sunday, July 10, 2011

July 4, 2011

July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July! =) In France or not, we're still celebrating. For companionship study this morning, we sang through all the "Partiotic" hymns we have in our English hymnbooks. But...without access to fireworks or anything else super American, that will have to tide us over until next year. We did get talking with a couple of french kids our age today on the bus. When they found out we were American, what question do they immediately pose? "Have you eaten a hamburger? Or a hot dog?" Umm....friend, you're French. Have you eaten a baguette? ha ha For some reason, they were absolutely fascinated with the fact that we really do eat that food. Little do they know, 90% of the country will be eating them today =).

This week has just flown by, but I'm not exactly sure why. It's just been one of those inexplicably fast weeks. To be honestly, it's been an inexplicably fast transfer! We are on week five of six now! Time seems to literally be slipping through my fingers the longer I'm here.

Alright, like I told you last P-day, summer hit. And holy cow, Sister Rowley and I were absolutely disgusting by the end of the day. No one should be that sweaty while trying to talk about Jesus. One word: GROSS!

After finishing up with our emails, we headed over to the ward house for the ward family home evening. Oh my heavens. They are absolutely hysterical! We played their version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" but they called it "Qui Veut Gagner Des Bénédictions?" ("Who wants to gain blessings?") The bishop and his wife ran the show and she was the host. They had clearly put a lot of effort into this night. They had all the sound effects from the show, individual slide on a power point for each question, and pictures for each as well. They split the room into two teams to answer the questions about the Book of Mormon, or random questions about Mexico/South American (like "Which of the following ingredients is not in guacamole?") At first their was a bit of an uproar when Sister Rowley and I were assigned to the same team =). The other team felt very shafted for not having one of the Americans -after all it's an American game. So despite the fact that everything was in French -clearly- Sister Rowley and I had an advantage. Gross and sticky though we were, the night we just SO fun. AND we had a good handful of amis show up. And if there was ever an activity to make new comers feel welcomed to the ward, it was that one. =) All in all, it was a good day.

Tuesday night we had a rendez-vous with the Charles family. I'm not sure if I've told you about this, but if so, the repetition will tell you how much it has impressed me. We're told to teach by the Spirit and cover the Preach My Gospel lessons in what ever order or way we feel our amis need. But all the same, the first lesson starts with "God is our loving Heavenly Father." After that we talk about "The Gospel Blesses Families." I had never thought about the true impact of that second section that had seemed so logical, but slightly unnecessary to teach about. But wow! I wish you could see the change that I've seen this family go through. All because they have let the gospel into their lives. It's absolutely a night and day difference. They seem happy together now rather than the endless tear filled fight that used to occur. They laugh together. They sit together. The parents are united now in their goals for their children and how they want to approach them. The list just goes on and on. It's absolutely amazing! I am SO happy for them!

Thursday was composed of a lot of driving. I felt like I had never driven so much in all my life as I did in that one day. But, the good side of it: the French countryside is gorgeous! It's for sure worth driving through. Down side: we almost died! I spent a good bit of time driving down little tiny dirt roads that only one car fits on, but that doesn't mean another car won't be coming from the other direction. AND there are walls of plant covered hills blocking the sides of the road like blinders on a horse. All of that coupled with a 90 km/hr speed limit, and endless twists and turns that don't allow you see more than a few meters ahead of where the car is going, makes for an interesting ride. I may or may not have actually screamed when a tractor came barreling around the corner. I slammed on the breaks, and with literally NO room for us to get past each other, I had to back up all the way off the road to let by. For sure...NOT an experience I'd like to repeat. I think I may have developed a firm fear of tractors that day. But, all is well in Zion. =) We continued driving a few more hours from rendez-vous to rendez-vous and eventually made it home safely.

One of the rendez-vous we had that day was with a solid member. She's been through the temple and everything, but she can't come to church, because there's no one who can take her, she can't drive, and there aren't any trains that can get her to church. So when ever we have the car, we go check up on her. She owns a yellow lab. Wow. I understand now. After years and years of people coming over to our house and saying "Wow your dog is HUGE!" I finally get it. I've spent seven months seeing about a million yorkies and a number of other dogs about their same size, but it's been a long time since I've seen a "big" dog. He came over and greeted us. His head/eyes/mouth/teeth were massive! And he's only a yellow lab! They aren't that big. It's for sure going to be a bit of a shock going home to the polar bear that we live with =).

We had another rendez-vous that day where we went to go see another member who has difficulty getting to church. When we we trying to figure out what to teach her during companionship study, we decided to flip through the conference talks. We ended up choosing to share the "LDS women are incredible" talk with her. We didn't have any major impressions that we needed to use it, but with what we know of her and thinking about what she may need, we felt it was appropriate. Well, we went through with those plans. We took turns reading it, and discussed it at the end. A story that was told in the talk, related to her perfectly. We had no idea. But one of the people he talked about shared an almost identical story to this sister than we went to see. She in turn unloaded on us, told us her conversion story, bore her testimony, etc.The Spirit was so strong! It was exactly what we needed to do with her. It was really one of those moments where as we walked away and back to the car, we realized yet again, Elder Bednar's promise he gave in the MTC come to fruition. He basically told us to do the best we could, and we'd end up exactly where we need to be, when we need to be there, talking to just the right people, with just the right words, and often wouldn't even know how we got there. It's always nice to have those gentle reminders that we are still on tract, doing what we should be doing, and that we're still lead by the spirit. -Not an epic spiritual story, but it really hit us as we were talking about it driving away.

Friday miracle: it's official. We have a baptismal date for Dorothée!!!! So her husband and daughter are getting baptized this Saturday (the 9th) and then she'll follow suit just a couple weeks later!!!! =)

Sister Rowley and I did exchanges this week with Evry. Currently serving in Evry: Sister Woodruff and Sister Worsham. Wow were the trains a pain that day! First we missed our train out of Valenciennes by just about a minute. So instead of going to Paris, we had to go to Lille, get on the metro, go to another gare, and then get on a train to go to Paris. The train out of Lille was actually made up of two trains. During a certain point in the trip, they'd separate and one would go to Paris, the other to Bordeaux. At first we boarded the half going to Bordeaux. Thank heavens we got to our correct car before pulling out. That would have been a fun phone call to make! "Umm...Hi President. This is Sister Jorgensen. We haven't met yet, but I'm in your mission. But my companion and I have got a little problem...We've in Bordeaux!" ha ha SO glad that got straightened out ahead of time. Because we missed our first train out of Valenciennes, we couldn't get to Paris before our return train would leave. So, once we got there I had to exchange the tickets for a later time. Taking the earliest train, we were still stuck in Paris for about four hours! Oh heavens. I love trains, but that day really tried my love for them. Anyway, as for exchanges, Sister Rowley went and worked in Evry for the day with Sister Woodruff and Sister Worsham and I worked in Valenciennes. I can't even begin to tell you how excited I was to work with Sister Worsham! I just love her! It was a little trippy though. It was really weird to keep remembering that we're missionaries and live in France...and that that's totally normal for us, when it felt so much like we were back in highschool. It was such a throw back. But, at the same time, I LOVED it! I would be absolutely ecstatic to serve with her. I don't care where, when, or for how long. I would just be thrilled to be able to do it! But if that never happens, at least we got to work together for exchange. I'll take it. =)

I'm leaving out SO many details this week. I'm sorry. I feel like I could write for hours and hours, but I only have so much time. So hopefully that makes sense and I'm not leaving out anything you're dying to know about. But over all, that's been my week in a nutshell.

Have a wonderful week. I love you!