Monday, November 28, 2016

Le Grand Remerciement

We were trying to figure out how to say "Thanksgiving" in French and I came up with "le Grand Remerciement" which literally means "The Big Thanks." My companion, a native French speaker, pointed out that the real name is "Action de Grâces," but I liked mine better so I kept using it.

On Tuesday we were in Lyon for Zone Conference, it was fun. We all got to watch the #LightTheWorld/ÉclairezLeMonde/光照世人 video together for the first time, it was so so so so good. And still is, in fact. That's why we've been running around sharing it with members and soon people on the street as well :) also both districts in our zone had to create a skit to perform after conference, so we (Grenoble, Valence, and Chambéry) did our own version of "Silent Night." We turned the lights off, came on stage in pajamas and carrying pillows and blankets, and silently laid down for a good night's rest. It was so hard to keep a straight face (read: I didn't keep a straight face). We just laid there until the other district and President and Sœur Brown started clapping, but we didn't react so they stopped. Then it got awkward, but we just kept laying there. Finally after a few minutes they actually started singing Silent Night, so we took that as our cue and got up. It was dumb, but pretty good considering we'd come up with the idea the night before and hadn't even told the whole district what we were doing until about 20 minutes before show time.

We had interviews with President after that, that's always a good time. He's amazing, and it's been so cool to see him progress and become more confident as our Mission President since he only arrived in France a month before I did!

Wednesday we taught our best ami about tithing. We expected it to be a little tricky, but it actually went pretty well! Yay for blessings. Our second lesson with him this week didn't go as well, but not necessarily too bad either. Nothing a little faith won't fix :)

Thursday was Thanksgiving! It took us a little while to realize it, and we didn't really even celebrate much. We did have a long conversation with a homeless guy though, and eventually gave him a Book of Mormon because Elder Alvarenga has no fear.

Friday was Thanksgiving Day for us, simply because all six of us missionaries went to dinner with two American families! We were at the home of the other Grenoble Elders' ami and his family, who are (believe it or not) from Utah! Not born and raised, but they lived there for quite a while before coming here to France about 4 months ago. He's been an ami for 10 years O.o the Hardings (Joseph Smith and clan) were there too. We grilled hamburgers and had chicken and ham and stuff since France only believes in having turkey on Christmas. It was a good night :)

Saturday all six of us (again) went to the bishop's house for lunch. It was cool, there were a bunch of people there including the bishop's brother who currently lives in New Caledonia and their father who is an 88 year old rather deaf Italian man. When he's in a hurry though, he can actually run! It was an incredible sight. That night we saw our ami from Wednesday again and then went straight over to a recent convert's place. He's from Ghana and was baptized in the Philippines last year and now he's studying business in Grenoble. Makes sense. Super cool guy.

On Sunday there was a special ward lunch after church for the Harding family and another American family who are both moving back to the States this week. It's sad to see them go, but the Lord needs them elsewhere!

My thought for you this week is simply this: pray. Pray too much. You never know what might happen, whether in the world around you or in yourself.

Love you!
江长老

Monday, November 21, 2016

Pics: Museum, sunrise, and the Hardings


A Local Museum

Incredible sunrise this morning (#nofilter)

The Hardings - aka Joseph Smith and his family

Joseph Smith made me pancakes

Hello hello hello hello hello

This week has been a week. It has been a good week. We have done
things this week. They were things that missionaries do. Some things
were things that everybody do too. Missionaries have good lives :)

Monday night we had Soirée Familiale (FHE), it was fun.

Tuesday: started out kinda slow, but we had a lesson with our awesome
awesome ami! In about a month of being taught, he's almost finished
with the Alma in the Book of Mormon. He's committed! He knows he'll
receive an answer through sincere study and prayer, and he's very
willing to acknowledge that it's the Lord's timing that counts. He's
incredible. That night we had dinner (raclette, so good) with a family
in the ward. Their dad is Portuguese which I didn't know until that
night, I always just thought he was French and had served a mission in
Portugal or something. He speaks Portuguese, French, and English, The
Mom speaks English, French, apparently some Italian and German, and
their sons speak perfect English and one of them also speaks Spanish
and Chinese (he served a mission in Montreal and ended up serving a
year in Chinese, 6 months in Spanish, and 6 months in French. Crazy).
Awesome family.

Howeverrrrrrrr since we went to their house which was really far away
we all took the train back and my collègue had forgotten his carte
jeune (gets young people like us half price on train tickets) so when
the controller came to check his ticket he got slapped with a fine of
35 €uros. To get it reimbursed we went to the gare the next morning
with his carte jeune, but we'd been fed some misinformation and ended
up running around Grenoble and wasting a lot of time and being sent to
several different official people to help us and it was a big fiasco.
Train travel in France is great! Just don't forget your carte jeune.

I don't remember what we did for the rest of that day.

Thursday we taught our amie the Rétablissement (Restoration) with yet
another one of our incredible members and it went well. More about her
later.

Friday I was on exchange! I was with Elder Eberhard, our fearless
district leader whom I hadn't spoken to in 9 transfers by the time I
arrived in Grenoble. He's awesome, really really great guy and super
good at presenting in district meeting, despite it being his first
time as DL. We had one tombez-vous (Our lessons fell through) and then
a really good lesson, actually with the same member whom we had taught
with the day before. At night we had Ward Council which went really
well, I'm so so so so glad to be in a ward with such amazing members.

Saturday we did Weekly Planning, it was good. We did other stuff too I
guess....?

Sunday was a really really good day! We had two amis at church (the
two that we taught this week since neither of them were working this
Sunday) and it went super well, we were able to teach both of them
after church and it was cool, although the second one was laughing and
joking a lot during the lesson and it was hard to keep her focused. Ça
vaaaaaaaa

After that lesson, the really cool member who helped us teach (who is
an undercover cop by the way and has such awesome stories) drove us to
the home of yet another amazing member family. The dad of this family
is our Elders' Quorum President and just happens to be the guy that
played young Joseph Smith in The Restoration. No joke. He's told us
before what that experience was like and last night he and his wife
and we all told a bunch of mission stories and his family is adorable
and amazing and ahhhhhh. So awesome. Oh yeah and they fed us pancakes
:D

For the past month, there's been a challenge in the mission to testify
of the Apostasy and subsequent Restoration every day to your companion
in your mission language. Elder Alvarenga and I have only missed one
day and it's been great to see not only how our capacity to speak
Chinese has grown, but also the depth of our testimonies. Testifying
of it more means thinking about it more, and that makes us more ready
to receive revelation as to its truthfulness, leading to an even
stronger testimony. Genius, huh? Try it! This week, take 5 minutes a
day to think about a principle or doctrine of the Gospel and try to
figure out what it means for you in your life. You'll see connections
and blessings you never knew were there, I promise :) love you all!
我爱你们!Je vous aime tous!

Elder Jensen
江长老



Monday, November 14, 2016

Pics: sweaters, friends and food



Our sweaters' maiden voyage

Elder Alvarenga and the member that knew his family in Peru with an old picture of Elder Alvarenga's mom

Yes Mom I use chapstick when I need to

Seems legit

At the Canadian restaurant

The Poutine in all its glory

Holy Utah license plate Batman


Pretty

Probably the tallest bus I've ever seen

We went to a French resistance museum today

Poutine your mouth

Hola nacho

I'm a little low on time as is common, but not too low so it's pas grave.

Grenoble is doing well! The weather is cooling down, but the work is
heating up :) Elder Alvarenga and I both donned new sweaters (cheap
but warm, just the way I like them) out of necessity this week. We
have a couple different foci (yes I just used that word) right now as
a mission, one being part-member families and one being lessons in the
presence. This week we got to see our awesome French ami, he's a
30-something year old French guy who's an absolute boss at reading the
Book of Mormon. He was a self-referral and requested a Book of Mormon
off the Internet. We're not the ones that starting teaching him, but I
heard from multiple sources that after he received the Livre de
Mormon, he showed up to the first rendez-vous and apologized for not
having been able to read very much and that he was "only in 1 Nephi
23" or something like that. Helloooooo that's more than most amis will
read in like 6 months. He's at about the end of Alma now, he's so
cool. Our other awesome amie is a Chinese girl who's here for studies,
she wanted to learn about religion after she had some friends that
converted to Christianity. We saw her a couple times this week and she
came to church! Yaaaayyyyy it was super cool :)

In other news, AMERICAAAAAAA is going crazy as you all know better
than I do. Unfortunately for that French guy that said "je suis contre
Donald Trump" to me on the street in Toulouse a long time ago. I think
the member from St. Genis who was here repairing stuff in the chapel
put it best when he told us "Hey have you heard the news? You have a
duck as a president. His name is Donald." hashtag Disney jokes for
days. But yeah actually that morning, we got a text from an unknown
number saying "Hello you have a new president in USA" but didn't
identify either the sender or the new president. It was the member at
the church that morning that told us first. Fun times fun times.

Wow I'm just realizing how much stuff happened this week. Too much!
Elder Alvarenga's legality and zone training in Ecully and snow, oh
my! The snow is mostly on the beautiful beautiful mountains, but we
got the teeniest bit mixed into a lot of rain one morning in ville.

Oh and we got poutine with a member. Canadian specialty, I've been
hearing about it for over a year and never had it until now. This
member served his mission in Montreal and speaks perfect French,
Spanish, and English and really good Chinese. He showed us where to
find it. Pictures to follow.

In closing, I'll quote my cher collègue in saying, "We're not the
heroes. Jesus Christ is the hero." It's true! Christ is the only one
who could save us from our own sins, none of us are worthy to make the
sacrifice necessary and none of us were chosen in the Premortal Life
like He was. I know that Christ lives! He was and is the Son of God,
the Jehovah of the Old Testament, and the Savior of the world. Thanks
to Him, we all have the chance to return and live with our Heavenly
Father. It's pretty great :)

Love you all, but not as much as God does! Bye!

Elder Jiang-sen
江长老