Wednesday, January 8, 2014

La Vie est Belle

Life is cray. I have been thinking this ever since I got home from my mission and had to reevaluate my life and what my new goals were going to be. How I would feel accomplished like I did while serving the people of France. I knew that I wanted to keep that feeling of accomplishment, but how? I had a pretty bad start to my new life after the mission; I slept in way too late, I set goals and disregarded them the next morning, and frankly, I basically failed every goal I had set for myself for the two months of being home.

I am not saying that I was completely unaccomplished, however. I did manage to create a loving relationship with my nephews and picked up where I left off with my parents and sister. I feel as though I can say that my sister and I are "best" friends. Yes, I'm going back to 4th grade and using that term. Along with developing my family relationships, I got to collect my thoughts and rethink everything until I was over it. I learned how to be completely content with having almost no friends, let alone social life. I learned how to find beauty in life even when, in the eyes of the world, you have no chance of having that.

In a sense I felt as though I could have written my own version of "Walden"; away from the world, tucked away behind evergreens and hay fields, being able to understand the meaning of life in the 22 year old, year 2014 stance. I did not decide what to do with my life when it came to a major, I didn't find my future spouse, and I still suck at getting up early, but I feel much more at peace with the craziness of life and the great adventures that it holds in my future. I have come to find that life is beautiful and unexpected, that we get what we put into it, and that our Heavenly Father loves us more then we can even imagine. 

Now I'm back in school, trying to find my way in the bustling crowd of overdone girls and flannel-wearing yet clean shaven boys. Sometimes it's difficult to see where you're going through the mess of people and things, but I know that whatever is in my path I will be able to endure, because I have confidence in myself and in my God.

Monday, August 5, 2013

August 5, 2013 - Bordeaux, France

trains, planes, and automobiles

first thing I thought of when I thought about today. basically only having to do with the first thing. and it doesnt involve me.


so this week we did great, soeur hirschi and I. unfortunately our golden ami, esther is going to be on vacation in paris until sept 20th. that is the beginning of NEXT transfer! and we just started a new one!!! so we just call to check up on her, probably will be asking if she wants to meet with the missionaries there. she is so awesome, though! she highlights her book of mormon!! anyway. yeah. dont have full time today, we have to go pick up a sister who is staying the night with us tonight and finishing her voyage tomorrow so we have to take her to the gare tomorrow morning. so! transfers!

soeur hirschi left me, I kicked her out of the nest and she's headed to montpelier! she'll do great there. super excited for her. she is so wonderful and has taught me so much!! such a hard worker!!!!! kicked me in the butt when I got lazy and helped me a lot, so it was great!! super sad she is gone, but its okay. all change is good. now I have soeur green, soeur harris' blue! so she just finished being blue and she seems really eager to work hard too, so this will be great!!! super stoked to keep working and teaching and baptizing! inviting people to come unto Christ! such a fulfilling feeling. 

so the rest of transfer info, we have 4 equipes of missionaries in our ward, and 1 is a couple equipe in charge of the young adults, and then there's the zone leaders (was elder call and elder dicou) and the chinese equipe (was elder phelps and elder standford). elder call left (so sadddd, he's from my mtc district!!) to be zone leader in nice (in my old apartment there! haha. sisters and elders switched since I've been there), and elder phelps left! he was a blue! gone to toulouse. and my lovely comp is gone. so its been sad, cause all three of our equipes lost people, and to be honest, they were my favorite so that was super sad. but its what has to be done! time to work hard! will miss elder call, phelps, and soeur hirschi, but they'll do incredible where they go! I'm super stoked for them. and our new assistant is elder fox, who was in my district for 3 transfers when I was in pau and he's crazzy so this will be fun. lol. well, I gotta fly, but have a great week!! the church is true! gotta pick up the other soeur!!

love you and love letters!! same address as before!

love always,

Monday, July 29, 2013

July 29, 2013 - Bordeaux, France

Here's my Heart

Take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.

Chére famille,

Je vous aime. I love you. (vous is plural "you" or singular formal). So if I were specifically saying "I love you" to one person and I was close with them, I would say, "Je t'aime", but since I'm saying it to a group of yall I say Je vous aime. And as a missionary we have to use the formal "you" (vous) when speaking to others, which can sometimes make us look weirdd because people are like, you can tu-toi me, and we're like, sorry, we cant. and we speak to each other in vous and people dont think we know french correctly, when in reality its just a rule. which we obey. because we are obedient missionaries. anyway. Nice language study for mom and dad and whoever else doesnt know french! This week has been awesome. I feel so good!! Like spiritually pumped! let me start off by telling you about our first progressing ami of the transfer, Esther! (isnt it great that her name is esther?? haha, love it. God is so great.)

Esther was originally contacted by the elders(our zone leaders) a while ago and put her in the phone, and I dont know what happened but they never taught her. (ps: the sisters lost their phone last transfer so we have their phone and they eventually got a new one, so we have their old numbers including esther's) and we got a call from the sisters in Talence (just outside of Bordeaux, where our church is. its like  Benbrook and Fort Worth, theyre basically the same thing, but just outside of the main "city". But yeah, so the sisters call us and tell us that they contacted this girl named esther and that she wanted to meet with them near Victoire (look it up-Bordeaux) but she lives in our sector, and so they were passing her to us. So we call her, and she didtn have time to see us until the next week on Wednesday and to call her then.

So Tuesday we're just going home, contacting on the way (by the way, contacted over 400 this week! :D)  and we contact this girl, and she ends up being esther, who we talked to on the phone!! so we set up a rdv with her for the next morning, taught her, then set up another rdv with her for the next evening, taught her, then set up another rdv for the next morning. taught her. :O yeah, we were so surprised. lol. /really really excited! so she's left on vacance for she didnt know how long but she was like I hope to see you reallly soon!! We're like, us too! haha. but its great. we also taught...xavier! 

so we set up and had the rdv for friday. we had taught a lesson with a member, soeur Lecave last week and it was really great and we were like, we should use her again! she did a great job! ...well. we begin teaching xavier, and she's like, super aggressive to him. when he had questions she attacked the questions and it was out of control!! It all started with us reading the introduction with him because he hadnt, and then we asked if he had questions and he had a lot and she just grabbed those questions and gobbled them up and spit them back out at him, and we're just watching in horror, trying to get a word in, but they were speaking so quickly in french and he kept asking so many questions and they were talking over each other and if youre not a native speaker..youve got no chance. I tried at one point and he was like, I have a lot of questions-I just want to learn more about this! in a kind of rude tone and I was like, I know we just want to answer them-but they kept going!! I was really annoyed but I prayed to have love for him, so I just took a deep breath and thought for a second. they kept arguing. I looked at Soeur Hirschi and she was like, we need to watch the restoration. I just nodded. yeah, they were arguing so much that we could talk to each other without worrying about them listening or hearing us. haha. So basically after too long of that, I put my hands up between them and was like, okay! thats enough! so back to the Book of Mormon! and they both stopped, surprisingly. We told him how Joseph Smith did translate it, and that we had a video for him to watch. We lead them to the other room to watch the Restoration, and it really was great. I was scared that he would be very rude about the video and pick out things, so when we asked how he felt, and when he said that he thought that it was very well filmed, I was happy. lol. (he's a film guy). Then we talked a little bit about the story and about Joseph Smith seeing God the Father and His son, Jesus Christ, and about prophets on the earth today! Then I talked to him very kindly, way kinder then I usually speak, and said, I know you said that you've had a spiritual experience before, and I know that you can have those good feelings, from the Holy Ghost again when you read this book and pray about it. We arent here to try to convince you. We ask everyone, including you, to know for yourself. And he really looked touched. And I felt so much love for him! Gospel love! It was great. I was so happy to know that Heavenly Father heard my pleas, my rather prideful pleas, to have charity for this man. And it came about! He told us he wouldnt be able to come to church, but that we could meet again for sure. He also talked to Elder Kunzler who was there, and that was really nice because Xavier is a really funny guy, and in english, too! and he likes to joke, but its hard to joke a lot with him and for it not to come off the wrong way, so him and elder kunzler had a good time. :) But it really was a great lesson, after a few clean-ups. haha. 

Yesterday we taught the lesson in young women about taking upon you the name of Christ. It was really nice to see their perspectives as teens here in France, because its hard! Everyone all the time offering you alcohol and cigarettes. way more smoking here then in America. And alcohol is legal starting at 16 or 18, so lots of that, also. So I grew more respect for them and for them sticking it out and becoming disciples of Christ! 

Later on in the day we contacted, and I dont remember having so much fun contacting before! It was so fun because there were so many tourists who spoke spanish or italian or german or whatever and thanks to my friends who speak/spake those languages in the mission (aud, claire, will) I had those things to say! hahaha, it was hilarious! I was like stuttering through it, but I think they appreciated it. In fact, I know that at least 2 couples really appreciated it because I was trying to teach them to their needs, which was the language! ha. it was really fun. We also cleared up some false information about mormons. thats always an uplifting thing to do, especially when people actually recognize that youre telling them the truth! And we got someone's number and set up a rdv with her for tomorrow! so we'll see! :D 

Things are really looking up here in Bordeaux! We have 1 progressing ami and lots of potentielles and new amis. I love soeur Hirschi so much, and we have transfer calls on Friday. So dont send me any letters this week unless its to the office. Dang I dont want either of us to leave! We're achieving things and doing better every week!!! I love yall and I know this gospel is true. I love this church. I love Jesus Christ. I love our Heavenly Father. I know with all my heart that He hears our prayers. 

I love yall and I hope you have a great week!!!!

love always,

Monday, July 22, 2013

July 22, 2013 - Bordeax, France

Let our Hearts Find Access to Thee

In thy holy courts on high

chére famille,

bonjour!! This week was pretty awesome. Hard but still really awesome. We taught more lessons then we have this whole transfer! Not combined, but it was great. We're improving. :) We have continuously been searching and contacting over 350 people for the week (our mission's standards of excellence), and we are beginning to see the difference. We've still been contacting and teaching recent converts and nonactives, but we've finally been able to set up rendez-vous with our potential amis and teaching! I loove teaching!! oh man. I have missed it. Not that  we havent taught since this transfer started, just that we only have taught a few times a week, not enough to feel like youre doing it often. Finding is a pretty difficult thing, especially for me; I'm much more comfortable teaching and helping our amis understand and apply, so the Lord recognizes my weaknesses and decides to build them up. I think this is one of the reasons I have been in this situation for 2 transfers now. haha. the situation where we just dropped basically all of our amis or they dropped us, so we NEED to find like crazy or else we're not accomplishing our goal. Thats what happened in the middle of last transfer in Grenoble, and that's what happened before I came to the Eysines equipe, so our finding is finally paying off! The Lord is really blessing us with some really great potentials. 

Par exemple! We contacted this french guy, Xavier, and stood and talked for a good 15 minutes about life and we had asked him, "Où est-ce que vous trouvez le bonheur?" (where do you find happiness). And he said work, but its a temporal thing so he is really searching for that. so we set up a rdv with him for the next morning, we feel like we should teach him with mama yonnet, our bishop's mom, and she is crazzy!! lol. so much energy and kind of aggressive and he's kind of aggressive so we're like, well, we'll see! so we start the lesson and she's like asking all these questions and tellling him so much and he's like, gurl get outta my face but not really saying that, just looking like that, and then he tells us he will never ever be baptized into the mormon church, I'm like, dang. but we keep teaching and pull things back to together, he tells us his life story, really opens up, gives the closing prayer, mama yonnet goes over to him, grabs his face and bisous him and was like, that was such a beautiful, sincere prayer!!! and I'm expecting him to be like, what the what! but I see his face and he's just smiling ear to ear! french boys are mama boys. so basically she adopted him as another one of her sons. oh and she kept on relating him to her sons and saying he needed to meet them..but yeah. so he was on vacation this weekend but we talked to him yesterday and we'll see him this week. miracles!!!

Oh, we visited a nonactive, soeur drumeva, and she was a choral director, a really good one, in Bulgaria. she can read music like no one i've ever seen. soo fast!! anyway, after we sang a cantique, she took me to the piano and made me sing scales. then she told me that I would be giving up my gift if I didnt go into singing, and not in choirs, but classic singing!! opera! I was like, whha?? That was really nice and boosted my confidence. haha.

I know that the Lord is blessing us. I know that this gospel is so true, that it can truly change lives and hearts. I dont know if Xavier will be baptized, but I do know that he really could be. The gospel can change everything. I've seen it. It's incredible to be able to share that with others. Its sad when people disregard it, but I work hard to not let that get me down, because there are His elect out here in Bordeaux, searching for the truth and waiting for something to happen in their lives. I love this gospel! Its incredible!!!!!!
I love yall and I hope you have a great week!!!

love always, 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

July 21, 2013 - Letter from the France Lyon Mission President

Dear Parents, we just finished a zone conference tour to four cities. We tried to get photos to send to you. It is a harder job than you would think but here they are. I know in one city a couple of missionaries ran for a train before the photo so we are sure sorry if you can not find your missionary or if they made a face. They are here in France I assure you, and they are accomplishing miracles. Wonderful things are taking place in the mission. Thank you for sharing your wonderful missionary with us. 

President Roney

France Lyon Mission

Monday, July 15, 2013

July 15, 2013 - Bordeaux, France

Concrete jungle, where dreams are made of!

there's nothin you can't do now you're in BORDEAUX!!!!


so! things are going good here in ol bordeaux. So many reasons for my title. first, this will be a short little email, but! great thing that happened this friday during weekly planning, the sonnerie goes off, and there's a package for me, apparently. I'm like, huh? I got my package from my fam yesterday..( thanks again!!) so we go down, open the door, and its SOEUR BERTOLIO and her fam!!!!! By soeur bertolio I mean Micol! crazy, right??? I was so happy!!! This week has been great. We contacted over 350 people (366, to be specific), and we taught lots of recent convert/less actives lessons, and it was great. dang I dont have any time, but it was all good good fun. today we did service and helped someone move with the elders. luckily we have 2 equipes of elders in our ward, so we didnt have to do too much, funny enough. We met some guy that works for nuSkin and we told him that president roney was our mission president and he was like, "you know blake RONEY??!" and he had this higher pitched voice and it kinda cracked at the "ney" of roney, and he was a short little man with a light purple button up in a suit. classy. but yeah, it was great. he tried to sell us nuSkin. theyve got their own little nuSkin missionaries! we laughed so hard and called president after and he told us not to give him his number. lol. We ate with the missionary couple in our ward for one of our lunch hours and it was wonderful. I absolutely love the Dickensons. theyre from England and have the best accents!!!

We havent been able to find any solid amis yet, but we will continue to search and eventually find and baptize!!!!!!! :D

Also, could people who speak ITALIAN, SPANISH, RUSSIAN, and GERMAN please send me an email saying how to contact someone to learn more about the gospel. for example, "We are missionaries for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Would you like to learn more about Jesus Christ?" just put that into those languages. Thanks!

well, I really do have to go, but thanks for all you do! I LOVE letters!!!

love always,

Monday, July 8, 2013

July 8, 2013 - Bordeaux, France

I will survive


so it has begun getting super hot here. the heat wave is a'comin! or its already hit. either way its hot. i dont think I've ever drank so much water before. lol. I seriously take in like 4 glasses before lunch. And those hours before we're just doing studies since I'm finishing training soeur hirschi. its cray. but good, cause otherwise I would totally get dehydrated, and we all know that leads to exhaustion which leads to passing out to going to the hospital. so to save a trip, I just drink a lot. of water. But other then the heat things are looking great! things are picking up, we're contacting and getting super close to having solid amis! As I told some of you already, when I got here my comp and her last companion had just dropped a few of their solid amis who werent keeping commitments, so we had some potentielle who we're trying to meet with, but its been hard since its the time of the season for VACANCE (vacation). And its not normal vacation that youre gone for a week or 2 like in America; here youre gone for a good 4 weeks or more. its out of control and makes missionary work a bit harder when your new amis are leaving for forever it seems. haha. But we get by by finding more amis now, so that by the time that our potentielles come back we'll have a bunch of amis! win/win! 

So this week we had some great miracles. first off, we went to visit a somewhat new ami (Ive taught him only once, but the soeurs had taught him twice before) but he wasnt home, so we thought to stop by a different new ami, Luce. she's home, so she invites us up to her apartment, and her boyfriend (father of her 5 year old) and her younger brother (16 yrs old) are home also. so we begin asking how theyre doing, we introduce ourselves to the new people, then the boyfriend says very simply and not accusingly, oh yeah yall are a cult. and I'm like, actually we're not. and he's like, yeah, you are. and I asked him why he thought that and something having to do with having a prophet that we pay all our money to and so we explained the purpose of a prophet and the purpose of tithing, and then we asked if we could continue explaining after we prayed, and they were a little surprised but said okay, so we prayed and then began teaching a very simple lesson 1 and they were really touched.We didnt get through the whole thing, but it was good. We asked them if they believed in God and she told us about her cousin who she was really close with who believed in God but she had recently died. I felt really inspired to ask her the question, do you think that you'll see her again after this life? She really thought and said, I dont know. And we shared a testimony that we know that she can see her again because we have a loving Heavenly Father. We gave them another Book of Mormon and prayed and they thanked us and the boyfriend, Jerémie, thanked us and said that we were really nice about answering his questions and explaining, and I thought that was really cool. We're not here to convince, we're here to teach with the Spirit and let them decide for themselves. 

Another cool experience was yesterday in relief society we were talking about the talk by president uchtdorf about the plane going just a little off course and that can change everything, afterward the teacher asked if there was someone who would like to share an experience, and this woman sitting the back stood up and told us that she has been inactive for the last 5 years but has decided taht seh wants to be fully active again and cried and bore her testimony and the Spirit was so strong! so we sat with her in sacrament and exchanged numbers and she is so sweet and really happy to be back and to restart. I love the atonement!!! 

I love this gospel and I know that it's true!!! I Love yall and I hope yall have a great week!!!

love always,