Hey dad, this week has been much better, I am doing much better with my compainion, we have been talking more about change, and humility, and I can see how much she is changing already, I really think Nogent was a good city for her to be in to understand the world. Its been hard on her and on me, but the change is worth it. Im so happy you got my package! I love that place its so good! Anyway the lady at the store was so nice and was so excited to hear they were going all the way to the states she made a special box all of the best chocolates and gave me bubble wrap haha, so i hope it turned out ok.For christmas were going to a member families house the Angulo's who gave us a coordonne this week of their daughters friend who will be baptized by me!!! Jan. 31st 2015, dont ask me how lucky i will be to have two baptisms in my mission already! Thats what i get for serving in Paris! YEAH for Africans and their believing! Hahaha, so I only have 7 weeks left here in Nogent, and I know when i leave Caen will be open for a sister and also Belgium! Also a lot more, but im really praying for one of those... also that I will go where they need me.. but if it happens to be there Im not complaining lol. So today we will leave for Nancy again on exchanges, im excited to get out of Paris once more, and then on wednesday we have a big christmas conference in Versielles again so that will be fun! and a huge ward party on saturday and we were asked to help out with a play the primary kids are doing so that will be fun and super cute. Im really excited for CHRISTMAS though, and i got both of your packages, thank you so much!
Saturday, December 27, 2014
Hey mom. so this week has been much better, learning and growing a lot. It was really nice that my companion opened up to me and I can tell just in the last two weeks a huge changed has happened in her, just becoming more humble. She knows she still has a lot to work on, and im not perfect either at all, but just that she is recongizing it is so much better. Its taken a lot of the burden off me. anyway this pray we are going to visit Sainte Chapelle and Musee d'Orsay and maybe the Eiffel Tour. The soeurs in Evry have no idea what was going on so they asked us if they could join me because i am the only one who knows how to get around Paris nowadays lol. I am feeling more and more comfortable with the french language. and more settled in. I am trying to get better at my contacting and such, but we shall see, im just not a natural like some.. cough court... she needs to go on a mission she would be so much better at it than me! So, yeah, thats my life, just prepping for Christmas, which i can now skype on christmas day at 19h30 so like 10am or 9 am your time. So you can still work on Christmas Eve haha Ill be with you too mom. I pray for you guys so much all the time and im so thankful for the wards letters that they sent! Tell them a big thank you from me! I love them for their support. Also i just reread what i said, that sounded really prideful lol, im not at all a perfect missionary, but now i know i can just work on tackling one thing at a time! Also today were leaving for Nancy for our exchange again, Im excited. Then we have a big christmas conference on wednesday so im excited! YAY!! things to look forward too. also i only have 7 weeks left in Nogent, so i guess knowing that im leaving soon, is making me like it more, and there will be a ton of sister villes open for me to go to, but Caen and belgium will be open so i really would think it would be cool to go there!! But wherever the lord needs me I will go. Love you tons and cant wait to see your faces! I will try and include some pics for you guys but i will soon send my chip home and you can look at my time in Nogent!!Sending my love!
Sunday, November 30, 2014
Hey mom hows it going? I hope you are having so much fun with Court being home and send me pics of the bathroom! haha I will try and send my sd card home with all my pics soon too. I love you so much for sending that package it was sooooo nice! And Soeur Simpsons mom just sent us a ton of peanut butter and everything to make muddy buddies lol. So were excited. Not much has happened this week except the super cool experience with the apsotle!! AHH SO COOL! He talked a lot about missionary work, obviously, haha but a lot about why we were chosen to come to that spicific mission, he said there are three feelings we get as apostles when we assign someone to a mission. 1. They need that mission president and wife. They will work wonderful together and learn together to be better diciples of Christ. Besides your parents they are the next most influential people and recieve more personal revelation for you than anyone else on this earth. 2. The people need you and you need the people. You have a light that you will share with them and it will bless and change your life as well as those you serve. 3. The future. Your work might not be meant for this day, but you will plant the seeds in their hearts for many years to come. also the language you might need in future imployment, or need the skills you will learn for a future need.
After this he said if however we dont put someone in the right mission you proceed to the next with a bitter feeling, then the next and the feeling gets worse and worse, utill you have maybe only put three others in missions before you cant even think about anything until you go back and ponder and pray to see where they need to go. Elder Cook said every missionary is put in the right place no matter what. He promised every missionary and gave us the blessing that our missions here would bless others that we meet in life, our families, and friends more than ever. He promised that one day we will know why we were chosen to come to this mission and serve in France. Which I thought was really cool. He really gave us a ton of motivation for this week. Which was nice after a really rough last week. But we taught 12 lessons so that was amazing number for Nogent! Whoohoo! I am sorry I dont have much time got to go! I love you and im sending a letter and some stuff for christmas slowly but surely. LOVE YOU oh went to the Louvre last week, really cool, and more today! I have a ton of pics!!
LOVE YOU HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!
Monday, November 17, 2014
Sister Simpson, Sister Stevens and Sister Tupai
So this week was a week. Ah I dont even know where to begin my email to you, but for starters a family in the ward asked us to come over for Christmas Eve for skype calls so it will be the 24th when I call YAY!
Ok, So about my "baby bleu" as they call new missionaries here. She is amazing. Literally amazing. She speaks really well the language. We work well together, shes from Kaysville, UT and went to Utah State. Shes majoring in marketing so shes pretty bomb at contacting! Its AWESOME! She worked in Capitol Hill Washington DC before the mission for congressman Bishop, and gave tours of the Hill and captiol! HOW CRAZY IS THAT! Anyway so shes super professional, and sometimes Im like, oh yeah Im supposed to be the trainer lol... Shes super smart she's picked up on the trajet really fast. Honestly, in 4 weeks she could train here no doubt about it! But, at the same time I have never been more humbled in my life. Now more than I am seeing my weaknesses. I am trying so hard, but its really one of the most difficult weeks of my life. I've cried everday... which is wierd for me, I've become super emotion since I've become a trainer. In the mission they call it a "mother" so I'm here mom, and shes my daughter. Well, now i understand why, I really do feel like her mom in a sense, and I just want to protect her from the people we meet everyday, and I can understand all the harsh things people say to us, and whenever she asks, wait i didnt catch all they said, i find myself, just saying, oh they just didnt have time to talk to us,... But, it was a hard week. All of our appointments fell through and there was one day we did contacting all day and had 0 lessons taught. It was horrible, I feel like the worst missionary ever having nothing for my bleu to teach. So Sunday the District leader called and we talked about mission life, and he was like, I cant believe your actually training, theres an Elder here whose in his 15 and never trained... Its a really big responsibility, but the Lord trusts you. You can do it. Soeur tupai told me, what I always told her when we had a bad day our favorite quote from Elder Holland, "Trust in the Lord, and believe in good things to come." Honestly I am really struggling climbing this mountian... its a little icy this time... and Im really tired. But I know the Lord would never let me down. He gives us tiny miracles everyday. I'm lucky for what I have, and I am realizing slowly that gratitude is more than just meerly being thankful. Its a way of life. constantly looking at the glass half full and knowing that any of our trials are just a small moment compared to the eternity to come. I read a talk by Uchtdorf and this week I kept looking at S.Tupai not being here as a trial, and an end to something good, but in it he said,
"It must have been this kind of testimony that transformed the Savior’s Apostles from fearful, doubting men into fearless, joyful emissaries of the Master. In the hours following His Crucifixion, they were consumed with despair and grief, unable to understand what had just happened. But one event changed all of that. Their Lord appeared to them and declared, “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.”11
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Thank you so much for your email. I really appreciate the updates on day to day life. But I have big news for you this week, so Im not sure if you know already or not but, I am called to be a TRAINER this next transfer! So 3 more months in Nogent/Paris. Its ok I really dont mind staying here. S. Tupai is going up north right next to Beligum (Valancienne I think) I sent dad the report of where all the missionaries will be. So Im kinda nervous my next companion will be straight out of the MTC. I will train her in the field. I dont know if shes American, or a francophone. Either one, im nervous. So the memorable day of November 8th, 2014. Started out just contacting around Nogent and at 11:45 the assistants to the President called and asked me if I would accept the Lords calling as being a trainer this next transfer(at 12 is when they stop calls because they will sent the email out to everyone that says where you are going, so I really thought i was in the clear lol). I of course had to say yes! So that was crazy! Then we went to the church and learned S. Tupai will be a regular missionary again in the North. I think she was kinda sad that she wasnt a trianer again, or an STL. I feel bad. Either way, I know mountains lay ahead for us both, and we both have the faith to climb them! Im so thankful that she was my trianer, I just hope I can be half as good as her. I mean you cant get much better than a francophone as a trainer lol. I really lucked out. So then after this we went back and started to prep everything for our baptism!!! I cant believe I had a baptism this week too! Clara is just so wonderful. and the Sunday she was confirmed she hugged me so tight and said "I love you more than you could ever know" AHHHHH!!! I just about died. Shes truely found her happiness and it lies in the gospel. I really was just a voice that the Lord could use in conversion. It was so sweet and the ward has just come together better than ever! Its the perfect set up for me to train. I really believe this was Heavenly Fathers plan from the beginning. These next few months will be the hardest months of my mission Im pretty sure, alone in Paris... lol I think she will do more than Im expecting... I hope. The district didnt really change all that much other than me being a trainer, Elder Powelson left he was called to be a Zone Leader up in Beligum, he was so happy! He was praying for responcibilities and to go to Belgium and he got both! And the missionary taking his place with the missionary he trained is awesome, so im sure hes jumping for joy lol. Also transfer day is Wednesday so thats when Ill get to meet her and take her home with me to Nogent! There will also be pictures posted on Wednesday on facebook, so if you want to look it will be then.
This week has just been a whirlwind of experiences and Im ready for Wednesday to be here, all we have the next two days are lessons with members and our new converti Clara! Yay haha so Ive just been preping everything for the end of the week with my new comp. I really need your prayers now more than ever. I might not be perfect at the language, but I know i know enough to get around and talk to people. I just have to be humble and more than anything charitable towards everyone.
Thank you for the SS thing it worked! I need to buy some winter shoes, and tights, its getting colder and colder, its only 40's but its so humid here that it just turns into a wet cold. ah... But the coat I got last Pday was a big blessing!
Sounds like the bathroom is going to be different when i get home!! WHOOOHOOO gone with the bright yellow lol. Sounds like Dad's having a tough time at work and looking to be done. Sorry to hear about that. Wish I could have been there in the kitchen with you cooking and making all your Christmas goodies. I cant believe how close Christmas is! I cant think of anything for you to send, but i really like soft shirts..lol hehe its cold here and im out 24/7 sooo....
Anyway this Pday were just going to Paris and Tupai will get to do her last shopping in her favorite stores, just a really relaxing day. I will miss her so much, but I know these mountains were made for me to climb, so why not start now lol.
I had a moment before the baptism where I just got to think about everything and my new call and about the last two transfers. I really dont know why Im here exactly but I did get a conformation that it was the plan Heavenly Father created for me, this is exactly where i need to be right now. And I know the Lord is pleased with my time in Nogent with Soeur Tupai, and there is no greater feeling than that.
I emailed the president about my concerns on contacting, french, and just about everthing. He said some very sweet words back. I was expecting a list of what to do and what not, but in the end he said this,"Merci Soeur Stevens pour votre lettre et pour votre question. En fait j'ai l'impression que vous êtes trop concentrée sur la langue française et que vous n'êtes donc pas assez disponible pour recevoir l'inspiration et la reconnaitre. Merci pour tous vos efforts et poour votre désir d'être un vrai disciple de Jésus Christ. Nous vous aimons.."
It translates" Thank you S STevens for your letter and your question. In fact i am impressed that you are so consecrated in the french language, you are too worried about thinking in perfect french rather than feeling the impressions of the holy ghost. Thank you for your efforts and your sincere desire to be a true diciple of Jesus Christ. We love you."
There was more, but that was pretty much what I needed to hear. Its ok, not to be perfect at french. As long as I am listening to the spirit, it will work out fine.
Thank you for you words of comfort and kindness. I look forward to the next monday!
Monday, November 3, 2014
Some very insightful answers to questions I asked Ashley…..Immeasurable joy sharing the gospel & a mountain and a shovel.
You brought up many good points in your email, that i have time to talk with you about.
1.One of the biggest and hardest things we deal with as missionaries is always as you said being charitable, serving constantly, and never judging. For example, we worked with one of our amis "Mary" for months, always asking ward members to help, worrying about how to get her to church, if she will follow up on our commitments, and so on. But in the end the question of baptism came, and she was just not ready. It was super hard, when they cant change thier lives, and you look back on the time and effort you put into making sure this person would feel so ready, and then in the end nothing happened. Its very disheartening, but we must push forward with the work. In Preach my Gospel it says it best, "
Hey dad! Yeah this week has been pretty chill, really fast! And yeah we do a lot of door to door and street contacting, nothing ever comes from door to door though, but because its winter we cant contact on the streets, so its pretty chill nights of just "coeuring" door to door. Yes also if you can please send some classical music! But if you dont have any you can just send the christmas! S.Tupai was praying we would get it before she leaves lol shes like "I want an american christmas!" lol. But send it whenever works, shes gone anyway lol. I dont think ill train next transfer, idk who will come to Nogent either. Glad to hear that Halloween went awesome and the pumpkins were as cool as ever lol. I want mom to learn FRENCH! You can come pick me up and spend a week in France :) and we can all speak the language! No news on Ebola, except they didnt let a ton of people back from vacation lol because they wouldnt take planes from african countries with ebola, so its kinda sad a lot of people cant come home yet. Madeline and i just walked the champs together, not much.
Im really nervous for transfers and my next companion, and i guess my exchange with the STL in Nancy well... i think she didnt like me very much because president wrote to S.Tupai that i had no social skills in contacting.. it was horrible, mostly because the girl i did exchanges with is HORRIBLE! she took us to a neighbor hood that had 3 women walking on the street, and i was like ok, im the missionary dont you want to see how im contacting people but she contacted each one of them and it was super awkward... oh and it was like pelting rain in my face so it was a horrible exchange, we didnt do anything and S.Tupai was so mad it was crazy!! So now shes writing the president how much this girl was not doing what she should have lol... anyway enough of my ranting.
Excited for the baptism this saturday and such!!! YAY!!!!!! Tell you more next week. But now i dont think the president trusts me to be a trainer, and i really dont care. But i think i will email him and just tell him whats going on, My district leader was really mad at the STL's too lol. So we will see..
Thanks for the music! I really appreciate it, i dont have much else i can think of to go on it but i love you and have a fun time in Oregon!
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Hey dad, so this week was super long, Im finally feeling better though which is really good, We went on our transfer to Nancy, so kinda next to Strasburg, saw a lot of the French country, really neat Nancy is a great town its so cute!!! I forgot my camera though so ill try to send pics next week. Ah we worked a lot with members this week everyday we had a mangez vous with a family and our ami who is getting baptized this Nov.8th! So were excited about that! Shes really cool shes 27 and wants to marry in the temple! So we’re really happy we found her. Ah, so this saturday we went to the baptism of an ami we had to pass to the Torcy mandrin elders. But it was just fantastic and she was so cute she just said that it was the best day of her life! So that was really awesome! My first baptism that i helped with! Ahhh..... oh S, Tupai is now pretty sick lol passed it on, so i think we will spend the night in for a while. Its getting really dark here, so we cant do much contacting anymore so we are trying to plan better. Oh and transfers are on Nov. 10. Im freaking out because S. tupai is leaving me!!!! I dont know who will be my next comp but i get a new one in 2 weeks!!! Ah im really sad! But s. Tupai thinks if i train it will be a Francophone becuase i know how to work with one, rather than an american, so im not sure. I dont think my french is good enough yet to train someone! Especially in Paris! Im really scared! Ill know though Saturday the 9th so.... Yep, also yes i did get to hang out with Madeline, shes been super busy with school it sounds like a lot of stress. But she is dying to having me come to her house for Christmas haha, but its not possible with the mission rules :( Unless i get transfered to her sector lol not probable but we will see. Yes its really nice to have a washer and dryer in the apartment, i think its because its more money now to go to a laundry mat and pay to wash clothes. Today im meeting Addison again, she started in Charleroi Belgium, but then it was going down hill so they closed it after 1 trasnfer and shes been in Evry ever since.
Ok as far as christmas music. We can listen to pretty much anything, like all the classics and such. So if you can put it on a USB all the songs, each apartment has a DVD player that can play music on a USB, its pretty crazy lol, but yes we would love it!!!! Also any other classical music or something you find just throw it on there too! WE LOVE YOU!! Yes, ive only seen a few people here with the iphone 6 but it seems pretty cool! Hope there is a phone waiting for me when i get home????? haha jk thats not for another year!! But can you believe i will be back next Novemeber, it seems like I just left and I am almost hitting one year left! AH well love you tons! Hope this week goes well for you at work and home! Give the dogs some love for me and especially some treats for baby koko!! hahah miss her!! And moki lol.
Hey mom, Im glad to hear everything is going well in Oregon, its been pretty stormy here too, but also really really cold.. less rain, but just bone chillin cold. They have started to just really go all out for Christmas here!!! Im so excited! S. Tupai leaves in 2 weeks so im super sad. you can read dads email, I dont have much time because we are in Paris just close to the Notre Dame right now for emails. lol long story about why we came here today, but it was a long week. We went to Nancy for exchanges which is right next to Strasburg. It was such a cute town, really really nice. I really think S. Tupai will be an STL next transfer, and so many people keep telling me that i will train, but i feel so inadiqute to be a trainer so i really dont think it will happen. I cant speak the language well enough or anything. Ah im super nervous for transfers because i know i will get a new comp. Anyway thanks for being so prompt with the package. i really appreciate it, i send my love to you all, it sounds like you will have an amazing halloween and just a HAPPY HALLOWEEN to you both, sending my love and watch a scary movie for me!! Maybe Silver Bullet lol, i remember that one.
Monday, October 20, 2014
Ok, so hows life have you been to the pumpkin patch? Decorated for Halloween, passing out candy this year whats the deal?! Miss you tons this week was hard, I was sick all week because we just plum ran out of gas lol, we just slept all week and i had the worst nose and throat, ah it made me miss you so much! But its ok because now we are better, and working at things again.
Yesterday was super hard we told our investigator that was having her baptism this week that she wasnt prepared, which was super sad because she was so excited to be baptized but we knew and the spirit told us she hasnt repented quite fully yet, that was hard. She was discouraged, but we told her we were always there for her and excited to see her progression move on. When it comes down to it, we are Christs representatives, and our objective is to bring others unto Christ through faith, and most of all repentance. Its the number one thing. As a missionary we do have a unique ability to see into others hearts, and in this case the spirit has told us she needs more time. Thats really hard as a missionary. We know the blessings that come with the promises we make at baptism, so its difficult to have to refuse someone the blessings because they havent repented fully yet. I almost cried just looking at her and telling her, it was really sad.
I learned a lot this week about repentance and teaching by example. I read a really good discourse in the ensign "the healing power of grief"
They are really good, a lot of our amis always ask the question, "If there really is a God, why is there so much suffering in the world" Literally I have had that question so many times. I think these two talks kinda help answer it.
Also another question that was asked us was about preordination and such. Shes super catholic, but is really searching for the truth, she knows something is missing and asks us hard doctrinal questions the last one was, "Judas had to beytray Jesus, it was all part of the plan, someone HAD to be Judas, so why would God suffer him to be the beytrayer?" Thats a hard question in english let alone to answer in french lol, but S, Tuapi had nothing, so i did the best I could from what I had read in Jesus the Christ and such. But she really does have good questions that make us think, and study, but in the end everything in this Chuch makes sense. Its the true church, because its fondation is on Christ. The more I study and learn and see the world the more thankful I am I know the truth, and the more I realize this church is beyond the power of man, the only way something this large could have been made is through Christ himself.
Anyway going to meet Addison today and Madeline in Paris!! YAH!
Hope this week is better but love you tons and so glad everything went well in Canada! Hows the job btw?
Love you so so so so so much! Always thinking of you!
Saturday, October 18, 2014
So glad everyone in Canada is awesome, Dad seems lonely lol he sent a pretty good letter. Hope you get home soon for him. Love you tons!!! And you can ask him: here is the emial i sent him just forwarding to you! Also hope its ok i use the debit card i have no money and i really need boots, havent got the package yet either, so sorry hope it will come sometime soon.Love you tons!
I know about the zone conference it was AWESOME! We had really good training and we had interviews with Pres and Sister Babin, my interview with sis babin was in english, but then president was like nope FRENCH muahhaha so yeah that was pretty cool to have my interview in french and actually know what he was asking and respond! And there is a new fracophone visa waiter in my district his name is Elder Taochy from Nancy France and he doesnt know english, so i talked to him for a good hour or two in french which was pretty cool, and my entire district thinks im training next transfer, kill me. But ca va. This week was really cool though we are preping two baptisms and we have some really solid amis right now who are really striving to change thier lives, and its just really neat to watch. We are teaching this one couple and we've only just introduced the book of mormon to them and they already have hour long discussions with us about everything, the wife kinda runs the show and she asked us to bless her to be able to stop drinking becuase she knows its hurting their relationship and she needs to stop. Its neat how much they trust in us to help them, but they are really changing and its so cool.
Other things... not really much, just constantly working on French, speaking it more and more and more now. S. Tupai and I mostly speak french now lol. It was funny last night she asked if we could speak english but i just would automatically respond in French and she was just like "hey! I cant change languages that fast haha my mouth doesnt work like that" lol we laughed at how different things are getting. Im so glad andrew is having fun in China! Sounds like his language is coming along very good too! So cool, I really think he could work as a translator, he has really good pronounciation, which is hard to find. Even though so many people here can speak a lot of languages their pronouncation is terrible. especially in english haha. LOVE THE PICS OF KOKO AND MOKI!!! Miss them so much! Cant wait for the skype on christmas! Thats coming up so so so soon! Addison writes to me and we just chatted yesterday night on the phone, sounds like shes doing great in Evry.I havent heard from Madeline but we will get together soon, because the vacations is coming soon. Also because of that the scientists are predicting France will have an Ebola outbreak on Oct.24th so super scary, and at the zone conference S. Babin said if it does become a big issue they will send us all to England, or if you have more than 12 transfers home. so pretty crazy stuff! But Im not too worried about it, I think i heard they had almost got a cure or some drug they were trying has cured some people. Either way, its a HOT topic in france right now. Also yes they do celebrate Halloween, not as big as the US. but they do! They have winter, and halloween displays in the window and the Disney parc has been advertising it a lot too.
On Mon, Oct 13, 2014 at 12:18 PM, Ashley Stevens <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
oh and Elder Powelson dated a "Tegan Schnoor" her dad was Kim Schnoor??? haha i laughed for a while small world!
On Mon, Oct 13, 2014 at 12:09 PM, Ashley Stevens <email@example.com> wrote:
Ok this is my first district!!! Ill tell you about them (starting left):
7: Elder Powelson from Cardston Alberta Canada!!!!! hahaha he's really cool, they own a farm and have alberta beef, and stuff... idk, but hes just really cool, so humble and willing to serve.1:Elder Gaule same transfer as me we were in the MTC together. He is just about the funniest guy ive ever met. just stories of investigators and life in Paris, if you ever want to laugh just talk to him. Also he;s from Surry England. Has a pretty thick accent so its hilarious to hear him in French.8: Elder Hall: He;s one of the zone leaders (their equipe is in my district) he's pretty cool, but i havent had much chance to talk to him, but hes straight out of high school. yet already half way done with the mission! and we graduated the same time!13: Elder Ruttan: From Vancuver BC Canada haha hes pretty much done with the mission hes our other zone leader. He was aka "Grandpa" lol he was really a good example though his french was almost perfect, according to s tupai. She said he really went above and beyond to learn the language. I hope I can be like him with the language.43 & 41: The Senior couple thats techniqually in our district but its the first time theyve ever come to a meeting and theyre freaking hilarious, they are leaving home in 2 weeks though.8: Elder Vance: He's from N.Carolina, but also Parc City Utah, idk, but hes pretty cool. really loves the people and cares so much about them. He;s the other elder in Nogent. So i know him and Elder Meng super well.! They are good friendsJust some funny photos lol :ok so im not sure why i sent these lol but... its funny