Monday, September 29, 2014

Starving missionary, but baptisms coming!

Subject: Re: Nogent
GUESS WHAT!!! We didnt get transfered! Im so happy, but a lot of people in my group did, and some are already training! Its crazy so many missionaries are leaving and not a lot here to keep everyone going. They just keep closing more and more villes! I was sad to hear it was Blois :( so now im not sure if id ever go around there. Mostly just Paris area, and North is where sisters are, its very possible for me to go to Caen thought, being in Paris im close to the hub of the mission, so hopefully i can just say hey really want to go to Caen and I bet they would try and get me there haha theyre really arent that many of us so lets hope!
That would be fun to go to Utah again! And word on the street is that BYU is kicking butt this year! WHAT!! thats so cool! Yeah I would if they keep up this winning streak! 
So we were supposed to go grocery shopping but our cards dont work so we have literally no money for anything so im actually emialing at the church this week. So buying food... not sure how that'll go this week and the missionary in charge of the cards wont answer the phone, (hes rough to work with) so were at a loss of what to do this week about even buying milk, bread, and such, there is never any red meat we have money to buy, if we can get our cards to work i will try and get a hamburger at McDonalds tonight lol. 
And DAD come on their is a patisserie on every corner lol we have like 20 just on one street no joke.. its a little crazy. and yeah we try a lot! Its all soooo good! Its also nice because you can buy bread for like 50 cents!! yeah!
Also what!! I really hope we get a chik fil a! That would be awesme! yeah seriously its the best food around nobody cares about politics, just love the food! haha
Hope all goes well with the new computers! That sounds rough, how was the remodel too, send pics! did everything get finished? 
Love you tons! Missionary life is soooooo busy and the time is flying by! Went and did OFII so now im officially legal in France!! Major dr. apt and I got a chest xray and only me and one other missionary understood what the lady's instructions were because she said them all in French! haha i was kinda pround,, shouldnt be i need huimility, but it was nice to know im making progress! So we had to help the other missionaries with what papers to show and such. It took all day! It was crazy, and the dr was just like I cant believe how healthy all of your lungs are! Really nobody smokes?! hahaahah its was great.
Weve had some sketchy experiences but luckly we have the spirit, and just yesterday we had to run out of a neighborhood, turns out it was an Elders Only sector lol oops, so we learned our lesson to always check our sectors before we leave for contacting thats for sure! But nothing too crazy! The africans are awesome prepping them for baptism and this one old chinese woman is also progressing a lot she speaks Mandrin and French with a Mandrin accent, so we have to teach her with a Mandrin equipe of elders and its just hilarous hearing the french and mandrin back and forth... it reminds me of what andrew is doing right now lol. Shes pretty aweome so we think she is ready for baptism, so were really pushing for 3 baptisms this transfer which is more than theyve had in years in Nogent! Its crazy! Weres so happy!
Love you tons!

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Late night conversation with my girl, what a treat!

I had noticed that Ashley always sent my Pday email at the same time and so I woke up at 3:15 am to have a little chat with her and felt very blessed to converse via email with her! Here are her responses to my questions.
Hi I'm Here!!! Jelly of the hawaiian hamburgers lol!! I miss your food, Eurpean food is still not as good as yours!
Love you so much mom! This week we got 8 new amis!! Can you believe it! The lord is blessing us so much, and S. Tupai and I get along so well its crazy were best friends, i really just needed to change myself. We are having such an amazing time in Nogent were so scared for Saturday to see the transfers

Today is just Lux gardens, and shopping in Paris :)

Just chilling around the city!! But we go there a lot now for contacting lol

i cant believe how much im actually in paris!

YES the package was just in time the next day it poured on us lol. I loved the note you stuck in my pocket, yes i really do follow the spirit and so does s tuapi there are several times when we feel urged, "dont go down that street" or something. Yes we go door to door a lot here, so far nothing has come from it. but you never know! We found most of them from contacting, so just walking up to people and telling them about the church! Its really fun and makes me break out of my bubble of shyness! Im really working on locking my eyecontact,,, so yeah its good. others were from amis who told thier friends and they came to church with them and we scheduled apts !!! YAY!! power of missionary work! Also i loved the scripture tea, after a long cold wet day its nice to come do planning with it!

the luxumberg gardens? idk ive never been but ive heard theyre cool so well just walk around, I think i really like Notre Dame area of Paris, but it might be because im biased its in my zone hehe its the Paris Lila elders, Oh I was going to tell you about them! 

If you stay ill send some more pics! Did you like the last ones lol, did you watch the videos that were embarrasing
awesome, yes i bought another at the MTC. also i wonder if someone stole my blue jacket from my luggage, there were a lot of sisters whose bags were opened and clothing items missing. so i wouldnt doubt it

The grey one is awesome! I just need to get some tights and boots for the weather its getting cold!!

Oh, there are some members who are awesome! 
Ill look for boots here because i think i will buy more fashionable books ish like ankle boots they will go better with skirts than big boots

haha yes it costs so much to send a package though, i can just buy it here, but i just really wish i could get my debit card!!! Its such a struggle, i am going to paris agian on judi for legalite (doctors appt which is like all day testing) its required for my visa everyone has to do it. anyway ill talk to the senior couple about it then again

my knee is good but sometimes just gets super tight and numb feeling, wierd, but my comp is good about it she always helps me if we need to sit or stretch it for a second

Thanks mom! LOVE YOU SO MUCH, and seriously if we thought our ward had difficulties, no ours is awesome compared to here... but on saturday the AP's will call us if we are doing anything crazy i dont think so, i think i will stay in Nogent for a while longer! ok got to finish dads letter and go,! Love you but Paris is calling :)


Monday, September 15, 2014

Hardest missionary moment so far & the healing power of the Atonement...

Handwritten letter dated 8/28/2014 ( Just before Grandpa's passing on Sept. 5th)    

One of the hardest things I've ever had to do as a missionary ( might ever have to do let's pray) was to visit a widow who's husband just died of cancer two weeks ago. She's only in her forties and they have a 5 year old son. She's from Tennessee so she spoke perfect English so I pretty much took over on that one, ha ha. But the minute I walked into her home I felt an immediate love for this woman. I have never felt anything like it before. I felt the healing power of the Atonement working in her. I felt most of all God's love for his grieving child. As I sat there and talked with her my heart was pained and I could feel exactly what love and charity are. She told me of her last moments with him and how she's been coping with his loss. It was so hard to hear her, but for some reason I was so full of the spirit and for a brief moment got a much bigger picture of the Plan of Salvation. The knowledge that God was telling her He's right here and you will be together forever. Though the father left behind a young family, she told me she knew that God needed him up there more than he was needed on earth.
     In a quote by Thomas S Monson, he says it best. " Difficulties come into our lives, problems we do not anticipate and which we would never choose. None of us is immune. The purpose of mortality is to learn and grow to be more like our Father, and it is often during difficult times that we learn the most, as painful as the lessons may be."
     The trial that she is going through I have never experienced, but through the Spirit and power I have been given somehow I can grieve with her. My love for her and knowledge for her future was enlightened by my calling. As we left I was able to say a prayer, I felt the Holy Ghost working with me and I gave a blessing on the home, and family. Something I did not fully know I had the power to do as a Sister, but as a missionary we are given a much greater authority. I'm not sure I even knew how great my purpose was until I was given the opportunity to use it. So far it has been the greatest and hardest moment as a missionary. We asked to come back ands she gladly said yes. For some reason we connected, and I'm so grateful to have had that experience to go to her home. I've been reading a lot on the Atonement and in that moment I could see it more than I ever have in my entire life, at least the healing power over trials. Christ's atonement was the greatest gift of all mankind and I got  to witness it.

Challenge of the week: Preparation Pays off with great lesson on Restoration

Hey mom,
Im so glad everything went well this week I was praying a lot for you and the family. I love you all! I have seen countless miracles this week. First off, after the letter on pday about grandpa i was really sad, and we actually went to Chateau de Vincennes in Paris, but in my area, wierd i have Paris in my area, we can see the Eiffel tower whenever we go south on the RER, anyway I was laying in the courtyard grass at the chateau there was nobody there, just my comp and I, which was awesome, and sat under a chesnut tree with the blue sky and just finally got a moment to think about everthing in life, and family, and it was just some time and space i needed. Then i prayed for a letter from you just a note or something, and the next day I got your card! It was a miracle i think you were inspired to send it because HF knew I would need it. Ok, so something really cool that might sound wierd... I really think grandpa is helping us here, because this is the first week out of weeks of finding and contacting we found 3 new amis!!!!!! Can you believe it! And the baptismal date is progressing, but they didnt come to church, so were thinking we will have to push it back, but still! Its literally the miracle we have fasted and prayed for for so long, all of our prayers are being answered its crazy how life is working. I think its because grandpa is doing missionary work. but thats just me. 
Im so sorry to hear about Gerry Anderson. i will try to write something. But yeah thats rough. Maybe she could help Peter better in heaven who knows. I just know that I have been thinking a lot about life on earth. I have such a strong testimony of Christs ressurection, and just knowing that he lives means everyone else will too, death is such an important part of the plan, and such a step towards eternal progression, why we always associate it with heartache and sorrow, i think sometimes can be selfish. It is sad dont get me wrong, but its so good for them. they are one step closer to eternal life! How cool is that! The sister whos husband just died said if anything the fact that he is gone now only makes me want to live more worthily so i can return to live with him once more too. we should all strive to live so we can be with our ancestors too. I love you so much and thank you for everything and sending my coat. Its taken an odd hot streak and it feels like summer again randomly lol. Im not complaining.!! 
Oh so one of my challenges this week was this one less active single mom with three kids we visited. The first time we visited I didnt say much because im still learning french it was only my 2 weeks in France, well she just insulted me so much for not knowing the language already, and not trying harder to speak, and that i was just a horrible person. THen at the end of the lesson she said you have to come next week and S. Tupai I dont want to hear a word from you , only S Stevens can say and give the lesson. Ok, See you then. 
WELL CAN YOU BELIEVE IT!! yeah so we had to go again the next week much to my utter dissapointment. but i planned an entire lesson, and prayed all day for a miracle that she would soften her heart towards me and not utterly dispise me so much. Well I gave a lesson on the Restoration and how we can build our foundations on Christ, she didnt say a word the entire lesson, and at the end answered my questions, followed up on our privious commitment, and then I told her she needed to come to church. GUESS WHAT! She came to church for the first time in 6 months her and all her kids! IT was crazy then she asked for the  elders number to get a blessing so she can come more often or somthing idk. But it was an utter miracle. I still cant believe it happened! Faith is a power, not just an expression of belief!
LOVE YOU! So happy to finally be settling in here and being ok with missionary life.
LOve you tons

Letter to Rob, just updating about everyday life in Paris

Hey dad! I heard it was a pretty crazy weekend for you all! Hope the BYU game was awesome and that we won! Last Pday was fun we went and toured Chateau de Vincennes in Paris, which turns out is also in my area, so I always forget that i actually do have some of the heart of paris in my zone! I think were going to another chateau today and paris! Yay although we go there so often now, it feels normal. I feel like im finally settling into the whole "missionary life" thing and the culture of europe. It was rough at first, but they said it would take at least 6 weeks to get used to the life, so that makes me feel better. I hope Andrew is doing ok with the whole culture of China deal. I just keep thinking of how it was here, and just being so thankful im not in China! 
I bet its wierd not having anyone at home anymore! Im sorry about that, but it wont be long, you'll have Andrew and Court back for Christmas! And me too for the next next one!! I think I will come home Nov. 2015! So i think I will make it to Thanksgiving maybe too! Yay! 
So ive sort of become a fan of the whole baguette sandwich deal they are soooo good, so far my favoirte is called "le Parisien" its a baguette with butter, ham, emmental, and pickles. Pretty good combo. Also ive tried some amazing cheeses here. Oh still havent had a crepe! Can you believe it! I will try and have one today, also finally figured out a good european recipie for chocolate chip cookies! Also did you know how expencive milk is here! its like $10 for a little bottle. C'EST FOU! 
 Miss you a lot though, cant wait to hear you all on Christmas, but finally we have some amis to work with so with the new motivation and work, the homesickness has left! Its finally beginning to get better. Oh also there was a day where we only spoke french... that was hard, becuase i couldnt even use any english to help describe a word or anything, but it taught me how much french i did know and how much i actually am progressing eventhough it sometimes feels like im not. I can kind of pick up on side conversations, and I get the jist of what people are saying to me now which is so nice! I feel even just a little more connected. Its coming slowly, but its teaching me so much. 
Love you and miss you all the time,

Baptism! & Grandpa's passing

I really wasnt sure what to write to you, I mean with Grandpa passing, I wish I could just give you a great big hug, and tell you how much God loves our family, and how much he is blessing us right now through our trials. We taught the plan of salvation this week, and everytime I read it, thats what makes our church so true, and the temples so amazing. I love you so so so much and pray that you and the family recieve strength through this difficult time. I just think the Holy Ghost is so amazing, on Thursday night I remember i was thinking about grandpa and I was going to ask you how he was this week becuase I had a strong impression that he was leaving. I prayed that i could just give you a hug. Its so amazing that the spirit works like that. I kind of knew he was gone, so when i read it, it was not a huge shock. He is done suffering now, and is so happy to be reunited with his family up in heaven. I just finished reading all of his ancestorys histories. Sounds like he has wonderful family to welcome him home. 
I just want you to know how much I love you, and how perfect Gods love is for all of us. That though times may seem hard its because he loves us- perfectly, and though we may see something as too hard to bear or too difficult we just have to remember that he sees us in our Godly potential. He knows exactly how much we can handle, and how to help us grow and progress to become like him.

I recently found this really good talk by Elder Holland, "An High Priest of Good Things to Come" 

“Don’t give up. Don’t you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead. You keep your chin up. It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come.” I testify that this is Their true Church and that They sustain us in our hour of need—and always will, even if we cannot recognize that intervention. Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come.Of that I personally attest,
I really like that quote, no matter how hard we may think life gets God always has blessings waiting to pour out upon us. It may not be today, or tomorrow, maybe not even until heaven, but they will come. I know they will. I thank God that they do, I dont know how I would survive if not. But I am so sorry that it had to happen. I feel very close to you all, and know that I am thinking of you always and my thoughts and prayers are at the funeral. 

This week was really hard for us too in France. All of our amis dropped us, and we are contacting over 50 people a day and nobody wants to hear the gospel. Its very hard, and getting harder. We fasted and prayed for new amis, and then Mary called and is back from vacation. We went over and she said she wanted to be baptized! We fixed a date Oct. 4th!!! So we are praying that all goes well until then! It will be my first baptism! YAY! But other than that we have nobody. Sad. There are days that feel like I just want to go home, I cant do it any more but then I remember Gods promises and blessings and it keeps me going just one step more until i think i can make it home. Im realizing the harshness of missionary work, I have been yelled at and almost spat on, almost run over a few times (european drivers man haha), and insulted countless times, but in the end i remember that we are literally "angels" according to the mission president and scriptures. And God will not be mocked. I just wish they would soften their hearts. Its ok though. I love sundays! We get to sit for 3 hours straight! YAY! haha and i listen to hours of french talking. if you ever though church was boring then, try doing it in French... haha jk. I love it. The ward is so nice to missionaries. 
We went over to a member families house from Argentina like straight up. they have a daughter 16 and son whose 18 preping for a mission. We ate dinner with them and they are just the sweetest people ever! For dinner though she wants to make us authentic Argentinian food so we had rice, then a stew on top that had who knows what in it all i could make out for sure though was a chicken foot... oh man i said some prayers that reached heaven to get that meal down. The family is getting sealed in the Madrid temple in December!! YAY!!! were so excited for them. She invited us over next week because shes going to make us this course meal of Argentinian food. Yikes... but theyre so nice ill shove down some wierd food if it means I get to be with that family. 
Mary our only ami is from Nigeria or something.. i cant remember she only speaks english and its very poor, she and her three boys all little lives in a one room apartment with mold all up the walls and celeing, There is one bed and one suitcase. Mom, i've never seen such poverty as this before. I could barely teach the lesson it was so crazy. But i did, and she is extremely humble and wants so badly the blessings of baptism. I am very excited for her! It makes me so so so grateful for the home I grew up in and the family I have. WOW.
So today I am going to go see a Chateau in Champs-sur-Marne. yay.

Also meeting up with Madeline next monday in Paris possibly the opera house, je ne sais pas. Love you tons mom. I really hope you