Thursday, October 30, 2014

Sister Tupai and Sister Stevens


The latest…..

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. 

Love, Ash

Monday, October 20, 2014

"If there really is a God? and the value of reading Jesus the Christ

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

Zone Conference and the latest mission happenings...

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 <> 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 <> 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.
6: Elder Meng: he's one of the elders in Nogent with me, hes our District leader, he is from Kennewick,WA and went to BYU for 2 years before the mission, he wants to do something with computers but everytime we ask it changes lol. Hes just about the nicest person ever. Just puts everyone before himself. Great DL. 
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 friends
Just some funny photos lol :
​ok so im not sure why i sent these lol but... its funny

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Realizations that are life changing...

Hey mom, 
So like I told dad not much is new here. Im in a hurry we are meeting a family that S. Tupai knows at Notre Dame at 2. But for the most part this week was rough, just stressful with getting everyone prepped for baptisms working with members who dont want to work with us, and trying our hardest to work with other missionaries as well. It was a tiring week and S. Tupai and I got these massage things from this member lol anyway we gave eachother a back massage that felt like heaven.
We went and watched conference at the church but i still havent seen most of it, with the time difference and missionary schedule we wont be able to finish it until wednesday. I loved the talks though and Utchdorf in General Womans broadcast just brought me to tears.. Its hard as a missionary and when we were watching it all i could think about was my amis. Like im literally in charge of their salvation.. AHHH! What if i mess up or something.. ah it scares me to take on this responsibility at judgement day will I be able to say I did everything I could for these people and worked my abosolute hardest for them. Ah its begining to be stressful. 
Tell Amy and Grandma I said hi, the back of my planner this transfer is Psalm 23 just for Grandpa. I hope all goes well and you will still have fun on your trip! I love you and pass on the Loves to grandma and Amy and her family.
I met the new district also at the church we all had to watch general conference together in english. They are all super nice, and we get along great. Im so blessed to have been put with such amazing missionaries. I really love them all. I loved watching conferences as a missionary. Really i learned so much. Im so thankful for them. 
This week I taught the Retab now pretty much by myself, we have an investigator familly that is really open and the dad said something that just really touched us after we had asked them to pray to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet he said, "I cant becuase if he is, everything i have ever believed in my life will be wrong. My entire life will have been wasted thinking about something that isnt true. If Joseph Smith is a prophet, it would change everything I've ever known" That was  crazy! The lesson was so good, and I know they both really felt it. So he already knows its right and hes just so scared, but knows its the right thing to do. 
It really opens my eyes, these people literally have to change their entire life! Its such a sacrafice and I pray for them that they will be strong enough to make that change as hard as we know it is. 
Im so thankful I was born into the gospel. 
I love you and read dads emial i wrote him some more. 
Love you tons have an amazing week in CANADA! Know that we are working hard as ever and learning and growing so much I love it here always even through the rough times "Alma 38:5" I think its a good verse for us as missionaries. 

Rabbit Stew & Leadership Opportunities

Hey Roberto,
Not much is different. It was a rough week just in general, we were so busy, and my comp was just frustrated because of transfer week, we had to go "mother" the new blues because we are in the Paris area. 
Explination (on why Addison is a trainer also):
So basically we go to the church in Paris that day and take all the new missionaries contacting in Paris for a couple hours while they are waiting for interviews with President. So she and I got a call saying they needed us to come help, so we went. No other sister equipes were there! It was a disaster, so we took one new sister out for a bit and we got back and theyre like hey we have to split you two up (my comp and I) So we could take all the new sisters in time. !! That means i had to go contacting in Paris by myslef with just the new missionaries.!! And i was kinda freaking out but I was the only one willing to do it! I ended up taking two brand new missionaries around paris for an hour contacting in French! That was crazy! #1 I cant believe I can speak french well enough to do it! #2 I cant believe i know Paris enough to do walk around and not get lost! haha) so that was really cool, and it showed me that I could do more than I thought I could, and just today I asked S. Tuapi how my french conj. was and she said I have improved drastically, and I am much more fluid in my speach! By the end of this transfer I am hoping to be able to speak with confidence. Ok about the whole training thing. All the sisters on the mission that were older that would normally be the "trainers" are all done with the mission so 9 of them went home this last transfer and only 4 left that werent from my group or the transfer ahead of me. So natually with 10 new sisters coming they had to have all of addisons group train and the four train that were older and two from my group train someone already! And i just read presidents email and he said "learn all that you can from Soeur Tupai, you will need it for your next companion"... I freaked out, and now S. Tupai thinks i will train or something next transfer.. either way its getting crazy here because all the old sisters are pretty much officially gone after this except a couple, and now most of all the new ones are already trianing! I have an interview with President this friday at our huge zone conference... im scared.!
Anyway so some crazy stuff that happened this week.
We for the 2nd time were officially invited to eat with a member family. They made us lunch and guess what it was a 3 course meal. For starters we had pasta with guess what...RABBIT stew on top!!! I got the spinal column with the vertbrea and cord still attatched.. yep that was wierd I have officially eaten a little bunny... then we had baguettes and cheese and salad... and then icecream and cake... so that was an experience and a TON of food! I still can not believe I ate that... and they cooked the rabbit with prunes and the dad was sitting next to me and was like "you should eat the prunes they are the vegatable of the rabbit".. ehhhhh so then I had to eat these soggy prune rabbit thing... ah I cant believe i did that.. haha that poor little bunny... oh well, it all goes down the same tube. 
Also heard about EBOLA VIRUS!!! Can you believe it!!! They are starting to tell people to be careful here!!! Ah im freaking out! Im going to die before I even get home! Do you know how many africans i kiss everyday! And their vacation is in just 2 weeks! Tons of africans coming and going,... its going to spread and I will die! haha there have already been 3 cases in France! and i heard it might have even showed up in the US? Idk but i havent heard of a cure for it yet either. It will kill in just 2 months! CRAZY!! ok so yeah theres that...
Sounds like the new computer system has been good! Im glad you caught on quickly! Hope it all will continue to run smooth! That SUCKS about BYU!!! Ah i cant believe it! Darn. And still no Chick fil a :( Also we can get all the canadian candy here too except crunchies!! Send them please :) hehe love you!! Hope all is well for another week! I give you my luck for trying to beat Tom and Jeff again at another round. Sounds like they need to step it up a notch. lol Glad to hear Andrew and Court are both doing well too! 
Love you tons,

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Anxiety-Relief over first transfers and Quirky everyday Paris happenings- followed by Ashley's testimony in French

Typed from a handwritten letter posted 9/29/2014 ( the French portion was typed by Rob as it made more sense to him!)

Chere Mere & Cher Pere,

I haven't written a letter to you for a while, so I thought I would update you! The weather is getting colder here! It really does remind me of Oregon here. I love it. I just need to figure out my boot situation lol. So this week has been super stressful, not because of anything other than transfers, as far as amis go , it could not get any better! We have 8 new amis, 2 in progress and 1 ami with a date for baptism! So between that and Soeur Tupai and I getting along so well and being so comfortable in Nogent we're so so stressed we will be transfered! Tonight we get phone calls from President and the APs if we have responsibilities this next transfer ( i.e. trainer, STL) So super nervous, this is one reason: at legality ( OFII the medical apt that makes us legal for living in France) S Erickson got a call from President saying her trainer is becoming an STL and she's getting a new trainer and a visa waiter franc phone so she'll be in a trio! Anyway he told her that this transfer will be crazy and everyone practically is changing because the old Mission Pres Poznanski got a call from church headquarters saying our mission has the possibility to hold 300 missionaries. ( we only have 230 now) and a ton are leaving  because they all came in the waves of age change. So they're sending in more missionaries than missionaries here, so he has to open up a ton of new places and take every trainer possible for these next two transfers because so many missionaries are coming into the mission! Its so good, but stressing me out so much! So we shall see what happens! But that and in our formation ( announcements) from Pres. he said EVERY missionary needs to be ready for transfer week so it will go smoothly, which was a surprise because he usually doesn't talk like that. I just really want  to stay in Nogent. I love the people " my africans" LOL, I'm used to them , the place, I love being in Paris! I love my trainer! Ahhhha! Oh, but I think all the stress is making me lose weight! We went to OFII and I think I've lost a couple lbs…hope lol.
     Well its the next morning, last night no phone call! Yah! We went to the Paul Cardell concert! We took our amis. It was so great, he plays so well, and has a very cool life story. Went great with his testimony. I'm so happy here in Nogent, there is so much going on and so many people to teach, and S Tupai is just an amazing missionary that has helped me in every way. I want to be in Paris for fall/winter and Christmas, how cool would that be?
     Ah! Ok this next sunday is missionary Sunday in the ward so I just have to speak in French about the Restoration, so not looking forward to that… but its ok, hope all is doing good there in Oregon. How is everything? How are the pups? Is Moki still with us? lol. Its weird I'm already on my 2nd transfer! Time is flying by! Is almost October! C'est FOU!  I think my comprehension of French is coming along a lot better than I thought, I'm understanding more and more! Even when they talk super fast I can finally make out a little of what they're saying! I just really need to work on vocabulary. I need flashcards or something- IDK. Still thinking about how I can improve. I'm about 1/2 way through Jesus the Christ. Its a really good book , I've loved it.
     The hardest part of teaching investigators is they always say " I've already been baptized" Nobody here understands the Priesthood! Its really sad, but given me a great testimony of it and it' power.
     Ok back again, just got the official transfer list and I am so happy to be staying put. Although now I know it will be my last transfer with her. OUr district haws 2 new missionaries Elder Ruttan left so we have a new zone leader Elder Mattson, and Gaule and Powelson are in a trio with a franca phone visa waiter Elder Taochy. We're so excited to meet everyone and that is all  about the same almost! Next transfer will be crazy because elder meg, Powelson, and S Tupai are leaving! 2 sisters in my group had to train this transfer! But they're in small towns  not Navigo zones. I think when you are in Navigo you stay for a long time so I will probably stay in /around Paris for 6-8 months is my guess. I also keep asking to stay here lol. Theres always something to do, and I can get close with the headquarters so when I want to leave one can pretty much choose where lyon want to go. Ok so beyond that, it finally feels good to know people! Whooo!
     We have so many amis that we know are just ready for baptism and we think this month will be awesome for it!
       Ok, now some of the daily things I forget to say in emails:
- all the RER's/Metros have jungles and S. Tupai and I have memorized them all lol.
-the names here are crazy!
-Africans wear bobo's ( traditional clothing) and want to give us some ( kind want one)
-A lot of people here speak Portugese
-A lot of street vendors selling grilled corn.
-Nobody in the mission know where Nogent is, they just call it Paris East lol
-We have district meetings every week in Paris Lilas ghetto with the Elders, they're hilarious and we're all super close.
Teaching families is my favorite thing to do!
-I'm getting more used to the food here, learning to love it ( i.e. the bread diet)( horrible milk).
-  I absolutely love the city! I love the big villas!
-I still can't get used to the euros coins here, but trying.
-the language really is beautiful and learning to love it.
-the worst thing is getting on RER/Bus/Metro to a warm wet seat…or it being 8:30 and I'm in the south which takes 1 hour by RER to home and having the RER come late because it broke(happens quite frequently)…thus forgetting reading materials because nobody is ever outside here after 8:00…it's the ghetto lol
-the best are the stories with Africans trying to pass through the same stall/ticket line as you.
-I've been hit by many a metro door/once there was  a swinging door and it swung back right as i lifted my hand and cracked all my knuckles…that one was the worst…or having the Navigo not register as you run into the bar and break your pelvis, Sis. Tupai has got that on lockdown(I think those are the best Metro doors because Sis. Tupai and I just laugh at each other when it happens.
-everyone who meets me wants to know if I'm from Utah too when I say no they are alway happy to meet someone from another place lol.
-Ok now I will bear my testimony in french because it might be language study and I need to work…lol much love Soeur Stevens.
Je voudrais rendre ma temoinage, je suis que Dieu nous aimons  et dieu et Jesus Christ vivre aujourd hui au travers l'expiation nous pourrons vivre avec Dieu  et Jesus christ encore.  Je sais que Jospeh Smith a était un propret qui a vu Jesus Christ et Dieu dans la priemer vision. A travers Jospeh Smith et Dieu a rétabli son évangile.  Je suis très reconnaissante pour le Saint-Cere et les alliance que nous faisons quand nous prenons le Saint Cene.  Je sais que le livre de Mormon est au autre témoignage de Jesus Christ et juste comme le Bible, il donne un grand témoignage de la vie de Jesus Christ, et quand j'ai lu le Livre de Mormon j'ai ressenti l'amour de Dieu.  Je sais que mes priers reçoivent des reponce si nous avons la foi.  J'aime l'église et le propret Thomas S. Monson.  Je sais que Dieu est rétabli son évangile et parce que Joseph Smith a reçu la pretise nous avons les clés et l'autorité pour faire des alliances avec dieu Au mon de Jesus Christ. Amen.