Tuesday, September 29, 2015

District meeting in Blois


Baptism of Vanessa! Conference, sushi, service and more







Ostrich Sausage!!!!













Nice Mom message!

Hi just wanted to tell you how much I love you and am soooooo happy
you are my momWinking faceSmiling face with smiling eyes

Great Baptism, & When we find our true selves is when we will be our happiest.

Monday:
We went to soirée famille, and taught the lesson on agency and then played loupe-garous. It was really fun, and we had about 4 investigators there too! It was awesome.

Tuesday & Wednesday: 
Our recent convert JJ from Liverpool England asked if he could give us a personal tour of Orleans. It was awesome! He is here studying history and European law. He took us around all of Orleans telling us the history (especially the role Orleans played in WWII [did you know Orleans is the only French city to have been given a medal]) and culture of Europe. We ended at the festival de la Loire which only happens once every two years and we were lucky enough to be here for it! People come from all over Europe to watch it. That was the first day of the festival and it went all week. But, the weather has been sunny, but dropped to the 50's this week which was a drastic change all of a sudden, and everyone is sick. Then we went and taught Vanessa about how to effectively study the scriptures, a really good talk by Bednar. 

Thursday:
Zone conference in Paris and then right after it was Soeur conference. It was very spiritually refreshing and we had a good time catching up with everyone. I loved Soeur Babin's testimony (I would put in some notes, but I took them in French and I'm too lazy to translate 😬). 

Friday:
Met up with Marie and talked about her baptism. Then met with another member Fatima and had one crazy rendezvous haha. 

Saturday: 
VANESSA GOT BAPTIZED! Greatest day ever! She was one of the most special baptisms I've been a part of on my mission, I have been with her through it all, from the first moment I showed up at her door with a Book of Mormon to the baptismal font, and it was worth everything. That was one amazing experience and I hope we will be able to stay in contact for a long time. She is a great friend, and true disciple of the Lord. 

Sunday: 
Vanessa was confirmed! Haha the ward was SO happy just congratulating Vanessa, and thanking the missionaries for what we do. It was really cool. The ward really loves her and I can tell things are very solid. I know Vanessa was prepared though before the missionaries met her, and it's been a cool experience watching her grow in the gospel.

Something I learned this week: 
The process of repentance, and the power of faith. I've also learned a lot about humility lol.  I strongly believe we are given responsibility to learn humility. We were able to listen to the "dying testimonies" this zone conference and it was pretty cool. I learned from them, that one of the biggest things I've learned on my mission is anchoring our happiness. When we know why we are here, and when we have a sure knowledge of what we believe we can be given trials and tests and with the help of God get through them and end out up top. I love the quote, "Ce que nous faisons avec persĂ©vĂ©rance nous devient plus facile Ă  faire, non pas que la nature de la chose ait changĂ©, mais parce que notre capacitĂ© de l’accomplir augmente » sorry that's in French, but it's the one by Hebert j grant. "What we continue to do becomes easier, not that the nature of the thing has changed, but our ability to do it has increased." I know that when we find our true selves is when we will be our happiest. We are constantly progressing and growing, especially on a mission. 

Messaging

Hey mom I got the package, you are wonderful for sending it! Honestly it's already helped so much, I made a little bit of ranch today and I about died of goodness lol. I think my big email explained he hotel but that was a fun night of memories, besically this entire week was full of memories. I absolutely love it here, and my companion is super fun, it is a little more work which I expected, but I wouldn't change it for the world. 

"Come what may and love it"

Monday:
So after emails we went to the church for soirĂ©e famille and talked about the importance of priorities and how in our hectic lives we really need to prioritize our agendas. It was pretty good. We did a nice demonstration for everyone and they all liked it. 

Tuesday:
We made preparations for Soeur Tilby! Yay haha then we also taught Alexia, and later that night Vanessa with our recent convert JJ. Vanessa is so ready to be baptized. I honestly believe she had been prepared her entire life to hear this message. I can't believe she is getting baptized next week! Ahhhhh!

Wednesday:
So the day when everyone split. Lol. We left to Paris in the morning to pic up Soeur Tilby and when we got there they hadn't arrived so we waited for an hour while the assistants brought her to the gare. We finally hooked up but the assistants forgot to bring the phone and keys we would need as we are opening up a new equipe in Orleans. So the other Soeurs left for home and we had to wait for them to go back get the phone and keys and then leave, well we had nothing but each other in the gare, and waited for 2.5 hours and the last train was going to Orleans in 10 minutes so I said, bag it lets go, maybe something happened and they won't be back. So we left and got home to Orleans only to find the Soeurs freaking out and the assistants not being able to find us. So I called them on the other Soeurs phone and told them what had happened. They were freaking out asking if we were ok and what not, but they were just glad we were safe. So. Finally we get home and we then went to go see the Gureme family but they weren't home so we went back to the apt to eat :). 

Thursday: 
We had an all day finding day/District meeting in Bourges. It was Soeur Tilby's first day too in the mission. Oh I love her! The only way I could describe her personality is Alesha. Just exactly alike. We get along so well already. Honestly she's just awesome. So we had our district meeting and starting finding and talked along the way, visited inside some cathedrals, walked down some tiny cobblestone streets, and tried to talk to people about the gospel. I've got a pretty cool job I guess you could say. Lol. So finally we all met up and went back for Chinese again at that super good place. Oh it was just as good too lol. So finally we all finished up and the zone leaders left first for the gare because their train left a little earlier than ours, then about 5 minutes  later we followed. We all were joking and laughing about the finding day when we approached the gare and the zone leaders are standing there, I'm thinking oh yikes they missed their train, stinks for them. But as we got closer elder beck motions for me to come over and his companion is on the phone. I walked over there and his face was serious, he tells me kind of quietly, there are no more trains SNCF went on strike and they cancelled all the trains for the night. So HUGE NEWS. Meaning were stuck in Bourges for the night. It was 8pm, and nothing was leaving the town. I was like NO! We had so much stuff and nothing to stay the night in. So Elder Beck was like don't worry we already checked everything there is nothing you can do, we have to call President and ask him. So finally an hour later of us chilling outside of the gare we get news from president to buy a hotel. So the zone leaders and us Stayed in the hotel which was pretty nice, president wouldn't let them buy anything less than a 3 star for us :) he loves the Soeurs. But he made sure the zone leaders walked us straight to our room, nobody watching, it was like a little dramatic, but there's a lot of precautions I guess that have to be taken. Long story. We got to sleep in a hotel! It was so fun! And what a first day experience for Soeur Tilby. She was so funny the entire time, I need her to keep me laughing during situations like this. But laugh we did, we still made the best of it lol and had fun. 

Friday:
Well we got up from the hotel and walked across the street from the train station. We all waited there for about an hour until our next train finally came! But we got to buy a little patisserie if we wanted. Then we finally got back home around 10 and had to go straight to an African market with our less active to buy fabric for our Bobo's lol. So we shared a little message with her about Christ after when we were waiting at the tram stop. Then we went home and got ourselves cleaned up properly and went out and met with Marie. Then later we had to meet the elders at the gare because Vanessa was getting her baptismal interview done! She was super nervous but we had gone over all the questions with her before so it went super well. While she did that we practiced our musical number for the baptism, it was pretty good! 

Saturday:
We planned and went contacting and Soeur Tilby contacted someone all by herself! It was so cute, we even got to pray with her, best part was she gave the woman the wrong number and I couldn't stop her because if anything came out I would have laughed, then the woman asked if it was our direct number and she said, yes! Haha oh it was good. Then after lunch we left for Le Mans but we had an hour and a half layover in Paris with our trains. We finally got to Le Mans at about 7:30. It was Soeur Welters 6 month mark and we went and got sushi (I now declare it as my favorite food because I have dreamed about it lol). My favorite is the salmon avocado! It's so good. Anyway then we went to centre ville Le Mans and bought some ice cream. It was a really fun night! We stayed the night at the Le Mans Soeurs apartment. 

Sunday:
We got up and all went on splits to get to church I was the only one with change left to ride the tram so Welter and Tilby had to go together with a member in Le Mans to the church. It was for stake conference. We had a good time and even though the broadcast didn't work we had a good meeting and talked a lot about keeping the sabbath day holy. Best of all our Amie Vanessa was there! She's getting baptized next Saturday! Soooooooo excited. 

What I learned this week:
Well I think this is kinda funny, but maybe a lesson for the future. I was told by a mom of 3 and member of the ward here, "when you have your first child you just want them to be perfect, the perfect child and you go almost go overboard trying to make them perfect, then by the time you have your second, you just are like, eh come what may and love it." Hahaha I laughed so hard, but it's true. The first time I trained I feel like I made it harder for myself than it needs to be as I tried to be a robot missionary giving a good impression. But now I feel like I have found myself a lot more, I know who I am and I know how God can work through me, I realized that God called me, for who I am, and for what I can become through this calling. I realized that sometimes the best way to train someone else is to keep the,"come what may and love it" attitude. After all, we are the ones who choose our own happiness. I'm now realizing how much simpler life is when we let go, and follow Gods path, and stay humble. 

Love, 
Soeur Stevens 

Ashley's Flight Plan for returning home!!!!!

Thursday 10 December 2015
Delta Air Lines DL 083
Departure 10 December 08:00 AM Paris Charles De Gaulle (+) Terminal: 2E
Arrival 10 December 12:15 PM Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson Atl (+) Terminal: I
Duration 10:15 (Non stop)
Booking status Confirmed
Class Economy (T)
Baggage allowance 1PC
Seat 34G confirmed for Ashley Noelle Stevens
Equipment BOEING 767-300
Meal Breakfast
.
Thursday 10 December 2015
Delta Air Lines DL 887
Departure 10 December 04:30 PM Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson Atl (+) Terminal: S
Arrival 10 December 06:50 PM Portland Portland Intl (+)
Duration 05:20 (Non stop)
Booking status Confirmed
Class Economy (T)
Baggage allowance 1PC
Seat 22A confirmed for Ashley Noelle Stevens
Equipment BOEING 737-900
Meal Food for purchase
.
Ticket details

E-ticket DL 006-7712409597 for Ashley Noelle Stevens

Made a Trainer!


My week

   
9/14/15
 
 
To: STEVENS ROBERT, Kirsten, Stevens Courtney
My week:
Monday: well we searched around for a free wifi place so we could email you. Haha and the mall has free wifi so that was cool then we went and did soirĂ©e famille and Soeur welter made fudge and we cut it into pieces then we showed them to everyone and asked if they wanted one, and when they said yes, Soeur welter had to do 15 crunches for each person. Some said no I don't want fudge if it'll make her have to do more crunches, and then she said, well even if you don't want it I will still do 15 crunches for you. Then someone said, ok so what if I do my own 15 crunches for the fudge. She said, no only I can do the crunches because it is my gift to give. In the end some people were like really stressed out trying to figure out why we made Soeur welter do this for everyone. Then in the end we said, how does this relate to the atonement? Ha got em! They were like, oh! The fudge was like his atonement, and it's a free gift to everyone, no matter if you take it and use it or not, you can't make up for it yourself, it was him who had to suffer for us because he was the only one capable. It was super cool and everyone liked it. 
Tuesday:
We were running late out the door because yes mom I make us late because I have to brush my teeth lol. Anyways we had to get to this apt on time because our bus for the next apt one came in an hour, and that would take us to the next town over about an hour to Montargis. So we were running late and got to the bus to the apt that was first and the bus came right as we got there it was perfect timing, then I got on and guess what! It was one of the gare dancer guys right ahead of me... Oh I wanted to share the gospel with that guy so bad, but we can't talk to men. Lol then I rubbed my eye and realized I forgot to put on makeup.. Awk, and as all of this was happening I looked out the window and there was the girl whose house we were going to. I quickly pushed the button to stop the bus at the next stop and we got off right as she was crossing to us. We said hi, and she told us she had mistaked the time forgot our apt and was about to call us and tell us she was going to be a half hour late lol. So we walked to the park bench that just happened to be right there and shared a lesson. With time for me to go home and get ready and make our bus to Montargis. We went and visited Angela with a member who took us to Chinese for lunch. Then long story we read the bus times wrong, and got stuck there for 2 hours and found a chateau so we took some pics and got to check it out, talked to some people. And made it back to Orleans in time too lol. So miracles, and Ă©checs all in one, gotta love missionary life! 
Wednesday: 
Went well! Haha we got frudged a couple times but we got cookies and apples from Soeur penverne so that was nice of her. Then we visit taught this lady in the ward, she has a really hard life story and I realized how much respect I have for her and all the members of this ward. Then we had DMP, and I just love that couple. They do so much for us lol.
Thursday:
GUESS WHAT! Well NEWS AND CURVE BALL for me! We got up and we're getting ready and we had our district meeting in Orleans and the zone leaders called and were like hey we're at the gare can you come pick us up to take to the church, and I was like yeah sure can you give us like 20 minutes to finish cooking the lunch we will bring. They said sure, so I kept getting ready and about 5 minutes later I hear Soeur welter on the phone and I though it was the zone leaders again, so I came into the kitchen and I was like what else do they want? Soeur welter said, they want to talk to you and passed me the phone, then I hear a ,"hey Soeur Stevens, this is Elder Lattin (the AP) and I was thinking, why are they calling us right now, are they coming to the meeting too or something.. Then he gave me some news, he said,"hey we have a Soeur who broke her foot in the MTC so she couldn't come out with the group this last time, but she just got clearance from the doctor, so she is coming a little bit into the transfer, and she needs a home, we've prayed and thought about it and we know you need to train her!" Haha so needless to say they asked if I would open up a new equine in Orleans and train her! Crazy! I didn't know what to say, or what do to, it is in the middle of the transfer, so I was really surprised. But I told them yes of course I will train her. So she comes in Wednesday September 16th straight from her house. I don't know anything about her really, but I'm excited! IM TRAINING AGAIN! So big changes. Soeur welter and Soeur kemp will stay here too and be in the same apartment, so it's not like I'm moving anywhere. I really don't know how this will all end up, but I know it will be one crazy experience haha. After that we went to district meeting and ok, let me just preface this story by telling you some mission lingo, otherwise this could be awkward. When a missionary is a trainer if it is a sister then the trainer is a "mom" if an elder the trainer is a "dad". So when you get the call to train you become"pregnant" until you get your new companion, it's really weird now that I'm typing this all out, but it's just mission culture. So I walked up to the elders at the gare to our district leader and said, guess what, I'm training, haha then just told them what was going on. Then we got to the church and the zone leaders were there and elder beck was like, hey Soeur your pregnant!" I was like how did you know? Then he told me the assistants and told them that I was training, I was so mad, they knew before I did lol and they kept it together this whole time. But all the same, I am excited and the entire district lunch was devoted to how many tricks everyone could play on my new blue (a missionary who is being trained is called a blue). Oh we made some good ones, I'm thinking about doing a Russian accent and pretending I don't know how to speak English lol, we practiced and they said I could pull it off, either way she's going to be in for a treat with me as her trainer lol. 
Friday:
We went to Montargis and worked doing service all day on this lady's boat. It took forever, and it was dirty! It gave me so much appreciation for the home I live in and how clean it is! Thank you for making me clean when I was a kid mom, I see now why. Then at the end of the day I spent 3 hours scraping off paint from the boat... We all got some blister, cuts, and a sunburn, but we made a ton of progress so it was awesome! The lady went to the "boucherie" I don't think we have that in America but is a special place just for buying meat. And she bought 3 kl. of turkey (really rare, in France!) and cooked it with some lemon pepper and we had potato salad and made it a little American day of remembrance in lue of 9/11. So that was fun, and worth all the pain to see the lady so happy that we made so much progress on her boat. So it was a good day, and I slept so well that night haha. 
Saturday: 
So many rendez-vous! I don't even know where to start but that we didn't even have time to eat that day we were so busy!
Sunday:
We went to church and Vanessa was there! Yay she came, and we made arrangements for her to be able to go to stake conference because it is in Le Mans, not Orleans. So yeah. Then after we put on a fireside and invited the ward to watch 17 miracles, and everyone cried, it was so good and the spirit was so strong! Everyone was really touched, and after I talked to Vanessa and she said she cried, and wanted to be with someone forever. It was cute. Then we went to a mangez-vous with the Penverne famille and Vanessa! It was awesome.

French letter to Andrew

Andrew: 
Bah, tu parle bien comme mĂȘme. Je suis fiĂšre de tes efforts d'apprendre les 2 langues au mĂȘme temps. Le Mandarin est pas facile de tout. Il y a quelques missionnaires ici en France qui doit apprendre français, et au mĂȘme temps Mandarin. Oh c'est difficile pour eux. J'appris quelques mots en Mandarin, mais je connais pas beaucoup, seulement, "Bonjour, je m'appelle SƓur Stevens" et je suis missionnaire. Haha. 
Je vais trĂšs bien merci. Je suis toujours heureuse Ă  faire l'Ɠuvre missionnaire ici. Bien que quelques fois c'est dur, et nous nous posons les questions, bah pourquoi je suis en mission, mais, je sais que se m'aider Ă  grandir. Je voyais beaucoup des Ă©preuves des personnes ici, et comment ils ont surmontĂ© ses Ă©preuves, et pour le plus part, comment je peux aider les autres Ă  trouver le bonheur dans cette vie. Cela est la plus difficile pour la franchise je crois. En fait, j'ai rencontrĂ© un homme sur le mĂ©tro quand j'Ă©tais Ă  Paris qui me disait "je vous voir touts les temps avec un sourire, et vous ĂȘtes tous en train de rigoler. Comment vous avez trouvĂ© le joie en France, c'est quelques choses que j'Ă©tais cherchĂ© pour toute ma vie." On a expliquĂ© pourquoi on est ici et ce qui on fait. Mais, je suis le plus heureuse dans toute ma vie. C'est magnifique la France, je crois on doit tous travers les moment difficile, les moment dur, pour comprendre le joie qui viens de la vie si on garde une attitude positive. Il y a un citation qui j'aime beaucoup, "be willing at any moment to give up what you are for what you can become" c'est la clef pour la succĂšs. C'est qui on peut deviner dans cette vie? 
Ah fin, je t'aime trĂšs forte et aussi pour rĂ©pondre Ă  ta question. AprĂšs je rentre aux États-Unis, le premier chose que je vais faire.... Je vais vous donner un embrasse Grinning face with smiling eyes tu me manques, et dit une grande bonjour Ă  Ru pour moi! Et je veux les photos d'elle! 
-Ashley

Monday, September 7, 2015

Life!





Folding baby clothes at an activity, sewing project, and participating in the Ward activity!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Parents picking up their missionary sent us a personal message and pics of Ash!



Ashley translated in Sunday School for them, they said Ashley was just darling. She really looks radiant!

Contacting and baptism dates… a great week!

Hello!
So this week happened really well. It went by fast, but it was an awesome week. 
On Monday we had a bunch of appointments and helped a less active family move, so we didn't get to do a ton of stuff, but we still got some food and were able to email you last week! 
Tuesday: my favorite day of the week. We went to Tours for district meeting, and I have to just start this off by saying probably one of the top 5 best days of my mission. We went early and made the train this time lol, and rode with the elders from Blois down to Tours and met up with everyone from the zone, so the missionaries from, Tours, Le Mans, Alençon, Blois, Bourges, and us. So there were 14 of us in total. We went to the church and proceeded with our DM, in which somehow our DL was able to tie in a golf tournament and march madness lol. I love my district and their creativity. Then we all got to have a pizza party thanks to the Zone Leaders because we completed our Bucket list finding goals! And then we all got to play "loup-garou" which means "werewolf." It's a super popular game in France (and especially among missionaries we play it a lot), it's kind of like mafia, but there are cards with characters on it. It's really fun and with 14 people it was just a hoot. And all of the things are in French too, oh man it was so funny. But, with fun and games comes work, so we decided to try something new, kind of like the Paris missionaries and set up a stand and contacted around it. So we did, and they split half the missionaries going out of centre ville and the others stay by the sign, I was put to stay by the sign. But it was so fun! I contacted and taught tons of people and it was the most success of my entire mission in one day! It was crazy! We were all just contacting together, I got to contact someone with one of my zone leaders, which was really cool, he speaks super good French, and had an awesome conversation with this person. We contacted so much that day! Haha. It was so awesome! But man when you contact in France you really have to know the bible. One piece I would give to any prospective missionary, study the bible before you leave! My zone leader knew the bible front and back, and let me tell you it helps! Anyways, it was just the coolest finding day ever, and we got to keep that spirit of finding through out the rest of the week. 
Wednesday: 
The baptismal date we have for Vanessa we changed to the 26th because we have stake conference the 19th and 20th in Évry. But she is super excited and invited her 2 friends to the FHE we had at the bishops house! It was awesome we ate dinner together and we had poulet de les PyrĂ©nĂ©es. It was really good! One of my favorite French dishes. So far I have found my favorite French plates are durning winter from the east and the summer more so from the PyrĂ©nĂ©es (Toulouse/Bordeaux). Anyway. It was really nice and everyone got to know each other. 
Thursday:
We got to set a baptismal date with our other Amie. Marie, for September 26! It was awesome and soeur Penverne was there and made it awesome with her testimony! 
Friday: 
We had another exchange in Orleans and so I met with the other sister and the DMP and his wife taught with us our new ami Marc-Antoine. So it went well, and we are going to see him again which is cool. And we got to see Vanessa again!
Saturday:
We went to the church to get news of the new transfer! Guess what! I'm in another trio. Lol. More blessings come with more missionaries right? Lol. Her name is Soeur Welters. She is a lot younger in the mission I think she's been here for 4 months. So we are excited! Get some young blood up in this dying equipe haha. So yay! Excited, and I think I will leave next transfer, ah bizarre quoi. Anyway, yep and still no elders in the ville. So yep, but the best news came when soeur Ericsson called me and guess what?! SHE IS A TRAINER! There is only 1 sister coming in and she gets to train her! Ah I'm soooo excited for her. 
Sunday:
We had our Amie come to church Alexia. We had a super bomb lesson with Soeur Javoy and our amie Mme. Simone. We taught more about Joseph Smith and the restoration. It went super well, and Soeur Javoy talked about her conversion story, the spirit was super strong, so we are excited for the follow up appointment! 
Monday: 
Today we got ready for the new week and the new sister who is coming to Orleans! And in France they have a "Braderie" the best think I could liken it to would be a Saturday market, but it's like everywhere! A lot of sales and stuff so we got to go check it out, and there are people everywhere. It's something I will miss about France, there are always people I'm centre ville just all around, with someone always playing music, it's a very inviting atmosphere for the most part. It's always fun, especially during the music festivals! 
Ok something I learned this week:
Well during contacting on Tuesday it was actually just really cool to see everything happen, but there is some stories. So as we were setting up the table and putting all the books on it this woman came up and looked at us and the Book of Mormon and stuff, and my zone leader looked at me (I was the oldest Soeur my "comp" was in their 3rd transfer) and was like, go talk to her! Haha so I did and I explained what the Book of Mormon is and asked if she had questions, and just did a normal contact and in the end gave the woman a Book of Mormon, our card and stuff about Jospeh Smith from what I had explained. My "comp" just starred at me and when the woman left, was just like, "how did you do that?!" That was insane! Haha I literally laughed, but we worked together for a bit longer, then we all had to switch. But then I got to listen in a couple of contacts with my zone leader, and after I asked him in amazement, "how did you do that?!" Haha right after I said that I was like, "oh I see God", bien jouĂ©. I guess we are continually growing and progressing, and it's amazing to watch the missionaries around you grow and see how they do missionary work, how God really uses each one of us differently, but needs each of us, it's kind of very true. "God doesn't call the qualify, He qualifies the called." I have truly seen it. We all start out as missionaries who get extremely humbled, and finally the lord is able to work through us as he molds us into clay and watching these missionaries who have just come in, or who are going to leaving in a couple weeks, gave me just an awesome experience looking at the Lords handy work, and how He is changing us all into the people He wants us to become. 
Love you,
Soeur Stevens