Monday, June 24, 2013

Fete de la Musique

My dearest readers!  I hope all is going well with each of you.  Thank you all for your support and your prayers.  This work is not just for missionaries, and every prayer counts.  We couldn't, I couldn't, do this without all of you!

Well this Friday we had the long-anticipated Fete de la Musique!  It was so so funny.  I love this ward!  They are so great.  And it was fun to play my violin with them, they all loved it.  We had our ami Gladys there (who is amazing btw, she came to institute and gave me a scarf).  We are so excited for her baptism this next month!  And a lot of members brought their friends to the Fete as well.  It was a good missionary opportunity for everyone.

Well, we set another baptismal date this week.  She is an ADORABLE little eight year old girl named Shaina.  Her grandmother is a member but her parents aren't.  So she falls under our responsibility instead of the ward's.  She's going to be baptized on July 13th.  It's fun and challenging to teach a child.  We try to make it simple and fun.  Thank you mom for the stickers!  She loves them.

I just love being a missionary here.  We teach people from all over the world.  Yesterday we taught this Chinese student named Loma.  She is amazing, basically inviting herself to church.  I've taught a few Chinese people now, and they've been teaching me some phrases and the different tones in Chinese.  So so fun!

Okay, so today was transfer day.  Soeur Kohlert is still my companion, wahoo!!  She's the best trainer a soeur could ask for.  Last night we had a little "sleepover." It was hilarious.  We brought our mattresses out to the living room, ate pistachio ice creme and speculoos cookies and watched an episode of the district. hahaha.  We are so weird.  It was way more fun than it should have been.  Don't worry we were asleep by 10:30  :)

Well, here's to another great transfer in Rennes!  This one with baptisms and a trip to Paris July 11/12  with my MTC group.  It's going to be dream.

Until next week!

Soeur Hilton

Here are photos from St. Malo (the first four)  and Mont St. Michel (the rest)!

Monday, June 17, 2013

100 Baptisms!

Wow!  So much has happened this week I don't even know where to begin...  Well I suppose it would be logical to start where I left off.  Yes, I went to Mont St. Michel... and it was an absolute fairytale.  I love love loved it.  I could go on forever about it, but I have a lot I want to talk about today and very little time to email because we are headed to St. Malo for the day directly after emailing.  Just know that it is basically dreamland and you all should go :)

We had a rough week.  We got canceled on like no other!  And Wednesday was just...horrific, to be honest.  We ended up eating at THREE members houses (we did not plan it this way).  I don't think I've been compelled to eat that much food ever in my whole life.  It was terrible!  I just cried and we laughed because of the sheer ridiculousness of it all!  Is this real life?  But then at zone conference on Friday I was talking to some of my MTC friends and they've only ever had one or two meals with members.  Some even are in branches where the nicest thing a member has done is smile at them.  I felt so guilty for complaining.  Rennes truly is an amazing ward.  The members here sacrifice so so much.  We attended Ward Council right after zone conference and I was so touched by these members.  They are saints.  It is not easy to be part of the church in France.  They really are angels. 

That brings me to zone conference.  It was incredible.  We got up nice and early and took a train to Angers.  I got to see Soeur Elliot, my MTC companion.  It was a great reunion!  I've missed her.  Her city is much tougher than mine, apparently they are harassed by men a lot, and also they opened the city, so they port all day long.  She is super though!  I also got to see Soeur Cameron!  She is opening Tours, and it's tough too!  I just came out of zone conference so grateful.  It was really wonderful to see and talk with other bleus.  You really don't realize how much you'll miss the MTC.

Zone conference was really inspiring.  We watched a video with a talk by Elder Holland.  He was saying that many wonder why missionary work is so hard.  If this really is the truth, shouldn't people be flocking to the waters of baptism?  I had asked myself these questions a lot since coming here.  The reason is that salvation is not cheap.  It never has been.  We are not the only ones who have wondered if there isn't an easier way.  Christ himself posed that question.  He suffered, he was rejected.  When we are struggling, when we are rejected we can remember that He was too.  But he is with us.  And His work will go forth.  So great, loved zone conference!  It was spiritually exhausting though.

We have the honor of receiving Elder Oaks this September!  The mission has set the goal to get 100 baptisms before he arrives.  Apparently, before Elder Anderson came last year they set a goal of 75 and they actually exceeded it.  100 is a pretty high number, but I think that it is inspired.  We prayed as a companionship and asked for confirmation if this was a reachable goal.  We are really going to try hard to help the mission attain this goal.

Then there was Sunday.  I don't know what it is about Sundays, but it just seems to be the day for miracles!  Okay let me set the stage.  It was Soeur Kohlert's birthday, so the night before we made a cake because the family Alliot had invited us over for a birthday lunch after Church.  Their friend Monique was going to be there so it would be a good missionary opportunity.

Side note: church was great.  Gladys came, oh and we set a baptismal date with her this week!  I forgot to say that.  Also Mart was there, and she is going to FHE with Phillipetonight.  Soeur Kohlert and I are secretly hoping they get together, they would be a hilarious couple (tall, quirky french guy, with a girl from Mongolia who doesn't speak much french... oh I want that to happen!)

Okay, so after church we went to the Alliot's for dejeuner and tried to have a lesson with Monique.  It was an absolute disaster.  She was just a really loud, grumpy french lady.  And it went on forever.  We finally got out of there around 4 o'clock and I was exhausted.  I had a terrible headache from all the French, and the yellling.  Also I had to eat a lot of sugar... and my throat was killing me.  We were both feeling pretty down. I didn't want to talk to anyone.  So there we were, standing at the bus stop, headed home for some advil.  Then a man started talking to us about the cake, haha he even wanted some.  This was strange, nobody talks to us.  Then we got on the bus, it was super crowded.  As soon as we got on a lady started talking to us about the cake and just smiling really big at us.  Then I saw this other lady, with a baby stroller staring at my name tag.  She started reading it out loud "des saints des derniers jours."  Then she asked us who we were.  She said she hasn't found a good church here in Rennes and wanted to come to ours...timeout.  What?  Then as we got off the bus to talk to her more another family started talking to us!  And they want to come to church!  What the heck? Soeur Kohlert and I were completely shocked.  Had we just been transported to some sort of Brazilian mission?  But that was just the begining.  We got on the metro and immediately met a girl named Clementine.  We got her number and she wants to get together soon!  Then we went to the bus stop to catch the bus home.  It wasn't coming for 15 minutes.  So I announced to Soeur Kohlert, "great!  We'll just sit here and people will come talk to us."  There was just no doubt in my mind.  And sure enough, within seconds, we were chatting with about six people, and they started it!  This one man even asked us if we had a Book.  So obviously we gave him the Book of Mormon.  He was thrilled and said he'd read it.  He said he was really impressed by our name tags.  He said it was bold that it said "saints" on it.  He doesn't like how the people here just pray on Sundays, but don't do anything else.  You are living it, he said.  And then as we were going back to our appartment we waved goodbye to one of the people we were talking to and he said "vous etes belles!"  We just came into the appartment and fell to our knees.  I was so overwhelmed and my head hurt so bad at this point, I just started to cry.  That was a miracle.  Those kind of things just don't happen in France, or I didn't think they could, especially in just one 45 minute trip home...  I am still just speechless...  keep praying for France, there are people here that are looking for the truth.

Okay this was a super long email,  I hope you all made it through the whole thing.  No time for pictures today, no time to re-read this either, I hope it makes sense.  Next week I'll have much longer.  I'm off to St. Malo!

Soeur Lorraine Hilton 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A cold night in rainy Rennes

A storm was coming in fast and night had descended.  We were caught outside with no rendez-vous and no coats.  We began ringing door bells, asking people if we could come inside and bless their homes.  After the second house the rain began to pour, harder than I'd ever experienced in France.  We were drenched in seconds.  But we did not turn around, instead we fearlessly kept ringing door bells.  It wasn't long until a nice French couple took pity on us, we must have seemed pretty crazy -- two young American girls in skirts and without coats, wearing the name of Jesus Christ on their sleeves, running around in a torrent trying to pray with people.  They ushered us in and made us some herbal tea.  We had a wonderful conversation about France, religion, language etc.  We even got a referral from them!  We going back to see our new friends Claudie and Bernard soon:)

Well I hope that this little narrative gave you a taste of mission life :)

I know I said there wouldn't be a blog post this week, but we did our grocery shopping in seriously 15 minutes today... so here I am!  I am just bursting with excitement to go to Mont St. Michel.

Well here's a few updates:  Do you all remember that Sunday a few weeks ago when we kept missing all our buses?  And then we had a couple miracles because of it?  Well the lady that we met first, who we had the amazing contact with?  Well we called her and she is busy with school, but wants to meet with us after the 21st.  We ran into her at the bus stop the other day and met her little boy...and his name is Ammon.  Our mouths just dropped!  We said did you know that Ammon is the name of a prophet in that book we gave you?  Of course she didn't, haha.  Crazy right?  We can't wait to start teaching her! Her name is Marie-Iris by the way.

Then there was Fatima, the non-practicing muslim who we had to get permission from her husband to teach...and we had no idea how to accomplish that... and then they just magically appeared in our path when we missed the bus because of the roller skating all remember that?  Well we went over to see Fatima, and she was going off to the market with her husband Pascal and their baby.  But he said that he'd really like us to come over soon and tell them more about what we do sometime.  So obviously we went over a few days later.  We didn't know if it would just be Fatima there, but the whole family was there.  We had an aweome lesson.  Pascal has obviously thought a lot about religion, the purpose of existence etc.  It was so interesting to talk with him.  And Fatima is perfect for him.  She said, have you ever even tried to pray?  He said yes.  She said, you must have done it wrong, what did you say?  He said, well... I went to catechism.  You haven't really prayed then, have you? she said.  It was so great!  we invited them to church and they said yes!  We are hoping for this next Sunday:)  They are seriously such a cool family!

Hmm, what else can I say?  So much happens in one week!  It's hard to pick out the highlights... this weeks was filled with meals with members, mongolians and muslims, a French cowgirl, running to the bus, sitting on the bus, talking on the bus, a scripture that touched a heart, a prayer that led to tears, playing songs of Brittany on my violin, Thai food, wealth, poverty, corruption, hope, faith, charity, and a record breaking fifteen lessons.  If you have any questions about that, just send me a letter, haha :)

Well everyone, the work is moving forward in Rennes, even though my French is dismal.  We aren't doing any of this on our own, there's no way that we could.  

Alma 13:24. 'nuff said. Look for opportunities to be a witness.

Until next week my dears!

Soeur Hilton

Monday, June 3, 2013

Missionary Month

Hello everyone!  Missionary Month in the Rennes ward has officially started!  We kicked it off yesterday by teaching the Relief Society Lesson.  Our goal is to have a family home evening with members each monday this month.  We also made a little Livre de Mormon pyramid and said we'd like the ward to try and give away all of them by the end of the month.  The members are so awesome.  They are willing to open their homes and teach with us!  I love them.  We are also having a Fete de Musique on the 21st.  Soeur Kohlert and I will be playing our violins with the ward choir.  We are hoping it will be a really good missionary opportunity.

We are also entering missionary month with two baptismal dates!  We committed our amis Mandal (from Mongolia--she loves calling me Paris Hilton, hahaha) and Lucy (from Peru--she came up to us the other day and asked what she would have to do to be baptized:) ).  So we are hoping for July 20th for both of them.  Missionary work is so exhilarating!

Well I probably won't be emailing for a few weeks because Soeur Kohlert and I have some exciting p-days planned.  Next week we are going to Mount St. Michel (I know, I know, it's a fairytale), and the the next week we are going to St. Malo.  I will take lots of pictures and write an extra long post in three weeks.

Happy Missionary Month everybody!  I encourage you all to try extra hard to share the gospel during June.  There's no better way to show God that you love his children then by sharing the truth with them.  Give service.  Be an example.  Bear testimony.  Remember, by small and simple things great things are brought to pass.

I love you all! Thank you for your prayers:)

Talk to you in 3 weeks!