Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Member missionary work

This week!  Wow, it was really really good. I'm just flipping through my planner and it is just filled with names of some really wonderful people.  We are just running around France, spreading the's the best.  My companion, Soeur Bitter, is just the greatest.  So upbeat, so funny--we are always laughing!  I'm so grateful for good companions.  Her birthday was this last Thursday.  So I got up early and made her crepes--actually only one crepe, because it's been a crazy month and we are out of money, haha.  Speaking of which, the scripture where the disicples are admonished to take no thought of the morrow, what they will eat etc., is so true.  We've been getting food out of nowhere.  On Soeur Bitter's birthday our ami, Mme Sissko randomly fed us a fish tail (Tilapia), and we got like a seven course meal that night from some other amis Jean and Marie.  The whole week's been like that!  The Lord takes care of the missionaries:)
This week has been member week.  They've been referring people, feeding us, fellowshipping our amis and just being all around amazing.  First of all a MONGOLIAN couple just moved into the ward.  Seriously a huge blessing...and so unlikely.  They are super strong too, both are returned missionaries.  They've already helped out so much with Mandal.  Also, Oyun said she wants to get baptized in October, so it will be really nice to have them help us with the language barrier.  The Elders even found some Mongolians last week....Rennes Mongolian Branch 2014...It's going to happen haha.  And not to mention Tugsuu!  She was all alone before, and now there are two awesome members who speak her language.  I still can't believe it, what are the odds?
Then there's Lodelia.  One of our Young Single Adults, JeanChristophe, invited her to Family Home Evening and she loved it!  Then we all had a rendez-vous together and she is so excited about the church and the Book of Mormon.  And guess where she is from?  PERU!  Our recent convert Lucy flipped when she found out.  Apparently she's only ever met one other Peruvian in France, and Lucy was the first Peruvian that Lodelia has met.  They became instant best friends and I even saw them walking out of church together.  The work is exponentially better when the members are involved.  We've only had one meeting with Lodelia and she already has two great friends in the ward.
This last Sunday was just incredible.  Lots of members are getting back from vacances and for some reason are really fired up about missionary work.  Quite a few came up to me and offered to help teach, or asked if we could go visit less-active with them etc.  Members drive this work.  So I guess my message this week is "get involved!"  It's amazing what members can do.  I was really touched by this one Soeur, soeur Aubain.  She lived in Rennes about nine years ago and just moved back here with her family.  She told us that she thought it was a good opportunity for her to try to bring back some people who had fallen away since she left.  She's been praying and a soeur's name came to her mind.  She asked for our help in bringing this woman back.  That's huge!  And everyone can do that, pray to know who we can help and how (whether inviting someone to learn about the gospel, or reaching out to less or inactive brothers and sisters)
Hmm, what else happened this week?  Oh we taught the Houmed family the Plan of Salvation!  yay, they are progressing:)  Also we went to Fougeres yesterday for P-day, the chateau there is sooooooo coool.  I'll send pics soon.  Also we played our violins in Sacrament meeting because one of the young adults, Rebecca left on her mission to Greece this week!  All the members loved it and said "so is it a rule now that to serve in Rennes you have to play the violin?" (because Soeur Kohlert played too) haha.  I'm so glad I brought my violin:)
Well that's it for now folks, I hope everyone has a great week especially with school starting up.  Bisous!
Soeur Hilton

Monday, August 19, 2013

1 Kings 19:12 "And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice."

This week I'd like to talk about following the Spirit.  Our traing last week was all about the spirit, it was amazing--how to recognize it, why we should follow it etc.

Our district leader Elder Thomas sent us a talk and I loved this quote, because this week I LIVED it this week.

President Thomas S. Monson, who said: “In the performance of our responsibilities, 
I have learned that when we heed a silent prompting and act upon it without delay, our 
Heavenly Father will guide our footsteps and bless our lives and the lives of others. I know of no 
experience more sweet or feeling more precious than to heed a prompting only to discover that 
the Lord has answered another person’s prayer through you.” 

After the training I was really pumped up to follow the spirit and see what would happen.  By the time Saturday rolled around I was feeling a little down, like I couldn't feel the Spirit.  We had been porting (tracting) all day and I really really wanted to have an impression where to go, or who to talk to, but I just wasn't feeling it.  Soeur Bitter had a definite prompting though, and we ended up talking to a cute old man.  We were then headed home, but I was still feeling uneasy.  We were starving and thirsty and tired... but the thought popped into my head to go see Fatima.  It had been awhile and she had kind of been a little snappy on the phone the last time we called.  My mind came up with tons of excuses not to go.  It would delay our dinner another hour or so, she's never there in the late afternoon, she probably doesn't want to see us...  But I felt very strongly that we should go.  So I remembered the district meeting training about following the spirit, and we decided to go pass by.  And she was there!  She seemed so happy to see us.  She said three times, "I was thinking about you today."  It was one of the best visits we've had with her!  She has started to read the Book of Mormon and we were able to set up another rendez-vous with her:)  I can't tell you how important it is to feel the spirit.  You never know what will happen, so if a good thought comes to your mind, just do it!  You may be the answer to someone's prayer, and nothing feels better than that:)

Well, I promise a longer email last week!  I love you all and I'd love to hear from you:)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

I love mattress room

Yes, I'm coming to live from Rennes...on a Thursday!  Sort of fun, no?  Yeah, the last little while has been kind of crazy!  Last week was transfers and my dear dear trainer Soeur Kohlert left me and went to Luxembourg!  She was so so excited. She is with Soeur Smith, who was in my MTC district.  They are going to be so great together!  Soeur Kohlert was devastated to leave Rennes though.  The worst was when she said goodbye to Tugsuu.  Tugsuu is so so special to her, and to me.  I don't ever want to leave Rennes :)

So last Wednesday we went into Paris to switch companions.  It was really really fun to see all of my friends again.  My new companion's name is Soeur Bitter.  She is from Southern california, and--you won't believe this--she plays the violin too!  The ward is so thrilled.  They love love love the violin.  So, I had been with my new comp for a few days, and I just had this feeling that she reminded me of someone, like from a movie, but I couldn't figure it out.  Finally on the metro one day I just turned to her and said, "you look just like a Disney character, but I don't know who..."  She just laughed, and said, it's Tangled.  Yes, my friends, I'm living with Rapunzel.  It's kind of scary how similiar she looks, and she acts like her too!  So fun:)

So this last monday she had to go to Belgium for legality with all the other fourth transfer missionaries (they've already been, but it didn't work or something, also, they've decided to stop doing I don't get to go to Belgium:(  She did bring me back a delicious Belgian waffle though!)  I spent p-day with two of the most wonderful sister missionaries I've ever met, Soeur Garrett and Soeur Lai.  We had the most lovely exchange ever, so many miracles!  We were pretty exhausted by the end though.  Our companions got in pretty late, and since interviews were the next day (tuesday), here in Rennes, we had a slumber party!  Six sisters in one apartment...sooo fun!  We had to go get a bunch of matresses from the elder's apartment.  (our front room was "matress room" for a few days...I loved it so much)

Then we had zone Conference and interviews.  President and Soeur Pozanaski are so inspiring.  Soeur Pozanaski told the story about Annick.  It was amazing.  So appartently Soeur Pozananski finished her mission here in Rennes.  The week she got transfered here, however, she found out that her younger brother had passed away.  She was given permission to leave that Monday for the funeral and return the next Monday.  She really really felt that there was someone waiting for her in Rennes though, so she came back early, the Saturday before.  She didn't even unpack, just grabbed her companion and went out looking.  That was the night that they found Annick.

Then, just a few weeks ago, Soeur Pozanaski was talking with the President about all the miracles that the missionaries are seeing here in the mission.  She asked him, don't you think we could pray for our own miracles?  They prayed for their families and friends, and they also prayed for Annick.  Two days later they got the call that she had decided to get baptized...  The Lord really does direct this work.  And miracles can be brought about through faith...sometimes we wait two days, sometimes thirty years.  Do you have a miracle you want to have happen?  I encourage you all to pray and ask God to bless those around you.  I know He will answer our prayers!

Anyways, president's brother owns a French Pizza truck, so we all enjoyed delicious, organic pizza afterwards.  Then we went out and did some finding.  I had president's words in my mind, "Allez, cherchez!" (Go, find!)  There are people out there, there are families waiting for us!  So august is a weird month in France, pretty much everyone takes off on vacation for the month.  So all of our amis are gone until September.  So I've been getting good and street contacting and porting:)  Ooooh and my French is getting so much better. It's amazing, literaly in the last week.  I think it is because I can't rely on my trainer anymore.  Oh and I pretty much understand everyone now.  It's so nice:)  Things are a lot more tranquille now.  And the weather continues to be gorgeous.  Yep, this is finding month.  I pray that we will be guided to those who are prepared, and that they will be guided to us.

I love you all, and I'll write you in just three days!

Monday, August 5, 2013

The day I let my companion cut my hair...

Yes it's true.  Today Soeur Kohlert and I cut eachother's hair!  I didn't tell her I've never cut anyone's hair before.  I messed it up pretty bad at first, but I figured it out eventually and it actually looks really good!  I'm pretty proud of it.  She cut my hair too and she did a pretty good job...  At least it's still long and red:)   haha no she did a good job.  It was an absolute necessity though.  Our hair was getting really long, and I was worried that we were reinforcing "polygamist" stereotypes, haha.  So yeah, that was quite an adventure, took us a good three hours..

Well, this week was amazing as usual.  We seriously saw some incrediible things happen.  I've learned a lot about faith this week, and also the power of prayer.

From Tuesday night to Wednesday night we had our exchange with the Nantes Soeurs (our sister training leaders).  Soeur Alley came here to Rennes with me and Kohlert went to Nantes with Roney.  Interesting side note, Soeur Alley looks very very similar to cousin Ali!  (It's funny because their names sound the same, hehe)  Very tall, blond hair, blue eyes, similar personality..

The exchange was really really good.  I heard that Soeur Alley was really good at porting, and that is something that Kohlert and I have avoided because we aren't good at it and it's terrifying.  So we went out porting together.  She is so good at it.  But I was able to see how she did it.  It isn't super complicated actually.  And it can be a very very spiritual experience.  The night was winding down and we weren't having any sucess.  A building caught my eye, but I was just going to keep walking.  Soeur Alley saw me look at it and we both turned around and went back.  We rang one of the sonnets and no one answered, but the door to the building unlocked.  We had no idea which porte was hers, so we went to the top floor and started ringing every luck.  Then on the bottom floor we found her door!  I felt really good about this one.  This young woman opened the door and she hung up the phone to talk to us.  We tried to give her a Book of Mormon but she didn't want it.  Soeur Alley asked if we could pray.  She let us in and we prayed with her.  I felt the spirit unusually strong and when I looked up after the prayer this lady was in tears.  Soeur Alley asked if we could come back and she nodded her head while drying her tears.  It was beautiful.  I know that God loves that woman and that we were meant to find her that night.

After we left the building Soeur Alley and I just stared at eachother, laughing and crying as we walked down the street... she said, "see why I love porting?"  "All the rejection doesn't matter when we see miracles like that."

Soeur Alley is amazing!  I hope I can be as good of a missionary as her soon.

And that was only the beginning of the week.  After the exchange we had a "mini-missionary" for three days.  A young adult from our ward, Melanie Bonhomme, came and was our third companion.  Trio's are fun!

Soer Kohlert and I had been praying and praying for her.  We really wanted her to have a good experience.  I just knew we would see some miracles, but what happened was more than I ever expected.

The first day we did a "contacting scavenger hunt" at the Parc du Thabor.  We set some goals like, "contact three people with strollers," "give away a Book of Mormon,"  things like that.  And then if we got our goals we could go buy ice cream cones:)  We ended up giving away three Family Proclamations, three book of Mormons, teaching a lesson and finding three new amis!  I was astounded.  And the ice cream was delicious.

Then that night we had nothing planned so we decided to go porting.  I followed Alley's advice to the letter.  I've never felt so confident on my mission.  I felt the Spirit guiding us very strongly.  Within an hour of porting we taught three lessons and found a beautiful young french family to teach!  The husband, Christoff answered the door and we said we were here to talk about families.  He asked if we were Mormons.  Turns out he knows a Mormon who lives in Utah, through work or something.  While we were chatting his wife and children showed up.  Three cute little kids.  Christoff asked his oldest son, Do you believe in God? (because we had asked that question earlier, haha)  His son replied "Oui!" almost like "duh"  Anyways, we prayed with them and we are going back this week:)

The next day we had a lesson with Loma (remember her, the Chinese student?)  We haven't had a lesson with her in awhile, but she's been coming to church every week.  We found out that she is feeling the spirit everytime she prays.  She also asked if she could get baptized while being a member of the communist party (the answer is yes), so she is obviously thinking about it:)  Then on Sunday I saw her holding her Book of Mormon and casually asked if she's started it.  She said yes!  And she really likes it.  I tried really hard to contain myself.  This is all very exciting:)

Then on Saturday we went porting again.  We weren't having as much success as Thursday night, and some people were down right rude.  We were also trying to get Soeur Bonhomme to knock a few portes, but she was really nervous.  She finally got up the courage and I was so proud of her!

Anyways, we had been going for about an hour and the bus was coming soon.  We walked through a little path and ended up in a cul-de-sac.  I felt immediately that someone was there for us to find.  But there were so many houses and too little time.  I knew that we couldn't do this alone.  I turned to Kohlert and said we need to pray!  She said, "I know, there's someone here."  Soeur Bonhomme was pretty incredulous, "you really know there's someone here?"  We picked two portes and knocked them.  The first one--nothing.  We went to the second one and there she was, Linda.  Cute, young, french girl, maybe 18.  We taught her briefly the Plan of Salvation and prayed with her:)  She gave us her number and hopefully we were see her soon...  it was a miracle....

Well, I can now say, like Soeur Alley, that I also love porting.  It is just neat to be led by the Spirit to those who God has prepared.  He really knows and loves his children and wants to bless them. I'm so grateful that I can be an instrument in his hands.  Yeah, porting isn't terrifying anymore:)

Well that's it folks!  Until next time.

Soeur Lorraine Hilton