Monday, February 17, 2014

"Angels are declaring it unto many"

(See previous post for great new pictures!)

Soeur Walker and I dubbed this last week "finding week."  And boy, finding is kind of hard... we did a lot of street contacting, talking to people on trains and buses, pass-bys and knocking and knocking and walking and knocking and walking so more...haha you get the idea....I learned A LOT this week.  The number one thing is that we. can't. do. this. ourselves.

With that in mind, we turned to the Lord.  We asked Him to guide us to people that were ready.

And we also turned to...the members!  Lately we've been doing what we like to call, "l'heure des miracles." (miracle hour).  This week we went to the Kapepula and Stumont families homes and read Alma 13:24 with them

For behold, aangels are declaring it unto many at this time in our land; and this is for the purpose of preparing the hearts of the children of men to receive his word at the time of his coming in his glory.

Then we asked them to pray for us while we went out in their neighborhood and did missionary work.  In the Stumont's neighborhood we started ringing some door bells, and no one was interested.  We met an Italian husband of a Jehovah's Witness and had some doors shut in our faces before we could say anything.  But then we came to one door and rang the sonnet.  A little old lady came out and was ecstatic to see us.  "ça va? CA VA? Voulez-vous entrer?" haha yes we'd like to come in!  We prayed with her and we are going to go back and see her soon.

When we ported near the Kapepula's we went for a full hour...nothing.  We decided that their prayers were not going to go to waste, so we went down an entirely different street and decided to knock on one last door.  This VERY Liegoise old man answered.  He said "Oh you are the Mormons! You people are really bizzare..." he said.  Then we asked him if he knew anyone who might be interested in a message of hope... he paused and said..."Do you want to come back on Friday night?" (AWESOME rendez-vous btw, some serious spirit, and really cool Liegeoise puppets, history, this man worked on the very first computers here in liege! One's that took up a few rooms, so cool).

Another thing I learned is that sometimes it is just about planting seeds... I love contacting because I have the most beautiful conversations with people...about pray, about faith, about life..  One young German girl told us how she feels God is there when she plays the organ in her Bavarian village...that music is how she feels the spirit.  It is seriously fascinating to see how fundamental and natural belief in God is, and how similar people are...  It is sad that people feel like they have to hide it, or even ignore it.  It is interesting to see how the world and all it's distractions can blurr and confuse what people know deep interesting.

Anyways, so that is my week!  I love you all and pray for you!  Keep having a fabulous February!

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Queen of Liege

I need to just say one thing...I LOVE LIEGE.  I feel so honored to be serving here!  The branch is really stepping up to the plate right now and we are already seeing a huge difference in missionary work.  I just can't believe how blessed I am to be a part of it!

Today I want to talk a little bit about setting goals.  When Soeur Walker and I planned for this transfer we decided that we wanted to make it our "Transfer of Excellence," meaning that we wanted to reach each standard of excellence at least once during the transfer.  One of the hardest ones is teaching 8 lessons with a member there.  I don't know if Soeur Walker or I have ever done that on our mission.  It's so much easier to just teach our amis by ourselves.  It's complicated with scheduling and transportation, and even just FINDING a member to come with...we were looking through our planned lessons and we figured maybe 4 or 5 of them could be member present lessons...then soeur walker said, "let's just put 8."  So we decided that we'd just do our best and the God would help us the rest of the way... and He did, in ways I wasn't even expecting.

On Wednesday night we had two lessons planned, one with a non-member named Myriam and another with an inactive lady named Katie.  Myriam is an adorable young grandmother who lives next to the Branch President's family (the Motulet's).  She and her husband have had the missionaries over before and they've been to activities and such over the last 20 years.  I thought that this would be just kind of a "making friends" type rendez-vous and that maybe we wouldn't be able to talk about the gospel very much.  So I brought my violin and we prepared a short message about Christ...  When we got there we started out by chatting for a little while while dinner was cooking and then once it was almost ready, Myriam casually said..."Okay, now I'll just call next door and see if any of the Motulet's want to come over."  Before we knew it, we were having a discussion about Christ's visit to the Americas and the Book of Mormon with Myriam and Roxanne, the Motulet's 22 year old daughter.  Myriam had never even heard of the Book of Mormon!  After living next to the Branch President for 20 years...haha she was intrigued and offered to pay us for the book.  She even called the Branch President's wife and told her over and over to thank us for the book of mormon.  
The point is that had an unexpected member present lesson!  I was feeling pretty amazed at this point as we caught the bus to go visit Katie.  Usually her lessons are just her and us, but when we got there, her fiancée Alexsandre immediately came in and sat down, ready to listen to us.  I had my violin there and so they invited the kids to come join as well.  They were all cuddled together on the couch, like they were been filmed for a mormon ad...I couldn't help but think, wow, what a beautiful future family.  (They are literally beautiful btw, Alexsandre is a movie director and Katie should be a model if she isn't already).  We talked about how the gospel blesses families, the spirit was incredible... this is what it is all about...FAMILY and how it can last forever.

This is just a glimpse into how the week went...we were able to get our 8 member present lessons!  The numbers don't matter at all, but I really learned a powerful lesson on faith and having vision.

So yes, this week I turned the ripe old age of 23.  And I think I had like 23 birthday parties!  No, I'm just kidding, but I had at least four:)  Tomorrow I'll be sending pictures from some of them:)

So on January 6th to celebrate Epiphany, here in Belgium we eat what's called a "Gallette des Rois" (cake of the Kings) and there is something hidden inside of it...I was the lucky girl to find it in my piece of cake and hence became the "Queen" for the next year.  Soeur Walker has also taken to calling me the "Queen of Liege" because I have been here longer than anyother soeur.  Gigh must have been thinking along the same'll see what I mean when you see the pictures tomorrow.  Well, I really rather like my kingdom here in Liege.  I hope my reign here lasts forever!!  LONG LIVE LIEGE.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

"Life is so gorgeous!"

Hello World.  I'm kind of in a daze right now, I just got news that my baby brother Scott has gotten his mission call!  I'm so proud of him.  He is going to...wait for it...the THAILAND, BANKOK mission, reporting June  I immediately thought of one of my favorite Elders, Elder Ganjanakrit from the MTC.  I saw him for the first time since I arrived in France last May this last Thursday.  He is such an inspiration to me and to many many other missionaries.  I'm soo happy he was able to come back out on his mission, the people here need him and his faith!  Scott is going to meet some amazing people out there in Thailand...  Also, something else really cool.  My Great-great-great (I don't know how many great's) grandfather, Levi Savage (yes the one from the movie 17 Miracles)  served a mission in Myanmar (a country right next to Thailand that is in Scott's mission).  I love how poetic this all is.  It'll be the perfect mission for him.  I'm proud of you Scott!

In other news, Zone Conference was this last Thursday in Versailles.  I had a JOYOUS reunion with my mom, Soeur Kohlert!  I hadn't seen her since she left me behind in six months ago.  Happiness...

I also saw Soeur Bitter...for hours we just went back to Rennes...talking about all our beloved friends, members, memories... We just cried and cried together.  I didn't realize there was this much room in my heart to love...I feel like my heart just gets wider and wider everyday.  It almost hurts how much I love Rennes...  The best is Sophie.  She wrote me an email the other day, and talking about her baptism she wrote "yeah! i am a mormon now!! life is like a magic, our first crepe, it was like yesterday, and do you still remember that the first time we have first met? is so gorgeous!"  You know what, Sophie is right.  Life is just gorgeous.  I've really been going through a hard time lately...and there was a moment coming back from Zone Conference when we had to run through the Paris Metro...I have never felt so weak in my life...I couldn't breathe...then Soeur Bitter prayed for me and we talked about how beautiful the mission is, how beautiful our lives our, because of the people we've met and the miracles we've's all worth it.  Every trial I've been through, that I'm in the middle of and those that are's okay.  God has, in turn, blessed me more than I could ever have imagined.  That day when I opened my mission call, I had a feeling that it would be hard but also worth it...but I didn't anticipate the depths of my trials...but those will pass.  What I will have forever is the BLESSINGS, which I could never have anticipated when I packed my bags all those months ago.

This week was wonderful.  I went on an exchange to Brussels on Wednesday.  This was my second exchange with the fabulous...Soeur Holmes!  I just love that girl.  haha, for some reason she just tells me everything...She was like, "Soeur Hilton, I never tell anyone these things...just you.  I don't know why!"  In my eyes she is the perfect STL.  She CARES about the sisters, is humble, and doesn't put anyone down.  Love her!
Then on Thursday we had our zone conference and Elder Kearon from the Area Seventy came.  HE IS AWESOME.  I learned so much from his formation.  I was the most impressed by how humble he was.
He is from England.  What stuck with me the most was a metaphor he used to explain how Heavenly Father feels about us.  He said, imagine that earth life is like going to school.  How does a parent feel when the take their precious child to school the first day?  Now when I think of school I think of imposing, dark, dank, terrifying Victorian Era buildings with a black tarmack, leading to the big, black, pointy gates, with the dark school yard....(he just went on and on, haha).  What does every parent want more than anything when they drop their child off on the first day?  They want them BACK and they want them HAPPY.  This is our work as missionaries!  Heavenly Father loves his children infinitely more than any mortal parent loves their child...and he wants each one of us BACK.  To come back out from the frightening school building into his loving arms once again...  I know that this is true.  We have a loving Heavenly Father that wants all his children to come home from school.  We have a responsibilty to help our brothers and sisters find their way home:)

Let's see the weekend was great too!  Gigh is really progressing.  She is set on serving a mission actually!  I'm predicting temple square for this one...gorgeous, speaks like 5 languages...yeah, it's happening.  haha we told her she needs to get baptized first:)  She's working on it, she said.  She'll be a mormon message before we know it.

Well, I'm really excited for this week that's coming up...  I have a feeling it's going to be really really great.

Let me just leave you with some Sophie quotes:

 "People always ask me why I'm so happy, I used to say it was because my name means "Sunshine," Now I tell them it's because I believe in Jesus Christ."

"I haven't known Christ for very long, but I think with time...I'm going to make a really great Mormon!"

Love you all! Remember that life is gorgeous!