Monday, April 28, 2014

Echos of Eternity

This week guessed it...AWESOME.  Even though we lost a lot
of missionary work time (two days in Paris for legality and zone
meeting, ward conference, and sickness Sunday night), we still taught
a TON of lessons and made two new friends!

Monday night we met with Aude, she is the daughter of the Riem couple
in our ward.  She is a fascinating young woman.  On the outside she
looks really rough around the edges, baggy, dark clothes and
dreadlocks in her red hair, but as soon as she opens her mouth to
speak you could say she was a princess.  She has such a soft, refined
voice...the most beautiful French I've ever heard.  And her eyes are
so soft, literally windows into the soul.  She is a pretty lost 26
year-old, but I couldn't help thinking about the word "potential" when
I looked into her eyes... Every soul is so precious to our Heavenly
Father, and everyone, even if they try to hide it, has divine

Tuesday we went to Paris!!  But we spent the whole time in the Prefecture...

Wednesday we went to Paris!!  It was for a zone meeting... Elder
Peterson, who went to American Heritage, is in my district now!  How
cool is that?

Thursday was just GENIAL.  We taught a bunch of lessons.  We made a
new friend, her name is Hélène, and she, amazing.  So, we are
teaching the little boy named Damien, and he lives super far away,
takes over a hour to get to his house...So it's hard to time it just
right.  We had gotten there early a week ago, so we decided to do a
little porte-a-porte in his little neighborhood.  We were rejected by
a couple people, but mostly there was nobody home.  Then the last door
we knocked on a teenage girl answered and quickly went to get her
mother.  Hélène came to the door and said..."Are you...the, what are
they called again?  Mormons?"  Growing up she had known a member of
the church, who moved away like 20 years ago.  She told us she was
Agnostic, but that she'd be happy to let us come back the next week.
So, on Thursday we stopped by right before our appointment with Damien
and she was there, expecting us.  She sat us down and said, "ok, I'm
listening to you!"  haha.  We got her talking about her beliefs,
because, frankly we were interested in what exactly an Agnostic was. in God.  I was so touched.  She said that
she has seen so many answers to prayers that she could never deny his
existence.  She just didn't know who He was really or take part in any
religion.  We told her that we believe that God is our Heavenly Father
and that He has created a plan for us.  We asked her what she thought
about the three questions, Where do we come from?  Why are we here?
And what happens after death?  Her answers stunned soeur Tupai and
I... it was almost exactly the Plan of Salvation..we discussed the PDS
a little bit, left her with the brochure and are going back next week,
and she's inviting a friend! It was really a touching experience for
us because just that morning we had read in Preach My Gospel, that we
are not teaching people anything new...these are truths that they knew
before...echos of eternity.

The weekend was also just amazing.  We saw Charlotte again...this time
she accepted the book of Mormon, and started devouring it
immediately...never seen anything like it!  We had an exceptional
lesson with Karine and Christoff, watching Monson's talk on "love"
from the last conference.  Christoff said, "what I understand is that
you guys are like the Catholics, but you go even further."  He also
told us, obviously very pleased with himself, that they had "dowloaded
the Bible"...haha this is all very new for him!  It's really fun to
watch how excited he is getting.

Ward conference was just amazing.  We had three amis and their
families there!  All of them surprises (they had all said "maybe")
Things are really starting to pick up here!  Love it love it love it.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Miracles

This last week was incredible!  It was the week of Pâques (Easter).  As a mission we have all been doing a special "Easter Miracles" plan.  Kind of like our "Christmas Finding" initiative.  I love it when President launches programs like this.  It is amazing how unified the mission becomes and how many miracles we see.  So anyway, we've been working since March on this project, which included contacting and porting focused solely on the Resurrection, visiting less-actives and then also involving the members.  We worked with our DMP to set up soirée familiales for every night the week of Pâques with members and their friends…not an easy task.  There was definitely a lot of discouragement as door after door rejected us over the past few weeks, as soirée familiales fell through etc.  But we kept on going... I really learned a lot about faith and diligence.
Let me illustrate dilligence with an experience we had during this "Easter Miracles" project.  So, the assistants gave everyone flyers that we could go a put in people's boite des lettres that presented our Easter message a little bit, and said that we would be passing by in the coming days.  Soeur Tupai and I really tried to pray and follow the Spirit to know which quartiers to put the flyers.  We chose a cute little neighborhood just filled with young families.  I don't even know how many times we went there, maybe a dozen.  We contacted everyone in the neighborhood and had it narrowed down to just two houses who were potentially interested.  We tried them both one night, and the first one said they actually weren't there was only one house left.  We knocked on the door and a young mother answered (her husband had answered the first time and said to re-pass).  She was open to the message, but busy at the time.  We decided to come by again later.  We went at least three more times...either no one was home, or we heard the baby crying (so we didn't want to disturb them).  Then this week we had planned to try again Thursday afternoon.  There had been a huge manifestation that morning (a paper business is being closed down, so angry works threw papers ALL OVER the city--roads, trees, highways, buildings etc), so there was a ton of traffic.  We were pretty late getting back for lunch and I thought of just cancelling our plan to go see this family.  I thought "who knows if they'll even be there, we've tried so many times already..."  I started to doze off and I got the clear impression that the mother was there and it was the perfect time to go see her, that the baby would be sleeping etc.  So we cut our lunch short and ran to catch the bus.   And what do you know, she was there!  The baby was sleeping and she let us in right away.  We had a wonderful discussion about Easter and we are going back next week...  Diligence bring miracles.
Now let me illustrate how powerful prayer can be.  We had no luck finding people to teach the week before last... It was pretty depressing actually.  Soeur Tupai was taking it pretty hard.  I tried to keep as positive as possible, but even I was getting a little down.  It was Tuesday night…the whole day was just a long string of rejection…  We were about to start knocking doors in a quartier where we had placed the flyers and soeur Tupai gave a little prayer.  In her prayer she said "Dear Heavenly Father, please bless us to have a good time with the new friends we are going to find tonight."  I was surprised at her prayer, and she was too!  She said that the words just came out like that... So, we ring the first door bell and a little boy answers, he calls his father over, who then calls his mother-in-law over.  We ask if we can share a message about Easter and she lets us in immediatley, just beaming.  She shows us pictures of her entire family, we meet her grandchildren and her husband who is fighting cancer.  We laugh, we talk, we pray...and we are going back this week.  I've never had a prayed answer so quickly and so specifically!  It was amazing.
Oh man!  So many other miracles happened this week, but my computer time is almost up...zut!  Well, Saturday we had a miracle soirée familial with Karine and Christophe.  They were so courageous to come with us to a family they didn't even know…I just love them.  And on Sunday we had two families of amis at church!  And we have even more soirées planned for next week... I just love Arras so much and I'm so excited to have another transfer with Sr Tupai!! 
I love you all and I'll talk to you next week:)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Soeur Conference

This week we had the first ever…Soeur Conference!  ALL of the soeurs in the mission and absolutely no Elders...haha apparently a lot of them tried hard to get in.  Some even considered holding a protest...
Why did we have this conference?  As Soeur Pozanski said, it was really just a "gift" to us.  It was so surreal to have all the soeurs there together...all of my companions and MTC friends in the same place!  It was really empowering just to see how many of us there are.  I laughed, I cried...It was seriously a slice of heaven.  Haha, it felt a little like a relief society activity actually.  We got some awesome make-up tips from a Parisian sister who is a high-end make-up artist, made arts and crafts to give to our amis and then... there was like three tables just full of jewelry, bags, scarves, belts etc. donated by sisters in 3 stakes in our mission, that we could just take!  It was amazing.  I got some really stylish french jewelry, a purse, and a hat.  Only in the Paris Mission, right?
The highlight of the week though was our lesson with Karine and Christoff.  I think I told you all about them already?  I can't remember.  Well, they are an adorable young French family.  They have two children, a 10 year old boy named Martin, and a 10 month old redheaded baby girl name Colette.  I absolutely love teaching them!  They are really our friends...we had a great lesson about the Plan of Salvation, which lead into a conversation about prophets, which lead to general conference, which they are going to watch now.  We are also going to have a family home evening with them this week.  The spirit is so strong in their home and they ask very interesting questions.  Christoff was shocked to learn that we believe in a pre-mortal life, he found it really interesting.  Anyways, after the long days of porting, hours on the train/bus, it is the moments sitting in a lesson, speaking words that are not your own, and knowing that you are an instrument in the Lord's hands, that really make it all worth it.  It in those moments that you know the Lord approves of you and that you really are making a difference.  Feeling the pure love that Heavenly Father has for his children and for you...that's what this is all about.  Sometimes those moments aren't very often, but they always come...because He is always there!  I love my mission.
Until next week!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Why seek ye the living among the dead?

Hello everyone!  I hope you all enjoyed conference as much I did.  Seriously, Conference is like Christmas for missionaries:)  The spirit was so powerful and I really felt inspired and comforted.  There were some powerful talks.
I especially loved Elder Scott's talk.  He talked about how the love of his grandmother and his then future wife Jeanine really shaped the course of his life.  From his talk, and also, like, the entire general women's conference, I really got the message of our responsibility for others.  We can make such a difference!  In very small ways... just everyday love and kindness.

I also watched Elder Oak's talk on the Priesthood... if you haven't seen it go watch it!  It really made me think about the role of women and also my calling.
Haha, Elder Anderson's talk made me think of Evan, when he said, "To God, you are more precious than a tree!"
Well, I could just go on and on about conference...but I don't have time actually.  My favorite talk, however was Elder Christoffersen's.  He talked about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  He talked about how if that event really took place, then everything else in the gospel is true, and that our hope of immortality and eternal life is a real thing.  Right now in the mission we are really focusing on the Resurrection because Easter is coming up here soon.  We are focusing all our messages on Easter, when we street contact, when we go door to door and in our lessons.  There is something really powerful about an entire mission focusing on the same thing at the same time... and we are seeing miracles!  I know that Christ has broken the bands of death, and that we will all live again.  Death is not the end.  We are eternal wonder we hate endings so much.  But with faith in Christ there are NO ENDINGS.  Just hope, progression and eternal life.  I love it when the apostles bear their testimonies of's so powerful...they just KNOW.
Anyways, I hope you all have a great week!  And if you didn't get a chance to watch conference, do it!  It's so worth it!
P.S.  This last Thursday was my year mark!  Happy mission birthday to me:)