Monday, August 26, 2013

Carcassonne!! (Week 9)

Bonjour famille!!!!
Oh my Carcassonne is such a dream!! (No American keyboard today so forgive me if there are errors and such...) But honestly I feel like I couldn't be more lucky!! I love it here!! The other day we were street-boarding on the bridge by the castle and we contacted 135 people in an hour - SO FUN!! Even when they say "Je ne parle pas anglais" :) 
Oh I almost forgot, TODAY IS MY 2 MOIS ANNIVERSSAIRE (of being a missionary) - whoohoooooo!!!

Soeur Everett - tres chic!
I guess I'll start off with the miracle of the week!!! We have a muslim ami whose name is Mohammed. He is so kind and so wonderful! He told us that he would read the Book of Mormon and he says he really loves meeting with us! However, Mohammed isn't the miracle. One day we were walking around Carcassonne and we ran into him! He was with a friend of his named Veronique. She told us she really wanted to meet with us because she has been searching for the truth. The very first time we met with her she was with her son Alexandre (he is incredible - soooo much faith for such a little boy!!) They accepted baptism in our first meeting!! I think that Veronique could just tell that there was something different about us. She even told us "Everytime I walk by your church I feel something." AH she's so great!! She's on schedule to get baptized next month, so pray for her and her son!!
Ok I guess I need to clarify that I am not the pianist yet. The bishops daughter plays the piano but she is only here for vacation, so I will probably be the pianist starting in October I think!! (Oh by the way I sang in church with Sœur Beeny on Sunday! It was super fun!)

Bee sting - get thee hence abeille!
Another story for you! :) So the other day we went over to a members house for lunch (I have mangez-vous at least twice a week since I've been here, which is apparently not normal? But WOW the food is so good here!!!) Anyway, so we go to the Mudarras and they bring out this DELICIOUS tomato salad and bread and what not and I just ate and ate... After she cleared our plates she came back in with AN ENOURMOUS CHICKEN! I was already full!!! (I know I've been warned about this so many times....) We then proceeded to have I think 4 more courses... I dont think I ate again for another 24 hours. I ate so much food. And they kept wanting me to eat more and more and more!! Its ok I did it!! Suprisingly, I lost the weight I gained in North Carolina!! I think its because I walk more, not because I eat less..:)

Soeurs Vidal et Everett
The work is just going so well here and we are seeing sooo many miracles!! I have been incredibly blessed to be companions with Sœur Vidal, she is absolutely incredible, I don't know what I'm going to do without her!! Keep us in your prayers, I have SUCH a testimony of prayer and I know every prayer helps us see miracles!
One last little thought. So I've been reading in the Book of Mormon about Alma the Younger, Amulek, and the sons of Mosiah lately and I've just been absolutely amazed at their missionary work!!! They are probably some of the best missionaries that there ever were! But what really struck me was Abish! There aren't too many stories about the women in the Book of Mormon, but I just love Abish! After King Lamoni and his servants had all fallen to the earth praising God, Abish seeing this desired that everyone should see this sight so that their faith could be strengthened too! In Alma 19:17 it says she RAN from house to house telling everyone to come because she desired so much for everyone to know the truth! How great is she!? As a missionary, at times it is really difficult to maintain stamina and to continue being diligent throughout the entire day, but I have found that the more diligent we are, the more miracles we see!
I love you all so very much! I pray for you everyday! Keep reading the Book of Mormon! :)
Sœur Everett

Monday, August 19, 2013

Carcassonne - First Full Week (Week 8)

Oh my, what an incredible first week in Carcassonne!! (Scored the American keyboard again, so I can type more!! Woohoo!!) I can't even begin to describe how blessed I feel to be here at this time in my life! Being in Carcassonne is a dream come true and every time I sit by the window looking at the sunset or sunrise from my apartment I still wonder how I ever got so lucky to be here! I have seen SO many miracles this week, I don't even know where to begin!!

Sunset from the Apartment
It's incredible how much the Lord is helping me with my French! I have no idea how I'm pulling out my French grammar and vocab from 3 years back or more, but somehow I'm doing it! Soeur Vidal and I have been working on contacting a lot this week. At first I was super timid, because stopping random French people is quite terrifying (especially when most of them keep walking by saying "Je ne suis pas croyant" - you were right mom). [TRANSLATION: "I'm not a believer"] But honestly, I have grown to LOVE contacting. Soeur Vidal taught me something that really struck me. She said, "Well how can you know whether someone wants to hear the gospel if you don't talk to them first?" SHE'S RIGHT. I have seen so many miracles in street contacting this week and I know its because we have been working hard at it! I think its truly incredible when she leaves me to contact people while she goes across the street to contact someone else, and for some reason I understand everything the person is saying to me and I know exactly what to say back! I know that there is no way I am doing this by myself because even when I was taking French in high school I wasn't as good at understanding as I am now. I'm so grateful for the Lord's help! I don't know where I would be right now without it!

Soeurs Vidal et Everett at Church in Carcassonne
So you guessed it, on Sunday I had to give a talk last minute! It was only a 5 minute talk, but still...a 5 minute talk in Sacrament Meeting without advanced notice, in FRENCH. I couldn't tell you everything I said if I tried. But somehow I got through and had all the words I wanted to say! Afterwards people came up to me saying "This is your first week in France? Your French is so good!" Wow, I felt like crying I was so happy haha. So yes, French is coming along great! I am so blessed to have a native French speaker as a companion! She helps me sooo much!

Quick update on the ankle! It's doing PERFECT. It is completely healed! The doctors in North Carolina told me I just had to wear it for about 2 weeks and longer if I felt like I needed to, but it is doing great and it doesn't hurt when I don't wear the brace! And Soeur Vidal's knee is doing great as well! I haven't heard her say anything about it hurting the past few days so I think she's just fine too! :)

Alright, now to talk about a few miracles and our amies!! We are teaching this wonderful Brazilian family, the Philipe's. They are seriously THE BEST. The only thing holding them back from baptism is the fact that they are not legally married here in France because there are complications with it. And they are also very poor and just can't afford it. So we're just praying for a miracle and that they'll be able to be married and then baptized! They are so strong and I can see how much the gospel has truly brought their family together. Nice (the mother) told us that the Book of Mormon is her favorite book, and she diligently reads everything we assign to her! Their son Marcos (9) is super shy, but absolutely adorable! And the father Anderson travels a lot since he's in the military so we've only met with him once, but his French is really good and he has such a strong testimony of the gospel! I only wish that I knew more Portuguese so I could speak some Portuguese with them haha.

I haven't met any of our other amies from the Sisters before us because they are all on vacation, but we've found some on our own this week! I want to share a quick miracle! While we were on our way home for the night, we were walking by a fountain about a 2 minutes walk away from our apartment. Soeur Vidal was contacting someone else close by and I approached this middle-aged man and started speaking to him in French. He gave me this super confused look and said "Je ne parle pas francais." HE SPOKE ENGLISH. I was so excited (it actually probably freaked him out a little how excited I was to speak English with someone). He told me he was on the Carcassonne rugby team and that he had just moved here from South Africa. I asked him what his religious beliefs were and he told us that he was a Christian but didn't really have a church that he went to. I asked him if he'd like for us to teach him about our religion and he said yes!!!!! We got his number, but it still hadn't changed from his South African number and we aren't allowed to call out of country numbers. So a couple days later Andre came to mind and we decided to call the office elders to see if they could connect us to him so that we could set up a time to come and see him! They told us that we could go to the church and that the telephone there should work. As we were walking over to the church we literally didn't pass a single person to contact. The streets were 100% empty. We began to wonder if we should really walk all the way to the church right then to call one person if he might not even answer and we had so much to do that day! But we both felt like we needed to call him so we kept going. When we were almost to the church I saw this man in sunglasses and went up to him because I was so excited to finally contact someone!! For some reason he seemed super excited to see us, and then I realized IT WAS ANDRE!!! We were in literal shock. WHAT A MIRACLE. We got his address and he told us to stop by sometime this week, so I'll let you know how it goes! I don't know if you all understand that you never just "run into people" here in Carcassonne. But I have noticed that if we do, it was because the Lord put them in our path for a reason! Alright I don't have much time left, but this was the biggest miracle this week! We have several more miracle investigators as well and we are keeping very busy! The Lord really has put people in our path that are ready to accept the gospel!

Limoux!! (it's in our area, but we have to take a train/bus to get there) :)

I wanted to just share a quick testimony about the Atonement and the Book of Mormon. As I've been on my mission, I have grown such a strong testimony of both of them. Now more than ever as I frequently bare testimony of the power of the Atonement, I have seen lives change as they realize that as members of the church we have the unique opportunity to partake of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and that we have the opportunity to be truly and fully healed - physically and spiritually. I have learned over and over how inadequate I am for the work I am called to do. But the beautiful blessing of the Atonement is that I don't have to be good enough on my own! When I put in everything I have into being the best missionary I can be, the Lord makes up the rest, and I am able to experience miracles and do things that I never dreamed were possible! The Book of Mormon honestly changes people's lives. It truly is the keystone of our religion and if we didn't have the Book of Mormon, our gospel would be incomplete. I have learned on my mission that the Book of Mormon truly answers every question we have! What Joseph Smith said is true, "qu'un homme se rapprocherait davantage de Dieu en en suivant les preceptes que par n'importe quel autre livre." (Sorry I only have a French Book of Mormon on me, you'll have to translate that!)

[TRANSLATION: "...that a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.” (from Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith)]

I love being a missionary and I love you all so much! Read the Book of Mormon more, I can absolutely promise you in reading it, your life will be better than it is right now.


Soeur Everett

P.S. Read Mosiah 24:14-15. I read these verses this morning and I absolutely love them!


Monday, August 12, 2013

Carcassonne!! (Week 7)

Bonjour ma famille!!

Oh my goodness, life is CRAZY!! I honestly can't believe how perfect my life is. Everything about it is more than I could have ever hoped for or imagined. First of all, here's my new address!

49 Rue Marceau Perrutel
F-11000 Carcassonne

Alright, now to talk about my amazing life!!! I was super sad to leave North Carolina - I had the most wonderful experience there and I couldn't have been more lucky to have the companions that I had! They are just the greatest sisters and I learned so much from them! By the way, I snatched the ONLY American keyboard in this whole café - IM SO LUCKY!! This means I can write more. :)

I am incredibly blessed with the best mission president/fellow missionaries IN THE WORLD. They are absolutely incredible! The bleus are merveilleux - they are confident and are such good examples to me! I have a lot to learn from these missionaries here! My friend Elder Pettingill is literally the best at contacting. I have NO idea how he does it but somehow he gets into a friendly conversation with everyone who passes by! I've been getting better though! The other day we went street-boarding with the elders in Lyon (we had to stay in Lyon for 5 days because my companion is having knee problems and needed to see a doctor there). I never thought I would say that I love street-boarding but....I LOVE STREET-BOARDING! I think its so fun! I don't really care if people say rude things to me because honestly most of the time I have no idea what they're saying.

View of the castle from our apartment at night 
It's all worth it when there is that one person who has been searching for the truth, but didn't know where to find it, and we share it with them!! It's the most amazing thing. I've actually had quite a few one-on-one conversations with French people. Its pretty hard especially when they think I'm better at French than I am and start talking super fast, but I usually get the idea of what they're saying! On Thursday I contacted this young lady from Camaroon while we were waiting at a bus stop. She was so nice to me! She literally talked to me for like 20 minutes and she told me I had really good French! (She was probably just being nice, but hey I'll take the compliment!!) I gave her a Book of Mormon and the address of the church. Hopefully she'll go! (This was in Lyon so its not my area...super sad about that!).

Soeurs Vidal et Everett
Ok President Roney is the greatest!!! Now I know why everyone says they know him, because he is so friendly!! He is hilarious and I haven't heard one negative thing about him the whole time I've been here. Everyone thinks he is just the greatest mission president to have ever walked the earth (probably because he is!!). In our first interview he shined my shoes! And I told him all the villes that Mom served in so that he can keep those in mind. :) I heard him whisper to Soeur Vidal while we were leaving the church building after meeting our companions for the first time: "You got a good one." Ah, I just love President Roney!!!
in la cité (old walled Carcassonne)
Let me talk a little bit about Soeur Vidal!! Ok I don't know what it is about having the best life in the entire world, but the streak continues!! Soeur Vidal is INCREDIBLE! She was born in Mexico and raised in Montreal, Canada so she speaks Spanish, French, and English fluently. I am so blessed to have a native French speaker as a companion because she is literally a walking dictionary! She is hilarious too! We laugh alllll the time. I can tell we're going to have one amazing transfer! I'm a little worried though because she thinks that I will be a trainer next transfer....ah! The other two sisters in our apartment (Soeur Bayles and Soeur Beeny) here in Carcassonne are SO FUN! We seriously just love each other. Also the first night they made Soeur Vidal and I these delicious taco things rolled in a croissant - not sure if its French or not, but either way it was so good.

View from inside la cité
Oh that's something I want to talk about. FOOD. I am literally obsessed with pains aux chocolats. Obsessed. I had like 4 in one day on Friday. They are delicious! But honestly everything food-wise is better in France. The paninis here, oh good! But the only down-side is that everything is expensive!!! Bottled water is like 2,50 euros!! And that's not even $2.50, that's like $3 or something crazy...for water!! Its ok though, everything is worth it since I get to be in France. Honestly I wouldn't rather be anywhere else in the entire world right now than Carcassonne. Nowhere! This is better than I could've ever imagined. I can't wait to get to know our amies (the equipe before us had amies already that they left behind, since we're white-washing this area!!) but I also just want to contact some more and work on my French!

Well I love you all! Bisous!! (Oh by the way, they do 2 bisous here! I still forget that people do it, so I need to get used to that...)

Avec beaucoup d'amour,

Soeur Everett
Soeurs Beeny, Bayles, Vidal, Everett

P.S. Here's some lingo if I ever say something confusing.
amies = investigators
equipes = companionship
white-washing = both missionaries in the companionship are new to the area
bleus = same as "greenies" or new to the mission field

P.P.S. Oh another thing. They do this weird family tree thing in the mission. So right now I am a baby and I was born in Carcassonne to my mother Soeur Vidal!! Her other baby is my sister, which is Soeur Reynolds (je pense...) and Soeur Reynolds has a baby too, so my mom is now a grandma! And when people go home they say "oh yeah, sister so-and-so died last transfer". I know its super confusing, so if I ever say that someone died, they didn't actually die!!! Or if I say something about my mom or my sister or something. Kind of fun huh?

This is our "It's so hot" picture
P.P.P.S. HAHA! Of course I eat real food dad! But its hard for me to pass up pain aux chocolats... don't worry, I eat healthy. I'm going to be the ward pianist. HA! (You were right mom.) You can put that on my blog to as another "P.S."

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Sister Everett Has Arrived in France! (Week 6)

We won't hear from Jessica until Monday, but we have been informed that she has been assigned to labor in the medieval fortress city of Carcassonne.

This small city is famous for the board game that it inspired, and for brutally torturing and driving away the heretic Cathars in the early 1200's.  Hopefully, they treat Mormons a little better...

Jessica would love to hear from you via "old school" letter.  If you have lost the ability to do handwriting, feel free to compose your letter on your computer, print it out, and stick it in an envelope:-)  Her new address is:

Sister Jessica Everett
49 Rue Marceau Perrutel
F-11000 Carcassonne