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!


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