Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What. a. week. (Week 35)

I don't even know where to start with this week. Seriously sometimes I think about everything that has happened the past two weeks and I start to doubt that all of it really happened. Here we go.
Our daily selfie
First of all a huge miracle not having to do with missionary work. On my way home from my exchange in Toulouse (SOOO fun by the way!!!) I accidently left my overnight bag on the bus between Tarbes and Pau. (SERIOUSLY!? I was so mad at myself.) I noticed right as we were walking away from the bus, but by the time we turned around the bus was gone and we couldn't figure out where it had gone.... we searched for like 2 hours trying to find where they went or someone who could call the bus station or SOMETHING and everyone was super rude to us and no one would help.. so eventually we gave up. I was completely devastated. I don't know if many other things have ever been more devestating than losing that bag - it had my French and English scriptures, my Preach My Gospel I've used my whole mission, and my study journal. I tried my best to kind of just let it go and rationalize that I would be able to replace everything I lost (again...) So on our way into ville later that day we contacted this man on the bus who had just lost his phone earlier that day. He was SO nice and offered to help us!! He went to a restaurant where all his friends were and all of them started calling people left and right - doing I don't even know what. Eventually they told us "ok we gave them your number so if they find anything they will call you." WHAT - no one would help us all day and then all of a sudden everything was figured out for us! Well... no one called. I went to bed so heartbroken. The next day I felt better about the whole thing. But in the middle of district meeting I get a call from a random number - THEY FOUND MY BAG!!!! We literally ran out of district meeting right then and went into town before the bus left (sorry Elder Erikson...haha). AH it was such a huge miracle... and such an answer to prayers.
One of my lost bags returned!

Exchanges in Toulouse
 I don't even know where to start with missionary work.... spoiler alert - we now have 3 engagés. WHAT!!!
So this week we get a call from a man named Ephrem (has to be golden with a name like that...) When we were on exchange a couple weeks ago with the STL's Soeur Bagley and Soeur Hulme talked to this man briefly before they had a train (they ended up missing the train by a couple minutes because they talked to him). So they gave him a card and he said he would call. (Seriously though, when people say "I'll call you" they never do.) BUT HE CALLED. We had a RDV with him and I was seriously in shock the entire time. He said "After you gave me that card I couldn't get the thought out of my head that I needed to call. Finally I did and I immediately knew it was a good decision." During the lesson he was completely enthralled. He loved everything we said. At the end he said, "So when can I get baptized?" WHAT. We set a date right then and there.  HE IS SO GOLDEN. At church on Sunday he told us "I really feel like the BOM is the word of God and that this is really the path for me." AH! And he's like immediately integrated because we have lots of members from the Congo and they all speak the same language. (They invited him over this week and didn't invite us....) YAY SO EXCITED!!!
District trip to Lourdes
With Soeur Bagley in Lourdes
Vako!!! The Russian who came to church last Sunday. Direct quote from him "I respect every religion, but I really like yours the best." We asked him if he wanted to be baptized and he said - "yes I feel like that is the good path for me." :)
Notre Dame de Lourdes
Me in Lourdes
We had a super awesome miracle coordonnée this week too!! From our ward missionary Julienne (she is so amazing.) Her name is Anglea. She is from the Congo and her son is friends with Julienne's son. Anyway!! Somehow they got in contact with eachother over the phone and Julienne invited her to church!!! We are going over this week to see her with Julienne! Eee!

My boots are now repaired!
THE SPECTACLE!!! It went SO WELL. We had lots of non-members there and lots of less actives and it was just super fun and everyone loved it! We had these three professional opera singers come and sing as well (I was dying it was so amazing - I attached one of the videos on dropbox!) Afterwards I think maybe 4 or 5 old French ladies grabbed me out of my conversations I was in and bised me telling me how great I did. Hahahaha so funny. (side note not to put on the blog: the man who i attached a video of on dropbox afterwards he told me "c'était étonnant - vous avez une TRES jolie voix" AHHHH best compliment I've ever received.)

Spectacular Spectacular!

One last super cool miracle! So last week when we were going through ancient amis we found the Mwmambas (I wrote Lulumbas last week haha). We ended up passing them again this week and we went with Julienne because we were going to do some other passes as well. When we got there shes like "These are my friends!!!!!!!" Me and Soeur Bagley were like "What???" Then when we got in we realized that they had been at the spectacle on friday and that they are actually RELATED to members in our ward!!!!! They were so happy to see us! Yesterday when we were at Soeur Mwmamba's house she told us that next week she wanted to host an FHE and invite them over! Whoohoo!!

Well seriously the work here is going so well. I'm beyond happy about everything - I'm super anxious to see what happens with transfers!! I change my mind about what is going to happen about every 30 minutes.

Je vous aime avec tout mon coeur!!!

Soeur Everett

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

TROP bénie

Wow... I'm going to have to type fast this week. I have a lot of miracles to write about!!!

Our favorite baguettes

Actually using chopsticks!

Let's start off with the beginning of the week!! So we called just about every ancient ami we have in our area book (that's the most ancient ami fiches I've seen in my whole mission....) So we just set rdv after rdv and found SO many people that kind of fell beneath the cracks somewhere along the way. I have a few stories about this for this week. :)

We wanted to porte this one so bad!  Not sure if it's a house though.
Getting artsy with our pictures
Thanks for the cool pic Soeur Bagley
We set a rdv with a woman named Paqueline - she had just had a baby about 3 weeks before and i think she had stopped rdvs because she was nearing the end of her pregnancy. anyway, found her in the middle of all the fiches. She was SO happy to hear from us! She invited us right over. Then we find out she has 3 beautiful daughters and her husband who is interested as well!! A FAMILY!!! We picked up right where I'm sure the last sisters left off. She said she'd been reading the BOM and that she found that it really contained God's plan for us within it. She's studying with the témoins as well, which is always a good sign. I think it means people are really searching diligently to find the truth! She agreed that she would be baptized when she found the truth!! (She couldn't come to church this week because her poor 3 week old baby is sick..... everyone pray for her!!)

Replacement glasses arrived!

Sound check for this weekend's spectacular spectacular
A couple more ancient ami stories.. :) So a few days after we made all the calls, we get a call back from a man named Vako. He's an immigrant from Russia. He took the missionary lessons for a few years and knows the church and the ward very well. It was super unclear on his fiche why the lessons stopped (seriously that's my biggest pet peeve), but I think he might have just been having a hard time and needed a break for a bit. So anyway, he called and told us that he'd love to meet with us again! We set up a rdv for that saturday. He arrived right on time but our member tombez-vous-ed us (haha it's okay she forgot), and it was pouring rain so we couldn't have the lesson outside.. he assured us he would be at church the next day and that we could just meet next week! HE CAME TO CHURCH!! And we had to do literally NOTHING to get him integrated. He went straight into priesthood and started chatting with a bunch of people. He will be baptized.

Train ride to Oloron
The Pyrenees
We went to pass an ancient ami family - the Lumwmba(?)'s (I usually write and say Lulumba because I don't know how to pronounce it or spell it haha). So we passed and they were so excited to see us!! We couldn't go in because the wife wasn't home, but they told us that we could pass whenever we wanted to! Afterwards we decided to porte a bit on that street. Within 20 minutes we found THREE OTHER HOUSES who were interested in learning more!! Can you believe that? Maybe that doesn't sound as awesome as it was, but we are stoked. We'll be going back next week with a member and teaching all 4 families. :)

Mirror selfie

Church in Pau
Michael update: He texted us this week telling us that he wanted to stop lessons and coming to church. Didn't phase me whatsoever. Basically texted back and told him that we weren't giving up on him and that he needed to have patience with himself and God to be able to receive his answer - we reminded him that "ce qui cherche trouve." (seek and ye shall find) Later that night he responded with this Benjamin Franklin quote: "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason. The morning daylight appears plainer when you put out your candle." And he came to church.

I love Oloron!!!
Construction in Oloron is still beautiful
Oloron reminds me of home (Carcassonne)
Soeur Bagley
Just an explanation of all of the gorgeous pictures - we went to Oloron this week to visit a family in the ward and a less active (and to do some other work because missionaries hardly ever go there). I cannot WAIT to bring you guys there! It is breath-taking and they have a Lindt chocolate factory there.. it smells like chocolate when you walk around. Seriously its a fairy tale there. Reminded me so much of Carcassonne. :)

While we were porting last night
Let me tell you a little bit about last night. So we had people we wanted to pass and I thought for SURE i knew how to get to certain road without looking at a map (seriously always a bad idea). We started walking and we got sooo lost. We were wayy off from where we needed to be. I stopped and asked a couple if they could tell us the name of the road. They were so willing to help. They told us - "oh just come with us!! we'll go look it up on the computer!!" We followed them to their house but by then we had talked out where the road was. So the wife offered to take us to the road! Seriously, who does that! So nice! She told us that her daughter had just returned from backpacking Costa Rica and thought that she would have wanted someone to help her if she had been lost, so it was the least she could do. They were seriously the nicest people. They thought it was wonderful what we did. We didn't really have much time to talk but we left her with our card! Hopefully we run into her again!
Hey Soeur Richardson, I found cheap sticky notes in France!
Are you proud? Look how much water I drank this week!!!

So after that we porte-ed a bit because we couldn't find the ancient amis house and then we started trying to find a bus to take home. Sunday schedule is the weirdest and there are practically NO buses. We started walking and by then it was dark and we were having such a hard time finding somewhere. We ended up walking in back roads and I started to have the weirdest feeling. Never felt anything like it before. Then I heard a voice speaking to me "Don't get on the bus. Call a member." We checked the bus times and it came in about 30 minutes, I just knew we couldn't be outside, or get on the bus. And there was no way I was ignoring a prompting that strong. My companion at first thought I was just a little bit crazy because I'm always anxious when we're out when its dark. But of course she agreed we should listen to the prompting. We camped out in US Pizza (to avoid being in the streets...) and started calling everyone we could. Seriously no one could come and get us. Finally (bless her heart) Aline (Leang) came to the rescue AGAIN - she always helps us, I seriously love her. Still don't know what would have happened had we been on the bus or outside but as soon as we were in the car with Aline, the horrible feeling went away instantly.
My beautiful companion
We wrote her a poem to thank her for everything she does for us that I just have to send home.

Aline, Aline you are so great.
You've picked us up when it was late.
You speak English like a boss.
You probably even know the word "dross" (don't know if that's really a word, but it rhymes...)

When we need google, you're always there.
No one could replace you and they wouldn't dare.
Maintenant on écrit en français,
parce qu'on a pensé que c'était une bonne idée.

On sait que l'église est vrai,
et l'évanglie apporte la paix.
C'est un poème de nos coeurs.
On vous aime sans fin
     -les Soeurs

She responded with this. :)
Chères amies, je vous aime
Tout comme les nems...! :-D
Je ne said pas faire de bon rimes
Mais au moins, ce n'est pas un crime...
I'm glad you called me
So you can go home safely!

Ahhhh we died. I love Aline. I love our ward. I love Pau. I love my life. I love the gospel. And I love being a missionary.

Have a great week family!!!
Je vous aime!!

View from Centre Ville
Soeur Everett

3 Nephi 11:14-15

Carcassonne news: the family Pondela are now ENGAGES (committed) for baptism!!! WHAT!!! I about cried when I saw them on the engagé list this week!!!!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

"You can rationaliz​e your way to hell" - Soeur Bagley

There's really no good explanation for the quote in the subject line... she just makes me laugh haha.

This is going to be a good email, prepare yourselves. :)

Soeur Bagley decided to get artistic for our photo of the day :)

Her annoying umbrella finally broke!

I can't wait, I'm starting with the best miracle this week! So there is an eternal ami here in Pau named Michael. (I think I've mentioned him a little before.) He has been seeing the missionaries since June. He has read the entire Book of Mormon twice and he comes to church every Sunday. His fiche pretty much says that he has no desire to know the truth because he doesn't believe in God, but I just really felt like it wasn't true! So we asked him if we could meet with him (everyone said he would never do it, but he agreed super easily...) When we met we boldly invited him to be baptized. He was taken by surprise. He said that no missionary has ever invited him to be baptized before (WHAT - come on people!!) He said he wasn't sure if he had enough faith to be baptized. We promised him that his desire to know the truth would lead him to get the answer he was seeking. He agreed to pray for the 1st of March as a baptismal date!!!! SEND PRAYERS HIS WAY!!!

Writing letters on the train

There have been SO many tender mercies this week, I don't even know what to tell you!! I think we've been really blessed in the work even though I haven't been able to do hardly anything because I'm still sick.
Frere Leang!!!!! hes so adorable.. he likes wearing his son's old plaque :)
So my first week here we ran into this adorable Cambodian family but we didn't have enough time to talk because they had to get off the bus (hate that!!) So I prayed in my heart that we would see them again if they were ready for the gospel. Then VOILA - as we were walking to a members house one day to do splits there they were!!!! They were so excited to see us. :) We got her number and told her we'd call her. :) Wait, its not over yet. At church we were talking to the Leang's because they are Cambodian. Apparently they are BEST FRIENDS with this family. WHAT. We're having an FHE together on Tuesday!!! So excited!!!
We always take the wrong buses (Exhibit 234674)
So lately I've been studying meekness - something that we forget about often. It has been so good to study though and so so interesting. If you want a good read, read this: . But there are so many characteristics that fall under "meekness" that we hardly ever think about. One adjective that I just love to describe it is "serene" - wouldn't you love it if someone used that word to describe you?? Anyway, here's another tender mercy. So at church on Sunday we had someone visiting from the Stake Presidency. When I found out he was speaking about meekness I just about cried from excitement. Afterwards I thanked him for his talk and he told me "yeah I was trying to write a talk on something else and it just wouldn't come. As soon as I switched though the words just flowed out." Seriously, the talk was for me. Another tender mercy. :)
Oh my heck time is running low!! I need to type faster!!
Sister Training Leaders
So this week I got to do an exchange with Soeur Stevens - she is AMAZING. She is the missionary I want to be. I was so blessed to have that time with her (I really hope we get to be companions someday!) I love how she is always talking to people and making them feel the love of God. She is literally ALWAYS happy! I don't know how she does it! Another thing I love about her is that she makes everyone feel loved, and its always genuine. Its never the fake "i love you," all the sisters she is over can feel how much she really does love each one of us. That's something I want to be good at. We had an amazing time together and saw so many miracles!! OH one miracle that happened when we were together just super fast! So I don't know if I've ever mentioned Bonine.. he's a potential that we've had SO much opposition with! We accidentally tombez-vous-ed (dumped) HIM twice... ugh it still hurts to think about it. But for some reason HE CALLED US. We have a third chance!!!!! I know he's got to be golden.. we'll see tomorrow!!!
Ok one last thing... I changed my favorite scripture (maybe, I'm still debating). Its super super similar to the old one (2 Nephi 2:24) but I just fell in love with it!! Its D&C 58:3. So good.
The Bonet's daughter - SHES SO CUTE
Wow, what a frantic email!!! I hope to have tons of miracles to share next week! (Also hope I get better soon....)

Soeur Everett

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Week 2 in Pau!! (Week 32)

Holy moly is this going to be one miraculous transfer... because the opposition is HUGE. I don't even know what to write about this week seeing as we couldn't do much because I felt like dying most of it...

Soaking wet.  It rains every single day.

I've been sick the entire week.  Boooo....

I got sick on Tuesday night (after being out ALL day long and having everything except our last rdv fall through) and I have felt sick ever since. I think its starting to get better, but I'm so worn out from being sick that any physical exercise I exort brings me back to feeling terrible. (I thought I was completely healed on Sunday, then after church all of my energy was completely drained and I was back to feeling sick again.) Its been horrible - but can I just say how lucky I am to be with Soeur Bagley?? She is an angel. I will now devote an entire paragraph to her.

Our favorite food
My dearest companion

Soeur Bagley is sent to me from heaven. We were best friends in the pre-existence, I'm sure of it. She knows exactly what I need to be happy and she is so sensitive to my needs. This week as I've been sick she has cleaned the apartment, cooked for me, and she's been on-the-minute obedient with the morning schedule, even while I've been sleeping (WHAT - talk about virtue). She even does comp study opening song and prays for the prayer list alone. She is wonderful. She also knows how to crack me up... she says and does the funniest things, it keeps our spirits up. :) She has been so good to me this past week, she knows how I feel because when she first got to Pau she got sick too.  We can talk for hours, and we never get tired of each other! I just love her. The other day she said the funniest thing.. I have no idea what we were even talking about but I suggested that we go and do something and she responds "There is no way in the Telestial Kingdom that I'm doing that." I laughed for about 10 minutes (still laughing about it). The members love her too. Man I could go on forever..

Zone Training!!!! (I love Soeur Bayles!!!!)
So good to see Soeur Beeny!

Ok let me talk about the Leangs. I LOVE this family - they are definitely a tender mercy for me because I miss my old DMP Frère Vital who would always make us nems. And now I have a new family to make me nems! I feel right at home with them. This week we spent a lot of time with them because they invited us to dinner, we went over and helped them make nems for the ward party, and then the ward party that was a HUGE hit!!! We had SOO many potential amis there it was incredible! The ward is on fire with missionary work, let me tell you. Sooo many people brought their friends. It was a really really good activity - best I think I've ever been to! And they're having another in February (like a talent show thingy, I'm so pumped!!)

The Leangs making 600 nems for Chinese New Year

We love nems!

As far as amis go I don't really know who to talk about. We say a few people this week, but I don't have a TON to say! Things will really pick up this week, I assure you all!!!! I'm feeling progressively better, so Pau is going to explode I know it!!

As for a thought this week I've been thinking about D&C 84:88 - we should all notice better the angels that are surrounding us! The Lord promises to send them to help us, and I can definitely feel them near.

Love you!!!

Soeur Everett

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Week 1 in Pau!!

Well first of all - an embarrassing story. The day we were leaving for blue's conference I had this strong impression that I shouldn't pack anything that was important to me in the suitcase in case it got stolen. I pushed that completely aside thinking that was silly and that I could just watch my luggage like I always do and everything would be fine. (I think everyone knows where this is going...) On the way back from Lyon I checked my luggage at every stop except the last one. I made my way over to my luggage and it wasn't there. I wasn't even surprised - I knew it was going to happen. I definitely cried seeing as my journal among many other important things to me were in there - but something tells me that even though it has been a few days, that I'm going to get my luggage back! On the bright side of everything - the suitcase contained 21 copies of the Book of Mormon!!! The person who stole it will be converted for sure. :) Send some prayers my way that I'll get it back!!! The power of prayer is real!!!

Soeur Bagley

Soeur  Bagley

 Oh my heck where do I start with Pau???? I LOVE IT HERE. It feels like an enormous city in comparison to Carcassonne. It is GORGEOUS - but it rains like all the time (thank goodness for the free super comfortable zip up rain boots I got from the Perpignan dead pile*). Also I absolutely LOVE that we can take buses everywhere. Bus contacting isn't my favorite thing in the world, but it beats walking everywhere like we did in Carc! I don't even know what to say about this ward... they are phenomenal. Seriously, they are SO excited about missionary work right now. The missionaries are teaching lots of member referrals right now and we are having baptisms left and right in this ward!! (There's one on Saturday!) The DMP is incredible (I still miss Frère Vital, but I love Frère Hennebeque too!!) For the ward mission plan he decided that he would print out a piece of paper for each member. On it there are check boxes for 1. teaching with the missionaries and 2. inviting someone to our ward activity in February. At the end of next month he will collect everyones papers and follow up on what they did and if they didn't check off both of them, ask them what was keeping them from doing it and committing them to do it the next month. WHAT. So awesome. And we had all sorts of people approach us on Sunday and tell us that they would love to teach with us - so exciting!!!

Nutritious dinner provided by Elder Adams
Arrival in Lyon avec Elders Erikson et Price
On Sunday in Relief Society we had the most amazing lesson on what else... missionary work!!!! One of the women in the Relief Society gave all the sisters ideas of sharing the gospel that aren't necessarily inviting someone straight-up to take the missionary lessons. It was seriously perfect and what everyone needed!! Ah, if you can't tell I'm in love with this ward!

Les Soeures
We have had so many tender mercies this week (despite the loss of my luggage...). We went and visited Mme Lahore (a member referral). She recently had her husband pass away and she has a couple friends at church and she agreed to meet with us. She has been taking the lessons for about a month and hasn't made much progress because she doesn't want to come to church (she says she doesn't have time....), she can't read the BOM because she has eye-sight problems, and she hadn't prayed before with the missionaries. WELL. We went and visited her this week and something miraculous happened. The Spirit was so strong during the lesson, she couldn't hold back her tears. By the end of the lesson she agreed to come to church and SHE PRAYED to end the rdv!! Unfortunately, everyone thought it was the other person to make sure she got to church, so no one called her... BUT she will definitely come next week, I'm super excited!!

The other day we stopped by a man named Bonine's house (someone they found porte-ing) - he wasn't there so we did the classic "leave a note in the mailbox" thing that hardly ever works. On the trainride to Lyon, we get a call... BONINE!!! He said that when he found our note he cried because it was just what he needed that day and he asked when we could come back and teach him. WHAT. We'll see him this week. :)

We also met a guy named Pascal contacting the other day who said his best friend is mormon and he's always been curious to learn more - we'll see him tomorrow :)

The Pyrenees
One last person to tell you about - Michael. Dad, he is so much like you. I personally don't know him very well, but from what I've heard, his conversion story will be quite similar. He is a very intelligent person - he has read the French and English copies of the BOM cover to cover (he met the missionaries in July...), the church fascinates him but he still isn't quite sure if he believes in God. But something keeps pulling him back because he comes to church every Sunday. I think he needs what you needed - to receive his sure witness AFTER the trial of his faith!! We'll meet with him this week and invite him to baptism! Pray that he'll feel that it's right!

Intense Relief Society lesson planning session
Well... Thursday to Saturday we basically spent travelling, so there's not a ton to talk about!!

This week I've really been studying teaching simply. There is a great exaple in John 21:15-17. It is so simple - and he repeats it 3 times. When we share the gospel with others we don't have to convince or overcomplicate. We make it CLEAR and the Spirit will testify of the truth!

I love you so much family!! Have a great week!!

Soeur Everett

P.S. Will - Dad sent me a picture of you in your new suit.. it looks so good!!!

*dead pile: where sister missionaries leave clothes they don't want in the apartment closet for sisters who come later to claim