Monday, October 27, 2014

"RUN!!!!!" - Soeur Jackson (Week 41)

One thing you need to know about Soeur Jackson: she runs from everything. On Tuesday night after we had been on exchange most of the day we pushed on and went out to pass some people and do some porting in a thunder storm. It was quite freaky actually. So we pass this less active at like 8:45 and we're creeping all over her property trying to find her front door. Eventually we decided to knock on the window in front of where she was sitting reading a book. She looked absolutely terrified and she couldn't even see us because it was pitch black outside and there was a huge storm! So Soeur Jackson yells RUN and books it. Naturally Soeur Gerritsen and I followed her. We realized afterwards that that probably wasn't the best way to handle the situation....... but oh well. Hopefully we didn't give her nightmares hahaha.

I can crush this castle betwixt my fingers!
Holy Cowwwwwww so much happened this week. First of all we got TWENTY TWO LESSONS yipeeeeeee!!!! Heavenly Father is blessing us like crazy.

Can I just say something? I have never seen a missionary with more faith than Soeur Gerritsen. Every time she says someone is going to get baptized now, I believe her.

Quick Giovanni update before I get on with the flood of miracles. We weren't able to find out anything the ENTIRE week. BUT last night we passed his apartment for the 100th time and a woman answered the door. She said that he is super ill (like has to stay in bed all the time ill) and she is taking care of him. He can't even have visitors. (I know what this feels like......remember the week after spinal tap????) Please pray for him!

On the way back from Geneve
Okay, I want to talk about Gerard. Not sure if I've talked about him before but he is SO GREAT. Honestly I was a bit skeptical about his potential to progress but Soeur Gerritsen taught me a lesson yet again about faith and we say huge miracles. So for one of our lessons this week we taught him the plan of salvation. Even though it isn't anything he had heard before in his church he absolutely LOVED it. He even took a picture of my wooden display of it with his iPad hahaha. We invited him to church the next day but he had his own church so I didn't really think he would come. BUT guess what. HE CAAAAMMMMEEEEEE. He absolutely loved it too! He didn't even leave in the middle of the service to go to his church. He came to all 3 hours.... I wanted to cry.... He is going to baptized on the date we fixed with him next transfer (Nov 29). I know it.
No caption needed


Last week we were heading to the church for a reason that I can't even remember but I think we had a RDV so we were in a bit of a hurry. But I was completely drawn to contact this man as we were walking there. It was one of those moments when I don't think I could have not contacted him even if I wanted to. It was like angels shoved me into him. We had a nice conversation on the road but nothing life-changing but we set a time to meet the next week. So the day before our RDV comes and I call him to confirm. He answers on like the 2nd ring (WHAT) and then asks ME if we're still good for the RDV at 5 the next day....... this may not sound amazing but it is. Friday comes and we get to the church like one minute after 5 and he was already there. It keeps getting better trust me. Found out that Pedro is PORTUGUESE (I really wish I could speak Portuguese.... should have learned it in my 6 months at home hahaha). Our lesson was with Frere Giles (bishop) so it was extra spiritual. Pedro 100% opened up to us and told us basically his entire life story about his beliefs. He was baptized Catholic, became atheist and then about a year ago he had a really cool experience in which he received a confirmation that God was there. He told us that if we had contacted him a year ago he wouldn't have even spoken to us. He said that everything happens for a reason and there's no such thing as "coincidence." HE IS AWESOME. We just need to get him better integrated in the ward and he could be completely golden... PRAY FOR HIM TOO!!

We love you too, Nutella!
While trying to confirm a RDV with an ami named Xavier I accidentally called our other ami Larry and had an entire phone conversation with him thinking it was Xavier and trying to explain we would be a few minutes late to our RDV etc etc (super embarrassing). Afterwards I realized how confused Larry would have been and tried to call him back but he didn't answer so I sent a text and he didn't answer that either...oops. (Side-note: Larry is Muslim and is not at all interested in joining our church. We were actually going to drop him.) Fast-forward to Sunday. We're sitting in amis class when all of a sudden I look out the window and see LARRY walking by. We go out and meet him and he said: "I wasn't planning on coming but I had so many calls from you guys that I just felt like I had to come." He ended up LOVING church. Guess the accidental call wasn't so terrible after all.

I made a cheese cake this week.  It was so flippin good.
Okay, I have to testify of setting goals. Literally every time we have set a realistic goal and were committed to it, "impossible" things have happened and we see flippin' cool miracles. On Saturday we had set a goal of having 5 RDV's. By 7 pm we had only had 2. We prayed after dinner before leaving the apartment and asked Heavenly Father to please bless us with 3 lessons. We went to Gerard's house and he invited us in (had just gotten home 5 minutes prior), and then next 2 people we contacted we had lessons with them. BOOM 3 lessons. It was incredible.

Bishop's son Justin Giles (13) showed us how to make s'mores in France.
AHHHH I'm running out of time. I have so many more cool miracles!!! It's so sad when I don't get to tell you everything but my letters are already ridiculously long as it is haha. Anyway I gotta go!

The church is true!

Je vous aime!!!
Soeur Everett

Psalms 40:8

PS Watch this video!! While we were at a stoplight there was a MIME performing during the red light. So French its ridiculous.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Is this a Miracle or What??!! (Week 40)

WE GOT TWENTY LESSONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND 3 NEW ENGAGES!!!!!!!!!!! AND WE FIXED 10 RDV'S WITH PEOPLE ON THE STREET!!!!!! (Is this a miracle or WHAT!!)
Car Selfie
Oh so the subject line this week! Soeur Gerritsen and I have quickly learned that English and American are completely different languages. Soeur Jackson will be talking about push-chairs and cling film and wind screens and flippin noras and Soeur Gerritsen and I stare at each other in confusion. I think Sr Jackson says "oh crums" at least 20 times a day. Its the most adorable thing on the planet. Also my English accent is definitely improving ;)

ANYWAY this was one of the most amazing weeks of my entire mission. There were so many miracles flooding all over the place that we didn't even know what to do with ourselves.
So this Thursday our ENTIRE ZONE came to town to work for a few hours. It was absolutely INSANE. I have never even heard of something like this happening where 30 missionaries all work in the same city.. Let me just say that we are definitely ON FIRE. In the 4 hours (ish) that everyone was working we had 150 conversations and 15 lessons with people on the street, 8 RDV's fixed, 3 less active lessons, 15 phone numbers received, 4 member visits and 18 MEMBER REFERRALS! I have never seen a ward with so much excitement for missionary work in my whole. entire. life. Not to mention that we're in France!! The work is hastening so fast I can hardly catch my breath to keep up with it all!!

List of referrals from the members. Beautiful thing.
Our zone motto is one word (in Tahitian): TAHOE! It means unity! Our entire zone prays for each other every night at 10 pm and we are working towards the same goals together. I've never seen a zone so united. And you know what is so good about being united? We see MIRACLES because of it. 4 equipes in our zone taught 20 lessons this week!!! Not to mention the unity in our branch to do missionary work is astounding! And I think the miracles we see in the branch are evident!
Ok Soeur Gerritsen is probably in my top 5 funniest people I know. We pee our pants laughing basically every single day.
Sr Gerritsen likes to translate expressions directly from English to French - which of course doesn't normally work. The other day she was trying to figure out how to say "what the heck" and said "quoi l'enfer"... Not quite right hahahaha Sr Jackson and I died.
Another day she was "experimenting" with food in the kitchen.. She got some left over chicken noodle soup, added paprika, onion and garlic flakes, white pepper, and then to top it all of poured balsamic vinegar all over it. I gave her this look like "what in the world did you just do"....she took a bite and looked up at me and she's like "i'm pretty sure this is the grossest thing I've ever tasted" hahahaha I love her
Our baby's first McDonald's trip outside of America
We set up a RDV to meet with our ami Gashi (he's Albanian and doesn't speak perfect French but he is one of the sweetest, most sincere people! So when he showed up to the RDV he had brought his friend with him who apparently WANTS TO BE BAPTIZED TOO. Ok seriously though how often does that happen? We are stoked! (Also just so happens that President's son speaks Albanian and we are going to set up Skype RDV's so they can be taught in their own language!)
Giovanni is in Chambéry this week so we haven't seen him. :( We also haven't heard from him either because I'm pretty sure his phone is broken...... (It's went to voice mail everytime we've called him in the past few days.) Pray for him! Every day!
This week while we were teaching Nathan (the 9 year old) I had the most over-whelming spiritual confirmation of 8 being the age of accountability. He understands so well why we are baptized and why Jesus Christ is so important. The pure testimony of that little boy touched me. He is wonderful! His baptism is set for December 13th. :)
Prettiest village ever.
Real quick! Gerard! This really nice guy from the Congo! He loves having us over to talk about God and he even accepted a baptismal date for November 29th!!! We just need to make sure he understands that this is the ONLY true church. But I think he can get there. And his family. :)
More of the prettiest village ever

Honestly there is so much we did and so many people we saw this week that there's pretty much nothing left to say! Life is wonderful and my health is doing GREAT. I feel completely normal again and I have never been so grateful in my entire life for how I feel.

This week I had an amazing experience as I was randomly reading section 6 of D&C. I felt like God was talking directly to me.

14 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, blessed art thou for what thou hast done; for thou hast inquired of me, and behold, as often as thou hast inquired thou hast received instruction of my Spirit. If it had not been so, thou wouldst not have come to the place where thou art at this time.
I know this is where Heavenly Father wants me to be and I am so glad that I stuck it out through those 6 months to be here. There is no where else I would rather be because I know this is where I am meant to be. I am so grateful for the Spirit who guides and directs my life and helps me feel the immense love that God has for me and each of His children.
The church is true!! And if you already know that it's true, tell everyone you know!! Let's save souls.

Soeur Everett

Friday, October 17, 2014

"Quoi le caca!?" (Week 39)

"Quoi le caca!" is not a real expression but was coined by Soeur Gerritsen and directly translated means "what the crap" hahahaha we laugh everytime she says it.
Holy heavens Annecy is on FIRE!!!! I love this little ville!!
I get super nervous everytime I have to do emails because I want to tell you guys EVERYTHING but its basically impossible so I have to just do my best hahah

iPhone in-store display - We set the screen saver to be us!
I'll start with my new favorite person in town: Giovanni!! He is from a Portugese speaking island in Africa...honestly I can't remember where. But he is the sweetest man! He has a 7 year old son and I think he is divorced... the mother lives in here too but I've never met her. Anyway!! He's been meeting with the missionaries for a few months but he had only been to church once. We decided as a companionship that we were going to pray in every single prayer we said that Giovanni would come to church. (That's a ton of prayers people.) And guess what? HE CAME TO CHURCH. Oh it doesn't stop there. There was this man who randomly came to church who was on a business trip from San Diego. It just so happened that HE SERVED IN BRAZIL. We were able to have a quick lesson with Giovanni after church and this member was able to testify to Giovanni about baptism in his own language! Giovanni accepted to be baptized on November 8th!!!!!!!!!! Pray for him please!! He is wonderful but I know the opposition is going to be enormous.
We've had crazy miracles this week I can't even handle it! I'm so happy... there is literally nothing better than missionary work and this little branch is AMAZING at it!!! We have referrals from them ALL the time. Just this morning one of the teenagers in the Demeure family texted us asking if we had 2 Italian Book of Mormons because she wants us to teach her friends!!!!! And we have RDV's all the time with non-member friends of members. It's incredible here. Unbelievable honestly. Not to mention this is the most beautiful city in the world.
So the other day we were porting near the Ferrone's (the family of Nathan who is getting baptized soon). We had so much success it was crazy.. We had two families agree to have us come back next week and we had one man who after talking to us about the questionnaire invited us straight in!!! We were super caught off-guard actually haha. He's athiest but the spirit we felt during our lesson with him was super strong... We started off by talking about the plan of salvation but it turned a bit into a "thats impossible" argument. So I prayed in my heart to know what he needed and I immediately felt that he needed to hear the restoration. We went straight into it. While I was reciting the first vision he didn't break eye-contact once the entire time. I thought I may have even saw tears in his eyes. If anything we touched his heart.

Door Approach

Afterwards when we went to the members house we told him the story and he was SHOCKED that Christoff had even let us into his house!! (They have been close friends for a long time.) That goes to show you that you never know who would be interested to hear what we believe!
So our mission goal for each missionary this year is to find and baptize a family of four. And guess what.... WE FOUND A FAMILY OF FOUR. While we were porting late one night on the Demeure's street we passed the sweetest family and set up a RDV for next week to do a FHE together! They have a disabled daughter who they just adore and then another daughter who is probably about 4. I CAN'T WAIT!!! They are going to be baptized I can feel it.
Ahhhhh I have so much to say its crazy!!
I want to talk about our zone training we had this week. One of our zone leaders just got put in after serving as assistant for a few transfers. President literally has said he is the best missionary in the mission. That's huge stuff. He felt inspired to put him in as a zone leader in Geneva for his last transfer! Let me just say that he is an enormous blessing to our zone. The faith he has is blessing us immensely to find miracles!
So during conference we went over the story of the sons of mosiah and how they prepared to go and preach the gospel (Alma 17). One thing that they did was bless each other. Right there during conference each missionary in the zone received a Priesthood blessing. I literally felt angels in the room and the Spirit as so strong it was impossible not to cry. Its incredible how an elder that didn't know me whatsoever could give me a blessing that was so appropriate and personal to my life, giving me advice that I really needed to hear. One of the coolest experiences of my mission.
I need to give a shout out to the best companions EVERRRRR: Soeur Gerritsen and Soeur Jackson! THEY ARE THE BEST. We laugh all day long and we work hard!!! We are getting 20 lessons this week and 3 new baptismal engagé's!!! I LOVE FRANCE AND I LOVE MISSIONARY WORK. (I'm sorry I seem so hyper in this email but trust me this is tamed down to what I am actually feeling.)
I wanted to invite you all to re-read the prophets talk and to take his advice to really study the life of the Savior and how we can learn to "walk as he did." I've found that as I've focused my thoughts, studies, and then actions on the Savior that I can more quickly learn to become more like him.
JE VOUS AIME!! Bisous!!
Soeur Everett

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Finally Back in France! (Week 38)

It's taking everything I have in me not to write this entire letter in all caps.... but let me just say ITS GOOD TO BE HOME!!!!!!!

It's good to be home again...

***For those reading the blog who were unaware, I went home sick from my mission in March and got back to France this week!

Unfortunately I've still had to do a whole ton of patiently waiting to really get into missionary work again....but I can easily say this has been one of the best weeks of my life.

Our flight into London was delayed by about an hour so we missed our connecting flight to Lyon (I got 2 seats to myself on the 7 hour flight by the way so I slept wonderfully!) This means that we had to spend TWELVE HOURS in the London airport with absolutely no way to entertain ourselves. (However Soeur Hurd and I did get this guys number who was working in one of the stores and we handed out a Book of Mormon to a French lady! So it wasn't completely boring.) The hours literally crept by but it was really fun to get to know all these new missionaries. I'm not just saying this because everyone says this about new groups of missionaries but they are the best I've ever seen. They were talking to EVERYONE. Our mission is going to explode with success.

Sister Coke!
I managed to hold it together the entire day but the moment I saw President Roney I burst into tears. He told me later that it took everything he had in him not to hug me. I love the Roneys so much!!!!!! Then I finally found out what was happening to me this transfer!! He told me that I would be training with Sister Jackson in a picturesque little town called Annecy near the Swiss border!! I thought it was a joke because of how PERFECT that assignment sounded....(its only gotten better...let me assure you).

Soeur Beeny and I at new missionary orientation

Can I take a second and say how PROUD I am of my daughter and step-daughter!?!? (Soeur Reichelt and Soeur Bagley.) THEY ARE INCREDIBLE and they have become such amazing missionaries in the time I've been gone!!!!! Honestly I couldn't be happier with the missionaries they are.

Soeur Gerritsen, me and Soeur Jackson
I LOVE MY NEW COMPANIONS!!!!!!!!!! My daughter is literally the light of my life. And my co-mom or whatever you call her haha is my perfect balance. She is never ever stressed but she works hard!! I am definitely learning this talent from her. And our baby is just so much fun... I have never laughed so hard in such a long time. (Did I mention we have like a gagillion engagés??? We're going to baptize the whole town this transfer I can feel it.)

The other day we passed an ami who wasn't home and ended up porte-ing the building. Soeur Gerritsen was still super frazzled from all the French happening (she's taken 5 years but we all know how much good high school language does us....) Soeur Jackson and I have been getting her to take baby steps. She can testify and everything know - we're so proud. :') So we told her just to say bonjour to someone! So this lady comes out of her apartment and we all try to talk to her and she just kind of ignores us. Soeur Gerritsen then turns to us and is like "Are you kidding me!? The first French person I said bonjour to was deaf!!?" Almost peed my pants laughing.

We are the only sisters in the mission with a car!
So we have an ami who is 9 named Nathan. :) His dad is a recent convert of a few years and his mom had been inactive for a long while before that. I'm not sure how active they've been in the past bit or why Nathan hasn't been baptized yet, but Nathan has the desire now!!! He is the sweetest little boy!! And they are such a darling family.

While we were at their house this week waiting for dinner to be ready Nathan was running around the room and telling us all of the names for the items in there. Let me tell you...learning so much French from a 9 year old is extremely humbling...maybe I don't know French perfectly yet hahah

For dinner we had this delicious lasagna!! Almost as good as yours dad. ;) During dinner Eva (4 year old daughter) went up to her mom and "whispered": mom did you use wine in the lasagna? Her mom said yes (what French people DONT use wine in their cooking??) and then Eva said: I like when you use alcohol in our food. But don't tell the sisters I said that!!!! Hahaha

MIRACLE!!! So when I left the mission they had just barely started contacting people using a questionnaire. So we stop people on the street and ask if we could ask them a few questions and I'd say we have at LEAST 70% more conversations with people than we otherwise would have because of it!!! I LOVE IT!!!! Soeur Gerritsen is still a bit traumatized by the fact that we "attack" (word she used) so many people every day, but she'll get used to it. :)

ANYWAY so we were contacting and we would switch off whether Soeur Jackson or I contacted alone or with Soeur Gerritsen. While I had my turn alone I stopped this man named Saka. He said he was in a huge hurry but I insisted that it was just a really quick 4 questions!! I had just given my questionnaire to Soeur Gerritsen so I had to do them from memory......which was scary. He honestly didn't even seem that interested even though he gave responses that would make it seem like he was interested (does that make sense?) After the third question he started trying to walk away and saying he had to go but I just had this feeling like I had to be super persistent! I asked him the last question that is basically "If God spoke to us today would you want to know what he said?" Everything changed! He wasn't even in a hurry anymore. He said of course he would want to know and asked if that was what I did was tell people what he says. YES SAKA YES! He then ASKED if we could set up a time to meet with him to explain more. HE ASKED ME EVERYONE. This questionnaire is so miraculous its ridiculous.

Soeur Gerritsen and Soeur Jackson isolated by technology
Well if you can't tell I am SOOOO HAPPYYYYYY to be back!!! Its rather embarrassing how many times I cried when I first got to France. I think I'm a bit more emotionally stable now (hopefully haha). But then again I walk outside of my apartment and am in the middle of a fairy-tale land with a castle, cobble-stone streets, and swans on a crystal blue lake and then want to cry again.

Also we went to the Bishop's house last night and I ate 4 crepes.... didn't even know I had it in me to eat so many. No shame.

Je vous aimeeeee!!!!

Soeur Everett

I think the biggest miracle that I've been blessed with in returning to France is that I feel like I was never gone. The past six months don't even feel like they happened and I feel just right back at home! I can't wait for the next 8 months!! (I get released June 8th!)

Cool quote I read this week in preparing for conference from David A. Bednar:

"There is no physical pain, no spiritual wound, no anguish of soul or heartache, no infirmity or weakness you or I ever confront in mortality that the Savior did not experience first. In a moment of weakness we may cry out, “No one knows what it is like. No one understands.” But the Son of God perfectly knows and understands, for He has felt and borne our individual burdens. And because of His infinite and eternal sacrifice, He has perfect empathy and can extend to us His arm of mercy. He can reach out, touch, succor, heal, and strengthen us to be more than we could ever be and help us to do that which we could never do relying only upon our own power. Indeed, His yoke is easy and His burden is light."

Just like Elder Bednar, I know that when we are yoked together with the Lord our burdens will be made light. How lucky are we to not have to do anything alone? I love my Savior and I am so grateful to finally be his representative again here in this country that I love!