Monday, November 24, 2014

"If you keep the Sabbath day holy, your nation will be blessed." - Sr. Staples (Week 45)

Can I just say that I have never been somewhere in my whole life where the people are as nice as they are here? EVERYONE IS NICE. I don't think I've had anyone say one rude thing to us the entire time I've been here. I'm not sure if it has something to do with this but I contacted a lady this week who told me I had "un français parfait" WHAT THE HECK. People need to stop complimenting my French or I'm not gonna do anything in language study.

Reminds me of home
So one night last week we went to visit the Carpio family - inactive family from the Phillipines! They are super kind and receptive to us, we're working with them to get back to Church! So towards the end of the lesson Sr. Staples and I were testifying of Church attendance and for about 5 minutes Sr. Staples stomach was growling non-stop. "I know that GGRRR coming to church GRRRRRR will bless your family GRRRRRRRRRR." Exactly like that. For 5 minutes. Maybe they didn't hear it over the Spirit :) haha

Will, THIS MIRACLE IS FOR YOU. So after Zone training in Nice (really gorgeous ville by the way) we were on the train coming home. I sat next to this lady who was reading a book in another language. I turned to her and asked her what language it was. You'll never guess what she said... POLISH!!!!!!!!! I could barely contain my excitement she must've thought I was crazy. We had basically the entire train ride to talk and she is sooooooo cool. She loves religion and loves studying about them but doesn't have one for herself. She thinks that in the end God is the same. We had a really awesome convo about what we do as missionaries and about why this Church is so important to me. She gave me her email and her phone number so we could keep in touch! I told her that I had some friends in Nice (she lives over there) who would love to talk to her more about what we believe and she seemed super excited to learn more! IT WAS AWESOME. Maybe when Will gets to Poland he can teach her family. :)

Look mom I made a green smoothie!!!!!
Another super cool miracle!!!! Earlier last week we were contacting and I talked to this girl named Josephine (she's a super model, I was almost too intimidated to contact her). She is so ready!!!! She doesn't have a particular Church but she loves God. I taught her the retab briefly and then we prayed! We set up a RDV for later that week. Not only did she show up to the RDV right on time but SHE BROUGHT A FRIEND!!! We had a super great lesson and they both committed to read the BOM. I'm super pumped about them!

I'm not sure if I'm going to make this sound as cool as it really was but a couple nights ago we set off to find a less active. We had no clue where we were going and when we got off the bus we had no idea where we were. Honestly I have no clue why we decided to go right instead of left we were quite lost. So we ended up calling her and asking for directions. When I described where we were she said look for the super tall apartment building. Turns out we were RIGHT next to it. Is that cool or what??? When we visited with her we talked about Christ and she told us she really felt like she needed to come back to Church (which is what we were planning on talking about)! It didn't end there, but she invited us over next week to eat with her and her non-member friend!!!

And of course Raphael. He's great. I don't really even know what to say. He needs prayers to get ready for his baptismal date December 20th! Please pray for him! (He needs to quit smoking.) This week he sent us a message that said that he kept feeling drawn to read "Alma" in the Book of Mormon and he started reading it and LOVES it. Why is he so cool???? Oh and he bought us hot chocolate. He's the best.

Hahahaha so Sr. Staples and I had this brilliant idea during weekly planning. We decided we needed to "sparc" the zone leaders. (Not sure if I've told you about this before but its a thing we do in the mission to get people excited about missionary work or just to make their lives better or to build friendship. Its a bit complicated but that's the essense.) So Saturday morning right at 6:30 we call the zone leaders and yell "MANGOOOOOS!!!" Dang, this is another mission thing I haven't explained. Mangos is our acronym for giving all of our energy to missionary work and that it all starts with going full throttle right in the morning with our exercises. Anyway we yelled mangos and hung up. We thought we were hilarious. BUT. The zone leaders ended up calling us to pray with us before studies (never had zone leaders do that before) AND they called us later that night to give us a referral! We totally sparc-ed them. We couldn't stop laughing at how sparc-ed they were!
Goodness I have sooooo much I could share (as usual) and have no time to share it! :( I'll just give my little spiritual thought and that'll be it for today!

Have I ever told you about my obsession with Petite Beurres?
This week I have been thinking a lot about the covenants I've made in my life with Heavenly Father. Sr. Staples and I came across a scripture in Omni this week that I absolutely love:

26 And now, my beloved brethren, I would that ye should come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption. Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved.

I've been pondering how I can do better at offering my whole soul to God - something that I have covenanted to do. I think that it is mostly in the little things. We are all on a hard and long road to perfection, but God doesn't expect us to be perfect all at once. When we make little steps towards it He is happy with us! Just something for you all to think about - and please let me know if you have any insights on this!

I love you all! Don't forget to share the site as well as the video "He is the Gift"!!!

Sœur Everett

Monday, November 17, 2014

"Est-ce qu'ils sont les jolies fleurs?" - Sr. Staples (Week 44)

Such a strange week!!!! We spent the entire week except for the past 2 days in Lyon. Did a lot of work there but it was quite strange to not be in our own ville. Super fun though! And good to see everyone. :)

View from Sisters apartment in Ecully
So the subject line this week. We were on a bus and both of us were sitting by different people having conversations. (Sr. Staples is amazing at talking with people by the way...) Apparently she meant to tell the lady next to her that her boquet of flowers was pretty but instead she accidently said "are those pretty flowers?" The lady gave her a strange look and even when Sr. Staples tried to laugh it off the lady just stared hahaha. Poor thing.

Soeur Gerritsen
I should introduce Sr. Staples a bit! She is wonderful... (why do I always have the best companions ever??????) She has moved a ton (she even lived in Japan!!). She is an opera singer! We are hoping to do a duet this transfer... She also plays the piano beautifully. So you could say life is great (constant serenade). She works super hard and she is not afraid to talk to everyone!!! It's way fun to be with her! We're gonna have a great transfer. :)

Since we weren't in our sector most of the week we just tried to help out the other missionaries with whatever we could. We even got the zone leaders groceries haha. We failed a few times with trying to pass people... its quite complicated when you don't know a ville AT ALL and theres like 5 million different directions and buses and metros you can take... but by the end of the week I felt like a Lyon pro. :)

My daughter Soeur Bagley!!
GUESS WHATTTTTTT. While we were sitting a bus stop I was chatting with this old French lady. She asked me where I was from and I said California. She said "Really??? I couldn't even tell you had an accent." AHH!!! Also at church on Sunday I sat by one of the elders amis (this one is less cool since he's from Cape Verde) but he thought I was French! You guys.....I could've cried of happiness. I still need to buy myself a crepe to celebrate.

I wish I could say we got 20 lessons again this week. It was possible to do it but there were other things that came up that were more important. :( So we only taught 13. But hey. 13 is pas mal.
I'm trying to think of what to tell you but honestly there isn't a whole ton to report. We did a heck of a lot of contacting this week and traveling. We had tons of conversations with people and found some cool people! But they were all for Lyon missionaries anyway...

Random mural on wall
I can tell you about our engagé here in my new ville! We had a phone lesson with him this week and I got to meet him at church. He totally sparked me by knowing my name....that is not all the time when you have amis that know your name before you even meet them! Let alone when you've taught them for several weeks! We're usually just referred to as "the sisters." Anyway, he is EXTREMELY cool. Apparently when they first contacted him he just said no I'm not interested and walked away and a few minutes later he came sprinting back to them and said he didn't know why, but he changed his mind. Ever since then he has been a really strong ami! He has been to church basically every single week and he is super commited. He just needs to quit smoking but I think he is working on it! Right now his date is for December 20th but we are trying to see if he can get ready for the end of the transfer! Pray for him! His name is Raphael. :) (Also he is French and super normal....way cool ami).

Super Soeur!
Ok also THIS WARD IS ENORMOUS!!!!!!!!!!! There are over 100 people in our Sacrament Meeting. It's insane. I've never seen so many people at church in France in my whole life. I was a tad overwhelmed but hey, its awesome that the church here is so strong!!

I think I'm going to love it here. For some reason the people are SOOOO nice. I literally haven't met a single rude person yet. Not one. Everyone is smiley and happy and they actually say "bonjour" back! Not to mention it's gorgeousssss.

Ok well I guess I will go to the spiritual thought! I don't think I have anything else to say...

My new companion Soeur Chanda Staples
This week I've been studying the talk by David A. Bednar called "The Character of Christ" - I highly recommend reading it. I decided that this week I would work on developing the attribute of reaching outward. Basically it means focusing on helping others and not thinking about ourselves even when we are having difficulties. It's natural to be worried about our own well-being, but when we forget about ourselves and our problems and focus on helping others, we are SOOO much happier. Read the story in Matthew 4 about Christ fasting for 40 days and being tempted by the devil and then read the JST of verse 11. What a great example of reaching outward when all else says we should turn inward.

Ok I love you all! Have a great week!

Soeur Everett

Monday, November 10, 2014

"And it came to pass that I, Soeur Gerritsen, was exceedingly offended." (Week 43)

This past transfer has been probably the best and happiest time of my entire life. I feel so blessed with good health and with amazing companions and with SO much work to do!! I've learned so much and I feel like I've accomplished a ton as well!

I love Curtis :)

First and foremost: TRANSFERS! I wasn't expecting this whatsoever but.... I'M GOING TO THE FRENCH RIVIERA!?!?!? I'm finishing training Soeur Gerritsen's MTC companion, Soeur Staples. :) Soeur Jackson is staying in Annecy and training and Soeur Gerritsen went to Chambéry! We got completely split up!!! At first when President said I was going down there I was like "wait what?? are you sure??" But I feel so much peace about it! I did a lot in Annecy in my short time there and now its time for me to go somewhere new! (Oh and Soeur Reichelt - my daughter - is a Sister Training Leader in Ecully! I'm so proud of her!)

Soeur Jackson, Soeur Gerritsen, Giovanni, Soeur Everett
GIOVANNI GOT BAPTIZED!!!!!!!! Its been a crazy week. Giovanni had only been taught the Restoration before this transfer so we had to teach him every single lesson. Plus we redid the Restoration. PLUS we had only taught him the first 2 lessons before this week haha. So we were CRAMMING lessons in before the baptism. We met with him every single day. It was incredible. He felt SO much peace about getting baptized. Honestly I think he was less stressed out about the whole thing than we were. And a week before that we were trying to console him into knowing he was ready! It's been miraculous to watch. My favorite Italian, Anna (recent convert) taught with us for basically every single lesson. She even told us that someone tried to call her to ask if they could go visiting teaching this week and she said "No!!! I have to be free all week long so I can help the sisters get Giovanni ready for his baptism!!" :) The ward is in love with Giovanni. He has a strong testimony and he is the most sincere and kind man! I could never imagine him losing his temper or saying anything mean to anyone!

I made another cheesecake (this might not be the best habit)
Okay, so the service! We were running around and making calls and finalizing everything and we ended up with a REALLY good turn out and everything ran super smoothly. But...there always has to be opposition. Apparently the Annemasse sisters (the baptism was held there since we don't have a font in Annecy) didn't know how to get the heat to work in the building so the font water was ICE cold. (Members told us the lake in Annecy probably would've been warmer...) Poor Giovanni... He was such a trooper. He struggled to get in (he is still quite frail from the sickness he just got over) but he said with conviction "non, on va aller!" (we're gonna go through with it!) He told us later that his body felt ice cold as he went in but when he came out he felt a warmth come over him and he wasn't cold at all after that! What a blessing! He laughed and joked about it afterwards. :)

so much rain this week..... so much

Oh Gerard and Curtis were at the baptism!! I really hope things go well with Gerard this transfer. :) He seems to be prepared. ANYWAY. Giovanni received the Holy Ghost on Sunday and he was just radiating! I've never seen so much light from Giovanni! I can't wait to see all he will do for the Annecy branch. He is incredible. Frere Giles asked him to come up and bear his testimony (on the spot) and Giovanni NAILED it. He gave his conversion story, bore his testimony, and closed in the name of Jesus Christ. I am so proud of him!! He has come such a long way in soooo short a time.

Okay, enough about Giovanni. Even though I could talk about it for ages hahaha.

So one morning this week I woke up and I couldn't find my glasses anywhere. I always leave them on the nightstand next to my bed so I was super confused where they went. Later on I found them on the complete other side fo the room... And we also discovered that the clock in the bathroom had gone from being 5 minutes fast to right on time.... Seems to me like my sleepwalking is happening again hahaha.

Cool story!!!!! So after District Meeting in Geneva this week we were driving through the city on the way to dropping off the Annemasse sisters. Soeur Ziane jokingly says we should contact people but I completely seriously said ok!! I unrolled my window and yelled at the first person I saw. Here was our entire exchange (it lasted about 15 seconds):

Looking at the font in Annemasse before Giovanni's baptism
Me: Excuse me sir! [He comes over to the car window] We share a message that can change your life could we talk to you more about this?
Man: Sure but you're in a car and I'm on foot...
Me: That's okay! Maybe we could just get your number and we could set up another time to meet?
Man: Yeah sure! 06........
[He gave me his number, I gave him a card, and we drove off. Soeur Ziane was stunned.]

ma bella Anna, a recent convert from Italy
I AM SO SAD TO LEAVE ANNECY!!! I love that little fairy-tale land with my whole heart. I have so many good memories there and I absolutely love all the people I got to meet and learn from. But I know there's big things to do in my new city and I can't wait to get started! I have to be in Lyon the entire week though...legality on Wednesday and Blue's Conference on Friday... :( Soon enough!!!
OH. While I was coming in to the office I put down my umbrella, look up and see SOEUR CALDWELL!!!!!!!! We both screamed and started crying. The senior couples shushed us hahaha. SOOOO good to see her! We even got to sing together again. :) I can't wait to have a band again when I get back to Provo ;)

Okay, here's my spiritual thought for the week! I read this in my Book of Mormon reading this week and cried.

Maria, a recent convert from Romania
I was reading the story of Alma the younger in Mosiah 27 when he was visited by an angel and then afterwards he was struck down because of his wickedness (verse 14) to show him the power of God. He lost all strength in his muscles and couldn't move from his bed. His father gathered the church members together and verses 22 and 23 say: "they began to fast, and to pray to the Lord their God that he would open the mouth of Alma, that he might speak, and also that his limbs might receive their strength--that the eyes of the people might be opened to see and know the goodness and glory of God. / And it came to pass that after they had fasted and prayed...the limbs of Alma received their strength, and he stood up and began to speak unto them, bidding them to be of good comfort." Then Alma went and started "zealously" declaring the gospel. When I read this I was reminded of how grateful I am for each of you who fasted and prayed for me to receive my strength and how amazing is it that I am healed! I have worked harder this transfer than I ever have before - I haven't taken a single minute extra break than the rules give us. I've been reminded over and over how grateful I need to be for my ability to be here serving with all my might and strength!!
Giovanni and Raphael

That's about all I have for this week! It's been fun to be in Lyon all day. Taught 5 lessons on the street earlier. Oh also our entire Geneva Zone taught 20 lessons this week! It was super cool!!! And I got to hang out with Soeur Staples a bit and I think we're gonna have an amazing transfer together. :)

Love you!!
Soeur Everett