Wednesday, February 4, 2015

"Literally only names of apostles are coming to my head." -Soeur Staples (Week 55)

My new companion, Soeur Skalka!!
So I'll explain the quote this time haha. After planning the other night we were sitting there trying so hard to remember a name of an actor in Les Mis and we tried for like 15 minutes just throwing out random stuff. Eventually Soeur Staples said that hahaha. I laughed for so long.

Anyway... TRANSFERS!!!!!! It was definitely exciting!!! They whitewashed our elders. :( (Antibes elders both stayed.) We're sad, they were really great. BUT they took them out to put in 2 Portuguese speaking elders!!! Whaaattttttt. Its going to be incredible. They will have TONS of work to do here. We have so many people from Portugal and Cape Verde for them to teach. Especially referrals from our Portuguese speaking members. Its funny, we have this one member named Alberto who just barely moved here from Portugal. He speaks veryyyy minimal French. He usually speaks to me in Portuguese and I respond in French. And I think sometimes he forgets that I don't really speak Portuguese because I'm mostly just guessing what he is saying haha. Oh well, maybe I'll be able to speak Portuguese when I get home. ;)

I had a really wonderful exchange in Nice last week with Soeur Grunke. :) First of all Nice is GORGEOUSSSSS. And second Soeur Grunke is amazing... I learned a ton from her. While we were on a tram going to a RDV with a less active I started talking to this lady after I composted my ticket. Just the usual asking her how her day was going. She was probably more sparked than anyone I've ever said hi to on public transport. She went on and on about how I was the most adorable person she had ever met and she even told some random lady standing by us how adorable I was hahaha. She's like: "Don't ever change! People should talk to each other more! You made my day!" So sweet huh?

We had such a cool miracle this week! I made this goal that once a week (this is a new thing) that I would have an English fast (aka speak French all day long). This week on Wednesday we did an English fast and we had the most miraculous day ever!!!! I'll just share one little part of our day. We were at the church teaching Raphael (update on him in a sec) and we finished and were all heading out the door. As we were leaving we see these two random ladies coming in the gate. I turned to our members and asked if they knew them and they said no... So we went up to them and asked them if they were members. They said, oh no we just wanted to come and see your chapel. WHAT. (First of all our church is not in centre ville its like out in neighborhoods where no one even walks by. Second, we are hardly ever at the church... it was a miracle that they came by at that exact time!) So of COURSE we gave them a tour. They absolutely loved it. They thought our chapel was beautiful and they said that they would come to church sometime soon! We got their number too so we can bug them. ;)

Ok now update on our amazing recent converts.

View of Nice from member's apartment
Raphael...... He's just so elect. I have never seen him happier. He just BEAMS with the spirit, its amazing! This week we were out contacting on the street and we ran into him! The first thing he says is "I had this feeling as I was leaving my apartment that I would run into you." How great is he???? On Sunday he got the priesthood!!! I just about cried. As he was saying goodbye to my lovely companion Soeur Staples he was talking to us about how much we had done for him. He said "It's thanks to you two and Soeur Hutchins (the sister right before I got here) that I'm a member now. You completely changed my life, thank you so much." This is basically the best thing in the entire world to hear as a missionary. We love him so much.
Sandra!!! The poor thing got some sort of flu. She had a fever and everything. We didn't even know she was sick until we got to her house on Saturday. I have no clue why she let us visit her! If I were her I would've wanted to stay in bed all day! Tangi told us it was because she needed that extra light lately after her long week of work. OH speaking of work! The reason why Sandra and Tangi had to move to Cannes is because Tangi lost his job. He has been out of work ever since and has been trying to find something. It's actually been a huge blessing to the missionaries that he hasn't been working because he was able to help us out allll the time. But this week (the week right after Sandra's baptism) HE GOT A JOB. It's full-time and he got a life-time contract!!!!!!!!!! They are now looking for an apartment so they can move out of Sandras moms tiny apartment. I'm sooooo happy for them. And they recognize that this is a blessing from her baptism.

Vanessa, the Antibes Elder's amie

Isn't it amazing how blessed I have been on the second half of my mission? I've met people who have completely changed my life. I can't even imagine what my life would be like if I hadn't come back. I'm so grateful I stuck it out even when it was hard. Heavenly Father knew what He was doing having me go home (in order to appreciate being a missionary that much more among other things) and to come back at this specific time so that I could meet these people. I'm not so sure that I am here to help them as much as they are here to help me. I love being a missionary!!!!! There is nothing I have ever loved doing more. I feel the Spirit all the time. I feel fulfilled all the time. And I feel this peace knowing that Heavenly Father is proud of me and happy with the work that I do, even when I wish I had done more. I am really blessed. Really really blessed. Heavenly Father really does know best, we just have to keep reminding ourselves.

So I read this talk recently with a really cool thought that I wanted to share!! Its about the story of the 10 virgins (it kind of goes with what I said last week about scripture study..)

“Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
“And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. …
“[They that were] wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
“While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
“And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
“Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
“And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
“But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
“And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
“Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
“But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, Ye know me not.” (Matt 25)

I don’t think there is anyone, especially among those with tender hearts, who doesn’t feel sad for the foolish young women. And some of us just want to say to the others, “Can’t you just share so everyone can be happy?” But think about it. This is a story the Savior told, and He is the one who calls five of them “wise” and five of them “foolish.”

As we consider this parable as a pattern for temple preparation, consider the words of a latter-day prophet who taught that “the oil of spiritual preparedness cannot be shared.”  President Spencer W. Kimball helped clarify why the five “wise” young women could not share the oil in their lamps with those who were “foolish” when he said: “Attendance at sacrament meetings adds oil to our lamps, drop by drop over the years. Fasting, family prayer, home teaching, control of bodily appetites, preaching the gospel, studying the scriptures—each act of dedication and obedience is a drop added to our store. Deeds of kindness, payment of offerings and tithes, chaste thoughts and actions … —these, too, contribute importantly to the oil with which we can at midnight refuel our exhausted lamps.”

Isn't her commentary so great!?! I used to always think that way about this story how it wasn't very nice of the five wise to not share their oil. But as Linda Burton says, oil can't be shared even if we wanted to! The personal efforts we make each day in reading our scriptures, praying, having family prayer, being kind, paying tithing, etc. etc. contribute to our lamps drop by drop. I love this image. I also feel like the more full our lamp is the happier we are. I think that's why missionaries are so happy. Our lamps are basically overflowing haha.

Anyway, I gotta go soon! I love you!!! Have a great week. :)

Soeur Ev

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