Tuesday, March 24, 2015

"Viva Sister Everett!" - Frère Vital (Week 62)

Oh my I have a lot to tell you! It's been quite a weird week.

View from our apartment
We had only a few days to actually be here in Montauban because we went to Lyon for Blue's Conference (the conference that all the 2nd transfer blues go to)!! (That's my 4th one.....hahaha.)

Some great things have happened here though! I mentioned last week about Elodie. So turns out I was wrong about the foster mom being against the church. I met her on Saturday and she is a family history missionary in the branch haha oops. I think it was her real mom that wouldn't let her be baptized until she was 18 but honestly I wouldn't quote myself.. I don't know anything haha. She is the sweetest ever!!! I absolutely love her!! We had a Relief Society activity on Saturday and she was just beaming. She told everyone how awesome I was and told them all it was my birthday. Then she said she wanted to take me to a castle sometime this week for my birthday and that they would invite me over so I could try escargot and frog legs (never tried either of them.) She's so cute huh?? And her baby is adorable...

Eiffel Tower made of red chairs...

So the very first person I contact in Montauban was a lady named Marthe from Haiti. We had a discussion on the bus about God and family and she was just really sweet! I asked her if she wanted to set a time to meet and all she said was "Si Dieu le veut" [If God's wants.] We went to the RDV we had set up and parted ways. After we had finished our RDV we walked over to the bus stop and guess who walks up? MARTHE. The first thing I said to her was "Dieu le veut" [God wants us to have the rdv]. She laughed and then accepted! We have had 2 rdvs with her since. We showed her the BOM and she was excited to read it. She asked us to pray for her that she would be able to know that it was true. :) Then she invited us over to eat at her house on Sunday! At the end she sang us a song and then told us how happy she was that she finally had friends to eat with. How sweet.

We found this guy named Patrick! He's from the Congo but he's lived in France since he was like 13. We started off teaching him by showing him the family booklet but then he asked us what the Book of Mormon was so we set up a second rdv to meet with him and discuss it! He even came to church on Sunday! This guy is elect I can feel it.

The cutest little ville named Caussade
It was so good to be in Lyon and to see some friends and make new ones! I always love conferences. I learned a lot. The morning before the conference we left the STL's apartment early so we could get to the chapel early. We got down to the metro and there were literally a million people (or at least it seemed like it). We tried super hard to get into FOUR metros that passed us before we finally got on one! The last time I turned to a man standing next to us and said "that is the FOURTH metro we've missed!!!!" he just laughed at me. Guess this is normal haha.

We put on dead pile clothes for my birthday and ate ice cream
At Blues Conference I got some news from my old amis in Annecy!! Apparently Gerard (not sure if you guys remember about him) has been coming to church every week!! The first time he ever went to church was when I was there. And he also went to Giovanni's baptism. Anyway, so he started struggling with being sure that he should be baptized. The sisters invited him to kneel right then in prayer and to ask! He said a sincere prayer and then they all knelt in silence. After awhile Gerard said "God is real. I need to be baptized." How cool!!! He is scheduled to be baptized this weekend! Pray for him!

Birthday present from our new ami Patrick! Chocolate chicken!
So last night we went to a less active's house - her name is Soeur Korpal. While we were there she told me that I had "l'air d'un chef" [acted like a leader]. She said I reminded her a lot of a sister missionary who had served there not that long ago. Guess who it was.. Soeur Reicheltr!! Hahaha. When I told her that I had trained her she freaked out and said that explained everything!!! So glad to know I passed on my confidence to my daughter haha.

Okay, since I have a bit of time I will share one more cool miracle. Yesterday at church we had a member come up to us and say that we had an investigator there (we were confused because we weren't expecting anyone except for Patrick and Elodie). We couldn't see anyone we recognized but then this man approached us and introduced himself! I then realized that a few days ago I had gotten a call from a member in Toulon asking what time church started. This man was that members cousin!!!! His name is Jean Marc. He lives in a ville not too far away from Montauban and he told us he wants to have us visit him this week! He said he sees himself really fitting in well here and loving this church! Awesome huh??

My babies!! Soeur Hurd and Soeur Castagno (came in together my 2nd time)

I had a realization this week as I was talking to Sister Clark (office couple - she came in with my group way back in the day!)  We were talking about me coming back on my mission and the blessings I've seen from it. As we were talking I realized how hard the first half of my mission was! I literally had trial after trial. I still had many many happy and amazing experiences but I really feel like the first half was a "refiners fire" time of my life. Honestly I can say that nothing bad has really happened the second half of my mission. Its been miracle after miracle, blessing after blessing. Sure I've had those tough days that everyone has and I've had some sad moments but du coup I wouldn't be telling the truth if I said that this part of my mission is the best and most rewarding time of my life! I think Heavenly Father is trying to tell me thank you for coming back and sticking it out. And now the blessings.

I love being a missionary and I love you all!

Have a great week!

Soeur Ev

P.S. Montauban is amazing and the branch is super great and my companion is an angel (literally I have the best companions ever). Life is wonderful!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

"That's a load of blowfish." - Sr. Skalka (Week 61)

How I felt leaving Cannes
Wahhhhhhhhhh. :'( I'm so sad.... I think I left half of my heart back in Cannes. I will forever be grateful for the time I spent there. What an amazing ward and amazing people and experiences that I had! I wouldn't trade them for anything.

Okay honestly I have no clue where to start with this email! My mind is everywhere and I don't even have my planner from last transfer to see what we even did last week hahaha. I'll share a couple cool miracles though, don't worry. :)

Here I will start off with a really cool tender mercy that Heavenly Father gave to us to end the transfer.

A sad day....
So we were stopping by a less active who wasn't there so we headed over to the bus stop to head over to the Payas for dinner. I sit next to a lady on the bench and start talking to her. She was so sparked... She starts telling me and Soeur Skalka how beautiful we were and we have a conversation about how we're missionaries here and everything. Then she asked us if we wanted to come over the next day! We got her number and set up a RDV for the next day. The miracle is that the RDV actually happened!!!! She told us she had been excited and waiting for us to come all day. (She's this little Italian lady with a super thick accent hahaha. She's cute.) We got there and she started making us this DELICIOUS Italian pasta. She was more happy to have us over than I think I've ever seen! We told her we were both leaving the next day but that we had 2 friends that would love to stop by and visit her and she said of course!! We gave her the "my family" booklet and she was so grateful. Cool way to end a miraculous transfer huh? :)

Saying goodbye to everyone on Sunday was awful... I will give myself some credit that I didn't cry very much, just in my goodbye testimony to the ward. Man it was hard looking out at all of them. My heart is just so full of love for those people. I love when you give a talk or testimony and everyone's eyes are on you. Some of my favorites there (I know its bad to have favorites) were even crying with me. Mehhhhh my heart hurts. :( Luckily we had a meal together at the church with la mission de la paroisse so I was about to be with some of them for a little extra time.

Okay I have to talk about a couple people.
My District
Sandra is one of my favorite people in the entire world. She is at the top of my list. When she found out I was leaving she just cried and cried! When we left each other the last time she could hardly look at me she was so sad.. I LOVE HERRR. Her and Tangi gave me this shirt as a present (I should've taken a picture dang it!!) that says "On vous aime. La familly Tangi" on the back. I love it so much!! She told me she's never going to get attached to a missionary again because its too hard to say goodbye. I told her that the day I'm back in America I would call her. What a blessing it was to teach her.. she is so special.

Speaking of it being a blessing to teach people. Raphael is the best. He got YET ANOTHER calling!! He is now the second counselor in the Sunday School Presidency. This week when we were trying to plan a lesson for him nothing was coming and all of a sudden Soeur Skalka says, "We should have him teach us!!!" It was so inspired. I was amazed at how well he knew how to teach and I was so proud of him... Also he helped us with our super heavy suitcases on moving day. On Sunday night when I asked if he would help us he was like "Of course! Especially because that means I get to see you one last time. :)"

I'm gonna miss my recent converts! :'(

And then of course Elizabete, Leony and Kleina. Its always the worst with investigators when they don't really know anything about how missionaries leave. They had no clue that would happen! Leony (who speaks a little bit of English) yelled "Why!!! I need you!!!" hahaha. They are so wonderful. I'm sure they'll be baptized this transfer. They are my miracle family. I'm so grateful for them.

Why am I so blessed???? Why!? The second half of my mission has been nothing but joy. Honestly... only good things ever happen to me. I have amazing companions, amazing investigators, amazing members, beautiful cities. It just doesn't ever stop being wonderful!

Okay, quick shout out to Sr. Skalka. She was such a huge blessing to me last transfer. I can't imagine not having been together. She taught me so much about being happy no matter how hungry, tired, or annoyed you are. She is a ball of sunshine and has never-ending light and energy. When we parted on the train that was only the second time I ever saw her cry. (By the way I spent about 6 hours alone with an elder on the train ride to Toulouse hahahaa that was weird.) She is an angel. I want to be more like her one day.

Soeur Christensen
Anyway! Now I'm here in Montauban! I can't get over how stinkin adorable it is. My new companion is probably annoyed by me constantly saying "It's so cute here!!" haha. By the way my companion is basically perfect too. What in the world. She's a blue (of course, I have trained my entire mission hahaha) and she's from Edmonton Canada!! Her name is Soeur Camrie Christensen.  Her French is really great and she is a wonderful teacher. We're going to have an awesome transfer together!

I'll just share this since it happened today. So there is this 18 year old we met with today named Elodie. She is 18 and just had a baby out of wedlock. She grew up in the church as a foster child in a member home but the mother had gone out of the church and didn't let the kids get baptized unless they decided to at 18. Elodie spent quite awhile away from the church but after having her baby she decided she needed to come back. Just about 2 months ago she started coming to church again. Today when we met with her she told us she wanted to be baptized!!!!!!!!! We set a date with her for April 11th! We have to teach her all the lessons but I think it will be easier seeing as she has a background in the church. I'm so excited (and yet again blessed) to teach her! She's so cute! And so is her baby haha. :)

Okay running out of time and I need to get out and get to work in this little magic ville. I love you!! Send me mail, that would be fun!

3 allée de l'empereur
Montauban 82000

Soeur Ev

P.S. More pictures of my beloved friends from Cannes below.


Dinner after Church in Cannes

Dorian Vivier

Soeur Skalka

Famille Perez

Miracle Italian lady from Sunday night

Elizabete Leony and Kleina


Eveque Vivier

Kiwa and Hugo and Elizabete

Mama Gentil



Sandra and Tangi


Soeur Rodriguez

Soeur Vivier

Sr Fily

Sr Nancy Berthon

Stella Gentil


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

"You change your mind like a girl changes clothes." - Elder Garside (Week 60)

Soeur Hall
Super super super great week! (Except when do I ever send an email that says I had a bad week...life is too good.)

Okay, well I have a ton of things to do during this email time so just forewarning you all that this is probably going to be shorter than normal... desolé!!

I have some super sick miracles to share with you though!!

I will share one that happened just a couple days ago. When we shared it with our district leader he told us that it may or may not have been the sickest miracle he's ever heard on his mission. Are you ready??

Sisters of the Nice Zone
I'm sure you forget about the story I told you last week about Jacqueline so I will just recap really quickly. We met this lady in the park after the person we were supposed to have a RDV with didn't show up. So while we started talking to her about her family she started to really open up to us and told us that she was super alone and that all of her close family were dead. We put our arms around her as she cried and when we prayed she told us that she would call us if her health got any better. Well guess what? Two days ago we got a call from a random number during language study and IT WAS HER!!!! (I don't think you all understand how rare it is that someone actually calls US when we meet them.) She told us that after she had met us she was happy for the first time in a long time. She said that her morale had gone way up. When she went to the doctor the following day apparently he told her "I don't know what happened, but your health is doing incredibly better." What's even better is that Jacqueline told us that she knew it was because we had prayed for her that God is blessing her with better health! She told us that she would call us soon so that we could see her! So cool huh??

My cute little companion
Okay, here's a silly miracle but I loved it. We were at the Antibes chapel about to make lunch and then realized we didn't have a single pot to make rice or beans in... (The Antibes chapel isn't being used so there's like nothing in it.) While everyone was trying to figure out what to do me and Soeur Skalka were like "Well we'll just go porte for one!" So off we went to knock on doors. Not even kidding. The first person that answered the door was American and she told us that of course we could borrow her pot! The whole ordeal took all of 5 minutes and everyone was shocked that we succeeded so fast haha. Heavenly Father is so good to us.

This week Raphael told us he wanted to spend an entire day with us! So we did it! He is incredible. He talks to everyone! We had a wonderful day. After we had done some work we went to the church to have a RDV with him and Sandra and Tangi. It was one of my favorite moments of my mission. We were talking about following the prophet and my two amazing recent converts were just testifying to each other how they know the church is true and how much it blesses them!  I just wanted to cry the entire time.... I love them both so much!!!

I love her
Okay, another super cool miracle! So remember how I said there was a girl from Colorado who moved into our ward for a few months? Well she is being a nanny here for this most adorable family. Well Natalie is the most amazing missionary ever and she got us a RDV to come over and teach this family she is nannying for! Everyone. This family is the most Mormon family ever without being Mormon. They have a mini van with one of those stick figure windshield things with their family on it. Doesn't get more Utah Mormon than that!! ;) The wife had so many questions for us! We ended up giving the entire Restoration lesson and talked about the Book of Mormon and pioneers and the church's name and the Priesthood, etc etc. It was incredible. Afterwards the husband refused to let us take the bus home and offered to take us all the way to our house...how great are they?? I think it'll be slowly, but they will love the church when they get to know it better.

An adorable little village called Valbonne
Okay, update for Elizabete and Leony. They are still amazing and both of them are spiritually ready for baptism!! There have been just a couple complications that came up. So since Elizabete is divorced, Leony's father still has rights over her which means that she needs to get his permission in order to be baptized. They both think its extremely unlikely that he will say yes, but we all know the power God has to soften people's hearts! I think we just need to pray. One other complication is that their living situation right now isn't cohesive with the qualifications for baptism. (We hadn't realized it.) So Elizabete needs to find a new apartment before she can be baptized. The odds are extremely against her being able to get the apartment before this Saturday but Soeur Skalka and I believe in miracles and we just need to have enough faith and this is going to happen! We need as many prayers as humanly possible. In Soeur Skalka's words: "We need to pray harder than we ever have in our entire life." When we told Elizabete that she couldn't get baptized until she found a new apartment she understood but she broke down crying saying how much she was looking forward to it and how much she wanted to be baptized as soon as possible. We figure that Christ healed people paralyzed from birth, made the blind see, and even raised the dead, so why not help Elizabete to find an apartment? Let's pray!!

Okay, I gotta go. I love you all so much!


Soeur Ev

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

"We should totally put that on a snicky snote!" - Sr. Skalka (Week 59)

The mission just keeps getting better and better. I can't wait to tell you about my week!!!

Failed to get a good picture of this sunset
So on Tuesday we were heading back from a rdv with Sandra (she's doing awesome by the way - she brought her son Thomas, who's 14, to church on Sunday! That's the first time I've ever seen him at church. Miraclesssss.) So anyway we were taking the bus! Unfortunately for us, the bus was full of pre-teens. While we were sitting there we all of a sudden heard people speaking in English accents and then realized that we were listening to Ron Weasley and Draco Malfoy!!!! (Sr. Skalka is absolutely sure she heard Draco.) We were eavesdropping on their convo and then you'll never guess who got on the bus.... HARRY POTTER HIMSELF. Just kidding but he looked a heck of a lot like him. Scarf, glasses and everything. There you have it. Spent a day at Hogwarts.

Okay we've seen some really cool miracles this week but I want to start with one that I didn't have time to write about last week that continued into this week! So last week we were heading over to a members house for a service project - we took the bus that was heading to Nice, not a normal bus we take. A lady gets on the bus and comes and sits by me so I strike up a conversation with her. We started talking about religion and she told me that growing up she had been basically raised by Catholic nuns and that she'll never forget everything they had done for her. She was starting to get emotional about it. She commended me for what I was doing! In the middle of our conversation I realized we were at the stop we needed to be and I didn't have a chance to even give her my number!!!! I was so bummed. We got off the bus and Sr. Skalka and I said a prayer that we would be able to see her again. We were on a bus heading to Nice so honestly the odds of seeing her again were extremely slim. But. Heavenly Father loves us a lot. We were on a bus later on heading over to an amis house and we were talking about Najat (thats the womans name) and I look over and THERE SHE IS ON THE BUS. I basically had a heart attack I was so stunned! Not only did we get to give her our number but we also got her number AND her sisters number who was with her!
Our latest billboard impersonation...

Miracle continued.... So yesterday while we were trying to get our last lessons to reach 20 lessons we decided to contact separately so we could cover more ground. While everyone Sr. Skalka stopped said yes to her everyone I tried to talk to said no!!! :( Then I had Najat come to my mind and I knew I needed to call her! I called and she picked up on like the second ring. We had a great conversation and I asked if I could pray with her. I said a prayer and when we said amen she was in tears on the other end. She told me that she knew that God put us in her life for a reason and that nothing is an accident and that she was so grateful that I had called because she is going through a really hard time. I testified how much God loved her and she told me she would love to meet with us this coming week!

Okay, backtrack to last Monday! After we had a lesson with Elizabete and Leony we headed to our bus to go to the church. Right before we got on we said a prayer that we would be able to teach someone on the bus. The bus was...super crowded....BUT IT DIDN'T STOP US. I went and asked this lady if I could sit by her and she told me that the seat next to her was soaking wet. Then she all of a sudden got this idea and told me "You know what? How about you sit on this bag of clothes I just bought!" I told her that was very nice but unnecessary but she insisted! So I sat next to her on her bag of new clothes and started talking to her about her family.

Rebecca Paya (my favorite person)
SIDE NOTE!!!!!! I forgot to tell you about this but President had this amazing revelation and we started something called "The Elijah Project" where we talk to EVERYONE about their families. Not necessarily geneology but trying to help them feel the spirit through the spirit of Elijah. Its been absolutely incredible the miracles we've seen!

Okay, back to my story about the lady on the bus.... we had an awesome conversation about her family and I could tell she felt the spirit! I said a prayer with her and then testified to her about the Plan of Salvation. She said that recently she's been wanting to change religions but she also doesn't want to leave her religion. I know God will prepare her and she'll join when she's ready. BUT WAIT. Meanwhile while I was teaching Lydia a lesson, Soeur Skalka was teaching HER DAUGHTER who was sitting across the aisle! Sr. Skalka gave her a BOM and everything. Prayer answered!!

Okay, one more cool miracle. So last week we set up a rdv to meet with a lady that we met in the park to talk about her family. Unfortunately she didn't show up. :( BUT we just knew that there was another lesson waiting for us somewhere in that park so we walked around and then decided to talk to this lady sitting there. We started asking her our family questionnaire and she told us that she has been all alone for several years and all of her family that she was close to had passed away. She said she still prays but now more than ever she has started losing her faith. She started to cry. Sr. Skalka and I sat down next to her and I put my arm around her as she told us things that I know she doesn't get to talk about to anyone. We were able to testify to her about the Plan of Salvation and that she would see her loved one's again thanks to Jesus Christ. She cried and thanked us for taking the time to be with her. We asked her if we could come meet with her another time and she said no. :( But then we said a prayer with her and when we closed it she said "You know what, I'll make you a promise. If my health is doing better 2 weeks from now I will call you and you can come over." Cool how the Spirit works huh?

Okay, really quick spiritual thought! This is something that President shared at Zone Conference that I really loved!

John 15:24-25

24 If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.
25 But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.
Isn't this wonderful? These scriptures actually give me a lot of comfort. It makes sense that the perfect person who lived on the earth would have to be subject to people hating him. The part that is comforting about it is that there was no reason for anyone to hate him. He only did good to all those he came in contact with. Now when I think of my own life as a missionary, when there are people who are mean to us or hate us (there are a lot fewer of those in Cannes than elsewhere in France... Cannes rocks.) I can know that they are hating without a cause! I can take comfort in knowing that the more good we do the more opposition we will face and the more like the Savior we will become.

Love you so much!!!
Can't believe Will... I mean Elder Everett.... Is a missionary!! Whattttttt
Have a great week!

Soeur Everett

P.S. I didn't give an update about Elizabete and Leony but they are doing SO WELL. They are definitely going to be baptized on March 14th! Keep them in your prayers!