Monday, April 20, 2015

"Prison." - Train Controller (Week 66)


"ELIZABETE AND LEONY GOT BAPTIZED! MY HEART JUST MELTED! I love you and miss you my precious companion!"

To which I replied:


What an amazing transfer... and look at what happened even after we weren't together anymore! So blessed.
Tartalette aux Framboises - Best thing I've ever tasted

Anyway back to the caption. So on Wednesday we had to get up at 530 am (ugghh) so we could to go District meeting all the way up in Albi! (It was gorgeous by the way - look at some of the pictures.) I forgot my Carte de Jeune which is basically a paper that allows us to get train tickets for cheaper. When the train controllers come to check our tickets they ask to see the Carte de Jeune. Guys there is like a huge fee they give you for not having it. When we got controlled on the way to Albi is when I realized that I didn't have my Carte de Jeune and I like had a panic attack haha. The guy kind of laughed and said it wasn't a big deal. On the way home I already knew I didn't have it with me... When the controller came by I tried my best to sound distressed and said "I'm so sorry I forgot my Carte de Jeune... I promise I have one! What do I do?" to which he replied "Prison." He didn't even say anything after that! He just walked away! The zone leaders died laughing.

Kebab..... Soeur Christensen convinced me. It was gross haha
We had a really cool miracle the other day. Well to start off I should tell you that I had something happen to my left heel randomly and on Thursday it was KILLING me. Everytime I took a step it sent a pain through my leg. So that wasn't fun... But whats even less fun is not working hard so we went porting. We spent like an hour and a half in a certain neighborhood and we had a few people answer our questionnaire and some good convos and some people say to come back but there wasn't anything amazing. BUT. When we had about 15 minutes before our bus we went to one last house. The lady answered and said she was really busy. We told her it was about the family and she said: "If its about how the family is sacred come in!" She let us in!!!!!!!!!!! We got in and saw her two children. One has downs syndrome. We asked her why the family was important to her and the conversation just flowed. It wasn't even a questionnaire anymore. She opened up about having problems with her husband because of their handicapped child (how he didn't want to deal with that) and she started crying. She told us she didn't have any of her family near her (they all live in a different country...can't remember where) and I think she might be really lonely. It was one of those moments when we felt like angels. I looked at my watch and realized we had like 4 minutes until our bus was gonna come so we hurried and set a return appointment and starting BOOKING IT to our bus. My heel starting yelling at me so we had to stop and we ended up missing the bus. :( But here's another miracle.
Awkward district picture

We had a RDV in about 30 minutes which was all the way on the other side of Montauban. There wasn't another bus for about an hour and it would've taken about an hour and a half to walk there. We decided we better start walking and make progress rather than just sitting there helpless. We started calling some people. No one answered. Then we got a call from Soeur Van Tonder. She just so happened to be out and driving and said she could come and get us in 10 minutes!!!!! She picked us up and we got to the RDV in time! (Soeur Van Tonder is incredible. She would do anything for us.)

Speaking of the Van Tonders, Frère Van Tonder got us a referral - well actually its a family! We are now teaching the Slepciks and the husband came to church on Sunday! We're hoping something will click and that they will want to be baptized!

Took this of the ZL's right after I got controlled...

Here's another cool miracle. After English Class on Thursday we were walking home and we run into this guy named Paul that we had taught a street lesson to the other day! We said hi to him and he introduced us to his friend that was sitting by him. We started just talking about normal missionary stuff and eventually we fixed a RDV with his friend for the next day. He showed up like 30 minutes early haha but we were there so it worked out! We were able to talk about the Book of Mormon and when we gave it to him he said merci like 8 times, he was so grateful! He told us that recently he hasn't been feeling happy and that he is really looking for the right path in his life and that he thinks he might find it here! (I know he'll find it here.)

At Soeur Fayol's house! So cute huh?

Bahaha ok so today we went to Toulouse for zone p-day. On the way home we basically had to run through every single metro to get to our train in time because we underestimated how much time we really needed...oops. Anyway, so we while we were waiting for a metro to come this man starts talking to us in English. At first we thought he was normal but then quickly realized that wasn't the case.... He started saying how he was a missionary too and then right before we got on the metro he grabbed my hand and kissed it and said "I'm so proud of you." weird

I am like totally out of time!!! I have less time today because we're actually about to go on a hike with Soeur Fayol!! (SO EXCITED EEEE!!!)

I wanted to just quickly talk about McKay. When I saw that we had a missed call from President this was not the news I was expecting. My first reaction was shock and grief - its interesting how you can love someone so much when he can't even talk to you. Ever since I was a little girl I have memories of McKay. He always brought a special feeling of love to everyone he was around. We were blessed to be with someone who was perfect even if it was only for 14 years. I will miss him but like Will said in his email, he is finally at peace now. Here is one of my favorite quotes from Elder Holland:

Zone Basketball

"I testify of the holy Resurrection, that unspeakable cornerstone gift in the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ! With the Apostle Paul, I testify that that which was sown in corruption will one day be raised in incorruption and that which was sown in weakness will ultimately be raised in power.  I bear witness of that day when loved ones whom we knew to have disabilities in mortality will stand before us glorified and grand, breathtakingly perfect in body and mind. What a thrilling moment that will be! I do not know whether we will be happier for ourselves that we have witnessed such a miracle or happier for them that they are fully perfect and finally “free at last.”

Love you! Have a wonderful week!

Soeur Everett

Thursday, April 16, 2015

"Hello, is this the angels?" - Fr. Van Tonder (Week 65)

Coucou famille!!! Such a good week.


Elodie's baptism!!!! It happened!! We had a couple things come up this week that definitely could've prevented it from happening... but in the end it all worked out! She is the cutest ever. Today she took us grocery shopping so we wouldn't have to lug huge heavy sacs of groceries home. She's going to make such a great member. She is always looking to help others and to improve! I love her so much. So the night before the baptism I was praying and I had this impression come to me that said: "Why aren't you singing?" I had figured that I didn't want to volunteer myself so I never asked. But after that I knew that it was a prompting and that I should at least ask Elodie. I texted and asked if Soeur Christensen and I could sing and she was so excited about it! She told us how nice that was and that she would love to have us sing. Although we barely practiced it ended up really well and the spirit was strong. Glad we did it. :)

This is where we did our studies this morning.:-)
I'm not sure if you remember Théophile but he's the one who is 21 and grew up Buddhist. This week we had a RDV just with him when we explained the Book of Mormon more clearly. Everything we tell him he soaks in and he is so committed to act! He told us he will be at church on Sunday (he's on vacances in the north of France this week). I can just see him joining the church and then going on a mission...keep him in your prayers!

Remember how we had Zone Conference in Montauban last week? Well while a huge herd of missionaries were walking to the church they started talking to this man named Jean Renée. He was super impressed by so many young people giving up time in their lives because of their dedication to God. He gave Soeur Staples (WHOO!) his number which they passed over to us! We got to meet with him this week and it was amazing. We told him about our beliefs and more importanting WHY we believe the way we do. He also loved hearing the conversion story of the member we had with us. At the end we knelt in prayer and afterwards he told us that he had chills. He thanked us for the RDV telling us that it was "un moment de grace" and that he would love to meet with us again. Super huge blessing.

The cookie catastrophe.

Alright now its time for the explanation of the photo. I call it: "The Cookie Catastrophe." Earlier during the week Soeur Christensen and I had made DELICIOUS no-bake cookies and we were basically obsessed with them. We decided we should make some for Elodie's baptism since they were so good! The day of the baptism while we were doing weekly planning Soeur Christensen is making cookies. She puts all the rest of the oats that we had into them and then laid them out to cool. We realized after about a half hour that they weren't going to harden... we literally just had a bunch of goo globs as cookies. Even though they tasted good there was no way we could give them to anyone... so we ate some and threw the rest out. :( So we went to the store to get some more ingredients. We made our round 2 batch of cookies and put in the rest of the oats we had and realized that it probably wasn't enough. We panicked. We dropped everything and ran out the apartment to monoprix. We both forgot our name tags...oops. We paid and ran home - the people who were sitting in the café by our house probably thought we stole them...maybe it was good we forgot the name tags ;) haha just kidding. We poured in more oats then laid them out again. (This is when I took the picture.) We both felt sick from eating so many cookies so I cut some veggies and we laid for 3 minutes before running to the church for the baptism. After the baptism we tasted our cookies. THEY WERE AWFUL. They tasted like straight oats. But for some odd reason (maybe it was a miracle that they didn't taste them right) everyone thought they were amazing. Elodie's brother ate like half of them. (Haha this whole story was pointless, désolé!!)

I just love Montauban... it's so cute.

Okay here is a really cool experience. So this Sunday there was a HUGE marathon in Montauban. I have never seen so many people here!!! But because our church is right in the middle of Centre Ville all the roads leading to it were closed. That meant that only the people that lived close enough to walk could come. There were only 10 of us! The night before me and Soeur Christensen were thinking there were only going to be us and Aurélie and Fr. Caplan - Sr. C said jokingly "And then Fr. Caplan will pass the Sacrament to himself and then tell himself he can be seated." I STILL laugh when I think about that! Hahaha. Luckily there were a few more people that that - but barely. This is the smallest Sacrament Meeting I've ever attended and it made it so special. While we partook of the Sacrament I could feel the Spirit so strongly testifying of the importance of it! The reason why we even went to the church on Sunday was solely for the Sacrament. It was cool to ponder about that.

Here's some pics from my exchange in Toulouse!
Also at church we heard testimonies from the members about them doing missionary work!!! Aurélie shared a cool experience how last week 3 members from the branch had the same revelation at just about the same time. They wanted to have an FHE for the singles in the area! They were able to invite a bunch of non-members to join them and it ended up being a huge missionary tool! (Isn't this great??? The branch is starting to get moving!)

Alright I promised Dad that I would share some of my thoughts of recognizing the Spirit. Soeur Christensen and I had a super great discussion on this today. I know in my life when I have had important decisions to make such as moving to California, going on a mission, coming home from my mission, going BACK on my mission (haha), and deciding when to go back to school and everything I haven't necessarily had a huge WOW moment when I was hit in the face with an answer. I think more often the Spirit comes by giving us peace about a decision we are facing. Everything just feels right. We can go on with a certain decision without being stressed about it or wondering "what if I had done something else?" I also find that everything is more clear in the temple - which is why I'm planning to go every week so that I can stay close to the Spirit. To make my explanation more simple here is a quote I love from President Gordon B. Hinckley: "If you are doing the right thing and if you are living the right way, you will know in your heart what the Spirit is saying to you." That's a pretty great promise. I think that sums it up! When we're living the right way, spiritual promptings will be clear. (I'm going to add in another quote from Preach My Gospel that talks about receiving revelation.)

More Toulouse
“[A person may have] a strong desire to be led by the Spirit of the Lord but … unwisely extends that desire to the point of wanting to be led in all things. A desire to be led by the Lord is a strength, but it needs to be accompanied by an understanding that our Heavenly Father leaves many decisions for our personal choices. Personal decision making is one of the sources of the growth we are meant to experience in mortality. Persons who try to shift all decision making to the Lord and plead for revelation in every choice will soon find circumstances in which they pray for guidance and don’t receive it. For example, this is likely to occur in those numerous circumstances in which the choices are trivial or either choice is acceptable.

“We should study things out in our minds, using the reasoning powers our Creator has placed within us. Then we should pray for guidance and act upon it if we receive it. If we do not receive guidance, we should act upon our best judgment. Persons who persist in seeking revelatory guidance on subjects on which the Lord has not chosen to direct us may concoct an answer out of their own fantasy or bias, or they may even receive an answer through the medium of false revelation” (“Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall,” Ensign, Oct. 1994, 13–14).

Ok that's all for this week! Pray that we will find miracles and find those people here who are waiting for us! I can feel big things coming these last 2 months. Time to go hard!

Love you!
Soeur Ev

Monday, April 6, 2015

"Just being around you is making my hair curlier!" - Sr. Christensen (Week 64)

It's true. Her hair has literally gotten curlier since I've been here....

did morning studies here one day this week... made it a bit harder to look at my scriptures ;)
Great week!! (But aren't they all?) I actually have less time than usual because we were out with members and Elodie alllll day long! But thats ok I will try to get through everything as quick as I can!

our ami Marc took us around the city Cahors - super gorgeous
First of all, wasn't General Conference AMAZING!? I especially loved the prophet's talk (although I'm sure we all did). I know that I have found clarity and peace as I've been in the temple and I can't wait to be there again. I loved when he quoted the young man who was about to go back on his mission when he said that after that experience "I knew not that all would be well" - isn't that so comforting. In attending the temple we can truly come to feel that all will be well in life. Being in the temple just puts everything into perspective. I would hope that those of you who DO have the opportunity to go often to DO IT. I know that when I get back that is at the top of my list of goals.

look at this super cool bridge in Cahors...
 A couple news events... We have a new engagé! His name is James. He is absolutely wonderful... We had asked a member to come and teach with us (a young adult in the ward who is currently preparing for his mission). We hadn't realized that James wasn't a native French speaker and therefore needed the lessons given in English... Poor Gabriel was caught totally off-guard. It was amazing though hearing him bear his testimony of the gospel and the importance of baptism in English. It took a lot of humility for him to do that and we were all so grateful! James told us that he didn't know why he ever stopped meeting with the missionaries - because he liked our church so much better than his own. He asked us to pray for his wife that she would want to come and join him here with us! Cool right??

this is where we live. so cute huh?
making fries... we're so healthy
Remember when I told you about that man that randomly came to church my first Sunday here with his cousin from Toulon? Well we FINALLY got to meet with him! I thought maybe he was ignoring our calls but turns out he had just been in Paris visiting family and he was super willing to fix a rdv! We gave him a Book of Mormon and he committed to read it - he even told us that his cousin had given him a book on the Restoration and that he had enjoyed that and that he would definitely read this one! He took us on a tour of his ADORABLE city named Cahors. I love love loved it. It had a super old (1100s??? check me on that) that was gorgeous - I mean look at the photos!! He's a kind man. He's not the most ready person I've ever taught but I think with time and love from the branch he will soften! He definitely saw the difference in the life of his cousin when he joined the church, so that will play a big role in his conversion I think.

I ATE ESCARGOT!!!!!! (it actually was pretty good......)
Ok break from amis for a funny story.

I also ate cuisses de grenouille (frog legs)
On Saturday I went to the room to take my nap. Yes mother, I still take my 20 minute naps faithfully. :) So I had been "asleep" for all of 30 seconds when I hear Sr. Christensen chuckle beside me. I flip over and open my eyes and she had been crawling through the whole that separates our bedroom and kitchen in hopes not to wake me up so she could grab her journal! She was obviously never going to be able to reach her journal from all the way up there but she was so determined to not disturb me. She couldn't take the hilarity (is that a word?) of the situation and lost her composure. Not quite a ninja yet. ;) This describes her personality so well.

Let's see... Oh Marthe! This week she asked us if she could have another copy of the Book of Mormon because she wanted to give it to her daughter! WHAT. She's so adorable! She lovessss the Book of Mormon. But we really need the Spirit to help soften her to accept teachings that don't agree with the ones she has previously been taught. I have so much hope for her though.

We went and saw a castle in Bruniquel today! 
Elodie is sooooo great. I love her immensely and I've only known her for 3 weeks!! Funny how that happens. She is a sweet-heart and she is going to be a great addition to this branch. I'll add more on her next week when I tell about her baptism. :)

Ok I'll end with another story...

Ma collègue :)

This week we had zone conference and we had the STL's sleeping over at our apartment. When we went for our morning run we left the keys at home because we decided it would be dumb to lock them into the apartment... What we forgot was that we wouldn't have a way to get IN to our building after our run... We didn't have our phone and our buzzer to our apartment doesn't work. Sr. Christensen goes and grabs pebbles and starts chucking them up to our window in hopes they'll hear. After a couple minutes of that I realized that praobably wasn't going to work haha. I scanned the streets and there was NO ONE. I decided to say a prayer (we had forgotten up to this point...). Then I see this man walking a bit away. I shouted and ran to him (hahah realizing now how weird I probably seemed...) I asked him if we could use his phone. (Luckily Sr. C has our number memorized.) We called and no answer... :( Sr C went back to throwing pebbles. Then our window opens and there is Soeur Koyle!!!!!! She said she heard our phone ring and got nervous so she felt like she should look out the window (wish it would've been because of the rock throwing...haha). The guy even called a bit later to make sure we got in ok. :) I love Montauban.

Ok thats about it for today! I love you!
Soeur Ev

Cute little village of Bruniquel!
This is Nohlan - Elodie's baby

Thursday, April 2, 2015

"I love you too...and not because I have to say it back..." - Sr. Christensen (Week 63)

Soeur Christensen
Well.... I'm deciding how to start this e-mail. So last Monday I woke up with the plague (just what I call it...when in reality it was just this weird stomach bug) so I had to call Soeur Povar (the mission nurse). Whenever I call her she always makes some joke like "Ok wait a second I need to sit down to brace myself. Ok now you can tell me what's wrong." Hahaha. Anyway she said I needed to stay in the apartment for 48 hours. Well the 48 hours passed and Soeur Christensen wakes up on Wednesday morning and HAS THE SAME BUG. We just kind of laughed about it. So yeah... 4 entire days in the apartment. But wait until I tell you what happened the 3 days we were out. It was as if we had been out the whole week with all the amazing things that happened.

Before I get into that I need to describe my angelic companion a little better (mom's request). Soeur Christensen is from Edmonton, Canada. She turns 21 the last day of the transfer so we're the same age! She is suuuuper smart and learns French really quickly. She is sporty (she like traveled the world playing sports...) and she loves snow? I'm not sure what to say haha. She's amazing.. like the most patient and kind and loving person in the entire world. She could be the prophet's wife one day that's how great she is. I've been blessed with the best companions.

Double Chocolate Chunk Brownies
Ok this is cool. Get ready. So while we were in the apartment with nothing to do for hours on end I was sitting there reading my scriptures and I get to the part when Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah are having a reunion after they had been apart on missions for several years (Alma 27). This is right after Alma collapses to the ground of joy - love that part. ;) In verses 25-26 it said: "And Alma also related unto them his conversion, with Ammon and Aaron, and his brethren...And it came to pass that it did cause great joy among them." I read this and I immediately received inspiration to something I had been praying about ever since I met the branch. Let me back-track a bit. The members here in this branch are absolutely amazing! But when I got here I just felt like there was something weighing on them, there was just something amiss my first Sunday. They needed something to light a fire under them and motivate them and reactivate their excitement for the gospel (can you kind of picture what I mean?) When I read these scriptures it hit me so clearly. They needed to share their conversion stories with one another! Alma and the sons of Mosiah all knew each others conversions stories... I mean, they were together when it happened! But even still they had so much joy in sharing their testimonies! After this initial revelation, the revelation and miracles and unfolding of the biggest miracle happened little by little.
Branch President's daughter. Cutest French girl ever!

We got a call from our DMB (ward mission leader) on Friday saying that he had just gotten a call telling him that the missionaries would be in charge of the lesson for the 5th Sunday. WHAT. Answer to prayers. As we prayed and then sat and discussed what we should do everything just came together one thing after another.

During our lesson we decided to not talk a lot and let the members and Spirit do most of the talking. We had 3 members come up and share their conversion stories (this part was powerful). Then I shared with them that scripture I read and told them about my revelation. I invited them to all write out their conversion stories and testimonies and that afterwards we would compile them and share them with one another! Then we read a part of one of the best talks I've ever read (found this while I was sick as well...led by the Spirit once again). Here's the link to it. You have to watch this. Everyone needs to watch this!!!!

There were people in tears (including me and my companion when we bore our testimonies at the end). This is one of my favorite experiences of my mission. It's hard to explain how amazing it was in words. I can see the fire being lit to the members excitement and its all thanks to the inspiration that Heavenly Father blessed us with after fervent prayers!

Soeur Gaigne is like a gourmet chef...
Ok anyway... :)

Elodie is doing wonderfully! She is adorable. I think she has the most motivation in her conviction to be baptized than anyone I've ever taught. She knows what a blessing the gospel is and she understands the importance and sacredness of the covenant she will be making. I love her so much!

I wish I had time to go into depth and tell the stories of everything that happened but I'm gonna have to pick and choose here!!! We got a new engagé! Her name is Faith. She has 4 kids and her husband is currently in Spain working. He should be getting back to France in like a week or two?? Then it will be easier for her to take the kids to church. We're going to see if we can recruit some members. She is great! (Soeur Christensen killed this lesson. She definitely helped Faith to feel the Spirit!)

Ok brace yourselves...this is awesome. So we were able to go to English Class this week! We had a member there (who is an English teacher) and then 3 young adults. One of them had come before and brought his brother this time! At the end of the class Théophile starts asking about the church. Our member Aurelie basically gives a super simple restoration (she used to be a missionary) and asks them if they wanted to just have a religious discussion another time. ALL 3 AGREED. We set up a RDV for last night. Théophile and Vanessa came and we had an incredible RDV... Both of them expressed to us that they are in the middle of researching different churches to try and find where they fit in best. Aurelie bore super powerful testimony to them and they hung on her every word. When we showed Théophile the Book of Mormon he asked how he could get one of them. He was thrilled when we told him it was free. He said he wanted to read it and was going to come to church to see how it all worked. (Vanessa expressed very similar feelings.) Both are coming to General Conference next week! So cool huh???

We did a ton in 3 days. We squeezed everything we possibly could into the time we had! At the end of the week we were just amazed at how the Lord had blessed us. The work is on fire here. I can honestly say that I love Montauban! I've been praying to love it because I really miss Cannes. But there are people here that mean a lot to me already.

Ok well pray for me to stay healthy! Haha just kidding, I think I should be good now. :)


Soeur Ev