Tuesday, May 26, 2015

"C'est fatigant de gagner" - Jonas (Week 70)

Best patisserie of my whole life... mmmmmmmmm
I can't believe time is going by so quickly!!! I've got two weeks... let me assure you that I plan to make them count. I can already tell that my mission is going to end with a bang.

This week started off really hard. We'd been having a lot of issues with contacting. We felt like we would try to stop like 100 people in a day and only 5 would talk to us. I've never had such a hard time with contacting!!! It was weird...but later we could tell that it was a test of our faith. During goal-setting for weekly planning we decided to try to exercise more faith. By the end of the week we were seeing miracles like CRAZY. Not to mention people finally started talking to us!! Goes to show that Heavenly Father is in control of everything, not us.

This is Franceska (Ladislav's daughter) - isn't she the cutest!?
We started off with an exchange with our lovely STL's. They are both way more mature than their age shows...(not to mention one goes to Stanford and the other Harvard). I love love love them. On Tuesday I went to the back side of a boulangerie for the first time! It was super cool... They had a mixing bowl the size of a baptismal font and there were like 500 baguettes scattered everywhere. It was like heaven... (I'll have to tell you the story of how we got back there another time...) but the lady wouldn't even let us buy a baguette in the end because it was closed. :( torture haha

So we have some cool new people to teach and some really cool miracles that happened this week. I'm just gonna have to start diving in the best I can!

I think I told you about Thimoté the other week? The one who we stopped in the road and he told us that he had just prayed to be guided in his walk that evening and then met us?? Well we had a real lesson with him this week at the chapel and it was one of the most spiritual lessons I've ever had teaching the restoration. We watched the video and I had chills all over and even teared up (and I've seen that movie like 100 times). Soeur Sutcliffe told me that he was just smiling the entire time. At the end he told us that the Spirit had given him the confirmation that the church is true!!!! He told us he wants to be baptized!!!!! EEEE

Soeur Hoxy's sister!
Also this week we met with Jonas! (The husband of an inactive in the ward named Linda - both Tahitian.) We ate home-made ice cream sandwiches - it was their first time and they found the whole thing hilarious. Then we played the weirdest game ever where we made animal noises and actions and whatnot and for some reason all of us were just DYING of laughter. I haven't laughed so hard in such a long time!!! After the funnest RDV ever, we gave them our spiritual thought and we talked about the 2000 stripling warriors and about parenting. (Linda is pregnant.) At one point in the lesson Jonas told us that he wanted his children to be baptized in our church. We asked him if he saw himself getting baptized one day and he said yes!!!!! Linda gave him a look and was like "ah bon???" I don't think she even knew that. How cool is that?? Also she came to church the second week in a row!!!! (She hadn't been for a few months.)


Ok here's a strange story for you. So I have this cold and I have to blow my nose all the time right? Well since I blow my nose a lot I've been getting nose bleeds like several times a day (sorry this is gross). On Thursday we had planned to go and pass by Soeur Hoxy (an inactive we're working with). Just as we're about to get there my nose starts bleeding like crazy!! We go and knock on her door... no answer. Again. No answer. Again. No answer. Usually we would've left by now but I really needed to take care of my nose and Soeur Sutcliffe really wanted to get in so she pounds on the door as if its the police. THEN SHE ANSWERED. The first thing I did was show her my tissue full of blood and asked if I could use her bathroom hahaha. I honestly don't think we would've gotten in otherwise. She told us later that she usually doesn't open the door when she has people over but when she heard the loud thumping she thought it sounded serious haha. And guess what? HER SISTER WAS THERE. We had a lesson in the presence and her sister was asking us alllll sorts of questions and really opening up to us! We set another RDV to go get chinese together next weekend! Who would've thought that a bloody nose would ever be a blessing??

I love me some Slovakian food (thats Frère Van Tonder next to me :)
Alright... here's the best part of the week. Earlier during the week we went and met with Ladislav and had a serious talk about baptism and whatnot. He told us he really wanted to focus on his wife at the moment and that there was just too much going on. We decided to move the baptism back to July until after the baby was born and things settled down a bit. About 2 days later we get a call from Fr. Van Tonder asking us if we could come see him at the church for a minute so we could talk about Ladislav. He told us he had just been over to his house and that after having met with us he prayed and prayed about the date he should get baptized and he told Fr. Van Tonder that he didn't want to wait any longer. He wanted to get baptized as soon as possible!!!! HES GETTING BAPTIZED ON JUNE 6TH!!!! But wait. There's more. For the first time in months.......his inactive mother-in-law, his wife, Thomas, Franceska, and Ladislav ALL CAME TO CHURCH TOGETHER!!!!!!!!!! We just about cried!! Huge miracle. And get this. Apparently the little kids were the ones that woke up the parents so they could all go to church together. It was amazing.

Soeur Sutcliffe likes Slovakian food too
I'm seriously so stoked about how everything is going right now. I couldn't be happier with the work and what we get to do! I feel so much love for and from the branch. :)

Ok so I found a cool scripture this week while I was reading the New Testament. Its Mark 7:15

There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.

I love them
I've been thinking about the things that I say. Sometimes I wonder if maybe I complain too much especially knowing how much the Lord has blessed me in my life. And I also wonder if maybe sometimes I could be more patient with those I love and be kinder to them. I think this is something we could all probably work on. Let's try to be a little kinder this week!

Je vous aime!
Soeur Ev

PS Pray for Ladislav!!! Satan isn't going to ease up at all trying to keep him from baptism so lets really pray for him to have the strength to make it all the way to June 6th!

Selfie with Franceska
Our favorite street. :)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

"Don't hate me cause I'm beautiful" - Soeur Sutcliffe (Week 69)

les trois amigos
We literally say this to each other about 5 times a day (I don't even think that's an exaggerated estimate haha). She is doing wonders for my health and fitness.... I will thank her when I get home and get straight in my swimsuit to go swimming. ;)

What a strange week!!!! I guess I'll just say right off the bat that I've seen yet another priesthood blessing miracle. This week we went on an exchange with Perpignan (after we had just been on exchange with the stls - so tonsss of exchanges this week). It was so fun seeing Soeur Christensen again! And I got to do an exchange with my grand-daughter Soeur Bolanos - she is so cute. I woke up on Wednesday morning and Soeur Sutcliffe and I went on our normal run. We got back from the run and my stomach was feeling a bit strange but I went ahead with studies. During companion study my head started spinning and I asked if we could run to the grocery store and get me some bottled water. When I got home from the store I thought my head was going to explode. I couldn't even drink water. I went to one of the sisters beds and laid down. When I woke up I literally felt like I had mono again. And not just every day mono but like when I was extremely sick with mono. I wanted to cry from how much pain I was in. Obviously we stayed in the whole day and Heavenly Father blessed me with the strength to make it home to Montauban the following day and then I died again. Nurse Povar had me on strict demands to not do certain things and I was obedient... obviously I wanted to be better as well. I swallowed my pride and asked the zone leaders if they would come to Montauban and give me a blessing. I was promised quick recovery and that I would be able to do all the work I needed to do. From that day to now it feels like night and day. I feel like I'm completely healed now! I just have such a strong testimony of the power of priesthood blessings.

Well because I was inside for a total of 4 days there's not a whole ton to report.... (I feel like this is such a common thing that I write in emails haha ugh). BUT its been amazing that Heavenly Father has been doing all the work that we couldn't do while being inside in other ways. We have been receiving referrals like CRAZY. We got a referral from Paris missionaries, 2 referrals from Soeur Fayol, a referral of an entire family from Frère Dieutre, and a couple friends of Elodie! We've also had quite a few members approach us saying how they've given such and such a friend a Book of Mormon and they're waiting to see how things go and that they hope to introduce them to us! Its been so amazing! The work is really moving forward in Montauban right now!

The lovely Soeur Stapley
Also. While I was on exchange in Toulouse, Soeur Sutcliffe and Soeur James went and saw Linda (less active...hasn't been for awhile) and her non-member husband Jonas. I had only met Linda so this was our first contact with him. Apparently the lesson was amazing and Jonas was super engaged the whole time. They agreed to every commitment that was given to them (praying together, reading the Book of Mormon together, and coming to church on Sunday) and guess what... THEY KEPT EVERY ENGAGEMENT. The branch was soooo excited to see them there on Sunday. Huge spark. We feel really strongly that he will be baptized. (They're expecting a baby in about 6 months so now is such a good time for him to learn more.) So cool huh?

I've missed bagels and cream cheese...
I wish I had more to share but that's about it...haha. We've seen other cool little miracles but these are the main things. Next week I will hopefully have more. :)

Ladislav update. The baptism is technically on right now....but him and his family need LOTS of prayers at the moment. Especially Ladislav. He seems to be really stressed at the moment. I don't think his wife is doing very well and she should be delivering in just a couple weeks - ahh! Baby Denis!!! We're so excited. :)

Voilà quoi.

Chocolate muffin in Narbonne

So I got the conference ensign that you sent to me!! MERCI BEAUCOUP. I've been really loving it. On Sunday before going to church I read Uchtdorf's talk: "The Gift of Grace." It was the perfect thing to read right before going to take the Sacrament.

I remember having read the passage of scripture that Uchtdorf quoted about the woman who washed Christ's feet with her tears and hair and expensive oil and when Christ responded to Simons thoughts of how this woman was unworthy to be doing such things. I love this passage:

Perceiving his thoughts, Jesus turned to Simon and asked a question. “There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: … one owed five hundred pence, … the other fifty.
“And when they [both] had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?”
Simon answered that it was the one who was forgiven the most.

Outstanding in our field
Then Jesus taught a profound lesson: “Seest thou this woman? … Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.”
Which of these two people are we most like?
Are we like Simon? Are we confident and comfortable in our good deeds, trusting in our own righteousness? Are we perhaps a little impatient with those who are not living up to our standards? Are we on autopilot, going through the motions, attending our meetings, yawning through Gospel Doctrine class, and perhaps checking our cell phones during sacrament service?
Or are we like this woman, who thought she was completely and hopelessly lost because of sin?
Do we love much?
Selfie in Toulouse
Do we understand our indebtedness to Heavenly Father and plead with all our souls for the grace of God?
When we kneel to pray, is it to replay the greatest hits of our own righteousness, or is it to confess our faults, plead for God’s mercy, and shed tears of gratitude for the amazing plan of redemption?
Salvation cannot be bought with the currency of obedience; it is purchased by the blood of the Son of God.

I love this! Do we really remember constantly how much Christ and Heavenly Father have truly done for us? Do we love much?

Have an amazing week! Pray for us to find success these last 3 weeks!

Soeur Ev

We're so french
A stroll in the French countryside
First sunburn of the season

Monday, May 18, 2015

"Who even are you? Incredible hulk?" - Soeur Sutcliffe (Week 68)

Coucou ma famille! It was wonderful to be on Skype together, especially seeing how well Will is doing and how happy he seems. I love you so much!

Dad commented on this but I thought it was super funny as well. I loved the reaction Will had on his face when I said that we had dropped pretty much all of our amis this week because we didn't think they were progressing. His face was like "how could anyone willfully stop seeing someone who was willing to invite you in and let you teach them???" hahaha. You'll see Elder Everett. ;)

my gorgeous new zealand hippie companion
It was a tad bit of an exaggeration when we said we dropped all of our amis. We still have a few good ones! Namely the Slepcik family.

So during the week we stopped by to see how they were doing (usually we fix a rdv through our member who is friends with them) and Ladislav told us that his wife had just spent a day and a night in the hospital and that she had just gotten back about 20 minutes prior. He didn't tell us any details and neither did the member so I assume all of the problems going on are really private but I'm sure that they are also super important. On Sunday Ladislav didn't show up to church so Fr. Van Tonder left and went to see if everything was ok. He got back and told us that things were not going well and that he thought the baptism was too much amidst all of these problems. I spoke with Fr. Van Tonder about how I felt that tempation and trials would arise no matter what date he fixed but that obviously it was up to him and that we would pray for him.

Outstanding in my field
This morning Fr. Van Tonder called and told us that he had went to visit Ladislav that morning and that he had said that he was praying and speaking with God about his date and that he felt that he should stick to the original date and keep pressing forward! But he asked for lots and lots of prayers because times are really hard. Please pray for him and their family. And that his wife's pregancy will be ok.

This week we spent more time than usual with Elodie and we had so much fun together!!!! Soeur Sutcliffe is wonderful at making people feel at ease and our relationship with Elodie has grown so much since she has been here! We went to a Chinese buffet and both me and Soeur Sutcliffe at the end thought we were going to explode.... it was yummy but we ate WAY too much. (The morning after was the day I ran 30 minutes straight for exercise hahaha.) Elodie is doing WONDERFULLY. She has progressed so much since I've met her and her family has noticed as well! Its wonderful what the gospel and especially the Atonement can do for people.

Soeur Sutcliffe and I

So the other night we were contacting and met this really cool guy named Thimoté! We had a lesson with him right away and he took the Book of Mormon! He told us that as he was leaving work he prayed to be led where to go and that he usually didn't walk that way and then he met us! Cool huh? We're meeting with him Friday. :) Anyway as we were walking back from meeting him Soeur Sutcliffe sees these huge islander-looking men walk into a restaurant by our house. We decided we'd better eat there so we could meet them haha. We talked for a couple minutes (Soeur Sutcliffe sparked them so good) and then we ate our meal together!!! It was so cool! We literally were in this nice restaurant and then asked to eat with random people. So fun.

Sorry my email is going to be super short this week. Read this wonderful talk. There's especially one quote that I love and quote super frequently which I'll paste in my email as well. :)

"Isn’t it true that we often get so busy? And, sad to say, we even wear our busyness as a badge of honor, as though being busy, by itself, was an accomplishment or sign of a superior life.

Is it?

I think of our Lord and Exemplar, Jesus Christ, and His short life among the people of Galilee and Jerusalem. I have tried to imagine Him bustling between meetings or multitasking to get a list of urgent things accomplished.

I can’t see it.

Instead I see the compassionate and caring Son of God purposefully living each day. When He interacted with those around Him, they felt important and loved. He knew the infinite value of the people He met. He blessed them, ministered to them. He lifted them up, healed them. He gave them the precious gift of His time."

I love you!
Soeur Everett

Monday, May 4, 2015

"Soyons fou" - Frédérique Tomasin (Week 67)

Elizabete and Leony got baptized!!!
Okay, prepare yourselves....this email is going to get absolutely crazy. I can't even control myself I'm going to have to start with the best story of the week. This is definitely in my top 5 miracles of my entire mission.

I'm not sure how much I've told you about the Slepcik family (if anything). They are a Slovakian family who have lived here for a little more than 5 years. The wife's mother is actually a member! So this family has always known the church but never wanted to be baptized. I knew just a little bit about them since Fr. Van Tonder gave us the down-low. I decided that I wanted to extend a baptismal invitation and see what they said (even though Fr. Van Tonder knew that Ladislav didn't understand the authority of our baptism). I had prayed about it and I discussed it with Soeur Christensen a bit last transfer so I just went for it in our lesson on Tuesday. It was literally a disaster. Ladislav was super offended that everytime missionaries come the first thing they want to know is why he's not baptized in our church and he kept repeating that he had already been baptized! We tried to calm it down a bit and in the end we just gave him a sticky note with the date we wanted him to pray for and said we would leave it between him and God. The rest of the family didn't really respond to the question.. anyway, it all just seemed kind of like a failure.

Soeur Sutcliffe's family sent her face masks :)


The next day we were walking in ville and for some reason felt like we should go to the church. Fr. Van Tonder was there doing some stuff on the computer. We started talking to him about Ladislav. Ok get ready. While the Slepciks and Fr. Van Tonder were cleaning the church that morning Ladislav had told Fr. Van Tonder that he couldn't sleep the night before because he was pondering about the baptismal date and talking to God. After literally praying all night he heard God tell him that he needed to forget the past and leave it behind him and start new. Before Fr. Van Tonder responded he went to his bag and go out a bible in Slovakian (he hasn't read the bible in 5 years because he didn't have one here in France and hasn't been able to find one.) Ladislav was appparently happier than he's ever seen him. He told Fr. Van Tonder that this was the confirmation he needed to know that he really did need to get baptized. HE IS GETTING BAPTIZED ON JUNE 6TH!!!!! He told us in our next RDV with him that now that God has told him to be baptized that nothing and no one is going to keep him from getting baptized. It's been FIVE YEARS that he's refused to get baptized! God lives and answers prayers! I cried when I heard this and we immediately knelt in a prayer of gratitude with Fr. Van Tonder. Pray for this wonderful family!

So when I first got to Montauban I emailed Soeur Caldwell and asked her who she thought I should visit. She told me that there was a wonderful French family (the Tomasins) who she had taught when she was here. I asked the branch about them and Jérémie told us that he knows them really well and used to take the sisters once a week out to see them! We organized it so we could go together and just drop by and see what happened.... We got there (with his grandma as well) and Frédérique was outside and him and Jérémie had an awesome reunion! (Its been like a year.) In the meantime....they had a new baby haha! I think when they accepted a baptismal date in the past the temptation got really crazy and they let the church go. :( It was amazing in the rdv because I could tell how prepared they really are and that they are most definitely going to be baptized!!! They have 4 children and love each other so much! They are absolutely wonderful! I can't wait to start working with them.

My babies! at mission conference

Subject line: When we got inside Frédérique offered us something to drink and we were going back and forth between different cirops (it makes water flavored) and juices and whatnot and eventually Jérémie is like "ok lets do the raspberry cirop" and Frédérique is like "oui soyons fou" (yeah lets go crazy!) I laughed for so long.

Remember last week how I told you about Patrice?? Well we had a RDV with him this week! It was absolutely amazing.... He has been prepared. He shared some stories with us about meeting missionaries in the past and he says that every time he is having trials in his life he somehow comes in contact with the church! He described himself as a "sheep without a fold" and he came to church!!!!! We'll keep working with him!

We went on an adventure
I just have a quick story that will make mom really proud of me. :) So we were at break-the-fast with the branch yesterday and Soeur Yonnet comes up to me and asks me if she could have some of my water. At first I was confused but then she told me that tap water was undrinkable and she preferred filtered or bottled water. I asked her how she knew mine was filtered or bottled and she said "I know you." Hahaha. I tried to warn my district last transfer but no one will listen to me! I do what I can I guess. :)

Okay, one last story since there's time. :) Let me preface this a bit. So Soeur Sutcliffe is SUPER into health and working out. We work out so hard in the morning and hard at night as well....I'm going to be so buff by the time I get home hahaha. Anyway so last night as we were laying in bed with the lights off we started talking about I don't even know what and then I look over and she is literally doing ab workouts IN BED!! She is crazy!!!! Hahahaha I love her.

Okay, here is my short little spiritual thought for the day.

Soeur Sutcliffe made this single muffin out of thin air
"In the end, the number of prayers we say may contribute to our happiness, but the number of prayers we answer may be of even greater importance. Let us open our eyes and see the heavy hearts, notice the loneliness and despair; let us feel the silent prayers of others around us, and let us be an instrument in the hands of the Lord to answer those prayers." - Dieter F. Uchtdorf

I love this quote!! There is nothing better than being an instrument in the Lord's hands to answer someone's prayer. Let's turn out so more this week.

Have a great week! Can't wait to talk for Mothers Day!


Soeur Ev
It was raining, so we had our picnic indoors