Tuesday, June 25, 2013

France here I come!

Sœur Berge and one of her teachers Frère Smith

Sœur Berge and one of her teachers Sœur Judd!

Dear famille et amis,
So this week was a really cool week. Guess who we got to hear from? Elder Robert C Gay! Way cool! He gave a great talk and I went and shook his hand afterwards and told him it wasn't the first time I shook his hand. Really neat experience.
I can't believe my time here at the MTC is coming to an end. I've made so many wonderful friends and created so many amazing experiences, but I'm not sad it's over. I'm just getting so excited that my time to change lives is finally here.
We leave here Monday at 11:15.  We're taking the Front Runners up to SLC airport and our 10 hour flight departs around 5 I think. So I'll probably call sometime around 1-3 utah time (3-6 your time?)
I got your package! Thank you so much! I loved it :) Also add Kristen Judd on my facebook. She's one of my instructors here. She added me. You just have to confirm her.
We had in-field orientation off MTC campus in a chapel we had to walk to. It was a LONG day, but I got to meet Elder Christansen from the District :) That was cool. He's from Cocoa beach. He's a funny dude.
Today we had to say goodbye to our instructors :( It was sooo sad! I love our teachers. We see them almost every day! We've had some good laughs. Sister Hutchins even wrote this super long poem about our district. It's hilarious.
The MTC is super different this week. All of our meals aren't in the cafeteria. They're in the gym! Super strange. It's because it's mission president conference week this week and they're receiving all their training and stuff. It's way cool.
Today has been a crazy day. We did laundry and it was PACKED! Every washer was taken and you have to fight to even get one. We we're supposed to have service, but since we're leaving it's kind of half our P-day. I'm about half-way packed, but we have some good times in the laundry room. Awesome memories are made for sure :)
Something I've learned this week is 'We don't go on missions to preach the gospel; we go to find the ones that are ready to hear how they can change their lives.' I really encourage everyone to go onto LDS.org and watch the video called 'Earthly Father, Heavenly Father.' It's about relating fathers on earth to our father in heaven. My favorite part is at the end, "Of all the titles of respect and honor and admiration that are given to diety, he asked us to address Him as Father." Out of ALL the titles and all the extraordinary names used, he only asked us to call him father. The world needs to give a greater respect to the title 'father.' A father is someone who created us with the potential to be like him. They provide for us and they watch us go through tough times and make mistakes. A father is someone who thrives off of the growth of his children. I'm so grateful for both of my dads.
Overall, I can never express my grattitude enough for my trials and for the pruning Heavenly Father gives me. I'm grateful for Him giving me the opportunity to grow. He allows me to practice my faith and my agency to prove myself to him. Faith has the power to move mountains; but don't be suprised when He hands you a shovel.
Now I am blessed with the opportunity to go forth and give Him my all and help others come unto Him. It's my time to use what I've learned from my past experiences and try to relate to the people of France as well as learn more from them in the process. How grateful am I for the opportunity to serve a mission. It's going to be the best 18 months of my life. I choose to be happy, I choose to help others, I choose to give my all because I know Heavenly Father lives. He loves all of us and some of us don't know He even exists. Jesus Christ died for us and he suffered every grief and pain of the world so that we would have the chance to allow His Atonement to play a role in our lives and to take away the sorrow we go through. Whether we seek forgiveness or seek to forgive, He can and WILL help us. It's our choice to allow Him to have that role in our lives. Jesus Christ will heal all. So let Him.
I can't wait to hear from you :) I love you all and pray for you daily. I also really appreciate all the love and support so many of you have given me. I've really felt so much support and it gives me strength to know I have so many people praying for me. I won't let ya down! France here I come!

Stay righteous, be true, be you!
Avec amour,
Soeur Berge

Monday, June 17, 2013

Let Me Live in a House by the Side of the Road

Cher Famille et Amis!
Happy Father's Day dad! I love you. I sent you a card..I know you're gonna love it. Also congrats Shep on your baptism! So proud of you bud. Yes, I got the package. Thank you so much! It was awesome. Btw, I bought scriptures because it would be cheaper for me to get them here so I'm gonna send home my quad and some other things I don't need. I got the memory cards.
So the broadcast is this Sunday and I'm pretty excited. I think I'm gonna wear my coral shirt with that white blazer so look for me in the choir :) We leave in EXACTLY a week! We're taking off around 5pm and getting to Paris the next day around noon. We have a 10 hour direct flight and there are 24 of us missionaries. It's gonna be quite the party.
Yes I'm taking my juice plus. Btw, I ran into Ben Hanes at the Health Center! Also I saw Tyler Aston. It was sooo cool to see him cuz I met him while he was on his mission years ago and now he got to see me on mine. So ironic, but so cool!

Look for an Elder Waller. He just flew out today to fl orlando mission. He's a funny kid.
Cool experience this week! I got a blessing from an elder in my zone. His name is Elder Esparza. He's from Germany. He speaks German, Spanish, a little English, and a little French. He gave me the coolest blessing and he was kinda nervous about it, so I said it was totally ok if he gave it to me in a different language. It was kinda weird at first because there were like 10 elders in the room just watching, but it turned out to be amazing. The Spirit was so strong. Even though I had no idea what he was saying, it was beautiful and perfect for me.
I've learned that the scriptures are so important for our salvation. I can't believe I've always had this amazing compass sitting on my desk and I never (and might not ever) truly understand the power and beauty of the scriptures. I could never live another day without reading them.
One of the most amazing blessings of being in the MTC is the opportunity to hear remarkably, musically talented missionaries sing/play instruments. Last night at the fireside, this elder sang a song called 'He Knows' It is one of the most beautiful songs! Ah I want that song! Look it up! :)
I was reading a talk, I think by President Hinckley, and I came across this beautiful poem and it really touched me:
"Let me live in a house by the side of the road,
Where the race of men go by-
The men who are good and the men who are bad,
As good and as bad as I.
I would not sit in the scorner's seat,
or hurl the cynic's ban-
Let me live in a house by the side of the road,
And be a friend to man."
At first I read it and thought that it was good and kept reading, but later I went back and studied it more closely. This message is a powerful one. We all live in the same world with other people just like us. We're all imperfect, so who are we to judge others when we sin every day as well. It's more important for us to put ourselves in situations where we interact and talk to people. And not just people. Everyone. We need to talk to everyone and be a friend to everyone.
"We have the power to invite Christ to come down every day from the heavens by acting in His name with the attributes and character He has." -Elder Bednar
We have the power to introduce others to Christ by simply acting how Christ would act. It's sad how often people all over the world can say so simply 'act like Christ' or 'wwjd' but really that is one of the most powerful thing we can do. We need to take it more seriously and say in every situation, 'What would Christ act/react in this situation?' I know I need to work on that. How much better would the world be as a whole if everyone all decided to take upon them the name and character of Christ.
As I near the close of my stay at the MTC I realize how incredibly blessed I've been with the trials I've had here. So many things at times seem to be going all wrong and somehow in the end I understand that my altered plan was the Lord's plan. Today, I was talking with someone in my zone about this at breakfast before we left for the temple. Sometimes it's really frustrating when life goes differently than you planned, but in the end we realize that our lives are going exactly how they're supposed to because God has a greater plan for us. Although it may not be easier, it will be better for us in the end. I'm so grateful for trials. I know I'm never grateful for a trial while I'm going through it, but in hindsight I can always see that it was for my benefit and Heavenly Father truly does know me better than I know myself.
Well, God bless you all! Next week's email will be short because I'll be leaving for Paris Monday so we have a LOT to do to prepare! Love you all!

Stay righteous, be true, be you!
Avec amour,
Soeur Berge

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Don't Wait on Your Road to Damascus

 I have SO many books to carry. ;)

 Elder Roberts is coming to the Florida, Orlando Mission, Creole speaking.  Yay!  Maybe he"ll end up in Eustis.

                                                       Sœur Berge and Hermana Nelson

                                                           Sœur Berge and Hermana Shill

Hey familly and friends!
First of all Happy Birthday Papa and Nana and Aunt Vicki and Jordan and Ishel and Aunt Kari! And Shep! Happy birthday to everyone I've missed. Sorry mission life is a little hectic and easy to forget about birthdays! Happy anniversary Nana and Papa! Also congrats Shay! A BOY! WHOOHOO!
This week has been amazing and hard all at the same time. We got to HOST for our first time and it was a blast! We were running all over the place helping the new missionaries get settled into the right classes and all that jazz. It was the most fun I've ever had. We're doing it again next week too. BTW, this week we broke records. Over 960 people came into the MTC this week and that's the most it has ever been. Our devotionals are going to be in the Marriott Center from now on so check and see if you can watch them and look for me in the choir. Also the 23rd is a BIG leadership training meeting that is being broadcasted and I'll get to be at it in person! With the prophet and all the apostles. I'm so stoked. It's all about missionary work and member work coming together to increase baptisms and meetings.
TO ALL MOTHERS: I just have to say I read the most amazing talk. It's called 'Raising Resilient Children.' Anyone who is a mother needs to read this talk. It is so powerful and it really touched me a lot. It's all about how to raise your kids to be able to withstand trials. It's truly an amazing talk. It's by Lyle J Burrup. Overall it's one of the most powerful talks I've ever read. I encourage everyone to really study the meaning of resilience. It's an awesome word. It basically means the ability to bounce back from being stretched beyond your capacity to withstand. Resilience is a word I think so many people overlook, but it actually has a really powerful meaning if you study it out in your heart and mind.
Last night we watched a video by Elder Bednar about how to recognize when the spirit is prompting you. Elder Bednar is such a boss. His advice is to stop worrying about recognizing spiritual promptings, but to just be good. If you're a good boy/girl then your thoughts will be good and you will always receive spiritual promptings. But it is up to us to act on spiritual promptings right away even if we aren't sure if it's our own thoughts or the spirit. It's about acting then and not sitting still. I also really loved how he talked about the importance of recognizing the spirit always and not waiting for an extravagant spiritual experience. I love that because I had just read the talk by President Uchtdorf called, 'Road to Damascus' I think. It's all about not waiting on our road to damascus waiting for a miracle. There are miracles around us every day, but we have to acknowledge God's hand in our lives to understand that we have miracles every day.
I want to share a cool experience that happened to me while I was watching the video about interpreting the spirit. Right when the video started I realized I didn't have my ring (the one kirstie had made for me). I wore it earlier that day, but I didn't have it on. I usually take it off when I wash my hands so I thought maybe I took it off in there, but there are SO many bathrooms in the MTC that we had used that day I was worried I would have to drag my companions all over campus looking or if someone had already taken it to lost and found. I began to worry because the chances of me finding the ring were really slim. I had no idea if it fell off on our temple walk or if I dropped it somewhere and I really love that ring. Right as I was thinking about this Elder Bednar said "stop worrying about it" (but he was talking about not worrying about interpreting the spirit) but still the message for me was to stop worrying in general and get as much out of this video as I can. So I pushed it out of my head and really learned a lot as I sat there and listened to this amazing talk. Later as the video was ending I pictured the bathroom near the cafeteria (which was only 20 feet away from the room we were sitting) and I pictured it right under the mirror on the litle shelves above the sink. I just saw it there in my mind. At first I thought that it wouldn't be likely that the ring would be in the bathrooms at all let alone the bathroom RIGHT next to the room we're sitting in. Right as the video ended we got up and I bolted for that bathroom. (my companions thought that I really had to go haha) but right as I walked in sure enough..there was my ring..sitting in the exact spot I just pictured.
Miracles happen every day. They happen every minute of every hour. We have to recognize miracles before we start to see more.
Funny story:
Sister Huckstep and I were sitting in residence right after hosting and I was sitting on her bed. While we were talking she stopped mid sentence and pointed to my forehead. There was a huge spider on my face and I freaked out..which then turned into endless laughter, but still it was pretty scary and funny now that I look back at it.
I haven't really understood what people mean when they say ''the words will just come because the gift of tongues is real'' however this week in one of my lessons I experienced this truth! We were sitting in a lesson teaching our ''investigator'' and she just couldn't understand why prayer to God on her own was important and suddenly I just started talking and I didn't stop talking for like 5 minutes. As I finished I look over and my companions' jaws were just on the floor. I guess the Spirit really wanted something said because the message was received and it was amazing. I really didn't do anything but open my mouth and Heavenly Father gave me the words that she needed to hear. That is why the Spirit is the most important language to learn at the MTC.

Thank you so much for the toms! they're perfect! And thank you for everything else. If you could send some more jerky that'd be awesome (maybe beef jerky this time? :) Thank you to everyone who wrote me this week! It really just keeps me going to get letters and pictures and colored pictures! LOVE IT! Thank you Kylie and Anniston for the beautiful princess drawings! I miss you girls!!
Also thank you Nana and Papa for the card! I got it today. Made me smile :)
TRC's are probably my new favorite. We get to actually teach real members and they get to just be themselves so it's so nice to have a REAL lesson and a REAL conversation. I have really come to know my purpose a little better as a missionary. We really have to focus on inviting the Spirit. It is KEY for conversion.
Again shout out to the BERGE GIRLS <3 thank you for the package again! I am so loved! You seriously made my day! Thanks for the package mom too! I got them both in the same day and I felt really special haha..but thanks for the cute earrings Berge girls! And for the fresh bread! Sister Hutchins (in my district) ate like an entire loaf she LOVED that bread! YUM! It was good. I love you girls! Thanks mom for all the stuff I asked for. I really appreciate it :)
I can't believe I've been out for a month now this week! It's hard to think I only have 17 months left of my mission :( Where does the time go? I have so many people to meet and share this beautiful message of Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father's plan. Gosh I just wanna be a missionary forever. I LOVE IT! I encourage anyone and everyone to SERVE a mission or SERVE in general. Serve everyday. Smile at everyone. Let your light of Christ shine on those who don't know that someone died for them. Most importantly, I hope you all remember that someone died for you. He knows you and your weaknesses and He died because you aren't perfect. He died so that you could become perfect. We all have that potential. Don't waste another day..don't waste another minute thinking about changing. The time to change is now. Turn your can't into cans and your ideas and thoughts into PLANS! You can do anything with the Lord on your side, but you can't do very much if you aren't on His. Keep the faith everyone! Trials are ahead, but just try to remember who you are and what you stand for. You are a child of God. You were created in His likeness and image. He has a plan for you. He has a place for you. Don't let Him down and don't let yourself down. Press forward with faith. I love you all!
Stay righteous, be true, be you!
Avec amour,
Soeur Berge

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Can you imagine a love like that?

                          She found Presidente and Hermana Carter on the mission presidents' wall.
                                Leesburg Stake sister missionaries!  with Sister Shea Bingham
                                               Les cinq (5) soeurs vont a France, Paris mission.
Bonjour mes amis et ma famille!
Thanks for the pictures! Lauren's baby is so cute! I miss the Silcocks SOOOOO MUCH (send me a letter please!!) Trent is just the sweetest. I love his smile. Archie is too cute! The boardwalk looks awesome! Looks like life is going great!
This week was another interesting week at the MTC (aka the best place on Earth besides the temple).
I got the package! Thank you. Thank you to everyone that has written me! I really appreciate getting mail! I feel so loved :)
Ok, something crazy that happened this week! Elder Herring (in my district) almost died! He was being dumb and tried to shove an entire slice of pizza into his mouth and it got stuck. Another Elder in my zone jumped up and gave him the Heimlich and it just flew out of his mouth and it was super gross! But it was way funny. Everyone was in awe. It was so crazy!
I love the Elders and Sisters in my district, zone, and branch. We have so much fun! There's this one elder named Elder Ursua from Hawaii and he's always really animated and he thinks he's gansta. He calls me 'Sista Swag.' It's fun. He's really struggling with French. Sometimes I'll just sit across from him in the hallway and practice verbs. He's such a sweet kid though. We all get along so great.
We had a general authority sit in on our class one day! Turns out he's Duncan Hamilton's uncle. They were showing all the new general authorities who just got called in last General Conference the MTC and showing them how it works. Turns out he ended up in our class out of all the classes. He was nice and gave us some good advice :)
I've seen a lot of people that I know here! I saw Shea Bingham and Auvi Evans. They look so happy :) Although, how can you possible be not happy as a missionary?
We're getting a lot better at teaching in French as a companionship. The rough edges are smoothing out and we're starting to sound a little more like true Frenchies :) (not really) honestly, we're probably going to get to France and have to say, "LENTMENT SI VOUS PLAIT!" haha idk if I'm ready for it yet.
This week we had the priveledge to hear from a general authority named Elder W. Craig Zwick. He was really great and powerful. Also if you've never watched the video by Elder Bednar called 'Character of Christ.' WATCH IT! It's so great. We watched that last night after our fireside and it was really powerful. Also we had a really unique fireside. We all walked into the gym and found a seat. As I'm sitting there Sister Huckstep nudges me and says, "There's no stand or pulpit." I look up and she's right. There was just a chair and a desk. The MTC Presidency sat on the first row. Super strange. We then realized our guest speaker was Ted Gibbons. He told the story of Joseph Smith's martyrdom at Carthage jail from the point of view of Willard Richards, who was Joseph Smith's secretary and close friend. He did the entire thing in character and he didn't read anything. He had the entire thing memorized and it was amazing to hear it as if someone who was there was telling it. Idk how to describe it.
Mormon Messages have become my best friends. Probably one of my new favorites is by Elder Uchtdorf called 'A Mother's Hope' I think? It's a cartoon message but I absolutely love it. I also LOVE the one called 'Courage' about Esther and what it takes to have courage. I just love mormon messages. We try to watch one every night as a district right after planning before we go back to our residences. It's a great way to invite the spirit and end the night on a peaceful note.
"You can't choose what you look at, but you can choose what you see." Someone said this in one of our district meetings and it really stuck with me. A mission is all about your attitude. It can be the best 2 years/18 months of your life as long as you decide it will be. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to choose joy and happiness. We all essentially have that choice and this quote goes a lot further than just a mission. You're life is what YOU make it. It's YOUR life so it's up to YOU whether or not you're gonna look in the mirror or choose to look out the window. It's so easy to fall into the ways of the natural man and be selfish. I've really realized that I need to change a lot in my previous life and be more giving. Jesus Christ DID NOT die for us..he SUFFERED for us. He chose to feel every bit of sorrow and despair. He chose to endure every pain imaginable so much that he bled from every pore. Do you feel His love for you now? It's real. He did that because He wanted to. He chose to endure the pains of this world so we wouldn't have to. Can you imagine a love like that?
So many of us go through life expecting a sign or an answer from God to show us that He loves us and that we're not just another speck in His eyes. How ungrateful an attitude is that? How sad does that make Heavenly Father when you say you aren't loved or that you need a sign that His love is real. What more could He have done for you? He gave His only perfect Son. He watched Him suffer for our sins and He couldn't do anything about it.
With 3 of his apostles falling asleep when they were supposed to keep watch and one that simply betrayed Him with a kiss, He STILL healed a man's ear after this man was going to crucify Him. I know there is no way I could have that same compassion and love. Christ had every excuse to shut the world out, but instead He embraced more of other's pains and took them away from them.
Another important key in Christ's life is that He didn't bless and heal the people with the snap of His fingers. He healed. He blessed. One person at a time. That is so incredibly symbolic to us and so many people miss this, but it's so important to see that Christ heals us one at a time. He personally heals us. It is up to us to accept His healing. When you soften your heart and truly search the scriptures for all of Christ's ministry it's remarkable and so clear to see that He knows me by name. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ know us. They know our desires and our hearts. They have a love beyond compare for us. We were created by Them in Their likeness AND in their image.
I hope and pray for all of you. I had the opportunity to go to the temple today for the first time since I've been here! It was awesome. A really cool fact: Elizabeth Smart's little brother is going to Lyon and he's in a room 2 doors down from our district room. He's super cool. He was in the same session at the temple with us today. I was talking to him on the way back to the MTC from the temple. He's super tall and really nice. But yeah just a cool fact :) Elizabeth Smart served in the Paris mission and one of my teachers served with her and she said she was super nice.
Look for an Elder Roberts! He's awesome. He's going to Orlando Mission speaking Creole so hopefully he gets to serve in our ward! I told him all about Florida and he's so stoked. He's on the same floor as me several doors down. So if he goes to our ward, help him find Mr. Mauger!
I just want to end with one last quote by Janet Zwick: "Focus on the will of God; let not your circumstances define who you are." This applies to everyone. If we wallow in our own life stories, we miss the MAIN point in life! We forget to enjoy life and count our blessings and strive to help other people. We would all be such better people if we learned to stop dwelling in the past and look to future with high hopes and a good attitude.
Sorry about your letter :( I started one, but felt I needed to write other people. I have one coming for you from today. I didn't really write on it much, but almost everyone in my zone wrote on it so it should give you some laughs. These people are becoming the best friends I could have ever asked for and I seriously love it here. So if you don't get a letter from me then you know I needed to write other people that week. You'll always get an email from me though :) 

Stay righteous, be true, be you!
Avec amour,
Soeur Berge