Saturday, July 20, 2013

Pamplemousse and Baptisms!

 My trainer companion, Soeur Wynn
 The 4 soeurs in our apartment

 Celebrating about Hortense
 Vincennes, on the east side of Paris, one of my favorites

We really do love each other! :)
The desserts are beautiful.

 The birthday cake we made for Leilah's birthday.

 So happy for Hortense!

Dear famille et amis!
Life is just awesome here. Yes I got all the packages and letters. Thanks to everyone! I got letters from Kirstie, Nana and Papa, and Aunt Vicki as well as the letters in the package and some from the SmithsJ I am so loved! Seriously, thank you everyone!
This week was incredible!!
Tuesday went a little better than last week. We met with a lady named Marie-Lou. She was a driver for a big blood donating day. (before I got here) She was driving two sisters from our ward over to the hospital from the church. These two sisters JUST so happened to be RMS (you see where this is going?J) So they pulled up and apparently they were talking to her about church and Soeur Wynn and Soeur Bracken (Soeur Wynn’s old comp) overheard them and were like WHAT? They got her information. We just had our first lesson with her and man, oh man! She’s so ready for the gospel. She was so open to it. We also had this young 22 year old member named Aurelie with us. She’s incredible. She’s GORGEOUS and she just got married to an awesome guy in the ward. She’s from Guadalupe, way cool. So, she was awesome with Marie-Lou and now she has a friend when she comes to church (hopefully she’ll start coming).
Also on Mardi, we met Frederick! She is awesome. We met her on the train to our district meeting. Soeur Pulupuna just started talking to her and was making her crack up.  She made the whole train just die laughing. She was talking about how I’m such a diva and just all these quirky funny things,  about how Tongans are really big and all these funny things. After a while she brought it around to missionary work and bore her testimony and invited her to come to church this Sunday. She said she would love to! Then the next day we went to meet another ami and we’re walking into the gare (station) about to leave after our rendez-vous and Soeur Wynn says to me, “I don’t feel like we’re done here, let’s turn around and go back." After we walked about 100 feet out of the gare, we hear this shout, “SOEUR WYNN!” and we turn around. IT’S FREDERICK! Again! Our area is HUGE! The chances of seeing her again the next day is far from coincidence. And she remembered our names and absolutely loves us! Soeur Wynn asked her if she was coming to church and she said, “Of course! I told you I’m coming!” (unfortunately she never came that Sunday. Maybe she got lost or confused?)
Mercredi (Wednesday)- Probably one of THE most amazing days on my mission ever. So we go over to meet with Hortense (I met her my first day in Nogent and we weren’t sure if she was still interested) but this was our 3rd rendezvous with her. We planned on just being really bold and challenging her to baptism. So in the lesson we read some verses – Alma 7:11-16 (those are boss scriptures) and she was sitting there and I could tell something wasn’t right and that she was thinking about something. So I just said, “Hortense, what are you thinking right now?” And she looks at us and back at the scriptures and after a while she says, “I was thinking about my baptism.” WHAT? So apparently she was baptized in another church a long time ago, but she never thought that was the right church and she was going on about how she wanted to be closer to God and Christ. So finally we asked her if she wanted to be baptized. SHE SAID YES! She said that her son passing away a few weeks ago has really made her reflect on her life. Missionaries have been teaching her for YEARS and she never got baptized. She said that experience has really made her think and she feels like she needs to get baptized. She said she is ready. So we didn’t pressure her too much. Now we need to get her to church. She hasn’t been able to come yet because the church is super far from where she lives and she doesn’t live near the gare so it’s very hard for her to get there. She’s trying to move though, so that’s good. She wanted to say the prayer and afterwards, the spirit was so strong. Hortense has never really prayer like that before. She prayed that Heavenly Father would prepare her for her baptism next month! (we didn’t even suggest a date yet).
After Soeur Wynn and I left her lesson we just started running and jumping up and down and crying and we were so happy. We went straight home and celebrated with an awesome dinner and some funny celebratory pictures. It was the first time we both had seen someone sincerely change and accept baptism! It was incredible.
Friday we had another awesome lesson with Kashmira. She’s been taught for years as well. She made us amazing Hindi food (she’s indian and absolutely a gem to be around). She really opened up to us about what’s going on. Apparently she went to withdraw money from the ATM. She clicked on a large amount of money, but then decided she probably didn’t have that much so she pressed cancel. Then she went to a different one and the money wasn’t there. It still showed that the withdrawal went through, but the atm never spit the money out. So she pretty much just lost 400 euros. Bless her heart. We taught her a message about trials and Christ and we explained the Atonement thoroughly and it was incredible. We pushed her to say closing prayer and it was the most sincere prayer she’s ever given. Soeur Wynn said she has never prayed like that before. She is so nice to missionaries. She made us so much food and she really has nothing. I love her. The other problem is she signed a contract at work and she has to work every Sunday til November, so hopefully in November she can start coming because she loves church.
We met this guy Claude on the train one day. SO FUNNY! So he’s speaking English in his African accent to his buddy (we’re not allowed to contact men) but we really wanted to ask him where he was from. We obeyed the rules anyways and was about to get on our train. He was getting on the same train and he says to us, “Soeur Wynn…Soeur Berge.” (people do this a lot because of our plaques) He says, “You are sisters? Come sit next to me on the train. We need to talk.” We’re kinda weirded out, but we decide to talk to him anyways. He asked us where we were from and Soeur Wynn says California and he says, “I hate California..I took a girl there and she broke my heart.” We just burst out laughing. He was so funny!! Then he turns to me and I tell him Florida and he says, “No way! I took that SAME girl to Florida and she broke my heart!” We were laughing so hard. We had to get off at this point because it was our stop so he says, “ok ok before you leave give me the name of your church and I’ll come on Sunday.” (why can’t all contacts be this easy?) haha and so we did..he didn’t show up on Sunday either, but it was still really cool. Wilna is an incredible young mom who has this incredible neighbor named Marie Rose. She is pretty much like a mom to Wilna. Wilna has an adorable daughter named Tanya who is super timid and shy, but darling. Apparently Wilna wanted to get baptized, but couldn’t because of her husband.  Soeur Wynn hasn’t been able to get a hold of her in a month and she hadn’t been coming to church. We finally reached her and she said she’s been super busy. We set up a rendezvous and we asked her to get baptized. She said yes as well! She said it’s her decision if she wants to and she does! Way to go Wilna! She came to church on Sunday and her baptismal date is Sept 1! Whoohoo!
One of our biggest miracles this week was working with a less active, Sarah. She decided to turn her life around and we are able to be a part of that right now. She told us she wanted to stop smoking and kick her boyfriend out. So we have been to her house everyday and texting or calling her often to make sure she’s staying strong. She came to church yesterday and it was super cool to have her there. She was so well received and such. Such a great experience! Last week we were asking her how she was going to stop smoking and she told us if she woke up each morning and ate a grapefruit (pamplemousse-cool word huh?) that she wouldn’t smoke because the acid would make the cigarette burn her throat super bad! Not a bad alternative, n’est pas? So the next day we headed up to her house with 7 huge pamplemousses. We finally arrived at her bus stop and Soeur Wynn pushed her way through the sweaty crowd of stinking non-deodorant wearing people and got off the bus. I didn’t notice she got off and walked towards the front because it was so crowded.  Soeur Wynn started walking and I looked around for her and realized just too late that she got off. The doors closed and I just burst into laughter. So with the huge bag of pamplemousse in my comp, Soeur Wynn’s hands and her big purse, she starts running after the bus in a panic. I just got off at the next stop and started walking towards her. I see this tiny girl running with 2 huge bags, one of which was filled with 7 HUGE pamplemousses! We finally met up and were laughing so hard we were crying. So funny. Anyway, Sarah is really making progress and I’m extremely happy to be a part of it.
..the Monrier famille. We’ve been working hard with the Monriers. The mom is a member and all 4 of her kids aren’t..YET. So we went over and made a cake for Leilah’s birthday which was Sunday and she wanted us to come over! How cool is that? And it turned out perfect. The boys were playing and Soeur Wynn had a chance to talk to Valerie about all the kids individually and all their needs. I got to talk to Leilah and I asked her if she wanted to be baptized and she said she did. Then I asked her if she thought this church was the only true church and she said she wasn’t sure. I told her to ask God and pray tonight to find out if it’s true. I told her to think about her feelings after she prays and try to see if she feels peace and good things in her heart and that will be her answer. She said she would. Anyways, the boys came back and we did this AWESOME object lesson. We did the story about Nephi building the boat. We took a pot full of water to see if they could make the pennies float in water with tin foil. They couldn’t and then realized they had to ask for help and instructions like Nephi so we showed them how and the pennies floated in the little aluminum boats. It was really fun. I love that family. The cake was good too! We made it from the mission recipe book and it’s one of Soeur Wynn’s favorites. Some of the kids didn’t like it though because it was too sweet (Americans put way too much sugar in desserts). They weren’t used to it and didn’t like it. Haha too strange.
Well this week has been truly incredible. We are so blessed. The work is really progressing. So many people are ready for the gospel! I love France. I love being a missionary. I love everything about my life right now. I can’t believe today is my 2 month mark! I only have 16 months left. Not fair. I just love Nogent and everything is going great. Also thanks for the peanut butter and the packages and letters! (although the package that had dad,s stuff in it was ripped completely open and was put in another bag. What was all in that package?)
Read your scriptures every day! They’re the key to life. They hold so many answers. I’ve really been learning more and more each day about the tender mercies of Heavenly Father. Everything in life is for a reason. We just have to have the courage to search for why it is the way it is. Man, the atonement has played such a big role in so many lives here and in my own. It’s amazing to see the lives changing, the people being touched, and the Lord opening so many hearts to receive the gospel more fully. He is preparing people before we ever meet them and my heart is just full of joy, love, and gratitude to have these amazing people in my life. Nothing could be better right now.
Stay righteous, be true, be you!
Avec amour,
Soeur Berge

No comments:

Post a Comment