Sunday, August 25, 2013

Be a Friend To All

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was a crazy one! It was so jam packed. 

Wednedsay was a day of English. We had 2 lessons back to back in English and they both went awesome. I'm so excited about our ami Susan. She is super solid. She really knows the Bible. She is from Cameroon and so smart! She really studies what we teach her and she asks awesome questions that make us think. She's only lived here for 7 months and is trying to learn French too so it's cool. I feel like we're on the same level which is nice. She's awesome though. I absoluetly love Susan. I just want to hang out with her all the time.

The next day we had a really cool RDV with Hortense and her sister and husband. We didn't know they were going to be there, but it turned out really cool because they questioned a lot of things we said and it gave us the opportunity to just testify over and over and over because people can't argue with the Spirit. It was good too, because that means they were engaged in our conversation! Good stuff.

We also had a cool FHE with a super solid family and an ami named Claudia. Claudia is just such a boss. She studies the Book of Mormon and she is just so ready for the gospel. She just thirsts for truths it's amazing to see. She even asked where the promised land was! She definitely did her homework. She's just such a fun lady too. While we were having our FHE lesson with the family, the little girl (about 6) just started playing with my hair and then she got excited and ran off and came back with two hair brushes and just brushed the crud out of my hair. Then she saw Soeur Wynn's hair and got excited and did the same thing. Too funny. Kids play with our hair all the time though. We both have super long hair and the little girls are just so intrigued by it.

We also taught Hermonse (Soeur Bennion talked to her on the train). I'm so stinkin' proud of Soeur Bennion! We taught Hermonse for the first time. I thought she was like our age, however we get to her house and turns out she has two kids and is 35! That's the thing with Africans. You can't ever tell what age they are becuase they all just look so young. A lot of French people are hard to guess ages too. 

Maria went to the temple this week! How incredible! We met with her the day after she got back and asked her all about it. She loved it! It's so amazing to watch her grow so quickly in the church. We made her a cute little book with all her baptism stuff in it and we gave it to her at church yesterday and she just cried and hugged us and was so grateful. She wants to get her patriarchal blessing soon! I'm so proud of her and her efforts in the gospel, and I know Heavenly Father is even more proud of her.

We had a super cool experience with our dear little 9 year old friend, Godwith. Lately she's been saying how she doesn't think she's ready for baptism because she needs to learn more. It's crazy because she reads the Book of Mormon so much and knows so much too! We asked her all the baptismal questions to prepare her and she answered them all fine, so we just decided to all kneel down and have Godwith pray and ask Heavenly Father if she should get baptized soon and she did. It was very spiritual and once the prayer ended Soeur Wynn and I might have needed some tissues. It was such a tender moment. Soeur Wynn then asked her what she thought and she said she was ready. The Spirit was so incredibly strong! Love it!

Yesterday church was incredible! Sarah, our member who just had a big surgery and was trying to quit smoking, came to church. She was in the hospital and had to have another surgery because she got an infection from the previous surgery. She's been in the hospital for about 3 weeks! She could barely speak, but man she had a whole new demeanor about her. Later she got an incredible blessing and told Soeur Wynn some amazing news! She stopped smoking and feels like she is a lot closer to Heavenly Father because of this trial she's had.  How incredible. She has such a wonderful attitude about it. I love Sarah with all my heart!

We also had a picnic at Kashmira's house with Fatumia (my 2nd mother) and their boys. Later Fatumia's other kids and nieces and nephew came over and it was just a big party. All I can say to describe it was just nuts. Haha

We also have another cute ami who is 11 years old named Stephanie. She is DARLING! She's been out of town my entire 1st transfer for vacance and just got back so I finally got to meet her. She's had pretty much all of the lessons. Her mom is a member and she has a baby sister named Chelsie who is THE cutest little girl ever. Oh my goodness! We had such a fun lesson with them last night. Stephanie set a date for September 7th and we are so excited for her baptism! She has such strong desire to do what is right I'm blown away. Her generation is just absolutely incredible! Godwith and Stephanie are going to be a big part of the church here in France as they continue to grow in the gospel. It's amazing to see such young people understand God and Jesus Christ and what they need to do in order to return to them.

This week I've really studied sacrifice. Thank you, Sister Mann, for one of the coolest letters ever! C.S. Lewis rocks. As I reflect about everything that goes on in life and as I've studied the words of the prophets both old and new, I've realized that almost everything relies on our efforts and our willingness to ask Heavenly Father for help. 

Just think of when Jesus called out to His disciples to drop their nets and 'come follow me'.  "We often cling to our sins, our pleasuers, and sometimes even our perceived obligations (our nets)..we then stand at the shore of our own Galilee, nets tighly entangling us. We find oursleves unable to leave them behind and follow the living Christ." Are we going to hold on to our nets or are we willing to let go and allow the Savior into our lives and change every day to be more like Him?

When we sincerely ask Heavenly Father for help and when we tell Him we would do anything He asks of us, we can't hold anything back. We must be willing to sacrifice and really intend on acting on His guidance. It's one thing to receive an answer from Heavenly's another to act upon it.

Something I learned this week that was a bit of a casser (burn) for me was to realize that when we get baptized and covenant to take upon us Christ's name, we promise to bear one another's burdens. We promise to be a friend to all. I never really realized it til now, but we made a promise to help each other and help our siblings return back to our Father. Sometimes it's hard because we make excuses for ourselves or tell ourselves they don't want our help...that is Satan! We must look for ways to serve each other more. "If we don't try, then we don't do, and if we don't do, then why are we here?"

Forgiving and changing should be an active part of our days. Although we must strive to recognize our shortcomings and realize when we fall short, we should always remember to love ourselves. "However many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made or talents you think you don't have, or however far from home and family and God you feel you have traveled, I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infite light of Christ's Atonement shines." -Uchtdorf.

I know Heavenly Father's arms are always stretched towards us. I know with His help we can be whole and abandon the pain and guilt of being human. We each have a purpose. We each have a devine destiny to reach. If we strive or choose to make our goal the Celestial Kingdom each day, we WILL make it. We will all make it home, safe and sound, if we but strive a little more each day to be like our Savior, Jesus Christ.

I'm so grateful to be where I am today. I'm grateful for everyone around me who knows I'm not perfect and accepts me anyways. I love being a missionary each day. I'm honored to wear His name over my heart. I promise you all the Savior is near! 
Peace and blessings!

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

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