Thursday, November 14, 2013

Preachin' on the Coast

Bonjour ma famille et mes amies..

What a week! So our week began last monday night. Sœur Huntsman and I went to FHE at the Harris's. Apparently our wonderful senior couple here holds a family night every other monday night at their house. Half the branch shows up every time too! Fun time!

Tuesday we had our first district/zone meeting. There are so many sisters in our zone! (pic attached). Sœur Huntsman and I had exchanges with Sœur Hoover and Sœur Evans. They both are so awesome! I love those sœurs! They are just top notch missionaries. I was with Sœur Hoover the first day and our appointments all fell through so we decided to do some finding and we contacted this woman and she said she had already been meeting with the missionaries exactly a year ago but hasn't seen them in a while, but because we were sister missionaries we should come over! Whoa! Miracle.

Wednesday morning for exercise we ran to the beach and it was so much fun! It was really cold and pitch black, but we still had so much fun because we got to run on the sand and see the waves. Perks of living near the ocean. :) That day I was with Sœur Evans. We went and met with an ami named, Beauty. She has 3 daughters, Treasure, Princess, and Destiny. They're Nigerian. Gotta love their names..Then later that day we went to Christian's girlfriend's funeral at a Catholic Church. It was so sad. It was like 2 hours long and one of the most different experiences, but we went to be there for Christian (even though there were only 3 other people for the funeral). As we left though, Sœur Huntsman and I talked about how we both wanted to reach out to Christan the whole time and tell him that death is not the end! That night we went and had a family night and dinner at the Hemon's (just about the only family in the branch). They're such a hoot.

Thursday was rough. All of our RDV's (appointments) got canceled except for one that night. Her name is Jeanne. She is from Madagascar and speaks Malagasy and a little French. She is the sweetest woman and doesn't have very many friends and family, but she is so kind and loving. We invited her to be baptised on December 1 and she accepted!

Friday was super interesting haha. Sœur Huntsman and I decided to try and find. We knocked on doors until one lady opened up and told us she was already believing. Not taking no for an answer, I asked her if we could just sing a song for her. She was a bit older and alone and finally she said why not and let us in. We sang some songs with her and she just thought we were great singers that we should go around singing in hospitals. She was really interesting. In the end she said she really wasn't interested in coming to Church and she told us she never lets people into her apartment, but something about our eyes and the way we looked told her to let us in. Cool stuff!

Later that night we met with good ol' Christian. He eventually told us that his mother was born a catholic and he is going to die a catholic..well..we're just gonna keep working with him and see where it goes.

Finally, we had an INCREDIBLE dinner with a member named Mata and her 3 kids and husband. Mata is from Tonga and makes so much yummy food! She is the only member in her family. Her husband is Romauld and he plays rugby for France. He is huge, but the biggest teddy bear. We want to start teaching him soon. He is so cool, but all the members are scared of him because he is just so huge!

Yesterday, we had Ward Conference. We also had tons of inverstigators at Church. It was incredible! We had a huge feast afterwards, and it was fun to chat with members and investigators. Later Sunday night we went to pass by Mirna and her family, but they weren't home. We felt there was someone in the building who we needed to see so we knocked on a few doors and finally found this Turkish family. The 17 year old daughter spoke a little French, but the parents spoke zero French. We just asked if we could sing some songs for them and they loved listening even though they didn't know what we were saying. They kept showing us pictures of their sons and asking us if we were married and liked any of their 4 sons..awkward. Then they tried to pay us! They were just so giving even though they didn't even have much. We're going to try and go back with some Turkish pamphlets and hopefully find a Turkish Book of Mormon.

This week we saw so many little miracles and it's so incredible to see this tiny branch grow little by little. Sœur Huntsman and I finally feel like we're getting around ok, and everything is still really new, but it's so exciting learning the town together and meeting everyone.

I can't believe I'm hitting 6 months this week and turning 20. Thank you everyone for the birthday wishes on Facebook (family forwarded them to me). I really just feel so blessed to be here growing and learning and preaching the gospel and couldn't be any happier. The more I'm out here, the more I recognize how blessed I am to have the little things in life like health, family, friends, and my faith. I am most grateful for the knowledge that I am a daughter of God and I can find joy and peace through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I have an older brother who died for me and suffered for my sins so that I might be able to live in the presence of our Father in heaven. I encourage all of you to study it out for yourselves and gain a special witness of Jesus Christ. He is our Master, Savior, and Redeemer and he extends the beautiful invitation to all of us to change our ways and follow His perfect example.

I love you all and pray you all will have a blessed week!
Stay righteous, be true, be you!
Avec amour,
Soeur Berge

All It Does is Rain, Rain, Rain... No Matter What!

New friends in St Nazaire

Last P-Day in Paris
Last P-Day with Soeur Lefrandt
With my new companion, Soeur Huntsman.  We're soaked!

Lotsa rain in St Nazaire

Saying goodbye to my amis (friends)
Moving Day
Hello new amis!

Famille et Friends all around the world,

Whoa what a crazy week!

First off, I LOVE SAINT-NAZAIRE! Oh my, President is going to have a really hard time kicking me out of this ville! It is incredible! We live 2 blocks from the beach! (sorry pictures of St Nazaire to come next week, we were too busy doing missionary work). I LOVE the branch. I LOVE the people. I LOVE my companion. I LOVE everything about this place!

Well my week started off saying goodbye to all my beloved friends in Nogent. We visited tons of families and friends and it was a long 4 hour train ride to Saint-Nazaire. Luckily, Soeur Huntsman and I already know everything about each other so we were so pumped to just start the transfer hitting the ground running. We arrived in Saint-Nazaire after 3 ELDERS had to help us get all of our luggage to our main train. Yes, 3 elders and 2 sisters took our luggage on 2 metros and a train. Wow, that was quite a day..(both of Soeur Huntsman's bags were broken) When we arrived to the voie (the track) and were getting our luggage off the train, the people didn't see us trying to get our bags off and began SHUTTING the doors! Here I am with 2 of my bags and 1 of Soeur Huntsman's bags outside of the train and Soeur Huntsman is inside of the train with one of her bags and one of mine. Fear struck us both and I pushed with all my might to keep the doors open as Super Woman (my companion) somehow in 2 seconds flat had flung our bags out of the train and somehow managed to get out herself. Meanwhile a lovely French family standing nearby just watched us 2 Americans have a freak attack trying to get 5 pieces of luggage (well over 50 pounds each) off a train in about 5 seconds. It was quite a show folks. Sister Harris and Elder Harris (Senior Couple serving here in our branch) were standing far away trying to find us get off the train and saw the whole thing go down. They came running over just as Soeur Huntsman hopped out of the train and everyone was just so dumbfounded. We laughed for a good hour.

Saint-Nazaire! Ok, so we white-washed the Elders here out of the city. We also have their pea-sized apartment. We have 2 rooms: our kitchen and our bedroom/study room. Our shower is the smallest shower I've ever seen..but I LOVE it here so much I could care less. The members here are just incredible! When we arrived here we didn't have any food (other than the 2 frozen hamburgers in the freezer and 3 gallons of milk) and hardly any appliances. I have no idea how the elders lived here. So, the first thing we did was go get some food with our amazing new friends, the Harris couple. They drove us there and back and they're the sweetest. After that, we decided to go porting (door to door) The next day we got our bus passes and got some maps (since the elders didn't leave us anything haha) and we had a nice visit from 4 members (2 electricians to fix our broken outlet) and the other two helped us fix the broken radiators. We then went to the store AGAIN to get all of the appliances that were lacking in the apartment. That was really funny. We then visited the Relief Society President, Rachel and her 3 kids and surprised them with cookies. (halloween night) We thought we were so clever and then as we left their apartment we looked at our phones and saw she had already texted us to come over for pumpkin soup. These people are just too nice!

Friday we had an RDV (appt) with an incredible lady named Mirna and her daughter Jennifer. We had no information about them, but the elders had set an appointment with her. We went over and realized she had NEVER been taught so we got to know her and brought her some cookies and gave her a Book of Mormon. Her daughter, Jennifer, has so many questions about God because she really has no knowledge of who God is (she's 14 years old) Mirna is from Panama and has the biggest heart. They didn't come to church, but we are going to see them Friday and we are just so excited to get to know this family better. Right after we left Mirna (she lives RIGHT on the coast) there was a HUGE storm (felt like we were in a hurricane) and we sat at the bus stop for about 30 minutes in the freezing, rain storm only to realize that it was a holiday and the buses weren't running, so we had to have the Harris couple come save us (they are such a blessing!)

Saturday we met our ami named Esperance. The Harris couple went with us. Esperance has a date for November 23rd to be baptized and she has such a beautiful testimony. She has a little 4 year old boy named Anthony. We shared a quick message about Jesus Christ and His Atonement and got to know her. She is a cool lady and such a golden ami! We are so excited to help push her to be baptized hopefully this month. We also tried to pass by a member named Mata in our ward with her family. She is Tongan and doesn't speak much French. Her husband and kids aren't members but she LOVES church and she invited us over this week. Everyone says she is an incredible cook. After we got there and found out they weren't home, we decided to port the entire neighborhood. We didn't have much success, but we knocked on a man's door and he answered it and we said we wanted to share the Book of Mormon with him and he simply said, "Je l'ai" (I have it.) He returns a few minutes later with his own copy of the Book of Mormon! Whoa! He said he loves reading it and it makes him happy (he has some maladies) and he said he would love to get it in Portuguese since that is his language. We said of course, and he said he would try and come to church if it wasn't raining because he'd have to walk to church. (it ended up raining) He told us two elders came by and gave him the book but then never came back. It was such a miracle!

Sunday was incredible. Our church is held on the top floor of a building that looks like it was an old office building, but it's where they hold the church. The members are so nice. Everyone came up to us and just embraced us with so much love and would say, "FINALLY! We have sisters. Our branch is finally going to grow!" haha Sounds like missionary work here has been pretty rough. All of the women were just so excited to have sisters. Everyone was incredibly welcoming. These people already have such a special place in my heart.

There's no better place to be in the world right now than here in wonderful, rainy Saint-Nazaire serving my French brothers and sisters. I can't help but feel so much love for them, and I want so badly to bring them into the fold. My heart is full, my clothes are wet, and I couldn't be any happier!

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

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The End of My Journey in Nogent :(

Famille et Friends!
Well this week was a bit better! The members in Nogent are really coming through. Last week was rough because it felt like we were doing a lot of groud work with trying to get all the members involved in missionary work, but this week we are JUST beginning to see the fruits of our labors!
Nogent got a new DMP (ward mission leader) (michell kusseling! hes gonna rock it!) Soeur Lefrandt and I met with our new ami, Benedict. We met her the 3rd day of this transfer and we had to wait a month to see her because she was really busy. But it went GREAT! She's 100% French and has a family! We are so excited! She made us a super yummy French meal. We taught her all about the Book of Mormon and testified that it was the true word of God and just poured our hearts about how great and amazing the church and the gospel are. We also met with Josephine (ami of a member in our ward) and she wants to get baptized! She's so sincere and she's just searching and hungering for peace in her life. As I looked into her face during our lesson I could see all the pain and hurt caused by so many difficult moments in her life. She was so sweet and she is sooo ready for the gospel! It is so much easier for people to embrace the gospel with open arms when they see the powerful effects in their friend's life! That is why it is so important that the members of The Church of Jesus Christ take a stand, find the courage to open their mouths, and share the beautiful gospel with a friend.
We also saw Claudia this week. We taught her the Law of Chastity. She expressed her concerns with her boyfriend and we simply asked her what she wants in a worthy partner. She told us she just wanted someone to respect her and love her and she wants to be married! We promised her it was possible with prayer and with faith. Something I've noticed that is a hard concept to accept is acting on faith. Claudia wants these things so badly, but it's hard for her to see the importance of our doing our part. We must pray, repent, edify ourselves, study, ponder, use our trials to stengthen us, and ask in faith for the aid of our Heavenly Father. It's the only way we can receive answers. It made me think in my life where it was necessary to act and even when sometimes I didn't act on faith when I should have. I think it's something we all struggle with, to replace fear with faith and act on a small particle of faith.
Thursday we had a lesson with Beatrice and her friend, Christine. They were quite a trip! Africans crack me up. I love them. I feel like everyone secretly wishes they were African..I know I do. We had lunch together and just talked about why we chose to be missionaries and why we decided to give up so much to talk to people about Jesus Christ. She ended up coming to church on Sunday and she asked me all these questions during sacrament meeting and she told me "This is so much better than the experiences at other churches! Everyone can go and speak. It doesn't have to be the pastor. It really is like a family here." Wow! That was pretty cool.
We also saw our lovely grandmas: Christiane and Jackie Palmer. They both are so lonely and are getting at that age where all the little things in life are challenging. They aren't really progressing or interested in joining the church, but I just feel like we have to go see them. We're their only friends that check up on them and express love for them. Christ would want us to lift their Spirits and bring hope into their homes. The Spirit is always strong when we go to either of their houses. We just sing to them and without fail there is always a simple tear that streams down their face as they feel the power and beauty of hymns. It has just given me a real testimony of hymns and their imporance.
Friday we visited Maria. I haven't seen her in so long! She's been going to her friends' baptisms and she hasn't been in our ward for a few weeks, but she brought a friend, Celine (mother of her friend Alexi) and it was so incredible to watch Maria (member of 2 1/2 months) testify to her friend about the truth of the Book of Mormon. She has an unshakable testimony! As I listened and watched Maria tell Celine how blessed she was to be a member of the church and feel the personal love of her Heavenly Father and Savior I replayed in my mind kinda like a movie of Maria's progress. From the first day I met her she hungered for the gospel but was unsure of how her life would be, and now I see that she knows who she is and where she wants to go. She is confident with her testimony of Jesus Christ. She recognizes the difference without and with the gospel and she finds great joy in sharing it with the people in her life.
We also visited Marianne and her son and mom. I love these three! They are best friends, yet at such different stages in their lives. I'm going to really miss them. Within the first 2 minutes of being in their apartment, without fail they offer us 'Juliens brew' (sprite with oasis juice) it's so cute.
Yesterday we went to the Allanics so I could say goodbye. Soeur Allanic is so great. She is such a great mom! She told us all about how hard it is to protect her kids from the evil in the world when it's all around their school. She said her 5 year old daughter already asked about a boyfriend because everyone else has one. AT 5 YEARS OLD? What is the world coming to! It makes me a little worried for my own journey in motherhood. They're such a great family though. Soeur Allanic has all these incredible ideas for cute church crafty things that she uses for primary songs, lessons, and activities. She is great. Nogent is really lucky to have her. Frere Allanic always tells us weird stories from his mission and it's always a good time with them. When Soeur Wynn and I first went over to their house, they told us they pray that their two daughters will grow up and be like us one day! Yesterday Soeur Allanic told me of a dream that Frere Allanic had had. He saw his oldest daughter walking down the stairs with long hair and she was really tall and he later told Soeur Allanic that it looked a lot like me! That was pretty cool. So sweet of them to share that experience with me.
After we visited the Lethuaires because I had to see them one more time before I go. When Soeur Lefrandt and I got there we were waiting for Frere Lethuaire to get home from his stake presidency meeting and he was running a little late (rung a bell for me ;) so we played this really fun game called Jungle Speed and we were all in stitches we were laughing so hard. Then we ate some yummy dinner and they shared some really cool missionary experiences they had had that week. I dream of being like this family one day. They're so solid! We then discussed the story of Enos, the son of Jacob and how "his soul hungered" to understand why his father had such a strong faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. And little did we know that this story was very relatable for each of the kids and they all explained an experience that was just like Enos. So amazing.
I'm so grateful for my time I've had in Nogent. I just found out that I will be white-washing with Soeur Huntsman in St. Nazaire.
I've lived with Soeur Huntsman for the past 2 transfers so I know her really well. We're going to the west of France. I'm super bummed to leave my precious people in Nogent that I've come to love so much, but I'm excited to start a new journey with Soeur Huntsman in the west of France.
Well I love you all!
Stay righteous, be true, be you!
Avec amour,
Soeur Berge

When We Learn Patience

Cher Ma Famille et Mes Amis
Well this past week was a bit rough, but that's normal in the life of a missionary.. I've been a little under the weather, but c'est la vie..
We started out by last P-day going to Musée du Louvre! It was huge! We ran into about 4 other missionaries there!
We had a super cool lesson with Claudia this week with an awesome member named Salim. Salim (in his mid 20's) used to be Muslim and his mom joined the church a few years ago and he was really upset and said he was going to read the Book of Mormon to prove the church wasn't true..he read the Book of Mormon all the way through and then got baptized! He has such a powerful testimony. He's preparing to start his papers soon. We watched the Joseph Smith video and talked more about receiving answers. For some reason Claudia has really been struggling with finding answers, but it's because she doesn't take the time to pray and ponder. We really encouraged her to truly pray this time with an open heart. She said she would and hopefully our next RDV we can set up a new baptismal date that she feels more comfortable with. It's so frustrating when you know someone is ready to make this covenant, but they can't see how much it'll bless their lives. It'll come'll come. :)
I think I've been learning a lot of patience this transfer with things not working out how I want them too, but I've really been able to step back and try to follow what Heavenly Father's plan is rather than my own. It's definitely not easy, but I think Heavenly Father is trying to teach me that it's ok if plans fall through and things don't go the way you want them to. It applies to our own lives (not just missionary life). Sometimes things just don't go the way we want and we have to learn to be ok with that. It's definitely something I lack and Heavenly Father knows I need to learn this lesson now rather than later :)
We had a great lesson with one of my favorite ladies, Isabelle :) I absolutely love Isabelle. I just feel like she's mine. Everytime we go over there, I've always been there. I've been over there with 4 different companions, but I've been there everytime. I brought her the Book of Mormon story book (for kids) because she really studies the Book of Mormon so thoroughly and wants to understand it even more. I told her to read them together and everything will make more sense. She was sooo happy and loved it! We read some scriptures with her and her son, Gaël, and I looked at the same scriptures in the picture book. As we read out of the Book of Mormon, Gael looked up at us and said, "Je peut lire les images!!" "I can read the pictures!" He was so proud to be reading the scriptures with us. We reinvited Isabelle to baptism and she said she wants to be baptised!! My heart was filled with so much joy! She said she's not quite ready to pick a date, but I know she truly will be baptised one day..even if I'm not here to see her enter the waters of baptism, I want nothing more than for her to be baptised. As we closed our lesson Gaël chimed in, "Are we going to pray!? Can I pray?" His innocent desire to do the right things touches my heart and fills me with such joy. As he began his prayer he was a little stuck and couldn't think of anything to say except, "Thank you for the sister missionaries who come over and help us." And then he ended the prayer! HA. It was so sweet that the only thing he thought of was to thank Heavenly Father for the sisters! They just make me so happy.
We also got to see the Lasa's this week! They were in England for vacation for 2 weeks. We went over and had some amazing beignets! Mama Lasa always makes amazing beignets (african doughnuts basically) I love the Lasas. We call them our parents and they always call me "Berge" or "fille" (daughter) They're so loving and giving and I would do anything for them.
Saturday we had a super interesting day..Soeur Lefrandt and I were asked to help with a big activity for preparing young single adults for a mission. There was a pretty big turn out! They asked President Poznanski to give them four equipes (4 sisters and 4 elders) and he gave them our names. Soeur Lefrandt and I were really confused why they picked us because we are SO young in the mission and really don't speak much french. So we taught for about 3 hours with 3 different groups of about 15 people in each. They split everyone into their own equipes and gave them a name tag and they had to be like missionaries. We weren't really given much instruction except they were going to practice teaching so Soeur Lefrandt and I did a 'practice teaching example' and then observed the others as they practice taught. As we helped them improve their teaching it was so interesting to watch. The French are sooo smart with the doctrines and they really study all the details..but as missionaries we don't really teach all the details, because the main doctrines of the church are so simple that a child can understand. These young adults taught pretty much every concept they knew in 5 minutes. At the end when they asked us what they could do better, we just said TESTIFY! Sometimes we (even as missionaries) get so caught up in the doctrine that we forget what we know. When they say to share the gospel, they mean share what you know! They really were an incredible bunch of adults and they're going to be great missionaries. A lot of them were so nervous to go on missions but knew it was right. Almost all of them were from part member families or even the only member in their families! They are just so brave, I don't know if I would have the courage if I was a recent convert and maybe the only member in my family! Wow. The activity took pretty much the whole day and we became SO close with some of the girls there. The French really are SUPER funny. And the young adults here are SOOO fashionable! It was a fun, exhausting day for sure.
Later that night we went to a baptism for the Soeurs that we live with and it was great. I've never seen such a turn out for a baptism here! It was incredible! Also when I was on exchanges there, Soeur Huntsman and I found an Egyptian family and they came to the baptism! It was great! The husband kept saying how calm it seemed at the church and that there was a special spirit. When all the young adlults got up to sing a song called Divin Amour (Divine Love) he whispered to his wife, "This is a beautiful song." I was so happy I got the chance to see them again!
Yesterday, church was INSANE! There were TWO baby blessings! So here's the cool background story..There are two men in our ward named Jordache and Jarom. They both are about the same age and have known each other for years. They both got their mission calls the same time..the SAME call (Tahiti) to report the SAME day. They were companions in the MTC! They came home from their missions the SAME day. Got married the SAME year to two girls who both served missions. Their wives gave birth to the babies the SAME week! And they were blessed on the SAME day! Pretty crazy. There were so many people at church that yesterday! We didn't have enough room for everyone to sit in Sunday School so a lot of people just stayed in the hall and chatted. So funny.
Last night we decided to go porting in a neighborhood and we knocked on a door of this man about dad's age and he came out and said he wasn't really interested, but we really pushed him to talk to us so we asked interesting questions that made him think a little. He said he had already prayed to see if God exists and he didn't think so because he said God wouldn't allow his close friends and family to die. He said he's seen too much sadness in his life to think there is a God who loved him. Soeur Lefrandt bore witness said she knew it was hard because her father passed away 3 years ago. He was really shocked but listened. We just tried to bear solid witness of God and his plan for us. We gave him a brochure and he said he'd read it. We hope to see him again soon.
I absolutely love this true gospel! Yes, life is hard, but if life was easy, we wouldn't learn! I'm grateful God is giving me the chance to learn and grow everyday here in France as a misisonary where it's not normal to say hi to people or smile..but that's what makes our job so fun is because we're not only from a different country, but we have a special true message to share with people that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us and sent His Son for all of the sins and sorrows of this world. As I watched the Relief Society Session of General Conference this morning they made a point to express the importance of covenants. We should be quick to study the details of our covenants so we better understand how to keep them. When we enter the waters of baptism, we promise to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ. That means we think of Him and act like Him. We must try a little harder to be a little better each day..for we all have room to improve.
I know Jesus Christ is my Savior. He atoned for me and for all of you. He, our older brother, loves us so much and we have reason to rejoice this day and era with the knowledge that He lives and loves all of us. Thank you for all your love, support, emails, letters, and prayers! The battlefield is not easy, but the Army of God is growing each day. Love you all..

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

Live What You Pray For

Ma Famille et Mes Amis-
Hey yall.
Heavenly Father has such a sense of humor. This week has been an interesting one. We've worked a lot with the members because going door to door and talking with people on the street just hasn't seemed to really work.
Monday was super cool. We met with a member famille that is in our ward, but he is the branch president in a small branch of about 20 people in a neighboring area. We first met him on the street when we were praying with someone on the street and he walked by and said "AMEN SOEURS!" We then ran into him and his family at a baptism for a boy in our ward. THEN, we ran into his wife and daughter as we were walking to the gare after visiting another member! We didn't know where they lived, but we just so happened pas par hasard by their apartment building! 3rd time was a charm and I stopped and told her that it wasn't coincidence we kept meeting her. She invited us to dinner and we went over and had a great evening with them. Neither one of them have served missions. They are both new to the church, she being the only member in her family. She's from Chile and he is from some small country in Africa. They have a cute little girl and they are such a humble, faithful family. When we went over and talked to them, they told us we were the first missionaries that have ever come over to their apartment! Their branch doesn't have any missionaries, but this week they met with our Mission President and the Stake Presidency to see if it was time to open up their branch for missionaries. They want missionaries so bad. They are such a sweet family. They were the first people that actually looked us in the eyes and said "Thank you for sacrificing your time to serve the Lord." How touching! Missionaries will be serving there soon, I pray! They deserve good, hard-working missionaries.
Tuesday we taught Claudia with our friend, Marie Kusseling. They're both just so cool. We talked about the word of wisdom and the blessings from counsel from our prophets. She said it'd be difficult with the tea and coffee, but she'd try. We're still working on fixing a new baptismal date with her, but we're trying to work little by little and focus on what she needs and what she feels is missing. It's so hard for me to watch her just waiting at the edge of the waters of baptism. She's unsure, yet she knows this church and gospel is the true church of Jesus Christ. I've seen her testimony grow from a tiny seed to a beautiful oak tree and right now she can't see all the growth she has made. We just have to figure out how to help her open her eyes and recognize her own testimony.
Wednesday we got to go to the Lethuaires. I love that family. I just learn so much about what a family should be like and how I want to raise my own family everytime I step into their home. A while back I was talking to Soeur Poznanski in my interview and I just told her how grateful we were for the Lethuaire family and she said, "Soeur Berge, wouldn't the church be so much better if we had more Lethuaire families at church?" I told her "of course! That would be incredible!" Then with so much inspiration and love she said, "Do you have faith you can find a family like the Lethuaires and bring them to the gospel?" Later, I called the Lethuaires and told them we had a goal to find a family just like theirs. They told us they knew a family that had the same amount of kids all the same ages as theirs. They said this family even had the same car! So little by little, we are planning on meeting this family and we will try our best to introduce to them the beauty and power of the gospel :)
Thursday morming we did some service for our Bishop's family. We cleaned all the floors and it was nice to do something for them. We met with our ami, Susan and gave her a hymn book in English and we sang hymn after hymn. The Spirit was so strong! I can testify that there is an undeniable power within the hymns and they invite the Spirit almost immediately.
We visited our less active Sarah, who was in the hospital for about 2 months. Now she is going through a really trying time with her job falling through and her sister taking over her apartment. She unloaded all her stress and problems and just talked to us for hours on a bench outside in a park. She really needed that.
We then visited the Lasa's for dinner and ate a wonderful meal and read scriptures and laughed. I love them. They always call us their children and we always have a good time.
Friday we went over to a newly married couple's apartment and had dinner with them and another newly married couple. They're so funny and we all had a blast.
Saturday morning Soeur Lefrandt and I went and cleaned the church building because we were assigned to clean with the members that Saturday. When we got there, no one showed up so we ended up cleaning for hours and then a family from the ward showed up (it's her calling to assign families to clean and they show up every week to clean) They were so shocked someone had actually showed up to help clean. They were so grateful and invited us to come over for dinner!
Sunday was absolutely incredible as well. In the middle of the week I answered the phone and it was one of the members. She's a little older and lives by herself and she told us she had a friend that she's been talking to about the gospel and her friend wants to be baptized! WHAT! So fast-forward to Sunday..her friend comes to church and became the star of the show. So we had ward conference at church and it was ALL about strengthening the ward and reaching out to friends. Frere Lethuaire was speaking to everyone about different experiences he had heard and we told him about this member and her friend and he talked about how great it was! The whole lesson was about how Pierre (Peter) in Mathew 14 came down out of the boat and walked toward Jesus on the water and what faith we must have to do the same. Frere Lethuaire invited people to come up and share experiences of how members had come down out of the ship. Member after member spoke about how they had shared the gospel with some friends and finally Frere Lethuaire invited the lady to come up and speak. How crazy! later we went and talked to her and set up an appointment this week! Frere Lethuaire told us later that he gave her a priesthood blessing and told her she could feel the Holy Ghost for the rest of her life if she is baptized and receives the Holy Ghost! Wow!

There were lots of calling changes in our ward here and it was super cool to see things change and hopefully light a new fire for the Nogent ward. After church we had a HUGE meal with all the members and it was so cool! We stayed quite a bit after and helped clean up.
Later we went and visited the Adamsons and sang hymns with them. It was super interesting because the kids speak French and the parents and oldest daughter speak English so we sang hymns/cantiques with both languages and it was super interesting, but cool. The Spirit was strong even with two different languages going on. They still fight to let Godwith get baptized, but I know she will be one day. As we left their apartment the oldest daughter, Princess, handed us an envelope. This sweet young girl who hadn't been to church in so long because she works, but wants to come to church had her tithing all ready to go. I'm not really sure if we were allowed to take it, but she kept saying, "Please take it, I want to be square with God." We said we'd take care of it and I had to hold back tears as  the biggest smile came across her face and she said, "I feel so much better!"
This week I came across an amazing talk by President Monson and in the talk he gave a poem called, "Living What We Pray For" and I want to share it with all of you..

I knelt to pray when day was done
And prayed, “O Lord, bless everyone;
Lift from each saddened heart the pain,
And let the sick be well again.”
And then I woke another day
And carelessly went on my way;
The whole day long, I did not try
To wipe a tear from any eye.
I did not try to share the load
Of any brother on the road;
I did not even go to see
The sick man, just next door to me.
Yet, once again, when day was done,
I prayed, “O Lord, bless everyone.”
But as I prayed, into my ear
There came a voice that whispered clear:
“Pause now, my son, before you pray;
Whom have you tried to bless today?
God’s sweetest blessings always go
By hands that serve Him here below.”
And then I hid my face and cried,
“Forgive me, God, I have not tried.
Let me but live another day,
And I will live the way I pray.”

As I read this I realize that its so much harder to live what we pray. I challenge all of you to LIVE what you pray. Seek for the guidance from Heavenly Father and then ACT on those promptings! Seek to follow the example of Jesus Christ. Use that incredible gift of the atonement! Believe and be healed and then SHARE this beautiful and incredible gospel with everyone around you. It's true. It changes lives! I know it changed mine.
I love you all and thank you all for your prayers, emails, letters, and words of love and encouragement!

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