Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Last of Many


12 transfers  district picture!
                                                                    MTC Buds

 FHE at the Langouet's
 McDo's with Mamie
 baptême! 
                                                                  Sweet Baptism




                                           So happy for this little family!


Wow, I can't believe this will be my final email. It's hard to believe it's been 18 months, but alas all good things come to a close. I feel so blessed. This week will always be a week to remember. 

To start off, last Monday we had a little lesson with Katerina and Shkelqim to prepare them for their baptism. We talked about the 10 commandments and they understood it so well that we ended up having an hour left of the night so Soeur Hosking and I decided to contact around. We met a lady named Corinne who invited us right into her apartment. Miracle! She is in her 60's and a sweet French woman. We learned that her son and her husband had both committed suicide so it has been a hard time for her to believe in God. We testified and sang a hymn for her and she said she was touched. She has so much potential and she needs this gospel.

Tuesday we returned to see Corinne and share the plan of salvation with her. As we read the brochure, the spirit filled the room. She said she feels good when we talk with her and she wants to stop smoking..It's a testimony to me that the word of wisdom is a true standard of God because as the spirit touched her heart she opened up to us about wanting to stop this habit. So cool. Later, the Toul sisters came to spend the night. One of them was sick so I went out contacting with Soeur Nielson and Soeur Hosking and Soeur Dionne stayed in our apartment for the evening. Soeur Nielson and I contacted in the cold, windy, rainy weather and finally met a girl named Stephanie who was interested in a tour of the church. We prayed with her and that was such a miracle for us and a testimony that when we are obedient, even when the conditions are less pleasant, the Lord pours out His blessings.

Wednesday! We had an AWESOME day planned. We saw Soeur Ngoyandji, whose mom passed away 2 weeks ago. We visited and prayed with her. She's very sweet and her grandkids are the cutest! At one point we had 6 lessons scheduled for the day, but things don't always go quite as planned... We had an awesome lesson scheduled and we were so PUMPED. So naturally the buses were stuck for an hour due to a ton of tractors..In the city..tractors. Thank you manifestations. So with the day not going quite as we planned we headed over to meet Jeanne.  She is an older French woman that Soeur Francis and I met on exchanges. She invited us to come and speak at her 'American culture' class (about 7 woman who disucss American culture). We agreed and we were really excited. Everything was going great. We were presenting ourselves and what we do as missionaries and we asked them for questions and then Jeanne just hammered us with questions that basically mocked us and our religion. We kept our cool and handled it as best we could, but we continued to testify our hearts out. We left and were so frustrated..mind you this is all in english so it was not taken well. It was a good reminder for me to really check on my personal testimony and reflect on the feelings I cannot deny. I will never deny that this gospel contains the truth.

Thursday morning we went to see Catherine. She invited us to her symphony orchestra rehearsal and we did not say no to that opportunity! It was absolutely incredible inside a beautiful theater just down the street from our apartment. They played Beethoven and Soeur Hosking and I just drooled in our seats. Later we had a super fun FHE with Ronan, Juna, and the Albanians. We ate a super yummy meal and Ronan helped Katerina and Shkelqim get ready for their baptism. They were so excited. Katerina was a little nervous because she is 7 months pregnant, but it went great.

Friday was quite a day! We had a ton of rdv's planned, but just like wednesday everything switched and got moved around. We went to open the church for Maite and we helped her clean the baptismal clothing closet and get things situated for the baptism. After, she offered to take us to McDo's and we don't say no to Mamie, so off we went. I just love her to death. Later we went to Soeur Mangeat's to bring her her glasses that she had left at the church. She gave us hot chocolate and we had a nice spiritual moment together. I just adore her. We ended the evening going back to the church for the baptismal interview for Katerina and Shkelqim. They passed! wahoo!

Saturday we had Samedi sports and then Soeur Hosking and I prepared everything for the baptism. Another ward was having a baptism in our building 2 hours before their baptism, so Katerina, Shkelqim, Soeur Hosking and I attended. Watching a baptism right before theirs really helped them understand how everything would work. Then later, they made that same covenant and entered the waters of baptism and became the newest members of the true church of Jesus Christ. What joy filled my heart that day as I watched my brother and sister promise God to always follow the Savior's example. Katerina (afterwards) told me she can't wait for Alex to be 8 so he can be baptized. Words can't describe how much I love this little family. It was such a miracle for me to watch them grasp the gospel and join in the covenant. I have been praying these past 18 months that I would be able to see a family join the church and voila. Heavenly Father blessed me with the chance to meet this cute family come into the fold and I couldn't be happier.

Sunday was great. Shkelqim and Katerina both received the gift of the Holy Ghost and were sustained as members of the church. They were so excited! They even had Shkelqim's family send over his suit so he could wear it. Later, we saw Catherine and Lucille to say goodbye and also Zoe and her host parents. There are so many wonderful people and I feel so blessed to have met them here.

What a journey this has been! I'm so grateful for all that I have learned, for the people I have met, for the food I have tried, and for the memories I will never forget. I am especially grateful for my companions that have been on this journey with me. I've learned so much from each one and each has helped me grow and become who I am today. 

I've learned from Soeur Bradley how to find passion and excitement in the details of our lives, Soeur Huckstep taught me the key to true happiness is to laugh every day, Soeur Wynn taught me diligence and how to teach others simply so they might understand this gospel, Soeur Lefrandt taught me by having patience and fearless faith, God will make everything work out, Soeur Huntsman taught me unconditional love and strict obedience helps us see miracles, Soeur Sorenson taught me about having love for everyone and by being our true selves, we can be instruments in the hands of the Lord, Soeur Castillo taught me about individual strength and confidence in the Lord can take us anywhere, Soeur Johns taught me about the importance of documenting our lives and seizing every opportunity life offers, Soeur Lefrandt taught me again about placing all fears in the hands of the Lord and having complete trust in his plan, and finally Soeur Hosking taught me about having hope in people and faith in the Lord, that miracles HAPPEN. And they do!

My plaque may be coming off, my schedule might be changing, but my mission to invite others to come unto Christ will NEVER end. To quote the great Martin Luther King Jr. (changing a word) 

Our missions begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

I love you all. Thanks for all the support these past 18 months. See you all very soon ;)

GROS BISOUS

Soeur Berge







"You Are Late"
















WOW! Where to begin. This week had to be one of THE best weeks of my entire mission. Totally unforgettable. 

Monday we had a super fun FHE at the Chretien's house. The mom is Tahitian and the dad is French and they are such a fun family. We were hoping our ami would come, but she didn't. Still a fun time with good people. Can't complain :)

Tuesday we had exchanges with Soeurs from Antony. I got to spend the day with Soeur Bradley, one of my MTC companions. It was so awesome to catch up after not really seeing each other for 17 months! It was so fun to do missionary work together and see just how far we'd really come since the MTC! Soeur Bradely is such a powerful missionary and I absolutely love her. We saw so many miracles. Last Sunday, an Albanian member brought a cute Albanian family to church. Right after church we set up another rdv with them. Our member came as well because the family doesn't speak much French or English. Soeur Bradley and I show up at the church, and realize we didn't have the key. Luckily it was really nice outside so we just sat on a little walkway outside the church and taught them (or rather, just had them read) the Restoration brochure. They loved it. They just soaked it all in like a sponge! It was so incredible, you could feel their faith grow and strengthen the more they understood. We even gave them a Book of Mormon in Albanian. It was one of the most spiritual lessons I've ever participated in despite the language barrier. They even accepted a soft baptismal invite.

Wednesday was actually a hard day..we have those every once in a while. We got dropped by an ami and we were a little down. C'est la vie.

Thursday we were in the outskirts of Paris in a city called Evry. I got to go on exchanges with a brand new missionary, Soeur Walker. She is an incredible missionary and I know she is going to make such a difference on France. We spent part of the day with an adorable Hmong member. She told us her conversion story and how she joined the church in America and then fell away from the church a few times because she just felt like she didn't fit in. However, a calling had made all the difference. When she received a calling to be in primary, she was so shocked because she hadn't been to church in a while. When she accepted it, she finally found her place and realized she did belong. It was such a profound life lesson to me that callings are truly inspired. Later, Soeur Walker and I contacted so many people and knocked on so many doors. Finally, one door that we knocked on was a super sweet Moraccan lady. So we told her how we all know Moraccans make the best couscous and she invited us over to make and eat couscous with her and her daughter. Score! Can't say no to that! We ended the night with an awesome meal with some members-Raclette and Nutella crêpes, coupled with a nice game of Dobble. This family was so cute and so sweet. They had the most beautiful little blonde, French girls. I just love me some cute children!

The next day was a bit unique. We got permission to see Soeur Hosking's aunt who happened to be in London. So she came to Paris and we saw her in Paris before we headed back to Nancy. What a crazy, fun time we had with her, showing her around a little bit of Paris. It was such a blast and we managed to squeeze in quite a few things I must say. Later, we had another lesson set up with our dear Albanian family. The mom, Katerina told us of a dream she had had the night after we had our first lesson. She explained that in her dream it was dark, but she saw a little fire. In the fire, there was a face that spoke to her and said, "You are late! You are late! But this is a good time now. You NEED to read the Book of Mormon!" So she woke up and read 100 pages in the Book of Mormon! She was almost done with 2 Nephi. WOW! INCREDIBLE! We asked her to tell us what she learned and she explained almost all the big stories in detail. She said she knew it was true. We finished with watching the Restoration film and they both loved the film. They kept saying they are so happy they have found Christ's church. So we invited them to be baptized November 8th and they said they could not wait to be baptized. They are the cutest family and I just adore them. 

Saturday had our little sports activity with members and amis that we do every Saturday morning and then right after we went to Maite's to eat and then head over to a hike with the Relief Society. It was such a fun time. Then we went straight to a baptism that was held in our church building. We invited the Albanian family to come and they did! Right after the service, Katerina turned to us and said, "November 8th, it will be me!" Their joy is so contagious and it's moments like these that make it all worth it. 

Sunday was another busy day. We had so many people come to church. Manon, the Albanian family, all the Albanian less actives came, Mariette and Irenes came to church and it was just so good to see everyone want to be there. After church, we had a picnic and it was so cool to see the members try to welcome and talk to the Albanian family despite the language barrier. Over all it was an awesome Sunday at church! Later we went by Manon's to see about her baptismal date. We think we are going to push it back so hopefully this week we can reset a new date and help Manon get back on track towards making this big step in life and making changes. 

By far one of the most amazing, miracle-filled weeks of the mission. God is real. He is so good. The church is true! Love you all! Have a wonderful week!

GROS BISOUS

Soeur Berge
our adorable Albanian miracle family!
Soeur Bradley and I enjoyin some glace on a brisk autumn day in the parc de la pépinière 
exchange with the beautiful Soeur Walker!
all ya need is the eiffle tour and a baguette..you're set for life ;)

never gets old #dontforgettobreathe
chillin with Soeur Hosking's aunt
Relief Society walk in the forest :)

Katerina, our ami, Soeur Hosking, Claudiana (member), and I

I'm Dreaming of a White Baptism!

 this was probably my fav lesson from last week


Hello!

So many miracles from the week! 

Last Monday we saw Benedicte and were able to read with her and her brother since they didn't do their reading. Her brother has so much desire to learn and understand the scriptures. I hope they take more time to read this week. 

Tuesday we had exchanges with sisters in Mulhouse. I spent the day with Soeur Francis and we saw so many miracles. First of all we got to see Manon, the daughter of the elder's recent convert. During our lesson we invited Manon to be baptized and she said yes! She is planning on being baptized the 25th of October. We are so pumped!! Her mom was so thrilled when she told her. *Side miracle, the elders went over a few days before to teach her mom for her recent convert lessons. During the lesson they could tell Mary-Lynn was really stressed and they asked if they could give her a blessing. During her blessing she was promised that she would have an eternal family. 3 days later Manon called her and told her she was going to be baptized! How incredible is that! Later that night Soeur Francis and I went contacting and we ran into a young girl who right away asked us if we were 'Mormons.' She then explained that her best friend is a missionary in Germany and she has been to church several times and knows all about the church. Very cool. She said she wasn't interested, but she was super nice and it was so neat that we contacted her! It goes to show that when we are obedient and contacting everyone we can that someone else could be contacting our friend is back home. We also contacted a lady who we exchanged cards with. She said she is a professor who teaches American culture. She has a small class that gets together every week and speaks English and discusses American stuff. She said she wasn't at all interested, but maybe she knew some people that might be. We didn't think much of it, but that it was a unique contact.

Wednesday we had district meeting and exchanges with sisters in Toul. I was with the new bleu, Soeur Dionne for the day. It was so fun to be with a fresh missionary again. We contacted and knocked on so many doors even in the rain and not one person was interested. There was so much opposition, it was a nice reminder that only after the trial of our faith, do we receive blessings and witnesses of this gospel. Everything happens for a reason. 

Thursday we saw Mariette and Irenes. So good to see them. We watched the Joseph Smith Restoration film and after Mariette was so pumped about Joseph Smith. It's so cool to see somone who has such a love for the prophet who helped Jesus Christ restore His church on the earth. 

Friday was a day full of miracles. In the morning we decided to pass by an ami who hasn't been responding lately. As we stood at her doorstep, a little disappointed that she wasn't home, Soeur Hosking and I heard some catchy music down the hall. We looked at each other and said, "We gotta knock that door!" So we walked around leaning our ears towards different doors to find the music, we arrived at the door. After I rang the doorbell, a chipper, blonde woman with sparkly eyeliner answers. We explained that we were missionaries for our church and that we heard her music and wanted to meet her. She was really shocked and said she wasn't interested, so we began making small talk with her and all the sudden she says, "Oh just come in.." score. So we sat down and talked with her. At first she just kept showing me pictures of her convict son saying he just got out of prison and asked if I thought he was cute...uhh..right...but then we switched the conversation back to the gospel and she kept telling us how hard her life has been. We testified of the Savior and she just looks at us and asked about 5 different times, "Why are you two so happy?" and "Where do you get all your energy?" She was such a miracle and we are going back to teach her hopefully soon. Later we taught Manon again and she explained that she told her neighbor that she was going to be baptized. Her neighbor asked why she would do such a thing if she was already baptized as a baby? She responded "do you remember your baptism?" and he said, "well, no" then she asked "Do you feel close to God?" and he responded "no." and she finishes "Well, voila quoi." Haha oh Manon. She's so sassy it cracks me up. Atta girl. Speaking of sassy, Soeur Hosking and I finished the night visiting Soeur Dautreville. She is so funny and has so much sass. I think my favorite quality of Soeur Dautreville is her ability to share her favorite principle of the gospel with us everytime--the word of wisdom. She kills me, I love her.

Saturday was a very interesting day. The Relief Society had a relaxation activity this week. They taught us all how to breathe and relax into a near comatose state to avoid stress. Then we had a tea party. It was the best thing of my life. Us? Stressed? Never... Well, not anymore that is. We got to see Nune as well, whom I just ADORE. There is a large language barrier so most of our communication is through large hand motions. That just makes everything that much more interesting.

Sunday we had church. I felt like everyone was calling me left and right! Sundays are so overwhelming, but in the best possible way. Claudiana, an albanian member our age brought an albanian family to church who wants to be baptized so we are going to start teaching them the lessons with Claudiana as our translator. Also Collomb came to church! So awesome. With the Albanian family not too far and Collomb on the other side with another little girl in the ward who asks me for flower stickers and for me to write her poems in her Book of Mormon during church, I don't know what could be better. Later the L'Homel family took us home for some nice Sunday Raclette! Can't complain on ending a fast like that. YUM. What a nice family. Rewind a little and jump back to Tuesday. The last lady we contacted of the night, the American professor had called us the next day after we met her and said she'd love to meet with us and ask us questions! So we planned to go over on Sunday night and talk with her. We drank infusions and talked with her and answered all of her questions. It was so neat because she explained how she wasn't active practicing the Catholic religion anymore because she doesn't agree with {insert list of things she doesn't like} when she finished her list we told her that we didn't agree with any of that either and our church is contrare to all those concepts (infant baptism, repeated prayers...yadda yadda yadda) It was such a cool discussion and she invited us to come speak to her little class and answer all their questions. She is so sweet and we can't wait to see her and her class!

Love this work, love this gospel, love this city, love this country. and love all of you! Til next time,

GROS BISOUS

Sœur Berge




Nancy France Weekly

goodbye soeur lefrandt <3 It was really hard to say goodbye to one of my bestest friends, but all great things must come to an end              
 bumped into elder CHEN! So pumped he's in the mission!


Not much time! Highlights-

MONDAY: Saw Mariette and Irenes after their really long vacation

TUESDAY: Soeur Lefrandt and I run all around our ville saying goodbye to people

WEDNESDAY: Transfer day! I had to say goodbye to Soeur Lefrandt and we headed out to Nancy, France. We did some contacting, taught some lessons, unpacked some bags. Pretty exciting stuff. It was so hard to say goodbye to Soeur Lefrandt after so much time spent together, but I'm really excited to work with Soeur Hosking from California! She is a miracle worker and full of hope, love, and joy. She is the perfect companion to help me finish my mission with a bang! Were so pumped for this transfer.

TUESDAY: We got to see Nune. She is awesome and I was so pumped for Soeur Hosking to meet her. They hit it off and we even got the elders to help us put some Russian mormon messages onto our USB to give to her. She loved it!

FRIDAY: We had a lesson with our amid  Benedicte. Her friend ended up being there and we got to teach him about the retag. We ended the night doing some contacting in the park.

SATURDAY: CONFERENCE! Oh how much I love general conference! 

SUNDAY: It did not feel like a Sunday... We actually had time to do our studies before going to the church. That never happens. After the Saturday Night Session, we had a potluck with all the missionaries. It was fun to just chat and eat in between sessions. The session ended and we sprinted down the street to catch the bus so that we could get home on time. It was a close one, but we made it. Then with the Elders on one side of the street and us on the other we went out contacting with the last 10 minutes of the night. Talk about obedience miracles, we found someone! They promised they would come to church :) 

Conference was absolulety incredible! I think my personal favorite was by Robbins about pleasing people and pleasing the Lord. I hope you all have a great week. Gotta run! Love you

GROS BISOUS

Soeur Berge