Sunday, May 4, 2014

Singing Our Hearts Out..Heaven Help Us All

Happy it's spring!
with Kate

Helping people move & singin in the rain
Being pelted by hail
cool glasses I made
"the great and spacious building"

Hey Hey!!

So much happened this week I feel like it was 2 weeks smooshed into one! 

Last Monday night we saw Kate and sat by the river and just talked about the hand of the Lord in our lives and she had so many questions about the Book of Mormon. She is so sweet and I'm so sad she is going back to Ohio, but she is so excited to see her family after it's been a few weeks. Oh we just love Kate!

Tuesday we had a big zone conference at the Rouen chapel. Afterwards, we saw Nina and made beignets with her and talked a lot about how the gospel blesses families. She is so sweet and we just hope that she gets the answers and courage she needs.

Later we passed by Telma. She is from Angola and she is so funny. We found her address in the area book and we felt like we should go by. It was a MIRACLE! When we first got there we were a little unsure because we didn't have her last name and we had no clue which sonnette was hers. Luckily, Soeur Johns noticed the door was already open (it wasn't like that last time we stopped by) and we just decided to ask people if they knew who Telma was and we finally found her! She let us in to pray and we're going by tonight.

Wednesday we moved Sr Crocq again..we went porting in a building and sang for a muslim family that didn't speak French..interesting experience..later we had an FHE with the Depuydts and a member, Sr. Crisitini. She had throat cancer so she doesn't have her vocal cords so she can't really talk. She was so touched by the Spirit as we sang and shared scriptures with her. We just really gained so much love for her during the lesson. 

Thursday was crazy! We passed by some people that the sisters here in the past taught, but nothing we went and found some and we prayed with them and got another rdv! We're excited for this week to see what is in store for them. 

We also found this building...we like to call it le grand bâtiment spacieux aka the great and spacious building because it is HUGE! We passed by this building on the metro once and I nudged Soeur Johns, "If everyone in that batiment was a member, that would be it's own stake!" So it become our goal to knock every door. We have had quite some stories haha but we have had quite a bit of success! We have some people who we are planning on seeing again so we are excited.

Friday we did some more moving for Soeur Croqc and decided to go back to our great and spacious building to find some more. And we found Nanou. She is such a sweet lady. We knocked on her door and she let us in so we could sing for her. Her daughter and her daughter's friend were on the couch (they're about 13 years old) and they left the room when we were going to sing I am a Child of God...and let me just preview ya here..Soeur Johns and I are no Dixie Chicks... and halfway through the song we hear some snickers and the girls were filming us on their iPad! So if we become the next youtube stars..heaven help us all..

Saturday we had a real miracle. We went to our rdv with Rachel and she wasn't there..and we decided to wait in the lobby part of the building where all the mailboxes are..and guess who walks in? Rachel! And we've never met her, but we both felt it was her and as she walked in we asked her if she knew a Rachel and it was her. There are 13 floors in the building so the likelihood that it was her was almost impossible. So we got to teach her about the Book of Mormon and she seems interested.

Sunday was interesting. Earlier in the week we were porting and we saw through the window a ton of Africans having a party..and we love we sonnered the intercom and this guy named Kevin came to the door...completely drunk. So Soeur Johns asked him if he has ever been baptized..he said we got his number and gave it to the elders. Then, he showed up for all 3 hours of church! So cool! 

We stopped by the Barnjaks after church as always on Sundays to pray with them before going porting around their area..and it began to POUR out rain and hail and we were completely soaked and being pelted with ice chunks..such an adventure..but the Barnjaks were so sweet and helped dry us off and give us little treats before we go talk to everyone and their dog (sometimes cat) for the rest of the evening.

We passed by Monique and brought her the hymn book we promised and we put our testimonies in it using the titles of hymns. When we knocked on her door her friend was there and they were playing piano and flute together! So fun and perfect timing! So it was a great opportunity to see her and her friend. We sang and they played about a bajillion hymns and it was so fun and the spirit was so strong. We invited her to come hear us sing at church (good excuse to invite people to come to church and not miss it) and she might be able to! We just adore Monique and love singing hymns with her because the words are just pure doctrine themselves.

This week has just been so full, I can't fit it all into an email, but just know the work is moving forward, miracles happen everyday, and this church is the true church of Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for the blessings of the gospel and the incredible promise from Jesus Christ that if we do all we can, He can make up the rest. He pays our debt, we must only accept to allow Him to pay it. We can believe in Christ, but forget to simply believe Christ. With His atoning sacrifice, we can be perfect one day. The goal is not for us to be perfect or fail, but to try, fail, and then try again. 

Thank you for all your prayers and love! Have a wonderful week!

Soeur Berge

Cake Brings Us Together and a Broken Foot Can't Stop The Miracles

Our college friends

Saying goodbye to Sr Castillo
waiting for my new companion

exchanges with Enrika

Soeur Johns, my new comp

Loving the view from the apartment
Poor Soeur Johns with her cane and her broken foot :(

Bonjour everybody!

Well what a week! 

First of all, I will pray for Uncle Cliff! Wow! Scary, and yet so awesome he is alive and well! What a wonderful miracle. 

So this week started off great. Soeur Castillo and I had an awesome FHE with our American friend, Kate and we invited our American member, Hannah to come as well and we made our own FHE at church and it was really fun. 

Tuesday was a crazy day of MIRACLES! I am just so blown away at all of the miracles we witnessed this week. So Tuesday morning we went to see Laura so Soeur Castillo could say goodbye. During the lesson we got 2 missed calls from this number and I thought it was someone in the office..well it turns out it was Camille, this girl we met on the street around 9:00 as we were heading home. We just felt like we needed to talk to her even though we could've gone home and still been obedient, we just wanted to talk to one more. She wasn't interested, but she was super fun and had so much energy. Such a cute, young girl. We ended up just giving her our card and a brochure. Then, 3 weeks later, she CALLED. Wow! So as I'm talking to her she says, "I want to see you! Are you free today?" We were super booked the entire day, but we actually had a last minute cancel rdv at 2 so we suggested it and she said, 'I will be there!' so cool. So then 2 rolls around and we're waiting at the bus stop, so pumped because this has never happened to me ever in my mission!! So she shows up with 2 of her friends and at first we were thinking, uhh I hope they know we're not here to hang out. Then they told us they were doing a project for their class and they thought of us. They're in architecture school and had a project about young people and how they feel around certain areas and environments. A little strange I thought at first and then it just turned into a questionnaire about who we were and why we're here. We gave them a tour of the church and they had so many great religious questions. In the end, I think they forgot they were there for a project. They were all athiest, but they had awesome questions like, "How is it possible to forgive people?" "Why was the Atonement so important?" "How can we use the Atonement?" It was so awesome as we just testified to these 3 awesome, young, peers and they were so respectable of the church and were so nice. In the end they said, "Could we talk to you another time?" They also want to watch us go contacting just to observe and I think it's such an awesome idea. Contacting can be so powerful!

Later we saw Nina and had a scheduled FHE set up with a part member family. We made a cake and everything so they wouldn't frudge (they're known for frudging quite often) 2 minutes before our appointment, we get a call while on the bus with our cake and she cancelled! UGH! It was so close! So frustrated, we got off the bus and got on a different bus to go home. As I sat there holding this cake, I just didn't want to give up. I just looked at Soeur Castillo and said, "We are not taking this cake home. We are coming home empty handed tonight. Someone needs this cake." Immediately, we got off the bus as we thought of a less active family we could go to and we listed off several people. We called one and she said she wasn't there so we sat on the bench just trying to think of who needs this cake. We both prayed in our hearts that we could get some direction for what we should do. We decided to call our mission leader because he knows the members and less-actives better than us. So I called him and said, "our FHE just got cancelled, we have a cake and a message about the resurrection..where should we go?" and he said, "CAKE! bring it here! I'll eat it!" At first it was a funny joke, but then I replied, "Well, do you have a friend over?" He then paused and said, "Actually, wait a minute.." Turns out there was a friend of a friend staying at their house for the week because she had an internship the whole week in Rouen. She is a young Haitian girl who lives in Paris. Turns out they were free and we went over and had our FHE. WOW! We didn't give up. We were determined to have our FHE with a member and their friend and we had one. And it was incredible! The Spirit was so strong as we taught her about the Atonement and Resurrection of Christ and what that means for us. She had a million questions and was so intrigued. In the end, Nadège had so many questions and we just left her with so much more hunger for the truth. The members were so incredible at answering her questions and were so bold with her and we can't wait for her to meet more missionaries now that she is back home in Paris. Later Soeur Bitanga, the member, told us she was praying all day that somehow we would be able to come over tonight and talk to Nadège! It was incredible as the Lord answered both of our prayers and we had a wonderful, spiritual edifying night. 

Wednesday was super hectic and so much fun. Started off when we took Soeur Castillo to the gare with the elders and other equipe of soeurs. We ran into Kate and she was going on the same train. So cool! So they sat together and off they went. Then I stayed with the other soeurs in Rouen while my companion, Soeur Johns arrived later. We had an awesome lesson with one of their new amis and later I had to do a split with Ennrika, a 16 year old only member of her family. She is so incredible. She is just rock solid in the church. We went and saw a less-active and I took her contacting and her eyes were the size of soccer balls. It was quite an adventure. Then I got my dear companion, Soeur Johns who is awesome! She is from Texas (southern pride) and we have just become the best of friends. She is an awesome missionary and we have just had our fair share of opposition and MIRACLES this week. So I took Soeur Johns to our appartement, we dropped her bags off and went to see Liliane! We got to teach her the rest of Plan of Salvation and she loved it! We really hoping to set another baptismal date with her soon.

Thursday was another crazy adventure. We were planning on doing a lot of finding and then last minute we had to go help a member move. She has a lot of possessions and it was us and the elders and a few other awesome members. We helped her move for about 5 hours and then as we were walking home, Soeur Johns tripped on cobblestone and fractured her foot! The weird part was the elders and I didn't even see it happen and then later as she was limping, she gave me that look and we both knew it was a little more serious than a twisted ankle. But my comp is a boss so we continued with our day and we went to pass by a less active member and met this awesome lady Malika. At first she told us she was muslim and then she said her husband was christian and she has read the Bible. So we introduced her to the Book of Mormon and she just said, "where can I get that?" we told her the truth is free!! and boy was she happy! We prayed with her on the street and set up another time to see her! Can't wait!

Friday, Soeur John's foot was still not better, but we had a ton of rdv's set up and so we went to our lessons. We had an awesome FHE with Soeur Bachlet and Veronique, this adorable Vietnamese lady who is half Buddhist, half Mormon, as she puts it. She was so cute and we hope to see her soon. Then we had our meeting with the missionaries and our ward mission leader. After we asked our leader if there was someone with crutches in the ward and he said they had some. So he called his wife and we went over. Nadège was still there so we got to see her again and they made us stay and teach her a lesson and fed us awesome African food. So fun! I love last minute miracles!

Then, Saturday and Soeur John's foot was still not feeling too great so we went to the clinique..after a 4 hour wait and converting everyone in the waiting room, she finally got to see the doctor and turns out it is a hairline fracture. She had just been going strong as a regular missionary with a broken big deal. She is awesome! We ended up having so many laughs about our crazy situation. 

We also had to do our grocery shopping Saturday night because everything is closed today. It took us so long to get home as I had our two bags strapped to my back and 3 huge grocery bags. As we got into the elevator at our metro stop, there were two little boys and their mom that joined us and one of the little boys looked at me, looked at Soeur Johns and said, "You don't have a boyfriend that can help you??" It was the cutest thing ever and we just died laughing later about it.

Yesterday was Easter! We had church as normal and it was good. We had a fire drill during sunday school which was interesting..poor Souer Johns was on crutches rushing down 3 flights of stairs..turns out the Stake Presidency asked them to do it and yadda yadda yadda..

Later we had an awesome Easter meal with the Barnjaks. I love this family! We had a blast singing and sharing scriptures and just chatting with them. We had just an incredible meal. Soeur Barnjak is just a master in the kitchen and such a cute hostess. After we went porting and didn't have much success at first (porting with crutches is quite an interesting experience), but in the end we didn't want to give up so we decided to do a few more and this old couple let us in. They are so cool. We told them we wanted to sing for them and she took us into her art studio. She is an incredible artist! She then, played piano as we sang cantiques to her. Then she said, "Oh you have to learn this song!" She brought in Amazing Grace and..being from the South, oh how we know this song. So we sang it while she played and sang with us and it was so fun! She wanted to copy the songs and just kept asking where she could get a cantique (hymn) book and we told her we would give one to her so she could play the songs and see the beautiful lyrics that testify of Christ. We then prayed with her and testified of the Plan of Salvation and took a picture with her. She is just too cute!

That is the main events of the week. Happy Easter! Reflect on the example of the Savior. Choose the right and if you are sleeping through the Restoration..WAKE UP AND GO WATCH PRIESTHOOD SESSION! :) Love you all!


Soeur Berge

PS-- the top pic is last week's P-day with the other soeurs Joanne d'Arc Tour of the Tower! Such cool history..look it up and read about it! Real neat!

Easter Miracles and Hungry Kitties

Got to see our previous sister training leaders
Reunited with my trainer, Soeur Wynn and "bleu" Soeur Sorenson
Teaching the cat
On the train
Beautiful spring
Typical street in Rouen
Reunited with my MTC group (11 months into the mission)


Well Spring has sprung!!

This week was so great! Why? Because I can SPEAK! wahoo! I have a voice now and it's preaching the gospel to everyone in SIGHT! This week, my bleu fire was rekindled! I promised Heavenly Father if he'd let me speak, I would talk to every person in sight...and that's exactly what I did! SO FUN!

Tuesday we had our SISTERS' CONFERENCE! It was so much fun. President and Soeur Poznanski gave us some formations and then we had some cool workshops. We got make-up tutorials by a member in Versailles who owns her own salon, we got accessories from members in France, and we did crafts and made cards. It was mainly just sooo fun to see all the sisters. These awesome girls just become your best friends and I love them all!

Wednesday was awesome. We met Mme Wong. She is Chinese and has her own little purse shop. Soeur Castillo really needed a new bag and we hadn't found a good one on P-day. We saw her little stand outside her shop and saw that the price was really good and it was lunch hour so we went in and I saw her Buddhist statue and I asked if she was believing and we had a really cool conversation with her. It was so interesting because she asked us who the man on the cross is. So we want to go back and give her the Finding Faith in Christ video so she can watch it in Chinese. She was so cute. I love her!

Later we went and packed some stuff for a member in our branch who is moving. She is really fragile and she has a lot of sutff. Luckily the branch is going to pitch in after we said it was necessary, so that will be good.

Thursday we saw Laura. She had been super sick, but she is finally better! She told us about how she has been teaching her friends the 10 commandments because we taught her with a cool hand gestures. Also she told us how her parents are totally cool with her getting baptized and she said it's something she really wants to do. Wow! So we went over the interview questions with her so she can see how many more lessons she needs. She is so awesome! I love her!

We saw Nina and her family and also Liliane and cute little Liane, although Liliane had a really bad headache so that was difficult.

Saturday we went porting foreverrr and it was so much fun! We met some pretty interesting people, but the miracle of the day was after an entire day of talking to everyone. The one lady we found that was interested happened around 8:45 as we were heading home. Wow! After an entire day, the miracle came during the last 15 minutes of our day. So glad we were obedient to find Sandrine. She was so excited about our message, she hugged us. We're really excited to see her hopefully on tuesday.

Sunday, yesterday, we had a great FHE with a family in our Branch, the Barnjaks. This week before Easter, our mission president asked us to have an FHE every night before Easter with the members inviting their friends over. We hadn't had a ton of members excited about it, but the Barnjak family was on board. I'm so grateful for their attitude for assisting in this wonderful work. They have a daughter on her mission right now and they decided to invite her old friend over who has kept in touch with their missionary daughter, so he knows quite a bit about the church. We had an awesome lesson about Jesus Christ and he was so touched. His name is Julien. He made a really cool analogy during the lesson that I hadn't thought about before. He is studying to be a doctor and he related the Atonement to being like an organ donor. He said that the gift of the Atonement allows us to live and to be renewed, but we couldn't have provided it for ourselves. It had to come from someone else! WOW! It was such a great lesson. Spirit was so strong!

Later we went porting right by their house. We stopped by a house where they said we could come back in 2 weeks and it had been 2 we rang the doorbell and the husband who is French (wife is from Puerto Rico) and he began telling us how he is a rocket scientist and doesn't believe in God because he believes mainly in science. So, this is where I was really grateful I am from Florida and live right by the NASA/ kennedy space center and had been to space conventions and stuff before. Because eventually it led us back to the gospel and in the end we had a long, great conversation about the plan of salvation. He said it was possible and that we could stop by another time. He let us pray with him and he was really nice. Later we found out that the Barnjak's daughter had gone to school with their daughter and they know each other. So cool! We're really excited to go back!

Also we found another missionary cat! In Saint-Nazaire there was this cat that would follow us sometimes while we ported and try to sneak into people's houses when they opened the door, which doesn't make porting very effective. I thought that was the only cat that thought it was our long lost 3rd companion..but no. Turns out there's one here too!! It followed us around on Sunday i taught it about the Book of included.

So this upcoming week there will be some changes. My companion, Soeur Castillo will be leaving and Soeur Johns will be my new companion. She is awesome. We are already facebook friends and when I saw a picture of her on facebook I had this feeling we would be companions (kinda how that happened with Soeur Wynn) and I told Soeur Sorenson about how I had this feeling a while ago and voila!! We are companions and I am SOOOO excited! She is such a beautiful girl inside out and I can't wait to start working with her and seeing some more miracles! Soeur Castillo was a great companion and it was fun to watch her grow. I have learned so much from her and we are sad we won't be together, but she is excited to go serve in a ward in Paris.

I love you all and hope you have a wonderful Easter! I encourage you all to take the same challenge. Invite the missionaries over this week to have a family home evening with one of YOUR friends! I know this will bring you closer to Christ as well as allow the Spirit to touch the heart of your friend. During this Easter season, try to focus less on eggs, chocolate, and bunnies, but more on the beauty of the Atonement and Resurrection of Christ and what that means for you and your families. For by the grace of Jesus Christ we can live with our families forever, as well as with our older brother and savior, Jesus Christ, and our Father in heaven.


Soeur Berge

pic- Sr Sorenson and our previous STL's whom we love! Reunited!!