Tuesday, June 24, 2014

No Greater Joy

President et Soeur Poznanski say goodbye :(
My bleu

We got a pineapple!

Ice cream macaron. Need I say more?

Well let's just say this was the WEEK of MIRACLES! I cannot even begin to describe my feelings of complete joy. Watching people want to change and want to come closer to Christ just hits a special spot in any missionary's heart..and this week, let's just say we all felt God's love for us as His children a little stronger.

Tuesday we went to Elbeuf to visit Teclaire, our lovely friend from Cameroon. We taught her a little more about the restoration and organization of the church. She is very open and humble and willing to learn. She is one of those perfect child-like amis who just asks us to help her on her journey closer to Christ. She is having so many difficult trials in her life, but she said she wants to be baptized..she's a little nervous someone else will walk around the corner and ask her to be baptized in their church, since she's already been baptized 3 times, but we invited her to pray about this church to know from God what to do. We love her!

Later we saw our home-girl, Ludivine. We taught about the Word of Wisdom. I love that commandment! Just makes so much sense..I invite you all to please follow this commandment and don't mess up yo dang body..it's a gift from God..let's ask the magical question, "do you treat your body like you treat your iphone?" wash, rinse, and repeat.

Wednesday..a VERY emotional day for all of us. We had a big multi zone conference in Paris to say goodbye to the Poznanskis. Such a sad day for all of us in the mission, but a happy one for our dear President and family to be able to sleep for a good week and replenish from all their incredible hard work they've put into this mission, the missionaries, and for the Lord. They have truly changed this mission and touched all of our lives as they have been our 'parents' away from home. Words just can't describe my appreciation and love for them and I know every missionary in this mission has that same love for them. We are just one big happy family and it makes me so grateful for my brothers and sisters I've been able to meet on my mission, from missionaries, to members, to amis. Anyways, the day was filled with wonderful trainings and musical numbers. This mission has so many talented people! Sorry I'm not in a TON of photos, but they asked me to take the pictures for Soeur Poznanski. It was so fun to play photographer all day long and capture all the sweet moments of the missionaries and the Poznanskis. It was such a fun day. Then we all got to HUG President and Soeur Poznanski! It was so nice to get a hug from them. Let's be real, bisous's and hand shakes are nice, but nothing compares to a warm embrace with the people ya just love. Seriously, hugging president felt like I was huggin' my daddy back home and oh how I've missed that! 

Thursday we saw Sr Bachelet..love that woman..she gave us a pineapple..it was yummy.

Found a monistary with a bunch of 'bonnes soeurs' (nuns) and we are trying to figure out how we can go back to swap stories over biscuits. They look like a fun conversation since everyone thinks we are 'bonnes soeurs' since our plaques say 'Soeur' but anyways..that'll have to be for another day..I had a dr apointment with a allergy specialist. Didn't know they existed! It was literally the fastest dr appointment of my life. It lasted a total of 3 minutes! I was so surprised, but since I knew what I needed and what my problem was he just prescribed me some medicine and voila..I'm good as new.

Later saw our dear Ludivine and introduced the Law of Chastity..another GREAT commandment that I love and encourage you all to follow :) It's a good one. Ludivine had a lot of questions and it's so hard to explain that even though sex before marriage is widely accepted today, it is not accepted in the eyes of God. Our branch president was there with us in our lesson and it was wonderful to hear his powerful testimony of the special blessings of living the law of chastity. It's so clear that this world is just continuing to be strongly influenced by the adversary, but the righteous will prevail! So. along with the iphone analogy..do we treat ourselves like we treat our iphones? We need to take care of ourselves and remember we are the work and glory of God. Our bodies are a precious and valuable gift!

Then we met with Eric, our awesome friend we found on the bus who came to church last Sunday. Frere Bitanga and Clemence Barnjak were there and bore such powerful testimonies of the Book of Mormon. We gave him his own copy and I have never seen anyone accept the Book of Mormon with such excitement and joy. He even accepted to be baptized if he receives an answer to his prayer. WOW! 

Friday we helped clean our new friend, Milady's apt. She is a less practicing member. One of the members invited us to meet her and we just love her. She was just in the hospital for a few months and is a single mom with 3 kids and her life just sounds hectic so we helped clean a little here and there to help her get ready to move in the future...we went back on Saturday to help again and her kids were there and she opened up how she really wants to find peace in her life. We invited her to church.

THEN...Sunday happened...oh what a wonderful Sunday it was!! One of our wonderful members drove with us all the way out to pick up Teclaire for church and she LOVED church. Also, Milady and all 3 of her kids came to church! AAANd Ludivine came to church AAAND Eric came to church and bought flowers to put on the podium. WHAT A CRAZY AMAZING SUNDAY! Here we had been working so hard to have people come to church and we had so many people!! It was incredible. Everyone just loved church and that day, the Spirit was just so strong. The members were so loving and welcoming to the new people and it's so awesome to see the fruits of our many labors. We have been working so hard trying to invite everyone to come to church and finally we had people come who just LOVED being there. I absolutely love Rouen and never want to leave this ville. It will only break my heart.

Later we went by Milady's and taught the kids about the story of Nephi and building the boat and we made little aluminum boats and little pieces (coins) that they had to make float on the water. It was so fun and the kids are sooo adorable and just love it when we come over. They run to the door and yell 'THE SISTERS! THE SISTERS!' and that Sunday was their first visit to church! How incredible. Milady even got out old pictures from her baptism and activities and was so excited to show us. This family is so special!

Things are going so well in Rouen. We have seen miracles left and right. I just love these people and love serving the Lord and helping people discover Jesus Christ as their Savior. I love this church and this gospel and the blessings it brings to our lives and to our families. Love you all! Have a great week!


Soeur Berge

Game. Set. Match.

Got to play a little tennis

This is Rouen.

These cuties are good missionaries already.

Howdy errbody!

This week was another fun week in Rouen.

So to pick up from Wednesday, we actually had a really rough day because we had a packed day full of RDV's and we were so excited. They ALL fell through! We were so bummed. We tried contacting people as well, but no one seemed to be interested. We just didn't know why we were having an off day. But it's ok, because sometimes that just happens. We did however go to Eva and Barbara's house. They made cake for Soeur Johns and we had, yes, another little birthday party for Soeur Johns! Haha it was such a blast and Soeur Johns and I are soooo full of cake from last week. 

So Thursday we had an incredible day and we realized it was because we had pushed through the hard day and wouldn't let it affect our attitude the next day. So first thing in the morning we went to see Myrielle. She is an awesome student that the other sister's found and she lives in our area. She lives in a dorm-like apt and Soeur Johns and I felt so wierd like we were back at BYU in the dorms. WHAT! haha but we found her and got to know her and see what the other soeurs had taught her. So we talked about prayer and it was so great to see a young, believing girl with so much faith and good habits like prayer. She's really cool.

Then we taught ELODIE! She is INCREDIBLE!!! We contacted her a few weeks ago and then she was sick so we couldn't meet with her until this week. She speaks fluent English because she lived in Canada for 9 months and studies English. So we talked to her about the Restoration of the gospel and whoa it was such an incredible conversation. We talked about how God never changes and He will always call a prophet if we are righteous for a prophet and she was so receptive and at the end of the lesson she was just so amazed that God's church is on the Earth. It was so cool to watch her gain this knowledge and hunger to pray to know if it's true. She is so sweet, but she's moving to England in a few weeks for a while to study more English, but we know the missionaries there will take good care of her. We are probably going to see her this upcoming week as well :)

Then we saw Ludivine. What a doll! We explained the gospel of Jesus Christ and Soeur Barnjak's testimony was great and really helped Ludivine understand that sometimes choosing to follow the example of Jesus Christ isn't easy sometimes when family doesn't accept it quickly, but it always turns out in the end and the blessings always come! 

Then we went to the family Kalobe. The husband is out of town for 2 weeks and so we just talked with her about the Book of Mormon with a Malagasy brochure. She was pretty sick and we felt so bad that she wasn't feeling well, but she is just so sweet and the kids are so cute.

Later we went and saw Rachel!! She is so awesome. We saw her with Soeur Loemba who is also from the Congo and we talked about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Soeur Loemba is such a bold member!!! We invited Rachel to set a date and she accepted the 28th of June. We hope we can start teaching her family and get them all ready for that date. Can you imagine the blessings that would bring this family! And they really love church and want to be a part of it. They are so awesome!

Friday we saw Nina and talked about virtue and how to keep ourselves clean and fill our days and minds with things of the Lord. Also we have a miracle! The elders are starting to teach her husband. So awesome!! We are excited to see what happens with them.

Saturday was great! MORE MIRACLES! We saw Leilah Kalobe and the boys. We had been trying to set up a tour with them for so long so they could come and see where the church was. They finally got there to the big metro/bus stop and there was a huge stand selling everything and so we got some chichi's (churros) to share with them and there was a HUGE parade going on. We had no idea what it was for, but it was so cool. She really enjoyed the tour as well. 

Also a HUGE miracle is Eric. So we met Eric on the bus. We got on and sat right behind him. He kept turning around and looking at our plaques. I couldn't tell if he was interested or just a little off. So Soeur Johns asks if he's heard of the church and he said yeah! He had been to Salt Lake and he just saw the Elders walk by THAT morning, but he didn't talk to them and it was such a miracle he saw us on the bus. He is so cool. He is in his 40's we assume and he lives in our area by a ton of members. We talked to him very briefly about the church, but then had to get off at our stop. So we asked if he'd ever been to a church reunion before for our church and he said no, so we invted him to come the next day.....more to come...

Then that night we did some finding..no success, but then as we get off our metro stop to go home for the evening we see a mom and her son....I immediately recognize them from a bus stop over 2 weeks ago. We sat next to them and the little boy was so cute. Soeur Johns and I keep a ton of stickers and toys to give away to children. It's a great way to start a conversation. Turns out I had given the little boy a few stickers that day and then we didn't get to get her number. Well I saw her and asked how she was and she recognized us too. It's awesome how Heavenly Father places people in our route and how He helps us remember people. So this time we invited her to church and got her number and she wants to meet with us..hopefully soon.

Sunday was such a miracle day as well. Eric came to church!! He came for all 3 hours and loved it all! He was super receptive and the whole day was about the restoration..perfect since we've never even taught him a lesson. It was a powerful Sunday and I know he felt the Spirit! He is so legit! He really wants a Book of Mormon so we are stoked to see him again and give him one. The members also were so great with welcoming him and making him feel at ease and all the members kept telling us how much they love him and how cool he is. He gets along with the members in this branch so well!! 

Later we had the best FHE with the Barnjak's and Ludivine. We did the 10 commandments with our hands (coolest trick ever to remember the 10 commandments) and it was so fun and they thought it was so funny..because it is. It was a great lesson, the Spirit was strong and it was incredible for Ludivine to see HOW the gospel blesses families and the Barnjaks are so strong and Ludivine adores them. Then Soeur Barnjak made the yummiest cakes. We just love that family. They are so welcoming and loving.

Today we spent our P-day with them again. Bruno, their son, and Andersen, another member in the ward and Soeur Johns and I played tennis with them for a bit and it was sooo fun. It was sooooo nice to get back into the swing of things. I have missed it so much. It felt so great and it was such a nice day and we had a blast with those two characters.Then we played Rummikub.

All in all, I have never been happier. We have such cool amies here and the members are really progressing a lot too. I love them so much. The church is true. I love this gospel. I would never be anywhere other than here in Rouen serving the Lord, preaching the gospel, spreadin the good news, sharing my knowledge of Christ with random people on the streets, and being around great people. Gotta love life!

Have a good week!


Sœur Berge

Discovering Paradise and Birthday Bashes!

P-Day visit to Etretat

Happy Birthday, Soeur Johns!

Picking fresh strawberries and raspberries
The Chinese speaking missionaries in our mission.  One of them will likely be Kenny's trainer when he gets to the mission. Yay!

My mini me!
Soeur Vance
My baby bleu, Soeur Sorenson
Note: golf course to the right for Papa

What a week! This has probably been one of the craziest weeks of my life. Sorry for the delayed email, but we had rdv's all over the place and this is the only time for the whole week we can write emails..

So to update; our amies are doing great! Ludivine is awesome and is such a studier! We had a few lessons with her and even gave her a Liahona and a few talks for her to read. She loves studying and reading. She has such great desires to know God's will for her. We pray that she will get an answer. Sometimes it's really frustrating trying to get answers. I've learned for myself, that God doesn't give us all the detailed knowledge we inquire, but He does give us enough guidance for us to determine for ourselves. That is part of the amazing gift of agency He has given us. 

We saw Nina a few times..she even invited us to her daughter's catholic baptism party..we stopped by and it was a huge African party and we quickly decided we couldn't stay super long..it was insane!! African parties man...Every missionary serving in this mission at one point feels like they are serving in Africa. It's so fun to learn and taste a little of their culture.

Thursday we had exchanges. Soeur Johns unfortunately was quite sick. I was with Soeur Vance for the day and man we saw so many miracles and had a blast! Soeur Vance is just the coolest girl ever. We went to see Teclaire, an ancient amie that we had been trying to get a hold of. She finally called us last week to see us. MIRACLE! And we went and taught her for the first time about prayer. She is from Congo and so nice and has so much passion for Christ. She just had a surgery on her eyes so she can't come to church quite yet, but she said she will prepare to do whatever we tell her to do. She has so much faith!

Later we had a little bit of time so we trying to stop by an amie. Earlier that day we set some goals to find a family. We mapped out a vision of what this family would look like. While we were contacting, Soeur Vance and I both saw this lady walking with two kids. We immediately felt something and crossed the street to talk to her. She was so awesome! She was really believing and open to hear more. AND SHE'S FRENCH! We testified of eternal families and gave her a family proclamation which she loved. We are seeing her today hopefully. It was such a miracle because we asked Heavenly Father to help guide us to do His will and voila! We felt so guided and we're so excited to meet with this family.

Later we swapped companions so Soeur Doyle could have a chance to leave the apartment. Pour Soeur Johns was so sick, but Soeur Doyle and I headed to the Warenghien's for a mangez-vous. Both those sisters are just so great and such good missionaries!

Saturday we went to Versailles for a huge stake conference (Relief Society session and adult session) There were two returned sister missionaries who spoke and they had POWERFUL testimonies. It was incredible! I also got to see Soeur Sorenson who was asked to translate one of the talks into English. So proud of that girl! It was so good to see her! The speakers, musical numbers, and lessons were so powerful and incredible. Also I saw the Chinese elders that night and told them all about Kenny and they are all soooo excited since there are only 6 chinese elders and 2 of them are leaving this transfer leaving only 4 left. They are so excited and they will all probably be Kenny's companions at some point. So I took a picture with them. They are soo great!

Sunday we went to Le Havre for a transmission for Stake Conference. It was a European broadcast with Elder Andersen, President Uchtdorf, Sister Reeves, and Elder Texiera. They all spoke to the Europe region about the strength of the saints in Europe. It was so good to hear and experience this side of the general authorities as they kept praising the saints of Europe for their steadfast and strong examples. Living in Europe as a member of the true church is so not easy, but they have such power these saints. They spoke a lot about faith and testimony and acting on our faith and serving our brothers and sisters and bring them into the fold. Really cool stuff!

After, we got to hang around the members and chat. We played with the Bertrand family and took some funny pictures. LOVE THAT FAMILY! Also, we rode with the Barnjaks and on the way home we got to see the Pont de Normandie. So incredible! It's basically a HUGE bridge and the view is just breathtaking. After, the Barnjaks took us back and Soeur Barnjak made us a wonderful meal. Then we went porting and did some pass-by's.

Monday was the CRAZIEST DAY EVER! First off, the Warenghiens took us to Etretat! Wow!!! It was incredible! Such a stunning place! I have to take you guys there! It was like being in paradise. Plus Soeur Johns and I just love the Warenghiens and have so much fun with them! Pictures are included! Best P-Day of our lives! Later we came back and changed and went over to the Bitanga's who drove us out to the Bertrand's for Soeur Johns' surprise birthday party that Soeur Bertrand and I organized. The Bertrands just went all out and Soeur Johns was sooo shocked! It was so fun! They invited their non-member family that we just adore (family from the wedding) and another family that lives out there who are less active. It was such a blast and at one point, one of the members told her conversion story and bore a powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon and Vanessa was there and heard the whole thing! We had been praying there would be an opportunity for Vanessa to feel the Spirit and learn more of the gospel since the Bertrands have been doing such a good job at sharing the gospel with them. It was such a miracle! Vanessa and her family are coming to church next Sunday and we are so excited to see them again! It was such a fun party with barbeque and playing outside with the kids and enjoying good company. The whole time Soeur Johns thought we were going to a meeting with our branch president, but was so shocked! Soeur Bertrand just went all out and they made such good food and decorated and took care of everything. We just love them so much!

Tuesday was also crazy. We had our district meeting/birthday meeting since it was Soeur Johns' actual birthday on tuesday. I had the most fun decorating the apt secretly and it was so fun to see Soeur Johns' face. The elders also made an awesmoe cake and brought balloons and surprised her too! Later we had an FHE with Soeur Bachelet and Soeur Martel with our dear amie, Veronique. We shared our feelings about the Atonement and explained how we repent to God and it was very neat to watch Veronique discover the power of prayer and a personal relationship with God. Then we had another cake and sang to Soeur Johns and they gave her the cutest gifts. 

After we went with them to see Soeur Bachelet's incredible garden for a few minutes! WOW! We got to pick strawberries and rasberries fresh from the garden..so good! It's finally becoming summer here and the weather is to die for. 

After we went to the Warenghiens to visit a dear member in the hospital, Monique. I love this woman. She was someone that I talked a lot with when I first came to Rouen and I found myself so attached to her. She is a woman of many talents and much faith. Everyone adores her. She is quite older, but she is in such great shape for her age. She recently became quite ill and had to be at the hospital. As we walked into her room, another member was already there visiting her and it was so touching to see these members support each other. I have found that this is something I want more of in my life when I return. It's such French culture here to visit each other in the hospital When someone is hospitialized, and I mean everyone visits each other. It's so great to see the support and strength of members here.

Lately I've just been overwhelmed with so much joy and love for these dear members, amies, and strangers in Rouen. They are my brothers and my sisters and they need the knowledge of a personal relationship with God. It's the most precious thing to me and I am so happy I have the privilege to share with others how they can aquire the same thing. I encourage you all to improve your own personal relationship with your Father. He loves us so much. We are HIS work as Preach My Gospel puts it. We are His everything and He must be our source we turn to in times of need. He will never let us down. I know it.

I love you all so much! Have a wondferful week..sorry if there are a million pictures..it was just such an eventful week!!


Sœur Berge