Tuesday, June 24, 2014

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

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