Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Paris Parks, Normandy Beaches, and Wedding Bells!!

Well this week was one big adventure!

It was so good to see everyone on skype! :) The Smiths have gotten so big. And Nana and Papa look so good! And Kirstie..what a babe..and mom and dad lookin still young and fresh!

Ok so this week started off with last Monday. After our p-day we met this lady named Kathrine. Soeur Johns stopped her on the street and we began talking to her about the plan of salvation. She opened up about how hard it was to lose her husband and we just poured our hearts out to her about the joy of eternal families. She was so touched by the Spirit and was the sweetest woman. She actually looked just like you mom, so it was interesting, but we really hope she will call us since we don't have any of her info. It was just such a powerful contact and the Spirit was so strong. Can't forget the Spirit like that. We actually testified to her about the temple and how she CAN be with her husband for eternity. Really cool experience. I don't think I've ever talked about the blessings of temples on the street in a contact.

Tuesday we had district meeting and we decided to head over to the beach before our train ride back to Rouen. We got some fun photos..the beach was GORGEOUS!!!

Wednesday was so much fun! We met Camille, Anne-zo, and Wendy at the church and they wanted to watch us contact so they observed for about an hour. We ended up having one really cool contact for quite a while, but no one was super interested. They were still in awe how we just go out and talk to strangers on the street and pour our hearts out to them. So then Soeur Johns has this brilliant idea. She turned to me and said, "We have to make them contact too!" Crazy idea right? SO FUN! So we asked them what they really love and they said chocolate! Duh they're women..so then we told them to approach strangers on the street and share your favorite brand of chocolate with people and tell them why you love it and then ask them to commit to trying that chocolate that night. And they did it! Camille is just so confident and such a fireball! She just saw someone and went for it. After they said, "MAN THAT IS SO HARD! How do you do that every day??" Then we took them back to the church for a little rdv to talk about why we are really here as missionaries. We just testified of how we know God exists. They are all athiest and it almost felt like Soeur Johns and I were back home around our own friends just having a conversation. The Spirit was incredible! 

We decided to then stop by Malika, the miracle lady we found one of the first days of the transfer. We tried to find her apt before but had such bad luck. This time we prayed and tried again and found it! We entered her building and began to look on the mailboxes and there was a 13 year old girl standing there. She asked us who we were looking for. Turns out it was her mom! She was so cute and so excited when she found out we were from the states. I think that was her first time meeting Americans because she kept squeeling and asking if we knew celebrities...so funny. Then we had a great lesson with Malika. She told us she was thinking about us and we explained the Book of Mormon to her. She said she and her husband were planning on reading it together. Please pray for her! She has 5 kids and is a busy mom, but we know she wants this and needs this.

Thursday was super fun! We had exchanges in Paris. I was so excited to see my trainer, Soeur Wynn and had such a fun day because I got to be with her. Also got to see Soeur Castillo who lives in that apartment. It was so good to catch up on old times. The day started with Soeur Wynn and I in a park teaching this really cool girl from Gabon. It was such a beautiful day and the Spirit was really strong. Later we had an interesting lesson and later stopped by one of their amies who talked about how she is getting lots of pressure from her close friends about the church, but how she defended it because she knew the church was good. She is really cool! Also had the cutest little girl. They just had such a special spirit to them :) After we met up with the Lethuaire family from Nogent. Soeur Wynn and I spent a lot of time with them when we served in Nogent and really grew to be such great friends with them. They took us out to a fun Pizza place and it was so fun to catch up with them and see how much the kids have grown! What a great family! It was so fun to spend the day with Soeur Wynn and recount all the good times we had together.

Friday we woke up and I was a little under the weather. We headed back to Rouen.

Saturday was CRAZY! We made a wedding gift for amies of our branch president and then headed over for the big day. So our branch president and his family are the most incredible people ever. He works as a volunteer fire fighter and has a lot of friends there. Two of his friends were getting married and asked him to have a little meeting before and talk about the importance of families and Heavenly Father's plan for families (a lot of emphasis on family proc). They came to church a few times and they are so nice and fun. We just love them. After everyone left the room, the elders and President Bertrand and Frere Bitanga gave them both priesthood blessings before their big day. Then we got to go to their wedding at the Marie and there were so many people everywhere because there was a wedding just before and it was so much fun. Then we went back to the reception hall and hung out with the bride's sister, Vanessa and their other sister Amandine during the cocktail hour. SO FUN! Vanessa and her family also have been investigating the church with the Bertrands (Soeur Johns and I hope that we can begin teaching them.) We just click with Vanessa so well and she has the cutest kids and the sweetest husband. I just can't express how much I love these people! It was such a neat experience for us to participate in their wedding. When we left, President Bertrand and Frere Bitanga told us how this is the start of something BIG and the Spirit had touched many hearts that day. We all could feel the special spirit that was there and we know that this experience instigated a lot of curiosity in the church. It was the coolest experience ever! The coolest part of it all is that the bride and groom's parents were both atheist and didn't really want to go to the reunion with President Bertrand speaking, but they went anyways to support. Before Amelie and Anthony (bride and groom) met the Bertrands, they weren't really believing, but now they are inviting their family to listen to an explanation of the Family Proclamation and how God plays such a big role with families! WOW!!!!

Sunday was quite an adventure too. We had church and then headed over to see the Barnjaks and pray with them. Then we went to see Monique. We sang with her and introduced her to a member who lives literally down the street. They clicked right away and we hope we can use this sweet member to help us talk more about the church with Monique. We just love Monique! Then the rest of the night was skyping and being with the Bitangas. It was so fun because it was like we got to have personal interviews with the Bitangas while the other comp skyped their families. I just LOVE the Bitangas! They are so wise and have such good counsel and advice, but they just feel like long-time family friends. 

Yesterday we had a lot of rdv's so that's why we are emailing today instead. We made a cheesecake and went over to celebrate Aurelie's birthday with her friend Maud. Then we went to the Kalobe's. Love that family! We showed them the restoration film about Joseph Smith and they said they believed that that happened! They also really want to come to church and have their family in Madagascar go to church there. Wow! We just love them and know we have to go a little slow with them so they can really understand everything. We have such a vision for them and know they will go places. Later we went contacting. We had about an hour and so we went to stop by a lady we found a week ago. Turns out her number and her address didn't match up with anything so we figured she might've "forgotten" her address and her number when she gave them to us..but it's ok, because if we would've had the right address and the right number..we would have NEVER found CINDY!!! She is the coolest person EVER! So we were crossing the street a little bummed that we lost that lady we found. Then in the middle of the big busy road in front of the gare, Cindy stopped us and asked us if we were lost. We told her no and she was so friendly and said she could help us if we needed. We were about to thank her for her kindness and let her go, when I just felt in my heart that no we can't let her go..she contacted us! That rarely happens! So we spoke up and introduced ourselves and she was so interested in who we were and why we are here. She had a million questions and literally Soeur Johns and I clicked with her so well. it just felt like I was with 2 of my best friends on a little chunk of side walk in the middle of a highway. We had so many inspired and interesting questions that we asked Cindy that we had never used in contacts before. In the end we got her number and we are going to see her on Wednesday! EXCITING! Pray for Cindy!

Well that about sums up the hectic, super fun, adventurous week. The church is true. I see everyday how much it blesses so many lives. The testimonies of members really strengthens me and I'm so grateful for the members here. Sometimes I don't realize how much I appreciate just sitting down with members and hearing how the gospel has blessed them that week. It can get a little hard sometimes because as missionaries we just feel like therapists for people. We take on the weight of so many trials of others, that it really feels relieving to hear the testimony of a member. So I encourage you all to search within your weeks to find how the gospel has blessed you and share it with the missionaries if you can. I know it helps me and I realize I need to be more grateful for that. 

Thank you for all the prayers, love, support, putting my name on the temple list, and for everything you do for me and for the Lord. Until next time,


Soeur Berge

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