I know you have all been waiting so very patiently to read the rest of the story. So, I won’t make you wait any longer! Lets just get right to it, shall we? ;)
Colorado Day One— “Altitude Sickness” to First Kiss!
After picking me up from the airport, we stopped to grab lunch and meet Michael’s family before heading off to our next adventure… HIKING! Keep in mind I just returned home from a mission (literally 3 weeks earlier) and I was extremely out of shape, not to mention carrying an extra 30 pounds of “French goodies” around my hips. Soooo, I had to stop about every 10 feet to take a breather…you know, that altitude sickness will get ya! Whew! Not sure if Michael was just being polite but he seemed to buy it ;) haha!
Although I tried convincing him many times that “the view from here is amazing!” He was pretty set on making it to the top, hahaha. He was right, the view from the top WAS outstanding. Not to mention, the perfect place for him to make his move ;) Once we made it to the very top, he didn’t take long before wrapping his arms around my waist and pulling me in for the kiss. All I have to say about that kiss is one single word that my mom and I like to use on very special/magical occasions, and that word is… ZING!!!
Jump For The Bouquet?… NO WAY.
That weekend we attended a wedding and everyone tried to get me onto the floor to jump for the bouquet. Well, for those of you who know me… you know that I would never put myself through that kind of embarrassment. Until Michael asked…then I gave in. On one condition… If I was going out there to catch the bouquet, I had better catch it. So, I launched off the floor pushing myself off the head of my cousin Cassie for a little extra boost and… I caught it!!!
Marriage? Ha ha! Funny!
My Colorado trip was coming to a close and my feelings for Michael were growing more rapidly than I could have ever imagined or prepared for. In fact, while the logical side of my brain was screaming, “NO NO NO. ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!” The remaining parts were telling me that not only was I falling in love, but that I was going to marry this man.
Somehow we both just knew. We expressed our thoughts and feelings together and with a great deal of God’s help, we were able to find enough courage to move forward peacefully in our relationship despite its quickness.
500 Miles Later.
Michael flew home with me to meet my family and then drove with me up to Provo where I would spend the next two weeks with my great aunt and uncle while completing a CNA certification course. He stayed in Provo for several days before driving home to Colorado. After a whopping 9 days apart (which felt like 90) Michael decided it was “finally” time.
Getting creative with The Proclaimers' 1988 song, "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles),” Michael shot video footage of himself walking "500 miles" from Colorado to Utah to propose to me. He spent all night editing it the night before the proposal in order to give the illusion that he had actually walked all the way from Colorado to Utah. The video shows Michael’s travels on a computer, crossing fields, back roads, and mountains to reach me, stopping only once to dry his clothes after a failed attempt to walk through a lake--all the way to Aspen Gardens in Thanksgiving Point, where I would be waiting.
Meanwhile, I thought I was going to dinner with my great aunt and uncle that night to celebrate their anniversary. But when I found out I had to get up at 2am for clinicals the next day, I tried everything I could to get out of going. Including texting my parents and asking for backup!
That obviously didn't work and somehow they convinced me to go anyways. When I got home from class in my scrubs, my aunt and uncle suggested that I change into something "a little nicer...like a dress!” Although I “politely” went in my room and changed, I was simultaneously complaining to my mom over text that I was being “forced to wear a dress.”
On our way to “dinner” we stopped at The Aspen Gardens to see the “new exhibit”. When we got to the garden we rented a golf cart and accidentally drove right through the sprinklers. My hair got a little wet and my aunt and uncle were so worried that they told me I should probably “stick [my] head in the wind to dry it a little bit.” I didn’t understand what the big deal was!!
We finally arrived at our destination, “the secret gardens” and as we walked in, my aunt and uncle lingered behind me. I didn’t suspect anything and all. I just figured they wanted a little privacy. After all, it was their anniversary.
But as we turned the corner, I noticed a little chalkboard with my name written in pink swirly letters and suddenly I realized something was happening… but was it THE something?!
This is what I saw…
With that, Dr. Suess gave one of my favorite quotes of all time that says,
“You know you're in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams…"
Thanks to Michael, reality truly has become better than my dreams... and THAT is a miracle :)
Jusqu'a la prochaine fois!
Tracie Wyson (This is the last time I will ever sign my blog as Tracie Wyson! EEK!)
ps. Stay tuned for wedding details, honeymoon fun, and my new/unexpected 100% gluten-free lifestyle! #CeliacsDisease #Nomorebaguettes
Over the past 3 months, I have sat down with my laptop at least 50 times to update my blog. Yet, for some reason, no matter how many times I sat down with intentions of writing… I just couldn’t do it!
My return home from my mission was difficult. Once I arrived home, my mission began to feel like a dream. Had I actually just experienced all that? Was I actually missing from my family, friends, and social media for 18 months? Or had I just fallen asleep and dreamed up the whole thing up? Much of my time (too much) after that was spent looking through old mission pictures, reading letters, emails, journal entries, and looking at souvenirs to try and re-live “the glory days”.
As I did so, I often had the impression that I was falling into old habits, making the same mistakes over and over again, and moving further away from God. By no means did I lose my testimony, or even begin to. But in comparison to the way I remembered feeling on my mission, I now felt a greater distance between me and the Lord. I experienced moments of sadness, anxiety, frustration, and a lack of understanding of God’s will. Making it difficult for me to continue writing about my experiences.
I spent my entire mission blogging about miracles happening. I even created a little jingle that I would use each week as I wrote about those miracles…“Miracles happen! Even in France!” My mission taught me that miracles truly do come to all those who seek them out. But, returning from my mission has taught me that we stop recognizing those miracles when we stop seeking them out.
Now as I reflect over the past 3 months, I am overwhelmed to see all of the miracles that were so obviously happening right under my nose. Yet, I missed so many of them because I was so distracted trying to “re-live” my mission rather than simply—continuing it! I had been so distracted that I had forgotten to search for miracles!!
Thankfully, it’s not too late! Miracles happen!!!…Even when we’re not paying attention! So I would like to share some of those miracles with you today :)
RM meets Boyfriend.
Many of you saw the pictures, and you probably almost all noticed that there is a different boy in my homecoming pictures than in my engagement pictures shortly after. What the?!
While in France, I had been writing someone, whom I had met just before I left, very religiously for the last 11 months of my mission. In fact, I had very detailed plans to come home and marry him! But those plans began to change when I got home and I began to feel very strongly impressed that something just wasn’t right.
This was very difficult for me to accept because he means a great deal to me. He was there to help and support me through some of the most difficult times of my mission. Thanks to him, I was able to stay out on my mission even when my health became so poor that my mission president told me to start thinking about going home early.
I looked forward to his emails and pictures every week with such anticipation! How in the world could things be different now? When things ended, I still didn’t understand. But I knew that The Lord was in charge.
Shortly after we broke things off, an old friend reached out to me after 8 years of not seeing each other. But at that time, I was not ready for a relationship of any kind; but I did need a friend. Michael and I began texting back and forth a little bit until later that week when I was set up on a blind date that did not go AT ALL as planned (when do blind dates ever go as planned?). I came home pretty upset that night. But, I had a plan! I was not going to let the night end on a bad note! So I texted Michael and hinted on how incredibly bored I was, and as planned, he asked me if I wanted to Skype ;) Mwuahahaha!
After a 6-7 hour Skype call, I began to think maybe I understood why everything had happened the way it had. Then, right before we said goodnight—which was actually more of a “good morning” based on the amount of time we had been talking— Michael asked me what I would think if he flew me out to spend Memorial Day weekend with his family. Of course I thought that would be cool, but I didn’t really think he was serious, haha!
The next day as I was on my way to church, I got a call from Michael saying that my flight would be leaving on Wednesday! I still wasn’t sure if he was being serious or not… then my email buzzed and I got the flight plans!
A Spontaneous Colorado Trip.
Wednesday rolled around quickly and next thing I knew, I was on a plane to go spend the weekend with a guy I hadn’t seen since I was 13! I kept asking myself when I got so spontaneous, hahaha.
I landed safely in Colorado and stumbled up the escalator very nervously to see Michael, standing in the middle of the airport with a bouquet of roses in his hand. He whipped me around, hugging me tightly as we spun in circles in the airport. Just like that, my nerves were gone. You’d-a thought we hadn’t seen each other in 8 years or something. You’d-a also thought we had been dating all that time! hahaha. As crazy as it was, it all felt so natural! And it really did feel like he had just been waiting all those years for me to grow up. After all, I was only 13 years old when we met ;).
Colorado Day One—“Altitude sickness” to First Kiss!
(To be continued…)
As it has been three months since I last updated my blog… I am going to have to leave y’all on a cliff hanger ;) Otherwise my weekly post would turn into a weekly book!
Until then, just remember…Miracles ARE happening!!! All you have to do is open your eyes and look around! We must not let ourselves get so distracted by worldly things that we cease to recognize the hand of the Lord in our everyday lives.
I love you all, God lives, and Miracles happen!
I know my title starts with "When in ROME"... but we will be starting in Paris! Because that is where my parents picked me up ;)
When in Paris.
After the greatly anticipated “parent pickup” at the mission office, we grabbed a taxi and headed to the apartment to make a change of clothes before hitting the town. I wasn’t sure what my parents meant by “change of clothes” … Why would I need to change clothes? This was my most comfortable dress! And “hitting the town” … we must be going proselyting!
My family soon realized that their missionary daughter was still very much a missionary. Lol. She didn’t have a single pair of jeans in either of her two, large, 50 pound suitcases, AND she couldn’t go longer than 30 seconds without telling a mission story. It was an adjusting period ;)…
“Change of plans!” shouts mom. “We are going SHOPPING!!!”
So, we loaded ourselves back into the taxi and “hit the town!” … Well, we hit the mall ;)
My dad and little brother were great sports. While I tried on a hundred pair of jeans, and they “ooo-ed and aww-ed” and told me dad-jokes to keep my mind off the extra 30 pounds of sister missionary that I was trying to pull my pants over. HAHA. (insert laughing/crying emoji). Don’t worry… what I didn’t know then, that I know now… It MELTS off!
Our shopping trip was pretty successful. It was a miracle in itself that I found some pants that fit, haha! But the greatest miracle was while we were standing at the cash register, the sweet girl looked at me and said in French as she read my missionary badge, “Sœur! That’s French!” I told her it was a title that we use in the church because we believe we are all brothers and sisters and that God is our Father. Then she smiled and said, “Wow! Where can I learn more?!” And she wrote her contact on the back of my receipt and asked if I would please give it to the missionaries and ask them to call her as soon as possible :)
Miracles Happen!!!...Even in PARIS!
When in Vienna.
Our first day in Vienna, we were sold tickets by a very convincing Dutch salesman dressed up in a costume on the street. These tickets were very expensive, and were supposedly for an Easter weekend orchestra, ballet, and opera in the oldest opera house in Vienna! We were all very excited. The four of us felt like we had really scored a deal! That is, until we showed up at our destination. It was a little square opera house with about 400 seats and only 7 chairs for the “orchestra” and about 10sqft of hard wood floor for the “ballet”. My dad and I looked at each other with the “you have got to be kidding me…” look on our faces. We were almost certain that this little recital was NOT going to be worth our time.
Well folks… the moment that 7-man-orchestra sat down and started playing… our jaws hit the floor, we picked up a foot, and shoved it right in our mouths, where it belonged!! They were phenomenal. The music that filled the room was absolute perfection, and the spirit that accompanied it was amazing. It was truly an Easter Miracle :)
When in Prague.
First off, Prague is marvelous. For those of you planning Europe trips in the near, or distant, future… Put Prague on your list of “MUST SEES!” Plus, miracles happen in Prague ;). I have a few good friends from high school who are currently serving as missionaries in Prague and we had fun feeding them and having them take us around to see a few fun sites before we left to our next destination. We also enjoyed joining them for a little metro contacting! Determined to find someone who spoke French, I hit the isles with my “French detector” turned on high. I didn’t find any French speakers, but I did find an English-speaking family! Although I only got to talk to them for one quick stop, it felt nice to be a proselyting missionary again :)
I guess that means miracles happen in Prague too :).
When in Rome. Part ONE. Free Dessert!
For those of you who follow my mom on Facebook, you probably heard the story of the Italian waiter that was a little infatuated with me and seemed to only be catering to my side of the table… okay, maybe he was only catering to me. But we all got food in the end! And free dessert!! ;) Though even better than the dessert, was when we asked for our third refill on the water and he stopped, looked strangely at us, and said… “Why Water? Why not wine? Are you muslim?” So, we had a great little conversation about our beliefs, gave him the church website, and he said with excitement, “Thank you! I promise will read the entire thing as soon as I get off work!”
When in Rome. Part TWO: The Juice Box Food Tour.
Our final night in Rome was spent walking around to different restaurants with a food tour group and tasting lots of yummy foods and…wines? Well, we don’t drink wine. So instead, they brought us JUICE-BOXES! Hahaha. Oh boy, we sure got a kick out of that! Everyone with their fancy red and white authentic Italian wines and classy glasses, offering up a toast to our little cardboard juice-boxes. Haha! It gave us the perfect opportunity to do missionary work because they ALL wanted an explanation. Why in the world did these crazies come all the way to Rome to drink children’s juice from a little paper box!? So, we told them all about my mission, my parents picking me up, and the Paris Temple!
So, whether in Rome, Paris, Prague, Vienna, or St. George… Miracles Happen!
Until Next Week,
For more miracles, adventures, and updates on my blog, follow me on my NEW Instagram @traciewyson
No, I am not writing this from Hawaii :)…we are in Czech Republic! But I asked my mom how to say hello in German (as we have spent the past several days in Austria) and she thought I said “Hawaiian.” So, she replied with “Aloha! A-L-O-H-A.” ha-ha! In her defense, I did ask her in the middle of her nap on a noisy train ;).
Though despite the noise, and the temptation to take a nice long nap, I’m back! Just in time for P-day too! ;) Though every day is p-day, now that I am just hanging out in Europe with my family. What a wonderful experience it was to see my family again for the first time in 18 months. As you can imagine, hugging my mom and dad for the first time in so long was an absolute dream, and many tears were shed! However, not ALL those tears, were tears of joy. Many of them came sporadically over the next several days as I had moments of, “We’re not in Kansas anymore Toto!” and had to sit down to take a few minutes to hold and stare at my missionary badge, cry, read my scriptures, pray, and get myself back up and out the door for our next excursion.
Much of our missions are spent fantasizing about our reuniting with family and friends. Then, when our missions are finished, we spend our days dreaming about the mission! Having said this… I am going to take a couple minutes to do a little mission reminiscing :).
One Last ‘Mission’ Miracle.
For our last day in the mission, President Babin arranged for the “dying missionaries” to drive down to the temple for a VIP tour. Having already gone through the temple presentation several times within the past week, I admit I wasn’t jumping up and down at the thought of spending my last day in Paris this way. But I was soon to learn, after a mission full of miracles, that The Lord had one final special miracle prepared just for me.
Once the temple tour had ended, we were invited to sit in the Celestial Room to meditate and pray about our mission. As well as, to fix goals for our return home. The past several days had been very difficult for me as it was becoming clear to me that my mission ACTUALLY was coming to its’ end. So, I felt impressed to pray and ask the Lord one simple question: “Are you happy with the mission I have served?” Shortly after asking the Lord my question, we were asked to exit the room. Though I had not yet received an answer, I was sure it would come.
Then, we walked out of the temple and ran straight into…. Elder Renland! One of the twelve apostles. He took the time to shake each of our hands. Then, as he was about to leave, our mission president’s wife made a comment about us finishing our missions. Elder Renland’s eyes filled with tears and he said, “Well, then let me just say something to them please.” Then he looked at us (I felt as though he was looking directly at me) and he said, “I speak on behalf of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and I say to you… Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for the marvelous work you have done here. The Lord is grateful, and he is proud of you.”
My eyes filled with tears as I recognized my response from the Lord. I know, that he is happy with the mission I have served.
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Bonjourrrrrrr tout le monde!!!
Oh la la!!! LAST "missionary" blogpost!!... Next week I will be writing about all the awesome miracles happening back in "la vie normal" (normal life). But as for this week, well, this week consisted of lots of strange feelings, lots of packing, lots of food, LOTS of tears, Lots of a lot of other things, and most importantly... LOTS of miracles!!!
My Personal Favorite... OPERATION: Garden Miracle!
After being deeply inspired by general conference, I decided to pray for a big service opportunity. Well, after being called on an emergency gardening project to the temple until past Midnight, the Versailles Ward has asked me to keep those "service" prayers to myself from now on, Hahaha!
Why were we gardening until midnight you ask? Elder Neil L. Anderson came to check out the Paris, France Temple, saw the gardens, and said, "Not enough flowers. This isn't a French garden. It needs to be redone before the open house." One of the workers questioned, "How? The open house starts TOMORROW." To which Elder Anderson replied with, "Call members. Buy flowers. And get to work!"
Keep in mind this all happened at 6PM the night before the VIP open house. So you can imagine the workers just scrambling around like chickens with their heads cut off. Which is what we were ALL doing when we got there, hahaha. Anyways, we received the phone call at 6:30pm telling us we needed at least 40 volunteers by 7:00pm in the temple gardens, ready to work!
Lucky for us, the member whose house we had just arrived at for dinner, was ready to do just that! We all threw on clothes (her clothes) and sprinted down the street to the temple! Holy smokes there were LOADS of flowers!!! The temple supervisor said that they had literally gone and bought out the entire store just before it closed.
Within an hour of receiving call, we had over fifty members laboring away in the temple gardens! None of us knew anything about gardening, so that made everything even better because now when you see the gardens, you will know it was done with pure LOVE! Also, for the first several hours, we had no tools or gloves, so we dug everything with our bare hands. Haha! It was so great. I used my church flats from my feet as shovels, which sped up the work a little! However, I will definitely not be taking those ladies home, hahaha. #wrecked
It got so cold they brought out a bunch of cool reflective jackets for everyone. That made us all feel pretty special ;) We celebrated our success at midnight with a little pizza break before getting back to work to finish off strong! Unfortunately, the missionaries had to leave before it was completely finished because we were already 3 hours late for curfew. But my, what an incredible, once in a lifetime, experience!!!
Just as we were leaving, I had the opportunity to chat with a few members of the First Quorum of the Seventy, Mitt Romney, and the Director of communications for the church, who were kind enough to make sure that my family wouldn't leave France this week without having been through the Paris, temple. So they organized a special VIP tour for them :).
Sooooo many miracles!!
We moved into our new apartment this week! You know, just in time for both of us to move out. Haha! Sister George will be heading off to a little village called "Le Mans" and I am headed back to Zion! (Utah). The apartment is beautiful though, and right next to the temple, so we aren't complaining about sleeping over for a couple days :).
Let your 'love' so shine.
A woman stopped by us while we were taking pictures in front of the temple and asked if we Mormons were excited to finally have our temple. Of course we said, "YESSSSS!!!" Then she smiled and said, "You know, people can see love in your faces."
One Last Song.
Sœur George and I had the opportunity to sing a song called, "Teach me about the Temple" for many visiting general authorities, as well as many other members and visitors, on our last Sunday here. It was a miracle we were able to sing because our Bishop came to us last second to break the news that we would no longer be singing, because Bishop Gerald Caussé (presiding bishop of the entire church) would be presiding, and it was their testimony meeting. When we heard this, our hearts sunk. But I immediately turned around and said, "Where is he? I will ask him." Then I walked right up to Bishop Caussé and asked! Hahaha.
The members couldn't believe it. It became the joke of the day, Sœur Wyson walked right up to the presiding bishop of the church to change his mind about a musical number. He kindly informed me that he was actually not the one presiding, but that it would be another member of the Seventy. So I hunted down every single important-looking person I saw until I found, Elder Johnson! Who, after some convincing by Bishop Caussé, agreed, and we sang right after his testimony :).
We couldn't help but get emotional as we looked out at all the tear filled eyes of members who have been so long awaiting this magnificent temple. A temple that was first announced almost 19 years ago.
After church, one of the VIPs came up to us and said, "You know, Bishop Caussé looked at Elder Johnson after you came up to him and said, 'you are really going to want them to sing.'.. he was right."
To top off the perfect last Sunday as a missionary, I gazed into the congregation, and caught some familiar eyes. A family that was as dear to me as my own, From Angers, the very first city I served in. I hadn't seen them since the very beginning of my mission and I didn't know if I would ever see them again. But they showed up, in this ward, on my very last Sunday. That, was a miracle.
Missions teach us a great many things. But one thing that my mission has taught me, that I know I will never ever forget, is that Miracles happen. Even in France.
I love you all, and I will see you soon
With more love than ever,
Happy April my friends!
Last April I was in my 4th transfer serving in an adorable little French village called Angers with my trainee, Sœur Burgoyne. She was just a baby then. We both were!! Now she is in her tenth transfer and I am in my twelfth. Wow! Just doing a little reminiscing before getting started on the weekly ;)...
Lord, Fill These Empty Chairs.
While sitting on a train, traveling to another temple referral, we were surrounded by empty chairs. But, determined to see some miracles, we bowed our heads and began to pray. We boldly asked the Lord to place someone in front of us who was ready to hear and accept the gospel. As soon as we finished, a woman sat down. Without even a moment of hesitation, we gave our best shots to strike up a nice conversation with her! :)...Church, school, friends, dogs, jewelry, the weather... man this lady wasn't interested in ANYTHING!? We finally caught the message when she pulled out her earphones and stuck them in her ears. Oh, and her earphones weren't plugged into anything. Confused, we just stared at each other, wondering why the Lord had placed this very much not ready woman in front of us after we had so faithfully prayed for those empty chairs to be filled with "golden investigators".
We got off the train and after walking for about 20 more minutes, we finally arrived at our destination. It was a wonderful rendezvous with a sweet European couple, Beatriz and Antonio. After receiving many questions from Beatriz regarding the Death and what will become of us all after this life, we decided to make a last minute lesson change and teach the Plan of Salvation instead of the Restoration. An invitation to visit the Paris, France Temple, to see the place that makes it possible for us to be sealed with our families for eternity, was the perfect way to finish our lesson. :)
Upon our return, we found ourselves in a familiar situation... sitting on a train, surrounded by empty chairs. Then, a nice man got on the train and sat in front of us. He said hello, and we kindly returned the greeting. :) We began talk about the Mormon Temple that was being built in The Chesney and he said sweetly that he wished he could attend the open house, but that he wasn't welcome. Confused, we asked him why he believed that he was not welcome? He told us that it was because he was not a Christian, but a Muslim. We smiled big and told him that he was absolutely welcome, regardless of his religious background! He humbly said, "Really? Ahhhh, I would be HONORED to visit your temple and learn more about your beliefs."
I guess the Lord DID answer our prayers :) and he filled those empty chairs.
Birthday Party Galore.
Sœur George's birthday was this week and I was determined to make this week a party for her! Well... I think I did my job a little TOO well because we ended up celebrating her birthday with 5 different families, 4 different candle-lit cakes, and sang happy birthday in at least 3 different languages. And everyone gave us presents! Yup, I said US. Hahaha. I love Soeur George's birthday! I got all kinds of fun little presents just for being her companion! No one wanted me to feel left out so they wrapped me presents as well, Hahahaha. While we were walking around this week, I kept telling Sœur George how much I loved her birthday ;).
Sorry for the details--it's my journal!
A scary man on the bus was being extremely vulgar and yelling at his wife and it took every bit of my willpower, and my companions helping hand, to keep myself from standing up and storming over and giving him a piece of my mind. Instead, I just turned around and launched him a good "stink-eye". He stopped yelling and sat down. But not until after he told me that it would be a shame if he had to come cut those beautiful blue eyes out of my head. Luckily the next stop was ours!
"Sitting down takes AGES!"
On our way to the temple we saw an adorable elderly couple who was trying to get settled on a little park bench but seemed to be having some serious trouble sitting down, haha :) We ran over and asked them if we could help them and the wife goes, "Ohhh! Sitting down takes AGES!" Hahahaha, we laughed so hard. Then the old man says goofily, "Okay alright alright, come over here and hold my hand!" We ran over and held his arms while he lowered himself slowly to the bench. It was such a victory for them when he got down to the bench level, haha, adorable. They were SOOO grateful for our help. They couldn't stop telling us how sweet we were and how much they appreciated our help. :) They smiled and waved to us nonstop for the next 5 minutes as we made our way down the long road! It was one of the sweetest little experiences ever :).
Ballet in Paris.
We got permission to go watch Clémence dance this weekend and she did a wonderful job!! We were so blown away with how talented all those young ballerinas were! And the spirit was so strong as we listened to that beautiful music and watched the youth move so gracefully and emotionally to it.
I LOVE General Conference. All of the talks were amazing, the choir was wonderful, the church is true! One of my favorite parts of conference weekend was when we made a quick trip back to our apartment between sessions and were stopped by a woman in our own apartment complex asking if she and her friends could come to our temple's open house :)
My favorite miracle of the week... we got a call from the Zone leaders telling us that our companionship was selected to go help clean the temple for the open house, TODAY!!! AHHHH!!! I have been praying so hard to have the opportunity to see the temple before I left the mission. So that was an absolute miracle to me :). And to make it even more of a miracle, while I was down on my hands and knees scrubbing the beautiful marble floors, I noticed someone standing above me and I looked up to see the beautiful, beaming, smiling face of Sister Elaine Dalton, Young women's Président of the church. She threw her arms out and I jumped up and she hugged me SO tight! For a long time too! She kept saying thank you over and over again while she held me tight. I was trying to keep from getting teary eyed. Sister Dalton has been a real role model for me for a very long time and it was such an honor to be able to cross paths with her. IN THE PARIS TEMPLE!! When she left she said that she felt the real reason that she was able to come to the temple that day was for that. I think she was right, that was a miracle to me. :)
As always, it was a week of miracles!!! :) with many more miracles to come!!!
I love you all!
Voilà ! Le Hebdomadaire !
A Change in the Program.
My body wouldn't stop trembling during sacrament meeting. I was completely overtaken by the spirit telling me that I NEEDED to get up and share my testimony. Now, if it were fast and testimony meeting, that prompting would have been really easy to follow. However, seeing as it was not the first Sunday of the month, and that the bishop already had the meeting filled with great speakers, it seemed a little unfair... Why would the Lord give me a prompting he knew I couldn't follow? What did he want me to do? I can just see it now... sneaking up to the pulpit in the middle of sacrament meeting, "Excuse me Bishop, I just need to borrow the microphone for a couple minutes...don't mind me!" Hahaha. But, knowing that probably wouldn't have gone over well, I got up to go to the bathroom instead. I figured maybe I was mistaking indigestion for spiritual promptings. Upon my return from the bathroom, I was shocked to see my companion waving at me from the podium, Hahaha. Did she tell me she was giving a talk today? Then she looks at me jokingly says, "Well Sœur! Looks like we're giving our departing testimonies today!"
So, The Lord provided a way! As always! #1Nephi3:7 "...The Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." Amen!
In my testimony I spoke of one of the greatest things I have learned on my mission. Something you have heard me say very often! Which is... MIRACLES HAPPEN!.... ESPECIALLY in France! So let's take a look at a few of this week's miracles, shall we? :)
Clémence @ Church
A dear friend of mine (the 16 year-old daughter of the Non-believing family I lived with in Normandy) took a train for over an hour to come to church with us this Sunday! The ward members welcomed her in as one of their own and she loved meeting all of our friends--Almost as much as we enjoyed introducing her to all of them! While my companion was fixing rendezvous with members, I had the opportunity of taking her around and giving a little chapel tour. While we were walking around I looked at her and said, "Clémence, do you want to know what is so cool about our church?...It is the EXACT same church that Jesus Christ himself established on the Earth. We even have prophets and apostles, just like in the Bible!" Then she gasps and says, "Woah!! Really!? That IS cool!!" Which leads us to even MORE miracles!...
Clémence will be coming back to church with us the week after Conference, to hear one of our apostles speak to us, in person! Elder Anderson, who will be visiting us prior to the temple open house :)
We got special permission to travel to Paris to continue teaching Clémence!
Elder Anderson came and spoke to us on one of my very first Sundays in the MTC, 18 months ago. Now I am going to have the opportunity to hear him speak to us on my very last Sunday in the mission. :) That is a miracle to me.
Paid Sick Days.
This week I caught a bad Bronchitis bug and a UTI. So we were forced to spend a lot of time working from the apartment. Luckily, on the mission, we have something that I like to call- paid sick days! It's when you're stuck in the apartment against your own free will, (like when you're really really sick) so you do everything you can possibly do from the apartment, and then the Lord sends you miracles in return! Missionaries don't get paid money... but we get paid in miracles!! So after doing all we could from the apartment, The Lord made up for the rest by sending us not one, not two, but THREE, self-referrals from my hometown's temple visitor center that all became new investigators! :)
Be A Friend.
While sitting in Sunday School, I noticed a woman leave the room and felt impressed to follow her. I followed her all the way outside where I was able to stop and talk to her. After speaking for several minutes, she broke into tears and began explaining to me that she was leaving because she wasn't even sure if she even had a testimony after having confronted certain difficulties. I don't remember what I said to her, but I just remember sincerely praying the entire time to know what the Lord would have me say to her. I know he was listening very closely to that prayer. Because the spirit filled my mouth with words that had the capacity to allow her to feel the love of her Father in Heaven, and I know she felt it. About an hour later, we returned to Relief Society together. We were also able to fix rendezvous for the following weeks to come teach the missionary lessons to her and her family :). That was a miracle. To see someone who was so close to turning away from God, experience his love, and make the decision to stay.
Many people ask me why I enjoy being a missionary so much. I have been thinking about it a lot lately as I have been preparing to return to "normal life". There are many reasons why I love being a missionary. But one reason I have loved being a missionary is that, it has taught me how to be a friend to everyone :) So one goal that I would like to set for after the mission, is to be a friend.
We all need friends. My wish is that we will plead with the Lord to teach us how to be a friend, to everyone.
I love you all, my friends! :)
À la prochaine,
P-Day? What's that?
To kick off the week, we had a killer preparation day! Instead of going site seeing, we decided to teach Emelie with our mission president's wife. Because how many more times are we going to be able to do that? :) As the two of us get closer to the end, we seem to have less and less of a desire to have p-days, and more and more of a desire to just teach lessons ALL the time. Many of you have been emailing me lately to ask what my favorite part of missionary "work" is... to answer you all at once... teaching!
During our lesson with Emelie and Soeur Babin, Emelie told us that she knew the church was true. Because even though she doesn't feel like she has had all the responses to her prayers yet, she continues to feel like something is drawing her to the church and to all of the things we teach her. Especially the commandments. The spirit was so incredible during the entire lesson. I wish it were possible to write every single detail of every lesson I have ever been part of during my mission, especially this one. But needless to say, we went out heel-clicking :)
The Greniers: A Powerhouse Family.
We taught Emelie again the very next day with the family Grenier. Another great lesson :) Then, right afterward, we picked up another investigator (Morgan) and we went over to the Grenier's kid's house and we taught a lesson with them! We haven't been able to teach Morgan in several weeks and after that lesson, it was clear to us why we haven't been able to get a hold of her. Someone was working REALLY hard to make sure that lesson didn't take place, because WOW! We taught the Plan of Salvation and the spirit filled the room to the rafters. It was so strong that I was certain it was also overflowing everyone else's apartments that shared the same building as the Greniers. Then, we looked at Morgan and said, "When you know this is true for yourself, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ, and be baptized by someone holding the authority of God?" Then she said with a smile, "Well, I know it's true!" So we very happily fixed a baptismal date with Morgan for May 27th :).
Updates on Omar.
I know that many of you are very curious to know what's going on with Omar...So are we! All we know is that he is currently passing through a difficult time with his divorce and can't see us for the moment. Please keep him and his family in your prayers.
A lot of Lasts.
Tuesday was my Last Interview. Wednesday was my Last Zone Conference. I gave my "dying" testimony and yes, I of course bawled like a baby as just about the only words I could get out of my mouth were, "You are so lucky to be here" with a pause for dramatic effect between each word. Okay, maybe the pause was just because I was crying, but it worked for dramatic effect. I also had the opportunity to sing a song that I have been working on for the past 6 months for president. A song originally written by my sweet mama, "An instrument in my hands" adapted by me, into French, "Un instrument entre ses mains." It was an emotional day. After Zone conference, I also had my Last exchange in Paris. By the time we got home, Thursday night, I was completely blasted.
CHANGE. What's that?
We get a little too excited about change, on the mission. This week I had my hair done to have something nice and fresh for this summer. Now all of the sisters in the zone are lining up to get theirs done too, hahaha. Here's a before and after! We also had the opportunity to teach the entire salon staff about the temple and give them all special invitations to the temple open house!! :) They were all so thrilled!
Mormons in Disguise.
We went out for an early morning run with Emily, a little Word of Wisdom object lesson we were trying out with her :), when we were brought to a stop by a group of catholic pasteurs offering coffee and church tours to all the passersby. Flattered by their kindness, we thanked them but kindly told them that we don't actually drink coffee. They were only shocked until they noticed our badges. The sweats and tennis shoes must have disguised us as "normal people". But we were actually the Mormons ;)
-"Oh! We didn't even recognize you!! You're The Mormons!!!"
-"We sure are!!!"
We ended up talking with them for about 15 minutes and they liked us so much they told us that we should join their church, Hahaha. Of course, we laughed and said with a wink, "Hmmm... thanks for the offer! But we are actually here to baptize you!" Which elicited a pretty good response. They seemed at least partially convinced considering they made us run all the way home to get temple open house invitations for them and bring them back. ;) They are ALL registered to attend the temple open house next month! Also, now whenever we see them they yell out and wave, "HEY!! IT’S OUR MORMONS!!"
The temple is bringing SO many miracles, as you can imagine! This week we have been going from referral to referral in Chesney (where the temple is being built) to deliver invitations for the temple open house. Our feet have never been so blistered, hahaha. But it is so great! We are always lost so we just stop everyone along the way to ask for directions and say something like, "We are here to deliver this special invitation for the Mormon temple open house next month, could you tell us where to find..." Then they give us directions followed by something along the lines of, "Hey! Wait! I actually want an invitation too!" Which is perfect because the law with our temple invitations in France is that we can't just hand them out like pass along cards, the people have to specifically ask us for them. So we got the system down ;) Then we give them one and ask if they have any other friends who might be interested in having one as well, and they send us to another referral! And of course, we ask for more directions along the way.
Miracles happen!!!... especially in LE CHESNAY!!
Oh! Also!!! Super awesome news!!! Emelie came up to us in church yesterday morning and told us that she had prayed to know if she was supposed to be baptized and guess what her answer was?.... YES!!! So we pulled a fast one and got her a baptismal interview right after church and... she passed!!! Woot woot woot! :D Now just a few more steps before she can get baptized, but she is well on her way! Soeur George and I contacted Emelie together and have been teaching her together for the past 6 months or so. It's been amazing to be here to see her go through the entire conversion process, highs and lows, and to be able to do it all with the same companion. A rare and beautiful experience!
I just love being a missionary!
Today is going to be a short one because we had lessons this morning and little time to write. But I will try not to leave out too many details ;) which shouldn't be too hard because this week's theme remained pretty constant: FOOD.
Tuesday "Trunky day"
We spent some time on Tuesday trying to get school stuff figured out for after the mission and it felt like stress was just flooding our bodies and leaking out our eyeballs, hahaha. At the end of the day, we went to a Tahitian family's house for a birthday party and they stuffed us to the rafters. They kept saying, "YOU'RE SOOOO SKINNY! EAT!"... we won't be skinny for long if this keeps up... to add to the excitement, I had a nightmare the other night that I married a Tahitian and his whole family was trying to force feed me because I was "too skinny" to be in the family... Soeur George also must have been having some interesting dreams that night because she kept sleep laughing at full volume and yelling "HAHAHA!!! Ahhhh Soeur!!! Good one Soeur!!! HAHAHA" Apparently, I was cracking some pretty funny jokes.
Eating with Elizabeth.
Elizabeth invited us over again for dinner this week. I was quite hesitant after my LAST experience eating at Elizabeth's... and for good reason!! (Confined to the bathroom for two weeks). Well, this time, we WISHED we had diarrhea because she (no exaggeration) force fed us 4 different courses, all the size of mountains. Despite our whining and grimaces, she refused to let us stop eating until our plates (that she kept refilling against our will) were cleared. We got to the point where we literally had to eat the third and forth courses STANDING UP so that we could fit everything... then we went home and took a nap because we absolutely couldn't do anything else after that.... She almost brought out the 5th course of chicken and potatoes before I literally begged her with my hands clasped together to let us take it home instead because we had "no food in our fridge".
"Don't let your beauty go to waste!"
A young African man sat down in front of me on the train and told me I was beautiful. He then continued to inquire about my children (that I don't have, you know, missionary.) Then he says, "NO CHILDREN!?! Don't let your beauty go to waste!!! The clock is ticking! You need to start making babies! And you need to have AT LEAST SIX!!!!" And he wasn't even Mormon! It was definitely one of the strangest things an African man has ever said to me, hahaha.
We were asked to sing in the Stake Choir, it was so lovely!! I have really missed singing in choirs. My favorite talk in conference was given by a sweet little Italian man from the quorum of the seventies. He shared a story about how his wife was an incredible cook and yet got so frustrated when they moved to America because no matter how hard she tried, she couldn't successfully create any of her Italian dishes with the American ingredients she found in the stores. She finally broke down into tears and one of her friends gave her an American cook book and said with a smile... "Here! Now you can make yummy food with the ingredients you have!"
He compared it to the way we often try to force and change the gospel to fit our culture, the way he and his family tried to change and force America to fit their Italian culture. When in reality, it should have been the opposite. We need to change and prepare ourselves to fully embrace and follow the gospel.
Oh yes, we also ate food after stake conference, hahaha.
And we found a spider the size of a contacting card on our way home.
Well I am going to go do some sit-ups...
I love you all!!
Just a quick note for all of you who have been asking... YES I am "dying" next month...but, NO! My blog is not dying with me!!! Stay tuned for the many miracles, adventures, recipes, and more, to come in the following months!!!
Transfer Goal = Take a Taxi
Between the icy rain, wind, hail, and starvation, we decided it was time to cross, "Take a Taxi" off our transfer bucket list. Believe it or not, neither of us had ever taken a taxi. But we were sure all you had to do was throw your arms up and shout, "Taxi!" whenever you saw a green-lighted car. But what we didn't know was, not only would that wave down a taxi, but also a potential investigator! Well, okay... maybe he was only interested in Mormons until he found out we don't actually have multiple wives. Hahaha. Oh Eric... (taxi man) Either way, he said he "loves the Mormons!!!" and wants to come to church this week...Hopefully he doesn't come looking for wives. Ahaha.
Ya win some ya lose some!
During a little split contacting on the train, I met the most incredible new ami. A young French student named Camille. She has texted us every single day since just to make sure we haven't forgotten the rendezvous we set for next week after her exams :) So we found a new investigator!! But...lost Soeur George in the process...again... hahaha. She was also in the middle of a contact and missed our stop. So, I found myself wandering around La Défense alone...déjà-vu? My favorite part about losing my companion is the excuse it gives me to ask people to use their phones. It's perfect--you can teach them the gospel while it rings, and they can't go anywhere because you're holding their phone!
It's been raining cats and dogs all week and all of the Trains in our area are shut down for "spring cleaning". So we have to walk everywhere, even if it takes us several hours. Needless to say, there has been no need for taking showers with all this rain pouring down on our heads! Hahaha.
Bienvenue, Mardi Gras!
There are unicorns everywhere! Apparently, everyone dresses up in Unicorn onesies for Mardi Gras. Even the adults. Grown men. Pregnant woman. Everyone! It was sure amusing to see but it definitely makes it a lot harder to take street contacting seriously when you're stopping a bunch of unicorns to teach them the gospel.
The Pirate Man.
This guy didn't have an excuse, it wasn't Mardi Gras, Lol. But there was a grown man dancing around the metros in a pirate costume asking for money. When I told him that I had no money, he got really, really close to my face and growled like Jack Sparrow. Then he stuck his hat over my face and walked away. Hahaha. He was actually a pretty funny guy.
On Wednesday, we woke up with a crazy prompting to go to a city named Suresnes. When we got there, we worked the entire day and didn't see a single positive thing happen. Not one person stopped to talk to us. No one let us in. People moved seats on the train so that they didn't have to sit by us. This happened ALL day!! Welp...I guess the Lord was just testing our obedience!
But the NEXT day.
Thursday we woke up with ANOTHER crazy prompting! Only this time it was to pass by a member’s house. The family Ledru. The Ledrus are empty nesters and they are currently working on the construction of the Paris temple. So they are never there until at least 9pm. But, we went anyways. The members weren't there. BUT their non-member daughter-in-law was!! We taught her the Plan of salvation and she LOVED it. Then, she came to church this Sunday! No wonder the lord sent us all over the place the day before! He had to make sure we would listen when it was most important :)
The baptism of our sweet little Lena was on Saturday. She was SO excited!
We saw an unbelievable amount of miracles that day. Her parents invited ALL their nonmember friends and Soeur George and I just ran around like crazy talking to all of them!! Here's a couple Baptism Day Miracles for y'all :)...
After making really good friends with some Evangelist Rockers, we had a little jam session at the piano and they played the jazziest version of "How Great Thou Art" I had ever heard, and we all sang together! Hahaha. It was so great. Everyone else was just laughing and clapping to the music. Then they invited me to come sing in their Christian Rock Band at Church, Hahaha! When they left, they told their member friends... "We love these girls!!! They can come teach us the good word of God ANYDAY!"
A coworker of Lena's mom, a fully veiled Muslim woman, came up to her and said that she had felt the spirit at the baptism and would be attending church with her the following day. AMAZING!!
Birthday party in a Castle.
When the address of our sushi girl friends from last week took us to a castle, we were certain we had been punked. We called them, expecting an explanation, and they told us...yeah! That's the right place!! Apparently, the Castle had been renovated on the inside to be made into apartments, hahaha. So yeah, we attended a birthday party in a castle in France. We also taught a great lesson about our own castles!! #Temples ;)
After Church, we went with Emelie to the Bendio's to make tacos and watch a conference talk by elder Uchtdorf. It was such a lovely afternoon. That night, Emelie sent a text to the Bendio's to thank them for having her over because she truly felt like she had a family and sisters when she was with us and that she felt a warm feeling.
Miracles happen... EVEN IN FRANCE!
Bonjour à tous!
I received my LAST transfer call this week...(insert sobbing emoji)... But, the great news is... I’M DYING IN VERSAILLES!! With my lovely companion, and one of my very best friends, Soeur George! Yup, we are staying together!! Meaning she will have served with me for almost one third of my mission, woah! We're practically married. So much so, that I almost titled this email, "What it's like being married to Soeur George". Hahaha.
When we got transfer calls, Soeur George looked at me and screamed, "Soeur!!! I get to kill you!!" (mission jargon for the companion that sends you home) Mission Jargon or not, it seemed like a pretty strange thing to scream at someone. We sure got a good laugh.
Becoming a Mormon.
Another thing that gave me a good laugh this week... Emelie was sitting next to me in church and she kept turning to me during relief society to make little comments like, "I need a bible", "I need that book too", "OH!! I REEEAAAALLY want a poster of Jesus like that to put in my house!!" Then, my favorite... she pauses, looks and me, and says, "Do you hear this!?! IM TURNING INTO A MORMON!!!" Hahahaha. Oh my goodness I laughed so hard. Emelie is doing INCREDIBLE lately. We found her a new member/investigator integration family and she absolutely loves them. On Friday we re-invited Emelie to be baptized with a date, she said yes!!! And this time, she is ready! So ready in fact, that during relief society, she looked at me and said... "Wait... there is a baptismal service this Saturday? Then why did you tell me that I have to wait all the way until the end of this month?!" You can imagine the expression on my face when she said this, haha! I assured her that if she wanted to be baptized this Saturday, we could DEFINITELY make it happen!!!!;) hahaha. I just love her so much.
Omar is also progressing beautifully! He has been reading, praying, and doing LOTS of studying up about Joseph Smith on LDS.org hahaha. He probably knows his history better than we do at this point!! We will be extending a baptismal invite to Omar, tonight!! :)
Singing in Church.
On Sunday, we sang one of my mom's arrangements of Jesus Once of Humble Birth during Sacrament. We had the entire audience in tears and we have also never received more dinner invitations as we did after sacrament that day. Score!
A Trip to the Red Zone.
Soeur George and I received special permission to travel to an area that normally sisters are not allowed to go to. About 6 years ago, I spent the summer with a French family in the area, who aren't members of the church and for the past 17 months, it has been my mission goal to find them again! So, with the permission of our mission president, we were sent on a special quest to Mantes-la-Jolie! It seemed like every force in the universe was against us that day as we tried to get to that area. Our first train was canceled all weekend for maintenance on the tracks. So we had to take a bus, where we then took a connecting train, that was late. Then the next train only came once every hour. So we waited. THEN, when we finally got all the way out to Mantes, ALL of the trains going to Evreux were canceled because of an accident. Luckily, the bishop of Mantes came to our rescue and drove us an hour out to Evreux. What a guy :). When we got there, the family was SO excited! I couldn't believe how big all of the once little kids had gotten! It was such an amazing experience being there with them all again. They couldn't get over how weird it was to be speaking with me, IN FRENCH! Hahaha. They made us crepes and took us on a little walk around the town while we talked about why we were serving missions and what we do as missionaries. We also had the chance to give them Book of Mormons that we had marked with the answers to all of the "questions of the soul" and personal invitations to the temple open house! We even had extras for all of their friends who were there visiting them as well!! They were so thrilled and said they would be there for sure! We saw some of the most amazing miracles of my mission that day. I wish I could write them all right now, buuuut I am saving it for my homecoming talk... so I guess you will all just have to be there ;)...
XOXO- Souer Tracie Wyson
Salut tout le Monde!
I have seen a lot of miracles on my mission... but WOW!!! Let me tell you about this week!!!
Conquering Paris, in PANTS!
No, our mission wasn't changed to a pants mission... #wishfulthinking... BUT! I had a doctor’s appointment in Paris and so we got to wear pants. It was actually quite incredible because apparently when we wear pants, suddenly EVERYONE wants to talk to us. Maybe it's because instead of looking like a couple of nuns, we just look like super stylish, cool, happy people with shiny black badges.
We were probably enjoying our pants a little too much. On our way back home to change into skirts, we saw a train going out to an inactive member's house that normally only comes every 45 minutes or it just doesn't come (usually the case). So when we saw that it was leaving in only three minutes we looked at each other slyly and said... "Heyyy ;)...Is it worth finishing the day in pants?" Then we jumped on the train as the doors closed, in our pants. We have been trying to see this lady since I got to Versailles, so we had to seize the opportunity!
When we got to the end of the line, we got off the train and headed to Alphonsine's house. Upon arriving at her house we realized there was a code to get into the building that we didn't have. Then we remembered a text we had gotten from the member who had originally given us the address saying, "Oh yeah, there is a code to get in that we don't have. But you know, with a little Fasting and prayer, you will figure it out ;)..." hahaha. So we stepped off to the side and said a prayer. In that prayer we said something along the lines of, "Heavenly Father… We are here to visit Alphonsine but the door is locked. Please help us guess the code, or send someone to open the door for us. Thanks!" Then we turned back toward the door and guessed a few codes before a woman walked out about 10 seconds later and held the door open for us. Woohoo!
We came to the second locked door, that you have to be “rung” into. So we called up to Alphonsine's apartment... and her daughter answered! Alphonsine is a recent convert and we had NO idea she even had a daughter! Neither did anyone else! But we were pretty stoked because she let us in. Alphonsine wasn't home but we were able to talk with her daughter for a while, which was super cool. She didn't know anything about the church! She didn't even know her mom was a member! But now she wants to come to church so that's amazing, hopefully she will bring her mom with her! She called her mom while we were there and let us talk to her. So we get to see her on Monday morning :)
On our way home from Alphonsine's, we met this super cool lady on the street who told us that she wasn't interested. Then we told her about modern day revelation and she was like, "WHAT!? Are you serious!? Take my number!! Here is my address!! Come back on Monday!!" So we will also be seeing her on Monday!! :D We are pretty stoked about that!
On the train ride home I met a super funny old man who invited me and my companion to come to the community swimming pool with him. Hahahaha. He cracked me up. Then he gave me chocolate and said he would come to church this week. I hope he does! Hahahaha.
All of those awesome miracles happened, while we were in pants. We were pretty giddy about it. I don't know how many of you have seen spongebob... but we kept on saying things like... "Getting on the metro!... in pants ;)... Contacting!... in pants ;)... Teaching the Restoration... in pants! ;)"
Our Valentine's Day Date.
On our way to meet up with Rounar (The African guy I met last week), whose name actually turned out to be Omar, oops. Hahah. We realized... he had invited us to go to a café in La Défense (Paris) on the evening of February 14th. Wait a minute... I sure hope this isn't... Soeur George and I laughed the whole way there. Did we just say yes to a Valentine's Day date!?! ON OUR MISSIONS!?
Luckily, as soon as we sat down, he said "Okay. So we are here to talk about religion. What have you prepared?" Hahaha, it was totally awesome. He promised us he would read the Book of Mormon every single night after work until he was finished--at least two to three chapters a night. A little more about his story... he and his wife just got a divorce and he is trying to get custody of his children. But he feels that they deserve to be raised in a good religious home. So he has been searching diligently to find the right church to raise his children in.
The Fire Side/Open House.
Last week we planned with a member family to do a fireside for our amis at their house. The only problem is... none of our amis could come at the same time, and they could all only stay for an hour. But they all said they could come! So it turned into more of an Open House than a Fireside, hahaha. We taught a new ami at 6:00. Sent her on her way. Eugénie at 7:00. Sent her on her way. And finally, we taught Omar at 8:00! Three, member present, Restoration lessons right in a row! Woot woot! Also, what are the odds that Omar works at the grocery store right across the street from this member’s house?! Omar loved the Restoration. He told us that he felt something very powerful when we shared it :).
The Nanny and the Two Second Contact.
Soeur George and I were running through a park to get somewhere when we felt prompted to contact a woman that had just passed us with 3 little kiddos. With only a couple seconds to spare, we ran back and stopped her to ask if we could come back and share our message with her this week..."Sure! Same time tomorrow?" she replied.
We came back the next day with the same member who hosted our "open house" the day before, Sister Valentin! After pulling out the Book of Mormon she (Marie) says, "Mormon? My husband is Mormon!" Turns out, Marie's husband is actually an inactive member from the old ward of Sister Valentin, and they were good friends!! Marie didn't know anything about his church because they don't talk about religion together (very common here in France). So we got to teach her and give her a Book of Mormon of her very own :)
As we finished the lesson and got up to leave, another woman (Tata) yelled at us from a neighboring bench saying, "Hey! Can you come back at the same time next week and teach me?"
Gessica and Kiddos. "God needs me to pray for my Family".
We got to teach our lovely new family again this week :) My favorite part was our invitation to come to church at the end when the mom said she had too much to do, and then the little girls DOVE onto her and began pleading, "PLEEEEAAAASSSEEEE MOMMY!!! PLEASE! WE WILL DO ANYTHING!!!"
Okay, I just thought of another favorite part... we asked the family if any of them wanted to share an experience with prayer that they had throughout the week and Natasha (8 years old) stood up and turns to her mom with tears streaming down her face and says, "When I pray I feel good. But when I didn't pray for my mom, my little brother, and my sister... I had nightmares that I was all alone... I know that God needs me to pray for my family every night so that he can keep us together."
The Crying Man.
While my companion and I were doing split-contacting on the train, I saw a young man in a suit several rows away with tears just streaming down his face. His eyes were so red it looks liked he hadn't slept or stopped crying in days. I felt so strongly prompted to get up and go sit by him. It seemed a little awkward seeing as I had just contacted the women next to me. But as the prompting got stronger and stronger, I could no longer ignore it. I stood up, walked over, sat down right next to him, and smiled, "Hi, how can I help you? Even if you just want to talk :)" He stared at me for a moment and then pulled another tissue out of his pocket, wiped his eyes. It took him a few minutes to be able to speak without choking up. I asked him if he was believing in God, he shook his head and told me he was never educated religiously. I smiled and said, "God exists. When I pass through difficult moments, I can pray to him, and I know he will give me strength. He will do the same for you if you ask him. :)" Then he smiled at me and said, "Okay, I will try :)" From that moment, our conversation was all smiles and laughs! We had such an enjoyable time talking together about God, life, and miracles :) I also told him that I wasn't French, but American. Then he said, "It all makes sense now, I was so surprised because a French person would have never done what you just did. I can't thank you enough."
As I got off the train, I met back up with my companion and put my arm around her and said... "I never want to stop being a missionary."
The Sushi Girls.
Split contacting round two! With only two metro stops to go, an adorable young girl named Camille stopped me to ask me about how I found my testimony of the church. Then she told me that she had met a missionary like me a few years ago but lost her contact information. However, when the missionary had shared her testimony, it touched Camille so profoundly that she decided to start searching for her own. It was AMAZING! Talk about planting seeds! We were able to exchange numbers and set up a rendezvous for later during the week :) It was amazing! Except...when I looked up at the stops...oops...I had missed mine...
Now that wouldn't normally be too much of a problem, except that my companion was nowhere to be seen... she, however, did not miss the stop. #oops hahaha.
There I was, wandering around La Défense, the busiest area of Paris... with no phone, and no companion. I guess I looked pretty lost because I noticed a girl (about my age) staring and laughing at me. Did she know me? I walked over to her and she said laughing, "Did you lose your friend?". Wait what, how did she know!? "She was just talking to me on the metro, she got off at the wrong stop!" Little did she know it was actually me that got off at the wrong stop Hahahah. I used her phone to call my companion. She actually happened to jump right back on another car when she saw I didn't get off. Phew! The girl (Pauline) was laughing soooo hard. Then she called her friend and they invited us to come to a sushi buffet with them for lunch! Hahaha. #YEAH! We had such a blast together. Plus we invited them to come to Family night with the young adults tonight! :)
Locked in the death closet, almost, by a scary old lady.
We were finally let in while porting!!! Granted it was by a super scary 90 year old African lady and she raged to us about black slavery and racist Americans and then told us to follow her into the basement and she tried to push my companion into a super sketchy, boarded up, pitch black, storage closet...yeah... we won't be going back there!
Teaching Primary-My super power.
I always have fun stories from teaching primary, Lol. I love it!! Yesterday we played a little get to know you game and then I drew the Plan of Salvation up on the board for the little kids and we talked about all of the different parts of the Plan. Then, at the end of the lesson, a little kid shoots up out of his chair, turned to the class, and says, "HEY!! In fact, In fact, I actually think she has some kind of super power or something because she answered ALL of our questions... AND, in fact, I actually think that is the first time I have ever learned something in Primary!" Hahahaha. I never want to stop being a missionary. It's a great super power :)
Well, the closer the end gets, the less I want to leave. I love being a missionary, I love this work, I love the people, and I just love my mission. Miracles happen, every single day... even in France :)
À la prochaine!
Happy Saint Valentines to all you love birds out there!
And happy late birthday to my beautiful sister Jaimee! I love you!
Sister Wyson Goes to Africa.
This week, Elizabeth's mystery meat continues to take its vengeance on my little missionary stomach. To add to the damage, another African member made us eat spicy chicken the other night. Hahaha. My poor stomach can't catch a break! On Thursday we were at a member’s house and I had to leave the table 4 different times (after every course) during lunch to run to the bathroom. The member was really concerned with how "pale" I was looking. I told her I was just really pale haha. It turned out to be a little more than my "lack of sunshine". I was later almost put in the hospital for dehydration. Instead, I was sent back to the apartment with orders not to eat or drink anything for at least 24 hours. Which is supposed to give my stomach time to heal. Because I can't be rehydrated until my body can actually start retaining things. So, after 24 hours of no food or drink, I will start adding clear liquids into my diet. I've lost over 6 kilos (about 14 pounds) since Saturday. I'm writing this email on Thursday.
I am starting to understand why missionaries in Africa always come back so dang skinny, haha!
Speaking of Africa...
We got on the train to do our usual split contacting. My companion went and sat by the only woman on the train, leaving me to choose between the men. Lol. Merci Soeur. One of the men was a young African man who sat with his hood on and his head pressed against the window. The moment I saw him, I felt the strongest impression to go sit by him. I wasn't sure why the spirit was sending me towards the most intimidating looking man on the train, but I went anyways. The moment I sat down, he gave me a strange look and said, "It's too cold." I smiled and said... "I agree. I'm from the Desert!" Immediately, the conversation changed from the cold to the gospel. He replied with all of the following, and more!..."Why are you here? What do you teach? I'm searching for the church of Christ. No churches today have anything unique. They are all the same. They are not his church." I wish I could include all of the details, but it was one of those experiences that you just can't recount. It was so rich, and so amazing. I wish I could relive it over and over. We are looking forward to teaching Rounar this Sunday :)
"Troisième Étage"...(third floor)
We went to visit a member and her daughter for the first time the other night. It was a freezing night with fog so thick I could hardly see my companion haha. When we got there, we rang the doorbell and no one answered. We rang a second time and a voice replied with a soft yes... "it’s us!" we replied. Then the lock clicked opened and the voice said, "Troisième Étage...(Third Floor)" The building was pitch black and none of the lights were working. We stumbled up the stairs feeling our way around, counting the floors as we reached them... 1st....2nd....3rd. There were two doors, we weren't sure which one was theirs, so we figured we would just ring both. First door, no one home. As we reached to knock on the second door, we heard someone else stumbling up the stairs. We turned to see the member’s daughter, Iris. She asked us who let us in, we said, "your mom!" She gave us a strange look at said... "My mom? She won't be home for another 15 minutes...?" Then she unlocked the second door, all the lights were on, but no one was home... her mom arrived 15 minutes later. We all had the #hibidabegibbies after that little mystery. Hahaha.
Another super creepy story... sorry to freak you all out but this week was a weird one and my blog is my journal😅...my companion and I were all alone in the train station when a woman dressed in all black came running in and slams her face against the window next to us. She breaths deeply against the cold glass, her warm breath causing the window to fog. Then she begins chanting some sort of weird gibberish and draws a bunch of Satanic symbols with her finger on the window where she had breathed. Then she whipped around and looked me in the eyes and whispers three times, "Satan can transform into Angels." We didn't give her time to say anything else, we buzzed out of that place SO fast!!! She followed us out and to the gates, then she stared at us as we quickly made our way down the stairs and to the train. Luckily she didn't have a pass to get through the gates...
talk about #hibadabegibbies.
Another Pair of Ripped Tights #Winterstruggles
Every single time we have to run to catch a bus or train, I rip my tights. Which you can imagine, happens quite often. Especially when you have to run for your life from creepy possessed women. You realize you have a problem when you are serving in the fashion capital of the world and yet you spend the majority of your money buying pantyhose at the end of each week.
Two Missionaries Walked into a Bar...
After walking around in the snow for a few hours, we were pretty iced over. So we sought out the nearest shelter. Which happened to be a bar. Apparently, we weren't the first missionaries to have that idea because the moment we walked in, the bartender (we didn't know it was a bar) brings out two hot chocolates, Hahaha. How did he know ? ;) On our way out, after savoring our little cups of hot melted chocolate, the bartender says, "I never knew there were Mormon GIRLS. We only see the men around here. But it's too bad because we would be much more willing and open to being taught be you two than those big guys in suits!" Hahaha.
What we did all in two hours on Saturday night.
Sometimes you just can't leave the apartment because you have overactive bowels...not saying this was the case... but, we were definitely stuck in the apartment all day. But the Lord understands our circumstances and he blessed us with the most incredible miracles!! That night, we had one rendezvous. After having been stuck inside all day, we were able to sneak out for the last two hours to go visit a member family. While we were there, they gave us a referral of a lady named Eugénie who just moved in across the way #YES!. They said she might not be interested but that we could give it a try. We were pretty stoked. On our way out, they offered to drive us home #thankyou. Just then, we opened their apartment door and ran into EUGENIE!! She just decided to pass by for some reason and visit the family at this random late hour. Well, we weren't mad ;). She invited us all over to her apartment and fed us oranges while we talked about the Book of Mormon. Then we fixed a return rendezvous for the following week! :D She told us "come back whenever you want!!!"... oh, oh we will!
It's just TOO great here!! :D
We received a call this week from a young mother in our ward boundaries who hasn't come to church since she was baptized as a teenager. Since arriving in Versailles, we have been trying to set up a rendezvous with this lady. So we were REALLY excited!! We went over and taught them the Restoration. She and her daughters are on the same teaching level because she doesn't remember anything. Sadly, the missionaries met her family when she was 15 years old, they were all baptized, and then her mother went inactive. Bringing all of her children except her youngest daughter with her. Now we are teaching her, Gessica, and her two daughters: Natasha 8yrs and Rebecca 10yrs. I went to Primary with Natasha and Rebecca on Sunday and by the end of church they were running up to their mom with smiles beaming on their faces and said... "MOMMY!! WE WANT TO BE BAPTIZED!!! IT IS TOO GREAT HERE!!!" That warmed the hearts of everyone who heard!!
Bisous à tous!!
This week was quite the adventure! We probably walked about 100 miles and every single one of our fixed rendezvous fell through last second (the moment we arrived at their house) Which is really unfortunate when you have to take 2-3 hours of trains, walking, and buses, to get anywhere here hahaha. We ended up teaching 26 lessons this week and not a single one of them was with an investigator, Lol. Just a lot of people on the streets! Along with the many hours of proselyting, we had a few gems that we made sure to write in our journals to share with y'all today ;)...
"God doesn't exist...he told me so."
The title explains it all. Or not? We met an atheist man on the train and asked him why he didn't believe in god and he replied with, "I know God doesn't exist because I prayed and he told me so." Wait a minute...
Eye on the Toilet
We went to Elizabeth's house this week. She is a very poor African member in our ward. We ate beforehand, knowing it was much safer. You just never know what to expect when you go to Elizabeths for dinner, hahaha. Of course, She fed us anyways...To keep it short, and without providing too many details... we had to cancel all of our rendezvous after that because we couldn't make it further than a 10 second sprint to the toilet for the next 38 hours. (Insert sweating emoji) hahaha. Oh boy!!
Miracles of Fasting
Fasting is easy when you are recovering from dinner at Elizabeth's, hahaha. But I fasted anyways on Sunday to confirm a decision I had recently made about the direction of my studies. Specifically, whether or not I should continue to include sign language in my studies or not. On my way home from church, a Deaf man stopped us on the road and tapped our badges with a puzzled look. To his surprise, I began signing back to him and was able explain why we were here. When he walked away, my companion and I looked at each other and said... that was the strangest thing, that has NEVER happened to me! Just then, I knew... it was my answer!!
Another Fasting Miracle
If the man on the street wasn't confirmation enough... Elizabeth's African food hit me again while we were on the train and we began scrambling around frantically looking for the nearest bathroom. The only one open was McDonald, but the problem is... it has a code and is only for the workers. But it was an emergency. I stopped one of the workers using my puppy dog eyes. He was just staring at me cluelessly. I couldn't figure out what I was pronouncing wrong. Then, he started moving his hands and I realized... he was Deaf!!! So I was able to sign to him and get the code for the bathroom hahaha. Lifesaver. Miracles happen my friends... even at McDonalds!
Working out Pays Off
My companion and I like to exercise to Christian rock. But who knew it would ever pay off! The music, not the exercise ;) hahaha. Still working on that part. Anyways, there was a woman in the RER who kept yelling "AMEN!" after everything I said, Hahaha. Which reminded me of a song. "Our God is an Awesome God"... that I had worked out to the day before. So, naturally, I just started singing it, hahaha. The best part, SHE TOTALLY JOINED IN! We jammed out to some good ol' Christian Rock on the RER before exchanging numbers and parting our separate ways. Until next time ;).
That's it for today because I only have 8 more P-days to enjoy all this beautiful place has to offer! Okay... just one more...to finish up with a hilarious p-day experience from just a few moments ago. We were wandering around Paris looking for something fun to do when we stumbled upon a really cool old building that turned out to be a museum, Musée des Archives Nationales. We asked how much the museum was and the man at the desk said with a wink "it's free!", the woman next to him gave him a questioning look, but we love free stuff so we grabbed a map and headed on in!!! The museum was so incredibly beautiful and so interesting! As we were on our way out the door we waved goodbye to our buddy at the desk. He waved at us to wait and ran up to where we were. He grabbed my hand and I thought he was going for the kiss hahaha, then he slipped a piece of paper in my hand and told me to call him sometime. We were dying but what made it even more hilarious was that on the other side of the paper where he wrote his number was a receipt for 8 euros that he had paid for us to go into the "free" museum. Thanks for a great p-day Steve ;)
Gros Bisous à vous tous !!
Voilà!! Our weekly adventures!
When The Phone Rings at 8am.
Normally, it's just a little annoying. But, with the new schedule, we were already half way through our personal studies! About 30 minutes into our personal studies, Soeur George and I looked at each other and said... "I KNOW WHAT EMELIE NEEDS!" After thinking about her blessing, and what we needed to teach, we had both come up with the exact same scripture in Doctrine and Covenants. D&C 82:10 "I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise." We found another scripture in the footnotes that perfectly accompanied it D&C 58:27-28 "Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness...For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward." The very moment that we wrote those two scriptures down in our agendas, the phone rang. It was Emelie calling to tell us that she needed to cancel our lesson that day. But the spirit let us know that we needed to take the opportunity to share the scripture we had found for her, despite the fact that it was 8am and over the phone. We ended up teaching a full fledged lesson, starting and ending with a prayer, over the phone, at 8am, in our apartment!!! The spirit in the room was absolutely incredible. Words, scriptures, examples, and inspired questions were just flowing out of our mouths with absolutely no effort at all on our part. The spirit was filling our mouths. Then, before we finished, Emelie said... "I understand now. I need to be anxiously engaged, meaning, giving 200%. I will stop drinking tea." She continued to explain to us a "strange feeling" that she had. When she looked at the members, or even at their pictures, she was absolutely certain she could see a sort of light encircling them. She wanted to know if it was real, or if she was just seeing things. We testified to her that it was absolutely real, and that it was the spirit manifesting himself to her, letting her know that these were his people, and he is there. This was a truly powerful moment. It was the very first time that Emelie has ever recognized the spirit.
Morgan and the ledrus
We found a lovely new ami named Morgan! She is 26 and from Belgium. We taught her on Monday night for the first time. We had a little crepe night with a couple of empty nesters in our ward. The lesson actually started off really awkward, I think we arrived at a bad moment... hahaha. But it ended very well! Morgan had lots of great questions about how to build a relationship with God and the members were able to help respond well to her questions, being converts themselves, by sharing their own personal conversion stories. Morgan also came to church with us on Sunday and loved it! It was quite amazing, she only got one hour of sleep the night before because of exams, and she STILL came!!!
Welcome to Sunbeams
I was called to teach the Sunbeams class in primary on Sunday. The only problem is, I arrived to find I had no co-teacher, and I can't be with the kids alone. So, I snuck into Sunday school to ask my Mission President for help and he sent his wife to teach with me Hahaha. It was great. It was a class of English speaking 3 year olds, and she is still in the process of learning English. So you put English and three year olds together, it is no longer English, hahaha. The poor thing! My favorite part was when Chase (little boy) was trying to teach Soeur Babin how to draw the Puppies that are "in the garden at the temple". He was getting so frustrated and kept telling her, "No!! Dwaw da Waywel wight Dare!!!" (Translation: draw the tail right there!). I assured her it was not just the language barrier hahaha.
Speaking of language barriers...
My companion was sick the other day so I spent the night making area book calls. I managed to set a rendezvous with one woman... I think... the only problem is... she only speaks Spanish hahaha. She understands French, but doesn't speak any. So, I would say something in French, and she would reply in Spanish. VERY speedy Spanish! I was having all kinds of scary flashbacks to my first phone call in French hahaha. Somehow I managed to understand enough to fix a rendezvous with her... and by "enough" I mean... "Iglesia"... "domingo"..."OK!" And I consider that the gift of tongues! ;)
New Missionary Schedule
The purpose of the new schedule is to help missionaries: be more productive each day, set more inspired goals and plan more effectively, be more healthy, and use their agency to make righteous decisions about how best to spend their time. I'm sure you have all heard, but wow! It is SO cool!! It gives us loads more time to be out working, finding, and teaching! We get out of the apartment a lot earlier now (which I LOVE). The reason we have so much more time is because we no longer have a "fixed routine" but rather more of a "bucket list" of things that we need to accomplish during the day and we can place them whenever works best for us each day.
Week one without sugar... well, day one...
After one almost full day of no sugar, Emelie told us she drank tea and that she wasn't ready to stop because it, and I quote, "Kind of sucks". Hahahaha. I laughed out loud when she told me that and responded with, "Well, that's how it is!" My companion gave me "the eye" when I said that... oops, I shrugged...But hey! Emelie has now been 3 full days without tea! ;)
Ups and Downs.
As you can see, this week has been full of ups and downs. Especially with Emelie. The day after our miracle lesson, she sent us a text saying that she needed some "time off". She didn't come to church on Sunday but we managed to score one more rendezvous with her tonight. We will be teaching with my mission president and his wife in the mission home. Keep her in your prayers!
I LOVE ASL.
Learning sign language was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It opens up an entire new world of people to talk to, and love! We went to a diner on Monday and saw a family signing next to us. They were the sweetest little family. They want to move to America because it's 'easier to be deaf' in America than in France. She was so touched that someone would take the time to stop and try to communicate with her kids, even in a foreign language. She says it's the first time anyone has ever done that. We ended up exchanging emails! My companion and I are practicing up on our sign language ;) So far, I have taught Soeur George, "Awkward" "OK" and "Jesus" in ASL. All of which are very useful as missionaries. Lol.
A member has been begging us to make her fudge. We couldn't get a recipe in time that didn't include marshmallows (which they don't have here). So instead, we whipped up a quick little Brazilian fudge-like dessert with Chocolate, coconut, and sweetened condensed milk. They loooovvvveeedddd it. Only, it was really awkward when the mom looked at her kids and says, "Guess what it is made with!?!"... "It starts with an M!!!"... "MARSHMALLOWS!!!!".... My companion and I looked at each either other with wide eyes and began to practice our "sign language" to let the other know, "Don't say ANYTHING!" (insert sweating emoji) Hahahaha. We got a good laugh about our "phony fudge" on the walk home.
When the District Leader Calls and there is a Man in the house...
The title explains it all. Hahahaha. Remember our "husband" (painter) Patrick? Well, he was here until 10:30 pm the other night... and happened to pipe up right as we answered our district leader call. He only freaked out a little... "Is there a man over there!?" Hahaha. We had some explaining to do. Oh Patrick, hahaha. We are gonna miss that guy. He is officially gone now, we are pretty sad... but our bathroom looks AMAZING! We also came home to find a roll of nice quality toilet paper because he saw we were too poor to afford the good kind hahaha. What a guy!
Fabienne... The "very stubborn catholic woman"
We found an Ancient Ami in our area book the other day and gave her a call to see if we could come over. The only notes on her were "Very stubborn French catholic woman. Will not change religions." When we got to her house, we found the sweetest and most open minded French woman either of us had ever met! We also found out that the last missionaries who came over, "Didn't speak or understand any French" Hahahah. Hmmm... everything makes sense now.
Isabelle and her Maid.
It was our first time seeing Isabelle since I got to Versailles and we could not figure out what we were supposed to teach her. We prayed and prayed to know, but our minds were just blank. Eventually, we settled on "Either" the Gospel of Jesus Christ or a review on the Restoration. However, the moment we stepped foot into her apartment, we knew what we needed to teach. Isabelle's new maid was in the back of the room doing her laundry. We taught the Restoration. At the end of the lesson, her maid says timidly... "I'm sorry to overhear... I'm just curious... What is the Book of Mormon?"
We are now teaching Charlotte as well!!!
Lou and Morgan.
Lou, my sweet Brazilian convert in Paris, showed up to church here on Sunday!! We were SO thrilled to see each other! She had no idea I was still there, and I thought she had moved back to Brazil! It was such a fun little reunion. Although I have to say, my favorite part was seeing her testify to Morgan, one of our current amis, about the church and her conversion story. The joy that comes from teaching and seeing a dear friend enter into the waters of baptism in inexplicable in itself. But it is a whole new level of joy to then see them invite others to do the same.
I love being a missionary.
I feel very honored to have had the opportunity to serve as a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the France, Paris Mission.