This week I learned that my companion, Soeur Burgoyne, has about a million of the coolest hidden talents in the world. My personal favorite...Soeur Burgoyne can bark EXACTLY like a chihuahua ! It's
amazing. One of the greatest hidden talents I have ever seen. The other night while I was brushing my teeth I asked her to tell me a random fact about herself. Her reply was that she is, "good at
barking". At first I just assumed she meant she could sound relatively close to a dog.... then she started barking at me. I was BLOWN away! Even though she was sitting right in front of me I still felt like I had to look around for a dog hahaha. It was SO realistic. She definitely should not have showed me because now I make her do it for everyone hahaha. In fact, I think we might start using it as a new contacting technique ;).
Monday was Soeur Burgoyne's first Pday in the mission field (the real one)! Woot woot!! :) it was actually pretty tranquil haha. We had planned to go to the Chateau but it was ICEY. Soooo we ended up emailing and watching "The other side of Heaven" with the Elders at the church until it was time to get back to work :) We finished the day with 3.5 solid hours of contacting in the freezing cold. We 'sang as we walked and walked and walked', talking to every single woman and family that passed us. There weren't very many people on the road but by the end of the night we had contacted a pretty good handful of people! We walked about 5 miles to Louise's house after feeling prompted to head over there. Normally we would take a bus but we both felt prompted to walk...even though we are two Desert babies who can't stand the cold hahaha. We managed to tough it out all the way to her house, we rang her doorbell, and she wasn't there... The idea of contacting on the tram was sounding more and more appealing the colder we got haha. But, for some reason, we still really felt like we needed to be at Louise's. We rang her doorbell a few more times just to be sure she wasn't there haha. After a long wait, no response, and a few too many rings, we decided to leave. When we exited the parking lot of Louise's apartment complex, we crossed paths with a young mother who was on her way home from work. It wasn't until that moment that we learned why it was that we needed to be at Louise's. She was definitely one of the sweetest ladies I have ever contacted. The three of us hit it off immediately! We taught her about prayer and asked her if she thought it was important to pray and her response was definitely not what we expected Hahaha. She told us that she was “kind of Muslim" and then she said, "But between you and me...prayer is great...but let's be honest, Muslims staying home to pray 5 times a day is a little weird!" We thought that was a pretty funny comment, coming from a Muslim woman hahaha. She had to catch her bus but we were able to exchange numbers before she left :) She actually called us up yesterday and invited us to come over for "afternoon tea" hahaha, It's sounds so French, doesn't it? Sadly, we weren't able to see her yesterday because we had something planned for just about every second of the day. BUT we WILL
see her this week!!!
Tuesday we had district meeting and Soeur Burgoyne and I were running a little bit late because we made a new goal: no matter where we were going or how much of a hurry we were in, we would never hesitate to stop a woman or family that passed us! So we were on our way to district meeting and every time a woman passed, we stopped her! It was pretty cool! We met some interesting people. Also, little did we know, our zone leaders happened to be right behind us observing the whole thing hahaha. They were pretty proud of their little "Blue" sisters! Speaking of Blues... I have to admit, the blue fire in our companionship is AWESOME! I thought I had blue fire before, but now that there are two of us, in ONE companionship...Holy smokes! It's unreal! We are so tired by the end of the day ahhaha. My legs are jello right now and it is just the beginning!
This morning we FINALLY got our heater fixed, it was a miracle! It's a good thing too because I don't know how much longer us Desert babies could have taken it hahah. We were forced to share a mini portable heater between the two of us-- and our entire apartment hahaha. We just stand over it with our skirts blowing out like hot air balloons, it's pretty great. We went to see Nelly after studies and she wasn't there...was I surprised? Eh. That's okay, we had a fun little bus ride; entertaining our inner child by standing in the middle of the accordion bus hahaha :) Not sure if they have them in the U.S?
Soeur Burgoyne and I decided to try something new that would get the members more involved with the missionary work here and it has been so incredible. We went from getting no referrals, ever, from anyone, to having so many referrals that it takes about two hours just to dial all their numbers! We started by creating a member missionary lesson plan to encourage what we like to call, "Nos amis sont vos amis!" This means, "our friends are your friends". We teach this lesson plan to every member that we visit, tailoring the message, as the spirit directs, to each family that we visit.
In this lesson, we might begin by holding up a picture of the tree of life and asking the youngest children in the family tell us the story. Then we ask them if they remember what Lehi desired immediately after partaking of the fruit; he wanted to share its goodness with the others. So, he began to call out to them. We teach how they can be like Lehi in their own lives and ask them to think about who in their lives, could benefit from hearing the gospel. Then we share a scripture that I LOVE and ask them to replace Abrahams name in verse 23 with their own.
22 Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones;
23 And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: [Insert your name], thou art one of them; thou wast
chosen before thou wast born.
We feel truly blessed that the Lord has allowed us to be the mouthpiece of such a beautiful and powerful message. A message that is so simple and the simplicity so powerful that even the youngest and most rambunctious primary children sit in silence as they listen intently to every word that is said.
We taught Nathalie this week :) She always has so many questions for us and they are usually really difficult questions to answer. It is so cool that she has such a desire to learn. Today during our lesson she brought out an entire list of questions on the plan of salvation and the millennium. We were pretty nervous as far as the language goes, we didn't want to miss anything! It was incredible, we could truly feel the spirit working through us because when she asked the questions, we understood and somehow we just knew exactly what to say. It was truly a miracle. I know it was the spirit speaking because by my own knowledge, I didn't have the answers that she was seeking. During the lesson she asked a question and neither my companion nor I knew the answer. She must have been praying just as hard as I was because right then, at the exact same time, we pulled out our scriptures and turned to the SAME chapter in the scriptures. It's not a popular one among missionaries either! It was truly a prompting from the spirit to both of us. It was so incredible! It was amazing because before we opened to it, neither of us knew what that chapter was about but it had ALL the answers to her questions!
After Nathalie's, we went on a little contacting adventure to the Chateau. We contacted around the area and took lots of fun pictures in between contacts :) We actually found that a great way to start
talking to people is to ask them to take a picture for you! Hahaha. It may be a little touristy, but it's perfect because then they ask why we are here! ;) We just smile and say, "Funny you ask!...." It's
perfect! Soeur Burgoyne and I both love taking pictures, that's probably how we will spend most of our P-days haha :). While we were out by the Chateau we met some really cool people. We met two women who looked very sad and one of them told us that she was going through some really difficult "personal adversity" right now and that she didn't have a lot of things in her life that brought her joy. We wanted to badly to teach her and share the things that we knew could help her but she just didn't want it. So we asked her if we could at least share a scripture with her really quickly. After sharing the scripture with her we asked her if we could leave her with a prayer of comfort and peace. She said no at first but we didn't take no as an answer haha. We insisted that it would help her and it was something we wanted to do for her. Eventually she gave in and we were able to pray for her! She was really touched by the prayer :) She ended up taking our card and writing down the scriptures we shared with her so she could look them up. Turns out, missionaries in past years had given her mom a Book of Mormon and it is still at their house. She said she would read it, I truly hope she does. The Lord is preparing her :). After they left, we decided to step off the path to have a quick gratitude prayer. We folded our arms but just before we started, a man named Guillame walked up to us and asked why we were wearing badges. He was atheist but we ended up having a wonderful discussion about the gospel. We shared a few scriptures with him and then left him with a nice prayer. He wasn't really open to the idea of God at but he took our card anyways. Later that night we got a text from a random number saying that he wanted to learn how to say a prayer so that he could find out if what we said about God is true. We invited him to church on Sunday and we are hoping that he will want to meet with the Elders after :)
We went to the Mezeret's house that night. They told us they would meet us at the tram stop and drive us to their house but we got there way too early and it was freezing so we got back on the tram and just kept riding it back and forth and back and forth between about two stops until they were ready to come get us hahaha, desert babies. The Mezeret's are a really fun young couple in our ward. We never get to see them because the wife is a doctor so she is always working super hard. She reminds me a lot of my sister Natali haha :). It was worth the wait for a RDV with them though...We ate TACOS! I didn't even know those existed in France. It was probably the one of the best nights of
my mission. I can't tell you how much I miss Mexican food.
Wednesday we went shopping with Manuella to get her a dress for her baptism :) she was so excited, it was adorable. She is the cutest little thing, I think she likes having big sisters like us :) After shopping we stopped by the Hamelin's house, it was so enjoyable :) Soeur Hamelin is very helpful. She helps us so much with our French! She never hesitates to correct us Hahahaha. It's awesome. I'm really grateful for it :) Though she can be quite a "Jonesy" about it sometimes hahaha (family, you know what I'm talking about)...good thing we have thick skin ;) Soeur Hamelin also offered to sit down and help us with our French one day a week every single week! We jumped right on that offer! We had our first lesson this Saturday and wow...I thought my French was pretty good but I guess we have A LOT of work to do! Hahaha. I can't say that wasn't expected :) I'm grateful for honest people who tell me my French is like a 4 year old because honestly...4 months in the France and I can speak like a 4 year old ALREADY!?! YEAH BABY!...At this rate I'll be speaking like an 18 year old in no time at all! ;)
Soeur Burgoyne and I decided we are going to start getting in shape now before it's too late hahaha. Normally for sister missions they say that you have 6 months to get fat, 6 months to retain it, and "6 months to sexy" before going home. We decided to just save us the trouble and skip the first 12 months! Missions aren't good for diets... We haven't eaten any sugar since we have been put together. Two weeks of NO sugar! I don't know if I have ever done that in my entire life hahaha. One thing I do really miss lately though...Costco pumpkin pie...they don't have it in France thankfully, because I really want it hahaha. One of the joys I am looking forward to enjoying after the mission ;)
Friday was weekly planning, aka, we did planning all day because everyone knows it actually takes 8 hours... That's okay though, it was fun :) we also designed the program for Manuella's baptism! That took a really long time. We didn't end up eating dinner until about 8 o'clock. We were really hungry. I don't think we realized how stretched our stomachs have gotten on our missions before we started
this diet. We were so hungry we were considering eating the peels of our bananas hahaha. I actually did take a couple bites just to test it... It's not as good as the banana. Since we don't eat sugar, we
never eat dessert. But, last night we decided to reward ourselves with a little something haha. We grilled 2 bananas on the stove with honey, cinnamon, and coconut milk. It was really yummy! That's the extent of our desserts here haha.
Sunday was definitely my favorite day of this week. Which is REALLY tough because this entire week was SO wonderful. But, between Manuella's baptism, the family Aubril's house, and having to drag a random drunk guy out of the church... it was an eventful day!
MANUELLA'S BAPTISM: Manuella was baptized on Sunday! It was a beautiful baptism, though I didn't actually get to see most of it because I was turned around translating the entire thing for Nicolas. The baptismal prayer is hard in sign language. It's so short and fast, I felt like I may have left out a few important details hahah. That's okay though, her dad got it right! :)
As far as the drunk man that I had to throw out of church... I'm just going to quote my companion on this because I couldn't have said it better, haha! We call this story "Be careful what you pray for".
"On Sunday, we were coming out of our apartment and headed to the tram when my companion reminded me of how many times she has been "hit on" by drunk men on Sunday. We also thought about our Amis (friends of the church. aka investigators that we are teaching) and how we had been praying that we'd have amis come to church. Well anyway, we get on the tram, and this African man, obviously drunk, comes over to ask me for a light. (Which I obviously don’t have) but he stuck around with us anyway(there were two woman with us who were members of the church too), and followed us when we got off at the stop. In fact he followed us all the way to church and into church. The elders greeted us at the door and congratulated us on getting an ami to church. We just laughed... hmm :/ Not exactly what we were looking for. The elders took him for us. He fell asleep on Elder Larsen’s shoulder during all of Sacrament Meeting. After the meeting, it was hard to get rid of him. He was still drunk, and he tried to kiss my hand (which made one of the sisters in the ward really mad at him) and he was touching Soeur Wyson’s hair. She dragged him out by his coat sleeve... He kinda creeped me out, but hopefully he’s a more enjoyable person when he is sober. The Elders actually set a rendez-vous with him...if he remembers. But I am reminded why I would never want to be
drunk. I do not want to have my body controlled by someone besides me and do stupid things that I can’t even remember. That is an awful thought to me. I can see why the Lord commands us not to drink." -Soeur Burgoyne
To end my novel this week...This morning we ate oatmeal for breakfast and I was telling Soeur Burgoyne (as I do every day) that I don't know why I eat French oatmeal because I think it's gross anyways. Yet, I eat it every morning... Though, this morning I decided to see if I could spice it up a little bit with some extra cinnamon. Well... I "spiced" it up for sure. I seriously loaded up on the "cinnamon" before taking a great big bite. The lesson that I learned this morning...check labels carefully when you grab spices out of the cabinet because Cayenne pepper oatmeal is a whole lot worse than "plain ol' French oatmeal". Hahaha. Have a lovely week everyone!
Bisous! Xoxo- Soeur Wyson
Ma chère famille et les amis,
This week has gone by so fast I really haven't had any time to write everything down which is a real bummer because SOOOO many things have happened! With that being said, I am going to apologize in advance for a shorter email this week.
I picked up my Blue this week! I even managed to get us through Paris and back to Angers without getting "too" lost hahaha...with the help of every person between there and the train station of course Haha. It was good language practice! The great thing about being a trainer...as far as your blue knows, you are ALWAYS going in the right direction! ;) Funny story about that actually...I call it, "Going the wrong way...or so I thought."
We were on our way to Manuella's house to plan her baptism and I was feeling extremely scatter brained because I had SO many things to do. I figured that I knew the way well enough that I could make some calls as we made our way over. Well... Apparently I am not as good of a
multi-tasker as I thought. After about 15 minutes sitting on the bus I realize, "oh my goodness, we are going the wrong way". I immediately jumped up and pressed the button to get off the bus. All I could
really do was laugh and remind my blue that trainers make mistakes too hahaha. As I stumbled around gathering my stuff and getting ready to jump off the bus, I stepped right on top of a woman's foot as she was getting on... At this point I felt like the biggest airhead Hahaha.
THEN, a miracle happened... She asked for our number! She said she had seen missionaries for our
church at her home in Brazil and that she wanted to learn more, how cool is that!? We ended up staying on the "wrong" bus and talking to her for about 15 more minutes haha. I guess I didn't get us on the wrong bus after all ;) Somehow we even managed to get all the way back to Manuella's just in time for our lesson!
My Blue is Soeur Burgoyne, she is from Arizona and I ADORE her. We work beautifully together, get along beautifully, and we laugh ALL the time! She also knows SIGN LANGUAGE! How cool is that!? Maybe we will be the first Paris, France signing missionaries ;).
We got to eat with the Deforge's this week because Soeur Burgoyne and Frère Deforge have the same diet. It's called the "FODMAP" diet. Basically she can't eat anything yummy, which is pretty sad haha. I don't think I would have made it through my first transfer if it weren't for patisseries hahaha, mission life is hard! She has about 3 pages of things she can't eat but we found a cool little store here
that has food for people with this diet :) It is ridiculously pricey though. The good news is, I don't think I will be gaining any weight over the next two transfers ;) ! So far I have survived one week in France with NO SUGAR! Woot woot!
Speaking of mission life: Last night Jacqueline texted us out of the blue and told us that she never wants us to call her again and she doesn't want to be baptized. We don't know what happened except that she said her husband was going to get very angry if we called. :( I
was so bummed I just wanted to sit down and cry. I called our bishop and told him what happened. He was so so kind to us. He reminded us that nothing good ever happens without serious opposition and said that we must be doing something good :) He encouraged us not to let ourselves get discouraged and he is going to call Jacqueline tomorrow.
We talked to Heavenly Father for a very long time that night. We were so disappointed. My poor blue, all this and it is only her 4th day! By the end of the prayer we really just wanted to go to bed so we could stop thinking about it. Though I knew that after praying, it was time to turn to the scriptures so that the Lord could speak to us and give us the answers we were seeking. Sure enough, he told us exactly what we needed to hear...
3 Nephi 18:32
"32 Nevertheless, ye shall not cast him out of your synagogues, or your places of worship, for unto such shall ye continue to minister; for ye know not but what they will return and repent, and come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I shall heal them; and ye shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them."
I cannot say it more profoundly than it is said in the scriptures. In 2010 when the missionaries found Jacqueline, she wasn't quite ready. When Jacqueline found the missionaries in 2016, her husband was not ready. I'm feeling pretty great about 2022 ;)
My first week as a trainer has been a very humbling and sweet experience. I can count the number of months I have been in France on less than one hand haha. I do not have a profound vocabulary, I make grammar mistakes, and I still stumble through even the simplest words. Though, all of those things have turned out to be some of the greatest blessings of my mission so far. Through the trials of learning a foreign language, The Lord has taught me what it means to speak with power of conviction. It is not power of words, or power of wisdom, but it is by the power of the spirit.
It makes me think of the simplicity and beauty of a child's first prayer. They are so anxious to stand up and try and yet, they listen so intently as their parents whisper each word into their ear. Then, they carefully repeat everything exactly as their parents whispered it into their ears. They never question them, they just listen, and trust that their parents know exactly how and what to say. Wouldn't it be amazing if we could all be this way with our Heavenly Father? :) Relying on him for every single word, rather than our own knowledge.
This past week I have felt much like a child giving their first prayer. As we teach our lessons, I have truly realized how important it is to listen intently to the spirit, carefully repeating each word as it is given to us. Our lessons are simple, but the spirit is so powerful! I have learned that just as a parent teaches their child to pray, using words that are easy and simple to understand, the spirit
never gives us words or phrases that are too difficult for us or the people we are teaching. He gives us simple truths. :) My thoughts turned to the way the Savior taught. It is incredible how he was able to teach the most sublime truths using such simple stories.
I cannot express the amount of joy that serving the Lord brings me each and every day of my mission. It is truly a blessing to be out here. Every single moment is a blessing. :)
That's it for this week, I hope you all have a wonderful last week of February! :)
Soeur Tracie Wyson
Happy Valentines Day everyone!
Our Zone made the goal this week for every missionary to really ponder and record the "why"... "Why" are you on a mission? "Why" did God call you to this area? "Why" this companion?... All of which are, in fact, pretty complex questions. I feel very blessed to have experienced numerous miracles this week that helped give answers to many of those "why" questions for me :)
It was P-day, we were on the bus headed home when Soeur Curtis noticed a couple, about our age, signing to each other on the bus. It's always exciting to see people signing, though French Sign Language is very different from American Sign Language. Signing ASL to a French Deaf person is a complete shot in the dark; not many of them understand it. I began to wonder if it was worth trying to communicate with them. Not to mention I was feeling a bit inadequate in my sign language already.
Then a scripture was brought to my mind and I remembered my fast:
Doctrine and Convenants 90:11
"11 For it shall come to pass in that day, that every man shall hear the fullness of the gospel in his own tongue, and in his own language, through those who are ordained unto this power, by the administration of the Comforter, shed forth upon them for the revelation of Jesus Christ."
I love that is says the gospel will be taught "through" those who are ordained, but that it is "by the comforter", or the spirit, that they will receive revelation of Jesus Christ. We are simply the instruments in the Lords hands. An instrument alone cannot play a beautiful song, but with the right musician, it can move even the toughest crowds to tears. I know The Lord called me here, not to be a musician, but to be an instrument in his hands. Those Deaf people on the bus deserved to hear the gospel, and if LSF was the only way they could receive it, the Lord would help me learn LSF!
I waved to the couple and signed, asking them if they understood American Sign Language. They signed "YES!" I couldn't believe it, I signed it about 3 more times just to clarify that they had actually
understood the question hahaha. It was a MIRACLE. Our bus stop was approaching and we had less than a minute. I began signing as fast as my little hands could move, explaining as much about us as possible in the next 30 seconds haha. We practically chucked our pass along card at them as we jumped through the closing bus doors hahaha.
To our GREAT surprise, we got a text from them that same night saying that they wanted to learn more!! No more than 45 minutes after we got home! We were SO stoked! In fact, we were so excited, we didn't know what to do except just start jumping, dancing, and hugging each other! Haha!
I am overjoyed to announce that we were able to set up a rendez-vous with them for the next day to teach them about the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ :) I am even more overjoyed to tell you that the lesson was absolutely incredible. Nicolas and Olivier only know French Sign Language but they understand a little ASL. They are SO different, It truly was like trying to understand a completely different language, even the letters of the alphabet are completely different! So, I would sign in ASL, and they would sign back in LSF. It was a miracle. Even while communicating among 4 different languages, (English, French, ASL, and LSF) the spirit in that room was so incredibly powerful. It was such a beautiful experience as I truly felt the Lord working through me, using my hands as the instrument to share his gospel with his children. It is impossible that I could have gone into that lesson, and with my own knowledge, taught them the gospel. It is only by the hand of the Lord, my musician, that I was able to share the music of the gospel with Nicolas and Celine that night.
When Nicolas and Celine showed up, we asked them if they believed in God and they replied "no no no, not at all!" Though, when we asked why they didn't believe, they didn't have a response... Then I signed, "You have a Father in Heaven and he loves you so much." They were so touched, they knew it was true the moment I told them :) I knew they could feel his love. We showed the Restoration video and we read a couple scriptures from the Book of Mormon, then we taught them how to
pray. They absolutely loved it. Afterwards, they both asked if they could have their own Book of Mormon, restoration brochure, and restoration video!
My companion doesn't understand sign, but, after the lesson, she mentioned the feeling of the spirit in that room and said..."it was awesome!" Haha she's right, it was awesome! The Lord is awesome, his work is awesome!
The next morning, we received a text from Celine saying that she had read the brochure we gave her and that she was crying because it was "by interest to [her] heart" :) ... I know that it is by the spirit
that we come to know the truth of all things, and it is in the sweet feelings like this that we recognize the Holy Ghost working in us and testifying of truth. If you have been reading my blog, or weekly emails, you all well know that I have many favorite scriptures...
Helaman 5:30 is one of them ;)
"And it came to pass when they heard this voice, and beheld that it was not a voice of thunder, neither was it a voice of a great tumultuous noise, but behold, it was a still voice of perfect
mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it did pierce even to the very soul."
A still small voice of perfect mildness, that is the way the Lord speaks to us.
Celine and Nicolas came to Soirée familiale on Thursday with the members! It was SO cool! Soirée is something we have every Thursday night with the members where we have a little lesson, eat treats, and play games. We didn't expect them to show up but when we got to the church, they were already there! The elders taught the lesson and I translated. All I can say is...God is so good to us...there is no way I could have pulled that off by myself. The only contribution I made was offering my "Helping hands"!
My brain was pretty exhausted by the end of the lesson thinking in French, translating into English, and then to sign language. I spent part of my language study learning French Sign Language. It's bizarre haha. There isn't a single sign that I have found yet that is the same in both languages: with the exception of "Jesus Christ" :) I prefer ASL, it is a lot more practical, the signs are smaller and not so explosive (it's prettier too). LSF uses both hands including your arms for almost every sign haha, good workout!
Celine brought her Book of Mormon with her to Soirée and showed us that she had read the ENTIRE introduction all the way through the end of 1 Nephi 1 last night! It was AMAZING! She loves it! We need to start petitioning for the church to open a French sign mission here, there are SO many people to be taught!
We taught Celine and Nicolas several more times after that this week and all the lessons were wonderful :) Nicolas came to church on Sunday and I sat up front by the stand and translated the entire meeting! It was incredible, the Lord works miracles. There is so much more to say, but for the sake of time... we are going to move on because there is so much more to be said about this week! :)
Transfer day is coming quick! We found out on Saturday where we would be going, or not going, for the next transfer and....drum roll please....I’M STAYING IN ANGERS! I am thrilled to be staying here because I LOVE Angers :) Though, the excitement doesn't end there...
Saturday morning my trainer received a call from the mission presidents assistants and if you receive a call the morning of repertoire day, that means you have a "special calling". Well, I thought that was really funny becauseFriday night we had "transfer guesses" and I told Soeur Curtis that she was going to be called as an STL and she refused to believe me! Her face when she picked up the
phone was PRICELESS. I couldn't stop laughing. I began mouthing my mom's least favorite phrase, "I told you so ;)" Then, just when I thought it couldn't get any better, I hear "Soeur Wyson?"....
My heart hit like a wrecking ball into my stomach hahaha. Yup. That call wasn't for Soeur Curtis. *Insert Sweating emoji*
Surprise! Coming this Wednesday, this blue (me) will be receiving a blue of her own!
Soeur Curtis will be transferred to a little countryside Ville called Vannes for her last month in the mission and I will be picking up my "baby" in Paris Wednesday morning :)
I fasted and prayed for knowledge and peace of mind after receiving the call to be a trainer. I feel truly honored to be trusted with such an incredible responsibility; though, after being in France for only two transfers, I feel far from qualified to train a brand new missionary haha. During my fast, a scripture came into my mind...
5-Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6-In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
The answer to my prayers was very simple. The spirit simply told me, "It's okay that you don't know what you're doing, the Lord knows what he is doing. Trust in him."
I know that the Lord will always provide a way for us to do the things he asks of us. I truly have a testimony of Nephi's words, (1 Nephi 3:7)... "I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that 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."
One last update before I say goodbye...we set baptismal dates with both Jacqueline and Manuella! Manuella will be baptized this coming weekend and Jacqueline the end of next month! We are absolutely thrilled for them and it has been such a blessing to see the ways they have grown and their testimonies have blossomed as they exercise faith in the Lord. :) On that note, I love you all and hope you have an awesome week!
A few things I failed to mention...
Coucou mes amis !
First off, I LOVED hearing from all of you this week! I think I broke my record for incoming emails, it was awesome! Thank you everyone for the love and support that you send, you are all absolutely wonderful!
As I mentioned in my subject line, I left out a few details in my email last week. So, before going into this week, I am going to back up a little bit and catch up the last :)
You might remember this piece from my most recent email : "We missed our connecting to Angers so we stayed in Nantes for the rest of the weekend, it was an adventure! Hahaha :)".... Well, It was an adventure for sure!
We were on the train headed back to Angers after a finding day in La Rochelle when I starting getting incredibly sharp pains in my abdomen. When it started bruising and swelling (after having been up all night throwing up the night before) the STLS called Soeur Babin, our mission president's wife. Soeur Babin then got on the phone with the mission nurse, who did an over the phone examination through Soeur Bond haha. While I lay down in the middle of the Gare, Soeur Bond performed a variation of tests as instructed by the nurse. I'm sure everyone in the Gare thought I was either dying or just had a little too much to drink hahaha. Immediately after, the nurse sent us to the nearest Emergency room in Nantes...(hence the reason we missed our connecting train hahah). Well, the hospital didn't give us any information, except that I discovered it is really difficult to communicate medical terminology in a foreign language haha. But the good news is, I am learning SO many new words!! :)
The elders met us at the hospital and escorted my companion back to the apartment with the other sisters and Soeur Bond stayed with me at the hospital. It was a pretty long night; we were there from 9:00 at night until 5:30 in the morning, we didn't get into the apartment until around 6:30am. If the Doctor wouldn't have been so young and dreamy it would have been a lot easier to get upset with him when he gave me a laxative prescription and sent me home telling me that I was probably just "backed up" hahaha. We stayed in Nantes for a few days to rest before heading back to Angers to see a specialist.
We had our Appointment with the specialist on Tuesday and he was absolutely incredible. He ran tests, did paperwork, gave me a diagnostic, and wrote my prescription, all in less than 30 minutes! It
was amazing, he really knows his stuff! He diagnosed Stomach ulcers and sent me back to do some blood tests for Anemia. I told my companion..."No wonder I can eat SO much, I have a hole in my
We picked up the results on our way to Paris on Thursday and as soon as the Doctor saw us she gave us the results and told us "Il faut" (it's necessary) that we return to the doctors office asap because of the "results that disturb". That was a bit disturbing because we had no idea what she actually said until we looked it up in the dictionary. Not exactly what we wanted to hear haha.
We received a call from the insurance later that day, telling us that they scheduled another appointment with the doctor for tomorrow to discuss the results of my blood test. Shortly after, we received a call from the doctor, telling us that there had been a mistake with the results that had been given to me. The secretary had confused me with another patient who came in at the same time. So, my "disturbing" results actually weren't my results at all! PHEW! It was truly a miracle, I know that my Heavenly Father is watching over me :)
This week has been a crazy one, but my French has skyrocketed! I think at this point I can explain medical anatomy more efficiently in French than English haha :) Not many missionaries get the opportunity to learn how to do that!
To add to the chaos of our week, we got a call from our district leader yesterday telling us to stay inside. Apparently there were some pretty crazy "manifestations" going on in the streets today
because of a big soccer game. The elders were confronted by some big groups of people yelling at them and calling them names, no one was hurt, they just tugged at their ties a little bit. We were okay with staying inside because I was still pretty sick, so we spent our day doing book work and weekly planning. :)
We did see some pretty interesting things from our window! When we heard sirens and loud voices, we looked out the window to see fire trucks lined up outside our apartment and firemen running around down below. It was pretty crazy, we got to watch them climb up the giant ladder on
the truck and break into our neighbors window with a hatchet. It was awesome haha. No one was hurt :) But we did film it! Luckily it wasn't anything serious. All that excitement over a broken carbon monoxide detector hahaha.
Jacqueline is doing awesome as always :) She sent us a text the other day saying that she read 26 chapters in the Book of Mormon the other day! How COOOL is that!? I think I learn more from Jacqueline than she learns from me haha. We are changing her baptismal date from the 14th.
We found out that the 14th is her wedding anniversary and her husband was feeling a little neglected. But no worries! It just gives us more time to make sure she is good and prepared :)
We had an awesome miracle the other day! We were running to catch a bus and we decided to risk missing our bus and just try to get one more miracle on the way haha :) we contacted a woman really quickly and she was so sweet to us! Turns out, she had met with the missionaries a few times but she lives an hour out of town and so after those missionaries were transferred, no one knew about her! (This is why it's important to keep the area book updated, missionaries!) Anyways, we are going to take a bus out to see her this week! :)
We had to stay home from church because I was up all night with a fever and chills. It was really funny because we got a call from an ami and since we weren't at the church she thought they had to cancel the meetings hahahah. At least we know she thinks we are important ;)! It was so sweet, the primary kiddos made me get well soon cards and brought them over that night with chocolate and treats :) we have an awesome ward.
Today is the last day of my 40 day fast from negativity! Can you believe it has already been 40 days? I don't want it to be over! The good news is, it is never over !:) If I did the math right, it takes 40 days to build a habit; positivity should be drilled into my head by now! Woot woot! :D I've been giving a lot of thought to the goal of my 2nd fast and I have decided to title this fast: "This ye shall do that God may be glorified!" I read this phrase while studying in Doctrine and Covenants and it
immediately stuck out to me. Something that almost every missionary seems to realize at some point on their mission is that this work is not about you. We are here to serve and glorify our Father in Heaven by serving his children and inviting them to come unto him...Jacob 1:7
"Wherefore we labored diligently among our people, that we might persuade them to come unto Christ, and partake of the goodness of God"... Mosiah 2:17 "when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." So, over the next 40 days of my mission, I will be fasting from glorifying myself and instead, I will boast in my God!
Alma 26: 35-36
"35 Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has all power, all wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a merciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name.
36 Now if this is boasting, even so will I boast; for this is my life and my light, my joy and my salvation, and my redemption from everlasting wo. Yea, blessed is the name of my God, who has been mindful of this people, who are a branch of the tree of Israel, and has been lost from its body in a strange land; yea, I say, blessed be the name of my God, who has been mindful of us, wanderers in a strange land."
I LOVE this scripture. My favorite part is when Ammon says, "now if this is boasting, even so will I boast"!! He is right!! Have we not reason to rejoice!? Life is beautiful! The gospel is beautiful! God is
The other day my companion and I were walking down the street and I thought I felt a raindrop hit my cheek. I didn't think much of it at first, because it is ALWAYS raining here. I began to wonder if it
actually had been raining and I had just become desensitized to it. I extended my arm out in front of me and sure enough, it was rain! It made me think of how the Lord is so mindful of us...he is constantly raining blessings down upon all of us, but over time, we tend to become "desensitized". Even though he is still pouring those blessings down, we stop recognizing them. I hope that we can take the time to pause and "extend our arm" so that we can feel the love of our Father in Heaven, raining down blessings upon us.
I love you all so much and I love this gospel. It has brought an unbelievable amount of joy into my life and I have seen it change the lives of so many others. If you haven't felt that joy, I invite you to
extend your arm. I promise you, it's not just raining in France! :)
The pictures are from a game called "flan suck." You have to suck up the flan in one quick suck!
Bonjour à Tous!!
My opening lines are getting a little repetitive, the weeks fly by faster than I can think of anything other than, "HOLY SMOKES EVERYONE, WE SAW SO MANY MIRACLES THIS WEEK!" Though no complaints from this gal, I personally can't think of a more fantastic thing to start an email off with. Speaking of miracles, this email is going to be a bit out of order because I want to finish strong with an awesome miracle!
It's true, the miracles get more miraculous every single week. I try not to use too many exclamation points in my emails so you don't feel like I am yelling at you hahaha, but I am way too excited about all the cool things happening out here!
A sweet start to this awesome week, we went on exchanges with the sister training leaders in Nantes and it was a blast!!! Exchanges are the best! I went with Soeur Bond and oh my goodness...She is awesome. She is a southern gal' from Mississippi, and man does she know how to make you feel loved! Haha :) She has so much love and enthusiasm for every person, place, thing, n'importe quoi!! It was really fun too because we both LOVE cooking!! She is in the process of deciding whether she will come back to Nantes or go to New York after her mission for culinary school! How cool is that!? I just might join her! ;) We had a blast cooking together... Ratatouille, patisseries, biscuits, Spicy Thai, frappés (coffee-free of course!)...it was great "Bond”ing...see what I did there? ;)
Soeur Bond and I had the coolest experience when we were out contacting in Nantes. We had made it a goal to contact people by talking to them about their lives and the things they enjoy first, then telling them what it is that brings so much joy into our lives. It works wonderfully! People LOVE talking about themselves hahaha :) Though we didn't have much time to contact because we had so many lessons. But, we had the opportunity to talk with one sweet lady named Kati :) As we talked, she became really interested to know what made us SO happy! She asked us if we had cards on us and said it REALLY interested her because she is part of a research team that is currently working on a project, "How to make France happier" ! Well France...our loving Father in Heaven has already given us the answer to that question :). Isn't it wonderful? Our Heavenly Father created a plan for the happiness of his children, so that if we choose to follow Jesus Christ, we can and will find lasting peace in this life and eternal joy after death :) Which reminds me of a scripture that I ADORE. God is speaking to Moses and he says, "For behold, this is my work and my glory--to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." (Moses 1:39)
This weekend, every missionary in the zone got to take a nice trip to the beach for a finding day in La Rochelle! A finding day is when all the missionaries in the entire zone come into a certain city to help the missionaries in that area if they are really struggling to find people to teach. Woot woot! We left Angers at 5am and arrived in La Rochelle at 11am, then we were dropped off in different sectors and sent to work! We saw SO many miracles while we were contacting. In fact, all together we found about 80 new amis for the companionship in La Rochelle!
When we first left the train station, Soeur Curtis and I saw this woman on the other side of a busy street waiting for a bus and I was like, "SOEUR! We NEED to go talk to that woman!"... and I booked it across the street haha! What? You never know how much time you have with someone when they are at a bus stop! You gotta’ go quick! We introduced ourselves and went on to ask her what types of things bring joy into her life and she gave the best answer ever..."Baaa JESUS!" We were so stoked! I just wanted to yell, "Yes! Bingo! Correct answer!" Just then, her bus pulls up...oh mas! She said her phone number to me really fast as she was getting on the bus and I had no time to write it down anywhere and just like that, she was gone...ahh!! No worries though! I immediately started repeating and writing down every number I could possibly remember and after a big prayer and about 5 wrong number combinations, we got a hold of her!
Later that day the members dropped us off on the boardwalk at the beach to do some more finding and we noticed a lady looking very concerned as she awkwardly wandered around holding onto the collar of a little dog. We ran over to see what we could do to help and turns out, the little dog was lost! We offered to help her find the owner, which wasn't too difficult because the number was right on the collar haha :) But it made for a great adventure!! We got to carry the dog aaaaalllll the way back to the woman's house, he looks little, but holy smokes...that little guy weighed a TON! It was totally awesome because we got to help someone AND we ended up getting 3 referrals out of it!! Soeur Curtis was teaching Sarah, the girl we helped, while I was teaching the old woman and her son, the owners of the dog :) It was funny, for some reason they thought I was soooo adorable. They
kept pinching my cheeks and saying things like, "What kind of cute little girl like you has nothing better to do than preach the 'good word' to a bunch of old people like us?" They found it extremely
amusing/hilarious. They couldn't stop laughing actually haha, but hey, at least they said we could come back!
We had a really great time in La Rochelle, I would love to serve there if I get the chance. It's beautiful and there are so many people to teach! We ended up getting stuck in the train station for several hours because our train kept getting delayed. So we did a little site seeing on the boardwalk and then sat in the Gare and sang hymns for about 4 hours before we got a train back to Nantes haha :) We missed our connecting to Angers so we stayed in Nantes for the rest of the
weekend, it was an adventure! Hahaha :)
Before our lesson with Jacqueline this week we set a goal to invite her 22 year old son, Thomas, to participate in the lesson with us. I told you a bit about him last week and how he told me that he was interested in sitting in on the lessons with his mom. Well when we got to Jacqueline's house we asked her where Thomas was and if he was going to join us for the lesson and she told me that she talked to him and that he said he was, "absolutely not interested" and that I, "obviously misunderstood him". I didn't believe that for a second hahaha. I may not speak perfect French, but trust me...I know what "Not interested at all" sounds like! We only hear it about 100+ times a day :P...
It probably would have been easy to let that slide and just continue the lesson but the spirit let me know that we needed to invite him even if she wasn't going to. So, I gasped and said, "C'est Pas Vrai!" (It's not true!) then told her “I am POSITIVE that I understood him correctly” haha. Everyone was a little shocked when I called him out on a bluff, but you know what, if you don't follow the promptings of the spirit, you miss out on SO many miracles! Just after, Thomas walked into the room to say a quick "Bonjour à tous" and as soon as there was a break in voices I jumped in and asked if he would like to stay with us for the lesson, guess what he said?... "Yeah, if you want"... Well of course we wanted, so he stayed! :D
We taught the Plan of Salvation, which is the plan I spoke of earlier in the letter, and the spirit was SO incredibly powerful in the room. Then, just as we were about to close the lesson, I remembered the first time I personally received an answer to a prayer. Immediately, my heart started beating and I knew that it was the spirit saying, "open thy mouth". I looked and my companion and began tugging on my ear (our new "sign" since our "looks" were getting a bit confusing, hahaha). She gave me the most confused look; she had already forgotten what this new sign meant hahaha...so I bailed on the sign language and just went for it! :) I looked at Jacqueline and her son, and with all my heart, shared my story and bore my testimony of the power of prayer. Tears streamed down Jacqueline's face as she saw how intently her son was listening. We closed with a kneeling prayer. Thomas's eyes beamed with light and we knew that his heart had been touched by the spirit. It was such a tender moment for everyone present, it was silent for a few minutes before anyone said anything. Then, I looked at Thomas, held out a Book of Mormon, and said (in French), "I know you can find all the answers you are searching for, and I promise you that if you will read this book and ask God in faith, he will hear your prayer, and he will answer you."...With extreme gratitude, Thomas took the Book of Mormon, repeatedly asking if I was "serious that [he] could have it". We assured him that it was his to keep :).
There is a hymn I love that was shared in a recent General Conference and I would like to share a small piece of it with you:
"Thou art the Potter;
I am the clay.
Mold me and make me
After Thy will,
While I am waiting,
Yielded and still."
I pray with all my heart that we will be able to recognize the hand of The Lord working in our lives. That we will allow him to mold us after his will and to prepare us to return to him. I want you all to know that God is preparing his children everywhere to receive his gospel. He is preparing all of us, to return to him. It is his work and his glory, for us, his children, to have happiness and eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God. (D&C 14:7)'
Jusqu'à la prochaine,
Xoxo- Sœur Tracie Wyson
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.