Rule #1- ALWAYS double (and triple) check the platform number before getting on a train...
I'm sure you're all getting bored of all my train stories but this one definitely blows the others out of the water. I will say this, if our mission President hasn't yet questioned his decision in calling sister Clements and I as STLS, I'm sure he is probably questioning it now hahaha. Tuesday night Sister Clements and I got on the wrong train on our way to Brussels for zone conference and we ended up getting stranded somewhere in the Netherlands.
It all started with an emergency train ride to Belgium. My companion and I stopped at the train station to grab tickets for a zone conference when we found out there was going to be a strike and that there would be no trains going to Belgium that day. Thus, we had to sprint home, pack our bags, and jump on a train to Brussels that same night. We made it safely to Brussels where we had a connecting train to Liege. Unfortunately, we only had a matter of minutes to make the change between one train to the next. We sprinted to the platform barely making it in time to jump on the train. We took the train for a few hours before we realized how unusually long it was taking us to get to Belgium. Not to mention everything was in some crazy language that neither of us knew. I made a joke to Soeur Clements about us accidentally taking the wrong train and ending up in Germany or something. She wasn't too happy about that but it ended up being a good thing because it pushed us to ask someone hahaha.
Thankfully, the only other man in the car happened to speak some English. We asked him how much longer until Liege and he looked at us shockingly and then said... "If you're planning on taking this train to Liege you've got a looooonnnnnggg trip ahead of you. You are going in the complete opposite direction!" Our hearts dropped... At this point I knew we had two options, laugh or cry. I looked at Soeur Clements and said, "We're not in Kansas anymore toto!" She didn't think it was quite as funny as I did but I sure got a good laugh! It was definitely a "Come what may and love it" moment :).
The nice man drew us a map and showed us where we were in comparison to liege (nowhere close) then he told us that at the next stop we needed to jump off immediately and get on another train to a city named Bruge in Belgium, then, from there we could hopefully find a train to Liege. The stop came, we jumped off and ran up to the platform man to ask where the train to Bruge was. He pointed and yelled that it leaves in two minutes.
Here we go again... We sprinted with our luggage to the train and somehow made it (Miracles happen). We met a really sweet Dutch young man on the train who happened to speak English and he let us use his phone to call our mission president. At this time, it was about 10:30pm. While Soeur Clements talked to President I was able to talk to this young man about the Book of Mormon and why we were there to begin with so that was a really cool experience :) President was funny, he just said, "Well, Ummmm, I think the best thing to do is just go back to Liege!" Hahahaha oh president... Why didn't I think of that!? ;)
When we got to Bruge, the sweet kid bought us tickets for the next train because our credit cards didn't work up there. We were so so so grateful to have met him. We ended up leaving him with a Book of Mormon and our emails so that he could write to us if he ever had any questions or anything. He actually did email me to make sure we made it safely, that was really nice :) Our train to Liege got to Bruge around 12:30 and then we arrived in Liege around 2:30am. We got off the train not knowing where we were going to sleep for the night or how we were going to get there since no buses run that late. Luckily, when we got off we were greeted by the sweet mission couple serving in Liege (Few times have I ever been so excited to see someone hahaha) We managed to get a couple hours of sleep that night before presenting our formation to all missionaries at zone conference that same morning hahaha.
So, moral of the story.... ALWAYS double (and triple) check the platform number before getting on a train! ... Oh, and In case you're curious, the Netherlands is beautiful... and very cold ;)
The next day we took another train back to Lille to give our formation a second time at another zone conference. Then, we had exchanges on Friday with our Soeurs from St. Quentin. We have been all over the place lately. But, our presentation and exchanges both went really well! The past few days have been rough trying to get out of bed because when you lose sleep on the mission... You never get it back. We are very grateful to have made it to P-Day :)
Saturday we got to spend some time with my sister Natali and her husband! They were passing through Paris and decided to take a quick train up to Lille for a few hours to visit. It was so enjoyable having them here and being able to show them around a little bit :) Plus, I got to eat at a real restaurant for the first time in 8 months, it was the best!
I'm sick today so I don't want to stare at this screen too long. But, I always like to share a quick spiritual thought before wrapping up my emails :)
We gave a formation to the missionaries about how to present the Book of Mormon and we kicked off the formation by calling two volunteers to run and pass a baton, explaining that "the pass off" is the most important part of the race because it determines how the next runner is going to finish the race. We related the passing of the baton to the passing off the Book of Mormon. Like the presentation of the baton, the way we present and pass off the Book of Mormon determines the way our investigators, friends, family members, and/or neighbors will finish the race.
Though we had many important points, one of my favorites was "Soyez Inspirer" or "Be Inspired". At the beginning of my mission my mission president encouraged us to contact with 3 inspired phrases that have been prepared and ready to use. Then, keep a prayer in your heart to know what the person needs in the moment you stop them. Expanding on this inspired idea, we encouraged the missionaries to study the Book of Mormon and find 3 inspired scriptures, one for each inspired contacting phrase, that they would be able to use in various teaching situations. In doing so, they would be able to introduce the Book of Mormon immediately and go straight into teaching our special message of the Restoration. "Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men (D&C 11:21)."
To close with words much more powerful than my own, "Now we not only need to say more about the Book of Mormon, but we need to do more with it. Why? The Lord answers: ‘That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom. We have not been using the Book of Mormon as we should. Our missionaries are not as effective unless they are [teaching] with it. Social, ethical, cultural, or educational converts will not survive under the heat of the day unless their taproots go down to the fullness of the gospel which the Book of Mormon contains. Some of us may not live long enough to see the day when the Book of Mormon floods the earth and when the Lord lifts His condemnation. But, God willing, I intend to spend all my remaining days in that glorious effort." --President Benson Amen! Moi Aussi! (Me too)
Love, "The Wysonator" ... (The name I have been given here in the mission since being called STL hahaha)
I can't believe we are already in our third week of the transfer... Time is passing a whole lot faster than the time it takes me to think of a clever opening line for my next email. So, looks like I will be sticking to the typical "Bonjour Family!" for the time being ;)
We kicked off the week on exchanges with our sisters over in Belgium, followed by the tasting of my very first Belgian waffle!! I can't say it compares to French pastries but it was still pretty good ;). I think we were a little too excited to try those waffles because as soon as we got to Belgium we excitedly jumped off the train and ran to Hagandaas... Leaving our backpack with ALL our stuff in it on the train... Glasses, clothes, electric toothbrushes, passports, etc. We got to the bottom of the escalator and saw the Liege sisters and immediately realized what we had done. We turned around without explaining anything to the sisters and we just sprinted back up the escalators. We got back just in time to watch the doors close and the train drive away... Shoot. You can imagine we said quite a few prayers as we tried to keep calm and work everything out with the information desk. Miraculously, the same train came back from Germany that night and our bags were still on it in the EXACT place we left them!! Miracles happen... Even in Belgium! ;)
Luckily we had the chance to redeem ourselves to our sweet Liege sisters who were so patient with us through all that chaos hahaha. Apparently exchanges are there to help us teach the sisters what NOT to do hahaha. Soeur Vanauker and I had the chance to go teach a cute couple about the restoration and they were incredible! They gave us like 10 referrals and then fixed another rendezvous with us!
We missed our bus on the way home so we made a quick change of plans and decided to do a little contacting until the next bus rolled around. We only made it about 5 steps before we were stopped by a combination of the voice of the spirit and a woman screaming at her kids. I'm not sure which one stopped me first haha. But, we felt prompted to stop, so we whipped around and knocked!
She was still pretty fired up when she answered but softened up dramatically when we began to teach about soiree familial strengthening the family. She opened up so much and even invited us to come back next week to have a family night with her family. Before we left we asked if we could pray for her and her family and she was extremely open to it. We asked what we could pray for and then she looks up with tears in her eyes and begins opening up about how she just finished chemo therapy and it had taken a big toll on her and her family. It was such a tender moment.
As we left I remember that I happened to have two Belgian chocolate bars in my purse that were given to me a few minutes earlier and I was able to give them to her two little kids. They were thrilled :). It was such a sweet miracle. We even finished just in time to catch the next bus :)
Our second day of exchanges I was with Soeur Andrews doing a few pass-by's. Neither of us knew our way around and I am directionally challenged. But, we managed to get where we needed to be... or so we thought. We knocked on the door and then a man answers ... This was definitely not the ami we were expecting... Hahaha. Apparently this was actually not the house we were looking for haha. Although, it turned out to be a huge tender mercy because the family that lived there ended up being really interested and invited us back!! What are the odds!?
Our third day of exchanges was back in Lille with the Lille sisters. We taught some really cool people during that exchange! Soeur Johnson and I even found a new ami from Ukraine who told us that she had been praying for years and years to be able to find a way to be closer to God and that she felt he had finally given his answer by sending us to her. It was so sweet :) It only got cooler from there, we introduced the Book of Mormon and then she was like, Oh!! Wait!... She ran into the other room and then came back with a Book of Mormon in Russian that was given to her by her brother, who just happens to be a member in Ukraine!!! What!? It is absolutely incredible how prepared some people are!!! :) She made a joke about not being "dunked" (baptized) right away and I jokingly said... "I was actually thinking tomorrow?" Then she said back... "Well why not today?"...Hahaha we can definitely
make that happen! ;) She hugged us so tight before we left. It was nice to get a hug :)
Saturday I got reeeeaaallly sunburned because we drove out to the coast for a big service project put on by our stake. We were out in the sun all day and I didn't think to put on sunscreen because I don't
usually get sunburned. Well, I have gotten really white on my mission hahaha. So, as a result, now I am really red!!
We spent the entire day working in a refugee camp and oh my goodness... What a humbling experience. I felt so sheltered walking into that camp. I honestly had no idea that such places existed. I wasn't sure how I felt at first because we had to take off our name tags and tie fluorescent colored bands around our arm for our security before going into the camp. It kind of made me feel like I should be scared. Though when I got into the camp and looked around at the hundreds of homeless families and young children, my heart just broke for them.
They weren't mean or scary, they just wanted friends. They were so thrilled when we would look at them and simply say "Hi". Any one of us could have just as easily been born into a life like that. I wish everyone could have had that experience. Walking around picking up trash in a refugee camp enclosed by enormous grey walls and barbed wire, with families sleeping in plywood shacks no bigger than a small closet. How much more grateful we all need to be for the things we have been blessed with.
The most touching part of it all... Talking with those people, they were all so so happy and so grateful to the Lord that they were able to leave their horrible situations in their own countries and come to this instead. This camp is a blessing to them. I can't imagine how horrible their lives in their old countries had to have been for them to want to come live like this. But how beautiful it is that they can be so happy while having so little. I have been so inspired by these people and I feel honored to have had the opportunity to serve among them.
Well, I have lots more to write but it is going to have to go to next week's email because we have lots to do! Hope you all have a wonderful week and remember how blessed you all are, no matter what your current circumstances are. :)
Hello Hello from a little ville called LILLE !
I am officially in the North with my new companion, Sister Clements, as of Wednesday and we have already seen an incredible amount of miracles together! But, between conference calls and trunky meetings (for missionaries going home) we have hardly any time to do emails on Monday. So I am writing today on our way to Mission council in Paris! We may or may not have been feeling a little superstitious about taking a train into Paris on Friday the 13th and ironically, we actually did confront a series of unfortunate events. Luckily, we had an equal amount of miracles to make up for it ;)
My new companion is Soeur Clements and she is incredible. It's hardly week two and it already seems like we have been friends since high school haha. Sadly, she is in her 12th transfer so we only get one transfer together before she goes home. But, I'm glad we got at least one! :) We started off the transfer with a bang and set a baptismal date with our ami Lydie during our first lesson together. That was just about the coolest thing ever!
We are stationed in a Ville called "Villeneuve D'Ascq" which incorporates several little Villes in Belgium as well as the north/west border of France. It's BEAUTIFUL. Lately I have been getting a lot of teasing from the missionaries and members about who I bribed to land myself in two of the best areas in the mission right in a row haha. They also warned me about this "new dialect" that the people in the north speak. Apparently it's a real thing. Strangely, I find it about 3 times easier to understand haha.
The people here are incredibly nice. Just about every single person we stop on the street listens to us! The new problem is finding room in our schedules to fix rendezvous with all of them, Haha! It's a good problem to have.
The other day was our first whole day together and we saw the coolest miracle! We saw a woman on the tram with this very pretty bright shirt on and we decided to compliment her on it. She ended up being super nice and we talked for the next 30 minutes on the metro. It started off as a conversation about her shirt and then of course one thing led to another ;)... Her religious background was Muslim but she isn't practicing at all. She didn't really believe in any religion specifically. But, she believed in God and an "after life". We had the opportunity to talk a little about the plan of salvation and then what our role is as missionaries. We ended up getting off at the same metro stop so we walked out with her. As we were walking out we asked her if she would be interested in seeing us again and she was like "oh for sure, let me give you my number". We exchanged phone numbers and set another rendez-vous for this week! Then we asked her if we could leave her with a prayer. Sometimes people get a little weirded out when we say that but she was totally ok with it! We went and sat down on these benches nearby and said a quick prayer with her. The spirit was definitely there and she was really touched. She even asked if she could take a picture with us so she could remember the moment!! How cool is that!? She said she was convinced that we had known each other before this life. SHE IS SO READY!! Soeur Clements and I have been praying to find somebody new who would be ready to progress... She's ready! Miracles happen, even in FRANCE! :))
Friday we had mission council in Paris. My first mission council! It all felt so official while we sat around tables in a giant circle sipping from our little drink cups in our nicest church clothes haha. It was awesome! As we were leaving to go back to the train station to take our train we decided to take a quick little detour to get some gelato while we were in Paris! So we find this cute little place and as we are ordering our ice cream this guy comes up and he's like, "Hey, can I buy your ice cream for you? Well for the two of you?"....uhhhh not going to lie we were a little hesitant at first because we thought he was hitting on us but then he said, "don't worry I'm a member! I served a mission too!" . So we let the nice guy buy our ice cream and we chatted for a second! He was super nice and he even let us take a picture with him and his family! So yeah FREE ICE CREAM IN PARIS!!! But then we ended up missing our train....we sprinted like crazy through Paris to make it in time but we just missed it! We literally got there as it was pulling away haha. One of the workers saw us running around and he was nice enough to help us get some new tickets for the next train. Normally you have to pay a pretty big fee to change your tickets if you miss them but between our feminine charm and our missionary plaques we were able to take the next train without paying anything! FREE TRAIN TICKETS! We met a really hilarious lady named Anais on the street the other day and she even asked for our number! Granted she just wanted it so that she could set me up with her son hahaha.
After talking with Anais for a bit we sat down on a bench to make some calls. Next thing we know we look down and we are COVERED in these little tiny green bugs! We were finding and squishing them for the next 24 hours. No clue where they came from but holy smokes there are a lot of bugs here haha. Soeur Clements' legs are covered in bites and we found a spider in her bed last night...gross. Luckily I haven't had any problems yet hahah. It's probably all the spicy food I eat ;) We also got attacked by a pigeon while walking out of the Gare the other day. If we wouldn't have had such quick reflexes it definitely would have hit us in the head haha.
It's really hot here because of the humidity but I am totally okay with it because I am so done with winter hahah. Air conditioning would be nice sometimes, but I can't complain much because I am serving in France and living about a baseball throw away from authentic Belgian waffles :) We live in a 4 man apartment with the Lille Soeurs and we probably have a little too much fun with the four of us there haha.
Saturday we played soccer with some Amis and I was soooo sore for the rest of the day hahaha. I'm out of shape hahaha. I didn't know what to do so I was just sprinting really fast back and forth following this guy around trying to make it look like I was doing something hahaha. Yesterday was my first Sunday in the Villeneuve D'Ascq ward and it is HUGE! I feel like I am back in Utah with all the little kids running around haha. Everyone here is soooo young and energetic. Our bishop is only 30 years old and his oldest child is 5. It's pretty loud with all the babies but it keeps us nice and attentive! :) As soon as I got to church I was asked to give a talk on the spot along with teaching the “gospel principles class” all by myself. Hahaha. After I spoke I got a thumbs up from a President Uchtdorf's Doppelgänger, they seriously look identical! I felt pretty cool, I will have to take a picture with him next week ;).
Sorry that this was such a long and informative email. I know those aren't the most exciting to read. New areas bring a lot of new questions from my family :) But, I wanted to close with a quick little thought...
We found a really sweet new ami the other day named Yasmine and we invited her to a ward activity. She had so much fun and she asked a question that has really stayed with me over the past few days. She said, "All the people in your church are so happy and nice all the time. Do they not have trials because they are so obedient to God?" One of the members took the lead in answering the question but later that night, this comment was still running through my mind. So, I prayed and opened up my scriptures. I came across 2nd Corinthians chapter 4 and there was my answer, right in the chapter heading! Although opposition is an essential part of our earthly experience, "Gospel light shines on the Saints--Mortal trials are nothing as contrasted with eternal glory." I can't say it more profoundly than that so I won't try :) I often skip the chapter headings and I never highlight them but I just found so much power and beauty in this little heading that I have decided that I am never skipping another one in my life! :)
Je vous souhaite une bonne semaine!
Goodbye Souer Burgoyne!
Hello Souer Clements!
Lately I have been looking for opportunities to use my favorite French expression that sounds something like... Oh-Baaa-Di-Donk!
I'm not even really sure what it means but it makes me laugh every time! It's one of those "filler" expressions that you can use pretty much whenever you want. But, it usually follows a moment of shock or
surprise when someone doesn't really know what else to say... (like when I tell people I have 11 siblings)... Haha Baaa-Di-Donk!
Luckily, this week brought many opportunities to practice my new French jargon.
Transfer Calls. Every 6 weeks (transfer) we receive an email from the mission office that contains a little pdf file titled "Le répertoire". This pdf contains our fate for the following transfer. We usually receive Le
répertoire around noon so we all gather at the church around 11am to wait. Anticipation is pretty intense as we have no knowledge of where we might be relocating or with whom we might be serving. But, there are exceptions... If you get a call between 9am and 12pm... It is a "special call", meaning a direct call from the mission president about accepting a leadership position.
Well, Saturday was Repertoire day and Soeur Burgoyne and I were trying really hard to stay focused in our morning studies. I put the phone by
Soeur Burgoyne because I didn't want to have to stare at it. I couldn't help but stare at it anyways from across the room because I was so nervous that it might ring. I didn't know what I was going to
do if it rang. We almost made it through the all of our morning studies before the phone rang... My heart dropped so fast. False alarm. It was just a member calling to confirm a rendezvous. PHEW. Hahaha. About two hours later I started feeling pretty safe. I wiped the sweat from my brow, looked at Soeur Burgoyne and said... "Well, I think we made it, we're safe!"...She rolled her eyes at me and said, "Soeur, We still have like 2 more hours!"...then, at that exact moment...the phone rings. She answered and then looked at me with a look that I can't describe but am getting to be familiar with (the same look my trainer gave me when I got called to train). Sure enough, President! I will be leaving Angers this Wednesday to serve as an STL
(sister training leader) on the opposite end of the map in a Ville called Lille! (How's that for a rhyme?;)
My response... Baaa-Di-Donk!! ;)
I don't know much about Lille yet except that I hear it is a gorgeous and enormous ville by the border of Belgium :) There are two wards in Lille so more specifically, the area I will be serving in is called
"Villeneuve D'asq" but Lille is a lot easier to pronounce :). My new companion will be Soeur Clements and I have heard only incredible things about her so I am very excited to have the opportunity to serve with her ! I feel a little bit weird leaving my "Blue-ville" but I am so excited to see what new adventures lay ahead!
We got invited to another barbecue the other day. I also got food poisoning again. Hahaha. Ba-Di-Donk, I guess I need to just stop eating meat for a while hahaha. Though it was totally worth it because we found an awesome new ami!
Oh yeah, also got spit on for the first time yesterday hahaha. Now we know what it's like to be elders here apparently. Luckily he missed my face, that would have been gross. But, we can't complain because
Christ was spit on countless times for us. I'm happy to take a few for him in return :).
Funny of the week:
Members feed us like we have been stranded at sea and haven't had anything to eat in months. The other day we were visiting an really old lady in our ward and she put SIX huge boiled potatoes on my plate with a big chunk of meat. I thought I was going to die. She only gave my companion like 3!! So, as soon as she left the room I grabbed a potato and threw it at my companion and said, "Soeur!! Take one for
the team!" ... We take turns "taking one for the team" so only one of us feels like crap after instead of both of us, haha. But, she didn't want to take her turn... So, she catches the potato and literally throws it back into the pot right before the old lady comes back into
the room hahahaha. It was hilarious. I couldn't stop laughing and the member thought my laugh was really funny even though she didn't know why I was laughing (luckily) hahaha.
This is not the first time this has happened... A few weeks ago we were eating at a members house and she put a basket of like 9 different types of bread in front of us and she wanted me to try ALL of them. They weren't small either! But I was SO stuffed! She kept putting them on my plate and then she would walk out of the room and I would sneak it back into the basket hahaha. The only problem with that, she thought I REALLY liked the bread so then she would give me even more! Haha, oh dear.... Luckily she never noticed that the basket
of bread never went down in size.
Miracle of the week:
We have the opportunity to skype home twice a year. Once on Christmas and once on Mother's Day. Soeur Burgoyne and I always wearing black but we decided to wear really bright summer colors for our moms because it was Mother's Day :) ...(this is important for later I promise)...Malheureusement (Unfortunately), we found out that it was Stake Conference in Rennes this weekend so they were going to be cutting the wifi at the church and then on top of that, ALL the members where going to be gone so we had no where to Skype. Our only option was to skype home from McDonald's. The catch is, you have to first buy something to use their wifi, then, the wifi doesn't even work! We couldn't even get enough wifi to tell our families the situation and we were crushed... We decided to walk outside and make a
few more calls to members and Amis but no one was available.
After several calls and no luck we realized we weren't going to be able to skype home to our families this week... Then, out of nowhere, we hear a man say "Soeurs!! You are the first missionaries I've seen
anywhere! I was beginning to be a little concerned!" What!? A member!? Baaa-Di-Donk!! This is the first member I have met on the street since I have been here in France so it was really random. Apparently, this member had been traveling for two weeks with his wife and son who had recently returned from this mission (Elder Davis). We told him our sticky situation and he said "I have the solution, follow me". We
followed him to his hotel, which happened to be just across the street, where we met his family and used their hotspot wifi to skype home to our families. They had arrived at the hotel no more than a half hour before and were only planning on staying the night. Brother Davis had originally just gone downstairs to ask about restaurants. But, between my fluorescent orange and Soeur Burgoyne's yellow, he was able to spot us from across the street in his hotel! He was so happy to finally see missionaries that he decide to cross the street and come say hi to us, catching us right in our moment of despair! Miracles really do happen... Even in France :) It was such a beautiful reminder of how much Our Father in Heaven loves us. A skype call home may seem small and insignificant. But, it was important to him because he knew how important it was to us.
I don't have much time this morning because I have a lot of packing to do but I wanted to send home a quick email to let you all know that I'm still loving it out here and that the Lord is taking very good care of us :)
First off, Happy (early) Mother's Day! We are all blasted after spending the entire day in Rennes for our zone activity, "The Geezer Games". So, while my district naps on the train, I have been designated as the official 'mother emailer'. So, this email will be going to all of their beautiful mothers as well as mine to explain why none of them got emails from their missionaries today :). Don't worry, we are all "toujours vivant"(still alive)! Aside from the fact that we were up at 4:30 this morning to catch our train... Talk about fatigue!
We had interviews with president this week and we all petitioned with him to let our district stay together for a third transfer. Hopefully this Saturday (transfer calls) will bring good news! Last P-day we had a park day with the elders. We all ran out in our t-shirts and shorts ready to enjoy the sun. Little did we know it was ICEY cold outside. I asked one of the members here when it will finally be summertime in Angers and they told me July. I was hoping they were being funny until it was confirmed by a few others... Looks like we will all be getting our coats and scarves back out. Except for Elder Siedow, he's Russian.
During interviews with president, Elder Larsen and I were sitting down in the chapel when we saw a man press his face up to the window and look inside the church. Immediately I said to Elder Larsen, "Hey!! Look! New ami!" He laughed and said he was just a construction worker from the house across the street then...next thing you know, he knocks right on the door and says, "Hey, do you do teachings here?" We ended up teaching him a lesson right there with Soeur Babin (Mission President’s wife) haha! It was awesome. Talk about good timing too, 'Oh hey president! Didn't know you were right there! ;)' hahaha.
Our Zone killed it over the past few transfers so the Chefs decided to put on a big activity to celebrate the success we have had here in the Rennes Zone. Originally it was named the "Geezer games" after our zone leaders who have been together for more transfers than anyone can count. Thus, they are the self-proclaimed "geezers" of the zone. To kick off the games we all drew a disability from a hat: blind—eye patch, broken arm--sling, bad back--back brace, arthritis—taped fingers, missing leg-crutches, etc. Then, we were given a series of games that had to be completed as a team, each member with their own disabilities. It was hilarious haha.
In order to compete in the Games we had weekly challenges leading up to it. One of them being, study chapters 9-12 of preach my gospel inside and out each day up until the games. Though I have studied these chapters about 100 times already, I am always amazed that I can actually find and highlight things that haven't already been highlighted one of the other 99 times that I read it... (Or haven't yet been highlighted in "pink" haha)...I have a small obsession with gel pens so my PMG is getting pretty colorful. Recently I have become very fond of chapter 9 which talks about finding people to teach. I read through it almost every day because there is just so much to learn from it. Though no matter how many times I read it, the quote that has touched me the most is, "Finding by the Spirit is as important as teaching by the Spirit." Lately my companion and I have really been trying to focus on this principle of finding by the spirit and we have seen so many miracles because of it. When you find by the spirit, he guides you to the people who have been prepared to receive the gospel.
Thursday the district was in Angers for exchanges so we went to buy our matching team shirts for the Geezer Games. On our way to the store the elders saw a man walking down the street and jokingly said, "Hey sisters look! New ami!" (Because of our experience with president the day before) ... Well, part of finding by the spirit is never turning down an opportunity so we darted across the street and stopped him haha! Guess what? New ami! ;) He ended up coming to Soiree Familiale that night and really enjoyed it!
Soeur Burgoyne and I lucked out on Friday because we got invited to a members house for dinner whose entire family is against all religions, especially ours for some odd reason. I know that doesn't sound like luck right off the bat but we have been PRAYING and BEGGING the Lord for the opportunity to teach her family and this was our chance! Finally! Well we spent ages preparing the perfect lesson, we were so excited. Then, we get to her house... Only 3 places are set at the dinner table... Her family had eaten early so that they wouldn't have to eat with us. We were crushed.
After dinner we decided to teach a different lesson than we had originally planned since it was just the three of us. Then, right after we start the lesson... Her nineteen-year old son comes down the stairs! We were able to introduce ourselves and show him that we are normal people haha--his age too!! It was perfect! We all got along really well and Soeur Burgoyne and I decided to quickly change the lesson back to our original one for him. He ended up participating in the lesson and giving us his number so that we could teach him again. :)
My companion and I met a couple of big Russian guys in the street the other night who happened to be from the same area that one of my friends is currently serving in. They started speaking English to us and they got a really good laugh over the fact that we were called "sister", but they were surprisingly really nice! Though I kept feeling like they were yelling at us because they talk so loud and their voices were about 2 octaves lower than any male voice I have ever heard hahaha. We tried to get their numbers for the elders in their ville but I don't think they took us seriously...They invited us to come get a beer with them after ;) ... Hey, at least they thought we were cool!
We taught our new ami Clarisse for the second time, she is totally awesome. She is a non-practicing Catholic and her first statement when she walked into her lesson was... "I don't understand why there aren't prophets living today. How can we know that the churches haven't just been created or corrupted when they don't even have a prophet to verify it?..." Well, needless to say, we taught about living prophets :).
Saturday we had another finding day in Cholet. It was freezing haha. But, it was all so worth it when we met Asim! We were making our way back to the train station and we saw a man getting out of his car. For some strange reason we felt like we were supposed to talk to him so we quickly told the elders to drop us off so we could run and catch him. After we got talking he told us that he was born into a practicing Muslim family but he was searching to find the "right church" himself. We ended up helping him carry in his groceries and teaching him the entire restoration, finishing just in time to make it to our train!
The Raveneau Family threw an "American BBQ" for me on Sunday just in case I get transferred next week haha. It was totally awesome. The joke is, when I first got to France they invited us over for dinner and basically the only word I knew was Barbecue because I am really big into barbecues. It was my answer to every question. Favorite food? BBQ! Favorite thing to do with your family? BBQ! Traditions? BBQ! Hahaha. Thus, they promised to invite me over for a real American barbecue before I left :) It even felt like I was with my family too because they have so many kids, haha!
To top off our week, Soeur Burgoyne and I got the stomach flu Monday night. I didn't feel too hot then my companion started throwing up on the train ride home. She threw up the entire first half of the night and I threw up the second half. We managed to pull our mattresses out into the hall in front of the bathroom to make things easier. Bunk beds are not prime when you have to scramble around the ladder and into the bathroom every 5 minutes haha. The good news is:
1. We are both conveniently sick at the same & 2. We have the best elders ever. We were originally supposed to have district meeting today but because we were so sick, we weren't able to go. But, the elders got together anyway and made us a big pot of soup with a really nice get well card and dropped it off this morning. Their mothers raised them very well. :) They even went back to the store after and bought us applesauce, saltines, ice-cream, and toilette paper. Haha. A very strange shopping list but we can't thank them enough! (Elders: Larsen, Siedow, Sorenson, and Chen)
Well, this email has taken ages to write because I keep falling asleep but I finally managed to get it written! We love you mothers!! :)
Sister Wyson, Sister Burgoyne, Elder Siedow, Elder Larsen, Elder Chen, and Elder Sorenson (aka The Angers District!) ;)
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.