Hellloooo Mes être chers !
I'm getting to that point in the mission where everyone amuses themselves by constantly reminding me that I am "getting old". The elders make it a joke with all the sisters because the closer we get to the end, the deeper we fall into denial. I am still telling everyone I meet that I have been in France for "about 5 months" hahaha. Soeur Clements, being at the end of her mission, was totally fine with it. However, my new companion has started calling me out on it... So, I just want to say...Miracles STILL happen!... Even when you're "old"! (Which, for the record, I am not old. I have plenty of time).
Yesterday after church we were on our way home to eat lunch when suddenly I got hit with this incredibly strong prompting to visit an inactive member in our ward named Sophie. I have only met Sophie one time since being in Villeneuve D'Ascq and I have never been to her house. But, I looked up her number and gave her a call...no response. I gave her another call. Again, no response. Being a missionary, I normally wouldn't find someone ignoring my call very strange haha. But, this time it just felt weird. She doesn't have any family so we decided it would be best to just try and pass by her address. When we got to her house there was no response. We rang a few more times before coming to the conclusion that she wasn't home. I remembered the first time we met her, she told us she had been fighting cancer for years. Then, I looked at my companion and said... "We need to go to the hospital."
We walked for close to an hour to the hospital because there are very few buses that run on Sunday's. When we got there, we gave the front desk Sophie's Name. There was no one by that name in the hospital. Remembering that she went by another name, we tried again. This time asking her to search only the last name. Without saying much, she looked at the computer and wrote down a room number on a piece of paper and gave it to us.
We took the elevator to the top floor and wandered the halls until we found room 5030. I knocked a few times, no reply, then Soeur Corneta knocked, no reply. Eventually we decided to just open the door. We opened the door and there she was, lying in bed connected to all kinds of machines and covered from head to toe in dark bruises. We quickly made our way to her bedside. A sweet smile made its way onto her face as she realized who we were. Then, puzzled, she looked at us and asked... How did you know I was here?... We responded simply by smiling and pulling out our iPads to share a sweet video with her. We testified of how much her Heavenly Father loves her and that he wants her to know he is aware of her. He eyes filled with tears as she nodded her head and said... "I know".
I've gotten really sensitive on my mission when I tell people how much their Heavenly Father loves them. I can just feel his powerful love for each of them so strongly. Thus, Sophie was not the only one with tears in her eyes. It's one of the greatest blessings to me as a missionary. The blessing to be able to look at people as individual children of God, with individual lives, trials, gifts, and bodies, and be filled with love for them. A love so pure and so powerful that you know it comes directly from Heavenly Father. We will be visiting his sweet daughter Sophie again tonight to read a story from the Book of Mormon to her, and bring some yummy cookies too :)
On our way home from Sophie's we were sitting in the metro when we noticed a woman smiling enormously at us. We leaned forward to open our mouths but she contracted us before we could even say anything haha. She just yells, "Are you the church at pont-de-bois Villeneuve D'Ascq!? I've been there once!!" Carrying the majority of the conversation, she began to go on telling us how cool she thought our church was because it was so "Today" (Referring to prophets and modern revelation). Haha, so cool! She continued to explain how she came to know God existed and that she doesn't think he would want his church to be "stuck in the past" because the world changes and there are different issues now than there were in the beginning. My companion and I basically just smiled, giggled, and nodded the entire time because she was too excited to find us to actually let us say anything haha. But that's okay, we were perfectly fine with everything she was saying!! Then she said some magical words... "I would love to learn more and meet other members of your church!!"... Without hesitation, I whipped out my planner and said, "We will be eating dinner with a member family on Wednesday, are you free around 7?" She was thrilled! We are really looking forward to Wednesday night :)
Soeur Corneta and I have been joking a lot lately about our interesting relationship. Because, even though we are companions, we hardly ever serve together because we are always on exchanges with other sisters. So, by the end of the day when we have finished exchanges, we simply have no energy left for each other hahaha. Instead, we just fall into bed and go right to sleep. So, we decided that we were going to make an extra effort to spend some "quality time" together this week by doing exercises together every night before bed. We've been doing pretty dang good!... Minus the fact that Soeur Corneta was eating chocolate cake while we were doing sit-ups... That may or may not defeat the purpose...But it's definitely given us something to laugh about! Haha :)
Speaking of exchanges... I don't want to make this email much longer but I will try to sneak in a few short versions of the exchange miracles we saw this week!
It was getting late and we only had an hour left before we had to be home. It takes about 30 minutes to get into our sector so we were not sure what to do. So, we decided to do some Trajet contacting! (Bus, tram, metro). Soeur Beach and I jumped on the metro and rode it for about 45 minutes while we talked to EVERYONE! We ended up teaching 8 lessons and finding several new Amis without even leaving the metro once! To make the experience even cooler, two beautiful little girls about 12-13 years old followed us off the metro to ask about our religion and we were able to teach them that they were children of God. Their eyes lit up and they said, "we never knew that before" with the biggest smiles ever! We gave them our cards and they both kissed us on the cheeks to thank us before getting back on the metro.
My companion searched for an hour to find the address of an ami before calling me and asking if maybe I could go try and find it. I called up the ami to let her know we were going to be late and asked which metro to take. When she replied with, "there are only trams here" I suddenly understood why my companion couldn't find her address haha. We asked where she lived and she said, "NICE. And I am getting really annoyed because every time I call the missionaries, they can never find my house and so they don't show up!" Hmmm... I see your problem... Hahaha. Well, we were able to trade her for the number of the missionaries in Nice ;) Hopefully this time it will be a little easier for them to find her address haha :)
The final miracle I would like to share with you today is simple but hit very close to my heart. For those of you who were at my Farewell, you know the story of my Grandpa who passed away before I was born. For those of you who weren't... Go read my very first blog post and then come back :). It was our last 30 minutes of exchanges and Soeur Mattson and I were walking home when we passed a young couple. We weren't in our sector anymore so normally we wouldn't have contacted those we passed during that time. But, when they passed, my heart began to pound and so I immediately turned around and stopped them. They threw their hands up and waved me away saying they weren't interested. Well, little did they know... They were interested, because this is eternal salvation we are talking about, and who isn't interested in that?! I felt prompted to share the story of my grandpa with them so I jogged up to them again and said... "Actually, I'm here to share a story with you about my grandpa"... They looked at me with wrinkled eyebrows... Of course they were confused why some random girl on the street wanted to tell them a story about her grandpa haha. I was a little confused too! But, without wasting any time or giving them a moment to respond, I began to tell them the story from the beginning about how my grandpa found the church which then changed the entire course of his life, as well as the lives of his future family. As I told the story, the woman's eyes glistened with tears. Their hearts had been completely changed. I then invited them to act, as my grandpa did, and start searching for answers and searching for the truth. We left them with a prayer and they even invited us to come teach them again :).
This week was wonderful. I could truly write a book each P-day, simply made up of all the miracles we see every single week. Sadly, my time is limited. But, miracles still happen :)... Even when you're "old" ;)
Have a wonderful week everyone and keep choosing to be happy! It works!
This week flew by. We had two exchanges back to back and every day was just completely booked. It was so cool! I love sharing the gospel. I wake up in the morning so giddy every single day just to be a missionary. Even on the days I'm dead haha. This week I have been in an EXTRA happy mood. The other missionaries I serve with found it funny because they said they didn't know I could get any more "smiley" than I already always was haha. I recently started a new 40 day fast and the theme of my fast is "Choose to be Happy!" So, for the next 40 days I will be fasting from unhappiness, negativity, sensitivity, anger... Anything that keeps me from being positive! It is very similar to my first 40 day fast of the year when I fasted from negative thoughts or speech. But, I've found that you can never work it too much! It's been absolutely incredible how happy I have felt by just saying out loud every morning, "Je suis trop heureuse aujourd'hui et je ne sais pas pourquoi!!" Translation: "I am SO happy today and I don't know why!!"
It's actually become quite a joke in the apartment because they can always guess what the first thing that comes out of my mouth is going to be. Sometimes I even say it a few times just to convince myself haha. But it always works! :)
Something I have learned on the mission is just how to laugh. No matter what happens, you can always find something to laugh about. Even if it's just laughing at how crappy the situation is! "As we look for humor, seek for the eternal perspective, understand the principle of compensation, and draw near to our Heavenly Father, we can endure hardship and trial. We can say, as did my mother, “Come what may, and love it.”- Elder Wirthlin I have really made this a goal of my mission that I also hope to carry with me through the rest of my life.
Recently I was on exchanges with a sister and it was really hot and humid outside so we wore our very very lightest clothes. Then, all our rendezvous canceled on us, there was no one who would listen to us, and we were super lost (Getting lost seems to be becoming a fairly normal part of our agenda). She looked at me and I just knew what she was thinking..."how could we be so unlucky?" Just then... BOOM! The wind comes in, the temperature drops like crazy, and it starts POURING! Hahaha we were drenched!! At this point we were soaking wet, freezing, lost, and no one would let us inside. Well, there was only one thing to do in a moment like this. ;) I started laughing and singing my own little parody of the primary song "Pioneer Children" Hahaha. Confused for a minute, she just stared at me, then she laughed and joined in! In fact, we couldn't stop laughing! We were actually bummed when the sun came back because we were so enjoying our crappy situation hahaha. We ended up seeing so many miracles that day! I am actually going to have to transfer the majority of them to my next email so that this doesn't become more of a novel than it already is. I need to have time to share my FAVORITE miracle!!!
This week we experienced probably the most beautiful miracle I have ever experienced in my entire life. The miracles seem to be getting more and more miraculous the longer I stay on my mission. At this rate I don't know how they are going to get me to leave this place when my time rolls around haha. I am getting quite attached. Because my emails are posted on my blog, all names in the following story have been changed to insure the safety of our Amis.
Last week we had a second rendezvous fixed with Sammy but sadly, she got really sick and wasn't able to make it. Very concerned, we prayed for her and then decided to give her another quick call to see if we could get ahold of her. She picked up! Turns out, she had been in the hospital all night :( As she spoke you could just hear that she really wasn't doing well. But, I was so touched because even though she was sick and in the hospital, the only thing she asked us to do was to pray for her husband who was going through a "sad time". It was such an example to me of what it means to have Charity. Even during her time of pain and suffering, she was searching for ways to lighten the burdens of others.
That night while I was praying for Sammy and her husband Nicola, I remembered Sammy asking if there were missionaries in Iran who could teach her husband. In that moment, a series of images came into my mind. I saw my companion and I sitting with Sammy in front of a computer screen as we taught the missionary lessons. As the image became more clear I realized that we weren't just teaching Sammy but that we were also skyping with her husband. The spirit filled my heart with warmth. I couldn't wait to present the idea to Sammy in our rendezvous the next day.
The next day we had a finding day in Valenciennes and we went out on splits with the members to do some contacting and we saw SO many miracles. For the first 5 hours I went with an adorable member named Sophie and we taught 17 member present lessons and found 3 new Amis. It was so amazing. Then, on the train home, after seeing ALL those miracles... I just got hit by this awful grey cloud. I didn't understand why I was feeling so sad but suddenly I just felt like crying. I held it in as I reached for my scriptures. I began to read and pray and recite my "Je suis heureuse" over and over again until I eventually got so exhausted that I fell asleep. When we arrived back home I woke up feeling a lot better. Even though I wasn't feeling "top", I knew I had to find the strength to push through because those clouds always come right before a big miracle! Sure enough, Satan had good reason to be scared of us going to our rendezvous with Sammy!
We headed straight to Sammy's house from the train station. She had spent the day preparing a traditional Iranian meal and had it all waiting for us. When we got there she had the tables all set with beautiful dishes and yummy Iranian food! But, my favorite part was walking in and Hearing Sammy say, "So, I hope it's okay. I told my husband more about you and he asked if you would be okay if we skyped him after dinner so he could be part of the lesson and prayer too." You can only imagine how thrilled I was to hear that. OF COURSE WE CAN SKYPE HIM!!
The lesson was in English so I actually ended up teaching the whole thing. It was such a special experience for me to be able to teach the Plan of Salvation in English for the first time. But it was even more special to see the glow in Nicola and Sammy's eyes as they just absorbed every single word that left my mouth.
The spirit was so powerful as we taught about God's plan for the eternal happiness of each of his children. We read in the Book of Mormon together about baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost, then, my companion with the little English she speaks says, "Is this something you want to have forever?" Without hesitation, Nicola replied with a strong "Yes". We went on to read the next verse when the people are invited to follow Christ's example and enter into the waters of baptism. Then we asked if they would also follow this example. Again, with no more than a small pause to process the question, they said, "Yes".
The joy and gratitude that I was filled with in that moment from head to toe was indescribable. I found myself sitting with my companion in front of a computer, teaching someone in Iran; a part of the world where if you convert from the Islam to Christianity, the government orders for you to be killed. Yet, despite the danger, they continue pray and read the Book of Mormon because they know it is truly the Lord's Church here on the Earth, and they will do anything and everything to follow him. I remembered the words of the scriptures that tell us there will come a day when the gospel will be preached, "in all the world for a witness unto all nations (Mat. 24:14)." That time is now.
Through the blessing of the Internet, and other technology, the message of the restored gospel is being spread to millions of people all over the world. My wish is that we will use these wonderful inventions to fulfill the Lord's commandment and to preach the gospel to every creature and prepare the way of The Lord for his second coming.
"For, verily, the sound must go forth from this place into all the world, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth--the gospel must be preached unto every creature, with signs following them that believe.
I love you and wish you all a wonderful week, keep searching for miracles because they happen... Even CHEZ VOUS!! (Even where you are!)
My companion and I were getting ready to catch a train to Brussels when I suddenly looked at her, blue faced, and sprinted to the nearest trashcan. We were supposed to go to Brussels together to help some of our sisters find people to teach. But... Seeing as I couldn't last longer than a few minutes without throwing up, we realized someone was going to have to go in my place. We made a last minute decision to do a double exchange and Soeur Witham was nominated to go in my place while I stayed in Lille with her Blue. I was sooo bummed out; we had been looking forward to this finding weekend in Brussels ever since the beginning of the transfer.
After they left, I climbed back into bed and just started praying--frustrated with the situation and the amount of things that have been arriving lately. Though, I have seen enough miracles to know that the greatest miracles often come during the moments when they are least expected. So, I did my best to put on a happy face and trust in The Lord; he is very organized and his timing is always perfect :)
We still had a rendezvous that day to go to but we figured one sit down lesson was better than contacting all day long in Brussels. Though, being with a brand new missionary of only a few weeks, I knew I would probably be teaching the entire lesson... Which made me a little nervous because I just wasn't feeling well at all. We left almost immediately for the rendezvous and my head was just turning. While we were in the bus Soeur Piazza looked at me and just said... We can cancel this rendezvous if you're too sick, it's not a big deal!... But, for some reason, it just didn't feel right to cancel it.
The family we were going to teach speaks an interesting mix of Spanish and French. So, we met up with the member who speaks Spanish and could help us translate things that needed translating. When we got to the stop by their house, I suddenly felt prompted to teach The Gospel of Jesus Christ and invite their 9-year-old daughter to be baptized. I stopped abruptly and asked my companions it would be alright if we changed the lesson really quick before we went inside. They just looked at me and said "Nous vous suivons!" (We follow you!) haha. I had never even met this family before.
The family was a little confused to have a different missionary than usual but as we began the lesson they just seemed to get closer and closer as their interest grew. The spirit filled the room. At the end of the lesson, I looked at their daughter and shared with her the story of my own baptism. Then, invited her to be baptized on October 1st :) She was just beaming as she answered with a solid, "BIEN SÛR!" (of course!!) Then she looks at her mom and says..."That means we need to go to bed early Saturday because then you won't have any excuses to not take me to church on Sunday!!"
Natasha, at only 9 years old, will be the first in her family to be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. :) She is incredible. Only 9 and she is the example for her entire family in praying, daily scripture study, getting the family to church, and following the example of Jesus Christ.
We left the rendezvous filled with so much joy, knowing that there had been a reason for this last minute exchange. I would trade Brussels for a baptismal date any day!! ;)
Another AMAZING miracle we had this week... Saturday we had a lesson with a woman named Samansa, a referral from the elders in another city. She is from Iran and is currently waiting and praying for her husband to be able to get his visa so that he can meet her in France. We were actually teaching the Restoration in English for her and for some reason I just couldn't speak English! I was spitting out French words all over the place and kept looking to my Francophone companion to help me out in my native language... I felt so dumb. Somehow I managed to stutter out the first vision with a strange combination of French and English words. Then, my companion looks at Samansa and just says, "How do you feel?" Her reply..."I just feel...*then she starts crying*... Better than I have felt in my entire life."
As we sat and listened to her bear testimony to us of all the things we had just taught, I felt very humbled as I realized...There is no such thing as "butchering the lesson" when the spirit is truly there. It really didn't matter what I said; whether it be French, English, or a strange mix of the two, the spirit still testifies of truth.
Friday we had a ridiculous amount of opposition in getting to a certain rendezvous that we almost got to the point of just wanting to call and reschedule. But, we decided that there must be a reason Satan didn't want us getting to this rendezvous. So we kept pushing through!
We actually happened to show up at the same moment as she did. She opened the door for us and we walked in with our lesson all ready to go. To both of our surprise, we saw two other young girls, who also happened to be missionaries. Only they were Evangelist missionaries, who ALSO had a lesson ready to go...hmmm... Well this is awkward... Christelle (our ami) ran to catch a phone call and while she was talking, everyone just kind of stared at each other. I am sure they were just as confused as we were.
This story turned out really cool because, despite our differences, we ended up teaching the lesson TOGETHER! We taught about forgiveness and repentance. At the end of the lesson, the two missionaries left with us! They asked what the difference was between our churches; we walked and talked about the Book of Mormon and ended up giving one to both of them. They even asked if we could exchange numbers so that they could learn more :)
This week has been an incredible testimony to me of the perfectness of the Lord's Timing. Everything he does is done in wisdom. Which reminds me of a scripture I love in 2 Nephi 2:24:)...
"But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things."
It's easy to lose faith when facing opposition, but it's just as easy and important to remind yourself of the miracles that are waiting just around the corner. As we listen to and faithfully follow the promptings of the spirit, we will accomplish the things the Lord wants us to accomplish.
À Bientôt Mes Amis !
HAPPY 4th OF JULY EVERYONE!!!
Oh my goodness y'all are so lucky to be in America for my favorite day
of the entire year and one of my all time favorite holidays.
Soeur Witham and I are the only Americans in our apartment and I'm
pretty sure our companions now think Americans are the craziest people
ever hahahah. They really just happened to get stuck with the two most
patriotic sisters in the entire mission, woo hoo!! It's actually been
pretty sad realizing that we weren't going to be able to celebrate our
favorite holiday but yesterday we had the sweetest little tender
We were greeting everyone at the doors to the chapel when a cute new
young American couple who just moved from Utah came up to Soeur Witham
and I and invited us to come over to their house to join them for
their 4th of July BBQ !!! We were so excited we almost cried. It was
just a sweet little reminder of how much the Lord cares about us and
wants us to be happy. Even when it is just something silly like not
missing out on a 4th of July BBQ :)
We are starting to see a direct correlation between us going to
Belgium and bad things happening haha. Whether it be taking the wrong
train, sending our bag to Germany, or getting lost, we always manage
to experience some kind of adventure! ;) Tuesday we went to Belgium...
Our rendezvous was set for noon, but when 2 o'clock rolled around and
we still weren't there, I'm sure they were beginning to wonder what
had happened! Normally, the simple solution would be to give us a
call. Well, inconveniently, our French phone doesn't work in
Belgium... So we were on our own haha. Though we are never completely
Yup, we took a tour of Belgium this week! Not really, but we might as
well have after getting lost and hiking up and down the steep Belgian
roads for over two hours trying to find a recent convert's house Lol.
Between the humid heat, cramps in our legs, blisters on our feet, and
our growling stomachs, we both did more than our fair share of
whining. Lucky for us, The Lord always pulls through and takes care of
us :) even after having to listen to all of our whiny prayers haha.
Although we were two hours late, we did eventually make it safely to
our rendezvous !
About 30 minutes before we arrived, my companion and I began to wonder
if we should just turn around and go back. After saying another
desperate prayer, we made the executive decision to tough it out for
15 more minutes. Then, if we didn't find her house, we would go home.
During that next 15 minutes we found the street we needed to be on. It
was such a miracle! Though, we wondered... Why did the Lord allow us
to wonder for so long? There must have been a reason the Lord wanted
us to be two hours late.
After the lesson, we paused outside the door to thank the Lord for
helping us find our way. Then, we asked him to help us to find the
miracle that he needed us to be there two hours late for. As we made
our down the street I noticed a familiar park. I wasn't sure if I have
actually ever seen the park before but something about it just seemed
to be calling out to us. So, we followed the park. Within minutes, we
were stopped by the voice of a woman calling out to us--curious to
know who we were and what we were doing in the neighborhood.
As we got talking about the gospel and why we were here she looked us
in the eyes and said, "I don't know why, but today after I dropped my
kids off at school I just decided to stop here for a while and sit
down instead of going straight home like I do every day..."
As we testified of the simple truths of the gospel you could just see
in her eyes that she knew it was true. At the end of our discussion,
we exchanged numbers and Delphine picked up her stuff and left with
us...as if she had received all that she had been waiting for.
When we pray for and prepare ourselves to find miracles, The Lord
places in our paths His children who are being prepared to receive the
restored gospel. Sometimes finding those children requires an extra
two hours of walking.... But miracles happen, even in BELGIUM ;)!
Knowing that there must be opposition in all things, it was normal for
me to wake up with an awful pain surrounding my hip and lower back the
next day haha. I thought little of it as I just figured it was sore
from our little expedition the previous day. I didn't even begin to
question it until that night when my companion and I were on our way
home for the night. I made it about two steps out of the metro before
the tears hit me and I realized it wasn't just a sore hip. After a
quick trip to the doctor he told me I "walk way too much". I couldn't
help but laugh. I am currently on a 5 day drugged bed rest to allow
the tendinitis in my hip to heal. I wasn't too happy to hear that.
But, the Lord has since let me know that he has allowed me these 5
days of rest to build the strength and energy that he needs me to have
to tackle the coming 9 months of my mission. :)
This experience made me think of a citation used in a Conference talk
given by Elder Dallin H. Oaks, "Through all mortal opposition, we have
God’s assurance that He will “consecrate [our] afflictions for [our]
gain” (2 Nephi 2:2)."
Whether it be tendinitis or helplessly wondering the streets of
Belgium... I am grateful for the tender mercies of the Lord, that
sometimes come to us in the form of affliction, that allow us grow
toward what our Heavenly Father would have us become.
Je vous aime tous!
Sœur 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.