Versailles, Versailles, the promised land! Not quite as promised as my home land but it's pullin' into a close second ;). I took some pictures, which obviously never do beauty justice when taken by an amateur, but it's still breathtaking! It's like taking a walk through Utah mountains during fall with an added Old French touch and cobblestone streets. Along with this thick misty air, which just adds to the ambiance (but makes it slightly difficult to maintain my crazy hair hahaha).
Day one was quite an interesting adventure. We spent 5 hours dragging our luggage all around Paris and escorting "dying" missionaries to their assigned location. I also had to meet up with my two companions in two different cities with all of our bags before heading to the mission office to pick up one of their passports, then heading all the way back to Versailles (still with all of our luggage) to go home and eat for 20 Minutes before needing to leave for our next rendezvous hahaha. It was quite the day. My back was pretty wrecked after all that. But with the help of my new donated memory foam mattress and lots of prayers, it has made pretty dramatic improvement! I no longer have constant pain throughout the day. Which is awesome of course :).
Saying goodbye to Gilbs and Paris was really difficult. A little less difficult now that I learned I can still see the Eiffel Tower from where I live and that I basically moved just enough to place me in the clean, pretty, rich part of the Parisian Zone haha :) No complaints here! My new companions are Soeur Neistadt and Soeur Méjean. They have both been in the mission for a grand total of three months, so we've got some nice blue-fire in this team ;)! Soeur Méjean is from Lyon, France so she only speaks French, and Soeur Neistadt is from Summerlin/Las Vegas Nevada. Soeur Méjean will only be with us until November 8th, when she will head out with her visa to her assigned mission: Phoenix, Arizona!
My very first day as a "normal" missionary was pretty sweet. We called the young women in the ward to see if we could take any of them out contacting with us. One sweetheart named Chloe came and I took her off on member splits while Neistadt and Méjean went contacting in another area. Our goal was, when in doubt..."PRAY LOTS!" Yes, I know, it doesn't rhyme... but that's why it's so good ;). As we walked up and down the streets, there was not a single person in sight. Lots of prayer followed. Eventually, we started running into people every once in awhile, and EVERY single person that we stopped talked to us! It was such a miracle! Which was followed by lots of gratitude prayers :). We ended up teaching 10 lessons in two hours and finding two new amis! In total with the other soeurs we had 14 lessons in two hours!! How cool are trios!? You can get SO much work done!!!
A few of my personal favorite Split Miracles:
Manny the Muslim:
Manny was the third man we stopped. He is from Tahiti and works on a ship. We began by testifying of God and his son Jesus Christ and the importance of prayer. His expression changed and he looked at us with disappointment as he explained that he wasn't allowed to pray on the ship because his boss wouldn't allow it. Since his infancy, Manny had only been taught of one way to pray. So we shared a story from the Book of Mormon when one of the kings men, Amulon, persecutes Alma and his people. He sends out a decree that they are to be put to death if they pray. So they prayed in their hearts. "And Alma and his people did not raise their voices to the Lord their God, but did pour out their hearts to him; and he did know the thoughts of their hearts."(Mosiah 24:12 )
Manny was so touched by this story that he wanted to know how my family found this "beautiful book." I was able to share the story of my grandpa and the example he set for me as he set out on his "quest for the truth." Most importantly being the fact that, when he found it, he accepted and followed his Savior in being baptized, and continued to teach the Gospel to his children.
He then looked up at me and said, "I am not like other Muslims. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the World like you say. This gospel you teach touches my heart, and I want to learn more."
Mathias, The "No-Longer-Investigator" of the JW's:
Shortly after saying goodbye to Manny, we ran into Mathias who told us that he had been meeting with our missionaries every weekend... knowing that he wasn't an investigator of the elders, we were sure that it was not the Mormons he had been meeting hahaha. But, it was actually the Jehovah’s witnesses that he had been meeting with. Often confused as “us” here in France hahahah. Well, the good news is, he decided he likes our message more and he wants to meet with us this weekend instead. J
Perks of a Foreign Accent:
The nice thing about having an accent is that everyone thinks it's adorable and wants to hear you talk. One Atheist man we stopped told me that he liked my voice and so I replied with, "Oh Good! Listen well! ;)". The best part is, he actually did! For 20 Minutes!
Look Both Ways Before Crossing:
There was a Woman about to cross the street with her little boy. I received a prompting to talk to her so I called out to her just as she was about to step on the road. Then, just as she said, "No"... the light turned red, and she was stuck with me!!! Hahahahaha. It was pretty hilarious. The Lord definitely helped me out on that one. He's a funny guy ;).
My Unplanned Halloween Costume:
Contacting here in Versailles is really easy because everyone stops me before I even get the chance to speak to tell me I look exactly like "Blanche Neige" (Snow White). I guess that says something about my tan hahaha.
Present for Patisserie?:
We walked into a Boulangerie (Bakery) holding a big box of Book of Mormons and the baker said... "Is that a gift for me!?" We responded with... "Hahaha...Of course!" We thought he was kidding at first, but he actually wanted one!
Salah and Ynesse:
Sunday all three of us came down with an ugly flu and had to go home and sleep it off for a couple hours. We were awakened by the sound of our phone and when we answered, it was a young man asking if we were the missionaries and if we happened to have to time to teach him at six o'clock... it was five-thirty hahaha. We jumped up, threw our jackets on, and practically ran to the church while we called some members to come join us for the lesson. When we showed up at the church, he was already waiting by the doors with one of his friends that came for the lesson as well. The young member couple was the next to show up, who also brought their member friend hahaha. So between our trio, our amis, and our members, there were 8 people in that lesson! My companions and I weren't sure how it was going to go with all those mouths going but it went,
WONDERFULLY. The two of them are practicing Muslims. They are also some of the most open people I have taught during my mission. We even extended a soft invitation to baptism, and they said yes! Everyone was so giddy walking out of that lesson. The members were literally (and I mean literally) jumping for joy!
That was a pretty sweet way to end the week :)
So things are going great here in Versailles! I am absolutely loving it here and I am happier than ever :). I'm so incredibly proud to be one of the Lord's missionaries.
I love you all!!
Je vous embrasse tous !
Ps: Please enjoy these pictures of the promised land as well as me eating a live escargot that my companion carried around in her pocket ALL day hahaha. (I didn't really eat it. But she did actually carry it in her pocket all day)
Pps: LOU IS GETTING BAPTIZED HERE ON THE 13TH OF NOVEMBER ❤!!!!
Hello Hello everyone!!!
Crazy news this week: After another two REALLY short transfers, I am out of my 3rd Ville and off to my 4th! Normally sisters only serve in 3-4 villes so I am shootin' for a record here ;)... maybe 6? 7?... I wasn't sure how I was feeling when I got the call to release me from being an STL, but I felt a whole lot better once they told me I'd be moving down the street from the under-construction Paris Temple! Yup, I'm headed to VERSAILLES. Polishing two new missionaries, at once! TRIO. One from the western United States and the other from Southern France! Here's to adventures ;)!
Aside from transfer decisions, nothing huge happened this week because we were on "house arrest" in order to give my back time to heal. It is doing worlds better! Thank you for all of the prayers and fasts, they worked! However, we did get to spend Sunday outside of the apartment and in that single day we had enough excitement to last us an entire week!! ;)
We had a baptism for a cute little 11 year old convert named Geminelli. Then, while at the baptism, our adorable ami Lou ran up to me and said... "Soeur Wyson! I received my answer from God! I want to be baptized! AND, I want to do it in November and I am going to be baptized IN Versailles!!! Because you are my missionary and I need you to be there!!!" ... I literally jumped for joy and hugged her SOOOO tightly! It was such a tender mercy for me.
My other miracle of the week must have been receiving a call from an elder who had felt inspired to give me a priesthood blessing. Assuming it was for my back, we gladly invited them over that evening. Then, as he lay his hands on my head, he spoke of only one thing--Prayer. Without even once mentioning my back problems, he expressed the importance of turning all that I had over to the Lord and told me that as I did so, I would know what to do. So, I focused a lot on prayer this week.
After spending many hours in conversation with the Lord, I was reminded of another prayer that I had offered up to him about 4 weeks prior to my back injury....
I was coming up on my year mark and reflecting on the numerous lessons I had learned in the past year, as well as the lessons (even more numerous) that I still had to learn before returning home in the next 6 months. Eager to learn, I willingly gave permission to the Lord to give me, and I quote, "ANY challenges that I need, to allow me to become the person you need me to be". Well, what lesson did I learn this transfer?...
"If you ask the Lord for trials...you better be prepared...HE WILL SEND THEM." Hahaha.
As unfortunate as it seemed, I realized in that moment that my back was an answer to my prayers. I had asked the Lord to give me a trial that would strengthen me, 4 weeks later, I found my weakened body, resting in its' strongest position...on my knees.
At that moment, I poured out my heart in even greater prayer to my Heavenly Father, to thank Him for all the blessings he had granted me. Including a broken back. Because it wasn't until the strength of my physical body was momentarily taken from me, that I was reminded of my only true and reliable power source.
A few days ago, I had the opportunity to be present for another blessing that an elder gave to one of our members who was recently diagnosed with a life threatening disease. In it, he said something that really pierced my heart. He said,
"As you turn to The Lord to strengthen your spirit, your physical body will follow."
The Lord is our only reliable power source. He will never fail you! He is only one that is capable of providing constant, undisturbed power for as long as we remain connected. If we connect ourselves to him, ensuring that we are first charged spiritually, our physical bodies will indeed follow.
"We need to get into spiritual shape. We need to develop spiritual stamina. We need strong testimonies that will lead to true conversion, and as a result we will find within ourselves the inner peace and strength needed to endure whatever challenges we may face."-- Elder Richard J. Maynes
LOL, (Lots of Love)
We had a finding day in Normandy this week, I also celebrated my year mark with my MTC companion, Soeur Hodgman :) The last time I visited Normandy was when I was 15 years old. Plus, the train we took drove right through the little town I stayed in while I was here! It was almost emotional haha. I miss that place!
Normandy is a little bit tougher as far as the work goes. Here in Paris we can go out for a couple hours and teach anywhere from 3-6 lessons. In Normandy, we went out for about 8 hours, and between both companionships, we only taught 4 haha. A little more challenging. But it was still great! We prayed a lot and saw some incredible miracles so it was all well worth it.
My favorite miracle wasn't actually a lesson, but it sure made us laugh! Soeur Springer and I were sitting on the bus back to the Gare when I turn around to see a young man who looked EXACTLY like Jesus!!! I couldn't believe the similarities! So, I contacted him by saying... Hey, do you know who your twin is?... then I held up a contacting card with a picture of Jesus on it and said...."C'est JESUS!"
That got the entire back of the bus laughing, which was great, because then we got to teach ALL of them about Jesus! We even gave him his own Book of Mormon and got his number so that we could set up a rendezvous-- and I got a picture with him!!! Definitely my favorite mission picture :)
When we got off the bus we said one last prayer before leaving Caen, asking the Lord to lead just one single person to us before we had to leave. We turned around after saying the prayer and contacted the very first person we saw...who was absolutely not interested at all haha. So, we turned down the next street and contacted the NEXT person haha :). Well, It was actually two persons haha. Two very nice 18 year old girls named Jen and Julie :)
The contact started off with us asking them a few fun survey questions, to all of which they replied, "Food!....Cookies!!...McDonalds!!" Hahaha. We came to the point where neither of us had any idea how to use that to transition into a gospel principle. So, I just started laughing and said to them... Well, we are actually here to talk about God, but I mean, everything good comes from him! Including McDonalds! (Okay, maybe only McDonalds in France, it's actually a restaurant here, not a fast-food hahaha).
Well, honesty works!! They were atheist but by the end of the lesson they expressed a great desire to believe in God, but said that they simply didn't know where to start. Luckily, that's exactly why we are here! The Caen Sisters will be teaching them again tomorrow :) Miracles happen!!!... Even in Normandy!! ;)
If there were an award for "Most accident prone" here in the France Paris Mission, I think Soeur Wyson would take the competition by a landslide hahaha. Thursday night I was joking with Soeur Buchanan about how not even a slipped disc can pull me out of the game and then I turned the corner to go into my room and of course, rolled my ankle... hahahahaha. Oh my goodness, God has a pretty good sense of humor. Well, luckily, He thought that wearing an ankle brace for only two days was enough time for me to learn my lesson haha. :)
We had two more baptisms here in the Paris ward, Pamela and Aurélien! They looked so happy, it was such a joy to be part of their special days. On the less special side (or maybe special in a different sense of the word hahaha) we had a less active come to the baptism. I walked into the kitchen and she was pulling chicken out of a black trash bag, microwaving it, and trying to feed it to people hahaha. She also tried some of the elders’ root beer and apparently really liked it because next thing we knew, she was hiding it in the kitchen to take home hahahaha. When Elder Walton saw that he was like "Hey pepita, that's our root beer, we were going to take it home." So she grudgingly left it on the counter near Walton... then, when he turned his back she took an empty carton of orange juice and proceeded to pour almost the entire thing of root beer into the carton. I was dying hahahaha😂 He also caught her at the very last second before she left with their five euro container of Nutella😅 hahaha, oh Pepita...
Here in France everyone keeps matches in their bathrooms instead of aerosol because
they say that the smoke kills the odors. Which is important information that leads us into another baptism funny... we have a bunch of Africans in our ward here and they volunteered to make the food for the baptism. Well, I don't know if any of you have ever eaten REAL authentic African food, but holy smokes... that stuff has got some serious ZANG!!! By zang I mean spice. So much spice! Hahaha. It wrecked everyone. So basically our apartment has been smelling like serious campfire the past few days.
We finished out the week by throwing an African Fete for the ward. Yes, more African food... we bought a lot of matches this week haha. It was super fun! We even wore African dresses and painted our faces--which made contacting on the metro ride home super fun ;)! The little kids couldn't stop staring at me and yelling, "Maman!! Papillon!!!" (Mama! Butterfly!!) Hahahaha. It was adorable.
Oh yeah! We also accidentally sent Soeur Buchanan off on a train by herself with no phone hahaha. It was hilarious. There I was hobbling along with my ankle trying to get to the train in time and the other sisters were waiting for me but Soeur Buchanan, being brand new in the mission, just jumps on! Hahaha. Next thing you know the doors are closing and we are stuck outside yelling and running as the train leaves with our little brand new missionary on it to who knows where 😂 Hahahaha. We were laughing SOOO hard. That's all you can do in situations like that hahaha. Luckily we caught the next train, 30 minutes later and were able to meet her at the next stop hahaha. So funny.
This week definitely kept us on our toes! Haha. Surprises around every corner! :)
I love you all!!!💕
Bonjour à Tous !
What an interesting start to my 20th year of living!! I got to celebrate my birthday in the hospital getting an MRI, so that was pretty exiting ;) I would leave it at that to keep things simple, but I don't think that would make my mom very happy haha :) So yes, I spent my birthday in the hospital! Tuesday I was talking on the phone when I felt something in my lower back shoot to the side, leaving me sprawled out on the floor unable to move. After my companion called the mission nurse, the elders came over, gave me a priesthood blessing, and helped support me the entire way to the hospital where I was fitted for a back brace and rescheduled to come back and get an MRI the next day.
We went back in for my MRI Wednesday morning. It was quick and mostly painless :). We didn't get very detailed results back because we haven't seen the specialist yet. But what they did give us is that I have a slipped disc and that the discs in general in my lower back, connecting to my tailbone, are inflamed and a little "wacky." No surgery needed, we just need to meet with a specialist to determine what kind of treatment I need in order to get my back nice and aligned again :). Until then, I guess my "6 months to sexy" workout plan is going to have to be put on hold hahaha.
The good news is, I now have a very fashionable black and red back brace to sport during Paris Fashion Week!!
Speaking of Fashion week...This week is fashion week in Paris... So all of the top designers and models from all over the world are here to come and show off their stuff on runways down the streets of Paris. Super cool right? Well, Gilbs and I met and made friends with a designer and she called us up the other night to tell us that she got us back stage tickets to the Paris fashion week Kickoff party with all the top designers. WHAT!?! NO WAY!!?! .... Sadly... We can't go... Because we're missionaries.... But we definitely walked a little taller after receiving that call ;) ... (I mean, with the help of my back brace hahahaha).
The other day my companion and I did split contacting to try and catch up on work from all of the hospital day trips. She went down one side of the road with a member while I hit up the other side by myself. Split contacting works really nicely here because being approached by one person is a lot less scary than two or three in a big city like Paris.
Usually, a contact in Paris goes something like this,
"Bonjour!" *rejection* "Ok, Merci!"...
But if you're really lucky, you might even make it to "Church" or "Jesus Christ" before getting blown off. We consider these types of contacts miracles around here ;).
Sometimes the only solution seems to be: avoid telling them that you are here to talk about Christ until AFTER the conversation is flowing...ESPECIALLY if they are Muslim.
Well, there I was just strolling along, when I saw a man and immediately felt prompted to go up to him and tell him that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the World. So I did! In fact, the First thing that came out of my mouth was exactly that! Haha. Of course he was Muslim. The next thing that came into my head was "well...this is awkward..."
For those of you who may not be familiar with the Muslim religion, they don't believe that Jesus Christ was anything more than a prophet, and most certainly not the Savior of the world.
I quickly began asking the Lord to fill my open mouth with the right words before I just started drooling the wrong ones out. I then found myself reciting a scripture from the Book of Mormon and asking him, despite what I already knew about his beliefs, if he believed that Jesus Christ was his Savior.
I was extremely surprised as he sat in silence for a good moment before responding with..."Though I am Muslim... I guess I can't say for certain, that he wasn't."
We ended up talking of Christ and his Atonement for the next 45 minutes before scheduling another rendezvous for later in the week. It was an incredible miracle and a wonderful testimony of how important it is to rely on the Lord. He knows his children. As well as he knows what they need to hear. Even though our human logic would have been something along the lines of *when contacting a Muslim, avoid speaking of Jesus Christ*. Instead, the Lord had me say exactly what I would have thought to avoid, and his heart was touched as the spirit testified of its' truth.
More good news of the week! Lou accepted a baptismal date! It is quite a funny story actually! She was struggling to understand why we can't drink coffee but we can eat McDonalds...not sure how that is the same thing, but I mean, she's right... McDonalds isn't the best for your body. Anyways, it has been a serious road block for her. Until, the other day she was hanging out with our mission president’s son and she texts us to say..."Yeah, I had lots of questions, but then David's dad explained it and now I understand!".... *Gilbs and I look at each other*, "Wait...David’s dad?...PRES!?!" Hahahaha. Well, thanks Pres! :D
Weirdo moment of the week... we were standing by the road waiting for the light to change when a hooded man snuck up behind me and put something metal to my head, followed by a loud shrieking noise. My heart dropped probably just as far as my mom's just did reading that, as my mind immediately drew the conclusion of... GUN!... No... no gun...it was just a small metal radio box... weirdo... We have no idea why he did that, but we very quickly made distance between us and him as he stared at us with crazy eyes. Everyone around us was super weirded out too (as you can imagine). Literally have no idea what his intentions were in doing that but he sure got us good... I about wet my pants.
Paris is so much fun. You never know what you're in for hahaha. So many surprises all the time! Gilbs and I are absolutely loving serving together in what we like to call "The Promised Land". We refuse to believe that it is already week 5 of the transfer. Especially since Gilbert goes home in 7 weeks. #LongLiveGIBSON!!!... (Wyson and Gilbert)
I love you all! Thank you so much for all the birthday wishes, prayers, and emails!!
First off, I can't tell you how lucky you are that you get to watch all the 4 sessions of conference LIVE!! Because of the time change, we watch the Saturday sessions on Sunday and then people just read the Sunday sessions when they come out in the Ensign the first of the month. So feel free to send us your awesome notes and quotes from the Sunday sessions! :D
I loved how each talk focused on the plain and precious truths of the gospel. Specifically focusing on the message of a loving Heavenly Father, The Restoration, The Book of Mormon, and the power of prayer. I was especially touched by the talk given by W. Mark Bassett about how we are so busy trying to understand the "sealed portions" that we ignore the beautiful, plain and precious truths that have been unfolded for our joy and our benefit.
After hearing this, one of our investigators turned and said to us, "Now I get it."
In previous lessons, she had explained to us many worries concerning things that she didn't fully understand because it wasn't, "Logic".
My first question was, well, what is "Logic"? Is it something defined by God or by man? And how could we help her to understand the difference between the Logic of man from that of the Lord?... I loved Elder Bassett’s response to this question, "Faith and trust in the Lord requires us to accept that his knowledge is greater than ours." When we have faith in Christ and we put our trust in the Lord, we are able to say, "I do not know the meaning of all things, Nor do I need to."
Well, I'm sorry for the super duper short email this week. We decided this morning that for my birthday P-day we were going to party at the Paris zoo so we did that instead of writing emails haha. But I will make up for it next week!! I love you!!! :)
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.