Saturday, December 17, 2011

Week 59: Noel is upon us! Je ne suis pas prete!

Joyeux Noel!!!!!
 
Well its hard to believe that we only have one more week until Christmas, it doesn't seem possible that I have been in Europe for almost a year now. Though getting to spend two Christmases in Paris is I must say more than I could have ever hoped for. The weather has turned nasty though, it has been windy and rainy and it hailed today. I just hope that we have a white Christmas, then it will be okay that it is this cold. Though I can't complain Belgium is a lot colder than France. We had exchanges with the Strombeek Soeurs, I was only in the train station in Brussels for 45 minutes and I was freezing, I didn't even go outside. Brrr, it makes me doubly glad to be in Versailles.  
 
This week I got to meet Augustine; she is an amie from Africa; she is so cool. She met the missionaries through her friend Ann; who recently got baptized. Augustine loves the missionaries, though at the beginning she loved pestering them more than listening to their message. We had a really nice lesson about the Book of Mormon, she is ready for the gospel. She was on vacation in Italy and she said that she has been trying to read the Book of Mormon so she brought it with her on her trip. I know there are members that don't even do that. We were able to explain things to her and she is even more excited to read. She also said that she is going to be coming to Church!!!
 
We have been trying to get in the spirit of Christmas so we made some treats and called  people to see if we could deliver them. We had at least four people say yes one of those people was Solange. She is so sweet. She told us to meet her at a bus stop and there she was just outside the Palace of Vesailles. It was the first time she had seen either Soeur Emilcy and I but she gave us a huge smile and a grosse bisou (a big kiss on each cheek) and we talked for a little. It has been a long time since she has talked with the missionaries and she is having a bit of a hard time right now, so I think that the fact that we called and that someone showed that they cared about her made a big difference to her. She couldn't stay long so we just gave her the treats and a Book of Mormon with a ribbon on it, but she had a big smile and she also said she would try to come to the Christmas party and church.
 
Alida is the other person we met this week, she is a member but hasn't come in a long time. She is married and has two adorable little girls. She too has been having a hard time and called us to get the number of a member. She gave her the number and then asked if we could come over to share a Christmas treat. We talked about her life and about prayer and how it is sometimes hard or awkward when we first start trying to build our relationship with God through prayer. But that if we continue the relationship will come. We promised her that if she keep starts praying personally and with her family God will bless her and help her. We also told her that scripture study and coming to church help too. She also said she'd try to come either to the Christmas party or to church. I hope that someone comes to church. I have a lot of people say that they will come but never do, I am going to do my best to help them use their agency and come to church.
 
I love Christmas time so very much, we watched the First Presidency Christmas Devotional last Sunday night, it was so wonderful.  I love the prophet and the love and the wisdom that he has. I definitely had to stop and take a step back and ponder about my attitude and focus as to Christmas. I want to make this Christmas special and truly focused on Christ. I had a thought a few days ago that has made me ponder a lot. I was trying to think up ways to contact people and start conversations about Christmas and the question came into my head, 'What is the importance of Christ in your life right now, today?" I have been pondering that question, what importance do i give Christ? How much of my life do I allow Him to occupy?
 
I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and that it is a special one full of love and joy.
 
All my love,
 
Soeur Gaelin Turney

Monday, December 12, 2011

Week 58: Wonder of Wonder, Miracle of Miracles

This week has been especially wonderful,  Soeur Emilcy and I had a MIRACLE but I will save it for last.

Monday a member, Soeur Holdrinet, invited us over to her house for dinner. We had a wonderful little moment together. She fed us duck. That is the first time that I recall eating duck, it was divine. She is middle aged and lives alone, she has traveled all over the world, so we got to sit on her fancy leather sofa and look at her pictures of Egypt and Vietnam while listening to Christmas music. It was a treat. She lives in down town Versailles really close to the Château, her apartment is 300 year old! It is bea-u-ti-ful! The only downside to the evening is that we missed the last bus home so we had to walk 45 minutes in the dark to get home, but it was worth it.

Wednesday we had our Christmas Zone Conference. It was a lot of fun, Soeur Emilcy and I wore Christmas colors just to be festive. We read Luke 2:8-14 and President Poznanski compared us to the angels announcing the good tidings of great joy. I have always like that phrase "Glad tidings of great joy" For me, the gospel is just that, joyful and glad, and as a missionary my job is to share happiness. Each companionship was given a Christmas stocking, in the stocking there was a jar of Nutella and a hard sausage. The Posnanskis said that they wanted to give us things that our parents probably wouldn't send us. They were right, I can't really see my dad sending me sausage, but it was delicious. The best part was the letter from my parents, just like at girls camp, there was a special letter telling me how much they loved me, and of course I cried and felt warm fuzzies all over, it was wonderful. Then we had a Christmas treat of hot chocolate and sweet bread and a White Elephant gift exchange. It was interesting trying to explain to Soeur Emilcy why we had to find a strange present for less than 5 Euros. I got a lint roller and Soeur Emilcy got a massage thingy that vibrates. I think the best gift of the day was the gift Soeur Woodruff got. Her present was a calendar of an Elder making the Zoolander model face as the picture for every month. It was really funny that it was a Soeur that got it, especially because he is kinda weird, but very nice. We also got the rules for the Holidays, it is going to be a wonderful Christmas. Especially because of what happened Thursday morning.

So, Thursday morning while we were in the middle of companionship study, the phone rang.  I answered it was from Soeur Pelous. Soeur Pelous is one of our amis, five years ago she married a member and since then has come to church basically every Sunday and has met with the missionaries consistently the entire time. Before I got here the sisters hadn't really been meeting with her, but my first week, we saw her at church and taught her a lesson during Sunday school. When we had planned what to teach her we decided that she probably knew everything that she needed to know, now she needed to get a testimony of it. We decided that the Book of Mormon was the way to go. So, we talked about how the purpose of the Book of Mormon is to help us gain a testimony, she has a testimony of prayer already so we read Moroni 10:3-5 with her and told her, you know that God will answer your prayers and the key to knowing if the church is really true is by reading and praying. She told us that she and her husband had started reading together in the mornings, so we invited her to pray before and after they read to know if it was true. Then, right after out lesson, her husband gave an amazing talk about the Book of Mormon in Sacrament meeting. He talked about the Book of Mormon being the key to having a testimony. He held up a key and said this is not a key because I can't use it because I don't know what door it opens, he compared the Book of Mormon to the key saying that the Book of Mormon ceases to be a key for us if we do not read it. It was amazing! So, Soeur Pelous had a double whammy of the Book of Mormon, last week we didn't see her, and then Thursday morning she called and told us that she has decided that she wants to be BAPTIZED!!!!! Even cooler she wants to be baptized on Christmas eve and Confirmed on Christmas day, how cool is that! After we hung up the phone Soeur Emilcy and I jumped our of our chairs and danced around and probably shrieked with joy, then we fell to our knees and thanked Heavenly Father that we were a pert of this experience. I think this is probably the best Christmas present I could ever have. We don't know what changed and how she came to her decision, we will find out Sunday, but I am so happy, their family is so cute and now they can be together forever!!! It truly has been a wonderful week.

I hope you are all catching the Spirit of Christmas and that you have peace and good will towards men.

Tout mon amour et JOYEUX NOËL!!!!

Soeur Gaelin Turney

Week 57 1/2: A Miracle and a Migraine

Bonjour tous le monde!!!
 
Now that I have a French speaking companion there might just be more French in my letters; or not as the case may be. This week has been a good one, France is different that Belgium, other than just the architecture, but I am having a hard time naming what it is. I think maybe it is the pace of life, things are faster here. I am still getting used to it. Soeur Emilcy laughs at me when we go contacting because I don't speak fast enough or get to the point, so people brush me off. She tells me I just need to talk faster and not to pause or they will leave.
 
I had my first official rendez-vous with a Jehovah's Witness (We call them TJs for short) this week, it was an experience. Soeur Emilcy and Soeur Jorgenson contacted a girl named Aurelie before I got here and we set up a rendez-vous with her. Sr Emilcy told me that her mother was a TJ and that she wasn't officially but showed signs that she was in accordance with them. When we got to her house Aurelie, her mother and her mother's TJ friend were there to have a "discussion" with us. The beginning wasn't too bad and we actually got to talk a little, but her friend started telling us a little bit about what they believed and went on for about 2 hours, I think that Soeur Emilcy and I were able to get about eight sentences out about what we believe. I was surprised at how blatantly they bashed on the catholic church and said that basically everyone else is wrong for believing in what they do. I was very uncomfortable and I'm not catholic and we also think that they are corrupt in many of their doctrines, but they still have truth and do a lot of good. By the time we left Soeur Emilcy was fuming, for me I think it was a good moment to take a step back and think about how I approach other people and their beliefs and present my own. The TJs it felt like were bashing me over the head with their doctrine to make me believe that they were right. For me, that is the wrong way to get someone to join your church, we are here as missionaries to invite others to come unto Christ and read the Book of Mormon and to learn for themselves that it is true. I cannot convince anyone that the Church is true, that is not my job. That is the Holy Ghosts job. I just have to make sure that the Holy Ghost can be there.
 
We had another cool experience on Friday afternoon. Normally we had our Missionary coordination meeting on Thursday nights but this week it was cancelled, I had planned on looking at the baptismal clothes at the same time, but forgot because we didn't go to the church. Friday morning the Elders for who I was checking out the clothes for called and i told them I forgot and would check that afternoon. So, Friday morning we went and helped a member who has 7 kids, 4 or 5 of whom are autistic and all of whom are home schooled clean a bit around the house. We are still figuring out how to get places and were an hour later than we meant to be. We helped Soeur Moulin and then went straight to the church after we were done. We found the clothing that was needed and were about to leave when a group of 5 high school girls came timidly into the church. They said that they were doing a project for school about the Mormons and wanted to know if they could ask a Mormon some questions. We said, sure, we are Mormons and would be more than happy to talk to you about the gospel. We had a really good talk, they knew quite a bit already, but it was obvious that they had read a lot of anti-Mormon stuff. As we talked they commented on how much false stuff there was about our church, they asked why. I should have said because it is the truth, but I just said that is has always been like that. We gave them a tour of the church building and invited them to come on Sunday, at least two of them seemed interested and said they'd come, we also invited them to a baptism that is going to be happening Sunday afternoon, which they were intrigued by as well. We gave them two copies of the Book of Mormon and some other reading materials. It was a really cool experience, especially to see how God worked to make sure we were at the church at that exact time. I am so grateful that He is in charge. I don't know if anything will come of our meeting, but I do know that the knowledge of the truth is rolling forth and is filling the whole Earth. and I am a part of helping it grow.
 
Here are some pictures I hope you like them, isn't Soeur Emilcy the cutest!
 
Much love,
 
Soeur Gaelin Turney
 
 




Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Week 57: Sorry that I didn't write yesterday, I'm not dead I promise!

Hello!
 
I am very sorry that I did not write yesterday; it was a strange p day because of Thanksgiving. Our zone got together to have a Turkey Bowl and have a Thanksgiving dinner. The reason it was strange is because we also had district meeting yesterday too, so when we would normally do emails we were at the church. The reason for having district meeting on P day is so we could take the hours from 6 to 9 that we normally use for proselyting and have and extra long p day. It was a lot of fun, I really love playing football I've found. I even scored a touchdown yesterday. For our Thanksgiving dinner we had a bunch of rotisserie chickens instead of turkey; there was one per companionship, so we are going to be eating chicken for at least two more days.
 
I am loving Versailles; it is so pretty; I have started taking lots of pictures and I will send them next week because the computer I am on is very slow and I don't trust it. But I live super close to the Palace of Versailles; we walked past it at night and I got some lovely pictures; though as amazing as it is, temples are so much more beautiful.
 
The ward here is wonderful, there was a relief society activity on Saturday and we helped set up and prepare food; it was so fun, it is so nice to be in a place where things function smoothly. We have a new ward mission leader and he has some big plans that he is putting into place, I am excited to be a part of it.
 
It is so nice to have a companion that speaks French fluently, I can already feel my French getting better, it is easier to speak; and I am starting to think in French too. It is fun because she is trying really hard to learn English, and her accent is so cute! So we mostly speak French but there is a little English thrown in there. The transition from English to French was really easy for me and I am grateful for that. I think Heavenly Father has blessed me a lot because I had two people ask me if I was French; and they were French people that asked!!!! It definitely helped me have more confidence.
 
I am sorry this is so short, but because we are in the same district as the office Elders our P day is usually on Saturday, so I will be writing again on Saturday.
 
Love you lots,
 
Gaelin

Monday, November 21, 2011

Week 56: I'm Going to the Promised Land for Christmas!

Hello Everyone, BIG news this week, I am leaving Belgium on Wednesday because I am being transferred to Versailles, France!!!! Yes, the home of the legendary Palace of Versailles build by none other than Louis 14, the sun King himself. It is probably one of the most beautiful areas and soooo French. I did exchanges there just a few weeks ago and I cannot wait to go back. It will be interesting because the Mission Office and Mission Home are in Versailles as well so there are about 8 elders plus the Mission President in our Ward. That means I have to behave myself. My companion is going to be Soeur Emilcy, she is from Guadeloupe and speaks French and a little tiny bit of English. I am happy that I get to go to Paris for Christmas again. Hazzah!

This week has been a really good one as well, I feel like we really helped people this week, we met with a lot of members as well as amis. I love helping people, and I feel that we did a lot of good this week. I think sometimes all people need is for someone to show them that they are loved and remembered. That is the beautiful thing about love, the more you give the more you have.

We visited Lili and she was just glowing. We talked about Priesthood and the Auxiliaries of the church, she had lots of good questions. Her husband was there too, they are so cute together. We asked her if she felt different since her Baptism and she said that she is much calmer and that she doesn't get as angry as quickly. They are so full of light, I just love them. I always leave their house so uplifted and happy. Seeing them gives me hope for the future. It makes me want to try even harder to find families that are ready for the gospel. The happiness is multiplied when it is shared in a family.

We went and visited an American member on Tuesday, she gave us A&W Rootbeer to drink and a can to take home. I think the last time I drank Rootbeer was January so it was a wonderful treat. Europeans don't like Rootbeer, they think it tastes like cough syrup. I, however, adore Rootbeer it was a heavenly to drink it again, I do love America.

We had some miracles this week with a woman named Jacqueline, a single mom from Brazil. We were at a rendez-vous with a member, who hadn't been to church in about 2 month because her husband was sick. We had a really good discussion about the power of the Book Of Mormon. She is the gospel principles teacher and she said that she was going to be at church on Sunday. As we were leaving the rendez-vous we got a text saying someone needed to talk about Jesus, we had no idea who she was but we only had some porting planned so we went to her house. Jacqueline is having a lot of struggles because she isn't legal to work. She said that she didn't know what to do, and something told her to call the us, so she did. She hasn't had contact with missionaries for about a year and a half. The Spirit was very strong as we talked about the prayer and the Book of Mormon and healing power of the Atonement. We saw her again Saturday and talked about agency and forgiveness and about baptism. We shared the passage from Isaiah about Christ being a man of sorrows and antiquated with grief and that with His stripes we are healed. It is amazing to me the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Even just sharing about it brings the Spirit. Jacqueline and her 4 year old son, Alexandre, came to church on Sunday. Soeur Kabango came to church and taught an amazing powerful lesson about the nature of God. Afterward she talked with Jacqueline and gave her her phone number. It was just what Jacqueline needed to hear. I am grateful that God is in charge and that He trusts us enough to let us help one of His daughters. For me the miracle was how everything fell into place to bring us all together so that we could each get the help we needed.

I feel like I say this every week but I am amazed every week just how much I love the Gospel. It truely is the source of happiness, I see the change it makes in people's lives. I am so grateful that I get to see the change and help share the light.

I hope that you Thanksgiving is full of happiness and too much food. I'm not sure what I am going to be doing for Thanksgiving... If we don't get invited anywhere I am totally going to make my own, Soeur Emilcy won't know what hit her!

Much love always!

Soeur Gaelin Turney

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Week 55: Wonderful Wonderful Week

Hello everybody!

This has been a rockin' week. Last Monday we went to the planetarium and watched a show about the violent universe. I love planetariums, it was fun to see how much I remembered from my astronomy class, quite a bit actually. I did learn that in 2036 it is possible that the Earth will get hit by a large asteroid. Isn't science great! I think my favorite part was the free star chart with the winter constellations, in the mornings we go running in a huge park by our apartment, and I can actually see the stars, I can usually find Orion. The order and grandeur of the universe makes me even more sure that there is a God and that He is in control of my life.

Wednesday we had Zone Conference in Lille, France, with Elder Kopishka, the European Area President. He and his wife are from Germany and they both talked with us. Soeur Kopishka is super sweet and very smiley, she had us sing "I am a Child of God" and think about what the words mean to us. I am a child of God and He has sent me to Belgium, He gave me an earthly home with parents kind and dear. I was fulled with gratitude for the family that I have and the opportunity to be here in Belgium teaching people. At the very beginning Elder Kopishka had us write down questions we had or desire of what we wanted to get out of the Conference. He promised us that if we were open to the Spirit, then we would receive answers. Then at the end he had us read over what we had written down, all the things that I had written down, I got answers to or I learned. It is amazing how that works. He also challenged us to promise our amis the same thing when we invite them to church.

He also talked about our dreams, our vision of our mission before we came, what we saw ourselves doing in France. Then he asked us about our vision now, how it has changed as we have come in contact with reality. Then he challenged us to remember our dreams, to not bury them, but to hold onto them. He gave me a lot of things to ponder on and to assimilate. It was a very powerful spiritual day, and it helped me a lot.

Saturday was Lili's baptism. It was so wonderful. Elder Garcia and Elder Marquez helped us a ton, they got the font ready and printed the programs. Lili was cute she was nervous about wearing the baptismal clothes in front of everyone, but she soon got over it. We were able to get a lot of members to help us with the program, and even more came. She asked if there were always people at the church on Saturday nights and I told her that they were there for her, I think that she was touched.Lili's husband, Jean Claude gave a really good talk about baptism, I was so happy to see them together. I am excited to see them grow together in the gospel. I think the baptism helped more people than just Lili, I know that it helped me. Their family is so cute I cannot wait for them to be able to be sealed together for time and all eternity. She was confirmed Sunday, I love this gospel so much. It brings me so much joy!

I love you and with the the bestest week ever!

Soeur Gaelin Turney

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Week 54: Oh What a Week!

I don't even know were to begin with this week, it has been so strange and very busy. Tuesday we had district meeting and exchanges. The zone leaders gave a training on acting with faith the things that our mission president tells us. I guess there are some missionaries that are having a hard time adjusting to the changes that President Poznanski has made. We read in 1 Nephi 17, I got a bit of a different message. I need trust in God and in His power. He has given me commands as a missionary and I have to have the faith that I can do them and that he will prepare a way for me. When I don't have faith I am limiting God's power to help me succeed.

After district meeting I we went to the train station and met the Versailles sisters. Soeur Emilcy and I went to Versailles and Soeur Jorgensen, Soeur Woodward and Soeur Ingraham stayed in Brussels. When we got to Paris we had an interesting time getting to Versailles, we had to go from Gare du Nord to Chatellet to La Defence and then to Versailles. Soeur Emilcy has only been in the area for four weeks so she didn't really know her way around but she had directions. Together we managed to get on the right train to get us to Versailles. It was dark on the train ride out of Paris and we could see the Eiffel tower all lit up, it was so beautiful, I felt like I was coming home. We went to the church for a lesson, but the man didn't come and didn't answer his phone, so we walked home. The streets were misty and it was like every movie you've ever seen about France, quaint misty streets lines with trees. It was chilly but not too cold, the perfect fall evening. I was basically overcome with happiness. The next morning we went contacting and met a really cool Chinese guy named Ling. I then made Soeur Emilcy take me to a real French bakery and I got us a baguette and pain au chocolates for lunch. Then we headed back into Paris to catch our train to Brussels.


Later that evening we had English class and we had two new people come, Jacob and James. They are from Nigeria and really nice. We taught them the first lesson and they are going to come back next week for English class and another lesson.Yay!


Thursday we went to Lille, in France, to renew my French legality, we spent quite a while waiting for the Namur Elders who have very bad luck with trains. It was very strange to thing that I have been out long enough to need to renew my legality. On the train home Soeur Woodward got a call from President Poznanski telling her that she was going to be leaving the next day to go with Soeur Dawson back to Liège. We were very sad, so we went home so she could pack and she left at 10am on Friday.


Saturday our ward Relief Society had an activity about using beans and lentils in food storage and we were fed four or five different dishes made from dried things, including split pea soup, which was delicious. Then the other ward was having an open house so we went to help, we went out and handed out flyers and tried to get people to come in, a few people actually did. After the open house they showed a movie about Joseph Smith and the translation of the gold plates. It was good, but I was a little weirded out by the fact that Hyrum Smith was played by a guy in one of my singles wards at BYU.


Yesterday was amazing! We invited our amie Laura to church, and when we went to pick her up she had a young man with her. She said he was a friend of her sons and that she had run into him on the way to the bus stop and asked if he wanted to come and he said yes. His name is Marcello and he is from Brazil. He really liked church, testimony meeting was especially good, with no tirades or strange proclamations. We had a mini lesson with him after because he couldn't stay for all of the meetings. He is amazing! What is even cooler is that we had a rendez-vou with Laura at 7:30 and we met him again right outside her apartment. He is actually going to be moving in with them for a little while so he was there for that lesson as well. He is the kind of person that you can look at and you know that he is good.


Lili was at church with all her family again, and she passed her baptismal interview so she is ready to be baptized this Saturday. I am so happy! Souer Ingraham was talking to her husband, who is already a member and he said that he was so happy too, She has met with many missionaries before and she decided that she was going to listen to us. I am so grateful to all the other missionaries who taught her and prepared her for us. I know that it had nothing to do with me. There is a quote from the restoration movie that comes to mind. It is Joseph Smith Senior who says, "The Lord answers in his own time but He does answer." I know that that is true, the Lord's timing is sometimes hard for me to accept but I know that He know what is best and that if I trust Him things will work out for my good.


Love and Blessings!


Soeur Gaelin Turney

Monday, October 31, 2011

Week 53: Bone-jour, that is a French Skeleton joke, hahahahaha!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Today was beautiful, we had pancakes for breakfast, and there is a costume party tonight for the young single adults. I am going as Hermione Granger because it is still missionary appropriate and it is a costume. I love Halloween, though it is still a fairly new holiday here in Brussels. The ward had a Halloween party on Saturday, it was very funny to see all of the things that people were wearing. They don't seemed to quite get it yet but they try hard. There were a lot of costumes that were people wearing strange combinations of clothes. There was lots of food and face painting, and a donut tied to a string eating contest. Elder Smith, Soeur Ingraham, Soeur Woodward and I competed and I barely won, Elder Smith was quite chuffed that I beat him, but there will be another contest at the young adult party and he was thrown down te challenge so I have to beat him again this evening. I think my favorite costume was the Bishop, he was dressed up like the mask, that Jim Carey movie where he has the green face, it was very funny.


This week has been really good but not at all the way we planned it.We got a call last Monday saying that we were going to be getting a third companion on Wednesday because one of the sisters went hope for health reasons. Our new companion's name is Soeur Woodward. She is from Washington state and is charming. She loves Harry Potter and laughing. It is fun being in a trio again, though I had to adjust a little. Soeur Ingraham and I were finally getting into a rhythm that was working well, but change is good and Soeur Woodward is a really good teacher. She definitely keeps things interesting, she is spontaneous and bursts into song just as often as I do. It was an adventure trying to figure out how to organize all the furniture and add another bed and wardrobe, but we managed okay and still have room for activities.


Elder Marquez's birthday was Sunday, so I made him a birthday cake and brought it to Samedi Sports, have to replace all those calories I just burned off. He is a huge Harry Potter fan, he has been wearing Hogwarts house ties everyday for the entire month of October. So I made him a snitch cake, like in the sixth book I think it is, anyway, he loved it. He almost had tears of joy in his eyes. Samedi Sports was really fun too, we played American football, I scored two touchdowns. The field was muddy so you got dirty every time you touched the football.


We had a rendez-vous with a less active member, Marie-Angeles. She is from Spain and in her late 60s. When we showed up the Spanish Elders were sitting at her table. They looked kind of sheepish for being there. They had stopped by to see how she was. Marie-Angeles didn't mind at all, she fed us soup and told lots of stories half in French half in Spanish. Everyone except Elder Garcia was very confused. It was fun though, I like teaching with Elders I have only had a couple lessons where we have joint taught but they are always really good. 

Lili is doing so well, We talked about following the prophet and we asked if she would pray to know that Thomas S. Monson was a prophet. She said I know he is a prophet,so why ask for something I already know. I didn't really know how to answer that, she has so much faith. She came to church for the first time this Sunday, it was so wonderful to see her and her husband and all their little children together. Her son is five and so cute, he sat next to Elder Smith during Sacrament meeting and they drew pictures together. I can't wait for them to be able to go to the temple together and be sealed forever!


I have been studying by topic this week, I like cross references and finding treasure in the topical guide. There are so many wonderful things in the Bible, I feel like i don't know the Bible very well at all, but i don't feel like reading it straight thorough would be very effective at the moment. So the topical guide is my friend. One of the things I studied was the love of God. I found two ways to look at it. It is the unconditional love that god has for all of us, his children. His mercy and patience, but it is also the love that we have for God. I want to be better at expressing my love for God. How do you tell God that you love Him? The best answer I found was keeping the commandments. That is how we show God that we love Him. It is interesting to think about, why do I love God, how do I love Him and how can I increase my love for him. I suggest reading 3 John chapter 4. Its wonderful.

I love you all and hope that your Halloween is wonderful!!


Love

 Soeur Gaelin Turney

Monday, October 24, 2011

Week 52: I've passed the summit and am picking up speed on the descent

Heeelllloooo Nurse!!

Well, basically this week has been amazing, we are starting to see the fruits of our labors. We have started teaching three new people and this next week is full of rendez-vous. I'm very excited for it. It has been very cold these past few days but it is supposed to be sunny and about 55 all week so it won't be too bad.

Lili is still going strong, we taught her about keeping the Sabbath day holy, and she was like yeah I should do that, I'll keep the Sabbath day holy. She is so great, I can't wait for her to come to church this next week.
Moses is one of our new investigators, he is African and speaks English and Dutch. I think it is the first time I've met a Dutch speaking African that didn't speak French, its cool, except he keeps sending us texts in Dutch that we can't understand. We have to keep finding people on the street that speak Dutch and French so they can translate them for us, they always look at us a little strangely. And who could blame them, two Americans in long skirts asking in broken French what a text message says. I'd look at us funny too. Ah the life of a missionary! Moses is cool, but we are going to have to pass him to the elders, which makes me a little sad, but at least our Elders are cool, so I don't feel as bad.

I saw a building that was "To Let." I am of course still four years old and laughed really hard about it. It made me think of the book on tape that we have called The Headmaster Went Splat I think. In it there is a very silly discussion about "to let" and I thought I should mention it.

Well, I am officially old, I reached my one year mark on Thursday. It does not seem possible to me that I have been gone an entire year. It is a little bit mind blowing. I only have six months left, that's 4 transfers, that's only 27weeks, that is no time at all!!! AAAArrggghh!! I have always felt that time is a strange thing, but as a missionary it seems to be even crazier in its pacing. These week has seemed so long and yet this transfer is half way over already. I guess the only way to deal with time is to take today and make the best of it. Sister Staheli once asked us to think about what we did yesterday. She asked if what we did brought us closer to God or not, then she said, how are you going to use today in relation to yesterday. Are you going to be better today than yesterday? I think one of the things I am coming to understand is just how important now is. The choices I am making right now effect who I am becoming. Is what I am doing right now of value? Now is really all we have. learning to use now to its fullest isn't always easy, but I am learning.

We have done some porting this week, porting means knocking on doors and asking people if they want to hear about the gospel. I think of all the ways to contact it is my favorite. People generally either say "Ce ne m'interesse pas" and shut the door, or they listen for at least a little while. We found two really cool people, Carine and Laura, both of them are Belgian which is extra special. Europeans are difficult to get to open up about religion, we usually have the most success from people who are from other countries, so two Belgians is special. Carine is a very strong Catholic and she works with the archbishop of Brussels, but she actually let us into her house for a little bit, I think that was the first time ever that someone has done that. She asked us lots of questions about being missionaries and she took a pamphlet about the Restoration. She was so nice, and it was so refreshing to meet someone who loves God and it doing her best to help others find him too. It was just really neat to meet her, she said that we could come back anytime, little does she know that we will in fact be back.  Laura is cool, she is probably 17 and is studying architecture and interior design. She seemed very interested in what we had to say and took a copy of the Book of Mormon. She said that she was going to share it with her parents because they are interested in that kind of thing. (I hope that is a good thing) It is just exciting to have someone be willing and even a little excited about the Book of Mormon. I don't meet to many, so when they are receptive it makes me really excited.

We also started teaching a girl named Ingrid, she is from Peru and works for a member of our ward. He invited her to church and then her and all the missionaries and some other young adults to his house for lunch. He lives kinda far away from the church so Ingrid and his to kids and Soeur Ingraham and I rode in his car and everyone else took the train. Ingrid is really amazing she has a Catholic background but doesn't go to church, she is looking for a way to be closer to God. She really liked Relief Society, I think she is lonely as well. Our lesson went well and there is at least one of the young adults that speak Spanish. So she was able to socialize a bit too. She is already planning on coming to church next week and seemed excited about the Book of Mormon too. It is a little overwhelming to have so many people to teach but its a good kind of overwhelming.

We found out today that we are going to become a threesome on Wednesday. Last week a sister had to go home because of foot problems, so her companion is going to be coming to work with us. I am really excited, her name is Sister Woodward and she is pretty cool, I had exchanges with her once and we got along really well. One thing is for sure, a mission is not boring, there always seems to be something crazy going on. I love it though, even when things are hard, I know that there is a reason I am here and I know that things will always work out in the end.

Tout mon amour,

Soeur Gaelin Turney

Monday, October 17, 2011

Week 51: I Love Pioneers and Mangez-vous

Happy Monday everyone!! I realize your Mondays aren't quite the treat that mine are, but I hope yours is good anyway.

This week has been a busy one. Even though neither Soeur Ingraham nor I went anywhere this new transfer, they are always exciting and tiring. On Wednesday we helped the new sisters get settled into their apartment. The other sister companionship got "whitewashed," Meaning both missionaries get transferred, so the two coming in have an interesting time figuring out how to get around. It sounds very stressful and tiring, I hope it doesn't happen to me. Anyway, we helped Soeur Larsen and Soeur Emilcy get their luggage to the train station, and then later helped Soeur Murray and Soeur Smith get their luggage to the apartment. We are going to go to Grand Place together and get them gaufres so they can experience Belgium at its finest.

Lili is doing well, we had two rendez-vous with her this week. We talked about the Plan of Salvation, I think it is my favorite lesson to teach. There is so much hope and comfort that comes from knowing where we come from where we are going and what our purpose in this life is. I can only imagine how lost I would feel without this knowledge. Lili said that she had never heard about it before, but she loves it. We gave her a pamphlet to read before our next lesson. She read it, and she was so excited to share what she learned. She especially liked the part about Adam and Eve, how the fall was part of the plan and that it was because of agency, our ability to choose, that we are here on the Earth. Because they ate the fruit, they could experience good and evil, and she was so glad that they did. She also thought it was interesting that it was Satan's choices that caused him to become the devil. I was so impressed with all the things that she learned from the pamphlet. Her comment about it was that "it was a little book but there is a lot of information in it." The second lesson we taught was about the gospel of Jesus Christ, where we teach the first principles and ordinances of the gospel, faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. Her husband, who is a member, was there and he was a big help. He testified about faith and about the gift of the Holy Ghost. It was funny because Lili hasn't told her husband yet that she is getting baptized, so there are all these connections and things I want to make to her and her baptism but I can't really because he doesn't know about it yet. My favorite part was at the end, we made her a calender to help get her ready for her baptism, and we had to give it to her without letting her husband know what it was. They were sitting on the couch next to each other when we handed her the paper with BAPTISM!!!! circled and colored really big on it. We gave it to her and said that it had some activities that are going to be happening in the near future, to let her know what we want to focus on for the next few weeks and if she has any questions to call us. I was dying of laughter on the inside because I don't think Soeur Ingraham quite got it, because it was in French. Lili looked at it and folded it a little, when her husband tried to see what was on it she told him it was not for him. I am so excited for their family. Lili told us that she and her husband were just married at the commune and not in a church because they wanted to be of the same faith and then get married in their church. The idea of them getting sealed in the temple just fills me with joy. If there is one thing that I know is true it is that the gospel blesses families.

We have been working with the members of our ward a lot lately, aka eating dinner at their house. But it has been good we have at least three referrals from members in the works, so I am excited. We ate with the Mema family and the Petersons this week. The Memas are a young couple with two little boys who are very energetic and very much little boys. It was so fun to just listen to then and be interested in what they had to tell us. Sister Mema is American and he is Albanian. We talked about missionary work and about the blessing that we receive in our own lives when we are actively trying to share the gospel. They had some pretty cool stories to share about their experiences.  The Petersons was a treat, they are on a special mission for the church as representatives to the European Union for the church. They have all kinds of crazy stories about important people that they talk to every day. Their job is the make people aware of the church and build relationships for the church with different countries. They Lord is really helping them meet people, Soeur Peterson for example met the Ambassador from Slovakia at the gym. They like us because I help them with their computer, mostly I teach them how to blog. We count it as service.

Saturday we had a special treat. There is a member in our ward who is a Professor of communications at the local university, so he is really good at organizing things that are church related that would also be interesting to the public. This time he organized a free screening of 17 Miracles, it is a pioneer movie that came out recently in America... I guess... not really sure how well known it is. Anyway, we invited some amis and less active members to come to is and Laura, our British ami, and Bernadette, one of our less actives and her son Nathan came to the movie. And because our ami came we got to go too. So I got to go to the movies on Saturday!!! The 17 Miracles is an amazing movie, I cried several times, it is heart wrenching in some parts. It was so good, but also kinda weird because I've been along parts of the trail that they traveled and that were in the movie. It made me a little homesick for pioneer trek, weird. I loved the movie and want to see it again, their faith and confidence in God, astounds me. I hope that if I was ever asked to do something that difficult that I too would have the faith to carry on. It made me think about my goals and the cause that I am striving for. Zion still can and should be our goal. I want to try harder to follow the pioneers example to be faithful until the very end and to be continually pushing and working to get to Zion.

Much love,

Soeur Gaelin Turney

PS I'm turning 1 this week. One year ago on Thursday I went into the MTC, CRAZY!!!!!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Week 50: I Can't Believe it's Monday Again!

Bonjour tout le monde!!!!!

Well, it has started being fall. The past couple days have been very wet and windy and I wore my thick tights and boots yesterday. I am not sure I am ready for it to be really cold and be dark at 5 o'clock yet. But c'est la vie. It just means that I don't have to pay as much attention to my outfits because I just put the same coat over it everyday, it really simplifies my mornings.

Its transfers this week and Soeur Ingraham and I are staying together in Brussels! There were a lot of changes to the cities that sisters are working in. Before sister missionaries have served in big cities, especially in and around Paris. But they took both the sister companionships that were in Paris and opened up several cities that are small and in the middle of nowhere. Lots of crazy happenings, I will probably move to one more city before the end on my mission. I hope it will be in France, it will be a little strange to tell people that I served in the Paris France mission but was only in France for six weeks. Though I would enjoy seeing their confusion.

Anyway, enough blather, This week was interesting, in that we did a lot of contacting and visiting members.We had exchanges this week. Soeur Ingraham went to Liège to work with Soeur Judd and Soeur Woodward came here with me. We went to Liège to change companions and it was so strange to be back and the train station. It brought back a lot of little memories. I liked it, but it made me a little sad too. When Soeur Ingraham came back she was so excited about contacting, Soeur Judd is a contacting fiend, and Soeur Ingraham was fired up and ready to go. I have a hard time getting excited about contacting, so I am grateful for Soeur Ingraham's enthusiasm, it helps me be better.

 We eat at a member named Regina on Thursday, she is from Zambia and super cool. She speaks English and is the Young Women's President. She talked about how one of her friend's daughter's is on a mission and writes letters home every week about the people she see. She wanted to know if I was going to write about her, so I figured that I should. She gave us a box of Taquitos, which is very exciting, she also has connections at the Military base and so gets American food. It was so strange to see a bunch of boxes of Lucky Charms and Fruit Loops. We talked about Jeremiah 18:6, "O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel." I find so many ties to this scripture, having taken several ceramics classes. We need to be clay that is soft and moldable. If clay doesn't have enough water in it is is hard and breaks and you can't throw it on a pottery wheel. The water that makes us soft is humility and meekness. To get clay ready to be thrown you have to knead it kind of like dough, this gets all the particles going in the same way. God gives us trials that kneads us and helps us, if we have humility, to be soft and ready for God to shape us and change us. It is through trails that we can align ourselves with God's will. When the clay is finally ready, you smack it down exactly in the center of the wheel, it is isn't in the center the sides of whatever you make will be wobbly and not straight. If we are not centered in Christ or lives get wobbly and it is difficult keep the important things in perspective. When you throw a pot one hand is always firm guiding and stabilizing the clay while the other hand does the shaping. God is constant in out lives, we truly are in his hands as he guides and molds us.    I love making connections in the scriptures to things that I know. It was a really nice rendez-vous and Regina is pretty cool.

Friday night there was a baptism. Elder Helvey and Elder Smith's ami Merland got baptized. It makes me happy because not only is Merland solid in the gospel already, I have a part in his story. You see, Several months ago when Soeur Cope and I were in Liège, we were out contacting one day and an African guy stopped us and asked if the book we were carrying was a bible. We said no but it was like the bible would you like to learn more about it. We talked a bit and he ended telling me that I was very beautiful and if I would consider marrying him after my mission, as flattered as I was I dodged the question and we got his name (he told us it was Sarkozy) and number and left. We gave his number to the Elders and they talked with him, he was only kind interested but after a couple weeks he came to church. The next week an African guy came in to the church and sat down. I started talking to him and he said that he has been looking for a church and that his friend (Sarkozy) told him that he should come to our church because it was good. HE started meeting with the missionaries and I left Liège. I think my second Sunday he came to church with the Elder's, it took me a second to figure out who he was. He met with the elders and he got baptized. As a missionary you do a lot of things that you  don't necessarily see the results of, so it is special that I can see the fruits of contacting and how the little things we do every day really can make a difference.

Fast and testimony meeting is so interesting in our ward because there are so many languages. We already have translation for French and English, but there were several testimonies in Spanish and Portuguese that were translated to French and then to English. Savitri came one last time and thanked the ward for being welcoming and kind. She is sad that she has to switch wards. It was sweet to see how  much the church means to her. We talked to her after and she said that she feels protected now that she has come back to church. It was really funny, towards the end of Sacrament meeting a girl came up and whispered something in the Bishop's ear, then he went out. A few minutes later he came back in and said that the police were outside and whoever had this license plate needs to move their car because it is badly parked. It was Savitri's car. I can only imagine how difficult parking an excursion in Brussels would be. Plus there really isn't parking at our church which is even more difficult. I am so glad I don't have to drive. Jean, Savitri's son, was so cute, he was wearing a suit and a tie that he had tied himself, he was so proud. I am excited for them to get baptized.

One of my favorite things to say when something good happens is "THE CHURCH IS TRUE!!!" I believe it with all my heart, I hope that you know it too. I love you so much! Have a wonderful fall week!

Amour,

Soeur Gaelin Turney

Monday, October 3, 2011

Week 50: I listened to the Prophet's voice in French and English too...

So, basically General Conference is my most favorite thing in the entire world. It was so amazing! How lucky are we to have the opportunity every six months to hear from the Prophet and the apostles, that is new scripture and help from God every six months! All the missionaries in Brussels got to watch it together because it was only broadcast at the Stake center. There weren't very many people at all other than the twelve missionaries that were there, but we had a good time. On Saturday we got to watch the Relief Society general broadcast and the Saturday morning session. I think President Uchdof is one of my new favorite apostles, both his talks were the kind that just give you warm fuzzies all over, I like those ones. Though I am a little intrigued to see all the forget-me-not patterned things that are going to soon be available at a Deseret Book near you. On Saturday between the RS session and the Saturday morning session the Spanish Elders had a baptism. I am constantly being reminded just how important baptism really is. It was strange because the service was in Spanish and translated into French. I could basically follow what they were talking about because there are a good number of words that are the same in French and Spanish. Baptisms are great!

So, temples. I am so excited about all of them, two temples in Provo!!!! You can walk from one to the other in 40 minutes, that is crazy!!!!!!! Not to mention that work is going forward with the PARIS FRANCE TEMPLE. I already knew that, and there haven't been any developments, the governments still isn't cooperating but my temple was announced in General Conference! Though I was almost equally excited about the Congo Kinshasa temple, I have met so many people from the Congo, and even though I've never been I feel a connection with Africa. It made me so happy for all the Congolaise that I know, I could just see Frère Kappapula doing a little dance when he heard. And we must not forget the Starr Valley, WY temple, that President Monson himself will dedicate. I love President Monson so much, he is so funny and so inspiring.

This week has been a little strange but we had an amazing day Tuesday. We did a lot of contacting and had an amazing lesson with Lili. We gave out three copies of the Book of Mormon and got the phone number of a guy who was really interested. He had the fender of a car with him on the tram, so we decided that was cool and a good way to start a conversation. He is from Cameroon and is a mechanic. We started talking and he said that he had lots of questions that his friend had asked him and that he didn't know the answer to, like who created God and what happens to spirits after we die. I was like, well I don't know about the first one, but I do have an answer for the second question. We gave him a Book of Mormon and chapter 41 of Alma to read. He was so cool. Our lesson with Lili didn't quite go as we imagined but it was awesome. We started talking about the restoration and Joseph Smith, but the subject turned into going to church and about baptism. Lili has been to church before, her husband is a member and she has been taught by the missionaries as well. She talked about how everything that she has seen in the church is good, and that she hasn't seen bad things. She likes what we teach and she likes church. She said that she is Catholic but since she got married she is always urging her husband to go to the LDS church and that when she wants to go to church it isn't to the Catholic church it is ours. She said that her children will be baptized in the LDS church. Basically we were like, well, what about you? We set a baptismal date with her and it was so good. She already knows its good, she has seen the fruits and even if she hasn't really realized it yet she has a testimony of it. It was such a good day.

There is a new rule that is a little sad to me, I guess there have been some problems recently so we were told that we are no longer allowed to teach members of the opposite sex that are single. If we find someone we have to pass them to the Elders to teach. So, we passed Ndaboli to the Elders this week, it makes me sad. It isn't usually too bad if you don't know the people very well, but after you've taught them for a while it is hard to have to give them to someone else. We also found out that Savitri is actually in the other ward's boundaries, so we have to pass them to the Sister missionaries in Strombeek. I think everybody was a little sad, especially Savitri. She kept asking if we could still come over sometimes, "like twice a month, I still have to make curry!" They came to the session of conference that was at 11 on Sunday, which was the priesthood session, but they liked it all the same. They are so good, I am going to miss teaching them a lot. But she did say that when she gets married in the temple I have to be there, no matter where in the world I am. I said okay, there aren't any men in her near future so I've got some time to save up the money. She is so enthusiastic about the gospel, it is so refreshing.

I am so grateful that I get to be a missionary right now and that we have prophets and apostles who give us guidance, encouragement, and help us be better. The church is true! What more can I say.

I love you all,

Sœur Gaelin Turney

Monday, September 26, 2011

Week 49: We Don't Have any Orange Juice!!!

This week was really good, though poor Soeur Ingraham was sick with some nasty stomach something. This week we taught Savitri and her kids about the Plan of Salvation, Soeur Ingraham was sick for most of the day, so I made a Plan of Salvation visual aid. Funny that is took me ten months to finally make one. It was so helpful to have, it was cool because we taught them and then they taught Savitri. The gospel is amazing, even in the three weeks since I have met them she and her family have changed for the better. They are just little differences but they are there.

On Saturday on the way to a rendez-vous we met a really cool old guy. He was just leaving his house to walk his dog. He speaks seven languages, and he learned most of them while listening to people on a ham radio. I felt really cool that I knew what Ham Radios were. He has a three or four big antennas and he has talked to people in all 50 states. I should have asked for his call sign, but I know where he is so if anyone wants to get in touch with him just send it to me and I can give it to him.

There is a lot of talking around me so I am having a hard time concentrating. So sorry for the disjointed stories.

On Sunday we came home after Church for lunch and a made some phone calls. I called Rusty, he said that he was babysitting and that he had a cold, Soeur Ingraham yelled into the phone that we could bring him orange juice. Rusty was like that would be great. When I hung up I was like" We DON'T HAVE ANY ORANGE JUICE!!!! There was some on the table but she had just finished the carton. Of course it was Sunday so we couldn't go buy some. So we called the senior couple, the Halls, to beg orange juice. Luckily they had some and let us have it. We took it over to him and he was really grateful. I hope that he will come to General Conference this weekend. He started school so he is super busy.

Soeur Larsen says "Hi" She is in the other sister companionship in Brussels.

Today for p-day we had a picnic in the big park by our house with all the missionaries. We played American football; it was really fun. Though I was trying to catch the ball in the end zone but I missed it, and biffed it. I ripped a hole in my pants and skinned my knee, yeah battle wounds from the mission. I didn't catch the ball but it was cool all the same.

I love you so much,

Soeur Gaelin Turney

Monday, September 12, 2011

Week 48: Referrals are pretty much my favorite thing ever.


Some cheese Gaelin has been eating this week


I got us very lost again or rather I knew where we were but the place we were looking for wasn't where I thought it was. In my defense there are in fact three different streets named Leopold in this city. I took us to Rue Loepold I instead of Blvd Leopold II, the address just said Blvd Leopold, I think I looked at the wrong page number in the map book . We wandered around for about two hours before we found the place, only to find out that the lady we were looking for didn't live there anymore. It is starting to become a joke that I can't find anything. I do however know how the get to the important things, gaufre place, frite shop, church, home.

We met two amazing families this week, TWO!!!!! They were both referrals from the Church Headquarters referral system. The first family is from California, it is a mom, Savitri, her 4 kids and a grandmother. They live in a beautiful part of Brussels, it is a treat just going to their house. We take the tram for about half an hour. The last ten minutes or so the tram travels through a wooded foresty area that is so magical because you are riding public transportation in the middle of a forest. It is all deciduous trees and it looks like a fairy forest, the first time we tried to find their house we got off at the wrong stop, so we had to wait about 15 minutes in the middle of the woods. There was a little brick waiting area with a tram sign next to the rails and that was it, it was just Soeur Ingraham and it was so peaceful. I love nature, it is always such a pleasure to get to spend time outside of the city.


So Savitri's family. Her house is huge, so we weren't quite sure if it was the right one, but we knocked anyway. When she opened the door she was a little surprised and very excited, she said, "Come in, I've been waiting for you guys for three weeks, I am so glad to see you." That is the first time that that has ever happened to me, I kinda liked it. We talked and waited for her kids to come home from school so we could meet them. She is a member, but none of her children or her mother are baptized. John is the oldest, he is almost 12, and plays the guitar drums and piano very well. Soleil is 10, and is a little wild, but that might have only been because she had a friend over. There is another little girl who is about 2 I think. And the littlest, who is one, is named Jaguar. They had us over for breakfast Sunday morning and then we all went to church together. She has an Expedition, which is a ridiculous car to have in Europe, but it was fun to ride in, and we only had two near accidents. Elder Helvey and Elder Garcia were standing outside when we drove up, they were very jealous that we got to ride in the Expedition. We didn't get to talk after church but I know John had a good time as did the grandma. I am so excited about them. And the ward was amazing, and helped us a ton. Members are so important.

The other family is the Kabambas, they are from Africa and the husband is a member. She is not, and they a six year old girl and a five year old boy and a little tiny three week old baby girl. They are so sweet. The mom's name is Lili and she has met with the missionaries several times before. They live out in a Dutch speaking area. We had a rendez-vous with them after lunch, just as we were about to leave our apartment it started pouring rain. I had my rain coat and an umbrella but my feet and the front of my skirt got soaking wet in the two minutes it took to get to the Metro station. The rendez-vous went really well, we talked mostly about the Book of Mormon. They committed to read it together as a couple. She said that the missionaries had told her many times that she needed to pray about the Book of Mormon but that she never had, but she said that she was going to. We read Moroni chapter 7 together, it is amazing how the Holy Ghost leads us to the perfect things to say and share. Chapter 7 had everything that we had talked about in it and it made sense to her and she was like, "I know this is good because it says the same things as the Bible." She is so ready. She said that she doesn't want to come to church until after the baby gets vaccinated, but that she does want to come. I am so excited to start teaching her. As we headed home there was a beautiful double rainbow, we were standing at the corner of a street and the rainbow arched over the buildings onto the corner, it was so picturesque and beautiful. It was the perfect end to the evening.

Thank you for your prayers and love. May the spirit be with you, always,

Soeur Gaelin Turney

Week 47: Out with the old, in with the new companion

This new transfer is off to a good start, I've only gotten us lost twice! The beginning of this week was a bit crazy and a little sad with Soeur McClaine getting ready to go and packing and all that. Everyone was very sad to see her go, she had been here for about 6 months and she is practically perfect so you can't help but love her. I was pretty nervous that she was going because I don't feel very comfortable finding my way around. Soeur McClaine knew everything so I didn't have to worry about getting lost and only kind of paid attention to where we were going, bad idea. It was very sad when she got on the train to Luxembourg because it is very likely that I won't see her again before she goes home. Alas, life goes on.

My new Companion arrived about 15 minutes after Soeur McClaine left so I didn't even have time to miss her hardly. Sister Ingraham is from Farmington Utah and is going to Utah State. She likes sports and reading books. She is pretty funny and is excited to do everything about missionary work. This is only her second transfer, but she already speaks French super well. Her train was french and doesn't speak much English so she got some intense French training. It feels like no one wants to talk to us now that Soeur McClaine is gone. So we are going to be doing some hardcore finding. We have gotten several referrals though which I am excited about. I got us lost trying to find one of them. I must have read the directions that I wrote for myself wrong because we got off the tram at the terminus, which is where I thought we wanted to be off. But as it turns out that part of the city isn't in our map book, so we started walking in what I hoped would be the right direction. After about 35 minutes of walking and stopping at every street sign to try and figure out where we were I realised in contemplating the metro map that we wanted to get off the tram 4 stops before the end of the line. So we had to turn around and walk back to the tram, by that time we didn't have enough time to go find the house before our next rendez-vous. So, we had a very lovely walk along a foresty road in a dutch part of the Brussels suburbs. It was a beautiful day so it was pleasant, but i don't know that it gave Soeur Ingraham much confidence in my abilities as Senior Companion.

The other time I got us lost was trying to contact another referral in another dutch speaking area. We had to take a train, which is always a little nerve wracking when you've never been there before. Maiden voyages on trains are always stressful because there is always the slight chance you are on the wrong train and you that you are going to end up is Zurich or Eupen or something. We got on the right train and we got to Hal, which is the town we were looking for. We got on one of the streets on my map but i turned too early so we wandered up and down the same street a couple times before we finally made it. Dutch is a crazy looking language there are tons of consonants all stuffed into the same word and some of the words are twenty eight letters long and have three vowels. But is kind of sounds like English is you can only sort of hear what people are saying. It throws me off every time. The lady we were trying to see ended up not being home, we headed back to the train station, I realised that all of the trains and destinations were in Dutch and that every city has a French name and a Dutch name, I was pretty sure that Zuid Station was the same a Gare du Midi, but there was definitely a little moment of panic, we hopped on a train that was leaving right then. Luckily is was the right train and we got back to Brussels with no problem. I don't know why anyone would want to be senior companion, it just means you have to do a lot more work and be more stressed out.

The testimonies during fast and testimony meeting on Sunday all had the same theme of change and holding on the the constant rock of the gospel throughout the storms of life. I love that the gospel helps everyone, no matter their age or the problem. The gospel is a source of hope and help when you don't know where else to turn. It is hard sometimes when I meet people and learn about their lives and problems, I know that the answers and the help that they are looking for is the gospel. But they often don't believe us, or won't try it long enough to see that its true. Reading the scriptures, prayer, and going to church really do hold the answer to every problem that you can experience in this life. I wish more people could see how putting God first and trusting Him to take care of you is how to overcome the hard things in life, and that the miracles come after the trial of our faith.

I hope you all have the best week ever!

Amour,

Soeur Gaelin Turney

Monday, August 29, 2011

Week 46: It's the end of the world as we know it...or at least it looks like it

Well, it's transfer week and Soeur McClaine is leaving me to go to Luxembourg for good this time. My new companion is Soeur Ingraham, she was in Paris before. This will be her second transfer so she will still be blue, I am a little nervous but really excited, I want her to start out her mission well and her trainer is amazing, so I hope she's not disappointed.

So I was pretty sure the end of the world was happening on Tuesday. We were having studies when the sky got really dark, it was about 8:30 or 9 so it was pretty light, then in about 4 minutes the sky was black and it looked like it was night time, the clouds were super low and menacing and it was pretty creepy. We were expecting something to happen but after about ten minutes or so the sky lightened again and everything was back to normal. It was so weird and nerve wracking. It has been pretty stormy lately there was a huge downpour with hail about a week ago and there was an outdoor music festival and five people died because of the hail and everything falling down from the rain and wind, crazy! I think that is what made Tuesday so scary is because we were expecting some huge deluge and than nothing happened. I am glad the end hasn't happened yet in any case.

This week was a bit of an up and down kind of week. We had a ton of rendez-vous set, but every single on of them either was cancelled or didn't show up. It was kind of frustrating, luckily we have Rusty who isn't really doing anything at the moment, we were able to see him a couple times this week. He is so interesting, we've started giving him specific chapters to read and then we discuss them. Everything he has read so far he has really liked. We talked about God having a body and that was a little hard for him to accept, we asked him to pray and meditate about it, because it is a very different concept from his belief about God right now. We asked what his mother thinks about him meeting with us and he said that she was not very happy about it at all. Please pray for him.

We had our first Zone conference with President Poznanski on Wednesday, it was all in French and so good. He talked about his vision for the mission and the goals we have set as a mission. He wants us to increase the work we do with members, to build trust and to teach with them. He shared a quote that I really liked by Elder Richard G. Scott "To reach a goal you have never before attained, you must do things you have never done before." It really make me think about the things that I am doing now and what I need to change to be better and to reach our goals as a mission. One of our goals is to teach 20 lessons a week and to try and to teach half of them with a member. The most lessons I have ever taught in a week was twelve, so 20 lessons is going to take some effort but I feel confident that we will get there if we work hard enough. The Holy Ghost is the key to missionary work, if we are obedient and humble we will be lead to the people that we need to find, I have high hopes for this next transfer, I feel like there are so many miracles waiting to happen.

I met an amazing member this week, her name is Bernadette she is from the Congo and is one of the most incredible women I have ever met. She is less active but she did come to church this week. She was had a really hard life, she has had so many horrible things happen to her but she has an amazing faith in God. She loves God and has so much charity for others she prays and fasts for everybody and just wants to do what is right and to find peace. She is an artist as well and has some really beautiful paintings on her walls. I am constantly amazed at the people that I meet, to hear their stories and to see how God has touched their lives. I think that is one of the most precious things about a mission, meeting people and talking to them about life and God and about the things that really do matter.

Love and gross bises

Soeur Gaelin Turney

Week 45: The bestest Brussels Birthday ever!!!



This morning when I woke up there was a rainbow right next to the rising sun, it was the perfect beginning to my p-day birthday, Soeur McClaine took me out to lunch at a cute little Chinese restaurant where they make their own noodles fresh. It was delicious. Then all the missionaries in Brussels, ten in all, met up to get ice cream at a place called Zizi Glace for birthday ice cream. My ice cream came with a candle in it, it was so fun.

This week was crazy, Tuesday we had a really great district meeting and then we had to run to the train station so that soeur McClaine could leave for Luxembourg on exchanges. Soeur Bell came to Brussels, she is very energetic and was so excited to be in Belgium. She kind of reminded me of Sister Whitworth. Cute and smiley all the time. We had a good time together. Thursday Soeur McClaine and I went to Lille, France for her legality. It was nice to be together again, I love exchanges but i am always so grateful to have my real companion back. We had a real french lunch, with bread cheese, pure fruit juice and a large chocolate pastry.

I am always amazed at the power of music. We had two rendez-vous this week where hymns that we sang touched the people we were teaching. One was Ndaboli, an African man that we taught the Plan of Salvation to. For the closing song we sang I am a Child of God, as we sang it he got tears in his eyes and after we were done he said what a beautiful song because it was a song that thanked God for our knowledge but also asked for help. And the other was Joseph a new ami of ours that we met about a week ago. We sang How Great Thou Art, he said that it was his favorite song and that it was just another sign for him that God had led him to us. Music is powerful and brings the spirit, I love singing and that we are a church that sings.

We had a ton of mangez-vous this week. On Saturday We had two in a row, I was so full I could hardly move. Members always make so much food and expect you to eat lots, so you try to and always leave feeling slightly bloated, and then we had to do it again, luckily we got lost finding the second place so we could digest a little. Don't get me wrong I love eating at members houses, but it was poor planning on our part. The food was so good at both of them, then the next night we had another. We were very spoiled this week with food.

Saturday was ten months!! Crazy!

Rusty is doing well, we had two really good rendez-vous with him. We talked about Jesus Christ as our savior and about His atonement. What is was and how we cannot reach perfection on our own.How Christ is central to God's plan and because of who he was and what he did for us there is one way to salvation, one faith and one baptism. The spirit was very strong and we keep reaching new vistas of understanding with him. I love teaching him because he is actively searching and h e has so much knowledge already, and he believes everything that we talk about.

I love you all so much, Dieu soyez avec vous tous!

Soeur Gaelin Turney




Week 44: You're following the spirit aren't you...

Happy Immaculate Conception day, Europeans have strange holidays that they use as an excuse to close everything. The cool thing is that we get to go on a tour of the king's palace, which isn't normally open on Mondays but because it is a holiday we get to go and its free!!! Missionaries are all about free things I have learned. Pictures next week of all the cool things I am going to see.

This week we received a referral from an old missionary, he gave us the information of a young African family that have two cute kids. We just had their address so we stopped by, and they were home, AND they let us in. It was amazing that hardly ever happen let alone on the first try. We talked about the Book Of Mormon and the dad still had his copy, he said that he used to go to church, but he hasn't been in a while. They were so nice, I hope we can continue teaching them. Families are so great, we are told to search for families to teach. Families are so important to God's plan and I love imagining families being baptised and sealed together.

We had a super rendez-vous with Atinasu about the plan of Salvation. We taught with a member, Claude. It was so good, Atinasu said that he knew Joseph Smith was a prophet, and he said that he would read the Book Of Mormon AND his chess books not just his chess books. That is progress, especially because he has two really big chess tournaments the next two weeks. I love the Plan of Salvation and I love teaching people about it too. There is so much hope and so many answers in the plan.

Rusty has been progressing too. On Saturday we had a really intense rendez-vous, he has been having some concerns about authority. Be we talked about Jesus Christ and prophets and why we believe that there is only one church with the authority. Finally I asked, do you think that you can reach the level of spirituality that you want to by being a member of our church. He said, yes I think so, no i know that I would. Then I said, what is keeping you from becoming a member of our church. He just looked kind of stunned for a second like he couldn't quite comprehend how to answer. Then he said, your following the spirit aren't you, you just hit that nail on the head. He said he didn't know right then what was keeping him but he that he would meditate about what we had talked about. He also came to church, it was an interesting Sunday, we talked about the importance of work, exaltation, and eternal marriage. We are seeing him again tonight. I feel that he is one of the people that I was sent to teach as a missionary.

We had a really good experience with district finding. We were just outside of a Metro so there were lots of people. I drew the Plan of Salvation in chalk on the sidewalk, not cobblestones this week. We talked to a lot of people and a got three phone numbers. I love teaching people about the gospel!

I hope you are all happy and righteous

Love,

Soeur Gaelin Turney

Monday, August 8, 2011

Week 43:"Vous avez des beau yeux..."

Bonjour!!

 We took advantage of the sun last Pday and went to Grande Place, it is the heart of the old city, and were they had marchés and all the big goings on. It is so beautiful, the buildings are ornate and old. It was full of tourists but it was fun anyway. We went to a museum about Brussels and there was a Mannikin-Pis statue that we could put our face in, which we did. I don't really know why but one of the things that is famous in Brussels is a statue of a little boy peeing. There are stores devoted to it and they even make chocolate replica that are bigger than the statue is in real life. There is even a Metro stop named Mannikin-Pis. It is a bit crude but endearing in an odd sort of way. I guess it is just part of being in Brussels.



 
On Tuesday we were in a threesome because Soeur Larsen had to go to Paris for a meeting. So, Soeur Emilcy (she's from the West Indies!) got to hang out with us. We had a full day with all our rendez-vous. Our favorite one was with Thierry and his friend Jean. They are both Belgian and in their late forties. Theirry seems to have a genuine interest in the gospel and asked Soeur McClaine and I how we came to know that the church is true. It was really good, we both testified of the Holy Spirit testify to us that it is true through prayer and scripture study. It would have been a truly wonderful lesson except that Jean was slightly inebriated and kept interrupting to tell me I had beautiful eyes ("Vous avez des beau yeux" ) and asking me if I was going to get married after my mission and have Mormon babies.(Vous voulez un bébé mormon?") To which I answered that yes I was in fact going to marry a Mormon and that children are part of the plan. Slightly awkward, but very funny after we had left. I definitely do not like alcohol, it makes me so sad to see what it does to people. It was a good rendez-vous  in spite if the interruptions and I hope that we helped both of them at least a little.
 
On Friday we had a District Finding Activity. Our whole district (The zone leaders Elder Helvy and Elder Anderson, the District Leader Elder Canonica and his companion Elder Haviraa and the Senior Sisters from Germany, Soeur Progler and Soeur Seeborg, and Soeur McClaine and I ) all went to a big square and made a chalk drawing of the Plan of Salvation and then talked to the people that stopped by to look. Drawing on cobble stones was a new adventure, but I imagine that I will get pretty good at it. I love talking about the Plan of Salvation, it brigs people so much hope and peace. The alligator fountain was near the place where we contacted people and i thought it was cool. There are so many cool things like that everywhere you go in Europe. You can be walking down the street and there is suddenly a castle tower wedged between the frite store and the six story apartment building. I feel so lucky to be able to spend so much time in these places.


 
We had a special treat on Sunday, there was a group from Utah, The Rocky Mountain Strings, that came to Sacrament meeting and played for us, and then had a concert in the evening. They were ages 8 to 14 and played the violin, I was a bit skeptical about their skill level at first but they were amazing. There were about 25 of them and it was so fun to watch them. The concert was really good, they played mostly classical pieces but they did play a medley of West Side Story songs and their last number was a hoedown fiddle tune. It was also cool because afterwards they were just as excited to see missionaries and we were to so they. They thought we were so cool, it was kind of strange, because people here don't usually get that excited to see us, but they were. I love music, I think I have grown to love it more as a missionary because I can't listen to just any music anytime I want. not listening to it all the time makes me appreciate the power and influence that good music has. I am so glad that singing hymns is part of how we worship God on Sundays. The song of the righteous really can be a prayer to God. It was a really good end for the week.
 
I hope that all is well on the home front and that there is sunshine and happiness all around.
 
Je vous adore, tous!!
 
Soeur Gaelin Turney

Monday, August 1, 2011

Week 42: Here Comes the Sun, Doo Doo Doo Doo!

There is sunshine in Brus-sels today!!! Hurrah I think that today is the first day in about 3 months that is hasn't been cloudy and grey. I'm so happy! 

Last Monday we had dinner at a member's house. Wilma is from the Philippines. She had also invited Audrie over. Audrie is a less active young mother with the cutest little baby in the world. Wilma made chicken and it was so good. We talked a lot and Audrie said that she would come to church if we came and picked her up. On Sunday we got up at 6 to get ready and pick her up. It is amazing to me how empty a city feels at 8 o'clock on a Sunday morning. It was so calm and peaceful. Audrie was ready when we got there and looking so cute, you could just see how happy she was to be at church. I think that is one of my favorite things about being a missionary, seeing the happiness that people find from living the gospel. That is truly where happiness lies. 

Also last Monday for P-day we went to a really beautiful humongous park, there were lots of lawns, statues, ponds, and foresty places. There was a pond with turtles sunning themselves and my favorite part being that we found Pemberly, though no Colin Firths. The park was also the place where Belgium and Luxembourg were dedicated for missionary work. I have a copy of the dedication prayer, it has some amazing promises for the work in Belgium. I am grateful that I am a part of it.







Pepin is a recent convert that Soeur McClaine taught and baptised, he had to go back to Africa Sunday for work, so we had a party yesterday at church for him. There aren't any churches in his country so we showed him lds.org
 so he can watch conference talks on Sundays. We are trying to get more info on the closest churches for him as well. He is so excited about the gospel and we talked a lot about being a missionary and teaching the people back home about the gospel. I think that he will.
  
Soeur McClaine and I made lasagne for dinner Friday night. I know that some of you will be shocked to hear it but we did and it was delicious. As you can see by Soeur McClaine's face we were very excited about it. 




One of our ami's, Rusty is from Romania, and he speaks practically perfect English. He is about 30 and has studied a lot of religions and faiths and works very hard to be spiritual. He works in what he calls a "hippie shop." So of course I like pretty much everything in it. It is mostly things from India, and they are all bright colored. He gets really bored at work so we sometimes go and see him there. It is amazing how much knowledge he already has. He basically believes in the Plan of Salvation already. It is a testimony to me that each of us has the light of Christ and that God gives us light and knowledge as we search for it. The Holy Ghost really does testify of the truth of all things, to all the humble seekers of truth. I hope that Rusty will decide some day to get baptized because the way the Church is set up will help him to reach the level of spirituality that he is searching for. 

I am loving Brussels there are so many things to learn and so many different interesting people to meet. The diversity is wonderful and there is also so much work to be done. I am excited to do it. 

Much love!!

Soeur Gaelin Turney