Monday, May 23, 2011

Week 32: Is Ping Pong Really a Sport?

Hello everybodeeee!

I have decided that I would make a really good weather person, I have guessed wrong about what to wear every day this week, I either wear too many clothes and burn up or not enough and freeze, but other than that it been a great week. 

On Tuesday we went to Clair's house, she fell last Saturday and hurt her knee which is why she didn't come to church. We read parts of Ether 12 and Moroni 7 with her and talked about Charity. When we read Moroni 7:45 she was like, "Woo, charity is hard."  It is true, but that is why it tells us to pray for it with all the energy with our heart. All the other commandments are encompassed in charity and without it we are nothing. It was a really good lesson, the spirit was really strong. Claire has a lot of faith, I am glad I get to teach her and learn from her. 

We had leadership training on Wednesday in Lille, France. Which is 2 hours away by car and three hours away by train. I love trainings. It is a time that I can refocus on the essentials and I get to learn how to be a better missionary. And it is fun to see lots of missionaries all at once. Large groups of missionaries are always fun. In the second half of the training we watched The Quest; it was a short film about a one armed young man named Billy Peck who did everything he could to do what he said he'd do. Billy is a real 'go getter'.  It was a little corny but the message was clear. Diligence is important and that sometimes the things we are asked to do have a greater purpose that we can see with our understanding right now. I think the thing that I love the most about trainings is the determination I have when I leave to be the best that I can be. That is why I love going to church too; it is a time to be spiritually strengthened and helps me prepare myself for the week. I wish I could help my amis and the less active member I work with understand how important going to church really is, and help them to love it as much as I do. 

We played Ping Pong at Samedi Sports this week. I am terrible at Ping Pong. We ended up playing around the world ping pong which is lots more fun than the normal game. Today on our way to the grocery store we were stopped by a young African man who asked us if we were the sisters in English. We answered that yes we were in fact the sister missionaries. He said that he had met with sisters in Sweden and that he had been in Liège for about 4 months. We got his number and invited him to Ping pong this next Saturday; I am excited it should be good. He seemed genuinely excited to see us (the missionaries not just girls that would stop and talk to him) yay! 

I think our work is starting to pay off, we have several referrals and some good rendez-vous set up, it is going to be a good week.

 Thank you all for your prayers and love,
Soeur Gaelin Turney

The quote of the week is: "Gee, Brain; what do you want to do today?" "Same thing we do every day Pinky, try to make us a ward!"

Monday, May 16, 2011

Week 31: Tut, Tut It Looks Like Rain

Happy Monday everybody!

This week was quite a busy one and just kept getting busier as it went along.

Tuesday we had a lesson with Claire, she has been working on and off with the missionaries for at least a year and has had at least 5 baptismal dates but crazy things keep happening. We just recently started working with her, she has a lot of faith and she loves the Book of Mormon her copy is all tabbed and highlighted. She is also a talker so lessons are hard to keep in a linear direction. We often start off with a scripture and then she just goes from there. We  do our best to make connections back to the point we are making, though sometimes she just keeps right on going. She is so good, we shared 2 Nephi 4 with her, I love that Nephi states that in spite of all his weaknesses and failings, that it is in God that he has put his trust. That is where true peace is found, by putting your trust in God. Claire has some back problems so we are waiting for her to have her next doctor's appointment to know whether or not we can proceed with a baptism or if she is going to need back surgery. We shall see.

On Wednesday we went with the Skousens ( the senior couple in Liège) to visit a young adult that got baptized last year and hasn't been to church the past 3 weeks. Her name Auralie and she is really sweet.   She and her mother live way out in the country. It was the first time I ever met her mother, who is not a member. They are both a lot of fun, we are going to start visiting them every other week or so because I think that they could both use a bit of sister missionary love. There are a lot of lees active or inactive members in our area because a lot of them live a long way from the church and a lot of them don't have cars. The buses are good, but they aren't very frequent on Sundays. That is one of the things we struggle with the most, some people are just too far away.     

So, we got a call Tuesday evening from the secretary in the mission office telling me that I had my Belgium legality appointment in Brussels this Friday and that I needed to be there at 11:30. Rita had also asked us to help her because her granddaughter's birthday was this weekend and she asked Rita to make cupcakes. We had showed Rita how to make them once but she has never made them herself and was worried about messing it up, so she asked us to make the batter and she would cook them. We  had planned on doing that Friday as well and then bringing the batter to English class for Rita to take home. So, Friday morning I got up made two very large bowls full of cake batter, got ready and hopped on a train to Brussels. Soeur Cope and I met the Brussels Zone Leaders there, and we waited for about an hour for the group from Paris, as there was a strike of some kind in Paris and the other missionaries had missed the train. So, after everyone arrived we went to the prefecture signed a couple of papers and then headed back to the train station. We headed back to Liège, stopped by our apartment to grab our stuff for english class and caught the 17 towards the church. Our branch mission leader was late to our coordination meeting so Sour Cope talked with him while I taught English class. (We learned about cooking and making things plural) Then we had our lesson with Jacqueline and went home and crashed. It was a crazy day for sure. I am however now legal in the country I am living in, and three of the four sisters that were in the MTC with me were there so we got a picture together, Soeur Williams had to stay in Paris or it would have been a reunion.

Saturday morning we had a Helping Hands service project. I am still a bit unsure as to the purpose of our actions but what we did was this: we sorted plastic bottle caps that people had collected and donated. I think that the bottle caps were somehow used to help handicapped people get new wheelchairs. There were quite a few things lost in translation on this one. It was really fun though, we were in this room in an old sort of crumbly building, the building was behind a really beautiful old school. There were about 14 of us in the room around a table piled with plastic bottle caps. In our two hours I think that we sorted all the caps that the they had to sort. It was so nice to spend some time working and serving with a group, I love service projects. I love the feeling you have after you help someone else. That is truly what the gospel of Jesus Christ is all about. Isn't wonderful that when we are in the service of our fellow beings we are only in the service of our God. 

I love this gospel and I love you! Bonne Semaine! [Have a good week!]

Soeur Gaellin Turney 

PS Today Soeur Cope and I went to the aquarium here in Liège, it was pretty awesome, my favorite part was the California Crayfish that they had, he was a pretty good size and had one claw that looked mighty tasty! 

The Aquarium

The Meuse River, which runs through Liege

[P.S. from Paige -- We finally figured out how to say Liege after talking to Gaelin on the phone. It's pronounced Lee-Esh -- kind of. If you're an American, anyway.]

Monday, May 9, 2011

Week 30: Whoever Decided to Let Missionaries Call Home Shall be Called Blessed by All Missionaries Everywhere

Soeur Cope, Gaelin's new companion.
She is from Provo.
HAPPY MOTHERS DAY to all you  mommies, and not mommies, and soon to be mommies, and to anyone else who wants to have a happy mother's day. 

This has been a long but good week, we started of the week by making a large batch of cookies and stopping by members' houses for a treat and a spiritual thought, this week's theme was on prayer, 2 Nephi 9:52. We had some really good talks with members, it was fun to get to know them better. Ming Qi is a young adult that is less active that we have been trying to visit and hopefully get reactivated. We were able to stop by for a few minutes and give her some chocolate chip study aids and a spiritual pep talk. Exams are starting soon so it is going to be difficult for any young adults to come to activities and especially it seems for the Asian ones, like Ming Qi. I told her about how I always pray before tests for Heavenly Father to help me remember the things I studied, I hope it helps her. She is so sweet I really want her to come to church! 

Wednesday we had a training in Namur by the person in charge of stake missionary work for our stake, he has a background in CES so he is really good. He talked about building trust with the members by being obedient, asking questions to find out about them and to help them feel the spirit. I love trainings because they always remotivate me to work even harder and to be a little better. 

Thursday and Friday we  had some beautifully planned out days but there was a bus strike so we couldn't do what we wanted to do. we went contacting instead, which is not as effective as other things we do. We also walked to the church which we found out takes 47 minutes to get to from our house. Luckily the buses were working again Saturday and Sunday. 

Saturday we taught Christiane's 8 year old daughter Sabrina about the restoration of the gospel. She is so cute and she asks some really good questions. She wanted to know if her getting baptized and repenting made Jesus' suffering any less. I wasn't really sure what to say, but I thought it was sweet. I made a Joseph Smith coloring page for her, I am excited to come up with fun things to help teach her. 

Church on Sunday was really good, the Relief society lesson was about tithing. You could tell that many of the sisters had a strong testimony of tithing and that they had put God's promise to the test, that is if they paid their tithing, God would pour out blessings that there would not be room enough to receive them. The spirit was really strong as the different sisters shared their experiences. I think that is the reason I love church and why going to church is so important, feeling the spirit as others bare witness of the things that they know. 

This morning during French studies we heard a noise that sounded like trumpets being tuned and whistles blowing. We went out on our balcony and down below was a military marching band and a platoon of army men and another division of the military I don't know which one, and behind them about thirty little old men in uniforms of various types. They got themselves ready and the band started play and they all marched off down the street. It was so cool, I wave no idea what is was for but it brought joy to my heart. It makes me wish there was a parade outside every day. 

I love you  and am grateful for you all,
May the spirit be with you, always.

Soeur Gaelin Turney

Sr. Turney and Katie, the YSA she went on exchanges with

Gaelin's apartment building in Liege

Monday, May 2, 2011

Week 29: Transfer four is off to a Good Start

Happy May day everyone!!

So, transfers occurred without any major problems, surprise! Soeur Williams train down to Paris left at 6:40 in the morning, I was helping her haul her luggage on board and almost got stuck on the train, I managed to escape just in time, the lady standing next to us just laughed. My new companion Soeur Cope didn't arrive until 2 in the afternoon, so I had a lot of time to myself, it was so weird, nice but weird. I can't imagine what it is going to be like when I go home, and I am alone all the time...I am going to be so awkward, ha. We had dinner at Rita's House Wednesday night, a very tasty seafood pasta. Rita's friend Sarah showed up about halfway through dinner and stayed for the lesson too. We had decided to talk about the Book of Mormon so it was perfect. We gave Sarah a copy of the Book of Mormon as we left and she said she would read it, YES!!! 

On Thursday on our way to the Young Single Adult council meeting we found Carmen San Diego. There was this girl with long dark hair in a red coat and hat and look just like her, it was cool. If you ever  wanted to know, Carmen lives in Liège and works at a place called Vie Feminine. 

Saturday was awesome.  We had a young Single Adult missionary activity. We went to the church at about 10 to help get lunch ready, baguette sandwiches! Then we had lunch and a spiritual thought and were organized into companionships with the Young Adults. One of the sister companionships from Brussels came down so that we could go on splits, as there are a lot more female young adults then male ones, as usual. I was paired with Katie Fonicello, I took a picture of us but of course didn't bring my camera today. There were about 12 of us all together and we all got on the bus and headed into the city center to go contacting. Katie and I went to an area called Pont D'Avroy, it is a shopping area so there were a lot of people. Katie was so good at contacting, she would pick out who to talk to and I would start the conversation and she would jump in at the perfect time it was awesome. We gave out a couple of cards with information about young adult activities and got one phone number. Then we headed back to the church, we had a testimony meeting where we shared what we learned. and then there was an Easter egg hunt out side for us. Then there was a baptism of a boy named Zakary in our branch. It was a long day but is was so fun. 

I was reading in Doctrine and Covenants 6 this week and found something interesting, in verse 19 Oliver is counseled to have patience, faith, hope, and charity. I think that often there is a time factor in the changes that we are trying to make in ourselves and as we deal with other people. It is important to have faith, hope and charity but we also have to have patience that they will come, patience with ourselves especially. I think one of the hardest things for me to remember is that change takes time. I can't expect the people I am teaching to change in one day, they need time to learn and figure things out on their own. This is the Lord's work and it will be done in the Lord's time, too, and I have to have the faith and hope that I will have the charity I need if I am patient and keep working towards it. 

I am so excited for this new transfer and that I get to work with Soeur Cope, I am excited for the work we are going to do, we  have a list of people we are going to focus on and places and times to go contacting, I am excited to get out and work, I love spending a whole day doing the things that the Lord would do. There is no greater joy than that. 

I love you all, 

Soeur Gaelin Turney