Monday, June 27, 2011

Week 37: Miracles Happen Once in a While!!

This week has been full of small miracles,

Tuesday evening we had a rendez-vous with Fifi Beya, an inactive member who hasn't been to church since she moved to Liège about 6 months ago. She has two grown sons who were living in Brussels. One of them has decided to send in his mission papers, and I think that has made all the difference for Fifi. When we saw her she was so happy and she introduced us to her brother who is going to be living with her until the end of the year. His name is Paul and he is not a member. He has met with the missionaries a couple of times but was very confused about the Book of Mormon and its relation to the Bible. We had planned to talk to Fifi about Joseph Smith, so it was a perfect lesson about the restoration. I think it was the best first lesson I have ever taught. Fifi testified about the church and shared her conversion story. It was so cool to see not only the understanding that Paul had, but also the change in Fifi. She invited us and the Elders over for a meal after church on fast Sunday. She laughed really hard as she told us she is making spicy African food and that we are all going to cry, I said "yep 'cause I am a sissy when it comes to spicy food," though not quite in those words,  I don't know the French word for "sissy." She didn't come to church yesterday, but I have high hopes for next week. Paul also said that he wanted to study the Book of Mormon with us, yes!

After our rendez-vous with Fifi we had about an hour before we needed to go home so we decided to do some contacting, as we were deciding which direction to go I decided to call Christiane to see if we could see her. We haven't seen her for a couple of weeks and her phone had been off for a few days so we were a little concerned. I called her and she answered finally and said we could come over the next day. Then as we went contacting, we found ourselves near Legrand's house, so we decided to call him too. He answered the phone too! He explained that he had been out of the country for two weeks and it was too expensive to answer the phone, but we set up a rendez-vous with him too. We finished our contacting in the park by our apartment, there is a preschool in the park and they keep rabbits in the gated off school yard. There were probably twenty little bunnies hopping around, including the cutest little baby bunnies. it was so precious. So, in the end it was an amazing evening, everything that happened was a miracle of one kind or another.

Wednesday was emotionally difficult; we had rendez-vous with Christiane and Jean-Baptiste. Both were a bit of a struggle to get through, and rather emotionally draining. But they both set up a base for the next rendez-vous that we had. We found out their needs and in the next rendez-vous we were able to meet those needs. Luckily we had dinner with Rita and she is so kind and sweet. Plus dinner was bread and cheese, in many wonderful verities. Rita likes mild cheeses as do I so I liked them all, my favorite was the Brin de Paille, it was a soft cheese a little firmer than brie, it is delicious! She let us take the leftovers home.

Thursday we saw Aurelie and her mother Rosemarie, Aurelie was baptized in December but hasn't been to church in about two months. It was a miracle because we have been trying to see them for about a transfer now, and we finally got to. They bought us lunch, hamburgers and frites, they deep fried the hamburger patties, it was good but I was slightly horrified. Our lesson with them was really good, we started to talk about how we can nourish our faith, but the conversation quickly moved to the Plan of Salvation. A family member died last week and Rosemarie, who is not a member, had a lot of questions about death and where Papi was now. It was cool because Aurelie explained a lot of the points to Rosemarie. I think we are going to teach Rosemarie and in doing so strengthen Aurelie too. They are both really cool people I am excited to see them again.

Sunday after church we decided to stop by an inactive family, the Darchevilles, pass bys are very rarely effective, but this time they were home and they let us in, the mom and 8 year old daughter were very happy to see us and they invited us to see them again. 

This week we were able to see so many people and meet so many new people too, it was truly miraculous.

I hope all is well on the home front and I love y'all!

Soeur Gaelin Turney

Monday, June 20, 2011

Week 36: Bus Greves and Rainy Weather and Sad Good Byes, Oh My

Hello Everybody!!

I don't know how to begin to describe all the things that happened this week but we'll do our best.

Tuesday we blazed trails into the great unknown. Each companionship gets 5 less active families to work with, one of ours is a woman named Annick Bragard, and her son. They live in a town called Theux, pronounced Teuh. Theux is not on any of the maps we own, and we have at least 4, so figuring out how to get there was a bit tricky. Luckily Elder Skousen had a big map and we figured out that we needed to go to Verviers (the place with the screaming Italian lady) and then take a bus from Verviers to Theux. We decided to take two buses instead of the train. It took an hour and a half to get to Verviers and then another hour to get to Theux. because we had no map of Theux we had no idea where we were or where to go. Luckily we were able to find the tourist office and figured out where we needed to go. Theux is a beautiful little town in the middle of forested hills, like most European town there is a river that runs through it. It is a truly picturesque place. We ended up not being able to find the house her house number being 183 and the numbers on the street ended at 125. I do not understand European streets at all, but it is very possible that there is another street with a similar or the same name. We waited an hour for the bus back and then took the two and a half bus ride back. Now the cool missionary part of this story. While we were waiting for the bus in Verviers, on the way to Theux, and African man named Philippe came up and started talking to us, he happened to be taking the same bus as we were so we were able to talk to him for about 40 minutes. He lives pretty far away, so we were hesitant to ask if he wanted to learn more, but he said that he comes to Liège often on the weekends. It was so cool, even though we didn't see the person we went out there to see we met someone who seems very open to the gospel. Plus the countryside is so beautiful!



Wednesday Thursday and Friday there was a bus strike, which always makes missionary work more interesting. Wednesday was very long, I think we walked about 25 Kilometers We were able to have Rendez-vous with Jean-Baptiste and Rita so it was good. Soeur Cope and I were both dead by the time we got home. Luckily Rita's daughter was at her house and she gave us a ride home in exchange for helping her daughter with her English homework. It was a tender mercy, I don't know if we would have made it home if we had had to walk. But we survived, and I am sure that the Lord helped us, because I know we would not have made it from Seraing to Bressoux in two hours if there weren't angels helping us.  

Luckily for us we had Zone Conference in Lille Thursday so we missed day two of the bus strike. I learned a lot of good stuff, but it was a sad affair because it was our last time seeing President and Soeur Staheli as they are done the 28th of June. Soeur Staheli talked about becoming. I have been thinking a lot about who I am now and who I want to be at the end of my mission and at the end of my life. Elder Scott gave a talk last October conference about the changing power of faith and character. You should read it. It is the little choices that we make everyday that determines who we become.

Me with the Stahelis

My district from last transfer: me, Soeur Cope, Elder McQuay, Elder Anderus, Elder wood, Elder Paoli, Soeur Skousen and Elder Skousen

Friday we had a rendez-vous with Jean-Baptiste about the law of chastity. I am not sure he got it. After we explained it he was like yeah I believe in that and pulls a condom out of his wallet. Soeur Cope and I were but a little like AAAGH!!! But we kept our  cool, I think we are going to teach it again. We saw him again Saturday and the lesson went really well. We talked about the importance of the scriptures and taught him about prayer. He had been struggling to understand that prayer is a communication between us and God, and that you talk to Him like you talk to other people. The spirit was really strong, but he gave the prayer at the end and it was good, he ended it with the Lord's prayer but it is a start. Unfortunately I think we are going to have to change the baptismal date because he is having a hard time with a couple of the commandments, so please pray for him. He has a good heart and he has been searching for the truth for a long time.

After church we stopped by and saw Ming Qi, she only has one more exam left so I think she is relaxing a little, we talked about the Book of Mormon and how we can find the answers to prayers. She talked about how even though she doesn't read it a lot, that when she is having a hard time she says a little prayer and opens to a page and she always finds a scripture that helps her, and she said she is going to try to start reading it regularly, yes!! Unfortunately after she is done with her exams she is going to China to see her family for a month so we won't be able to see her. I think we will try to see her once more before she leaves.

A Happy Father's Day to all you Dad's out there, I hope it was a good one!

Grosses Bises!!

Soeur Gaelin Turney

Monday, June 13, 2011

Week 35: I Feel a Bit Like Wally Kessler I Think, Not the Ordinary

Bonjour tout le monde!

This week was pretty amazing, mainly because Jean Baptiste wants to be baptized!!!!!  We had 4 rendez-vous with him last week, he is so receptive of the gospel. And he loves learning about our church. Wednesday we talked about the plan of Salvation, and he was so grateful to understand why we are here on earth and that God has a plan for us and that there is a reason that the earth was created. Friday we talked about Joseph Smith and priesthood authority and the power of the Holy Ghost.  He said, so my baptism with the Catholics isn't valid because they don't have the authority, yes!! We had the November 2010 issue of the Liahona magazine and we showed him the picture of President Monson and the apostles and explained what the Liahona is. He was so excited he practically snatched it out of Soeur Cope's hands and started reading it. He stopped at the talk "Rest Unto Your Souls" by Elder Malm. He said this is what I am searching for, I want rest for my soul. We told him he could have it. We let him keep the Ensign because he was so excited about it. The next day, Saturday, he was so happy about the Liahona, he told us he had read all evening and some more this morning. We talked about how it is through the cleansing power of the Holy Ghost that he can have the rest he is looking for, and cleansing comes with baptism. We talked some more and he asked us what he has to do to be baptized in our church, it was so amazing. We are hoping to have his baptism the 2nd of July, I am so happy!! Sunday was fast and testimony meeting because we had Stake Conference last week, he fasted and he loved testimony meeting. I think he likes the involvement that our church has, it is an active religion. He also likes that we can share our ideas and discuss things openly in Sunday school. He truly amazes me. We had a lesson after church with Jean Baptiste and Soeur Stumont, about the Word of Wisdom it was really good. He liked the part about the destroying angel passing us by. He told soeur Stumont that he like us and that I taught with a stick in hand like Moses and Soeur Cope is loving like Jesus. I don't really know what that means, I felt that I was being loving but I guess things come out more blunted than I think they do. Ah, well it hasn't seemed to hinder his progress at all. 

It is a little weird to think that transfers happened this week, our district meeting on Tuesday seems so long ago. Our new Zone leader who is replacing Elder McQuay is called Elder Smith. He is from Farmington, Utah and is a gymnast and wants to work for Cirque du Soleil when he grows up which I think is pretty cool. We also found out that he is super good at Ping Pong. He beat us all miserably at Samedi sports. I think I am slightly better than when we first started.  The goal is to be an amazing Ping Pongist by the time I get home.  

On our way home from church we stopped in a park to do some contacting. We met a cute Italian lady in her 80s. She has a very strong catholic background and she talked with us for about half an hour, about her experiences at church when she was a girl. We asked if we could see her again and she said yes. We saw her today at 3 she talked about her family and about how families today are falling apart, parents don't take care of their children, girls are wearing practically nothing in public, the inequality and hard things in the world. We told her about how our church has meetings to help the youth have standards.   She also asked if we were Jehovah's Witnesses, when we told her no, she went on a tirade about how she hates them. I was a little taken aback by some of the things she said she didn't like about them because we do the same things but we didn't mention that. All her concerns could be answered by the gospel but we both felt we have to approach it delicately. So, we will continue to see her, and testify of things gently. We did pray with her before we left though, and I think she really liked it. So, we shall see. 

I love you all,

Soeur Gaelin Turney

Monday, June 6, 2011

Week 34: Partly Cloudy with a 100 Percent Chance of Shouters

Ah, another transfer has come and gone and I am staying in Liège with Soeur Cope for one more. This has been the fastest transfer yet, and I've been told it just keeps speeding up 'till its over, either way. Transfers are like mini new years, a chance to start over, take inventory of how you are doing and make some new goals, I love it. This last week didn't turn out quite the way we had imagined it but it ended well and I am ready for this next one. 

Tuesday was a very wet day. and we got yelled at from a second story window by two different rather cross women. One was an ami that we had set up a Rendez-vous with for Tuesday at 1 o'clock. When we knocked she stuck her head out the window and shouted "I SAID WEDNESDAY" and then shut the window. Soeur Cope and I just looked at each other a little unsure of what to do. The lady then came down and talked to us but it was a rather unexpected response. Later we took a 20 minute train ride to Verviers to contact a referral we received for an Italian lady. Our bus passes don't work in Verviers so we walked 45 minutes to her house. We rang her doorbell and she too stuck her head out the window and shouted that she was not interested. We tried say that her daughter had sent us but she shouted that if we didn't leave she was going to call the police. It was rather perplexing to the both of us as to why someone would react that was in that we only rang her doorbell. But there you go, we then walked back to the train station in pouring rain. It was kinda fun in the end, I like the rain so it wasn't a bad end to a rather confusing day. 

Ortman Fountain in Verviers, via Wikimedia

Verviers City Hall, via Wikimedia

On Saturday we had a super awesome Samedi Sports. We played four square, the only ball we had was a pink exercise ball. We made a huge court with some chalk in the church parking lot, The zone leaders (Elder Paoli and Elder McQuay), a young adult named Ewoma and one of the Elders' amis Rolings were there. It was a lot of fun and a little ridiculous because the ball was so big. I think everyone who wasn't African got sunburned, Elder Paoli most of all, he was quite lobsterish on Sunday, poor guy. 

We had a really awesome rendez-vous with Jean-Baptiste Saturday afternoon. We met him in a park by his house because all the members we could think of to teach with were in Brussels for stake conference. It was a nice setting though and there were some very pretty ducks. We learned a lot about Jean-Baptiste, and I am amazed at the faith and knowledge that he has. His life has been really hard and instead blaming God for all of the awful things that have happened, they have brought him closer to God. He is one of the few people I've met that are truly hungry for the gospel. We read Alma 32 with him and talked about faith, he was like, yeah that is totally how it works. We gave him his own copy of the Book of Mormon and a Plan of Salvation pamphlet. There were a lot of little things in what he said that could all be answered with a knowledge of The Great Plan of Happiness. I don't usually call it that, but it really is that, a plan that brings about the happiness of God's children. And what is even more exciting is that Jean-Baptiste has a heart that is open to learning more and I am so excited to see the how his understanding will grow with the clarity of the gospel. It is moments like these that make getting yelled at by an angry Italian lady worth it. 

Sunday was Stake Conference, which is held in Brussels, we being in the Brussels stake. There are a lot of English speakers so everything is translated in both French and English it was a bit odd. It was my first time in a bilingual church meeting, but it is fairly common in the bigger cities. The theme if the conference was the book of Mormon, it was so good. Since being a missionary my love for the Book of Mormon has grown so much, I love that it has all the answers to every question we could ever have! President Staheli was there, it was exciting to see the Stahelis as they are going home this transfer. In her talk Soeur Staheli talked about how time changes the way we see things, and it is so true. In six weeks from Wednesday I will be halfway done with my mission, I do not see the world or the people in it the same way I did last October, and I know that next may I will not see things the way I do now. I think that is why knowledge is so important in our progression. It is the experiences that we have and the things we learn over time that change who we are and how we view the world. 

I love you all and I hope you have the bestest week ever!!


Soeur Gaelin Turney 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Week 33: Four Amis at Church!!!!

Soeur Cope and I had a really good week, ending with 4 amis at church! We are usually lucky to get one, but miracle of miracles, there were 4! It makes me even more excited for this next week, and to find even more people to bring to church!

We had exchanges with the Strombeek, Brussels  Soeurs. I worked here in Liège with Soeur Larsen, she is amazing. I learned a lot from her she is fearless, and I want to be like that. She is a contacting master! I think that I just have to decide that I am going to contact everyone and stop thinking about it and just do it. I think that I have to make that my motto, just do it. (and no, I am not stealing it from Nike, I came up with it all by myself before I knew that they were using it too)

We went to Claire's house with the Elders so that she could get a blessing. It was a really good experience. We had a really good talk with her, and I learned a lot about her. I think she has the most faith of anyone I have ever met. She is also amazingly selfless, she is an amazing woman, now all we need to do is help her get baptized!

So the JA that contacted us last Monday on the way to the grocery store came to church this week. We had a lesson afterwards with another JA, it was so good. His name is Lagrand and he met the sister missionaries in Sweden while he was at school.  He said  he had a really good experience with them and wants to continue learning about our church and the Book of Mormon. We set another RV for this week and he might be coming to FHE!

We went to visit Christiane this week and she had a friend coming over, he is a Muslim who converted to Catholicism, his name is Jean-baptiste, or at least now it is. He came to church too, and he loved it. He liked that the members knew so much about Jesus and tried to get to know Him through the scriptures. He has been reading the Book of Mormon with Christiane and he loves that it is like the bible and helps our faith. I am so excited to teach him the gospel, he is so excited about learning about Christ and we have a lot to share with him. The members of our branch were so good too, they talked with all of the amis and we had people to take them to priesthood.  It
 was so good!

I love you all, and have a wonderful week!

Soeur Gaelin Turney