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


Soeur Gaelin Turney

Monday, August 8, 2011

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


 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
 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