Monday, April 16, 2012

Week 73: A Windy Week of Miracles


The weather has turned a bit chilly this weekend but that has not dampened our spirits one bit. It was a a little slower on  the lessons this last week but we kept working hard and we keep finding new people.
Bethina is continuing strong, she had a big test this week and was really nervous, she asked us if she could fast to help her with her test. How cool is that, we told her she could and explained a little more about fasting. We called the night after her test and she was happy because she passed and she said that she was surprised because she hadn't felt hungry or thirsty at all. She has a lot of faith and acts on it. She is such an amazing example to me, she is making so many changes, and the blessings are so evident, it is almost miraculous. She is praying to know if May 5 is the day she should get baptized, so pray for her!

Sunday Soeur Chard and I had some miracles. This entire week we have been having a hard time having the desire to go out and do contacting, we have done it and worked hard, but the desire wasn't there so it was more of a way to pass time as opposed to being really effective, so Saturday night we talked about why we were having such a hard time and what we needed to do to get the fire going. We decided that part of ot was that we hadn't been as diligent in our goal to contact on every train among other things. Our zone leaders had challenged us to set goals that didn't depend on the choices of others to accomplish, that were measurable by how we personally used our agency. So Soeur Chard and I decided that we were going to pray very hard for the desire to go contacting and that we were going to talk to 40 people. We got us early Sunday morning so we could meet Bethina at the bus stop and go to church together. We had to wait at the bus stop about 20 minutes before Bethina arrived so, Soeur Chard being the amazing person that she is started searching for people to contact. There aren't a ton of people out and about at 8 in the morning on a cold Sunday, but we managed to find seven people to talk to, none were interested, and several were really rude, including one woman who yelled at us and us how disgusted she was that we would dare preach the filth we called a religion. It wasn't a very encouraging start but our church meetings were especially spiritual and that boosted our spirits. After lunch we went out to do some finding, in about an hour and a half we talked to 32 people most of whom though not interested were very nice. We met one girl named Aurélie who took a copy of the Book Of Mormon and seemed interested. By the end we were thrilled by all the work we had done and that it had been enjoyable in spite of the lowering clouds and gusty wind. We had dinner and went out to do some porting in a 17 story apartment building close to where Rita lives. We started at the top and worked our way down, no one on the 17th was interested, but on the 16th we met a woman named Marie-Claire who took a Proclamation on the Family and set a rendez-vous. After she shut the door we realaised that she was the 40th person that we had talked to. Miracle! President Poznanski keeps telling us that God is a God of the fourth watch and that it is only after the trial of our faith that we see the fruits and miracles. We hadn't had a ton of success, until the 40th person. We still had about 25 minutes before we needed to start home so we continues porting, two floors down we met a Portuguese woman named Maria, who was very sweet, we talked for a good 15 minutes with her. She has had a lot of hard things happen to her and while she has lost confidence in man, she still trusts in God. We gave her a Plan of Salvation pamphlet and said that we would pass by next Friday after our rendez-vous. The spirit was so strong while we were talking to Maria, I felt so much love for this woman I do not know. I know that the atonement of Jesus Christ can heal all her hurts and give her the courage she needs. Maria was the last person that we contacted last night. Soeur Chard and I talked about it, I know that our experience yesterday was an answer to prayer. When the things we desire or ever desire to desire are right, if we ask in faith God will give it to us. But we must ask.

I love you and wish you the best of weeks!

Soeur Gaelin Turney

Monday, April 9, 2012

Week 72: Tired but Happy

This week was another amazing adventure. The work here is really starting to take off.

We set a goal this transfer to talk to one person every time we get on the train, which is very often. We haven't succeeded in every train but we have made an effort and are starting to see miracles. We have had a lot of really good conversations with people and a lot of really awkward ones too. But since we have started we have met at least five people who are interested in learning more. Soeur Chard is a miracle worker, whenever we have a few minutes she is contacting someone, and when I am tired (which is basically all the time) she keeps going, and says, "Let's contact this one last person." That person is almost always interested in learning more.

Monday night we passed by an ami that used to meet with the missionaries, Theliène. She had just gotten home from work and we told her that we only wanted to say hi and not stay very long, but she sat us down and gave us a drink and started making dinner. We asked if we could help, as her kids hadn't eaten yet, she said of course you can. She showed us how to make a fish pastry. It contained a sauce made of onions and fish wrapped ina flaky dough, and shaped like a fish. It was really cool. I have learned so many interesting cooking tidbits while on my mission, but not very many of them are French.

We had a really good rendez-vous with Bethina, we had spent a really long time trying to figure out what to teach her, and we weren't coming up with anything. So, we picked a topic and some scriptures as a back up plan and decided to follow the spirit and ask inspired questions. We had a really good talk and were able to better understand where she is, and the things that she worries about and her desires. It was really amazing how questions to ask just came to mind and we were able to figure out how we can help her. The process of receiving revelation while teaching is such an incredible experience, I am going to miss it.

Saturday we had a mini rendez-vous with a woman that lives in the next building over. She could only see us for about ten minutes. The last time we saw her we gave her the Proclamation on the Family, she had read it and really liked it. We told her that because the family is an essential part of God's plan for His children He has given us things to help us and our families, one of which is prophets. Then we talked about the Book of Mormon and gave her a copy. She is stuck inside her apartment for a week because of a hurt ankle so we figured it was a perfect situation. She said she would start reading.

Yesterday was amazing, all our meetings were about the atonement and resurrection of Christ. It really helped me reflect about the importance that Jesus Christ has in my life. I feel like my love for Him grew a lot yesterday. We had a super busy day. We taught three lessons, passed by someone's house, and went to church. It was wonderful and we were exhausted but in the best way possible. It was very interesting because the people that we taught lived fairly close to each other so there wasn't too much time in between rendez-vous. It was so much easier to keep the Spirit with us from one lesson to the next. I felt that we were blessed and guided especially last night.

I am more tired than I have ever been, and we have more missionary work than I have ever had before. I know that heavenly Father is helping me through everyday. I don't want to be a "dead" missionary at the end of my mission. I am so grateful for souer Chard, she has such enthusiasm and helps me keep going even when I don't want to. I feel like this transfer is a lesson on enduring to the end. I hope that if my mission is a foreshadowing of my real life that I will be surrounded by good  people as I am now, and that I will stay strong until the very end, it is the hardest and longest part, enduring to the end. But I am learning that we just have to take one day at a time. For my planner cover for this transfer I picked a quote by President Monson, "There is no yesterday to remember if we don't do something today." It is so very true, all we need to focus on is right now is what can I do with my time today? 

I love you and will see you soon!

Soeur Gaelin Turney

Monday, April 2, 2012

Week 71:Wasn't General Conference AMAZING!!!!

This week was transfer week and my Baby, Soeur Dremeaux has left the nest and flown or rather taken the train to Brussels. My new companion is Soeur Chard, she is from Holiday and really sweet. She contacts everyone, all the time, I have lots to learn from her. She is starting her four transfer which means she has been in the field about 5 and a half months. She plays the piano and has a nice smile. It is a little strange to be able to talk in English and be 98% sure that my companion will understand.

This week we have a new amie, named Solange. She is African and a young adult. She was a referral from a mamber, Anne, who had brought her to church twice. The second time we met her and fixed a rendez-vous at Anne's house. It went really ell, Anne shared her conversion story a little and told Solange that you can meet with the missionaries for years and not get anything out of it, but when you read the  Book of Mormon with a real desire, something happens and you know that it is true. It was a powerful moment. Solange said that if she feels that it is true she will be baptized! Soeur Chard was super excited because it was the first time she has had an amie say that the first rendez-vous.

On the way home from our rendez-vous with Solange we sat down across from a woman in the train. Soeur Chard started talking to her and she looked at us and said "You guys are Mormon missionaries," in English. The woman's name is Margareth and she is from New Caledonia, she has a cousin who is a member. She said that every time that she goes over to his house they talk about God and the Bible. We set a rendez-vous with her for next week. It was so cool; I have a feeling that I am going to see lots of miracles with Soeur Chard this transfer.

I loved General conference so very much!!! I am amazed at the spiritual strength that I get from listening. It was interesting to look over my notes and see the common themes and ideas in the different talks. I am so excited to study the Ensign. I loved Elder Nelson's talk about gratitude for the temporal and the spiritual. That is something that I feel very strongly, Gratitude is such a powerful force, and it chances the way we see the world.

I am excited for Easter this next week and for the chance I have to study the life of Jesus Christ and the Atonement. He truly is the center of everything even if we don't always realize that He is. I am so grateful for Him and his love, sacrifice and resurrection for me and for everyone. That is the beauty of Easter!

Much love,

Soeur Gaelin Turney  

Monday, March 19, 2012

Week 70: The Beginning of the End?

Happy Monday!

We had a talk with Soeur Poznanski on Tuesday, it was really helpful and put things into perspective. That's one cool thing about being in Versailles, we get to see the Poznanskis at church and around. She talked to us a little about her mission, she served in the Paris France Mission too. She read us the first three verses of Doctrine and Covenants 98. We talked about gratitude and the power there is in being grateful in all things. She also made the point that the has sworn with an oath that he will answer our prayers, his just didn't specify when. So we need to have faith and patience, even when it doesn't seem like Heavenly Father is listening to us, he is and he will bless us, when the time is right. 

We had exchanges this week, We were paired with the Blois sisters (Pronounced kinda like Blah but with a w in the middle, Bl-wah) I stayed in Versailles and got to work with Soeur Williams. I was so happy to see her again, she was my companion in Liege and is the same ''age'' as I am in the mission. It is super weird because she is going home the early transfer so she only has one week left. It was a lot of fun to reminisce together and to see how we have changed. It was funny because I had forgotten how similar our personalities and interests are. We got to teach together again, it was cool, The last time we taught together was about a year ago. I know a lot more French now. 

Tomorrow is my 17 month mark, I do not feel like I have been here for seventeen months. I am glad I chose to stay until may, I am not ready to come home yet, I love you all but the thought of going home makes me very nervous. 

This week was a little rough, all but one of our rendez-vous got cancelled, but we met some cool people. and this week is looking really good. Bethina is doing well, she called us Friday night with a question about personal revelation. She told us that her brother is going to get baptized in three weeks. She is amazing, she told us that last Sunday she didn't study at all, and that she rested and kept the sabbath day holy. When we saw her the exam was the next day, but she said that she didn't feel nervous at all, and that she felt positive. We testified of the blessings of obedience and promised that Heavenly Father would help her. She is so good! 

I hope that you have a wonderful week and that all your wildest dreams come true.

Love always,

Soeur Gaelin Turney

Monday, March 12, 2012

Week 69: Life is Beautiful


We had a pretty awesome week. Tuesday we had a district finding activity, we all met at the church and then went out contacting at the same time. We had about 40 minutes, and Soeur Dremeaux and I talked with two amazing women. The first was named Florence, She said that her belief in God was complicated, but we testified about God and the Book of Mormon. She took a copy. It was an amazing conversation, she told us there was something special about us. She wouldn't give us her contact information but she lives close to the church, so I hope that someday she will come. The second woman was orthodox, when we started talking about the Book of Mormon, She said Ooooh, the Mormons, I am not interested they are polygamists and their women are badly treated etc. We explained that we are NOT polygamists, and we both testified of the divine role of women. We told her that we had never felt inferior to men, and the church teaches that we are equals, that we have different roles but that we are equally important. We also told her about Relief Society, that we have our own organization that is part of the church, with leaders that are women. We talked with her for about twenty minutes, in the end she wasn't interested, but she told us that there was a light about us. We testified of a lot of things to her, but the part that she really listened to was that we are daughters of God and that we are just as valued as the men in our church. As we headed back to the church, Soeur Dremeaux and talked about her, and we both felt that our meeting her was to clear up misconceptions so that maybe in the future she will listen to the message. 

This week we started teaching a 9 year old boy named Amaury. He is autistic and wants very much to be baptized. It was a lot of fun coming up with activities that would keep him interested and help him understand what we were teaching. His parents are active and very sweet. We talked about the restoration and the Book of Mormon, and we challenged him to read from the picture Book of Mormon every day, and gave him a coloring page with numbers. Everyday that he reads he gets to color in all the shapes that have that number in it. His mother told us Sunday that on Saturday he started crying because he forgot to read the day before. So precious! I think I should be more like that when i realize that I am not doing everything that I promised Heavenly Father I would, I should cry. Sometimes I do, but I think that I need to have more godly sorrow when I repent. 

We have the most amazing amis! Bethina is so good. We had a lesson with her on Saturday, and after she asked us if she should study on Sunday or not. She has a two weeks of really intense classes and tests and she is really nervous. She said that all the other students would be studying on Sunday and there is so much material that she is scared she is going to miss something. We talked to her about keeping the Sabbath day holy and about trusting the promises that God has made us. We both shared experiences of how we were given help from Heavenly Father because we chose to keep the Sabbath day holy. She was very nervous but she said that she was going to keep the Sabbath day holy. She also said that she hadn't read the Book of Mormon because she has been studying. We talked about how even if it is only one verse it is important to read every day. While we were talking she realized that she did have time, she said I find time to call my boyfriend before I study, I do have time to read the Book of Mormon. I am so amazed at her desire to do what is right, she is so good. I don't think I have had another amie quite like her. She came to church again, She lives really far away so she has to take the bus at 7:30 to get to church before 9. That is two weeks that she has done it, there are so many members that are inactive because the effort is too big to come to church, she is so incredible, I love her so much!

Thank you for all your prayers, I love you all very much and have a wonderful St. Patrick's Day/ 170th Birthday of the Relief Society!


Soeur Gaelin Turney

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Week 68: Freedom


This week we had Zone Conference, it always gives a huge spiritual boost, I wish you could all come to one. It was amazing the first half was a answer all the prayers that Sister Turney has said in the past two weeks. Soeur Poznanski talked about the power of baring testimony and the importance that it has in the conversion of our amis, President Poznanski covered lots of subjects, but the one that stuck out to me the most was about the power and authority of our calling as missionaries. He told us sisters that we were also acting with the power of the priesthood because we were set apart by someone who holds the priesthood and that as such we have the same blessings but also the same responsibilities as priesthood holders. It was very interesting to me, and it made me think of the scripture that talks about every man learning his duty and fulfilling it and those that don't are in a lot of trouble. I think I might study the Doctrine and Covenants a bit more...

The Assistants to the President did a training about contacting that they entitled ''Get the Glow'' There are lots of stories about people who see the missionaries and there is a light around them, they are shining and angelic. They talked about how we do not even realize the presence that is with us because we are missionaries. It is not us that is doing the glowing. However it is very important for us, especially when we are contacting to have that glow because it makes people want to know more, and it is the elect, the prepared people that will recognize us. They said that the way to get the glow is by developing Christlike attributes. There is an entire chapter in Preach My Gospel about developing Christlike attributes. I counted and there are the same number of attributes as I have weeks left, so I set the goal to work on a different one every week. Soeur Dremeaux and I talked about it and we both had decided individually to work on Diligence. So, we have been trying very hard to be diligent in all things. 

Saturday we had a very long day of contacting, and beginning is always the hardest. But we tried very hard to have faith and hope and a good attitude. We found three people, gave out two copies of the Book of Mormon, fixed two and a half rendez-vous and got two phone numbers. All three were during the last part of the time blocks for the specific areas that we were in. It is amazing that Heavenly Father gives us experiences that teach us and help us in our efforts to progress and become like him. I am learning how to include Him in my plans and goals for myself. I find that there are moments throughout my day that I need to pray. There is a quote from President Monson that talks about how he would be literally lost without his relationship with God through prayer. I think in a small way I understand what he means. 

I have been thinking a lot about the progression that I have made spiritually during my mission. It is amazing to see how far that i have come, and yet i still have so far to go. I want so much to continue, I am so happy. This morning I read in Helaman 14:30-31. I love part that says ''ye are free',' because I feel free. I don't know that I have ever had more rules or restrictions about what I can or can't do, but because they are from God, they make me free. I know that freedom is what many people are searching for, and we are so lucky to truly have it. ''The truth shall make you free,'' we have the truth and as I apply the truths I learn in my life I become free. That is the message that we have to share, true freedom and pure love. We are seriously so blessed. ;) 

All my love and prayers,

Sister Gaelin Turney

Monday, February 27, 2012

Week 67: I Believe in Christ!

Bonjour tout le monde!!!

Happy Monday! I think that winter is over and spring is coming because it has been really beautiful this week, if that is the case then winter lasted a week annd a half. I am not going to complain. I don't know what the weather is like at home, but I hope that you're not all freezing to death. 

We went to Lille again this week to pick up my French ID card, I really like Lille. It is funny that I like it so much having never served anywhere near it, but I think I've been about 7 or 8 times. We stopped at the patisserie that all the missionaries go to and since it was my last time I got a 'Brazilian' and an 'African.' Both are delicous and chocolatey. I have got to start finding recipes for bread and patisseries because I am going to miss them terribly.  

We had two really good rendez-vous with Bethina this week. She is reading the Book of Mormon and loves asking questions. We taught her the Plan of Salvation and she accepted it easily as making sense and natural. She is so cute, she and her brother are both investigating the church, and I guess her cousin told them about the importance of geneology. She said that she and her brother had started to research their family but she wanted to know what we did with the names after we found them. It is amazing the faith that she has and the desire she has to do what is right. She also came to church this week!!! It just makes me so very happy to see people progress in the gospel!

Yesterday we had a lesson with Madame Garcia, I had met her once before and Soeur Emilcy and I had taught her daughter once. She is from Peru, and is short and very sweet. This past year has been super hard for her, with basically every trial a person could have, but in spite of all of them she has an enormous faith in Jesus Christ. She has a lot of worries for her two children and isn't sure what to do. We talked about Jesus Christ and the healing power of the Atonement. We told her that peace and comfort come through accepting Christ as our Savior, and that we do that by keeping the commandments and living the gospel. We talked about how when we are obedient that God can bless us and the Holy Ghost can bring us the peace that we need. We shared a lot of scriptures with her about Christ and his promises of peace. One of my favorites is in Matthew 11,   ''Come unto be all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you , and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart:and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.'' The spirit was very strong and she seemed better at the end. We are going to be having a rendez-vous with her and her daughter this week. I know that I cannot do anything to help them but I know that God can, and that if they start living the gopsel they will find peace, because that is the power of the Atonement. The gospel changes lives, I see it every day, in my own life and in the life of those I  teach. I am so very grateful for the knowledge I have and the light that it brings to my life. 

I love you and wish for you the very best week ever!

Soeur Gaelin Turney

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Week 66: Happy Valentine's Day!

and a Happy P-day!!!

Monday evening we had a family home evening with one of the sisters in the ward, Sœur Holdrinet, we had a short lesson using Luke 22:31-32. We talked about how amazing it was that Christ is praying for us, to protect us. It gives me courage to think that Jesus is on my side and he wants to help me. After the lesson we had dinner, and her daughter came over. Her daughter is not a member, so we were able to get to know her a bit, she believes in God and that it is important to be a good person I don ’t think that Sœur Holdrinet ’s kids have let her talk about the church much with them, so I think it was cool to be able to meet her daughter and let her know that we are normal people. At the very end we talked very briefly about Joseph Smith, it was very natural and she seemed mildly interested. I don ’t know if anything will happen but it is important to plant seeds of faith.

We saw Mara on Wednesday, she is so very sweet, but I don ’t think that she is really interested in our message. I think she is lonely and wants people to talk to and talking about Jesus is good too. We talked about keeping the Sabbath day holy and she said she doesn't like church. She said that even if she goes for only an hour she feels like it takes up the whole day and she always falls asleep so she might as well just stay at home in bed. It wasn't very encouraging. But we did our best to help her understand why going to church  is important, first of all it is a commandment. And that we take the sacrament and are strengthened spiritually by the prayers and faith of those we are with. She hasn't been reading in the Book of Mormon either, it makes me so sad. I love the Book of Mormon and I have a hard time understanding people that don't want to read it, I try so hard to help them understand why the Book of Mormon is important, but they still don't read it. I am grateful for the gift of agency, and that I can choose what I want to do, but it makes me sad when people use their agency to choose not to give the Book of Mormon a try. We aren't sure what we are going to do for Mara, but we still have hope.

Thursday we met a really cool young adult named Stephane. He was born in France, but has lived all over. He is very humble and kind. We contacted him on the street and he agreed to see us the next afternoon. It was amazing! Then we had the problem of finding a sister to teach with, but what a wonderful problem. Soeur Holdrinet said that she would be more than willing to teach with us and that we could teach at her house. It was a perfect start, Soeur Holdrinet was wonderful, I was very glad that she was there and that  Ihave a French companion because Stephane didn't understand anything I said. It was a very strange feeling, Its been about ten months since I've had someone stare at me and say "I didn't understand a word you just said." It was a bit humbling, so during the lesson I mostly listened and prayed silently for my companion. The lesson turned out alright in the end. He fixed another rendez-vous and there is a high probability that he is coming to church! The only downside is that we are going to have to pass him to the Elders to teach because he is a man. Sometimes I don't like that rule. But, we have good Elders so it isn't so bad.

I love y'all so very much and have a wonderfully romantic Valentine's Day, 'cause mine won't be.


Soeur Gaelin Turney

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Week 65:Versailles is frosty and gold

Brrr, it is cold now, though it is supposed to snow tomorrow so I am excited. This week was a planning headache but it turned out well in the end.

Monday, we visited an elderly sister in our ward, Soeur Merer. She is in her eighties and lives in a cute apartment that is crammed full of memories. She is very thin but so full of energy and life. She talks a lot and I think one of her most recent trials is learning how to not overdo it. I don't know if she sat still for more than about 30 seconds the entire time we were there. Her grandson is serving in this mission so we heard a lot about "Glen." It was really funny because we saw Glen on Thursday, luckily I manager not to call him that to anyone else. Soeur Merer has an amazing testimony and her relationship with the Spirit and with God is so personal and strong. I learned a lot from her, she is very close to the Spirit and she loves this gospel. I want to be like her when I grow up. 

Thursday we were invited to go to the Secret Mission Council Meeting. Okay, its not really secret, but it is only for the Zone and district leaders. Every time they invite one sister missionary companionship. It was really fun to see all the missionaries I know. It was cool, all the Elders from my MTC district but one were there, it was a little reunion. The meeting was from 10:30 to 5:00. In the morning we talked about prayer, and how much it is important. It was exactly what I needed, this week I have once again been studying prayer. There is so much power in prayer and  I know that I don't comprehend all the thinks that can be accomplished through prayer.We talked about praying for each other, for the success of the missionaries in our mission. There is even more power when we pray for a common purpose, unity in prayer. We read the story of Hagar in the desert with Ishmael, and how Hagar prayed for help as did Ismael, but God answered Ismael's prayer for his mother rather than Hagar's prayer. One of the Elder's made a comment that often our prayers for others have a much purer desire than when we pray for ourselves. Thank you for all your prayers, I know that God has blessed me because of your faith.

After lunch we talked about things that the missionaries do that are not in keeping with missionary guidelines. It was very interesting to hear all the problems. I think I am very out of things because there were several things brought up that I was like, "really?" I learned that emails to our families are only supposed to take one hour, so these might be getting shorter because my typing still isn't the fastest. We read the scripture about obedience being better than sacrifice. It definitely made me take a look at the area I need to improve. Obedience is so essential, especially for missionaries!

After leadership council we met the sisters from St. Ouen for exchanges. I went with Soeur Martin to St.Ouen. Soeur Martin is French, from Toulouse, she is so cute, and she is an artist as well. Our exchange was a little strange because Friday morning we went and picked up Soeur Didier.I am still not entirely sure why, but for some reason she was temporarily without a companion, so she came with us. We did our studies and then went and visited one of Soeur Martin's amies, Ester. Then we went back into Paris to drop Soeur Didier off. Then we went picked up our stuff and headed to Versailles. Soeur Martin and her companion spent the night at our apartment because they got special permission to move their P-day to Saturday to go to the Varsailles Chateau. We had a lot of fun. We, or rather Souer Dremeaux and Soeur Martin, made crepes. The Chateau was very beautiful, and very gold. The luxury and ridiculousness of the building is quite amazing. I decided that i could never live in a place like that. There are statues that are twice the size that I am and i think that I would feel very lost all the time.  I think is is interesting that the riches of the world, when you se them up close are kind of sad, and very empty. Especially when compared with the happiness I feel when i serve others and live simply.  I think of the Nephites living after the manner of happiness, and I can't imagine that they were living in gold plated houses. one of the first steps to happiness is realizing that it isn't found in things.

Have a lovely week! I love you!!!!

Soeur Gaelin Turney

Week 64: Levons-nous et Batissons!!!!

Well this week was another super one, I think having a companion that is new and full of hope and excitement for missionary work is wonderful.

Well, our lesson with Mohammed wasn't quite what we hoped is would be. It was a really good discussion, but I don't know that we will teach him again. He is super nice, and his wife is pregnant, he is so excited. I am not sure his interest in Christianity is deep enough for him to want to change but we gave him a Book of Mormon and I am pretty sure he is going to read it. He has so much light about him, I just don't think the moment is right. Still, it was a really cool experience to see how the Lord let us to him.

Mara was our miracle this week. She is Peruvian, and we met her contacting last week. We had our first rendez-vous Wednesday. She lives really close to us so we started walking towards her house. On the way we contacted a girl named Marianne, she is in her third year of university so is super busy, but we had a really good  conversation with her. She doesn't really believe in God but she believes in having good morals and principles. She said that she doesn't believe in things thqt she can't see, so we talked about faith and the Holy Ghost. And that even though I haven't seen Him I know that he is there, and I know it because of the Book of Mormon. She took a copy and she said that she will read it, she gave us her number but she said that she probably won't have time to read until vacances. I like talking to young adults, they seem to be more open and willing to listen.

So, after talking with Marianne we continue on our way to Mara's house, it was dark and raining slightly, the misty rain that you can't really see or feel but makes you all wet anyway. We walked and didn't see the street so we walked back the way we came to see if we had missed the street; we ended up stopping at a Boulangerie to ask directions and after about 20 minutes we figured out that we hadn't gone far enough. So we went, and event hough we were 30 minutes late Mara was there and very happy to see us. She said that she wanted to know more about prophets, when we contacted her we told her that we have a prophet today and she said that she didn't know about that but wanted to know more. We taught her the restoration of the church. I think that it was the smoothest most clearly explained first lesson I have ever had. The spirit was so strong, the words that came out of my mouth were not my own. It is one of the most incredible experiences to feel the Spirit working through you to talk to someone. I shared how I knew that President Monson is the prophet, and how when he had walked into the Marriott center at BYU even though I was very far away and could barely see him I could feel the power that he holds. After Mara said she wanted to have that experience, she wanted to feel that same feeling. We told her that she could and that she would if she would pray to know if Thomas S. Monson was a prophet and read the Book of Mormon. She said that she would. It was an amazing moment. She is one of the humblest and most prepared people I have ever met. I love her already.

We had interviews this week and during the training part President and Sister Poznanski shared the story of Nehemiah from the Old Testament. I wasn't familiar with the story, but basically it is during the Babylonian captivity of Israel and the Prophet Nehemiah gets permission to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls. The people once they get there don't think that they can do it and whine. Nehemiah gives them a pep talk ending with the stirring words "Levons-nous, et Batissons!" or " Let us rise up and Build!" I was the one that read the verse out loud, then President Poznanski had me get up in front and he said, "If you were going to say this to the people of Israel how would you say it?" Without hesitation or second thought I shouted "LEVONS-NOUS ET BATISSONS!!!!!!" with large sweeping arm motions. I think President was a little surprised, but everyone laughed and cheered. I think that in general I come off as very quiet and reserved, so I think I made quite the impression. After the people started building the wall they started getting excited about it, but their enemies started harassing them, so they had to start having guards. Soeur Poznanski talked about how their first weapon of defense was prayer, and how it must be ours as well. I know that that is true. I have learned so much about prayer as a missionary. The connection we have to God is so important, and it is what keeps us safe and gives us comfort and help. I am so grateful for prayer.

I love you all so very very much, just keep swimming and don't let the muggles get you down, because God is watching out for you!


Soeur Gaelin Turney

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Week 63: Mohammed!!!

Hello again!

This week has been a super good one,  I think having a Bleue around that speaks French fluently and isn't shy about talking to people is a nice thing to have around. We got a lot of really good work done. We did a lot of contacting this week, and I think I am finally learning to enjoy it. I actually kind of look forward to it now. Obviously teaching lessons is much better, but Soeur Dremeaux and I get along super well and contacting just works for us. 

Tuesday was a miracle day, we went contacting and got the phone numbers of 4 people and gave out two copies of the Book of Mormon. And what is even better is that we have two rendez-vous from that, so cool. One lady that we contacted is a young mother with three kids and she is FRENCH!!! We are both really excited about her, I really want to find and baptize a French family before I go home,so we are hoping that she is the one. 

The other really interesting one is Mohammed. I didn't realize he was Muslim when we started talking to him, as we are not supposed to contact them. But he was super interested, he said that he was in the process of looking into Christian churches, so we gave him a pamphlet about the restoration and got his number. When we called him to set up a rendez-vous he wanted to know how long we could stay because he had lots of questions. It is really cool, but a little tricky because we have to get special permission to teach them because if they come from an extreme family they could be hurt or killed if they become interested and get baptized. So we shall see, he seems really cool and he has a light about him. We have a rendez-vous with him tonight and  I am interested to see how it is going to turn out. It would be crazy if he got baptized because then half my baptisms would be Muslims. 

We had a super lesson with Rita this week, she read in the Book of Mormon. It is amazing how happy I feel when our amis read. And she said that she would keep reading, YES!!! We also got her to pray with us for the first time. It was so precious, I love hearing people's first prayers.They are so humble and sincere. We also talked about the gospel of Jesus Christ, Faith repentance Baptism The gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. Rita already does the first two principles naturally and she has the desire to be baptized, I don't think she is quite ready yet to fix a date, but she has said that when she feels that it is true she will be baptized. It was just wonderful, she is so cute and sweet. 

We had another rendez-vous with a woman named Julia, she is Portuguese and a ray of sunshine. She met with the sisters before but things got crazy in her life for a while so she stopped. We asked if she had questions and she said that she didn't agree with tithing. It wasn't quite what I was expecting but we talked about how God has promised us blessing if we pay our tithing and that the sacrifice will be more than compensated for. We talked about faith as well. Julia has a lot of faith and she is very sensitive to the spirit. She and Soeur Dremeaux really connected. Julia said that she knew that the church was good and that it was the right one, but that there was fear keeping her from taking the next step. Soeur Dremeaux told her that she too has felt that kind of fear and that she prayed, and Heavenly Father took the fear away. I think that is really resonated with Julia and she said that she was going to pray, I could see the sincerity on her face and I believe her. I feel like there are a bunch of miracles waiting to happen and it makes me a little scared but also really excited. We have a lot of amis with a lot of potential and promise and I am excited to see how it is all going to turn out. 

Oh, how i love this gospel, I feel like i am starting to get how to be a missionary, and I know that I am going to finally get it and then I am going to be sent home, but I am so excited for the adventures and experience that I am going to have in the mean time. I love you all, 

Gros Bisous 

Soeur Gaelin Turney 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Week 62: French? French is Good

So, I think that having a bleue who is French is going to be a lovely experience.

A note of explanation: In the French army the uniforms are/were blue. So you could tell a new soldier because his uniform was still a bright vivid blue while the more seasoned soldiers' uniforms were faded. Hence the new soldiers are called blues, and since we are in France new missionaries are called "Bleus."

Her name is Soeur Dremeaux and she is from the south of France. She is 24 and super cool. She likes to laugh and to go contacting, both of which I don't mind at all. We are very silly together already, and since she is being trained we will be staying together for at least two transfers. She loves cooking so I am going to learn how to make all kinds of tasty French food, and get to eat lots of it too. Yesterday (Friday the 6th) was the celebration of the three kings visiting Baby Jesus, and traditionally there is a pastry that is eaten. It is called a galette and has a flaky butter crust with a almond based filling, delicious! Hidden inside is a small prize and whoever finds it gets to be the king of the party and wear the cardboard crown. I got the little figurine and was the queen for lunch and our weekly planning session.

Thursday was a bit interesting, we only had one copy of the Book of Mormon left to give away. The mission office has ordered more, but we are out of Book of Mormons, I didn't ever think that could happen to a missionary. Anyway, we had one book of Mormon to give to someone. We stopped a young man on the street and started talking to him. He said that he was not believing anymore but that he grew up in a believing family. Soeur Dremeaux testified of the Book of Mormon's power to help us know that God is there and that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.He took the Book of Mormon and said he would read it. I love meeting good people. There was a light about him already and I hope that someday he will accept our message.

We had another really amazing experience Friday morning while we were contacting. We decided that we wanted to try to get our English class attendance up so we had a bunch of flyers to give people. We got to the bus stop right by our house and there was a woman sitting on the bench, I sat down next to her and asked if she was interested in free English lessons, she said yes but she works late, we talked a little bit and it turns out she is the daughter of a member that has been inactive for about ten years. The woman said that she had been to church a couple of times with her mom and that she had like it. We talked about 30 minutes about the Book of Mormon and faith. She said that she had been baptized Adventist and that it was a good experience but that she knew it wasn't the right one, and that she was still searching for the right one. When we hinted that ours was the right one she said that she wasn't ready yet but that we had made her curious about the Book of Mormon. We invited her and her mom to church and she said she'd see. It was a really amazing moment, and I know that it was no accident that we ran into her. I feel like the Lord has been working on her mother and perhaps her as well, and I hope that was the push that was needed to get them moving.

I love this gospel and the work. When I work hard I am happy, and when i don't I am unhappy. It is true that wickedness never was happiness. Not that I've been doing wicked things as a missionary but when I start being lax with the missionary rules things are just harder. I am excited that Soeur Dremeaux is here to help keep me in line and help me work hard. If the last four days are any indication of what the next 11 weeks has in store there are going to be some miracles happening in Versailles.

I love you all and remember, THE CHURCH IS TRUE!!!!


Soeur Gaelin Turney

Week 61: Christmas at a Glance

I am so sorry that I haven't written in ages, the Holidays were wonderful and crazy and even though we had a lot of p-days we didn't have time to email. Please forgive me!!

Christmas Eve was amazing, probably the best Christmas Eve of my entire life! The baptism of Soeur Pelous was so spiritual and joyful. Her husband baptized her, she was radiant and so happy. I think once again my favorite part was Frere Pelous, he is an amazing man and you can tell he loves his wife very much. The joy that showed on his face was magical. There were a ton of people there even though it was Christmas Eve, and as Soeur Pelous has basically been a member of the ward for five years, you could feel the love that everyone had for her. 

After the Baptism we went to the Family Selinas, they fed us traditional French food including Foie Gras, smoked Salmon, which sounds like it should be cooked but is not in fact. We had turkey and a Bouche de Noel. We sang Christmas songs and read the Christmas story in Luke, it was very simple but perfect really. 

Christmas was amazing as well. Soeur Emilcy and I opened presents and I made crepes. then we went to church, the talks were really good. Elder Causse of the Seventy was there as Versailles is his home ward and he was the last speaker. After he bore his testimony he played What Child is This on the piano. It was so beautiful, half the congregation was crying by the end of it, it was heavenly. Then we went to the Family Magnon's house for dinner, we were there with some of the Elders. It was really fun. Of course we ate way too much and told lots of crazy mission stories. Then when we went home we got to call home, definitely one of the best parts about Christmas for sure. 

The first all the missionaries in our ward, there are ten of us, got invited over to the bishops house for dinner. It was delicious, there was a green salad that had a meat mixture that you ate with it, I am not sure exactly what it was, but the words duck and neck muscles were used in the explanation of it. I don't really know but it was sure tasty. The theme of the talks during Sacrament meeting were about desires and our vision of things and how they shape our future and what we do and the goals that we have. It really started to make me think about what I want really and what I need to do, to change, so that i can be who I want to be and do what I want to do. One of the speakers talked about not only just making resolutions on New Years but on other important dates in your life, like birthdays and anniversaries. I think that it is a great idea. that is one thing that I have really appreciated about the mission schedule, I get the start over every six weeks and re evaluate my goals and check my progress and really start over. 

So, I am training. Normally you don't know who your ''blue'' will be until you go and pick them up. But as there is only one sister coming in and we have district meeting in the room where all the information on the missionaries coming in is kept I already know a little bit about her. She is French, and 24. She studied film I think, or at least has made at least one film and won an award for it, she knows a little English. And according to a girl in our ward she is fun and crazy and I am going to love her. I am excited and a little nervous, but I am determined that we are going to have fun, and that we are going to work our guts out. When you are a trainer you stay together for two transfers so that means I get the hang out in Versailles for at least another three months, WHOO! I am also excited because this means I can really learn how to cook French food. I love you all and I hope that you have had the very best Holidays ever and that this new year is off to a good start!


Soeur Gaelin Turney