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