Monday, September 23, 2013

September 23, 2013 - There Is Sunshine In My Soul Today

I cried when I read your email about shepherding. WOW! Now you know what it is like for us everyday!! Isn't it incredible how little decisions can turn into a HUGE manifestation of a miracle from the Lord? As long as we are constantly striving to do His work, He is prepared to put us in the right path. I am so happy you have had so many opportunities to help the missionaries. You are a missionary mom. I am so pleased!! I hope Win is doing the same stuff. Keep up the good work and tell the missionaries there hi for me!! Tell them to take good care of my ward...

So Soeur Mann my new companion is super great. She reminds me of a chipmunk. She is from Texas and lived in Wyview at BYU... Small world, right? We are pretty sure we met each other a few times. Who knew we would serve together one day in France? The Lord. That's who. She is very kind hearted and dedicated to this work. She is only one transfer older than me, so neither of us have tons of experience, but she just came from Chambery, where missionary work was EXPLODING! And we have already seen Carcassonne begin to explode as well. We contacted 500 people exactly, taught 14 lessons, and found 3 new amis. WOW! It was a record breaking week for me.

Monday night we taught Raymonde Alearaz, who is now a new ami! We met her last week on the street and gave her a Livre de Mormon. She is pretty old, but she is very sweet and says she always feels so good when we are there. We have had two RDVs with her. We aren't sure if she completely understands what we are teaching, but she has a baptismal date for the 13th of October... we will see how things go. Pray that she will understand our lessons and pray to know for herself. We went to Castelnaudary this week and saw our ami Gabriel... he is a tough one because he knows TONS about the bible. He said when he met us that he didn't want to learn more, but he is very connected with God, and God kept pushing him to call us and to meet with us, so voila! We had a RDV. It was hard, because he is a chatter box, but he really does want to learn more about our message. Pray for him that he will read the LdeM and know for himself.

We have been trying to get a hold of a less active for 3 months now... with no success. Well one day this week she just called us out of the blue and wanted to see us! It was a HUGE miracle. We understand where she is coming from now. She doesn't have much of a desire to come back to church because she feels like members have been judgmental towards her, but she does still have a testimony and is proud to call herself a Mormon. We will continue trying to see her and fortify her as we help her progress and get her back to church.

Mecredi was CRAZY! We were supposed to have a RDV with Marie in Villemoustaussou. She is the one that let us in her house after we knocked on the door. She seemed like a total miracle, but when we called to confirm our RDV she hung up the phone on us... I was freaking out all day and wondering why this was happening. How could such a huge miracle be nothing after all that? Well we decided to have faith and go to our RDV anyway... but she wasn't there. We called her as we stood outside her house and thankfully she rescheduled with us then. We walked about two steps from her house and met David. He is middle aged and told us that he is having a rough time in life. His father is sick and he is looking for direction in life. He wants to come closer to God and become an active church goer... WHAT A MIRACLE!! How could that happen? We wouldn't have come to Villemoustaussou if Marie had just rescheduled when I called her that morning. Things worked out so perfectly!! We were able to talk and pray with David right there on the street. We are really excited to meet with him again this week.

We had a really rough day Jeudi. We had lots of time to contact, and people were just straight up MEAN that day. Soeur Mann's French isn't the best. I am more advanced than her, even though she is the senior companion. It is really hard for her, but we are working hard to progress together. We met with Regine and an awesome member for a RDV Jeudi. The RDV was less than ideal. The Spirit wasn't present for some reason and we felt really disappointed afterwards. Regine doesn't understand the role of Christ, and it is really hard to help her understand. She will also be out of town for the next 2 weeks, so we cant see her... pray that we will be guided to know how to teach her effectively.

Vendredi was a bummer because the gare was PACKED! We were supposed to take a train to Castelnaudary to see some less actives and meet with some potential amis, but we missed both of the possible trains. We did planning all day and then saw a less active and taught the Mulanda family. It was our last RDV before the baptism, so we finalized plans and what not. It was so incredible!! I just love them. We were contacting on our way back and met a man named Jean-François. He was really cool and seemed super interested about our church. He took a LdeM and set a RDV for Dimanche after church. And our RDV was the best first lecon I have EVER had with anyone. He had already read the restoration pamphlet and had questions and told us he really wanted to know for himself. He accepted the invitation to read and he even said he would be baptized when he knew for himself!! So cool! The spirit really guided us and we feel like he is going to be a solid progressing ami. We will be seeing him again tonight.

So Chan Than is back. We saw him in  centre ville and he is looking for an apartment! he said he wants to get baptized the day he moves into his apartment. We told him he has to come to church three weeks in a row before he could get baptized, so he said he would be baptized three weeks after he moves into his apartment, which should be at the end of October. YAY! So he is back on track and we are meeting with him so that he will be prepared when he can come to church. It is so great to be back with him. He missed us... dropping him for a few weeks was the best decision for us, and now he is back with a stronger desire than ever.

So the best part of the week... THE BAPTISM YESTERDAY! It was soooo sooo beautiful. I just couldn't stop crying. The three little African girls in their white dresses just filled my heart with so much joy! I cried and wept. Soeur Mulanda stood up at the end and shared her testimony. She said that if it weren't for us sister missionaries, the girls wouldn't have been prepared and wouldn't have progressed towards baptism. She started crying and I just felt so loved. I knew then that what I had done was good. I was doing the Lord's work. I am so happy to be here.

I love you all and I hope you have a blessed week.

Avec tout mon amour,
Soeur Victoria Beeny


Sunday, September 22, 2013

September 16, 2013 - Beautiful Week in Carcassonne!

What a beautiful week in Carcassonne! And another beautiful six weeks to come! I am staying for another transfer, but my incredible companion Soeur Bayles left this morning for her new ville... Tarbes. She is so awesome and she will do great things. My new companion arrives in about an hour, so we will see how she is... I have high hopes! 

So, we saw LOTS of awesome miracles this week. We did exchanges Tuesday. So I was with Soeur Vidal, the Mexican Canadian who also left this morning... We had a great time! We went to a Relief Society activity in Villemoustaussou. They gave us lots of free stuff because it was an item exchange. It was fun though. Afterwards we went and did some porting, and a woman let us in! Her name is Marie. She has lost a daughter recently, so we taught her the plan of salvation and left her with a Livre de Mormon. It was so awesome. We set our next RDV for this week, so she is a new ami! Also, like two minutes after this we met a woman who was totally not interested, but said her neighbor would be. She gave us the MOST vague directions ever and left us without even a name... we were on the hunt, and I don't know how it happened, but we knocked on a door, and the woman fit the description. She let us in and we had a lesson. She is from Spain, so Soeur Vidal spoke Spanish with her. WHAT?! It was a miracle. Suuuuch a good day in Villemoustaussou. I cant wait to go back! 

Soeur Bayles and I had lots of success with member work this week. We randomly dropped in on two families, who are retired but never have time... which makes no sense. But they were both home!! It was so awesome!! The Vieillard family was there eating kebab (yum). They let us share a spiritual thought and then showed us around their art studio, because frère is an artist. AMAZING paintings. They live in Grezes, and we missed our bus back, so their daughter took us back to Carcassonne. We also got to meet their inactive son while we were there, which was AWESOME! And they gave us the address and number for their other son who is inactive. They trust us now... so awesome. We stopped by an old ladies home and she was so sweet. We shared a spiritual thought and then fed us hot chocolate literally from a soup bowl. Every single member in our ward has their own beautiful little garden. It is way cool. We had a great FHE with the Mulanda family tonight and on our way home we contacted a woman who took a Livre de Mormon! We set up a RDV because she doesnt like reading, so we are going to read to her, haha. That's tonight. Hopefully she will become a new ami! 

We had district meeting in Perpignan last week, which was very fun. It was Mexican themed... haha, so we ate tacos and our district leader made piñatas! It was so memorable. But we talked about member work and had a really great time. I love being with other missionaries. I always learn so much from them. We also had extra time in Perpignan, so we went to H&M!! So awesome. We have no shopping here in Carcassonne, so it was nice. I got a cute scarf because people wear scarfs here as often as they wear pants: meaning all the time. We also had a great RDV with Regine this week. We understand her "meditation" which isn't really meditation at all, but we know now what to teach her!! The Plan of Salvation. And we lined up an awesome member to teach with us this week, so it's only a matter of time before she feels the spirit and commits to baptism. 

Friday morning we received our transfer calls... obviously I'm staying in Carcassonne! My new companion's name is Soeur Man. She is coming from Chambery France in the East. She is from Texas... I'll send pictures of my next victim next week. Friday we had four RDV fall through. IT WAS ROUGH! But we were able to do some great contacting and teach some very simple member lessons. We also went around Carcassonne and ate everything Soeur Bayles had been wanting to eat, because she knew her time was limited before she left, haha. We ate SO MUCH this weekend.

Saturday we left early with a member to visit an inactive family. They live forever away. We were on the freeway when all of a sudden a dog ran into the road. We hit him. It was probably the most traumatic experience of my entire life. I was screaming and crying and I couldn't get the image of the dog out of my head. The member's car was pretty beat up, and he said we were lucky that we didn't get into a bad accident. Because his car was beat up we were stuck at the inactive families house all day... which ended up being great! It was a blessing in disguise. The Lord works in mysterious ways. Take care of our dogs though... I don't want the Lord using them for anything. So we ate tons of Brazilian food at the Bento's home that day. They also had a beautiful garden. Then when we finally got back to Carcassonne, our DMP sensei made us delicious Vietnamamenin (?) nems and tomatoe farsee... we ate SO MUCH! We also got a terrible text Saturday from Bishop saying that the baptism is rescheduled for next week because Marine's dad is flying in from Africa Thursday so he can be here for it. He is actually coming to France to finalize the divorce, but Bishop didn't want to tell us that. It was so hard. It was the first time I have seen Soeur Bayles cry. We cried together. There are so many incredible missionaries that are obedient and hard working that never see baptisms, and she's one of them. The timing is always off for her. But her faith is strong. She is just happy that Marine is still getting baptized. Pictures will come next week. Pray she will baptized.

Yesterday I cried more than any other day of my mission because Soeur Bayles gave her farewell testimony in Sacrament and she cried for the second time in the past three months... and I realized how much I love her and how much I will miss her. Every time a member asked me if I was sad, I cried. We ate lunch with the Martin family after church before heading home for her to pack. She wanted to contact on the Greenbelt one last time, so that's how we spent our last day together. It was a BEAUTIFUL day and lots of people were out. We contacted 140 people in two hours, but no one was interested. No one would even take our cards! It was odd... and then we contacted them. Amine and Emilie. They are a cute married couple in their 30s. They told us they have been looking for the truth and they want to know if we have it. They asked us sooo many questions. We basically had a lesson right there. They took the Livre de Mormon and told us they wanted to read and know for themselves. They are elus. It just goes to show that if we are trying our hardest and opening our mouths, the Lord will put those in our path who are ready to accept our message. I love this gospel!! 

We then went to the Philipe's house, the other Soeur's amis and had another Brazilian feast... WOW! We ate so much delicious food. I'm sure I gained a ton of weight this week. I'll work on it. 

I love you all and I miss you! Keep the letters coming. I don't get tired of them. Have a blessed week and pray for our amis Marine, Regine, Josiane, Cynthia, Gabriel, Chan Than, and Marie. 

Avec tout mon amour,

Soeur Victoria Beeny

Sunday, September 15, 2013

September 9, 2013 Let's Get Down To Business

What a beautiful week in Southern France! Seriously, the weather has been PERFECT! It truly reminds me of autumn in the South. The trees are changing colors, the breeze is cool, but the sun is still shining. We even had some beautiful overcast days and a rain storm one day! I LOVE IT HERE! Transfers are next week, so I'm trying to profit my potential last week in Carcassonne... we will see next week.

We have been seeing so many miracles within our little ward here. Like I said last week, the ward is truly opening up their homes to us! I love the members, and each time we go into one of their homes, we feel loved and welcomed. After we share a spiritual thought with them, they know we are serious about our work and that we expect their help. Then we eat together and talk about ourselves and we learn who they are. Then we laugh together and then that's when I know they love us. It has been eye opening. We went to a little ville called Pomas one day and then walked 45 minutes ON A FREEWAY to get to a little village where a member couple lives... we always want to see them, but they're "never free"... but they're retired so we knew they were lying. So we just walked there! When they answered the door, they were so surprised to see us and they felt loved that we went so far out of our way to come visit them. They gave us a great surprise meal from their backyard garden and we had a great evening together before they drove us back. IT WAS ROCKIN! We also had two meals on Saturday... Soeur Bayles and I thought we were gonna throw up we ate so much stinkin food. We met with the Laborie family in the afternoon and then with the Mulandas that night. We didn't realize till this week, but EVERYONE in our ward is related somehow. One woman is the mother of three women in our ward who are married to men whose sisters are married to other men in our ward... SO CRAZY! Apparently all French wards are like that.

We had one day with NOTHING to do, so we walked like 12 miles all over Carcassonne passing old amis, and we saw a lot of them! We contacted everyone we saw and got lots of potential amis. We didn't have much time to contact this week, but when we did, we had a GREAT time. We also got to go to the CUTEST French ville I have ever been to in my life called Quillan... of my goodness. It's a dream. Go look it up, because I cant even explain it. It has a little castle that is only walls now. Basically everyone we met there had never met missionaries and lots of people were interested! We wished we would have had more Livre de Mormons after a while. It was really cool to visit there.

We had district meeting this week and had a jolly time with the other missionaries here in Carcassonne. We also had exchanges in a ville outside of Toulouse called Montabaun. IT IS SO BEAUTIFUL! But I didn't get to take any pictures! Im so bummed... we were so busy the whole day helping members move and what not that we didn't have time to contact or roam the city... it was kinda a bummer, but we were busy doing service all day, so it was really great. Also, while we were in Montabaun, Soeur Bentley, my companion for the day, received a call that she would be going home for medical reasons... she was devastated and it was a very emotional day for all of us. She showed such great faith and trust in the Lord. It was a hard day, but I learned so much and my Faith was really strengthened too. We have been seeing lots of opposition here with our amis, and its hard to continue being optimistic when there is opposition around every corner. Our ami Regine is having a hard time feeling the spirit, and so it is hard to keep her motivated when she doesn't feel like its true. We struggle with that and it has been hard, but we are trying our best to help her. She still loves us and is willing to see us, so there is time. PRAY FOR HER! We haven't seen our two other amis in about 3 weeks because Josiane has been really busy (we are seeing her this week though), and Cynthia lost her phone and is NEVER home when we pass by her in Castelnaudary... so it has been hard to have leçcons and teach when everyone is slowing down. Marine however is progressing very well! The baptism is still planned for this coming Sunday, so YAY!! We are so excited to be apart of that. Her and her sisters have each chosen someone different to baptize and confirm them... so basically every priesthood holder in the ward will be participating, haha. We are so excited! I cant wait to send you pictures next week!

I gave a talk yesterday on the first vision and it was SO nerve wracking. But it went really well! My French is getting so much better. I understand just about everything now. We are only speaking French this week, which is gonna bless me so much! So I'm sure I'll be fluent by the end of this week, haha. I am just so happy and grateful to be here. I really learned this week to trust in the Lord... I learn that all the time, but this week especially. If we aren't seeing tons of success, its because we are supposed to meet with members, and that's what we have been doing. So yeah. Trust in the Lord, and have a great week!! There is not much else. We are just working our buns off and trying to be instruments in the Lords hands. Remember us and our amis in your prayers and know that I love you all very much... Je vous aime.

Passez une bonne semaine!

Avec tout mon amour,
Soeur Beeny

September 2, 2013 As Long As He Needs Me

This week was awesome and a bit bland. We had exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders here in Carcassonne for Monday and Tuesday. We split up and went to opposite sides of the city. I loved it because I got to see more of my home! There are lots and lots of Muslim communities on the outskirts of Carcassonne. Lots of beautiful families, but unfortunately they weren't too interested. On exchanges we get to do a lot more than we normally get to, because its double the work force for our companionship! So I went with Soeur Pfost (the sister training leader) to Villemoustassou where we Heart Attacked some members homes. Villemoustaussou is TINY! You can literally walk from one end to the other in like 18 minutes. But it was awesome!
President has instituted a new key indicator (or thing we should do to succeed, like contacting or having lessons with members present); So the new one is called a Member Experience. Pretty simple, just have an experience with a member every day! It is truly inspired ya'll. We try really hard to have a member experience everyday, we even have several days where we have 2 or 3 experiences. IT IS SO INSPIRED! Heart Attacking the members is a member experience... we hear attacked 3 families this past week. yesterday during testimony meeting, one of the families stood up and testified that we (the missionaries) are inspired. We heart attacked their mailbox, and their neighbors were intrigued by it and asked... they got to have a missionary experience because of it! Other ward members stood up and shared testimonies on how important it is to let us into their homes so that we can perfect our French and our teaching; it was seriously so cool. They have all really opened their hearts and their homes to us since we started focusing on having experiences with them and showing them our love. President Roney is truly inspired. We have seen much success with the members and getting them to teach with. It is so exciting to see the ward get excited about the work!
We have a super awesome Ami named Regine... shes from Martinique and I think I already told you about her... but she is awesome. We had a lecon (with a member of course) with her last week in her cute little French home. We taught the first lesson. My French kept escaping me, but it went very well! She is reading the LdeM and is so interested in us. SHE CAME TO CHURCH YESTERDAY! She is my first ami to ever come to church. She even answered questions and was involved with Sunday School. She loves when people talk about the light of Christ because she does meditation where she "transmits the light of god" I'm not really sure... but she loves it. We will be seeing here again this week. She is progressing nicely and Soeur Bayles and I are STOKED!
Another miracle this week; WE ARE HAVING A BAPTISM ON THE 15TH OF SEPTEMBRE!! There is this awesome family in our ward; the Mulandas. Soeur Mulanda has 7 kids. Her husband is from Africa. He is there right now, and they are in the middle of getting a divorce. Three of the kids are old enough  to get baptized, but aren't because they have been waiting for their day to come back... well, they decided they want to get baptized now. And because one of them is 9, she is considered a convert baptism... its a little weird, but that's how the church works, okay? We have been seeing them once or twice a week since I arrived in France, so we are super close with them. They are such a beautiful family. We committed them to be baptized the 15th and they gleefully accepted! I cried. Tears of beautiful joy. I didn't really know why we were focusing so much on this family, and now I know why. We were helping these little kids prepare for baptism. Ill take pictures. The daughters names are Chloé, Océan, and Marine. Marine will be my first convert baptism. SO EXCITING!!
There is this super sweet ferris wheel in Carcassonne right now... it has been there for a few weeks, but it is kinda expensive so we decided not to do it... well we rode it this week and it was so stinking worth it!! Beautiful scenes of Carcassonne... It revamped me. Im in France, this beautiful country. I cant waste my time while I'm here. I need to be consecrated and dedicated!! It was such a great experience for us.

Other mission life long dream was fulfilled this week; Soeur Bayles and I finally ate Cassoulet (the famous French dish of the south) in its home ville of Castelnaudary!! It was so amazing. It has beans and duck and sausage and HOLY MOLY its just so yummy. We ate it at a nice restaurant too, so we split the meal because it was pricey, but worth it none the less!!
Yesterday was great. We went to a families house for dinner. The Terrien family is so adorable. He is French and she is from Thailand. There kids are too cute for words. We had so much fun with them. He is the only man in our ward who served a mission. They told us they have some friends they want to introduce us to, so that is exciting! Like I said, president Roney is so inspired! He knows how its done. We have seen so much progress because of member experiences.
We sadly had to drop Chan Tan this week because he isn't keeping his engagements, but all is well. He will notice a difference in his life without us and the constant spirit we bring to his life. He will come back. So don't worry :)
I am so happy to be here... I will be here as long as the Lord needs me. I find more joy in being his missionary than anything else I have ever done in my life. This is HIS work. He loves us and is preparing souls.
So yeah, it was a great week and there is another amazing week coming! I love you and miss you so much! Keep praying for my French! Next week we will be only speaking in French, so I need to be prepared. Pray for my FRENCH!! Okay, love you bye.
Avec tout mon amour,
Soeur Beeny


August 26, 2013 - Stiff Upper Lip, Stout fella, when you're in a ruuuuuttt!

So like I said... kind of a rough week, but it could've been worse I guess! haha, funny story; we went to Limoux one day and on the train there was a large band. They played music on the train and were having a jolly old time. They were pretty good and quite drunk. When we got off the train they started talking to us. Their "leader" scoffed at us for being missionaries and that we "consecrate" ourselves to the Lord... well, he told us we were wasting our time, and when he saw the insulted look on my face he immediately laughed, apologized and came over to me... and he kissed me. I tried to resist and pushed him away... it was just really quick and harmless. French people don't think it's a big deal to kiss. They all kiss each other here. I was in shock and he and his whole group just laughed. YIKES. It was actually really funny. We played it cool and they went on their way to the music festival... so yeah, that's that.

You already know that Steve, our golden ami dropped us last week... well we got dropped by another ami too. Her name is Monique. She's the one that I had a lesson with on the train on the way back from Limoux. It was a total miracle lesson and she seemed really open to learning! She even has a Livre de Mormon... well we had a RDV scheduled for yesterday. She called us Saturday to confirm, but she called to tell us that she can't meet with us... ever. She talked to her pastor about us and he forbade her to see us... so that's that. It was a bummer. We were on the phone and all i could tell her was that our message is true, it will bless her life, and that we are always here if she needs us. She'll read and know... hopefully. We had a RDV with another one fo our amis Josiane this week in Castelnaudary. She is the cutest old French woman EVER! She gave us back the Livre de Mormon. She said she read a little of it and that it's not true. We were a little shocked, but played it cool. We taught her a lesson straight from the bible and she was warm and kind. She has so much faith in Christ that she doesn't know what to do with it. We had Zone Conference and interviews with President this past week. It was awesome first of all, but he asked if I had any questions; so I asked how we were supposed to teach someone that doesn't want to learn from the Book of Mormon. President Roney is SO INSPIRED! Seriously, he told me exactly what to do with Josiane. We are going to teach her the restoration through the bible, and then she won't be able to say no. It's just so cool. We are so excited to see her this week.

Soeur Vidal and I were talking on the way back from Zone Conference on the train. She is super awesome and was in her last ville for four transfers. She really brought the ward together and brought back a lot of inactives. President told her that she was put in Carcassonne for just that reason; to strengthen the ward and bring back inactives. She says that's why I'm here too, because I'm really good at bringing people together. The ward loves me and I need to use that to my advantage. It clicked for me; why haven't we had a baptism yet? Why are we dropping and being dropped by amis left and right? Because we aren't necessarily here in Carcassonne at this time to baptise someone, we're here to strengthen the ward so that when we do have a baptism, they will be welcomed. WOW! We ares till working hard with our investigators to be baptized, and we look for new amis everyday, but we focus a lot on the members and the less actives. We have seen a lot of success. We had 2 dinner appointments last week and we have 3 set up for this week. We are also going to lots of the inactives. Its so awesome! I love my mission. Ya know what else I love? Letters in the mail from awesome friends in America who haven't forgotten me; shout out to Bethsy Coronado and Tara Keil for being super, ridiculously FORMIDABLE! Merci pour vos lettres.

Anywho... we have a new ami, and her name is Regine. She is African and has a cute little house. She teaches French to foreigners, so she is super awesome and understanding about my French (even though it improved SO MUCH this week. We speak only French outside the apartment and we only speak in French on Sundays. I seriously feel like I improved a lot. And when I met with President during interviews, he told me I was very far ahead the other missionaries my age and even older than me... so YAY!) But Regine was a referral from missionaries in Toulouse. She is super open and had already visited She asked for Livre de Mormon the second we walked in and asked us to pray with her. She is a Christian and very believing.... haha, she does cool meditation stuff and she wanted to show us! So we meditated for about 40 minutes of our RDV. Quietest RDV of my life. She invited us back over for dinner next week and she wants to learn more about our message. She seems pretty golden. She also has a car and told us she would drive us everywhere, haha. Very convenient!

One of the funnest things we did this week was with a family in the ward. We went to the Mulandas home and made cookies with them! French cookies are really gross for some reason, so our ward is OBSESSED with American cookies; they always ask us to make them for stuff, so we decided to just make them with a family. Very cool. They have 7 adorable children. We also taught primary this week like we always do. SO FUN! We had them draw pictures of how they know Jesus loves them... and they drew dinosaurs, hahaha. Too funny.

We went street boarding the other day in the rain on the bridge overlooking the castel. It was quite magical... it was my first time street boarding too! Very fun event. We contacted literally hundereds of people. I'll send pictures :)

Well that's all. We are working very hard here! I love you all very much and I hope you are as well! Passez une bonne semaine!

Avec tout mon amour,
Soeur Beeny