Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas

Did this week not FLY by?... It did here in Carcassonne. The cold has arrived. We wear our boots, tights, coats, and gloves everywhere. It worries me... its only October. I hope to be transfered to Montepellier or Nice, where I can stay nice and warm through the winter :) but who know... I may be transfered to Gex, on the border of Switzerland where I will be trenching through snow. We shall see in two weeks time!! 

So we spent about two whole days traveling to and participating in our tri-Zone Conference in Aix en Provence. It was so incredible!! We had lots of fun staying the night in Montpelier. I love the sisters in my apartment. We had funny story telling competitions on the trains. Wow. We have some pretty bizarre lives. I shared the throw up story about Trevor after he ate Macaroni and Cheese at O'Charelys. That was a crowd pleaser! 

Anyway, President Roney is incredible. I'm his favorite missionary, I can tell. He talked about the Paris mission... they have about three times as many baptisms as us, and yet, we have the same amount of area and the same number of missionaries. We were all kinda ticked to hear this information. WHAT?! There is NO way the Paris mission is better than ours, or has better or harder working missionaries than us... Which is true. The difference is the way the set goals. President challenged us all to make a baptismal goal. Our mission is planning on having a "White Christmas" for Jesus' birthday. White as in baptismal white. We made personal goals for how many baptisms we are giving to Jesus for his birthday between now and Christmas... its a little weird, but we are very excited and motivated now! We are breaking the lid off of our mission. Pray for our mission as a whole. I know we can accomplish anything with the Lord! 

We had some pretty incredible leçons this week with our amis! We taught Jean-François the law of tithing... he accepted it eagerly and then asked if there was some other way he could help out the
ward. He feels indebted to the church for the change it has brought into his life. We taught him about callings. We also taught him The Law of Chastity. It was amazing. He was so happy to finally find support on the decision to stay chaste until marriage. He has always felt that intimate things should be saved for those that you truly love and are loyal to. He has had many relationships end in heartbreak because he has asked that they wait until they become more serious and are married... he is seriously so golden. He came to church yesterday and was very very nervous. He told us he was nervous for his baptism this coming weekend and that he was intimidated by the members. It was scary for me to see him like that, but he stayed all three hours, and there was one brother in the ward that really reached out to him. We watched Finding Faith in Christ during Sunday School and it really touched him. Then he took notes during sacrament. He stayed after church talking to lots of members. The sacrament prays were specifically for him and his preparation this week. By the end, he was very happy, smiling ear to ear. We ran into him later on in the day as we were contacting in Central Ville, and we sat down next to the fountain and planned his baptismal service. I am giving the talk on The Gift of the Holy Ghost. We are also singing a special musical number. WE ARE SO EXCITED! It is Saturday night at 17h00. We also talked to him about the temple and eternal marriage... it came out of no where, but he loves the idea and says he wants to find someone and get married in the Salt Lake Temple, and he wants us to be there!! We feel so blessed to have been the missionaries to teach him. He says he's blessed to have this gospel now, but we feel blessed to have seen someone make such changes in their life. He is so prepared. Pray that all will go well at the baptism this weekend.
We were able to start teaching another one of our amis, Maria. I believe I said something about her last week. She has 4 boys all under the age of 7 that are home with her all the time. We still have not met her husband because he works all the time. Well our first RDV this week we went over to teach her the Restoration. It turns out that she doesn't read French, only Italian. It made it a bit harder to teach her because we couldn't really use the pamphlet and the Livre de Mormon is a strange translation. During our leçcon she was breastfeeding the whole time... you should know that French people find breastfeeding very natural wherever they are. It is not alarming to see them walking around or sitting on a bench out in the open without anything covering them. It is quite hysterical actually, haha. Also during the leçon her sons were either trying to kill each other or us. Literally at one point the five year old ran out of the kitchen wielding a knife! Maria has to tackle him and I honestly thought he was going to cut her. The kids are CRAZY!!! We are having a hard time teaching her, but she loves when we come and keeps inviting us over. The kids don't affect her at all. She just laughs and tells us to go on, haha. We returned later that day to drop off a Livre de Mormon in Italian, and her sons answered the door... buck naked. Seriously. I saw waayy too much of that family in one day, haha. We went back for another RDV yesterday, and the kids were about just as bad as usual, but she had read some of the Book of Mormon and we brought Italian brochures. She understood a lot more. We have found our key. So pray for her that she will continue to progress, and that we can help her children be more calm so we can feel the spirit!

Chan Than succeeded in his goal to smoke only 5 cigarettes a day this week... yay! So it is on to 4 cigarettes a day. Slow and Steady wins the race. Pray for him to continue to progress.

We went to Perpignan again this weekend to see a couple get baptized. THEY ARE SO CUTE! We had a great time. I felt so strongly that I was supposed to be there... one of the sister missionaries is struggling a lot right now, and I was able to comfort her and help her feel the love of the Lord. We were only there for a short time, but I know the Lord placed me there for a reason. Pray for Soeur Shultes please. 

We cleaned the entire church by ourselves this weekend... Just Soeur Mann and I. It was rough, but worth it. We also had some great experiences with the ward members this week. We ate lunch one day with the Mulendas. It was so yummy!! While Soeur Mulenda cooked, the little girls literally taught us French. They went over the Articles of Faith and helped us with our pronunciation. I have received lots of good compliments this week on my accent. Cool stuff, right? 

We also had a great lunch with Adhna and Dior Martin, our bishops daughters. We had such an incredible time! They are both return missionaries. They helped us feel loved and told us cool stories from their missions that were inspiring. They are such a great support to us. They have been here since I arrived in Carcassonne. They will be leaving in about two weeks when their vacation time is over... I'm worried. I kinda hope I get transferred so that I don't have to be here without them, haha.

So it was a hard week, because we had lots of plans fall through, and we didn't reach all of our goals, but I realize each week that we have so many beautiful miracles that outweigh all of our downfalls. The Lord is continually watching out for us and helping us as we continue to grow and strive to do his work. Pray that we will find new investigators this week. Pray for Soeur Mann. She is really struggling right now. Pray for us to have unity. Pray for our amis. Pray for our ward. I promise I will pray for you all as well. Love you all. Have a beautiful week!
Avec tout mon amour,
Soeur Victoria Beeny

Doubt Your Doubts, Before You Doubt Your Beliefs!

This week was FABULOUS!!! (imagine me singing that word). When Soeur Mann arrived, we made the decision to explode Carcassonne... and that is just what is happening. We go home at the end of each successful day and kneel in overwhelming gratitude for the inconceivable miracles that we were blessed to witness during the day. We found three new amis last week, and one today. 

Chan Than is still struggling to quit smoking, so pray for him please! However, Jean Francois is a dream. He is the most prepared man in all of Carcassonne. He came to THREE sessions of conference. We were a little apprehensive to invite him, but he loved every moment and couldn't wait to come for more. While Bednar was speaking, we became worried because we hadn't taught him Tithing yet... at the end of the session Jean-François told us that his favorite talk was Bednar's and that he can't wait to learn how he can receive the blessings of tithing!! WOOWW!! We about cried. We also taught him the Word of Wisdom this week... we went full ahead and he accepted it without a doubt. He quit smoking a few months ago, but he does drink coffee. He told us he still had a few cigarettes at his place, and that he had lots of coffee. He immediately told us he would throw them into the garbage where they belong when he got home. Oh heavens. We are so incredibly blessed to be his missionaries. He loves us so much. He calls us his sisters and texts us after each RDV telling us how grateful he is that he met us. He has already made so many changes and seen such a difference in his life. He thinks he is the lucky one, but little does he know how much his faith is strengthening mine. Please keep him in your prayers. We asked to change his baptismal date to the 19th because that is Soeur Mann's birthday, and he quickly accepted! We helped him move today. He found a new apartment; his favorite part about it is that it is about a 5 minute walk from the church... He is so golden. AHHH!!! (Screams of overwhelming joy!)

So Mardi we had basically no plans, so we decided to go contacting/porting/searching for old amis. Half way through the hot day we received a phone call from an unknown number. The man on the other line said that we had contacted him earlier in the day, and after thinking about it he decided to call the number on our card and demand to learn more! We met him at the church that night. We have met with him three times since. His name is Jullien. He is 27 and very curious. We set a baptismal date with him the 3rd of November. He came to conference as well and loved it! He learns very quickly and loves learning about Joseph Smith. He has lots of faith. We are so grateful that we have pass along cards... without them, the Lord would not have been able to provide us with such a miracle! God bless whoever invented those pieces of paper :) 

So the ward gave us a referral when I first arrived in June... we called and called and called to no avail. Then we gave up! It had been about two months since we had tried, and I randomly felt the urge to call them. I dug out their number and dialed the number... they answered. We talked. We set a RDV for this weekend. It is a family with kids. What a blessing. What a miracle. The Lord has been so good to us. 

We had so many fun RDVs with ward members this week... they feed us well. I fear that if I get transferred at the end of the month that I will be devastated and heart broken. I fear even more that I may stay another transfer and then grow even closer to the beautiful families here. What am I to do?! Pray for the Carcassonne ward. There are struggles, but they are WONDERFUL! 

So get ready for the funniest thing in the world... I HAVE LICE! Okay, I HAD lice. My head was itching sooo badly last week. We were at the church for a meeting last Thursday and I about cried when Soeur Martin, the bishops wife, pulled two little bugs out of my hair. Like seriously? I'm in France, not Africa!! Basically all day Friday was spent doing a lice killing treatment. Can I just say that Soeur Mann is the best companion ever? She spent about two hours using a lice comb, pulling bug corpses from my scalp. Wow. She is the best... we had a great time together. As you can imagine, our unity is higher than ever now! haha, so the treatment killed all of the bugs and now I am lice free... it was scary, but now it is just hilarious.

We were able to go to Perpignan to see a baptism in our district this weekend... it got me really excited for our baptisms coming up! We will be leaving for Aix tomorrow to go to Zone Conference. We will go to Perpignan this weekend for another baptism, and then we will go to Bordeaux in a week for exchanges. Wow I'm so lucky to be in this beautiful country!

We had many other miracles as we found Maria, an Armenian woman and her family to teach this week, as well as Ali, a very curious man looking for the truth. He came to conference and loved it very much. He told us he would be back for church next week.

So lastly, I just want to say that I was spiritually edified this weekend. Holland's, Bednar's, Oak's, Ballard's, and especially Eyring's talks touched my heart the most. I am so grateful to have living prophets and apostles to lead and guide us in this ever changing world! 

I wept at the promise that if we as missionaries and as members of this church come together in faith, we will touch millions of hearts between now and Christmas. I take that challenge full heartedly and I ask you to as well. Pray. Seek. Find. You can be a blessing to those around you. 

I am more inspired than ever to better myself everyday and do the will of the Lord in every manner. I love you all so much. I am so grateful for you. My heart aches when I think of you and how much I miss you, but I know the time away from you will all be worth it. 

Have faith. Turn to the Lord. Pray. 

Je vous aime beaucoup. Passez une bonne semaine ma belle famille.

Avec tout mon amour,
Soeur Beeny

(Neighbor's Underwear Hanging Out to Dry)


My week was a bit crazy... we didn't have a crazy miracle filled week! In fact we had to drop 3 of our amis... but all is well because we have Jean-François!!
Seriously, We found the most prepared French man in all of Carcassonne. We met him last week and he already has a baptismal date of the 20th of October. He quit smoking and drinking two months ago because he knew it wasn't right... he reads the Book of Mormon and he prays everyday and he LOVES our church. We had him read a chapter in the Book of Mormon and he took freaking notes on it. WHAT?! He is so stinkin awesome. He came to church and bore his testimony about how incredible prayer is. He has been looking for an apartment for three months and prayed to find one after our first lesson, and found an apartment this week! Seriously a miracle for him!!
He loves us and is so eager to learn and to be baptized. He has already made lots of friends in the ward and texts us all the time to tell us that we are blessings in his life to bring him this gospel. Soeur Mann and I are just freaking out a little because he is sooo prepared to receive the gospel.
The Lord has blessed us so much! We are so happy and this week we will be playing the finding game. We need new investigators! So pray that we will find those people in Carcassonne who are ready and prepared to receive this message of joy and peace! 

Chan Than is still progressing. He has decided to smoke only 3 cigarettes a day compared to the normal 6. Pray that he will continue strong in his faith and that he will have the will power to quit!! Also that he will find an apartment. 

We also have our other ami Raymonde who is super old... she accepted the baptismal date of the 13th, but we don't think she will be prepared. She came to church, but she has serious learning disabilities. We can tell her what a prophet is twenty times, but she won't remember or understand. it is really hard actually and we don't know what to do. We will be talking to our bishop about it this week... we really didn't do too much else this week, but we have a busy week coming up!! Pray that all of our plans will stay strong and that we will find new amis that are ready and willing to change their lives.

I love you all so much. Thank you for your examples and love. Sorry the email is so short. I told you the good parts... we aren't

avec tout mon amour,
Soeur Beeny
supposed to write negative things home, so just know that you hear everything I can tell you!! haha, if that makes sense. Love you all.