Monday, February 3, 2014

Teenage Wasteland - January 27, 2014

Angouleme France... how to explain this ville... Well, in its hay day I bet it was a sight for sore eyes!! But now... I would just call it a Teenage Wasteland. There are several beautiful monuments and cathedrals, like everywhere in France, but everything else is just gross and covered in moss and graffiti. The people are almost always cranky, making contacting nearly impossible. And there are hills in every direction you walk. Bad news: I'm tired at the end of the day. Good news: My butt is gonna look great at the end of this transfer! Haha, but overall I do love Angouleme, despite the many flaws :) I've been spoiled, and now its time to face the harsh reality of French missionary work!! Haha, I'm so happy though.

How is it having a British companion? All I can say is #LongLiveTheQueen. Its fantastic. They use the funniest words!!

I was actually able to meet the entire branch before Sunday, because we passed by all of them... I was
a little shocked yesterday when there were only 20 people at church including us missionaries... The heating was broken, so we had all three hours in the primary room. There was place to spare as well. There is a beautiful chapel; we just need to fill it with a lively branch/ward! The members are fantastic. They are so sweet and they love us and care for us as if we are their children. The branch president and the elders quorum president play the flute and clarinet, and every week they do a special musical number... yesterday they asked me to stand and join them. I sang as they played, and I was filled with the spirit. These members do so much for the Lord. It makes me want to do everything I can to build up the area, not only because I love the Lord, but because I love these people, and they deserve the best missionaries in the world.

Bad parts of last week: We had lots of tomez-vous, do or die lessons, and we were dropped, or dropped amis. It rained almost everyday, and we missed every single bus we had planned to take, so we walked more than I ever have in my mission. There are no engag├ęs right now, but we will hopefully have two or three at the end of the week. But we had a great week of finding and miracles!

There are lots and LOTS of inactives, so we do tons of nonpractiquant work. It is one of my favorite parts of missionary work. We are working with two inactive member families... Pray for them to have the faith and humility to return! Our branch needs these families back. There is only one active family, with one young man and 2 primary children. You shouldn't sit alone with your brother in primary. That just isn't right.

One day of the week we did some contacting and then went to pass lots of amis and less actives. After a few hours of snarky responses on the street, finding nobody home, and even being dropped by an amis, we looked at our backup plans and passed Sandra, an ami. She was home and let us in. It was kind of a do or die lesson because it had been so long since we had seen her... Well, she told us that she has been reading the LdeM everyday since we gave it to her, and that she has seen more joy and found more happiness because of it. She loved the message of the restoration and asked questions you would only receive from someone sincerely seeking the truth. When we invited her to baptism and promised blessings, she accepted, telling us that she needs nothing more than the blessings of the Lord in her life. How incredible!! We felt so blessed to have seen her, and knew that every other bad thing that happened during the day was because the Lord knew we needed to see her :) He's so great.

We contacted a woman, Souad, during the week and she didn't have much time, but gave us her address and told us to pass by the next day. There were no buses, so we walked nearly an hour to find her. She is living in a foyer (a homeless shelter) because she is illegal here. She escaped Chad with her 2 year old son, seeking shelter from her abusive husband. She was raised Muslim, but converted Christianity because of the peace Christ brings to her life. She is fantastic!! We taught her the restoration, and she was very touched and curious. She loves the idea that children are not baptized because they are innocent. We invited her to be baptized, and she said of course. She seemed very eager to read the LdeM as well... She gave a beautiful prayer at the end. I hope that things work out with her, because the gospel could literally CHANGE her life. I am always inspired by the people we meet, and how brave they are. The Lord loves His children, and that is why I am here; to bring them back to him.

Funniest part of the week: We were on a super crowded bus one afternoon. There are always
instances when the bus takes a tight turn and everyone nearly falls out of their seats... Well, the bus took a turn and I was standing, so I totally biffed it and fell on top of this nasty 14 year old couple who were literally making out!! Hahahaha, it was priceless. Then afterwards, I was having a hardcore conversation with this 15 year old girl. She was so funny. When I told her I was American, she FREAKED out and ripped open her coat to show me her Nicki Minaj tshirt. Haha, she was so excited to meet someone from the same country as her idol. She sang Bees in a Trap for me. Quality contact. I love French people.

So I studied Luke 8:22-25 this week. In this instance, the disciples and the Lord are on the ship, crossing a lake. The Lord wants to cross the waters and so they climb into the boat thinking it would be a simple voyage. The Savior falls asleep and then the storm arrives. I cannot imagine the fear of the disciples, for it says "they were in jeopardy". They were about to die! They woke the Lord and He calmed the sea and rebuked them for their lack of faith. Think of the instances in your life when you think you are simply crossing the lake, and suddenly a storm arrives. This happens often. I think of all the work the disciples must have done to save the ship, and to save themselves. Think of how much we work to save ourselves during these instances... Sometimes it feels like the Savior is asleep in our lives, but in reality, He is always there. I don't think he rebukes them because they didn't think He could calm the sea, but because they waited so long to wake Him. They should have known that He could instantly calm the sea, all they had to do was ask. Turn to the Savior. Plead with Him, because He is always there.
I love you all. Have a beautiful week :)

Avec tout mon amour,
Soeur Beeny


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