Monday, March 31, 2014

Falling In Love With You - March 31, 2014

I continue to fall in love with Angouleme France... And it continues to fall in love with us! Soeur Paulo and I had a fun week swatting away men who might be a little TOO interested in us... however we share our message and hope that the Spirit softens their hearts and their love is more directed towards Christ, haha. Fun memories and phone calls and rendezvous. I'm not sure if I became more beautiful when I got to France, or if the men just have lower standards, hahaha. French Men love Sister Missionaries!!

We saw some fantastic miracles this week! It was a record breaking week for our district... We taught more lessons this past week than our district has in MONTHS. YEARS EVEN! Haha, so cool :) We are truly seeing the Lords work hastened in this corner of France. Our mission leaders even called us in the middle of the week to congratulate us. Angouleme has been the talk of the stake presidency. They have recognized how much the work has increased here and are very pleased with our efforts. We are so blessed that the Lord is showing us the fruits of our labors!

We were able to teach Henriette this week, tackling the Restoration for the FOURTH time, but with a secret weapon this time: Soeur Temahuki! Henriette was sparked out of her mind and fell in love with Soeur Tem. She was able to explain principles in ways that I have never heard... the blessings of teaching with members: uncountable. Something clicked with Henriette, and she realized that she needs to pray to know if our message is true. She finally understands that we are the ONLY true church upon the earth with the actual authority of Christ. So cool. She really wanted to come to church, but her atheist husband decided to take her on a spur of the moment trip Sunday morning... grr. She called Soeur Temahuki to explain and said she would come soon... hopefully she'll be excited to hear the words of the prophet this coming week!

Audrey. Audrey. Audrey. She came back from her trip early. YAYYY!! But then we didnt see her for a couple of days. We went over SOOO many times. We had a feeling she was home one day, but she wasnt answering the phone or the door. I gave Soeur Paulo a boost, and she climbed half way up the house to knock on her bedroom window. hahaha, it was a quality boldness moment. Joe came home right after she had climbed down and let us in the house. SHE WAS THERE! She went into a little hibernation for a few days. When she got back from her trip, Joe and Audrey went to the Marie (Town Hall) to do file their papers for marriage... YOU HEARD RIGHT! AUDREY AND JOE ARE GETTING MARRIED!! WOOOO!!! She is still having silly fears that are deriving from Satan, but she is more at peace and has continued with the reading schedule we made her. She was glowing at church yesterday in her bright pink dress :) We hope to set a baptismal date as soon as they set a solid wedding date, which is for the beginning of May. Keep her in your prayers.

We got quite a few sweet new amis this week... but the best ones are a super old couple. Jean Bernard and Ginette. They were taught by missionaries like 2 years ago, but then the missionaries just stopped seeing them. They live in a beautiful big house, with a wide French garden in the back. Their walls are covered in tapestries and paintings. Its like a museum. They have a dog named Ami, and they have pet hedgehogs. They are wealthy, retired teachers. They are very kind and welcoming. They are also pretty worldly. They drank alcohol during our first RDV, at 10 in the morning, haha. They also don't believe in chastity. He is a practicing catholic, and she is nothing at all. She doesn't really know what to believe. We began the Plan of Salvation with them, but we went off track and talked about a million other things. Ginette plays the piano like a BOSS. They like when Soeur paulo playsPand I sing. They are a quirky couple... Ginette was having a hard time remembering to call us Soeur, so she gave us ploy first names so she would know what to call us... She named me Clara, and Soeur Paulo Lea, haha. They're real characters! We wont be able to see them this week, but they want us to help with their garden! My favorite part of their home is the giant magnolia tree out front. Made me think of you mom :)

STEVE!!! Such a stud. He continues to continue with faith. When we began to work with Steve, he would never commit to anything. If we asked him to read he would say "Ill try, but no promises." Also, he would never pray during our RDVs with us... Well, We taught him a killer Word of Wisdom lesson. He takes really good care of himself already, so he only had to give up coffee. We invited him to live the WOW and he immediately accepted. And then we asked him if he would like to offer the closing prayer during our RDV and he nodded yes with a smile. MIRACLE. Our next RDV with him we were able to talk about the importance of the small things: prayer, scriptures and obedience. The Spirit really touched him. He cried as he discussed how much our message has blessed him. He eagerly reads the Book of Mormon and searches out topics he wants to study. We asked him how quitting coffee was going. He said that he went to the café every morning life always, but that he took fruit juice instead, which is three times the cost! He thought it was a hefty fee, but knew it was for the best. Later that day he found 10 euros in his wallet that wasn't there earlier. He immediately recognized that it was the Lord blessing him for his obedience. EVERYONE! IF WE KEEP THE WORD OF WISDOM GOD WILL PUT MONEY IN OUR POCKETS! Haha, not exactly, but very cool. He came to church again, even though he told us that it was a one week deal, haha. He also told the members that he would see them again next week. Steve deserves this message so much. He is such a great guy. The Lord loves him so much :) Continue to pray for him! His baptism should be in 3 weeks.
We were able to teach Sunday School yesterday and give out cool Missionary Packages, complete with brochures, pass along cards, and Livre de Mormons! It was a fun way to prep the branch to do even more than they are already doing! A couple of members came up to me and told me that they needed a  Livre de Mormon during the week to give away to a relative or friend. They told us we were inspired... HOW COOL! They are the greatest little branch :) We shared the story of Christ at the well with the Samaritan woman. We invited them to share the living water with those that are thirsting for the truth. Progress is being made. Faith. Patience. Courage.

This week I came to the conclusion that I would like to be the greatest missionary in the entire world. As I prayed about it, I felt nothing but support from the Lord. I began to study the white hand book and marked the areas where I need to improve (there were a lot of them), but I felt strength that I recognized where improvement was necessary. The mission is focusing on Boldness right now. I feel pretty bold already, but I knew I could do even better. We are also focusing on having endless love for the Lord and His children. I love, but I can love more. I studied the scriptures and found Moroni 8:16 which states "I speak with boldness, having authority from God; and I fear not what man can do; for perfect love castest out all fear." I felt more support from the Lord in this endeavor to be the greatest missionary ever. I went through the week working more mindfully than ever. I was bolder than ever. I talked to people and found myself turning around and running after people that had walked by us. I didn't want any souls left out. We were more obedient than ever, making sure I didn't ever lose sight or sound of my companion. I was more smiley, and more light minded. There were moments that I fell short, but I picked myself back up and continued! Its funny how improvement makes you realize how much more you need to improve. I went from 3 to 4 this week, but I want to make it to 10. Last night as I was talking with the Lord, I felt His support again. There is improvement to be made. There will always be improvement to be made. But, improvement was made, and that's all that really matters. The Lord loves us and knows we are imperfect. He will never lose hope or give up on us. He is eternally patient, and we must be patient with ourselves as well. I am grateful to be His servant. I love Him and I love His gospel.

I love you all. Have a beautiful week :)

Avec tout mon amour,
Soeur Beeny

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

7 Miracles?... More Like 8 - March 25, 2014

This week is in the top weeks of my mission. So incredible. We were able to have some very fun FHEs with members, including the only family with children: the Mazalyrats. They are the sweetest. I made peach cobbler for them and they INHALED it, haha. Good to know my home cookin is appreciated in France as well :) 

Tuesday: MARDI DES 8 MIRACLES!! SOOOO COOOLLLL! Well, we didn't have much planned for this day, but we decided to fill our schedules with productive activities and get to work. As I told you last week, we invited Audrey our ami to stay with a member family during the week to live the law of chastity and be obedient so she could receive an answer to her prayers... well we didn't think she was gonna go through with it, BUT she texted us Tuesday to tell us she was with them and having an amazing spiritual day with them! We were able to set a sudden RDV with our engagé Steve as well. 2 miracles down... we went to find some members that we didn't know and hadn't ever met... usually when we do this, they don't live there anymore, BUT NOT THIS TIME! We found them! The first one had never met sister missionaries before, and excitedly invited us back for next week. (miracle 3) and then the second woman we found ended up not even being a member... her dad who had passed away was a member, but she is passing a difficult moment in life and wants to come to church and receive the lessons... say hello to our new ami Bernadette :) (miracle 4). We went to find  some old amis that were taught YEARS ago... Well the first man opened the door; he had never met sisters either, but was pleased and invited us back for the next week (miracle 5). The second old ami didn't live there anymore, but we called and he answered... then he hung up on us. Bummer... but then he called back a few hours later and said sorry that his phone had dropped us and we set a RDV for this week! (miracle 6). We contacted EVERYONE we met and were able to use the magic of the mission questionnaire to set a RDV on the spot with a man named Olivié, who has a family :) (miracle 7). We had such a lovely day, even though the weather was LAME. We ended the day with a RDV with Steve in the café... well he had read through most of 1st Nephi for fun... he said he hadn't prayed, because he thought about Real Intent: being willing to act upon the response you receive from God. He didn't know if he was willing to act without knowing what he would have to change in his life first... So he asked us about the commandments. We swallowed our fear and taught mini mini lessons on the word of wisdom, law of chastity and tithing... he looked at us and said 'that's all?... Well I can do that.' SOOOO COOOOLLLLL!! He accepted all of the commandments. Miracle number 8. It was just amazing. An amazing day provided by the Lord. It just goes to show that the Lord will bless us for our diligence. When we think nothing is coming, or we think we don't have anything to work with, you work with what you can give, and the Lord will provide the rest :)

We had a RDV with one of our amis Jonhse this week, who is from Angola. Well when we went to meet him, he was talking with a friend, Serge. We invited him to join us for our RDV, and he accepted! He's from central Africa.  They both accepted the restoration very well. They both came to church! As well as Steve, and some random Portuguese man that Soeur Paulo found in the area book, haha. We had 4 amis at church... The branch was FLIPPIN out they were so excited. Honestly, it was a miraculous day. We watched the restoration video with our amis, and they loved it. They all seem to be progressing nicely :)

We had a fun district meeting in Limoge this week and took some beautiful pictures! We ended the day with a fun FHE with the Temahukis, Audrey, and Joe. We talked about 3 Nephi 13:19-34 and I shared a story about the Banana Monkey Trap, talking about letting things go. We told Audrey to let go of her fears... it was fun; unfortunately, she decided to go home that night with Joe. We were disappointed. She also told us that she was going out of town on Saturday for a week...  NOOOO!!! We were freaking out a lot. Audrey and Joe helped us in a lesson with Stéphane, and it went really well. We taught the Restoration and priesthood... I think it was really good for Audrey. We had a RDV with her Friday morning before she left... Friday morning was one of he most stressful mornings of my life. We were so scared to go over and find out what was going on with her. WE THOUGHT SHE WAS RUNNING AWAY!! Well we went over and had a long discussion about her stay with the Temahukis... She said she felt peace she hadn't felt in months. She received revelation. And she missed Joe so much that she couldn't stay with the Temahukis any longer, even though it was an incredible experience for her. What she realized: the joy of righteous living, and how much she loves her fiance. She told us that she was going to stay with a cousin over the weekend, but she knows now that she wants to be with Joe forever... She planned the wedding for the end of April :) I WAS ALMOST IN TEARS! So before we went over for her RDV, we wanted to prepare for her week long trip... We made a very inspired reading and prayer schedule with topics by the day. We printed her out 8 talks and prepared her Spiritual Survival Kit. She was in love with it!! She was so excited and very grateful. We haven't talked to her since she left because she is in Germany, but Joe called us to tell  us that she would be coming home on Wednesday :) I am so grateful for her. She is the sweetest. I am grateful that my companion and I have been so in tune with the spirit concerning our amis needs. We have been so blessed by the Lord this week.

Missionary work is erupting here. Our members have been more involved. Soeur Temahuki taught
with us and then drove us around to our amis, and to find less actives on Saturday. Missionary work with a member (and a car) is more effective! haha, our members were so excited about our amis at church that they literally invited them over to their homes... and we didn't ask them to invite them either!! WOOOOWWW!!! We are so blessed.

We were able to go to our zone conference in Bordeaux yesterday, where Elder Lund of the 70 came to speak to us. It was fantastic. I always feel more dedicated after seeing our leaders and being instructed by them. I know the Lord lives, and that He loves us. This is His work. I am so grateful and lucky to be apart of it :) I love you all. Have a beautiful week!!

Avec tout mon amour,
Soeur Beeny

Monday, March 17, 2014

HAAAPPPPYYYYY - March 17, 2014

 HAPPY ST PATRICKS DAY! Im celebrating all alone over here in France in my bright green dress! I have to fight the urge not to pinch everyone not wearing green... awkward. The French dont celebrate with the Irish I guess :( buts thats not gonna dampin this beautiful day! The weather has been fantastic here, making our missionary work even more fun than usual. I dont know how it happened, but yet another week wizzed by, and Im even happier than last week.  
MEMBERS MEMBERS MEMBERS! We continued to work with our lovely members, trying to bring them the Spirit in their lives. There is a brother and sister, Annette and Roland, in the branch who has special needs... I don't know what it is, but they live together and they are the gentlest and kindest people ever. I didn't know what to expect with our RDV with them, but it shocked me. Their humble, yet profound testimonies touched me. Even with all of the trials and struggles they have in their lives, they  stay strong. Their humility is awe inspiring. I love them and I am so grateful for their examples of faith. We went and visited a sweet older member Adele. We had planned to walk with her in the beautiful spring air and share some hymns with her. There are some members that just need our love and a person to listen. I'm glad to lend my attention to them. They are so wonderful. We had a fun night with one member, Carole, who is a BEAUTIFUL single woman in the branch. All of the men hit on her... even investigators we bring to church, haha. She helped us teach, and then Soeur Paulo taught us how to make Portuguese soup! Such a fun night :)  We were invited to eat with the Temahukis again, and I realized as I entered their house, took off my shoes, and hung up my jacket that I was at home. Their house is literally a refuge for me. I feel like I live there. I am so grateful for loving members that take such good care of us. We were able to have a fantastic RDV with Stéphane as well... he is the coolest dude ever. He has such a solid testimony, and Im sure its because of the great support he receives from his many member friends. Member missionary work is the key!!!

The greatest night of the week was the Branch Talent show... We had less actives there that I didnt

even know existed!! It was such a success... everyone did some cute little things, like reading poetry, or singing French nursery rhymes they remembered from their childhood, or did a Tahitian dance/ War cry with the Temahukis... I went up.... and I took out some balloons and made them some stuff... The usual sword, parate, poney, elephant, monkey on a palm tree and alien. THEY WERE BLOWN  AWAY! The kids loved it. There was an inactive family there with 4 little kids... And they about died. They were so excited. I sparked them to death, and then sparked them back to life... To be brief. The mom invited us over for an FHE :) Booya. Soeur Paulo played the piano and I sang If You Could Hie to Kolob... Very fun. I always feel like a rockstar because the branch thinks Im a professional...

THEY'RE THE SWEETEST! haha, it was such a lovely night. I adore these members. They are too
kind. I feel like they are my little family.  I am so grateful the Lord has called me to serve in Angouleme France... They need us, and I certainly need them. We had a 3 hour long branch council yesterday. They are really worried about the branch. They have asked to receive  a missionary couple to help out. We will see what happens. There really is a need, so I hope it happens.
We did lots of work trying to find members on our list of 210... with 18 of which are active. We went to little villes I had never been to before! We had a very fun time doing what we could, knocking on doors and talking with every child of God that was put in our path. We had a zone training this week, where president shared some very INSPIRED news with us... We are taking a turn in our contacting. During his mission, President Roney used a questionaire while contacting. He had a little piece of paper with questions and boxes to check, and he stopped people to ask them to do the questionaire. He said that he saw his success rate go up and that people who were "too busy to talk to a missionary" were more willing to stop for a moment to help someone do a questionaire... and then their interest was sparked by the questions posed and the testimony of a young american boy. Well, he  made a questionnaire for us and has asked us to do it... I was a little confused at first, but then I got really excited!  We had SOOOO much fun with it! And we have seen more success! There are lots of people that tell us they were busy or in a hurry, but now we had a good response, and people were willing to stop and answer questions and help us out... and then we were able to testify and help them feel the spirit in between questions. I LOVED IT! We have lots of potentials that could become amis this week. Keep us in your prayers!
We had some sweet miracles this week with our amis... so first off, Steve. We met him on Wednesdayand yesterday. He has been really busy with work, so he hasn't been able to read. BUMMER! But he LOVES meeting with us. Usually RDV's are about 45 minutes long... but his always turn into 2 hours because he is soo excited and loves learning and talking. There are moments when I can see the truth click in his eyes. He told us that he feels so good in the church and that he loves meeting with us and hearing what we have to say. We have  beautiful lessons with him... The first lesson was with Carole, where we taught the gospel of Christ. He agrees with everything we tell him, and his acceptance pushes away our fears of inviting him to change. He has a very strong desire to strengthen his faith. We found out that he is busy on Sunday mornings because he is training to be  a professional boxer... SO COOL!! But, we need to get him to church. We taught him the restoration again yesterday to review the priesthood, which  we didnt explain very well. The room was filled with the spirit.  The Temahukis were there, thank heavens, and when he started to ask questions about how the priesthood was lost, they were able to respond with specifics, which I would never have been able to do. As we testified of the restoration of the  priesthood and the divine love of  God for His children, the spirit touched his heart.  He understood and you could see the pure astonishment on his face as we told him these things that he had never realized. Watching Steve during lessons is like watching a child put together a puzzle... Every piece brings more to light of the grandeur of the  bigger picture. He is incredible. At the end of the powerful, spirit led lesson, we asked him what he would do if he knew for himself that our message was true, that this truly was the church of Christ on the earth, and that we had the actual authority and power of God on the earth... He said he would want to be like us, and declare it to the whole world. DESIRE. REAL INTENT. We invited him to be baptized. He reflected. Knodded his head, and looked up with fire in his eyes and accepted. We set a date of the 19th  of April as his goal. It was a WONDERFUL moment for us. We left with glee in our hearts! There are lots of things to come... but we know that he is prepared. Pray for him to continue to progress.
Audrey was stubborn this week... but we were able to teach her twice, the first night we focused on the blessings of baptism, marriage, and the priesthood in her life. Very humble, simple lesson that left her with some thinking to do. We had a fun time with her at the  branch talent show. We saw her last night, and it was magical. We decided to be bold. Preach My Gospel says that our boldness testifies to our amis that we have faith that obedience brings blessings... so we were bold. Audrey told us that she  wants to get married to Joe, and the he wants to get married to her. They have been praying so much.... I just don't get it, but shes scared.  We shared the story of the Anti-Nephi-Lehis, when they buried their swords. They literally HID the temptation to sin... We invited her to do the same. Hide, run, and burry the temptation. We invited her to take a week. Take a week to be completely obedient to the commandments. We invited her to sleep at the Temahukis home during the week, and to focus all of her efforts on her prayers and serving,  and reading the scriptures so that the spirit would be ever present in her life so she could receive the answer that she is ready... That she does need to get married. She accepted immediately. She is so ready to be over her fears. She is so ready to follow the Lords will, whatever it be for her. WOOOOWWW!! I love her so much. It is incredible to see how far she has come. We are meeting with her everyday this week, and we are fasting on Sunday together. Please pray for her to recognize the answer to her prayers. It will change her life.

I love you all and I hope you have a fantastic week my loved ones!!

Avec tout mon amour,
Soeur Beeny