Monday, March 17, 2014

The Gospel Is Like Nutella - on both sides of the bagel -- March 3, 2014

So, it has been decided: I'm staying in Angouleme for another transfer!! Another glorious six weeks in my little branch :) but sadly enough, Soeur Hoar got the boot!! She's headed off to Agen France, another tiny branch in the mission that has been having problems. Shes gonna fix them though, dont worry!! Out with the English, in with the Portuguese! My new companion, Soeur Paulo, is from Lisbon Portugal! She is younger in the mission, heading into her 5th transfer, and Im struggling with my cane into my 7th transfer... Wow. TIME FLIES! She just came from the English ward in Geneva Switzerland, which is made up of huge ward of rich Americans... She was spoiled. The first thing she asked me was if our ward was big... She didn't believe me when I said there were 18 active members on a good week, ha ha. She is gonna love it!! Big change = Big Love. And in the words of my favorite testimony from this past fast Sunday "Frères et Soeurs, n'ayez pas peur. Nous sommes dans la véritable église de Dieu." or "Brothers and Sisters, don't fear. We are in the true church of God." This simple phrase struck me to the core. This basic truth, strengthened daily, will push us through the storms of life!

We had a great last week of the transfer. The big miracle of the week was once again Audrey. It
started off Monday when they invited us to go to a castle with them! It ended up being closed, but we had a nice picnic by the river in the sun :) We all shared our most embarrassing moments... I recounted the time when I held Kevin Pett's hand for the first time at the movie theater and he was holding another girls hand on the other side. They thought it was hysterical!! Bad times make for good stories later, ya know? We taught Audrey just about every day this past week. We wanted to talk about missionary work one day, but half way into the lesson her fiance Joe shared a mission experience where he learned to follow the will of the Lord... And then we suddenly changed topics. Audrey in that moment realized that she wanted to follow the Lord's will for her. She committed herself to pray to know which date she needed to be baptized, and told us that she would give us the date the following day. It's incredible what can happen when we follow the Spirit. Well the following day came, and I happened to be in Limoge for an exchange. Soeur Hoar and her temporary companion for the day saw Audrey when they had an FHE with the Temahukis. She told us that she had prayed all night, and didn't sleep, but she came up with nothing. Well, meanwhile in Limoges, my temporary companion and I set a baptismal date with their awesome ami! We texted the other sisters to tell them the good news. When the sisters read about the date, they jumped up and down and cheered. Audrey asked what had happened, and Soeur Hoar told her that she had just witnessed the joy of missionaries when an ami sets a baptismal date... She was determined then, and told us she would TRULY have a date for us the following day. So we came over pretty late the following evening after being on a train for 3 hours. Audrey looked us in the eyes and said she wanted to be baptized the following week...... -----DEAD LINE----- I thought my heart had stopped. We were overjoyed and I couldn't help but display my smile. We told her that she would either need to move out of Joe's home, or get married... She didn't realize this, because the silly elders before us hadn't told her this flaw in her flawless plan. We weren't able to set a date, because she told us she isnt ready to get married, even if she loves Joe. My heart broke as I looked over to Joe. I instantly testified of marriage. I told her that I wasn't married, but I know that it is a commandment of God and ordained and necessary for her salvation and happiness. We whipped away our tears which began as joy and ended as sadness. We shared 1 John 4:7-20 during our next lecon, focusing on Love casting out all fear. Audrey was touched and realized again that any and all fears come from the father of all lies. They came to church on Sunday and then we visited them Sunday night so they could say goodbye to Soeur Hoar. We asked again about baptism, and Joe and Audrey told us they were praying about the best time to get married. Things are looking up! She is seeing progress in her life as she follows the lord's will for her. We are so grateful for her, and I am so grateful to be able to stay another transfer with her and see her through to baptism! Pray for her to have faith and courage.

We were able to see Soeur Mazelyrat, the relief society president. She is the sweetest, but she has recently been drowning with her new born, 2 year old, and a branch full of inactive women. We have decided to change our focus this transfer to building up the branch and visiting the members as much as possible. The branch wont be ready to accept new members if they cant support themselves! Pray for our little branch to strengthen in faith. They need all the help they can get right now!! We had a fun time with the Temahukis Sunday after church when they fed us another delightful meal. Everyone was heartbroken to see Soeur Hoar go, which made me realize how much I need to keep our work going and continue to support the members in all that they do. Pray for me to have the capacity to do this work. AHHH!

We got a new ami this week named Steve! Hes actually from Florida, hes here as a Spanish teacher! He is way cool, and we are planning on seeing him again this week. We want to set goals with him concerning coming to church, because right now he is just curious and wants to learn more about the church. He was raised Protestant, and has a quite vast knowledge of the bible. It was the most natural lesson about the restoration I have ever taught! He asked questions that easily lead into the following topics. It was incredible. He knew Mormons in high school, and thought they were great guys and great examples... One of the reasons he was so curious to meet with us. Do we see how much good a simple example can set?! I hope that we all realize the power of living what we believe. Im sure his classmates never thought he would one day meet with missionaries in France... so cool. Pray that he will read the BofM.

So I had a pretty cool exchange in Limoges this week with Soeur Magleby. She is a sweet sister from
Utah. She is a very diligent worker. We had a great time meeting with some of their part member families. The sisters there are regulars at a crepe stand, so we profited the moment and enjoyed some sugary flat pancakes. We were able to talk with loads of people before visiting their ami Cornel, who is from Romania. HE IS SO COOL! She told me he was cool before, but he was seriously even cooler than that. He is a mechanic for 18 wheelers. Hes super ripped. Hes about 22. And he accepts the gospel like only an elu would. The member we taught with was an angel, explaining things simply when he didn't understand, and testifying of her own experiences when he seemed to question the invitation to baptism. He said he had been praying about a date, but he was struggling. He came right out and said "Well, couldn't you just pick a date for me? I prefer that!" Soeur Magleby quickly offered the 22nd of March and he smiled and accepted. It was such a refreshing exchange for me. The weather was as bipolar as ever, but the sun was always in our hearts! I love exchanges... I wish we did them more often.

We had district meeting where we discussed 1 John 4:7-20. At first the scriptures made me question myself... If I have difficulties with my companion, I'm not loving God... If I'm struggling with a member, I'm not loving God... I was a little discouraged, but then it dawned on me. These things don't mean that I don't love God. I love God. But my love for God should always lead me to love others, to love my companion, and everyone I meet. My love for God should be a constant reminder of what I need to be doing and feeling and thinking. Allow your love for the Lord to push you to love others this week, and grow a little more than you are now.

I love you all and I hope you have a beautiful week!!
Avec tout mon amour,
Soeur Beeny

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