Saturday, May 31, 2014

I'd Do Anything (Oliver Twist) - May 19, 2014

So, in missionary phones we have the address book organized by amis, members, potentials, missionaries and lessactives. The name of the person is preceeded by A if theyre an ami, M if theyre a member, P if theyre a potential, etc.... There is no greater feeling than changing the A to an M.

This weekend, Steve's name changed from A Steve to M Steve. His baptism was phenomenal. In fact the whole weekend was pretty remarkable to say the least!! There were about 20 people at the baptism, including Margaret, some missionaries, members, and the first counselor in the mission presidency and his wife. It was small, yet powerful. There had been a priesthood activity that morning, so Steve got to the chapel at 10 for that... stayed for lunch... got ready for his baptism... got baptized!... then we all stayed for a fireside by the mission presidency counselor, which was of course on how to be better member missionaries. Then, this guy named Drew Hemsley, who served here as a missionary 4 years ago, came to visit with his family! The 8 of them, one of the most beautiful Utah Mormon families in the world, came to eat at the chapel with us. Steve stayed with us and had a fantastic time meeting his first American, Mormon family. I dont think their timing could have been more perfect. he was able to see this incredibly strong family who has been raised with the foundations of the gospel. He saw his future.

The following day at church, Steve arrived an hour early to meet with the branch president. He
received the gift of the holy ghost at the beginning of sacrament. It was a beautiful scene. Steve cried as he hugged the branch presidency. He told us later that he could feel his countenance changing as Frere Menardin told him to receive the holy ghost. They then welcomed him to the branch. They put the chair back in its place, Steve came back up front, and he received the priesthood. The branch president cried as he confirmed him a priest. Steve then took his place behind the altar, and minutes later, he blessed the sacrament for the first time. We had a big branch meal after church, and because there was so much food left over, we ate again yesterday night together with the Paxton/Hemsley family. It was just an incredible weekend filled with love :) Steve's life was changed, and honestly, my life was changed as well. My whole mission is worth it now.

I loved being with the Hemsley/Paxton family this weekend. I just soaked up every minute. I forgot what an American family is like... I fell in love with them, and they invited me to come stay with them as soon as I got back to BYU. Their 11 year old daughter, Emily, has a lovely little voice, so we sang a duet together during sacrament. Soeur Paulo and I also performed a musical number during the baptism. Our talents were doubled this weekend. I don't know what I'll do if I ever have a companion that doesn't play the piano...WEIRD.
We had some other great things happen this week as well. We were able to have a fantastic RDV with St├ęphane about patriarchal blessings. I was able to share a strong testimony about the power of the priesthood and the love of the Lord seen through our patriarchal blessings. No dry eyes during that lesson... Him, and Carole, the member helping, left with a determination to get their blessings in the near future. A man named Ahamadi, who we had contacted, called us during the week and told us he was finally free to see us! It was awesome. That doesn't happen very often. Counting our miracles. We had a wonderful lesson on the BofM. He seems pretty solid already. We are going to see him later this week :) Margaret and Jonhse are still on the right path... Slowly but surely!!
Yesterday was a lovely day. We had a about 4 free hours. We went out to find old amis and find some new amis, seeing as our elect had been baptized the day before... Things started out well. We ran into lots of great potentials, finally finding people that would stop to talk to us. We even randomly ran into one of the old amis we were searching for!

We walked down by the river, where people were basking in the sun with their beautiful families. We
spotted one and ran over to share our message of joy and happiness! We began talking to a couple and their children. As soon as we said the name Jesus Christ, the father began to make a scene. He yelled at us and told us to never come back. My heart sunk. We smiled, and bid them a nice day. We headed to the next group of people, not far from the first family. Again, after we said the Saviors name, the head of the family began to yell at us, even louder than the last man. He couldn't stand the idea of scum such as us speaking of such things near him. The park became a bit quieter as the strangers around us watched. My smile faded partially. We again bid him a nice day and continued on our way... Instantly my mind turned to the Lord. It turned to His sacrifice, to His love, to His infinite atonement. I felt his cross upon my shoulders. I felt the hatred he received from others. Though it was sad to be rejected, I learned yet again how much the Savior did for us. Soeur Paulo and I rejoiced together at the idea of being His missionaries! It made me think of a scripture I had read early in the week. 1 Nephi 21:16 Says "Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me." The Lord has given us His all. Our all is only a small repayment for His all. I am grateful for the opportunity to bear His name over my heart. I am grateful for His love and strength that carries me through every moment of every day. I'd Do Anything for him :)

I love you all. Have a blessed week!!
Avec tout mon amour,
Soeur Beeny

525,600 Minutes - May 12, 2014

525,600 Minutes. 525,000 moments so dear. 525,600 minutes. How do you measure, measure a year? 

In RDVs? in Transfers? in amis? in baptemes? In companions? In villes? In laughter and strife? I cant believe this week will mark one year as a missionary... Just wow. So much has happened. I have learned so much, and I am even more excited to be a missionary, now that I feel like I somewhat know what Im doing! haha  

One of the hardest parts of the mission is getting transfered, and having to leave the amis, companion, ville, and branch/ward that has cared for you with their whole heart and soul. Well, I didnt leave, but the Temahukis did. It was terrible. Honestly. I cried after church as we took pictures together infront of the chapel. They surprised us the next day with a call to come over and eat a last super with them... cheeseburgers and Chaco Tacos. Classy and spiritual. Being in their home (my home) one more time was worth the entire PDay. I love them so much and I am so grateful for the time I had with them! And yes, I cried again when they took us home afterwards. I cant wait to visit them in Tahiti! They told me that they are going to send their son Taylor to BYU to find me and marry me, hahaha. I wouldnt object being in their family forever!! They are my mission parents :)  

We have been working with the a less active brother named Frere Corga... two weeks ago his wife up and left with the three kids, the cars, all their money, and his passport... he just so happens to be from Portugal. My Portuguese companion is meant to be here. The Lord inspires our mission president... Well because of this unfortunate event, we were able to meet Frere Corgas parents and brother, who ONLY speak Portuguese. We had many RDVs this week where I sat with a huge smile having no idea what was going on. It was like I was a helpless Bleu again, but worse, haha. Soeur Paulo has started teaching me Portuguese. Cool language... Who knew I would learn two languages out here? The family loves us, and they welcome us warmly with mango juice and fish dinners. Pray for them to progress and see miracles in their lives thanks to God.

Margaret and Jonhse are still making lovely strides of progress. We reset the baptismal date with Jonhse... the 24th!! So exciting :) he is becoming more serious and being more integrated. Our members were skeptical towards him at first, because lots of african  converts in france quickly go inactive, but he has been coming to church for 7 weeks now!! Incredible man. Pray for him to continue to progress. Margaret is the sweetest. She is obsessed with the Book of Mormon comic book we gave her. Soeur Bouchard, a super old sister in our ward that was helping us integrate Margaret fell ill this week. She has been in the hospital, and will probably be there for a few more weeks. Margaret took the time out of her life to go and visit her. Shes such a Christlike woman. Pray that she will be touched by our message and be more open to the idea of baptism.

As we visited Soeur Bouchard this week, I realized how much my love for these members has grown. Because there are so few of them, we are able to be more personal with each of them. She is such a strong woman, even if she is physically very weak. I can see the strength of her faith in the manor that she lives. As we visited her,  my eyes filled with tears at seeing her so down. Pray for her recovery. We were able to eat with the family Mazylerat this week. Their home has been filled more with the Spirit. They can see how the peace of the gospel blesses them, and they are working harder to apply the gospel in their family. I love them. Soeur Mazyelrat is a strength to us. 

We had an incredible exchange this week!!  We did a blitz with the Soeurs in Limoge, meaning all
four of us stayed their for the day... Well, I was in charge. WHAT?! Again. Im gettin old. Being the first exchange I have ever been in charge of, I wanted to make it awesome! On the train ride over, I made a game with BINGO contacting boards and point systems for brochures and sharing different principles in the street. I was with a sister named Soeur Christensen. They  have struggling in the amis department, so we literally had 4 hours of contacting to do... SOOO FUN! We used the game, had incredible questionnaires, and found ourselves RUNNING after people we saw that fit a characteristic on the BINGO board. How fun. We ended up getting 5 numbers and setting 2 RDVs on the spot. Miracles happen when we're focused and willing. We blew the lid off of the mission stereotypes. We had 26 conversations. How fantastic to be a missionary!! 

We have been meeting with Stephane more to help him prepare for the temple! He came to church on Sunday. I about cried when the branch president slung his arm over St├ęphanes shoulder and asked him to bless the sacrament. Such a special moment for us all to be together... Steve also got back from a week in  England. The second he got back, he called and asked to see us. We talked about his thoughts over crepes and ice cream. He kept telling himself all week "I need to do this." As we announced his baptism over the pulpit in sacrament, every 20 sets of eyes popped out of their heads and their mouths changed into smiles from ear to ear... This Saturday at 3!! We are so excited for him. Pray for him to have a spiritually edifying week before he follows the Savior into the waters of baptism  :) 

Well, I love you. I know this is the true gospel of Jesus Christ. I know it. God is our loving Heavenly Father.

Passez une belle semaine :)
Avec tout mon amour,
Soeur Beeny