Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Let's Get Down To Business - July 29, 2014

Holy Wow. This week was PURE MAGIC. To be quite honest, Lundi, Mardi, and Mercredi were basic days filled with some lessons here and there with amis and less actives and recent converts and contacting... It was just normal really. Thursday morning we went to the Burton's home to help them pack up the rest of their apartment. It was sad really, and we were all crying as we played the greatest game of Tetris in this mortal life and jammed all of their belongings into their tiny mission car. We cried and hugged and took pictures and then they left... As we walked home with the 3 bags of food they gave us (first miracle) we wiped away our tears and I told Soeur Grunke "Lets Get Down to Business", I told her that the Lord was taking the Burton's for a reason, but that He would send us miracles to make up for the lack. And that He did Brothers and Sisters. The Lord multiplied our bread and fishes this week. He sent us miracles from every direction and in every way.

During the beginning of the week, we called lots of potentials that we had never even met; they were
names and numbers found by the sisters before us. We called loads of people and a couple hand full of messages... Thursday morning we got a call from a woman we had called and we set a RDV with her. That Friday morning we met her. Annick lives in the apartments right across from the chapel. SCORE. We were worried that she would be some crazy person because she called us and was so open to receive us. The lesson was 2 hours of her sharing her story about her love for God and her view of life. She is a member without being a member. As we shared the first vision with her, I have never felt the spirit so prominently. She left for vacation for a week and a half, but she tried to pay us for the Book of Mormon and said she was ravished to be able to read it. She is excited to come to church and to continue learning more about the restored gospel... oh, and she had an 8 year old son and a husband :) That never happens.

Wednesday night we decided to plan a miracle so that we could finally find a new ami... We decided to go to the park in centre. We prayed before hand that we would be able to teach a lesson. We entered the park and began contacting everyone with a face. Soeur Grunke turned to me and pointed to a girl sitting under a bridge. "Lets go talk to her." We made our way over to meet Cicilia. She is 20 and from Romania. She was happy to do our questionnaire, which turned into a lesson. We taught her about prayer and the Book of Mormon and shared with her the story of Joseph Smith... She herself is searching for a church to attend. She has been visiting all of the churches so she can find which one is the true church of God. She even prayed to God for help a few days earlier... I was freaking out. We were able to testify our little hearts out. She lives in Dijon, so we were able to pass her to the Soeurs there so she can continue her search for the truth. It was so cool to teach a lesson after we had planned, expected, and prayed for the opportunity to give a lesson. That never happens. 

We tried the same thing the next day. We planned to teach a lesson Friday night. Another potential we had called during the week called us back and set up a RDV. His name is Bassi. He is from Congo. We were able to meet him that very night, teach him the restoration, and leave him with a book of Mormon. He was ecstatic to set another RDV and to come to church. That never happens.

Saturday we were able to teach an FHE with the less active parents and nonmember son of a recently reactivated sister Bérangère. It went beautifully and full of the Spirit. They fell in love with us and when we had to go, her teenage son blocked the doorway so we couldn't get out. That never happens. 
Sunday at church, Soeur Queyrut finally joined us and the ward for the sabbath. That never happens... at least it hasnt in 14 years. I was overjoyed. 

Another potential called us back and set up a RDV for that day... He ended up calling us 30 minutes before and proposing to us, so we didn't go to the RDV, but still a cool miracle that 3 potentials called us back interested. haha, that never happens.

All of the members went to the Bern Switzerland temple together this past week... They came back, and even though they looked dog tired, they were literally GLOWING with the light of Christ. Sunday was special because they cancelled all of the talks that were supposed to be given, and they invited the recent converts to come forth and bare testimony of their temple experiences. As the members stood up one by one, they shared stories of the visions they received while in the temple. They literally saw the people that they baptized. They felt the emotions that their ancestors experienced as they accomplished their baptisms and were allowed to enter into Spirit Paradise. Tears were streaming nonstop during the meeting. I am willing to say that it was the most Spiritual sacrament that I have attended in my entire life. These members that have been themselves baptized for only a few months saw angels in the house of the Lord. That never happens.

We were able to visit Camille this week and understand even more her testimony of the Savior. She isn't baptized, but she received her personal progress medallion Sunday in Sacrament. She is the most incredible member nonmember I have ever met. She was so excited that she invited 5 friends to church. That never happens.

Yesterday we have an unbelievable Zone Conference here in Clermont-Ferrand. The Roney's came
here for a change. That never happens. It was downpour! The missionaries from Lyon came into the chapel dripping from head to toe. Soeur Richardson looked like she had just stepped out of the shower. It showed the great spirit and willingness and diligence of the France Lyon Mission. We were spiritually edified. We learned how to be better missionaries. We also were interviewed by our president. I was so grateful for the little bit of time that I had with President Roney. He touched my heart and he answered my questions before I even asked them. That never happens.

But wait, the miracles continue! I contacted a super cool guy during the week named Arymand, and this morning he called us and told us sorry that it took him so long to contact us... He had lost the card and searched all week, but finally found it this morning thanks to the grace of God. We were able to set a RDV with him for this week. This never happens.

Just now as I logged onto my email, I saw an email from someone I didn't know... He is an Elder serving in Houston Texas. He is French. His name is Elder Neville. He had found my email through friends... There is a French guy who stayed with a member family in Texas and started taking the lessons with these elders. He accepted a baptismal invitation. He is planning on returning home this weekend... The elders informed me by email so that I would be able to welcome him home to Clermont-Ferrand and continue his progress in the gospel. God is so great. He is sending us miracles through the hard work of missionaries who live half way across the world. This never happens.

 This morning we were able to attend the funeral of a sister in our ward that was 93 years old, and has been suffering in a retirement home for some years. Her passing was beautiful, as she had been awaiting her pass to the other side where she could be with loved ones. Her family was very sad, and they seemed hopeless as they cried near her casket. The only gleam of hope was shared as one of her daughters shared a talk about the Plan of Salvation. She was reassured of the hope of the next life thanks to our Savior and Redeemer. Her family members were able to feel hope probably for the first time in years. They were blessed by the passing of their grandmother. That never happens.

These things normally never happen, unless through the gospel... But, Elder Anderson taught us that Faith is believing in the unseen, believing in the things that no one else believes, believing in the things that never happen. This week, as we prayed mightily and placed our trust in the Lord, and expected these miracles to come, we were blessed and these miracles came to pass in the magical land of Clermont-Ferrand. I have never seen so many miracles in my short mission life, but I do expect that more will come. I love the Lord. I love serving Him. I cannot imagine my life any other way. I have never been so happy and so peaceful and so joyful in my life. I have become a joy addict. The more that I realize how obedience and diligence makes me happy, the more I become obedient and diligent so that I can taste just a little bit more joy. Its so wonderful, isnt it? The joy of the gospel. I challenge all of you to search more joy through the gospel of Jesus Christ. He is the only true way to peace in this life and eternal joy and celestial life in the world to come. I know that He lives. I know that He is our Savior. I know that it is because of Him that we can progress and change in this life. I will be ever grateful for His personal sacrafice for me... Turn to Him in every thought, and He will be by your side every step of the way, accomplishing miracles in your path. I love Him. I love you. 

Have a great week.

Avec tout mon amour,

Soeur Beeny

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Whistle While You Work - July 21, 2014

Today, I was lucky enough to enjoy a nice bag of Sour Skittles... Thank you American packages!! 

After enjoying the treat on the bus, and offering taste testers to about every French person on the public transport, I became discouraged as everyone repeatedly turned down my offer... Then, I finished the bag. I tipped it over and out rolls a Perfect Purple Skittle... My favorite flavor. I smiled to myself and knew that it was a Tender Mercy from the Lord. He certainly does love us!! Haha
Fun French Word of the Week: Six Pack is "Tablet de Chocolat", which directly means "Bar of Chocolate", hahahah. Those Frenchies are too funny!!

We had an incredible last PDay as we took a hike up Puy de Dome, the local
mountain of Clermont! We were able to go with the other missionaries, and the Young Adults to celebrate the 14th of July. Such a cool day! I was SOOOO pleased with myself because the only other time I have hiked in my life was Thanksgiving of 2012 with Elder Wood and Elder Egg... And I didn't even make it up the stinking Y!! I cant hike the Y, but the Lord gave me enough strength to make it to the top of this French Mountain. It was so satisfying :) Gotta do that again. We had a fun time on top of the mountain taking ninja photos. Lovely day.

We had a great FHE and then went to a park where we stayed out till 11:50 to watch Fireworks!! I also wore pants the whole day and then we had permission mission wide to sleep in the following morning... Wow. I didn't feel like a missionary Tuesday morning, that's for sure! We had to get back to work and compensate for our lack of missionariness. It was a great reward for our diligence in achieving our goals for the 5th of July... Did I tell you that we had 22 baptisms mission wide??... If not, let me tell you again of the miracle witnessed in the France Lyon Mission... We had 22 baptisms in one day. It was a beautiful blessing from the Lord. 

We had a pretty normal week... Still a bit tough with the amis. We tried to stay SUPER motivated this week. We even decided to Whistle While we Worked to keep motive and positivity flowing! We sadly have not found any new amis, even though we both feel as if we are more dedicated and diligent than we ever have been on our missions! Seriously, we talk with so many people and we don't waste any time! We have met some of the COOLEST potentials, but they are all either leaving on vacation, or super busy with work right now... But, we know it is all in the Lord's timing... If we continue to work and put our trust in Him, we will accomplish miracles as the Apostle of the Lord promised us in Nice France the 10th of June. I love Him and I trust Him. 

We were able to set a baptismal date with Ivio. WOO!! This Sunday was his 5th consecutive Sunday at church. Never seen that happen without a baptism in the near future... We are so grateful for him, even if he is a little bit odd, we know that the Lord loves him and is so pleased with his progress in the gospel. The members are doing a great job at integrating him. Please pray for him to keep working towards his date of September 27th!

We were able to visit the cutest couple in the entire ward this week... They are 80 and 87 years old. They made us the most delicious chicken I have ever had in my life... I choked back tears, if you can imagine that, haha. (I know you all can.). We got to see Armand, and some other great members. I even got so excited during a member RDV this week that I nearly choked on a piece of Finnish candy! But its okay, I survived after embarrassing myself BEYOND BELIEF! I still laugh about the weird noises I made, haha.

We were able to attend a surprise birthday party for Soeur Burton, the wife in the senior missionary couple in the ward! We played Pétanque... Please go look it up if you're American. It was so much fun! I felt so French... Continuing my Roney Pattern of becoming a True European. I even won my first game.I felt like I could stand with any proud Frenchman over the age of 62 and say that I enjoy playing Pétanque. Right on. 
We got to go on an exchange this weekend with the Sister Training Leaders, and they both happen to
be old companions of mine, so it was basically just a reunion slumber party. Soeur Richardson and Soeur Roberts are ballers. I love them both so much. I had a great time reminiscing about Chambery as Soeur Richardson and I fell back into our normal routine. It's like no time has even passed! We had a phenomenal zone training that inspired me to be even better than I am now... Which means a lot. I am grateful for the constant tug of the Spirit, pushing me to do more.

The greatest part of the week was Sunday... Us and the Elders made about 150 cookies to SPARK the members to DEATH! It was so great to be with them. We had a fantastic picnic after church as well. There was so much love stirring within our hearts. There were two girls in the ward that were able to go to EFY this past week... One being Camille, our ami who isn't baptized. As she stood to bear her testimony during sacrament, I couldn't help but cry as she testified of the Savior. She reminded me so much of myself. I am eternally grateful for the years of Girls Camp, and EFY and Youth Conferences that brought me such spiritual enlightenment and nourished my once seedling testimony. I know that the Spirit is fortified as we are together and as we learn from and teach each other. 

This week I studied Humility. Humility is willingness to submit to the will of the Lord. It includes gratitude for His blessings. It is not a sign of weakness; it is a sign of spiritual strength. YES! The first scripture I read this week was Alma 5:26-29..."26 And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?27 Have ye walked, keeping yourselves blameless before God? Could ye say, if ye were called to die at this time, within yourselves, that ye have been sufficiently humble? That your garments have been cleansed and made white through the blood of Christ, who will come to redeem his people from their sins?28 Behold, are ye stripped of pride? I say unto you, if ye are not ye are not prepared to meet God. Behold ye must prepare quickly; for the kingdom of heaven is soon at hand, and such an one hath not eternal life. 29 Behold, I say, is there one among you who is not stripped of envy? I say unto you that such an one is not prepared; and I would that he should prepare quickly, for the hour is close at hand, and he knoweth not when the time shall come; for such an one is not found guiltless." NOT THE BEST CHOICE TO START OFF WITH! I was a little bit terrified of what lied ahead, but I found greater support from Ether 12:27, the favorite scripture of Hermana Taylor and Sister Josie..." 27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." 

The Lord's grace is sufficient. I know that as we recognize His infinite greatness, and we become grateful and humble, we will see that we are not becoming lesser, but we are becoming spiritually mature and strong. We must simply turn to the Lord. We must give Him our all. Our whole soul. We must show Him that we love and trust Him, and then, we will become instruments in His hands, and bring about the Miracles He has prepared for us. I noticed my weaknesses become strong this week... I love the Lord. I am unwaveringly grateful for the opportunity to be HIS missionary. 

I love you all :)

Avec tout mon amour,

Soeur Beeny

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Pocket Full of Sunshine - July 14, 2014

Let me start off by saying that I am officially a European... Because my last 6 months have been spent GLORIOUSLY with Europeans, but also because I have been sucked into the joy of the World Cup... I now call "soccer" football, and "football" American football... because it makes more sense like that, haha. Soeur Grunke loaned me some of her German pride and we celebrated together as Germany won the World Cup last night. #GoGermany

Well, it rained the ENTIRE week and thanks to the joy of summer rain, I have now contracted the deadly Bronchitis... I don't know if that's how you spell it. But I'm pretty sure its not fatal. I just have a heaping cough that makes me sound like an Elder... No, really. I made some phone calls the other day and the members thought I was the Elders. GREAT! Hahaha, and I was lucky enough to have signed up to sing in church yesterday! Hahaha, the members hardly noticed while I sang that I was sick, thank heavens... I think the Spirit was so strong they just forgot what I sounded like and listened to the beautiful words. I love how much the Lord takes care of His servants. 

I don't have much time to write. This week was still a bit difficult. Our goal was to focus on finding new amis, because our others have dwindled away... but it is very hard to find new amis when it is raining, no one is outside, and the ones that are outside are running for cover. Also, I left my umbrella at a members house half way through the week and we weren't able to get it back until church yesterday, hahaha. I looked so silly with a scarf wrapped around my head all week! Also, we wore coats, scarves, and boots. So strange...

We had the most incredible ward BBQ this past weekend... it was magical as we picked their berries,
played Frisbee, and then the missionaries had a great time playing with the kids on the swings and slides... we took a walk down to the local lake and enjoyed a nice stroll by the water. It had rained all week, but the Lord blessed us with a Pocket Full of Sunshine to make the moment just that much more memorable. It was just a magical day with our members. The Lord has once again doubled and tripled my capacity to love. I LOVE our members and our amis and the strangers we meet everyday. I am so blessed to be here and to be apart of this work...

Well, we had the MOST miraculous day this week! We like to call it 6 Miracle Friday... Really original, right? :) So, we woke up and it was raining; again. I was sick. We were both really tired because yea. We did studies and weekly planning and we were really discouraged because we don't have too many amis to plan for anyway... then we leave the apartment for a RDV... we got to the RDV and Armelle our ami didn't respond when we buzzed her apartment from the ground floor. We were really bummed and were brainstorming what we could do. THEN SUDDENLY, Soeur Grunkes eyes about bulged out of her head. She was looking past me and just said "Holy crap. Antonio." I whipped my head around and low and behold, there was our old ami Antonio who we thought had been killed by the Portuguese Mafia. We sprinted across the street. He was so happy to see us and so sorry... He had been sick and couldn't eat or drink or even talk for two weeks. He got all of our messages and was ready to come back to church and start our lessons again. He even apologized for missing his baptismal date. We were happier than could be. We decided to go back to Armelles to see if she would respond again... She was there! She said that the first time we had buzzed her that she had answered and the we must not have heard her. We went up and taught the BEST question and answer lecon ever. She completely understands the restoration and the need for the restoration. We left her apartment a little late, and we were worried that we would not get to our RDV on time... I said a silent prayer for another miracle. A bus magically arrived 12 feet in front of us at the bus stop. It took us straight to our location. 

While on the bus, we talked to EVERYONE. The Spirit was burning within us, and we met some of the COOLEST people ever. We were finally able to get some potentials after a week of our no number drought caused by the rain (irony). When we got the RDV, our potential Jacque was waiting for us! We had a FANTASTIC rdv with him. He's atheist... halfway through the lecon I had a prompting to get out the Book of Mormon I had dedicated that week. On Tuesday I had prayed before dedicating a LdeM (choosing a scripture and then writing my testimony in it). Well, I had been prompted to mark Alma 30:44, which talks about proof of a living God through the beauties and perfection of the universe... I was able to testify to Jacque that God had inspired me to mark that scripture and write my testimony SPECIFICALLY for him earlier that week. It really touched him, and he is now eager to learn more about our beliefs. 

After that lovely experience, we went to see Bérangère, a recently reactivated sister. We were making
cupcakes with her for the ward activity that weekend. Well we got there and she couldn't find the recipe ANYWHERE. After 10 minutes of searching, I told her we needed to pray. So we prayed. 5
minutes later, while going through her things, she found an important medical paper she had desperately been searching for for about a month. Then 5 minutes later we found the recipe. God answers our prayers and blesses our lives, all simply because He loves us. I am so grateful for Him and for His unending love. All we have to do is show Him that we love Him equally back. 

Joshua 22:5 portrays this love. "But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law,which Moses the servant of the Lord charged you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul." I know that as we become more diligent and obedient, we too can show the Lord just how much we love Him. Cleave to Him and Serve Him with all your hearts. 

It is my testimony that when we do these things, the Lord will bless us and we will be happier than we ever thought we could be. I love you all. I love the Lord. Have a blessed week.

Avec tout mon amour,
Soeur Beeny