Friday, January 31, 2014

Bon Courage 11 January 27th, 2014

Bonjour a tous!! Thats what they say a the beginning of sacrament meeting and everyone says bonjour back, fun!

This week was awesome because it was zone conference so we got to spent a lot of time with President and Sister Mehr. They stayed all week because this weekend was district conference for gaudeloupe and President Mehr is the president for that so he was speaking. A word about the members here. They are awesome. They are so stoked on missionary work and they are so sick of being a district and they are willing to work to be a stake. The area 70 Elder Gamette spoke and said this will be the last district conference! Im not sure how they are going to turn 4 branches in to a stake so quickly but I want to do my part!!! He and this other guy, Frere Eclar are basically the sons of Mosiah, they just go out and do missionary work all the time and they've converted like hundreds. It makes me pumped!!! Also President Mehr spoke about how the only way to receive eternal life is to be baptized in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day saints in the Sunday session of the conference and we had 2 amis there  so it was rather perfect. It was cool too because Elder Gamette translated as President Mehr spoke. It made each sentence just sink in that much more.

Anyway This week we got to go out and teach three of our amis with Sister Mehr. That was somewhat terrifying because she is probably the best teacher/missionary ever. Like I was amazed by how she used the scriptures and questions and just inspired these peeps!! She is so good!!

We found a chouette famille this week. The mom actually came up to us!! The dad is muslim but they are both really searching. we had a lesson with them last night and at the end the whole family (3 girls!!) prayed together in a circle on their cement floor and the dad asked if there really is a prophet on the earth today. I would say it was magical because it was but I think spiritual would be more appropriate. haha. Anyway, it was awes and we are teaching them again tonight. Im really trying to improve my teaching skills, because between me being new and not perfect at french sometimes I confuse the people a little.

Okay I feel like maybe I haven't told you enough cultural things about this place because it is actually soo different! haha
okay so instead of like ice cream trucks they have a bread truck. also they have an egg truck and it makes this like crazzzy noise when it passes I almost cried laughing. its like a pterodactyl dinosaur bird whatever.
everyone has a little corner in there house where they put their plantains and its just infested with bugs. we do not have this.
chickens frequently walk in and out of peoples houses like nbd. what?
Their favorite item of clothing is like this mesh shirt that men wear, and its just weird, Especially when you see two of them on a vespa together. #gwada.

I love my house! I love my mom! I love everything! (if you dont get that reference go to youtube asap,)

Bon Courage 10!! duuurrrble dirrrgets!! January 20, 2014

Bonjour ma famille et mes amis!!!
Not gonna lie this week was tough, but it ended with kind of a miracle so it was worth it. haha. This weeks theme was every canceled on us all day every day. However President Mehr suggested this thing where we go talk to the first person we see when someone cancels, because the Lord has a purpose for everything. So On Thursday we had this guy cancel on us so naturally we walked across the street to this man sitting on the side of the road. HE looked kind of Mexican because he has a sweet handlebar stach. anyway , we ended up teaching him for like 30 minutes and he was really interested, he is really searching. However, the real miracle was P. this guy came up in the middle of our lesson with T (the Mexicanish guy) and started asking us like tons of amazing questions. T left and we started teaching P and we ended up telling him to ask Heavenly Father if our message is true. Right then an there (arms out stretched naturally) he started praying out loud and asked for an answer if it was true immediately. Right after he was like "I feel it! It feels good!" We explained the Holy Ghost and he ate it all up. It was amazing. The Next day we brought him a book of Mormon and he has already read and shared it with his mom who we are teaching on tuesday. We taught him again Sunday and He is going to be baptized in 3 weeks. Also he asked us how he could be a missionary so that was chouette.
Another funtivity we had this week was called wip down a forest with machetes as a service project. it was actually unreal. Also afterwords the little old lady we did the service for made my first native  cooked meal. it was rather scary because she just tossed like whole chickens into a pot and put some columbo on it and you had to eat everything. mmmmmchicken feet. yikes.
This week we have zone conference so President and Sister Mehr will be coming out. ahhh! it will be good.

I love you!!!

Bon Courage 9 January 13, 2014

bonjour famille!
This week has def had its ups and downs, but fortunately mostly ups. It is very hard to type on a french keyboard so sorry if this is short!
Okay before I begin I have to tell you about this magical food you can only get in Guadaloupe: THE BOKIT. It is like a sandwich on a donut and its so bad for me whoops. But we are teaching the guy who sells them later today so I guess Ill just have to eat some for the sake of the work. Also mom he sells them out of a food truck so I feel right at home here in goyave. hehe
OKAY this week was crzy it is seriously hard work all day every day. I fall asleep in about 30 seconds every night. But its because we are teaching and finding all day every day and it is awesome. It is easy to get a little homesick at times but working makes it better!
M our hindu priest investigator who we are going to set a baptismal date with this week, he is awesome because he reads the book of mormon like thats a rarity here because people are so laid back they dont keep their commitments, we are working on that.
LA FAMILLE P this fam we've been teaching who got ahold of some anti morm stuff, but we went over the other night and we were BOLD but loving obvi and they are stoked on finding out if the gospel is true for themselves. The bopn bons theat celestial fam I told you about is helping us out a lot with them, They have 3 little girls and we gave them an illustrated bom and they love it!!!
N rasta dominican who is stoked on the gospel. He gets a little distracted sometimes with his rando theories but he is so nice and reads a lot, its awes.
S is a new members daughter and she is soaking it up! its amazing.

I am a real missionary now!! And its so fun and hard and rewarding. so many miracles, like the other night we were getting approached by a creeper and the gendemerie cme at just the right moment to save us, they are basically guadeloupe swat team haha. The work is great here and I love it! I miss you all so much and i fear that millie and eva are forgetting who I a, so please remind them.

love abs

BON COURAGE!!! 8 (never has this phrase meant more than it does now) January 6th 2014

Bonjour ma famille et mes amis!! What an amazing week it has been, we finally made it here!!
The week started off in Trinidad, where the mission home is located. Sister V Sister G and I all stayed at the mission home the first night. President and Sister Mehr are awesome, they are so kind and have so so so much wisdom. They fly to every island every 3 months for zone conference so I will actually get to see them more than I thought I would. They actually ended up being on our flight to Guadeloupe (thats where I am now) because they were going to St Vincent for zone conference and the flight stopped in St. vincent on the way. The little planes that go between islands really do work like a bus and they are actually pretty scketch, there were a few times when I thought we might fall out of the sky for real though. Anyway, we spent 3 nights in Trinidad, the other 2 nights we spent with the sisters there and just did missionary work all day. Honestly I am SOOOO GLADD I an called french speaking, the french Is;ands and a million times cleaner and safer, trinidad was insane and I actually think I understand the french better than trini english. It went right over my head. haha those peeps walk around with machetes and we actually taught someone who was causually cooking some iguana over the open flame. I was so happy to get to Guadeloupe thursday night! My trainer is awesome. She works really hard and apparently baptises every transfer. Im stoked to work with her and we get along really well!!! Her name is Soeur Hawkes and I admire her so much! She was actually called english speaking but when she arrived Pres Mehr was like jk you need to teach yourself french. So she did and now she is like totally fluent!! We are teaching some really cool peeps right now. Our area, Goyave (guava in english) is super small so everyone knows who we are. We are teaching all sorts of people, including a hindu priest named M who came to church yesterday and knows the LdM is true!! We are also teaching a temoin de Jehovah (there are hecka Jehovahs witness peeps here) and some other really cool people. We have a lot of success beginning to teach here, but the people have a hard time keeping their commitments #livealoha haha. We are also teaching la famille p (a mom and dad plus three daughters) and a mom and daughter as well. They are amazing!! The key is to get mombers to teach with us. Unfortunately there are only 4 members in our area (2 of which were baptized within the last 2 weeks) so the members come from far away to help out the missionaries. We are so blessed because the members in our branch in Capasterre are super missionary minded. Last night we had a lesson on eternal families with a new investigator named SAmeria and la famille bon bon (branch president) and it was amazing! This family is sooo great, they do so much for the missionaries and they have only been members for 8 years. They are so strong and lead the branch so well. We are having FHE with them and new convert named Christine tonight.
I LOVE IT HERE!! I feel so blessed right now to be in an area that is seeing a lot of success and miracles with a hard working and fun comp in a beautiful part of the world. I'll be more specific about my progressing investigators next week but I've only been here since thursday soo uhhh (I dropped my jokers sooo uh....)
BON COURAGE!! haha Im working on having courage to speak more because its scary when natives speak and you don't know what is happening!!! haha
Je vous aime!!!
soeur abs

Bon Courage 6 Joyeux Noel!!!! December 23, 2013

Its Christmas Eve Eve!! #EloiseatChristmastime
Its a festivus for the rest of us!! (they are really infringing on my rights to celebrate new holidays here. my own personal H&H.)

It is my last P Day here at the MTC! This time next week I'll be on a plane to Trinidad, WHATTTT!!!  Its really happening and I'm STOKED!! Remember that time when I was like 5 and I got my first bike and there is that sweet jumping up and down pic? That is how excited I am right now and maybe more!!

      I'm so grateful for the experience I have had at the MTC, you really can't compare it to anything else. I am so grateful that I have been able to be here and learn what the Lord would have me learn here. I've been thinking all week about what I want to say in this last MTC email, and it is pretty much impossible to saturate all the knowledge I've gained in these last 6 weeks into one email. It is amazing to see how much you learn in the classroom, during your personal study time, at the Devotionals, and in your personal experiences with the Lord. However, I think the lesson that is most evidenced in  my notebook, journal and scriptures is Listen to the Spirit. Everything kind of builds off of that. Obedience, how to teach, repentance, having a good attitude, being humble, everything, all of that can happen if you rely on the Lord.
      I think as I go into the mission my goal is to work as hard as I can to be worthy to have the spirit with me at all times so I can find those I need to teach. There are dozens of stories I've learned about from my teachers that remind us that if we follow the Spirit we can be in the right place at the right time. There are people that the Lord has prepared for me to teach I want to do everything I can in order to be there for them. Our lessons go astonishingly better when I decide to speak less and let the Spirit speak more. I am so excited to try to be an instrument in the Lord's hands-something I learned from an old Elder Holland talk- this is His work, we have to do it His way.
       I have a testimony that the Lord answers prayers. He knows us so personally and if we ask for help loving someone, or if we ask for humility, charity, or just help, (all of these things seem to be very prevalent in my prayers lately haha) He knows what we need and will help us get there. "He knows our needs, to our weakness is no stranger" (That song has been going through my head all week! luuurrve it)
        I cannot wait to share this gospel with my amis in the West Indies. It is so true and will bless so many lives, just as it has blessed our family. Families will be eternal because we share the gospel, it is so important!! I am so grateful for the testimony I have gained before the MTC and for the strength I have gained here. I am so grateful for the clarity the Book of Mormon brings and that we have it today. Its so weird I actually get so excited to have personal study time each day so I can read the Book of Mormon, its just so good! Haha I'm already getting weird and its only been one transfer. Anyway, I'm just so grateful I have the opportunity to serve and learn what the Lord needs me to know. I feel so lucky and blessed to be here this Christmas and to be in the indies in one week.

I love our family so very much and I am so grateful to be here. Bonne Chance, Bon Courage, je vous aime.
soeur abs

Bon Courage 5 December 16, 2013

Bonjour Ma Famille!

Comment-allez vous?

As shown above, I'm really mastering French. haha jk. But I will say it is coming along! Its kind of stressful now that I will be in the Indies two weeks from today!! It is easy to think "um okay how am I supposed to learn this language and understand their weird french once I get there." which is what I often think in my head, but I just try to remember that my calling is from Heavenly Father and  with His help I will come to understand what He would have me say! What could be more encouraging?? rien. (nothing. haha)

This week has been great, I am totally loving the MTC now. It is amazing to be surrounded by people all with this desire to serve the Lord. There are so many interesting people with crazy backgrounds who have given so much to be here. This week our zone got 15 new people, all of which are going to Paris or Lyon, we have one elder from Austria (the hills are alive!! haha he really does yodel its actually a dream come true currently trying to convince him to yodel in the Christmas talent show) Another elder came from Germany and another came from Hungary. The Hungarian one literally sold all his possessions to come on a mission. It makes me so grateful to have the opportunity to serve!! They are so dedicated and it was nice to get some new faces here. There are four new sisters, and they are all already like bffs which is amazing!! They are all headed to Paris, which is kind of crazy because two of the four are straight out of high school, like I can't imagine how crazy that change is! I just love all of them.

This week we heard from Elder Cook for our Tuesday night Devo and it was awesome. He talked about the importance of our calls and that the Lord trusts His missionaries. I was so grateful to be reminded of that because, like I said, sometimes I question why these islanders would listen, but its because our message is true and they will feel the spirit! Ahhhh Its so awesome.

Last night we heard from the BYU men's choir and it was so chouette!! (sweet) music from the outside world!! Haha jk I really loved it because I was feeling pretty sad that I wouldn't hear the Janine Wynn rendition of O Holy Night (my favorite Christmas tradition) this year, but they sang it and it was wonderful! Not quite Janine Wynn, but it will suffice. haha.

Its getting down to the last few weeks here in the MTC, in fact next Monday is my last p-day here! the next Monday, Dec 30 I'll be in the air celebrating new years on my way to Trinidad! I'm still in need of all your favorite scriptures, as my father is the only one thats sent me one! I know you all love the scrips! I want to write your names in mine next to your favorite verses!

Joyeux Noel, everyone drink an extra Chick Fil A peppermint milkshake for me!

Love, Soeur Abby

Some funny things overheard at the MTC:
when someone was explaining their dad's job: "He is basically district leader of a factory" what.
from my Australian soeur during a volley-ball game "that elder is manly-as!"
any time people in the french zones use french sentence structure in english by accident for ex I always say "is it that...?" now and "good evening" yes I'm becoming very proper. haha.


Bon Courage 4 December 9, 2013

Merry Christmas!! The season is in full swing here at the MTC! In fact we watched the first Presidency Christmas devo last night and it was totes great, I recommend you watch it. Also funny thing: the lady that gave the opening prayer spoke to the sisters yesterday morning at relief society and she was amazing!!! Most notes I've ever taken in a relief society meeting in my life. She is the second councilor in the YW general presidency and she spoke about missionary work and Christmas and the atonement. She said "You need to love the Lord Jesus Christ so much that nothing will stop you from sharing the message of the restored gospel" fantastic. She also spoke about how we don't create love ourselves when it is hard to love someone, it comes from the source of all love, the Savior. That is true!! I feel like if I didn't have Christ's example and guidance in my life I would be a lot more bitter to those around me, but with Christ, all things are possible! This week my love for my companion has grown so much, its actually insane. She is still very different from me but we get along and laugh and want to be together. #blessed.

Another victory of this week:
Sister Gutierrez and I taught our "amie d'egilse" this week and instead of writing out everything we are going to say we decided to get a general Idea of the questions we wanted to ask, a good grip on the vocab, and try to use less notes and rely on the spirit more. Even though they are fake investigators, the spirit is so so so strong! One of them "committed" to be baptized. I can't wait for that to happen from real! The more we teach the more sister Gutierrez is confident speaking and so it gets better every day!!

I used to be really frustrated that I had to wait so long to come here, but I'm so grateful that I am here right now because I absolutely love all my teachers, my branch presidency and I am I learning what the Lord needs me to know so I'm less mad about having to wait so long and glad I am here now, and I got to spend a few extra months hangin with my fam.

FAMILY: I need your favorite scriptures because I'm working on marking up my french ones! My seminary teacher Sister Earnest used to always wrote our names next to the scriptures we shared in class and I want to do that too! If you could email me your favorite one and why, or just one you know could help someone I might teach I would love love love it! One of my new goals is to better know the scriptures, because as Frere Smith says, the scriptures speak better French than I do. haha so true.

We had one of my favorite devos this week on Tuesday. Elder Hafenl. It was actually supposed to be Elder Ballard, but I guess he got snowed in or something. (haha it was kind of funny because everyone was expecting a member of the 12, and then this emeritus 70 walked in, the gasp was hilar) but it was amazing. He told a story about this new missionary he was training on his mission who had found a lady he was sure was going to be baptized the day before on a split. They searched for hours and hours even though Hafen wanted to quit, they kept going. Just last year, forty years after they found the lady and she was baptized. Elder Hafen was able to attend the sealing of her granddaughter in the Switzerland temple. Thats the goal!! it was awesome.

I'm so glad everyone had fun in NY and I'm STOKED FOR BLYTHE AND PAUL!!! yayayayayayayy!!!

The church is true and I'm so happy to be here!
Love you!
Soeur Abby

Bon Courage 3 (Happy Thanksgiving-read that in the Cammy Fuller voice) December 2, 2013

Its thanksgiving. -millie
Sorry my subject is never very creative, but Bon Courage is still my favorite french phrase! 

So since at the end of last week I kind of felt like I had done the first week twice (this is not a good thing) I decided I would make sure that this week would be the best week so far. It def was. At the beginning of the week Soeur Reichelt gave me some advice that helped her love  the MTC-fast. So on Monday I fasted and IT WORKS!! There are so many times in my life where I have seen the power of fasting and sincere prayer and I've really seen it this week, we are getting along and laughing more.  
For example, in the MTC for the first week your teacher is your "ami d'eglise" (investigator) but no one knows they are actually your teacher. She happened to know the "investigator" for one of the other districts (in their fourth week, so they already knew it was their teacher) and Sis G told them their investigator was a member. After she ran around saying Oh No! I have to repent!! Everyone was trying so hard to keep in their laughter ahahaa oh the tricks and entertainment in the MTC. weird.  

   Some big successes this week: sometimes I go in as a member to Sister Vance and Sister Gill's lessons and we had one this week where Frere Smith (Fabrice-our first fakeout investigator) said we should keep doing exactly what we are doing so thats good! I feel like I am getting much better at teaching and learning to keep it simple is key!! We really have to learn how to tune into the channel of the spirit. We talked about that in district meeting yesterday and each of us wrote down how we would tune in. I wrote "love others" because through loving others we can learn their needs. Also, we can never work with or teach people that we have contention with, so thats a goal I'm really working on: Love Others. 

Thanksgiving was a little weird and def not the best thanksgiving meal I've had but it was still a fun day. (the pumpkin pie did have sugar in it so that was a plus) We got some freedom to walk all the way to the Temple and we also got to do a service project which translates to an hour of my favorite activity: VISITING! haha

All my friends that are headed to Lyon leave a week from today so I'm sad but I'm planning a goodbye party so if you have any game ideas please help! greatly appreciated

Elder Nelson came and spoke to us on Thanksgiving and he talked about the importance of Members and missionaries working together. I feel prompted to ask you to all look for missionary opportunities and watch the video on the hastening the work website. We need to work together to bring our friends the wonderful message of the truth of the restored gospel GET PUMPED! cause missionary work is fun! 

 Okay last little thing: every day I have this weird little burst of excitement about getting into the field like I just want to get up and DANCE but guess what theirs no dancing in the MTC #footloose But honestly I'm so excited to teach people because I am so happy learning about the gospel here and I just want to share it!! I really get what Lehi was talking about now! SO STOKED

Funny Stuff:
My branch President's wife is Bette Midler no joke (jk but they are twins)
I ran into Angela Shueltz and she looks great, exactly the same as she did 5 years ago.
The blue ray player wasn't working for the movie so elder mayfield said "just give it a blessing!" #MTCjokes

THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH FOR THE LOVE THIS WEEK!! The packages and notes make my life!!! I'm so grateful to be blessed with the most loving family in the world and I'm so grateful that we all are active in the church and have the same goals. 

Bon Courage 2 (MTC) November 25, 2013

This might be a little out of order and I'm sorry. Yesterday we had a devotional on, you guessed it, getting along with your comp. As we listened I thought okay I guess this is just an opportunity for me to learn! At the end the speaker had the whole room (2000 missionaries) sing "come thou fount" and I'm so grateful the Lord provided a way for me to be a part of the song. The words of that song are so powerful (prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love etc) Idk it just really spoke to me and I was basically balling because I needed that reminder to do what Jesus would do in this situation. He would love and be patient even if He had to work all day long He would do it, and obviously a much better job than I am doing. (Haha fun fact about the MTC, that song is literally being played on the piano, hummed, playing on the loud speaker, or being sung in the shower at all hours of the day, these peeps be obsesses with some come thou fount)

Tuesday-we also had devo and the guy talked about choosing the Celestial Kingdom now. It was an excellent talk and after we had discussion about it, Once again, I had one of those moments where I though "I am so lucky to be here" instead of discouraging thoughts. Thats the funny thing about the MTC, some times you feel like its a wild place but the highs are always better than the lows. I don't want to compare myself to the pioneers, but the MTC kind of reminds me of that quote from that guy from the Willy Martin handcart company where he was like "We were happy yo pay the price to become acquainted with God" I feel like this place is a really challenge for me, but it is worth it because my relationship with my Heavenly Father has become so strong! I love that.

I really love my district. Everyone really tries to get along and help each other and wants to enjoy the time we spend here. Thats the best.

Other good things:
they have that cake sometimes that mom makes for dad's birthday every year and its DA Best
we had a cupcake birthday party for my sister friend soeur francis and played that game where you write down a bunch of people and you have to describe them (zone unity to da max!)
Last night I literally had a conversation in the hallway with a brit, a French girl, and a danish girl in french and it basically just made my life.
Everyday gets a little bit better!