Monday, 13 December 2010

Souer Pobst and McClaine

Yue and Sufang

"I just want to go to the sun place"

"I just want to go to the sun place"
December 6, 2010
Dear Family!
This week was a good one.

Last Monday I met up with Soeur Hulet to practice our special musical number for Christmas zone conference. It sounds so good. We are meeting up again tonight, mission conference is on Wednesday. Everyone is going to be there! I am so excited, there are elders from my mtc group that I have not even seen since we got to France. We are going to film us practicing it and have the senior couple in Paris post it on my blog tonight, so stay tuned!

We have a weekly English class and normally it is a brother and sister from Sri Lanka who have intermediate language skills, it is basically a conversation class. However, last week a family from Pakistan showed up with children, a 13, 10, and 7 year old. The older one can speak English, he is a very shy though and the little ones know a little bit. After resorting to learning random phrases last week and feeling like failures, this week Soeur McClaine and I prepared and bomb-diggity color lesson this week, complete with flash cards. We taught them the colors in English and then played a game where we had objects of each color and they had to identify them by their color. We hid them and they had to find them, then we asked them questions like "what is your hair color" and they had to write it. We finished off the night by playing the pool game "colors" in the gym. the boys LOVED it! The littlest boy is named "Veli" but he had told me his name was Tom and now it is just a joke between us when we call him Tom. They told us that they loved English class, it's their favorite. We gave them the flashcards to practice and this week they want to learn numbers, so we have been brainstorming games with numbers.

We taught Nathaly this week about obedience. There was a television program on last Sunday, a France special on the Mormon church that a lot of people watched, but not Nathaly or the missionaries. She asked us what kinds of t.v. shows we are allowed to watch and so we gave her a for the strength of the youth. She started listening different music artists and asked if she could listen to them specifically and I turned it back on her and said "well, how do you feel when you listen to it? Can you still feel the Spirit?" She kinda thought about it and didn't really say anything, I think she was looking for a yes or no or an approved artist list. We talked about obedience and why we are obedient and we felt that it went well. One of the things she saw when going through the booklet was only one pair of earrings. She has 2 holes, but always only wears one pair. She asked us about it and we said that it was a recommendation from the prophet and that we should only wear one pair. We told her it was always her choice, but that we should try to always do what the prophet asks. Disappointing when she came to church on Sunday wearing 2 pairs of earrings. I looked around their relief society and noticed that there were a couple of women that were wearing 2 pairs of earrings. It is so hard as a missionary when we try and teach out amis something and they come to church and see members doing something against what we teach :/ Just the life I guess, I don't think we ever realize just how much people look towards us.

On Thursday we had our exchanges with the sisters serving in Brussels. both of them came down here to Evry and we had a lovely time...except for when I tripped down stairs and landed on my bad ankle. We got back to evry and I was with Soeur De Santis who is from Italy and speaks a bit of English, but is very shy about what she does speak. We passed by an old ami that we are trying to get to be someone we teach who is from India. She had told us that she couldn't see us this week that she was very busy preparing for her dog's 7th birthday party. We saw this as a wonderful opportunity to pass by with some fresh brownies and a card for Tina on her special day and so we did:) Celestine was very very touched and we taught a lesson about Christ being the reason for Christmas. She made us this delicious rose petal milk.....SOOO good! Soeur DeSantis and I did more pass-bys with no success, most people had moved. My ankle was killing me and so we headed home to ice it. it was a good exchange. I felt a bit weak, but at the same time I have learned my lesson about not resting when hurt.

The other high point of the week was teaching our Chinese amis, Yue and Sufang at their house. They had always thought that they had to come to the church for rendezvous, but we told them we could come to their place and they were SO excited! We taught the plan of salvation and it was so fun having all of the different languages. We taught it in French, but if there was a word they didn't understand, we found it in the Chinese pamphlet. Yue had a lot of good questions and at the end of the lesson said that she loved the plan for our lives. She said the closing prayer, thanked Heavenly Father for us and that we taught her about the plan and told Heavenly Father that she wanted to go to the sun place :) She also decided that she wanted to come to church the next day and we found her a ride! it was so good, she hung out with Nathaly the whole time, loved all the classes and stayed for the ward meal! They even want to go to Versailles with us next week for the Christmas concert and first presidency broadcast! I hope Yue comes because it is a stake thing and all the Chinese members from Paris will be there and it will be SO good!

The down point, Regis sent a text to the member we taught with and told her he doesn't want to see us :/ someday Regis.

I love you all! have a good week and don't pass up a missionary opportunity!

Camille

Thanksgiving Dinner

Turkey Bowl Football Team

Boubou's and Pizza

a very boubou thanksgiving


November 29, 2010

Dear family,
First off, it snowed last night. just insane, just insane.
Ok so I have tons of things to tell you!

Thanksgiving... last week on p-day I FINALLY bought a boubou, an African outfit. They are very popular among missionaries. Best 10 euros I've spent. Soeur McClaine and I decided that we would get some domino's pizza and eat in our boubous. We found a Dominos and bought some pizzas and it was amazing. Earlier in the day we got a call from a member of the ward saying that she had prepared a treat for us, a plate with the cookies on it. It was so nice of her to think of these poor little Americans away from their country on Thanksgiving :)

The next day, Friday, we had turkey bowl with our zone in Torcy. We got together for training and finding activity and then we ate. I once again attempted a chocolate pie and once again, I failed :( I think it is a sign that some Thanksgiving traditions are meant to stay in America). Before we ate, we had a football game, I was one the winning team. I even caught the ball the one time they threw it to me, only to turn around and run into an elder. Embarrassing. The meal was very good, a big shout out to the Davis couple who prepared most of the stuff knowing that most of us missionaries have never had much responsibility when it comes to preparing a Thanksgiving meal.

This week we had our miracle rendezvous with Regis, the guy from the train. We taught him at the church with a sister who has been home from her mission for three years. We were waiting for him at the gare and it became 1:00 and he was no where to be seen, but we got a text from him saying he would be late! That like never happens unless it is someone who is going to get baptized! We made our way to church and had an AMAZING rendezvous! A while ago we had this training on the "ideal first" and this rendezvous could have been filmed and used as a model for other missionaries. We all frequently bore testimony, gave him an overview, got to know him and what he expects/ The member was super involved in the perfect way, he noticed that he was feeling the Spirit with the "small heat in his heart" and committed to read the Book of Mormon and pray. Cecile said she would pick him up for church and they exchanged numbers and we all went our ways.

What I am about to tell you, might sound like a terrible thing. if one has misplaced their faith, they might view it as a catastrophe. It is Sunday morning and we are waiting for everyone to get to church and Cecile comes in and says "I have some terrible news." after the rendezvous, Regis went home and called his mom in Guadeloupe [an island in the west Indies] to tell her about his experience that day with missionaries. She told him that we were lying and that we weren't the true church and that he shouldn't see us. He called Cecile and told her this and she told him that he should still come to church to see for himself and he said he would. Later that night he texted her saying that he didn't know if he was ready to change his life and that he needed time to think, even though he could see that the gospel brought so much joy and happiness into our lives. He said that he would still pray everyday and read the Book of Mormon and if he had questions he would text her. I sat in church and was sad, it is a sad thing when someone makes a decision like this one, but I still knew that I was an effective missionary. I followed the Spirit in contacting him and we had an amazing rendezvous. The Spirit was there in such a force and I could tell it made sense to him and that he was one of those prepared for the gospel. I called him last night to invite him to a j.a. activity in Paris tonight, but he has school. I invited him to the ward meal next week and he said that he would come. He told me that he just needed time to reflect and that when he goes home for Christmas he was going to talk to his mom about the church and show her the Book of Mormon. Pray for Regis this week and that he will come to the ward meal and that as he reads the scriptures this week and prays that he will feel the Spirit and remember all the good feelings he had in the rendezvous.

I talked to President Staheli about faith in our last interview because we always hear, "your faith will bring miracles" and I told him I wanted to know where my faith meets someone's agency. I told him that as I thought back on my mission I felt like the time that I had the most faith was my time in Versailles. He explained to me that we need to always make sure that our faith is firmly planted in Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father, and that they together will lead me to prepared people. My faith isn't in people, but it is in those Two who know everything and can help soften the hearts of others. I have been thinking about that since and thought of it a lot yesterday. I am not discouraged because I know I did everything I could and I know that Heavenly Father did everything promised, now it is time for Regis to do his part and I know that he will :)

I am headed into Paris today for p-day. I have a musical number practice tonight with another sister. She was asked to play the violin at Christmas zone conference and I am accompanying her. wonderful day in Paris :)

I love you all, I love my life :)

Camille

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Frozen Great Danes are Really Hard to Carry

November 22,2010
Dear family,

Another week, more greatness. I am FREEZING right now as I write this, the crazy internet shop likes to keep the door open even though it is absolutely POSITIVELY freezing outside. Today we are going into Paris for a p-day of fun with Soeur Curran before she goes home to America:/ Her mom is with her, I am excited to meet her!

We had 2 really good contacts, one was this girl named Christy We talked to her in the park. She was walking and smiling and so I was like "let's talk to her!" She is believing and very active in her church and asked why our church was different from her's. We explained the restoration and got her phone number and will be contacting her tonight for an rdv :)
The next great find, we were in a train station and we saw this guy and I was like "whoa, he looks like Xavier, I should talk to him!" I sat down directly in front of him and we had this conversation:
me: hi. I'm a missionary from this church [pointed at my plaque] and I had a feeling that I needed to talk to you.
him: ok.
me: we have a message about how you can have joy in your life no matter what. are you believing?
him: yes.
me: good. we also like to share with people about how Christ's church was restored on the earth through a modern prophet. can we share this message with you?
him: yes
I proceeded to get his name and number and then we got off the train as it was our stop. I called him later that night and we have an rdv for Saturday:)

We had another good contact with a Muslim man, but after he texted us saying that we have pretty eyes, we passed that to the elders.

We met with Nathaly, the most progressing ami. She has been meeting with the missionaries for about a year and a half now. She had a baptismal date for 6 Novembre, but then she said that she didn't feel ready. We talked to her about baptism and she had a question about how to know if she was feeling the Spirit. We shared with her the scripture in Galatians about the fruits of the Spirit and she was like "whoa, that's how I feel when I pray and read and go to church.". I asked her if that is how she feels when she prays about baptism and she said "yeah.” She wants to better understand the commandments and so I am working on a little commandment study thing for her.

Yesterday in amis class we were talking about gifts of the Spirit and someone was talking about Solomon and his gift of wisdom and Nathaly said "yeah, but he lost it. you can lose the gifts." I said "well, good thing there is always repentance" and the teacher agreed with me. then Nathaly said "yeah, but doesn't that just get repetitive if you are always repenting about the same thing?" I had a feeling when she said that she wanted to better understand the commandments that it was a concern about repentance. The teacher of amis class is teaching a lesson on it next week and we will see.

We were also able to meet with Yué and Sufang, 2 Chinese amis that we are teaching. We weren't able to see them until this week. They wanted help with English, we taught them the plan of salvation before. We would ask questions, but they weren't really responding. I had a thought during the lesson to ask them if they wanted a priesthood blessing, they were really stressed about their exams at school. They said they wanted them and the elders were at the church so they gave then blessings. It was so powerful and they both seemed so much happier and calm after. They said that they would see us sometime this week :)

good week, looking forward to an even better one!

love you all!

camille

p.s. my subject heading is bizarre, but that was a discussion at district meeting.

Paris Day :)

New Companion New City

November 15, 2010
My dear family,

Can we believe it is halfway through November? I can't. it is just crazy.

Leaving Valenciennes was tough. Soeur Kohler and I were walking around and we would just suddenly go "it is so weird that we aren't going to be together in a couple days. It feels like we have been together our whole missions!" However, I know that she is doing great up in Valenciennes with the new sister:)

Saying goodbye to Alexandre and Françoise was a bit rough. I think I was crying the entire rendez-vous, not to mention that I was saying goodbye to Amandine who is our best friend in Valenciennes. It was good though. I got to ride into Paris with Sister Kohler before being picked up by the office elders and dropped off in Evry. My new companion is Soeur McClaine from Redlands,CA and goes to BYU-Idaho as well! I am so excited! My whole mission I have only met 2 sisters that went there and both of them have graduated and it is pretty funny because we know a lot of the same people! We have just had a blast getting to know each other these last couple of days in the FREEZING cold and just kind of getting used to being together. Something so wonderful about transfers is it is like a new fresh start; a time to re-evaluate people that you are working with, how you are doing and what not, so we are currently in the process of doing that. However, a lot of our rendez-vous's have been cancelled....sad. hopefully this week will be better.

Today we went to Paris, hence the late email. We watched the elders play football, Soeur McClaine had some people that she wanted to see. We ate these great Chinese dumpling balls that fill you UP! We ate them like 6 hours ago and still aren't hungry. Then we went to the Musée de l'Orangerie and saw some Monet stuff. I am so grateful for my French legality and that I can get into things for free! Then we walked around the Tuileries Garden and looked at the Louvre. Very full fun day:)

Something funny; This morning I woke up and my left calf has been SO TIGHT! I said something about it to Soeur McClaine and she was like "well yeah, you got a charlie horse in it last night, you were screaming in pain." I have no recollection of this. She said, "we talked about it, you sounded so awake!" I think it is just funny, but not, my calf still hurts.

love you all! bonne semaine!

camille

Friends in Valenciennes

Soeur Kohler, Pobst with Alexandre

I am moving!

November 8, 2010

dear family,

Friday night we received the phone call telling us our new assignments for transfer day next week. I am going to Evry with Sister McClaine." Sister McClaine is new, I talked with her briefly at sister day. She is going into her 3rd transfer. Sister Kohler is staying here and she will be a trainer. She is pretty excited to train and the ward is REALLY excited for her to train. They are just so excited to get a bleu! [I don't know why, but in France you are bleu, not green].

Francoise is doing well. We saw her three times this week and went over the first part of the plan of salvation and we talked about eternal marriage. I was on an exchange with an AMAZING, GREAT MISSIONARY, Soeur Pearce. She is just so great and her French is AMAZING and she is so happy. She did not mind at all the three straight hours of finding and getting frudged. She is just such a doll and I can see her training soon.

We just need more missionaries like her.

Francoise is doing great, reading her scriptures and trying hard to cut down on smoking. At church on Sunday, we have a couple; they are both doctors and one of them helps people overcome addictions. The wife was talking to Francoise and was like, "you need to quit! There are so many blessings waiting for you! Here is my husbands number, you call us we will help you!" I really love this ward they are all so great and caring about us and our amis. It was hard to say my departing testimony, there were a couple people that I couldn't look at or else I would have started crying and I did not want that.

I have 2 little tender mercies to tell you about. I have been so spacey lately; Doesn't make sense I don't feel like I was a terribly spacey person before my mission. A couple weeks ago my ctr ring went missing and I was like "oh great, that stinks." well I was packing and looking for it and all the sudden I thought "I bet it is on top of the wardrobe." Kind of a crazy thought, we all know I'm not the tallest person in the world, but I looked up there and it was there! so so so excited! Also, a couple weeks ago I bought some new mitten glove things and one went missing...I was like "great, that last thing I want to have to keep buying is gloves!" However, on Sunday I found out that I had left it at a member’s house and that they would bring it to church sometime next week....not super helpful for the moment but in the long run I am glad I do not have to buy new gloves!

I mentioned that on the exchange Soeur Pearce and I got frudged. so, I think on Tuesday night we left Alexandre and Francoise's and decided to do some contacting because it was still a bit early. We stopped this woman named Severine and set an rdv with her for Thursday. On Thursday we went by and she said she couldn't see us at all at that moment and I set another rdv for Saturday. On Saturday we went by and she said we could come in for like 5 minutes and so we took it and went in. We talked with her for a bit and started testifying about our message. She said she was believing before but wasn't really believing anymore. Then all the sudden we started testifying about together forever as a family and she started crying and said that couple years ago she lost a baby and ever since then she has been asking why. We told her why and that this life was only a tiny piece of our eternal destiny. we fixed another rdv with her for next Thursday, after I leave. I am glad to leave this contact for the bleu. I just love it when we find people whose lives will be greatly blessed by this message. it is just so great!

I am sad to be leaving Valenciennes, but I know it is a part of missionary life. It is kind of weird to think that I could finish my mission in Evry...so I just won't. I am excited for this new chapter and phase!

I hope you all have a great week! I love you all!

camille

Sunday, 21 November 2010

"Is it one of those parties whre you baptize dead people"

November 1, 2010

Dear family,

This week our heat went out. Our neighbor came over to look at it before we called the building manager and we took the opportunity to invite him to the ward FHE tonight. He then asked "is it one of those parties where you baptize dead people?" I kind of chuckled and we told him what it was. People know the weirdest things about us...

This week we were FINALLY able to see Ji, although it was pretty rough, we met in the park with the kids. They kept running up and she was getting frustrated. Soeur Kohler and I took turns trying to distract the kids. We talked about life on earth, why things are hard, why things are good, why Jesus Christ is important. She said that is one thing that she never understood, is why people think you need Jesus to be happy. We told her that it's not like you are sad if Jesus isn't in your life, it is just that He sacrificed so much for us and explained his role in the plan of salvation. She is just awesome, always willing to act.

Francoise and Alexandre are doing well. We saw Francoise 3 times this week and are a bit puzzled. so the first time we saw her she was really stressed out. Alexandre had lost his firefighter job and doesn't work that much at his other job. She told us that she had one cigarette left and that she wouldn't be able to buy cigarettes anymore with the money becoming tight. We thought "hmmm, blessing in disguise" talked about opposition coming in when you are making right choices. We have seen her twice since then and the house has smelled like fresh cigarettes every rendezvous since then....a bit confused. This week we are going to talk about that and hope to resolve the smoking with the baptism coming up.

We have a new ami, kind of an interesting one. His name is David and he got our number from the bishop in another city because his uncle is a very depressed, very less active member. We cannot as missionaries help with things like depression. We contacted the bishop who immediately went over to help and explained that he was the one that needed to be called for help with the uncle. David is not a member and is interested in being baptized and "becoming a deacon or a priest." We taught him the first lesson and during the lesson it was just a very interesting feeling. Terrible because the uncle is now smoking a ton and is just withering away. It is hard to tell David we can not help him as missionaries. David was really interested and had already started reading the Book of Mormon. Just very odd situation and we hope that we can see David at the church from now on because we do not have the best feelings in the house.

On Saturday we went down to Versailles with the bishop for the baptism that we helped with the music with. We did 5 numbers, I don't think I have played piano that much in a really really really long time...it was good to be back in Versailles. It was cool because there was a baptism of an 8 year old who's mom had gotten baptized a couple weeks before I got to Versailles and so I was able to see some of the members again. I am starting to feel really old in the mission....transfer 10 is right around the corner....yikes....after the baptism there was the BEST after baptism buffet EVER with professional pastries! I didn't even put my no bake cookies out, we gave them to the Versailles elders.

Hope this week finds everyone well! I love you all!

Camille

Sunday, 14 November 2010

The French version of......

October 25, 2010

Family!

Being in France, I often see the French versions of people I know from home. The other day I saw Adam Helland here in France; however, he was French. I was so tempted to take a picture of him, but I didn't.

I AM SO EXCITED THAT BABY LYLA WAS BORN TODAY!!!!! Well, yesterday. JUST CRAZY! Doesn’t completely seem real, but that's understandable. I think that the movie recorders on iphones do not open on this computer, I wish I could see the videos of Emily singing happy birthday to sweet baby lyla :)

Ah bon, the missionary work stuff....well sadly, Charlotte and Cederic thought about it and realized that they aren't practicing Catholics, why would they want to go to another religion. It was a sad day, but there are other rays of sunshine!

  1. WE FIXED A BAPTISMAL DATE WITH FRANCOISE! She is getting baptized December 11:) The last time we were there with Chernel she said "I've come to realize that you have a lot of teachings the same as the Catholics" and Chernel and Alexandre went off on why it is pointless to believe in saints and what not, which didn't really help anything....so on Thursday we taught the apostasy with cups, I'll show you all later, and said "yes, there are a lot of teachings that are the same because they stayed on the earth after the death of Christ and His apostles, however, the priesthood authority is what was missing with the foundation of all the churches." We talked about what the priesthood is, gift of the Holy Ghost and Alexandre's feelings since being baptized.

Then Soeur Kohler was like "you are ready, we are praying right now for a date, and you are saying the prayer." We prayed and we were all quiet waiting for Francoise to talk after and then she said "I'm not ready”. Soeur Kohler was like "that's not true, everyone including yourself knows that is not true." Then she said, “January”. We were glad she set a date but it was so far away. Then she said "actually, December." Soeur Kohler said "December 11 is my last weekend in France, can we do it then?" and Francoise said yes! We are all so excited and we actually hadn't told anyone in the ward yet because we spent most of Saturday in Belgium picking up the car. Sunday it was really funny in amis class when the dmp kept inviting Francoise to be baptized...at the end of class she told him she was getting baptized and he looked at me and Soeur Kohler like we had dropped the ball. Oh well, she is getting baptized! I'm sad because I probably won't be here but the good news is that she is getting baptized.

2. We have the car for 2 weeks! Then it goes back to Belgium for 3 weeks, and then it comes back, but I will probably be somewhere else so....looking forward to this next 2 weeks with a car and a gas strike!

3. We made an appointment with Ji for a rendezvous’ this Wednesday at a park if the weather is good! Pray for good weather!

4. Contacted this really cool student. When we asked her what she thought the significance for having a prophet on the earth she said, "I think it would be like having a guide or a connection to heaven." It is vacation this week, so we won't see her until the week after!

5. I have a new hat...Sylvain came back from Peru and I asked him to get me a beanie with llamas on it. I know I already have one, but I don't have it in France with me. So he came back from Peru and he pulls out this hat that is kind of like the opposite of what I asked for. It is way cool, it is like a woven Madeleine hat? I'll take a picture this week. Soeur Kohler thought it was hilarious. She got this little sack.

That was pretty much our week...spent 2 days basically traveling and then another day celebrating Soeur Kohler and her life :)

I love you all!

camille

p.s. forgot! so our relief society president's mom is getting baptized down in Versailles and asked if I could help with a special musical number.. Yesterday, she shows up to church with 3 songs for me to learn. 2 of then are easy, one of them will take some practice. I'm kind of worried, it is a piano and violin duet. I'm playing “Jupiter” by Holst and the violin is playing “Come Thou Fount”. The violin will be played by her 10 year old daughter and the last time I did a special musical number with a ten year old it was kind of....terrible. I'm sure this one will be way better since it won't be thrown at me 5 minute before the baptism:) good week full of piano :)

October 18, 2010

Dear family!

Another week in Valenciennes, even colder than last week. My boots have been worn 3 days out of the week. Not quite in my heavy coat yet though, there's an upside :)

We hardly got to see any of our amis this week. everyone is getting "busy." We did some finding and had 2 interesting experiences. we were porting and this kid answered, we were talking about the purpose of life. We told him we had a message and he said that he wasn't interested. everyone says they're not interested, (They don't even know what the message is). I took a few minutes said "the message is this; that God is your Heavenly Father and he wants you to be happy. He created this earth for you to come and learn and come back and live with Him. He has provided a way for you to come back and be even happier than before or than you could ever be here on this earth. are you still not interested?" He said that he wasn't. I could at least walk away knowing that I had done my part, that I had given him a taste, along with our testimonies.

The other experience was later on down the street we saw this kid on a scooter and talked with him about faith and how we get faith and keep it. We fixed a rendezvous’ for Sunday and gave him a book of Mormon. I called him on Saturday night to confirm and he said that he read the book and didn't feel anything. I told him to keep reading and praying and that we would talk next Saturday and he agreed. We had contacted him on Friday and I think he had just read the introduction. I hope he keeps his commitment, if he does he will find what he doesn't know he's looking for.

Saturday was a big big day. It was Alexandre’s baptism. We went to go catch our train to find out that it was cancelled due to a strike that has been going on for the past week and a half because the president wants people to retire at 72 instead of 60. We were freaking out a bit because we have no car and all our members live forever away and we had a special musical number to practice. We did get a train about 40 minutes later putting us behind schedule, we still got there a bit before and practiced. A big thing is singing the hymns: Joseph Smith's First Prayer, Oh My Father, or If You Could Hie to Kolob to the tune of Come Thou Fount. After we practiced it was 2:00 and we hadn't taken the pictures. I went in and grabbed Alexandre and Xavier to take the picture. The bishop came up to me and said "we need to respect the hour." I just kind of wished that he would have more understood how much the baptism pictures mean to me. We took the pictures quick, I didn't even notice that Xavier is a dork with a toothpick in his mouth and not smiling and my hair is curled but you can't really tell :( Either way, the baptism went well. It only took Xavier 2 times to baptize him :) Very heart wrenching :) Alexandre bore his testimony and talked about how he wants to go on a mission! The best. Sunday he was confirmed and received the priesthood :). Hopefully Francoise will follow tout suite.

Saturday was also a big day for Kai, Belinda and Xavier, all three of them received their patriarchal blessings! Xavier said it was really really cool, Kai said it was really powerful with tears in his eyes and Belinda was just oh so excited :) Very good day. My day also got more exciting when I heard Xavier speaking English and was like hey, why are you speaking English? h\He said he was practicing because he wants to go through the temple in America so that Soeur Curran and I can go! He wouldn't tell me if he picked a temple to go to, but he said he had looked at the Mesa and Orlando, where we live.
That would be the coolest ever!

Very good weekend, looking forward to a week of birthday eating...I might have let it slip to a couple people it is Soeur Kohler's birthday on Friday. she is rooting for Lyla to be born then.

Love you family!

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

the only downside to your ami watching old sessions of conference...

October 11, 2010
Dear family!

Last week was good! not a ton happened, but good things did! Enough for a top five countdown!

5. We found a new finding opportunity. Soeur Kohler loves baseball and has been dying to play some b-ball since she has been in France. Our bishop and second counselor go to this place and told us that we should come. We went, she played and I watched. Anyway, she was playing and everyone was VERY eager to talk to the American and learn that we are not a sect [sect is cult is french] and that we use electricity and that we aren't polygamist...next time we go we should be able to fix a couple lessons.

4. Finding! We had lots of time to do some finding this week and we feel that we have struck gold and I am going to need you all to pray for this one....we knocked a door and this youngish looking guy answered. We talked to him about the purpose of life and he said "I think it's to have a family, to be happy, to serve others." umm, did someone just quote the plan of salvation? I think he did! We talked about the plan and he seemed pretty interested and went in the house to get his adorable wife who is pregnant with their first child, a son named Matthias. They were so nice and normal and said that we could come back! We really feel good about this and just want it to work! pray for it! Pray for Charlotte and Cederic!

3. Chantel. I have no idea. She is always happy to see us and is keeping commitments and coming to church. I just really want her to FEEL it and I don't know. Her prayers are starting to change, in a good way. She is starting to act....slowly. She came to church yesterday, but left after sacrament and I didn't really get to talk to her. One of the greatest members in the ward just got back from vacation and we want to take her with us this week.

2. Chernel got the priesthood yesterday! so good! We asked him if he wanted to be a witness for the baptism this Saturday and he said he would if he didn't go to Morocco this week. That's the thing about Europe, it seems that people just go to random countries on a whim.

1. Alexandre. Probably the COOLEST thing YET on my mission....we called Alexandre and said that we needed to know who he wanted to give the talks, the songs, baptize and confirm him. He sent us a text saying that he had asked XAVIER to baptize him! That just made me so excited and so grateful that I get to be here to see this. The only kind of funny thing is that the hymns he picked was "Praise To The Man" and "Come and listen to The Prophet's Voice." That's what happens when your ami spends his time watching old conferences. On Thursday it was Alexandre's baptismal interview and our district leader came to interview him. After we all left the church and we were walking and he asked me if anyone I had taught has gone on a mission....I asked him if he was thinking about going on a mission and he said "well, it's something I'm interested in...I'd really like to go to Canada, I love that country!" I just laughed and I REALLY hope he goes on a mission! Francoise is doing well, continuing to strengthen her testimony. We are really excited for the baptism!!!! iI is going to be great!

I hope you all continue to have a great week! Lots of love from France!
camille

General Conference

October 4, 2010
Dear family!

Holy goodness that was general conference! I can't even believe it was my last one as a missionary and I'd be lying if I wasn't sad they didn't announce the Paris temple...but I think that will take time. I can't wait for a conference ensign to read these talks!

6. General conference. I saw the relief society broadcast, all the Saturday sessions, and Sunday morning. I really liked the relief society broadcast, definitely hitting on loving each other. Very good message.

I think every missionary had tears in their eyes during elder Holland’s talk. soooooooooo good. I don't know if you guys know, but he served in London. I found that out in the mtc. Elder Christofferson, oh man he always hits on those heavy subjects. such a powerful talk. I was a bit surprised about President Uchtdorf's subject because it seems like he normally has a Christian attribute to talk about, but I really needed his talk. very very very true. Very very good :)

Saturday afternoon started out with probably one of my favorite talks, Elder Hales talk on agency. SO GOOD. I felt agency was a very big theme this conference, as well as following the prophet. Elder Scott’s talk was definitely one was I will need to read. I wrote that in my notes with a star by it. Elder Andersen’s was good, but I am a bit biased. I just love his talks :)

Sunday morning was power-filled! I would hate to have to listen to a President Eyring talk through a translator, they are just so full of emotion! President Packer's was VERY needed and very powerful and very VERY strong. I definitely need to read Elder Oak’s talk again and Elder Jensen’s. They both were ones that I was just watching and just thinking and just learning. President Monson's on gratitude was very very good. I wish I could use other adjectives, those are really the only words that are coming to mind.

5. Chantel. On Tuesday she started out our rendezvous by telling us that she would never become Mormon, she thinks that we are great people, that we have good morals and that we have a good view of Christ, but not for her. We didn't really take that seriously. We taught her about prayer and talked about what she had read in the book of Mormon. We came back on Thursday and talked about God as our LOVING Heavenly Father. We gave her a cut up pass along card and told her that she could do it herself or she could ask for help. She tried doing it by herself, but it just didn't work quite right. Eventually she asked for help. We related that to prayer. She said "but sometimes it is hard to ask." I feel like she is starting to see Heavenly Father differently than before and she said she would watch conference online.

4. Chernel. I realized that is how his name is spelt. He is doing well, we talked about the temple and preparing to go. There is a trip to London at the end of this month and I really hope he can come with us. He went to teach Alexandre and Francoise and he did SO GOOD. We told him the subjects before and he studied them in his gospel principles book and pretty much taught the lesson. He came to conference with Alexandre on the train and really liked it and he was hanging out with Xavier.

3. Ji. I really feel like she believes in God now. We asked her how praying was going and she said that she was Praying and then recounted all of these blessings that had come into her life. We are pretty sure that she connected the blessings to her praying. We talked about the pre-existence and the 2 plans presented and why we needed Jesus Christ. I told a story I had learned from my mtc teacher. He relates it to a parent who had an all white house and one of the kids went to play soccer and got muddy. They came home and the parent told them to go wash off with the hose, but they still didn't get clean enough and so the parent sent out their older brother to help them get clean again. she really liked that and understood it. I also made a connection in that lesson as to why Satan’s plan was ridiculous. I told her it would be like if her son told her daughter that she didn't need to listen to her mom anymore, that he was more important. She is reading the Book of Mormon in Chinese. :)

2. Alexandre and Francoise. The first rendezvous this week we went on the baptismal questions and Francoise answered them all as if she was getting baptized. We asked her to pray for a baptismal date and she said maybe December. We went back on Thursday with Chernel and she told us that she didn't want to get baptized. She told Soeur Kohler that she doesn't feel like she can pay tithing. Soeur Kohler told her that she could talk to the bishop and we'll probably bring that concern up in priesthood meeting this week. Alexandre on the other hand is doing great! Svery time we go over there he is SO excited. He read like 8 chapters in 2nd Nephi in like 2 days. The only probably is his smoking. He really enjoyed priesthood session and has his baptismal interview this week :) Apparently he and Xavier have a "surprise" for me. Xavier also loved conference and is like best friends with Alexandre.

1. We went to Belinda’s for priesthood session lunch. I just love being around her. She is such a remarkable person and it is just so wonderful how this gospel has blessed their family. They were talking about the temple and going next May :) She said Kai is always talking about things they need to do so that he can honor his priesthood more honorably. We saw him a bit after priesthood session and he is just soo good and it is crazy to think of how he was before. They are such a good family and I am so excited for them to go to the temple!

I love you all! have a good week!

camille

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Chantel's Egyptian Cat

The Atonium

Sylvain's Baptism

The Eating Week

September 27, 2010
Dear family,
I had the absolute WORST dream ever this week. I dreamt that I was home but I still thought I was a missionary and we were at stake conference. I was trying to get people to talk to my less actives and amis but everyone was asking me about France. I was like "everyone, I don't have time for this, we need to help these people feel welcome!" Then someone was like "but Camille, you're not in France anymore, we want to hear about France." I started crying in my dream about how much I missed France. Pretty much the worst feeling EVER.

5. We had 4 mangez-vous this week. We ate with the bishop's wife and she made this incredible pizza, so good. Then we ate lunch with Chantel after cleaning and we had a quiche, salad, a cheese course and melon. Then we ate with the 2nd counselor in the bishopric's family and had random stuff and ratatouille. THEN we ate with some less-actives who don't realize they are less-active and had Frenchified Mexican food because she is from Mexico. Soeur Kohler and I are thinking about how we can help them this week...

4. Chantel. She is doing pretty good. We went over to her place to help her clean on Thursday. It was pretty immaculate already so we dusted a couple things and ate lunch with her. She still has a lot of grief and asked us what we believe about suicide and depression. We told her that we believe suicide is an illness and that it is a burden for those who have it and that we can't judge someone who has committed suicide because we don't know their situation. I think she was pleased to hear that we don't think she's damned. When we taught the plan of salvation and talked about the spirit world, she said that she is sure her daughter accepted the gospel. We couldn't see her on Friday because one of her friends took her out the cemetery and she didn't come to church on Sunday because it was raining heavy and she and Hugo come on bikes. She said she has been reading the book of Mormon and finds it interesting. We have another rendezvous on Tuesday and I'm really excited.

3. Ji [pronounced chi]. We found her last Saturday and had a rendezvous with her on Tuesday and Thursday. She is 34 and is from china and has a husband from Algeria and the 2 cutest kids ever. She said she is looking for the truth and has come to Christian churches before and didn't really like them, but was willing to meet with us. The first rendezvous we talked about God, Jesus Christ, and prayer and realized how difficult it might be to teach someone with ABSOLUTELY no Christian background whatsoever. We called the Chinese elders in Paris and talked to them and they told us to take it REALLY slow and to really make sure she is getting it. On Thursday we talked about God and used scriptures to teach about Him as our Heavenly Father. She had looked about the website and had written down four questions that all had to do with the plan on salvation, which we are teaching next time. We figured she needed to understand God before the plan and she left the rendezvous saying that she understood God better. She is going to be praying and reading a bit out of the book of Mormon, but I have a feeling she is going to read a lot more than we gave her.

2. Charmel. He is 23 and got baptized while he was in Bordeaux on an internship. He was actually taught and baptized by an elder I knew in the mtc, Elder Law. Allison and Justin met him at the sacred grove. I think that is a fun little circle :) anyway, it is just like having another Xavier. They are almost exactly the same and I can't wait for them to meet at general conference this next week. He is really cool and solid and this week we are going to teach him a bit about the temple because there is a temple trip in October and we want him to go :)

1. Alexander and Francoise. They are doing well, but are getting hit with opposition. We had to move the baptism to the 16th due to work, but now he is no longer a firefighter. However, he said the way they fired him was illegal and so he is looking into that...not sure what that means. Last Monday night we had fhe with them. The bishop and his wife came the lesson was on the priesthood. During the lesson Francoise asked if she could have a blessing of comfort and the bishop gave her one and it was REALLY good. On Thursday we talked about general conference and watched a part of the Thomas S. Monson movie so they could get to know the prophet. I really love having that movie come general conference time to help people get to know the prophet. We watched the last chapter when he gets called as the prophet. We left it with them and they really liked it and now whenever Alexander has time he watches old sessions of general conference...I love when Amis get to this stage where the only thing in their life is the gospel and that is all they want to do. Pray for them though, the opposition is really coming and neither of them is completely done smoking yet. They are both down to less than five cigarettes a day and Francoise is always a happy little social butterfly when she comes to church :)

Transfer news came out on Saturday and Soeur Kohler and I are staying together another transfer! So good! We are pretty happy to stay together. We did well on journaling this transfer, I wrote in my journal everyday :) so good! Transfers 4-6....I'm working on getting that caught up...eek

I read Jacob 5 this week in French and every time I read it, I am amazed at the love of the lord in the vineyard. The one tree that doesn't appear to be doing so good. He tries everything to help it reach its full potential and I really feel that with us. We get so many chances to try and be better people, even if sometimes we don't deserve it. I read this talk called three choices by elder Worthlin on self-improvement and the first one is to realize and accept that you can never go back and change things, only move forward and fix them :) I really like that and that is probably one of the greatest lessons I have learned on my mission, just how much potential each one of us has.

Love you all! Have a good week!
camille

A Great Baptism

September 20, 2010

Dear family,
5. We were zone finding in Arras that was tons of fun. I found this lady that the elders are going to teach on Saturday :)

4. District meeting we got to watch a bit of “Kung-Foo Panda” and learn that there is no secret ingredient to missionary work, just us. It's true, in the MTC everyone thinks they have to fit in this mold of being "the perfect missionary" when really, they just have to be themselves. Amis love it so much better when we are people with families and lives and experiences rather that robots with scriptures. That is something that Elder Ballard talked about that was REALLY good.

3. We got a new ami this week named Chantal. She had been contacted before I got here. She is 64; 4 years ago her daughter killed herself leaving behind a 5 year old son that Chantal is raising. She is angry at God, but wants to have faith that will help strengthen her. She is really interesting and really cool and while she is open to act, her anger is holding her back. She has this Egyptian cat that looks like a giant rat. She came to church with her grandson who is adorable. He opened up in amis class and felt the love of the members. It was remarkable. We are going to help her clean her place this Thursday and teach her on Friday.

2. Alexandre and Francoise. SO GOOD! We saw them on Thursday and taught tithing. Alexandre said maybe and Francoise said yes! A surprise turn of events...but no worries Alexandre is still going strong looking forward to his baptism. When we ask him about smoking he has either smoked five or two, but told me last night that he wouldn't smoke any today. We are teaching him tonight with the bishop. Yesterday there was a YSA church meeting in another city that he went to and LOVED. He said it was really neat to meet all of the everyone and that XAVIER spoke and that he loved it. The surprises with Rrancoise kept coming. at first she was really hesitant about coming to church without Alexandre, but came because I was giving a talk. In amis class when Chantal was talking about how she doesn't understand why young people die and how she never finds peace in praying, Francoise piped up and said "I was catholic and I prayed all the time, but I have really found joy and peace when I pray like missionaries" and just bore her testimony about how prayer has really helped her on her journey to quit smoking. After she was talking to us and said that she thinks she has an answer to her prayers about baptism but isn't sure. We're hoping to get a date this week. She also says that she has cut back a lot on smoking which before she would always just say "it's going ok...." but we didn't want to really push her because she is older and more fragile. It was just an amazing amis class!

1. Sylvain's baptism was good. It was really small and not too long, perfect in my book. Soeur Kohler and I gave talks that were about 3 minutes. Sylvain is really happy. My talk was on "all things work together for good" from conference. Everyone should read that.

LOVE YOU!
camille

Sunday, 19 September 2010

I hugged an apostles wife!

September 13, 2010
Dear family,

5. P-day in Brussels was fun. We went to the Atonium (The Atomium is a monument built for Expo '58, the 1958 Brussels World's Fair. Designed by André Waterkeyn, it is 102-metres (335 ft) tall, with nine steel spheres connected so that the whole forms the shape of a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times) and chilled in a grand place. It was really cool to go back and not be so rushed. We met the most awkward American member. I think she was jet lagged. she looked at my name and was like "Pobst, that's French right?" Sorry, it's not even close.

4. ELDER BALLARD! it was so cool hearing from Elder Ballard, Elder Rasband, and Elder Caussé. Elder Caussé talked about the work in Europe moving forward and it was really cool. I felt so proud of being here in this time. Great things are happening. Elder Rasband talked about working with the ward council and working with less actives and Elder Ballard talked about always teaching. That when we aren't teaching amis we should teach less actives, when we aren't teaching less actives to teach actives. It was a very neat experience and there were not a lot of people there, maybe 40. We got to put the corsages on the wives! When the Caussés are in France they are in Versailles and they were there at Christmas, but I was a dork and never talked to them. When we were putting the corsages on them she looked at me and was like "weren't you in Versailles at Christmas?" OH MAN I felt so cool....but like a dork at the same time. I was so afraid of speaking French to them! At the end we got to go up and shake people's hands and Soeur Kohler and I hugged Sister Ballard. so yeah, I hugged an apostle’s wife!

3. Sylvain’s baptismal interview was yesterday. He is getting baptized on Saturday. I haven't talked much about him...he used to be T.J. but met a member in Peru somehow and they started dating and she said she wanted to get married in the temple so he started meeting with the missionaries. However, now it is more than that, I can tell that he is doing this for himself.

2. Stake conference was yesterday and oh man, it was awesome. Alexandre went and Xavier sat by him. So good. We got to sustain Kai and Xavier to get the melchizedek priesthood. as both of them stood up, my little missionary heart swelled with joy! It was so good. the speakers were great too, at the end alexandre turned around and said that he heard exactly what he needed to. it was awesome.

1. Alexandre’s progress has been A LOT this last week. We saw them on Thursday and he had read a TON in the book of Mormon. We taught the law of chastity and he didn't have any worries about it and when fixing the rendez-vous for next week he said that he could see us twice! big step! Soeur Kohler is amazed she said he used to always be to busy to see us and to read, but now it is not that way! His baptismal calendar was on the fridge! His progress with not smoking is getting better; he didn't smoke at all on Saturday and only smoked 2 cigarettes on Sunday. he told us that he normally smokes 30 cigarettes a day!

This week we are going to try our hardest to have 20 lessons! pray for us!
love you lots!
camille

Greeting from Brussels

September 6, 2010
Holla family,
I'm up in Belgium right now, we got up here about 2 hours ago. We left Valenciennes at 7:17 to get to Lille for our 9:10 train to Brussels. While on the train to Brussels there was a group of Americans that we were talking to. One asked about genealogy and the second one had a really interesting question. She said that she had read that our church was one of the fastest growing, especially among young people while most churches are losing membership. She asked us why we thought that was and we taught her the restoration. She said that she would check out the website and tell her kids to check it out. I hope she actually does.

5. Zone conference! On Tuesday we went down to Paris for it. We took the train from Valenciennes which stops in Arras where met up with an equipes [or team] of elders. We called them on Sunday and said that we'd make pancakes if they made crêpes for the train ride because one of them is French. He was amazed by my chocolate chip pancakes and we filled up on his crêpes. Zone conference was amazing as always, Soeur Staheli talked about obedience, the assistants talked about testimonies and president talked about working hard and keeping covenants. It was REALLY good. We got back from zone conference and went to some sort of ward priesthood meeting that normally the elders go to, but since there are not elders, we go. It is pretty entertaining. All of these men are old and love this ward and would do anything for it.

4. I have not told you about my shower situation.... the gas bill for our apartment was never paid so there was no hot water in it for 8 weeks. In the morning we would heat water on the stove and shower using a mug. On Wednesday we got word that a gas technician would be coming and that we needed to stay in our apartment until they came. Luckily she showed up around 2 and we could go out and do some missionary work and now we can take showers like normal people :)

3. Sister Day! On Friday we went to Le Vesinet for the sister exchange. Soeur Staheli has wanted to have a conference/exchange thing where all the sisters came together since the merge happened and kind of get us all on the same page. The theme of this meeting was self-esteem and being vs. doing. A lot of sisters always feel that they aren't working hard enough or being good enough and so they have really low self-esteem. It is one of the saddest things EVER because it is usually the best sisters. It was fun coming together and seeing everyone. I had to say goodbye to Soeur Bellini who goes home at the end of this month and Soeur Curran who goes home the beginning of November.

2. WE GOT A BRAND NEW CAR! Soeur Kohler and I are rolling in a brand new Chevy cruze. We were supposed to give it to some elders in Belgium this week and possibly never see it again, but they have no way to pay for gas except to use their monthly money and get it re-imbursed. They don't want to do that and so they said that we can keep the car until they can get things figured out! holla!

1. Thursday was a great day! It started out with a crêpe fête with the Duez family. They are an older couple that the missionaries found while they were newly-weds. They have since had 6 kids, five of which have served missions and pretty much make up the leadership of the stakes and wards. We are getting a new stake president this weekend and I bet it is one of their sons. It is crazy to think that at one point they were just a young couple that missionaries were teaching and now they are one of the strongest families in northern France. We also taught Alexandre and Francoise. They both came to church on Sunday, he loved it. She kinda reminds me of grandma Pobst, except she is not nearly as outgoing as grandma. Alexandre is so excited for the gospel and I'm excited for him to go to Lille this weekend and meet my all-time favorite Xavier :)

I AM SO EXCITED FOR ELDER BALLARD TOMORROW! I called President Staheli and asked if I could make some cookies for Elder Ballard and he said that we weren't allowed to make him stuff :( sad. I thought it'd be cool to make cookies for Elder Ballard.

LOVE YOU LOTS!
camille

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Top of the Eiffel Tower

Sights seeing with Soeur Barros

One Year Missionary

Forget the dog, I guard this house

She doesn't speak English, she must be Scottish

August 30,2010
Dear family,

This week while porting, a guy asked us where we were from. It is pretty funny to hear what people say. He looked at me and said, "do you speak English?" I guess I stalled for a minute and looked confused however, I answered "oui." He looked at Soeur Kohler and said "she doesn't speak English, is she Scottish?"

I will do the top five events this week; I like this format the best.

5. Last Monday we went finding. Soeur Kohler and I are determined to find a family for our wonderful ward. They love us and missionary work. Everyone is so willing to do anything for us, we want to find a family. We were in this neighborhood and ported into a woman who was catholic, (non-practicing). We talked with her and found out she had met with the missionaries up in Lille when she was a student, but she is now a mother living in the suburbs of Valenciennes. We taught a first lesson and the whole time her little daughter was in and out. At the end we invited them to the ward FHE in September and taught them about what FHE is. We ported on and her little daughter was following us for a bit. When we finished and were leaving, the daughter was with a friend and we stopped and were talking to them. One of the little girls had stickers and I asked her for one to put on the back of my plaque. She asked why I wore it and I told her I was a missionary and I talked to people about Jesus. Right then her little friend was like "yeah, and they are having an activity at their church on the 13 of September." I have a strong testimony of involving kids in the contact because even if their parents won't accept us, I know that someday these kids will see missionaries and remember the Spirit and meet with them. We pray for this family daily that they will come to the activity.

4. First district meeting! There are 3 Elder Equipes in my district and each one is training. It is something else to be around new missionaries that are just so excited and haven't had negative experiences yet. It was fun to hear these MTC buddies reunite and discuss different things about France that you just kind of forget. The best was in district meeting we pulled out our preach my gospels and one of them pulled out his French one and showed it to the one sitting next to him and was like "look, it's in French!" Soeur Kohler offered to switch our English one for one of them, he said, "oh no, we know what it says." I chuckled to myself, it was good to see their "blue fire."

3. While contacting in a park my first week here we were talking to this woman who couldn't tell us what church she belonged to, except that she was baptized at 8 by two Americans. We asked if they were wearing plaques like ours and she said yes and we are now teaching her. We meet Sylvie in that same park every Wednesday. Last week we taught her the restoration and about the book of Mormon. It was interesting to watch things click as she started to remember. She didn't come to church yesterday, she said that she could come this week. I'm really excited about this :)

2. The family we are praying for, we may have found them. We were doing more pass-by's/finding, when we stopped Celine. At first look I thought she was a teenager, but she wasn't. She was headed home after like a PTA for the Catholic Church. At first she looked like she would rather be ANYWHERE else, when we told her about the ward FHE and she got excited and asked if she could bring friends. We told her definitely. We handed her an articles of faith card and she started reading them. She read the 8th one and was like "oh yeah, this is true. We don't know how accurate the bible translation is. What’s the book of Mormon?" We taught her about the book of Mormon and offered her one. At first she said no, but it was because she thought it was Soeur Kohler’s personal Book of Mormon, we told her that we loved giving them to people. She said she'd start reading it and we are going to call her tonight for a rendezvous.

We also found another cute family during findings yesterday. We were porting and it was going oh so well....not really. We saw this park and I saw a lady and a guy and a little girl riding a bike and I was like "we should go talk to them." The mom's name is Helen Ellen. French people don't say h's and so I don't know which is her name...but anyway, she's atheist, but interested in hearing about the teachings of Jesus Christ. She is going on vaccances this week, we will call her on Sunday for a rendezvous next week!

1. So we get 2 numbers one's this week because these things tie. I have to renew my legality and we were told to do it in Lille. We went to the prefecture and they told us that I had to do it in Valenciennes. While we were in Lille, we stopped by Kai and Belinda’s. It was SOOOO good to see them!!!!! They are doing so good! Belinda told us then that she was going to the temple to do baptisms that next day and we were SOOOOOOOOOO excited for her! I We also called Xavier and tell him to come to the train station! He did and it was so cool to see him! That was probably the best part of my year mark, seeing my baptisms that are all doing so great and lovin' life and the gospel! SO GOOD!

1. WE FIXED A BAPTISMAL DATE! His name is Alexandre and he is 23. He found the church through his aunt who is a member, he went a couple of times when he was younger and recontacted the missionaries in like April/march? On his teaching record the elders wrote "he wants to be baptized" and then the next rendezvous they taught him to quit smoking and he got busy after that. The sisters picked him back up, but would mainly teach his mom. On Wednesday we taught the word of wisdom and committed him to the 7 day program. We also asked him about his desire to be baptized and he said he still wants to be baptized. We told him to pray for a baptismal date and start the program. We went back on Sunday and he said he hadn't quit but that he was smoking less. We asked him about the date and he said October 2. Because of General Conference his baptismal date is October 9. He also said he could come to church this Sunday and his mom looked shocked. IT IS THE BEST!

This week rocked, this upcoming week will rock, LOVE and MISS you ALL!

camille

Sunday, 29 August 2010

September 7th will be the best for many reasons

August 21,2010
Hey everyone!

So I will start by telling you about my last p-day in Paris. Soeur England and I were in the apartment when the other sister missionaries invited us out for hot chocolate. It was a very raining day and a tempting offer! We ended up at Angelina’s, this pretty fancy French restaurant with the BEST hot chocolate in the world. It was a wonderful time. After we went to meet Soeur Bellini and Pearce. Soeur Bellini wanted to go to this creperie that ended up being closed so we ended up back at Angelina’s with MORE hot chocolate and French food. Such a good p-day :)

My train ride up to Valenciennes was good and it was fun to get off the train to see Soeur Kohler. However, my bags got a little beat up transferring from the train to the car. My new home is a big apartment with so much space. It is kinda weird being back in a 2 man, oh how I love it. We went out contacting that night and met this woman named Crocetta who had this house that was built in 1903, which is pretty new in France, with the BIGGEST backyard I had ever seen. Perfect place for a wedding reception. Anyways, we talked to her a bit about the gospel, she was kinda interested, but not interested enough to set an appointment. We are planning on swinging back by this week and saying hello again.

We have a bunch of different Amis, we have Sylvain with a baptismal date in 3 weeks. He found the church through his girlfriend in Peru. Soeur Kohler said it has been interesting to watch the changes in him. she met him forever ago when he contacted the sisters in Lille, He actually lives in Valenciennes and so now she is teaching him.

On Friday I started learning how to drive stick shift! We have a car for part of the time and Soeur Kohler is teaching me how to drive it. I do pretty well changing gears while I'm driving, I just have a hard time getting the car going.

Let me give you a run down of the next couple of weeks.
August 31 is zone conference in Paris :)
September 3 is sister exchanges where all the sisters are going to the mission home. It is something that Soeur Staheli has been wanting to do since the merge and it is now finally happening.
September 7 we are going up to Brussels for a special mission conference with ELDER BALLARD! I am so excited to see Elder Ballard, I have wanted to see an apostle in the field since I got here and now I get to see one! SO excited!
Then that weekend we have stake conference and Elder Causée will be there. I think it will be fun to hear him speak now that I can understand French. He would speak all the time when I was in Versailles at Christmas, but I had no idea what he was saying.

This week I have to go to Lille for legality and Soeur Kohler and I are going to swing by Kai and Belinda’s and see them! I'm so excited to see them, it feels like forever ago!

This week is my year mark...oh golly, that makes me feel OLD. I remember when all these other companions hit it and now it's me...just craziness.

Love and miss you all! Pictures next week!

camille

p.s. quick ankle update, I am running! the ankle is doing well!

Sunday, 22 August 2010

My time is short...just like my hair

August 16, 2010
Family,

This email will start on Friday. Soeur England and I were deep cleaning the apartment and the phone rang. President Staheli was calling with my new transfer to Valenciennes, a city in northern France. The area used to be elders only, but 2 transfers ago was made sisters only. I will be companion with Soeur Kohler again. I told President that I would love to go and be with Soeur Kohler and serve in Valenciennes. So, sadly, I'm leaving Paris-Lilas.

There is a woman in the ward who cuts the missionaries hair for free. I wanted mine less layered and called and left her a message. On Sunday at church she said she could cut it next Tuesday, but I won't be here. I told her it wasn't that serious and she was like "what if I cut it right now?" I said "at the church?" and she said "why not?" So yesterday, after church, I went into the genealogy lab and got my hair chopped off. I said less layered, but she took that as no layers, and now my hair is pretty short. It will grow so not that bad...just kind of a funny story. I told her my mom cuts hair too and that she cuts the missionaries hair and she LOVED that. She also said while cutting my hair that it was very apparent that my mom cut my hair due to how still I hold my head.

This week we taught Nicole. She is an ami that wants to know the answers to EVERYTHING and studies EVERYTHING, including some things that she shouldn't. In the midst of asking questions, she said something really crazy that she had read on the internet and the Spirit seized upon me. I warned her of the danger of the internet and how it would take the little testimony that she was developing and turn her against the church if she just read whatever. I saw that happen to an ami of the elders in Versailles and I saw him so clearly in my mind. I related his story to her and I think she really got it. Unfortunately, she doesn't live in our area and is finally being passed after being taught by the Pari-Lilas sisters for 3 transfers. Since she has been passed, the Evry Soeurs told us of changes she has made that sound promising. It was just a really intense moment and I felt like I was on fire.

We also said goodbye to Marie Madeleine this week. She left the hospital and went to Cholet to live with her son. She is such a remarkable woman, she thanked us profusely for teaching her and telling us how great we are and our parents. I was really glad we were able to see her again and say goodbye to a dear friend :)

Last night we went to dinner at Becky's, she's a member from Thailand who makes SUCH GOOD food! Oh it was sooooooooooo goood! I really love Thai food.

We did a lot of pass bys and have a lot of great potential...I love leaving areas with work!

I hope you have had a great and wonderful week!

Love always,
camille

Sunday, 15 August 2010

On top of the Eiffel Tower

August 9, 2010

Dear family,

This week was fun!

We were on exchanges for what felt like most of the week, we did them in
Caen which is by Normandy. We exchanged on Tuesdays and I got to spend four hours on a train. I was with Soeur Barros who is in her second transfer. It was so weird to me, being way older than someone in the mission. Up until this transfer I always had companions older than me and this transfer I'm barely older than Soeur England. It was fun to hear her concerns and remember when they were mine and tell her that yes, eventually people do start speaking to you in French :)

On Wednesday Soeur Barros and I taught Nicole, a woman who was a reference from temple square. The sisters had taught her when I was in Nogent with Soeur Flood and we were teaching her the second time. They had initially taught her the plan of salvation and we were going to teach her the restoration. She talked about how she just wants to re-find God and her faith and we connected that to Joseph Smith and answered some questions she had after reading the plan of salvation pamphlet. She didn't come to church and she left for
Ireland today, she comes back in a week. I'm really excited about teaching her!

On Thursday Soeur
England came back and that night we had a rendez-vous with some less active sisters. They frudged us and while we were walking back to the metro we passed a man and his wife and baby. They said "Soeur Visiteurs," which is visiting teachers in French. I stopped and started talking to them and asked them if they were believing and they said yes. I told them that we talk to people about Jesus Christ and how His teachings can bless families and asked if we could see them again. They said we could same time this next week. I feel an Xavier coming on...except with a Musslim family.

On Saturday we took most of our p-day so Soeur
England could see the Versailles Chateau. Sadly, the gardens were 8 euros to see and we opted out. We also rushed over to the Eiffel tower in the morning and went up to the top. The elevator ride up was full of anxiety, but it was really cool to see the top of Paris. I took a the video and had the senior couple upload it to my blog. Soeur England and I are teaching the lesson on Sunday for amis class on prophets and hope to share part of the Thomas S. Monson movie.

Love you all! have a great week!

camille