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!

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.


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!

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.


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!