Tuesday, April 3, 2012

a few things.

we are enjoying a lovely time in paris and lyon.  to see what we're up to, go here:


also: Lindsay will be speaking in church on April 15th at 11:00 am

Mahogony LDS Church Building , 1321 West 3540 North in Pleasant Grove (just a few blocks directly east of our house)

see you soon!

Monday, March 26, 2012

a list.

what do you say at the end of a mission?

i loved it more than anything.
it changed my life.
i'm so happy.
all of that seems so insignificant, so small, compared to what my mission really was for me.
the words just simply do not exist!
the only thing i can think to do is, of course, make a list. :)
10 little things that make me terribly happy:
my last week as a missionary edition.
1. Carlos passed the sacrament and bore his testimony of the power of the Book of Mormon yesterday.
2. Clément came and taught an ami with us this week. He's also going to get his temple recommend soon. Bliss.
3. feeling so loved by our beloved little branch as we said au revoir.
4. crying and laughing (but mostly laughing) with soeur larsen all week long
5. spending monday afternoon at a beautiful château, trying to soak up every little french detail
6. eating "à la niçoise" sunday night with our ami who is from nice. yum.
7. cobblestones and baguettes and "bonjour"s.
8. bearing my testimony as often as i can.
9. watching the book of mormon change lives little by little every day. 
10. living my dream.
so much love from the loire.
à bientôt,
little mish.

ps... she was supposed to send LOTS of pics today, but forgot her camera cord.  the pics will be added later this week, so be sure to check back!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

too busy to write!

I received a short little note from Lindsay today that said:

we have TWENTY-TWO lessons scheduled for this week. that's a lot for this mission! we're going to sprint to the finish. then next monday and tuesday will be packing and cleaning (i'll write a last email, don't worry) and then wednesday morning we leave for paris! 
i'm doing good. it's going to be hard, but i'm excited for our
busy week and even MORE excited for paris! 
i'm sorry, but i won't be able to send a big email today. we're going to a château with some members that's kind of far away, so we have to leave early. i will send a nice long email with lots of pictures next week though! 

love you xo 

I love that she's too busy to write on her last week of her mission!  

Monday, March 12, 2012

you can make the pathway bright.

last week before fast sunday, i read a talk by Joseph B. Wirthlin called "The Law of the Fast" (read it!). I loved this quote:
“If you want to get the spirit of your office and calling as a new president of a quorum, a new high [councilor], a new bishop [or, I might say, a Relief Society president]—try fasting for a period. I don’t mean just missing one meal, then eating twice as much the next meal. I mean really fasting, and praying during that period. It will do more to give you the real spirit of your office and calling and permit the Spirit to operate through you than anything I know."
I read it, mulled it over in my head, and decided that if it works for a bishop or a relief society president, it works for a sister missionary. I showed it to Soeur Larsen, and we agreed to fast to be filled with the spirit of our calling. we fasted and prayed, and of course, it worked. we were filled up to the brim with the missionary spirit. this week was just amazing. we taught more lessons than we ever have here in Blois, we had new amis just pop up out of nowhere, and all the while we happily bounced from lesson to lesson, testifying and inviting.
Maria is doing great. this week we taught her with Ginette, an older member in the branch. she and her husband have been members for 35 years and just got back last year from a three-year mission in the swiss temple. they're so good. anyway, Ginette was just perfect to teach with us. Maria has two little kids, 8 mos. and 2 years, and the two year-old is a HANDFUL. i've never seen a crazier, wilder child in my life. Needless to say, some days are pretty hard for her. Ginette has two kids who are close together in age, so she was like, "girl, i've so been there" and then gave a little "this too shall pass". it was great and just what maria needed. 
we've been working a lot with maria about the book of mormon. we had a really good lesson this week- we just explained the book of mormon clearly and simply. we brought the Book of Mormon edition of the Liahona to show her. she opened it at random, and it opened to an article called, "how do i know if the Book of Mormon is true?" she got so excited and said, "hey, that's my question!" then she dog-eared the page for later. so cute.
we taught Clément about temples this week, which was such a joy. he's so sweet and humble, and he just loves being a member. we explained that he can have a temple recommend right now to do baptisms for the dead, which he was super excited about. he's going to ask the branch president about it this week :) we get so happy every time he makes a step further into the gospel. It has been pure joy to watch him get baptized, get the priesthood, bless & pass the sacrament, get a calling, and now prepare for the temple. he even said the closing prayer in sacrament meeting a few weeks ago. there is nothing more joyous than seeing all this.
we had another english lesson with Fumi on friday. we watched "The Restoration" together, then talked about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. We had a member, Pascale, there with us who speaks English very well. She bore her testimony of the Book of Mormon and told her conversion story. it was so cute with her french accent, and the spirit was so strong. Soeur Larsen and I testified of its power, and Fumi agreed to start reading and praying AND to come to church. and she came! she brought her Book of Mormon and a pen and was marking the verses we studied in Relief Society and sunday school. 
You can live a happy life
In this world of toil and strife,
If there’s sunshine in your heart;
And your soul will glow with love
From the perfect Light above,
If there’s sunshine in your heart today.
missionary life is the best. especially in blois.
love from the loire.
little mish.

Monday, March 5, 2012

emerging as gold.

my cheeks are sore from smiling.
with each passing week, i get more and more tired. i also fall more and more in love with my mission. funny how that works! this week was so great, and lightning-fast. 
yesterday, we had a surprise: Carlos came to church! we were overjoyed. he got a haircut, shaved, and wore a white shirt and tie. it has been so amazing to watch him evolve. he was absolutely glowing... he cried when we sang "there is sunshine in my soul today". we are just in awe of him. such a beautiful redemption story. we talked about the Atonement with him this week and shared "The Atonement covers all Pain" by Elder Richards. I especially love this quote:
"Our great personal challenge in mortality is to become “a saint through the atonement of Christ." The pain you and I experience may be where this process is most measured. In extremity, we can become as children in our hearts, humble ourselves, and “pray and work and wait" patiently for the healing of our bodies and our souls. As Job, after being refined through our trials, we “shall come forth as gold."
that perfectly describes what is happening to Carlos. he has had a mighty change of heart. he went through a lot of painful things, but he is emerging "as gold".
we had kind of a funny experience this week: we found an old investigator, Fumi, in the area book. She's from Nigeria, which means she's an english speaker. we called her up and she was happy to hear from us, so we went over for a lesson. we were so nervous to teach in english! it was really funny. we even practiced teaching and praying in english before we went. :) it was a funny realization for me... a lot of times you hear foreign language-speaking missionaries get frustrated about not feeling like they can express themselves in their mission language, and then they say something like, "this would be SO much easier if i could just teach in english." well... it's not! it felt super weird. all of my thoughts kept coming in french, but i had to speak in english.... and i just felt awkward. i guess that's a good sign though, right?
the lesson with Fumi went well, despite the language awkwardness. she has a really cool accent... in Nigeria they speak pidgeon english. her prayer at the end was so cool!
we had another lesson with an old investigator on saturday. her name is Arlette. she and her husband, Max, were investigating the church last year and really liked it. they wanted to get baptized, but the missionaries told them they couldn't because they had a tribal marriage (they're both from Cameroon). we went to see Arlette with a member this week and it went really good. she pulled out her Book of Mormon and the Bible and she said she and Max read them every night before bed. so cool! she talked about how she felt so warm and peaceful when she went to church, and that she was sad they weren't allowed to be baptized. Afterwards, we were talking with the member and she asked if we were sure about the whole tribal marriage thing. we weren't, so we called the assistants, and they said YES! we were so excited. we're going to go break the news to them this week.
life is lovely and busy and wonderful.
love from the loire.
little mish.

Monday, February 27, 2012

surrounded with beautiful things.

this week was oh, so good.
wednesday afternoon was beautiful and sunshiney. we went to see Aude-Laurène, an inactive member. She was baptized in 2009, was active for a year, then kind of faded away. We had planned to talk about the Atonement and share the story of the woman touching the Savior's clothes, but then we got there and started talking and she told us about how she used to read the Bible and the Book of Mormon, then it became just the Bible, then nothing. She sometimes recites Bible verses to herself that she memorized as a child. It was the weirdest feeling, but I found myself turning to 2 Nephi 4 and saying all these things and just testifying of the Book of Mormon, and it was just amazing in it's own little way. Soeur Larsen asked her great questions. The spirit was strong, and we just felt inspired. By the end we had committed her to read 3 Nephi 11. 
after Aude-Laurène, we went to see Carlos, another inactive member. he used to be an awesome member- super active and strong, in the bishopric, etc. he has some very difficult challenges in his life which have led him into inactivity. the members all miss him, but they haven't been able to reach him for a year or so. so we passed by his apartment about a month ago, and it was one of the weirdest experiences of my mission. It was obvious he was not in his normal state of mind, which was so sad. He had been reading the Bible a lot and letting doubts and anti-mormon things creep into his mind. he went off for about an hour in his doorway about this and that, and not knowing what to do, we read him a verse in the Book of Mormon and left.
so, we went over after Aude-Laurène with an elderly couple in our branch. We knocked on the door, not knowing what to expect and just hoping we could get a word in. Carlos opened the door with a smile on his face. I could see he had set out apple juice, cups, and a bowl of nuts on his coffee table. We walked in, and i instantly filled up with love for him. The spirit washed over all of us, and i just could not believe the difference. He had completely changed- he was glowing. we sat down, and there on the table behind him was his Book of Mormon, right next to his Bible. already knowing the answer, we asked, "Carlos, have you been reading the Book of Mormon?" "yes, every day." he replied. then he said through his tears, "I know it's true. It's the word of God." the spirit was almost tangible. we read 2 Nephi 32:3 and testified of the power of the Book of Mormon. I felt a constant flow of information to my mind and heart throughout the entire lesson. I was never at a loss as to what to say. but that wasn't the most amazing part. the most amazing part was seeing the power of the Book of Mormon. it changed him, completely. It humbled him and softened his heart. it was the most stark contrast, the most radical change i have ever seen.
Nadiha has also been seeing the power of the Book of Mormon in her life. She is so zany and spunky, and we just love her. when we first started teaching her, we had a hard time understanding her, and we felt like she didn't get what we were saying. So, we started putting a heavy emphasis on the Book of Mormon. Sometimes we even call her at night and read a chapter with her over the phone. Little by little, she is beginning to change. she understands what we teach her, and we understand what she is saying. She loves the Book of Mormon, and every time she talks about what she's read, she gives us insights we have never even thought of before. it really is miraculous what the Book of Mormon can do.
We went to see Kévin and Alexandra on saturday afternoon. we had planned to tell them we could not teach them anymore... they weren't progressing and have a very hard time coming to church. we got there and started talking and told them our purpose in teaching them is to lead them to baptism. they were like, "really?" (sometimes it's disheartening how much people don't listen to what we say) anyway. it actually turned out to be a great lesson though. Kévin told us he had read up to 2 Nephi 25 in the Book of Mormon. He told us that his life is hard, and there are a lot of things that are going wrong, but the only thing that is going right in his life is the Book of Mormon. He talked about how he loves the way we pray in our church, and he feels so much closer to Heavenly Father since he stopped doing recited prayers. He said, "well, sisters, you might just have another baptism before you leave." hah. so great.
thursday evening we went contacting along the Loire river. it was a beautiful, breezy night. we talked with people on the street and with each other, and it was just magical. we marvelled at how amazing it is that the Lord put us in this beautiful little town, and that He wants us to enjoy and appreciate it. done! i love how He surrounds us with beautiful things, and allows us to create beauty as well. sometimes i forget how huge that really is. it reminds me of a quote by Brigham Young i read this morning:
“There is a great work for the Saints to do. Progress, and improve upon and make beautiful everything around you. Cultivate the earth, and cultivate your minds. Build cities, adorn your habitations, make gardens, orchards, and vineyards, and render the earth so pleasant that when you look upon your labors you may do so with pleasure, and that angels may delight to come and visit your beautiful locations. In the mean time continually seek to adorn your minds with all the graces of the Spirit of Christ."
and from President Uchtdorf:
"The more you trust and rely upon the Spirit, the greater your capacity to create. That is your opportunity in this life and your destiny in the life to come....trust and rely on the Spirit. As you take the normal opportunities of your daily life and create something of beauty and helpfulness, you improve not only the world around you but also the world within you."
on saturday afternoon, we got on a bus to go to a neighboring town to do passbys. we don't sit next to each other when we're on the bus so we can talk to people. So, i got on and sat opposite a woman who was sitting by herself. She instantly read my tag, so I struck up a conversation. it was like we were already friends. Her name is Vanessa, and she's from Maurice Island. never heard of it? yeah, me neither. anyway, we bonded over the whole being-far-from-home-and-family thing. she said it's hard, but she relies on prayer to help her through it. I told her about a book I'm reading that comforts me and gives me counsel whenever i need it. I pulled out a copy of the Book of Mormon and offered it to her. She was really touched and said she was so happy to have met me. we exchanged phone numbers, and she said she would love to have us over to talk about the Book of Mormon and the church! it was so cool. I love how the Lord knows that a little missionary in a tiny town in a small country needed to be on a specific bus on a saturday afternoon to talk to this woman.
missionary work is the most amazing, miraculous thing. blessings are continually being poured out upon us. we are tired and worn out and sometimes it is just hard, but more often than not i feel almost as if there is a hand on my back, gently helping me along the way.
love from the loire.

 at the Blois château
pretty blois château.
we love waiting for the bus.
our little town

Monday, February 20, 2012

my cup runneth over.

firstly, thank you for your prayers. i'm feeling better! i had to spend the first half of the week confined to the couch... Not fun. But i went to the doctor on tuesday, and he gave me lots of cough syrups and such. he was asking me about what i'm doing here in France, so I explained a little bit, then he said, "oh, you're doing that thing that Mitt Romney did here when he was young." sure, i guess you could put it that way. we've been hearing a lot about Mitt Romney (or as they say it here, "Meet Ruhm-nay") lately. It's either Mitt or the temple in Paris. Oh well, at least more people know who we are now!
other than the minor sickness setback, this week has been good. Soeur Larsen and I are still as happy as clams in our little French village. We really want to just sprint to the end, so we made a goal to speak 100 percent french all the time, even in the apartment. it's been a hard adjustment, mostly because we're such good friends and we like to chat when we get home. but it's getting there, and we can feel our french getting better! we also decided to read the entire Book of Mormon in French outloud this transfer. It has been a really good experience so far. It helps our pronunciation, and it really makes an effect on our day. We feel so good when we read, and the day just isn't as good if we forget to read. Isn't that neat? It's been really fun to end my mission with Soeur Larsen. It's so funny to think back on our MTC days, stuck in a tiny classroom all day, struggling to learn all the vocabulary and speak in full sentences in French. the time has flown by.
we went to see a less active, Nathalie, this week. she's a single mother and she's been having a hard time the past few years. what do you do when someone is having a hard time? that's right, read them some President Uchtdorf! we pulled out the big guns: "Forget me Not". It went so good. How could it not? That talk could prick any woman's heart. We read from the talk and shared some scriptures and just testified of how much the Lord loves her. As we were talking, I felt so much love for her. it just filled me up, like pouring water into a glass. I just wanted to hug her and tell her everything would work out. But, we're in France, so i had to settle for the little air kisses. Not exactly the same effect, but ça va. I just love that feeling though... when we're in a lesson and we're reallyfocused on the person and seeking the spirit, my little cup fills up with love for them every time. Isn't that amazing? I don't even know these people that well. I think one of the most important things i have learned on my mission is the real meaning of the phrase "my cup runneth over." Sometimes i feel like i am so full of love for these people that i'm afraid it will spill out and run over the top of my head, down to my toes. i love these french people, even if they are sometimes like their famous baguettes: crispy on the outside, but warm and soft on the inside. France is so warm and soft and i feel so at home here.
love from the loire.
little mish.