Tuesday, November 29, 2011

food stories.

In light of the Thanksgiving season, I thought I'd share some funny food experiences we had this week.
On Thanksgiving night, we were invited to have dinner with our Branch President and his family. (they didn't know it was thanksgiving). So, we were all seated at the table, having a good time.... then she brought out the soup course. Soeur Larsen shares my dislike of fish, so the both of us were equally horrified when she told us it was scallop soup. I literally gulped it down, trying to swallow it fast before I could taste it. I thought that the worst was over. THEN. she brought out the main course: salmon quiche. Salmon quiche. I looked at it and thought, " okay. I can do this. there's probably more egg than there is salmon anyway." wrong. It was mostly salmon. I tried to tell myself it was chicken. I fought through that piece of quiche, trying not to visibly gag. The whole time, I was wishing my family could see me. But it is now official: I don't like salmon. That was pretty traumatic. :)
Yesterday made up for my fishy Thanksgiving dinner. We went to Orléans and spent the day with our district: Elder Hayden, Elder Pieper, Elder Harevaa, Elder Dykstra, Elder Bjerga, and Elder Gunter. We made a Thanksgiving dinner for lunch! The Elders brought five little rotisserie chickens (buying a turkey wasn't realistic. But the chickens were from a Turkish butcher, so that counts!), and we had mashed potatoes and stuffing. Soeur Larsen and I brought dessert. Canned pumpkin doesn't exist here, so we went to the Farmer's market and bought a real pumpkin! After being cooked and mashed, it made beautiful pumpkin pies. We served it with home made whipped cream... I thought Richard would be so proud :) Afterwards, we all went to a school soccer field and played some American football. It was a nice little taste of home.
Saturday night, we were invited to have dinner with a family in our branch. We got there, and literally half the branch was there! We all sat around a big, long table and talked and laughed. The family who had us over is from La Réunion (it's an island.... is it just called The Reunion in English?), so the food was crazy. At one point, he brought out a gigantic cast iron pot and set it in front of Soeur Larsen and I. We peered over the edge and saw it was full of shrimp. With their tentacles still attached. We looked at each other in terror. But then he brought out a different, non-fishy dish, so it was okay. They served spicy, piment-y fruit for dessert... weird! It was really fun though. This branch feels like my family. Soeur Larsen and I both sat back a little bit and watched everyone banter and laugh, and it was just the best. At the end, we shared a spiritual thought. We talked about how it was Thanksgiving last week in the States and how it's a special time of year for us. We then went around the table and had each person say something they were grateful for. Everyone said something different. When it came to Clément, our baptismal date, he talked about how grateful he was that he found the church. That's what every missionary wants to hear!
i am grateful for
family & friends
the book of mormon
my mission
our investigators
my companion
the gospel
our prophet
my life.
love from the loire.
little mish.

Monday, November 21, 2011

o how great the goodness of our God.


gotta love the information age... My family found out about my week before I got to write my email about it! So funny. Anyway. yes, we had a major plumbing problem in our apartment this week.... I'll spare you the (disgusting) details. Let's just say we were without a toilet and a shower. We talked to President and he told us to pack our bags and head over to the Ferreiras, a couple in our Branch. They are the BEST. He is Portuguese, and she's half Portuguese, half French. He's paralyzed from the waist down, so he cruises around the house in a wheelchair. She is literally like four feet tall- just barely taller than him while seated in his chair. Thus, their house is miniature. Soeur Larsen and I are not at all what you would call tall, but we literally had to bend down to reach the handle to the front gate! We felt like we were in a little hobbit house. We stayed there for three nights, until finally a scary-looking plumber with a glass eye came and shot a power hose into our toilet. He came out and told us, with a satisfied smile on his face, that it was fixed. He left, and we went into the bathroom to check it out. He had left something black all over the toilet (enter: large quantities of bleach) but other than that, it worked! So there is the story of the homeless sister missionaries.
the work in Blois is going really well. Maria is getting closer and closer to fixing a baptismal date! we're so excited. I have never seen an investigator with so many experiences with prayer. She is amazing. Her faith is so simple and strong and childlike. Last week, her boyfriend/father of her children (we're working on getting them married) left for like three days and she had no idea where he went. She doesn't have a cell phone, so she couldn't call him. She was all alone at their apartment with their two little kids and did not know what to do. She went to her window and prayed that Heavenly Father would send her Carole, a member in the branch who is friends with Maria. Minutes later, Carole and her husband showed up, having no idea of Maria's plight. Carole's husband sent out a mass text to us and the branch council asking us to pray for Maria. 10 minutes after that text was sent out, the boyfriend came home.
Fastforward a few days. Maria was outside, on her way to go grocery shopping. She had her little baby in a snuggly and her toddler in a stroller. The elevator at their apartment building was broken, so she had to go down six flights of stairs carrying her two children and the stroller. She didn't know how she was going to get her two kids and the groceries back up the six flights of stairs, so she prayed as she walked that she would run into the missionaries. She looked up and saw Soeur Larsen and I in the distance. She called after us. Within minutes, we had a member there to drive her back and help her back up the stairs to her apartment. I love how prayer works! Another cool sidenote: Soeur Larsen and I were walking to district meeting. We had let the Elders go ahead to the church because we had to run to the store. We left the store and that's when Maria called after us. If it had been any other day, we wouldn't have been there. If we hadn't gone to the store, we wouldn't have been there. Miracle.
We had a rendez-vous with Maria on Saturday. We brought the Book of Mormon edition of the Liahona to show her. I had the idea to read one of the little stories in the back, so I flipped to one and we read it outloud together. I had just glanced at it, but it turned out to be the perfect story for her! It talked about a young mother, which, she said, spoke to her. After the story, she told us she had been hearing the word "baptism" everywhere the previous week. The story had mentioned it at the end. She's not ready to set a date yet, but she has been thinking about it! We are so excited for her. She is so sweet. We just need to get them married, then they'll be ready to get in the water!
Big things are happening in Blois. Soeur Larsen and I are in awe of all the tender mercies and miracles we have witnessed. As it says in the Book of Mormon,
"O how great the goodness of our God."
love from the loire.
little mish

Monday, November 14, 2011


what a week.
we went to paris on thursday for zone conference with Elder Kopischke and it was incredible. He is a powerhouse. And his wife is the German version of Soeur Staheli... She had us all stand and sing "I am a Child of God" as she conducted us with a big smile on her face. :) anyway. He talked about so many things and the spirit was so strong. At one point in the conference, he told us he wanted each companionship to go find a quiet place somewhere in the church building and pray and discuss a goal for the number of baptisms we want to have by the end of the year. As he was talking, a number popped into my head: 20. TWENTY. It freaked me out. Twenty?? I've only had three baptisms my whole mission! The number stuck in my head. Soeur Larsen and I went and discussed it. She said she had had a number come into her head too, but the number was big and that scared her. We told each other our numbers and they were within 3 of each other. We prayed and we really felt like that is the Lord's vision for Blois. We were in a daze the rest of the day, trying not to freak out about how in the world we are going to do this. We knew that we needed to set our sights higher, so we did. We told our branch about it and we got an outpouring of support. We have seen many little miracles since that day, like Kevin and Alexandra.
I don't know if I've mentioned them yet or not, but they are great. We've been teaching them for a few weeks now. He is from Guadeloupe, and she's French. They live together (we'll be taking care of that!) and she has a 6 year old son named Killian. They love us, they read the Book of Mormon, and they enjoy the lessons. But we have not been able to get them to come to church! They CANNOT get up on time. It's like, impossible for them. But, miracle of miracles, we got them to wake up and come yesterday! (it may or  may not have involved us ringing their doorbell a LOT at 8 in the morning....) It was so so good. They really liked it and participated in the lessons. We went and talked to Alex about it after church and she said she had never seen so many people with so much faith. We're so excited about them.
I know that maybe we won't get twenty baptisms. But it's been so cool to watch how things are changing around here because we caught a glimpse of the Lord's vision for Blois. It's going to be an exciting end to the year....
love from the loire.
little mish.

Monday, November 7, 2011

a very important date.

favorite things that happened this week.
1. We set a baptismal date with Clément! It was so so good. We came into the rendez-vous and asked him if he remembered what we asked him to do last time. He said, "you asked me to think about a date for my baptism." My heart started beating fast. He said he had thought about it a lot, and the date he felt good about was the 7th of January. It's a little further away than we'd like, but we'll take it! He looked so happy and peaceful. We can't wait!
We then read the story of Jesus walking on water in the Bible. We related the story to him: Like Peter, if he doesn't keep his eyes on the Lord, he will start to sink. Beautiful image, isn't it? We just told him to keep his chin up and don't look down :)
2. Last night, we went over to the Liebard family's house. They are an AWESOME member family. We had crêpes with chestnut cream and talked about our amis with them. The Liebard's have two young sons, Victor and Augustin. Victor was just ordained a deacon yesterday and he is the only deacon in the branch. They are such sweet boys. Every time we see one of them, they ask us about the missionary work and whether or not we're going to have a baptism soon. So cute.
So last night, we asked those boys to help us. They were practically bouncing off the couch! We told them to pray with faith every day that we would be able to find a family to teach with boys their age. We promised we would do our part and work really hard, but we needed their help. They were SO excited to be a part of the missionary work! As we were leaving, I shook Victor's hand and he said, "We can do this. I have faith." I love the pure faith of little children.
3. We had a rendez-vous with Chris & Maria on Saturday night. They're so good. He's African and she's French-Italian. Their kids are gorgeous. Anyway, we talked about the Restoration and Priesthood authority. We both felt impressed to talk about baptism, so we read a scripture in 2 Nephi with them and invited them to be baptized. We don't have a date fixed yet with them, but the spirit was strong, and they came to church for all three hours the next day. I love little families!
4. Another ami of ours, Alexandra, had us over for lunch this week. Alex is from the "campagne"-- the countryside. She told us about growing up in a tiny French village.... it sounded so charming. Her "mami" would take her into the forest and teach her how to pick out good mushrooms, and they would take an oil lamp with them in case it got too dark. Seriously. France is just too dang cute.
love from the loire valley.
la petite missionnaire.