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.

Monday, February 13, 2012

a letter from Soeur Larsen.

Please note:: Lindsay has been sick the last few days and was feeling too "foggy" to write a big email for the blog this week... so I am posting the letter that sweet Soeur Larsen wrote to her family.  It is a wonderful letter!  These two Soeurs are SO very happy that they get to finish their missions together!  Please keep them in your prayers as they begin the final stretch of their time in France... 6 weeks to go!

Last transfer!

So, my last transfer officially begins this Wednesday. It would probably bother me less if it wasn't brought up by every member and every missionary that I ever talk to... haha. But hey, good news! So, President Poznanski told Sr. W and I that we were definitely not staying together for our last transfer, which made sense to us because we're both dying at the same time so they'd have to whitewash the ville again, which is hard on the branch. So we were mentally prepared for that and excited and nervous for a little change for the last transfer. I remember feeling so good one night after doing planning we were talking about the area and I thought, well whatever happens, I left Blois better than I found it. So anyway the anticipation was mounting all the way til Saturday, when we got the transfer email, when lo and behold... Sister Williams and I are staying together in Blois for another transfer. I don't have to leave my beloved branch and my best friend! I'm overjoyed! Which also means that I will have only served in 3 areas my entire mission... weird. Everyone is surprised, and it looks like when people kept telling us they would pray for both of us to stay in Blois, they weren't kidding. Be careful what you pray for!

The excitement of the transfer news seems to have gotten the best of Sr. W though, she's been sick ever since. Yesterday we even missed church, which was the oddest thing I have ever done. Our amis still got to church though, and according to the DMB they were well taken care of. We also got a bunch of phone calls from people checking up on Soeur Williams and offering advice, and the family who had invited us over to eat brought the meal to us instead. We have the best branch ever :) She's doing better now, don't worry.

Our amis are doing well, we invited Isabelle to get baptized last week and she said yes, so we're going to start working towards a date. She's just such a wonderful person and it's been such a miracle to teach her. She understands the gospel, everything makes sense to her, and while she was a little reluctant about a few things at first, she's been trying out the things we've asked her to do like praying differently and reading the Book of Mormon and she's opened up a lot. She feels like family already and she gets along great with the branch.

We also have several members who have invited us to come teach their friends this week, and we're so excited! That's the absolute best kind of missionary work to do! Woot! Haha.

Oh also this last week we did exchanges with the soeurs in Angers, which was super fun. I was with Soeurs Soares and Woodruff (who was in the MTC with me) and Soeur Williams was with Soeur Emilcy. It was fun to see a new area, and Angers has a super legit castle. Also we had a miracle! Tuesday night we were going to contact an American girl who had been referred by her friend. She had this super wierd address and we couldn't find it anywhere and no one we asked knew where it was. Finally, just before time to head home we found it, knocked on the door and an American girl opened the door and went, "the Mormon missionaries!" Oh sweet music to my ears. She was so excited! She even went, "Hold on, I'm talking to my boyfriend on Skype. He'll be so excited you guys found me!" Well, that's one I haven't heard before, I'll be honest. We were so thrown off to get such a joyful welcome! We got to know her and she talked about how she'd been basically raised Mormon, all her friends were Mormon and she used to go to church with them and FHE and everything. Too good! So, I was half hoping to get transferred to Angers so I could start teaching her with them, but no luck.  

I felt like I had a lot to say when I sat down, but it has fled my mind... Not a lot happened this week, outside of the usual... Tuesday and Wednesday we were on exchanges, and Friday we were inside because I was sick, and I was hoping that one day where I just forced myself to stay in bed would make everything all better. It worked, I feel great now, but I seem to have passed it. So yesterday I studied a lot, and Saturday I deep cleaned the apartment.  

Well I can tell you about my exciting studies! So one of the many great things about my companion is that she is a literature major, and she loves words. She has this giant dictionary and she taught me the fun of looking up words. Sometimes for studies she'll just take one verse and dissect it and look up all the words and just get all these new meanings out of it and it's crazy and super cool. So yesterday I did a lot of that, and did the same thing with my patriarchal blessing. It blew my mind! I got so many different meanings and a totally new understanding out of it and I would just recommend everyone to do it.

We did transfer planning on Saturday, and we have lots of good goals for this transfer to finish strong! We're doing an English fast this transfer, speaking only French together, soaking up my last 6 weeks of being surrounded by this beautiful language. Sad day. We've also been reading out loud together out of the Book of Mormon after reading something that said if you read the BOM out loud in a language you'll be fluent in it. I've been surprised how much it's helped, not only my French, but just our companionship and the Spirit in our apartment. I love that book, it's a powerful thing. I love how it has become the first thing I turn to when I need an answer or comfort or anything at all.

Well I hope you all have a super awesome week, Happy Valentine's Day!
I love you!
Soeur Larsen

Monday, February 6, 2012

freezing hands, warm heart.

i have never been so cold in my entire life.
below freezing temperatures and winds so fierce i thought it was going to blow my eyelashes right off of my face.... that was our week. finally, mercifully, we woke up yesterday to a fresh blanket of snow on the ground. more like lots of blankets: it was around FOUR inches! four inches of glorious snow. i was so happy that after all that freezing cold, we finally had something to show for it. Soeur Larsen and I walked home from church in absolute snowy heaven.
While Soeur Larsen were blissfully enjoying our snowflake day, Blois was thrown into chaos. They're not really equipped for snow: no snowplows, no shovels, no salt. that's right: no salt. they throw dirt on the snow instead, turning it into dangerously slippery mud puddles (don't worry, i only fell down ONCE!). Soeur Larsen and I found it highly amusing watching everyone sprinkle dirt on their snowy walkways.
we had some cool little experiences this week. we had some extra time before a rendez-vous on friday afternoon, so we decided to do some door-knocking (what is that called in english? we call it "porting" because the french word for door is "porte") anyway. It was a painfully cold and windy day and we looked like hoboes with all of our layers and scarves on. no one was letting us in and we were just so cold. we finally found a quiet spot and prayed. essentially we said, "Heavenly Father, we are so cold. please lead us to someone who will let us in so we can get warm". Not even five minutes later, a muslim girl let us into her apartment building. even though she wasn't interested, we were so grateful to be able to stand inside the door of her apartment building for a few minutes so we could rub our faces to get the feeling back into them. I love that He will answer even the silly little prayers from two desperately cold missionaries. He is so kind and good.
On Tuesday, we went to a neighboring town to pass by a couple that was referred to us by our branch president's wife. their son is a member and lives about an hour away with his wife. This member of ours has been reaching out to them (she gave them a Book of Mormon!) and sharing the gospel with them. She gave us their address last week, so we decided to go and check it out. the husband was there and talked with us for a few minutes. he went on and on about how much he likes all the members he's met, and we chatted about the church. He wasn't interested in anything more than that, but we felt okay about it. Afterwards, we went over to see the Branch President's wife, since she had had carpel tunnel surgery the week before and we wanted to see how she was doing. She invited us in and we talked for a few minutes and told her we had just passed by the referral she had given us. She looked surprised, then said she had felt impressed to pray for them about an hour before- right when we were getting to the town- so she did. It was a cool little miracle that strengthened her faith.
Samuel and Etienne, our two little boys, are doing so good. we went over for a lesson on friday with Frère Poznanski, our mission president's dad. At first, only Samuel was there. the last time we taught him, we asked him to try praying that night. we asked him if he did it, and he said he did and that Heavenly Father had answered his prayer. It was the sweetest thing, watching a little twelve year-old boy telling us about his very first experience with prayer and with God. we asked him what he remembered about the plan of salvation and were pleasantly surprised when he gave us a detailed description of what we had taught him the week before. yes! so, we went on to explaining prophets and scriptures. It has been an interesting experience, teaching children who had no concept of God or Jesus Christ or religion at all. It has definitely helped us simplify our teaching! anyway. we watched the Restoration DVD with them (Etienne joined in just as we started it) and they totally got it. we were just blown away by how smart they are. We gave them each their own Book of Mormon, and the two of them both opened it up and started reading the introduction on the spot. they are both so guileless and faithful and pure. pray for them!
On Tuesday, we went to see Hélène, a less-active in our branch. it had been a crazy day, and my sore ankle had spread all the way up to my leg. i was in pain and uncomfortable throughout the lesson, but we had a good time with her. at the end, we asked her to give the closing prayer. She said a sweet little prayer, and asked a blessing that our legs wouldn't be sore. She had no idea about my leg! it was a sweet little reminder that Heavenly Father is watching over us and knows what we're doing. Isn't that neat?
love from the loire.
little mish.

 too tired to put pajamas on. 


Monday, January 30, 2012

we are doing a great work and we cannot come down.

we had interviews- our last ones- with president this week. it was so surreal. President and Soeur Poznanski gave an amazing training on the story of Nehemiah. They announced our mission theme for 2012:
"we are doing a great work and we cannot come down."
 it was a good little boost for us as Soeur Larsen and I get ready to head into our last transfer.
do you remember Isabelle? she is the one who received a flyer in her mailbox for our Christmas spectacle and came, then came to church the next sunday. we finally got a rendez-vous with her this week and it was so good. She was born and raised Catholic, like most people around here. But, she questions the Catholic church, also like most people around here. We taught her the first lesson: prophets and dispensations, Christ's earthly ministry, the great apostasy, the restoration, and the Book of Mormon. the spirit was so strong and she accepted all of it. she was just glowing. she is so prepared for the gospel... she just drinks it all in. we're really excited about her... we're going to invite her to be baptized this week!
it was a lovely week. as always, Soeur Larsen and I are having a blast skipping and testifying all over this town!
love from the loire.
little mish.

Monday, January 23, 2012

you can have your orange juice and drink it too.

i feel as if my heart might just burst.
this week was one of those happy, blessed weeks where everything is bright and glowy and wonderful. it's chilly outside, but i don't mind. i try not to panic when i think that january is almost over. so fast, so fast. i'm trying to soak up every second i have left like a sponge. Soeur Larsen and I just burst with happiness every week at church. Our branch is like a little family (and not just because half our branch members are related in some way)... i have so many little mamans and papas here.
yesterday at church, we scheduled appointments with all of the members for the next two weeks; we're going to be making the rounds to present the Branch Mission Plan. almost every single member that we have a rendez-vous with offered to feed us! it was really funny. we didn't even go grocery shopping today. we had the first of our appointments last night and they sent us home with a loaf of bread fresh from the oven. France rocks.
i may have already told you this story, but i'm going to refresh your memory. So about two months ago, we went to visit an AWESOME family in our branch. they have two young sons, ages 10 and 12, who love the church and were always asking us how the work was going. So we decided to use them. we promised them that if they would pray every day and ask Heavenly Father to help us, we would find a family with boys their age and bring them to church. Fast forward to thursday night. we were at the apartment when we felt that we should go visit an inactive family in the branch. We had never met them before- they've been inactive for at least 10 years and they didn't want to see the missionaries. our branch mission leader suggested we try passing by. We had them on the brain for a week or so, but every time we planned to pass by something came up. We left right away and hopped on the bus (thursday night). We easily found their apartment. someone had just gone in the building, so the door was open. we slipped right in, found their apartment number on the mailboxes, and went up. as we got to their door, it opened and a friend of theirs left. they saw us and we waved, so they HAD to let us in! it was a total miracle. we had a great lesson with them. He is French and she's English, so we got to speak a little english with her... it felt weird. anyway, they have two young sons who are not members of the church. In fact, they don't know anything about religion. They don't know who Jesus is. But the two of them sat in for our lesson and prayer and said they wanted us to come back and teach them. the parents didn't have any objection... in fact, the dad wants to come back to church! we asked them how old their sons were.... and they replied, 10 and 12. I had the hardest time containing my excitement until we got outside! 10 and 12! and they're going to come to church! we could not believe it. it was nothing short of a miracle. we told the two boys in our branch yesterday, and they were thrilled. their prayers were answered! we have an appointment to teach the boys on friday. we can't wait. :)
We had a funny experience with Nadiha this week. we were teaching her about prophets, but the discussion switched to the word of wisdom. She drinks coffee and tea, and seemed reluctant to give it up. We explained that she could still have hot chocolate and herbal tea and she looked shocked. "really?" she said. "i can even have orange juice and stuff like that?" it was pretty funny. We explained to her that the word of wisdom does not ban ALL drinks, just the bad ones. then she happily accepted to live it.
missionary life is the best kind of life.
love from the loire,
little mish.

Monday, January 16, 2012

my name is soeur williams, and i'm a mormon.

the most exciting thing ever happened yesterday: Clément blessed the sacrament! Soeur Larsen and I were glowing with happiness. I love to watch recent converts grow and progress in the church. A sweet member in the branch started crying about Clément in her talk... He is absolutely adored by all the members. Next stop... temple!
Another cool thing happened this week. Last sunday, a member in our branch came up to us and told us that she had run into an old investigator in town. The two got to talking and the investigator, Nadhia, said she wanted to see the missionaries again. We passed by her house and she let us right in and told us she had been waiting for us. She's around 50... a teeny little French woman with three cats and crazy African sculptures in her house. We like her already! (minus the cats part) She came to a branch activity with us that day and all the members remembered her name and welcomed her back in with open arms. We're excited about her! The members here in Blois are just stellar. For a missionary, that is the BEST.
We started volunteering at the Red Cross recently. When volunteering there, we are asked to take off our missionary tags and we are not allowed to initiate a conversation about our church. So, we prayed beforehand this week that the other volunteers would ask us about our church and our mission. When we walked in, before we could say anything, the volunteer ladies were bombarding us with questions. "You're mormon, right?" "what are you doing in France?", etc. It was so cool! Everyone was really accepting, and they even gave us herbal tea during their coffee break. I hope we will be able to teach them by example, since we're not able to actually teach them.
Other than that, not much has happened this week... Just lovely missionary life! I'm sorry it's so short... I'm not feeling very good today. love you all!
little mish.

we found this building in Blois... built in 1470!

 pictures from around town

Monday, January 9, 2012

the newest little fish in our pond.

Clément got baptized!
and it was so perfect. the week proceeding the baptism, soeur larsen and i would just randomly look at each other and start giggling. who would have thought that she and i would be having a baptism together in the field? it was surreal.
since there isn't a baptismal font in Blois, the baptism was held saturday evening in Orléans. the ENTIRE branch of Blois showed up for the event (all 50 of us!), plus Clément's in-laws and friends. it was a full house! everyone was chatting and laughing and bise-ing. (seriously, LOTS of kissing goes down at a french baptism!)  He was so calm and happy, despite the fact that the heating was not working at all in the building and the water in the font was cold.  It was so much fun to see him in white, then in a suit and tie. he just looked so mormon. it was the BEST.
The Branch President gave a talk after the ordinance, welcoming Clément as a member of the church. He said everyone in the world is like a little fish, swimming along the current. But we, as members of the church, have to dare to be different and swim against the current. Clément joked afterwards that he was a little frozen fish :) 
Afterwards, we all ate Galette des Rois, a french new year's tradition. it's kind of like a tart with a little toy hidden inside. the person who gets the toy in their piece gets to wear a paper crown. it was a party.
yesterday, Clément got up in sacrament meeting and bore his testimony. It was so sweet and humble. Soeur Larsen and I felt like glowing parents. He also said the closing prayer.... the branch is REALLY excited he's finally a member! He was so ready. He's getting the Aaronic Priesthood next week, and then he'll be off!
we went and had lunch with Odile, a member in our branch, this week. She's a tiny little frenchwoman and we just adore her. She 's so eccentric and so herself... for example, if she wears a purple dress, she wears purple lipstick and carries a purple purse too. she loves to laugh and to talk about beautiful things and deep things too. we had a delicious little french lunch and talked. She told us about how much she loves David Bowie and Captain Moroni, and all the gospel ties she found in the Lord of the Rings. We love to partake of her wisdom. :)
we have another member in our ward who is a pâtissier. (he is also the fiancé of one of our amis) so this week, we went over to their apartment and he taught us how to make macarons while we taught his fiancée the gospel. it was a pretty good system, if you ask me! it was fun to learn how to make something french... now i can make something a little more impressive than crêpes and quiche!
i had a little personal triumph this week: i finished the Book of Mormon in French! i was proud of myself. i even read the Isaiah chapters. It was a really cool experience to read the Book of Mormon in my mission language... something i'll never forget!
love from the loire.
little mish.

waiting for the baptism to start!

Clement's baptism!

in downtown Blois

with chris and maria

our lovely macarons

our street... rue denis papin

Monday, January 2, 2012

a charming new year.

happy 2012!
my "blackout year" has come to an end. (blackout year=when you spend all of one year as a missionary). it has flown by. we had a lovely new year celebration, french style. On New Year's eve, we went to the Liébard family's house for dinner. it was just the best. they have a perfect little french house and it was just so cozy and charming. We had raclette for dinner.... heaven. then we got to play a board game! it's been a LONG time since i've done that. It made me miss scrabble :) we were home by 9:30 and in bed by 10:00. aaaand that was the extent of our partying. it was perfect!
yesterday as we were walking into the chapel for sacrament meeting, our branch president came up to us and asked both of us to each give a 10 minute talk right after the sacrament. I was also playing the piano so I had zero time to think about what I was going to say. I said a prayer and asked Heavenly Father to help me to know what to say. My turn came, and I went up to the pulpit with my scriptures and just started talking. It was like my mouth detatched itself from the rest of my body and took off running. It felt like I had no control over what I was saying! It was a really cool, out-of-body experience. I don't even remember everything I said, but people told me they liked it. isn't that amazing? Prayer works!
after church, we went over to our branch president's house for new year's lunch. we had a great time.... that family is so entertaining. they fed us to the brim! their oldest son is a pâtissier, so he brought some delicious hand-made chocolates. after the meal, we played a mormon trivia game from like the 1970's called "Zion" (the branch president brought it back with him from his mission). It was so funny. all the question cards were in english... it was fun for us to hear them read them outloud with their thick french accents. We had hot apple cider (a special american treat just for us) and then the branch president shared a spiritual thought from Roland's website! I was so proud.
the work is going great... Clément is ready to go! We can't WAIT for his baptism on saturday. this will be my first real french person baptism!! pray that it all goes smoothly!
love from the loire.
little mish.

a drawing i did as a christmas gift for a member.

exchanges with Soeur Didier!

with Axel, Chris and Maria's little boy, on christmas eve

 our christmas eve fort

 a cute shop window: "i am with you until the end of time"