Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!!!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!! It was so fun to get to see your faces and talk to you, I'm glad you are all doing well!
This week was a lot of fun, Soeur Zenger and I really wanted to spread the Christmas cheer, so on Christmas Eve we got a bunch of candy and made little bags of candy with a He is the Gift card attached to it. We then sported our cute little santa hats and walked around downtown Poitiers and gave these little bags of candy to all the homeless people we saw on the street. We wished them a Merry Christmas and told them that God loved them. It wasn't a lot, but it was a really cool experience. We gave one to this one girl who looked about 20, she sits in the same spot on the sidewalk every single day. As we gave her the candy here eyes lit up and she said, "Merci! Merci beaucoup!" My heart felt warm and happy:) Also on Christmas Eve we went and visited a less active sister in the hospital, we sang Silent Night and her non member daughter joined in, the Spirit filled the room and even though their hearts are far away from the gospel I know they felt the spirit. As we were leaving the hospital, the daughter of our less active offered to give us a ride home, she wasn't even leaving she just wanted to give us a ride and then she was coming right back!! It was so nice, she isn't even a member but she had such a light in her eyes. I am so grateful for people like her who just open their hearts to the spirit.
Christmas Eve night was spent with Catherine our recent convert and our branch president and his family. I ate oysters and I don't want to talk about it. haha it was SO bad, I just about died. Soeur Z has some great pics, I'll send next time.
Christmas came, and we spent it with the amazing Meloen Family. They made us so much delicious food that I literally didn't eat for 2 days after that!! They are a family that really exemplify the Spirit of Christ, they have it with them always and it makes people want to be around them. It was such a fun Christmas, it was fun to see how others spend it and traditions they have. We ate Raclette which is my favorite French dish:) and they bought us scarfs, it was so nice.
Yazid is doing so wonderful! He came to church again like a champion and we were able to teach him twice. He just accepts EVERYTHING without hesitation. I can't get over how prepared this man is for the gospel. He is such a blessing in our lives and I am so happy he has made the decision to be baptized and follow Jesus Christ. OH he is also the nicest human ever. He bought us Christmas presents!! He got us a movie called The Son of God and he got me a Birdy cd! (no worries I won't be using these gifts until I get home haha) But it was so kind, and we are just amazed at the love he shows for everyone around him. He is such a blessing to us and the members of Poitiers.
I love you all! I hope you are making some goals for the new year, thinking of ways we can become more like our Savior. I love you, the gospel is true, and He lives. Have a wonderful week! Happy New year! And Happy Birthday Mom!!!

Love,
Soeur Holmes

Monday, December 22, 2014

"The two most important things are the Savior and Love"




             Merry Christmas from Soeur Holmes and Soeur Zenger

                                                                    Christmas Caroling

                                                 David Archuleta at our Christmas Zone Conference


                                                                            Zone Training


Bonjour!!

Wow this week has been interesting to say the least! First I would Like to send all my love to my amazing family at this hard time. Although I wish I could be with you all at Grandpa's funeral today, I know that he would not want me anywhere else but here right now. I love you Gramps, I know we will all see each other again. There is the sweetest lady in my branch here in Poitiers who gave me a little candle with a scripture on it, It said "For thou wilt light my candle, the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness." She gave me this candle on Saturday and told me that she had been thinking and praying about me all week, it was the sweetest thing. My Dad shared this quote by President Thomas S. Monson that I want to share with all of you,

Death eventually comes to all mankind. It comes to the aged as they walk on faltering feet. Its summons is heard by those who have scarcely reached midway in life’s journey, and often it hushes the laughter of little children. Death is one fact that no one can escape or deny.
Frequently death comes as an intruder. It is an enemy that suddenly appears in the midst of life’s feast, putting out its ...lights and gaiety. Death lays its heavy hand upon those dear to us and at times leaves us baffled and wondering. In certain situations, as in great suffering and illness, death comes as an angel of mercy. But for the most part, we think of it as the enemy of human happiness.
The darkness of death can ever be dispelled by the light of revealed truth. “I am the resurrection, and the life,” spoke the Master. “He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.”
This reassurance—yes, even holy confirmation—of life beyond the grave could well provide the peace promised by the Savior when He assured His disciples: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
Out of the darkness and the horror of Calvary came the voice of the Lamb, saying, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” And the dark was no longer dark, for He was with His Father. He had come from God, and to Him He had returned. So also those who walk with God in this earthly pilgrimage know from blessed experience that He will not abandon His children who trust in Him. In the night of death, His presence will be “better than [a] light and safer than a known way."

On a lighter note, this week was actually pretty great!!! So do you remember Yazid?? I think I talked about him last week? Anyway, he is an ami that we found through the ancient potential list and he is SO cool. We had our first rendez-vous with him this week and it was amazing. He has zero religious background and came in so so open minded. So we start our rendez-vous by opening the Book of Mormon, we turn to the picture of Jesus Christ and start to tell him how our message is centered on Christ. We look up at him and he has tears in his eyes, we ask him how he is feeling and he says, "I just have these strange feelings, these feelings of relief, peace, and joy. It's like something has been missing my whole life and I just found it. I think I found it." I about fell out of my chair!!!! This man is amazing!! At the end of our lesson he said the closing prayer. This man was praying for the first time in his life. He offered the most beautiful sincere prayer I have ever heard. FASTFORWARD so we meet with Yazid again on Thursday and he shows up 45 minutes late to our rendez-vous, so we're like shoot, it was too good to be true. But he shows up and sits down and says, "Sorry I was late, I was buying you a gift to thank you for giving me such a great gift yesterday." WHAT. He is literally the best human I have ever met. We had an amazing lesson about the restoration of the gospel and it just clicked for him. We would be explaining something and he would be like, "ohhhh that makes so much sense!!" Yeah it does Yazid, yeah it does!!" I was pumped. OH and he wants to get baptized on January 24th. He's so cute about it, he'll be like "ok so when I become a member of the church on January 24th..." and he always asks if he can come to Utah to meet President Monson! I don't know what we did to get so lucky to have such an amazing ami, but the Lord truly is blessing us.

Friday was zone conference. And you better believe David Archuleta was there. I shook his hand. He is much smaller in person, like maybe 4 inches taller than me. BUT he sang like an angel and of course Soeur Z cried like a champ and it was great. President Roney gave us amazing counsel as always and I feel so blessed to have such an amazing mission president! He told us about an experience on his mission where he recieved a phone call from his father that his mother had just passed away from cancer. In the phone call his father told him what his mother said before she died. She told her husband and children that, "The two most important things are the Savior and Love." I love that, because it's true. And the greatest example of love is our Savior Jesus Christ. I love Christmas because we get to celebrate Him. It isn't  about the gifts, the lights, the candy, or even the tree. It's truly about Him. I am blessed to represent Him every day. I love Him.

Saturday was great as well, we had zone training. We talked about being grateful in our circumstances, which is not always easy. It's easy to get down when things are not going how we would like them to go, but it's important to find things to be thankful for even in the hardest situations. Saturday night we had a branch talent night and it was SO fun! Soeur Z and I sang a medley of French christmas songs and the rest of the branch did lots of random things. I was dying laughing. AND Yazid came and loved it! It was great!!
Sunday!! Soeur Z gave a beautiful talk about the Savior and I cried. And Yazid came to church! He wore a suit and tie and everything! Gash he is great. We taught him about prophets during amis class and he just understood it so well.

Well friends and family I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!!!! Remember the reason for the season, because of Him we have this beautiful holiday. I love you all, thank you for all your sweet letters and packages, I am one lucky missionary!!

John 3:16

Love,
Soeur Holmes

Ps: Big thank you for everyone who wrote a letter for the 12 days of Christmas thing my mom did, I loved every single letter! Thank you thank you!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

He is the Gift

Bonjour!!
This week was so good! We started off with an exchange, I went to Angoulême and Soeur Z stayed here. Funny story, so as we are leaving our apartment I tell Soeur Z that she should take the keys so I don't end up with them in Angoulême, and she's like oh just hand them to me in the elevator. So we both space and I end up in angouleme with the keys!!! So Soeur Z and soeur schrebier have to come allll the way to angouleme to get the keys:) whoops.
So this week we had a goal to teach 20 lessons. It's the standard of excellence for our mission to teach 20 lessons a week. It isn't impossible, but it's pretty stinking hard here to do that. But we really wanted to do it. And we did! By last night I was so so tired. We worked our tails off and we saw blessings from it. We talked to everyone, we approached people who didn't seem approachable. And we didn't stop until we reached our goal for each day. We got our 20th lesson at the train station on the way to a members house last night, we prayed with him on the platform and everything! It was so cool. We really can accomplish the "impossible" when we put all of our trust in the Lord.
We have a new ami! Her name is Francella and she is so cool. She's from Madagascar and has a little boy. We found her porting another ami's house and she was really interested to learn more. We've taught her twice now and she accepted the soft committment to be baptized! Now we're just working on getting a date for her! Please pray for her!
Julie is doing soooooooo gooood!!! I'm just obsessed with her progress!! So we had a lesson with her this week about baptism, her date is the11th of April and we're just like no that isn't gonna fly! So we taught her more about baptism and how important it is and at the end we asked her what she thought about moving her date to the 24th of January.. and she was like ummm no that's too soon and I'll be busy with school, I'm not ready, etc etc etc. We asked her what was holding her back and she told us how she just feels like she needs to be perfect. We testified hard core about how you don't have to be perfect and none of us will ever be perfect in this life. By the end of the lesson she told us that she would pray about the 24th of January!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And she was like, funny that you picked that date because that's my mom's birthday! BOOM inspiration! I reallly hope she get's a confirmation about being baptized sooner, she's so ready, she just needs to believe in herself.
Aurech!! We watched The Restoration with him this week and talked a lot about Joseph Smith because that's what he struggles with the most, is knowing that Joseph Smith is a prophet. The Spirit was really strong and I think it finally clicked for him. When he was saying the closing prayer he asked Heavenly Father if the church was true and if Joseph Smith was really a prophet of God. In over 2 months of teaching him I have never heard him ask to really know if it was true. It was amazing, I know he'll get a response.
Funny story! So we we're teaching a lesson on the street on Thursday night and we get done teaching this guy and he's like "can I take a selfie with you??" haha umm sure?? It was slightly awkward/hilarious. We'll hopefully teach him again soon!
Saturday was district meeting and we got all the stuff for He is the Gift! FACT so for the He is the Gift they are giving all the missionaries pass along cards right. We'll the church didn't produce any pass along cards in French!! What the heck! It's French not click! SO since President Roney is the coolest human ever. He designed French He is the Gift pass along cards and printed about a bagillion of them and had the office elders drive all over the mission to give them to our district leaders! So cool.
Sunday was the best day of the week for sure. After church we practiced Christmas hymns to go caroling with the branch so that was great and then we went to the Descoubes house! They are a family in our branche and they are amazing! We took a train to their house and literally spent all day with them. We first ate really yummy food and then we helped them decorate their Christmas tree. For the first time, it actually felt like Christmas. It was so fun. And Frere Descoubes is blind. He has been blind since he was 16, but he is the most happy positive human I know. It's his job every year to put the star on top of the tree. I watched his daughter Sarah gently guide him to the ladder and help him up to put the star on top. I literally almost cried. After the tree was done we shared a Christmas spiritual thought and ate AGAIN!! After the drove us home. It was such an amazing day, I love that family and the love that they have for each other and the Lord. Their faith amazes me.
Well friends. That's it for the week! I love you all and I hope you enjoy this holiday season and truly remember that He is the Gift!!

avec amour,
Soeur Holmes


                                                                        District Meeting

                                               The beautiful Creche at the Descoubes House


                                                          Me with the Descoubes Family


                                           Frere Descoubes putting the star on top of the tree

                                                                 Me decorating the tree
                                                             



Sunday, December 7, 2014

Thanksgiving

Bonjour!
This week was a good one for a lot of reasons, but first because it was Thanksgiving! We had a great day, we had district meeting so that was really good and mostly we went around and said what we were grateful for and such. Throughout the week we all made a list of all the things we were grateful for and then put why next to each item. A lot of the time we know what we are grateful for but we need to take a step back and really ponder why. It was great. I'm so grateful for many things but the first thing on my list was my Savior. He did so much for us, without Him we would not be here in the first place let alone celebrating Thanksgiving. I'm grateful for His everlasting sacrifice, His love and patience with all of us. I feel incredibly blessed to be loved so much by someone, He knows us perfectly. Hand your troubles and problems to Him, He wants to help. I love my Savior.
After district meeting we went to a members house who LOVES america! We had turkey and kind of mashed potatoes and it was pretty good! I mean it didn't taste like mom's but it was good! OK story. So we walk into this members house and she has not one, but two giant dogs. Boxers in fact. Large dogs scare me. These two dogs just start booking it at me and I'm like freaking out and she gets them to stop jumping on me when all of a sudden these two dogs just start like attacking each other and getting super scary, so I literally book it out the front door with Soeur Zenger! She calmed them down and made them stay outside until we left:) It's pretty funny now, but kinda horrifying in the moment!
Aurech, ok so he didn't get baptized. Sad. So I was on exchange with one of the sister training leaders and within the two days we had two lessons with him and figured out that he really isn't ready. He still has a lot of stuff to figure out with some people in his life and he still isn't sure if Joseph Smith is a prophet. We talked about moving his date again to the end of december. He told us that he felt good about that and that he knows he needs to be baptized but he really wants to be ready. I was a little heartbroken, but I know that if he really puts in the work he'll be ready. It's just getting him to act that's hard. Please pray for him.
Julie is doing so well!! We taught her again this week. We talked about following the prophet and we showed her some mormon messages by President Monson, she LOVED them. She book marked them on her laptop and everything. She's progressing so well. I love the light that she has with her, I know that it will only be brightened as she continues to progress towards baptism.
So something else cool that happened this week was that we had the opportunity to have a member work with us all day on wednesday! Her name is Noemie Meloen and she is the cutest ever. She's 18 and preparing for her own mission. She wen't to all of our rdv's with us and went contacting as well. Her testimony is so strong and it was cool to have her with us, she kinda got a little taste of missionary life! When the day was over her mom drove us home and gave Soeur Zenger and I those cute chocolate christmas calendars! You know what I'm talking about?? Where you eat a piece of chocolate each day?? It was really nice of them.
On Saturday we had a really awesome day! It was the first day of the He is the Gift initiative that I told you all about. If you haven't gone tochristmas.mormon.org and watched the video/shared it on social media do it now! So good!
We made a cute little Christmas questionnaire and talked to/watched the video with a bunch of people. It was really cool to see people in the Christmas spirit and for them to open up about why Christmas is special and how Christ is really the reason we have it. We talked to a woman on the bus and she said, "Today Christmas is all about the gifts and the decorations and the holiday, but it's about Christ, He is the reason." I'm glad people still believe that. He is the Gift.
I hope you all have a good week and go to that website! I love you!
Love,
Soeur Holmes
                                                                      Apartment view


                                                                     Me and Soeur Zenger
                                                    wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!


                    gare aka train station in limoges. It's voted the most beautiful gare in europe



 
                                                                 Me and Laurence