Monday, January 26, 2015

Yazid got baptized


Wow this weekend was one to remember! It was amazing! Yazid followed the example of Jesus Christ and got baptized. Yazid is truly a miracle. Little did I know that by calling a bunch of random phone numbers on a really old potential list, that it would turn into us getting to teach one of the most prepared people for the restored gospel. I was there when Yazid said his very first prayer to a God that he wasn't even sure if he existed or not, about a month later I was able to watch him step into the waters of baptism and then testify to our cute little branche that he knows that God lives and loves him. It was an incredible experience for Soeur Zenger and I. My faith was built so much. Yazid always would tell us that he was so thankful for what we were teaching him and that we were bringing him such an amazing gift, honestly we didn't do anything. It was the Lord doing all the work, we were just there to pass the message along. But as much as Yazid learned, I think I learned more. My testimony grew so much this past month and a half. God lives and loves us. He wants all of His children to come back to Him. It was a pleasure to teach Yazid, I can't wait to see all of the great things that happen will happen in his life because he chose to join the true church! He is an incredible example to me.
I gave a talk at the baptism about baptism! As I was writing my talk I learned so much about what it really means to take His name upon us. The Spirit was incredible that day, as Yazid went under the water I had the warmest feeling come over me, it was like I was getting a giant hug. I cried of course. Nothing is more beautiful than watching someone choose our Savior Jesus Christ.
I love Him, I know that my redeemer lives and loves us personally. I feel blessed every day that I get to wear His name over my heart. I love you all:) Have a great week!
Avec amour,
Soeur Holmes

Monday, January 19, 2015

"If you keep mixing like that, you will never get married!"

I hope everyone had a wonderful week! What's the weather doing in Utah?? Here it's still pretty cold and constantly raining! But it's still great and I still love it!
This week was crazy!! I'll start from the beginning..
So earlier this week we went and visited Sœur Rouselle, she is a member in our branch who is maybe like 55, never married, no kids. The nicest lady I have ever met. We go over and on the table she has this chocolate creme dessert that she has made and cake and she is just the cutest. We're just talking with her when she starts telling us how she has seen a lot of "not so good" missionaries in her time and how she thinks that we are such a blessing here in Poitiers and how she really looks up to us, she said she wanted our parents to know how great we are so she wrote them a letter and got it translated into English (mom and dad it will be coming soon). She's saying all of these nice things and I'm just crying. Now I'm not telling you any of this to be boastful or brag, but I tell you this because I was kinda feeling down last week, not really feeling like I was making a difference. Then Sœur Rouselle starts saying all of these incredibly nice things and I just felt like it was an answer to my prayer. The Lord is so so so aware of us and he does answer our prayers.

Later that day we had a rendezvous with one of our less actives Frere Chevallier, we had never met him before but had a feeling we should. We get in the rendez-vous and after the prayer Sœur Zenger and I just both had the feeling that we needed to be super bold with him. We asked him why he wasn't coming to Church and why he had stopped in the first place. He told us it was something about members in Paris offending him, LAME. We testify of the blessings and peace the gospel brings and we ask him if he would ever want that again, if he would want to come back to Church he then said, "I ask myself every day if I should come back to Church." That would be awful. To wake up every day and ask yourself that question. We kept testifying hard core and told him we are going to work with him to get him back. We asked him to say the closing prayer (he hasn't prayed in a really long time) and he said the most beautiful prayer I have ever heard. He has a testimony!! He just needs some love and guidance, I'm exctied to keep working with him.

YAZIDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD. He is doing SO well and is pumped for his baptism! On Sunday we fasted with him because he is going to tell his parents who are muslim that he is getting baptized. After Church we prayed with him and the others in the branch who fasted, after the prayer Yazid just testifed that he knows it's true and that whatever his parents say that it won't change that he knows this Gosepl is true! I am so exctied for him. Yazid will be my first baptism and Sœur Zengers as well, I'm so glad it's him. He is so prepared. He sent us a text that said how grateful he is for the Gospel and he said, "I've made wrong décisions and I have taken wrong turns, but I don't regret anything because it led me to this gospel and my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ." He has such a clear understanding of the Gospel. He always says "it just speaks to me". Saturday can't come soon enough!!

We had Zone Conference this week!!! It was SO good. President and Sister Roney are probably the coolest people I know. Not only are they cool, but so inspired. Our conference was centered around Christlike attributes and how we can become more delightful people as missionaries and for the rest of our lives. Wherever we go we want people to recognize our light and say "I want to be around them" we studied the story of Joseph (the one who gets sold into egypt) and how no matter how many bad things happened to him he was STILL happy and delightful and people wanted to be around him and everyone loved him. We want to all acquire these attributes so people want to be around us, just like Joseph. I also had an interview with President Roney and it was so good, everything he said to me was an answer to my prayers, he is so inspired and I am grateful for a mission president who has such wise counsel and loves his missionaries so much.

OK FUNNIEST STORY EVER. So this story happened before we left for zone conference, hold on tight, it's hilarious, ok the first one is just weird but the second story is really funny. So we decided to go pass one of our amis Mary and Fabian who we have kinda lost contact with. So we get to the sonnerie and we are trying to find their name but we don't remember their last names! So we're just standing there and this lady comes up to us and asks us what we need, so xe explain the situation to her and she decides to let us in and help us find them. So we're like sweet, and we get in the building and there is this guy who is maybe like 55ish sitting on the steps and he looks kinda crazy. He sees our tags and reads "sœur" and he starts freaking out! He starts doing this weird praying motion with his hands and yelling "no!! allez!! no!!!" He's pretty much yelling random words at us. And this sweet lady is like "no it's ok they have friends here they are nice it's ok!!" So he just keeps yelling and we are trying to get in the elevator and he is just being crazy. So we get in the elevator, head up to their apartment and they aren't home!!! So we go back down and crazy is just waiting for us by the elevator and continues to yell and do weird praying motions, finally we get out of the stinking complex and sœur zenger and I are just laughing cause it was so weird! 

So this next story happens about 2 minutes after this last story. So we start walking down the street to get on the bus and this classic little old french man with a cane stops and says "oh you two girls are just so beautiful and full of light!" Thanks Mr!! So we start talking to him and find out he is catholic so we tell him a little about our Church and such. He isn't super interested but really nice so we ask if we could say a prayer with him really quick! He says sure and starts to just say random latin words and does weird hand motions and then just says AMEN! haha ok... so we're like thank you, can we actually say a prayer?? So he agrees and Sœur Zenger starts to pray when all of a sudden in the middle of her prayer he just sticks his hand on her head!! She quickly says amen and I open my eyes and see his hand on her head and I'm trying really hard not to laugh, then he turns to me and says "you too" and he sticks his hand on my head and it's there for like a good 5 seconds and he's like "this is the hand of God.." umm no but thanks mr! So then he takes his hand off my head and turns to Sœur Zenger and tries to beez her (that's where you do the kiss on each cheek) and she's like no no no no no!! Sorry!!! And it's just funny and finally he stops trying to kiss her and shakes both of our hands instead. It was pretty funny and we laughed about it the whole day:)

Saturday we had a full night! Relief Society activity, and the branch activity! So for the relief society activity we were Learning how to make galette de rois which is this cake they make at the beginning of every year and they put a little porcelain king or queen in the mixture and if it ends up in your piece of cake you get the crown! So it's super fun and I'm just minding my own buisness mixing this up, when Sœur Girard turns to me and says "Sœur Holmes! You are not mixing that right! If you keep mixing like that you will never get married!!" hahahah I couldn't help but laugh cause she was dead serious! Guess I should work on my cooking skills:) The branch activity was super fun! We played Mafia, it's a lot harder when it's all in french but still super fun, then we ate yummy food and it was great.

This week was so good! Miracles, food, and of course fun! I'm so blessed to be in Poitiers, serving these amazing people. I love the work and I love my Savior. And I love all of you! Have a great week!!
Sœur Holmes

Zone Conference

Apparently if I keep mixing like this, I will never get married!

Me and Soeur Zenger  "Team Work"

The young adults in our Branch

Monday, January 12, 2015

The sun came out!!!

I hope you all had a great week! This past week has been slightly interesting but good! All the stuff that happened in Paris was so sad, I'm thankful for our safety here in Poitiers and for the protection the Lord provides for His missionaries.

Yazid is still doing SO well! He seriously is so great. The members are obsessed with him and so excited for his baptism on January 24th. We were able to teach him 3 times this past week and he just took everything in so well, he never has questions, he gives amazing feedback it's incredible! So story! We had a little bit of a scare with him! So we get a text from him last tuesday morning that says, "cancel all of our rendez-vous until further notice, I have some problems to solve." We were so scared that he found out something false about the church on the internet or he heard something weird, we were freaking out. So we try calling him and texting him and he isn't replying. So we just pray right then, and we text our zone leaders to pray for us and they have the whole zone pray for us AND THEN we get a text from Yazid saying it's some sort of financial problem with a friend. PHEW! I mean that still isn't good news but it wasn't anything to do with us or the church so we were so so happy. Later he texted us and said that he prayed and he was feeling better about the situation and could still meet with us that day. So we go to meet with him and he tells us that as soon as he found out about this problem with his friend he just started to pray immediately. After he finished praying he had the thought to look online for a job, he starts looking online, he sees that there is an opening at a store in centreville, so he calls and sets up an interview, he gets interviewed and he gets the job!!!!!!! This built my faith so much! He told us later that that there is a silverlining in every situation and he knows it is because God is with him. He has so much faith. I admire him and I can't wait for him to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Julie! We were finally able to get back into contact with Julie! We couldn't get ahold of her so we decided to just go by her house, so we get there and said a quick prayer and pressed the sonnerie to get into the apartment building, no reply. We then remembered that her sonnerie is broken! But then all of a sudden some lady who lives at this building walks up and opens the door! We went and knocked on her door and she was home, it was a miracle:) she was having a lot of family problems and she had just gotten back to Poitiers, but she was so happy to see us! We prayed with her and as soon as things settledown with her family we will be able to see her!

Aurech!! We were able to see Aurech this week! Praise the heavens cause it had been like 3 weeks and I was getting worried. We had a great rendez-vous with one of our members Noemie who is preparing for her mission. Aurech told us that his goal for 2015 is to live like a mormon:) it's cute. I hope he keeps that goal so he can get baptized asap! He has the strongest desire, it's just the commandments he is having a really hard time with. We'll keep praying for him, he is one of my favorite people I have met on my mission.

Less active miracle! So we have been trying to find this less active named Gisele for the past 3 weeks. We finally found her! We get to her apartment and she tells us that she is pretty busy but we could come in and talk to her while she worked if we wanted. Heck yeah we do Gisele! So we came in and she was getting all kinds of frustrated trying to put together this ikea computer chair. So we ask if we can help and she pretty much says go for it, it's impossible. So she goes and does the dishes and Soeur Zenger and I put together this chair in like 10 minutes, super easy. She comes out and her jaw just drops! She keeps saying "merci, merci beaucoup!!!" She keeps asking how she can repay us and going on and on. It was so cute. She was so excited and she told us that we must be sent from God:) after we prayed and were heading out she told us we were welcome back anytime. I felt very grateful to my Heavenly Father for opening up the heart of this woman who has strayed pretty far from the church. I hope that with the Lord's help we can bring her back.

On Wednesday night we had our young adult activity:) we made hot chocolate and watched the testaments with them. We FAILED at making hot chocolate but it was too fun. How does one fail at making hot chocolate?? We boiled water and kept dumping the mixture in but alors it still tasted like watery dirt after we dumped the whole box in. Whoops. They kept asking us if this is how american hot chocolate tasted hahaha no no, not usually. I love being with the young adults, they have so much light and passion to share the gospel. I think they teach me more than I teach them.

Friday was my 6 month mark! Soeur Zenger is cute and put these adorable sticky notes all over the apartment, we got sushi to celebrate and it was so great! We had a great lesson with Yazid that day on baptism, I know I already said this but I am so excited for him. As I reflect on the past 6 months of my mission it kinda feels like a blinked and all of a sudden it had been 6 months. These past 6 months have probably been the happiest of my life, they weren't easy but I think I learned more than any of my investigators. I've been so blessed to see people change and grow as they put their trust and turn their hearts to the Lord. I've seen myself change as well as I have turned my heart to the Savior. I love being one of His missionaries and I am so glad I still have 1 year to do so.

Sunday was proabably my favorite day of the week. 4 of our investigators came to church. That isn't really common. Yazid, Aurech and his friend Ingrid, and Eric a man we met at a bus stop who had met the missionaries 20 years ago. They all participated so well in the lessons and I saw light in their eyes as we talked about Heavenly Father in our sunday school class. It was a great day. The sun came out for the first time in weeks. Everyone was happy and laughing and taking pictures outside as we soaked in the sun. Frère Meloen said that church felt different that day, we felt like a family. I've watched this little branch struggle, but I think the sun is coming out for them as well:)

 I hope you all have a great week! I love you so much!

Soeur Holmes

                                               My 6 month celebration with sushi of course!!

                                                      Notre Dame des Dunes- our lady of the hill.
                                                      She stretches out her hand and protects Poitiers.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Are we getting punked!

Hello everyone!! I hope you had a great start to the new year and that you have made some good goals to start 2015 off right! How is everyone doing??

This week was another great week in Poitiers! I love it so much here and I will probably cry for days when I get transferred. This week we have been teaching Yazid the commandments and he is taking them like a CHAMPION. Seriously, each time we teach him a new commandment he is like, "oh yeah no problem I'm already living that commandment." It's unreal. After every rendez-vous I always ask Soeur Zenger if we are getting punked cause he is too good to be true! But like he isn't! He just is one of those people who has truly been prepared for the Gospel, it's amazing. It's a once in a life time experience that I don't really think I will ever get again. I'm so blessed to know Yazid and to see how he is changing his life for the Lord.  OH and he had a dream and it testified to him that the church is true! Stay tuned I'll share that next time:)
So I went on exchange this week in Bordeaux and usually I don't super love exchanges but this one was really good. Soeur Pape and I were out contacting and we come across this woman who is getting out of her car. We stop her and start doing the questionaire with her. She was super nice and willing to answer all of our questions, but at the end she said, "sorry I'm not interested right now, but who knows maybe one day I will be." She said that and it kinda hit me. There are so many times in the mission where it seems like we aren't really having success, or people are constantly saying that they aren't interested. But it hit me that with this lady, we were just one step in her process. We were just the first set of mormon missionaries to approach her and talk to her about the Gospel. And maybe she'll have to talk to 5 more groups of missionaries or 10. And maybe she won't accept the Gospel in this life, but even if she didn't say yes or didn't want to learn more. I realized that we had helped her in her process to discover truth, it might take years, but eventually every person will know the truth. I feel blessed every day to share this beautiful truth, this incredible good news with the people of France.
There is a woman in our branch named Soeur Chevallier and I had such a cool experiene with her this week. Soeur Chevallier is a convert and served a mission in Belgium and is one of the strongest members of the church I know. This week Soeur Zenger and I went over for a visit. She made us the usual hot chocolate and cookies and we were planning on doing the normal spiritual thought, when we got  talking about her mission! With the biggest smile on her face she asked us if we wanted to see her pictures from her mission and from when she worked at the mtc. She was beaming as she told us stories from her mission and shared experiences. She is the only member in her family. When we were leaving she thanked us for letting her talk about her mission, she told us that it's really sad for her because she has all these great memories and no one to really share them with. My heart was so happy as we left this sweet sisters house. She strengthens my faith, I love her so much.
Also this week we were able to go visit one of our less actives Soeur Lebon. We stopped by her house last week and gave her the Elder Andersen book we had been giving out to members. Last week she was a little irritated that we came by, but this week she was super excited! She told us she read the book and really liked it. I don't think she is coming back to church any time soon, but as we sat and talked and really got to know her, her whole attitude changed, I know she was touched by the Spirit.
Fun suprise!! So we are in Sacrament meeting when randomly this kid in jeans and this other random kid just walk past the window so so so confused! So Soeur Bertrand being the bold go getting lady she is books it out of the chapel to go get these two! Turns out one of them is from Mexico and is studying here, he had been looking for the church for 2 HOURS! I mean it isn't easy to find since it's in an office building haha BUT it was a miracle. And on the way he found a friend who was trying to help him find the church who ended up coming to sacrament meeting and is now coming to our young adult activity on wednesday. BONUS.
It was a great week. I love you all. I love the Savior, He lives and loves us. Thank you for your support and prayers. Have a great week!
Soeur Holmes

                                                                IT'S CARNIVAL TIME!!!!