Monday, March 23, 2015

Cannes

Bonjour!!
Ok so this past week has been really interesting! Probably the hardest week of my mission and the longest, but I feel like it will only get better from here on out.
So "white washing" into an area with zero investigators is really interesting! So we did a lot of contacting. A LOT. On the bus, on the street, every where. Did we get lost?? haha oh yes every single day. But luckily every time we got lost there was always someone there to help us find our way.
Last tuesday we had a really cool rendez-vous with our kind of ami (it's a long story) xiaomin! He is from China and he is here doing his studies. We went to his house with our relief society president Soeur Berthon. We talked about The Gospel of Jesus Christ and it was a really good lesson. He doesn't have a Christian background at all so teaching him is a little difficult. We he kept saying that he agreed with a lot of things and he really liked the idea of prophets! I was really happy by the end of that meeting.
The rest of the week we visited quite a few less actives and really just tried to do a lot of finding. We didn't have a ton of success, but we got a few numbers and I am hoping that will lead to something:)
Sunday was my favorite day:) We finally got to go to church and meet the members! Granted I didn't get to meet all of them because there was a lot of them, but it was good:) All of us missionaries sang in the choir and we got to bear our testimonies which was pretty great! I loved looking out and seeing so many happy smiling faces looking back at me, it brought me a lot of confort and reassured me that everything would be ok:)
oh!! and Xiaomin totally came to church! A recent convert and her husband brought him! It was awesome! I can't wait to see him again tomorrow and see how he liked church!
Today for p day we ate at a place called stake and shake which is like an in and out and it was incredible and I felt like I was at home. Then we went to the beach! The first time I have ever been to the beach and it was great:)
Sorry that this email is really kind of scatter brained and not super exciting but I am running out of time! I love you all and I hope your week is great!! If you could pray for us to find some new amis this week I would greatly appreciate that:) I love you, The Lord loves you, the church is true!!

Love,
Soeur Holmes





Saying good-bye to Poitiers

Bonjour!
So we got transfer calls and I am emailing you from the beautiful city of Cannes. I literally crossed the mission. 10 and a half hours of trains later I made it to Cannes. I'm in the French Riviera by Nice and Monaco and all that jazz. It's really pretty and I am super excited to get to see the ocean. Also every May or June here they have a giant film festival and famous people from all over the world come to Cannes! So that's pretty cool. My new companion is named Soeur Gerritsen, she is from West Valley City Utah and is super nice and cool. Did I mention that I am white washing again?? Yeah white washing a huge ward and we literally have no idea what the heck is going on. Prayers would be nice:)

Getting transferred was a really bittersweet moment. I spent 6 months of my life in Poitiers. Those people became my family and some of my best friends. I grew up so much there and I learned more about myself than ever before. I watched people change their lives for the gospel and I watched people start to come back to the gospel they once knew. I witnessed families who were falling apart become strengthened through daily Book of Mormon study and prayer. I saw people pray for the first time in their lives and recieve a witness that God lives. I saw miracles. Heavenly Father is a God of miracles, and they still exist today. I was so sad to leave that little city that I loved so much. And if I am being honest I think my heart is still there.

So the last week in Poitiers consisted of a lot of good things! We went to see the valley of monkeys last monday, but it was CLOSED! So we ended up driving around in her car for like 5 hours trying to find something to do, but alas everything ended up being closed. We had a lot of good laughs though and Noemie and I took some killer selfies:)

We also had a really good rendez-vous with the Tu'ungafasi family this past week! The kids are progressing so well and they are just so adorable. The family picked out a scripture to be their theme for the year, so we got to their house and the kids recited it for us and it was so adorable. They love reading the picture book of mormon and going to church. I love them and I will miss them so so much. After the lesson Soeur T fed us like amazing tongan bbq and it was incredible and I loved it.

Sorry this is kind of scattered I am just having a hard time remembering what happened last week haha it's kind of blurry. Saturday we had a relief society activity with the soeurs from angouleme so that was really fun and we ate yummy foods! After that we had a last little dinner party with Joe and Lizette so that was super fun and of course I cried.

Oh! Earlier in the week Arnaud and Noemie came with us and taught with us all day! It was so fun and I am so excited for them to get their calls and start their own missions. They already are amazing missionnaries and I can't wait to start to hear about their own experiences!

Well family that is about it. Hopefully next week will be a better email once I catch my breath:) I love you and I am so proud of you and all you do!

Love,
Soeur Holmes








Monday, March 9, 2015

8 months Old

Bonjour!!
Sorry this email is coming earlier than normal but we are going to the valley of monkeys with some members and I am so excited it's like Christmas!!!!!!!

So last week started out kinda sad, we went to the funeral of a member in our branch. Her name is Soeur Perez and she was like my mission grandma, we would go to her house and sing to her and I loved her so much. She was 91 so she lived a really good life, and there were a zillion people at her funeral. Members, non members, friends, family, it was great to see all these people and how she had touched their lives. I gave the opening prayer which was slightly nerve racking, just because there was a lot of people and speaking French while trying to listen to the spirit and not mess up is kinda tricky sometimes, but it was good. It was a beautiful service and she will be missed by many.

Wednesday was a fantastic day!! Arnaud Meloen a member in our branch who is getting ready to go on a mission taught like all of our lessons with us and it was so great! He has a rock solid testimony and I was really grateful he was able to share it with so many people that day! So we had a really cool miracle on wednesday. We were going to our lesson with some old amis Maria and Fabian and we get to their apt and they are not home and they aren't answering their phones and it's really sad cause we were super pumped to see them! So we decided to go find another family who we had met on the bus a couple weeks earlier! So we find their apt and we are at the sonnerie trying to find which apt is theirs! When all of a sudden they just show up behind us! HOLLA. It was super cool, they were really excited and they invited us in! Their name is the Di Salvo family and they are from Italy. We talked about the Bom with them and we are going back tomorrow to teach them again! Then later wednesday night we had our young adult activity at the church! Our ami Ruhina came and brought her friend Cindy! Funny thing is that Cindy is from Tahiti and her boyfriend is actually Mormon but not active! But his family is like really pushing for this boy to come back to church so Cindy is looking into our church so that her boyfriends family will accept her. I don't know if that is the best reason to start taking lessons haha but we will see how it goes:)

Thursday was our district meeting in limoges!! So fun!! So our district is all sisters besides our district leader and his comp, so we call ourselves the Limoges Relief Society. haha Elder Pettingill has appointed himself as relief society president. It's actually quite hilarious. We talked a lot about Project Elijah and just how we can become even more effective by really transitioning from the questionnaire to teaching the gospel. It was a really good meeting and it's always fun to see other missionaires! So as soon as we got off the train back at Poitiers we headed straight to this lady named Karla's house. So our ami Ruhina is of the baha'ai faith. I don't know if I told you this but pretty much they accept all religions and want world peace and love and stuff. It's actually pretty interesting and Ruhina is like the nicest person I have ever met. So she invited us to this devotional at Karla's house. Pretty much they just said a couple prayers and then we prayed for them and it was nice:) then Karla fed us after and that's when we really got to know her. Karla is from New Caledonia and is so cool. She has 3 kids and one of them has special needs and she is a single mom. But she is so kind and patient and loving and I just felt like I was at like a family members house or something. We explained to her a little bit about our Church and what we do as missionaires and stuff like that. She was super interested and she has a lot of the same beliefs as we do. AND she said if I come back to France I could stay at her house:) haha But really she is incredible and light just radiates from this woman. I don't think it is an accident we met her. I'm really grateful for Ruhina and all the cool people we are meeting through her! First Cindy now Karla! I'll keep you posted on how it goes:)

Oh rewind! So we've been teaching a less active family named the Tu'ungasfasi's and Soeur Tu'ungafasi has been a member her whole life and her husband got baptized in 2011. But they don't come cause her husband plays rugby every sunday and has the car, therefore the family doesn't come. So we've been going over like 2 times a week cause she wants her kids baptized. They are 11,9, and 7. And I am obsessed with them, they are so cute and adorable and get so excited when we come and they always ask when we will come back and I just love them! So they will hopefully get baptized in October and we know have members bringing the family to church, so hopefully all keeps going well!!

Friday was a cool day! We went to a chinese buffet with the young adults in the branch and that was so fun and it was SUNNY AND WARM. Then after that we went contacting with Dominique and we had a really cool miracle! We knocked on the door of a lady named Madame Gremillion and we asked her if we could do the questionnaire with her. She did not look excited but Dominique made her laugh and she let us in. We did the questions and started talking about the family booklet and she was being so darn sassy and saying "I need to put my make up on! I'm going out with my friends!" She's 88:) But we just kept talking and she said "ya know I'm not interested in your church, but I am curious." We fixed another meeting for next friday:) As we left she told us she never ever ever ever lets people into her house:) it was really cool!

Yesterday was great!! Soeur Rousselle is a boss and brought two people she met on a bus to church! They were really cool! Saad is from Iraq and Amelia is from Portugal. During the lesson in amis class Amelia cried twice, the Spirit was super strong. Soeur Rousselle is going to invite them to eat lunch with all of us on Friday so I am super pumped! Then yesterday afternoon we decided to go to some contacting at the park because it was so sunny and beautiful! We met this really cool lady named Stephanie who was just so open to listening to us! At the end we prayed with her in the park and we told her we would call her to fix a meeting and she said "I'll be waiting for your call":) I was really excited because I just got the feeling that she was so genuine and really ready to recieve this message.

Well kids the valley of monkeys is calling me so I have to go! But I hope your week is great and that you see miracles in your own life:) I love you all!!

avec amour,
Soeur Holmes
ALL ABOARD!!
Valley of the monkeys

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Miracles

Bonjour!!
This week was a really good week! The longer I am on my mission the faster it goes. Sometimes I just wish it would slow down so I could catch my breath. haha This week was intense! So our district had a goal for each equipe to teach 20 lessons this week. That may not sound like a lot, but in this mission, it's a lot. It's hard but totally do able (is that a word??) anyway! So Soeur M and I worked super duper hard and we literally talked to EVERYONE. And we saw really cool miracles:)
Miracle 1:
So I have this thing where I really love contacting people who are smoking. I play this game called "lets see how long we can talk to them so their cigarette will go out" so we start talking to this girl, and at first she is just kind of answering our questions and not being very enthusiastic. But then we start to show her our my family books and talking about the family and really just asking her about her family and she just got really happy. She started telling us about her family and she was laughing and smiling and it was great. At the end of the conversation she gave us her number and she told us we could come over another time  to talk more about our message. Oh and her cigarette went out:)
Miracle 2:
Sunday morning we were heading to church and we still needed to teach one more lesson to get to 20. So we see this old lady and we kind of did the creepy missionary stalker thing and followed her for a second. We start to talk to her about her family and she opens up to us about how she lost her brother and sister on the same day. We started talking about the plan of salvation and we testified that she can live with her family again. She got all wide eyed and said, "really?? I've never heard that before! That is some good news." She's right. The Gospel is good news and I'm pretty sure in some language gospel literally translates to good news. We left her with a plan of salvation pamphlet because she didn't have a phone, but I hope one day Janet gets a phone and calls us so we can keep sharing the good news with her:)
After church on sunday we headed to angouleme to help the sisters there teach so that they could get their 20 lessons to! We took the 45 minute train ride their while it poured rain. We got off the train and it was still raining. The soeurs there still had 9 lessons to teach. So we prayed a lot and we put together all of our faith and we went out in the pouring rain and between the 4 of us we taught 9 lessons in 4 hours. It was incredible. We were all soaking wet but I didn't even feel cold. We talked to old people, young people, possibly drunk people, all sorts of people. And what I realized is that the gospel is literally for everyone. It's not exclusive to the wise or the rich. But the message of the gospel is for every person. Our message touches every person in a different way. My faith was built a lot yesterday as the Lord helped us accomplish miracles.
So remember Gladys? The less active we found on the bus?? Well we had a lesson with her this week. We first just tried to get to know her a bit and after that we asked her if we could pray with her. She burst into tears. She told us that she hadn't prayed in years. That her life had been really hard, so she turned away from God because she was hurt and angry. My heart broke for her, but President Achar bore an extremely powerful testimony of turning to God in times of sorrow, he shared his experience of losing his 3 year old son Celestin to cancer last year. We talked about the atonement with her and how if we use it in our lives we can feel so much peace. By the end of the lesson she seemed a little better. She shot down our invitation to come to church, but I hope that one day she comes back:)
This week I went to Bordeaux and did an exchange with Soeur James my mtc home girl and it was the bomb!! SO much fun!! I felt like I was just hanging out with my friend but doing killer missionary work! We had a crazy two hour lesson with one of their amis Thibaut. He asks really crazy questions and a lot of them, but it's because he's super hungry to learn the gospel which is great! Probably the longest two hours of my life but as we taught the gospel of Jesus Christ he started to understand the steps he needs to take in his life to be truly happy. And he wants to get baptized:) I'm excited to see what happens with him! Soeur James is just delightful and such a great missionary, and she taught me a lot. It was a great day. Oh and Bordeaux is beautiful. Ya'll should go.
Well sorry that this was so long but this week was just great! The transfer is flying by so fast. 2 weeks left in the transfer and I feel like it started yesterday. I hope you all have a great week and that you can share the good news of the gospel with others. I love you!
Love,
Soeur Holmes



                                               

                                                Eating tacos with our ami Ruhina.
                                            She has never had a taco in her life!!





Zone Conference






                                                                           Bordeaux      


                               
                                 Me and Soeur James                                          I love Bordeaux!!