Tuesday, May 26, 2015

coolest miracle ever!!

Salut!:)
I hope everyone had a great week! Thank you for all of your birthday
wishes! Thursday will be a great day.
So this week was really great! We started off the week by going to an
outer city or as we call them villes to do some porting. Well porting
here is really hard because mostly everyone lives in apartments and
you can't really knock on their door. So we went to this adorable
little town and found this neighborhood with actual houses that we
could knock on! We were so pumped! So we went to work and started
knocking our little hearts out. To sum it all up no one was super
interested, but the odd thing was that almost every single person was
home and they were all really nice and listened to us. We had some
really great conversations and met some incredible people who were
pretty touched. My favorite was an old man named Serge, he was
probably 95. But soo nice. He told us he met missionaries a long time
ago, and that even though he wasn't interested he really was grateful
for what we were doing. He was great. We are going to head back to
that same place and finish the neighborhood this week:)
We then had a great exchange with the sister training leaders here in
Cannes! I was with Soeur Hurd, she is delightful and such a pleasure
to be around. We had a rendezvous with Carla, she is so great and so
eager to learn! The problem is that her boyfriend the member just
talks the whole time and so we never really know what she is thinking.
But she loved learning and she keeps coming to church, so I think we
are on a good path! We have a meeting with her tomorrow so hopefully
we'll be able to get s better feel for where she is at.
Then the next day Soeur Hurd and I had a mangezvous with Soeur Gonçalo
a member of our ward and her non member husband. They are so great. So
great. You would think that frere Gonçalo is a member, besides the
fact that he drinks wine when he eats haha but he totally acts like
one! He is actually a really gifted artist and showed us all of his
masterpieces. He carves things from wood or marble and it's all really
beautiful. He looks through the liahonas and then carves pictures he
likes. It's really cool! They are a great family and even though frere
Gonçalo isn't accepting the gospel right now, I think he will one
day:)
Ok drum roll please for the coolest miracle ever!!! So we went to a
inactive members house for dinner on Friday, her name is Elody and her
dad is the stake patriarch and she is awesome. Her husband isn't a
member and she has two adorable kids. So she fed us like this gourmet
meal and told us her story and such and it was a lovely time. Then her
husband came home and we whipped out our Books of Mormon to share a
spiritual thought. So we did and it was slightly awkward cause they
didn't really say anything, besides thank you. BUT then the coolest
thing happened. 6 year old maily comes over and says, "what's in your
hands?" So I explain to her that it is the Book of Mormon. I told her
it was a gift and that she could keep it, her face lit up and she got
all excited. Elody asked us to write our testimonies in it for her, so
we did and then Maily just held the book tight to her chest and was
smiling so so much. I watched her carefully thumb through the pages
with such curiosity and awe. It was so tender and I got all teary
eyed. Her mom told her that she needs to read a little every day. That
warmed my heart, because even though Elody isn't active, she still
knows how important the Book of Mormon is. It was a beautiful moment.
As she drove us home she told us that she hasn't forgotten the gospel.
I think it's just hard cause her husband isn't a member and she says
she feels alone at church without him. But I honestly think that Maily
is going to be the key of getting her mom back to church. It was odd,
as I watched 6 year old Maily hold the Book of Mormon, I saw 7 year
old me, who was also once a curious little girl:)
Saturday the Freund family through me and Soeur g a surprise party to
celebrate our birthdays! We ate delicious cake and it was a jolly
time. We invited Soeur Freund to pray to see if God is there, I hope
she will. They are like the most Christlike people on the planet.
Saturday night we had a family home evening at the church for members,
less actives, Amis, etc, it was a really good turn out! We watched
because He lives and we all shared our testimonies about the savior
and what we can accomplish because of Him and because He lives.
Annnd now I'm out of time!!! But I love you all and I am so grateful
for you! I love my Savior and I know He lives and loves each one of us
personally. Your challenge this week is to read the talk On Being
Genuine by President Uchtdorf from this last conference, it blew my
mind and is just insane. Ok I love you!!:)
Love,
Soeur Holmes

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

CRAZY IN CANNES

Bonjour!!
Oh la this week has been such a crazy week! First let me update you with some cultural activities that are taking place in good old Cannes. The Cannes Film Festival 2015. So if you know what The Sundance Film Festival is, the cannes film festival is very similar. But about 100 times bigger. It lasts 10 days and people from all over the world come here to watch, market, buy, and sell movies. Stars from all over the world come here as well. It's CRAZY. The amount of people here is absolutely insane. A 10 minute bus ride back to our apartment has now turned into an hour bus ride because of the mass amount of people. On all of the bus stops there is a poster of a famous person, the walls of buildings have giant murals of movies, it's pretty cool! Oh and people camp out for literal daysssssss to try and just get a glimpse of an actor or actress walking down the red carpet in front of the giant casino. People stand on the streets with signs that say "We will sell our souls for a ticket to the festival!" Oh and there are lots of fancy cars everywhere. I was on the bus and I complemented this lady on her jacket and then she turns and asks me if I want her extra ticket to the film festival! So tempting, but I kindly declined and told her I was a missionary for my church and that as much as I wanted to go to the film festival, I was here to help people learn more about Jesus Christ. She was really nice about it and told me that she was catholic and we ended up having a lovely discussion.:) Ok that's my rant about what is currently going on in Cannes.

So our week was pretty good! Remember Carla the girlfriend of our member Sylvain? Well we were able to have our first meeting with her last week! It went really well. She's already read the BOM 4 times and she says she has no doubt that it is true. WHAT?? So cool! We taught her the Restoration and she really agreed with and understood what we taught her. It was awesome. We invited her to be baptized and said she would like to but she needs to really think about it. I know that if she really prays about it she will be able to know that getting baptized is the right decision. We have another meeting with her this Thursday so I'm really excited about that:)

Lisa! Ok so last transfer on the bus we contacted this lady named Lisa from Portugal. Well after like a month of trying to fix a meeting with her we finally saw her this last week! She is so awesome, she is a single mom and just the nicest person ever. We were able to discuss the BOM and she really understood it's purpose. She's like pretty hardcore practicing Catholic but by the end of our meeting she was really interested to keep learning more, we should be seeing her not this week but next:)

Soeur Rouby:) She is a member of our ward is about 90 years old and blind. She is the kindest person I have ever met. We go to her house every week and read a chapter of the Book of Mormon to her. Her husband is not a member. Every time we go to visit her, he always leaves and goes to the kitchen or the garden. But even though I know he isn't with us in the same room he is totally listening to us read the scriptures from the kitchen haha Soeur Rouby says "He's Mormon, he just doesn't know it yet:)"

We had two really cool miracles that I wanted to share with  you this week. This week we honestly didn't have a lot of things planned. Most of our amis kind of went into hiding or something and with all this festival madness people haven't been super receptive. They mostly think we are tourists asking for money haha WE DON'T WANT YOUR MONEY WE JUST WANT YOU TO HAVE ETERNAL SALVATION GOSH. But even though the work has been difficult we had two cool miracles that I'll share:)
#1 I was on this bus and I approached this nice lady with red hair and started doing the family questionaire with her. She opened up and started talking about how much her father had influenced her and then she began to cry because she lost her Dad a couple of years ago. I testified that we would be able to see our families again after this life and I told her about how I had lost my grandpa around Christmas time, but I was comforted by the fact that I will be with him again. She said "I don't know if I believe in a life after this one, but wherever your Grandfather is, I imagine he is very proud of you and the work you are doing." That was such a tender mercy to me, I know for a fact Grandpa Sherm is helping me in this work. I hope this nice lady with the red hair can one day find out for herself that she too can be with her father again.

#2 This is another bus miracle! So I sat down next to this nice lady and she starts asking me about my tag, so I tell her I'm a missionary and what I am doing here. She's Catholic, like everyone else. She lost her son and her husband a couple of years ago and she is all alone here. She said that she goes to church and she asks Heavenly Father why all of these bad things have happened to her and why is there so much suffering in the world. She expressed how she feels very alone here. I couldn't tell her why her loved ones had died, or why bad things happen, or why there is suffering. But I did tell her that she is never alone and that she has a Heavenly Father who loves her and that He does indeed answer our prayers, but sometimes it just takes some time. I gave her a Restoration pamphlet and she promised she would read it:) As she was getting off the bus she was like "Well maybe I was supposed to meet you the nice girl with the pretty smile, maybe you were the answer to my prayers." That was a really strong moment for me. That Heavenly Father is answering His childrens prayers through us His missionaries. I hope she reads the pamphlet and I hope she calls us. But if she doesn't I hope she remembers how she felt that day on the bus:)

When it comes down to it, we really aren't doing anything. This is all Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. We are just delivering the good news:) I love being a missionary, I really do. It amazes me how fast the time passes here. I'm grateful that I get to spend just a small amount of my time helping Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ bring about their work. I love them.

I love you all:) Thank you for your incredible examples and your diligent faith. You amaze me. I hope you all have a great week:)

Love,
Soeur Holmes
Playing Petanque with the members

Me and Soeur Gerritsen 


Me and my Soeurs in Cannes

                                               
                              Me and Soeur Gerritsen on the Red Carpet at the Cannes Film Festival

Monday, May 11, 2015

Go and Become

Bonjour!!

It was SO great to talk to you yesterday!!:) I love seeing your faces, it made me super happy!
This week was kind of a slow week, but we had some pretty cool experiences!:)
So we are doing this thing in our ward where we are going with the ward missionaries and visiting each family in our ward and helping them learn how they can bring friends to activities, church, etc:) This past week we visited two really cool families!
The Simons: the Simon family is so cool! They kind of remind me of my family a little bit. They have one son named Gael and it was just funny to see Frère Simon and Gael just teasing Soeur Simon. It reminded me of how Ty and Dad would tease Mom:) we love you Mom:) BUT really they are great! Frère Simon has a super cool conversion story. He was meeting with JW's when he just kept praying for Heavenly Father to reveal the true Gospel to him, cause he honestly felt like there was not a true church on the Earth. About two weeks after he said that prayer, missionaries showed up at his door! So cool right? It was just a testimony builder to me that God sincerely answers our prayers, He listens, and we are not forgotten. They fed us a good old BBQ and I felt like I was at home:) they are super awesome and already talking to their co-workers and non-member friends about the Gospel. I love them a lot.
The Paya's: the Paya family is the definition of cool. I'm obsessed with them. Frère and Soeur Paya both served missions in New Caledonia and got back in 2004. So they are super strong members with super solid testimonies. They were honestly just so fun to be around. They've been married for 7 years and you would have thought they had been married for like 6 months. It was kind of adorable. Frère Paya was the Bishop a couple years ago, but now they both have callings in the stake.They just aren't afraid to open up their mouths and talk to their friends and co-workers about their beliefs. It was a great example to me, about how after my mission their is still so much work to do. Granted it's a little different in Utah, but the work doesn't stop at the end of the 18 months ya know?

This week we had a really cool miracle/tender mercy. As we were walking down the street to try and find some people to talk to we saw this lady walking towards us. We stopped her and started to talk to her when she stops and says, "I'm sorry I don't speak French, I speak English!" Well guess what? Us too! So we go on to have a lovely conversation with this lady named Diana from England:) the whole time she was talking to us I just felt so happy and good, like she was just truly a good human being, trying to do what the Lord wants. She told us how back in England she has quite a few friends who are Mormon and she invited us to come to her house tomorrow to talk with her more and to eat soup haha:) At the end of the conversation she said, "I'm so glad I have met you, I just feel so good talking to you." It was a really cool experience. It was a testimony builder once again to me how much God is aware of us. I had been praying that we could talk to just someone who would listen and be kind, then we found Diana:)

Another really cool thing happened yesterday at church. So there is a member in our ward named Sylvain and he has a girlfriend named Carla. Carla has been coming to church like on and off since I have been here and I always thought she was a member. SHE'S NOT! And she is totally interested in the Gospel! She had been living in the North of France and would just come here on weekends but now she found work here and moved here! So we are going to start teaching her the lessons this week! So she's just practically a miracle amie who just showed up in our lives. Thank you Heavenly Father. Once again answering our prayers:)

So remember when we had that big mission conference in Lyon a couple weeks ago?? Well we had Elder Nielsen of the 70 there and he shared a story with us that really touched me that I have been thinking about a lot lately. He shared a story about when he first became a member of the seventy years ago. He showed up to church headquarters on the date he was supposed to be there and led him to his office, which was right by Elder Holland:) They told him that the training would start soon. So he waited. And waited. And by the end of the day he asked his secretary if she could call someone and ask when the training would be starting. So she did. She came back and told him, that it wasn't time yet and to keep waiting. So he went home that night a little discouraged, but went back to his office the next day. And the same thing happened. He waited and waited and waited, and nothing happened. He had his secretary call once again and ask when the training would start. She returned and apologized and said not yet. Later in the day he received a call to go speak with one of the twelve apostles (sorry I don't remember which one he talked to) he sat down with this member of the twelve and he said it was the shortest interview he has ever had in his life. He said to him "Elder Nielsen, you are a great man, the training is not yet, go back to your office and become." and then Elder Nielsen was dismissed. Go and become?? What does that mean? So he went back to his office and he started to study. He started to study the scriptures and the Savior and everything he could get his hands on. Then finally a couple days later they were calling him to start the training and he was so frustrated because he was in the process of becoming. Becoming like our Savior. He invited us all to Go and Become. I want to become like my Savior Jesus Christ. I know we all can, as we truly try to know Him. 

I love you all. You are amazing examples to me. I hope your week is great and we can all try to go and become:)

Love,
Soeur Holmes

Monday, May 4, 2015

Miracles

Bonjour!!
After almost 10 months of being a missionary you think I would have learned that you write the big email FIRST. But I never do. haha
This week was a great start to the transfer here in Cannes! We had a goal to teach 20 lessons, and we did it!! It was pretty hard, but I'm so glad we went through with it. We saw a lot of cool miracles because of it! One of the miracles was that on Sunday we were going through a list of people on our potential list and we saw this name, Najat. We've talked to this woman before, but Soeur Gerritsen and I both felt inclined to call this woman. So we did. When she picked up the phone she told us that she has been going through some difficult things in her life, and that she was praying that we would call her! As soon as she was done praying, we called. She was in tears and it was a really cool experience for all of us. I know God is aware of every single one of His children and He answers our prayers.
We also met a really cool lady named Julie this week!! We were just walking down the road and we saw this adorable lady pushing a baby stroller (how in the world is that word spelled, I miss spellcheck) so we thought we should talk to her. So we start doing the family questionaire and she just agrees with everything and is super interested and gives us her number!! It was great!! I want her to live with her family forever:) I hope we can see her soon!
One of the days we were heading to get a bus when we saw an old woman sitting alone on a bench, we went and sat down by her and she started casually talking to her. She asked if we were on vacation (like most people ask haha) and we explained that we are missionaries! We told her we share an important message about Jesus Christ and about the family. She opened up to us right away that her husband has died and she has no kids and she is all alone. We testified to her that she is never alone and that she has God and Jesus Christ with her always. We also told her about how we believe we can live with the people we have lost after this life, she was so suprised!! She was like, "really? I would love that!" She had never heard this before. As we finished talking with her we left her with a prayer and she told us thank you and that we had given her comfort and peace. The Gospel does that:) It's not us, but our unique message to the world that brings so much comfort.
We had a cool less active experience this week! So we have been trying to see our less active Patricia for weeks. Every time we fix  a meeting with her she cancels on us. BUT we finally got to see her on Saturday! We ate Raclette which is my FAVORITE French meal. So good. I'll get to the good part, so she had invited her neighbor Jordan who is 16 to eat with us. So we all sit down to eat and she just goes for it, no prayer. So we're thinking "she's one of those less actives who is like against the church" Boy were we wrong. She starts talking about how she is having people in the states do temple work for her Dad who passed away and just how much she loves the church and stuff. Then she went to get the dessert and she gave us that look like "talk to Jordan about the Gospel" so we kinda spark a conversation with him and we tell him some of our beliefs, but then he had to leave:( so after he leaves we are left to talk with Patricia. The only reason she is less active is because of her health! She still is keeping the commandements and doing everything she needs to be doing! Such a relief. She told us that she really feels like she needs to come back to church, even though it's hard to come because of her health. So pray for Patricia that she'll have the strength to come to church!! The best part is that she invited us over again next week and she wants us to prepare a lesson specifically for Jordan. She is the best less active missionary I have ever met!!
This week was full of miracles. The Lord truly does bless us when we are trying our hardest and our best! Here is a little ami update: Ludivine is good, she was really busy with work and we were not able to see her last week:( Claude is really sick but we have been calling him and sharing scriptures and praying on the phone so pray that we will be able to see him once he is better! Pascal is good and progressing well:) OH Randomly one of our old amis Abeya called us and wanted to meet us at the church! We had a lesson about families and showed herfamilysearch.org. It was great! Then she rapped for us the rap she made about Jesus. haha
Well family I love you all so much!! Shout out to my graduates who graduated a couple days ago! I'm so proud of you Mom, Ty, and Stacee! You are all wonderful examples do me of hard work:) I hope you all have a great week and I can't wait to talk to you this Sunday!!
Love,
Soeur Holmes