Monday, June 29, 2015

As I have loved you, love one another

Bonjour!

I hope everyone had a great week! This past week was a pretty good one! We started out last week with a super fun p day in Nice! We went on a really pretty hike to this place called Eze. It was so pretty, France is beautiful.

Tuesday we had a pretty cool miracle! So we went to a Chinese restaurant with Rebecca a member of our ward, well we are just sitting down at this place when all of a sudden this random less active shows up that I guess hadn't been to church in a really long time. His name is Guest. So Rebecca invited him to eat with us and it was a pretty cool miracle. We talked about how we need to share our light with others and to not hide it. Hopefully Guest will stop hiding his light and come back to church.

This week was a little bit crazy! So we had to exchanges back to back in Cannes. First the sister training leaders came and did an exchange and then the Montpellier sisters came and did an exchange. So for two days in a row we had 4 different sisters at our house. It ended up being really cool! My first exchange was with Soeur Haws, she is lovely:) So the day before the exchange I contacted this lady on the street who was pretty interested, so Soeur Haws and I went to teach her the next day and she was so cute! She is probably like 85. We had a really good lesson about the Restoration, but then the next day her daughter told her that she isn't allowed to talk to the Mormons. Boo. I was sad, but at least she has heard some of our message, and now it's up to her to choose.
Soeur Haws is really great. The thing I love most about exchanges is what you learn from the other sisters. Soeur Haws is someone who just leaks light. She has SO much light and she is sincerely interested in each person she talks to. It's amazing. I see the love she has for the Savior through her missionary work.
The next exchange was with Soeur Grant. Soeur Grant is bleu and so adorable. There is this thing in our mission called "bleu fire" when you are new in the mission; miracles just follow you. It's so cool! Soeur Grant works really hard and she is probably the most fearless bleu I've met. She just goes for it. It was really cool to work with her. I'm feel so blessed to be surrounded by so many incredible missionaries.

We had a really cool lesson with a man named Kasem. He is Muslim, but he was such a kind and genuine person. We talked about the Restoration of the church, I'm not sure how much he followed it, we spent a good part of the time talking to him about how much God loves every single one of His children. Kasem knows God is there. He knows that God listens to our prayers and that He does answer them. He is someone who truly relies on the Lord. This man has practically nothing, but he puts all his faith and trust in the Lord. I think that is pretty admirable. I don't know if Kasem will change religions any time soon but he taught me a lot about even if we have nothing else, we have Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

JOAN!! Ok Joan is a miracle. We found Joan on a potential list so we called and set up a meeting with her. We had such a good lesson with her yesterday after church. She is from the Philippines, so she speaks English. She's Christian but super open to learning more. We taught her the Restoration and she had so many questions it was great! I'm really excited to see where it goes with her.

Carla. So she's super busy with work and told us she can't see us again until OCTOBER. So sad. BUT we aren't going to let that keep us down. We are going to have weekly contact with her still. So either sending her scriptures or bringing her cookies. We are going to make sure she doesn't slip under the radar because she is literally so prepared. I'm sad, but maybe by October she'll be ready to be baptized:)

This past week I was studying love and charity. It's such an interesting subject. I think the biggest thing that I learned was that without charity we really are nothing. We could be the most talented most athletic people in the world. But if we don't have love and charity for others then nothing else really matters. Charity is truly a gift, it's hard to acquire! I'm still working on it:) But I know with Heavenly Father's help it's possible.

Ok kids that's all for the week! President Brown gets here tomorrow so if you could keep him in your prayers that would be great! I love you all!

"Remember that our HeavenlyFather and our Savior, Jesus Christ, know you best and love you the most."- Elder Ballard
                                                         Me and my fellow Davis High graduates!


                                                             Me with President and Sister Roney


                                                                        Mission Conference


                                                                      District P- day in Nice!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Bonjour!!

Wow what a week!! I don't have a ton of time so I'll have to give you
the highlights!
Ok so this past week we had an empty day so we decided to go porting.
We went and ported a neighborhood that Soeur Gerritsen and I had
started last transfer. So we are just porting and talking to nice
people and it's going well. Well we walk up to this house and the
little gate was open so we walk through the gate and knock on the
door. This like 80 year old lady comes out and just starts yelling at
us!! She's like "how did you get on my porch?! Get off now or I will
come after you!!!!" It was actually really kind of scary but like
funny at the same time. So we keep porting along and we see these
nasty black storm clouds rolling our way, so naturally it just starts
pouring rain like hardcore! So we ran to the less actives house that
we were planning on going by later, luckily she was home then:) so
this less active is named Soeur Monaca, she is 95 and so awesome.
She's only less active because she is literally so old and too sick to
come to church. We went in and spent time with her and it was
incredible. She told us her whole life story haha her testimony is so
solid and when I'm 95, I want to be her. The most precious part of the
visit was when she was giving us golden advice and really building us
up. She was telling us that even if we aren't seeing the fruits of our
labors now, to keep going anyway. Because we can't even count the
blessings or number of people we will touch later on because of the
work we are doing now. This really touched me. As a missionary, we
can't always see the fruits of our labors, but we don't even know how
many lives will be changed later because of the efforts we are making
now. I have a strong testimony that our work doesn't go unnoticed. God
is aware and He will make sure that our work is worth something. We
might not see it now, but I'm confident we will see it later on.

Thursday we had the incredible opportunity of having our last zone
conference with President and Soeur Roney. I cried. A lot. So many
tears. Obviously I was sad, but they were more tears of gratefulness.
I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to be led by two of the
most amazing people for the past year. The Roney's are an incredible
example to me of love. They love everyone. They love this mission.
They love their missionaries. They love each of us individually. Most
importantly they love The Savior. I will forever be grateful for their
love for me personally. President said something at the conference
that really touched me, he said, "it doesn't really matter what
happens to you, but it matters what you do with it." We can't always
choose our situations, especially as missionaries. But we can choose
how we handle our situations. And we can chaos to be happy. The Savior
had given us every tool to be happy, but it's up to us to follow Him
and His example. Thank you Roney's for your example. Oh and President
Roney gave me a real hug!! Well a side hug but still:)

We had another beautiful experience with Soeur Rouby this week. Soeur
Rouby got moved to a retirement home because her husband is too sick
to care for her anymore. Her sight by this point is completely gone.
It's so sad. But as we sat with Soeur Rouby and Mama Gentil, I felt an
enormous amount of love. They reminisced about happy times in the
past, they laughed and cried together. I witnessed true friendship
that came from these two women serving as disciples of the Lord in His
church.

Carla:) we had a beautiful lesson about baptism. She knows it's true
and she feels so much love and happiness in the Gospel. But she feels
this need to be perfect before she gets baptized. We testified that
she doesn't need to be perfect. And that baptism is a step leading to
perfection. Even though we testified and shared scriptures and Mormon
messages, her answer was still "not now." But you know, it's ok:) we
can't force her to be baptized, that isn't the Lord's way. We will
keep being patient and loving her and teaching her, and when she feels
ready, we will be able to make the next step. I love her, she's so
cool and such an example to me.

Ok I love you all so much! Thanks for your example to me, you're
incredible. Keep being great and spreading the love!!
Alma 37:37
Avec beaucoup d'amour,
Soeur Holmes

OH!!
Funny things that happened this week,
Soeur Hurd got pooped on by a pigeon.
A lady tried to put a hex on us
And President Roney is the chief of a tribe in Africa! He did service
there a while ago and they loved him so much they made him their
chief! He sends them each a chicken every year:) haha he's so cool!
I'm attaching p day pics and I'll send more next week.





Tuesday, June 16, 2015

feeding 5000 sheep

Bonjour!! Comment ça va??
This week was a pretty good week! The first week of the transfer is
always long but Soeur Hurd and I get along so well and we are already
good friends that it didn't seem so long.

We did a lot of less active work this past week! We visited two less
active women and it was honestly the strangest thing, both of these
women love the church, love the missionaries, they agree with
everything in the Gospel, but they just don't come to church!! It's so
strange!! The sad part is that they think they are " living the
gospel" but if you aren't coming to church you are not fully living
the gospel. Both of them were so kind and we are going to work on
getting them back to church!! We need their testimonies with us
strengthening the ward!!
We visited another less active family who just talked a lot about
dreams of aliens and such, it was strange and there was a lot of false
doctrine they were trying to feed us but they weren't successful:) BUT
the cool part is that the wife of that family has potential so we are
going to start working with her and seeing what we can do to get her
to come back to church.

So we see the Rodrigues family every week on Mondays for soirée
familial and they are great. They are from Portugal and some of the
best people I've ever met. They don't have a lot, but they feed us
every single week and they do it joyfully. The love the gospel and
they love to serve. They have 4 crazy kids and they haven't been part
of the church very long, but they just give it their all. I love them
and we were able to spend time with them this last week and help Soeur
Rodrigues with her English because she got a new job. It was really
cool to serve them after all they do for us. I love them:)

Friday all of our plans fell through and we literally had an empty
day. So we went contacting:) not always my favorite activity but
sometimes necessary. So we started up this huge boulevard and just
started stopping every person we walked by. Within an hour we had
taught 3 lessons on the street and set up 2 rendezvous for this coming
week. It was really cool! I know that doesn't sound like a lot but
French people don't just willingly stop and talk to strange girls on
the street. It was a tender mercy that reminded me that Heavenly
Father is aware of our situation here and he is watching out for us.
We are also trying to feed 5000 sheep as a mission, which means teach
5000 people in 4 weeks, this is our last week, so your prayers would
be great! I think we are at like 3000 something:) it's been a really
cool experience so far and has pushed us to really reach out to
everyone.

We also were able to visit a couple other members this week and spark
them with Soeur Hurd's famous chocolate chip cookies:) they were all
over that! There is this little 85 year old lady in the ward named
Mama Gentil who is just crazy! In a good way:) every time we visit her
she is just like, "what did you eat today?" "Is your apartment clean?"
She also makes everything dramatic and calls us her "children" it's
great. Haha I love her and I always leave her house smiling.

That's about all for the week!! I love you all and I hope your week is
great! My challenge for you is to pray for an opportunity to serve
this week. Go fight win!

Je t'embrasse,
Soeur Holmes

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

I'm baking like a toasted cheeser!!!

Bonjour! Or should I say Hola because it's literally so hot here I feel like I should be in Mexico or Spain!! haha but really it's toasty here in the South of France! How hot? The members who have lived here their whole lives are complaining. How hot? A missionary serving here with us from Brazil says he has never been so hot in his life. haha it's hot. BUT we will survive:)

Ok now that my heat rant is over, how are you all doing?? So transfer came and went and I will be staying here for a 3rd transfer in Cannes! I'm so happy:) I love it here. I love all the members and it's beautiful and I really love Carla our amie, I love it here and I'm glad I get to stay for at least another 6 weeks. I got a new companion, her name is Soeur Hurd and she is from Virginia and I love her already. She is delightful. Soeur Gerritsen moved to a place called Clermont Ferrand, it's about 2 hours from Lyon. I'll miss her, but she'll do great things there.

This past week was good! Tuesday we did and Fhe with the Gentil family! There are 4 Gentil families in this ward and yes they are all brothers! It's crazy. We took about a 45 minute bus ride to their house and it was lovely. They have 4 adorable children and they just had a special spirit in their home. I love the members of the church in France. It just amazes me how strong most of them are. None of their friends are members, sometimes they are the only members in their family who belong to the church but they just hold strong. I'm grateful for our faithful members of the church here in France. I love them dearly, especially the Gentil family who just made us feel at home:) We shared Mosiah 7:33 with them, Frere Gentil brought up a really good poing, he talked about how in the scripture it says "turn to the Lord with a full purpose of heart" it doesn't say like "keep watching the Lord" or "keep your heart fixed on the Lord" but it says turn to the Lord. We all kind of took a minute to think about what that means to turn to the Lord. We can be living our lives right and doing what we need to do, but sometimes we need to take a step back out of our busy lives and refocus our sights on the Lord, just turn a little bit closer to the Lord. We tend to get busy and wrapped up in life that sometimes we turn a little bit away from the Lord, but I hope we can turn closer  to Him and keep our sights on Him.

We had a great lesson with Carla! We taught her about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the steps we need to follow in this life to return back to our Heavenly Father. Once again she was great with everything, she asked good questions about the Holy Ghost and Priesthood. But she really is solid and has a testimony that it's true! Now we just need to figure out what is stopping her from getting baptized! Please pray that we will be able to ease her hesitations and fears and let her know how important this decision is!

We were able to spend time with the Vivier family this week as well and teach them how to make American cookies:) They loved that! haha Soeur Vivier shared her conversion story about how after 5 days of meeting the missionaries she was baptized!! WHAT!! The bishop was worried she wouldn't last but here she is like 30 years later strong as ever and married to the Bishop:) I love that family and their strong example.

Sunday was a great day:) Hugo got baptized:) Hugo is Kiwa's son, Kiwa is a member of the church. She is from Portugal and just so delightful, I love her. The baptism was beautiful and the Spirit was really strong. Even though half of it was in Portuguese:) I learned that the Spirit is the same in all languages. The funniest part was that after he was confirmed, Hugo just like walked out of the chapel and Bishop was like Hugo, come back we aren't finished! haha it was great:) Then we had a ward meal and the members were obsessed with these oreo truffles that we made and everyone was just happy and it was great. I love them!!!

Sorry that this email isn't terribly exciting, but that was the week!! Oh and we did a lot of street contacting, as normal. It would be greatly appreciated if you could pray for us to be able to find some people to teach, we are really struggling here. Thank you:) Thank you for all you do and for all your love and support! I hope you all have a great week and be good!

Avec beaucoup d'amour,
Soeur Holmes

Monday, June 1, 2015

celebrating my 20th birthday

Salut toute le monde!!
This week was great! First off, I want to say a BIG thank you for all of your birthday wishes, cards, packages, etc. I felt super spoiled and very loved. I love you all. Thanks for making my 20th birthday great.

So I'll give you the highlights of the week!
Tuesday we were able to have an awesome lesson with Carla! Laeticia are recently returned missionary came with us again, she is always with us for these lessons:) So this time Sylvain, the member and Carla's boyfriend was not there for the lesson. He is great, but talks way too much and we never know what Carla is actually thinking. So it was really great to just have a lesson with her. We taught the Plan of Salvation, my favorite lesson:) Once again she is just golden and agrees with everything! We learned that she is Catholic, but what she likes about our church, is that she says "it fills in the blanks". She really does believe this is the true church but she is really hesitant about getting baptized. I don't blame her, I think she feels a lot of pressure from Sylvain. We told her to really pray about it to know if it is what God wants her to do. She agreed, so we will see this Friday how she is doing.
Then we went to lunch with Laeticia she told us about her mission and such and it was great and I love her.

Then we went to Montpellier for an exchange with the sisters there! It's about a 4 hour train ride. Kind of long. Also we got to spend a whole 20 minutes in one of the most dangerous cities in Europe, Marseille! Don't worry Mom, those 20 minutes were spent in the train station waiting for our next train:) Montpellier was good, it's really pretty there and very busy. It's a college town so it was refreshing to see so many young people! We are used to all these retired people here in Cannes. haha But a really cool miracle happened there! So as we were heading home Wednesday afternoon we stopped at McDonald's while waiting for our train, well we sat down and the cutest old lady just came and sat next to us. She of course asked us about our tags so we explained to her that we are missionaries and we were able to give her most of the first lesson in McDonalds! haha it was pretty cool! Unfortunately she lives in Nice, but maybe she will search out the sisters there!

Another cool thing that happened this week, was that we were walking down the street talking to people and we stopped this lady. We had a nice discussion with her and at the end she said that the only reason she talked to us, was because of our name tags. French people don't just like talk to people on the street. It's not a thing. But because of our name tags she stopped. I found that to be really cool, because normally our name tags, are the reason that people won't talk to us. I'm proud to wear my little name tag with the name of my Savior over my heart every day.

So the birthday!! Well cool thing happened, since Monday we were in Nice all day getting our Ipads and Ipad training and such, we got to have our p day on thursday! So we went to these Islands that we had been planning on going to for two transfers now. haha the island is called St. Marguerite and it's actually pretty famous for the story of The Man in the Iron Mask. Supposedly the man in the iron mask was held in the prison there for 12 years. So yeah it was pretty cool to explore the prison and the museum. And we got to take a little boat ride so that was really fun:) Pictures are attached.

This weekend our ward had a Soiree Country/Cowboy. Aka an American Party. haha it was a blast!! Everyone was wearing flannel and cowboy hats and cowboy boots and the gym was decorated all America like and it was fantastic! We ate "american food" but it wasn't really American but they tried and it was so cute!! We even country line danced. It was so fun:)
We were also able to do some service with the ward on Saturday as well. We split up into groups and visited some less active families and brought them cookies:) We visited this one family and the wife thought that Soeur G was the Mom of the bishop's son. haha and she thought I was 16. I don't think I will ever look older than 16, I've been getting that for years haha

Then Sunday was Mother's Day in France and we were able to sing with the young women and the elders "love is spoken here". All the Moms were crying and I felt like I was in primary again. It was adorable.

Overall it was a pretty good week. We are still trying to find people to teach and it's been a little rough, but I know with the Lord's help we can do it. I love you all, thank you for your love and support and all of your prayers. Have a great week!

We got Ipads !!


Birthday presents from home:)


I'm 20 today!!

Celebrating my 20th on the Island of  St. Marguerite



Me and Soeur G. on the Island of St. Marguerite

American "cowboy" party