Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Trains, Trains, and more trains!!

This week has been another week full of trains rides, within three days we took 14 hours worth of trains! 14 hours worth of trains to go to the prefecture in Nice for a 30 second rendezvous to pick up my legality! Crazy. Sometimes after being on a train for a really long time, I tell myself "thank goodness trains aren't common in America because after 18 months of trains I never want to take a train again!" But I think once I'm home I'll miss peacefully riding a train through the south of France. I'll start at the beginning:) Monday was great! We had a great lesson with Angela on faith! She has so much faith and even though her life is incredibly difficult right now, she has faith that the Lord will help her and that she will be able to overcome her problems. She's just lovely. Then for p day we went to this really cool museum with the other missionaries! And then that night a cool miracle happened! So we were on a bus heading home for the night when I saw this lady and I kinda felt like I should talk to her but we had made eye contact a couple of times so I felt awkward going up and talking to her. But I put on my big girl skirt and did it anyway! So I start talking to this lady and turns out she's from Vietnam and the most adorable person ever. She wasn't super religious but she was so sparked by our conversation that she gave me her phone number and email and told me she wanted to keep talking! Also she told me that if I'm ever in Vietnam I've got a place to stay:) yessssss.
Tuesday! So we didn't have a lot of time Tuesday because we had to take a train to Marseille at 3 and it's a four hour train ride. But in the time we had before our train ride we decided to go pass an ancient ami. Her name is Maud and she was being taught for a really long time. Then her boyfriend got interested so he was being taught as well, but then her boyfriend got less interested and it was kinda tearing apart their relationship. So she picked him. Anyway so we decided we would just show up at her house and see if she was there. And she was! And she told us they weren't interested, but she let us in! She told us the story about why they stopped meeting with the missionaries, but she also used the words "we're on standby" so that gives me hope that they'll start meeting with us again! She also expressed that she misses praying and coming to church, so maybe our little visit was the answer that she needed:) also about a week before meeting maud we were out contacting on this giant bridge by our apartment and we stopped this couple and asked if we could talk with them, they said no but they knew what we were and they had a lot of member friends! Turns out it was Maud and her boyfriend Olivier! So when we met Maud for real, she was like "didn't I meet you on the bridge?" I really don't think it was a coincidence. I think Heavenly Father is sending her a pretty clear message to meet with us again. I hope she follows through with that prompting:)
Then we took the train to Marseille! We traveled to Marseille and spent the night there with the sisters there. They just barely put a sister equipe in Marseille after years and years of not having one. It's really sketchy there. Like I think Marseille is one of the most dangerous cities in Europe, so I've been told. BUT guess who's in Marseille?? Soeur Gerritsen! One of my companions from Cannes! It was so good to see her and catch up!

Wednesday! We woke up and headed straight to the gare to catch our train to Nice! It was weird to be back on this side of the mission. The Cannes/Nice area is just so different from Toulouse. It kinda feels like two different worlds. Haha but it was cool to go back! The elders in Nice were super nice (haha puny right??) and helped us get to the prefecture to pick up my legality. We even got lucky and got to take a picture in "the Niceian diamond". I'll explain. So pretty much the elders in Nice started this thing where the 4 of them when they take a picture anywhere they call it "the Niceian diamomd" and they take a picture in a diamond form. Sounds weird but oddly hilarious. So to get back to Toulouse from Nice we were supposed to take an airplane! We were SO pumped. So we are looking at our boarding passes and such when we realize that he accidentally ordered us tickets for Tuesday, not Wednesday! So instead of getting home Wednesday evening we took a train to Montpellier to spend the night there! And guess who was also staying in Montpellier??? Soeur Zenger!!!!! Another one of my old comps from Poitiers! I just got so lucky and got to see two of my old companions! It was great! It was kind of a n'importe quoi day. Haha (there isn't really a translation for n'importe quoi in English but pretty much it means "whatever".)
Thursday! Woke up super early again and took a train back to Toulouse!! Feels good to be home:) We headed straight from the gare to the church to meet a member there to take us to another members house to do service for her. So we ended up wallpapering a room for Soeur Marand's mom who is like 90 something years old. It was a birthday present for her:) she loved it! The wallpaper was like this beautiful island scene, I wouldn't mind waking up to that every day! Also wallpapering is harder than you'd think. Haha but it was fun! Then we headed to a lesson with Angela! She is doing well and excited for her baptism!
Friday was kind of a crazy day! We had planned 3 different rdvs with members who lived nowhere near each other. Making it seem pretty much impossible to get to all of these places with the crazy bus schedules. But with a lot of prayers we were able to see all 3 of these members and talk about the blessings of the temple with each of them. We encouraged each of them to prepare themselves and their families for the temple open house in Paris next year. I'm so excited for the amazing people of France to have a temple in their own country.
Saturday! Taught Angela the word of wisdom! She had so much faith and just accepted it so well. She used to smoke 10 cigarettes a day and now she's down to 1. Please pray for her to be able to stop completely! She's so cute and she understands that if she wants to get baptized she has to stop. I love her so much!!!! Also when we first started teaching her when we would go over all of her neighbors and family members would like hard core stare at us and be super judge mental. Now we're totally homies with them! The spirit really does soften the hearts of others. Later that night we went to our dmp's (Ward mission leader) house for dinner. Him and his wife both served in New Caledonia and are just awesome. They told us mission stories and their son in law shared his conversion story, it was great! Love them!

Sunday was great! We taught relief society. The lesson was on the talk, "truly good and without guile" by elder ringwood from this last conference. I'm obsessed with that talk. It ended up being a really good lesson! Angela was supposed to come to church but she got sick and is in the hospital! We don't know what's wrong but we're praying really hard that she gets better soon. Please pray for her!
This week was just kind of all over the place. Haha we weren't really home and when we were it felt like we never stopped running. I love this crazy missionary life and I'm so grateful to my Heavenly Father who gave me that push I needed to serve a mission. I love this gospel, I love this work, it is His work. I love you all! Have a great week!
Soeur Holmes
Challenge: doing something nice for the missionaries in your ward:)
Pics: cool pic of my plaque, saw Soeur Gerritsen in Marseille, and Us with the Nice elders forming a "Niceian diamomd" haha

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