France Paris Mission 2014-2016

Week 87 - Cool things that happened this week

1. We visited Eddine and Samra. They are doing great, and so is the  baby. Samra is so down to get baptized! We're going to be starting the commandments this week (she knows everything already, but we have to review it with her). Then they both showed up for sacrament meeting!  With their crazy kids ;)

2. We saw Raphael with a member and explained the need for priesthood authority in the church. It went pretty well and after we committed him to be baptized the 25th of June! His sister walked in as we were leaving and she said she'd like to join in the next time we talk! :)

3. This week we ate with the Vendassi family (P. Bab's daughter and son in law/our ward mission leader). It was super fun! They are a total power couple and have intimidated the crap out of me for the last three months! Haha :) But we had a really spiritual lesson, and then they really opened up to us. They are the coolest! Plus they have two super cute little girls that loved having us over ;)

4. Thompson came to church this week! And he brought his neighbor with him! We'll be seeing both of them this week ;)

It's been raining like crazy this week, thunderstorms, lightning, the whole shebang, so considering the fact that Tarbet and I love country music, this was our theme song/motivation builder for the week: Rain makes corn, corn makes whiskey, whiskey makes my baby, feel a little frisky--Luke Bryan  Je vous aime tous :)

Photo after our district meeting (I had to creep out the new ZL) ;) haha

Week 86 - Miracles: They just keep coming!

Well I'd like to talk about 4 miracles among many that happened this week:
That stupid baby has been giving her and us problems for weeks! Haha jk...but seriously though ;) On Wednesday Nathaniel Moukthard was born. The bishop went and visited them and apparently Samra said that she wanted to get baptized as soon as possible! :)  dunk'em we're going to be visiting them tomorrow.
2. We got back in contact with Daniel!
We were finally able to see Daniel again (it had been about 2 weeks) and we had a great lesson with him. He's going through a lot of challenges right now, and he told us how every time he wanted to meet with us, pray, or read the ​Book of Mormon it felt like Satan kept throwing stuff in his way. We promised him that that was normal and that he could overcome these problems, by doing those things that seemed difficult to do. We got the first serious commitment on his part to read the BoM, and we hope to see some real progress.
3. Someone called us back from a contacting card!
So at the beginning of the week I contacted a young lady who was pretty busy, but she was willing to take our card. Well a couple days later we get a call from Naomi who says, "I talked with you a couple days ago and I'm really interested to learn more about your church" 😳 Seriously!? So we meet up with her, and she says that since she moved to France (she's African) she has been drifting away from God, and she is looking for a church to join so that she can get closer to God. We explained our role as missionaries and the blessings of our message.  We did a church tour, and when we got to the baptismal font we explained the power, relief, and beauty of baptism. The spirit was there so strong and you could tell she was touched. As we finished our appointment the sisters showed up so we introduced them to her. They hit it off super well and they'll be starting the lessons this week! I have the feeling she'll be dunked very soon ;)
4. Saint Raphael is becoming Mormon ;)
So I contacted a man whose name is literally Saint-Raphael...#Africans! 😎  He's super believing, grew up catholic but now visits whatever church he wants. He just loves God! He's in his early 20's and from Central Africa. We've already taught him twice this week and he came to church! He also has read the intro and testimonies in the BoM! He's totally awesome, and loves taking pictures, so I'll be attaching some selfies he asked us to take at  church :) haha Plus, at church he has already started to make friends.  Dieu est grand! (God is great)
Much love!

Week 85 - Hi . . . I can't think of a good subject line . . . sorry

So last week was transfers, I'm still in Evry. My new companion is Elder Tarbet from Virginia. We were bleus in the same district...a LONG time ago haha :) He's one transfer ahead of me and awesome! He was just comps with my old comp Elder Smith (who was the one who taught me what kind of missionary I wanted to be) so we already have a good feel for how the other one works.
Elder Long and I were in a rough spot as far as the work goes, but since Tarbet's been here we've found 11 new amis and taught over 25 lessons! Haha It's incredible!! :)
We had a conference this week in Versailles with President Uchtdorf!!!! All of the Paris stakes were invited so I saw some members from Le Havre as well as a ton of mission buddies I hadn't seen in a while. Pres. And Sis. Uchtdorf were SUPER funny haha :) as well as super spiritual. President Uchtdorf talked a lot about the temple and us being worthy of a current temple recommend (CTR) the acronym is pretty good right ;). He talked about how there are three signatures on the recommend to serve as witnesses, and he told us that his was a little funny because his signature is on their (like everyone) as well as the signature of the First Presidency, so he had to sign it twice haha ;) Then he talked about love for neighbors and the refugee situation in Europe. It was a thrilling experience to be in such close proximity to a prophet of God!
I would like to share a story about a family we found. So me and Tarbet were out contacting all the frères and sœurs (africans) and as we were on the way back to the train to head home and I see this lady and it was one of those times where the spirit just takes control. I found myself running over to her and stopping her right before she crossed the street. I contacted her and she asks if I speak English, obviously I do so I explain who me and my comp are and she says I need to head home right now (she was carrying groceries). Well obviously we offer to carry her groceries for her and so we start talking as we walk the couple minutes to her house. Her name is Marion and she's from Nigeria, her and her husband are both Christian and would love to hear about our message. We get to her apartment and we sit down with her and her husband and share a little bit about who we are and what we do. The husband was super excited to find out that our church was just 20 minutes away (he had been traveling 1 1/2 hours each way to a church in Paris). We fixed another appointment and thus we found a new family to teach.
We also went to an activity for the young adults this week. We played a French game called loup-garou (werewolf) which is similar to "mafia", basketball, ping-pong, and of course there was a spiritual thought ;) It was great because one of the members brought a friend, and a less-active member came too!
Voilà! My email! Lots of Love!

Week 83 - It finally happened :)

I'm just going to talk about Saturday...the rest of the week pales in comparison.

Saturday April 30

Today was the big day. Brice and Emilie Noël were baptized. Words cannot describe the joy that I feel knowing that this beautiful family has commenced their journey towards exaltation and eternal life in the celestial kingdom of God.

We left for Paris at 7:15 and as we were stepping on the train a black guy asked about our badges. Turns out he's an evangelical pastor. He was going to the same place as us, so for the next 45 minutes we talked about the restoration especially the Book of Mormon. He was a typical evangelical, so it didn't really go anywhere, but it sure helped to pass the the time ;)
We got to Le Havre at 11:30 (yes I was incredibly tired) and boy was it weird and exciting to be back. I really do love that place. We went straight to the Noel's for lunch. It was so wonderful to see them again! Elder Rollins was there with his comp Elder Anderson. We ate together and we laughed a TON! Those two are so hilarious. Emilie told me she hates being underwater and that I had better baptize her really fast. ;) Then Brice said that it's a good thing they weren't getting baptized in the Orthodox Church because they have to go down and come up 3 times, and in Siberia they do it in frozen lakes. Like they literally cut holes in the ice and baptize people. 😬 I also found out that Brice loves history like me, especially the American Revolution.  Then we headed over to the church while the Noel's got ready. When we showed up President Silbermann and Frere Paporé were there. And funny story, the water heater for the font wasn't working...guess who gets to get baptized in super cold water ;) haha

Then everyone started to show up and there were a ton of people!  Almost the entire branch was there plus about 20 people the Noel's invited! At lunch Brice and Emilie (but especially Brice) told us how they hate wearing all white. Apparently it's not their color 😉 So the time came for all of us to change. Brice walked out all in white looking very uncomfortable and says to me, "I don't like this... But I better get used to it for the temple." We took pictures then headed into the chapel to start the meeting. President Silbermann gave the talk on baptism. Emilie started to cry a bit, and Brice even had some tears in his eyes. Then we went over to the font and while everyone was filing into the room, the three of us were waiting by the bathrooms/font entrance. We were all pretty "nervous" but in a good way. Brice said we should pray together before so he offered us a very beautiful prayer and we went for it. I baptized Brice first. As we stepped into the water we both kind of freaked out because it was so cold. Being in the water with him, hand raised to the square felt so natural and so peaceful. I baptized him (he went down super fast so water splashed over the barrier haha), and then Emilie walked down the stairs (she started freaking out worse than Brice did haha). After I started the prayer a feeling of peace permeated the entire room. After I helped her out of the water all three of us booked it out of there so we could dry off and warm up. As Brice and I were changing he said to me, "I've been waiting 10 years for this day." He was so happy. We then walked into the chapel with Emilie. Soeur Lefebvre gave a talk on the Holy Ghost and Elder Rollins confirmed Emilie and Elder Anderson confirmed Brice (President Silbermann wanted them to profit from my short presence, so they got confirmed the same day). They came and sat down and Brice leans over and says, "It's done. We're members now." A couple members, myself, and one of Emilie's sisters bore testimonies and congratulated Brice and Emy. Brice said to me after I bore my testimony (keep in mind Emy and I were both crying), "Sorry, didn't make me cry." ;) That man is so mean to me! Haha but I love him. Like every other church activity in France there were refreshments afterwards. Right before I had to leave I took a picture with the Noel's. As I was saying goodbye, I looked at Brice and said, "I'm going to do something really American," then I hugged him.  Surprisingly he hugged me back. Then Emy gave me a big hug as well. We had to run to catch our train right afterwards. As soon as the train pulled out of the station all of the pent up emotions burst loose. I was crying like a baby for a good portion of the train ride. It was mostly out of joy, but also I was saddened by the fact that I had to say goodbye to my family, for they truly are family. Even as I write this my heart is full of love and my eyes are full of tears. I'm certain that the Noel's and I were very close in our pre-mortal lives.
Today was the most beautiful day of my life.                                                                                                                  

Baptism in Le Havre

April 30, 2016
Brice & Emilie Noel

Paul is SO dang cute.  He thanked me (Julie) via social media for the presents I sent to him.