Monday, January 28, 2013

Cat Woman

Hi family!

I am loving be with Soeur Searle.  Every picture we take is followed by, "better send this one to the holladay south stake."  It's so fun.  Did I tell you too that Patriarch Falk's grandson, Elder Flitton is my zone leader now too?  So it's just a Holladay party!

Last Monday night we ended up going porting for a little while.  While we were out we sonneried someone's apartment building, and the person opened the door to let us in.  As we walked up the stairs, there's this lady just hanging over the stairwell balcony staring at us.  So we start talking to her and she tells us we can come in.  As we are walking in the door, she says, "I hope you're not afraid of cats."  I see one cat, so all is good.  Walk through the door, I see two cats, then three, four.  I keep seeing more and more cats appearing in this small room.  Huge community bowl of cat food in the middle of the room.  Cat picture images on every single wall. I ask her how many cats she has.  Straight up 15 cats.  In one small apartment room.  So, we start talking about God and how He is there and knows each one of us. (we are still standing up).  I feel a cat jump onto my coat and is just hanging off my coat as I'm talking.  We sit down.  Cats.  Everywhere.  I look over at Soeur Searle and had forgotten she was allergic.  She's just tearing up, and then talking a little about the Plan of Salvation.  I look over, cat dangling off the tablecloth.  So funny.  After the RDV, we kept porting and on the way home we passed by her apt building again.  we see two of the cats looking out at us from the window.  Soeur Searle decides to take a picture, as she takes it, the woman's head appears at the exact moment she's taking the picture.  So perfect, it is captured.  Don't worry, I am bringing a copy home!

Miracle we saw this week, we were porting a couple weeks ago and a woman answered, said she was practicing Catholic, not interested in further but maybe would be interested in reading a little of the BOM.   So last week we decided to go bring her a Book of Mormon.  She answered the door said, "hey, you already came by here."  We gave her the Book of Mormon and she said, "okay, I'll try reading it and then you will come back to pick it back up?"  So we set a RDV for a few days later.  We ended up going back for the RDV and she let us in.  Beautiful french woman with five children, all practicing in the Cahtolic church.  She told us how hard it is to raise her kids in society today because of so many bad influences surrounding her family and that even at school they teach that all the stories in the Bible are fictional myths.  She also said in school they are teaching her kids that same gender attraction, and the difference between men and women is not a big deal, etc.  and how it is really troubling to her.  So she asked us how we were raised and how we had been able to stay believing and close to God.  It was awesome.  She said at the end she will try reading some of the Book of Mormon before our next lesson (on Wednesday).  She is amazing and it was such a blessing to teach someone like her.  

We also found a Chinese girl named Anna last week on the tram.  My entire mission I have had this weird obsession with always contacting asians.  Probably because I have always loved asians.  She is the first asian I have actually taught though!  We taught her Saturday for the first time and she told us how she was Buddhist at the base but has started believing in God a little bit.  It was one of the most simple first lessons I have ever taught my entire mission, it was amazing.  We talked about faith and prayer and at the end we kneeled down and she said her first prayer to God and simply thanked Him for the missionaries and asked if He was there.  It was so cool to hear such a sincere prayer.

Otherwise, all is good.  Soeur Searle is amazing, I don't know what I would do without her.  One of her greatest strengths is her ability to remain calm and carry on, no matter what happens.  She is amazing and I love serving with her. 

Have an awesome week and I will see you soon!!  I love you!

Soeur Chard

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sisters Chard and Searle . ...Angers!

Soeur Searle Arrives!

Hi Family!

Yes, Soeur Searle and I are together in the end!  I am honestly so
grateful and so happy to be companions with her, it is the best.  She
is basically my angel.

Miracles of the week:

We went to go teach the Dati/Richard family (a family we met last week
with soeur mejia and deleu).  We showed up and the eleven year old
daughter had been readingin the BOM and loved it so much she hid it in
her room so hre other sister couldnt read it.  While we were teaching
them two of their friends came over and we ended up teaching them as
well and setting up another lesson with them for this next week.

We were contacting the other day and stopped someone just in front of
the church.  AFter talking for a little while she said, "you just
called me a few days ago and I said I wasnt interested."  the elders
contacted her and passed her to us about a month ago and after
vacances (a few days ago) I had called her again (she hadnt been
available all during the holidays) and she said she had changed her
mind and wasnt interested.  We asked her if she was interested in
fixing a lesson and she said, she would because it is bizarre in the
last few weeks she keeps meeting missionaries.  We taught her  this
morning and the spirit was so strong.  She is a french woman with a
little boy and said she has so much anger because of things people
have done to her and has a hard time also understanding why Christ
would have to suffer for us, and why there couldnt have been a miracle
by God so He didnt have to suffer for us.  We were able to testify of
the Atonement and the why of the ATonement, it was amazing.  We are
praying for her, she said she may come to church on Sunday.

ONe of the recent converts Emmanuelle told us her new years resolution
is to do a lot more with the missionaries (she's a convert of like
three months and was baptized after one week of missionary lessons).
She she came with us Saturday.  Our RDVs all got frugged (aka they
arent there when you go to teach them) she we ended up doing lots of
porting and street contacting.  But, we actually got let in by a
Vietnamese girl and it was so cool to see Emanuelle testify of the
truthfulness of the gospel, etc.  Awesome.

On the train we contacted this Chinese girl and she ended up coming to
church on Sunday with her Chinese friend.  English and French are both
a little sketchy but they were there and they felt good at church and
we got them chinese books of mormon, so it's all up from there!

Soeur Searle is amazing.  I am so blessed to have her and she is
helping me so much.  That girl is wise.  And tell her parents that her
french is awesome!!  She's just an overall incredible missionary.

I think more than anything this week my testimony of the Atonement has
grown.  God gives us challenges and experiences so that we can learn
and progress and continue to grow.  We can always decide how we react
and what we take from a challenge, but the goal is always to help us
continue to progress.  That's what makes the gospel so amazing.
Through Christ, all things are truly possible.

I love you all!  Be safe and eat bratwurst and schnitzel to start
Danielle on her german 50 pounder. :)

Soeur Chard

Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas Miracle

Bonjour à tous!

Today, the great challenge is I am going to try to send pictures.  Oh my gosh you have got to be joking me.  After I wrot that sentence I plugged in the camera to send the photos and what do you know, I think I took Soeur Deleu's cord or something because it mysteriously doesn't fit in my camera.  I am genuinely so sorry, I am a failure at sending pictures, seriously.  And I feel guilty now because I was with Marie-Sylvie the other day and she told me how much it meant to get pictures from François when he was a missionary so I promised I would send some home this week and, failure!  I will try next week. :)

The miracle story I will tell this week happened on Soeur Mejia's birthday which was Wednesday.  After we had gone over to meet a member family we were out porting that night and not having any success, we were about to knock on a door and decided after that door we would take the bus to head back and try finding people closer to home.  We knocked on the door, a french woman, about 60 answered.  We told her who we were and she said that she believed in God but wasn't practicing in any church.  She kept explaining herself and ultimately I thought she was upset with us and wanted us to leave.  We said, "If this book, The Book of Mormon can help you come closer to Jesus Christ, does that interest you to learn more?"  It honestly took me by surprise when she opend th door wide, said yes and invited us inside.  So we sat down with she and her husband.  Her husband is paralyzed on one side of his body and has a hard time expressing himself "oui et non" that's about it.  He had an accident years ago that left him paralyzed.  Anyways, we asked the couple if they both believed in God, the husband just started crying.  His wife explained that whenever anyone talked about God he started to cry because he has so much faith in God, especially after his accident.  We had a really amazing lesson the first time and set up another RDV.  When we came back (Saturday night) we knocked on the door and Madame Rabin opens the door wide, gives us bisous and invites us in.  She says, "I just have to ask you a question.  Is the family important to you?"  We told her that it's the center of our life and we sat down, prayed and started reading the family proclamation with her.  She loved it.  We asked her if she believed she could be with her family forever  Her husband "oui oui oui" and she said, "I hope but I honestly am not really sure."  She said more than anything she wants to have peace of mind here on earth and a peace and hope about what will happen to her family after she dies.  It was so amazing because we had done some things in studies and practice teaching that we used exactly for the RDV.  The spirit was so strong and it was amazing.  We are going to see them again tomorrow night again and will teach them the restoration.  Please pray for them, the family Rabin.  

We got the transfer news on Saturday!  Soeur Grewar is leaving and we are forming a trio again, Soeur Mejia, Soeur Deleu and I.  It will be great, I am excited!  This transfer has been interesting with a lot of new challenges and a lot of growing experiences and I know they will continue.  I feel like I am learning a lot about simplifying, focusing on the things that matter most and the doctrine of Christ.  When I say that's what I'm learning, I say that's what I want to focus on and be better in.

I love you all, please pray for our mission's goal which is to bring families to Christ for Christmas!  The best Christmas present ever. :)

Soeur Chard

oh ps, I think I just told dad in his email, but I will be coming home in February.  So, I will see you soon Schwester Chard. :)

Monday, November 26, 2012

I am thankful for you!

Hi family!

Happy Thanksgiving!  A few days late.  We all went to Tours and had Thanksgiving together, we also played football (american obviously).  So funny, it was Soeur Deleu's and Soeur Mejia's first time playing football ever in their life.  Soeur Deleu learned the "7 banana" trick, aka rush the quarterback.  She was definitely one of the MVPs of the team.  Soeur Grewar popped a blood vessel on her finger so she has partial use of her right.  Aka I had to wash her hair for her two days ago.  And Soeur Mejia, I think still at the end of the game thought we were playing by rugby rules.  It was really fun.  At the end, we were running for our train and got on the train.  About five minutes later Elder Burgess turns to me and says, "what if we just got on the wrong train?"  and come to find out we had. ha so we were in St. Pierre for about two hours before catching a correct train back to Angers.  Overall,  it was an awesome Thanksgiving.  We all have so much to be grateful for.

On Friday we had our activity we had planned by the missionaries "faisons le tour du monde."  All of us in the ward are from different places right now (USA, France, Peru, Canada, Australia, New Zealand) we had a spiritual message and then it was to celebrate the diversity of everyone but how the gospel is what has brought us together.  It ended up being really good, some members brought their friends who were able to meet missionaries and meet members and learn a little more about the church, less-actives came and the members got to know each other better and were going out and meeting new people.  So overall, it went really well.  We were stressed right before (but it was still fun) and it ended up working out.

Oh, I wanted to tell the story of Nadege since I didn't really get the chance to last week because it was so amazing.  She told us a little more last week when we went and visited her while Soeur Mejia and I were in Versailles for a couple of days.  She was contacted by Soeur Horn and Soeur Jenkins during exchanges on the street at night just before they went home.  Nadege said that usually she would just say "ça m'interesse pas" and not pay attention but that night for some reason she didnt.  She had just seen the reportage on mormons a couple of nights before and the two missionaries approached her, and it was dark and they were both pretty new so their french was very broken but they just said, "we are missionaries" and then they pulled out a Book of Mormon.  She said she couldnt really understand what they were saying too much but she saw their badges and she saw the book and just thought, "sure why not" so she set up a RDV for the next day.  The next day, Soeur Horn and I went to go and teach her (right before the first session of conference).  She said it was when we came that first lesson that she felt something different.  She said she had always been a happy person but there was something different.  I remember the first lesson she asked us what made us so happy because we were always smiling and she could see that we were really happy and she wanted that too. From the beginning she progressed so quickly, she came to church every week after that, we met her most days during the week.  The second time after she went to church, we walked home with her and ended up having a really spiritual experience and invited her to prepare for baptism and she agreed.  When Soeur Mejia and I were there with her that night she kept talking about how she knew there was support of members and she would be joining a new family, etc. etc.  I wanted to make sure she had a testimony of the doctrine of the gospel so I asked her, "do you have a testimony that the Book of Mormon is true?"  She said, "Oh, yes, Soeur Chard, I will tell you how I have a testimony of the Book of Mormon."  Our last lesson Soeur Horn and I taught her together was really emotional for her and basically we told her the importance of gaining her personally testimony of the Book of Mormon and invited her to really get on her knees and pray to know it was true.  She said a couple of days later had been really difficult for her and she was in the bathroom just crying and just fell on her knees and prayed to know that the Book of Mormon was true.  That day she started looking to move to a different apartment because there were some problems at home and Soeur Horn and Soeur Hurrell texted her to see if all was okay, she told them the problem and ultimately they were able to help her find a place to stay with one of the members.  And there were experiences like that that for Nadege showed her that God was aware of her, loved her, and was showing her the correct path to grow closer to Him.  It  is people like Nadege that make all the hard days of a mission worth it because when you see the gospel change somebody's life like that you begin to understand more the incredible blessings that we all have because of the gospel and how much it brings us every day. 

Have a great week everyone!  Danielle, I am praying for you, you are prepared, I promise.

I love you!
Soeur Chard 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Elder Anderson visits the mission


There is so much to say this week and I wont even be able to say a quarter of it but I will try to hit some of it.

this wednesday i went back into paris to pick up my new comp.  soeur Mejia!  She's awesome, so I started her on the training program last week and she should be here for at least one transfer, if not more.  It has been such an interesting experience now working with training two new soeurs before they go through the MTC.  I have been thinking a lot about how missionaries can be the most prepared before they leave on their mission, especially now since they're cutting down the amount of time they will have in the MTC.  the biggest thing I have found is preach my gospel.  Anyone you know who has their mission call or is preparing to leave on a mission, encourage them to read through preach my gospel before they leave for the mtc.  Not just the four lessons we teach but the entire book.  It will help them know what to focus on in the MTC.

so, Rahel (angers) and Nadege's (versailles) baptism were this weekend and it was awesome!   While I was in Paris for the end of the week I got to go and see nadege and she told me more about her conversion process and experience.  and Rahel got baptized on Saturday.  Both these women are two amazing people with so much faith.

Elder anderson is what I wanted to talk about the most because it was the most amazing thing I have ever heard on my mission.  He is now one of my favorite apostles, probably because I will always feel a special connection to him.  He served his mission in Paris and then was mission president in Bordeaux.  Briefly what he said:

"We want you to know how proud we are of all you missionaries here in this mission.  I know there's a lot of pressure on you.  this is not Sao Paolo, Brazil.  It's harder to bring families to the gospel here in this part of the world.  It's hard if you have a sensitive soul and you hate rejection.  You have been called of god here and you can do this.  Baptisms is not the most important measuring stick of a mission.  It's a good one, but it's not the only measuring tool.  Please study faith and do not limit yourself.  I promise you will be guided by the spirit."

"I need you missionaries to have enough faith that the effect you are having is much deeper than what you can see with your own eyes." 

"for years we have been hearing 'a new day for france, a new day for france.'  You are the light for these members here in France.  You are the flame that helps them have hope for missionary work.  When you see the progress of the church throughout the entire world, you stress less.  God is really in control.  the work is moving forward.  the Lord promised He would establish a righteous line of peple in every single country.  He is doing that here in France.  There is a strong line of people and the church will not fall here either."

"You can't see your whole missionas baptismal goals.  Please dont see your mission in those terms only.  You are a witness of Christ here.  Our biggest challenge in France here is holding onto our youth.  You dont always have to be teaching someone off the street although that is also very important.  Have part of your mission be to strengthen the conversion of these youth.  Please look inside the church as your missionary work.

Don't just think of baptisms, think of strengthening the church of Jesus Christ. We need to find and strengthen true disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Follow christ, memorize scriptures about His doctrine.  Learn it, embrace it and teach it.

You all need to use repentance.  There's something powerful that comes from having your sins washed away and becoming a new person.

Galations 5:22-23, the fruits of the spirit.  Notice one of the fruits of the spirit is long-suffering.  that means we have to learn how to endure difficult things.  

Please see yourself as a disciple of Christ to EVERYONE.  At the end he blessed us that we would find enormous satisfaction in our missionary service, regardless or independent of how many baptisms we saw on our mission.  He blessed us we would feel deep inside us that we were accomplishing our missionary role.  He challenged us to be a disciple of Christ to everyone.  to strengthen the struggling bishop, the primary child, our companion, the person in the street, the eighteen-year-old boy who shoud be preparing to serve a mission.

It was the most amazing talk I have ever heard because everything he was saying were conclusions I had in a lot of ways personally come to and hearing him give a talk like that was a confirmation for me.  He didnt come in and tell us to up the number of baptisms necessarily or that suddenly all French people are going to be interested to talk to us if we have enough faith, but instead it was helping us understand the importance of our calling.  He said at one point that in a secular country we need not be afraid of speaking of Christ, we need to speak of Him everywhere.

It was so amazing and afterward so many ideas started coming to my mind of what we can do in Angers.  It all comes back to the family, how to strengthen the family.  We started talking about our ward mission plan for 2013 and as we were talking we thought that instead of focusing member missionary work outwards to their friends, we need to do what we can as missionaries to help them turn back inward to teaching the gospel to their families, and by doing that they will have opportunities to share their experiences with their friends as well.

I love you all and hope you have a great day!

Soeur Chard