Monday, June 25, 2012

Good Week!

Hi everyone!

That is so crazy that you went to Bobby Cannon's homecoming yesterday!  I think I told about ten missionaries who went home with him to tell him hi from me, I only saw him my very first day in the mission field and then we never served anywhere near each other.  But, anyone who knows him told me he was one of the best missionaries ever.  It's so crazy that he is home!

This weekend was a weekend of lot of miracles:

1.  We met with two people this week (one we contacted on the street, one we contacted on the bus)  and they both said they would be baptized when they gained their own testimony this was the true church.  Both live out of our area actually so we are passing them but both were really cool RDVs.

2.  A couple weeks ago we were in Trappes actually dropping off a BOM at a members house so they could give it to a friend.  We had received a headquarter referral from the mission home at the beginning of the transfer and tried passing by this girls house multiple times and she was never home.  So we had basically given up on her for a while.  Well we were on our way to this members house and I stopped two random people to ask them for directions.  They gave me directiosn and started walking away to get in their car.  I walked away and Soeur Dawson said, "I sware that has got to be Paola.  We need to go talk to her."  (that's the referral, we had never seen or talked to this girl in our life).  So at that point the car was pulling out of their parking place so we went and knocked on the window.  They rolled it down and Soeur Dawson said "is your name paola by chance?"  She looked at us really weirdly and said yes.  Soeur Dawson "are you from venezuela and do you live in this apartment building just across the street by chance?" (this was in spanish because paola doesnt speak french or english).  She said yes she did and she just looked at us really weirdly like who are you people?  Soeur Dawson explained who we were and that someone had referred her.  She was still really taken aback and said the connection she has to someone whos a member to the church is pretty distant but ultimately the guy who was with her (the one who had given us directions in french)  convinced her that we had been looking for her so she might as well set up at time for a RDV because we had been searching for her.  So we came back on Saturday night for our scheduled RDV.  We were both nervous because Soeur Dawson said she feels much more comfortable in english or french and I speak no spanish whatsoever.  So we prayed a lot before going into the RDV.  Ultimately we decided taht I would speak in english and Soeur Dawson would translate whatever I said into spanish and taht's how we would teach the lesson.  We went up to her apartment and her sister Victoria happened to be there too.  Victoria has a little baby and speaks some english too!  Ultimately, Victoria said she believes in God but has been searching for something to help her know what church is truly God's church.  During the RDV I know that it was the spirit teaching the lesson.  Because what I was saying is not necessarily what I would have normally said.  And every other sentence was about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and how our message is an opportunity for each of us to accept the Atonement into our own lives.  At the end of the RDV, Paola started talking about how so many things have been happening in her life and the last three days she has been in a depression.  She said that she knows she is in France for a reason, she started crying.  We invited both of the girls to come to church the next day and they agreed!  They came and had a really good experience and we have a RDV scheduled with them on Wednesday again.  It was such a miracle though because the headquarter phone number for Paola was incorrect and the door number address was also incorrect.  So we had been knocking on the wrong door, had left the BOM in the wrong mailbox and had been calling the wrong number, but "happened" to meet her on the street that day.  Now, I just need to work on learning a little bit of spanish. :)

3.  We were on the train this week and sat across from this guy who looked gangster.  Soeur Dawson asked him how you say something in french, and we started talking to him.  Ultimately we started talking about who we are and we invited him to come to church with us the next day.  He agreed and he came for all three hours!  He loved it he said.  He told one of the elders at church that the day before he met us he prayed that God would lead him to the right path and the next day he met us so he took it as a sign from God.  We set up a RDV with him on Saturday.  The thing is though, he sent us a text late last night and told us that he talked to some friends after church and they told him that the mormons are crazy and he shouldnt listen to us, etc.  So he sent us a text saying he didnt want to meet with us anymore.  So, we are going to call him tonight and talk to him about the importance of going to the source, asking God and not basing everything on the opinion of man.

4.  During exchanges a few weeks ago I was with Soeur Didier and we contacted someone in the metro station in Paris.  Her name is Sandrine and we ended up talking to her for 45 minutes.  IN the end she said it wasnt coincidence we met her because she had been sitting in the metro station and just felt the need to change seats for no reason and then a few minutes later we walked up and contacted her.  So, we gave her number to the elders because she doesnt live in our area.  I talked to the elders a couple days ago and they said they met with her last week and after the RDV she took them to sushi where they talked about the gospel for another two hours.  They said that they're meeting with her two times a week now and that she's amazing.

5.  We have been teaching Bettina, this lady from Guadelupe since I have been in Versailles, the missionaries have been teaching her since February.  We have been frustrated because we have tried teaching everything we know to teach and have been trying to figure out how we can better integrate her, etc.  A couple weeks ago we decided we needed to fast for her that she could have a spiritual experience and know how important it was to Heavenly Father that she gets baptized.  That Thursday we had meant to call our mission leader and ask him to teach the sunday school class on the role of the Holy Ghost.  We had forgotten to do it on Thursday so showed up on Sunday to amis class and Frere Grenier said, "the lesson today is on the role of the Holy Ghost."  Soeur Dawson looked at me and said, "did you call him?"  No, I didnt.  It was a miracle.  After amis class Bettina said she understood so much better who the Holy Ghost was.  Then we had our RDV on Friday at the Babin family's house.  The lesson was on recognizing the Holy Ghost.  At the end of the lesson we asked if she would heed the impressions that she receives from the Holy Ghost.  She responded, "yes, the Holy Ghost already told me I need to get baptized."  We were shocked.  We asked her when she knew that (because the week before we asked her for times she had felt the Holy Ghost and she couldn't come up with any)  she told two experiences taht happened to her when she felt the Holy Ghost, one reading a conference talk, the other was during a sacrament talk at church.  Then she said when she was in amis class on sunday and the lesson was on the Holy Ghost she felt something strange and knew that she needed to be baptized.  We told her that was the Holy Ghost.  She said she knew she needed to be baptized and was still scared to do so but knew it was what God wants for her but for some reason she feels like she needs to wait until she goes hoem to Guadelupe in December and is with her family.  As she was talking she started crying.  (she never shows any emotion in our RDVs) and she said that she knew at that moment that the reason she needs to wait until December is so that she can be an example for the rest of her family in being baptized.  It was so cool.  And it really strengthened my testimony that this work is not our own.  It wasnt anything that Soeur Dawson or I did to help her receive that confirmation, it was ultimately just between herself and God.  We are just so blessed to literally be the instruments in God's hands to help people develop their own personal relationship with God But we are just the instruments in God's hands to allow the spirit to work through these people who are already prepared for the gospel.  I realize more and more how important it is to stop relying on our own abilities or to think that we have control of things and instead when we can put our full faith, confidence and trust in God and understand that this is truly His work, He is able to work so much better through us as missionaries.

Thank you so much for all your prayers and for all of your support and for all of your love.  I love you!


Soeur Chard

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Hi family!

This weekend we had a mini missionary with us, Aileen Christensen.  She has been staying with the Poznanski's for a few weeks before she is going to study abroad in England.  It was so good to have her with us.  She is twenty and her mom was the mission companion of Soeur Poznanski!  Anyways, this girl is awesome and we had a lot of really cool experiences.  Last night before we went out to go porting, we prayed that we would be able to teach a lesson, because our two RDVs we had set up had fallen through.  So we prayed and last night almost every person that we talked to was open and was excited to talk to us.  We ended up getting in and teaching a lesson to this woman, Rosette who has been taught by missionaries before actually.  It was so cool to have Aileen with us to and her testimony was so strong and powerful about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith as a prophet.

We started teaching a woman this week, Emilie, who is a referral from a woman in the ward.  It's so cool because we went over there and she had already started reading the Book of Mormon and highlighting it.  She said she still had a difficult time praying and couldnt find the words.  Ultimately at the end of our first lesson she prayed for the first time with us!  It was really cool.

I wrote a longer email to mom and dad but please pray for Soeur Dawson and I, these last couple weeks have been some of the most difficult of my mission for me. 

Sorry, this is shorter!  But I hope everyone has a great week and keep doing good things!  I love you!

Soeur Chard    

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Elder and Sister Teixeira and Sister Dawson

Loving June

Hi family!

This week was great!  There were a lot of highs and a lot of lows this week, quite crazy.  But in the end, that's all part of the experience so it was good.  Two highlights of the week:  1.  The Teixeira Conference was so great.  I was sitting waiting for it to start and suddenly someone came up behind me and gave me a huge hug and it was Filomena!  Both she and Elder Teixeira did such a great job.  The funniest part was when Sister Teixeira was giving her part, and she was talking about how we need to eat well and she said, "look at president Poznanski, he has gained about 8 kilos since he's been president, he doesnt look the same as when I first met him.  You dont want to gain 8 kilos."  Yeah, everyone was kind of awkwardly laughing, probably some damage control from Soeur Poznanski after that one. haha 

Elder Teixeira talked a lot about the importance of being a missionary in every aspect of the word and breaking cultural barriers;  He talked about when he went to Sao Paolo to be mission pres, he saw the mission average for lessons taught was 6 or 7 and in his first zone conference he told the missionaries he was changing the standard of excellence to 21 lessons a week.  About three weeks went by and Elder Sullivan mailed him and got 21 lessons and apparently never had a week after that on his mission he didnt teach 21 lessons.  Ultimately this elder was district leader and his whole district started teaching 21 a week, then when he was zone leader his whole zone started teaching 21, etc.  It was a crazy cool story.  He talked a little bit about breaking cultural barriers as well, how we need to identify if people are being held back because they dont understand the doctrine or if it is because of cultural things holding them back.  That's something Soeur Dawson and I have been trying to work on, is how to break down cultural walls.  Anyways, it was such a great conference, zone conferences are definitely one of my favorite things.  It was so much fun too seeing the Teixeira family, they were so nice.  And one of my favorite parts, an elder and sister sang "The Prayer" you know by Andrei Bodicelli and I got to accompany them, and it was so good.  They have the most amazing voices, they both want to sing professionally after mission.  They sang for the special musical number and then were asked to do an encore and sing it again at the end.  It was beautiful.

This week we also had a rendez-vous with Jehovah Witnesses, first and last.  It was so exhausting spiritually and mentally.  At the end we left it well, told them how great it is to see other people living their faith and sharing it with other people.  Im grateful for the Book of Mormon so that everything isnt just based on different interpretations of the Bible.

The other awesome thing this week was our lesson with Alejandra.  We invited her to the church to have a picnic slash a lesson.  This was going to be really our first real lesson with her, last time it was really just listening to her and figuring out where she was at and explaining a little who we were as missionaries.  So, we got all the stuff ready for dinner, Soeur Dawson made special chicken for the sandwiches, etc. etc.  we tried to dress so that we looked as normal as possible, (not black skirts to the floor) and we went to meet her at the church.  She had eight exams that week and for some reason still made time to take a train and a bus so she could have a rendez-vous with us.  We were honestly wondering how she had so much motivation to make time out of her busy schedule to meet with us before she really even knows anything.  So to start off the lesson we just asked her what she knew about our church, she said "really nothing honestly."

So, we had planned to share the Joseph Smith story and just focus on his experience.  At the end she said, "I wish I was like Joseph Smith and could receive answers from God."  She said for so long in her life she has always heard about people saying God speaks to them and she was always frustrated because she never had any experience when she felt like God has spoken to her.  One night she was watching something on TV and it was about children in Africa and all the tragedies there.  She was so frustrated because that's her whole desire to help people in Africa but she just feels stuck and doesnt know how to help or how to move forward in her life.  She said that night she went into her room so frustrated and then she saw her Bible.  She opened it up to a random page and read the scripture that says "for everything there is a time and a season."  she said she felt something really strongly and she said, "it was really weird because I even started to cry because fo the feeling."  she called her dad because she was so excited and said, "God just spoke to me!"  She said she wants more direction in her life and to learn how God spekas to her.  We told her that she could, we told her about the Book of Mormon and she said she wanted to start that night reading.  It was a really good lesson, keep praying for her!  

 I love you all!

Soeur Alyssa Chard