Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Soeur Searle Sighting

Hi Family!

I just saw Soeur Searle a few minutes ago doing emails!  It's so fun to have a friend from home here too.  

Let's see, this will probably be a shorter one but:

The miracle of the week is two girls named Siliane and Frederick.  Last week when we were at church (when Alejandra didnt show up and we were devastated)  we went to amis class and this girl was there who I thought was the elders ami because she was sitting next to the elders.  Afterwards this girl (Siliane) was talking to Frere Ya and Frere Ya said, "well, I think the missionaries can answer this better."  So he brings the girl over to me and walks away.  So I start talking to the girl and realize that she has never met a missionary before.  So she says, "I have heard a lot of crazy things about your church.  I've heard you're a cult, Ive heard lot of things, but I dont believe it and I want to find out for myself.  Is there someone who can tell me the difference between your church and other churches?"  So ultimately we set up a lesson for later that week.  When she came she brought her twin sister.  It was Soeur Horn's favorte lesson she has taught on her mission.  I know the gift of tongues is real!  Soeur Horn did so well in that lesson.  The spirit was so strong and they both committed to start reading the BOM, pray and come to church.  I swear there is so much opposition against people coming to church.  We have the hardest time getting people to church.  Ultimately a half hour before church started Siliane texted us to say their boss had just called them in to work so unfortunately neither could come to church.  But,they are great and we are seeing them again on Tuesday.

Alejandra, no one knows what happened to her.  It is so so sad.  But, I also know we have done everything we can do as missionaries, now we are just praying really hard for her and are turning it over to Heavenly Father's hands.  But I know everything is going to work out, because she genuinely wants to do what is right and follow God's plan for her. Please pray for her specifically and that our investigators can start coming to church!

I just want to share something about faith because it's something I have been learning a lot about lately on my mission.  What does it mean when it talks about missionaries strengthening their faith and what are we supposed to have faith in?  So, do you have faith in people keeping commitments, faith people accept the gospel, faith in numbers, or what exactly.  And I've been learning more and more that faith is not having faith in other people or in things but faith needs to be rooted in Christ.  If we have faith in Christ we know that all things are possible in Christ, we have complete trust and confidence in Him even if we dont understand everything at a time.  And then, how do you show your faith?  It's by diligently seeking and working.  I dont know if that makes any sense there, but it has been something I have been coming to understand more and it changes everything.

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

Soeur Chard

Monday, August 13, 2012

It's my Birthday tomorrow!

Where to start:

Alejandra:  bad for the moment.  We had a RDV with her on Saturday.  We were waiting for her by the bus stop and the bus passed and no one got off.  So I called her and she answered and said, "I am so sorry, I was reading over again all those scriptures you gave me in the Book of Mormon and I didnt eve'n realize that I missed the stop, im on my way back."  So it started off well.  Then the RDV started and we had planned to talk about priesthood authority, and the sacrament to prepare her to come to church the next day and to help her understand more why getting baptized in this church is different from any other.  So, we started talking, explained priesthood and she said, "yes, I get it.  I believe Joseph Smith was a prophet and I believe the Book of Mormon is true."  Then she explained how she feels so confused because she feels so much joy when she comes to our lessons, but then she goes to her other church and she feels good too and her church has given her so much, etc.  She asked if we could just cancel the baptismal date for now because she feels so confused and everything has happened so fast.  She says she has been praying so so much and reading everything in the Book of Mormon and she just feels confused.  The entire time she was saying this the thought to me was to be quiet and let Soeur Horn talk.  So I was quiet.  And Soeur Horn answered, "Alejandra, I am going to make you a promise.  When you come to church tomorrow and you pray to know if this is the church of God that you need to join, you will receive an answer and you won't be confused anymore."  At the end of the lesson we kneeled down the three of us and prayed she would receive an answer by going to church the next day.  After the lesson, Soeur Horn and I immediately started fasting because we had just promised something really big and we needed all the help we could get.  That night we literally called about ten or fifteen ward members to ask them to welcome her when she came to church the next day.  We found spanish translators for every meeting.  Never in my entire mission have I made so much effort for someone to come to church.  The next mormning we wake up and have a text from Alejandra from 2:30 in the morning.  She said how stressed she had felt about everything after the lesson and how she had been praying the entire day to know what to do.  She said she felt she had got her answer, she felt peaceful about going to her other church and so she was going to follow her heart because she felt that was an answer to prayer.  We were so devastated.  Yep, we straight up cried.  We sent her a text back and told her we respected her decision but we asked her to remember the promise we had given her the day before that God would answer her prayer by coming to church and she would no longer be confused. We told her that was still a promise.  She never answered back and we havent heard from her since.  It was so sad because we went to church and so so so many people all came up to meet our investigator that we had brought and we had to tell them she hadnt come.  It was so sad.  Then I look in the foyer and TJ Barden is walking into the hall.  I do a double-take and suddenly the whole Barden Family is walking into the church!  I just ran and gave Robin a big big hug.  She asked me how I was doing and how our morning had been.  ha I just got teary-eyed and told her not good.  Anyways, it was a huge blessing to have the Barden's at church yesterday.  I was able to talk to Robin for a while after Sacrament Meeting, ha we just cried together, it was so good.  Im sure she will call you when she gets home to talk to you mom. :)  And, please pray for Alejandra.  We are gonig to try calling her tomorrow.  It's to a point we have done all we can, and we need a lot of divine intervention because I dont know what else to do!

Maria:  good.  We saw her one last time before she left for the South of France now until September.  We went in and her eight and nine-year-old boy came in to the lesson.  The lesson before we had taught Maria the Plan of Salvation.  So we pulled out the Plan of Salvation again and with Maria, we taught the Plan of Salvation to her kids.  It was the most beautiful thing to watch a mom teach her kids the Plan of Salvation for the first time.  At the end we committed the nine-year-old Clyde to baptism and the eight-year-old said he will think about it.  We asked Clyde if he would like to start reading the BOM and he said yes.  So we gave him Enos and then we asked him if he's ever prayed before.  He said no.  So we along with his mom taught him how to pray for the first time.  It was the sweetest thing.  Maria is now gone until September, she said she knows this is what she wants for her family and wants to get baptized when she gets back.  We are trying to keep in touch with her every week by phone so we can give her scriptures to read with her kids while she is gone.  Because, if I have learned one thing, Satan does not sleep!  Ah so much can happen in-between everything.  

Last Pday I saw the Crockett's.... dad's old mission president's daughter.  The one he dated. haha She was freaking out when she realized I was Dan's daughter.  And went on and on about Boppy and Grandma BB and everything and how much she loves mom etc. so funny.

Have a great week everyone!
Soeur Chard

Monday, August 6, 2012

I"m a Mom!!!

Hi everyone!

Im so sorry this is going to be short because we are going to meet Soeur Ingraham and Soeur Searle in a minute to go to the Eiffel Tower!  (Soeur Ingraham was my companion my third transfer remember?)

It was so funny because the few days before Soeur Horn (my blue) came in and I knew I had the training call I just started cleaning EVERYTHING and organizing everything while Soeur Dawson was packing and everything.  Soeur Dawson said, "Soeur Chard, you are nesting!"  It's so true, I guess it's motherly instincts of something.  It's the most strange thing, because you seriously do feel mother instincts.  You feel an instinct of wanting to protect them from bad things (people saying rude things, etc) or you feel so proud of them when you watch them succeed at something, it's so fun.

Soeur Horn is my new companion and I love her.  She's from Las Vegas and is so sweet and very creative, something I am doing well learning from her.  It was so fun seeing Soeur Searle too, I talked to her when we first got to St. Merri and she said, "Whoa, Alyssa you have grown up a lot since your mission."  First, weird to hear your first name and weird because it's weird seeing someone who knew you from before the mission then meeting you again at this point in the mission.  It sounds like she is doing well, she was actually Soeur Horn's MTC companion!  

our first night after I picked up Soeur Horn I told her we were going to go teach a new ami for the first time and so we would be teaching a first lesson. I had called Nicole (she's in the Versailles ward and preparing to serve a mission in temple square) and asked if she would pretend to be an ami and kind of a not very interested one.  She agreed, we got there, and Nicole had taken down all signs she was mormon.  Pictures of the Temple, gone.  Scriptures, out of sight.  She answered the door and usually she is so happy and smiley, it was so funny to see her playing as an ami not very interested.  Anyway, we went in, taught a first, Soeur Horn did so well, and we committed NIcole to start reading the BOM and pray about it.  After we left her house, we talked about how Soeur Horn thought the whole thing had gone, etc. and then I said, "well, she's actually a member!"  I think the stress of everything being new was a little much but ultimately I think Soeur Horn was relieved and we went back and had dinner at Nicole's house.  

Since then, seriously everything has been working out perfectly.  It's kind of bizarre.  All the RDVs we have had have been with progressing amis who want to receive the lessons, who keep their commitments and who want to be baptized.  My testimony has grown so much that people are already prepared to receive us, the spirit is what converts and their hearts will be opened to the message if they are prepared.

We set a baptismal date with Alejandra!!! (that was Soeur Horn's first real RDV).  Dont tell Soeur Dawson, I sent her a letter in the mail telling her. :)  We set is for the first of september, so pray that she can keep that date!  But, every time Alejandra comes to our lessons, she's read the scriptures we have given her and has taken notes about what she has understood.  Last lesson we used something from Doctrine and Covenants and she was like, "wait, I need to write down that scripture so I can read it again later."  We told her she doesnt have it in the BOM.... she she downloaded the app on her iphone so she can read Doctrine and Covenants too.  We taught the Restoration to Alejandra the night before Soeur Dawson left on her mission and it was the most powerful first I have ever experienced.  The spirit was so strong and it was just incredible.  Soeur Dawson testified of how this gospel changes lives and told Alejandra she knows it will change hers.  After so many hundreds of first RDVs with Soeur Dawson it was amazing to experience what it's like for someone so prepared like Alejandra to receive that lesson.  And every lesson we have with her she has been prepared to receive it.  She will say, "that's funny, I was just talking about why there are so many churches on the earth last night with my boyfriend." or something, she's amazing.

Maria we had set a baptismal date for the endof the month but we have to refix it because she's out of town until the end of the month for work.  She's so amazing though.  When she told us she was gone the 25th when we fixed the date we talked about how important it is that she has the gift of the Holy Ghost as soon as possible and testified of the importance of baptism and that it was what God wants for her.  She was silent and said, "I know I need to."  She wants it and it's amazing as well teaching her the plan of salvation and the questions that she asks are so cool.  Once again, it's amazing to teach people who genuinely are searching and who are prepared to receive the gospel in their lives.  

Paola and Victoria are the girls we are teaching in spanish.  Last week we taught where we come from and where we are going after, tonight we are talking about our life on earth.  We also talked a little about baptism and how she can accept the Plan of Salvation by being baptized. Paola said she wants to be baptized eventually, Victoria and Paola are both reading the BOM and praying to know it's true.

It's at a point right now where the mission is so fulfilling because I literally get to witness people's lives changing, new hope coming into their life and watching them receive answers to questions they have been asking their entire lives and have never found answers.  I just pray really hard because I have also gained a testimony that no matter what our abilites are, we can't do anything, it is so important to follow the spirit and to do everything in your power but then to turn everything over to the Lord.  It is Heavenly Father who helps these people progress, it's not the missionaries, it's the spirit.  But it's amazing to be a part of it.

I love you all so much and hope that you have a great week!
Soeur Chard