Monday, September 17, 2012

Versailles District

Ah Les Missionnaires!

Hello Family!

Today I am spending pday with charlotte searle, I am excited, I think we are going to go to the champs elysees and just walk around and relax.  Should be fun.

This week has been very interesting because it's been the worst of my mission as far as numbers but I feel like it was still successful.  

Most interesting story of the week was when Soeur Horn and I tried to pass-by a less-active who has been in-active for the last ten years.  We had visited a member family in the area and they suggested we tried to see her.  So we sonnetted her and she opened the door because she thought it was her daughter coming home from school.  She said, "ah les missionnaires!  Venez."  So we went in and come to find out it was the first time she had accepted missionaries in her house in eight years.  She let us sit down and goes on to tell us her life story.  It was one of the saddest things I have ever heard.  She was a convert and almost her whole family got baptized but all fell away, she was the stalwart.  Anyways, she ended up serving a mission.  Here's the crazy part, I asked her where she served her mission and she says London.  I ask her when and come to find out Boppy was her mission president!  Carol Joly, does that tell you anything mom?  Anyways, unfortunately didnt have a very good mission experience. Still stayed strong and then she got married in the temple and everything, stayed strong for twenty years.  she told us the story of her falling away and seriously it completely broke my heart, it was so so sad.  She said that now she believes in God again, in Heavenly Father but she's trying to figure out who Christ is for her.  We read a verse from the Book of Mormon and she said she felt something again it was like remembering a lost friend.  She accepted a BOM because she had thrown out all her other scriptures and said she would read.  Her fifteen year old daughter came home in the middle and was really happy and surprised to see missionaries and said she wants to come back to church.  Her youngest daughter who was nine had never prayed before in her life and at the end of our lesson we said a prayer together, it was the first time in this little girl's life she had done it.  We are praying for Carole, she is so good and had been so strong for so many years, she said she's not ready to take missionary lessons right now but she said, "your visit was not in vain, thank you for coming."

Everyone in the ward is doing well, I absolutely love the members here and the other missionaries serving here right now, it will be hard to leave.  Please keep praying for us this week.  Every ami we had has disappeared, and we are literally starting at ground zero.  In particular please pray that the members will have opportunities to share the gospel with their friends and will be able to feel the spirit and the joy that comes from missionary work.  

I love you all, have a great week.  Thank you for all of your love and prayers!

Soeur Chard 

Monday, September 10, 2012

It was a WHITE week in Paris

Hi family,

Siliane and Fréderique Doh are now official members of the church!  It was the best weekend ever.  We met with them almost every day leading up to their baptism (we had to finish teaching them all the commandments) and they accepted everything so well.  I promise they were already living basically every commandment and now they just have the blessings that come from the gospel.  The coolest part was when we taught them Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy.  That was the most difficult for them to keep because they both have (had) to work on Sunday.  So what happened is last week Fréderique was almost not going to be able to go to church because of work.  She said, "you know what, Im coming, I'll see you there.  Pray for me please."  So they both showed up last Sunday, we asked how they got to church because of work.  They had had their doctor write a forge note saying they were sick so they could go to church.  I said, "well, I think next lesson is going to be on honesty."  but not so secretly we were really happy they were at church.

So they had committed to keeping the Sabbath Day Holy on Wednesday I think it was.  Friday just before their baptismal interview we had a special lesson just about how they were going to take upon them the name of Christ the next day and what a beautiful blessing it was going to be, etc.  Fréderique said she wanted to tell us a story.  She went on to tell us that her employer had called and said she absolutely had to work on Saturday (the day of her baptism) and on Sunday because she has missed the last two weeks.  she told them she wouldnt be there because she was going to church.  They said in that case, dont bother coming into work again, you have lost your job.  She said, okay, well Im not coming in on Saturday or Sunday, so sorry.  So about a week ago Frederique told us she had started looking for a new job because she knew it was a commandment to come to church every sunday.  A day after she lost her job because she had committed to come to church she got a call from one of the employers she had applied for a job for, and they offered her a job.  She said, "I just want you to know that I am not going to work on Sundays."  They said, "okay, is it because you are going to church?"  She said, "yes."  "okay that's great, you dont have to work on Sunday."  It was such a testimony to Soeur Horn and I that as we act on faith in Christ without always knowing the outcome in advance, He will always provide for us.  It was awesome.  Their baptisms were beautiful, and the confirmations were awesome.  And the most exciting part is that is was simply because a member invited them to come to church.  At the baptism he bore his testimony and said for years he has felt he should talk to these two girls about the gospel but was always nervous too.  He finally did it and three weeks later they are getting baptized.  He testified of the incredible joy that has come into his life because he shared the gospel with someone else.  In Fréderique's blessing of confirmation it talked all about how she is going to be helping advance the work of the Lord through her missionary work.  Last Sunday she told Soeur Horn and I that she would maybe like to serve a mission.  Isnt that crazy?  Siliane just moved to the south of France Sunday night right after her confirmation.  She said that she hates planes so much but she wants to come and she said she'll come and visit Soeur Horn and me in Utah and because she really wants to go to the temple in Salt Lake.

Everything else is going well here too.  Soeur Horn and I did planning on Friday and came up with a six phase plan to accomplish the vision we want to see here.  The vision is to help the Versailles Ward become a Preach My Gospel Ward and to "Gather Israel" (read the definition in bible dictionary... it's 'one who prevails with God')  We really feel like we are being led and directed by the spirit to know what to do.  We love every minute of it and are having so much fun doing it.  It really is an act of faith because it is not necessarily normal missionary work whatsoever.  It's focusing a lot less on finding methods like contacting and porting and a lot more on members.  It's unlike anything I have done so far on my mission and honestly I dont have proof that it's the right thing to do and that it will be successful, but the thing that we do have to go off is that Soeur Horn and I both have the same vision and both keep receiving new inspiration that helps further our vision and we keep having huge support from the ward.  Our mission leader asked us to come to ward council last week to present one of the projects we are doing.  We presented everything and everyone started getting really excited about it.  At the end the bishop said, "thank you sisters.  You have our full support, please show us what we can do to help."  He then asked us to present something on the 30th of september to the ward showing the members how to do missionary work.  The awesome thing we have been noticing is that members are so ready and willing to help missionary work, you just have to show them how.  We are now working really closely with the relief society to do one of our projects and it's so fun.  So please pray for us, because when it all comes down to it, we are just kind of going on faith as far as what we actually know what we are doing.

I hope everyone has an amazing week!  I love you so much!

Soeur Chard

Monday, September 3, 2012

NuSkin a la Francais!

Hi family!

This last week has been the best of my mission and I will tell you why:

1.  Siliane and Frederique are both getting baptized this Saturday!  Such an amazing story.  Siliane was the one who came into church by herself and the member introduced me to her.  I started talking to her and realized it was her first time talking to missionaries.  We set up an appointment and she ended up bringing her twin sister Frederique.  We have taught them for two and a half weeks.  Basically they were so incredibly prepared before we started teaching them, the spirit was able to teach them so strongly and they are getting baptized this Saturday.  the best part is that they way we found these girls was because a member they work with at Carrefour just mentioned they should try coming to church and see what they think.  So this story has started a huge turn of events in Versailles.

That same week we met Siliane and Frederique, the Assistants gave Soeur Horn and I this case study about what this sister missionary did in a ward in Boston and it completely changed missionary work in the ward.  They gave it to us and said, "try doing this in Versailles."  So I read it, and basically it changed my life.  Literally. I read it and almost every night since I have read it I go to bed thinking about all these things for missionary work and after being in bed for a couple hours I have to go write down all the thoughts that come into my mind in my journal for about an hour and then Im able to finally sleep without a problem.  That same pattern has happened four times in the last week.  And I know they are not my thoughts, it is straight up inspiration of the spirit.

So we had a sister training two weeks ago and the Assistants did it and they just mentioned something about the case study in saying they had received it from the Lyon mission (pres roney) and they had given it to Soeur Horn and I are now going to send it to all the zone leaders.  After the training they started asking what Soeur Horn and my vision was for the ward.  So we told them, that night we set the baptismal date with Frederique, two days later we set one with Siliane.

Then on Friday the elders called to ask if we could help two women move into the Le Vesinet area, they arent members, arent even investigators.  We agreed and went over with all the other equipes in our district.  WE FOUND THE NU SKIN DISTRIBUTOR.  We were unloading boxes and I saw Nu Skin written on it so I asked if she uses Nu Skin and she told me she was a distributor.  I was freaking out inside.  The lady was super super stressed and was really not too interested in talking about Nu Skin at the moment but ultimately, this woman does not believe in God at all, and I can basically guarantee you had we contacted her in the street it would be "ça m'interesse pas" but we helped her move and at the end she said, "wow, I am so grateful to all of you, how can I repay you?  I would love to give your church some of my old furniture, just let me get all my stuff moved in and I will give you a call."  At the end the elders asked if they could dedicate her home with a priesthood blessing.  She said yes that would be fine.  The spirit was so powerful and the other woman (from new zealand who is also so awesome) was really touched, you could see it.

That night same thing, I woke up at night and had to write for an hour.  Crazy stuff.  Not my ideas.  The next day at church the assistants (we've been talking about vision of the mission and of Versailles, etc.)  we talked and Soeur Horn and I are helping them plan the mission training they're doing for the mission this transfer.  It changes everything, it's so cool.

Basically, what started it for me is this case study.  I am so absolutely obsessed about it, I talk about it to everybody.  I am so thoroughly convinced that it is the key to success and with it we can baptize three times as many people in the mission.  So Elder Gubbay one of the assistants has a brother Elder Gubbay who is assistant to President Roney right now in Lyon.  This is what happened.  President Roney gave every one of his missionaries this case study, asked them to read it four times and pray for inspiration from the Lord for their ville of what they need to do and then get to work. He told them the following week was going to be an "indear the members week."   .... he told all his missionaries to go home and bake cookies.  Go home bake cookies and go and visit all of the members in the ward.  That week they had 38 referrals.  Elder Gubbay told me that part of the story about three days ago and that's the night I woke up and realized that the mission is basically Nu skin.

Leaders to employees to distributors to consumers
Leaders to missionaries to members to investigators

It's the exact same set up, it can be the exact same set up and that's what can change a mission.  So it's changing trainings from being focused on tactics of how to teach amis, how to porte, how to find and it is instead giving missionaries the tools to get their vision for the ward they are serving in and show the members the how of how to do missionary work.

Soeur Horn and I started working on this ward repetoire in the ward, updating information for the ward.  We did one page of 35 names, using white pages online and we found that only 16 were correct, 6 had changed addresses and 11 were unfindable.  The assistants had two of their last baptisms come from people who were already located on the repetoire but had incorrect information, the assistants happened to find those people by miracles.  So now we have all the missionaries working to updating that.  I talked to our ward mission leader the other day and he said, "well, this is really great, the bishop just wants to know if this is really missionary work?"  I told him what we had done with it and why it's such an important missionary tool.  HIs response was, "Remy and I are preparing a missionary presentation to present to the bishopric on the 30th of September.  Will you prepare a presentation about member missionary work?  The members want to help they just dont know how to do it."  so good, so good.

So, already the ward has changed and it has only been three weeks really since we have all really been changing our strategy in our district.  Yesterday in sacrament meeting basically every testimony was on missionary work and the Atonement and how this church is Christ's church on the earth today.  After church multiple members came up to me and said, "soeur chard what's happening, missionary work has never been like this in this ward, what's changed?"  I told them it's the members, it's the attitude.  The assistants have been setting baptismal dates for every other week, I will just say this.  That is not even close to what is average.  And now it's carrying out so much further, we're trying to help every zone have what is happening in Versailles happen in their area.  It's so fun.

Mom mentioned the reporters on Mitt Romney?  Yes there's a lot going on with that.  We had reporters film sacrament meeting and I'll send you the link.  They are finally finally starting to get that we are normal.  It's a good report.  The elders you see are Elder Gubbay and Elder Saguibo.  Two of the best elders ever, so so good.  And from this report there's going to be another baptism next week!  A woman who was on the media crew started researching everything about the church and emailed someone to see where the closest mormon church was to her in St Germain.  Showed up to Versailles.  Soeur Merer (elder gubbay's grandma and grandma connie's friend) introduced this woman to the elders.  The elders went over there and this woman had written a whole proposition of why the church should accept her as a member and explaining her situation as a divorcee, her situation with tithing, etc.  Basically they fixed a baptismal date with her for two weeks later.  These people are just miracles that the Lord is sending us and it's happening for the entire district and it is so incredible.  The mission goal that this conference is trying to help accomplish is to have 78 baptisms for the month of September.  Something that has never happened but totally can.  And Elder Anderson is coming to speak to the mission in November!

Soeur Horn, I absolutely love her, could not ask for a better companion.  Seriously could not ask for a better person to work with.  She's a hard worker, she offers awesome input and she trusts me, she will try new things and she understands the why behind everything.  I absolutely love her and we have so much fun together.  We had a RDV with Siliane and Frederique last night and Frederique said she's thinking about serving a mission after she gets baptized.  So crazy cool.  

I love you all and hope you have a fabulous week!  Please pray for Siliane and Frederique this week!  And pray for the mission to all see success.

Soeur Chard