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 "├ža 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

Hi!

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!

Love,
Soeur Chard



Monday, November 12, 2012

The Language .. .AAhh!

Hi everyone!

First of all, I think I was physically sick when I heard the election results of the United States.  It's so sad to me what is happening to our country.  

The big news of the week is that I'm getting a new companion this week!  The office called a few days ago and said that there is another visa waiter coming in who will be serving in Arizona spanish speaking mission.  She is from Torcy (right outside of Paris).  So I'm restarting the training program with her, I am going into Paris Wednesday to pick her up. Soeur Grewar is taking over the training program with Soeur Deleu and we are opening another companionship in the city.  Honestly, I am super nervous.  But it will all be good.  Just pray for all of us please!

I think the biggest struggle for me this transfer has been the language.  Which is really ironic and weird to me because I was not expecting that at all.  I think just coming from training a blue who was just learning french to suddenly being immersed with a companion where we only speak french all the time has been a huge adjustment for me.  It's also weird because although I'm now speaking french more or less all the time, I feel like it is getting worse.  I'm super self-conscious about it and am now constantly doubting myself.  It's also interesting because most of my mission people have been telling me I speak pretty well and I get to Angers and random people on the street are calling me out on my french.  So, that does not really help with confidence boosting on the language.  

We were teaching someone the other night, her name is Estelle and she had invited over her friend to listen.  This friend had read the introduction of the BOM and had tons of questions about what was what.  He asked a question at the beginning, I started answering and he stops me and says, "you have an accent that makes it difficult to understand you, you're from where?"  I just had to swallow all my pride and seriously use all my courage to keep talking and trying to teach.  After having so many comments about my language the last week I was so frustrated and I just didn't want to even try to speak french anymore.  So I'm just trying to take it as a challenge, and am trying to dig in deeper so that I can improve.  Whenever we have opposition in anything we can choose to accept things for the way they are or try to overcome them.  Please pray for me to have the gift of tongues!  This morning I made some good language goals and am going to change some of the things I am doing so that I can improve.    

Estelle is a woman contacted by the elders and was passed to us.  Long story short, we went in and decided first lesson needed to be Word of Wisdom.  Pull out the Bible to read about the Word of Wisdom and how our bodies are gifts from God and she lights up a cigarette then and there.  We read DandC 89 whild she is smoking.  It was super bizarre experience.  She said she wants to stop and currently smokes 30 a day and is now trying to decrease.  We gave her a BOM and committed her to read it whenever she felt the desire to start smoking.  Please pray for her.

Training in a three-some has been very interesting.  a totally different experience than training Soeur Horn.  Training Soeur Horn was so much fun, I knew the city, we had developed trust with the members already, I loved all the people we were teaching, we had vision and it was so fun.  This is completely different because Soeur Deleu hasnt been through the MTC yet and is feeling like she doesnt know enough.  And it's different because language is not a barrier in this situation.  I tell Soeur Deleu though, she is one of the most optimistic people I have ever met, connects with people really well and is always wanting to improve.  She's already great and will just keep getting better.  I just am trying to figure out how to train this time because it's so different.  It's an interesting challenge to try to balance the needs to two companions, and trying to understand the area and the people and the members and the people you're teaching and trying to teach and your own personal challenges and still just trying to have fun and not stress too much.  It's a good challenge that I'm sure prepares you for life.  Soeur Grewar and I were talking about the training program yesterday and feel like we need to make some adjustments for how we will do it.  I'm excited to start over with the program again with another french visa-waiter, because I think I'm going to try to go about it a different way.  Focusing more on faith in Jesus Christ and setting goals.  And the more we can all grow faith in Christ that we will know what to say in lessons, to learn to trust your companion, that there's people prepared to find, that God helps us the way, the knowledge that comes as a missionary will come more quickly and confidence in our calls as missionaries also grows.

My companions are both awesome.  Two of my very favorite companions on my mission.  We have so much fun together and I feel so grateful we have met here so we can be friends forever.  

My favorite thing I've studied on my mission is the "character of Christ, Atonement  of Christ, and conversion to Christ" that dad sent me about six months ago.  I dont know how many times I have read it.  My most read things on my mission= the BOM, Preach My Gospel, the susan fulcher case study and that talk probably. haha  Because I think the three points in that talk are the most valuable lessons I have learned, am continuing to learn and hope to continue to learn throughout my mission.  Emphasis lately is on the Character of Christ.  It's so good.

Rahel is getting baptized this weekend!  Her mom just signed the form yesterday.  She is sixteen and is originally from Ethiopia.  I love to watch people change with the gospel of Christ in their lives.  Nadege (the woman soeur horn and I started teaching) is also getting baptized next week!  Because of her decision to be baptized, her uncle kicked her out of the house and she is now living with a member.  She is amazing and I feel so blessed to have met her and take part in her teaching.

The last thing is that President and Soeur Poznanski asked that we all ask our families to pray for the goal we have set as a mission.  The goal is that each companionship is able to find one family who is prepared for the gospel before Christmas to be baptized as a family.  It's really cool because in preparation for Elder Anderson to come the mission set a goal for 78 baptisms by the time he came between the beginning of September to when he comes and as of yesterday there were 74 baptisms.  Much more than ever before in our mission in that amount of time.  So cool.  So please pray for the mission and for the members and for families to be prepared to receive the gospel right now.  Thank you!

I love you all! Have a great week!

Love,
Soeur Chard

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Angers

Hi!

I can't believe Danielle gets her call this week!!!!!   Let it be known that I predict the Eastern U.S.  I cant believe also that I am going to find out a week later than anyone else!  Maybe you could communicate to someone and have them call me to tell me the news during the week.  Just an idea. :)

Last day in Versailles was amazing, on tuesday we had lots of RDVs with our amis and it was amazing to watch how these people want to change or want to change.  Nadege is the one we really need prayers for, she wants to be baptized.  she has been through so much in her life and is such a good woman.  We taught her the Plan of Salvation on Tuesday night and she was just sobbing at the end, she has had a difficult family life.  the amazing thing about her is in her trials she is turning to pray, the scriptures, now the BOM and God.  Pray for her please!

Angers is great so far and I am so happy to be here!   The very best part is because of my two companions.  I LOVE both of them and couldnt ask for better.  Soeur Horn and I were on our way to St. Merri to switch companions when the assistants called and said, "Soeur Chard, where are you?  You are supposed to be here because you are doing the training program again."  So, we hurried right over and come to find out we are doing the twelve week program again.   This time though my blue is Soeur Deleu, french from Chartres.  She's actually waiting for her visa so she can go to Temple Square visitor center.  (I told her that I am for sure sending my family over to meet her as soon as she gets to the mission).  she it's a completely different experience from training Soeur Horn because she's french so suddenly 24/7 everything is in french and doing the training program in french instead of english, and also because we are in a trio, very different and also because I didnt start in Angers before starting the training program so that's a lot of learning together and also because Soeur Deleu hasn't been to the MTC yet so it's totally starting from scratch.

But soeur deleu is my favorite ever.  She is a little ball of sunshine and learns so fast and I seriously absolutely love her.  My favorite is language study, and I help her with english, you learn how to speak english more correctly when you are actually teaching it.  She's such a fast learner and is doing so well with the adjustment to missionary life.  

Soeur Grewar is a convert of two years from australia and I absolutely love her as well.  Her conversion story is amazing (her friend introduced her to the church about eight years ago), she's always been a really good girl with good values and has tons of faith, joined the church and said after she joined the church she studied three hours personally every day because she realized how much she had to learn to help her better understand the gospel.  The friend who introduced her to the gospel is serving a mission right now in Japan and while she was working on her papers Soeur Grewar decided to serve a mission as well.  Because she wants to be as prepared as possible to raise a strong family in the gospel and be as converted as possible to the gospel.  She is so legit, super obedient and a really hard worker.

the three of us together have so much fun.  Soeur Grewar is in her fourth so is still learning french and it's a blessing to have soeur deleu, it helps both of us a lot to always be speaking french now.

Yesterday at church was great.  Emmanuelle got confirmed, it was a woman Soeur Grewar and Judd met two weeks ago and go baptized after eight days of lessons.  It's my favorite asking new converts how they feel after they receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  Emmanuelle was so happy and it was so amazing being there with her. We are going to teach her about the temple tonight for FHE.

I hope everyone is doing well and praying for Mitt Romney! :)  I feel like I need to wear an american flag shirt here because I am now the only American, I love it.  I told my companions that we definitely have to celebrate Thanksgiving anyways.

Have an incredible week!  I love you all!
Love,
Soeur Chard