Monday, November 17, 2014


Where on Earth do I even begin?

Getting to work right off the plane!
I am safely in France. I am assigned to a ville just outside of Paris, but is still considered a suburb of Paris proper. It is the cutest little (actually really big) city and our secteur is massive. My head was pretty much exploding the first 3 days. Don't worry, only cried twice. okay, maybe 3 times. This is definitely a lot harder than the MTC, but it's great. I love it.

My formatrisse is Soeur Ashley Stevens! She is wonderful. She is from Oregon and is just the cutest. She's been here for 12 weeks... as in she just finished being trained and is now training, but thus far, we're doing alright. I LOVE contacting and coeuring (door to door). Seriously, love it. Pretty
Three Generations:
Me, Sr. Stevens, and her trainer,
Sr. Tupe from Tahiti
Eglise de Saint Mari, Paris
much everyone says no, so that's too bad for them, but it doesn't effect how I feel. We recite le objectif missionaire and pray everytime before we leave the apartment and it truly helps to remember what my job is here. SO good.

Our mission has a saying that "for ever 10 doors we knock, there is a baptism in Brazil." So, you're welcome Elder Taylor. haha I gave you 4 baptisms this week. I feel sad for the French, they really are nice, but just so closed up. Literally every house/apartment has massive fences, every window has bars and solid coverings, and at least 2 secured doors before entering into a house. This makes it nearly impossible to talk to them face to face. So when we go "coeuring", we either have to yell over the fence if we could pray with them, or use the microphone/doorbell. It's a good time.

Saint Mari church.
This is where we brought our luggage,
went contacting with "mothers"
and then Wednesday
where we met our trainers and headed out.
So food. This is gonna be fun. I've been living off of rice cakes, jam, rice, milk, and potato soup stuff. Grocery stores are not really a thing here and especially gluten-free food. Also, I didn't have any money until today, so that was also fun. Because I am in a Navigo zone, I had to buy the monthly Navigo pass thing for all the trajet (transportation), which was like 100 euros, which is basically a missionary's budget for a whole month. So, at the ATM when we were trying to go buy me some rice cakes and potatos so I could actually eat something, I couldn't get any money out. Oh and parents, my debit card isn't working. I think the PIN has been messed with, probably by me getting it wrong or something. So we should probably figure something out. Alas, this morning, Sr. Stevens and I decided to try the ATM one more time before groceries for P day, and guess what? MIRACLE: I was able to take out 20 e. Just enough for a few groceries. What a blessing. Also, another miracle, the grocery store (basically like a really small Walgreens with less products) had gluten-free pasta! I'm saved! I'm sure I'll get the hang of eating here someday. I'm pretty sure I'm going to lose weight unlike most sister missionaries on their missions, so that's cool. haha

Miracles are so real, it's not even funny. It is amazing to see what the Lord has in store for us every
Awful picture of me coeuring in the rain.
Nogent-sur-Marne, Paris, France
day. On Thursday, Sr. Stevens and I were trying to get to a less-active member's house for a rendez-vous. Since we are a Paris zone, we are also in the Navigo zone, which is the RER train/Metro/Bus system. Holy cannoli. The subway system here is SO complex compared to D.C., but ca va. We we were slightly lost once we surfaced and so we were just standing there for a few minutes and out of nowhere, a nice lady comes up to us and says, "I'm a member and I just moved here from Cameroon a few weeks ago and have been searching for a ward but haven't been able to find it anywhere!" Sr. Stevens and I whipped out our contact cards, we got her number, and said we'd see her on Sunday! SO cool.

A similar miracle happened the following day when we were at the RER Gare de Lyon station waiting for our train that never came. A member couple from Switzerland was lost and they saw us and ran over to us for help. Lesson learned, sometimes we are just meant to be somewhere where we feel stuck, but we are not there for us, we are there to help others along the way.

Sr. Stevens eating some
sour gummy things a la gare
waiting for our train,
after a successful rendez-vous
with a part member family
who we are working with to get baptized.
La Maison de Verts, Paris, France​
Even in France, I get teased about my last name. At church, the Dirigeant de la Mission de la Paroisse (ward misison leader) asked if my mom's name was Marge... hahah never heard that before... haha. It's nice to have a few universal things in life. yay for the Simpsons. #therealSimpsonsfromSpringfield

As far as numbers go, this is going to be rough. BUT I don't plan to let that get me down. One day, all of our appointments fell through, so we contacted all day and taught zero lessons...but overall we taught 7 lessons this week! and we received and planned with a new contact: Cynthia. Most of our rendez-vous fell through, so we did lots of contacting and coeuring, but ca va. I like it and it's a great way to see our secteur. Chateau de Vincennes is probably my favorite place thus far to contact. It's this massive medeival fortress with cathedral and all and the bulidings and parcs around it are beautiful. At least it is a cool place to work, even if the work is hard.

I've read some awesome talks this week. In the recent General Conference, President Packer's talk about his visit to King's College for family history, it's in the first session/front of the Ensign for November. read it. There are a lot of quotes that I took from it that have helped me a ton.

He talks about how even Joseph Smith too felt alone and confused. He rose to greatness, but began as a 14 year-old boy with questions. He gained his testimony, as we must too, "line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little." AMEN to that. I know I have SO much to learn and become, and it's honestly a lot harder than anticipated, but I know that I can do this. I can't do it alone, that is for sure. I have been driven to my knees a lot this week. Prayer is real. Faith works. and I am everso grateful for the blessings and miracles God blesses us with everyday to keep doing his work.

I know this is where I'm supposed to be and I am excited for the miracles and growth ahead. Growth is not comfortable, but it makes us better and stronger. I know when we pray for strength, God will strengthen us. I am grateful for my Savior who sacrificed all. My sacrifice is nothing compared to Him. What a blessing it is to serve a mission.

I love you all, I wish you the best. Keep choosing the right. Be good. Do more. Look outward.

Avec amour,

Soeur Kate Simpson

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