Monday, January 26, 2015

Tres Vite - Janvier 26, 2015

This week flew bye. It was a good one.

Gave away a Book of Mormon to a Muslim guy on the bus...Kind of 2 birds with one stone in
Me and my life-saving
Coke from last week.
mission rules, but he did the contact, and I wasn't going to ignore him and be rude. He was an engineering student from Nigeria and asked me why I wore my plaque. He really wanted to argue, but I just testified, told him about my wonderful friend Aina who is a great Muslim that I love, and told him we respect all religions. I told him to read the Book of Mormon if he had questions, he was kind of surprised and didn't know what to say... and luckily we arrived at our stop, so we got off.

Matching hoodies!
P day was kind of lame compared to others, BUT Soeur Stevens and I bought matching hoodies at Zara. SO soft and comfy. And we bought these sweet design coloring book things for our planner covers for next transfer.

Soeur Stevens went a little crazy one morning before studies and cut bangs... I think she's really ready for some change. haha She looks cute. :) It feels like a have a different companion when I look at her, but she's still the great comp she always is. We've
Soeur Stevens rockin the new bangs,
Canada mittens, and tennis shoes
in-front of our flat's entrance door.
We live on the 1st floor up.
Nogent-sur-Marne, Paris, France
really become close and silly this week.

Me, Cynthia, Soeur Stevens
Nogent-sur-Marne, Paris, France
We met with Cynthia on Wednesday, our amazing amie with a baptismal date for this coming Saturday. It was amazing. Such a strong spirit present and we covered so much material and she just soaked it all up. Unfortunately, her mom is not on board and has read some anti-mormon blogs and thinks we are a sect/cult. So we are praying and fasting for her mom to be softened and understanding. She didn't make it to church on Sunday, which was super sad, but I have faith that one day she will be baptized. I pray it will be while I'm here. She is so faithful and strong!

Muddy Buddies!
Not much more time, but I love Nogent. Transfers are next week! Ah! I'm almost positive I'll be staying and Soeur Stevens will be leaving. As much as change is uncomfortable, it is necessary and oh so good for us. We are getting too comfortable and need bigger mountains to climb. Slightly scared to type that, but I know we can continually strive to do better. There is a quote by Henry Ford that I love, "Unless a man takes on more than he can possibly handle, he will never do all that he can." amen to that.

I'm excited for this week. Great things in-store! :) This gospel is great. It's true and I love it.
I wish the best for all. Keep praying, reading, and serving! :)

Soeur Kate Simpson

Just another beauty of Chateau de Vincennes.
Check out that mote!

Harry Potter much?


Crazy cool pastries. :)

Little future Soeur LeConte
She is one of the 5 LeConte children.
We decided to start
weekly service at the LeConte's.
5 kids under 6, and the mom
just was called to be the new
Relief Society President.
When she told us,
she just broke down into tears.
She feels the weight of the world,
and said "how can I help the sisters
when I'm the one in need of help?"
She is one of the most selfless, loving,
patient women I know.
She'll be perfect,
but we also are going to help all that we can! :)

Champigny-sur-Marne, Paris, France

Monday, January 19, 2015

Official and such - Janvier 19

Bonne semaine a tous!

I hope all is well. Things are great, much better than last week, here in Paris. From a missionary stand point, the terrorist stuff has calmed down. We don't really know what's going on as far as politics and such, but we are safe and the work is actually doing really well. Thank you for all the prayers. We can definitely feel them.

Happy Birthday to Grandma Yaunt! I hope it was wonderful! I love you! :) Also, I believe Max Skidmore's is this week: Happy Birthday Max! :)

I became official, meaning I am completely legal here in France with my visa, on Tuesday after a long day of paperwork and medical exams in Montrouge. AND I was reunited with my MTC district
Me and Soeur Van Den Berghe
on our little mini exchange.
and everyone in my group. Super fun to see everyone again and see what the work is like in their areas. It took up the entire day, we got home at 7:30pm, and went porting. Soeurs Bell and Van Den Berghe missed their train, so they stayed the night chez nous. We went on exchanges for the night for porting and Soeur Van Den Berghe and I went to Bry sur Marne. I love that sister. She is so great. We had such a good time. No one let us in our listened to us, but it was still a great night.

Wednesday was wonderful. District meeting was interesting... Elder Lloyd had our formation on self-worth and did a super weird lesson with Elder Westwood and Soeur Stevens that I don't even know how to explainm but we all died laughing and feeling super uncomfortable and confused. I think we all are still confused. But he tried.

Cynthia, our wondeful amie with a baptismal date of Jan 30, met with us and we taught her the Plan
Soaked in the rain and
loving it anyway.
May or may not have sung
"Coming clean" by Hillary Duff...
de Salut and she received it well, asked questions, and committed to pray about it to know of it's truth. She is great.

Sonia, a new young woman who just moved back from Portugal, invited us to her house for lunch. She is incredible. She was baptized 2 years ago in Portugal, moved to France, moved back to Portugal to get visa stuff, and now is back here in France. She is a ray of sunshine and such a strength to our ward. She fed us some concoction of rice, boiled eggs, tuna, beans, tomatoes, hot dogs, corn, mushrooms... it was kind of tough to swallow, but I did it. and she was SO generous to feed us. She told us that she wants to serve a mission and talked to the other young women and now they all want to serve a mission! Soeur Stevens had an idea to host a YW night and talk about missions and what they are like and talk with the YW. They are all super excited. I think it'll be awesome, it's probably going to be next transfer, but hey. Good things to come!

Paris from the ground
Saturday was a struggle. I got super sick, I think it might have been some bad food, or some traces of gluten added up, I don't know. But I ended up throwing up at our DMP's house during our weekly meeting (don't worry, I made it to the restroom). Good thing the Kusselings are the nicest people and I know them pretty well. It was pretty embarassing, but they were so kind about it. We visited the Adamson's that night and taught them the Restoration again, starting from the beginning with the basic doctrines of the gospel. Turned out to be great, because their cousin from Ghana was there and listened in. Blessings for enduring through pain and discomfort and doing work anyway. I did buy a coke at the RER station, which helped a ton. Thank heavens for coke.

Church was great. It was ward conference, so some of our investigators were super confused, but it was a  good time. They had a ward lunch right afterwards. They have a lot of those here. Not a bad thing. :) This ward is great! Oh! Our bishop and his wife had their baby! Little baby Clara. There are 3 more babies due in the next month or two in the ward! :) Also, a cool thing happened! A man and his son showed up at the end of the luncheon thing and said they were looking for the bishop. They just moved from Cote D'Ivoire and are members! Wahoo! More members! :)

Moss of Chateau de Vincennes.
I love that place.
Things are great. It's super weird coming to the end of this transfer. Soeur Stevens thinks she's leaving, which is highly likely since I'll be done being trained and she's been here for 6 months. I am so grateful for her, for her patience with me, and all she has taught me. I know we were meant to be companions. The Lord knows what we need from others. I have been so blessed with companions and I am so grateful. :)

The gospel is true. Life is oh so good. There are so many things to be grateful for. I am safe. I love you all. Have such a wonderful week! :)

Soeur Kate Simpson

Monday, January 12, 2015

Light will win - Janvier 12, 2015

I am alive and well and the work continues.

Since Wednesday I've been trying to decide what I'm going to write about this week of chaos. Due to
I love Paris.

the events being resolved, I think I'll just tell you everything I can remember. I find it a bit strange but a blessing that for 2 of the biggest Islamic terrorist attacks in my life-time, I've lived within 20 minutes of the targets... Coincidence? I believe everything happens for a reason.

The Lord protects His missionaries. This I know for a fact. Too many events happened to keep us from being in the line of fire this week, which we would have been. So the Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris' 11th is in our district's secteur. It's about 15 minutes from us by trajet. It happened on the road where Elder and Sister Maynard live, but after hearing the gunshots, they went back in. All of our Elders were out of Paris Wednesday and so were we.

Wednesday, the day of the first attack, jan. 7
We made it to daily planning (21h00) without knowing anything had happened but looking in retrospect, we noticed something was up all day. We went up into Chelles and there was a big commotion at the RER/bus station with buses just packed and people everywhere. super weird, but
January 7, 2015
RER when no one was there
and so we had a dance party.
Chelles is pretty sketch anyway, so we didn't think much of it. Well then that night, we went porting in Sucy and coming back we were the only ones in our car of the RER for 3 stops. NO one was on the RER. So not knowing why and thinking it was awesome, we may have had a dance party. It was not until our STLs texted us "Are you home and safe?" that we were like, "why would they ask us that?" and i thought maybe there is a security something. Then we got a text from the Zone Leaders from President Babin telling us to be vigilant and stay out of Muslm neighborhoods, but nothing of what had happened. Needless to say, we had a hard time going to sleep that night. Imaginations are sometimes worse than reality. But we made it to sleep around 2 am.

We had the hardest time scheduling District Meeting this week, and it turns out there was a purpose: we would have been right where the first shooting was at the same time it happened. Soeur Stevens and I even had the meal ready for the meeting, but called the district leader the night before we thought it was and they had changed it to Thursday. Had I not called, we would have been there. So watched over. Also, sketchy number thing about the attack: the phone number for police here is 1-7. What was the date of this attack? 1-7-15. Sketchy.

Well there was another attack on Thursday, but in southern Paris, but the terrorist fled through Val de Fontenay, 1 stop from Nogent. We came back from District Meeting strait to Val de Fontenay to go do service. We were in pants, which was SUCH a blessing to fit into the crowd. As we came up to the quai (platform) police stormed the station, 2 by 2 with backs to each other and guns ready... that was a bit intimidating, but since we hadn't heard about the 2nd shooting, we didn't think a whole lot of it. Well, service was interesting. We had lunch with 2 single old ladies in our ward, super nice. We ate pickled asparagus, boiled eggs, carrots and mustard, duck, potato puree, and boiled meringue. Sounds
view of Sacre coeur
from musee d'orsay
yummy, huh? Then we helped one of the ladies pack up to move back to Guadeloupe. Good times. Needless to say, when we found out we were at Val de Fontenay right after the terrorist fled through there, we couldn't get to sleep encore. We knew we were safe, but it just replayed in our heads over and over again. We listened to David Archuleta's Glorious and talked about boys to distract our minds from being scared. Worked like a charm. haha Not necessarily the most missionary-minded idea, but I think in cases of terrorist attacks, it's okay, right?

Friday there was a hostage/killing situation in Vincennes. In our secteur. By the chateau that I told you to look up a while ago that we go contacting all the time. We spent the whole day inside Friday, besides to go to the doctor's appointment for Soeur Steven's ankle. We updated the area book, sang a bunch of hymns, called people for rendez-vous and pretty much went crazy just being inside. But it was a good thing. There was a bomb-threat at Val de Fontenay and we were texted by President for all Paris missionaries to get home asap and stay inside. Done and done. We had cancelled our rendez-vous for that day on thursday, which we would have been there when it happened.

Saturday we stayed in for most of the day, just for weekly planning and an apartment inspection by the senior couple missionaries. We decided to go out porting, but ended up just coming back. Everyone is on high alert. We went contacting on Sunday, and people jump when you say "bonjour"...
I think I have mastered the African head wrap.
so I think it may take some time for people to calm down a bit. There are "Je suis Charlie" posters everywhere and there was a massive march on the Champs-Elysees on Sunday, which I'm sure if you're not on a mission, you've already heard about it. The president of France, Palestine, Italy, Germany, and other countries joined thousands, if not millions of people, to stand up for the right of speech. I don't know the whole story, being a missionary and not knowing the politics and such is hard for me. We were told to stay away from any manifestation/protest on Sunday, but had I not been a missionary, it would have been so cool to go. It's made me think of the French revolution and Les Mis. La Place de la Republique, the giant plaza we went caroling as a district during Noel, was packed with people (from pictures i've seen on newstands). This country has been through so much. I finally fell asleep without difficulty by the comfort of reading the scriptures right before bed. I read Doctrine and Convenants 121, when the prophet Joseph Smith is in Liberty Jail. Emily Lords (Hess) wrote me a note in college with the reference D&C 121:7-9. It gave me great comfort. I highly recommend you read it.

Though the world is falling apart and chaos is surrounding, there is light and goodness. 
It gives me great comfort to know that I carry the light that is victorious over dark. Light always beats darkness. We each carry the light that makes the world better; though are numbers are few, they are growing. I feel it a privilege to be an emissary of light; to be a soldier in the army of the Lord Jesus Christ. We have no need to fear. This week I was a bit nervous, but I realized I was not scared. The Lord had prepared me to handle this week and all the consequences of other's actions. I do not fear. I know that the Savior lives. He is real. He protects me. He strengthens me. His work continues.

Arc on Champs
"Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I am, and that I am to come." Doctrine & Covenants 68:6

I love you and pray for you. Don't worry about me or any of us in Paris. We are protected and watched over.

Be good. Do more. Look outward.

Avec tout de mon coeur,
Soeur Kate Simpson

Monday, January 5, 2015

Bonne Année 2015

Once again, I don't have much time. But New Years was amazing. What a good week.

We had a dinner with the Bishop, his wife, the 1st counsellor, his wife, and his wife's mom. We ate Tartiflette, pretty much my favorite, and it was just great. I love these people. It was funny to see them in their homes being more friend-like than Church business like. Good people.

Sœur Stevens and I tried out a new contacting "game". We get on the RER and only have 2 stops before we have to change cars and start again, so we have to contact right off the bat. It also provides for a nice excuse if the contact goes bad or it's a car full of men... It is really fun and we meet all sorts of people. It's something I've been wanting to do for a while, something new, and fun.

We had an awesome district meeting in Paris. Elder Lloyd had us go out into the Streets, after he told us there was a less active member from each of our wards that we have to find and contact, and so we had to contact within 15 minutes to find them. It was stressful, and we didn't really get it... but when we came back, the lesson was awesome. We need to go about contacting with the view that each person could be a member in the future. Cool lesson.

New Year's Eve was awesome. We finally got let into a member referral's house, Miriam, and she had us sing to her again and ended up teaching about the Restoration, Tithing, and the Priesthood. Super awesome. Then we spent the eve walking along the Champs-Elysees all the way to the Arc de Triomphe. Kind of magical.

New Year's day, we woke up, made new year's résolutions, and headed into Paris. We walked along the Seine, starting up by Notre Dame, passed the Louvre, and ended up by Musee D'Orsay which happened to be open (not open on pdays) and it was FREE! So we spent the next 4 hours in the museum with some of greatest masterpieces of art in the world. We ate at Le Fregate, a restaurant on the Left bank of the Seine. We kind of had a "when in Paris" night and had an awesome meal. Hermana Simpson says the DC North VC mission is the Princess mission, well, I thought that this day was pretty royal. It was amazing.

We were visited by Elder and Sister Anderson, the YSA directors of Europe, and Elder and Sister Maynard, a senior couple in our mission, at our apartment to repair our wall that is falling apart. It was an honor and such a blessing that our apartment was clean. It was a cool opportunity to meet and talk with the Andersons.

This week was good. The work is wonderful and I love being a missionary! Have such a great week. Happy 2015. Let this year be a year of miracles! Love you all!

Sœur Simpson!