Monday, July 27, 2015

531 Pages in 5 Weeks - 27 juillet 2015

Bonjour mes chers frères et sœurs,

I hope you're all well. It's been another great week in Paris. It was transfer week, so a bit crazy, but busy is good. Just how I like it. Tuesday we welcomed in the new Bleues (greenies I believe is the English word). There were 4 soeurs and they are awesome. I "fathered" Sœur Woolley, from Riverton. Absolutely adorable and such a great missionary already. She was assigned to Versailles, so she's in our STL group! I'm excited. Wednesday was transfer day, and we were stationed at St. Lazare to give T+ tickets to in coming missionaries from Caen and Rouen. I got to see Soeur Hogan and Soeur Facer again! 
STL selfie at Conseil de Mission 
Sr. Defranchi, Sr. Romero, 
Sr. Rasband, Sr. Tippett, 
Sr. Proudfoot, and Sr. Hill
Thursday was Conseil de Mission. President Babin gave a wonderful training on charity and truly loving those around us. We do what we do out of love, and if we sprint, we must work, pray and try to do so. I find it absolutely true. Without love, we cannot accomplish what the Savior would have us do. I am so grateful for President Babin, the Assistants, and the fellow mission leaders. The APs gave a fabulous training on diligence. It is exactly what are mission needs. It is an obedient mission but there is always room for improvement. I shared my favorite quote from Martha Washington, as I love to do so as often as applicable.

"I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever circumstance I may find myself; for I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance, but by our disposition."

I felt like my heart was going to explode from thumping so loud, so I just shared it. I hope someone needed it in the council. I am grateful for the Holy Ghost and the promptings he gives us. That is definitely an area where I can improve, being diligent and obedient to promptings of the Holy Ghost, especially those which bring myself outside of my comfort zone. My comfort zone is pretty big, at least I feel so in comparison to where I was, but there is somehow always room to expand, grow, and dare new things. My friend Garrett said to me that he had a motto of "do something everyday that scares you." I suppose it is a good motto, as long as they are wise and good decisions.

Well, Friday, we had a meeting with the ZLs to plan for Distric tLeader Training Saturday. 
Liberty leading the People, anyone?  
Tombe d'Eugene Delacroix 
Cimetière du Père Lachaise
They came up with a slightly crazy goal. We are going to each read he entire Book of Mormon in one transfer. We've got 5 weeks. Yep. 15 pages a day. Soeur Tippett and I feel like we already don't have enough time to get everything else done, but here we go. So far, so good. It has been awesome. Saturday I started studies at 7:00am and read until 8:30 into personal study. It was a struggle to stay awake after an hour and Sunday I modified and started at 7:30am. It's a big change of morning routines. We've been getting up at 6:15am anyway for about a transfer and a half so that gives us a little extra time to get things going. Basically every "free" time we have, we get to read the Book of Mormon. It's awesome. The ZLs are pretty stoked and so are we. The rest of the zone will start Wednesday after the first district meeting of the transfer. We are also going to do the giant Book of Mormon contacting sessions twice this transfer because president likes it so much and we saw so much success. It'll be cool to have the whole zone reading and studying the Book of Mormon as we preach and invite others to read and study. I can only imagine for now how wonderful and more powerful it will be. Ah. I'm so excited. It's awesome already and I'm only on day3!

With that written, I won't have much if any time to write or doing anything else, but it's all good because it's for the Book of Mormon. Basically, see ya next transfer. Haha its going to be good.

I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. It contains the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is powerful and its power is real. I highly recommend it. With all my heart I recommend it. How has it changed your life today?

Happy week, Sœur Simpson

Monday, July 20, 2015

A Whole Week in Our Secteur? 20 juillet 2015

A Whole Week in Our Secteur?

Yes. It is true. We had a full week in our own area. What a wonderful blessing to be able to serve all over France with our fellow soeurs, but oh how nice it is to be in Paris working in our own Ward boundaries.

After the lovely Versailles pday activities ended at 6:00, my District Leader and Zone Leaders gave me a blessing. I have felt a bit distracted, unfocused and just in need of a blessing. I haven't had one on my mission and I felt it was about time. I guess I needed it more than I thought. It was perfect and soothed my soul. Elder Martin gave the blessing and it was incredibly inspired. How grateful I am for worthy, honorable priesthood holders, ready and willing to serve.

Well, after a bit of worrying that something had happened to Anna because she didn't come to church and didn't answer our calls, all was well and she came to our rdv before the YSA FHE. It turns out she didn't sleep at all the night before and finally fell asleep at 7:00am... She simply slept past church. We were worried we scared her off with the baptismal date, but thankfully such was not the case. We had a lovely lesson with her and Flora about the plan of salvation. She told us that it was this part of the gospel that she believed in and hadn't found any other church that believed the same until this church. SO cool.

After Anna and Flora headed off to FHE, we ran to the other side of our secteur for a little member spiritual message with a family from Ukraine. They are some of the nicest and happiest people. Soeur Kretsu is so giggly and happy, it's hard not to just smile and love life when you're around her. We shared a message from President Eyring's talk "The Comforter" and they said it was exactly what they all needed to hear. It is so nice to have little confirmations of being an effective instrument in the Lord's hand. Soeur Tippett was inspired in studies that morning.

This transfer's last district meeting went well. Elder Martin gave a training on accepting our weaknesses and working on them to become strengths. It was very inspired.

Run to the Eiffel Tower– 5:15am came pretty fast, but it was oh so worth it. We took the metro 6 to Bir Hakeim and ran to the Eiffel Tower. Due to Bastille Day the day before, it was all blocked off and there were hung over and passed out drunk people all over the place. No worries, we were fine. We had such a beautiful morning. We ran across the ridge and along the seine, then found a little dock that we did some exercises on and watched as the sun rose and colored the Parisian sky. We were all pretty tired the rest of the day, but it was so worth it.

Anna chez Prisen. Priscillia's brother hosted a lesson with a few YSA girls and Anna already knew a few and it went super well. Anna is just on fire. Such a fabulous lady. She accepted a date for 20th of September!!! Hopefully she will realize she's ready earlier

Gina miracle. Coming home afterwards we were walking directly home because it was nearly 9:00pm. We were coming up behind a lady as we were talking and I decided just to say a little "bonsoir!" as we passed. She then talked back and asked how we were, something we were not expecting. We ended up talking about her family and she showed us a picture of her daughter, said a prayer with her after a great discussion. She asked US if we taught or had lessons, to which we informed her, yes! It was great. She then called us later that night and we are meeting with her tomorrow! ❤ crazy part: she normally walks on the other side of the block, never that way home, and we missed our metro stop and ended up walking home that way... Coincidence? I think not. The Lord has a plan.

DMP meeting at the Mission Home. David Babin, President and Soeur Babin's youngest son is our Ward mission leader (DMP in French). He threw a Bastille Day party and had tons of left overs. So he invited us over Friday to have our correlation meeting at the mission home and eat homemade burgers and ice cream and happiness. It was awesome. We were able to eat delish food and get a lot of things done all in the beautiful scenery de la maison de la mission.

Saturday was kind of special: we met up with Soeur Tippett's cousin for an authorized lunch hour. He is on an exchange and is touring with a kid from Rouen, France who stayed with his family in Georgia for 3 weeks. It was fun to see some of Soeur Tippett's family. We also met up with Pépita and had a good lesson with her. She is doing a lot better and seems to be much happier than when I first met her. It's cool to see the gospel changing people.

REPERTOIRE CAME OUT! I'm staying in Paris for another 6 weeks!!! 🇫🇷🇫🇷 I'm excited and grateful. Soeur Tippett is great and I am excited for another transfer with her here in the wonderful area of Paris. Here we go transfer 3 of serving as a Paris STL. Bring it on. 😊

Church went well on Sunday. Anna and Marie came! Anna seriously is incredible. She knows so much correct doctrine that we haven't even taught her yet. She participates like a seasoned member. She is awesome.

Today for pday activities Soeur Tippett and I ventured to Le Palais Garnier aka L'Opéra de Paris. Still as beautiful and breathtaking as last time, but this time we didn't get to see ballerinas practicing. We did, however, get to see a new display of costumes that were out in open air display on the balconies of the interior grand stair case. Outstanding and intricate designs. I can't even imagine how magical seeing a ballet in the theater would be.

I am so grateful to serve the people of Paris. It truly is wonderful. They are not usually nice nor friendly, but I love them anyway. There are always people who have been prepared and are open to listening about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. It gives me such energy and joy testifying of the truthfulness of His gospel. What innumerable blessings are ours just in knowing and living the simple doctrines of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am grateful to be a member and a full-time missionary at this time in this place. I know it is where God has need of me and I need these people and these lessons. I know the gospel is true. He lives. He loves you. True joy and hope exist in following and living the commandments of God.

I hope and pray you have a fabulous week! All the best,

Sœur Simpson

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Week of Wonders - 13 juillet 2015

What a wonderful week of wonders. It flew by like a flash. We had a magical district meeting at the Eiffel Tower, our last exchange of the transfer with the sœurs in Rouen, Soeur Sarah Facer and Soeur Rachel Hogan, built and painted a 7ft. tall Book of Mormon, had a miraculous zone activity with said giant Livre de Mormon, a soirée musical with the St. Ouen Ward, and ended the week off right with a baptism of a little girl in our ward from Hawaii. Needless to say, it was a great

We had some amazing experiences with our new ami Anna. She accepted to be baptized when she knows the gospel is true and is praying for the date of 9th of August. We accompanied her to the YSA home evening and she jumped right in and was the first to participate in the spiritual message part, played the game with everyone and just made friends right off the bat.

District Meeting a la Tour Eiffel
District meeting was probably one of my favorites thus far. Though it was a quaint picnic on the lawn of the Eiffel Tower, that was not what made it memorable. The spirit we felt and the testimonies shared left an imprint. Elder Martin's training was about helping our contacts become amis. He then asked us to each share a specific experience that has been a part of our conversion. I shared when I was in the National Portrait Gallery when I was working in D.C. And happened upon an original portrait of Joseph Smith. I had my headphones in and was listening to film scores as I walked through the gallery. I changed
the music to "Praise to the Man" and stood there, pondering about all that Joseph Smith did. I remember having an intense feeling of overwhelming gratitude. I knew for a fact, from the witness of the Holy Ghost, that he was truly a prophet of God, he restored the gospel of Jesus Christ, and he sacrificed his life so the truth could be restored. Sharing the story brought back those strong feelings and the spirit was with us more deeply. It continued as each person in our little district shared personal experiences and testimonies. It was beautiful. I love these people.

We had the cutest little picnic for the meal part of district meeting. Sœur Tippett and I mad main dish, a delightful grilled 
The cheese, and delightful dessert...
Thanks elders.
vegetable creamy tomato sauce thing served over rice. Quite delish. The Elders on the other hand... The ZLs bought an expensive cheese from a legit fromagerie. It smelled horrendous. Then the mandarin elders had
dessert. They told us of their jello fail and they made plan b. Stuffed apples. Cinnamon, butter, sugar and then he added blueberry jam and cooked them. And baked bananas... They were black. Good times. We headed strait off to an exchange from district meeting. The elders went on exchange too, but with each other, so Elder Madsen and Elder Martin took all the dishes and washed them for us. So sweet of them.

Exchanges in Rouen were wonderful. I was with my dear friend Sœur Rachel Hogan. It was fabulous. It was such a dream to serve with her. Not only did we have a great time spreading the joy of the gospel, but we even got to catch up a bit since high school. She is wonderful. Such a strong stellar missionary. The next day, we woke up early for exercises and went for a run along the Seine. It was breathtaking. Quite literally. I am so out of shape. But also in the sense of beauty. Later, after some great studies, we headed out and went on an adventure to find a less active. On the way, I talked to this lady, Françoise, who is a singer for the cathedral of Rouen. We had a lovely conversation about faith, prayer, and the restoration. We prayed with her on the tram, she sang for us, and we exchanged numbers. I believe she became a new investigator, as the soeurs made a rdv with her after the exchange. It was the first time I've prayed on a tram. All that is
left is the metro. I've prayed with people on the RER, on platforms, on TGVs, etc. I love people. And prayer. Especially praying with people.

We got back to Paris, always a great feeling to be home, and went strait to the church to do reports on exchanges. We had a lesson with Anna, which went well. Then had a little adventure escorting a lady to the train station to protect her from a creepy ex member who came in. Long story short, we left her at the train station where she was going and then she didn't go in! We were confused a bit and wanted to make sure, so we were basically spies and walked slyly behind trees, more like cement blocks, and tried to intercept them returning back to the visitors center. We lost them in we decided to run back because it was getting later and there was nothing further we could do. It was so fun. Running through the streets of Paris, always a great time.

Thursday after studies, we had a little home improvement project. The Maynard's came to help us with our moldy shower. We spent the day scraping and painting. It felt so good to paint and work on a house. Felt like home. We then went to the VC for a lesson with Priscillia. Then helped the ZLs start painting our beautiful project of the giant Livre de Mormon. 7ft. of happiness for all to see. After an idea done by some missionaries in New York City, we prepared a Paris version for the Paris zone activity.

The dungeons of St. Merri
making the Livre de Mormon
Friday, we taught Anna, invited her to commit to a date! She's praying about it! Then spent literally the rest of the day saving the zone leaders by painting and constructing the Livre de Mormon. It was another day of painting and fun. Super sore from bending and folding all day, but so worth it.

Saturday was the day. Our wonderful zone gathered together to share the Book of Mormon with all here in Paris. It. Was. Awesome. Some elders carried the 7ft book to La Fontaine des Innocents right, a main fountain plaza right in the heart of Paris and there we set up shop. We had tables with copies of the Book of Mormon with missionaries manning it, then other companionships contacting all around. SOOO many miracles. We gave more than 100 copies of the Book of Mormon. We were able to receive more than 50 referrals and taught who knows how many lessons. All in 90 minutes. Probably one of the coolest miracles was witnessed by Elder Hall, one of the Assistants to President. A man came up to 
Le Zone de Paris

him, who already had been contacted by one of the missionaries. He WAS atheist before he got the Book of Mormon. He decided to go into McDonald's right across the plaza after getting his copy and started to read it. He read NINE chapters in Macdo and came
to elder hall and asked him if he could get baptized. This guy went from being atheist to wanting to get baptized and become a member because of 9 chapters of the Book of Mormon.

It was seriously just a day jam packed with miracles.

We went to St. Ouen's musical fireside with our amie Marie. It was a fun little night. More of a singalong and missionary singing, but it was still a spiritual experience. Sunday was wonderful. I translated relief society again. This time was a bit trickier because the teacher is a young adult and talks SO fast and just whipped out quotes that I couldn't get right then people told metaphorical stories that I didn't know some vocab... But all the English sisters were nice and patient
with me. Good experience. Haha A cute little girl, Jada, got baptized. They are Americans on an adventure for a year around Europe and have been in our Ward for a month. Super cute family and a wonderful spirit at the baptism.

Well today was a great pday. Sœur Tippett and I went to Versailles. We took a turn about the gardens. It was splendid and quite dreamy.

The work continues here in Paris and it's the last week of the transfer! It should be a great week! I think I should be staying. sure hope so. 2 transfers is not enough in a ville. But I will gladly go where I am called. I love this work and I know it is true. What innumerable blessings there are in life. I am eternally grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who is patient with us. I know He lives. I know His son lives. This is His gospel.

I hope and pray you have a lovely week. I challenge you to find someone new to talk to and share happiness with this week. Everyone needs a listening ear and open heart. I love you!

Sœur Simpson

Monday, July 13, 2015

Photos 13 juillet 2015

Kaysville gals and my wonderful Georgian comp. 
Look who it is! Dr. Kramer! 
Painting the bathroom

Monday, July 6, 2015

Que Dieu bénisse l'Amérique 🇺🇸❤️🇺🇸

Bonjour tout le monde,

Monday miracles: after pday activities and 6pm came around, we headed out contacting to a place we have had planned for weeks. We taught three street lessons and every single person was wonderful, even if they weren't receptive to our message. I had a cool experience with one of the lessons as I found myself telling of Joseph Smith's first vision and testifying boldly of the Restoration. I love doing so. There is such a power when telling others of the magnificent apparition of God and Jesus Christ  to the young boy Joseph Smith who was called to restore the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I love it. 

Tuesday comprised of district meeting and then off to the gare to catch our train for Mulhouse, way out in the east. We got to the gare just in time to grab a cold soda at Le Train Bleu, an incredibly beautiful restaurant inside Gare de Lyon. We got to Mulhouse around 7:30 after a little stop in Dijon, which is actually in the Lyon mission boundaries, yay for a little authorized pit stop. We were only there long enough to switch platforms for the next train, not even long enough to grab some food, but ça va. When we arrived, Soeur North and I headed out for a pass-by and then the day was over... The day flew. It was ridiculously hot as well. 41 degrees. Celsius. Ya. Not cool. 

We discovered photo booth
on our iPads on the train to Mulhouse. 😂

The heat just continued to rise on Wednesday all the way until Sunday. It was rather miserable. It is the hottest it's been since the early decades of last century, I believe. The RER was a sauna. EVERYONE was dripping. It was hotter than Africa in the worst part of summer + humidity of Brazil. There was no escape either. The French don't believe in air conditioning and hardly anyone wears deodorant. Paris is a smelly city, but oh man, it's even more pungent and putrid with humid heat. Good times. 

Our exchange in Mulhouse was a bit different. We went to their district meeting with the soeurs, which was nice to see how other districts function. It was so hot and for the  meal we had raclette. Boiled potatoes + melted cheese by this wonderful machine heater thing that you cook meat on top. We were all dying of heat but eating really delicious French food. Perfect celebration for 9 months to the day of reporting to the MTC.

To steal a quote from Hermana Paige Simpson from a few weeks ago, "OHHHHH I'M HALF WAY THERE! OH OH! LIVIN ON A PRAYER!" 

But really. This is crazy. I can't believe I have less than 9 months left on this wonderful adventure of sharing the gospel with the people of France. 

Next exchange, with Soeur Rasmussen serving in Versailles. Due to the heat, there were tons of transportation issues and we couldn't get out of Paris. So we had our exchange in Paris. Improv exchange! It turned out to be great. We were able to teach Priscillia. 

The Fourth of July was a party of proselytizing. And for lunch we went to the little Statue of Liberty on a little island in the middle of the seine. 

Well I'm about out of time, but it was a great week. Super hot and our brains really struggled to work, but we did it! This week will be better and cooler we hope! Last week of exchanges for this transfer and guess who it's with!? Soeur Rachel Hogan and Soeur Sarah Facer from school in kaysville ❤️😊❤️

I love you all! Happy week! 

Soeur Simpson