Monday, January 25, 2016

5 janvier 2016

What a week full of miracles and blessings. We have felt so blessed as little things have worked out and timing of other things have come to be better than our plans and ah. God has a plan and He knows what He's doing.

I haven't much time this week, but here are just some of the miracles of the week:

PDay shopping miracle. We had 1 1/2 hours for the rest of PDay activities and our plan was to find some good sales as it is Soldes, where everything is on sale in France. I was able to find quite a few things, that fit well, looked nice, and were a good deal. It may seem ridiculous but it was a blessing for me. Also, we didn't burn the brownies this time for a family home evening appointment with a family in the ward. Thanks mom for the gluten free mix. They didn't even believe it was GF because it was so good.

Mont Saint Eloi
Soeur Meurisse was able to take us on a little deviation on our way to visit some people out in the countryside. L'Abbaye de Mont Saint-Eloi, which I believe dates from the 11th or 12th century. Only remains are left after the world wars. Pretty legit. The visit with dear people went very well and one of the families came to church on Sunday!     We met a lady on the bus on our way to the Rivierre's and she invited us to teach at the Catholic school at which she works... Cool unexpected invitation. She was touched by our service and desire to share the gospel.

A top missionary moment lesson with Saskya. I am grateful for her desire to come unto Christ. Our lesson turned out to be reminding her who she is, rather whose she is. A daughter of a loving Father in Heaven. We taught her how to pray again and how to find answers and recognize the Spirit. It was a blessing to be apart of the lesson with such a strong spirit.

President and Soeur Babin are the best. How grateful I am for their example, counsel, support, and love. We had individual interviews in Lille in the morning and district meeting in the afternoon. I was greatly inspired by the love felt and wisdom I received from the Babins. I am grateful for their service and the opportunity I have to serve in this mission at this time. What a blessing they are.     We were supposed to have a rendezvous with Franck but he had some things come up, so we made a last minute decision to hop on a different train to get us back to Arras immediately instead of later that night after stopping in Béthune. It was an inspired decision. We were asked by the Elders if we could help Isabelle, a friend of a family in the ward, move into a new apartment. Of course! It was a great service opportunity in planting seeds. She was touched and grateful, and invited us over anytime. Miracle of timing and placement. Our plan was good, but Gods was better.

Ward Counsel went so well and so efficiently, we got a lot of information figured out for the 
The Soeur Meurisse
missionary work here and finding those who have been left behind a bit. Very helpful.     Also a lovely day helping Soeur Bond clean out and organize. She had bought boxes full of blank books from India when they went for a friends wedding, so she said we could choose what we wanted. Absolutely beautiful Sari material and leather embossed books. I may have taken more than one.

Our little mini MTC activity for the young women and young men of the ward was lovely. We had 4 young men and 1 young women, but they did a great job and it was fun for the return missionaries to teach again. We had two classes, about the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ and introducing the Book of Mormon. The RMs taught the youth how to teach these things, then the youth practice taught it to us, the full time missionaries. They we'e paired  into companionships, we were a trio with Noémie who was the only young woman. They did a great job. They taught simply, shared personal experience and testimonies. We then had a Q&A session with the RMs about missions. The youth then wrote down goals in their little booklets we made for them for how they were going to better prepare themselves to be missionaries everyday and full time missionaries in the future.     We had a ward FHE and Marie came. We had a lesson and activity about missionary work by the bishop and then crepes for all. It was a great day filled with the spirit of missionary work.

Two families came to church that we have visited in the past. And Marie came again!     On our way home from church, we missed the bus so we walked and as we were walking a man stopped us and asked if we spoke English. He is a member of the church from India and was searching for the help of the gospel. We prayed with him and got his info for the elders to contact him. It was amazing.

Lots of blessings and miracles to be seen everyday. I am grateful for a loving father in Heaven and His son Jesus Christ. Don't forget how much you are loved.

Happy week,

Sœur Kate Simpson

Monday, January 18, 2016

Below Zero - 18 janvier 2016

Bonjour tout le monde, Not much detail this week, but no worries, it was a great week. I also forgot my camera in my other pretty much no photos this week. Sorry.

Some things we lived this week:

Legit comp studies and lesson planning like nobody's business.
Practice teaching to Bescherelle, our verb conjugation book.
Obedience blessings in the below zero.
Planning for the mini MTC 
youth activity this weekend.
RDV with a referral at the church who acted out her dream about some pretty personal religious things...she also hears dead people.
Got proposed to by a man walking in the street.
Went less active finding with a YSA and taught some wonderful people.
Went to Paris.
Listened and soaked up the wisdom and spirit from President Kearon, the Europe region president in the presidency of the Seventy.
Bonded with President Kearon about eating our gluten free salads while everyone else ate sandwiches.
Got pumped to "attack every day" by jumping out of bed, praying with real intent, sweating in exercising, and taking cold showers to invigorate us and get going for the day. Not sure about the cold shower part.
Met a nice lady named Magaly, who was not interested in learning more, but had met with missionaries once before. One day.
THE GAME PLAN creation with the Elders to get the work organized and unified in Arras.
Drunk homeless man laying down at the bus stop said he loved me.
Efficient and successful ward council meeting and coordination meeting.
Successful youth/YSA spiritual thought, popcorn, and UNO activity after their seminary and institute.
Hail storm.
Rain storm.
Snow storm.
Wind storm.
Negative degree weather has arrived in the North. Winter is on its way.
Organization and planning like crazy.
Phone call from a sobbing man, who wants to be baptized, saying he was going to end his life because a lady, who happens to be a non active, wouldn't answer his phone calls. This lady also believes she is a reincarnated Russian princess.
Wonderful and spirit filled lesson with a old amie whom I've never taught before. Porting and batting in St. Nicolas, no one interested, but no one too harsh either.
MARIE PETIT CAME TO CHURCH. the first amie to come to church since I've served here. She is our one and only progressing investigator.
She is 80 years old. What a blessing.

Needless to was a weird but wonderful week. Always an adventure. I love it. Soeur Giordano and I are doing very well. She is just on track and focused all day, works constantly, and we are trying our best to help these dear people. I'm excited for what's in store.
Good things to come.

Have a wonderful day.

Sœur Kate Simpson

Friday, January 15, 2016

Bags & Bleue Fire - 11 janvier 2016

Bye to Soeur Soileau
What a week. It was a good one, as usual, but change is always an adjustment. It was sad to say goodbye to mission friends and Soeur Soileau but I know there are far better things ahead for her. I'm excited for her to discover and learn more. She'll be wonderful.

Tuesday was a day of service and render-vous. The elders washing machine has been broken and then just barely told us that they have been hand washing the last bits of their clothes. I told them to bring all their laundry over and we'd do it for them. So we spent every time we weren't teaching, switching, folding, and ironing their clothes. It was a nice service and they desperately needed it. We Febreezed everything.

We taught a new amie, Anasthasie, the restoration and she believed it right away. It turns out she already has a Book of Mormon and knew some missionaries a few years ago in Lille but had lost contact. She is evangelist and very believing. She told us about her experience of being baptized in the evangelical church and that she started speaking in tongues she didn't was a little iffy. But she was super nice and the rest of the time we felt the spirit. She told us that the first vision was true and she believes in it and that she would start the Book of Mormon again. We are hopeful for her.

Wednesday was transfer day, so the elders came to help with bags and then we were off to Paris. We separated at Gare du Nord; I went to St. Merri for training training, and she had to wait with other missionaries to get to Austerlitz to get to Orléans. I love St. Merri. It's like being home. We were trained by Président Babin and Elder McBride a bit before all the bleus came in. It was a pretty big group. We were divided trainers on one side and  bleus on the other. Then one by one, president and his little slide show announced who was going to be training who. I didn't keep track until it came because the group was so big, but I was the last Soeur to get my bleue.

Sœur Marianna Giordano. Yes, her father is half Italian. She was born and partially raised in Boston,
Hello to Soeur Giordano
 Mass and the teen years in Wausau, Wisconsin. She has studied English and international development for 4 years at BYU and is 22. She is amazing. Absolutely a dream come true for a trainer. She is so prepared and so ready to work. She hit the ground running and I've been trying to catch up. I have been so impressed. She speaks French very well, still struggling with comprehension, especially with the northern accent, but none of the members believed she was a brand new missionary. They give her at least 6 months in France already. It has made my job a whole lot easier. We just go hard all day long and I love it. She's got the bleue fire and it's contagious.

We went to the Leterme's, the bishop and his family, for her first rendezvous. It went well and she connected with the family. They were silly and teased her a lot, so I believe that means she fits right in. Haha

We spent Thursday with Soeur Meurisse, driving all over the place to see less actives. We got to meet and teach two sisters I've never met, so it was nice to get to now them. We had some pretty bold lessons about coming unto Christ and returning to church. They seemed to be quite touching and I pray they will be able to come to church soon. We went to go see Sr. Koch, who was sick, but she wasn't home. So we took some flowers to visit a single elderly sister in our ward who was all alone. I think it made her day, so we were glad it worked out.

Contacting in Béthune
Friday was a day mostly spent with the Bonds and then DMP meeting and Ward Council. It went WAY too long, so we brainstormed with the Elders what we can do to make our meetings mover efficient. It's a process. Saturday was great, we got to find some people, not so interested, but that's ok. We planned, taught a member family, and got some mission logistics information for Soeur Giordano. Sunday went pretty well. Everyone was impressed with Soeur G's French and welcomed her to the ward. They were wonderful. We had a ward missionary meeting after church, then after lunch had more planning and strategizing. We went to visit a sister who is working like crazy. She had to work on Sunday from 8:00am to midnight with one hour of break. Insane. So we left her a card and a treat.

We both were wiped out today, and so for our PDay activity, we took a nap. Haha it was so nice. The first time I've been able to nap on a PDay. Ever. It was lovely. Never long enough, but I am grateful for it. Siobhan, a YSA in our ward, invited us to lunch with her today, so we went to a Chinese buffet that is next to the church. It was not super delish, but it was good to talk with her.

Well, I'm excited for what's in store. Lots of work to be done and lots of plans to do it. It's so nice to have all the missionaries on the same page and willing to do everything we can to really get the work rolling here. We can feel it almost here. Lots of seeds almost ready to sprout.

Sœur Kate Simpson

Monday, January 4, 2016

Meilleurs Vœux et Bonne Santé - 4 janvier 2016

Typical District Transfer Age Photo 
Terrible lighting. Sorry.
Best wishes, good health, and a happy new year to all! 

This week was a week. Not the best one of my life, nor the worst,  it it just didn't have much to it. Holidays are weird as a missionary and there was some confusion on the rules and expectations for New Year's Eve and day on the mission leadership level, so we were expecting one thing and it ended up being different. We went running Wednesday morning for exercises and it was awesome. Until the next day when I could hardly move and my back hurt like never before. I'm slightly falling apart but it's all good.

No it was a good week. There is always good in each day. Tuesday we didn't completely drop a member in a wheelchair down the stairs. Miracle. Wednesday we had an inspired district meeting about divine nature. It felt like young womens. Thursday we ran. And after studies we ventured out to
Soeur Soileau bought me a meringue
 because I won our "Elf on a Shelf" challenge.
 St. Pol sur Ternoise, taught and ate with a member who made us boudin and compote de pome and stuffed us so full. Basically like thanksgiving. We were not invited to anyone's home for New Year's Eve so we worked quand même. Friday we did not get to sleep in like we thought we initially could, but that's ok. We had a New Year's Day lunch with the Riem family, which was lovely. It was a ghost town and the only people out were we organized the area book, made calls, came up with some plans, did weekly planning and tried to make ourselves useful and productive.

Saturday. Saturday was deemed Carpe Diem day during our weekly planning last week for this week. It means that we just go crazy and don't let a person pass us without contacting them. Seizing absolutely every situation no matter what to share the gospel. It was hard. But it felt good at the end of the day. That kind of makes it sound like we don't take every opportunity normally, but we do. Sometimes we can't contact everyone or it's not the most efficient thing to do at the time. This day was "gotta catch 'em all" Day.

Seconds after my phone call 
withElder Martin calling 
me to be a trainer! Ah.
It also was Répertoire day. The day we get transfer assignments. Repertoire is sent by email at noon. BUT leadership calls from the Assistants and Président start at 10. So one's phone feels like a time bomb. We were contacting our hearts out and we nearly made it to 11am without a call until 10:54... AP1 calls. I answered and it was Elder Martin, my good friend from my Paris days. He is the U.S. Naval Academy one from Texas, called Mandarin speaking. Anyway. He informed me that I was called to be TRAINING! Again haha This time it will be a fresh bleue from the MTC. I'm gonna be a Mom!

I've trained twice, but the first one, Soeur Dufour, was a visa waiter and I was with Soeur Tane too, so that was a bit different. And I step-mom-ed Soeur Soileau, though I consider myself her real mom. So I have yet to have a bleue that is fresh from the plane and going to stay in this mission. Ah. I'm a bit nervous but mostly excited. I know it is an inspired calling and what the Lord wants for the both of us. Also, a little excited because it's already giving me more energy to finish strong. I was really feeling my steam run out this week, but change is good and new beginnings are good. All good things. All good things.

Also. DREAM COME TRUE. Soeur Rachel Hogan is coming into my district for her last transfer! I couldn't be happier. So many blessings. I am sad though to see Soeur Soileau leave. She is a best friend and a wonderful companion. It has been amazing to see her change and step up to the plate of being a missionary. She is going to be wonderful. She is going to Orléans be companions with my 

Sunday night member visit 

with Soeur Caroline and Elizabeth
mission sister, Soeur Tilby, who Soeur Stevens just finished training before she finished her mission in December. Everything is so connected. Haha I'm excited for her. She'll be great.

With the New Years traditions and being a missionary, goals are basically my life. I prayed and read my patriarchal blessing before making yearly goals to try and get some inspiration on them. I made goals for the rest of my mission and goals for once I get home, which has been not super fun to face. Finding the balance is a bit trickier than I anticipated. But I am excited for whatever the Lord has I store for me this year. 2015 was a year full of just about everything and I am so glad I was blessed with all the experiences I was given. I know that God has a plan for every single one of us. It isn't always, and sometimes hardly ever, is our own plan, but it is always better for us. I am grateful for a loving Father in Heaven who knows me better than I do and who watches out for me.

 I know God and Jesus Christ live. I know they love you. I know that we can start again because of their love and their sacrifice. There is no such thing as the end, for we can always try again. Here's to trying a little harder to be a little better. I know we can do it.


Sœur Kate Simpson