Monday, March 28, 2016

Je sais qu'il vit, mon Rédempteur! - 28 mars 2016

My Last District
Elder Lucas, Sœur Giordano, 
Elder Blackham, Elder Van Tonder, 
Elder Carson, Elder Stanford, Elder Egbert. 
Sœur Akpan et Sœur Morris were sick.
What a glorious spring day after a beautiful day of celebrating the resurrection of our savior Jesus Christ. Though we should remember Christ's Atonement and Resurrection everyday, I find it joyous to celebrate it on a specific Sunday as well.

It was another great week in the Nord. A week well invested and enjoyed. As always, there were highs and lows, miracles and tragedies, and so many blessings.

As I am sure everyone is informed, more so than us probably, of the missionaries from this mission who were injured in the Bruxelles attack, I don't need to write much. However, I am simply grateful for each one of them, their service, their examples to me throughout their missions, and their attitudes and courage through this time. I know each of them, Elder Norby and Elder Wells more than Soeur Clain and Elder Empey, but each of them have taught me something and I am glad to know they were protected and kept alive. I never thought I would experience 3 major terrorist attacks on my mission and be so close to it all, but it has been such a learning experience and testimony to me that God watches over and comforts His servants.

First and last Merveilleux à Lille
I have gained a better glimpse of how badly this world needs the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. It is truly by studying and living the teachings and following the example of He who was perfect. To finish my work in France with Easter has been such a blessing, especially following the events of the week. I know that this life is not the end. I know that Jesus Christ suffered and died for us just as I know that He lives for us. He lives! He has been resurrected and He lives today! What great joy and hope I have because of Him.

I cannot express in words how grateful I am to have been given the honor, privilege, and responsibility to share the restored gospel with the people in France for the past 18 months. It has been absolutely incredible. Words simply cannot convey what it has been like to serve in this mission. I know that this is the work of God. The church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true and living church of Jesus Christ restored to the earth today. It was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith by the priesthood authority of God. The Book of Mormon is the word of God and contains the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is true and it is real. The power from reading, studying, and applying it is real. I know that God has a plan and it is a plan of happiness, eternal and everlasting joy. It is in knowing this plan and doing the best one can to live the gospel by faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost, and finally enduring to the end, that we may achieve true happiness in this life and in the life to come.

My sweet Soeur Giordano and I 
Consecration Day in Amiens
Jesus Christ lives. He is our savior. He is the Son of God. His Atonement is real.

I love my savior and I love being a missionary. I have been bracing myself for the retour but I know that I don't have to stop being a missionary once I am released and remove my plaque. This work needs everyone, member and missionary, every single person to being doing missionary work. It is the most important work. Inviting others unto Christ. Living the gospel daily, helping others know Christ through our actions and words, inviting them to partake of the joyous and delicious fruit of the gospel. It's what it's all about.

Je vous aime tous. Merci pour votre soutien et amour. Vous êtes les meilleurs.

À jeudi,

Sœur Kate Simpson

Monday, March 21, 2016

Malade & Miracles - 21 mars 2016

My sweet STLs
Soeur Clements and Soeur Ulrich
Zone Conference in Lille
It was another great week in the North. We had a day full of rendezvous, a lovely zone conference in Lille, then two days inside due to LA GRIPPE!!!! ah.... Soeur Giordano got the flu and it knocked her down and out. So I did everything I could possibly think of to be productive and after organizing, updating, and calling the whole Areabook and ward list,  cleaning the apartment, packing a little bit of things I don't need at the present, writing in my journal, I read a bit in Jesus the Christ.

Miracles in Valenciennes
with Soeur Gilbert
Saturday we went to Valenciennes to help out the sœurs who have been inside for 3 weeks due to Soeur Romney injuring her knee to the point where she can't walk. We split the day into 3 sections and Soeur Giordano and I switched off going out with Soeur Gilbert to rendezvous and contacting. It was a full day, we got there at 9 am and left at 8pm, but filled with some great people and spiritual experiences.

Sunday was awesome. Church went very well and we had some new amis come that the elders found. They are from Iran and have been living in England for a bit before moving to France. Super nice people and I think they enjoyed church. Marie came to church and is doing well. After church we went to a family's house in the ward for lunch and the Easter message. Then such an awesome rendezvous with Stéphane, our miracle
 from our finding day in arras on the 12th, and met his wife, Sati. They were so great. Absolutely uplifting and filled with the spirit. We were able to use the Book of Mormon to support what he was telling us from the bible and they got to see how it works with it and testifies of Christ. They were touched and it went very well. We stopped by Marie's and then off to another family in the ward for dinner. It was a busy day but filled with good things and good people.

An entrée for lunch 
at a members house 
The French love
 their smoked salmon.
Today we are in Lille for a zone activity PDay thing. Companionships competing in challenges with other companionships about French, the scriptures, team work, etc. thus far, Soeur G and I are winning out of the whole zone. I'll let you know what the final verdict is.

It was just a good week. Things had to be cancelled and rescheduled, things hardly ever go according to plan, but when doors and windows close, there are always those which are opened. While Soeur Giordano was sick, I had some time to just sit in my chair, think to myself and pray. It's rare and hard to find time to just stop and be still as a missionary, and I think in everyday life too, but oh does it do the soul some good. It makes me think of "be still and know that I am God." from Psalms 46:10. I am grateful for the moments I had to just be still and quiet and just talk to my Father in Heaven. I know that He is there and He is waiting to hear from us. What can you do this week to be still and better know that God is there?

Have a splendid week! Avec amour,

Sœur Kate Simpson

Monday, March 14, 2016

Frites & Families - 14 mars 2016

What a wonderful week. It went fast, as most have, I hardly can get done what needs to be done. But the Lord provides a way for what is most important.

Walking across the border to Belgium.
Exchanges in V d'Ascq which
includes some of Belgium!
We had a lovely week with rendezvous with Marie, Isabelle, Ilona, exchanges in Villeneuve d'Ascq/Lille with our fabulous STLs Soeur Ulrich and Soeur Clements, met with the bishop and his family, had our Consecration Day in Arras with the whole district here, and ended the weekend off with Elder Christofferson at our stake conference! Many many blessings.

Saturday was filled with miracles, though many were experienced by the others involved. It was kind of a "persévérer jusqu'à la fin" day with lots of attempted contacting and porting but very very little success. We spread some smiles and tried to talk to everyone, but just about nobody wanted to listen. The Soeur with whom I was felt a little down and frustrated that it was something she was doing wrong or not good enough. I assured her as well as retaught myself I think that the agency of others plays a huge role. As long as our desire and diligence in inviting and trying to share is present, we are fulfilling our purpose. We prayed many times throughout the day, and though nothing we saw came to fruition, it was a good day, and we let that we had given it our all.

Train we took a bus to Douai
got car sick, then waited in this gare which 
smells like peanut butter + hamburger, 
then took a train an hour later to Lille. 
Good times.
We switched back to our companions before the others sœurs had to catch a train back. We only had 50 mins left of the day before coming for dinner and district meeting to wrap of the Consecration Day. Soeur G and I prayed and planned to take the bus and contact to the terminus of the bus and take it back. We both felt like it would be the most efficient and useful at the certain time of the day. Nothing. Every single person refused and it just did not work. Unfortunately, same thing on the way back. I finally just looked across the bus to Soeur G and nodded that we needed to get off the bus. We waited at the stop for a few seconds but the only other person there was a drunk we decided we better leave. We decided to head across a park ish area between batiments back towards the church.

I've been in France for nearly 17 months
 and never bought cheese from a fromagerie... 
So I finally accomplished this goal today for PDay. 
I bought...
As we were walking, we talked about our days and how we felt a little like nothing really happened and neither of us had found any new investigators. We continued and a man driving his kids slowed a bit and looked at us like we knew him and he knew us. It wasn't in a creepy way at all. We smiled and he kept driving. Well, as we arrived to the other side of the park area, he was parking his car in front of his apartment building. He and his kids got out and he turned and saw us and we yelled a friendly bonjour. Sour G and I looked at each other and both said we needed to go talk to this man.

...this. It's an Austrian cheese.
I hope it's good!
Stéphane is a very believing man from Côte d'Ivoire and his faith is inspiring. We introduced ourselves and began talking. He began testifying about the Holy Ghost and our discussion about faith in God and Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost was so powerful. We talked with him for about 15 minutes, teaching about Jesus Christ and the power we receive in following His example and relying on Him and the Holy Ghost to guide us. He prayed with us and we set up a time to go teach him, his wife, and three children. A family.

We were walking on air after that. Simply beaming with the joy that comes from sharing the gospel. We prayed after turning the corner onto the next street to thank Heavenly Father for the miracle of meeting Stéphane in the last minutes of the day. It was such a blessing. We should be meeting with him and his family on Saturday!

Another highlight of the week was definitely Elder Christofferson at Stake Conference. Such a blessing to begin my mission with the visit of an Apostle and finish it with a visit of an Apostle. He talked of the importance and blessings of tithing, keeping the Sabbath day holy, and the love from the Quorum of the Twelve and the First Presidency. He said the President Monson always asks when the Apostles report their weekly voyages if they delivered his love to the Saints. We are so loved. We are so blessed to have a living prophet of God on the earth today. I know that Thomas S. Monson is the prophet today, chosen, prepared, and called by God to be the mouth piece of Jesus Christ's church. I know the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are men called of God and righteously guiding us in these days through the difficulties of life in the world in which we live today.

I am grateful for the blessings and trials which God gives us. I know He lives and I know with every fiber of my being that He loves us. He wants us to be happy and joyful. He wants us to return to live with Him. He has given us the way to do so, which is following His son, whom He sent because of His love. I know that in following the example of Jesus Christ and living His gospel we can be truly happy.

Feel His love this week and be happy. He is waiting for you.

I love you,

Sœur Kate Simpson

P.S. Also realized I didn't mention anything about frites, as mentioned in the subject of this email. I feel like I ate frites at least 3 times this week, so that's why. Not super great pour la santé... Mais bon. Ça va. They were good. Gotta eat them with sauce ch'ti.