3 Nephi 5:13

"Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life." - 3 Nephi 5:13

Monday, June 25, 2012

week 70 - A Miracle

Ma chère famille,

I can't believe it is all coming to an end. I went to the mission home with all of the outgoing missionaries (21 of us) on Wednesday and it suddenly became reality. I didn't get to have that much time with President during my interview since there were so many of us, but it was good and when he asked me if I was happy with my mission, I responded, "Yes!", because truly I am, and I felt at peace as I was able to answer his question. It has been the most amazing experience of my life! There aren't really words to describe it. No one can know what a mission is like unless they do one themself. I have learned soooooooooooooooooooooooooo much and seen the hand of the Lord working in my life and the lives of others. I have seen so many miracles! If there are people on this earth (which I know there are) who don't believe in God or in miracles they are so wrong. I have a miracle to share with you from this last week. I don't think I told you about Paola. We met her the day we went to Colmar. That morning Soeur Alves felt prompted to bring a Book of Mormon in spanish , she almost decided to leave it, but thankfully she grabbed it right before we headed out. When we were in Lille we started talking with people and Soeur Alves walked by a woman but quickly stopped to talk to her. Her name is Paola and she is from Equador! Soeur Alves was able to use her Spanish and told Paola that she had a gift for her. She handed Paola the Book of Mormon and Paola was so excited that she gave both of us hugs. Soeur Alves told her how she had felt prompted to bring a spanish Book of Mormon with her and Paloa was very touched. Before we even shared anything Paola gave us her number and address and fixed a rendez-vous.
Sadly the day of our rendez-vous we were on exchanges and Soeur Alves and Soeur Johnson missed their train so they were two hours late in getting to Paola's. When they arrived at her appartment they couldn't figure out which doorbell was hers, so they tried calling her, but it was a bad number. We were so sad, because Paola had been so sincere and we had no idea how we were going to get ahold of her. We tried passing by another day and figured out which doorbell was hers, but it didn't work, and the door to the apartment building was locked. We went through an entire week without any contact with her. Soeur Alves was so good to pray every day they some how we could find Paola again. Last Monday (it had now been 10 days) we had to go to the mall in Lille to buy some things so we decided to do our grocery shopping there even though we always do it in Villeneuve D'Ascq. We we got to the grocery store we tried to print some photos but then there was a problem with the machine. We had to wait and get help from the employee and then wait even longer to get our money back. By the time everything was solved we had lost about one hour of time. Both of us were very frustrated inside and tired, but we didn't say anything, we just wanted to finish our grocery shopping as fast as possible. We went to the vegetable isle and a woman shouted "Hey!" Soeur Alves turned around and it was Paola!!! We were so happy to see her! We both almost started crying. When we asked how she was doing she said, "malo." (not good). She said she had waited all day for us on Thursday and asked why we hadn't called. We explained everything and she said, "no, I know I gave you the right number." We asked for it again and realised that because of her spanish accent we had gotten one number wrong. She even grabbed our phone to make sure we had the right number and then had us put our number into her phone. It was truly a miracle that we saw her! We told her we usually never go to Lille to do our grocery shopping and said that truly the Lord had led us there. We found out at our rendez-vous that she wasn't supposed to be there either. Her friend wanted to go to the mall and Paola didn't want to, but her friend made her come. While her friend was shopping Paola decided to walk around in Carrefour (the grocery store) and that's when she saw us! Truly miracles exist. After she left the store, we didn't want to kneel down in front of everyone, but we both said prayers in our hearts and then looked up toward heaven and said thank you.
I am so excited for Soeur Alves and Soeur Tollefson (her new companion, who is awesome), to continue the work here in Villeneuve D'Ascq. I know this gospel is true, that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ live. I know that Jesus Christ atoned for us and I have seen so many lives change thanks to his atonement. I know that he restored his gospel through a young, humble, farmer boy, Joseph Smith. The Book of Mormon is true, and I know it was translated by the power of God. I love that Book and I receive so much inspiration and revelation from it. I know it is true because I have taken my own time to read it and pray about it and Heavenly Father has answered me through the Holy Ghost. I bear you my testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

I love you all, I hope you all continue to strengthen your testimonies of the restored gospel daily. I will see you soon

Love, Soeur Reeves

Monday, June 18, 2012

week 69 - the Spirit testifies of truth

Bonjour à tous!

Happy Father's day yesterday dad! Thank you for being such a wonderful father! and Happy Birthday tomorrow! and happy wedding anniversary mom and dad on the 22nd as well as Happy Birthday to Jon!
I have one more week in Villeneuve D'Ascq! and it's going to be wonderful! I would suggest to not write any more letters unless you send them today. Otherwise I might not get them.
We had a great week, for the few lessons we had they were amazing and full of the spirit! A former investigator, Henriette, who we had stopped seeing, because she would never fix rendez-vous ran into us at the bus stop a couple of weeks ago and said, "It's been so long since you've come over, when can I see you again?" We immediately fixed a RDV and went over on Tuesday night. At the beginning Soeur Alves got to know her and when we prayed we asked if she had any family members or friends that we could pray for and she was very touched by that. We re-taught the restoration and focused on the importance of authority. This time she understood really well, to the point that she re-explained to us. When we bore testimony of the first vision and the Book of Mormon it was simple, but the spirit was so strong. Henriette had a smile on her face and told us that's what she had been searching for. She told us that she would start reading the Book of Mormon that night. We then gave her the soft invite to baptism, for those of you who don't know what that is, we ask them if they will be baptised when they know that these things are true. She said yes without hesitation. I was shocked! She has had such a change of heart! She reacted so differently the last time that Soeur Edgerly and I went. Whether it was because the Lord had prepared her through his spirit, or because she was touched by our testimonies, either way I know that it was the spirit working through us. After our lesson I turned to Soeur Alves and said, "It is especially after moments like this that I don't want my mission to end." I love being a servant of the Lord and doing his work. I love you all so much!

Bisous, Soeur Reeves

Monday, June 11, 2012

week 68 - faith and diligence produces miracles

Ma chère famille,

Happy Birthday to Lyla and Tyler this week! (I hope I have the dates right)
A week ago we received a call from our zone leaders during our morning studies who wanted to give us a little training about diligence and sacrifices. They asked us to reflect on the things that we could change and do better and the little sacrifices we could make. That evening we recieved a call from our district leader telling us that president wanted us to fix the goal to have a baptism on Saturday. Some people might think that President Poznanski is crazy, but Soeur Alves and I were excited and said, "If we have faith and work our hardest, and if it's the will of the Lord, we will have a baptism this Saturday." We didn't have a baptism this weekend, however I'm not sad, because I know we did our best, and we were more diligent than we ever have been. Every time we had a few extra minutes or while we were traveling from one rendez-vous to another or when we had to go to Colmar for my legality (5 hour train ride there and a 5 hour train ride back) or traveling to and from Brussels for sister exchanges, we talked to people! We looked through our area book to find former investigators, and part member families who would be able to be baptised in one week. Through, prayer, fasting, diligence, and faith we truly did our best to have a baptism. Although we did not have a baptism, we have progessed so much and have many more potential investigators and two new investigators. Throughout my mission I have only once fixed the goal to have a baptism when I didn't already have an investigator with a baptismal date. President Poznanski has really emphasized faith lately and I realised that zero is not a goal and it definitely does not show our hope, faith and desires. We found out at the end of the week why President Poznanski gave this challenge to all of the missionaries. There was not one baptism scheduled for this last weekend, and President felt that we could not have a weekend without baptisms. We ended up having 5 in the mission! Almost all of our key indicators (statistics) as a mission increased this week.
Soeur Alves and I had many little miracles all throughout the week. For example, we found Veronique! On Tuesday we were moving like crazy, because we only had until 3 o'clock before we had to take our train to Colmar and I turned to Soeur Alves and asked if it was worth it to try and pass by Veronique's (we had not had contact with her in over a month). Soeur Alves felt that we should and after getting off the metro and heading to her apartment there was an old Muslim couple that needed help getting back to the metro. We helped them find their way and quickly turned back to go to Veronique's. We saw a woman in the distance and both of us said, "Let's contact this lately". As we got closer I recognised her and said, "Veronique!" She, and we were so excited to see each other. We found out that she had been in Italy because her grandfather passed away. Now she is home and still wants to get baptised and no longer has a job for the moment but is supposed to talk with her boss, so we reminded her to tell him that she can't work on Sundays. She promised us she would. I know that the Lord blesses us when we are obedient and when we have faith and follow the spirit. I love this work! I hate thinking about the fact that it's coming to an end, but I will work hard until the last moment and I will continue to be a missionary for the rest of my life! I love you all!

Bisous, Soeur Reeves

Friday, June 8, 2012

week 67 - joy comes from sharing the gospel

Bonjour à tous!

Highlights of the week! On Tuesday when we had our rendez-vous we were running late so we tried to call Benoitte to let her know, but she wasn't responding so we were afraid she wouldn't be there but headed over anyway. When we got off the metro we passed by the bus stop to see when the bus was coming. We had about a 12 minute wait and thought we might get to her home sooner if we walked quickly. Sitting at the bus stop however was an African woman with her baby and something told me that we should wait for the bus and talk with her. I looked at Soeur Alves and we both said we should wait for the bus. I then turned to the African woman and started talking to her and asked some questions about her baby and then she said, "I know who you are. I'm Gilberte you or your friends came by my house the other week." "What?" I thought to myself trying to remember who Gilberte was, maybe a former investigator that we had tried to visit, or maybe the Elders had passed by. She told us her address and recognized the name of the road, so I told her, "Yes, I think it was us who came by." She then told us that she used to come to the church and even got baptised. It then clicked and I remembered that we had passed by some in-active members the week before but she had told us she was too busy to see and that she would call us. We had left her a note letting her know that we would love to meet her and if she needed anything she could call us. While talking with her at the bus stop we learned that she had been baptised 5 years before but her life got so busy with her kids that she quit coming to church. We invited her to come back and again she said she's too busy right now. I asked her if her life was better when she came to church and she thought about it for a second and said yes. She admitted that when living the principles and commandments life goes better. We haven't had a rendez-vous yet, and she didn't come to church, but she said she for sure wants to see us before I go home. So if she doesn't call us before then we will. ;) and we also left her a happy mother's day card (It was yesterday here in France). I've seen that it makes a difference when we keep in contact with in-active members and show them that we care. When we showed up to Benoitte's it was perfect timing because she had just finished cleaning and put her baby down for a nap and we were able to have a great lesson. I know that the Lord helps us in this work and I'm so grateful that both Soeur Alves and I listened to the spirit and talked with Gilberte. Who knows if she would have been willing to tell us who she was.
On Wednesday we had an amazing Zone conference with Elder and Sister Teixeira who were doing a mission tour. It was mainly focused on faith and finding new investigators which is exactly what I needed. After the first half of the training an Elder gave the prayer and blessing on the food. Elder Teixeira asked him to pray and ask the Lord to help each of us apply the teachings we had learned. Oh my goodness! The spirit was so strong during that prayer. I will never forgot the feeling that came over me. Everyone afterward was full of the spirit. Many of us missionaries sat there for a minute before getting lunch so that we could right about it in our journals/notebooks. Elder Teixeira talked to us to about casting pearls before swine, not that he was calling us swine, but he said that he had pearls for us and he didn't want to share it unless we were willing to listen and then do those things that we learned. He said to keep our minds and hearts open to the spirit so that we would know how to use those pearls. Towards the end he said that he wanted us to leave the conference and act immediately. He said that too often he goes to zone conferences and missionaries linger around afterward and chat and it's so long before the finally leave. He said he was going to stand at the podium and wait until all of us left after the conference. We had two and half hours before our train ride home and some other missionaries wanted to go to Grand Place, but Soeur Alves and I both took this to heart so after we said goodbye to everyone we asked the Brussels missionaries for their phone numbers and the church address. We walked out the door and started to walk to Grand Place but Soeur Alves and I stayed behind the other missionaries and decided to contact people. It's always hard at first, but after the first person it gets easier and easier and it's great to have a companion at your side cheering you on. Most of the people we talked to at first were not at all interested, but then we saw a young African woman (haha, we always go for the Africans because they're always nice and they love talking about Jesus. Don't worry we contact French people too). Her name is Sandra and she wasn't interested at first and said she was in a hurry, but Soeur Alves quickly said, "We just came from a conference and it was amazing and we really want to share this with you." (ha, something that Elder Teixeira said to go ahead and say). Sandra stopped and looked curious. She didn't have much time but we were able to share a quick summary of our message on the restored gospel and we got her number and address! We then talked with another young woman named Melissa (who is African, but from England) and she had already talked to missionaries back home. While talking with her however we learned that she had misunderstood what the Book of Mormon was and we asked if she'd be willing to meet with the missionaries and learn what the book is truly about. She accepted and we were able to get her address and number for both Brussels and London. We may have only gotten two referrals, but we were filled with joy! By the time we got to Grand Place we really weren't that interested to be there. We were more content sharing the gospel with people than sight seeing. We had just enough time to meet up with the other missionaries, get some dinner and get to the train. We were then able to talk with Odile who sat accross from us on the train (this time an older French lady).
We truly find joy in doing the work of the Lord and the gospel brings more happiness than any material possession. We were able to fix a rendez-vous with Aimée. She's a friend of Clever (the V. D'Ascq Elders investigator) who just got baptised on Saturday. She came to show her support for Clever and was very touched during the baptism. I asked her if she would like to learn what Clever had learned and if we could teach her our message. She was happy to fix a rendez-vous!
Bonne semaine! Choisis le bien!

Bisous, Soeur Reeves

Monday, May 28, 2012

week 66 - people who are prepared

Bonjour à tous!

Happy Memorial Day! I hope everyone enjoys their day off. :) It's also a holiday here in France, but not the same one. And it has been beautiful these past 5 days! Finally after two long months of rain we have sun! We had a good week. Maybe not as far as statistics, but in our spiritual progression, yes! We found, thanks to the Elders, another new investigator. Her name is Benoitte and she's from Congo. We had a really good lesson with her. At first it was kind of bumpy, but as we talked with her and got to know her and followed the spirit she really opened up and we were able to leave with a strong spirit. She told us that a year ago the missionaries knocked on her door, but she was in the middle of moving, so they asked her if she needed help. She was so grateful, because she had a three year old and two month old baby. She said that the Elders came back the next day with four other missionaries and helped her move all of her things to a new apartment. After that she lost her phone (or it broke, can't remember) so she no longer had the missionaries phone number and has not had contact with them since. Then last Monday the V. D'Ascq Elders knocked on her door and she immediately let them in. They weren't able to stay since she's single, so they told her Soeur Alves and I would call and we could pass by that week. The Elders immediately called us and we immediately called Benoitte and we were able to see her on Wednesday. She told us that she knows there's a reason that God sent us to her and that we must have something for her. It was so neat when she shared this experience with us! She was supposed to come to church yesterday, but sadly didn't, however we're going to see her tomorrow, so hopefully we can help get to church and respect the commitments we give her. She is very sweet and was happy to receive the Book of Mormon. I know that the Lord prepared people for us to teach. You can help too, by finding these people for the missionaries. ;) Love you all!

Bisous, Soeur Reeves

Monday, May 21, 2012

Les Photos de Villeneuve-d'Ascq

Soon after my arrival in Villeneuve-d'Ascq. There's a huge park across from our apartment with horses and a lake and pathways in the forest. 
Grand Place in Lille

Soeur Murray and Soeur Carter at Zone Conference

Monday night after the huge snow storm. The buses quit going because of the snow and then it started to melt! We had to walk on the ledge along the side. I felt like a rat. Our boots were soaking wet by the time we got home.

week 65 - following the spirit


Happy Birthday this week to Sam and Jessica! I hope you enjoy your birthdays, and we'll see if Sam is like some of the other grandkids who eat their entire cake by themselves. Thank you for the wonderful experiences that you shared, Dad, Laurie and Ryan, and Mom for the talks that were given. They're all such inspiring stories. Just to let you know, since you're probably wondering. Veronique has disappeared. Ha, I have taught so many Africans that are amazing and want to get baptised and then they disappear and we never hear from them again; we call and their phone number never works, or we pass by their house multiple times, but no one is ever there. (I think it's often from legal problems or family problems back home in Africa). Alexandre called and said that he talked with his wife, but she is still against us coming, the Elders coming, or the senior couple. He said since she won't let us come over, he might try passing by the church sometime. Who knows, it might be a while. We have planted a seed, but I'm sure missionaries in the future will get to watch it grow.
On a happier note... We got two new investigators this week! Last Monday we were supposed to go eat at some member's home but they cancelled at the last minute because the mom was sick. We had totally forgotten to make a back up plan, I think because we thought we were for sure going since we had confirmed the night before. We said a prayer asking the Lord what he wanted us to do. We had made a plan to pass by some in-actives during the week and at the same time contact in those areas to try to find new investigators. We decided to go to the north part of Villeneuve D'Ascq by the Metro stop Jean Jaurès and pass by some in-active members. Either they weren't home or they had moved, and then a man told us that we weren't aloud to proselyte in apartment buildings (the sign confirmed it). We started to walk back toward the metro. I feel like we were like Nephi when he said, "And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do." (1 Nephi 4:6). Soeur Alves pointed in one directed and said, "I think the Metro is by there." I didn't think it was, but I was tired and didn't want to say she was wrong so I kept my mouth shut and followed her. As we were walking along the path we walked past a couple who we knew were not from France and who looked like islanders. Soeur Alves stopped and asked them if we were going in the right direction for the Metro, they said, "no," and that it was on the other side of the neighborhood. We thanked them and then they asked, "are you Christian?" We said yes and asked if they were too. They said yes and then we started talking with them and found out that they're from New Caledonia and they asked what we were doing here so we told them we were missionaries. They know the name of the church, since there are a lot of members in Polynesia and they had met the missionaries once before. We asked them if we could come over and share our message with them and they said yes!
We had our first rendez-vous with them on Saturday night, they're names are Geneviève and Jean-Christophe and have 4 adorable children and their family is very important to them. They are very open people and so kind and Jean-Christophe had an amazing story of how he was converted to Jesus Christ and totally changed his life. I'm so grateful we followed the spirit (and that I kept my mouth shut.) I know that we were led by him to Geneviève and Christophe and I'm excited to keep teaching them. We gave them both copies of the Book of Mormon and the family Proclamation. I hope we can get them to come to our church activity and sacrament meeting this next weekend. (We also have two men in our ward who served in New Caledonia).
I know that the Lord prepares people by his spirit and his angels.

Bisous, Soeur Reeves