Tuesday, December 24, 2013

the Light of the World

That which is of God is light
and he that receiveth light,
and continueth in God,
receiveth more light;

and that light groweth
brighter and brighter!
until the perfect day.

And again, verily I say unto you,
and I say it that you may know the truth,
that you may chase darkness from among you.

(Doctrine and Covenants 50:24-25)

May your holydays be merry and bright!

love this: What Shall We Give?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Fa la la la la

We went to the funeral of the mother of a woman in the ward. The mother has been sick for a really long time. It was in a cemetery and was only 30 minutes long, very simple. I cried the whole time. I was thinking about Lana, and then about my grandparents and my parents and the others that might go before me into the next room, and I thought about how tender these relationships are to me. I have a family here on earth. They are so good to me.

This week we were office sisters. Meaning we were at the beck and call of the assistants and the office elders. We spent all day Monday helping the new missionaries around. Then Tuesday we got all 11 new missionaries to the office by 7:30 in the morning. Then we went running to the gare to get the trainers who were coming in. That is the 007 part of my job--running up and down train platforms in Europe trying to find lost missionaries--"Her train comes in in 2 minutes? Do we know which platform?!" "Elder, you have 3 minutes to get to your platform! Gooo!" "Has anyone seen Sister Smith? She didn't get off the train, and she doesn't have a cell phone--call her zone leaders and see if they have heard from her!" "The train from Dijon is en retard 20 minutes? That means he'll miss his next train. Is there another that leaves tonight?!" It's all really dramatic (not really, but maybe in the life of a missionary it is.) and all really fun.

We had the ward Christmas party this week. They asked us the missionaries to do the spiritual thought. So naturally we did the nativity scene. Because we are in the apartment with a bazillion beds, we of course have tons and tons of sheets. So we wrapped everyone up like angels and wisemen and shepherds. It's amazing how many different ways you can wrap a sheet :) Soeur Vidal read Luke 2 while I played hymns in the background. And Mary and Joseph came in, ringing a sheep bell, and asking people if they could sit by them (there was really no room, the chapel was STUFFED). And it was actually really touching. The bell made all the difference.

The wise men and shepherds threw candy out at the crowd as they were walking towards Bethlehem (and the audience loved that), and we sang hymns throughout. One of the sisters wrapped herself up in lights and was the star that went before the wisemen. The whole thing was really lovely--the perfect mix of spiritual and delightful. At the end, Soeur Vidal bore her testimony and read Ether 12:41--

And now, I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever.

Then we all ate cheese and sausage and bread and clementine oranges.

This morning I was reading a talk by Elder Christofferson called "Redemption" I think. It was from the April Conference. He talks about the Atonement. I've never really understood when people say, "I made it through that hard time because of the Atonement." Or things like, "Apply the Atonement in your life." How does one do that exactly? Elder Christofferson says:

The Savior’s suffering in Gethsemane and His agony on the cross redeem us from sin by satisfying the demands that justice has upon us. He extends mercy and pardons those who repent. The Atonement also satisfies the debt justice owes to us by healing and compensating us for any suffering we innocently endure. “For behold, he suffereth the pains of all men, yea, the pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children, who belong to the family of Adam.”

I realized when I read that that because the Savior experienced the Atonement, he knows how to succor us. Because he suffered what we suffer, he knows exactly what will help in every situation. He knows the antidote to pain, to loneliness, to confusion, to sorrow, to debt, to insecurity, to anger, to embarrassment, to mockery, to all of it. So when we experience those things, He is capable of healing us, because He has been there and He knows what we need to feel better and get better. We apply the Atonement when we believe that He can do that. Seeing the Atonement at work in your life really just means seeing the tender mercies that the Lord gives you, that are specific to you and your situation, and realizing that He is able to know how to specifically succor you because of what he suffered in Gethsemane.

I love the Savior.

Us sisters waiting for our training meeting to start. At first we weren't cold. Then we got really cold. And then an hour later the building was opened and we could go inside (I'm only early when I don't end up needing to be.)

Monday, December 2, 2013


It's the last week of the transfer...I've been in Lyon for three (the same amount of time I was in Bayonne), and I've been with Soeur Vidal for two transfers (the most I've ever been with anyone), so I'm thinking something is going to change next transfer. To be honest, what I really want is to go to some tiny village in the mountains and trudge around in the snow and knock on doors for a transfer. all day yesterday, I was thinking, "I don't think I can do this sister training leader thing for another transfer." I feel like I've given all the advice and love I know how to give, and I'm running a little empty. Not so much in a selfish way, but just in "I think my battery has lost its charge" kind of way. Time to recharge before I can be useful to anyone again. Preferably I want to recharge in a little mountain village with lots of snow where we're the only missionaries for miles. Hahaha. But then right after I thought of a story I read about Spencer W Kimball once when he was called to be prophet, and how he battled for a long time with it because he felt he wasn't qualified (obviously this is a bit of a stretch of a comparison.). That's mostly how I feel lately though--that I don't know exactly how to help the sisters I work with, and I feel there are so many other people who really could do a much better job. But then I thought of those stories, and I thought, "Well, if this is where He wants me, then He'll help me do what He needs me to do." I read a scripture in 2 Timothy 1:9 this morning:

Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.

So that makes me feel better. If I'm called to do this another transfer, He'll teach me what I need to do and how.

This week we've been sharing Mosiah 3:1-9 with a lot of families when we visit them. We're talking and teaching about ministering. I love verse 6, that says that Jesus cast out devils...or in OTHER words, the evil spirits which dwell in the hearts of the children of men. We see this all the time, in ourselves and in others--evil spirits of loneliness and selfishness and miserliness and worry and frustration and grudge-holding and bitterness and fear and self-consciousness and shame and sorrow... I mean, Coldplay calls these things "death and all of his friends." And this is what the Savior does--He chases all these things out of our hearts. And this is what we have power to do, as his disciples, to chase these things out of people's hearts. This is ministering. And so we're asking people who they know who is sad or weak or lonely or scared and needs healing.

Thanksgiving...well, we had district meeting,; then when to a friend's house and ate...curry and nems! (Nems are like egg rolls. They're super good and French people (or maybe just French Mormons, not sure yet) are OBSESSED with them. We made them at a ward activity a couple weeks ago, and there were HUNDREDS left over, so a bunch of members took them home and froze them. Then this week (hahaha) we've been fed nems every time we go to a member's house. Best.) The day was pretty tranquil...didn't really do anything special, actually. 

Funny story of the week: a man on the metro accused me of being a spy. He was like, "My brother works for Interpol. Do you know that the Mormons are spies? Yep. They have a bio on every person living in Europe. They are SPIES." And I was like, "Actually, Monsieur, that is not true." with a big smile on my face. And he was like, "Well you don't know about it, but it's true. You're a spy." And I was like, "Actually...I'm a missionary." Him: "Well I'm a missionary too. But we don't do missionary work in the same way." Me, laughing: "You're right, you accuse people of being spies! I'm just trying to invite you to learn about Jesus Christ!" Hahahaha the whole conversation was HILARIOUS. And kinda sad that he really believes that. But it's okay, he's going to have a really awesome experience with the Spirit one day and then he'll have a good story to tell his grandchildren.

Merry December!