Paris - Shadows and Sunshine!

Monday, June 17, 2013

This week has been so insanely great! Ugh, I love it. It didn’t start so great though...

Monday we had zone p-day and we played laser tag at the church building with Champaigne. It was so awkward being separated from Sister Ash. My team was all Elders and 2 other sisters. I was awkwardly standing in the corner *face palm*. The other two sisters stuck together and I and I really didn’t want to be the only girl amongst the elders. Ugh. On Tuesday we drove 3 hours to St. Louis for Sisters Conference. When we finally reached the city I was so super excited because everything reminded me of home. Buses, bus sheds, science centre, Union Staion... You name it. But the moment we arrived to the Frontinac Chapel, I felt SO homesick. All the sisters knew each other; Sister Ash was catching up with her old companions/baby girls; and I was once again standing there super awkwardly. Sister Clark even got my name wrong and thought I was Sister Vilaniga (Sis. Ash’s old companion). Oh man. I just felt so out of place. I walked into the chapel and the APs that picked me up from the airport smiled and waved at me. Ugh. I sat down thinking how ridiculously lonely I felt. I was honestly on the verge of tears. If you know me, then you know that it’s so hard for me to get along with girls sometimes. And then turns out the conference topic is “self worth”. Oh my goodness, as the APs started the training, I started crying in my seat, trying so hard not to make noises. It was terrible. They were talking about all this stuff about our self worth and having confidence in ourselves and knowing we were daughters of God. I was crying os bad. Not because it touched me or anything, but because I was feeling sorry for myself. Oh man, I’m looking back and I’m rolling my eyes at myself! Everything they were talking about was stuff I usually blog about, but here I was, not being able to be happy about the fact that I already had a testimony of all that. I was just super homesick. I really just wanted to run out of he chapel and go cry and pray somewhere. But I obviously couldn’t. And I didn’t want Sister Ash to know I was crying, so I stayed put. When it was lunch break, I got to see some of the Danish speaking visa-waiting sisters. Whew, ok finally some familiar faces. I asked them how the work was going and they all said they loved it. All I could really say was “I’m still getting used to it”. Oh dear. But during lunch, I got to chat with some of Sis. Ash’s companions. She talks about them all the time at home, so I knew a bit about them when I started chatting with them. Then one of the Senior Sisters comes up to me to give me my mail. I got a letter from Stan and it made me feel so much better. He was talking about goals and gave me a bunch of mission quotes/tracting and teaching examples. It was totally stuff I needed to hear (or read lol) at that moment. So I went throughout the rest of the conference thinking of new goals to help me work better out here. It made me feel so much better! They played the Mormon Message with Sis and Pres. Clark’s daughter, Stephanie Nielson. She’s the one who got in the plane crash. I followed her blog back home. Anyways, it reminded me a lot about what my mind set used to be. I guess with feeling so homesick and inadequate the past month (and I guess the months before I left too), I forgot about how much I’m worth in God’s eyes. The Sis. Ash bore her testimony and said that we promised spirits in pre-mortal life that we would find them and bring them back home. That put a whole new purpose into my heart about missionary work. Then on Wednesday we had district meeting. Elder Stewart lead us through two activities. The first: he asked us “Do you believe Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith?”. Each member of our district that replied “yes”, Elder Stewart squirted them with a water gun! Then he asked himself the same question and replied “no”... and he got chocolate. We were all so shocked. The point of that was that the world will reject us because of the things we know are true and sometimes they reward those who don’t believe what we do. But the point was that no matter how wet we got form the gun or no matter how bad we are rejected, we always need to stand up for what we believe in. And in return Heavenly Father will bless us (we all got fancier chocolates afterwards). The 2nd one: He asked Elder Rougeau if he considered us family and if he loved us. Elder Rougeau replied “yes”. The Elder Stewart starts going around to each district member and asks us if we wanted chocolate. Every time we accepted it, Elder Rougeau had to do 10 push ups. After the first 3-4 elders that accepted the chocolate, it just started to sound so painful for Elder Rougeau. The Elder before me, Elder Johnson didn’t accept the chocolate. But Elder Rougeau still had to do 10 push ups. By the time Elder Stewart got to me, I was just covering my face. Poor Elder Rougeau was so tired and breathing/hurting pretty bad. I said yes to the chocolate though. And Sis. Ash said no. He still had to do 10 for each. Oh man, my heart just hurt for hime. And that is probably because I could see what Elder Stewart was referencing to. Elder Rougeau represented Jesus Christ and the Atonement. Jesus suffered for all of us so that we can gain the blessings from the atonement. Whether or not we choose to accept Him and utilize the Atonement doesn’t matter. He suffered for each and every one of us. Some of us can choose to ignore that fact (not accept the chocolate), but He went through the pain nonetheless. Oh man, both activities were really powerful. My heart was so full of gratitude. We also reported on our areas. Elder Steart asked Sis. Ash and I if we did our district prayers. A little background info on that: Last district prayers. A little background info on that: Last district meeting, Elder Stewart challenged our district to district prayers that were similar to the mission prayers we have at 10 pm. Every morning, after we exercise, we have to pray s a companionship for the success of our area. Then at lunch before we eat, we need to pray for the success of our district. Then at 10 pm, it’s the usual prayer for the success for our mission goal of 450 baptisms. Anywho, we told Elder Stewart that we haven’t been doing it. He told us to try harder this week and promised that if we do, we WILL see success and miracles. Well, guess what? He was right! After our experiences at Sisters Conference and District meeting, Sis. Ash and I did some goal setting. We are making little changes here and there to help us be better missionaries and be closer to the spirit. As a result, the rest of this week has been fantabulous!!! It’s so amazing! It blows my mind!

Wednesday afternoon, I learned how to weed a garden and how to make an American breakfast (for dinner). On Thursday, we spent the day working hard! I had to do an online family history course for missionaries and it got me so interested in family history work. We went to set up a baptism calendar with our investigator, Justin, and taught his niece, Makayla, about the Great Apostasy. Then we drove out to the country area to have dinner with the Hammonds. The sky was so beautiful. And the Hammonds home has such a special spirit. When we left, everything just felt SO GOOD. For the first time ever, I told Sis. Ash that I loved being in Paris. The sunset was so beautiful and I was just soaking in all the tender mercies. We visited the Hammonds grand daughter, Sister Hoorer, who is a single mom of 4 and is working and starting her masters just after finishing her under grad. She was saying how good it was to have sisters because the Elders couldn’t come. It reminded me of the reason I’m out here. Pre. Wells (my branch president) requested Sisters so we could help reactivate all the single sisters.

Ok this next part is the best! After seeing Sis. Hoorer, Sis. Ash was prompted to use the last few minutes of the day to visit Sis. Smith. She has health problems and is not able to make it to church. But she was able to go to the temple for the first time in 30 years on Tuesday. And get this, SHE GAVE US A REFERRAL! She said her granddaughter was thinking of bringing her kids to a church. We were so excited to contact her!! We tried 3 times. The 1st time, we ended up creeping out one of her neighbours at the trailer park so we booked it out of there. The 2nd time was when we tracted the whole trailer park with her door as last... but she wasn’t home! THen in the evening, Sis. Ash said she had a feeling we should go back and ride our bikes there before it gets dark. So we knock on her door and she just kept shaking her head. Sis. Ash said she had a feeling we should go back and ride our bikes there before it gets dark. So we knock on her door and she just kept shaking her head. Sis. Ash tried so hard to keep a conversation going with her, but she obviously didn’t want us there. Bummer! But as we were getting our bikes, Sis. Ash saw a man walking on his lawn across from us. Sis. Ash says “Sister Limas, go share a card with him”. Oh man, a painful groan came out of my mouth. That was just way awkward. So sister Ash started asking him, and made me continue. But guess what?! We were able to set an appointment with him! WOO!!!! We rode our bikes home excitedly and hopped into the car to visit less-former investigators instead. So she told me to look at the list and pick a name that stood out. I was prompted to choose the Evans. We drove out to their neighbourhood and as we pulled up to their house, there was this huge commotion! They ran outside, glaring at us like they didn’t want us there. But guess what? Debby Evans set up an appointment with us cuz she was still interested in learning more (from when the Elders taught her) and she was super excited about it too! Woo!! Oh man, the miracles! It is so awesome!

Our talks went well on Sunday. Oh, I am so in love with our branch. The members are so great and I love all the kids. So stinking cute! The branch members help us out so much! Agh, this weeks has just been so awesome. And I’m so so so happy I can finally say I’m loving it out here. Heavenly Father loves me and I am blessed.

And Sis. Ash is awesome. She is such a good example to me. And we dialogue random things all day which makes the work 10 times more fun.

Anywho, sorry that was a little long. But I just really had to share. I miss and love you all! Write me :)

Sister Limas

P.S. Sis. Fuller’s (one of the recent converts) daughter, Taryn, is 13 and gives her mom so much attitude. Sis. Fuller told us that Taryn went ot Pres. Wells demanding her name get removed from the church records. So she asked us last week if there was something we could do. Well, Sis. Ash and I decided to take her out for ice cream sometime and just have a girls day. Ever since we asked Taryn if we could, she has just been so great. She’s not as rude to her mom, she is super excited to cook for us for Young Women’s on Wednesday, and she even made us Reese cupcakes. And we haven’t even taken her out yet! Under that tough attitude, she really is a softy. I already lover her tones and want to help her with her testimony. Sis. Fuller just texted us saying how Taryn’s been fasting with them as a family and just seems happier as she’s getting closer to us. THAT JUST MELTED MY HEART. *cries* Everyone here is just so grateful that there are finally sisters serving here. It makes me feel like I have a huge responsibility... Which I do! And I’m so much more determined to fulfill it. I really hope Sis. Ash and I don’t get transferred next week. There is so much work to do here in Paris!!

Till next week, y’all :)

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