Sunday, July 27, 2014

Transfer 12 Semaine 3 7/21/14

Dear family and friends, 

What a week this has been!!! In rain and shine we work! 

This week we worked a lot with Demila and Marie, who are each experiencing difficult trials in their lives. As a missionary, I mourn and sorrow with them, yet at times I feel little and helpless. What does bring me hope, though, is that God lives and answers prayers. I try to always remember, "with men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible" (Mark 10: 27). Please keep Demila, her daughters, and Marie in your prayers. 

In a time of trial, we often ask ourselves, "Why me? Why this? When will it come to an end?" Considering many circimstances, I believe it is fair to ask such things. Let us never forget, however, that trials arise for a reason, and they allow us to learn and grow. Remember that some of the most difficult trials in life, with time, can become the sweetest memories because we look back and see that we did it, we overcame it through the grace and mercy of our loving Savior.

This week I read several scriptural passages that speak of trials. Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, the children of Israel slaved under pharaoh's wrath, Abinadi was burned by King Noah, Nephi and Lehi were beaten in prison, and Moroni witnessed the destruction of his people. It is clear that although we may be disciples of Jesus Christ, we still have tribulations, but we have promises of protection and deliverance from all that may come. 

"For behold, ye shall be as a whale in the midst of the sea; for the mountain waves shall dash upon you. Nevertheless, I will bring you up again out of the depths of the sea; for the winds which have gone forth out of my mouth, and also the rains and the floods have I sent forth. And behold, I prepare you against these things; for ye cannot cross this great deep save I prepare you against the waves and the sea, and the winds which have gone forth, and the floods which shall come" (Ether 2: 24-25). 

Knowing it is Christ who saves us, how do we, then, become His disciples? We keep His commandments. When we keep the commandments, not only can we count on blessings of deliverance and protection, but we will recieve a fullness of joy in His kingdom. From the words of a living apostle, we learn, "the greatest test of life is to see whether we will hearken to and obey God's commandments in the midst of the storms of life. It is not to endure the storms, but the choose the right while they rage" (President Henry B. Eyring). Everyone experiences difficulties, but it is those who believe in Christ and keep His commandments that recieve the greatest rewards in heaven. 

Remember that you can make a difference, wherever you are. Find someone to help and always, always remember to smile.:) 

I love you with all of my heart, Soeur Laura Lee Judd

Friday, July 18, 2014

Transfer 12 Semaine 2 7/15/14

Dear family and friends, 

Happy Bastille Day and Happy Tour de France! Soeur Trautman and I had the time of our lives yesterday.:) I dont think life can get much better than this.:) 

This week was another beautiful week! I love everything about my mission, and I cherish every minute of it. 

Demila and Marthe came to church!!! and loved it.:) Each of them have been investigating the church for about four years, and Sunday was the first time they came to sacrament meeting. What a blessing it was to sit next to them and feel the Spirit with them. We were also happy to have had several other investigators with us on Sunday. Each of them spent some good quality time with member families and are all planning on coming again next week! I have such a strong testimony of church attendance, and I know that as these amis continue coming to church, they will better understand the Gospel in its restored form and desire to become a part of the church of Jesus Chist. Please keep them in your prayers. 

This week I came across this quote, and it has been ringing in my ears ever since : 
Jesus Chist not only came to atone for our sins; He also came to show us the way. He is the Way. You not only may become like Him; everything is stacked in your favor to become like Him" (Lawrence E. Corbridge). 

Isn't that beautiful? EVERYTHING is stacked in our favor to become like our Savior, Jesus Christ. What we need to do to realize this promise is keep His commandments. But we need not think we are alone in that effort! Jesus Christ gives us all the strength we need in order to follow Him. Let us not forget the common words of Nephi, "...I know the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he has commandeth them" (1 Nephi 3:7). This week, after praying with a new investigator, she looked at us with tears in her eyes and said, "I feel stronger having just heard His name." And so it may be for us. Call upon His holy name in faith, and I promise you strength to keep His commandments. As we continue in this manner, we will, one day, become like Him. 

Remember that you can make a difference, wherever you are. Find someone to help and always, always remember to smile.:) 

I love you with all of my heart, Soeur Laura Lee Judd

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Transfer 12 Semaine 1 7/7/14

Dear family and friends, 

Bonjour! Changes came today...and I am so happy to say that I am staying in Mulhouse with Soeur Trautman!!! The work is really growing, and I am so grateful to be able to witness the unfolding miracles.:) I couldn't possibly imagine a better way to finish my mission. 

This week we traveled to Paris to meet Président and Soeur Babin. They are incredible! As I listened during the conference, the Spirit confirmed to me that the Lord has called them to this mission and that they are on His errand.

I love them already. During their presentation of their objectives for their mission, President and Soeur Babin talked about the relationship we each have with Jesus Christ. They challenged us to strengthen that relationship and promised blessings of purity and strength. May we all strive to know him and to become like him. Let's regularly ask ourselves, "Have [I] recieved his image in [my] countenance? Have [I] experienced this mighty change in [my] heart?...if [I] have experienced a change of heart, and if [I] have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, can [I] feel so now? (Alma 5: 14, 26). Christ is ever on our side. I know that through him, we can be cleansed and fortified; one day, at that perfect day, we can become like him. 

Each of our investigators are doing well! Demila and her daughters are reading in the Book of Mormon on their own and will be coming to church this week! Marie is accepting every commandment and, as she continues to recieve answers to her prayers, has accepted to be baptized on the 20th of July. Marthe is moved in to her new place and will also be coming to church this week. She, too, is praying about baptism. Please keep each of them in your prayers. 

Last week Soeur Trautman and I found several new amies, several of which are already progressing. Titi is a young Muslim mom looking to convert to Christianity. She came to church this past week and loved it! We have lots of hope for her. Doina is a young Romanian woman living here and working. She also came to church for the first time and loved it. Keep each of them in your prayers as well. 

Remember that you can make a difference, wherever you are. Find someone to help and always, always remember to smile.:) 

I love you with all of my heart! 

Soeur Judd

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Transfer 11 Semaine 5 6/23/14

Dear family and friends, 

I havent watched any soccer this week...but I sure have HEARD a lot of soccer!!! haha. I love being in Europe during the World Cup! Everyone who is anyone is talking about the games and making guesses about who will win the next match. During the day things are pretty calm, but we can hear the cheers ALL NIGHT! haha. France and Switzerland played the other day...and I knew that France had to have had at least four goals because we could hear a giant chorus every time they scored.:) haha. I LOVE the World Cup! 

On top of that party, there was also a Music Festival with bands playing all around the city. We didn't hear much (except the Gospel music provided by the Evangelicals outside our apartement haha), but we did go into the center of town for a minute to hear Demila's daughter, Sadiqua, perform few songs. By the time we got there, though, it was already 8h45, so we quickly informed Demila that we only had a few minutes to visit before we had to be back to our apartment. Without a minute to spare, Demila said, "Alright! Let me get you a little sandwich and you'll be off! You must be obedient like Nephi was and get back to your apartment on time! You know how Nephi blessed his entire nation for being obedient and going back to get the plates? You must be the same way! So get going!" haha. Can you believe that??? I love Demila so much! haha. Please keep her and her daughters (Sadiqua and Zarah) in your prayers. They NEED to come to church! 

This week we spent a LOT of time helping Marthe Mbala move to a new apartment. HOLY COW it wore me out! haha. On the first day, Soeur Trautman and I showed up and all we ended up having were grocery sacks and a bus pass. For several hours, we took sacks down three flights of stairs, walked them to the bus, took a ride twenty minutes across Mulhouse, walked to her new aprartment, dropped everything out at the new place, and went back to do it again. During that entire afternoon, I kept thinking to myself that there was NO WAY we could do this alone...and I prayed and prayed that the Lord would provide a truck and more people to help us. After a few days, we organized our efforts wiith the ward, and we were blessed to be able to finish everything up this morning! What a blessing a miracle it was! We are sure that Marthe, especially after having met so many members, is in such a good place to finally accept the Gospel. We will be working A LOT with her from here on out. Please keep her in your prayers! 

MARIE MONNIN RECIEVED KNOWS THE BOOK OF MORMON IS TRUE!!!!!!!!!!!!! After many many prayers and a fast together, Marie recieved an answer that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. What stands in her way now is a testimony of Joseph Smith. As members of the church, it makes perfect sense for us that if the Book of Mormon is true, Joseph Smith must have been a prophet of God, but Marie is still piecing it together and praying for a firm witness. This week we will be reviewing a lot about the Restoration. Please keep her in your prayers that she may recieve a witness and accept a date to be baptized. 

This past week, Soeur Trautman and I went to Paris for Président and Soeur Poznanski's last Zone Conference, and it was incredible. As they spoke, the Spirit was so strong and testified to me that this is the Lord's work and we are his errand. To thank Président and Soeur Poznanski, the APs put together a chain of musical numbers, and I was so blessed to be able to perform "I Know that My Redeemer Lives" with two of my greatest missionary friends. For the last verse we asked all of the missionaries present to stand and join in singing; the Spirit was so strong I could barely sing a note. What an incredible opportunity it was to put my testimony to a melody. Truly, I know that my Redeemer lives! 

There is so much I wish I could share from the conference, but what I wish to share most is a story about the temple being built in France. Président heard this story from Bishop Causée and shared it with us. It touched me so much and strengthened my testimony of the temple and the blessings we recieve as we make and keep sacred covenants: 

During a short business trip, a British member of the church recieved a phone call from his company's CEO inviting him to join him and some associates for dinner at a restaurant in Paris. Having accepted the invitation and arrived at the gathering, this Brisish member felt a little overwhelmed and intimidated. As he looked around the table, he saw numerous French politicians and the CEOs of France's most prestigious companies such as SNCF (the international train company) and AirFrance and asked himself, "Why am I here?"

As the night went on, conversations turned about the table. Considering the political influence and interest of the group, it wasn't truly a surprise when they all began talking about Mitt Romney and his race for President. Very quickly the comment came up that Romney is a Mormon, and the whole party, as though they were a chorus, said, "What is a Mormon?" It was then that this "seemingly insignificant" British member realized why he was there that night. He took his chance, raised his voice, and explained nearly everything therer is to know about Mormons and what they believe. Every member of the dinner party became so intrigued to know that they asked all sorts of questions and made comments, and, for several hours, he answered. What an incredible missionary experience it was!!!

Later, the conversations split off into smaller groups. Not being able to understand to French, the British man turned to his employer and asked what everyone was discussing. To his pleasant surprise, the employer smiled and said something like this: "Each of us have another associate who is not here tonight that is the Mayor of Yvlinnes (the district of Versailles). He is very against the construction of the Mormon temple and had asked each of us to support his cause of ending its construction once and for all. Many of us here were ready to support his disapprovals, but after what you just shared with us about Mormons tonight, NONE of us believe the construction should be terminated. We all support the building of a Mormon temple." 

To everyone's surprise, several days after this dinner, as the apostle Neil L. Anderson stepped onto the temple site, ALL complaints and complications of the temple's contruction in Versailles were dropped. Not a single thing is stopping it now! The temple is now OFFICIALLY being built. 

How wonderful and beautiful it is that the prayers of thousands were answered through this British member. Because of his position and his worthiness, he was put in a place to accomplish the will of the Lord. Very often the Lord, through small and simple things, accomplishes that which is GREAT in His sight. Just think of all those who will be blessed-both here on earth and those who have passed on-because of this temple being built! And now it is FINALLY underway. 

Remember that you can make a difference wherever you are. Find someone to help and always, always remember to smile.:) 

I love you with all of my heart! 

Soeur Laura Lee Judd 

Transfer 11 Semaine 4 6/16/14

Dear family and friends, 

When I first found out I was coming to Mulhouse, everyone told me that it is soooooooooo hot there! and up until now I didn't believe them...BUT NOW I DO!!!!! haha. IT IS SO HOT!!!!! But I love it when the sun is out because that means the French are out too!!! haha. 

I LOVE DEMILA!!!!!!!! We had been so worried about her lately because we had been out of contact, and when we passed by her house yesterday, she was finally there!!! She recieved us immediately and said that she missed her sisters so much! Demila also said she had been reading out of the Book of Mormon with her daughters AND friends and said she tells them that she knows it is a true book of God. In all reality, Demila has only read a few chapters of the Book of Mormon, yet the testimony she has of it is firm and steadfast. She is such an incredible example to me. As we sat and visited with her, we read in 1st Nephi together, we talked about Nephi and the trials he faced, Demila likened his experiences to her own and connected all the dots. Because the Lord answered Nephi's prayers, met his needs and gave him strength, she knows the Lord will do the same for her as well. Her insights are so profound. 

As we continued teaching, we spoke of the blessings we recieve as we keep the commandments of the Lord. Soeur Trautman and I each took turns testifying of obedience, and as I felt the Spirit fill the room, Demila's countenance completely changed. After we spoke, we let the Spirit work, and Demila turned to us and said, "Sisters, I have been thinking about baptism... I have been baptised before...but I know your church is the true church of God and that being baptised again would mean I become a part of God's fold. I want to join myself to this cause by being baptised." Isn't that incredible?!:) How blessed I was to have been able to testify to her afterwards and promise that the Lord, as He did for Nephi, will guide her path and prepare the way for her to be baptised. Please keep Demila and her daughters in your prayers so that they will all prepare to enter into the covenant of baptism together as a family. 

This afternoon I was so blessed to be able to read Alicia's email, which spoke so much of the temple. What a blessing it was for her (and for our family!) to go through the temple in preparation for her mission. Cherished memories and sacred thoughts of my own temple experiences came to mind, and as I read, and I was reminded of a quote given by Elder Anderson this past General Conference: "The way you feel in the temple is a pattern for how you want to feel in your life." Isn't that beautiful? I hope we all desire to pattern our lives in that way. Let's live in such a way that we always worthy of a temple recommend. May we stand in holy places and be not moved. 

Remember that you can make a difference, wherever you are. Find someone to help and always, always remember to smile.:) 

I love you with all of my heart, Soeur Laura Lee Judd

Transfer 11 Semaine 3 6/9/14

Dear family and friends, 

I am so happy to have received so much good news this week!!! Congratulations to Jessica and Drew, Ryan and April, and Alicia! I am so grateful to see the many blessings our family is receiving. 

This week was great! and I am so grateful to be in Mulhouse. I have loved it since I got here, but I really feel like this is home now. I love seeing familiar people on the street; I know them, they know me, and I love it!!! 

Yesterday, Soeur Trautman and I visited Robert and Fabienne, and it was such a joy to be with them again. The Spirit is very welcome in their home, and I feel it RUSH in the moment we pray together. Although they are both very devout in their religion, Robert and Fabienne could feel the Spirit as we shared the story of the First Vision of Joseph Smith, and they readily accepted the invitation to read the Book of Mormon. Please keep them in your prayers this week that they may act upon the promptings they recieve from the Holy Ghost. 

This morning I read the address that was given by Elder Nelson this past General Conference, and it pushed me to study the topic of courage even further. It led me to Joshua 1:9, "...Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest" and 2 Timothy 1:7, "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." Every day, we must be courageous. It is not easy. There may be some trials along the way. But let's always remember that, "Courage, not compromise, brings the smile of God's approval...Remember that all men have their fears, but those who face their fears with faith have courage as well." 

Remember that you can make a difference, wherever you are. Find someone to help and always, always remember to smile.:) 

I love you with all of my heart, Soeur Laura Lee Judd 

Transfer 11 Semaine 2 6/2/14

Dear family and friends, 

This week was pretty bitter sweet... I went to Paris to drop off Soeur Gordon (who was transfered to Lorient) and picked up my new companion, Soeur Trautman. I feel as though I say this with every companion...only because it is TRUE!!!:)...but I feel as though I have known Soeur Trautman my entire life! We get along so well and I love so dearly her already. Soeur Trautman is from Idaho and is just beginning her fourth transfer (she served her first three in Belgium), yet she already speaks French like a champ and is an incredible missioinary. One of my favorite things about Soeur Trautman is that she is always smiling.:) Although two little blond girls look a little strange walking around Mulhouse, no one ever doubts that we are two HAPPY little blond girls walking around Mulhouse.:) 

I am so excited for Jessica and Drew today! My thoughts and prayers are with you.:) Also, congratulations to Alicia for recieving her mission call! Spain!!! I can hardly believe it.:) My our family is sure blessed.:) 

All of our amis are doing well. I wish I had more time to explain, but I'd ask that you would please keep Isa and Luc in your prayers this week. Their baptism was originally fixed for this weekend, but it will be postponed for a later date. Please pray that we may fix a new date and that they will recieve the witness and testimony they desire. 

This morning I recieved the Ensign for this past General Conference, and I have hardly been able to put it down! I love re-reading the talks, remembering the good counsel given by our leaders, and then trying to apply what I've learned. I invite you all to do the same! Today I read the talk given by Elder Hales called "If Ye Love Me, Keep My Commandments" and was really touched when he said, "Obedience makes us progressively stronger, capable of faithfully enduring tests and trials in the future." May each of us resolve to be more obedient to EVERY commandment given by the Lord; they are not given so that we may pick and choose which we want to obey. Every commandment has eternal consequences.   

Remember that you can make a difference, wherever you are. Find someone to help and always, always remember to smile.:) 

I love you with all of my heart, Soeur Laura Lee Judd