Monday, June 24, 2013

Alexandra!! 6/24/13

Dear family and friends,

Well! A million things happened this week! I always have too much to share! haha.

Yesterday, Alexandra Arelus was baptized.:) and it was the most beautiful experience I have ever had. The service was just wonderful. There were nearly 50 members that came, Sister Anderson gave a great talk, and Alexandra had asked me to sing "More Holiness Give Me". The Spirit was so strong, and she was full of light. Alexandra was ready to make this promise with the Lord-the smile on her face when she came out of the water said it all.

I know that Alexandra's decision to be baptized was motivated by revelation she recieved from the Lord. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to know Alexandra, to be her friend. She will forever hold a place in my heart. I love her so much.

The rest of my week all led up to the baptism, so the rest of this email might be pretty anti-climactic haha.:) BUT ACTUALLY! I got to sneak in a little trip to Brussles, Belgium for a day! haha. All of the missionaries I was in the MTC with had to get their legality taken care of, so I was lucky enough to get to see them all again! It was the best! I loved talking with Sister Johns, Sister Henson, Sister Holmes, Sister Hafen, and Sister Finneran again. I love them so much! I am so grateful for their love and support. It is so incredible how quickly we all became the best of friends. Brussles was pretty great too.:) haha. Waffles and all!

Yesterday, Sister Anderson got a call from the Assistants, and she found out that she is training! Man alive she is going to be the best trainer in the world! I am so excited for her. We were a little sad, though, because we have really gotten to be the best of friends this transfer. We went through so many incredible experiences together...and it was really hard news to realize it's ending. She will continue to work miracles in Angers, though, and I am so grateful she gets to stay. There are so many people here that she still needs to find, and I am confident that she will find them. Her blue (i.e. greenie haha) is so lucky!

Wow! I just barely found out that I am getting transfered to......BLOIS!!!! and I get to be companions with Sister Breea Linton!!!!!!!!!! (this is not a joke haha) That is exciting! I did a mini transfer there last week! and actually traveled to Belgium with Sister Linton haha so I have already seen the city a little bit, and it is beautiful! And being with Sister Linton will be the greatest.:) We joked with everyone before the mission about maybe being able to serve together, but I never thought we'd actually get to.:) haha. I am really excited.:)

Well I cannot wait to tell you about all of the changes coming up in the next week. I've got to finish up strong here first!

Thank you so much for all of your support and prayers this past week! I love you all so much and am so grateful for your love.:)

Remember you can make a difference, wherever you are. Find someone to serve. And always always remember to smile.:)

Love, Soeur Laura Lee Judd

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Zone conference 6/17/13

Dear family and friends, 

Wow this week was full of incredible experiences. I am so excited to tell you all about it! 

We got to have a giant Zone Conference this week, and it was so great to be able to see so many of my friends from the MTC and from last transfer. And of course it was such a treat to see President and Soeur Poznanski. The discourses and thoughts that they shared with us were so inspired, and every question or doubt that I had going into the conference was addressed. Sister Anderson and I kept looking over at each other throughout the meetings with tears in our eyes and smiling at each answer we recieved to our prayers. I am so blessed to serve as a missionary under the guidance of President and his wife. I look up to each of them as some of the greatest role models in my life, and I hope to lead a life similar to theirs. 

Sister Anderson and I had so many incredible opportunities to teach this week, and we have been so blessed! In our Zone Conference we were taught to follow a pattern of finding where we visit a family in our ward, pray with them, and then contact and knock doors right around their neighborhood. As we followed this counsel, we were blessed more than ever before. Doors were opened and hearts were softened. It was an incredible spiritually building experience for both us as missionaries and for the members that we visited. 

For the past couple of weeks we have had so many incredible experiences teaching Alexandra. She has been so faithful and commited through this entire process, and her willingness to obey all of God's commandments has been an incredible thing to witness. Although she knew the importance of keeping the Sabbath Day holy, the hardest thing for her up to this point was being able to get work off for church. This past week, however, after the occassion to fast and pray, Alexandra was able to come to church with us yesterday. The Spirit in all of our meetings was so strong, and her face was lit up the entire time. Truly, truly, she is ready to enter into the covenant of baptism. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers this week. Pray that she will be able to have the Spirit with her and that Sister Anderson and I will be able to get everything pulled together for her. Her baptism will be this Sunday, just following our sacrament meeting. 

Thank you all so much for the support you give to me. I am so grateful for the strength I personally recieve and for the strength that those we teach recieve through your prayers. I know that this work is the Lord's. Every once in a while I lay down at night and think, "How am I doing this?" But really it is not me at all. It is the Lord. Through Him all things are possible. What a blessing it is for me to simply be a helper.:) 

I love you all with all of my heart. Remember that you can make a difference, wherever you are. Find someone to serve. Always remember to smile.:) 

Soeur Laura Lee Judd

Monday, June 10, 2013

Incredible week 6/10/13

Dear family and friends, 

Wow this week was so increbile!!!! and I cannot believe how quickly it went! Man life is good here! 

I know that I havent been very good about writing general emails...sorry! So i will just take the chance to tell you as much as i can about some of our amis.:) 

I believe I told you a little bit about Alexandra Arelus, right? She is the young Haitian girl that Sister Anderson and I met on the tram a couple weeks ago.:) Well she ended up coming to church that day after we met her, and then later that night we fixed a baptisimal date with her on the 23rd of June. Since that rendez-vous, we have met with Alexandra nearly every other day since then, and she is just eating up everything we teach! We taught the Word of Wisdom early on, thinking that that could be a potential difficulty, but she accepted the teaching right on the spot by saying, "Well, I know that God knows what is best for me, so if He has commanded me to not take these things into my body, then I will obey Him."

She then took us into her kitchen, and we watched her dump all the tea she had down the sink. A couple lessons later she told us that she had been thinking a lot about repentance and how a part of repentance is apologising to the people we have wronged, so she had decided to call her x-husband and apologise for all of the things that she had done wrong and asked for his pardon. Later in that lesson she prayed and thanked Heavenly Father for the chance she has to repent and be forgiven. Most recently, we went over to Alexandra's house to make milkshakes and teach a little lesson, and she had invited one of her friends over to meet us and listen to what we had prepared. Her friend Hermione was super sweet and open to our message and loved praying with us, so she gave us her information and hopefully we are going to begin meeting with her this week.:) Wow I cannot believe everything that has happened with Alexandra! (now that I am writing this all out I apologise for not writing it to you earlier!!!) But I hope that reading a little bit about her now brings a smile to all y'all's face. It is such a blessing to know Alexandra and to be a tool Heavenly Father uses to make miracles like this happen. She is truly prepared and can already see the blessings that the Gospel brings into the lives of those who live by its teachings. I am so grateful for all that I have learned by teaching Alexandra. I have learned SO many things...recieved so many blesings...but the greatest of all is the increase of charity the Lord has allowed to grow in my heart. The love I have for Alexandra, for all those that I teach, has grown so much, and it is such a special feeling to feel a similar love for them that Heavenly Father has for them.
He loves all of us and desires our happiness. I know that the greatest joy we can find is through living and loving the teachings and example of Jesus Chirst. Through Him all things are possible, the greatest mysteries are uncovered, and we have hope and promises forever to come. 

This past week, Sister Anderson and I were also able to begin meeting with a woman named Marie Dudry. She is an older French woman, maybe in her 50s or 60s, who was contacted by the missionaries last year, but kinda fell through the cracks. We saw her name several weeks ago, and had the strongest feeling to visit her, and when we did, it turned into an incredible opportunity to comfort and to share. Despite all of the trials and lonely feelings she has had in her life, Marie loves God and desires to respect His commands.
We were able to present the Plan of Salvation, which she was very open to, and then we invited her to come to church. The next day, to our greatest surprise, she joined us on the front row in Sacrament Meeting. The members were so incredibly kind and loving towards her, the Spirit of the meeting was so strong and comforting, and she was really touched. Then, after the meeting, a little girl in our ward was baptized, and Marie was able to stay and witness it. She was touched by the fact that we are baptized by immersion and marveled at how that it truly a symbol of death and rebirth, and I think that her witness of the confirmation was also really fortifying. It was such a blessing to have her at church, and even though she probably didnt know what everyone was talking about (actually she has no idea what anyone was talking about haha), she felt the Spirit. I am really excited for the next opportunity we will have to teach Marie and to fill her with the joy the Gospel can bring. Please keep her in your prayers for comfort and a softened heart.

Anyways... that is a lot of information at once! But i hope it helps you understand a little bit more about how things are going here.:) They are moving fast.:) and it is such a joy to be a missionary in this mission, in this area. Truly there are people prepared here, and we are finding them. Please continue to pray that we will be able to find more people to teach. Pray for us to have to strength to open our mouths to share with those whose hearts are softened. Thank you so much.

As I reflect back upon the feelings I had with Marie during the baptism she attended this week, I am reminded of my own baptism and other occasions I have had to make sacred convenants with the Lord. I am filled with so much joy and also with a greater strength to keep these promises as I remember the actual events, and so I encourage you all to do the same. Reflect upon the covenants you have with the Lord. I testify that they are true and sacred. Guard them and keep them holy, and I promise that the Lord will always keep his part. 

I love you all so much. I respect and honor all of the things you have taught me, and I will forever be grateful for the example you have all been to me. I am so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and for the guidance and peace I recieve by following the example of Jesus Christ. I know that He leads this church and that it was fully restored by Joseph Smith. I know that each of us have a plan created, a path to follow, that can lead us back into the presence of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. We can live with our families forever-that is a promise the Lord has given us as we obey His commandments. I know that anwsers are found through the Book of Mormon. I know that the Lord answers our prayers. If you are not sure of that quite yet, try it. Pray to know, and I can promise you that He will answer. 

Remember that you can make a difference anytime anywhere. Find someone to serve. And always always remember to smile.:) 

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

Sunday, June 9, 2013

No time 6/3/13

Sorry I only have time to send pictures today! I am trying to get out of town soon. But I love you all with all of my heart!
Soeur Judd

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The French make up holidays! 5/21/13

Ma famille et mes amis,

Well I am really sorry for the little delay in the email, but the French really like to make up holidays so they dont have to go to work haha.:) So I am sorry I should have let you know last week that we couldnt email until today...but no one ever tells us about the holidays. I should just assume that every store, every restaurant, and every internet cafe should be closed once a week (cause that is seriously how often this has been happening since my coming to France haha) but that would be a little overboard...:) haha.

I dont think I could actually be any happier than I am right now sitting in a little French internet cafe, eating a chocolate almond croissant, and sitting next to my new companion, Sister Anderson. Life if so good.:) 

I wish I had the time to tell you all of the incredible stories from the week, but i will have to save some for next week cause WE GOT TO GET TO WORK!:) haha. But know that I am alive and well and happier than ever before!:) 

Remember that you can make a difference-wherever you are. Find someone to serve. And always always remember to smile.:)

I love you with all of my heart!

Soeur Laura Lee Judd