Monday, August 5, 2013

Transfer 4, Semaine 1 (i just realized i am actually in my 4th transfer now...not my fifth...BEST REALIZATION EVER!!!!) 8/5/13

Dear family and friends, 
This transfer was an absolute success! I am so sad that is has come to an end, but I am also so grateful for the many miracles Sister Linton and I have witnessed together in these few short weeks. Although it was challenging at times, we always fell asleep content and woke up excited and ready to continue on the next day. I know that all the good experiences and memories we had together happened only through the loving care and grace of Heavenly Father. We know that we can do all things He needs as we realize His power and capacity and use Him in every single aspect of the work. 

Considering the incredible things we experienced together...Sister Linton and I were pretty sad yesterday to get the news that she is getting transfered. She could kinda feel the change coming...but it is still hard to change. I am excited for her though! She is going to be moving to a city called Lorient, which is on the west coast of France, and her new companion is Tahitian!!!!!! Which is super cool. I am kinda jealous...her French is going to get even better!!!!!!!!! As for me! I am so lucky to be able to stay in Blois.:) I love it here! I also got a phone call from the Assistants yesterday telling me that I am going to be training here. I was surprised! but I am really grateful for the opportunity that I will have to welcome in a new missionary.:) I am going to be in Paris for meetings this week, and I will finally be able to meet her on Wednesday! I will let you know all about her next week! 

Comedy Spotlight:

Ok!!!! I have been dying to tell you the funny spotlight this week!!! Ok. So we have an investigator named Judith who is from Hungary. She has been living in France for 15 years or so, so she speaks French, BUT she speaks English like a champ!!! and likes to practice, so we teach our lessons with her in English. Anyways. This week we decided to read a talk given by President Monson about the Plan of Salvation to help give her a better understanding of God's plan for her. She read the entire talk outloud and understood all of it really well! except for the part when it gives reference to Peter or someone giving a sermon on Mars Hill....haha. She read over the little explanation, seemed a little confused, stopped for a second, and then said, "Oh, yes, yes I see. They were on Mars." She then went on reading the rest of the talk like it was no bit deal.:) haha. Sister Linton and I were trying SOOOOOOOOOO hard not to laught out loud! haha It was the funniest. Oh Judith.:) 

Culture Spotlight: we got to go to a castle.:) and it was awesome!!! A couple in our ward picked us up, drove us, and took us on a tour of Chateau Chambord, and it was the funnest thing ever!!! Chambord was built by Francois 1ere in the late 16th century, but he only lived in it for 3 months of his life!!! Crazy, huh??? That's French royalty for you.:) You should definatly look up some pictures of Chambord-I attached a few for you to see too.:) It was the greatest! PLUS we saw English speaking members there! haha. A family from Draper and a family from England stopped us, and it was so funny talking to them for a little bit! It was the greatest.:) 

Food Spotlight:

Do you remember the member meal that I told you about my first week here in Blois??? It was the fish dish made by the Branch Presidents wife... Anyways. During that meal she had asked us what food from America Sister Linton and I miss the most, and both of us shouted in unison, "Mexican food!!!!!!!!!!" haha. We all laughed and joked about it, but then guess what??? She actually made us a Mexican meal!!!!!! Oh man it was the greatest thing to eat make-your-own burritos for the first time in six months....oh my mouth is watering...haha. I'll try to attach a picture of our Mexican France.:) 

Investigator Spotlight:

Mirian is golden!!!!! This week she took the lessons sooooo well! We were a little nervous because she drinks coffee and tea a lot, so it was tough at first for her to understand the importance of keeping the Word of Wisdom, but we had challenged her to turn to the Lord through prayer, and by the next time we saw her, she had thrown out all of her tea and coffee and had been keeping the law completely. She is such a strong example of faith. 

Guess what else??? Mirian's husband and her two other kids Barbara and Robinson got here safely from the Congo this week!!! We loved being able to finally meet them! And get this!!! Turns out Mirian's husband Vincent has been baptized for 20 years! and is a returned missionary! He has had many years of inactivity....but when he was living with his family in England, he started coming back to church.:) He is super supportive of Mirian and Jennyfer and their baptism (which is set for Aug 31). Keep them in your prayers! 

I am so grateful to be a missionary!!!! I love everything about my life here-I dont ever want it to end.:) I am so grateful for the lessons and changes and miracles I have seen in my life in these few short months. I know that the Lord has great things in store. Let us all do our part in bringing forth His will. 

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, August 2, 2013

Chris and Maria 7/29/13

Dear family and friends,

Wow I cannot believe I am almost through another transfer! Time is just flying out here, I can hardly believe it!

It is hot and it is humid, but I could never be happier.:)

Comedy Spotlight:

Comedy Spotlight just barely happened walking here to the library. On some bench in the middle of centre-ville with all sorts of tourists walking around, we saw some lady laying down on a hard wooden bench. Soeur Linton and I turned to each other with wide eyes and laughed. She was reallly out of place haha. Then, as we got closer to this lady, we realized that is was one of our amis, Patricia!!! haha. She looked so akward laying sideways like that...but she said her apartment was too hot to bear, so she had decided to come there and get some "fresh" air (as fresh as the air here can be right now). It was really funny talking to her laying down...he practically fell asleep as we were talking to her haha! Oh well. I'm glad she could get a nap at all!

I know that is not really a funny moment for y'all....but try to understand a missionary's humor and maybe you will understand why we seemed to think that was so funny.:) haha. I'll try to remember funny moment better.:) Sorry.

Culture Spotlight:

You know you're turning into a frenchie when you slip into boulangeries and eat baguettes as you are walking down the street. Haha. By the end of my mission I dont think I will even be able to have cultural moments anymore cause I feel like I will actually BE French.:) haha. This week we also got to see a couple of the churches around centre-ville, and they are all really incredible. I am still surprised that I had never heard of Blois before the mission! There are so many incredible landmarks here! It is France in a nutshell. I love it so much.

Food Spotlight:

Dominoes!!!!!!!!!!! for the first time in a long time I got to have some pizza!!!!!!! Man alive. I know that it is really lame to give a food spotlight of food that y'all can have anytime, but it was pretty ground breaking for me. I love America. I am so happy that greesy American pizza has finally made its way to Blois.:)

Investigator Spotlight:

This week we had a lot of good news from our amis! We get the chance to meet with each of them often, and they are progressing well. The greatest experiences from this week, though, were teaching Chris and Maria. Chris and Maria had met with the missionaries in the past, but somehow got lost between whitewashes and transfers previously made in Blois. However, Soeur Linton and I have been working with them since the begining of the transfer, and the changes we have seen in them have been absolutely incredible. This week, we reviewed some of the Restoration, namely the resoration of Priesthood authority, and this concept really clicked for them. The Spirit that accompanied us was just perfect, and in the midst of our conversation with them, Chris and Maria asked US when they could be baptized. I dont know how, but we were calmly able to communicate that there will be a service on the 31 of August. They formally accepted that invitation, and yesterday, they came to church as an entire family for the first time.:) It was incredible to see them all together and to feel the little bit of love for them that I know our Heavenly Father has for them. Although there is a lot to be done before their baptism, they have made the commitment, and I know that they know it is true. Please keep them and their two children in your prayers so that they will progress and that they will, together, enter into the waters of baptism on the 31st of August.

I am so incredilbly blessed for the opportunity that I have to see these miracles every day. I know that the Lord, Jesus Christ directs this work. I know He lives. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to testify of His love. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. More than ever before in my life, I know that the Book of Mormon is true, that is was translated by a living prophet named Joseph Smith. Read the book. I know that you can feel the same Spirit and know of a surety yourself.

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

Mirian 7/22/13

Dear family and friends! 

Thank you so much for the thoughts and love you constantly express towards me. I am so grateful for each of you. The work is moving full speed ahead here in the France Paris mission, and I am so blessed to be a witness of the Lord's hand. 

I am sorry I did not get much off last week. I was caught up hanging out with my best friends, Alexandra and Soeur Anderson!!! haha. I have the best life in the world.:) As I think of all the things I wish I could have shared with you then and of all the experiences I had this week, I am overwhelmed at the thought of getting it all written down! But I will try the best that I can to share the moments and the feelings I have had this past week while working here in Blois. 

Comedy Spotlight:

We met a really nice lady the other day, who wasnt particularly intestered in our message, but she listened to us explain a few of our beliefs. Today, as we were getting onto the bus, she was getting off, and when we saw her she said, "Hello Mormons! How are you, Mormons? These are the Mormons!" haha It was pretty funny for us and for everyone else on the bus. That story will should go to show just how small Blois is.:) haha. I love it. 

Cultural Spotlight:

The cultural spotlight this week is really obvious.:) I got to street contact on the corners of Notre Dame!!! There is not such thing as porting in the city. Only street contacting!!! but it was so so fun.:) This week we had exchanges with the Sister Trainer Leaders, and I was the lucky one that got to stay in Paris for the night.:) It was the greatest. I was companions with Soeur Hoover (April, she is from Idaho Falls!!!) for 24 hours, and I learned so much from her. I taught a lesson with her to a woman who just walked into the Visitors' Center one day (the one right near the Pompidou). This particular lesson was the second time the missionaries had met with Maria, but we got the special opportunity to relay the story of Joseph Smith and the Restoration of the church. The Spirit was incredibly strong, and Soeur Hoover and I were quite emotional. It felt right to ask, so we invitied Maria to be baptized the second weekend in August, and she accepted.:) What an increcible opportunity it was to be able to learn from my Soeur Leader. I am so grateful for all of the leadership in my mission and for the strenght of the missionaries who I get to serve with. 

(Oh! and mom! Do you remember Lauren Kimball??? Her mom was the director of the Lower School at Waterford for a couple years... Anyways. Soeur Kimball is serving in this mission now (she only got here about a week ago!) and I got to see her when staying in Paris! Things are going well for her.:) Tell her mom I got to see her!!!) 

Food Spotlight: 

The food spotlight this week was yesterday at another member meal. Man! these member meals are filling me to the brim! I love it!!!:) We ate at Natalie Bellamy's house (who is a less active in the branch) with her and her son. It was SOOOOOOO good! From scatch, she made a zuccini quiche, a rich pork roast, and a red berry tarte.:) It was incredible! I loved being with her and her son. They are so close. I hope to see her again later this week or the next! 

Investigator(s) Spotlight: 

I didnt really get to share too much at all last week!!! But I really want to update you about our investigator Mirian. We taught her just once after she came up to us on the bus, but she ended up coming to church that same weekend and loved it. Then next chance we had to teach her was the following Tuesday, and as we were teaching the Plan of Salvation, she accepted the invitation to be baptized on August 3rd.:) Then just this past weekend, while I was in Paris for exchanges, Mirian's daughter Jennifer (who has been living in Belgium for the past five years) moved to Blois. Soeur Linton and Soeur Pymm visited them on Saturday, taught the Restoration, and Jennifer also accepted the invitation to be baptized on the 3rd of August.:) What a miracle! I finally got the opportunity to meet Jennifer at church yesterday, and she is just the sweetest. I love her already. I also got the chance to talk to Mirian yesterday about her husband and two other kids, who are scheduled to come here from Africa this week, and she gave me the greatest news! It turns out that for the past couple of months, before he went to Africa to pick up their kids, Mirian's husband took the missionary discussions in England and was baptized.:) What a miracle. I am so excited for them to all be together again this week and to be full recipients of the blessings the Gospel offers families. Please keep the family Awazi in your prayers, that they all may arrive here safely and that they may progress and strengthen one another.:)

I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to be a missionary, to be an instrument and a witness of the Lord's hand. I know that this work is His work, it is divine. 

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