Monday, September 23, 2013

Transfer 5 Semaine 2 9/23/13

Dear family and friends, 

I am so grateful that we didnt have to do any moving or exchanges this week! This was the first time on my mission that the work continued on smoothly though week 1. Before I have had to bring in new companions or get transfered, and going to Paris with a million pounds of suitcases is always a drag. This week was golden, though. Soeur Mangum and I really kept the work flowing, and miracles are coming from all directions. 

This week we were able to meet twice with two new investigators named Horchidet and Vivienne. 

Horchidet is a member referral from a recently activated member, and is progressing well. She recently moved here from Congo Braza-ville and is living with her sister, but has been struggling because she lacks guidance from God in her life. Sharing the background and story of Joseph Smith really struck a cord with Horchidet, and she said that she feels very much like he did as he searched for the true church of Christ. Yesterday, Horchidet came to church, and I think she really enjoyed it! Having Karine there for support is really huge for her, and I know that as she prays to know of the truthfulness of the things we share, she will come to a realization that they are true. Truly, this is the path that God wants for her in her life. What a blessing that we are able to have contact with her. 

Vivienne is a young mom from Togo that we met on the bus about four or five weeks ago. She was really open and willing to learn when we first talked to her and gave us her number, but because we have been so busy for the past weeks, we didnt call follow up until this past week! She immediately remembered who we are when we called, though, and we got to see her the next day. The first lesson was so spiritual, and it was very clear that she is ready to accept this message into her life. Saturday we were then able to teach with the relief society president here in Blois, and it was one of the greatest lessons I have ever had on my entire mission. Vivienne had read all of the introduction to the Book of Mormon like we asked and had also read the testimonies of the three and eight witnesses. We gave her a soft baptisimal invite, and she accepted to do so as 
she comes to know these things are true for herself. She asked all the right questions and listened intently to every answer. At the end of the lesson, which only really ended up being twenty or  twenty-five minutes long, Vivienne said the prayer, and it was the most humble and sincere prayer I have heard from an investigator. She thanked the Lord for what He does for her in her life, gave a brief summary of the things she learned during our visit, and directly asked for the Lord's guidance on knowing the Book of Mormon in true. Although she wasnt able to come to church yesterday, Vivienne immediately scheduled another rendez-vous with us. I dont know what her time frame will be, but I know that Vivienne is ready to hear that which we have to share, and I know that even if it takes some time, she will be baptised. 

Please keep Horchidet and Vivienne in your prayers this week! 

At the end of this week we have two baptism scheduled. One is for a young girl named Amondine Grither, whose parents are both converts but have been in and out of activity for the past couple of years. Although I have not had a lot of opportunities to teach Amondine, she is under our wing because she is nine years old. She is active and ready to be baptised, so I am not worried about her date, but please keep her in your prayers so that it can all go smoothly and according to plan. 

Y'all know about Jennyfer Ntambwe, and she, too, is scheduled to get baptised this week. Her baptism will be such a strength to her family, and she is as ready as anyone I have ever known. Her faith is rock solid, and her testimony of the Book of Mormon is unwavering. She is so devout, and I know that she will do incredible things for the building up of the church in her lifetime. Tonight we are going to have a family home evening with Jennyfer and her family, and we are going to watch the Restoration, eat popcorn, and have Dominoes pizza (which, btw, is WAAAAAAAAAY better in France than it is in America haha). I am so excited for Jennyfer and incredibly grateful for the decision she has made to be baptised. She is one of the greatest friends I have ever had, and she will forever be my sister. I look forward to telling you all about the baptisms next week!!!:) 
Thank you so much for your love and support of me serving a mission. There are so many miracles happening around the world as the Lord pushes His work forward, but...the best miracles are happening in Blois.:) I am so grateful and so blessed to be serving the Lord in this capacity. 

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 5 Semaine 1 9/16/13

Dear family and friends,

Good news!!! A new transfer has begun, and I get one more in Blois! I don't know why, but I was pretty nervous that I was going to have to leave, but I am happy to say that I get to stay.:) Truly, there is more for Soeur Mangum and I to do here together, and I am so grateful to be able to start strong. In the immediate future, we are looking forward to Jennyfer's baptism on the 29th. She is ready and continuously progressing towards that date.:) Getting to spend so much time with her is so much fun! It's like we've known each other for years and years. I love her so much.

Yesterday, we had the biggest blessing to go to a conference where Elder Oaks spoke. Although we didnt get to have a special conference with just the missionaries, the meeting we had yesterday was all in celebration for the new stake in France that was just created. Pretty historic day! In France, there are no longer any districts, only stakes.:) And the new stake president who was chosen to preside is actually a memeber of the branch here in Blois named Frère Liebard. He is an incredible incredible man, and I have been so blessed to be able to rub shoulders with him and his family. Hearing him speak yesterday, along with Elder Oaks, was such a treat, and I know that Frère Liebard was chosen of God to lead this new stake.

This week, we were also able to celebrate attaining the goal the missionaries set as a mission. Two transfers ago, to celebrate the welcoming of Elder Oaks, the mission set a goal to have 100 baptisms. It took a lot of prayers and a lot of work, but this weekend Président Poznanski announced that, in two transfers, the mission as a whole had 115 convert baptisms. We are all thrilled.:) I am so grateful to have been a part of this effort and for the continuing efforts there are here by the missionaries and our leaders here in Paris. The work sure is going full speed ahead here, and it is such a joy. Look forward to hearing more miracles!!!:)

Also, this week, Président announced to us that the temple grounds in France have officially commenced! It is going to take a while for the temple to be built-no earlier than the end of 2015-but it has begun.:) Elder Oaks talked all about the temple in his address yesterday, and he cheerfully announced that the temple is ready to be build because the French members are ready to fill it with the Lord's work. What a blessing it is to announce all of these French miracles!!!:)

Soeur Mangum and I are busy and anxious to continue working here this week and this transfer. We know that there are many more people out there who are ready to accept the message that we have. We've set apart a lot of time this week to find, and we hope and pray that those we have already contacted and those we are yet to contact will accept that which we have to share.

This morning, I again had the opportunity to finish the Book of Mormon, and it was such an incredible testimony building experience. As I read through the last pages, I was awed at the strong witness of Moroni about Jesus Christ and desire to have the same conviction. In the first chapter of Moroni, he describes how the Lamanites put to death all the Nephites that would not deny the Christ, yet he said, "I, Moroni, will not deny the Christ." Are we able to say the same? Let's reflect upon the testimony we have, of the covenants we have made, so that we can have this conviction. I can personally bear witness of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. I know that it is the word of God, that it pushes man to do good, and that every man will draw nearer to God by reading and abiding by its teachings. I know that Moroni's promise is a promise of God. We can all know, by the power of the Holy Ghost, that it is true. Read it. Pray about it. It is true. This witness and this testimony I am sure of. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

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

P.S. I got to see Soeur Anderson and Alexandra at the conference yesterday. Sorry it is not that great of a picture...but it was the best day of my life!!!!!!!!!!:)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Transfer 4 Semaine 6 9/9/13

Dear family and friends,

Well it is a good and rainy day in Blois today!!!:) I am so happy to have a couple minutes to update y'all on what is going on here. This letter may be a little more all over the place, but i am hoping to get a lot of information communicated!!!:)

I just have to start with telling one of the craziest stories of my mission. It was definatly NOT funny at the time, but now I can laugh about it.:) haha. A couple weeks ago, an inactive member from the Congo named Karine came to church with us for the first time. It was really akward for her to be there because it was her first time back in a long time, and I think she was really nervous bringing her son,Holyson, to church for the first time. As usual on Sunday mornings before church, things were a "little" hectic, and I am not gonna lie, I was really stressed trying to get Mirian and Jennyfer and all of our other amis to church. Ten minutes before all the meetings started, everyone started pouring into the building, and right when our branch president came to talk to us and Karine, Holyson started throwing up ALL over the hallway!!!! Oh my gosh I though I was going to scream. Ah man he would not stop thowing up. Yikes!!!!! It was a nightmare. As i quickly went to get things to clean it up, Holyson followed me down the hallway and threw up ALL over the hallway too. Ahhhh. Everyone scattered pretty quick haha. my companion greeted everyone into the building, I was the lucky one to clean it up with paper towels. Yeah...paper towels....haha. Ahhhhhh my goodness it was the worst thing...But now i guess it is pretty funny, huh???:) haha. 

Ok I know I have to give you a quick update on Mirian and Jennyfer!!!! If you couldnt tell by the pictures, the baptism was a complete success! It was a little tough getting members there cause it was the last week of vacation, but my companion and I each gave a little talk and we all sang a couple cantiques together. Walking behind the font with Mirian was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. She was so quiet and so full of the Spirit, yet I knew that Satan was working on her hard. Once we stepped into the bathroom, she stopped and asked me if we could pray together. For the next couple minutes or so, Mirian held my hands and bowed her head against mine and prayed prayed prayed. After, she looked up with the biggest smile on her face and walked right down into the water.:) It was beautiful. Then, the first thing she said to me when she came out of the water was, "Jennyfer will be baptised. She will know this is what she needs to do." Little to our surprise, earlier this week, Soeur Mangum and I got the wonderful opportunity to teach Jennyfer and talk about baptism. She had been struggling with a testimony of the Book of Mormon but lately has been reading regularly. When we asked about her prayers and responses again this week, the biggest smile came to her face and she said, "I have prayed and have seen differences in my life. I feel the fruits of the Spirit, and I know that the Book of Mormon is true." It was so incredible. She happily acepted a date to be baptised the 29th of September.:)

Thank you so much for your love and prayers on behalf of our investigators. They feel your support and thank you.

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 4 Semaine 5 9/2/13

Dear family and friends, 
Again I am so sorry that I do not have very much time to write (me companion and I got a little carried away looking through stores today hahaha). But I at least had to send some pictures from Mirian's baptism this past weekend. It was as beautiful as ever, and it was so incredible to be a witness of that covenant she made. I am so grateful for Mirian and all that she has done and continues to do for the Lord. She is an example to me. 

Please continue to keep her daughter Jennyfer in your prayers. She is still reading the Book of Mormon and trying to get an answer. That is the only thing keeping her from entering into the same covenant. I will update you more on her next week.:)

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 4 Semaine 3 8/19/13

Dear family and friends,

I know that my letters are getting really short...and I am really sorry!!! This week I had zone conference and legality in Belgium, so things have been pretty busy here in Blois.:)

I have just enough time to tell you about a little miracle.:)

On Sunday we were on our way to an investigator's house for an appointment, and we ended up missing our stop because of the changes they made in the busses!!!!!!! As soon as I noticed the change, I panicked! and looked over to my companion hoping that she didnt realize that we were off course. I said a little prayer in my heart to know what i should do and a couple minutes later, i had a really strong feeling to get off the next stop. As soon as we got off, I saw a young girl across the way. On a whim, Soeur Mangum and I dashed across the street and, out of breath, we asked her if I could share the word of God with her. One thing led to another, and we ended up teaching the entire first lesson right there. We testified of the Book of Mormon and the Restoration of the Gospel, and even though we were on the side of the road, the Spirit bore witness to all of us that it is true. We then had a strong impression to pray with Rusca. When the prayer was over, we all smiled at each other in reaction to the Spirit. It was one of the most incredible experiences I have had on my mission. As we exchanged information to see her again, we found out Rusca lives in Paris; however, she was still wanted to meet with the missionaries there.:) We passed her information along this morning.:) And boy were the Elders in Paris grateful for that referral!!!!!!!!:) haha. I pray that she will continue to feel that same Spirit we felt that day together.:)

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 4 Semaine 2 8/12/13

Dear family and friends, 

I am sorry I do not have very much time to write today, but I thought to send a quick message and a couple of pictures. 

This week I got to go to Paris to pick up my new companion, Soeur Mangum, and she is the greatest!!!!! She is fresh in France from the MTC and is just loving life.:) I am so blessed to be her companion, and to watch her work work work. 

I am sorry for the lack of information....but know that things are going really well here in Blois.:) The work is moving forward like never before! and I am so blessed to be a part of it.:)

Remember that you can make a difference, wherever you are. Find someone to help. And always always remember to smile.:) 
                                   Love, Soeur Laura Lee Judd