Monday, February 24, 2014

Transfer 8 Semaine 6 2/24/14

Dear family and friends, 

Yikes! I can't believe it is already week six!!!!! My life is just wizzing by, and no matter how hard I try, it never gets easier to write it down on paper.:) haha. 

Actually, I want to share a quote with you. It is by a Mormon author named Anthony Sweat, and what he says explains charity as best as I have ever seen or heard. 

God's love for us + our love for God = our loving others and God does

I love this! I wish I could have found it earlier in my mission. As we feel God's love and love God in return, we love others as God does. Think about that for a minute... Think about the difference that could be made if everyone understood this concept. So let us all take a minute to realize just how much we are loved by God and how much we love Him. 

Well! This week in Versailles was busy as ever! Soeur Barton and I have been spending quite a bit of time working with less-active members in the ward, and we are seeing miracles that I have never seen before! For several weeks we have been working with a woman named Laurie, who has been inactive for over 20 years. As a result of being the only member in her family, it was hard for her to keep progressing, so she just stopped coming to church. One thing led to another and until now, she hasnt had any contact with the church. A few months ago, however, she attended her grandmother's funeral and felt an extreme impression that she needs to come back to church and be worthy, once more, to go to the temple, so that she can do her grandmother's temple work. From that day forward, she has been meeting with the missionaries, coming to church every week, and preparing herself in all other ways to be worthy to enter the temple of the Lord. What a blessing and example she is to me of faith and dedication to the Lord.  

This week we were able to meet again with the family Gomilla, and I am so happy to say that Josette got clearance from the bishop to get baptized!!!:) Although there is not a specific date fixed, her and Léa will now be preparing for the same date at the beginning of April.:) Truly, it has been such a blessing to witness the changes in her heart. Josette's love and understanding of the Book of Mormon is soaring! and she has such a deep desire to follow Jesus Christ. Léa, too, is excited for the baptism coming up.:) She is so sweet. Please continue to pray for Jean Denis that he, too, may have an open heart. His intentions are pure, and I know that one day he will be baptized. Please please keep him in your prayers. What a blessing it will be for this family to be united together in Jesus Christ.

I testify that families are forever. Sure there are little bumps in the road, but the Lord will not withhold any blessings to those who accept His plan and obey His commandments. There are many things we do not understand, but this I do know to be true: the only way we can live as eternal families in the Lord's presence is through the holy sealing power of the temple. Everyone's goal should be the temple. If you have never been through the temple, do everything you can now to get there. You will never forget the joy you will feel inside the walls of the temple. You will have an assurance, more than ever before, that God loves you and desires you happiness. He has designed a way for you, and for those whom you love, to return to live with Him again. For those of you who have been to the temple, go again! Remember the covenants you have made and renew them every week by taking the sacrament. The temple is the key. Work to get there. I promise you that nothing but joy and blessings will come as a result of your faith and efforts. 

Remember 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 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Transfer 8 Semaine 5 2/17/14

Dear family and friends,

What a week it has been! I feel as though I have experienced every experience a mission has in ONE week! 

To update you on the family Gomilla, they are doing well. Jean-Denis wasnt at church yesterday, so that was too bad, but Josette and Léa were both there. Josette talked to the bishop and is beginning to set up a date to be baptized mid-March!!! Bishop Bamy is very involved in her conversion process and is such a support. As we continue to get through the lessons, we hope that Josette and Léa will be baptized on the same day, March 15. Please keep them in your prayers, especially Josette, that they will make habits to pray and read the Book of Mormon every day and that we can schedule appointments with them frequently enough that they may be ready for this date. 

The biggest miracle of the week happened on Saturday night. Soeur Barton and I were about home but were somewhat dreading the fact we had to plan for the next day when we knew we had NOTHING planned. However, to our greatest surprize, a woman called us at 8:59 and identified herself as having met us several weeks ago. To be honest, I didnt recognize her name, Priscile, but I played along a little bit.:) haha. The longer I talked, however, I began to remember that Priscile and her boyfriend had walked up to us on the train and asked us about our badges. They were both very believing in Christ and converted to their religion, yet they wanted to know what we were all about. On the fly, very flustered by the time, Soeur Barton and I retold the story of Joseph Smith and testified of him being called as a prophet. Both Priscile and her boyfriend looked pretty shocked at the story, and when we tried to exchange information, they only accepted a brochure with our name on the back and said they would call us. Having never truly thought they would call back, Saturaday, there I was on the phone with Priscile. As I got my senses knocked into me, she asked if we were free the next day and if we could come share more of our message with her and her boyfriend, Philip. Of course, we agreed. 

The next afternoon, after our Sunday meetings, we met Priscile and Philip at the train station, and they accompanied us to their home. Turns out they had read the entire brochure and wanted to know more about Joseph Smith. Although they had already heard and read the story, they asked to hear it again, and as we did, the Spirit filled the room. Looking into their eyes and testifying from the bottom of my heart, I felt, more than ever before, that Joseph Smith was a prophet called of God to restore the Church of Jesus Christ on the earth. I got a little emotional and so did Priscile. Afterwards, Philip looked at us and said, "I can feel it is true. I can see the truth of it in your eyes as you speak." The rest of the rendez-vous was filled with heavenly promises and godly light. Towards the end, Philip and Priscile asked about marriage, and as we promised them the blessings of the temple, my heart was filled with peace. The love they have for each other is piercing, and nothing could have made them happier than hearing they could be sealed together for time and all eternity. How grateful I am for the Gospel, for the love our Heavenly Father has for us, and for the promise we recieve of eternal life in the presence of God and Jesus Christ and our families. No other church can promise these blessings. 

What a blessing it is to serve as a missionary in the Lord's vinyard. He loves all of His children and so desires their return to Him. To make that possible, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to atone for the sins and suffering of all mankind. Because of this sacrifice, God is both just and merciful. Let us all take part in the work of salvation. Let us increase the charity we have for God and the charity we have for those around us. I testify that as we pray with a fervent heart, God WILL bestow upon us this love we call charity. 

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

Monday, February 10, 2014

Transfer 8 Semaine 4 2/10/14

Dear family and friends, 

Bonjour from Versailles! thank you all so much for the emails and happy wishes you sent this week. I am so grateful for each of you and for the love and support you give to me. 

The weeks continue to fly by, and more than ever before, I feel lost in the work. I am so grateful to visit with and to teach and to pray with the many children of Heavenly Father here in France. I feel so full of love for each person I meet, and I am so grateful to the Lord for the charity He bestows upon me. At the moment I am reading in Alma and have read chapters 26 and 29 several times. With Ammon and Alma, who explain their joy so much better than I ever could, I rejoice in the glory of the Lord and boast of His power and His grace. We may never be able to understand the magnitude of the Lord's hand in each of our lives; we may not even recognize every blessing He has bestowed upon us, so let us pray in gratitude every day and thank the Lord for what He does for us. 

This week, Soeur Barton and I were, again, able to meet with our ami named Jean-Denis. I have not mentioned his name before, yet we have so much faith and hope in his progress towards baptism. We first met Jean-Denis through his mom, Josette Gomilla, who is an excommunicated member of the church who is again taking the lessons in hopes to be baptised. Leah, Josetteés daughter, is also taking the discussions preparing for baptism. A few weeks ago, however, Jean-Denis chose to sit in on a lesson we had about the Resoration of the Gospel through Joseph Smith, and has attended  church every weeks since then. Although he has not accepted the invitation to be baptized, he is praying about each doctrine we teach.Yesterday, after church, we taught the Plan of Salvation, and Jean-Denis asked all sorts of questions surrounding the life after this life. What a wonderful opportunity it was to testify of eternal families and the opportunity we each have to live in the presence of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and become like them. As we looked into the eyes of each member of this family, the Spirit warmed my heart and theirs. I found myself testifying and promising blessings I ways that I never have before. How grateful I am for the opportunity I have to help guide this family there. As we are anxiously waiting for a response concerning Josette's baptism, we will continue to teach the entire family all together, and I would ask that you please pray for each of them. The Lord is capable of doing all things through those that believe. I will keep you updated through the next couple of weeks. 
Can I please also ask you to pray for the family Tavarez? You know a little bit about them already, but at the moment they are not able to make any progress because they absolutely cannot find the time to meet with us, the missionaries. They are sincere and honest in their search, but they need to take the lessons in order to make it to baptism. Please pray for them: Emmanuel, Margojata, Mathilde, and Louise. Thank you so much. 

I wish I had the time to share all of the miracles I see throughout the week, but I know that one day I will be able to share all sorts of experiences with you. For now, what you need to know and what you need to spread, is that the Lord is hastening His work. The time is now! The France Paris mission is finding, teaching, baptising, and re-activating more than EVER before. Every mission, I believe, could say the same. The miracles are countless. What a glorious time it is to be a member of the church! Ask youself, "What more can I do?" and then GO OUT AND DO!!! Pray for inspiration, and I testify that the Lord will show you what He needs of you. You do not need to be a missionary to have missionary experiences! Remember: you cannot do everything for everyone, everywhere; but you can do something for someone, somewhere. 

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

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