Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Transfer 11 Semaine 1 5/26/14

Dear family and friends, 

It was another beautiful week of work in Mulhouse!!! As I look through my planner I am still thinking, "How in the world did we do this week?" haha. It was a great way to wrap up the transfer. 

I don't even remember who and what I have told you, but I'll do my best to update you on some of our investigators. 

Isa and Luc Vallet are progressing towards their baptism, yet they are each still waiting for a final witness of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. We went through the baptisimal interview questions with them a couple of weeks ago, and as we talked, Luc said that he couln't answer for sure that he knows Joseph Smilth was a prophet because he doesn't fully believe the Book of Mormon is the word of God. Isa, too, is a little unsure, yet they both want to be able to answer positively and with vigor as they are interviewed for baptism that they know the Book of Mormon is true. I am confident that because they are sincere, they will recieve their witness. The key is keeping in tune with the Spirit. Please keep them in your prayers. 

Adalaide Moret is progressing REALLY REALLY well. We saw her twice this week (before it was absolutely impossible to fix a rendez-vous with her), and both times she noted the Spirit that was with us. She takes in information like a vacuum! and asks very good questions. This week she noticed that we dont pass around a basket asking for money during church, and asked if we pay tithing. We took a minute right then to explain tithing, and she said, "Ok good! The reason I ask is because I always feel so good whenever I pay my tithing, and I notice that the Lord blesses me every time I do so. I will be so grateful to be able to pay my tithing again." She is so prepared!!! We have talked a lot about baptism, and she has accepted the invitation, yet she says she needs to get a confirmation from the Lord about a specific date. This week we want to try and fix for her to be baptised on the 28th of June. Please keep her in your prayers as well so that she will recognize this date as the day she needs to be baptised. 

Marina and Nolo Babayan and their family are also progressing well. In our lesson yesterday afternoon, we invited the entire family to come to church together next week, but we found out that Nolo cannot leave the apartment due to legality problems. They have been in France for five years already, yet they still haven't recieved their papers, so Nolo is in dager of being arrested if he is caught by the police. I know that the Lord would protect him and his family if he came to church, so we are looking for any way that we can get him to church. Please pray for that. And hey hey! A really incredible thing happened with Marina yesterday at church. Before coming, she prayed asking the Lord if it is His will for her to come to church with us. She had questioned the Book of Mormon a lot, yet she knew that if the Lord confirmed to her that coming to church is His will, she will follow it. As she sat in Sunday school, the Holy Ghost touched her heart and said, "It's true. Go. This is my will." What a testimony this was for me of the holy role of the Holy Ghost. He is the Lord's messenger, and he speaks to all who will listen. Marina then confidently proclaimed, "I will be coming to church with my children every week!" 

One last miracle of the week happened last night while Soeur Gordon and I were knocking doors. It was just about time to go home for the night, yet we decided to ring one more doorbell, an intercom, of an apartment building. Throught the speaker, Soeur Gordon asked the man that answered if we could enter and leave a blessing in his house. Immediately, he said in return, "Second floor" and opened the door. To our greatest blessing, Soeur Gordon and I prayed with this beautiful family: Robert, Fabienne, and their brand new baby boy, Etienne. They, like us, were each touched by the Spirit. We'll be visiting them again later this week. As we left and started walking down the stairs, Robert came and stopped us saying, "My wife saw that book you're holding...and was wondering if she could have one... ? Would it be possible for you to bring her one the next time we meet?" Then we said, "You can take it now!!! We'll explain more about it later this week." haha. It was true miracle.
I remember that last week I shared some of what I have been studying about gratitude, and as I studied that even further this week, I ran across another quote that I want to share with you: 

"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it" (William Arthur Ward). 

As I thought about this quote, I began to recognize the many of the blessings I have recieved from our Heavenly Father throughout my life. I made a list of things I am grateful for, but then I realized that expressing gratitude is even better. But how do we express gratitude to the Lord? 

This morning I came across two very poignant ways in which we can express gratitude to our Heavenly Father: 

1. In your prayers, pour out your heart to your Father in Heaven in thanks for the blessings you have recieved. Be specific in thanking Him for His goodness, for your family, for friends, for leaders and teachers, for the gospel, and for His Son, Jesus Christ. 

2. You also express gratitude to the Lord by the way you live. When you keep His commandments and serve others, you show that you love Him and are grateful to Him. Express your gratitude to others for the many ways they bless your life. 

I invite each of us to put both of these ideas into practice so that we may more fully thank the Giver of all blessings. Let us follow Alma's counsel: "That ye contnd no more against the Holy Ghost, but that ye recieve it, and take upon you the name of Christ; that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you" (Alma 34: 38). As we do so, we will experience a change of heart, and we can be confident that we are following the counsel of the prophets today, those of old, and (most importantly) the counsel given by our Savior, Jesus Christ. 

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 10 Semaine 6 5/19/14

Dear family and friends, 

Another great week has come and gone! Soeur Gordon and I cannot believe how quickly this week passed. 

This week we began teaching a new family, and they are incredible! The parents (Nolo and Marina) are from Armenia and have been in France for about five years now. They have four beautiful children and a whole lot of faith. Yesterday Marina and the two older boys, Rouslan and Roustom, came to church yesterday and loved it. After the first two meetings, Rouslan asked me, "When can we go to Primary again?" When I told him that it is every week, he said, "There is church every week?! We're going to come every Sunday!" haha I love them so much already. Nolo told us several stories about prayers he has offered in his life, how the Lord answered them, and the many many blessings they have recieved because of their faith. I was awestruck. The Lord has truly watched over this family. The hardest thing for Nolo and Marina right now is accepting the Book of Mormon...and having to explain it in such limited French is a little difficult. Please keep them in your prayers so that their hearts may recieve a confirmation of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, and keep Soeur Gordon and I in your prayers so that we may be able to understand them and be inspired to know how we can meet their needs. 

Isa and Luc are progressing well towards their baptism. They have been taking the lessons from the missionaries for several years now, so we've been doing a lot of reteaching, but what we finally figured out this week is that their biggest hold up is the Book of Mormon. They read it every day, but it is still hard for them to believe that all of it was translated by Joseph Smith and that it is relevant for our day. They are so sincere and are praying to recieve a confirmation to know that it is true. I am confident that the Lord will reveal the truthfulness of it to them. Yesterday, Isa asked me if I could organize for her to recieve a Priesthood blessing to help her to quit smoking, and it was a beautiful experience for her. What faith she has! Please keep them in your prayers so that they may recieve a witness of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and continue to keep the Word of Wisdom. 

Marie-Louise is doing well. We visited her again yesterday and tried to fix a date with her, but she got really caught up on being baptized a second time... She is reading in the Book of Mormon and knows that Joseph Smith had the First Vision, but she is still having a hard time making the connection. She is praying to know if it is the Lord's will for her to be baptized again. We'll follow up later on in the week. Please, please keep her in your prayers. 

This morning I read two talks that mentioned gratitude, and I thought to share a couple quotes from them with you: 

"To express gratitude is gracious and honorable, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven" (Pres. Monson). 

"The happiest people I know are not those who find their golden ticket; they are those who, while in pursuit of worthy goals, discover and treasure the beauty and sweetness of the everyday moments. They are the ones who, thread by daily thread, weave a tapestry of gratitude and wonder throughout their lives. These are they who are truly happy" (Pres. Uchtdorf). 

I feel so much truth when I read these quotes, and I know that as we live with an attitude of gratitude, we are happier. The Lord has given each of us so many blessings! Let's take a step back and begin to count them. 

What I know to be true and for what I am the most grateful in life is the love and everlasting sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I know He lives. Because of this knowledge, I know that we can be cleansed and recieve divine strength to keep His commandments. Because of Jesus Christ, we will all be resurrected and will stand before God. Because of Jesus Christ we have the opportunity to eternally live with Him, the Father, and our families. 

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

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Transfer 10 Semaine 5 5/12/14

Dear family and friends, 

Happy Mother's Day! It was so fun for me to speak with you yesterday! Y'all made me smile and laugh, and i love you for it. Thank you for all the news and stories you shared. I sure love hearing about all you are up to. 

We met with Demila and her daughters, Sadiqua and Zarah, several times this week, and they are doing great! We read all together in the Book of Mormon, and Demila bore the strongest testimony of the truthfulness of it to her daughters...you would have thought she's been a member for years!!! As she held the Book of Mormon in her hands, she said, "This is a true book. God gave us this book to help us understand God's path for us. Read it and follow it." Demila even called us this morning to say hello and to say that she knows the Book of Mormon is true and that is blesses her family! She is incredible. I have so much faith in this family, and i love them dearly. What is keeping them from being baptised right now is coming to church and keeping the Word of Wisdom (for Demila). Please, please keep them in your prayers so that they can overcome these obsacles. 

Yesterday, we taught a woman named Marie-Louise, a woman we contacted right outside our house a few weeks ago. As we taught the message of the Restoration the Spirit was so strong. She commited to pray about our message and read the Book of Mormon, and then she shared her testimony with us. It was the most heart wrenchingly spiritual testimony I have heard out of a nonmember. Her testimony was so simple yet so sure in Christ that is brought me to tears. Marie-Louise knows God is there and that He hears he prayers. From all that she has experienced in her life, she will never deny His existence. Please keep her in your prayers this week so she may be able to attend church with us this next week and that she will receieve the divine answer of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. 

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 10 Semaine 4 5/5/14

Dear family and friends, 

Thank you for sharing all the stories and good news! How blessed our family is! The greatest news I heard this week is that Alicia has turned in her mission papers.:) Congratulations, bud! I am so happy for you and cannot WAIT to hear where you are going.:)

This week was another good one in France except even better because we burned SO MANY CALORIES!!! haha. May 1st is France's labor day, which, in French...means nobody works day! haha. There were no trams and no busses. But I am not complaining! I needed a little bit of help burning off a little extra stuff from all those French patisseries I've been eating.:) haha. 

That May Day we visited Demila, and it was wonderful! Sadly, she wasnt able to read any in the Book of Mormon because she cant read!!! haha. No yes she can...her glasses just arent the right perscription and she cant get an appointment at the eye doctor for four months!!! Yeah...bummer. But we read outloud together, and she LOVED it! I have never had an investigator that loves the Book of Mormon more than Demila. We read one chapter, and then she said, "Please stay longer! Can we read another chapter together???" haha. She is really loving it and knows it is true. Please keep her in your prayers and also her daughters Sediqua and Zarah (who we havent been able to see for a while because of vacation) that they will come to church SOON!

Sorry I havent been able to give any information about Mother's Day yet, but I got it all organized yesterday. I am pretty flexible...but I will probably make the first call at about 5:30pm in France. I believe that means it will be 9:30am for you in Utah. Is that right? Mom told me that her church starts at 11:00, and her sacrament meeting is last, so there is no overlap there, but I do not know what time dad's church is. If dad's church starts at 9:00, maybe it would be best for me to call mom first so then dad could go to sacrament meeting and then be back to skype by about 10:30? I am not sure what you think about that...maybe you could all coordinate together and then send me an email that day telling me who you would like me to call first? It doesnt matter to me who I talk to first, just as long as I get to say hello to everyone.:) Let's just say I will be available to skype beginning at 9:30am Utah time, and you'll surprise me with whoever I'll talk to first.:) I cant' wait! 

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 10 Semaine 3 4/28/14

Dear family and friends, 

What a pleasure it is for me to write to you again! This week just FLEW by, and I have many many lovely experiences to share with you.

We saw Isa and Luc again this week, and they are progressing well towards their baptism. Together, they are reading the Book of Mormon daily and ask lots of great questions. This week Isa asked several questions about the sacrament, and after having responded to them, it was so special to watch her partake of the sacrament in preparation for her baptism. I think that one of my favorite feelings on my mission is the relief and the peace I can see come into the hearts of sincere investigators as they take the sacrament. It is a beautiful sight to see that they can already feel the Atonement of Jesus Christ work in them. 

This week we weren't able to meet with Sediqua and Zarah, but we were able to visit with Demila Abduikadir and read together out of the Book of Mormon. At the end of the introduction, Moroni gives his promise about praying to know if the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and as we read it outloud, Demila stopped us and said, "I already know that the Book of Mormon is true!" haha. I couldn't believe it!!! We congratulated her and said that because she does, she also knows that Jesus is the Christ, that Joseph Smith was his prophet, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church of Christ established upon the earth today. What a blessing it was for Soeur Gordon and I to witness this miracle, that He has again manifested the truthfulness of these things through personal revelation. Because she recieved this witness, she will be led to even more and more truth. At the end of the rendez-vous, Demila prayed and thanked the Lord for having sent the missionaries to her home, for having revealed the Book of Mormon, and asked that He might grant unto her an even deeper understanding of the truthfulness of it. Please keep Demila in your prayers that she will continue to read in the Book of Mormon and that she will understand and be led to all truth. 

I told you about Marie Monnin last week, right? She is doing well. On Thursday she had just finished Ether 7, so we believe that by the next rendez-vous she will have finished the Book of Mormon and that we can fix a date with her! She used to be a Jehovah's Witness...so she is still hung up a little bit on some "doctrine", but she is sincere, and we trust that she will be led. One thing that she is struggling with, thought, is asking specific questions in her prayers. She hasn't yet directly asked to know that the Book of Mormon is true. She won't get an answer until she asks, so please keep her in your prayers so that she will have the courage to ask!

This week we worked with several new investigators named Marthe Mbala and Jacqueline Porretti and Marie Louise. Each of them are also beginning the Book of Mormon and praying more regularly. We are also working regularly with some less-actives named Beaud and Kizigira. Please keep each of them in your prayers as well. 

I wish I had time to communicate more! I really appreciate the prayers and love you express for the people I am interacting with here in Mulhouse. Truly they are precious. 

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