Monday, January 15, 2018

Two more weeks... (update #75)

Bonjour à tous!!

I don't have a lot of time this week but I promise to tell you more about all the AMAZING things that are happening in 2 weeks when I get back :)

For now I will just quickly update this last week. We went to Montpellier for an exchange with Soeur Manea and Perry and I forgot to take pics (hence the picture from google), but it was GORGEOUS!!

We had zone conference with President and Soeur Brown. We made the food and some cute boxes for everyone....
and I gave my departing testimony...which was weird. Still doesn't feel real that I'm going home in 2 weeks.

We had a rendezvous with Marie and Soeur Jill Thomas and we learned SO MUCH. Soeur Thomas has so many incredible insights about the gospel, I'll never forget this one thing she said: "it's impossible to go deeper unless we do more." I think so often in life I find myself wanting to have deeper experiences, feel closer to Heavenly Father, have deeper relationships with family and friends. But I have to remember that if I want "deeper" anything, it's going to take more effort.

Marie is doing great. Honestly it's going to be so hard to leave her. (thank goodness she's moving to America for her studies this summer!!)

Lucille is KILLING it as a missionary!! (She not on a mission, but she may as well be). Sunday at church she just pulled aside our amie, Valerie Anne, and was bearing her testimony about how God will help her and baptism is how she will be able to better access that help. To which Valerie Anne said that she knows she needs to be baptized!! Then that night Lucille sent US a list of scriptures to pass to Valerie Anne to help her in her studies. THEN Lucille texted us to tell us that she was able to invite someone to church and got their phone number!!! What?! She is so strong and such a blessing to me and all the people around her. The gospel works. And it brings so much joy.

Well... life is amazing!! I don't really have much else to say. This week in my interview with President Brown, memories flooded back of an interview I had with him 16 months ago at the very beginning of my mission. In this interview I told him my plans to go home 30 days early, so I could get back to school in time to start the semester. He said "lets pray about it." So we did. And we both felt like I needed to stay. At the time I didn't know why, I just knew that God wanted me to be in France until January 30, 2018.

As I sit here now I can't really find words to express how grateful I am for these "extra" weeks of my mission. And by extra I mean the weeks that I wasn't planning on, that God clearly had planned all
along. I've seen more miracles, felt more strength in my relationships with amies and felt more joy in missionary work than ever before. God is good. And he has a plan for us that's always, 100% of the time, better than our plan.

Have a wonderful week!!

See you soon! Talk to you next week!


Soeur Cami Goold

Monday, January 8, 2018

The Gospel Changes People (update #74)


I'm going to miss greeting people like that. Bonjour is such a happy way to say hello. Anyway, life in Toulouse is incredible!! Honestly I've never felt happier to be exactly where I am.

This week we got to see Marie twice and she is doing so well. We have an ongoing "joke" that she needs to get baptized right now so that she can go on a mission asap. Obviously she's not going to get baptized just to be a missionary... but she would be the best missionary AND it is so cool to see how much the gospel and God have changed her life over these past few months. She's still her crazy, fun Marie-self, but she's happier. She has more peace. It's literally so beautiful to see how the gospel WORKS when we apply it. And I'm just happy to be able to do that with people who have some of my best friends (Marie, Lucille, etc)
Speaking of Lucille, her sister Léa got baptized this week!! It is so cool to see how Lucille's faith and decision to follow Christ is already blessing and influencing her family. At Léa's baptism I talked a lot to their other sister Lydia who's also studying to become a nurse. She told a lot of stories about how in her volunteering at the hospital she's felt a lot of power in praying for her patients, even though most of them are not believing and don't know she's doing it. She talked about how she can really see God's presence in every step of the healing process. It made me really excited to continue to make God the #1 priority in my life after my mission. Whether it's in missionary work, nursing, or anything else I'll do, I love that God will always be present if we let him.

This week we got to go to Béziers and Montauban for exchange!! It is such a blessing to be able to travel around and see so many beautiful Southern French cities 😍

Montauban is a classic, small, old French village.
Soeur Turner and I spent the day talking to a lot of fun people and hanging out with the CUTEST old French catholic couple ever. 

While we were there we got to watch the "prince of peace" video (except it was in French)...

and the grandma was reading all the words out loud. Hearing that sweet, humble, wise, old French woman read those beautiful, poetic words about the Savior was one of the coolest experiences ever. Jesus Christ truly is the light, life, and hope of the world. And I'm so grateful for these little moments to FEEL the power of that message on a real, personal level.

Béziers on the other hand is basically the mini California of southern France!! So beautiful, we didn't even need a jacket and there were palm trees everywhere. We got to visit a couple really cool Romanian families before heading off to our train to a little outer ville. We ended up missing our train which meant we had an awkward hour to kill before the next train. Instead of sitting in the train station Soeur Hopkins said we should go walk around the park across from the gare (train station).
 Technically we're not allowed to go contacting (talk to people) there and missionaries often get stopped by police, so we were mostly just going to walk around and see Béziers. Well... Heavenly Father had a different plan. We ended up talking to the cutest young couple with a sweet little baby. We talked about eternal families. With tears in her eyes this kind, young mother said (something like): "I've been asking myself for months what would happen to my family after this life. I was scared that we wouldn't be together after death. You just answered my prayers."

Heavenly Father knows us. He knows the burdens that weigh on our shoulders and the worries that occupy our minds. And He will send help.

Words can't really express how happy and grateful I am to be here in France with these beautiful people in this beautiful country. Have a wonderful week!!

I love you!

Soeur Cami Goold

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year! (update #73)

 Hello everyone and Happy New Year!!

For a funny story from this week I will quote Elder Alvarenga:

"We all had a great time! After district meeting, we went to Dominos and got pizza! 🍕However, the most unexpected thing happened, heavy rain started pouring while we were on our way back to the church. We all started walking a little faster then I turned around for a minute and as she was walking against the wind, protecting herself from the rain and having Sœur Brooksby holding on to her left arm, Sœur Goold stop paying attention to her pizza box and her pizza slid out of the box and fell on the dirty sidewalk 😬😂! We were all shattered... oh well they still got to eat a pizza so in the end everyone was happy! 🍕 "

It was pretty funny hahah.

So one day this week I was honestly just having a weird/ rough day for no good reason and then I felt really guilty about not being the kind of missionary I would want to be after 17 months. All of us are imperfect and we know that, but sometimes our imperfections get pointed out to us and it hurts a little bit, haha.

I love this scripture from the Book of Mormon (with my own little disclaimer added in there):   

"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness {and it will probably really suck for a minute}. {But don't worry about that because}, I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

I am so eternally grateful for little moments like these that remind me exactly how human and imperfect I am, because it reminds me that all I can do is "rely fully upon the merits of he who is mighty to save."

We have seen so many many miracles in the last couple weeks that it is clear to me that Heavenly Father is not letting my many weaknesses in the way of Him doing His work.

Some of the miracles from this week include:

--Lucille getting her patriarchal blessing (click the link to learn what a patriarchal blessing is)!!

--Hearing from Kevin after 3 months of nothing!! Turns out he's been to visit the temple in Paris and was super happy to hear from us and wants to see us when he gets back from vacation!

--Seeing my favorite people (Soeur Wilson and Soeur Rutter and Soeur Jones) at MLC!!!

--Watching "Beauty and the Beast" and playing games with the Thomas family  for New Year's Eve. (watch Jill Thomas' instagram stories for occasional glimpses of Cami)

This time of year just makes me so grateful to be living in this beautiful place amongst these beautiful people. So grateful to have 4 more weeks to enjoy it. (And so pumped to see all of you in 4 weeks)!!

Thank you for you faith and love and prayers and letters. They mean the world to me!!

Soeur Camille Goold


Monday, December 18, 2017

Last Six Weeks (update #72)

Hellooo Everyone!!

This week officially marks the beginning of my last transfer (6 weeks) as a missionary. Lots of crazy emotions that we don't need to go into right now. But, what that means for the moment is that Soeur Gowans left me :( it was really sad to say goodbye to her, we've had a lot of good, funny, spiritual, crazy moments these last 12 weeks and it was rough to see her go. (For me and all our amies).
 But also so exciting because she's heading home back to America and school and dating and all the exciting things haha.

And my new companion is... SOEUR BROOKSBY!!
 She is honestly the greatest. She was in Carcassonne and Angoulême (close to Toulouse) the whole time I've been here so she's been here for exchanges, district meetings and zone conferences so many times. It's really fun getting a companion that I know (a little) and love (a lot).

In other news this has been such a fun week as we went around having final rendezvous (for Soeur Gowans) with all of our amis.

On Sunday we got to go to our amie Paloma's evangelist church before leaving and it was such a fun experience. They sang a lot of hymns that I've never hear before, all to the beat of bongo drums. It was a very different experience, but very eye opening to see how so many people worship God in different, but beautiful ways.

It made me so happy to see other ways of worship, but it also made me a little sad to think of the very essential element of the gospel that they're missing: eternal families. They're missing the temple and the ability to be sealed to our families for time an all eternity. They are stuck in the belief that marriage and earth relationships are only "till death do we part." It's something we've talked about a lot with our amie. She wants to believe in eternal families and temple marriages, but her education makes it hard for her.

It makes me so incredibly grateful for the knowledge that we have that families can be eternal. That because Jesus Christ conquered death, each one of us can live with our families again after this life on earth. The grave has no victory.

Especially during this Christmas season, a lot of people I meet are really surprised that I won't be going home for Christmas and that I haven't seen my family in 17 months. They always ask me if it's hard. I never have a good response. Because it is hard to be away from my family... I love them more than anything and of course all I want for Christmas is to be with them. But on the other hand, it's really not hard at all to be here in France as a missionary because I know that my family is forever. And the chance to share the joy of forever families with other people is more than worth every one of these 18 months I'm spending across the ocean from my family.

This week we saw Marie and talked about temples and it just reminded me of all of these beautiful blessings that come from temples and eternal marriages and families. Marie has become such an amazing friend these last 12 weeks and I can't even express how much I love teaching/ spending time with her. Before my mission I never thought that our amis (de l'église) would actually become my friends. I don't really have words to describe how amazing it is to share the joy of the gospel with real friends.

Speaking of which, Lucille got her recommendation to receive her patriarchal blessing AND go to the temple for baptism for the dead this week!!! #purejoy
Well, I think that's all for this week. I love you all and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Don't forget to #LighttheWorld


Some picturesque spots around Toulouse:   

Dinner with Lucille, where I ate a fish eyeball.  

Some more shots from around town: 

The other Toulousian missionaries:  

Our Metro stop: