Monday, July 17, 2017

Shqip Shumë (update #50)

Përshëndetje tout le monde!!!

Above are the only 3 words that I know in Albanian. They mean "Albanian" "a lot" and "hello" respectively hahah. Why do I know 3 words in Albanian? Because our sweet Albanian family we found last week came to church with is this week! It was one of my favorite experiences of my whole mission. We left our apartment 2 hours before church, went to their house and led them on buses, trams and through the winding streets of Talence to arrive at church just on time...or maybe 5 minutes late...oops.
So we came parading into the chapel 5 minutes late with 3 confused little Albanian children and their slightly more confused parents in tow... and from then on it was just an adventure. They are so faithful and trying so hard to learn, but they speak very limited French and no one in our chapel spoke a lick of Albanian. But I have never seen members try so hard to help people feel welcome and they said they would come back next week. I'm just grateful for the tool of technology that allows us to at least pull up scriptures and talks in Albanian and the spirit that helped us to communicate a tiny bit.

This last week we were able to have a rendezvous with them and someone in the other Bordeaux ward that speaks a tiny bit of Albanian which was slightly improved (way better than us alone because we have 0 in Albanian lol), but long term we are going to need to find another solution. We're looking into skyping missionaries in an Albanian speaking mission, but we need all the prayers we can get that we will find a way to teach  and serve this petite famille.

In other news this week was also MLC which was AMAZING as always.  


President Brown made the huge announcement that our mission is becoming an online proselyting mission in the next coming months. 

In normal words that just means we will be using Facebook to do missionary work. I have no idea what the details are at this point, all I know is that in the next month we'll be doing a lot of training and preparing so that in the future we can use Facebook to communicate with and find new amis/ members. I never wanted to use Facebook as a missionary because it's just really nice to kind of be in a separate world, but after hearing President Brown's presentation on it, I'm so excited for the opportunity this will be to share the light and joy of Christ with more people than ever. It's like the scripture in Alma that says:

24 For behold, angels are declaring it unto many at this time in our land; and this is for the purpose of preparing the hearts of the children of men to receive his word at the time of his coming in his glory.

God has given us so many new ways to share light with people who are living in the shadows and social media is just one of them. And ever since I've been in France, but especially since the consecration of the temple it is clear that "God is preparing the hearts of His children" right here, right now to rejoice with Him.

Saturday was my 20th birthday!! 
It was super fun. We had 2 rendezvous which both fell through so we ended up with an open day. As I was sitting in bed doing language study (yes sometimes I do language study in bed...oops), I had a weird thought that we needed to go visit Soeur Baquedano and that we needed to bring pants. We had already visited her last week so it was a little weird to pass by again so soon, but Soeur Rutter had been feeling like we needed to visit them too so we decided to go for it. We showed up at their house and she immediately invited us in. When we told her we brought pants she said that she had so much to do getting ready for her son to come home from his mission
to Sweden this week and that we came at the perfect time. We helped clean out her fridge and kitchen and then ate cake with her husband (ami de l'église) and daughter and it ended up being such a cool
afternoon. Grateful for the most random promptings hahah.

Then in the soir the Elders and Fiona made a little party and it was the best! It hasn't really sunk in that I've been a human being for more than 2 decades but it was really cool to be in France in the best ward ever for my birthday. La vie est belle et Bordeaux est la meilleure!!

The one lowlight of this week is that we haven't heard anything from Danielle. We've been sending her scripture texts every day and she usually replies but this week she just stopped responding and didn't respond to me inviting her to do something for my birthday or anything. It's honestly really hard to see such huge miracles, to find someone so prepared, to love them so much and then not to hear anything or have any closure. But I guess all we can do is keep hope and trust in the God that knows her perfectly. Doubt not fear not.

Thank you so much for all of your birthday wishes!!! They mean the world to me! Have the best week ever, je vous aime!

Soeur Cami Goold


Monday, July 10, 2017

C'est pas grave parce que tu as les beaux cheveux (update #49)

Why did she title her blogpost like this?   I have no idea.   The translation is, "It does not matter, because you have the beautiful hair."   I'm guessing there's a story to go with it, but she forgot to tell what it is! 

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Hello everyone!!
This week has been so cool. Soeur Rutter is one of the coolest people ever. I thought/ hoped we would get along well, but my expectations are exceeded 100x over. She's really smart, likes to watercolor, has read the color code and seen the Ted talk on vulnerability, and is an incredible missionary. So life is great :)

Some highlights this week include:
One day when we were walking to hunt down a less active, drilling with sweat, an overwhelming scent of chocolate chip cookies hit us like a wall. For about a solid 10 minutes of walking it just smelled like straight deliciousness. It was the best thing ever. We sadly never found the source, but whatever it was, it made our day and covered at least a solid square kilometer with delicious chocolate smell. It's the little things hahah.

After we failed to find the source of happiness we still had an hour before our next rendezvous so we decided to pass by a random pin in our electronic map. We didn't know if it was an ami, less active or what. It just said "famille Tsutskiridze." We went and knocked on the door and it became clear that it was not the family we were looking for, but it was another Albanian family. I have never met people so kind and welcoming. Upon seeing "Jesus Christ" on our plaques they immediately invited us in. For an hour we tried our best to communicate with their broken French/ English. They gave us fruit and water and we're just so genuinely happy. They came here as refugees from Albania, have seen so much violence, and have next to nothing in worldly possessions, but they were some of the happiest people I've ever seen. We showed them a video about Jesus Christ because pictures are a pretty universal language. I have never seen someone's face light up so much as that sweet Albanian mother when we showed her the video. She made sure all her 3 kids were watching and was pointing things out to them the whole time. It was such a huge testimony to me that our happiness really is not subject to our experiences or possessions, but rather our faith and relationships.

Leaving this Albanian family we were so excited to have found people so humble and faithful and kind, but we had no way to communicate with them. We started asking around the ward for people who speak Albanian. After a million people telling us no body speaks Albanian, on Sunday we found out that there is someone in the ward next door that served his mission to Albania!! We gave him a call and he's coming with us to visit our sweet family this Wednesday :) Good is good.

In other news we're headed on a plane to Lyon tomorrow for MLC!! Yay.

Last funny experience, our amie Christina was telling us how much she loved speaking Spanish with the last sister missionaries that were here. I told her I was sorry that I couldn't speak Spanish with her and she responded by saying "c'est pas grave parce que tu as des très beaux cheveux" hahaha. (It's okay because your hair is really pretty). So my one saving quality as a missionary is my long hair lol. It was really funny.

We have to run and have dinner with our favorite Soeur Petit for her 68th birthday, have the best week ever. Life is great with Soeur Rutter here in Bordeaux. Love you all!!
Soeur Goold

Here are pictures from her p-day today!     They hiked with some Elders at a chateaux and park. 

They found a dam and Cami introduced her fellow missionaries to her weird mother's goofy dam humor.   

They ate canneles, which apparently are a Bordeaux specialty. 



She said that this park reminded her of Virginia.   
Sent from my iPad

Monday, July 3, 2017

JOYEUSE 4 JUILLET!!! (Update #48)

Happy 4th of July!!

To all those in America, enjoy the fire works and watermelon for me :)  The last couple days have been a whole roller coaster of emotions!  Starting with a high Friday morning when president Brown called to tell me SISTER RUTTER is my new companion!!!!

I always say that I have the best luck and only get companions who are practically perfect and Sister Rutter is proof of that. She came into the mission 1 transfer after me and served in Grenoble while I was in Val de Saône (right next door). She's from American Fork Utah, wants to be an English teacher, is super chill and funny and I'm SO PUMPED for this upcoming transfer :)

After Friday calls, we spent the whole weekend running from rendezvous to rendezvous letting Soeur Wadsworth say her goodbyes with Amis and members. It was the best because we got to see so many people, but also sad to see her say goodbye so many times and it kind of just felt like I was saying goodbye to her over and over again.

Sunday right after church our amie Danielle drove Sister Wadsworth, all her suitcases and I to the gare to catch a train to Toulouse. Then, with tear filled eyes, Soeur Wadsworth was ripped from my arms to take a train to Lyon so that she can return to Idaho tomorrow. Just kidding, it wasn't actually that dramatic, but it's true that it's quite the emotional rollercoaster seeing Soeur Wadsworth (my current comp), Soeur Kelley (my trainer) and Soeur Goreeba go home all at the same time

That's all I have time for this week, but know that my thoughts will definitely be aux Etats Unis tomorrow celebrating my favorite country in the world! (To which France is a very close second)

I'm so grateful to be an American, but thinking about the 4th of July also makes me that much more grateful to be exactly where I am right now. I'm definitely not French, but this country has become a part of me. I love these people, I love the language, I love the bread, I love France. And I'm so grateful for he chance I have to be here and to love these people (even if it means missing some fireworks ;)
I love you and my prayers are with you!! Thank you for your faith and support!

Cami

Monday, June 26, 2017

Vacation, Sleepover, and Break-ins (update #47)

Yay!   There are pictures from her companion this week!  

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Bonjour tout le monde!!
As you can probably see from the title, it has been quite the week :)

Tuesday we had another miracle rendezvous with Danielle

Wednesday morning we hopped on a train to Toulouse for Zone conference. It was a conference with all the missionaries from Toulouse, Montpellier and Bordeaux, SO FUN! . 
We had our interviews with President on Wednesday and helped Soeur Brown make grilled cheese for everyone. We spent the night with Soeur Kelley (MY TRAINER) and Soeur Cusick in Toulouse and it was so fun to catch up.

Cami with three of her former companions (Soeurs Wilson, Kelley, and Wadsworth)

 Then Thursday was zone conference, during which we found out that during the night the APs' car with all of our packages in it was broken into. A lot of people had packages from home stolen and my replacement iPad was stolen! Apparently j'ai une malediction de tablettes hahah. When I found out I literally just laughed; What are the chances that my iPad would get stolen out of my bag and then two weeks later, my replacement one would get stolen out of the assistants' car? C'est la vie.
So that was fun. We came back to Bordeaux Thursday night and had one normal day to be missionaries before Stake Conference started on Saturday. And I think it was one of the coolest days of my whole mission. Highlights include our rendez vous with Dimitri and Danielle.

Dimitri is an ancient ami we called at the beginning of this transfer. At the beginning he was super honest with us and told us that he wasn't convinced that our church was true and that he was just meeting with us out of curiousity. With every rendezvous he gradually comes around a little more and this time he agreed to be baptized when he feels like God has given him a direct answer and he said that he wants to come to church next week (something he said he would never do before)! It's incredible to see how the spirit works to soften people's hearts and change lives.

Then we had Danielle. Danielle is incredible. We went out and met her at the gat of the chapel then brought her inside to one of the only air conditioned rooms for our lesson. As we sat down she said she had a story to tell us. something "inexplicable." A little nervous about what that meant, we prayed and then listened to her talk. She then goes on to share with us that Tuesday night after our rendez vous she went home feeling really discouraged. She asked herself what the point of even trying was, she felt that she didn't know enough abut the scriptures or religion and that she didn't really want to keep meeting with us. The next day she was on the computer for something else. She said she couldn't tell us what she searched, what she clicked on, or how she ended up there, but she ended up on a website (mormon.org) that responded to all of her questions. She read the entire FAQ page (it's a tab at the top, you should read it too). She said the more she read, the more she felt an inexplicable feeling in her heart. She described it as a "pressure, like a peace" that filled her chest.

What I love most about Danielle's story is that it's so real. The truth is that life isn't all roses. Satan is real and he is doing his very best to stop us from being happy. Right when Danielle was on the verge of discovering something incredible, a message that was going to change her life, Satan tried especially hard to hold her back. To tell her that she was wasting her time, that she wasn't good enough. But Danielle chose to lead with her faith. She chose to take steps forward anyway, and she was blessed by feeling the Spirit stronger than she ever had before in her life. Opposition comes, but when we lead with our faith, miracles come too. And I've really seen that the worst opposition often comes before the biggest miracles.

The day before I contacted Danielle on the bus was one of the hardest days of my mission. Not for any specific reason, I was just struggling. I found myself on my knees with tears running down my face just feeling inadequate and horrible about life. The answer I got from Heavenly Father was that all I needed to do was love people. To focus on loving my companion, loving our members, loving my mission, loving everyone, and everything would work out. That's why I'm here on my mission.

The very next day I sat down next to Danielle on the bus.

Faith precedes miracles, but often, so does opposition.

Our rendezvous with Danielle ended with us fixing a baptism date for July 15!! It probably won't actually be that soon because she needs to come to 3 Sacrament meetings before then, but it was such a spiritual experience anyway.

Saturday (after our rendezvous with Danielle) the Brive and Poitiers sisters came in for Stake Conference! We had the adult session on Saturday and the session for everyone on Sunday and between the two we had all the sisters at our apartment for a sleepover which was a blast.

Anyway, life is great :) I'm really sad because this is Soeur Wadsworth's last week of her mission and I just don't want her to leave at all. But that's life I guess. Stay tuned next week to find out who my new companion will be :)

Love you all! Thank you so much for all your faith and prayers!

Soeur Camille Goold

Spending time with the Le Camus family.  They are wonderful.


Wearing her Christmas PJs!  :) 

District meeting (?)


Christina is an ami that's recovering from cancer....

A lunch out...


P-Day in beautiful Arcachon!