Saturday, August 27, 2016

French Fried (Letter #4)


Another week down at the MTC which means we only have a little over 2 weeks before FRANCE!!
French Fried (adj): the state of my brain as it swims in a confused limbo of French, English, scriptures, and all other thoughts.

Ex: at the end of each day I feel like a French Fried sloth.

a French Fried Soeur Jones practicing her memorized scriptures on the door frame. This is admittedly a common practice for us both
Oh yes, speaking of sloths. The other night we were talking to Sister Cochain (from France, serving in temple square). We were practicing our incredible French on her when she suddenly bursts out laughing and says: "Have you seen Zootopia? You guys remind me of the sloths at the DMV when you speak French." hahahah, so funny. Nous aimons Soeur Cochain. So if any of you have been wondering how the language is going, there's your answer lol. But in all reality, we are learning so much every day. Right now we may sound like sloths we're hopeful that one day we will sound closer to French caterpillars. (idk, only thing slightly faster than a sloth I could think of...)

This week (as all weeks here are) was a huge week of learning and being humbled.

Juan Uceda of the 70 came and spoke for devo on Tuesday and it was SO GOOD. He talked about giving all our heart, might, mind and strength to God so we can SEE ourselves serving Him (D+C 4:2). He focused on the word see, because as we give more of ourselves we will literally be able to see God more in our lives. I love that thought and it made me realize I need to be better about giving everything that I have to God.

Our teacher this week said "give Him your heart and let Him scrub it clean." Scrubbing my heart doesn't sound totally pleasant but I know if I let Him have my heart it will be worth it. I love the analogy of giving Him my heart because my heart is what keeps me alive. It gives blood, oxygen, nourishment to every cell of my being. When my heart is His, I am His. It reminds me of the song, Come Thou Fount: "Here's my heart, oh take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above."

 Soeur Jones and I have been talking a lot about being vulnerable and how much better life is when you just let yourself.   Ripping my heart out and letting it be scrubbed clean (e.g. admitting that I'm wrong and imperfect, accepting rejection, etc) feels pretty vulnerable. But, as SJ said: "we need to trust Jesus Christ enough to be vulnerable." I love that being vulnerable increases our capacity to feel good emotions and bad emotions, which I think slowly helps us become more like Christ. Because he is the only one who understands and has felt every possible emotion.   Soeur Jones said, "This mission is full of moments of vulnerability. By this I mean, sometimes we are asked to do things that feel uncomfortable or push us. Like going to talk to random people in France on a subway about Jesus Christ. Or taking a step forward of faith even when I don't know what lies ahead of me. But when I am following Jesus Christ, and trusting in his wisdom, love, and perspective, I know that thing will work out. It takes courage, faith and humility to trust in God. It really does. But sometimes just taking a step of faith a day at a time is all we can do."

Things I'm working on:
- Being vulnerable and giving Him my heart
- giving Him all my might in my studies (trying to treat French and the scriptures as seriously as I did Biochem)
- Memorizing 3 scriptures in French each week at the MTC
- Remembering that both humility and confidence come from the Savior. I need to yield completely to Him and remember all that I am comes from Him, but I also need to remember that because of Him I can do all things (even learn French). Aka finding confidence in humility.

Other exciting things that have happened this week:

Our district received a package from the best mom in the world (aka mine). THANKS MOM!! (Mom, you better not remove this for the blog...)

Last week Soeur Jones and I were called as Sister Training Leaders for our zone (basically just means we try and make sure all the Sisters in our zone are doing okay and nobody dies). One of the fun things we get to do though is chat with the new missionaries in our zone and give them a tour of the MTC. It was so fun to pretend like we know what we're doing (and they don't know the difference because they just arrived).
Braids by Cami
Soeur Jones' bed is extremely squeaky and whenever she moves it sounds like the world is ending. The French word for horses is cheveaux (I think) and everytime she moves up there we yell cheveaux because it sounds like a pack of horses is on her bed. Maybe you just had to be there, but we find it oddly hilarious hahaha.

In other news: Soeur Jones had a laughing attack in the middle of class and I literally thought she might pass out. We had to leave the room. It's the little things hahaha. Love that we can still be normal people as missionaries!

The elders in our district (esp. Elder Sorenson) have discovered that you can't stand on your heels with your knees locked and jump. Watching them try is one of the funniest things in the world. (see pics/ video)

PS Look up the French only hymn/ lullaby Souviens-toi. One of the prettiest songs ever. We need it in  English.   (Note from Mom:  I looked it up for is the link!)  :)

Je vous aime!! I cannot thank you enough for your letters, prayers, and support.

Soeur Cami Goold

PS.  Here are some other random pictures:

A video of Cami's MTC  zone singing "Called to Serve" in French!   

Friday, August 19, 2016

A Bat, a Doughnut, and a Painting (Letter #3)

This upcoming week marks our THIRD week in the MTC which also means we have three weeks left. CRAZY. Our time here is going by sooo fast and it's simultaneously exciting and scary. Exciting because, obviously: FRANCE!!! But terrifying because: FRENCH, aka I know so little and we're already halfway done with our French learning experience.


The initial shock of entering the MTC has officially passed, leaving us face to face with the very real task of learning how to speak French.

Elder Holland did not come for Tuesday devotional, but Bonnie L. Oscarson did!!!!! (YW general president) I think I needed her message more than anything Holland could have said.

Her talk was all about trusting in God and His plan for me and for the people I will teach. Often I'll find myself thinking "I would be such a good missionary if I could only speak English" (humble, I know...) But, NO! If I would be a better missionary speaking English than French, then God would have called me English speaking! He knows what I need and I just need to put my Faith in Him and remember that His way is better than mine.

During her talk, a missionary going to Russia said something that stuck with me. In Russia they are no longer allowed to wear nametags and are called "volunteers" instead of missionaries because #government. He said: "They can take away our nametags, but they can't take away the light in our eyes. The way we act is a testament of Christ." AMEN! I love wearing Christ's name on my heart, but having him IN my heart is far more important. And it doesn't take being a full time missionary to have Christ in our hearts. When we act as he would have us act and love as he loved, we will be another testament of the goodness of Jesus Christ.

This week has been SO GOOD! Everyday is like a mini adventure and it's so fun to find the little things that keep us going.

Jesus is EVERYWHERE. Literally and figuratively hahaha. There's three pictures of Jesus in the lobby, one in my closet, one on the door, at least 72.4 in every hallway, and even one on the bottom of Soeur Jones' bed (aka staring at me while I sleep because I'm on the bottom bunk. (pic attached) At first I thought it was kinda creepy but I've come to appreciate the symbolism. When I was 12 I had a picture of Taylor Lautner on my ceiling, now I have a picture of Jesus... I'd say that's a step in the right direction ;)

On our weekly Sunday walk to the temple we ran into a girl going to our mission this week!! (She already speaks French so she only goes to the Spain MTC for 3 weeks) She's going to arrive in Lyon at the same time as us!!

We also met the cutest missionary FROM Lyon who is going to serve in Temple Square. She promised to help us with our French and had all good things to say about France. Soeur Jones and I are getting SO PUMPED!

Oh yeah! BAT in the building!!

One night we came home to a bat tucked away in our hall.

They had to evacuate the whole hall for like 30 minutes (only after we took pics, of course). Thankfully we found some sisters on another floor who shared their chips with us while everyone else was stuck in the stairwell #tendermercy

Elder Sorenson and Elder Amison had a drawing contest the subject of which was my face. Elder Amison unfortunately erased his before I could get a picture so I guess Elder Sorenson won by default (looks just like me, right?). Some much needed entertainment at the end of the day hahah.

I LOVE our district, between the many spiritual experiences we have and the funny little moments it's so fun. And the coolest part is watching everyone change and grow as we learn together (especially the young elders right out of high school).

In our building (right outside the bathroom) I found this painting that is a copy of the huge mural in the DC Temple. It's one of my favorite paintings of all time, such a #tendermercy that I get to look at it everytime Soeur Jones is in the bathroom.

Speaking of, Soeur Jones is seriously the best!! She makes everyday more fun and makes being a missionary so much easier. Her spirit is so strong and I feel like I learn so much from her every day. Funny thing she said yesterday: "It's so weird to think that in our whole lives we just keep going, like we literally never die. We're like a living plant or something for 60 years." HAHAHA what?! I laughed so hard.

Je l'aime. One spiritual thought of her's that I loved this week (though there were many to chose from) was:

" And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things."  1 Nephi 11:17

I think we shared this scripture with every single ami we taught this week. Because that is the central idea of the church. There is so much I don't know and so much I wonder about, but I know without a shadow of a doubt that God loves His children. And because He loves us He gives us the beautiful world, families, friends, and little tender mercies every day to help us be happy. And if that's the only thing I ever remember, that's enough to bring me joy every single day.

Thank you so much for your letters, prayers, and support!! They all mean so much to me!

Je vous aime!

Soeur Cami Goold

Elders Pistole, Perry, Thompson, Jacobson, Sorenson, Amison, Soeurs Jones, Huntsman, Goold, and Allen 

Cami LOVES packages! Thanks to those of you who have sent them!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Death and Love (Letter #2)

Hello everyone!

#Mishspiration for the week:

In all honesty the MTC is not all roses and feeling the spirit. It's amazing and continues to be full of tender mercies, but it's hard. At first I was confused why it was so difficult then I realized it's because I felt like I was losing myself. The first few days here you give up your means of communication (phone), friends, clothes, school, hobbies. Everything that used to define you. But it's worth it to give all that up because now the only things that define me are the names on my name tag: Goold and Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for the chance to wear Christ's name (literally) on my heart for 18 months, but that doesn't change the fact that it's hard to feel like I'm losing myself.

Two things have brought me comfort:

1) God called ME to France. We've met so many people who speak French fluently who are going spanish or chinese or english speaking. But for some reason I was called with France even though I don't know the language at all. "God does not work in convenience" (soeur Jones). Someone in France needs my personality and I can lose myself in the work of Jesus Christ, without losing WHO I am. Because God called me. We aren't meant to become clones of Jesus Christ, we are meant to become the most Christ-like version of OURSELVES.

2) 1 Nephi 7:12 "How is it that ye have forgotten that the Lord is able to do all things according to His will, for the children of men, if it so be that they exercise faith in him? Wherefore, let us be faithful to him." That scripture hit me like a ton of bricks. I feel like God was saying. "Cami, how is it that you have forgotten? This is my plan for you, and if you only have faith and hope in me, all things are possible." Every day I am praying to have faith not only that God CAN use me as an instrument for His work, but that He WILL.

There are definitely highs and lows, but it has been an AMAZING week. And I can already see that my time in the MTC is going to fly by!

We are teaching an ami de l'eglise (investigator, who is actually our teacher acting), It's going as well as it can with the little French Soeur Jones and I know, but the Holy Ghost is always with us in our lessons and I think that is significant for us and our ami. Funny happenings: I said "Grace a l'amour de Dieu, nous pouvons trouver le bonheur" (thanks to the LOVE OF GOD we can find happiness). Apparently I said it like an American and not like a French person and it sounded like "Grace a la mort de Dieu" (Thanks to the DEATH of God). That one took some explaining hahaha. Good thing our ami is very patient with me and good thing we start in the MTC and not in France.

Soeur Jones is HILARIOUS. She adds so much joy to everyday. Below is a picture of her hair after taking it out of a bun. She proceeded to walk around our residence casually with me so we could see people's reactions. I think I almost died laughing. It's the little things.

Getting letters is the absolute BEST. We can't get them until 9 PM so it's something little to look forward to everyday. And I LOVE hearing and seeing updates from the outside world.

Matthew Holland came to talk to us about Joseph Smith on Sunday and it was SO good. Soeur Jones and I sing in the choir (even though I'm completely tone deaf) so we can get good seats to the devotional, and because music is much needed here.

Not gonna lie at first when they said Elder Holland I thought Jeffrey Holland, so I was slightly let down. But the talk was no disappointment! AND Neil L. Anderson spoke to us on Sunday!! AAAANNND, according to the schedule the older Elder Holland is ACTUALLY COMING on Tuesday. So pumped!! Hopefully that's real...   {We believe that Neil L. Andersen and Jeffrey R. Holland are modern-day apostles}

I'll just end with the quote from our sister mission president: "There is not much growth in a comfort zone and not much comfort in a growth zone." Amen! The MTC is not the most comfortable I've ever been, but it's definitely a growth zone. And, that being said, the tender mercies and little blessings of each day make this place incredible. It took a couple days to get used to, but I'm genuinely happy to be here and I'm so excited for this journey to have officially begun!

All my love,
Soeur Cami Goold

A different perspective 

The beautiful Provo temple 

On the lawn of the Provo temple 

Cami and her district 

Someone sent them treats and they are all enjoying them!

Cami wanted to make sure I included the one of her "escaping" over the fence. Haha!


All About Mormon Missionaries

Why do Mormons go on missions?
I imagine that the individual answers you'd get to this question would vary wildly from person to person, but ultimately the purpose for missionary service is to bring the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ to people, wherever they are in the world.

Why did Cami choose to go? 
It wasn't an easy decision for Cami to make, but in the end she felt absolutely peaceful that this was what she was supposed to do.   Even when life got a little complicated (in a happy way), she never wavered about whether she was supposed to go.    Her reasons for going included:  
1.   She really felt like the Lord wanted her to serve a mission.   2.  She genuinely wanted the opportunity to serve.   3.  She loves people and wanted to share the light of the gospel with others, so that they can share in the same peace and happiness that having the gospel perspective brings to her life.    

Do Mormons have to serve a mission?
Absolutely not!   Young people are encouraged to go, but ultimately it is up to the individual to pray and make the decision that is right for them.  Glen went on a mission to England.  I chose not to serve a mission.  Neither of us has any regrets about our decision.

What do missionaries do on their missions?
The main purpose of a mission is to love and serve the people in the area where they are serving.    This sometimes means knocking on doors and finding people to share the great news of the gospel with, but often it just means rolling up their sleeves and working alongside the people.   On Glen's mission to England, he met people from all over the world, taught them about the gospel of Jesus Christ and served and loved with all his heart. Some listened to the message he shared, some didn't, but he treasures his experiences there.

How many missionaries are there in the world?
According to Mormon Newsroom, 74,079 missionaries serving in 418 missions.  

What's the big deal with the Book of Mormon? 
The Book of Mormon is a powerful testament of Jesus Christ, that complements the Bible beautifully.     Whereas the Bible testifies of the people of the Middle East and of Jesus Christ's life and mission there, the Book of Mormon is a record of the people in the Americas and Christ's visit there after His resurrection.

What does the Book of Mormon say?
Here is a quote from the Book of Mormon that sums things up well:    "And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins."  
2 Nephi 25:26

How do they decide where each missionary will go on their mission?  
Before serving a mission, each prospective missionary fills out a bunch of paperwork indicating their strengths, weaknesses, language skills,  preferences, health issues,  etc.    They also go to doctors, dentists, their ecclesiastical leaders, who all share information as well.   From there the papers are sent in to church leaders and reviewed, whereupon each missionary is assigned to a specific mission by the head of our church, who we believe is a prophet of God on the earth today.   The actual missionary has no say in where they go, but we believe that each missionary is sent where they are most needed.  

How much do they get paid for being on a mission? 
Nothing.   Not only do they NOT get paid anything, but missionaries and their families pay for their own expenses, as well as a monthly amount to be on their missions.   It is a sacrifice to serve a mission.

How old do you have to be to serve a mission? 
Boys can go when they are 18 and have graduated from high school.  Girls can go when they are 19.

How long do they go? 
Boys usually serve for 24-months.  Girls usually serve for 18-months.  Senior couple missionaries serve 1-3 years.

Why do missionaries have to live by such strict rules?  
The rules of missionary life can seem excessive to an outsider, but the rules are there to help them to stay focused and disciplined on their task at hand, which is bringing the light of Christ unto the world.   They put aside their schooling, dating lives, technology, and focus on doing good.  Each missionary spends the first couple hours every morning studying the native language of the area they are serving in and study and reflect on the scriptures and the life of Jesus Christ.  A missionary's life is meant to be simple and unfettered from the pressures and distractions that often overwhelm young adults in that phase of life.

How often can they call or write home?
They can write letters and emails once a week on their P-day (short for Preparation Day).  In the MTC Cami's P-day is on Fridays.  Once she's in France, it will be on Mondays.
They can call home twice per year--once on Christmas Day and once on Mother's Day.

Quote from Cami about serving a mission:
"Inspiration can sometimes come from unexpected places. Recently I watched the movie, "The BFG," with my cousins, when the giant said something that really resonated with me. For those of you unfamiliar with the story of the BFG, it is about a big friendly giant who blows happy dreams into the windows of sleeping children at night. There are nine other giants who go out and snatch children out of their beds and eat them.

When a little girl discovers the BFG and asks what he is going to do, he says: “I be going dream blowing. It be as good as I can do.”

The BFG is living in a world where he was forced to watch helplessly as nine other giants go off and ate children. But instead of just watching, he blew dreams, because it was “as good as he could do,” to combat the evil in the world at the time.

A mission is not something you do, it is something you become. In the words of Elder Bednar (one of our church leaders): Plenty of people go on missions, but never become missionaries. Becoming a missionary doesn’t always mean serving a full time mission, it means simply doing “the most good you can” in whatever stage of life you are in."

Any more questions about missionary life or about Mormons?  
You can call, email, or text me anytime.    Or write Cami an email (address on side of blog).  She'll love to hear from you and for the opportunity to answer your questions.

Friday, August 5, 2016

First Couple of Days at the MTC (Letter #1)

Hello Everyone!!

First: #mishspiration for the week (Missionary inspiration):

 "Be strong and of a good courage, be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed, for the Lord thy God is with thee, whithersoever thou goest."   Joshua 1:9

The last two days more than ever I have felt Christ's presence in my life as I strive to make his purpose my purpose. I know that He died for each of us and that because of Him we can find happiness in our lives, regardless of our circumstances. That is the message we're sharing with our investigator (actor) tomorrow and I'm so pumped (even though it will be in French and it'll be way rough...)

When you arrive at the MTC the first thing you do is get your name tag with a big orange dot on it signifying that it's your first day (aka that you have no idea what you're doing and that everyone should help you haha). There's this weird phenomenon that I like to call orange dot syndrome, that when anyone who has been here more than a week sees the aforementioned orange dot they lose all control of their vocal chords and have to yell "WELCOME TO THE MTC!!" as loud as they can. We heard that phrase probably 587 times in our short first day.
"Welcome to the MTC" orange dots apparently were removed for the picture.

And that weird phenomenon is just one small peek into the weird dynamics of the MTC. Put thousands of 18-21 year olds in an enclosed space, tell them they're missionaries and can't flirt with each other, then put them in groups to learn a foreign language for hours a day, have them teach fake investigators in said foreign language they don't know, THEN ask them to do it all while they are overcoming technology withdrawal and you have one interesting place. But I am honestly loving every second of it. The spirit is so strong here. It may feel like a weird social experiment at times, but it's amazing. In the words of our branch president "the six weeks you will spend here will be quite unlike any other six weeks in your entire life." I can see already that that is 100% true. I figure I can either take that to mean it's going to be super weird and I can't wait to leave (and there may be a tiiiiiny bit of that), but I'm mostly taking it to mean that these are six weeks to learn and feel the spirit in a way that I never have and (thankfully) never will again, so I may as well fully embrace it. Let's do this.
Soeur Goold and her roomies (in background, Soeur Jones, Allen, Huntsman)
If you know me, you know I'm all about weird word puns so I love that MTC backwards is CTM: Concentration of Tender Mercies (yes it's silly and totally something I would come up with...sorry, it's just too accurate). In the last 48 hours (CRAZY, feels like I've been here forever!!) there have been so many little tender mercies!

TM=Tender Mercy

TM #1: SOEUR JONES IS MY COMPANION!!! For those of you who don't know, we were in the same ward at BYU, are both majoring in nursing, and somehow got lucky enough to be MTC companions. Soeur Jones is seriously so kind, easy-going, spiritual, hard working, and determined to be a good missionary and "Inviter les gens a venir au Christ" (Invite others to come unto Christ). Also, Soeur Allen and Soeur Huntsman, the two other sisters in our district and our roommates are awesome and so easy to get along with! We know it won't always be this easy, but I'm so grateful my first companion was a home run. We keep joking that hopefully this isn't the high point ;)

TM #2: They let us e-mail home the first night here so my mom could know I was alive!

TM #3: the food is not nearly as bad as I thought it would be (although I am definitely looking forward to French food in a few weeks)

TM #4: our p-day is FRIDAY!! That means a) we have the best p-day of the week, and b) we got to go to the temple and wear normal clothes and e-mail just 2-days after arriving! Everyone says "just make it to Sunday," but we only had to make it to Friday :)

P-day clothes!

TM #5: I can already feel the spirit guiding me in random thoughts and helping me know what I should share in what situations. It's such a cool feeling and so incredible to experience the love God has for his missionaries first hand.
at the temple 
TM #6: Soeur Jones and I were SO HUNGRY after the first day (dinner was at like 4) and the vending machines weren't taking any cards and we only had big bills. We were soooo desperate when Soeur Allen let us borrow $2 to get an apple. HALLELUJAH.
TM #7: There is a british elder in our district and he let me try out my accent on him. Said I sounded like a British person from the 1800s (thanks Downton Abbey). Anyway, it made my day.

These are just a couple of sooo many tender mercies we've experienced since being here and I know as we begin to really learn French there will be so many more. I love the scripture:

"But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those  whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance." 
1 Nephi 1:20

I know that if I put my faith in Him he will help me through all the challenges I will face. With Him I can become great, without Him I am nothing. #tendermercies
Just resting

Things I'm working on:
-Exact obedience. I'm trying to get over my "spirit of the law" mentality and just obey all the little rules that I don't understand. "Obedience brings blessings, exact obedience brings miracles"

-Loving EVERYONE here. It is so easy to love Soeur Jones, investigators, and the elusive "people of France." But I've been struggling to always love all of the other missionaries here. Most of them are easy to love, but when some go about teaching in a way that I never would I find it harder to keep the perspective that we're all in this together. But I'm praying that God will help me see them as His children and that I will remember that they are here to share the gospel just like me, that we all love God, that God loves them just as much as He loves me, and especially that each of them can teach me something about how to be a better missionary if I can just be open to learn from them.
Cami's MTC district
I love you all, please write!! I don't have a ton of e-mail time but I have enough and I want to hear all about your lives (and see pics!!)

Soeur Cami Goold
All the tags
Her roomies: Soeur Huntsman, Soeur Allen, Soeur Jones (her companion), and Soeur Goold
Hanging out in the room

At the temple