Monday, August 14, 2017

La Vie Est Belle (Update #54)

Hello everyone!!
I'd like to start this week by sharing a very profound and insightful quote by Amy Scott (7 year old American in our ward): "I love hiking. Hiking is good...but sometimes we actually cry a lot." Hahahaha. Literally laughed so hard.

We proceeded to watch a video of the 2 Scott girls crying while soldiering through a hike in the rain.
I wanted to share that because I thought is was hilarious, but also because I feel like there is an important life lesson to be learned here. We asked the Scott girls their favorite thing to do with their family and the immediate response was "I love hiking..." to which everyone else at the table was flabbergasted (because she usually cries the whole time). Then she proceeded to tell us that "hiking is good..."

Life lesson learned: sometimes life is hard, sometimes "we actually cry a lot." But that's no reason not to love it!! Focus on the positive and the things we do like. In short: LA VIE EST BELLE. Thanks Scott children for the life lesson.

In other news, SISTER RUTTER AND I ARE STAYING TOGETHER in Talence for another transfer!!! I'm sooo happy. This ward has seriously become like home and Sister Rutter is about the easiest person to get along with in the face of the planet, not to mention an incredible missionary and so much fun. So life is good :)

Also, we had our first Skype lesson with the Albanian missionaries and it was SO COOL! I had chills sitting there listening to our favorite amis learn and communicate in their own language (even if I didn't understand a single word). Prayers work. Speaking of, this week they will be receiving their response as to whether or not they can stay in France and any extra prayers would be much appreciated.

Other fun events this week include having one last sleep over with the Poitiers sisters before they both get transferred to Switzerland today and learning Spanish dancing from Soeur Jimenez. Soeur Rutter and I do not dance. The best compliment we ever received was when Soeur Jimenez (Colombian) said about our dancing "see, you don't look like potatoes." #sparked

Have an incredible week!! I can't thank you enough for your thoughts and prayers and love.
Sister Camille Goold

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Hope (update #53)

Bonjour tout le monde!!
Isn't bonjour such a happy word? It's like saying hello and wishing everyone a good day at the same time. Anyway, I wish you all the best day ever and all extend my sincerest apologies that I didn't write anything last week. All is well! More than well actually, there's just unfortunately not enough time to write and too many things to write about.

This week I've been thinking a lot about hope. The word hope in French (espoir) has two definitions:
1. To wait for something with confidence. (Attendre avec confiance)
2. A person with a bright future (une personne avec un brillant avenir)

This last week we've had two experiences that made me think a lot more about hope and it's definition.

The first one was with our Albanian family. Ever since the day we knocked on their door and they invited us in we have been trying to find a way to communicate with them. We've seen so many miracles with a member who knows a tiny bit of Albanian in the other Bordeaux ward, google translate, brochures, and this week getting in touch with missionaries in Albania who speak Albanian. But I think the biggest lesson in hope has been in NOT being able to communicate with them. We literally mime/ speak broken French/ google translate for broken Albanian and point to passages in the scriptures to teach them. And yet, every time we show up at their door, whether to teach them or to bring them to church, that smile stays on their face. Every single time we read about Christ their faces light up and they get so excited. Our lessons with them have been some of the most powerful of my mission even though we say the least amount of words. This family was forced to leave their home country, is living in a completely foreign place with virtually nothing, and yet, they are happy. They have hope for the future. They await Christ and his miracles with confidence. Every time we go there we ask if they have received good news (so they can stay in France) and every time they just say "not yet, we're praying, Jesus Christ will help us." That is hope. It's finding joy in the moments regardless of circumstances, focusing on what's important (family and Jesus Christ) and waiting Christ's miracles with confidence.

The second experience was with our amie Danielle. It's been 3 weeks of calling, sending scripture texts and inviting her to things that we haven't received a response. She finally responded to us this week basically saying that right now she feels that God has left her and that life is throwing bad things at her "coup sur coup." She said that she would love to come to church and be baptized, but for a very small personal concern, she doesn't feel ready to be a full member of the church. She lacks hope for herself. Because she can't see how she could be a full member once she's baptized, she is paralyzed by fear to take any steps forward. even just to see us. Danielle is honestly one of the amies the closest to my heart of my entire mission and each time she doesn't respond it breaks my heart a little, but seeing how much she's struggling is the worst. She told us not to leave her and to keep helping her and praying for her which we will do. But what I love in this is that hope is not lost. Danielle lacks hope in this moment due to her circumstances, but hope is a choice. Hope is not found in lack of trials, but In how we respond to our trials. It's waiting for miracles with confidence in the Savior. It's trusting in the bright future that is only guaranteed through the Jesus Christ. Danielle is an exercise of my hope because I am needing to wait with prayerful confidence until she is ready to chose hope and to overcome her fears. Waiting with confidence that she will find her bright future with Christ's help.

The last quote from district meeting I was thinking about was: "their hope shall be manifest in gladness"

In choosing hope, we chose gladness. Having hope in Christ is so much more than waiting around for potential future good things, it's choosing it be glad in the moment. To rejoice in the knowledge that Heavenly Father loves us and has an eternal plan for us, that we have divine potential to become like Him and to live with our families for eternity. Like our sweet Albanian family, it's the choice to prioritize what's important and trust in every moment.

I'm not really sure if any of that made sense, but in conclusion I'm learning a lot about the real power that hope can bring in life. I used to think hope was a synonym of "wish" or "want", but know I realize that it's so much more than that. It's a principle of power that brings light into shadows and transform lives."

Other exciting things this week include district meeting where Soeur Hendrickson, Elder Jacobson and I also got to celebrate 1 year exactly since we went into the MTC!! Seriously so crazy... also, The Assistants to the President came up for a couple days and it was super fun to see Elder Wilkey again (we served together in Lausanne).

We went over to the Moutamalaya's and the LeCamus' houses this week which was so fun. Two of my favorite French families 💕

This picture was taken at our ami, Florencine's house. She was in the kitchen doing something and her 10 year old daughter, Karina came into the room holding her baby sister. Her mom asked Karina to do something so she came over and literally dropped the baby into my lap without any warning or saying anything!!! No joke. So of course I caught the baby (even though as missionaries we are not allowed to hold babies). I might have enjoyed it a little too much... but it's true that it's been a year since I've help a baby and ÇA ME MANQUE... so I was very grateful for this accidental circumstance haha. #tendermercies

This upcoming week is already the last week of the transfer which is absolutely crazy!! These last 5 weeks have flooown by! I think because this ward is so awesome and we have the best amis right now (Albanian family, Barnabé, florencine, etc). Also, Soeur Rutter is seriously the most creative, chill, fun, smart, happy person to be around 24/7. And I swear every single day we find out a new connection from our life before the mission. Que le monde est petit!
I love you all! Thank you so much for your prayers and support, they mean so much to me and I feel the power that comes from so many testimonies, so much faith and hope. Have a great week!
Soeur Cami Goold

update #52 (no letter)

Dinner with the other sisters

Artsy desk picture

Flower bouquets from Aida and Emanuela 

Vanilla/raspberry and chocolate/vanilla cupcakes Cami made for an event. 

She finally got her birthday packages, one of which was opened and rooted through at customs. 

Visit to Arcachon with Fiona and the Elders Nelson and Eberhart

Making dreamcatchers with Caroline

Monday, July 24, 2017

"Un sourire est l'amour de Dieu" (update #51)

Bonjour tout le monde!!

We're back into French this week (no more Albanian titles like last week), so no worries ;) the quote of the week this week comes from a random lady named Eve we met walking to the grocery store. She was walking on the other side of the street but called us over to come talk to her. She was asking us to help her increase the brightness on her phone because it was super dim and she couldn't see anything. We helped her figure it out after a few minutes and she was just the nicest, happiest woman ever. She said she had seen us the day before and wanted to talk to us because we were "jolies filles" (beautiful girls) and then she told us all about her life philosophies and beliefs. She's not super interested in learning more, but she was one of the kindest most genuinely happy people I've ever met. She said her philosophy is that "un sourire est l'amour de Dieu" (a smile is the love of God) and I can't say I disagree. It really the way we act and the little things we do that allow us to understand and share God's love. Anyway, goal for the week is to be more like Eve hahah.

This week end has been crazy! Highlights include:

going to Tulle (a cute little town about 3 hours away) to take care of my legality (meaning I've been in France for almost a year and I have to renew my visa, CRAZY!)

Our cute Albanian family coming to church again! One of the highlights of my week is the time we spend serving and teaching this adorable family every Sunday and Wednesday. We're still working on finding a way to teach them, but for the moment we're using Albanian pamphlets and google translate.
One of President Brown's counselors came to our lesson with them on Sunday. It was (as always) tough to communicate, but we really just tried to keep it simple and testify. Afterwards he said something that really hit me: "when you don't speak each other's language, it requires you to constantly speak the tongue of angels." And it's true that it's during our lessons with them that I have felt the spirit so strongly testify of the simple truths of the gospel. There is power in truth and there is power in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We've been working on planning our presentation for zone conference about "Facebook as a life skill." Yes, you read that right hahah. I'll update more on how that goes next week, but I'm really excited for this new tool to use in missionary work, but also to learn and apply now how I want to use social media to uplift and enhance for the rest of my life.

We are also in charge of making the lunch for zone conference so we've spent our nights after planning making cupcakes and cafe rio salad ingredients which is always therapeutic for me.

Today we went to centre ville and had Thai for lunch with our (favorite) member, Fiona. Then we went around and did some shopping and tried on berets. 

I love hanging out with Fiona because she is really like a best friend and it reminds me how lucky I am to be living in France and to meet all these amazing people that I never would have met otherwise. La vie est belle 💕

Danielle did respond to us!! Thank you for your thoughts, prayers and faith! She said the reason she hasn't been responding is because she didn't have any cell phone credit and she wanted to see us soon... but then she hasn't responded since then. So please keep her in your prayers. I really think she will come around, hopefully at the beginning of the next month. But for now all we can do is keep our faith and keep loving her so I guess that's what we'll do.

And now we're off to make "attrape-rêves" (dream catchers) with Caroline for soirée familiale!! Zone conference is tomorrow so we have all the sisters staying with us tonight which will be a party. Have a great week, je vous aime!!

Soeur Camille Goold

They made my apple pie recipe as a belated birthday treat!   I can't tell from their facial expressions if they were excited about it...or some other unknown emotion....haha!  

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