Monday, February 27, 2017

Off to Switzerland!!!! (update #30)

I'm getting TRANSFERRED today!

Val de Saône (right outside of Lyon) ➡️ Lausanne, SWITZERLAND (click here to read fun facts about Lausanne)!!!

I'm so pumped!!! 

Not only will I be changing areas, but also countries. Normally I would take a train there,  but the office has a car they need delivered to Geneva which means I get to road trip to Switzerland with Soeur Burton.   WOOOOO. Literally so excited :))) I'll be leaving later today and go meet my new companion in Geneva.    Elle s'appelle Soeur Goreeba.  (Her name is Sister Goreeba) She's SO COOL. I've only met her twice for a couple minutes but she's so nice. She's from Paris and the Reunion island (next to Madagascar)... I'm so happy. She's my first French companion which means I have A LOT to learn from her in regards to the language, but from what I hear I think I just have a lot to learn from her, period.

As excited as I am to go to Lausanne, I'll be honest and say that my heart is breaking a little bit. Over the last 6 months Val de Saône has become like another home to me. They say home is where the heart is and I think a chunk of my heart will never leave this place. Cani, Kelly, Eliette, la famille Wachter, Bliss, Diogene, Ahmed, Luzia and Alexandre, la famille Joulac, la famille Smurthwaite, the list goes on and on (see pictures below for a glimpse of most of these people). Sunday was hard. There were a lot of tears shed. Leaving people sucks...but it's so worth it to have the opportunity to love them.

6 months ago I remember getting home from church and just crying my eyes out. I couldn't understand anything, I couldn't talk to anyone, and I definitely couldn't imagine building relationships in French. I remember being sure that I would feel like an outsider for 18 months, never feeling comfortable or at home. I couldn't have been more wrong. Since then I've learned two very important lessons:
1. God qualifies those He calls. There's no logical way I should have been able to pick up on French as quickly as I did. But God doesn't work in logic or convenience. He will never ask us to do anything that is beyond our capacities... well, maybe a better way to put it is that WHEN He asks us to do something beyond our capacities, He will increase our efforts until we can do what He asked us. I literally feel the power of God helping me and increasing my small efforts every single day. It's not in a grand, I see Christ walking next to me sort of way. It's hard to explain, but it's in a small, almost
imperceptible way that I feel Him strengthening me. Enough to get out of bed and work out every morning, enough to hunt down less actives and contact people on the street, enough to listen to and pour my heart out to people in a language I've never spoken before. It's amazing. Me + Christ = so much more.
2. The language isn't the most important thing. Words cannot express how grateful I am that my French is coming along, BUT I didn't come to France to learn French. Learning French is a side affect of LOVING people who only speak French.

These last couple days in Val de Saône have been the best of my whole mission. Now, it's a little ironic because in these last few days, a lot of my personal weaknesses have come to the surface and that always sucks. To explain what I mean I'll just tell you a story.

Saturday was Kelly's baptism!!! 
Woooooo. Best day of my whole mission...but it didn't start off that way. That morning I made some brownies for the baptism because I had promised Kelly months before that I would. I had a vision in my head of what I wanted, but as I was frosting them Soeur Friolo started having ideas of what she wanted to do (writing in chocolate syrup on them).  I wasn't too excited about changing plans and we were having some major communication barriers (she speaks perfect English, but sometimes we all have our trials). Anyway, it ended up with both of us being frustrated, trying to communicate and not being able to, and me being (unintentionally) not very nice. OVER BROWNIES. This is not a joke. I'm a 19 year old woman who's on a mission to serve God and I let myself get frustrated over brownies. I felt really bad and apologized, but at the end of the day I think it made me realize that after all this time I still have the mentality that if I can do something by myself, it's better than if someone helps me. And it's SO NOT TRUE. 

In the end, she wrote her part in chocolate syrup and I wrote "Kelly" the way I originally envisioned it.  

At first I just felt super bad about myself and like I'm the worst human alive, but then I went and read Ether 12:27 
"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. 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." 

As much as it sucks to be so weak, it's comforting to know that it's God who's showing me my weaknesses. And as far as I am from perfect as I am today, God still loves me, and somehow He'll make me enough.

After the little brownie escapade, we headed to the church for Kelly's baptism. (PS don't worry, Soeur Friolo and I love each other beaucoup beaucoup and the brownies only strengthened that love hahah). I don't have words to describe how incredible it was. There were beaucoup (lots of) des flaws (i.e. We messed up her NAME on the program, we told two people to talk about baptism and nobody to talk about the gift of the Holy Ghost, etc), but none of that was even a little important. Kelly was so nervous and was glued to my side the whole time leading up to the baptism. I braided her hair and then we helped her get ready with her mom. And then she got baptized. It was beautiful. But the most beautiful part for me was when her mom got up and bore her testimony about the temple and the gospel and the change it's making in her life. (Her mom is a member, but has been less active most of her life). From the first leap of faith it took to knock on a strangers door, through lots of awkward moments, many hours in the car with the Nautas (members we teach their family with), to Kelly's baptism, my heart is just so dang happy that I got to be a tiny part of this family's journey to eternity.

This is us with Sister Nauta.
Missions are seriously so cool.
Yesterday I bore my testimony in sacrament meeting (right after Kelly was confirmed:)) I mostly held it together but when I came and sat down I was between Kelly and Eliette (my favorite 85 year old ninja in the world), and I couldn't hold myself together. Kelly wrapped her arms around one of mine and rested her head on my shoulder while Eliette took my other hand in both of hers. Sitting between two of my favorite people in the entire world, I just kind of let it sink in how blessed I am for the experiences I'm having on my mission.

Here we are with Eliette
Some days it feels repetitive. Some days I'm an idiot and get mad over brownies. Sometimes I wonder why God needs ME here. But all those days are swallowed up in the sea of celestial moments we get to be a part of. They're quickly forgotten in how much I love these people, this country, this culture. They're lost in the moments like Kelly's baptism, teaching a primary lesson with Cani, driving Eliette to church, and so many more.

Cani helped us teach primary on Sunday!  
 I'm 100% sure that I need to be here in France (and soon to be Switzerland). Not necessarily because I'm changing anyone's life, but because they're changing mine.

I love you all so much, thank you for your prayers, love and support!!

Avec tout mon amour,
Soeur Cami Goold


Here are some more last glimpses of Cami with the Val de Saone ward:   

Marianne S.  is a university student who comes to teaching appointments with them and is planning on serving a mission soon.  

Luzia (the woman we met in the elevator) is on the left, Cani (the one who was recently baptized) is on the right. 

Here are some more pictures with Luzia at a dinner appointment.   That's her grown son with her below and her young son, Alexandre, in the sky view shot at dinner.   Cami loves them dearly and is so proud of how far they've come in the past few months.

Cami calls this ward member,  "Crazy (in a good way) Ahmed"

This is the three of them with the Cuche family.   They're strong and faithful members and Cami always follows up references to them with #goals.   

Cami said they (the Famille Cuche) wrote a beautiful song about the atonement and performed it for them. 

What happens when you remember a change of clothes, but totally forget to bring a change of shoes to a service project...

Packages to France are quite expensive to send, so she doesn't get them often from us.   I couldn't resist sending a fun Valentine's one though!   

Michelle is a ward member who not only is an amazing artist, but is also one of the best member missionaries ever....

A better look at her masterpiece...

 Flowers from Eliette's garden and another photo of Cam with Soeur Nauta (from the ward)....

This is Cami with Diogene.   He's a 20-year-old convert of 3 years who teaches with the Sisters all of the time.  He's a great guy who's hoping to go on a mission soon himself.  

Cam and Eliette (Eliette is the awesome ninja referred to in the above letter and the energy reader mentioned in a previous letter)....

 Bliss is only 14 years old, but she is as classy as they come and often accompanies the Sisters to teach and contact.  

Soeur Friolo and Cami shared a final picnic together before parting ways today...

And here are a couple more goodbye shots of the three of them (Cam, Soeur Wilson, and Soeur Friolo) and two Sisters serving in the next ward over (one of them is Soeur Bright, but I'm not sure what the other one's name is)

And the final shot of the interesting, but delicious  looking French pastry that they got for their picnic today.... she comes!!!!   

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