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!  

Sent from my iPad

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! 

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!