Monday, August 28, 2017

This is a Work of Love and Not Statistics (update #56)


It's been a great week! I'll just go through some quick highlights:
MLC (Mission Leadership Conference) on Tuesday!! 

Got to see Soeur Jones and lots of other mission friends. 
And of course President and Soeur Brown who taught us a little bit more about how we will be using Facebook as a new missionary tool. In short, I will primarily be using Facebook to better communicate with our amis and members here in Bordeaux. It will also be a cool tool for keeping in touch with amis and members from my old villes. So most of my posting will be in French :) I'm super excited and I can see already that there is so much potential with Facebook. Before my mission I thought it was just a way to waste time/ stalk people/ a less good instagram. But I'm realizing as a missionary that it's a really good way to keep in touch with people. And a lot of times people are way more willing to be friends with you on Facebook than to exchange numbers haha. It's pretty funny that here I am using Facebook for the first time in a year and I think it's the coolest thing ever.

Then on Saturday we learned how to make sushi chez la famille T.-C.!! 
It was so fun. Frère T C invited his less active sister who invited her non-member friend and it turned into a great lesson about Heavenly Father and how much he loves us. I love that after a year of being a missionary, that is the fundamental truth that I always come back to. I LOVE this quote by Elaine S Dalton:

"I have always loved the story of the son of King Louis XVI of France because he had an unshakable knowledge of his identity. As a young man, he was kidnapped by evil men who had dethroned his father, the king. These men knew that if they could destroy him morally, he would not be heir to the throne. For six months they subjected him to every vile thing life had to offer, and yet he never yielded under pressure. This puzzled his captors, and after doing everything they could think of, they asked him why he had such great moral strength. His reply was simple. He said, “I cannot do what you ask, for I was born to be a king.”
Like the king’s son, each of you has inherited a royal birthright. Each of you has a divine heritage. “You are literally the royal daughters of our Father in Heaven.” Each of you was born to be a queen."

The knowledge of our divine origin and potential really can change everything about how we confront challenges in life. Souvenons-nous donc qui nous sommes, les fils et filles du Dieu Tout-Puissant! (Let's remember who we are, children of the almighty God)
Last miracle I'll share for the week was Monday night. We arrived in Lyon earlier than usual so we had the time to go with the Val de Saône sisters to pass by Constance. When I was in Val de Saône we went over to Constance's house every week to teach and prepare her 8 year old daughter for baptism. I remember one day we spent a whole morning bending over backwards to help get the program ready. It was a small thing, but important to Constance. We had already been showing her drafts for weeks, but the day of printing she had a lot of last minute changes she wanted to make. I won't go into details, but chasing Constance around that morning felt a little frustrating and perhaps even a waste of time. But in the end the program did turn out well.   :)

Anyway, Monday night when I said goodbye to Constance she just hugged me and said "tu es mon ange." She told me about how thanks to her daughter's baptism, her friend Fabrice was able to meet the Ecully missionaries and eventually get baptized. She told us that she was having a hard time and that she needed us that night. I didn't do much of anything ever. I was a blue, I didn't speak great French, I spent too much time making a little baptism program. But Heavenly Father let me be a little observer to how HE has supported this woman of faith through her immense trials.

My mission isn't about making perfect programs.  It's about people. It's about Gods children here in France who need to know God loves them. "This is a work of love and not statistics" and it was so cool to travel back in time a little to Val de Saône to be reminded of that.

Well, that's all I've got for this week. I love you!

Soeur Camille Goold


Envoyé de mon iPad

Friday, August 25, 2017

Fill the World as with a Flood (update #55)


So this Saturday was the baptism of an 8 year old in our ward named Enzo. We got there early to print the programs and clean the church and the Elders were there to turn on the water to fill the baptismal font. I found myself vacuuming the room with the font in it while Sister Rutter was out vacuuming the hallway. Out of the corner of my eye I see something moving. I turn around to see the font completely overflowed and quickly filling the entire room. Screaming for Sister Rutter and the Elders to come, I splashed through inches of water to try and fix it to no avail. The Elders arrived and got the water turned off but only after over 1/2 of the room was covered in 3+ inches of water. I wish I had taken a picture hahaha.

The next 30 minutes before the baptism were spent with the 4 of us barefoot trying to scrape/ mop up all the water. It was a pretty hopeless case...the amount of water on the ground next to 4 missionaries, 1 mop, a pile of rags and a baptism starting in 30 minutes was not looking good.

It reminded me of one of my favorite scriptures in the Book of Mormon,

Mosiah 7:19:

<< 19 Therefore, lift up your heads, and rejoice, and put your trust in God, in that God who was the God of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob; and also, that God who brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt, and caused that they should walk through the Red Sea on dry ground.>>

Just as God parted the Red Sea, he provided for us! By a huge miracle we found a squeegee thing that worked wonders for scraping out the carpet and getting the water back to the font. Sometimes oceans part, sometimes we find a squeegee in the closet, but God always provides a way.

This week our sweet Albanian family received some bad news about their French papers. They can still stay for at least 6 more months, but it's a really hard/ stressful time for them right now because they're really unsure about the future of their family. It's really sad to see them suffer and we're trying to just do what we can with our very limited abilities which is lots of smiling and trying to visit them
(they have so many legality rendezvous they don't have much time to come to the church right now).

In other news Dimitri came to church for the first time on Sunday!! This is ami we've been teaching since I got here and it was so cool for him to come and finally meet more members (...even 2 hours late hahah).

The weather here is BEAUTIFUL. Every time I walk outside it's like breathing in happiness. I'm a little disturbed by how cheesy that sounded but it's so nice I have no other way to describe it.

In a couple hours we're headed off to the airport to catch our plane to Lyon for MLC :)) super excited to see President and Soeur Brown and MLC is always so inspiring and just reminds me how much I LOVE being a missionary. Also, this MLC we will supposedly be receiving training for online proselyting (i.e. Facebook!)

Have an incredible week, je vous aime de tout mon cœur!!


Soeur Camille Goold

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