2. More pics from the area.
3. A Rue in Chambery (street).
4. A picture with her former trainer and some of her apartment roommates: Sister Nuutinen and Pagano.
1. Kristen in the streets of Chambery.
2. More pics from the area.
3. A Rue in Chambery (street).
4. A picture with her former trainer and some of her apartment roommates: Sister Nuutinen and Pagano.
Ok, so...week 1 of transfer 2! It has been great!! So, I know you're all wondering what happened with our amazing miracle man from last week. He is getting baptized!!! ....I wish. Haha sorry, bad joke. Well, we taught him 3 nights in a row, because he was always so eager to learn more. He would come into each lesson with questions prepared, so, we really had to do our homework. I have never met someone with so much knowledge of the Bible! It was inspirational to me to see how much faith he already had in God and in His word. He ended up teaching me a lot about the Bible in fact. But, the only problem was that he couldn't accept that there was any other scripture other than the Bible. We showed him many scriptures of the Bible prophesying of the Book of Mormon, and we showed him many scriptures of the BOM talking about how it and the Bible work together and together, create the fullness of the gospel. But, although we were giving him proof, there can be no testimony built on knowledge alone. There has to be faith. Faith to believe that it's true, and faith to follow its teachings. He didn't want to try out the faith part. He wouldn't read the BOM, and therefore couldn't pray to know if it was true or not. You can not know the truthfullness of anything in this gospel if you don't pray and ask! It's as simple as that. I also went to Lyon this week for my bleus Conference! That was a conference of everyone who was in the MTC with me and who came in with me. That was so great to see them all again and see the progression everyone had made! It felt like a family reunion. The people here really become your home away from home. We went out into Lyon and did a trainers vs. bleus contacting game. So I was paired with an awesome sister I was in the MTC with. You got a certain amount of points for each thing you did, for example, 50 points if you place a Book of Mormon, 100 points if you fixed a RDV, etc. Well, competition just sparks something in me. We had about 2 hours...and we went to WORK! I placed a Book of Mormon on my first contact, we got several people's numbers, I even taught a lesson on the street because I got the guy to pray at the end. All in all, we ended up with 337 points...not to toot my own horn, but we won :) Beating out our trainers even. By a long shot too. I know I probably shouldn't be so competitive and cocky, but I promise there's a moral to this story! So, while contacting I realized when I didn't have a trainer to rely upon, and when it was a competition, it forced me to step up my game big time. I shocked myself because I realized I could actually speak and understand French... not only that, but I actually had a personality again on my French side. Before then I had felt like a drone just saying the few French lines I knew how to say over and over. It's personality handicap as Pres Roney calls it. But, I was able to actually add stuff that sounded like Kristen again! It felt so good! But, let me tell ya, nothing would have come out of my mouth if it had not been for the gift of tongues given so lovingly by our Father in Heaven. I am so grateful for that gift because it allows us to say the things through the Holy Ghost that will touch the heart's of people here. So, I can take no credit for our score. I did my part by studying and trying my best to learn this language, and the Lord kept His side of the promise and used my mouth as His instrument in the moment where it was needed. I am so grateful for all the many blessings the Lord has given me. Seeing the progression of all my friends and myself has just made me feel so much gratitude towards the Lord for helping us do His work. He never sets us up to fail, and as long as we try our best, He will make up the rest. He is with us every step of the way. He is real, He lives, and He loves us. I know this without a doubt. There's no way I could do any of this without His help, and He is ever so willing to help us, because this is HIS work. My new companion and I have already become best friends. She is literally one of the most Christ like people I have ever met. I am learning so much from her. It's been fun being her tour guide around Chambéry...I sure do love this place and the people here! I don't ever want to leave! I love you all! Have a fantastic week and keep in touch! Merci for your prayers! Love always,Soeur Shields
This is roughing it in France! When the power goes out washing our clothes in the tub!!
The entrance of an old cottage!!
Bonjour ma chére famille et amis!! What an interesting past week it has been! So, my companion got really sick last week unfortunately. So, we weren't allowed to leave our apartment much at all for the last few days of this transfer. We went a little stir crazy, but we made good use of our time inside. So, Friday transfer calls came. My dear Soeur Magleby and I were hoping to stay together so bad, but God had a different plan. She got assigned to be a STL in Lyon. I was so so so sad to see her go! I love that girl. My new companion is Soeur Cherry. She's from Tennessee!!! The Southern Belles are now domination nation over in good ole' Chambery. So, on our very last night here, Soeur Magleby and I were trying to figure out what we should do for the last 45 minutes of our day, because some things didn't go according to schedule because she wasn't feeling well. So, once she felt up to it, we decided to just go out street contacting. We didn't really have a place in mind, but we walked out our front door and just started walking. We got about 20 feet when we noticed a young man across the street walking into his apartment, and he was staring at us intently. We get a lot of weird stares, so we didn't think much of it. So we just kept on walking and he went inside his apartment. We walked another 10 feet or so, then the next thing we know he's running across the street yelling "wait!" He gets over to us, and says something like this: "I can't hold it in anymore! I just have to ask. Are you the Mormons? I've been studying Mormons for a really long time. But it's been on the internet and stuff. I really just want to find a concrete source to learn about them. I want to know what they actually believe, and why they're here, and what they do. Do you know how I can find out more?" We literally had to do all we can to keep our jaws from dropping... We were like "US! That's how you can find out more! that's our job! We'll tell you everything!" So he got super excited. He said he had even rode his bike up to our church doors, where we have a sign up that says when we have English Class, FHE, and our Sunday meetings. He said he really wanted to come to those. So obviously we told him to come. Then we exchanged numbers and went on our way. Soeur Magleby were like little kids on Christmas for the rest of the night. It's moments like that where every difficulty of this work becomes worth it. I had read in PMG and the scriptures and in talks and everything about how the Lord prepares people to hear the gospel and then places them in our path. That night I saw that truth come to pass before my own eyes, and it was such a sacred experience. The Lord knows His children, and when He wants us to find them, He will make it happen.
The story gets better. So, all day yesterday I spent in Lyon as we had to change companions. Our train got in at 6:58 and FHE started at 7. We had invited this young man to FHE the night we contacted him, and he said he'd come. I texted him on Monday afternoon to remind him, but he never responded. Since we would be cutting it so close to when FHE started, we really considered cancelling it. But, we decided just to go ahead with faith and have it anyways and see if anyone showed up, especially him. So, we walk up to the church and there he was!! Waiting there all eager to go in! So, we try to contain our excitement, and then we had a wonderful FHE. You want to know why? Because out of no where, this adorable family from England shows up. The wife had served her mission there and they were visiting, and stopped by when they saw the sign on the door that an FHE was going on. So, this family hit it off so well with our amis. The dad told him his entire conversion story, and he just absorbed it up like a sponge. He asked a bunch of questions, and this family did a great job at answering. It was just miracle after miracle. Now tonight we are teaching him and he asked if we could have dinner afterwards with him too! He is the coolest guy ever!! I'm telling you, when it rains, it pours. The Lord is blessing us for our hard work and diligence, and it feels so good! Even if nothing happens with this guy, I just feel so grateful to my Lord for allowing me to see miracles. Speaking of miracles, I contacted this man on a bus, and he happened to be from New Zealand, and spoke English. After a few minutes of talking, he told me that he was on his way to go get coffee with his friend who used to be Mormon, and if we wanted to, we could come with him and say hello. So, of course we said yes! So, we get to the cafe, and up walks this blonde Utah Mormon. Literally, she was a born and bred Provo chick! She became inactive in the last few years, but we had a great time talking with her! We hit it off and she is the coolest lady ever. We'll be doing all we can to get her back to church! Who'da thunk in little ole Chambery that we'd meet a girl from Provo! haha So, my new companion is Soeur Cherry. She has been out about 11 months. She is seriously the sweetest person I have ever met in my life. I love her so much and we are going to have an awesome transfer together, or more. Soeur Nuutinen got transfered, and so Soeur Pagano's new companion is Soeur Kehl, who is from Paris and is only in her 3rd transfer. So, it's nice having another newbie in the house, except we can't relate on struggling with the language. haha. It's so great having a native in the house though, because she is helping us all so much with our French! It's a little stressful being the one who is the "veteran" here now. I have to know everywhere to go and who everyone is, which I do for the most part, but I've been so used to being the follower, so it's different being the leader now. It's good though, because that's the fastest way to learn! Family and friends, this is the greatest work I have ever done and I am so blessed to be a part of it! I love what I'm doing! I wake up every morning feeling so happy and go to bed every night feeling like I got to be a little part of helping God's children, and THAT is the greatest feeling that there is, let me tell ya. Thank you so much for your prayers and love!!! Love always, Soeur Shields
Bonjour everyone! This will have to be a super quick one this week. So, it was a really great week!
We took a lot of trips out to our further areas of our sector this week. We first went to Aix les Bains. Such a beautiful place! We saw a lady in our branch there, and it was an hour walk to her house in the nice hot august sun. I'm getting such lovely tan lines here...haha. We contacted a lot on the way though, and we met so many interesting people. That just happens when you talk to every person on the street...My favorite was this little old French lady who said she was Christian. And then said "Haleluijah!" " Jesus Christ va revenir bientot!" (Jesus Christ is coming back soon). She was so cute! It reminded me of being back in the South. haha. That was very out of character for an old French woman.
Something about Aix les Bains...we got a ridiculous amount of cat calls, cars honking, little comments as we walked on the street. Someone asked us if we were for sell...awkward. My favorite of the day was the guy who said "tu est tres tres tres tres tres tres tres charmant!" (you are very, very, etc. charming). Haha he literally said that many tres. It was hilarious. When we got on the train to go home, there apparently had been this group of young guys that seemed rather rowdy that had just gotten on. My comp and I didn't know this, so we got on the steps to get on that car, and the conductor stopped us and told us not to get on, because he didn't want those boys messing with us, and to get on the car behind that one. We were so touched that a stranger would be so kind and thoughtful for our well-being. A little miracle that day.
So then we took a trip out to another member's house...I can't remember the name of the area. It was pretty far away. That is where I had my first real French mangez-vous. I've eaten with other people, but never native French people. HOLY COW. I have never had so much food in my life. They started out with like 4 or 5 different trays of vegetables. Ok...I've never been a big vegetable person. But here they're different. I was eating cucumbers and tomatoes like they were candy. So not like me as you well know! And then we had salad. And then we had pieces of lasagna that were as big as my head. Then we had bread with cheese. Then we had crepes with all different types of james for for toppings. Then when I finally thought it was over, they brought out huge plates of every kind of fruit and we ate that. I was super stuffed when all was said and done. It was so great though. The very next day we took another trip out to another member (way far out in the country-side, absolutely gorgeous) and she fed us another meal almost equally as big. 2 mangez-vous in one week! I can feel it in how my clothes are fitting me now...haha.
We had some up's and down's in the work this week, no surprise there. One of our most golden amis that we thought for sure was going to get baptized on Sept. 27th told completely did a 180. She still believes in reincarnation, doesn't think we need to repent of anything, doesn't think there's a gospel but that we can all make up our own, and now claims that she's already been baptized in her mind. We don't know what happened... well actually yes we do. The adversary! Opposition in all things! It's so annoying! Satan really likes to prevent anyone from getting to partake in the joys of the gospel. I realized just how much I loved her though when she told us that. Because my heart just sank and I about broke down into tears right there in front of her. Just watching that light leave her eyes, and seeing her consciously choose to leave the wonderful path that she had started on broke my heart.
But, we had some good success this week too. There is this absolutely wonderful couple from Iran that we've been seeing and who have been attending our English class, FHE's, and Movie Night's. (We show a church film every other saturday night). They came to both of those things this past weekend, and I got the chance to give them a BOM afterwards. They're going to read it! I know they will! They want to meet with us later this week. They are just so great.
Also, we popped in on our favorite Lebanese family this week, and they agreed to let us teach them! So, we're going to start that tomorrow! They also came to our English Class and movie night. We showed The Testaments, so I know they're all hooked now :)
I really love what I'm doing. This work is the greatest thing I could ever be a part of. Every day I can't get over how much happiness I feel for devoting this time to the Lord. Getting to share my testimony every day is the best feeling in the world. These people are so dear to my heart, and I'm so grateful to be serving them. This gospel is true people! I know it with all my heart!
Thank you for the prayers and the love! Y'all are the best.
P-day at my first cafe!
At one of the member's house we went to this week, she told us how she roller blades everywhere. I made the mistake of telling her I'm good at it. So, she had me give it a try :)
We celebrated Soeur Pagano's year mark by going and getting ice cream! Yes, that is why my face is so fat
Then that same day when we popped in on the Lebanese family, they happened to just be getting started on ice cream sundaes and gave us one. This is my bff Laetetia!! Again, why I'm getting so fat!
View from our Lebanese family's house. We always eat at this balcony table with them
Rima, Laetitia's mom, painted our nails while dinner was cooking :)
On Saturday we went bowling with our fav Lebanese family!
Romain!!! My favorite ever
Who says missionaries can't have fun? Bowling!
In case you wanted to see what our branch building looks like... here it is!
Bonjour, salut, and hey y'all!! Super cool week here in France! ...and Switzerland!! We had our first Zone Conference on Wednesday
. Our whole zone came right here to our little chapel in Chambery. The President wanted to see the less often visited areas, so we stuffed everyone into our little building. Our sweet Relief Society was so excited to get the chance to make lunch for all the missionaries and to meet "THE" President Roney. They are just the cutest. We really had such an inspirational meeting. I've learned the importance of preparing way in advance before you have any type of meeting where leaders have been inspired and have been preparing messages to help us. We fasted, prayed a lot, and studied a lot the things we hoped to learn from conference. After a lot of praying and studying, I went into conference with several questions in mine that I hoped to receive some revelation on. Sure enough, I did! I really wanted to know how to have more faith in setting high expectations. I currently have 10 people here that I want to get baptized so badly! We're not even teaching half of them...yet. I just love these people so much, and I know how happy the gospel would make them, and I can see how prepared they have been to hear the gospel. But, telling yourself you are going to baptize 10 people is a very scary thing to do, because you're putting yourself out on a limb and making yourself vulnerable to a very unpleasant thing--rejection and disappointment. So, I listened to the messages given, and I asked my President this question when it was my interview. The things I learned are so great. We HAVE to set high expectations. Like it says in PMG, if we lower our expectations, we lower our effectiveness. It's good to have that mindset. But, if those things don't happen, I need to remember that God is in control. Everything we do here is a trial of our faith. He wants us to completely trust Him, and rely on Him. If He gave us every last thing we wanted, we wouldn't know a blessing when we got it. He does everything in His timing, because He sees the bigger picture and knows what's best for us. He knows when things need to happen, when people are ready for certain things, and He has the reasons for EVERYTHING! When a prayer isn't answered the way I want it to be answered immediately, that is the time when God is seeing if I will truly put my trust and faith in Him to know that this is His work, not mine. That is a principle that can be applied to every walk of life!
Then after conference I headed off on exchanges to Geneva Switzerland! My companion for the day was Soeur Schultes, a German who has about 3 months left. In our apartment in Geneva was a sister from Portugal, and another one from England. So, I was the only American! That was such a fun experience. We had a great time teaching each other all about our own specific cultures. Switzerland was really cool, especially because the people there speak so much slower. I actually understood a lot! And it's so diverse there, even more so than here, so we ran into a lot of English speaking people as well. We had lunch with the greatest family ever from Africa, and they made us this heavenly cheesy potato dish. She loved us so much, it was the cutest thing, because she wouldn't stop hugging us, and people in this part of the world never, ever hug. So it was so nice to finally be hugged again! I didn't realize how much I missed it...haha. Don't get me wrong though, I love the bise. We got lots of interesting reactions in Geneva, from people telling us we are liars when we said that God loves them, to people talking with us for half an hour all about faith. It was a great time!
People have been asking me cultural questions, so I'll quickly say my 3 favorite things about France.
1. The food. I don't care how cliche it is, the food here really is the best in the world. Sorry America.
2. The laid-back atmosphere. Everyone here loves to just chill at a cafe for hours and hours. Or it's perfectly normal every evening at home to spend 2-3 hours eating dinner because that's the time that you sit and talk and relax with your family and friends. People just sit in the park all the time, or just ride bikes, or just relax basically anywhere. This is not a go-go-go society like America.
3. They keep their ancient historical atmosphere. The architecture and buildings are ancient. It's normal to just walk next to a 400 year old chateaux. I love how they don't feel a need to modernize everything. The whole landscape here really is just so breathtaking. The rolling green hills, the little cottages with colorful shudders, and massive gardens in the yard, all surrounded by a cute little antique gate. We buzz the doorbell at people's gates and they just poke their head out of their top window and open their shudders like the girl on Enchanted. Haha. The whole "look" of everything here is just something I love.
Well, that's all I have time for folks. I love what I'm doing and I'm grateful for every second that I'm here. Something else I learned this week is the importance of remembering that we are these people's missionary for eternity. Our missionary work isn't over until we are all dwelling with God again one day, and we look over and see those we taught the gospel to sitting there next to us. To those of my friends and family who have served missions, keep in contact with those who taught on your mission. They need your help, and it is our calling to walk the entire path back to God with them. We don't just stop half-way because our service as a full-time missionary is over. We all must be doing all that we can to bring souls unto Christ. And please please please be willing to help the missionaries in your ward, and prayerfully figure out people who you feel they could teach right now. WE NEED YOUR HELP! I can't stress this enough. Especially after an article that a very inspired sister of mine sent me this week... (props Court)
I love you all! Keep praying and keep the faith! Thank you for your support and prayers! I really feel strengthened by them.
Je t'aime beacoup!!
It's always raining here but we still port! (Side note from Courtney-I don't know what port is. Maybe "party". haha your guess is as good as mine!)
The sisters in Geneva made me try fish...ewwww!
The African family in Geneva and Seour Schultes
This sign literally means the "end of the world"
We missed our train leaving Geneva, so we had to take one that took us through a layover in the middle of nowhere in Culoz. We were literally the only people there.
Culoz train station!
Beautiful views on the train ride home from Geneva