Sunday, April 27, 2014

Missionary Life. The Real Deal.

Bonjour tout le monde!

 The most adorable children. They sang us a song in French about Jesus being with us always. melt me, my heart is liquid.

I haven't got much time, but I think this week I'll give a little day-in-the-life tour of being a missionary in Paita New Caledonia.

We get to talk to the coolest people ever. It is the most amazing blessing to have this little black badge over my heart all day every day. Because I get to talk to and meet and really get to know the most incredible human beings.

Doing porte a porte is always an adventure. First we introduce ourselves. Then we ask if they have heard of the Mormons. Then they ask if we're from Australia. No? New Zealand? No?? America???? Ohhhhh!!!! Hahah yes,but once that's out of the way we can usually get it steered back to the reason we're so far away from our home and our families: The Gospel of Jesus Christ. The message of hope and happiness. The message that makes homes places of safety and refuge and love. That helps EVERYONE regardless of ANYTHING.

Some fun tidbits:
-Talked to a man who was just wearing boxers. That is normal. Doesn't even phase me anymore
-Talked to a man while he burned some stuff. Everyone burns their garbage here, but it's great cause it means they're outside!
-My favorite is when we find a house where the WHOLE family lives together. And I mean the whole family. Imagine that, 20 family members all accepting the Gospel together. Wowza, that's powerful.
-We got asked out at 3 in the morning. Fun times of being two Americans who give your number to people hoping they'll call you wanting to learn more. Yes, we declined their offer.
-Talk to the construction workers outside our house every day. They are super friendly. Our goal is to give them all pass-along cards. Or Restorations pamphlets. One day.
-One of our amis literally just walks all day. We see him all the time around town or on buses. Hahah it's hilarious, he just floats around New Caledonia doing his thing. But he always waves!
-Talked to a man from Scotland. First he spoke French and was super brusque. Then we talked a little more, and found out he's from Scotland. We got to speak in English! The moment we showed just a little genuine interest and love and concern for him his attitude changed completely. He ended up being such an amazing man with a story you wouldn't believe. It was a delight. Also he speaks Gaelic.

If you're ever bored, just go talk to some people. No, bored or not go talk to some poeple. Everyone has a story. And they're always incredible.

Love forever,
Soeur Evans

- Getting as close to the water as missionaries can. it's so beautiful here, so so beautiful.

Easter Treats

We Love French Bread

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Joyeuse Paques!

Happy Easter my dearly beloveds!

Fun fact: The other day we were at an ami's and she said she saw our pictures on facebook. Hahaha and they were ones that I sent home. Hahah so what do you know somehow they made it back full circle all the way to NC.

Easter was such a different experience this year. In the best way possible. All the distractions of the commercial side of this sacred day were taken away and all that remained was the true, beautiful reason that we celebrate on Easter Sunday. Our Savior. All week we shared spiritual thoughts centered on our Savior, HIs Atonement for us and His Resurrection. About the fact that we can overcome not only physical death, but also spiritual death (being separated from the presence of our Heavenly Father) because of HIM. What a beautiful beautiful message to get to share.

On Sunday we got to church early because Soeur Beagles had to play the piano. But she didn't get to pick the songs, so she couldn't fully play them. Hahaha so picture this. Room full of islanders. Two white missionaries on the stand. Both sitting on the piano bench. Me playing left hand and Soeur Beagles playing right hand. Ahahaha it was interesting. But we ended up not having to play two of them, so Heavenly Father clearly knew the best way to invite the spirit was to keep our hands off the keys ahaha.

And we were sitting up there on the stand when, 10 minutes after the start, OUR INVESTIGATORS WALKED IN!!!! I cannot even express the joy that welled inside me seeeing 3 of our investigators walk in with the member that drove them (bonus: he offered to drive them himself!). That is was pure joy feels like. Oh man, if it wasn't silly enough looking with us on the piano bench, the addition of our ginormous grins and sneaky nudges of excitement made for quite a sight. But it was amazing! They stayed for the whole time, and what a blessing it was to, as a missionary, "sit back" and watch as the members envelopped them with love and warmth.

Sunday evening there was also Concert de Paques. It was all of the youth and young adults. What an incredible sight: all of the beautiful youth, with their radiant spirits, singing in celebration of our Savior and His Resurrection. As they sang, these incredible youth of New Caledonia, I was so impressed by our Heavenly Father's love for them. Here we were, in the middle of the ocean, on an island, in one of thousands of stake centers, but I KNEW with all surety that our Heavenly Father and Savior were listening and pouring out their love upon those youth who shared their talents and their testimonies that night. To make it even better, our investigators from church came to the concert too! AND. We have a teenage boy who we  teach English to. We invited his family to the concert and THEY CAME TOO!!! Oh my, what complete happiness.

Other highlights of the week:
-visited an abondoned shipwreck that is on the beach in our secteur. So cool. And spooky.
-being fed absurd amounts of food yet again. hahaha obsessed with the people here they are hilarious. and feed us so much.
-making a video with an 11yr old investigator who picked us some pamplemousse from his tree and then explained the story of the Nephi's vision to go along with the fruit. hahah precious.

Love you forever,
Soeur Evans

ps I forgot my cord today :( pictures coming next week!

(not edited for misspelling because of cute French words.. Love the gift of tongues-- Her MOM)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

More Photos from Week of April 7-13th, 2014

 We helped cut a huuuuuge bucket of ginger for a Kanackie medicine they make with ginger and basil and stuff.

 me and Soeur Beagles at the stake center (Riviere Salee)

 hiked up to la croix this morning! who knew there was a piece of Brazil lost over in the pacific?

Change of Heart

Bonjour tout le monde!

First of all apologies for the ending of the last email. I finished it and attached photos but then it wouldn't send or save so alas, it was suspenseful. I guess none of us will really know what I was going to say because another week has happened so I'm going to write about that.

This week has been incredible. Last Monday night we had a lesson with a wonderful couple. It was about the Plan of Salvation, our Heavenly Father's plan for us, starting in the premortal life and continuing on after our death to the Celestial Kingdom. As we taught the lesson the Spirit was so strong. But my favorite part was at the end. Our amie (ami de l'Eglise is the name for "investigators" here) bore her testimony. She talked about the way her entire disposition and countenance has changed since she started talking about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, reading the Book of Mormon and talking with the missionaries. About how she's more patient, kind, loving, compassionate, selfless and energetic. How she had prayed with questions in her heart and the next day received all of the answers at Church. I have heard accounts like that from so many people since being out. Of the way that people change because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And there is absolutely no way that any book could do that. Or that a couple of young women with nametags could do that. Nope. Not possible. Only the Spirit and the TRUE Gospel of Jesus Christ could do that. Oh my, it is all there. All the answers we could ever need, all the potential that we could ever reach is right within our grasp. What a tremendous blessing it is to be bringing that to people.

I also got to watch General Conference! Baaaaah best weekend of the year! (or should I say one of two best weekends :) ) New Caledonia has one stake for the whole island, so we everyone gathered in the gorgeous stake building (chapels here are so much airier, I love it) and listened to the words of God through the apostles and prophet. The first session was all in French and that was a little tricky hahah. But then they had in in English!!!!!!! (black and white haha but English nonetheless) God loves us so much to let us all learn in our mother tongue. Right now, I need English to learn. And other people need French. And I get to help OTHER people learn in their mother tongue! It's the best! I especially loved President Monson's talk on charity and Uchtdorf's on the Atonement. Those were my favorites.

Funny moment of the week: We went to eat lunch with a less active member. And he goes, "ohhh I didn't make much, just a little something so we could share a meal together".... Then proceeds to feed us tahitian salad and crab stuffed tomatoes (casually through in that he'd caught the crab that this real life?) and chicken/potato/apple curry and rice and meat and veggies. And I kid you not every three minutes he goes, "Mangez! Mangez! Mangez! Mangez mes soeurs!" Hahaah it is literally impossible to walk out of a house without being stuffed here :) Then he also gave us pudding and chocolates. And before we left he stuck a box full of milk, 10 bananas from his garden, a box of cookies, chocolates, a bag of candy and juice in our car. People are SO GENEROUS. It's amazing. So yes I am being well fed hahaha

Love you all loads,
Soeur Evans

Favorite island scripture (there are loads!): 2 Ne 29:7 :) Heavenly Father definitely remembers those that are upon the isles of the sea.
Studies on the Beach during Auto-Ecole

average paita countryside shot (the drive to church in Tontouta)

This was eaten. this is bat (OH! i also ate deer this week...shot by a neighbor of a member, not a big deal)

Sister Beagles and I preaching the word

Gardening with a family

Monday, April 7, 2014

That Time I Ate Bat

Hello Good People of the Earth!

My heart is so happy. Picture all of the best things, plop them into one place and you have found yourself in New Caledonia. Over and over this week I can't get over the fact that I am in the best place on Earth (granted I'm a little biased haha but I'm allowed to be :) ). Every morning without fail the sun rises onto a beautiful day, the green outside is just as green as the day before, the sky is bright blue and the people are awake and wonderful as ever. Not to mention that this is a tropical island, they speak the most beautiful language, they sell French pastries (oh so goooood) and it's an endless summer. Hi, I'm Soeur Evans and I'm in love with my mission.

Also this week was quite adventurous. I ate bat. Yep, true story. I looked in the pot and go, "Qu'est-ce que c'est?" "Roussette?" "Quoi???" "*flapping motion"......"Ohhhhhh!!!" Hahaha yep and then I look a little closer and there, right in that pot, was a nice little black leathery wing with a little black hand attached to it. And a skull with eyes and this really freaky smile with its pointy little teeth. Hahaha and then it was on my plate and then I ate it. My piece was part of the arm/body I think? It was decently good, just really tough. According to Soeur Beagles, who is a CHAMP, the skin is also quite tough. Oh yes, and they ate the brain and opened up the mouth to eat the tongue too, it was very impressive.

I also ate dragonfruit, avocado the size of my head from some of our investigators (so nice!), manioc, tahitian salad (kind of like greek salad with raw fish added? raw fish, tomatoes, carrots, lemon juice, etc.) and liked it! In case anyone was unaware, I'm not a huge fish person, but I am determined to change that fact while I'm here and I prayed so hard to like it and God answered me! He is aware of all of our little worries too, of that I am positive.

Another fun fact. Over here if you ask for aloe vera, people hand you a plant instead of a bottle. No joke, last night one of our members just went into his backyard, cut off a part of an aloe plant and gave it to us. So now we have a leaf thing the size of my arm to rub on our sunburn. It's awesome! I love that life here is so natural. Love it.

One day this week, I was doing studies on the beach while Soeur Beagles was in auto-ecole. I was with two of the other new sisters. And we were sitting there when a boy came up and asked who we were and what we were doing. So I gave him a brief overview of the Restoration and our purpose as missionaries. And then he left and his brother came over. And then pretty soon we had 3 local men standing there talking up a storm with us, asking us what we were doing and why were we so far away from America. I was worried that none of us would understand what they were saying, but Heavenly Father opened up my mind and helped me understand them. It was amazing! None of our experienced, senior companions were there, but Heavenly Father gave us the aid we needed to do His work. I have found that to be so true. The gift of tongues is real. When we are doing His work, He will bless us. We just have to ask and be worthy. I am so grateful to get to experience that everyday as I try to talk to, help, serve and love these people. Heavenly Father doesn't let language get in the way of the Spirit.
( The rest of her letter didn't come through-- so that's all we have for today.  --via her Mom)

Soer Evans