Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Tidbits and Lost Sheep

Greetings and salut!!!!

I got a request to talk about something about the mission in general,
so here goes. I'm all for requests cause I used to think I'd never
forget what it was like to be normal but oh look I have and I love
knowing what people are curious about.

Fact number one. Yes missionaries do forget how to be normal. I can
already see that I will be really weird when I get home. When I have
conversations in English I feel funny and forget how to keep a
conversation going naturally hahah. Ok, not every time, but definitely
still a thing. And pretty much every time it's a conversation that's
not related to the gospel I'm just at a loss. I don't know how to talk
about other things. If I'm not testifying or sharing a scripture or
singing a hymn or talking about Christ every few sentences in a
conversation it feels unnatural. So there you go. Missionary weirdness
and wonderfulness all in one.

People keep wondering where I live. We live in a tiny little house.
Actually I think it's a bigger one for the mission. It's on a little
side road and we have a yard and a portaille (a gate across keep out unwanted visitors). Across the street
they're constructing 10 apartment buildings and so there are always
construction workers overseeing our coming and going and waving etc.
Hahaha yes. We have mice who come out at night and eat our soap. And
ants that find anything and everything with sugar. We've had a couple
cockroaches, but not really which is a BLESSING. And I can't think of
anything else interesting to share. That felt boring just writing it,
so apologies.

Other general facts. Sometimes I feel like a celebrity or something
because everyone knows who we are and what car we drive. We are
constantly getting honked at by someone who knows us hahah but we can
never find out who it is in time. Paita has very few white people, so
just the fact that we are two young white girls out and about all the
time gets us noticed. And then add the fact that we walk around
neighborhoods handing out books and talking about Christ and talking
to everyone who lets us also gets us noticed.

Oh! We can't knock doors. Knocking doors here is rude. And everyone
has a gate across their driveway anyway. So when we do porte a porte,
we just yell "BONJOUUUUUR!!!" or "BONSOIIIRRRR!!!" in a loud but
friendly way and hope someone comes out. Hahaha it's hilarious and
ridiculous and necessary and normal. But when they DO come out, it's
the best ever!

Pondered a lot this week about less active members of the church.
 There are SO MANY. So many people who just need a visit. Who need someone to tell them they're
missed and loved and prayed for. Someone to remind them what the
Gospel really is. How good the Spirit feels. Of the miracle of the
Atonement. There are just so many. I'm realizing how much a difference
a visit can make. And how important visiting teaching and home
teachers are. There are lost sheep all around us, and someone needs to
step up and be the shepherd or at least HELP the Shepherd. We find
more and more every week that we had no idea lived here. I'm just so
grateful the Lord leads us to them.

I love you all. I pray for you all. I think of you all.
Be a light to someone. There can never be enough light.

Soeur Evans

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

God is oh so very GOOD

"Bonjouuuuur les soeurs!!!" A little taste of my new favorite phrase.
My heart melts every time I hear it. "bonjour les soeurs!" "Ca va les
soeurs??" Anything with "les soeurs" in it. Believe it or not, it
still feels unreal that I'm a sister missionary. Hahah there are a few
times when I honestly think for a second that I'm just out with the
Sisters as a member, but then I look down and whaaat do you know that
plaque is on ME and it says MY name and right underneath my name it
say Christ's name. Christ's church. And then I remind myself that yes
this is real and I'm really here and I really do understand French and
I really do know how to teach in French and I really truly am a
representative of Christ. But yes it is still a bit surreal at times.

I am staying in Paita, and so is Soeur Beagles! No transfer for this equipe :)

The Lord's hand is still ever so present in our lives. Just this
morning we had a little miracle. Well, a pretty big miracle. We are
searching for a family to teach. A family that's married and has kids
and is truly a family unit. And we're also searching for new amis,
because you can never have enough amis. We did some porte a porte a
few weeks ago and were really excited by one of the contacts.

Commence miracle: This morning we had our first lesson with her. She
was waiting for us! She remembered the lesson! And she is a delightful
mom and wife in a real family! Then as we taught her and listened to
her experiences, it was like she was already a member. She was
throwing out things like "eternal life" and how Satan is attacking the
family and how when we have faith Satan will attack us with more
force. There were a few points when I almost fell out of my chair
because I just couldn't believe how prepared she was. I really did, I
really almost fell out of my chair. And I almost wanted to run out of
there because she was SO prepared and I didn't want to mess it up. I
wanted to have God give her to another missionary, guarantee that it
would be the perfect lesson for her. But alas, He blessed US to teach
her so teacher her we did. So we taught her the Plan of Salvation. AND
THEN. Halfway through, she called her 11 year old son in and perfectly
retaught him all of the things we'd just explained (even using our
visuals!) because he had been asking about it the other day. Oh my
goodness it was incredible. I walked out of there in shock. God is so
good. Ooooh did I mention that she'd prayed to be able to meet with us
and have her faith cultivated? Cause she did. Dying. Heart bursting.
These people are real.

Fun fact: they have a sandwich here called the American. It's a
baguette with burger meat, mayo, ketchup, bbq sauce and fries on top.
Hahah this is how they represent our country in sandwich form. hahah
but it's pretty good so there you go. Go America.

Also I got my first plate with straight up fish placed in front of me.
And again, I liked it! It was just a fish. Cooked. But completely
intact. We'd just seen them fresh from the ocean the night before and
taken pictures with them, and then we ate them. Growing up :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

So much happy

June 10, 2014

Dinner!!! Felt like the whole thing.

Hello from paradise!

Yesterday was the best day ever. I can't even understand it, but you
know how everyone says that one the mission things are hard but you
live for those incredible radiating glowy moments and those make it
all worth it? Well yeah that's true. Cause yesterday was so GOOD.

This week we had every single one of our amis cancel or reschedule on
us. Except for one family. That means we had 6-9 less lessons that
normal this week. Which means a whole lot of time that is suddenly
free. And you know what? We still ended up having the same number of
lessons this week as we normally do. Because the Lord led us to so
many people!

One night we finished an appt and had 30ish minutes before a dinner
appt. We could easily have gone and followed up with a couple of
contacts we've been trying to schedule appointments with. But I really
felt like we needed to go find someone new. The apartment building of
one of our less actives popped into me head (normally we don't get to
knock doors, we just kind of yell bonjour from the bottom of driveways
a lot and hope they hear us...walking up and knocking their door is
very rude here) But in the apt building we can knock doors! I felt
like we should just knock a few doors on the first floor. We pulled in
and walked up the stairs and opened the door and there sat someone
OUTSIDE their door sitting on the doorstep. I put on my happy happy
face and a big smile and introduced us and tried to radiate the joy of
the gospel onto her. And within 30 seconds she let us in! Baaah!!! And
then we taught her a little lesson and set up a return appt. No way.
How miraculous is that?! We didn't even have to knock the door. We
just had to follow the prompting and as soon as we did that He proved
that He had already prepared the way. Incredible.

Then yesterday we were doing our grocery shopping. We have to drive
the Elders cause they don't have a car, and one of them suggested a
store we'd never been to before. So we figured why not and pulled in.
And then while we were in there one of the employees started talking
to us and gave us the number of someone to call. AND THEN. She
casually goes, "oh and this is my friend, she speaks english too." So
we talk to her friend (who also worked there) and without even saying
a word she goes "yes I just moved her and i'm looking for a church. I
wanted to get baptized, but never got the opportunity before..." I'm
sorry is this real life? MIRACLES. Miracles everywhere.

Other great tidbits:
-ate the equivalent of a cow this weekend alone. so much meat. can't
even. I think I ate 4000 calories in one meal I kid you not. and then
we still had a dinner appt that night 4 hours later. But all of the
people are so cute and sweet and funny and i love them so and we can't
NOT eat their food or cancel on them, so we pray to have enough space
in our stomachs and He does the rest.
-it is now winter here, which means the rainy season. Currently it is
pouring and I love it. When it's 13 degrees celcius I'm freeeeeezing.
-I've been out for over 4 months already! Craziness, I can't even believe it!

Loveth you alleth. Life is good. God is better. Yesterday I was truly
so happy I didn't even know where to channel it all. It is so good.
Missionary work is so good.

Soeur Evans

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Walking on Water

Greetings world!
Sorry for last week's measly email, but this week I'll do better.
My AWESOME news this week is that I finally got to see some ISLAND DANCING!!!!!! It was the 2 year anniversary for our stake here (how unbelievable is that, they have only had a stake in New Caledonia for 2 years?! The church is still so new here) and so of course they celebrated it the way any true island would. With some beautiful island dancing. Each ward performed and represented a different island. So we had Walis and Futuna, Tonga, American Samoa and Tahiti. They do different islands every year. OH MY GRACIOUS. I literally couldn't wipe my grin off my face or stop giggling to myself of utter delight. My whole heart felt like it filled up when it started. I can't believe He sent me HERE. I can't believe that I get to be a part of THIS. The dances were beautiful, then delightful, then happy, then graceful, then crazy super legit and intense (as in men dancing to drums in the most extreme islandy form) and then just.... basically it was the best. I love this culture so much. And their culture is so rich and vibrant and ancient. All I could think all night was how incredible their temple dedication ceremony will be. One day. And I WILL be there.
I ate fois gras this week. AKa duck liver. And I liked it... what is happening to me I eat everything and I like it.
Our new delight is walking with one of our less actives every morning. She needs to walk, on doctor's orders (and she needs the endorphin boost, as does everyone everywhere) and it is so funny to walk with her every morning and wave to the people driving by (including some of our amis hahah their faces...) and hear her stories. She's from la Reunion, by Africa, but has traveled all over with her dad being in the Army. And she's lived in quite a few places. AND she speaks English better than pretty much all of our amis or members so it's a delight to be with her. hahah such a funny way to start the day.
Have felt an outpouring of love and support. Thank you for your prayers and support and counsel and encouragement. It helps more than you could all know. I have felt my Heavenly Father's love for me so personally too. After a few days of feeling a little discouraged, I prayed extra hard for His support and a knowledge that He was there for me personally. And in our LAST appointment of the day, because of a cancellation and a reschedule and all sorts of things that were out of my control, my prayer was so clearly answered. I am learning that sometimes He gives us just a little time to feel things out for ourselves. Like when Christ was walking on water and His apostle started to walk towards Him. And then he fumbled and just barely started falling into the waves. We have those few "seconds" of falling into the waves or feeling a little alone. But then He ALWAYS picks us up again. He DOES answer us. Always. What a powerful experience it was for me.
I love you all. I love every day and every moment I get to learn. Praying for you always,
Soeur Evans