Sunday, August 2, 2015

La Fin

Bonjouuuuur! 

Well. This is it. Today I send home my last email as a missionary. And all my mission I've thought that this would be a great rambling email. 

So what does a returning missionary have to say before we leave the field, leave the ranks and put our plaque down? 

This work is true. 

This Church is the Church of Jesus Christ. I have seen the way mankind runs things and it is imperfect and flawed. But this church is perfect. It is perfectly organized and perfectly ordained to help us to come unto Christ and be perfected in Him. How merciful our Father is to let us be a part of this perfect organization on earth in order to prepare us for the eternities of heaven. I can testify that the Lord is truly at the head of this Church and that He leads it in these latter-days. 

Miracles are real. I see them every week and in every person I have met who has opened their heart to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

If we really want to be happy, we need simply to live His will; to follow our Savior with all our heart, nothing held back. Every single time I've followed the Spirit I have been happy. And not only happy, but blown away by the MIRACLES that we can invite into our lives as soon as we decide to let them come. 

My mission has been almost nothing I expected. To be honest, I think that many of the things I was hoping for my mission back when I was a young naive little pre-missionary haven't really happened. But how grateful I am for that. How grateful I am that His ways are not our ways and that His thoughts are not our thoughts. They are higher, they are mightier, they are sweeter. 

I love you all endlessly. Thank you to each and every one of you for who you are and who you have helped me and encouraged me to become. 

This past week was incredible again. Two of our amis told us they have a testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. Another family I've known for over a year now is finally going to get married and are talking about the temple endlessly. We have another week full of lesson after lesson after lesson ahead of us. The work continues and keeps on skyrocketing over in our happy little corner of the island in a corner of the world. 

I don't know how to summarize an ending to a year and a half of the most blessed times of my life in this email. So voila. 

I wouldn't change a thing. It breaks my heart to leave and then fills it back up to know I will be in the arms of my sweet family in one short week's time. 

I love you all. I love the Lord. I love this work. 
Soeur Evans

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

And I Rejoiced

Bonjouuuuur la famille et mes autres cheris!

Oh my goodness me the amount of things that happened this week is unreal. This email will never be able to contain it all, but I'll do my best to capture a small impression of the joy and happenings of this delightful second-to-last week of mine.

Last week we met President and Sister Granger and their 19 year old daughter as they did their Mission Tour to meet us all.
McKay with Sister Granger and her daughter (photo Courtesy of Sis. Granger's daughter)
They had already met the missionaries in Vanuatua and the Solomon Islands, so we were the last on the list and thrilled that the time had arrived to get to meet our new mission president. And wow they are great. This mission is in very capable hands and how blessed I feel to have met them. 

So we had interviews on Wednesday. My final interview. It was a little different meeting the man who did my final interview for the first time when I walked in the door for the interview, but voila, that's how it worked out.

Then on Thursday we had a Zone Conference and I bore my "final testimony" which is in reality just a continuation of the testimonies I have born for the past year and a half and will continue to bear my entire life.

On Thursday night I had a strangely "normal person" evening. President and Sister Granger took us leaving missionaries and the leaders out to dinner (a total of 14 of us). It was a sweet moment to be with the soeurs that I began it all with and to look around the table and see that none of us are the same person as we were 18 months ago. How blessed I felt to be among a group of such incredible individuals.

Wow ok, this is totally not doing justice to the JOY of all of these moments, but I shall continue.

We got to  TIRE MANIOC with our sweet mami. In other words we got to cut down small trees and dig around in the most fertile dirt of all time to find their roots so that we could tear the roots out of the ground for the mami and us to eat. The dream. And may I just say that she was so delighted when she saw that soeurs don't mind digging in the dirt. Try as I might, these people think we are made of porcelain sometimes :)

Baaaaaaaah and then on Saturday we went to go see our miracle couple. Remember, the couple who skyrockets with progress every SINGLE time we see them? Well. The husband quit smoking! Sweet wonderful blessings! The only thing that is left before their baptism is to find a way to not work on Sundays, but they are full of faith and the Lord is full of miracles so I have no doubt that day will arrive in a very short time. Words cannot even express my love for this family.

AND then that's not even the end of the happy news. Given that I have been extremely isolated my entire mission and always in secteurs that are separated and cut off from other missionaries, I have never had a district activity or really done any Pday activity with missionaries. But now I can say I've done ONE :) I mentioned [the above] to our elders and on Sunday night they called and said they had organized a hike for Monday. Oh my heart was overflowing, I have wanted to explore this country for ages now. Long story short, we hiked through the wilderness up to a turquoise waterfall gorge. The water was cleaner than tap water. I was about as happy as can be sitting up on the rocks next to this waterfall drinking out of my hands and eating unsalted crackers.

So in essence Heavenly Father is making these last few weeks absurdly fun and full of goodness. We continue to be busy and have incredible miracles and progress in all of the amis that we see. People are feeling the Spirit. Their hearts are changing. And with it so are their lives.

This work is TRUE. This mission is a JOY.

As I near the end, Enos 1:26 is feeling quite personal. "And I saw that I must soon go down to my grave, having been wrought upon by the power of God that I must preach and prophesy unto this people, and declare the word according to the truth which is in Christ.  And I have declared it in all my days, and have rejoiced in it above that of the world."

Love you all. Be happy. Go outside. Breathe in God's creation and love God's children. 
Bisoux a vous tous in the words of a true Caledonienne, 
Soeur Evans

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Miracles Abounding

La plage de Toro in Paita,

Bonjour bonjour!

It's all starting to wind down. But the only thing that's really winding down is my time left in this beautiful country, with these incredible people, speaking this charming language and doing the best work on this planet. Other than that, our lessons, meal appointments, talks, and busyness are all increasing. We seriously are so crazy busy it's unreal.

On Wednesday I will meet our new mission president, President Granger, for the first time. We are so very excited to meet him and see what plans he has in store for this work and this mission. And then, 2 minutes after I meet him, I'll be doing my final, end-of-mission interview with him. On Thursday we have our Mission Conference with both zones and oh la laaaa i cannot wait! We haven't had a zone conference since April. Our spirits are hungry. I'll bear my "final" testimony in front of all the missionaries. Hahah we'll see, it might just be crying at a pulpit. No, not really, but wowzers this week is going to be extremely emotional and it's only the beginning.

First things first, we had the most incredible miracle. Well, in fact its a miracle that happened a few months ago, but we just found out about it the other night. We were in the middle of a lesson with our MIRACLE family that we found doing porte-à-porte. It was the couple, two of their sons, a girlfriend, us and Bishop. Powerful. And it was the wildest lesson, because we covered essentially every principe because they just kept asking questions about tithing and eternal families and baptism and the Holy Ghost and the priesthood and oh so many things. And the Spirit was there and the atmosphere was open and safe and loving.

Basically, we were in the middle of a really good lesson. At one point, Bishop testified of miracles, specifically in response to sincere, righteous prayers. We felt prompted to let the Spirit hang in the air after his testimony and me and Sr Giles both stayed silent. No one spoke. Quietly, I asked if anyone had a thought or a question. And the 25-yr old son sat up and said he had something to say "not a question, but an experience really, maybe a testimony if I could say that. I know that miracles really happen..." He then said that he took the lessons at one point with the missionaries, separately from his parents, but then decided that without the support of his parents he wouldn't be able to continue. He stopped seeing the missionaries for a while. Then, one night, he prayed to Heavenly Father and said, "If this is really the path you want me to take, you have to help me. My parents have to be a part of this too. They need to accept this Gospel as well." A week later, we showed up at their house. We began to talk to his father. His father invited us back. At the next lesson, both his parents met with us. Now, 3 months later, his parents think about baptism every single day and are changing thier lives to be worthy to make this covenant with the Lord.

As he shared this story during the lesson, me and Sr Giles were both just sitting there, listening intently to find out when he had a miracle. The last thought in our minds was that we were involved in any way. When he said, "A week later, les sœurs showed up at our house..." my mouth literally fell open. We had no idea. The Lord is the perfect author of our lives. This family has been perfectly prepared. Every time I think about them I am overcome with gratitude that the Lord saw us as worthy enough servants to be the missionaries that found them and are now teaching them. That is a privilege that is greater than this life: it extends eternally. Being a missionary is a blessing greater than I could ever imagine, but being someone's missionary is something even more humbling and incredible and sacred. These people are a part of my eternity.

Last week, we weren't able to see my favorit mami because of her docteur's visits, so this week we were especially excited for our lesson with her. On Wedesday we taught her. And she loved it. She asked us if we could come back on Thursday and Friday too. Of course, we said YES. And thus we got to teach her three days in a row and she could feel the light and the peace of the Gospel returning in her life with more force at each lesson. It's not us who bring that light and peace. It's the truth and the Spirit. But we preach the truth and do our best to live worthy and teach worthy of the Spirit, and the Lord does the rest. It's marvelous.

Remember that Futunian family we sung with. I'll be honest. At first, I thought they would be short-time amis- I didn't think their heart was in it. But as always, it is not our job to judge who is ready or not. And happily, I was wrong. They now read the Book of Mormon together. They are feeling the Spirit and recognizing it. The husband has begun to stop fighting and swearing of his own iniative (aka the Spirit is beginning to touch and change his heart). They are now extremely in progress.

The miracles are real. If there are no miracles in your life, it's not the Lord's fault. He never lacks on His half of the bargain. If there are no miracles, then we need to evaluate our OWN faith and obedience. With our faith (the power) and obedience (the condition), miracles begin to fill our lives.

I love this work with all that I am. It is not just missionary work, it is the work of salvation. And how grateful I am that that work continues on for our entire life, because it is the most rewarding work in this world.

I love you dearly.
Be happy and be faithful.
Sœur Evans


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Exhausted and Energized

Bonjour bonjour!

Well another week has passed and I have officially lost track of all time. I feel like today must be Friday given my exhaustion level, but alas, I'm just actually that tired. Pas grave! I'll sleep on the plane :)

We have officially zero free time now. We leave in the morning, usually don't have time to finish all of our studies and get home between 9:00 and 9:30, then planning until 10:00 most nights. But it is such a sweet tender mercy because I have no time to think about anything other than our amis and this work.

The other day I realized that I had passed my "one-month-to-go" mark and finally forced myself to literally count the days. I don't think my brain realizes how few lessons remain with all of these dear people.

All of our most solid amis cancelled this week. They are currently going through the fiery furnace of trial- their faith is being put to the test. Everyone gets to that point, and we expect it as missionaries. There must needs be an opposition to all things, so whenever we have a run of such incredible, Spirit-filled lessons its more of a question of when and what the trial will be. So we've been praying like crazy for them and hoping they turn to the Lord and let Him help them. They only cancelled to resolve the trials, but I absolutely can't wait to see them all, a week is much too long.

The other night we stopped by a family that I've known since my second day in New Caledonie. They are unreal. It was Sunday night at 8:00 and we hadn't eaten dinner yet, but I randomly thought of this family. So we give them a call and the mom answers and starts firing away the most wild story and tells us to come over and pray with her friends. Hahah so we head over to their house. And for the next hour we had the most interesting experience. We show up and there is a woman and her daughter sitting there with P. P is massaging the mother. There is smoke in the house from burning the little anti-moustique spirals. And then P directs us in singing 5 cantiques in a row at the top of our lungs. Meanwhile, 3 chihuahuas are eating a box under the table. And me and Sr Giles are just standing there next to the table because all of the chairs were full. Oh lalala it was hilarious. I kept laughing, but I love that family so much. They are so full of enthusiasm. Finally at the end we managed to share a spiritual thought before P, the mom, gave a powerful testimony of Joseph Smith and the Retablissment (she's not a member yet) and told her friends she would pick them up for church on Sunday. And honestly that is a pretty average experience in my day to day life.


We also got to go up to BOURAIL!!!!! Oh sweet blessings! We had a zone meeting yesterday, so we left at 7:30 and didn't get home until 6:00 with all the driving time. But it was the most wonderful feeling to be back in Bourail,even just for a few hours. As soon as I saw the first sign of a neighborhood I knew my heart swelled up inside of me. My love for that place runs so deep. I feel like that was the moment of my mission that really changed me.

Well sweet Sr Gunn had told people I'd be in Bourail for the Conference which meant I got to see some people.
I also got to see one of our old amis from Bourail. Remember the amie that broke up with us? She has started taking the lessons again. And she came to see me. What a beautiful moment to get to see her and see that light of the Gospel in her eyes once again. She is still one of the kindest women I've ever met and I am so very grateful she let the Gospel brighten her life once more.

Other than that we've had loads of other wild experiences. My charity is being put to the test. I am learning about patience and forgiveness and kindness. You learn so much when you visit so many people with so many stories and history.

I love you all!
Go find someone at church (or anywhere) and BE THEIR FRIEND. We need for Christlike love in this world and a whole lot less "exclusive" friendship.

Have a happy week!
Soeur Evans

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Bittersweet

Bonjour!

Happy Fourth of July! For being on the other side of the world, we didn't do half bad celebrating- one of my favorite families made us burgers (with homemade from the french bakery burger buns), and then we taught a family with loads of little girls how to make cookies. Hahaha when they were done cooking and we finished our spiritual thought we all tasted them, immediately they all go, "Mmmmmm c'est bon! .....mais SUCRE!" (So good....but SWEET). Yikes our country uses a lot more sugar than in New Cal, I felt like my tastebuds were burning off. 

I still can't fully decide why, but this past week has been strangely spiritually exhausting. One night we both got home and after planning we were just laying there and I felt so very very drained. But as always, the joy and the peace come back when we're working our hardest and thinking about everyone but ourselves. So I've been focusing on that and praying for that spiritual strength I know and love to come back. 

Paita continues to do splendidly! But of course there are the disappointments spattered in between as well. As our wise senior missionaries said to us today, "How's the work?" "Good, it's really good :)" "Ah, that's why there's opposition. Satan will always work his hardest when the work is going well." Well he continues to fight us, but we're praying as hard as we can for our amis to come out conquerors. 

We have a lot of people working to quit smoking right now. And coffee. And have I ever mentioned that almost everyone here smokes. Pretty much members are the only ones who don't smoke. And coffee is a part of the daily diet starting in elementary school. So it's no easy task. But I have no doubt at all that it's possible and that these people can quit. Oh I love them so! Sometimes it kills me to not be able to do more to help them, but  repentance and preparation for baptism is a personal process is so many ways. We can't force them to turn to the Lord and receive His divine help- that must come from their own hearts. In the meantime we testify of the Atonement and the Lord's divine power as often as possible :)

The other day we had a training on faith and accessing the powers of heaven. It was incredible. It changed my entire perception of my mission and my life and what I allow the Lord to do by MY faith. Or what I limit by my lack of faith. I have a long long ways to go. How grateful I am for the Atonement that allows us to change and improve and become BETTER.

Of course, despite a week of some spiritual exhaustion, there were other beautiful miracles as well. One of our amis up and quit smoking and coffee! The mother of our miracle family! What a pillar of faith she is for her family. 

The Futunian singing family asked us to come back the next day. It is a dreammmmm when amis schedule us for the same week, so when they schedule us for the next day oh la lalaaaaaa. Another  mami interpreted the 10 commandments for us and was quoting doctrine and making connections like you wouldn't believe. This is the woman who a year ago didn't understand hardly any of the lessons. Ohhhh the Gospel changes us and enlightens us! 

I love you all endlessly. Time is so bittersweet now. This mission is the best thing. So grateful Heavenly Father knew I needed this :)

Loove forever, 

Soeur Evans

 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Lord is My LIght....

Bonjouuuur mes cheris!

Hello my dear sweet ones!

My heart and my head are about bursting with happiness. I just got a load of the most joyful picture-perfect pictures from my

family and oh la la they are just the cutest and most wonderful. 


On top of that we had the most superb week.

Every night I go to bed and just about burst to pieces with gratitude for the amazing day that just finished. My mission has been nothing I expected and everything I needed. And it is incredible to live these past few months because I feel like Heavenly Father opened up a GIGANTIC reserve of blessings and is just gushing them onto me, saying, "Wait! I still have all these blessings for you before you go, here you go!"

Basically, I am really happy.

Remember that couple we miraculously found doing porte-a-porte in a part of a secteur we're never in. Well we basically finish a lesson, can't stop talking about them for 3 days and then see them again and then can't stop talking about them for another 3 days and then it continues like that. They are everything a missionary to dream to meet and experience. We go to lessons expecting the best and come out having just experienced even better. I literally am shaking during every lesson with them cause the Spirit is so strong. My teeth practically start shattering. It may sound absurd, but the Spirit just fills my heart so full that it about bursts out.

I'll just list a few of the incredible things they have said, but it still won't do justice;
- "So what did you think of the verses we left last time?" "Oh, I haven't read them yet. I'm starting at the beginning and then I'll read all the way up to them..." "Ah, bon?? Haha ok!"
- "Did you notice a difference this week as you read the Book of Mormon every day?" "Well, yes. Of course. How could you not. (holding the BoM) Saying I don't want to read this book would be like saying, 'No thanks, I don't want an incredible peace in my life. No thanks, I don't want my family to be more unified. No thanks, I don't want to be happy.' Of course it's true. That's not a question..."
- "...The day I make that promise with God there is no backing out. I will not turn back. " (doesn't translate as well as in french)

They are just the most incredible family of all time. What a privilege to be 'their" missionaries.

And that is just a couple of so very many incredible people that we are teaching right now. Our amis are progressing. They are keeping COMMITMENTS! Sweet praises I have waited a long time to teach people like this. I have been praying for these people my whole mission. And it has been worth every single second. I would change nothing on my mission. Every experience has taught me and strengthened me and helped me to meet myself and meet the Lord on a deeper level. But these last few months are so sweet. Sweet is truly the best word I can choose, they are sweet.

We also tried to do our coutume to the tribal chief of the area. But he wasn't home when we went. Neither were his tribal counselors. So we have to go back another time. Sometimes contacting coordonees gets a little complicated :)

On Pday we went to the beach. This country is so incredibly beautiful. It never ceases to overwhelm me with gratitude. I have much more hints as to why Heavenly Father sent me out onto this island, but sometimes I still don't know how I deserved this all.

Our members are getting very involved in the work with us. FInally discovering the secret to getting members to work with you. Show them you care about the work more than you care about them. It sounds kind of odd maybe, but that's what made the difference here. We chose the work over everything else and now our members are catching the spirit too. It is UNBELIEVABLE the difference that members make. Secret to all of you members out there: We NEED YOU. And we need your HELP more than your FOOD. Also, we LOVE you so much.

Well, I hope that could sum up a little bit of the incredible joy of this week and of this work.

The Lord is my light. And oh how He's brightened my life.

I love you all endlessly, 
Soeur Evans


District Missionaries

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Oh Paita

Bonjour bonjour!!!
Well today was a mostly sending pictures day, so not much time to write.
This week we don't really know what happened, but somehow had way less lessons than usual. But sometimes that happens. The work goes on and I have no doubt it will pick right back up again this week.
We had an activite fete des peres this Saturday (Fathers day Activity) and we had FOUR amis come!!! Two of our wonderful wonderful couples! And bless our sweet members they even made friends! It is something else to sit back and watch as amis get welcomed into the ward family. It was a night of some weird awkwardness and also some good laughs. All good things.
We also fixed a date de bapteme with one of our amies! Oh sweet blessings it is so exciting. This ami, C, is someone I've taught since my first week on my mission and I love her so much. She is working so hard to prepare herself for baptism. She has struggled and struggled to quit smoking and hasn't yet been able to. But we had a powerful lesson with her and I can just feel a miracle about to happen. I just about burst open at lessons with her because of the incredible progress she makes and how much I love her. She came to the baptism of a 9 year old convert on Friday (the elders recent converts' father baptized their son) and the Spirit was so strong.
When we fix baptismal dates it is 100% based on the Spirit. We pray and then we "feel it out" in our minds and in our hearts. We cycle through a bunch of dates and months in our heads until one of them seems to "stick". It sounds abstract and unreliable, but when you are really in tune with the Spirit, we can pick dates with a certaintly that otherwise wouldn't be possible. Well given that I leave so soon and that I love this amie so much, I was feeling a little too biased to really pick the date. So I mostly left the decision up to Soeur Giles. We had picked August 22, but then we prayed a final time to make sure and at the end of the prayer she goes, "Ok. I'm not just saying this to make you happy or because I like you. I really think it's supposed to be August 8" "Nooooooo! No way, I am too biased, are you sure?" Well, we prayed about it and felt pretty good, but to me it still felt too good to be true, given that I fly out of this place on August 10th normally. But during the lesson I felt with such strength that we needed to invite her to be baptized onAugust 8th and oh lalal you cannot even imagine the joy in my heart.
Paita continues to become dearer and dearer to me. These people that I thought I already loved are becoming such true friends. I feel so at ease with them and want to do everything I can to bless their lives. It is such a blessing to be here.
I forgot to mention last week...I will be FINISHING MY MISSION IN PAITA!!! Hahahahahah it is unreal. I started my mission in this secteur, and now I'll be ending it here. That will make one year total in this place. But it is such a privilege to get to know these amis and members on a such a deep level and over sucha long period of time.
Time to go. Love you all! Have a delightful week. 
Tell someone you love them. Smile til your cheeks hurt. Be excited when you see someone.
Much love!
Soeur Evans
Everyday sunset with New Caledonian Pines


Typical little house

A little Jurassic Park Action in New Caledonia-- yes it's a grasshopper

Souer Giles and Soeur Evans at abandoned ship

Soeur Giles and Soeur Evans on the abandoned ship

Sister Missionaries at the Beach-- winter style

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

I am happy

Bonjouuuur bonjour bonjour. 

Well all the weeks are blurring together because they are all full of miracles and the Spirit and the most wonderful experiences week after sweet week. 

May I just say again that missions are the greatest gift? Just as in everything He does, Heavenly Father asks for a little sacrifice just so He can drench us in blessings. I'm convinced that missions are 18 months, or 24 months, of the most abundant, profound blessings we young, anxious 19 year old children have ever experienced. And by the end of them we learn to be adults. Adults who LOVE the Lord, who hunger for the Spirit, who seek after words of wisdom and who yearn to serve. 

If I seem to repeat myself between emails, I just can't help myself. I don't want anyone to doubt the goodness of God or the blessing of serving a mission. 

As I said, we had another delightful week. We keep losing our study hours or planning hours because we schedule people back to back and still have some people who don't fit in. It is the most wonderful thing. 

Of course, that being said, there are still cancellations and no-shows and all of those real life oppositions, but the Lord is blessing us in a different way here than I've experienced up to this point. He is blessing us with lots of WORK. 

Happy little miracle. Because we can't do Reunion de District with only 2 soeurs and 2 elders, I haven't had a district meeting in months (given that's the situation in Bourail and Paita both). We were missing that chance to have trainings and correlation and some spiritual nourishment. Today we gave ourselves our own little miniature formation (training) during our etude en equipe and at the end I was literally bounding with joy walking out the door because I was feeling so edified and motivated to do better. Haha the Spirit works wonders. Well about an hour later we got a call from our district leader that we'd get to do a district meeting this week. Oh sweet heavenly response to prayers! 

Meanwhile every time we look at our board in our house with the names of our amis written on it I am overcome with gratitude. We have been so blessed to be led to incredible people. Prepared people. 

Lately we've been having to cancel meal appointments with members to be able to teach our amis at night after they come home from work. At first they were a little disappointed, but it has done wonders for our work. Not only do we fit in more lessons, but our members trust us. They know we're working. They know we love the work. They know the work is more important to us than meal appointments or member soirees. And now they are giving us coordonees. Oh la la member coordonees (referrals) are golden! They are so prepared and us missionaries couldn't ask for anything more wonderful!

Today we taught an ami about la dime (tithing). She lives in a tiny cabane made of tin. She grows half of what she eats. She is 72 and cares for her 33 year old son with down syndrome who can't speak. At the beginning of the lesson her immediate reaction to tithing was that she coudn't pay it because it was already hard enough to nourish her own family. But by the end she was the one testifying to the blessings of GIVING. I love this little woman down in the deepest part of my heart. Last week I was bawling as I testified to her of temples and the celestial kingdom. Heavenly Father has quadrupled my heart out here. 

We went to a lesson last week and as soon as we showed up I felt uneasy. I was trying to eye Soeur Giles and our member to see how they were feeling, but I couldn't tell. Well, we sat down for the lesson, and I'm thinking to myself, "ok, I think we need to go. But this is gonna be killer awkward to tell him, 'Hello, how are you? Thanks so much for having us, we actually have to go now cause I feel a little uneasy and I think its the Spirit...' " There I am trying to think of a good way to go about this when he begins to tell us that he was thinking about cancelling with us tonight. I quickly said we'd be happy to come back another time instead. As we walked out and drove our member home I found out that all three of us had been feeling the same uneasiness. When the Lord gives us promptings, He also gives us the means to follow them.

One of our members asked us to visit her sister who lives in a tribu. Yep, Paita has tribus too! One of the few cities down south with tribes. Of course, to go into the tribus, we have to do the coutume. That means we have to be presented to the grand chef, the big chief, and offer him a "gift" of money and fabric while explaining who we are. It is a very deep part of the Melanesian culture here. Well we showed up with our member to go meet the chef and he wasnt' home. Hahah awesome. Now our member is in Tahiti for a few months, so we're going to go with another Melanesian couple in the stake. Praying that we don't offend the chief of all the tribus in Paita haha I laugh but it's real. So grateful I've already done coutume up in Bourail so it's less intimidating, but wow traditions are deep here. 

Fun tidbit: Tribes are the most beautiful places on this island. The people who live in tribes are the Melanesians whose ancestors were the only ones living in New Caledonia a hundred years ago or so. They know and respect this country in such an intimate, sacred way. And this country loves them back. As soon as you walk into a tribe it is full of lush green and overflowing gobs of tropical flowers. Fields of banana trees are heavy with fruit and other fields are bursting with fruits and vegetables. They don't just have a "green thumb", 

Other than that we had lesson upon lesson of the Spirit accompanying us. 

I am happy.

Love you all!
Soeur Evans

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Bold and Busy

Bonjouuuur!!

Hello my sweets!

This week will be short, but I'll do my best.

The giant tender mercy was getting to hear from Elder Kevin Pearson of the Seventy. He came to our Stake Conference this weekend and gave two WONDERFUL discourses to the entire stake. And then he asked to do an special missionary training as well on Sunday evening. Oh la la it was incredible. Highlights:
- Teaching us to be agents, not objects. Objects are acted upon, but agents ACT. It is up to us to have a spiritual experience at church, to feel the Spirit, to strengthen ourselves. It is up to us to act and do and not just wait on the person at the pulpit to inspire us and motivate us to get off our chair and ACT. Loved that. Spot on. 
- He told us to raise our expectations.
- We have to push ourselves over the frontier of faith. It is after that borderline that we will see miracles. And of course to get there, we have to improve our attitude and be diligent. Hard work hard work hard work and also genuine happiness. 

So so many other wonderful things. He is Bold with a capital b. But behind it all was a pure love. When you truly love others you will tell them the truth to help them become better. Maybe it will make them squirm a little, but when it is coming for someone how loves them, they will reflect and then, they might actually GET BETTER. I definitely appreciated his comments and was wishing I'd heard them approximately 16 months ago so I could apply them for more of my mission. But I'll just make the most of these last 2 months :)

Our weeks continue to be full to the brim. We run from lesson to lesson and still don't fit some people in. It kills me when someone calls and has to reschedule because it usually means it will be another week until we see them. The worst, but I guess it's also the best? I've never been so busy in all my mission.

After a much too long 2 weeks (for the above reason), we saw my favorite miracle couple again. The wife said she missed us and it was way too long to wait to see us again. She has miracles experiences every time we come that have happened during the week. It is amazing the progress they are making. We scheduled our following lesson for four days later :) Much sooner. 

Another couple we teach is usually a little more hesitant. They are Protestant and like meeting with us but are less interested in doing anything with what we teach. Well we love teaching them and they have so much potential, so we always go hoping to touch their hearts. One day something will click and they will just latch onto it all, I just know it. During our lesson this week we read Alma 32 with them and, quite boldly thanks to Elder Pearson's counsel, invited them to nourish the word we've been giving them if they want to see the fruit. Aka, read the Book of Mormon. After reading the chapter together, the Spirit was so strong and their eyes seemed to be all lit up. The clarity of this sacred book had touched them and (hopefully) ignited a new desire to discover it for themselves. We felt prompted to ask them if they'd noticed a difference in their life since we started coming. Had they had a "gonflement de coeur"? A swelling of their heart? The wife was nodding like a crazy person before the question was even over. She has become more patient, more faithful, more loving. And then she said one of my favorite phrases. "When you don't come, it's like I'm hungry. I get hungry for your visits. They make me feel so good". The Spirit and the word can truly change our hearts.

I'm out of time, but I love you all. The Lord work miracles! Plan for a busy busy day and He makes it happen. Fill your agendas with all the details to do good and He realizes them! 

My heart is full.

Love for always and forever,
Soeur Evans

Monday, June 1, 2015

Where My Treasure Lies

Bonjour bonjour!!

Hope you are all happy and well!

This week was full of lots of things, but I've forgotten most of them due to last Friday night.

This week celebrated the 3-year anniversary of the Stake in New Caledonia! The church here is still so young and tender, but continues to grow and strengthen. They had another wonderful celebration with all the members. Every ward presented a different country and put on a dance. And when the islanders dance, they DANCE. Oh it was delightful. My favorites, of course, were the Iles Loyaute (our own small islands) dances and the India dance. (Shout out to Hay you would have just died it was the same dance as in Bride and Prejudice).

So we had that wonderful evening and came home at 9:00.

And long story short, we were robbed.

Someone broke in through a window and stole some of our things. Hahah they were probably sorely disappointed because we have so few things of value. Temporal value that is. But they still got away with some of our things. Well, we called the gendarmes (police), and got our house all fingerprinted and got to try to explain the situation to these gendarmes in french the whole situation. And turns out I've learned a lot of new words in French. We filed a complaint at the gendarmerie (police station), talked to insurance and are now house hunting. Heavenly Father is teaching me all sorts of life skills.

Don't worry, we're totally fine. We were a little shaken up for a couple nights, but now it just feels like a funny joke that we keep telling people. Never expected that experience on my mission haha.

All in all, I learned some wonderful lessons about my priorities and where my treasure lies. The few things I had of temporal value were taken from me. And while for a few hours that was annoying and a little frustrating, now I hardly care any more. My true treasure is spiritual: my testimony, my faith, the sacred, spiritual experiences I have lived and continue to live. These things can never be taken from me, they can't be snatched or robbed or burglarized. I can protect those eternally in my heart and keep them sacred and strong and lasting.

I now hide the few things of temporal value that I have. But I also find myself keeping my scriptures constantly beside me. They are an infinite treasure. Sometimes I have to remind myself that to a robber they are just a book and that I can set them down sometimes and leave them on my desk, because to me they are full of precious truths and personal answers and words of eternal worth that everyone would want.

How grateful I am to be filling my life with GIVING. Each day I get to give and give and give. And the things I give and share cannot be stolen.

Soeur Giles and I have been incredibly blessed to have the Spirit FILL our lessons. It's incredible to look back on the week and remember powerful lesson after powerful lesson. As we sit together across from these dear amis I can almost feel the Spirit overflowing the room. As I bear testimony my heart just about explodes with warmth and peace. These truths are TRUE. They are precious.

I truly cherish these feelings and confirmations of the Spirit more than almost anything else. Lessons have become a recharge for my batteries because we walk out and can still the feel the Spirit lingering in their home and within our hearts.

I often feel quite overcome with emotion. But not in the way I used to be. Before my emotion was much more exterieur, but now it seems to fill me on the inside. Don't be fooled, I'm still a blank canvas of emotion when it comes to excitement and all that, but the sweet peaceful whisperings of the Spirit don't leak out of my tearducts as often.

Well, I love you all tremendously. I think of you often and rejoice in your happiness.

What do you truly value in your life? Is your treasure more spiritual or temporal? I'll certainly be asking myself those questions a lot more in my life :)

much loooove,
soeur evans

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Putting Eternal Life Before Life

Bonjour bonjour bonjour!!!

Another blessed week. Today I'm just gonna list all the wonderful moments out, cause they are plentiful!

We got a call from our bishop the other week inviting us to come meet a man over a casual dinner at his home. Well, a missionary doesn't say no to that! That's the dream-meeting someone a member found in the member's home. The man had so many questions. He was rattling off his life stories and trials for the whole evening and woven into all of it were so many deep questions. I realized (again) that although these questions are our day-to-day material...people are constantly asking us "why.... and why...."...they are eating away inside of these people. How grateful I am to get to respond to these questions with such surety and hope and calmness. It was really interesting to "feel" the room as he spoke. It felt stressed and high-energy and doubtful and chaotic. Then as we spoke and taught and explained and testified a stillness and peace and quiet settled in the room and upon this man. The Spirit is so powerful.

We taught my favorite mami again! The sweet old woman I've taught since the beginning of my mission. She has such a special place in my heart. Ohhh I love her so! In the past, she didn't understand anything we taught. Today she was teaching us about prophets, explaining the scriptures, warning us again false "seers" and testifying of the truthfulness of the Godhead and building upon Christ. No greater reward, no greater reward than helping people to UNDERSTAND.

On Saturday a couple that the elders in our ward have been teaching got baptized. They are Futunian and have faced a lot of opposition from their family due to their deeeeeeeep Catholic roots and traditions. But they continued on and took that step of faith. Oh my goodness, the Spirit was so strong. The wife kissed her father's cheek right before walking into the font and oh la la talk about getting choked up. He is one of the few people supporting her choice. 

One night we had 20 minutes to spare, so we did some porte-a-porte. At the second house we yelled at we were invited in. Turns out they LOVE the missionaries, LOVE the family, LOVE the Lord and used to take the lessons. We have a lesson and dinner appt with them tonight. Blessings upon blessings. And did I mention that it's a family??

Taught our other favorite couple. The miraculous ones we found doing porte-a-porte one day. In the middle of the lesson their 25 year old son came and asked to join us. YES. So grateful for people who have the courage to follow the Spirit. He is now taking the lessons with his parents.


Some other general things:
-I never tire of the look of complete and riveted attention that comes from people being nourished spiritually. It's like we're handing a bathtub full of icy cold water to someone who just walked across the desert. Their feet are a little burned, exhausted and they're dirty. But their relief has arrived. Their thirst is quenched. Oh it is the most incredible thing.

-When people here experience that spiritual nourishment they always want to express thanks in some way. So we have many days when we have to quickly drive home to stick a bag of frozen fish in our freezer (that is, if no one was home we tried to gift it to :) )before continuing the days work.

-We are now so busy that if people miss their appointment we usually can't see them until the next week. Wild!! It's great cause we're busy, but the worst cause I loooove these people and a week is way too long.


Well I love you all to bits and pieces. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is true. It is restored on the earth. It is the key, the center, the secret to all happiness.

There are no words for my gratitude to be a member of this Church. To be a missionary for the Lord.

Do whatever you need to do to follow the Lord. There is nothing more important. Absolutely nothing. Please don't let life get in the way of eternal life.

Love you all forever! Especially my sweet family!
Soeur Evans

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Let the Holy SPirit Guide

Bonjouuuurrrrrrrr!

Baaaah this week I feel like I'm exploding with stories to tell and experiences to share. Here goes. 

First of all, a great big HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY! Joyeuse Fete des Meres maman :) It was so wonderful to see and hear my sweet family! Grateful for a family that loves me through my awkwardness. That transition to normal person life is going to be something else. 

Ok. Before anything else, I have to tell the most incredible story. This happened earlier today and I still can't believe this is my life. First of all, some background. Way back when I first got to Paita (at the beginning of my mission), we were teaching a man, we'll call him O. Well O was really in progres and he fixed a baptismal date and was AWESOME. Then we left Paita. He did not get baptised. Now I'm back in Paita. And for a month we have been trying and trying to contact him. We've called and stopped by his house, but every time we go he's not there, or just barely left. Bah. 

So it's been about a week since we last tried. I started feeling like he was just ignoring us. Then last night I had a dream about O. Then today at around noon, we had some free time before a lesson. O's name popped into my head, but I thought to myself, "Huh.....noooo. It's the middle of the day, he's at work. Why would I think of him now?" And 10 seconds later Soeur Giles goes, "this is gonna sound really weird, cause it's the middle of the day.....but I feel like we need to go see someone?" "Ah, oui? Who?" "O...." "No way!!! I was just thinking that but then I was like noooo that's silly" 
So off we go, to O's house. We're both super confused, cause seriously at noon here, everyone is at work or sleeping or something. It was the least likely time to see him according to logics. We pull up to his house and its deserted. No one home, no cars. Huh. So we park our car and say a prayer explaining that we had heeded the prompting and asking to be led to whoever we were supposed to meet at that moment. I open my eyes and get out of the car and the next second, O's TRUCK COMES PULLING AROUND THE CORNER. NO. WAY. He pulls up beside me and stops his truck and looks down all confused, "Evans?? How are you back here? I haven't see you in forever" "Uhhhhh I'm back in Paita!!! We came to see you!" 
I was dumbstruck. Me and Soeur Giles were standing there in the middle of the road as he parked his giant construction truck on this tiny road, and we couldn't stop giggling. "Did that just happen? Is this happening? THE SPIRIT IS THE BEST THING OF ALL TIME." Hahahaha we were just freaking out cause it was so unreal. Turns out he had come back for a quick lunch break in the middle of his workday. It was a moment of being completely guided by the hand of the Lord. He made our paths cross. But if we hadn't followed the Spirit, we would have continued on in our normal day and missed out on one of the most incredible experiences of my mission. 

I hope I did that experience justice. I felt like I was living a General Conference talk. We had a prompting. It felt silly. It felt a little ridiculous actually. We followed it anyway. When we arrived and saw no one, we didn't keep driving. We prayed and parked. And then, how marvelously we were REWARDED. Oh the Spirit is so real. He is the best guide our Savior could ever have given us. We just have to heed him. 

Other highlights of this marvelous week:
-Our day after Skype was one of our best days yet. We had lesson after lesson and the Spirit was so strong. Blessings. 
-Had an incredible incredible lesson with a new ami we met. The Spirit was poured upon us and as we testifed she started bawling, she was so overcome with emotion. The Spirit truly fills our mouths with the words that others need to hear, and fills their hearts with peace and comfort.
-Had a lesson with one of our couples. They often tell us they are simply "open to listening", but not really searching for a change. Well we taught the Plan of Salvation and at the end of the lesson asked when we could come back. Hahahah and the husband goes, "Well, are you free Thursday?" It was Monday night. As people learn gospel truths their hearts are touched and they yearn to learn more. 


Ok, well that's all for today. I love you all! Bisoux a vous tous!

Seek the Spirit. And when you find it, follow it. 
Soeur Evans


Monday, May 18, 2015

Melodies of heaven

Bonjour et Salut!!

Oh la la la la je ne sais pas ou commencer. I don't even know where to start. I keep thinking that I'll reach a plateau of blessings, but I have yet to experience that. Somehow I got on the uphill track that continues to bring blessing upon abundant blessing. And I have no desire to change tracks :)

Well, as per usual, I shall begin with the highlights.

This week, we had a night of no rendezvous. Nobody scheduled. So during the day we went out and tried to do some follow up and get some things scheduled. And it worked. We showed up that night to the home of a couple who previously took the lessons. They are Futunians (all Walisians and Futunians are Catholic. And they have been for generations upon generations). But of course, they were very kind and welcomed us into their home.

We walk in and think that they have company over, so we offer to come back another time when they are less busy. They tell us that there's always that many people and that it's not a problem at all if we stay. So we sit down on a woven mat in their main room, just us and the couple and their daughter. Before the prayer, the wife invites the other people who were there to join us. Suddenly we're sitting there with EIGHT FUTUNIANS facing us in silence waiting for us to begin. Um. That is approximately eight times more people than we ever teach at a time haha.

As always, we began with a prayer. And after the prayer came the message. You may think that it is automatically easy for us, as missionaries, to teach the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to anyone. But fun fact, it is a little nervewracking and sometimes slightly awkward to be an invited guest in the home of 8 strong Catholics and to share this bold and unique message of truth. Nevertheless, share it we did. We are called to be BOLD and to serve and LOVE our brothers and sisters. Although talking about 'faith' or 'the life of Christ' would have been easy, nothing proves our love like sharing the message that God loves us and is constant and unchanging.

Oh my, the Spirit was so strong. Words and promises and testimonies were coming out of my mouth on their own. During that lesson we were definitely not the ones teaching. We were simply instruments in the Lord's wise hands to bring this message to eight of God's beloved children. The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true.

But the best is yet to come! After the closing prayer, the wife turned to me and goes, "Do you not like to sing?" "Why, yes, I do in fact like to sing" And then, oh words cannot even describe. Then, sitting together on the floor, we sang "Instant de Paix, Moment Si Doux"  (Secret Prayer in English). When the chorus came, Soeur Giles and I were belting the words to the melody and all eight of them in their sweet deep voices were harmonizing. The floor was shaking. Hahah I was shaking. And I just wanted to cry I was so happy. It was the most beautiful beautiful music.

So that was by far my favorite moment of the week.

Other delights and real life moments:
-Sr Giles and I take turns being sick. One day on, one day off. It's dandy. But it's not enough to keep us off the streets and out of houses. We continue, hilariously weak and uncomfortable at times, but we continue.
-We showed up to one of our dinner appointments to find half the ward there. Normal. Then we helped a soeur do her english homework. Also normal.
-It is beginning to be coooold here. I wore a scarf and a sweater the other day. I think it may be in the seventies. Maybe sixties. I've turned into a hot-weather-lover.
-Our amis keep on progressing! People are receiving testimonies, keeping the Word of WIsdom, praying, and ohhhh all sorts of lovely things!
-We currently have more amis than I've ever had on my mission. So many miracles.

Well, I love you all. This work is TRUE. It's true because it continues. And it continues on in light and joy. I've never been so happy and blessed and sure.

Sing a song to someone. Bear your testimony. Tell someone about the Book of Mormon. The Lord can work miracles with us, of that I am sure!

Love forever,
Soeur Evans

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Fwd: bonjour


Voila I finally got a picture from the conference with Elder Haleck. That's all of the missionaries on New Caledonia :)






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Draining and Edifying

Bonjour tout le monde,

Well I keep having to switch email days cause of the mediatheques that close constantly, which means today I have loads upon loads of time because I've beat everyone else to email :)

Which means I shall do my very best to summarize this week nicely. 

Hahah lets see, cette semaine we had lots of cancellations. That usually makes for a lot of unexpected free time to followup on past contacts and contact some new people. So we've been really great at following up with people, to the point that we were feeling a little like helicopter missionaries and decided we needed to go expand our contact pool. 

We had one lesson this week with a young family. Earlier in the week we had spoken with the husband and he was nice as can be and clearly had a strong faith in Jesus Christ. We showed up for our rendezvous on Saturday really excited to share the message of the Retablissement with them and have a Spirit-filled lesson. So we showed up and surprise surprise, it was nothing what we expected. For about an hour we sat there as they critiqued the Church and misinterpreted doctrine and sacred beliefs and told us we were wrong and misguided and didn't believe in Jesus Christ. Oh my heart hurts thinking about it. I think that's the hardest for me- when people think we don't believe in Jesus Christ, despite His name being written just below mine on the badge I wear over my heart. Turns out they had studied theology and had taken a class about the Church and our beliefs. What a testimony to me of how ineffective it is to learn true doctrine and teachings if the Spirit is not present. Though they learned sacred truths, they interpreted it to mean something entirely different, to the point that they thought we worshipped man and wrote our own books to replace the Bible. Nothing too uncommon as far as misconceptions go, but no less painful to hear. Sr Giles and I did our best to simply listen to them tell us what we believe, be receptive and try to testify of real truths and beliefs in a nonargumentative way. We're not here to prove anything. I'm not here to prove l'Eglise de Jesus-Christ des Saints des Dernier Jours is true, I'm here to testify and invite others to receive their own witness of the Saint-Esprit.

After that lesson we had a day full of porte-a-porte cause everyone else cancelled or no-showed. It was a day of feeling extremely spiritually and emotionally drained. Knocking on door after door, testifying endlessly, maintaining a happy, joyful spirit despite your heart still feeling a little over-squeezed. 

But Heavenly Father is a Father of endless love and mercy. By the time evening came around I was really seeking a Spirit-filled lesson full of simple gospel truths. Well after a final no-show, we went to an inactive soeur as a backup. She was home alone with her son and invited us in. In the past we had always done reallyyyy basic lessons with her family (not really sure why, it was just always like that). Well this time the Spirit in the room was entirely different. There was a stillness and peace. Me and Sr Giles were both drained almost dry and had more of a peaceful, calm Spirit than our usual, more energetic, enthousiastic one. As we began the lesson, Sr Giles asked some wonderful questions and the Spirit was there with us. We read from Alma 32 together and had a beautiful, simple lesson on faith and nurturing our faith to keep it growing and strong. Her heart was touched and so was mine. How grateful I am for this Gospel of simple truths. Simple, edifying truths. And for a Father in Heaven who knows our every need. 

On the other end of the spectrum we had the most WONDERFUL lesson with one of our amis. She's the mami that I used to teach. When we started teaching her (back at the beinning of my mission), she pretty much understood nothing. So we began to teach more simply and in smaller chunks. She began to understand. Then she started to retain doctrine from lesson to lesson. Well this Thursday we went and taught her. And we went over the Plan du Salut. And oh my sweet miracle, she UNDERSTANDS. She really, truly, deeply understands. We were asking deep questions and she was giving responses of true doctrine and principles. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing that change take place. Before she had never even touched a Bible, and now she is teaching US the Plan du Salut. The Lord truly works miracles. What a blessing to watch them unfold. 

At one conference with President Brewer, he talked about how if we could go back to our missions after 40 years and see the changes and miracles that have taken place, we would have to be rolled out on a gurney. Hahah that we would be shocked dead by the progress of the work. Well I believe him. Just in the difference between now and 6 months ago in Paita, I am constantly struck dumb. I'll be sitting in lessons with people I've known for over a year and they'll start to testify and I just sit there speechless and dumbstruck by the Lord's goodness and power to change us. 

Wow I really have a lot of time. Hahaha apologies if I'm rambling, but I'll continue. 

SUNDAY. Sunday was the BEST. Not because of a wild miracle story of 20 amis coming or anything, but because meeting after meeting I could feel my battery recharging and my spirit finding strength. We had fast and testimony meeting filled with beautiful testimonies. Our Sunday School was all about free agency and our capacity to choose good along with the incredible blessings that come as a result of our good use of our agency. Edified. I was edified and uplifted. 

Fun Facts:
-I have now been out on my mission for 15 months. Yikes. Ca passe vite, eh? 
-Sometimes me and Sr Giles try to speak really good english to each other and then find ourselves mistranslating things from french to english. It is hilarious and alarming. 
-Yesterday before church a less active dropped off 8 pastries and 2 baguettes at our house. Sums up Paita pretty well. 
-I GET TO GO TO BOURAIL TOMORROW. We have a zone meeting up north sweet praises!
-About 5 years ago New Caledonia had a maximum of 3-4 missionaries out at a time (from NC). Now there are over 20 youth from NC serving around the world. 


D'accord, I think that's a pretty real summary of the week. This work continues to be the most rewarding and challenging thing in my life. The Lord is full of surprises, but often I think they are surprises just because I underestimate His power and wisdom. May we all increase our faith in the Lord that He may more easily and frequently work miracles in our lives.

I love you all! 
Soeur Evans


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McKay in her Melanesian dress-- la Roche de percee

Soeur Evans and Soeur Giles

McKay with her Ami

Good Morning in beautiful Paita

Paita in background

Pampelmousse- a favorite fruit

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

We are Only Instruments

Bonjouuuur tout le monde!

Hello hello hello! This will be a tad bit brief. I've spent up all my
time replying to my dearly beloveds, but I shall do my best to fill
you in on the week.

Paita. It is slowly but surely rising up! I have always said this
place is BURSTING with potential. This place is packed full of
hundreds of people of every ethnicity and class and income level and
religion. Walisians, Futunians, Indonesians, Ni-Vanuatus, French,
Tahitian, Melanesian, Vietnamese and all number of others. Well, it's
a weekly climb, but Paita is really starting to thrive with the
gospel.

One of the most incredible blessings we've been seeing is the chance
to teach famililes. Up to this point on my mission I have never taught
a family. Ok, I've taught one, but it took a year to go from teaching
an individual to teaching a family. And suddenly we have TWO families
we are teaching. What a sweet tender mercy of the Lord to teach His
Gospel to families.

Right before I left Paita five months ago we had contacted a couple.
We were so excited about them. And then we left. Well this week we
recontacted them and have begun to teach them. Words cannot even
express my joy and also my intimidation in walking into a home and
having a HUSBAND, wife and children sitting on the couch across from
me. That is so very very rare here. Satan really attacks the
priesthood holders out here, and that usually means he attacks future
priesthood holders too. But we are seeing the Lord's hand working His
might work and it is sweet and joyful to be a part of.

Something I've known for a long time but have maybe never expressed (i
think) is just how much this is the Lord's work. Any amis that are
found, any hearts that are touched, any doors that are opened, any
progress that amis make, anything and EVERYthing is "grace au
Seigneur". Thanks to the Lord. I cannot take even the tiniest amount
of credit for any good that is done. Because it isn't me. It is Him.
This work would be impossible if it wasn't His. Flatout impossible.
There is no way that two 20 year old american girls could walk around
this island and make any sort of an impact on people's lives and faith
and happiness if it wasn't the Lord's will and teachings. We are
simply called to be worthy instruments. It is His work and we are
called and welcome to help Him, but we must be worthy of the task. How
blessed I feel to get to see the Lord work miracles through us as I
learn to give Him my all and receive much more in return.

New Caledonia had an open house this week! So fancy! By New Caledonia
I mean our stake hosted an open house and invited the whole country.

We are working ourselves silly and to utter exhaustion. It is
hilarious and rewarding. We sleeptalk contacting methods and lessons
and prayers.

May you all have the happiest of weeks.
Go with the missionaries to a lesson. Bear a simple testimony. Offer a
short, sincere prayer. Members make a world of difference in helping
bring our precious brothers and sisters closer to our Father in
Heaven.

Love you all!
Soeur Evans



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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Edification

Bonjoouuuuuur et salut!!

Wow, well not sure where to begin.

Ok, I've decided, I shall begin with Zone Conference. Absolutely incredible. President Brewer and Sister Brewer are so dear to my heart. This was our last Zone Conference with them before they leave in the end of June. My heart was sad saying goodbye, I will miss their counsel and spirit. But I'm sure the next mission president and his lovely wife will be incredible in their own way.

This Zone Conference was FILLED with stories of Cyclone Pam. Oh my goodness you would not believe the miracles and the stories they shared. What better way to learn of the Lord's work than to witness His all-powerful hand leading and performing His own work?

They talked about the night of the storm, the 41 missionaries in their home, the service given after the cyclone, visiting the people, deciding to send missionaries home, visiting church buildings to check the damage and a kajillion other things. While other churches had roofs torn off and walls collapse, all except our very very bush chapels (we're talking sticks and leaves essentially) STOOD. Even the chapels made of wood. They STOOD. In a level 5 storm. When our foundation is upon CHRIST, we will not fall. What a powerful visual for all the people of Vanuatu. And did they ever notice! The church attendance skyrocketing. Branches that used to have about 100-200 people come are now full of 700-800 people, members (both active and inactive), amis, strangers, everyone is flocking to our churches. President and Sister Brewer bore powerful, powerful testimonies. I can't do it any justice in this email, but this work is TRUE. This church is TRUE. The Lord leads this work, for it is truly His.

As for Paita, the work continues on. We have not had as miraculous of an aid, but nonetheless slowly but surely the work is progressing and increasing.

One miracle of miracles this week was finding a new FAMILY. We were in Savannah doing porte a porte (a whole other town that is part of our secteur that we rarely if ever get to go to). Well we were there for about an hour, and were trying to find some more amis. After about 30 minutes of porte a porte and talking to no one (either because of being ignored or not heard because their houses are hidden behind 6 foot gates that we yell bonjour at at the top of our lungs hoping to be heard), we decided to head back. I saw  a woman up the hill and get so excited because it is a sign of human life and we try to contact her. Nothing. Then we see a family and try them. Nope. Well we decide to go to one more house. We yell and a 20 year old man walks up. He's pretty solidly uninterested and indifferent but we ask to meet his family. He invites us down. Long story short. We meet a MEMBER who is visiting his nonmember FAMILY. He's the grandfather, and his daughter and her family were there. We began to introduce ourselves and testify of why we had come. And the husband said that at THIS very moment their family was struggling. How did we know to come here? Why did we happen to just talk about the family? He was touched by the Spirit and knew that we had not found them by accident. HE asked US to keep a copy of the Book of Mormon. HE asked US if it would not be too much trouble to come back again? Ummmmm of course!!! 
Yesterday we went back for our return appt. He said only his wife would be home but that we should come anyway. We show up and they were ALL waiting for us, sitting at the table, ready for us to arrive. I have NEVER experienced that. A lesson with a husband and wife both sitting with us and willing and ready to learn. Miracle!

We had many other powerful experiences this week. One amie testified that when we (the sisters) left 5 months ago it was a big trial. She was pretty much left to herself for a while. But during the lesson she testified that it was a time when she learned of her own strength and spiritual understanding. It was a chance for her to apply what she learned. Now that we are back, she is again feeling the Spirit and remembering its sweet peace. She said that those 5 months without us were long enough for her. She never wants to feel that spiritual hunger again. Wow, what an incredible blessing to hear that. To have a tiny insight in to Heavenly Father's eternal, grand perspective. He knows what we need. Oh does He know!

I love you all! May you all feel the sweet, calming, warming, beautiful presence of the Spirit this week. I have felt it more than I ever imagined on my mission and I never want to lose it.

We are truly doing the Lord's work. Missions are inspired of God. I am grateful each day for the lessons He teaches me and He allows me to be a part of in others' lives.

Looove,
Soeur Evans


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House in Paita


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

I'm BACK!!

Dearly beloveds,
Bonjour de Paitaaaaaa!

Hhahahaha I basically have felt like yelling that subject line
every time I walk into a house here. But sadly it doesn't translate so
I settle for, "yesssss, I came back! I left, but now I'm back!....I
know, crazy!"

It is a sweet blessing to be back with these people. The five months
away from them gave many a chance to reflect and turn to uniquely the
Lord. Now, after this personal time they've had to think and reflect
and grow hungry, we return to FEED them. What an incredible thing it
is to see a real hunger in people's eyes for the gospel. Especially
those that have already tasted, some just briefly, others more
intensely. They want it back. I think they are much more prepared to
receive it.

And so, with each day and each rendezvous with amis or inactives or
members, I am seeing why the Lord sent me back. There is much to be
done. There is much to be finished that had only begun.

It was painful saying goodbye to Bourail. Me and SG had the most
magical delightful day last Pday and went to the Poe beach. Google it
it's divine. We basically had a day in the most beautiful place on
earth, best friends after seven incredible months together, finished
by sharing the gospel with strangers. A perfect day.

Before we left go to transfers I stopped to say goodbye to our recent
convert couple. The old ones we visit all the time. Well let's just say
it ended with all three of us bawling. Love them with all my heart.

I definitely left a chunk of my heart up North. But I'm doing my best
to give an equal chunk back to Paita. There are many people I love
here, so it hasn't been to hard to do so :)

GENERAL CONFERENCE. Amen. Amen to it all. What inspired leaders we
have. Can't wait to reread all of those talks and ponder them. Sweet
wonderful counsel from heaven.

On another note people are thrilled to see Soeurs at Paita again.
Which means that the past week I think we've eaten only breakfast and
2 lunches at our house. AKA I fear I will be rolling out of this
secteur. I forgot what it's like to have so many members. And all of
them so loving and supportive and generous. Fills my heart and my
stomach haahaha

Love you all dearly.

Tender mercy; before me and SG left Paita five months ago, we had met
a young mother. We had taught 2 lessons and had invited her to be
baptized. She had said yes. Well before we left we didn't get to say
goodbye so in an awkward goodbye/final testimony, we wrote our
testimonies on pictures of us and slipped it under the door, because
'we'd never see her again anyway'. Well I saw her again on Friday. Oh
my and she not only remembered me, she immediately asked when we could
come by because she had REALLY missed the lessons. We had only taught
her TWICE!!! The Lord is so good. He didn't forget about any of these
people. And neither did I. How grateful I am to see how so many of the
seeds I planted months ago have grown.

Looooooove,
Soeur Evans



NOTICE: This email message is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply email and destroy all copies of the original message.