Monday, May 31, 2010

bienvenu a france

this letter is going to take FOREVER parceque im not used to french keybords.  Si'l vous plaît, forgive my typos.

D'accord.  FIRST THINGS FIRST: You know how every time someone told me that elizabzeth smart is in my mission i'd say .  Well. Guess what.  shes not.  BUTTTTT she is my father which means that she is the one who took me on my first contacting activity.  So she taught me how to contact.  Who was right?  pretty much me.  elder draleau m'a dit (told me) "how do you do it????  you're always right!!!!!!!" (he lost a bet to me at the mtc, which is why you should never gamble..... especially with me... teehee). I told him its cause im a soeur.  

AND if you sent a dear elder to me on fri, sat, sun or mon, i did NOT get it.  We got to the airport before the dear elders arrived.

france is beautiful, but it scares me to death. after i bawled ny eyes out saying goodbye to my district that isnt coming to paris, i had to do it again at the mission home, which was even harder, because now im leaving with someone i dont actually know.  it was way weird, and we missed our train out of paris.  oh yeah, my first area is CAEN.  im in the normandie zone.  WHICH MEANS DAD-- or grandma, please tell me the name of my ancestor that stormed the beaches of normandie.  I hear it will be good to know with the people here.  And before i forget, my mission address is
Sr. Kacey Barros
23 rue du onze novembre
F-78110, Le Vésinet
I miss my little mtc family all the time, its so sad. it was almost as bad as saying good bye to my real family.  But i'll get to see some of them next week at zone conference. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  My comfort blanket!!!!!!!!!  GOSH I HATE THIS KEYBOARD.  The frenchprobably think i'm crazy, yelling at a computer under my breath.  Some things never change, eh?  My companion is swiss german, but she lived in utah for 5 years, so she speaks pretty amazing and accent free english.  Good and bad.  Because i know i can speak french to her, but also english, so i slip back into it pretty easily.  When we went finding that first time, I seriously said nothing.  I might say but then the person would respond and it was seriously qilsuhfgikqzenfvbjkngkqdfjkqlkjzerfubvbnzlqdkjfghquzhv,d

im so impressed by the young single adults here;  they are small but strong.  they love teasing me, but apparently thats normal.

JUST SO YOU KNOW-- it has taken me 30 min to write what there already is.  Crud.

Boo radley has a cousin living in my ceiling.  BUT our apartment is fairly nice, especially for france standards.  We have a washer and a dryer in our apt, as well as a living room, dining room, and kitchen, study room, and bedroom.  by the way, i mean they are all different rooms.  But yes, there is DEFINITELY a rat living in the ceiling of the apt.  My pauvre companion tried to tell the district once, but when everyone was there, he wasnt moving and everyone thought she was crazy.  But i have heard him, and i know hubert exists.  Hes rather active.  Boo could teach him a thing or two.  But yes, the apt is nice.  and the view is amazing--- see the phot's.  There is one of my view from the study room at night, and the other is my bedroom view during the day.

I dont cry every day, but i still get really homesick for, guess............... the mtc.  I miss everyone and everything.  But not the food; the food seriously is amazing here.  we eat quiche and crepes and such.  I had my first patisserie.......... YUMMMMMMMMMMMM.  Theyre called religeouse, which is why we have a tradition of eating them.  "religiouse" is the word for someone who has dedicated their life to the service of god, like a priest or nun.  People often ask us if thats what we are.  But no, thats not exactly right.  I didnt care either way; just let me eat more patisseries!!!!  There is a photo of that in this email i believe.

My adapter has already died.  No joke.

I love you all so much.  please write to me.  My little family is now spread all over france, and they cant suppliment your absence here anymore.  So i needc letters.  Everytime i see something, i think "i cant wait to share this with my family!!!!"  Ill mail more photos, i promise.

To close on a more missionary note--- we were street contacting (which i hate) and ran into this lady with a little girl.  Mu companion started talking to her about life, and the woman, named elodie, said "i think life is better after trials.  Thats what makes life worth it."  of course i couldnt understand what was going on.... so i talked to her daughter while soeur gappmeir talked to elodie.  I askedr her her name and she whispered "lola".  I told her i loved that name.  then we talked about what kind of chocolate we like, and i told her americaine chocolate is not very good compared to french chocolate. Then she got out her book and read to me.  It was adorable.  AND her mom made an appointment to get taught by us.  SCOOOOORRRREEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!  UGH!! the nu,bers here are so low, even lower than i thought they would be.  But since getting here, weve already improved the numbers.  Its amazing.  But im learning to have faith.  Okay, one last histoire.
We were on the bus yesterday evening, going to a members home for dinner, and I tried talking to a lady.  I did it all by myself (finally) and when we stopped talking about france and onto religion, she turned me down flat by saying "i dont talk about philosophy and religion. its personnelle." UIh okay.  So i said, okay, and went to my seat.  But i really wanted to tell her what God is to me.  So I got up after a few minutes and asked if i could share how i feel about god.  She said sure, so I sat there and bore my testimony of how i know god lives and that he loves each of us individually and specifically.  She didnt really care, but i felt better after doing it.  She said "i know you feel the need to share that because youre a missionary," and i said "i need to share it because its true.  I felt this way before my mission, and i aill feel this way after it too.  I know its all true.  But I respect your desire not to discuss your own beliefs, so Ill go.  Thank you."  So, no success there (yet) but i love the fact that i finally got up the courage to testify.  and i did it all on my own.

Its true, you know.  God really does love each of you.  He knows all your weaknesses and faults, and still loves you with a perfect love.

This is hard, but i will be able to do it if i act and have faith.

I love you.


Friday, May 21, 2010

Father in Heaven has sent me to you

Okay, so this might be a little bit scattered, but that's how it goes.

First off: Daddy.  Delta changed their rules again, so I have to pay for one of my bags on the flight on monday.  It's "just" $50 (just????  I get an $8 allowance each week?!?!!!), but I've been stocking up on other things.  Just to be safe, there should be some money in my savings account.  Could you transfer at least $50 from my savings to my checking?  THANKS!!!!!

Second order of business:  Okay, mom.  I only had les temps to skim your email (because we print in the other lab-- don't worry, I'll print it after i write this one), but as far as I know, we "leave" the MTC (let's be honest-- there are at least 10 of us leaving at that time.  No way we're leaving on time), at 1:30 MDT.  Probably won't get there until 2:30, 2:45, and then we have to get through security and junk.  So I think, a safe time is between 3:00 and 3:00 MDT, or 2:00 and 2:30 your time.  Hope that works out.  And if not, I'll call dad's office until someone answers the home phone.  because I am GETTING my phone call.

So yeah, traveling is a pain already.  But TRES TRES TRES exciting!!!!  Packing (gag) is actually not that bad (which is why it was a gag and not a vomit) (did you know the verb "to vomit" in french is "vomir"... and to say "I will throw up in your fac e is "je vomirai a votre visage".  Just in case you wanted to know).  And I'm already assigned a new companionship.  You see, I'm the only sister in our travel group, so I have to join one of the elder's companionship.  Why?  Mostly so I don't get left behind and/ or run away with someone/ myself.  I talked to our group leader (Elder Alexander-- he totally rocks) and said "Who am I with?"  and his response was... "uhhhhhhhhhhhh........."  His companion said "You should just be part of our companionship."  CHOUTTE!!!!  Sweet!!!!  They were who I wanted to be with (because the pickins are a little slim in my group).  That worked out nicely.  I already committed Elder Draleau (Elder Alexander's companion) to helping me with my luggage, but then I discovered a wonderful thing called luggage straps!  Maybe I'll make him pull it anyway... to build character.

I'm ready to get out there.  I'm ready to go.  I want to teach and preach and work as missionaries doooooooooooooo!!!!  The first thing we do after getting picked up at the airport is go contacting in a major traffic (people traffic) area.  But I might have some issues with that.  not because I'm not ready but.....   J'ai perdu ma voix.  I've lost my voice.  It dissappeared on Tuesday, and on wednesday my companion made me go to the doctor.  The doctor told me not to talk anymore and take lots of pain killers.  Drink water, eat fruits and veggies, and (my favey part) TAKE NAPS!!!!  SANCTIONED NAP TAKING!!!!!!  My LIFE IS COMPlETE!!!!!  So I've been doing that--- not better.  not really.  Okay, so a little better.  But Wednesday was TRC day, which is when we teach.  And I couldn't talk?  It was one of the weirdest TRC's I've ever had.  The guy couldn't really hear me, and I really shouldn't have been talking, so he stopped talking to me.  And when we asked him questions, he'd go off on some weird tangent.  here's my favorite part: I asked him "Quel etait le plus important partie des lecons des missionaires... a votre avis?"  (what was the most important part of the missionary lessons, in your opinion? he was a "recent convert")  "Qu'est-ce qu avez vous remarque?" (what did you notice?).  He said "How I changed my life?" in response.  Vraiment?  I tried to rephrase it like three times, and gave up saying "Oui.  Celui."  Yeah.  That.  Weird, but a reality check-- guess what!!  Investigators won't always want to talk about what you want to talk about!!!  My companion thought he was weird too.  Weirdy.

Today was temple day, and it was amazing.  Most of our zone made it to the service, including our teacher (on accident-- but i love her and she's amazing).  I saw all my elders after the service and started bawling, telling them they had to come to paris with me (most of them aren't-- they're going to toulouse).  Elder Nicholes shook my hand so hard because we can't hug, and we both started crying.  I sat on a couch, and he gave me the scriptures to read.  he turned to Doctrine and Covenants 25 and said "This is you, Soeur Barros."  he's our scripture man; has a scripture for every occasion.  Gosh I love my elders.  I'm getting all choked up about it now, just remembering.

We cannot lose this war against satan.  With missionaries like the ones here, we cannot lose.  We cannot lose.  God will triumph.

I KNOW this gospel is true.  It's the only way to be happy!  I can't wait to share it with everyone in my mission, everyone that I will ever meet.

Keep up the good work.  I feel everyone's love and support.

Love Kacey

PS--- President Monson's daughter spoke to us, Sheri Dew did the other time, and half of the Young Women's presidency.  AS WELL AS ELDER HOLLAND.  No time now, but I promise to tell all later!!!!

And TORI-- Elder nicholes loves the letter.  Keep em coming.

Friday, May 14, 2010


Life is hard sometimes.
I hope no one cares, but this weeks letter is going to be kinda skimpy because I'm writing an email to you.
Today we did sealings after endowments because my (favorite) elders had never done them.  Well, guess what.  They took those elders and put them in another group.  So we didn't get to go with them.  But that was okay, because I sometimes (frequently) get distracted by them.  So as I was sitting there, I thought about how Dad got that impression that he would get married in the temple when he did sealings in the MTC.  So I thought "Cool.  Can i have that impression too?"  Uh.  No.  Apparently not.  Because I got two responses: yes you'll get married in this life.  And no, you won't.  WHAT THE HECK??????  I got all confused and thought "Are you telling me to not worry about it until after the mission?"  And the response to that was "No, that's not what I'm saying."  So I asked again, and I felt like I got an answer.  Like Grandpa Frank was sitting next to me and said "I saw you get married, Kacey.  You're going to get married.  I saw it; remember?"  But then I got doubts uber uber fast.  Can you get doubts in the temple???  Because I've decided, until it becomes clearer to me, that my answer is either "Wait a while and I'll answer you," or it's "it depends on you.  Make the right decisions and you will."  But that last one feels so incomplete. 
Can you get doubts in the temple?
Don't email me.  Write me a dear elder, because this is the last time I'm checking my email today.
I love you soooooooooooo much, and would do anything to have you here with me right now.  Because I'm confused.  And I don't like this feeling.  Because my mission isn't about marriage, but now I'm worried about it.
Okay.  Well.  Okay.
Love you

Friday, May 7, 2010

Because He lives...

Because He rose in mighty triumph from the grave

I put my trust in Him and seek to follow Him in Faith

Because He lives

My heart is filled with peace amid a world of fear

And through the darkness of the night I rest in Him secure

Because He lives

Those are some of the lyrics of the song Elder McTernan and I are auditioning with on Thursday.  It's so beautiful.  Some of the notes are really high for me, but the elder that recuited (actually, it's more like he drafted) us is an amazing music teacher, and worked with me.  He made me turn my back as we did an excercise-- turn my back so that I couldn't see the piano.  As we finished, he asked what note I thought that last one (the highest one) was.  And I said "Uhhh... E E flat?"  He smiled.  My companion (his partner in the excercise crime) and said-- "Acutally, High F sharp.  So don't you tell me you can't do a D sharp anymore.  Because you can."  That was really really cool.  Because here's the nub and gist of my week:

It was like Hell.

I knew the amazingness of last week wouldn't last forever.  But I never thought it would only be a week.  Saturday was sooo difficult, and I can't even pin it down to a single event.  But I couldn't reach a happy moment.  Then Elder McTernan (who is a convert, and really amazing, but SERIOUSLY??) said that the entire Mormon Culture is intolerant and ignorant of other religions.  HONNETMENT??  I got on him for that, saying that many people in the church are soooo busy learning their OWN religion as a child, that you can't expect them to be scholars on other religions as well! (Again, his mother has a doctrate in theology.  Remember where he is coming from-- a home where everyone knows a lot about many religions.)  Then he looked at me like I was ten years old and said "Look, I'm not trying to argue with you, so don't get mad at me."  Then I said I would love to continue this conversation another time (not-- because he totally had his opinion, and if I've learned anything about this elder, it's that he doesn't change his mind very easily), but the spirit wasn't there.  And I said "I refuse to discuss this without the spirit."  So here's what I would say if I ever actually did talk to him about this: "Every institute of religion, every church school, and anywhere else you find an organized church education system, offers a 'Religions of the World' class.  I've taken it.  I loved it.  I developed a love and admiration for all types of relations.  not to mention the fact that my father was raised by a catholic father, and a christian mother, and none of my dad's side of the family are Mormon.  Another fact is that I was a minority at my high school where only 10 of my 700 people graduating class were Mormon.  So yeah, what was it you said about our ignorance and intolerance of other religions?"


Oh it gets better.  Then I had another missionary grill me and my companion right before we taught a lesson, and I broke down crying.  THEN at Milestone, Elder McTernan was paired up to teach with me.  We were supposed to take five minutes each.  he taught first, and then left me with two minutes.  Seriously?


And then the rest of the week can be summarized in one word: Discouraged.  I felt so discouraged all week.  The day arrived where we were taught the last thing I learned at school in French.  I've reached my wall.  I now sit in class, conjugating tense after tense before I get to the one I want.  Seriously.  I was trying to say "We will be better" and I said "Nous sommes-- serions--- soyons---- SERONS."  This is no exaggeration.  It makes me sick every time it happens.  It doesn't help that we've had a new teacher.  And he's a guy.  And he's quiet.  And everything he says is in french.  i understand every word he says *when it's not mumbled*, but not the connotation, which blew up in both of our faces one day.  He came in and wrote down the morning's schedule as usuall, but added "les soucis de Frere Welch".  The worries of Frere welch?  What's that all about?  Well.  The first thing he brought up as a worry was "mes pantalones."  Crap.  Crap crap crap.  He wears his pants waaaaayyyy too low, and Soeur wood and I thought it was inappropriate.  So we vented about it to our female teacher and his old class.  And all we could think was "The other elders told him the soeurs think his pants are too low."  He stared right at us, and I started to blush.  He asked the class "pensez-vous que...(my pants are too low in French)".  And i just had to say it. "OUI!  ILS SONT!"  And I blushed.  Because then he started, uhm,m, jostling them about?  I can't think of a good english adjective for that.  But that made it even more awkward.  Then I blushed some more, and then I cried.  Silently at first, but he later asked me to read out loud and I couldn't because I was crying to hard.  So yeah.  That was my day.

But things got better at least once a day.  And that made it all worth it.  I don't really have time for much else to write.

Wow, that was a way french sentence.

But just know, that something happened today that made me cry.  I sat in the chapel of the temple because we missed the only session we could make, and i sat there and bawled.  So my companion and I did something else, and guess what?  I saw someone I'd had an issue with that morning, and they apologized to me.  If I hadn't missed that session, even though I wanted so badly to go, I wouldn't have had that apology given to me, and my day would be worse.  And I would be worse for it.

So I can't tell now, but I know all these hard things are here for a reason.  I have lessons to learn from them.  And I'll be someone I couldn't be without them.  And that gives me comfort, and hope, and excitment.

I love this gospel.  And even though I really wanted to be home like 27 times this week, I love being here.

Beaucoup d'amour.

Soeur Kacey Barros