Monday, July 26, 2010

Who wants to live forever?

Hallllloooooooooo real world!! How are you??  I miss you all!!!!

I shall start this week's email with a funny story that happened not long after I wrote last weeks email.  My companion was looking for clear packing tape here, which is called "scotch" in french (you know, like scotch tape?).  Well, she had to hunt down an employee, and finally finds one in the alcoholic beverages corner of the store (yes, corner, an aisle would not suffice in france).  She tried to explain what she was looking for and said "it's like scotch, but thicker!"  The man looked at her and his face looked like he finally understood her question.  He said "oh!  You mean Whisky!"

Ha;  No.  But still funny!!!

I have the world's best district leader ever.  Every night we call him to tell him one of our miracles, and he alsways receives them with great enthusiasm and laughter (our miracles always have a funny part in them).  On tuesday we made him try a new patissery, and he loved it.  Then, we needed him to buy timbres for my medical visit the next day.  Usually, you can buy them at a Tabac, which is kind of like an american liquer store/ convenience store.  We hunted all over town to find these stupid timbres, but couldn't find them.  We had to go to a RDV and Elder Clawson, my DL, was going to catch a train back to Alençon, his ville.  But what does he do?  Without even thinking about it, he loks at his companion and says, "Elder Ingram, do you mind if we catch the 6 oclock train and stay here in caen to buy timbres?"  Elder Ingram apparently didn't mind, and they just missed the NEXT TWO TRAINS to help us, while we rushed off to a RDV.  And you know what?  That night when we called to see if he found some, all he could say were really positive things about the afternoon and told us a few small miracles that happened that evening in Caen.  God bless people like Elder Clawson; the world needs more of them.

My companion and I are doing well.  One thing we love is inside jokes, and it's always tricky around other people.  But one stoyr she loved that I told her was the "horses eat berries" story.  She loves the phrase so much she says she's going to start using it.  So, everyone hear this:  If you hear somone on the street, or on TV, or in a lovie, say "horses eat berries" in response to a non sequiter, know that I, Kacey Barros, started that when I was TEN.  I don't care if someone else claims that.  My whole family can back me up.
Gosh I really hiope it does spread all over the place and ends up in a movie or something.  I'll feel very cool.

I went to synagogue this week.  Yup, Jewish church.  One of the people the Elders teach English to here is a Rabbi.  He ninvited us all to syngagogue.  it was pretty much rockin.  Everyone else was totally bored and had headaches after all the hourse of hebrew singing, including my poor companion, but I loved it.  I could have sat there all morning.  And then, after that, we went to an African Christian activity that one of our amis had organized and had invited us to.  We thought if we went to her thing she would come to one of ours.  So we went, and it was crazy weird/ cool.  Very christian group.  Very loud.  And there were only 5 people there.  SOOO loud.  People wandered around the room shouting their prayers to the heavens.  Soeru Woyak and I just stood there (they made us stand up), and smiled blankely at NO ONE, because everyone was praying with their eyes closed and wandering around the room.  It's a wonder no one ran into anything.

Our amis are doing well.  The one that had the African Revival type deal was Scholar, and she is still, slowly but surely, reading the book of Mormon.  She still has concerns and questions, but she's not stopping, like she did every other time.  Patricia is getting BAPTIZED this saturday, and I have to give a talk (eek! i always forget about that thing!)  Yan has kind of plateaud.  But I blame that on the fact that her friend saw her book of mormon and told her to stay away from us, that we're a cult, and that we believe a whole bunch of crap that we don't believe.  She came to our RDV, told us what happened, and asked us if any of it was true.  She kept saying "And wghen she told me that, I thought ' the soeurs never told me that!'"  And we explained that it was because it's not true.  She's going to need time, space, and faith.  Ah Yan.  You have such potential.

My companion discovered that she might be allergic to gluton.  SO I told her that if she wanted to, I' support her in cutting out all gluton by participating with her in the diet change.  She's super greatful, and I'm like "whatev.  I've done it before."  Well, practially, anyway.  So I made us a calander to put stickers on when we make it a whole day without gluton.  I nemaed it our calendrier de nourriture.  I tried to put gluton first, but ended up putting glutton on accident.  Which is kind of funny because I've been eating everything I can like crazy to fill the whole that bread and crazckers and stuff like that left in my stomach.

The work is coming.  It's hard sometimes to want to be here for another 16 months, but I can do it.  Oh yeah, Saturday was my 4 month anniversary of being a missionary.  Coincidentally, Elder Draleau called us that day, asking Soeur Woyak where an old ami lives.  Luckily it was my day to be the phone master, so I got to talk to him for a bit.  I told him happy anniversary us, and he said i can't believe we're both still alive.  Moi non plus.  Me neither.  but we are.  And he said something like "only 14 more to go for you!" but that's not true.  I'm going home the late transfer, because sister mlissionaries hit the 18 month mark in the middle of transfers, and so I'm supposedly going home on the 11 of october next year, and so I actually have 15 months left.  Yeah.  I'm tired.

Okay.  Love you all.  Pray for me.  Pray for Michayla.  And write me.

Sister Kacey Barros

Monday, July 19, 2010

As tu besoin d'aide mon bras t'est offert

NEW TRANSFER.  This transfer, I decided to write a line from some of my favorite french hymns on each day of my planner.  The subject of this letter is today's line, and it's from how firm a foundation.  the literal translations is about "you need help, my arm is offered to you".  So, if you need help, know that His arm is offered to you.  I know He's waiting to help you.  He's been helping me, and I haven't even done anything.

What an odd way to start an email.

Let's start with goodbyes.  We had some sad goodbyes this week with soeur gappmaier.  She was in this ridiculous state of denial, and so told no one on Sunday that she was mutated.  SO I told some people that I knew would have their hearts broken if they didn't get to say goodbye.  She didn't mind.  Oh man, that girl. And I don't say mutated to be mean.  To say to transfer in french is "muter" and the noun transfer is "mutation".  So I stopped trying to keep them straight and just say mutated.  Everyone here knows what I mean.  So yes, Sr Gappmaier was mutated (gosh I feel like an Xman when I say that teehee) and we had to say goodbye to a certain family.  Yvonne and Nichole are some amis that got really attached to Sr Gappmaier and her previous compaion, and just about died when they had to say goodbye to Sr Houtz as I got transferred in.  In fact, they did not want to like me, and kept asking if they could call the mission home and ask for sr Houtz to stay.  Well, they met me and instantly fell in love.  I'm not saying that to boast; to the contrary in fact.  It's because of the spirit.  And when we found out SR gappmaier was mutated, we decided that this would be good for Yvonne (who is practicing catholic and loves us and the church) to see that it's not really us she loves, but the spirit.  We visited Yvonne and her husband was there, and of course nichole (who is her 56 year old daughter who is druid and really interesting to teach but really isn't interested in the gospel and is always at the house when we teach Yvonne), and we ate bretegne cake and cherries.  Nichole gave me her geneology and the history of Bretegne in a booklet thing she made because she knows I'm really into geneology and so is she.  Yvonne and Nichole gave Gapp a very old wooden bretegne box with a brass carving on top.  They said they loved her and wished her luck.  We bore our testimonies and gave them a card that Sr G wrote an indepth testimony of the gospel in, and asked if we could sing them a song.  They said yes.  We sang "each life that touches ours for good".  Yvonne and Nichole started crying.  I cried and I'm still in Caen!!!  They told us they loved us.  Yvonne and Nichole still want to be taught, even with "La Nouvelle".  It was sweet.  The spirit was strong. And I got excited for the work in Caen.

Soeur Gappmaier left early Wednesday morning, and Sr Woyak, ma nouvelle, called and said " i should get into caen around 2ish, but they haven't bought my tickets yet, so I'll call you when I switch trains in Paris." I was like "okay.  I'm sitting here home alone all day, I might as well clean the apatment (that the elders never cleaned before moving) while I"m waiting."  So I studied, deep cleaned the apartment, and took a nap.  But I never got a phone call.  Hmm.  That makes me nervous.  So I show up at 2 at the gare anyway, and there my new companion is with her luggage.  She made it alivee and well, no phone call necessary.  Yay me!!

Sr Woyak is very different from Sr gappmaier, but similar in some aspects.  We have been doing a lot of talking since she got here and made a list of things that we wanted to accomplish this next transfer.  Her last two transfers were miserable as she had major companionship issues.  Really major.  I know because I did exchanges in their ville.  And, as not miserable as this last transfer was for me, it was in no way easy.  The work suffered here in Caen last transfer for one reason or another, and Sr gappmaier and I didn't work all that efficiently because she was used to doing things a certain way, and when I suggested change she often felt like change meant she had inadequecies.  I got very emotionally exhausted with this, so I stop suggesting things and just went with the flow.  So my transfer wasn't miserable by any any means; but it was difficult.  So we mmade a list of things we wished we could have done these last few transfers (she's only on her fourth).  We made a great list and the transfer started out witha BANG.  Our number one thing that we missed and really wanted to do was work by the spirit.  Sure, we need to plan, but we also need to follow the spirit.  So we did that this week.  And it was phenomenal.  We had an ami with a baptismal date find the courage to have more faith and overcame a huge obstacle.  We invited Yan to baptism, and she accepted!!  We didn't plan either of those things, but they happened becasue we were both listening for the spirit.  I feel unity again.  I feel fire again!  We doubled last weeks numbers in four days!  We have worked hard, and just followed the spirit, even if it didn't make sense.  And there were such benedictions from that.  I don't have the time to explain it azll, but the Lord really is leading His work here in Caen.  I know it will get harder, but I also know that the Lord will support me in some way; He's done it before, He'll do it again.  But know that Yan has committed to baptism once she has a testimony, and that Patricia no longer has obstacles stopping her baptism, and that some of our non actives will be active once again.  And if the Lord tells you to walk instead of take the tram, don't think of it as a waste of time; just enjoy the walking, and He just might through an ami that needed a scripture into your path.

Funny story for the week.  it's been gettnig warmer here in Caen.  During the middle of the day it gets HOT here, but by 6h00 the ocean wind comes and everything cools down again.  but we just bought fans and have been keeping the windows open all day and night.  Well, after cleaning, I hung the mop up to dry on the balcony/ window sill.  We were studying when I heard flap flap flap at the window.  I knew pidgeons fly around all the time up there, so i didn't even notice.  But then it closer and stopped all of a sudden.  I leaned over and saw that a PIGEON had landed on the mop and was practically in the apartment. I stood up and yelled "get off of my MOP!", scaring Sr Woyak and the pigeon.  I put the mop away, but our apartment was too hot to close the window.  Haahaaahaaaaaa.  Later that night I was talking to ssr woyak during planning and we were sitting pretty close to each other.  All of a sudden I hear flap flap flap again and look over to see if the pigeon was back.  Yes, she was.  But she decided to invite herself in.  YES.  A PIGEON FLEW INTO MY APARTMENT.  I SCREAMED and scared poor sr woyak again and she screamed and the pigeon flipped out, continued flapping and flew right out again.  I flipped out, wondering how many times this must have happened while we were out, when sr woyak pointed out that probably never because even though the windows are often open, the curtains are always closed to decrease the flies.  So that qwas the FIRSt and LAST time I will have a pigeon in my apartment.  Oh man I flipped out.

We had three amis come to church this sunday.  Patricia came, Yan came (for the third time in a row) and YVONNE came.  She sat by me, TOOK NOTES on all the talks, and while we sang the closing hymn (teach me to walk in the light), she started crying.  She said she knows that this church really is CHrist's church.  She knows it.  But she cant leave the catholic church.  She's 78 and has been Catholic her whole life, there's no way she'll turn her back on it, she tells us.  But she feels the spirit at church, loves us, and has said several times that she wants to join our church.  But we know that she doesn't understand the committment that is, and she won't get baptized because she already was when she was a baby.  Yvonne may be an eternal ami, but I'm okay with that.  Because when she comes to church she feels the spirit.  She loves the spirit we have.  She once told us that she "found Jesus Christ" in our church.  It makes me smile and weep to think of her.  Yvonne, I love you.

Yan isn't ready to be baptiwed she tells us, but she really wants to raise her family in the church, when she has one.  Oh man.  Peopleare so funny sometimes.

Well, I love you all.  Keep writing.  DAD. STOP WRITING TO MY RUE DE LE HAVRE ADRESS.  You're SOOOOO lucky my old landlord let me have that letter.  SO STOP IT.
Pray for continued success in Caen.

love love love
Soeur Barros

PS the french postal service sucks, just in case you're wondering.

Monday, July 5, 2010

And the world keeps turning round and round

So, I decided to start with my mass email this week.  And I shall start with

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TORI AND DAD!!!!!! I told America happy birthday yesterday, and now it's your turn.  Besides, it was your birthday here like nine hours before your brithday even thought about starting in the USA.  Suckahs.

You know who else is a suckah?  Guess who moved three weeks ago and just got transferred?  HA!  Not me!  My pauvre colleguee did.  Teeheee.  I have not finished unpacking my clothing yet, and I've been waiting to hear about transfers.  Well, Soeur Gappmaier couldn't do it any longer and unpacked ALLLLLLLLL of her stuff last week.  I'm still smiling about it.  Teeheeeheee.  But I am sad thazt she's leaving Déja.  I love my mission Mom, and she's going all the way to Brussells on wednesday, which is good because that's the mission she got called to and she has never actually served in belgium.  I guess she gets to now.  She's really nervous.  Me too.  Why?  Because I'm not getting a new senior compaion.  I'm getting a co-companion, which means we're both senior companion.  I've also been informed that that means I will never be Junior companion again.  Yeah.  I got one whole transfer to be lead, and now I'm going to lead with someone, or even lead someone else later, far earlier than I ever wanted to.  I don't know if I should be pleased or quoi.  Mostly I'm just confused, a little scared, and Okay... I'm a bit excited.  I've met my new companion deja.  She is currently in ST Quentin.  Yup, the ville I did exchanges in.  We met at zone conference and then as we switched companions in Paris.  She came to Caen when I went up north, which is good because now some of our amis have met her and so that awkward "hi I'm new" phase is over with ... at least for some of our amis.  So Yeah.  Soeur Barros.  Transfer Deux.  Senior companion (ish).

What is the Lord thinking?????????

But on a less stressfull/ bizarre/ exciting note, I met a very nice american man on Saturday.  He was getting on the tram, saw our nametags, and started chatting it up with us in ENGLISH.  Well, okay, I knew he was american before he even stepped onto the tram-- we have a look about us, ya know?  He told us some of his best friend are Mormon, and he really admires what we're doing out here.  He admires the sacrifices we make for the Lord.  WHAT????!!!!  It was SOOOOOOO nice to hear someone say that!!!!  We both got off at the gare (train station), and we the sisters had the plan to go to a cyber cafe across the street to see the transfers email in case one of us got transferred. The nice American asked us if we could give him a hand buying his train ticket, and we're like, sure, why not.  We've done that before, so it shouldnt take all that long.  Well it's a good thing we did because there ended up being NO trains open because it's summer break here, and the summer vacation is SACRED to the French.  We found a way to get him where he needed to go, so he begged us to let him buy our lunch.  We finally relented (no really, he  begged), and he sat there and talked to us some more.  Him and I talked about US history (he's a high school histtory teacher/ track coach in Louisiana) and LA history. I told him that Someone is looking out for him, because we're never on that tram at that time on that day-- we were just going to see who got transferred.  He said he totally believed that, and that he was going to thank God that night for having met us.  He gave us his name and email adress and said that any time we came to Louisiana to email him and he'll take us for begnés (i think that's how you spell it) (ha, and I told him that i really wanted to eat begnés in New orleans some day, so I think that's why he said begnés).  He tried to hug me (why do people keep doing that???) but I had to explain that we don't hug men (or much else really) while on our missions.  So he gave us some high fives and handshakes (ah american hand shakes-- they are different you know), and caught his train.  We called him our tender mercy, because people have been exceptionally mean to us this week, telling us we are most definitely a cult.  Ha, did you know that the way to say religion in French is culte, and the way to say cult is secte?  Yup, the meanings are changed here.  So really, it's "secte" that I hear all the time.  Fun Fun.

Life isn't bad here in Caen.  One of our amis is having a really tought time, but suprise suprise, it started when she began working on sundays instead of going to church.  We're working really hard to help her see that connection, but she has her agency.  Curses.  And Yan is still progressing, but we're never sure how much she really understands.  She keeps most of the commandments, at least around us, but her reading of the Book of Mormon has slowed down.  But now she ha this friend that actually just finished reading the book of Mormon and told her he's going to start over soon and read it all again.  We're hoping that helps motivate her; she is sooo funny when she tells us these types of things.  We ask her for referrals, and she says stuff like "oh you know what?  I really should bring this person to our next RDV!" Wow.  We just wanted a name and phone number, but we'll take it.

The finding is sllooooowwwwiiiing down.  We have started "spiritual finding" like dustin told me about in one of his letters; during our porting, we only knock on the doors that we feel like knocking on.  It's like regular finding without all the rejection.  We talk to people for much longer now, and we even had someone set a RDV with us.  But he cancelled like two hours later.  Elder Oaks said something interesting in the last Priesthood session: our faith is in Jesus Christ, and not in outcomes.  So it makes me wonder-- is my faith in Jesus Christ or in outcomes?  Think about that...

Well, time is up.  I'll try to send photos in another email.  Je vous aime!!!

Soeur Barros