Monday, August 30, 2010

River oh river flow gently for me, such precious cargo you bear...

I have a fat list and close to no time, so am going to try to do this in an orderly manner.

The louvre didn't happen because we had to wait for elder weed and elder draleau to come pay for my tansport pass thingy, and so I spent the entire p day in a Paris metro station.  Not joking.  But we're going today.  There are no elders to wait for today.

Soeur Lee and I are at war.  She doesn't really know it yet, but we are.  You see, she tells every story she can about the stupid things I've done or the mean things she does to me to EVERYONE, including the young adults we work with and my district.  So, I told a story about her sleep talking is a really flirty way to the JA (jeunes adultes-- young adults) and they LOVED it.  So this morning she recorded my singing in the shower.  This is WAR.

There are a TON of Africans here in Melun.  Some of them only "speak english".  Let me tell you how much of a load of crap that is.  We had a RDV with a guy named Innocent who "speaks english".  Dude, this guy was saying SOMETHING, but it was NOT english.  I tried to keep a straight face the whole time.  I only broke twice.  I turned my laugh into a cough.  It totally worked.

Last week our elevator was possesed.  it took nearly 5 minutes for it to get to our floor, and then as we got on we saw someone had pressed all the buttons.  Jerk.  But as we ascended, each time the light went off, it would turn back on, meaning thazt NO ONE was pressing the buttons.  Th elevator just kept "pressing the buttons".  Freaked me out.

We had a lady slam the door on us.  Actually, she passed out and fell onto her door.  We saved her life by walking her into her living room and laying her on her couch.  As she woke up a little she groaned "see you saturday" (we had just fixed a RDV for saturday).  It was amazing.  We felt like the Grim Reaper Sisters.  Teehee.  Life is good down here.

Both of us and our ward mission leader had to give talks yesterday.  Our leader said 5 minute talks.  But the day before, while doing some service, he told us that our other speaker bailed on us, so we were now all giving 10 minute talks.  WHAT??!!!!  Je peut pas le faire.  But he told me to do it.  So Soeur lee and I stayed up late writing talks.  I woke up extra early the next morning to translate it.  I felt like my legs had turned to jello while I was giving my talk.  And after sacrament meeting, Paul, one of the JA (who I am convinced thinks I have self esteem issues because h's frequently telling me how good of a missionary i am, but not in a creepy way), came up to me and said "Wow!  That was amazing§  You speak really good french!  I don't want to hear you apologizing for your french any more!"  I told him it took me an hour and a half to trnaslate a ten minute talk.  he kind of frowned and said "don't tell anyone else that."  he also said he wanted to give me referrals the whole time I spoke.  Excellent.  That was the goal.  In fact, he practically gave me one right there.

Life is good, God is great, I want to eat a piece of cake.


Off to the louvre (for reals this time, I hope).

Love love love love

Monday, August 16, 2010

Just because I'm loosing doesn't mean I'm lost, doesn't mean I'll stop...

First off...  I have a NEW ADRESS.  Yes, praise to the Lord the Almighty the King of creation.  I am going to the PARIS area, to a town called MELUN.  This is my new address (which I will probably have for three months, so keep it safe)

Soeur Kacey Barros

Les Missionnaires



So yeah.  Totally transferred, which is what I was praying for, for a variety of unpublished reasons, so I'm happy.  Also a little sad.  There are a few people here that I will miss, and I will tell you why.

First off: My District Leader and his companion.  Elder Clawson and Elder Ingram have been serious Godsends in my life here à Caen.  Elder Clawson is super duper thoughtful and puts effort and prayer into everything about being a District Leader.  Elder Ingram is HILARIOUS and we know a lot of the same people from the MTC, so we always have some kind of inside joke together.  His laugh lights up the room, and I can't count how many times I've cried at a District meeting because of him... and I mean the laughing till you cry kind of crying.  There is a supreme example of why I love these Elders from this week.

You know How I said they were power rangers?  I asked Elder Clawson to show us some of his blackbelt skills before the end of the transfer.  Well, he took it to heart, and knowing that I call him and Elder Ingram Powerrangers, he coordinated this HUGE District meeting for me.  He has been focusing the DM's around the Christlike attributes you find in Preach My gospel.  This past DM, we discussed who Christ really is, and used Scriptures to define different characteristics of Christ.  Near the end, he told us he planned an activity (which he always does) to show us how all the attributes work together, and that you can't really have one withouth the others.  He then hands me a small photo of the Pink Ranger (whom I always want to be), and a Pink Power Ranger wristband that he made, and a script.  He gave EVERYONE a wristband and a photo of the ranger they were, along with a script.  He ran out with Elder Ingram (who didn't get to be a power ranger because he had to be the bad guy) and they came back in 5 minutes later in a completely blue outfit (E. Clawson was the blue ranger) and the UGLIEST African outfit ever.  They said a few lines and then did a SEVEN MINUTE FIGHT that they had CHOREOGRAPHED THEMSELVES.  Elder freaking Clawson and Elder freaking Ingram rock my socks.  It was amazing.  It was amazing.  It was amazing.

When I called to talk about the next district meeting, Elder Clawson "threw a fit".  He is pretty bummed that I'm leaving.  I'm sad to be leaving him too.  I mean, how many sisters are you going to find that still love the Power rangers and Weird Al?  There are not too many of us.

Second: Yvonne Gayet.  she is my French grandmother.  I love her to pieces.  She's the ami who is catholic and will never be anything else... well that's what she says.  She gives us gross bisous (gross means really big in french) everytime she sees us.  When Jean had his health problems, only the soeur checked in on them, and I lean us.  We had no idea.  We just started stopping by because I don't care who you are, two heart attacks in two weeks earns missionaries coming over to try and help.  It turns out, she really just needed someone to come by and talk, because she can't leave Jean home alone, so she's practically homebound.  But her daughter, Nichole (whom I will also miss dearly) comes over when she can to help out and let Yvonne out of the house.  Their other daughter, Marie-Yvonne, dealt with it by saying "I already have plans to go on vacation; I'll send you a postcard from Bretegne."  So we had no idea, but we were the only people calling to check up on them and coming over to visit with them.  Jean, who has never opened up to the missionaries, is now really chummy with us.  he teases us about being Californian's without tans;  and he teases Soeur Woyak and grabbing her fist when she goes in to "pound it".  Oh it's too cool to see him open up to us, and pray with us after our spiritual thoughts.  Yvonne nearly cried when she found out I was transferred.  And she told me that I have been Nichole's favorit, so I should try to see her before I go (which I will).  Nichole likes me because I LOVE geneology (she's a historian and does Genology all the time) and because I have strong opinions without forcing them on others. I told Nichole once that I might study law after my mission and she asked me if I agreed with the death penalty.  Holy crap.  I didn't know how to explain my opinion in French, and I didn't know what I was allowed to say as a missionary.  But I handled it well enough, and with some ease.  Later she told her Mom that I would be a good lawyer because I said what I thought without offending her.  I don't know what she means.  But I love her.  We're seeing them tomorrow before I leave.

Third: My branch president.  He is so motivated when it comes to missionary work.  He is getting the ward moving on helping with their fair share of missionary work (which hasn't happened yet, but he"s only been president for 2 months).  I have such empathy for him because the last president was super loved, but is moving, so they got a new one (sound familiar?).  A lot of people are fighting him on stuff, especially that he relased the Relief Society president who has been president for SEVEN YEARS.  I'm not exaggerating.  It's true.  But he is so kind, has such amazing respect for sister missionaries and includes us in everything.  I love his family and I will miss them all.

We had another baptism this weekend.  His name is Rachkaël.  he is practically a child of record, but he's 9, so we had to teach him.  We invited Yvonne to come, so Nichole moved her schedule around so Yvonne could see a "Latter-day saints" baptism.  She really really wanted to come and she got to!  yay!! An ami at a baptism!!!  She loved it, and was very touched by the ceremony, which was just as simple as they come, so I know it was the spirit.  This woman comes to church ONCE IN A WHILE (she goes to mass all the time), but everytime she does, she cries because she "feels jesus here."  She tells us that she can tell we are truly Christ's church... but she's catholic, and always will be.  Gee.
Yvonne also talked the ear off of the old branch president, who preformed the baptism, for seriously, 30 minutes straight.  It ried to save him when she started talking about the pedophiliac Catholic priests, but it was Soeur Woyak who finally pried him out of her grasp.  It was pretty funny.  I love Yvonne.

I know this church is true.  I'm sorr my emails haven't been as spiritually uplifting as they used to be.  The title of my email gives you a little taste of how my transfer has been.  I'll have much more spiritually filled emails this next transfer, I promise.  But know that the Church is true.  The Book of Mormon is the word of God.  The Priesthood is on the earth.  Joseph Smith was a prophet called by God.  And if all ov that means nothing to you... know that God is there.  He's always there for you.  No matter what you haven done, or how you feel.  KNow that an amazing and perfect being loves you.  And He loves you perfectly.  Know that.  I do.

okay.  I'm going to send a picture email.  LOVE YOU!!

Soeur Barros

Monday, August 9, 2010

Quand au ciel l'orage grande, viens et calme mon esprit...

Hello.  It's been a wonderful week here in France.

I have had my ups and my downs out here in Caen.  This week started kind of funny.  Monday night we got a call from our Mission President's wife asking us if we would like to go to a creperie for dinner with her and President.  Uh, yes.  I personally knew they would call, but Soeur Woyak doubted me.  Ha.  Doubt no more.  It was a little bizarre because I know my mission president reads my letter to him every week and gets reports from my leaders and such, but I don't ever talk to him.  So I talked to Soeur Staheli instead.  She's very nice and sociable.  We got home late that night after eating yummy gallettes and crêpes (oh, my comp can eat galettes! they use a different kind of flour!) and did a little planning.  The next day was interviews, my first ever.  It was nerve wracking.  I went into the office right after Soeur Woyak, and did a little prayer in my head.  The interview went just fine.  President asked me how everything was going.  I said fine.  He asked if I wanted to do another transfer with Soeur Woyak.  I hesitated.  Well, a more accurate way to put it is "it took me 30 seconds to respond."  I eventually said "yeah.  I could."  President raised his eyebrows and said "really?  are you sure?"  I thought again, for the other half of a minute, and said "yeah.  But I would really love to get out of Caen."  NOW LET ME EXPLAIN.  I love Caen.  It's beautiful out here.  There are lots of people and tons of farms and countryside areas to go tracting in.  I really do.  But I might kill myself if I have to stay in this branch.  This is my "bleue-ville", which means I started here.  So everyone continues to treat me like I speak no French, like I don't know what I'm doing, and like I'm not a missionary.  I thought it was all in my head, but Soeur Woyak said she has noticed it too, and that it's a common problem in Bleuevilles.  I didn't tell president ALL of that, but I did mention some.  Soeur Woyak says I need to call my president and tell him what I told her, because it may not make him transfer me (I'm convinced that the only person President listens to when it comes to transfers is the Lord), but it will be good for him to know when thinking about transfers.  Which is what he's doing this week.  By this Wednesday he knows who's going where.  So, who knows... maybe I'll get transferred.  Before I talked to Soeur Woyak about it, we were both convinced that we were gettinga nother transfer here together in caen.  But she has this worry that Heavenly Father is going to throw her a curveball, while giving me a break and getting me into a ville where the branch and investigators will treat me like a missionary and not a novice.

Did exchanges this week.  I got to go to PARIS.  I was super fun, and I got to see Notre Dame.  I took pictures, but I haven't gotten them from my temporary companion yet (my camera died before I had a chance to take any).  I bought some birthday pressies, (well, just one) and got to spend a few nights in a fourman apartment.  I saw soeur smart (the sister that did my first in-field contacting activity with me) and we had a lovely chat.  She's a very nice, very upperclass woman.  So, if anyone has anything mean to say about Elizabeth Smart, they can take it up with me.  She was very kind and interested in my life, especially the men in my life (of which i have none), which makes me think she's got a man in her life too.  I meahn, I always want to hear about my girlfriends' guys when I want to talk about my own. I didn't talk to her companion a lot- mostly because she fell asleep and wasn't really interested in talking to me.  My temporary companion was AWESOME.  She's going to BYUI and so we know a TON of the same people.  It was super nice having her around for a day.

It was Soeur woyaks birthday this friday.  I love birthadays!  I already know, however, that I do NOT want to have a birthday like hers. I mean, it was great.  We went out to our Branch President's home and weeded in his garden and pruned his apple tree for service, then ate a gluten free lunch (his wife has the same disease as Soeur Woyak) and played with adorable french children.  Then, that afternoon/evening, we drove out into the countryside to drop off a WWII thing for an american and had a lovely, however unproductive, RDV.  it was very nice.  I wanted to bang my head against a wall several times.  So, here's how I am going to spedn my birthday: I am going to schedule many many RDV's, and if no one wants to have RDV's, I'm going to knock on doors all day and tell no one it is my birthday.  I'm not going to talk about the expensive things my mother sent me (or didn't), and I'm not going to let myself forget why I'm here.  As my family knows, my brithday is never ever celebrated on my brithday.  It is usually spread out over several days, because, for some unknown reason, October 6 is a very busy and alwys overscheduled day.  It really doesn't bother me.  I hate doing big things for my birthday.  They always blow up in my face.  And this way, I get to have little pieces of birthday for like a week.  Less pressure on one day.  So yes, that is how I am doing my birthday.  I'm working hard.

Sorry this is such a lame email.  It's been a long hard week.  

Blessings from the week:
-Paris was crazy hard, but I'm not scared of it anymore.  If I ever serve there, I'll know that I can do it.
-My final legality visit went without a hiccup.  I am now a completely legal resident of france
-Jean, the husband of one of our amis, survived his second heart attack (kind of) in two weeks.

Nichole, Jean, Yvonne, Sr Woyak

-I got to garden and have a 4 year old teach me some french
-Two of my favorite people in the world still thank Heavenly Father for all their blessings while one of them, Jean, is in and out of the hospital.
-We made some goals!!
- Sandrine is reading her book of Mormon again!
-My family loves me.
-My companion wants me to stay so badly she's scared that I'll get transferred (htat whole if you want it really bad it's bound to not happen.  But she's always telling me she usually gets what she wants and that she's spoiled.  Maybe that principle still applies in transfers?)
-France is beautiful
-I ate Kraft Mac and Cheese in Paris
-I screamed in frustration for the first time in nearly 5 months (my family knows that's a miracle).
-Heavenly Father loves us all individually, and does all he can to help us
-We have a Savior, whom we could not progress without
-Mail systems suck, but it means every day I get to have more hope
-I still want to be a missionary

I love you all.  I miss you terribly.  It sometimes breaks my heart to have such good experiences here and know that you can't have them with me.  I'll take more pictures.


Soeur Kacey Barros

Monday, August 2, 2010

ô vaillants guerriers d'Israël, espoir de notre salut

Poo.  I get here and can think of nothing to say.  I guess I can start with some pictures.

Number one is le cathedral Saint-Pierre.  It's the BIG one here in Caen.  It's funny because it's getting "restored" (I have been watching this thing for 2 months had have NEVER seen anyone working on it.  EVER) and making the outside stones a white color.  It's going to be beautiful... if people actually work on it.  I mean it, zero progress.  BUT, the other reason I took the photo was because it looked fake.  I walk through he castle to get home from church, and I always get this view of Saint Pierre, and it looks amazing every night.  Especially with the evening clouds behind it.

Next is Elder Clason and his birthday present from the soeurs.  We asked him what he wanted us to make for food tache at District meeting (it was our turn).  He said he loved cookie dough--NOT COOKIES, but cookie dough.  So Soeur Woyak made him cookie dough.  It was his 21st birthday the day after district meeting, and so we HAD to do something for it.  He, unfortunately, couldn't wait until after lunch to eat it.  He ate half of it before, and later, while holding his stomach, loaned and said "after 21 years you think I'd learn to listen to my mom and not spoil my lunch."  Teehee.  he's such a good guy.  He's ALSO a PowerRanger.  He's 6'3" (I asked.  Short people like me are allowed to do that), has a stinking BLACKBELT in karate, and plays piano.  Sounds like a power ranger to me. (he also met TOMMY the old White Ranger , whom I used to be in love with.  I nearly died when Elder CLawson told me that Tommy came to his Karate Studio to do a demonstration back in the 90's).  THEN, I was telling Elder Ingram, his companion, while Elder Clawson was giving Patricia her baptismal interview, that he has a powerranger for a senior companion. I told him it's because he has a black belt.  Then elder ingram, who is still very much a short teenaged kid, tells me "so do I.  Do I get to be a powerranger?"  I laughed.  Then realized he was serious.  I almost died again.  So now I know that there are two Power Rangers in my district.  It's amazing.

Next is more Normandie clouds.  THey look painted into the sky most of the time.

Next is Patricia at her BAPTISM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh man, it was awesome.  She was super nervous about her interview, but Elder Clawson apparently did a wonderful job.  She kept raving about him.  Both of them were nervous, in fact, because this was Elder Clawson's first baptismal interview.  But he got her to say the opening prayer, which is phenomenal because she'll never pray in front of anyone.  But we told her this might happen.  So she was ready and said her prayer.  Elder Clawson told us later that it was the prayer that has brought him closest to tears, it was so full of faith and hope.  We finally got to experience that at our next RDV with her, and I know I felt the same way.  I did cry.  But I cry a lot, so it's no big.  But that day, right after her interview, we asked her to try on some jumpsuits to see which one would fit.  She came out of the bathroom in her white jumpsuit and Soeur Woyak and I nearly cried.  We knew right then that she was getting baptized.  She was ready.  There was no more room for doubts because the Spirit just filled our hearts.  Patricia was so happy all week.  We got to see her nearly every day, which was really good for her morale and for ours.  When the day actually came, wow.  It sucked.  The day, I mean. Samedei sports got cancelled, but no one told the soeurs (uggggggggg), the ami we wanted to come to church was out of town, the programs hadn't gotten printed, and my companion had a panic attack over stressing about it.  I was really chill (i'm not lying), and knew things would work out.  I mean, I spent four hours writing a talk in French about the Gift of the Holy Ghost, so I knew my part would be fine.  And guess what?  It was.  She got to the church early, got dressed, and and we started recieving everyone.  A huge group came, which was great because Patricia never goes to all 3 hours of church.  She has serious social anxiety issues, so Relief Society scares her.  But she smiled and talked to everyone who came to congratulate her.  Sam, our Branch President's 6 year old son, RAAAAAANNNNNN up to Patricia, grabbed her hand and said "It's my Dad that's baptizing you."  She looked at me, having no idea who this small loud and incredibly adorable child was, and I nodded, so she said "Oui."  Sam nodded and said "Je sais!" (I know!) and ran off.  I think that's when she started relaxing.  But I still had to stay by her side, she said.  The first talk went just fine, but it was really weird.  Okay, not fine, but okay.  SO I got super nervous.  But I don't remember my talk at all.  I just know that SOeur Woyak said it was really good, which is great because she's not a shallow e compliment giver, and the Branch Pres told me he was suprised that that was my first talk in France.  "Now, I'll ask my counselors to have you give another one".  Great.

Tha actual Baptism was so amazing.  When she started walking into the font I could feel the Spirit so strongly.  And when she came out of the water, I started to cry.  One of my favorite members, Elisabeth Desterbois (i love her because she is a lot like Michayla) gave me a big hug.  We went and met her at the top of the stairs of the font and she gave me and Soeur Woyak these giant, soaking wet hugs.  It was amazing.  She stood there and thanked us over and over, and all we could say was "it wasn't us.  It was you and the Lord."  It was amazing.  The church is true.  She got the Gift of the Holy Ghost the next day and it was amazing.

It's worth it, you know.  If she's the only baptism I got to help prepare, then I'm okay.  Because seeing her change, seeing her glow.  Wow wow woww;  It was worth it.

I love you all.  Write to me.  Pray for me and my companion.

Soeur Barros