Monday, March 18, 2013

These are some very influential ladies...or rather chicas:)
 Forgive the fact that we`ve been teary eyed, but oh how I love the Rodhains:) Mes cheres parents francais.

Hello my beautiful friends and family,

Can you believe it? I`m coming home. I feel like the past 4 days I`ve been living in some crazy dream. I keep putting stuff in my bags (who are we trying to kid, cramming stuff in my bags), thinking, ``Is this real?``

This week was really great! We were lucky enough to have another Sister`s Conference, I jokingly referred to it as the Sister Perkins Going Away Party:) Some things never change:) Yay! It was so nice to see 5 of my old companions and to see all of the new BEAUTIFUL sisters who just came into the mission. I was slightly envious of all of the knowledge they already had about being awesome missionaries and even more for all of the experiences I know they are going to have. But then I remembered that the Lord has been so good to me and given me the things I needed to learn. 

Yesterday was a very tender Sunday for me. I got to see my beloved Frere and Soeur Rodhain from the Quebec ward. Frere Rodhain was the high council speaker and it felt like home seeing them again. If my joy wasn`t already full the sweet little branch of Ste. Foy sang ``Dieu soit avec toi jusqu`a au revoir`` and the speakers said so many kind things. And of course, I cried. After the meetings Soeur Rodhain scooped me up in a hug and made me promise to come back. I really hope it is much sooner rather than later. 

Now that this beautiful 18 month experience is nearly over, I can feel nothing but the deepest gratitude. Yes, there is a small twinge of sadness and even some longing to see what happens next in the CMM. But above all I feel gratitude. I know that this experience blessed my life above anyone else`s. I know that the Lord took a very broken heart and a somewhat less than contrite spirit and He made me shine again. He reminded me of my divine nature. He gave me so many amazing companions who taught me lessons about love, growth, patience, testing...and charity. He taught me how to love people that I don`t know just because they are a beloved spirit of His. He taught me that ``it`s not about me``. He taught me what it really means to endure to the end joyfully. He taught me that there is no such thing as a ``perfect plan`` unless it`s His. He taught me what the Atonement really means and that is does apply to everyone, including me. The list could go on for days but the point is I know that I have so much to be grateful for. And I know just as He has led and guided me for the past 18 months He will continue to be there for whatever lies ahead. 

Thank you for your love and support! What is a missionary without their fan club? Thank you for reading these silly letters every week. I know that I think I`m really funny, but I hope you laughed a little too. And more importantly I hope you felt something, and were reminded you that you are a child of God and He loves YOU!  I have no doubt about that.

Ready or not here I come:)

A la prochaine!

Soeur Perkins

Monday, March 11, 2013

 We heart attacked one of our little friends. Look how awesome my Hagrid hair is. If I can't find a job after the mission maybe I could just be the game keeper for Hogwarts?

We went to get sushi for one of the Sister's birthdays. Yeah try ordering Sushi in French. 

I remember a while back listening to President counsel a Sister who was going home soon. He said, "At the end of your mission your body has nothing left to give. You have to solely rely on the spirit to keep you moving." He's right. My body is telling me to stop, but with a lot of spiritual help we keep moving on. 

This week was great as they so often are and this one  was filled with a lot of praying, as they often are, but for some reason I feel like I need to share two specific experience from the week. 

On Friday night we did our normal nightly planning. In this area it's pretty easy to plan because we mostly knock. We picked an area and a specific road we wanted to knock. Then we had a companionship prayer and asked that if the area wasn't right that the Lord would direct us elsewhere. The next day we arrived on the road after about 1000 different things going wrong and it felt wrong. We stood there looking at each other. And then out of the corner of my eye about a mile away I could see this building. "Let's go there." So we started walking and ended up just walking down this random street and picked the first building we saw the first door we knocked on this man from Cameroon opened and let us in. We had an amazing first lesson and he kept remarking on the spirit that he felt. He took the Book of Mormon with so much sincerity and was so thrilled that we were coming back. 

What this experience reminded me is that our plans are not always the best ones.But the Lord has the big plan and if we do as Alma directs to "Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings" we will never really be lost but will find that the Lord has already prepared the path before us. 

The second experience happened over the course of many days.On Monday Sister May and I went to get our groceries from a store that is about a ten minute walk from our house, you have to walk over a freeway over pass and some other shops. On the way home, with all of our groceries and a blizzard raging  I realized in a panic that my tag was not on my coat. So we spent the next while retracing our steps and found nothing. I was heart broken. It might be hard to understand, but as a missionary your tag is more than just another article that you wear everyday, it's a tangible reminder of who you are and what the Savior did for you. In my little pity walk back to our apartment I prayed that my tag would be found by someone who would have a kind heart. I even thought maybe someone would find it and decide to look up the church and maybe even get baptized:) but at the end of my prayer I prayed that whatever the Lord wanted to happen with that little tag would be done and that I could be happy without it. I felt a lot better. 

On Friday Sister May and I were walking past the same store to go knocking at some apartments near the store. As we walked by Sister May stopped and in shock said, "Your TAG!" There it was covered in mud from the melted snow. I was so happy and felt like a part of me had come home. I wrapped it in a tissue and later that night I washed that little tag until it shone again. Sister May called it my "Prodigal Tag". It might seem weird or corny but  this experience reminded of two things,  if something is important to us, it is important to the Lord. He knew that tag had sentimental importance. Another thing it reminded me of is that when we submit to the will of the Lord we are blessed. Even if that blessing is as simple as finding your missionary tag in a patch of melted snow. I know you're sitting there in your chair thinking that I'm a little off my rocker, but I know that the Lord uses these silly little experience to prepare us to recognize His hands in the much more important ones. 

I hope you have a beautiful week. As for me I will be soaking up the sights, sounds, and smells of Quebec. 

I love you.

Bisous Bisous
Soeur Perkins

Monday, March 4, 2013

 Club Cool: Click, Click! Sister May has a little sister named Yazmin and she started a club named Club Cool which consists of herself and two other people. So we started calling our investigator pool club cool:) Click click!
  Soeur May and yours truly in Vieux Quebec
if you ever wanted to know what a heart attack waiting to happen here it is:)

We still have snow!!! Everywhere. On Friday  we got like 200 feet of snow. And on Saturday we got another 400 feet of snow. AND on Sunday we got another 700 feet of snow!!!! That's over a thousand feet of snow. Where is spring?

In other news life here is gooood! Oh I love this little area. It's a gold mine. Everyday is jam-packed with tender mercies. They are everywhere and they are oh so beautiful! Even when we are trudging through thousands of feet of snow up and down hills chasing after buses and being splattered by cars, it is oh so good.

This week we decided to get to know some of our less active members. The Relief Society president gave us a pretty substantial list of people who she wanted us to work with. Two of them being older women who live in assisted living homes. On Tuesday we visited a little lady named Colombe Benoit she just celebrated her 110th birthday. That's a lot of candles, right? She was as cute and as frail as you would expect someone of 110 to be. When the nurse introduced us to her she said, 'MORMONS! I used to go to that church. But now I'm here. I guess you came to look for me?" She said this with a very accusing look on her face while she wagged her little frail finger at us. We explained(actually we had to yell about 1 1/2 inches from her right ear, because let's face it she's 110. Things stop working after a while.) that we just came for a visit. She didn't seem convinced. So after yelling a million questions we asked if we could sing her a song. She was really excited so we yelled/sang "Repands le Soleil" she was so happy and seeing the grin on her face when we finished made me realize we were the ones who benefited. 

Then on Thursday we went to visit another member Soeur Laflamme she is in her 80's and also lives in an assisted living center that looks like one of those old 1920's mob boss houses. Sister May and I were in awe as we walked around. I guess the nurse assumed we knew were we were going because she abandoned us. We knew her room number so we made our way there. When we got to the floor that the room should have been on we realized that it wasn't on that floor. So we tried to go down the stairs but there was a big steel door with a security pad on it and unless you know the code you're not going anywhere. So we ask this cute little man if he knew the code and he said "I have no idea." So we're trapped on this floor for like a solid 15 minutes. Finally, another little old man walks by and says, "Do you want to go down?" We were so relieved to find out the code was 3456. Brilliant. So, we're still on the hunt for out less active and we run into the same nurse who let us in and she looks at us like marbles are falling out of our heads. "Oui?" Us: "Yeah. We never found her." Then she tells us that she is in the dinning hall eating dinner and that we can wait in the "sitting room". We had to parade through the dinning hall and all of the old timers are looking at us like "Who are you?" and finally Soeur Laflamme sees us and yells "MORRMOOONNS!" We explained that after she finished her dinner we could talk to her. So we went to the sitting area that was complete with Louis XVI armchairs and cages full of little yellow canaries. After a few minutes Sister Laflamme found us and we all went to her "apartment" for a lesson. We got ourselves situated and started asking questions . Where were you born? Do you have any children? And then halfway through answering she fell asleep. So in my brain I'm thinking "Uh-oh!" So I say really loudly "CAN we sing for you?". She was also really excited. For some reason I thought "You can Make the Pathway Bright" was a good idea. It wasn't because A)it's longer than I remember and B) Sister May didn't know it C) Sister May can never read French Hymns she always gets lost. So for the first verse all was well until we got to the chorus and Soeur Laflamme decided to join in. This is where Sister May and I both lost it because we sounded like three very distressed cats. By the end of the song there are tears streaming down both of our faces and Soeur Laflamme says, "That was beautiful!" In the middle of asking if there was anything we could do she fell asleep again. And then all of the sudden she woke up and said, "Let's sing again!" She chose "How Great Thou Art". Once again all was well until she joined in during the chorus. By this point Sister May and I are both sweating bullets from laughing so hard. It was so pitiful but Soeur Laflamme just loved it. I can't wait for this weeks appointment:)

So once again, we knocked a lot. Normally we've found that most people are very kind (we found a gorgeous couple from Colombia this week!), but this one particular night everyone we knocked into or street contacted was teetering more towards not super nice to really really mean. Both of us feeling very, very discouraged, I broke down in tears.I kept thinking "Why are they rejecting us? They don't even know us? We didn't do anything for them to be so rude." We kept knocking tears and all and wouldn't you know it, it kept happening. I'm ashamed to say I let my faith falter. And then slowly but surely so did Sister May. By the end of the night we were discouraged, cold, and brokenhearted. Our apartment that is usually filled with laughter, chatter, and guitar picking was silent.  We planned, brushed our teeth and went to bed. That night I laid there throwing a pretty impressive pity party. "Why were they so mean to ME?" Then as if someone was sitting right next to me I heard, "They weren't rejecting you, little one. They were rejecting me."  I felt so selfish and sad. Ever since I've been thinking about the scripture in John that says" Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." He is my Savior, Redeemer and Friend. Being scoffed and looked down up, having people yell and swear and slam their doors in our face are just menial compared to what He did for us. And because He loves them too we can never give up. 

I hope your week is warm! Sunny! Full of laughter and something yummy like baked oatmeal, Sister May and I are obsessed. I'll make it for you when I get home:)

I love you!

Bisous Bisous!

Soeur Perkins