Sister Michelle Hoar

Serving in the France Lyon Mission Nov 2012 – April 2014

“Sister Hoar, as is custom, you will be whitewashing in Agen”

“Bonjour,

Friday 7.20am, President Roney calls… “Sister Hoar, as is custom, you will be whitewashing in Agen. Your companion will be Soeur Nuutinen.”

Flip.

Agen, like Angoulême, was an Elders ville. I got a text from the district leader, Elder Adams, saying “Soeur Hoar the conqueror!” I was distraught. I won’t linger on how hard it was to leave because I’m in Agen now and as I learnt last transfer, we just have to look forward. When we look back too much it’s as if we don’t believe that the future could be better than the past. That’s not true, there are great things ahead in Agen.

I had a wonderful last week in Angoulême though (gotta talk a bit about the past otherwise you’d have nothing to read). We got to see Audrey nearly every day which is a huge change around from when we first met her. She would squirm out of 1 rdv a week and by the end she would be the one asking if we could come over more. We also spent a while with the famille Temahuki who I love! I’m gonna miss these people so much, there are lots of other members too that I miss and love so much and I’m so grateful (my English must be bad, I just had to ask my Finnish companion how to spell that) oh yeah, I’ll finish with a Finnish…terrible but couldn’t resist. Anyway, I’m so grateful we’re coming back in the summer, I think I want to spend a whole week in Angoulême and I’ve already been offered a house to stay in while we’re there.

Anyway, as I was saying, gotta look forward. Agen! Agen is even smaller than Angoulême. My companion is small too.. She’s from Finland and is on her fourth transfer and she’s lovely, speaks great French and perfect English. Voilà. Ok, we also have a senior couple who live in the same apartment building as us so that’s convenient, they’ve been such a huge help already, feeding us when we got in late from the train last night and then showing us around today. They’re called Murer and are from Switaerland so they know all the members that I’ve served around. they don’t speak English so that’s great that I can’t get lazy with my French. The apartment is HUGE, Honestly, I’ve never had a hallway before and there are two bedrooms. I always thought the line in the white handbook about sleeping in the same room was a joke.

It was really tempting to be scared about this transfer, I’ve whitewashed a few times and know what it entails…it’s hard. BUT, I then read the scripture about perfect love casting out fear and realised it was true. If I just concentrate on loving these people and the Lord then there really is nothing to fear. I also learnt a lot the last couple of transfers which taught me how to not put so much pressure on myself because I realised that a lot of unhappiness comes from when we just put our own will and expectations before the Lord’s. I would absolutely love to make a huge difference in this branch and bring many souls unto Christ and I know these are righteous desires but also the Lord has his timing and his way of doing miracles. I thought that things weren’t progressing much in Angoulême but then I look back and just marvel at what we accomplished. I don’t know what’s going to happen in Agen but I know that I can again marvel at what we do here if I put my trust in the Lord.

Funny story from the week. We were at the Temahuki’s and were talking about the White House…don’t know why. Anyway, someone mentions the Oval Office and Soeur Beeny turns to me and says “I just got it: it’s called the Oval Office because it’s oval!”. I’m gonna miss her.

Oh, my address is:
les missionnaires
35 rue montesquieu, apt 31B
47000 Agen
France

Love you all, hope you have a fantastic week. Thank you for your prayers, keep going; they’re working 🙂

Love Soeur Hoar”

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Scriptures and words of encouragement in the hymn books

“Bonjour,

I nearly fell of my chair when I logged into emails and find my travel itinerary!

I love being here. The other day we talked about transfers and I said that I’d be happy if I stayed or not because I absolutely love Angouleme but at the same time it’d be nice to have one last adventure. Then after church yesterday with  all our wonderful members I turned to Soeur Beeny and was like, I was chatting rubbish yesterday, who cares about an adventure, I’ll be distraught when I have to leave this place. It’s in the Lords hands though and like that, I don’t have to worry. I’m just gonna have a wonderful week this week.

I sat on a bus with a lady and gave her some chocolate and had a nice chat, we talked about all sorts and had a really nice moment sharing the things we loved and then I linked it into how I’m here to share another thing I love which is a message about Jesus Christ. I got her number and she said she’d be happy to see me again. Also I attended a baptism! It was Stephan’s baptism this Saturday and it was fantastic. Usually he’s a happy person, he likes to joke and stuff but on Saturday we’d never seen him like that, he was bouncing off the walls and it was such a joy to see. I don’t know what more I could say. Audrey made it just in time to see him get dunked and I hope with all my heart that it will be her time soon. We’re going this afternoon, to visit a castle with her and Josué, her fiancé and I feel like the more time we spend with her the better. She’s fantastic, she just needs a bit of courage and she’ll be there.

Last night we got invited over to the Temahuki’s to do a little family home evening. Soeur Temahuki asked us when we were at church last minutes because her inactive son was staying with her and left today and wanted us to share something about faith in Christ. Together we came up with a really good idea because we and her family are very musical we did a musical FHE where we chose a few hymns about the Saviour and between each one read the scripture that went with it. It was such a wonderful evening. At the beginning frère Temahuki and his son Néphi sang some tahitian songs with the guitar and then they played the hymns on guitar too. Soeur Beeny and the temahuki’s all sing so well.

Also, to encourage people for the miracle Sunday next week we stole an idea from Mark and put scriptures and little words of encouragement in all the hymns in the hymn books that we sang on Sunday.

Love you all loads, have a wonderful week

Love Soeur Hoar”

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“We’ve just brought a stranger to church”

“Bonjour

We have a Tahitian couple who’ve come back to the branch, I think I talked about them last week and I was talking to Frère Temahuki and he said that in Tahitian Hoar means ‘friend’, I said, ‘do you know what it means in English?’ he said “no” and I told him. He laughed and said “I guess it’s pretty similar to a friend then!”

We met a man in centre ville the other day who said that his dad was 124 and still living, so we were curious as to how old he was (looks about 50), he said 94 and then went on to say that when we’re old he’ll still be walking around at like 200 years old and he’ll be really healthy. He refused to share his secrets for staying so healthy but did let slip that he knows exactly when I would die, I tried to get it out of him but he wouldn’t even tell me within a five year boundary. It’s not like I wanted to know the exact day but I guess it’s a power he just can’t share with others. The moral of this story is that I really like the people in Angoulême.

I was ill this week, the first time really on my mission and it’s annoying. It didn’t stop us going out but it meant that I was not in my right mind for a few days, thus I had a few conversations like the one I wrote above. I find though that when we’re feeling weak, the Lord sends nice people to make things better so I got to meet a few nice people this week. A lot of mean people too but because I was feeling so out of it I didn’t even notice. Soeur Beeny stopped this woman who just responded with a load of abuse and questions that she didn’t actually want answers to and she shot them at me and I was feeling so ill that I just couldn’t be bothered to answer and I was just a bit numb to all the rubbish she shouted at us afterwards. So it turns out that not feeling well was a blessing. Soeur Beeny just laughed afterwards because of the expression I had on my face, mum, I’m sure you can imagine it a bit, you know when I don’t think much of someone and I don’t have the energy to hide it.

I’m working a lot on charity this week.

People are really funny here though and mum, you’re right how funny it is that things have changed so much because honestly, out of all my villes I might be the most excited to have you meet Angoulême branch in July. I love this place and I say it in the same kind of tone as I talked about Geneva. I really hope I finish here, I’ll  be gutted if I have to leave but it’s ok because I have another 2 weeks before I really need to think about it.

You know I said we were doing a miracle Sunday where for the 2nd of March everyone will bring a friend. So to help out we made a bunch of brownies and put two in each bag with a tag saying that things are better when we share them. Then during our missionary minute in sacrament meeting we told them about what you sent me and that we’re going to do it as a branch and that they each have two brownies, one to eat and one to share and with the brownie they can share an invitation to come to church. I hope it worked, to be honest I think they were just happy to get cake and they like us a bit more now but that’s ok too.

The tasks that I did this week was that we made something for a less active member. We had brownies left over so we visited a less active family in the afternon and gave them to them. Also we watched the Restoration video with Stephan this week (thus a video with a non member). It went pretty well, he’s got his baptism this Saturday in Bordeaux but then he will be a member of our branch. His best friend who lives in Bordeaux will be baptising him who is a recent convert himself and so only just received the Priesthood. It’s weird and wonderful that this baptism has just come out of ‘nowhere’. We were thinking we were working so hard and nobody was progressing and then poof! we’re going to have a baptism and a new member in Angoulême. They haven’t had a baptism in over a year. I’m so happy for them, Stephan’s really going to be a strength to this branch. He’s brilliant.

Church was funny, we had four amis there again, honestly this branch doesn’t know what’s hit them. I see that the Lord has a sense of humour here because things all work out in the end but in the strangest ways that let you know that it’s all His work because we know we had nothing to do with this one. We had a call from an unknown number Saturday night and it was someone asking about church, we didn’t know who it was but then figured it was the brother of the family we met this week. Fantastic, we thought, because he’d actually not given us the right number and now we’ve got the right one. So Sunday morning we go with Soeur Menardin to pick him up in centre-ville and I didn’t recognise him but that’s normal because I never remember how people look when I’ve only met them once. We’re chatting in the car and then when we get to church soeur Beeny leans to me and says ‘that’s not Camel’ (who we thought it was) and it took us forever to work out who it was. Turns out it’s just someone I talked to in town the other day and we’ve just brought a stranger to church. Great 🙂 Then another person we just met in the street came too and afterwards they all stayed for the munch and mingle and got to know the branch. It was funny because we had a church attendance of 14 and six of those were us and our amis.

So that’s the week. I hope it all made sense, my head’s not completely back to normal but it’s all good. Tonight we’re off to do an FHE with the famille Temahuki and Josué and Audrey. Have a wonderful week.

Love you all

Soeur Hoar”

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Wonderful things going on in Angoulême

“Bonjour

Let me tell you there are some wonderful things going on in Angoulême. This place is buzzing with potential and it’s starting to really show now. Angoulême usually has a church attendance of 18 and we’ve only been able to get one investigator to come a few times but this week we had 31 people there (granted there was one family visiting but still) and we had 4 amis amongst those. You should’ve seen the text that one of the members sent us after church, it was brilliant, I don’t think they’ve ever seen that many investigators at church before. This is only the beginning.

We did a fireside on Saturday and it was brilliant, we had a really good time and we did it on the theme of using faith vs logic. We talked about how the scriptures are full of people choosing faith over the Saviour above that which is logical, for example; after fishing all night and catching nothing it was not logical to think that going to the other side of the boat would do anything but they caught more than they could handle. For ages we have been ‘fishing’ and in this branch they have not seen any results. The Lord is asking us again to cast in our family finding nets and logic says it’s not even worth it but we’re not logical. Also, thinking of the definition of the word insanity being something to the effect of continuously doing the same thing but expecting different results…it’s missionary work! yes we’re getting smarter about it, I hope, but it’s still insane to think after knocking 200 doors without success that door 201 is going to bring a family ready for baptism.

We gave our branch a challenge to bring one friend each to church on the 2nd march and already we’ve fixed plans with a member to meet her friend today, just to get to know her before this member invites her to receive the lessons. This is a couple who’ve been in Tahiti for the past three months and have just come back to the branch. They’re fantastic, both served missions and are super eager to work with us. Them teamed with the Menardin’s are going to be an unstoppable force for this branch. We’re working on strengthening the strong members and we’re seeing great things come from that.

Funny story for the week: We were porting and come across this lady who tells us straight away that she’s not interested but then Soeur Beeny compliments her jumper which is a big knitted thing with dolphins on it, she tells her she loves dolphins too and so we get let in to her apartment. When we walk in we find a room with the biggest collection of dolphin figures I’ve ever seen in my life. She was kind of nuts and we spoke for about 10 minutes about dolphins (looking back I don’t know how) and then she told us again she wasn’t interested. BUT then we knock on the door below hers and it’s a Muslim family who let us in and they turn out to be really cool, the dad even said ‘I can be christian if I want to’ but then we found out in the second rdv that he didn’t really want to BUT that’s ok because this family lead us to their brother in law who would like to be christian and he’s coming to church next week.

Miracle story: we finally got to see the famille Rivoisy again! This was the really cool family I told you about a few weeks ago. Each week we give a prayer list to the members of the branch with our investigators and their needs (not too much detail don’t worry) and this family have been on there for weeks with the comment ‘so that we can see them again’. The members pray for us, the list and personal missionary experiences every night at 9pm and I know that it’s united prayer that allowed us to see them again. President told us that families take longer but it’s completely worth it. I expect that the baptisms won’t come until after I’ve left but that’s ok, we come back in July.

Unfortunately the families that we met last week didn’t work out this week but that’s normal, it sometimes takes a few tries before we get to see people so we’ll probably get to see them this week.

Also, I haven’t told you about Stephan who is and isn’t our investigator. It’s the silliest situation and we’re going to sort it out this week. The Bordeaux sisters started teaching him because his best friend is a recent convert in Bordeaux and they fixed a baptismal date with him but then called us up to see if we could teach him so he would be ready in time for his baptism. Why? Because he’s rarely in Bordeaux because he lives in Angoulême. So we’ve been teaching him the last few weeks and he came to our church yesterday, integration with the members is not a problem, he’s met them all and he feels comfortable here. I have no idea why they’re trying to keep him in Bordeaux and the only thing that’s been stopping us is because we don’t want to ‘steal’ the Bordeaux sisters ami. But at the end of the day, it’s best for him to be in Angoulême, that’s his branch.

Nice long email for you this week.

Love you all so much, have a wonderful week.

Soeur Hoar”

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Knock on a black door on a street that starts with the letter ‘A’

“Bonjour,

Sorry I’m writing a day late, we had to swap over our p-day this week because we had zone conference and it was one of the best that I’ve ever been too. You [mum and dad] got a shout out too. Elder Gruber is one of the assistants and him and his companion Elder Visser were doing a presentation on finding and teaching families. They asked what we should do when we go to do a FHE in someone’s house and I said that it should just be fun etc. To which Elder Gruber said, ‘put your hand up if you’ve ever been to one of Soeur Hoar’s FHEs’. he shoots his hand up and tells the story about how he came over to our house when we were on holiday.

We contacted so many people this week. Usually there’s no one in Angouleme and we struggle to hit our weekly goal which is 378 people per week but this week was the international comic festival, the one cool thing that ever happens in Angouleme and there were floods of people in centre-ville. We contacted over 1000 people and it was so funny because they put the top 5 contacting companionships in the weekly mission newsletter and everyone was so shocked to see Angouleme on there. We also found three potential families to teach and we set up appointments with two of them so far. It was such a miracle because there were so many foreigners but nearly all the people who were interested were from Angouleme.

I have another funny quote from president. He talked a lot this conference about love and especially about loving your companion. He said that you needed to be humble and remember that people think differently to you and that doesn’t mean that one is right and one is wrong, you’re just different. He then related it to how people who have down syndrome just think differently and what would usually make you mad is just a bit funny. So his wisdom and instruction from conference is literally this. ‘Think of your companion as having something like down system, they think differently and it’s kinda funny.’

Forgot to tell you what I did this week. It was Sunday night and we were on our way home for the day when I remembered I hadn’t done something off the list. To my companions dismay I told her I wasn’t going home before I’d done something so I looked for the quickest thing and chose to ‘knock on a black door on a street that starts with the letter ‘A” I had a good time searching through the old Angouleme streets in the dark. It was so dark though that you couldn’t see the colour of the doors (as I’m writing this I’m thinking it’s a really good job you also pray daily for my safety too). I had a torch though so we looked like a couple of really creepy people as we shined the light on each door saying ‘dang it, it’s blue or green or brown’. It took us about 15 mins to find a black door it was ridiculous. Then we found one and she said no. But thanks, it was fun.

We’re off to a museum now because all the museums in Angouleme are closed Mondays so having conference yesterday was a tender mercy.

Love you all so much, have a wonderful week.

Soeur Hoar”

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