Voilà ! Le Hebdomadaire !
A Change in the Program.
My body wouldn't stop trembling during sacrament meeting. I was completely overtaken by the spirit telling me that I NEEDED to get up and share my testimony. Now, if it were fast and testimony meeting, that prompting would have been really easy to follow. However, seeing as it was not the first Sunday of the month, and that the bishop already had the meeting filled with great speakers, it seemed a little unfair... Why would the Lord give me a prompting he knew I couldn't follow? What did he want me to do? I can just see it now... sneaking up to the pulpit in the middle of sacrament meeting, "Excuse me Bishop, I just need to borrow the microphone for a couple minutes...don't mind me!" Hahaha. But, knowing that probably wouldn't have gone over well, I got up to go to the bathroom instead. I figured maybe I was mistaking indigestion for spiritual promptings. Upon my return from the bathroom, I was shocked to see my companion waving at me from the podium, Hahaha. Did she tell me she was giving a talk today? Then she looks at me jokingly says, "Well Sœur! Looks like we're giving our departing testimonies today!"
So, The Lord provided a way! As always! #1Nephi3:7 "...The Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." Amen!
In my testimony I spoke of one of the greatest things I have learned on my mission. Something you have heard me say very often! Which is... MIRACLES HAPPEN!.... ESPECIALLY in France! So let's take a look at a few of this week's miracles, shall we? :)
Clémence @ Church
A dear friend of mine (the 16 year-old daughter of the Non-believing family I lived with in Normandy) took a train for over an hour to come to church with us this Sunday! The ward members welcomed her in as one of their own and she loved meeting all of our friends--Almost as much as we enjoyed introducing her to all of them! While my companion was fixing rendezvous with members, I had the opportunity of taking her around and giving a little chapel tour. While we were walking around I looked at her and said, "Clémence, do you want to know what is so cool about our church?...It is the EXACT same church that Jesus Christ himself established on the Earth. We even have prophets and apostles, just like in the Bible!" Then she gasps and says, "Woah!! Really!? That IS cool!!" Which leads us to even MORE miracles!...
Clémence will be coming back to church with us the week after Conference, to hear one of our apostles speak to us, in person! Elder Anderson, who will be visiting us prior to the temple open house :)
We got special permission to travel to Paris to continue teaching Clémence!
Elder Anderson came and spoke to us on one of my very first Sundays in the MTC, 18 months ago. Now I am going to have the opportunity to hear him speak to us on my very last Sunday in the mission. :) That is a miracle to me.
Paid Sick Days.
This week I caught a bad Bronchitis bug and a UTI. So we were forced to spend a lot of time working from the apartment. Luckily, on the mission, we have something that I like to call- paid sick days! It's when you're stuck in the apartment against your own free will, (like when you're really really sick) so you do everything you can possibly do from the apartment, and then the Lord sends you miracles in return! Missionaries don't get paid money... but we get paid in miracles!! So after doing all we could from the apartment, The Lord made up for the rest by sending us not one, not two, but THREE, self-referrals from my hometown's temple visitor center that all became new investigators! :)
Be A Friend.
While sitting in Sunday School, I noticed a woman leave the room and felt impressed to follow her. I followed her all the way outside where I was able to stop and talk to her. After speaking for several minutes, she broke into tears and began explaining to me that she was leaving because she wasn't even sure if she even had a testimony after having confronted certain difficulties. I don't remember what I said to her, but I just remember sincerely praying the entire time to know what the Lord would have me say to her. I know he was listening very closely to that prayer. Because the spirit filled my mouth with words that had the capacity to allow her to feel the love of her Father in Heaven, and I know she felt it. About an hour later, we returned to Relief Society together. We were also able to fix rendezvous for the following weeks to come teach the missionary lessons to her and her family :). That was a miracle. To see someone who was so close to turning away from God, experience his love, and make the decision to stay.
Many people ask me why I enjoy being a missionary so much. I have been thinking about it a lot lately as I have been preparing to return to "normal life". There are many reasons why I love being a missionary. But one reason I have loved being a missionary is that, it has taught me how to be a friend to everyone :) So one goal that I would like to set for after the mission, is to be a friend.
We all need friends. My wish is that we will plead with the Lord to teach us how to be a friend, to everyone.
I love you all, my friends! :)
À la prochaine,
P-Day? What's that?
To kick off the week, we had a killer preparation day! Instead of going site seeing, we decided to teach Emelie with our mission president's wife. Because how many more times are we going to be able to do that? :) As the two of us get closer to the end, we seem to have less and less of a desire to have p-days, and more and more of a desire to just teach lessons ALL the time. Many of you have been emailing me lately to ask what my favorite part of missionary "work" is... to answer you all at once... teaching!
During our lesson with Emelie and Soeur Babin, Emelie told us that she knew the church was true. Because even though she doesn't feel like she has had all the responses to her prayers yet, she continues to feel like something is drawing her to the church and to all of the things we teach her. Especially the commandments. The spirit was so incredible during the entire lesson. I wish it were possible to write every single detail of every lesson I have ever been part of during my mission, especially this one. But needless to say, we went out heel-clicking :)
The Greniers: A Powerhouse Family.
We taught Emelie again the very next day with the family Grenier. Another great lesson :) Then, right afterward, we picked up another investigator (Morgan) and we went over to the Grenier's kid's house and we taught a lesson with them! We haven't been able to teach Morgan in several weeks and after that lesson, it was clear to us why we haven't been able to get a hold of her. Someone was working REALLY hard to make sure that lesson didn't take place, because WOW! We taught the Plan of Salvation and the spirit filled the room to the rafters. It was so strong that I was certain it was also overflowing everyone else's apartments that shared the same building as the Greniers. Then, we looked at Morgan and said, "When you know this is true for yourself, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ, and be baptized by someone holding the authority of God?" Then she said with a smile, "Well, I know it's true!" So we very happily fixed a baptismal date with Morgan for May 27th :).
Updates on Omar.
I know that many of you are very curious to know what's going on with Omar...So are we! All we know is that he is currently passing through a difficult time with his divorce and can't see us for the moment. Please keep him and his family in your prayers.
A lot of Lasts.
Tuesday was my Last Interview. Wednesday was my Last Zone Conference. I gave my "dying" testimony and yes, I of course bawled like a baby as just about the only words I could get out of my mouth were, "You are so lucky to be here" with a pause for dramatic effect between each word. Okay, maybe the pause was just because I was crying, but it worked for dramatic effect. I also had the opportunity to sing a song that I have been working on for the past 6 months for president. A song originally written by my sweet mama, "An instrument in my hands" adapted by me, into French, "Un instrument entre ses mains." It was an emotional day. After Zone conference, I also had my Last exchange in Paris. By the time we got home, Thursday night, I was completely blasted.
CHANGE. What's that?
We get a little too excited about change, on the mission. This week I had my hair done to have something nice and fresh for this summer. Now all of the sisters in the zone are lining up to get theirs done too, hahaha. Here's a before and after! We also had the opportunity to teach the entire salon staff about the temple and give them all special invitations to the temple open house!! :) They were all so thrilled!
Mormons in Disguise.
We went out for an early morning run with Emily, a little Word of Wisdom object lesson we were trying out with her :), when we were brought to a stop by a group of catholic pasteurs offering coffee and church tours to all the passersby. Flattered by their kindness, we thanked them but kindly told them that we don't actually drink coffee. They were only shocked until they noticed our badges. The sweats and tennis shoes must have disguised us as "normal people". But we were actually the Mormons ;)
-"Oh! We didn't even recognize you!! You're The Mormons!!!"
-"We sure are!!!"
We ended up talking with them for about 15 minutes and they liked us so much they told us that we should join their church, Hahaha. Of course, we laughed and said with a wink, "Hmmm... thanks for the offer! But we are actually here to baptize you!" Which elicited a pretty good response. They seemed at least partially convinced considering they made us run all the way home to get temple open house invitations for them and bring them back. ;) They are ALL registered to attend the temple open house next month! Also, now whenever we see them they yell out and wave, "HEY!! IT’S OUR MORMONS!!"
The temple is bringing SO many miracles, as you can imagine! This week we have been going from referral to referral in Chesney (where the temple is being built) to deliver invitations for the temple open house. Our feet have never been so blistered, hahaha. But it is so great! We are always lost so we just stop everyone along the way to ask for directions and say something like, "We are here to deliver this special invitation for the Mormon temple open house next month, could you tell us where to find..." Then they give us directions followed by something along the lines of, "Hey! Wait! I actually want an invitation too!" Which is perfect because the law with our temple invitations in France is that we can't just hand them out like pass along cards, the people have to specifically ask us for them. So we got the system down ;) Then we give them one and ask if they have any other friends who might be interested in having one as well, and they send us to another referral! And of course, we ask for more directions along the way.
Miracles happen!!!... especially in LE CHESNAY!!
Oh! Also!!! Super awesome news!!! Emelie came up to us in church yesterday morning and told us that she had prayed to know if she was supposed to be baptized and guess what her answer was?.... YES!!! So we pulled a fast one and got her a baptismal interview right after church and... she passed!!! Woot woot woot! :D Now just a few more steps before she can get baptized, but she is well on her way! Soeur George and I contacted Emelie together and have been teaching her together for the past 6 months or so. It's been amazing to be here to see her go through the entire conversion process, highs and lows, and to be able to do it all with the same companion. A rare and beautiful experience!
I just love being a missionary!
Today is going to be a short one because we had lessons this morning and little time to write. But I will try not to leave out too many details ;) which shouldn't be too hard because this week's theme remained pretty constant: FOOD.
Tuesday "Trunky day"
We spent some time on Tuesday trying to get school stuff figured out for after the mission and it felt like stress was just flooding our bodies and leaking out our eyeballs, hahaha. At the end of the day, we went to a Tahitian family's house for a birthday party and they stuffed us to the rafters. They kept saying, "YOU'RE SOOOO SKINNY! EAT!"... we won't be skinny for long if this keeps up... to add to the excitement, I had a nightmare the other night that I married a Tahitian and his whole family was trying to force feed me because I was "too skinny" to be in the family... Soeur George also must have been having some interesting dreams that night because she kept sleep laughing at full volume and yelling "HAHAHA!!! Ahhhh Soeur!!! Good one Soeur!!! HAHAHA" Apparently, I was cracking some pretty funny jokes.
Eating with Elizabeth.
Elizabeth invited us over again for dinner this week. I was quite hesitant after my LAST experience eating at Elizabeth's... and for good reason!! (Confined to the bathroom for two weeks). Well, this time, we WISHED we had diarrhea because she (no exaggeration) force fed us 4 different courses, all the size of mountains. Despite our whining and grimaces, she refused to let us stop eating until our plates (that she kept refilling against our will) were cleared. We got to the point where we literally had to eat the third and forth courses STANDING UP so that we could fit everything... then we went home and took a nap because we absolutely couldn't do anything else after that.... She almost brought out the 5th course of chicken and potatoes before I literally begged her with my hands clasped together to let us take it home instead because we had "no food in our fridge".
"Don't let your beauty go to waste!"
A young African man sat down in front of me on the train and told me I was beautiful. He then continued to inquire about my children (that I don't have, you know, missionary.) Then he says, "NO CHILDREN!?! Don't let your beauty go to waste!!! The clock is ticking! You need to start making babies! And you need to have AT LEAST SIX!!!!" And he wasn't even Mormon! It was definitely one of the strangest things an African man has ever said to me, hahaha.
We were asked to sing in the Stake Choir, it was so lovely!! I have really missed singing in choirs. My favorite talk in conference was given by a sweet little Italian man from the quorum of the seventies. He shared a story about how his wife was an incredible cook and yet got so frustrated when they moved to America because no matter how hard she tried, she couldn't successfully create any of her Italian dishes with the American ingredients she found in the stores. She finally broke down into tears and one of her friends gave her an American cook book and said with a smile... "Here! Now you can make yummy food with the ingredients you have!"
He compared it to the way we often try to force and change the gospel to fit our culture, the way he and his family tried to change and force America to fit their Italian culture. When in reality, it should have been the opposite. We need to change and prepare ourselves to fully embrace and follow the gospel.
Oh yes, we also ate food after stake conference, hahaha.
And we found a spider the size of a contacting card on our way home.
Well I am going to go do some sit-ups...
I love you all!!
Just a quick note for all of you who have been asking... YES I am "dying" next month...but, NO! My blog is not dying with me!!! Stay tuned for the many miracles, adventures, recipes, and more, to come in the following months!!!
Transfer Goal = Take a Taxi
Between the icy rain, wind, hail, and starvation, we decided it was time to cross, "Take a Taxi" off our transfer bucket list. Believe it or not, neither of us had ever taken a taxi. But we were sure all you had to do was throw your arms up and shout, "Taxi!" whenever you saw a green-lighted car. But what we didn't know was, not only would that wave down a taxi, but also a potential investigator! Well, okay... maybe he was only interested in Mormons until he found out we don't actually have multiple wives. Hahaha. Oh Eric... (taxi man) Either way, he said he "loves the Mormons!!!" and wants to come to church this week...Hopefully he doesn't come looking for wives. Ahaha.
Ya win some ya lose some!
During a little split contacting on the train, I met the most incredible new ami. A young French student named Camille. She has texted us every single day since just to make sure we haven't forgotten the rendezvous we set for next week after her exams :) So we found a new investigator!! But...lost Soeur George in the process...again... hahaha. She was also in the middle of a contact and missed our stop. So, I found myself wandering around La Défense alone...déjà-vu? My favorite part about losing my companion is the excuse it gives me to ask people to use their phones. It's perfect--you can teach them the gospel while it rings, and they can't go anywhere because you're holding their phone!
It's been raining cats and dogs all week and all of the Trains in our area are shut down for "spring cleaning". So we have to walk everywhere, even if it takes us several hours. Needless to say, there has been no need for taking showers with all this rain pouring down on our heads! Hahaha.
Bienvenue, Mardi Gras!
There are unicorns everywhere! Apparently, everyone dresses up in Unicorn onesies for Mardi Gras. Even the adults. Grown men. Pregnant woman. Everyone! It was sure amusing to see but it definitely makes it a lot harder to take street contacting seriously when you're stopping a bunch of unicorns to teach them the gospel.
The Pirate Man.
This guy didn't have an excuse, it wasn't Mardi Gras, Lol. But there was a grown man dancing around the metros in a pirate costume asking for money. When I told him that I had no money, he got really, really close to my face and growled like Jack Sparrow. Then he stuck his hat over my face and walked away. Hahaha. He was actually a pretty funny guy.
On Wednesday, we woke up with a crazy prompting to go to a city named Suresnes. When we got there, we worked the entire day and didn't see a single positive thing happen. Not one person stopped to talk to us. No one let us in. People moved seats on the train so that they didn't have to sit by us. This happened ALL day!! Welp...I guess the Lord was just testing our obedience!
But the NEXT day.
Thursday we woke up with ANOTHER crazy prompting! Only this time it was to pass by a member’s house. The family Ledru. The Ledrus are empty nesters and they are currently working on the construction of the Paris temple. So they are never there until at least 9pm. But, we went anyways. The members weren't there. BUT their non-member daughter-in-law was!! We taught her the Plan of salvation and she LOVED it. Then, she came to church this Sunday! No wonder the lord sent us all over the place the day before! He had to make sure we would listen when it was most important :)
The baptism of our sweet little Lena was on Saturday. She was SO excited!
We saw an unbelievable amount of miracles that day. Her parents invited ALL their nonmember friends and Soeur George and I just ran around like crazy talking to all of them!! Here's a couple Baptism Day Miracles for y'all :)...
After making really good friends with some Evangelist Rockers, we had a little jam session at the piano and they played the jazziest version of "How Great Thou Art" I had ever heard, and we all sang together! Hahaha. It was so great. Everyone else was just laughing and clapping to the music. Then they invited me to come sing in their Christian Rock Band at Church, Hahaha! When they left, they told their member friends... "We love these girls!!! They can come teach us the good word of God ANYDAY!"
A coworker of Lena's mom, a fully veiled Muslim woman, came up to her and said that she had felt the spirit at the baptism and would be attending church with her the following day. AMAZING!!
Birthday party in a Castle.
When the address of our sushi girl friends from last week took us to a castle, we were certain we had been punked. We called them, expecting an explanation, and they told us...yeah! That's the right place!! Apparently, the Castle had been renovated on the inside to be made into apartments, hahaha. So yeah, we attended a birthday party in a castle in France. We also taught a great lesson about our own castles!! #Temples ;)
After Church, we went with Emelie to the Bendio's to make tacos and watch a conference talk by elder Uchtdorf. It was such a lovely afternoon. That night, Emelie sent a text to the Bendio's to thank them for having her over because she truly felt like she had a family and sisters when she was with us and that she felt a warm feeling.
Miracles happen... EVEN IN FRANCE!
I feel very honored to have had the opportunity to serve as a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the France, Paris Mission.