Bonjour à tous !
Man, I can't believe it is already Monday! This week wasn't a very eventful one. We mostly just did a lot of exchanges, as usual :). Though we did have quite the exchange miracle on Tuesday! As well as about a million other weird experiences hahahaha. So basically this email will be dedicated to Tuesday.
Tuesday I had an appointment with the physical therapist, which was inconveniently placed smack in the middle of exchanges. But that's okay, we enthusiastically took the challenge to find a new investigator while doing physical therapy! ;)
Of course every time you are in a hurry to get somewhere, the metro comes to an abrupt stop and a fight breaks out between a bunch of scary shirtless men. Which delayed our arrival to the hospital by about 30 minutes. Placing us at the check-in desk at just the perfect moment to meet an adorable little old lady named Marie :)
Marie was also trying to make her way to physical therapy but had gotten a little lost along the way. We were able to help her find her way by inviting her to walk and talk with us. :) She excitedly grabbed my hand and she held it so tight the WHOLE way hahaha. It was adorable. For the next 30 minutes she couldn't stop telling us how nice Canadians are. Even after repeating about 50 times that Soeur Larsen and I were actually American hahahaha. Then she would say, "Oh oh right, Americans!"... Then, less than a few minutes later each time she would start asking us questions about life in Canada hahahaha. Eventually we just went with it :)
Before leaving, Marie grabbed my companion's hand and put something in it before forcing her fingers closed and insisting that it was her gift to us...TWENTY EUROS! What!? There was no way we were about to take twenty euros from an old lady! We tried to give it back at least the equivalent, 20 times, but she refused to take it and kept forcing it back at us telling us to go buy ourselves lots of cookies and candy and cake hahahaha. She then told us, "when French people give you a gift, you are obligated to accept it." She then grabbed my hand, shoved the bill back into it and said," I bet you didn't expect the French people to be that nice!" Hahahahaha. She was right! We laughed so hard! She was sassy! We were so sad when we had to say goodbye to our new little friend...
Luckily, we only had to say goodbye for a week! Soeur Weckesser and I will be going to her house for dinner this coming Sunday :)
Speaking of cookies, candy, and cake...All of my 40 day fasts up to this point have been focused on spiritual health. Well, now that I am pumped full of positivity from my 40 day happy fast, I'm ready to get physically healthy!! Woot woot! :D 40 days without sugar! I am so pumped. So far I have made it 3 whole days. Which is easily the longest I have gone since getting to France hahaha.
First thing in the morning (On Tuesday) we got on a bus, which is fairly normal. Until we found ourselves about 1 meter away from a man who starting twitching dramatically when we got on. In France, especially Paris, you see weird things like that all the time. So we didn't think much of it. Until I started getting weird feelings. It almost looked like he was having a fist fight or like he was trying to battle something... It was strange. Then, he whipped around and stopped right in front of my companion and yells saying that she was the devil, very loudly and multiple times...Then he continued his way making sure to let everyone on the bus know we were the devil...We decided to get off the bus. Probably a smart decision.
One of the funniest lessons we had this week was with Lucile, who REALLY wants to be baptized. She is sooooo adorable hahaha. Lucile is really old and has a bit of a memory problem. Which makes for some really fun lessons because you just never know what kind of response you are going to get! Haha :)
Also on Tuesday, I went over with another sister during exchanges and we were teaching about modern day prophets. We started off by asking if she knew who our prophet is today and she excitedly yells, "Toma!" (Thomas) hahahaha. We were so proud! Yes! It is Toma!
After talking about prophets for about 20 minutes, we were sure she was ready for the final question! "Lucile, do you believe that President Thomas S. Monson is the true prophet of God?" Then, she looks up at us smiling from ear to ear and says..."No!"
It took every serious bone in my body to keep myself from bursting out into laughter. It was like one of those moments when a little kid comes up and tells you something bad they did, but they are just too dang cute you can't help but laugh haha. Then I just said...Ummm... Okay... I think we need to start the lesson over... LOL. So we taught the WHOLE lesson over again hahaha. Turns out the full name just threw her off a little bit, she was sure about Toma, just wasn't positive about Thomas ;).
As you can see, this week was quite the adventure haha! But that's mission life and I LOVE IT !! :) I can't even begin to explain the beautiful change I have felt and seen as I fasted from negativity these past 40 days. Choosing to be happy really is easy! Even on the difficult days, when I felt like choosing to be happy was impossible, I chose to SING! Which of course inevitably made me happy every time :) So choose to be happy! And when you can't choose to be happy, choose to sing! :)
(or whatever else makes you happy :)
Have a wonderful week!!
Hey hey hey!
Our ward mission leader got off of his mission less than a month ago and is preparing to go on his first date in over two years. So of course he comes to my companion and I for dating advice. Hahahaha. I couldn't stop laughing. A return missionary asking two missionaries for dating advice... What's wrong with this picture? Well, we did what any missionary would do... Took down his number and passed the referral to someone a little more qualified hahaha.
This week we taught the Restoration to a guy in a clown suit, that was one of the strangest things I have ever done hahaha. We were just minding our own business and snapping a few pictures during our lunch break when suddenly a clown man pops up out of nowhere and starts dancing with me (don't worry, we got it on camera). We were a little freaked out but it was pretty funny. Before leaving, he held out his hand for money and so we gave him a pass along card. He was very confused, he probably stared at us for about 45 seconds before we realized he was actually interested haha! So yeah, we have a new ami, and he is a clown.
Lately I have really been looking for ways to work my brain. So, I made a goal these past couple weeks to do everything I normally do with my right hand, with my left! Including writing, makeup, brushing my teeth, etc. it's been so cool! It really tests your concentration haha. Not to mention your patience!
While on Exchanges, Sœur Jackson and I decided to step off the the side of the road and say a quick prayer to help us know where to start finding. After all 5 of our rendezvous being canceled, we were looking at a looonnng day of nothing but street contacting haha. Immediately after the prayer we both looked up at each other, puzzled at the answer we had both received--The visitors center. We actually never go to the visit center because it is currently run by the Elders for security reasons.
Without delay, we headed over to the Visitors center to check things out. When we got there, the Elders, as usual, were taking their shift running the center. They also happened to be in the middle of the lesson so we didn't hang around. Before leaving, we decided to stop inside the church really quickly and check our referrals. Realizing the door to the church was locked, we turned back to the visitors center to grab the key. The Elders were still occupied with their lesson when we turned the corner and noticed a stranger standing in the visitor center, reading the church Proclamation to the Family. Seeing as the Elders were in the middle of a lesson, they had not yet had the opportunity to greet this man. Of course Sœur Jackson and I had no problem taking over ;).
Henry is a young married Protestant French man who noticed some missionaries on the metro no earlier than that same morning. Curious, as he was getting off the metro, he asked if they had a card to give him. Pleasantly surprised, the elders began digging through their bags for a pass along card which they quickly placed in his hand as the metro doors closed.
I imagine that as those doors closed, those elders probably did what any of us missionaries would do. Pray! Pray that he would be the diamond in the rough that actually calls the number on the card.
During Henry's voyage home, he stared at the information on the card. Then, spontaneously turns around and gets back on the metro that leads directly to the church visitor center.
We were able to teach Henry the entire Restoration that day as well as give him a Book of Mormon. His eyes lit up as we read together and testified of the things we knew to be true.
By the end of the lesson, I felt the spirit so profoundly that I could hardly remain standing hahaha. I just wanted to lay down on the floor and say... "Man, I love the Gospel!" Well, I actually did do that. But I waited until the visitor center was empty ;) Hahaha. Man, I love the Gospel!!!
To add to the awesomeness of that miracle...the moment we walked outside of the visitors center, we found ANOTHER new ami!! What!? Two in one! I love finding new friends :)
After closing our 24 hour exchange with Luxembourg, we had 30 minutes give or take to get ourselves pumped for our next 24 hour exchange with Nancy. This week we had to give our formation in Zone Conference along with THREE back to back 24 hour exchanges. It was insane! Exchanges take a lot out of you but they sure bring in lots of miracles as well!
One of my favorite exchange miracles this week was when we got free drinks and fancy discount meals just for looking cute ;). I was out with Sœur Jackson and we were getting ready to head home for lunch when a little old French man yells out from his restaurant to us and says, "WOW!!! Beautiful Girls!!! You know what, free drinks, on me for the beautiful girls!" We laughed and politely thanked him for the kind offer, but told him we actually don't drink. Then he turns around and yells at his employee and says, "Two free orange juices for the lovely ladies!" Hahaha. Okay, we're convinced. He ended up giving us a super awesome deal and we got the entire meal-- drinks, entree, main dish, and dessert-- all for 15 euros! They weren't cheap dishes either! So we celebrated Sœur Jacksons 6 month mark by enjoying my sister Natali's very favorite French dish, "Confit de Canard" along with a nice fruit salad and some French onion soup.
Sadly, not all French people are as nice as that old man. Sunday we arrived at church to find graffiti across the outside wall telling us to "go back to [our] country" and some other mean stuff. It's interesting the ways in which Satan is using his followers to attack the church, as the scriptures said he would. What he doesn't realize is that his attacks are nothing but testimony builders :) As we realize the purpose behind them, we understand that Satan wants nothing but for all of us to live like him--in misery. His efforts cannot and will not shake us if we recognize his plan of attack and rely on the Lord to protect us.
For this reason, I love the story of Alma. For those of you who aren't familiar with this story. It is one from the Book of Mormon about a young man, who is the son of the prophet, Alma, after whom he was named. Though Alma did not always follow the righteous steps of his father. In fact, he even went out with his friends seeking to destroy the church! It is a sad beginning to the story as we read about his actions "giving a chance for the enemy of God to exercise his power over them" (Mosiah 27:9). But there is much we can take away from this scripture.
I imagine that Alma must have had moments of guilt. It's something that comes naturally with sin. When we make mistakes, we feel guilt, which can push us to repent, if we let it. Or, we can try to hide our guilt, by continuing in iniquity. Sadly, if we do not choose to turn to The Lord, we are, as alma did, "giving a chance for the enemy of God to exercise his power over [us]."
His efforts cannot and will not shake us if we do not give him the chance. As we follow the teachings of the prophets and put our trust in the Lord, he will protect us. And we will not be blind to Satan's plan of attack.
"And because they cried mightily unto him he did deliver them...and thus doth The Lord work with his power in all cases among the children of men, extending the arm of mercy towards them that put their trust in him (Mosiah 29:20)."
Man, I love the Gospel!! I feel honored to be here sharing it with everyone. I miss you all and I'm praying for you every single day. Keep searching for miracles, because miracles happen... Even in France!! ;)
Ciao family and Friends!
After having written an extremely juicy and intricate weekly email, my iPad flipped out and deleted all of my notes and data from the past month, including my weekly... So positivity is a little “less-easy” today than usual haha, But hey, It's okay! Still positive! (Eye twitch) Sadly, I don't have time to rewrite everything because we don't actually get a P-day today. Instead, we will be spending the day on a train! Woot woot! :D So that will be quite the adventure! :) With that, I apologize for my "weak-sauce" email this week -- as my little brother would say haha.
With an outstanding variety of underground transportation, namely RERs and Metros, there is little need for buses. Though one day on our way home from the chapel, we decided to switch things up a bit and hit up the bus.
Typically, as a missionary, the moment you get on a bus you begin looking for people to talk to. Though rarely is it ever the actual bus driver haha. Jean'-Michel is our bus driver :)
A little background story about Jean-Michel... Several weeks ago my companion was running late for a RDV when she had a sudden urge to buy ice cream. She didn't even want ice cream. But, she bought it anyways haha. When she saw her bus leaving the stop without her and her companion, they began running and waving their arms rapidly, with hopes of stopping the advancing bus. The bus stopped. That never happens. They were so grateful that they gave the bus driver the ice cream that they had not yet had a chance to eat, along with a Book of Mormon. Moral of the story... Ice cream is ALWAYS a good idea ;) ... Hahaha okay that's not quite it, because the story doesn't end there!
Weeks later, Soeur Weckesser and I jumped on the bus and to our great surprise, it was the same bus driver! We ended up staying on the bus for about 45 minutes talking to him about the church as he drove his course. He had even been reading the Book of Mormon that they had given him, with his family! We also had the chance to meet his family, who happened to be on the bus that day as well. It was incredible. We will be teaching Jean Michel and his family for the first time this Friday! :)
There is nothing more annoying than the hiccups when you are trying to testify. Especially when you're trying to speak another language. Between your accent and your spontaneous outbursts of breath, no one can take you seriously.
We were sitting in a lesson with Lucile, who is preparing to be baptized the 28th of this month, when the hiccups hit me like no other. I couldn't say a single sentence without hiccupping. Clearly I wasn't the only one who was getting annoyed because within the first 5 minutes of our lesson, Vanessa (25-year-old daughter) tells me that all you need to do to get rid of the hiccups is to take your fist and jab it into your sternum. Yikes! She kept trying to show me on herself what I needed to do but I did not think it was a very good idea hahaha. I was just imagining the worst case scenarios. Finally, she tells me I need to not be a baby about it, she gets up and comes over to me to do it herself! EEK! I threw my arms out to block it and then instantly, my hiccups stopped. Hahahaha. She literally scared the hiccups right out of me!! Lol. My companion couldn't stop laughing. I was a little traumatized.
I try hard to be positive. But there is little happiness found in a shattered iPad screen. Luckily, The Lord always gives us reason to be positive about everything, even broken screens. We sat and waited for the iPad techs to give me a bid on fixing my screen when one of them looks at my badge and says, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints... What do you teach?" Giving me the perfect opportunity to teach the entire Restoration to the IPad technicians. Hahaha, so cool! Everything happens for a reason right? When I came back to pick up my iPad we made a little exchange, they gave me my iPad, and I gave them a Book of Mormon... Most expensive Book of Mormon I have ever given! (150 euros later).
We were out on exchanges the other day when one of the sisters began to cry. In my goofy attempt to cheer her up, I lunged at a pigeon and gobbled. I scared the little guy so badly that it leaped and pooped right in front of my shoe. It was a close call. Too close. But it definitely cheered her up!!!
This wouldn't be a real Soeur Wyson email if it didn't include a spider story.
Our apartment is pretty old and very French (which is awesome). But, the only problem that the creaky old wooden floor panels present is...with pretty decent sized gaps between the boards, they make for a perfect home for our little spider friends. Only... They are not so little. Lots and lots of 'em! We're talking borderline tarantulas living beneath our feet. Needless to say we have been faced with several near death experiences throughout the week. All the movement and changes must be summoning them from their hiding places... So the four of us have been living arachnophobia, some more than others. So my companion and I, being the jokesters that we are, decided to take advantage of the situation and we put a huge plastic spider in the other sisters’ lamp Hahahaha. It looked SO real!!!! I even freaked myself out a little bit. Anyways, later on that day we got the funniest voice mail either of us have ever received in all our years of living. They were absolutely terrified when they saw the spider Hahaha. They took several videos when they found it while they tried to build up the courage to kill it. It took them 30 minutes of screaming, crying, and panicking before they realized it was fake! LOL. We came home to a "you're dead to us" note on the door with a picture of a spider drawn on it. We laughed for a solid while. In fact, the four of us are all still laughing! Though my companion and I are a little on edge about what's coming for us but it's part of the fun hahahaha.
One of our companionship goals this week was to strive to have charity and to serve those around us in every way we could. As volunteer missionaries, we ourselves have nothing to give in terms of money or foods. But there are so many other ways we can serve :) One idea my companion and I came up with was, Origami! Paper is cheap and origami dragons can make ANYONE smile!! The other day we were walking out of the metro when we saw a woman holding a sign asking for help. She seemed so incredibly sad. We only made it about half way out of the metropolitan before stopping and pulling out a piece of paper. Then we went back and presented the woman with a little origami bird and a smile :) It was so sweet to see the change in that woman's face that was made by a simple little origami bird :).
Again, I'm sorry for the very lame and random email. But on the bright side, at least you know that mission life is keeping me on my toes!! ;) I love you all!!!
I’m sure you're all anxious to hear all about life as a Parisian; all I can say is...this place is making my "choose to be happy" goal a little TOO easy! How can anyone be anything but ecstatic to be living in such a beautiful historic place!? Friday morning I was woken up abruptly to an alarm clock at 4 am after a horrible nightmare, startled to the point of throwing my arm, launching my iPad off the top bunk, and shattering the screen on the floor. I also had a head cold. Then I sat up and looked out the window and just laughed. Because how can I complain about anything when I am living and serving as a missionary in the center of the most dreamed-about city in the world?
I began my adventure here in Paris as an escort for transfer day! It was actually super hilarious because I had no idea where I was going since this is my first time actually using the metro system in Paris hahaha. And yet, every single tourist we passed was stopping to ask if I could help them find their way. Seeing as I didn't even know where I was going, my phrase of the day became, "No clue! But I can ask someone in French for you! :)" haha. I have never translated so much in my entire life, it was awesome!
To break the ice, day one, The Weckster (Soeur Weckesser) and I were making some yummy omelettes when I began cutting the onions. HOLY SMOKES!! Those babies were FRESH! I sobbed/laughed for about 15 minutes until my mascara covered my face, chin, and neck, forming a perfect mascara beard.
My new companion Soeur Weckesser is as awesome as I told you all she would be ;)
Miracles are flying out the wazoo. We even set a baptismal date with an ami the very first day! It was amazing! Soeur Weckesser wasn't actually there for it because she got sick and so I went on a last minute exchange. It was kind of funny because I had absolutely NO idea who the ami was or what Soeur Weckesser had planned to teach her because I had only been in Paris for a total of about 3 hours at this point, haha! It was quite the adventure! It's something I like to call "flying by the [spirit] of your pants" hahaha. It's when you're not really sure what your doing so you just rely 100% on the spirit ;) it's works great! Before going in, we decided to pray about a baptismal date to keep in mind, just in case :) We ended up teaching about the enabling power of the atonement and she said, "Well, I understand what he did for me. I have faith now, I didn't before. But I am just not sure what he wants me to do with it."...You better believe I whipped out 2 Nephi 31 faster than you could say "Miracle!"
"...He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost, like unto me; wherefore, follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do (2 Nephi 31:12)"
I love the clarity and simplicity of the Lord's answer as he exhorts us to follow his example.
As we read together from the scripture, Sarah's eyes lit up brilliantly. Then she looked at us as said, "I understand." In that perfect moment, we invited her to follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized by someone holding the priesthood authority of God, and to prepare herself to be baptized on the 16th of October. After a moment of silence, we were excited to hear her joyful response, "Block the date!" :)
On the way home from our rendezvous with Sarah we were sitting on a metro next to this cute Asian woman named Angsulin holding a Snoopy bag. So American, I had to say something! Though it was a bit awkward because she didn't speak French and so she tried to respond to me in some other language before discovering that our mutual language was English haha. Turns out she just moved here from Thailand! I told her that one of my best friends lived there for two years and I have never seen someone get SO excited! She suddenly wanted to know EVERYTHING! It gave me to the perfect moment to bring up the reason he was there ;) (which very conveniently happened to be the same reason I am in France!)
It was the coolest thing, it was like she instantly just adopted us as her best friends :) We have a rendezvous with our new friend Angsulin and one of our Thai members this coming week!
Our second day in Paris we set a second baptismal date! We were teaching a sweet old lady named Lucile. She is the mother of one of our recent converts here in Paris. It was such a sweet lesson, and the spirit was so strong. We didn't even need to ask her, she just told us she wanted to be baptized! You can only imagine how happy her family was-- How happy we ALL were!
Even moving to Paris hasn't broken the spider plague... The other day we we waiting at a bus stop when a spider flew out of nowhere right into my throat! I immediately started coughing and spitting but it was too late... Mmmm! Protein! That was a great bonding moment for my new companion and I.
Friday we had mission council. My very first mission council that didn't consist of waking up at 4 am to take a train into Paris--this is the life! ;) After mission council we planned with the different Zone Leaders of our zones before heading off to a rendezvous with a young family in our ward to top off the day :) Which leads us into Saturday morning when we actually did wake up at 4 am to take a train to Strasbourg for another training meeting haha. Strasbourg is one of the most "envied" cities in our mission because it's right next to Germany and is absolutely beautiful. There are no sisters in Strasbourg yet though so we lucked out getting to visit! Even though we got there at 11, had a meeting, and then left at 1 haha. We got back home around 5, just in time to go to another meeting with the Zone Leaders and District Leaders here in Paris haha. It's been a busy week!! The best part is, it's just the beginning! ;)
Soeur Weckesser and I were having a really hard time focusing during planning and we made a joke about how we needed those Blinder glasses that they use for horses to keep them from getting distracted hahahah. We laughed so hard, then we made them! Lol.
The highlight of my week was going to church and sitting in the exact spot where 5 years ago, I truly discovered my personal testimony of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. After having spent the summer living in France with a family of non-member friends, I found myself longing to feel the spirit that I had missed during that summer. With the closest LDS church being more than 3 hours away, I had no way of attending. During this time, I was able to see the ways that my life was affected when the church wasn't a part of it. Though sometimes not going to church gave me much more time to visit castles and the other wonders of France, something very important was missing from my life. It took me more than half of the summer to figure out that those peaceful feelings I had been missing so much were the feelings that come from the spirit. At the end of the summer I had the opportunity to travel to Paris to attend church before heading home. Amongst the numberless phenomenal cites to see in Paris, the church was the most magical. I remember fasting and praying before going to church with a single intent... To feel the spirit again. I have NEVER been so excited to give up food for 24 hours in my entire life. We got to church nearly an hour early because I wanted to make sure I wasn't going to miss ANYTHING.
Sacrament meeting started and suddenly I realized... No... It's not possible... everything was in French!? Of course everything was in French... I was in France. It came as quite the shock to me because I had been living with a family that spoke perfect English the entire summer. I wanted to cry. How could I feel the spirit when I couldn't understand a single word that was being said? Everything was in French, and I didn't speak a word. I wanted to cry. But instead, I began to pray. In that moment, I heard these simple words, "Listen." I bowed my head, closed my eyes, and listened. As much as I would love to say I received the gift of tongues and understood everything that was said... I didn't. It was definitely still in French haha. But, I learned something much more important. The spirt got stronger and stronger the better I listened and I realized in that moment that, even though the languages change all over the world, the spirit does not. The spirit always testifies of truth. That is why it is by the spirit that we are able to gain a testimony of the Gospel.
Ever since that day my testimony has done nothing but flourish. I know it wasn't easy for my parents to let me go to France by myself at the age of 15 but I can't express my gratitude to them for trusting the Lord enough to let me go and have that experience. I love the gospel. I know with my whole heart that it's true.
The cherry on top--Now I am here in the exact place I found my testimony, helping others find theirs :) I even had the opportunity to share this story with the ward here yesterday in Fast and testimony meeting, in French :). It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever experienced.
I am so grateful to be here, I am so grateful for this gospel, and I am so grateful for the infinite love that our Heavenly Father has for each one of his children.
I love you all.
Sœur Tracie Laina Wyson
Happy August Everyone!!
Well everyone, transfer calls have officially been made. As certain as I was that I would be staying in V-D'Ascq... Looks like I will be spending my birthday in PARIS!! I'm pretty stoked. I will continue to serve as an STL over the Paris and Nancy zones. My companion is none other than the famous Soeur Weckesser!! I have had my fingers crossed tightly that I would have the chance to serve with her before she "died." I cut it close but I made it into her last two transfers! :) I am sad to leave Lille after only twelve weeks but I am excited to see what miracles are waiting in Paris :) I am also really, really stoked because the Paris STLS run the Churches visitors center in Paris!! But I have to admit, the best part of it all was when the ward planned a big "going home" dinner for me after my "farewell talk" in church and then realized I was only half way through my mission hahahaha. So cute, and too funny! I am sure going to miss this ward!
Between exchanges in Liege, Zone activity, our zone formation, transfer calls, finding day, AND packing my suitcases, Sœur Corneta and I haven't even had a moment to sit down until today haha. With that, I don't have much time to write an elaborate group email because we still have tooonnnnsss to do. I will try to fit in as many miracles as I can, but I'm going to have to be a little less creative in my email organization this week. :)
A little Flash to the past-- We found an ami named Laurence a couple weeks ago in our area book and decided to give her a call. She went CRAZY on us for about 35 minutes about how "NOT-interested" she was. A simple "No" would have sufficed, hah. After several times of trying to politely say goodbye, my thumb was getting closer and closer to the end button. Then, the spirit reminded me of the power of prayer... I tried one last time to interrupt, "Laurence, we understand you don't want to meet with us...But, we would like to leave you with one last prayer as a reminder of where you can always turn for peace." Confused, but touched by the offer, she said yes and listened closely to the prayer. When it was finished, she was silent for about 3 minutes. We kept checking the phone to see if she had hung up on us. Then, she says humbly... "I'm sorry. I won't be here this week, but how about you come over next Tuesday?"
A goal I have made for this new transfer is to focus on being bold in inviting people to be baptized. Soeur Corneta and I were given this topic for our first Zone formation together. But, in order to effectively teach it, we needed to do it! As we were praying for inspiration, Laurence came to mind. We were going to see her for the first time the next day and as soon as we finished praying I looked at Soeur Corneta and said, "We are going to invite Laurence to be baptized tomorrow morning!!" I was so excited I could hardly sleep.
The next day we had our first lesson with Laurence and the spirit there was outstanding! By the end of the lesson all three of us were in tears and hugging each other (and French people don't hug!)... We were bold! We were direct!...SHE SAID YES!
A Follow up Miracle--Sammy!
This weekend one of Sammy's friends came to visit from Iran and we all had the opportunity to go out for dinner and a missionary lesson, Woot woot! During dinner we were able to teach Sammy's friend our special message of the Restoration that we are here to share. As we taught, her eyes just lit up and she says..."That is absolutely the most beautiful thing I have ever heard." We now have THREE skype investigators in Iran!! There are SO many people who are ready to hear the gospel!
A Change of Heart--Yahma
Saturday we got together with the other missionaries here and several members to do a little finding together. We started by setting up our "Meet the Mormons" posters dead center of the "Grand Place" here in Lille. The goal is that the people see the posters and contact us. It usually works out pretty nicely because the ones who stop are usually people who are interested in what we have to say... Usually... Other times you have people like Yahma who just come up to yell at you and tell you that you're completely wrong and going to Hell.
After listening to that for about 20 minutes, the "Wyson" in me had finally had enough... If only he knew what he had just unleashed... I threw my hand up, Palm facing him and said something along the lines of...
“That's enough. For the past 20 minutes you have been launching questions at me. Questions to which I have the answers to, and yet, you refuse to give me even a moment to respond. If you're here to receive answers, be quiet and listen. If you're here simply to argue with me, I'm not interested. We have people waiting for us who would like their questions to be answered so please excuse us, we need to go. But, if you sincerely would like answers, you can come to our church tomorrow morning at 9:30 am. But if you come, you are coming because you have a sincere desire to learn and you are coming with an open heart ready to listen.” Then I wrote down the church address and handed it to him. He stared at me, shocked for a moment (I don't think he expected that to come out of the little Mormon girl in a pink dress standing in front of him)... Then, he says..."I will be there tomorrow." Without saying anything, I reached out my hand to him to "shake on it." He shook my hand and I said simply, "à demain" (at tomorrow).
The next day, I stood up in church to give my farewell address. Then, to my surprise, Yahma walked in, waved discretely, and sat down on the back row. He stayed for the full three hours and was so incredibly touched by the spirit. The ward even presented him with his very first Book of Mormon during Sunday school and he could hardly catch his breath he was so so SOOO happy. He made a promise then and there that he was going to read it and pray about it to know if he needs to be baptized. I couldn't believe the change that was made it his heart. I just wanted to get up and dance I was so excited!
Later on, everyone was asking him what is was that made him decide to come yesterday and all he could come up with was... "I don't actually know... I guess she convinced me. Have you ever tried to argue with her? It's impossible. She's too good. *looks at me* Have you ever thought about doing Sales? Or Law?" Hahaha. It made me laugh. Though hopefully he will soon realize that I'm not the convincing one but that it is only by the spirit that we are able to speak with such conviction.
"And the Holy Ghost giveth authority that I should speak these things, and deny them not.(1 Nephi 10:22)"
"...then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men (D&C 11:21)."
This past month of focusing on the Christlike attribute "Faith in Jesus Christ" has been absolutely incredible. The miracles that come flooding in when you act on the faith you have in Jesus Christ are outstanding. I can't believe it is already time to add in, "Hope!" This month I will be focusing on having Hope, the second Christlike attribute. :)
"Hope is an abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill His promises to you. It is manifest in confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, and patient perseverance. It is believing and expecting that something will occur. When you have hope, you work through trials and difficulties with the confidence and assurance that all things will work together for your good. Hope helps you conquer discouragement. The scriptures often describe hope in Jesus Christ as the assurance that you will inherit eternal life in the celestial kingdom.” (Preach my Gospel)
With that, I HOPE you all have a wonderful week full of faith, hope, and miracles! :)
Je vous aime beaucoup !
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.