Happy April my friends!
Last April I was in my 4th transfer serving in an adorable little French village called Angers with my trainee, Sœur Burgoyne. She was just a baby then. We both were!! Now she is in her tenth transfer and I am in my twelfth. Wow! Just doing a little reminiscing before getting started on the weekly ;)...
Lord, Fill These Empty Chairs.
While sitting on a train, traveling to another temple referral, we were surrounded by empty chairs. But, determined to see some miracles, we bowed our heads and began to pray. We boldly asked the Lord to place someone in front of us who was ready to hear and accept the gospel. As soon as we finished, a woman sat down. Without even a moment of hesitation, we gave our best shots to strike up a nice conversation with her! :)...Church, school, friends, dogs, jewelry, the weather... man this lady wasn't interested in ANYTHING!? We finally caught the message when she pulled out her earphones and stuck them in her ears. Oh, and her earphones weren't plugged into anything. Confused, we just stared at each other, wondering why the Lord had placed this very much not ready woman in front of us after we had so faithfully prayed for those empty chairs to be filled with "golden investigators".
We got off the train and after walking for about 20 more minutes, we finally arrived at our destination. It was a wonderful rendezvous with a sweet European couple, Beatriz and Antonio. After receiving many questions from Beatriz regarding the Death and what will become of us all after this life, we decided to make a last minute lesson change and teach the Plan of Salvation instead of the Restoration. An invitation to visit the Paris, France Temple, to see the place that makes it possible for us to be sealed with our families for eternity, was the perfect way to finish our lesson. :)
Upon our return, we found ourselves in a familiar situation... sitting on a train, surrounded by empty chairs. Then, a nice man got on the train and sat in front of us. He said hello, and we kindly returned the greeting. :) We began talk about the Mormon Temple that was being built in The Chesney and he said sweetly that he wished he could attend the open house, but that he wasn't welcome. Confused, we asked him why he believed that he was not welcome? He told us that it was because he was not a Christian, but a Muslim. We smiled big and told him that he was absolutely welcome, regardless of his religious background! He humbly said, "Really? Ahhhh, I would be HONORED to visit your temple and learn more about your beliefs."
I guess the Lord DID answer our prayers :) and he filled those empty chairs.
Birthday Party Galore.
Sœur George's birthday was this week and I was determined to make this week a party for her! Well... I think I did my job a little TOO well because we ended up celebrating her birthday with 5 different families, 4 different candle-lit cakes, and sang happy birthday in at least 3 different languages. And everyone gave us presents! Yup, I said US. Hahaha. I love Soeur George's birthday! I got all kinds of fun little presents just for being her companion! No one wanted me to feel left out so they wrapped me presents as well, Hahahaha. While we were walking around this week, I kept telling Sœur George how much I loved her birthday ;).
Sorry for the details--it's my journal!
A scary man on the bus was being extremely vulgar and yelling at his wife and it took every bit of my willpower, and my companions helping hand, to keep myself from standing up and storming over and giving him a piece of my mind. Instead, I just turned around and launched him a good "stink-eye". He stopped yelling and sat down. But not until after he told me that it would be a shame if he had to come cut those beautiful blue eyes out of my head. Luckily the next stop was ours!
"Sitting down takes AGES!"
On our way to the temple we saw an adorable elderly couple who was trying to get settled on a little park bench but seemed to be having some serious trouble sitting down, haha :) We ran over and asked them if we could help them and the wife goes, "Ohhh! Sitting down takes AGES!" Hahahaha, we laughed so hard. Then the old man says goofily, "Okay alright alright, come over here and hold my hand!" We ran over and held his arms while he lowered himself slowly to the bench. It was such a victory for them when he got down to the bench level, haha, adorable. They were SOOO grateful for our help. They couldn't stop telling us how sweet we were and how much they appreciated our help. :) They smiled and waved to us nonstop for the next 5 minutes as we made our way down the long road! It was one of the sweetest little experiences ever :).
Ballet in Paris.
We got permission to go watch Clémence dance this weekend and she did a wonderful job!! We were so blown away with how talented all those young ballerinas were! And the spirit was so strong as we listened to that beautiful music and watched the youth move so gracefully and emotionally to it.
I LOVE General Conference. All of the talks were amazing, the choir was wonderful, the church is true! One of my favorite parts of conference weekend was when we made a quick trip back to our apartment between sessions and were stopped by a woman in our own apartment complex asking if she and her friends could come to our temple's open house :)
My favorite miracle of the week... we got a call from the Zone leaders telling us that our companionship was selected to go help clean the temple for the open house, TODAY!!! AHHHH!!! I have been praying so hard to have the opportunity to see the temple before I left the mission. So that was an absolute miracle to me :). And to make it even more of a miracle, while I was down on my hands and knees scrubbing the beautiful marble floors, I noticed someone standing above me and I looked up to see the beautiful, beaming, smiling face of Sister Elaine Dalton, Young women's Président of the church. She threw her arms out and I jumped up and she hugged me SO tight! For a long time too! She kept saying thank you over and over again while she held me tight. I was trying to keep from getting teary eyed. Sister Dalton has been a real role model for me for a very long time and it was such an honor to be able to cross paths with her. IN THE PARIS TEMPLE!! When she left she said that she felt the real reason that she was able to come to the temple that day was for that. I think she was right, that was a miracle to me. :)
As always, it was a week of miracles!!! :) with many more miracles to come!!!
I love you all!
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.