Bonjourrrrrrr tout le monde!!!
Oh la la!!! LAST "missionary" blogpost!!... Next week I will be writing about all the awesome miracles happening back in "la vie normal" (normal life). But as for this week, well, this week consisted of lots of strange feelings, lots of packing, lots of food, LOTS of tears, Lots of a lot of other things, and most importantly... LOTS of miracles!!!
My Personal Favorite... OPERATION: Garden Miracle!
After being deeply inspired by general conference, I decided to pray for a big service opportunity. Well, after being called on an emergency gardening project to the temple until past Midnight, the Versailles Ward has asked me to keep those "service" prayers to myself from now on, Hahaha!
Why were we gardening until midnight you ask? Elder Neil L. Anderson came to check out the Paris, France Temple, saw the gardens, and said, "Not enough flowers. This isn't a French garden. It needs to be redone before the open house." One of the workers questioned, "How? The open house starts TOMORROW." To which Elder Anderson replied with, "Call members. Buy flowers. And get to work!"
Keep in mind this all happened at 6PM the night before the VIP open house. So you can imagine the workers just scrambling around like chickens with their heads cut off. Which is what we were ALL doing when we got there, hahaha. Anyways, we received the phone call at 6:30pm telling us we needed at least 40 volunteers by 7:00pm in the temple gardens, ready to work!
Lucky for us, the member whose house we had just arrived at for dinner, was ready to do just that! We all threw on clothes (her clothes) and sprinted down the street to the temple! Holy smokes there were LOADS of flowers!!! The temple supervisor said that they had literally gone and bought out the entire store just before it closed.
Within an hour of receiving call, we had over fifty members laboring away in the temple gardens! None of us knew anything about gardening, so that made everything even better because now when you see the gardens, you will know it was done with pure LOVE! Also, for the first several hours, we had no tools or gloves, so we dug everything with our bare hands. Haha! It was so great. I used my church flats from my feet as shovels, which sped up the work a little! However, I will definitely not be taking those ladies home, hahaha. #wrecked
It got so cold they brought out a bunch of cool reflective jackets for everyone. That made us all feel pretty special ;) We celebrated our success at midnight with a little pizza break before getting back to work to finish off strong! Unfortunately, the missionaries had to leave before it was completely finished because we were already 3 hours late for curfew. But my, what an incredible, once in a lifetime, experience!!!
Just as we were leaving, I had the opportunity to chat with a few members of the First Quorum of the Seventy, Mitt Romney, and the Director of communications for the church, who were kind enough to make sure that my family wouldn't leave France this week without having been through the Paris, temple. So they organized a special VIP tour for them :).
Sooooo many miracles!!
We moved into our new apartment this week! You know, just in time for both of us to move out. Haha! Sister George will be heading off to a little village called "Le Mans" and I am headed back to Zion! (Utah). The apartment is beautiful though, and right next to the temple, so we aren't complaining about sleeping over for a couple days :).
Let your 'love' so shine.
A woman stopped by us while we were taking pictures in front of the temple and asked if we Mormons were excited to finally have our temple. Of course we said, "YESSSSS!!!" Then she smiled and said, "You know, people can see love in your faces."
One Last Song.
Sœur George and I had the opportunity to sing a song called, "Teach me about the Temple" for many visiting general authorities, as well as many other members and visitors, on our last Sunday here. It was a miracle we were able to sing because our Bishop came to us last second to break the news that we would no longer be singing, because Bishop Gerald Caussé (presiding bishop of the entire church) would be presiding, and it was their testimony meeting. When we heard this, our hearts sunk. But I immediately turned around and said, "Where is he? I will ask him." Then I walked right up to Bishop Caussé and asked! Hahaha.
The members couldn't believe it. It became the joke of the day, Sœur Wyson walked right up to the presiding bishop of the church to change his mind about a musical number. He kindly informed me that he was actually not the one presiding, but that it would be another member of the Seventy. So I hunted down every single important-looking person I saw until I found, Elder Johnson! Who, after some convincing by Bishop Caussé, agreed, and we sang right after his testimony :).
We couldn't help but get emotional as we looked out at all the tear filled eyes of members who have been so long awaiting this magnificent temple. A temple that was first announced almost 19 years ago.
After church, one of the VIPs came up to us and said, "You know, Bishop Caussé looked at Elder Johnson after you came up to him and said, 'you are really going to want them to sing.'.. he was right."
To top off the perfect last Sunday as a missionary, I gazed into the congregation, and caught some familiar eyes. A family that was as dear to me as my own, From Angers, the very first city I served in. I hadn't seen them since the very beginning of my mission and I didn't know if I would ever see them again. But they showed up, in this ward, on my very last Sunday. That, was a miracle.
Missions teach us a great many things. But one thing that my mission has taught me, that I know I will never ever forget, is that Miracles happen. Even in France.
I love you all, and I will see you soon
With more love than ever,
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.