Monday, November 28, 2016

A Baptism and the Best Week Yet! (Update #18)

Christmas season has officially begun and I am LOVING it!! Here's a
little glimpse of what our crazy week looked like in numbers:

FIVE days left until we receive transfer calls!! We think/ hope/ pray
that we're going to stay here in Val de Saône for one more transfer
together but we never's really really rare for someone
to stay 3 transfers with the same companion, especially with their on verra! (we'll see). Let me just take this opportunity
to say how much I LOVE and adore Soeur Kelley. She has taught me so
much about how to be a missionary and speak French, but more
importantly, how to apply the gospel and love people. How to enjoy
life and love being a missionary. I love her so much (and if I do say
so myself, I think we make a pretty awesome team). Not sure how I'm ever
going to be able to have another companion!! (Also, she does all the
dishes. Tout le temps.)
FOUR Thanksgiving dinners. This is not a joke. I came to France where
nobody celebrates Thanksgiving and we had 4 Thanksgivings. One with
all the missionaries at zone conference, one "word of wisdom"
Thanksgiving (vegan) with an American family from the Ecully ward and
all their missionaries, one on Thanksgiving Day with the Smurthwaites
(awesome American family in our ward) and their French friends, and the
last one on Saturday with another family from the Ecully ward, all the
missionaries and 50 other people from their school/ ward/ our ward. It
was CRAZY!! We've never been fed so much and never felt so full (of
food and gratitude). Love being at these members houses with their
friends, both American and French, members and non-members and just
enjoying food and talking about life and the gospel and what we're
grateful for. I love how despite our differences in language, culture,
and beliefs, we can all come together and be united in our gratitude
(and with delicious food to eat). I miss my family more than ever, but
I also am starting to feel more and more at home here in France.
There's a lot to be grateful for this year💕

THREE times we accidentally broke the rules this week. Once when the
cake wasn't done in time so I had to stay up 15 mins late to get it
out of the oven. Once when Soeur Kelley didn't help me back me out of a
parking spot because it was pouring rain and she was carrying the cake
for Cani's baptism. And the grand crown of disobedience: we were on our
way to the famille B's house on Sunday for family home evening
when suddenly our car dings: "warning, low fuel." We had no gas and 2
hours of driving ahead of us. Our options: keep going on faith and let
Christ make up for the lack of gas, cancel the rendezvous and mayyyybe
make it home with our gas, OR be the worst missionaries in the world
and fill up our gas tank on a Sunday. And yes, we took the final
option and stopped and filled up our tank on the sabbath day. And
proceeded to say a lot of prayers. hahaha
(Disclaimer: these are definitely not the first or only times I've
accidentally (and very occasionally knowingly) broken little white
handbook rules, I just thought they were worth sharing this week. I
have a strong testimony that exact obedience brings miracles.
Obedience is how we show God we put him first. It's how He knows He
can trust us. Every week I make goals to be more obedient... BUT,
(clearly) I'm far from perfect. And I think that's the beautiful thing
about the gospel, Christ doesn't expect us to be perfect, he just
needs us to do our best. I think the point of this whole rant is just
to remember that obedience is so so important, but also that I think
we're all still figuring out the whole obedience thing. And that's the
whole reason we're on the earth, we're here to learn and to do our
best to live the way Christ wants us to and the way Christ showed us
to live. Missionaries aren't perfect and I am definitely far from
perfect, all we can do is try our best.)

TWO desserts I  made, one apple pie for Thanksgiving and one ombré cake
for Cani's baptism. Haven't quite gotten there on making pies like my
mom but I think every year I get a little closer...

ONE BAPTISM!!! Cani's baptism was beautiful and spiritual and
anticlimactic all at the same time. Since long before my mission I've
imagined this day. The day when someone I'VE taught chose to make
promises with God. The day they entered in on their own personal
journey to come unto Christ. The day of their baptism. Then for the
last 3 weeks we've been planning all the details, we've been helping
Cani prepare, we've been finding people to give talks, to do the
baptism, designing and printing the programs, making a cake.
I think I was expecting a big moment where it all crashed down on me,
but that moment never came. Cani's baptism was the summation of a lot
of little moments and a constant spirit that I will never forget, but
the "aha, miracle moment" never came. 

And I think that's for a couple reasons:
1. Cani was well prepared before we ever even met him. It wasn't "our"
baptism, Cani literally came to us. He showed up at stake conference
and said "I'm ready." God prepared Cani. All we had to do was love him
and teach him a couple of principles. You don't realize how true it is
that the Holy Ghost is the only thing that convert someone until you
see it happen firsthand.
2. Cani's journey to come unto Christ started long before his baptism
and it's going to continue long after his baptism. This was just a
step on his path to the temple to be sealed with his family, and
eventually to return to live with our father in Heaven. Albeit, an
important step, but just a step nonetheless.
3. Our whole experience with Cani has been such a miracle. Such an
evidence that God not only exists, but that He is aware of each of His
children, and He will guide us and teach us if we let Him. We didn't
need to have an "aha" moment because the last 4 weeks with him have
been an "aha" experience that has taught me so much about the gospel
and how it works.
While THE moment never came, here are a couple of the beautiful
from Cani's baptism that I want to remember forever:

1. Right after he came out of the water he and Frère J (our
bishop who baptized him) just stood there with their eyes closed and
their hands clasped for a minute. He was just soaking in the spirit
and the significance of that moment in his life.

2. Cani just calls us "Goold and Kelley" and always tells everyone
we're his spiritual meres (mothers). I love it so much and I love Cani so much and the day we have to leave will be a sad day.

3. When Cani was being confirmed,  the Spirit hit me like a wall. It
felt like I was receiving the Holy Ghost right along with Cani. It
made me think about how I've already received the gift of the Holy
Ghost and can have that feeling with me all the time and made me so
excited for Cani and how he can have that gift now too.  

4. Seeing all of Cani's friends and family that came to support him
(mostly church members). While I'll be sad when I have to leave, I
never worry about Cani because he has really found a family at church,
the ward has loved and accepted him. In his own words "he's been fed
and now he's ready to help feed others" Cani is such a powerhouse.

This week has been one of the best of my mission and I'm so excited
that Christmas season is officially starting!!! I love you all.

Avec tout mon amour,
Soeur Cami Goold

PS we went to see the famille "J" (mentioned in last week's letter) this week and brought little
gratitude boxes for the 2 little girls to put things they're grateful
for inside. They seemed okay, but they still have a long ways to go as
a family. Keep them in your prayers.

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