This week officially marks the beginning of my last transfer (6 weeks) as a missionary. Lots of crazy emotions that we don't need to go into right now. But, what that means for the moment is that Soeur Gowans left me :( it was really sad to say goodbye to her, we've had a lot of good, funny, spiritual, crazy moments these last 12 weeks and it was rough to see her go. (For me and all our amies).
And my new companion is... SOEUR BROOKSBY!!
In other news this has been such a fun week as we went around having final rendezvous (for Soeur Gowans) with all of our amis.
On Sunday we got to go to our amie Paloma's evangelist church before leaving and it was such a fun experience. They sang a lot of hymns that I've never hear before, all to the beat of bongo drums. It was a very different experience, but very eye opening to see how so many people worship God in different, but beautiful ways.
It made me so happy to see other ways of worship, but it also made me a little sad to think of the very essential element of the gospel that they're missing: eternal families. They're missing the temple and the ability to be sealed to our families for time an all eternity. They are stuck in the belief that marriage and earth relationships are only "till death do we part." It's something we've talked about a lot with our amie. She wants to believe in eternal families and temple marriages, but her education makes it hard for her.
It makes me so incredibly grateful for the knowledge that we have that families can be eternal. That because Jesus Christ conquered death, each one of us can live with our families again after this life on earth. The grave has no victory.
Especially during this Christmas season, a lot of people I meet are really surprised that I won't be going home for Christmas and that I haven't seen my family in 17 months. They always ask me if it's hard. I never have a good response. Because it is hard to be away from my family... I love them more than anything and of course all I want for Christmas is to be with them. But on the other hand, it's really not hard at all to be here in France as a missionary because I know that my family is forever. And the chance to share the joy of forever families with other people is more than worth every one of these 18 months I'm spending across the ocean from my family.
This week we saw Marie and talked about temples and it just reminded me of all of these beautiful blessings that come from temples and eternal marriages and families. Marie has become such an amazing friend these last 12 weeks and I can't even express how much I love teaching/ spending time with her. Before my mission I never thought that our amis (de l'église) would actually become my friends. I don't really have words to describe how amazing it is to share the joy of the gospel with real friends.
Speaking of which, Lucille got her recommendation to receive her patriarchal blessing AND go to the temple for baptism for the dead this week!!! #purejoy
Don't forget to #LighttheWorld
Some picturesque spots around Toulouse:
The other Toulousian missionaries:
Our Metro stop: