Monday, January 30, 2017

1/3 Done! (Update #26)

Bonjour tout le monde!!
This week I hit my 6-month mark and I'm 1/3 done with my mission!   I'm feeling particularly blessed to be serving in France and especially in the Val de Saone ward. It's gonna be a sad day when I have to leave all of our Amis and members here. Not to mention Soeur Wilson, I'm grateful for her and not sure I'll survive without her.

{We taught a class of the cutest kids ever at church this week!}  

So this week we found out that Dona (our amie and the wife of our recent convert, Cani) lost her little brother. We decided to put together a little care package for them with notes and goodies from a bunch of members. It was soooo cool to see how the members all rallied around Dona and Cani, even though Cani is such a new member and Dona has never even come to church before. 
It's incredible to me the community and love that comes with the church. This week we were over with Cani and Dona and they had a super catholic friend over. Cani said something about how he liked the church because we all discuss together and learn together instead of just a priest preaching. The catholic friend immediately corrected him and said "you don't like the church, you like Jesus Christ." Which is of course true. Our church is the church of Jesus Christ after all. Everything we teach, everything we do is centered on him. BUT, the church is the vehicle of his doctrine. It's the organization that helps us all come unto Christ individually. And it's really beautiful to see the things this incredible organization does to help people in need, whether it be a country after a natural disaster, or the wife of a recent convert after a family tragedy.

{Someone from our ward painted this amazing picture of Christ.}  
Another cool experience with Cani's catholic friend was that we were explaining a little bit of the Plan of Salvation when she just bust out laughing and said "that's absolutely crazy." We had shared a
couple verses with her from the Bible, but at that point we weren't going anywhere so I decided to just bear my testimony. I told her simply that I respected her beliefs and that I don't know anywhere
near everything, but I know that the Book of Mormon is true because I've prayed about it and it's changed my life. It was really cool to see her countenance change after that. She didn't necessarily believe me, but she couldn't deny it. It was a cool reminder that my purpose of being a missionary is just to love people and testify of Christ and if they don't chose to listen, that's okay. But when we just open our mouths, amazing things happen. Lovingly bold.

{Stained glass of the First Vision}

Speaking of people I love, I need to tell you about Eliette. She's an 85 year old recent convert who was baptized in our mission president's pool this last summer. This week we were over at her house to share a little thought and wish her happy birthday. At the end I gave her a little card I had written her which she immediately read right in front of me (French people always seem to do that, not sure why). Anyway, halfway through she pulls out a little crystal on a chain and starts intently swinging it over my card. It took everything in me not to bust up laughing, Soeur Wilson and I almost died. After a minute of the swinging she starts "reading my energy" from my card. She said I have a very organized head, good energy, I'm never sick and that I'm always happy. Don't know how accurate she was, but it was soooo funny.

{I wonder what Eliette would have thought of my "energy" when I was going after that bug in our apartment! haha!}

Mishpiration:  I've mentioned this talk before, but I love how this reminds us that all things cannot be proven and that the lack of proof does not mean that it is not true.  We have to use our minds AND hearts to study matters of faith.    "Faith never demands an answer to every question but seeks the assurance and courage to move forward, sometimes acknowledging, “I don’t know everything, but I do know enough to continue on..."

Miracle this week: Aaron (a 20-year-old man from Congo who is nervous about navigating the public transportation system to come to church) conquered his fear and came to the church for one of our rendezvous! He's been nervous about taking the bus, but after our rendezvous he said he wanted to have all the rest of our appointments there because the spirit is so strong at the church! Prayer works! In other news, Aaron thinks he needs to get baptized in a river because Jesus that's something we're working on with him :)

Kelly is doing well and still on track to get baptized next month!!! Words can't express how much I love the little famille Blanchet, it's so incredible to watch them progress step by step as a family and

Also funny French moments this week: 

"Passez l'aspirateur" means to vacuum but it sounds like "pass the vacuum" so the other day we were cleaning the church and a member asked me to "passez the vacuum" so I, of course, went and passed her the vacuum. To which she got very confused because she had really just asked me to vacuum the room and I show up offering her the vacuum. #french

The flu in French is "la grippe" which sounds like some sort of terrible illness. So imagine my fear when someone shows up to church in a medical mask saying "don't touch me, don't touch me, j'ai la grippe." Literally thought she has the Black Plague or something. But, no fear, it's just the flu.  Not that the flu is good (as my Dad would know), but it is a mite better than the Black Plague.   Get better soon, Dad!  
Well, that's my random assortment of events from this week. Je vous aime!!!

Soeur Cami Goold

{Soeur Wilson eating a yummy sandwich and me heading down the stairs in a sketchy apartment complex.}

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