Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Hope (update #53)

Bonjour tout le monde!!
Isn't bonjour such a happy word? It's like saying hello and wishing everyone a good day at the same time. Anyway, I wish you all the best day ever and all extend my sincerest apologies that I didn't write anything last week. All is well! More than well actually, there's just unfortunately not enough time to write and too many things to write about.

This week I've been thinking a lot about hope. The word hope in French (espoir) has two definitions:
1. To wait for something with confidence. (Attendre avec confiance)
2. A person with a bright future (une personne avec un brillant avenir)

This last week we've had two experiences that made me think a lot more about hope and it's definition.

The first one was with our Albanian family. Ever since the day we knocked on their door and they invited us in we have been trying to find a way to communicate with them. We've seen so many miracles with a member who knows a tiny bit of Albanian in the other Bordeaux ward, google translate, brochures, and this week getting in touch with missionaries in Albania who speak Albanian. But I think the biggest lesson in hope has been in NOT being able to communicate with them. We literally mime/ speak broken French/ google translate for broken Albanian and point to passages in the scriptures to teach them. And yet, every time we show up at their door, whether to teach them or to bring them to church, that smile stays on their face. Every single time we read about Christ their faces light up and they get so excited. Our lessons with them have been some of the most powerful of my mission even though we say the least amount of words. This family was forced to leave their home country, is living in a completely foreign place with virtually nothing, and yet, they are happy. They have hope for the future. They await Christ and his miracles with confidence. Every time we go there we ask if they have received good news (so they can stay in France) and every time they just say "not yet, we're praying, Jesus Christ will help us." That is hope. It's finding joy in the moments regardless of circumstances, focusing on what's important (family and Jesus Christ) and waiting Christ's miracles with confidence.

The second experience was with our amie Danielle. It's been 3 weeks of calling, sending scripture texts and inviting her to things that we haven't received a response. She finally responded to us this week basically saying that right now she feels that God has left her and that life is throwing bad things at her "coup sur coup." She said that she would love to come to church and be baptized, but for a very small personal concern, she doesn't feel ready to be a full member of the church. She lacks hope for herself. Because she can't see how she could be a full member once she's baptized, she is paralyzed by fear to take any steps forward. even just to see us. Danielle is honestly one of the amies the closest to my heart of my entire mission and each time she doesn't respond it breaks my heart a little, but seeing how much she's struggling is the worst. She told us not to leave her and to keep helping her and praying for her which we will do. But what I love in this is that hope is not lost. Danielle lacks hope in this moment due to her circumstances, but hope is a choice. Hope is not found in lack of trials, but In how we respond to our trials. It's waiting for miracles with confidence in the Savior. It's trusting in the bright future that is only guaranteed through the Jesus Christ. Danielle is an exercise of my hope because I am needing to wait with prayerful confidence until she is ready to chose hope and to overcome her fears. Waiting with confidence that she will find her bright future with Christ's help.

The last quote from district meeting I was thinking about was: "their hope shall be manifest in gladness"

In choosing hope, we chose gladness. Having hope in Christ is so much more than waiting around for potential future good things, it's choosing it be glad in the moment. To rejoice in the knowledge that Heavenly Father loves us and has an eternal plan for us, that we have divine potential to become like Him and to live with our families for eternity. Like our sweet Albanian family, it's the choice to prioritize what's important and trust in every moment.

I'm not really sure if any of that made sense, but in conclusion I'm learning a lot about the real power that hope can bring in life. I used to think hope was a synonym of "wish" or "want", but know I realize that it's so much more than that. It's a principle of power that brings light into shadows and transform lives."

Other exciting things this week include district meeting where Soeur Hendrickson, Elder Jacobson and I also got to celebrate 1 year exactly since we went into the MTC!! Seriously so crazy... also, The Assistants to the President came up for a couple days and it was super fun to see Elder Wilkey again (we served together in Lausanne).

We went over to the Moutamalaya's and the LeCamus' houses this week which was so fun. Two of my favorite French families 💕

This picture was taken at our ami, Florencine's house. She was in the kitchen doing something and her 10 year old daughter, Karina came into the room holding her baby sister. Her mom asked Karina to do something so she came over and literally dropped the baby into my lap without any warning or saying anything!!! No joke. So of course I caught the baby (even though as missionaries we are not allowed to hold babies). I might have enjoyed it a little too much... but it's true that it's been a year since I've help a baby and ÇA ME MANQUE... so I was very grateful for this accidental circumstance haha. #tendermercies

This upcoming week is already the last week of the transfer which is absolutely crazy!! These last 5 weeks have flooown by! I think because this ward is so awesome and we have the best amis right now (Albanian family, Barnabé, florencine, etc). Also, Soeur Rutter is seriously the most creative, chill, fun, smart, happy person to be around 24/7. And I swear every single day we find out a new connection from our life before the mission. Que le monde est petit!
I love you all! Thank you so much for your prayers and support, they mean so much to me and I feel the power that comes from so many testimonies, so much faith and hope. Have a great week!
Soeur Cami Goold

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