First of all might I just say that I love you all so much...and every week I keep saying that. BUT IT'S TRUE!!!
This week has been another beautiful week with lots of hard work and wonderful miracles. For real, Soeur Bradley and I were shocked when we discovered that we taught the most amount of lessons in one week compard to any other week for the past year of her mission! WOOOW. Yes, I'm exhausted from trying to speak french.
"I found myself in Paris." --Sabrina. On Tuesday, we went into Paris for my legality and that was such a great day. I made a birthday sign for Joy's birthday and kind of just went CraZY. I just was so excited and took pictures everywhere we went. haha
We passed the Pompidou art museum, the waterfountains/lips from the movie "Sabrina," the Notre Dame Cathedral from a distance and then we saw the EIFFEL TOWER. Mom, I think my heart might've dropped a little when we got out of the metro and turned the corner and it came into view. And I suddenly realized, for the first time, that I'm actually here in France. And I'm not here to look at the Eiffel Tower for a year and half-- I'm here to do something much better than that. SERVE. TEACH. LOVE. UPLIFT. Oh yes, the further Soeur Bradley and I've gotten on in this transfer, the more we end up going back to the basics.
In Russell Osgathorpe's 2011 BYU Devo, he talks about his mission to Tahiti. The Tahitian greeting there is 'ia ora na' or "life to you." He says:
"We are either giving life or taking life from each other as we move forward on our way. Harsh words take life away from the one who receives them and even from the one who utters them. But words spoken in love give life." Words spoken in love give life.
This past week, we had the opportunity to meet with Anne-Marie, a recent convert. We only visited her for about 20 minutes. But in those 20 minutes, I was blown away. We were teaching a lesson to her about the Book of Mormon or Livre de Mormon. Soeur Bradley asked her how she gained a testimony of it. As she shared her experience and bore her testimony of it's truth, there was so much power in the room. She spoke in a soft, steady voice, but her words were so powerful. And the light in her eyes was so powerful, I almost couldn't keep eye contact with her. Her testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and its enabling power in her life is sooo strong and I felt so blessed to be there with her!
Another ami we went and visited was Zarik. She's from Russia and speaks five languages! Though she's more fluent in Russian. And she is so kind and beautiful! She calls me and Soeur Bradley "cherie" which is "dear." For the past couple of months, she'd been worried about her sister who's been living in the Ukraine in the middle of the war there. As we met with her this time, we found out that her sister escaped in the middle of the night and fled to Russia. She's now safe. Zarik has such a powerful belief in God and his hand in her life.
We read a few scriptures with her in Moroni 7:35-37 in french while she read from her Russian copy of the Book of Mormon. It talks about Miracles. Zarik had never learned the french word, "miracle" before. As we talked with her about her sister's experience, we pointed the word out to her in her Russian copy. As soon as she saw it, she made the connection and it clicked. She went and found a peice of paper to write down her new word. Dad, it was beautiful. She thanked us for teaching her how to say "Miracle" in french, because now she could adequately express her feelings about the one her family just experienced.
Last night we went to our "wine vat" (Soeur Bradley said 'vine bat' or batiment and all I heard was 'wine vat.' It's never been the same since) that we've been porting for the past transfer and we met a very large family from Martinique that was all living in one apartment during their vacances (vacation). When they opened the door, it was chaotic, loud and sounded fun.
Seriously, more and more people kept on coming in and out of the apartment while we were standing there talking. I should've kept a tally because there must've been at least 30 people living in that 3 room apartment!!! (I'm not exaggerating!) The 4 sisters of the families at first said they were too busy and then, after everyone started crowding to the door to say "hi", they invited us into the kitchen to pray with them.
Their Dad had been in the hospital for the past eight months dealing with some serious health issues. The sisters belong to their different faiths, but all believe in God. We offered a prayer and then talked with them for about 15 minutes as kids kept coming in and out of the kitchen. They had so much respect for us as missionaries and understood how hard it is, sometimes, trying to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ when they are others who tatter our image. They were sooo nice to us. And it was so great being in a fun, loving, crazy home. I'm glad that we were able to uplift and invite them and, if anything, give them a better image of who we are.
One of the sisters said something to us that stood out to me. She talked about a rough encounter she had with someone else on the topic of a religion. It was kind of abbrasive and she said, "That just doesn't work for me." And I thought of a quote from C. Terry Warner's BYU Devo "Honest, Simple, Solid, True." (yes, I read lots.)
"Where counterforce calls forth counterforce, love calls forth love."
That's the only way it works. That's the motive behind it all. It is the way of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Love.
Grosse Bisous and Life to You All!
Bronte is finally legal in France!! So exciting!
Just sitting on a random yellow box waiting outside of an "ami's" apartment complex and having heart to hearts while taking timed photos.
The Eiffel Tower and super yummy food!
Bronte says that all the cool kids in Paris wear these bracelets which are pretty popular in the United States as well. A granddaughter of a member in their ward made the bracelets for Bronte and her companion!
Well that's all for this week my lovelies!
Lots of love,