Saturday, September 6, 2014

"Hey, Wanna See My New Shoes??!!"

Sorry it's so late in the week!

So many miracles and great stories to be told for this week!

This past week has been one full of miracles and firsts! We had our exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders on Wednesday and I made some goals with Soeur Richards to contact, contact and contact. And for the first time, I initiated a contact on the street! We met some amazing people who were very receptive to us and our message. It was so wonderful to find the courage within me to just open my mouth and speak. I know Heavenly Father was blessing us for our desires to serve and so he put some very kind people in our path. 

There was one couple that we walked by on the bridge overlooking the river in Tours. I just jumped right into introducing myself, why I was here in France and then posing the question, "D'apres vous, qu'est-ce que c'est le but de la vie? or What do you think the goal is in life?" The two of them just stopped and the husband walked over to the railing, rested his arm on it and looked at the ground-- just thinking. And after giving it some good thought, he looked up at us and said, "I think it's to be happy." 

Yes, yes, indeed. I completely and totally agreed. No new amis/investigators, but still some wonderful Christ-centered, soul searching discussions. 

This pass Sunday, I translated my first lesson into English!!! It was for an British lady in our ward. It was my first time! We mostly just sat there and listened as I tried to gather the 'jist' of what was going on and then explain it to her. And then she translated the scriptures they used from french to english. OK, so it was a conjoint effort!! But I was so grateful that she was patient enough to let me give it a try. And I was so happy to be able to help her.

Saturday night, we were making a late-night grocery run (by late night, I mean 8pm-- Wooooahh!). And we found out that all the stores were closed!! As we were passing by the local market, we happened to run into this very kind frenchwoman named Stephanie. 

And the first thing she said when she saw our tags was, "Oh! You're Mormon missionaries! I just wanted to wish you the best of luck. What you're doing is so courageous." And it turns out, that she remembered as a little girl having the mormon missionaries in her home to teach her family. (Soeur Bradley and I are convinced that it is always the children that remember us the best!) 

Although they never accepted the gospel, their influence left a lasting affect on her. It was such a beautiful miracle. She talked to us a bit about her life and how she prays and searches the bible for answers to questions in her life. She loves the fact that we don't drink, smoke or drink coffee-- and so she doesn't either. She also loves that the church does so much family history work. Wow, wow, wow. I don't know what else to say! We hope to get in contact with her this week. She is stellar. What a blessing it would be for every missionary to know that even 20 to 30 years after they serve, their influence is still making ripple affects. Even in France!

So the picture of me with all of the food I'm hugging has a wonderful story too! As missionaries, we're allotted only so much money a month. And once you convert that money into euros, the value goes down. Sometimes, we're not very good at remembering this and so we run out before the end of the month! 

Which is ok, all things work out. On Sunday, we had some members bring fresh vegetables to church and on monday, a wonderful family in our ward dropped us off after FHE and then proceeded to pull out three big grocery bags of food for US! Wow. It was amazing. That night after planning, I just poured out my soul in dance in our little living room. (A Dance Education major at her finest.)

D&C 136: 28
If thou art merry, praise the Lord with singing, with music, with dancing, and with a prayer of praise and thanksgiving.

Soeur Bradley and I finally made it back to old Town Tours and it is BEAUTIFUL. I can't believe this is just a tucked away treasure in the back streets of town!

And finally to explain the picture of the Elder holding up a shoe and having his suit jacket wrapped around his waist. This is Elder Smith-- my district leader. And can I say that he is one of the best, funniest and CRAZIEST missionaries I know?! 

The last zone conference we had, everyone was upstairs eating lunch and he was just joking around. And then, all sudden, he got really excited about his new shoes. So he pushed back his chair and lifted his foot up to his head saying, "Look at my NEW shoes!" I didn't even know that was physically possible, let alone in suit pants. Wow.

Then we went downstairs to start our meeting and as Soeur Bradley and I walked in, he stood up, grabbed his foot, pulling it up to chest height and said again, "LOOK AT MY NEW SHOES!!!" And as he said that, we heard this loud rip and his pants split down the middle! 

What followed was a mix of laughter and chaos. Elder Smith sat down right away. But as everyone started filtering in the room and heard the laughter, he couldn't hide it anymore. So he stood up and rotated in a circle so everyone could see what'd happened. "Look at my NEW SHOES! Ehh?" So funny! And then afterwords, he asked us to take a picture. He wasn't even the slightest bit embarassed.

I hope you're all having a great week and that you're seeing all of the miracles and blessings around you! Best of luck with school, work, life! I love you to pieces!

Soeur Hopkins

Sadly no captions this week for pictures but it is still great seeing all of the amazing places she is going and the people she is loving! 

Lots of love, 

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