So imagine one of the most awkward door contacts that's ever been made in the history of missionary work--because I just lived it. Soeur Hansen and I went out on Monday night to go "coeur a coeur"-ing in a close by apartment complex. We made it to the top floor and started making our way down to the next floor. The first person we talked to was this older french lady. As soon as we began talking to her and asked her if we could pray with her, she straight up just closed the door on us. Soo, we went to the next apartment. Nothing. Except a small dog yapping from behind the door. And then we knocked on the last door on the floor and a sweet elderly woman named Blanche opened the door.
She was absolutely the sweetest lady. And while I'm not sure how well she understood us, but she saw our smiles and placks and was soo happy to talk with us. She told us to hang on a moment while she went to go get something. Meanwhile, older lady #1 is looking out of the peep hole in her door at us and we can hear her. After 2 to 3 minutes of waiting for Blanche to get back, we hear her door lock turn and she opens the door to ask us if we "have her neighbor." Yes...I think she's alright. And then the neighbor closes her door again.
Blanche comes back and tells us to come in just as neighbor #2 comes back-- a young family who's dog may or may not still be barking. They wave hi to her as we're standing in their hallway-- total strangers. Then we go in to talk with her while her door is open. Blanche tries to offer us 20 euros to help us in our efforts to serve. We tell her we can't take it. Meanwhile, door's still open and neighbors can hear us as this lady insists that we take her money. I tell her again, "On peux pas prendre votre monnaie." And then she insistantly looks us straight in the eyes and said,
"Vous avez peché!" Yes, I just had this lady tell me that I've sinned by not taking her money.
Soon, she began to understand. We really couldn't take her money. But she prayed with us and she suggested we visit her neighbor, older lady #1 on the way out. And she watched as we retried neighbor #2 who's dog began barking when we knocked. After that, we decided that we'd best leave that floor alone for the evening. But I'm still grinning from ear to ear about how hilariously comical it all was...
This week was week one of the transfer and Soeur Hansen and I spent much of the week going out and passing by old amis. We ended up in the countryside one day and I couldn't resist snatching some pictures because it was sooo beautiful. One benefit at this time of year, with the cold and all is being able to walk down the neighborhoods and smell the fires burning in everyone's chimney--there's nothing like the smell of campfire!
When Soeur Huckstep came to Tours for the Halloween Finding Day, she gave us a call the day before to asked about an ami she had while she was here. Her name is Bertine. We looked her up and let her know her address. She had the chance to drop by her apartment the day she and talked to her. She told us, "You should stop by her sometime in the next couple of weeks!"
So went planned on passing-by, but somehow it just was not working out. One day we were in the right neighborhood, wrong street. The other day, we were in the opposite side of town and had mixed up the bus stop name. It was totally beside us why, for the life of us, we couldn't seem to find her. And then Saturday Afternoon we found her complex, knocked on the door and her husband said she'd be back that night.
So, I prepared myself mentally that night to go back out into the cold and try her one last time. When we got her apartment, we knocked on the door and her daughter (in her mid-20's) answered. They invited us in and as soon as we were invited in, Bertine looked at us and asked, "Did you come to pray with us?" I said, "Yes, we did." To that reply, she told us that it was just the night before that her mother had passed away. She'd gotten our phone call, but hadn't responded yet because she'd just found out about her mother.
So we sat down in her living room in a circle and offered a prayer for peace, comfort and strength. We asked the spirit to be there in their home. And the spirit came. It really did. Then we shared a scripture from Mosiah 15:18 about Christ being the founder of peace and talked about how we can have peace knowing that we can be reunited with our families again and live with them forever.
When we told them about the circumstances it took to get us there, they were so so grateful for our efforts. As we left, Bertine and her daughter gave us each a hug and thanked us for being there. It's so wonderfully when you watched Heavenly Father place people in your path and orchestrate His grand work. Que Dieu vous benit.
Have a wonderful week and if any of you "have sinned!" I'd highly recommend repenting and not taking money from sweet grandmothers. :) I love you all!