Thursday, September 24, 2015

Follow the Truth

Dear Friends and Family,

I had one of the most incredible opportunities this week to give a
talk in church. And because I made Soeur Waite sick, I had a little
bit of time to prepare it. The talk I took from was the April General
Conference from 1999 (yes, we go back that far in conference
sometimes..) by Elder Neunschwander called "Eternal Bridges and
Keepsakes." It was on the temple and genealogy. And while, I haven't
been able to visit the temple since my mission or been doing a whole
lot of genealogy work, the talk left a powerful impression on me.
I felt so blessed as I stood up and began sharing my talk and,
although it was already prepared, the spirit just flowed and I was
able to clearly communicate and express the ideas I had prepared. And,
in the end, I shared the experience dad shared with me about grandpa
and the badge he had picked up in Vannes over 70 years ago. Everyone
just sat in their seats listening attentively as I shared the story of
this "not-so-coincidentally" news that came to me since his passing
and my arrival here in Vannes.
I testified that Heavenly Father does not make mistakes. And that His
whole purpose to help us "come home" and return to Him. And I am so
certain of that. As we make the efforts to search out our families,
perform saving ordinances on their behalf and keep the covenants we
have made, we will be instruments in His hands and the hearts and of
"our fathers" and "our children" will be knitted together with ours
and each other's.

I've included the last story excerpt below. Sorry, you're going to
have to google translate it or something. (Or learn French!)

<<Pour finir, je voudrais partager une expérience personnelle à moi.
Il y a quelques mois depuis je suis arrivée ici à Vannes. Au début,
mon grand-père, qui avait quatre-vingt onze ans, est décédé. Malgré
que je n'était pas chez moi a ce moment difficile pour ma famille, et
surtout ma grand-mère, ça nous a rapproché les uns des autres. Il y
avait un exchange des histoires sur la vie de mon grand-père et son
héritage de courage.

Deux jour après qu'il est décédé, ma grand-mère était en train
d'arranger ses affaires quand elle a trouvé un objet intéressant
qu'elle n'a jamais vû avant. C'était un badge des Forces Français De
L'Intérieur qu'il avait récupéré pendant qu'il servait dans le
deuxième guerre mondiale. Mais, quelques choses encore plus
intéressante, est que derrière il était écrit:

<<Reçu à Vannes. Septembre mille neuf cent quarante-quatre.>>
C'est un témoignage à moi que Notre Père Céleste ne fait pas les
erreurs. Le fais que je suis ici en mission n'est pas le hasard. Mon
père m'a écrit en disant que quand mon père est venue en France il a
combattu pour la liberté physique des peuples. Et moi, soixante dix
années après, je combat pour la liberté spirituelle.

Nos familles deviennent liés dans beaucoup de façons quand nous
faisons les efforts pour mieux les connaître. Et, on verra, qu'il y a
de moins en moins de barrières entre nous et eux.On peut réaliser une
famille éternelle en faisant la généalogie, en faisant leurs
ordonnances et restant fidèles aux alliances que nous avons fait. On
peut aussi créer les liens entre nous et les générations qui
viennent.C'est mon témoignage que je vous laisse au nom de
Jésus-Christ, Amen.>>

"Follow the Truth" was the response to the prayer that Sylvan had said since the last time we asked him to pray about the Book of Mormon and the restoration of the gospel. The spirit just washed over the room once more as he testified to himself of the truth he knew. So often, once we get an answer to a prayer and are then asked to move ahead and act on it, that is when it gets really "scary." I think those were some of the feelings and thoughts running through his mind. 

And, his wife, finally understood the apostasy for the first time. We revisited the restoration with them because it had been nearly forever since they'd heard it. And, at first, I started teaching about the cycles of apostasy in the bible and she just looked at me with the most confused of faces. And so I repeated myself. Nothing. And then Soeur Waite gave it a try. Nothing. And then our member, Soeur Vogel jumped in saying nearly the exact same thing and her respect was, "ohhhhhh, now I get it!" I suddenly realized that if she hadn't been understanding what I'd been saying that maybe she hadn't been understanding what All of the other missionaries had been saying. Major breakthrough. Lesson learned: always bring a member.

xchanges in Nantes with Soeur Defranchi. Her family is from the South of France and her mom is American. She's a professional celloist.

Francoise's one year mark since her baptism! We had a party! And her first missionaries sent her emails and pictures. It so sweet!

I tried to make a cake for her party and the recipe called for fake coffee. So I through in what we had in the cupboard and then I read the label and saw it was real coffee. NOOOO! So I gave it to the neighbors and taught them about the Word of Wisdom. I know, face labels!!!

And so on exchanges, Soeur Defranchi told me we were going to go visit a "less-active" family in the ward. We headed over, knocked on the door and when it swung open, it was the Girard Family! (Soeur Walker and I spent Christmas with them). What?! He blurted out, "Sorry, I can't keep a joke. We're still active!" Thanks for the pranks, Soeurs! I hadn't seen them since they'd moved out from Evry in February and it was the best suprise ever for them to set up a rdv during our exchanges. haha

The port in Naaaaaantes! ("Nont") Did I mention that Vannes is pronounced, "Van?" I hope you knew that and have been butchering it too badly..

We took a little trek this morning and visited the beach down in Arradon today. It was heavenly! We're taking advantage of what good weather we still have before fall.
Bonne semaine! Je vous aime!
Soeur Hopkins

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