Wednesday, November 18, 2015

I'll Be Home For Christmas!

Hey everyone! We are all safe and sound, but very attentive this week given the events in Paris on Friday.It's been a really crazy week this week (you might all imagine), but let me give you the run down firstly all the good things.

Monday we went to visit the back doctor (that's good news) and we ended up having several Amis show up for fhe. The members give me so much joy and energy! It was so fun playing loup garou (were wolf/mafia) with them and being super goofy. They make me feel like myself. 

Tuesday we went and visited with an ami named Krystelle who we met on the bus the other week. She knits for a living and has such a strong faith in Christ. She invited us over to her and showed us her kittens. I, no joke, thought she owned ferbies (those little fluffy stuffed animals) and then I soon realized that it was a month old kitten! She let me hold it while we were talking. It wasn't until we got halfway through our lesson that I realized that I was still holding the kitten, drinking herbal tea and reading from the Book of Mormon at the same time. That's multi-tasking! Haha. She's a wonderful new ami of ours, so open-minded and so kind. 

We also met with our branch young women's leader and did some brainstorming to help our Portuguese girls come to church and feel more integrated. I love them so much and all they need is 'that one leader/member' who can reach out to them and be their role model. Never give up on people!

Wednesday was district meeting in Rennes and also a major holiday-November 11. Everyone was gathered at the Mairie to celebrate and they had bag pipes playing amazing grace. Can you imagine that blaring throughout the city on loud speaker?? It brought tears to my eyes listening to that familiar melody and thinking about how much I love my savior. 

Thursday we had an amazing day working with the members! We went out to the Devine's 'farmhouse' (it actually was a barn before they started rebuilding it and turned it into their current home). I got to see Sara Joelle and her fiancée! And guess what, they're getting married December 26th. I knew Sara in Evry and then we ended up both moving out to this branch at the same time. It's not a coincidence!

Later that day, we had a really neat experience teaching Jaene (California dreaming) with Soeur David. She lives in town in a beautiful 17th century apartment (Dad, you should've seen the molding! Haha).We taught about the restoration of the gospel and it was so powerful. Even more, Jaene kept on asking great questions that really showed me she's considered a lot of things about the apostasy and about the changes made in the Bible after many years of translation. Members make the world of a difference especially because her and Soeur David share similar backgrounds and immediately clicked once they started talking. It was like it was all coming together in her mind. 

And then, as if this rdv wasn't any more eye opening, Soeur David and her found out that they are relatives and their families come from the same region in Bretagne. Crazy! It was like we were just third wheeling the conversation as they went on about families they knew and what years they lived there, etc. She's leaving for the states at the end of this week, but she'll be back in January and the Soeurs can get back into contact with her!

Friday we went out to see Francoise and then the Gentrys. We did service for them and it was a lot of fun helping them. The Gentrys asked us to clean their windows and as we were, we started talking about family, what we've learned on our missions, parenting, troubled teenagers, differences with the church in France, etc. We talked about how Heavenly Father's ways are not our ways, the culture of the gospel is different from the cultures in the ward, we need to reach out to all those around us and when all our efforts seem to be frustrated and troubled teenagers become a lot to bear with, we must remember Pres. Hinckley's counsel that, "It will all work out. It always does." It's never about the windows, is it? ;)

Saturday we were preparing for the day and I kept on having a phrase impressed in my mind as I was making breakfast, putting on make-up. It was so clear: "Nothing can disturb my peace of mind." All throughout my studies, it just came back to that thought. And then right in the middle of studies, we got a text from president telling us that we were all to stay in our apartments because of the attacks in Paris. Then, all sudden, it became clear to me. Even when everything around us becomes chaotic and uncertain, we can find peace in our hearts and minds. And Christ is that source. Please pray for the families of the victims in Paris. They need our loving support.

Sunday we went to Stake Conference in Nantes and I got to see some of my most favorite people in the world including the Girard family (spent last Christmas with them), Soeur Babin's sister and family, the entire Calves family and yes, Soeur Mozos's mom! It was such a wonderful reunion and a beautiful way to close off these next two weeks. 

Today, we've been allowed to go out and continue proselyting, but with certain precautions. We've also started a "40 day fast" leading up to Christmas. We are praying every hour on the hour from 10am to 10pm and making it a goal to find one new investigator a day. President is pretty enthused about this and how this can be our gift to Heavenly Father for Christmas. What gift will you give for Christmas? Something that can't be wrapped- but what about some sort of sacrifice or service you can give to your Heavenly Father that would have no price tag? I challenge you to think about this, fix a goal, do it and see the blessings! Make it the most beautiful Christmas yet!

Yes, I'm getting so close to the end of this mission and I have loved it. I've never seen God's hand in my life more clearly than I do now. And looking back, I wouldn't change anything. Because I've realized that when we give something up for our Heavenly Father, He actually gives back so much more than you can imagine. 

I love you and keep looking up! We've got another miracle filled week to go and I can't wait to give you the biggest hug ever!!!

Soeur Hopkins

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