It was a beautiful week! Soeur Richardson and I are EXSTATIC to stay together for another transfer... the Lord has a lot planned for us. We have been spreading the joy of the saviors birth everywhere we are going! The branch gave us a cake yesterday, and we spent all morning trying to find a homeless person to give it to. It was stressful, but successful. WE ARE SO JUBILANT WITH JOY! The two new sisters in our apartment are fantastic. Sister Witt has been out for 10 months, while Sister De Oliviera has been out for 2 months... Can you believe I have been out for 7 months already? WOW! Time flies when you are serving the Lord.
We were able to have some RDVs this week, but it has been rough with some our amis. We saw Lucien twice, but he is super busy with work. We went to see him and only had time to set a smoking schedule to help him quit. He smokes a pack a day. WOOF. We were in for it. We made a goal for him to smoke 2 less a day this week... well when I called him that night to ask how many he had smoked, he told me that he had stuck to the plan and only smoked 2!! HE THOUGHT I SAID HE COULD ONLY SMOKE 2!! How cool, and how grateful are we for this miscommunication. It was a testimony for him and for us that he really can quit if his heart is in it and if he trusts in the Lord. He continues to progress in quitting, however, scheduling RDVs has been rough.
We were able to go see Soeur Charrut, the sister in our ward who is in the hospital. It continues to amaze me how much she does, and how much faith she holds in her heart. She really opened up to us. She told us about her sons... one is less active, and the other son died while he was serving his mission in Madagascar. She holds no resentment, but has felt freed by the peace that the atonements grants. She is incredible, and I feel as if we visit her to bring her company, but when we leave the hospital, we have been changed by her and her testimony. The French really are some of the strongest members in the world.
Our forest man ami Ive is still progressing so well! He is the sweetest big man in the world... He loves our RDVs and recognizes the spirit like no ami I have ever met. He asks questions that we dont know how to answer, but he is patient as we tell him we will study up and answer during the next RDV. He is so great. He will not be ready for baptism the 21st, but he will be baptized. He is also working on quitting smoking. As you can tell, everyone in France smokes, haha.
Our other ami, Yves, the biggest Phil Collins fan in the world, slipped up this week. As we taught him the Plan of Salvation, he felt the spirit, but he had a rough week with work and he smoked a few times, even though he had quit two months ago. He is feeling guilty and starting to pull away a little. Pray for him to lean towards the light, not away.
Soeur Richardson and I are starting to recognize that people feel and reject the spirit in different ways... It is a foreign feeling to them, and they often do not know how to accept it or welcome it, and so they try to push it away. Some people change the subject, some people leave, some people shift around or twittle with things, and others, like Yves, begin to quote 80s rock songs, haha. Hes a character. Recognize these things and try to overcome these feelings. You will be more open and feel closer to the Lord.
Coolest miracle EVER this week! So one day we had like 4 tombez-vous... Boo. We were waiting at the chapel for an ami, who didnt end up coming, and I began to feel discouraged. As I sat in the foyer, I bowed my head in a prayer of pleading that we would be able to accomplish something during the day and teach someone of the love of Christ... well a few minutes later some one knocks on the door. I was confused. A young, African guy was standing at the door. He told me that he saw our church and wanted to learn more about us. His name is Yorrick, he is 23 from New Calidonia... and he is looking for the truth. He really relates to Joseph Smith. He loves the things we have taught him. He came to our ward activity and then came to church yesterday and told us he would be coming to FHE tonight... he is SOOO cool and has such strong faith in Christ. He will be baptized for sure.
We had a sweet branch activity talent show... we did a really funny skit where Soeur Richardson was under a sheet and I had my hands behind my back and she had her arms in front of me as if they were mine. We did a skit about the day in the life of a missionary where she did my makeup and fed me and we did missionary work... it was fun. The branch was DYING of laughter. Daniel, our awesome ami came to the activity and used his go pro camera to film it. He is gonna put it on YouTube for you all to see it... I will have him email you the URL. The activity was so much fun. We ended up having 8 amis at the activity!! If only all 8 of them would come to church too! Haha, we had 4 at church yesterday, so not too bad.
Odile is really struggling and she is very busy. We probably wont be able to see her for a while, or at least until she decides she is ready to change. Pray for her to feel remorse for her sins and to want to come towards the light.
We were able to watch the Christmas devotional yesterday in French with the Branch. It was so great! Honestly, I started to cry as we sang Silent Night in English... I havent sung a hymn not in French in a very long time... Also, I need to break it to you. We havent been invited over to a members house for Christmas, and it probably wont happen... We are still trying to figure out how we are going to skype our families. We are hoping that the Arab internet cafe will be open, haha. I will let you know for sure next week. We did get invited over to the Branch Presidents house for Christmas Eve dinner though. He texted us last night to invite us and we were CRYING!! We found Psalms 107:5-6 for them and said thank you very much :) Haha, so all is well! He also told us we could take the churchs christmas tree back to our apartment... so after church I carried it all the way home. We got some weird looks, and people were laughing. It looked like a walking Christmas Tree. We are so happy to have a tree though! We made a makeshift fireplace, so we are all set for Christmas day!! YAY!
That is all really... pray for our amis that they will keep progressing! And pray for us to continue to find those that are seeking the truth. I love you all and wish you a beautiful week! Dont forget: Its the most wonderful time of the year. Don't waste it.
Avec tout mon amour,