Well, I hope you all had a very merry Christmas!! I certainly did! We spent the two days before Christmas caroling and delivering cookies to the members of our branch! It was such a tender experience to sing praises to our Lord and King and bring the spirit to each of our members homes, even for just a quick moment. There is no place I would have rather been than here in France for the celebration of our Lord's birth.
In France, Christmas Eve is the big meal of the season. So we were invited over to our Branch Presidents home for Christmas Eve. He has the cutest wife, and 5 children all under the age of 9... You can imagine the craziness of that night!! It was sooo much fun! The kids were going CRAZY and we just had a blast. Pictures for proof are provided. Anyway, we had a 6 course, completely authentic French meal. 1st course: French traditional Bread Ball. 2nd Course: Grenouille (frog legs), Escargo (snails), and Oysters. SOOO GOOOD!! 3rd course: Smoked salmon and foi gras (duck liver)... not the greatest. 4th course: Full quails and vegetables. 5th course: Bread, cheese, and fruit (of course). And 6th course: Traditional Buche de Noel!! It was the greatest meal I have had thus far in France. I WILL NEVER FORGET ITS GREATNESS. We played with the kids and we did the Creche (Nativity) with them... It was so cute to see the little kids play the shepherds and Mary and Joseph. It was humbling to see our branch president on his hands and knees, playing the role of the donkey that carried Mary. I couldnt have pictured a better way to spend Christmas Eve than with this precious family.
We had a sleep over on Christmas eve in our living room... We pulled our mattresses out and slept on
The day after Christmas we went to our DMPs house to eat Raqulette. It is also a traditional French meal where you melt cheese and then you put it on potatoes and meat and delicious stuff... but it is different than fondue. I cant explain it. Google it.
We got to go to Geneve this week too! We went for Zone Training. It was nice. We learned about how we are going to focus on finding families. We are so pumped. So the night before training, the zone leaders called me and asked me if I could sing a song during training. I said yes of course. Well we got to the church like 30 minutes before it started and the Elder Carré gave me the sheet music... and it was an original song written by one of his friends, so I have NEVER heard it in my life. He was in meetings the whole 30 minutes before, so Soeur Richardson played the notes out for me on the piano 3 times, and then we had to go into the training. I HADNT EVEN SUNG IT WITH ELDER CARRE!! To say the least, I was scared out of my mind and I didnt want to do it. I almost refused to do it, but I had already promised. Well I sang it... and it wasnt too bad, but its probably just because it is the most beautiful song ever. I dont understand why this keeps happening to me!! Haha, they need to give me more time! Art takes practice! It was fun regardless. We had a white elephant gift exchange as well. I had bought the classiest item I could find in the 2 euro store... a mini Buddah statue. It was fun as everyone opened up their ridiculous gifts. I received an oversized Cars pen... Soeur Richardson got a stocking with Axe Deodorant, haha. We had enough time to go buy more Swiss chocolate... because you never know if I will be transfered!! I needed to take the chance to get it one last time.
We had a great meeting with our DMP where we planned out the Branch Mission plan for the year...
I got sick that night and then I was sick when I woke up on Sunday... So I missed church for the first time on my mission. Boo. It was sad, but I was really sick. My body isnt used to so much chocolate and bread. We did some service during the day for an ami Marie Christine. She lives in a tiny apartment and owns enough stuff to fill a mansion... you can use your imagination. She was so grateful for our help that she invited us over for New Years!! Fun!! We weekly planned and then went to bed early because I still wasnt feeling too well. I am feeling a bit better today, but I will definitely have to watch my diet.
So at Zone Training, they invited us to make a personal covenant with God to prepare for the new year and to prepare to find our families that are going to accept the gospel. So Soeur Richardson and I prayed and talked about it... We have decided to give up our laziness for the rest of the transfer... We aren't going to speak English anymore. We are going to immerse ourselves in the language we have been called to speak. In return, we hope to find our family and teach them the gospel and how they can be a family for all eternity. We are so grateful for this opportunity... We know it will be very difficult, but we know it will be worth it. We trust that the Lord will bless us as much as we work.
I am so grateful to be a part of the Lord's work at this time. He is so gracious to us. He sent His son to the earth to atone for our sins, and to save us from our imperfections. I invite you all to reflect on who you are, and make a covenant with God at the beginning of this year to change; to become more like His son, so that you can be a better servant to him. He loves you and He will bless you and bring you joy in your life. I testify that He is ever present in our lives and that He is aware of each and every one of us. He is merciful. Turn to Him.
I love you all and miss you greatly... Gardez la foi!!
Avec tout mon amour,