We were able to see a bit more of Angouleme last Pday! We went to the Angouleme museum!! Haha, the pictures are worth a thousand words (GO LONGHORNS!) Maybe a little bit of a lame museum, but a museum to say the least! French museums are always fun and filled with nonsense. I decided my two favorite parts of Angouleme this week: first of all, because Angouleme is famous for the BD festival, which was two weeks ago, there are large murals around the city! The town hall pays professional graffiti artists to paint huge murals on large buildings to make the city more amical. It is pretty sweet. I will try to take more pictures to give you proof. My second favorite part of Angouleme is our hobo. This is no ordinary hobo... he is the hobo-ist hobo I have ever seen in my life... He looks like he just walked off of a HollyWood set. SO LEGIT! We see him ever so often and gasp in awe of his hobo-ness. I will try to get a picture of him... I'll need to be sneaky. Pray for my agility.
After our beautiful Zone Conference, Soeur Hoar and I were ready to hit the hills of Angouleme! President gave me some great advice. I asked him how to overcome the discouragement that sometimes falls upon the shoulders of missionaries. I have seen some wonderful miracles, but I haven't seen baptisms in a few months, leaving me a bit hopeless. President told me that during his mission, he was always the "UP" guy. He was always smiling, always making others laugh. He told himself that if he could just get everyone to smile, even if they said no to the gospel, that he had shared the love of God, and pushed them one step closer to accepting our message. As he was happy, even in moments when it was unbelievably difficult, he found more success, more hope, and more of the spirit in his work. I have always tried to be a happy person, and especially a happy missionary, but this gave me the extra push to try just as hard; to smile and be happy! So I Roney Patterned happiness (The Roney Pattern is our format for developing Christlike Attributes in our mission. You choose an attribute, study it daily, script yourself with affirmations during the day, envision yourself being more of this attribute, and pray with all your might that the Lord will bless you with this attribute.). Well can I just tell you that OPPOSITION EXISTS?! Haha, of course the week I decide to become more happy, it would rain everyday. We would have 8 tombez-vous (people not showing up for/canceling our RDVs), including the three families we met last weekend, and we would meet the meanest people in Angouleme, haha. I really did have to learn to Sing in the Rain. And what a beautiful, and miracle filled week it was!
There was one day that we decided to pass a member we had never visited before. She wasn't home sadly, but we left her some Snickerdoodles (Snickerdoodles is my favorite word to ask French people to pronounce. SO CUTE!). Soeur Hoar, being inspired as she is, felt as if we needed to port the building. We got a few doors slammed in our face, and then one woman opened the door. She was older and looked a little confused. She immediately said no to our offer of sharing the gospel, but I decided to make her happy anyway! I noticed that she was wearing a slightly ridiculous sweater with a giant dolphin on it. It was so ridiculous, that I liked it and I would even probably wear it myself. I complimented her, and she became ecstatic as I shared my experience of petting dolphins when I was little. She swung the door open and invited us in to see her dolphin collection... Unreal. Pictures, and blankets, and wall decor, and lots and LOTS of ceramic dolphins covered every surface of her apartment. We talked to her for a few minutes, made her feel loved, and offered her the gospel again. She again turned us down, but more softly this time, haha. We left thinking we had shown this woman the love she needed. We thought our job was done in the building, but then we knocked on one last door. It was a man, and he immediately told us he was Muslim. His wife and son came to the door and I complimented their beautiful family. Then they let us in!! The Agaoua family is from Algeria. They are darling! They are not practicing Muslims, and they were actually quite interested to hear our message. We taught them for a little while and then set our next RDV. We went back yesterday, and Frere Agaoua had read a ton of the LdeM! Soeur Agaoua's brother came over during our lecon, and was totally excited to meet us! He is nonpracticing, and actually attends different Christian churches because they make him feel warm and happy inside. We set another RDV with him for later this week... SO COOL! Frere Agaoua will be in Paris for a few weeks, so that is a bummer, but Camel, his brother in law seems like he could go somewhere pretty quick. It was a beautiful miracle for us! Pray for them to all read the LdeM and to pray and feel the truth of the gospel for themselves.
When I arrived here in Angouleme, Soeur Hoar told me they had met a wonderful family, the Rivoisyfamily, and they were golden... Well I had yet to meet this family, and I was beginning to think they didn't actually exist! Well we called them up and set a RDV. We met with Soeur Rivoisy, but her husband was out, and her children were sleeping. She is incredible. The family is from Madagascar. She has such unwavering faith. We taught her the Restoration. She was astonished at the idea of a modern day prophet, but understood the necessity. She asked questions about the priesthood and if we
Stephan: I cant believe I haven't told you all about him! Stephan is about 22. His best friend is a recent convert in Bordeaux. Stephan was introduced to the missionaries there (Soeur Roberts, my MTC companion!). He has been taking the discussions and even has a baptismal date for the 22nd of February! The sisters there taught him his first three lessons, but he actually lives here in Angouleme, so we have been teaching him the past three weeks since I arrived... The situation is a bit odd, because he should technically be our ami because he lives here and he is going to be apart of our branch, but it doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. HE IS WAY COOL! He plays volleyball, so of course I related with him. He has incredible faith and loves and embraces everything we teach him. He came to church yesterday, (his first time to assist in Angouleme, usually he drives an hour and a half to Bordeaux) and was really touched. Soeur Hoar and I did a special musical number of Come Thou Fount... He was almost in tears he felt the spirit so strongly. He is a very prepared young man. Pray for him to continue to progress, and to read and understand the LdeM. I'm gonna have a baptism with him pretty soon! See, happiness works :)
We taught a great Fire Side this week to the branch where we ate crepes. We taught Faith versus
We did lots of other stuff during the week: we visited a couple of less actives that are so lovely. We are still working hard with them. We found another new ami, Jean and his son Thomas who has down syndrome. They are the sweetest men alive. I have never met more Christlike people in France. Thomas kissed me the first time we met, haha, he is so cute!! and I shouldn't have let it happen, but it was cute... Pray for them to be open to the restoration. A member brought a friend to church this week. Her name is Elodie. She is a beautiful young woman in the military. We taught her yesterday, and we will be seeing her tonight. Pray for her to be touched by our message. We finally saw Sandra and Kathleen. They are excited to be home and to come to church and meet the members. Pray for them to be touched by the spirit at church. Also, we will be seeing Audrey tonight. Pray for her to feel the spirit and have a desire to continue to progress, get married, and get baptized.
Turn to Luke 8:27-35 and 39 with me. We read the story of Legion, the man who was possessed by devils, chained up in caves, and tormented his entire life. As the Savior approached him, the devils pronounced him the Son of God. Christ, in His mercy, cast the devils from him, healing this man from his demented tormentors. He becomes a disciple of Christ, sitting at His feet, hearing His words, and worshiping
Have a beautiful week :) Be happy!!
Avec tout mon amour,