Well this past week was a bit rough, but that's normal in the life of a missionary.. I've been a little under the weather, but c'est la vie..
We started out by last P-day going to Musée du Louvre! It was huge! We ran into about 4 other missionaries there!
We had a super cool lesson with Claudia this week with an awesome member named Salim. Salim (in his mid 20's) used to be Muslim and his mom joined the church a few years ago and he was really upset and said he was going to read the Book of Mormon to prove the church wasn't true..he read the Book of Mormon all the way through and then got baptized! He has such a powerful testimony. He's preparing to start his papers soon. We watched the Joseph Smith video and talked more about receiving answers. For some reason Claudia has really been struggling with finding answers, but it's because she doesn't take the time to pray and ponder. We really encouraged her to truly pray this time with an open heart. She said she would and hopefully our next RDV we can set up a new baptismal date that she feels more comfortable with. It's so frustrating when you know someone is ready to make this covenant, but they can't see how much it'll bless their lives. It'll come though..it'll come. :)
I think I've been learning a lot of patience this transfer with things not working out how I want them too, but I've really been able to step back and try to follow what Heavenly Father's plan is rather than my own. It's definitely not easy, but I think Heavenly Father is trying to teach me that it's ok if plans fall through and things don't go the way you want them to. It applies to our own lives (not just missionary life). Sometimes things just don't go the way we want and we have to learn to be ok with that. It's definitely something I lack and Heavenly Father knows I need to learn this lesson now rather than later :)
We had a great lesson with one of my favorite ladies, Isabelle :) I absolutely love Isabelle. I just feel like she's mine. Everytime we go over there, I've always been there. I've been over there with 4 different companions, but I've been there everytime. I brought her the Book of Mormon story book (for kids) because she really studies the Book of Mormon so thoroughly and wants to understand it even more. I told her to read them together and everything will make more sense. She was sooo happy and loved it! We read some scriptures with her and her son, Gaël, and I looked at the same scriptures in the picture book. As we read out of the Book of Mormon, Gael looked up at us and said, "Je peut lire les images!!" "I can read the pictures!" He was so proud to be reading the scriptures with us. We reinvited Isabelle to baptism and she said she wants to be baptised!! My heart was filled with so much joy! She said she's not quite ready to pick a date, but I know she truly will be baptised one day..even if I'm not here to see her enter the waters of baptism, I want nothing more than for her to be baptised. As we closed our lesson Gaël chimed in, "Are we going to pray!? Can I pray?" His innocent desire to do the right things touches my heart and fills me with such joy. As he began his prayer he was a little stuck and couldn't think of anything to say except, "Thank you for the sister missionaries who come over and help us." And then he ended the prayer! HA. It was so sweet that the only thing he thought of was to thank Heavenly Father for the sisters! They just make me so happy.
We also got to see the Lasa's this week! They were in England for vacation for 2 weeks. We went over and had some amazing beignets! Mama Lasa always makes amazing beignets (african doughnuts basically) I love the Lasas. We call them our parents and they always call me "Berge" or "fille" (daughter) They're so loving and giving and I would do anything for them.
Saturday we had a super interesting day..Soeur Lefrandt and I were asked to help with a big activity for preparing young single adults for a mission. There was a pretty big turn out! They asked President Poznanski to give them four equipes (4 sisters and 4 elders) and he gave them our names. Soeur Lefrandt and I were really confused why they picked us because we are SO young in the mission and really don't speak much french. So we taught for about 3 hours with 3 different groups of about 15 people in each. They split everyone into their own equipes and gave them a name tag and they had to be like missionaries. We weren't really given much instruction except they were going to practice teaching so Soeur Lefrandt and I did a 'practice teaching example' and then observed the others as they practice taught. As we helped them improve their teaching it was so interesting to watch. The French are sooo smart with the doctrines and they really study all the details..but as missionaries we don't really teach all the details, because the main doctrines of the church are so simple that a child can understand. These young adults taught pretty much every concept they knew in 5 minutes. At the end when they asked us what they could do better, we just said TESTIFY! Sometimes we (even as missionaries) get so caught up in the doctrine that we forget what we know. When they say to share the gospel, they mean share what you know! They really were an incredible bunch of adults and they're going to be great missionaries. A lot of them were so nervous to go on missions but knew it was right. Almost all of them were from part member families or even the only member in their families! They are just so brave, I don't know if I would have the courage if I was a recent convert and maybe the only member in my family! Wow. The activity took pretty much the whole day and we became SO close with some of the girls there. The French really are SUPER funny. And the young adults here are SOOO fashionable! It was a fun, exhausting day for sure.
Later that night we went to a baptism for the Soeurs that we live with and it was great. I've never seen such a turn out for a baptism here! It was incredible! Also when I was on exchanges there, Soeur Huntsman and I found an Egyptian family and they came to the baptism! It was great! The husband kept saying how calm it seemed at the church and that there was a special spirit. When all the young adlults got up to sing a song called Divin Amour (Divine Love) he whispered to his wife, "This is a beautiful song." I was so happy I got the chance to see them again!
Yesterday, church was INSANE! There were TWO baby blessings! So here's the cool background story..There are two men in our ward named Jordache and Jarom. They both are about the same age and have known each other for years. They both got their mission calls the same time..the SAME call (Tahiti) to report the SAME day. They were companions in the MTC! They came home from their missions the SAME day. Got married the SAME year to two girls who both served missions. Their wives gave birth to the babies the SAME week! And they were blessed on the SAME day! Pretty crazy. There were so many people at church that yesterday! We didn't have enough room for everyone to sit in Sunday School so a lot of people just stayed in the hall and chatted. So funny.
Last night we decided to go porting in a neighborhood and we knocked on a door of this man about dad's age and he came out and said he wasn't really interested, but we really pushed him to talk to us so we asked interesting questions that made him think a little. He said he had already prayed to see if God exists and he didn't think so because he said God wouldn't allow his close friends and family to die. He said he's seen too much sadness in his life to think there is a God who loved him. Soeur Lefrandt bore witness said she knew it was hard because her father passed away 3 years ago. He was really shocked but listened. We just tried to bear solid witness of God and his plan for us. We gave him a brochure and he said he'd read it. We hope to see him again soon.
I absolutely love this true gospel! Yes, life is hard, but if life was easy, we wouldn't learn! I'm grateful God is giving me the chance to learn and grow everyday here in France as a misisonary where it's not normal to say hi to people or smile..but that's what makes our job so fun is because we're not only from a different country, but we have a special true message to share with people that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us and sent His Son for all of the sins and sorrows of this world. As I watched the Relief Society Session of General Conference this morning they made a point to express the importance of covenants. We should be quick to study the details of our covenants so we better understand how to keep them. When we enter the waters of baptism, we promise to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ. That means we think of Him and act like Him. We must try a little harder to be a little better each day..for we all have room to improve.
I know Jesus Christ is my Savior. He atoned for me and for all of you. He, our older brother, loves us so much and we have reason to rejoice this day and era with the knowledge that He lives and loves all of us. Thank you for all your love, support, emails, letters, and prayers! The battlefield is not easy, but the Army of God is growing each day. Love you all..
Stay righteous, be true, be you! Avec amour, Soeur Berge