Let me just say..this week was one of the best weeks of my life!!!
Talk about miracles!
Ok, so last Monday we had a fabulous FHE with Esperence (our recent convert) and her son, Anthony. We talked about how she felt when she came out of the water. She said, "Before I entered the water I felt empty like I was missing something. Then coming out of the water, it was as if I was being filled." We decided to do an object lesson and use a cup and a bowl. We put the cup into the bowl and overfilled the cup and read the verses in 3 Nephi 12:2,4 and 6. It was such a fun lesson and it's so awesome to watch Esperence progress in the gospel so rapidly. She was really ready.
Tuesday we had a full day with RDV's (appointments) all day long. They all ended up falling through except for the last one. It really taught me about the principle of faith and how we can't lose hope and faith even when other people aren't ready for our message. At first we met our member, Chloe, who is preparing for her mission in New Zealand. She was at the church when our appointment fell through. We decided to just port around the church. After a while with no success, we knocked on the door of this older woman and she said she wasn't interested. I felt like we needed to sing for her, so I asked her if we could sing a hymn for her. She said ok and while we sang she began to cry. She thanked us for singing and said it made her whole week. She was really funny, but in the end, said she just wasn't interested in church, but we were really sweet girls. Later that day, Soeur Huntsman and I decided to go porting all around these farms. We were in the middle of NO WHERE, but it made me think that even these people on the outskirts of the city need the gospel too. Later that night we taught our "mamie" Mme Jouget. We decided to take the Senior Couple, the Harris's, with us. As we taught her there just seemed to be this wall up. She has a hard time accepting that we knew God before this life and that our Heavenly Father has an actual body. It's very interesting. She doesn't really seem to impressed with the Book of Mormon, but we testified and decided that she just needed to watch the Restoration film and ponder it for herself. Later this week we called her and she told us that it was a beauitful film. She said she loved it and that she was going to watch it again! What a contrast. She is progressing so well. I really love this lady. She just lost her dear husband not more than a month ago and she is still all smiles and super kind. I just know the gospel will bring even more peace to her life once she prays to know and receives the answer for herself.
Wednesday we went to see a less-active family in our branch. The only reason they can't come to church is because there's no bus that goes to the church and it's in the neighboring city where no other members live. They made us a really nice meal and sometimes as missionaries we do more good by just listening to members talk about their problems and allow them to solve their own problems. I've learned that a lot of people know between right and wrong, but with patience and a listening ear..they always tend to come around :) After we taught our amie, Vanessa! It was her birthday last week and we got her a warm scarf since she seems to be struggling to find a job and doesn't have any support from her family. She almost burst into tears and it was so touching. We watched the Jesus Christ film with her at the church. After the film ended, she told us that she believed in Jesus Christ. Before she didn't really believe, but now she believed and knew Jesus Christ really lived and was the Savior of the world. It was amazing!
Thursday, we had Thanksgiving as a zone and it was so much fun. We played games and laughed and it was so strange for us all to relax for a few hours. We had a wonderful big meal and it was so much fun. It is so fun to be with other missionaries!
Friday we had some appointments in the morning, but they ended up falling through so we visited a member who is having a rough time. After we took Chloe to "BURGER HOUSE." This American guy married a French lady and they have the best Burger Restaurant! We tried to get him to come to church, but he said he couldn't, but would love to have us over some time. We're going to go back and try to get his info, but it was super fun to have a contact in English. Super strange, but it was so fun. We got a great picture with him. He's so cool. We're going to convert his family. After we went with Jeanne to the Poisbeau's for an FHE. They are all just super nice people. It was especially cool because Soeur Poisbeau's daughter is in Madagascar as a missionary and Jeanne is from Madagascar. It was so sweet.
Saturday was a big day. We spent the whole day preparing for our huge Thanksgiving party. We spent most of the day making food and decorations and just getting all the games ready. It was so stressful, but with the help of some great members, we got everything done and it was SO MUCH FUN! We had bobbing for apples, pin the tail on the turkey, and beignet eating contests. It was such a blast and the members had such a great time. One of our members, Mata brought more than 20 non-member friends. We also had some other non members show up and we had about half members and half nonmembers. It was incredible and such a success!
Yesterday was one of the most incredible days ever. Esperence received the gift of the Holy Ghost and became an official member of the church. Later we were planning to go stop by some members on the directory that we had never met before. Our biggest goal for the past few months has been to find a family ready to be baptized before Christmas as a gift for Christ for Christmas. On the way to these non-practicing members, Soeur Huntsman felt impressed to knock on a few doors. The first door we knocked on was a cute family about to eat dinner. As soon as they opened the door their cat RAN out the door and the whole family ran out of the apartment trying to get their cat. Soeur Huntsman and I helped them corner their cat under a car and it was quite a sight to see. After about 15 minutes, we eventually got the cat and the family told us they weren't interested in listening to our message, but we were nice. We asked if we could sing a Christmas hymn for them and they let us come in and sing for them. It was great. The next few houses we didn't see any success either. Then we got to this one door. It was red and seemed very welcoming. We rang the bell and the mom answered on the machine. Soeur Huntsman told her who we were and when she heard we were missionaries she told us to wait and she was going to send her husband. (this was not normal) So he opened the door and told us to come in because it was cold. After talking with him, his wife came down and some of the kids came out and listened to who we were and what our message was about. They were very practicing Catholics and they were so loving. They seemed to hang on every word we said and were really intrigued we were American's just going door to door trying to preach the gospel. After we introduced the Book of Mormon and told them about the Restoration, they told us thanks for sharing our message and if we ever needed anything we were always welcome to come back. Of course with me being a really pushy person I asked if we could sing a song for them. The dad shut the door and said OF COURSE! And their whole family got really excited and said, "LET'S SING BY THE MANGER!" They had just set up a little Christmas manger that day that was just beautiful. We sang with this beautiful family and then we asked if we could kneel down and pray. They said yes. So we kneel down and he asked us what kind of prayers we say and we told them that our prayers are a conversation with our Heavenly Father and we close in the name of Jesus Christ. Soeur Huntsman offered a beautiful prayer and not even a second after we said 'amen,' the mom said, "You must come back to our home. We are going to feed you dinner and we want to talk with you more." WHAT?! This was crazy. We set up a time to go back and see them next Sunday afternoon for lunch after church. They are a REAL French family with FIVE beautiful kids between the ages of 9-18. After we left their beautiful home, Soeur Huntsman and I were just frozen outside of their house, not by the cold, but because we FOUND A FAMILY. We actually found a family! After 3 months of non-stop contacting only families, we finally found a big, beautiful family who we are determined to bring to the church of Jesus Christ.
After that experience we had last night, we were so grateful we had been obedient and put in everything we had to find a family. It gave me increased faith that people here are ready for the gospel.
Oh how I love my mission. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be here! I love this work. I love this gospel. It's a great time to be alive and to be happy!
Have a great week!
Stay righteous, be true, be you!