It's so crazy, I can't believe I haven't talked to you since last year..haha ;)
Wow, I need to try and wrap my head around all the news. Seriously, it feels like everyone is getting married. How many proposals were in that last email like 5? Goodness. So many rings and babies poppin, my brain just exploded.
Well, in the missionary life, everything is awesome. We had a wonderful week in good ol' Saint-Nazaire :) We didn't have a million rdv's because of the holidays, but it was still a great week!
We spent New Year's Eve Day with the branch president, President Phillipe and his wife, Soeur Phillipe. They made us an incredible meal with my favorite, scallops. Mm! (perks of serving on the coast) We had a wonderful time with them.
New Year's Day was spent with the Hemon family. They are such a fun family.
Thursday we got to see Edwidge again. She is so great. She is leaving for 3 weeks to go to Cote d'Ivoire, but she has the address for the church there. I really hope she gets to attend. Pray for that if ya can! :) She invited us over for dinner and we talked with her about the importance of reading and praying everyday. It's definitely the little things that make a big difference. We also got to meet her husband who was very nice. He isn't interested in discussing gospel, but we talked to him about who we were and what we do and he was very nice. He warmed up to us after a while so we are hoping to get on his good side so we can start including him in the discussions. Edwidge is just so ready for baptism. It's sad we have to wait for her to return from her trip. But she is just a ball of fun and I'm so excited to meet with her more when she gets back.
Friday we met with Jeanne and it was quite a lesson. We taught her the Plan of Salvation and she just ate it up. It was so cool! She just kept wanting to go through it over and over and by the end she could've taught us that lesson. It was an answer to a prayer that she was able to grasp all the concepts because French isn't her first language. She is so excited to have her own copy of the Plan of Salvation. Oh how I just adore her!
Saturday, we had a lesson with Mylene who is a referral from a family in our branch. We taught her about the Book of Mormon. We were so excited and I really clicked with her. She is 20 and wants to be a nurse so we had lots to talk about. She was super sweet. We poured our souls to her about how the Book of Mormon is the word of God and how it has changed our lives and in the end she just said, "No I don't think I'll read it." Turns out she hates to read, but it was so cool because Frere Hemon bore his testimony and shared his conversion story about how he hates reading, but he finally read the Book of Mormon and it changed his life as well. He shared a little about the story of Alma and Amulek with Zeezrom (one of my all time favorite stories now thanks to Soeur Wynn ;) After we left the rdv, the Hemon family gave her a Book of Mormon and a DVD called 'The Lamb of God' and she said she would like to meet with us again. Never lose hope, never give up the faith!
Later that night we went porting and had a super cool experience. After knocking on several doors and having the door slammed in our faces a couple times, we just kept pushing through (even though it was pouring and it was 8 at night and freezing cold.) We just felt like we needed to find someone. After about the 10th door we knocked on this one door. A boy who is 8 years old answers. His dad comes in from the back room and tells us to come in before we even said who we were. We told them that we were missionaries and that we wanted to sing a Christmas song for them to bring the Spirit to their home. They were in the middle of watching a movie with the mom, dad, and son. However, they let us sing and we ended up sharing the Book of Mormon with them. This kid who is 8 is just a HAM! He is so funny. He has the biggest personality and just loved talking to us about America and it was such a fun time. The dad prepares bodies and funerals for his work..a little eery, but hey someone's gotta do it. So we ended up sharing a little about the Plan of Salvation. They listened and were receptive. We challenged them to read the Book of Mormon and the brochure and the boy took it right from my hands and said he would! ha! Coolest kid ever. Then we asked if we could come back later in the week and the kid then tells us his schedule and when we can come over. Love this kid.
Sunday was so crazy. We had to teach Relief Society..I was a little nervous because we hadn't had any time to prepare much, but it turned out really great. We shared bits and pieces of two talks. One was the recent talk by Elder Dube about Looking Ahead and Believing in our future. It was perfect for 2014! We had all the sisters write down on a little piece of paper things they wanted to leave behind in 2013 and it was cool. Then we threw away the pieces of paper and shared this story about this woman who forgave a thoughtless teenager who caused a woman to undergo painful surgeries to restructure her face because he and his buddies threw a giant frozen turkey and it struck her car. He was to be sent to prison for 5 years, but during the hearing, she stroked his head and told him everything was going to be alright and she said she would let all the charges go. It's such a wonderful example of someone who truly applies the Atonement in her life.
My favorite quote that's become our theme is, “The past is to be learned from but not lived in. We look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not the ashes. And when we have learned what we need to learn and have brought with us the best that we have experienced, then we look ahead and remember that faith is always pointed toward the future.” -Jeffrey R Holland.
This just gives me such hope and faith for the future. This week wasn't the easiest for me, but the more we apply the atoning sacrifice of the Savoir into our lives, the more peace we find. How refreshing it is that we have so many opportunites to 'start over' thanks to our older brother, Jesus Christ.
Later on Sunday we finally got to see our family LESOUEF! Ah, it was awesome. They've been super busy with the holidays, but we went over (we took one of his patients, Chloe who is preparing to go on her mission to New Zealand) and they made us a galette and we had so much fun! There is this holiday for the first Sunday after the new year has begun that they make this galette cake and there's a few prizes in it and whoever finds the prize has to bring the next galette. It's for the 3 kings holiday and if you find the prize you wear a crown. It was so much fun and so tasty. We just had a blast with our family and we shared with them how the Book of Mormon has a huge promise with the book.
"3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how amerciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and bponder it in your chearts.
4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would aask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not btrue; and if ye shall ask with a csincere heart, with dreal intent, having efaith in Christ, he will fmanifest the gtruthof it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
We challenged them to accept the invitation. They're very firm in their church, but I pray that they will be able to come to know for themselves and learn for themselves of the truthfulness of the gospel.
After, we had a lesson with Jeanne at the Poisbeau's with the Harris's. They made us a yummy dinner and we had another awesome galette. We showed Jeanne the film of the Restoration and right after she looked us in the eyes and said, "I believe that this happened. I know it's true." Wow! So incredible! The Spirit spoke to her so strongly and she got to feel the truthfulness that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ did in fact appear to Jospeh Smith and restored the true and everlasting gospel to the Earth. It was such a great lesson.
I'm so grateful for the trials and tribulations we sometimes have to undergo. As I reflected on this past week, I realize Heavenly Father was giving me a chance to 'practice what I preach.' We don't always know why things happen to us or why life turns out the way it does, but I do know that everything is part of the plan. God has such a big plan for all of us for He created us in His image and likeness. We all have beautiful divine potential to become like our Father in Heaven. What a reason to rejoice!
I invite each of you to try to make this year better than last. As Tim Duncan states, "good, better, best...never let it rest, until your good is better and your better is your best." Let's all try a little harder to be a little better.
I love and appreciate all of you! I congratulate all the new engaged peoples all around. My mother has forwarded me the facebook posts and I am still wrapping my head around Nashua is having a baby, and now I see all these other rings and babies coming out of no where. Well congratulations to all and Happy New Year! Until next week!