Monday, April 15, 2013

Gaining speed

Family & Friends,
MERCI for the packages! Literally made my day. Dad you are too good. I don't how you made Aunt Jemima pancakes come all the way to France in a matter of hours, but let's just say we are SO grateful for you. I'm just going to soak these packages in while I'm fresh and new and you remember who I am:)
This week was truly better. It was still SOOOO hard. Especially on the rainy days, but much less depressing than last week:) I feel a LOT less mental and more like a normal human. Bon.
Since we opened the area we had to start from scratch with finding new amis (investigators) and meeting the ward...everything like that. So that means we are off to a slow start, but the work here is building and there are so many people who are ready to hear this. We had two miracle people this week. Listen to this. We are sitting at a bus stop and this lady walks up with an orchid and is kindof struggling with it so we help her out. I start talking to her..."Sorry, I don't speak English"...yeah thanks I was speaking French...then my companion starts conversating. (I've figured out that this is how it works. I have to get my companion into sticky water and then she can't help but talk to the people. She's still really scared about talking to strangers) Anyways, this lady is pure gold. She just chats with my companion about the importance of love, hope, and charity and then gets on the bus and sits right next to her. My companion finally brings up church and the lady says "Can I come?!" What? You just asked if you could come to church with us? I about died. We didn't know what time church was...embarassing, so she gave us her address and phone number and we told her we would call her. This is where the story gets kindof sad. We call her, and her phone bill isn't paid so we can't get through, then we go visit her. She lives in this kindof creepy old building that smells like black licorice and has a blood stain on the floor. (Yeah, I'm hardcore). And anyways, she isn't there. TRISTE aka SAD. But we will find her. Pray for Patricia. She wants the truth. Okay, so I'm thinking in my head after we talk to her on the bus. Wow that probably never happens and will probably never happen again. WRONG. Yesterday we were walking down the rue after dropping off a gratitude board we made at the releif society activity to a less active, and a lady was trying to bandage her dogs leg, so clearly...we help. She recognizes our accents and is then looks at our tags and says "Mormons, I LOVE the Mormons", some of your boys gave me your book a while back and I love it. She's an English professor, so she speaks really great English and French AND she loves AMERICA, I think she told me that like 200 times. She told US that she wanted us to come to her house and tell her more about the Livre de Mormon and then wrote down her info for us. Golden. We are going by tomorrow because today wasn't good for her. So pray for Glustaime also! It really was amazing. I had been feeling so down all week because we had 0 lessons to teach (yeah, we still haven't been able to teach a lesson) but it was so nice that these people were able to open their hearts to us and recognize us as servants of Christ. I also thought that it was cool that both of the experiences were products of simple service, just the way the Lord did it.
Oh I just remembered! Another miracle! Last week we went over to a less-actives house to introduce ourselves and she wasn't home, but her husband was. He seemed really standoffish with the church and us, so we just left our number and asked when she would be home. He said on Sunday around two, but that she works a lot and probably doesn't have time. WELL, guess who showed up at church
on sunday and payed her tithing! SOEUR ISME! I was shocked when she said her name when she introduced herself, she told us that her husband had said that we came by and thought she better go to church so she could see us. We went back over to her house on Sunday night to say hi because we really didn't get to talk to her much at church. She was SO HAPPY to see us. She's this big Haitian lady. And she sits us down and tells us her whole conversion story (which was through missionaries), how she reads the Book of Mormon and Bible everyday, but how she hasn't been able to go to church because she works almost every Sunday, she told us that she wants us to call her our "Maman Francais" aka French Mama and stop by and bring her chocolate chip cookies like in America. I was like, uhm yes. I can do that. Then we got on the subject about how we were trying to make an omlette for lunch and we couldn't flip it, random, and she is like "OHHH heavens" let me teach you how to make an omlette. Somehow her omlette lesson turned into us all eating a full on dinner and this delicious creole fish stuff. It was crazy. I love her so much. Her husband was there and didn't talk to us at the beginning, but at the end he did a little bit and he shook our hands. It's a start:)
The food here is unreal. We have about one mangez-vous (aka rendez-vous w/ food aka dinner appointment) a week, but let me tell you. They feed us well. This week we ate with the Young-Women's president whose husband isn't a member. She lives in literally the most picturesque French cottage you could ever dream up and our whole table setting/meal could have been on display at anthro, not even kidding. We ate some beet salad, fresh bread, then pot au fur like a pot roast, and then yogourt, then cobbler, then chocolate, and finally this nasty fake coffee stuff everyone drinks. The food was SOO delicious. Her husband was really sweet too! He got really touchy about the church at one point, but other than that he was the one who was really chatting with us. I WISH WE KNEW MORE FRENCH. I have to always explain things in such a round-about way because I don't have the words. One day. One day. With time. I need to be more patient.  
Yeah, a lot more happened this week than last week that's for sure. I am so grateful for it. I really do know that I am supposed to be here and that there are people here who are ready to hear this message. It's crazy, what I do everyday. Literally walk around France talking to people about Jesus. I never thought this would be me. But I'm so grateful. This is changing my life. I have moments where I experience joy that I've never felt before. It's really cool.
Another thing that I have been humbled to realize, is that ALL people have so much to offer and so much to teach. Normally I'm not the type who just strikes up a conversation with a random person on the bus, or park, or road. And I never thought I'd be living with an Austrailian (who I love dearly, btw) or talking to people from all over the world every single day. But the people I have met are so interesting, and so inspiring. I love finding out why people are here, what they beleive in, what they think is the purpose of this life is. I am so grateful that I have the gospel to answer these questions. Everything about the gospel just feels right to me. I know who God is I know that he cares about me. I know that he literally answers my prayers. I know why I am living this life. I know that nothing is coincidence. I know that all people are equal in his eyes. I know why families are so important. I know that he has given us commandments to make us happy in this life, and in the next. I know that the scriptures contain the will of God. And I know that the gospel really brings peace. I just wish everyone would be willing to listen to it with an open heart.
OK, Time is up. The pictures I attached are of a random parade that just started going on in the streets. We sat by these two wonderful people who explained to us that it was a tradition for Bretange (the region I live in in France, everyone has a lot of Bretange pride and they always say: I'm not from France, I'm from TEXAS...Je comprende). The parade was so cool and there were SO MANY people there. Oh and I'll also put a picture of our relief society activity. Still the same crafts...hahah.
Stay classy.
Soeur Johns
THANK YOU FOR THE STRAIGHTENER. I obviously didn't have it in this picture. I got it today:)

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