Tuesday, December 17, 2013

welcome to the capital...

I just debated for like 10 minutes whether or not I should delete this first part, but whatever....

So sometimes I like to compare my mission to the Hunger Games....Obviously we're not out killing people (more like exactly the opposite), but it feels a little like a fake life sometimes, especially on transfer days. I feel like I have served out in the outer districts for my entire mission, far far away from the capital. I've become this really wild creature of a missionary with my own ideas, especially towards 'what it means to be a good missionary'. As long as I am serving and talking to everyone around me, following the rules exactly, and helping people get in the water, I'm HAPPY. As a clam. I could not care less about training, or sister training leaders, or whether or not President is my best bud, that kind of stuff. Well, then I got transfered to 'the capital', and BOY do I feel like a fish out of water! We had our zone conference this week in Versailles, which was AMAZING, incredible, and so spiritually uplifting, but then we got to sit down as missionaries and I was just so disappointed honestly. I feel like I have served with some of the most humble people throughout my mission, and have really felt as though we are all on the same team finding teaching and baptizing in the greatest mission in the world. Yesterday was NUTS. Seriously, the topics of the conversations were literally ALL about who has done this or this or that, or who has seen the most baptisms, who teaches the most lessons out of the zone, who will be the next APs or STLs. I felt like everyone was trying to out do the other, and acting like a bunch of children. Really it felt like I was in another mission. and JUST after we had heard one of the most beautiful Christmas messages ever. I miss BELGIUM. I am here to have MY mission, that I have been looking forward to forevs, and focus on CHRIST, and bring people the gospel. Nothing else matters to me.
And to add to this image, the train station in Liege is this really huge modernistic white building with tube elevators in the middle that shoot you up onto the platform...'Let the games begin'.

Sorry let me step down from my soapbox and tell you about how I absolutely adore Soeur Francis and St.Ouen. Soeur Francis is 19 years old, and let me just say WE THANK THEE OH GOD FOR A PROPHET. This is my first time to serve with a companion who was affected by the age change, and she really has something special about her. She has so much faith, and just really is such a great example to me of diligent perseverance. Ah, I couldn't think of a better way to spend Christmas.

St. Ouen is ghetto, and the apartment that we live in is a joke, BUT the work here is incredible. We have already seen miracles like crazy. The first day that I arrived we went and taught Jimmy. He is the fiancé of Sarah who is a member. She wants so badly to get married in the temple, but Jimmy was never interested in the church. Recently he has had some experiences that have softened his heart and led him to start meeting with us. Wow, this guy is LEGIT. Seriously, he asks the best questions, and is really starting to recognize the hand of the Lord in His life. We committed him to be baptized on the 11th, and he agreed to work towards it, but wants to make sure he has a testimony for himself before he gets baptized. Exactly what I like to hear.
Next day we taught Catherine, aka. the most prepared woman on the face of the planet. She is a Mom with a beautiful family. She met the missionaries one time in the summer, but then went on vacation. We called her up out of the area book to see if she would meet with us, and she agreed. One thing led to another and we ended up having the most powerful restoration lesson I've yet to have on my mission and we asked her if she would be baptized once she knew that the Book of Mormon was true. She said YES. We saw her this morning and taught the beginning of the plan of salvation. I just really don't have words to describe how well this lady is taking all of this. It really resonates within her and explains so many of the questions she has had.
Other than that we have been doing a lot of Christmas contacting!! It really is so fun to testify of Christ at this time of the year. And it's pretty LEGIT when you look out in the distance and see the Eiffel tower or the Arch de Triomphe and realize where you are.

I hope that y'all can all really have the BEST Christmas ever this year. I really know that Christ was born, that he was heaven's perfect lamb, and that his sacrifice will forever bless our eternities. Every single person on this earth was affected that day. He truly conquered death for us all. I have a firm faith that because of him we will be brought again before our Father, and that as Christ stands between us in his mercy, we will be accepted to return to live with Him and our Heavenly Father forever in joy without end. 
I love you all so much. I really can't wait to see you again. 

LOVE, Soeur Johns
P.S. Yes, we do have a place to go for Christmas to Skype (well hopefully). I was a little worried when I first got here because we had nothing, BUT the ward members are so so so nice and invited us over for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I'll give y'all more details next week when I know more, k?

leaving Soeur Hilton from the train. The end of an era. 

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