let's talk about JIMMY.When we met him we weren't super sure his heart was in the right place. He was taking the lessons for Sarah, his fiancé, but she kept telling us that she could tell that he was just doing it for her, and that if she wasn't in the picture he would never join the church. But we kept teaching him. It seemed like week after week he would look just a little bit nicer at church, ask more and more sincere questions, and look brighter. We could tell that he was gaining his own testimony and that he was the one who was actually lifting Sarah up. This week we met with them on Friday and we could tell that something was wrong. We planned on teaching the law of chastity, but before we began I felt really prompted to tell them that Satan was working hard on them at this moment because he could see that they were only a week away from taking the first step towards their eternal family. They opened up to us about how they were both losing confidence in their relationship, had considered breaking up several times the past week, and that Sarah even had thought about flying back to Guadeloupe and giving up on everything. They both sincerely wanted to find a solution and more importantly to find peace. It was crazy how it all fit together because the lesson on the law of chastity is really more about finding peace and happiness in your relationships than anything else. We were able to testify that we KNOW that living the gospel blesses marriages, and that living the gospel and being sealed in the temple are the BEST things you can do for your relationship, ever. Things loosened up a little bit with them by the end of the lesson, and we invited them to an FHE with a member family the next day. I was SUPER glad to see them holding hands when we met up to go. The FHE went really well. They fed us a huge African feast to begin (complete with fofo, nkaski, hibisus juice, lamb, chicken legs, and these weird avocado looking things). While we were eating the parents shared their conversion story. I hadn't realized that they had only been baptized 3 years ago. Frère N'sieté talked about how he had grown up in a catholic non-practicing family (same as jimmy) and that he really found ALL of the answers to his question in the gospel. Jimmy was listening intently and even told him that he felt the same way. The actual FHE lesson was pretty funny because Frère N'sieté just went off in African preacher mode and I'm pretty sure he didn't take one single breath in the whole 50 minutes he was talking. I was worried that Jimmy & Sarah were getting bored and regretting their decision to be there, but turns out Jimmy was so touched that he had a dream that night about God, and some of the things Frère N'sieté was saying about Him. He dreamed that God gave him two paths, one was with Sarah and the Gospel, and the other was continuing life as it was before. AND GUESS WHAT PATH HE CHOOSE?? The right one. The next day at church he showed up in slacks and a suit coat and personally invited every ward member to his baptism. He even had an interview with the bishop to talk what he and Sarah need to do to be ready for the temple. I can't even believe how converted Jimmy is to this gospel it is incredible!! His baptism is on Saturday and we are so excited!!!
PEOPLE CAN CHANGE!
Another evidence of this fact came this week when we had a sleepover with the soeurs from Vannes, my first ville! They told me that Christiane was getting baptized!!!!!! Seriously, I thought that there was NO hope for this lady. We probably dropped and retaught her at least 7 times while I was there. I remember one time when I invited her to be baptized and she straight up said that she would never ever do that! Well... she is eating those words! She has quit smoking, drinking coffee, and has been to church every week. She even told them to tell 'the other soeurs' sorry that she was so rude to us!! Of all the people we found and taught in Vannes, Christiane is by FAR the last one I would have even pegged to be baptized. The Lord works in mysterious ways.
Other than that it was a pretty crazy & miraculous week.
-celebrated Soeur Francis' 20th birthday at 'the Village' of Disneyland Paris, and ate dinner with the characters at Café Mickey. Hahah. I've never met a single person in my life who loves Disney as much as Soeur Francis.
-spent New Years chilling all day and catching up on letters because, let's be honest, the last letter I wrote was probably 3 months ago...keep your eyes open my friends.
-saw the Eiffel tower sparkle
-met the first women who was baptized in Sri Lanka.
-ate Raclette, aka. one of the yummiest things I've ever put in my mouth.
-taught a less active and her daughter who came to church the next day!!! their situation is actually really sad. Her parents converted to the church when she was 9 and she was really strong, but then she moved to Paris, and married a muslim man from Egypt who she met on the metro and is at least 30 years younger than her. While we were there teaching the lesson he rang the sonnerie, and when the less-active told her daughter it was her dad she screamed "au secour" which means "HELP". He had the WORST feeling about him. He asked his daughter to come over and give his a 'bisous' (french version of a hug) and she wouldn't even look at him. Then he had the audacity in front of his family to ask us out to a restaurant. It was disgusting. I really want to help this little family out, but we are NOT going back there if he is home.
-set a goal to fast from English and speak French all day Saturday, morning to night. I thought my brain would explode. This week we are doing 2 days.
-had a lady from Madagascar walk into the church asking if it was 'Evangelical' and looking for some of her friends. We told her it wasn't, but invited her to stay anyways and she did, for all three hours!! They pulled out the D&C, Book of Mormon, and Pearl of Great Price in the first 5 minutes of the first lesson. I just laughed. Gave me a run for my money trying to explain everything to her. She was making a lot of comparisons with her pentecostal church, and I'm not sure how much she really enjoyed it because she didn't accept our invitation to pass by and bring her a Book of Mormon, but hey, it was a miracle anyways, and I'm sure she will never forget it.
-taught a lady who is pretty high up in the catholic church (she met the pope last month), but loves Mormons. She wants us to teach her Catholic Priest the Plan of Salvation because he is having a really hard time with the fact that his mother might die. I can't wait. Have you ever heard the talk 'conversion of a catholic priest?' well that is what's about to happen.
-met a girl who we are going to teach tomorrow who is from Puebla Mexico. Her name is Denise and she is the CUTEST thing.
Well that's all folks. I love you SO much!!
Bisous, Soeur Johns