We finally got an ami to come to Church!!! Macilene showed up this week for the last 45 minutes of sacrament meeting with her boys. Mbuta is continuing to progress and get excited about his baptism. Béatrice dropped us completely unexpectedly (on her front porch, in the rain, while we had a member with us...), and that was really rough. We had exchanges this week with our district leader and his companion they're super cool missionaries! That's about all that happened. Sorry for the shortness :)
I have never had a week this exhausting. Elder Smith and I have been working like crazy, and there have also been some weird/frustrating moments to make it even more tiring. Nevertheless, it's the most rewarding work I'll ever do. So this week I will speak of three "amis" in particular and one crazy person.
Ami #1 Béatrice
We met Beatrice porting and she was super excited to talk with us! She has a ton of faith, and is willing to listen to our message and then she asks great questions! We're teaching her tonight with a member in the ward and it's going to be super cool!
Ami #2 Emine
So we taught Emine and her two kids Clara (14) Nicholas (11) about God and Prayer. It was such a funny time because we were stumbling over our French and Clara can understand English but can't speak. It was just a fun rendezvous, plus they said we could come teach them more.
Ami #3 Mbuta
Mbuta is an old ami from a couple years ago that is friends with a member of the ward. This week we were able to set a baptismal date for the 22nd of March! That's amazing because he hasn't progressed at all with any of the other missionaries here. Unfortunately the law of chastity is a problem... During one rendezvous a woman walked out of his bedroom in just a towel...talk about awkward!!!
Crazy Person Daniel
We called Daniel while going through potentials in our phone and he was super excited to talk about God with us. So, we went over there and he read for like 5 minutes out of some weird Armenian bible and then told us about all of his problems. He smokes cigarettes and pot, drinks, does cocaine and heroin occasionally and has a masturbation problem. Also, he has a virgin fiancée in Armenia who he can't marry because of his psychiatric problems. It's safe to say.... we are going to go see him this week! He really has a desire to change his life and he has a ton of faith, and he is one of the nicest guys ever.
One last thing, this last week I gave my first talk in sacrament meeting. I had enough notes to give me 2 minutes of talking time... I took almost 15 minutes. The spirit seriously helped me out and I was able to give a great talk (according to the members) on "our eternal families."
Love you all!
So this week was my first as a regular missionary. I'm no longer a "bleu". Also, first week with a new companion. Elder Smith is from Highland, Utah, and he's in his 5th transfer. We're getting along really well. The first couple days were a little awkward, just getting to know each other as well as learning the teaching styles of one another, but now things are going great. We have also been seeing a bunch of success already. In the four days we've had to work together we taught 7 lessons and found two new investigators. In contrast the last full week with Elder Godfrey we taught 5 lessons and we hadn't gotten a new investigator in weeks.
A little suivi on Macilene. We were able to teach her again, and she's been reading the Book of Mormon and praying about it. Unfortunately, she hasn't been able to come to church which is really tough, but we're hoping something will change so she can come.
Cool little miracle moment for you all... Couple of weeks ago Elder Godfrey and I got a passback from a super kind lady in her 40's. We weren't able to get see her until. When we did, we taught her about prayer and she said she believed in some higher being because all of the amazing creations around us, but didn't really have a name for it. So we explained a little bit about the nature of God. When we asked to come back and explain more of our message, she said that she wanted her boys (14 and 11 years old) to be there too because she wanted them to have some sort of religious education. It was super cool and we'll be seeing them this week!
Spiritual thought of the week: Every member of the church needs a testimony of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the prophet Joseph Smith. Read the talk by Elder Anderson from this last conference, and follow his counsel in finding your own testimony. I bear you my witness that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that through him all of the necessary keys of the priesthood have been restored. He was an honorable man who, "has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it." (D&C 135)
Love you all,
So transfers are this week and.... I'm staying in La Rochelle! Elder Godfrey is going up to Lille (North of France right by Belgium) and I'm going to Paris to pick up my new companion, Elder Smith.
This week has been really rough and rewarding at the same time. We only taught five lessons. One of the worst weeks I've had as far as numbers go, but there was one lesson in particular that was super cool. Story time...
So the very first week I was here we taught a super cool lady named Macilene. She's from Brazil, but has been living here in France for 15 years. She has three young kids and a strong belief in God. She recognizes the need for her kid's to know God, so she enrolled them in a Catholic school even though she isn't practicing at all. Anyway, we hadn't been able to see her until this last week. We taught the Restoration and she totally accepted it and she had already read a little bit in the Book of Mormon. We extended a soft baptismal invite and she said, "I've already been baptized Catholic." Usually when someone says this the next thing they say is that they don't need to be baptized again, but she said, "Would that be a problem for me to be baptized in your church?" Obviously we told her there wasn't any problem, and she seemed really excited.
A little update on the French, I still think I'm pretty lost, but I've received many compliments from members and other missionaries, so apparently I'm not too bad :) haha
I have to go, but I'll leave you with a President Uchtdorf quote, "No matter our circumstances, no matter our challenges or trials, there is something each day to embrace and cherish. There is something in each day that can bring gratitude and joy if only we will see and appreciate it"
Je vous aime tous!!