99% of Baptisms come from 1% of the Missionaries (not really, but you'll see my point in a minute)
Well, it's official. My mission call to Paris wasn't some practical joke, I have in my possession travel plans for next Monday: 4:50 p.m. depart Salt Lake, 11:55 a.m. arrive in Charles De Gaulle Airport (Paris). WOW!! I just burst into tears when I read that, it's really happening....wait, what? I'm going to Paris? Am I dreaming? I'm excited that it's a direct flight, so awesome:) There are 40 of us... so we won't be staying at the mission home the first night, but in a hotel in Paris, I believe. Usually they have the new missionaries do some contacting when they arrive, but that probably won't happen for us. President has to interview all forty missionaries, and they would have to bring in 20 companionships to contact with us...bummer. But i'll be doing missionary work for the next little while anyways ;) haha
This last week my district focused on the Christlike attribute of "Diligence." We didn't want to blow off our second to last week. We all worked really hard and spoke French as much as possible. Saturday was the crowning moment of our diligence week. We did an "English Fast." We tried to speak nothing but French the whole day. It was amazing, and I felt richly, richly blessed for my efforts. So many tender mercies, especially as the day came to a close. We got a new teacher this week, Frere Wilcox, and he gave the best lesson we've had here at the MTC. For three hours he talked about what it meant to be a conscrated missionary. Success in missionary work is a blessing predicated on obedience, not a consequence. He pulled the stats when he was on his mission and he noticed that most of the baptisms came from just a handful of missionaries. It's not as dramatic as my title makes it sound (I was just making a play off the Occupy Wallstreet slogan, haha). He said most missionaries cluster right before the tipping point of great success. He said it had to do with obedience and consecration. If we would just give up the one or two things holding us back, every missionary can be a powerful instrument in God's hands. It was such a good lesson. Frere Mayne has also taught some pretty powerful lessons lately. He encouraged us to pray for confirmation about each area we serve in. If we feel, through the Spirit, that there are people in our area looking for the truth, then it won't matter how tired we are, or how many people turn us away, or how many blisters are on our feet, we will keep going until we "find those willing to recieve us."
This week, as a district, we are going to focus on the Christlike attribute of "Hope." So for personal study this morning I read about hope in Preach My Gospel and read some scriptures about hope. My favorite was Ether 12:4, which reads,
"Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God."
Isn't that beautiful? The world out there rages in storm, but hope will anchor our souls. That doesn't mean that we will be taken out of the storm, but that we will be safe through it. I like when it says with hope we can "with surety hope for a better world." In my opinion, that doesn't just refer to heaven, or the world after this one, but it is also talking about right now. We can achieve peace in this life, through the knowledge that there is One who knows us, understand us, and can comfort and save us. There are many in this world, as it says in Preach My Gospel, who's "hands hang down hopelessly..." I think that if I can just bring hope to people, I will have suceeded. "Charity never faileth." I was pondering that today and had a thought. Every missionary is worried whether they will be a sucess or a failure on their mission. Charity NEVER faileth. If we missionaries strive for charity above all, pleading for it in our prayers, then there is no way we can fail. We are representatives of Jesus Christ--numbers don't matter, love matters. If He were here serving this mission, He would just love and serve everyone, inviting them to follow His example. That's what we are supposed to do. That's what everyone, not just missionaries, should strive to do---then we really can hope for a better world. We would already have a better world if we all tried to have Charity. Okay, I've rambled long enough...There you have it, my missionary musings. There are so few distractions here...there is just a lot of time to think:)
Alright friends, this is the final countdown! I don't know if I'll be able to email next week, so my next correspondence may be coming from across the pond.