Monday, March 10, 2014

Bienvenue Chez Les Ch'tis!

And so the Queen of Liège salutes Charlemagne, ceding her throne and her kingdom among four worthy soeurs.  Wow, It was sort of terrible leaving Belgium...  I really grew attached to that place and those people.  Soeur Walker and I were parcouring up until the last minute.  We were all over the sector on Tuesday.  Out to Verviers, up to Boirs, saying goodbye to everyone!  Sonia and John fed us dinner and I was able to play for them.  I said goodbye to Sariah (twice, we just cried and cried), Christianna, Joycely and Gigh...  Then I got up at 3h30 the next morning and that was it.  Next thing I knew I was in Paris.
Oh my goodness!  As soon as we got there I ran into Soeur Smith!  I haven't seen her since the MTC!!!  And soeur Lefrandt and Elder Ganjanakrit and Sr Holmes and just everyone I love!!  Oh Soeur Elliot toooooo.  Wow it was so great to go into Paris, it's been forever.  I was so happy, just hanging out at the Chatelet metro stop, chatting with everyone...the mission really is true happiness.
Speaking of happiness...I am so beyond happy here in Arras.  I love my new companion, Soeur Tupai.  She is just this adorable (and hilarious) girl from Tahiti.  She just finished getting trained so I'm her "step mom" as we say in mission lingo.  We have just been having a blast here together.  We've already seen so many miracles.  There is so much potential here.  This transfer is going to be unreal.  Oh yeah and she is a francophone, I can already see a huge difference in my french (because we speak it pretty much all the time), what a blessing!
I just want to share our biggest miracle with you all from this week: Estelle.  So it was our second day together and we decided to go out porting for the evening.  We had been going for probably an hour or so and I was just been funny and imitated her trainer who was really dramatic by saying, "ok, Soeur Tupai, ou allons nous?" (where do we go?) haha, she thought it was so funny, but right after that we both headed the exact same direction and I felt really good about the porte we were headed to. We rang the sonnette and a lady and her son answered.  I asked if we could come in a pray with her and she just stared at us for a second.  I felt pretty she thought we were so stupid or something.  So you can imagine my surprise when she immediately invited us in!  We sat down and she started explaining to her son who we were... then she left for a minute and came back with a dusty Book of Mormon.  Apparently Elders had passed by her house fifteen years ago!  Her father told her that she should keep the book, that it was very special.  He said "gardez ce livre precieusement."  She teared up as we prayed for her and we set another time to come back and tell her about the "precious book."  On saturday we had one of the most beautiful lessons of my mission.  Her nine-year-old daughter was there.  She is severely handicapped but so beautiful.  Estelle said that we were an answer to her prayers.  We promised her that the Book of Mormon could bring peace and happiness into her home, we all cried together.  I just have this feeling like I've known Estelle for a long long time.  I'm so grateful to be a missionary and to be able to have the Spirit to guide me all the time!  I'm so grateful to be in Arras...
I've been thinking a lot lately about the mission.  It's really a time when we put our lives completely in God's hands.  He puts us in the places and with the people that we need to be with--where we will grow the most and where we can give the most.  Arras just feels like home.  I think life is like that too.  We need to be willing to go where God wants us to go...there are so many blessings in store if we do.  But how can we be sure we are where we are supposed to be?  That is why having the Spirit is so important.  I'm going to continue think about this...super interesting.
Anyways--Arras.  Arras is in the North of France.  There is this hilarious movie that I watched before my mission called "Bienvenue chez les ch'tis."  If you want a taste of what I'm living watch it!  The ward here is INCREDIBLE.  I never been to a better functioning ward council, and everyone is so involved in missionary work.  I love the members so much already... I'm so impressed by the members in France, they sacrifice so much.  If the members of the church were the only evidence of it's truth that would be enough for me!  They are some of the most inspiring people I've ever met.
Well that's it for this week! Stay tuned for next time

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