So the big news of this week is that it is the LAST WEEK for President and Soeur Pozanaski...my heart is broken. We had this zone conference that was perfectly designed to have me in tears the entire time. First of all the STL's showed us a video that I saw in my very first zone conference exactly a year ago. It was a talk by Elder Holland in which he talks about how missionary work is hard because salvation is not cheap (Jesus Christ paid a huge price for our salvation, so it is natural that the work of salvation wouldn't be a walk in the park for us either). Then Soeur Cameron played "Homeward Bound," like she did in the MTC the day that the MTC became holy ground for me and the sisters in my district (impromtu testimony meeting/bonding moment). And then finally the Pozanaski's. THEY ARE INCREDIBLE. I knew that they had turned around the mission, but I didn't realize by how much. We've baptized more than double what this mission was doing before they got here. President told us about how the missionaries would just chill in their apartments all day, they had hardly any faith that these people would listen. A Zone Leader called in and said, "okay, we went porting tonight like you said president...and each one of the 4 houses we knocked on rejected us...now what do we do?!" This mission is a completely different place now... I'm so impressed by their courage, sacrifice and their willingness to follow the spirit and the inspirations they recieved for this mission. They inspired me, helped me through some really difficult times, and helped me become the missionary/person I am today. I'll never forget them.
In other news the Paris temple has absolutely no more obstacles! Elder Anderson, of the 12 apostles vistited Paris last week, and the very moment that he set foot on the temple grounds in Versailles, Bishop Causé recieved a telephone call. It was from the council saying that all oppostitions to the construction of the temple had been rejected and that they were free to continue in all haste... wow, miracle. The temple will be finished in about 2 years...time to start saving up my money for the dedication;)
President shared a really inspiring story relating to the temple here in France that really touched me. With Soeur Tupai I discovered Alma 37 (I forget which verses) which talks about "small and simple things" leading to that which is great and miraculous. We loved it and shared it with a lot of our amis and members. Then when Soeur Liabeuf got here we shared it in ward council. It's true that in the church there are lots of tiny things that we need to do diligently, prayer, scripture study, calling less-actives, praying for the amis etc. Sometimes it may seem like we are getting no where, but when we look back later we see the accumulation of our efforts and the amazing things that God has done with our small and simple efforts. Well the bishop LOVED our spiritual thought and constantly brings it back up in council. He even announced it over the pulpit yesterday in sacrament meeting. The following story is a powerful example of "small and simple things."
There was just an ordinary man (American), a member of the church who worked often in England and also found himself in Paris quite a bit. One evening he was in Paris and his boss called him up to see what he was doing. He was just sitting in his hotel room so his boss invited him to come out to dinner with him and some friends. When they arrived this simple man found himself in a very very nice Parisian restaurant in the company of some of the most powerful men in France. CEO's of AirFrance and other huge companies...billionaires, politicians etc. He suddenly felt very small and asked himself "What in the world am I doing here?" This was in 2011, and one of the big topics of conversation that year was the upcoming American Presidential Elections. The conversation turned to that subject and then to Mitt Romney and the Mormons. The men asked among themselves, "is there anyone here that can tell us about the Mormons? Who are these people?" That's when this man realized why he was there. For about two hours he answered, as best as he could, as these powerful men barraged him with questions about the church. After that they started speaking in French, very seriously, among themselves. This man couldn't speak French, but he could tell that something important was happening...it seemed like they were in the process of making an important decision. He turned to his boss and asked him to explain. His boss explained that this dinner was actually a meeting for a very important political party in France, and that these men were the leaders of the party. They had tentatively decided earlier that they were going to oppose the construction of the Mormon temple in Versailles and thattonight they were planning on finalizing the decision. BUT after the conversation that they just had, they had all unanimously changed their minds.... Wow, what an incredible miracle. The Lord always always works this way. He takes the humble and the simple people of this world, and through means discret and almost impercipble, he brings to pass enormous and great things. It was to a 14 year old that he appeared to restore his gospel, it is through things like prayer and home and visting teaching that he changes hearts, it's through the whisperings of his spirit that we learn eternal truths, and it is through simple young men and women that he spreads the message of his gospel. God is preparing each one of us to be instruments in his hands. Every day we are faced with decisions that are small and simple, but that can lead us to great things. I pray that we can all be dilligent in the "petites choses" so we can be instruments in his hands!
Anyways, those are my musings for the week! Onward and upward!
Love, Soeur Hilton