hello hello hello dear family!!!
I just have to start out by saying that I love you. I have the greatest family in the world and I know it! How was Easter and Conference?????!!! It is my personal opinion that we should have conference weekend every weekend. And we got to watch it in English! My heart was definitely filled. I just wished that our investigators were there...grr, but it was kinda far (1½ hours)...still, the prophet spoke! First of all how cute was President Monson about his wife at the beginning?! And second, every time he spoke, I was just like "wow. I am sitting here, listening to the prophet of God! How lucky are we?" The whole room of missionaries laughed when Elder Holland prefaced his talk by saying that he was going to be bold...Elder Holland? be bold? And it was really interesting how many of the talks focused on the home and families. Loved it, loved every second of it. (And I’m excited to read the talks we didn’t get to see!) It wasn’t quite the same not being cuddled up on the couches and love sacs in pajamas hehe, but this weekend was great! The Easter Bunny even made it to our apartment!!! hehehe, Sister Howell laughed at me, but hey! gotta celebrate the season! (though I think we might be finding those jelly bean eggs for a few weeks...)
We have some wonderful investigators and we're really working on finding the elect. One rendez-vous that was great this week was with Isabelle. She is African and in her late 20s. She works so hard just to make ends meet and her 13 yr old niece, Hermella, lives with her. The spirit is always great during her lessons, but she hasn’t been really great at keeping commitments. However, this week Sister Howell and I left just beaming from ear to ear, because at the end she asked us to pray for her. Which is typical (lets be real), but this is the great part--She said she wants us to pray for her faith in God, because right now it’s really small, but she WANTS it to be really big!!!! That’s a righteous desire I daresay! So, of course, that led into a brief talk about faith and a great topic for our next lesson. It was refreshing, because lately it's felt like we've been practically force-feeding our investigators the gospel and church, which is not how it should be. So, while it may have been a tiny thing, it was great to hear someone actually express a sincere desire to change and to be better and to learn more!
I have learned that you just never know what to expect when you meet with less active members. Oh the things you hear! I have had many an impure thought of just wanting to LOVINGLY wring their necks and say, "hello! this is your eternal salvation we're talking about here, of course temple ordinances are important!" But, life is hard and everyone has different challenges. Thank goodness for repentance. One of them was actually French, so I got to teach a lesson for the first time to a French person (even if she was a super intimidating, beautiful French woman)! I'll be honest--African French is different than French French, and I had forgotten how pretty French French is. Granted, the trade off is that it is a whole heck of a lot faster! (But, it was okay because at the end she randomly told me 'I reminded her of one of those American TV stars....like Friends.' haha.....I laughed pretty hard and thought back to some great memories.)
OH....funny story. So we went porting (door to door) the other day and talked to a 15 yr old girl and set up an appointment to come teach her family later that week. Anyway, so we show up and sit down with the mom and she starts by explaining, "yeah when Nicole set it up with you, I was like, okay fine, as long as you're sure they're catholic." Side-long glance. Umm... well, here's the thing....hahaha. Needless to say, considering they gave us back the Book of Mormon we gave her, they are not on our new ami(investigator) list!
I was alone on a street in Paris this week. It was a weird feeling, that’s for sure. Sister Howell said to get off the bus, so I GOT. Unfortunately, she wasn’t quite as quick! So, I just waited like a little child, until she came back and found me. hehe. oops.
I think people might be confused, I live in Nanterre, but my proselyting area is “St. Ouen.” So I am in “St. Ouen.” And I love it, but it’s not like a charming countryside or quaint downtown paris apartment (Diana asked). It’s like a very muslim populated, run-down place. We have a very strict list of place the sisters cannot go. But it’s home & it’s great! You never know what you will hear in our apartment that’s for sure. Like two nights ago someone was blasting like Irish Lord-of-the-dance music, last night there was a very raucous & drunken party going on outside our building @ 2am & this morning as we left some dude was belting an opera song out an open window! I felt like I was being serenaded on the way to the bus stop!
I told you about Leiney, she’s awesome, we are also teaching Virginie & Isabelle and they are also praying about baptism which would be great! Christian (the guy who read that Adam & Eve got kicked out of the garden for something other than eating fruit) & Claudia are an interesting couple. Christian pretty much told us that he often resorts to illegal things to earn $ for his family, because “you have to survive.” It’s really hard sitting there as a 21-year-old from Provo, Utah listening to real-life hardships & trials. I mean what do you say? Well, I did my best & basically said that it boils down to faith. And then we talked a little bit about that.
There are also a lot of inactive people we are trying to work with. The ward is struggling a bit here. There’s no leadership & probably less than ¼ of the ward is actually active. The ward mission leader (who talks exactly like, and slightly resembles Rafiki) is starting to step it up a little more though in helping coordinate between us & the auxiliaries.
Anyway, things are great here!!! Our apartment is clean, the birds are chirping outside. Our numbers last week were almost double the first two weeks combined, so things are picking up! I’m expecting miracles!! Haha.
This week we have interviews in Paris, AND we're doing exchanges up in Liege!!! And we have good appointments set up. I am so spoiled. I hope everything is going well there. I loved the conference weekend and easter details! Tell ali and linds and brit and nana thanks SO much for their letters! And tell nana that no, pictures wouldnt make me sad, i would love them! Johnny, i laughed really loud at your letter! thanks. Halle--did the Easter bunny come to the house? hows french class? i had a dream about you this week and missed you so much, but i love your letters! Tara--i have so many great things to tell you, but in order to do it, it must be in letter form, so that will go down this afternoon. I love you all and am so grateful for your prayers!
k mother--- to cut down on carpal tunnel this afternoon, here are some of my questions/items of business:
p.s.OH FIRST OF ALL---THE SPONGES??????? that was like the most hilarious thing of my life. I wished I had someone to laugh with me who truly appreciated it, but I was like crying laughing so hard! I miss being around funny people like you.
p.s. 2 tell evan and sarah congrats
p.s. 3 mom – even if people groan, @ least you know it couldn’t be worse than the “david Dinkins” episode!
p.s. 4 ****k this is actually important. ask Sister Cusick how long Andrew would talk to them on mothers day and christmas. Because, apparently the general mission guideline is just 'white handbook' about it, but the handbook says 30 or 40 minutes. S howell says some people talk longer, some dont, so i dont know!!! let me know if you find out.
p.s. 5 LOVE YOU!!!!
p.s. 6 i loved yours ands dads e-mails. i look forward to mondays every week, because they like refill my tank!!!! i print them too, so i can refer often
p.s. 7 tell kib & justin thanks for their letters and the quote from Kib, I used it in companionship study
p.s. 8 tell grandpa his letters are so funny. It’s kinda hard to believe my grandpa is writing them! send him and nana my love!
p.s. 9 tell Diana no need to stress – “douche” is shower. That was hilarious though. And I think her French is great & her vocab very well rounded
p.s. 10 that’s so great about san diego, of course it would be the year that I leave that you’re on fire! Nice coaching, tell the guys, especially Cassidy I say hi.
p.s. 11 mom, I’m sorry the boys don’t want to sit around and chat with you all day! I so would! Or watch a movie with you, or go to the gym with you. Really I just miss you. But, I’m starting to tear up now, so I’m moving on. Love you!
p.s. 12 tell sister Sudweeks thanks so much for the newsletter! I read every word & thoroughly enjoyed the news from home ward life.