What up gang?!!!!
How are you all doin?!! I'm gonna go out on a limb and venture that the Jamaican sun isn't treatin ya too badly! I hope you are profiting (as they say here--"profitez du soleil"), because if anyone deserved a vacation it was you two!!! goodness. Well, the verdict is in--I'm heading to Paris Lilas to serve with Sister England!! It's kinda the north-east paris area, I believe. I am excited to get to work there. But, for now I am still way excited about what is goin down in St. Ouen!
I was going to tell this one at the end, but it's just too great to wait. So, last week we got onto a bus and this man asked if we were Mormon, so we started talking. (I'll be honest, the salutation 'are you mormon' does not always end as well as this one did. haha) Turned out, he knew the church really well, because his brother is a big church leader in the Congo and he, Antoine, had been in contact with missionaries (im assuming missionaries, but i'm not quite sure to be honest) in Nogent and Mantes-la-Jolie years ago. Anyway, we exchanged information, but he just said he'd come to church and didn't want to fix a rdv. He said he didn't know if he could come that Sunday, but would come by. So he didn't come that first Sunday, but then we ran into him on the bus again (he lives just a few stops away from us), and he was like k i'm coming for sure this week, and of course, I'm like "ok great!," while really thinking, "yeah.....if i had a nickel for every time i've heard that....." k i totally fit the 'oh ye of little faith' category--so should have been struck down!
Fast forward a few days and we're doing an hour of spiritual finding in Neuilly and we contact this guy named Etienne. He seemed interested, but was very insistent on 'petit a petit,' so he wasn't keen on giving us his number. But, we invited him to pray about the things we talked about, invited him to church, and left him with a card with our number and the address to the church. Well, yeah, you can imagine how humbled I felt when both Antoine and Etienne came walking into church at 9 am Sunday morning!!!! They stayed for all three hours, received a warm welcome from the members, and really had a good experience. (And the fact that there was more than one mention of baptisms for the dead didn't seem to bother either of them!!)
After church we had a short rdv with antoine and he was like, "I'll be honest I have had worldly success (he's a cardiologist)--money, houses, cars, etc.....but none of that brought me happiness. I felt like I built my house on the sand and then the winds came and everything just fell to pieces." (I guess his wife kind of took advantage of him, so he has recently gone through a divorce.) He said that he is now taking some time to get some perspective, sort out his priorities, and he is grateful to get to try again. This time he is going to build on the rock, putting God first. And he wants to see things all the way through with the church this time, because he knows it's good. So, he's praying about it, and we're going to set a baptismal date with him on Tuesday!
Another lady randomly showed up to check out our church, because she was mad at her pastor (uh......), but long story short, I don't think we'll be seeing her again. But, the Miracle of 2010 is alive and well in St. Ouen! The elders have two baptismal dates (one of them is moving to paris lilas' area though soon) and we have two more as well. Certainly it has nothing to do with us, but it is definitely rewarding to just get to be part of the team. After church and our meetings, Sister Bellini and I walked out of the building and were like, "That Just Happened!!!" (John i totally thought of you when i said it.) Seriously, it was awesome!
In other news, Tina is doing well, but she'll be en vacances for the next couple weeks. We saw her the night before she left and the lesson went great. I said a quick good-bye, but it still kinda felt like one of those dagger-to-the-heart, with a quarter turn, experiences. But, hey gotta know the pain to know the joy right?!
Oh, a funny contact this week--I ran up and stopped this guy, introduced ourselves, and then he just took off and started in like we had been in the middle of a conversation. He is an inventor, and totally of the "absent minded professor" type. He was spouting off about divine numbers and number combinations (mostly 3s and 9s--ie dieu, jesus christ, saint esprit), and also about how he was working on a gas fuel source so we would no longer have to use petroleum....? Anyway, the conversation ended shortly after he was like, "ya know, I think I'm gonna start my own church." And I'm totally not exaggerating when i say that there was hardly a breath between the sentence discussing petroleum and the one discussing recruiting members for his new church. And then he went off mumbling about something else. Oh, just too good!!
Best Public Transportation moment of the week had to have been on the metro. I saw this guy start doing the high-priest-falling-asleep-in-church nod, and then all of a sudden he had a particularly violent nod and cracked his head on the window. He gave it a pretty good thump too. I couldn't help but smile at him a little. But, let's be real, whenever I do embarrassing things like that I'm always at least somewhat glad that someone else got to enjoy it with me! haha.
Well, sorry, kinda boring, but this week has just been a whirlwind and I can't remember many details. Oh--we did do our big transfer cleaning this week, and I took the camping motto (leave it better than you found it) to heart when it came to the front closet and the bookshelf. 6 garbage bags, 2 loads to the dumpster, and about 5 loads of laundry later, we have nicely organized sheets in the front closet, without any unnecessary-been-sitting-in-there-for-years-and-years stuff!! So, if nothing else, at least I left that legacy in St.Ouen!! hehe. Anyway, I sure love you and miss you!!!! Hope you're adventurin up the last few couple weeks of summer vacation and hope you remember that I'm always prayin for you!!
Love you lots and lots,
pss i can't really send you my talk. haha 1. i don't exactly have handy access to a little pink netbook that i can pull out of my purse, so it's hand-written, and 2. im not sure that it would do you much good anyway, being that it is in French. sorry!!
pps also, im not doin so great without stephanie these days. somehow i think my stuff is expanding!!
ppss---if you ever see Andrew, tell him I met the elder he trained!! he's doin great; he's the new greffier (one of the bureau elders)
ps4 i sent home two big envelopes with some of my letters. just keep them safe, please!
ps5 tell paige congrats!!!!! seriously so exciting! (and mike too. I guess he did play an important role after all....)
ps6 liz--thanks so much for the e-mail. laughed so hard. oh, the classic memories of the cafe rio tin and the spider nightmare!!!!
ps7--rebs--i still need your address!!!!
also, matthew--how exactly did you kill this super venomous rattlesnake before you skinned it? how is your knee? love you.
john--how did kalamazoo turn out? I hope you're bein smart. have you been eatin much ice cream lately?! love you. (and i think it's cheating to send the same letter more than once!!! hehe. you and joshy!!!)
side note, you probably know this already and may have already finished the book of mormon. But, just fyi, the first interview with your branch president in the MTC, he asks if you have read the book of mormon all the way through and if you have a testimony of it. so you have been warned!!
halle and josh love you guys
tara, i promise i started a letter to you today!! but who the heck is will scarlet??????!!!!!!!!