K seriously brings tears to my eyes thinking of Halle in a big kids bed. So not okay with that!!! But Hals, we love, love, loved the matching game! That was a pretty impressive little activity book you made for me. I'm getting pretty spoiled. Thanks so much! Ok, but seriously, on the subject of spoiling.....mother you have got to stop. I think you must be keeping the postal service in business single handedly. We went and got that package this morning and it was awesome!!! And the roomies loved the notecards, which fyi were adorable. And thanks for the blogs and pictures. And I'm not "arguing and bickering over who killed who" (still a stupid movie, but the quote was germane) about doing those pictures. I think it's a great idea. But really, thanks so much for doing that. Joshy man--you got to go to a yankees game?! That's pretty sweet dude. Did they win? Math--gotta say that all the sisters here were pretty impressed with the length of your last letter. How are those bugs coming along?! (ill be honest kinda sounds like one of those "i'd rather wake up with my tongue nailed to the floor, but you grin and bear it" type projects. good luck with that. And bummer that you guys choked that doubles match, but good job in singles! Speaking of choking......so Johnny bravo, how was your weekend?!!!! I don't think I need to say much else, but that was just too good! I'm glad that everyone is doing well. I don't know how you keep up with everything, but I think you guys are wonderful. I'm pretty spoiled to have such a great family.
And I'm pretty spoiled to get to be a missionary! Sheesh, where to even begin this week.......
Well, we'll start with the fluff:
1. Best public transportation siting of the week was probably seeing this old lady (we're talking white hair) whip out a sharpie and start graffitiing on the wall. Gotta love Paris.
2. There was another political manifestation on our street, and I actually saw some guy throw a big glass bottle at a police officer on a motorcycle. We opted for a momentary change of plans and got some of our transfer cleaning done that afternoon instead! haha.
3. I learned how to make gravy from scratch. K like butter, flour, bouillon, and milk. And for most people that's like a whatever, but mom you can rest assured that I managed to not even burn down the building--momentous occasion in my book! I might be able to graduate past bread duty when I get home! haha, well i guess i don't want to get too ahead of myself.....
4. Ya know how you always ask people if you can do anything for them before you leave? Well, this week someone was like, "yeah actually could you mop my floor? There's dish soap in the kitchen." So, I am not joking, we mopped her floor with DISH SOAP! I don't think elaboration is necessary on this one.
5. My new favorite "french person speaking english" quote is "bah, fanks!" (really 'thanks', but the whole 'th' thing is kinda a struggle for French mouths.) When we were volunteering at the Red Cross this week, we were practicing english with Eddie and I told him I liked something and he responded with the typical shoulder shrug and "bah merci", except the english version! Which, i didn't know existed, but is now one of the more frequently used expressions in our apartment.
We are currently teaching as many people as we can and working with a lot of less-actives, but the fact of the matter is simply that we need to keep finding more people to teach. So we're steppin things up. So, one thing that we started is a 40-day purification. We started by fasting for a day and then prayed about and wrote 10 things each that we could do better, and made a goal to completely eliminate, or add, those things for 40 days. If Paul talks about his weaknesses being like a thorn, all I can say is that I've got more like a big 'ole tree trunk sticking out of my side! But, we felt like this was a good way to make sure we would be spiritually prepared when we did find people to teach. And let's be real--I've got a long ways to go, but I've noticed some amazing things already. And one of those, interestingly enough, is confidence. You know how good Satan is at hammering me with doubt; I'm like easy prey! But, since I felt like I've been doing all I can to be exactly obedient and step up my game, I've felt more worthy of guidance from the Holy Ghost and of the Lord's confidence.
I was particularly grateful for that this week, because the night before our rendezvous with Michelle (the inactive YSA from England), we got a text from her saying that she had "come to a decision" and would tell us about it tomorrow. A groan and an "Ah man, this'll be fun" is right. So we were kinda hoping for the best (like crossing your fingers as tight as they will go), planning for the worst, and definitely in need of the confidence that we were worthy of the Lord's help going into that rendez-vous. And I was so not my typical self. I am like the world's best stresser (phd level achieved), but somehow I felt calm and confident going into the rendez-vous. She ended up telling us that she no longer wants to be a part of the church, that she doesn't believe it's true, that she believes it is run by man, that blah blah blah. (She has been looking at all sorts of garbage online, which i so eloquently referred to as "crap" during the lesson....oops!) Most of it I had heard before, but I'll be honest, I was a little shocked when she got to the prophet and apostles and said, "and who the heck do they think they are?" (Just so we're clear, she did not use the word heck....)
We didn't let her go on very long, because it was made clear that she was no longer willing to listen, to be taught, or to seek answers from the Spirit. (I'm not going to detail all the stuff that could be said about the ridiculousness of it all, but among other things, it was very ironic that she was using her belief that the church was run by "man" as a reason to turn away from it, when she was turning to and relying on "man" to make this very spiritually important decision for her.) It was not the time for pleading, but it was the time to be bold in talking about agency and its consequences and to bear testimony. I don't even remember most of what we said, and it's not important anyway, but I do remember feeling the spirit testifying of what we said, even though it was so NOT the outcome we wanted. Anyway, definitely some tears shed during the walk home, but I was also grateful for the reassurance that we had done our part. And there were only tears because it is so frustrating seeing these people you love make such STUPID decisions!!! So, my anger is kinda kindled against Satan. He might be working hard, but darnit I am going to work harder cuz I am bugged!! Let's not talk about whether or not that it is a righteous motivation or not, k?! hehe
Well, sorry, I feel like I didn't say much. But, what I lack in words, I hope is made up with a whole bunch of love! (yeah....i recognize that that is totally cheating, but, desperate times.....) I love you guys lots! Miss you lots too, but I really do love being a missionary. I might not be that great at it, but I'm sure grateful to be here. I loved the pictures this week and am going home to get those back in the mail to you today! Have a great week!!!
Love, Jordo xoxo