How you doin?! (May or may not have just thought that with a joey tribbiani eyebrow raise.) I can't wait to get those cow pictures!!!! oh man, i think i would pay big money to see Dad, Kirk, John, Matthew and Keaton in cow costumes, and now I get to see it for free!! the simple pleasures. K, but you were a little remiss in that you didn't tell me what costumes Halle and Josh chose. Hullo!! important details here. I absolutely loved seeing some cute little kids out trick or treating last night, even though in general I think France hasn't quite caught on to the awesomeness of Halloween and commercial holidays. Granted, the Irish Pub across the street must have taken their Halloween Party pretty seriously, because they kept that thing going loud and strong the entire night! Somehow, though, adults dressed up as soddom and gomorrah invitees aren't quite as adorable as little neige blanches (snow whites). How did the Great Pumpkin go? And Dad did you survive last week? You sounded pretty spent. Ok this is totally a side note, but mom, please tell me you are planning on going to the Motab christmas concert with David Archuleta????!!!!!! I know, I know, one holiday at a time, but seriously, some things are just THAT important.
Ok, as far as happenings and highlights go, I'm gonna have to back up a little and tell you that Aurelie and Claude Marc set baptismal dates! We had an awesome rendezvous with her and claude marc (he is her 8 yr old son) two weeks ago and just asked her if she had a desire to be baptized. She said yes, set the date for Nov 28th, and when she prayed about it at the end of the rendezvous the spirit was wonderful! Well, actually at first Claude marc was like, "I think I'll wait a little while longer........I can't swim!" Oops that's an oversight--definitely remiss in our teaching if we had this poor kid thinking we were gonna drown him! But, we reassurred him that the water is only "this" high and you only go under for one second. He had us get up and show him exactly how high the water was, but then he was cool with it. So, it's a good thing we successfully fought against Satan right before. And when I say Satan, I am referring to the crabby babysitter who was watching Claude Marc before Aurelia got home. Man talk about enduring to the end!! She chewed us out for probably a good 10 or 15 minutes standing at the doorstep, and let me just say that one would have to applaud her knowledge and proficient use of a very vibrant vocabulary. But, we were victorious and later found out that she had a brain tumor, so I probably should get around to repenting for having called the poor little old lady satan in my mind! Live and learn right.
Ok, so another blind couple story. Helped her through the market last week and when we got back to unload everything, I asked what she was cooking on the stove (she loves giving us cooking tips), and she said something about 'langue.' Oh ok......then about two seconds later was like, "wwwhat? did she seriously just say what i think she said?" And then, of course, curious george got the best of me and I made the mistake of looking into the pot. Oh yup, there it is. She is definitely cooking an entire cow tongue. (Some nice large taste buds on those things i might add.) And so then, ever so generously, she invites us to come over and eat dinner with them later that night. I think that may have been a new record for speed in declining a dinner invitation with as many excuses as I could possibly muster. Oh how i love our blind couple.
So, we had a couple firsts. First time I was ever tempted to tell someone we were actually nunns and that's why we would not EVER be going to get coffee with them, "and that is also why my companion will NO, not marry you." Also experienced a first rendezvous where tax deductibles became part of the conversation and apparently a selling point for the restored gospel. (bless their hearts, can't do missionary work without members, they add everything, but sometimes it is kinda like an "okay, how do we bring this back" struggle! Especially when they start going off on comparisons between us and Islam.....give that one a go just for fun.....)
Also, had a first Brazilian model contacting experience. Didn't know that when we stopped him, but it also didn't take us very long AT ALL to figure out why that was his chosen profession.....enough said. But, the best part was the next day, these new H&M posters were put up and guess who the model is? That's right, our Brazilian friend. Also, did I mention my first haircut experience? The coiffeuse was just full of sage comments, my favorite being that the key to staying young is to "be zen." Well, I must have come a long ways, considering I didn't shed a single tear after I got one of the worst haircuts of my life (nothing quite compares to the Harlem Globetrotters incident 1999), but I'd venture to say that was pretty "zen" of me. So hey, at least me and my horrible hair will look young!
Ok, also was the first time I have ever actually seen an investigator run away from missionaries! Oh so funny. We were waiting at the church for elders Volpe and Jensen, because they had set up a rendezvous to teach this lady and pass her to us. So, she shows up, but won't come in because, long story short, the elders aren't there yet and she needs to go cook for her husband, etc..... I tell you, I used every bit of persuasion I possibly could, but that lady was not stepping inside the church, and then is like, "ok next week," and turns and like literally starts running down the street. K just so we all have the right image--this is a 60 year old lady running down the sidewalk in little heels with her dress billowing around her. So then I am standing there, looking after her and then back at sister england and then back at the runaway investigator, like well, I'm just not exactly sure what the precedent is in this situation!! So then we look up the street and see the elders mosying their way down, so I yell at them and point after her and then back at them, like "what the heck do we do?"
And then Elder Jensen just takes off running down the street after her. Well, of course, a little old-fashioned chase action would be the way to go. And I tell you what, that kid has got some wheels! So, he is like sprinting down the street, bag under arm, elder Volpe is trailing after him looking a little confused, and sister england and I are just laughing like "this is really happening." Luckily, the lady started laughing when they finally caught up, and apparently she's got somewhat of a running habit and it wasn't the first time she had turned and run away from them! (Don't worry, I already asked the "so how many times are you going to make this poor little old lady run away from you before you get the hint that she might not be interested?" question, hehe, but they assured me she was interested and just has this slight running tendency! haha) Also the first time the Bishop tried to fake me out by going into bisoux me. My thoughts: "aaahh, what do i do? what do i do? this is the Bishop!!!" He got a good chuckle out of the panic that was, apparently, evident on my face!
Ok, so I mentioned we had a mini missionary for a few days. Well, Sunday night, all the companionships who were taking a mini were gathered at St. Merri waiting for the meeting to start (where the mini missionaries would get their "calls" and a blessing, instead of a setting apart). We were waiting outside and probably made it incredibly awkward for these young men and young women to have to wind their way through us to come in with their parents. But, I guess embracing awkwardness is a great first missionary lesson! Anyway, so as the youth are coming in, the only thing I said was that I hoped we got the one who chose to wear high heeled boots for her mini mission. And low and behold!!! We got the one with the high heeled boots! She was awesome! 17 yr old from the Cergy ward. She speaks French and English perfectly (mom is swiss, dad is from new zealand; born in utah, moved to france when she was 5), AND she brought another pair of shoes, so we totally got lucky! (I had never heard of mini missions before I got to France, and they can really last any amount of time, but the Paris stake has decided they are going to do this mini mission activity with their youth every year. So basically anyone who wants to can sign up to work with the missionaries for 3 days. They stay with us, study with us, plan with us, and basically are just a third companion for those few days.) She said she had a good experience and bore a beautiful testimony at the "homecoming meeting," but I think she was a little surprised at some things. After the first time we went street contacting, I asked her what she thought and all she said was, "that was hard." haha. But bless her heart she was a trooper.
She was with us on our day to fast (i think i forgot to mention that our zone was doing a 7-day fast, one companionship each day) and we felt like we were starving the poor girl! (side note-we had forgotten how much teenagers can eat......cuz for sticks those two could put it down.) So, she might have gotten a little inside view of the reality of missionary work, but we also saw some awesome miracles! For instance, we had found an old envelope of uncontacted referrals tucked away in our area book and decided to pass by a couple of them one afternoon. Well, after we had successfully snuck into the building of the first one, (we're getting pretty good at the whole creeper business), we knocked on her door, told her we were looking for a Julie Gali. She said she was Julie, and then saw our nametags and goes, "oh! you're the LDS. I have been waiting for you for two years!" She ushered us in right away and I can honestly say I have never seen someone so excited to get a book of mormon! It was so cool and suh-weet rendezvous! After that, Soeur Pettitt (the mini missionary) was like "I don't want to leave! I want to find out what happens with her!" It's true that seeing people excited about learning about the gospel and experiences like that definitely diminish any "hardness" of contacting or other things--the people make it worth it! Julie is a film director and has a big deadline coming up, so unfortunately, she can't see us again until the middle of November, but we figure that will just give her enough time to have read the whole book of mormon! hehe.
You also asked about Sister Davillé. I know you're really not supposed to have favorites, but I'll be honest, I'm not to that level yet, so I'm free to say that I think she is my favorite member in this ward. I will mop her floor with dish soap any time she wants! I absolutely love this woman. You saw the pictures of her, so you can imagine some of the struggles that she has. But, she was baptized last year and has like the most stalwart testimony. Her husband is very against the church (it's sometimes amusing how flamboyant he can be in his distaste for us; especially when he is kicking us out of the house!), but he is nice enough to drive her to church every week. Which is a blessing, because she is so big, she really can't go anywhere unless he will take her. Anyway, so she gets dressed up every sunday and is horribly uncomfortable and has a hard time sitting for that long, but her smile just about lights up the whole chapel because she is so excited to be at church! And if you ever ask her a question about how to do something or whatever, she will answer like, "well, you go to church and pray and read the scriptures." And you can tell she truly believes those things will work! She has this sincerity and earnestness in the power of the "primary answers" that is remarkable. And ya know, I think she's got it right.
If I were pressed, one of the things that would be towards the top of the list of things I've learned on a mission, would probably be the power of the primary answers. I found it interesting how a good portion of the new simplified Preach My Gospel curriculum focuses on how to help people gain a testimony, and whaddayaknow--what are the things on there? Revelation through prayer, the Book of Mormon, and church attendance! et Voilà. I love the primary answers! Plus, let's be real, we all know that primary is much more my kind of level! (Side note--This week I was reading in 1 nephi and started singing the "murmur" song from scripture scouts and the other sisters got a good laugh in. I tried to tell them about the time dad dressed up as King Noah and sang the "i want want want what i want want want" song for one of your overachiever-refrigerator-box-time capsule sharing times, but just don't think i quite did it justice!)
Ok, well I had to type super fast to get this all down, so if any of it actually make sense, then we have all witnessed yet another modern day miracle! Sure love you guys. I miss you lots and pray for you lots. Thanks for being so absolutely wonderful!! Can't wait to hear about next week's adventures and mischief on the home front!
ps mom I seriously love, love, loved the family theme. And I had tears streaming down my face when I read the letter from you mommy dearest. All I can say is DITTO! i have no idea about boots still. im sorry! ill look around here a little and then get back to you. Oh and will you tell robbie that i was so grateful for his quick email. seriously meant a lot and i send my love!
Pss tell Allie & Justin CONGRATS for me!!!!! I loved the blog and they are so cute!
Halle—how was the cheer clinic?!! By the way, we loved the Arthur pictures. Me and sister Gifford were talking about how much we loved Arthur when we were your age too! (granted, I think I probably kept watching it after school up until I went to Timpview hehe.)
Johnny – laughed so hard when you were like, “I don’t know I wasn’t really paying attention” so funny!!!!!! Pretty cool about josh warner too, though I have not the faintest idea who z vanny is. OH wait…is that zach vanleeuwen? Man I suddenly feel like I should be carrying a cane cuz I am not keeping up with your slang very well these days, haha. Thanks for the update brother.
Josh –pretty sweet you’re becoming a master origamier. Have you engineered a better way to do the rain gutter curious George boats yet? and how was being water boy? And I miss you too!
Tara – I think dad and I watched that movie together the same weekend we watched big country. Doesn’t get much better!
Matthew – I’ll have to give some thought to your christmas present question, but im kind of thinking you’re gonna have to come up with that one on your own. that's kinda the thing about a 'hearts desire' is that it's gotta be YOURS. sorry!!! dont pick something lame though! and fyi i am going to expect a good harry potter review once you see it. i can't believe how tall you are now!! that is crazy. and holy cow, i just realized i think that means i am in the bottom half of the kids in height now. hey and cool about the messick sibling! i went to school with her brother and i was in the same district as elder messick in versailles!!
pps funniest metro moment this week was with this old man--me:hey so do you think it'll rain today? (yeah super original conversation starter, i know). Old man: Oh no! I brought my umbrella today. It never rains when I actually bring my umbrella. (I just think old men are such a hoot. The world is definitely a better place because of their special little old man flare!)