Sorry, this will be a quick letter, we are still trying to get adjusted to being back and have a lot to do today.
We went to the hudson theatre every day and listened to different panels discussing and debating women's issues from around the world. There were some really impressive women there with incredible stories. So even though it was a little heart wrenching and eye opening to things that really happen, even in our own country, it was also comforting to know there are people willing to get to work and fight to do something about these horrible situations. I was blown away by Melinda Gates. She is such a classy, intelligent, on-top-of-it woman! And I thought condoleeza Rice was amazing.
Bill Clinton is way taller than i thought and has major bear paw hands, but was surprisingly funny at the dinner interview. (k but not like big, just really uber long fingers.) And the DVF (Diane Von Furstenburg) awards where soeur smart was honored along with 4 other women) were held at a totally decorated United Nations building. It was kinda surreal actually seeing how a "hollywood" type dinner party goes down, so i don't think i would do it justice trying to describe it. (And unfortunately i didn't really get any pictures of that evening....ya know the whole "don't be the tacky tag along" dilemma. :) But Soeur smart's little 2 minute acceptance speech was great and the panel she did the next day was probably the most
effective 5 minutes of "proselyting" we've seen all transfer! Anyway, all in all it was a totally fun, brain-cramming week!
We came back exhausted, but now we are recuperated and dad was right that running does help get over jet-lag quicker. Though, it also pointed out very quickly and poignantly how horribly out of shape i have gotten since coming to caen. Goodness I've got some work to do!
The first couple days back were a little rough because we were just spent (i mean in new york we were always up til 1 or 2 am, then we were waking up at 430 or 5 am because of jet lag and then going going going pretty much all day), but, after a little R&R, things are seriously going really well.
Marie Laure is going to be baptized soon! I really think so now. We found out she doesn't actually live with her boyfriend, and i honestly don't think she really even loves him. She still hasn't gotten over her husband dying when she was 5 months pregnant (i don't know if dad told you the story or not). he was, i guess, like her soul mate and they were so in love and just made for each other. And then after doing all kinds of infertility treatments, marie laure finally got pregnant and they decided to move back to france so they could raise their child in a safe country where there was political stability and everything. And then he died in a car accident shortly after and she was devastated. She put on a good face for their baby, but she hasn't really been healed from the hole that left in her heart.
But, things are just finally all in place for her to be able to accept the gospel. She is probably the best investigator i have ever taught. (Did i ever tell you how we found her? if i didn't, tell me. Just goes to show that really we do so little. I guess the term instrument is very correct in describing missionaries, because we are definitely just the little pawns. And all i can say is that Heavenly Father has got some dang good moves!)
She loved church. The ward loved her and were all smitten by gabrielle (her 13 month old girl); the combination of a "ward family" feel, environment to talk and discuss and learn together, and the spirit testifying of the truthfulness of our message are what she has been waiting for in religion.
She came to the baptism on saturday too and she liked it, though she said she will have start practicing and training to go all the way under, because she is scared of water. (but, did you catch that spontaneous mention of her OWN baptism again???!!!) Needless to say, I'm just way excited!!!
It was great to hear from you and give all the kids a big hug from me!! i love you guys a lot and am so grateful for ya! The open house at the church starts this afternoon. (it is going to be a crazy week with the open house going on every day, but there has been a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and faith that have gone into this open house, so im definitely counting on some miracles!!) Well love you lots!!