Hello Dearest Family,
I was surprised to read this morning that everyone was currently at Lake Powell, but I'm excited for you because it sounds like adventures will certainly NOT be lacking this year. Starting off strong there aren't ya Dad?! hahahahah too good. I love that the only thing John was concerned about was the steak dinner he almost had. Classic Johnny Bravo!! Well, I hope you all have such a fun week with the red cliffs, blue skies and clear green water (now that i say that out loud, maybe having green water isn't super comforting...hmmm), because I can assure you we have had quite the colorful week over in these parts!
So, naturally, this email must begin with me wishing you all a happy end of gay pride week! With the location of our church (ie located in the heart of the gay quarter of paris, in case you weren't au courant. gives the name 'gay paris' some new meaning,doesn't it? and the fact that our apartment is right by the Bastille, it was quite the interesting, scarring, or maybe just colorfully questionable experience every time we left the apartment this week. I guess I should just be counting my blessings that we don't have to walk around wearing matching shirts and ties!
This week was also kind of colorful, because we started teaching someone new who is awesome and so sweet and like threw her arms around my neck when we gave her a book of mormon "in ENGLISH!!!!" And who also may, or may not be, a working girl....if you know what I mean. (I may or may not have started humming Lovely Ladies from Les MIs to my companion as we were walking home from that rendezvous.....) hey! even more need for the gospel right?! K, suddenly i feel like this missionary email is going to need some serious editing in order to be appropriate for all audiences.....go figure. haha.
As far as good, clean missionary color goes--I, am still deathly afraid of spiders. I guess some things just never change--remember the high knees incident that Rebecca imitates so well? Yeah, well, this time the spider dream I had somehow ended up with me like throwing my covers off and KOWA-BUNGA-ing (uh?????) off the top bunk in the middle of the night because there was a big red juicy spider coming down its web into my bed. Seriously, it's a miracle I didn't land on a desk or chair and die! That's a long ways down! And the following night, Soeur Didier was apparently really frustrated with someone in her dream and started getting a little colorful (clean,but hilarious) in her screaming sleep talking complaints. Somehow sleep talking is just that much more entertaining when it is in French.
And mommy dearest, you can rest assured that soeur smith is taking good care of me, despite my recent ridiculously frustrating illness (i get sick ONE other time my entire mission and then,of course,i have to get slammed my last transfer.....grr). Apparently, I'm not very good at eating "green stuff" (as i have taken to calling it as of late), so Soeur Smith and the others have ganged up on me to make sure my diet stays colorful enough. Last night, Soeur Smith turns to me and goes, "Okay now.....Sister Pearce. This is what we call a vegetable...." So don't worry, they are nursing me back to health and we're getting ready for some more colorful adventures this week.
The highlight of the week, though, was definitely zone conference. Of course, being me, I had been dreading giving a departing testimony for weeks, but I ended up being grateful for the opportunity to thank the Staheli's and all my comarades for the difference they have made in my mission, and of course to thank Heavenly Father for giving me this wonderful opportunity, despite my severe blonde tendencies!
And it was so nice to get to hear from President and Sister Staheli one more time. They really are just amazing! I had been holding all my emotions together about going home and saying goodbye to the Staheli's all pretty well, (all things considered) UNTIL we stood to sing the mission song. And then.....man, let's just say smeared make-up and puffy eyes aren't my best look. Maybe not quite Kelsie at My Dog Skip, but the tears were definitely streaming uncontrollably and I'm fairly certain the assistants were struggling to keep from laughing at me up on the stand.
It was just the whole atmosphere of it--the spirit, 5 zones all together with missionaries in suits, standing proudly and singing with all our hearts about being the army of the france paris mission, and just the realization that this is actually going to come to an end. I don't want to say that I have been living in denial, because I know that it is natural and good for missions to finish and I am so excited to come home, but I guess I have just been going about this transfer like any other because this is what I am right now. This is what I do and it it just "normal."
So the reality that this is actually my last transfer as a full-time missionary kind of came crashing down on me in the form of a lot of tears. All i can say is good thing we had three rendezvous that evening and didn't have any ice cream at home! haha. I apologize for all of this horrible rambling, I'm not very good about putting words to my feelings sometimes, but I guess what I am trying to express is gratitude.
I absolutely love being a missionary and am so grateful to be serving here and now. I think of the speech from Shakespeare's Henry V (that president shared at mission council a couple months ago) and really do think that "we few, we happy few,we band of brothers" are the luckiest kids in the world!! Not only is every day filled with one sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes hilarious, and at least, always colorful adventure after another, it is also an indescribable blessing to share the happiness of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. To be able to testify of the reality of the Atonement and of the Plan of Salvation, to be able to feel the sweet spirit as someone prays to a Heavenly Father who loves them for the very first time, or to get to see with poignant clarity how the power of the book of mormon changes lives.....among countless others, these really are just indescribable blessings.
So I guess it is a little bittersweet. Somewhat bitter to know that this chapter is coming to a close (though, just like reading the final chapters of harry potter, I am holding on to my last three weeks with some tenacity i will have you know!) But very, very sweet to know that I can carry these memories forever and to know that they have hopefully become part of who I am, who I have become these last 18 months, and hopefully a part of the chapters to come.
I was grateful during personal study this week to have studied chapter 1 in Preach my gospel (that talks about Our Purpose) and to re-read the quote that talks about the most important work of the Lord that we will EVER do is within the walls of our own home. I thought it was really interesting that this quote was included in the first chapter of this guide book for full-time missionary service, and as I read it and thought about it, the sweet confirmation came that really my mission is only but beginning and now I get to move on to the adventure of applying all of these wonderful things I have learned. So, like I said, I am just grateful. I don't deserve to be so blessed, but I am sure grateful!
So thank you!!!! Thank you for being the most wonderful family in the world! You guys really are the best and I am looking forward to hearing all about the colorful adventures of Lake Powell next week! In the meantime, this horribly scattered and probably too sappy (sorry!) ramble session is going to have to end, because we have to run off to a mangez-vous! I love you and miss you!