I hope everyone had a good week and hopefully no one melted from the heat;) Shout out to Mama and Papa Holmes who celebrated 26 years of marriage on Saturday! Way to go! I love you:)
This week was SO good. I'll start out with our amazing zone conference with President and Sister Brown! They are such kind, loving, happy people. They light up a room. When they were talking I felt so much love from them. I really could feel the love they have for each and every one of us. When we went up and shook their hands they already knew our names, even our first names! So cute. They really have been preparing to come here. We all were able to have an interview with President Brown, and it was so good!! During my interview he promised me that even though the work is hard here in Cannes, that miracles were coming our way. I saw that promised fulfilled this week in more ways than one.
Miracle 1: Amelia. So we were coming home from zone conference and we decided to contact on the way back to our apartment. So we are going along and talking to people and we are hearing lots of no, no, no. Then we stop this lady. We ask her if we could do the questionnaire with her and she told us yes we could if we hurried:) so we start talking to this lady when she stops us and says, "are you Mormon?" We told her that we are and she said, "actually I don't really like Mormons that much.
" So we asked her why and she told us that we do weird things like pay 10 percent of our income to the church, and that we are some sort of weird sect, etc. So we start talking to her about tithing and explained why we do it and the blessings we receive from paying our tithing. By the end of the conversation she told us that paying tithing actually makes sense and that in comparison to everything God gives us, it is the least we can do. Then we clarified that we aren't a sect:) We kept talking to her and she just opened up and really told us how she was feeling and how she is going through hard times but she knows that God is there and He never leaves her alone. SHE IS SO COOL! By the end of the conversation she gave us her number and let us pray with her on the street. As we were going to leave she said to us "you know, I don't think it was an accident that we met today." Turns out she never really leaves her house because she is just really lost right now and she doesn't want to go out and be surrounded by "the world". She just randomly decided to go take her dog for a little walk as soon as we were walking up the street. Not a coincidence. God's hand is in every situation of our lives. I'm so glad we met Amelia.
Miracle 2: So we show up to our ward council on Friday when a member of the bishopric walks up to us and says, "Sisters, remember that friend I have been trying to share the Gospel with for a while? Well she came over to our house on Monday for FHE and she wants to meet the missionaries!" That might not sound exciting, but here, that NEVER happens. Very rare. We were so stoked! Not only is someone interested in learning more about the church, but she is the friend of a member! It's a missionaries dream:)
Miracle 3: So I don't know if you remember this, but there is a recent convert in Cannes named Raphael. He got baptized in January and is so cool! Well since the end of March he's been mia. No one can get a hold of him, he doesn't answer his door, won't call us back, nothing. It was so weird. He was coming to church and meeting with us and then all of a sudden he just stopped and no one knew what happened. So since March we have all been super worried. Well we were on the bus on Saturday and guess who I saw walking down the street?? Raphael!!! I about died in my seat! So I quickly pick up the phone and call him and he answered! What?! He was being kinda weird on the phone and he wouldn't fix a rendezvous with us because he didn't know his schedule, but hey he is alive! It was a really cool tender mercy.
Plenty of really cool little things happened this week, but those were the three that stuck out to me the most. I really saw President's promise fulfilled. Not only that but two fast Sunday's ago we had a ward fast concentrated on missionary work. I'm certain that those miracles came from the fast. It's also really cool because Frere Rutily the one who his friend wants to meet with us, bore a really powerful testimony on Sunday about his desire to share the Gospel and his hopes of having opportunities. God answers our prayers. He loves us so much.
Also in the week we had the opportunity to go to Aix and do an exchange with the STL's there. It was so great! Like I said I love exchanges and the opportunities we have to learn from one another. Aix is beautiful and the people are so nice! We were able to meet really cool less actives, recent converts, amis, and members there. We had a really cool experience with a recent convert there named Rachelle. She got baptized about a month ago and she is so cool. So solid. We sat down and prayed to start our lesson when she said, "sisters, can I ask you a question?" Of course we said yes and she began to pour her little heart out to us about how scared she was to give a talk in Sacrament because she felt inadequate since she hasn't been a member that long. We reassured her that Heavenly Father would help her and that she didn't need to feel like she had to impress the members, that the Spirit would teach them. It just was really touching to see this recent convert of a year so humble and ready to do what Lord asked of her, even though she was scared of messing up. Then we showed her a video by Elder Holland called Good things to Come. In the video there is a quote that says something along the lines of, "some blessings come soon, and some blessings come late, and some blessings don't come until Heaven. But for those who embrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ, they come." This is true. Heavenly Father will always bless us for doing what He asks, but sometimes we have to be patient and wait for these blessings to come. At the end of the video Rachelle was like, "Honestly I'm not even waiting for blessings, being a member of this church is a blessing enough, I couldn't want anything more." Now that is a humble disciple of Jesus Christ. I want to be like her.:)
Yesterday we had a cool experience with the Tantely Family! So Saturday Frere Tantely texts us and invites over for lunch on Sunday! Yay! In his text he told us to be praying for opportunities to teach during our time at his house. So we go on Sunday and they have their kids over who are inactive. They were super nice but not really interested in the Gospel. The whole time we shared the spiritual thought they just looked at the ground and didn't participate. But it's ok! Even if they weren't really listening, hopefully something we said touched them or stays with them. Then Frere Tantley took us to go see some of his neighbors. None of them were home, but his desire to share the gospel really impressed me! He has so much faith and really wants to share with others the happiness of the gospel. I'm grateful for members like him.
OK now I'm going to rant about my new obsession for Elder Neal A. Maxwell! So remember that talk Endure it Well that I read a couple weeks ago? Well it lit a fire of obsession for Elder Maxwell. Soeur Hurd and I are obsessed. The way he writes is so beautiful, so poetic and so touching! Everything he says just amazes me. I created a list of every single talk he has ever given and I plan to read every one of them before the end of my mission. If you don't know Neal A, go check him out!!
I love you all so very much! I'm so grateful for the Gospel in my life and for the opportunity I have to share it with my friends in France. I know He lives and loves every one of us individually. He knows us personally. He wants to help us. Have a great week and watch for the tender mercies in your life, I invite you to write them down:)
Challenge: read this talk by Eldrr Maxwell https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1975/04/the-man-of-christ?lang=eng