Tuesday, July 28, 2015

I Love Toulouse

Bonjour!!
It's been a great week in the beautiful city of Toulouse. I love it here, I'm really happy, things are great. I'm just happy:) Also my companion is wonderful, Soeur Stapley is from California and I just love her. She has such a sincere love for others, she's so patient, so kind, and always trying to work her hardest. She takes missionary work seriously and doesn't waste a minute of Heavenly Father's time. I'm learning a lot:) Also I've never been so tired, we are constantly going! But I love it!!

So Tuesday we had a really cool lesson with our amie Sophie. So last week she just randomly showed up to church so the Soeurs fixed a rdv with her. Well turns out that about 3 ish years ago she was meeting with the elders. She's heard all the lessons more than once and even had an interview to be baptized. She knows her stuff. Well turns out that she never had a testimony of Joseph Smith so then she ended up not getting baptized. Then she just felt lost and stopped meeting with the elders about a year ago. Well then last Sunday she just showed up at church. We asked her why and she said she had no idea why she came and she also didn't know why she fixed a rdv with us. She expressed her feelings of not receiving answers to prayers and feeling kind of abandoned by God. I know it wasn't an accident that she came to church on Sunday or that she met with us. God is answering her prayers, she just isn't really recognizing, that the answer is coming to church and seeing us:) So we proposed to start over and just reteach her the lessons. She agreed so I'm excited to see where this goes! Also her mom was there the whole time and actively engaged in our lesson so I hope that she'll want to learn more as well!

Maxime!! Maxime is another really cool ami that the elders just passed over to us. He's agnostic, so he's really struggling to create a relationship with God. But he's willing to try so that's the most important part. It's funny because he's French like born and raised but only wants to speak to us in English. Haha random. He's having some apprehension about prayer but he told us he would try it out and try coming to church, so we're really pumped about that!!

Ok we had the coolest mangezvous with the coolest family!! Their name is the Ortega family and they are awesome. Soeur Ortega is from South Africa and Frere Ortega is from Portugal. They have two adorable Asian children who they adopted and they are lovely! Frere Ortega is like a lab technician for teeth, pretty much he makes fake teeth. His office is like a small house right next to their house and so he pretty much works from home but it's like a legit lab with like these crazy ovens and stuff. He tried explaining it to us, but mostly it just sounded complicated. Also he was looking at our teeth and trying to decide what shade of color they were and we both got real self conscious, but we passed and he said he finds it strange that Americans have such white teeth. Haha but really they are so cool! She served a mission in France and he is a convert of 20 years, he found the church through the military. He was in the military and he had a friend who was Mormon, so he got all interested and met the missionaries, and voila he got baptized! They were just awesome. Like I know I'm rambling but I can't find the words to describe them besides awesome. I felt so much love and peace in their home. They all acted so kind and lovingly towards each other. You could tell that the spirit resides in their home and that they are living the Gospel.

COOLEST MIRACLE EVER!! So we were on a bus heading back from trying to see a less active who wasn't home, when I met the coolest woman ever. I sat down next to a woman with really cool Chanel earrings with the intent of giving her a nice compliment. So I tell her I like her earrings and we start chatting, she asks where I'm from, etc. I start telling her that I'm a missionary and explaining why our church is different than other churches. So I did like a mini restoration and she was just speechless and said that what I had told her really made sense. She's catholic but has been searching for the truth for a while now, I explained the Book of Mormon and testified of the truthfulness that comes from it and how we can receive answers to our prayers from it. She just started crying and kissing my cheeks. It was so tender. It was like she had found what she had been looking for. She just held the Book of Mormon to her chest with tear filled eyes. It's these moments that makes every hard moment worth it. Unfortunately she lives in Paris so we sent her information to the missionaries in Paris. But it's ok, because as long as she gets the Gospel, I'm happy:) I'm so grateful for her.

Sunday was good, the first Sunday of the transfer in a new place is always a little bit scary. But the Ward was really kind and they seem pretty happening so I'm pumped to be here! Also remember Sophie?! Well she couldn't come to our Ward this morning (so in Toulouse there is the Capitole ward and the Concorde ward, I'm in Concorde) so she went to the Capitole Ward this afternoon and we were able to teach her before church started. She's still having the same problems trying to get answers and such, she's expecting answers before she makes decisions, so we encouraged her to try taking steps of faith and making decisions then seeing if the answers come then. She really is great and I'm excited to see where it goes.

This week was good! Busy busy busy. Being an Stl has been really cool so far, we haven't done any of our exchanges yet, but it's been cool to really just try and figure out how we can help our sisters be the best they can be. I'm grateful for this opportunity to serve:) I love Toulouse, I love you all, I love being a missionary, the church is true! Have a lovely week!

Bisous,
Soeur Holmes
Challenge: read the talk "thy kingdom come" by Elder Andersen

Ps: we went to go visit a less active and bring her cookies, so she came to the door and was just so confused why we were there and so we tried to be all friendly and give her the cookies and she straight up said no! Haha so we sat at the bus stop and ate them:)
Pss: So I guess a long time ago Toulouse was called Tolosa and the spoke this ancient language called l'occitan. So it's weird cause when you get on a metro it announces the stop in French and then it says it again in this ancient l'occitan language. So cool. #longlivetolosa
Psss: sorry if you write me this week and I don't reply we only had a few minutes to email and then we are on a train to Lyon. Love you!!

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