This week has been really great! Started off with a great p day! Did some soldes shopping and such, I'll really miss not having soldes back home, it's literally genius. I mean two times a year for like a month and a half everything is just like on sale, it's lovely. So we did that and then ran to the gare to catch our train to head to Perpignan to do an exchange with the Soeurs there. The train ride was so pretty, we saw the ocean and trees and sunflower fields. It was great.
Our exchange went great! I was with Soeur Christensen and she is awesome! She's been out about 7ish months and is just an awesome missionary. We had a couple cool experiences, we were walking to a rdv when we stopped and contacted a mother and her daughter. We started doing the questionnaire about the family and she opened up to us about how her boyfriend beat her up and broke her phone. So sad. She had bruises on her face and it made me want to cry. We talked about how much God loves her and she can be with her family forever. She started to cry. As I was speaking with this woman so burdened down with sorrow I thought of this scripture Matthew 11: 28-30, Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. She's someone who has a heart burdened down with sorrow, but that is exactly what the Gospel of Jesus Christ fixes. With His help He can take away our sorrows with His loving and infinite Atonement. As the conversation went on she agreed to give us her number and her daughter was so excited about it, she kept being like "give them our address! Give them our number!" It was cute. Right before we left her with a prayer she asked us how we do baptisms in our church, we told her that we do it just how Jesus got baptized. She loved that:) She was like, "we have to do that!" I loved meeting her, I know God is watching over her even though she feels alone.
The day after we went to the Perpignan Soeurs district meeting in Beziers. Apparently Beziers is the poorest city in France, but it seemed pretty nice to me and I ate a pain au chocolat that was pretty good so I like Beziers. District meeting was great, we talked about the temple. Of course:) and the spirit was just really strong. Just like how there is a strong spirit when we attend the temple, there is a spirit that comes along with speaking of the temple. It was cool to share experiences that we've had lately as we've been talking about the temple with so many people. I love this new focus. I really enjoyed this quote from Elder Russell M. Nelson, "The temple is the object of every activity, every lesson, every progressive step in the Church. All of our efforts in proclaiming the gospel, perfecting the Saints, and redeeming the dead lead to the holy temple. Ordinances of the temple are absolutely crucial. We cannot return to God’s glory without them." Since we've started this my mission has changed, it's not so much about baptism but really the importance of the temple. Of course baptism is important and we still focus on that, but the temple is the goal we are working towards, so that they can receive every blessing God has in store for them.
Thursday we had our own district meeting in Toulouse! We covered the same things that we talked about in the Perpignan district meeting, so I'll spare you the details:) after our district meeting we had a lesson with Sophie, she still is struggling with recognizing the spirit/answers to her prayers. We are just reteaching the lessons now and hoping something different clicks than before!
After Sophie we headed to meet Angela our new ami!! She's incredible and her life is so sad. Since her husband is in prison and she can't get work she just sits outside and begs for money all day with her 11 month year old baby. Awful. I want to cry thinking about it. But we had a good lesson about the BOM, she understands so much already and has such a strong desire to be baptized! She keeps saying "I want the true baptism." We are seeing her again tonight!
After our lesson with Angela with sprinted to the gare to catch our train to Montpellier!
Friday we had an exchange with the Montpellier sisters! Unfortunately Soeur James was sick so we were inside all day:( but it was still a good exchange! We exchanged ideas about goals for the future and stuff, and I was able to write my talk for Sunday. So it was a good use of time, Soeur James is incredible and probably the smartest human I know. It's funny cause I took her place in Toulouse and I definitely feel like she should be my Stl not the other way around!
After our exchange we headed to the gare to catch our train home to find that it was delayed one hour and forty five minutes, meaning we would get home past 10:30. We had it all planned to have a member come pick us up at the gare at 10:30 and take us home when we found another train that we could get us to Toulouse by 9:30! I'm so glad we took that train cause we saw a miracle. We got on the train and sat down, there was a woman and her son to our left. He was adorable and kept staring at us and asking his mom who we were so she told him we were Jesus' helpers:) anyway halfway through the train ride a strange man came up and asked us a out our tags which prompted the cute little boy to come talk to us! He asked us who Jesus was and why we were here. Turns out they live in Montpellier! AND Soeur Stapley just happened to still have pass along cards with the Montpellier info still in her bag. We were able to give the mom a card and she seemed pretty excited about it. I truly don't think there are accidents I this life, our train was really late so we could take another train and meet this mom and her son:) it was a really cool testimony to me that everything happens for a reason.
Saturday we were finally back in Toulouse!! We were able to visit some less actives and members and talk to them about the importance of the temple and family history work! I love the temple!!
Sunday was quite the day! We gave the relief society lesson on the sacred calling of mothers and fathers and then I gave a talk in sacrament meeting about repentance! Quite the day!! Even after being on my mission for 13 months giving talks is still horrifying. Haha there was a quote from the relief society lesson that I really liked, "Mothers are, or should be, the very heart and soul of the family. No more sacred word exists in secular or holy writ than that of mother. There is no more noble work than that of a good and God-fearing mother." "And For a man, there is no calling as high as that of a righteous patriarch, married in the house of the Lord, presiding over His children. Even the very Elohim has us address Him as “our Father who art in heaven” (Matthew 6:9; 3 Nephi 13:9)." I love that of everything we could call God we call Him Father:)
It was quite the crazy week! Between two exchanges, two district meetings, a relief society lesson, a talk in church, 6 trains, drunk people asking us for directions on how to get to the bridge that was like 10 feet from them, and lots of other things I'm grateful to my Heavenly Father who got us through. Even though missionary work is exhausting, it's honestly the least I can do. I love it. I love our Savior.
I love you! Have a great week!