Monday, July 29, 2013

All you need is LOVE, LOVE... LOVE is all you need.

This week I had legality to stay in France, so Soeur Rhondeau and I traveled to Paris for a day. Paris is amazing. Legality... a little less amazing. But we're not going to talk about that.

Soeur Bingham and myslef in Paris. My best friend from the MTC. I LOVE this girl!

There are these amazing kids here from Albania (ages 15-18) and I LOVE THEM SO MUCH IT'S UNREAL. They just eminate light and love. 3 of them are members (converted in Albania) and the 4th is being taught the lessons from the elders right now! We had a picnic with them this week and just laughed and laughed and talked about God. Their faith BLOWS MY MIND. Just simple powerful "of course God loves me and hears my prayers" FAITH! We also started a French class for them at the church every Wednesday and Saturday. They only speak Albanian and a little English, so it has been an adventure! They really love the missionaries, which just shows what awesome missionaries were serving in Albania a few years ago. Never doubt the affect you are making on others.
Generations! Soeur Pymm trained Soeur Rhondea who is now training me.

Anna is doing amazingly well. She is seriously our best friend and has been to church 3 times now! We LOVE LOVE LOVE her! She is the best girl in the world!

This week we got frooged (they didn't show up to our rendez-vous) so we decided to go porting nearby! We figured we had been sent out this direction for a reason! And we were... just not the one we thought. We knocked and knocked and finally someone opened their door! We began stating why we were there, when the man interrupted us and asked us if he could pose a question. Of course! Missionaries love it when you ask questions! But... then we realized he wasn't curious. He was trying to inform these two silly white American girls about the correct truths and hopefully shame us into feeling foolish and like we didn't really know what we were talking about. (Take a wild guess what religion they belonged to.) 
Our hearts sank, but before we could just leave peacefully, it began to rain and they insisted we come inside for a bit. And we did. And we sat there for 45 minutes while a grown man shook his finger in our faces. He went off on Soeur Rhondeau and she lovingly sat there and defended her point of view and tried to be kind kind kind. I sat there hardly grasping the hasty French and wishing I knew how to help or what to say. All I could think was "Just look at these people with love in your eyes. Just look at these people with love in your eyes." Then all of a sudden I realized he was going to turn on me soon and I needed to say something. But what? He was going into all this doctrine about Christ's name and Adam and Eve and bodies and I didn't have the vocab to defend anything I knew to be true. But then I realized... yes I did. I can say "Je sais que..." ("I know that...") And that was all I needed.
Eventualy, it happened. He looked right at me, and mockingly asked if I couldn't speak French. Soeur Rhondeau came to my defense and explained I don't speak fluently. I mustered all the love I could find in my soul for someone who had mocked us and our beliefs for nearly and hour and said "I don't speak French fluently, BUT... I know Joseph Smith was a prophet. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know it. I know it." He looked at me with zero love in his eyes and said "What did you say? You believe Joseph Smith was a prophet?" "Yes. Joseph Smith was a prophet. I know it." He began to attack me further, Soeur Rhondeau demanded that he stop attacking the girl who didn't speak French. Then the young man spoke up and said "Well, how can I know the Book of Mormon isn't true if I haven't read it?" The man was infuriated and Soeur Rhondeau decided it was time for us to leave.

We began to walk to the bus stop and tears began to come. It was raining, so you couldn't even tell. We were overwhelmed with the feeling of being verbally abused for so long in a manner that made it impossible for us to testify and bring the spirit. Soeur Rhondeau turned to me and said "I wonder if that man thinks we are doubting ourselves now. Maybe he thinks we think we don't know anything about anything. BUT HE IS DEAD WRONG. I have never known more perfectly that this church IS true." And I agree.
Pouring rain...and we didn't bring coats or umbrellas. Silly us.

Because there was such a difference. I don't see a loving Father in Heaven ever shaking his finger in my face and telling me how very wrong I am. Because that's the key word. LOVE.

Maybe I'm not a scriptorian and maybe that man does know the bible better than me... but even if I was, that's not why I came on a mission. I didn't come to prove people wrong. I didn't come to convince people that the Book of Mormon is true by proving it with facts. It could be done, but that convinces nobody. I came to invite people to come unto Christ. I came to spread a message of LOVE. 
The district.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 says it better "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing."

Because that's what everything comes back down to. LOVE. It's the entire reason we have a plan of salvation in the first place. Because Heavenly Father LOVES us. It's the reason the Atonement was performed. Because Jesus Christ, our Savior, LOVES us. 

Waiting at the bus stop... SO MUCH RAIN!


Maybe we had zero effect on any of them and maybe they'll never think about us again. But maybe...just maybe...they'll remember we were kind. Maybe they'll remember our smiles. Maybe they'll remember that we didn't argue or say mean things. Maybe they'll remember that we had a different spirit. Maybe they'll remember that we had love in our eyes. 

I am fully convinced that even if they never think about us again in this life, when the missionaries knock on their door in the next, they'll remember our name badges and they'll remember that we were kind.
Walking in Nancy... and there's just some huge carved arch chilling in the middle of the intersection. NBD.
The Beatles were right. "All you need is LOVE."
Remember to be kind. You have no idea how many pillows around you are soaked by tears every night. Everybody is fighting their own hard battle. BE KIND. BE KIND. BE KIND. 

This work is about LOVE. One of the best way you can help spread the gospel is to LOVE. JUST LOVE LOVE LOVE. No questions asked. No judgements. Just because they are children of God. JUST LOVE.

And on the note of love... I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!
Soeur Autumn Bradley
Uncle Lan: I have received 2 letters from you since I've been here. I don't know if you sent any to 8 rue gilbert, but if you did... that address doesn't exist so it might have been lost. But thank you so much for your letters!! They really motivate me! I plan to send you something today!

In the hall of some battiment. yes, you are reading that right.
It says "Babies are the treasures of the heart." and there are bunnies. TOO GOOD.

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