First and foremost... I LOVE MY COLLEGUE!! AMOUR AMOUR AMOUR AMOUR AMOUR.
I am pretty positive we worked out our companionship in heaven. I'm absolutely serious. It all started when we were on the train from Paris to Nancy and she asked me what my favorite movie was. I thought for a sec and then said "Well, that's hard because I love movies...but I LOVE a room with a view. Have you ever heard of it?" She closes her eyes for a sec as if overcome by the perfection of my response, breaks into this huge grin and says "NOBODY knows about that movie!! How do you know it?? I LOVE that movie! My family quotes it all the time." SOUL SISTERS.
And she is a proud member of the midnight soul searching club. Let me explain: The midnight soul searching club is made up of people in the world who love to sit around at night and analyze life. I don't know why, but as soon as the sun goes down my soul comes alive and I feel the need to discuss ideas, lessons I've learned in life, beliefs about human nature, theories, etc. I CRAVE IT. Examining my life like that helps me lay everything out and look at what I've learned and in what areas I can do better, and inspires me to change and fills me with a renewed desire to LOVE EVERYONE!! I have spent countless hours talking to my Mom on her bed, my best friend as we sat across from each other in our little apartment, my Mom's best friend Karen Cox as we spent a night in a hotel in Arizona together, my older sisters as we sat on couches in their basements, and my little sister as we sat on the floor in my room. I love knowing all these great souls who love me enough to let me express everything running through my head, and then teach me a million new lessons as I listen to their personal insights and stories behind their deepest hurts, wishes, life lesson, and dreams.
And every night after we plan out our next day, we just sit there talking about the mission and all we've learned so far, the love we have for our amis, the awe we have for our Dear Father in Heaven, and how we can take all these lessons and experiences and miracles and apply them to make us better missionaries. I mean, what is the point of us having trials if we don't examine what we have learned!?
I LOVE SOEUR OLIVIA RHONDEAU! I cannot believe how well we understand each other. I think we use the phrase "Nuh-uh! Oh my gosh. I LOVE YOU! Me too!" Probably 80,000 times every day. She lets my soul breathe freely. She is the best missionary in the world, and inspires me to be like her! She is hard working, diligent, always positive, obedient, so beautiful, speaks French flawlessly, always seeks the spirit, is a tad feminist, and is fearless. I just want to be exactly like her!
Ok. I'm done for now. But I am absolutely positive I won the trainer lottery at the MTC. :)
Waiting for the train to take us to the airport
Well, I got to Paris Tuesday morning after having slept on the plane for a total of probably an hour.
On the plane with Soeur Bingham
Yeah. I was DYING. And then we got on a train, and they told us to contact. WHAT. I just prayed my guts out and asked Heavenly Father to help us. So Soeur Francis and I sat by a family and started talking to them. They stopped us and said "Parlez-vous anglais? Our English is better than our French. We're just visiting here from Canada." HEAVENLY FATHER ANSWERS PRAYERS. So we spoke to them all in English and they happily took some pass along cards. The 18-year-old son said he was really interested and kept asking us questions. He'll find the church in Canada, I just know it. :)
Soeur Francis and me
Then we went to the church and ate and got interviewed, etc. until they finally told us we could go to bed. They took us to the mission home and we covered all the windows until it was as black as a cave and I slept the deepest sleep of my life. It was wonderful. Then we woke up, went to the chateau St. Germaine and set goals for our missions and saw the Eiffel Tower from a distance, went and saw Notre Dame up close, and then went back to the church and met our trainers!!
And then, as you know, I got the best trainer ever. Then I took a train from Paris...
and I'm in Nancy! I don't know much about it other than the fact that it is closer to Germany. If anyone has time, I would love some history! Also, we went and saw the chateau St. Germaine in Paris. History on that would be much appreciated. Thanks!
Nancy is GORGEOUS! Our apartment is a new missionary apartment that the senior couple in our ward furnished and it's ADORABLE. We have HUGE windows that open onto little balconies and our view is just so cute.
Right by our house there is a large square covered in cobblestone that is parfait for contacting and also a park where we go running every morning and which has...wait for it... MONKEYS. For real. OUR PARK HAS MONKEYS. I can't wait for summertime.
When we arrived in Nancy, we had a welcoming party at the gare. The senior couple, and the wife of the Elder's quorum president, greeted us with traditional kisses on each cheek and took us and all our luggage to our apartment. When we arrived, the Relief Society president and her daughter showed up with this huge quiche and fresh cherries and three different kinds of cheese. HEAVEN. The ward here is AMAZING!
Everyone here is SO nice. They haven't had sisters here in about 10 years, and they all ADORE us. We're white washing (which means neither of us know the area) and we're also opening the area, which means we have no area book. :) CRAZY! Luckily our ward is INCREDIBLE and we have already met with the ward mission leader and the relief society president and have plans to meet with all of the less actives in the ward. So we set up appointments with less actives, and then we go and port their entire building. We call tracting here "porting" because it's "porte a porte" or "door to door." Porting is the BEST!! I LOVE IT!
Saturday night we had been in Nancy for a total of 3 days and picked a random stop on the tram, picked a random building, and got to work. But nothing is by accident. :) We ran into a recent convert family in the ward and taught them a lesson! Then we ran into a sweet sweet girl and her younger brother who were so interested in hearing about God! They let us teach them about why God loves them, and then we taught them how to pray! We're going back to see them tonight! Then we ran into the sweetest family from Albania who let us in and we talked a little about the Plan de Salut and the husband said "There are so many churches! I believe that God and Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are all separate, but I feel like nobody believes that anymore! I want Christ's true church. I want to kno0w which one it is" WHOA. We're going back tonight and we're going to talk about a young 14 year old boy who had those same questions. :) I couldn't believe it. 3 lessons all from porting and the kindest people in the world! I walked out of the building, turned to my trainer with tears rolling down my face and said "I love this. I want to do this every day forever. THIS makes every hard day on the mission mean nothing. THIS is why we are here in Nancy. I LOVE THE PEOPLE OF FRANCE. I LOVE THE PEOPLE OF NANCY." She just smiled, gave me a hug, and said "Isn't it the best?!" Yep. :) THIS IS THE BEST. SPREADING THE HAPPINESS THE GOSPEL BRINGS IS THE BEST.
I can't thank my Father in Heaven enough for changing everything in my life so I could serve a mission. I had no idea the mission was going to be this wonderful!! If anyone is thinking about serving, don't even hesitate. DO IT. Let me tell you, THIS IS WORTH SACRIFICING EVERYTHING. There are people out there for you who need to know that God loves them and there is a plan for them to get back to Him. SERVE A MISSION!!
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is on the earth once more and the Lord is hastening the spreading of it! Joseph Smith was called by God to be a prophet and he translated the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is true. I know it, I know it, I know it.
Avec Amour, Soeur Autumn Bradley
Happy Birthday, Jasmyn! :D I LOVE YOU!! You letters are always PERFECT! Thank you for them! I love them!
Someone should look up my companions blog! soeur-rhondeau.blogspot.com.
the French people have problems with aggressive hair, apparently