I LOVE FRANCE.
So officially, NOTHING addressed to 8 rue gilbert has arrived. I did receive one thing from Jazz addressed to "8 rue gilbert/rue blondlot" but someone had crossed out the gilbert part and had forwarded it to blondlot. SO! OFFICIALLY! My address is: 3 RUE BLONDLOT 54000 NANCY FRANCE. Until at least the 18th of September. :) We're going to call the mission office and inform them.
Oh yeah...and there's a cathedral about 5 seconds from my apartment. Luckily my companion and myself have the same great love for things that are old and beautiful and "make our hearts sing."
You know how you always watch all the movies where the French kiss each other on both cheeks to greet each other? Well... IT'S SO REAL! We kiss ALL the women every time we arrive and leave. It's adorable. But the best part about this custom is watching gangsters. NO JOKE. I have watched two groups of men walk towards each other and I'm positive someone is going to die... and then they all start kissing each others cheeks! It is the strangest thing I have ever watched.
Also... the French expression "Oh la la?" REAL. I was walking through the metro and a grown man walked past me and said to someone on the phone "OH LA LA!" I was dying. It basically means "Wow! Oh my gosh!"
My wall above my desk (I figured you would want this, Mom) haha
Also...people told me the cheese from the white cows of Normandy was gross. Well... Camembert is probably the best cheese I have eaten here! I love it! ha
Well, the French is improving...ever so slowly. Sometimes I feel as if I'll never be fluent. Like when I told a woman "Your joke is SO beautiful!" (The word for JOKE and RING are far too similiar...) But, then I remember I've only been here for 3 weeks and it's ok I'm not fluent yet. Sigh.
Weekly planning is LOOOOOONG
The park near our home is BEAUTIFUL! It has everything! We went and saw the monkeys and the other animals last week but sad news... the monkeys are in cages! We should have known the Elders were making it sound too good to be true. We completely thought they meant free monkeys swinging through the trees! I know it sounds crazy, but it wasn't completely impossible! There is a mountain nearby called "monkey mountain" because there are real live free roaming monkeys there! Oh well, monkeys are monkeys...even if I couldn't coax them to sit on my shoulders and possibly kidnap one to keep as a pet in our apartment.
We run to the park nearly everyday. Well, Soeur Rhondeau runs. And I wheeze along behind her. :) haha Then once we get there, we swing on the swings! Best exercise routine ever. The other morning we realized we needed a branch for our miracle tree in our apartment so we ended up running through the streets of Nancy carrying branches all the way back to our apartment. It's probably a good thing it was 7 in the morning.
Soeur Rhondeau has seen Horatio Hornblower and Enchanted April. Mom, I think you and Soeur Rhondeau's Mom would be best friends. haha
This week we had exchanges with the sisters from Torcy! It was AMAZING! SO many miracles! I was with Soeur Pulupuna. She's from Tonga and probably the funniest person I've ever met in my life. And she is BRAVE. Sharing the gospel with a boldness I envy. She helped me be brave too. And good thing... because that's how our miracle happened. So, we were on the tram and trying to decide what to do and where to go next. We both decided to go batting (which means knocking all the doors in a battiment, or building.) I looked out one window and saw nothing, and then I looked out the window behind me and said "There's a battiment." So we got off.
When we got up to the door of the batt it was locked and a lady behind us began to ask us who we were coming to see. We couldn't lie! But we also didn't want to say "We're going to knock on all your doors and tell you about God" but right at that moment a lady from inside the building opened it for us and we quickly went inside and up the stairs before we could answer the lady behind us. But she came in and got on the elevator. We decided to start at the top of the batt and climbed all the stairs to the top, but when we reached the top we saw the lady getting out of the elevator! So we quickly booked it back downstairs and decided to start from the bottom. We knocked one door. NOTHING. We knocked on a second door. A girl about our age answered. I remembered what Soeur Pulupuna had taught me about being bold and said "Bonjour! My companion and I come from the United States and we are here to share with you a message about the love of God because I KNOW GOD LOVES YOU SO MUCH." (I was scared and felt crazy just testifying like that from the beginning...but testifying really does bring the spirit.) She smiled SO big and asked us to come in.
WITH ANNA!! The first day!! :D
We found out she spoke English too and so we all talked in English. We sat down and just started sharing a message about the love of God and how prayer is real. Part way through, she started crying. We asked her what was wrong and she said "I don't know, I'm happy. I've just always been sensitive to stuff like this." Then I started crying and said "Anna, that's the spirit! That's the spirit of God telling you these things are true!" We told her briefly about the restoration and how this is Christ's church and if Christ was asking her to join his church, what would she say? She said "Of course!" She was the sweetest girl in the world and kept saying "It's so nice to have you here. Thank you for coming." Then as we were leaving we asked when we could come back to share more and she said "Um...tomorrow?" YES! ONLY EVERY MISSIONARY'S DREAM! I was so excited but hadn't even realized the biggest miracle yet...until we got home.
We started telling the story to the other sisters and as we mentioned that she's Armenian and speaks several languages we realized something incredible. Soeur Rhondeau and I had been praying our hearts out for a translator for our other amis, the Safoyans. And that night we had run into a sweet girl who spoke ENGLISH, FRENCH, AND ARMENIAN. WOW. Heavenly Father knew we had to start at the bottom of that building. Heavenly Father knew we had to be bold in talking about the love of God. And Heavenly Father knew where a translator was to be found. :)
Our MIRACLE TREE ALL COVERED WITH SO MANY MIRACLES! Each leaf has a miracle written on it. That's just since we got to Nancy! God loves us. :)
WHAT A MIRACLE! I think I often forget that there is a supreme creator who knows exactly what he's doing. We're not just two girls wandering the streets of France, alone and unguided. God is in charge of this work. God has a specific plan for every single one of his children, HE CARES ABOUT YOU. HE HAS A PLAN FOR YOU. Sometimes we may feel like life is just being hard be the sake of being hard, or good things are happening by mere coincidence. BUT I PROMISE YOU THAT NOTHING IS COINCIDENCE. Trials are ALWAYS so you can learn something and miracles are ALWAYS the tender mercies of the Lord. Trust in Him. Be of good cheer and do not fear. Be still and know that He is GOD. (Psalm 46:10)
I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE YOU ALL!!!! Soeur Autumn Bradley