Monday, September 30, 2013

Everything always comes back to love.

Maybe it was crazy, maybe multiple members had to coordinate to make it happen, maybe we missed Sunday school and were late for sacrament meeting... BUT SHE WAS THERE!
Secondly, my companion is the bomb. For Reals. We laugh SO much and look at each other and say "We are the same." She is an amazing missionary and works so hard! I am learning so much from her. And she also teaches me how to be sassy Tahitian style. When people are staring and won't stop: "Tu veux ma photo, banane?!" (You want my photo, banana?!) haha I love that humans are all just humans, no matter which country. I taught her "Take a picture, it last longer!" She liked that. 
Also, she turned to me this week and said "I'm so are getting a Tahitian accent!" and was more than a little surprised when I responded "REALLY?! COOL!" I am absurdly pleased about this.
[Mom insert Domrémy-la-Pucelle is about an hour from Nancy. Joan was born in Domrémy, but "la Pucelle" was later added to the town name in honor of her nickname Jeanne la Pucelle or Joan the Maid]
So... here we are imitating the statue of her hearing God tell of her mission.
Here's the place where she first heard the voices.

The window of the church next to her home.


And finally: I speak French.
Seriously, that's the first time I've ever said that.
This week I was trying trying trying, and just really pleading with the Lord to help me. I finally decided one of my barriers was that my desire to learn and master this language was not strong enough. I was giving up, thinking I could never get good, before I had even begun.
I said a prayer and asked the Lord to help me find the desire and then lay in bed thinking about it all night.
The next day, I was studying and thinking about love. I realized while studying that I am a very love driven person. I love feeling loved. I love making others feel loved. I will do almost anything for you if I love you. A little voice seemed to say in my mind. "Why are you learning French? Really?" And it came to me: Because I LOVE these people. I love these French people! SO MUCH that I want to be able to speak with them in their language, share stories and experiences freely when impressed, and understand them deeply and what is important to them. 
Oh...and my planner for this transfer. The front: Hosanna. (Which means save now). And the back: Love your enemies. On their bad days. In their sins. "Be the children of your Father in Heaven for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust" Matthew 5:45
I've really been working on letting my sun warm those who I think don't deserve it.  :)

Something in me changed as soon as I realized that me learning the language was an act of love for these people. And I went completely crazy and started speaking with everyone as much as I could en francais! I completely stopped worrying about making mistakes, or having a good accent, or other silly things. I just started trying to be the same Sister Bradley I would be if I was in an English speaking mission. 
HOLY COW. This was the greatest week ever. I sat in our lesson with a new ami and took the lead in responding to her questions and clarifying things... en francais. I had a long conversation with a lady in relief society and we laughed and cried and shared stories... en francais. I understood clearly every person we contacted and spoke up and actually had a conversation and responded like a human... en francais. I gave multiple directions to places in Nancy... en francais. Every single time someone asked me a question, I knew what they had asked me and responded in understandable French without having to look at my companion for help for clarification. GAH!! WHAT?!
I can't believe how thoroughly the Lord knows us! I sometimes forget that my Father in Heaven knows me perfectly and how to bless me perfectly and that sometimes I just need to ask "What do I lack? Show me thy will. Ok, now show me how to do thy will." Specific prayers are POWERFUL. Pray, think about it, gather the information you already know, pray some more, think about it, pray more specifically. God is right there. He's waiting. He wants to answer your prayers and fulfill your dreams... but he also needs to let you grow. Trust Him. He loves you like crazy.
and I love you too. 
Amour, Soeur Autumn Bradley

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