We got into the elevator in a sketchy battiment one night and there was a man standing in the corner. He was covered in the largest amount of piercings and tattoos I may have ever beheld. He stared at the words 'Jesus Christ' on our badges for a few seconds, and then leaned over and said "Hey, do you guys do confession?" And we say "hehe... no" kinda nervously... and hoping he's not about to confess a murder or something. But he was really nice! It's interesting how often the sketchiest people turn out to be fierce defenders of those doing good.
[See story below]
How's that for an opening story? haha Bonjour! Oh la la, what a week! General Conference was astounding. Prayers being answered left and right. God is SO AWARE of his missionaries. I was SO grateful for everything that was said and asked about the members working with the missionaries. This work is really impossible without your help! I'm so grateful for all you do for the missionaries in your areas. I hope that what goes around comes around and someone will do the same for us here.
I met a lady at the church who is French but has lived in the United States with her family for the past 20 years. She is just here on vacation. She told me she was from California... and she knows Uncle Bret and Aunt Brenda! She said "He always fixed my cars!" Yep! That's him. And then she wrote down her name for me... and I lost it...or cannot find it. SO I'll keep you all in suspense as to her identity until next week.
I AM SO OBSESSED IT"S RIDICULOUS. Every single time I see a cat: "KITTTTTYY!!!!"
Suzanne Wood is in the MTC?! What?! I was watching the General Relief Society conference and I saw her in the choir. I had NO idea she was serving a mission, let alone had her call, LET ALONE in the MTC singing in choirs. She was in the Victorville singles ward. If anyone can tell me where she is going, I'd be so grateful!
On a nothing related to anything spiritual note... I tried to explain "your mom" jokes to Soeur Lai this week. She didn't think they were funny at all. No matter how much I explained that the reason they are so funny is because they're not funny. Then she said "J'ai faim" (I'm hungry) and I said "Votre mere a faim..." and she just stared at me. haha
The super cool heart statue at the gare.
Bus stops. Always.
But really, my companion is wonderful! ...even if she doesn't see the hilarity in your mom jokes... haha For morning exercises this week, she taught me how to dance Tahitian style. She can dance really well and actually traveled to France before her mission to perform with her dance group. Yeah, I know! I tried to teach her ballet... but she just stared at me and said "Je... peux pas faire ça" (I...cannot do that) and I said "Vous pouvez pas ou vous VOULEZ pas!" (you can't or you WON'T!) and she just laughed and said "Yes."
The week leading up to General Conference I thought a lot about prayers. I've learned so much on my mission about really talking to my Father in Heaven, but it's such a balance and I fall off balance too easily.
On the one hand, It all comes down to the Lord's will. Prayer is about aligning my will with God's, not forcing God to change my life. Sometimes the answer is "no." God knows me and my circumstances and what will help me grow PERFECTLY. So I just have to trust Him, be patient, and submit my will.
But on the other hand... faith is powerful. This scripture in Ether 3:5 says it perfectly: "O Seigneur, tu peux le faire!" (O Lord, thou canst do it!) There are miracles and blessings that we cannot receive unless we muster all of our faith and just ASK!
So, it's a balance that I am still learning. Thy will be done, but always asking in faith. Sometimes I lean too far one way or another and either ask for everything in the world to happen the way I want it to, and then feeling confused when it doesn't work that way. Or submitting my will so much... that I stop praying for things!
But I think the most important thing I need to remember is this: God is my loving Heavenly Father. He loves me and knows me more perfectly than I can imagine. He WANTS to answer my prayers and fulfill my dreams. He WANTS me to be happy. GOD ANSWERS PRAYERS. Maybe it's not when, or how, or what I thought I wanted. BUT HE ANSWERS.
I found an old little notebook I had used in the MTC to record things throughout the day that I wanted to work on and pray for. A lot of things had sprung from struggling with companions, and so once I was with a companion who was my best friend, I had put it in a drawer and focused my attention on praying for other things.
This last week I decided I wanted to put more faith into my prayers and put faith in the Lord and that HE WILL ANSWER. I figured my first step was to pull out that notebook and begin showing the Lord I believed in His ability to answer my prayers so much, that I would carry it with me all day and count on his guidance for things I should pray for.
I opened up that little notebook and began reading. And as I read, I realized something amazing. God had answered EVERY. SINGLE. PRAYER. I realized that the things I had been pleading with the Lord for, the things I had fallen asleep night after night thinking about and crying about... were not even concerns anymore. The Lord had helped me overcome and strengthen every single weakness. Things that had plagued my entire life! And now I can honestly say that's not even a part of me anymore.
And I thought about how those prayers were answered. Some were answered directly from the Lord... but most were answered through other people. And I was so grateful, not only that the Lord had placed these people in my path to strengthen and change me, but also that they had allowed the Lord to make them instruments in changing my life!
I want to work on that. I want to make sure that the Lord knows I am an instrument in His hands. I know there a millions of people around me who are pleading with the Lord every night for relief and solace. Pleading with the Lord for comfort. Can the Lord use me? If the Lord prompted me to do something, would I do it? Immediately and willingly? Am I helping the Lord answers other peoples prayers?
Be instruments in the Lord's hands. Help the Lord answer prayers.
Soeur Autumn Bradley
So... if you've seen the movie 'Sabrina' this will all make sense. If not, I'm sorry. Go watch it.
I SAW THE COOL WATER FOUNTAIN THINGY FROM WHEN SABRINA IS IN PARIS! It's on the way to the chapel where we all met for Zone Conference this week.
I had to send two pictures... because the lips were important.
The whole time I was thinking "Belt, belt, belt! No, no! The other one! The other one! No, no... Sabrina, the machine! The machine!"
"I tortured her, now she tortures you. Someday, you'll have someone of your own to torture."
We ported somebodys door the other day and the name was 'Sabrina.' I was very excited. But her last name was something boring and not Larabi.
So... an Elder told us that these man hole covers are the ones used all over the world in every country... and they all come from Pont-à-Mousson, which is right here in my area. True or false? If ture, COOL! Here is a picture of my shoes with something awesome and relevant! And if false... here's a strange picture of a man hole. You're welcome.