Monday, November 4, 2013

It's true. Paris is always a good idea.

 [From Facebook Mission page--Transfer day in the Paris Metro, October 30th]

I almost got left. AGAIN. Except this time, it was Soeur Lefrandt!
We are trying to get back home and we're at the big confusing gare and a train stops. The doors open and Soeur Lefrandt takes a step inside to look at the stops and to see if it's our train. I'm standing on the platform. All of a sudden, the doors start closing. Fast. And then they're closed. 

And I am looking terrified at Soeur Lefrandt and yelling at her through the glass "Je vais rester ICI!" (I am going to stay here!) And she can't understand me because when I'm panicking I tend to speak in French these days. And it's hard to read the lips of French speakers. And she's trying to tell me to catch the next train. But I don't understand her. Then all of a sudden, she gets this foolish look on her face...and pushes a button. And the doors open.

Turns out, we could open the doors the whole time. But she didn't realize until the man behind her said "Madame, poussez!" (Lady, push!) Smart sisters. 

Bonjour, everyone! This week was very interesting. Between getting really really sick, transfer moves and luggage hauling, visiting amis one last time, and getting lost in new villes, it was just a crazy crazy week. But really needed. 

We were SO sick. We both caught really bad hacking, coughing, can't breathe, achy body colds two days before transfers. So we got together, and were such a lovely pair. But turns out every time we went out in the cold and tried to run around, we got worse. So one day, our sister training leaders (who now live with us) commanded us not to leave the apartment except for our two rdvs. 

So, we spent A LOT of time studying and going through the area book and calling EVERYONE. (Yay for mastering my fear of talking to people on the telephone en français!) And then also cleaning and rearranging all the furniture. Because this apartment is ANCIENT. Not cute ancient. Moldy and dirty ancient. Thus the princess pictures! Because first we moved all the beds so we would all be warmer and closer. Then it looked like snow white and the seven dwarves and we started singing Disney songs. Then we decided to surprise the other Soeurs by turning our little abode into a castle. And it was a magical start to our transfer.
The papers behind us say "Once upon a time there were four soeurs..."

 Snow White bed moving. (Soeur Maatallii is the model)
[The beds are labeled--left, "--ora" --  Aurora? then "Jasmine", "Cinderella", "Ariel"]
[The wall behind, "A Royal Beinvenue" (welcome)]
Soeur Garrett does an insanely good 'Giselle from Enchanted' impression.
Red heads. And Film majors. My favorite.
[The sign on the left, "We slay dragons"]

Saturday we had a rdv with our ami, Jackie Palmer. She is this ADORABLE older lady in her 80's. She has worked in many restaurants and is quite the food critic. Long story short, this week I found myself sitting in a five star restaurant in Paris on the edge of the river seine. Eating things like foie gras and creme brulee and listening to Jackie's stories about her husband and how they met. It was perfect.

Our ami, Jackie Palmer. My French grandma.

Also, J'AIME ma nouvelle collegue! Soeur Lefrandt is wonderful. She has a very natural and effortless way of being such a brilliant missionary. She doesn't stress out easily and just takes the crazy as it comes. She is easy going, super hard working, and full of SO MUCH FAITH. I am so excited for this transfer (maybe two?! and Christmas?! Please, President?!) and for the miracles I know we're going to see with this fearless girl.

When I was in the MTC I started a list of things I had learned there. I was having a hard time and figured the Lord was trying to tell me something. So I kept it up in my last ville and would just write a big list of all the life lessons I had learned. And let me tell you, I already have a whole page written of things I have learned in Nogent after being with Soeur Lefrandt for 5 days.

We had some WONDERFUL rdvs with some old amis in Nancy the day before I left. Lots of last heart felt attempts to help them catch the vision of their own eternity. And also some wonderful first rdvs with some new amis in Nogent. And my heart called out to them immediately and I just know I am supposed to be in Paris now.
Anna. If our faces look puffy, they are. Leaving amis behind is HARD. We cried.
Soeur Rhondeau had to come to Nancy for legality. She was there for my last day in Nancy.
Fitting, right?
Beautiful Marjana. It's hard leaving your amis and less active friends behind and just hoping the next missionaries will love them too.
Last picture with Soeur Lai and Marjana.
I'm so glad the missionary staying behind is wonderful, loving Soeur Lai.
La Famille Chretian! Wonderful tahitian family that fed us the MOST amazing tahitian food. The day I left, they gave me a traditional necklace and shell. LOVE THEM.
I feel like the summary of this week is just love. I know it's always love, because I'm obsessed with love. But a different part of love just hit me again this week.

How much our Father in Heaven loves his children. 

I was just thinking about my life and how I have never wanted to serve a mission. It was absolutely not my thing. I have always been a decent human being, but sacrificing my life to the Lord so dramatically was never really on my agenda. When I got that first prompting to serve, I fought it like crazy. From my narrow minded view of my life it was too much to ask. Too much to sacrifice. The monster of self was raging and winning.

But God was patient. He sent me the people I needed. He changed my heart. He helped me feel ok about serving.

And I had no idea that I wasn't even sacrificing anything.

I thought I was coming to help people. I thought I was coming to serve. I thought I was coming to sacrifice my life. Sometimes I think that what's I'm doing, but not really.

Heavenly Father has already given me way more than I have ever thought I sacrificed. I am living in Paris. I have already met countless people (amis, missionaries, senior missionaries, President and Soeur Poznanski, collegues, etc.) who have shaped and changed me and my whole life. I have learned life lessons I couldn't have learned any other way. God sent me to help convert others, and then He converted me too.

Moral: Trust the Lord. He's got this. He's setting you up to succeed. He's setting you on the path to receive way more than He has ever asked you to sacrifice. 

My current favorite scripture just sums up how I'm feeling.  Mosiah 2:41. "And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received in to heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it."

Following God is always happiness. Always peace. Always liberty. Let Him fill you with His vision of your eternity.

It's. so. worth it.

Soeur Autumn Bradley


  1. I know this post is from years ago but Jackie Palmer is my grandma and I am so grateful for how kind the missionaries have been to her. We visited her less then a year after this picture was taken and she was very positive about the contact she has had with missionaries. We are visiting this year for her 90th birthday. I love this lady. Thank you for your love given so freely to her. Heather

    1. Heather, I just barely saw this comment. Thank you so much for sending it! I absolutely love your Grandmother and she was so wonderfully kind to us. Thank you for taking the time to let me know that something I did on my mission had a positive effect.