Saturday, December 21, 2013

Small and Simple.

Bonjour tout le monde! (Means 'hello everyone' but is literally 'good day all the world!')
Our Christmas tree!!
It's covered with pictures of our amis and then little yellow stars that have miracles and blessings.

Our stockings. THANKS MOM!
We know these presents from Mom are pajamas... and we are DYING to open them.

I'm sorry I don't update you more on all of my amis. This is for 2 reasons. 1) It was a new area and it took me a while to get in and meet everyone and get to know them. And 2) I am afraid it would be rather boring to you. I love these people SO much. They are my life! It's the greatest feeling in the world when an ami begins to catch that eternal vision and begins to have the desire to change. But I know that you don't know these people, and it makes sense that you don't love them like I do. But you do know me, which is why I have always tried to share the lessons I have learned, how I have changed, miracles, and lots of love. 
Galerie Lafayette! Most BEAUTIFUL mall I have ever beheld in my entire life.

Standing on the roof of the Galerie and being able to look down on the Paris Opera House!
And then also be able to see l'Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, and Notre Dame. GORGEOUS.

The street where we always meet up for district meetings, zone conferences, transfers, etc. This is the institute building too, so we always see American BYU students there for their study abroad.
The Bastille!! Or... where the prison used to be. Now it's just a big square.
 But still, standing where the French revolution started = MARVELOUS.

Victor Hugo's home. No big deal.
So, I am going to try to find a balance. Update you on the happenings, but also the lessons I have learned too. Sound good? Fabulous.

This week we taught Celine (referral from our recent convert friend Maria) and had a Christmas celebration! She knows that Lindt dark chocolate is my FAVORITE thing in the world, so she went and bought us a box of Lindt. LOVE her. Then we hung up Christmas lights, sang Christmas songs, and watched together forever. I keep meeting people on the mission and they say things like "I have lost my personality... I don't know who I am... I don't feel like I'm worth anything" and I know that God sent this wannabe self esteem coach to France precisely for them, with a message about how they are children of a supreme creator and belong to something so much bigger. God is just SO SMART.

And helping our amie Celine hang up her Christmas lights while we sing English Christmas carols and have the most beautiful lesson about eternal families.
Then we had some lessons with another sister. She is this ADORABLE girl from Africa, but hadn't been progressing because of law of chastity issues. We kept trying, and nothing was going anywhere, and we began to wonder if we should just drop her. So... we didn't call her for a few days. Sunday came, and we didn't send a million texts begging her to come to church. But... she showed up! We we SO excited and shocked! She walked in all by herself and was just glowing! There was something different. We talked with her a lot and then we asked about her boyfriend. "C'est fini." ("It's over.") And I have never been so happy in my whole life! (Don't mean to be dramatic or anything.) Baptism invite, here we come!

 On exchanges this week, Soeur Mataalii and I were contacting people while wearing our Santa hats and offering to sing people some American Christmas songs. I don't know how, but we seemed to have run into all of the atheists and Jews in the whole city because EVERYONE said no! None of them even celebrated Christmas. But we kept going. And out of nowhere we met a girl named Isel and she said "Yes, I'm actually Christian. And right now I am heading to a function with some Christian friends from all different churches in Nogent and we're going to sing songs and pray. Want to come?" And you guessed it, we spent the next hour with a bunch of amazing, Christian, French, young adults. Singing songs and praying and testifying! And we passed out a bunch of cards and I think we might have some new faces at church this week.
So... we bought Christmas sweaters. At this little vintage shop in Paris.
And we're a little obsessed with them.

Sometimes, I just feel so small and so simple. I want to help spread the joy and happiness of the gospel with the whole world!! But I'm just one single solitary little human girl. And sometimes I feel it. And I feel like I talk to a million people. And knock on a million doors. And extend a million invitations. And sometimes I feel like nobody cares. And I feel like I am not even making a tiny dent. This week, I was empathizing greatly with Alma 29:1-2.

 O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!

 Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth.

 "Yeah" I thought. "Alma is my soul friend."

 This week we went and visited Soeur Diaz. She is a lady in the ward who I have actually known since I was in Nancy. Her daughter lives in Nancy with her husband, and Soeur Diaz visited a lot. She is the kindest, sweetest lady in the world and is always offering to teach with us and encouraging us to invite our amis over to her place! LOVE her.

 I know God placed this Soeur in my life path for a huge reason. She told us all about her life and her story and how she met the church. She told about two missionaries in Peru who had found her family. Then she told how the missionaries returned home to America... and years and years later she joined the church because of them. Their names were Kevin Kent and Ken Kennett. And they have NO IDEA about the amazing tree that has grown from the one seed they planted. She now has several children and grandchildren who are all strong and active members in the church. Generations of a happy eternal family... and these men have NO IDEA.

 And a different scripture began to ring in my head:

 Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.

 And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls.  (Alma 37:6) 
Yeah, Alma is definitely my soul friend.

Then we went to our huge multi zone Christmas conference and the Poznanski couple gave us all white shells. Mine was pretty big, and Elder Sughroue was sitting next to me and his was really little. Then the Poznanski's told us the shells represented us... and the Elder leaned over "Can we trade? I don't want to be small." And I took that shell. And the word "small" kept ringing in my ears. And I remembered that scripture. And I looked down at that very small and very simple shell.

[Mom insert: I saw these photos of the conference on Facebook]
And it's me. Small and simple. But don't you know? That's how God has ALWAYS worked to bring about his purposes. And this is how he works to bring about the salvation of many souls.
At zone conference, they gave us all Santa hats. Adorbs. 
Small and Simple.

xoxo, Soeur Autumn Bradley
Oh, I forgot the misshapen who in who-ville tree that is right next to town hall
and also our train station. French Christmas! haha

P.S. I think there has been a little confusion... sorry! Here's my address:

For normal mail: 2 Rue du Lieutenant Ohresser 94130 Nogent-Sur-Marne France
For packages: 33 Rue Maximilien Robespierre 94120 Fontenay-Sous-Bois France (This is the Elders apartment, but it's better because they have a doorbell system and a big mailbox...both of which we lack.)

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