Monday, January 13, 2014

Mbote! Sangonini?

That's Lingala for “Hi! How are you?” Which we learned from our recent convert friends, the Lasas.

Wow, what a beautiful week we have had. God is just so good to us.
Marie-Rose is from Haiti and cooks the most delicious (and spicy!) food EVER.

Marie-Rose's mother, who doesn't even really speak French,
but we all somehow communicate anyway. ADORE these people.
Pringles. :D She was DYING from laughter when we showed her this trick.
I finally went and saw Sainte-Chapelle! And it was GORGEOUS.
The most breath-takingly, heart singingly, soul soaringly beautiful I have ever seen in my life. Stained glass is my favorite.
I can only think about one thing, so I think that will be the only thing I can even write about.

Erica!! Our amazing new amie who now has a baptismal date... for this Sunday.
Erica is from California. She came to church last week with her recent convert friend, Barbara, and that's how we met. We had the most powerful lesson ever, and then set up a time to meet up with her Tuesday. So Tuesday we went to the library and met Erica and her daughter, Asiah, and had another lesson about the plan of salvation.

And it was WONDERFUL! She just kept saying “This is answering all of the questions I have been asking for years.” The spirit was so strong. She told us a lot more about her life. She is living in France with the boy she moved here for. They aren't together anymore, but she can't move out for many reasons. But for some reason... we decide to set a baptismal date anyways. We told her the soonest she could get baptized was 2 weeks later. And she said “ok!” We didn't even bring up to her that she had to move out to get baptized. We just hoped and prayed for a miracle.

Erica's ADORABLE daughter, Asiah.

Then we saw her again Wednesday and taught her all about the restoration of the gospel and it all clicked. We told her about how Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon and she said “Thank you, Joseph!” LOVE her. Then she asked about all of our rules and commandments. And it just felt so right... and we proceeded to quickly go over all of our church rules. And she understood and agreed with EVERY SINGLE ONE. “I used to drink coffee, but I had really bad health problems because of it. I was really addicted. So I promised God I wouldn't drink it anymore.” “The other night I went to drink some tea, but it didn't even sound good and I felt like I shouldn't drink it. So I drank warm milk instead.” “I promised God I would never give myself to a man again until we were married.” “Tithing is 10%, right? Yeah, I believe in that.” And on and on and on.

We set up a RDV for Friday, but when Friday came she called us and told us that a lot of things had come up and she couldn't come anymore. And we were so sad. And we tried to get a hold of her all weekend, but we never could.

Finally Sunday comes, and she shows up to church! And we ask her what happened. “Oh, I moved out this weekend!” WHAT. She moved out. She has lived there for the past 15 months and she moved out. God just set it all up and made it happen. And... Erica is getting baptized this Sunday right after church! And it's the biggest most beautiful miracle I have ever seen. And we didn't even do anything. We were just there. We were ready. We were willing. And God prepared Erica long before we ever came to Nogent. And now beautiful Erica is changing her whole life and finding everything she was looking for.

What an amazing coincidence that right after I had that big breakthrough about being a crooked stick but the Lord still being able to work through me, God sends the biggest confirmation of that truth ever!

The more we talked to Erica, the more I realized what a huge blessing the gospel is. Often we share our beliefs with people and they look at us like we are absolutely insane. But Erica just clapped her hands and was SO EXCITED about all of it!
Every January everyone eats these pastries called gallettes.
Unbeknownst to us, there is always a glass trinket inside. I tried to eat it. haha
But I found the trinket! I'm the queen!
Our new turtle friend and investigator. I have no idea why, but turtles just kept popping up this week.

Sometimes I sit in church in French sacrament meetings and I don't get as much out of it as I wish. It takes so much effort to understand let alone have my soul lifted and I usually walk out of it with my head hurting. And this week... I had to translate all of it for Erica! I was pretty scared (I have only been in France for not even 7 months... ) and hoping she would even get anything out of it. But funnily enough, I think I got way more than she even did! All of the talks were about the blessings of living the gospel. About the inner peace that is promised us. And my favorite part was this story:

Two artists were commissioned to do paintings and given the subject of peace. The first artist painted a calm, tranquil scene. There was the ocean calm and still. A clear blue sky. Everything was serene. Peaceful, right? The second artist also painted water. But instead of calm and still, there was a storm raging. Dark, angry storm clouds. Thunderous waves. But in the very center of the storm, there is a brightly lit lighthouse. Calm and steadfast, despite the storm.

And that's the promise of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It's peace despite the storm. Inner peace deep sown inside of our souls where nobody can hurt or destroy it.
The Adamson family!
Their names are Brighter, Princess, Godwith, Angel, And Michael. BEST NAMES EVER.
Godwith is our amie.
One of my favorite quotes ever is from President Ezra Taft Benson:

“The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature.”

The first time we ever met Erica we asked what more she wanted in her life. And with tears in her eyes she said “Peace. Just peace. Because I know if I have that, I can do anything.”

And yesterday as we were talking she said (with a smile on her face) “I feel as if a huge burden has been lifted already. I finally have a little bit of that peace in my heart.”

The Lord works from the inside out. I know that's true. In the worlds eyes, we have too many rules and it's just not worth it. But the longer I live so deeply in the world, the more I realize how very fleeting and unsatisfying it all is. True Joy, Hope, Happiness, Love, and Peace come from God.

Standing on Pont Neuf! The oldest bridge in Paris.
Amour, Soeur Autumn Bradley
We also went and saw the temple prison where all of the victims of the guillotine were held before they were made a head shorter on top. And the city offices and courts are still here with the words "Liberty, Equality, Brotherhood" across the doors.
And... this is one of my journal entries from this week.
Soeur Lefrandt's boyfriend in Hungary sent her a lock to put on the lovers lock bridge in Paris.
And there were 3 keys. So I was designated guardian of the 3rd key.
Notice how in exchange for my sacrifice she had to name her second daughter after me. :D
Our amie Christianne gave us this LOVELY coat. haha

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