Monday, January 27, 2014

"Those who bring sunshine to the lives of other cannot keep it from themselves." -James Barrie

Oh man, what a week. (You don't realize the weird things about your own language until you learn a new one. "Oh man?" What does that even mean? If I said that in French it would be VERY BIZARRE. I love America.)
The lock that Soeur Lefrandt put on the lovers lock bridge for US.
Because she LOVES and ADORES me. And... maybe her boyfriend's name starts with an A too...
This week was beautiful and inspiring and also very, very hard. I was SO stressed out about transfers. I was trying so hard to be positive and happy, but felt like such a liar because I was losing my mind. Soeur Lefrandt and I had become SUCH GREAT FRIENDS and had hit such an easy, natural friendship and it made teaching and meetings and everything just SUBLIME. I had hit a good point in my missionary life. I knew why I was here, and felt good waking up every day. I was happy and living with my best friend. We felt led and our great friend, Erica, had just been baptized. Life was perfect.
A very, very poor quality photo of our last RDV with Erica.
I don't know why, but my camera has been  LOSING ITS MIND this week.
So when it was all changing, and I knew who my companion was going to be and that it was probably going to be rough going, I panicked a little and completely lost sight of any light at the end of my blackest abyss of a transfer. There are hardly any soeurs I have heard of that I absolutely don't want to be companions with, and God had put me with their queen. Transfers came, I dropped off my best friend, picked up my new one, and we came back to Nogent.
And it was hard. And I felt abandoned. And forsaken. And went to bed that night thinking "If I could get a respectable way out of my mission right now, I would take it." I was half praying that I would break my leg or fall seriously ill.
It wasn't even that Soeur Anderson was doing anything. I just abhor change with everything in me, and she is the OPPOSITE of Soeur Lefrandt.
The next day I woke up, and felt pretty much the same and had hardly slept. I began my morning studies, and nothing was sticking out to me. Usually when I study I feel so led and always study exactly what I need and what my amis need and I feel so good and spirit filled. But this morning, nothing. So I finally went into our bedroom, knelt down, and bawled my eyes out as I pleaded for my balm in Gilead. I had studied several times over the past few weeks about the enabling power of the Atonement. How the power of Christ can help you do things that are so far beyond you. And that's what I needed. I just felt SO INADEQUATE. I was tired of feeling like I was constantly under a microscope, being watched and analyzed and scrutinized by leaders and other missionaries and members. I was tired of constantly worrying about the salvation of every single person I passed on the street. I was tired of feeling like a big ball of flaws engaged in the precise task of saving human souls. I was tired of feeling like my all was never enough.
Soeur Lam-Yam, our Tennessee Mama. I have no idea why we are all GLOWING.
I was supposed to be the lifeguard, and I was drowning.
And so I cried. And I pled. And I felt a little better.
And we went out and contacted, and I felt hope and I said hi to everyone and I meant it. Then we walked into Christiane's home, and my heart felt better and I smiled and I meant it. And then we went and saw Erica, and my soul lightened and I laughed and I meant it.
There's this quote I really love: "When you find yourself a little gloomy, look around you and find somebody that is in a worse plight than yourself; go to her and find out what the trouble is, then try to remove it with the wisdom which the Lord bestows upon you; the first thing you know, your gloom is gone, you feel light, the spirit of the Lord is upon you, and everything seems illuminated."
-Lorenzo Snow
Church yesterday was probably the best I have ever been to in my 21 years. As I went around and made an extra effort to greet and compliment and help others, I was so happy and full of light and love for this work. Everyone I talked to taught me something and filled me with happiness. People I thought hardly knew I even existed came up to me and told me how they considered me one of their greatest friends. Soeur Diaz said "You are my angel. You are someone really special to me. I will really miss you when you leave."
My planner for this transfer!   It says
"Love is holy because it's like grace-- the worthiness of its object is never really what matters."
Yes... all of my favorite quotes ever are about love... it's my favorite thing in the world.
And aren't the lavender fields PRETTY?
And I can't thank God enough for answering my prayers and helping me learn even more this great lesson. This quote says it better than I ever could: "In the end, the number of prayers we say may contribute to our happiness, but the number of prayers we answer may be of even greater importance." -Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Go see how many smiles you can create today. :)
I love you all so much it's unreal.
xoxo Soeur Autumn Bradley
Last OBNOXIOUSLY GLOWING picture together. My camera is out of control.
P.S. I learned this great lesson from Soeur Lefrandt about faking it. She taught me that if you are not good at something and someone else is and they don't know that you aren't... fake it. Act like you have always been awesome at it. So, I tried it this week. Soeur Anderson is the QUEEN of being completely fearless and contacting people. And I have always contacted... but it has never been my favorite and I was always a little scared. Well, Soeur Anderson thinks I am really good at it and never scared! HA! She asked me the other night if I had ever had a companion who was scared of contacting. And I was DYING LAUGHING to myself  because I was usually that companion. :D But she told me she loves the way we contact together. HA. I don't know why, but I just think this is SO funny. She just has NO IDEA. Thanks Soeur Lefrandt! I am going to try this trick with other parts of my life...

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