Cecile and Clemence! Our lovely amies who are so wonderful and SO French.
(Cecile even teaches Ballet)
The Poznanski's finish their mission this week so we had a huge zone conference to say goodbye.
At the end I got to hug them both. And I just bawled. They have changed my life forever.
Soeur Bingham! We started in the MTC together and here we are after living in France for a year.
Soeur Hawkes and myself just after we got a pain au chocolat aux amandes
in her favorite pastry shop in her blue-ville!
Soeur Bitter, my sister in the mission. She was trained by Rhondeau too!
So we sat around forever and talked all about Rhondeau and how much we love her.
My foot tan. Tours is SO SUNNY!
My new watch.
Our neighborhood is swarming with CATS. Sometimes... I pick them up. But Soeur Hawkes makes me put them down before we get home.
Allo! (This is how French people spell Hello. They all answer their phones "Oui, allo?" It's great.)
Well, this week was lovely. It was pretty rough-going at the beginning because we kept getting on trains to go places and not spending any time in our area which makes teaching lessons pretty rough, but God blessed us and in the last two days we more than doubled the number of lessons we had the entire week. :)
This week I found this quote that I just love so much:
"The point of life is to defeated by greater and greater things." Rainer Maria Rilke
I thought a lot about that. I think that describes a mission perfectly. In district meeting last week, Elder Smith was talking about finding people to teach and then he paused, laughed, and said "Remember when we first got to France? Do you remember how scared we were? And now it's all just habit." And I realized that is so true! I remember the first time my trainer told me we were going to go contacting people on the streets and my eyes almost bulged out of my head. I remember being TERRIFIED. I remember my first time knocking on doors and not understanding anything anyone said and never knowing what to say. I remember so many prayers and so many tears.
And then one day you wake up... and you realize that all of the things that used to make you want to pee your pants, come almost naturally. All of a sudden it's natural to stop people on the street. All of a sudden it's natural to talk to the people around you on the bus. All of a sudden it's natural to knock on doors for hours and pray with people in hallways. One day you wake up and all those things that absolutely terrified you are pretty doable, and the problems you face now which are surmountable were completely unthinkable just a few months ago.
This week we had our final zone conference with President and Soeur Poznanski. It was definitely the best one I have ever been to. The Poznanskis love us so much it completely blows my mind. Soeur Poxnanski mentioned D-day and the celebrations and ceremonies that happened this year. Then she shared something that was said about the soldiers who landed in France that day:
"They were 20 years old, some a little older some a little younger. For them, 20 was the age of duty, the age of commmitment, the age of sacrifice. Just what were these young 20 year olds thinking about? Surely, they were thinking of their mothers, of their fathers, or their other loved ones. Nonetheless, these young men didn't hesitate for a moment as they stormed the beaches of France; Defying their fear, they forged ahead in support of a noble cause, and continued to push forward until they finally liberated us. All who set foot on French soil that day were heroes. They are they who pressed forward for our freedom, those who brought with them a ray of hope."
Then Soeur Poznanski paused, looked at us and said "When I heard this, I thought he must be talking about our missionaries! We love you and we thank you for stepping foot in France."
This week marks one year since I stepped foot in France.
It's been the hardest and the most wonderful year of my life.
It's pretty amazing to me what God can do in the life of someone so weak and flawed.
I think God sent me out here to prove a point. If I can do it, anyone can do it.
xoxo, Soeur Autumn Bradley