Friday, July 4, 2014

Small things with great love.

Pain au chocolat on my year-mark! It was the first pastry I ate
when I stepped off the plane into France one year ago.
We went and saw our amie Helene this week. She is my favorite! She is always so kind and asks the most sincere questions. This week... she asked me if I like cats. Before I could begin to even describe how much... she handed me this book! The title? "The most beautiful cats in the world." It is filled with nothing but cat pictures. It's pretty much the best gift I have ever been given.
We got on a train to go to Bourges for district meeting and we happened to run into Franck,
the boyfriend of one of our amies! And then we met this sweet lady, Marie-France.
She's the really French looking one with the dog.
Sometimes... when we have to ride trains we look for these cars on the trains that have compartments like on Harry Potter. But there is no plump witch who walks by offering us sweets off the trolley. :(
Soeur Farge! A really hilarious and lively less-active member in our ward. :) 
These two Canadian girls came to church here in Tours yesterday! We get foreigners all the time.
I love it. Speaking English is just so nice sometimes.
The castle at Amboise! Ever seen the movie Ever After?
There's a part where the prince asks Cinderella to meet him at the ruins at Amboise. I see why.
I would be smitten if I met any man in this beautiful city. 
The chapel where Leonardo da Vinci is buried! 
The chapel floor... and my feet.
On the Harry Potter train...
... and then catching sight of Amboise for the first time.
Amboise is without a doubt the most beautiful ville I have ever seen in my entire life. 

This week was one of those weeks where you grow. And it hurts. One of those weeks that is just hard. But so good at the same time.

Well... Lea still has a baptismal date, but it has been changed for the end of July. We tried to see her this week, but she didn't make our RDV. In the worst way. This whole week was a fight against feeling shattered and having faith. Sometimes agency is silly. But we are going to kill her with love this week! I'll keep you updated. :)

This week... I went a few days without being as loving as I should have been. Soeur Hawkes seemed to be not doing totally ok. I should have turned out sooner and taken the time to talk it all out with her... but I didn't . I went two days with her not feeling ok. I was so stressed out and feeling so much pressure to see miracles for the first week of our new mission president being here that instead of helping her, I focused on myself and wouldn't stop for a second to help. 

Then Friday night we were heading to go pass-by someone off of the tram and it all came out. And we ended up sitting on a bench near a park and talking and talking until Soeur Hawkes and I felt like we could breathe again. We sat and cried and soul-talked it all out.

And then one of the most beautiful moments of my mission happened. We saw our family.

A few weeks ago we were sitting at the bus stop far from our home and the bus decided not to come. There was a family at the stop waiting for the same bus, and so we all talked and tried to figure out how to get to our destinations. We explained that we were American missionaries but before we could get anything else out, a different bus came that they decided to take and they left. But something in us told said that if we were supposed to, we would see them again.

Friday night, the bench we were sitting on happened to be not far from a bus stop in a completely different part of town than before. And all of a sudden a bus pulled up and our family got off. We were so excited to see them, we stood up and walked over, grinning from ear to ear. They recognized us and we all chatted and laughed and talked about how it was such a funny coincidence. Then we exchanged numbers. And we are going to see them this week. :) 

Sometimes I forget that God is just so aware. He knows what we are capable of and isn't trying to break our spirits. Sometimes I feel like I am not making any sort of difference here, but then I remember that God doesn't ever ask us to do things that are of no importance. It all matters. Every bit of it. Every smile. Every contact. Every kind word. Every time you sit on a bench and show your companion a little love.

A few months ago a friend of mine sent me this quote out of a book he was reading:

 "If anything matters then everything matters. Because you are important, everything you do is important. Every time you forgive, the universe changes; every time you reach out and touch a heart or a life, the world changes; with every kindness and service, seen or unseen, His purposes are accomplished and nothing will ever be the same again."

It all matters. God didn't ask me to change the whole world. He asked me to cast in my stone and create some ripples. And He asked me to do it with a whole lot of love.

After all, as Mother Theresa said: "We can do no great things. Only small things with great love."

xoxo, Soeur Autumn Bradley

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