Our local art museum we went and visited this morning. With paintings from Monet and Rembrandt. 2.50 to see them. Oh, France.
This week we had our very first zone conference with our new mission president, President Babin, and his wife. I was so sad when President Poznanski left and wanted more than anything to have my mission with just one President. But zone conference this week was the best conference I have ever been to. I have never felt so loved! It was oozing from their pores. They just said over and over again "We just want you all to find a personal relationship with Christ and come to know who you really are." Everything else will just fall into place. They changed my life after just one meeting! I just walked away feeling so healed and happy and like I really could do anything. I am so jealous of all the missionaries who get to have them for most of their mission. I want to stay longer!
Remember our beautiful miracle Lea? This week we got a call from her. She called us to tell us that she can't get baptized. She talked to her family and is getting a lot of opposition. Her Mom highly disapproves and nobody will come if she does get baptized. Oh, my heart just broke. You just ache when someone can't see past the here and now. This is eternal joy! This is Salvation! This is relief from the weight of all of your sins and the comfort and guidance of a member of the godhead.
Soeur Taylor and Julian, our British friends. Julian is Soeur Taylor's grandson who decided to come live with her about a month ago. He didn't believe in God, but decided to come to church with her. He talked to the missionaries but said he had no interest in religion. And now... he is getting baptized at the end of this month! Can you believe it? Zero belief in God to baptism in less than 2 months. :) What a miracle.
But, our ray of sunshine bursting through the clouds is that she still wants to see us. She still wants to learn about God and grow closer to Him. So we are going to go make American cookies with her and her friend tonight and help her continue on her journey home. One day. One day I know she will be baptized. This isn't on my time-table and just because she doesn't get baptized this transfer doesn't mean she never will. She will!
We have been feeling for a few weeks that there are people waiting for us here in Tours. We worked and worked and worked and we found... nobody. Not a single new ami. It was so hard not to lose faith and be discouraged. But then, the world cup started. The world cup here is HUGE. Everybody, I mean LITERALLY everybody, watches it. Whenever there is a game going on, the streets are empty and NOBODY will set RDVs or they just don't show up to them if they do. It dictates everything, even the fashion. And when they win a game, everyone goes completely NUTS. The streets fill with people waving flags and shouting and cars driving all over honking their horns and waving flags. So, long story short, none of our amis will set RDVs with us! Which means lots and lors of finding. Soeur Hawkes and I went crazy and this week we found 4 new amis! And set up RDVs with several more for this week. :) Mathurine, Catherine, Anita, and Florence. They all let us in and we prayed with them, blessed their homes, and will see them again this week. MIRACLES! There are people waiting for us here.
We just found out that Soeur Hawkes is leaving lovely Tours and I am staying. My new companion is coming in from the MTC tomorrow so I will meet her on Wednesday in Paris! I am a little nervous and may have burst into tears yesterday when I found out. But I also have this huge sense of peace. I know I can do whatever the Lord thinks I can do.
After I found out, I just kept praying for strength and courage, and God sent an answer to my prayers in the form of Florence, our new ami. We knocked on Florence's door last night and she let us in! We sat down in this stranger's home and talked about living lives dedicated to God and how rewarding and beautiful it is. She just thought it was the most wonderful thing in the world that two young girls were walking around this neighborhood and knocking on people's doors to bring them some happiness. Then Florence said something I loved so much:
"Don't worry about anything. Christ already conquered your problems 2,000 years ago. Don't walk in your problems. Walk in victory. What you are doing is SO COURAGEOUS."
And my heart was so full of love for my new soul friend I wasn't sure it could fit in my chest. Our eyes welled up with tears and we laughed and shared together. She asked us to come and stop by anytime, her home is always open. She kept saying "This is no coincidence! God KNEW you were going to stop by today and that I was going to be here. It is so brave of you to knock on people's doors and preach Jesus. Thank you for knocking on my door."
Christ already vanquished all of the hard stuff we have to go through 2,000 years ago. So now we can walk in victory. We can walk in bravery. And I have a feeling I am going to need a whole lot of bravery these coming transfers. Wish me luck!
"Everyday courage has few witnesses. But yours is no less noble because no drum beats for you and no crowds shout your name." -Robert Louis Stevenson-
xoxo, Soeur Autumn Bradley
So... we were just walking through the old part of Tours and discovered this ginormous tower. Turns out, it's called Charlemagne's Tower and his wife, Luitgarde, was buried there. No big deal.
These remaining towers and churches are all remnants of one huge ancient mega church.
Elder Jonhson. (Blonde) This is the second time he has been in my area.
He is so great! Just the kindest and funniest in the world.
Elder Wilford! (Brunette) He was with me up in the north of France and I kept getting to see him because we kept having zone conferences. He is just one of those people who is easy to laugh and loves everyone. And NOBODY PANIC. That is not my hand. If you look closely, the thumb is in the wrong side! Other Elders kept standing behind us and putting their hands on him to make it look like I was touching him. Because, you know... it's a really really funny thing to do. Oh, Elders.
My new planner. (Ok, ok... maybe I miss Cali and the beach just a little bit...)
My new companions planner. Made out of an H&M bag. Winning.
Happy Independence Day! We went a little NUTS. Sang as many songs about America as we could remember. Said the pledge of allegiance. Went and got fried chicken. I miss America sometimes.
The other day we were standing at the bus stop and I turned to this little old lady next to me and I told her I loved her necklace! It was a medallion witht the virgin Mary on it. She smiled so big, asked me if I wanted one, and then proceeded to pull out a little reservoir of medallions she had in her purse. She gave us each one, told us they had been blessed by a priest, and then got on her bus. I love it so much!