Monday, August 4, 2014

No agenda. Just love.

This week Soeur Hopkins had legality in PARIS
so I got to go walk by my favorite fountain with the lips.
Last Monday we began companionship study and for some reason we ended up breaking into Joy to the World in English! We sang as loudly as we could and just laughed over the randomness and freeingness of the moment. Little did we know what was in store. That night, we decided to go porting in this one area we have been working on for a while. We knocked for a while and finally a kind lady opened the door. We smiled and told her we were there to pray with families. She smiled and responded in English "Do you speak English?" Um, yes. Turns out she is from Nigeria and didn't hesitate to let us in. We all talked and she opened up and shared so much about her personal relationship with God. Then we prayed with her and set up another time to come back and got to see her another time this week. Oh, and forgot to mention... her name is JOY. :) To the world, man. To the world.
 Soeur Hopkins and me in front of St. Merri, the church in Paris.
Me standing on point zero in front of Notre Dame! It's the exact middle of the city.
Everything in Paris is measured from this point.
While Soeur Hopkins was in legality, I got to spend a few hours in Paris with Soeur Smith!
I adore her.
Very first pain au chocolat au nutella! Obtained from the most delicious bakery in Paris, Huré.
Soeur Hopkins and her first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower!
Another day this week we were on the bus and the elders happened to get on right after us. We were talking when all of a sudden a boy leaned over and asked us who we were. Elder Cramer started talking to him and then the Elders had to get off the bus. Unbeknownst to us the boy had already told the Elders he wasn't at all interested. But since we didn't know this... we jumped right in and started talking to him and getting to know him. He got off at our stop and we all ended up standing on the street corner for a while and teaching him about who God is and why we need Jesus Christ and then asked him if he had ever tried to pray. Then this sweet 16-year-old boy said his very first prayer while standing with us on a street corner. Then we got his number and passed him to the elders that night. And they were shocked! "He told us he wasn't even interested..." "Well... here's his number. His name is Brandon and you have a RDV with him tomorrow morning. Also, he raises rabbits as pets." Some people just need sisters. :)
We found this plaque this week commemorating the day that Joan of Arc rode into Tours.
Didn't even know...
Zarik! Our gorgeous amie from Armenia.
Makes me really miss Anna and Madame Sevoyan in Nancy.
Anne-Marie, who just got baptized in January! I love her so much.
She has such a powerful testimony and so much LIGHT in her eyes.
My favorite way to contact people on the mission is to pay them a compliment. It's the most genuine "I'm a missionary, but I'm still Autumn and these are my Autumn strengths" way I have found of doing missionary work and doing it for the right reasons. The reason behind my mission is love, so I try to put that behind every little thing I do. I am so finite and limited, so I myself can't muster enough love for every single person I meet. But luckily... it's not even my love. It's all His. I am just a vessel. I am a vessel that God can fill with his love so that others can feel it. So my goal is basically "what is the fastest way I can help these people feel the love of God through me?" And it fills my heart with so much joy to watch the surprised and overjoyed reactions of other people as they are trying not to blush. 
So... pretty much EVERYONE in France is completely obsessed with these little rubber band bracelets. Literally everyone has at least one. Most people have like...8. I have always wanted one... you know, to fit in and stuff. And this week the primary president's grand-daughter made us some! Now we are finally part of the cool kid's club. :) 

Everybody has heard the saying 'Actions speak louder than words.' Yesssssss... but.... I think sometimes we forget that words can still speak pretty loudly.

Doctrine and Covenants 108:7 says: Therefore, strengthen your brethren in all your conversation.

Words are so important. The power of a few kind words is incalculable. Human beings just need to be complimented and praised. Each one of us craves for a little appreciation, a little validation, a little love. I think Dale Carnegie is the expert of all time on this subject. He says this: "Each person has within herself the power to increase the sum total of the world's happiness by giving a few words of sincere appreciation to someone who is lonely or discouraged." 

Isn't that BEAU. TI. FUL? We hold the power to increase the sum total of the world's happiness. I read a talk this week that really changed me and in the talk Elder Osguthorpe spoke about the way Tahitians greet each other. The literal meaning of their greeting word --ia ora na-- means "life to you" or "that you might live." We are all brothers and sisters, connected to each other by bands as real and lasting as eternity, and every word we speak to each other either gives or takes away LIFE. 

But there is one thing: these cannot be idle comments. Insincere compliments that spring from the selfishness of my own heart and for the sole purpose of making other people like me or in hopes of gaining a reputation as "a nice person."

I heard a story once from Dale Carnegie that tells how he saw a grumpy postal worker while he was waiting in line one day and he decided he was going to cheer him up. So he thought of something he genuinely appreciated about the man... and then made sure he said it to him. Then Dale Carnegie says something I love: "I told this story once in public and a man asked me afterwards "What did you want to get out of him?" What was I trying to get out of him!!! What was I trying to get out of him!!! If we are so contemptibly selfish that we can't radiate a little happiness and pass on a bit of honest appreciation without trying to get something out of the other person in return -  if our souls are no bigger than sour crab apples, we shall meet with the failure we so richly deserve. Oh yes, I did want something out of that chap. I wanted something priceless. And I got it. I got the feeling that I had done something for him without his being able to do anything whatever in return for me. That is a feeling that flows and sings in your memory long after the incident is past."

I can't have any sort of personal agenda going into this. This is has nothing to do with me. This is all about other people. This is about giving other people life. This is about helping them feel love. It's never "How can I get them to like me?" It's always "How can I help them feel important? How can I make them feel special?  How can I show them love?" 

Don't keep your kind words in. Say them! Find things you genuinely appreciate, and then just say the words out loud.

As Proverbs 27:5 says: Open rebuke is better than secret love.

Don't keep your love secret.

No agenda. Just love.

xoxo Soeur Autumn Bradley

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