Bonjour, ma famille!
This week was just amazing. So many little miracles and tender mercies!
I believe I talked about Christiane in my last email. She has been struggling with her testimony and she has a smoking problem. We went to see her on Tuesday. We decided to just start from the beginning with the missionary lessons, so we talked mostly about the Book of Mormon and it went SO well. Much better than last week. She really needs to just read it! She says it's boring, she doesn't understand it, and she can't apply it to her life. So I promised her we would call her every single night and read a chapter of the Book of Mormon with her and talk about it together. We have kept our promise, and it has been incredible to see how much she has progressed in just a few days! Each night she understands more and learns more. It has been a great experience so far. Her testimony is getting stronger :)
After Christiane, we took the train to a little town called Visé so we could go visit Isabelle, a blind lady in our branch. We got there a little early, so we decided to do some contacting. We got a lot of "non, merci"s until we started talking to a woman named Kinna. We read a paragraph out of the introduction to the Book of Mormon with her, the one explaining what it is and what it contains. She finished reading, looked up, and said, "this book can help me receive salvation?" we all replied with an enthousiastic "oui!" She looked so hopeful, excited, and earnest. We told her she could keep the book so she could start reading it, and she said, "really? I can keep it?" You don't get a reaction like that every day! We were so happy the Lord led us to her. It's amazing how prepared some people are for the gospel. We exchanged information with her and we're going to see her this week!
We arrived at Isabelle's and started to chat. She started crying because it's so hard for her to be all alone without her husband, who died 6 months ago. Earlier that morning, Soeur England had asked me which conference talk I thought we should share with her. I blurted out the first thing that came into my mind: "The Tender Mercies of the Lord" by Elder Bednar. As we read the talk with Isabelle, it addressed each and every worry and sadness she had just expressed to us. We looked at each other with amazement as we finished reading. I knew that the spirit had prompted me to choose that talk. Isabelle was comforted by Elder Bednar's gentle words. By the time we left, she was smiling and laughing. It really is wonderful to see how MUCH we are guided by the spirit every minute of every day.
The next day was legality in Lille day! Lille is a city in northern France about 196 km away from Liège. I was excited to see a new city, even if it was for legality. We got on the 8:45 train and arrived in Lille around 11:30. We met some Elders from our zone there who had legality appointments too, and the six of us went to a patisserie. It was the only patisserie in all of France where you can get a Brazilian. The Elders were SO excited for them. They're famous around the mission. Soeur England had told me about them when we found out we were going to Lille. It was good, of course. It's a French pastry! It was nice to be back in France for the day. It's totally different from Belgium.
After pastries, it was time for legality. When I arrived, they took me back to get a chest x ray (no idea why). It was funny because the doctor and I just stood there as he lowered the panel to my height (or lack thereof). We stood there for a LONG time as the machine slowly made its way down. The Elder who went before me is over 6 feet tall! Finally the doctor and I just started laughing and he said, "vous etes trop petite!"
After the x-ray, i went in with the nurse who weighed me, measured my height, and made me do an eye test (in French!) After the nurse, I went into yet another room where a lady drilled me with questions and listened to my heart and lungs. After that, I went to the front desk and they put a big sticker in my passport, and that was it! I'm now legal in France! Now I just need to get legal in the country I actually live in :) Soeur England says for Belge legality, you go to Brussels and sign a paper. I sure hope that's the case!
Saturday was another incredible day. We went to see Sidonie, a recent convert (the one that fed us fou fou). We got to her apartment and she had a friend with her who had just arrived from Africa, also named Sidonie. We got to talking with her, found out she wasn't a member but had met with the missionaries once before. So, we launched right into teaching her! She said she grew up Evangelist, and I asked her if her religion was important to her. She said "No. I'm searching for the truth." AH! That's like every missionary's dream to hear something like that. Then I told her there once was a boy named Joseph Smith who was also searching for the truth. When I started reciting the First Vision to her, the Spirit flooded the room. I almost burst into tears! It was so strong. She said she would come to church with Sidonie and start reading the Book of Mormon. We're going to go see her again this week!
I think missionary work should be called miracle work. I have seen countless miracles in the short time I've been here, and they multiply every day. The Lord has been pouring his little tender mercies all over me this week and I am filled with joy and love. Isn't that lovely?
Thank you, thank you for all of your prayers, letters, and love. Je vous aime tous.
avec tout mon amour,