Monday, June 13, 2011

home is where your books are.

It's been raining a lot here lately. I've never seen rain like this before... an endless downpour against a backdrop of thunder and lightning. It's beautiful! I honestly thought I could not love Paris more. I suppose it's like reading a wonderful book, discovering a new city. with every turn of the page, there is something even lovelier than the last. I believe Paris and I will be a lifelong wonderful book. I hope at the end of my life I will have a collection of wonderful books of places I have been and cities I have discovered. If home is where your books are, there really is no place like it.

transfer weeks are crazy. it's been fun, though! before heading to the train station to drop Soeur Jorgensen off and pick Soeur Didier up, we went to a little place called Dalloyau for some hot chocolate (I know it's June, but it's been cold here!) as a little farewell for Soeur Jorgensen. um, wow. The French really know what they're doing in the chocolate department! It was basically heaven in a cup.
After that, it was off to Gare du Nord. What an adventure THAT one was. It started out with, "Sure, Elder Buhlmann, we can move our own luggage no problem." and ended up with us laughing our heads off trying to manage getting 5,000-lb. suitcases through the Paris metros. It was quite the experience :)

Soeur Didier and I finally made it back to the apartment so she could unpack, then it was off to a rendez-vous! I'm going to take a little detour here and tell you about Soeur Didier. She's "Niçoise"- from Nice. It fits that she is from somewhere like Nice, because she is one of the nicest people I have ever met! We have so much fun together. She speaks very minimal English, so it's basically all French, all the time! I am in heaven. We speak some English in the apartment... She says it helps her english a lot to be living with three American girls!

Anyway. After unpacking, we headed to Parc Monceau for our rendez-vous with Clementine. Parc Monceau is in a rich neighborhood, so it is gorgeous. there was a round, columned building thing which looked exactly like the Pride and Prejudice one! you know, when Mr. Darcy proposes the first time in the rain. There was also an antique carousel full of really well-dressed french children. Clementine works as a nanny for three such children, so we sat on a park bench and talked as we watched the children play. One of them was a blonde chatterbox with a raspy voice who loved to show me his cars. yep, basically the French version of Gregory! It was kind of a funny déjà vu moment :) We had planned to teach the first lesson with Clementine, but it ended up being the Plan of Salvation. I love it when things work out like that.

thursday was miraculous in every sense of the word. we had received a referral a couple of weeks ago from requesting a missionary visit. we called, and she happily set up a rendez-vous. She lives in a sketchy part of town about an hour away from us... It was quite the journey to get there. 3 metros, a bus, and lots of walking! It was SO worth it though. Her name is Célestine and she is lovely. Come to find out, it wasn't through that she found the church- her brother is a member living in Salt Lake! He told her all about the church and she asked him to put her in contact with the missionaries. We had an amazing first lesson- she asked so many great questions. We watched "The Restoration" with her, and afterwards she said her favorite part was how close Joseph Smith was with his family. I've never gotten a response like that before! Family is really important to her, so we're excited to teach her the Plan of Salvation this week! We left her with a Book of Mormon and a commitment to read and pray. I can't wait to hear what she thinks of it! Soeur Didier and I reluctantly left, got into the elevator, waited for the door to close, then started jumping up and down with excitement. this is going to be a wonderful transfer.

yesterday was so good. Anbu came to church, of course (Edinton wasn't there this week) Our lesson afterwards was awesome. we have to simplify everything when we teach him- I even have to be careful how I phrase my questions. His English is very minimal, but he understands just enough that somehow our lessons work! I think the spirit does most of the teaching. Yesterday he was able to talk more than I have ever seen him be able to do... he told us that he was an alcoholic for thirteen years, then one year ago he said he found Jesus Christ and decided to turn his life around. So he's been sober for a year! I asked him who Jesus Christ is for him and he bore such a sweet, simple testimony. I teared up a little bit watching him struggle to find the words to express how he was feeling. He told us he has been to a lot of other churches before, but it troubled him how they had "no respect" for the Savior. He said he is amazed by the respect we show Him in our church and how happy and peaceful he feels when he comes. There was such a light in his face. The spirit was so strong! I can't wait for him to be baptized.

After church, we went to the hospital to visit Rose. Rose is a member from Tahiti. She had a baby about a month ago. The day after the birth, she was diagnosed with Leukemia and immediately sent to France for treatment, taken away from all her family, including her husband and her new baby. We had to wash our hands, use hand sanitizer, and wear a surgical mask. She started crying when she saw our tags... She said they were tears of joy. Of course, I was crying before we even went into her room. My heart just broke for her. We shared some (tweaked) verses from Alma 38 with her:

And now, my daughter, I trust that I shall have great joy in you, because of your steadiness and your faithfulness unto God; for as you have commenced in your youth to look to the Lord your God, even so I hope that you will continue in keeping his commandments; for blessed is she that endureth to the end.
 I say unto you, my daughter, that I have had great joy in thee already, because of thy faithfulness and thy diligence, and thy patience and thy long-suffering.
 For I know that thou wast in bonds; yea, and I also know that thou wast stoned for the word’s sake; and thou didst bear all these things with patience because the Lord was with thee.

It was a lovely sunday. It was hard to see someone going through such a difficult trial, but I think we left her a tiny bit better than we found her. I know she is being watched over.

je vous aime, tous.

little mish.

photos:{some from last week, some from today}

our apartment... view from the door.
view from the opposite side of the room. I sleep on the top bunk. our apartment is little, but we love it!
the street we live on, as seen from the window. It's always lively and bustling, i like it.
the Paris Opera house. it's huge!
the chandelier weighs SEVEN TONS.
me and soeur smith.
me and soeur pearce on the opera house balcony.
our little group in the very center of paris, in front of notre dame. they call it "kilometer zero". Clockwise from center top: Soeur Smith, Elder Gilmour, Soeur Pearce, me, Soeur Jorgensen, and Elder Weed.
transfer day with luggage on the metro :)
dropping off Soeur Jorgensen at the gare.
with Soeur Didier at the Louvre pyramid!
 my favorite part of p-day today. gorgeous.

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