Monday, June 27, 2011

"see you very soon at church."

paris is like dante's inferno right now. 96 degrees today! no AC in our apartment! good times. this week has been kind of singular. thursday was our last ever zone conference with the Stahelis, which was so weird. They got stuck in traffic that morning, so we were all already seated when they arrived. When they walked in, we all stood. aaaaaand.... Soeur Pearce and I started crying. We all stood and sang the mission song. And we cried even more. It was so sad! It was a really good sendoff, but still so sad. I will miss them so much. Soeur Staheli gave a cute little talk, as always. She talked about Bees: "at the end of your mission, will you feel the sting of what might have been, or will you taste the sweetness of the 'milk and honey without price'?" So very Soeur Staheli :) The meeting was wonderful. Lots of pictures taken, goodbyes said, and testimonies borne. It ended with all of us stainding and singing "Dieu soit avec toi jusqu'au revoir" (God be with you till we meet again). The Stahelis made their exit during the last chorus... It reminded me of the Other Side of Heaven when he leaves the island on a boat and they all stand on the beach singing that song. The song ended, and we all just kind of stood there in complete silence, not knowing what to do with ourselves. Here is the Stahelis' goodbye letter to the missionaries:

Dear Friends and Fellow Servants,

It seems but a short time since Sister Staheli and I arrived in the France Paris Mission. Now the time has come for our departure. We will treasure the memories of the good times and the struggles, the successes and the lessons learned the hard way. We have a special love for Belgium and France and have great respect for the history, culture, and beauty of these wonderful countries. We love the Grand Place of Brussels, the monkey of Mons, Belgian frites, gaufres, and hand-made lace. We love the Loire Valley, Bretagne, Normandy, Paris, jogging along the Seine, and cheese. And much, much more!

Sister Staheli and I have gained a deep love and respect for the members of the Church in France and Belgium. We are so proud of dedicated leaders of small branches, of bishops who lead with love and devotion, and visionary stake presidents who direct the work so well. We are grateful for the regular members who are so full of love and generosity. We have always felt welcome and have appreciated working together as true brothers, sisters, and friends, fellow citizens in the Kingdom of God.

Most of all we have loved you, the missionaries. We have loved you even before we met you, and that love has only grown as we have come to know you. You are the best of a great generation of young people who have been prepared by the Lord to perform His work and to prepare the world for His Second Coming. You are doing an outstanding job. You are faithful, obedient, and diligent. You know the doctrines and you are great teachers. You remain optimistic and keep going despite frequent rejection. You are true disciples of Jesus Christ.

As we go, we know you will transfer your love and loyalty to President and Sister Poznanski. That is natural and good. We hope, also, that you will retain a warm spot in your heart for us. We are interested in you and want to know about the future events of your life. We await anxiously any news we might receive. Our love for you will never diminish.

God bless you in your missionary labors and in all you do in life. Stay true. Remain committed to the gospel and to the Church. Be worthy of the Spirit. The Church is true. This is God's work. We know it and you know it.

With our love and blessing,

President and Sister Staheli

and that's that! President and Sister Poznanski arrive tomorrow, and in a couple weeks at the end of the transfer, we will have a bigger mission with more missionaries! Our mission is buzzing with change right now. It's kind of exciting.

thursday was unexpectedly amazing, which is just what we needed! it's been kind of a bummer week-- my ankle is swollen and refuses to back down. Anyway. We had a rendez-vous with Mona (the Egyptian lady) that afternoon. We had been kind of struggling to know what to do with her- we just couldn't seem to get the right angle. She is very interested and faithful, but she is also very scared. We were planning on following up on her Book of Mormon reading for the week, then doing a lesson about eternal families.
So there we were, Book of Mormons in our laps, reading about the great and abominable church of all things. All of a sudden, Mona stopped us and said, "I have a question. Can I be baptized?" um, WHAT? we were so excited! She told us she has faith in Jesus Christ and she wants to show Him by being baptized. She will be baptized on July 31st! After all that was settled, we read 2 Nephi 31:17-20 with her. As we read, it seriously felt like those words had been written for her. When she looked up, there were tears in her eyes. It was so sweet to sit there with her and feel the spirit.
Afterwards, as we were euphorically floating down the sidewalk, we caught sight of a patisserie and got a couple pain au chocolat to celebrate. And guess what: they were fresh out of the oven. it was a much-needed good day.

we had another rendez-vous with Célestine on saturday. We taught her the Plan of Salvation with a little picture I drew (her little daughters loved it!). At the first mention of the Spirit World, Célestine stopped us and said, "is there really such a thing as paradise?" I looked her right in the eye and said, "we are here to testify that there is a paradise. Our Heavenly Father is waiting for us on the other side. Death is not the end of this life." She looked so happy! She accepted the plan and told us she wants to come to church with us. She is such a blessing!

We had a little miracle happen during weekly planning yesterday afternoon: we heard from Edinton! Three weeks ago, we got this text from him:
"Hi sister its Edinton now i am staying in Orléans I don't have home I am not stay before same place I am sorry to say that Anbu he should be there today at church next sunday I will be there I had a lot of problem I am not paye room rent last two month sunday home owner take my bags put in the road then close my room three day I am stay in the road, now I am with one friend 250km to Paris so next sunday I will be there tks pray for me."
And then we didn't hear from him for three weeks. We called and called and called... no response. So yesterday, during planning, we got this text:
"HI SISTERS I am in Paris came from Orléans Gare D'Austerlitz just now arrived Edinton see you very soon at church."
I immediately called him and he answered! It was so good to hear his cute broken english :) He said he will be at church on sunday. I asked him if he still wanted to be baptized and he said "of course!" I am so very happy and excited to see him again! The Lord has showered us with blessings this week.

This is His work. I am so lucky and blessed and happy to take part in it.

sending my love across the atlantic.

little mish.
Soeur Didier and I at Place de la Concorde, where Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were guillotined. Charming. 
At Dalloyau on Soeur Didier's birthday.
I love the Tuileries gardens.

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