letters, pictures, and adventures of sister williams
Monday, August 1, 2011
everyone has a home in paris.
bonjour. one thing i really like about the paris ward is the continual cycle of study abroad students. most of the time, it's BYU students, but for the past couple months, there has been a group of students from all over the U.S. here studying music. a handful of them are members, so, being the awesome little missionaries they are, they invited the other students in the group to come to church with them. most of them weren't interested, but there was one-- Audrey-- who kept coming. Audrey just graduated from Harvard with a degree in biology and music. She's doing this hardcore Study Abroad for the Musically Gifted just for kicks-- aka she is brilliant. She's cute and petite, and of course, crazy smart. We had a lesson with her and two members from her group on tuesday. I wish you could have seen that lesson. words like "cognizance" and "fiduciary" were flying around, the opening hymn sounded like a choral masterpiece (seriously- musical geniuses, the three of them. Soeur Smith and I kind of just pretended to sing when really we were staring open mouthed and awestruck), and Audrey asked some of the best questions I have ever heard. We committed her to start reading the Book of Mormon, and then at the end of the lesson, she prayed! It was great, and so very sweet to be able to witness some of her very first communications with God. Soeur Smith and I loved being able to teach her, but we both got the feeling that we are not "her" missionaries. She left for the states today, and I just know at some point or another she will be baptized. that night, we had a lesson with the newly baptized and confirmed Zdravko. It was a double-chocolate-cake level of sweet, especially his prayer: "Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your blessing. Je suis Zdravko Radushev. I am here with my sisters of the mormon church and I feel protected. Amen." We love him! We talked about eternal families.
Zdravko quotes from our lesson.
when asked about how he feels since receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost: "I feel your love and I am protected and happy."
"maybe I am lucky I met you. there are people who are poorer than me or have more problems than me, but I got to meet you."
after we told him we call each other "brother" and "sister" in the church: "wait, wait. I need to debate this. If they are all my sisters, how will I marry one of them?"
"I have a hard time imagining what the Holy Ghost looks like, but when I am around people who love me I feel protected. That is the Holy Ghost."
He is so good! After the closing prayer, the three of us just kind of sat in silence for a few seconds, enjoying the sweet spirit that was there. He is funny and silly, but also so sincere and so sweet it is almost childlike.
On Thursday, we had to go to the American Hospital so I could get an EMG. I had no idea what an EMG would entail. I walked into the exam room and the doctor told me he would be poking me with needles, then electrically shocking me. Goodie. He started the test and we smalltalked as he worked. He asked me where I'm from, if I like France, and why I'm living here. I told him why, then he asked, "So, how was your church created?" He seemed mildly interested, so I started at the beginning of the first lesson. In betweeen excrutiating electric shocks, I told him everything. He asked questions about the church as he stabbed me with needles. It was probably the oddest lesson I've ever given. As the exam wrapped up, I had a strong impression to give him a Book of Mormon. It felt a little weird to give it to my doctor, but I went with it anyway. I pulled it out of my bag and offered it to him. He took it in his hands and stared at it, flipping through the pages. He told me he couldn't accept it because it was too precious. I insisted, telling him I wanted him to have it. I told him we would love to meet with him to talk about the book, and he told me to give him ten days to read it. done! I walked out of the office in a daze. finally, something good came from all of this silly ankle stuff! I pulled Soeur Smith out of her waiting room chair and we went and squealed and hugged by the elevators. We can't WAIT to meet with him! Tender mercy.
it was definitely a "this is why i'm a missionary" week for Soeur Smith and I. We decided at the beginning of the transfer that we were not going to let my ankle situation get us down, and this week the Lord poured out little blessings and miracles. We feel like we are right where we are supposed to be.
that's the thing about Paris- no matter where you're from, whether it's Bulgaria or Canada or American Fork, Paris still somehow feels like home. It truly is a giant melting pot of culture, people, and personality-anything you add to it just makes it that more spicy and unique. Even as little mormon girls, Soeur Smith and I feel right at home in this big huge city, adding our bit of flavor to the big pot. Isn't it cool how that works?
i love you and i miss you.
we saw the oldest tree in Paris this week... planted in 1602!
we were crossing the Seine today and were both taken aback at how beautiful it was. we are so so lucky.