Monday, August 15, 2011

tender mercies & a birthday.

you know when life is so perfect, so lovely, and so happy that you feel like you are flying in the clouds, looking down at your life, thinking, "wow, she's lucky" ? Today was one of those days. I am in Paris, but really, I am in the clouds. thank you to everyone for the birthday wishes, cards, emails, and gifts. i feel so loved and so lucky. today was a dream of a birthday, as you can well imagine! this morning soeur smith and I went out for groceries, and when we came back the apartment was decorated with balloons and a "happy birthday" banner Soeur Didier painted. she made me a gâteau with 22 candles and gave me a little music box that plays "La Marseillaise". (Soeur Didier and I used to sing it walking down the street together. She said she wanted me to always remember my birthday in Paris. I don't think I'll be forgetting it anytime soon!) Afterwards, we hopped on the métro and went to Sacré Coeur. It was gorgeous: the sky was bright blue, the sun was shining, and there were tourists EVERYwhere! it was still lovely though. it's a beautiful church with an amazing, sprawling view of the city below. After Sacré Coeur, we skipped on over to the Champs Elysées, looked at the pretty window displays and spritzed ourselves with french perfume at Sephora. It was a blissfully Parisian birthday.

this week has been oh so good! we had exchanges on wednesday & thursday. Soeur Smith went up to Brussels with Soeur Emilcy, and none other than Soeur Larsen came to Paris with me! As much as Soeur Smith and I did not want to be separated, it was so fun to see Soeur Larsen again. She got off the train, we hugged, and it was like no time had passed at all. we talked and talked and talked. at one point during the day, we crossed the Seine at Notre Dame and sat on a bench in a little park, soaking it all in. There we were, sitting in one of my favorite spots in Paris, both of us having one of those "I can't believe we're here" moments. we daydreamed about this so much in the MTC. Something about being with my MTC companion in Paris made it all brand new to me again. I have decided it is impossible to get jaded with this city. It is always enchanting.

the work has been slow- vacances is still going strong! we can't do contacting much because that requires walking, so Soeur Smith and I have been praying all week to be able to find someone to teach. Yesterday, Heavenly Father gave us a miracle! It actually starts two weeks ago, when the bishop's wife asked us to teach sharing time. we were so excited. yesterday was the day... we had sharing time on the Word of Wisdom. little french children are so darling! It was a blast. It went late, so by the time we were done sunday school was half over. We were standing in the courtyard talking business with our ward mission leader when all of a sudden, these two ladies walked in and asked us what time "mass" starts. I talked to one of them and Soeur Smith talked to the other. Turns out they had both just randomly (and separately) seen the sign for the church and wandered in from the street. We gave them both a brief first lesson right there in the courtyard, gave them copies of the Book of Mormon, and they both stayed for Sacrament meeting. If we had gone to Relief Society like normal, we would have been sitting in sunday school, not in the courtyard where the ladies walked in. Isn't that cool how it was all so perfectly arranged? Such a tender mercy.
 We had another lesson with one of them after church, and we have appointments scheduled with  both of them during the week! It was incredible. The lesson after church was so good. Her name is Alvine. She's probably in her late 20's, african, and really smart. She asked great questions, and I had one of those my-mouth-opened-and-french-just-came-out experiences. I said words and phrases I had never used before in my life! It felt like a river of french was flowing out of my mouth. It was definitely not me talking. I felt so comfortable with her- she is very real and honest. I couldn't believe how bold I was! The pre-mission Lindsay never would have had the backbone to say such things! That is one thing the mission has given me: gumption. I think she really appreciated our bold honesty and sincerity (Soeur Smith has already got the bold thing down... she is so good.) It was a literal miracle. There is no other way to describe it.
Earlier that day, a member came up to us and told us there is an inactive lady who would like to meet with the Sister missionaries. All of a sudden, we had rendez-vous falling into our laps! It was a testimony to both of us that Heavenly Father is so aware of our situation. He knows we can't be walking around all day trying to find people, so He brought people to us. We are so grateful and so excited to work with these two new amis. Afterwards, after all the squealing and hugging, Soeur Smith and I said a prayer of gratitude. prayer works! Heavenly Father knows us! We were on cloud nine. Like I said:

i am in the clouds. 
avec amour,
soeur williams.

at Sacré Cœur with the city view behind us.

isn't it beautiful?

 of COURSE there was a darling antique carrousel at the bottom of the hill. 
so cute. 

 the little music box from Soeur Didier. :)

 with my gâteau!

how cute is the banner soeur didier made? (the little green train below is a "french train" to help us remember the french sentence order, 
in case you were wondering)

agressive elevation in action.

 with Soeur Larsen at the gare!

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