we had a rendez-vous with a member, Aurélie, tonight. It was seriously one of the best rendez-vous of my mission. the sprit was so strong. it was funny though, because we went over there to present the ward mission plan to her, and it turned out to be so amazing. after reading the ward mission plan together, Soeur Smith asked her to tell us her conversion story. she told us 15 years ago, her six-month old daughter died. she was, of course, devastated. she didn't understand why this would happen. she went to her priest and he told her since her baby had not been baptized, she would be sent to hell. Aurélie could not believe that God would condemn an innocent and perfect little baby like that, so she started investigating other churches. She went to a different church almost every day, looking for something she could hold on to, something that would help her understand this trial she was going through.
time passed, and she still hadn't found anything. one day at a bus stop, she saw two sister missionaries. their tags intrigued her, so she approached them and asked them about it. she started taking the discussions. she said everything they taught her felt familiar to her, like she had heard it before. the first time she went to church, she could see a light there, and she knew she had found what she had been looking for. she was baptized a few weeks later and hasn't looked back since. she bore such a strong, simple testimony. the power of her words just filled the room with light. I feel so spoiled to be able to get to know such wonderful people and to share tesimonies with them.
on the way home, soeur smith and i chatted about the mission. we talked about how the mission shines a giant spotlight on all of your weaknesses. sometimes it is hard to always have your flaws so... apparent. the cool thing is, the Lord really does make weak things strong, and through being shown all of our weaknesses, we are also shown our strengths. during my mission, I have learned to recognize that i was given specific gifts and talents for a reason. yes, I have weaknesses, but I also have specific strengths that need to be used to help others. like President Staheli once said, "Heavenly Fatherlikes humans. He created them." He knows we have weaknesses. if we didn't, we wouldn't be human!
wednesday was zone conference.... in french! for six hours! i was in heaven. the Poznanskis are so great. I am so excited to see how the mission will change and grow during their time here. We talked a lot about aligning our vision with the Lord's. we read 1 Nephi 11 (Nephi's vision) together. It was a really cool application. In the chapter, Nephi wants to see the same vision his father saw. we read through the chapter and came up with the three things Nephi did that we must do also in order to see the same vision of the Lord: consecrate ourselves, interact, and then we will understand.
we also talked about how every member is a missionary, but also every missionary is a member. we are really focusing on working with members, which is so fun. I love getting to know all the members in our ward. we need their help in order to succeed! I think it was President Eyring that once said it would be the dream if the members did all the finding and the missionaries did all the teaching. members have so much power. i love to see it.
thursday we had a mangez-vous (dinner appointment) with the Vulnays, a darling elderly couple in our ward. He is from Croatia and she is from Germany. As we ate, he told us stories about the ballet- he's a retired ballet dancer (and it shows... so skinny!) He also told us the story of how they met (they met in the temple!) then looked me squarely in the eye and said, "love is work." then, with a twinkle in his eye, he added, "you have a lot of work ahead of you." hah! so adorable.
yesterday there was a baptism in our ward: a sweet little taiwanese girl named Ana. It was the cutest thing I have ever seen. after she came up out of the water, she bowed and said "shei shei". then she said, "i have had these things (the gospel) for a few weeks, but they have been in my heart a long time." it was so sweet to see how happy she was in her slightly-too-big white dress. baptisms are just the ultimate joy for missionaries.
have a lovely joyful week.
i love you so much.
we found the french statue of liberty!
on the roof of the galeries Lafayette overlooking the city.