Monday, September 26, 2011

hallas, c'est fini!


Ni Hao.
yesterday in sacrament meeting, our bishop said that at last count, we have 27 nationalities in our ward! I'm learning lots of ways to say hello. :)

we had interviews with President on tuesday. It was so good, as always. President told us a cute story about their daughter. When she was a little girl, she went through a phase of having nightmares every night. They told her that if she prayed to Heavenly Father, He would help the nightmares to go away. One night, President and Soeur Poznanski passed by their daughter's room and she was kneeling on her bed, arms folded and head bowed, saying over and over, "Je sais que tu peux" ("I know you can.") He counselled us to have that same attitude and faith towards our missionary work.
Soeur Poznanski talked about one of my favorite French hymns, "Souviens-toi". She read us this verse:

puis un jour, dans la joie
nous avons choisi
d'accepter du Seigneur
le grand plan de vie.
ce soir-là, mon enfant,
nous avons promis
par l'amour, par la foi,
d'être réunis.
this hymn doesn't exist in English, but it translates to: "then one day, with joy, we chose to accept the great plan of life from the Lord. That night, my child, we promised, through love and faith, to be reunited." The hymn talks about a mother and a child in the premortal existence, but she related it to us missionaries and the people we teach. She said in the pre-existence, we were friends with the people we have taught or will teach on our missions. We knew each other, and, just like the hymn says, promised to be reunited on earth. we promised we would bring them the gospel. It made us want to work that much harder to keep that promise.

after interviews, Soeur Smith and I went contacting. we looked at the metro map and the stop "Saint Sulpice" popped out at me. Turns out Saint Sulpice is a giant catholic cathedral, so we didn't have much success. After that, we decided to pass by an old ami that we felt might be interested again. She wasn't there. On the metro, a woman came and sat across from us with her little girl. I smiled and waved at the little girl, who giggled. The woman smiled at me, caught sight of my tag, and asked which church I belonged to. She said she had just come from church... at Saint Sulpice. Crazy! she wanted to know where ours is, so we gave her a card. She looked at it, then asked for more to give to her friends.We exchanged numbers, and she seemed interested.

we went contacting again on thursday afternoon. We picked a random metro stop in the north of paris, pretty far away from where the church is. The neighborhood looked a little less-than-promising as we exited the metro, but we gave it a go anyway. we had one promising contact, a woman named Pierredte. She seemed really interested... she's very Christian. We exchanged numbers, and she said she would like to meet with us. Fastforward to Saturday night. I was making calls, so I tried her number. She remembered our names (first good sign) and sounded happy to hear from us. I asked if we could set up a rendez-vous, which we did for this coming Wednesday. She then said, "I told my family all about you!" I silently FREAKED out... We have been praying to find a family! We'll see if it works out, but it looks really promising and we are super excited. She is really busy looking for a new apartment and she seriously had 30 free minutes this entire week. At first she said, "I don't know if we'll be able to meet... I have a meeting wednesday afternoon at the Bastille." (the Bastille is on the opposite side of the city from where we met her and also WHERE WE LIVE!) so perfect. The stars aligned! Tender mercy! I'll let you know how the rendez-vous went next week!

Thursday night, we went to the church for a district meal. Cheriff, Elder Walker and Elder Dick's Egyptian ami, cooked an Egyptian dinner for us. He wanted to do something special to commemorate the day the Angel Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith in September 1823 (not kidding. Cheriff is awesome.) It was gooooood! I have eaten some WEIRD food on my mission, so we were a little apprehensive when an Egyptian man offered to cook for us. But it was yummy! Cheriff is hilarious. He speaks Franglais (lovely mash-up of french and english) with some Arabic thrown in. When dinner was done, he said, "Hallas, c'est fini!" Hah. so funny.

I don't know if I've mentioned this in my past emails, but Soeur Smith and I have been planning a missionary activity for our ward for the past couple months. the activity was yesterday after church and it went so good! We worked really hard on it to make sure every last detail was perfect. It definitely wasn't perfect, but we were satisfied! we called it "m&m: members and missionaries". We had three stations: a role play, a recent convert panel, then a clip from a conference talk by Elder Nelson. We split everyone into three groups and they rotated through each station. The role play turned out to be a hit. It was so cute to watch! it was kind of a "reverse" roleplay in that the members had to be "missionaries" in real life situations. The missionaries were their co-worker or friend. At one point, a darling little 9 year old girl named Lovely volunteered to go up. Elder Vallecalle pretended to be her friend and asked her how her weekend was. She very sweetly replied, "It was very good. We went to church on Sunday and took the sacrament and listened to testimonies." It was so cute. What a good little missionary!
The recent convert panel was also very cool. We had two recent converts who each shared their conversion story and how members helped them in their conversion. One of them, a 20 year-old girl named Amalcay, is half Venezuelan and half Polish, so she shared her story in Spanish and one of the Elders translated it into French. I understood her spanish though! It's very similar to French. Anyway. At the end of the activity, we handed out slips of paper to everyone so they could "set a date" with the missionaries by which they will have a friend to present to us. It was really fun! We are kind of relieved that it's over with though... it was a lot of work!

so, to recap:
life is good.
paris is lovely.
i love being a missionary.
and most of all,

i love you.

avec amour,

little mish. 

District picture with Cheriff. Left to right: Elder Dick, Cheriff, Elder Wood, Elder Rakotondrainibe, and Elder Walker. sorry it's a little fuzzy :)

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