Friday, July 29, 2011

News from Versailles=)

July 23, 2011

Bawh! I literally have no time today. But luckily it's for a good reason. Sister Barros and I are on our way to go to Dorothée's baptism. We really lucked out in being able to go. President is cracking down on missionaries running all over to attend baptisms, but since it's our P-day, we've both taught her, we're not taking proselyting time, we're paying for it ourselves, and Sister Moraga (our third companion) doesn't need to be with anyone since she's a senior sister, he gave us the green light! Best part is, Dorothée has been praying and praying and praying that Sister Barros would be there, but since that didn't look like a possibility until late last night, she has NO idea we'll be there. We're pretty stocked! =)

Is it winter where you are too? Middle of July and it's just dang cold here. Oh well, it's better than being gross and sweaty while trying to get people to talk to you about Jesus.

Tuesday this past week we had our last district meeting of the transfer. Valenciennes used to be an elder only ville. So there's some very elder-ish things in that apartment (like an extra suit, shoes, weights, etc.) Along with that, we had two bikes in the basement that we weren't allowed to use. We told our district leaders about it one day and they'd been asking for them ever since. Well Monday night they called us and asked us to take the bikes to district meeting so they could have them. Wow was that ever a feat. We had no idea what we signed up for when we said "yea" ha ha. We had to be up pretty early Tuesday morning to check out of the hotel and be back over at the apartment for yet another appointment with out plumber friends. While running around dealing with them we had to get these two bikes to somehow fit into our little Chevy.  We were quite the sight, standing on the street talking to plumbers, wearing sister missionary clothes, talking to a whole ton of random neighbors who were sure (for some odd reason) that we should know endless facts about the inter workings of the neighborhood, and crawling all over our car trying to make those two bikes fit! ha ha Finally after, twenty-five trips up and down the elevator, two very disassembled bikes in the back of the car, a working shower and toilet in our apartment, we were on our way to Lille. All before ten in the morning. That may be one of the most jam packed productive mornings I have ever lived through.

And to end that day/transfer with a miracle, I got all of my stuff packed and somehow it took up less space and less time than last transfer! I tell you, I'm going to be the world's best last minute packer by the time I come home.

Wednesday was the big switch. With our alarm clocks ringing at a very unholy hour of the morning, we got all my stuff out the door and into Paris (even if we were about an hour and a half later than we intended to be...oops) Sister Rowley picked up her new companion. Sister Barros, SisterMoraga and I met all the new sister and then we headed out for home. Oh. My. Gosh. Versailles is beautiful! This city is SO much more concerned about aesthetics than anywhere else I've served. It's definitely not something to complain about looking at for six+ weeks. =) The work is a bit slow though. There in a bit of a slump and with everyone and their dog on vacation right now, that doesn't help much. I don't think I've really explained vacations season to you here yet. So... In America we get summer vacation for all the students. For everyone else, stores, pools, movie theatres, etc usually extend their hours. Not in France! In France, practically everything shuts down for about a month or more. If you've got clothes at the dry cleaner and you don't pick them up before they close for vacation...too bad. You'll just get it when they get back. Vacation is a big deal here. So, with all of our amis and a big chunk of our ward out of town for the next while, we've got a major change of gears in the works. Looks like we'll be doing a LOT of contacting this transfer. But, c'est la vie. =) There are still people here. We've just got to find them now.

We had our DMP meeting Thursday night. I told you (I think) we're in the same ward as the office elders. So we've got nine missionaries plus the mission president's family all in our ward. Oh heavens, I forgot how much I love missionaries. Valenciennes, love it with all my heart though I do, gets really lonely sometimes being the only missionaries in the middle of nowhere. Driving home with the elders was just hilarious. They recounted their story to us of chasing this pigeon out of their apartment. (They were all rather traumatized by it's surprise visit ha ha) At one point one of the elders showed us a picture of this "pigeon."'s a dove ha ha. They even tested it to see if it's a carrier pigeon (during one of it's many visits to their window sill.) One of the elders wrote (in French) "Hello. I see your bird often." on a little piece of paper. Signed it. And set it next to the dove. When their "pigeon" didn't take the paper, they decided it probably wasn't a carrier pigeon ha ha. Sister Moraga was dying in the back of the car laughing at them. I'm so happy to be around other missionaries again. =)

We had a rendez-vous with practically our only amis not on vacation yesterday. Wow. She's incredible. She and her husband are from Côte d'Ivoire. She's experiencing some major (and pretty scary) adversity as she's been and continues investigating the gospel. Satan is pulling out all the stops on this woman to scare her off. But when Sister Barros told her it was because Satan didn't want her to find the truth, she just very resolutely and more determined than I've ever seen many people be about anything, she just told us, "No. I'm going to find it. I'm going to find it. I'm going to find it." You can't help but stand in awe of her when you meet her. She's just incredible. With the spirit she already carries without the gospel, I can't even begin to imagine what she'll be little in the future. People like her just take your breath away. Yet again...I love Africans. ;)

We then finished off the night with a less active member from Columbia. She fed us dinner while Sister Moraga taught a Spanish. It was amazing to see with English and French in our pockets, how much of the lesson we were able to follow. I always love that, whether we understand all the words or not, the spirit is still the same. And even in that lesson, never having taken a Spanish lesson in my life, you can't help but know it's true. Gotta love days like that. =)

Well like I said, we've only got a couple minutes today. So I've got to run. I love you. Have an amazing week!