Monday, January 26, 2015

"On dirait une princesse Disney" - Soeur Gentil (Week 54)

Holy cowwwwwww. This has been one crazy week! The church is true.

Oh, about the title of this week's post - a lady in our ward told me I sounded like a Disney princess when I sang. I just about cried.

Opposition was really really really against us this week but all ended well because Sandra is now a member. :) I love her so much! I wish I could express how much she meant to me in words. I think I wanna take a bit and talk about her. I will be able to talk so much more when I'm home but she's one of those people who's changed my life.

If only I could express how much I love these people in this picture. Baptism of Sandra by Tangi.
So when she met Tangi she didn't believe in God at allllll. She had completely lost faith mostly from extremely difficult circumstances (stuff I can't even imagine going through) growing up. What inspires me most about Sandra is how she isn't at all hardened by the difficulties she's experienced in life, they've actually done the complete opposite and made her even more caring and loving. She doesn't hate people or Heavenly Father for giving her an extra hard life, she just accepts it and moves on! She inspires me. Anyway. She started coming to church with Tangi because of how much it meant to him. She said that she slowly starting believing in God as she was enveloped by the love of the people in the Saint Raphael branch. She could feel God's love through them! Isn't that cool? In the meantime she has been slowly but surely making progress in the church. There was even a time when she quit smoking! Then things took a super bad turn and they pretty much lost everything and had to move here to live with her mom. I won't go into detail. But voila that's where she started meeting with missionaries again. All she needed was a little push in the right direction and to be really engaged and she has all the self-motivation in the world to get herself where she wants to be.

Soeur Hall
The night before her baptism I called her and shared Romans 8:16-17 and promised her how this was just a step to receiving the greatest gift God has in store for us: to receive all that He has. She told me how excited she was for the next day and how long the journey had been to get there. We kept talking and right before she hung up she told me thank you for everything I had done. She said she wouldn't have been getting baptized if it weren't for us pushing her in the right direction. I had tears come to my eyes when she said this. I could feel really strongly that we were meant to be in each others lives. I can't imagine not knowing Sandra! She is incredible. Her baptism was beautiful and as I saw her and her husband in the baptismal font I cried. I want more than anything to be there when they get sealed!!!!!!!!! I love them so much!

We had to trade apartments with the Elders.  Disgusting.

Anyway. :) Raphael is doing SOOOO well. He is the best. So elect. So faithful. He brought his mom to our Chapel open-house and he told us that she was really touched by it. He said he's setting the example for his family. :) And he's totally stoked about his family history calling. I feel SOOO blessed to have been able to teach these two angels!!! They make me want to be better!

On a less spiritual note... This week I had an exchange with Toulon (second exchange with the adorable Soeur Skalka!!!) Side note: we choreographed a dance to "Glorious" by David Archuleta - I'll show you someday. So we had quite the interesting exchange. We got to teach "english class" to a french lady who spoke perfect english. We basically just had a convo in english about her world travels. It was suuuper fun.

Back in our old apartment.  Woo hoo!
Then the next day we went to an inactive members house who fed us spaghetti (Sr. Skalka was convinced it had been soaked in alcohol). Then here comes the best part hahaha. So we were at a bus stop waiting for our bus (of course). Sr. Skalka was on the phone with her companion trying to figure out our getting back home situation. In the meantime I contacted this man that was standing there waiting for the bus as well. Literally the first thing he says after I ask him how he's doing is how he's 44 and not married and how everyone else in his entire family is married. Then he goes on to ask me if I wanted to marry him..??? I told him I was a "sister" (best way to get away from weirdos ever) and then walked away. Sooooo that was strange hahaha.

View from the chapel in Antibes

Here's a really super super cool miracle. So we were at a part member family's house this week for lunch. The wife has been a member for a super long time (about 40ish years??) and her husband has never been interested to join the church. He is Catholic (not practicing) and he just thinks he would be betraying tradition to join another church. (But me and Frère Goncalo - we call him frère even though he's not a member - are really close. For some reason we just get along really well. He's the one that took us to midnight mass.) We had a really deep conversation during lunch about how we need to try things in order to know that we don't like it or that we can't do it. Later on during the spiritual thought he started talking about how he has never said a prayer outloud in his whole life. He thinks prayers should be private. I brought back up the fact how he had said earlier that we had to try things in order to know we didn't like them. He sat and thought for a bit and then he said he would pray. THEN HE SAID A PRAYER OUTLOUD FOR THE FIRST TIME. His wife was so shocked. That is the first prayer she has ever heard him say. Frère Perez (our ward mission leader and their son in law) told us this is a huge step and that maybe now "the ball is in motion" and he could start progressing really fast. We'll see!
Soeur Skalka

I read something really cool this morning that I wanted to share. It's talking about the importance of scripture study - I loooove this.

We talk to God through prayer. He most often communicates back to us through His written word. To know what the voice of the Divine sounds and feels like, read His words, study the scriptures, and ponder them. Make them an integral part of everyday life. If you want your children to recognize, understand, and act on the promptings of the Spirit, you must study the scriptures with them.

Don’t yield to Satan’s lie that you don’t have time to study the scriptures. Choose to take time to study them. Feasting on the word of God each day is more important than sleep, school, work, television shows, video games, or social media. You may need to reorganize your priorities to provide time for the study of the word of God. If so, do it!

"There are many prophetic promises of the blessings of daily studying the scriptures.
I add my voice with this promise: as you dedicate time every day, personally and with your family, to the study of God’s word, peace will prevail in your life. That peace won’t come from the outside world. It will come from within your home, from within your family, from within your own heart. It will be a gift of the Spirit. It will radiate out from you to influence others in the world around you. You will be doing something very significant to add to the cumulative peace in the world."
(Richard G. Scott is so great.)

I actually have extra time today since I did emails so early so maybe I will share a little bit about what I have been learning about Enos. (Enos is bomb.)

This is going to look really long...but I'm going to put it in anyway. Read it if you so please haha.

1 Behold, it came to pass that I, Enos, knowing my father that he was a just man—for he taught me in his language, and also in the nurture and admonition of the Lord—and blessed be the name of my God for it—
2 And I will tell you of the wrestle which I had before God, before I received a remission of my sins.
3 Behold, I went to hunt beasts in the forests; and the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart. (This is the reason why Enos went out to the forest and prayed his famous prayer.)
4 And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens. (I've been pondering lately how I can make my prayers as intense as Enos did. What made his prayer mighty? How can our prayers be mighty too?)
5 And there came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.

Soeur Staples
6 And I, Enos, knew that God could not lie; wherefore, my guilt was swept away
7 And I said: Lord, how is it done?
8 And he said unto me: Because of thy faith in Christ, whom thou hast never before heard nor seen. And many years pass away before he shall manifest himself in the flesh; wherefore, go to, thy faith hath made thee whole.
9 Now, it came to pass that when I had heard these words I began to feel a desire for the welfare of my brethren, the Nephites;wherefore, I did pour out my whole soul unto God for them. (Again, pouring out his whole soul. This time for others.)
10 And while I was thus struggling in the spirit, (I'm also highlighting the strong prayer imagery words) behold, the voice of the Lord came into my mind again, saying: I will visit thy brethren according to their diligence in keeping my commandments. I have given unto them this land, and it is a holy land; and I curse it not save it be for the cause of iniquity; wherefore, I will visit thy brethren according as I have said; and their transgressions will I bring down with sorrow upon their own heads.
11 And after I, Enos, had heard these words, my faith began to be unshaken in the Lord; and I prayed unto him with many long strugglings for my brethren, the Lamanites.
12 And it came to pass that after I had prayed and labored with all diligence, the Lord said unto me: I will grant unto thee according to thy desires, because of thy faith. (The Lord told him he could have whatever he wanted!!!! Look what he asked for.)
13 And now behold, this was the desire which I desired of him—that if it should so be, that my people, the Nephites, should fall into transgression, and by any means be destroyed, and the Lamanites should not be destroyed, that the Lord God would preserve a record of my people, (aka the Book of Mormon) the Nephites; even if it so be by the power of his holy arm, that it might be brought forth at some future day unto the Lamanites, that, perhaps, they might be brought unto salvation—

I just really love Enos. What a great example in showing us the power of prayer and the importance of the scriptures! Of course now I need to invite you to ponder and study how you can pray with more vigor (wrestle, hungered, mighty prayer, reached the heavens, pour out whole soul, prayed with long strugglings, with all diligence, etc.) and to make scripture study a priority! Like Richard G. Scott said, that is most often how God communicates to us.

I love you!
Bisous bisous
Soeur Ev

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