Hello everyone!! Hope that your week has been fantastic and fun :) Life here has been GREAT! I just got out of this tour that explained, in part, a history of Arras, specifically during World War I. It was very eye opening to learn about all the carnage and horror that was here about a century ago for people what had about the same age as me. It reemphasizes the point to live life each day to its fullest!! Anywho, as for the rest of the week, here are the top 10 or so!! 1. To start, let me tell you about one of the great pleasures of France. Patisserie and Boulangerie Shops (bread and French baked treats). They are to DIE for. They start around 5 or so in the morning with baking all their goods, and that smell stays. Fresh bread and the goodness of butter... You get a nice wiff of that sweet goodness and your mind goes into a different world. Cravings for food that you didn't even know existed erupt in a second... Thankfully, I have learned a little bit here and there about how to overcome the natural man and have been able to limit stuffing my face with that type of cuisine... I mean, I have to find a wife someday... Hopefully... But anyways, point made-if you ever get the chance to come to France, go get some French bread and a patisserie. Your life WILL change ;)
2. The second thought is based on a really cool spiritual experience that I had a church yesterday. One of the lessons that I was in was talking about how we are children of God, and He has given each of us special talents! We each have a special mission here. Just take a moment to think about that. YOU have a special mission here on earth. That doesn't mean that everything is already set. You have your choice, but God has put you where you are for a certain reason. He has given you special talents and gifts that are to help to change the world! And as children of God, we each have these gifts :) you are special. I hope that each of you know that, and can find what makes you you. We cannot find ourselves without coming to know our Father, the one who knows us better than we even know ourselves. So, if you don't know why you are here, or what your gifts and talents are, take a moment and pray/ask to your Father in Heaven. He will help you to see that you are destined for greatness. It's up to us to choose to follow that course or not :)
3. Miracles STILL happen!! In the Book of Mormon and Bible, we see countless examples of miracles! And they aren't over!! We learn from the Book of Mormon: "33 And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me. 34 And he hath said: Repent all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, and have faith in me, that ye may be saved. 35 And now, my beloved brethren, if this be the case that these things are true which I have spoken unto you, and God will show unto you, with power and great glory at the last day, that they are true, and if they are true has the day of miracles ceased? 36 Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved? 37 Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain (Moroni 7:33-37). This last week we had several miracles, but two in particular were fantastic! We gave two blessings this week. They were to less active members in our ward. Both for healing. The first was to a man who had an issue, with what was thought to be cancer, but it was a different problem with his kidneys. After being diagnosed, we offered him a blessing. The spirit was strong, and he was blessed to be healed if the will of the Lord, and since then, he has been feeling great! What was also really cool, is that right after, I had a distinct promoting to tell him how much God loved him. His response was that sometimes he forgets. I promised him of that love, and I hope that you nor he ever forget that you have a Father in Heaven who cares about you. He worried when you worry, and rejoices in your happiness. He cares about how you feel, even right now :) don't forget it! The second one was a similar situation, except with a problem in the back. He was unable to work because of it. He received a blessing and in it, it said that he would be healed by the will of our Father in Heaven, and immediately afterward he was able to move more and began to see progress in how he felt. Again, I had a promoting to promise him that in the life to come that he would have a perfected body. The spirit was strong. What I think is really cool is how the spirit worked through us to address both their physical AND spiritual concerns. They both needed healing in both ways, and as representatives of Christ, we blessed them to heal, but then the spirit guided us to help them heal spiritually-in knowing that they were loved by God, and the promise of a perfect body later. I think that that is what Christ did when it says that He healed them, but then commands them to be made whole.
4. Alright, another miracle!! We have two new investigators!! Oh yes!! They are the mother and step father of a member in the ward! We have been working with this member and her family a lot recently in sharing the gospel and being strengthened spiritually, and this last week, we had dinner with the family and her mother and step-father! It went great! We talked about the miracle of the Savior's atonement and how it helped us overcome the pains of this life, and enables us to live again. All in all, we have a rendezvous set, not for this week, but the next at their home!! (We will be eating with them too!! :D )
5. Another member invited us over for dinner this week, along with an inactive friend! And the inactive friend actually picked us up to take us there! It went really well! We are in the process to make a family home evening for the singles (young and old) here at the church, and we will be invited him soon! It's amazing to see the impact that members AND missionaries can have together!
6. The last point brings me to this point as well. We had our sacrament meeting for our ward mission plan!! (In the email last week, I may have said that it was this coming week... Well if I did, I was wrong haha). I gave a talk about the joy of the gospel (Lehi's dream and the fruit) and how we are simply here as missionaries to help the members do their missionary work. The members will stay, but we won't, so if it's going to pick up, then it's by both of us working together. My companion and a sister missionary did a piano and voice duet, which was great! All in all, it seemed to really touch the members :)
7. I'm sure that a lot of you have questions about the cheese here, and let me just say that I LOVE it!! It is AMAZING! It smells like a foot though... When I got here, I thought that someone died when I first smelled it... Then I realized that I was going to actually put the thing that smelled like death.. in my mouth... One of the best decisions ever :) the cheese is so incredible! It's nothing like our American slices... That's for sure...
8. We had some fun service!! We went to a member's home for some great food! They made us a pot roast in memory of our wonderful upbringings :D and then, we went to help their daughter and her husband. The daughter is less active and the husband is not a member. They own this tower... And well the tower fell down.. And there was rumble and brick in their neighbor's yard... So we helped them move it for a couple of hours to their property! It brought back the good old memories of heavy lifting from football!! ...yeah I may have lost some of what I had... And that French cuisine doesn't help ;) but, it was a great opportunity to help them out and we will see for the future with potential teaching opportunities :)
9. This one is simple. Smile. I have been trying to smile a lot more- and it actually just makes you happier!! Singing works too :) it's amazing to see how much joy you can share by simply smiling at someone else!
10. I'm super excited about these two, but we have some news! Elder Christofferson is coming to our stake conference in two weeks!! Woooo!!! And we are planning a huge finding day the Saturday before it. The finding day will be with all the missionaries from the district (missionaries from Amiens and St. Quentin), and with as many members as possible. We are sending a blitz for Arras and will doing a BOM stand in the Saturday market, going on splits with all the members to visit less actives, contacting, porting, and seeing miracles :) oh! I guess the third announcement is that we will be doing a music night in the middle of March, with the goal to have every member bring a friend or a less active to it. It will be an open mic sort of activity... But more planned. The work is really going to get going :D
11. So, I had the goal to not be a socially awkward missionary before I left.. But I think that it may have happened to me anyways... That's was happens when you don't go on a date for a year and a half.. I have been trying to figure out how to talk to people more naturally on busses and get it to the gospel without having to start a conversation and then cut it in the middle and say, "Weeeell actually I'm a missionary here..." Or "actually, I'm here because..." Haha, I'm actually not really that bad at making it flow, but it is one of my goals to make it better :) So all in all, miracles still happen today. Christ lives. He KNOWS you and He LOVES you! You are a child of God with a destiny of hope and success!! Know its true :) I hope to hear back from all you :) have a fun week!