This week has been awesome. I love it here and am just continually more and more impressed by this ward in Caen. They were a branch and just recently became a ward a few years ago. Never in my life have I been in a ward that is so missionary oriented, it amazes me every week.
This month they have really been stressing the letter the area presidency sent out for December - the big push to have every member of the ward and missionaries bringing an investigator or less-active to church. This ward is really focusing on December 17th being the week they want everyone to bring someone. So we went to church yesterday and for a full three hours they focused on that challenge for the ward.
Relief Society was combined with Priesthood and it was so cool to be there, it was really like a family council meeting. They had Frere Destribrois (the one dad met in le Harve... their family is awesome) give the lesson and he just shared his experience inviting someone to church. He then posed the question, "what makes it so hard to invite our friends to church" everyone threw out reasons and excuses we might have to not invite people to church, then they discussed how to overcome those fears. They had a few people get up and share their missionary experiences they had had over the last week and their testimonies of why it's so important to share the gospel with their friends. At the end Frere Destribrois asked for names of inactives that the ward would like to see at church on the 17th. Within 2 minutes there was a list of like 15 people/families on the board. The ward is contacting them all this week to invite them to church. The young women wrote letters to inactive members inviting them to come to church as well. Then in Sacrament Meeting they had the ward mission leader kind of conduct the meeting and they had members share their conversion stories/missionary experiences they have had. It's so cool because instead of just talking about doing missionary work, this ward does it actively. So lots of prayers that many visitors come to church this Sunday!
At the end of Sacrament Meeting one of the members (Soeur LeCavelier) came up to Soeur Cope and I and introduced us to a woman who wants to start hearing the lessons. Soeur LeCavalier was actually a missionary and baptized this woman's daughter many years ago. The mother of the daughter just called Soeur LeCavalier and said she wants to come to church and hear the lessons. We are excited!
Our other ami is Vivian. A couple weeks ago when we visited her she had lapsed back into depression and we were really discouraged by it. Since then though she has been doing really well. She still hasn't come to church. But it was so cool because last week we came into her apartment and she was listening to classical music. So I asked who her favorite composers are, etc. and then I told her I would play the piano for her if she wants at the church... and we invited her to come take a tour of the church with us and she said yes! We're hoping she will come to actual church on Christmas. Also, we read a talk with her "It's better to look up" and \i thought of the picture of Christ mom hung by our garage door. "Look and Live" so we made her a picture (i included it in the attachments) that she can hang next to her front door. She was really touched by it.
The elders had a baptism on Saturday. The guy is 18 and is actually from Afghanistan originally. He was so strong, and is absolutely so cool. He is now considering going to BYU next year too! He started investigating the church when he was 14. It was really cool to see his baptism.
We also had Christmas Conference in Paris last week. First of all, I love our mission President. He could not be more amazing as well as his family. They are the greatest people. They had every family of every missionary send letters so we all had something to open. There was lots of crying and sniffling from the missionaries as they read the letters. Thank you so much! The Poznanski's also gave us all stockings and great talks on the spirit of Christmas, and also on the importance of never giving up and refining ourselves each day as missionaries.
We were able to go and see Marie Sylvie last week as well and get hot chocolate. She is my absolute favorite person in France I have already decided. I walked out the door and she just gave me a huge hug. She gave Soeur Cope and I Christmas gifts and was just so incredibly happy to see us. Wow, dad her family is so strong and she is such a huge strength to Le Havre. She brought a photo album of the missionaries and had page after page of pictures of Dad. (I told her she has more mission pictures of you than I think you have of yourself.) She told us the story of her conversion. She just kept saying how grateful she will forever be for Dad. At the end of our visit she got tears and her eyes and just said that she wants me to understand how much the gospel has meant to her and to her entire family and what a huge blessing dad has been in her life and the missionaries. Elder Adams (in my MTC group and is a great missionary) is serving in le Havre right now and I talked to him on the phone last night because they are going over to her house for dinner this week and really want to try to start teaching her husband.
I'm trying to think if there's anything else. We are buying a mini Christmas tree (it's real) today to put up in our apartment. We did a little more contacting this week. That I do not like very much, I will be honest. It's awkward and uncomfortable a lot of the time, but I always feel better after we do it. And, typically people are nicer to me because they see me struggling with the language so they try to help me.
Oh and Nicole is our other investigator right now (has been for a long time) and it's cool because we both lived in Israel so she's bringing all of her pictures from the kibbutze next week to show us, I'm excited!
I hope everything is going well and you're getting ready for Christmas! Thank you for all of your prayers, I really do feel like I can feel them, I feel so happy and so grateful to be here.