Can you believe it's six days until Christmas?? Crazy!
Well, to start off, I'll give you porting experience in Caen. I'm thinking porting on a Saturday night will become a typical Saturday night experience. Soeur Cope and I sometimes will be walking around sometimes on weekend nights and say, "remember when we used to go to parties and stuff on the weekends? That was weird." haha it's great.
Background: it's raining, it's cold, it's Saturday night. Soeur Cope and I were wearing matching scarfs, matching hats and we happen to have matching umbrellas.
We get to the neighborhood. In Caen it's hard to find places to porte because sisters aren't allowed to porte inside apartment buildings and we're not allowed to porte houses that have their gates shut. aka like 80% of houses in January. But this neighborhood had no fences, so it was basically a little paradise for missionaries.
Door #1. We knock. They answer.
Soeur Cope: "Bonjour, nous sommes missionaires pour notre eglise..."
Other person: "Non, Merci." Door shuts.
Door #2: We knock.
Other person from closed door inside: "Who is it?"
Soeur Cope: "It's the missionaries from the church of Jesus-Christ..."
Other person (door still closed): "Who?"
me: "It's us!"
Other person opens the door: "Hi, we're the missionaries." Door closes.
Door #3: We knock.
other person: you see them look through the door peekhole like 5 times. They finally answer. "Why are you here?"
us: "We're missionaries..."
other person: "Nope. Bye."
Door #4: (my personal favorite)
Person opens the door a tiny tiny crack, I see one eye, literally. and then she slams the door. I just started laughing. Seriously, porting lived up to every discouraging expectation I had ever heard. Except I didn't feel discouraged at the end of the porting experience weirdly. I think I was just so happy to try.
After three doors of trying the "We're missionaries" approach and not even being able to finish a sentence before the door closed scenario, I suggested we switch it up and try the family question tactic. (like mom's idea) but just saying, "hi, we're missionaries, can we ask you three questions about family?" well, that failed just as miserably as the other tactic. But here's the thing, I feel like porting opening lines could be refined drastically to increase interest in at least some people. As for right now, it did not work too well.
Walking home that night though I just thought about how grateful I am for the gospel in the lives of our family. It really is such a blessing and brings so much joy into so many people's lives. That's really what I think of when people say they're not interested in hearing more, I think of my family at home and am grateful that at least we're inviting others to find that joy the gospel can bring.
On Friday night we invited two of the young women in our ward who are awesome to come Christmas Caroling with us. We headed out. Soeur Cope and I were just praying in our hearts the whole time because virtually every house had their gate closed around the church. We ended up finding a few houses and it was really interesting what happened. First of all because Christmas Caroling is definitely not a French tradition. Definitely, definitely not. I have never had such a hard time getting people to listen to a Christmas song in my life!
One woman was standing outside of her house and so we asked if we could sing a Christmas song. She said no. We basically begged her to just let us sing one verse of Silent Night. Finally she said, "okay, it better be short." She seemed really put out about it. So the four of us sang the first verse of "Silent Night." After we finished singing, I looked up from my hymnbook, and the countenance of this woman had changed. Before she seemed so annoyed with us, and I looked up and she was smiling. She thanked us and told us it sounded really beautiful. We told her good night and were about the leave so we didn't take any more of her time, and she asked us who we were and what we were doing. She kept asking us questions and was suddenly so sweet and nice. She didn't want to see us again or hear more about the church in the end BUT I developed a new appreciation for the power of music. For the ability that music can have to touch hearts in a way that words can't.
We also had missionary exchanges this week. IT was the best best best best thing ever! I exchanged with Soeur Martin, she's from Southern France. She comes from a family of 8 kids, and they're all musicians. How cool is that. And they're french. She came up to Caen and Soeur Cope went down to Paris. Soeur Martin speaks some english and so it was so great because we probably did half the day in french, half in english. We went contacting up at the university in Caen and it was so cool to do so with a native french speaker. Then, for lunch we ate at the university cafeteria and contacted the students we were sitting next to. (they were actually english majors funny enough. So they were asking me some questions about english. Funny what they teach in foreign language classes sometimes. They asked me about yo-ho, like pirate yo-ho and what that means compared to yoo-hoo like what grandma does to get the attention of a waiter.) Anyways, we had an awesome day together and I really hope we get to be companions at some point, because she is so great. She's in her fourth transfer.
Well, I hope you all have a Merry Christmas this Sunday! I'm thinking of you all! Mom, thank you so much for the Christmas package! That is the sweetest, cutest package and gifts ever. I feel so spoiled, you take way too good care of me. thank you!
I love paralleling the Christmas Story in the Bible to the BOM Luke 2 with Helaman 14. The sign of the star was for everyone. It appeared in jerusalem and it appeared in South america. The message of the gospel is for everyone and Christ still lives for each one of us. D & C 84:88 is one of my favorite scriptures. "I will be on your right hand and on your left hand. I will be before your face and my angels shall be all about you." (i'm not quoting it exactly right). But I love thinking of Christmas as the celebration of Christ coming into the world, and realizing that he hasn't left the world behind. He's still with us every step of the way through whatever challenge we face. I know that message is true and I'm so grateful to be here to share that with other people.
I miss you all and love you!