Well, I will be honest with you. I think January of 2012 goes down as the longest month of my entire life quite possibly. But, it ends this week and Soeur (Coryn) Cope and I couldn't be happier!
This week has been difficult but it has been great too. It was one of those weeks going through it there were points that I wanted to kind of die because as I'm sure you are all aware, a mission isn't all just fun and happy all the time. It's hard a lot of the time. There's rude or just plain mean people, there's frustrating experiences and sometimes you just think, "ahh get me out of here!" But, it always comes back to the fact that it's so worth it and I feel so incredibly grateful to be here. I really liked that some of you mentioned what it means to have a testimony compared to being converted. I think it's so true. One of the big reasons of going on a mission is to fortify your testimony because otherwise it would be completely pointless to be walking around telling people about the gospel. I can totally see how a mission in a lot of ways is like a big MTC experience to prepare you for the rest of your life for being a strong member of the church.
One of my favorite parts of the week is definitely coming to church in Caen because every active member in this ward considers the gospel so extremely important. It's not possible to be an active member of the church in France and to not have a strong, enduring testimony I think. As a result, the active members here are so strong and I love how much you can see their desire is to help other people feel the same joy of the gospel in their own lives. Whenever we ask members to teach with us, they are so ready and willing to do so and it's such an amazing experience to watch French members of the church bear their testimony of Jesus Christ and the restored gospel with people that we teach. It's awesome.
When Soeur Cope and I went to calculate our numbers for the week last night we realized that we had the most successful week as far as our goals and numbers actually go which was exciting. We went to FHE at this family's house last night and after we were walking over to the bus and we were right on time and the bus was turned off, just waiting at the curb for us. I said, "Wow, it's ridiculous how tired I am right now." Soeur Cope: "I know. Same with me." We are literally about to push the open button on the bus door and suddenly the bus engine turns on and immediately pulls away. WE both just kind of stood there in shock for a couple seconds. The next bus didn't come for another 40 minutes. So we walked the 40 minutes home. haha we were laughing.
Something kind of cool is something that Dad brought up a while ago about how family history can be such a great missionary tool. I hope they start teaching missionaries how to use it in the MTC because I really don't know how to use familysearch.org. That would actually be really helpful to learn in mission prep. Anyways, we ported into a couple a couple weeks ago and taught them a lesson last week. The woman said she had heard about our church because she knows we do a lot of work for genealogy and that was interesting to her. One of our amis is obsessed with family history so we had a member come and show her how she can start using the site last week. And on the bus last week we heard this guy speaking English to the driver so when he came back to sit down we asked him where he was from. He's from Chicago and we asked why he was here.... he came to France to try to find the places where his ancestors lived in France. So we quickly gave him the mormon.org site card and the family search address. At church they had the combined priesthood and relief society lesson on temple work and the importance of doing family history. It's cool!
Another cool thing I've started reading is "Daughters in My Kingdom." It's so inspired and so good. Especially mom and Danielle should read it. It will possibly make Danielle more excited about Relief Society when you learn more about how inspired it is.
Oh, another random thing. Soeur Cope and I went to do Soldes (january sales) shopping today and I feel like it was a tender mercy because the two first stores we walked into they had a messenger bag on a huge sale so I now have a cute bag instead of sister missionary mall :) and the next store had the perfect bag for 6 euros that I needed for exchanges and tights on an awesome sale and I found a pocket dictionary. Anyways, I felt like it was a little blessing because they were the two things I've been hoping to find but wasn't planning on every buying (I don't like shopping as a missionary very much... it just feels weird) but it was perfect. But, dad could you check and make sure that all those transactions went through okay on my visa just to be sure?
I love you all and hope you have a great week! I miss you! Soeur Cope and I (Soeur Cope goes home in 8 weeks) were talking about how incredibly happy we will be when we see our families again, we'll just start crying and won't be able to talk I think. I miss you all so much but am so happy that everything is going well!
Soeur Alyssa Chard