This week= awesome in so many ways. I loved it.
One of the biggest pieces of advice I would give missionaries is to find the joy of the gospel in their own lives first, from there you automatically become a much more effective missionary because people can see that what you are telling them about personally affects the happiness of your own life.
I told you last week that my companion and I had a breakdown. And that's when I learned that first before we could ever even hope to have any type of success in helping others receive the gospel, we both needed to feel the joy of the gospel within our companionship. So I shifted my efforts from totally focusing on people to find and instead shifted my efforts to how I could try to help my companion. Since then, it has been amazing to see the results. We're trying to redo how we teach and find for English class (we only have one person who comes right now), ward FHE was basically dead, no one was coming and we tried making a few changes and last week every seat was full for FHE... our numbers like quadrupled. We taught a first lesson to a referral we received from a member a couple days ago and it was the first lesson we have taught together where we were so unified it was like we were on the complete same page the whole lesson and Soeur Cope was testifying of the joy the BOM brings to her life.
I feel like one of the things I have been blessed with from Heavenly Father so far on my mission is just the overwhelming feeling of calm almost all the time. I thought I would always feel worked up and stressed and anxious about everything but instead it has almost been just a constant desire to always improve but overall just so much happiness. I don't think I have ever been so happy before. There's a lot of missionaries out here who it seems have just lost the excitement for what we're doing out here and that's the saddest thing for me to see. But, Soeur Cope and I are doing really well. As far as actual missionary success goes right now, we just have one progressing investigator... and she's been investigating for a long time but she's making some good progress lately! But I'm really excited, I feel like there is so much potential for Caen in so many ways.
Above all, because the ward here is putting in so much effort and so much faith into missionary work. Yesterday the ward called 12 new ward missionaries. 12!!! Can you believe that? The ward isn't huge, but it is so strong. We probably have about 40+ people show up at church every week and they just gave us 12 new ward missionaries. They just presented the ward mission plan as well yesterday and I feel like the entire ward is just one big missionary force... and with that I know there can be miracles with the missionary work here.
This week I feel like was a breakthrough week with the language for me. We did have interviews in Paris which were absolutely awesome. President Poznansky is so inspired to be the mission president of this mission right now. It’s the perfect time for a French mission president, right before the temple is being built and also because everyone in France seems to already know the Poznansky's and they already have a lot of respect and trust for him. Pres. Poznansky told us at our training on Friday that we had 115 new amis for the last week missionwide... the highest stat. for the Paris mission that he knows of.
He presented the 2012 mission plan to us... and I'm not going to lie they are very lofty goals but I honestly believe they are all possible goals... but for us it will mean basically tripling all our numbers. For 2011 the goal was to "break down the walls" break down walls with ward members, with people we talk to on the street, etc. For 2012 the goal is to "build the wall." President read us from many of the Nehemiah chapters. It's all about when the people are going to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. If you have a chance to read them this week do it! There are so many good things in those chapters. One of my favorite verses, I think in chapter 8 or maybe 6? is when it says, "eat the fat of the land... the joy of the Lord is your strength." We have to feel the joy of the gospel in our own lives and within our companionship and then we will be able to become more effective missionaries.
Interviews with the Poznansky's were great. It's cool because we also interview with Soeur Poznansky... who also served a mission in the Paris mission. I felt so blessed because I was able to express myself completely the way I wanted to all in French and I was able to understand everything both of them said back to me. In the training I was also able to understand basically everything. At church yesterday there are two people in the ward in particular I can never understand a thing they are saying. One of them gave a talk in church and I could understand! and the other one actually took the four of us missionaries into a room after church because she wanted to have a meeting with us. She sat us down and then started going off about how we as missionaries need to speak better French, we are the deciding factors if the YW and YM go on missions, and we don't annunciate our words well enough in French. She was just going off on us for like 5 minutes and then started picking on both our trainers and identifying specific things with the language they are not good at. At first i was kind of offended that she was criticizing missionary French when we are all trying our best to teach in a second language. Then my perspective changed and I realized it was the PERFECT opportunity to get a French teacher. So I said, "We're all trying to learn French. You're right, there's a lot we have to work on and we need a lot of help. Our mission president has given us an hour a day to study the language and I know we could all benefit a lot if you wanted to start giving us French lessons for an hour a week before FHE so we can be better teachers in French." haha perfect. We now have a French teacher!
My new favorite scripture of all time I found this morning in studies. it's in D&C 88:67-68. When we center our focus on Jesus Christ and are engaged in a good work, the light of Christ will envelope our whole bodies and we will SEE Christ. I cross referenced it with D&C 67:10 which I love... I'll be honest I can't remember exactly what it says right now but about how we will see Christ as we humble ourselves and have faith. I know that promise is true. I feel so blessed and I see the hand of the Lord in my life every single day here and I am so grateful for that. Danielle and Heather I really hope you have the opportunity to serve a mission because I would gladly give a year and a half just for the experiences I have had in the last four months. It is amazing. It's hard and sometimes I think about the future and it's kind of scary to think that I have no idea where I will be in a year from now and will be thrown into something new very soon. But I know that we are never left alone and I know that like in D&C 84:88 that Christ is always with us and that His angels are sent to help us along every step of the way and I have truly felt that in my life.
I love you all and hope you all have a great week! Read Nehemiah and decide how you can build the walls of Holladay! haha jk. :) well... kind of jk. That's a weird RM comment.