Best news of the day, today I am wearing my spring coat for the first time since I got to France. I decided it's time for spring and it feels warmer! So excellent.
This week has been a really good week. Last Monday was not the best I'll be honest. It had just been lots and lots of rejection and it was frustrating. Then I came home from doing emails and there was a letter in our mailbox from the mission home (we have zone conference in Paris this Thursday). Opened up the letter from President Poznansky and the first paragraph said, "2011 baptisms: 211 2012 baptisms goal: 604" (the exact number is probably a little bit off.) It went on to say how the mission can accomplish that number this year and what everyone needs to do to make that happen. So basically, I realized I need to suck it up and keep going and expect miracles.
Tuesday we contacted, did pass-backs, met with a member family, prayed to find people, etc. etc. and still really not too much success. Wednesday, we looked at our schedule and we had absolutely nothing planned (except dinner at the Destribrois. I LOVE THEM.) Anyways, we wrote at the bottom of our to do list: "have fun" and then we went out for the day. It ended up being a day of miracles really. First we went contacting. Rejected so fast it's ridiculous. Finally we stopped and decided we had to try something different because obviously this was not working. So, we tried a different approach using the BOM more immediately, role-played fast and then tried it. So cool, because the next person we contacted it worked on! She gave us her number (she lives in Cherbourg so we gave her number to the elders there) but she said she'd meet with the missionaries again. It was cool.
Then we went to go porting for like the 4th time this street called Rue de Branville. Soeur Cope and I went there so many times and have literally knocked every door on this ridiculously long street (perfect for porting) and have written down every door people still haven't answered. There is a member who lives on that street, so Soeur Ingraham and I passed by this members home first, shared a spiritual thought, talked to her for a while and prayed with her that we could find people who are ready to be taught the gospel. After the prayer, she gave us two less-active names she wants us to stop by. That was great.
Then we went porting on her street. There doors are ones we have knocked like three times and they have never answered, so if they didn't answer this time we are now just crossing them out. Anyways, we knocked on one of them and a woman answered. We did a door approach on the Plan of Salvation and long story short she said we could come back and teach her about the Plan of Salvation. We left her with the brochure and asked her to read it before we came back. The next day we came back. This lady comes from a family of nine (that's huge, it seems like especially in France!) and she said family is the very most important thing to her. She had read the brochure and said it had made sense to her. We taught her the Plan of Salvation lesson and after asked if she thought it was possible. She said, "I think it's possible, but I don't know if it is." Perfect. So we gave her a Book of Mormon, told her how she can know and asked her to read the intro and the Restoration brochure before we come back next week. So we will see what happens!
Then we had a lesson with a woman who is from Nigeria. We found her in the area book and Soeur Cope and I contacted her in January. Every time we go over there the kids are running around everywhere, the baby is crying, she forgets about our lesson, etc. etc. So, this was possibly going to be a last attempt lesson. Well, we went there, she let us in and the apartment was clean and she was ready to be taught. The baby fell asleep and the kids were mostly in their room doing homework. We were able to answer a lot of her questions, that was a lesson taht both Soeur Ingraham and I felt like we were being helped a lot by the spirit to know what to say, it was really a miracle. The spirit was really there helping us all learn together. She has started reading the Book of Mormon again and said she'll keep going.
On Saturday we had a lesson with that woman from Guadelupe, the one I said we showed her the REstoration film last time and it seemed like it hadn't even phased her? We went back there Saturday, thinking it would probably be the last because she outright said she doesn't wanted to get baptized, etc. We took Soeur LeCavalier, she actually was a missionary in Caen. I love teaching with her because she's always super bold, but keeps things simple and sincere. Anyways, Soeur LeCavalier ended up bearing the most powerful testimony of God's restored church on the earth through Joseph Smith, and how we each come to know this is God's church by reading the Book ofo Mormon and receiving an answer from the Holy Ghost. The spirit was so strong, it was cool. In the end, Victoria still said she has her own way of worshipping, doesn't want to get baptized. We left her with 2 Nephi 33 the judge if these are the words of Christ chapter. So, I think that was our last lesson with her for now. But, we left still on really good terms (she is seriously so great, I love visiting her) and it was just really cool.
Then, yesterday we went contacting a little bit on our street. We stopped this couple and I started in the little, "Bonjour nous sommes missionaires..." The guy said, "oh we're english speakers. You can speak in English." Excellent. The couple is from India and they are both brilliant scientists who moved over to Caen now to work at the University because come to find out Caen has the biggest science lab in Europe (I don't know what kind of science lab?) Anyways, we ended up talking to them on the street for over an hour! They grew up with a hindu background, it was super interesting learning about that. We asked them in their science if they feel like it's possible to have a personal relationship with God. the wife said that when she is faced with a really difficult challenge and she knows she can't accomplish somthing alone, she asks God for help. We ended up giving a first lesson to them and it was such a cool contact because the woman was asking all these really specific questions about the history of the Book of Mormon and what it is about, etc. You can tell they are both just brilliant people. Anyways, we asked if we could meet with them again and they said yes! (The husband said he loved hearing about what we had to say but next time wants to talk about other things. We said great, we are really interested in hearing about what they do as scientsits. which i sincerely am. The wife seemed really interested though and we are hoping to give them a Book of Mormon in english.)
Anyways, this week has been a lot of work and a lot of miracles. I'm so grateful to be here, it is definitely the most difficult challenge I've ever been faced with but I really feel like it's preparing me for things I'm supposed to do later in life too, even though i don't know what that is right now. Sometimes going through the week it seems long, it seems like you're faced with so much rejection, you feel like it's almost impossible. But then, like at the end of this week you look back and you just see the hand of the Lord in all aspects of the work and you know that we're not working alone. It's amazing!
Love you all and hope you have a great week!