This week was great because of zone conference in Paris. For sure that is my favorite part of being a missionary when we get to go back and be with lots of other missionaries and have training. I was talking to one of the assistants during lunch and I mentioned that I hadn't seen the Eiffel Tower yet since I had been on my mission. He said, "I'll hook you up." And at the end of the conference the elders in my city took us to the Eiffel Tower before we caught our train because the assistant gave them special permission. It was so nice and it was so fun to see! Elder Russell (one of the elders in my city) said when we got to the Eiffel Tower, "You know, it's moments like these when you wish you were serving a mission in Montana." That is one of the fun parts of serving in France when there are moments like that! There are lots of other great things about serving here too.
As far as this week, well, I can honestly say that Soeur Ingraham and I are doing everything we know how to do. We are trying to be obedient, we contact all the time, we porte a lot, we pass by members homes share a spiritual thought, pray with them and then work in their neighborhood, we try passing by less-actives, we try passing by old investigators in the areabook, old "amis en puissance" people missionaries met but never had lessons with. And, it's been hard. We have been having such a hard time finding people to teach! One of the most frustrating parts this week is that we have been having good contacts with people, they agree with us and they seem interested. Then they find out that we're Mormons and they're immediately turned off. I guess because of the temple in Paris and Mitt Romney there's been lots of negative media about the church on French TV and so a lot of people have this weird connotation with LDS. It's hard. So, we are realizing more and more how vital it is to work with the ward members. It makes such a huge difference when a member can introduce their friends to the gospel, because their friends can see that Mormons are normal. The trick is, how do you get the members to give referrals. Because, for example I know whenever missionaries ask me for referrals, I automatically say that I don't know anyone who's ready for the missionaries to teach.
Saturday we passed by the Le Cavalier family. Soeur Le Cavalier was one who taught with us last week and bore the really powerful testimony about the Book of Mormon. After the lesson we thanked her and she said, "well, you can bring me brownies or something if you want. :)" I LOVE this family. She drops anything to teach with us. So, we were going to her house to give her brownies and then to work in her area. We started talking to her and her husband and they asked how the work was going. We were honest, we said it's hard. We asked them how we can gain more trust with the members so we can start working more with the members to find people to teach. We talked to them for a while about it and I happened to have the ward list with me. I pulled it out and the Le Cavalier's took the next two hours going through the list with us and telling us which less-actives we might have success with. Then, (we hadn't even asked them for referrals this time) Frere Le Cavalier invited us to go to his neighbors house right then and meet them. He walked us next door, we met the neighbors and ultimately were able to set up a rendez-vous with them next week.
Then at church the next day in fast and testimony meeting Soeur Le Cavalier got up and bore her testimony about how she has taught with the missionaries and knows that if every ward member will have the courage to open their mouths and talk to their friends about the gospel that the words they need to say will be given them. She talked about how it increases her testimony every time she shares the gospel with someone and then she talked about how she introduced the missionaries to her neighbors the night before. She encouraged all the ward members to really make an effort to talk to their friends this week.
After church, one of the ward members was talking to us (she taught a couple with us a few weeks ago we found porting.) so we were talking to her about that. We asked her if there was anything we could do for her. She mentioned she's been starting to try to do family history and she potentially needs help with that. Funny thing is another ward member was asking us how to use family search just the Sunday before. So I asked if maybe it would be helpful if we planned a family history night to teach the ward how to use the site. Soeur Bourroux was excited about it and said she happened to be going over to the couple who's in charge of the family history for the ward for lunch right after church and she would talk to them about it.
Then Sunday night we got a text from the bishopric inviting us to ward council on Tuesday to talk about how we can advance the missionary work in this ward right now. So... we'll see what happens!
One thing I was reading in personal study this morning was about charity. The phrase "charity never faileth." It took on a whole new meaning for me this morning because I was thinking about how charity really does never fail. It's having charity, even for the people who are rude on the street, the people who slam doors in your faces, for the ward, for your companion, for the bishop. It's being able to develop charity (definitely a continuous process) that enables you to be happy and find optimism even when things are difficult. I realized this morning that it is charity that helps me have the desire to keep on trying even when you don't see immediate results. So the phrase "charity never faileth" I think that means charity never fails to help us all find happiness even when the situation you are in may be difficult.
And that is the spiritual thought for the week! :)
love you all!
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