Im so sorry this is going to be short because we are going to meet Soeur Ingraham and Soeur Searle in a minute to go to the Eiffel Tower! (Soeur Ingraham was my companion my third transfer remember?)
It was so funny because the few days before Soeur Horn (my blue) came in and I knew I had the training call I just started cleaning EVERYTHING and organizing everything while Soeur Dawson was packing and everything. Soeur Dawson said, "Soeur Chard, you are nesting!" It's so true, I guess it's motherly instincts of something. It's the most strange thing, because you seriously do feel mother instincts. You feel an instinct of wanting to protect them from bad things (people saying rude things, etc) or you feel so proud of them when you watch them succeed at something, it's so fun.
Soeur Horn is my new companion and I love her. She's from Las Vegas and is so sweet and very creative, something I am doing well learning from her. It was so fun seeing Soeur Searle too, I talked to her when we first got to St. Merri and she said, "Whoa, Alyssa you have grown up a lot since your mission." First, weird to hear your first name and weird because it's weird seeing someone who knew you from before the mission then meeting you again at this point in the mission. It sounds like she is doing well, she was actually Soeur Horn's MTC companion!
our first night after I picked up Soeur Horn I told her we were going to go teach a new ami for the first time and so we would be teaching a first lesson. I had called Nicole (she's in the Versailles ward and preparing to serve a mission in temple square) and asked if she would pretend to be an ami and kind of a not very interested one. She agreed, we got there, and Nicole had taken down all signs she was mormon. Pictures of the Temple, gone. Scriptures, out of sight. She answered the door and usually she is so happy and smiley, it was so funny to see her playing as an ami not very interested. Anyway, we went in, taught a first, Soeur Horn did so well, and we committed NIcole to start reading the BOM and pray about it. After we left her house, we talked about how Soeur Horn thought the whole thing had gone, etc. and then I said, "well, she's actually a member!" I think the stress of everything being new was a little much but ultimately I think Soeur Horn was relieved and we went back and had dinner at Nicole's house.
Since then, seriously everything has been working out perfectly. It's kind of bizarre. All the RDVs we have had have been with progressing amis who want to receive the lessons, who keep their commitments and who want to be baptized. My testimony has grown so much that people are already prepared to receive us, the spirit is what converts and their hearts will be opened to the message if they are prepared.
We set a baptismal date with Alejandra!!! (that was Soeur Horn's first real RDV). Dont tell Soeur Dawson, I sent her a letter in the mail telling her. :) We set is for the first of september, so pray that she can keep that date! But, every time Alejandra comes to our lessons, she's read the scriptures we have given her and has taken notes about what she has understood. Last lesson we used something from Doctrine and Covenants and she was like, "wait, I need to write down that scripture so I can read it again later." We told her she doesnt have it in the BOM.... she she downloaded the app on her iphone so she can read Doctrine and Covenants too. We taught the Restoration to Alejandra the night before Soeur Dawson left on her mission and it was the most powerful first I have ever experienced. The spirit was so strong and it was just incredible. Soeur Dawson testified of how this gospel changes lives and told Alejandra she knows it will change hers. After so many hundreds of first RDVs with Soeur Dawson it was amazing to experience what it's like for someone so prepared like Alejandra to receive that lesson. And every lesson we have with her she has been prepared to receive it. She will say, "that's funny, I was just talking about why there are so many churches on the earth last night with my boyfriend." or something, she's amazing.
Maria we had set a baptismal date for the endof the month but we have to refix it because she's out of town until the end of the month for work. She's so amazing though. When she told us she was gone the 25th when we fixed the date we talked about how important it is that she has the gift of the Holy Ghost as soon as possible and testified of the importance of baptism and that it was what God wants for her. She was silent and said, "I know I need to." She wants it and it's amazing as well teaching her the plan of salvation and the questions that she asks are so cool. Once again, it's amazing to teach people who genuinely are searching and who are prepared to receive the gospel in their lives.
Paola and Victoria are the girls we are teaching in spanish. Last week we taught where we come from and where we are going after, tonight we are talking about our life on earth. We also talked a little about baptism and how she can accept the Plan of Salvation by being baptized. Paola said she wants to be baptized eventually, Victoria and Paola are both reading the BOM and praying to know it's true.
It's at a point right now where the mission is so fulfilling because I literally get to witness people's lives changing, new hope coming into their life and watching them receive answers to questions they have been asking their entire lives and have never found answers. I just pray really hard because I have also gained a testimony that no matter what our abilites are, we can't do anything, it is so important to follow the spirit and to do everything in your power but then to turn everything over to the Lord. It is Heavenly Father who helps these people progress, it's not the missionaries, it's the spirit. But it's amazing to be a part of it.
I love you all so much and hope that you have a great week!