There is so much to say this week and I wont even be able to say a quarter of it but I will try to hit some of it.
this wednesday i went back into paris to pick up my new comp. soeur Mejia! She's awesome, so I started her on the training program last week and she should be here for at least one transfer, if not more. It has been such an interesting experience now working with training two new soeurs before they go through the MTC. I have been thinking a lot about how missionaries can be the most prepared before they leave on their mission, especially now since they're cutting down the amount of time they will have in the MTC. the biggest thing I have found is preach my gospel. Anyone you know who has their mission call or is preparing to leave on a mission, encourage them to read through preach my gospel before they leave for the mtc. Not just the four lessons we teach but the entire book. It will help them know what to focus on in the MTC.
so, Rahel (angers) and Nadege's (versailles) baptism were this weekend and it was awesome! While I was in Paris for the end of the week I got to go and see nadege and she told me more about her conversion process and experience. and Rahel got baptized on Saturday. Both these women are two amazing people with so much faith.
Elder anderson is what I wanted to talk about the most because it was the most amazing thing I have ever heard on my mission. He is now one of my favorite apostles, probably because I will always feel a special connection to him. He served his mission in Paris and then was mission president in Bordeaux. Briefly what he said:
"We want you to know how proud we are of all you missionaries here in this mission. I know there's a lot of pressure on you. this is not Sao Paolo, Brazil. It's harder to bring families to the gospel here in this part of the world. It's hard if you have a sensitive soul and you hate rejection. You have been called of god here and you can do this. Baptisms is not the most important measuring stick of a mission. It's a good one, but it's not the only measuring tool. Please study faith and do not limit yourself. I promise you will be guided by the spirit."
"I need you missionaries to have enough faith that the effect you are having is much deeper than what you can see with your own eyes."
"for years we have been hearing 'a new day for france, a new day for france.' You are the light for these members here in France. You are the flame that helps them have hope for missionary work. When you see the progress of the church throughout the entire world, you stress less. God is really in control. the work is moving forward. the Lord promised He would establish a righteous line of peple in every single country. He is doing that here in France. There is a strong line of people and the church will not fall here either."
"You can't see your whole missionas baptismal goals. Please dont see your mission in those terms only. You are a witness of Christ here. Our biggest challenge in France here is holding onto our youth. You dont always have to be teaching someone off the street although that is also very important. Have part of your mission be to strengthen the conversion of these youth. Please look inside the church as your missionary work.
Don't just think of baptisms, think of strengthening the church of Jesus Christ. We need to find and strengthen true disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. Follow christ, memorize scriptures about His doctrine. Learn it, embrace it and teach it.
You all need to use repentance. There's something powerful that comes from having your sins washed away and becoming a new person.
Galations 5:22-23, the fruits of the spirit. Notice one of the fruits of the spirit is long-suffering. that means we have to learn how to endure difficult things.
Please see yourself as a disciple of Christ to EVERYONE. At the end he blessed us that we would find enormous satisfaction in our missionary service, regardless or independent of how many baptisms we saw on our mission. He blessed us we would feel deep inside us that we were accomplishing our missionary role. He challenged us to be a disciple of Christ to everyone. to strengthen the struggling bishop, the primary child, our companion, the person in the street, the eighteen-year-old boy who shoud be preparing to serve a mission.
It was the most amazing talk I have ever heard because everything he was saying were conclusions I had in a lot of ways personally come to and hearing him give a talk like that was a confirmation for me. He didnt come in and tell us to up the number of baptisms necessarily or that suddenly all French people are going to be interested to talk to us if we have enough faith, but instead it was helping us understand the importance of our calling. He said at one point that in a secular country we need not be afraid of speaking of Christ, we need to speak of Him everywhere.
It was so amazing and afterward so many ideas started coming to my mind of what we can do in Angers. It all comes back to the family, how to strengthen the family. We started talking about our ward mission plan for 2013 and as we were talking we thought that instead of focusing member missionary work outwards to their friends, we need to do what we can as missionaries to help them turn back inward to teaching the gospel to their families, and by doing that they will have opportunities to share their experiences with their friends as well.
I love you all and hope you have a great day!