Saturday, January 26, 2013

And to think, I thought I wouldn't see snow

Bonjour Toutes!
    So, this past week has brought a lot of changes.  First and foremost, au revoir Quimper!  I was SO sad to leave my little ville, I was even sad to take my last (probably) 5 hour train ride to Paris.  The members were so kind, and informed me that Nogent was a large ward, and I shouldn't be surprised if not everyone is as open as in the Quimper Branche.  The Quimper Branche really is like a giant family.  And so I left Wednesday morning, and arrived in Paris for the transfers.  And there I met Soeur Thibault!  She is wonderful.  This is her second transfer in France, but her third on the mission (she served in SLC while she was waiting for her visa).  I'm supposed to continue 'training' her, but really, she's already ready to go!  We've had a great time together.  She is from Québec, and french is her first language, although she speaks english really well.  We help each other when we have a question with french/english.  And Nogent!  I believe it is the south-east corner of Paris, which is cool.  We takes metros and buses everywhere.  This is also my first time serving in the same area as elders.  Right now we have Elders Garcia and Horton (who also served in Quimper), they are really great and kind.  There are so many people of so many nationalities here!  It's very different from Quimper, where we mostly saw french people (and french people who said they were 'Breton').  And it's cold here!  When I was in Quimper, it was cold, but it only ever rained.  I was starting to miss the snow.  But then I showed up in Nogent, and it was cold, drier, and we had snow!  Both Soeur Thibault and I were like, "It' like home!"  We've loved it.  Elder Garcia, who isn't super used to snow, was absolutely ecstatic when it first snowed here (we happened to be with them at a meeting).  He was like a little kid at Christmas.  When we saw him 3 days later, we were told that he HAD liked it, it HAD BEEN fun, but then he realized that it can also be very annoying, and cold, sometimes.  He's done with it now.  Our Ward here is pretty big...I've heard.  Because of the snow (all five inches), church was cancelled yesterday (except for Sacrament Meeting for the people who could attend).  A lot of other missionaries' wards had been cancelled also, and so they came with us to our Sacrament Meeting.  In total, we had 6 children, 13 adults, and 10 missionaries.  I couldn't help but say to myself, "Usually we have more people who come to the Branch in Quimper, and that's a Branch!"  It was funny. 
I will recount some miracles this week.
   Wednesday night, my first night in Nogent.  Soeur Thibault and I had decided that we were going to be AWESOME missionaries.  And we were going to talk to all the women!  So, it was late, and we had nothing to do (a RDV had cancelled), so we were contacting people.  We saw a young asian girl, about our age at about 8:30.  For half a second, I thought to myself, "She's not interested, she's young and maybe she doesn't even speak french".  But we decided to be 'missionaries of miracles' and try anyway.  After I introduced myself and Soeur Thibault said why were here, she replied in french, "I'm sorry, my french isn't that good, do you speak english?"  I replied in english, "Yeah I do!  I'm american and she's canadian!"  She then explained that she was AUSTRALIAN!  She then asked, "So, you're the Latter-Day Saints?  I actually met with the missionaries one time in Australia, and went to church, but it did't really work out.  I'm not really sure why."  So we fixed a RDV for yesterday, and it was great!  We found out yesterday that she doesn't have a heavy belief in God, but is very open.  We said we'd have another RDV this next weekend.  And to think, we never would have found this wonderful girl, Catharine, if we hadn't decided to open our mouths. 
    Another miracle.
Before I got here, Soeur Alley and Soeur Thibault contacted a lady, Françoise, and had a lesson with her.  On Saturday, Soeur Thibault and I returned to her home.  She was WONDERFUL!  We talked about the Book of Mormon, and she just ate it up.  She'd read the passage that they'd asked her to read before.  And when we talked about prayer, she was like, "Well, for me, when I pray, I usually just talk to Heavenly Father like I'm having a conversation, and ask questions and things like that."  To which, we replied, "What are the chances, that's exactly how WE pray also!"  So we fixed another RDV, and we're super excited.
  That's about it for me.  I hope everything is going well for everyone.  I've never felt my testimony grow as much as it has on my mission.  This church is TRUE!!!!!  I'm so excited to continue sharing this message with everyone.  I love you!

                      Avec amour,
                            Soeur Bracken

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