J'ai aimé cette semaine! This week has been great. I think Soeur Thibault had more lessons in the presence of a member than we've ever seen before. The elders contacted a lady named Mme Bruneau last week, and we went and visited her. She was very open to our message, and we fixed another RDV for the following Thursday (two days later). We had a woman who returned from her mission to Greece a few years ago who said she could come with us. We all ended up there a few minutes early, so we decided to do some porting (that is, knocking on doors) in the area. But since we were surrounded by apartments, we just had to ring the doorbell outside and try to convince the people through the interphone to let us in (not usually super effective). We tried the first sonnerie, no one. We tried the second, wasn't interested. We tried the third, a man told us he believed in God but was going on vacation and to come back in 15 days. We thought that was kind of cool, so we were in the process of writing down his address when all of a sudden he opened up his window and told us to come on up. Usually, Soeur Thibault and I wouldn't be allowed to do this, but since we had another adult woman with us, all systems were go. So we quickly mounted the stairs and he opened his door. "Il y a du monde!" was the first thing he said when he opened the door, which is the french way of saying, "Holy Mackeral, there are a lot of you here!" Haha, I guess he was a little surprised to see 3 women standing at his door. Nonetheles, Stephan, our new friend, let us in. We talked about the Book of Mormon, and he told us that he is in the military and will be going back to Iraq soon, but that he thinks he has an American Comrade who is a member of the church. He really enjoyed our lesson, and told us that he will be sure to start reading the Book of Mormon while he is on vacation. We are praying and keeping our fingers crossed! What makes it even better was when we finally headed over to Mme Bruneau. She had read, and liked what she read, and understood our message. We have another RDV with her on Tuesday. Her husband is from Portugal, and is catholic, which, honestly, made us a little nervous at first (we haven't met him yet), but we know the Lord can touch his heart. Later on this week, we had the long anticipated Elder Richards Conference. It was absolutely amazing! The spirit was so strong, and he taught with such force! I got to lead the music, which I only messed up slightly doing. Afterwards, Sister Richards met with all the sisters in our zone and the Paris Zone (maybe 10 or 12 sisters) and taught us personally. She definitely has all the wonderful attributes like, meekness, sweetness, and a firm testimony, that are characteristic of other women leaders in the church, like Sister Dalton or Sister Beck. I really liked her. We had a chance to ask questions afterwards, and both Soeur Thibault and I asked questions about our amies (investigators). Afterwards, she told us that it was easy for her to see we were a dynamic duo and had a great work together. Later on, Soeur Thibault and I were talking and I realized how true it is. Both of us are pretty sure this will be our final two weeks together, and we both talked about how much we're going to miss our companionship.. We've both come a long way, and we love the work here.
I've had it brought to my attention by a few people that I am so upbeat and happy in my emails, which people love. They also tell me that they were surprised because they thought the misson was going to be really hard, and it seems like it hasn't for me. Well, I will just tell you all right here and right now, that this mission is the HARDEST thing I've ever done. Every single day I want nothing more than to go back to bed and stay in pants and drink regular american milk. And every single day it's a battle between wanting to give up and knowing what I SHOULD be doing. I haven't had any breakdowns yet, but I've come close a time or two. Being on my mission for 8 months, and never being able to see someone get baptized has taken it's toll on me, and there are so many time where I've wondered what I'm doing here. I'm not saying this so that next week I can get 15 emails telling me how loved I am, but I'm just telling you this so that you know that I really am trying, and that this really is hard, and although we search for the wonderful things every day, there also have been a lot of dreary days (literaly and metapohorically). This mission has also been the absolute best thing ever. I can't imagine what my life would be like, if I hadn't had this experience. Life just isn't the same anymore. This gospel is true, and this work is worth it. I've come to know Heavenly Father and our Redeemer and their plan for us like never before, and the people I've met are so amazing! So there, sorry, I'll get off my little soapbox (I have no idea how to say that in french... boite à savon?) I just want all of you to know that Soeur Bracken also has her share of challenges over here in France, but that she's loving it every step of the way! :)
Well, I think that about sums up my first full week of being 22. And yes, Steph, I got your letter and laughed, but luckily, I did not laugh to the point where I peed my pants. I really did love it, though. We also just found out that we are now allowed to email everyone now, which is cool.
Thank you all so much for the love and for reading my sometimes ridiculous emails!
Avec tout mon coeur,