Quickly, I tell you that we've had an awesome week, despite the fact that my morale has been kind of low, and I haven't been very good at working up the courage to talk to people. Nonetheless, we have been greatly blessed. Last week, we had a SF with the famille Mengolli, and also Khadia's family. It was interesting. It was the first time where we actually got the chance to talk to her husband, Arouna, who is non-practicing muslim. He is really great. After our spiritual thought, he started talking, and it seemed he was a little defensive, so we were worried, but later Khadia told us he wasn't, and that he just often talks like that, but that in fact, he really liked it! We also used this occasion to ask Khadia and Arouna for permission to teach their 15 year old son, Souleyman. That kid doesn't have a bad bone in his body. They said we could, so later that week, we had a first lesson with him (Sr Mengolli and one of her sons were there). We managed to teach the entire first lesson, very simply. At the end, we asked him if he believed God could answer his prayers. He replied, "Oui". We then asked if he would pray and ask Heavenly Father if the things we taught were true. He replied, "Non". He then added, "I don't need to, I believe you already." Haha, bless his heart! This kid is so innocent, and so believing, and already loves the church, seeing as he often goes to a lot of the youth activities. We told him it was wonderful that he already believed us, but that it was also important to pray and ask Heavenly Father, so that he would know his answer came from Him. He said he would. We also had a great RDV with Khadia this week. She's having a hard time making it too church, seeing as she works Saturday night/Sunday morning, she's also having a hard time finding time to read the Book of Mormon, she also is having a hard time understanding why she's not receiving an answer to her questions... Nonetheless, we had a wonderful lesson, and really felt the spirit. And! We have another SF with the two families tonight. So stoked! We also had another miracle yesterday. One of our amies, Wilna, has wanted to get baptized for quite some time, but can't because her husband won't allow her. He had come to church a few times with her back in September, but because of some miscommunication with the missionaries, had kind of developped some hard feelings against the church. Nonetheless, Wilna kept coming most of the weeks, and we have continued to see her. And yesterday, her husband came to church with her again! We finally got to meet Jean, and he is wonderful! We think he enjoyed church, and he even invited us to come over tonight (he later had to postpone it, due to work problems, but we're still ecstatic!). We had fasted last week for a miracle with Wilna, and this was totally it. This time, when we talk about baptism, we'll be sure to do it very sensitively and according to the spirit. We also had a lot of success this week finding old amies that had been dropped in the past, and talking to them again. We'll be praying and working in order to figure out what exactly we can do to overcome whatever it was that had halted their progression in the past. That seems to be a lot of the good news that we've had this week, which is nice because there are also a lot of lows. I was talking to my District Leader, Elder Hill, last night, and was explaining to him some of my concerns, such as not seeing the fruits of our efforts, not having baptized anyone yet, and just plain feeling like I have so many problems and weaknesses that it's not even funny. After assuring me of my good attributes and the how I have a work to accomplish, he told me that if we work hard, the Lord shows His hands and creates miracles that we never could have imagined. He told me that after 5 transfers of trying so hard, of tracting, contacting, and trying to teach, he still didn't have anything to show for it, despite all his efforts to work hard and be a good missionary. And then, one day, in his 6th transfer, some guy walked into the church. He had seen, of all the things, 'The Book of Mormon Musical', which had intrigued him. He came in, and asked to know more. Of course, Elder Hill and his collegue, sat down and tried to gauge how much he knew. Turns out, he already knew all about Joseph Smith, and the Book of Mormon, and already believed that it was true. In just a short little while, this man was taught and baptized, and is a member of the church. Haha, pretty funny story, right? It made me laugh, and gave me a little hope. And that is the message I'd like to leave with you. Sometimes it seems like all we do is work and work, and nothing seems to come of it. But if we do it for the right reason, we can rest assured that the Lord is aware of our efforts, and that he is preparing miracles for us, if we are ready to receive them. It may come in the most bizarre of ways, but the Lord's blessings DO come.
I and so sad to hear of what is happening in the USA. I only get a small earful of the news from home every now and then. Soeur Gombert told me about the bombs in the marathon. She said, "There were two bombs that went off in the US, in Boston." I was like, "Really? When? How?" She said, "It was during this giant running race", and I was like, "The MARATHON?!" I can't understand why people would choose to do these things, but I guess some things we just can't understand. My heart goes out to all their families.
Well, that seems to be it for us for this week. Feel free to continue to pray for us, and the work all over the world, and remember, the sun never sets on missionary work. The time Courtney goes to sleep after a long day of missionary work in Canada, is the exact same time I'm turning on the lights to start a new day here in France.
I love you all, and I hope that the Lord's blessings are filling your lives. Have a great week!