So, what an interesting week this has been, don't you think? I know it has been for me. First, a recap from last week. Swan Lake was SICK, it really was so awesome, although ballets, I learned, are kind of hard to follow, seeing as there aren't any words. But seriously, it would have been ridiculous to pay 10£ for a playbill, so we just tried to guess what was happening. Up through Tuesday, Soeur Thibault said goodbye to all of our amies. They were pretty bummed to see her go, I was also, but we were both pretty stoked for our daughters to arrive! Wednesday found all four of us at the apartment (Soeurs Thibault, Barrero, McGhie, and myself) hauling the luggage of Soeurs Thibault and Barrero to St. Meri, the main chapel for the church in Paris. We got there, had just a few moments to catch up with people ( I got to see Elder Hatch, one of my favorites, who is also training this transfer), and then we headed into our little room. It felt super weird to be sitting on the 'other' side of the room this time. Has it really already been 6 1/2 months since I was told that Seour Creager would be my mom? That I was told that I would be going to Quimper? Oh, the memories and Nostalgia were incredible. And then, the moment arrived. President had my name and city (Nogent) come up on the powerpoint, and said, "Who will be going to Nogent with Soeur Bracken?" Answer? Enter the scene: Soeur Wynn! Soeur Wynn, a fiesty 21 year old (it's odd we have to specify that now-a-days) from southern California (I knew she would be from Cali. I feel like so many of the awesome missionaries I meet are from there). Important things to know. Her birthday? March 7th (shoutout to McKell! Whoot!). Her strong points? Desire to utilise EVERY moment and be 100% obedient. Seriously, that 'bleu fire' that new missionaries have is alive and well in her. She's really been whipping me into shape! I have a feeling that I am going to be a much better person at the end of our 12 weeks together. She went to BYU, actuarial science being the field in which she has decided to major. Get this, she hails from Rancho cucamonga. The very first thing I said to her after she told me that was, "If I lived there, I would never, ever want to leave that place". Her dad's a convert, who grew up Catholic, so she loves talking to the Catholic people here (if only they all liked talking to us...). Unfortunately, a lot of the RDVs that Soeur Thibault and I had were earlier in the week, so by the time Soeur Wynn came around, our work looked kind of dead. I promised her that we really do have amies, and she was like, "Yeah... sure." We've done a lot of contacting this week, which has been awesome. I honestly have been amazed with how many numbers we've been able to get from people. Now we just need to turn these numbers in to RDVs, and these ladies into amies, and then members! I've also realized just how far I've come with the french language. Of course it's FAR from perfect, but here I am, really speaking french to people! I've been so blessed to live with native french speakers for the past 4 months. On Thursday, we and Soeur Kusseling, our RS president, went and saw Marceline, the wife of a member, who is supposed to be getting baptized next week. We shared a short message about diligence, and how if the devil puts obstabcles in her way, to just remember how wonderful this decision is. Mostly we just let Marseline and Soeur Kusseling get to know each other. The next day, we had DMP (our meeting with the Ward Mission Leader, I don't know what it's called in English). While there, we told the elders about RDV with Marseline (who is technically their amie). They were super happy that we had a visit with her, and told us that she had been having some concerns, we told them that everything seemed to be alright to us. On Saturday, at the General Conference Session at the church (the Saturday am session was shown live at 6:00 in the evening), Marseline was there with her husband. When we were out in the Hallway, Elder Garcia could hardly contain himself, he told us that Marseline is doing wonderfully, and that all systems are go for the baptism! We are so excited for her!!! Another awesome experience happened the next day. We had tried to call Khadia the day before, but to no avail, so I said, "Ok, I'll try her on Saturday". On Saturday afternoon, heading the church for the Saturday pm session, I got a call from Seour Mengolli, Khadia's friend. She called to tell me they were just leaving the church after watching the YW session, and the best part? Khadia had come with her!!! I wish we would have known, and we would have gone and joined them, but still, we're so excited! AND, her sons went and watched the priesthood session at the same time! Can you believe that? We were SO happy. Seour Mengolli, later told me that she feels like Khadia really is so close, to making the decision to be baptized. The Paris Lilas Elders also came and watched Conference with us, since they live closer to our chapel than to their own, and brought one of their amies, a chinese girl named Wishu with them. She's getting baptized on Saturday!!! I'm so happy for Elders Stoker and Beckstrand. I went and sat by her and talked with her (she was the only other girl in the room aside from us), and we hit it off instantly. She told me about how she had decided to move to France, and met the church through a friend she made, and about her baptism on Saturday. She was so excited to listen to the prophet! Afterwards, Elder Beckstrand asked her what she noticed about the prophet, and she said, "His ears". Haha, but really, she loved that he was so relatable, and sweet. I about died from laughing at the storie he told about lighting the field on fire (I instantly imagined President Monson and his friend Danny being a young Pat McManus and crazy Eddie Muldune). I'm not sure if I ever find the Prophet more relatable than when he's telling stories about doing stupid stuff like that. Wishu invited us to her baptism on Saturday, which was super sweet. I told her I wasn't sure if we'd be able to go, but that I'd ask. Elder Andersen's talk really really hit me. I really felt like he was talking to me, and giving me encouragement when I really need it. I'm also pretty sure I could feel Elder Perry's intensity from all the way across the world. On Saturday, as Conference was starting, our Bishop told us that they couldn't get the english to work, and I had a flashback to 6 months previously, when I was watching my first Conference, in French, wondering what the world was going on. My heart sank for Soeur Wynn when she learned she probably wouldn't get to watch it in English. Luckily, a few minutes later, our Bishop pulled through, and found a way for us to watch it in English. Hoorah! My testimony was really strengthened by the words of these Prophets, Seers, and Revelators. They truly are men of God! I love the leaders of the church so much! One of the lines that really stood out to me was a quote from Elder Scott, "Stay on the Lord's side, and you will win EVERY time." It's true I may have been taught that since I was 2 days old, but sometimes, it just hits harder than others. I love you all, and thank you so much for you love and support! Seriously, I got 3 letters this week, and Quimper had a baptism, so my life is great!
I love you all, keep up the good work, I hit my halfway mark this week!
Avec tout mon coeur,
PS. I invented the tradition of 'Conférence Crêpes' last Conference, when I was a bleu, with Soeur Creager. And now I have a bleu of my own, and the tradition is alive and well, I had crepes 3 times this weekend!