Monday, April 15, 2013

The Need to Help

Bonjour tout le monde!
Cette semaine, j'ai pensé a quelque choses que j'ai voulu partager avec vous toutes (This week, I thought of something I wanted to share with you all), and that is, the need to help the less active people around us.  We love the church.  One thing I've' noticed about the members over here, is how the church really starts to become the center of their lives, and they love it.  But often times, we get so caught up on fulfilling checklists and making it to meetings and such, that we seem to overlook exactly what this church asks us to do- Be a disciple of Christ.  On Thursday, Soeur Wynn and  I went and visited one of my favorite less-actives, Monique, and her mom also.  I've never seen Monique at church, and in fact, the only reason why we found her was by looking at the ward list and seeing her name, and deciding to pass by.  She is so cute, and her mom totally welcomes us in.  We can't seem to figure out why, but Monique doesn't come to church, and it doesn't help that very few people in the ward know who she is.  And unfortunately they act as if not knowing her is a sufficient reason to not GET to know her.  This past week, while visiting, Monique's mom opened up to us and explained that in all the years that they've been less active, only the past bishop, and the missionaries have stopped to visit.  And even the bishop I think stopped visiting a while ago.  Now, every so often, throughout the years, the missionaries will stop by from time to time.  I'm not saying it's the ward's fault, it was the decision of Monique and her mom to not go to church after all, but I just think it's so sad that this family seems to have been completely forgotten.  Monique's mom even told us that she joined another church, where she, sad to say, feels more of a connection with the members.  She asked me if it was Christlike to just leave people to the side, and not visit them after a couple of weeks of not seeing them at church.  Of course, I didn't know what to say, because  we all knew the answer was "NO".   Maybe Monique's mom is a little extreme in what she expects from the Ward, but the principle is still true.  If the missionaries who baptized Monique and her mom knew what situation they were in now, how do you think they would feel?  The members- you, me, all of us, play such a vital role in helping people become integrated into the ward.  Of course, at the end of the day, it's Monique and her mom that will have to make to choice whether to go to church or not, but I just hope that we can all think of the people in our own wards who maybe need a helping hand.  Feeling the love from other members can be exactly what somebody needs to cheer up their day, or week.  
        Ok, now I'll get off my soapbox.  That was just something that had been on my mind recently.  Yesterday at church was an amazing day.  The Elders, Elder Garcia and Elder Perez, had a baptism.  Marsiline, the wife of a less active, was baptized, and the spirit was SO strong.  Really, it made me so excited, and it made it seem like finding people who are ready for the gospel really is possible.  Soeur Wynn and I have been having some hard luck with some of the people with whom we've been trying to fix RDV's, but we've also had some miracles.  She and I are really starting to work well together, and opening up to each other.  Because she is being trained, we have a slightly different schedule.  We have comp study from 9h - 11h, and then later have language study when we have dinner from 4h30- 6h.  She seems to be doing well, although her feet were killing her yesterday, and I, trying to be a loving mom, but also wanting to take advantage of passing by a lot of people who lived in the same area, still made us keep going.  Someday we'll look back and laugh... We have a SF with the Mengolli's and Khadia's family tonight, we're SO STOKED.  And the awesome part is, Sulliman, Khadia's 15 year old son, wants to go to EFY this summer.  That boy really is just so pure and sweet.  I love him to pieces. We also fasted for Wilna, another amie, yesterday, so that her husband will give her the ok to let her get baptized.  Slowly but surely.  
    Next week, I will try to send a picture of my new district.  They are FANTASTIC.  There are 10 of us in our District, which is the biggest I've ever had (and probably will have).  We are actually in the same District as the Soeurs at Torcy (that live with us), so that is awesome, then we have Elders Garcia and Perez (of course) from Nogent, the Zone Leaders, Elders Bequette and Glover (who also serve in Torcy), and also Elders Burningham and Hill, who serve in Meaux (it's pronounced 'Moe').  Last week Elder Hill asked if there was anything he could do for me (he being the District Leader and all), and I simply said, "Will you just tell me I'm not a failure?" (It was kind of a joke, but at the same time, something I really wanted to hear)  He laughed and did so.  Last night, when we were talking, he told me that he didn't like saying that to me, because there were too many negatives in the sentence, so intead he said, "Soeur Bracken, you are a success".  Haha, it was so cheesy, but at the same time,  it touched me so much.  So I just wanted to let you all know that you are also SUCCESSES!  The Lord is perfect, and he didn't make any failures.  
       I love you all, and I'm officially halfway through this crazy experience called a mission.  Can you believe it?  I still feel like I'm the same person, but I guess you'll be the ones to decide how much I've changed when I get back (thank goodness it's not for another 9 months!).
             I love you all, 
                       Gardez la foi,
                               Soeur Bracken
P.S.  Here is a picture we took at Conference last weekend.  From left to right - Elder Beckstrand holding his son, Elder Stoker (Paris Lilas area- they came to our building because it's easier to get to), My daughter, Soeur Wynn and me (Nogent, whoo!), and Elder Garcia and his son, Elder Perez (Also in Nogent!)

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