Monday, May 20, 2013

The Miracle of Maria

Hello everyone!  
This has been an awesome week for us here in Nogent.  I try not to remind myself that this will most likely be my last transfer is this wonderful ward, not to mention my last transfer serving with Soeur Wynn or living with Soeur Tollefsen or Soeur McGhie.  We're going to try to make sure that this entire transfer is nothing but awesomeness and miracles and success, but we are also preparing ourselves for plenty of 'learning opportunities' which so frequently abound our lives. 
  We never had a chance to see Khadia this week, which is a bummer, nor Souleyman.  But we're hoping that we'll be able to see them this week and help them get back on track.  This weekend, we committed our  10 year old ami, Dany, to ask his dad if he could get baptized (his dad, we believe, is Hindu), so we're praying that that went well.  One of my personal favorite miracles this week happened during weekly planning.  We love our amie, Wilna, who WANTS to get baptized, but her husband, for some reason, won't let her (despite the fact that he is super nice and a great guy).  We've been trying to get ahold of him to fix a RDV with the two of them to talk about what is holding him back and see if there is anything we can do, but he is hard to get ahold of.  But then, randomly, on Friday, he called us!  I was so happy I almost freaked out on the phone- Soeur Wynn literally started dancing.  I explained that we had called earlier to check up on Wilna and to see if there was a time available  that we could see them.  He said not to worry, and that they would all be coming to church on Sunday.  Unfortunatley, Wilna ended up having a really bad toothache and a sick child come the weekend, so they didn't, but still!  We had contact with them, and I think he likes us!
   However, our biggest miracle happened all in the space of a couple of hours, and is now a testimony to me that you really can never know what to expect on the mission, and that the Lord really can do anything.  I was getting ready on Sunday morning when I got a call.  The number on the phone said it was an amie named Maria.  I answered, and a cute, young voice was on the phone.  She said she was Maria, and that she wanted to come to church that day, with her brother, but that she didn't remember how to get there.  So of course, I was like, "WE'LL DO ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING TO HELP YOU GET TO CHURCH!!!"  So we decided to meet her at the Gare (trainstation) before church.  In the meantime, we looked up her old information in our area-book, and what do we find?  Turns out, she  lived in Spain growing up, and LOVED the church (the power of friends and YW).  She did a lot of things with the young women, and really wanted to get baptized, but her sister wouldn't let her.  Now they all live in France (she, her brother, sister, brother in law, and their kids).  Her mom lives in Africa.  She has always wanted to get baptized, but, and I'm still not sure why, has never been able to (we think because of the sister).  We looked at the information on her page.  The sisters who wrote it a year ago said she was 17, and that the ward already loves her (from when she came last summer a few times).  And, sure enough, we meet up with them, and bring them to church, and the ward was like, "Hey, Maria!"  Both she and her brother loved church.  She even told me during RS that she really really wants to serve a mission.  I almost cried.  Numerous times I've expressed to Heavenly Father my desire to baptize someone who later goes on a mission, and here I was, having someone say that right to me!  She told us that she was having a birthday party that afternoon, and she wanted us to come, and we were like, "We are SO there!"  So we went, and got to meet the whole family. We tried to leave a really good impression on her sister and husband.  It's odd, they both know the church really well, I'm not exactly sure why they don't like it.  The Brother in law was even like, "Do you drink coke?  I've met some mormons who say they can't drink coke".  We explained to them that coke is fine, and that it's usually just coffee, tea, alcohol, ect.  I think the Word of Wisdom might be the thing that the brother in law doesn't like, because he seemed to know a lot about the subject and wanted to know why is specified 'hot drinks' in the scriptures, ect.  Either way, we had a good time with them, and we hope to see Maria often, and her brother, who I imagine will continue to come to church with her.  What a crazy day!  One minute we get a call, the next she's telling me she wants to go on a mission, the next we're heading to a birthday party!  I'm SO grateful for this miracle.  Soeur Wynn and I are going to try to really pay attention to the spirit, and help Maria make this covenant that she's been waiting to do for years.  She no longer needs her sister's permission, but I would like for her to have it anyway.  Miracles happen!  I'm so grateful for these tender mercies in our lives from our loving Heavenly Father. Well, I'd better go.  Like always, thank you for all the love and prayers and support.  The church is true!
                            Soeur Bracken
PS  A scripture that I love is always Alma 5:14.  This week I encourage you to read it and ponder about what it really means to receive his image in our countenace.  

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