Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Sister Dalton, our little ray of sunshine

Bonjour à tous!  Another eventful week here on the East side of Paris. I will start off by saying that I'm missing the sun and swim right now.  I'm to the point where I can't imagine NOT putting on a skirt everyday.  The very rare occasions where I get to wear pants in public feels so very weird and absurd.  Also, my jeans have a nice hole in them, after having been worn for years, so I might end up having to buy some here.  We've had a little bit of sun here and there the past couple of days, but still, for the most part, grey skies.  It's absolutely ridiculous.  Even the Parisiens are completely shocked.  I should start telling them it's because of wickedness and abominations, and that the Lord is preparing to create a world of darkness and shadow, maybe that will peak their interest and get them to start listening a little more?  But, we also had some sun here this past week.  On and off throughout the week we've a little bit of our friend, soleil, here and there.  We also had a ray of sunshine this past weekend.  With hair a blond as the sunshine itself, and with a smile just as brilliant, Elaine S. Dalton shared her light with people from all over Paris this weekend.  Soeur Wynn and I had the chance to meet her on Saturday, when she came to Stake Conference.  Stake Conference was awesome.  They changed the presidency.  Frank Lethuaire, one of the members of Nogent, and personal role model of mine, was up on the stand.  Frère Lethuaire was called as Bishop of the Nogent Ward when his first child was only 1 month old.  He served as Bishop for 5 years, and was then called to be in the Stake Presidency as 2nd Counselor.  He served in that calling for 7 years.  About 2 weeks ago, while eating dinner and having FHE at their house, Frère Lethuaire told us that he was kind of excited to be released, have a small break and sit with his family in the congregation.  At the Conference, his oldest son (they now have 4 children), age 12 played the  piano to accompany the primary children choir.  Then, they changed the Stake Presidency.  No, Frère Lethuaire did not get made as Stake President, but he did get made as 1st Counselor!  I kind of felt bad, thinking about how much good he does, and how he deserves a break, but also knowing that his kindness and spirit and so appreciated in the Stake.  They are such an amazing family.  Frère Lethuaire served a mission to Oregon, and Soeur Lethuaire served a mission to Provo, and we can really feel the power of the spirit in their home.  We also listened to Elder Charles, a newly called Regional Authority, and Elder Teixeira, the Area Presidency.  Both amazing men.  Our missionary choir sang very well, under the direction of the ever incredible Frère Euvrard, who, I am convinced, runs the church in France.  I know he is over the Seminary/Institute Program, and does a lot of representation for the church.  He was just released from being the 1st Counselor in our Stake Presidency.  Sister Dalton was there, but did not speak.  She did, however, give a little fireside that afternoon at the Torcy chapel.  Soeur Wynn and I went, helped prepare food, and listened to her inspire everyone (especially the YW) who came to listen to her.We invited Sarah, one of our less-actives to come, and she did!  It was amazing.  Sarah kept saying that she wanted to leave, that she didn't feel easy there, but we told her she HAD to meet Sister Dalton.  Soeur Wynn had the opportunity to translate for Sister Dalton as she told Sarah how precious she is, how much love Heavenly Father has for her, and the ability to keep going.  Soeur Wynn was crying by the time she finished, and even Sarah looked like she was pretty touched.  We think this experience really softened her heart.  Also, just to let you know, our little missionary choir isn't finished.  We're not going on tour or anything (although Elder Clawson and Soeur Tollefsen probably could), but we will be singing one more time, when Elder Ballard and Elder Oaks COME NEXT WEEK!!!  Crazy, eh?!  SO excited.  This might call for a new outfit?  Who knows.  I got to do an exchange with Soeur Tollefsen this week.  We had some cool experiences.  For example, we decided to pass by Lynda and Matthieu (the couple with the Liahona and mean aunt).  When we knocked, the mean aunt, Lydie, opened the door.  She told us they weren't home, she was tired, and she just got finished praying for her brother who is sick.  We told her we would also be willing to pray for her brother.  She paused for half a second, and then said, "Ok, come in."  So we did!  She explained to us her brother's situation, we talked about the need for love in the world, and I offered a prayer.  She was very grateful, and said we could come back again.  It was an amazing experience.  We also had one of the most amazing lessons this past week.  A few weeks ago, the elders were speaking english outside (not usually encouraged), when a Nigerian woman named Jasmine walked up to them and let them know that it made her happy to hear english (they speak english in Nigeria).  So, of course, they contacted her.  They wanted to badly to teach her, but then, in the end, decided it might be best if it was us.  So we had our first RDV with her Thursday.  AMAZING.  She totally accepted everything that we said, and was so happy to hear our message.  We gave the entire 1st lesson, and left her with a Book of Mormon.  We'll see her again this week.  And she wants to come to church!  This is going to be incredible.  The spirit was so strong.  Jasmine has such an open heart.  Well, that's about it for us here.  During Companionship inventory, Soeur Wynn let me know that I need to act more normal and relaxed, and to not raise my voice to a higher pitch when I teach in english.  I told her it's REALLY hard for me to teach in english, but that I'll try. :)  Soeur Wynn and I had a record TEN progressing investigators this past week.  Yeah!  That's how we role.  No, but seriously, we have been working very hard, and have been very blessed.  Also, we ate at the Lasas the other day.  We've missed them SO much whilst they've been in England the past 2 weeks or so.  We visited them, and taught them, and had a great time.  They call us their children.  They are seriously my Congo mom and dad.  I hope everyone has a great week, and ponders the scriptures while they study.  Studying the scriptures is one of THE BEST ways to ensure we have the spirit with us throughout the day.  Just 5 minutes!  Read the book of Enos!  He's one of my favorites! I love you all so much, keep on keepin' on!
                                      A la prochaine,
                                         Soeur Bracken

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