Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Eat the Fruit! (MTC Week 2)

I'm living lifetimes in here. Every day is a thousand years.

Well our entire floor of dorms flooded this morning. Four AM the loudspeaker went on: "MALES IN BUILDING. REPEAT, MALES IN BUILDING." Not exactly what I'd expected to wake up to, but you know. At this point in this place, the sky's the limits in terms of daily adventures.

Apparently they don't sell deodorant in France. This is what all the French-speakers here are telling me. Thanks, every French-missionary I know who didn't bother to tell me this! Ha, thank goodness for the mail system, and for a mom who sends you whatever you need at the drop of a hat.

This week we finished teaching our first investigator. The whole thing was a hilarious experience. His "name" was Nicolas--and he turned out to actually be our instructor, as we later learned. But the last week was spent preparing lessons every day to teach him about God and about God's plan for him. The favorite lesson was when we wanted to teach him about Adam and Eve. We planned to begin by asking, "So you've heard the story of Adam and Ever right?" and then continue by talking about obedience and disobedience to God. So we ask him what he's heard about Adam and Eve. And with a smug look on his face he says, "Nothing...who are Adam and Eve?" Ahem. So my companion and I cleared our throats, laughed for the horrible irony of preparing a whole lesson assuming our teacher would go easy on us and know who Adama and Eve are, and we rolled up our sleeves and tried (with the help of the chalkboard) to explain the story. Please note that while we knew all the words we needed to talk about obedience and disobedience in French, we knew none of the words for the Adam and Eve story. Best part was when I was explaining that Adam and Eve had to leave the garden after eating the fruit: "And God said, "Au revoir!"" Yep. Awesome. I am an awesome teacher. Especially when I know a sum total of 25 words in the language I'm teaching in. The other favorite moment was when I was trying to explain that God told Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit, in very broken French. After looking confused for several minutes, Nicolas said, "Ohhh! I see! God said, "Eat the fruit or the fruit will eat you!"" Yep, that's exactly what happened, Nicolas. Hahahaha, best moments here trying to teach things you know in words you do not. 

In case you're worried about what I'm eating, don't. I'm gettin by with a little help from my salad bar, juice bar, and ice cream freezer. Every meal. Anyone who can figure out how to get me some Massaman curry I will be indebted to for LIFE.

Oh what else to say. There is so much joy serving this mission and I'm just drinking it up and drinking it up. My companion and I took a long walk the other afternoon in the sunshine, and all I could think about was how I never want these days to end. There are rough moments when I'm tired, or feel sick, or feel like French words are dripping out my oozy brain, but I go to sleep every night happy and wake up every morning grateful to be here. I wish I could have a lil conversation with myself 2 or 5 or 10 years ago, the not-sure-about-this-mission-thing-Carolyn, because I'd tell her it is happy and I'd tell her it's right and I'd tell her there is nothing she needs to be afraid of or hesitant about or queasy about. This is an experience for the books, one where every day I have the feeling that I'm inscribing into the tablets of who I am very very important truths.

And a few of those truths are these:

In French, the word for trials is "epreuve" which derives from their word for "to prove." You know what that means don't you--that trials and hard times are just little chances to prove who we are and what we're made of and what we want out of life. 

I think I wrote last week about pheonixes and how they are born new out of the ashes. I remembered this week a beautiful scripture in Luke 15:17. It's about the prodigal son, and it says that after all his dilly-dallying and crazy-making, he "came to himself." And I realized that that is what the pheonix is really about, and what this experience of a mission is really about, and what a relationship with God is about: coming to oneself. Remembering who we really are, and living more true to that.

A note to all you who have written me letters: Merci beaucoup! Seriously though. Getting those in the evening is a little rainbow everyday. (St. Patty's is coming, so I can talk about rainbows.)

Bon chance!

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