Monday, July 8, 2013

to build a home / rugby

This week I wanted to write about gifts. The members in the ward here are giving them to us all the time:

On Sunday, Frere W. from the ward gave me a flashdrive on which he'd recorded himself reading slowly the first 7 chapters of the "Gospel Principles" manual in French, so we could listen to it and practice our comprehension and pronunication. This must have taken him hours to do.
Soeur M. brought me British cookies before my long train ride to Lyon because I once mentioned in passing that I loved them, and she happens to have special access to British treats.
Last week, when we were feeling a little overwhelmed with all the French that we don't speak, the S. family had us over for lunch and spoke all in English so we'd feel comfortable.
Soeur L. brought us a huge tomato salad and pear cake.
Frere D. drove two hours to bring us over for lunch.
Soeur L. said we could come over any Mondy night we wanted to...or any other day that would work for us.
Soeur P. fed us at a ward luncheon.
Soeur G. puts her arm around us and winks at us to help us feel at home.
These gifts are incredible to me. Every time someone does something kind for us, I'm so surprised and so grateful: we're just strangers to them, but they open their homes and their lives and their schedules to us. They do things like spend hours reading gospel manuals so we can maybe learn the language a little better. These things are real gifts. They are things we could never do for ourselves. And when we receive kindnesses like this, I'm astounded. These kinds of gifts drive me to ask what in the world I could ever do to show my thanks. And of course, there is nothing I could do. Just keep smiling and loving them and trying to help them feel the Savior's love.
In other news, we are working super hard to reach our contacting goals. We try to talk to 50 people everyday. All I can say is this is seriously hard for me. Somedays it's easier than others. Some moments it's easier than others. But most of the time every morning when I'm practicing my French and I think about how I have to go out into that big scary world and talk to people I don't know, my stomach drops and everything inside of me cowers and shrinks. But then we suit up and go out and pray pray pray for courage and French skills and somehow one person at a time, we're building bravery.

And we see miracles everyday. My favorite miracle of the week was when one day we'd set the goal to talk with 75 people. We only had 20 minutes left of the day, and we were only at 50, so we set out to find 5 more people we could invite to learn about Jesus Christ. And what do you know, just at the last second a team of rugby players comes waltzing around the corner. I say to Soeur Swenson, "I'm gonna do it." And then I stopped the entire rugby team, explained we were missionaries, invited them all to learn about Christ, not a single one of them wanted to, but we shared a little moment together, they saw our badges and the light in our eyes, and every single one of them walked away smiling.
Other news:

I've decided I've gotta quit eating pots of yogurt (oooh the chestnut one is my favorite) because I'm turning into a pot of yogurt.
Sometimes I wonder at what point everyone around me's gonna quit the charade and start speaking English already. Never have I loved my native tongue more. For the most part, I never have any idea what people are saying. But since I'm training now, I get to pretend a lot, and that's fun and entertaining and such.
We've made our apartment super girly this week. We finally got a shower curtain and it has mangoes on it and fish (random. awesome.) We also bought a lace table cloth and some flowers and we made some TexMex curry (see picture of Soeur Swenson with hair blowing in the fan--very Martha Stewart I'd say) and now chez-nous feels like a home.

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