Monday, January 13, 2014

"Know ye not that ye are in the hands of God?"(Mormon 5:23)

This week we held a huge activity for the world of Lyon. We called it "Families are Magic" and did genealogy with people and talked about their origins and ate treats and told family stories and looked at family pictures. We had a slideshow of all the missionaries' family pictures, and a huge map of Europe and of the world where people could see their origins and write where they come from. We had an elder play the piano the whole time (Chopin, Rachmaninoff, hymns--it was seriously wonderful. Four hours of piano playing. Impressive.), and out front we made a huge tree and hundreds of leaves that people would write their names and ancestors' names on and pin them up. We invited the church members, and our amis, and people off the street, and made a lot of new friends and heard some really incredible stories. One lady was from Sicily. Her family was in the Mafia--the original italian mafia. They were also Jewish, and many went to concentration camps in World War II. After the war, the walked--walked--from Sicily up through Italy then traversed the Alpes, to get to France. They ended up in Lyon, and that's why she's here. We invited over 2,000 people to come talk about their family, made about 50 family trees with people, taught 5 lessons right there that night, and ate three plates of gingerbread cookies, two loaves of banana bread, a tray of marshmallow-rice-krispie balls, 120 chocolate chip cookies, and two cookie sheets of cinnamon rolls. (It was the first time I made cinnamon rolls. Not as good as mom's. I will continue trying.)

We did an exchange in St. Etienne where we had two miracles--we walked up to a building to visit someone right at the moment that a distressed not-French girl was there trying to get in. She was holding a pillow and couldn't for the life of her figure out how to open the front door to the apartment building. (Here in France the buildings have little black circles on the front that you have to wave a little magic key wand thing in front of to get in. She had no idea what to do.) So we helped her out, and she almost cried and said how hard it's been for her--she just got to France from Canada and nothing's been working out. So we got to talk to her a bunch and encourage her. Turns out the people we'd gone to visit there weren't home. But turns out we were supposed to be there for that girl. Cool feeling.

Then later I talked with a dad and his little son on the tram, and they were super nice--we had a really great conversation, but then they suddenly jumped off because they'd almost missed their stop. And I was like, "Aw nuts!" because they were wonderful and I wanted to invite them to hear our super wonderful message about how families are eternal. Missed that opportunity. Well thirty minutes later we were trying to decide where to go. We felt we should go visit someone in particular, and so we were walking to get the bus. Missed the bus. Missed the other bus. Kept walking. And then who should walk up, but the dad and his son, with the rest of the family! We got to talk to them and laugh with them and we got to tell them a little bit about our message too. I love moments like that.
Some good news:

1. For Christmas, we got some new "mission-approved music." On that CD is the Mormon Tabernacle's version of Lord of the Rings. During district meeting someone turned it on (I didn't know it was on the CD) and oh my gosh I almost started crying. Everyone laughed. I love Lord of the Rings okay?

2. While walking through the metro at Charpennes the other night, I realized that I'm now at the point on my mission where if any of my friends or close family members who are currently single find their "one and only" while I'm still on my mission, they can probably wait for me to get home before they get married. Thanks you people! (You know who you are. Now good luck in your finding efforts heh heh.)

3. Ate raclette for the first time this week. It smelled weird. Liked the concept though.

4. Transfers are this next week! I'm going to Nice to ride bicycles on the boardwalk and bask in the sunshine. (Or at least that's what I keep telling my companion to tease her.)

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