Thursday, August 9, 2012

July 30, 2012 - Pau, France

Live like you were dying!

Bonjour, toute le monde!

How is everyone this fine morning? Geez I am fatigued. ha. Yesterday was good! usually sunday after church I feel like going into a coma because I am sooo tired, but not yesterday! So now I feel that way. Luckily I have today to rest. Well, until 4 because Soeur Bertolio signed us up to help someone move out at 4. Then we are having our second FHE at the church! yay!! last week we had our first annual FHE!! not annual, but it makes it sound cool. 

So for our first FHE last week, we prepared to do jeopardy with the members who came and it was like a bible/book of mormon jeopardy and not too hard but like the 500 pt questions were hard. So we had 3 inactives, 2 more recent converts, 1 member, and 1 investigator show up. lol. I swear soeur bertolio was going to die of a heart attack because she didnt think they would know the answers and things would go bad and blah blah blah, but  I was like, CALM THE HECK DOWN!! haha. Kind of like when mom gets super worked up about someone coming for dinner; totally innapropriate because the food will be great like it always is and the people came because they knew that they would have a good time. AND for us, we are missionaries!! The Lord will help us! So we prayed then started the game! and whadya know, the two inactives WON. hahaha. Priscilla and Benisson. Benisson is the brother of Oakeline, this girl I think my age who helps us teach sometimes. Her brother is 19 and has this "I`m so cool" attitude, but he started getting into the game after 5 min of sitting there acting like he was asleep, then he ended up getting second place! I felt bad for the recent converts, but hey! The other two that won came to church and Benisson really wants to teach with us now and all is well! MIRACLE! 

Last Wednesday our recent convert, Jeffrey, who is so great (!) had a bad reaction to allergies or something which resulted in his heart not getting enough oxygen and it actually damaging his heart and putting his life in danger!!! He went to the hospital because he started bleeding out of his nose and mouth last Sunday, then on Tuesday he was put into a self-induced (term for that?) coma so that his heart would heal  and stuff. Needless to say that S bertolio and I were super upset, because he is such an awesome member who is the only member of his family (his family hates the church and thinks we are a sect) and wants to start his papers as soon as he can to serve a mission!! So we prayed and fasted for him and let our members know and it was crazy. So he was suppose to be in a coma until last Thursday, but he was fully recovered by Monday and woke up that day!!!! MIRACLE!!!! Honestly, such a miracle!!!! I am sooo incredibly happy that he is alright! He texted us on Tuesday and was like, Im awake!! I want to see you all! and so we saw him after district meeting cause he came to the church and we had made him cookies and told him to share them with his family. He said that his parents are now wayyyy more open to the church because they were holding on to jeffreys phone and he was getting all the messages and calls from members (he has members in a folder on his phone so it says who is a member and who isnt when he gets calls/messages) saying that they were praying for him and asking how he was doing and everything. So now they are good with meeting us! Jeffrey now is is England for his holiday for two weeks, but when he gets back we are going to meet his parents and hopefully be able to teach them some LESSONS!!!! ahhhhhhhh!!!!! So GREAT!!!! Miraclemiraclemiracle!!!!!!!

For this week, we finished baking all the cookies, which we took to members that we visited this week and shared with them this little leçon that we were told by our to share, then we ventured out and learned how to make chocolate chip zuchini bread!!!! Since we have that GIANT zuchini. So we made 4 loafs and still have 1/3 of the beast. haha. But yesterday at church we handed out the bread to certain members we felt inspired to give it to, and got great reactions!! They loooved that we made them this bread! And yesterday I ran around with this sheet asking for members to sign up to teach with us and got more than I thought of people to signed up! The youth were actually the most willing, and a convert of three years (?) or so, who signed up for like 3 full days! crazy! So that was cool. and we had four investigators come to church!!! which is a lot for us. and our goal for the week!!! Oh, and we were invited to 5 MEMBERS homes this week!!!!!! FIVE! yeah. c'est fou. miracle.

We made two new amis de l`eglise (en français for friends of the church, or "investigators")! Maria, the woman who we have been trying to meet with since I have been here, who lives like five min from us. We had a lesson with her on Friday and it went SO WELL!!! It was just her and us, but it was great. She is allllll about families and I asked her what she thought of the idea of eternal families and she didnt want to believe it, I think because she wants it so much but doesnt want to get disappointed and get her hopes up, which is understandable but unneeded since we wont disappoint!!! we  taught her leçon 0, which is just telling her why we are here and the very basics of what we believe and how we can help her. We talked a lot about families. I showed her photos of you all, which she really liked. Then after the prayer, she cried!!!!!!!!!!! Just a tiny bit, but she cried!! and was like, you guys are coming again, right? It was SO GREAT!!!!!!!!!! She is leaving for holiday today I think, so we wont see her for a few weeks (the WORST! I HATE all of these ricidulously long holidays!!!!!!! they are soooo bad for missionary work!) but we gave her a Book of Mormon and told her that we know that families are forever but she needs to know and we invited her to pray and read and she really committed. It was cool. MIRACLE!!!! Our other new ami is named Fred. Yeah, terrible name, but he is a single divorced dad with two kids. Did I tell you about him? We contacted him when he was with his kids and he has buddhist ideas but his daughter (looks around EIGHT) loves Jesus and going to church. the cutest answer ever. So we met with him on Thursday and gave our leçon 0 also, and he just wants one church that serve others and just are happy and is cool with meeting with us again!! He seems to have really investigated a lot of religions and I think that he is soooo ready!!!! ahhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!! MIRACLE!!!

Thursdays we now have Italiano class!! No more english class since only one person was coming. haha. But now I get to learn 2 languages on the mission!! Or three, if you include teaching with the Spirit! I really like italian. Its kind of ridiculous how alike french is to it. And Spanish!!! basically latin based languages. anyway. 

Friday was this little girl, Oceane's birthday and she turned 6! She's african, and lives in Saragose. S Bertolio really loves her (she knew her before I came to Pau), so she wanted to bring her something for her birthday! So on Friday we went and visited with the lady at the patisserie to get something for the little girl and to  visit the lady. two birds with one stone!! We showed up at the patisserie right before it opened, and she showed up and came around the front to talk to us, then went in the patisserie and let us in, then we talked to her about the brochure we gave her, "the family: a proclamation to the world" and she really liked it! But her husband is muslim. Not her, but that was her excuse. She has two sons and is really nice. she likes us. We havent seen her for 2 weeks but she was super eager to talk to us and when we were leaving we were like, "au revoir!"(goodbye) and she was like, "à bientot!"(see you soon) with a smile on her face. She doesnt know why she likes us so much, but she will!!! So at the patisserie we bought the little girl a little strawberry tarte! so cute. So later on we went to give it to her, in the evening! like 7:30 or so and we decided to walk there, which is about a 30 min walk but it was cloudy and so it was fine. Luckily we brought our umbrellas, because it began POURING halfway there. POURING. Like crazy amounts of rain falling from the sky, little rivers forming on the sides of roads kind of rain. And we were in our skirts with these little umbrellas. hahaha. It was soooo funny. we ended up taking off our shoes because they were soaked and we were stepping in water all over the place. Our skirts were drenched. Our shirts were all wet. Our HAIR was wet!! Crazzzzy. But it was so fun. I love the rain. We were at one point walking on the sidewalk with a cement wall on one side of us and the road on the other, and TWICE a car drove past and purposely drove into the little river to splash us!! It was like a movie! we were soooo drenched. Then we went to Oceane's apartment all wet. Roland (a new member but partially inactive/oceane's older brother) answered the door and was just like, whats a matter with you?" lol. after many times of him telling us to come in even though we were wet, we finally did and gave oceane her little cake and s bertolio had candles and we sang her happy bday with her brother and mom (her moms name is marie, this big african woman who I am so scared of. lol); They hadnt had time to do something for her that day so they were having a late lunch party for her the next day which they invited us to. But Oceane was sooo happy and it was sooo worth getting completely soaked!

The next day we went to their home and had an african dinner!!... Soeur bertolio prayed for our stomaches before leaving the apartment to go. Lol. It didnt taste as bad as the Lamumbas, but Marie (oceane's mom that Im afraid of) served us and so we had soooo much food!!!!!!!!! The first course was this mashed potato like stuff that was more sticky  and didnt taste as good, with this banana (?) stuff that was supppper oily and super sticky. It was weird. blegh. The second course wasnt as bad, cuse-cuse (how do you spell that??) with reallly good tomatoes and onions, and fish. eggh. and not like american fish, but fish that was a whole fish. And I ate all of it. And ate some of Soeur bertolios because she couldnt eat more fish (she HATES fish with a passion). AND starting at the second course I began eating with my fingers, like the rest of the people there. yes, we were the only white people in the whole apartment. lol. I watched how they were eating and they were literally sticking the bones in their mouths and sucking out the meat. So I did it. I was praying sooooo hard. the whole time. That the food would stay down. And guess what? they complimented me! haha. they said they appreciated how I was eating like an african, with my fingers and eating all of the fish! oh man. If they only knew how much of a miracle all of that was. Then we had regular cake. haha. And we shared a message about how we should celebrate God and our blessings and how thats what we are doing with Oceane! Then Marie cut in when s bertolio was thanking her, and told everyone how we came over the night before soaked just to bring a little 6 year old a cake, to make her feel loved. she said that we were like angels or something like that. Africans reallly are good with words; their prayers especially are so beautiful and sometimes realllly long, but thats okay! they love the missionaries!! so after this meal, we did not feel well. at all. It wasnt so much the food, more of the portions. egh. But for that family, it was worth it. MIRACLE!

Our beloved district leader is going home! Elder Kirkpatrick is now finished with his mission, Elder Willet is now our District leader, elder miller and elder james were transferred to Suisse (jealous), and soeur bertolio and I are the same! phew!! elder willet will be TRAINING, and elder loera is getting a new comp. alrighty, well I think thats it! Oh, and I WILL be sending the package by next pday. I am trying to get things together to send it out, its just hard to do with such a small amount of time!!! 

I love you all and am so grateful for this Gospel. Its sooo hard, but once you get into the groove it just gets easier to smile all the time and just to make people happy. I love it!!!!! We are doing this thing call SPARK, basically making peoples lives better, members and nonmembers and we are suppose to give them our numbers each week, and we sent in our number, like 24 or something, and were like, is this possible? do we understand this correctly? and the zone leader was like, yeeah thats possible and the highest in our zone by far!! So Im not sure if we did it correctly. But we are serving our butts off! we are trying so hard to make people happy and to ask to do service and whatnot, so I think we are doing it correctly. maybe others dont understand it, thats why their numbers arent as high. or maybe theyre not making food and cards for members and investigators in their free time. I dont know!

I loveeeeeee life! Yesterday I was thinking about that country song, "live like you were dying" and the words are soooo true!!! I felt lame at first relating life to a country song because thats ridiculously cliché, but it totally applies. "and i loved deeper and I spoke sweeter and I gave forgiveness I'd been denying". Inspired words! maybe, maybe not, but they are great words to live by. 

I loooooooove letters. let me just say that. I love them. A lot. And Ive gotten letters from...3 people since Ive been in Pau? Can we change that? Can I commit my lovely (and busy) family to write me at least ONCE every month? Even a short thing. Because I write hand written letters back to your emails and send photos and postcards, all during my short preparation day. I dont need it, but it would really help me out on a hard day. 

Thank you everyone for your prayers and your emails! Gotta get back to the mines!

Love always,
-soeur gardner-

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