Monday, January 20, 2014

J'ai resté en Lyon!

This is a photo from the Family History Fair from last weeks letter.  
I just found it on the Facebook Lyon page. 

Alrightly! So guess what?! I'm staying in Lyon! Woot woot! I get to stay with my dad! (My trainer)! Honestly, I wanted so badly to stay. I prayed every single day that if I left I could have the heart to accept it. But I don't have to yet! bahaha. 

Our equip is going to be so busy this transfer. We are starting to have a lot of amis--AND I'm starting to understand missionary life! I'm a little sad about the transfer though, as Elder Davis and Soeur Vidal were transfered. But, I guess it is an opportunity to make more friends! 

On Tuesday of last week I finished the Book of Mormon! SPOILER ALERT FOR ALL YOU NON MORMONS. Each time I read it I always hope the Nephites will repent so they don't get destroyed... but alas, the ending of the book never changes. 

At the end of the Book of Mormon I felt impressed to take up Moroni's promise and pray and ask if the Book of Mormon is true or not. I went back to the bedroom and knelt down in prayer. After I finished I opened my eyes and waited a little bit. I didn't really feel anything miraculous. I just felt happy. That was my answer. 

I've made it a goal for this new year to read the entire Livre de Mormon.. which will be difficult because it takes me forever to read in French but I'm going to try! 

In my reading I found something really cool.  In Moroni 8:16 it says: 
"Wo unto them that shall pervert the ways of the Lord after this manner, for they shall perish except they repent.  Behold, I speak with boldness, having authority from God; and I fear not what man can do; for perfect love casteth out all fear."

This scripture has really helped me when it comes to contacting people and being rejected. It is essential for me to continue to develop a "perfect love" for the people of France because when you can love someone more than you fear them, you can do anything. This scripture just REALLY hit me. When love overcomes fear, that is when miracles happen. 

So we contacted this woman two days before Christmas... there was NO ONE else on the rue and she happened to be walking the same direction as us. She is a bit older and she had a ton of bags so we asked if we could help her carry them. She said that she was fine. Anyway! After talking to her about the craziness of the Holidays and such we moved on to the fact that we are missionaries for Jesus Christ. We got her number and gave her our card. She said to contact her after the holidays...

Anyway the holidays passed and we kind of forgot about her but one planning session the name Solange popped into my head. I didn't remember who Solange was but her name was in the phone! We contacted her and she invited us over to teach her. In the lesson she told us about how she had a friend that told her she should talk with us because we could make her happy. On top of that, at the end of the lesson, she told us that she needs to come to church every Sunday and that she would do some type of service for the church to "pay" for our visits. 

The even greater miracle is that we would not have met this woman if we hadn't had appointments fall through/get cancelled. In the moment, I remember feeling so discouraged. At times it is impossible for us to see the eternal purposes of God--especially during times of trial but even though we can't see them, they are still rolling on.

OH! and she brought a friend the to the second rendez-vous who has since become an amie! 
The other miracle of this week was that there were 11 amis at church this week. YES, ELEVEN!!!! Out of the eleven, five happened to be ours.. but whatever ;) We aren't that great. Really, this work is only possible because of the Lord. We are simply the tools the Lord uses to cultivate the hearts of people. Everything else is Him. 

Okay! So I haven't really been doing a good job on keeping you up to date on our amis so I'm going to do better! This week has been SO much better than last week. I think the Lord was giving us a difficult week so we could see the contrast. 

So I've talked a little bit about our amis above but I will do it more in depth down here. 

Our two amis who have a baptismal date for this Saturday aren't quite ready to be baptized, so we are pushing those back until they are more prepared. It is a little disappointing but this is where I should push aside my desires for a baptisms and focus on the needs of the amis. 

At the moment we have about five really reliable amis and about four others that are hard to set up rendez-vous with. 

I talked a little bit about Solange above. She is so golden. When you have an amie tell you that they MUST come to church every sunday, they are pretty darn elect. At our first appointment with her she was amazed we didn't drink tea or coffee. She asked what we could drink and we said we like water or apple juice. The next appointment there were two HUGE glasses of apple juice waiting for us on the coffee table as we came in. Super sweet. She also gave us a ton of cookies. She is easy to love. 

We have another ami named Sylvain, who is doing great. It has been tough because his wife isn't very approving... OR WASN'T! We prayed every single day for her to come into the lessons. Usually she would just stay in the kitchen or something. But we prayed and prayed and prayed. Nothing different. Then, the last lesson we taught with him (the Word of Wisdom) she came in and sat down with us like it was the normal thing to do. She said she thought it was super cool that we took care of our bodies. When we invited them to keep the Word of Wisdom-- they both said yes! Without pause. The spirit was there and it testified to them and the best part is that they listened to it! 

So, actually this week I found an electronic scale that would read in pounds instead of kilos and I weigh 149.8 lbs! So, since the beginning of my mission I have gained about 15 pounds, bahaha. Pretty funny! If I continue at this rate I could be around 300 by the end! ;) I think it is a combination of all the bread, chocolate, eating out of stress, and awesome member meals! 

I found a black woman who didn't want to hear more about Jesus... that was a real eye opener... I didn't know they existed. But apparently they do. In all honesty, I don't think she was black. 

I got SO FRUSTRATED at the beginning of this week. SO frustrated with my French. I was thinking negatively and realized that the only way to get better at French is speaking with people but the crappy part is that I have to speak to people in broken french! I was just fuming at myself for not being more capable when I realized I have only been speaking French for about 2ish months... Oh yeah.. And I met an american on the metro who had been living in Lyon for much longer than me and there French was WAY worse! So it made me feel better. 

But yeah! The French is actually pretty good. I just need to be more patient. 

That's all for now! I love you all! Keep on being awesome!

Avec amour beaucoup,
Elder Johnson

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