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Monday, September 8, 2014

BIG BISOUS DE TALENCE


This week has been incredible! We worked so hard! It was awesome. Honestly, it was such a great feeling to know we literally did everything possible to fulfill our purpose of "inviting others to come unto Christ". 

1,000 FINDING DAY
So, I explained this a little last week but Paris Mission and our mission joined forces to try to find 1,000 people in a day. We prayed every thirty minutes for guidance to find these people. 

Our day was so intense. We contacted like crazy. On all transports (trams, buses, and on foot). We set aside a lot more time to finding than we usually would in a normal day. 


Halfway through the day we had achieved more than half of our goal for conversations had with people. But we kept pushing hard. The longer we went, the harder it got but we still just kept trying our best. At lunch, we all ate a mille-feuille (an awesome pastry) that translates to "1,000 pages/leafs” as a reminder of our goal as two missions. 


Towards the end of the day, we hadn't really found anyone that seemed really solid. We got three of four numbers but we were starting to feel kind of disappointed at the fruits of our labors. We had gone so hard all day, talked to SO many people and had only found a couple of "iffy" people. With only two or three hours left, we decided that it would be good to end the day with visiting a member family. The family was SO excited to have us and we had planned on only staying for 30 minutes to share a spiritual thought and ask for people they knew who could benefit from the gospel. 

When we were done with our spiritual thought we actually forgot to ask for referrals and it had passed the point of it being an option because it would have been really awkward. 

So, we are about to leave when the dad was like, "Elders, have you eaten dinner yet?" "Literally everything is ready and you have been working so hard today." So we ate a super dinner with them. It was so good and a great unexpected treat. After dinner we are about to go and we ask them if there is anything that we can do to help them and one of the daughters is like "Yes, actually my friend is going to come to church in two weeks and please pray for her so that she has a good experience. If things go well maybe you can teach her!" It was such a cool thing to happen after ALL day of trying to find and then have that blessing just plop into our laps. 

At the end of the day, the missions combined ended up finding about 500 people, pretty short of our goal... but there were so many miracles seen from all around the mission. It was a really neat experience.

TEACHING MEMBERS FRIENDS
So, there was this American that came to our ward one Sunday and was like "I’m just here for a couple of weeks and I have two friends that are German that are super cool that we have to meet up with and you can teach them the Retablissement!” (restoration- of the church)

The day finally rolls around to when we made the appointment and we go to this cafe with him and his friends and the lesson goes SO well. The guys that we taught were so cool. They were normal, had jobs, were religious and really friendly. After the lesson I was just like "GAH! This is how we have to find cool, normal people! Through members!" Really, it is the only way to do things. 

One of the guys politely turned us down to learn more but the other one has more potential and he said that he wants to come to church to see more. They both have Book of Mormons now and they both thanked their friend for showing how much he loved them by sharing what he believes with them. Even though they probably won't join the church anytime soon, they felt the love that their friend has for them and they know more about what we believe. It is a win.

THE MIRACLE OF THE WEEK
So, this miracle literally made my week, if not this transfer. It was literally incredible. Afterwards I felt SO thankful towards Heavenly Father for His help and allowing us to experience such a miracle. 

Anyway! We are in Parc Peixotto (which is a hit or a miss for contacting... more often than not a miss) and it is just super full of people. It is so full that it is to the point of being kind of uncomfortable to walk around and contact. Anyway, this is on Sunday, so two days after the 1,000 finding day. 

Seeing that it is so crowded in this parc, we decided to go to the other side of it which is less crowded are more peaceful when we walk past this Indian family. They look at us and we say "Bonjour!" And they say "Hi!" 

We stop and talk to them a little bit to see how they know English and what they are doing in France. After just making a little small talk they invite us to sit down with them. Turns out they lived in Connecticut for four years. The dad worked at Yale as a researcher and they have been here in France for about a year and a half. 

As we are sitting there talking to them, he tells us that they are Christian and that he just recently turned to believing in God and reading the bible. (he has been a convert for about a year to Christianity). They start asking us questions and we jump right into the first lesson with them. We tell them about the First Vision and they love it. After getting towards the end of the lesson, we are about to ask them if they would like to learn more when the dad tells us "We would love to learn more about this message. It is incredible." The mom was like "I just feel so happy around you. I know that you are good people and I want my children to grow up and be like you." So we set a family home evening up with them. En plus, they invited us to come eat with them! haha. 

The influence of the spirit was unmistakably there. I felt it so strongly. I felt the love that God has for this family. I could see how prepared they are to receive the restored gospel. It was a truly a beautiful experience that I will never forget. Never before have I felt so confident that these people will accept the gospel. I'm so excited to go teach them again!

This week, I have really felt the love of my Heavenly Father and how much He loves ALL of His children. He loves me. He loves the mean people that yell at us. He loves drunkards. There is literally nothing that we can do that can stop God from loving us. Yes, we can disappoint Him, but He will never be so disappointed that He no longer loves us. 

God recognizes our faith and efforts and He rewards us accordingly. 

I know that God lives. I have felt His love and I have seen how He prepares and places people in our paths so that we can help them. It doesn't always mean that we are going to baptize these people but that isn't what it is about. It is about helping others feel God's love for them.

I love the Lord. I love all of you who keep up with my crazy adventures. Being on a mission has helped me recognize how blessed I am with all of you in my life. 

Que Dieu Vous bĂ©nisse! 
Bonne semaine! 

Elder Johnson







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