I'm thinking I'll summarize how this week went with a couple big ideas.
One: Don't forget your recent converts in other cities! Two: Fill your mind with good constantly, and God will show you a lot more miracles. The first idea circulates around the calls I made to converts who had been baptized while I served in that city. Many of those who were baptized a year ago are no longer active, and that's hard for me. Each one of these people felt something powerful when they were baptized, and to realize that they've slipped away from active church involvement kind of hurts. I realize this slip is more common than I previously thought, maybe it's a natural part of being a new church member; the realization that life after baptism is still hard, and maybe harder in certain ways after baptism. Especially feeling involved in the social loop of the church. I believe strongly that even though some people go less active in the church shortly after baptism, if I keep encouraging them, and the ward keeps helping them, then they'll come back even stronger than before.
Place de La Bastille - Paris
New church membership can be much more difficult than people who have been in the church for a long time think. I I don't think they realize how estranged these people feel, how new this whole process feels. I understand why children who are baptized at eight years old stay involved, it's because they've got a cocoon of support from their family and friends. The challenge is for the people who go to church regularly to act like a big family for those new converts. So, all of you reading this, reach out to those people whoever they are, and the Lord will bless you. I know I would be grateful to any members who reach out to those who were baptized when I served in their city.
Fill your mind with good constantly and the Lord will show you miracles. Um, well, it's true. The scriptures, talks from General conference, and inspiring music will force the bad out of your head and plant some good. I think we focus too much on forcing, ripping, tearing out the bad in our head, when all we have to do is think some higher thought; it works. More than forcibly thinking good things, just to have good things going in the background of your daily grind (such as good, uplifting music, or an inspiring talk) helps to make an okay day really good. It's like God took off your headphones, your shades, and your big black overcoat all at once and said, 'look, it's a beautiful day!' I listened to/read some very inspiring material this week, and I'll tell you that we experienced a lot of miracles. We found four new people to teach. We attained our numerical goals for the week. We gave out four Books of Mormon! Things won't go perfect when you fill your mind with good, but things will undoubtedly go better. So try it; when you've got a free moment, read a verse of scripture, or listen to an inspiring motivational speaker or conference talk, it works!
Train Travel. I don't know how I snapped this but it's beautiful!!!
Now to fill you all in on what actually went on this week, in terms of physical events. As we were talking to people on the road one night, I was joking around with Elder S, saying the clouds don't have feelings, I'm going to insult them and see what happens; "I wouldn't do that if I were you", he said. We approach the river and our sunny clear night had transformed, sure enough, into a monster storm. We took some pictures of the massive cold front eating Blois like a tidal wave then we ran home just in time to not get soaked.
Giant Storm in Blois on Monday Night April 11, 2016
We visited with some members who cook really well. We invited our Ami F to a fun activity with lots of different people who come to church. He was a little timid at first but then all the men there started talking about cars and that broke the ice for him quickly and everyone had fun pulling up pictures of their favorite cars on the internet. We ate some almost-American burgers and finished with french patisseries.
I would like to end this week with telling you all how nice it is to be a missionary! Most days are really difficult but I'm grateful for that. I really like overcoming difficult circumstances. I feel thankful for my leaders and parents who helped me get to, and through the mission thus far. And above all I love Heavenly Father for all he teaches me, and how lucky we are to be alive and experiencing the rigors and the pleasures that come with every day.
Je vous aime
A Dish called Briani. It was kind of like South America, it looks like a lot of rice. It was very very good!