Monday, December 21, 2015

The best way to spread Christmas cheer is - 21 décembre 2015

From the platform at Béthune
SINGING LOUD FOR ALL TO HEAR. And that we did. Basically our entire week was running around singing to everyone and giving people cookies. It was delightful. Except we burn cookies like it is an Olympic sport. We burned at least 6 trays of cookies. French ovens. Ugh. Or it was just us and our lack of hearing the tiny little timer. Nevertheless, people got some semi good cookies, some ok singing, except "angels we have heard on high" glorias made us bust up laughing with everyone's inability to hold it out, and beautiful cards we bought from an Abbey/Monastery in St. Pol sur Ternoise.

Macdo with Soeur Rivièrre
Sœur Meurisse drove us around the countryside into little villages to sing to less actives, single members, and brought us to a new ami! We visited 14 people in one day. May not seem like a lot, but considering the distance in between each of the people, it's a lot. The most time we spent in one place was 15 minutes. We were flying. But it was great.

The day ended splendidly. Franck is our new ami. The most solid ami I've had yet in Arras. God has prepared him and he has experienced a lot of difficult things to humble him to receive the gospel. He has had to start over at ground zero. Divorced, lost his job, lost basically everything else, and just had to pull himself up. He came from poverty but fought his way out of the cycle, beating many odds and recognizes the hand of God in his life in saving him until now.

He lives next door to a less active member, but works with another member. He had seen us come over to visit his neighbor a few times and thought we were Jehovah's Witness... Common mistake. Well, he had studied with the JW for a bit, as he has been searching for the truth, being confused with so many churches and so many bibles. He asked who we were to his neighbor and that began a discussion. The member with whom he works then got him a Book of Mormon and invited him to meet with us. And thus we met and had a lovely rendezvous at his house with Soeur Fournelle and Soeur Meurisse.

We taught the entire Restoration and it went so smoothly. No interruptions during the first vision, awesome testimonies from members, and he had some great questions. He said "it's like I've known this without knowing it before." when we shared the first vision. I asked him how he feels, and that is how he replied. We invited him to baptism. He accepted. He truly is such a miracle placed into our hands. I am grateful for valiant members who live the gospel and share it by their actions  and words. Without them, we simply cannot do this work. No matter how many doors we knock, how many people we stop on the street or on transportation, the best way to have solid amis is to have been taught by example of the members and they invite them to learn more. What are you doing to help the work go forth in your ward?

Bonday sticks.
Bonday was splendid as usual. It was nice to serve at their house, as we have not been able to for a few weeks. We cleaned up their garage, sanded a door, painted said door, painted some more picket fences, and climbed on some "sticks". Brother Bond got a little delivery for his wood working. They made us try some mince meat pie, strait up ginger drink stuff, and some chutney. Always an adventure. We practiced God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen for the ward Christmas party. To be quite frank, I was a bit apprehensive. Guitar + amp, tambourine, Shakers, and maracas.... In a church... I felt a little baptist or evangelical. But it turned out fun and everyone loved it. We added the spice to the evening.

Christmas caroling with
some wonderful members.
Saturday we weekly planned in the morning and headed strait for the chapel to be divided to conquer the world with secret Santa stuff and more caroling. We did member splits into 4 groups, so one missionary per group. I went with Bishop and Soeur Leterme, her mom, a young man, and two of the young women, Paola and Noémi. It was pretty fun. We sang, prayed, and delivered baskets of food and treats. Nothing like giving and singing and praying. It's the best. Then finished the night with the ward party. Every auxiliary performed a piece. Soeur Soileau and I were invited to sing with the young women too, so we sang "away in a manger" and then "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" with the rockin Bonds. It was a good night. Franck didn't come, which was a bummer, but a ton of less actives did and everyone seemed to have a great night of love, service, and Christmas spirit.

I am so excited for this week. It should be filled with awesome. Headed to Paris tonight, sleeping over in my old apartment, and going tomorrow to pick up my legality ID card that allows me to live in France for another year! Then district meeting, lesson visits, district activity, Christmas Eve with members, Christmas Day with the Sanchez family, SKYPE MY FAMILY, and find more of my brothers and sisters looking for the truth.

I am grateful for the 40 day fast we have been a part of. It has not been easy, nor how I thought it would be. I had mustered some faith to try and find 40 Amis before Christmas, we tried pretty hard. I don't feel like I did everything I could, which is frustrating, but I suppose it has been a very good lesson in humility and reliance upon the Lord.

Though we may not find 40 by Christmas, we've found 4. And two more children have been brought closer unto Christ: Soeur Soileau and I have both felt a deeper connection to our Savior, Jesus Christ. I suppose the soul that needed to be brought unto Christ was my own. If that is all I did, I think I can feel okay. I know my savior lives. I know He has a plan. I know that prayer is real. I know there is power, literal strength, in reading the Book of Mormon. I know that Christ loves me. He loves you. I have felt His overwhelming love for others. I know His gospel and church have been restored to the earth and I have come to know of their importance and vitality to our salvation. I have shared His message and the story of His birth and in doing so I have discovered why "a savior is born." We need Him. We simply couldn't do it without a savior.

Jesus Christ, our Savior was born and He lives.

Merry Christmas, Sœur Kate Simpson

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