. Our whole zone came right here to our little chapel in Chambery. The President wanted to see the less often visited areas, so we stuffed everyone into our little building. Our sweet Relief Society was so excited to get the chance to make lunch for all the missionaries and to meet "THE" President Roney. They are just the cutest. We really had such an inspirational meeting. I've learned the importance of preparing way in advance before you have any type of meeting where leaders have been inspired and have been preparing messages to help us. We fasted, prayed a lot, and studied a lot the things we hoped to learn from conference. After a lot of praying and studying, I went into conference with several questions in mine that I hoped to receive some revelation on. Sure enough, I did! I really wanted to know how to have more faith in setting high expectations. I currently have 10 people here that I want to get baptized so badly! We're not even teaching half of them...yet. I just love these people so much, and I know how happy the gospel would make them, and I can see how prepared they have been to hear the gospel. But, telling yourself you are going to baptize 10 people is a very scary thing to do, because you're putting yourself out on a limb and making yourself vulnerable to a very unpleasant thing--rejection and disappointment. So, I listened to the messages given, and I asked my President this question when it was my interview. The things I learned are so great. We HAVE to set high expectations. Like it says in PMG, if we lower our expectations, we lower our effectiveness. It's good to have that mindset. But, if those things don't happen, I need to remember that God is in control. Everything we do here is a trial of our faith. He wants us to completely trust Him, and rely on Him. If He gave us every last thing we wanted, we wouldn't know a blessing when we got it. He does everything in His timing, because He sees the bigger picture and knows what's best for us. He knows when things need to happen, when people are ready for certain things, and He has the reasons for EVERYTHING! When a prayer isn't answered the way I want it to be answered immediately, that is the time when God is seeing if I will truly put my trust and faith in Him to know that this is His work, not mine. That is a principle that can be applied to every walk of life!
Then after conference I headed off on exchanges to Geneva Switzerland! My companion for the day was Soeur Schultes, a German who has about 3 months left. In our apartment in Geneva was a sister from Portugal, and another one from England. So, I was the only American! That was such a fun experience. We had a great time teaching each other all about our own specific cultures. Switzerland was really cool, especially because the people there speak so much slower. I actually understood a lot! And it's so diverse there, even more so than here, so we ran into a lot of English speaking people as well. We had lunch with the greatest family ever from Africa, and they made us this heavenly cheesy potato dish. She loved us so much, it was the cutest thing, because she wouldn't stop hugging us, and people in this part of the world never, ever hug. So it was so nice to finally be hugged again! I didn't realize how much I missed it...haha. Don't get me wrong though, I love the bise. We got lots of interesting reactions in Geneva, from people telling us we are liars when we said that God loves them, to people talking with us for half an hour all about faith. It was a great time!
People have been asking me cultural questions, so I'll quickly say my 3 favorite things about France.
1. The food. I don't care how cliche it is, the food here really is the best in the world. Sorry America.
2. The laid-back atmosphere. Everyone here loves to just chill at a cafe for hours and hours. Or it's perfectly normal every evening at home to spend 2-3 hours eating dinner because that's the time that you sit and talk and relax with your family and friends. People just sit in the park all the time, or just ride bikes, or just relax basically anywhere. This is not a go-go-go society like America.
3. They keep their ancient historical atmosphere. The architecture and buildings are ancient. It's normal to just walk next to a 400 year old chateaux. I love how they don't feel a need to modernize everything. The whole landscape here really is just so breathtaking. The rolling green hills, the little cottages with colorful shudders, and massive gardens in the yard, all surrounded by a cute little antique gate. We buzz the doorbell at people's gates and they just poke their head out of their top window and open their shudders like the girl on Enchanted. Haha. The whole "look" of everything here is just something I love.
Well, that's all I have time for folks. I love what I'm doing and I'm grateful for every second that I'm here. Something else I learned this week is the importance of remembering that we are these people's missionary for eternity. Our missionary work isn't over until we are all dwelling with God again one day, and we look over and see those we taught the gospel to sitting there next to us. To those of my friends and family who have served missions, keep in contact with those who taught on your mission. They need your help, and it is our calling to walk the entire path back to God with them. We don't just stop half-way because our service as a full-time missionary is over. We all must be doing all that we can to bring souls unto Christ. And please please please be willing to help the missionaries in your ward, and prayerfully figure out people who you feel they could teach right now. WE NEED YOUR HELP! I can't stress this enough. Especially after an article that a very inspired sister of mine sent me this week... (props Court)
I love you all! Keep praying and keep the faith! Thank you for your support and prayers! I really feel strengthened by them.
Je t'aime beacoup!!