Friends and family! We speak once again. I believe that this last week was the fastest past week in my entire mission. I hope that you enjoyed your festivities for the wonderful holiday of Thanksgiving. Our Zone through together a huge thanksgiving feast. We ate every morceau (French word) of the food that we ate. Elder Petek and I made two giant (GIANT) turkey breasts (you can't find a full turkey here unless you go to a farm) and candied yams (they turned out way good, actually) and we also had... stuffing, rolls, potatoes, GINGER ALE, and other joys. It was a wonderful feast full of much gratitude.
Elder Petek and I are seeing some cool miracles in the joyeuse ville de Toulouse. We will be having a baptism this Saturday... Utile, a very intelligent student of international commerce from Germany (but originally from the African country of Burundi) has embraced Christ's restored gospel. We actually just met with her a few hours ago and she is made of Gold. She comes from a Christian background, loves Christ, always loved his gospel, but never really found a church that she felt at home in. She tried our Catholicism, Protestant branches, but when she came to our ward here in Toulouse, met some members and saw the light of Christ in them, she felt out home. She gained her testimony of the Book of Mormon when Elder Petek and I gave her Mosiah 18 to read and pray about. She read it on the subway one day and got the impression that she needed to be baptized. She has changed quite a bit since when we first met her. She is one of the happiest people who I have EVER met. She loves to laugh, sing, dance and tease. Very full of life and very ready for the next stage of her's.
Our dear friend Sebastian received his spiritual confirmation this week. It was actually quite miraculous. He comes from a part-member family (his father-in-law is in the bishopric), but at the background, he was atheist... he comes from a family that is actually quite anti-religious. His heart has really been softened however. The first time Elder Petek and I met with him, we were impressed with how much doctrinal knowledge he had and how much he loved the Plan of Salvation. We committed him to be baptized the 15th next month, he was hestitant to accept at first, but he said that he'd reflect and think about it. On morning this last week, he was putting a DVD in for his young son and reflecting the plan of salvation, and the thought came to his mind, "All I really want is to be able to be with my family for eternity." Then the next thought that came was, "I need to be baptized on the 15th." When he told us this, he told us that he knew that it was because he had done what us missionaries, and Alma (in chapter 32) asked us... to continue feeding the seed with diligence and patience. He got his spiritual confirmation! We are so happy for him, he has really changed a lot since when we first met him... taking notes at church, participating in gospel principles class, etc. Christ changes people! He was a little bit scared to tell his mom about his decision, but we prayed a lot and her heart was softened when they talked, she accepted his decision and will even attend the baptism! Miracles!
Elsa and David are progressing very well. They accepted the Word of Wisdom, which is a very great sign of faith in Chinese investigators (tea and alcohol are a huge part of Chinese culture... it is drunk at family events and parties, to show respect to hosts and to your elders). They are keeping the Law of Chastity (they are the cutest, most innocent Chinese couple you'll ever meet). They are really growing in their faith. In our lessons, David always wants to say the opening prayer and he always says, "God, please illuminate the path before me" then he sits and listens attentively to what we have to say. Elsa is amazing. She is very honest, sincere, and asks the greatest questions. There is no doubt in my mind that they will be great tools in the Lord's hands when the field opens in China.
Speaking of which, we are finding incredible Chinese people to teach (this has been a focus in our companionship, because my incredible collegue speaks their language beautifully) and I have begun learning the language of Mandarin Chinese. It is a very difficult one, but fun to speak... and I can almost pray in it! The gift of tongues!
Well, that's all I've got time for this week, my loved ones. I love you and think of your examples often. I love the Lord also and am eternally grateful that he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and to set at liberyty them that are bruised.
PS. I'm really bad at taking pictures. I'll try to be better at that this week. Toulouse is BEAUTIFUL.