I don't know if you know this already, but it was announced that there will be 58 new missions in the world beginning this July. One of them is the Oregon Salem mission. James, prepare well, you might be getting called to serve in your own city!
It is snowing in Toulouse and has been for the last 24 hours. All is white and cold and there are not very many people out wandering around. It is vacation time for the students and all is tranquil in Toulouse. And the work continues to role forth! I am now serving here with Elder Uluave, who comes from South Jordan, Utah and is 1/8th Tongan (but looks more than that). He is an excellent missionary, has been a leader nearly his entire mission (served as ZL in Montpellier with Elder Petek just before he was put with me) and has an incredible desire to serve the Lord and God's children here in France. He is also probably the funniest missionary I have ever met. Ever since we've been together it's been non-stop laughter. I honestly cannot contact people with him, because he will make me laugh too hard. We're really looking forward to our next month together.
The baptism of Tracey has been delayed once again for the 9th of March. She very much wants as many members to be there as possible to support her, and the past and upcoming Saturdays have been difficult for the members to be there, because of activities and events. Elder Uluave and I have been having a difficult time thinking of things to help her to progress in her faith. We thought it would be good to go over the Plan of Salvation with her once more. She knew it like the back of her hand, understanding the importance of each principle and part, and even pulling out scriptures from the Book of Mormon for the principles. Yesterday at church there was a woman there for her first time and she asked a question about the state of Adam and Eve before their transgress and she decided to respond, talking about the need of opposition in all things, the innocent state of Adam and Eve and the necessity of the fall. She's also taken the habit, that at the beginning of each lesson that we have with her, she writes the chapter that she read from the Book of Mormon up on the board and then a little theme that she found for the chapter. She then shares with us a few of her favorite scriptures from the chapter. Needless to say, she is progressing very well on her own. She is very excited for her baptism, but even moreso for what she has afterwards, all the blessings and opportunities of the Restored Gospel. She is thinking a lot lately about missionary work. ;)
It was a very good week in missionary work. I am so grateful for this opportunity that I have to serve the Lord with all of my time and with all of my energy. I am so grateful for the blessings that I see from it every day. It is so, so true that if we "lose ourselves" for His cause, we truly "find ourselves". I can truly say that I am the happiest that I've ever felt in my life. I know that the Lord gives me these feelings to show me that what I am doing pleases him. Then when I see young men and women in the ward in which I serve prepare to serve the Lord full time, I can't help but grab them by the shoulders, shake them and tell them to get ready for the most incredible journey of your life. It is the most illogical thing in the world that the Lord sends 18 and 19 year old boys and girls to go into the world and do his work, the most important work in the world. It is so illogical that it must be inspired. I know that this is the Lord's work. He looks after and takes care of his servants. And as we learn to become just that, servants, we are changed forever. It changes our life. I am so greatful for the opportunity that the restored church gives to it's members to draw closer to the Savior by serving him.
I would like to tell you all that I love you much. I wish you an excellent week. Have a happy Dr. Seuss' day (or is that next week). I hope that everyone's heart grows 3x in size! The only way to do so is through the Atonement ;). Take care and stay warm!