I am still living in France. Right now I am in the countryside and there are little chickens that are in my line of visibility. We are spending the day in the countryside. It is very beautiful and green here and it reminds me a lot of Oregon. Except here, instead of the blackberries growing in bushes, they grow on trees!
This week was wonderful. Unfortunately I did not get to work much with my lovely companion Elder Johnson. There is a companionship in our Zone in a ville called Mont-de-Marsan and there are is a lot of summer partying that is taking place there right now, so they came and spent most of the week up here in Bordeaux. We got to do some great exchanges and I learned a lot from these younger missionaries (there are some who are coming out who are already 18! crazy!) We saw some very cool miracles take place with them.
I do not recall telling you about Frere Siben. Frere Siben is a less-active member who was baptized in a city called Nimes about 10 years ago. Elder Emal and I knocked on the door of the mansion that he lives in nearly 2 months ago. He explained to us that he was a member, but that he had decided to leave the church. We talked to him for a good while there at the door, but he told us that he couldn't receive us. He had an operation on his eyes this last month, and he told us that he would invite us to lunch with him and his mother when he got the doctors OK. We went over there on Saturday. As we walked through his garden and into his home, I turned and told my companion that it was probably the Frenchest place I'd ever been to on my mission. He lived a large, French-style mansion, with a large living/dining room in the center and wings on either side, with a corridor and many rooms. We lunched with him and his mother and had a very good conversation. His mother is not a member, but she was taught by the missionaries in the past. They are both very religious people, very intellectual and very French (he offered us wine, almost insisted on us tasting some, took his smoking break and we had to turn down their coffee ice cream at the end of the meal). It was a pleasure to share our testimonies and principles of the Restored Gospel. Frere Siben told us of a very spiritual experience that he lived with the missionaries who had taught him. At the end, we asked him if he would like to come back to church. He said he would. We explained that in order for him to be able to renew his sacred baptismal covenants, he was going to have to make to major changes in his life. We explained that it was not going to be easy, but that it would be very possible with the help of the Saviour. He said that he would like to change. In my opinion, I think that helping the Lord to bring back his sheep that have strayed is just as exciting as going out and finding new sheep.
We are teaching new people. In Libourne, we found a woman after leaving Frere Siben's home, who we gave a Book of Mormon to, taught her about it and she invited us to come back. We also will be teaching another woman who comes from Libourne on Friday (we want to start a branch in Libourne, there used to be one there, it is the largest city in our sector). On my exchange with Elder Beyer of Mont-de-Marsan, we found a Portuguese student named Ludmila on Tuesday and taught her together on Wednesday morning. She told us that she would read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. We will be seeing her again tomorrow. Yesterday evening, we had very little time before it was time to return to the apartment, we contacted someone in the middle of the road (there was a little island thing for pedestrian walkers). We ended up talking to him for a good 20 minutes. He told us that last week his wife had told him that she no longer wanted him, and that he had to move out. He was living at a friends home and he told us that the only thing getting him through this trial was his faith in Jesus Christ. We talked to him for an extended period of time about why the Lord gives us trials in life. His name is Gregory and he is an extraordinary person. We will also be seeing him and revealing more of the restored gospel to him this week! The Lord is giving us lots of miracles. Who would have thunk? It is vacation time, and usually it is the most difficult part of the year for Europe missionaries to find people to teach. It must be prayer. :)
Well family, I love missionary work. I secretly like doing what I'm doing now more than anything else I've ever done with my life. I know that what I'm doing for mankind now is the greatest good that can be done. And it is only because I am doing what Christ asked us to do. He did it all. He accomplished the plan of our salvation. He fulfilled his role. He has all power in heaven and in earth. And he now leads his work there and here. I can feel it every single day, sincerely.