I have so much to tell you about and so little time to tell it! En bref, the first week of the transfer was really good. Like I told you about last week, we have quite a bit of potential at this point in time, but at this point we are kind of going through a weeding process. We're trying to sort through or investigators so that we can focus our efforts on those who are truly sincere and are really going to progress.
Bruno is sincere. He has a sincere desire to come unto Christ and to follow him for the remainder of his days. He has a huge obstacle to overcome: cigarettes. To him it is quite daunting, but he has already made a ton of progress. When we first met him about a month and a half ago he was smoking about 200 grams on a daily basis, and now he is at about 60 grams. He is stuggling though with the idea of just completely quitting. So Elder Powell and I decided that we need to make a stand. So we took some time yesterday evening to make a fake box of cigarettes with little colorful rolled up inspiring scriptures inside. The packet has images of the Savior on it. We are going to give him that to help him with the habit of having something between his fingers (which is apparently a difficult habit to overcome) and then we are going to lay out to him a week long plan that involves mouth wash and grapefruit juice that is designed to couteract the triggers of the tabacco temptation. We hope that this will help him to get off cigarettes completely. He really has the desire to be baptized next month and we know that it is possible.
Regis is slightly slipping. He is not putting the Book of Mormon or Jesus Christ as his major priority in his life at this time. We might have to drop him this week, and give him some time to prepare a little bit more. I know that he will be baptized someday, and I would love to be there for it, but he has quite a bit more preparation to do, and he isn't finding the time or the desire to do it right now.
Flora is someone really special. She has had a lot of opposition. She is in the middle of a nasty divorce. Her mother, a traditional Catholic, told her false things about us and prohibited her from continuing to meet with us. This is competely normal. In France, whose culture is strongly influenced by tradition, it is difficult for family members to see their loved ones turn away from these traditions. But Flora cannot deny the Spirit that she felt with us. We haven't seen her since, but I've had some lengthy conversations on the phone with her and she has a great desire to read, ponder and pray. We hope that some of the situations in her life will change so that she can start meeting with us more regularly and prepare for the baptism that she still has the desire to do.
Those are the people that we have been focusing our efforts on the last few weeks. But I think one of my favorite things about being a missionary, and the things that I don't tell you enough about in my weekly emails are the little tender mercies of the Lord. The times on the mission when you really really feel like the hands of the Lord and you get to act for him on a daily basis. I do my best to record these experiences in my daily journal, but there are so many of them that it is difficult to always keep track.
For example, this last week my companion and I were just doing some contacting in downtown Dijon. We met two English speakers, a Canadian boy and a Scottish girl who were backpacking across Europe. They had just come from Paris and they decided to stop in Dijon instead of Lyon because they were sick of the big city. We were some of the first people they met here. We explained who we are and got to know them a little bit. They told us that they had taken this journey to Europe to meet people and to come to know themselves a little bit better. We were able to leave them with 2 books of mormon in english and our testimonies. I don't think I'll ever see what happens, but it gave me so much joy to just be a tiny tool in the hands of the Lord to help these two people in their spiritual progression. Radical!
I love you much, and I wish you the best! Good courage, as the French would say.