NEWS (INVESTIGATOR'S NAMES HAVE BEEN CHANGED TO MAINTAIN ANONYMITY)
AUGUST 19, 2013 - Speaking in church!
HI! So...where to start? Africans. They are something. I LOVE them. so much! Goodness. They're so expressive and passionate about what they believe, and about what they feel. At first I hesitated to make that huge generalized statement, but... they keep proving me right. Ha. So... That will lead me in to talk about Colette.
Well.. Elder Leau has been having some issues lately. Namely, headaches, stress (we're both suffering from a little bit of stress actually), and apparently he has no motivation to do anything. Which has been hard on me because I cope with my stress by just forgetting about it and working harder, and he copes by doing everything he can to get us to stay in the apartment as long as we can. Well.. one day he really just wasn't himself, and had a huge headache, so he told me he HAD to rest for a second. I reluctantly let him. (I vow to never take a nap my entire mission.) But I got in a killer study so it's all good. Anyway. During his 3 hour nap :( I got a phone call from the sisters in our area saying, "what are you doing?... oh Good! Wake Him up and come here now, we need the priesthood!" So I woke him up and we booked it to Carouge where there was a lady that apparently needed a blessing. Colette. We had a little talk before hand to see what was going on. I honestly couldn't tell you exactly what her problems were because I couldn't pinpoint just one. But she definitely needs a little bit of optimism and some one that loves her. She has just been the center of all things negative since she lost her husband 11 years ago, and so she thinks she's losing her mind. Or she thinks everyone just hates her. I'm not sure. But what I do know is that she has a cousin (or uncle) that is LDS, and simply told her, "what on earth are you waiting for, CALL THE MISSIONARIES! THEY CAN HELP YOU!" So.. we answered the call, and there we were, 4 missionaries in her living room. (which I think was against the rules, but I'm not sure how else we would have done that...) Anyway. to make this long story a little shorter I'll just say that the spirit was so strong in that room. We gave her the blessing, asked her how she felt, and at first she started crying, then she started singing, then she started dancing. HAHA. once we got her to calm down her excitement for a second, we asked if we could sing a little song for her, and she agreed of course. So we sang I am a Child of God. (which ended up in 4 part harmony. so that was awesome). But boy was she bawling. She is SO committed to do everything she needs to do, because she knows that if she lives the way Jesus taught us to, she can finally find the happiness she's been missing. She's obviously the sister's ami, but we're in the same sector working for the same purpose in the same ward. So. boom miracles are happening in my sector. :)
We had a picnic with the ward on Saturday and I made a point to invite everyone I talked to to that picnic. And we had 2 non-members, and 1 less active there. SO.. it was super great! Plus we all played soccer, and everyone likes the mormons now. ha.
Ok.. I spoke in church yesterday. Kind of on the fly. With no notes. For about 8 minutes. I consider that a huge accomplishment. :) Actually church was AWESOME yesterday. But it pretty much always is in this ward. OH! they asked me and my companion to go help in the primary. Turns out the primary program is in about a month, and the music people just moved out. So me and Elder Leau are on it. :) he's better at playing the piano so basically, I kind of have the part time calling of primary chorister. It's a DREAM COME TRUE. ha. Gosh those little kids are so adorable. And in fact, they know the songs SO well. It's nuts. So it makes my job easy. But yes everyone. All the things you've heard about serving with the primary are true. They are little angels for sure. ha. They are so funny though. Reminds me of mom and all the crazy stories she always had. I'm getting a little taste of it now. But in French we speak to children with tu instead of vous like everyone else. And I'm certainly not used to the tu-toi-ing people. So cool. My french will get better there too. :)
One last thing, I just had to write about my Famille Bonny. They are incredible. So there's this family in the ward named the Bonny family. The wife and Grandparents are actually from Spain. And they all speak Spanish, so I already loved them from the beginning. Well. last transfer Elder Dieduksman and I had the opportunity to go to their gorgeous little home in France for dinner. I haven't had time to write about it until now.. So... The grandpa of the family was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and was given no longer than 2 months to live. (this was a month and a half before our little dinner together). He was living with the family and was hooked up to oxygen when we got there. I was so surprised that they let us come over at such a hard time, but I guess that's why they invited us to begin with. Before eating dinner I had an experience I'll never forget. I got to talking with the grandpa (in Spanish of course). At first we just talked about Spain and how he likes it better there, and how the culture is so much more his way of living. But then the conversation shifted, and he started telling me about experiences he has had in his life and what lessons he's learned. He told me about his experience in the war, and told me about the concentration camps he saw. Exactly what we had always learned about in school. But it was interesting to see how he was literally trying to tell me his life story, and everything he'd learned in his life. To be honest, it was about as much of a spiritual experience for me as I've ever had, because truthfully, I could tell that part of him had already left. It was as if he was in the ending stage in his life, and he knew he had to start saying goodbye to everyone. Well.. about a week ago today, he passed away. And I don't think I'll ever be able to explain how this happened, but that family and I are so so close right now. The grandma actually reminds me a TON of our ati. She just came up after sacrament yesterday and said some of the most touching things to me. Then the mom and I had an incredible conversation about her father, and she told me how incredibly touched she was to hear about that conversation I had with her father, because she had noticed that he was already kind of gone at that point to, but she kind of felt crazy for thinking so. I will honestly NEVER forget this family or this experience I got to go through with them. They've taught me a ton about how to go through trials in our lives.
One thing he told me over and over in our conversation was, "I'm just an island. You know what an island is right?" And I'd say, Yes, it's a piece of land surrounded by water. And then he'd say, "Exactly. Except, I'm just a man surrounded by love." I hope that our homes can always be that way. I hope that when we're home we feel like little islands. I think that's the best way to live life.
They invited us over for dinner again for next Monday, so I'll make sure I get a picture with them. I never want to forget this experience. I love you all so much. Pray and Look for ways to serve people EVERY DAY. I promise you'll run into a service opportunity every day if you do that. Let's put some optimism in this world, and be that light and standard for the nations. I love you! Elder Lago (no pictures this week... sorry..... ) :(