Happy July 1st!!! What a marvelous time the last two months have been :) May and June encompassed much learning, growth, and change. July will surely bring more of the above along with a nice dose of adventure! :) We should be leaving exactly two weeks from TODAY; though we are containing our enthusiasm until we get our official travel plans, which should happen later this week.
Here is my attempt at writing a week in review:
On June 25th we had a District Christmas!!! Why? Well, because we won't be together for Christmas in July, nor December, so we decided to celebrate early. We sang Christmas songs in English, French, and even learned a few new ones in Tahitian from our teachers! Everyone wore red and skipped around campus all day long. Christmas, of course, wouldn't be complete without presents, so each person drew a "secret missionary" and was instructed to put together a little present for them the next day. The rules? You can ONLY give them things that you find in the "free boxes" --- hahahahaha! :) Each person took a turn opening their present after we all said a few lines about why we love and appreciate them. Such a sweet spirit was felt in the room that day! I appreciated so much the things that others shared about me and was buoyed up by all of the love and joy :) Though the presents were all wrapped in re-usable brown boxes and whatever tape we could find, I don't think we could have been more excited! People received bags of goodies, alarm clocks, the occasional hilarious looking piece of clothing (Sister Chytraus gave Elder White a nice pair of blue silky women's pajama pants...hahahaha), and many nice notes :) Elder Lovelock was hilarious and gave me two things that are very fitting -- a Platypus water bottle and a Spanish dictionary! hahaha! Health and foreign languages -- I loved it!!! We all know each other pretty well :)
This week Sister Taylor and I were asked to be the "example" missionaries for the group of 890 new Elders and Sisters in the evening training meeting. We had microphones and taught the "investigators" on the stage (their "living room") in front of the group until the audience got to "take over." I recall that I mentioned this meeting in the first letter that I sent home, so it was a treat to be selected to participate behind the scenes! :) We actually had the same mediator who aided OUR meeting a few months ago -- a nice guy from... Paris!! I enjoyed chatting with him for a bit, and he complimented my French, which was of course lovely to hear :)
As for unusual things this week -- I pulled a muscle in my leg!! All of the running combined with attempting to do the splits (about 5/6 of the way there!) may have just pushed it a little too far. One day it ached and I wasn't concerned, but then the next day it was absolutely killing me -- I've never found it so difficult to walk! Fearing how long it would take to heal, I asked E. Hansen and E. White to give me a blessing. I have great faith in the power of blessings and knew that my leg would be healed as soon as I had learned what I needed to from the experience. The next morning I was able to run, though I took it very, very, very slowly. This turned out to be a wonderful opportunity to talk to some of the others who normally run a bit slower. I am so grateful for the patience and compassion having an injured leg taught me to have. The next day, miraculously, the pain was 90% gone and by yesterday morning I was back to 100%. God is mindful of our prayers, and he will always bless those who ask in faith.
Along with that, this past week I was very touched by two specific chapters in the Book of Mormon -- Mormon 9 and Ether 12. I encourage you to read both of them... today! :) In Mormon we learn about the nature of God -- who He is: ever the same, ever just, and ever a God of miracles. Miracles have not ceased. What I loved was the focus on FAITH in this chapter. There was NEVER a miracle wrought save the person first believed. Faith precedes miracles. When we find ourselves asking for blessing in our prayers or pleading with the Lord for a miracle in our life, let us first examine our foundation. How strong is my faith? Do I KNOW that the Lord can do this? Do I trust his timing? Do I have faith enough to act on whatever guidance I am given? When we trust in God, let go of our fears, and ask in faith, miracles WILL abound in our lives. One conference talk that I read this past week really hit home with me on a number of levels. AMAZING. It was "Cast Not Therefore Away Thy Confidence" by Elder Holland. Again, the time is short, so I will leave you to feast on those words for yourself and see what you learn.
This week Soeur Taylor and I have committed to exact obedience. Exactly. What? Well, I suppose I can only speak for myself, but I NEED the blessings the Lord has promised to the obedient. There is so much work to be done, we can use all the help we can get! Besides, almost obedience brings almost blessings. Obedience brings blessings. Exact obedience brings miracles.
The last thing I wanted to touch on today was something someone said to me in French. "L'evangile, c'est unemode de vie" (The Gospel is a way of life). I support this comment whole heartedly! Really living the doctrine of Christ means LIVING in those doctrines, by them, and for them. As we do this, I can promise that we will reach a level of content and calm that we would never achieve on our own. Righteousness never was misery ;) Christ is the light. The truth. As children of the light, it is in this sunshine that we thrive. We were born for joy, for progression, and for understanding. All that our Father has is ours to inherit.
Bisous a vous tous!