Monday, July 19, 2010

As tu besoin d'aide mon bras t'est offert

NEW TRANSFER.  This transfer, I decided to write a line from some of my favorite french hymns on each day of my planner.  The subject of this letter is today's line, and it's from how firm a foundation.  the literal translations is about "you need help, my arm is offered to you".  So, if you need help, know that His arm is offered to you.  I know He's waiting to help you.  He's been helping me, and I haven't even done anything.

What an odd way to start an email.

Let's start with goodbyes.  We had some sad goodbyes this week with soeur gappmaier.  She was in this ridiculous state of denial, and so told no one on Sunday that she was mutated.  SO I told some people that I knew would have their hearts broken if they didn't get to say goodbye.  She didn't mind.  Oh man, that girl. And I don't say mutated to be mean.  To say to transfer in french is "muter" and the noun transfer is "mutation".  So I stopped trying to keep them straight and just say mutated.  Everyone here knows what I mean.  So yes, Sr Gappmaier was mutated (gosh I feel like an Xman when I say that teehee) and we had to say goodbye to a certain family.  Yvonne and Nichole are some amis that got really attached to Sr Gappmaier and her previous compaion, and just about died when they had to say goodbye to Sr Houtz as I got transferred in.  In fact, they did not want to like me, and kept asking if they could call the mission home and ask for sr Houtz to stay.  Well, they met me and instantly fell in love.  I'm not saying that to boast; to the contrary in fact.  It's because of the spirit.  And when we found out SR gappmaier was mutated, we decided that this would be good for Yvonne (who is practicing catholic and loves us and the church) to see that it's not really us she loves, but the spirit.  We visited Yvonne and her husband was there, and of course nichole (who is her 56 year old daughter who is druid and really interesting to teach but really isn't interested in the gospel and is always at the house when we teach Yvonne), and we ate bretegne cake and cherries.  Nichole gave me her geneology and the history of Bretegne in a booklet thing she made because she knows I'm really into geneology and so is she.  Yvonne and Nichole gave Gapp a very old wooden bretegne box with a brass carving on top.  They said they loved her and wished her luck.  We bore our testimonies and gave them a card that Sr G wrote an indepth testimony of the gospel in, and asked if we could sing them a song.  They said yes.  We sang "each life that touches ours for good".  Yvonne and Nichole started crying.  I cried and I'm still in Caen!!!  They told us they loved us.  Yvonne and Nichole still want to be taught, even with "La Nouvelle".  It was sweet.  The spirit was strong. And I got excited for the work in Caen.

Soeur Gappmaier left early Wednesday morning, and Sr Woyak, ma nouvelle, called and said " i should get into caen around 2ish, but they haven't bought my tickets yet, so I'll call you when I switch trains in Paris." I was like "okay.  I'm sitting here home alone all day, I might as well clean the apatment (that the elders never cleaned before moving) while I"m waiting."  So I studied, deep cleaned the apartment, and took a nap.  But I never got a phone call.  Hmm.  That makes me nervous.  So I show up at 2 at the gare anyway, and there my new companion is with her luggage.  She made it alivee and well, no phone call necessary.  Yay me!!

Sr Woyak is very different from Sr gappmaier, but similar in some aspects.  We have been doing a lot of talking since she got here and made a list of things that we wanted to accomplish this next transfer.  Her last two transfers were miserable as she had major companionship issues.  Really major.  I know because I did exchanges in their ville.  And, as not miserable as this last transfer was for me, it was in no way easy.  The work suffered here in Caen last transfer for one reason or another, and Sr gappmaier and I didn't work all that efficiently because she was used to doing things a certain way, and when I suggested change she often felt like change meant she had inadequecies.  I got very emotionally exhausted with this, so I stop suggesting things and just went with the flow.  So my transfer wasn't miserable by any any means; but it was difficult.  So we mmade a list of things we wished we could have done these last few transfers (she's only on her fourth).  We made a great list and the transfer started out witha BANG.  Our number one thing that we missed and really wanted to do was work by the spirit.  Sure, we need to plan, but we also need to follow the spirit.  So we did that this week.  And it was phenomenal.  We had an ami with a baptismal date find the courage to have more faith and overcame a huge obstacle.  We invited Yan to baptism, and she accepted!!  We didn't plan either of those things, but they happened becasue we were both listening for the spirit.  I feel unity again.  I feel fire again!  We doubled last weeks numbers in four days!  We have worked hard, and just followed the spirit, even if it didn't make sense.  And there were such benedictions from that.  I don't have the time to explain it azll, but the Lord really is leading His work here in Caen.  I know it will get harder, but I also know that the Lord will support me in some way; He's done it before, He'll do it again.  But know that Yan has committed to baptism once she has a testimony, and that Patricia no longer has obstacles stopping her baptism, and that some of our non actives will be active once again.  And if the Lord tells you to walk instead of take the tram, don't think of it as a waste of time; just enjoy the walking, and He just might through an ami that needed a scripture into your path.

Funny story for the week.  it's been gettnig warmer here in Caen.  During the middle of the day it gets HOT here, but by 6h00 the ocean wind comes and everything cools down again.  but we just bought fans and have been keeping the windows open all day and night.  Well, after cleaning, I hung the mop up to dry on the balcony/ window sill.  We were studying when I heard flap flap flap at the window.  I knew pidgeons fly around all the time up there, so i didn't even notice.  But then it closer and stopped all of a sudden.  I leaned over and saw that a PIGEON had landed on the mop and was practically in the apartment. I stood up and yelled "get off of my MOP!", scaring Sr Woyak and the pigeon.  I put the mop away, but our apartment was too hot to close the window.  Haahaaahaaaaaa.  Later that night I was talking to ssr woyak during planning and we were sitting pretty close to each other.  All of a sudden I hear flap flap flap again and look over to see if the pigeon was back.  Yes, she was.  But she decided to invite herself in.  YES.  A PIGEON FLEW INTO MY APARTMENT.  I SCREAMED and scared poor sr woyak again and she screamed and the pigeon flipped out, continued flapping and flew right out again.  I flipped out, wondering how many times this must have happened while we were out, when sr woyak pointed out that probably never because even though the windows are often open, the curtains are always closed to decrease the flies.  So that qwas the FIRSt and LAST time I will have a pigeon in my apartment.  Oh man I flipped out.

We had three amis come to church this sunday.  Patricia came, Yan came (for the third time in a row) and YVONNE came.  She sat by me, TOOK NOTES on all the talks, and while we sang the closing hymn (teach me to walk in the light), she started crying.  She said she knows that this church really is CHrist's church.  She knows it.  But she cant leave the catholic church.  She's 78 and has been Catholic her whole life, there's no way she'll turn her back on it, she tells us.  But she feels the spirit at church, loves us, and has said several times that she wants to join our church.  But we know that she doesn't understand the committment that is, and she won't get baptized because she already was when she was a baby.  Yvonne may be an eternal ami, but I'm okay with that.  Because when she comes to church she feels the spirit.  She loves the spirit we have.  She once told us that she "found Jesus Christ" in our church.  It makes me smile and weep to think of her.  Yvonne, I love you.

Yan isn't ready to be baptiwed she tells us, but she really wants to raise her family in the church, when she has one.  Oh man.  Peopleare so funny sometimes.

Well, I love you all.  Keep writing.  DAD. STOP WRITING TO MY RUE DE LE HAVRE ADRESS.  You're SOOOOO lucky my old landlord let me have that letter.  SO STOP IT.
Pray for continued success in Caen.

love love love
Soeur Barros

PS the french postal service sucks, just in case you're wondering.

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