Monday, November 29, 2010

THe sun'll come out...

Who knows when.

Life could be easier, that's for sure.  But it isn't killer.  Not yet.   HAhahaha, give it time.

KIT/  You didn't reply.  Thus, I am picking out your christmas present.  Tant pire, ma soeur, parce j'en ai marre d'attendre.  Vraiment.

So, on a positive note!  The zone activity/ turkeybowl went really really well.  We started off by christmas caroling in a large square in paris.  We looked pretty legit in our dark winter coats and sunday dress, and we didn't sound terrible.  Although one man told us that we sounded like we were singing for a funural v(stinkin elders can't keep a good tempo to save their lives).  Most of us sang while four of us contacted.  It went very very well, and a otn of people stopped and listened and even more people took photos and clapped.  A homeless man gave us two paintings he'd made to accompany us because he liked it so much, and then he stood on the other side of the square and echoed our "gloria's" from "angels we have heard on high"  Haha, I loved it.  We'd be like "Glooooooooooooooooooooria."  and he's sing "GLORIA!!!" on the other side.  Teehee.  It was awesome.
Turkey bowl rocked.  I only got thrown the ball one time, but I managaed to catch it.  I was so surprised that my companion, who was on the other team, had time to come up and tag me out.  And then i got the other team's quarterback like three times.  It was awesome because he's one of the more...mmm... proud elders in the zone.  It was nice to get him out, especially because i was the least coordinated sister on the field.  ahahahahaha!!!

We also found out that our baptismal date actually lives in another ward, but because of timing, we're doing a giant switching circus.  Haha.  And then we had a crazy lady tell us last sunday that she never actually believed in the church (btw... she's a member), and that she's still Muslim, so she believes that Jesus was only a prophet.  But she prays to the virgin mary.  But christianity is dumb.  But she also belives in the pope because "he prays a lot".  Ahh, gotcha.  But she believes the Book of Mormon is true.  Yesss, now we have got a whole spectrum of contradicting beliefs.  I thought it was..; ehh, a typical visit.  Then yesterday our ami told us that she now hates the church because there was a family that was her friend but they don't ever reach out to her anymore.  Let me tell you, the audience, that she has done NOTHING to contact them either.  But "that's not her responsablilty".  Then she said she found the bishopric to be like the phariseans in the bible because they wore suits and ties and had their eyes closed and praying, even after the sacrament.  Personally, I think they were sleeping.  And I, me, Soeur Barros, did NOT say hello to her.  She came the same day we had the four baptisms, so whe had ten non members and five lmess actives there, plus I have to be the ward pianist for EVERYTHING, so I was busy with that.  And even with all those people to greet, my companion still managed to come and talk to her for a while.  But taht was not enough.  Then she blew rasberries and told us that after twenty years of studfying with the church, she can hardly believe the first vision.

Great.  Let's start over, shall we?

Then, last night, there was an anti mormon broadcast sent out all over france, saying that we are polygamists (which we aren't) and that we are a rich and powerful "organization" (they refuse to call us a church here).  yes.  This is my life.

Sooo, I just want to end by saying, No.  Christ wasn't just a prophet.  He is the Son of God.  He atoned for our sins.  And it is only through Him that we can ever find joy.  This I know.  I don't just believe it, folks.  I KNOW IT.  And yes, Joseph Smith truly was a prophet.  he was called just like all the other porphets in the bible.  Funny how God doesn't change.  WE are the ones who change!!  That's why we STILL have a prophet on the earth!  Not to control us, but because GOD LOVES US.  I wish I could shout that to the whole world!! GOD LOVES US!!!  And it makes me sad... it makes me sad that my beliefs are mocked, and yet few come to defend us.  i'm sad that people tease me and my comopanion because they think we're blind followers and paid by the church to be here.  The church is NOT paying for missionaries.  We are volunteers.

I know it's true, family and friends.  I know it is.  And that's why I'm here.  I'm not here in France to eat baguettes and pastries, and to see cool museaums.  Sure, I get to do that.  But... I'm here because I know God lives.  I know that His Son is my Savior.  And I want to help others find that comfort as well.

That's why I'm here.

That's why.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

et voila quoi...

This week.  Wow, I don't know where to...oh actually I took notes, hold on.

OH YEAH!  PARENTS and or MICHAYLA!!  I had a BRILLIANT thought.  So I want to talk to Michayla during this christmasy phone call, and I don't actually know how that would happen.  But I could get permission to make my phone call on New Years eve or new Years day, then I could talk to alllll of you!  I would still have to call in the morning your time because of the time difference, but if that's too soon after kayla gets home, then i'mm just call on Christmas.  Let me know ASAP what the best for you would be.

Tori: tell me more about animal handling.  I sometimes feel like that is what living in France can be like; at least on public transportation.

KIT: I have your name for Christmas, but i do NOT know what you want.  reply ASAP because next week is my last P day before I hope to send off the christmas package.

I am glad Harry Potter is good.  There are posters ALLLLLL over the place.  I found a free newspapeer on a train last night, with a good picture of the trio, and I took it home.  I call Elder Draleau Elder Ron as in Ron Weasely.  So for his christmas card (I'm going to see the WHOLE mission at christmas zone conference!!!  Everyone from the MTC is getting a card from me!!!) I am going to cut his face out of a picture and glue it onto Ron's body.  Hahahahahahaha!!!!  I'm sorry, you probably don't care, but I just think it's BRILLIANT!

I had Thanksgiving last night at our local American family's house.  They ordered the turkey a week ago, but when it arrived at the butcher shop, it wasn't frozen.  So they moved thanksgiving up two days.  Which is perfect for us because we have rendez vous on thursday.  It was super yum with sweet potatoes and rolls (american rolls, yumm!!) and turkey and cranberries.  Very very nice.

I'm sorry I don't have much to say again, but I had a lot of emails to read this week and we are pretty booked today.  We have to go hunt down some people in the boonies of our area.  It takes 45 minutes on bus to get there.  And we are getting the table that a member gave us (because ours is junk) when she moved away, today, and then we are cleaning someone's apartment before they move in, and then we are passing by a few other homes, and then we have ward council.  yes, a very booked day.

Well, I love you, and I'm excited to send home the christmas package.  Oohoooohhh it is soooo good.  And tasty, yummmmmmmm!!!

I want you to know, though, that I know He's there.  Even in the worst parts of life, He's still there.  And you don't have to be hard on yourself.  One thing I am learning this transfer is being super hard on yourself only makes life suck and others not want to be around you.  

Well, home again home again, jiggity jig.

Sr Barros

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

il est né le divin enfant

Yesterday, my companion and I went to the Jewish quarter of Paris and visited the museum of jewish history and art.  It is actually super close to the chapel in Paris ,and was VERY cool.  Then we went dreidle and mannorah shopping, but the mannorah's are expensive.  I may save little by little to buy one, because I really really want one.  Really really.  But then we had an early RDV last evening, thus we had to do emails today.  Et voila quoi!

Before I forget: DAD.  You still owe me your conversion story.  Just start with how you met don and then the missionaries, and I will accept that for now.  But the best christmas present you could give me would be to type up and email me your convcersion story.  Thank you!!!

JANET ANDSERSON:  I wrote you a letter like two weeks ago and realized that I don't have your address.  Could you send that to me?  Merci!  Oh and Ryan speaks Dutch, right?  my new companion is from the Belgium/ Netherlands mission, and has a long CD of Dutch Christmas songs.  It is probably one of the most bizarre things I've ever listend to.  And yet, I ask her to play it frequently...

Today we taught french to an indian woman.  One of our elders who is from France came to help us because he was the one who introduced us to the lady.  He taught us a very romantic phrase they say in french, but you ONLY say it if you REALLY like the person.  It is: J'irai décrocher la lune pour toi.  It means, I will go get the moon for you.  Sweet, right?

Well, new companion.  And life is... different.  I bawled when I had to send Sr Lee back to the states.  AAhhhhh, I love her.  SOOO much.  But the new comp will be good too, I can tell.  I LOVE teaching with her, and that is ALWAYS a good thing.

So, my stupidity for the week:  On wednesday I had what we call "naked time", meaning, waiting around by yourself for the new companion.  Well, I dropped the phone, and knocked out the batterie.  Then I accidentally put in the wrong PIN code three times (I was ALMOST right the last time) and then I was completely blocked.  The office elders were driving people from city to city all day, so by the time I got to call them it was late, and they didn't have the code (I called from the church).  Thus, until thursday morning I didn't have a phone, and I only had three appointments that day, and the three we had were miracles;  God still loves me, even when I do stupid things with the phone.

Well, hopefully more next time.  Nothing super eventful I'm afraid.

Keep praying for my investigators here.  They are my life and my light.  Blaise, Solo, and now Solo's son Antonio.  he's Joe's age, which makes me even more excited for him to meet the gospel.

I love the Lord, and I know He loves me.  I know He's there.

I love you.

Soeur Barros

Monday, November 8, 2010

We can be heros...

forever and ever!!!!  We can be heros!!!!!!

Ahh, life.  I am going to try very hard to remember interesting things that happened this week, but I just started the new planner, thus all my notes are in the other one.  Ummmm... VERSAILLES IS AMAZING!!!  We only had a couple of hours, so we decided to go to just the gardens last week.  What a gooooood choice!  The gardens are freaking gorgeous in the fall, and the fall is my favorite and life was just... good.  The first photo is the one SSoeur Lee and I love the most.  Sorry it's not all the gardens.

THURSDAY we set a BAPTISMAL DATE with BLAISE!!!  Oh this kid is on FIRE!  On decembre 11 he'll be getting baptised.  WOwee!  I was so greatful to see that I'm staying in Melun for that.  Also, on Thursday, Solo introduced us to his brother.  He asked us to explain the base of our church to his brother.  We started, and then he interrupted us.  "Who pays for you to be here?"  Ah, I love this question.  "We do.  We're volunteer."  "I know, but who pays?  The church?"  "Nope.  Us and our family.  And if we can't afford it, the church members help."  We then explained how our church leadership is ALL volunteer and that no one is paid for their work in the church.  So he asked"Why are you here?"  "To teach about Jesus Christ and invite others to come unto Him."  "Hmm...." he said.  "So, what you are are His disciples," he told us.  "You're doing what He told His disciples to do."  Exactly!  That's exactly why we do it!  But he got called to work and left in the middle.  After he left, solo confided in us that he is hoping to lead his brother to this church too, because his brother followed him from catholosism to being a protistant.  Oh Solo.  he also told us that the wife is coming home before Christmas, and when she gets home they are going to have a serious discussion about his decision to be baptized.  What a golden man he is.  When Sr lee told him that it was her last RDV with him, he got very excited for her.  "This is not goodbye!!  There is no such thing as accidents or mistakes, and I KNOW that God sent you to me!"  Then he looked at both of us and said "When we all stand before Jesus, I'm going to point to you both and say 'THESE are MY missionaries!  These are the ones you sent to ME!'"  I've never been claimed like that before.  It made us both want to cry.  But we said our goodbyes and moved on.

Friday was pretty uneventful.  So was Saturday.  Well, I had a super cool spiritual insight on saturday, but it is very specific to me, thus makes very little sense to anyone else.  But I know that Heavenly Father really listens to my heart and my fears and my prayers.  Sunday was a tough one, saying goodbye to everyone with Soeur Lee.  We had some amazing final RDV's and she only cried three times (don't be fooled; three times is a lot for soeur lee.  seriously).

I attached another photo.  It's of me and soeur lee and blaise.  Oh he's amazing.  He came to church and asked if my next companion will be as nice as me.  I told him not only that, but shes shorter and funnier than me.  he doesn't believe me.  Ahh, he'll see...

And then TODAY.  We went to L'Oréal Paris today to be hair models.  We were twenty minutes late because they changed locations, but that worked out just fine.  What happened is that it's this three day internship type deal for professional hairstylists, and they sign up and pay to do this thing with the "Mozart of Hair".  Well, soeur lee and I got to be the models for it.  There were about 15 people seated in a little room, and two of l'oréal's people there to do us over.  The hair mozart man was there too.  He's super cool.  The female stylist pciekd sr lee because she has thinner hair, and I'm glad because she was the less experienced one.  BUT she died Sr Lee's hair red again, and I really wanted to go red.  I also got my hair dyed, but the man who did mine was the teacher for the morning session.  He washed my hair, trotted me out to the group and started cutting.  Sr lee's haircut was explained, and then they went to the back and did her's in the back room the whole time.  So, in front of this group of people, hair starts FLYING off my head.  Oh man, he took off a bunch of my hair.  I don't actually care about that though, because I'm not super attached to it.  And then he started describing my bangs.  he's already told me about it in the back, but he finished his description to the group with "It's very rock and roll what I"m going to do."  Uhh.... what??  Sister missionary here!!  I'm like a nun!!!  But he did a super good and super cool job.  It's way edgier than I thought it would be, but why the heck not?  How often does Loréal cut your hair... for free?  Then he colored my hair in front of the group.  He was doing it to teach technique,k so my color is almost exactly the same.  But he kept saying 'platinum...platinum...  I'm putting in platinum now..."  UHHHHH WHAT????  Later I discovered that platinum was the glaze, not the color.  So, for all of you to see, this is my new hair.  And he stained my shirt.  Jerk.  Ehh, it cost six euros.  And I definitely got the super cute haircut.  plus, it looks very european in a ponytail.

Well, I'm about to start another transfer with a very different companion.  Pray for me.  Pray for Blaise.  Pray for Solo.  And pray for Gaetan.  Oh!  He got confirmed on Sunday!!  It was very touching!  He went and bought a sports jacket and a shirt and tye so that he could look his best.  What a sweet man!

I love you.  Keep swimming!  

Love, Soeur Barros

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

And should we die...

before our journey's through, happy day!  all is well!

Don't worry, I'm not dead nor near dying.  The strikes are totally dead though.  It was a pretty weak finish, I must say.  But the week did finish well...

Friday we did Pday and went to the Catacombs (super creepy, and two days before halloween!  it was perfect!) and Musée D'Orsey.  Personally, I preferr the musee d'orsay to the louvre, but the louvre has less nudity and bizarre sculptures, so that's probably the one i'll visit with my family.  I saw Monet's, Manet's, Van Gogh, and Degas, Seurat, oh my gosh sooooo much!  Then we went and ate vietnamese food at an inactive member's house.

The next day we went to synagogue in the morning, just in time for the prayers and the lecture by our jewish friend.  They made us stay afterwards, and I immediately got nervous, because the elders told me when I was in Caen that they got offered alcohol several times and they had to keep saying no.  I didn't want to offend our new friends.  One of the men told us that they start the sabbath by drinking a glass of wine and then a small meal of kosher food.  Then I saw a dark bottle pour wine looking stuff in the glasses.  I leaned to Soeur Lee and said "I thought this might happen.  Just say no!"  So they passed us to cups and we politley said "Nous buvons pas l'alcool."  We don't drink alcohol.  The man pouring drinks looked at us like we were crazy and said, "C'est pas d'alcool.  C'est que jus du rasin."  It's not alcoholic.  it's just grape juice.  Oh.  Really?  Then he smiled and said "But, if you'd like, afterwards we drink the alcohol," and waved his hand over the table, where there were several bottles of vodka, whisky and schnapps.  Ahh, no thanks.  We said (listened to) the prayer in hebrew and started eating kosher crackers and snacks.  Sr lee made me take some cocacola because one man kept asking us if we wanted whisky.  Hahaha, no thanks.  We had some good RDV's after that.  We tried to see Gaetan (apparently, you spell his name that way), because it's a rule in the mission that your ami shouldn't be alone the night before their baptism.  Gaetan lives in a seriously sketchy ville, super close to paris itself.  The first time I was there, some guy started harrassing me (which is totally normal), but then he pulled my poneytail and told me to do somethings in my cult.  Ah, thanks, but I hate gaetan's ville at night.  So we left with cookies and got to his ville about 7h45.  We walked around in the gare for a few minutes, but I was totally dreading getting outside.  Soeur lee looked at her map and said "Hmmm, this is quite a walk to his house."  I raised my eyebrows and prayed that God would protect me.  He did.  "how about we give him the cookies tomorrow?" she said.  I agreed and we got on a train back to Melun.

The next day Gaetan was there, told us he had spent the evening at his sister's home and wasn't at his house until much later in the evening.  Blaise showed up, and so did a recent convert from CAEN!!  Ahhh, Caen, I miss you!!!  Anyway, then another lady walked in from off the street and attended church like she was a member.  But she wasn't.  And she wasn't there for the baptisms that day either (there were three kids and gaetan getting baptized).  She just wanted to come.  We found out later that she met missionaries in torsey, that's why.  Anyway, Blaise and this new convert became like super best friends.  Gaetan's baptism itself was sooo amazing.  I love seeing someone go into the water and immerge a new person.  I love it.  Soeur Lee talked to blaise afterwards and he said he LOVED seeing people get baptized like Jesus, and that he's going to be the next baptism.  Apparently, he talked to the missionaries that taught him first up in strausburg and asked them how he could get baptized.  The elders called us last night and said "Dude.  Sisters.  You need to call him before your RDV and suggest a date.  He wants to be baptized."  So we're calling blaise today with the hope of setting his baptismal date for next saturday.  It's CRAZY how all this is going down!! 
After the baptisms, one of the families whose daughter got baptized invited us over for lunch and to talk to their families who aren't members, so that they know we're not crazy people.  We went, and the meal was held at their boulangerie, and we ate a 13 COURSE MEAL.  WOW!  And after that, another one of the families of a child that got baptised invited us over for dessert.  The father isn't a member, he's italian, and loves the missionaries.  Soeur Lee told me that he plays guitar and everyone sings and stuff, and that is exactly what happened.  There were three families there, and they all sang in Spanish and a little bit of french (half of the people were from southern america; in fact, the mom speaks nothing but spanish, her daughter translates for her during church).  The mom saw that I wasn't singing (i didn't know the words) so she had her italian husband play some english songs for me to sing.  She kept saying (in spanish) "I want to hear Barros sing!  I want to hear barros sing!"  So I ended up singing "Hey Jude", "Yesterday", and "Zombie".  Who knew??

Yesterday was exchanges, and my temporary companion met the family that her father baptised thirty years ago.  Everyone cried, they were all so happy.  Heck, I cried.  We spent the whole day with them, and they took us to this Castle called Vaux le Vicomte.  I can't describe how beautiful and amazing that was, so just google it and go to their website.  It's AMAZING.  SERIOUSLY.

Then today we switched back.  We're going to the palace of versailles, and then home for english class and more less active member passy bys.

NOW, let me tell you about the Miracle of 2010.
This was organized around this time last year.  Prayerfully, the mission presidency decided to se the goal of 300 baptisms in our mission by the end of 2010.  This was before they merged the two missions, and it was before anyone could even imagine 300 baptisms in the France Paris mission.  our numbers started going up, but they didn't jump super high when we merged.  People tried to blame our success on that, but it's not true.  Belgium has produced less baptisms than usual, so the work is truly from the ENTIRE mission, and not just because of the merger.  In July of last year we had 75 baptisms total.  From January to July of this year we had 175.  The last zone conference we found out that we are at 278.  President says that if every companionship baptises at least one more person, plus a few companionships baptising a coulpe more, we will pass our goal.  But this requires prayer.  And faith.  Because baptisms depend on the Lord and the people he prepares.  So please, I'm begging you to pray for us here in the France Paris Mission, because we need the miracle.  it's already on it's way, but I feel deeply impressed to ask for your prayers.  Blaise?  Came out of nowhere.  The assistants to the president haven't baptised in Three years, and they just had a baptism on Saturday.  Chartres, a ville in my district, hasn't had a baptism in who knows how long, and they have TWO baptismal dates set.  Pray, and you can be a part of the Miracle of 2010.  I love you, and I need your prayers.

Okay, well, I'm off!!!  Got a call from L'Oreal Paris confirming our appointment for next week (yay haircuts!!).  Sooo... be expecting photos!!!

i LOVE you!!

Soeur Barros