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

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