Great things have happened the week before Christmas. Perhaps the biggest piece of news that we have is that we had another baptism this past week! Andy Sawadogo is a 9 year old boy who we have been working with for 12 months now. His family was a less active family in the Evry ward, and through his little example, his family has been reactivated and are now coming to church! 3 months ago, when we first met with the family, his mother was not keen to join in with us during our lessons. His father had to work on Sundays because he is a security guard at a hospital and has a rather inconsistent schedule, making it difficult for him to get their family to come to church. However, as we taught Andy and started extending him small and simple commitments like being a good example to his family members, to be more charitable, and more forgiving and to express more gratitude to his parents, his mother began noticing the change in the home through his example. Slowly, over the months, she joined in on our lessons and very soon, she began to bear her testimony and teach Andy the lessons as well. Through this young 9 year old’s example, an entire family was brought closer to Christ and closer to one another. Truly, by small and simple means are great things brought to pass. We are now teaching his aunty and her family and it is such a joy for me to see the love in other’s families grow through the gospel.
On other exciting news…. The Elders in my apartment went to take a photo with Santa! This is probably one of the few times in my life that I have ever gone to take a photo with Santa… perhaps even the first! Imagine 4 men in their 20’s crowding around Santa in the midst of all the children for a photo. Certainly a sight to behold. Funniest part: Santa asked us after the photo if we were going to drink whisky for Christmas. Hahaha… Definitely put a twist on what Santa thinks 20 year olds do on Christmas. It was a great question that sparked a short conversation of what we do as missionaries.
Funniest experience ever this week, and in the entire month. It begins Saturday evening with Elder Cutshall and I having to take a 45 minute train to Melun, another ville in our district, to help top up the Navigo train passes for the missionaries there. Because the Sister missionaries were sick that day, they had to remain in the apartment and despite our many efforts an hour earlier to contact them an hour before, we could not. So Elder Cutshall and I met up with the Melun Elders at the Train station, topped up their Navigos and walked 30 minutes to the sisters apartment. We try calling their cellphone again and again, and finally, when we get to their apartment complex, we spent approximately 20 minutes waiting for one of the residents to help us get in. When we finally get to the door of the apartment, the sisters finally pick our call up, and we eventually forgive them for missing our calls because they give us some cookies that they baked earlier. But little do we realise that the last train for Evry from Melun has just left. It is now 8:05pm and we are now stranded in Melun, meaning that we have to spend the night over at the Melun Elder’s apartment, which only has 3 beds. So, the sisters give us one of their spare mattresses, which we end up carrying by hand, and on foot, through the entire ville of Melun. If you thought that being a missionary captures attention, 4 missionaries carrying a mattress through the centre of the Ville gets a 100 times more attention. That was definitely a night to remember and one that I will remember for the rest of my life.
Well, if there is one spiritually uplifting thing I can leave with you this Christmas it is from a poem that my companion shared with me
” The Only True Gift is a Portion of Thyself”
What meaningful gift can you give to those you love this Christmas?
I know Jesus Christ is my Savior. I am grateful everyday for the gift that I have to be a missionary to share the same joy that I have received, through the gospel of Jesus Christ, with those of France for 2 years. I know that our families can be together forever.
Happy Holidays one and all and may the true spirit of Christmas dwell in your homes during this period.