Thanksgiving week was this week. Unlike last year where we were allowed to gather as a zone to celebrate this occasion together, we only had it in our respective districts. While the number of people eating together might have been fewer this time, it was equally as rewarding and fun being in the presence of fellow friends and recounting the our personal “I am thankful for…”s. Everyday should be a day of thanksgiving, because being grateful helps us see past the selfish “I need.” What were you most grateful for this year? And don’t worry, there was definitely a lot of eating being done by the elders and the sisters here that day. I guess that American tradition was kept alive as well.
Elder Cardon and I went on 2 exchanges this week – one in Metz with one of the companionships that have been struggling, and another with our district leader. As I have often said before, I love exchanges, because it is special time where the Lord teaches us certain principles and helps us strengthen our personal testimonies through miracles. And this entire week, throughout the week and during our exchanges, I have definitely strengthened my testimony of how there are truly hearts prepared, and that all we have to do is diligently find them.
Having been on a mission for a while now, I feel as though I have improved in many areas of missionary work – working with members, teaching, and contacting people. And if there is an area that I have yet to ameliorate, it is finding through knocking doors, simply because we were never really able to do that in Paris. After the testimony-building experience that I had at the Elder Cook conference, I decided that I needed to apply my faith to find even more to knocking-doors, or as we call it here in the Paris-France Mission: “porting” (derived from the french word, porte, meaning door).
During my exchange in Metz, after praying and having an idea of where to go, we landed up in a rich, new housing area. We began porting, introducing ourselves at each door and asking them if we could present a message about Jesus Christ and pray with their family. Rejection came, but that did not diminish our spirits… after all, we are doing our job as missionaries if we are simply inviting people to come unto Christ. We walked up to the next house, and at the door step was a tiny terrier puppy. Cute, but deathly. It growled and barked, and as my companion walked up to the driveway, it chased him around, trying to get at his ankles. The garage door soon opened, and the terrier ran inside promptly. Seeing that we were now in safety, we headed up to the door and rang the doorbell. A nice french man in his 50s opened up, smiled and said that he was not interested. We thanked him and left. We continued for a few doors and I felt the impression that we needed to pray and ask Heavenly Father to lead us to the family that He had prepared for us that night.
We offered a simple quiet prayer, and knocked the next door. Still, rejection. But as we were walking out from driveway, we heard someone shouting to us, “Come back guys! I do not believe in God, but my wife wants to meet you!” It was the man with the terrier of death. It was a miracle!!! We walked in and there was a huge christmas tree in the living room. The wife, Angele, sat us down, and with the non-believing husband, asked us to share our message with her. She said her husband had seen a report on mormon missionaries and when he told her that we had knocked on their door, she wanted to meet us and listen to what we had to say. We talked about eternal families, and the restoration, and testified of a living prophet and apostles today. The spirit was so strong, and at the end, she told us that she wanted to invite her friend to meet with us as well. What a miracle!!!
This was only the first of 3 miracles that I saw at porting this week. I was invited in to pray and share a message each of the 3 nights that I went porting this past week. Each person that who let us in asked us if we could come by again. It strengthened my testimony that even when it is cold outside and there is nobody on the streets, there are many who still wait in their homes, hoping to receive the gospel and find greater meaning and purpose in their lives.
I know that Christmas is around the corner, and I know that this is a sacred time of miracles, because during this time, we are reminded of the reason why all is possible – our savior Jesus Christ.
“Be grateful for your blessings and challenges. Be grateful for eternal families. But most of all, be grateful for our Savior, Jesus Christ, who made all blessings possible.” – my dad last Christmas.
I know that our Savior lives and loves us dearly.
A la semaine prochaine!