For the first time in 60 years, the temperature in Paris got up to above 40 degrees Celsius, because of the winds from the Sahara that passed through this region in Europe. It was definitely the hottest weather I have ever been in, and in addition to the heat, the humidity made it an even greater challenge. We, nevertheless, continued missionary work as usual, taking a few precautions to stay hydrated, and taking a few minutes of refuge in the air-conditioning of supermarkets from time to time in the midst of long hours of contacting outside. In fact, this past week was one of my favorite weeks on my mission, because I felt like, during my exchanges with the Zone Leaders, and during my time with my companion, we really tried to push ourselves to see the miracles.
I had one of the best exchanges of my mission this past Wednesday with Elder Ricks. Elder Ricks, as I mentioned in earlier emails, is one of the missionaries who I would have loved to serve with during my mission. He is a great example of constant diligence, someone who has always kept his mind on the work, while keeping a positive attitude. Wednesday was forecasted to be the hottest day of the week and when one of our appointments fell through and we were left with 4 hours of street finding planned for the day, I was more than excited that those hours would be spent working with him. Those 4 hours churned out lots of miracles. We talked to everyone we came into contact with – on the train, on the road, on the bus and many people took the time to listen. We got to teach 5 lessons in the space of those 4 hours, gave out 3 Books of Mormon, found a new family to teach, met George, an old ami whose phone number we never got a chance to take, and had a great time in the heat. There was, an experience during this exchange that taught me an important lesson about the blessings that come from following he plan and sticking it out to the end, despite opposition. At about 5:30pm,
the heat got a little unbearable at one point and with hungry stomachs, we considered heading home a little bit early to take dinner. But during our planning earlier that day, we felt that there was someone important to find and talk to, so we decided to stick it out, and follow the plan. As we walked and talked to people, it seemed that there was no one who was really receptive. Somewhere during those 30 minutes, I got a call from the office about some train ticket problems and had to advise Sister Seaman, one of the office couple missionaries, about how she could resolve it. A lady and her children walked past on the other side of the street just as I was talking to Sister Seaman, and I felt that we needed to head over to the other side of the street and talk to her. Elder Ricks had the same feeling. I told Sister Seaman later that I would call her back later, and we crossed the street to talk to the lady.
It was incredible, because we told her that we just felt like we should talk to her and introduced ourselves, she smiled and said that she was actually very interested in knowing what we share. We talked to her about the Book of Mormon, and gave her a copy in the 5 minutes that she had time to spare. She was really happy to have spoken to us, and to have been able to find someone who was ready to listen really made a great difference. I knew that if we had decided to diverge off from our original plan and head back, we would not have met her. We will be seeing her sometime this week.
There were also many other experiences during this exchange that made me simply excited to work and to be a missionary. I am 16 days to the end, and there is still a lot that will need to be done, but I am savouring every moment and enjoying the rigour and rythmn of the mission. One thing I am sure I will miss will be to be able to be a missionary 24/7, to have my mind completely focused on this great work. All things will come to an end, but there is one important principle: “To live in the Now”
I love you all, and I am grateful for the opportunity I have to be a missionary. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, that the Priesthood power has been restored to the earth, with the power to bind our families together for eternity.
Passez une tres bonne semaine!