Ma famille et mes amis,
There is so much that happens each and every week! Man I wish I could tell you all that happens! But for this week...I will just share two stories and a thought.:)
Soeur Jenkins and I went out to a beautiful little town this week called Brissac-Quincé, and it was absolutely incredible! There is a really famous chateau there and we hope to go see it sometime! Anyways. We had set up a rendez-vous with a less active man named Fiacre to teach a lesson and to invite him and his non-member wife and daughter to come to church. It was all clear with the follow up, but when we got there, Fiacre ended up being off at work. We were kinda bummed, but then his sweet wife Hélén let us in for a few minutes. We got to talking about her and her family, kinda hoping that Fiacre would come home, but after a few minutes, Hélén said, "Well what do you have planned for a lesson today? Will you teach me?" haha. And of course we said yes! The missionaries had visited before, but we were lucky enough to be the first missionaries who taught Hélén the Restoration. She was really attentive the entire lesson and asked really good questions. The Spirit was so strong, and I can confidently say that it was the most spiritually guiding lesson I have taught since I have been on the mission. Towards the end of the lesson, we introduced the Book of Mormon and explained some of the things we know thanks to the Book of Mormon. We invited her to read and pray to know that it is true, and she said she would do that that night.Then, Hélén asked, "I always wondered what will happen to me when I die. Can you tell me what will happen to me when I die?" We couldnt believe what we were hearing! It was then an incredible opportunity to be able to share a little bit about the Plan of Salvation, invite her to read the pamphlet, and assure her that we can teach her more all about where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going. Wow it was incredible, and such a testimony building experience for me. We are hopefully going to meet with Hélén again later this week or the next.:)
The next experience I just wanted to quickly share is about church yesterday! It was an incredible experience to sit and feel of the strength of the members here in France. Truly, Zion is found in the hearts of the Saints here. It is such a blessing and an honor to rub shoulders with them. After church yesterday, I tried really hard to go out of my way to talk to some of the members and to get to know them better, and it was incredible to feel the Lord working through me in my conversations, particularly in the language. Although I couldnt get every word, I clearly understood all that each member said and was able to communicate new ideas and compliments back to them. I couldnt believe I was doing that! Now I still have a lot a lot to work on, but it was such a testament to me that the Lord will do all He needs to be done through you when you show your willingness to serve. We just need to try and do all we can,and the Lord will not only make up the rest, but He will empower us to do more.
This idea of grace and the Lord making up the difference leads me of a talk I have recently been studying called "His Grace Is Sufficient". In this talk, Brad Wilcox talks about the fact that Christ's grace is sufficient to transform us. He says, "Christ's arrangement with us is similar to a mom providing music lessons for her child. Because mom pays the debt in full; she can turn to the child and ask for something. What is it? Practice! Does the child's practice pay the piano teacher? No. Does the child's practice repay mom for paying the piano teacher? No. Practicing is hoz the child shows appreciation for mom's incredible gift. It is hoz he takes advantage of the amazing opportunity mom is giving him to live his life at a higher level. Mom's joy is found not in getting repaid, but in seeing her gift used-seeing her child improve. And so she continues to call for practice, practice, practice. If the child sees mom's requirement of practice as being overbearing (Gosh, mom, why do I have to practice? None of the other kids need to practice! I'm just going to be a professional basketball player anyway!), perhaps it is because he doesnt yet see with mom's eyes. He doesnt see hoz much better his life could be if he would choose to live on a higher plane. In the same way, because Jesus has paid justice, He can now turn to us and say, 'Follow me", "Keep my commandmandments". If we see His requirements as being way too much to ask (Gosh! None of the other Christians have to pay tithing! None of the other Christians have to go on missions, serve in callings, and do temple work!), maybe it is because we do not yet see through Christ's eyes. We have not yet comprehended what He is trying to make of us."
I love you all with all of my heart. I look up to you and admire the lives you have led, and I am so grateful for the influence and the support you have given me throughout my life. Thank you so much.
Remember that you can make a difference, wherever you are. Do something to serve someone else, even if it is only through a smile.:)
I love you, Soeur Laura Lee Judd