Happy Fourth of July! For being on the other side of the world, we didn't do half bad celebrating- one of my favorite families made us burgers (with homemade from the french bakery burger buns), and then we taught a family with loads of little girls how to make cookies. Hahaha when they were done cooking and we finished our spiritual thought we all tasted them, immediately they all go, "Mmmmmm c'est bon! .....mais SUCRE!" (So good....but SWEET). Yikes our country uses a lot more sugar than in New Cal, I felt like my tastebuds were burning off.
I still can't fully decide why, but this past week has been strangely spiritually exhausting. One night we both got home and after planning we were just laying there and I felt so very very drained. But as always, the joy and the peace come back when we're working our hardest and thinking about everyone but ourselves. So I've been focusing on that and praying for that spiritual strength I know and love to come back.
Paita continues to do splendidly! But of course there are the disappointments spattered in between as well. As our wise senior missionaries said to us today, "How's the work?" "Good, it's really good :)" "Ah, that's why there's opposition. Satan will always work his hardest when the work is going well." Well he continues to fight us, but we're praying as hard as we can for our amis to come out conquerors.
We have a lot of people working to quit smoking right now. And coffee. And have I ever mentioned that almost everyone here smokes. Pretty much members are the only ones who don't smoke. And coffee is a part of the daily diet starting in elementary school. So it's no easy task. But I have no doubt at all that it's possible and that these people can quit. Oh I love them so! Sometimes it kills me to not be able to do more to help them, but repentance and preparation for baptism is a personal process is so many ways. We can't force them to turn to the Lord and receive His divine help- that must come from their own hearts. In the meantime we testify of the Atonement and the Lord's divine power as often as possible :)
The other day we had a training on faith and accessing the powers of heaven. It was incredible. It changed my entire perception of my mission and my life and what I allow the Lord to do by MY faith. Or what I limit by my lack of faith. I have a long long ways to go. How grateful I am for the Atonement that allows us to change and improve and become BETTER.
Of course, despite a week of some spiritual exhaustion, there were other beautiful miracles as well. One of our amis up and quit smoking and coffee! The mother of our miracle family! What a pillar of faith she is for her family.
The Futunian singing family asked us to come back the next day. It is a dreammmmm when amis schedule us for the same week, so when they schedule us for the next day oh la lalaaaaaa. Another mami interpreted the 10 commandments for us and was quoting doctrine and making connections like you wouldn't believe. This is the woman who a year ago didn't understand hardly any of the lessons. Ohhhh the Gospel changes us and enlightens us!
I love you all endlessly. Time is so bittersweet now. This mission is the best thing. So grateful Heavenly Father knew I needed this :)