Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Everything happens for a reason

Everything happens for a reason.

A few weeks ago when you sent me a Book of Mormon in French and other French language books, and the package got lost for a month, you sent another Book of Mormon and more French books. When it turned out both packages actually arrived and it seemed like I just had an extra French Book of Mormon, I love the words you wrote: "Everything happens for a reason." You already had the plain confidence that for whatever strange reason in the Lord's plan I needed two of them. For a couple weeks I had been looking at the book on my desk just taking up space wondering when it was going to come in handy. After all, there are no French people in Veracruz. Here's the reason I needed two.

This week my companion had to go to Xalapa to take care of his Visa. The day and hour of the bus ticket was at 4:30 PM Thursday. Wonderful. Because I was to stay two days with other missionaries in the mean time, I also packed a bag of clothing and books. When I thought I had finished packing, I had a feeling that I should add the Livre de Mormon to the bag. It doesn't weigh a lot, I figured, and I will need something during language study time. I obeyed the prompting and put the book in the bag.

We made it thirty minutes early to the station and waited for the bus to arrive. Whilst sitting and chatting, we noticed quite easily that two white people walked into the station. The fact that there are no white people in all of Veracruz and the fact that Papantla has a very small bus station aided our discovery. Before in my mission, I had only seen one other white person who was not a missionary, a high school exchange student. Now seeing a couple in their 20s with giant mountaineering backpacks and hipster-ish clothing on was a complete surprise to me. ''I'm going to contact them after they buy their tickets,'' I told my companion. We watched as they walked over to the ticket counter and set their ginormous tourist backpacks on the ground. I took the care of noticing their airport baggage claim tickets attached to the backpacks. I read six letters: MEX and FRA. To my complete and utter surprise, the Lord had placed two French people right in front of me. In Mexico. In the town of Papantla. I was absolutely astonished. Just a few weeks after I had started studying French and a day I randomly happened to go to the bus station at the same time the only French tourists in this part of planet earth were also purchasing their tickets and I just so happen to have a French Book of Mormon to give away. Go time.

At this point the other missionaries I was going to be staying with also arrived, one of whom speaks English. The French couple brought their bags over to the benches to wait and the man took off for a few minutes. So, I decided to just talk with the lady. First I simply introduced myself in French and asked how it was going for them. She said fine and they had just come from Mexico City. Then she asked what languages I spoke and I said Spanish, English, and a little French. The other Elder said just Spanish and English. She said she had also learned English in her school so she started to talk in English. She is from Brittany. We talked for a few minutes about what they were doing in Mexico. They are out for about a 3 month trip in the whole country just seeing sights and doing fun adventures. Then she asked what we do. We explained we're missionaries who go on a two year service for the Lord and a lot of people know us as Mormons. We offered her the Book of Mormon and she politely declined. Then her boyfriend came back. He spoke basically zero English. ''Zhou are zhe chef!'' he pronounced in an extremely heavy French accent. I told him it was okay and spoke in French a little bit with him. I simply said we wanted to give him a book that talks about the ancient inhabitants of Mexico and stands as another testament of Jesus Christ. He gladly accepted. He even pulled out his wallet and asked me how much it costs. I told him there was no cost. He said he would read it all and told me merci beaucoup for the book. I told them goodbye and headed out.

So. I don't know what will become of that couple or even what will become of that book, but the vast amount of situations, occurrences, and minute decisions that all had to occur in a very specific order and at very specific times for that meeting alone to occur and for me to be able to give away that Book of Mormon are astounding. The fact that they accepted it also amazed me. For my first contact ever in French, it went pretty well, I'd say. The Lord truly prepares His servants. Everything happens for a reason. Even when you lose a package in the mail.

In other news, this week we baptized U! He was super happy and is so glad to be a member of the Church.

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