Favorite Part.

As I've been home from Paris, the question I constantly get is, of course, "So what was your favorite thing about Paris?"

Because a person can pick that.

As I've responded to all these people, I inevitably pick the same thing: church.
Yes, even in the most beautiful city on earth, my favorite thing was church.
Here's why.

We spent a lot of time at the church. Not only did we have the normal 3 hours every Sunday, but we always had religion there on Mondays, plus FHE, and most weeks, the 4 hours of normal class. We were constantly at the church, hanging out at the institute, taking advantage of the free wifi, and eating at the corner boulangerie. The institute quickly became our second home. We all felt comfortable there, we were friends with Elder and Sister Haward, we knew the missionaries who came in to email every monday afternoon, we knew where the comfiest seats were, where the best wifi was, and that the church would always have clean bathrooms with hot water to wash your hands in (both rarities in Paris). The church was safe, it was far from the hustle and bustle of Paris life and we could leave our purses anywhere without worrying about pick-pockets.

However, the actual congregation was also incredible to be around. Going to church every week, and being surrounded by the members of that congregation, who were doing their best to live the gospel in a place where most people think Mormons are Amish, was simply remarkable. I realized over those three months, that I can't even begin to comprehend how blessed I am, and how much I take for granted living in a place where the vast majority of my neighbors are members of the church. They proved to me that faith is so much more than just confessing that you believe, it's living like you believe each and every day. It's sharing the gospel with coworkers, people on the metro, and the people you meet in your apartment complex elevator. Faith is living each day as a representative of Christ, being aware that you are always being watched by those around you, and making sure that those who watch, can tell you believe. They showed me that no matter what your circumstances are in this life, you can love God with all you have, and then give him even more than you have.

I think the greatest thing I learned from the Paris 1st ward is that this gospel, is precious. The gospel changes people in ways that we cannot even begin to comprehend, and even if I've been a member my entire life, it's supposed to change my life, too. They taught me to truly put my faith in Christ, because through him, everything is possible. They taught me to never give up on a person, because everyone can change, it just has to be on God's timing. They taught me to love everyone: rich, poor, black, white, Harvard grad, or elementary school drop out. Above all, they taught me that this gospel means everything, and should never be taken for granted.

I hope that I can remember what I learned from those members.

Thank you, Paris 1st ward.

Love always,


Natalie said...

sounds like you've had an amazing experience. i love this.

Morgan Davis said...

blog again you big baby