"Do you remember the taste of strawberries, Sam?"
For the last few months, people have been asking, "Does it feel like it's been two years?" I think it depends on which direction I look. It's definitely been two years since I've been with my family at home, but it also seems like I should still have some time left. Six months ago, I started worrying whether or not I had learned everything I was supposed to learn or done everything I was supposed to do. Now, I feel like I've done what I came here for and it's time to go home.
There's still seven days left, and it's packed full of people to see and things to do. It was really, really tough to see "B" this week. We couldn't get ahold of her until around Friday, and Elder Rodriguez and I basically gave up hope one night. Our thoughts were centered around, "Well, she'll get baptized soon, but not next week." After a few minutes of silence and some calculations, I turned to him and said, "No. This IS happening. We need to get over there and talk to her. She wants to be baptized."
We called her when we got home, and she answered for the first time, where she explained that her son has been in the hospital again for the last four and a half days, and she stayed with him 24/7. We went over the next night and had a little chat about her baptism. We told her that in order for her to be baptized next Sunday, we have things left to teach and an interview to do. We told her that delaying the baptism by a week or two was still an option if she didn't want to cram in a few lessons, but she was pretty adamant: "No. I'm getting baptized next Sunday."
It shouldn't be a problem if all goes according to plan, and we'll be seeing her nearly every day this week to put things into place. The ward really stepped up, and a bunch of Relief Society sisters are helping as well. Members asked if they could drive us to lessons, and others took her to help her pick out baptismal clothes. They asked everyone to pray for her throughout the week as well.
I feel like this last week is a challenge specially tailored for me. It's time to use everything I've learned in 24 months and prove that I'm capable of doing it. This is going to be one stressful week.
To sum up the past seven days, we knocked on a bunch of doors, got some pho at an Asian restaurant for Elder Price's birthday, and I went on an exchange in Charleroi (affectionately referred to as "Gotham City" thanks to it's appearance.)
We're going to be leaving early Monday morning to take a train to Paris and have our "Paris P-day," where all the dying missionaries get to hang out and do whatever they want in Paris. Elders Price, Oliverson, Barr and I are planning to hang out together for the day, and thus everything ends as it begins. I remember walking into the MTC to meet those three in August 2012 with Barr as my new companion. Since, we've flown to San Fran together, lived through the MTC together, were trained together, Price and I have lived together, Oliverson and I were companions and baptized together, and now we're dying together.
Next Monday, we're going to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower again, grab some lunch with Elder Dussere, maybe stop by the Arc de Triomphe, and see a few people from Versailles. Then, we'll have an interview with President Babin on Monday night, sleep in the mission home, and wake up early Tuesday morning to take the RER train to the airport.
This is the start of all the "lasts"-- last P-day, last time doing emails, last district meeting, last train ride, last missionary pasta (hallelujah), last, last. Here's the last time I sign off.
Goodbye, France. Goodbye, Belgium. You have quirks, but you sure are great.
See you next week,