Lyon, France


Sunday, January 14, 2018

Moving trip and the Mustards!

Bonjour tout le monde!
Really crazy week! We had a moving trip to Avignon on Tuesday and Wednesday, which was so much fun! Long drives, IKEA meatballs, it was great! 
Then we got back to the office and had some bad news - the Mustard couple, who've worked with me in the office since I got here, were going home due to some health problems. So Friday morning we took them to the airport and said goodbye, which was way sad. So these last few days have been pretty crazy, trying to juggle everyone's responsibilities, and the office has been way too quiet. We have a plan to work everything out though, so I'm confident it will all be okay. 
Last night we watched President Monson's funeral, and it was so good! I miss him a lot, but I know he's happy where he is, and I'm so grateful for the influence he's had on so many people - especially me. How cool is it that we have modern revelation and prophets!!
So spiritual thought for today comes from a member in our ward. She gave us a poem while we were at her house, and I loved it so much!

En Francais:
Si regarder en arriere te cause du chagrin, 
et regarder en avant t'inspire de la crainte, 
alors regarde à côté de toi, J'y suis! 
Le bonheur te garde gentil, 
les épreuves te gardent fort, 
les chagrins te gardent humble, 
mais seul l'espoir te fait avancer.

In English:
If looking back causes grief,
and looking forward inspires fear,
look beside you, I'm here!
Happiness keeps you nice,
trials keep you strong,
sorrows keep you humble,
but only hope makes you move forward.

I'm so grateful for a gospel that inspires so much hope. I'm so grateful for my Savior - because of Him I know that everything will work out. Trials are only temporary and families are forever!

Thanks for everything, et je vous souhaite une bonne semaine!

Elder Suisse

Pics:
IKEA trip!
Us and the Mustards at the airport


Saturday, January 6, 2018

2018!!!

Salut et bonne année!

First off, happy 2018! I can't believe time's gone so fast! Lyon is great and I'm loving it here! It's mostly been rainy and cold all week, but we had a great time.

This week was way hectic and fun! Sunday was New Year's Eve, and we had a great time! We went to President's for dinner, followed by a member's house for second dinner! No crazy foods, but we definitely ate too much. 

The office was closed Monday, so we played basketball with the other Lyon missionaries, then had another mangezvous at a member's house. One of my new favorite traditions - "la galette des rois," where you have a tart/pie/cake thing, and you randomly divide the slices, then whoever gets the little "feve" (plastic toy) in their piece is the "king," and gets the paper crown that comes with the cake. We had like five over the course of the week, and I definitely did not win once haha... 

Tuesday through Friday kind of just blurred together. It was pretty wet and cold all week, and we were mostly in the office trying to catch up after the holidays, so we didn't go out a ton. Oh! We did take like nine visiting bleus to get their legal work done, which was fun. That's probably one of my favorite jobs - whenever we're with the new missionaries, the miracles just start coming - in just a couple hours we had like four new friends who were interested in seeing the missionaries. Super cool!

Today was p-day, so we went to the Confluence Museum with all the couples, which was a blast! I'd already been, but it was perfect weather, and it was way fun to go with everybody.

Overall a super cool week. It was hard to hear about President Monson's passing - we all love him, but I'm so glad for the opportunity he has to be with his wife again, and we're praying for President Nelson.

Also, we had a cool experience on our way home new year's eve. It had been super rainy and gross outside, but for just a little while, the clouds cleared and you could see the full moon, and all of a sudden these cathedral bells started ringing (I love that about France), and it was so calm and such a beautiful moment. I'm so excited for 2018 and all the miracles that I'm sure are coming our way! I thought a lot about this upcoming year and what it means. I realized that 2018 is my blackout year (full year on the mission), and I'm so excited to give it my all and see what the Lord can do with that!

Merci pour l'amour, je vous aime!
Elder Suisse

Pics (sorry there aren't a lot):
Us at le Musée des Confluences!




Saturday, December 30, 2017

Christmas!

Merry Christmas (on Monday) everyone!!!

This week was so awesome! So many friends and parties, and so much food and it was great! 

Sunday was Christmas eve, and we had a great combined Sacrament meeting with the Confluence and Porte des Alpes wards. The missionaries sang "Les anges dans nos campagnes," and members did musical numbers and it was just a blast. Then we went out with President Lepore's family and some other ward members and went caroling, which was super fun. Normally grumpy shoppers couldn't help but smile when they walked past us, and the little Lepore kids were running up and giving them Light the World cards, and it was just so much fun. After that we had dinner with a Tahitian family, the Tu'uhias, and ate so much food!

Monday was Christmas! We opened presents in the morning, then got to go to President's house for breakfast, where Sister Brown had made chocolate chip pancakes! We partied with them for most of the morning, then watched Beauty at the Beast and drank American root beer. 
Even better, I got to Skype my family! It was so nice/weird to see them, and idk if an hour has ever gone by so fast! I'm ready for Mother's day :) 
Then that night we had dinner with the Rigbys and their friends visiting from Logan, so that was a nice taste of home to finish the day. All in all, I missed home, but a pretty great Christmas :)

Wednesday was MLC, which went really well. We reviewed this last year's progress as a mission and set goals for 2018! I got to hang out with Elder Thomas my MTC companion who's now in Toulouse, and Soeur Glazier from Bordeaux!

Friday was district meeting, which was really cool. It was basically the same stuff as MLC, but we had American potatoes and gravy for lunch, which is always awesome.

Today we finally made it to la Parc de la Tête d'Or - Lyon's massive park/zoo/botanical garden - and we got a bunch of pictures.

All in all an eventful and just plain fantastic week. At MLC, we talked a little about the story in Matthew 14:22-33 - when Peter walks on water. One thing I really enjoyed was the symbolism of the whole scenario. Peter stepping out onto the water was a huge act of faith. That's the first step in what we call the gospel. When he glanced around, became afraid and began to sink, he called out to Christ, which I like to see as repentance -  "...immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him..." signifying the Atonement. We need to take that first leap of faith in order to progress. We'll inevitably become discouraged at some point, but when we repent and ask Christ for help, He's there, without delay. And as missionaries, and members, I think it's important to notice that we can't metaphorically "throw" those we love off the boat towards Christ - they need to want to know for themselves. I promise He's there, and that He's good at what He does - saving us.

Anywho, such a great week, and an awesome year too! I can't believe 2017 is coming to an end! I'm so excited for this next year!

Je vous aime et vous souhaite de bonnes fêtes!
Elder Suisse

Pics:
Christmas eve dinner
Raw salmon on fish eggs, oyster, escargots and foie gras. Surprisingly all pretty tasty.
Christmas morning chez President
A&W and Reeses! 
District meeting lunch - The Chinese elders brought chopsticks for the potatoes
The main gate to the parc
The biggest botanical garden in France! Super cool!






Saturday, December 23, 2017

Transfer week and its almost Christmas!

Salut!
So I'm starting to think that there's no such thing as a calm, normal week in the office, maybe even missionary work in general. This week was transfers and holy cow, so crazy!

Saturday was our ward Christmas party! So much fun! The three equipes of missionaries in our ward were asked to dress up as elves and be the greeters, waiters and Santa's helpers and it was a blast! So many cute Tahitian and African kids running around and asking if we were "les vrais lutins". We got permission to stay late and we had such a good time!

Sunday we sang with the institute choir at church, and it didn't sound half bad! We had a chance to just chill and prepare for...

Monday!!! Transfers! All sixteen departing missionaries came into Lyon (getting them there was madness, let me tell you), then we took them to President's house where we had dinner and testimony meeting. The last couple groups only consisted of like four elders, so it was pretty easy to say goodbye, but this week's group was a bunch of my best friends, so that was pretty tough. All the Elders slept at our apartment, and then...

Tuesday we woke up at 3 am and got everyone to the airport, and almost everybody made their planes. It turns out that one of the Elder's flights had been cancelled, so he ended up staying an extra day in Lyon (poor guy), but it all worked out and they're all home now! After seeing them all through security, we drove home, showered, got dressed, and drove back to the airport to pick up fourteen new bleus! They were so cool! We had new missionaries from the U.S., England, Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, all over the place! It was nice to hang out with all the new missionaries after seeing home the old ones. The seven new Elders slept in our apartment that night.

Wednesday (after waking up at 3 again to take that last departing missionary back to the airport for his rescheduled flight), the bleus got their trainers and had orientation, then we got them tickets to their secteurs all over France and Switzerland. After the conference, at around five President Brown pulled us aside and told us to go home and catch up on sleep, so that's what we did.

Today for p-day we visited the Lyon Christmas marchés, which was super cold but super fun. We also bought ingredients for Elder Ruben's pecan log family recipe, so needless to say I'm pretty excited for that.

In other news, it's almost Christmas! Kind of weird not to be home for this one, but we've got plans with members and senior couples all day tomorrow and Monday, so we're looking forward to a fun holiday. As awesome as the parties and desserts are, my favorite part of Christmas is and always will be the spirit of Christ that can felt so strongly this time of year. I'm so grateful for my Savior and for His example! I'm not perfect, but He is, and that's who I follow. I love Him and I love my family and I love my mission!

Joyeux Noël! Je vous aime!

Elder Suisse

Attached pics:

Our Christmas party with our awesome seniors. Turns out Elder Geddes is pretty handy with a guitar!
Us with our Tahitian Santa and all the little kids. 
Les vrais lutins!
Most of the Ecully and Lyon crew stopped in to the office for some Christmas snacks, so we thought we'd take a picture.




Sunday, December 17, 2017

Christmas Conference and Transfers!

Bonjoooouuuuur!
We had such a great week! A little stressful, but so much fun!
Monday was Christmas conference, so we had thirty missionaries staying at our apartment Sunday night. Fun, but let me tell you, not conducive to a good night's sleep. The conference was awesome though! We started off with singing a bunch of Christmas songs, and people performed, and we did a five zone "Twelve Days of Christmas," which started "On the first day of Christmas, my companion said to me..." and our district had the best one - "Fiiiive Mangezvooooouuuuuss!!!" and it was a blast! Then we all put together little bags of candy and Christmas joy, and we all went contacting for a few hours across Lyon. It was definitely pouring rain and freezing cold for most of it, and I was sans manteau, but we had such a blast! THEN we came back and had lunch, and surprise - we all got to watch Cars 3! Then they handed out Christmas presents, and we headed out. It was nice to see all my pals from across the mission.
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and most of today have been taken up with the madness that is transfer planning! Turns out I've been pretty sick all week, starting Tuesday (In hindsight, contacting in the rain without a coat for two hours probably wasn't the smartest thing, but it sure was good times), so that was tough. However, Elder Ruben and I managed to get all the tickets bought and everything planned out for transfers this week, and we're still standing! 
So as I'm sure you know, one of my favorite French Christmas traditions is raclette (melted cheese, potatoes and meat), and guess what, we had it twice this week! We also just got back from a member's house where we had turkey and mashed potatoes, and it turns out our ward is actually the best. Then tonight we have our ward Christmas party, which should be awesome, so updates on that next week.
Anywho, that's about all I can remember. I've been really enjoying this year's "Light the World" campaign. I'm trying to incorporate the lessons into my day, and it's been cool to see the results. Service is the best way to get ourselves out of the slumps of depression (or the tension of finals). It's as much a blessing for us as it is for those to whom it's focused, and I'm so grateful for the chance I have to give two years of it to the people here in France and Switzerland. 

Thanks for everything and Merry almost Christmas!
Elder Suisse

#ÉclairerLeMonde
#ColdOutsideButStillNoSnow
#Raclette

Pics (not a lot this week, sorry...):
Elder Ruben and I, plus the Chinese Elders, talking to a nice French lady in the rain

Sunday, December 10, 2017

It's really cold!

Bonjour!
Another crazy week! We just got back from Aix-en-Provence like two hours ago, and I'm super tired, so this'll probably be short. 
As you can tell from the subject line, it's really cold! I wore at least three layers all week long, and my scarf stayed on almost 24/7. The worst part is there's not even any snow here in Lyon! There are some super promising storm clouds though, so we'll see how that goes. On the bright side, it's almost Christmas! 
So Toulouse had their giant Christmas conference this week. Lyon's is this Monday, so y'all will get an update on that next week, but from what I can tell it's gonna be lit! Anyways, we were in charge of buying all the train tickets for the two conferences, and it turns out, it was so cold in southern France and near Bordeaux that a bunch of train tracks froze over and trains got cancelled, and Elder Ruben and I were stuck in the office til late trying to figure it all out but it worked out! It doesn't sound that exciting now that I'm writing it down, but let me tell you, it was pretty crazy!
Then on Thursday morning we left for Aix! The Soeurs there were moving appartments, so we got to drive down in the Chunk and help them move! 
Awesome miracle of the week: Last week this member from Aix was randomly in the mission office to clean the carpets (he was just passing through and decided to stop by), and I was talking to him and mentioned we were moving appartments and that we'd have tons of extra stuff because the appartment they were moving into was already owned by us and fully furnished, and he was like "I have a trailer and could totally take all the extra furniture and give it all to charity!". So he showed up and took all the big stuff, and saved us so much time and stress and it was a huge miracle! Anywho, God is good!
We moved stuff all Thursday and Friday and slept at the Avignon Elders' appartment, then today was our P-day! We got to go check out the Aix-en-Provence Christmas marchés, and it was way cool! Elder Ruben and I bought like 25 churros, two massive cotton candies and some pizza and it was a great stress relief. 
All in all a crazy but way fun week. We listened to music from "the Lamb of God" (a bunch of awesome songs about the life of Christ) during our sevenish hours of driving, and there was one song about when Lazarus dies and his sisters are talking to Jesus. In the song one of them asks Jesus to "touch mine eyes, and bid them see," and then continues about how Christ's touch heals all. That really struck a chord with me. We're all here on the earth to learn and progress, and I for one mess up a lot. I'm so grateful for a God whose touch heals, and for the opportunity we have to fix the mistakes that we make. I've been praying a lot recently to be able to recognize the miracles that we so often look past, and of course, for the influence of my Savior in my life. He really can heal us - all we need to do is sincerely ask. 

Okay, I think that's about all! Thanks for all the support! Je vous aime!

Elder Suisse

Our wifi's back! So here's this weeks' pics:
Lyon setting up for Fête des Lumières! We've been in Aix for most of it, but we're hoping to get a glimpse on the drive home tonight!
So turns out there's a Five Guys restaurant in Aix! It was a (super expensive) taste of home.
Barbe à papa
A super awesome fort from like 1000 AD on the drive home