Martigny, France


Monday, February 12, 2018

Hard work and good times

Salut!

So this week was super busy and a ton of fun! First off, Martigny is the single most beautiful place on this planet! Mountains and green and snow and vineyards, and it's just straight-up awesome! But yeah, I'll try to remember everything that happened this week!

Monday and Tuesday we took a trip down to Lyon for MLC, which went super well. I realized that I really don't miss the big city, and I'm so grateful for my ville! We talked about family history and ate a ton of heart-shaped french toast for Valentines Day haha

Wednesday the Fribourg Elders came down for an exchange, which went really well! We had a great lesson with our ami, and then ate "brisolet", a Swiss traditional meal, with la famille Donnet-Monnay - literally just chestnuts roasted over an open fire. So good!

Thursday was district meeting, and I think it went super well! We talked about genealogy and how it applies to missionary work, as well as how to be lovingly BOLD this Valentines Day with our amis, in order to help them progress!

Friday was another exchange, with the Renens Elders - highlight: we helped our DMP destroy this summer home in the Alps (he remodels homes for a living and needed help with some heavy lifting), and the view was amazing!

Sunday was really nice - I love love love my branch! We ate with an American couple who own a hiking/adventure business here and it was super cool to learn about everything there is to do here. Also to hear some American English! And they made us buffalo steaks, so that was pretty great too.

Today we mostly just went shopping and ran errands, but on a whim we visited this castle on a mountain that we'd been meaning to check out, which was cold but very cool.

One thing I've really realized this week is that peace is so much more readily available than we realize! I've so appreciated the scenery and people here in Switzerland - nothing better for de-stressing - but nothing settles minds like the assurance we have that everything will be okay. Bad days end, anxiety is only temporary, and God is always there, even on cloudy days. We just have to try our hardest not to forget it!

Merci pour votre amour, je vous aime tous! And Happy Valentines Day!!

Elder Suisse

Lots of pictures this week:
Me trying to look regal at a castle, but actually I'm freezing
District meeting! I can't believe I'm holding a 9 - gotta enjoy the mission while I'm still here!
Sometimes I just get weirded out that my name's everywhere here
Exchange with the Renens Elders 
I can't get enough of these mountains!
Frere Donnet-Monnay making brisolet








Monday, February 5, 2018

Martigny!!!

Salut!
Okay, so this week was totally crazy! I'll try to sum it all up as best I can!
I got transferred to Martigny, in Switzerland. Crazy train ride on Monday, but we made it safely!
Martigny is the most beautiful place ever! Huge mountains, lots of snow, beautiful sunsets, the works! I love love love it here!
My companion is Elder Maxwell. He's in his fourth transfer and he's British, and super cool!
The branch is pretty small here, but the people are literally the greatest! We've eaten at a couple of houses, and they're so supportive and positive about the work! Sunday I was able to meet all of them, and it honestly feels like home!
We've been working with quite a few nonmember families this week! Sadly, most of our rendezvous were cancelled last minute, but I feel very positive about this transfer, and I'm so excited to see more miracles!

In summary, I'm so happy to be here, I love the branch, the ville and my companion. The Alps are incredible (legit, they're right outside our windows, and every morning I'm like "It's so beautiful here," and Elder Maxwell just laughs at me because I say it every day), and I'm feeling great!

Souvenez-vous que nous avons un Père Celeste que nous aime infinement, et que tout est possible à ceux qui croirent! 
Je vous aime tous!

Elder Suisse

Pics:
We visited a member who lived at a ski resort, and it was literally so beautiful!
A very picturesque chapel in Sion, a ville in our secteur
The view from our apartment (it has since snowed)
Switzerlaaaand!!!




Saturday, January 27, 2018

Switzerland!!!

Salut tout le monde!
So! Super crazy week! It was week six, and I feel like haven't sat down for at least four days! 

Monday we received Elder Jensen, my replacement here in the office. He ended up being three hours late, due to some crazy train stuff, so Elder Ruben and I spent all day running around til we found him. Then we had pday at President's house and played volleyball (super cold but great) and charades (everyone was yelling French and English and waving like crazy and it was great). 

Wednesday I got my transfer call! I'm going to Martigny, Switzerland! I'm so so so excited! Mountains, swiss chocolate, clean streets, the works! That'll be this week, then my p-days will be back to Mondays!

Thursday was our transfer planning meeting. This transfer sounds like it's going to be super chaotic and I'm not gonna lie, I'm real excited to get back to full time proselyting :)

Friday was straight-up insane! Someone decided our mission needed to switch out nine of our cars all at the same time, so me and every other driver in Lyon spent all morning driving cars between the chapel in Ecully and the dealership in Venissieux. Crazy day but we got it all done!

Today was my last p-day in Lyon, so we decided to finally visit some roman ruins by the Fourviere cathedral, and it was the coolest thing! We ended up taking like a bazillion pictures and just got back a bit ago. 

It was a packed week, and I'm not sure how I feel. I'm sad to be leaving the office, but I'm so so happy to be going back to full-time proselyting, and I'm so psyched to go to Switzerland, you have no idea! I'm so grateful for a Heavenly Father who supports us through the hard times and is the reason we have the good ones. There are so many blessings that fly past us every day, I've been trying hard not to miss them these last couple weeks. Life is hard, but good, and that's exactly how it was planned!

Merci et bonne semaine!

Elder Suisse

Pics:
Us at the ruins!


Saturday, January 20, 2018

The weekly

Bonjour!
Okay so this week was so crazy! After the Mustard couple left, Elder Skousen and Elder Walton (my old companion) were both brought in to take their places. That means that our apartment has been a four-man for a week now. We were pretty worried about how everything would work out, but honestly this has been such a fun time! We're still really missing the Mustards, but I'm starting to think everything will work out! 

Besides the transfer madness, we have some other super cool news! The France Lyon mission is officially getting smartphones! We've been working for a few months now on putting that all together, but it should be happening soon, and I'm excited to see how it works out!

Friday was our Lyon zone conference - so good! President shared his thoughts on John chapter 9, when Christ heals the man blind from birth and wow, I learned so much! I love the symbolism, and it's so applicable to missionary work! In Jean 9, Christ heals the man, but it required faith and a little work, which is what is often required of us to see miracles. Anyways, then we went contacting in Lyon, and I loved it! I realized that I haven't really been contacting since I got to the office back in September, and I missed it! Elder Ruben and I had a great conversation with a man from California, and by the end he was asking for our number and where the church was so he could bring his family on Sunday! It was just the right miracle to get me back focused on missionary work after so much time filing papers in the office.

Today the four of us went to the mall and took advantage of winter soldes. We got our French suits and I'm not gonna lie, we look pretty classy. 

Spiritual thought for today: Jean 9:25 - The Pharisees are interrogating the man healed by Christ. They don't believe Jesus is the Son of God, and they detest the no-longer-blind man for believing in Him. So they're asking him questions and after a bit, "He answered and said, whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see." 
I love how straight-forward this is. After his experience with the Savior, this man was able to fend off trials with his simple testimony. I've really taken comfort from this scripture this week. I don't know everything, and life is hard, but one thing I know - that God loves me, and everything will work out. Go read the chapter, it's gold!

Anywho, all in all a great week, and I'm excited for the next! 
Thanks for all the love, et je vous aime!

Elder Suisse

Pics:
Belgian waffle party Friday night, chez Rigby
Classy new suits! I love the office!


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!