Saturday, September 23, 2017

Office!

Salut !
So this week was crazy! Lots of fun stuff, but probably the biggest news is that I'm in the office now! In Lyon! President Brown called me last Saturday, a week before transfers and asked me to come in Wednesday. Sunday was hard because I had leave all the members after only five weeks, mais voilà. I came in Wednesday, and went straight to the apartment to unpack. I'm with Elder Walton (who I served in Lausanne with!) and Elder Stahl. I'm taking over from Elder Stahl, so he'll be training me for the next few days, before he finishes his mission on Monday. He's from Switzerland, so we make lots of jokes about the Suisse Elder getting replaced by Elder Suisse (;
Sadly that means I won't be doing normal proselyting for probably the next four transfers (six months...). But I get to help welcome and pick up all the new incoming missionaries, as well as see off all the departing ones. Besides that, I'm in charge with Elder Mustard of apartments for the mission (finding new ones, closing the old, moving) and taking care of the cars. Elder Walton does finances, and we both do tablets and transfer madness. Originally I felt pretty down about not being in the field for another six months, but I'm really excited to see how it works out. 
Thursday was weird! I haven't been in the office elder apartment since I came into the mission (it's where all the incoming elders sleep their first night in France). We had an office planning meeting with the office couples, the APs and President and Sister Brown, where we planned out next week's craziness, as well as how we'll be doing our conferences and stuff. 
Friday was transfers, so we bought tickets to get missionaries to all of their new areas! I did not appreciate how much work goes into getting 161 missionaries across France and Switzerland to their respective villes. Got it all done though! Elder Stahl also trained me on a lot of things. I learned a lot of legal vocab... 
Our pday in the office is on Saturdays, so today was super chill. We went to Ikea to buy some stuff for the apartment, got lunch and just hung out. 
That was basically my week. Big change, but hopefully it works out. I definitely don't feel smart or able enough to take care of everything I need to do here, but I'm starting to realize that my capabilities will be enough if I rely on the Lord to take care of me. Guess we'll see how it goes! Next week should be insane with all the coming and departing missionaries! 
Cool miracle from Wednesday! I got into the Lyon gare by myself with all my suitcases, and my new comps were nowhere to be seen. So I wandered for a bit, trying to find the main exit, and I started feeling lost, when someone behind me was like "Elder Suisse!" It was none other than Nathan Gaillard (son of the Gaillard family in Dijon)! So he helped me with my bags til I found elders Walton and Stahl. Dieu est grand ! 

Je vous aime ! 
Gros bisous ! 

Elder Suisse 

No pics this week, sorry... 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Bonjour à tous !

Sorry again for the delay, didn't have wifi to send this yesterday! 

Bonjour à tous !
This week was pretty normal, but awesome. It's finally been cooling off! I got to wear a jacket a couple of times! 
We got to make a few passbacks with the Klemasz couple and met some really cool people! We blessed a couple houses and had some really interesting conversations. There was one really old couple who we talked to for a while. They were both chair bound, but so awesome! They'd been members for forty years and married for almost seventy. They told stories about their conversions and their kids and it was so adorable! Like, fast-forward 65 years and I want to be like them. Really good stuff - I love passbacks to people like that. 
We had a really great district meeting about finding new people to teach. President set a goal for us to find 1620 new amis before Thanksgiving, so we're excited to see miracles as we start working towards this new goal. 
Church was fun too - none of our amis ended up showing up, but we had a lot of less actives appear out of nowhere, which was nice.
Our pday this Monday was a blast! We went to an outer ville near the sea with the Klemasz couple and their daughter and it was so fun! Nice lunch, ice cream, then we stopped by one of those fish spa things? Because why not! It was the first time we'd had time to really do anything fun for pday, so we really appreciated that.
That's about it this week, sorry for the short email!
Love you tons! Gros bisous !
Elder Suisse

Pics:
The beach! It was cold, so no one was there, so we thought we'd grab a pic on the wall
Our awesome lunch
So pics of Sete, a city in our area
Us with fish on our feet. Gotta try it. Really weird.
Little Romanian kids stole our plaques













Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Miracles here in Béziers!

Salut !
First off, sorry this email is late, it's been a crazy week, and due to construction at the church, they've taken out our only available wifi (we're at the Klemasz apartment rn), but hopefully that'll be fixed soon!

This week was so good! I'll try not to forget anything!

Thursday we visited a bunch of people in a town called Narbonne (like a 30 minute train ride from Béziers). Nobody was home until the last one, when this little old lady named Marie Claire Posadas answered the door. We talked for a minute at the doorstep but couldn't come inside because it was just her, and we were about to leave, when Frère Charron and his wife (two active members in Béziers) just showed up and we could enter! We just so happened to visit this lady at the same time, and ended up having an awesome, super spiritual rendezvous,  and Soeur Posadas decided to come the following Sunday! 

We also had a sweet lesson with la famille Matei (I think I've mentioned them in past emails). We talked about how to recognize the spirit, and how to feel it more in our lives, and it was so awesome! They're recent converts and don't speak awesome French, so it was such a tender experience to just simplify and have a heart to heart with such a great family. 

Friday and Saturday we had our exchange in Perpignan, which went well until Elder Shirley got sick and ended up having to stay home all day. Other than that it was fun though (;

Saturday night, while waiting in the station at like 9 for our train back to Béziers, which was late, I got a call from the first counselor in the branch presidency asking if I could speak the next morning at church. Then we ended up teaching gospel principles and priesthood because the people who were supposed to forgot or didn't show up. It turned out okay, but it did make me miss my big home ward.  #BranchLife

Pday, our plan was to go out and find something cool to do in Béziers, cuz we hadn't had the chance to do that yet, but then we got some fun news. The zone leaders in Montpellier called the night before saying they were coming and that we were having an exchange Monday evening and Tuesday. Then we got calls from the Geneva and Bordeaux zone leaders saying they're coming in for their legality. So we ended up cleaning all pday so we could fit eight elders in our tiny apartment. But it ended up being super fun to see everyone. 

I had an awesome exchange with Elder Terrell. We saw miracles right from the start. We ran into a member who told us she's (finally) decided she wants to have her 9 year old daughter baptized and that the date is set for October 15th and asked if we could start lessons Friday! We'd been trying to get that moving for forever! Then Elder Shirley and Elder Patton had a rendezvous with our ami Durrand and engaged him to baptism, set for October 28st!

I'd honestly been feeling really down about how slowly the work has been progressing, but I definitely realized this week that God knows what needs to happen and when. Béziers hasn't had an investigator with a set baptismal date since the beginning of summer, but as soon as we were humble and gave in to God's will, He stepped in. We fasted last week as a mission to be able to find those who are ready to progress and God is really providing. Really cool miracles :)

In other news, Elder Klemasz got permission from the stake president to do what he needs to do to train the branch on how to do missionary work, so hopefully that goes well too!

Other fun stuff this week:
-In between mad cleaning sessions on pday, Elder Shirley taught me how to play the guitar. I can officially play like four or five really simple songs and I feel like a boss. 
-In cleaning the apartment, I found a pot of chili in the corner that had been there for at least three months
-I've been practicing my crêpe making technique, and I no longer burn them! 

Okay, that's all I've got. All in all a really cool, spiritual experience filled week. I'm so grateful for this gospel and for the chance I have to serve the people I love here in France. So excited to see what God has planned for this next week! Love you all!
Je vous aime! Gros bisous !
Elder Suisse

Pics:
Not allowed to stay out late, but due to a delayed train, I got to take some cool night pictures
Us with our wonderful couple Klemasz 
In cleaning the apartment, we found copies of the book of Mormon in 27 languages! How cool is that?! 
Narbonne, so cool ! Super windy day, hence the crazy hair. 




Monday, September 4, 2017

Eight Months!

Salut mes petits choux !
This week was so good! Not as many lessons as I would have liked, but I got to do some awesome exchanges, and we had a killer zone conference! The church is true y'all!
Tuesday and Wednesday, Elder Shirley had to take care of his legality all the way in Gex with an elder from Toulouse, so I got to do an exchange with the Elder's companion! His name was Elder Wagner, and he was from Logan Utah! So we're pretty much best friends. Mind-blowing realization - he graduated in 2017! I feel so old! But yeah, it was a blast. We got to do a lesson over video call with an ami in Montpellier, which was awesome! I'm starting to develop such a testimony of technology and the miracles God gives us to further His work!
On Thursday we hopped on a train and headed all the way to Toulouse for our interviews with President and zone conference the next day. It was so nice to meet so many new faces (our zone conference consisted of Toulouse, Bordeaux and Montpellier zones)! First conference out of Dijon! We slept in an apartment with 21 other elders. Straight chaos, but nice to see everyone. 
Zone Conference was so good! President talked about Facebook, and testified of the miracles that it can bring. Lots of really good stuff! Probably my favorite thought though came from Sister Brown. I've been having trouble this trouble seeing progress here in Béziers. Our amis, and the work in general, are just not progressing as fast as I know they could be, and it's been kind of frustrating. But Soeur Brown bore a powerful testimony on perseverance, and talked about how, as long as we are trying our hardest, regardless of whether or not we are seeing progress in our amis, we are succeeding. God doesn't put us where we are solely for our investigators. She bore testimony and asked that, when we feel like we're not touching lives, we remember how much we've touched hers. I couldn't agree more. I'm really starting to realize that there are no such things as coincidences! If we don't notice change in our amis, we need to realize how many other lives we could be impacting, not to mention the change that could be happening within ourselves.
Friday and Saturday we had an exchange with the Perpignan elders. I got to visit some awesome less active members, and had some really cool spiritual experiences. It amazes me how much we as missionaries are able to love their people. I felt such a connection to these people who I'd never met in my life. 
Then on Sunday we had an awesome fast and testimony meeting. We got to join in with the whole mission in fasting and prayer for the people here in France. Such a cool experience! 
Anywho, I think that's everything! 
This gospel isn't always easy to live, but holy cow is it worth it!
Je vous aime énormément !
Elder Suisse

Attached:
Trees wearing socks. I found them very amusing.
Our tri-zone conférence ! 


Monday, August 28, 2017

Nous avons Facebook !

Salut tout le monde ! 
This week was crazy! We started off with an exchange here in Béziers with some new Elders whose comps were in Lyon for MLC. I got to hang out with Elder Weber all day, which was super fun. I don't know the ville very well so we definitely just got lost all day haha. We worked a bunch with the Klemasz couple in training members on their responsibilities as far as missionary work goes. 

Then on Thursday we went to Perpignan for our district meeting, which was awesome! Love my new district! The meeting went well - big news - we got Facebook! We're just supposed to use it for missionary purposes (posting spiritual thoughts and contacting amis), but it should be really cool! 

Then on Friday we organized an awesome branch activity where we played games with everyone (bowling, made people eat donuts off strings, etc) so we could invite amis and get to know the members and they all had an awesome time. I love my branch already! 

On Sunday Elder Shirley gave a killer talk, but none of our amis ended up showing... Hopefully next week though :) 

Today we got to spend time with the sœurs in Perpignan, who were here for their legality stuff, which was a blast! We checked out a sweet cathedral and got some lunch. 

Anywho, gotta go but I love y'all tons! 
Gros bisous ! 
Elder Suisse 

I forgot! Crazy story for the week! I had a freaky/ended-up-being-kind-of-cool thing happen the other day! There's this super odd older less active lady in our branch named Aimée, and she has tons of issues. Like, she texts us all the time saying she's being attacked by demons, and asks us for blessings like three times a week. So then the branch president told us she's actually on like eight different drugs and is supposed to be in a mental institution and that he doesn't feel comfortable with us seeing her until she gets some professional help. She seemed super nice, just kind of weird when we talked to her before, so we didn't really believe him. But when she texted us Friday to come visit, we didn't respond, and like two days later we got a text full of french cuss words and really vile, passive agressive stuff from her. So long story short we were super confused and mad, and were thinking about just going over to her house to confront her and get her to talk to the branch pres about her problems, but then we were praying about it, and in the middle of the prayer I suddenly realized that "Aimée" means "loved" in French, and I had this feeling like "whatever you do about the situation, remember she's loved by Someone." Anywho, we're still going to try to get her to a mental hospital, but it was a pretty cool experience. 

Okay love you guys have a good week!

Pics:
Little French and Romanian kids eating donuts with their faces
Us eating donuts with our faces
Cool alley in Béziers with umbrellas hanging all of the place
Sick organ in the cathedral 
The sisters doing some door to door






Wake Up Béziers! 8/21/17

Salut tout le monde ! 
Hello from the Mediterranean! This week was fantastic and so fun and so spiritual! Also so hot! It's finally cooling down, but we still have five fans going full time around our apartment. We also have this giant bottle of water that we freeze and put in front of the fans during the night to get the room almost down to room temperature. So good (; 

Anywho, what all did we do this week? Good question! We've been so busy, it's all kind of a blur! We only had one Ami when I arrived, so we contacted a lot this week in this super cool park with all these awesome statues of famous people. Elder Shirley tells me it was made in the early 1800s, so that's cool. We've had one or two rendezvous with members, and I love these people already! I'll do a little sum up of our branch in just a sec. Oh yeah! We almost visited the Mediterranean the other day with the Klemasz couple. It's in our secteur, and we had a rendezvous less than five minutes from it, but there were so many people, and we didn't have time. Next time though :) we also had some elders come here to work on legal stuff, so we got to do an exchange, which was fun. Most of the time though, we have so many rendezvous we're rarely in our apartment! 

Sunday was so good! It was my first Sunday ever in a branch! So different than a ward, but so cool! Everyone was so nice and friendly! I got to give my testimony, and even though there were no more than thirty faces looking back at me, every one of them was smiling! 

Some of the members I've met so far:
Patrick - deaf guy and incredible cook who really should be translated by now. Literally so much faith. 
Steve - our DMB (branch mission leader) who comes from Haiti and speaks English and French and works as a radio announcer 
Carlito - cool guy who just got back this week from his mission in Tahiti. Super psyched to help us with lessons! 
Les familles Matai et Tomescu- Two Romanian families. French is hard to understand, but idk if I've ever felt so much love from one group of people. The Matais came in Sunday with their family of six, and every one of them hugged me when I tried to give them a handshake. Love them already! 
And so many babies! Like, it was kind of hard to focus in sacrament because they were so cute. There was one African baby and one French baby sitting in front of us just speaking gibberish to each other and laughing the whole time. 

So one of the most wonderful parts of our beautiful Béziers is the Klemasz couple! They're our awesome missionary couple who live here and with whom we work almost every day. They've been here for one transfer but we're gone for most of it, so they're about as new as me. They're from Australia and are both converts to the church. Their job is to train the leadership here and to help us with the work. They definitely spoil us. They had things to do in Switzerland the other week, and they brought us back so much Swiss chocolate! Soeur Klemasz is basically my second mom or grandma or something. She's an awesome cook who speaks a tiny bit of French, and so nice. Elder Klemasz is the coolest dude! He used to fish for sharks all the time, and was a stake president in Australia before coming out here on a mission. He provides an awesome mixture of spiritual wisdom and super lame dad jokes. Example: today Soeur Klemasz said something and Elder K yelled "surely you can't be serious!" and elbowed Elder Shirley in the side (get it? Shirley, surely?) Anywho, naturally we're best friends. Neither of them really speak French, so lately we've been going over there about once a day to help translate for branch members they're training. 

So we have an alarm on our phone that's just this dude singing "wake up Béziers!" Sister Klemasz heard it and thought it was super funny, so now every time there's a miracle (which is often if you just keep your eyes open), all four of us shout "wake up Béziers" and wave our hands in the air. Honestly, I'm so excited and happy to be here and to help wake up Béziers. I've also started to realize how essential faith is! This week we've found two new amis, and I know if we keep giving God the chance to work through us, we'll see miracles! Keep up the prayers you guys, we need them :) 

Anywho, what else is new?
-I bought a couple new short sleeve shirts for this weather, and I'm happy to say the initial sunburn has finally faded! I'm finally starting to tan! 
-We don't have a car, and I definitely miss that. Thankfully the Klemasz couple does, so we did groceries with them today. Hallelujah!
-I haven't had to pull out Google translate since I got here!
-I solved a Rubik's cube for the first time ever!
-Elder Shirley has been teaching me to play the guitar. Goal is to be tan and able to play a couple songs on the guitar in a couple transfers. Well see how that goes.
- The Klemasz couple has rubbed off on me. I've started saying "rubbish" in place of "garbage" and "chips" instead of "fries"

Anyways, awesome week, it's awesome here. Spiritual thought for the week comes from a picture that someone gave me (I think it was Elder Laney? I can't remember, sorry Papa Laney). Anywho, I'll send it with this email. I made it the background on my tablet. It's a painting of the Savior reaching down into the water towards us, with a smile on his face. This week I've thought a lot about my Savior and how he can reach us NO MATTER how far we've sunk. He's sunk lower than us all. I love him with all my heart and I'm so grateful for everything he did and does for me and my family. I also realized that, as members, or job is to reach down and help our brothers and sisters rise. That's why we're here as missionaries! We help people realize there's a way out of that water, and the look on their face when they realize how sweet that air tastes is the most wonderful thing. I'm so glad for the opportunity I have for the next two years to be the representative of my Savior, ready to grasp someone's hand and guide them out of that water. I can't help but draw a parallel to baptism. I love being a missionary. It's hard sometimes. People can be really really mean, and it's definitely not always fun. But it's so worth it to find that one! Christ did everything for us and would do it again in a heartbeat. It's the least we can do to open our mouths :) 

Love you all so much
Gros bisous ! 
Elder Suisse 

Pics:
Christ reaching for Peter 
Cool super-old fountain thing in a park
Freaky statue. I think it's the devil? Idk, it's weird. 




Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Bienvenue à Béziers! Welcome to Beziers!

Salut !
Holy cow, crazy week ! First off, we got transfer calls on Friday! I'm currently writing this from our wonderful little chapel here in Béziers! It's in the south of France, right next to the Mediterranean Sea. The south is so crazy! It's really really hot and humid, and the accent is not at all what I'm used to. Imagine moving from Washington down to somewhere sketchy in Southern California. That's pretty much what happened. I love it so much though! I really miss Dijon, but I'm so excited to see what the Lord has planned for me here in Béziers! 

I'll run over everything that happened real quick:
This week was filled with awesome rendezvous with members and some pretty cool miracles. We went to Besançon for one last exchange with Elder Moss (he's officially finished his mission!) which was a blast. 
I gave a talk Sunday (first one totally in French) with the subject "j'irai où tu veux" (I'll go where you want me to go), which was especially appropriate considering our transfer calls had been that Friday! Anywho, after church I had to say goodbye to all of the Dijon members I love so much. So very grateful for everything they've taught me the last six months. I'll love them forever :) I love my bleuville! 

Monday morning I drove myself and Elder Moss with all of our bags to Lyon, where I dropped him off and picked up Elder Trapani (awesome Italian guy who I think I've mentioned in past emails? He was moving from Renens, Switzerland to Limoges, France) and we drove three hours to Montpellier. It was crazy to see the landscape change as we went further south! And so nice to see the sea! In Montpellier we gave the car to some other elders (Au revoir, ma belle voiture. Six months and over 17,000 kilometers...) and I met my new comp, Elder Shirley ! We served right next to each other when he was in Besançon, so we're actually really good friends already - so excited to serve with him!

Anywho, we took a train from Montpellier to Béziers, and I had my first real encounter with a southerner! This shirtless drunk man started yelling at us in French to stop speaking American and start speaking French "ou Arab. C'est meilleur." He was too out of it to be a real problem and he definitely wasn't the first person to shout at me on the mish. Best part was when we were trying to get all my bags off the train. This nice lady, who'd been trying not to laugh the whole time he was shouting at us, smiles and says "bienvenue quand même," and laughs and gets off the train. Bienvenue à Béziers ! 

Besides the heat and the insane accent (example:
-English: Do you want some bread? 
No thank you, it's good
-Normal French: Vous voulez du pain ? 
No merci, c'est bien
-Southern French: Vous voulez du PANG ? 
No merci, c'est BEEANG) 
, I love this place. The apartment is nice, the city is beautiful, Elder Shirley is the greatest, and we have a senior couple here who we work with (Elder and Sister Klemasz. They're Australian.) Right now is "La Feria," a Spanish-influenced fair with bull fights, dancing and parties. All things we can't go to as missionaries. It started on Thursday, ends tonight, goes til like 4 am every morning, and means we are advised to stay out of centre-ville due to large crowds and large amounts of alcohol, so I've been mostly unpacking and stuff. I haven't met any amis yet and only one member, but I've heard lots of good things and I'm super excited to see what the Lord has planned for me here! 

Okay, I think that's everything for now! 
Love you guys! 
Gros bisous ! 
Elder Suisse 

Pics:
Zone Conference two weeks ago
Me and the crew (Elder Moss, Elder trapani and Soeur Yee On- My favorite people!) 
An insanely expensive watch
Our "How to use Facebook" fireside 
Me with the Nizets
One last pic with Poe and Tatiana 
La Famille Serrano 
La Famille Casagrande 
Pics part 2:
Frere Bassi
Me and Trapani - Road trip
Palm trees - We're not in Dijon anymore
The sea
A cool mall
La Famille Gaillard
Our new chapel - a remodeled home