Lyon, France


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





Sunday, December 3, 2017

La beige st in beau bateme!

Bonjour!
So this week was crazy! And it's December! I'll try to get everything into one email!

First off, it's snowing here! Not a lot, but enough to make it really cold! Apparently Geneva has blankets of snow, so we're hoping it makes it's way over here to Lyon!

We were super busy all week putting together plans for our Christmas conferences in Toulouse and Lyon, buying train tickets, sorting all the Christmas packages and all that other fun office holiday stuff. President and Sister Brown came by to work on Christmas stuff, and Sister Rigby (one of the senior couple sisters) decorated the office, and there are ornaments and Christmas lights everywhere. I'm so excited for Christmas!

So we've been teaching an ami these last few weeks, and I totally keep forgetting to write about it. His name is Deeli and he's from the Congo but lives in Ukraine. We've been using the miracle of technology to Skype him and the missionaries there, and it's been such a cool experience. Sadly, our last couple rendezvous have fallen through, but it's been super nice to get some teaching in and we hope it picks up.

In other news! Today was pretty cool! The sisters in our ward have been teaching an old lady named Christianne, and we've gotten to teach her a couple times on Sundays. She's super nice! We'll say something like "Why do we come to church," and she looks confused and says "Well, it's a commandment, why wouldn't we?" Anywho, she ended up asking me to baptize her! So that was today, and a super special experience! 

We didn't have time to do anything crazy for pday today, due to the baptism, but we made some A+ hot chocolate, and we're planning on a game night with the Lyon amis tonight, which should be cool.

So I had a pretty cool experience earlier today. I was feeling pretty annoyed and discouraged with myself and wasn't sure why. Then we said a prayer before leaving the apartment for the office, and I just asked Heavenly Father for peace, and it was like all of the stress and worry and difficulties I'd been dealing with just faded away. I realized that, due to all that our Savior has done for us, everything I'd been stressing about was temporary and of no real impact. If we focus on bettering ourselves and our relationship with Heavenly Father, we'll realize that the only things that have any real lasting effect will be positive, and our troubles will melt like chantilly on chocolat chaud.

Merci pour toutes les priéres, et sachiez que Dieu vous aime!
Elder Suisse

P.S. Pictures coming when I have WiFi :)
Okay, here's the pics from this week!
A whole bunch of missionaries and a super nice recent convert named Martha
Christianne's baptism!
Soeur Rigby found reindeer noses and they were very appreciated
Elder Ruben and I realized that we had bérets and baguettes and voila, photo shoot


Saturday, November 25, 2017

Thanksgiving and conference!

Salut mes choux!
So this week was so good! I've never eaten so much food in my entire life! Thanksgiving is not a thing here in France, but I'm currently serving with a whole bunch of American senior couples, so it was definitely a thing for us. And a couple members knew how much we Americans like our Thanksgiving, so we got fed quite a bit more than we should have. Such a good week though! We were in the office for most of it, but I'll try to hit a few highlights.

Wednesday was our five-zone conference! I had to get 180ish missionaries across France and Switzerland to Lyon and Toulouse, and most of them made it safely! Success! Conference was so so good! President Johnson, the Europe area president, visited and it was such a powerful day! We had a mission-wide goal of finding 1620 new amis in 66 days (symbolic of the pilgrims' journey), and we ended up finding 1894! So President Brown talked about miracles and gratitude, and it was so good! Then President Johnson spoke about teaching people how they need to be taught, personally. I learned a lot about how spiritual learning requires commitment, and how change will not happen unless you work for it. Nothing shifts until we do! Then we all had KFC and pumpkin muffins and it was awesome. 

Today was p-day! Elder Ruben and I cleaned our apartment from top to bottom for hours (to recover from the wave of missionaries from conference), then we visited Vieux Lyon (the oldest part of town) with the Rigbys and it was so much fun! Lots of souvenirs and patisseries and history. Awesome day!

I've thought a lot about gratitude this week. Regardless of our circumstances, we all have a whole lot to be grateful for. I for one, am so thankful for my family! I'm grateful for my friends, here and at home and all over the place, and I'm so happy to have the chance to serve in France as a missionary! Nothing has the potential to change lives for the better like the gospel of Jesus Christ, and no message is as powerful. I love being here, and I love my Savior. Rien est impossible, grâce à notre Redempteur. Je suis infinement reconaissant pour toutes les belles benedictions dans ma vie. Nous sommes vraiment bénis! 

Je vous aime tous! Merci pour les prières et pour votre amour
Elder Suisse





Pics part 2:
Elder Ruben and I working on a sick Rachmaninoff/Tchiacovsky duet.
Us in Vieux Lyon.
Us by a statue of Jean-Baptiste baptizing Jesus with a clam shell...









Saturday, November 18, 2017

Pictures!!!

Selfies at the Fourvière and with the giant inflatable Lindt bear 
Some monk dude who looked like a Jedi
Very picturesque picture of Mary
Panorama of Lyon. Would have been nicer in good weather, but what can you do
Our 10 kilos of chocolate
Pics:
Moving party in Montauban
Departing heroes
Lindt wonderfulness














Life is crazy!

Salut!
Sorry about not emailing last week, we were in Montauban (I'll explain) and had zero time to write all week. Basically the last to weeks were the most insanely busy and crazy of my entire life!! Aka apologies for the novel, I'll try to remember everything!

Tuesday, Nov 7 - We took the departing missionaries to the airport. I knew these guys better than most, so it was pretty hard to say goodbye. So grateful for the chance to get to know them though! After that, we picked up eleven new bleus, and all the trunkiness from the four departing missionaries went away real quick. We got to go contacting with them for a bit during some down time, and we found five new amis in 20 minutes!

Thursday, Nov 9 - We went to IKEA to prepare for our Montauban trip and spent like six hours trying to find our way out of that maze. We also dropped more than a thousand euros on furniture, which was exciting. 

Friday, Nov 10 - This is where the crazy starts. We took the bleus to do their legal papers and stuff, and when we got to our appointment, we realized that we didn't have the necessary x-rays! So Elder Ruben and I ran and took the metro accross Lyon to get them and get back before they kicked us out for taking too long. It was a lot more chaotic than it sounds, I promise. Then we started our trip to Montauban! Turns out it was going to take longer to get there than we thought, and it got really dark really fast and started pouring rain, and we were getting freaked out and didn't know what we were going to do, when all of a sudden we remember that Carcassone had just switched from Sisters to Elders just four days previous. So we were able to stop in Carcassone for the night and park the Chunk (full of luggage and furniture) in the nicely sheltered church parking lot by their house. BUT THEN as we were getting ready for bed, Elder Ruben and I realize that we'd FORGOTTEN THE KEYS to the old Montauban apartment (which were essential). We were freaking out until I realized that, due to some random circumstances with the trains, the new Montauban sisters were in Lyon and would be coming to Montauban the following morning, so they were able to stop by the office before they left and grab the keys! Huge miracle!

Saturday, Nov 11 - We drove from Carcassone to Montauban and started moving furniture out of the old apartment and into the new. Montauban is so beautiful! Tons of bridges and rivers and mountainy things. Then we drove to Toulouse and slept there.

Sunday, Nov 12 - We came back and went to church in Montauban. It had been like five months since Montauban has had missionaries, and they were so nice and so excited to see us! Then we had lunch with the branch and got to attend a baptism there, after which we drove back to Toulouse for the night.

Monday, Nov 13 - We finished all the moving, made a few trips to the déchetterie (the dump), and cleaned up. We got done around 7ish, then drove to Pau and got there around 10 pm. 

Tuesday, Nov 14 - Elder Ruben had to do his legality in Pau, which went super quick. Once that was done we drove 40 minutes to Oloron and stopped at (wait for it, this is the best part of my whole week...) the Lindt chocolate factory! Turns out it's the only one in France and it was so coooool and such a good way to end a really stressful week! We drove up and got out of the car and even the parking lot smelled like chocolate, and we knew everything would be okay. Needless to say, we bought so much chocolate (like 10 kilos total), which was nice, because then we had a seven hour drive home. For some reason the GPS took us through Bordeaux? Basically we drove for like 14 hours total and saw all of our mission except Switzerland and Corsica. Road trip! Anywho, we ended up getting home around 11 pm and went straight to sleep.

Thursday, Nov 16 - We had an awesome district meeting, and I spent hours buying planning and buying train tickets to get 190+ missionaries from two countries into Lyon and Toulouse for our giant zone conferences coming up in a bit (more on that later, super psyched).

Saturday, Nov 18 - Today! We visited the Fourvière Basilique for P-day and it was super cool! Lots of marble and statues of Mary. Good times. 

Anywho, all in all the craziest week ever, but I learned a ton! First off, God is there! There is no way in the world that this week should have worked out like it did! We left the keys on the other side of the country for heaven's sake! I can't tell you how many times we got stressed or couldn't find a parking spot, and said a prayer, and all of a sudden it worked out. I realized that if God wants something to happen, and we do all we can, anything is possible. I'm so grateful for a Heavenly Father who listens to us and is aware of us 24/7. I promise He's there and He loves us!!

Merci pour toutes les priéres, je vous aime!
Elder Suisse


Sunday, November 5, 2017

Already November?!

Salut mes petits choux!
So this week was actually insane. Imma try to get all my thoughts straight, so sorry if it's a little chaotic!

First off, it's November! Happy Halloween last week! It's starting to get pretty cold here, so thank heavens for a climate controlled office! I've ended every day this week with a hot chocolate, and life is good.

I got a new companion! Elder Ruben is from Murray Utah and he's awesome! We've been a trio for the last week and a half so Elder Walton can train him in the ways of office work. We'll probably be comps for the next three transfers (4.5 months), so I'm super excited! Elder Walton is being transferred to Nimes on Monday, so I'm really crossing my fingers that I picked up on everything I needed to, cuz I'm now the senior office elder (yikes). 

Pretty much the whole week has been planning for transfers next week and trying to hectically learn everything we can before Elder Walton leaves. We had our transfer planning meeting with President and the assistants, and we finished buying all the train tickets today, so hopefully it all works out!

In other news, our mission has this giant monster of a vehicle that we've named "The Chunk", which we use when we need to move huge amounts of people or luggage or whatever, and guess who's now the designated driver? Me. Like, you have to pull the emergency break when you shift from reverse to drive on a hill, or it'll roll backwards. And we have a huge moving trip coming up next week (Lyon to Montauban to Pau and back to Lyon - approx 18 hours of driving), so keep us in your prayers y'all!

Today was P-day and we got to go to a castle with the Mustard couple! Le Château Flechere - like forty minutes to Lyon. Coolest p-day so far - pics included!

Sunday was stake conference and holy cow, definitely one of the most uplifting meetings I've ever been to! Elder De Feo in the Europe area presidency spoke about the story of Jairus and Christ, where Jairus's daughter is dying and the Christ heals the lady with the blood issue. He made a couple comments that I looooved! He invited us to imagine what Jairus must have been thinking when the Cure to his daughter's eminent death stopped to heal someone else! Elder De Feo made the comment that perhaps this was the moment when Jairus's simple hope was tempered into real faith. Then the people come to tell him that it's too late, his daughter was dead and there was no need to bother the Master. But then Christ delivers the most powerful sermon in just one sentance - « Ne crains pas, crois seulement » - "Be not afraid, only believe". So often we are tempted to feel that all hope is lost, that it's too late, we've messed up, or maybe that God doesn't notice someone as insignificant as us, that He has bigger things to worry about. Well that just isn't true! He loves us infinitely and He can indeed cure all ills - physical, emotional and spiritual. We need only to persevere and keep our faith. I am so grateful for the chance I have to serve here in France. I love my mission, I love my family and my friends and I love my Savior. I understand that life is hard and will keep being hard, but I really believe that nothing negative is permanent with Christ. 

Thanks for all the support, je vous aime!

Elder Suisse

P.S. Also! Idk if you remember Roc Durrand and Kellis Ndugu, from my emails back in Béziers, but they were some amis that Elder Shirley and I worked with, and they got BAPTIZED last week! I'm a little sad I didn't get to see it, but I'm so so happy that they made the decision to come nearer to God! 

Pics:
A bunch of pictures of the Château and the gardens around it
Elders Ruben, Walton and myself treating ourselves to some Halloween patisseries
Me with... The Chunk...