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 

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

Monday, August 7, 2017

Zone Conference and S'mores!

This week was pretty great! I remembered to bring my journal with me today, so I should be able to remember a few things this week! 
First off, I love Dijon! It's starting to sink in that transfer calls are this Friday, and I'll probably be leaving my wonderful bleu-ville! I just love the members here so much, and the ville is beautiful, and it's just so awesome! But I'm also super excited to see some more of France or Switzerland, and meet some new people, so it's chill. 
Highlights of this week included:
Two awesome rendezvous with our new ami, Katinia. She's the almost-nine-year-old daughter of a less-active Samoan family, and we're hoping her progression has a good effect on them! Every time we teach a lesson, her job is to teach it to her family for family night, and it's honestly the awesomest thing! We also had a great rendezvous with our other new ami, Gloire! He's from the Congo and speaks French and Lingala (idk how to spell it), and he's super chill. Hopefully he keeps progressing this week. 
We ate s'mores on Tuesday with a family in our ward. I have not been able to find marshmallows ANYWHERE, but apparently Haribo makes them, so that was good to know. Not exactly the same as the U.S., but a good effort and a nice reminder of home. Speaking of food, I decided I wanted to eat healthier (I'm worried that all the cheese and chocolate will start adding up), so today when we were shopping, I bought a bunch of fruits and stuff, and I was going to buy cucumbers and stuff, but guess what?! Ranch dressing is not a thing here! So that was a big disappointment. On the bright side, pistachios are super cheap, so that was nice to find out. 
We've had pretty crazy weather this week. It's either like 40° C and humid and awful, or it's pouring rain and lightning, so that's been cool. I'm still counting my blessings that I got to serve up north during the summer!
On Friday we had zone conference! Always so much fun! President brought this giant sword for part of his presentation on how Facebook will be a double-edged weapon, helpful but potentially dangerous, so that was interesting. We also got to hear the departing testimonies from three of our awesome missionaries, including Elder Moss, who's been in Besançon since I entered the mission. I literally love our zone so much! Everyone is so great! Go Lausanne! 
Today we decided to do the full official tour of Dijon for my possibly last p-day here. We stopped in a couple of museums and got very sunburned walking around. I'm gonna miss this place, but I'm excited :)
Spiritual thought this week comes from some thoughts shared by our awesome members this fast and testimony meeting. First off was a couple with a daughter out on a mission who talked about missionary work and how they are happy to make the sacrifice of not having their child with them for a while, because they've seen the joy that the gospel brings to their life, and know it has to be shared. Then an older sister gave an awesome testimony about the Atonement. She made the observation that, as hard as the physical pain involved was, the mental and emotional agony had to have been worse. A perfect Being willingly took sin, something totally opposite to everything he was, upon himself for us. So grateful for Him and everything He's done for me. I get to live with my family forever, and all it takes is my best effort, as imperfect as that is. I love this gospel you guys. We are so blessed! Love you all, thank you for your prayers and keep being great!

Je vous aime!
Elder Suisse

A cow in one of the paintings at the museum. Couldn't resist taking a picture.
Awesome sunset in Besançon
Cool buildings in centre ville
Giant swords in one of the museums. Literally taller than me.
More cool buildings. Dijon might not have an ocean, or mountains, or any cool hikes, or even a Burger King, but we have a lot of cool buildings.

Monday, July 31, 2017

I love our Mission!

Bonjour tout le monde!
This week was great! We spent most of the week out of our secteur, which was fun but I'm so happy to be back here in Dijon! It's been raining quite a bit here, which has been a huge blessing! So tired of the heeeeaaaat...

Monday we ate dinner with Soeur Cuisiat, Jean and Ségolène, which was a blast! Jean is super old and is confined to a wheelchair, but he was so sassy, we were all dying the whole time! We talked about patience and how that applies to receiving answers to prayer, which really helped Ségolène, I think. Plus Soeur Cuisiat makes a killer chicken and mushroom rice, so that was a nice plus.

Tuesday was pretty lowkey. We saw Ségolène again in the morning and had a great lesson on the Atonement, then made passbacks and contacted for the rest of the day.

Wednesday was also very chill. We had a rendezvous with a less-active member, proselyted for a while, then drove to Bienne, Switzerland! That place is so cool! It's the only city in our mission that overlaps with the German mission, so we got to meet the Bienne German elders, which was cool, then we slept at the French Elders' apartment.

Thursday we woke up early and drove to Lausanne, where we had an awesome district meeting (Shoutout to Elder Moss. He's been in Besançon since I got to Dijon, and he's finishing his mission in two weeks!). I love our district so much! After our meeting, we drove back to Besançon, where I got to do an exchange with Elder Nasman, a brand new bleu! We contacted and talked to a lot of people, and I got to reminisce about my first transfer days. So weird we're almost to number five already! Time's moving too fast! That evening we ate wtih some members there, and I got to try raclette for the first time! Definitely one of my top five favorite foods ever (pictures enclosed).

Friday we continued our exchange, and I got to meet some really cool people! We had a lesson in one of the parks with a girl named Henriqua, and I met a cool little kid from Sri Lanka. He spoke French and some English (but pretty much only swear words. He asked us for some new ones, and I almost had him convinced that the word "monkey" was super offensive). It was actually really nice to meet some people outside of Dijon. I'll miss this place when I'm gone, but I'm excited to hopefully see some more of France or Switzerland in a couple of weeks!

Saturday we did some service at another member's house and ate hotdogs with them before driving home. That evening we went with Ségolène to a Chinese buffet that we'd found at the other side of Dijon, which was super fun. I learned the hard way that "seiche" is French for "cuttlefish," which made Elder Lutu's day... Also, we got some sad news. Ségolène is leaving with her family for Portugal on Tuesday and won't get back til the end of August, so I probably won't be able to see her again. She'll keep progressing though, and I'm super excited for her and happy I had the chance to get to know her.

Sunday was a blast! We had so many visitors! Apparently there were like three different stake things going on, so we had like fifteen extra people from that. Then we had a random woman and her daughter show up (relatives of one of our members maybe), and they were super interested in learning, so we should start teaching them soon! I didn't have to translate today, so I got to sit with our wonderful amis. After that, the young adults got together and had pizza and invited us, which is always cool. Then that evening we saw an awesome miracle! We passed a less-active family that we've been trying to get a hold of for AGES (la famille Taukafa). They're Tongan, and are never home. But yesterday they were! So they let us in, and Frere Taukafa told us how he wants his almost 9 year old daughter to be baptized, and she agreed, so we taught her the first lesson right there! They fed us some awesome island curry and invited us to come back tonight for the next lesson! Super cool!

Today we played ping pong with an older member, then took advantage of the July soldes one last time before they're over (I bought two sweet ties, in case y'all were wondering). 

Anywho, sorry for the giant email, but it was a crazy week! Lots of fun stuff and some sad news, but overall a blast. So glad to be here in this beautiful place surrounded by incredible people. I love this church! I know it's true! I'm so grateful for a Savior who lived a perfect life so we don't have to. Thank you all for your prayers and emails and I'll talk to you later!

Gros Bisous!
Elder Suisse

The raclette maker thingy. You melt the cheese on the bottom, grill the meet on the top, then put it on some potatoes. Dream come true.
Me and Elder Nasman at an awesome park in Besançon
Me and that one kid who only knows cuss words

Monday, July 24, 2017

Miracles! And it's not as hot as last week!

Bonjour tout le monde!
This week was pretty awesome! As shown by my subject line, it wasn't nearly as hot as last week, and the high for this next week is supposed to be 28° C, which is better than it's been for a while! So that's been really nice. Other than though, it's been a pretty low-key week. Lots of passing less active members and a good number of rendezvous. We were in our secteur all week, which was nice, but I'm excited to travel some more this upcoming week. We should be in Bienne, Switzerland tomorrow, followed by Lausanne for district meeting, then an exchange in Besançon. Super psyched!

Let's see if I can remember everything that happened this week - last week's p-day feels like yesterday! I'll try to hit any highlights... 

Monday we played ping pong with Frere Ollivry, an older, classically French man in our ward, and he definitely kicked our butts.

Tuesday we had a really cool miracle!! We were contacting, and I was feeling pretty discouraged about it, as we hadn't had a single conversation all day. We were going to work our through centreville back to our apartment, and Elder Lutu stopped this girl about our age. We started talking to her, and she was like "Uh, je ne comprends pas," and we were like "Oh! Do you speak English?" and she was like "Yep!" So it turns out she was born in Macedonia, had lived in Canada all her life, and was on a week long vacation here in France by herself. We talked about the family for a bit, and she told us all about her life. After a bit, she was like "do you guys want to go sit at a cafe and talk for a bit?" and we were like, "uh, of course!" So we sat and gave the entire first and second lessons (Funny side note: She ordered coffee, and we ordered water, but the waiter messed up and brought us three coffees, and we laughed so hard). She'd been born Catholic, but didn't really believe in God. It turns out she was like 20 and had had a really hard life, and was here alone in France to "find herself". She'd seen missionaries before, but all she really new about Mormons was from the musical (we were like, "yikes"), but she was super interested and asked a lot of really good questions. We finished talking about the plan of salvation, then ended up just talking about life and books and popular TV shows (Elder Lutu wasn't home to see "Stranger Things," so we filled him in). Then we started talking about the gospel again, and had literally the coolest conversation! It was like everything that came out of our mouths hit her right in the heart. All three of us ended up sharing a lot about the troubles we'd been dealing with lately, and it was really cool! Honestly, it was an awesome conversation that touched all three of us. We ended up talking for three hours right there in the cafe. We only had french Books of Mormon, so she took a plan of salvation pamphlet. Anywho, as we were leaving she said "After today, I'm not sure I believe in coincidences. You've blessed my life." So cool! Favorite quote: at one point, she shared something really difficult she was dealing with, and me and Elder Lutu were like "Well, our problems are literally nothing compared to what you're burdened with," and she corrected us and said "there's an old Macedonian proverb that says 'we've all got our own mountain to carry.' We can't compare one person's burdens to another, because we're each unique." And that is so true! The only person who can understand us is our Savior. This is true for each and every person who has ever lived or will ever live on this earth. He came here, lived and died, and was resurrected for us and would do it again in a heartbeat. I am so grateful for Him, and for the opportunity I've been given to let go of the mistakes that weigh me down, and progress. I also realized what a difference our view on our origins makes on our lives. When we have the knowledge that we are sons and daughters of an Almighty God, with infinite potential, all of the sudden this life has meaning, and every person you meet on the street has value. I am so so thankful for this light that we've been given!

Anywho, sorry for the huge story there haha. The rest of the week was awesome too. We visited a bunch of members (including Poe, who made me eat more food than I've ever eaten in my entire life), and la famille Guerin (who made a pistachio raspberry cheesecake. Life changing.)

Sunday was awesome!! We ended up with a whole bunch of visitors and people that don't normally come. There was one guy visiting his girlfriend, who lives in our ward, and he didn't speak English, so I got to translate for the first time. It went super well! I was able to keep up probably 90% of the time, and had no problems translating when he wanted to answer a question. Awesome! We also had three catholic visitors who no one knew and who showed up separately, so that was interesting. During sunday school they kept saying stuff like "No, I'm pretty sure infant baptism is the way to go," and then agreeing with each other, which was awkward. But we got to teach them the first lesson after church, which ended up being super cool.

Anyways, awesome week and super full of miracles! I'm so grateful for the chance I have to be hear learning about myself and my Redeemer! Final thought, we sang "Mon Dieu, plus pres de toi," (Nearer my God to Thee) in sacrament on Sunday. It's also the song we got to preform in the MTC, and I love it so much! Not sure if I've shared this before, but the French version of the song has a fourth verse that the English one doesn't, and I really like it (forgive my translation mistakes):

4. Au plus profond des bois,
Dans le désert,
J’ai vu, tout près de toi,
Ton ciel ouvert.
Mon âme emplie de joie,
A pu trouver ta voie!
Mon Dieu, plus près de toi,
Plus près de toi!

4. In the deepest forest,
In the desert,
I saw, very near to you
Your open heaven.
My soul filled with joy,
I could find your voice!
My God, nearer to thee,
Nearer to thee.

I love this gospel you guys. I love my God, I love my Savior, I love my family, and I love every person I meet here in France (no matter how many times I hear "ça m'interess pas" (; ). I'm so grateful to be able to feel God's love and to know that He is there. It's this knowledge and my desire to share it with those I love that keeps me here, away from my family and friends. It's hard, but I've never felt closer to my Savior.
Merci pour tout le soutien and l'amour! Je vous aime!
Elder Suisse

The inside of one of our many cathedrals here in Dijon
The coolest name ever
Elder Lutu, ready to battle the massive spider on the bathroom door

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

6 months down! 7/17/17

I can't believe I've already been gone for six months! That's a really long time! I'm starting to realize how important it is to make use of the time you're given! 

I love it here! This week was pretty crazy! I'll see if I can remember everything that happened! First off, Dijon is still awesome. Elder Lutu and I had a lot of fun this week, and saw quite a few miracles. Weird to think I'll have to leave this place eventually haha...

We had a couple cool lessons with our awesome amis this week! We taught Segolene on Tuesday, which went super well. I love lessons with her because 1- she's a fluent English speaker, so it's easier for me to get thoughts out how I want during rendezvous, and 2- she's already received all the missionary lessons, so now we're just trying to help her find answers and solidify her faith. Our lesson was great. We ended up just talking about what she's worried about testimony wise, and sharing things that helped us. I had the opportunity to just testify of my Savior and his Atonement in English, and the Spirit was there. Really good lesson, but she's still having troubles. I just love these people so much and it's frustrating sometimes when they won't or can't accept what you know will bless their lives. Ah well, it'll work out. Anywho, we also got a new ami! Eloise is the fiance of one of our members, and I'm excited to see her progress! What else did we do this week... We did a lot of contacting and became familiar with some more of our parks. Dijon is so beautifuuuuul! I love France!

Oh yeah!! We also had district meeting in Lausanne, and we got some big news! Come the beginning of August, every France Lyon missionary will have a Facebook account to help with the work. Idk how that'll work out, but we're excited to see! What else... After our meeting, we drove to Besancon for an exchange with Elder Moss and his new bleu, Elder Nasman. Love those guys! We contacted around a lot, and had some good lessons. Weird to be doing missionary work somewhere other than Dijon! We spent the 14th there in Besancon and it was cool to hear all the fireworks. Just ten days later than I'm used to back in the USA.

We also had an awesome rendezvous with Poe on Saturday! We went to a river and had a barbecue with him and his cousin and their families. Awesome discussion about forever families and the temple. Guys, this gospel is so cool! I'm so excited for the opportunity to help people find happiness in their families for the next two years, then to do the same myself afterwards. I love the temple!!

In other news, I've been thinking a lot about the Atonement lately. I've realized that every aspect of our life here on earth and the plan of salvation, especially repentance, is for our well-being. Even the consequences of sin exist to help us learn and become more like God. I don't fully understand everything my Savior has done for me, but I am so grateful for Him, and I'm so excited to share His love with those I love for the next year and a half, as well as for the rest of my life. God is real, and He love each and every one of us infinitely. 

Love you all! Gros bisous!

Elder Suisse

Papa Moss and his bleu, Elder Nasman asleep on the way to Lausanne
The offset chairs in the Lausanne subway. Fun fact: Lausanne public transport is the steepest in the world. It's built on a bunch of hills!
Our newly organized district. Shoutout to the bleus!
Some awesome camping pics with my favorite islanders

Monday, July 10, 2017

Bonjour ! 
This week was great! Lots of changes, and some pretty awesome miracles! First off, Elder Lutu is super cool! He's in his 13th transfer, and he's way chill. He's from Idaho (Boise), but his dad is Samoan. He came in Monday, and we just worked hard all week. We did a lot of driving to outer villes, and had a lot of mangezvous with members. We also did a ton of contacting, which was less fun, but still good. Funny story, one day we were in a small village looking for a less active member, and this dude stopped us and asked who we were looking for, then started freaking out at us and asked us for identification and being super rude. Turns out there had been some robberies or something in the neighborhood and he was just extra suspicious, but we still had to practice some charity and not get mad at him. 

But I'm honestly so glad that I get to stay another transfer! I realized the other day that I'll be in Dijon for a quarter of my mission. Super excited to be able to keep working with the ward that I love here! Also our awesome amis ! I love Dijon :) 

This week has been reeeeaaaallllyyy hot, like hotter than Dijon has been for a long time. But it also rained a lot the last couple days, like huge storms, so that helped a lot. 

In other news, the Tour de France passed through our secteur on the 7th. We couldn't go, sadly, but some of our awesome members came to church Sunday with a bunch of souvenirs, so that was sweet. It's a big thing here, and everyone gets super excited about it. They closed down a bunch of roads in our secteur so they could come through, which actually messed up some of our plans haha. Really cool to be here for that! 

We had a really cool experience on Tuesday with Ségolène! We were there with one of the young women in our ward who's preparing for her mission, and I asked about how expérience with our last week's invitation went (she had no real religious background and was unfamiliar with the idea of having Christ as her Savior, so we asked her to fast, pray and study). She said she'd worked on it all week, and I asked her what she learned. She looked at us and just said super simply "yeah, I know He's my Redeemer." So cool! So we talked some more about something of her questions, and at the end of the lesson, we invited her to baptism on July 29th and she said yes! So we're hoping and praying that she continues to progress. Really really cool lesson! She texted us later with some other questions and concerns. She said she's worried with finding answers, so we asked her how she had gained the testimony that Christ loved her, and she said she didn't know for sure until we asked her in the rendezvous, then she just had this overwhelming feeling that she could and should say yes. So we're trying to help her realize how much faith she really, and how she personally receives revelation. Super awesome person! 

Also! I got to see Poe again! I thought I'd be transfered, so I was so glad to be able to hang out with him for another six weeks! He and Tatiana had their baby! Her name is super long and I can't pronounce it, but she's adorable! Love those guys! 

Anywho, pretty simple week, but really good! Thanks for all the prayers and encouragement, I love you guys! 

Elder Suisse 

First comp pic! 
Poe, Tatiana and the baby! 
One of our cathedrals with the stormy sky is  the back - awesome! 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Transfer Madness! 7/3/2017

Bonjour ! 
Okay, this week was crazy! First off, transfer calls were on Friday! I'm staying in Dijon, and I'm receiving Elder Lutu. Four transfers in Dijon, I'm super excited to be able to keep serving the people I love here! It was weird to say goodbye to Elder Johnson and still stay here, but I'm super excited to stay. 
In other news, the work is really progressing here! We had a couple lessons with Ségolène, which went super well. One less active family contacted us and said they want to have their 9 year old daughter baptized, so we'll be starting lessons with her as well. 
We had some other cool lessons with some less active members. Miracle of the week: we were passing some less active members I'd found on our ward list in this tiny village. We had passed a couple other families and none of the visits had gone well, so we were feeling pretty down about it. We (Elder Shirley and I) rang the doorbell and this old dude answered the door, and we were like "ugh, here we go..." but then he invited us in! He gave us juice and a tour of his house, then we talked and hung out for like an hour. Then his wife got home and she was like "missionaries! We haven't had contact with the church for 30 years!" They asked for our number and the address of the church, then gave us a while bunch of homemade honey and told us to come back next week! Little miracle and much appreciated! 
Other fun stuff: had a primary water balloon activity. It ended up being super cold, so all the kids were throwing balloons at each other in coats. Super hilarious. 
Anywho, I'm in Lyon rn waiting for Elder Lutu to get here, so pretty psyched for that! I can't remember a whole lot of other stuff that happened. I've been thinking a lot about the Atonement this week, and I've learned a lot. So grateful for the plan that has been prepared for us! It's not easy, but that's what makes it so great and allows us to grow. I love you all, and I can feel the support. 
Gros bisous ! 
Elder Suisse 

Pics :
The primary activity
Selfie with Ségolène, Nomena and Elder Shirley
A TWO-WAY country road. Insane. 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Last week of transfer 6/26/17

Bonjour tout le monde ! 
I know this week was crazy, but I can't think of all that happened! It's the last week of this transfer, as you can tell from my subject line. We find out this Friday who's going where, so I'm super excited for that :) 
We had an exchange with Elders Wall and Pesnell from Yverdon, which was a blast. We're currently at Toison d'or with the elders from Besançon, writing our emails, which has also been super fun. Umm, we had some good rendezvous and did a bit of contacting too.  
Super busy week actually, but nothing huge... No big meetings in Switzerland, and cherry season's (hopefully) over, so less driving and cherry picking this week, which was nice! 
Oh yeah! On Saturday we got to do service with the ward, filling care packages with stuff for local refugees. We took a picture that they're submitting to the Liahona, so that was fun, then we had a picnic. 
We had a pretty sweet lesson with our new ami, Ségolène! I think I mentioned her last week? She came to church, then came up to us and said she wanted to take lessons, and we were like "sure!" so we went to our first rendezvous prepared with the first missionary lesson on the first vision, and she was like "no, I've already received all of the lessons back in Ireland," and we were like "oh, cool!" so we just talked the whole time à out questions she has. Super excited to see where that goes! Another lesson with her tomorrow, so we're pretty psyched. 
Anywho, that's about all I can think of from this week... Hopefully I'll have more to write about next time :) 
Avec amour, 
Elder Suisse 

Pics :
Me and Elder Wall 
Us with our classy service vests 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Edification, driving and a ridiculous amount of cherries 6/19/17

So! This week was pretty crazy. Honestly, the title pretty much sums up everything. 

Monday was p-day, then we drove an hour to Besancon to pick up the Elders there, then like four hours to Annemasse. Tuesday morning we drove an hour and a half to Geneva (normally a half hour drive, but with the traffic it was triple). Then we had zone conference (more on that later, it was so good!), and it was about a four hour drive home. Then another hour to Besancon again Wednesday night, three more to Lausanne for district meeting Thursday morning, and three more home. Literally so much driving, but it was totally worth it!

Zone conference was so good! The Assistants trained us on how to train members on using Facebook to share the gospel (no Facebook for us yet though). There was a lot about finding interested people, and having the faith to invite people to baptism. Then Soeur Brown had us run outside and play charades while running back and forth between little inflatable pools of water (which was appreciated, it's getting super hot here). After that, the departing missionaries (Elders Pesnell, Herf and Mckee, and Sisters Thompson, Goreeba and Baetie) all shared their testimonies and it was so cool and so spiritual and everyone cried and it was awesome. At the end, President and Sister Brown bore their testimonies. President Brown said something that I really liked. He quoted a conference talk (I don't remember who's it was, but it's pretty recent), and said that as missionaries, and as members, we need to share the gospel with our eyes, and if necessary, use words. I really like that and I've thought about it a little since then. I think that those of us who have experience with the gospel all have the principles and doctrines that we're taught firmly lodged in our brains. We know the stuff. I believe that the purpose of the mission, and of life in general, is to get the gospel from our heads to our hearts, so it shows through our eyes. We've got a light, and it would be a real shame if we didn't share it with those who are stumbling around looking for the switch.

After conference, we had lunch, and I got to have my interview with President Brown. Let me tell you, that guy is 10/10 inspired. He solved like all my worries with a hug and like twelve words total. I've had a lot on my mind these last couple weeks, and it came pouring out when we sat down. He helped me figure everything out, and I learned a lot. Before I left, he said "Dijon is one of the whitest and most ready-to-harvest fields in the mission. It's just waiting for someone to go in and take care of it. Allez-vous le faire?" Talk about inspirational! Anywho, zone conference was a blast.

Wednesday was good. We picked cherries at Soeur Cuisiat's neighbor's house, then drove and had an awesome lesson with a less-active couple, then drove to Besancon.

Thursday was district meeting, and Elder Johnson gave a killer lesson. Lots about comp unity. I learned a lot, and I'm excited to finish this transfer strong (Crazy that it's already week five!). After that, we had our exchange with Bienne, so Elder Teuscher and I took care of some passbacks and it was great. 

Friday was pretty awesome. I got to open presents in the morning (Yeah! Nineteen years old!), then we drove and passed some super cool members and came back and contacted for a bit.

Saturday was pretty low key. We picked cherries at the Casagrande's for a while (third time doing that in like a week). (Okay, literally just got a text while writing this from Soeur Cuisiat asking if we can come over and pick cherries at her other neighbor's house when we're done with emails) So many cherries...

Anywho, pretty busy week, and it's nice to be back in Dijon! As far as miracles go, we've definitely had more than our fair share this week. Sergio and Ségolène, the two random visitors to church last Sunday that I think I mentioned in last week's email, are now for reals investigators, which is awesome. In addition, two other ancient amis (old investigators) are again interested, so we should hopefully be teaching them again this week. Super excited!

Okay, that's about all I can remember. All in all a pretty awesome week. Love you all, and thanks so much for your support! You da' best!

Elder Suisse

Us at zone conference!
Random train when we stopped to stretch our legs between Geneva and Besancon

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Monday, June 12, 2017

Chess and Missionary work! 6/12/17

This letter's going to be pretty short, so apologies in advance, we've got zone conference tomorrow and we'll have to leave for Besancon in just a bit. This week was super hectic! We had an exchange with Besancon towards the start, which was super fun! Elder Moss and I did some awesome contacting, and I learned lots! 

On Wednesday, we headed over to Lausanne for an exchange with the zone leaders, which was a blast! Probably the highlight of my week. Switzerland is so beautiful! I got to go with Elder Johnson, and we contacted for a bit by Lac Lémon. We were walking and we saw a giant chess board on the ground and I was like "I feel like we should play chess and see what happens," and Elder Johnson was like "sure!" so we started playing. We had a whole bunch of tourists take pictures of us, which was weird, but then like five people came over and started taking sides and we met and talked to a ton of people! After we finished, this old retired Swiss dude wanted to play us, and this awesome Italian engineer guy who was there for a business trip teamed up with us, and we got our butts kicked. We ended up with a lot of contacts though, and I got to meet a ton of super awesome people! There was neurosurgeon from Holland who talked with us for a bit, and a businessman from Portugal. I'm pretty sure Switzerland's the coolest place on earth. After that, met up with a bunch of other missionaries at a Spanish couple's house for an awesome rendezvous and tasty food. 

Then on Sunday we had some cool miracles! One of our recent converts, Nomena, brought here friend who's from Madagascar, named Sergio, to church with her and he's super interested in learning more, so we'll be teaching him. And THEN, this other random girl showed up and said she also wanted to take lessons, so we'll be teaching her too. So cooool!

Anywho, those were just some of the highlights from this week. Sorry again for the short email, next week's should be a bit longer (Zone conference and district meeting! So psyched!)

Elder Suisse

Me and Elder Johnson by the Olympic countdown clock (Lausanne is the Olympic's headquarters, so they have a giant building by the lake)
A cheesecake made by a member that I took a picture of cuz it's awesome
Some cool old building in Lausanne
Us with the old dude who beat us and the cool Italian
Some pics of Lac Lemon

Monday, June 5, 2017

6/5/2017 Lots of driving and some miracles!


This week was super super busy, but awesome as usual. We weren't in Dijon much, because we had MLC in Lyon, then district meeting in Lausanne, but it was a really good week. I got to do an exchange with the Port des Alpes equipe in Lyon, which was a blast. We had two other exchanges, with the elders from Bienne and Yverdon, and both of those went really well. Not a whole lot of craziness this week though. We got to visit a local museum here in Dijon, which was really cool (and air conditioned, hallelujah, it's getting super hot). It's been a blast working with Elder Johnson- he's super funny, and we get lots done. 

Honestly, besides all the meetings and exchanges, not a whole lot happened. We had an awesome rendezvous with Poe, and the spirit was super strong. He leaves on military duty tomorrow, so we have one more meal with him tonight, and then I might not see him again, cuz he gets back in July. Honestly, it's been super cool watching him and his family progress. It's crazy how much you come to love the people you serve. I love Dijon. I'd love to serve another transfer here, but I'm also so so excited to be able to see some more of France or Switzerland!

I had a pretty awesome spiritual experience the other day. We had a rendezvous with a member named Frére Nicolas, and it went okay. He's an older guy who is sometimes hard for me to understand and connect with, and I was ready to go home for the night. But then we went to say the closing prayer, and he asked if he could pray in English, for some practice, and we said yes. So he started praying in really broken English, and all of the sudden the spirit was so strong and I just had the craziest feeling of love for this older, kind of weird guy sitting on the park bench next to me. It was like God had opened my eyes and let me see his son Brother Nicolas like He saw him. Anywho, it was crazy, and I had to hurry and wipe some tears before he said amen. I love the people here in Dijon, and I'm so excited to watch that love grow. The mission is weird but awesome!

Love you guys!

Elder Suisse


Us on exchange with Bienne, picking cherries at Soeur Cuisiat's

Me and Elder Thomas at MLC. Haven't seen him since the beginning of March!

Me and Elder Johnson in a very photogenic outer ville

Some awesome swords at the museum we visited

The sweet arch in Centerville

The palace of the Duke of Burgogne