Monday, April 24, 2017
This week was super great! We got to spend lots of time in Switzerland! I spent Monday and Tuesday on exchange with Elder Agnie in Fribourg, and it was beautiful! We spent Wednesday in Dijon and got some stuff done, then it was off to Switzerland again for district meeting! We spent Wednesday night in Besançon, then drove to Lausanne. So much driving this week, but this next week we should be in Dijon more.
District meeting was so good! We got a new Bleu in the district (shout-out to Elder Seaman), so I'm not the youngest any more! Super weird to think I've been on the mission for more than three months already! Anywho, we talked a lot about the temple. The Paris temple will be open in no time and we're all so excited!! We've been working lots on genealogy, and helping lots of members and amis find family, and that's been great.
Speaking of amis, Poe's wedding and baptism are both fixed! The marriage is on May 12,and the baptism the next day. We actually had a cool miracle with that. Zone Conference was planned for the same day as the marriage, and Elder Laney and I were so sad, but then we got a text just a few days saying that the conference was moved to the 11, so we get to go to the wedding!! We are so excited!
Anyways, after district meeting, we came home, and on Saturday we got to help with the primary Easter activity and hide candy. It was debatably the most hilarious thing ever, with a bunch of little kids running around and yelling in French. Awesome.
Sunday was great too! We had tons of visitors in town for the temple open house, and some were American, so I got to speak English!
We also got asked to start something called the "Adler Challenge" (named after the authority who gave the challenge), where you video yourself bearing testimony of the savior in your mission language, then bear it again every night for thirty days, then video it again and look at the difference. So far it's been awesome, and I'm excited to see how it goes.
That's all I can remember, so I love you all and have a great week!
Here's the pictures :)
Monday, April 17, 2017
This week was busy! First off, Easter was awesome! We had a wonderful church service, and had a lot of people come who usually don't. I thought a lot about my Savior and how I can better come to know Him. In priesthood yesterday, we read a thing by President Hinckley, who suggested that we read the book of John, so I've started on that. I'm also working on memorizing "the living Christ", cuz it came up multiple times in conference, so anyone who wants to try that should totally go for it. I've realized that whether or not we saw Him walk out of that tomb doesn't matter. We can know of his reality and divinity just as resolutely as Mary Magdalene if we work for it and ask God. Super cool stuff!
Elder Laney and I have been working on family history a bit this week too (we get an hour each Sunday to do that). I've been trying for a while to find names to bring to the temple, and have spent a lot of time on family search, but haven't had any success. I've researched and organized and done a lot of stuff, but it's been kind of frustrating, to be honest,not to find anything. But! I was working in it yesterday, and I realized that my "show available temple work" setting was still off from when I printed off a family tree to carry with me, so I turned it on and all of a sudden there were a bunch of lime green temple symbols. Super nice after so much work!
As far as funny stories go, Elder Laney and I attempted to make a cheesecake for a mangez-vous yesterday, and idk what happened, but it did not set up AT ALL! So we show up at this fancy Easter lunch our member had prepared (asparagus, lamb, crystal glasses, homemade sorbet, the works) with a pan full of sweetened condensed milk and crushed speculoos cookies. We all had a good laugh, but it was a little pathetic (mom: if you wouldn't mind sending a good Graham cracker crust cheesecake recipe so we can make it up to her, that would be awesome).
Anywho, I know we did more than that this week, but I can't remember what... Oh! Quote of the week from Soeur Cuisiat (trying to translate as best I can) :
"the only difference between us and the rest of God's creations is that flowers and wasps are what they are, while we get to choose between beautiful and wicked". I really liked that, and I'm so grateful for our agency and for a Redeemer who allows us that blessing. Joyeux pâques à tout le monde !
Excerpt from families letter:
We talk to people from Australia (mostly tourists), Nigeria, Algeria, Tahiti and the Marquisian Islands (That's where Poe, one of our ami's, is from, plus quite a few members), and Portugal and probably lots of other places. There are lots and lots of Muslim people too, and due to recent terrorist stuff and the relationship between traditionally muslim families and the introduction of christianity into said families, we're not allowed to teach them, which is super sad, especially cuz that's the majority of the refugees here... We don't get fed every night (usually one or two mangezvous a week is good), but we've been having like four a week, which is awesome. There aren't any crazy traditions here, I think it's about the same with Easter. Everyone eats lamb and asparagus and other fancy things, so that was delicious. We ate with Sr Cuisiat, and we were supposed to have dinner with Steve, but he had something come up, so we're eating with his family next week. Our secteur consists of just the Dijon ward, which is pretty normal for France, cuz there's not a ton of members, so we just go to the one block of church every Sunday. We're super blessed to have a ward, as most of France consists of branches. Anywho, I think that's everything?
Monday, April 10, 2017
We had transfer calls this week! Our zone got all jumbled up, but Elder Laney and I get to stay in Dijon for his last transfer! Hooray!! I'm starting to really love this area and ward and mission and everything! We had some really cool experiences and miracles this week. First off, our mission's goal for less active and convert members, and investigators to church this week was 451, and we got 542! We were all so excited! It was definitely a reminder that with God driving this work, no goal is to high. Now let's see if I can remember everything that happened this week- there was tons of stuff!
We had a couple of mange-vouz (dinner and lunch appointments) with members, which is always good. We had crêpes with one family, this awesome goat cheese salad thing with another, and frog legs with a third. All so good and very French! We've also been trying lots of different cheeses this week. Turns out there are lots of delicious French cheeses out there, and there are some that should probably be burned (I'm talking to you, Roquefort).
We spent some time contacting in the biggest park I've ever seen, so that was super cool. The weather was fantastic, and we found a zoo! Albeit the most disappointing zoo I've ever witnessed (see picture), but a zoo nonetheless!
I've been absolutely loving being able to read all the general conference talks. My favorite is probably the one about the God's choir, by Elder Holland. We are led by some inspired people!
We passed some old investigators and less-active members in some outer villes this week, and it was awesome to see more of this beautiful country. Lots of vineyards, but they won't be super green until August-ish.
Our members are incroyable!! On Sunday we had at least seven come up to us and ask if we're staying for another transfer and get so excited when we said we were. One older member in particular made my day. I was talking to Frère Retailleau and accidently said "merci pour tous que tu fait," when I should have said "que vous faite" (more formal, and a rule for missionaries). I corrected myself, and he laughed and put his hand on my shoulder and said "you use 'tu' when speaking to your father or grandfather, so I think it would be appropriate." So nice- I love our members!
Speaking of church, we had a really cool miracle happen on Sunday. A young woman from Virginia who will be nannying for a family in Dijon for the next year showed up and went to all the classes. We talked to some members she'd sat with, and they said she was Christian, but not a member, that she lived close to the church and had just decided to come, and that she was interested in learning more. She told the member that she plans to keep coming, so we hope to talk to her about lessons next time she comes. She just showed up because she felt like it, and our fantastic members, with their broken English, fellowshipped her and started doing missionary work! Super cool!
Another miracle - the Paris temple is complete! It'll be dedicated in a month! There's a sweet video about it on the home page of Lds.org, so that's awesome!
French has been coming along, so that's cool. I've found that I'm able to follow most conversations and say pretty much everything I want to say, so just so y'all know, the gift of tongues is 100% real.
I've been thinking a lot about the spirit and its influence this week, and am so grateful that we have been blessed with that gift. We have guidance and comfort available to us every second of the day, as long as we're worthy. Pretty amazing! My scripture of the week: 2 Nephi 33:6, which says "I glory in plainness; I glory in truth; I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell." I've found that this is true for me too. I love that line, "I glory in my Jesus". I hope I always have that hope in my life. Super cool scripture, and as usual, just what I needed this week.
And in conclusion, one more miracle for your edification. We were contacting early in the week, and decided to go pass an ancient Ami named Jean-Paul. After a tram ride that took longer than expected, we showed up at the house and knocked on the door. An Asian woman answered, we asked if Jean-Paul was home, and she said he'd moved to the United States and that she hadn't heard from him in a long time. We thanked her and left, and while we were walking away, Elder Laney started walking really fast. I asked him what was going on, and he said he'd seen an Asian man on our way to the house and had felt prompted to talk to him, but had kept walking and that he was trying to catch him. I was like "there's no way it's Jean-Paul, the lady said he'd moved to the U.S." But we kept running, and turned down a smaller street that Elder Laney said felt right. We ran for a little longer and saw a man just standing on the sidewalk. We went up to talk to him, but he spoke first and was like "missionaries! I attended your church every week for two years when I was younger!" We were shocked! We talked for a minute, and Elder Laney asked for his name, and it was totally Jean-Paul! I couldn't believe it! He told us he'd try to come to church next week! Craziness! God is there and he really does care.
Anywho, that's all I can remember. I love you all and you're always in my prayers.
Attached are pics of :
A rock in the middle of the road. One block from our rendezvous. We had to drive around and were a half hour late. French roads are insane.
Me trying to take a cool picture of some ivy
Some soon-to-be green vineyards with yellow mustard fields in the background (cuz it's Dijon)
Me and Elder Laney in the park (please note my classy sweater and favorite tie)
Us at the zoo with some donkeys. Besides a small goat, literally the most exciting thing there.
Us chez Cuisiat with our cuisses de grenouille (frog legs)
A fancy chèvre cheese salad
Bonjour tout le monde !
This week was crazy! So much cool stuff! I guess I'll just go through the week, hopefully I can remember all of what happened! First, we had an exchange with the elders from Besançon, so I spent a day working with Elder Moss, which was sick! I learned a ton about contacting, and how we need to see people as sons and daughters of God (which was also what Elder Eyring spoke on this weekend!), and how that affects our teaching. We also stopped and got gouffres, which is apparently just a French waffle? Super tasty. We didn't have a lot of lessons this week, but those we did have were super great. We went to Lausanne again on Thursday for district meeting and bought a bunch of chocolate. We also said goodbye to a few departing missionaries. Weird that I'm already a transfer in! That was pretty much what we did this week, but my highlight was definitely general conference! I paid better attention this time than I usually do, and learned a ton! I loved Elder Holland's talk on having sunshine in our souls. Elder Eyring's was really good too. And the quote from Elder Choi where he said that when we gave difficulties, we shouldn't look around, but up. Soooo gooood! Here in Dijon, we weren't able to get any Amis to come with us to conference, so we watched the English one with a couple of members who wanted to practice their English. We are led by inspired leaders! We got to watch the morning sessions live (in the evening), so that was awesome to know we were all watching it at the same time :) we didn't get to watch all the sessions, cuz we had a lesson to teach (Steve and Loveth - so good), and we couldn't see the Sunday afternoon session cuz that's too late for us, but we're excited to watch them in spare time and read them when they're released. Speaking of awesome things being released! The new church easter video is out! #PrinceOfPeace! We got to watch it in the MTC but it's officially out now, so everyone go watch it! Super powerful. I'm so glad I have a Savior to support me in my weaknesses. It's a huge blessing in my life. That's why we're out here teaching. Lots of people don't know about their perfect brother, and I plan on changing that for as many people as possible. So excited and I love you all!
Á la prochaine !
Attached are pictures of :
A sweet river thing we drove past on the way to visit a less active member
A park in Dijon we didn't know existed
Elder Moss and I with our Nutella gouffres
Elder Laney and I trying to look cool with our new sweaters
I love you guys! Thanks for the pics of Southern Utah, I'm glad yall had fun! Thanks for the emails to they all made my days. Mom, consider yourself prayed for, I hope the surgery goes well! Dad, everything you said was so cool! And I expect you to hone your pastrami-making skills to perfection for when I get home. I hope yall enjoyed conference! And as for the package, I haven't seen it yet, but I know it takes a while for the office to get us our mail, so I'm excited for our :) yall are the best and I love you tons!