Wow, another week has past!!
As zone leaders, our job is to encourage edify and inspire the other missionary’s in the work of spreading the gospel.
This week was super exciting and fun! We had a great p-day where we
actually played basketball with some of our Amis, which was great,
except I am still not good at playing basketball, every time that we play I
seem to be improving. However, I don’t have a lot of height and fail in the jumping skills but I’ll be fine! After the basketball game, we went and got some pizza, with the Amis and spent some time together in the city and then they accepted copies of the Book of Mormon.
Then Tuesday, we got a train at 6:54 am, yea that meant wake up at 5:30
to get ready, to Lyon, we were super tired but luckily it was a 2-hour train we were able to nap. 🙂 We went to Lyon for the Mission Leadership Conference where the president taught all the zone leaders along with the sister training leaders on his goals and vision for the mission, we had an amazing time together, we also learned about the new Christmas message and goals for the month of December, one of the biggest being, Mille membres en Décembre (1000 members in December) where the mission has a goal of teaching with 1000 church members this month. This will be a huge undertaking as missionaries are kind of stuck at this moment because all missionaries must be in our apartments by dark unless we are with a member. This is due to all the terrorist activity in France recently. However, this just means that we will need member help to accomplish this goal. We need the members to teach with us and bring us home in the evenings or else we are kind of stuck in the locked down situation.
President Brown gave us an update on the Paris temple and how it is progressing. The Paris temple is nearing completion, three of the four
external walls are finished and they are working on the last one, the
wiring is almost done, the garden is being installed. Basically, it
is almost finished and then as we see in the news there is truly
opposition in all things but as missionaries we are taking actions to counter these things and are working harder! We are seeing some great miracles from working through the situations in spite of the horrible tragedies that have happened in this country.
We set a plan in place taking all these goals with the president of how we are going to present these things to our zones. Then we had a meeting with the sisters here to plan how we will present these things, it went really well. We then went on exchange with the elders of Vitrolle, I stayed here with elder Tyndale who was born in England but raised in Spain. He
speaks English with a British accent but when he speaks French he
speaks with a very strong Spanish accent. 🙂 It’s so great to hear
after speaking English, we had a great exchange and got to see some
miracles with people that speak Spanish. Then we went to the Christmas
market and got a chance to visit and to teach the people that own the stands. It is super great talking to them because they are always there, there is a side benefit, they cannot get away. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
We worked on that for a while and then we had a couple RDV where we were using some of the new tools presented at the conference in Lyon, it is called, “Mon parcours pour obtenir les bénédictions du temple” it
is a little pamphlet that leads us on the path to the temple. Our goal, as a mission, is centered around the temple and getting people ready to attend and participate in the blessings of the temple. We are super excited to work with this new tool. The pamphlet explains to people that baptism is not the end, but a step towards the temple and it is followed by church attendance and living by the commandments of the Lord. Then goes on to the principle of paying tithing, receiving the priesthood and finally preparing the family names to bring to the temple. It is all there and we are so blessed to have this tool which shows these people that baptism is but a small step towards the temple blessings. 🙂
We took the opportunity to teach with the that pamphlet a couple times on the exchange to a less active and another ami.
On Thursday, we taught the Zone training so we had all of the companionships from the zone come out to Aix and we taught them about these tools and about the new Christmas materials! It went really well and
we had a blast! I really loved the time we had together to learn and
grow. 🙂 We were then able to testify about the Saviors birth and why
we needed him as our savior.
Friday was great! We had an exchange with the Assistants so they came
down here and stayed the night and then we started off the next morning. I was with Elder Barnes, and we were able to take the car! #frenchdriverslicense. 🙂 It’s so nice to drive! I called someold numbers in my phone and I got ahold of someone that seemed super excited to talk to us and she said we could come over on Friday and eat lunch with them before sharing a message to start off the season of Noel! It was super great! We get there, she is from Algeria so I first thought. Oh she is probably Muslim and then she shows me a Torah that she has out…. Ok… Jewish? Then she shows me a picture of Jesus…. ??? So turns out her mother was Jewish and her father was Muslim and she is Christian! And her husband is Christian too! They then tell us what she has prepared for lunch….. COUSCOUS!!! Yay! 🙂 🙂 It is always the best when made my Algerians! She says it is lamb and chicken, so she then pulls out our plates and they are filled with the most amazing couscous I have ever eaten! Incredible! We were able to share that meal together with those wonderful charitable people, they were living in an HLM community, which is like the PJs and they were basically the only Christians in the whole community of 8 apartment buildings! They were so excited to have us over. I felt so humbled with these people that are sooooooo filled with love, they want to serve us and the Lord in so many ways. We had an amazing time together. They also had invited an ami who was super kind, we had finished the meal with an amazing marble chocolate cake. 🙂
We were able to share a message with them and pray together which
seemed like the world for them, they were so thankful. The most amazing thing is that they really did not have many things, they are poor and yet they were only turning outwards, they were some of the most kind people on Earth and I feel so blessed to have met them, even as we finished the prayer and we’re putting on our coats to leave she pulls this big bag full of groceries out of her kitchen and hands it to us… She was truly emanating the love of Christ. I could never repay her for her kindness, but she seemed as if our visit was more than enough :,)
After that wonderful time we got back into the car and drove back into
Aix where we met up with our companions and some Amis and members and played some basketball. 🙂
That same day after basketball we went took the car and went to visit
a less active member that lives kind of far away, because the bus is not frequent, we do not often get to see him. We will call him M he is someone who was baptized a couple years ago and he is someone who loves the boyscouts more than anything, his house is full of homemade knives and guns and handmade wood carvings and leather workings. He is super talented and I have been able to feel a lot of love for him. He is in a tough situation that is very difficult. A few months ago he had some sort of
emotional breakdown and that pushed him into drinking and smoking heavily. He is someone who loves the gospel and his kitchen is basically covered with post it notes with scriptures and motivational messages. We went and spoke to him, he said he hit a depression and he looks at the bad in the world. We took a few moments to explain to him about the Mille members in December challenge and that we need him to stop seeing the problems and look at the solution. The fix is to help these other people. We challenged him to change and to become sober and the use the atonement so that he can help others. He seemed to get excited about the idea and he started to recognize the fact that living this way doesn’t help anyone so I am really hoping that he will be able to change and get strength back to overcome these challenges!
Saturday was a great day we had a lesson in the morning with our
Ami O which went super well, he is so knowledgeable about the gospel
already so it has been so interesting to teach him, he is from French
Guiana next to Brazil, but he has been here for 30 years. He told us he did not want to accept the baptismal challenge and set a date, because he had been baptized before in another church, but he told us that he has received the testimony of the Book Of Mormon. Time was passing quickly and so we didn’t have enough time left so I couldn’t explain the authority!
During the closing prayer I felt the strong impression to promise him
that if he fixed the date that the Lord would help him get a testimony
of this baptism before that date. He accepted! It was so great!
Here are some pictures from the season in Provence!
La mission Française de Lyon.