A Great Week in Tarbes!

I hope you have all had a good week! I really enjoyed this first week here in Tarbes with my new companion. It was a week with a lot of laughs and a big spiritual ending with the General Conference.

On Monday,  I had spent most of my day sitting in the Gare of Toulouse, I left Tarbes at 6:42 in the morning and got to Toulouse at 8:30am and was there until my train back to Tarbes at 5:30pm. It was a long day, haha but Gare days are fun because we get to see a lot of missionaries that come through to make different connections at the Gare, so I get to see a lot of my friends!

While I was there and I saw someone sitting there talking to their friend in English with a huge smile, and she saw me talking to the other Elders and we both realized at the same moment “AMERICANS!!!!!” Haha. It was so nice to talk to her for a little while, being in Tarbes we don’t talk with a ton of people everyday and because it has been winter and also due to events in the country there has been quite a bit of pain and guilt. Also, they are French, and there is not always the brightest conversation about them.  That is why that seeing an American was so great! haha. It’s so strange that thinking of someone from California is so far from Boston yet we can click instantly.  Anyway, it was so great, definitely a tender mercy. haha.  It’s nice to laugh and speak some English every once and a while, this is not to say that I don’t like French people, I love them so much, with
all my heart, they are often more sincere than Americans.  However, you have to break through their protective wall/walls before you are accepted as a friend, but with Americans there is not much of a wall. haha.

I got my new companion, Elder Smith from Yorkshire England. He is really cool, we have been having a lot of fun, he was called to the France Lyon Mission… Spanish speaking????There is only one Spanish ward in the mission and he has spent about 8 months there so President decided it would be a good idea and a good time to send him over to me and get some French in that head of his! He has already made a lot of progress, but in a way it is more difficult because Spanish is so close to French, so it’s often confused in his head. Most people describe French as a harder version of Spanish but it does have a lot of similarities, I am able to understand Spanish fairly well now with my level of French but I cannot speak it.  UGH,  whenever I try I have a horrible French accent but luckily I no longer sound like an American!

In preparing for his arrival, I was able to set up a couple of pranks. It isn’t super nice but it was funny. haha. Actually, the Branch President here is one of the most incredibly spiritual people I have ever met but he is also has a great sense of humor. We planned that  when he met Elder smith that he will be serious, and very direct with him…  This is completely contrary to his attitude, so when I got Elder Smith I said “Tarbes is great, but, the Branch President is very strict, so no cracking jokes, don’t smile too much, and make sure not to speak English around him.” From the first moment, Elder Smith was scared.
The next day we had to go do a home teaching Appt with the Branch President. When he came to pick us up, we got in the car and he is straight-faced. He tells us to fasten our seat belts and then asks Elder Smith if he speaks French, Elder Smith replied “UN PEU” so ‘just a little” and he got the biggest glare I have ever seen. Then just about 2 seconds later the Branch President and I burst out laughing. It was too hard to keep going because Elder Smith is just such a kind person, we couldn’t continue. haha.

That was followed by a wonderful home teaching Apt.,  where we shared a message about the important of coming to church, how it actually strengthens us as saints to be gathered together and to, partake of the sacrament.

We had a miracle this week!

The other day we were walking to a rdv and I made eye contact with someone and I remember seeing him and smiling. Then just two days later we saw him again and he stopped us and asked what we are doing here, so we ask if he has a few minutes. We walked to a nearby park and sat down on a bench, he explained that he is evangelist but he was very interested in what we believe, we will call him JJ and he plays rugby here in Tarbes and is studying engineering, he is from Paris. We explained to him about the apostasy and the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, he really liked the lesson and we could tell that he felt the spirit, he took a pamphlet and told us he was truly going to pray to know if it was true. We are hoping to hear from him soon!

We also have to move.  The kitchen is too small and the mission wants it to be equipped, also, it is on the top floor which means it is very hot in summer. We have been doing a little apt hunting around town, we are excited to get a new one before it gets too hot! We are trying to find one that is closer to the gare for those often 6:42 am trains!

This weekend we were blessed to have the general conference of the church, it was incredible, we have yet to watch the last session due to the time difference. We will try to do it during the week.

I was able to watch three of the sessions in French, it was incredible, I don’t know if I have mentioned it yet but French is really the language of my spiritual side, maybe even the language of my soul. haha.  I found it out mostly at the Christmas conference that we
had in Lyon, Sister Haws was singing “O Holy Night” in English but for the third verse she started singing in French and I could not control my emotions, it hit hard and it hit me deep, it was incredible to feel the words as if a prayer sinking into my heart, the effect was exceptional.

So watching conference I was able to feel the spirit of the Lord testify of its truthfulness and I was inspired to improve myself and try more fully to improve the lives of others. It was altogether an amazing experience, it’s just crazy to think it was my last one on my mission! I’ve already had 4 out here in the field!

I Love you all so much and I pray for you and I cannot wait to
hear from you!  Please write 🙂 🙂 🙂

Elder Peterson,
La mission Française de Lyon.

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