Events I experienced:
Monday was pday. I was sick. I got a little better. We took a train to Bordeaux and stayed the night in the zone leaders' apartment. We had dinner at Haduurh Fried Chicken. It's a Muslim KFC. And it's way better than KFC. A big soda bottle, huge hint of fries, and a massive chicken wrap (delicious) for 6 euros. You can't eat any better and any cheaper.
Tuesday was zone conference! We were in Bayonne. It was super beautiful! The theme was "Our's is the Stone Age, and We're on a Roll!" We talked about Daniel's vision of the stone cut out of the mountain without hands that rolls and fills the whole earth. The assistants talked about "apostasy triggers," things people say that can lead us in to teaching about the apostasy. We went to Biarritz, a little coast town next to Bayonne, and we saw one of the most beautiful coasts I have ever seen in my life. Probably the most beautiful, actually. It was breathtaking. My photos do not do it justice. There is a lighthouse there, the base was finished in 1831. The top, a year later. That same lighthouse was being built as the church was being restored. It was an awesome symbol of restored light that God gave to mankind almost 200 years ago. It was truly a conference I will never forget!
Wednesday! My 8 month mark. I'm a third done, folks. That's weird. We taught Elo, a recent convert, and that went super well. She wants to do more missionary work and help us teach than the other members. She's awesome. Then we taught S, an 8 year old recent convert. That went poorly, because we didn't plan well enough. But they still love us so that's something. Then we saw Sister Coj! She wants to get baptized in the fall with her daughter when the new chapel is dedicated. She's super cool, her and Frère Coj have a 7-year old daughter named R. R is adorable. She was crying during our lesson about the Book of Mormon, we asked her if she was ok, and she just said "I feel really happy, I think it's Jesus." So adorable!!
Thursday, I had an exchange with my beloved district leader, Elder Berry. Giver Pangouliviers! (Our district of Perigueux, Angoulême, Limoges, Brive, and Poitiers.) He is magnifique. Too bad he's going to Utah State after the mission, he gets home in May. We had a LEGENDARY day. We ate every single meal with a member. I had to make lots of calls but we made it happen. We helped Frère Hub cut wood, we got the Bens to make a family mission plan, and we finished by eating dinner with the Cal family. Elder Berry served in Brive, so he loved seeing all the old members. Especially the Cal family. He loves them. We also had a lesson with Jos! He's not progressing too well, unfortunately. He's stuck on praying like Eskimos. He lived with them for a while. You should hear his stories. But he'll come around.
Friday was good too. We got to help Mil, a recent convert, print out ordinance requests for two of her grandpas! We hope she goes on the temple trip in 2 weeks.
Saturday was cool, we helped a less-active man named Frère Lab move. We didn't bring service clothes so I got my white shirt really dirty haha. It wasn't too bad, although the washer was heavy I hear (Elder Brill took that one). Afterwards, he took us to Subway! That was a SPARC because that was the last restaurant I ate at before going to the MTC. French Subway is surprisingly exactly like American Subway. Minus the cheese. Then we did weekly planning. After that, we taught the plan du salut to Nes, a recent convert! He understands really well. The we passed by three people who were not home. We passed another man who fixed a RDV with us for Tuesday. He's a New Caledonian guy named Erw, he's been inactive for a while but he's super cool. He was cleaning his apartment while blasting Frank Ocean. He was singing along too so that was fun to listen to.
Sunday was sick! We had an awesome lesson in Amis class, we taught about Jesus Christ and how he was foreordained to be our Savior. As we read in the gospel principles book, Mil read that Jesus Christ is Jehovah. She had studied with the Jehovah's Witnesses before becoming baptized. You can imagine how that shocked her. I guess that "Jesus Christ is Jehovah" doesn't come up anywhere in the 5 missionary lessons before baptism, so that checks out I guess. We quickly explained it and all was well. After church, we saw J-L! He wasn't at church because he went to his friend's mass, which he promised would be the last time haha. We taught about baptism because he had a lot of questions. Then we formally invited him to be baptized, and he accepted! Easiest invitation I ever gave, couldn't even finish the sentence haha. He has a date for March 5th! If I stay another transfer I'll still be here, so I hope that I stay! A cool miracle: at the start of the lesson, he offered a prayer and prayed to God the Father, Christ, and the Holy Ghost. At the end of the lesson, we taught him to pray as taught in the scriptures. He gave the prayer, and it was perfect! You woulda thought he had been a member for all his life. He's such a gift from God. His last name is Dxxxxxxx, literally meaning "gift to God." Incredible! MIRACLES ARE REAL.
Lessons I learned:
There are people all around us who have been prepared for the gospel. I wonder how many J-Ls there are in Brive. Probably a substantial number. How important is it, then, for us to find them, the lost sheep who will be gathered. And despite all the technology in the world, the best way to do it is the Lord's way. President Hinckley always said that he didn't know how to do anything except he pray for the Lord's help first, and then get up and go to work. What a perfect combination!
1 Corinthians 15:26: The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. I recognized that during personal study as the grave inscription for Harry Potter's parents (and don't get me started on all the potter-Christ symbolism similarities) but I realized it means something much more than physical death. Paul is talking about how the atonement of Jesus Christ overcomes our inevitable spiritual death. Satan's plan included no sacrifice, no compassion, no love. Very much like Voldemort. Through the Atonement, we can be spiritually re-born again and again and again! We need not fear a physical death as Voldemort did if we do all that we can to ensure our spiritual health for after this life.
(free) Advice I have:
"The Greatest Challenge in the World--Good Parenting" by President Faust, October 1990 Gen Conf. Parenting, “the greatest trust that has been given to human beings.” John said it best when he said “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” (3 Jn. 1:4.) President Faust continues: "In my opinion, the teaching, rearing, and training of children requires more intelligence, intuitive understanding, humility, strength, wisdom, spirituality, perseverance, and hard work than any other challenge we might have in life." As I have been studying families, as our mission has taken focus to the temple and finding forever families, I have realized how important it is, the role of a parent. Parents alone make or break the future of the entire universe. Wow.
That's all for this week. Je vous aime tous! Gros bisous pour vous et vos familles. Que Dieu soit avec nous jusqu'au revoir. Jésus est le Christ. Il vit! Je le sais. Il vous aime. Donc, choisissons le bien.
There. Had to get that French out. Have a great week!
|Elder Brill, J-L and Ben|
|Ben with Elders Rellaford and Price in Biarritz|
|Ben, Nes and Elder Brill|
|Ben and Elder Brill help Mil with family history|
|Lighthouse at Biarritz|
|More lighthouse - built same time as gospel restored tot he earth|
|Deschamps. The best darn place on earth (that's not a temple)|
|Needs no caption|