The Talence Ward is pretty big by French standards, we have three wards in Bordeaux which is also excellent. There are many many less actives on the list, and many part member families. We are looking forward to working with these families as much as possible, because this is how we will get people prepared for the temple, en famille. Elder Fiala, my new companion, is great! He's from Virginia, his family recently moved to Iowa. He has 9 brothers and sisters, a big family and they are all crazy beautiful people. If you marry a Fiala, your kids will be beautiful, remember that. He's pretty tall too, he plays volleyball and back in the day he could dunk. He's in his sixth transfer, and his second leading the Bordeaux zone. He's a fireball missionary who reminds me what I should be doing and keeps me focused on my purpose. I'm very glad to be with him, I will learn lots these last few months.
We have a few part member family amis, and an engagé named Ru. We actually found an ami family, it's a cool story with a funny ending. We were looking for a less active, and we knocked a door, and it wasn't the less active, it was a Romanian family of 8. They let us in and accepted to hear our message of the restoration. They were really interested, and they wanted a Book of Mormon in Romanian. Super cute family, very very nice. As we extended a baptismal invitation that they declined (for now), the wife started to feed her baby..."au naturel." Elder Fiala and I were very surprised and had a good laugh about it later.
We have had lots of funny stuff to laugh about this week, I have some videos but all too long to send by email.
Any who, we come back two days later and give them Romanian Books of Mormon, and the wife Mir tells us that she wants to introduce us to her Romanian friends. Referrals, sweet!! So we go over with a member named Fr. Bou, and what happened next was the wildest thing I've ever experienced on my mission. We go into this house, everyone is speaking que Romanian, and they open the door to the living room. It was pretty dark, a fire was going, and maybe 30 people were packed into a tiny room, all praying in a non-conventional and certainly non-Christian way. It was very very weird, and it immediately became clear to us that it wasn't a Christian friendly place, or certainly not a Mormon missionary friendly place. So we got out of there. I looked behind me at Elder Fiala who was dumbstruck, and Fr. Bou was nodding his head, he was groovin'. The guy totally wanted to stay and teach them, it was really funny that he thought nothing of the situation. Haha it was so unexpected. We went back to teach the Maz family, and it became clear that they didn't want to change religions. So, that's that.
Moral of the story? There are dozens, but one I found important: Even the miracle amis we have as missionaries usually aren't as good as member referrals. We thought this family were the next 6 baptisms in the Ward! We were excited about them. But even one of the coolest miracles from solely our own efforts turned into a weird story that will stay in the areabook. Member amis are way better. It's the best way to do missionary work if you want prepared people. So I am excited to work with the members here and teach their friends. We finally got a Ward list on PDF, we are working on getting it on Excel so we can update it as we visit and pass people. We are getting a list of the part member families so that we can coordinate visits and work together, equally yoked, to complete these soon-to-be eternal families.
In my personal study this week, I have been reading in the war chapters in the Book of Mormon. When I came to Bordeaux, President Brown gave me a charge to spark up Elder Fiala and get him going full-speed in no time. I want to seek the Lord's direction on how to do that, and I have learned a lot through the examples of men like Moroni, who got involved and through his personal righteousness was able to influence thousands of Nephites for the better. He got the Nephite army going full-speed very very quickly. He got people involved, he sought the prophet's direction, and he was strong yet incredibly merciful. I think that's what a true man does. A true man isn't cruel, isn't bloodthirsty, isn't vulgar, isn't boastful or malicious. A true man is a man of Christ. He has compassion, is loving, is fair, is just, he is merciful, he is loyal, and he is obedient to God. How often do we try to become men and women of Christ through other means? In John, Christ taught us that His love will be with us as we obey him and walk in his ways. He gave us commandments that our joy might be full, and he promised us joy: happy are ye if he do them." And loving the Savior makes us happy not just because we have love in our heart, but because we are blessed with the spiritual gift of joy as we willingly obey the Lord. These are just my thoughts but I hope that you find something with which you concur.
I love being a missionary in France. It is a wonderful country that has grown dear to me. Soon, there will be a house of God here. The power of God will be made manifest as sacred ordinances are done to seal families forever for the first time in French history. I feel as Ammon, who said that never before in the history of the world had men had reason to rejoice as he did (Alma 26). I know that what I am doing matters. It is all real. Jesus is the Christ, and that makes all the difference. It is all real. What a message! This is why we have missionaries, to share this message of joy. So please, share the gospel with your friends. Ask God what He needs you to do to bless their lives, and do it. Don't shy away. Don't coward. Be not afraid, only believe, doubt not and fear not. People need this message and those of us with the gospel knowledge are under obligation by promises we made before God, angels, and witnesses to testify. We shall testify, because we have been with Christ from the beginning.
I love you all, and I love my savior. Have a wonderful week full of miracles. Que le Dieu Tout-Puissant vous garde, mes chers amis.
|Elder Fiala and the Talence Ward DMP (Ward Mission Leader) on a service project|
|A girl at KFC gave us her number...she wasn't interested in the gospel|
|Place de la Victoire|
|Riding the turtle|