So this week was super fun! Tuesday, we had District Meeting and then went to a Chinese Buffet for lunch as a special Christmas meal. We got a lot of weird looks because there weren't a ton of people there, and then in walks 11 well dressed teenagers with badges haha! Later that night we went and taught Brice about the last half of the Plan of Salvation, he ate it up, and he's continuing to progress well. Wednesday, we had to go into Paris so Elder Rollins could get legal for his first year in France. Luckily, Sister Spencer in Rouen had to do it the same day, so we got to hang out with them for a while. While all the bleus went to do their legality the trainers went and checked out the addresses for some less actives in the Paris ward, so Elder Nord (from my Dunkerque days) and I got to do another exchange together! That night us and the sisters went and got dinner then headed to our train, but when we got there we found out that because of some track problems they had to take all of the passengers of a different train on our train. That means we got to ride first class!!!! Kind of.... There were NO seats so the 5 of us and about 200 other people were sitting in the aisles. We rode like that for about an hour and then a bunch of people got off at the terminus of the other train, so THEN we got to sit in first class haha :) We kept talking in weird faces and the little bit of sign language that Sister Poznanski has taught us, we were cracking up for about 90% of the 2hr train ride! Thursday, we ate dinner with the Tuffigo family. He's in the branch presidency and she's the young woman president. His mother and sister were also there with us. It was so delicious and we had a ton of fun together. Christmas morning while Elder Rollins was sleeping (we are allowed to sleep in on Christmas and New Years) I made him french toast just like Elder Godfrey made for me last Christmas. Then for lunch we went and ate with the Margeritat family and her sister's family was there as well. It was crazy with the 4 young kids, but super fun. Also, we got to watch Despicable Me 2 and The Minions in French...not too shabby ;) haha Sunday we ate lunch with President and Sister Silbermann, it was delicious and we played a mormon version of settlers of cataan.... I lost miserably! haha :)
Love you all! Bronson Me, Sister Poznanski, and Sister Spencer on the train back from Paris. ...#tightquarters
Random Christmas tree at a tram stop Sunday morning... Don't know why :)
Tuesday 8 Dec. We had a super cool district meeting! I decided to just have an open discussion on the blessings that come from our knowledge of a Savior and we watched the Christmas video the church made this year. As we talked the Spirit was testifying to each of us the reality of the birth, life, and atonement of Jesus Christ. We all walked away with a stronger desire to serve the Lord and share this knowledge with everyone. Then we had a fun exchange with Elder Sherren and Elder Duncan (those are Sherren's glasses I'm posing with haha).
Wednesday we got back and then decorated the church with Sister Lefebvre and Brother Paporé (RS president and Branch mission leader). It took us like 3 hours to do everything. That tree is like 15 ft tall and it was a pain in the butt to put all the branches and decorations on it! But it makes the church look really pretty now :) Thursday 10 Dec. I went to Cergy for an exchange and a baptismal interview. I have to talk about this interview. So this kid is like 20 and is mentally challenged, he's the son of a recent convert and decided recently that he really wants to get baptized. So we sit down together and I always start the interview with a prayer, but this time I felt to ask him to start us out. As he talked with our Father in Heaven he expressed the fact that he didn't know a lot, but that he wanted to continue to learn and do what Jesus wants him to do. As he spoke I felt the Spirit testify right then that he was ready to be baptized. We went through all the questions and although he didn't have a perfect memory or understanding of everything it was clear to see he was willing to follow the Savior the rest of his life. I had heard beforehand that he loved Coke a TON so I brought two bottles with me and hid them in my bag. When we finished and I told him he'd be baptized the 19th I pulled out the Cokes and toasted to his baptism. He thought it was so cool! Haha
Friday 11 Dec. when we got back we had to go to the church to open it up for a member of a different ward who was doing some maintenance work, so we had to sit and wait there for a while, and we didn't have time to do anything else after because of weekly planning. So we were kind of sad that we wouldn't have any time this week to do some work, but the Lord gave us a miracle to make up for our lack of time. As we were walking out of the church a young lady was walking by and apparently heard us talking in English because she stopped at the bottom of the stairs of the church and stared at us. We were understandably a little uncomfortable as we walked down, but I asked her if there was something we could do for her. She asked if we were American and when I said yes she got all excited and said she lived right next to the church and would love to practice English with us. Now we are not allowed to teach English classes because the government will label us as a cult trying to lure vulnerable people in with the classes, and it's even worse when a 22 year old girl is the one asking for the lessons haha. So, I told her we weren't allowed to do that but we could share our message with her and also speak a little bit in English. She asked what our message was and so I said we are a Christian church with some unique beliefs like a living prophet and twelve apostles. Her eyes went huge and she asked, "you think the apostles are alive?!" thinking we were talking about the original twelve. I explained that there were modern day apostles and showed her pictures of the twelve and first presidency on my iPad. Also we mentioned the fact that families are eternal and she got this shocked, yet happy, look. She said she'd love to meet with us so we fixed an appointment for Wednesday. Saturday 12 Dec. we had to go to Rouen to do another baptismal interview for the sisters there. Their investigator is this sweet old lady in her 70's who absolutely loves the church and all the members. She's pretty much already part of the ward. So we open up the interview and we start to talk and it's clear that although she loves the Savior, she doesn't have a relationship with God and she didn't have a testimony of a modern day prophet and church today. We talked a lot about her difficulties with faith and we shared personal experiences together and had a wonderful discussion about the atonement and another points that were hard for her to comprehend and believe. I told her it would be best to wait a little longer before she got baptized because of the seriousness of the covenant she would be making. She agreed and I asked if we could kneel together in prayer. As I offered the prayer I felt the words coming to my mind clearly, pleading for Heavenly Father to help her create a relationship with Him, and to bless her as she continued to learn of His gospel. When I finished she had tears rolling down her face and she thanked me for our discussion and prayer. It was incredibly moving and sweet. When we got back to Le Havre we had our branch Christmas party. It was super fun! Elder Rollins and I were asked to do something for the talent show that was American, so we sang two songs, Rudolph the red nosed reindeer and since we were the last act we finished by singing Once in Royal David's City (which isn't in the French hymn book). But the best part of the evening was the beginning when we all watched the First Presidency Christmas devotional. It brought me to tears. If any of you haven't watched it, go watch it today! Ok, so for Sunday there's a background story. I didn't want to mention it earlier because whenever I share a super cool miracle it ends up falling through, but this one has been pulled through the refiner's fire and is still standing. A couple weeks ago we got a text from a random number saying "Hi my name is Brice Noël. I was on Mormon.org talking to a sister in your church and I want a Book of Mormon." Elder Shaver and I were dumbstruck (we still don't know how he got our number haha). We got his media referral the day after he texted us. We met with him gave him the book and he said, "I've done a lot of research on your church and I've seen good and bad things, but now I want to make my own decision. Give me two weeks to read the book and then we'll talk about it." Well six days later we get a text, he had read the whole book and wanted to talk about it. Before we met he sent us a document he wrote up with like 8 points where the Mormons contradict the Bible. We were scared that it would turn into a bible bash, but when we got there he was just concerned about the fact that it was different and accepted our explanations of all the points. He said that he would like to start the lessons to understand everything. But before our next lesson he sent a text saying that God responded to his prayers against our church. (I know how ridiculous that sounds....we were shocked too). We told him we were sorry he made that choice but we invited him to continue to pray humbly to know if what we have is true. About a week later we get an email saying, "In the end, I really want to meet with you and understand your beliefs" When we show up to teach him today(Sunday), he told us that he couldn't get rid of this strong feeling that he needed to meet with us. He still has a lot of deep questions and he's trying to learn it all logically but he's starting to progress little by little. In fact we already have two appointments set up for this coming week (yes TWO appointments the week of Christmas!) He's married with a cute 3 year old boy, and the best part is that his last name is Christmas in French! He's our Christmas miracle! Tuesday 15 Dec. We had Zone conference today. The couple supervising the temple construction came and did a presentation for us, then President and Soeur Babin gave small trainings that were pretty much their testimonies. Soooo spiritual and powerful! Then we had a nice homemade meal. Turkey, potatoes, gravy, mushrooms, and chestnuts. It was super delicious, but unfortunately the day after I discovered the hard way that I've developed an allergy to mushrooms like my mom did.....I'll spare the details mostly because I don't want to remember them..... I'm better now though. 😁 Thursday 17 Dec. I did an exchange with Elder Larsen which was super fun! For about an hour I got to teach him how to drive a stick because that city just got a car and he doesn't know how to drive a stick. I had forgotten how much I missed driving a stick.....9 more months..... #nottrunky! Friday 18 Dec. We had a super fun dinner with a member of the branch presidency. I had tried to keep my birthday under wraps but his wife found out so this Sunday she shows up with a bottle of cologne from her shop, and has the branch president announce that my birthday was the day before..... I hate my birthday haha :)
As you can tell, I did a lot of exchanges this week. It all started out on Tuesday when Elder Sherren and Elder Duncan came to Le Havre. This was super fun because Elder Sherren started his mission here a little over a year ago. We spent the day searching for some of the old amis he taught. One person we met with actually got baptized then a couple weeks later he fell off the face of the earth. So we were meeting with him and apparently he's been getting into drugs and is going crazy. He started ranting about the fact that someone from a church kidnapped him and then took him to a place where they were holding other people and torturing and violating people. He then pulled out an old copy of the Ensign and pointed out random people saying "this one was a kidnapper, this one got raped, etc". Then he told us someone had drugged him and removed one of his lungs and a kidney... It was so sad. I honestly felt so horrible after we left, but there wasn't anything we could do for him. He didn't want to meet with us at all after.
But that night we presented Meet the Mormons and even though no nonmembers came a super cool member came to see Elder Sherren and then he invited us to Christmas at his house! We won't have to stay in the apartment all day! Woohoo!
Wednesday we had a super fun district meeting with the ZL's. Elder Sherrens and Duncan came up with nicknames for everyone in the district which is now the ship "M.F.P Rouen" (mission française de Paris) and I'm High Admiral Jorgy Borgy with my comp Private Roly Poly. They presented them all and had everybody laughing their heads off! That was followed with an exchange in Le Havre with the ZL's. We ate with the Passavant family and started teaching Josué.
Thursday I had a super fun exchange with Elder George! It was so great catching up and reminiscing about the MTC. I forgot how funny that little Brit is! J
Sunday was super cool because we had the Stake President there. He bore his testimony last and it was so powerful! It always amazes me the quality of men that the Lord chooses to guide and serve His children. I encourage all of you to pay stricter heed to the counsel not only of the prophet, but also the bishops and stake presidents who are called to preside over us. If we do so we will be protected and prepared from life's many dangers.
I love you all! À la semaine prochaine!
Elder Rollins on the left, Elder George on the far right with glasses, the other is Elder Larsen
So this week was pretty cool. Elder Shaver and
I met with the Passavant family on Tuesday to say goodbye as well as
set up teaching appointments for their son Joshua. He is seven turning eight,
but because he has some learning disabilities the president Silbermann asked us
to go through the lessons with him before he turns eight.
Wednesday I met my new bleu, Elder Rollins.
He is from Lehi. We hung out with Elder Nord and his new bleu in Paris for a
little bit before we had to catch our trains. Then we had a meeting with our
ward mission leader, brother Paporé. For dinner we got him his first kebab!
Haha He couldn't even finish it 😂
Then on Saturday we went into Paris
for our DL training meeting, but because of construction we had to take a bus
for 2 1/2 hours, then another train for 1 1/2 hours just to get to Paris. Then
we had to do the same thing back afterwards........ That was horribly
Sunday we had one of the funniest and
coolest branch council meetings ever. Our branch president conspired with the
DMB (branch mission leader) and his counselors to play a joke on all the
sisters in branch council. They convinced
them that the stake was donating five turkeys to each branch and ward for their
Christmas party, but they were all alive. The stake wanted the wards to have a
turkey chase for the kids and then find someone to come and kill them for the
dinner later that night. All of the sisters started freaking out! They were saying
how barbaric and savage it was, and that it was going to traumatize the
children haha! There is some weird stuff that happens in French ward councils....haha!
So this week was weird even though we've been incredibly obedient, searching for the Spirit in all we do, and following the 40 day fast thing, we only found one new investigator. I was talking with Elder Wheatley my ZL about it yesterday and he reassured us that "we receive no witness until after the trial of our faith" (Ether 12:6). But he did it in quoting a France Paris mission alumni - "the night is darkest just before the dawn" (Harvey Dent). Yes Aaron Eckhart is a less-active member who served here in France...who knew?!
In more positive news our branch president gave a super intense talk this last Sunday. It was really inspiring for us as well as all the members. Then he challenged the branch to do 2 things. (First some background info: the movie "Meet the Mormons" just came out on YouTube and Netflix in French. The inter-region asked every unit to hold one evening where they show the film and invite friends and nonmembers.) Our branch president said that the first week of December we will be showing the film every night at 7 and then twice during the week in the afternoon, and he asked all the members to come to as many of the showings as possible to help fellowship and answer questions after. THEN, he said that since we're starting the month where we celebrate the Savior's birth we need the spirit of missionary work in our homes more. So...he said that he wants us, the missionaries, to be invited to eat with a member EVERY DAY of December! Me and Elder Shaver were floored by these two announcements. I am TOO excited haha!
In any case, it was still a super fun last week with Elder Shaver. Oh yes transfers came out this Saturday;) Elder Shaver will be doing his last transfer in Nantes. As a side note, his older brother served in our mission and now lives in the Nantes ward, so Elder Shaver gets to spend Christmas/New Years/his last transfer with his big brother haha :) He was super stoked!
I on the other hand will be staying in Le Havre as District Leader, but I will also be training a bleu! When I told the branch president here (whose wife is English so he speaks pretty well, BUT he still has a super thick accent) he said grinning "so you are first time daddy!" Haha. It was hilarious
Another super cool thing about transfers is that there will be a new Elder in Rouen....it's Elder George! (The English elder from my MTC district) I'm SO excited to be able to do an exchange with him next week!
Ok so I want to start out by saying that I'm fine. Something that people forget is that I'm 2.5 hours away from Paris by high speed train... The only difference I've noticed here in Le Havre is that the flags are at half mast. So don't worry about me. The Lord watches out for his missionaries.Also, a member of the stake presidency was here yesterday and he told us that no members of the church or their immediate family members were affected by the attacks. That truly is a blessing!
Anyway, we were able to teach Moahssine the restoration. It went fairly well. He asks some great questions and he said he'd keep reading in the Book of Mormon and pray to know if it's true.
I got to do confidentiality reports this week...that was interesting... At the end of the transfer District Leaders give a report on each missionary in their district to the ZL's, so that the AP's can have solid information when making transfer decisions. I spent an hour and a half on the phone with the ZL's. I talk about their obedience, French, testimony, and other stuff. It felt kind of awkward talking about all the elders, but it had to be done.
As a mission we just started a "40 day consecration fast" this past Saturday that will take us to Christmas Eve. It's our mission's present to the Savior. Each companionship is trying to get a new investigator every day for these 40 days by being 100% consecrated and praying every hour during the day for guidance. It's an intense goal, but it's something that all of us as missionaries and our mission as a whole needs.
I love you guys, and appreciate your concern for me. Talk to you next week! Bronson
" I'm sure you heard about the attacks in Paris. I'm fine, as far as I know all the missionaries are fine. Although this weekend we're supposed to stay in our apartments except for appointments. So here's a pic of Elder Shaver and I in kind of normal clothes (I'm in jeans and he's in khakis) because we went to go teach a Muslim;) haha. It was Moahssine, and the retab went super well!"
So this week I gave my training on the Book of Mormon and how important it is not only to help our investigators convert, but also to help us be more converted. It went pretty well I think :)
Then I had an exchange with Elder Livingston here in Le Havre, nothing too exciting happened. Sorry... But Wednesday night we were out tracting and we ring some guy's intercom, and when we tell him we want to pray with him he lets us right in. His name is Moahssine (pronounced mwasen) and he's Muslim, but he said he was totally open to learn about us. After we prayed with him, we started talking about who we are and then he asked us about what scriptures we use. We talked about our belief in the Bible and then explained the background of the Book of Mormon. He was super interested and let us set up an appointment for this week! The coolest part is that we didn't have a lot of time in our area, and this was one of our only nights to work...AND right before we knocked on Moahssine's door he had been praying to God for guidance! We were an answer to his prayer!
Friday I did an exchange in Cergy with Elder Harris unfortunately it was only like half of an exchange because I had to go to Mantes-La-Jolie for a baptismal interview that night. That was such a cool experience! As I talked with this man I was able to feel of his desire to follow Christ and change his life. He passed his interview and this Sunday he was baptized!
Love you all! Bronson Another Viking pic from Paris :)
The first two Sundays here multiple members (after hearing that my ancestors are Danish, my name is Jorgensen, and I've only served in port towns) started calling me a Viking. Sister Babin agrees with them too! Haha. Anyway, one of Elder Shaver and my goals is to find as many things "Viking" as we can and take a picture haha. So here's the first two!
This week was super awesome. We went to Paris on Tuesday for zone conference and it was sweet! The conference was focused on working with members and improving our relationships with them. We had interviews as well. I'll never get over how awesome President and Sister Babin are. In both my interviews we laughed a ton, they gave me
awesome counsel on how I could help my district, and I really felt how much they love and care about me and all the other missionaries. Right after the conference we started our exchange with the Elders in Cergy. They live about 45 minutes outside Paris. I went with Elder Barton from Ogden. This is his first transfer in the mission so he has a ton of energy! Haha our exchange was super fun. Thursday we had exchanges here in Le Havre with the Elders from Mantes. I was with Elder Duncan. We taught a lady on the street, and even though she was Muslim she said she'd love to learn about Jesus Christ. So we have an appointment for this Wednesday! :) Friday we had an Autumn Festival thingy. There were only about 15 people there, but it was still super fun. I'll try and write more next week. This whole District Leader thing has taken away all the free time I used to use to type up emails :) haha But it's super fun though ;)
Lots of love,
My comp is sooo Canadian . . . Since Elder Shaver only has like 2 months left, he's been stocking up on French clothes...then he models them.... Haha!😂
This week has been super cool! Tuesday was super cool we had only a little bit of time to go contacting, and we decided to go work by the university. In about 45 minutes we set up two appointments, got three other numbers, and had two other super cool discussions. All of them were young students (who are usually not interested AT ALL) and they were all super excited to learn more. Wednesday we went into Rouen so I could do my first exchange as a district leader. I was with Elder Larsen who is from Kentucky. He also happened to be trained by my comp Elder Shaver! It was super fun! We found them a really cool young ami from Nigeria named Bukie. Thursday we had our District Meeting. I was incredibly nervous as I gave my first training especially because the zone leaders were there, and I didn't really know anyone in the district. We talked about the goals for the mission this transfer. It went well despite my anxiousness and I believe we all came away with a renewed dedication for this transfer. After District Meeting we went to Paris for an exchange with our ZL's. It was sweet! Elder Wheatley and I had a dinner appointment with an American family. The husband works for the State Department and they just got transferred to Paris. They were soooo nice and funny. They made us Mexican food and gave us homemade cookies to take back as dessert! Haha Sunday we taught the Lukusa family. (Less active guy and nonmember wife from last week). We taught about Christ and had a testimony meeting kind of deal. The Spirit was present very strongly, and at the end Brother Lukusa said he was going to try to come to church with his family! Then we taught Naomi, one of the cool young students we found. She loved the story of the restoration, and is going to read the Book of Mormon this week. We also set up another appointment! She is soooo cool!
Well that's this week!