So this week we went to Brussels which was awesome! We were there for a zone conference where we got our iPads. It was a super cool conference and I got to see a lot of old friends. It was really special because Elder Godfrey is going to die at the end of this transfer. He gave his "dying testimony" along with others who are finishing their missions. It turns out at the conference were half of the companions that he had on his mission, so he got a picture of him with all of us. It was a great time! Only problem with this trip was our trains... So because of technical problems we weren't able to print out our return tickets before we left for Belgium. So we get to the train station and try to get our tickets. Turns out, if you buy the tickets in France (which the mission does) you cannot retrieve your tickets in Belgium without the card that was used to purchase them (which the mission office has). So we missed our train and had to buy new tickets. To add to all the frustration of that we're carrying a bag full of pots and pans for our apartment, our overnight bags, and our normal proselyting bags. ALSO, there was a demonstration at the tunnel the train uses to go from France to England (some workers lit a bonfire or something on the tracks). So the station is PACKED full of angry impatient travelers! It was so stressful. Thankfully we made it back home that night...but not until 10:00 :( This Sunday we went and ate at Jean-Paul's house again. I made hamburgers, fries, and Jean-Paul made a "salad" haha 😃 (lettuce drenched in oil and vinegar) but the meal turned out pretty good.
So cool story for the week:
We were doing some contacting Saturday but there was a triathlon, model T festival, and huge "yard sale" markets going on in Dunkerque. So, we took a bus out of town and started working. There was hardly anybody out and it was getting close to dinner, so we decided to head back. We were sitting at the bus stop and the bus we were going to take didn't show up. Like it wasn't late, definitely wasn't early, it just didn't come. Just after the bus was supposed to come a man in his 60's walked up and I started talking to him. He was a little hesitant to talk at first but I just kept up the small talk until he opened up. We ended up taking the same bus as him, and we continued talking. Février (February in French) loves history and politics and so he and I got along super well, and we carried on a conversation about philosophy history and politics for 45 minutes (which I attribute to the gift of tongues because there was nothing gospel related in that conversation haha!). Right before we had to get off he told me that he had seen missionaries around a lot, and didn't have a great opinion of us, but now it was completely changed. He took a restoration pamphlet and said he'd read it. It was just so cool to see how much difference a little bit of love and kindness can make. I encourage all of us to take the time to be friendly with those around us especially those who aren't friendly to us.
So this week was pretty sweet. We had a great exchange on Wednesday. Our new district leader, Elder Wilson, was Elder Godfrey's companion in La Rochelle right before me. So we talked a lot about the ward and the investigators there. He's a really great guy. Then on Thursday we had district meeting. Our training was on how we will use iPads to proselyte online, and the new schedules we'll have. Speaking of which... we're getting iPads tomorrow!!!! We are sleeping over in another town tonight and then going to Brussels tomorrow morning for our zone conference.
Also, we are just getting done having our Branch Day. We had Branch Council meeting and then we all ate together. We seriously have the coolest branch here. The members are so great! Speaking of our little branch, there was a huge neighbourhood market festival thing this last Sunday and all the roads were blocked to get to the church, so we had church at the Deslypper's house (rich family we ate with a couple weeks ago.) It was the weirdest church experience! The couch was the stand, their dog was chilling in the branch president's seat while he blessed the sacrament with me, etc. But, it was super cool.
So the reason why I love exchanges so much is because we have twice the work getting done in our area for a day. And because of that, we got a new ami who is interested, has a family, doesn't smoke, and doesn't drink! It's so cool! Elder Alvarez and Elder Wilson found him. Anyway I got to go so we can make our train :)
So this week the work was a little difficult and we weren't seeing a lot of success. Elder Alvarez had the thought that we should call all the old investigators in our phone (which is a TON) So we took one night and started doing that. We were calling for hours and nobody wanted to talk to us, but we kept going. Just before we finished for the night someone that hadn't answered called us back and said that he remembers the missionaries well, and he would LOVE to meet with us again! It was a nice little tender mercy of the Lord for our diligence. Other than that this week was pretty uneventful. haha :)
So sorry this one will be pretty short. I'm staying here in dunkerque one more transfer with Elder Alvarez. This week has just been pretty chill, nothing too exciting. But I've been thinking a lot about a talk given this last conference by Elder Wilford Anderson of the 70, "The Music of the Gospel". You all know how big music is in my life, so when I heard this talk it immediately struck a chord with me ;) haha I've been looking around a lot recently at some of the members I've met here in France as well as those back home, and I've noticed that a few have learned the dance steps really well, but don't feel or hear the music of the gospel. I know that at different times in our lives the music can become really hard to hear and we get to the point where we may want to stop doing the dance, but for those of us who don't hear the music right now the worst thing we can do is stop dancing. I stopped dancing and for many years my life was empty and silent. But as soon as I was humble enough to ask, our Father in Heaven filled my life with that music that is sweeter and more beautiful than any that I've ever heard. I pray that each of us may take a moment to listen and hear if the music is still in our hearts. If it's not, please remember the marvelous melodies that made us start dancing in the first place, and then pray that you may hear them once again. I promise you that NOTHING will bring you more happiness in your life. I can't say that it will come all at once, but it will come and crescendo until your soul is filled with this most joyous of joys. I love you all and pray for you often.
This week was pretty chill. We had an awesome exchange in our district leader's city. It's probably the SMALLEST town with missionaries in the world! They have a car so driving around was pretty nice. This Sunday, Mike, the recent convert, blessed the sacrament with me for the first time. It was super awesome! He speaks English pretty well too. Me and him have really hit it off! Each time we have an appointment or at church we get each other laughing like crazy.
So this Friday was our Zone conference, and was super spiritual like always. At the end before our interviews with President and Soeur Babin we had a training by our Zone Leaders. Now these two are some of the funniest guys you'll ever meet. So they were talking about the commitments we give to investigators are like mini covenants that prepare them for their first covenant of baptism. They finished off comparing our commitments to an engagement (because commitment in french is engagement). When someone is engaged to marry they are making a prepatory commitment before the covenant of marriage. Then they tell us that we need to learn how to make "good commitments" after our missions ;) haha Keep in mind that President Babin and the Assistants (one of them is from Taiwan and is 25 because he had to serve in the military and went to college before his mission) are sitting there and the rest of us are just laughing. To finish they share a quote by Brigham Young and say they don't want to point any one out, but...(looking at the assistants) "Any young man not married by the time he is 25 is a menace to society" and the entire room starts cracking up including President, the senior couple, and all the sisters. It was pretty quality stuff haha :)