France Paris Mission 2014-2016

Week 102 --- And so it ends . . .

This last week we met up with Renna and Roland (a Syrian lady who's been here for a couple years and her "adoptive dad" from her church here) we had given them the Book of Mormon the week before and Roland had read til Alma! It was harder for Renna considering French isn't her native tongue. So when we showed up today we talked about the Restoration with them and Renna's sister Marie who just got to Belgium 3 months ago. (She's trying to get papers here for her two daughters and husband who are still in Syria). The spirit was super strong throughout the whole lesson and even though Marie didn't understand everything you could tell she was touched by the Spirit. We gave them soft baptismal invites and they accepted but said they were really going to search to have a testimony for themselves. It was my last teaching appointment of my mission and it couldn't have gone better!  Then this Sunday we were heading to church but we missed our bus, so as we were waiting for a member to come pick us up guess who walks right by us....Renna and Marie! They were heading to church but the bus didn't pass by the normal stop for them so they were just walking around and they ran into us so we had the members take them to church and we took the next bus (which luckily got us there before church started). They absolutely loved church and can't wait to come back! They even came to our family home evening tonight! But it wasn't really a fhe....the members turned it into a giant dinner/party for our depart because Elder Andersøn is getting transferred as well. They even made us cheesecake and sang a couple French goodbye songs for us......I really hate being the center of attention! Haha :)

All in all this last week has been a pretty great way to end my mission.

I've learned these past two years that my Savior lives, he is my best friend. Our Father in Heaven is real and he loves us with a truly perfect and infinite love. This gospel permits ANYONE to change and to receive the wonderful blessings Heavenly Father has in store for us.  This church is His instrument in preaching the gospel, perfecting the saints, and redeeming the dead and it has been restored in our day by the Prophet Joseph Smith. I know all these things through the magnificent power of the Holy Ghost and if you haven't had these truths confirmed to you I plead with you to search for that confirmation with all your heart.

I can't wait to see you all again and express my love in person :)

Bronson

Photos:

Us eating at Claudette and Emmanuel's house.  Yannick is super adorable right?!  Also I made those cookies and they were delicious;)

Funny advertisement for Bicky sauce and Anderson after he found out we are getting whitewashed.

District meeting pictures and Elder Merritt being stiff fingered by Nord and Grayston.











Week 101 --- One last week to go

So the last two weeks have been fairly uneventful here in Namur.  We were able to see Elisabeth again and she accepted a soft invite to baptism. Now we just got to get her to church and things will start moving.  Donovan broke his foot this week, so they weren't able to come to church, but hopefully next week.  We've been getting invited over quite a bit so that's been pretty nice.

I'm really sorry, but like I said not much has happened. I'll make up for it with a lot of pictures. Besides, I'll see you all in a week and a half ;)

Bronson

Photos:


Us with cricri and Donovan . . . Pictures of the fortress of Namur (right across from our apartment) . . . us hanging out on a p-day a couple weeks ago.

A cool chip I found #christianchip



Week 100

Since Elder Jorgensen didn’t send an e-mail this week, I (Mom) will just post the e-mail his companion sent to his family (thanks Elder Anderson).

Well the sun decided to make this week a hot one for us, it has been beautiful recently but this past week was very hot and humid. Even our district leader who is Tahitian was complaining about how hot it was. Good old Tahiti doesn't have this beautiful Belgian humidity, reminds me of being back home. That didn't stop us from doing a ton of work though, we were able to do a lot this week and I really am happy with how it turned out. We have a family we are teaching and every time we go to do service they take another step in their process. The first time afterwards they began to pray everyday. The second time we cleaned their windows and window sills and they started reading everyday, and after Saturday we helped clean doors they agreed to come to church this next Sunday. It is awesome to see how the lord softens hearts and works wonders among his children. We also needed to go to Chaleroi, the area next to us, twice for exchanges as our district leader has been sick and at the hospital off and on these past few weeks. He does not like hospitals at all so the fact he went in the first place was amazing, now they keep scheduling stuff and doing things that don't help so he has been getting pretty fed up with it all. Charleroi is not the nicest of places so you get interesting looks from people more than normal when walks around in a white shirt and tie, luckily I had the Tahitian with me all day so nobody tried to do anything, the other two stayed on the nicer part of town all day haha.

Today we were up in Brussels playing soccer with our district and the zone leaders, that was fun and a little impromptu tournament started when some other guys showed up and asked to play with us, so we had four teams changing in and out and it was fun. We had been playing for over an hour before hand then we had that so we are all pretty tired now. We also had some cool people who we got to meet, one was a woman who is a Syrian refugee and has been here for about three years now, she really liked that we believed in a prophet today and has asked us to come over on Saturday to talk more. However this week we also had to drop some of the lesser progressing Amis as well so it was a week of ups and of some downs. This was a cool week at church in that the priesthood lesson and the sacrament meeting talks were all on family councils. The bishop got up and told the ward the idea came at a family home evening we had with his family when we shared the message about family councils given by elder Ballard in last Aprils conference. He loved what we said and decided to do one that week, and he had an awesome experience and has suddenly decided the whole ward needs to make sure we are home teaching and doing family councils. I thought it was cool cause I remember that morning Jorgensen asked me what we should talk about me I had no idea, but Elder Ballard came and talked to us at the MTC so I looked up what his last talk was and I really liked what it had to say. So we went ahead and based our message off that talk and it is great to see that the message really helped the family but now also may help the ward. Sometimes we are instruments in the lords hand even without knowing what will come of our use. I love you all and until next time

Elder Anderson








Week 99 - Final Zone Conference and Thoughts on Prayer

So on Tuesday we had a lesson with Cri-Cri and Donovan a mom and 17 year old son we've been teaching the last couple weeks. She has a ton of health problems and they're a little interesting, but super kind.  We taught about the Book of Mormon because we had watched the restoration video the last time. Donovan was super interested and he started reading the intro and asking questions before the end of the appointment. He finished by saying," I hate reading but I'm excited to start this book" :)
Wednesday we had Zone Conference and boy was it something. I was the only person dying in our zone so everyone made a big deal about it and kept making jokes about me dying. I hate the question, "What does it feel like to be dead?" 😡. But those young bucks don't know better yet, so I can't be mad ;) haha It was super cool during President's training at the end of the conference. He was talking about searching the scriptures not just reading and about praying and fasting A LOT.  He used the first part of Alma 17. And at the end of his training just as a little side note he talked about how we can become the kind of servants that merit the approbation "Well done, thou good and faithful servant". Then he added, while looking at me, "and the Lord will be pleased with the service you have given Him". I felt the Spirit like a fire inside me when he said that, and it was just what I needed as I neared the end of my service.
We had a dinner appointment 4 nights this week! I don't know what got into the members but I like it :) haha
I've been reflecting a lot this week on prayer and how great a blessing it is to be able to talk to our Father in heaven, the creator of the universe about anything and everything that is important to us.  A quick story to illustrate this.  Friday we get a call from the Bishop asking us to take the first five minutes after the sacrament and give the ward a specific challenge about missionary work to give the ward a little boost. Well we sat and were thinking about it all day Friday and Saturday, but we couldn't think of anything that felt appropriate.  It's like 8 o'clock Saturday night and we're eating dinner and just pondering over our problem. Anderson goes to make himself something to eat and I just start praying and begging for some help. After I finished my prayer I remembered that a few days earlier Anderson shared a quote during comp study from the end of chapter 1 of preach my gospel where there is a list of quotes on missionary work by prophets. So I go back there and find this one by Harold B Lee, "Missionary work is but home teaching to those who are not now members of the Church, and home teaching is nothing more or less than missionary work to Church members”. Then I received the inspiration to challenge each home and visiting teacher to provide an act of service for each person/family they visit during the next 40 days(which leads right up to conference). So we plan out our little talk and when we ask Bishop before church if he approved of our challenge he responded, "That is inspired! I love it!" Apparently there have been some problems with home/visiting teaching so the Bishop was really happy with that challenge. In short, prayer works....really well! :)

Loves!

Bronson

Week 98 --- Sorry Y'all this'll be a quick one ;)

So I just want to share an experience we had this week. You remember Elisabeth, the young Congolese mom we started teaching? Well we saw her twice this week.  Tuesday we shared the Joseph Smith story kind of briefly because her sister was there making a ruckus and at the end we didn't feel like she really got anything from it. So, we asked her to read the page in the brochure about the first vision and pray and ask God if it was true. We come back Thursday and just out of habit ask if she had prayed about it. She got really quiet and said she did.... But didn't say anything else. So we asked what happened and she told us she felt something really powerful. It was so powerful she got super scared and ran to check all the windows haha :) We talked about that feeling and she told us how she always feels something similar whenever we come and she really likes it. We testified that the Holy Ghost will always be there to testify of truth and then we helped her realize that all the other times in her life when she sincerely prayed to God she felt the same type of feelings. It was no joke the most spiritual atmosphere I've been in during a lesson. One could almost feel the spirit the way you feel the humidity. We introduced the Book of Mormon to her and she promised to read it while she was on vacation this week and then she's coming to church as soon as she gets back. This one is definitely a tender mercy of the Lord.

We'll be having my very last Zone Conference this week. Which means my dying testimony...... I'm actually pretty nervous. 😵

Love you all, have a great week! 


Week 97 --- The Beginning of the End . . .

This week we started teaching two families from the Congo (More Africans!!!!) :) One of them was super dope. Christian grew up in France and while he was in Switzerland for studies he met with the missionaries quite a bit, but he lost contact and his Book of Mormon was burned in an apartment fire. So when he saw us he was totally down to meet again. Now he has 7 kids!! Ages 22 to 2..... We had a really good first lesson and we'll be seeing him again tomorrow!

We did some more service for Amis and members. We taught Allal over at Ruben and Keilani's. Afterward while we were waiting for our train Allal saw Anderson playing with a deck of cards so he pulled out a deck and gave it to me. I looked at the cards that night and all the face cards had very detailed pictures of ladies that uhhh....well let's just say those cards are in the bottom of our trash can ;) haha  Next Lesson: #lawofchastity 

We had a training this week from our stake president talking about the challenges and issues of the work in Belgium. It was super powerful! 

It's so weird everyone keeps talking about me dying.... Most of my good friends are home.... But I'm super excited about these last few weeks! Things are going really well (we had at least one appointment planned every day this week!)

Love you all!
Bronson

Week 96 ---Six More Weeks

So just a quick update about what's been going on these last two weeks.

We had this pretty cool experience where we were out contacting in this town about 20 minutes from Namur thinking it was a decent sized town..... Well in about 2 hours of contacting we had talked to about 6 people.... It was pretty dead. So we were on our way back to the station and we see this middle-aged guy carrying a really heavy looking bag. Well Anderson contacts him like normal meanwhile I notice that the bag is filled with beer.....great..... But we talked a little bit and he thought it was weird that we were here in this tiny town to talk about Jesus, so we offered to help him carry his bag back home (seriously it was heavy for me and Anderson and we are big guys). We talk as we walk back and Hugues is catholic but not too practicing and he just recently moved here from Brussels. So we get to his house finally and he says that to thank us the least he can do is listen to our message. We talked briefly about Joseph Smith's story and testified. When we asked if he thought it'd be possible to have prophets on the earth today he said, "Definitely. You two came all the way over here for two years, so you must know it's true." We prayed with him and after the prayer he had tears in his eyes and he said he felt lighter and happier than he has in a long time. Then he invited us to come over and eat dinner and share more of our message after he got back from vacation, so we'll be seeing him this coming week!!
We catered a wedding....

Haha So what happened is that Ruben the RM in our ward got married and they wanted to have a reception at the church for all the members. The bishop accordingly volunteered us to help set up. We were thinking that meant tables, chairs, maybe some decorations, you know normal stuff. So we show up at like 9 the morning of the reception with sister Chung (our WML's wife who also happens to be a chef at a Chinese restaurant), frere Chung and Claudine. We're wearing our service clothes (for like the twentieth time this transfer I feel like) and we set up tables, decorations, and serving dishes and then we eat lunch that they brought for all of us. Then sis Chung says,"Ok now let's get to work!" I'm really confused and before I know it I'm making hors d'oeuvres (which is a French term but the French say apperatif instead, weird huh?) and preparing giant hot dishes for all the food she has. By the time we finish it's like 30 minutes before people are going to start showing up, so sis Chung gives a crash course on serving food at a buffet line! I guess we're staying for the whole thing! We finally get out of there and home by 9:30 just feeling super confused as to what had just happened.... But we got some dope candid pics of the couple before the reception ;)

Then we had finding days in our DL's area and here in Namur. They both went super well! We got quite a few new investigators and potentials and I got the chance to work with my good friend Elder Nord a ton the two days. (Don't remember if I mentioned but Elder Nord is like my best friend in the mission and we were in the same district in Dunkerque and now he's in the district here)  We held our district meeting on our finding day, and because getting to our church takes too long we had it in our apartment!! That was really weird having the 8 of us in here for a meeting haha :)
We found out transfers for my last transfer! I'll be staying here in Namur...and so will Elder Anderson!! We are both confused (because when I die that will have been 4 transfers here for him) but really excited. He's a great guy! Also Elder Larsen (who was in my district in Le Havre and another one of my great friends) is coming up to Brussels to be our ZL! It'll be super dope! Also two of the elders in our district will be training so we'll have a district with two people staring their missions and me....the guy who's got one foot in the grave (according to Elder Anderson haha)

I'm super excited to start this final push to the end. It still weirds me out thinking that I'll be home in six weeks, but all good things have an end....except the gospel, the family, God's love for us, the power of the Atonement....ok well not all good things have ends, but you know what I mean ;) haha
Also a quick shoutout to my stud of a little brother! Keaton leaves this Wednesday for the MTC and then off to Mendoza, Argentina he goes.  I'm super proud of him and his desire to serve the Lord. May we all remember who we serve and try with all our souls to follow His perfect example.
Love you guys!

Bronson













Week 94: Exhausted but happy :)

So these last two weeks have been pretty dope!

We had interviews with President and Soeur Babin. I love them so much!  We talked a lot about how I was here in Namur to help out Elder Anderson and this district. There have been some problems in this district the last couple transfers and they both mentioned how much they trusted me to be able to get things changed. President even referred to me as Elder Anderson's trainer haha :) Also, they just recently hit their two year mark, so I brought them a gift. Right before I left Evry I was talking to their daughter Melanie and she told me that their favorite dessert thing is a classic chocolate bar, but it had to be dark chocolate with hazelnuts...milk chocolate wouldn't fly ;) haha So at the end of our interview I gave Soeur Babin some Belgium chocolate and wished them a happy anniversary, she thought it was the funniest thing that I talked with their daughter about that!

Last Monday I taught the lesson for FHE. We were talking about pioneers and how each of us was a pioneer because we are Latter Day Saints. If you haven't looked at the first presidency message for this month, I suggest you go do it. It's a real motivator!  We started teaching a guy that we found my second day here named Allal. He's from Morocco but moved to Belgium when he was 20. That was over 55 years ago haha :) He's been all alone for the last 6 years and when he came to church the first time he was so happy. He was crying with some of the members during our priesthood meeting. He said that he felt at home and he would come every week from now on (which he has so far). This last Tuesday we were invited to eat dinner with our ward mission leader, his wife, a single sister who lives near them, and the Badoux family (ward missionaries). We had an appointment with Allal right before and we taught with brother Chung (wml) and at the end of the lesson he invited Allal to eat with us. He was just so excited! He couldn't stop raving about the food and how grateful he was to be with our "family".

Thursday we had exchanges in Nivelles which were pretty dope. I was with Elder Lucas the DL for the first half of the day. With us was a 17 year old member who has a nonmember dad and who has been kind of unsure about things recently. So the elders convinced him to come out with us to a couple of appointments. It went super well! He was super excited by the end and said "whenever you need me give me a call and I'll come work with you." :)  When we were together we also found them 3 new investigators. Two of them were African ;) It's so hard to find my frères here in Belgium.... But one of them, Jacqueline was super interested by our message and is from the Congo....I love the Congo!  Haha.  Then that night I visited a member family with Elder Merritt.  It was the Snickers family....yes that is really their name haha :) I met one of their daughters while she was on a mini-mission a couple months ago and apparently they have a niece who just arrived in the St. George mission! So he told me to go say hi when I get back.

This Saturday we went and did service for a neighbor of brother Chungs and Claudine (the single sister who we ate with). Geraldine p just bought the house next to her mother(which is right next to Claudine)  and is doing major renovation so we went with brother Chung and: ripped out drywall in a couple rooms, moved furniture and a giant heater she bought, opened up a boarded up door, scraped up carpet and glue off of some stairs, and then I had to literally chisel off baseboard tile in the entire house.... I'm pretty much qualified to be a stone sculptor now haha :) We were there for about 5 hours working nonstop. I walked away cut up, sore, and exhausted as could be but we made a huge impression on this lady. Claudine told us at church the next day that Geraldine had said that we were the most respectable, hardworking men she had ever met.

Sunday after church we went to Ruben Dewagne's house to help him clean out his new apartment and move a bunch of furniture. Ruben is getting married this week, and he couldn't find anyone to help him get the stuff ready for after the wedding, so he called us. Fortunately two of his nonmember buddies ended up showing up to help, so we got to work with them and chat a little bit about the mission, school, etc.  Also this week it was our turn to clean the church! So it felt like I was wearing jeans and a T-shirt more than my white shirt and tie this week :) 

So with all the attacks that have been going on, we've been doing emergency drills so that everyone is prepared in case something major happens. Well last Tuesday we get a text right before studies saying we need to pack up a 48 hour bag and get to the church (what we are supposed to do in case of emergency) So we did that super fast and the assistants wanted a picture of what we brought ​.




Today we have family home evening like we do every week, but unlike every week we will be going to a carnival after to get funnel cake type things! I'm pretty excited haha :)

Love you all so very much!

Bronson


A warning never to cross the train tracks....Belgium is gory....



Week 91 and 92

Well this week was definitely an adjustment...

Belgium is weird!!! haha :) 

So Monday we were invited to eat lunch with the N'Tamag family. She made this HUGE Haitian meal, and boy was it good! Then we went and taught Lucien with a member. He had read and was really interested in Joseph Smith's story... I hope things go well with him.

Tuesday we were also invited to eat for lunch and dinner. The members in Evry love me so much haha :) We also went and said goodbye to Eddine and Samra. She is so ready for the gospel!!! I'm still a little sad I'll miss her baptism, but I'm so happy that it's happening!

Wednesday: After almost 4 hours of hot, standing room only trains I arrived in Namur... my dying ville. Elder Anderson is from Cinncinati, Ohio and like I said before just got finished being trained. Namur is a TINY town compared to Evry and the transportation sucks... It kind of reminds me of Dunkerque haha but Namur is prettier. The apartment is gigantic though, so that's pretty nice. For the moment, we only have two amis, Romuald and his 9 year old son Dillon. So these last two weeks have been filled with a ton of contacting. We have a couple new potentials now so we'll see this week what becomes of them.

We had a ward party the Saturday I got here. There weren't a ton of people, but our amis came and we had a pretty good time.

Right now the Euro Cup is going on and Belgian fans are nuts!!!! The town has set up a giant screen and Fan Zone type thing right next to our apartment....So every time Belgium plays we don't sleep... Luckily they just got eliminated so we'll be able to sleep haha ;)

So when I got here I heard that our Bishop and Ward Mission leader were both pretty dead and didn't really do anything to help us out. Well that doesn't fly with me! So we get here and we have already had a meeting with the bishop to come up with a ward mission plan, our WML has helped us teach like 4 lessons, and is going nuts sharing the gospel, and everything is looking up. All they needed was a little kick and now they are pumped :)

One day we helped two members move. They were both getting furniture from the same person, so they rented a moving truck and called the missionaries haha :) We were helping from 7:30 to 2:00...... but it was fun! I got to know the members better and we got a couch and two nice chairs out of it (one of the members were getting rid of them to fit the new couch so they gave them to us!).

Another day we went out porting in a town called Dinant about 40 minutes away and when we get there we find out that it's the birthplace of Alfred Sax (inventor of the saxophone) I know what we're doing next P-Day!! ;)

I'll be sending some pictures of Samra's Baptism that Elder Tarbet sent me. I'm so proud of them!!

Love you all!


Bronson

Week 90

Well my goal this last week was to work hard enough and well enough that God wouldn't want to transfer me.....I did it! But unfortunately God still transferred me... but I'm pretty sure He didn't want to ;)
Haha so this week I was on FIRE!!! We do split contacting quite often (where we contact separately in a plaza thing or something, but still within sight and sound) and for an example of how on fire I am: in 30 minutes of contacting on a Sunday afternoon I taught three people and 2 of them gave me their numbers so we could meet again. Now don't worry, I'm not getting proud ;) I'm very grateful for the success Heavenly Father has been giving me, and I'm only able to do these things because I'm trying really hard to be close to Him and the Spirit :)
We taught a super dope young African family that I contacted last week, and during our lesson he explained how when I went up to them he was not in the mood to be accosted by someone and how he wanted to keep saying no to me, but for some reason he felt "taped down". He told us they couldn't move, and that now they are so happy they are starting to meet with us.
Samra passed her Baptismal interview!!! This coming Saturday (25th) Eddine will be baptizing her! I won't be there to confirm her like she wanted, but she is SO excited to be baptized :) She was just beaming at church this week!
We went to the Furtado's this week and were finally able to teach their friends, Tanya and Carlos. We taught about what our goal was as missionaries and how the Book of Mormon could help them to find true faith in Jesus Christ. They committed to start reading together, and they even asked the Furtado's for a paper copy this weekend (they had downloaded it on their phones) :)
We also saw the Mir family again, and the Meunier's (president Babin's other daughter and son in law), and another family. #4 dinner appointments this week!
This Sunday I got to give a testimony/goodbye talk in church. I almost completely broke down. I love this ward so much! It feels like home... After sacrament meeting there were a couple members almost in tears. Bishop Boisserie came up to me and kept thanking me for all that I did to help the ward and for all that I taught him. Then he gave one of the biggest hugs I've ever gotten! After our weekly missionary meeting frere Vendassi did pretty much the same thing as Bishop. Then frere Furtado did the same thing. And the feeling was mutual for me. I have become the best missionary I've ever been because of my time here in Évry. There were a few sisters that were trying really hard not to hug me. There were a lot of sad members this Sunday.
So unfortunately I won't be staying with Elder Tarbet. That is one of the hardest parts of this transfer. We didn't have a single disagreement the entire transfer, and we worked so well together. To illustrate this point in these 6 weeks we taught at least 236 lessons together. I hadn't taught that many lessons in my entire mission combined!! We have Samra getting baptized and Raphael with a date in July, plus a ton of solid young families we're starting to teach. The Lord truly did bless us and our sector the last 6 weeks.
And the future will be great :) I have received a spiritual confirmation that this transfer is the will of God. I'm going to Namur in Belgium. I'm replacing my old comp Elder Libby who just finished training. So I'll be with Elder Anderson who's in his 3rd transfer. Apparently they've been in a rough patch the last couple weeks (they only taught 1 street lesson this week). So I'm going in there with the intention of turning things around and passing to Elder Anderson all the knowledge I've gotten this last transfer on how to get lessons with people and get them interested to learn more. It'll be a fun adventure, but it's weird to know where I'll be finishing my mission....AHH!!!
Bonne semaine, Je vous aime 
J

Bronson

Photos
1) Bowling with the district
2) Transfer #14