Monday, October 7, 2013

Zone Conference, General Conference and Escargots!


This last week has been awesome here.  We have received much spiritual nourishment from Zone Conference and General Conference.  We have heard so many amazing messages from people who are inspired and called of God.

While this last week was hard to teach and it seemed as if no one would show up for their rendez-vous or answer their phones we still had some success and our 8:55 miracle from last week became an even bigger miracle this week!

Let's start with Zone Conference.  Zone Conference was 6 hours long, which seems long, but could have gone longer.  We achieved our goal of 100 baptisms in 3 months.  We actually had 115 baptisms, which is a record for our mission.  We were given a new goal for the next 3 months.  Like Elder Ballard challenged us, "Let's all find one person before Christmas and give the Lord a wonderful present!"  So each companionship is to find a family and baptize them before Christmas.  We have a plan and with the Lord we know we can do it!  The training was amazing with messages from the AP's, Sister Trainer Leaders, Zone Leaders and President and Soeur Poznanski.  I left so filled with the spirit and we all left with the desire to accomplish our goal.  We are so lucky to have an amazing Mission President and Mom.  Later that night we had a lesson with Douglas, who lives with a new convert named Francis.  Douglas wasn't there but Francis was so we decided to leave him with a spiritual message.  Francis asked if we'd come once a week and just help him better understand some of his questions from the scriptures.  He is so excited to learn and gain a better understanding of the gospel.  I can't wait to go back each week and see him on Sundays too!

Wednesday is when our 8:55 miracle from last week started to be realized.  A friend of Papy, named Una, was in the park last week at 8:55.  We set a time for a lesson and when we met he said he had already read some of the Book of Mormon.  After we sat down he left the room and came back with a Book of Mormon.  He told us about Joseph Smith, Nephi, Morini and others.  We were surprised and asked how he could follow the example of Jesus Christ.  He responded, "By baptism!"  Perfect answer.  Then he said, "I've done that - by immersion and with the priesthood."  Now the moment missionaries's hard to say say, "your baptism is not correct or valid."  Luckily, a thought came into my mind and I asked, "Did you receive the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands?"  He thought for a moment and said, "No, I didn't" and then asked, "How can I do that?"  We explained that baptism needs to be done by someone holding the priesthood and than they can lay hands on your head and give you the gift of the Holy Ghost.  Than you can follow Christ and his example and become a member of his church.  We asked him to pray for confirmation that this was true and was the right baptism with the right priesthood.  We prayed together and the spirit was so strong and so we set up another rendez-vous for Saturday.  On Saturday afternoon he started to talk right after the opening prayer.  He said, "I know it's true now.  I didn't understand much before but now it all makes sense."  Then he taught us about the restoration and the Plan of Salvation.  He said as he read and prayed he felt a burning in his heart and knew this was the gospel of Jesus Christ unlike the others!  Talk about an unreal experience and how a man who was put in our path with seeds already planted by missionaries years ago.  I can't wait to teach him more this week!  One other little side note here...he looks exactly like Shaq.

Frere Fraikin took us to lunch on Thursday and asked, "Elder Player, how long have you been here?"  When I told him a little over 3 months he said it was time to take me to "eat well"!  I am now a member of Frere Fraikin's inner circle so he is taking us to his favorite restaurant for some really good food.  Sweet!  We had an awesome mangez-vous with Soeur Grandfils, a member of the ward too.  On the way home the metro was down so we had to walk home - in the rain.  On Friday we stopped for lunch at a little escargot stand. Elder Eldredge hadn't ever had one so we ordered 10.  Quite delicious once you get past the look of them. With some frites it made a great lunch!

Finally, this weekend we experienced an amazing conference!  I've never been so excited for conference in my life and now, I think, I'll always be excited!  All the messages were amazing.  We had some strange viewing times here with one session yet to come.  I can say that I know our church is true and led by a living prophet today.  We are so lucky to belong to such an amazing church.  Last night the sisters had an ami, named Sophia, come with them.  I met her my first week here and referred her to the sister missionaries.  It was the first time she had come to a meeting but she was touched by the spirit.  She came up to me and said, "He's the one who talked to me at the metro station...Thank you so much.  I know one of the reasons I came here from the Congo was to meet the missionaries!"  I hope we can all be missionaries.  Whether full time or member missionaries.  At home, school or work.  No matter what age we can all change someone's life by opening our mouths and sharing the gospel.  I know it can be hard but as you proclaim truths to others and testify your mouth will be filled with the right things to say.  Just as promised in the scriptures.  I'm so grateful to be here as a missionary and I'm so thankful for all of your support at home.  Love and miss you all!

Elder Player

Random things from the week:
Strombeek Sign
Elder Brown and Sister Francis from the MTC
At Zone Conference
Bought hair clippers.  Cut my hair.  Gave my first haircut to Elder Godfrey, surprisingly he still has hair.
Wet walk from Soeur Grandfils...
the metro was down!
Elder Wood & Elder Eldredge
cleaning up the "Scentsy" mess!
Cows in the middle of Brussels
Eating Escargots - Yum!
The kitchen almost started on fire this week.  Elder Wood learned candles cannot be put on the stove top and melted like in a Scentsy burner.  Nor should a hot candle be cooled with water - long story!
Sunrise off our back balcony!

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