Monday, December 23, 2013

Joyeux Noel-Christmas Baptism

L to R...Me, Ezechias, Elder Cramer
and Souer Decaudin
After the baptism!

I hope the Spirit of Christmas has made its way into each of your homes.  I still can't believe that Christmas Eve is tomorrow.  It's definitely been a week of Christmas spirit and miracles here in Rouen!

We started the week off with a short hour and ten minute train ride to Paris.  We spent the day in Versailles at a Zone Conference.  We got to hear messages from President and Soeur Poznanski, have a Christmas feast and have a gift exchange.  President and Soeur Poznanski surprised us with letters from our families, an awesome object lesson about becoming the missionary the Lord wants us to be and a finally a little gift wrapped under our chairs.  As we opened it we saw a picture of the future temple in Paris with "France Paris Mission, written on it.  We quickly learned it was a temple recommend holder that has a quote by President Monson on it.  "Through your dedicated devotion at home or abroad, those souls whom you help to save may well be those whom you love the most."  President and Soeur Poznanski added, "We pray that you can find a day in the Paris Temple with these precious souls - we love you!"  That was an awesome present and I know that there is not one missionary that would not love to go to the temple with their amis! And for Elder Cramer and me that means with Ezechias, who was baptized this past Saturday and confirmed on Sunday!

Last week we were able to finish teaching all the commandments, have an interview and then the joyous day, Saturday, Ezechias baptism!  It was amazing.  We had over 20 members there and I've never seen someone so happy after he was baptized and confirmed.  Ezechias is awesome and I've decided our amis are like our children in a way.  We teach them everything we can and then it's up to them to make the best decisions with their free agency.  We are so grateful for how prepared, by the Lord, Ezechias was and for his decision to be baptized.  We know that one day we will go to the France Paris Temple together.  Ezechias was the answer to a prayer for us and for the Branch.  As Elder Ballard said in of his conference talk, "We are simply asking all members to pray, knowing that if every member, young and old, will reach out to just "one" between now and Christmas, millions will feel the love of the Lord Jesus Christ.  And what a wonderful gift to the Savior."

We received training at Zone Conference on a new way to contact during the Christmas season.  When contacting on the street we always bring up the birth of Christ and what it means to them.  If we are porting we ask if we can sing a song for them and then pray to invite the spirit of Christmas into their homes.  The French have always seen the movies of Americans who go around singing, but when two young men or women show up to do it they find it quite bizarre...but they like it!  It's amazing to see the miracles we've seen in just a few days using this new way for Christmas and it shows how Christmas does change people and opens them up.  Also, it's great for us because we both love to sing!

Yesterday, Sunday, after our meetings we had the Branch Christmas Party.  We had lots of delicious quiche, meats, cheeses, baguettes and of course Buche de Noel!  After, we all went caroling and were able to meet some awesome people.  We finished the night with the primary program and the little French kids are so awesome.  I must say I'm jealous of the 3 year olds and their capability to speak French.  We quickly became their best friends when they realized we had a bucket of candy a member had given us!  The members here are awesome and we will be well feed by the end of this week from all the food we eat over the next few days!
This picture was taken on the 20th of December!
Friends from the MTC

Elder Wood and me
It really has been one of the best weeks of my mission thus far.  Full of Christmas miracles and things that I well never forget.  I've heard about how cool it is to be a missionary during Christmas and now I can see why.  Between the members, our amis, and our leaders we could not have a better family, while we are thousands of miles away from our own.  I'm so grateful for the opportunity I have to be a missionary and to be a servant of the Lord who has given us so much.  I want to end with a scripture found in Matthew chapter 7 verses 9 through 11.

9.  Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask for bread, will he give him a stone?
10. Or is he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
11. If ye then know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

I hope we can all reflect on the "good gifts" our Father in Heaven has given us.  Especially at this time of Christmas may we realize the most precious gift he has given to us all, his only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, who through him we can be saved and live for eternity with our families.  I pray that we can all see the importance in our lives of the birth of Jesus Christ and how it has changed each one of us and for the blessings He's given to us.  I'm so grateful for everyone of you and for all you do for me.  Thank you for your love and support and may you all have a Merry Christmas/Joyeux Noel!

Elder Player

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