Monday, February 24, 2014

Il y a gens qui sont pret pour l'Evangile

Bonjour!  We have had a great week full of exchanges, rendez-vous, mangez-vous and speaking some dumb things in French.

This past week we had some good rendez-vous with our amis!  We had a rdv with a new lady, Rachel, who we met on the metro a few weeks ago.  We talked about the Book of Mormon and by the end she said she needed a week to read it but if she found out it was true, she'd be baptized!  The sisters are going back tonight and we can't wait to see what happens.  Then, Elder Garner and I had an awesome rdv with Wilfried, who we've tried to set a baptismal date with 3 times.  We had another rdv but it got cancelled and shortly after that Wilfried sent a text and asked if he could come to the church.  We wouldn't have been able to meet with Wilfried if the other rdv had not fallen through. It's amazing how things work out.  We talked with him about his reading in the Book of Mormon and the importance of keeping commitments to help us progress. He told us that he really wants to be prepared but has fears of falling back into old ways and that is why he doesn't want to set a date.  Elder Garner said, "There's a scripture I want to read from the Book of Mormon.  It talks about Zoram giving a sermon and how he had his fear taken from him."  We related the sermon to baptism and how we often have to move forward with faith and that after our fear will be taken from us.  Wilfred said, "That's exactly how I feel!"  We asked if he'd be baptized the 22nd of March and he said no but told us that he had prayed and set a date for the 29th of March.  Right after his birthday, so it can mark a "new me",  PERFECT!  It was awesome and the spirit of the scriptures showed him he could do it and changed his heart!  On Saturday Wilfried was telling us that on December 31st he prayed for God to help place something or someone in his life to help him change and now he realizes that was us and he is ready to follow what God has sent to him.  Just another testimony builder to me that God is preparing people for the Gospel and they are put in our path.  We have to be ready and looking for them and then share what we have.  So ask yourself, "Are there people ready and waiting for me to share the Gospel and am I ready with the knowledge to share it?"  If not ask yourself what can I do to become ready?

Another awesome moment was on Sunday when Romain was able to receive the Aaronic Priesthood.  We had Branch Conference and it was all about the temple and Ezechias participated. (Even though he hasn't been yet his remarks where spot on.)  They are both doing great and we will have FHE with the Batinga family, Romain, Ezechias and Wilfried this week.  I can hardly wait!

We were lucky to have a couple of delicious mangez-vous.  On Thursday we ate with the Warenghien's for Elder Johnson's birthday.  He turned 20!  We also ate with Anderson and Amandine, their daughter, and it was her birthday too.  (Anderson is who took Elder Cramer and me to Etretat).  We had delicious salmon, quiche, a beet, olive and mushroom chicken, cheeses and a homemade cheesecake.  It was delicious!  This was the night I was struggling with my French but at least it was with them and we were all able to laugh! We ate with Frere Augey and his family and had steaks, potatoes and some crab salad.  It was perfect. Yesterday after Branch Conference we had a meal with breads, quiches, desserts and everything else you could want.

We had our exchanges this week.  Elder Johnson was with Elder Wallace in Mantes la Jolie and I stayed in Rouen with Elder Garner.  It was great and we found an awesome new neighborhood full of families that we were able to port. I can't wait to go back and knock on every door!

This coming week we are off to Paris for Elder Johnson's legality so I'll be going on a scavenger hunt with the other trainers.  I'll get to see the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, and the Arc de Triomphe while our bleus go to their medical appointments.  I'm glad to be the trainer this time around!  Wednesday we are off to Mantes for district meeting and we have some great things planned for the rest of the week.  The weather is changing here.  It's getting lighter in the morning and the trees are starting to blossom.  Yay!  Spring is coming!

I hope you all have a great last week in February.  Thanks for your emails, love and support.

Love you all...
Elder Player

The Branch President's son, Sam
Future missionary (Check out the name tag)

Sam and me!

Monday, February 17, 2014

In the right place, at the right time, at the right moment

Bonjour tout le monde!  I hope you all had a great week and a great Valentines day. I found out today is President's Day...hope it's a good one.  We've had a great week here and some cool moments that I want to share!

This week we had a zone conference on using strategy in our work as missionaries.  President Poznanski talked about being more efficient, using members more, and always realizing that people will be put in your path when you have a plan (strategy).  We need to always be on the lookout for opportunities to share the gospel.  This week we were able to see three perfect examples of that in our work.  Tuesday night we were calling people after lunch to fix rendez-vous.  We called a person named Jo who hasn't answered for a few weeks but he answered and we set up a rendez-vous for 5 o-clock.  5 o'clock came around and we were at the spot to meet him.  We waited and called but no response.  We waited some more.  As we were waiting someone came up from behind who had gotten off the bus and it was Wilfred.  Wilfred is someone we've been teaching but lost contact with and haven't been able to see him in a couple of weeks.  He needed to stop at the market and grab a few things and there we were!  We were able to get his new phone number and set a rendez-vous for later this week and he came to church on Sunday and really enjoyed it.

We had interviews during Zone Conference and at the end I asked President Poznanski if there was anything we could do for him and his wife.  He asked, "Do you want a challenge?" I said, "Yes" and he said, "Go find a family tonight."  He showed me that he had given the challenge to another companionship the week before and they text him later that night that it happened.  He said he would be waiting for out text but to remember it was just for fun.  So, we had DMB and then had an hour left of the night to go porting and find our family. It was Valentines and lots of people were in town at restaurants but we were determined.  At 8:50 we went to cross the street and saw a man that we decided to contact.  We ended up teaching Patrick for 30 minutes and he has a sister and a mother here and said they would love to hear more.  So we fixed a rendez-vous with him for later in the week.  We sent a text to President when we got home that we had found a family, a little different than expected, but it still happened.  Always be aware of situations around you and watch for opportunities.  The Lord is giving them to you and needs you to share the Gospel.  If we aren't watching for them they will go by unnoticed.

Later, we had a rendez vous set up with a young man but when we arrived he wasn't home.  We decided we were there for a reason so we started to port the neighborhood.  We had knocked on most of the doors and only had 20 minutes left so we continued and 2 of the last 3 doors were interested.  We taught one family and fixed a rendoz-vous with the other.  We have been so blessed here and I know that even when things don't go as planned if we will persevere we will see that we are there for a reason.

We celebrated with Ezechias his 50th birthday by cooking dinner for him at the church.  We had some alfredo and a birthday cake and it was great.  He's so awesome and loves the church and the gospel so much.  After we ate he stayed for institute.  He goes to it every week and he's even started a choir in the branch to perform for Easter.  Romain is doing great and this week was able to go with the single adults to Versaille for the Valentine's Ball.  Yesterday he said it was great!

Here are some highlights of the week"
...Tried to make lemon chicken and added too much lemon juice.  Wow...way acidic.
...Tried a delicious new pastry called strawberry cream swirl.
...Had great lessons with Leonilde, Wilfred and Eunice!
...Prayed to get into Romain's and 3 minutes later someone came and opened the door.  We were able to get in and talk with him.  Power of prayer at work!
Ezechais 50th birthday party...
We cooked dinner for him!

Caen Zone Conference

Teaching in the ghetto...
I promise it's safe!

Every week out here is different and there is definitely something new to learn and improve on out here every day.  I'm so grateful for all of you and all you do for me.  I love you all so much and am grateful to have the family and friends that I do.  Have a great week and I'll check in again next Monday.

Love...Elder Player

Monday, February 10, 2014

Le Gospel is Here!

Bonjour tout le monde!  I hope you have had a great week and yes, it's been another great week here in Rouen!  Our amis are doing great and we continue to find some great new amis that we can hardly wait to teach this week!  But of course we had some interesting experiences too that I'll share!  Here we go...

-Leonilde...Last week I told about the awesome lesson that we had with Leonilde.  We asked her to be baptized and it was silent as she re-read Moroni over and over again.  Then our member told her she didn't have to decide that day.  This week as we taught her, Elder Wallace and I (we were on exchanges) with Frere Bitanga, we read verses from the Book of Mormon and talked about baptism again.  She had so many questions and the spirit was so strong.  We invited her to be baptized and again it was the same situation.  Silence!  So we gave her a challenge to read Mosiah 18 and went back on Friday with Tarolin.  We finished the Gospel of Jesus Christ and then read the verse from Mosiah 18.  It says:
 10 Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?
We than asked her again about baptism and she accepted and said, "I want to be baptized!"  I can't wait to see how she progresses in the coming weeks!

-Le Gospel...We received a phone call from Frere Bitanga asking us to come to the pre-funeral service for the husband of Eunice.  (Her husband, a member, was killed in a car accident recently.)  We said yes and arrived at 5:00.  We sat down and then they asked us to move to the front and the program began.  It consisted of prayers, scripture readings, singing and was a unique experience that I will never forget.  The songs and prayers were done in shouting and crying, full of emotion.  Frere Bitanga leaned over and asked if we had ever been to an African worship service.  When we said no he said, "It's a good experience, right?" There were about 125 people and we were the only two white ones there.  I'm sure they were thinking, "What are these white people doing here?"  It was great!

-Food...This week Elder Johnson had his first two mangez-vous!  Without a doubt, they were great!  We had steaks, frites, crab salad, homemade madelines and of course, cheese.  Elder Johnson is a bit of a picky eater and as I looked over throughout the meals he looked a little overwhelmed.  When we left he said he was "so full" so I think it was a success!

-Had an awesome exchange with Elder Wallace from Southern California and we met some awesome people.  Two of them have met with missionaries before and one went to church when she lived in Holland and loved it.  She was excited to know that the church was in Rouen too!

-Had Domino's pizza and it was delicious!

-Ezechias passed the sacrament again yesterday and we have a zone conference and interviews this Friday, Sweet!

That's a little run down of our week.  The work is going awesome and I'm loving being with Elder Johnson. Training is an awesome experience and I'm learning lots.  I hope you all have a great week and know that I love and miss you all!

Love...Elder Player
Eating tacos last night at our apartment!

Sunday School with Ezechias!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Coincidence?...Probably Not!

L to R...Elder Johnson, Me, Elder Brockbank and his "bleu"
that looks like Justin Bieber!  I served with Elder Brockbank in Strombeek!
Bonjour a tous!  I hope you all have had a great week, even with the Broncos losing!  Mince!  It's been a great week here with a trip to Versailles for the Elder Kearon conference and to finding lots of amazing new amis!  We are being so blessed here in Rouen.  I want to share a couple of things to highlight our week.

At the beginning of this week we started with a lot of finding.  The days filled up with lessons and so we were extra busy at the end of the week.  Friday we started the day with a great lesson with a new amis named Adam.  Later in the day we had a rendez-vous in a little ville, Elbeuf, about 40 minutes by car.  We called Tarolin and asked him to come teach with us.  He picked us up and we were on our way.  When we arrived we started the lesson with prayer.  The baby, Lola, who is 4 months old started crying so Tarolin took the baby and rocked her as we continued to teach the lesson.  By the time we got to Joseph Smith and the first vision, the baby was asleep and her mother, Leolinde, was able to listen attentively.  We read Moroni's promise to her and then asked if, when she knew these things were true, she would be baptized.  The spirit was so strong and we all just sat there as Leolinde continued to read Moroni's words over and over.  For nearly 10 minutes nothing was said.  Just as I was sure she was going to say something Tarolin told her that she didn't have to decide today.  One more minute and I'm sue she would have said, "Yes".  We asked what she'd felt during the lesson and she said, "Words can not describe it!"  We explained that was the spirit testifying of its truthfulness!  I can't wait to go back Tuesday night with Frere Bitanga!  On the way home Tarolin asked if we could stop by a member's home.  The member was killed in a car accident last week and he wanted to check on the wife, who is not a member.  We arrived at the building but didn't have the exact apartment number.  Tarolin sent a text and as we waited for a response we went and saw another friend of Tarolins that lived close by.  We were able to give a spiritual thought and as we got ready to leave Tarolin received a text with the apartment number.  We hit the button to get into the building but no one responded. Just then somebody came out of the building so we went in and decided to try her door.  We knocked but no one was home.  We were getting ready to leave when we heard somebody on the floor above us. Tarolin ran up to see if he knew them. It was a friend of the family who was staying with them and he invited us in. We were able to teach Eunice, the member's wife, along with 3 of her friends.  Each of them had over 4 children.  We started reading from the Bible and then switched to the Book of Mormon.  They were like, "What is this book?" and then they were sitting on the edge of their chairs.  It was awesome!  Yesterday the Branch President went and taught them again and later in the day we went and taught her and her friends again.  They accepted soft baptismal invites and said they could feel the spirit and that it had to be the word of God!  It's so amazing...we get an address, no one's home, someone opens the door and we go in and then a friend of the wife was in the hall when we discover we were on the wrong floor!  Nothing happens by chance and we can hardly wait to teach them again this week!

Thursday we were off to Versailles for the Elder Kearon Conference and it was amazing.  We heard from President and Soeur Poznanski in English and then Elder Kearon.  It was an amazing day with lots of ways that we can "Rise to a new sense of commitment to assist our Father in Heaven in His Glorious work."
We have such an awesome mission president with his wife.  It was crazy to see half of the mission all together.  I can't even imagine how it would be to have everyone there.  I got to see Elder Davis, Elder Eldredge and Elder Cramer.  We got a 4 generation picture with Elder Johnson, (my son) Elder Davis, (my dad) and Elder Adams (my grandpa)  It is rare to have that many generations still all out on missions. (Mission terminology....pretty bizarre, right?)

Here are a few highlights from the rest of the week:
-Ezechais and Romain are doing great and Ezechias blessed the sacrament yesterday!
-One of the less actives we are working with, Thierry, came to church again and called Saturday night to say he was quitting nicotine and cafe!  SWEET!
-Got directions from 3 Chinese people and as they were showing us the way I asked it they were all from the same family.  Pretty dumb of me but they laughed and said that was the best joke they had heard all day!
-Dropped the phone in a puddle but it survived...thank our lucky stars!

That sums up part of the week.  Thanks for all your love and support.  Have a great week and remember I love you all so much.

Elder Player
Father and Son reunited!
Elder Davis, my trainer, and me!

Four Generations...L-R
Elder Adams (Grandpa) Elder Davis (Dad)
Me and Elder Johnson (My Son)