Monday, April 21, 2014

Bonjour from Paris

I hope you all had a Happy Easter yesterday.  This was definitely a different Easter than previous ones but it was great and I'm so happy to be here in Nogent!  We've had a great 5 days together and cannot wait to see the amazing things that will happen here.  Here's a little bit about our week:

Last Monday and Tuesday were full of talking to members and having FHE's which were great!  It was a busy few days and a great way to finish in Rouen.  I've come to love these people so much and it was hard to say goodbye but I know change is good!  Tuesday night was full of packing and Elder Johnson acquired a lot of things that wouldn't fit in my bags.  Ready for the weight of my two BIG bags and a duffel I bought...166 lbs. Yes, absolutely crazy and my goal is to never have that much to carry around again! Luckily, Elder Johnson didn't have luggage going to Paris and the three others Elders were there to help me bring it back to the apartment.  No wheels broke so it was a success!

Wednesday, after getting to the Gare, I got my Navigo (metro pass for Paris which equals freedom to go anywhere in Paris on P-days) and then I had to say goodbye to my "son", Elder Johnson.  That was really hard but I know that he's going to kill it in Rouen with his new companion and I'm so grateful I got to be his "dad" and companion.  Then, I met Elder Alexander, my new companion.  Elder Alexander is from Las Vegas, NV and is awesome!  He's a recent convert to the church and I'm so excited to be with him this transfer.  This will be his 4th transfer here in Nogent.  We live with Elder Utahia, from Tahiti, in his 6 transfer and Elder Whatcott, from Boston, who is in his 16 and final transfer.  The two Elders who live with us are actually the missionaries for Aulnay.  They travel 45 minutes to their area every day to do contacting.  Our apartment is awesome and right off the RER (metro).  It is next to Aushan and a mall and only 4 stops from downtown Paris (15 mins.)  It's huge with rooms for each companionship to study, a big bathroom, huge kitchen and a huge living room that is the area for sleeping with super nice beds!  So to say the least, I am happy!  After we ate something we went out and did some contacting and to see the church.  Our chapel is the 3rd oldest in France and is very nice.  Our ward has about 160 active members and a total of 533 members.  (We definitely have some re-activation to work on.)  That night we had a FHE with the Kusseling family.  I found out that Frere Kusseling is the CFO of BMW here and also stated the KFC Franchises in France! He's so awesome and his family is so nice and humble.  He's our and mission leader and I'm so excited to work with him and his family!

The next few days involved contacting, visiting amis, FHE's and lots of other things.  Here are just a few things I want to share...

Friday morning we went out contacting to a neighborhood called Vincennes.  As we came out of the metro, there in the background, was the Eiffel Tower.  Pretty Crazy!  At the end of a few hours we took the metro back and took the wrong exit.  As we walked towards the RER we were stopped by Mararelia.  She asked, "Are you the Elders?"  We said yes and she asked where the church was because she wants to come but couldn't find it.  We asked if she was a baptized member and she said, "No, but I want to be baptized as fast as possible!"  We were in shock and so excited.  We took down her information and told her we would have the sisters call her and come see her.  As we left she asked if we needed anything because in Brazil (She's from Rio) they always help out the missionaries and if we ever needed ANYTHING to call her!  On Sunday we got a call from the Soeurs, one who was Soeur Castillo, telling us that she had come to church and later in the day they had a FHE with her and she wanted to be baptized.  So amazing!  We take a wrong exit, meet Mararelia and she wants to be baptized.  God knows us and our personalities and people are prepared and put in our path.  So cool and a testimony builder.

The rest of the week was like that...people were put in our path everyday and we are so grateful for the Lord and his outpouring of blessings on us.  Yesterday we were stopped by a man that asked if we believed in God and why wasn't God helping him.  He wants to talk more to us.  Saturday morning we were contacting a lady who had been fasting for 3 days to prepare for Easter.  As we started talking about the Restoration she asked if we believed in prophets.  When we said yes she said, "I know this is true!"  Her husband is American and lives in New Jersey.  As we had a prayer with her on the street the clouds opened up and the sun came out as we said "Amen".  She said, "That's God saying that he agrees with what we have talked about!"  I'm stoked to teach her Tuesday.  We've made contact with amis that haven't been seen in 2+ years who are interested to learn and talk about the gospel.  I really can't explain how blessed we have been in the last few days!

I'm so excited to be here and work and learn from all the people in Nogent.  I know there are people who are ready to receive the gospel and it's our goal to find and help them.  It's going to be great to live with these three Elders plus have amazing P-days in Paris!  Today we are going to the  Arc de Triomphe and the Champs Elysees!  Thanks for all the emails, love and support.  Have a great week and know that I pray for you all!

Love...Elder Player

Funny/Awkward moment for the week...Yesterday before I was going to give my introduction to the ward I was asked to give a long testimony about Easter because a talk fell through.  Everything went great (pretty good French) but at the end I said, "In the name of thy son, Jesus Christ, Amen."  I guess that goes to show that we pray a lot...Haha!
Leaving Rouen with 166 lbs. of luggage!

Frere Auger saying goodbye at the Gare

Contacting with the Eiffel Tower
in the background!

View from our apartment

Meet Elder Alexander

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