Monday, June 23, 2014

The Arc de Triomphe and President and Soeur Poznanski

8 of us in one apartment so we can
make it to Zone Conference on time!
Bonjour!  Tout le Monde!  I hope  you've had a great week and that you are enjoying the World Cup like everyone in France is!  Last night we were trying to go to sleep.  There was a game on with Algeria and for about 2 hours the bar and restaurants outside our apartment were going crazy.  Lots of yelling and cars honking!  I think they must have won.  From what we've heard France and the USA are doing great so everyone is happy!  In addition to the crazy, soccer loving, Europeans with their excitement for the two wins this week it has been a great week for us!  We were able to continue to meet some awesome new people and say goodbye to President and Soeur Poznanski at a zone conference that was awesome!

First let me share a few cool experiences we had at the first of the week.  I had an exchange with Elder Powelson in Paris Lilas.  We had a great exchange running errands and we were able to teach a lesson on the street.  I was able to learn everything about raising cows and the meat they provide from Elder Powelson.  He is from a small city in Canada where they farm and breeds black Angus cows.  To say the least, it was fascinating.  Also, because of the zone conferences during the week elders were coming into Paris and staying the night so that they would be closer and make their zone conference on time.  Elder Johnson just happened to be staying in the Paris Lilas apartment that night so I got to talk and hear how he is doing.  It was super fun to see him and talk about our amis and converts.

As the week continued we received a referral from some other missionaries and we had an appointment with him on Wednesday night.  We made our way to the area and met Pelenda.  Pelenda had contact with the missionaries 15 years ago and was taught most of the gospel but was never baptized.  A few years later he moved and joined another Christian church congregation.  A few weeks ago he was able to go to church with a friend in Evry and they were able to get him in contact with the missionaries again.  We were able to teach the restoration and at the end we asked him if he would be baptized and he accepted and set a date in July.  That was an amazing example to me of seeing a seed planted and with time slowly grow and now it is ready to be harvested.  The Lord is preparing people and even the people we meet who aren't interested today might be interested later.  Planting seeds is awesome!

Pelenda came to church yesterday and loved all three hours.  We found out that his home isn't in our area so we are going to pass him to the missionaries in Anthony.  We are so excited for him and I'm sure he will be baptized.

During the week we had our Tahitian Night for the ward.  We have been planning it for weeks and it went great.  (Maybe not exactly as planned but it was a hit and Joe brought one of his friends, whose name is Perfect, and we were able to teach him.  He is interested to hear more.  Jackie, the Tahitian man, brought two of his friends who said we could come and visit them too.  Member missionary work is the best kind. During the "soiree" we learned how to sing a Tahitian song, saw films of the islands, had music and then a delicious, traditional Tahitian meal.  Sadly, I didn't get any pictures but I'll try to get some from ward members.

Last, but not least, we had an experience that I want to share from yesterday.  After church we decided to pass by some of our amis who said they would come to church but didn't.  (A surprise visit to say we missed you at church)  We headed out but got off on the wrong RER stop and had to wait for the bus to take us. We were kinda bummed because it was going to take 15 minutes for the bus to come.  But we waited patiently and got on the bus.  A few minutes into the bus ride a 50 year old French woman turned around and asked what religion we belonged too.  We told her and she said, "What religion?"  We asked her if she was familiar with the Mormons and she said, "Yes!  You're Mormon?"  We responded in the affirmative and asked if she'd like to hear more about what we believed.  She said yes and so we moved up and sat by her. She thought the "mormons" were Amish (due to all the false documentaries here) and so we explained no and taught her about the restoration.  As we got off the bus we continued to talk and asked if she would read the Book of Mormon.  She said yes and we gave her a copy and marked the introduction.  She asked if we'd write a small word in it to remember us and so we did.  We asked if we could talk more and she said yes.  We finished by praying and she asked if we could pray for her 18 year old son to pass his exams.  It was awesome and I can't wait to see her again this week.

On Friday we had to say goodbye to President and Soeur Poznanski.  We had a Zone Conference and we were able to sing for them, give them a mission wide gift, which was an Arc de Triomphe and take pictures. The Arc de Triomphe is symbolic for our mission.  When we arrived in the mission we were given a small Arc de Triomphe and a card with a quote from Napoleon that said, "You will not go home unless under an Arc de Triomphe.  As missionaries we all want to go home under the Arc de Triomphe and be able to look back at the victories we had and all that we were able to accomplish and learn.  An Elder had carved an Arc de Triomphe and each missionary sent a message of something we had learned from President and Soeur Poznanski.  All the messages, with our names, were placed all over the arc to show that they, the Poznanskis, were going home under the Arc de Triomphe.  It was so cool and we were able to hear their final testimonies and words of wisdom and advice for us.  They are the best and have given everything they have to this mission and we can feel and see the results.  I can't begin to express how much I've learned from them and how thankful I am to them.  The good news is that they are staying in France.  Who knows, maybe I'll serve in Anger and see them again sooner than I thought.  This Friday is when the official change takes place.  President and Soeur Babin arrive and President and Soeur Poznanski go home..  We are excited to meet our new President and Soeur Babin.

That's a summary of our week here in France.  The weeks continue to fly by and I can't believe this week is the end of June already.  Have a great week and know how much I miss you and love you.  Be safe...until next week!

Elder Player
The Sacre Coeur...Man it's big!

In front of the Sacre Coeur

Saying "Goodbye" to President and Soeur Poznanski!

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