Monday, October 27, 2014

Exchange Miracles

Bonjour tout le monde!  I hope you are having a great day as you read this.  Our week has been very busy and there is lots to share...

We had 3 exchanges where I got to work with 4 awesome missionaries!  The first one was with Elder Johnson who is serving in Versailles right now as an assistant.  We had an awesome exchange.  We saw a couple of our recent converts and one miracle we had was while trying to get into a building to visit a recent convert we couldn't get in because he wasn't responding to our call at the door to open the main door.  A person came up and let us go in with them and so we were able to go to his door and knock but nobody answered.  We waited about two minutes and his neighbor, who was leaving, said, "You're the Mormons aren't you?"  We said, "Yes, people often call us that!"  We asked how he knew us and he started talking about Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.  To say the least, we were pretty surprised. and then came the real doozy.  He brought up the miracle of the seagulls eating the grasshoppers and how that was so amazing.  He said he didn't have much time but when we asked if we could come back and talk with him he said he'd love that.  The Lord always seems to put us somewhere that he has already prepared someone even if it wasn't what we thought it would be!

The next exchange was with Elder Hansen who is serving in Epinal right now but we worked here in Nancy. That night we planned to go and contact a referral that we had received but the phone number wasn't valid. We decided to take the bus, an hour away, to a tiny village named Vic sur Seille.  When we thought it was about time to be at our stop we asked a man if this was the stop Rue de Metz.  He replied yes and so we got off but quickly saw signs that indicated it wasn't our stop.  We were about 10 minutes, by freeway, from Vic Sur Seille and the next bus was an hour and a half out.  We started to ask how we could walk to Vic Sur Seille and the first two people looked at us like we were crazy.  The third person we asked said he didn't know but he was going there and we could hitch a ride with him.  So we accepted a ride and made it there at about the same time as the bus.  We started looking for the referral with the address we had but sadly he didn't live in either place that matched our address.  We decided to do some porting while we waited for a member to give us a ride home.  (Buses don't run after 6 p.m. going to Nancy)  We ported for about 30 minutes and decided we had time for one more home.  We knocked on the door and an 11 year old boy came down and started talking to us.  We asked if his parents were home and he said, "My mom is in the restaurant/kebap shop in front.  Do you want to talk to her?"   Of course we said yes.  He then led us into the kebap shop and his mom was wearing a Muslim burka and was preparing food for a customer.  We waited and talked to her son.  We were able to talk to her and she was in shock that Americans had knocked on their door in this small ville.  We talked about prayer and it was an awesome short lesson.  We were able to pray with them all huddled around in the kebap shop.  It was a sight to see.  It was an awesome way to end the night and a great exchange.

The third exchange was with two Elders here in Nancy.  Elder Pumford and Elder Ursua.  Elder Gram was off to Paris for the day and night to take the ACT for his application to BYU.  It was weird being a trio but a good experience.  We had some awesome lessons, one which was with their ami who is very French and a practicing catholic named Pierre.  We were able to talk about coming to church and the D&C.  And guess what?  A miracle happened and he came to church yesterday.  They are excited to be teaching him again this week.

That finished up the exchanges but there was still one more miracle.  Willy, who we thought was single, is a father of 10 and his sister was also there.  We started with prayer and then his friend and a few of his children came over.  We were able to teach 9 adults the restoration and it went so well.  They all loved the message and said they'd pray to know about Joseph Smith and tomorrow we are going back to continue teaching them. We can't wait!

This coming week we have Zone Conference in Nancy and interviews with President and Soeur Babin and another exchange in St. Die.  Tonight we get to go to the L'Homels home for FHE and have a raclette. (They are so delicious)  Looking forward to another great week.  Have a Happy Halloween wherever you are and know that I love and miss you all.  Till next week...

Elder Player
This is our chapel.
We are carrying in potatoes for the meeting!

Vic Sur Seille with Elder Hansen

Cathedral St. Epvre in Nancy

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Temple Brings Blessings

This is a picture of what the temple in Paris, France will look like!

Bonjour tout le monde!  This week has flown by and it has been another great week!  Let me start with some of the highlights!

*Had a great exchange with Elder Garcia from Epinal and we went to Toul to do a baptismal interview for the Sisters ami.
*Went to Emmanual's baptism and his dad who has been inactive is working at coming back and was able to baptize him...The mom and two other children are now interested too!
*Visited our recent converts and they are continuing to grow, especially Marie-Line.  We had a great lesson with her and Frere Clavey by watching President Monson's, "I Will Not Fail Thee nor Forsake Thee!  What a great talk (If you haven't read it and need some encouragement be sure to look it up...October General Conference 2013)
*Spent a lot of time with members this week with teaching, service, ward council, Saturday Sports and a ward picnic yesterday.  They are all so great and I love them more every time I get to be with them!

Now let me share two cool experiences we had this week.  The first one was at night when we had a few rendez-vous set up but no one was home and no one answered their phone.  So we went porting and after a long night of "no" we were on our way home and met Nicholas!  Nicholas is about 30, French, and we asked him if he had any experience with prayer.  He told us yes and how it had changed his life and how the scriptures had helped him.  Now he was praying that he'd be able to quit smoking and we testified that we knew he could overcome smoking and he asked if we could see him again.  We are excited to see him this week when he gets back from Paris!

The second awesome experience was with Kantinzo and Fat.  They are the family we found last week when we helped carry up bunk beds to their apartment.  We were able to teach them and the lesson went great.  They had so many questions and we even talked about temples with them, which is rare on a first lesson.  It all seemed to click and they want to come to church and know more.  At the end they asked, "So if we become a mormon the goal would be for all of us to go to the temple and be sealed for all eternity, right?" "YES!" we responded and it was so awesome!  we can't wait to teach them this week!  Then this morning while studying I found this to go along with the blessings of temples. I found the scripture in D&C 109 that is the Dedicatory prayer at the Kirkland Temple that Joseph Smith gave.  It says, (22) And we ask thee, Holy Father, that thy servants may go forth from this house armed with thy power, and that thy name may be upon them, and thy glory be round about them, and thine angels have charge over them: (23) And from this place they may bear exceedingly great and glorious tidings, in truth, unto the ends of the earth, that they may know that this is thy work, and that thou hast put forth thy hand, to fulfill that which thou hast spoken by the mouths of the prophets, concerning the last days"

I love this promise and it is something that I know is true.  The Spirit bore testimony of it during our lesson with this great family.  The temple can bring a power, glory, and angels into our lives that no other place can.  The members here are so excited to have their first temple here in Paris in 2016.  They know it will bring blessings to them all.  I hope that we all take the opportunity to fully partake of the blessings that the Lord has in store for us by going to the temple regularly.  It will strengthen us and give us the power we all need in these last days.  How blessed we are in Utah to have 14 temples. many of which are just a short drive, or walk, from us.  Take the time and partake of the blessings and protection the Lord has promised.

Thanks for all you do for me and for all your prayers.  I hope your week is a good one...till next week!

Love you all...
Elder Player   

 Porting in Dimanche

                                                                      Downtown Toul

                                                    Cathedral right next to our apartment!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Late Night Miracles

Crazy Bridge!
Elder Puairau and me in Mulhouse!
Salut tout le monde!  I hope you have had great week!  It's been a super busy one here and we've had some amazing experiences I can't wait to tell you about!

This week was full of travel.  Tuesday we went to Metz to get new furniture for our apartment with the Gionet couple, Wednesday to Mulhouse for exchanges and St. Die too!  3 different villes and 3 different beds!  We did it all and made it back safe and sound to Nancy and got to sleep in our own beds! (Although, getting back was difficult with a cancelled train)  After we got back from the Metz we had a lesson with Francis and then as we got off the bus by our apartment it was 8:57.  So we had three minutes to talk to people.  The first man didn't have time but then we met Michel.  He asked us if we were the Mormons and when we said yes and asked him how he knew he shared with us that he knew a member and had come to church quite a few times twenty years ago.  He was even taught by the missionaries here in Nancy and had read a large portion of the Book of Mormon!  He had moved to Paris and lost contact but said he would like to meet with the missionaries again and come to church.  We were able to take his information to give to the missionaries in Paris.

Luckily our apartment is right next to the gare so we can leave 10 minutes before it leaves. It is a nice walk, get on the train and take off.  (I don't think flying will ever make sense to me with the "two hours in advance" policy again!)  Wednesday morning we were leaving the apartment for the 10 minute nice walk that changed to a fast paced sprint when our elevator didn't open up in our building till 8:11 and the train leaves at 8:15 and we still needed to print tickets.  As the elevator doors opened we ran, with our bags, as fast as we could to the ticket machines.  Of course, one of the two machines was being used so Elder Gram started to print his ticket and finally at 8:14 it was ready.  Luckily we were right next to the platform for the train so he ran ahead and said he would hold the doors.  I rushed to print my ticket and it seemed to take forever to print and the train whistle was blowing for the train to leave and the doors to close.  Could the machine go any slower?  Finally, with ticket in hand I grabbed my bag and bolted for the last door that Elder Gram was holding open.  The agent seemed less than happy but we made it and the other guy, who was running late, was glad the door was still open too! Thankfully, Elder Gram wasn't fined for holding the door open!

In Mulhouse we had awesome exchanges.  Elder Gram was with Elder Smith, who just got here last week, and I was with Elder Puairau who is from Tahiti.  We were able to teach their ami, Antonio, and had a great lesson and also see the Hoxja family who were baptized a few weeks ago.  What an awesome, strong family in the church!  We finished the night by contacting and we were able to meet Magali.  She is super cool and super interested.  We testified how the family can be together long after this life and she was excited to learn more and have us pray with her.  I can't wait to have the sisters teach her more.  After our exchanges we boarded our train to head home.  It was a TGV train to Frankfurt and Elder Gram lives in Frankfurt so if we had stayed on he would have been home for dinner two hours later.  But of course, we got off the train in Nancy and made our way home!

Saturday night, right after two rendez-vous with two recent converts, we had 30 minutes left and decided to contact.  We saw a little street and as we went around a corner we saw two men trying to life a heavy box of bunk beds.  It was a perfect service opportunity!  We ran up and asked if we could help them.  They accepted and we helped carry the boxes up the stairs and into an apartment where they invited us in and gave us a drink.  We found out that they had also been taught by missionaries years ago and one of them had a wife and three children.  We were able to talk to them and sing for them.  By the end they were taking pictures with us and we have a rendez-vous with both Willy and the family of 5 this week.  We can't wait!

The Lord has been so good to us and I've learned so much.  If you keep going and going there is always a blessing, miracle, or person waiting at 8:57!

*In St. Die I got to go to a mangez-vous (meal) with Elder Miller!  When we got back to the apartment it was pouring rain and we realized the other Elders had the keys.  We called to see how close they were and they informed us they had a flat tire and would be a while!
*Did some porting in a cool area with a cool bridge (See Picture)
*Had fun doing service with one of the members and seeing Elder Ursua and Elder Pumford dressed up in, what looked like, Hazmat suits.  Sadly, I didn't get a picture of that!

The work is going great here and we are continually blessed by the Lord.  I hope you all have a great week and know how much I love, miss you and am grateful for all you do.  Till next week...

Elder Player
New furniture in our apartment!

Car ride home with new furniture!

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Gospel Can Change People

Bonjour Tout le monde!  I hope you have all had a great weekend especially with the awesome conference that we were able to watch this weekend.  Conference weekends are like Christmas for the missionaries.
So, we are all super happy right now!  We have had an awesome week with some miracles that I would like to share...

Tuesday we had the best lesson ever with Marie-line.  It was filled with the spirit and at the end you could see that a lot of the stress she has had was gone and she was being comforted.  It was so awesome!  We also had a rendez-vous with Francis, a recent convert, and when we arrived his friend, Oliver, was there and he decided to stay for the first time.  We changed our plans and explained why we were there, sang for him and watched a Mormon Message that gives a brief summary of the Book of Mormon.  If you haven't seen it I'd recommend it. (Here's the link -
v=1256696369001)  After we watched the video he was super open and said he would like to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it.  We were so happy and we know the Lord softened his heart.  Later in the week we went and saw him again and he had read in Alma 40, which he said had answered a lot of his questions.  He wants to keep learning more and so we taught about the restoration and Joseph Smith.  He loved it and said if he continues to know these things are true he'd be baptized.  What a miracle!  Peoples hearts can change so never give up or stop having hope if they don't accept it the first time!

Thursday we had a fun lesson with a recent convert, his brother and family (who are members) and made "faith" plants.  After that we went porting for an hour and a half.  The first man said no, through a window, and we moved on.  The next door we knocked on was a woman, Caroline.  She came out and started to talk to us in English, French and German, for Elder Gram.  We talked for some time and then her husband came out.  We were sure he would tell us that they weren't interested but instead he joined the conversation. They invited us in for a drink and dessert and expressed interest to know what we believed.  They are such a cool family.  By the end the spirit was there and they could feel something.  They took the family proclamation and Caroline said she would try to come to church.  We are praying that they will come to church or call us soon!

Highlights from the week:
*Had an awesome lesson with the Pierrel family and for the first time the mom, Michele, listened in.  She said that the gospel has changed her children and husband's lives since the missionaries have been coming and that the change was for the better.
*Contacted a cool man and his daughter, Riad, who were very open and we were able to teach them on the spot and get his number and address to go see them this week!
*Marie's baptism was validated by the bishop and counselors and so she and Jean Claude, her husband, will receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost next week!
*Went to Paris to hear President and Soeur Babin speak - they are awesome leaders and I'm grateful for them.
*Got to watch 4 out of 5 conference sessions and had 12 elders in our apartment Saturday night so they could watch conference on the weekend.
*Had an awesome FHE with the L'homel family and ate with the Carmona's later in the week.

It's been a good week.  I hope you have a good week and know how much I love and miss you all.  Thanks for all your support.  Till next week...

Elder Player

Soeur Mangum and her companion
Her brother lives by my sister, Lisa

12 Elder at our apartment on Saturday night
so we could watch conference on Sunday