|Elder Ursua and Elder Olsen|
|A foggy day in France!|
It was the first of its kind for our mission. To have all 280 missionaries there in the same place at the same time was amazing. Through hours of organization we all made our trains, treks through the metros in Paris and then on to another train to Versailles. A quick walk to the chapel and we were there...by 9:30 in the morning! At 9:45 Elder Cook and his wife and Elder Teixeira and his wife along with President and Soeur Babin walked into the chapel and we were able to shake their hands and be greeted by them. Yes, all of us! For the next 2 hours we got to have an amazing conference with them. Right from the beginning, with all of us singing, we filled the chapel and invited the spirit to be there. After the Babin's and Teixeira's spoke Elder Cook told us that he was not going to give the message he had prepared but share something more personal with us and it was just what we needed to hear. He talked about people and their free agency and how our faith effects our results dramatically. He talked about how we were called here to this specific mission and how calls are based on three things. The first if for the people, secondly to prepare you for future callings or events in your life and third to be with a specific mission president and his wife because they have a large role in the missionary's development. Elder Cook closed talking about the four most important relations for us on our missions:
1. You and Your Companion - we have to love our companion in order to have unity and invite the spirit when we teach.
2. You and the People You Teach - we have to love the people and see them as they can become in order to help them come unto Christ.
3. You and Your Relationship with the mission President and his wife - being close to them will have a lasting impact on the rest of our lives.
4. You and your relationship with the Lord - we must grow close to the Lord and rely on him through faith and become converted ourselves in order to convert others to His gospel.
It was such a great conference and after he finished he left us with a special blessing on us all and on the mission. The spirit was so strong and it was clear that he is an Apostle of the Lord!
*Porting last night in a new little village and finding two new families who are interested to hear more about the gospel.
*Going to meet the man who stopped us last week, while walking to his car, and asked us to come by his business and see him. When we went by he told us he used to be taught by the Elders and wanted to continue to learn more.
*Having an awesome FHE with members and less active members.
*Elder Grams 20th birthday. We went to a great restaurant with the other elders and had a great meal.
*Two ladies, Nadia and Jessica, yelled at us when we went to see Jean Jacques. Things like, "How many wives do you have?" "Go back where you came from!" "No one wants Jesus here!" We had an awesome lesson with Jean Jacques and as we were leaving the two women were there again and started to yell at us.
We said, "Have a good day!" And then they yelled, "You speak French?" They invited us over and asked if we were Mormon? We responded, "Yes" and asked if they were believing. One said no and the other said a little bit. In the conversation she mentioned her mother, who had passed away, was believing. This led to a discussion about life after death and the Plan of Salvation and that they could know it was true by prayer. The spirit was so strong and we could see how the spirit touched them and all of a sudden they were kind and opened up about their pasts and the difficult lives they had but just wanted a "normal" life for their children. At the end we asked if we could pray for them and show them how they could pray to know if these things were true and they accepted. After the prayer they said, "Thank you!" It was amazing how two people that had been yelling at us and denying any belief in God or Christ had changed and were now apologizing for what they had said and they wanted to meet again. I know that the spirit can change hearts and it gave us a chance to see people not as they were but who they could become. For this I was grateful!
Tomorrow we are off to St. Die-Des Vosges for two days to do exchanges and then back for a French Mormon Thanksgiving missionary style! We are having a district meeting with a huge feast as a zone and then we are going to eat with a ward family - the L'Homel's! I am so lucky to be here with such great people. I hope you all have a great week and eat tons of food followed by BLACK Friday shopping! I love you all and am so grateful for all that you do for me. Till next week...
|Elder Gram's 20th birthday!|
|The birthday meal!|
|Panna Cotta Dessert!|