Monday, December 22, 2014

There is much which lieth in futurity! Et Joyeux Noel

Our 2014 Christmas Card
Don't you love the mustaches?
Bonjour tout le monde!  Wow!  Christmas is coming in just a few days!  We are all pretty excited on this end and have had another great week with success and seeing people's hearts opened to hear a message about Christ during this time of year that we celebrate his birth!

This past week was so crazy and busy with exchanges, a conference and lots of train rides.  We made the most of the time we had and had an awesome week.  Monday night we were able to go and give one of the less active members, that the Soeurs are teaching, a blessing and then had an awesome FHE with Guillaume with Pizza Hut for dinner.  (When I first came to France I was surprised they had Pizza Huts but it's delicious!)

On Tuesday the real craziness began.  We took our first train to Paris to stay in St. Ouen for the night since we had to be to the Versailles chapel by 8:45 in the morning.  We made it to Paris and then the Elders met us to take us home to their apartment.  We had 30 minutes to do a mini exchange with them.  I went with Elder Brockbank, who I've done exchanges with in Paris, and we were able to meet some really cool people and sing Christmas songs for them on the street.  It's amazing what we can do in a short time. The Elders here live next to the Stade de France, where Paris St. Germain plays their games and where "Taken" was filmed.  (It was pretty cool or scary depending on how you look at it.)  Thankfully, we made it out alive! Haha

On Wednesday we had our mission Christmas Conference with half of one day and half of the next.  It was awesome and we were able to have President and Sister Teixeira  there.  He's the Area President and they gave us some training about how we can continue to have more success.  My favorite part was when Elder Teixeira shared his experience about how the missionaries met his family.  It was an uncle, not even his immediate family.  It started with an Elder following the prompting to leave a huge apartment building and knock on a door where they could see a light on in a tiny 3 story building.  That's how they met his uncle and eventually they were baptized.  His uncle introduced his parents to the missionaries and then, because of that one prompting, there were over 40 people baptized.  I think that missionary could never have imagined that it would lead to a general authority, several mission presidents, stake presidents and many other leaders and active members today!  His message was to have faith to follow the promptings and the faith to see what it can bring.  It reminded me of a scripture that I studied that is in D&C 123:15-17
"Let no man count them as small things; for there is much which lieth in futurity, pertaining to the saints, which depends upon these things.  You know, brethren, that a very large ship is benefited very much by a very small helm in the time of a storm, by being kept work ways with the wind and the waves.  Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed."

I love this scripture, especially the part I underlined.  In missionary work, in trials, or whatever it may be we can know of God and that he has a plan for us.  Everything has a purpose, and though our actions may seem but small now or that nothing good can come from a trial, with his plan there is always some great purpose. He will continue to reveal it to us and one day we will see Him and have Salvation.  I'm so grateful for the Plan of Salvation and for the principle of an eternal perspective.  This week we asked a sister what she was doing for Christmas - would she be with her family etc.  She responded that it wouldn't be a normal Christmas this year.  Her sister and her had been in a car accident earlier in the week.  Someone had plowed into the back of their car while they were stopped.  Her sister was in the hospital paralyzed from the neck down and she was devastated, to say the least, but she knew that it would all be alright because of the Lord and his plan.  For me it was an amazing example of faith.  And like the scripture says, "do all things cheerfully", even though it wasn't a cheerful situation at all, she chose to acknowledge that one day her sister would be better and things would work out in the end.  I'm grateful for examples like this that teach me so much and how the gospel can helps us in all situations.

After conference we were able to go have an exchange in St. Die.  I was with Elder Fults and we had an awesome exchange.  St. Die is a small ville and so we were able to contact almost everyone we saw.  That is a great feeling at the end of the day.  We had a car, I can count on one hand the times I've been in a mission car, so it was cool because we were able to go to a couple of villages and go contacting.  At the end with 5 minutes left before we had a rendez-vous we said a prayer that we could find one more person to teach. Sure enough the next man, Moses, was the one that we were able to teach and have a prayer with.  It was another testimony of how our prayers are answered by the Lord!

I hope you all know how much I love you and how grateful I am for all of you!  When we ask what Christmas is to most people we hear that it is a time for the family to be together and that's why they think it is the best time of the year.  Even if I can't be with you I am there in spirit and I'm so happy to be where I am, sharing the best Christmas gift of all...Christ and his gospel!  I can't wait to talk to you on Thursday!

Till next week...
Love, Elder Player

Elder Utahia and me
I love this guy!

Souer North from the 1st ward
She just arrived!

Christmas in Nancy!

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