Monday, September 28, 2015

The Real Meaning of P-Days


Just an update on how fast missions go, this is the beginning of my 5th week of the transfer, and Ive almost been in france for a month! Wowow... it seriously is flying by. This week though was a lot of tomb√©-vous (which are when amis cancel on us) and contacting, and some dinner appointments, which I love always! So this email might be boring and short but I'll try to spice things up for tout le monde! 

We have a less active who we visit sometimes named Pni (penny) and he is Tongan and plays for a rugby team here. He is awesome and always up to give us food. He has a nonmember friend named Genesis who is also huge and also plays rugby, and weve become pretty good friends with them. We teach Genesis with Pni and its always with food, but I love teaching them because 1) they speak english, 2) they are like best friends and because theyre islanders they are so fun to be around! Its awesome to see how they are best friends and Pni wants Genesis to see how much the gospel can bless him and his family and to share the gospel with him! He's a great example of member missionary work! 

On Thursday, we had a zone conference and our guest speaker was a member of the area 70, named Elder Adler. I was asked to give the opening pray and of course to give it in French. Saying prayers isn't normally a problem for me because I've said a bajillion prayers in my life and like a ton in French, but this was in front of a general authority, and 80 other missionaries, so I was praying all week that I would be able to say a good prayer, and I'm sure that Heavenly Father was like "this is ironic". But the time came and I got up to say the prayer and was blessed to give a pretty good prayer, but I'm convinced that the Spirit just gave me all the right things to say. Then we had an amazing conference! We were taught about, well, so many things, there wasnt really an overall theme but we learned more about obedience, we learned how better to follow the influence of the Spirit and about the atonement, temples and how to improve in companionships. Wow, haha it was crazy! Elder Adler promised us that if we would give a powerful testimony of Christ every day in French for 30 days, by the end of the 30 days, we can bear a testimony that we never thought we'd be able to in French or English, so I'm working on that.

You would all be proud of me because this past week I played football american twice and I caught every ball that was passed to me! (air high five) Today for P-day we had a zone P-day and played a lot of sports, ate some lunch and played more sports. I was drinking a lot of water, and I really had to pee, but there werent any bathrooms at the park, so I was trying to hold it and it was very much inhibiting my ability to move at all. So I had my zone leader be a look out while I went discreetly behind a tree. When I finished, an elder called over to me and was like "were you peeing, Elder Hall?" and then I just died because the whole zone knew and so I covered my face in shame and embarrassment and everyone was just rolling on the ground laughing. Thats what I call a P-day... I'm sorry haha 

Anyway, I have hope and faith that this week is going to be amazing and we will see a ton of miracles! I love you all, and because I am working on my testimony this week, I am allez-vous-ing you all to work on your testimonies a little bit this week! See if you can share your personal witnesses of Christ with someone every day! I promise it will be a blessing to you! 

I love you all! I cant wait for General Conference! Listen hard! :) 

With a load of love,

Elder Hall

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Chill and the Crazy

Bonjour to you all! Here it's bonsoir because it's like 6 pm haha but it's been such an amazing week! One of the best ones of my mission, perhaps one of the hardest ones, but I've seen more miracles than I can count! I just love Heavenly Father so much! So let's get started cause I don't have a lot of time today! On Tuesday we saw our miracle ami Aaron, (the one who just opened his door for us) and we taught him the r√©tablissement (or restoration) and while we were teaching his eyes filled with tears and when we asked him to pray and ask Heavenly Father if our message was true he said... Get ready for this... "I know it's true. I feel something right now and you guys wouldn't be sacrificing 2 years of your lives if this wasn't true. I know it is." AHHHHH!!!! We are seeing him again tonight and committing him to baptism! I always love teaching him because I walk away so happy and it is confirmed to me once again that this message IS TRUE! 

We passed 6 amis to other equipes this week so our ami and teaching pool dwindled quite rapidly haha but the Amis we still have are the shiz and I love them and their faithfulness!

I got the opportunity this week to go on an exchange with my district leader to a little ville called Clermont-Ferrond. It was so beautiful and so green compared to the city. I never get to leave the city a ton because we have so much to do here so it was great to have a change of scenery. I said that this week was hard because all throughout this week I've been missing my family and then I could feel satan working on me because I kept thinking about my weaknesses and faults and about how I could be such a better missionary but I'm not. So this was all happening on this exchange and then the miracles all started pouring in! We found a guy and taught him the first lesson just in the street, and then Elder Ottesen (my district leader), while we were doing studies found this paper with a name and number on it, so we called and it was a lady who wanted us to come over 2 hours later. So we show up and she opens the door and it smells like smoke, she's drinking and she has cut marks up and down her arms. We went in (there was a man in another room) and this woman was just broken. As we started teaching her, she couldn't get enough. We were going through the pamphlet and it was like reading a book to a little kid, she was so into it! When the priesthood got taken off the earth she was like "oh no! What will happen to the church?!" It was awesome! She wants to change so bad, she told us. I felt the love that Christ has for her, and I saw the power of the atonement work in just that small amount of time! It completely changed my attitude and made me so much happier! 

We went to an old roman theater and it was so cool!
Something funny that happened was on the exchange as well. We went to visit this guy who called Elder Ottesen and he invited us in and he was legit crazy. Crazy Adrian is his name haha so he started talking to us and told us that he wanted to buy this big orange family book that the Mormons sell and we told him about family history but he really wanted this orange book. Then he kept saying that he wanted to be baptized by Pastor Jean and we tried teaching him about priesthood but he was super attached to this idea of pastor Jean so we told him we couldn't help him there and he was making up words and you all know how much I love made up words! I was trying so hard to contain my laughter! I actually LOL-ed once haha so that was crazy

Ive had more food and its amazing! The weather is a lot like Utah here haha (this is the end of this random little paragraph)

This week I really came to the realization that is really cool and helped me a ton: I realized that God has as much faith in me as I do in Him (and probably more). He wants us all to succeed so much! We each have so much potential and He sees it, we just need to see it as well! Think about it, we are all Children of God, we have the greatest source of help of all! As we keep doing what is right, keeping the commandments, and serving others, we will see more and more our divine potential! So I allez-vous you all to go to the temple this week, and if you cant do that, look in the mirror and think about how God sees you, because I promise its magnificent! 

I love my Lord, I love this work, and I love all of you! 

Jusqu'a la prochain! Je vous aime! 

Elder Hall

Monday, September 14, 2015

Feeding Myself and Others

Bonjour tout le monde! Pleasantries from France :) Its still nice over here, although its pouring rain right now and has been for a couple days, but I like rain so ca va. I heard everything at home is going great and that the Area Conference from Elder Ballard was tres bien! It was 9/11 this week so Im sure that everyone over there was being patriotic but it was weird here because it was just another day, but we remembered before we went to bed and said the pledge of allegiance. Let me just start this off with my second week noticings of France. 

First of all, whoever told me that there are no kids in France was sorely mistaken! There are obviously not as many here as there are in murica but there are always ladies pushing their kids in strollers and the little parks have kids in them usually and also there are always children running around the church and I usually dont even know where they came from haha And then there were dogs. So many dogs. They just do their business on the sidewalks and keep on going! People will bring them on the buses and stuff and they are all so small and shaky and pathetic looking haha But I like them because I love dogs so its fun to see both children and pooches. Sometimes when were walking down the streets I will just realize that Im in France and get super happy haha I really do love it here! 

Our ward is amazing! We had 3 mange-vous this week, which are just dinners and a lesson, but the food is great! We got tacos one night, a french cheesy potato thing another, and at an African couples house they gave us fried bananas, plantaines (which I accidentally called placentas), these awesome sauces, chicken, and plums and we ate it with our hands. The sister just kept piling a ton onto my plate and I ate it all. It went right through me haha But it was delicious! The members help us so much in our work as well! They will come visit amis with us and fellowship them at church. Its exactly how member missionary work should be. 

me eating a millefeuille (good luck pronouncing that)
I had my first patisserie this week and mmmmm it was delicious! Ill send a pic of me with it haha And then on the opposite end of the spectrum, our zone is doing a pushup contest for a week and it started on Friday, and since then Ive done 650 pushups. I hurt yesterday. I couldnt move my arms haha but I am way strong now so its all good! ;)

K, lets talk missionary work! So last monday, just a couple hours after I emailed you, an amazing experience happened! We were texted out of the blue to meet with one of our amis, Hana, and she said her mom was coming too. So we met with them, taught them the Restoration, and the Spirit was super strong. Then right before we were going to end, the mom, Sonya, said "I want to come closer to Christ. Can I be baptized?" :O It was so cool! We set a baptismal date for the 3 of October, and then this week she moved into another sector so some other missionaries in our zone are teaching her. Weve handed off 3 of our amis this week to other equips (companionships) but its ok because as long as they are coming closer to Christ it doesnt matter who teaches them!

I set a mission long goal to "feed 5000" like Christ did, but do it by having conversations with random people, plant a seed of faith and trust, and give them spiritual nourishment or just a little love. Its helping me go outside of my comfort zone way more and I know Heavenly Father is putting people in my path to talk to! 

We had a Zone Training this week on being exactly obedient and it was great to learn more about how I can improve as a missionary! They said that the key to missionary work is work, and if we are working hard, we wont have time or energy to be disobedient. Missionary work is hard but its so rewarding! God blesses us when we are obedient, when we serve others, when we love our neighbors! He does! My companion is such a great example of this! He always wants to be obedient, work hard and be a great missionary. I love getting to serve with him! 1 Nephi 3:6-7 talks about being favored of the Lord because Nephi didnt murmur. While both he and his brothers went and did, the difference is that Nephi went and did with a good attitude, having faith in God. This week I want to allez-vous you all to try and be more obedient to the commandments of God and the council of our prophets and apostles, and do it with happiness! I promise that you will be blessed as you do so, and you will see the hand of the Lord in your lives!

I love you all so much! 

Je vous aime!

Elder Hall

Monday, September 7, 2015

I See Landon, I See France

Bonjour tout le monde - from France! 

First off, I am typing this with a French keyboard so all the letters are everywhere they shouldnt be, so excuse me if I make any spelling errors or whatever. 

WOW!! What a crazy week! Seriously, though. I am in France, and I never thought this day would come. Its awesome here! It is starting to change to fall so it is not too hot but still feels perfect, and the architecture is beautiful as well! 

Elder Johnson my papa
Lets get down to what I know you all want to hear about: the mission! Well, when we flew into Lyon, President and Sister Brown, as well as some of the office elders were there to greet us. I knew the Browns before, and it was good to see them again! Then we basically got fed and did some contacting and stuff. The next day we got our companions and areas. So they bring in all the trainers and have us sit on one side of the chapel and they sit on the other side and then we open envelopes like when I got my mission call. My companion is named Elder Johnson and my first area is right in Lyon! Elder Johnson is a complete stud! Here, the greenies are called blues, and the trainers are our dads, and we are the sons. He is from Las Vegas and has been out a year! His French is so good and he talks to everyone! He is a super hard worker and is a great trainer, he's helping me grow so much! Hes super funny too, and were kinda similar in some ways. He reminds me of Kyle Dana, just an overall amazing man!

Man I love it here! There are so many people to talk to, and since we walk or take public transportation everywhere, I get to talk to a ton of people! The only problem is that I cant understand them and that makes having two sided conversations kinda hard haha, but I try and this past week actually had 75 conversations and have given away a ton of pass along cards and even found a new ami! An ami is an investigator, so we call them our friends, our amis! 

Stories: On the airplane over here, I sat next to a lady from China who moved to France named Kemin pronounced Kimmy, and I became quick friends with her. I got to share the gospel with her, we talked about families and I showed her mine and she was absolutely shocked by how many people we have in it! haha well that was all in French so it was kinda crazy. But she gave me her phone number and email, and she emailed me! So I am referring the Paris missionaries to her because she is just awesome!

The view from our apartment
We have a lot of amis already, and most of them are black. To be honest, Ive never really seen such diversity as I have here, but its crazy because they everyone speaks French! So when we were passing by an ami, we knocked and he didn't answer, then all of the sudden his neighbor opened the door and was like "I heard a knock on the door next door and for some reason felt like I needed to open my door"! Like WHAT!! His name is Aaron and luckily he speaks english, so we got to teach him a lesson and he believes in God so much! He is so prepared for our message, and Elder Johnson said that in his 1 year of being out here, that was the first time he has gotten into a house, and it wasn't even on purpose! God does give us blessings and he definitely prepares people and then, if we are obedient and where we are supposed to be, he puts the people in our path. 

My French is coming along. Im just trying to be the best missionary I can so that I can be blessed with the gift of tongues pretty quick! haha This is just a dream come true, but is multiplied ten fold by the fact that I get to teach people about the gospel! 2 Nephi 31:20 is something Ive loved reading here. It is the gospel of Christ, and an amazing promise from God. I know that Christ lives, I got to bear my testimony in French in front of my new ward, and no matter what language I say it in, it is true and the Spirit bears witness! I am so excited to be here and help bring people, and myself closer to Christ. 

Here, we Allez-vous people; which is just a commitment to help them come closer to Christ. So Im allez-vous-ing you all to this week, look for all the miracles that Heavenly Father gives you! They are everywhere! 

I love you all so much! Keep going strong! 

Je vous aime,

Elder Hall 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

He's finally here!

Dear Parents,

We are happy to let you know your son arrived safely in Lyon. He was met at the airport by President and Sister Brown. After arriving at the Mission he had lunch, had his picture taken, took care of paperwork, and had an individual interview with President Brown. Tonight he will have dinner with President and Sister Brown as well as the other missionaries that arrived today. He will stay at the Missionary Hotel in Lyon tonight. Tomorrow some will go to legality and then he will meet his new companion who will be his Trainer. Then he will have training with President Brown and the Assistants to the President. After the short training he will leave with his companion to go to his first area. We will send you his address and companion's name tomorrow.

Please see today's photo in the attachments.

Thank you for sending us such a fine young man.
Sister Sweeney
Mission Secretaryder hall