Monday, October 26, 2015

the Great Escape and Elder Halls Cookie Workshop

I dont know about all of you, but I had an awesome week, which will be shared in the following paragraphs. If the title of this is not a hook I just dont know what is! We shall start with the fun and funny stories and proceed to the spiritual ones and then, as always, I will give you an allez-vous! Now that we have the outline, voila! On-y va!

This week I drank aloe vera, but there was some events that led up to that, namely Elder Halls Cookie Workshop. Remember those awesome cookies I made a couple weeks ago? Also, do you remember the chinese people I spent conference with? Well they love the cookies I make for some reason and one girl specifically, her name is YaLi, wanted to know how to make them, and so Elder Brown and I, along with the other chinese elders in our apartment (who I love) taught her how to make them in a hands on workshop. She came up with the name of it and we had a lot of fun, and even better we got to use the cookies to get Chrystelles address! The next day we went to deliver the cookies to her, because her dad was in town and it was his birthday, so we eventually found her apartment and got to meet her completely french 82 year old father, and american husband! They have such a fun family, and while we were there she brought out some aloe vera and asked if we wanted some and we were like "uh.... I guess" so she put some burning hot water into a cup with some aloe vera jelly and stirred it up and it smelt so good and tasted a little worse haha But we got to talk to her husband a little bit about the gospel and we have become great friends with them! We are planning to watch Meet the Mormons with them at some point soon. 

Also this week I had some seriously intense moments. The first one was while we were on a blitz in Clermont. We had an hour to contact and then we had to be back to the gare (train station) to go to a members house for dinner. Well Elder Guyeaux and I were not keeping track of time and when we saw the sisters get on the bus right across the street from the church there, he realized that the train was leaving in 20 minutes and the next bus wasnt coming for 15 minutes, so we started running. And then we just kept going. And it was all uphill. And the buses werent coming. So we are running and I see the gare and we have 4 minutes until it leaves and and we just book it to the platform and the other missionaries are there and I pull off my sweater and just die. We barely made the train and we found out later that we had run 4 kilometers (a little over 2 1/2 miles) in less than 20 minutes in our church clothes. So I was pretty proud of myself and recognized the complete miracle of that! 

One more: our apartment locked us in for some reason and the door to the outside world would not open. We had to go teach a less active who lives right across the street and hates when were late and so we went to the apartment underground and tried to navigate our way through a maze of garages and doors and there were random stairs going who knows where. I was laughing my head off because we were just opening doors and shrugging and running into complete darkness trying to get out of our apartment. Finally we popped out on this side street and got to teach our less active. So this week has been an adventure!

But also Ive felt the spirit so strong as it was stake conference and a member of the area 70, Elder Homer got to come address the Lyon stake. Everything except for his was in French and I actually understood a good portion of it. He talked about having faith to not sink and when the winds come and the water starts to get choppy, hold on, hold out, keep the faith, and just go step by step, and Christ will help you keep walking on the water. It was an amazing conference and Elder Brown and I got to sing in the choir! It was fun to sing with a bunch of old french people! ;) 

We got to see Frederic again yesterday and he fed us as usual. We felt like he needed a lesson on the atonement and repentance, so we taught him the gospel of Christ and repentance and he said that ever since hes been meeting with us hes seen a change in his life and his relationships, hes wanted to change himself and everything is just clicking! I seriously watched as the Holy Ghost taught him, right in front of our eyes! He is going to convert himself, I know it! He denied our baptismal committment but I believe that as he keep reading and feeling the spirit, he will come to understand! 

I love it here! I cant believe its already Halloween and I will tell you what happens with that next week! But I love you all, and I want you to know that I know this is the true church of Christ, that through His grace we can become better, we can walk on water, and heck, maybe we can even speak French! I love Him, I testify of His reality and love for you all, and I allez-vous you all to try to have a little more faith this week. Try to see His plan for you, and as you do it you can walk step by step towards him! I love you! Have a great and safe Halloween!

Elder Hall

Monday, October 19, 2015


This week, this week. There is a lot to tell you all about this past week! The windows of heaven just burst open and miracles were thrust upon us, so thank you all for the prayers and bonjour! I hope this week has been a great week for you all, too! 

I'm going to go ahead and start with my companion, Elder Brown. I told you a little about what I thought he would be like last week, and not to brag, but I was 100 percent right. Elder Brown is from SLC and he was just born to be a missionary. Our first nightly planning was so awesome, I felt like I was in a bishops interview haha He is helping me be so much more obedient and how to follow the spirit. He always asks me what I think we should do and doesnt budge until I say something, and usually its something that I think the spirit is telling me to do. He is the district leader so that makes me the district monkey and that literally means nothing! But along with him, our ward also got a new DMP which is a ward mission leader. His name is Syo and he is from New Caladonia and he is just the best! At our first meeting, he told us that the work is hastening and so because of that our ward has to shape up in missionary work and fast. We planned a bunch of stuff that I believe will help our ward become better at being missionaries and because of that the amount of miracles we are going to see is going to skyrocket! (Im using the word miracle a lot but thats because theres no other way to describe whats happening here). Also, remember last week how I told you that I thought I was getting fat? Well, that quickly stopped happening the minute Elder Brown got here because now we have a workout schedule planned for every morning and even though its freezing and I look like a new born deer who got hit by a car when I exercise, we do it a ton and now I can eat all the patisseries I want! 

So we saw a lot of amis this week, and guess what? Remember Aaron, the ami who opened his door and told us that he knew what we were saying was true? Well we went by to pass him this week, as we have been doing for four weeks and hes never been home. Well we stopped by, waited for a while, stuck a note on his door and left. As we were walking down the sidewalk we found him walking right towards us! He said hes told his family and friends about us, and he got a phone so now we can contact him! We gave him a book of mormon in spanish and he said the only way he can find out if its true is if he reads and prays about it! THAT IS A MIRACLE PEOPLE! We made some banana bread and took it to him and are seeing him this week! 

We have a new ami named Chrystelle who is so prepared as well. We got to teach her about temples and we had a rendez-vous with her this morning where we felt prompted to share the plan of salvation with her. She said that when she feels like for sure this is true, she will be baptised! Shes also kind of like an older sister and gave us coupons and helped me look for a good coat to wear haha 

Another ami is Frederic. He is 21 and lives on the 16th floor of this apartment building that overlooks all of Lyon and its so cool! Every time we visit him, he insists on feeding us, and he works at a big grocery store so he always has the best snacks! haha He is reading the Book of Mormon and says that he loves it! We had an awesome lesson about the restoration and he said he has trouble accepting absolute truth but we can back up our claims, and we told him that if he prays, God can back up our claims too! He said that he wants to keep learning and find his faith, and I believe that he has been prepared for this. I know that if we can keep teaching him and just hanging out with him (because being friends with your amis is just as important as teaching them!) he will get baptised. 

Everything is falling right into the place where God wants it to be, and I am so humbled and happy that I get to be here to help! I had a conference this week where president talked about how God helps us grow, and its by letting us do things on our own, and if we fail, he will be there to help us back up. He knows what we have in us, our potential, and by letting us fall, we begin to realize it to! A quote I really liked is "The greatest achievements in life will oftentimes follow failure in the same pursuit." So my allez-vous this week is to keep trying! When life gets hard, remember that God is there, and turn it into a growing opportunity. 

I love you all! I love being a frenchionnary and think that its the best thing to be in the whole world! We are seeing the hand of God everyday. I know He's there and loves us, and this is proof that when times get hard, they always get better! 

Until next week,

Elder Hall 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Transfers, Brains and Baguettes

So this week was a big week for me. I hit my transfer mark, that makes 6 weeks here in France, and along with that, there is always a lot of change. You who know me know that change is something I try to avoid like the plague but on missions that is almost impossible to do because you can run but you cant hide (and you probably shouldn't be doing either ;) ). So with that being said, lets get this thing rolling!

We'll start with the food aspect because I realized you guys haven't seen nearly enough pictures of me eating! ;) This week I had my first baguette!

Yes, thats weird because Ive been in France for 6 weeks but when you're busy preaching salvation there is no time for baguettes! (but there's always time for patisseries). So I had it at zone conference, which was very good by the way. We talked about the emphasis the general authorities are putting on sacrament meeting and the sabbath day. Here in France, sacrament meeting is usually the last meeting of the church block, but the general authorities changed that, not just here but throughout the world. So now, in every ward, sacrament meeting is the first thing! Its pretty cool, and I saw a change in the reverence of our meeting yesterday. But I am going to talk about that more later on, we're talking about food here! The baguette was delicious! I ate a whole one with cheese and yum. YUUMMM! I am getting fat, I know it, and if I could read the kilogram scales, maybe I could verify that. Also, they have things here called kebabs which are like calf or lamb meat inside a burrito type thing with different sauces and I got mine and it was also really great! Lyon is the cuisine capital of the world but because of our limited funds, I'll just stick with kebabs haha.

We met with Pecheur again this week. He is Muslim and likes to talk so we don't get a lot of teaching into our appointments, but he is so interested in the gospel. He came to a missionary stake fireside last night and he loved it! President Brown talked directly to the amis and Pecheur felt like it was just for him. I feel like he can commit to baptism soon, we just need to have enough time to teach him haha.

So more about our ward, because I have come to love them so much! I am in the Porte-des-Alpes ward, obviously, and I have just started to learn a lot of the members names. But this past week they had a ward Halloween activity and it was so fun! They had us split up into Harry Potter houses and then play activities and count them for our houses. I got to know my team well and even though we lost a lot it was still really fun! They had some amazing food and a room where they cover your eyes and you touch things. We were all expecting the things to be fake because they felt super gross but lo and behold, we were touching pigs brain, squeezing liver and weird little beef things. They don't mess around here hahaha. But on Sunday we had fast and testimony meeting and all the members here have such strong testimonies! I actually understood them this time, whereas last testimony meeting was my first in France haha. But they are so caring for each other. When someone starts crying during their testimonies, its a race to see who can run up with a tissue the fastest! But a lot of them are first generation converts and to see how strong they are is inspiring! There is a little boy named Caesar who always draws me pictures and he is so great haha.

This week as also transfers as I said before. And it was pretty nerve wracking because I didn't want to really leave the ward and the blooming miracles I was seeing here. President called us and said "Elder Hall, you are going to be... staying right where you are. But you are getting a new companion, his name is Elder Brown." So today, actually a couple hours ago, I met my new comp and said goodbye to Elder Johnson. But Elder Brown is so amazing! He seems like the most obedient, caring missionary. I feel like we are going to be seeing a lot of miracles around here in the next 6 weeks. I'll keep you informed! And with that, I want to give my allez-vous to tout le monde! I know as missionaries we get a lot of prayers and so we see miracles a lot, but allez-vous pray to see the miracles in your lives, and maybe pray for us missionaries to see some miracles too? :) MERCI!I love you all so much! I am so proud of the people you all are!Dieu vous aime, et moi aussi.Elder Hall

our Halloween activity after we had decorated

Monday, October 5, 2015

Cute to Death

Well we find ourselves together on this Monday, after being spiritually fed and the week has come and gone as always! I have a lot to tell you about this week!

Let's start with earlier this week! Remember how we didn't see any of our Amis last week? This week we saw a grand total of... 1! Haha his name is Pecheur, which means "sinner" I'm French but he is so funny! He is so enthusiastic about learning about the gospel! At a pretty spiritual point in our lesson, he tried describing the spirit as follows: "Right now, our hearts and minds are not with us. They have travelled to an alternate dimension, a different universe to be closer to God." And I was like, "You know... I can see it." Hahaha but he came to general conference and is totally going to come to church!
From the top of the Cathedral

This week I went on what we call a Blue Exchange. I went with Elder Arné to Clermont again. It was one of the most fun days I've had here, and we also saw a bunch of miracles. We went contacting for a couple hours and met this lady who told us it was a blessing that we talked to her because she loves Jesus so much and wanted more of him! We took a break to go up to the top of a giant cathedral and took over this beautiful French town! Ahh, it was so cool! After we contacting and doing the work, we wanted to make cookies so we did and 1) it was so fun to make cookies again! 2) THEY WERE SO GOOD! I'm sending a picture so you can see them.

Now for general conference! So the first session for you all is in the morning but it starts at 6 here, and they were broadcasting it at a chapel, but I went to the institute with two of the elders in the trio that are in our apartment, and elder Johnson went with the other one to the chapel so we could be with our Amis. But they are a Chinese equipe so all the amis at the institute with us were Chinese and I love them! They also love me a lot for some reason. Conference was so amazing though! I don't know about you but I heard a LOT about faith, sabbath day observance, and listening to the Spirit. Every talk was so cool! And the 3 new apostles too! Honestly, everyone here could have sworn Bishop Causse would be called but we're a bit biased 😉.

So after one of the sessions, the Chinese people (who heard me singing the intermediate hymn) desired me to sing for them. I refused but they are pretty persistent, and so with some piano accompaniment, I sang "She Don't Know She's Beautiful" by One Direction to a bunch of Chinese people in Lyon, France. They loved it but I can definitely say that this conference ranks up there in one of the most interesting ones of my life haha They gave me a Chinese name which j can neither pronounce nor spell, but it means "cute to death", hence the title.

And for those of you who've heard about the flooding in France, all the missionaries are okay, but it might make transfers next week a little harder... Haha and yes, transfers are next week! 😮

I love you all so much! My allez-vous to you all is to sing for some Chinese people this week lol no. Look for the Spirit more in your life and figure out how you can follow Him more! As we heard a lot of, the more we try to be worthy, the closer we can be to the Spirit, and the more that He can testify to us. Keep being amazing disciples! Have a great week!

Je vous aime!

Elder (cute to death) Hall