Monday, January 18, 2016

The Great and Not-So-Spacious Building

Frere Colona!! 
You know when you're a kid and you imagine the classic missionary: hard working, door knocking, people teaching (good looking)? I felt like a classic missionary this week, and it was probably the best week of my mission! There were so many things that happened this week, all leading up to a miracle of Biblical proportions. I was also taught by our recent convert how to make real French crepes? They were delicious! Read on:

This week we had a goal: teach 20 lessons. That's a big goal, it involves a lot of hard work, good planning, faith, and some blessings from God. So with that in mind we tried our hardest to be obedient and do this. We stopped by some of our ami's we found in the big apartment building we ported, and right next to it there is another one that we've been porting. We went to the 7th floor one night, and we got into every single apartment on that floor, and two families in those apartments became ami's, who invited us back! We were on that floor for 2 hours haha. And what's funny is that EVERYONE in that apartment complex knows who we are because we go there everyday. People say hi to us as we are leaving to talking to someone outside. We're like celebrities! That's what the subject line is about BTW, shout out to Elder Johnson for it. We didn't get the chance to see Jacob and Casper this week, but we are praying that we can next week. We are trying to set us a Skype with some polish elders so we can teach their parents also.

We had zone training this week, and it was all about finding and teaching families. The gospel blesses families, and families are the center of Gods plan, and so it would only make sense to be looking for them! That's why we need to teach their parents as well, because when everyone feels the spirit, when an entire family is brought to the knowledge of Gods plan for them, it blesses generations! A key aspect that Pres. and Soeur Brown pushed was to teach through the kids. Kids are easier moved by the spirit, they have more open minds and can sense that there's something special about missionaries. It's like primary, we teach to the kids simply, their parents hear andunderstand, and it involves everyone! We're still trying to put that into practice, but it's a very true principle!

our p day adventure today 

One night, we came out of that building, and a lady gave us some cookies, and there was a man standing out there. As we passed he said something to me, and so I turned around and offered him a cookie but he then proceeded to threaten us all, tell us he was going to shoot us, explode us, and destroy us. I could tell he didn't want the cookie. He said "it's better if you keep it" and I thought, "it's better if your face keeps it... ungrateful..." He didn't kill us, but we walk a little faster when we pass his door haha also, I found a funny scripture that goes with that: 2 Nephi 5:4. That about sums it up.

We also, in that building, were leaving a RDV and needed to go to the top floor. We had planned for our ami, Micca, earlier that day, and he was on our minds because we'd missed our RDV with him the day before. Well, we needed to go up a floor, but Elder Johnson pressed the bottom button by mistake, so we went to the bottom floor, and when the door opened guess who was there? Micca! In a completely different apartment building, at the same time as us! It was a miracle! We got to teach him about the priesthood a little bit, and he likes the idea of being able to bless his family. It was awesome, and we fixed a RDV for Sunday night. Well, Sunday night rolls around and we go over to their house. We start teaching his wife, Emmanuell, and she said she isn't about to get rebaptized. We explained the the Book of Mormon and the priesthood, and Micca even said a few things about it. She's super kind, and she had cancer at one point, so he left arm and leg are kind of paralyzed, but she can walk and everything, but she said it makes her tired. Well, after we'd explained the priesthood, Micca asked if we could do something like a
Micca and Emmanuell (excuse me, I look afraid lol)
special prayer for their family. We all knew exactly what that meant, so we offered to give Emmanuell a blessing. She said yes, and so we laid our hands on her head, Elder Wade gave it, and it was one of the most spiritual experiences I've ever had. I was shaking, not out of nervousness, but because I could feel the spirit kind of overcome me. When the blessing was over, she said thank you, tried to explain how she felt, warm, and then she just started to weep. Micca got teary eyed too. It was silent for a minute, and we testified that the priesthood is truly the power of God. She then told us that she was going to read the Book of Mormon as much as she could, and pray. There was an urgency in her voice. They almost begged us to come over again tomorrow. When we left that home, the spirit was so tangible, so thick, that it was undeniable. I know that Heavenly Father has something very important in mind for this family. This was a miracle that He gave to them, because, just like in the time of Christ, they had enough faith and humility to ask, and they received a witness of the reality of this message.

We taught 20 lessons, found 6 new ami's, and saw miracles as God showed us what can happen through faith and diligence. Corsica is a very fruitful place. The field is white and we are so lucky to be the harvesters. I know that the priesthood is real! I have the power of God, and as long as I am worthy to use it, I can bless the lives of people in the same way He could if He was here. The church is true. There is no doubt. I love you all. Have a great week!

Aver amour,

Elder Hall

Your Favorite Missionary

Monday, January 11, 2016

Pardon Moi and Mr. Jr. Bricolage

Comp unity (elder Wade is wearing my glasses so I can't see haha)
I learned a lot this week, but it was the hard way (hmm, it's so much better to learn the easy way, always try to learn the easy way). I'll expand more about that at the end, but I'll start with one thing I learned the hard way that wasn't so much sent by the spirit but by my own absent mindedness. First off, since our apartment is a chapel now, it must needs be that we make it look like a chapel, and that means fixing things and cleaning up and stuff. Well, our car isn't a chapel but it still needed some TLC and a good drink, that is to say that it needed to be filled up with more oil. Well, my dad taught me how to do these things, and my comps had no idea, so it was up to me. I checked the oil stick under the hood and also the thing where you dump the oil into at our recent converts house, then we drove to buy some oil and went home. Well, when I opened the hood to put the oil in, I found that the cap was mission from the thing where you pour it into (I'm sorry I don't know the names for anything, gosh dang it I'm a missionary, not a mechanic!). Well, we couldn't put oil in or it would all come out without a cap, and we couldn't drive too far or else our car would explode for lack of oil, so I poured some oil in (which all spilled out during the drive) and we drove to look for the cap (which we didn't find). Finally, we ended up at the dealership, bought a new cap, I changed the oil and voila! I don't know why these things happen to me, but just for your information, I also installed a new toilet seat and a shower curtain, so my future family is lucky. 

... And our tropical paradise 
We also didn't have warm water this week, so for showers we would boil water, put it in a big bowl, turn on the faucet and then mix the burning hot water with the freezing cold and then dump it on us. I know you all are thinking "what a wimp", and you're right! At least I don't have to worry about falling off the toilet anymore! 

also this 
Anyway, we're going to get to the good, spiritual stuff. I told you about those two kids, Jacob and Casper, from Poland, well they accepted a baptismal date! It will be the first Saturday in February! They are studs, and I love teaching them. We went to deliver a cake for their mom's birthday, and they asked us if we wanted to go see Star Wars with them, but don't worry, we explained that we couldn't. Also, because their parents don't speak French very well, we got permission to skype some polish missionaries and teach with them! So we will do that this next week. It's so cool teaching kids, because they are so much more receptive to the spirit than adults. They are willing to act on our invitations to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. They actually set up rendez-vous with us! I know that as we keep working with them, the Lord can make them mighty men of God, and I can't wait to see that day! 

Also this week, my patience was tested with our situations and my companions. There were times where I was too prideful to forgive or where I felt like we could be doing something more, something better, and where I felt like I was being left to do a bunch of stuff all alone. My anger and frustration built up until Sunday, when I was asked to give a talk in church. I wasn't given a topic, but I felt like I should speak on forgiveness. After all, I'd asked for a lot this past week, from my companions and from Heavenly Father. I had a talk written, and at the last minute felt like I should ditch it and just speak from experience and heart. So I told some stories about forgiveness, read a quote and testified. My French was rough (pretty rough), but the spirit was there, and it touched me, as well as some of the members. I got pretty down on myself for how bad my French was during it, but my companions helped me realize that as missionaries, we are not sent to speak the language perfectly, that's impossible. We are not sent to be perfect, that's impossible.
our winter wonderland in the mountains....
We are here because people NEED the message of the restoration and the atonement, and they way they will know that our message is true is not through amazing French, but through the power of the universal language, the Spirit. I wasn't the happiest person this past week, but when it came down to it, I learned more about forgiveness than I ever have before. I used the atonement to become a better companion (well, I'm still working on that), and to change. We can all change, always. If we expect to be forgiven, we need to forgive, and by forgiving and allowing Christ's atonement into our lives, we change. I am so thankful for my companions. It's hard being with people 24/7 but I love them a lot! I know that we are going to be seeing miracles over here! I love you all, I love the Lord, I KNOW He's there, and I testify of His grace and mercy. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


Elder Hall 

Monday, January 4, 2016

La Bonne Nouvelle

All I can say about this week is that truth accompanied by food and the spirit changes hearts! Yes that was cheesy and yes it was vague but heck! En vérité, en vérité! Anyways, now that we have the dreaded first line over with (phew), I can actually start writing haha. Basically, this week was the beginning of a new year, it's the beginning of a new transfer (am I going, am I staying? The suspense is killing you!) and it's been one of the coolest miracle weeks of my mission! Let's start off with New Year's Eve.
a beautiful pool we found while porting

Basically, for missionaries New Year's Eve is nothing haha. Although we were awake at midnight because there are no restrictions on fireworks here and it sounded like World War 3 had started. There was no sleeping while bombs were exploding all around us! Haha We actually went on a blitz with the other three elders on Corsica and they came down and we split up. While the other group took care of branch stuff, me and Elder Hansen (one of my favorite missionaries ever) and Elder Szuch decided to go porting. We have been eyeing an apartment building pretty close to chez nous for a while, so we decided to go there. The first door we knocked on, a huge (really big) Buddhist guy answered, shirtless, and told us he was busy but there were 4 Asian girls in there so we were okay with leaving haha. But as we kept going, this building was full of awesome people! We couldn't finish the whole building that day, but my comps and k went back filed with faith and what happened was incredible! We were let in to a couple apartments, we taugh some lessons, fixed return rendez-vous and made some new friends! One of the people we passed by with some cookies was a family, a polish family. They let us in, but the parents don't speak French, so we talked to their three boys, Jacob (14), Capser (11) and Nicoli (7). We taught them the restoration, the Book of Mormon, and had Jacob read Joseph Smiths first vision. He is the exact same age, so it was powerful. When we asked if they wanted to get baptized they said yes! They said they wanted to know which church is true! That's HUGE because if they get baptized, that means that our group will have a young men's for the first time ever! Aaronic priesthood holders! We are going back and they will translate for their parents. It was one of the most spiritual experiences I've had so far!

Remember Micca? The dead pig guy? Well, we had him and his family over for a BBQ all American style hamburger dinner and it was great! We got to meet his wife Emmanuel, and his little boy Samuel, and play some Uno, then we retaught them the restoration. The spirit was strong as they said that they need to go to the temple, basically testifying of it after we'd explained the blessings that it brings to families. They committed to baptism for January 23! They aren't married yet, so that'll be something we need to do before the baptism (we'll have to change the date) but they are so amazing as well! They are so humble and willing to follow Christ. If only everyone was like that! I'm looking forward to working with them more.

at the beach 
We did a lot of porting this week, but we also had an amazing district meeting about following the spirit, but also about being consecrated enough to have the spirit with you always. As a companionship we decided we could do better, so we set some goals, individually and together, and as we have been more obedient, more in tune with the spirit, and more Christlike, we've seen so many miracles. And it's a good thing that we did that because we got transfer calls and... Drum roll... We are all 3 staying here in Ajaccio for another 6 weeks! I was so happy! The field here is white and ready to harvest, and it's humbling that Heavenly Father is letting us start the harvest. We have already decided that this next transfer will be the most amazing one yet. I can't wait to see the blessings that come to the people that God has prepared for the gospel!

the names we found with Marie Rose for the temple! 6!
Also something cool, is that we've been doing a lot of family history work with one of our recent
converts so she can get names to take to the temple. At home, I was a youth family history consultant so I'm pretty good at that stuff. I help her do most of it, but I have such a strong testimony of family history work! Reading some of the stories that people have added of my ancestors is so cool! They were real people too, and we are where we are because of them! The spirit of Elijah is so real, and comes to those who first have to turn their hearts to the fathers. Thanks for everything you all do! I love you a lot! I can't wait to give this year to my Lord and Savior, and gather in His sheep!

Avec amour,

Elder Hall