Monday, February 29, 2016

Doors and Keys and Faith to Open

First off, Happy Leap Year! Nothing really special happened, except an old lady hitchhiker wanted us to pick her up super bad. If that only happens once every 4 years, I'm fine with it haha. Anyway, we had an eventful week down here! I'll tell you some cool stuff that happened, and some funny stuff too, because sometimes funny stuff happens and it hurts, physically or mentally. You'll see.

a cool door! 
So this week we did a lot of porting, and it seemed like, for the first time really on my mission, people were telling us to get out of their buildings. I've never really had that happen before so we would just leave and go to the next one. I think that actually might have been a blessing though, because as we went building hopping (carefully watching the elevators in the process), we found some awesome people that we wouldn't have otherwise found! One such occasion was on an exchange. It was me and elder Oborn, with a missionary named Elder Pesnel. He's in my group that came into the mission, so we were a bunch of youngsters for a day. (Elder Oborn came in the group right after me so I'm older than him in the mission). We decided to pick some buildings and port them. Well we saw no success until this lady opened the door, and even though our French wasn't too great, she was so kind and let us in. We taught her a little about the Plan of Salvation because she had some questions, and then we read Alma 40:11-12 with her. She really liked it, and thought her neighbor would too so she called a lady who'd slammed the door on us upstairs and explained that we were the Mormons, not a cult. Haha she gave us some cake and her phone number so we're going to call and fix a RDV with her hopefully soon!

On this same exchange, we went to see Marie-Rose. Well, I was in the back room putting on some pants so she could measure and skinny them, and I heard a sound. It sounded kind of like "called to serve". Then I realized that they were singing for her. I listened quietly and realized that they are both tone deaf, but I thought it was awesome that they were singing for her anyway! Then I remembered that she's also tone deaf and so I'm sure she loved it. I was in the back room just dying thinking about it. Hahaha it was so great!

After the exchange, we had zone training, where we learned about how to prepare for when Elder Christofferson comes in a couple weeks. I really am excited for this opportunity to listen to an apostle of the Lord speak to us. We also talked about the fact that we need to be engaging all of our ami's to baptism. We have a goal this year to get 200 baptisms as a mission, but we want to have 187 engages (people committed to a baptismal date) before Elder Christofferson comes. So we are working on that. It's cool to see the power of goal setting with faith, and then action. Right now in our mission we have more engages than we ever have before, and that puts us on track to get 200 baptisms this year! I'm excited to see how everything works out!

I also got hit in the head by a flying ring of keys afterward, and it hurt but the missionary that threw it is one of my heroes so I just took it as a sign of affection.

me in a village
One cool porting story is that the other night, we went porting in a little village in the rain. No one was letting us in, and we were coming to the end of the road where our car was parked so we went up to a little duplex type thing and knocked on the door. A young woman answered and was just laughing, so we started laughing too. She was so confused as to why we were there so we explained but she wouldn't stop laughing. It was pretty awkward for a couple minutes, but she finally invited us in and we shared the church at a glance video with her. She opened up and is super funny, but doesn't quite believe in God. But we fixed a RDV with her and I feel like we will be able to have some success with her, because she loves the focus we have on families and temples, and also the humanitarian stuff the church does. I'll keep you informed on her, she's named Danae.

We ported in another mountain village and there seemed to be no one there but a group of little kids on vacation. We showed them some videos about Jesus while they were playing in the road and gave them our card to give to their parents. Well, they then proceeded to prank call us. haha it was still a fun experience though, something that you could only have as a missionary!

Other than that, I love my companions. We have a lot of fun together. They laugh at everything I say and do so it makes me feel good haha. They are both so obedient and hard working, they really just want to be good missionaries and I admire that a lot! I've seen a lot of the blessings of the Lord recently, and it's strengthened my faith to the point where every time we go out finding, I KNOW that we will find someone. It's His work, we are just His little workers. He knows what's best for us, He knows when He wants us to go through a trial or to just keep pressing forward. I can't express enough how real Jesus Christ and His power is. There is nowhere I'd rather be than right here.

Have a great week! I love you all!
Elder Hall
Your Favorite Missionary

Monday, February 22, 2016

Outside of the Box

First off, I'm am very proud of my clever title this week. It basically sums up everything that's happened and you'll see. You'll all see! Haha so this week started off with transfers. So I said goodbye to my colleagues, Elder Wade and Elder Johnson (I think this will be the last time I'll say goodbye to my trainer but we'll see). Then I received my new ones: elder Ottesen and Elder Oborn. They're awesome! Ottesen is from Washington and is a very, very fast runner. He also is a great singer so we sing a bit haha. Oborn is from everywhere, he moved a lot, but he is in ROTC and training to be a pilot in the Air Force so that's awesome! He's younger than me in the mission so it's my first time being a co-senior comp (that means nothing haha). Upon reentering the island, I made sure to tell them where we lived first off, then the real stuff began.
us in the elevator

We went around to the people and my comps met Marie rose and Sylvia and Noel, and them some other members. It's always interesting to see the dynamic changes when new missionaries come. I think for the most part everything was great! They are getting along with the group and the ami's pretty well for only a week. Plus, they have brought a lot of fresh, new ideas that I think Ajaccio needs. It's weird for me to because I'm used to all the old things we would do, but I'm learning how to be flexible and we're trying out the new stuff! Some of it works, some doesn't, c'est la vie.

this (he wasn't interested...) 
Here's a funny story, keep my title in mind. We were porting in some apartments in ville, and a lot of them had little call boxes on the outside, so in order to get in, you have to convince someone to open the door or if your lucky someone will just be interested and let you come talk to them! Well, we weren't lucky and we weren't getting in. Finally we found a building whose door was open, so we went in and got in the elevator, headed to the top floor so we could work our way down. Well it said 3 persons or 225 kg, and we figured that we were 3 persons, maybe a little heavier. It started going up and I was hearing sounds that elevators don't usually make, plus, the floor level wasn't changing. I expressed my concerns to my companions and as I did so we felt a jolt and the elevator stopped. We pushed open the door but we were stuck in between two levels with the outside doors magnetized shut. On top of that, the elevator was a box that was 3 1/2 feet by 2 1/2 feet. So we called the company, sat in the elevator for 30 minutes while the inhabitants wondered why their elevator wasn't working. Finally the guy came and opened it up and we crawled out, and left the building as soon as possible haha

a corse tower 
Also another thing with the title is this: Noel, because he was never baptized, is still an ami. He is an amazing man, but just needs to be taught simply, like teaching a child. So we've been teaching about repentance and nothing really was getting through until one night we decided to take a different approach. We played charades where we acted out sins, then the way to steps of repentance! It worked and he learned a little! So we decided, hey, why think a little and in the end, the next day we'd created a new card game, called "re-peche-ntir" (basically like sin and repent) with Uno cards and drawings we taped on. That helped him out too. We played it and we all had a lot of fun and it was effective. If anyone has any good ideas for how to teach kids simply about really any gospel topic, let me know!

One last thing. I told you that it's interesting to see the dynamic changes as missionaries come and go. Well for Sylvia, she didn't show a lot of emotion when the other elders left. But I could tell something was up during our rdv's. Finally, one night they came over, and after the prayer I saw her crying. She told me that she really misses elder Wade and Johnson and that she's felt a lot of tension building up inside. It was the first time I've ever seen her cry and it broke my heart. I suggested that maybe we should give her a blessing, and she said yes, so we did. I got to give it and it was just another testifying experience to me that the priesthood is real. It is needed at anytime, and it can change a mood, it can bring peace to a troubled soul, it can heal a heart. But for longer lasting effects, I would recommend things like reading the scriptures, praying, going to church. Things that are so simple! Life will ALWAYS present challenges, and the best way to know that when they come, you will be ready is to hold strong to the things you know, it's to have a foundation built on Christ. That way, you are ready to receive a blessing, or an answer, or the spirit. I know that it's the little things that make the biggest difference (whether or not the world chooses to believe that). I love my Savior, and everything He has done for me. I am changed by and through Him. You can be too!

I love you all! Have a great week! Don't get stuck in any elevators.

Elder Hall
Your Favorite Missionary


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

People I Love

Elder Ottesen me elder Oborn 
We got transfer calls this week! Last transfer was nothing, the transfer before that was incredibly surprising, but this time it was just in between. I'll tell you all what happened: I am staying on Corsica and received two new companions, Elder Ottesen (who was my district leader my first transfer) and Elder Oborn (who is a transfer younger than me). They are both awesome, we are going to work really hard, I can already tell. Plus, since I am the only one who knows Ajaccio, it is a pretty big responsibility to remember everything, to do the group stuff, and keep it all straight. So I'm hoping and praying that I will have the help of Heavenly Father because even though it's not really anything, it's overwhelming to think Ill be trying to keep a group and a city staying okay until we can get into a groove. I'm stoked! Also, I had to say goodbye to Elders Johnson and Wade. I love them a lot, and it was kinda funny saying goodbye to my trainer again. That's kind of all I've ever known when it comes to companions, so it's interesting to be starting over. But that's missionary life!

Micca and Emmanuella with his beer in the garbage lol
This week, we had a lot of cool rendezvous! We met with Micca and Emmanuella and their son Samuel, 3 times! We helped them make cookies, and had pizza together. We shared the family a proclamation to the world with them and they love it! They said that ever since they've met us, their lives have changed. We sang "families can be together forever" and prayed together, and Emmanuella and Samuel were crying before we left. Also, while we were cooking cookies, Micca pulled out a beer. He offered me one, but I said no, and explained that we don't drink. He asked why we can't just have a little, and elder Wade and I explained that it was a commandment and that God wants us to keep our bodies pure. We also asked if he would want his son to drink beer when we grows up, he said no. After he understood, he opened the garbage, and threw his beer into it. It was so cool! We didn't ask him to do anything, he just decided right there to stop drinking. He said he's felt better ever since! What an amazing family!

Corsican V 
Also, do you remember that man we talked to in his garage, showed him a video and he cried? Well, I told you that nothing came out of it, but I was wrong. One rainy night, we decided to go pass him and see if he had prayed. Well we went, and his wife opened the door and we asked if we could come back and do a family night with them. She said "ça me plairais" which basically means "I would like that" and so we came back and her husband and son were gone, but we explained our beliefs about the family, and she told us that her family is kind of falling apart, but a couple weeks ago, her husband and her decided to start all over and try again (we calculated it, and they decided that right after we'd talked to her husband in the garage). We played uno with her and she loves us! Her name is Chrystelle, I guess all the Christelle's are just awesome! Haha

our Valentine’s Day!
We also went to Bastia for Sunday. The stake president was there, and we also have a new senior couple who are becoming the new branch president. They are the couple Vendassi and he is actually corse! The stake president told us that he feels something amazing is going to happen to Corsica, but he doesn't know what. But with a new, experienced, Corsican branch president, things will change here for the better! That was Valentine's Day also, and the last day that my comps would see Marie rose and Sylvia and Noel. Saying goodbye to them was so hard, and I wasn't even saying goodbye! When you serve people and love them, leaving is hard. There were a lot of tears.

me and two amazing (crazy) old people
I'm excited for this new transfer, there will be some cool things going on here! Thank you for your prayers, they are felt. Even though it can get lonely being on an island all the time, I never really feel alone. I know that because Christ has done everything for us, He can surround us with support. I have everything I have thanks to Him. So do you all. I love Him.

I love you all! Have a great week!

Plein d'amour

Elder Hall

Monday, February 8, 2016

That's Sick

Hello family and friends! It's been a sick week here in Ajaccio, and by sick, I mean everyone and their dogs are ill. Well, that didn't rule us out and we had a stay at home week. Therefore, not a ton happened, but what did happen was appreciated and very needed. Also, because everyone was sick, we only had 5 members at church, so that was fun. Anyways, down to business.

Seour brown and I in nice! (She’s the best!!!)
On Thursday we had Zone Conference sur continent at Nice. We took the boat then drove to the chapel, but the boat let us off an hour and a half late so we made a grand entrance at conference haha but luckily we didn't miss too much. President Brown talked about adversity. He said, "Adversity is a great gauge and indicator, whenever there is strong adversity and you're on the Lords side, you know something beautiful is about to happen." That really touched me because we haven't been seeing success lately. The families we had hoped and prayed for had stopped meeting with us, and I was discouraged, wondering what we were doing wrong. When it was actually just Satan. As the temple is closer to being finished, he is doing all he can to stop families from receiving the joy and blessings of the gospel, and being sealed together in the House of the Lord right here in France. Well, we have been blessed as a mission to have so many tools and ideas to use to find, teach, keep, and baptize families. The conference really was what we needed. It pumped up my faith again! But that wasn't the only thing that was amazing about conference. President announced to our zones the great news! After years and years of Switzerland being closed to American missionaries, it is finally opened, and Americans will have he opportunity to serve for a period of at most 90 days there! What a great blessing! And last but not least, next month we will have the privilege of receiving a visit from Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles! I'm so excited! I can't wait to hear what he has to tell us regarding the Lords will here in France. So that was very well passed!

the s-creme 😉
In the spirit of that, here is the biggest miracle by far of the past few weeks. Background: we haven't seen Micca and Emmanuel for a long time. After the big miracle where we gave her a priesthood blessing, they wouldn't respond to our texts or calls. We even brought cookies and nothing. Well, yesterday we decided to pass again, and ask what had happened. So we drove up to their building, and saw him outside. When we got out, he wasn't there, so we went up to their apartment. He let us in, and we shared a Mormon message and then we started talking. He said that they'd been busy with work, and being sick and stuff. We asked if he remembered the feelings he felt that night and every time we are with them. He said yes. Then we told him that because he is doing the right things, just like we learned at zone conference, the adversary will try to make him doubt or feel too busy. He said that's exactly how he felt when he saw us pull up. We fixed another RDV with them, gave them a picture of the temple to remember their goal, and left feeling extremely blessed. How cool!

Lastly, on a fun note, we went to the bottom of Corsica today for P Day to a place called Bonifacio. It is so beautiful, and pretty well known. We got to spend a couple hours taking pictures and exploring, and it was windy so I was cold haha, but it was awesome. Also, I was super sick yesterday and probably looked like death at church. Maybe that's why no one came haha also, we celebrated a French holiday called Chandeleurs and it's where you make crepes and eat them, so I had a lot of fun hahaha please pray that I don't gain anymore weight... Transfer calls are on Friday so we'll see what happens. And in the spirit of Valentine's Day, I want to tell you all how much I love you, and then ask you to be Jesus' Valentine. And by that I mean to show the people you love how much you love them this week. You'll never regret it!

Have a great week! Thanks for everything!

Elder Hall

Monday, February 1, 2016

Laughing and Crying

*when you’re not
This week we made a grown man cry... well, in a way. Other than that and some miscellaneous things I will tell you about, it was just a normal week down here on the Lille de Beauté. (HELLO EVERYONE ITS ELDER WADE :) JUST SAYING HI)

Yesterday we had a barbecue with some of our group members. We went shopping with Marie-Rose, a recent convert, to buy the food for it. So we have a member, Frere Collona, you've seen pictures of him. He's 84, almost blind and almost deaf, but he's awesome. Some of the members thought we could invite him to come down for
supposed to touch
water as a missionary*

the barbecue, so we went and picked him up and took him to a sisters house to stay the night. This sister is taking care of her mom, who is super old and kinda crazy, and before we left, she asked if we wanted dinner. So us, Frere Collona, and Simonet (the crazy grandma) sat down for dinner, and Frere Collona didn't know what he was eating and Simonet didn't want to eat her soup, and Frere Collona thought that the salt was his bread and dipped it in the soup, and Simonet told him that the soup was delicious, and when Soeur Hermozo (her daughter, the sister who fed us dinner) asked why she wasn't eating it then, she said "I don't feel like having soup tonight." So she had to go in time out. We were all DYING LAUGHING because these two old people were just like little kids, and their conversation which each other was so funny, because he couldn't hear it and she forgot everything she was saying. And the next day, the barbecue was delicious, and she fell asleep and then when someone woke her up she immediately said "I'm not tired". Right, Simonet, riiiigggghhhttt.

above the clouds
Also, I figured out my favorite scripture this week. I am a pretty indecisive person, so trying to find a favorite scripture has always been a problem for me. But as I read through the ending of 2 Nephi, a scripture that I've always liked stuck with me. 2 Nephi 31:20. It says, "Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life." This scripture just tells me to keep going, keep the faith, and be filled with love. So now you all know my favorite scripture!

Now onto a cool story. This week was mostly filled with porting. We haven't see. A lot of our ami's in a couple weeks, so we decided that it's time to find some more! We went porting in a little mountain village and we got threatened again (lol) and were t seeing anything. We knocked on a house, and the guy told us that he couldn't talk then. We went up the street, and as we came down, we realized that we'd forgotten the house next to his. So we walked up and there was someone in the garage. It was the same man. He said we could come talk to him, but he doesn't really believe in God, he believes in humanities and stuff. We have been talking about families because President Brown received revelation that it's what we need as a mission, so we showed him a Mormon message called "Père Céleste, père terrestre" and it touched him to the point that he started crying. He said that he has a son, and that he and his wife are getting separated and so he is very close to him. We explained that he could live with his son forever, and that he can find happiness through the gospel. He said that hedidn't have time, that he hasn't prayed in 40 years. We let the spirit work on him, asked him if he would pray, and he said yes. He said he would call us when he has. We all felt the spirit, and it was amazing to testify of the Saviors atonement. He hasn't called us, and I was pretty sure he would. But Heavenly Father will only give us as much knowledge as He knows we are ready for and we will accept. This man needed an invitation to pray, and that was as much as he could use right then. In a couple months, maybe years, he will be ready to hear about Christ, and maybe he will even meet missionaries one day again. Heavenly Father knows us, He is aware of us, He will send us what exactly what we need, when we need it, by His timing, not ours.

Have a great week! I love you all!
Avec amour,
Elder Hall

Your Favorite Missionary

I like big buts