Sunday, April 24, 2016

Talking to Fruit and Taking the Sacrement

tan pants Tuesday and scooters build comp unity 
Happy Sunday! I hope this email finds everyone doing well, enjoying the spring weather and the feeling that comes when school starts to wind down. As for me, it's crazy to think that I've been here in France for the duration of an entire school year and then some! Prayers go out to all of the people in the recent earthquakes and natural disasters. We dont experience a lot of that kind of stuff over here, mostly its just civil unrest haha. Something funny about France is that the people plan strikes and protests over the smallest things, and theres actually a website informing people about upcoming strikes so you can choose which ones you would like to be apart of! How convenient! ;) Haha but I still love it here! 

Accounting corner (ft. 10 key and ostracizement)

The office has been treating me well. I don't know if I told you about our apartment, but its called the "mission hotel". We have 26 beds and 20 mattresses in 4 rooms, so whenever people come or go they stay at our place. There hasn't been a week since Ive been here that we havent had people sleeping in our apartment. I'm learning how to be quite the host haha. Another funny thing about us office elders is that we drive 2 cars (our small toyota and the big vivaro), but to get to places closer by, we actually have some scooters. French adults love scooters, and business people ride them to work and stuff, so we fit right in. I'll send a pictures but they are pretty cool. And some information about my responsibilities. I am over finances and so I work pretty closely with Elder Sweeney (who is from my home ward). I am in charge of getting reimbursements to missionaries so they have money to eat and important stuff like that. I also pay bills and take care of credit card reconciliations (which is just matching the receipts and papers from the cards all over the mission to the bank statement, doing some math and ensuring that all the numbers add up to the overall total.) I got to play with a 10 key (which is a calculator for old people that prints out little papers), and I had a lot of fun with that haha. And aside from that, we are just problem solvers. Elder Lythgoe is over apartments and stuff like that, so we have our own areas of expertise.

samedi sportif gang 
I have some funny experiences to tell you all. The first one was at an activity we call samedi sportif which is just a game of fut (soccer) every saturday with a bunch of africans. Well, I am not very good at soccer, but my companion is amazing. We went last week and started out on the same team. They made me play goalie, which was their first mistake. Luckily I stopped a ball once, and after that I didnt anymore. They got tired of getting scored on and took me out, and then got scored on again so they asked me to switch teams. 😑 My new team must not have understood why they had so many points because they put me as goalie... Well, they score quickly evened out and I was freed of the cage. Elder Lythgoe told me that we would leave after the next goal, and he scored. It was pretty cool, so his team started clapping and cheering for him and mine was clapping because I was leaving. I think whats important in this story is that I tried. 

this why I weigh 500 lbs (bottom right
is salmon tartar which is raw salmon cubes)
and oh so many wonderful frites! 
On another occasion in the office, I was trying to fix some problems with a couple companies. I was trying to figure out something for a missionary's iPad, while simultaneously dealing with a phone company named Orange. I was getting calls left and right from Apple and Orange and I just couldn't get a hold of banana. HA! I thought that was hilarious. Everything got sorted out.

We had zone conference this week, and it was fun to see some friends, including Elder Wade! Love him to death. President Brown spoke about baptism and how to help our ami's repent and feel the power of the atonement. He said something that really struck me: "Have you ever wanted to do something that would leave a mark on the world, that could bless people forever, for eternity?" then, quoting Elder Oaks, "Being a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, called to proclaim His gospel is the most important work anyone can ever do in mortality." This work is so important. 
like old times

My little work in the office which allows missionaries to have the safety and temporal well being to carry out this work is so important. Teaching people of Christ's eternal sacrifice for them, giving them a hope for a second chance, it's so important. That second chance includes partaking of the sacrement each week, and remembering His atonement. When we take the sacrement, we should go to Gethsemane with Christ. It's a sacred moment. I would challenge you all to focus on the sacrement today. Notice how you feel when you have taken His name upon you again, when His cleansing promise washes over you. I testify that it is real. You will feel like. I feel it. 

I love you all, thanks for the prayers and kind words. Have an awesome week! 

Avec les plus gros bisous du monde, 

Elder Hall  
Your Favorite Missionary 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Office Grind

1) one of my first contacts in France who got baptized a month ago
stopped by the office to say hi! Fruits of my labor!
Happy Saturday everyone. This was just another week in the office. Its going super fast and when I was shocked to learn that we are halfway through April already. I'll try to make this email as exciting as possible. If it helps to think of it like a song, be my guest.

We spent 4 hours in a storage unit place. We need some more space to put furniture and stuff from apartments we are closing, so we scouted a place out and decided on it. Well they wouldnt let us sign for our association (the mission) so we went through a ton of waiting and document sending, and I actually made quick friends with a 5 year old black kid whose parents were looking too. He taught me how to count to 11 in english and we sang "goutte goutte" a french kids song together. It was nice. Finally we signed all the paperwork but we couldnt sign it under our name so we had to redo it all (if youre still reading in this paragraph I applaud you). Finally it was over and we went back before something else went wrong. 

This is English me
I have had a ton of fun this week with my companion. I appreciate him so much! Elder Lythgoe always makes me laugh, and hes just becoming a great friend. When you go through a lot of crazy stuff with a person, it builds a bond, and being in the office is crazy, even if you cant tell from my emails haha. Elder Lythgoe is good at being genuine. He will just say super nice and meaningful things that are exactly what I need to hear. Im glad I get to serve with him. 

We also got to teach Paul, our Finish french ami from the Congo over skype again! He's very inquirous and asks a lot of questions, but he really wants to know the truth! He keeps asking how he can know, and we keep telling him that if he reads in the Book of Mormon and prays about it, he can know of a surety. And when I say keep telling him, I mean we said it 10 times in our lesson haha So we had an idea, and we thought we could send him a Book of Mormon in Swahili! Thats his native language so we think he'll be able to read it better. We also sent him an old suit that was in our apartment so he can go to church haha. Hes so cool and I can't wait until he gets baptized! 

cleaning the chapel
Speaking of baptism, I dont know if I told you about President Brown's challenge for our mission, but he challenged us to baptise 91 people by the end of this transfer. Thats a ton, but we have accomplished and surpassed every other goal hes given us, getting engages, getting amis to church, and teaching with a thousand members in one month. Its so cool to see how when he sets an inspired goal, and we all go forward with faith (even if its a tiny ounce of faith), Heavenly Father can work through us. I had an overwhelming feeling at district meeting that we will meet this goal. Its a HUGE one, its impossible, but with Christ, nothing is impossible, and we are definitely with Christ. I felt the love of Christ a lot this week, not necessarily for myself, but for others. I remembered how important it is to persevere until the end and to be genuine. The world needs more people to love others and be genuine. Overall, I thought about the enabling power of the Atonement to help us through anything, and that can make negatives into positives. I have no idea how it works, but I know that it does. I love that we have it whenever we need it (for me its everyday), and that in using it, I feel pure and clean and happy. I testify that there is nothing more perfect than the Atonement of Jesus Christ, besides the Son of God himself. Use it, love it. You will see and feel its power.

I love you all! Thank you for your prayers. Que Dieu vous benisse.
Avec amour,

Elder Hall

our view

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Behind the Scenes of the Life of an Office Missionary

Hello family and friends. I'm sorry you have all probably been on an Elder Hall withdrawal this past week. I didn't have time to write, because a lot of the time, our P-days are kind of nonexistent haha Luckily I am here today! So I have a ton to tell you all, because the office isn't as boring as it might sound... sometimes... haha so I guess this is me taking you all on a behind the scenes tour of the life of an office elder!

Transfer Week: this is the first week of the new transfer. It is when everyone takes trains to their new villes, the old missionaries leave, the new ones come, and a lot of work is done by us that no one knows about. There was not one day this week where we got to sleep until 6:30, but there were multiple where we woke up before 5 haha. (PS none of this is for you to feel bad for me, only to inform you.) So we got to hang out at presidents house for a few nights in a row, first with the missionaries going home then the new bleus. I drive a big van (an opel vivaro) during this whole week and we were constantly loading and unloading it with luggage. The first night after we took all the departing missionaries home, we packed it up with luggage and then slept for 2 hours until 2 AM, where we then drove to pick them all up, got them on a tram, and drove the luggage to the airport and made sure they all got on safely, and got to wait for the new ones to come in. It was fun to see the fire in their eyes, to see how they are so ready to get to work! Then we took them everywhere they needed to be over the next couple days, as well as making sure all the trainers did their things and they couldn't ever see each other and they were all staying in our apartment which is basically a hotel, so it was all just a big deal haha. Over the week we did a lot of errands, secretly setting up lunches and taking them down. We are basically the behind the scenes guys. So even though every day I was exhausted, I still had the force to get through haha. I thank Heavenly Father for helping me wake up overall haha.

This is me at a super good cafe mmmmm
I'm getting the hang of my job. I have started doing a lot more of the financial stuff, as well as working more with the phones of the mission and getting things sorted out with businesses. Its a very different work than anything Ive done thus far. I have to have a lot of patience with myself and with all the people that put me on hold. haha I love my companion to death! We go out to eat lunch everyday, and we have gone to some pretty good restaurants, but I love getting to spend time and just wind down for a little. Elder Lythgoe is so funny! He has a very quiet type of humor but its just hilarious! I havent felt stressed or anything really because he just handles things very well, and every now and then will throw in a funny little comment. Its fun to work with all the couples too. They are pretty funny, they protect us and make sure that we are all taken care of. Plus they laugh at everything I do and say so it's wonderful! We also get to spend quite a bit of time with Pres and Soeur Brown which I love. I've learned a lot from just being with all these very wise people, but my patch of white hair is growing...

Our ami in Finland! 
(We don't really know what he looks like... Haha)
The other week, President called us and told us that some elders in Finland needed help teaching a French speaking ami, and he gave us the opportunity to do it! We skyped them, and met the missionaries as well as the ami, Paul. We had an awesome lesson and fixed a return RDV. We had an ami, which hasnt happened in the office for a while. Well, the other day we got to teach him again, and answer his questions. At the end of the RDV, all of his worries were resolved, and we engaged him to baptism for the 25 of June! THE OFFICE ELDERS HAVE AN ENGAGE! It was a miracle, and we feel so blessed to be a part of it. So we sent out some letters to other missions telling them that if they ever have a french speaker, to call us and we'll help teach them. 

Last thing, Soeur Brown had an idea for something our mission could do for the Paris mission, since they have been through some hard things lately, and the idea was a video! She put us in charge of it, so I got to do some filming and editing this past week and it was a blast for me! It took me back to high school days. But the video turned out awesome, and we were able to send it to their mission to show how much we love and support them. 

General Conference was amazing, we are led by inspired leaders who know Christ and we are blessed when we follow their counsel, especially in the world today. I know that being in the office isnt what missionaries picture when they think about missionary work, but I am so thankful for this opportunity. I am contantly in the service of others, even when it doesnt feel like it. I love this church. I know that Thomas S. Monson is our prophet today, I sustain him. I testify of the power of the Book of Mormon and I know it is the word of God. 

I love you all and until next time!

Elder Hall
Your Favorite Missionary