Sunday, May 29, 2016

Going Out, Staying In and Finding the Orange Woman

me and the giraffe at the zoo we went to today
Oh what do you do in the summertime, when all the world is green? Do you drink lemonade (nope), or sit in the shade (no), or watch as the clouds go byyyy (HA)? The correct answer is, you teach people about the restored gosepl of Jesus Christ! (those other things are okay too) :) We had a great week here, super busy, and you'll find out why. Its starting to be summer, so its getting hot, and luckily we got AC installed last week, so we will be happy campers here in the office. Something thats weird about France is that the people dont really like AC for some reason (they think it gives you diseases or something), so not a lot of places have it. The ones that do advertise it though! I think people are starting so see some sense in it. Also, I dont know if you have all heard about the greves going on in France (remember when I told you about them a little bit?), well they are starting to heat up as well, and its gotten to the point where the gas problem kinda freaked people, and when we were down in Marseille (I'll explain later), there were huge lines for gas stations. But I think its starting to smooth. Well, that greve at least, but the other ones not so much. There are greves against the trains every week, but now, starting on the 31 until the 11, every day! That makes it so hard as missionaries, because we rely heavily on trains and public transport. But Heavenly Father always figures out a way to help us out of these things, so I have faith that He'll come through! Now lets talk about the week! 

me wearing an envelope hat because we were 
stuck in the office and it’s fashionable
So the beginning of the week saw Elder Wiberg and I traveling down south to Marseille and a little ville called Aubagne, where the ville got closed this transfer. We (as the moving equipe) went to go clear it out so we could get it ready to sell. We spent all Monday working on that with the elders down there. It was pretty fun, but a lot of work. Thats where we saw all the craziness, but we didnt even know why people were freaking out. We headed up to Aix en Provence to stay the night with the zone leaders there and they had a zone finding day, so their whole zone was there. It was a lot of fun to see some friends. We took care of some stuff for them the next day, and headed back to Lyon. 
A picture of Lyon with a French scripture
On the drive, I was getting kind of tired, and I looked at the gas tank and had a thought that we needed to pull off and fill up. We drove through a little town called Orange, and at a stop light we saw this woman sitting outside of a shop, holding a bill and crying. We kept going to fill up with gas, but I had a strong feeling that we needed to go back and find her. We filled up without a problem, and when I told Elder Wiberg what I was feeling, he said he was feeling the same thing. So we turned around, and went back, praying that we could find a parking spot for the huge van we were driving. We did! So we parked and went to the place, and found a sonary for some little apartments up top. We felt we needed to call up, and the first one didnt answer, the second one was a lady who said she wasnt believing, and the third was a man that hung up on us. We were confused, but felt like we needed to call the second one again. The lady answered and this time we just said that we saw a woman crying and wanted to make sure everything was okay. That's when it happened..... She told us she would call the police if we didnt leave, then as we were walking away, she leaned out her window and called us a sect. I was pretty confused, and I could see Elder Wiberg was too. We had felt the prompting and followed it, so why did that happen? As we were driving in silence, I had a thought, that maybe this woman needed to be introduced to the missionaries and one day, she will be reintroduced and remember that on a horrible day, a couple stopped to make sure she was okay, even if she was a little mean. I felt peace knowing that we followed the Spirit, also recognized the miracle that we were able to fill up with gas in a tiny town where we were led, when all the gas stations everywhere else were backed up and running out. 

a beautiful old cathedral in vieux Lyon 
The second half of the week, Elder Wiberg and I were in charge of the office all by ourselves, because all of the senior couples had a zone conference in a different ville. So we held down the fort, answering phones, buying tickets, doing reimbursements and solving a problem with a carbon monoxide scare haha. (It was all good). We kept ourselves busy, and slept well when night came. We even got everything done yesterday and went contacting in our area (its called Ecully, its a pretty nice suburb area of Lyon) and had 4 great 10 minute conversations with people. It was nice to do that! 

Overall, I feel great! I am loving it here, I have set goals to become better and am seeing the blessings that come from devoted service to the Lord! I would encourage you all to take a look at your lives, and find something you want to improve on, it doesnt have to be something big, but with the help of Heavenly Father, the power of faith and prayer, and the gift of the Atonement which lets us get back up everytime we all and restart, you can all get the spiritual summer body youve been wanting! ;) I know thats true, Ive seen it! I love you all! Have a fantastic week! 
Avec amour, 

Elder Hall
Your Favorite Missionary

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Hall Burger and The Reggie Analogy

Our scooter day
The sun is shining and I am a little sunburned so I am writing you all as a happy elder! Although that wasn't the case for the whole week, but we can talk about that later. I have a few topics I want to hit in here so we will get to that right away.

The week started off with one of the senior couples, the Mahaffeys, who took Monday and Tuesday off to be with their kids. That left more responsibility on us to be here, so we came in early monday morning and took a call from president where we discussed the greves on the trains here (because FYI the workers of the train companies are all greving ((striking)) every wednesday and thursday until july so that makes things difficult haha) and the Sweeneys told us they were going to Geneve to pick up a lost visa so we took the wheel and were here to hold down the fort all day. Luckily nothing too crazy happened, but we were pretty tired, because all the mission leaders came in for leadership council and also all of the missionaries going home this transfer, so we had 25 missionaries sleeping at our house. It was insane. We are going to play "office elders are in charge" again this week, because the senior zone conference is going on for two days somewhere down in the south. We accept prayers ;).

my 5 companions!
In other news, MLC (the mission leadership council) went off great! Out of the 7 companions Ive had, 5 were there. I'll attach a picture we took but it was fun to be with them all again. Elder Johnson is my zone leader now. So he's been my trainer, district leader and zone leader, and he will be going home at the end of this transfer, as well as elder Lythgoe and Ottesen. I love these people so much! Because of the craziness the day before and the fact that it was a holiday here, we werent able to order the pain au chocolat and the other patisseries we needed for breakfast from the lady we usually go to, so we left at 5:30 that morning to see if we could order some before the conference at 9. We knocked on the side door to her shop and she anwsered and was probably pretty surprised to see two zombies asking for 100 patisseries! She did it though, in two hours! We are like little house elves there usually, just in the background setting things up and taking them down and making food appear, but this time was different. I felt like we were a part of it all! There was a point where president sent everyone out contacting, and we were cleaning up and got to talk to President Brown for a bit. Then he asked if we wanted to go contacting with him, and of course we said yes. On the way out the door we got a ton of calls, which was ironic, but he patiently waited and finally we were able to go. It was awesome to see him in action. He does anything he asks of us. I love and sustain him! 

Hall Burger
Something fun is that we took the Lyon ZL's (who arent ours but we still love them) out to lunch this week. We went to Hall Burger for my 7 month birthday anniversary haha. It was pretty good, as good as Muslim kosher hamburgers can be... But it was just fun to be there. Ill send a picture of that as well. 

Today for P Day we went scootering on our scooters all over Lyon. It was the most fun Ive had in a long time! Thats why Im sunburned, because its so beautiful out here! We saw a ton of sights, scootered along the Soane river and then when we found ourselves in a beautiful mall surrounded by amazing apartment buildings, we stopped and ate sushi. SUSHI!! IVE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS MY WHOLE MISSION!! Haha It was just perfect! 
my 1st Sushi!

And to end, I will tell you about our training. Remember that goal to get 91 baptisms in a transfer? I dont know if I told you or not, but that was a goal President had for us. It was of course inspired like all of his goals, but we came out of it with only 27, which is still good, but not great. So we had a zone training about come backs, and how we can come back from this and bind Satan and be stronger. We talked about consecrating ourselves more, and I had a thought that I shared with them that I want to share with you. Its about my dog. :) His name was Reggie and I loved him so much! The thing is that he was pretty stubborn. When we were walking or when I needed to give him a bath and he didnt want it at all, he would yank his head back, dig his paws into the ground and as much as I would yank he would resist. Sometimes I would let him finish smelling something, but I always knew that if he wanted to get home to have a treat after a nice walk, we had to keep going. If he wanted to be clean and smell nice for the lady dogs, he had to take a bath. I realized that lately I've been doing the same thing to Heavenly Father. He has been helping me on this path to get home, and Ive been resisting. Hes said "if you do this, you will be happier! If you are more obedient with that, you can have some blessings!" and Ive yanked my head back and said "but I want to finish smelling this, then walk at my own pace!" The sooner that I, and we all, realize that Heavenly Father knows whats best for us, and that following Him will take us down the path that leads home, we will be happier and more blessed. Dont resist, let Him guide us! Let Him wash us clean! He can and He will, but only if we are willing to let him. I think I am ready and willing to progress a little more. :) 

last p day
last p day

I love you all so much! Reggie is dead, but I love him a lot too, and even though he was stubborn, he was still a great dog. (that was a random interjection about my dog ha). Have a great week! 

Elder Hall Burger
Your Favorite Missionary

Our scooter day

Our scooter day

Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Catch Up et l'Invitation

this happens sometimes
Family, friends, anyone that reads this, hello once again! I feel like its been forever since Ive sent out an email, it kind of has been. But I got to skype my mom on mothers day and thats all that counts! To all you other women out there that have ever been a mother figure to me, I say thank you, I love and appreciate you and all you do for me and the countless others whose lives you touch. I saw a couple moms today on the street, the first had a little girl who wanted to get her stuffed animal and was just so sad so her mom sighed, took her and and went back into their apartment building. The other was a woman pushing a stroller with a little toddler walking behind her playing with 2 balloons on sticks. One of them fell and he was so confused, so she stopped the stroller, picked it up for him, and I dont even think he realized what she'd done, but I did. Thanks for all the little things. 

Anyway, since we last left each other, I was busy solving problems and such. Well since then I have received a new companion and made it through my second transfer week, this time I had to take the reigns so I was praying pretty hard that I wouldn't steer us into a wall. Luckily I didn't, but I did steer 3 other things. The reason being because as of last Monday, the moving equipe was demolished, and the office elders (thats me and my new companion) are now full time office and moving elders. That means that on top of our office work we are in charge of closing and moving apartments all over the mission, as well as equipment and furnishings. So we have the 3 cars, Vivian (the vivaro), the Duchess (the moving equip mid size van thing) and the Yaris. I have my own fleet haha

the three ami,s, till one of them 
peaced and then there were 2
So now that the useless information you dont care about is out of the way, I'll tell you about my newest companion! His name is Elder... Wiberg! I know, thats the same last name as my sisters family. He's from Ohio/Minnesota and he is catching onto his job pretty fast. He's only in his 4th transfer which is super impressive and his french is great! I'm still trying to learn more about him so I'll fill you in when I get the good stuff ;) I said goodbye to Elder Lythgoe, and was sad we didnt get to spend more time together. I love him so much! But we'll see each other soon enough. 

As you can probably tell, we've been pretty busy around here lately. Last week we didn't get to bed before 12 at all, and then with transfers we were up early every day, but all the missionaries got home safe and sound and on time, while there was only 1 new missionary who came in, so while the President and AP's took care of him, we took a nap :). We have been driving all around to IKEA and to people's apartments to fix things and install lights haha Its quite an adventure. 

Today we saw a slow moving bicyclist almost hit into a slow moving pedestrian and it was like slow motion. The pedestrian wasnt very happy, so he stood there with his arms in the air while the bicyclist wobbled down the street. It was hilarious. 

Switzerland! From our trip a while ago
The office is still doing great, I've learned to just dance when I am on hold, and everyone always laughs but its not fair because I wasnt born to be groovy! We are definitely busier than ever before, which is a good thing. I want to insert a little spiritual thought that I studied this week to help out a friend. I learned about why people have to go through trials that may not be caused by the misuse of their own agency: Through the Fall of Adam and Eve, they and their posterity could now experience disease, death, and suffering. But on the other side they could feel true happiness and the redeeming power of Christ. Isnt it funny how that works? We experience many trials, which give us opportunities to learn and grow and to distinguish good from evil, that's why we are even here in the first place. There is a lot of hardship in the world; disease, natural disasters, wars, civil unrest, pure evil. This is just a result of our fallen nature as men and women. It's an enemy to God. But the more we choose to approach Christ, the stronger we can feel His and our Heavenly Fathers love, and thats when faith comes in. Because when we have faith, we use the atonement, we trust the atonement, and PMG says, "All that is unfair about life will be made right through the atonement of Jesus Christ." 

Switzerland! From our trip a while ago
That is my testimony. I know that Jesus Christ atoned for us! ITS ONLY THROUGH HIM that we can find happiness in a world of sorrow and distress. I testify of that! Don't let your trials, whatever they may be, drag you down. Let the Savior lift you up. He will. He always does for those that come to Him. I am here to invite others to come unto Christ, and this is my invitation to you. 

I love you so much, have a great week! 

Elder Hall
Your Favorite Missionary 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Problem Solving 101 and the Great Swiss Outing

Hello from your office missionary! It's been a crazy week, a lot of stuff has happened and I'll try to fit it all in, and if not, I will see my family on Sunday so it's okay. I think I've mentioned this before and you'll probably know it by the title of this email, but we are problem solvers here. We solved a lot this week, including the old lady dilemma, a terrible grève, and the day that shut down the office. I'll get to all of those. Then we'll talk a little about our great Swiss adventure! We have a lot to get to so let's get started!

Disclaimer: we prayed during all of these problems and so all the credit goes to our loving Heavenly Father who lets us learn, but grants us tender mercies. 😊

First, the old lady dilemma: one day Elder Lythgoe and I were driving to an old apartment to clean it out so we can get rid of it. Here, to separate the bus lanes from the car lanes, they have quite large cement barriers. Well, there was a car right next to us that accidentally ended up on one of those barriers, and when we saw it was an old lady inside, we decided we should probably stop and see if we could help her. So we pulled over and ran across the street, and took a look. One tire was not even on the ground, and the car was stuck there. So we tried to push, and not even I, who am comparable to Thor, could get her car off of the barrier. Then a couple other guys stopped and tried to help but still no budging (but they did compliment me on my bulging muscles). So we talked to her and told her that her car wasn't budging and called a tow to come and then just left her. We did, however get her number so we will see if that takes us anywhere. PROBLEM SOLVED!

Next, I think I told you about the strikes here in France. They are called grèves. There was one this past Tuesday, which was also a zone conference at Bordeaux, and for those of you that don't know, missionaries rely heavily on trains as transportation, and grèvers rely heavily on trains as something to strike against. So we were awakened at 6 am by some missionaries who had no way of getting to zone conference. We rushed into the office and started looking up train times as a wave of calls from stranded missionaries all over hit us in the face. We worked for a good 2 1/2 hours and finally got everyone on some kind of public transport heading in that general direction. There were people on trains, buses, members cars, it was like rat race haha. PROBLEM SOLVED!

Now about the day that shut down the office. We came back from running an errand right before all the senior couples went home one Wednesday night and they said the phones weren't working, which is a problem (and we need to solve problems). So I thought I was trained on this and went back to reboot the phone box by unplugging it and plugging it back in. The phones didn't start working, but something did happen... The next morning when we came in, the senior couples were all in a panic because the Internet was down, the phones weren't working and a guy was cleaning the carpets. That means that any missionary or company that needed to get a hold of us couldn't, and we had no way of doing any work online anyway, so everyone went home except us, Elder Sweeney and Elder Walker and the carpet cleaner (he was just hanging out during all of this). Elder Sweeney and I walked to the closest Orange store but they couldn't help us, so I found their number on a receipt and called. Basically I was on and off of hold with them for the next 2 hours, and finally got a RDV scheduled when someone could come take a look at it. In the mean time we did all we could do with little home offices. It was a glorious sight when the worker came in on our glistening carpet to fix it all. Turned out the box didn't reset properly after the shut down so now I know all the right cables to plug into what. PROBLEM... created, but SOLVED!

The best part about this week was the fact that we got to go to Switzerland Friday and Saturday with the moving equipe and help them out with a bunch of stuff. I've always wanted to go into Swiss so it was a dream come true. It was so pretty! There are a bunch of fields of yellow flowers in bloom and it is exactly how I pictured Switzerland to be. We went up to Lausanne and took some missionaries to IKEA to get some new furniture, then cleared out a load of old, broken stuff. There was one point where we passed through a carnival, and I learned that in French, cotton candy is called "beard of papa". We went to Martigny which is this absolutely beautiful village nestled in the Alpes, and we delivered some beds. When we finally rolled into a Geneva equipes apartment to sleep, I couldn't believe how calm and quiet it was outside. Literally all you could hear was the sound of cow bells. The next day we went to deliver a couch to some sisters, we cleared out a garage in another apartment, and then went up to Yverdon to do some things. It was kind of like an exchange because I got to drive with Elder Wilson almost the whole time. He is so funny, and really tall. We had a lot of fun eating too much Swiss candy and trying to find reception to contact our lost companions haha. I drove a lot, we had a ton of fun and it was amazing to be in Switzerland finally!

This all helped to testify to me again that our Heavenly Father loves us so much. He created this world for us to learn and grow, and He loves us enough to let us struggle sometimes (whether it's with work, family, illness, shutting down your mission office on accident). It is a love that none of us quite understand, but that all of us can feel. I testify that He is there, that He sent His son to save us and to bring us back home. It's a marvelous work and a wonder.

I love you all! Happy birthday Jansen and Isaiah (you old farts)! 😉
see you all on Sunday!
Avec amour,
Elder Hall

Your Favorite Missionary