Saturday, June 25, 2016

This Will Be My Weekly Journal Entry

me and my sword
I asked my companion how I should start off this email, and the response I got was: "tell them you bought a nerd stick today." So I'm going to start my email with this: I bought a cool cane with a sword inside of it today. Its not nerdy, its cool. I thought it was a good reward for having one of the smoothest transfer weeks ever, especially when it has so much potential to go horribly, terribly wrong. At the end of this week, I am pooped. Just plain exhausted. But I thank Heavenly Father for getting us through it, He always knows just how much we can take. :)

saying goodbye to elder Johnson
Transfer Day was the longest day of the year... literally. So we finished trains, and waited for all the chaos and problems to arise, and miraculously enough, none came. One equipe's train got cancelled, but that was it, it wasnt even our fault! So Monday rolls around and everyone is traveling all over France, but we are here making sure everything is going according to plan. Eventually all the returning missionaries got into the office. There were 21, so we weighed their luggage, fed them lunch, and then bussed them up to Presidents house. There were a ton of missionaries that I am very close to in this group, so we got to hang out, play some games, and we helped Sr. Brown get all ready for dinner. After all of that, and during their testimony meeting, we got to wait and welcome the families that came to get their missionaries. There were four big families that showed up, and one of them was the Johnson family, you know, the Johnson who trained me and then spent 2 more transfers with in Ajaccio! It was so cool to meet them and kind of turn him over (if I even have the right to say that haha). He was here for me on my first day in the mission, and I was there on his last. After taking the rest of them all back to our place, we stole Elder Lythgoe and Boynton to come help us do what office elders do best; load 60+ peices of luggage into a van. The assistants also showed up to help which I really appreciated. We crawled into bed just in time to have a good two hours of sleep before we headed to the airport with everyones bags. 

When we unloaded them all into the airport lobby, I realized that we'd forgotten a peice of Elder Boyntons luggage in our little car. When everyone showed up I told him I was so sorry and he sai, "My passport's in there." So we gave them the charge to get everyone onto the planes and we drove back as fast as we could to get him his passport so he could go home! We did it, and with that, they were all gone. Gone like the wind. A couple hours later, 17 new missionaries came hobbling out of the terminal. We got their bags and bodies back to the office, and then to President's house. We coordinated with some other elders to have some of the trainers (who were also in Lyon) stay at their apartments, but we had about 5 who were staying chez nous that night, and so when we took the new bleu's back to our apartment, we had to make sure they didnt see the trainers who were walking there. So we told them all "your trainers are going to come up and sleep here. Youre not supposed to see them so go to your rooms until we say to come out." I've never seen a group of people move so quickly! Bleu's are so obedient on their first day :) That was sorted out, we let them get some sleep then we passed out. 

The Office Crew, all of us together at last
The next day was meet your trainers day, so I walked with a bunch of them to the office, Elder Mahaffey and I ran to grab breakfast for them all, and thats how the morning went. Elder Wiberg and I went to order 25 pizza's and buy drinks after the trainers showed up and got matched up with their bleu's. It's so fun to see who gets who, because I love all the trainers so much, and the new guys grow on you too haha. But then was legality so I went and sat in the legality office for 3 1/2 hours while Elder Wiberg brought and took the missionaries. At the end, it was just one bleu named Elder Walton and I and we were waiting for our ride to come back so I took him contacting and it was a lot of fun to kind of show him the ropes. I don't think training would be all that bad! The next morning we sent the last of them home and returned to office work as usual. It was such a relief to be done with my 3rd transfer week! 

I thought of a good reality TV show this week: lawyers vs plumbers and it's called... Sue-age. Elder Mahaffey thought it would be pretty crappy lol. :) 

We werent able to see any of our ami's this week but they are still going well, I hope. 

We went to a cool medeval village for P-Day today. Maybe I'll send some pictures. 

Sorry that this email was just a blurgh of events and no spiritual substance, I want to just leave you with a quick spiritual thought. We were talking at lunch about how the apostles and prophets are probably on a first name basis with Jesus, and then Seour Sweeney reminded me that I am on a firstname basis with Him too, as are all of you! We believe that Jesus Christ is not only our Savior and Redeemer, but also our brother. He sacrificed for us so that we could be happy, repent, come unto Him. He did it as a foreordained mission, and yet He did it with such indescribable love towards us all that, fraternal love, eternal love, that no matter if we are in the deepest abyss, or on the most spiritual high, no matter if we are looking and yearning for it or feel it regularly in our every day lives, it (His love) is always there. He knows your name, He knows your successes as well as your failures. He is love. He is the Christ. 

Have a great week! I love you all a lot! Don't get too sunburnt in the summer sun! 
Avec amour, 

Elder Hall
Your Favorite Missionary

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Giving God a Call and My Missions, If I Choose To Accept Them...

If you would like to know, I got as close to polygamy as you can be as a missionary this week lol. How is everyone? I hope all is well on the homefront! Here on the frontlines things are going fantastic, and seeing as it's pre-transfer week, thats saying a lot! I hope you never get bored of my emails since being in the office! My life is pretty interesting still, sometimes its number crunching and paper pushing, and other times I feel like James Bond. It all depends on the mission I choose to accept ;) Lets take a look at some of them that I accepted this week:

sisters conference
First off, we accepted the mission to be the chauffers for the sisters conference that was held in Lyon on Monday. We picked people up from the airport (pretending to be the security that everyone thought we were), and then on Monday after it was over, we shuttled people from the presidents house to the metro stop. Because we needed to use two cars, we enlisted the help of the local chinese equipe, and so in my pictures you will see 2 chinese guys and 50 women, but dont worry, it was all okay! It reminded me of when I had to go help my mom at girls camp, haha, they decorated flip flops and cried. We just came at the end, but I have it from multiple sources that they cried! ;) So now I am one of 4 elders who has been in the same room alone with every sister in our mission. I dont know if thats something to be proud of or not..... 

Transfers! We accepted the mission of planning out transfer trains for everyone. We had our meeting with President and Soeur Brown, the assistants and the office. There were only 10 out of about 90 equipes that DIDNT change! So thats how that went. We have 22 missionaries going home and 17 coming in, that means 17 trainers as well. 

transfer numbers at district meeting 
So we will be hosting about 50 people at our apartment before the week is over! We stayed up late on Thursday night, planning the trains and working on the sheets, and then we finished late Friday night. I was pretty tired this morning... Luckily, we found a good system of doing trains fast and effective, and there have been almost no problems! So either everything will come crashing down tomorrow night, or we just successfully ran the smoothest transfer trains planning in the history of ever! I really hope its the second one haha.

Now for the mission part of accepting missions! A couple Sundays ago we were porting in a little ville outside of Ecully, and we found a nice woman. We were looking at her gate which said "la famille Brochay" and we were speaking in french to eachother sayin "wow! a family! we love familys! lets knock!" Well turns out she was standing on the other side of the gate listening and so when she opened it before we even rung, and heard us say we had a message about families, she knew we were pretty sincere haha We went back a on Sunday and taught one of the best Retab lessons Ive ever taught. She was so into it. She is so wise and knows the answers to all of the questions we ask! She understands the gospel and she doesnt even know she does! She is about 50 years old with two girls our age and a husband. She is so normal its wonderful! We went back on Thursday and taught about the Plan of Salvation a little. She had read in the Book of Mormon, and even told us that while she was reading she put herself in the place of Lehi, and understood how it must have felt to have two sons who were not on the right path. She wants to come to church and keep meeting with us! Her name is Mdm. Brochay (obviously) but we dont know her first name yet. We hope we can get that soon ;) I feel so confident when we are teaching her, because I know that she has been prepared for this message. She is converted to Christ, not to the catholic church. 

We also got AC installed at the office. 

our stake president and Sr. Berachont, an awesome lady 
in our ward who loves the office elders, her non member 
friend who we are teaching, and me at stake conference 
Well, this next week is going to be crazy. As you might have guessed, I will be staying the office for another transfer with Elder Wiberg! I want to leave you all with a little spiritual metaphor: I was talking to a sister who called because she needed help with something. Thats usually why people call us here haha. Afterwards, before she hung up she said, "I've always felt bad for the office elders, because people only ever call when they need help." Then she stopped for a second and added, "I wonder if thats kinda what its like for Heavenly Father." The conversation ended but I have thought about that ever since. When everything is going well for the missionaries, they have no need to call us, but I cant tell you how much I appreciate little letters, calls or texts of appreciation even when everything is going alright. (I got one this week in the mail with some reimbursements and confetti!) This is just like us as humans. Sometimes in life, everything is going right. Life is great! Do we kneel and express our appreciation to our loving Heavenly Father for that? Or do we only ever give him a ring when our water heater is broken or when we are out of money? (metaphorically speaking) He loves us, and He loves to hear from us, not just in the bad times, but the good times as well. Imagine how happy it would make Him to get a little note with confetti, or a call just to say thanks and that you love Him! I know how happy it makes me :) And we are so blessed to know that we can talk with Him no matter when or why! 

I love you all so much! Thanks for the support and prayers! Have a wonderful week! 


Elder Hall
Your Favorite Missionary

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Killing Vivian and Roadtrippin'

I love France!
Hear ye! Hear ye! Tis I, having come again with the email you have all been waiting for! :) I hope you have all had a good week, mine was great! Super tiring and a lot of driving, but so worth it! This week we spent half of the week on a roadtrip to the west coast. ­čśÄ And the other half catching up on all the office work that piled up in our absense. 
(I cant be the only one that knows that feeling). I just want to say how much I love France; the country, the food, the language, and the people especially! I feel so blessed to be serving in the best mission in the world! In fact, 9 out of 10 dentists recommend serving in the France, Lyon Mission (haha jk, the dentists dont, but everyone else does ;)! The country has gotten pretty patriotic lately as the EuroCup is being held here in Lyon, so thats probably what is bringing this on... Anyway, lets get started, shall we? We shall.

escargot eyes
To end our P Day last week, we found a nice french restaurant and for the first time since Ive been here, we had escargo! Mmmm. It was wonderful, and then on Sunday we had an interregional transmission to all the western European stakes. There were about 71 stakes that took part in the broadcast, and it was great! We heard from Bishop Causs├ę (woohoo, go france!), Sister Oscarson, and Elder Christofferson, among others. We were instructed on how to strenghen ourselves as members living in Europe, and then those around us as the members do their best to keep the sabbath day holy, attend the temple, and invite amis to learn more about the church. Something that Bishop Causs├ę said that struck me was that here in Europe, members dont have temples very close, and so it is a big deal to go to one. It takes planning and preparation, and they always find the time to go, even when it takes a lot of time. In the US, especially in Utah, we have temples everywhere. "Having a temple closeby requires a higher level of committment," he said, because we dont have that big time planned or prepared into our busy schedules. Where much is given, much is required. I encourage you all to find time to go to the temple. :)

Brive Eclairs
Our roadtrip! (There will probably be a lot of information in this paragraph that wont make sense to you because you may not know the geography of france or the dynamics of missions, but just roll with me here.) We left early Monday morning in Vivian the Vivaro and drove 3 1/2 hours to a ville called Brive. There we saw Elder Carlson (who was in the moving equipe last transfer) and his comp, and had some of the biggest, most delicious ├ęclairs known to man! Then we kept on going 2 more hours to Bordeaux, where we got to meet up with the zone leaders from Bordeaux and Lormont, and then we split. I went with Elder Boynton (who I replaced in the office), and Elder Bleak (my favorite Chinese elder and one of my best friends) to IKEA! FUN! We got a bunch of furniture and got to catch up. Gosh, I love those two! We all met back up, dropped off the Bordeaux ZL's and took the Lormont ZL's and headed an hour and a half down to the south of France to a ville called Bayonne. It was beautiful! 

IKEA ft. Bleak and Boynton
We dropped off some stuff for the sisters there, and finally rolled into Pau that night to stay the night. Elder Orr (a missionary I hung out with before the mission, and came in with me and a great friend) is there so we got to catch up! The next morning we headed back up to Lormont to remove furniture from the ZL's appartment, stopped at a d├ęcheterie (a dump), and then went up to a ville called Angouleme. We had HFC (a Muslim knockoff of KFC) for lunch and continued on our way. While we were meeting all these missionaries, we realized just how white we are. Everyone else is getting super tan, and when I look in the mirror it says "you are the fairest of them all" before I can even ask a question :( haha, anyway. We drove to a ville called Poitiers which is a very classic French ville, and from there went to Limoges. We were driving through the French countryside, seeing little cottages and farms and woods. It was amazing! Guess who we saw in Limoges? Elder Ramsey! (another missionary that came in with me and a best friend!). We went on a tour of the beatiful ville, saw the Europe famouse gare (train station) and built a dresser for them. It was so great to see him. 

Thats where the murder happened. 

us resuscitating Vivian 
We were supposed to leave for Lyon the next morning, so we got ready and headed for our car which we left in a pay parking lot. As we got closer, the unlock clicker wouldnt work. When I tried to turn her on, I realized... she was dead. And the killer? ME! :O I had forgotten to turn her lights off the night before (because they are manual) and she died. Well, we called the elders and asked someone for help. We were directed to a nearby garage where the owner was very kind and loaned us a battery charger box. Some members came to help, but we though the box would work so we let them go to their appointment. Well, the battery in our car is too big and the box wasnt doing anything, so we went back to the garage and asked for some jumper cables, which he loaned us, then asked the first car that came into the parking for help. It was a little tiny beater car, and we accidentally ended up sapping his battery... Oops. We fixed his car and he drove away, then we prayed for a miracle. We needed a big van. I started wandering and saw a man get into his big van so I ran over and asked him for help. He ended up being from Ireland and spoke english and knew exactly what to do! He jump started Vivian and she worked! It was a series of miracles! 

We came home finally, and taught Paul, who is progressing well. I didnt bring any missionary clothes, and we pulled into the office late for our RDV so I borrowed some from one of the senior elders, Elder Walker, and I taught looking like a 5 year old in his dads clothes with eyes as red as tomatos hahaha. 

It was just one adventure after the next, and this upcoming week is our no-sleep transfer planning week, so wish me luck! I personally love it, but it does make me pretty exhausted! I want you all to know that I know the Book of Mormon to be the word of God. I know that there was an Apostacy which is why we needed a Restoration. The Apostacy was real. It confused the entire world. But now we have the truth, and I am here to share that, and to help every missionary here to be able to share it! I love this gospel, I love my mission. Have a great week! 


Elder Hall
Your Favorite Missionary

Saturday, June 4, 2016

A Week Well Worked

Me on an island in the middle of the park. I like islands ;)
Bonjour from your favorite Frenchie! It seems like just yesterday I talked to you all, but I find they are pretty one sided conversations ;). Lyon is doing just fine! Unlike Paris, it is not flooding, but it has been raining a ton! It reminds me of what I thought Europe would be like, kinda gloomy and rainy, but for the most part its been great over here. My week was full of things, and some of the best proselyting I've done here in the office! We had some wonderful things produce themselves this week  (I'm running out of adjectives!). I'll see if I can pull any funny experiences out of my mind, on y va! 

So we did a moving equipe thing this week. We had to go back to an old apartment and finish clearing it out. Nothing too exciting, we just moved a couch and an armoire. If you've never tried to move here in France, you wouldnt understand, because they have these tiny 2 person elevators, and if they dont have an elevator at all, you have to maneuver down a skinny spiral staircase type thing. Luckily, they had an elevator that could fit most things, so we were able to do it in a rather quick manner. There was a lady who was kinda excited that we were moving out and said she wanted to get the apartment so her daughter could move in, and I thought 'wow, I should be a real estate agent.' Of course I wont be, because I dont want to, but if I did, I think this goes to show that I would be amazing at it. 

Lucas (Bichwan) whom elder Johnson and I contacted on my 
5th day in France and got baptized in February baptized his 
friend!  That's seeing the fruit of your labors! So cool!
We had the opportunity to do some porting earlier this week, so we headed up to Ecully, to a predetermined neighborhood and started. I was a little rusty, but from all the time porting in Ajaccio (shout out to my Ajaccio comps out there who know what Im talking about- elders Johnson and wade) I was able to get the hang of it pretty quick, and it turned out to be a lot of fun! The people were all very kind, and the meanest thing we got was an old man shaking his head in disgust and grunting as he closed the door, but he was so old it was just hilarious! We got a number of a 17 year old kid, and at one point, we saw this family eating dinner, but we sonn├ęd anyway. The mom came out and said "je vous connais" which is "I know you guys" then she told us to come back on Thursday and that she had 7 kids! Thats insane for a french family, so we were very excited! We had some good conversations too. Well, Thursday came, and we planned very well for this lady (Dianne), and we took Elder Mahaffey with us to teach (hes a senior elder at the office). She let us in and we started going and it was apparent that she was super hardcore Catholic. She said that they believe that their church has had an unbroken line of priesthood since Paul, and that they are really saved through Mary. She loved Mary. She was very kind and respectful, and we had a good discussion. She took a Book of Mormon and gave us Mary medalions in return, but when it came down to it, she said not to come back. It was pretty disappointing, honestly, but it was cool to see a Catholic person who was actually practicing (since a lot of them here dont), and who had a testimony of Jesus Christ anyway. It did witness again to me that the Great Apostacie was real! Because the power of God wasnt on the earth, the churches got all messed up, to the point that people worship Mary instead of her son, the Son of God! Its crazy...

Elder Sweeney in an old Santa sweater 
we found.  I made him put it on during 
lunch :)
We also got back into contact with the Finland missionaries! Remember our ami, Paul, we taught over skype? Well he moved, and as soon as the soeurs over there found him, they called us and we fixed a RDV. We had it on that same day we taught Dianne, but it went so much better. We were able to incorporate the sister missionaries and member over there into the lesson by translating for them, and found out what is holding Paul back. He wants to understand, and he feels like he doesnt. We really want him to understand too, because once he does, he will be baptized. He is a great guy, and I wish I could meet him in person, but I love him all the same! I love these opportunities I have to do missionary work in a not so traditional way. I feel so blessed! 

A funny thing that happened is that we went to english class which is taught by a different equipe, but we were expecting a potential to come (he didnt). Well a lady walked in and said she had a question. She wanted to know the word for bateau in english. Its a ship. Then she asked if it was masculine or feminine, and we explained that in english there is no such thing, everything is just 'the'. She said, "I think its feminine.", as if she were stating a fact. She was not backing down either. Finally we just let her be sexist and think that all boats are girls and moved on with it. ;) haha I thought that was pretty funny. 

we ran into our ward mission leader and his family and friend 
(who are American) after a Failed attempt at dinner in 
vieux Lyon haha I love them
Today we were able to have our zone conference. Because of all the greves and everything going on here, we were the last zone to be able to have one, but there are still 6 other zones who didnt get to. President asked us to pray for them, and he said it will help them. Our conference was all about binding Satan! When Elder Christofferson came a couple months ago, he promised our mission that we would have the power to bind Satan as we went forth in faith and repentance. That is exactly whats happening! There are miracles happening all over the mission, its incredible to see! No one is leaving their sectors for these 2 weeks where trains are not running, so they are all finding a ton of new amis (because no one else can leave either, plus its raining haha). So even though Satan is trying to hinder us, because of the revelation given to our inspired President, we are succeeding, we are binding him and he is having no more power over us! WOW! The cool thing is that he promised us this not just for our mission, but for our future families and the rest of our lives. If we all purify ourselves and let God back us up, we can all bind Satan. We can all live like its the Millennium today! I was also able to have a face to face interview with him, and let me just tell you how much I love him. He said that he knows we will be friends for eternity, and I agree wholeheartedly! :)

Thank you all for all you do, for the examples you are, for the effort you exert into helping further the Lords gospel. It is truly an act of love. We invite others to come unto Christ because we love them and desire their happiness and salvation. Simple as that. Thank you for your prayers. They are needed and they are felt! Je vous aime tous! Je sais que cette ├ęvangile est vrai. J├ęsus est notre Sauveur. 

Passez une bonne semain! 
Avec amour, 

Elder Hall
Your Favorite Missionary