Monday, September 26, 2016

Bordeaux's Belt

I didn't think I would fly in an airplane until I was on my way home, but I was wrong. This week was a pretty busy week, full of a lot of little things to do and errands to run, but it was pretty good anyway! I learned a lot about faith and we saw what faith can do in the work of salvation. Anyways, I mostly just want to cut to the chase so here we go. 

We went to Lyon this week for MLC (missionary leadership council). So Elder Steadman and I, as well as Sr. Clancy and Filbrandt (the STLs) went on a plane to Lyon since it only takes one hour by plane instead of 8 by train. It was super cool and I'll send pictures. We stayed at the office elders apartment (that was weird going back haha) and the next day we went to Ecully for the conference. It was so so good! President talked about faith, and used the principle from the scriptures of Christ calming the storm. We talked about how we have the power and the faith to do anything God wants us to, we just need to do it! We also talked about how to teach better and more often. The assistants gave a great presentation (even elder wade 😉 haha) and they taught us to use temples when people bring up the point that they were already baptized in the Catholic Church, etc. It instantly made sense to me and I loved the inspired idea! We flew back out that evening and got back to Bordeaux just in time to start planning Zone Training, where us 4 relay back to the zone what was talked about. 

For as long as I have been on my mission, Bordeaux zone has been called the "Bordeaux black hole". So people had negative ideas about this zone. One of my goals, that was approved my comp and the STLs was to change that! So, still going with the space theme, we thought of a new nickname.... Bordeaux's Belt! (Like Orion's Belt). See, instead of getting sucked into something, when you come to our zone you become a part of something! Every missionary in our zone helps complete the Belt, which holds up our areas!
We presented it at Zone training, as well as the other stuff about faith and action and using the power that we have been given. I thought it was a lot of fun and a great spiritual experience! It pumped me to to hear people's miracles and made me want to work hard to have our own! Which we did eventually! We also went to ikea and bought 6 bags of meatballs for lunch and mmmm, it was delicious! 

Miracle time! So we were thinking about faith one night during planning, and we decided that we needed to be more specific with out faith. So we individually thought of 3 different times where we could teach a lesson and find a new ami, and then showed each other. Oddly enough, 2 of our 3 were exactly the same: 15h and 17h30. So the next day I was super excited and we went out. We had been praying to be able to be in the same spot as the people we were going to find, and our first conversation with 2 African young men turned into a lesson and they became new amis! It ended as exactly 15h 😁 hooray! We kept walking and felt like we needed to go a specific way, but there was no one to talk to. We kept going and time was running short before our miracle was supposed to happen, when we saw a young woman so we started talking to her. She doesn't know if she believes in God and we told her that she is a daughter of god and talked about temples. She said she would be okay to see us again, so we exchanged numbers and prayed! Guess at what time? 17h34!! It was such a big testimony to me of the power of faith!

Our ami Jordan is doing great! He just needs to commit to baptism. He told us that if he didn't think this was all true, he wouldn't keep coming, but he does. The members think he is just a member as well. They get confused when we tell them he's our ami. Haha he is such a great guy, and I'm actually older than him, fun fact. But he looks like he's 24... He came to our crepe night (for which I made 50 crepes all by myself) and it was a great time. Please pray that he'll want to get baptized, because if he does, we can do it ASAP! 

That was our week, folks. It was full of faith and we all know that faith brings miracles, but only if we act and do our part. That's how it works. I thank my Heavenly Father for the tender mercies he gives us as we try our best to do His work here. I love him and I know He loves me, so it keeps me going. And with faith, we WILL baptize, there is no "can" about it, we will. That's the promise of our president, and I have complete faith that it's true. I love you all! Have a great fall week! PS, fall is happening here too! The leaves aren't very colorful but the weather is amazing and it's still beautiful! I love Bordeaux, and I love Bordeaux's Belt! 

Elder Hall 
Your Favorite Missionary 

Monday, September 19, 2016

In-Field Reporting

bringing out the big guns
Here I am, coming at you live, from Bordeaux, France! One of the most beautiful villes in the whole world! A member said that Bordeaux is one of the only places in France where you still feel like you are actually in France, and I agree! Its a classic ville with a lot of beautiful architecture and history. Its funny because 10 years ago, no one visited Bordeaux, it was just kind of a gross city, but the government has really taken steps to clean it up and make it a great place, and it's worked! I am in the Talence paroisse (ward), and so that means that our sector isnt really in Bordeaux meme, its kind of a suburb. It's still super nice though, and there are multiple universities here, so especially since school started again, there are a lot of students walking around. Its been a very interesting first week, and for those of you who thought maybe I could get some sleep, you were very wrong (I also thought that, but alas...). 

aerial view of Bordeaux from a large clock tower
So, I have felt like a brand new blue missionary all week. I didnt think that I would ever have to feel like that again, but I have! Thats because I am trying to get used to riding public transportation again and talking to people on it. The first night I talked to a guy who was super nice and gave us his number and I literally felt like it was my first night in the mission. Fun fact: I havent had to ride public transport in 10 months. I actually had forgotten about certain parts of missionary work, like what we do during studies or how to start a conversation with someone. I know it sounds sad but its the harsh reality!! I am picking it up slowly but surely, and am trying to be a good example. Its a rush though, talking to someone about the gospel! I forgot how much I love it! Also, Im walking a lot more and so I am going to lose all that office blurb. 

dinner with the Angouleme elders (elder steadman is the 
one with black hair and the one by him is a new blue) 
I took an 8 hour train voyage here from Lyon, and as we got in, we were met by my new companion, Elder Steadman (he's great! hes from Draper, Utah and only has a couple months left on his mission), and the other elders who were waiting for their companions as well. They all stayed chez nous and then the next morning, my first morning not having to take people to the airport at 4 am, we woke up at 5 am to get everyone to the gare (train station). The irony... Well, we have some super cool ami's here! One is named Jordan, we taught him, and he is 19 years old and from Guadeloupe and is great! He loves the messages, he is on track to get baptised. We also have a 19 year old girl frol French Guinea who is cool, but flaky. She loved the chapel tour and said she wanted to come to church but didnt show up. Then a 29 year old named Jimmy from another island somewhere who is super into Jesus! He has been studying medicine for 10 years and so he doesnt have a lot of time, but he took a Book of Mormon and said that he would love to read it, so we are going to see them more this next week, but it was fun to meet them. Also the members here are great! There are a lot of JA's (young adults) who love working with us! Our DMP is an older man, but he loves missionary work and is always there to help.

We had an interesting exchange with an equipe in our zone that consisted of a very nice, quiet missionary from Utah and a kind of crazy Tahitian missionary. They had some problems and in the end the tahitian went home, but it was kind of intense because we didnt want anyone to get hurt or anything, so we had to handle the situation pretty smoothly. They are both great guys though and it was sad to say goodbye. 

at the gare (it turns out I’m famous all throughout Bordeaux haha)
Its been pretty rainy, and one night we were in a store doing groceries and a GIANT storm started, so everyone was waiting at the front doors of the store for it to die down but the a river came into the store. So we sat down on some benches and ate some chocolate then ran through the rain to a bus stop. It was fun because everyone on the streets were laughing and talking to each other, because for some reason, little things like that bring humans together, even for us! Although no one took the sopping chocolate I offered ;)

All in all, its been great so far!  There will always be challenges to different things we are asked to do, and I will never feel qualified to do anything the Lord asks of me, but I love it here, and Im excited to see some miracles. I was looking at some scriptures in Preach My Gospel, and one of them was 2 Nephi 2:6-8. I will challenge you to read it and think about it. This is how I feel this week, I feel the need to make known to all the inhabitants of the earth the truth of their Savior! Its harder than it sounds, but its worth more than anything else. Remember that its the duty of us all to bring this knowledge to the world. You will be blessed as you do it! 

Avec amour, 

Elder Hall 
Your Favorite Missionary

Saturday, September 10, 2016

A Fond Farewell to the Office and A Lot of Leaving

that's me with a snake around 
my neck (ignore my terrible haircut...)
Here we find ourselves, at the end of yet another part of my mission. My replacement is trained, the transfer train tickets are bought, my suitcases are lying empty on my bed because we havent had time to pack. On Monday morning I will say goodbye to the bureau of the mission. Its been a great time. I've learned a lot about how the church works on a logistical level, I've seen miracles in a work environment, I've become more confident and gained some leadership skills. (I've also lost a lot of sleep I will never get back and thats why I have 2 giant, black dufflebags hanging underneath my eyes haha). Through revelation to President Brown, the Lord has called me to a different task. He wants me to be a traditional missionary again (I hope I can remember how to do that...) and wants me to go to... wait for it... Bordeaux! Missions are all about being put into situations that make you uncomfortable, so hes called me to be the zone leader there as well. Im going to need all the prayers I can get! haha But I am super excited to start this new chapter of these 2 years. Ive only ever served in Lyon and Ajaccio, so it'll be interesting to see what a new ville is like. Now, let me explain how the last week of my service in the office went. Ehem....

Presidents P day 
Monday was President P-Day, and of course we didnt want to miss it, so we went, with all the other missionaries in Lyon and had a blast! We played volleyball for like 2 hours, and it was one of the funnest games of volleyball Ive ever played! Even President got in on the fun! Unfortunately, I stepped on a bee. I felt a pique and then I was like, 'I must have stepped on a pine needle', but there was no pine tree and then it kept hurting so I looked down and the bee was just stuck in my foot so I did the hokey pokey and I turned myself around and it fell off. The next thing I knew, 3 elders were carrying me up the hill to remove the stinger. It was quite the scene haha. Well, I kept playing because I wanted to. Days later the pain hadn't gone away and my foot was red and swollen up so I had to go to the doctor, but now its getting much better! Don't worry, that bee got his reward... instant death. 

We also got to drive some brand new cars right off the lot! I didnt because I cant drive anymore, but I rode in the car that was driven fresh off the lot! I felt so cool!

this is my "His Grace" mission display :)
(it's a Mormon message series) 
We taught english class again this week, and you'll be glad to know that the stories were rated G this time. ;) We had 4 people show up, which is pretty good! We also got to go on a little exchange with our zone leader to teach one of their potential ami's, who was super cool and soaked everything in. In other news, we've been having quite a lot of mangez-vous with people since I'm leaving. I have gotten to the point where I will walk off 3 chins in my first week in Bordeaux!! Haha ;) 

our ward missionaries and ward mission leaders
We had our Transfer Planning Meeting with President and the Assistants and the office staff on Thursday, and we all looked back on this transfer, transfer 103, with a deep breath that it is finally over. As well, President wished me good luck and said something very kind. He said that no missionary has had a greater impact on this mission for good than I have. I'm not sure if I believe that, but I really appreciated it. President Brown is an amazing man, and I look up to him! 

We did trains and all that transfer jazz, nothing is going too badly so far, but if it does, guess who wont have to deal with it!? :) 

Elder Patton my favorite blue 
This week I want to just leave you all with a scripture that will leave you with some other things. Its found in John 14:27. It says, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." I testify that the gospel brings peace to us, the atonement helps us let go of fear, it calms out troubled hearts. Jesus Christ offers us a peace, a love and a Spirit that is worth so much more than we can be offered by anything in the world. Sometimes its hard to remember or to realize how true that is. When you are flung into something that you might not feel confident with, Christ will give you the help necessary, Heavenly help. Thats the only way I have gotten myself through this calling in the office. I have delt with things that would have been impossible for me to do by myself. I have seen Him guide me and the others here, so that this mission can keep moving forward, temporally and spiritually. That's what I count on going forward.I'm going to miss this place, and the amazing people I get to work with everyday, but I can't wait to see what awaits me in these next coming months. Whatever it is, I know that I will have the power to do it, because if I can serve for 6 months in the mission office, I can and will do anything He needs me to. 

Avec amour, 

Elder Hall
Your Favorite Missionary 

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Le Tour de France II: This Time, It's Pointless

I'm bock... I don't have a lot of time this week, but I'll let you know how it was.

some of my favorite people in our ward! Syo and Ceasar
We left on another (my last) moving trip on Monday morning. We had a lot of stuff planned to do, so we took off to our first destination, Gap. It is a little ville nestled in the mountains bordering Swiss. Its super beautiful to drive there, and we were delivering some stuff to the Walkers, the couple that used to be here in the office but are now there. We had lunch and went on our way to Marseille. Rumor had it that the apartment was destroyed by the rogue one, so we went down to fix it all up for transfers. We went in, it was kind of spooky in the dark, and then we flipped the light on, and... it looked just fine. We were pretty confused. We looked for the holes in the walls, none. Broken beds or furniture, rien. Shattered glass, nada. We were pretty confused, because it looked like the only thing wrong was that he cracked the desks, so we went and got some new ones and then left. Long ride for that... 

Onward we went, ready to... oh wait... what is this I hear, a phone call? Yup, the elders we were going to do a complete move for actually enlisted the help of their ward, so there was no need of us. Nevermind that, we will keep on going! We actually got to have a pretty cool experience that I can't talk a lot about, but I will just say that on Tuesday, we got to have basically a vacation day, so we visited some people in Aix, got fed lunch and dinner and had a fun time, then we even got to go visit a chateau!! There is a HUGE one in a ville called Carcassone, and it looks like a classic Disney castle. I will definitely send pictures, but it was so fun, especially for me because I'm an official knight, remember? ;) 

Well we went to Toulouse and, because of the fiasco last time where we didnt bring everything we needed, in fact, last time we brought 2 dryers instead of a dryer and a washer. So we went back to finish the job. When we called the equipe with the keys, they told us that they were in a different ville, and that they locked every lock on their door so we couldnt get in, even if we wanted. So we decided to leave them in the apartment where we stayed with some elders. When we went out to get the washer and oven, we realized that... wait for it... WE BROUGHT A DRYER AGAIN!! Ugh! I was actually laughing pretty hard at this point. We had failed, yet once more. 

We then went to a place called Poitiers to do some stuff for the sisters there. Setting up Ikea furniture mostly (which I am pro at nowadays). They gave us some funny tuna rice for dinner. Then we had to take away a bunch of old things that were broken down. We got out of there at 10h30 at night, drove to a middle ville and pulled in around 1h30 in the morning. Slept until 6h30, and went to Clermont Ferrand for our district meeting! It was the first one Ive been to in 2 transfers! It was very good. We came back, and the rest of the week I have just been finishing my training for Elder Johnson. He is going to be a good replacement :) 

Well, France is back in the swing of things, with school starting and everything going back to normal. Here, its called "le rentrée" because in August the whole month is one giant vacation. businesses shut down, everyone packs everything up and heads to the farthest place possible from their house so its quiet and nice but also very inconvenient, but now everything is back in gear, people are sad that they have to put shirts back on, and some of them still dont (they're in denial).

Overall, it was kind of a sad week because we went around all of France for really no reasons. But I did learn some things, mostly that attitude is a choice. Mine wasn't the best this week, and I recognized it, but I will try to be better. I only have one more week in the office, and I hope I can make it a good one. After all, enduring to the end is the last principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It may get overlooked, but its very important! 

I love you all! Thanks for all that you do! Keep on enduring and enjoy the ride while youre at it, maybe you can stop by a metaphorical chateau :) 

Avec amour, 

Elder Hall
Your Favorite Missionary