Monday, December 19, 2016

My 20th Birthweek

Christmas horns
Here I am, a one day old 20 year old. Don't worry, nothing much has changed in my demeanor, mostly I'm still as weird and awkward as ever! 😁  Thank you to everyone who wished me happy birthday, or had me in your thoughts and prayers. I felt it and I appreciate it! I felt like this whole week was a big birthday present to me, and as you read about it, you will see why! What a week! Work wise we kinda got shot, but spiritual wise it was amazing! This week we had a general authority come visit our mission. He is in the Area Presidency of Europe West and his name is Elder Gary B. Sabin. Forcément, there was a lot to do to prepare everything for him, his wife, and President and Soeur Brown.

the random less active family I
spent my birthday with
(we made origami trees!!)
But before that was a simple mangez-vous with our part member family, Melissa and Antoine! On Monday night we went to visit them to do a soirée familial. They have a little girl and a baby, so it was fun to share the Christmas spirit with them. We were going to invite him to be baptized if the spirit told us to, and so there were some awkward silences during our lesson, but neither of us felt that we should. And the reason why came at MLC later in the week. But it was great to be with them, and see the progress this family is slowly making towards one day being eternal! YAY!!

all my comps who are still here! Combien ils sont beau!
We spent the next day preparing everything for the conference, and that night President and Soeur Brown and the assistants came in, so we got to talk to them. That's always so fun! The next day was the conference, and 3 zones were coming in.

this was a life size crèche in a cathédrale.
In France they don't put baby Jesus out until the 25 :) 
We luckily had an equipe of elders come in the night before, and they were able to help us that morning as we went around and picked up dessert, the flower arrangement, and lunch from the various boulangeries. When we got back and walked in with the food, all the missionaries in the foyer started clapping (because they were probably hungry I guess 😉) and giving us hugs. It was so great, and I absolutely love seeing all those beautiful missionary faces! President and Soeur Brown came with the Sabins and we had a little zone leader/stl meeting with them before the reunion started. Then we all got to shake his hand.

random circumstances made it so that
almost our whole zone was with us today! 
The conference was so good. The spirit bore witness to me of many things, one of them being that I am enough in the eyes of Heavenly Father, and that as I try my best to be obedient and work hard, He accepts it! I also liked "stretch, don't stress", and "you'll never be happier than you are grateful". Elder Sabin talked about celestial steps that we should be taking and helping our amis take. It was so great, he is a master at scriptures! Also, if you remember our mission goal to present him with 1500 lessons in the presence, well before the conference started, we realized that we had forgotten to report 2 lessons taught by an equipe in our zone, so we hurried and did so. When President got up to talk and announce the results, he said that as a mission we got 1600!!!!! He said that miraculously, to round it off to an even 1600, 2 lessons came in not even 3 minutes earlier. 😁 And last but not least, our lunch was a big success! I got to share my love of beignets with everyone!! What joy!

PS the American family that moved into our ward (we helped with their sons baptism, remember?) brought us a bunch of American things!! Dunkin doughnuts, lucky charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Froot Loops! Woohoo!

That night, Elder Oborn and his new companion slept over at our house because we were flying to MLC in the morning. So we flew to Lyon and got MasterTacos, then slept over at the office elder apartment. The next morning I went early to the office to help make Christmas presents for elder Oborns Zone, and we went to MLC. It was mostly a big discussion on our feelings and impressions over the past couple days and elder Sabin was there. It was super great, and en plus, every companion that I have that's still in the mission was there, so I took a picture! That afternoon and night (since our flight wasn't until the next afternoon) we went back to the office and I got to see the Mahaffeys and even got to do some reconciliations and reimbursements! I was in heaven! Hahaha we got burritos.

This is what 20 year old elder hall looks like
Now for my birthday! Unfortunately it didn't got as expected (do any of them, really?). My companion was very sick, and so we had to cancel our special lunch birthday RDV with the Vendassi's (my faves). But we gave all the members individualized Christmas cards and they loved them! We presented in primary, and then Elder Fiala and Elder Higham (in the other ward) ate leftover pasta from their ward party with us. The sisters gave me some fun Christmas socks! Elder Higham was sick too, so we went on a little exchange and Elder Fiala and I went to pass some less actives they're working with. They sang to me and it was super fun. Then that night Elder Oborn and his companion came back to stay with us again because he had to get his legality so we went back to the apartment and opened my birthday package and voila! A birthday in a box! So we hurried and set it all up and had a fun party!

birthday socks! 
When my comp was sick that morning, I was kind of disappointed, but I tried my best to think more of helping him than of myself, and I believe that Heavenly Father saw that and said "mmmm... we can give him a little something." 😉 it was a great birthday, and even today, a bunch of missionaries in our zone (who were here for official business) surprised me at Elder Fialas apartment with a cake! It was so wonderful! So yes, I had a great 20th birthday over here in Bordeaux, and I am so thankful for the people that love me and the whole week of happiness that made up my birthday... or birth week! 😊

But I think the best birthday present I got this year was a new baby niece, one who is healthy, happy and beautiful. I was praying that she would be born on my birthday, and that really made me feel loved. What a miracle, what a gift. Welcome to this world little girl, and my testimony to her and all of you is that God is our loving Heavenly Father, Christ was sent for us, you and I, the Atonement is perfect, the Gospel is true, and if there is anything I've learned in my 20 years of life, it's that love and faith overcome all. Cliché, but I testify of it with all of my heart, mind, might and strength.

I'll see you next week!

Avec amour,
Elder Hall

Your Favorite Missionary

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