Monday, November 28, 2016

Thanksgiving à la Bordelaise

Bordeaux missionaries (that is the fire place and tree.
We asked everyone to make an ornament for it using the
little candles we gave them.) 
What a great time of year! I love the holidays and everything that comes with them, (for those of you who know me very well, you know how much I love holidays). And all of them can be celebrated while on a mission, it just takes some tweaking (especially when you're in France...) This week we celebrated Thanksgiving. So I'll lay out for you the events of this week in the context of why I was thankful for them.

I'm thankful for opportunities to serve, even if they're just little, because usually the blessings outweigh whatever labor we gave. In this case, our labor was putting together 6 ikea chairs. I don't know if I told you about our amazing part member family, Antoine and Melissa, but they are just such a miracle! She is a member and he is not, but he is a cool young guy who loves extreme sports. He already knows almost everything about the gospel but just hasn't been touched yet. It's cool how the Lord knows these kinds of things and prepares us for them. Anyway, we were able to go with him to his father in laws house who is also a member here and set up the chairs. Then he went to get his wife and kids and when they got back we taught a lesson on the Book of Mormon. They promised to read it and even invited us for an FHE! We know that if we just keep being his friend and showing charity, he will understand when he gets his answer.

Hanging out in centre ville on Pday 
I'm thankful for other missionaries who are so fun! I went on an exchange with Elder Fiala this week (who I actually brought into the mission when I was in the office). It was so fun, he is such a hard worker and a hilarious person. We went porting and when it was apparent that no one was letting us in, he thought it would be a good idea to carol. So we stopped a man and asked if we could sing for him, he said "wait and I'll bring my son." So he brought out his little son and we sang "Les Anges" but he didn't know all the words so it was a solo until "gloooooria". Haha the guy loved it and so did I! Then when we got home, my companion and elder Oborn told us to wait outside until they did something. Then when we got into the apartment, there it was, a real life Christmas tree! They had bought it to make up for the fact that they had forgotten my phone charger so my phone died, then they took the keys, and all the gravy. Anyway, I love those 3 so much!

I am thankful for my zone and the blessing of having thanksgiving on our Zone conference. This was honestly (in all humility haha) the best thanksgiving any missionaries have ever had! So lets start with shopping. We tried to get some good recipes, and then we went with the sisters to go shopping for all of the food. It took a while but we had a big budget. We also decorated the cultural hall so festive! We had a fireplace that the relief society president gave us, we decorated atree and put pictures on the walls and tinsel on the stage! On Wednesday morning, we came to the church and from 9 am to 9 pm we cooked and cooked and cooked. We needed to make enough food for 28 people! At the beginning it was such a mess, we didn't know how to go about doing it! I've never ever cooked thanksgiving! But once we got rolling (that's a roll pun) we got the hang of things. We cooked until we had burns all over our hands, dried batter all over our clothes and a church kitchen that was 3x warmer than the hallway. President and Soeur Brown and the assistants came in later that night so luckily she helped us with the turkey, and then I had a great interview with President. He is an amazing man who is so close to the spirit! We put everything in the fridges in hopes that the next day everything would go as planned. We got to the church and finished the final touches, and our Zone conference got started. I was able to conduct the conference. President and Sr. Brown presented the new Christmas video and it was so touching! If you haven't seen it, you need to watch it. Then we (the zone leaders and STLs) presented. We lanced a challenge to our zone at the beginning of the transfer to teach 130 lessons in the presence in 3 and a half weeks so we could present it to president, and also if they did it, we would have Thanksgiving. So we were able to present President with 135 lessons taught in the presence of members! Our zone worked so hard, I am so proud of them all and the giant goal they accomplished! We finished up the conference, then we had skits from the different districts and the STLs and us did our own as well to the tune of "Baby it's cold outside" but missionary version haha.

our zone!
I am thankful for good food and good friends. When the time came to eat, we brought out all the food (which had all been reheated by our DMP Frere Cadeau) and this is what we made: homemade rolls, jello with whipped cream, funeral potatoes, mashed potatoes, candied yams, stuffing, vegetables, and turkey (and a lot of tarts). It was a true thanksgiving feast! Our DMP sang a Christmas hymn for us with such feeling, it was very touching, and then we ate! It was so great seeing everyone eat and laugh. The room was filled with love as our family of missionaries celebrated the holiday together. It was all I could have asked for, but the gratitude of everyone touched me so much.

this is my second thanksgiving in the mission
and I've spent them both with elder wade!
What a stud! Ps elder Mendel is also a stud and
I love them both!
Lastly, I am thankful for Jesus Christ. Our awesome ami Jordan dropped us this week. He said that he didn't agree with some of our doctrine. I know he just didn't understand because he didn't take all the missionary lessons before diving into the mysteries of the gospel, but I was able to bear my testimony of the truthfulness of this church and gospel to him. I was reading in Jesus the Christ about the Atonement and crucifixion of Christ, and felt the spirit so strongly when it talked about how Christ endured unthinkably painful things, was betrayed and mocked and yet He did it willingly for us. Everything I have to be thankful for, I owe to Jesus Christ.

I love you all so much! I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and have a great week this week! Take a look at the church's Christmas initiative, and keep spreading the light of Christ.

Avec amour,
Elder Hall

Your Favorite Missionary

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