Monday, January 30, 2017

Bear It

fun from on high
Dear Hall Monitors (you thought I would forget about that but I haven't! 😉) I'm pleased to tell you that this week my eyes didn't get frostbite! Haha jk, it wasn't really that bad, but this week it was actually not as cold. We have a pharmacie across the street from us and I look at the temperature on the electronic sign they have and it got up to +2 so I was thrilled! (That's Celsius btw, so it's not as bad as you were thinking haha). We had a lot of fun this week. Last P-Day our bishops wife, Soeur Corneta, took us and the sisters to the main cathédrale in Vieux Geneve, so that was pretty cool, and I think I hit a record for the most I've played fut in one week (ca veut dire 2 times ((2 times too much haha)) ).

I forgot to tell you about the singing lesson we had with the English 
elders potential who is a professional singing teacher.
We've visited a couple families in the ward. There are a lot of older people, but we have had some good RDVs with younger families too. The family we went to eat lunch with the Soeurs is our DMP, Le famille Gerino, and they have 3 adorable little kids that speak English fluently, but with little bitty accents and it was so cute. We also went chez la famille Müller, I don't know if I told you about them, but they invite us over pretty often. They are an older couple, the sister I gave a blessing to, and they love missionaries and missionary work. Right now, I am helping her with her family history (because I love family history!) and they want to have us come over with some friends, so that will be great! Another family we are going to visit tonight is the couple Volpicelli, who are so great too. A little backstory: President and Soeur Brown came to our ward yesterday and talked about helping the missionaries and member missionary work. Afterwards, Frere Volpicelli came up to us and was like "hey, I had a crazy idea while president Brown was speaking. We've lived in the same house for 30 years and have never invited our neighbors to a fhe with the missionaries. Do you think you can come do that with us every Monday night?" We said we will have to think about it... JK of course we will!

Funny story real quick. There's a Soeur in our ward named Soeur Humez. She is very sick with cancer and can't go outside because of the cold, so she will call us randomly to run little errands for her. Well, she called us over one day and when we arrived, we asked her what we could do for her. She gave us her credit card and pointed at her bathroom and said, "The flooring in here is 40 years old and I want something brighter. Take this and go buy me some linoleum, and make sure it matches the tile on this wall." Well the tile was a weird pinkish color but we accepted. We went to a couple stores until we found good linoleum. Luckily, this isn't the first time on my mission I had to do some interior decorating haha. We chose a good kind and brought it back to her. She was happy, so she gave us her blender haha (we already bought her a juicer).

We started samedi Sportif again. So that's why we played fut twice, once for P day and once on Saturday... WHY AM I CURSED LIKE THIS?! Oh well, I play the best when I don't try at all so there.

THE AMAZING BORDEAUX CREW look how wonderful! 
This week we also had MLC, so us, the sisters, and the ZLs and STLs from Lausanne (the other Suisse zone) took a train to Lyon on Wednesday night, because there was a worldwide missionary broadcast, so we all watched it at the office. The executive missionary committee talked about how we can continue to teach repentance and baptize converts. They talked a lot about things said in last years broadcast as well. I took a lot of notes, but something that marked me was when I was looking through my notes from last year and this year, I saw something interesting. On both, without even knowing it, I wrote "BEAR TESTIMONY", all capitals and very indépendant on both. It must have been the spirit telling me to continue bearing testimony, to do it at every chance I have! It was a cool reminder that I have the opportunity to do it all the time, and I need to take advantage of that. And you all can too! BEAR TESTIMONY! It's as simple as that!

Some other changes were made to the mission schedule, for example we have more time on P days to accomplish our tasks, we can go to sleep a little earlier at night if we need it and we only have 30 minutes for lunch. It is interesting, and we will see how it works! Our mission schedule was adapted from the schedule that the apostles presented, so its particular.

So that was our week. We are passing a lot of people, and trying hard to work with members. We are going to deliver a bible to a man that stopped us and asked for one. Besides that, we are trying to bring a little bit of fire back to this sector! Please keep praying for us!

Have a great week, I love you all and don't forget to BEAR TESTIMONY!

Avec amour,

Elder Hall

Your Favorite Missionary

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Last Taxi Out of Geneva

So my first week in Geneva is past and gone. For your information, the biting cold went away and know it's just a gumming cold (lol get it?). But even though it's still cold, everyone said that the worst days were Monday, tuesday and Wednesday, the first days I got here... Well anyway, it's a little different over here in Switzerland (in French it's Suisse, so I will refer to it as that from now on). First off, we live on what's called "La frontière" which is the French country which surrounds Suisse, and our ville is called Fearney Voltaire. It takes about half an hour to 45 minutes to get to a working part of our sector in Suisse because we have to take multiple busses which don't come all that often, but I've had some great conversations with some really nice people! In Geneve, you could hear seven languages on the same public transport because there are people from all over the world here, and there aren't a lot of poor people either, but still almost everyone speaks English. Mostly it's pretty well off politicians, businessmen, lawyers or scientists, etc. The buildings are pretty modern and so is the art. We pass the UN every day, it makes me feel so important! Haha Everything is super expensive, so we get extra money. Also, we live in the same building as the Spanish elders equipe, so we spend a lot of time with them! So there's the down low culture wise.

modern art in Geneve
We had such a funny experience on Wednesday which will explain the email title, and for those of you who know me, you'll understand how much I loved this. We took a bus to the airport to catch our connecting bus home late that night, and we waited and waited, a bus came and people got on, then the driver told everyone to get off and we weren't sure why. Elder Pesnell and I were discussing what happened, and a bearded man jumped into the conversation, letting us know that the Chinese president was in Geneve and so all the Chinese people were having manifestations and roads were blocked. We started talking to him, because he's a business man here for a trip he didn't know which bus to take. He is Finnish and grew up in Canada. Then a couple other people, also curious about how we were going to get to Fearney Voltaire joined in; a young Chinese woman and a young Pakistani man who were both physicists. We decided to catch some other connecting buses and go back into Geneve, and so here we were, two American missionaries leading this tiny clan to France. Well, at the gare (where you can usually find a lot of busses), we were informed by two men that none were running anymore that night.p, and it turns out that the men were coworkers of the Finnish guy, and they were both Swiss German. So we all decided to see if we could catch a big taxi on the other side of the gare to take us back home. On the way, the Spanish équipe called saying they were at the gare too and stuck in the same mess we were, so we told them to hurry to the taxi place, where there were only two remaining. Everyone had already piled into the big van and were impatiently waiting for us when the elders ran out of the gare and I took Elder Goettcheck (a French elder) with me in the big taxi while the other two grabbed the smaller one. Our taxi driver was a crazy maniac, and not only did he drive us exactly to the hotel of the Chinese president being guarded by armed vehicles and military, but then he drove on the sidewalks more than the actual road itself! The business man ended up paying for the whole thing, but we were able to talk about our beliefs, give out our cards and even got the Chinese woman's email! I took a selfie as proof. But that was one of the most diverse adventures I've ever had... and of course it was something that would happen in a tv show. 😉

here's the selfie I promised (guess who is who ;) )
We also went and helped the Spanish elders teach a lesson because it was a single woman and they couldn't find a member. Basically the whole lesson was in Spanish, I understood maybe 20% (because Spanish is close enough to French) and my contribution was "Feliz compleonos" or however it's spelt because I saw a happy birthday sign hanging up haha. But that was fun, and it gave me a little taste of what missionary work chez Jason might be like (pardon, Elder Fox) haha.

En plus, we've visited a couple members, and one of them is a couple that actually has a Mormon message, the Mullers. They are older, and he is blind, and she is very bio haha. They are so so nice though, and she asked for a blessing of counsel and also healing because she had some thyroid problems and I was asked to give it. I felt the spirit telling me exactly what to say, and even though it wasn't what I would have said myself, I felt inspired! At church, she told me that after that, her week was so much better and her health even. She also said that while I was bearing my testimony at church, she looked up and said I looked exactly like Joseph Smith. Sooo I think that's an appropriate compliment..? Haha but I'm slowly starting to love it here.

reading the livre de Mormon in a clock tower
Something odd happened this week in relation to the spiritual thought I usually leave at the end of my emails. I was sitting on a bus and I had the thought to ask you all "when was the last time you had a missionary experience?" For those that have served missions, and those that have listened to the prophets and apostles ever, you know that member missionary work is so important. Are you doing your part to pray for, search for, and take advantage of missionary opportunities? The time is running out, and God has given us the commandment to "go into all the wold, and preach my gospel unto every creature" (D&C 18:28). This is a gospel of love and salvation, we can't keep it for ourselves. If you feel like you need to step it up regarding missionary work, step it up. If you think you can't, it's too hard, it's not for you, think again. Take a minute to ponder the sacrifice of Christ, because I promise he didn't say any of those as He was atoning for every one of us, including those who may not even know that yet. As members of His true church, it is our responsibility to do missionary work. All He asks of us is to open our hearts, open our mouths and let our light so shine! Don't let the blessings pass you by.

I love you all! Have a wonderful week!

Avec amour,
Elder Hall

Your Favorite Missionary

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Utah or Bordeaux?

Elder Pesnell and snow haha (ignore 
my red eye, my contact was acting up) 
Well everyone, there's a reason this email is coming a little bit later than usual, and it's because... I have been transferred. I was on a train all day yesterday, because I have been asked to come to Geneva, Switzerland to be the zone leader. My new companion is Elder Pesnell, he came in with me, and we have actually served around each other a lot, I'm excited! Before anything else, it is absolutely freezing here. No exaggeration, I think I might lose some extremities haha... but leaving Bordeaux was so so sad. I kinda thought I would be, so we fixed a ton of RDVs with our people, and let me tell you, I felt like a 100% Utah missionary this past week. There's a lot of stuff to talk about, so let's get to it! 

From Friday of two weeks ago to Saturday of last week, we have eaten 13 meals with members. Because I think Elder Sebra and I broke some kind of record, and to prove I'm not lying, I'm going to tell you who we ate with and what! 

    Emmanuel- pasta

    Magré- Chinese chicken

    Vendassi- raclette

    Moutoumalya- duck

    Villin- raclette

    Scott- enchiladas

    Genes- spaghetti

    Le camus- lasagna

    Lerbsher- rice and chicken

    Adam, Bernice, Thomas- Japanese

    Lancelot- chili

    Yuwai- soup and spinach pork

    Vendassi- pizza

a small rodent is bigger than this European car haha
You have to also understand that in France, there isn't just one course, so that was the main course and then with them all there was bread, cheese, salad, and dessert. Mmmmm... the best part of it though was the time we got to spend with the members. They are honestly so wonderful. 

At church, it was hard saying goodbye. It was hard saying goodbye to Antoine Villin (our ami in the part member family), he even said that one day when he gets baptized, he will think of me, and that gives me hope that he will be baptized, and their family will be eternal! 

primary selfie 
I loved serving with Elder Sebra, we have become best friends. When people see that missionaries get along as an equipe, it brings a whole different mood to lessons and contacts. I am so thankful I was able to serve with him. In our transfer call, President told us that we have transformed the Bordeaux Zone, but I know that none of it was me, it was all the Lords hands and the amazing missionaries that we had there. It changed from a "black hole" to one of the highest baptizing, hardest working zones in the mission, and I am so thankful I was able to witness and be a small part in that! 

last RDV with the Vendassi's 
We were the témoignes for another baptism of a different equipe BTW. Also, one cool contacting story- we were trying to find a bus stop and we were kind of lost, and this African walked by us, and even though we were in a hurry, I found myself stopping him all the sudden to talk to him. Turns out he is a potential that we already had in the phone, but he loves Jesus and we fixed a RDV with him! I won't be there for the RDV, but it was a cool miracle! 

So here I am now, in Swiss where the chocolate is beautiful, the snow capped mountains remind me of Utah, and the prices of everything are 10x higher! Haha I'm excited for this new adventure, and can't wait to see what Heavenly Father has in store for me here. I just need to follow the spirit, work my heart out, and stay warm! 

I love you all, have a great week! 

Avec amour, 
Elder Hall 

Your Favorite Missionary

saying goodbye to the villins

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Gospel is Like a Dance and a BBQ

France, Lion mission
Hello all you Hall-Monitors (that's what I'll call the people in general that read my emails haha I need to take advantage of this opportunity while I still can!). I don't have a ton of time tonight, but we had a great week. First off, it's been freezing cold here, like so cold that it actually snowed on Tuesday. This wasn't a good ol Utah snowstorm, in fact, you had to squint to see the flakes but it snowed anyways and that never happens here in Bordeaux! All the spider webs froze and it was actually kind of scary to see how many spider webs there actually are in France... I don't know if it's just because this is a super old country or what but they are hanging on everything!

"we are men"- Mulan
Last P-day, a family in our ward, la famille Catherine, took us to see a super cool classic French ville called St. Emilion, which is known for its wine. It was so pretty and fun to be with them and their three sons who are the French embodiments of Alvin, Simon and Theodore! Today we spent the day with the other missionaries in Lormont and played games and looked at stuff.

Also, I set some goals for how I want to improve as a missionary for the rest of this year, work wise as well as spiritually and I have seen that it's working, I feel like a better missionary every day! I've been talking to a lot more people and am trying to take every opportunity to share the gospel. We went to district Meeting and while we were waiting in the gare (train station) a man started to talking to me and I was able to give him the address to the Church in the ville- Perigueux, and share some scriptures about resurrection because his brother had just passed away. We also gave out a Book of Mormon to a guy who I'm not sure is all there... but he has something now that can help him in many ways.

district Meeting, I'm holding a microphone, the thing I do best haha
Speaking of District Meeting, we went to Angouleme district (which I know means absolutely nothing to you haha) and we talked about the talk "The Music of the Gospel". It was cool to listen to experiences and discuss about how we can help our amis listen and feel the gospel in their lives. I talked about how I am not a great dancer, and so sometimes when I want to dance, I will go into a different room and dance all by myself, making sure that no one can see... well, if we do that with our testimonies or the truths of the gospel we won't be showing others how much it means to us, in other words, if we never dance share our dancing with others, if they can never see it, it will only ever make us happy. That serves as a good reminder to us all to let our love for the gospel show, so that people can see how happy it makes us, and so we can help them hear the music and learn the dance!

In other news, we had four mangez-vous with members in two days, and two of those were lessons in the presence! The Vendassi's invited their neighbor over and we shared a thought about temples and she liked it. She was able to see that we are normal people too, and commented on the values and light we have. It was cool. We also saw Antoine, the husband in the part member family who is great, and we asked him about baptism after reading in 3 Nephi 11, he really opened up, and said that deep down he believes some of it, but he has never taken the time to make the efforts. We compared it to selling BBQs which is what he does, and said that some people want the best BBQ for the smallest price, and some people will look at all the BBQs and choose the cheapest, lowest quality one just because they don't want to put the effort into learning about the different kinds, and we told him that we are here to introduce him to the best BBQ and after that it's up to him to act and find out for himself. We asked him to simply pray, and he said that he will do it. It was a cool experience, and we know that he will get an answer.

Also, I've been really touched by the Sacrément lately. It was a really cool experience to take in on Christmas and feel the spirit confirm once more that Christ was born to be our Savior, and thus He atoned for us. On New Years Day I was excited to start off the new year by renewing the purifying covenant of baptism, and yet remind myself that we can start fresh every week, we don't just have to wait until the year is over and started again. And this past week, the sacrément lifted a heavy burden, and my prayers were answered as I felt it's power and accepted, once again, Christ's sacrifice for me. It is so wonderful that we have this blessing.

Well this week will be interesting because we have at least one mangez-vous every day, and on a couple days we have 2! Also it's transfer calls and I am nervous, because there is a really good chance that I could leave. We'll see but needless to say Talence and Bordeaux will always have a very special place in my heart. You will all have to wait for a week! Haha

Have a good one!

Avec amour,
Elder Hall

Your Favorite Missionary

Monday, January 2, 2017

Le Nouvel An

New Years Eve, when in Bordeaux...
Happy 2017 everyone! It was sad to see my blackout year (the only year of my life that I will spend in only France doing only missionary work) pass by, but on New Years Eve as I laid in bed and thought about all of the amazing people I've met, experiences I've had and places I've been, I was overwhelmed (and also tired). There is nothing in the world quite like a mission. It is a boxed up, 2 year miracle. En tout les cas, we had a good week this week.

our exchange!
We went on an exchange this week with an equipe here in Bordeaux. Both missionaries are Tahitian, and I went with Elder Teriihaunui, (sound it out) and it was so so fun! We were asked last minute to help a young adult member move, so we left early in the morning and took a train to where he lives and spent the whole day moving him with his family. They are Brazilian and it was a lot of fun! The dad really liked to talk about American sports, and usually I can just pass that off to my companion, but my temporary companion was a Tahitian so I just had to pretend like I knew who these sports players and teams were! I think he was satisfied though with my responses of "oh ya, he always makes the ball in the basket" and "I think they did win in 2003". But Elder Terii was so fun, we had to ride in the back of a moving truck in the dark, but we were safe, don't worry. He is so fun and hilarious, and we spoke French nonstop for 24 hours.

our exchange!
We have been doing a lot of passbacks of old amis that we found in the area book. There have been a couple people home, and the rest just didn't answer, but we decided that we might as well reach back out and if there is anyone ripe, we can harvest them! Haha

We were able to go to a part member family's house for New Years Eve, la famille Baquedano. Soeur Baquedano made us an amazingly French dinner with 7 courses! We had smoked salmon, noix de St. Jaques (which is like seafood), salad, Magré de Canard (duck side), cheese, and dessert and other stuff I forgot. It was so so good! 

The husband is not a member, but he is warming up a lot to the missionaries. He brought out a box of what seemed to be cookies and when he opened it, it was full of cartoon looking TNT sticks. He was like "ya, were going to blow these up" and he started setting them off in the backyard and they were just popping. Also, the sister made a bûche, which is a cake
that looks like a log. It was so fun and so delicious!

Also, we ate at the Vendassi's and another family, les Coppens and it was so great, because i just love these members here! And they love us!

I just want to leave you with this thought, as we start this new year, let's find ways to share the gospel with those around us, remember the love of God for ourselves and all His children, and may we repent every day, using Christ's special gift to become, little by little, more like Christ, and closer to our final destination, eternal salvation.

I love you all! Have a wonderful week and year!
Avec amour,
Elder Hall

Your Favorite Missionary