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

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