Monday, 20 October 2014

Waterloo & Braine l'Alleud

Our actual area covers a couple cities in and around Waterloo and Braine l'Allued with most people commuting to Brussels which is a 15 minute train ride. 

Elder Bailey and I have been working hard this week and have had a number of cool experiences. This week we found 4 new amis that we are teaching and then taught an additional 10 other lessons. Our one Amis name is Renault. A 19 year old non practising Christian, super cool college student that is studying to become a teacher . We contacted him on Wednesday of last week walking down this tiny little side street. We have been praying and praying to find the people that are ready to hear our message. So we taught him this week in this cool little park and he loved it. He was super receptive to what we taught and definitely felt the spirit. At the end of the lesson after he said his first prayer with us, which was so cool we challenged him to pray about the truthfulness of our message and we promised him that Heavenly Father would answer his prayer and confirm what we said. He kind of pondered that and then we talked a little bit about that topic of receiving answers. He said "you know I think my prayer might have already been answered". During our discussion in the park that day he said that the day before he was on Facebook and saw a Muslim and a Christian arguing over beliefs. He said it made him think about things and he was really confused. That night he said he sat down and asked Heavenly Father to send someone to him or give him a sign of the truth. The VERY next day we contacted him on the street and he agreed to meet with us. I know that he was prepared to meet us and that it was not a coincidence that we were walking down that same little street at the same time he was.

Site of the Battle of Waterloo

So Elder Bailey and I had another super good week. We worked hard and had some amazing experiences. So first I was telling you about how Renault got an answer to his question and is super interested. This week we meet with him again at a members house, with a member who is his age, they get along really well. The member picked us all up and then we went to his house. As always he was super excited. We introduced and taught about the Book of Mormon because he was curious, we answered some questions by using the Book of Mormon. Throughout the lesson he keep saying/ referring to the previous lesson and how when we bore our testimonies he knew that there was something different about us! He knows that he has felt the spirit and he knows it’s real. The lesson went super well again. He said that everything made sense about the Book of Mormon. On the way back in the car with all 4 of us (Elder Bailey, myself, member Florant, and Renault) Renault starts talking about baptism and how soon does that process usually happen. We were like WHAT. We told him as soon as he knows and is ready he should get baptised.  After the lesson we invited him to church and yesterday (Sunday) he shows up in his suit, tie with his white shirt on all ready for class. All the talks and lessons were super good and he loved it. He even stayed after with all the youth, the bishopric, the young adults and the 4 missionaries to help plan for the Halloween party. He has all of these friends at church now too, So cool! We literally could not have asked the Lord for someone who was more ready. I really think that Renault is going to progress to baptism. All we have to do is trust in the Lord and help him get to that point! 

                   My First French Macaroon

So another cool experience this week we had in Waterloo was in this really nice area contacting on the streets. We were walking and we stopped this lady who was maybe fifty or so. We explained where we were from and why we were here. We taught her a little about why our church is different from others but she wasn’t too interested as most Catholics here. So we asked her if we could say a prayer with her before we left. She said sure and we asked her if there was anything specific she needed help with. She said that her husband was really sick.  So I said I would pray for him. I started to pray and blessed her and her husband as well as some other things. It was super cool. After I said amen she looked up and was almost in tears. She said she felt something different that she had never felt before. Unfortunately as people are stunned with what just happened they say that they have to go and we give them our card. It happens a lot.  People often deny the fact that they felt something different and say they have to go. That’s part of planting seeds though. We know and they know that they felt it. Pretty cool. We are also teaching another 10 lessons a week so we are busy. 
 I went on an exchange this week to Charleroi. I was with an Elder from Switzerland. It was pretty interesting. We had a couple lessons that day. (it was only for a day)One was in Spanish. A lot of nice people there. One man told me that he thinks with the accent I have I could have been here for at least six months. So that answers your question about how the Language is coming. In the lessons Elder Bailey and I try to switch off evenly. 


So this week was a cool European culture week. Our area Braine l'allued and Waterloo are FULL of teenagers and high schools, all the bus' and trains are packed. One night we were riding the train to a dinner appt. and literally the bus was empt,y we turned the corner and got to a stop and not even joking 150 teenagers got on the bus and you couldn't even see the front of the bus, it’s crazy. Elder Bailey and I were just sitting there like ummm we have to get off at the next stop and weave through a mass of kids.  Another thing that’s funny is that girls 14 to 18 years old drive these little scooter mopeds to school and then after school you’ll see like a train of them with their handbags and decked out helmets driving down the street. It's super funny.  The kids here are insanely well dressed.  You have no idea, when you guys come here after my mish to shop you will be blow away.   

                    Oldest Shopping Mall in Europe

Each Tuesday we also get to go to district meeting in Brussels. We take the train to Brux Nord station and then walk 5 min to the church. I took a super cool picture there this week that you should get printed and put it up on the wall. Anyway it’s awesome.  I’ve made some great friends in the Zone. We had a mini Canadian thanksgiving last week and one Elder wore his Canada tuoque, tie and sweater. I think we are having a zone conference in the next couple weeks.  This week we actually had the chance to go to Brussels on Friday. We took a little tour for our lunch break and went to see Grande Place and the oldest shopping mall in Europe. Super cool Experience. We just had some fresh baguettes and ice cream on the street. Pretty cool!

                                           Grande Place

Anyway's it’s been another awesome week! Oh so at this point I would just send letters to the mission home with my name on them. 

Monday, 6 October 2014

First week in the Field - Nivelles, Belgium



I’m here at a little library in a Nivelles, Belgium.  This week has been awesome. What an experience packed into a week. 

SO first, when we got off the plane we picked up our bags and meet the AP's and the mission president and his wife. They were super nice and cool. (Pres. Babin is a tall guy).  After that they took us all out to this little truck and we put all our bags in and then they give us a pain du chocolat. They were super good, all the food here is amazing. Once all the bags were packed up each of us received a Book of Mormon to give out on the train to Paris.   It was a direct train so there were only a couple people on it. I asked some guy if I could practice my French with him and he said "no". ha-ha.  

Train Station in Paris
When we arrived in Paris and got off and walked through the city to the chapel, which is that cool building in all the photos. It’s in the most unique part of Paris, the artsy district, it's a great area. It’s the most expensive church building in the world because it’s pretty big and right in the middle of Paris.  We hung out there for the day and had interviews with the President and his wife. They are super nice people. While you were waiting for your interview, you would go out tracting with a missionary serving in or near Paris. It was a great experience. 

One of the first people we stopped on the street we ended up teaching a lesson too. He was this older guy that was so friendly. We prayed with him on the street and it was amazing, you felt like you were in a little spiritual bubble in the middle of the street. So after that we went back and had dinner at the chapel.  At the end of the day we spilt up between the Presidents home and a near by hotel.  People just volunteered to stay different places, I ended up staying at the hotel with some elders I knew. 

View from the Church 
So the next morning we took the train back to the chapel and had a meeting to find out where we are going and who are trainers would be. It was so nerve-racking waiting to see where you were going to go. I was one of the last ones and Elder Bailey and I got assigned to "white wash" Braine L'Allued sector. So white wash means that there has never been missionaries there before, it’s a completely new area. That’s why we are living in Nivelles currently,  we are getting our new apartment this week, So send all the letters to our new address, I’ll send it next week. 

Elder Bailey
So it’s a little bit of a challenge because we have no "aim's"  there to teach right now because its brand new but it’s cool because there are so many opportunities for work. We contacted and "port'd" or door knocking a ton this week and found 5 or 6 people that invited us back the next day to pray and talk with them. The best are the buildings with the intercom because you can just buzz every apartment - lol. 

View from Apartment in Nevilles, Belgium

So back to it, after the meeting I meet my trainer Elder Bailey. He is legit the best trainer I could of asked for. He speaks fluently because he has been here for a year. He is so helpful, cool and funny. We get along so well it’s awesome. We gel really well!  We went to go visit a member the other day and they thought we had been together for months, it’s amazing. After the meeting we hoped on the train at the gare du nord in Paris and took a train to Brussels, My area is super close to Brussels and we go there every week for district meeting, AWESOME. The night we arrived we had to host a youth night/missionary night where the youth basically just asked us questions. It was super fun. 

We attend the Nivelles ward because there is nothing in our sector, so all the members there are the ones that we visit. It's about a 10 min train ride to church which is not bad. We ride the train probably 4 or 5 times a day which is perfect for contacting because they can’t go anywhere. So after that we just went out and worked for the rest of the week trying to find people. The one day we were not having a ton of success porting, so we stopped and said a little prayer to be directed where to go. The next building we went to there were 10 apartments and we talked to 5 people and got their names and numbers. It was super cool. I have found out that missionaries pray all the time. You really do see miracles all the time as missionaries. It has been a super cool experience this far and I’m so excited. I have such a cool area and a cool comp. I think we can really be successful. 

The people are literally SOOOOOOOOO nice. All of them with big hugs and hello's helping your French.  They are so cool, I love them and the ward is awesome. We always go and visit members and play games and teach lessons because the main goal right now is building up the ward and strengthening the community. I love it here so much. I feel really lucky and blessed. Oh and we taught a lesson on the street and the women really liked it so much she gave me a "bisou" which is like the little kiss on the cheek. It’s a mission rule not to let people do that but you are allowed one, your first one, ha-ha and I got mine in the first week. 

We watched conference in the clerk’s office yesterday in English while everyone else watched it in French. We bought a ton of cheese and bread and had a little party, Not to mention the talks where awesome. I got so much out of it. All of the questions I had were totally answered.  

Anyway I hope that was a good little update. Thanks for the advice and those journal entries are funny, good times at the mtc. I’ll send some pics along in other emails. It's a little tough to write as I’m writing on a weird French keyboard.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Elder Nathan McBride - France, Paris Mission

Nathan has asked us(his family) to keep his friends and family informed of his experiences in the France, Paris Mission.  We will be posting pictures, excerpts from his letters and other experiences so you can be a part of Elder McBride's two year journey as a full time Missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

MTC District
The MTC Experience:

Elder McBride entered the MTC in Provo, Utah  on August 20th 2014 and spent 41 days learning to speak French, teach gospel principles and build his testimony.  Here are some highlights:

"I am fully in the routine now here at the MTC and I am super excited to get into the mission field.  The French is coming along but the challenge is you know exactly what to say in English but its hard in translate into French. You feel limited in your vocabulary which is hard and feel like you could do so much better. There are lessons and days when everything comes together and the words are coming out right and those you are teaching understand what you are saying."  

"To be effective in teaching, you need to get to know someone at a personal level and share personal testimony." 

"Interesting how the spirit works.  I've come to know of that even the short time that I have been here. I have learned how to rely on spirit and have it with you all the time. It’s amazing the promptings that can come, you have to listen for them."

"A testimony isn't enough, you have to able to live and act on the principles you believe in and be an example of Jesus Christ."

Elder McBride loved his time in the MTC. He had such amazing teachers who had recently returned from the Paris, France mission.  Nate loved the missionaries in his district and felt blessed to work with them.  He really enjoyed the music, singing in French as there are many hymns they sang in French that he hadn't heard before.  Nate felt blessed to be able to hear so many great speakers such as Richard G. Scott and Russell M. Ballard and a broadcast from David Bednar. These strengthened his testimony of the atonement and understanding of the worth of souls.  He was ready and anxious to get to the field to participate in missionary work in France.

Arriving in Paris, France:

September 29th Elder McBride departed for France.  After a 10 hour flight he along with 27 other missionaries arrived in Paris. They were introduced to the  mission tradition of French pastries provided by the mission home upon their arrival.  There were so many missionaries coming in this transfer that only a few could stay at the mission home, the rest had to stay at a near by hotel.  The group spent the day visiting at the mission home as well as exploring the town where the mission home is located and talking to people they met in the streets.

The following day the missionaries met their companions(trainers) and proceeded to make their way to their first area.  There are 65 area's in the mission with only 7 in Belgium.  Nate was paired with Elder Bailey and are serving in Nivelles, Belgium.  Nathan was hoping to have the opportunity to serve in Belgium as it is a small part of his mission.  We have yet to hear from Elder McBride since he arrived but did hear from the Mission President that he had arrived safely.  Looking forward to hearing his updates next week!

President & Sister Babin

Elder McBride & Elder Bailey

Arriving Missionaries